Before

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He woke slowly. The sun streaming through the bedroom window had roused him from his slumbers but he didn't mind. He had a day off work and a well-earned one too after two weeks with no break. He turned under the duvet and edged towards the middle of the bed searching out the warm body lying next to him. He let his hand glide down the soft skin it encountered until it settled in the curve where his bedfellow's waist dipped before the flare of her hip. She stirred.

"Lucas, it's early." Her voice and strong accent made his heart race a little.

"So?" He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her flush against his body.

"I'm sleeping."

He smiled and whispered in her ear, "You can sleep later. I need you."

She shivered in his arms, a little tell-tale sign that she was going to give in. Her bare bottom shifted slightly against his arousal and he groaned in approval. Sliding his hand upwards he ran it lightly over her breasts.

"Lucas, you are insatiable." That accent again, thicker on the long word.

"And you, my love, can never resist me." He kissed along her shoulder before burying his nose in her neck and kissing her there too.

She purred in a way that was uniquely her, a noise that spoke directly to his groin and he growled in her ear in response.

He ran his tongue lightly along her jaw line before leaning over her shoulder to kiss her lips softly. He felt her mouth turn up at the corners as his own moved against it. She couldn't stop the smile that was spreading over her face and he knew it.

He pulled away. "I knew you'd give in, you always do."

She turned towards him, making sure he felt the full force of her hip as it brushed over his heated skin. "One day I'll surprise you." She grinned up at him as she pulled him over to lie between her legs.

This had been their waking ritual almost every day since their wedding. Lucas was just as captivated by her Russian charm as he had been on the very first day he met her. She was equally as smitten with his English ways and his tall, dark and handsome looks.

They were roused from their lovemaking by the sound of Lucas' phone ringing.

"Ignore it."

"I can't Veta, might be important."

He rolled away from her and stretched for the phone. Huffing as he saw the caller ID, he answered it, "Harry."

Elizaveta threw the covers back and slid out of bed. Lucas frowned at her as he listened to his boss and reached for her wrist.

"Stay," he mouthed pleadingly.

She shook her head and pulled free of his grasp, grabbed her robe and sashayed into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

Lucas sighed.

"Trouble in paradise?" Harry's smirk was audible.

"She needs to know Harry," Lucas pleaded quietly.

"Soon but not yet. I need you in Russia, we can't risk it."

Lucas sighed again and swore silently. She hated it when he worked away.

"Is there no-one else? I'm supposed to be having a day off."

"No. We'll sort you out some proper leave when you get back. I promise. But right now, it's you I need."

The finality of Harry's tone meant Lucas knew there was little point in arguing and he agreed to be back on The Grid within the hour.

"Veta." He knocked hesitantly on the bathroom door.

She swung the door open so violently it nearly came off its hinges. "Don't tell me ... there's no-one else ... you're so sorry." The sarcasm practically dripped off her tongue.

"Veta ..." He reached for her but she flinched away from his hand. His heart broke just a little.

"It's only for a few days," he pleaded. "I'll be back before you have time to miss me."

"Maybe I'll be gone when you get back. Maybe I'm sick of all these business trips you keep going on." She spat the words at him, her accent getting thicker as she got angrier.

"Don't," Lucas shook his head, "Don't say that. You are my world. When I go away I count the hours until I'm back with you again. I love you Elizaveta."

She sighed, the anger suddenly gone with his heartfelt words. She walked into his arms and buried her face in his chest. "I hate your job."

He held her tightly, soothing her with quiet words and promises that belied the discomfort he felt with the deception he had weaved around her since they met. She believed the lies and the excuses. She believed him and somehow that made it worse when he had to leave. But the thought of her kept him sane through the darkest moments. Knowing she was waiting for him at home kept him safe. That's what he told himself when he was lying awake at night in a safe house or undercover in some damp-ridden flat. Wherever he was, whatever he was doing, the thought of her kept him going.

He kissed her tenderly and lifted her into his arms.

"Lucas ... what are you doing?" She clung to him as he carried her to the bed.

"Finishing what I started." He laid her down carefully on the bed and gently opened her robe.

"I thought you had to go." She pulled away from him as he started to kiss her collarbone.

"I'll tell them I got caught in traffic." He continued to kiss down her body until he felt the tension melt away under his ministrations. "Right now, I'm going to make love to my beautiful wife and then while I'm away I'll relive it over and over."

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