9 ~ Ryan

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What a fucking idiot. Why did he send that last text? Felix was probably judging the shit out of him. She wasn't naïve. She was a grown woman, and she was hot. Beyond hot. Did she even know how hot she was? Ryan pocketed his cell and made his way out of the courthouse, planning lunch in his head. Unfortunately, his exit was blocked by a stiff-jawed crank in a black suit.

"Morning, Harris. We missed you in court," Ryan said, making no effort to hide his smirk.

"Fuck you, Ryan. I had a family emergency. My daughter is sick and my wife had to lead a budget meeting. How did it go in there?"

Ryan tried to imagine Harris patting the shoulder of his infant daughter while heating a bottle on the stove. The man was the opposite of maternal. "You didn't miss much. The victim cracked under pressure. She didn't press charges and the jerkoff was sentenced to two years' probation."

"I knew it. Another year of hard work wasted. There's no satisfaction in life, you know that?" Harris yanked his phone out of his jacket and started a text, leaving Ryan to wonder whether he felt satisfied with life. If not, would he turn into Harris?

"So, you up for more abuse?" Harris stabbed at his phone as he continued his rant. "It looks like you're back on the Donovan case. It was reopened after you identified Jenny Mason last night. You'll be working with Fulton. Good luck."

The name Fulton had Ryan's blood pressure spiking. Fulton had been Ryan's partner when he joined the FBI, and the arrogant know-it-all made Ryan's first six months miserable. "Why the hell is Fulton on the case? He went back to the precinct to pretend to be a cop."

"Probably because he knows the Chicago homicide scene better than anyone on the force, so he's your main contact if you come up with anything noteworthy. You sure you don't want to go back to staking out strip joints?"

"Fuck no. I can handle Fulton. He might frighten little children, but he doesn't scare me. You heading back to the office?"

"No. I'm here to fill out some shit paperwork, then I have to relieve my mom on babysitting duty before her spin class. I'm so whipped, Ryan. You have no idea what it's like to have a kid and realize you would do anything to keep them safe. They totally fuck up your life."

"You make it sound like torture."

"It's a blessing and curse, but I can't go back now."

Harris hustled toward the elevator as Ryan hit the sidewalk, imagining a non-bachelor lifestyle. The image wouldn't coalesce. He had never even owned a dog. It was hard enough keeping his mom updated without actually telling her anything. Ryan checked the clock on his phone. Did he have time to swing by the gym before picking up lunch? He'd been neglecting his workout routine since signing on with the FBI, and Italian food went on his high carb list after he traded his football for a gun, but most importantly, there was a hot girl back at his apartment. Ryan made a beeline for the gym.

"Hello, stranger." Leslie greeted Ryan with a wink as she slipped her arm behind his back, walking him through the security gate. "You have no idea how many times I've fantasized about you since we saw each other naked. I thought you dropped off the face of the earth."

"I'm still keeping my head above ground."

The place was filling up with early lunch gym rats, otherwise Leslie would have trapped Ryan between the rowing machine and the water fountain, her favorite spot to entice him with her assets. It still didn't stop her from clinging to him like spandex as he went through his routine.

"Would you like to hang out tonight, Ryan? There's a band debuting at the Atlantis. I hear they've got an awesome front man."

"I've got company visiting this weekend, Leslie, but thanks for the offer."

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