~25~

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It's been two weeks since the party, and I'm losing my mind! While the guys all go off on their little missions, I'm stuck here in my apartment with one of them as a babysitter. It's ridiculous. Yesterday, North actually watched a musical with me when I was trying to annoy him into leaving me alone for a while, or at least take me out to do some super-secret spy work.

Don't get me wrong, I know I'm not trained for this, but I'm in the middle of it, and I'm afraid that I'm nothing more than a hindrance. They'd probably already have this wrapped up if it weren't for me.

I trudge out into the living room in a mood and am smacked in the face by the acrid scent of fresh paint. I sneeze, and Gabriel whirls around.

"Holy fuck! You even sneeze cute! Like a damned cartoon fairy or something!"

I open my mouth to argue that no one can sneeze cute, but am rendered speechless by what my eyes see.

The beginnings of an intricate mural are outlined on the largest wall of our living room, and I can already make out the details of clouds and stars in the background. It's going to be a fantasy scene!

I step closer to examine the wall, and wonder how Gabriel managed to paint so much in just the few hours he'd been home. "It's breathtaking." I turn to him when he doesn't respond just as the first rays of morning light peek through the window blinds. The streaks of gold across his face make me wish I were an artist, and that I could capture the striking figure of him for posterity. He steps forward, and my throat goes suddenly dry.

Gabriel reaches a hand out to my face, and brushes his thumb across my cheek. I close my eyes and lean into his hand, and heat floods my body as his other hand wraps around my back. He sways, and subtly shifts me with his tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth.

"There." He steps back and holds his hands out, framing a mental picture. "Don't move, Trouble. I think I know what to do now." I maintain my pose for almost ten minutes before he manipulates me once again. "Can you do that twisty thing with your leg up in the back?"

I stifle a giggle and lift my leg into a manageable arabesque.

"No, the one where it's all bendy."

I nod and switch to an attitude, groaning at the stretch in my sleepy muscles. "Like this?"

He blasts me with a grin and starts moving around me at a rapid pace, making swipes against the wall behind me where I can't see. My back is starting to ache, and I'm about to ask for a break when a great dollop of blue paint falls straight down the front of my tank top.

"Gabriel."

He ignores me and another splatter, this one in turquoise, falls on my right arm.

"Gabriel!"

He continues his painting, and several more colors dot my arms and chest. I'm sure my legs and hair are even worse.

"Meanie!"

He jerks away and drops his paint brush down the front of my shirt. "Shit! Sang, I'm almost done!"

He looks plenty annoyed, and I can't help but burst out into a fit of laughter. I drop my leg and brace my hand against his shoulder as I try to catch my breath. His expression changes, and a smirk graces his chiseled features. "You're covered in paint, Trouble." His statement makes me roll with another round of laughter, and a wicked idea overtakes me. I step forward, and wrap my arms around him in my best impression of a Silas hug. I'm not nearly big enough to envelop him, but I do a pretty good job at distributing my paint all over his front. I step away and grin.

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