Chapter 19: The Meeting (Part 2)

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I saw a flash of many emotions pass through his face. Surprise, fear, anger. I saw him clench his fists on the table and my body electrified in response. I didn't know why testing him excited me so much."What is it, Joker?" The Riddler said before following the Joker's line of vision to me. His guards came up behind me, one grabbing each of my arms. I struggled in their grasp but they were too big. "Look what we have here... Who are you?" He asked me and I opened my mouth to respond to him, but the Joker stood up abruptly and stopped me. "I don't appreciate interruptions... I'll eliminate the problem." He said coldly, referring to me as he pulled a gun from his pocket and pointed it directly at me. I held my breath, my eyes meeting his in an intense stare down and for a moment I was unsure if he would pull the trigger or not. Something changed in his eyes and he suddenly lowered his gun. "You know, on second thought... I've always had a thing for blondes. Why don't we let her join us?" He said, circling me in a predatory way. "As you wish, Joker. She'll be yours then. Release her boys. Now sit, and we will finish our business here." He said as his men let go of me and the Joker came up behind me, shoving his gun into my back as he whispered in ear. "Play along." He said, his words hot on the back of my neck. I did as he said, moving forward as he applied pressure to the weapon pressed to my spine. The Joker erupted into laughter as he then sat down in his chair, and I looked at him in question. He motioned to his lap with his gun and I found myself glaring at him at his presumption. He raised his eyebrows at me, and I could see the humor of the situation causing amusement behind his eyes. I held in my pride as I sat on my leg. He wrapped one of his arms around my waist, his other pressing the barrel of his gun into my side. "Do continue, Riddler." He prompted and the Riddler smiled. "Well Gotham Bank will be expecting your return... Especially now that you've broken out of Arkham. That means there will be twice the security, twice the precautions taken to ensure you don't return." He said and the Joker's plan seemed impossible. "But... That's where I come in. If we combine our men, and use my expertise on Gotham Bank. I'm positive it will be successful." He revealed and I felt the Joker take a deep breath. "What's your price?" He asked and the Riddler smiled wide. "Fifty percent of profits." He declared and the Joker scoffed. "Fifty percent? That's bullshit Riddler, and you know it!" He yelled and the Riddler took out his gun and shot at the floor near us. I jumped instinctively, but the Joker didn't flinch at all. "Watch your temper J... I think that's a fair price for me providing you with men and all the information necessary to rob the bank." The Riddler said and I found it interesting that he had a reputation for getting angry. As I remembered how calm and collected he once was, I realized just how much five years can change a person. I was shaking in the aftermath of the bullet, an involuntary response that resulted from flashbacks of my slaying of Ecco. The Joker felt this and used his hand that was on my waist to smooth his thumb over my side. It was an action so similar to what he used to do in order to calm me. My husband was definitely still in there. My throat and head still hurt from our altercation earlier and I knew that there would be bruises tomorrow. But his gentle reassurance reminded me that this man loved me, even if he wouldn't admit it. I found myself leaning into his touch, my body desperate for it. The Joker sighed. "Fine. Fifty percent." He forced out with a sinister smile. He certainly did not plan on splitting the money from what I could tell. "Pleasure doing business with you Joker... I'll send one of my men over to your place soon with a layout of the bank in addition to more information of the additional security they have put in place." The Riddler said as he stood up, from his chair. The Joker stood up in response, lifting me by my waist and then placing me back on the floor. They shook hands and then the Jokers hand was on my back, guiding me forward as his gun pressed into my side. The Joker's bodyguards followed us outside, grabbing the car so Joker and I could enter. Inside of the purple sports car there was a luxurious leather interior, fully equipped with a mini wine cooler. The Joker buckled me in as I marveled at the car, his face grazing my own as he did so but his eyes were intent on the task at hand. Having him so close electrified my body and made me want to reach out and touch him. But I could sense that his energy wasn't entirely friendly at the moment. He was silent, the tension between us building before he finally spoke up. "I told you to go." He said with such restraint in his voice, I was positive that if it were just the two of us he would be yelling. "And I told you that I don't care." I responded, crossing my arms. I watched he clenched and unclenched his fist beside me, his body rigid. We drove through the forest for a while, his eyes scanning the landscape before he suddenly broke the silence. "Stop." He ordered and the car jolted forward as the body guard slammed on the breaks. The Joker then got out of the car, circling around the back before opening my own door. "Get out." He said simply, and I opened my mouth to protest but he quickly lost his patience. "GET OUT!" He yelled and I jumped slightly before undoing my seatbelt and exiting the vehicle. I realized where he had taken me as I saw my motorcycle propped against a tree, just as I left it. I shook my head, and he slammed my door shut behind me. "You don't get to do this!" I said as he ran his fingers through his hair frustratedly. "God why are you so infuriating?!" He asked rhetorically, pacing in front of me. "It's because I love you!" I yelled back and we both froze. It had been so long since we had spoken those words to one another. He shook his head. "You don't belong in my world Lilly, you never did." He said, using my real name and reminding me of our history together. Two could play at that game. "That's not your choice to make, Jeremiah! You have no idea who I've become... Since Ecco, there's this darkness inside of me that's been trying to claw its way out. And when you came to Arkham, you set it free... I feel more like myself than I ever have, and I know that I belong with you!" I revealed to him and his pale face was turning red with anger. "You don't understand the sacrifices you would have to make to be with me. You'd always be on the run, always in danger of getting captured by my enemies. I couldn't protect you from that before, but I can now." He declared and I realized that I was loosing this argument. In an act of desperation, I moved to touch him, but he was quicker and pulled his gun out and pointed it directly at me in an effort to keep the distance. I moved closer to his line of fire, testing him. "You wouldn't shoot me." I said and he clenched his jaw. "You don't know that." He responded harshly, but I could see his strength failing in his eyes. I pressed the barrel of his gun to my forehead, leaning into the weapon as my arm came up to lower it. My eyes met my husband's, and I easily nudged the gun to the side. I couldn't contain myself any longer and I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him into a kiss. His arms wrapped around my waist, pulling me closer to him as he kissed me roughly. I heard his gun drop on the floor beside us as we both gave in to one another. I pulled at his dark green hair, earning a slight grunt from him in response as his grip on me tightened. It felt amazing to be in his arms again, our kiss at Arkham not holding a candle to our current passionate embrace. I abruptly pulled away as he continued to lean in and I placed my hands on his chest to keep my distance. I was out of breath and completely gone for this man. I stared at him sincerely. "I want you. And everything that comes with you." I told him and I saw something change in his face, it was as if I had given him the one thing he thought he would never attain. Unconditional love. He kissed me again, this time gentler, and I found myself melting into him. When he broke the kiss I found myself wanting more but he placed his finger to my lips. "Come with me." He said and then we got back in the Lamborghini, leaving my motorcycle behind as he intertwined his hand in my own. "Where to boss?" The driver asked and I saw a smile spread across the Joker's face as he looked at me. "Ace Chemicals." He responded  and I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. What could he possibly need there?

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