Chapter 16

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Sitting on my couch with Lauren on the floor in front of me, I was stitching up her shoulder where a bullet had went through and through. Why exactly, I was unsure. My orders were to clearly kill her, but I couldn't just yet. With her dead, I'd never know what she had done with Zac.

I pulled on the suture and made Lauren hiss when I dragged the needle through her skin. She had refused any painkillers, had only wanted a sip of my gin. I had said no. She didn't deserve it. Coming here asking for my help after nearly ruining my career? I was this close to just letting her bleed out, if it wasn't because I needed to know about Zac. "What did you do to him?"

"To who?" Lauren asked, grimacing when I pulled a little harder on the suture than necessary.

"To Zac," I spat. "Our tech guy, he's missing. He's the only one who could help you get that tracker out of the USB."

"But I don't have the USB anymore, dolcezza."

I huffed and cut the last suture, then taped a large medical bandaid over her fresh stitches before getting up. "You're a goddamn asshole. I hope know how lucky you are. The bullet missed everything important, so you'll be fine in a few weeks. Sadly."

Lauren slowly got up as well, wincing as she did. Her whole body was battered black and blue, looking as if she had been pushed through a meat grinder. "Thank you."

"For calling you an asshole? I got so many more vulgarisms where that came from."

"For patching me up. Thank you for that."

"I don't know why I did that," I muttered to myself, going into my kitchen to wash off the blood on my hands.

I heard Lauren take a seat on my couch again, grunting painfully as she did. "Because you like me. It would make it easier on yourself if you just admit to it."

I scoffed. "Besides from the sex, give me one good reason as to why I should like you. You stole from my country, murdered good agents, abducted me, broke into my apartment, made my fish your accomplice, then proceeded to abduct our best tech guy."

"Bob was willing and I didn't take your guy," Lauren replied. "I wouldn't need to, we have our own guy."

"No one is better than Zac."

"Didn't say he was better, just said we had our own guy."

"So why are you here?" I finally said, drying my hands off and walking into my living room again, crossing my arms. She looked pathetic sitting half-upright in my couch, completely battered. "Surely you didn't just come here because you needed stitching."

"We need to talk."

"Great. You can start off by telling me who did that to you."

"The Russians."

"The ones who found your envelope?"

"They had been tracking me for days, it was only a matter of time before they'd get to me. So I let them."

"You let them?" I snorted, walking closer. "You let them do that to you?"

"Maybe not exactly giving them a permission slip, but I thought if they got their hands on me, got to beat me a little and see I didn't have the USB anymore, they'd take a step back."

"So after they did that to you, you escaped and came here?"

"I missed Bob."

"Shut up. You're sure you weren't followed?" I asked skeptically and automatically went to my window to glance out.

"I'm sure, tesoro. Now come sit, I need to talk to you."

"You already are."

"I want to look at your face while doing so, even as much as I like glancing at your ass."

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