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Playing With Fire

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(bonus chapter-rated R)


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Playing With Fire
by
OKDeanna

     

Chapter Four

Gwen opened her hotel room door and threw her purse on the bed. She couldn't believe her luck. Tony was Theresa's brother. God, could her life get any worse. Gwen laid down on the bed and closed her eyes. Memories of the night they spent in New York City flooded her brain.

Flashback
She stared at the man laying on the bed beside her. The small lamp on the bedside table lighted his dark features. What was it about him that had made her lose her self-control? Yes, he was gorgeous, but that wasn't what had attracted her last night. It was the way he looked at her... the way he made her feel. He'd made her feel... alive. Ethan never made her feel the way she had last night.

Oh, god Ethan! What was she going to tell Ethan? She had betrayed him. Dear god, she thought covering her face with her hands, how could she have let things go so far? She'd only meant to let him buy her a drink, but then he had asked for a dance. Just a dance. She should have said no, but she couldn't. She was drawn to him and she had needed to find out why. God, being in his arms had felt so good. The feel of his hard muscles under her fingers. The look in his eyes right before he dipped his head to kiss her. She had felt more alive in that moment than she ever had before. And it terrified her.

She got out of the bed and dressed quickly, making sure not to wake him. She had to get out of there. She couldn't face him. It had only been a one-night stand. That's all it could ever be. She was engaged. She couldn't... wouldn't jeopardize her relationship with Ethan. She loved him.

She looked at the man lying on the bed. She reached out to touch his face, but pulled back afraid it would wake him. She turned then, and walked toward the door. But just before she stepped through it she took one last look at him. Tears welled in her eyes as she whispered. "Goodbye Tony."
End of Flashback


Gwen reached up to wipe away the tears she hadn't been aware she'd shed. Why did he affect her so much? He was Theresa's brother. She could never have a relationship with him, no matter how much she wished she could.

Gwen got up and flipped on the TV, hoping it would help to get Tony off her mind. She found one of her favorite shows on and forced herself to concentrate on watching it. As she started to lose herself in the show, a special TV news bulletin broke in. "We interrupt this program to bring you a breaking story. Moments ago, gunshots rang out at the Boston airport. One man was seriously injured while taking a bullet meant for his wife. Harmony Police Officer Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald was taken to Harmony Memorial Hospital. There is no word on his condition at this time, but witnesses at the scene say it isn't good. The shooter, a man believed to have once been hired to protect Mrs. Lopez-Fitzgerald, was apprehended by the shooting victims brother, who also suffered injuries during the altercation. We will update this story as soon as we have more information."

Oh god, Tony. Gwen grabbed her purse from where she'd thrown it earlier and rushed out the door. She had to make sure he was okay.



Antonio paced the hospital waiting room floor waiting for word on Luis' condition. He knew it was bad. He'd lost a lot of blood. Sheridan's light blue dress had been covered in it and so had his brother's white shirt. Antonio felt tears start to well in his eyes and he couldn't help them from falling. His brother was in there fighting for his life and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it. He fell into one of the waiting room chairs and buried his face in his hands. God, he thought, if Luis dies... No, he'd be okay. He was a fighter. He had Sheridan and the baby to give him strength. He would be all right. He would. He had to be.

An image of a seven-year-old Luis begging him to take him fishing with him flashed in his mind, reminding Antonio of how often he had called Luis a pest. Back then he had been irritated that Luis always had to tag along with him, but right now... right now he would give anything to take his little brother fishing with him. God, he thought running a hand through his hair, he had to be all right. He just had to be.

Antonio closed his eyes another memory flashed in his mind. This time Luis was begging him not to leave Harmony. Antonio felt another tear trickle down his cheek and he reached up to wipe it away. Then he shook his head realizing that now the tables were turned, now it was his turn to beg Luis not to leave. He glanced toward the door where Luis was having his surgery. "Please don't leave me little brother. We've lost way too much time already."

Someone laid a hand on his shoulder and he closed his eyes trying to hide his pain. When he looked up, he found a pair of golden brown eyes staring down at him. Gwen. He didn't think he'd ever been so happy to see anyone in his life. He stood up and Gwen immediately wrapped her arms around him. "I heard about what happened. It was on the TV. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." he said closing his eyes and taking a deep calming breath. Her soft perfume floated through his nostrils and he felt some of the tension leave his body. Just holding her in his arms made him feel as if everything was going to be okay.

He pulled back slightly so that he could look into her eyes. "Luis is in pretty bad shape. They rushed him into surgery as soon as the ambulance got here. We haven't heard anything yet."

She raised a hand to touch his cheek. "He'll be okay. I know he will. He has too much to live for."

"Thank you." he said leaning his forehead against hers. "I'm really glad you're here."

"I'm glad I'm here too." She raised her head to look at him then removed her hand from his face and brought it to his chest. "Is there I can do? Anything you need?"

He needed his little brother to be okay. But since he knew there was nothing she could do about that, he just shook his head. "No, you're being here is enough."

She nodded and laid her head to rest on his chest. He wrapped his arms back around her and let his chin rest on top of her head. He was glad she was there with him. He knew the next few hours were going to be the hardest of his life and having her there beside him would give him strength he needed to get through it. "Gwen, I don't know what I'll do if Luis doesn't -"

"Don't" she said raising her head and placing her right forefinger over his lips. "Don't even think it. You're brother is going to be okay. He's a fighter. Look at all he and Sheridan have been through together. They survived all that. They'll get through this too."

Antonio removed her finger from his lips then pulled her close, until their faces were an inch apart. "Thank you, sweetheart. I needed to hear someone say that."

"You're welcome." she whispered right before she closed the gap between them. Her lips lightly brushed his and he felt his heart turn over in his chest. Never had a woman affected him the way she did.

"What the hell is going on here?" a voice asked causing them to break apart. He turned his head and saw Ethan and Theresa standing there with their mouths hanging open. Oh hell, he thought, a scene between Ethan, Theresa, and Gwen was the last thing he needed right now.

But then he didn't have to worry long. Because in the next few seconds, the doctor came out to tell them that Luis had made it through the surgery. But that he was still unconscious and that the next few hours were going to be critical. Gwen squeezed his hand and he returned the squeeze along with a smile full of thanks. He was so glad she was there. It didn't matter than she didn't get along with his family. It didn't matter that she was Ethan's ex-fiancé. Right now, the only thing that mattered was the fact that his little brother had made it through the surgery. Everything else came second.

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