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Battle of Britain--Chapter 18
annoyeed
rogoblue
Rating: R (language and sexual situations)


Author: morgan72uk and rogoblue


Summary: Some separations are not for the best as we see with Adelle in England and Dominic in Germany.






Adelle attempted to push the heavy covers off and immediately regretted it. Her sore limbs and aching head were accompanied by an unsettled stomach which only added to how miserable she felt.

Cracking her eyes open identified her location as a fairly comfortable bed in a darkened room. Pushing herself up into a seated position resulted in a paroxysm of coughing that drew someone to press a cool cloth to her forehead.

“Drink some water, Adelle.” She relaxed at the sound of her aunt’s voice, now recognising the bedroom as the one she used in her uncle’s house. She sipped her water and tried to remember.

The weather was as bad here, as it had been in Germany. There had been sleet when she arrived and which had proved a perfect accompaniment to the grim meetings she had endured. She’d felt increasingly tired and low but had put that down to parting from Laurence. Her recollections failed after an afternoon meeting with an agent’s family. “What happened?” she murmured.

“You fainted. Mason brought you home.” Another fit of coughing had her falling weakly back onto the pillows. “You were running quite a fever, so we called a Doctor. You have influenza.”

Adelle sighed. “I’m always ill when I return to England after a lengthy absence. I think I lose my tolerance to British germs.”

“It’s serious, Adelle and it doesn’t help that you’re miserable and exhausted.”

She hadn’t told her aunt and uncle anything about her return, so they had likely filled in the gaps with speculation. They knew she had found Laurence in Nuremberg and followed him to Berlin, but they hadn’t asked her why they’d parted.

Since leaving Berlin, she had been tormented by a sense of foreboding about Laurence. She wondered if leaving had been the right decision, or if in her determination to protect him, she had placed him in more danger. Would he be careful or see it as a matter of honour to seek out Alpha, both to protect her and to prove he could stand his ground against a psychopath?

Not wanting to discuss Laurence, she cast around for a diversion. “How’s Mason getting on?”

The American she had brought with her had caused a stir and she knew her designation of him as an ‘assistant’ had convinced no one. Surprisingly at her uncle had not demanded to know why she needed a bodyguard. But that didn’t diminish the responsibility she felt for Mason. Adelle had no idea how he would get on in a country where he knew no one.

“He’s fine, though not exactly unobtrusive. In a more traditional household, like Henry’s, he might have more trouble fitting in.” Adelle smiled at her thought of her uncle, Viscount Sinclair, interacting with Mason. “Fortunately, this house is different.”

“It’s partly a ship,” Adelle said, the description a familiar one to the family.

“Yes,” her aunt smiled, tolerant of her husband’s eccentricities after their long marriage, “which means we’re used to assimilating officers from other Navies.”

“Thank you.” Adelle knew the consummate hostess would ensure their unexpected guest was looked after.

Her aunt remained silent, as though deciding whether to speak or to hold her peace. The former won out. “Your uncle and I are worried.”

“I’ll be back on my feet in a day or so.”

“That isn’t what I mean. You’re a grown woman, Adelle, so I’m not going to interfere, but the war is over. You don’t have to keep secrets anymore.” The excellent point notwithstanding, Adelle wasn’t ready to divulge those secrets. Her aunt somehow fathomed Adelle’s stance. “Get some rest, drink lots of fluids. We can’t have you ill for Christmas.”

Adelle smiled wanly, exhausted by even this short conversation. Left alone, she curled up into a ball and, for the first time since her parents’ disappearance, cried herself to sleep.

* * *

“It isn’t too late to change your mind and come with us.”

Adelle smiled at her aunt’s reflection in the ornate dressing table mirror but shook her head. “Not tonight.”

“I don’t like the idea of you spending Christmas Eve on your own.”

Adelle had no interest in spending time at a party, making polite conversation with people she didn’t know. If she couldn’t be with Laurence, she didn’t want to be around strangers.

“I won’t be on my own,” she pointed out. “Mason will be here.”

“And he is such a lively conversationalist.” Juliet artfully applied her make-up. “You didn’t tire yourself out today, did you?”

“No.” A raised eyebrow prompted her to append, “well, perhaps a little.”

Having been confined to the house during her recuperation, Adelle had been desperate to get out for a few hours, to complete her Christmas shopping if nothing else. Mason had stoically endured the crowds, tactfully averting his eyes while she visited a certain shop and insisting he carry her parcels. She’d found Laurence the most challenging to shop for, though she hoped her gift to him would be well received and properly appreciated. She had also found time to acquire a cheerful red jumper for her bodyguard.

“A little bird told me you received a letter from Berlin this morning.”

Adelle hid her smile, while rescuing a blanket that had slipped from her shoulders. “A little bird?” she queried lightly, “surely the letter was brought in with the post?”

“Possibly.” The two women shared a smile. “I hope Colonel Dominic is well?”

“He misses me,” Adelle said, because she didn’t know if Laurence was well. His letter had been difficult to read, filled with a desperation which had upset her and a passion which made her yearn for him. At least he had repeated his promise to join her in time for Judith and Harry’s wedding. “And I miss him.”

“Being apart is difficult.” Her aunt knew a great deal about separation; she had lived with it for years when her husband had been on active duty.

“Laurence is taking some leave in the New Year. He’s coming to London to attend a wedding with me.”

“That’s wonderful. Let me know when he’s due to arrive and I’ll make sure there’s a guest room prepared for his use.”

Adelle shook her head. “I’ve booked a suite at Claridges.”

“That isn’t necessary. We would love to have him. He’s your guest and this is your home.”

Looking down at her fingertips, Adelle wondered how her next remark would be received. “I appreciate that and I don’t want to offend by rejecting your hospitality. But, it will be better if he stays at Claridges.” Juliet turned to look at her niece and Adelle sighed. “I can stay there with him without disrespecting your home.”

“Oh, I see.” Her aunt’s eyes widened for a moment, before she added “that might be best.”

“I’m sure Laurence would love to see you both,” Adelle offered, relieved her aunt hadn’t seemed terribly shocked. “Perhaps we could have a dinner?”

“I’ll arrange something and explain to your uncle – carefully.”

“Thank you.”

Only in the last few months had Adelle recognised how she had been affected by the loss of her mother. She had become a woman without the support or guidance of a close female relative, refusing to allow Juliet to come even close to replacing the woman she had lost. Now she realised how much she had deprived them both; her aunt’s advice and care would certainly have benefited Adelle. Though she couldn’t change the past, she could be more open now.

“I promised to think quite carefully about marrying him,” she said, producing a delighted smile that left her in no doubt how the news of an engagement would be greeted by this particular branch of her family.

“And are you? Thinking about it quite carefully?”

“I suppose I am,” Juliet waited her out and having begun, Adelle didn’t find it hard to continue. “I never intended to get married; I didn’t want to surrender my independence or give up my career.” Even as she spoke, she couldn’t help thinking of a talented classical pianist who had given up any hope of a career when she had married a dashing naval officer.

“It isn’t the same as when I was young Adelle.”

“I’m not sure how different it is, even after the war has shaken everything up.” Juliet’s caring smile allowed her to continue. “He’s the only man I’ve ever loved. He says he wants us to be together, no matter what I decide, but our not being married will bother him and I know it will affect his career.”

“Love often requires sacrifice, Adelle,” Juliet said, tone gentle, “and loving someone means we are loath to give them pain.”

“I don’t want him to be unhappy and I don’t want him to have to compromise too much because of me.” At her aunt’s questioning expression, she added, “I’m sure he imagined children in his future and if he chose someone younger that might still be an option, but—.”

“Oh, my dear.” Juliet crossed to Adelle’s chair and perched on the arm, so she could put her arm around her niece. “You don’t know what the future holds and you may not be too old for children, if that’s what you decide you want.”

“I don’t know what I want,” she confessed, leaning into her aunt’s embrace adding, “except Laurence, of course.”

“Darling, that’s enough.”

* * *


“Welcome, Colonel,” said his host, Bryce Hoyle, who drew an elegantly dressed woman forward. “Ellen and I are so pleased you could attend our function.”


He’d forced so many smiles in the last couple of weeks that it nearly came natural, despite the bitter irony of spending Christmas Eve in the home of the British Ambassador. “I appreciate you thinking of me, sir, ma’am. This time of year most people want even numbers at their gatherings.”


“Ellen has seen to that,” Bryce asserted. “Are your men comfortably ensconced?”


Dominic glanced up at the second floor balcony running the length and breadth of the ballroom. His bodyguards stood together. Dominic imagined the matching scowls at being such a distance from him. “They’re fine,” he said. “Thank you for asking.”


“Where did Adelle run off to, Colonel?” Ellen asked, gesturing for a passing server to offer champagne to Dominic. “I can’t imagine traveling in this weather.”


“London,” he said, taking a glass, inwardly thumbing his nose at Vandermeer, who’d expressed concern over the increase in his alcohol consumption.


“Family is important,” Ellen observed.


“She returned for business,” Dominic muttered in the hope of extricating himself from this conversation to get down to some serious drinking.


“Finally putting a stop to her inquiries, are they?” Bryce said, as Dominic drained his champagne. “About damn time, if you ask me. To think, a woman rushing about talking to war criminals.”


“Shocking,” Ellen said, smiling when a striking blonde woman replaced Dominic’s empty champagne flute with a glass of red wine. “Although other aspects of her behavior caused more of a stir in the circles I traverse. Grace, have you met Colonel Dominic?”


“I haven’t,” she said, looking Dominic over, as she relinquished his spent flute to a passing server.


“Ma’am,” he said, inclining his head. “Thank you for the wine.”


“You’re most welcome and I wish you’d call me Grace.”


“Laurence.” The introduction freed host and hostess to attend to other guests.


“Walk with me?” Grace asked. When he declined, she said, “I’d like to have a look at the portraits in the gallery, but a rather annoying man has chosen to harass those who appreciate art.”


“Those who are female and unaccompanied?” he ventured, while mentally reviewing the blueprints Williams had provided. The gallery was also open to the second floor.


“You grasp the state of affairs perfectly,” Grace said, taking his arm but making no move to propel him forward. “That must be why you received this posting and drew Adelle’s attention.”


The urge to talk came upon him suddenly. “You know Adelle?” He chastised himself for the eagerness in his voice and the lapse in the stoicism he’d cultivated of late.


“Our paths crossed often before the war,” Grace said. She smiled when Dominic fell into step beside her. “Not so much once she’d been shanghaied by Churchill to do whatever it was he required of her. Jack Erskine seemed interested in her, but she didn’t even let him buy her a meal.”


“He should’ve delivered the flowers himself.”


Grace’s eyes widened. “You knew Adelle then?” He shrugged and looked away. She laughed. “I finally comprehend her attitude toward Jack Erskine.” Leaning in closer, she lowered her voice. “Are you blushing, Colonel?”


“No, ma’am,” he lied.


“I won’t tell,” she whispered.


“What won’t you tell?” he asked. The pain of being alone because Adelle thought he couldn’t handle himself lanced through him.


She squeezed his arm lightly. “Anything.”


He wished he believed her. Grace knew Adelle, so she might understand some of what he wanted to get off of his chest, but she’d undoubtedly report every word he said. Dominic only realized he’d drunk his wine when a smiling server refilled his glass. “I need some air,” he said, extricating his arm from her grip. “Excuse me, Grace.” Not waiting for her permission or caring that he didn’t have his bodyguards, he strode through a set of French doors onto a small terrace.


“Stuffy in there, isn’t it?” Dominic jumped and spun toward the voice. “Sorry, old boy, didn’t mean to startle you,” said a man about Dominic’s height with close cropped blonde hair. Bright eyes twinkled behind round eyeglasses. “Name’s Adam,” he said, offering his hand.


“Laurence,” he replied, shaking it. “I’m sorry, Adam. I didn’t think anyone would be out here because of the cold.”


Adam grabbed Dominic’s forearm when he turned back toward the door. “I came out here, because I couldn’t find anyone interesting to talk to inside.” Smiling, Adam added, “You hadn’t yet arrived.”


“What makes you think I’m interesting?”


Shifting his hand to Dominic’s shoulder, Adam pointed. “Grace McCain wouldn’t be glaring daggers at me, if you weren’t.”


“She just wanted a shield from someone loitering in the gallery.”


Adam laughed heartily. “Daniel Borsch doesn’t have the balls to approach a woman like her, which you would’ve gathered the moment you laid eyes on him. I, therefore, deduce that I’ve foiled Grace’s plan to waylay you beforehand.”


“I’ve no interest in being waylaid.” Dominic shivered as a frosty gust of wind swept across the balcony.


“How unfortunate.” Adam chuckled when Dominic’s eyes shifted to the hand resting on his shoulder. “I’ve a different brand of waylaying in mind, Laurence.” He grinned disarmingly. “Shall we step back inside?”


“Sure,” Dominic murmured and opened the door. “After you, Adam.” With a decided spring in his step, Adam brushed past Dominic. “Begging your forgiveness, dear lady,” he said to Grace, “but I must have a private word with Laurence.” He waved to a server and gestured for him to refill his and Dominic’s glasses. “Be a good girl and run along.”


“Of course, Mr. Greco,” Grace said, tone as cold as her eyes were blazing.


“Not a fan of yours?” Dominic observed, a little surprised that a real smile tugged at his lips.


“She’s just jealous,” Adam said. Dominic mulled that over as he followed Adam into a small, well appointed study. “Alone at last,” he added, when he closed the door. “How very interesting this evening is turning out to be.”


* * *

Adelle found herself in a reflective mood after her conversation with her aunt. Glad to be alone with her thoughts, she retreated into her uncle's study. The room smelt of cigar smoke, suggesting Uncle Edgar had not heeded his Doctor's advice to give them up.


She loved this room and found she could imagine Laurence in such a comfortably masculine setting; surrounded by soft leather and old books. Pouring herself a glass of whiskey, for medicinal purposes of course, she drew a book from the shelves and settled into one of the comfortable chairs.


Her mind wouldn't allow her to concentrate on reading and perusing the shelves once more, she found a box of old photographs. Tipping the contents into her lap, she leafed through them. Her aunt and uncle, looking young and glamorous, smiled up at her and the comical photographs of her cousin when he was a small boy would be useful ammunition when they next met. Near the bottom of the pile, she found a rare photograph of her father with two of his brothers. Looking younger than she had ever seen him, he had been caught in profile, as though he didn't want to give too much away.


What would he think of the life she had made for herself, this man who had never remained anywhere for more than a few months? Who had travelled, incessantly, seeking something he’d probably never found. Would he be amused to find her vacillating over the issue of marriage or disappointed she hadn’t produced a bevy of grandchildren? How would he feel about her relationship with a Colonel in the US Army?


She imagined, given her father's thirst for travel, that he would have all manner of questions about America. Perhaps, if he'd lived, he would have travelled there already and the two men would easily find common ground.


Thinking of Laurence made her wonder if he was all right and how he was spending Christmas Eve. She closed her eyes for a moment and acknowledged that her shopping trip had tired her.


“Ma'am.” She jerked abruptly awake and was immediately on her guard. Mason hadn't bothered to knock, and his plunging them into darkness didn't reassure her. “Someone is trying to get into the house,” he said, “I need you to stay here.”


He was gone before she could ask for more details. She knew he was armed, but if Alpha had come for her, she wasn’t going to wait for him like a lamb to the slaughter.


* * *


“You wanted privacy,” Dominic observed as Adam sipped his wine. “Why?”



“I find winners fascinating, particularly those chosen to stay behind to deal with the losers. More specifically, I’m intrigued by a man who isn’t a bureaucrat or career diplomat being chosen for your role, although the uniform and all the medals do give him a little cache.” Adam drained his wine and headed for a small cabinet to survey the available liquor. “Bourbon?” he asked.


“Sure,” Dominic said, matching Adam by finishing his wine.


Adam poured two healthy measures. “Honestly, who would’ve expected a soldier coming apart at the seams until very recently to receive the senior permanent posting in Berlin? Riddle me that, Laurence,” he said, offering a glass a third full of amber liquid.


“Who are your sources, Adam?” he asked, acknowledging the uneasiness attendant to an informational disadvantage. His nose labeled the bourbon as first rate and the initial sip slid smoothly down his throat. A slight sense of detachment called his attention to how much alcohol he’d had in a short time. He frowned as Vandermeer’s lecture replayed in his head but conceded that he needed to eat soon. Adam regarded him expectantly. “I’m sorry,” Dominic muttered. “What did you say?”


“I hear things,” Adam said, smiling slyly. “Haven’t yet been able to determine whether that’s a blessing or a curse.”


A sharp knock sounded too loud. Grace McCain entered, bearing two plates of food. She smiled up at the man who’d opened the door for her—Sergeant Driscoll, the bodyguard who’d taken the beefing up of Dominic’s security most to heart. “Hungry, gentlemen?” she said, as she held out the plates in offering.


Noting that her hands shook, Dominic met Driscoll’s eyes over her right shoulder. “Thank you, Grace,” he said, accepting one. “I certainly am.”


“Where did you acquire such a large, decidedly American assistant, Miss McCain?” Adam asked, inclining his head to Driscoll.


“I’ll be just outside, Colonel,” Driscoll said.


“As I’ve said before, interesting.” Adam stepped back, as though to get a better view of all concerned.


Not oblivious to the rising tension, Grace said, “The two of you headed in here just before they set out the food, so I thought I’d bring some. He,” she gestured to Driscoll, “offered to help. I’m sorry if we’ve intruded.” She put the second plate down on the corner of the immaculate desk and left.


“How many babysitters do you have?” Adam asked, ignoring the abandoned plate, seemingly satisfied with bourbon.


“A few,” Dominic said. He sampled an excellent cheddar cheese.


Adam stepped closer. “I suppose a man gets used to tripping over other men, although conducting an affair with the incomparable Miss Adelle DeWitt under various sets of watchful eyes isn’t a prospect I’d relish.”


“I don’t give a damn who knows about us,” Dominic said, chomping a small hard roll for emphasis. “I know how lucky I am to have found her again.”


Adam laughed and traced the rim of his glass with his forefinger. “She was lost? That’s hard to imagine.”


“I thought she was lost to me,” Dominic said, grateful this man didn’t know everything. “We worked together in London before I shipped out.”


“Ah,” Adam said, “you’re aware of her involvement with F Section, then.”


Quickly weighing pros and cons, Dominic said, “Obviously.”


Adam sat on the edge of the desk. “I would’ve thought a woman holding such a position would’ve put a man like you off of food.


Dominic smiled. “Adelle is certainly different from any woman I’ve ever known.”


“I wager there’re many men who share that sentiment.”


“Including you?” Dominic asked, wondering if Adam knew as much about Adelle as he did about him.


“Yes.” Adam watched Dominic methodically work his way through the food Grace had provided. “How is it that she didn’t intimidate you?”


Shrugging, Dominic said, “She’s good at what she does. I respect that.”


“So she is, so she is, but spending Christmas Eve alone doesn’t strike me as lucky.”


Dominic rewound the conversation in his head and realized Adam referred to his comment about being lucky to have found Adelle again. “Certain developments made time apart prudent. To Adelle’s mind.”


“You disagree?”


“Emphatically.”


“Laurence, she was right,” Adam murmured, smiling ruefully. A bright searing pain exploded in Dominic’s abdomen, driving him to his knees. Adam tossed aside his glasses, shifted to afford a profile view and asked, “Recognize me now?”


“Alpha,” Dominic panted, realizing the shorter hair and the glasses had been a subtle yet effective disguise. He stared down at the hilt protruding from his abdomen.


Alpha knelt beside him and swiftly kissed him on the cheek. “Give Adelle my love.”


“Don’t hurt her,” Dominic hissed.


“I just did.” Alpha made for the windows. “For the record, that’ll smart like a son of a bitch, but I’ve pierced nothing vital.” Expression devoid of all feeling, he added, “That wouldn’t have been the case had Adelle been available to watch you bleed out and hear you scream.” Saluting with a little too much verve, Alpha said, “You can keep the knife,” and disappeared out the window.


***


Her Uncle's desk yielded a service revolver and a vicious looking knife of uncertain provenance. Fumbling in the dark and swearing over lost time, Adelle loaded the revolver and tucked the knife into her sleeve. The darkness and the length of time since she'd fired a weapon left her uncertain of her capacity to defend herself. However, she knew Alpha and didn't doubt he'd want to come close, making the knife her best chance.


A sharp crash meant she had no more time to waste. As she emerged from the study, two figures grappled in the hallway. Mason looked to have the upper hand due to his size advantage.


His antagonist pushed Mason's arm back and Adelle gasped as she recognised their intruder. “Mason stop!” She ordered. “Let him go!” He obeyed at once, which spoke well of his training.


“Adelle? What the hell is going on?” The slightly crumpled form shrugged off Mason's hold and sat up gingerly.


She sighed, switching on the light and facing the man, whose childhood photographs she had been looking at earlier. “Hello James.” Not sure how to go about explaining what had just happened, she decided not to make the attempt. “Merry Christmas.”


***


Dominic ate the cheddar cheese from Alpha’s plate before attempting to stand. He could call out to Driscoll, but he was embarrassed enough without that. Determined to make it to the damn door under his own power, he fortified himself with another roll, some chicken and more bourbon. He estimated ten steps from the desk to the door. Blaming the lack of handholds en route, he ate and drank a little more before deciding to have a go, as they said in London. He made it. Barely. Leaning against the door, he wiped cold sweat from his forehead and cracked it open. “Driscoll,” he said, “come in, please.”


“Sir?”


Angry at the world at large and himself in particular, Dominic pointed out the problem.


“You need a medic.”


For whatever reason, Dominic believed Alpha. “We need to leave discreetly,” he said, removing the knife from his stomach.


Holding his charge upright, Driscoll pocketed the weapon and pressed a white handkerchief against the wound. “Hold that.” When Dominic complied, Driscoll buttoned Dominic’s coat, keeping the makeshift bandage in place until Dominic could shift his hand to put pressure on his injury through the garment. “That should conceal the evidence, sir.” Driscoll stared at the open window. “Who was that man?”


“He called himself Adam Greco. Adelle knew him as Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet.” He sighed and winced at the sharp pain the maneuver engendered. “Adam was the first man, biblically speaking. I should’ve fucking known.”


“But who is Alpha?”


“A former SOE operative who likes to hurt or kill people that trust him.”


Driscoll took a quick look outside the room. “Why did he make a hole in you, sir?”


“To prove Adelle right and me wrong.” He fought to remain on his feet.


“You suspected this maniac might be after you and didn’t see fit to mention it?”


“Adelle did. I didn’t.”


“Well, listen to the damn woman next time.”


“Understood, Sergeant.”


Driscoll gripped Dominic hard by the shoulders. “Stay here until I get Adams.” He grinned tightly. “You’re going to be worse for drink for the viewing public.”


“Adelle left me in Berlin all alone. I’m a fucking mess.”


“Exactly, sir. I’ll be back soon.”


Adams and Driscoll helped Dominic to his car and they visited a US Army surgeon who verified that Alpha knew his business. Vandermeer poked his head in the moment Dominic had been settled into bed. “Is there—?”


“Taped to the side of the upper right hand drawer of my desk is a phone number. Call it and tell Caroline what happened tonight. I’ve given her a lead on Alpha at least.


“Are you all right, sir?”


“Everything’s fine, except my pride and lower abdomen.”


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That was so intense! I definitely wasn't expecting an Alpha appearance so soon but it was awesome. Poor Dominic, getting stabbed in the stomach although kudos on the eating cheese before calling for his bodyguards.

Plus, Adelle chatting with Juliet about her relationship with Laurence was lovely!

I really enjoy writing Alpha and it was fun to have him showing restraint because he didn't have the audience he wanted. To him, it wasn't satisfying to simply kill Dom and be done. If he couldn't make Adelle suffer, it wasn't worth his time and effort.

Dom is stubborn enough to walk to the door on his own. That's for sure.

I'm glad Adelle opened up to Juliet. She needs someone female and wise to talk to on occasion, I think.

I KNEW IT! I knew from the moment he went out on the balcony and 'Adam' started talking that it was Alpha. Ahhhh! At least now he knows Adelle was right. LOL.

And I agree, I loved the scene with Adelle and her aunt. It was wonderful and I always love reading insights into Adelle's thinking.

I wondered when folks would realize Alpha and Adam were one and the same. I think it played that Dom didn't, though. His foul mood colored his actions/reactions to a greater extent than he realized. And I doubt he relishes admitting Adelle was right, particularly to Adelle.

I think Laurence has been good for Adelle in some subtle ways. She's opened up to him and now it strikes her as ok to open up to Juliet a little too. Progress!

Thanks for reading!

Oh yeah, I think it was quite obvious that Dom's mood affected his thinking there. Plus, he had a lot to drink so I wasn't surprised that he didn't realize. I was just waiting for the shoe to drop though. Heh.

Yep, Adelle is making so much progress and Laurence is a huge part of that. I love it. <3

(Deleted comment)
Indeed. The stakes have undoubtedly risen. And our couple is painfully aware of what they have to lose. That's always fun.

I think I may have used Adam for Alpha before, but I can't recall where/when, so I felt comfortable that no one else would either.:)

Working on next part. Hopefully by tomorrow.

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