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[personal profile] rhianon76
Brian’s Impressions
Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find that you and I collide
~Howie Day, “Collide”

So ironic.  They put me on an undercover gig all those years ago, never figuring I’d turn into the perfect mole.  Sleeper cell for the notorious Dominic Toretto.  I really do need to get a grip on my sarcastic sense of humor.

It’s so pathetic how much I was – am – willing, even eager, to do for just the smallest sliver of anything from this man.  I threw my career away five years ago for a smile and a look.  Yeah, I was just a beat cop dragged in because of my familiarity with the racing world and its tweaks.  But now?  Now, I’m a federal agent.  I’ve got more resources at my disposal.  It would have to be one hell of a problem for me to resort to throwing it all away like that, just to fix things.

But I’d do it again, if Dom asked me to.  And even if he didn’t.

Makes me feel a bit like a whore.  Because I’m not real sure what I would’ve done, if Dom had pushed me away at some point in the last half hour.  It sends a chill of dread up my spine just thinking about it.

But he didn’t.  Dom hadn’t pushed me away, not in the least.

“Why?”  I blurt the question, not even knowing what I’m asking.  I really should get back to the field office, before someone decides to get curious about where I am, why I’m parked out in nowhere.  Priorities and loyalties are one thing, obligations another entirely.

Dom tugs on my belt loop, pulling me closer until I’m bracketed by his splayed legs.  Not trapped, just conveniently deterred.  The man’s lips tense into a flat line.

“Use more words.”

I laugh, the bark a little harsh.  “Never thought I’d hear you say that.”  I glance over my shoulder at the scuffmarks in the dirt leading to the front of the Chevelle, the only evidence of any disarray.  Well, that and Dom’s state of semi-undress.  Hasn’t even bothered to tuck himself back into his pants.  Exposed and unconcerned.  As comfortable in my presence as in his own skin.  That realization puts a smile on my face, unintentionally. 

“What?”

I blink.  “Use more words.”

Dom growls, jerks at my jeans.  “You’re all over the place, Bri.”

That strikes a nerve.  “Five years, Dom.  What did you expect, exactly?”

“Nothing.”

“Really.  Can’t believe that.”

“You want something from me? Something more than the ‘thank you’ that you won’t accept?”

I do not want to have this discussion.  “You don’t owe me anything, Dom,” least of all verbal gratitude.

“Ditto,” punctuated with another yank on my jeans.  I glance down to make sure my clothing is still intact.  “How many more times we gonna have to do this.”

I blow out a gusty sigh through my nose, biting back frustration.  Close my eyes and remember the sensation of fond memories flooding through me as my Charger turned over that first time.  Feel the tension bleed from my body, one inch at a time.  Open my eyes and meet Dom’s gaze, take in his curious expression.
“Water under the bridge, is that it?”

Dom nods, a languid movement offset by the suspicious narrowing of his eyes.

“Where you got those glasses stashed?”  I look past the man’s shoulder, toward the passenger seat.  Dom twists to follow my gaze.

Then looks back at me with one eyebrow arched.  “You’re too wound up.  No wonder you’re so skinny.”  My back stiffens.  “No less… uplifting… than you ever were, Bri, but you don’t look that good.”

I twitch, remembering Letty’s observation.  But my lips curl into a smile.  “If I recall correctly, that was all about my driving.”

“Got a way with the gear shift.”

I roll my eyes, lift my head to stare up at the night sky.  Not too many visible stars, but there’s a few.  “Are you trying to flirt with me, Dom?”

The calloused hand on the nape of my neck is warm, and I let the pressure pull me toward Dom.  He comes up off the hood, spins me around and pushes me down onto it.  Heavy thighs still trapping my legs, now a vice pinning me in place.

“Probably shouldn’t do this here.  Again,” I add, bracing my hands on the hood.

Dom crosses his arms over his chest and lifts an eyebrow.  Great.

I’m more confused now than I’d been thirty minutes ago.  And I never realized how quiet it could be at night.  We must have scared off every cricket and trace of wildlife in a two mile radius.  I hadn’t thought I’d even screamed, let alone that loud.  The faint rumble of traffic and nightlife drift up from the city like white noise.

“You’re right.  We’re not young bucks anymore.”  Dom puts a lug-sole up on the chrome bumper and flexes his leg a few times, making the car bounce beneath him.  “Mattresses have more give.”

“Astounding observation, Doctor Toretto.”  I have to force the smile to come this time.  Dom learned to take running to a completely professional level of aptitude, and admittedly, I’m not much better with my penchant for turning my back and walking away.  This – whatever it is – wouldn’t last long, couldn’t.  I know that – know it would hurt us both, more than it had the first time.  “Take a lot of research to reach that conclusion, did it?”

Dom twists his mouth, like he can’t decide whether to frown or smile.  I push up, chafe my hands on my jeans, and tug the man’s cargo pants back to rights.  Do it very carefully, avoiding even the slightest brush of fingers against the warm expanse of toned skin on that stomach.  Too tempting to lean forward and taste it.  I glance up to find Dom staring down at me as I ease the button through its hole.  The man licks his lips, thoughtful expression in his dark eyes, and I have to brace my hands back on the hood to keep them off the man.  Being this close to him is like putting a petty thief in a jewelry store on Rodeo Drive without the security system engaged.  Fucking dangerous.

I want to ask what we’re doing.  Badly.  Words right there on the tip of my tongue.

But something tells me Dom doesn’t know any more than I do.

Damn it all to hell, I don’t know what to say.  But I don’t want to walk away.  Not again.  Don’t want Dom to let me, and I’m not so sure the man would stop me if I tried.

Screw it.  “What are we doing?”  Whispered, so softly that if the night air hadn’t been so still, the faintest breeze would have tugged to words away unheard.

“They got any reason to watch your place?”

I shake my head.

“Lead the way then, yeah?”  He pulls his foot down and steps back.

“Sure, Dom.”  I push off the car and head for the Skyline, grateful for some sort of direction.  Sleep sounds like just the thing.  I wouldn’t have even been at that party if not for the fact that it was expected – and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a bead on Campos’ boss.

Our cars are more than just slightly conspicuous, but once we hit the streets of LA I let myself relax.  The rumble of the Chevelle tucked up against my rear bumper triggers a weird surge of undefined emotion in my chest every time that big-block revs.  I don’t try to analyze it.  Some things in life just don’t lend themselves to being understood.

My paycheck as a fed gives me enough to rent a small one-bedroom place in an out-of-the-way neighborhood in the Palisades.  Even on bad days it only takes an hour to get to work.  And it keeps me far away from the Toretto’s old neighborhood and stomping grounds.  I still ventured out some nights, when I wasn’t slaving away on the Charger, to watch the rice-burners lay rubber on the city streets a quarter mile at a time.  The ambience soothed some part of me that felt empty.  I even took the Charger out, but didn’t race.  If I felt the need to punch it, I cruised up the PCH and let the engine run.  And god, did it love to run.

When I finally kill the Skyline in my drive, Dom edges up and all but trades paint with my rear fender before revving one last time and climbing out.

Boy looks on the verge of a gasket blow.

“Hell and gone from Echo Park, I know,” just to diffuse the man’s mood and cut off anything he might have to say, while leading the way inside.  “That was kinda the point, actually.”

“God, Bri.  What you doing with the rest of your paycheck?”

I toss my keys on the coffee table and flick the light switch as I walk around the breakfast bar into the kitchen.  “Want a drink?”  No way in hell I’m telling Dom about the Charger.
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