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Unions In The Night by Wolfsword 

Wednesday Night

Tara threw her bag, full of books down on to her bed, flopping down in front of her computer. She flicked on the radio behind her, and booted up her computer as she took out her mobile and turned it on. She glanced at the clock, seeing the hands hit five o' clock. She knew she could be down at the gym with Kyle and Jake right now, but for some reason she didn't feel up to it. Deep down, she did know the reason, but she refused to acknowledge that she was waiting for Jordan to call. This is getting stupid, she thought, knowing she couldn't allow the dark woman to take over her life. She's not even doing anything to make me feel like this. It's just me. I love everything she is and does, her mind told her.

Suddenly, her phone rang and she held her breath, wishing for it to be Jordan. She jumped onto the bed, and swept up the phone from the receiver.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Tara."

"Jordan." She was glad that no one was there to see the silly grin that was slowly creeping over her face. She couldn't believe the sensations the woman caused in her just by saying her name.

"I hope you're not mad at me for rushing off last night."

"Of course not. Will you tell me why you had to go?"

Tara heard Jordan hesitate. "Well, I had to talk to a Russian guy about some things. He's kind of important where he comes from, and he wouldn't speak to anyone but me. My comrades were getting slightly worried that he wouldn't wait until today, so we had to discuss everything last night. He flew off this morning, though."

"Does that mean you're not going to have to go rushing off somewhere, anymore?" Tara tried to hide the eagerness in her voice, but failed miserably.

"Well, it's not guaranteed. But I hope so. I was meaning to ask you actually, if you would like to come out to dinner with me tonight."

"Just us?"

"Just us."

"Sure, I'd love to. Are we going all out fancy clothing?" Tara laughed.

"Anything you want. You choose. Money is no object. We can go anywhere you want."

Tara couldn't resist. "Alright. Let's go to the most expensive place in town."

Jordan laughed loudly. "What have I got myself into?"

"Oh, you'll find out soon enough," chuckled Tara.

"Can't wait," drawled Jordan. "I'll pick you up at seven-thirty. Is that okay?"

"That's fine."

"Okay, it's a date. See you later."

"Bye." As soon as Tara heard the click, she almost jumped up in joy. She wished one of her friends were back, just so she could tell someone. She bounced happily on her soft bed, feeling like a little kid again. A date? She thought back to Jordan's casual words. Is that how she sees it? Tara wondered. Better not get your hopes up, Tara Whitman. She probably just wants to talk, a little voice said. Maybe she would have a chance to tell the dark woman about how her feelings had changed and admit that she felt more than just a friendship with her. It was risky, yes, to even think of a sexual relationship with Jordan, knowing full well that it would make her a target for any Wolves enemy. But she refused to let her mind get in the way of what her heart and body were telling her; that she had found her soul mate.

*********** **********

At quarter-past seven, the phone in Tara's room rang.

"If that's Jordan ringing to cancel on you, I swear..." Kerri pointed an irritated finger at the source of her annoyance.

"I know, I know." Even so, Tara bit her lip in worry as she tentatively picked up. "Hello?"

"Tara."

"Hi, Jordan." Kerri shot Tara an angry look. "Is... something the matter?" Tara replied, waving a hand at her friend. 

"Um, well it's..." 

"What?"

"I know I said it would be just us tonight and I really wish I didn't have to ask, but would you mind if we had company at the restaurant?"

Tara thought quickly. If she said that she did mind, she ran the risk of Jordan calling off their appointment in favour of the 'company'. "Who is it?" she asked.

"A business associate and his wife."

"Is it important you meet with him?"

"Kind of... yes. I know it might mess up our plans a little, but after dinner, he's leaving straight away. We could go some place else after that."

The tone of Jordan's voice told Tara all she needed to know. "Okay, it's fine."

"Great, thanks Tara. I really didn't want to cancel on you, but I needed to speak to this guy. I'm on my way now. I'll ring when I'm downstairs, alright?"

"Sure."

Tara put the phone down slowly, and Kerri could see the hurt in her eyes as she stared at the receiver. Having only heard on side of the conversation, Kerri had no idea what was going on. It sounded like Jordan had indeed cancelled on the small blonde, and the fury was building in the soft-eyed woman. "Tara, you know, maybe Jordan isn't what or who you think she is anymore," she said quietly. Tara didn't answer. "I mean, she's probably been through a lot, and because of that she's different."

"But that's what makes her even more special," she said finally. "Maybe it is just the excitement she makes me feel when I'm around her, but I can feel there's something else in here..." Tara put a palm on her chest. "You know as well as I do, that I've had my fair share of lovers, but none of them ever, ever compared to this."

Kerri listened in silence, as she saw Tara's face light up, almost glowing, as she spoke about Jordan. Despite her disapproval of the dark woman, Kerri realised that Tara was now hopelessly in love with Jordan. All they could do, was pray that her love was returned. The curly blonde didn't doubt that Jordan cared for her friend, but could someone like Jordan be right for Tara? Kerri didn't know what to think anymore, instead promising herself that she would be there for Tara when she needed some comfort.

*********** **********

Tara and Kerri walked towards the glass doors, spotting Jordan outside. Tara's breath caught at the sight of her and she halted where she was. Jordan had on a pair of black trousers, with a deep, midnight blue silk shirt tucked into them that contrasted wonderfully with her pale blue eyes. The shirt flowed over her torso like water with each small movement and were flared open at the cuffs. She was leaning casually on the bonnet of her car, her arms folded. She wasn't looking into the building, instead staring off to the left, her face deep in thought. Tara took a moment to smooth her red dress out and she licked her lips in anticipation. 

"Tara, she won't wait all night for you," came Kerri's voice, humour evident in it. Tara just smiled, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. She took a deep breath and walked out the door, Kerri following.

"Hey, you look nice." 

Jordan snapped her head round; the only indication that she had been caught off guard. Then she smiled dazzlingly as she saw Tara. "Wow, you look really good too." She stared into Tara's eyes for a moment, before she realised Kerri was there as well. "Hi, Kerri."

"Jordan," Kerri acknowledged. "You got a nice car there." She took in the shiny, black Lotus with its top down.

"It's not mine. I borrowed it off a friend," she explained.

Kerri raised her eyebrows. "Some friend you have, letting you borrow a car like that!"

"I have some contacts." Jordan shrugged at her, then turned to Tara, who quickly tried to hide that she had been staring. "Shall we get going?" Tara nodded, and Jordan went to open the door for her. As she closed it, she winked at Tara, causing her to smile happily. She walked around to the other side of the expensive car and hopped in, slipping the keys into the ignition and starting the engine.

"Tell Kyle and Jake not to worry about me, okay? Thanks for helping me get ready, Kerri."

"No problem, T." Kerri glanced up to Jordan, who was tapping her fingers slightly impatiently on the steering wheel. "And you, you better bring her back before 12, or she'll turn into a pumpkin."

She got a raised eyebrow in reply. "You've got nothing to worry about," she smirked. "In my world, she'll always be a princess no matter what time it is." Jordan pulled away from the curb quickly, before Kerri or Tara could respond.

They drove in contented silence for a while, as Jordan navigated her way to the restaurant. It was getting dark, and Tara watched, the cool breeze ruffling through her hair, as the last rays of sunshine chased each other across the sky. She returned her attention to the interior of the car, the smell of leather combined with the essence of Jordan, flooding her senses. She reached a hand out to open the glove compartment in front of her. She had just cracked it open, when a hand shot out next to her and slammed it shut. Tara turned to look at Jordan sharply, who still held her hand over the catch but was still focusing on the road in front.

"What are you looking for?" came the low voice.

"Um, I wanted to see what kind of music you have."

Jordan dropped her hand from the opening, her hand accidentally brushing the top of Tara's knee. "I told you, it's not my car. There's nothing of mine in it." She moved her hand over the various knobs above the gear stick, and turned one. Immediately, music blared form the speakers in the side of the car. "I'm afraid this is the best I can do."

"Yeah, that's fine." Tara rested her elbow on the arm rest and dropped her chin into her hand. 

Jordan glanced at her quickly, knowing she had hurt the smaller woman again. "Look," she said softly. "I know this is really difficult for you to understand, but I'm trying to keep you out of danger. There are some things you mustn't hear about and some things you just can see." Jordan stopped and turned a corner. "Things are hotting up right now, and there's a chance you might be seen as a...." Jordan trailed off.

"A what?" Tara turned to face her.

Jordan was silent for a moment. "A weakness." She let the word hang for a couple of seconds. "Listen, the man we're going to meet tonight is Turkish and he doesn't speak much English. He and the Russian man I talked with yesterday are representatives of their... companies in their homeland. Each company having been selling stuff to us here in London, and we pass them on. Basically, they are rivals, and for years they've been trying to out do one another. So far, it hasn't affected us, but I have a feeling it's going to, sooner or later." Jordan stopped the car outside the brightly lit restaurant.

A car attendant was on standby, and as Jordan got out of the car to hand over control to the young man, a doorman opened the door courteously for Tara.

"If this car comes back with one scratch on it, I'll tear your limbs from your sockets and you'll still live to tell the tale." Jordan's eyes hardened and the man swallowed as he got in. He drove off slowly, to park the car.

"Was that really necessary?" asked Tara in a low voice as Jordan joined her on the steps.

"No, but I have a reputation to uphold." Jordan chuckled.

A smartly dressed young man came over to them. "Ms Woods. It is good to see you here again." Tara detected a faint French accent in the man's words. "Your guests have already arrived and I placed them on your usual table."

Jordan glanced at her watch, seeing that it wasn't that she was late, but the Turkish couple had arrived early. "Thank you, Pierre."

"May I say, that your taste in attire, is as good as your taste in women." Pierre looked at Tara, taking her hand and lightly brushing his lips over the back.

"Tara, meet Pierre Blanc, the son of the owner of this fine restaurant. Pierre, Tara Whitman, an old friend of mine."

"It is an honour to meet you, Tara Whitman. Jordan, you really should introduce me to more of your old friends if they are all as ravishing as this one." He laughed, but the raised eyebrow told him that his interest in Tara was short-lived. "If you would both follow me, I will escort you to your table." The good looking Frenchman turned on his heels and began walking towards the back of the large hall.

"Was it just me, or was he flirting with me?" asked Tara, so that he couldn't hear.

Jordan smiled. "Yeah, but in case you're wondering, he's married. He likes to think of himself as a ladies man, but every affair he's ever had, had to be covered up by his father's influence."

"How do you know about them then?" 

"Because I helped cover them up," responded Jordan, as they reached the table. "Ferhan, it is good to see you." Jordan extended a hand to the thirty-something man.

"And I you." The man stood and shook hands with the dark woman, his thick Turkish accent colouring his voice. "It has been too long, my friend." Jordan nodded her agreement, then looked to the woman, barely older than Jordan, sitting beside him. She seemed ten years younger than Ferhan.

"Katife, it is a pleasure to meet you as always."

The proud woman inclined her head, her headdress falling slightly in front of her eyes. She held her hand out to Jordan, but the dark woman took it and kissed it in the same way as Pierre had done to Tara. The Turkish woman stared at Jordan for a second, looking confused as she stared into her eyes, before she recovered and smiled at Jordan for her manners, reclaiming her hand. Jordan turned. "Allow me to introduce Tara Whitman, a very good friend of mine. Tara, this is Ferhan and Katife Panesar."

Tara smiled tentatively at the two dark-skinned guests, but Ferhan seemed to be inspecting her for her trustworthiness. Jordan motioned for her to sit, pulling out a plush chair for her. The gang leader seated herself next to Tara, opposite Ferhan. "I hope you have not been waiting long. Shall we order?" She picked up a menu and began scanning the dishes.

Tara was secretly surprised at the woman's sudden polite manners. It was as if she had a charm button that she could turn on and off when it suited her. It was obvious that Jordan needed to impress her two guests, and Tara didn't quite know how to react. 

"Yes, of course," said Ferhan, stilling staring at Tara. 

He turned to Jordan and began speaking quickly in Turkish. Tara saw his wife's head snap around to glare at him, but he wasn't looking at her. Jordan seemed unperturbed, but she laughed quietly and replied, looking up at the man. Tara felt the irritation rise, as she was being left out of the joke. She said nothing, instead choosing to ignore it, when Ferhan started speaking to her. 

"Forgive me, I misunderstood reason for your presence at table." Tara turned to Jordan for clarification.

"Usually I bring my second to these talks. He's there for backup and protection. Ferhan didn't understand why I had changed my routine, and he thought something was amiss."

"Yes, you understand things at moment," he said." Tara didn't, but nodded anyway. "I meant no rudeness for you." Tara smiled at him, accepting his apology.

Jordan called over a waiter and ordered their food and drink. The waiter went away and came back a few minutes later with a bottle of champagne. He popped the bottle and filled their glasses, replacing it in an ice bucket beside their table. As soon as the man had left them, Jordan and Ferhan launched into a heated conversation in Turkish, keeping their voices low. Tara sighed inwardly, a spark of anger flaring as she realised that Jordan would probably ignore her for the rest of the meal.

Suddenly, the Turkish woman opposite her spoke. "I am truly sorry for my husband's manners tonight. He is suspicious of everyone lately." 

Tara was surprised at her fluent English. "It's okay, I understand."

"You seem new to this business," observed Katife, taking a sip of her drink, watching Tara with her dark brown eyes. 

The small blonde nodded and smiled. "I guess you've been in it for quite some time." Tara knew that this woman was her best chance of finding out more about Jordan's world.

"Yes, for all my life. My father moves in the Turkish criminal circles, so it was unavoidable that I would end up where I am today."

"It must have been a burden on you knowing that," said Tara sympathetically.

"Yes it was. But to disobey my father, would have meant death," she replied ominously.

Tara stared at the woman in shock. "Your father would have killed you?"

"Yes. It is not uncommon where I come from. Respect and obedience are the law. It was well within his right to do so if he pleased."

"His right?" Tara couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"I was my father's property until I got married. Women in our society have little rights. It is the way it has always been."

Tara shook her head. "You shouldn't have to live like that. You should have your own free choice to do as you please."

Katife shrugged. "One woman cannot change the world," she replied, her eyes downcast. "To do that, you have to be a leader of men." Her eyes flicked sadly to Jordan and her voice dropped to a whisper. "Only a few can reach that stage, but not without losing a part of themselves. They lose their humanity, their compassion and in the end, they forget what they started out to do."

Tara was quiet as she thought about what the Turkish woman had said. She wondered whether Katife was talking about Jordan in particular or just in general. "Have you known Jordan long?" she asked.

Katife glanced sideways to Ferhan and Jordan, then back to Tara, seeming to make a decision. "I need to go to the bathroom and I hate to go alone," she said quite loudly.

Tara realised that they could talk more freely about Jordan if they weren't in earshot of her. "I'll come with you." They stood and immediately, the other two turned to look at them, having heard nothing of what they had said. "We're just going to powder our noses," smiled Tara at Jordan. They nodded and went back to their talk.

The two women made their way towards the toilets. "So how long have you known her?" Tara was starting to like this Turkish woman.  

"Jordan? Which one?" Katife smiled sadly, then saw the confused look on Tara's face. "Jordan is many different people all rolled into one. It is hard to know which one you will be talking to on one day. Have you ever heard about Timothy?" Tara shook her head. "Timothy was a good friend of Jordan's. He worshipped her, and he was so loyal that she rewarded him by making him second in command. Everyone believed that they were lovers. I myself met him a number of times and he seemed nice enough. One night, Timothy walked into the gang's headquarters, went straight upstairs and opened Jordan's door. It was the biggest mistake of his life. He found his leader in bed with a woman. It is mostly hearsay, but apparently Jordan didn't even look up to see who had disturbed her but threw a knife into him from where she was lying on the bed. He died instantly and she didn't even stop what she was doing. Later, it was discovered that he was a mole for a rival gang, but she had no way of knowing that then. It was said that she showed no remorse or guilt for killing him, and when someone brave enough asked why she had done it, she replied that he never knocked. So you see, she's like a time bomb, waiting for the right time to explode. And you best not be anywhere near her when she does." Tara wasn't sure if the woman was warning her to keep away from Jordan. "As for how long I have known her, it seems like a long time. She was sent to my father when she was thirteen, by the leader of the Wolves at that time, who had taken Jordan under his wing. We were quite close, but there was always a distant look in her eye, like she was not all there. My father had been asked to treat her as he would a son, and teach her fighting skills. She only stayed six months, before she returned to England. When the old leader died, she took over. She was sixteen, but she killed the other competitors and quickly got the respect of the men. Around that time, I was given to Ferhan and we met soon again in England at a meeting like this." Katife sighed and leaned back against the sinks. "It was like looking into the eyes of a totally different person. I don't know what it was, but I was terrified of her." She stopped at stared at Tara. "But do you know what? I saw in her eyes today, a flicker of who she used to be. Maybe there is hope yet for her."

"There is always hope for everyone, if they are helped," replied Tara confidently.

She was caught off guard as Katife started laughing. "I am sorry. But you are so innocent of the world, it is funny." Her laughter quietened and her eyes took on a serious look. "Have you ever seen death, Tara? It changes you forever, and you can never forget it. I pray you never experience it, but if you continue to stay with Jordan Woods, you will."

"Everyone is against me being with Jordan. Why is she so feared by everyone? Surely, all of them are the same."

Katife looked at her kindly. "My friend, in a way they are the same. Their lifestyle is the same, but their lives are what makes them who they are. Each of them has had different experiences and for that, they are very different. It marks the difference between someone who would not hesitate for a second to kill someone else, no matter who they are. It is that fact, which makes Jordan Woods a terrible enemy to have. She is skilled beyond measure and deadly to all who cross her, and she knows it. In any fighter, there is always an element of control, a voice that tells them when to defend and when to attack. In Jordan, there is no control, only pure aggression and yet it is controlled." Tara frowned. "If you ever see her in a fight, you will understand," explained Katife.

Tara opened her mouth to say something, but then shut it.

"What is it, Tara? I am not one of them, you know. I realise it may be difficult for you to see, but you can trust me."

There was something in her voice that told Tara that she was indeed telling her the truth. She took a breath. "Do you think, that Jordan would hurt me?"

"In what way?" queried Katife, the keen intelligence shining through her soft brown eyes.

Tara rubbed her neck. "I don't know. In any way, I guess."

"I believe that Jordan is insecure in her own feelings. Because of that, she may hurt you unintentionally. But, she trusts you immensely, you do realise that? In bringing you to this meeting, she is very sure that you will not run to the nearest Police station and tell them what you know."

"Of course I won't. I lo..." Tara stopped abruptly, aware that she had been about to reveal to a woman she had only just met, that she was in love with Jordan. 

But even though she hadn't said the words, Katife read the emotion in her eyes and nodded her head. "I thought as much. You have not told her yet, have you?"

Tara hung her head. "No, but I was going to." 

"Why are you hesitating?"

"I... I wasn't sure if she wanted me."

"It is obvious that she likes you. Jordan, to my knowledge has never taken anyone out for dinner before." Tara saw a flash of sadness pass over the proud face. "You should tell her quickly. Jordan needs to know what it was like to be loved again, before she sinks into the darkness even more and it is too late. You have to be her light, Tara. She is blind without it."

The small, blonde looked up with wonder in her eyes at the wise words. Their eyes met, and Tara knew then that Katife loved Jordan. She would do anything to see her safe and loved. She herself could not be the one to comfort the dark woman, so she was helping Tara to be that person. "Thank you," she breathed.

Katife looked away and took a shaky breath. "Just make sure you tell her, Tara," she replied softly. "Help her to remember who she was."

"I will." They were both startled as a woman walked through the doors and gave them a quizzical look, before entering a cubicle. "We should get back to them. They'll be wondering where we've got to."

Katife nodded and followed Tara out of the rest room. They reached the table as the waiter was placing their food. The rest of the evening went quietly for Tara, since Jordan was focusing all her attention on Ferhan. Despite what Katife had told her, she was still worried about Jordan's reaction if she told her that she loved her and although she knew that Jordan was talking about business, Tara couldn't help but feel like she was on show for Ferhan. She couldn't stop the irritation from welling up inside her, and by the end of the meal she was ready to explode. Katife also sat in silence, but was lost in memories of a distant past. Tara knew that her life had been taken out of her own hands as soon as she had been born, and there was nothing she could do about it. It also added to Tara's anger that there was nothing that she could do for the woman who had told her so much about Jordan and had tried to quell her fears. She could only hope that the man, Ferhan, treated her with kindness, but she would never know.

Tara heard Jordan's tone, which sounded like the conversation was coming to an end. Everyone had finished eating, and Jordan and Ferhan stood up. They shook hands as Tara and Katife stood as well. Jordan stepped close to hug the Turkish woman, saying a few words of goodbye to her. Tara saw the hidden torment in Katife's brown eyes as they broke apart. Ferhan held his hand out to Tara, as a gesture of friendship. 

"May we meet again under better circumstances." Tara shook his hand, then turned to look at Katife.

The Turkish woman held out her own hand, and Tara grasped it warmly. She felt a piece of paper being pressed into her palm and she looked up in surprise. Then Katife pulled her close, seeming to hug her. Ferhan and Jordan turned to walk towards the door and Katife quickly whispered to Tara.

"If you ever need to talk, call me on this number. Speak my name and then hang up. I will call you back."

Tara nodded and smiled, then they quickly caught up to the other two. Tara swiftly popped the paper into the space between her breasts, realising that she had no where else to put it. Ferhan and Jordan turned to face them just as Tara dropped her hand. 

"Well, it was good meal. Thank you, Jordan. I am glad we do not have any problems."

"Ferhan, there was never a problem. Only a misunderstanding. I hope we can put this behind us," replied Jordan.

Ferhan nodded and put his arm around his wife. "We will see you soon, Jordan. Take care." The couple walked out of the doors and down to where their car was waiting. 

Jordan stood for a few seconds, watching until they had left, then sighed loudly. Tara was by her side, unsure of what to do next. She was angry, but a part of her wouldn't allow her to say anything to the dark woman. 

Pierre walked up to them cautiously. "Jordan, how was the food?"

"Fine."

The man frowned, and turned to Tara. "And how was your meal, beautiful one?"

Suddenly, Jordan shot her arm out and grabbed the startled Frenchman by the lapel, pulling his face close to hers. "Stop it, Pierre," she growled. Tara was shocked.  She hadn't even seen the arm move and only when Jordan started speaking did she realised what happened. 

"I.. I.. " stuttered Pierre.

"Jordan! Let him go!" Before she knew it, she was shouting at Jordan to release the man. "What's the matter with you!? He's just doing his job!"

"His job!?" Jordan rounded on Tara, her eyes flashing angrily. "It is not his job to flirt with every pretty woman who walks into this place! Especially, not with one who..." Jordan stopped suddenly and looked away.

"One who what?" asked Tara furiously punctuating every word. When Jordan didn't answer she spoke again. "I'm not yours to own or control, Jordan. Remember that." She took a calming breath. "Take me home please."

Jordan froze for a second at the words, then released Pierre and stalked out the doors. Tara ran a hand over her face and sighed, then followed the dark woman outside. Pierre stood, leaning his hand against a pillar, taking deep breaths to calm his nerves as he watched the two women walking away, wondering how close he had come to dying.

Outside, Jordan was seated inside the car and had already started the Lotus. She was staring away from Tara and was leaning her arm on the top of the door, drumming her fingers. Tara thanked the man who opened the car door for her as she got into the car. As soon as the door slammed shut, Jordan put her foot down and almost ran the doorman over in her haste. They drove in silence for half the journey, neither one of them willing to break it. Suddenly, Jordan signalled left and turned sharply into a smaller road. 

"Hey, this isn't the way," said Tara, slightly alarmed. 

"I know that," snapped Jordan.

"So why are we going this way?" retorted the blonde.

She heard Jordan blow out a sharp breath in frustration. "I have to make sure no one's tailing us. I thought I saw a black Toyota following us a couple of cars back. I'm just being careful. What did you think I was doing?" 

Tara heard the accusation and the underlying hurt in Jordan's voice. "That's the point. I didn't know. You don't tell me anything and you just expect me to do as you say, or go along with whatever you're doing."

"No, I don't. I don't expect you to do anything for me."

Tara sighed. "But if I want to do something to help, you don't let me. Take yesterday for example, what happened to you?" 

"I explained that to you, didn't I?"

"Yeah, but then you take me to an apparently important meeting with some Turkish guy. Now explain that to me." 

Jordan was silent for a moment. "I don't know," she said at last. "This is different. Half the time you didn't understand what we were saying."

"Yeah, and do you know how irritating that is? I sat through that entire meal in silence."

"I'm sorry, but I had no choice. I had to meet with that guy tonight."

"Why?" 

"Because, there's loads of shit going down right now, and the Wolves are stuck right in the middle of it." Jordan halted her outburst, then continued in a quieter voice. "Look, I got trouble from everywhere around me, and I have to fix it. If this gets out of hand, there'll be total bloodshed everywhere, and no one will be able to stop it. The city will become a killing zone for everyone down to the lowest gang. After that, either the Russians or the Turks will move in and take over and they may even start a war over the territory. I know you won't understand, but just believe me, I have to sort this out before I do anything else. As much as I want to spend time with you, I don't know what I can do to keep you safe."

"You don't have to. I can take care of myself."

Jordan stopped the car. Tara looked around and realised that her halls of residence were just around the corner. "Can you? Open the glove compartment." Tara looked at the dark woman, but did as she was told. Inside, she froze as she saw a shiny black gun stashed between a few sheets of paper. "Now tell me, if I were to reach over and take that weapon, would you know how to react? If I said I was going to kill you, would you know what to do? Or would you freak out, and cause me to shoot you by accident?" Jordan twisted to face Tara. "Could you pick that up, and use it against me, if I threatened you?"

Tara sat motionless, still staring at the pistol. "No," she whispered. Suddenly, her anger got the better of her, and she opened the door to get out. Jordan sat back in mild shock, watching as Tara walked around the front of the car and made to cross the street. 

"Wait!" She jumped out of the car and grabbed hold of Tara's elbow to stop her. She was totally unprepared for Tara's violent reaction, the stinging slap echoing off the buildings. Tara froze, covering her mouth in horror at what she had just done. Jordan still held her with her hand, and was shaking her head to clear the pain. Tara had landed the blow on her bruised side, but the hurt wasn't so much physical. 

Suddenly, Jordan pulled on her arm and pinned her between the side of the car and her own body. "No one has ever hit me and lived." Tara saw the burning anger in Jordan's pale eyes, but for some reason, she wasn't scared. It seemed like forever that they stared into each other's eyes, reading the pain and confusion lurking there. Jordan's breathing was ragged and Tara could feel the intensity of the dark woman as they stood there, frozen in time. Her body was wedged between the car and Jordan, so she couldn't really move. Then, as if a magnet was pulling on her head, Jordan brought her lips down, still keeping her eyes open. Their mouths met, and immediately, Tara's arms came up to encircle Jordan's neck, while the taller woman placed her hands on the hips in front of her. Jordan deepened the kiss and Tara was forced to close her eyes in pure pleasure. Their tongues ran over each others' wildly, desperate to taste all that they could find. They were lost in a mist of ecstasy, as Tara sat back on the still warm bonnet, gripping Jordan with her legs around her waist. Jordan moved her head lower, sucking on the tender flesh of her neck, causing Tara to moan softly. The breath caressed her ear, sending shivers through her body.  

They both jumped as a car drove past, honking in cheer at the entertainment. Jordan lifted her head from Tara's neck and stared into the emerald green orbs. Tara was slightly alarmed to see Jordan's eyes glistening. She said nothing, but raised her hand to stroke her bruised face. The dark woman closed her eyes at the gentle touch and leaned into it for comfort. 

"I love you, Jordan," she whispered. Jordan's eyes snapped open and Tara felt like Jordan was going to pull away. She gazed intently into the blue depths, visibly seeing a wall raise itself within the icy orbs. "Jordan, please believe me when I say it. I mean it with all my heart."

"How can you?" Tara barely heard the question.

"Because... I love you. I am in love with you. I can't explain it, I just feel it."

"I've killed, I've..."

"I know what you've done. I accept it and I still love you."

Jordan finally pulled away from the soft touch and turned away from the blonde. "You... can't."

"Why? Why is it so hard for you to understand that my love is unconditional for you? I don't care what you've done." Tara laughed humourlessly through her tears. "I don't even mind if you don't return the love. All I want, is for you to accept mine."

"It's not right! I don't deserve it!" Tara heard the choked sob that threatened to escape from the dark woman.

"Yes you do, Jordan! You've gone through the past few years alone. Don't tell me you liked it that way! I can see it in your eyes; the pain you feel. I wanna help you make that go away! Please, Jordan, let me in."

Jordan turned slowly, and Tara saw the anguish written all over her face. "It will never go away. It is the price I must carry for..." Jordan stopped, unable to finish for fear of breaking down.

"For what?"

"My family," whispered Jordan hoarsely.

Tara looked at the woman in confusion, before it dawned on her. "Jordan, their deaths weren't your fault. How could you ever think that?"

"If I had been with them, none of this would have happened. I would have been able to... do something."

Tara reached out and gathered Jordan into a tight hug. "Jordan, you couldn't have predicted what would happen. For God's sake, don't blame yourself. If anyone is to blame, it's the cowards who mugged them. If the police had found out who they were, they would have been brought to justice."

"They were," came the small voice.

Tara leaned back and looked into Jordan's eyes? "What do you mean?"

"I killed them. I served them justice." Tears were welling up behind Jordan's eyes, but she refused to let them fall.

"Shh, it's alright. I'm here for you," whispered Tara as she pulled the woman close again.

They stayed like that for a long time, Tara comforting Jordan in her arms. She swayed gently and stroked the back of her head gently to soothe her. Eventually, Tara began to feel her legs going numb, and Jordan must have felt her stirring because she looked up. Tara smiled at her, wiping a stray tear from her cheek away with her thumb, then pulled her head close for a soft kiss.

"Thank you," Jordan said softly, looking deep into Tara's eyes.

Tar nodded and hopped off the bonnet of the car, glancing at her watch. It was almost midnight. "I should be getting back. Jake and Kyle will be wondering where their Cinderella has got to," grinned Tara. Jordan looked at Tara briefly in surprise. "What?" asked Tara.

"Er, nothing. It was just... usually after someone tells me that they love me, they invite me up to their bedroom."

It was Tara's turn to look surprised. "You still thought I was lying just to get you in bed?" Jordan looked away guiltily. "How many times do I have to tell you I'm not joking? Of course, if you want to come up, you are more than welcome to." 

Jordan smiled genuinely. "I would, but I need to take this car back to it's owner. He's holding my bike ransom for it." 

"Sure."

Jordan stood awkwardly for a second, as if she was unsure of herself. "So... I'll see you tomorrow, maybe?"

"Now that depends on whether you can fit me into your busy schedule," said Tara, wryly.

"I'll make room," said Jordan seriously, although Tara wasn't so sure that Jordan could really do that. She got into the car and started the engine. Then she looked up at Tara. "Did I tell you that you look beautiful tonight?" Tara was glad of the darkness that hid her blush. Jordan seemed to want to say something more, but she shut her mouth.

"Good night, Jordan. Remember what I said; I'll always be here for you."

She saw the dark head nod and she stepped away from the car. Jordan pulled away slowly, waiting at the turning for Tara to walk into her building., then speeding off into the distance.

Tara walked into her halls of residence and rode the lift to her floor in a surreal state. She had told Jordan her real feelings and more. Jordan hadn't said that she returned those feelings, but neither had she disproved the possibility. Nevertheless, Tara didn't regret telling her what she felt and it seemed like a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. She had told Jordan she would love her no matter what, and it was true. It wasn't that she would follow her around like a lovesick puppy; Jordan didn't need that. What she needed was someone to love her as she should have been loved. The barriers that Jordan put up against everyone were keeping her from listening to her heart and breaking free of her lifestyle. Tara dreaded to think about the five years that Jordan had spent living unstably and what it must have done to the young girl. Jordan's dark demons were forcing her to stay on her violent path, but Tara resolved to combat them with the love she knew was pure. The warm glow burned brighter in her soul as she thought of the dark woman. She has to let go of the past, a voice inside her whispered. 

*********** **********

Continued... Thursday Night

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