AN: Hey guys! I am back! It took me quite some time to figure it out, but here is the sequel to my Transformers fanfic "First steps with NEST". I hope that it lives up to your expectations and that you enjoy reading this story as much as the first one!
Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers, just Felice and a few other OCs in the story.
W. Lennox x OC
Rating: T, later M.
tightrope: to be in a difficult situation that demands careful and considered behavior
As soon as the plane was in the air, Felice placed her head on Lennox' shoulder and he wrapped an arm around her to pull her close. He tenderly kissed her hair and inhaled her scent. Feeling her soft skin under his fingers, hearing her even breathing William Lennox considered himself a damn lucky man. Not only that a beautiful girl was sleeping in his arms, but this very person was a kickass fighter pilot and NEST soldier and he knew that he could rely on her each and every day. He silently smirked as he caught himself thinking it which outfit suited her better; her uniform or THAT dress.
As if Felice had sensed his thoughts, she looked up with a sleepy smile.
"You are not so bad yourself, Colonel." she murmured while caressing his yaw.
"Shut up, Spur." he grunted but she could hear the smirk in his voice.
"Roger that." she whispered and snuggled to his side. It was the first time he'd called her by her call-sign. And she decided to take it as a good omen for whatever was lying ahead of them. A little while later, they both drifted off to the much needed sleep neither of them was able to get last night.
A few months later…
"Stop it. I'm never going to get dressed if you keep it up." Felice slapped Lennox' hands.
"That's the point." he smirked.
Lennox was fresh from the shower with nothing but a towel around his waist. And he was determined to get his lover back into bed. Felice tried to wriggle from his grasp.
"Don't you ever get enough?" she laughed.
"No. Not really."
His devilish smile made her heart skip a beat. While his hands were sliding up her shirt and his soft lips covered hers she absentmindedly wondered if their love wasn't doomed to cool down ever so soon if they kept this pace, but in this moment she couldn't care less. Images of the previous night flashed through her mind and as she was about to give in the doorbell rang.
The noise made Felice jump and as fast as she could, she slipped from Lennox' grasp, indicating him to hide in the bathroom. Straightening out her clothes, she took a deep breath and when she felt ready to face her visitor, she opened the door, but only a bit. She sighed with relief as she saw the familiar face of Epps.
"Did I disturb you… two?" he smirked.
Felice couldn't help but blush, even after five months she was still not used to Epps knowing about her relationship with Lennox. She suspected their team to know about them anyway, but so far no one had dared to make a comment about the issue. And concerning them, they did their best not to let this affect their job. They never arrived at work together nor did they leave at the same time. When being deployed they kept it professional yet on more like a friendship-like level.
Felice was fine with it, but she knew that Lennox was having his difficulties doing so. She was well aware of the watchful eye he kept on her when heading out on missions and she didn't like the fact that he was thereby endangering himself. She'd brought up the issue a few times, but he would just wave away her arguments.
"Actually, yes." she answered Epps' question while glancing to her watch. It was Saturday morning and she had agreed to help him with the old Chevy he'd bought to restore by himself. But he wasn't due until two hours and Felice had a fairly good guess why he'd shown up that early. "I'll be there in a minute."
She closed the door without waiting for his reply and took in a deep breath. She was still a little uncomfortable with this situation even though she considered Epps more a friend than a work mate. She still held her credo about separating work and private life at high stakes and was not willing to give that up anytime soon.
She headed for her bedroom to get changed. Lennox was awaiting her, this time fully clothed, but with a look on his face that made her think she'd rather preferred the one only minutes ago.
"Why didn't you invite him in?" Lennox asked as he watched her switch his shirt for her bra and a tank top.
"Because I was barely decent." she replied while slipping into her blue faded jeans which were already stained with oil and dirt from her work at Epps' car. She was about to go for the bathroom, when Lennox stopped her, placing his hands on her hips to stall her.
"You're a terrible liar, you know that, right?" he smirked.
"Fine." Felice sighed and came right to the point. "Can't you understand that…"
"… you don't want this to become official?" he ended the sentence for her and the hint of disappointment caused Felice' heart to sink.
He still hadn't understood why she was so hesitant about making their relationship public. Enlisted soldiers were generally not allowed to date one another, especially when they were working in such close proximity. You had to be damn sure about your partner to come out with this or this would affect your career immensely. For Lennox it didn't present much of a problem. He was the leader of NEST and had done enough for this country let alone the planet to be safe from such mundane things.
Felice on the other hand was still a newbie in NEST and the only female working with this black ops group, so she was under the microscope just because of minority. Her transfer to Lennox' unit had caused quite some trouble and Felice still hadn't figured out how he'd managed to sell her away from her fighter squadron in less than ten weeks. She knew that Lennox would have her back when it came to the crunch, but she rather preferred that she would never have to play that card.
"I do. But not now."
"But it's just Epps." Lennox pressed on.
Felice rolled her eyes. It was a mystery to her how the man in front of her, the esteemed Colonel and head of NEST, always keeping a level head while fighting against Decepticons, would want to act so short-sightedly and impulsive. She really loved him, but when it came to this particular topic, she couldn't help but questioning his decision-making skills.
"Yeah, and if Epps just has one of his famous moments he spills the guts to Jones and there we go."
"So what?!" Felice exclaimed, unable to stay calm. "What do you think will happen if word gets to our boss that I am sleeping with my CO?"
"We're consenting adults."
Felice couldn't help but laugh. But it was a bitter laugh.
"And we're still enlisted and bound to some rules as you seem to have forgotten, Colonel Lennox." she emphasized the last words. Seeing the hurt feeling in his eyes, she collected herself and continued in a much more gentle voice. "I love you, Will. I really do. But I am not ready to take this step and I really hope you can respect that."
She held his gaze, searching for an answer in his blue eyes she'd become so familiar to look into. Then his expression softened.
"Of course." he said as he placed a strand of hair behind her ear. He could relate to her concerns but he didn't see such a big problem in telling their team mates. He suspected them to know about them anyway. But he would not act against Felice' wish if she was asking him that directly.
"Thank you." she whispered as she leaned in to kiss him. Feeling his soft lips on hers was still somewhat addicting and she didn't resist as he deepened the kiss. But a renewed knock on the door reminded her about her guest. With an apologetic smile, she turned away hastily braiding her hair back into a bun while checking her appearance in the mirror then went to the door and finally let Epps in.
"Please tell me you brought coffee." she pleaded as she watched him walk into her kitchen.
"'Course." Epps smirked as he put down the cupholder. Now, Felice realized that there were three cups. "Brown with sugar for the lady, DeCaf for me- I might really get a heart attack if we pull just one more thing like Chicago" he added conspiratorially, causing Felice laugh "and black for Mister lover boy." he ended his theatric introduction with a grin while Felice thought her heart might just come to a standstill. She was about to tell off Epps, when the last addressed person entered the room.
"You call me that again and I personally make sure you end up in recruit training." Lennox scolded his friend, but not without returning his smirk.
Since the recent events in Chicago they had to cope with a massive amount of applications for NEST. The director of national intelligence, Charlotte Mearing, had ordered this upgrade of soldiers in their division, but the applicants tended to marvel Optimus and his friends more than focusing on their job. It took a lot of patience to sort through the recruits and pick out those who deemed fit for the task and Epps was known not to be the most patient person around.
"Fine, you won."
"Thought so." Lennox muttered still smirking while he took a sip of his coffee.
"Are you coming with us?" Felice asked.
"No, I am heading back to HQ." Lennox replied, watching her expression change into a frown. He knew that she didn't approve of him working even on weekends but she understood why he had to.
Shortly after their mission in China, General Morshower had assigned Lennox and his team to a taskforce to hunt down a man named only the White Ghost in the few intelligence reports that existed about him. He was rumored to lead a group of insurgents specifically targeting special ops teams.
Lennox had heard about the attacks, each time feeling angry that the enemy had struck again, but when the first extraterrestrial metal parts had been found on the site of an IED explosion that had killed five Marines, General Morshower had approached him, asking for his help and his assets. And as they look a closer look at the other attacks, Ratchet discovered a particular interesting Energon signature on one of the scenes and it became clear to the Colonel and his team that the White Ghost was working with what remained of the Decepticons on earth.
So far, they'd chased down leads in Bosnia, Colombia, Jordan and a couple of other countries but each time they'd been too late and the soldiers they'd intended to rescue dead or severely injured. It was frustrating to be always one step behind and each time they returned from a deployment it took Lennox more and more effort to stay positive.
"It's not your fault." Felice had told him one evening as they had had a quiet dinner at his place, nursing not only their physical wounds – nothing serious, just a few scratches and cuts – but also their emotional ones. Ten good soldiers had been killed in an ambush, leaving ten families mourning the loss of their loved ones.
"But it feels like it." Lennox had replied gloomily and when Felice had awoken early next day, she'd found his side of the bed empty, a note on the bedside table saying that he was at Ops.
Now, she watched him bidding her and Epps goodbye before turning and leaving for work on a Saturday morning once more.
"No progress yet?" Epps asked as he looked after their friend and CO. While Felice had been assigned to work on the sparse Intel they had gotten from the Air Force, Navy and Marines – all had lost men in the recent attacks – Epps was in charge of the weapons department of NEST, so he did not know everything that was going on in the operations center of their HQ.
"No." Felice shook her head, sighing. It was frustrating and she wanted nothing more than to catch his scumbag, but she needed a break from their exhausting job from time to time and today she would allow her mind to relax by helping Epps with his car.
"Let's go." she said and grabbed her keys from the counter. "I cannot stand another week of Sideswipe's teasing me if we don't get it running today."