"Ah Nate you came."
"I'm here." Nate agreed looking up from his whiskey.
"Very good." The tall man slim man with dark black hair said as he took a seat at the table with Nate two men standing behind him and Nate could see they were both well-armed.
"So what now?"
"Now, well now Nate we are going to have a little talk and then we are going to do some business together."
"Well Nate as I see it you owe me, at least three years of your life, that of course includes interest, I want that paid back, you will be a great asset to my organisation, and I have a lot of work to do to rebuild what you took. If of course you refuse then we will let the cards fall as they may."
"The deal stands, I will not in any way interfere with your wife, or your team you have my word. I may be a lot of things Nate, but I am a man of my word, I am sure that Eliot has told you that. If you honour your side, I will honour mine."
"Then let's talk." Nate said downing the last of the whiskey in his glass and looking at the man expectantly.
"I have a car waiting, shall we go?" The man said as he stood and waited for Nate. "Don't look so glum Nate, this is going to be fun." He laughed and then showed Nate to walk in front of him flanked by his two men and they exited the bar and made their way to the waiting car.
Three years later Sophie walked into her house after a long day at the theatre and stopped dead in her tracks as she closed the door.
"Oh my God." She blurted out staring at him. He looked different, he had gone slightly grey, was thinner and somehow he held himself differently, as if he were expecting trouble at any minute.
"I know this is a shock and I will go if that is what you want, but I had to see you."
"You…what…how…where the hell have you been?" She asked not moving further into the room. She was not sure if she was hallucinating or not, it had been three years and although they had all searched for him none of them had found even a small clue of where the man was or what he was doing.
"It's a long story." He said and she thought his voice was harder, his tone darker and although she could see the love in his eyes, they looked colder to her. She could read people and he read like somebody who was well acquainted with death and destruction, somebody she would usually stay far away from.
"It's been three years."
"I know and like I said I am gone if that is what you want." Nate said not moving towards her although all he wanted to do was take her in his arms and hold her tight. "I…I can't undo what I did Sophie, and I am not here because I thought I could just pick up where I left off, I just, well I just needed to see you."
"You…needed to see me…you left me…you asked me to marry you and you left me…do you have any idea what that did to me…what that did to them?" She hissed out at him her anger suddenly rising in her.
"I know. I know you are angry, and I don't blame you."
"YOU…don't blame…ME…?" She repeated and he could hear the anger in her voice.
"I think I should go."
"Oh no you don't Nate." Sophie said locking eyes with him. "You are going to stay here and tell me just what the hell you were thinking and where the hell you have been." She said suddenly not wanting him to leave. She had dreamed about this day, when they found him, when he came back and now it was here and she was overwhelmed with feelings, she did not want him to leave because she might never see him again and she needed to know why, she needed to understand. "You owe me that, you can't just be here, standing here three years later…we have been looking for you, searching for you all this time, what you did…what you did…you nearly broke us, and I want to know why, and why are you back, why now?"
"I did what I had to do." He said his voice hard, harder than he wanted it to sound. "Now it is done and I…I wanted to see you, to say how sorry I was." Nate said softly.
"How sorry you were." Sophie asked raising her eyebrows at him her eyes now blazing with anger. "How SORRY you were?" She said again and she could hardly contain the anger, bitterness and resentment that flowed through her at what he had done to her, to his family.
She walked forward and stood directly in front of him looking at him closely then her hand flew out and she slapped him hard. He did not flinch as she did but just kept staring at her. Then she leaned forward and kissed him gently, he did not respond, and she deepened the kiss. He felt the emotions well in him and snug his arms around her pulling her to him and returned the kiss passionately. Then she pulled away from him and walked to the dining table and sat down as he turned to watch her.
"So make me understand Nate." She said and he nodded taking a seat opposite her.
"You were in danger, you and them, if I had not done what needed to be done he would have killed you all. So I made a deal." Nate said holding her gaze.
"Who is he? What deal?"
"Oh no Nate, no you are going to tell me everything, everything you hear me, you are going to tell me who this 'HE' is and what you have been doing for three years, what the deal was. You owe that to me Nate."
Nate stared at her and nodded, he knew that he would have to explain if he came back but he had to, he had to see her again, he had missed her, missed them. Besides if he was going to keep on keeping them safe he had to do this no matter how much it hurt him or them. He had to finish the job, he was going to kill the man, but that would take time and he would have to stay working for him to do that and that goal came second to the mission he was now on. The man thought he had changed him, made him into somebody else, and he had in many ways, so he had given him this job and he had taken it, it was going to be tricky to play it just right, but he knew he could and then he would be really free of him, or he would be dead.
"Talk to me Nate." She said breaking into his thoughts.
"Where are they?" He asked.
"On a job." She replied and he could see his brows knot together and she knew he could still read her, especially when she was lying. "They will be here for dinner, but you knew that didn't you?"
"I need to see them too." He said simply. "Then I will explain." He said holding her gaze.
They fell silent, with Sophie studying him, he looked older and somehow colder to her. She had no idea where he had been and what he had been doing but she sensed it was not something he would normally do, it had changed him, it had made him hard and cold and…She closed her eyes and thought he looked dangerous, she had never thought of Nate that way before, he had always been dangerous in his own way, but now she sensed he was capable of physical violence and that scared the hell out of her.
She met his gaze and saw the love, the regret, the sorrow and the emotional pain play across his feature and in his eyes before looking away, standing she turned her back on him walking to pour herself a glass of wine. She stood with her back to him and took a deep breath, whatever was coming she was not going to like it, that she was sure of, then she turned and took a seat again as they both waited in silence for the rest of the team to arrive.