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The Estate

Chapter Text

The Bar

. . .

The summer breeze blew through her long blonde hair as Lucy Heartfilia leaned against the hood of her little red convertible.  The waters sparkled in the sun’s rays and for the first time in a long time, Lucy let out a sigh and smiled.  Leaning back, she stretched her arms over her head, her fingers touching the windshield.  “For the first time in a long time I think something might actually work,” she said aloud to no one in particular.

A puffy white cloud passed overhead and the blonde placed an arm over her eyes to block out some of the sun. She thought about what she wanted to do with her last day of freedom.  “Mr. Wills said I need to be at the estate by two p.m.  Which means I can stay out this evening and still have plenty of time to spare,”she reasoned with herself internally.

Lucy had always been a planner.  Even when she was a child, she’d written herself schedules, lists and daily tasks to keep herself organized.  And while it had become a bit more difficult to control every aspect of her life as an adult, that didn’t stop her from trying.

Sitting back up, she took another deep breath of the salty air before jumping off the hood of the car and hopping over the driver side door.  Starting up the little Italian car, she placed it in first gear before zooming off towards her hotel, her hair blowing wildly around her face.

A few miles of winding roads found her at the little white cottage.  It wasn’t a hotel as much as it was a toned down version of a bed and breakfast.  This area of the bay wasn’t built up much and besides the extraordinarily expensive resort in town and a heaping of equally upscale B&B’s, Lucy was thankful to have found something within her budget.

Hoping back over the driver side door, she walked around the car to grab the small suitcase that had been her traveling companion.  The little cottage was picturesque, with bright flowers lining large stepping stones up to the wrap around porch.  The steps creaked slightly under her weight as she walked up to the front door, the little place clearly showing its age.

Grabbing the small brass knocker, Lucy tapped it three times and waited patiently for her host. “Coming!” an elderly voice sounded from behind the door.  “You must be Lucy,” the woman said as she welcomed the blonde inside.

“Yes, thank you ma’am,” Lucy responded politely.

The woman matched her house perfectly.  Her gray hair was tied back in a loose bun atop her head with not a hair out of place. She wore a delicate blouse and loose skirt and a pair of sneakers and had obviously lost a few inches over the course of her life.  Lucy imagined she must have been a true beauty when she was younger.  The house itself was the perfect beach cottage, with sea shells and little knick knacks strategically placed throughout the entranceway.

“Did you make it out of the city okay?” the woman asked as she led Lucy through a tour of the home.

“I hit a bit of traffic but you know what the city is like,” Lucy laughed.

“Thankfully, it’s been over a decade since I’ve had to go there,” the woman replied.

“I look forward to the time I can say that!” Lucy responded and the two women shared a smile.

The woman led Lucy down a few steps before handing her a key and opening the door.  “Here is the attached suite where you’ll be staying,” the woman said, ushering Lucy through the door.  “The bathroom’s just through there,” she said, pointing at a little door to the corner of the room.  “And that door there is the private entrance if you need to come back or leave after hours.”

“Thank you,” Lucy said with another smile as she placed her suitcase onto the bed.  “It looks wonderful!  I only wish it were for more than one night!”

“Come back and see me any time.  Guest or not, you’re a part of the family now,” she said and Lucy couldn’t help the warm feeling that sprung up in her heart.

“That means a lot to me, thank you.”  The woman nodded and turned to exit but Lucy stopped her.  “I was hoping to go out and explore a little tonight.  Do you have any suggestions on where I could go that’s in walking distance?”  Lucy didn’t expect there to be a large uber presence in the area and she did want to have a few drinks on her last night of freedom.

“The resort area is pretty much the only commercial area around,” the woman explained.  “It’s about a three block’s walk.  Most people your age go to the restaurant there. They’ve got a bar and some sort of dance club on the upper level that starts up after my bedtime.”

Lucy giggled lightly as the woman winked at her.  “Thanks for the info.  I’ll have to check it out.”

“Just remember if you come back late, that key will only work on the side entrance.”

“Got it, thank you!” Lucy replied.

“Well, let me know if you need anything else.  I’ll let you get settled in,” the woman said with a waive as she closed the door.

As soon as the door clicked shut, Lucy flopped down on the bed, the springs beneath her creaking in agitation.  She squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to let her anxiety about her new job get the better of her.  “This is a new start.  I’m not going to let old things hold me back anymore,”she promised herself.

Shaking her head she rolled over and unzipped her suitcase.  Rummaging through her few bits of clothing, she found the perfect outfit for the evening.  She laid it out on the bed before heading into the bathroom to take a quick shower. As much as she loved her little alfa romeo, driving with the top down wasn’t the best for keeping one’s hair in order.

Within an hour she was dressed and ready to hit the town.  She twirled in front of the dresser mirror and smiled at her reflection. It had been a long time since she felt this good.  She loved this mini dress and so rarely had a place to wear it but it was perfect for tonight.  The polka dot pattern coupled with its long sleeves made up for the fact that it cut quite low in the front and quite high on her legs.  She paired it with leather strappy sandals and a pop of red lipstick before pulling her long hair into a messy bun on top of her head.

She stuffed some cash, her phone and the little key ring into her cross body bag before looping it over her arm and heading out for her last night of freedom.  Her walk into town was mostly deserted in the beginning but as she got closer, more and more people began to appear until finally she was in the center of everything.  The resort overlooked the bay and restaurants and boutique shops crowded the two street blocks that made up this area’s commercial district.

Lucy took her time to wander into a few stores to look through their trinkets.  But just as she was about to walk into the last shop, her stomach growled, reminding her that she had neglected it for some time.  Looking around, most of the restaurants seemed fairly busy—and expensive.  She cringed as she looked at a few of the menus.  “Fifteen dollars for a side salad? Yikes,”she thought internally. It must have been later than she expected, because she could hear music pouring out of the resort nearby.

“Well, grams did mention that the resort bar was where people my age went.  Maybe the food is more reasonably priced there,”Lucy reasoned with herself as she walked towards the music.  When she reached the downstairs bar, she looked at the menu incased in glass outside and smiled.  “Eight dollar drinks and food during happy hour. Score!”she said as she entered through revolving doors and took a seat at the bar.

The place was busy but not so busy that it was hectic.  Most of the people sitting at the bar had their eyes glued to the televisions. Lucy looked up to see the America’s Cup race.  The blonde chuckled a little at how fitting it was that everyone here was watching yachting.  It just kind of fit.

The bartender approached and Lucy ordered something to eat and a glass of white wine to match.   As she waited for her food, she turned around in her chair to watch the bustle of people moving about outside.  A few people looked at her oddly, likely not able to understand why she wasn’t watching the race but she didn’t care. She wanted to get the full of experience of this place tonight, not watch television; she could do that any night.

The low hum of an engine caught her attention and her eyes widened as a black Alfa Romeo 8C pulled up in front of the resort.  She watched with rapt attention as the car’s owner stepped out of the driver’s seat.  Lucy tried to suppress a moan as she got a good look at the man.  He was exactly her type: tall, muscled, with a face that looked like it scowled often. His dirty blond hair was faded on the sides with the top longer and slicked to the side.  He was a beautiful specimen.

One of the attendants came running up but the man shook his head before throwing the keys to another valet that was standing a few feet back.  Lucy could hear the last few words the man said as he made his way through the rotating door.  “You’re the only one I trust with her, Michael.”  His voice was a deep baritone and sent shivers through Lucy’s entire body. The attendant Michael raised a hand up in a mock salute and the man chuckled as he entered the room.

“Your drink, ma’am,” the bartender said, startling her out of her ogling.  She turned around, cheeks red and thanked the man before taking a long sip.  The bartender looked at her with a bit of a furrowed brow.  Lucy knew he was likely sizing her up to be a problem but she couldn’t be bothered with that right now.

“Gary, good to see you,” the deep voice sounded behind her and she kept her eyes fixed on the television, even though she so desperately wanted to look at the man that was presently coming up behind her.

“Wasn’t expecting to see you here,” the bartender responded, coming over to shake the man’s hand.

“Got some business to handle tomorrow,” his voice washed over Lucy from just to the right of her.

“Four roses?” the bartender asked and the man nodded.  He stayed standing, waiting for his drink and Lucy finally couldn’t resist the urge any longer.

“Were you driving an 8C?” she all but blurted out.

The man turned to look at her with wide eyes.  She met his gaze briefly before having to break eye contact; his stare too heavy for her to meet for long.  It was as if the man was sizing her up before deciding to respond.  Finally he spoke, “Not many people would know that,” he said simply, answering the question by not answering it.

“I’ve got one of my own is all,” Lucy said a little sheepishly.  One of the man’s eyebrows lifted and Lucy suddenly realized she needed to clarify.  “An Alfa Romeo,” she said.  “Not an 8C,” she said with a small chuckle.

“Dammit, I am totally messing this up,”she internally chided herself.  She hated herself for being so awkward right now.  This was supposed to be her night and here she was making a fool of herself to the most gorgeous man she had ever seen.

The man shrugged, his black tee stretching across his muscled shoulders.  “Considering that there were only ninety shipped to the US total, it’s possible,” he paused.  “Just improbable.”

Lucy smiled a fake smile. “Sorry, just had to ask is all,” she said before turning back to take a drink of her wine.

She could feel the eyes of the man still on her and she kept her gaze forward, pretending to ignore his intense stare.  Thankfully, the bartender returned with his drink and her food to break up the awkward silence. 

Lucy began to idly munch the vegetables on her hummus plate, keeping her mouth shut for fear of humiliating herself again.  The man took a seat next to her at the bar, turning to face her, his long legs spread on either side of her body the only way that he fit in the small space. “Question for you,” he said and Lucy had no choice but to turn and face him.

He was so much closer to her now.  She could smell his cologne and it had her brain short-circuiting.  “Come on, Lucy.  Concentrate.”  She looked up into his eyes and immediately became distracted by their interesting pale blue, almost gray color.  “Question for you,” he said but someone calling out to him from the other side of the room had him turning towards the sound.

Lucy looked herself to see an older man in a suit waiving at him from across the lobby.  “Excuse me,” he said, leaving his seat abruptly, taking his drink with him and heading towards the new arrival.

Lucy let out a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding in before taking another long drink to finish her glass of wine.  “Another?” the bartender said as he noticed her set down the empty glass.

“Please,” she said with a smile. 

The bartender gave her a knowing look.  “He has that effect on everyone,” he said.  “If you hang around here long enough, you’ll eventually get used to his intensity.”

“Who is he?” Lucy asked before shoving a bit of pita and hummus into her mouth.

“That’s Laxus Dreyar.” 

END CHAPTER 1

Hello lovers!

This one should be fun.  Modern AU.  Mixing in bits and pieces of my own life in here so if you don’t like something, blame the universe cause that’s what it dished out to me.

Hope you enjoy this new adventure. This one’s been bugging in my head for a long time and I’ve tried starting it multiple times and it never worked right.  But tonight it just flowed so hopefully that keeps up!

Love you all! Oh, and don’t worry. This is me writing.  So it will have all. the. fun. *wink

Xoxo

Mus

Chapter Text

The Club

. . .

The bartender gave her a knowing look.  “He has that effect on everyone,” he said.  “If you hang around here long enough, you’ll eventually get used to his intensity.”

“Who is he?” Lucy asked before shoving a bit of pita and hummus into her mouth.

“That’s Laxus Dreyar.” 

. . .

The bartender walked off to fill another order as Lucy said the name over in her head.  “Laxus Dreyar,”she repeated, trying to figure out why it sounded vaguely familiar. For the life of her, she couldn’t place it.  “If he’s driving an 8C, he’s probably loaded.  I probably just read about him in the newspaper or something,”she reasoned to herself, finishing the food in front of her.

She turned back around to survey the lobby and street through the big glass windows again.  A few more tilts back of her head had her finishing her second glass of wine and feeling thankfully more relaxed.

She watched out of the corner of her eye as Mr. Dreyar and the suited man walked into what Lucy presumed to be a side conference room.  As soon as he left the space, she felt like some weight had been lifted off of her. Turning around, she paid her bill before asking the bartender where the nightclub the old woman had told her about was.

“Follow those stairs to the second level.  You’ll see it on your right hand side,” the man said, pointing to a set of stairs on the other side of the lobby.

“Thanks!” Lucy said as she turned to follow his directions.  Determined to salvage her evening, the blonde climbed the stairs, the music from the club becoming louder and louder until she finally reached the small line to enter the club.  Upon showing the bouncer her ID, he stamped her hand with a blacklight stamp and waived her inside.

The room was dark and Lucy was immediately surrounded by moving bodies as the entrance led right onto the dance floor.  She managed to push her way through the crowd to find a seat at the circular bar that was surrounded by high tops on the lower level and a raised VIP section above that.

“Vodka sour,” she shouted to the bartender above the din of the music.  The man took a little flashlight out of his back pocket, waved it at her wrist to see the stamp before nodding and grabbing ingredients for her drink.  He exchanged the drink for a ten-dollar bill and Lucy turned back around to survey the crowd.

She didn’t particularly recognize the music that was playing but she somewhat expected that, given how long it had been since she’d last been to one of these places.  The people surrounding her varied in age, but the older woman had been right, most of them were around her age, if just younger in maturity level.

Looking out at the dance floor she couldn’t help but chuckle into her drink as she watched one man doing what could only be classified as jazzercise.  The reaction from the people around him was mixed, with some looking at him in confusion and the others just giving him his space and continuing to move to the music themselves.

People shifting on the dance floor caught Lucy’s attention.  Looking over she noticed dirty blond hair making its way through the crowd.  Her eyes widened and she turned back around to face the center of the bar before tipping her head back to gulp down the rest of her third drink for the evening. She knew his eyes were on her; somehow she could feel it, like an itch between her shoulder blades.

The feeling passed and she relaxed as the liquor settled into her system nicely.  Feeling a bit more relaxed, she tapped her glass for a refill before chancing a look over her shoulder to see where Mr. 8C had gone. She noticed him a few feet away, talking to the bouncer that was standing in front of the VIP section.  He looked absolutely gorgeous in his fitted v-neck black tee and dark jeans.

Some very uncouth thoughts flashed in Lucy’s brain about just what she would like to do with that man, preferably in his car and she couldn’t help but smile and shake her head. The bartender returned with her drink and she passed him another ten-dollar bill before taking the glass in one hand and pulling the cherry on top between her lips and into her mouth.

As her lips closed around the fruit, something caused her to look up and her gaze locked with Mr. Dreyar’s. The two stayed there, the din around them fading away as the intensity grew between them.  A blush dusted Lucy’s cheeks before she finally broke eye contact. Since the first moment she’d seen this man, he was threatening her sense of control.  It put her on edge, in a way that almost thrilled her as much as it frightened her.

Turning back to the bar, she tipped the drink back quickly, the warmth from the vodka hitting her quite suddenly before placing the glass down and hurrying towards the entrance. She made her way back towards where she had entered, pushing her way through the crowd as she went.  She could see that Mr. Dreyar had moved towards her location now, about to push his own way through the crowd.

When she finally reached her destination, the bouncer there shook his head.  “Exits on the other side, ma’am.”

“What?” Lucy huffed in disbelief.  The lights and music felt somewhat disorienting now and she turned around, trying to follow where the bouncer was pointing.  She started pushing people out of the way as she tried to make her way to the exit.  She needed air, she needed space and she needed Mr. Dreyar to stop following her so she could think.  Lucy was certain she wouldn’t be able to speak to him intelligently and she really didn’t want to embarrass herself again.

She managed to make it through the crowd, avoiding the hunter as if she were some prey and crossed the room quickly to reach the set of stairs down to the lobby.  As soon as she escaped the din from above, she felt so much better.  She inhaled deeply as she took a seat at one of the tucked away armchairs, and froze as she heard a deep baritone voice behind her.

“Hey, wait up.”

She looked up to see Laxus Dreyar descending the staircase, heading straight towards her.  There was no way that she could run now; if she did it would be extremely rude.  Putting a smile on her face, she tried to rein back her thoughts about wrapping her legs around the man and waited for him to meet her at her location.

“Didn’t you hear me calling to you back there?” he asked, his voice deep and his eyes fixated just on her.

Lucy was finding it hard to breathe again and she internally berated herself for letting this man have such control over her.  “So what, he’s gorgeous.  There’s no reason I cannot pull it together to have a normal conversation with him,” she reasoned with herself.

“Sorry, I must have missed it,” she lied.

The man took a seat in the armchair next to her and narrowed his eyes slightly before saying, “Don’t try and bullshit a bullshitter.”

Lucy couldn’t help but smile and his mood seemed to lift slightly with hers.  Somehow, with the two of them alone like this, he didn’t seem as intimidating.  Her confidence grew as she began to feel more like herself.  “How can I be of service?” she asked, immediately regretting her choice of words because her brain started running clips of her on her knees in front of the man.  She knew she was likely blushing but she tried to recover by looking down and swiping a piece of stray hair back into her bun.

The man considered the woman in front of him.  He’d been irritated that their meeting earlier had been interrupted, and he had been so intent on getting back to her, that he’d forgotten what exactly he had been going to ask her earlier.

Her big brown eyes finally met his and he saw a fierceness in them that he rarely saw in the women he encountered.  She was clearly not a local, perhaps a tourist?  Either way, he would only be in town for a few weeks at the most before returning to the city.

Lucy met the man’s gaze this time, the alcohol in her system bolstering her courage.  In a bold move, she reached her hand up to brush back a piece of his hair that had fallen down.  Up close to him like this she noticed the thinnest of scars traveling down the right side of his face.  Her fingers traced it gently and the man’s gaze on her intensified.

He waited for her to ask about it, it was usually the first thing women wanted to know about him if they didn’t already know his position.  How did he get it?  Did it still hurt?  How old was he?  He stuck to the same bullshit story every time they asked.  Laxus was a private person and he wasn’t about to share that specific memory with anybody.

But this girl surprised him. She pulled her hand back, letting it rest on his knee, her thumb rubbing a lazy circle against the denim.  Her attitude had flipped from flustered and embarrassed before to a cool sense of confidence now.  She continued to meet his gaze, but didn’t say a thing about his scar, instead waiting for him to answer her initial question.

He made up his mind at that moment; he wanted this woman and by the way she was looking at him, and had been looking at him all night, she wanted him too.  “I just wanted to introduce myself,” he said, still holding her gaze.  “Laxus Dreyar,” he said, placing his hand atop hers.

“Lucy Everheart,” she said, purposefully scrambling her last name.

 “Well, Ms. Everheart,” he said in his deep baritone, his own hand rubbing circles against her wrist and causing her to shiver slightly.  “Do you have any plans this evening?”

Lucy knew immediately what this man wanted from her with that question.  Perhaps it had been what he had meant to propose to her when he first sat next to her at the bar.  The more logical side of her began to run through all of the bad scenarios that could result, starting at most severe with murder and working its way down to him being a disappointment in bed.  But the other side, the side that had given her the courage to start this new life, the side that had given her the courage to speak to him in the first place, and incidentally, the side that was currently benefiting from a few drinks, whispered, “just let go.  No one will ever know.”

Lucy looked him over. His gaze was still fixated on her. Of all the men she had met, Laxus Dreyar looked like he would be incredibly discrete.  Having made up her mind, she cocked her head to one side, cast him a small smile and replied, “I’m wide open.”

The tension increased between them and it felt like ages as she waited for his reply.  “You’re not from here, are you?” he asked her.

He needed this last answer before making up his own mind on how this evening was going to play out. Laxus couldn’t deny wanting this woman more than he’d care to admit, but he wasn’t about to jeopardize his ability to get away from the city if things with her went sour.  If she said she was moving to the area or something like that, he’d have to cut his losses.

Lucy shook her head. “No,” she replied simply, deciding not to exchange any further details.  She didn’t want details about his life either.  The only thing Lucy truly wanted from this man was the release she knew he could give her.

His lips lifted.  Not into a smile; this man didn’t look like he did that often, but there was a look of contentment on his face.  He closed his eyes briefly, her answer like music to his ears.  He stood, keeping his hand wrapped around hers.  “Can I give you a tour?” he asked smoothly.

Lucy nodded.  “I’d love that.” She stood, his hand leading her towards the resort’s exit through the rotating doors.

Laxus turned towards the valet kiosk.  “Where’s Michael?” he asked the attendant on duty.

The youth cowered a bit at his commanding tone.  “He’s gone for the evening,” the teenager responded, his voice cracking just the slightest.  Lucy looked up to see a scowl on Laxus’ face and she held back a smile; it really did fit him, just as she had guessed.  “I’d be happy to get the car for you, Sir,” the attendant continued, obviously trying his best.

Laxus turned, clapping the kid on the shoulder in a friendly gesture.  The boy flinched anyways.  “No offense, but Michael’s the only one I trust with my cars.  Space number?” Laxus asked, holding his hand out for the key.

“Twenty seven,” the valet responded, placing the key in his palm.

“Be right back,” Laxus said, almost to both of them, as he jogged towards the car.

The teenager looked at Lucy and she shook her head.  “Don’t ask me,” she replied quickly, getting ahead of the question.  “No clue why Michael’s so special.”  The boy sighed, a bit defeated.  “I wouldn’t worry about it,” Lucy said, trying to cheer him up. He smiled at her before both of them were startled by the sound of an engine starting.

Lucy couldn’t help but smile.  Alfas were so flashy.  Laxus pulled the car around, this time with the top down, and put it in park before getting out to open the door for Lucy.   As she got into the car, she noticed him palm the kid a twenty-dollar bill.

Laxus closed the car door behind his date and walked around the back.  He had to admit that he loved the way the blonde looked in his car. Opening the driver side, he climbed in himself before closing it.

“I love how your driver side door opens and closes,” she said over the rumble of the engine.

Laxus looked at her in confusion.  She laughed. “My alfa’s from the eighties. Door handle stripped years ago.  I have to hope over the side to get in and out.”

The man’s eyebrows lifted slightly before he buckled his seatbelt.  Lucy did the same and he shook his head.  “I’m fairly certain that means your car isn’t road legal.”

“Oo.  That just makes it sound like I drive a test car,” Lucy giggled.

In what Lucy presumed was an uncharacteristic move for the man, he winked at her before turning his attention to the road.

END CHAPTER 2

. . .

Hello lovers!

Hope you are liking this so far! A lot of elements are from my own life. Which ones, you ask? Okay, if you insist on knowing:

-was just up visiting a bay town resort very recently, which is what basically gave me the inspiration for the setting.

-have owned an alfa romeo which yes had door handle problems. *Sniff* I did sell her after college which I regret now but life is long, plenty of time to get another.

-I used to work at a nightclub and used that to model the club.

-Also this version of Laxus is basically my husband.

As they say, write what you know!

Chapter Text

The Table

. . .

In what Lucy presumed was an uncharacteristic move for the man, he winked at her before turning his attention to the road.

. . .

Laxus put the car in drive and pulled away from the resort quickly.  The night air felt amazing on Lucy’s skin and she breathed it in as they drove down the street.  There was a fair amount of people out at this time of night so it took them some time to get out of the commercial area.

Lucy was tempted to ask him where they were going but she resisted.  Tonight was all about learning to let go and just let things happen. For years, she always had to be the one in control, always had to be the one making decisions.  For just one night, she’d give that power to someone else. 

She turned to look at the man next to her.  He’d been silent this whole time but she didn’t mind that.  Besides, it was a comfortable silence and it seemed to fit his personality.  He caught her eye as they stopped at a light and turned to hold her gaze.  She lifted the corner of her lips to give him a small smile.  He didn’t smile back but she could see the desire for her in his eyes.

Her body began to heat up involuntarily and she found herself breaking eye contact.  The light turned green above them and Lucy felt herself shift back in the seat as he took off down the open stretch of road.  She laughed as he stretched each gear change out, letting the car’s engine growl before each shift.  Looking out her side of the car, she could see the bay as they followed a somewhat winding road along the shore, the car handling the twists and turns beautifully.

He turned off the main street and parked the car in the small lot.  As the car’s lights dimmed, Lucy looked up.  In the black of the night, she could see the stars so brilliantly. Laxus came around to her side to open the door for her.  “Come on,” he said, his baritone voice soft as he offered her a hand.

“You know,” she said placed her hand in his.  “Some women might think you were trying to kidnap them, taking them out into the wilderness like this.”

Laxus pulled on her hand with a bit more strength than she was expecting and she went tumbling into his chest.  He caught her, his chest heaving with the smallest of chuckles as he closed the door behind her.  “Kidnapping’s not really my thing,” still hugging her tightly with one arm.  “I prefer a woman’s moans over screams.” Lucy shivered at his words.  “Come on,” he said, untangling himself from her but still holding onto her hand gently.  “I want to show you something.”

He pulled a small flashlight out of his back pocket and guided their steps along a small path.  Lucy could smell the salt air nearby, but wasn’t exactly sure whether they were close to the bay or not.  Suddenly, they broke through the tree line, the water lapping gently against the shore a few feet from where they stood.

“Over here.”  Laxus led her to a lone covered shelter with an old picnic table underneath.  He took a seat on the table, his feet resting on the bench and helped Lucy up as she followed his lead.  The two sat in silence as they looked out over the water.  The stars reflected off the bay beautifully, almost making it look like there were two night skies.

“This has always been a favorite place of mine,” Laxus admitted.  “No one ever comes out here.”  He was surprised at himself for bringing the woman here.  He never usually liked to share intimate things about himself with others, but for some reason, he’d found himself driving to this spot.

She couldn’t quite figure the man out.  He had pursued her throughout the evening and now had brought her to a favorite place of his, yet he hadn’t asked her anything about herself or what brought her here.  His demeanor towards her lacked warmth but wasn’t cold.  Her hand moved over to his leg gingerly, grazing his thigh, waiting for his reaction.  ‘It’s beautiful,” Lucy breathed out. 

Laxus turned to look at her, his hand involuntarily moving to cup her face gently.  He normally wouldn’t have made such a bold move so quickly, but he found he had very little control when it came to this woman. “Almost as beautiful as you.”

Had anyone else said it, the line would have sounded corny.  But coming from him, it had her instantly aroused.  Laxus must have caught on, because he moved forward, tugging gently on her neck, encouraging her to meet him in the middle.  His lips finally pressed against hers and Lucy couldn’t help but moan in response.

The man must have taken that as a sign because he moved closer to her before wrapping an arm around her body, hugging her to his form.  She gasped as his one hand traveled south to squeeze her ass and he used the opportunity to push his tongue into her mouth.

He kissed her with skill, tangling his tongue around hers as she let another moan of pleasure escape. His other hand left her face to travel down slowly, first to her neck, then her collarbone before finally grazing over her breasts with the softest of touches.

He squeezed the mound gently, as if testing her response.  Lucy couldn’t help but pull back from their kiss to gasp, “God yes.” Laxus lifted his lips in a bit of a smug smile, the knowledge that he could so easily get to this woman a huge turn on for him, as well.  His lips moved to her neck where he began to suckle the skin there.

Lucy knew she should try and stop him, but it felt too good to resist.  Suddenly, she felt herself being moved as he lifted her up so that she was now facing him, straddling his lap.  With her legs spread, her skirt lifted so that her lace-covered core could be seen pressing against his jeans.

She moved back in to kiss him, her own hands wrapping around his neck as she rocked her hips against him. He growled in response, the sound causing heat to instantly pool between Lucy’s legs.  “Fuck, your body,” he groaned, his words trailing off as Lucy continued to move against him.

His hands gripped the bottom of her dress, lifting it over her head.  Lucy raised her arms so he could remove it, pulling her hair out of its bun in the process.  Her nipples pebbled slightly at being exposed to the night air and Laxus moved in to capture one with his mouth.  His tongue drew tight circles around the peak as Lucy threw her head back with a moan. Strong fingers twisted into her hair, pulling on it gently.  The pinpricks against her scalp sent shivers straight to her core as she cursed from the pleasure of it all.

Laxus pulled a bit harder, moving the woman in his arms like a doll.  She arched her back further to accommodate his demands and he smirked as her chest pushed out.  Letting go of her hair, she nearly fell backwards but his strong arm wrapped around her as he continued to explore her breasts with his tongue.

Tired of being the only one lacking clothes, Lucy began to tug at his black tee.  Laxus pulled back briefly enough to allow her to pull it up and over his head.  She sighed, her hands instantly running along the ridges of his sculpted body.  A swirling tribal tattoo graced his right pectoral and shoulder.  As she moved her hands over his body, she noticed several scars marred his skin. 

Whatever thoughts she had blanked as Laxus’ fingers moved up her spread thigh to touch her most sensitive area.  “Fuck,” she breathed out as his fingers danced atop her panties.

“You like that?” he said in a hushed voice as his thumb started to press against her clit.

“God yes,” she moaned, trying to push her body into his touch.

“You want more, don’t you?” his voice a little louder, turning Lucy on that much more.  She moaned in response. 

His fingers reached underneath the lace, grazing her dripping folds just barely.  Suddenly, his hand jerked and the lace pulled against her before splitting into two.  Lucy gasped in shock but quickly found herself out of breath as his fingers moved against her apex.  “So fucking wet,” he whispered.

Slowly, one digit began to circle her entrance before slipping inside.  Lucy moaned in response.  His fingers pulled back slightly and she whimpered as she tried to press her core back into his touch.  “Do you like it when I stir up your wet cunt?” he asked her, his voice deep, his tone demanding.

Lucy’s core clenched involuntarily at the crudeness of his words.  She’d never known herself to be turned on by this type of thing.  Then again, she’d never known herself to be this turned on by any of her previous lovers ever.

“I want your answer,” his voice forceful.

“Yes,” Lucy managed to groan.

“Yes, what?”  A second finger slipped inside, stretching her channel and making her breathing falter.

“I like your fingers in my cunt,” she whispered.

A satisfied smirk rested on the man’s face before he spoke.  “Good,” he said, his tone even.  His fingers withdrew and Lucy felt herself being lifted into the air as he stood. He brought her to the end of the table and laid her down.  Her feet touched the tabletop as he stood between her legs.  The site of him standing there, his sculpted body on display and his eyes heavy with desire, had Lucy about ready to climax.

“Fuck, I can’t wait to taste you,” he said before kneeling down before her.

She could feel his hot breath against her skin first before he dragged his warm tongue the entire length of her slit.  “Fuck,” she moaned, her hands moving to her hold her breasts and her head falling back.

Laxus didn’t come up for air.  Instead he worked her into a frenzy, alternating between licking, sucking, swirling and biting.  His digits reentered her and within two strokes, she came.  Throwing her head back, the sounds of passion tumbled out of her mouth as warmth spread through her body like crashing waves.

Laxus groaned at the sight of the woman coming undone before him.  She laid there panting, her chest heaving and her breasts moving slightly with each breath.  Laxus didn’t say anything.  Instead, he climbed up onto the table to take a seat.  “Come here,” he directed and she complied.  His legs were spread wide and she sat on the bench between them.

Laxus leaned back with his hands on the table and Lucy knew what it was he wanted of her.  She reached forward and within seconds, had the man free from the confines of his dark jeans.  His cock was beautiful, with a thick vein running down its length.  It felt heavy in her hand and she didn’t hesitate to start pumping it.

Laxus watched her with rapt attention as she handled his tool.  He reached his hand forward to grab her chin gently.  Her movements faltered and she brought her chin up just the slightest bit.  His thumb toyed with her bottom lip.  “These lips are going to look amazing around my cock.”

Heat pooled in Lucy’s core and she rubbed her legs together involuntarily at his words.  His hand released her before resting on her neck and pushing her forward.  She opened her mouth to accommodate his size and took him in.  He groaned, his head dropping back as she moved her tongue against his shaft.

The sight of those pouty pink lips stretched wide and sliding up and down his member had Laxus ready to come sooner than he’d like.  He reached a hand down to fondle one of her bountiful breasts, the nipple stiff between his fingers.  The woman began to take him in deeper and he couldn’t help the praises that started tumbling out of his mouth.

“Fuck that feels good,” he groaned as her tongue circled his crown before she took his entire length back into her mouth.  At the deepest part, Lucy moaned, the vibrations shooting through his length and he came with a roar.  His fingers tangled in her hair as his cock pulsed inside her mouth.  Lucy drank him down before sucking his rod clean as she lifted her head back up.

Lucy tucked him back inside his boxers, leaving his jeans still unzipped.  She grabbed her dress next to her and threw it on over her head.  Lucy stood and pulled her broken panties off her body and her eyes widened as Laxus held his hand out for the material.

“I’ll take that,” he said, his deep voice even and still an incredible turn on.  Lucy bit her lower lip but complied, handing the black lace over to the man.  He shifted slightly to push the panties into his back pocket before laying down on the table, his breathing still somewhat heavy.  Lucy laid beside him, the two separated, neither really needing nor wanting any intimacy from the other.   

Against his better judgment, Laxus found himself asking, “Are you free tomorrow?”

Lucy looked up at the stars and considered her answer.  Tonight had been amazing and while she would have loved to experience everything this man had to offer, she did not want to complicate her life right now.  Laxus seemed like he was a known figure in the area too.  It would be better if they just kept things to tonight.

“Sorry, no,” she said, trying not to sound dismissive.

Laxus was a little shocked at her answer but understood it.  He absolutely did not want to be getting involved with a woman right now anyways with everything he had going on in his life.  Maybe their paths would cross again some time later and they could finish what they started then.

The two laid in easy silence, just staring up at the bright stars in the sky.  When a cloud passed overhead, blocking their view, Laxus turned to look at the girl.  “Can I drop you back to your place?” he asked.  Lucy turned and met his gaze with a smile and a nod.

Laxus got up from the table first.  Picking his shirt up from the other side he threw it over his head as Lucy watched with sadness as his body was covered up.  He gave her a knowing smirk before holding his hand out.  She took it and he pulled, lifting her from the table to standing.

Lucy gave one final look back at the picnic area before following the man through the tree line back to the car.  Laxus knew her B&B so she didn’t need to give him directions.  The ride back was quiet but not in an uncomfortable way.

When they finally reached their destination, Laxus put the car in park and turned to consider the woman next to him.  He didn’t say anything, instead his hand came around the back of her neck as he gently guided her towards his lips for one last kiss.

The contact was gentle, as almost if to say thank you for the evening and it left Lucy weak-kneed. Getting out of the car, she closed the door gently before leaning over the side.  “Thanks, Laxus.  I had fun,” she said with a smile.

In what she knew was a rare sight, his lips lifted slightly at her words before responding, “I’m glad. Goodnight, Lucy.”

“Night,” she replied back before turning to head towards the side entrance to the house.  There was no further discussion of seeing each other again and no offer to exchange numbers.  Both of them knew what the evening was and both of them were fine with it. She didn’t look back as he pulled out of the driveway.

As she opened the door to her room, she heard the roar of his engine as he sped off into the night. Pulling her clothes off, she all but passed out on the bed, feeling content and no longer nervous about her first day tomorrow.

END CHAPTER 3

. . .

I never know what to say after writing smut.  You’re welcome? That was like almost 3k words of it!

Chapter Text

The Estate

. . .

As she opened the door to her room, she heard the roar of his engine as he sped off into the night.  Pulling her clothes off, she all but passed out on the bed, feeling content and no longer nervous about her first day tomorrow.

. . .

“Come back anytime, my dear,” the older woman said as Lucy handed her the keys she had been given.

“Thank you, ma’am.  I had a lovely stay.”

The woman nodded. “Alright, off with you.  Don’t want to be late for your first day of work!”

Lucy smiled, nodded her head and descended the front steps to her car.  Opening the passenger door, she placed her luggage on the seat before ducking her head into the little car to unhook the convertible top.  Circling the car, she hopped over the driver side door and started up the engine.

She couldn’t help but giggle and pat the dashboard.  “It’s alright, babe.  You don’t have to be as big and mean sounding as that 8C.  I love you just as you are.”

With that, Lucy put the car into gear and pulled away from the little white cottage.  Thomas Wills had sent her an email she had printed with directions.  While her GPS would take her to the front gate of the estate, once inside, she’d need to know where to go.

As far as Lucy understood it, Tom was the executive assistant to whoever owned the sprawling estate, but was formally employed by Fairy Tail Realty, Inc.  Tom was the one to interview and hire her at the FTR city headquarters.  She liked him instantly.  He wasn’t overly tall but a fair height and seemed older than his age.  He wore glasses and a constant smile that seemed to affect others as much as herself.  If anybody were asked to describe him, they might say he was average. But once they met him, they would say he was so much more.

It took her about ten minutes traveling north to find the front gate.  She pulled her car slowly towards the structure.  It wasn’t what she had expected.  Two brick pillars were separated by a black wrought iron gate that split down the middle.  There was nothing particularly fancy or ornate about it.  Had she not been looking for it, she may have missed it.

The email instructed her to exit the vehicle and use the call pad on right left-hand column.  Tom said in the future she would be given a remote to open and close the gate, but she would unfortunately have to endure this inconvenience the first time.

Hopping over the side of her vehicle, she left the car engine on but in park.  Pressing the call box, she could hear a static sounding phone ring on the other side.

“Hello?” Tom’s voice responded through the box.

“Hello. This is Lucy,” the blonde answered.

“Glad you made it okay. One moment I’ll open up.  Come to the main house.  Keep driving straight until you see it; you can’t miss it.”

“Understood!” Lucy responded brightly before hurrying back into her car.

The gate split down the middle as promised.  Lucy drove through the gate slowly, looking at her surroundings as she went.  Large plowed fields with some heavy farm equipment were on her immediate left with ungroomed trees to her right.  As she drove further, she passed a normal sized home and slowed down, thinking that might be her destination before realizing that Tom had said the road would dead-end.  Looking past the house, she saw what she thought might be a horse stable and ring but she couldn’t be sure.

Another five minutes passed as she continued down the road, wondering how large this property possibly could be.  Finally, she crested a small hill and her destination came into clear view. Manicured lawns spread out before her along with a manmade lake with central fountain.  The house itself could be seen against the backdrop of the bay and to call it stately was an understatement.

Six large white columns graced the front entrance of the brick mansion along with two front balconies. A large set of stairs lead up to the oversized double oak front doors.   Lucy pulled her car to the front entrance, the little vehicle seeming even smaller compared to the three stories that rose above her.  She tried looking left and right but the house seemed to go on for an eternity in either direction.

She felt her stomach drop suddenly as she realized she would be responsible for managing the entire property: the fields, the horses, the who-knows-how-many-other-houses and everything else that she wasn’t aware of in this place.  She tried to calm herself but taking deep breaths and focusing on the ground in front of her.

Thankfully, her breathing started to even and as she heard Tom’s voice, she was able to turn to him with a smile.  “Ms. Heartfilia, it is so good to see you again,” the man said.  He was sporting a pair of khakis and a white polo shirt. Lucy surpressed a giggle, thinking he fittingly looked about ready to drive a golf cart.

“Hello!” Lucy responded brightly, Tom’s energy instantly putting her at ease.  “And please, call me Lucy.”  The two shook hands and Tom put his hands on his hips to look up at the structure before them.

“I know it seems like a lot, but I’m sure you can handle it,” Tom said.

Lucy couldn’t help but smile.  “I appreciate that,” she responded.

“Go ahead and drive around to the back parking lot.  I’ll meet you there,” Tom said as he headed up the main stairs.  Lucy nodded, jumping back into her car to park it where instructed.

As she rounded the rear of the house, the dwelling became even grander, if that were even possible. Rows and rows of windows lined the back of the home overlooking the bay along with two separate balconies off either wing of the home.  A large back porch followed by another large set of stairs ended with a large inground pool and spa.  Lucy could faintly see what looked like an oversize gazebo and attached poolhouse on the far side of the lot.

As she parked the car, she could see Tom close the door to a side entrance.  He waved to her and she smiled, pulling the manual brake on her car and jumping over the side of the car.

“That’s an interesting way to exit a vehicle,” Tom remarked with light spirits.

Lucy shrugged.  “Never had the right tools in the city to fix that door handle.  So, I just made do.”

Tom chuckled.  “Well, there’s certainly enough tools laying around this place.  I bet you’ll be able to find what you need.”  He shielded his eyes from the sun briefly.  “Let’s start the tour inside, shall we? We can let the heat die down a bit.”

Lucy nodded in agreement as the man led her through the side entrance.  “This will likely be the best entrance for you to come and go when you have to handle things at the house,” Tom explained.  “You may not have been able to see it, but on the other side of the pool is the guest house and those will be your quarters.”

Lucy’s eyes widened a bit at the realization that her new home was going to have, arguably, a better view of the bay than some of the rooms in the actual homestead itself. “Understood,” she said, trying to contain her excitement.

Tom showed her through the extensive home.  He said that there were only eight total bedrooms but Lucy was convinced that they had walked in and out of at least a thousand by the end of the tour.  That combined with the various sitting rooms, dining areas, main kitchen, support kitchen, and balconies had Lucy’s head spinning.

“It’s a total of one hundred thirty acres, divided roughly into farmland, timberland and the cleared homestead site.  I know it seems like a lot, but I’ve placed a run down of all the home’s amenities, systems and maintenance schedules at your workstation.  And you’re not responsible for the upkeep of any of the stables or horses; there is a stable master that lives with his family in the farmhouse.”

Lucy nodded her head, thinking perhaps Tom was referring to the house she saw on her way in.  “So, as I said in the interview, your primary responsibilities will be to manage the estate, but when its owner is in residence, you’ll also act as onsite support staff for him.  There’s a small workstation outside his office on the third floor for your use during those times.”

“Right,” Lucy acknowledged.

“He’s fairly private. His private master suite and accompanying rooms are also located on the third floor and he generally keeps access to them locked off.  Only one person from the cleaning crew has been given authority to clean his private rooms.  But anyways, that’s all on the list for you,” Tom said with a wave of his hand as if it wasn’t all that important.

Turning his wrist over, Tom tapped his watch.  “It’s actually about time that we head up there to meet with him.”  He turned to Lucy.  “Are you okay with the stairs or do you prefer the elevator?”

Lucy’s eyes widened at the notion that a personal home had an elevator.  “The stairs are fine,” she responded.

Tom smiled. “Good.  The main stairs are a favorite of mine.”

When they arrived at the home’s main foyer, Lucy could see what the man meant.  Two large staircases traveled up the curved walls of the space, stopping at the second floor and ending at the third.  All the way up the walls was a beautiful mural of what Lucy already knew to be the landscape surrounding the homestead.  Horses grazing in the field could be seen on the left while a gorgeous hued sunset was on the right.

“It’s beautiful,” Lucy breathed as she climbed the stairs, holding onto the railing as she went so she didn’t fall over given how distracted she was.  They finally reached the third floor and Lucy was still examining the beautiful oil work.

“The rumor is that it was painted by a homeless man Mr. Dreyar met in the city.  He found him painting on whatever he could find from the trash, using sponges he’d ripped out of thrown away sofas.  He had such an amazing talent that he hired him to come paint here for him and allowed him to stay at one of the farm houses while it was being completed.”

Lucy stopped for a moment as she reached the third floor landing.  “Did you say Mr. Dreyar?”

“Oh that’s right.  You weren’t told who owned the place.  Like I said, he’s fairly private.  But that’s right, Laxus Dreyar is the owner.  I’m surprised you know him; he likes to keep a low profile.”  Tom shrugged. “But I suppose you did used to work in the city in the same industry.”

Lucy froze, the panic welling up inside of her.  “Wait here a moment,” Tom indicated to her and she did her best to nod as he opened one of the double glass doors to the office behind them.

Lucy closed her eyes, taking deep breaths.  She had absolutely no answers for how to handle this issue.  But, at the very least, she knew she wasn’t the only one to blame for how last night turned out.

Tom knocked on the second set of glass doors that led directly into Laxus’ office.  The blond looked up from his desk and lifted his hand, motioning for the younger man to enter.  Laxus stood and walked around his workstation to great the man.  “Tom, thanks for making the trip out here to handle the new hire.  Everything go okay so far?”

Tom nodded.  “I think you may have found someone actually cut out to handle this sort of thing.  Plus, I think her background in real estate is really going to help.  Hopefully she’ll last longer than, what was the last record, three months?”

Laxus chuckled. “Something like that.  It’s a big job.”

“Yeah,” Tom nodded. “And you’re not the easiest to work for,” he added with a bit of a knowing smirk.

The blond man’s shoulders shrugged.  “I won’t dispute that.  Do you have a copy of her resume?  I’ll be honest, I know I let you just run with this.  I haven’t had a moment to really review anything.”

Tom walked over to the rather full inbox sitting on Laxus’ desk and pulled a slip of paper out from the bottom of the stack.  “Here it is,” he said, handing it over.

Laxus took the sheet of paper with a “thanks” and sat down at his desk to read it.

“Lucy Heartfilia,”the name read on the top of the page in bold letters.  Laxus put his hand to his chest as his heart skipped a beat, an odd sensation that he wasn’t used to.  The name sounded an awful lot like Lucy Everheart, but thankfully, it wasn’t the same.

He looked over the document, noting her several years of experience as a real estate attorney. “Her reason for leaving a career as an attorney?” Laxus asked bluntly.

 “She said she found herself having to make decisions on a daily basis that weren’t in line with her core values and she came to a point where she decided that’s not how she wanted to live her life.”

“Seems respectable,” Laxus said.  “If a bit naïve,” he added.

Tom shrugged.  “She came with the highest recommendation from Ms. Scarlet.”

“Shit, Erzy sent her to us?”

“The one and only,” Tom said with a bit of a chuckle.

“Then I’m sure she’ll work out fine,” Laxus said.  “Anyone who can survive working for Erza should have no problem working for me. Go ahead and send her in.”

Tom exited the room and Laxus’ eyes drifted over the rest of the page.  His brow furrowed as he reached the last line of her resume. Under “Interests” it stated, “Alfa Romeo Owners Club.”

END CHAPTER 4

. . .

I know I’m such a bitch for cutting it off there.  Sorry! But it is a good place for a chapter break and you know, I like keeping you all on your toes.

Thanks for all the love and feedback on this story, you guys! So much of this story is a rehashing of my own life and experiences in many ways so the fact that you like it and like where it’s going means a lot to me.

For any of you that are interested in what the Estate is modeled after, feel free to Google “130 acre estate Cape Charles” and you’ll find a couple news stories on it.

xoxo

Mus

Chapter Text

The Kitchen

. . .

Tom exited the room and Laxus’ eyes drifted over the rest of the page.  His brow furrowed as he reached the last line of her resume.  Under “Interests” it stated, “Alfa Romeo Owners Club.”

. . .

“Mr. Dreyar will see you now,” Tom said from his spot near the double glass doors.

Lucy gulped and must have looked wide-eyed because Tom followed up with a whispered, “He’s not as mean as he seems at first,” as Lucy walked towards the office.  “You’ll do great!”

“Thanks,” Lucy said, trying to find her nerves somewhere in the bottom of her stomach.

Tom exited the space and Lucy stood at the threshold of the office.  There he was, Laxus Dreyar, Mr. 8C, Mr. Last Night, staring at a piece of paper at his desk.  His blond hair was combed back neatly and today he was wearing a pair of dark trousers with what appeared to be a purple silk shirt.

Her attraction to the man hadn’t disappeared overnight; it only returned, perhaps even more forcefully, as she took in the site.  It didn’t help that behind his desk were oversized floor to ceiling windows with a picturesque view of the bay.  Simply put, he looked stunning as he studied the paper in front of him.

Laxus read the last line on her resume over and over again.  His mind was racing as it was confronted with a potential risk and attempted to work out some sort of hedging strategy.  Perhaps this new hire had an eerily similar name and set of interests compared to his Lucy.  His brow furrowed further as he reminded himself that there is no such thing as “his Lucy.”

He heard Tom speaking to the woman at the threshold of his office and could sense the man’s exit and a new presence before him.  Slowly, he looked up from his desk to see her, Lucy Everheart, standing before him. She was as beautiful and as enticing as she had been the previous evening.  Her blonde hair was pulled up into a tight bun and she wore a chiffon blouse and ankle length trousers that hugged her curves just right.

Their gaze met, neither knowing quite what to say to the other.  So each stayed silent for the time being until Laxus finally felt he needed to do something.

“Close the door,” he said, pointing to the doors behind Lucy.

“Oh,” she said in a startled voice turn but turned to comply.  That was a good first sign in his book.  Despite being emotionally flustered, she was still able to follow direction.  Discretion would be key in this circumstance and he couldn’t risk having Tom overhear any of their conversation.

“Have a seat,” Laxus said, gesturing to one of the chairs before his desk.  The woman turned from her place by the doors and gracefully took a seat before him.   Laxus sighed before beginning.  “I suppose this puts both of us in an awkward position.”

Lucy took a deep breath, resisting the urge to jump into the conversation and let the man continue. “I would understand if you chose not to continue your employment here.  However, I will add that I’d prefer that you stay and can add that I will not be in residence here much.”  He paused before adding,  “Yesterday, I did not know it was you.”

His words were vague but Lucy understood their meaning.  He was trying to convey that he didn’t knowingly pursue with his would be hire. Even if he’d known her name, she’d given him a false last name, so some of the blame was on her.

Lucy was a bit startled at his formal tone.  She understood why but considering not less than twelve hours ago she’d been deep throating this man’s cock, it was still a bit of an oddity.

She took a moment to consider her words before responding.  This was a clusterfuck if she ever saw one, but she’d given up her entire old life for this job.  If he wasn’t revoking her position, there was no way that she was going to give up on it. “I’m grateful that the position is still available to me and will happily accept.”  In a more hushed tone she added, “I didn’t know about you either.”

Laxus looked at the woman before him.  He knew his own attorney would likely murder him if he found out that he was allowing this woman to begin employment in this way, but he couldn’t bring himself to turn her down.  Once again, she seemed to get under his skin in a way that made him oddly uncomfortable.

“Well, it looks like things are settled then.  I’m assuming Tom has given you the grand tour and has explained your responsibilities. I will be here for the remainder of the week.  During such time, I’d request that you work from that desk there,” he said, pointing to the workstation located in-between the two sets of glass doors at his office threshold, “in the morning.  After lunch would be the appropriate time to attend to any tasks for the property.  But feel free to come and go from the area as you see fit in the afternoon.”

“I understand,” Lucy said. Her stomach was in knots as the man spoke.

“Good,” Laxus said, standing up from his desk.  Lucy stood instinctively as well.  “I look forward to working with you then,” he said, offering his hand out to shake from across the desk.

Lucy placed her hand around his and the two made eye contact, each one attempting to see just what the other was actually thinking about this entire situation.  Lucy huffed internally.  The man’s mask was practiced, that much she could tell.  If he had any feelings one way or the other about what had occurred between them, he wasn’t showing it.  At the very least Lucy knew he had wanted to see her again. That much he’d let slip while in his post-orgasm induced haze.

His hand left hers quickly, almost too quickly, and Lucy smiled briefly before turning back around to exit the office.  As soon as the second set of doors closed behind her, she took a breath, not realizing she hadn’t been breathing the entire time.

Tom was sitting off to the side looking out one of the windows when she exited the office.  She looked slightly dazed, but that was normal after meeting Laxus Dreyar for the first time.  He gave her a thumbs up before heading over to her.  “How’d it go?”

Her eyes went wide before she shook her head and responded, “Uh, fine.  Yeah, it went fine. He seems nice.”

Tom chuckled.  “Well, you’re the first person I’ve ever heard call him nice.”

“Oh, really?”

“Intimidating, intense, serious, scary.  Those are usually what I hear after a personal meeting with him.  He must like you or something.”

Lucy laughed awkwardly. “Nah, I doubt that.  So, is there anything else left for the afternoon?”

“Just to show you to your quarters.  Come on, this is the fastest route.”

After a long walk over to the back of the house Tom was finally turning the key to the guesthouse and opening the door for Lucy to her new home.  The little space was amazing and it was all her own.  “Master bedroom and bathroom are in the back, kitchen’s through there,” Tom said pointing to a doorway on the right side.  “But if you want my advice, head up to the prep kitchen at the house around dinnertime and you’ll always be able to find extras.”

“Does Mr. Dreyar usually eat by himself?” Lucy asked.

Tom squinted one eye, thinking about his answer.  “I think so. Sometimes he works through dinner. When he’s here, there’s generally no one to eat with.”

“Oh,” Lucy responded, thinking how lonely that sounded.

“He’s a lone wolf though; I wouldn’t worry about it.”  Lucy smiled and nodded.  “At some point during the week I’d drive over towards the main gate and introduce yourself to the stable master.  His name is Gajeel and his wife’s name is Levy.  I think you’ll get along with them great.”

“That sounds good, thanks,” Lucy said.

“Well, if there’s no other questions, I’ll be headed back to the city for now.  But you’ve got my contact information and I’ll check in on you in a week’s time and see how things are going.”

Tom put his hand out and Lucy shook it, the two smiling at one another.  “Thanks for your help, Tom.  I really appreciate it!” Lucy said.

“No sweat! You’ve got this, Lucy!” And with those words, he closed the door to the little guest room, leaving Lucy alone inside.  She watched him as he walked back to the main house, got in his car and drove off towards the gate.

Once she was satisfied he was far enough away, she headed into her new master bedroom, flopped herself on the bed and screamed into the pillow.  “Oh my god this is so fucked up!”

Turning on her back, she panted in some air and looked up at the ceiling.  She tried to block out the negative thoughts that started to creep into her head about how she generally ruined everything.  No way was she going to let hooking up with her boss affect her!

The entire reason she spent the evening with him in the first place was to have some fun and just let go.  It seemed like he had needed that just as much as she had.  And it wasn’t as if they had even slept together, although if Lucy was being honest, she had been a bit disappointed about that fact at the time.

“I can do this,” she said to herself aloud.  “I will make this work.”  With her new commitment made, she got herself up off the bed and got to work unpacking the few belongings she had brought with her.

A few hours later and after a few wrong turns, Lucy managed to find the prep kitchen Tom had mentioned. As she rounded the corner into the room, she stopped dead in her tracks at the sight in front of her.

There in the kitchen was Laxus, making himself a peanut butter jelly sandwich.  His normal attire had bee exchanged for a white tee and athletic pants, making Lucy realize it didn’t matter what this man wore, he always looked damn sexy.  He looked up from his task as Lucy entered the space.

“Oh,” she said in a startled voice.  “I’m sorry. Tom mentioned something about leftovers. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

Laxus looked back at his task, cutting the sandwich in two with his knife.  “No intrusion.  Tom’s information was correct.  But the cook is off this week.”

“Oh,” Lucy said, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable and out of place.  “Well, I guess I’ll head back then,” she said, very much wanting to leave.

“Have you eaten anything?”

“Ever or just tonight?” Lucy immediately responded, a bit of her own brand of humor showing through.

Laxus raised an eyebrow at her response and Lucy’s small smile turned into a slight frown. “Sorry.  Bad joke.  No, I haven’t.”

He didn’t respond; instead he simply slid the bread and jars over to her along with his knife.  She smiled at him as he took a seat on one of the bar stools and began to eat from his plate.  The dinner seemed rather pathetic, especially considering who was eating it.

“Didn’t expect pb and j to really be your thing,” Lucy said as she finished making her own.

Laxus shrugged as he took another bite.  “It’s one of the few things I’m capable of making.”

“Don’t cook much I take it?” Lucy asked, taking a seat of her own across from him.

“Never had to,” he responded simply, cutting off any unasked questions Lucy might have had.

The two sat in silence, each of them eating their respective dinners.  Each time Lucy thought she might break the ice with something to say, she’d reconsider.  So instead, the pair sat facing each other, neither saying anything.

As Lucy looked down, Laxus used the opportunity to eye the woman in front of him.  He could tell that she was trying to come up with some way to break the silence.  What she didn’t know was that he was perfectly okay with quiet; in fact he quite preferred it.

There was something about this woman that sparked his interest.  He had taken the opportunity to review her resume more thoroughly after their initial meeting.  Despite her reasons, he still didn’t quite understand why someone would choose to leave their seemingly blossoming career to become a glorified housemaid.  While the position paid well, it certainly wasn’t on par with city-level attorney pay.

Considering his past, Laxus didn’t have much use or interest in women beyond their abilities to sate his lust for an evening.  It had been a long time since he found himself intrigued by the opposite sex—and he didn’t particularly like the feeling.

Finishing his dinner, Laxus stood and put his plate into the sink.  “Thanks for the company,” he said simply, followed by “see you tomorrow morning.”

Lucy nodded.  “Uh, right,” she said uncertainly, watching the man leave the kitchen.  As she finished her own dinner in silence, she reflected on how different he seemed from just yesterday evening.  It wasn’t as if he was previously outgoing but he seemed even more reserved now.   But then again, he had thanked her for her company.  The man was an enigma.

She sighed as she shoved the last bit of bread into her mouth and made a face.  She wasn’t sure that she liked whom this man was turning out to be.  Which was all the more difficult considering how attracted to him she was.

Lucy carried her own plate to the sink, washing both before drying and putting the plates back in their cupboard.  She wasn’t exactly clear on what her responsibilities were towards housework, but she figured she likely shouldn’t be dirtying the house.

She heard a door somewhere above her close.  Throwing her head back and scrunching her face, she tried to clear her mind of all of its raunchy suggestions once it realized they were the only two alone in a house full of spare bedrooms.  Lucy knew it already; working for this man was going to be harder than she had anticipated.

END CHAPTER 5

Chapter Text

The Office

. . .

She heard a door somewhere above her close.  Throwing her head back and scrunching her face, she tried to clear her mind of all of its raunchy suggestions once it realized they were the only two alone in a house full of spare bedrooms.  Lucy knew it already; working for this man was going to be harder than she had anticipated.

. . .

He couldn’t help himself, it was as if some force had taken over and clouded his better judgment. And what was worse was that she wasn’t fighting back, she was giving in.

The strategically organized piles of papers with which he was normally so careful got pushed to the floor with a swipe of his arm to make room for the woman in front of him.  He returned to her lips, pressing his own against hers to feel the softness he knew he’d miss from the moment they first kissed.

She moaned and pressed her body further into his form, forcing his erection to press painfully against his trousers.  Laxus pushed her down onto his newly cleaned off desk, her legs spreading wide to accommodate his large frame.

He pushed her skirt up over her creamy thighs at the same time she started to fumble with his belt buckle, her hands slipping in her excitement to free him from his confines. His fingers danced against the tiny slip of fabric that protected her sex, the damn thing already soaked through from her arousal.  Laxus couldn’t help but groan as she finally freed him, the feeling of her hand pumping him better than he remembered from their evening together.

“I’ve wanted to fuck you since I first met you,” she said in a breathy tone, her eyes still fixated on his length as she worked him in her hand.

The vixen leaned back, pulling her panties aside to reveal her glistening sex as she guided his throbbing cock towards her entrance.  Just as his crown was about to enter her and fulfill his desire for this woman, an alarm somewhere in his office started sounding.  It startled him and Lucy called out his name. “Laxus! Laxus!” she moaned, trying to get his attention.

But the noise grew louder and louder until finally—

—Laxus awoke.

He groaned as he rolled over to shut off the device.  If he’d had less control over his emotions, he’d have thrown the damn thing against the wall.  He sighed and looked at the raging erection he was still sporting, clearly tenting his sheets.

“Fuck,” he cursed aloud, realizing just how difficult working with this woman might prove to be for him.

Throwing his legs over the side of the bed, he forced himself up and into the shower, where for the first time since he’d grown past his awkward teenage years, he rubbed one out, out of pure need.

After stepping out of the shower, each step of his morning routine helped ground him and take back some of the control he’d lost in the morning.  Walking into his closet, he pulled out a freshly pressed shirt and pair of trousers and began to dress.  As he pulled the smooth material up and over his shoulders, he breathed a sigh of relief. With each button he fastened, his heartbeat relaxed into its normal rhythm until finally he felt like the man he’d turned himself into all those years ago.

His mind focused back on work as he exited his quarters and headed towards the prep kitchen to grab something for breakfast.  Opening the door, the smell of maple syrup and cinnamon greeted his nose, which confused him.

He’d told the cook not to come out to the Estate just for his few day visit to get the new hire up to speed, so why did it smell like something had been cooked in here. Looking across the center island, he saw a covered tray and a note on top.

I made extra and thought you might want some.  –L

Laxus lifted the tray to find a steaming bowl of oatmeal, fresh fruit and granola laid out for him. An empty mug was included on the tray and he turned around to see a full pot of coffee.

The man put the tray cover down and considered the sight before him.  He took a few deep breaths as he attempted to organize his thoughts about this woman.  He’d had managers for the Estate before; none of them had even offered to make him breakfast when the cook was away.  Lucy was clearly different, and he didn’t know what to think about that.  She tested the carefully developed control he maintained over his emotions.  But he enjoyed her presence and her thoughtfulness.

Laxus scrunched his eyes and took a deep breath.  Time would show him whether or not this arrangement would work out.  Until then, he wasn’t going to let food go to waste.

By nine he was walking up the central staircase, a mug of black coffee in his hand as he headed towards his office.  As he approached the threshold to his office, his demeanor was calm as he centered himself before approaching the woman.  Of course she was already sitting at her designated place.  Her blonde hair was tied up in her classic tight bun and she was wearing a silky blouse and skirt with soft lines.

She smiled as she saw him approach and Laxus couldn’t help but focus on those pouty lips of hers, bright with pink lipstick.  “Good morning, Sir,” she said as he approached her desk.

“Laxus is fine,” he responded automatically.

“Good morning, Laxus,” she repeated and the man internally winced.  Perhaps inviting her to call him by his name was a bad idea.  Hearing her say it brought back visions of her screaming it from mere days ago.

“Thank you for the breakfast,” he said, his voice flat.

“I’d be happy to cook for you when the chef is unavailable.”

Laxus nodded.  “I’ll remember that.”  He took a sip of his coffee as he looked at the woman.  “Let me get settled, after which I’ll call you in to discuss what we need to accomplish today.”  Lucy nodded her head in understanding and the man turned to push open one of the doors that separated their spaces. 

To Lucy’s surprise, he’d left it open.  She wasn’t quite sure what to make of the man and she was pretty relieved that her breakfast this morning had been well received.  She’d been on the fence about whether to do it, before she realized that the only reason she was considering not to was because of their history.  And if they had agreed to sweep that under the rug, she wasn’t going to let that change how she behaved.

Lucy wasn’t sure what time the man would be at his office and for her first day, she wanted to get there before him so that she could familiarize herself with her work station. She somewhat figured that when Laxus got rolling, she wouldn’t have time to take a break.

“Lucy,” she heard him call her name from his office and she grabbed a pen and a pad of paper and proceeded through the glass doors.  She expected to see him behind his desk but instead he was sitting at the round side conference table in the corner of the room.  “Have a seat,” he said, gesturing to one of the chairs.

As Lucy walked over to where he was seated, she idly wondered if the man understood just how handsome he looked in his charcoal slacks and deep blue shirt.  She smiled as she took a seat across the table but his face remained in that practiced, neutral mask he always wore.

He began to run through a list of things he wanted her to handle for the morning and she wrote down instructions as she did so.  Thankfully, a good deal of the work had to do with his real estate company, with which she was already familiar.  As he went through the stack of papers mechanically, he looked up at her every so often with that intense gaze of his.  “Everything make sense?” he asked as he pushed a pile of papers over to her side of the table.

Lucy pulled the papers into her arms.  “At least for now.”

“Well, if you have questions, feel free to ask.  It is your first day, after all.”

A bit of pink dusted Lucy’s cheeks as she nodded her head.  “Thanks,” she said before she quickly carried the papers out of his office and back to her workstation.  Laxus watched her as she retreated, a little quicker than normal, to her side of the glass. Her skirt swayed as she walked the pile of papers back to her desk and he took a quiet breath as he reigned in his errant thoughts.

He allowed himself a quick moment of praise for walking the woman through her tasks for the morning while staying composed himself.  It had been difficult, especially considering that with her being so close, the sweet scent of her perfume had been invading his space.  Laxus turned his wrist over to look at his watch.  He’d managed to stay professional in the woman’s presence for a whole thirty minutes.  The phone rang, pulling him out of his woolgathering and he quickly strode over to his desk to answer it.

The rest of the morning Lucy worked through the stack of papers he had given her to the soundtrack of his voice on various conference calls.  She wouldn’t complain; his deep baritone was one of the first things that had attracted her to him and she doubted she’d ever tire of hearing it. 

Around lunchtime, Lucy was finishing the last of the filing and unfortunately, these particular papers had to go into specific cabinets on the back wall of his office.  Hence why she had saved this task for last.  She was thankful that she had not worn a pencil skirt given how frequently she was kneeling and standing to put papers into their correct places.  What made matters worse was that the entire time she did so, she could feel Laxus’ eyes on her.

Laxus himself did his best to keep himself focused on his work.  It was not often that he lost focus but throughout the late morning as Lucy worked on the filing, he found himself looking up, gazing at her as she worked before realizing he had drifted off.  After the second time it had happened, he brought his hands up to his face to rub his forehead.  He needed some air.

Lucy heard some shuffling behind her and she turned to see Laxus standing to put his jacket on. “Lunch meeting,” he said gruffly before walking out of the office without another word.

“Oh, okay.  Bye,” Lucy said, stumbling over her words as the man blew past her.  A few minutes later she heard the rumbling of a car engine pulling away from the mansion. She took in a deep breath and let it out in an audible sigh as she leaned her back against the filing cabinet. “God damn that man,” she whispered to herself.  Her heart was pounding in her chest as she continued to take deep breaths to try and calm down.

She tried to reason with herself that he was just a man, no different than any of the other men she had been with, but she also knew that wasn’t true.  Closing her eyes briefly, Lucy refocused, forcing herself back to her task.  Once she finished this last job, she would be able to get out of his office, and she needed that.

Another fifteen minutes had her down to the last piece of paper.  She examined it and realized it was a signature page of a contract that he must have inadvertently placed in her pile.  Walking around his desk, she placed the page in his inbox.  As she did so, she looked around his office from what would be his point of view.  Lucy realized the man had no pictures of family, friends, or even a dog.  Despite how richly decorated the room was, it seemed very empty.

Somewhere in the house a grandfather clock chimed noon and the blonde shook the thoughts out of her head as she walked back to her own desk.  Shutting down her computer, she grabbed her keys and closed the set of glass doors behind her as she headed back downstairs.

 

Chapter Text

The Stables

. . .

Somewhere in the house a grandfather clock chimed noon and the blonde shook the thoughts out of her head as she walked back to her own desk. Shutting down her computer, she grabbed her keys and closed the set of glass doors behind her as she headed back downstairs.

. . .

Laxus was thankful for the roar of the engine because it blocked out his own growling at his current situation.  A beautiful, competent woman, of whom he already had a taste, and he could do nothing about it.   He absolutely loathed the loss of control he was feeling.

But as the odometer ticked ever higher as the trees flew past him, his nerves started to calm and he sighed at the entire situation.  Laxus understood certain problems couldn’t be solved, and for now, he just needed to control his lust until he was back in the city.

He blinked at his surroundings as he realized he had somehow made his way back to the town center and was just about to pass by the resort where he and Lucy first met.  Thinking a drink and a friendly chat with bartender might do him some good, he pulled up to the valet and tossed his keys to Michael. “Keep her close, I shouldn’t be too long,” Laxus shouted over his shoulder to the kid as he made his way inside.

By the time the blond approached the bar, Gray had already made his drink and was placing it on a napkin at an empty stool.  “Rough morning?” the bartender asked as Laxus took a seat.

“Well it looks like things haven’t changed one bit,” a female voice he knew all too well echoed from somewhere behind him and caused shivers to run down his spine.  “Hello, Laxus,” the voice’s owner greeted him with a bit of sass as she approached the bar.

Laxus rolled his eyes in exasperation.  Of all the shitty things, his ex-wife showing up had to top the list.

“What do you want, Cana?” he asked, not turning to look at her.

Cana turned to rest the back of her lithe frame against the bartop, her long brown hair falling in waves to frame her shapely figure.  “Awe, don’t be like that.  It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other.  Don’t you miss me?” she cooed.

“No,” Laxus stated bluntly.

The woman crossed her arms with a pout, her lip pulling up in a small sneer.  “You don’t have to make a scene.  You could at least be civilized.”

Laxus took a sip of his bourbon.  “I’m not the one making a scene,” he said, still not looking at the woman who had caused him so much pain.

“Fine,” she huffed. “I need money.”

The blond knew this was coming.  She brought it up every time he saw her.  “I don’t see how that’s my problem.”

Cana turned to take a seat next to him, trying to get his attention but Laxus wouldn’t cave.  “I’m not getting any more alimony payments from you,” she nearly whined.

Laxus shrugged. “That’s because the contractual period for that is up.”

“Yeah, well, it wasn’t enough.  I’m still not back on my feet.”

“Again, I don’t see how that’s my problem.”

Laxus felt a slender hand begin to rub his thigh.  “Oh, come on, I know you miss me,” she whispered, invading his personal space. 

His eyes narrowed and he grabbed her wrist and pushed him off of her.  “Maybe I did at one time.  But that was years ago.”  He knocked the last of his drink back and placed it on the bar.  “I’ve moved on.  You should too.”

Laxus stood but he felt her try and grasp his hand and his movements faltered.  “I made a mistake.  I’m sorry,” she huffed, her tone disingenuous.  “Please don’t just leave.”

The blond wrenched his hand from her grasp.  “You don’t get to say that now.  You’re five years too late.  Goodbye Cana.”  He remained calm as she yelled expletives at him, the only silver lining the fact that the place was nearly empty.  “I’ll grab her myself,” Laxus said as he put his hand out for his keys.

“Number 27,” Michael stated and Laxus didn’t hesitate before jogging over to his car and peeling away.

. . .

Lucy was glad she’d decided to drive out to the stables rather than walk; she’d forgotten just how large the Estate truly was.  She turned her car onto the gravel driveway leading up to the farmhouse she’d seen on her way into the Estate yesterday and parked it next to what looked like a horse trailer.

Hopping over the side of her vehicle, she raised her hand against the glare of the sun.  To her left was the farmhouse, which looked like it had been pulled straight out of a country living magazine.  Over to the right were the stables and just past that was a practice ring.

Lucy could see movement in the stables but before she could start walking, the door to the home opened up and a voice called out to her.

“Hello! You must be Lucy!” Lucy turned towards the sound and saw a petite woman with bright blue hair walking towards her.

The blonde waved back in response.  “Yes, hello!” The two women embraced and Lucy smiled.

“Tom told us you’d be starting this week and we might get a visit from you.  I’m so glad you decided to stop in.  Come on, I’ll introduce you to Gajeel.”

Lucy followed the woman towards the stables where she had originally been heading.  She couldn’t help but smile as she passed the few horses that were boarded.  Lucy stopped in front of a placard that read “Aethon” and peered inside the stall. The eyes of a midnight black Arabian stallion stared back at her.

“I wouldn’t get too close,” a gruff voice from across the stables said.

Lucy backed up slowly from the stall and turned to face the new arrival.  “This is my husband, Gajeel,” Levy said, making the introduction. “And he’s not as scary as he looks,” she added with a wink.

The man rolled his eyes but Lucy was rather glad she had added that last bit.  The man was far larger than his wife, easily standing at over six foot and had a great deal of muscle on him.  He was wearing cargo pants and a sleeveless shirt and she could see a row of piercings along each arm.  His dark hair was tied back and his overall appearance was intimidating, to say the least.

“Nice to meet you,” Lucy said, offering her hand but the man shook his head.

“Been cleanin’ stalls,” he explained and Lucy smiled and nodded her head.  “That there’s Laxus’ steed and he’s about as hot tempered as they get.”

“He won’t let anyone ride him except for Laxus,” Levy added.  “Not even Gajeel.”

The man made a noise and crossed him arms.  “He’s an asshole, just like his owner.”

“Gajeel!” Levy said with a scold, slapping his arm a bit. 

“What? It’s true,” Gajeel said with a chuckle.

“She just started!” Levy turned back to Lucy and added, “he doesn’t mean that.”

Lucy laughed herself and waved the comment off.  “It’s okay. I can make up my own mind.”  The blonde looked around at the other horses in the stables.  “There’s so much space here for just one person!”

“Gajeel teaches riding classes here and people rent out the stable and pasture space for their own horses. Laxus actually only owns Aethon, Lady and Poppy,” Levy explained, pointing to the large Shire and the tiny Shetland pony over in the pasture area.

“Oh wow,” Lucy said, looking at the horses in the pasture past Gajeel.  She hadn’t had the opportunity to ride since she’d moved to the city, so it’d been several years.  Being back in the stables definitely made her miss it.  “I didn’t realize Laxus knew how to ride,” Lucy added.

Levy shrugged.  “He used to a lot more.  But after the split, we barely see him anymore.”

“The split?” Lucy asked, furrowing her brow.

“Levy,” Gajeel said in a deep voice with a shake of his head.  His wife rolled his eyes in response but still changed the subject.

“No matter.  Do you have some time?  I can make us some tea up at the house and I can walk you through some of the field rentals.”

Lucy nodded her head and smiled.  “That’d be great, thanks!”  She waved to Gajeel on her way out of the stables and watched as the larger man turned back to the horse he was untacking.

She followed Levy into the house and smiled at the quaintness of it all.   The kitchen was a soft yellow and Lucy took a seat at the table as Levy filled up the kettle. “So, are you overwhelmed yet?” she asked Lucy as she turned the stove on.

Lucy laughed and shrugged. “Probably.  But right now I feel so green that I don’t even know what I don’t know.”

Levy nodded her head. “You seem like you’ll be able to handle it though.”

“What do you mean?” Lucy asked.

The little woman pursed her lips, as if trying to decide what to say.  “Let’s just say your position has a pretty high turnover rate.”

“Oh,” Lucy said, her eyes widening a bit and Levy caught on to her increased anxiety.

“But I really do think you’ve got what it takes!”

Lucy shrugged uncertainly. “I sure hope so!”

The teakettle began to whistle and Levy took it off the burner and poured it into the pot before bringing the tray over to the table and taking a seat across from Lucy.  “So, I take it you’ve met the infamous Mr. Dreyar already?”

Lucy hesitated.  Levy looked like the type of woman she could trust and she so desperately wanted a friend, but she wouldn’t betray Laxus’ trust.  The pair had agreed to keep their previous relationship a secret and Lucy would honor that.  “Yeah. Yesterday afternoon and then I was doing secretarial work for him all this morning.”

“And you haven’t run away screaming.  What’s wrong with you?” Levy said in gest.

Lucy chuckled. “Everyone keeps saying he’s difficult to be around and work for.  I dunno, I guess I just don’t see it.”

Levy shrugged.  “Don’t worry.  You will soon enough.”

Lucy wasn’t quite sure how to respond but thankfully, she didn’t have to fill the silence since Levy reached behind her and pulled a stack of papers over detailing all of the farming operations, land rental, and stable operations.  By the time the woman had finished going through the papers, the sun was threatening to fall behind the horizon and Gajeel had just about finished up with the chores and was heading towards the house.

“Thanks for everything,” Lucy said, giving the smaller woman a hug before walking to her car.

“Remember, if you need anything, let me know!” Levy said cheerfully.  “It would be so nice to have someone to chat with other than this big lunk,” she said, leaning an arm against Gajeel’s thick shoulder as he stood on the front steps.  The man crossed his arms and Lucy smiled at the couple.  They were polar opposites, but somehow that made them even cuter.

“Bye you two! Thanks for everything,” Lucy waved as she hopped over the door of her car and started her engine.  The couple waved their goodbyes and closed the door, leaving Lucy alone with the quiet of the estate.

The blonde clicked her phone screen on to look at the time and cringed when it informed her it was already past six.  “How did I spend over four hours here?”she wondered to herself as she put her car in drive to head back towards the main house.  She hoped Laxus hadn’t been looking for her when he’d returned from his lunch meeting.

Making her way up back to the main house, she frowned as she noticed one of the garage doors was open. “Odd,”she said to herself.  Laxus didn’t strike her as the type of person to leave his cars unprotected, especially not the 8C, which was parked in that bay.

Pulling her own alfa around back, she decided she’d better take a look to make sure everything was okay. Walking back around to the front of the house, she stepped inside the garage to find the interior door on the back wall was also hanging wide open.  A bad feeling filled the pit of her stomach as she walked through and closed the door behind her.

Lucy had never been into the house this way and it appeared she had landed in some sort of mudroom that ran the length of the garage bays.  “Hello?” she called out.

“In here,” a gruff voice answered in response.  There was no mistaking that deep baritone and she breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t a burglar.

Suddenly she felt awkward about being inside the house but she couldn’t just turn around now.  She headed towards the source of his voice and found that the room opened to a large sitting room in the east wing of the house, overlooking the bay.  Lucy stood at the threshold of the room where she noted Laxus looking a bit too relaxed on one of the oversized leather sofas, sipping amber liquid from a rocks glass.

“I didn’t mean to intrude,” Lucy explained.  “I was just worried when I saw the doors open.”  Laxus took another sip of his drink and nodded his head.  Lucy stayed quiet for a moment before saying, “If there’s nothing else, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

But just as she was about to turn around and leave the way she came in, Laxus looked up from his drink and said, “Stay.”

Chapter Text

The City

. . .

“I didn’t mean to intrude,” Lucy explained.  “I was just worried when I saw the doors open.” Laxus took another sip of his drink and nodded his head.  Lucy stayed quiet for a moment before saying, “If there’s nothing else, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

But just as she was about to turn around and leave the way she came in, Laxus looked up from his drink and said, “Stay.”

. . .

One year ago…

“Lucy, we got a pretty big transaction coming through the pipeline.  Do you have the capacity to assist?” Erza said, standing at the threshold to her associate’s office.  Lucy looked up and smiled at her boss and in some regards, her friend.  As always, Erza had her bright red hair pulled up into a high bun and she looked positively fierce in her perfectly tailored skirt suit.

“I should.  Who’re the players?” Lucy responded, taking the opportunity to stand up from her desk and shake the feeling back into her legs.

“Edolas Holdings is looking to buy the Extalia Apartments communities from Doma Corp.”

Lucy’s eyes widened. “That’s a massive transaction.  I’m not familiar with Edolas but Extalia, they’ve got apartment buildings all over the country.”

“Sure do,” said Erza with a twinkle in her eye.  “And we’re going to set it up from an M&A perspective.  Edolas will acquire Extalia via the acquisition of Faust LLC, the apartments’ holding company.”

“So, formal public disclosures required on this one.”

“You got it.  I’ll trust you to handle the due diligence and get the report out?”

Lucy smiled and nodded. “Absolutely.”

Erza tapped the side of her door before saying “Excellent,” and taking her leave.

Lucy did a tiny happy dance when her boss left.  This transaction would be an incredible opportunity to not only make her hours for the next several months, but also bolster her position in the firm.  It seemed like Erza was letting her take the reigns on this one and she would absolutely not let her down.

Over the next six months, Lucy worked diligently on the transaction, almost to the detriment of her own health and wellbeing.  But making sure she left no stone unturned during the due diligence period was non negotiable for her.  Erza had put her faith in her and she wouldn’t let her down.  By the time she finished reviewing the thousands of documents and writing the report, she’d made her hours for the year and then some.

So on a Sunday evening at eight o’clock, she finally pushed “upload” on the Security and Exchange Commission’s website before closing her computer and popping a bottle of champagne alone in her office to celebrate her hard work.

. . .

“I understand your frustration, Sir,” Erza replied calmly into the phone.  “But I can assure you that its inclusion was unintentional.”

“I don’t care if it was unintentional or not.  Do you not understand that this kills the entire deal for us, Ms. Scarlet?  There’s no getting around this,” the man all but screamed back at her into the phone.

Erza got up quickly to close her office door when she started getting worried looks from her secretary.  She sighed as she picked up the receiver again.  “Yes.  I am aware. And for that, I am truly sorry.”

“There’s no sorry in business, Erza.  You and I both know that.  This has got to be made right.”

Erza winced.  “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“I’m going to need to know the name and confirm their termination,” he said with ice in his voice.

“What? I understand that the Board is understandably upset.  But, nothing was done in error.  If anything, had the fact not been disclosed, that could have led to further complications,” Erza said quickly.

“At least we could have done some needed management work on the story from our end.  No one would have been the wiser.  Now our stock prices are falling due to the perception that we were willing to entertain business dealings with a man who is being investigated for fraud.  I’m sorry Erza, but if you don’t give me a name, I’ll have to give them yours and you know what will happen if I do that.”

Erza pinched the bridge of her nose.  She couldn’t believe that this was happening right now, but it was.  And it was up to her to deal with it.  “I won’t give you a name.  You know as well as I that that’s going to violate privacy laws.  Besides, I’m not going to let you drag anyone through the mud on this.”

“So be it—“ the voice began to say but Erza cut him off.

“But, I’ll guarantee that the person responsible is terminated.  I’ll have a verified letter sent to your attention by the end of the week. Are we in agreement?  That’s really the best I can do within the confines of the law.”

She was met with initial silence on the other end of the line before she finally heard a sigh. “It’s not going to be easy to sell this to the board, but I think I can do it.”

“You’ve got a knack for getting people to do what they don’t want to do, Siegrain.  The fact that we’ve slept together is proof enough of that. The letter will be forthcoming,” she said coldly before hanging up her line.  Leaning back in her chair she closed her eyes as a tear slipped down her cheek.

. . .

“But, I don’t understand,” Lucy said, trying not to let the tears currently welling up in her eyes spill over.  “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I know you didn’t, Lucy,” Erza replied quietly.  “Unfortunately, the optics of the situation aren’t good for the company and they want heads to roll.”

Lucy could feel herself starting to breathe rapidly at the situation she wasn’t equipped to handle. “Did you tell them it was me?”

“Absolutely not,” Erza said instantly.  “Your name is safe.  And I can assure you that I will see that you get back on your feet.  I’ll get something lined up for you, I promise.  Until that time, you’ll be getting severance pay.”

Lucy put her head in her hands, not wanting to older woman to see her break down.  “I just don’t understand it.  We were required to report it.  The company’s owner and chairman is being investigated by the government for fraud.  How could I not disclose that?”

Erza sighed.  She knew the woman had worked tirelessly on her report and this was a major blow to her confidence.  She wished she could take it all back and never have given her the assignment in the first place.  “You were absolutely in the right, Lucy.  Unfortunately, experience will tell you that sometimes rules get bent in situations like these.  The Edolas leadership would have liked to have been informed ahead of the report’s filing.  That way they could have decided to kill the deal and no one would have been the wiser about Gran Doma.”

“But why do I have to be let go?”

“Honestly,” Erza said. “If I didn’t let you go the client would withdraw its business from the firm.  And the firm would likely go under.”

“I didn’t realize this company gave so much business to the firm,” Lucy sniffled.

Instead of trying to explain further, Erza came around to the other side of the desk and gave her associate a hug.  “I know this is hard.  And I’m sorry that this is happening to you.  If there was anything else I could do to change it, you know I would.”  The older woman let her protégé cry quietly into her shoulder; there was nothing else she could do.

. . .

“Iced coffee with cold foam for Lucy,” the barista shouted out and Lucy stepped away from her laptop momentarily to grab her order.  By the time she returned, a new email had appeared in her inbox from Erza.

She clicked it and smiled at the words in front of her:

Lucy! Hope you’ve been getting caught up on sleep these last few weeks.  I know the last time we talked you’d said you absolutely did not want another attorney job. I get it.  And I think I have a solution.

Check out the attached flyer that was sent to me from Fairy Tail Real Estate.  One of their big time board members needs a manager for their super-extra estate.  I think you’d be perfect for the job.  Let me know and I’ll make the call.

Lucy clicked the attachment, which was actually an email from a “TWillis.”

Erza,

Was hoping to get a reference from you.  I’m looking for someone to fill a rather interesting position. One of our board members owns about 130 acres about 2 hours outside the city.  It’s got a homestead, horses, timber and farmland and he doesn’t have the time to manage any of it.  Think you know someone who’s up to the challenge?  If they can handle the work, it could be a dream job.  Quarters overlooking the bay and minimal interaction with the boss.  Let me know and hope all is well!

-Tom

Lucy sipped her coffee and reread the email.  Quarters overlooking the bay seemed nice.  And so did being given the independence to handle things on her own. And not to mention it had absolutely nothing to do with being a lawyer.

The blonde moved her cursor and clicked “reply.”

Thanks, Erza.  Please make the call. –L

 

Chapter Text

Elevator

. . .

“I didn’t mean to intrude,” Lucy explained.  “I was just worried when I saw the doors open.” Laxus took another sip of his drink and nodded his head.  Lucy stayed quiet for a moment before saying, “If there’s nothing else, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

But just as she was about to turn around and leave the way she came in, Laxus looked up from his drink and said, “Stay.”

. . .

Lucy hesitated. She stood at the threshold to the living room, her feet fixed to the tile in the mudroom.  Of course she wanted to go to him.  Even if they hadn’t had a history, the man looked like he was upset and her first instinct was to comfort him.  But the more logical side of her was waving red flags, telling her it was dangerous and she shouldn’t risk screwing up a good job on what was essentially her first day.

“I don’t think—“ Lucy began but he cut her off with just a look.

Their eyes locked and Lucy couldn’t help but look away, his stare was too intense.  “I just don’t wanna be alone,” he finally said, his words slurring slightly as he sipped again from his glass.

Lucy scrunched her eyes in defeat.  She knew there was no coming back from that admission for her.  With a deep breath, she crossed the transition strip on the floor, her heel landing with a click on the hardwood.

“Shoes off on the wood,” Laxus gruffed and Lucy stopped to give him a somewhat exasperated look.  He shrugged and added.  “You’d be the one to have’ta move the furniture an’ have the floors buffed.  Saving you the hassle,” he mumbled into his drink.  Lucy couldn’t help but smile as she pulled one heel off then the other.  “Have a drink with me,” Laxus said, reaching over to pour an ample amount of what appeared to be bourbon into another glass, spilling a bit down the sides.

The floor was cold against Lucy’s bare feet as she walked over to the man.  It felt odd to be without shoes in the house, almost as if it were her own home.  She swept that thought out of her mind quickly.  This was Mr. Dreyar’s second residence and her place of employment.  All she was doing this evening was having a drink after hours with her boss.

And her boss just happened to be gorgeous, a little drunk and a lot of vulnerable right now.  But that was beside the point.

He reached over and pulled an oversized chair towards him.  It creaked against the floor until he had it close enough to him and facing the windows overlooking the bay.  “Sit,” he said firmly before shakily handing the drink out.  She gave him a wide-eyed look and he added, “please,” which surprised her.

Taking the drink, she wiped the sides of the glass against her skirt before sitting next to the man. She sipped the smooth liquid in silence, opting not to ask any questions of her employer.  Lucy hadn’t known the man for long, but she already knew that this show of emotion was a rare thing for him.  She’d let him lead her through the uncharted territory.

Brilliant shades of red and yellow danced across the water as the sun continued to fall from the sky. Lucy couldn’t help but get lost in the sight as she sipped the smooth liquid.  The last of the sun’s rays filtered through the window before finally disappearing, leaving the pair in a muted room, the only light filtering in from the mudroom.

“Do you like it here?” His deep voice echoed off the cathedral ceiling, making the whole place feel a bit colder and a bit more empty.

“I just got here,” Lucy responded quietly.

Laxus didn’t respond immediately.  He took another sip of his drink, his eyes peering out the window at the now dark bay. “I want somebody to like it here,” he finally said.

“Don’t you?” Lucy asked carefully.

“Used to,” Laxus mumbled into his drink before taking another sip.

Lucy wasn’t sure how to respond, and the silence stretched on between them until she couldn’t take it any longer.  “What changed?”

“Long story,” Laxus said in an almost dismissive tone.

Lucy decided it was better to stay quiet again, as she curled herself up in the chair and watched the lights on the pier start to flicker on.

“You never answered my question,” Laxus finally said.

“Which was?”

“Do you like it here?” Laxus asked again, downing the last of his drink.  He reached over to the glass bottle and poured himself another shaky round.

“Mr. Dreyar, maybe another isn’t the best—“ Lucy started to say but he cut her off.

“It’s fine.  Not driving.  Stop dodging questions, Ms. Heartfilia.”

Even in his less than sharpened state, he was still quite perceptive.  “I do like it here,” Lucy finally responded.

“Good to know,” Laxus said as he knocked back the entire glass in one gulp.  He moved to stand up but was pretty unbalanced.  Lucy quickly put her own glass down and jumped up to assist him.  “I’m fine,” he said, trying to wave her off.

“You’re not fine,” Lucy immediately retorted.  “You’re liable to break your neck trying to make it all the way to the third floor in this state.”

Laxus made an annoyed sound but didn’t fight her when she wrapped her arm around his waist and his arm around her shoulders.  She tried not to notice just how firm his body was against her grip.  “Come on,” she said, starting to encourage him to move. “I’ll help.”

“Jus’ leave me here. Its fine,” he responded sleepily.

“I’m not going to do that,” Lucy said, walking the man towards where she figured the elevator was. “Besides, why else have an elevator in your house if not for this very event.”

“Stupid elevator,” Laxus slurred.  “Stupid maint’nance.”

“Alright, come on,” Lucy said and Laxus finally began to move with her, taking more stable steps than she had expected of him.

“I told you, I’m fine,” he said as she pressed the button for the little machine.

“If you die, I’m out of a job,” Lucy retorted and Laxus actually chuckled.

“Guess I better get used to you takin’ care o’ my stupid ass.”

“There’s worse things,” Lucy responded as the pair walked into the car when the door opened.

“Fuckin’ true.”

Lucy fake gasped as she pressed to button and the door closed them in.  “Mr. Dreyar.  Such language.”

Suddenly Lucy found herself being pressed against one side of the little room.  “I happen to remember you liking such language,” he said, caging her beneath his form.

Lucy looked up at him. She knew he likely wouldn’t remember any of this tomorrow.  His arms were over her and the smell of the bourbon mixed with his cologne was intoxicating.  It would be so easy for her to just move forward and kiss the man.  And she wanted to.  Badly.  But she also knew she shouldn’t.

“Laxus,” she said softly but firmly.

But before she could say more, his lips were on hers, capturing her in a fierce kiss.  She could feel his need coming through as he moved against her, his tongue pushing her mouth open to tangle with her own. And Lucy responded.  She knew she shouldn’t, but his cologne mixed with her bourbon mixed with this kiss left her defenseless.

Just as she was about to move in deeper, the bell chimed, and the harsh noise restored her faculties. She pulled away suddenly, ducking below his arms to take a step out of the elevator and into the cooler air.

The man stayed inside for a second, his head hanging a bit between his arms before he finally followed her out.  “Over here,” he said calmly, moving in a bit of an amorphous line towards a door at the end of the hallway.  Despite her better instincts, Lucy moved in again to help stabilize him and the pair walked down the hallway in silence.

When they approached the door, Lucy tried the handle but it was locked.  “Right back pocket,” Laxus said.  His eyes were closed and he looked like he was trying to fend off sleep.

Gingerly, Lucy reached into his back pocket only to feel an all too familiar pair of ripped lace panties. A blush bloomed on her face as she realized that Laxus must have thrown on the same jeans from the weekend when he’d arrived home without realizing.  Ignoring the slip of material, she moved her hand to the right and located the key in question and quickly unlocked the door.

Laxus stumbled inside and instantly collapsed onto the oversized bed.  Lucy couldn’t help but look around the room in awe.  The large leather platform bed was tucked away against one wall facing what appeared to be a wall of windows, currently covered by thick curtains.  A three-sided gas fireplace separated the bedroom from a large sitting area with sleek leather sofas.  The place was gorgeous, but also seemed sterile.

“Well goodnight,” Lucy said as she began to turn towards the door, but a hand darted out to grab at her own.

“Stay.”  There was that word again.  She turned to look at the man.  He was still fully clothed but had turned his head to face her and while she couldn’t be sure, she thought she saw a bit of moisture in the corner of one eye. It was completely at odds with the scar running down that side of his face.

“I’ll be here tomorrow, Laxus,” she said in a calming voice.

“Stay tonight,” he said, his eyes heavy and beginning to drop as he said the words.

“Good night, Laxus,” Lucy all but whispered, the man already asleep on the bed by the time she closed the door behind her.  She opted to leave the key in the lock for him to find the next day.  She sincerely hoped that he wouldn’t remember any of this.

She quickly made her way downstairs and pulled her own chair back to where it had been and cleaned her glass at the wet bar in the corner of the room.  Lucy hoped that if she left no trace of her involvement, he might not remember it.

By nine o’clock, she was finally shutting the lights off to the main house and dragging herself to her own little cottage across the lawn.  She hadn’t even bothered to put her heels back on, opting instead to feel the grass beneath her toes. 

Tugging her clothes off her, she finally crawled into bed.  Closing her eyes, Lucy touched her fingers to her lips, before they slipped beneath the covers and between her legs, unable to keep the images of the man kissing her in the elevator out of her mind.

. . .

Laxus awoke the next morning to the sound of his automatic alarm around seven.  He moved to turn it off and instantly regretted the decision. He felt like he’d been run over by a train before it decided to back up and hit him once more just for good measure. He also realized that he’d slept the entire night in a pair of jeans and tee shirt he didn’t remember putting on.

The man managed to turn off the cursed device and flip over onto his back.  He must have drunk more than his limit, which was something he hadn’t done in quite some time.

“Shit,” he cursed as he looked up at the rotating fan above him.  He rested his hand against his head, hoping it would quell the pounding. Within an hour, he had managed to drag himself out of bed, shower and meander his way downstairs to the kitchen. He couldn’t deny the huge flood of relief he felt when he found a bowl of oatmeal and a pot of coffee waiting for him, courtesy of Lucy.

As he sat there, sipping on the dark liquid slowly, he tried to remember the prior evening.  There were moments where he thought he remembered being in Lucy’s company, but then, there was absolutely zero sign of that anywhere.  He found himself in his bedroom, to which only he had the key.  And the key had been left in his bedroom door, which was something he would have done in his inebriated state.

Laxus sighed and dug into his breakfast, already feeling better with every bite.  He supposed that if something had occurred last night that involved the blonde, he’d find out about it in short order.

END CHAPTER 9

Chapter Text

Aethon

. . .

Laxus sighed and dug into his breakfast, already feeling better with every bite.  He supposed that if something had occurred last night that involved the blonde, he’d find out about it in short order.

. . .

“Well, Ms. Heartfilia, you ready for day two?” Laxus said to the woman as he passed through the double set of glass doors.

“Absolutely!” she responded cheerfully.  Laxus turned to look at her briefly, trying to search out if there was anything different there that might give him some glimpse into what had happened last night. She simply gave him a smile and he nodded in return, still unable to shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

“Give me a minute and I’ll call you in,” he said gruffly before walking through the threshold of his office to sit at his desk.  Laxus knew he really should be focused on work and the work he needed to get done and noton Lucy.  But one, he didn’t like the fact that he drank enough to have a memory lapse and two, he didn’t like not knowing things. 

Unfortunately the last time he was out of the loop on information had led to some very unpleasant consequences for his business and so the man had made it a habit to know as much as possible about every situation that affected him.  And his relationship with his new hire definitely affected him.

He flipped open his computer and leaned back into his leather chair as he waited for it to turn on. Pulling his phone out of his pocket he went on automatic, pulling down the notifications tab to dismiss everything. But just as he was about to press “clear all,” he hesitated.  He’d never given it any thought before, but his house did have a pretty extensive camera network in the common areas and all that footage fed automatically to his phone.

Laxus pressed on one of the notifications that read “Movement in the Living Room at 18:09 p.m.” A video popped up of Lucy walking into the area and him pouring a drink.  The clip only lasted thirty seconds and ended with her moving a chair closer to where he was sitting and he grimaced.  Things were already not looking good.  He began to scroll through the clips which gave him thirty second insights into what happened yesterday evening.

By the time he watched her help him limp into the elevator, he’d seen enough.  But of course there was more.  “Movement in the Elevator at 20:23” was his downfall.  He watched a former version of himself pin his new property manager against the wall of the elevator.  He watched himself move forward and kiss her.  And he also watched her kiss him back.  The clip froze at the end of the thirty seconds with the pair still lip locked.

“Fuck,” he cursed under his breath, clicking off his phone.  Just watching the clip had gotten him strangely turned on and once again, he found himself needing air.  Why hadn’t she said anything to him this morning?  She was acting like nothing had happened between them when something clearly had.

Laxus let out an audible growl and cringed as Lucy got up from her desk to come around and check on him. “Is everything okay?” she asked at the entrance to his office.

“Fine,” he said, continuing to keep his gaze down.  He needed to get away from this woman.  She clearly tested his control and he just couldn’t have that—not again.  “Just realized I’ve got a lunch meeting in this City this afternoon.  I’ve got to go.”

“Oh,” Lucy said, the flection in her voice betraying a bit of sadness.

“I’ll call you if I need anything,” Laxus said, quickly standing up from his desk and crossing his office in a few steps.  Lucy stood aside for him and he blew past her without any additional words.

“Bye then,” she said quietly as his shoes clicked against the wooden floors on his way down the stairs. She heard a door open and close somewhere downstairs followed by the growl of an engine and the motor of a garage door.  Within less than five minutes her world went completely quiet, as she stood in the large mansion all by herself.

. . .

“I was so embarrassed,” Cana complained to her friend on the phone.  “All I wanted to do was say hello,” she lied.

“Word around the office is that he hired some pretty young thing to live at the Estate.”  Mira worked as a receptionist for Fairy Tail Real Estate and her and Cana had remained friends even after her split with Laxus.  While Mira’s feelings of friendship genuine, Cana saw her more as a means to get information on her ex.

Cana huffed.  “That’s just like him.  Chasing new tail as soon as he’s had his fill of the last.”

Mira shrugged.  “I don’t know if that’s so true, Cana. Rumor has it that he’s been quite alone lately, not really hanging out with anyone.”

Cana rolled her eyes. “Give me a break, Mira.  I know better than anyone how easily that man can pick up a woman.  Don’t let the act fool you.  He’s doing just fine for himself.”

“Well, okay then,” the secretary said with a bit uncertainty, brushing her silvery hair back over her shoulder.  “Sounds like you kind of already made up your mind about the whole thing.”

“Oh that’s rich,” Cana sneered.  “I called you for support, Mira.  And I feel like you’re just taking his side.  What, fall for the playboy act yourself?”

“Cana, please don’t be ridiculous.  You know Freed and I are happily married,” Mira said, a bit wounded at the woman’s accusation.

“Oh, now I’m being ridiculous.  I thought you were my friend, Mira!” she screamed before hanging up the phone. She nearly chucked it across the room but thought better of it now that she had to watch her spending.  “Fucking Laxus!” she screamed before running to the sofa to pound her fists into the pillows.

The wall phone rang, startling Cana out of her temper tantrum.  She bounded over to pick up the receiver.   “What?” she asked, her voice dripping with annoyance.

“We received some complaints of yelling and noise from the residents below you, ma’am.  We just wanted to ensure everything was okay,” the woman on the other end said calmly.

“Everyone can mind their own damn business!” Cana screamed back into the phone, this time opting to throw the cheaper device across the room.  It sailed through the air before hitting the opposite wall with a clash before tumbling to the floor in pieces.  The brunette watched it with a satisfied smile.

She let herself fall onto the sofa dramatically and rested her arm over her eyes.  “I can’t believe Laxus has taken up with some little hussy in my house,” Cana complained aloud. “Fucking lawyers.  I should have gotten the Estate in the divorce.”  She rolled over onto her stomach and looked out her balcony.  “Little bitch is probably the reason he refused me at the bar.”  Her eyes widened with realizing as soon as the words left her mouth. 

Cana smiled again. Now that she knew what was in her way, she’d make short work of whoever Laxus’ new plaything was.  No one got between Cana and what she wanted.

. . .

Lucy gathered the pile of pages that dealt with the stables and placed them in a folder ready to take to Levy.  She spared a moment to look at Laxus’ office, his laptop still on his desk, his chair still pushed hastily to the side from when he basically ran out of the office in the morning.

She furrowed her brow, still trying to make sense of everything that had happened.  One moment he had been fine and the next he was rushing out of there like the place was haunted.  Lucy just couldn’t understand it.

Of course she wondered if it had something to do with yesterday evening.  But, logically she figured that if it had, he wouldn’t have greeted her.  And he probably wouldn’t have eaten the breakfast she’d left for him. 

“It doesn’t matter,” she said aloud.  “He’s gone and I’ve got a job to do.”  Grabbing her papers, she made her way downstairs and to her car so she could drive them to their owner.  When she reached the stables, she could hear shouting coming from inside the stalls. Thankful she’d worn pants, she jumped over the door and ran into the red barn.

“Is everything okay?” she asked, seeing Gajeel fighting with a large black steed. 

Levy came up beside her and put her hand on her shoulder not to startle her.  “He’s been fighting with Aethon all morning.  He put him out to pasture earlier and now he’s refusing to go back to his stall.”

“Can’t he just let him graze a little longer?” Lucy suggested.

Levy shook her head. “We’ve tried everything.  The brute just refuses to cooperate no matter where we try and lead him.”

Aethon reared on his hind legs and Gajeel backed up quickly moving out of the way.  The horse neighed loudly as he hooves crashed back onto the barn floor.  “Fucking prick,” Gajeel cursed as he tried for the reigns of the horse again, only to be met with another bout of kicking.

Lucy could see both of the strong willed males clashing and she calmly walked forward.  “Let me try.  I have had some training,” she said as Gajeel tried to push her back.

He shrugged when he met her defiant gaze.  “If he knocks you on your ass, don’t blame me,” he said, stepping back and handing Lucy the lead rope.

She dropped her head as she approached the steed and loosened the lead rope so that it wasn’t so tight against his bridle.  Up close she realized that Aethon wasn’t black as she’d originally thought, but actually a beautiful deep espresso brown.

“Aethon,” she said the horse’s name softly.  The horse bucked again and Lucy simply stepped back but didn’t say anything and didn’t change her body language of calm.  Upon landing, the steed shook its head before dropping it slightly.  Lucy knew that was a good sign and moved in slowly.

Staying in the horse’s line of sight, she first reached her hand out and began gently scratching his neck. The horse blew out a stream of air and pranced one foot, then the other but Lucy didn’t stop the slow circular movements.  Finally, Aethon dropped his head the rest of the way and leaned into her touch and Lucy laughed.  “You’re just a big softy after all, aren’t you Aethon?”

Aethon snorted and Lucy smiled.  Gajeel scratched the back of his neck as he watched the entire thing unfold.  “I can’t fucking believe it.”  Aethon nickered and Lucy moved to the other side of his neck and made a calming noise.

“I don’t think he likes you very much, Gajeel,” she admitted.

The man snorted.  “No surprise there.  The feeling’s mutual.”

“Do you have tack that fits him?” Lucy asked.

“You’re going to ride him?” Levy asked in disbelief.

“I’m gonna try,” Lucy said as she patted Aethon and moved towards the horse’s saddle that was hanging up against the wall.  She could tell as she brought it down that it hadn’t been used in quite some time.

“I don’t know if this is a good idea, Lucy,” Levy admitted.  “No one’s ridden Aethon for the better part of three years now.”

“Sounds like he’s way past overdue then,” Lucy responded absently as she laid the saddle pad over Aethon’s back.  The horse sighed and Lucy giggled.  She was as excited as Aethon was about getting to ride again.  She went through the motions of tacking the horse with an ease that even surprised herself and within twenty minutes she was leading the spirited steed out to the practice ring.

He walked right up to the mounting block without any issue and Gajeel and Levy watched from the sidelines in awe as Lucy swung her leg over.  The pair cringed as they fully expected Aethon to throw her, just like he did any other person who ever attempted to ride him.  But instead, they watched as she gave him a pat to the neck, said “Good boy,” before the pair began to trot around the ring.

“I can’t believe it,” Gajeel admitted to his wife.  “That damn horse hasn’t let anyone near him except for Laxus and he hasn’t been down here since before the accident.”

“Maybe he just needed someone to be kind to him,” Levy mused as she watched the pair continue to do laps around the ring.

“Who, Laxus or the horse?” Gajeel laughed.

Levy chuckled.  “If we’re being honest, both.”

Chapter Text

 

The Drive

. . .

“I’m sorry, there’s some static on the line.  Can you repeat what you said?” Lucy asked, trying to press the phone into her ear a little harder.

“I forgot my laptop; the one sitting on my desk.”

“Oh,” Lucy said, turning to look at the little device plugged in and still open from earlier that morning. 

Lucy cringed.  Laxus had blown out of the Estate so quickly that morning and getting word that he’d forgotten such an important thing was starting to make it seem like he was running.  She just hoped that he wasn’t running from her. 

Panic started to well in her gut.  Maybe he had seen their kiss in the elevator.  Even worse, maybe he had seen her kiss him back.  But he was the one who had initiated.  He couldn’t hold her responsible, could he?  She shook her head, hoping that that slip up hadn’t put her job on the line.

“I hate to ask this, but can you bring it to me?”

“Bring it to you?” Lucy repeated, not truly processing what he was asking.

“Yeah,” he repeated. “I know it's a terrible drive into the city, but I do really need it for tomorrow.”  He’d very nearly thrown a fit when he realized what he’d done.  Of course he didn’t notice until he literally walked through the threshold of his condo.  His stomach had sunk as his frustration boiled over.  For an instant he regretted not allowing the IT department to make his documents accessible through a remote login, but he had too many things he’d like to keep private to agree.

“It’s no problem,” Lucy said, trying to stay cheery.  “I’ll bring it to you.  Is there anything else you left behind that you need me to bring?”

“No, that’s it,” the man sighed through the phone.  “I’ll text you the address,” he added before hanging up the phone.

Lucy placed the phone back on the receiver slowly as she mulled over what had just happened.  The wheels of her mind started spinning, fueled by mild anxiety over the entire situation.  Was he angry with her?  It didn’t sound that way.  Did he forget the device because of her?  Was it silly to think that?

She leaned back in her chair and heaved a heavy breath, trying to clear her mind of all its errant thoughts.  Laxus had an important meeting in the city and in his rush to get out, he’d forgotten his laptop.  It had nothing to do with her.  She would just have to keep telling herself that.

The grandfather clock somewhere in the mansion began to chime, letting her know it was two o’clock. She looked down at her clothes and realized she would need to change before spending a few hours in the car. Unfortunately, she still smelled a bit like the stables.  Getting up out of her chair, she made her way downstairs and over to her own apartment to quickly shower and within the hour she’d made her way back upstairs to the office to grab the computer, the few additional pages in Laxus’ inbox he likely also needed and made her way outside towards her car.

As Lucy loaded her precious cargo into the passenger seat of her own Alfa, the hum of an engine had her looking down the driveway.  A rather large, white Mercedes Benz pulled up just beside her driven by a woman in large sunglasses.

A leggy brunette stepped out of the car.  Her long hair fell in soft curls down her back and she sported what looked to be a rather expensive overcoat atop a sweetheart cut mini dress all in a soft pink. “Can I help you?” Lucy asked, a little disturbed by the unexpected guest.

She took off her sunglasses and shot Lucy a fake smile.  “Only if you know where my Laxus is.”

Lucy raised an eyebrow at the comment.  “He’s not here at the moment.  But I can certainly let him know you were looking for him if you can give me your name.”

“I’ll just wait for him inside then,” the woman said, trying to blow past Lucy, but the blonde put her arm out straight to stop her progress.

“I’m sorry ma’am.  He won’t be returning today and he did not indicate he was expecting any visitors.  But if you’ll kindly give me your name, I’ll let him know you were looking for him,” Lucy said, trying to be as polite as possible to the pushy woman.

The brunette’s entire demeanor changed as she turned to face Lucy.  “My name is Cana Dreyar and as his wife, I’ve got every right to stay at my own residence if I want to.”

Lucy hesitated upon hearing the woman’s words.  Laxus had not said anything about him being married.  Neither he nor Tom had let her know that anyone else maintained a residence at the Estate.  And from the hushed whispers between Gajeel and Levy, Lucy had been able to pick up that Laxus had been through a rather nasty divorce in the past.

“Just one moment,” Lucy said, taking a few steps back and reaching for her phone out of her pocket. She dialed the number for Levy and sent up a silent prayer that the woman would answer.

“Hello?” her small voice came back on the other end of the device and Lucy sighed a breath of relief. She held her hand up to the phone to cover her mouth as Cana continued to glare at her.  “Levy, a Ms. Cana Dreyar is here to see Laxus?  There’s no meeting scheduled on his calendar—“ she started to say before Levy cut her off.

“Do whatever you need to do to get her away from here, Lucy! She is not allowed on the property and she knows better!  I swear to god that bitch can’t just leave him alone—“

Lucy heard Gajeel’s voice in the distance ask what was the matter before Levy yelled, “The bitch that shall not be named showed up.  She’s over at the house right now!”

“What?” Lucy heard Gajeel yell back.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.  Do I need to go over there?”

Cana’s eyes narrowed at Lucy as the blonde clicked the volume down on her phone rapidly.  “Uh, okay sorry to bother you.  I’ll let her know.  Thanks!” she said quickly before hanging up the phone.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Cana,” Lucy said, purposefully not using the name she had given, “but again, Mr. Dreyar is not in residence at the moment and I have no information as to when he might return.  He is not expecting any guests and so I cannot allow you into the house.  If there is some misunderstanding, please feel free to call him so he can alert me to his agreement.  Otherwise, I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

Cana took a few steps forward but Lucy held her ground.  “Listen to me you little hussy, I know your type.  Blonde, young, can’t hold down a real job.  So you chase after men like my Laxus hoping for a chance to open your legs and cash in.  But you’ve got another thing coming if you think you can steal him away from me. You got that?”

Lucy cleared her throat. She’d dealt with women like this in the past and they didn’t scare her.  “Ma’am.  I’m not quite sure what you mean?  Are you trying to threaten me?”

Cana backed up and adjusted her overcoat.  “Not at all Miss, what did you say your name was again?”

Lucy smiled and responded. “I didn’t and unfortunately, I’ve not been authorized to give out my personal information.  If there’s nothing else, Ms. Cana, I hope you have a nice day,” Lucy said as she gestured towards the driveway with a little extra flair.

“Tramp,” she heard Cana whisper under her breath as she got in her car before peeling away with a screech of her tires.

She watched as the white vehicle disappeared into the distance before finally realizing she was holding a breath in.  Her hands began to shake slightly before she shook herself all over to try and maintain control.  She had to get on the road if she had any hope of getting back at a reasonable hour.

Jumping into her car and heading down the driveway herself, she slowed as she approached the stables and decided to turn in.  She would make the visit quick—just long enough to let the couple know what had happened and where she was headed.

“Levy!” she called the woman’s name as she hopped over her driver’s side door.

“I saw her car! The nerve!” the woman yelled back as she slammed the door to the little farmhouse behind her.

Lucy put up her hands. “She said she was Laxus’ wife?” Lucy said, with a bit of curiosity.  While she’d overheard the rumors, she also wanted clarification on just what the man’s marital status truly was.

“More like ex-wife and it was not a good divorce,” Levy sighed.

“No kidding,” Lucy said, looking back towards where the white car had disappeared.  “What happened?”

Levy shook her head. “Sorry, love.  It’s really not my place to share that story.”

Lucy turned back to look at the woman she very much considered a friend now.  “That’s okay; I understand.”  She paused before adding, “I’ve got to head into the city.  Laxus forgot his laptop before he rushed out of here this morning.”

“What a moron,” Gajeel cackled as he poked himself out from the entrance to the stables.

“Right,” Lucy said slowly before adding, “I’m just a little nervous that she may come back while I’m gone.”

Gajeel shook his head. “I’ll put up a roadblock to block anyone going past.  She ain’t gonna mess up that pretty paint job by going through the dirt.”

Lucy couldn’t help but smile at an image of Cana getting mud all over her pink outfit.  “Thanks, Gajeel.  I’d appreciate that.”

“No sweat,” he said as he turned to go back into the stables.

Lucy turned back to the little woman in front of her.  “Do you think I need to let Laxus know what happened?” Lucy asked her, genuinely looking for advice.

Levy grimaced. “Unfortunately, yes.  I think you do.  But maybe don’t include all the details?  I don’t want to trigger him.”

“Right, so leave out the part where she threatened me, got it,” she mumbled, half to herself.

“She threatened you?” Levy exclaimed in disbelief.

“Who threatened Lucy?” Gajeel yelled from the stables and Lucy sighed in exasperation.

“No one threatened anyone. Thanks, Gajeel!” she yelled back before looking at Levy with a pleading look.  “It’s fine.  I can handle myself.  And it wasn’t overt.  She just clearly doesn’t like that I have a vagina and am around Laxus, that’s all.”

Levy nodded.  “Yeah, she’s always been a jealous bitch.”

“Strong feelings noted. Okay, I’ve got to get going otherwise I’ll never make it before rush hour.”

Levy turned her wrist over to look at her watch and smirked.  “Sure.  Good luck with that pipe dream.  See you tomorrow!”

Lucy rolled her eyes but waved her goodbyes nonetheless as she hopped back into her car and sped off down the road.

. . .

Laxus tapped his finger against the granite as he watched the numbers on his phone turn to 6:00 p.m. “Where is that woman?” he nearly growled in frustration.  His attitude had been sour since this morning and even though he knew he was to blame for this entire situation, he had a hard time controlling his emotions.

Swiping open his phone, he pressed her contact icon and let the phone ring.

“Hello?” Lucy’s voice came through on speaker, sounding equally as irritated.

“Are you en route?” Laxus asked without exchanging pleasantries.

He heard the woman sigh before she said, “Yes, but I’m stuck in this stupid rush hour traffic.  Hold on, I’ve got to put you on speaker phone so I can shift gears,” she said with a bit of annoyance.  Suddenly, the call was filled with the sounds of horns honking, a bit of background yelling and engines rumbling.  “I’m sorry Laxus, but I’ve barely moved for the past hour—Oh come on! That’s not how the road works you stupid asshole!” she suddenly yelled, clearly at someone on the road. 

“Is everything alright?” Laxus asked, a bit taken aback by the woman’s tone.  She had only ever been professional with him.  This was certainly a side of Lucy he hadn’t expected.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry, I forgot I still had you on the line.  I don’t handle city traffic well,” she admitted.  “I’m on my way.  Shouldn’t be too long now,” she added, her voice returning to its usual politeness.

“Alright,” Laxus responded simply before hanging up the phone.  He wanted desperately to pour himself a drink but he knew that he shouldn’t. Especially not after last night. Without his laptop, he had no way to distract himself with work.  He growled and ended up grabbing the television remote to switch it on and distract himself by flipping through channels.

. . .

Finally the GPS indicated that Lucy had arrived at her destination and she pulled her car around to the front of the building where the valet was located.  Pulling up on the e-brake, she turned the car off and hopped over her door before stretching her arms up over her head dramatically.  The man behind the valet booth gave her a strange look and she nearly stuck her tongue out at him but at the last moment, thought better of it.  God, she hated the city.  Everyone was so judgmental.

“I just have to drop something off to someone upstairs,” she said as she rounded the back of the little car and grabbed everything from the passenger seat.

The man put his hand out for her keys and Lucy handed them over.  “Who are you here to see?”

“Mr. Dreyar,” she said and his eyes widened.

“Please check in with the receptionist and be sure he’s expecting you,” the man said with a bit of an attitude before walking around to the driver’s side door and trying the handle.

“Sorry,” Lucy said as he tried the handle several times.  “It’s never worked.”

The man visibly rolled his eyes before climbing over the door himself and Lucy let her contempt for the man show on her face.  God, she hated the city.  Turning away from the situation, she walked through the large glass doors and into an incredibly overdone foyer.

It was her turn to roll her eyes at the massive crystal chandelier and seamless marble tile above and below her.  She approached the receptionist desk and the fake woman behind the counter smiled at her. “How can I help you?”

“I’m here to see Laxus Dreyar,” Lucy said and the woman’s eyes widened.

“Is Mr. Dreyar expecting you?”

“Obviously,” Lucy said, irritation coating her voice.

The woman hesitated before finally picking up the phone.  “I’ll just let him know you are here.  What was your name, please?”

“Lucy Heartfilia,” the blonde responded, tapping her fingers against the glass counter.

“One moment please,” the woman said in her sugar-sick voice and Lucy turned around and blew some hair out of her face.  The elevator chimed from somewhere far off and two-overdressed couples walked out. 

“So we sold the building to a related entity but kept the air rights for ourselves!” he bragged at a volume that meant he obviously wanted others to hear.  “It wasn’t my best transaction, but it was certainly one of the better ones.”

The others in the group all smiled and nodded their heads as if they were so incredibly impressed and Lucy did all she could to keep the groan from spilling out of her lips.

“Ma’am,” she heard the woman behind her say and she turned back around.  “Mr. Dreyar is indeed expecting you.  Please use this fob and use the last elevator down the hall,” she said, holding out a little gray device, which Lucy swiped from her head.

“I told you he was,” she sniped before heading over to the elevator, keeping her head down as she passed the group of idiots.  She walked by three columns of elevators before she finally reached the last doorway in the hallway.  Holding the device up to the keypad it beeped and the doors opened as she walked inside. She turned around, expecting to find a keypad but was only greeted with door open and close buttons along with the emergency badge.

Before she had a chance to make sense of it all, the doors closed and she felt herself quickly rising a number of floors.  The wind noise died down suddenly as the lift chimed again and the doors opened directly into someone’s apartment.  She stepped forward tentatively, not sure whether she had made it to the right place.

She could hear the television blaring from somewhere within the space before a deep baritone voice rang out over it, “Took you long enough.”

END CHAPTER 11