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Why me?

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“So are you going to help me or what?”

“Why are you asking me?” Bass questioned.

It didn’t make any sense. Charlie, and everybody else for that matter, loved to remind him of just how much he had screwed up in the past and just how much they were sure he would screw up again in the future. So why in the world would Charlie come to him for help?

“You’re the only one I trust to do this.”

Bass let out a dry laugh. She just stared him down.

“What about Miles?” He asked. “And since when do you trust me?”

“Since I know you have my back in a fight and you’re my best option,” she told him. “Miles would say that it’s stupid and we need to focus on fighting the Patriots, not getting ourselves killed trying to help one person.”

“He’d have a point,” Bass insisted in a gruff tone. “I mean, come on, do you really think a stolen pocket watch is worth risking our asses over?”

“It was his dad’s,” Charlie argued. “And he’s a nice guy. I want to help him.”

Bass narrowed his eyes at her. Something was up. There was more to this than just a näive help everybody attitude. Judging by the way she broke eye contact, even if it was just for a fraction of a second, when she was calling this guy nice there was probably more to the story than him being just someone she had happened to cross paths with before.

“You and this Jeff guy. You got a history?” Monroe questioned.

The effect of her piercing look was undermined by the way she suddenly shifted her weight to her other leg. He smirked at that and her features quickly hardened.

“Not a history,” she insisted. “We slept together. That’s all. Apparently he met you once back in your militia days, so you know him about as well as I do.”

He hadn’t thought she was the type to make a habit of casual sex, but apparently Connor wasn’t the first occurrence of it. Bass wasn’t sure if that made him feel better or worse about the whole thing.

“He’s a little dimwitted,” Charlie admitted. “But Jeff’s sweet and he’s a good guy. Besides, I owe him.”

If being sweet, kind, and an all around good person wasn’t enough to land Charlie for more than one night, then Monroe really didn’t stand a chance of anything happening.

“What? You didn’t have enough money to pay for his company at the time?”

She glared at him. Clearly she was unimpressed with him bringing up the time she had paid for a night with Jimmy King to try to draw him out. He was going to milk that for all it was worth though because it was the closest he was ever going to get to anything happening with her and he was damn well going to remind her about it.

“No,” she told him in an annoyed tone that cleared up quickly. “He’s the one who told me where to find you.”

“So you want me to help you repay the guy who told you where to find me when you were trying to kill me?” He asked in disbelief. “You think I’m the person to ask to risk their life against the group of rifle-toting morons who ransacked his bar?”

“Without him you never would have wound up in Willoughby or found Miles,” she shot back at him.

“If you can’t ask Miles, then why not someone else?” Monroe questioned, “I can’t be top of the list.”

“If anyone else finds out what I’m planning, they’ll go out of their way to stop me,” she pointed out. “They know I can look after myself, but they still worry about me like I’m a little kid. You don’t.”

“What about Connor? Did you ask him?”

Bass didn’t know why he asked that. It’s not like he wanted Charlie dragging Connor off on some stupid mission. He didn’t need his kid getting himself killed trying to impress her.

“Connor isn’t big on suicide missions,” she countered.

So he really was the first person she had asked. How had he managed that? And why was he proud to be the first sucker in line?

“And I am?” He challenged.

The tilt of her head told him he wasn’t fooling anyone.

“People who take jobs in fight tents generally aren’t that worried about their safety,” Charlie pointed out. “You like the adrenaline and we work well together. Plus you’re always bitching about how we need more men. Jeff has no bar to go back to. We get his dad’s watch back, he joins our side.”

“So we’ll either be up one body or down two with both of us gone,” Bass deadpanned. “Easy decision. It’s a waste of time and energy. Nice guy Jeff is going to have to learn to live without his dad’s watch and I guess we’re just going to have to figure out how to go on without him.”

“You’re going to help me.”

She had some kind of nerve. He had to stop his lips from twitching up into a smile.

“Oh yeah? And why’s that?” He challenged.

“Because I’m going with or without you,” she insisted. “And you’re not going to sit here and let me get myself killed just to prove a point.”

“I’m not?”

He knew she was right, but that didn’t mean she was sure or that he had to make himself look like a major pushover.

“Please?” She asked. Her eyes were begging, but her tone was exasperated. She wasn’t fond of the hoops he was making her jump through.

“What makes you think I won’t tell Miles what you’re up to and let him stop you?”

Apparently she wasn’t buying it either, since she completely ignored his question and asked, “Are you going to help me or what?”

Of course he was. He didn’t have a choice. He’d known that since approximately thirty seconds into this little dance of theirs.

“Fine,” he grumbled. “But you’re going to seriously owe me for this.”