*** This HTML file was produced by AscToHTM 3.3 (unregistered). Don't forget to register it ***
(This message is omitted in the registered version)

Author’s Note: Gomen “Love is a Battlefield” readers, chapter 6 is almost done, but I got this inspiration for this story so it gets an extra update this week. Enjoy . . . and please review!

Alone/Together by Midii Une

Chapter 4

Dorothy rolled her eyes in the dark as Quatre went on and on and about the perfections of his new secretary, make that personal assistant. After a week her kind-hearted lover had become so dependent on this girl that he’d given her a promotion. After a week Dorothy never wanted to hear the name Isabela Niente ever again, she’d heard it enough to last her a lifetime.

Finally she interrupted Quatre’s monologue.

“To tell the truth darling I’m starting to become a bit jealous of this Isabela-person,” she said, the pout on her face evident in her voice. “I feel neglected.”

“Dorothy,” Quatre said, in a shocked voice. “How can you say that? Isabela is so helpful that now I have more time to spend with you. She takes care of everything, the messages, the paperwork. I feel a little guilty being here actually while she’s putting in 14-hour days.”

“Guilty!?!?!?” Dorothy exclaimed. “Quatre, that girl is a paid employee. Let her just do her job, which according to you she does so perfectly. Why don’t you pay some attention to me? After all Isabela Nothing or whatever her name is doesn’t do everything for you.”

He heard the suggestive, seductive tone in her voice and realized that she needed reassurance. His poor Dorothy was so insecure in his love. It hurt him to know that but he didn’t know what to do to make her believe he would never leave her. Quatre cursed himself for being so inconsiderate and not putting Dorothy’s feelings first, as he should. She was so lovely and needy, lying next to him on her side with her sweet face propped up on one slender, aristocratic hand. He pulled her down on top of him and held her close, kissing her neck and stroking her hair.

“Oh Dorothy,” he murmured. “There’s only you for me. Don’t you know that by now? I wish you would let me tell Trowa and the others. Let me tell my sisters. Dorothy, I want to m--”

She cut him off with a kiss on the lips. Oh how she wanted to hear those last words, but instead she pictured his friends and family saying horrible things about her. They’d want someone demure and innocent for him she knew, someone like the oh-so-perfect Isabela. That girl couldn’t be what she seemed, Dorothy thought before the oblivion of pleasure overwhelmed her. What could she be after?

Yasmina Winner entered her brother’s office without knocking.

His pretty little golden-haired secretary, no, she thought frowning, personal assistant, appeared to be hard at work. Tapping away at the keyboard and making printouts at a rapid pace. Everything was as neat and tidy as could be, she’d never seen Quatre’s office looking so spotless and organized. For Allah’s sake the place even smelled faintly of lavender and gourmet tea. And yet there was something a bit off about this Isabela. Something strange about someone who enjoyed working long days, nights and weekends, who seemed to be dedicating their life to improving Quatre’s.

Yasmina was positive that she knew why.

“Miss Niente,” she said imperiously, quite proud of her status as second-in-command at Winner Industries. “I’d like a word with you in my office, immediately.”

“Of course Miss Winner,’’ Midii said smoothly, but she felt a bit apprehensive. Could Miss Winner have discovered something about her? She hid her nervousness and followed the older woman down the hall. She prepared herself for anything up to and including the presence of the authorities in Miss Winner’s office. It was hard to believe this she-dragon could be Quatre’s sister. She and her boss were already on a first-name basis and she had easily made herself indispensable to him. She knew why he needed all the extra free-time he could get and her mission was so much easier with him out of the office much of the time.

Yasmina sat at her desk but did not give Isabela permission to sit, she wanted to keep her off-guard. She watched the girl’s face carefully as she spoke.

“I know exactly what you are up to Miss Niente,” she said, disappointed that her comment only appeared to make the girl look confused and puzzled.

“I’m sure I don’t understand Miss Winner,” Quatre’s personal assistant said innocently. “If I’ve done something to upset you--”

“Don’t interrupt,” Yasmina snapped. “You believe you can make yourself indispensable to my younger brother. You think he’s easy prey, don’t you? Your plan is to seduce him and get him to marry you and get your greedy little manicured hands on his money. That’s it, isn’t it?”

Midii looked at her with wide, startled eyes and forced herself not to break down into hysterical laughter. Quatre had kept his relationship with Miss Dorothy Catalonia very secret indeed if this shrew of a sister hadn’t found it out. What a relief that she didn’t suspect what she was really up to.

She quickly composed herself and put on a penitent face. “Oh no, Miss Winner, I would never think of doing such a thing. I admire Mr. Winner of course, but I’m just so grateful to him for giving me this position that perhaps I’m trying too hard. I’m sorry if that upsets you. May I go back to work now, I hate to leave the office unattended, I feel I wouldn’t be living up to my security clearance if I stayed away too long without locking the door.”

“Get out,” Yasmina said, upset that she’d been unable to rattle this upstart girl. “But remember I’m watching you.”

Quatre sighed. He knew he should be working, but he couldn’t keep his mind off Dorothy. This clandestine love affair couldn’t go on, but she seemed no closer to being ready to go public with their relationship. Her insecurity only seemed to intensify. She was even jealous of dear Isabela. But why? She was the one who made it possible for him to spend even more time with Dorothy. He desperately needed some advice about this, but who could he talk to about it?

Midii entered the office quietly, she noticed that Quatre seemed upset and unsettled by something.

“Sorry to interrupt,” she apologized. “These papers need your personal attention, I’m afraid.”

“Of course,” he said. “Forgive me for daydreaming. I’m here so little of the time and the time I am here I should at least be paying attention. I’m afraid I’m taking advantage of you Isabela.”

His words opened a floodgate of guilt in Midii’s conscience. How could she help forming an attachment to him? Quatre was the most considerate and genuinely wonderful person she had ever met. And she was betraying him every moment of every day and it was getting more and more difficult the kinder he was to her. It wouldn’t be long till she had all the information she needed, if only she could hang on. It wasn’t often that she suffered these pangs of guilt and remorse, but Quatre was a special person and she hated what she was doing to him. It was so difficult to keep it up.

“You seem like something’s upsetting you Quatre,” she said, sitting in the chair beside his and pointing out where he needed to sign the documents. “Would you like me to make you a cup of tea?”

He signed quickly. “No, no Isabela. You do too much, you’ve been here since 5 am. Let me make the tea, you need a break,” Quatre, ever-thoughtful even in his unhappy state, said.

He handed her the cup of tea.

“Isabela, can you keep an important secret,” he asked, desperation apparent in his voice. “I really need to talk to someone.”

Midii only hesitated a moment. “Of course, you can tell me anything,” she said.

He told her all about his history with Dorothy. How she had joined White Fang and even fought directly against him with the mobile dolls. He told her how they had dueled and she had nearly killed him.

“But it wasn’t her fault Isabela. I truly believe that. She was just a good, kind person that was so hurt by the war, by the death of her father that she did the wrong thing. I love her so much, but she just can’t accept it. I’m not really asking for advice. I just had to tell someone,” Quatre finished.

Tears filled Midii’s eyes and she struggled not to cry. If only Trowa could feel that way about her. Then she wouldn’t be here now hurting Quatre like she was, without his even knowing. If only Trowa could forgive her and understand like Quatre had with Dorothy Catalonia. She could see his face so clearly, her fingers remembered the texture of his skin. If only the war hadn’t made her what she was now, they would be together. The tears fell without her even realizing it. She wanted to go find him and beg him to love her, to forgive her. Trowa. She almost wanted to laugh. Quatre loved Dorothy, but she couldn’t accept it. She loved Trowa but he wouldn’t forgive her. Instead of laughter a sob came out.

Quatre looked at Midii. Her face was streaked with tears.

“Isabela? Did I say something to upset you,” he asked.

“It’s just so sad,” she struggled to answer. “So sad. The war is over but we keep feeling the pain. It won’t go away.”

He knew she must be feeling her own pain caused by something the war had done to her. He put an arm around her and held her close, stroking her hair soothingly. “Tell me about it Isabela, you can confide in me and I’ll understand,” he promised.

If only she could tell him everything, she thought. But instead she just shook her head and cried heartbrokenly on his shoulder.

Stefan pushed his hand softly under the woman’s tight sweater and expertly unsnapped the back of her bra. She had turned out to be quite the find, the girl who worked in the Preventers security office. She had good taste, she couldn’t get enough of him. And Stefan had always found that it paid to keep those who did you favors happy. Not that he minded, not at all. The girl’s fiery red hair and ample curves reminded him of that friend Midii had had, the one he’d been so attracted to. He could almost pretend this was her.

The door slammed open suddenly and the lights flipped on.

“Stefan,” Midii called. “Are you here? I need to talk to you.”

“Damn,” he said softly, peering at her over the edge of the couch. She was back early, she usually stayed at the office going through the data and using the system to hack into Preventers database till past midnight and now it was only 8 pm and she was back. And something was wrong, her eyes were red-rimmed and her voice sounded choked.

Suddenly Stefan was all business. Their mission was obviously in jeopardy.

“Sorry baby,” he told the disappointed girl who lay beneath him on the couch. “My sister is here, the one you got the papers for. She’s always upset about something and I really need to talk to her. What are big brothers for after all? Tomorrow night then?”

The girl nodded and left, giving Midii an annoyed and unhappy glance as she left. “That girl had better be his sister,” she thought jealously. “They certainly don’t look like they’re related.” She sighed as she reviewed Stefan’s tall, dark and handsome good looks. How lucky she was to be involved with a gorgeous man like him.

When he was sure the girl had disappeared down the hall Stefan turned on Midii furiously.

“So ‘little sister’ what the hell is the meaning of this? What’s gone wrong, is someone on to you?” he asked.

“No,” Midii said. “It’s just that I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this to Quatre, he doesn’t deserve this. It’s all wrong. I just can’t Stefan.”

“The hell you can’t!! Are you crazy? We have to finish this, you’ve almost got all the data. If we back out now we’re dead. Dead Midii. As in dead and buried. Maybe you don’t care about that but I do and you’re not quitting. Understand,” Stefan shouted.

“If you knew him, you’d understand. Maybe I would rather be dead than do this anymore,” she said softly.

Stefan looked at her, horrified. She was doing it again, this Winner guy had turned the tables and gotten to her. Actually it was the result of something that had happened to her so long ago. She’d told him all about it once. They’d been in a tight spot, with OZ on their heels and they’d thought they weren’t going to make it. That’s when she’d told him all about Nanashi. Some stupid kid she’d met once and believed she’d fallen in love with at first sight. A sappier story he’d never come across. But it had ruined her, that kid with no-name had given her something no spy should be burdened with. A conscience. He got an idea.

“You know,” he said, suddenly changing the subject. “I was watching the news today and they did a piece on how unsafe the conditions are at these two-bit circuses that tour the colonies. Yep, just an accident waiting to happen. And I heard they don’t use any safety nets.”

“You wouldn’t. How dare you threaten me like that,” she said, her voice trembling furiously. “After everything we’ve done together how could you turn on me like that? You know, you’re the only one who knows how much he means to me. He has nothing to do with this.”

“I do care about you Midii,” Stefan protested. “I care enough not to stand by and watch you get killed in some painful, gruesome manner. Not to mention I don’t want to die any time soon myself. This is serious, if we quit we die. It’s that simple and I’ll do anything it takes to stay alive.”

“When will you get over something that happened to you when you were a kid? You’ve let this guy ruin your whole life, you could have been happy doing what you’re good at instead you’re always questioning and torturing yourself. Who the hell is this guy? What makes him so perfect? Forget him already and accept yourself as you are. If you’re lonely I can make you feel better,” Stefan added.

He looked at her shocked face, she really wasn’t that bad, he considered. He touched her face with his big hand. Her skin was so very soft, pale and perfect as porcelain. She’d interrupted his evening plans and perhaps if they were lovers she’d forget this Nanashi character and come to grips with what she was. He was sure he could make her forget, after all he’d neve had a complaint yet. It wouldn’t be that great a hardship for him and besides she was always available.

Midii backed away from him a step. Stefan had never looked at her like that although she’d seen that look on his face so many times before. Predatory and seductive. He pulled her back and covered her lips with his, plunging his tongue into her mouth and holding her hands to keep her from pushing him away. Finally he pulled away and nuzzled her neck. “Oh Midii, baby, you’re so soft and you smell so good. Come on, let’s try this. Don’t you want me just a little?”

“No, I don’t,” she said coldly, turning her back on him. “I’m getting out of here, do whatever you want about completing this mission without me. You’ve stepped way out of bounds tonight.”

He grabbed her shoulder and swung her around. “Fine,” he said. “I’ll keep my hands to myself. I was just trying to help you out anyway. But listen my little Ice Princess, you’ll show up at work tomorrow just like always.”

“Remember, accidents are just waiting to happen.”

The phone in Isabela’s office kept ringing and ringing and Quatre waited for her to pick it up. She was always so prompt and on top of everything. Then he remembered that he had sent her home, she’d come in late which was unusual and then she’d looked so exhausted with dark rings under her eyes that he’d ordered her to go home and get some sleep.

He pushed some buttons and answered the phone on his own line.

“Quatre,” a familiar voice greeted him and he saw the familiar face of Trowa Barton on the communication screen. “How come an important guy like you is answering his own phone? Can’t you afford a secretary to do that?”

“Trowa,” Quatre said, happiness evident in his tone at hearing the voice of his best friend. A friend who barely ever found the time or inclination to get in touch. But still, the best friend he had in the world. “Of course I have a secretary. The best one in the universe in fact. But it seems like I’ve overworked her, I had to send her home today.”

He thought about Isabela, he was quite worried about her. She really needed someone to take care of her. He got a sudden idea.

“Trowa, it’s been so long since you visited. Why don’t you fly in this weekend and we can catch up on everything. Besides there’s someone I want you to meet,” Quatre said.

“Actually you read my mind,” Trowa answered. “I really need to talk Quatre and I need your help with something.”

Quatre was surprised. Trowa rarely wanted to talk and for him to ask for help with something was an unheard of occurrence.

After he signed off he hoped that Isabela would be feeling better this weekend, he really wanted Trowa to meet her. If he could just get Trowa to cooperate he was sure the two of them would be good for each other. Isabela was the sweetest girl in the world, besides Dorothy of course, Trowa would be sure to see that. And once Trowa had someone in his life, he’d be more likely to understand about himself and Dorothy. He knew Trowa disliked Dorothy intensely, he hesitated as the word hate popped in his mind. Of course Trowa didn’t hate her, he assured himself, he just didn’t see the real Dorothy he loved.

Trowa looked at the blank screen where Quatre had been a moment before. But he wasn’t seeing his friend. He was envisioning a girl with golden hair and blue-gray eyes. Remembering what it was like to look at her in the candlelight. He’d looked for her everywhere but he was certain she must have left this colony. Quatre had resources he didn’t.

“I have to find her,” he muttered.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . Next time on Alone/Together . . . It’s Quatre’s turn to play matchmaker . . . Someone’s stalking Cathrine . . .

*** This HTML file was produced by AscToHTM 3.3 (unregistered). Don't forget to register it ***
(This message is omitted in the registered version)

Chapter 5