Disclaimer: The Equalizer and all its characters are property of Universal and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended. 

Scheming

Tonight's dinner, accompanied by a superb cabernet, was absolutely the best meal Pete had ever served, Robert McCall proclaimed.

"Your chef must have finally passed culinary school." Robert chided as Pete happily received his praise. Erin raised her glass in a toast to Pete as she watched the two old friends tease each other. It's too bad Mickey isn't here, she thought. He had been assigned to a mission in Kuwait again. Iraqi terrorists were raiding oil fields and butchering the Kuwaiti oil workers in an attempt to stifle oil production and cause tension among the members of OPEC. He had dropped by the night before last to let Robert know he would be away for a while. Thoughts of Mickey fell away, though, when her husband turned his happy and contented face toward her.

"Shall we?" Robert asked as he stood and pulled her chair away from the table, caressing her neck as he assisted her to her feet. They had been married for over a year and he felt like he was still a newlywed. His hands tingled in excitement whenever he touched her and her loving gaze could melt his heart in an instant. They had made love before going out to dinner tonight and his thoughts still drifted back to her exciting caresses and the ecstasy of sinking his hard cock into her hot little cunt. Since separating from the Company, Erin had not needed to maintain the strict regimen of diet and fitness that were needed in order to carry out her extremely physically demanding missions. The extra couple of pounds she carried now, only three she had announced proudly, enhanced her figure nicely. She's more exciting every day, he thought as he helped her into the Jag parked outside Pete's restaurant. After Robert had seated himself behind the wheel, he turned to Erin and stroked her cheek, caressing down to her shoulder and ending with his hand cupping her breast. Erin held his hand tightly against her breast and used her other hand to pull him toward her for a kiss. Oblivious to the world outside the car, they were startled by a rapping noise on the window to Robert's left. Robert turned to glare through the window as he started the car in order to lower the electrically powered window.

"Control!" McCall fairly shouted. "What the devil do you think you're doing?"

"Kostmayer's been captured and I need Erin to help rescue him. She's the only one who's been inside the stronghold outside Al-Wafra where they're holding him," Control said through the window as he leaned against the car's roof.

"Control, I don't remember the layout of that place very well. That's where I got that bad concussion on one of the last missions. If you remember, I couldn't even begin to draw a map of the place." Erin's face showed distress and concern.

"I am hoping that once inside, you will see enough clues to trigger your memory and you'll be able to find him. Even if you don't, your ability to move quietly will let you explore silently enough that no one will realize you're there. You're our only hope to get him out alive. Erin, Kostmayer needs you!"

Robert kept his face carefully composed as he followed the conversation. He was outraged that Control would consider using Erin for a Company mission again, but that was counterbalanced by his concern for Mickey. He turned to study Erin as Control finished his plea. She was frowning in concentration, but brightened suddenly.

"Are you up for a two-week, all expense paid vacation in the location of your choice, darling?" she said with an impish smile. Control's eyes widened as he realized the implications of her statement. "That's the price of my assistance, Control, that and including Robert in the mission." Control's eyes narrowed as he considered Erin's offer.

"Suddenly, I feel like I'm being used," Control lamented as he gazed at McCall's triumphant face. "Alright. Be ready to leave soon. I have to make some more arrangements, especially now since we have an additional passenger." He favored McCall with a dark glare. "I will call your apartment when everything's arranged and send a driver for you." Control scowled at the pair and stalked away.

"Bravo!" Robert exclaimed and pulled Erin forward for a quick kiss. "Control certainly didn't see that coming!"

"Well, I figure he still owes us from years back," Erin replied. "Just because we're not working for the Company doesn't mean we can't use it to our benefit. Hey, aren't there nude beaches in France?"

"Yes, there are, but no one needs to be looking at your lovely body other than me. But, if you want to shed your clothing, I certainly have no objection. In fact, I will help you as soon as we get home." Erin laughed and ran her hand through Robert's hair.

"Let's hurry," she said in a throaty voice.

~~~~~~

Eighteen hours later, they had landed with a contingent of Company agents and had taken the discreet transportation arranged by the US Ambassador in Kuwait. The ambassador had already been apprised of the situation and was eager to provide aid. Two and a half hours of dusty and bone jarring riding in a beat-up truck found them within a mile of the Iraqi stronghold. It was located within the confines of an impressive rock formation in the desert. A series of bluffs ran along the west side of the stronghold and from this vantage point, the Company team searched for indications of arrivals and departures. The plan was to stage a night attack as a diversion on the east side so Erin could approach from the west. She remembered this was how she had gained entry on the previous mission. Control had been right. Details of the layout of the stronghold were coming back. She was optimistic about finding Mickey once she was inside. Robert would accompany her as backup and lookout on the west side while she scaled the stone outer walls. Once inside, Erin would signal Robert with an electronic device and he would join Control and his team back on the bluff. When Erin signaled she had found Kostmayer, the team would attack once again.

Robert worried silently about Erin as he watched her prepare her equipment in the light of a full moon. Their tan camouflaged clothing would help hide their progress across the expense of desert between the bluffs and the rock formation. But once inside, it was anyone's guess. Erin was vague in her description of the place and a lot could have changed. He studied her, musing that she was acting as indestructible as she ever did, but her brush with death in that plane crash a little over a year ago made him realize how quickly and easily he could lose her. Robert wasn't sure he could deal with the thought of her death again. He hoped she realized the possibility of her own mortality. He checked the readiness of the machine pistol he carried for the twentieth time, finding little comfort in the ritual. God be with us, he prayed silently.

Erin nodded her readiness to Control and checked her watch. It was 1:00 am Kuwaiti time.

"Ready, partner?" she queried with a confident smile. Robert gave her a silent nod and they turned to leave. Control was radioing the team staging the attack to proceed as they followed a trail down the bluff to the desert floor. They crouched behind a line of rocks, waiting for the attack to begin. Right on time, they heard the rattle of gunfire, punctuated with loud explosions. They rose and Erin led the way as they jogged across the desert, hiding behind rocks and bushes as a means of camouflage and cover on the way. Fifteen minutes of crouching and sprinting from cover to cover found them at the base of the rock formation. Robert was breathing heavily. Erin eyed him with concern.

"It's been a while, darling," Robert said, seeing Erin's glance. She smiled softly at him and turned her attention to the rocks before them.

"Stay here while I look for the way through. I seem to remember a crack that runs all the way through." She turned and smiled. "That way we won't have to climb this monster." Robert nodded gratefully. As Erin crept away to Robert's left, he searched the desert darkness for any sign of movement. He saw nothing moving, thankfully. The clatter of the staged attack continued. Erin's whisper and sudden presence startled him. How had she crept so close without his hearing her?

"Robert, this way. I found the path through the rocks." She moved away again, looking over her shoulder to see if he was following. Robert rose and followed, hearing his own terribly loud footsteps in comparison to hers as they carefully followed the perimeter of the rock formation. Erin suddenly disappeared into the rocks. Robert ran his hand along the rock to find the fissure into which Erin had evidently gone. He felt her hand grasp his arm.

"This way, darling." He turned blindly into the darkness, trusting Erin's hold on his hand would not lead him into a rock wall. His eyes began to adapt to the darkness in a few seconds and he could see the light at the end of the fissure and the wall of stronghold ahead.

"I think you can wait here safely until I get inside and signal you," Erin whispered. "Stay in the dark as much as possible so you can see your way back." Erin looked up to give Robert a quick kiss. Robert pulled her into his arms and held her tightly, the sword slung across her back bumping his shoulder.

"Be careful, darling. Be careful!" Erin nodded wordlessly and caressed Robert's cheek with one hand before turning to leave. Robert watched her dash to wall of the stronghold and throw a grappling hook and line to the top of the thirty-foot wall. He watched in amazement as she scampered up the rope with little difficulty and laid on top of the wall momentarily to identify any movement inside. Within seconds, she was gone. Robert eased back into the darkness and waited for his eyes to adjust again. Just as he was able to make out the rock wall a few feet from him, Erin's signal sounded from the device at this belt. She was successfully inside. Robert took another worried look toward the light at the end of the fissure and turned to make his way back to Control's position.

Inside the walls of the stronghold, Erin was able to make out several small mud shacks, two large tents, and several small vehicles, resembling jeeps. The occupants of the stronghold were massed under a steel shelter that ran the length of the east side. This was new, she realized. It protected the soldiers from shells and shrapnel that might make it over the walls. As a particularly close mortar shell exploded, Erin watched the soldiers huddle under cover and took the opportunity to move behind the closest vehicle. From there, she used the remaining vehicles as cover to work her way to the mud shacks. Surprisingly, each was deserted. As she was about to leave the last one, Erin stepped on a grass mat and heard a thump underneath her foot. Cautiously, Erin pulled back the mat to discover a trap door. First checking to be sure the soldiers were still preoccupied with the attack, Erin carefully lifted the trapdoor just a crack and peered down the shaft. A dim electric light bulb illuminated a narrow corridor. Nothing was moving. Giving the area one more glance around, Erin silently crept down the ladder and into the dark corridor below.

~~~~~~

McCall and Control watched the flashes of explosions from the bluff to the west of the stronghold. McCall fretted visibly in Control's eyes, worrying constantly about Erin. Although seemingly calm and detached to the others in the party, Control could see the slight wrinkling of McCall's brow and the narrowing of his eyes that betrayed his concern. Control moved to stand next to him.

"She'll be alright," he whispered to McCall.

McCall glanced at him warily, "I wish we could be sure."

"I've used Erin for many missions, just like this."

"Used, Control, used is the operative word here. If it wasn't for the fact that Mickey Kostmayer was the prisoner, I would have never allowed you to 'use' Erin again."

"Are you sure, old son?" Control took a step back and cocked his head to one side. "Are you sure you have that much influence over her?" Control straightened his head and stroked his chin with the fingers of one hand. "Didn't you see the look in her eyes as she left? You may not have ever realized it, but Erin is extremely addicted to danger. That's part of what makes her so effective. I've watched her in action, Robert. She gets almost a sexual rush in some of the most dangerous moments. Are you sure that caging your little lioness is the best thing for her?"

"I'm not going to second guess her decision, Control. It was 'her' decision! Are you trying to get me to tell her to go back to the Company?" McCall's face was consumed with outrage.

"I'm just trying to help in what's right for Erin, Robert, that's all. The door is open for whenever she wants to return." McCall pierced Control with an acid glare and turned away, his mind in turmoil. Could Control be right! No! No! Erin made her decision without me. I've only tried to be supportive in what she wants. It can't be! McCall paced about the low tent that hid their activities from overhead observation. Control watched silently, wondering if the seed he had planted would flourish and he could have Erin back in Company service again, and back in his life once more, however limited. His body still ached for her, renewed in its intensity each time he saw her or heard her soft voice. He asked himself if he was being underhanded. No, maybe not. Erin would make her decision, one way or the other. McCall was too 'ethical' to sway her decision to his own desires.

~~~~~~

Erin crouched in the semi-darkness of the empty corridor, leaning against the rough wood walls that held back the desert sand, and listened intently to the silence. After taking her first few steps into the underground maze, she had heard a low moan. That could be Mickey, she thought, I hope he's okay. There had been a stretch of silence after that, but then when she was about to move on, the moan sounded again. Erin moved slowly down the corridor, turning her head back and forth to catch the slightest sound that would signal she was about to be discovered. The dusty corridor ended in a perpendicular intersection with another dark corridor. Only another single light bulb hung in the middle of the thirty-foot long expanse. As Erin reached the intersection, she heard the low sounds coming from the right. She followed the corridor a few feet and discovered a rough doorway, illuminated from inside with what appeared to be candlelight. The door was pegged closed with a simple hasp and a stick. Erin worked the stick free from the hasp and slowly opened the door to a slight crack to be able to glimpse inside. Her first inspection revealed nothing but an empty room. She opened the door a bit wider and perceived a pallet on the floor and two legs extending off of it onto the sandy floor. Erin pulled her head back and checked the corridor for danger. It was still deserted and Erin returned to her careful entry into the room. Slipping completely inside the door, Erin was delighted to find Mickey sprawled on the pallet, seemingly whole, although the blood and bruises on his face were evidence of a severe beating. She knelt quickly beside him.

"Mickey!" Erin whispered as she placed a hand on his shoulder and gently shook him. "Mickey, wake up!"

Kostmayer moaned louder and struggled to open his swollen eyes.

"Erin?" he mumbled through bruised and cracked lips. "Decided to do some slumming, have you? Is there anyone else with you?"

"No, it's just me for now. Look, we've got to get you out of here. Control is prepared to launch a diversionary attack on the east side of the stronghold when I signal him and we can get away then. Can you stand?" She got to her feet to try to assist Mickey.

"I can try. Nothing feels broken, but it was only going to be a matter of time before they got to that stage. Did you stage an attack in order to get in? That's what must have stopped the interrogation." Mickey rolled to his stomach and pushed himself up on all fours. Erin stepped in to grasp his arm and shoulder and helped pull him to his feet.

"Yes, we did. Look, you're going to have to go over a wall. It's the only way out. I can get Robert and some of the team to help pull you over from the other side if you can't quite manage yourself, but it's going to be tough getting out. What do you think?" Erin spoke as she looked outside into the corridor again.

"I'll do the best I can, sweetheart. That's all I can say." Mickey swayed uncertainly on his feet and staggered forward a few steps.

"Alright, I'll signal that we're on our way." Erin pushed a series of buttons on the device hanging from her belt. A low tone emitted from the device, indicating acceptance of her signal. "Let's get going." They moved carefully into the corridor and slowly headed back the way Erin had come before, Mickey leaning against the wall for support every few steps. Suddenly, there was a commotion from the direction of the trapdoor and a man came running around the corner, nearly colliding with them. With a shout of surprise and fear, the man reached for the rifle hanging on his shoulder and attempted to fire. Erin, seeing him go for his weapon, quickly drew her sword from its scabbard on her back and with a single slash, nearly decapitated the would-be assassin. Mickey gasped in surprise as the man slumped to the ground. Erin wiped the blood from the sword on the man's robes, sheathed the sword, and pulled Kostmayer past the body. They turned the corner into the corridor that led to the trapdoor and crouched momentarily at the base of the ladder, listening for movement above. Hearing nothing, Erin crawled slowly up the ladder and lifted the trapdoor a fraction of an inch. It appeared the attack had resumed on the east side as many people were clustered under the metal shelters, clutching rifles and grenades, waiting for a chance to counterattack. Erin pushed the trapdoor completely open and reached down to assist Kostmayer climb up the ladder. Mickey clutched at Erin's arm and mentally commanded his feet and legs to cooperate in climbing. After what seemed like eternity, he was up the ladder and sprawled on the dirt floor of the shack. Erin pulled him away from the doorway and hurriedly closed the trapdoor and covered it again with the mat.

"Okay, Mickey?" Erin queried as she looked around the edge of the doorway toward the action taking place inside the perimeter of the stronghold.

"Yeah, I'll make it," Mickey grated, pain racking his body from numerous welts and bloody bruises. He slowly attempted to regain his feet. Erin nodded her encouragement, thinking that there should be a break in the company team's attack soon and the counterattack would then begin. A few minutes later, the number of explosions decreased and Erin saw the men in the shelters scurry to vantage points on the walls and begin firing.

"Now, Mickey!" she whispered harshly and wrapped her arm around his waist to help him run the short distance through the bright moonlight between the shack and the west wall. They reached the wall successfully and Erin tapped the electronic signal, indicating their readiness for assistance. Within seconds a silver head poked over the wall and Robert McCall looked down at his wife.

"Are you alright?" he whispered. Erin gave him a smile and motioned for the sling to be dropped down for Mickey. Robert dropped the sling as another man joined him on top of the wall. Erin helped position the sling under Mickey's arms and they slowly lifted him from the ground to pull him to the top. Just as Robert and his assistant were beginning to lower Kostmayer to the ground on the other side, it was quickly becoming apparent the escape had been discovered. Three men bolted from the shack with the trapdoor, searching the area and shouting to each other. Erin crouched immediately, but there was no cover and one of the men spotted her. He shouted at the other two and ran directly for Erin. Robert and his assistant lay prone on the wall, as yet unseen, and continued to lower Kostmayer to the ground. Robert's attention was torn between trying not to drop Mickey and watching the men approach Erin. Their cries of anger filled Robert's ears as he watched hands reach up for Kostmayer. When Robert turned his head back, he saw Erin standing ready, her sword held aloft in both hands, waiting for her attackers to come within range of it's deadly arc. In the darkness, the aggressors did not see the weapon she held and ran forward with knives drawn. It appeared to them she was standing with her hands held over her head. Robert watched in awe as Erin gracefully swung the sword, pivoting in a complete circle, taking off the head of the closest man and slashing across the abdomen of the second. The third man, watching in shock as his compatriots fell to the ground, fearfully held his knife high and started circling. Erin held the sword in front of her, its end pointing directly at the man's throat, matching her opponent's circling steps. She lifted the sword's tip, inviting an attack. Robert held his breath. When the attack came, Erin parried the knife thrust by simply slashing through the man's wrist. As he began to scream in the shock of losing his hand, Erin pivoted once again in a circle and decapitated him, silencing the scream. Robert realized his mouth had dropped open, watching the incredible grace and deadly accuracy of Erin's movements.

"Erin, now!" he whispered. Erin cleaned the sword quickly on the enemy's robe and replaced it into the sheath. Robert threw down the sling and Erin slipped it under her shoulders. Robert and his assistant quickly hauled her light weight up the wall. Once on top, Robert lowered Erin to the ground and soon followed with his helper. As the three company men maneuvered Kostmayer onto a stretcher, Erin caught the sound of running to their right. Robert heard the sound as well and motioned the two men carrying the stretcher toward the fissure that ran through the rock formation. Two of the stronghold's defenders came bolting around the corner of the wall, pulling knives and swords from their robes as they ran. Robert pushed the remaining company man after the stretcher-bearers, hissing at him to be ready for attack on the other side of the fissure. Then he turned to face the attackers with Erin. As he glanced at her in the bright glow of the full moon, Robert saw a familiar expression form on Erin's face. It was the same look on her face as when she was about to give herself over to a sexual climax. My God, he thought, Control was right! But the oncoming attacker drove any thought other than survival from Robert's mind. From the corner of his eye, he saw Erin draw her sword again and its bright slash. The man in front of him had only a knife and was driving it toward Robert's chest. Robert blocked the blow with his left arm and punched the attacker in the face, making him stagger back a couple of steps. The man howled in anger and raised his knife hand again. Then a silver arc slashed through his back, cutting his spinal cord. A second slash silenced him forever. Robert nodded silently at Erin and they turned to follow the stretcher through the fissure and back the camp at the bluff. The company men with Mickey on the stretcher had already left. Robert and Erin quickly ran across the expanse of desert as the battle continued on the east side and joined Control in the command tent. Medics were already tending to Kostmayer. Control turned to face Robert and Erin as they entered the tent.

"Congratulations, and thank you," Control said as he extended his hand first to Erin and then to Robert.

"You're welcome, Control," Erin said quietly, watching Robert. Robert had shaken Control's hand, but then immediately turned away to observe the medics taking care of Mickey. Erin turned a suspicious face back to Control; assessing the look he gave her of innocence and indifference. She turned silently and left the tent.

When Robert realized Erin was gone, he felt a stab of fear and guilt. He turned to face Control, who gave him the same look of innocence he had given Erin. Robert growled deep in his throat and went in search of her. She hadn't gone too far, sitting in the midst of a stack of wooden boxes in the dark about ten feet from the command tent. Robert wordlessly pulled a box beside her and joined her in her study of the night sky. After a few minutes of absolute silence, Robert realizing he couldn't even hear her breathing, Erin softly spoke. Her voice was distant, sounding further away than she seemed.

"You're not saying much, Robert. You must be upset with me, or," she paused, "maybe with Control. Has he been trying to get you to encourage me to go back into company service?" Robert turned a surprised face toward her.

"Are you now in the business of mind reading?" he said wonderingly. He turned to study her face. Erin continued to gaze at the stars.

"No, darling, I know you and I know Control. It was a logical deduction. I saw Control's bid for me to return to the company coming. I knew it was just a matter of time. For all that, Kostmayer's capture may have been arranged by Control specifically to get me to assist in rescuing him, to get me back into the action he was sure I missed. I have been afraid you're thinking I'm being pretty cold hearted. I hope you know I would have helped rescue Mickey without payment, because he is a friend. But I felt that this whole scenario was just one of Control's schemes and I intended to be sure he would have to pay for such conniving, one way or another. That's why I demanded so much compensation in return." She paused. "What else did he tell you?"

Robert sat silently for a moment before he answered. How could he tell her of both his and Control's observance of her behavior in battle? How could he compare her expression in the intimate sharing of emotions and affection between the two of them to a brutal killing in the desert? He couldn't. It would drive her away from him and that was the last thing he wanted.

"He didn't say much more, only stressing that it may be in your best interest to return to the company. He asked me if caging my little 'lioness' was really the best thing for you."

"In my best interest, he said?" Erin snorted softly with derisive laughter. "Robert, I have been deciding what was in my best interest for a long time. I have made some mistakes and misjudgments, but the decisions have always been mine. And although my leaving the company was a direct result of the plane crash and my subsequent disappearance, it was still a decision I made. I made the decision when we were married that I would never leave you for even a day to work for the company again. That's why I demanded to bring you with me on this mission." She turned and smiled at him. "My decisions are reinforced every day by your love and tenderness. Robert, I belong to you, not the company, and certainly not to Control." Robert heard her voice strain with emotion. When had she turned to face him, he saw the tracks of tears on her face, but also a stiffly rigid back, and her head held pointedly erect, her chin high. She's right; she's done nothing wrong. It was Control with his constant scheming and using people that caused this. I have to turn this situation into something good. He watched her study the sky again.

"You are mine," Robert said, "as I am yours. I would be extremely foolish to let anyone or anything come between us and spoil this wonderful love we have for each other." His heart melted with joy as Erin abandoned her rigid posture and turned to face him. He reached for her and she came quickly into his arms. "Oh, darling, I love you and I never doubt your love for me." He held her tightly as she let herself give way to quiet sobs. When Erin had regained most of her composure, he held her face with one hand and kissed her eyelids and cheeks, tasting the last of her salty tears. His other hand slipped a couple of buttons free on her camouflaged shirt and worked its way inside to caress her breasts. They didn't see Control move close enough to see their actions.

Control watched Robert's hand enter Erin's shirt and heard her soft moan of pleasure at his touch. I had to try, he thought, I had to try. He turned dejectedly and went back into the tent. Robert broke their kiss and gently buttoned Erin's shirt.

"Come on, let's find out when we can get out of here," Robert said and lifted Erin to her feet. She paused to retrieve the sword she had left lying on a box and put her hand into Robert's as they entered the tent. Robert saw the look of anger she directed toward Control as he noticed their entrance. He saw Control's shoulders slump slightly at the sight of their joined hands and Erin's glowering expression.

"Control," Robert said softly, "when can we leave?"

"You can go back with Kostmayer," Control answered tiredly. "You said you wanted a vacation. Is Aruba acceptable? I can get you there right away."

Robert looked at Erin, waiting for her answer. He moved her in front of him and placed his hands on her shoulders.

"Aruba's fine, Control," Erin replied. "Two weeks of the best accommodations on the island, as you agreed." Erin pulled Robert's hands in front of her and let his arms cross her chest as she leaned slightly backwards against him. Robert realized she had arranged a pose that said distinctly that she belonged to him. Control nodded with a defeated look on his face.

"Kostmayer should be ready to leave in just a minute. Thank you, Erin, and Robert, for your help. Have a good time in Aruba. I'll see you when you return." Control turned away to study some miscellaneous papers.

~~~~~~

Another twelve hours later, Control's personal secretary met the McCalls at the company airfield as they were disembarking from the plane that brought them back from Kuwait. She had two first class airline tickets to Aruba, one thousand dollars in cash, and carte blanche reservations to the finest luxury hotel on the island. The departure date was twenty-four hours later.

"Thank you, Donna," Robert said, taking the envelopes from her. "I appreciate your bringing these in person. Please give our thanks to Control." He shook the woman's hand and she quickly left. Robert wrapped his arm around Erin's shoulders as they walked to the parking lot to find the Jag.

"It's good to be home," Erin said quietly, leaning against Robert as they walked and placing her arm around his waist.

'Yes, sweetheart, it is," Robert replied. "How would you like to visit Pete's for dinner after we're sure Mickey's settled?"

"Oh, sure, so you can tease her about her chef again." Erin tickled Robert's ribs with the hand that was around his waist.

"Oh, she loves it. Pete's a good friend." Robert hugged her closer as he spoke. "We'll see Mickey tomorrow before we leave. He looked like he'll be fine before long. And, if I know Mickey, he'll sleep around the clock and won't even know what day it is when we get there."

Erin slung her gear bag into the open trunk of the Jag and slipped into the car as Robert held the door. Once Robert had joined her inside, Erin put her hand on his cheek and pulled him toward her for a kiss. Robert closed his eyes as he returned the kiss and luxuriated in the intensity of her affection. As they broke, he opened his eyes.

"What was that for?" Robert asked as he stroked the hair off Erin's forehead.

"I don't know, just something I had to do," Erin answered, returning his affectionate gaze. "Interested in more?" Robert chuckled quietly as he started the car. They drove very quickly home.

~~~~~~

"Ugh, shower time!" Erin exclaimed as they undressed in their bedroom. She kicked off the last of the camouflage clothing the company had supplied. "Last one in's a rotten egg!" she said and headed directly into the bathroom. Robert laughed and hurried to join her. Erin stood in the middle of the duel headed shower, eyes closed, and an expression of contentment on her face. Robert moved into the spray and took her into his arms. They hugged together, enjoying the feel of their damp skin pressed closely together. Erin laid her head on Robert's chest and listened to his heart. After a moment, they separated by mutual silent agreement to perform the routine chores of ridding themselves of the thick Kuwaiti dust that had penetrated every pore. Robert finished before Erin and lingered in the warm spray of water. Erin had finished washing and was bent over to rinse the rest of the soap from her legs. Robert reached out and caressed the vertical seam between her buttocks with the fingers of one hand. Erin turned her head toward him as she maintained her bent position and gave him a knowing smile. He pulled her hips against his groin, his rising cock brushing the inside of her thigh. Robert pulled Erin erect and held her back closely against his chest, one arm across her breasts and the other across her hips. He felt her small, tight buttocks push and grind against his groin and thighs. Robert poured some liquid soap onto the fingers of one hand and rubbed them into her soft pubic hair, creating quite a bit of lather. Then, using the lather as a lubricant, he caressed her pussy and teased her clitoris, causing her to moan excitedly and wriggle in his arms. Robert held her tightly, not allowing her to move in her excitement, feeling her strain against his arm and push her butt deeper into his groin.

"Sadist! Tease!" she gasped. "I can't move!"

"I won't let you get away!" Robert held her closer and felt the excited tensing of her muscles against his and the slight thrusting motion of her pelvis. As she got closer to orgasm, her body trembled and her pelvis thrust harder against the hand stimulating her clit.

"Oohhh, Robert!" Erin moaned and changed her motion to a rhythmic undulation of her hips as her climax took her. Robert loosened his hold on her and concentrated on continuing to stroke her clitoris until she grasped his hands, her nerve endings overloaded.

"I never realized you were so strong, darling," Robert murmured into her wet hair. "You're so exciting!" Erin didn't answer, but turned breathlessly to him and pulled his face to hers for a passionate kiss. Her tongue thrust into his mouth, darting back and forth. Robert wrapped both arms around her and lifted her feet off the floor as they continued to kiss. As they both lost their breath, Robert let her back down. Erin slipped through his arms and knelt to take his now erect cock in her mouth. She caressed his testicles with one hand and the other steadied his cock as it slipped in and out of her mouth. Robert felt her tongue swirling around the head of his penis and her teeth dragging on the shaft. This was absolutely wonderful, but he wanted to do more than cum in her mouth. He wanted to bury himself in her. He gently pulled his cock from her mouth and smoothed away the water on her face. Erin remained on her knees and looked questioningly up at him. What an amazing sight, Robert thought. The woman I love beyond description, ready to do my slightest bidding, ready to provide me with any pleasure I desire. He pulled her to her feet and engulfed her in a great bear hug. Erin squeaked in protest as he tightened his arms around her.

"I want to make love to you so badly. Come on, let's get out of here." Robert turned off the water and pulled the towels from the rack to dry them off. They quickly left the bathroom and sprawled on the bed. Erin spread her legs invitingly and Robert plunged his pulsing cock into the warm wet tissues of her cunt. He watched her arch her back and move her pelvis to meet his thrusts. Robert could hardly control his excitement and came too quickly, moaning with ecstasy. Erin plied light kisses to his cheek, neck, and shoulder as he lay on top of her, catching his breath.

"You're too exciting, my dearest, just too exciting." Robert raised his head and nuzzled the soft flesh of her chest. He rubbed his face harder against her stomach and soon had Erin writhing in laughter, pleading for him to stop. When he released her, Erin leaped from the bed and ran to the bathroom, shouting insults in Chinese. Robert lay on his back on the bed, still laughing to himself, and reflected on how wonderful life was. Here he was, healthy, financially secure, and married to the most exciting and loving woman he had ever known. What could make life better?

Erin came back to the bed and snuggled beside him. Robert looked at her face, seeing mischief written plainly across it.

"What are you up to, darling?" Robert raised himself up on one arm and looked down at her. Erin caught her upper lip between her teeth for a moment, then, as if she had made a decision, started to speak.

"Darling," she said, her voice as throaty and passionate as he had ever heard it, "Would you like to see what I used to do when I was away from you and missing you badly?" Robert felt a chill of excitement run up his back.

"Show me, please." Robert was surprised his voice was so uneven. Well, what would one expect, he thought. His breathing was a lot more uneven for some reason, too. Erin kissed him lingeringly and then moved to kneel upright beside him on the bed, her legs spread widely. Robert watched her hands roam over her body, cupping her breasts and gently squeezing her nipples. Her hips started to move in circles and her hands starting massaging her inner thighs. After a few seconds, Erin used one hand to part the lips of her pussy and pulled them back to reveal her clit. She ran her fingers through her pussy, wetting them in her vagina and spreading the moisture to her clit. Robert pulled his eyes from her groin to watch Erin's face. Her eyes were closed and her expression was intensely passionate. Small moans emanated from her as she stimulated her clit and rocked her hips back and forth. Erin dropped to the bed and lay on her back. She was using the fingers of one hand on her clit now and two fingers of the other to stoke her pussy and dip occasionally into her cunt. Fascinated, he watched her thrust two fingers into her cunt and moved them in and out. Her hips raised off the bed to meet the thrust of her fingers. She was getting more and more excited. Her leg and stomach muscles were tensing and releasing and her face was drawn tight. A low moan escaped from her lips and her entire body tensed. Her hips lifted from the bed as she straightened her legs and arched her back, her fingers still wiggling against her clit and in her cunt. Robert watched the waves of her orgasm wash through her. Then she relaxed and pulled her hands from between her legs. She looked at him shyly, waiting for his reaction.

Robert brushed the hair from her eyes and caressed her cheek. He had never expected she would reveal this much of her private self to him.

"I was right, you are too exciting. Darling, I love you so much." He rolled to cover her with his chest and shoulders, pinning her against the pillow and mattress, and captured her lips with his. He thrust his tongue into her mouth, excitement burning through him. Erin caressed his hair and face. "I love you, Mrs. McCall." She grinned widely in response. Robert reflected on his question to himself minutes earlier. Life had just gotten even better.

~~~~~~

After visiting Mickey Kostmayer in the company medical facility, Robert and Erin flew to Aruba with no interruptions or delays. They checked into the island's foremost luxury hotel, brimming with anticipation of the wonderful time they were going to have together. Robert's thoughts dealt mainly with how quickly he could get their clothing off and his cock into some warm, wet part of her body. The desk clerk dealt with their reservations efficiently, but not quickly enough for Robert's satisfaction and he chafed at the wait. Erin leaned her head against his arm and looked up at him.

"Patience, darling," she smiled suggestively. "It will only be a few more minutes." Robert looked down at her and reminded himself that she was right. Only a few more minutes. The elevator ride seemed interminable, but in reality, only five minutes later, they entered their room. It was a beautiful suite, looking out over the water. A warm breeze wafted through the glass doors that opened onto the balcony. Robert tipped the bellboy and soon they were alone. He pulled Erin into his arms for a tight hug and kissed her deeply. Erin responded by melting her body against his and running caresses up and down his back.

As they broke their kiss, Robert said, "I want to make love to you for hours and hours." He slipped two fingers inside the arm of her sleeveless dress and caressed the side of her bare breast.

"Mmmm…sounds good to me," Erin crooned as she leaned against Robert, his cheek resting on the top of her head. Erin kicked off her sandals as she unbuttoned Robert's loose shirt and let it drop to the floor. She kissed his chest and licked circles around his paps, nipping lightly at his nipples. Robert felt chills and tingles up his back and in his hands as he unzipped the back of her dress and eased it off her shoulders. As the dress fell from her body, Robert followed its descent with kisses and caresses, kneeling as he reached her waist level. As he continued kissing and licking her abdomen, he discovered her completely shaved pussy.

"Erin, when did you have the time to do this?"

"This morning before we left. I thought it would add a little different excitement."

"Oh, yes! I love your bare little pussy. So soft, so smooth." He ran his tongue across her mons and in between her outer and inner labia as she stood before him. Erin moved her feet apart and thrust her pelvis forward to allow more access to her cunt. Robert licked between her pussy lips and teased her clitoris as he grasped her buttocks and ran his hands down the back of her thighs, earning gasps of exhilaration. Erin's hands caressed his head and her fingers ran through his hair as his tongue danced through her pussy, sending delicious tingles through her groin and abdomen. Robert stopped his caresses and slung her into his arms to lay her gently on the bed. Erin ran her hands over her breasts and stomach as she watched him kick off his sandals and remove the rest of his clothing. His erection swung rigidly in front of him as he climbed on the bed and positioned himself between her legs. He caressed her mons and outer labia with his fingers of one hand, glancing occasionally at her face and loving the passionately absorbed expressions. The shaved skin was very soft and the sight of her bare cunt made his cock ache. Robert stretched out on his stomach and kissed the insides of her thighs before he lowered his head to stroke her cunt with his tongue. Erin tensed and moaned as his tongue penetrated into her vagina. He licked up and down her slit, teasing the clitoris and sucking on it's engorged head. Erin moaned and gasped each time his tongue touched her sensitive clit. Robert felt her breathing quicken and her muscles tensing as the orgasm grew and exploded within her. Her hips rose and fell with the waves of excitement that rushed through her. As she calmed, Robert kissed her inner thighs again, feeling the ticklish spasms that ran through her body at his touch. Wordlessly, he kissed her stomach and made his way to her breasts again. Erin lifted her legs and circled them around Robert's waist as he maneuvered his now gigantic cock into her cunt. Robert groaned with pleasure as his hard shaft penetrated her and felt her vaginal muscles pulse at the exciting fullness of him.

"Oh, darling, you feel so good! You are so exciting!" Robert crooned into her ear as he began to push and pull his cock in and out of her tight cunt. He felt Erin's hands caressing his back and buttocks. She clutched his buttocks with both hands as he drove deeper and deeper inside her. Erin snaked her hand behind her buttock and stroked his scrotum and the base of his cock as he moved back and forth. That wonderful additional stimulation pushed Robert over the brink into an intense, breathless orgasm. He felt his sperm explode within her, cumming and cumming like he hadn't in a long time.

"Robert, sweetheart, you are so good to me! I love you so much! You are such an exciting lover!" Erin caressed Robert's hair and face as she whispered endearments to him.

Robert lifted himself from her body and pulled her into his lap as he sat on the side of the bed. He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her, emotions welling up intensely inside him. He loosened his embrace to place his lips against the skin of her temple and speak.

"Erin, my own, I want you to know how much it means to me that you decided that you belonged to me alone, not the Company or Control any longer. I want you to understand the deep satisfaction and joy I feel when I think to myself that you are 'mine.' Mine!" He hugged her tighter.

"Robert, I understand the feeling of absolute possession. I feel so proud to be seen with you, watching other women who turn to look at you as we walk past, knowing that you're mine, as well." Erin turned her face to his, tears tracing narrow tracks down her face.

"Oh, love!" Robert kissed the tears on her cheeks and held her closely. He rolled them backwards on the bed and they curled together in the warm afternoon, caressing and whispering loving things to each other. The warm breeze caressed their bodies, relaxing them until they faded into light slumber.

~~~~~~

Robert and Erin had a wonderful vacation together, filled with laughter, good food, wonderful daytime scenery, and beautiful sunsets. They found a wonderfully private beach that they visited daily. There was a small cove that offered the most seclusion where Erin loved swimming in the nude. They made love there at least once each day. The only thing that marred their vacation was Control's appearance on the last day. His knock sounded quietly and unexpectedly early that morning.

"Control!" Robert exclaimed as he answered the door. "What are you doing here?"

"To be honest, Robert, I came to give asking Erin to rejoin the company one more try. I would like to speak to Erin. Please." Robert raised his eyebrow at hearing the unexpected plea and showed Control into the suite's sitting room and waved him to a chair to take a seat. Robert quickly entered the bedroom to inform Erin of Control's presence. She had just emerged from the shower and was still unclothed.

"He's here?"

"Yes, he wants to talk to you."

Robert watched Erin look at the room's ceiling and take a deep breath, as if she was making a decision. She pulled on a flimsy beach cover-up and ran a comb through her hair. Then she nodded to Robert that she was ready.

Control caught his breath as he watched Erin walk from the bedroom and come to greet him. She was more beautiful each time he saw her, he thought. He could see her tiny nipples pushing against the light fabric of the garment she wore. He caught his breath for a second before he spoke.

"Erin, I wanted to be up front and honest with you. I would like you to come back to the company. Will you consider it?"

Erin and Robert sat together in a loveseat. Erin pursed her lips and frowned in thought before she spoke.

"Control, there is one thing first that I have to know. Was Mickey Kostmayer's capture 'arranged,' or was it really an accident?"

"It was accidental, Erin, I assure you. I lost a chance to get information on the oilfield killings when Kostmayer was captured. This has set us back tremendously."

"That's the truth, Control? " Erin asked. He nodded. "Well, let me share a truth with you. If you or the Company would ever care to request the assistance of the McCalls as a team, you can negotiate with us for our services. That's the only way I can see that either of us will work for the Company again." She turned to look at Robert. "Is that alright, darling?"

"That seems fair to me," Robert said quietly, rejoicing inside. "How about it, Control?"

"Very well," Control said, thinking that any concession was better than the 'No' he had expected. "I will be in touch with you when you return. Enjoy your trip home." With that, Control stood and left.

"You are remarkable, Mrs. McCall," Robert whispered in Erin's ear as he kissed her neck.

"Not remarkable, just very much in love with the most wonderful man in the world" Erin said, giving herself over to his caresses. Robert lifted her from the couch and carried her into the bedroom to lay her gently on the pillow.

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