What I Did For My Christmas Vacation...

Check out my new fan fiction story on Wattpad

 
Click to read my  new fanfiction story

Click to read my new fanfiction story

 

I’m a huge fan of fanfiction and Wattpad, both which gave me back my joy of writing several years ago. During this holiday season, I decided to entertain myself by working on a fanfiction story about one of my favorite shows, Leverage.

Leverage is a fun Robin Hood-inspired heist show about a crew of bad-guys-gone-good who use their criminal skills to help those victimized by people in power. Starring Timothy Hutton as the Leverage crew mastermind, each episode brings together a hitter, grifter, hacker and thief. The hitter, Eliot Spencer played by actor Christian Kane (shown above), is a tough guy with a heart full of repentance. Joss Whedon fans might recognize him from Angel, where he played tortured attorney Lindsey McDonald. Or course, my story HAD to be about him.

Here’s the summary:

It's not Eliot's fault that the lady keeps showing up at their Boston pub to stare at him with admiring eyes. But she's scaring away Leverage's justifiably nervous clients and Nate has had it -- it's not Eliot's fault, but now it's Eliot's responsibility to get rid of her. What should he do when the lady he's trying to dissuade becomes the woman he wants to put his hands on? And then what should he do when she becomes Leverage's newest client?

My attempt at giving Eliot a Happily Ever After...

The story isn’t complete — the fun part of Wattpad is writing serially and posting regularly. I’m posting every Tuesday and Friday. And a big part of the story is done. Hope you like it!

 

A preview…

You Know Better, Babe, Than To Look At Me Like That

by Angelina M. Lopez

"You're going to have to go talk to her," Nate said matter-of-factly as he raised the rocks glass to his lips.

Although there were several women in the lowlit Boston pub, the whole Leverage team knew who Nate was talking about.

Eliot scowled. "Why do I have to talk to her?"

Nate didn't raise his eyes from the golden liquid in the glass. "She's scaring away our clients."

Eliot jabbed his finger at the longhaired blond smiling at him from across the table. "Then make Parker do it. Parker's crazy will drive anyone away."

"I like her," Parker chirped back. "She stares at Eliot the way I stared at the Hope Diamond."

"She's right, man," Hardison said, leaning back in his chair with his shit-eating grin. "She gives you the same look I gave my Nana's cooking."

"Hardison..." Eliot growled as he glared at the whiz kid.

"Look, Eliot," Sophie said, laying her hands in the middle of the table to draw everyone's attention. "We can't afford to have her staring at us every time you're in the bar. The people who come to us are already living in fear. No matter how innocent she looks, the intensity of her gaze is too ... intense. Our clients can't help but notice."

Eliot clenched his lips against his teeth. "Would you do it?" He gritted his teeth. "Please."

Sophie tsked. "And humiliate the poor woman. Never. What do you Americans like to say? 'Man up?' That's right. Man up and handle it." Sophie swirled her dark, pashmina shawl around her as she stood and gave Eliot a wink before she started for the door.

The other three -- the traitors -- stood as well. Parker and Hardison stopped beside his chair.

"Be nice," Parker said, worrying her lip.

"Yeah, man," Hardison said, the same worried look on his face. "Don't 'disappear' her or anything."

Eliot's mouth dropped open. "Who do you think I am?"

Hardison just shrugged and they both headed for the subterranian pub door without looking reassured.

Nate also stopped by his chair, swirling the last of the liquor in his glass. Eliot knew it would be refilled the instant Nate got to his apartment upstairs.

"Unlike those two, I don't care how you get rid of her," Nate said without taking his eyes off the glass.

Eliot huffed. "She's just a lonely lady at the bar."

"Maybe," Nate's eyes finally met Eliot's. "But she's getting in the way of us doing our job and no one's going to get in the way of me doing that."

"Us."

"Hm?"

Eliot's dark eyebrows lowered. "No one's going to get in the way of us doing our job."

"Right," Nate said without inflection. He lowered his glass and dropped his shoulders. "Screw her, kill her, make her cry. I don't care. Just take care of her."

Eliot lowered his eyes to his hands, white-knuckle fisted against the table to prevent them from knocking his boss in the mouth. Nate was on a downward trajectory again, leaning on the drink as an excuse, giving the alcohol room to make him an asshole. He was going to have to be dealt with, sooner than later if Eliot had anything had to say about it.

But the man wasn't wrong.

Even now, with his back to her, Eliot could feel the woman's eyes on him. She had a way of doing that, making him aware of her although she'd been the one who'd started it all with her long, absorbed, unashamed looks. She didn't do it all the time -- that would have given him the creeps. But even if she only looked at him 3 or 4 times while they were both in the bar, the looks were always so unabashedly fascinated that Eliot felt the glow of them. They were like a warm medal against his skin.

She was a funny little thing. She'd shown up that first night a month-and-a-half ago, swathed against the Boston winter in an oversized anorak and sweater, baggy jeans and snow boots. Only her coat had come off as she sat at the bar and drank her bourbon neat, pulling down her hand-knitted scarf to take sips out of her glass as her dark brown eyes widened then watched Eliot play darts across the room. Being aware of his surroundings -- and every person in it -- was Eliot's job. And he was aware of the way she watched him like he was her favorite recreation.

But he didn't approach her like he'd approached the other women who'd watched him at that bar with hungry eyes. She wasn't his type. Her nose was a touch too long, her eyebrows a bit too dark and too much of a contrast with her red-brown-blond hair. Her hair was long, but it was always a mass of kinks and curls barely restrained in a thick braid or crazy bun. It felt like one touch and that hair would spring out and hurt somebody. She was small, shorter than him, and Eliot couldn't imagine she was hiding much behind the layers of sweaters and flannel shirts and scarves and oversized pants she always wore.

He hadn't realized he was looking forward to warmer weather.

But this had to end. Now. The last two clients had, unfortunately, picked up on the woman's constant gazes over at their table. Sophie was right. Her interest was too strong for the two people -- a woman who'd recently lost her husband because of toxic paint he'd been forced to work with; and an accountant who was terrified of being caught as the whistleblower against a local casino -- not to notice. They'd both left terrified, certain they were being watched. Nate and Sophie were still trying to convince the accountant to let their crew help.

Eliot stood and kicked back his seat before he could lose his nerve. He was a total fucking coward when it came to letting down women. In the past, he could have just drummed up a trip to a third-world country to get him out of a fix. But now, because of the people who needed Leverage, because of Nate and Sophie and Parker and, yes, even Hardison, he had to stick. And it looked like the lady wasn't giving up sipping her two bourbons, neat, several times a week at the bar anytime soon.

Eliot turned around and felt more than saw her wide, chocolate-brown eyes move over him, just like he knew they would. When their eyes met, she smiled tentatively, sweetly.

He couldn't fault her mouth. It was full and wide and quick to grin at the bartender or someone asking if the seat next to her was free. Eliot usually liked women in makeup with paint on their lips. But her lips, plump and magenta, looked good naked.

Her eyes never faltered as Eliot started walking toward her.

And THAT was the other reason Eliot had never taken her up on what she'd been offering for the last month-and-a-half. Because the coyness and tease that was so much a part of the game with other women, the little glances and glimpses of skin and accidental brushes, was nowhere to be seen with this woman. She had no game. She looked at him with ease and steadiness, her eyes telling him that she enjoyed -- was even fascinated -- by what she saw.

With so many shadows in his life, there was something equally exhilarating and terrifying in the open wondering gaze that watched him as he approached. But all Eliot could offer women was his don't-give-a-damn grin, his suggestive eyes, his growly voice making promises, and a single night in his bed making them come true.

Which is why he came to this woman without a smile.

"Hi," he said as he leaned against the bar next to where she sat.

"Hello," she replied, her voice throaty and, to his surprise, touched with a British accent.

Eliot immediately turned to the bartender. "Brian, give her a Basil Hayden, neat, and I'll have a Guinness."

"You got it, Eliot."

Eliot turned back to face the woman. Her face was scrubbed clean and her hair was pulled back, barely restrained in a braid that had a fuzz of curlicues escaping down its length. She was wearing an old fisherman's sweater and she'd worried little holes in its cuffs where her thumbs poked through. "You haven't had your second drink yet, have you?"

She grinned softly. "No. How did you know?"

"You're not the only one keeping an eye on things."

When, for the first time, she dropped her eyes away from him and looked down at her lap, he regretted the grim expression on his face.

"I'm sorry," she said, poking her thumbs together in her lap. "I must seem very foolish."

She seemed very young. He figured she was near his age -- late 20s, early 30s. But her inexperience made him feel like her grandfather.

"Foolish? No," Eliot said despite himself. "I'm flattered."

She raised her eyes to look at him. He'd caused her dark brows to crease into a worried frown. Her nose, he realized, had a little ball at its tip. It was cute.

"You must know that I'd never expected you to come to me," she said. "It's simply...I enjoy the look of you. You're very soothing."

Eliot surprised himself with a laugh. He leaned his head back, felt his long hair slide away from his face. "I've been called a lot of things by women, sweetheart," he said to the ceiling. "But I've never been called soothin'."

She was like a lollipop at the doctor's office; something too sweet and tempting to resist, even though you knew there would be pain after you accepted it. Her straight shooting called to him, called for him to enjoy it even if he could only do so for the next few minutes before he destroyed her hopes and sent her away.

He put his forearm on the bar and slid it closer to her, dropped his head to look down at her. She smelled of jasmine and spice, more complex than he would have bet on. "What do you see when you're staring at me?"

A liar. A traitor. A bully. A thug, thief, assassin.

A murderer.

"I see a man who loves the people he's with." She didn't even stop to draw a breath before she started speaking, looking up at him, throaty accented words coming through soft lips. "There's a spark, a chemistry between the five of you. You're the family that everyone wants to be a part of. You hide your affection for them behind your gruffness, your glower. But then you give them one of your rare smiles, when you're beating your black friend at darts, when you're showing your blond friend how to drink whiskey. I see a painfully handsome man, a man who is confident in the two feet he plants on the ground and the shoulders that bear his burdens. You forget to wear your armor sometimes. I stare at you so much because I don't want to miss those moments."

As Eliot looked into her guileless brown eyes, he heard two drinks get plunked down near his elbow.

"Well..." he drawled, blinking to clear the warm haze from his brain. "That's a lot of plain talking from a woman I've never bought a drink for."

She smiled, pulled back from him. "It appears that is about to change."

As she reached for her drink, Eliot walked away two paces to grab an empty bar stool. He slipped it in beside her and took a seat, wrapping his hands around the cool glass of dark beer. The motions gave him a minute to think, to breathe.

The actions prevented him from wrapping that braid around his fist and reeling her in to discover whether she could possibly taste as sweet as she seemed.

Family. Leverage Inc., had become his family, but one he couldn't share with anyone else. He'd thought, often, about how much his Dad would like Nate. How the man would have stroked back the few hairs he had left for Sophie and charmed Parker with his magic tricks. But Eliot was too much of a coward to go knock on his own father's door, afraid that the door would still be locked against him. So this feeling he had of the togetherness, the rightness, of this crew and their mission was one he'd kept all to himself. Until this funny little lady pulled it out of his heart and showed it to him.

He lifted his beer and clinked it against the glass in her hand. "I'm Eliot."

"My name is Sabrina."

Eliot closed his eyes and drank, the cold liquid washing away the lilt of her name. Once again, he could feel her eyes on him. It made him aware of the 10 o'clock shadow on his jaw, the strands of hair catching in the stubble as he tilted his head back. Her eyes made him aware of his throat, moving as he swallowed the beer down.

He opened his eyes and looked at her with an incredulous huff of a laugh, met her easy and admiring eyes. She was making this damn hard. "What are you doing here, Sabrina?"

She shrugged her thin shoulders in that big sweater. "What is anyone doing in a bar, evening after evening, always by themselves? Seeking a little light and warmth and human interaction. We introverts like to depend on the kindness of strangers."

Of course she'd quote Tennessee Williams at him, his favorite fucking playwright.

"You seem like the kind of a woman who'd read at the bar," he said as he watched her sip her drink. "But you've never brought a book. You don't even look at your phone."

"I can pretend to be comfortable being all alone at home."

"Do you have a cat?"

She had to raise the back of her hand to her mouth to cover the sputter of laughter so soon after she'd taken a sip of bourbon. Her laughter behind her hand was effervescent, like pop bubbles bursting at the top of the glass.

"You have me pigeon-holed as a right proper spinster, don't you?" she asked, no offense in the eyes that sparkled at him.

He motioned to the hand -- the left hand -- over her mouth. "Well, you're single."

He was sorry to have mentioned it because when she lowered her hand back to the bar, a cloud had muted the delight on her face. "Yes, I suppose so." She rubbed her right thumb over her left ring finger. She rubbed like something had once sat there, but was now lost. "I'm a widow."

Eliot took deep breaths as he watched her stroke that phantom ring. Of course. How could he have missed the signs? Her need to be around people, her unwillingness to paint herself up for attention, the groundedness of her that let her sit there night after night without asking for a thing. The simple pleasure she took in looking at him. How did Sophie miss the signs? How did Nate?

He slid his arms, crossed on the bar, closer to her. "I'm real, real sorry," he said low, his head dipped toward her. He wanted to touch her. But he didn't.

"Yes, so am I," Sabrina said, raising her eyes from her hand to give him a soft, resolute smile. "It's been two years. I'm glad to say I'm doing better. He was a soldier. Were you a solider?"

Jesus. Of course. "Yes. Was he deployed?"

"No," she sighed heavily. "It was ludicrous, a Jeep accident at Fort Jackson where we were stationed. But it took forever to be sorted. They just recently sent the few personal effects that were on him. I haven't had the strength to open the envelope yet."

"What unit was he with?

Eliot would get Hardison to look up the incident report. Even with the standard grind of military bureaucracy, an automobile accident shouldn't take two years to get resolved. He could do this for her; make sure she didn't need him. Them. Make sure she didn't need Leverage Inc.

Because now, even more than before, he knew he couldn't get involved with her.

He looked up from his wrist on the bar, flexing against the wide leather band wrapped around it. "Sabrina, I gotta ask you a favor." He met her eyes. She was so open to him. "My team and I, we help people. I can't tell you too much. But sometimes, these people are being watched. Or followed. And when you look over at us a lot..."

She slowly raised her hands to her cheeks as they flushed pink. She had that complexion, what did they call it, English rose. All creamy and quick to blush. "Oh no," she gasped, her eyes wide pools of horror. "Oh, please forgive me."

He leaned closer to her, made a concerted effort to keep his hands on the bar. "Stop it. There's nothin' to forgive," he said, fast and low. "But if you're gonna keep coming here, you can't -- watch me. I'm sorry. I don't know how to put it any easier."

She hadn't lowered her hands from her cheeks. "It's fine; it's not your responsibility to manage me. Even though..." her hands covered her eyes with a groan, "...I've made it your responsibility. I'm so sorry. Please apologize for me to your friends. I hope I haven't hampered your efforts."

The grip he had on his biceps was going to leave marks. He wanted to reach for her. He wanted to erase the last minute and put that easy, open joy back on her face. "It's fine," he urged.

"No, it's not." She lowered her hands to her lap and, to Eliot's misery, revealed the sheen of tears in her eyes. "I will make myself absent. You won't have to worry about me again." She stood and grabbed her army green anorak off the stool.

Eliot stood as well, pushing back his infernal hair as it swung into his face. "Sit back down," he growled down at her. She was small. "You don't have to --"

"Yes, I do. I would never re-pay the pleasure you've given me by continuing to be a nuisance. And I would never be able to keep my eyes off of you." Her two fingers brushed his cheek as soft and warm as duckling feathers as those big dark eyes looked up at him. "Let me do this for you."

Her size made her quick, and she was around him before he could stop her, pulling on her coat when Eliot noticed something beneath her stool. It was her scarf; the knitted black-and-white one she always wore. He cursed as he shoved the stool out of the way to grab it and then straightened and turned to the door.

She was already gone and up the stairs. Out of sight.

"Goddammit," he swore at himself. Brilliant fucking job, Eliot. Break the heart of a mourning widow who likes the look of you because you remind her of her dead husband. Then make her cry and chase her out into a freezing winter night. Real class work.

He yelled across the bar for Brian to put the drinks on his tab and, gripping the scarf in his fist, sped for the door.

Click to read Chapter Two…

 
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