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From the "Grand Theft Auto: Hotwired" novel over on Pan HistoriaThanks to my fabulous co-writers over on that site!

I don't know why I ever agreed to see a cop. Least of all a three-times divorced cop who couldn't seem to ever get his head out of whatever game he was i at the time. . Make no mistake, he was good to me. Maybe it was because he and I understood each other in the fact that he was his job - being a cop; just as much as I was my own job - being a singer and a musician. Love wasn't ever much a part of the deal between Vincent and I as it was some sort of mutually realised need.

As I was finishing out the rehearsal set with the band, I could see Lieutenant Vincent Hanna sitting in the back of the theater, his self-assured good looks made me realise just what it was that had gotten my attention in the first place, popping his gum as he always did when he was bored or nervous. I'd be interested to know which one he happened to be he was in this case, though I hoped for the latter rather than the former.

Only after Geoff and Michael left me alone did he bother to rise from his seat and saunter up to the foot of the stage. Most of the house lights were dim, and there was just minimal lighting left; just enough to see by. Vincent popped his gum a little louder. Yes, he was nervous, I thought. There was no doubt about it.

"You didn't return my calls, Caroline," he said, running his fingers along the edge of the stage until he made it to the stairway off of stage left. "You're gonna give me a complex."

"You mean other than the ones you already have?" I shook my head at him as he walked over to me. For as intelligent a man as Vincent was, he really didn't have a clue sometimes. "You know why I don't call you back, Vincent. I hate playing phone tag with you, me and the desk saergent. Too many people in the mix... as always," I added.

His gait was the usual smooth slide that he always had. Vincent was more than a cop, he was a cop's cop. On the streets most of the guys on the shady side of the law respected him as a straight shooter, and a sometimes-player, too. To my mind he was just a man who liked music, who just happened to have three ex-wives because of his job as a cop. "No one but the two of us in the mix now," he slid down on the piano bench next to me, "If a man was interested in seeing you - which I definitely am - how does he go about making sure that happens?"

"It depends on who that man was and what that man had in mind," I said, aloofly raising my chin.

"Dinner, for starters."

"With you?" I shot him a withering glance, then turned my attention fully back to my keyboard. "Where?"

"Wherever you want." Vincent was now staring at me with those intense eyes again. He knew the power they had. He reached out and gently brushed my bare arm with the back of his index finger. Inwardly I cursed myself for not being strong enough to resist either the eyes or his idea of being regretful of his standing me up just two nights before.

"I should make you take me to the Bootlegger," I said.

"I can do that, he said, grinning. "I can have us there in five minutes."

"Actually, I was thinking of the one in Las Vegas," I narrowed my eyes at him. He was going to have to do much better than dinner in Santa Monica and a little bit of sweet talk if he truly wanted to make amends.

"How about we go to the local one and I can take you to the one in Vegas this weekend?"

"I should say no."

"But you're going to say yes," Vincent stood up and held out his hand. I stared at it for a moment, observing the lines on the back of his hand and the obvious strength that was there.

Wordlessly I closed the lid on the piano keys, sorely wishing I could slam it down on those same fingers. I then took the hand that was offered. As soon as I stood up, Vincent pulled me closer to him. It was the only affirmation that he needed from me. There was a long moment when neither of us spoke, standing there under that lone house light.

"You're lucky, Lieutenant," I said looking levelly at him. In heels, he and I were eye to eye. "Five minutes more and I'd...."

"Five minutes more I'd have met you outside," he said lowly, "and I'd still be asking you to dinner and you'd still say yes."

"And I hate you for that."

"I know," he said, "Come on. Ezio has a table waiting. I called ahead."

Muse:Caroline de Rochefort
Fandom: Original Character
Word Count: 817
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