A/N: SM owns Twilight. Lets get that out the way right from the off.
Now, this is complicated, so hang in there...the words you are about to read are mine but the plot/storyline and the associated places/people and situations are not. They are the creation of my husband who knew he'd hit upon an idea that needed telling but wasn't confident of telling it himself.
Step in me!
So here it is. His idea. His plot. My words.
The life of a professional bodyguard looks simple on the outside. An easy equation quantifiable by one simple edict. Make sure your mark is still breathing at the end of the day.
I've been guarding my mark for five years now.
He's still breathing.
I've guarded politicians, musicians and criminals too, but guarding this guy has been my toughest assignment to date.
What could be worse than a politician you might wonder? They get shot at, are high profile with their personal opinions and have their affiliations on display for all to see. They present a huge target. A very public one at that.
What could be worse than keeping groupies at bay from a musician you might ask? Sex, drugs and rock and roll and all that.
Who could be harder to protect than a career criminal from other criminals?
The simple answer is my mark.
He's an actor.
Don't get me wrong, he's one of the good guys. He doesn't play around, he doesn't drink or smoke anything that couldn't be inhaled at the same table as your grandmother and he's the consummate professional.
The movie set is teeming with bodies.
Hundreds of people scurrying from place to place all doing someone else's bidding. Cameras are rolling on tracks to my left, white hot lights are strung above me and the noise...the noise is deafening.
Right up until the director yells for his marker and then everyone and everything halts. The entire set is as though it's set in stone, nobody moving, nobody breathing loud enough to be picked up by a microphone. It's eerie and fascinating all at once.
My mark takes his place, checks himself over from head to toe, cranes his neck to stretch his muscles and then swallows thickly. This is it. The last scene on the last day of the shoot. What everyone present has been working towards for the last nine weeks. And it all comes down to this last shot.
The silence is deafening before the action begins, but when it does it's as though the apocalypse has descended on a tiny, square room in Hollywood.
Someone somewhere presses a button at a predetermined time and then everyone in the area holds their breath.
The high walls of the sound stage make the initial explosion twice as loud despite it being a controlled burn with no shrapnel expulsion.
The fireball that's been entirely engineered grows and then expands in a red glowing mushroom until it's touching both sides of the asbestos coated walls.
The roar as the flames lick the ceiling is captured on recording equipment overhead while the actual visual spectacle is captured on a million dollars worth of digital equipment that line the walls around me.
Debris begins to rain down all around. Pieces flying left and right with another million dollars worth of specialist video equipment tracing its path.
And out of the centre of this destruction my mark strolls. Yes strolls. Casually.
He walks dead straight, right ahead, with the flames roiling behind him and as he reaches the designated 'mark' on the ground a smouldering piece of cloth drifts down, still on fire, and lands at his feet.
My mark stops, right where he's supposed to, and nonchalantly takes a cigarette out of his shirt pocket. Right on cue he bends down and picks up the still burning piece of cloth. He uses it to light his cigarette and as everyone on the set holds their breath he delivers his line. Perfectly.
"I told you it was a smoking jacket, asshole."
There is a five second pause and then the director is calling 'cut' and everyone lets that held breath out. Including me. This last scene couldn't afford to go badly. The cost of the explosion, the cost to reshoot should my mark fuck up his line or any of a hundred other catastrophes that could befall the recording would mean another week or more on this movie, the fifth instalment of the series.
And nobody wanted that.
Everyone wanted it safely tucked away on a hard drive. They wanted it done, finished, complete. And that included my mark and I.
Twenty minions rush forward as my mark moves quickly away from the flames that are still writhing and seething even in the controlled environment. The workers blast their extinguishers at the base of the fire and within seconds it's been reduced to a heap of smouldering ash and useless props on the concrete floor.
My mark ignores it all, is oblivious to everyone and everything around himself because he's still in character. He's still the guy he's been portraying in this film for the last nine weeks. He's still James Goodall. He's still the spy. Still the agent. Still the guy who never has a hair out of place while the entire world is in flames in his wake. Still the guy who gets the girl and saves the world without raising a sweat.
The director sits beside me in his high backed chair, marking his clipboard and thanking people as they go by him.
"Let's go home," Edward Cullen, who still thinks he's James Goodall, says when he reaches where I'm now standing.
"Do you need to wait to see if the take was good?" I ask.
"Your boy's always 'on'," the director says without lifting his eyes from his pages, "He's never out of character. I haven't had to do a second take yet."
I want to tell him he has no idea just how right he is. Instead I keep my mouth shut and scoop up Edward's bag, hurrying to catch up to him before he makes it to the doors that lead from the sound stage and into the parking lot.
While he's still James he thinks he's invincible. He's not; it's just that he's the only one who doesn't know it.
I get him settled into the back of his car and then run around and get into the driver's seat. I back out of his designated spot and crawl along the lanes that wind through the lot. There are people pulling carts, riding golf buggies and moving large pieces of set decoration for the other films being made on the lot. It's a zigzag of movement, a hive of activity and its difficult and slow going getting out of there.
"I think we'd better get out of here before the police get here," Edward says from the back seat. "I'll call for a containment crew," he says, putting his hand between the front seats of the vehicle.
There's no way I'm putting a cell phone into that hand so I ignore the request. "I'm on it," I lie, with a straight face instead. "Let's get you home."
I watch him in the rearview mirror as his eyes shift from side to side and know what's coming next.
"Make sure we aren't followed. I don't want any stuff ups before we get to the rendezvous point," he tells me sternly.
"You mean the house," I say dryly.
"Don't say that so loud," comes his fearful response from the backseat. "This car might not be secure. Just drive man, just drive," he shouts as he ducks down.
I continue to crawl through the lot and when I get to the front gates I turn left into traffic and settle in for the ride home. I shake my head when I look back and can only see the curve of his neck in the mirror.
"The cells in your brain aren't secure," I mumble but he doesn't hear me. He never does.
A/N: Short, I know. But I'll be uploading the next chapter right away, so don't fret lovelies ;)
As I said up top, this isn't my story, just my words. I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for reading, please review.