Fandom Gives Back Auction Piece
Thank you, Team Guarding Kat, for the prompts that you gave me:
- Caro_lalala: Mick St. John, shirtless
- Duskwatcher: Lacy slip
- Monamour: Katmom Square dancing
- Ctinaw: Handcuffs
- Bells . just . Bells: Edward, Emmett and Jasper, crime fighting together
- Gwenap: Edward making passionate love to Gwen!
- Marijee: Marijee touching Jasper, Hummingbirds feeding on a fuchsia
- Browneyedgirl7723: Edward commando
I hope you enjoy the way I integrated your prompts into my story.
Stephenie Meyer still owns the characters, I'm just playing around with them.
It had been a week since we had attended the second anniversary bonfire of our fight with the Volturi. Billy Black had told the story as we gathered to grieve our losses and to remember the new life of peace that the fight had brought us. The first year there had been only the bonfire and the telling of the tale. This year we dedicated the monument, brought to the meadow through the efforts of vampires and werewolves. Alice beautifully inscribed the names of the lost on the front of the huge monolith.
The melody that Edward was now playing as he composed at the piano had been running through his mind since the first gathering. He now had a reason to complete it. That movie that we had gone to see during one of his early outings as a vampire, Old Sun, had quite the following. It had been about vampires and we had laughed at the things they got wrong. The book it was based on had been the first part of a trilogy and one of the other two books had been made into a movie last year. The third book had a date set for filming to start in the next couple of months. Apparently the series had spawned pages and pages of fan fiction on a bunch of internet sites.
A bi-annual event was coming up and some of the fans of the movies and books had approached Edward through Immortal Muse. They asked if he would compose a piece around the epic battle scene in the last book and record it for them to sell during their FANDOM GIVES BACK Auction. He had agreed to do so, and to also sign the CD's. The money raised was going to a wonderful charity, Alex's Lemonade Stand.
Edward thought that it would be fitting to have a piece inspired by real vampire history out there. Of course, only a very small group would know that it was based on reality.
Sitting on the deck of our house in Denali, I checked my email as the notes my husband played spun and quivered around me. The music was a vivid picture of loss, victory…and hope. After the auction, future profits from the sale of the CD would fund a scholarship in Paul's name at the Reservation.
Carlisle, Esme, Jasper and Alice had returned from a trip to Volterra just before the bonfire. Marcus was doing a great job as the new leader of the Volturi. There had been some growing pains as a few nomads had thought that the downfall of Caius and Aro meant that they could run wild. They were sadly mistaken. The Guard was working diligently to keep order, but they were doing it under Marcus' leadership. He enforced a different set of rules, rules that were fair and balanced. Even the Romanians, who had loathed the prior leadership, had been heard to say that they thought this was the right way for our kind to go. High praise, indeed.
One email in the queue caught my attention. It was from Mick St. John. He was asking to meet with us.
Mick was one of those who were caught up in the aftermath of the change in regime. He had been investigating a crime scene late one night, a scene where three people had been killed by a nomad. The nomad had decided that he wasn't quite full and he took Mick. Luckily for Mick an ancient vampire was watching. He dealt with the nomad and took Mick to a safe place for his change to continue. Joseph had known of Mick as he lived in Seattle and Mick's name was in the papers a lot. He closed more cases than any other detective on the police force.
I had once wondered what Mick's tenacity would present itself as if he were ever turned. Now I knew. Joseph had taken Mick to Volterra and after a rocky start Mick decided that he'd be a veggie vamp too. The bedrock of his duty to protect and serve carried through into his vampire life. Carlisle had been at Volterra and he had mentored Mick in our ways. He had used the same protocol on him that he had used with Edward, and it worked just as well with him.
Now Mick worked for the Volturi in tracking down wayward vampires, ones who were still fighting against the rules, the main rule still being: Keep the Secret.
He and Demetri were a team that almost couldn't be beat. Demetri was a tracker of extraordinary power and could find any vampire that he set his mind on. Mick used his skills honed as a detective to find those that were working against our common good.
When Mick realized that we were vampires too, he laughed. He said he had known that there was something about us, but that he always felt that we were on his side, the side of right. Although he did yell a bit about us keeping him in the dark during Edward's kidnapping now that he knew the truth. Then he wanted to know all about my "Ed-dar" as Emmett called it. He and Emmett had gotten along famously. They often chatted about becoming a vampire version of the X-Men, but with more gadgets.
Shaking my head at those memories, I opened the email as Edward's music flowed around me.
Subject: Help from EG
Hey, Bella. How's it going in frozen Alaska? I had a nice visit with the Cullens recently. Missed seeing Emmett, though.
Hopefully I'll be able to rectify that soon. I'd like to chat with you, Emmett and Rosalie, as Elite Guardians. I know that EG has been put to bed, but Demetri and I need your help with a case.
I can be in Alaska to discuss this within 24 hours of your go ahead.
What do you say? A chance to work together? I know Emmett would love it.
Let me know, and Hi to your husband.
I thought over Mick's request as Edward played the last few notes of his new composition. Emmett had been asking what our new big thing would be. He and Rose were getting to the end of the time they could spend as the faces of Immortal Muse. He had enjoyed his time spent with the musicians. They had decided to hand the studio off to some members of the pack. A few of them were really into the music making process.
This might be an interesting interlude as we decided on what our next move would be.
Edward had finished playing and as I opened my shield to him, he came and read Mick's email over my shoulder.
"Couldn't hurt to hear what he needs. And he's right; Emmett really does enjoy the spy game." Edward was rubbing my shoulders as we chatted.
Emmett bounded into the room, having heard his name.
"Spy games? What's up?" His eyes were twinkling and he looked excited.
"Mick sent me an email; he and Demetri need help with a case." I typed a response to Mick, telling him that we'd see him when he arrived. I pressed send and then showed Emmett the one from Mick. He said he hoped that he'd get to use lots of gadgets.
Twenty-six hours later I agreed with Emmett. This would be an interesting case to get involved in.
There was a rogue vampire preying on humans and on vampires. Demetri couldn't get a bead on this guy. Mick had been using every tool that the Volturi had its disposal and yet he couldn't find the vampire.
Ian Stone was a seven-hundred year old vampire whose gift made him invisible to Demetri, and after a futile search, apparently invisible to Alice too. It was like he was a ghost.
He wasn't dangerous, per se, as he didn't kill humans, he only took a few sips of their blood, usually while in the midst of a romantic rendezvous. Then he stole their jewels. He did the same with the vampire women he preyed on, well, except for the sipping of the blood. He would take a bit of venom from the vampire women, which everyone thought of as odd.
Ian loved jewels, gold and silver, and the occasional painting or sculpture. He had been a pirate when he was changed and it carried over into his second life. Mick and Demetri had found a couple of caches of his plunder in a few places around the world. The ones that they had found would have paid a King's ransom several times over.
The Volturi would have let him continue on, as he hadn't really harmed his human victims, at least not until very recently. In the past year or so he had started taking greater amounts of blood. The vampire women had mentioned a greater loss of venom and there were many more victims recently. Ian had taken all of their jewelry and they were ticked. When asked how he had gotten away with the booty, they really couldn't say. His gift had a sub-context…it appeared that he could dazzle vampires too.
The breaking point was when Renata had been dazzled in Rome and had handed over several of the gems that had been in the Volturi hands for over a thousand years. At least she hadn't been in a compromising position with Ian. Her heart lay with Marcus and Ian hadn't been able to break through that bond.
Mick told us that there was a chance that Ian was in New York City. Demetri had stopped there while Mick came on to Alaska. Demetri was trying to see if he could track Ian.
"So, Elite Guardians, what do you think? Do you want to team up and see if we can find this guy? Renata is really angry and there's a long list of females that want a piece of him." Mick shrugged his shoulders and continued, "They mostly want their jewels back, but a couple of them want to spend more time with him."
We all looked shocked and he just shook his head. "Hey, I don't make this stuff up."
Demetri called later that night. He had found a faint trail through Manhattan. One of Ian's victims said that it was Ian's. The trail had vanished, like a puff of smoke. Demetri was very frustrated.
Esme had the jet fueled and ready and while she piloted us toward NYC, we came up with a plan.
From all accounts Ian would approach his marks, flattering and dazzling them into letting him get close, and then he'd steal from them. He apparently enjoyed the chase nearly as much as he enjoyed taking their jewels. Marcus was worried most about the fact that Ian was taking blood and venom from his victims in greater quantities.
Ian was also getting sloppy in how he left their memories. He wasn't taking the time to really dazzle them into forgetting him anymore. The female vampires would remember him almost immediately while the human women would begin to remember within weeks. Mick said that several women had met through an internet chat group, a group of women who had been fleeced by smooth operators. They had compared notes and at least twenty of them realized that the man who had conned them over the years was the same one…Ian Stone. They didn't know he was supernatural, but they were working to get some public attention on the case.
Public scrutiny would not be a good idea.
Alice, Rosalie and I decided we would take on the personas of a group of succubae. We'd also take on aliases. Since the change in leadership, our names had become well known. Not that any of us wanted that, but it was a fact. At least there wasn't a photo directory of vampires, although one enterprising vampire had suggested we have one, so our faces weren't nearly as well known as our names were.
Rosalie decided that she'd be Trayce, Alice was Annie and I would answer to Gwen. Alice had our wardrobe ordered before we even landed in the Big Apple. It included gems from the finest jewelers on the East Coast…a lot of gems.
We'd be putting ourselves out there, going to clubs and being seen…always wearing the jewels. From the way Ian's victims talked, he wouldn't be able to resist the bling…and us. We'd make sure we looked available and like we were on the prowl for a good time. Alice laughed and said that we could all channel our inner Tanya.
The guys and Esme would be in the background, keeping an eye on things and trying to find out where Ian had holed up. Edward had to stay behind the scenes as he was still quite easily recognized.
Alice had a limo lined up to take us to the Ty Warner Penthouse Suite at the Four Seasons. It was 4300 square feet of opulence on the 52nd floor. Esme and the guys were going to be staying at the family apartment off of Central Park; we could see it from the balcony of the suite. Mick and Demetri would use that address as a home base too.
The suite was full of representatives from the top fashion designers when we arrived. Alice quickly chose a month's worth of clothes for us.
"Gwen, you'll look fabulous in that blue number," she exclaimed. "Trayce, I think that you should wear the red backless dress tonight." Taking a green mini sheath and holding it up to her, she said, "I'll wear this."
As we tried on outfit after outfit, we kept up chit chat about how affluent we were, and that we were after a good time. Alice signed the slips, using her new name, and she sent the reps on their way.
"Three of them are already calling the papers, telling them that the three new IT girls have hit town." Alice really knew how to play the press. Our names would be out there before we even hit the first dance floor.
A quiet knock heralded the arrival of the rest of the family. They were laden with jewel cases. It was fun going through the pretties as Alice matched them up with the outfits that she had chosen for us. Everything was bigger and over the top, it was sure to bring Ian out of hiding.
The first night we put on quite the display at a well known club, knowing that Ian probably wouldn't know about us yet. We made sure to pose for the ever present paparazzi that surrounded the celebrities who were at the club too.
We left the club together, hanging on each other and chatting about where we'd be the next night. Word would get out. We just hoped that it wouldn't take too long for Ian to find us.
Edward, Jasper and Emmett slipped over the balcony and into our suite after our return, knowing that we'd have to stay away from them later on to keep up the façade of availability.
Emmett swung Rosalie up into his arms. "Trayce, the way you girls were dancing, it was all I could do to stay in the shadows." He planted a big kiss on Rose's lips and they disappeared into her room. Annie had her hands all over Jasper and they also slipped away quickly without a word. A wave of lust washed over us as their door closed.
"So, Gwen, looks like it's just the two of us…" Edward's quick fingers unzipped my pretty blue gown and it made a very small pile on the thick white carpet as Edward kissed me breathless. "I hope my wife doesn't mind, but I'd love to take you to bed." His hands caressed my naked shoulders and shivers ran down my spine.
"Well, my husband is a rather jealous vampire, but I guess if you're brave enough…" I shredded his shirt in a flash and ran my hands down his shoulders and then caressed his pectorals with the palms of my hands. His eyes were dark as he watched as I slipped my hands lower.
"Oh, I think that I can handle him…and you too," he murmured, his voice like velvet on my skin as I closed the door to my bedroom behind us.
He shuddered as I stripped off the rest of his clothes, quickly realizing something. "So…commando, Edward?"
His cool breath fluttered across my skin as he chuckled quietly and I felt myself shiver in anticipation. "I thought you'd appreciate that…"
Our hands tangled together as our eyes darkened and I led him deeper into the opulent room.
So far we had taken tea at the Waldorf once, visited the MoMA for a private exhibit attended by celebrities and shopped our way through the most elite shops that Alice could find. We were always dressed to the nines and flaunted gems like we were glittering Christmas trees.
We had also been out on the town for three nights in a row, hitting the hottest spots in town. Last night we all had smelled a vampire briefly toward the end of the evening. A careful glance around hadn't shown us where he was, but we all knew he was there, watching us.
The guys had smelled him too, but hadn't been able to make out where he was. It had been decided that unless we could actually lay hands on him, we needed to hold back until it was a sure thing. We also needed to be able to find his cache of treasure. Renata really wanted those gems back.
Now that Alice had scented him, she tried looking for his future. After an hour she growled, "You know how I can't see the Wolves? That it's just blank when I try to see things with them?" We all nodded; she had learned to look around the blank spaces to find information with regard to them, but there wasn't an exact science to it.
"Well, when I look for Ian, all I see is a blur…or a shimmer or something. It's weird, it's like he's too fast for me to see…me, a vampire!" She shook her head again, "It's very frustrating."
On our fourth day in the city, Central Park was hosting a cultural event. Rosalie, Alice and I got dressed in clothes that would showcase another lovely set of gems and we wandered amongst the booths and exhibits. The sky was slightly overcast so we were safe under the trees.
The sound of music drew us to a temporary dance floor. We spotted Carlisle and Esme on the other side of the parquet expanse as we watched an exhibition of square dancing. There were four squares of eight people each dancing to Pink Cadillac. When the music stopped the caller announced that it was time for spectator participation. I gasped when a woman wearing a black blouse and skirt with stars sprinkled on it and a vibrant red petticoat grabbed Carlisle by the hand and tugged him onto the floor. Her partner, a man with a silver beard, took Esme's hand and placed her into position beside him. The music started up and the caller called several simple moves: circle left and right, promenade and do-si-do.
After their initial shock, Esme and Carlisle began smiling and really getting into it. Carlisle twirled his partner, whose name tag read Kathie, Happy Tracks Square Dance Club. I overheard her ask if he had square danced before. At his negative response she said that they'd love to have him and his lovely wife in their club anytime; that they appeared to be naturals. Her cheeks were rosy when he twirled her rapidly as they promenaded. He was a very quick study.
At the end of the dance and after a yellow-rock—which the caller said was square dance lingo for a hug-Esme's partner returned her to Carlisle who quickly pulled her close and spun her into a tight spin. Esme was laughing as she told Kathie's partner that they may have to check out some clubs when they returned home.
With a glance our way, Carlisle and Esme moved away from us, continuing to check out the other exhibits, as they also continued to look for Ian.
Rosalie just shook her head as she watched them walk away. "I bet that Emmett would love to dance like that. But I'd only do it if Annie could add a bit more glitz to those costumes…I'd want a much fuller petticoat and I'd need higher heels than those, too."
Alice laughed and said that she'd put some thought into it, but that now it was time to return to the hotel to get ready for our next trip out on the town.
We had been invited to a private party at Tavern on the Green. Several celebrities were going to be there, including Caro. She was the hottest young star in Hollywood right now, having been in a string of highly acclaimed movies. She was going to be wearing the Fire Storm Diamond ring. We thought that the lure of a rock that big might bring Ian out.
Alice stopped just as she slipped a double diamond tennis bracelet onto her slender wrist. We waited as the vision played itself out. Taking a breath she said, "I actually see Caro with a shimmer before her. He must be planning to attend the party tonight. Wow, her dress looks great!"
We finished dressing and called the guys to tell them to be on guard. They would be posted in a couple of places at a distance from the Tavern. Edward would be listening, trying to pinpoint Ian's mind. He had gotten pretty good at narrowing the input from other minds, but he had already told me that he was looking forward to being in my shield soon, just the two of us.
Demetri, Mick, Jasper and Emmett had been taking turns watching us from somewhat near each night. Edward was still too recognizable so he spent the evenings on the rooftops, watching and listening from high up. He said it made him feel like Spiderman.
Tonight was Mick's turn to mingle with the crowd around us. He was already there when we arrived. We nodded in his direction and then mingled with the upper crust of society. A commotion a few minutes later meant that Caro had arrived. The flashes from the cameras surely blinded the poor girl.
She and four of her girlfriends, Jenn, Tina, Becca and Staci finally made their way into the middle of the room, to a table that had been reserved for them. Her friends were also celebrities. The press called them The Quixotic Quads. They were quirky, always on the cutting edge in fashion and endeavors. They had all been in plays on Broadway, in a few movies and a couple of them had hit TV shows. Check out any newsstand and their faces could be found on a lot of magazine covers. They garnered a lot of male attention as they sat at their table.
Alice was right about Caro, her dress of deep red and metallic gold set the ring off nicely. She was wearing the stone to bring attention to her new movie, a remake of Romancing the Stone. Guards were stationed unobtrusively all around the perimeter of the room.
I was watching Mick when he caught sight of Caro. The only word for the look on his face was gob smacked. I elbowed Alice and nodded toward him. A glazed look crossed her face and then a brilliant smile took its place.
"He's found his mate."
My first reaction was to say, "But she's human!" But then I looked back at my own past. Who was I to say anything? I was very happy with my choices and he could be too.
As we schmoozed with the humans that surrounded us, we kept an eye on Mick and Caro. She appeared to be just as taken with him. They had danced three times when Rose got a call from Emmett. They thought they might have found a trail to Ian's hiding place. Rose called quietly to get Mick's attention and once she had it, she filled him in. He looked devastated to have to leave. When he leaned over and told Caro that he had to go, she looked just as distraught.
I watched as Caro took Mick's cell and put her number into it. He held the phone up and snapped their picture. The smiles on both of their faces were blinding.
Caro reached up and placed a kiss on Mick's cheek. He would have blushed if he could have. He reciprocated by kissing the back of her hand and then he was gone.
We all smiled to see her gush to her friends. Yes, she was smitten by our Mick.
A few minutes later my back stiffened as the scent of a vampire reached me. A man stood in the arched entry to the room. Alice, Rosalie and I focused on the door as we watched the vampire step inside and survey the area. I knew it was him from the descriptions given by his victims.
Ian Stone was tall with gorgeous black hair swept back from his forehead. It was tied in a short ponytail at the nape of his neck. A small streak of silver added to his distinguished good looks. He reminded me of the actor, Pierce Brosnan. My guess was that he had been a very striking human, but he was breathtaking as a vampire. His eyes weren't red, but were amber. We knew his diet was some human blood, but it looked like he was supplementing with animals. Probably so that his eyes weren't quite so scary to his human prey because even with dazzling…ruby red eyes can be a real turn off.
As his eyes travelled around the room, we all knew when he spotted us, three vampires in his space. Playing our parts, Alice smiled beguiling and beckoned him over. He shot a glance at Caro, and the gem she was wearing, before he placed a smile on his face and sauntered over to us. He was a picture of everything handsome in a charcoal gray tux.
"Well, what a lovely trio you three are…" I tried not to shiver as he looked us all up and down, pausing on our attributes for far longer than I found comfortable.
It was a good thing Edward wasn't here. He'd be growling, loudly, because of the look on Ian's face. "What brings you here, my lovelies?"
Rose held her hand out, a sultry look on her face, "Hello, Handsome, we're here for the nightlife. Now that the Volturi are nearly gone, we're testing the waters, so to speak."
Ian took her hand and held her wrist to his nose, inhaling her scent and then taking the smallest of licks before kissing her palm. Rose giggled. Giggled! Then she introduced us.
"This is Gwen and Annie…and I'm Trayce." I couldn't believe my eyes, I knew she was a good actress but this was beyond what I had expected from her. Turning to Alice I saw stars in her eyes too. I immediately realized that I was seeing Ian's second gift in action; he really could dazzle vampires. Searching the edges of my shield, which was around me like a second skin, I felt a push against it, rather like feathers brushing along the boundary.
Taking my cue from my sisters, I smiled up into his amber eyes as I feigned eagerness to give him my hand. "Yes, I'm Gwen, and so pleased to meet you. You are…?"
"Enchanted," was his response. I really tried not to gag at his cheesy comment and smiled at him instead as he continued, "I'm Ian and the pleasure is all mine." Ian's eyes rested on the gems we wore, I could almost hear him counting up the carats. Then he gave our eyes a more thorough look. "How are your eyes so gold? What do you drink?"
Alice stepped toward him and ran her hand up his lapel as she smiled widely. "The original succubae taught us how to drink from animals. They said it made the interactions with human men, more…luscious." She rose up on her tiptoes and whispered the last word into his ear. "We've practiced a catch and release program since then. It helped keep the Volturi off of our backs."
Ian looked intrigued. "Catch and release?"
Rose had moved to his other side and her hand was exploring his torso beneath his tux jacket. "Yes, we are quite fond of our…interactions…with human males. We enjoy them and then let them go…fully satisfied and alive." She also leaned in and sniffed his neck. "Although we have been known to enjoy vampire males too…"
Ian looked pleased with our words and gently caressed Alice's cheek even as he checked out the table with Caro and her four friends.
"Why don't you ladies throw these human men a bone and dance while I…mingle just a bit." He made a point to look deeply into each of our eyes. Again, following the lead of Alice and Rose, I settled my face into a fatuous smile.
As he slipped away toward Caro's table, Alice sighed, "If my ovaries were working, they'd be aching for him right now." The words were barely out of her mouth before I slipped my shield around her. A moment later she gasped and turned to me. "What the heck was that?"
Looking a warning at her, I exclaimed, "Oh, Annie, I hear you. I don't think I've seen anyone to equal Ian in my very long life."
Alice's eyes widened as she caught on. Her eyes slid to Rosalie who was already grinding on some incredibly thrilled human male. We had been keeping the men that we'd met over the last couple of nights at arms' length, gently dazzling them into thinking that they were having a much better time than they really were. It looked like Rose had taken Ian at his word and she was giving her dance partner more than Emmett would probably approve of. As she worked her hands into her grinning partner's hair, I deftly put my shield around her.
Alice and I both saw the moment when she realized what she was doing. We had moved into position on either side of her. It looked like we were just joining them in a dance, when in reality we were keeping her from slapping the guy into next week because of where his hands had landed very low on her hips.
I leaned in and said, "Trayce, darling, why don't we dance together and let this guy cool down?"
Rosalie's eyes swung to me and then to Alice as we both gave a quick glance at Ian where he was now sitting with Caro. Catching on, Rose smiled up at her dance partner. She leaned in and blew her breath gently across his face. A glazed look was quickly replaced with one of satiation as she whispered in his ear. Stepping back she gave him a little wave and we moved away from him. He now thought that he had had a great time with her and he rushed to tell his friends about it.
We stood at the bar and pretended to drink as we discussed, nearly sub-vocally so that Ian wouldn't hear, what had just happened. Ian leaned into Caro, assessing the jewel on her hand when we saw him stiffen. He told the girls to have fun and he'd be right back. Standing gracefully, he nearly rushed to us.
Putting welcoming smiles on our faces, we all reached out to him at the same time. I got his right hand and Rose his left, with Alice pouting between us. "No fair, there isn't enough of Ian to go around."
I nearly laughed at the whine in her voice.
"Now, now, ladies…there is enough of me for you all. I do have a question though." We all looked eagerly up into his face as he continued, "Why does the lovely starlet reek of vampire?"
"Oh! I know!" Alice gushed. "There was a male here earlier. He hit on us, but we sent him on his way. Maybe we knew you were coming and we wanted to save ourselves for you…" She nearly simpered as she looked up through her eyelashes at him.
"Why didn't you take him on?" Ian was pouring his dazzle effect onto us, trying to get us to speak the truth to him.
Rose shook her head. "He really wasn't our type. We like to go as a team, and he just wasn't appealing. We had decided to take home humans…before you showed up."
Ian appeared to think about that for a moment while we all continued to caress his shoulders and rub up against him. Yes, a good thing that Edward wasn't here.
Finally, his eyes narrowing, Ian came to a decision. "Maybe we could meet up later? I have some errands to run and then I could come to your hotel?" Rose rushed to give him a key to our suite and he took it, slipping it into a pocket inside his jacket.
"I'll be there in a couple of hours." Glancing at the guys that were watching us intently, he said, "Poor saps…they aren't going to get lucky tonight, are they?"
We laughed and told him that he was going to be the lucky one. He looked us in the eyes and then sauntered over to Caro. Leaning down he appeared to kiss her cheek and then with one last glance at her ring he made his way out of the room.
"So, is he just leaving? Caro still has the ring on her finger…" Alice was concentrating, trying to see what Ian's next move was but with a growl she gave up. "I just can't see him. Even after meeting him."
We watched as a few minutes later Caro and her friends gathered up their belongings and left, surrounded by the ring's guardians.
Rose's phone chirped again and she held the message out for us to see.
We found a small cache of loot. Renata's bling wasn't there. ~Em
She quickly texted him back, letting him know that Ian had been here, but was gone and that my shield could keep him from dazzling us. She added that he was planning to join us in the next couple of hours at the suite; that we could surely catch him there.
Sounds like a plan. We're going back to the apartment to get cleaned up and then we'll stake out the suite. ~Em
Cleaned up? ~R
Yeah, the cache was in the famed NYC sewers. We're gross! No gators tho, that might have been fun. ~Em
Rose laughed and responded saying that getting cleaned up would be a good idea. We left the party and returned to our hotel to prepare for Ian's arrival.
Excitement and confidence flowed through the three of us. Without his dazzling gift in effect, we felt we'd be able to let him into the suite and then overpower him. Then we could call in the guys. It seemed like a good plan.
"He needs to be taken by surprise…totally caught off guard," Alice said as she tossed us each a bit of lingerie. The three of us soon stood before the dressing room mirrors in our skimpy costumes. Yes, Edward wasn't going to like this part of the plan at all.
"This should certainly catch his attention," Rosalie said as she smoothed the satin over her curvy hips and tossed her long hair behind her shoulders.
Once again Alice had us in what she called our signature colors: She in green, Rose in red…and me in dark blue. She had gone with a slip theme and they were all satin, lace and sexy. Knowing our guys, she had made sure that we were covered, but often that's sexier than letting anything actually show.
As she adjusted the lacy strap over her shoulder, Alice froze as her eyes glazed over and she hissed, "Caro!"
I had washed my hair three times before the stench from the sewers was completely gone. I found it odd that Ian would have chosen such a place to hide the gems. But maybe that was his pirate background coming out. Emmett was still going on about how disappointed he was that we hadn't stumbled across any giant alligators. Apparently he was now planning a trip to Florida to wrestle with one…or ten. Demetri said that might be a fun experience and he was willing to try it too.
Esme and Carlisle were attending a party on the other side of the city; one where the guests were decked out in the height of fashion. We had wanted to spread out a bit, just in case Ian hadn't taken the bait of the Fire Storm Diamond. Jasper had called when we found out that Ian was supposed to meet the girls at the suite, and Carlisle and Esme were now headed back to our apartment.
Mick stepped out of the bathroom, barefoot and wearing a pair of clean jeans. He was running a towel over his wet hair when Jasper's phone rang.
"Alice…" he answered.
We could all hear her voice, shrill with fear. "Ian has Caro…"
In a blur of motion the five of us were out of the door and heading to the location that Alice had seen. Jasper kept Alice on the phone and she fed us bits of her visions as they played out. The women were on laptops trying to find the places and items that she was seeing.
We arrived at an area in Central Park about half a block from the Tavern on the Green…Caro's scent abruptly left the sidewalk and Mick took to the tree tops. He quickly announced that her scent was there. Mick traversed the leafy layer while we followed along below. There was no hint of blood, which we hoped was a good sign.
When the scent disappeared from the trees, Mick went up the side of the nearest building, quickly climbing to the rooftop. We followed him as he led the way, going so fast that human eyes couldn't spot us. I could smell Caro's scent and the strong aroma of her fear as we jumped from rooftop to rooftop in a northerly direction.
Mick's mind was focused; his mate was in danger and afraid and he had to get to her. I could feel a thread running through his mind as he homed in on Caro. It was much like Bella had felt when she had searched for me while I was being held by Lorena. A thread of something that bound him to her, as Bella had been bound to me.
Alice told Jasper that she now saw hummingbirds in the vision, wrought iron ones, feeding on golden metal fuchsias. Jasper could hear the keys tapping on the laptops as the women tried to find a hotel that featured fancy headboards. An address was found and we realized that Mick was leading us directly there. The women said they were on their way and Jasper closed his phone and our hunt continued as we sped through the night.
The building was taller than the ones we were on and we leaped and began to scale the bricks. Ian's scent was getting stronger, as was Caro's. We were as silent as possible as we came up over the side of the parapet and onto the roof. The penthouse was lit up and we could see into the massive glass fronted bedroom. I heard Mick's howl of rage as he saw that Caro's left arm was raised and handcuffed to the ironwork on the bed. Alice had been right; there was a flock of hummingbirds on both the headboard and footboard.
Ian was leaning over her, running his nose from her right wrist to the crook of her arm as she stared glassily at him. She was obviously dazzled.
I could see venom as it dripped down his chin. Although he looked suave and debonair, he was apparently a messy eater.
Jasper hissed that we should wait a moment to assess the situation, but Mick didn't listen as he crashed through the glass window. He was at Caro's side immediately, curled protectively around her. Ian had leaped back the moment he heard the glass implode and was spinning towards the open doorway. Emmett, Jasper, Demetri and I were surrounding him in less than a second. The women had joined us as we swarmed into the room. My eyebrows rose when I realized what they were wearing and I had to force myself to focus on Ian instead.
Bella quickly had her shield up and covering us, to keep him from dazzling anyone.
Feinting this way and that, Ian swiftly realized that there was no escape from us all and he came to a sudden stop.
Even standing before him, I could hardly catch his thoughts. Alice was right; he was like a ghost, barely registering to my gift. No wonder I hadn't been able to sense him from where I had watched from the rooftops over the past several days. I could hear Demetri's confused thoughts too. He could see him standing there, but there was nothing for his gift to grasp onto either.
Mick and Demetri had discussed what we were to do with Ian when we caught him. Renata and several of the other females wanted their gems back and Marcus wanted him to cease his actions before our secret was revealed. We were to offer him a change of career and a place on the Volturi Guard. His gift of dazzling vampires might come in handy. Carlisle had been relieved that we weren't going to rip him to pieces, except as a last resort.
The dazzling was wearing off of Caro and I heard her mind start to react to the scene before her. She was shocked by the swiftness of our movements but primarily she was focused on Mick's bare chest, her hands coming up to skim across his shoulders. He had already ground the handcuff holding her to the headboard into dust and was cradling her against his body, care and love in every move he made.
Caro would look over at us briefly, but her attention was constantly drawn back to the man holding her. "Mick, what's happening?"
She was thinking back over what had occurred since she left the Tavern…apparently Ian had told her to leave shortly after him. She had given the ring to the guards and then followed Ian's commands; she had told her friends that she was going to walk back to their hotel. They had tried to dissuade her, but she said she really needed some time alone, that she'd be safe. She had only gone half a block when Ian had swooped in and taken her into the treetops.
I wondered why he would do that, since she didn't have the ring any longer.
Jasper was interrogating Ian and it came out that it was a matter of male pride. He had overheard Caro and her friends gushing about Mick and the effect he had had on her. Ian had thought that by taking something that another vampire was interested in would be enough of a coup, even without the Fire Storm Diamond. He felt that since he had our women, and their jewels, waiting for him later in the evening, marking Caro would be enough for a "win".
While we negotiated the terms of his surrender to the Volturi, Ian's eyes kept straying to our women, dressed in their colorful slips. Jasper was trying to keep Emmett's and my ire down, but he was fast losing the upper hand.
After hearing us growl for the fifth time, the women decided that removing themselves from the scene would be a good idea. They rummaged around in closets to find something to cover their lingerie with. Since they were taking Caro with them, they couldn't just leap rooftop to rooftop in their slips, although the thought of that filled Jasper's, Emmett's and my mind with some tantalizing possibilities.
Bella smirked as she pulled a long black shirt on over her blue slip. She would be staying with us to keep Ian from dazzling anyone. Lowering her shield to me, Bella showed me what would be waiting for us when we were done for the evening. A shiver ran down my spine at her thoughts before she snapped her shield back into place.
Alice and Rosalie were covered and they had gently removed Caro from Mick's embrace after telling her that all of her questions would be answered shortly. Rosalie gave Emmett a peck on the cheek and said, "We'll see you back at the suite when you're done here."
Demetri had his hand on Ian's wrist and I could see that the skin to skin contact had allowed him to see Ian clearly. Stepping close I touched his other wrist. Yes, Ian's mind became clear to me too.
I could see that he was resigned to surrendering. Part of the reason that he was getting sloppy is that he was tired of the way his life was going. The search for the perfect jewel and the chase to get it from the women was no longer as fun as it used to be. Being forced to stop, or die, might actually be a good thing for him.
He gave up the locations of his caches and I was amazed at how many there were. We'd be able to get the jewels back to many of his victims. One cache was in Florida and I could hear Emmett planning on retrieving the gems and fighting with gators. I rolled my eyes. Only Emmett would think of such a thing.
Ian also swore allegiance to the Volturi and gave his word to not try to escape. Demetri placed a call to let them know that they would be returning to Volterra shortly. He and Ian would stop outside of the city to pick up Renata's jewels.
Emmett promised Demetri that he'd plan a trip for them to wrestle gators later in the year. Bella rolled her eyes at their banter.
And then the penthouse was empty except for my wife and me.
"Elite Guardians save the day…again," Bella sighed happily. "And no one was hurt. That's always a win in my book."
She came to me and we stood looking out over the city, the lights twinkling up at us from every side. I slipped Ian's shirt off of her shoulders and let it wing its way to the ground far below us. Rubbing my hands on her exposed skin, I overlaid his scent with my own. Bella tipped her head to the side and I accepted her invitation and kissed the smooth line of her throat.
Another soft sigh escaped her and she enclosed us in her shield. The lack of other thoughts was a balm to my soul. I had gotten better at keeping them at a distance, but New York City was teeming with people and as their slogan said, it was the city that never slept. There were minds awake and aware all of the time. It was tiring, even for a vampire.
Right now, within her shield, we were alone in a bubble for two. It was bliss.
"Did you catch that Caro is Mick's mate?" she asked as I continued to kiss her shoulder. "I was surprised at my first reaction."
I saw her shock at the event and then her acceptance as she remembered our first couple of encounters.
"Yes, she's just as smitten with him. It's going to be a shock for her, but I saw the thread binding them together. It's nearly as strong as our bond," I said as I ran my hands over the slippery satin of her gown. My fingers traced the lacy edge of the neckline and she sucked her breath in as my fingertips outlined her form.
Bella turned in my arms and slipped her hands into my hair, tugging gently. "It will be worth it if they love each other half as much as I love you." I agreed as we kissed high above the city.
Ian became a valuable member of the Volturi Guard. When he wasn't dazzling nomads into submission, Marcus had him busy cataloging the treasure that the Volturi had collected over the millennia. It filled a need that he had for bling and kept him out of trouble. Several vampire women visited and spent time with him too. Most of them berated him for stealing from them and then they'd disappear into the vaults below the castle for days a time. There probably wasn't a lot of cataloging going on during those moments.
Caro and Mick looked to Edward and me as mentors for human/vampire relations. That made us laugh, but we helped wherever we could. After she finished filming the remake of Romancing the Stone, Caro had made a public announcement stating that she was retiring from acting and was taking up writing. It was something she could do out of the limelight while she learned to control her bloodlust. Yes, she had decided that forever would be about long enough with her soul mate. She and Mick spent her first year with us in Alaska.
Carlisle gave her the same indoctrinating protocol that he had used on Edward and Mick and she had a good outcome too. Mick, as her adoring mate, had helped her through the trials and had even taken a taste or two in support. He told her that it cemented his dedication to the lifestyle.
Mick and Demetri called on Elite Guardians upon occasion when our expertise was needed. It was a fun diversion and Emmett enjoyed keeping on top of the spy game. Demetri did join Emmett once to wrestle alligators in Florida. Alice took plenty of pictures and video of the spectacle for the rest of us to enjoy.
The CD for the Fandom Gives Back Auction made piles of money for Alex's Lemonade Stand and then went on to fund Paul's Scholarship at the Reservation for many more years.
Life would always be an adventure with Edward by my side. We'd meet each challenge together and together we'd be able to enjoy or overcome whatever life served up.
Taking him by the hand as the midnight sun shone over the frosty landscape near our Denali home, we ran across the tundra, following the scent of a herd of caribou. Yes, life was good.
Thank you, TEAM GUARDING KAT…I appreciate your donations to ALEX'S LEMONADE STAND so very much. Your prompts made me laugh, and again, I hope you liked the way I incorporated them into this GUARDING EDWARD outtake.
This is the link to the ring that Caro wore to the party:
http: /i769. photobucket. com/albums/xx335/katmom50 /fanfic/red-diamond-ring. Jpg
Copy and paste the link into your browser, take the spaces out to make the links in this a/n work.
I used a little bit of creative license in regards to the suite the girls stayed at in New York City. The Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons is supposed to only sleep three people…but we are going to assume, for the sake of this story, that they found THREE bedrooms there, okay? Good grief, the place has 1300 more feet than my house does and we have six people living here and we aren't crowded. But it sure is pretty, take a look:
http: /www. fourseasons. com/newyorkfs/guest_rooms_ and_suites /ty_warner_ penthouse/
I mentioned square dancing to Pink Cadillac…this is a link to my daughter and husband dancing to that song recently. She's wearing the skirt I described in the story:
http:/www .youtube . com/watch?v=f78RsLNrpWo
LJ Summers, one of my pre-readers, came up with this idea:
I dunno, I bet Edward could have PRETENDED with Gwen... :) Nothing major, just light, you know? -)
"Come on..." he whispered in her ear. "I need to get Ian to look at you... So play up to me, huh?"
"Like that's hard," Gwen muttered. She swallowed and smiled. "Sure. Game on."
Edward and Bella had spoken about this possibility and established ground rules. No kissing was one. Not lips on lips, anyway. And no intimate slides. As if Edward would even consider it. His mind was entirely focused on Ian's thoughts...listening to what he was seeing. He pressed his lips to Gwen's temple, slid them down her cheek while his hands caressed her bare arms with carefully calculated speed.
Ian's attention was caught! Victory! Edward tilted Gwen's face to his and touched his forehead to her own. "Thank you...that was perfect," he breathed.
Yeah…that would have worked for me too! But I had already started down another path…but thought you all might like a glimpse of Edward and Gwen from LJ's POV…
There's a POLL on my profile page...would appreciate your input...thanks!
Again, I thank you all for your donations and for giving me this opportunity to revisit the GUARDING EDWARD characters.