Les Femmes Noires One-Shot Contest
Title: A Girl from Uncle
Your pen name: dorothy's ruby slippers
Characters: Bella, Emmett, Alice, Jacob, Aro, Felix, Marcus, Ben, Eric, Angela, Mike and James
Rating: M/NC-17 for violence and language
Disclaimer: All hail Stephanie Meyer who owns all things Twilight. Me? I am owned by two supremely spoiled pugs.
To see other entries in Les Femmes Noires Contest, please visit the C2 page:
Inspecting my reflection in the mirror, I find myself wondering how my life arrived at this particular point. As I reapply my lipstick, I hear Emmett in my ear, his trademark smirk coming though loud and clear in the tone of his voice.
"Bella, you look deadly: deadly gorgeous, that is. You're positively lethal. Heaven help anyone with a y-chromosome that crosses your path tonight."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Em. You really know how to charm the ladies, don't you? There's only one y-chromosome that matters tonight. Let's just hope that he's not immune to my charms."
"You've got this on lock, B. Don't give it another thought. You always come through for me and our good ol' Uncle: on that I can rely. Are you ready? Are you sure you want to go in naked, B?"
I chuckle at Emmett's favorite euphemism for our employer. By naked, Em means without cover or back-up. However, as I let my eyes travel along the length of my reflection; I realize that the beautiful, ivory, Grecian-style gown that Alice has picked for this op leaves very little to the imagination. Specially -tailored designer duds are definitely a perk of this job.
"Sure, sure, Emmett. We agreed that wearing the earpiece would be too risky. I'll put it back in once I've terminated the target, claimed the prize, and made like Elvis. Is everything in place for my pick-up?"
"You know it, B. The boys and I will pick you up four blocks south of your location. All you have to do is let us know when you're on your way."
"Okay, Em. See you in a few."
This is the first op in four years that I've pulled without Emmett's voice in my ear: coaching me, grounding me. I pull the compact from my purse, and remove the false bottom. As I remove the tiny earpiece and place it in the compartment Alice created for it, I can't help but remember the first time I met Emmett McCarty. Emmett McCarty and I seemed destined to be from the moment the big oaf walked into our lives. He was waiting for Jake and me after our Advanced Logic class at UW during my senior year. Apparently, he and Dr. Banner were long-time acquaintances, and Dr. Banner helped him identify and recruit promising students into the Company. Emmett was very crafty about his hard sell. Of course, there were promises of paying our school loans, financing our graduate school educations, serving our country, not to mention endless opportunities for travel and adventure far beyond the sleepy, rainy streets of Forks, Washington, where my father is the long arm of the law and Jake's father is a tribal elder. Naturally, Emmett failed to mention what the costs would be for a life of intrigue, travel, and adventure. As it turns out, those costs were unbearably high. In retrospect, higher than, perhaps, I would have been willing to pay had we only known. Hindsight is, indeed, twenty-twenty. Emmett didn't know either; I couldn't blame him, and don't. He couldn't have known.
I learned much later that my aptitude for creative problem-solving, and Jake's ease with learning complicated languages due primarily to his mastery of his native Quileute language made us highly desirable recruits. Much, much later, Emmett confided that recruiting Jake was a calculated strategy to ensure that I would commit to the Company. Both he and Dr. Banner knew that we would be a package deal. Of course, Jake was a desirable recruit in his own right, but for Emmett, he was also a means to secure my allegiance. For Emmett, this was always the optimal goal. Jake's tribal and familial ties to the Quileute tribe in La Push, not to mention his status as heir-apparent to ascend to Chief of the local tribe, made his recruitment a bit more complicated. Recruiting me, a confirmed loner whose closest connections included: a flighty, irresponsible mother who was murdered at the hands of a sociopath along with her second husband, shortly after my seventeenth birthday; a salt-of-the-earth, sports-obsessed, police chief father who had always been a bit of a lone wolf himself; and, a fun-loving, reckless best friend, Jake, who not only had an incredible McGuyveresque aptitude for fixing things, but also had single-handedly brought me back to life after my mom's and stepdad's tragic deaths, and served as my light, my lifeline, and my love for as long as I could remember. Special Agent, Emmett McCarty, had done his homework well.
I inhale a ragged breath and bring myself back into the present. Jake, be with me tonight. I need you. I notice the familiar, deep hue of an intricately detailed cherry blossom tattoo peeking out from the fine fabric of the designer gown, and adjust the fabric to hide my ink. Each tiny blossom, eleven in total, make a tattooed trail from the soft hallows of my underarm and meander along the length of my form ending at the curve of my hip. The blossoms are connected by a delicate branch as the blossoms would appear in nature. In the Japanese tradition, cherry blossoms represent the transience of life. For me, each blossom represents a life that has ended at my hand. Not only am I a covert operative for the Company; I am also an assassin. Few know this. In fact, as far as I am aware, only Emmett and a small handful of his superiors are aware of the true nature of tonight's assignment. For that matter, Emmett is the only person on our team that is ever aware of the true nature of each assignment. I sigh as I realize that, after tonight, I will need to make an appointment with my tattoo artist to add a blossom to the trail. I suddenly realize, before long, I may need to start adding the inked blossoms along my left side. Some days it is a mystery to me how a shy, awkward girl from a quiet, rain-soaked town in the Pacific Northwest morphed into the woman staring back at me: a cold, calculating killer with ice water running through her veins. Did that younger, more innocent version of me every really exist, or was I always capable of such death and destruction?
I adjust the bodice of the gown as I methodically run down my checklist. I smile grimly at my reflection as I adjust the slim titanium blade that Alice has sewn into a sheath in the bodice of my dress, in case of an emergency, as she routinely quips. Alice does think of everything. I exhale slowly taking in my reflection. I am cool, collected, and calculated: classic Agent Swan. I am a spook. Find the target, draw the target in, terminate the target, liberate the prize, and escape unnoticed. No problem. This is just another day at the office. What Emmett fails to realize is that this op is going down on what is possibly the very worst day of the year as far as I am concerned. Of course, Emmett wouldn't remember. Today is the day that I dread more than any other day on the calendar with the exception of the anniversary of the day that Renee and Phil were murdered. Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that my world lapsed into a permanent eclipse. Today is the anniversary of Jacob's death. I feel my breath hitch: head in the game, Bella.
I shake my head to dispel the memories, and survey my reflection. I wonder if I should have acquiesced to Alice's insistence on a long, blonde, Veronica Lakeesque wig. I hate myself as a blonde, and this is such a simple mission. The likelihood that anyone would place me from tonight's gala is extremely low, so despite Alice's disapproving stare, I resisted a heavy disguise and opted for wearing my deep mahogany locks long, loose, swept up on the side, and held in place by the jeweled comb that Alice fitted with a tiny GPS tracking device. Overprotective much, Alice? When organizing a hit, especially one that will require me to be up close and personal, I find it pays to keep things simple. As they say, dead men tell no tales. Beyond that, there is an element to all Alice's disguises that always seems so ridiculous, and there is something nagging inside of me that wants me to embrace tonight as completely and totally Bella. For Jake.
I twist the antique ring that Alice provided for the evening. Alice has such a quirky sense of humor. I find that I adore her more and more, the longer we work together, in spite of myself. Catherine de' Medici has nothing on Alice, and she has no qualms about using taxpayer dollars to procure a very authentic reproduction of Catherine's deadly ring for tonight's festivities. Alice truly has a flair for the dramatic. The symmetry and irony are not lost on me, and Alice knew they wouldn't be. Alice has been such a blessing in my life. She consoled me after Jake was killed, and she always, always, always has my back: on that I can rely. She combines a wicked talent for pushing the envelope technologically with a personal and professional obsession with all things feminine. In the Company, Alice is an asset among assets. To me, she is more. Since Jake's death, Alice has proven herself to be not only an ally, but also a true friend. She and Em are the only two people I trust implicitly. Aside from Charlie, they are the only people I consider family.
I snap the jeweled clasp on what Alice blithely mentioned is a two thousand dollar, Maddelena Marconi jeweled, kiss-lock clutch. Whatever that means, who pays two thousand dollars for a fucking purse? Silly, silly, Bella: Alice does, of course. Alice's spendy nature aside, I must remember to thank her for the arsenal she managed to craft into the small, oval bag. Despite the jeweled, silver tone that just screams notice me, the delicate silver chain makes it very easy to tuck under my arm, and out of site. It's no mistake that it is the ideal complement to the gown, jewelry, and shoes. Alice has impeccable taste. Perfect. Time to go to work, Swan. I sling the ridiculously expensive evening bag turned arsenal over my right shoulder, tuck it neatly under my arm, and head out of the ladies room to join the party.
As I enter the massive ballroom, I scan the crowd. I immediately notice Aro Volturi holding forth among a group of white-haired gentlemen with his brother, Caius, at his side. Unfortunately, Marcus Volturi is not. This may, in fact, be to my advantage. Divide et impera: divide and conquer. I suppose there's a reason those Romans ruled for 503 years, 7 months, and 19 days (give or take a few hours). Head in the game, Bella.
Marcus is tonight's target. He is one-third of the triumvirate that founded the juggernaut that is Volturi Enterprises Unlimited, a multi-national conglomerate that spans five continents, and has its hand in multiple industries across the globe. Of course, that is their bright and shiny public face. They are very protective of their pristine, unimpugnable, public image. Intel on VE Ultd. is extremely spotty at best. Ben, our communications czar, has been able to pick up very little chatter linking VE Ultd. to anything nefarious. The one thing Ben did intercept is that Marcus is mysteriously in possession of extremely sensitive and top secret information that would become a serious threat to national security if it fell into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, this information was liberated from the Company. Now, it is my job to re-liberate said information, and perform damage control for our dear, ol' Uncle.
I make my way around the perimeter of the room, accepting a glass of wine from a fresh-faced waiter who can't seem to take his eyes off my cleavage long enough to look me in the eye when I thank him. As I lift the glass to my lips, I notice a very large, handsome man with closely cropped dark hair and deep brown eyes sizing me up as he talks to another man whose back is facing me. Aside from his olive complexion and his dark eyes, he reminds me a bit of Emmett. He definitely is tall and thick with a shock of closely cropped dark hair like Em. Unfortunately, he is taking way too much interest in me. I wonder if he is with VE Ultd. Perhaps this getup wasn't the smartest choice. Alice and I are going to have to revisit the definition of the word: spook. The idea is to blend into the background, and go unnoticed. Thus far, I have blinded a waiter, and have the Incredible Hulk staring at me like I'm a juicy steak. Fabulous. Emmett will not be pleased if there is collateral damage this evening.
I slip between two groups of people and make my way to the opposite side of the room to escape the Incredible Hulk's scrutiny, and provide myself with a better vantage point for spotting Marcus in the crowd. As I scan the room, my eyes finally lock on Marcus. He is talking to a striking, raven-haired woman in a deep red gown that appears almost as if the fabric has been tinged with black. As I watch him from across the room, I feel an uncomfortable, prickly sensation running along the base of my neck as I notice another set of eyes have settled on me: Aro. Aro. Damnit all to hell. Breathe, Bella. You are just another party guest. There's nothing to see here: except for, apparently, the girls. Aro's eyes seem to be trained on my rack. Delightful. Men are so predictable. If the Hulk was looking at me as if I was filet mignon, Aro is eyeing me as if I am a shiny new toy that he is dying to add to his collection. This is not good. I stifle a shudder, and nervously run my index finger along my left wrist where my bracelet usually sits nearly dumping my wine on the floor. Head in the game, Bella. The bracelet is at home, safe. You know you never wear it on assignment. Breathe and get a fucking grip. Get that ice water pumping through your veins, already.
As I shift my position to remove myself from Aro's line of sight, I notice Marcus kiss his companion's hand gallantly, and turn toward the exit. It's time. I set my wine glass down on a nearby tray, slip between two groups of partygoers, and prepare to make my exit. As I'm making my way across the ballroom, I suddenly feel a hand on the back of my shoulder. Holy Hell! I nearly jump out of my skin, and turn startled to see Mr. Hulkerific standing over me holding two glasses of wine with a satisfied smirk plastered on his face.
"Good evening. I'm Felix. I couldn't help but notice that you appear to be unaccompanied this evening. I thought I'd introduce myself. Of course, I come bearing gifts." Felix winks, tips the glass slightly and offers it to me.
"Felix, it is nice to meet you. You are very kind. Whoever said chivalry is dead? Would you be terribly disappointed if I asked you for a raincheck? I was just making my way to the ladies room. I'll be sure to look for you when I return, okay?" I so do not have time for this fuckery.
"Certainly, I will count the moments."
I flash my most charming smile and make my retreat. Yeah. I hope you can count to infinity, bucko. With that, I spin on my heels and make my way to the exit. Behind me, I hear Felix calling to me that I didn't tell him my name, and I chuckle to myself. Keep counting, Hulkster.
I make it out to the hallway and head straight for the elevators. I enter and press the button for the 28th floor, and wait for the doors to close. As the elevator makes its way to the 28th floor, I run through our team's earlier preparations one last time. Our resident computer genius, Eric Yorkie, hacked into the hotel computer system earlier in the day, and identified Marcus' room number for me. Angela, our queen of all things logistical, provided me with a duplicate key to Marcus' room. Alice, mistress of disguise and gadgetry, laced my ring with a lethal powder, and lined my evening bag with a cocktail of syringes containing untraceable, paralyzing, and lethal poisons worthy of Queen Catherine. Mike Newton, our resident All-American, former military, yankee doodle dandee, and sharpshooter extraordinaire, planned my exit. James, our surveillance expert, had been keeping an eye on the Volturi brothers for weeks, and knew their every move. Make no mistake: Emmett's team is a well-oiled machine. Now, it's up to me to carry the ball into the end zone. All that time living with my sports-obsessed father has definitely left its mark on me. Head in the game, Bella.
The bell sounds and the door opens and I quietly make my way to room 2828. I slip my evening bag from my shoulder and open the clasp retrieving the hotel key. As I approach the door to Marcus' room, I notice that it is slightly ajar. I pause and lean my ear to the door, listening for signs of movement in the room. Hearing none, I quickly look both ways down the hall to be sure I am not being observed, and open the door slightly. Opening the door wider, I step into the room and survey the situation. Immediately, my eyes find Marcus' body face down in the middle of the floor, blood pooling beneath him.
I freeze and feel myself begin to hyperventilate. I am transported back in time fourteen years to our living room in Phoenix where I found Renee's and Phil's bodies lying in pools of blood much as Marcus is now. Blood. Blood. There is so much blood. I feel my head begin to spin, and chills begin to run through me. Breathe, Bella. Now is not the time to stroll down Elm Street. I drag myself back into the present using ICBM, the instant calm breath method they taught us in training at The Farm as a way to overcome the flight-or-fight reflex and fight panic.
Breathing deeply, I regain my composure, open the clutch, deposit the unused hotel key, and retrieve my gloves. Closing the purse and securing it under my arm, I don the gloves to prevent leaving any trace evidence behind. I bend at the waist, and quickly take Marcus' pulse to confirm that he is, in fact, dead. Not detecting a pulse, and not wishing to disturb the dead unless absolutely necessary, I quickly search the room for the disk I've come to liberate. The disk is the prize. After searching every inch of the room, and disabling the room safe, I am empty-handed. The disk is not in the room, but it may still be on the target. Not stopping to wonder who killed the target, or why, I start at his feet and thoroughly search the dead man's body being careful not to touch or step in the ever-expanding pool of blood soaking both his shirt and the carpet. Searching a bloody corpse in a designer gown and heels was not part of the plan for this evening. Whoever did this job was one sloppy, careless, arrogant-assed, motherfucker. I mean this was always going to be a wet job, but who unleashed the motherfucking tsunami? As long as I can make it out of here without looking like fucking Carrie on prom night and with the disk in hand, I may be able to salvage this clusterfuck. Failing to find the disk on the target, I realize that time is running out. There is nothing more I can do here.
"Where is the motherfucking disk, Marcus?" Beautiful. Now, I'm talking to a corpse. Fantastic. It's definitely time to get the fuck out of Dodge before I lose it completely.
I step into the bathroom, and remove my gloves, placing them in the plastic bag that Alice slipped in my evening bag. I wash my hands, and check my reflection in the mirror making sure I didn't wind up with blood on me or my dress. Seeing none, I snap the clutch closed and tuck it under my arm and make my way to the door not looking back at the corpse on the floor.
I exit the room and start down the hallway, ever careful not to leave any trace I'd been there. I look up and am startled to see a shock of unusually wild bronze-colored hair crowning the rear view of an extremely tall and lean man clad in what appears to be a perfectly tailored, designer tuxedo as he steps onto the elevator. I've now ventured too far down the hall to duck back into the hotel room I'd just left, and turning around and retreating would seem too suspicious should he notice me. I quickly scan the floor to determine whether I can duck out of sight. It couldn't be that easy; it never is. So much for getting in, doing the job, claiming the prize, and getting out unseen; Em is going to be so pissed. Fuck Me. Hard. Twice. From Behind. No Reach Around. At this point, my only saving grace will be if Mr. Tall and Sexy doesn't turn around before the elevator doors close. Did I just call a potential complication sexy? I definitely need to get out more, and not on assignment. It's been too motherfucking long. Head in the game, Bella. I keep moving forward slowly and casually as I'm silently willing the elevator doors to close before he turns. Do not turn around. Do not turn around.
Just then, as the elevator doors are closing, he turns, seemingly presses a button, and looks up. Holy Hell. Could this night get any worse? Our eyes lock, and suddenly, I'm staring into the deepest, greenest eyes in existence. I feel my heart skip a beat; so much for those nerves of steel Em relies on so heavily. A lazy, yet confident, grin spreads across the most gorgeous face that I've possibly ever seen. I detect a note of something else: triumph. In my peripheral vision, I catch a silvery glint as he slips a small silver object into the pocket of his tux. It couldn't possibly be. My mind is reeling. HE has the disk. HE killed the target. Fucking Thieving Tsunami. Fuck. My. Life.
A wet job is spy speak for an op results that results in death of target or major bloodshed.
To be perfectly clear, this one-shot would not exist if it weren't for the support, input, and awesome beta skills of Kristi28. You are my Scarecrow. That is all.
To MrsTheKing, jslack0816, and distantdream118: your talents inspire me. Thank you for your unending encouragement, advice, pre-reading eyes, and votes of confidence. Your support means more than I can adequately express.
If you've not read Crushed Seraphim by MrsTheKing yet (another Femme Noir entry), do not pass go, and do not collect $200. Read it immediately. It is breathtaking and splendiferous.