I really messed up when I uploaded this new story and first chapter, please accept my apologies.
After the great response from my first fan fiction story, I decided to try another one. This story has all our favorite characters in the setting of the financial world. I dearly love Jasper and he is the main character here. The first two chapters will be more detailed because you must know who the players are before you can solve the mystery.
I want to thank Miekela who writes the wonderful story Southern Charm for offering her services as my beta. She is absolutely fantastic.
The story will have slash and hetero relationships as well. If you are under 18, stop right now and go somewhere else to read.
The story Twilight and all its wonderful characters belong to the wonder S. Meyers. I am so grateful she lets us play with for a bit.
Aro Volturi looked exactly as I envisioned him six weeks ago when we spoke on the phone. He was dressed all in black. A form fitting double breasted suit jacket topped black straight legged slacks hemmed just at the tip of his shiny black shoes. Under the jacket was a black shirt, crisply ironed. The only splash of color was a blood red tie knotted tightly at his throat. His long black hair hung straight and fanned around his shoulders like the hood of a cloak. The eyes in his pale elongated face were nearly as black as his attire - they had no depth to them, there was no soul there. In person, only one word came to mind – ruthless. There was not one hint of kindness or compassion in him at all. He had only one love, money, and she was the only mistress he would ever need.
I realized he really wasn't much different than other wealthy, powerful men I had worked for in the past. Aro was just more transparent than the others. I found that somewhat easier to deal with than those who kept it all hid away behind a mask of empathy for those who were blessed enough to work for them. These types of business men really were soulless. They cared for nothing and no one, except for that person's capacity to increase their holdings.
I already knew what he was thinking as he appraised me from behind his massive desk. He was judging me on my looks. Before him sat a folder, unopened, with all the information that he had accumulated on my previous jobs. I wondered for a moment if he had even read it. But of course he had, Aro Volturi would never come to a meeting without being completely prepared. Whatever he saw when he looked at me; however, had him doubting if I could do the job.
My looks had served as both a means to an end and a stumbling block on occasion. I knew I didn't look my age. I was taller than average, with a slender frame that tended to hide my well-defined muscles and make me appear younger. My hair was often the first thing that someone would notice, golden blond curls with darker blond streaks twisting around and through my locks. It was long, not as long as Aro's, but it draped below my ears and had a tendency to bounce when I walked. And of course, my sea blue eyes and deep dimples that came out to play when I smiled just right didn't hurt. Something I was doing now as I stared across the desk at Aro. Don't get me wrong, I'm not vain - that wasn't it at all. It's just when someone looks like I do, some people have a hard time believing there's anything beneath the surface and I'd learned to use my appearance as a tool of the trade.
My job was hunting down embezzlers within financial institutions and I was one of the best in the world. That job was the reason for my presence in the office of a man who caused my blood to run cold. As with others of his ilk, his office was on the top floor of the tallest building in the downtown district of Seattle. It was yet another way to prove his position of power and wealth to others. The only taller building in the area was the Space Needle itself. But I was here because someone was stealing from him - someone whom he possibly knew and trusted. He was a man who would stop at nothing to find the person who was taking what was his and I momentarily felt pity for them. Aro was a man who would move heaven and earth to get what he wanted. When he found the person taking his money, he would punish them swiftly and most likely not within the boundaries set by local law enforcement.
"Tell me something, Mr. Whitlock," Aro said, his snide smile reminding me of a snake readying to strike. "Your record is impeccable and yet I find myself wondering, after meeting you face to face, if I have selected the right person for this job. Why should I hire you?"
I wondered if he made his voice sound like that on purpose, like there was venom dripping from his lips. A chill ran down my spine at the thought. "Mr. Volturi, my looks have nothing to do with finding out who is taking money from your financial institution," I answered coolly, cutting through the bullshit and getting to the heart of the matter.
"True. But your looks could be a deterrent if not used correctly," he rebutted.
"They might be considered an asset as well. However, if you are basing my ability to do this job on my looks alone then you are wasting your time and mine," I rose from my chair, about to make my way to the door.
He laughed and it was a sort of high pitched cackle of a sound. "Mr. Whitlock – Jasper - please, I did not mean to offend," he replied, gesturing for me to retake my seat. "I believe without question that you are the man for this job. I have arranged for you to become the personal assistant to Mr. Carlisle Cullen. He is CEO of our main branch, where we believe the funds are being embezzled. Mr. Cullen is one of my oldest and dearest friends and is above reproach. He is not a suspect in this at all and is well aware that you are going to replace his assistant and why. Her name is Tracy something," he continued, looking down at his notes, in disdain. "She will be taking some time off to be with a family member who is not well." It figured that a man like this would understand nothing of familial obligation or loyalty.
We were interrupted when the side door to his office opened and a younger man with shocking white blond hair entered the room.
"This is Caius, my personal assistant," he said with a sort of sickly sweet smile. It looked like Caius took care of more than typing and messages, especially after Aro took his hand for a moment. Immediately images of the two in some sadomasochistic scene involving leather and whips came to mind and I internally shuddered at the thought. "Caius has a folder prepared for you on the employees that you will be observing. Carlisle does not want to believe that anyone in his branch would do this; however, the fact remains that over the past eighteen months someone has pilfered over one million dollars of my money. We believe we've narrowed it down to the Capitol Hill Branch," he said between gritted teeth. Pausing a moment, he added coldly, "And I will see to it that every penny of that money is returned to me."
He rose from behind his desk, took the folder from the white haired young man, and handed it to me. I opened the folder and inside was deposit receipt for half of the fee we had agreed upon in our first phone conversation six weeks ago. He hadn't protested when I mentioned my usual six figure fee and as well as the extras that he would need to supply. The keys to my new furnished apartment were also in the folder.
"I am only giving you the six months you asked for, Mr. Whitlock. From this day forward you are on your own. You are only to contact me when you have discovered who the culprit is," he said over his shoulder as he made his way to the door.
Aro left the room, but Caius was still standing there. I had a feeling that this conversation was going to be very interesting.
"He's a hard but fair man," Caius said quietly. I had to admit, I wasn't expecting to hear that. "He just doesn't like it when someone takes something that is his. You were highly recommended, Jasper." He said my name in a much too familiar tone and stepping closer added, "I believe you are a very talented man." He touched my arm and tried to smile seductively at me. Officially creeped out, I removed his hand from my arm carefully so as not to offend him and walked towards the door.
"When am I supposed to report to Mr. Cullen?" I asked as professionally as I could.
"He's expecting you at 8:00 am on Monday. I believe he is having a staff meeting shortly after to introduce you. Most of the employees within the file should be in attendance," he explained. "I hope we'll see each other again soon, Jasper," he said softly.
The sooner I could get out of this office the better. I nearly ran through the elaborate and ornate waiting area, rushing right past the receptionist. Turning to look back over my shoulder as I was getting on the elevator, I smiled at her and said thanks. Shit, what was her name? Just as the doors were closing I remembered her name was Jane and to my surprise, I saw Caius lean across her desk and kiss her while looking straight at me. Damn, what have I gotten myself into?
Arriving back at the hotel I stayed the night before, I packed what belongings I had brought with me and checked out. Aro had provided me with a modest, but nice apartment in a high rise not far from the Capitol Hill branch. The rest of my things from Austin would be delivered tomorrow. I took a taxi to the apartment building and unpacked what little I had with me. It was still early on a Friday evening so I figured I'd go for a walk and see what else was in the neighborhood. I could use a few things for the kitchen, a cold beer, and something to eat.
I'd never been to Seattle and I found that I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the area of town I would be residing in over the next few months. There were several chain restaurants within easy walking distance; however, none of them really interested me. I did find a little shopping plaza about four blocks from the apartment with some places that really caught my eye. There was a coffee shop, privately owned, with some really good looking pastries in the front window. I'd check that out for breakfast in the morning. There was also an Italian place and a Chinese place. I inhaled deeply as I passed, taking in the wonderful smells both restaurants were emitting. On the corner was a deli/grocery store combination. A small open air market, just the kind of place where you could pick up seasonal fresh items, was one building over. I ended up stopping in the deli for a sandwich and I picked up a few other staples, beer, and frozen pizza. The fresh market provided some fruit and greens to make a salad and I figured I had enough to get me through tonight and tomorrow.
Walking back to the apartment with my bags, I noticed a tiny club on the corner of the street. I could see men and women going in and out so it probably wasn't a gay club. I had always considered myself bisexual; I had had relationships with both men and women. Lately though, I'd been leaning more towards men - especially since the Alice debacle. There'd never been anyone I really wanted to build something long term with. My job caused me to travel and be gone for months and in a few cases, years. That wasn't exactly conducive to building a lasting relationship with someone. For the most part, I was happy with my life but there was still something to be said for coming home to the same person every night and waking up to someone who loved you in spite of your morning breath! Chuckling to myself, I walked into the lobby door of the apartment building I now called home.
Inside the apartment, I fixed myself a drink and brought the sandwich into the living room where I booted up my laptop and grabbed the thick file Caius had given me. It was time to do my homework. Upon reading the profiles of the people I would begin working with on Monday, I got the feeling that Aro had done a pretty thorough job of digging into his employees' personal lives. I was probably reading stuff about these people that their parents didn't even know. The only thing the file was missing was pictures. It would have been nice to be able to match a face to the description before I got there. I had heard it all before and was unsurprised to find that this Mike Newton person I was reading about had a thing for male prostitutes. Or that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, some relation to the CEO based upon his last name, had been involved for several years but that the relationship had ended more than three years ago. Or that Jessica, the receptionist moonlighted at a strip club. What people did when they weren't at the office was their own business, but I had to admit that sometimes those tidbits helped to catch the thief. Setting the file aside, I realized that this was a network of people who had worked together for several years. It was going to be difficult to immerse myself enough into their lives so that I could figure out who was doing the embezzling and if they had an accomplice.
My computer was still open and I hadn't even looked at it. I was so engrossed in the soap opera going on in the folder spread out beside me that I'd almost forgotten it was on. It pinged telling me another email was coming in. I opened my email box and realized that I hadn't looked at since I left Austin on Wednesday. There were a dozen or more emails from my sister, Rose. I definitely didn't want to open those right now - getting my butt chewed out was not on my list of things to do this evening. Most of the rest was junk, but there were at least six emails in the last two days from Alice.
Damn, what was I going to do about Alice? I hadn't left that on good terms. I had prided myself on always walking away from a relationship without hurting the other person if at all possible. That hadn't happened this time. Alice was hurt and I felt bad about it but I just didn't know what to do about it. If she and Rose hadn't been such good friends, it might have worked out better. Not to mention it looked like she was going to be Rose's sister-in-law too. Alice's brother, Emmett McCarty, was marrying my sister next summer. Whatever made me think that I could be in a relationship with her, I'll never know. I wasn't really sexually attracted to her but she was sweet and a lot of fun to be around. She was a tiny little thing with short black hair that sort of stood out all over. Younger than me by about five years, she was more mature than you would have thought based upon her age and appearance. The best word to describe Alice was perky. Yes, she was loving and kind and cared deeply about those important to her but she wasn't what I needed. I opened up her emails knowing it was probably a bad idea. They were full of apologies and desperate pleas for an explanation of what went wrong, asking what she could do to fix it. I felt like shit. I knew she deserved more than an email but I honestly didn't think I could talk to her right now. Against my better judgment, I sent her an email that told her I was just getting settled and that I'd call her in a week or so. God, I hoped she didn't get her hopes up. No sooner than I had thought that, she emailed back. This email sounded better. She said she just wanted to talk and she added that she was good and not to worry. She didn't hate me, she added at the end. Well thank goodness for that. Maybe I'd been gone long enough that she was beginning to see things clearly. I really didn't want to hurt her.
It was after midnight and I knew I needed to get some sleep but I also wanted to look at the bank's website before I shut the computer down for the night. The website was well constructed and showed links to all the things that you could do at Old World Financial Bank. That name seemed to fit Aro to a T. They had services from just everyday savings and checking accounts to vehicle and home mortgage loans. One area of the website was completely devoted to their business clientele. This was Edward Cullen's area as he was VP of Business Lending. I was stunned as soon as I opened the link and saw his picture.
He had to be one of the most attractive men I'd seen in my life. Usually these pictures aren't worth shit and if he looked this amazing online, I could only imagine how attractive he'd be in person. His bronze colored wavy hair sort of had a life of its own. It looked unruly but still trim and neat. My fingers twitched at the thought of its soft silky texture. His jaw line was sharp, angled and looked firm. He was cleanly shaven, giving him an air of respectability. But it was the eyes that drew me in and stopped me cold. Deep green, almost emerald, and…happy. His full lips were formed into a sort of half smile, with just the left corner of his mouth sloping upwards, suggesting this was someone who was content with himself and his lot in life.
How in the hell was I supposed to investigate someone who looked like that? He was every gay man's wet dream! Stopping myself before I lost it completely, I logged off the site and took several deep breaths. I was a professional and damn good at what I did. I'd been attracted to people before and still did my job. I always found the embezzler and that's what I staked my reputation on. I could do this as long as I kept it all business. I could do this. Yeah, keep telling yourself that Whitlock.
This story is much more detailed than my last story but I am a character driven reader and I have found I am a character driven writer. I hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think. I plan on posting a chapter a week, since I have a wonderful beta to check me now and she has a story of her own to keep up with. I will try to post on Friday or Saturday if it works out for both us.
Good or bad I want to know what you think. Later