A/N: Here he is! My 'new smelling' Eric. *sniff sniff* Mmmm…smells like sexy danger. I hope you all like him as much as I do!
DISCLAIMER: Charlaine Harris owns them all. I'm just giving them weapons and dying their hair.
I checked the room one last time to make sure I wasn't leaving anything behind. I knew I hadn't, but it was ingrained in me to check anyway. The room was rented for an additional night, but I wouldn't be coming back after I completed my mission later on tonight. I quickly sifted through my duffel bag and counted the five passports I'd brought along, all issued by a different country and each in a different identity, but all with my picture affixed to them.
There was a smaller drawstring bag inside the duffel bag that contained the contents of one of my safe deposit boxes which was one of several that were in banks scattered across the world. They were my fallback if I should ever be compromised and each contained at least $100K in American currency and several passports. I'd chosen to empty the one here, in the Caribbean, because I wouldn't be coming back anytime soon, if ever, so I was going to relocate the contents to another bank in the States for now until I figured out a more permanent location.
I methodically wiped down the room to remove any fingerprints I may have left before placing the room key on the dresser and walking out a side entrance with my bag thrown over my shoulder. I kept pace with the tourists and locals alike all going about their normal lives. I tended to walk slightly hunched forward to blend in with the crowd more because my 6 foot 4 inch height tended to stand out. The sun was getting lower in the sky, but it would be several hours before it would finally be full dark and my gear had already been stashed by the agency so I would be retrieving it as soon as I got the boat I was on my way to acquire now.
I'd been to the Caribbean several times now, but each one was for another mission so I had yet to actually relax on a beach. Of course, with my profession, I never fully relaxed because my senses were always on high alert taking in every detail of my surroundings and the people nearby. My mind was constantly running; evaluating their motives while cataloging potential threats, assessing their weaknesses and strengths. Although I had never tried, I doubted I could turn off that part of my brain since it was drilled into me as a part of my training after I'd been recruited.
I lived in many different places all over the world growing up. My father was an officer in the United States Navy and eventually retired as an Admiral. I graduated from the Naval Academy, like my father, and was at the tail end of my SEAL training when I was called into the Commander's office and told my parents had been killed. They were on their 'second honeymoon' traveling the world in an eight week long vacation when their plane was hijacked in Egypt. All of the Americans on board were immediately shot and killed by the terrorists, my parents included.
I funneled the anger I felt into my training and while I'd been good before, I quickly became unstoppable. No matter what they threw at me I pushed my body forward, sometimes beyond its limits, but always succeeding. I hadn't known it at the time, but they were watching me and no sooner had I graduated than I was approached by one of my SEAL instructors informing me that some people wanted to meet me.
I followed him to his office where I was introduced to the people that would later become my 'handlers', Bill Compton and Pamela de Beaufort. They explained what they did and why they wanted me. Two hours later I willingly got on a private plane to an undisclosed location where, for the next six months, I would be trained by the best hand to hand combat fighters, weapons specialists, and linguists the world had to offer. I left six months later as a black ops assassin working for a secret multi-government agency unofficially consisting of the United States and her allies. I was one of maybe a dozen located all over the world and we were called in to do what our countries needed done, but couldn't do themselves. In my mind, it gave me a way to avenge my parents' deaths on the terrorist scum of the world that would never abide by the Geneva Convention and therefore shouldn't be afforded its protections.
I happened to come across the man that had been responsible for my parents' death a year ago as he was leaving a nightclub in Paris. He had been the leader of the terrorists on the plane that day and had given the order to kill the Americans. When he saw there was no escape he released the remaining passengers and got lost in the crowd as bombs they had placed inside the plane detonated moments later. I followed him as he walked down the city streets and saw my opportunity to take him out when he cut through a park. I grabbed him from behind and held my knife to his throat as I told him why he was about to die. His cowardly protests were quickly cut off when my blade sliced into his flesh from ear to ear.
I made it to the marina within ten minutes on foot and walked into the boat rental shop I'd scoped out the day before. I could easily steal one, but it seemed an unnecessary risk to take on the off-chance the owner discovered it was missing while it was still in my possession. I'd chosen this particular shop because it wasn't as big or pretentious as some of the other ones on the island that catered to the wealthier tourists. Those kinds had camera which was something I avoided whenever possible.
This shop was small and my research found that it was owned by a local man and his life partner. The majority of their customers were locals and college kids, but they had what I needed without the bothersome cameras, so that was all that mattered to me at the moment.
A bell jingled as I pushed the door open and I was momentarily stunned at the sight before me. When I had walked by the day before, the owner had been at the counter, a flamboyant black man named Lafayette Reynolds along with his partner Jesus. According to my research, Jesus Velazquez had been a doctor a few years back but his medical license was pulled by the AMA after he was found operating on a patient while drunk.
Today a stunningly beautiful girl with bright blue eyes and mostly blond hair was working alone in the shop. I say mostly blond because there were streaks of pink, purple and blue running through her hair as well. Somehow it worked for her.
She had curves that went on for days and the only things she wore were fitted cut-off jean shorts and a pale blue tank top. I could see the strings of her red bikini top tied around her neck and I had to swallow the drool that pooled in my mouth.
She looked up at the sound of the bell and a smile lit up her face as she said, "Hi! Welcome to Lafayette's. Can I help you?" Her cute little southern drawl, that I pegged her as being from Louisiana, coupled with her daisy dukes made my dick twitch and a part of my brain started calculating how much time I could spare to ravish her body without compromising my mission. Sadly, I soon calculated not enough time because I could tell by just looking at her that I wouldn't be able to stop after just once.
My romantic liaisons were never anything more than one-night stands. They never knew my real name and I didn't care to know theirs. I couldn't afford to get close to anyone, nor could I allow them to know my true identity, who I worked for, or what I did. It was strictly forbidden.
I put on my most charming smile and said, "I believe you could help me." I practically purred at her with my voice thick with innuendo. I could tell that her heart rate had increased as did the rise and fall of her chest, but those were my only indicators that she was affected by my words. Outwardly she rolled her eyes and made a "Pfft" noise saying, "You aren't the first guy to come in here using that line and you won't be the last so unless you're here to rent a boat there's nothing I can help you with."
I loved feisty ones. I put on a mock sincere face and said, "Of course I was talking about a boat. I have no idea what you thought I meant." I felt my eyebrow rise up towards my hairline with the corners of my lips twitching up as well and when she giggled my dick decided to join them rising up as well.
The soldier in me was screaming to knock it the hell off and to stop flirting with her. I was here on a mission. A mission that didn't include a romp in the back room of a shack no matter how much I wanted the girl in front of me. I shouldn't be flirting with her, spending more time than necessary with her, giving her more of an opportunity to remember details about me. I shouldn't and yet that was exactly what I continued to do.
She pulled out a form and asked to see my identification. I dug through my bag ready to give her one of my fake passports, but I ended up pulling out my driver's license instead. It didn't have my real address on it, but it did have my real name. Or, at least, my real name as far as my country was concerned. When I joined the black ops group I gave up my old life, as well as that identity, and became Eric Northman. That was who I identified myself with now.
I wasn't sure why I did it, but I wondered if a part of me just wanted her to know something real about me. Or as real as it could be anyway. I'd been living this life of lies and death for seven years now. I was in better shape than I'd ever been and I knew I could best any one of my former instructors now, but it was starting to wear on me mentally. I couldn't see myself doing this for another seven years, but at the same time I knew no other way of life. I killed people. I was good at it. But I was tired of it.
My reverie was broken when I was rewarded with Miss Daisy Duke repeating my name out loud as she filled out the paperwork. "Eric Northman, huh?" I nodded and she continued, "I see you're from New York. How do you like it?" She looked up from what she was doing and I was temporarily caught up in her blue eyes again. She seemed to be affected by my own blue eyes as well. I had to suppress the growl building in my chest when I watched her tongue dart out and lick her lips.
I mentally shook it off and answered, "Its okay. Have you ever been?" Maybe I could figure out a way to see her if she visited. I wasn't there often, but I'd make the time if I knew she was going to be there.
Her expression turned into one of longing when she replied, "No, but I do want to go there one day." I wondered what her story was and how she came to be here since she obviously wasn't from around here. Then I wondered why I was wondering about her at all. The women I bedded were virtual strangers with our coupling being nothing more than an opportunistic and convenient fuck. I didn't care about their life story and I doubted they cared about mine. But there was something about this odd girl with rainbow hair and a southern drawl that was pulling me in. Too bad I couldn't stay, but I supposed I could always come back once the dust settled.
I at least wanted to know her name and I found the perfect opportunity when she handed me back my license. Our hands brushed against each other as I took it from her and I felt a zing at the point of contact. Her eyes widened which made me wonder if she felt it too, but I said, "Well, now that you know my name isn't it only fair that you tell me yours?"
She eyed me for a long minute while the wheels in her head turned and I started to wonder if she was in a witness protection program. I was about to ask her if she was hiding out from the mob when she said, "Sookie Stackhouse."
"Sookie Stackhouse," I repeated back to her. It was different, but then so was she so it fit. She smiled again and said, "That's me. Now do you know what kind of boat you want?"
I followed her out to the dock and picked out a good sized fishing boat that would hold ten adults with plenty of room to spare and had a small cabin below deck. I told her that I was taking a few of my buddies night fishing as I followed her back inside and gave her the deposit in cash. I rented the boat for the whole night and Sookie showed me where the key drop box was in case I returned before their 6 a.m. opening, which I would use because if everything went according to plan I'd be on my way by midnight.
Our transaction was pretty much done and I found that I didn't want to walk away from her just yet, but I had no choice. I was working off of someone else's timetable and not my own. I gave her one more smile before I left and tipped my head towards her saying, "Until we meet again Sookie Stackhouse." I just caught the blush starting to bloom in her cheeks as I made my way out of the shop.
I walked down to the rented boat and hopped in, throwing my duffel bag down the stairs and started it up. I maneuvered the boat away from the dock and turned on the tracker locator that was currently tracking two devices. I headed towards the coordinates for the stationary device and was there less than ten minutes later. I dropped anchor and looked around noting that while there were a lot of boats out on the water none of them were close enough to see what I was doing, especially now that the sun was starting to set.
If I hadn't known it was there I never would've saw it. Bobbing up and down on top of the water was something similar to a fishing bobber but was the size of a tennis ball and the same color as the ocean water. Inside was a microchip that allowed it to be tracked via satellite and it was tethered to what I needed for tonight.
The water in the area was no more than twenty feet deep and so I stripped down to my shorts and dove in, following the tethered line down to the ocean floor. I could make out the large waterproof bag and as soon as I got close enough, I pulled the tab on the side and held onto it as air inflated into the sides of the bag pulling it, and me, back to the surface of the water. I climbed back into the boat and pulled the bag up and over the side.
I did another visual scan of the area surrounding me and once I was sure none of the other boats had wandered any closer I opened the bag and began pulling out the contents.
The custom made wetsuit was outfitted with sheaths along each of my outer thighs that held six inch dual edged daggers and a holster at the small of my back that would hold a 9 mm Beretta. The next item looked like a camelback water container, but in actuality it was akin to an underwater rebreather only smaller. It was a prototype that I'd used before and it worked well for me then. It reprocessed every exhaled breath removing the carbon dioxide buildup and replaced the oxygen used by the diver. They released little to no bubbles and the wearer can remain undetected underwater for a much longer time than if they were using a standard SCUBA tank. I hoped I wouldn't need either the wetsuit or the rebreather, but they were good to have just in case.
I started pulling out the rest of the items in the bag that would've given me trouble getting passed customs. One was forty six and a half inches long with the suppressor attached and weighed just over fifteen pounds. It was an M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or and M110 SASS for short. Its pull could be adjusted manually without tools and the 30mm scope was a single piece instead of needing two separate scope rings. It used either a ten or twenty round magazine and I normally opted for the smaller of the two because I hadn't yet had the need to take out more than 10 targets at a single time and it was capable of taking out a target up to 1000 meters away so long as the shooter was skilled enough to make the shot. I was.
This was my weapon of choice because it was a quick and efficient means to an end, the target's death. The more complicated a plan was, the more ways it could get fucked up so I chose the most direct route from point A to point B whenever possible.
I removed the final item, the 9 mm Beretta and took everything down below before I began tracking the second device.
On the surface Felipe DeCastro was an upstanding business man. He owned casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City as well as a few smaller ventures. He was well known and could usually be seen with celebrities in clubs throughout the United States and Europe or attending gallery openings and movie premiers.
What the public didn't know was that DeCastro was also a terrorist without ever having declared a side. He supplied guns and mercenaries to whomever had the cash to pay for it and built his own personal military base in the jungles of South America. He had recently started selling his warfare training services to the highest bidders offering everything from infantry and guerilla warfare to ammunitions and explosives. The intelligence that had been gathered concluded that his training programs were solid and anyone coming out of there would be a deadly threat. He had recently started training groups of Al Qaeda and the Taliban which is what led me to be here now.
DeCastro paid off the government officials where his base is located and he had a group of loyalists surrounding him that kept his involvement far enough removed that there would never be enough evidence to charge him with any crime while in the United States and all of his legitimate businesses were above board so our government couldn't touch him.
If we dropped a bomb on his base it would be declaring war with that country so my job was to take out DeCastro believing that if you cut off the head of the monster, the rest of the body will eventually die. He had a strong second in Victor Madden, but he'd been under the radar for six months with some believing DeCastro had him killed for being overly ambitious.
DeCastro was in the Caribbean on his yacht celebrating his 50th birthday. Plan A was to give him a bullet delivered from my rifle as his gift from the US. However, I'd learned over the years that things rarely went as planned so I had Plans B and C as backups.
I tracked DeCastro's yacht, thanks to another microchip that had been embedded on the ship's hull before his departure, to within less than half a mile and dropped the anchor. There was a new moon out tonight so the only light that could be seen was coming from DeCastro's boat. He didn't have the normal amount of guards with him stupidly assuming he was safe out on the open ocean. Our intelligence said that he'd be having a party, but I didn't see any signs of activity other than the two guards on deck.
When the view didn't change through the night vision scope after four hours, I pulled on my wetsuit and rebreather before slipping into the water with both knives sheathed on my legs and the Beretta secured at my back. My SEAL training worked to my advantage and I was at DeCastro's boat in just a few minutes.
I silently pulled myself onto the stern of the boat while the guard's back was turned and quickly sliced his throat before he ever knew I was there. The slight gurgling noise he made as he died was heard by the guard patrolling at the bow and as he peered back to see what the noise was I threw the knife I was holding and watched as it sliced into the left side of his throat all the way to the hilt. The momentum of it brought his body backward and into the water.
My adrenalin was flowing and my senses were on hyper alert as I listened for the sounds of whether or not anyone had heard what happened, but everything was quiet. I took the gun from the holster and held it as I crept inside the cabin of the yacht listening at each closed door I came to.
I could hear the sound of a TV coming from what turned out to be a living room. DeCastro was sprawled along the length of the couch asleep, but what gave me pause was the young girl curled up asleep in his arms. I knew he had multiple children by multiple women, but I didn't expect any of them to be on the boat tonight.
She couldn't have been more than five years old and her features left no doubt that she was his daughter. She had a doll clutched in her arms and was wearing a nightgown and a paper birthday hat.
There was no way I could kill DeCastro only so his five year old daughter could wake up on top of her dead father. I would just have to tell the higher ups that it wasn't feasible tonight because while I believed DeCastro needed to be taken out, I didn't believe his daughter needed the added trauma. I was traumatized at my own parents' murders at twenty four years old so I knew what she would be going through. I was at the railing near the stern of the boat and reattaching the rebreather to my face, having already holstered my gun. I was about to slip back into the water when I heard the gunshot from behind.
Guess what? A new multi-chaptered story gives me access to evil cliffhangers again! Although, I'm pretty sure that you can guess the outcome since this is only the first chapter.
I also want to thank everyone again for all of the review love for the final chapter of Expectations. You guys put me in the 1000 year old Viking Club and I will be forever grateful to you all. I haven't had a chance yet to respond to all of your reviews, but I WILL as soon as I can.
Let me know what you think! Reviews = teasers!