Story Name: Black Rose

Rating: M

Genre: Romance/Hurt/Comfort

Pairing: Garrett and Kate

Total Word Count: 2987 (excluding A/N & Header)

Summary: Love. It is the emotion that strikes people without warning and is life changing. So the saying goes. But is it strong enough to soften a man who lives life without ties, makes a living without a conscience? Entry for the High Times Contest 2011

Disclaimer: The characters of Twilight are owned by Stephanie Meyer.

It was late at night; a gale was howling outside, the rain lashed the window panes of the tiny cottage perched on the lonely stretch of Irish coastline. The man watched from inside the window, his thoughts mirrored by the turbulence outside. A recurring bout of insomnia had brought him downstairs and, as usual, he had turned on his laptop. He brought up his usual link to an episode of a television program called "Banged up Abroad" that featured an episode about a young girl, jailed and sentenced to death in a foreign country for drug possession. It was like looking into a mirror, the young girl reminded him of her. He had so much to be guilty about and the conscience that he had managed to squelch for most of his life rose up again like an avenging angel. He rubbed his eyes wearily, brewed a cup of hot tea and looked into night. The howling wind mingled with the sounds of the surf pounding in the distance, taking him back to the first time he had set eyes upon her.

It had been a pearly dawn in on the isolated beach of one of the little villages that dotted the coast of Thailand when he had first seen her. She was mooning the fishermen who were visible in the distance from the beach. He had roared aloud in mock outrage to mask the feeling of lust that shot without a warning through his loins. His shout had her covering her ass and scampering back to the safety of the village without a backward glance, her strawberry blond tresses flying. He did not know precisely how old she was, but she was young and he was angry with himself for the feelings of lust that would not go away. He may not be the world's most scrupulous person, but lusting after a girl barely out of school was not his style. He sighed deeply; her mere presence had created a new issue. The siren song of the sea would always call him, but he lived deep in the mountains of the Golden Triangle to ply his trade He had deliberately chosen this corner of Thailand not known to tourists and until he saw her- or more precisely her naked ass- had believed himself to be the only tourist for miles around.

The girl peeked from behind the tattered curtain of the room she had rented from a local family, an acquaintance of someone she barely knew. It was not a fancy hotel room. She did not have the money for that, and the village did not run to five star hotels anyway. From the time she was a little girl; the only thing she had ever wanted was to see the world and had hit the road at 16. She had lived by her wits, supporting herself by working odd jobs and doing just about anything to survive. Until, at the ripe old age of 19, she had wanted to simply stop, rest a while before trudging on. This lonely coast of Thailand seemed perfect for that. It was cheap, isolated, people left her alone and it was a good spot for thinking. At least until the uptight Irishman on the beach had shown up.

Curiosity brought them back to the beach. He said his name was Garrett O'Malley an Irish businessman. She introduced herself as just Kate, an English girl on her gap year. They both knew their backgrounds were embellished, but understood the need for secrets. They also did not bother to question their strong attraction to one another, despite the dozen year age difference between them. Life had taught them to live in the moment and not question any of it.

There was no wooing, no slow seduction or dressing up to impress each other. But when she had made her appearance in a barely there bikini top and shorts, her only adornment a flower in her hair, the look in his eyes had made her feel desired. He had swept her up in his arms and carried her to the beach. She was under no illusion that this was more than sex, a basic human need that was just like any other. But for the girl who had sold her young body more times than she cared to count, the fact that there was just desire on both sides was quite remarkable. The setting with the shining moon and the distant melody of the gentle sea seemed romantic to even her jaded young heart.

"Someone might see us," she whispered, as he tugged impatiently at the strings of her bikini top.

"Said the girl who was mooning the poor fishermen," he said with a laugh as she blushed. He sobered as he looked at her down at her, cupping her firm, high mounds before bending to lightly lick and take a rosy, little nipple into his mouth.

"But there could be someone…" she trailed off as he cut her off with a deep kiss.

"There is no one here but you and me, baby, I promise," he said as he loomed over her, looking deep into her eyes before bending his head to suckle her once again.

Baby. That one word in the heat of passion meant more than she cared.

He suckled her until she was squirming beneath him then placed open mouthed kisses on her stomach, his tongue dipping into her navel, while his searching fingers unbuttoning her shorts. He peeled them off and took a moment just to look at her. The life he led afforded him few moments to linger, but this seemed one of them.

"You're quite beautiful you know," he said more to himself.

Beautiful. No one had ever called her that before. She hated being vulnerable. Being naked and under the watchful eyes of a man she barely knew. Because he made her feel beautiful, it seemed all the more dangerous. So she protected herself the only way she could, by lashing out.

"No need for pretty words. Just get on with it. For a man of your age, any young girl would seem beautiful," she said angrily.

"What did you say? A man of my age? Well, I should probably turn you over my knee and spank you for that smart mouth of yours. But I think we will both enjoy this instead," he said as he folded her legs until her knees were near her ears, her entire lower body and most of her torso off the ground.

"What the fuck are you doing?" she asked, panic rising in her voice as she frantically tried to support her weight on her elbows.

He knelt down on the sand, bending his head level with her ass that was in high in the air, before spreading her cheeks and slowly kissing and licking her anus. She whimpered and moaned; the sensations too much to handle. Sex was nothing new to her, but what he did to her and her feelings were entirely new. She decided to stop being afraid and just feel.

After what seemed like an eternity, she hazily registered that her ass and her feet were finally on the ground. Before she could catch her breath, she found her thighs being pushed wide as he settled himself between them. He blew over her blond curls before lightly nipping at her clit and inserted his fingers into her. She began rocking and thrusting her hips upwards. He replaced his tongue with his fingers, teasing her sensitive flesh as she cried out. He cupped her ass as she continued bucking, licking and sucking her until her sweet, tangy taste filled his mouth. He gently licked her through her orgasm before divesting himself of his trunks and lying down next to her.

"Looks like men of my age do have their uses," he winked, looking down at the contented smile on her face.

"Well, let me just say you will be very glad I have a very smart mouth and don't leave my debts unpaid," she said as she moved between his legs and started giving his penis long, slow licks and cupping his balls. He closed his eyes and surrendered himself to her talented hands and mouth. They had sex many times on the deserted beach, in the darkness, until he had finally carried her exhausted form to his house in a secluded part of the village. Dawn was breaking over the horizon and the fishermen were getting ready to go out the sea when they finally slipped into his home.

Once inside, Kate looked around, wide eyed at the opulence of his house, taking in the marble floors, the state of the art appliances, the glass and chrome while still in his arms. If she had thought how out of place it was in an isolated Thai fishing village, she wisely kept her opinions to herself. In doing so, she had unknowingly passed a test which Garrett had set for her. He was very selective about the company he kept and very few people knew about his hideaway. His usual jaunts to the village did not include sex. His life did not allow him to meet women the usual way, so he usually paid for it. As with everything else in his life, he was careful with whom he dealt. It was a necessary part of the way he lived his life. But as he had held Kate in his arms through the night, something stirred inside him- a longing for something more, even if it was for only a short time. But he was not stupid and he would not trust easily.

He kissed her soundly before setting her down and asked her to make herself comfortable. He disappeared into the kitchen with the excuse of brewing some coffee hoping she would pass the second test he had set for her. The pot was plainly visible to see. He came back with two steaming cups to see Kate had expertly rolled a joint and was smoking it without asking his permission or any questions. He smiled to himself and said nothing.

From that day onwards, they were rarely apart. She moved her things into his house and their days were long and lazy. They swam, snorkeled, took walks on the beach and played in the surf. When they had sex, it was for the sheer joy of it. He lavished her with kisses and orgasms, held her in his arms while they slept and in his lap while they watched the sunset. They had wild, passionate sex in the moonlight, both on land and sea. She wrapped her legs tightly around his waist as he plunged into her in a steady rhythm as the waves gently rocked their little wooden boat. Two lonely people who had finally found each other, out in the vastness of the sea, her sobs of ecstasy carried away by the wind.

But time does not stand still and after two weeks, they both knew it was coming to an end. The final night he cooked her dinner and ravished her until they slumped, exhausted, sharing a joint between them. They had shared so many things, but knew next to nothing about each other.

"So what is your real story, my wild English Rose?" he asked as he held her on his lap, one hand playing with the hair at her nape, the other with the wispy hair between her legs.

"Well, I may be wild and English, but if I am a rose, the only one I'd ever be is a black one," she laughed.

"Why a black one specifically? Did you know the Black Rose was sometimes used as a code word for Ireland, when the English refused to recognize Irish sovereignty?" he asked.

She was silent for a long time until in a quiet whisper she said, "My story is nothing like that. I am a product of the English foster care system. A black rose is rare. It means death in some cases and strength in others. I have seen and done things that I am not proud of, but I have survived."

She burrowed herself further into his lap, sobbing. He wrapped her closer and held her, whispering endearments in the melodic language of his native land. A Ghrá, A Stóirín, A Thaisce. As he called her his love, his little darling, his treasure, he realized he could not let her go. But he had no right to do so, being who he was and realizing the dangers of the life he led. So he reluctantly pushed her from his lap and sat her down to face him.

"I am not an Irish businessman. In these parts, I am known as Sandokan, a name I chose after a fictional south sea pirate. I called myself that as I am the direct descendant of Gráinne O'Malley, more popularly known as Grace O'Malley, a 16th century Irish pirate. Though pirates like my ancestor and Sandokan were noble in their own ways, I am anything but," he said. He had never been ashamed of what he did until that moment. Knowing that what he said next could possibly turn her off him, he put his head down, not wanting to face her as she heard the truth about him.

Instead, she was the one that surprised him by asking, "So… you are the feared drug smuggler Sandokan?"

"What do you know about me?" he asked, his head coming up in surprise.

"I know you are legendary for your exploits in the Golden triangle and wanted in many countries. But most of all I know that I could not live with myself if I did not tell you I love you."

He reached for her in the same moment that she launched herself at him. He kissed her deeply, reverently and with joy in his heart. She held his head to her chest as he suckled her deeply, tears flowing. His mouth blazed a trail down her body and he drank the moisture between her legs like a man lost for days in a desert. He knew all the ways to please her, make her sigh and moan. It was not the first time they had sex, but it was the first time they made love.

He took her back to his home in the mountains, in the secluded Golden triangle. She wanted to be his partner in everything, even the drug runs. He had barely blinked when sending others to countries where the penalty in dealing with drugs was death, but when faced with her desire to be a drug mule for him, he refused. She wore him down with pleas, smiles and sex until he finally relented. It was supposed to be a minor operation and he sent her with someone he thought he could trust. But there is no honor among thieves as he found out when she was led into an ambush and taken captive by the authorities. He had eluded them for years, but now they used his Achilles heel against him- his love for her. Though Kate was not sentenced to death, she had to spend years in prison. It was months before he found out where she was. He paid bribes, traded information when needed, did everything he could until she was finally released. He had made his decision to stop smuggling drugs long before he held her in his arms once more.

He had brought his Black Rose to Ireland, hoping to heal her. He had never bothered with a conscience or considered the consequences of his actions before. He tried asking her many times about her time in prison, but she never said a word. Instead her eyes were dead and she never laughed. She was plagued by nightmares and frequently woke up screaming. The only time she let him hold her was while she slept, which she did fitfully each night. While she barely slept, he lay awake anguished and tormented, night after night, his conscience reminding him of the countless families that had been torn apart or destroyed because of his actions. He became obsessed with finding out what might have happened to Kate while she was in prison. He had finally found his answers on the internet with the program 'Banged up Abroad.'

He drank his tea, went back to his computer and brought up the video again. The young woman, convicted of drug dealing, spoke of the harsh prison life in jail, the squalor and lack of food, rats and the isolation. Being afraid of rape, being caned, or dying on a dirty concrete floor in prison. The girl spoke of her terror over never seeing her loved ones again and the constant guilt of her actions. He could not stand the thought of Kate in that position, especially since he had a big part in putting her there.

A slight noise made him turn. Kate stood in the doorway, tears streaming from her eyes. She held out her arms and he brought her trembling figure towards him. He held her close and kissed her tears, whispering how sorry he was over and over again.

"So now you know," she whispered as he carried her back upstairs. "Make love to me, Garrett, make me forget."

He made love to his Black Rose, long and slow, tender and reverent. Kissed her and cherished her until she finally slept satiated in his arms. His final thought before he slept was that he would do anything to make her smile and whole again. The two figures slept in peace after a long time while the gale howled outside and the surf pounded the coast.

Author's Notes:

Irish Gaelic

A Ghrá– my love,

A Stóirín- my little darling

A Thaisce- my treasure

The Golden Triangle is referred to the territory where the countries of Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand and Laos meet. For centuries, this region has grown and sold narcotics. In response, countries like Singapore, Malaysia etc. have stiff penalties for drug smuggling including canning and the death penalty.

Banged Up Abroad – is on the National Geographic Channel as 'Locked up Abroad'

Sandokan - is a fictional pirate of the late 19th century, who first appeared in publication in 1883, created by Italian author Emilio Salgari. He is the protagonist of eleven adventure novels and is known throughout the South China Sea as "The Tiger of Malaysia".

Grace O'Malley – born in 16th century Ireland was an important figure historically and of Irish folklore. In her lifetime, she defied traditional gender roles and was a pirate, seafarer, trader and chieftain. Among her more famous exploits is her meeting and treaty with the English Queen, Elizabeth I whom she had petitioned for her son's release.