A/N: Hi again. I'm sorry about the delay in getting to Morning's epilogue. Real life doesn't fight fair. I thought in the meantime, some of you might enjoy a different kind of story. I say "some," because it is very different: M-rated, rude, crude and played strictly for laughs. Written some time ago as a challenge to come up with the most UN-canon pairing possible, it too takes place after Breaking Dawn, only an hour or two, in fact. So, please – unless you can move comfortably between the romantic and the cynical – give it a pass. To readers who get a kick out of this kind of thing – enjoy. And to all of you, thanks sincerely for your patience. ~ Carson
What Happens in Seattle
The three men might have been brothers with their pale skin and oddly colored eyes, but close as they were bound, they were not blood relations.
Still they reacted with identical frustration when the limo became snarled in traffic outside SeaTac, bickering over the decisions that had lead them to be stuck here at the mercy of slow and clumsy humans.
"Be quiet," hissed the one nearest the tinted window. "I'm listening to something."
The biggest of the three shot him an impatient look but knew better than to argue.
"Extraordinary! I've never heard anything quite like it before. Go on and tell the pilot we'll leave when I'm ready."
The door flew open and he was out on the crowded sidewalk before the others could stop him, searching through the crowd for that angel's voice, that absolutely captivating mind.
"No, our parents think we're flying in tomorrow. That was the whole idea. We've got a motel and everything, and then he bails at the last minute. What kind of boyfriend is that? I mean, he's supposed to love me, right, and he'd rather take some lame make-up exam than get laid? That's just unforgivably rude. I mean, hello – the room is paid for! You got to come over here, Lauren. We'll go clubbing all night long – it'll be epic . . . Well, of course, it's really sad and all about your Nana, but it's not like she won't be just as dead tomorrow, and surely your 'rents can throw a funeral without your help. I mean, how hard can it be – a corpse, some flowers and you're good to go . . . Well, I'd be very careful about who I was calling 'insensitive' if I were you. I'm the one with the motel room and nobody to split the cost with – think about that!"
She snapped the phone shut, almost plowing into the dark figure planted stock-still in the middle of the sidewalk. Her mouth fell open. She stared.
"Dear lady, please forgive me. I couldn't help hearing your mellifluous voice, like music above the cackling of all this . . . livestock." He threw a disdainful look at the passing pedestrians. "I had to see the face behind the siren song, and I must say I am not disappointed."
The face gaped at him a few seconds longer. "You're on something, right?"
"On something? Oh, my dear, just the same dismal planet that has been brightened by your descent from the heavens."
"Cause your eyes are seriously bloodshot. I wish my manicurist could see you. That's exactly the color I've been asking for, but she keeps bringing out the Candy Apple and the Fire Engine and the freaking Cherry. I think it's the language barrier, which reminds me, I've been meaning to write my congressman about that. Every salon should have an interpreter on the premises at all times, don't you think, so they get the color right?"
"Máu đỏ," the pale man murmured.
"I believe that's the color you're attempting to describe. I'm afraid we're rather in the way here. Might I invite you to join me in the airport café so we can continue our tête-à-tête?"
"Is English your second language or is that like Tourette's or something? You know what? Never mind. I don't know why I'm even talking to you. You're like old enough to be my uncle or something, right? I'm so not into old guys, and what's with the Austin Powers getup anyhow? I mean, hey, the '60s called, they want their wardrobe back."
"Really? I prefer to think of it as a classic style. Brioni. Bespoke. Vicuna."
"It is Tourette's, huh? I can totally relate. One time I had the hiccups for nearly an hour, and I like to died of embarrassment. If you were seriously crippled or something, I'd totally help you to the terminal, but let's face it, a potty mouth isn't the same as being an honest-to-god gimp. You're on your own, pops. Better hurry or you'll miss your flight."
"The plane leaves when I say so."
The girl, who'd been about to push past him, hesitated. "For real?" So what are you, rich or something? You chartered a private plane?"
"Several actually. I found it necessary to bring quite a few . . . colleagues on this journey."
"You're putting me on, right?" She grinned at him, her eyes wary. "You think cause I'm so much younger I must be stupid. Well, I'll have you know I was valedictorian of my class when we graduated last year."
"I'm not in the least surprised, my dear. Such a nimble mind, such unfettered thoughts! Like a butterfly darting from blossom to blossom. Do let me buy you some refreshment, so we can have a proper talk."
She studied him a moment and sighed. "Well, it's not like I've got a heavy date or anything. Yeah, sure, why not."
"Delightful! Here let me take your bag for you." He ignored the handle she'd been using to wheel the overstuffed suitcase behind her and instead picked it up by the smaller one, not even wincing in the process.
"I knew it wasn't overweight! That jerk-off charged me fifty bucks extra cause he said it weighed too much. You can't trust anyone these days. I'm Jessica by the way," she added, as they walked toward the main terminal.
"You mean like Usher or Bono? Are you some old rocker dude my parents might have listened to? That explains the hair. It's a little freaky, but I'm way jealous. I've been trying for years to get mine straightened, but those girls at Curl Up and Dye are useless. I only go there cause it's next door to Nicey-Nice Nails, and I can get everything done at once. It's not like there's a lot of choice."
"You don't live in Seattle then?"
"I wish. No, I live in a town called Forks. It's just as lame as it sounds."
"Forks," he repeated, cocking his head, as if the word intrigued him.
"Yeah, I know, nobody else has heard of it either. So where are you from?"
"A small town, as well – Volterra."
"Doesn't ring a bell . . . sounds like a brand of batteries, which reminds me, I need to pick some up . . . stupid, good-for-nothing Mike. So where's Volterra?"
"Italy actually," he answered, holding the door for her as they stepped into the concourse.
"Get out! I've always wanted to go to Italy. Do you live in one of those picturesque old houses with the orange roofs and grapevines and shit or a villa overlooking the ocean?"
"Neither, I'm afraid. More like a medieval fortress atop a mountain."
"Whoa! Does that make you some kind of royalty? Cause that's got to be a major power trip."
"I find titles so last millennium, don't you? A way to imply superiority where there is none."
"Oh, well, yeah, totally. I don't even like it when the professors call me "Miss" Stanley. What business is it of everybody in that class whether I'm a Miss or a Mrs. or a whatever. How about this place?"
"It's a bit humble," Aro said, glancing through the window at the plastic chairs.
"Oh, I'm not picky!" She led the way inside to a table near the kitchen. "I'm fine with just coffee."
"Nothing for me, thank you," her companion told the waitress. "And a coffee for the lady, please."
"Yes, venti, 2 pumps caramel, 1 pump white mocha, 2 scoops vanilla bean powder, 1 scoop sugar, extra ice frappuchino with 2 shots poured over the top, plus caramel drizzle – and this is important – under and on top of fat-free whipped cream, please."
The waitress stared at her. "We have regular and decaf, take it or leave it."
"Arghhh," Jessica rolled her eyes dramatically. "Just bring me whatever." She leaned across the table. "This place should be drummed out of Washington, if you ask me. Coffee's like the state drink and they can't even manage a simple order? So how come you're not having anything?"
"I wish only to drink in your delicate beauty, your musical voice. It's been a very long time since I found myself so attracted to a woman."
"Really?" She sat up straight again, tossing back her hair and giving him a toothy smile. "You know, I totally sussed out the Italian thing. Your English isn't bad, but you didn't fool me. I have an ear for accents. Our neighbor has a maid who claimed to be from Monterey? Well, it so happens, I've been to Monterey for spring break – well, Santa Cruz, and they're practically next door to each other. They have an awesome old roller coaster on the boardwalk, and the people in California talked just like we do. I can tell she's actually from Mexico, but I haven't said anything, cause everybody should get a chance at the American dream, don't you think? It's just sad when people are ashamed of their own heritage."
"Uh . . . quite," Aro said, looking dazzled.
The waitress set a mug on the table where it remained untouched. "So what are you here for – a business meeting or one of those conventions where everybody goes berserk?"
"There was a certain amount of berserkness, I suppose you could call it. Yes, quite a bit of it actually, but I believe overall our visit was productive."
"Gotta be software, right? Or something else to do with computers?"
"No. My specialty is more in the line of . . . security."
"You mean like a mall cop or a bouncer?"
"I'm not entirely familiar with those terms."
"Sorry. I don't know how to say them in Italian, but enough about you. What was it that attracted you to me, anyway?" She sat back, beaming at him expectantly.
"As I said, it was the quality of your voice, like the twitter of a lark, and the way your mind springs so nimbly from one subject to another. Then, of course, I saw you – the very embodiment of a vestal virgin."
"Now hold on there," she said, her smile vanishing. "You don't have to get insulting. I'm practically 19, and I was way doable in high school. Plenty of guys wanted some of this, thank you very much."
"I certainly meant no offense, my dear. It seems the mores of human society have changed a bit since I was courting."
"Morays? That's like eels, right. You know, you are a seriously weird dude."
"Yes, it's been remarked upon before, and I understand that times change, but as the poet says, 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever'."
She hesitated and then relaxed again, her smile returning. "And a great rack is a great rack, am I right?"
"Quite," he nodded a bit uncertainly. "You know on the continent, we do things a little differently when introduced to a lady. I wonder if I might kiss your hand?"
Jessica threw a quick glance around the restaurant and shrugged. "Yeah, I guess so. It looks kind of cool in the movies. Here."
She held out her hand and he took it pressing his lips to her fingers. Abruptly, she tried to draw away, but he held on with both of his.
"Cool's one thing, but, dude, you're seriously freezing!"
"I know, I know. It's this dismal climate of yours, but please indulge me for a moment, won't you? Share your warmth."
He glanced up at her, and she subsided, blinking.
"Amazing," he muttered. "The pink dress, most alluring . . . far more flattering than the yellow graduation gown . . ."
"Omigod, you're like half-gypsy or something, right? I totally believe in that shit, cause this girl I know went to a gypsy fortune teller who told her she was going to meet a tall, dark stranger and get a lot of money, and it wasn't a week later that she gets this email from a prince in Nigeria. He's like been totally scoping out people all over the world to find somebody he can trust and he chooses her, which was kind of ironic cause I know she cheats on her boyfriend, but anyhow he was going to share this enormous fortune with her, and he only needed like $500 to get it out of the country, but she had just spent all her graduation money on this Kate Spade bag, which was majorly cute by the way, so she had to turn him down."
Aro's eyes were closed. He didn't comment on her story, but continued muttering to himself. "Remarkable . . . the entire football team . . . ah, and some faculty members too, I see."
"Well, I told you I was class valedictorian, and if you think that's all about grades, you've been stuck in your fortress too long."
"More of an Aphrodite, then . . . celebrating the joys of love with those in need . . . most generous . . ." He barked out a laugh suddenly. "Not quite everyone, I see . . . oh, that's highly entertaining . . . quite a few familiar faces . . . delightful!"
He opened his eyes then, smiling as if he'd just enjoyed a good joke, and released her hand.
"What was that about familiar faces?" she demanded, looking petulant.
"Oh, nothing, my dear. A gift such as mine is far-reaching. The faces tend to blur together, déjà vu, that sort of thing. I must say your considerable charms seem irresistible to every male of your acquaintance . . . with perhaps one exception."
Confusion registered on his companion's face only briefly before she blurted out, "That wasn't my fault! I mean, I thought it was for a while, and it totally destroyed my self-esteem, but then I figured out what his problem was, so it's all good now."
"Do tell," Aro prodded.
"His name's Edward Cullen, and he's ridiculously hot, but I knew there was something not right about him. I mean I did everything but draw him a picture, but he just ignored me – no worse – he was polite like I was the janitor or a teacher or something."
"I'll say, but then my intuition kicked in, and it's never wrong. He wasn't interested in any girls. The dude is totally gay! Not that there's anything wrong with that, but he ought to own it, you know what I mean? Fly the rainbow flag. Get out there and march with his fellow fags. Don't you agree?"
"But instead he puts on a big show, hanging around with this spaced-out chick in our class like he's straight. I mean, Bella's a really good friend and all. I'd never say anything against her, but she is definitely out there. He takes her to prom our junior year and – get this – after graduation, they actually get married!"
"You don't say!" Aro's mouth twitched.
"It's true. I was actually at the wedding. What a waste – I mean everything was absolutely gorgeous, but it was all a sham, you know? They didn't miss a trick. Looking at them, you'd swear they were crazy in love with each other, but it's all PR. They've got to be the two best actors on the planet. She's just a beard, so no one will suspect he's getting it on with another dude. I don't know why she'd agree to do it except they must be paying her mounds of money. The Cullens are filthy rich."
"Yes, that is most unfortunate . . ." he agreed somberly. "What I mean is, that's an unfortunate motive for matrimony. Have you any idea who the . . . uh . . . lucky man may be?"
"No doubt at all." She leaned across the table, her expression gleeful. "It's this Native American kid from out at La Push. The guy's totally ripped, runs around town all the time with his shirt off, must spend half his life at the gym – gay, am I right? He's always been tight with Bella, and the funny part is that whenever anyone's seen the three of them together, the guys act like they're about to rip each other apart. It's like this giant hoax!"
"I know, right? And Bella – I mean, don't get me wrong, she's like my best friend from high school – but she's really a wimp. She probably lets both those dudes just walk all over her. Bet you a nickel she dies a virgin, poor thing. But I guess I'm probably boring you, huh, with all this talk about people you don't know. I hate it when somebody does that because I'm pretty sure if I did know them, I'd have a lot juicier stuff to tell than anyone else, cause I'm a very sensitive person. I mean, not like you are. I can't just guess what color dress some random girl wore to a prom I didn't go to, but not much gets past me. You, for instance. I can tell you march to the beat of your own drummer. You wear what you want, and you don't give a damn about what anyone else thinks about it, am I right?"
"I'd say so, yes."
"And you're a gentleman – carrying my bag, buying me this faux cup of coffee, flying your friends around. I bet you think nobody sees through you to that heart-of-gold you're trying to hide."
"They seldom do. That's quite true."
"So tell me about your hometown. Is it like Forks where everybody knows everybody else's business?"
"No, it's quite possible to keep a secret in Volterra. It's a very safe, rather conservative city."
"So what do people do there for fun?"
"Well," he crossed his legs and thought a moment. "I suppose it depends on the individuals involved. We do have a festival every year honoring our patron saint. Nearly everyone takes part in that."
"Do you get a lot of tourists all the way up there?"
"As a matter of fact, many tourists are 'gotten' as you say on a steady basis." He appeared restless, bored with the conversation. "If you're not going to drink that coffee, perhaps we should allow someone else to enjoy this highly desirable table."
"Oh, right." They both rose. "I should get going anyway. I've really enjoyed our talk. Are you sure there isn't some old vinyl album in my parents' basement you might have had something to do with? I mean, they might think it was groovy or something if I met one of their idols."
"Quite sure, my dear," Aro said with a smile.
"Well, is it okay if I give you a hug goodbye?"
"I'd be pleased." He held out his arms, and she put hers around his waist, giving him a squeeze. It lasted perhaps a moment too long for such recent acquaintances, and then she stepped back staring at him.
"Is that really you?" she whispered in an awed voice.
"I'm not sure what you mean," he said, staring deliberately into her eyes with his strange, crimson ones. "If you mean, am I carrying some implement of a substantial nature about my person, I assure you I'm not."
"I mean, that is like really, really hard," she said, still in a whisper, the blood rushing to her face.
A not wholly attractive smile slid across his face. "Perhaps it would be better to discuss this somewhere else."
Other diners were beginning to stare at the odd duo frozen in their midst. Jessica's eyes darted around the room. "Get my bag," she hissed. "I know just where we can go."
She grabbed his hand, starting again at the coldness of it, and pulled him out to the curb where she hailed a taxi. He didn't object when she pulled him into the back seat and gave the driver directions. "It isn't far," she said, still sounding a little breathless.
"Does one have to pay for this kind of transportation?" Aro asked, frowning as the cab rattled and bumped out onto the highway.
"What, you've never taken a taxi before?"
"Not since they did away with the horses."
"Oh, you!" Jessica punched his arm playfully and shook her hand out when it stung. "Just cause I made those cracks about you being old and all. Age is just a number, right? And I'm generally not good at numbers anyway. I had to sleep with my trig teacher twice. Don't worry about paying the fare, cause I know it would probably be like a gazillion lira or something. I've got this. The room too."
As the taxi pulled into the Motel 6 parking lot, she added, "I know it's not the Ritz, but it didn't cost any $6 either, trust me. That's like totally bait and switch advertising. They grab you with the six bucks and then before you know it's ten times that!"
Aro waited outside with the lumpy suitcase, while she checked in, returning with the key card. He grimaced only briefly when she unlocked the door and opened it on a room with two large beds.
"I suppose it meets the minimum requirements for the business at hand," he said in a tone that implied it didn't.
"It'll be great," she enthused, uncertain of what to do when he just stood there against the closed door. Usually it wasn't this awkward. "So . . . how do you want to do this?"
"I suggest we, as you Americans so succinctly put it, cut right to the chase."
Jessica wasn't entirely sure what happened after that. There was a blur of movement and suddenly he was standing there, stark naked.
"Omigod!" she squealed.
He was so eerily white. Not particularly buff, but no excess fat for sure, like those pot bellies she so dreaded on older men. But really, there was only one place you could look, and she was certain she'd never seen anything like it before. Tentatively, she held out her hand – ice cold like the rest of him.
Aro reached out to caress her hair. "What no words, my little songbird? Surely you have something to say."
"You . . . you remind me of my grandmother," she gasped.
"Your grandmother?" His tone was now as frigid as the rest of him. "Perhaps you could explain that remark."
"My grandmother Gladys," Jessica replied in a shaky voice. "She made the best pies, and she always said the secret was in the rolling pin. It had to be made of marble, because it was cold and would keep the dough from splitting. That's what you remind me of – a marble rolling pin, minus the handles, of course."
"Very flattering, I'm sure. Now if you don't mind …"
Another moment of indistinct movement and she found herself as naked as he was. "How . . . how did you do that?"
"Does it matter?"
The next moment she was on the bed, the right-hand one nearest the bathroom. He was standing over her, his eyes stranger than ever.
"Look," she said breathlessly, "if it's all the same to you, I'd like to be on top. I mean, that thing looks like it could do some serious damage, and I'd like to have a little control here."
"Of course, my dear."
Before she'd had time to think about his response, he was flat on his back and she was straddling him, the prodigious baking utensil aimed unerringly at its target.
"You're not big on foreplay, are you?" she asked, positioning herself just so.
"A waste of valuable time," he remarked, staring into her eyes with his scarlet ones. "Are you saying, you're not ready?"
"No," she answered, not really sure if that was true. "I just thank goodness for the football team, that's all." She eased herself down slowly, all thoughts of Grandma Gladys fleeing her mind. So cold, yet so incredibly hard! Cautiously, she moved up again and then down a little more quickly, biting off the shrill sounds that rose from her throat.
In moments, she was lost to the wild ride, too breathless to shriek out her pleasure. On and on it went until a strange feeling of solitude caused her to open her eyes. The man beneath her was silent, teeth gnashing together, his eyes squeezed tight in what looked like pain. Not once had he bothered to touch her.
"Hey," she gasped, still plunging up and down, "you could help me out a little. Boobs in your face here. You could at least grab my ass."
"I can't," he snarled through gritted teeth. "Too much contact. Oh, god, my head's going to explode!" His hands remained at his sides, ripping into the sheets, the mattress.
"I am not paying for this bed," Jessica hissed, still pumping. "You really ought to get to Nicey-Nice Nails!"
"This has to stop. My head can't take it."
"Who in the hell gets a headache during sex?" she wailed.
In the blink of an eye, his hands found her waist, depositing her, unimpaled, on the ruined mattress, and he was standing at the dresser, leaning on his arms, shuddering.
"What the hell was that?" Jessica screeched. "I wasn't done yet!"
"I can't," he gasped. "Your thoughts – they're filling my brain, cracking my skull. Too much contact, I tell you. I thought you were brilliant, so quick-witted, but the truth is all your thoughts are petty, and you have the attention span of a gnat!"
"So you were fucking me for my mind? What are you senile or something?"
"Something," he said, letting out a long breath. "It's been too long. I really don't know how to do this anymore."
"Well, no shit, Sherlock. I didn't pay for a motel room to end up still needing batteries."
Aro straightened up slowly, watching his own reflection in the dresser mirror. "There is a way to salvage this unfortunate evening. One of us at least will find fulfillment." He turned toward her where she sat on the bed, eyeing him suspiciously.
"So, what? Now you want a bj?"
He closed his eyes, as if summoning patience. "Please, just be quiet a moment longer, and all will be as it should be."
She watched him approach from her seat on the edge of the bed, surprised when he bent and pressed his lips to her neck. "So now, you get romantic!"
A loud thump on the door shook the shoddy pictures on their hangers. Aro stood up again, his lips drawn back from his teeth. His eyes had gone from red to black.
"Who the hell can that be?" Jessica squawked. "The room's in my name. I better answer it."
She rose, wrapping the gaudy bedspread around her. Again there was that odd blur of motion, and Aro had disappeared into the bathroom, every item of his clothing with him.
"Just a minute," she shouted, careful to make sure the chain was on the door before opening it.
Her mouth dropped open. The man standing there was very tall, his face very long, his voice, when he spoke, sounded like a foghorn.
"I've come for Aro."
"Well, I haven't, okay? And until that happens we aren't receiving visitors." She attempted to close the door but the man's huge foot was in the way. "Listen, Lurch, I don't know who you are, but this is my room and you're not welcome, so get the fuck out, okay?"
"Aro," the big man called, "you have to stop this nonsense now. Everyone's waiting."
There was no reply from the bathroom, leaving Jessica to wonder if the weasel had sneaked out the window. "Hey, Aro, the Jolly Green Giant here wants to talk to you. Since you don't seem to have anything better to do, maybe you should come out."
She flinched a little in surprise when the bathroom door opened and he appeared, fully dressed, his hair enviably neat and straight.
"Yes, yes, Marcus. Don't be so impatient." He brushed by the girl still wrapped in the ungodly bedspread. "By the way, Jessica, I wouldn't take that bet if I were you – the one about your friend Bella dying a virgin. You'll lose, you know, on both counts."
He stepped outside where a third man awaited in the gathering darkness. "For God's sake, Caius, don't let her see you. You're actually still good-looking."
"That was a stupid thing to do," the blond man hissed.
"Oh, it was not without its entertaining moments. Now, I'd thank you to stop complaining and help me find someone to drink before we have to get on that ghastly plane."
"Our apologies, madam," the dour faced man said, still standing in the doorway. "Aro can be … a bit impulsive."
"But you're like him, aren't you?" Jessica said, taking in his pale white skin. She trailed her fingertips down his body, gasping slightly as they moved below his belt.
"Dear God, I hope not," he intoned morosely.
"I mean physically. Only you're even more impressive, aren't you?"
He gaped at her, unresisting when she drew him into the room and shut the door.
"He made you wait for him. It's only right that he should have to wait for you, am I right?" She ran her hands over his huge chest, a little disappointed when his heartbeat didn't quicken. "You know, not only did your homeboy bail without closing the deal, but he's got no game at all. He probably thinks foreplay is a golf term."
"Four . . .?"
"Oh, never mind. There's still one usable bed," she said maneuvering him toward it.
"It's been a very long time, since I've loved a woman," he said in the same lugubrious tone.
"That's so nice!" Jessica beamed her approval. "I hate people who jump into bed with just anybody, don't you? I mean, you have to have standards. At least, I do. Did I mention I'm totally into older men? And I was just thinking about my grandmother when you dropped by. You remind me of her - I mean, if she made really, really big pies . . ."