Ok, so I had this idea and when I started the words just kept on coming. I am still writing Page Turner, but I'm interested to know what you think of this.
I do not own Twilight or its characters. They are the intellectual property of Stephenie Meyer.
Copyright: karry4harry 2011
1. You're Out
"Hey, would you mind turning that up?" The Chicago native shouted above the cacophony of car horns, all expressing their owner's agitation at the convoy of cars backed up along the Bayshore Freeway, which had essentially become a new Alcatraz. Truth be told, the occupant of the back seat of the Taxi was just as agitated, if not more so, then the rest of his fellow prisoners.
Tony Masen had come to San Francisco under duress. A future partner of his father's law firm, Stone Masen, a firm that had truly built itself a substantial reputation, his shoulders carried all the burdens, and expected remunerations, of the Volturi/ Vista dealings. On any normal day, the chance to oversee a major deal for the firm was welcomed by Tony, but this was not a normal day.
"Who you rooting for?" The driver queried above the commentators arguing over some stat. Before Tony could answer, the driver's rolling eyes found Tony's in the rear view mirror. "Pfft… Don't even answer that. It was a stupid question. The accent is a dead give-away!"
"Is my accent really that strong?" Tony thought, but pushed it to the back of his mind as his ears caught the score.
"No homers yet, then."
The driver added his own commentary on the game as he rubbed his unshaven chin and merged into a lane moving, if possible, even slower than the previous.
"Nope," Tony muttered trying to hide his growing aggravation at, not just the driver's company, but his situation in general.
Against all the odds, the Chicago Cubs had finally made the World Series and were playing the New York Yankees. Yes. Tony's home team were playing in the World Series, the first game at that, and his family were sitting in front row seats, while he was stuck in the back seat of a shitty rundown cab.
Sighing, Tony pulled out his iPhone (a little forcefully) and messaged a contact who he knew would provide him with another sort of rundown – a rundown of the game. Emmett, his sister's fiancé, who also happened to be his best friend and law school companion, would understand his plight and surely take pity on his "sorry ass". In fact, Emmett would have been travelling with Tony if Rosalie hadn't played "Daddy's little Princess" to get him out of the trip, something that Emmett knew Tony was pissed about. Then again, Emmett liked to piss Tony off, so when Tony texted:
It's not too overcast, not too cold. Goldilocks, beside me, says I'm just right.
Rolling his eyes and gritting his teeth, Tony seriously contemplated just consulting the net, but, even if he didn't realise it, he wasn't so much interested in game stats, but experiencing the game with his family. Tony persisted.
I'd say screw you, but I don't think Goldilocks needs encouragement. What should I know about the BASEBALL?
He received some respite when the taxi suddenly lurched to life and began moving towards the city.
Cubs have got one on first and second. Two outs. Damn tough game, but Cubs are holding strong. Crowd are behind them. Keep it together, man. You'll be here for game three. Now go kick some Italian butt!
And there was the reason why Emmett was Tony's best friend. He could be a real pain in the ass, but he was there whenever you needed him and he always had your back. Tony chuckled as he responded and breathed a sigh of relief as the driver steered the cab off the Bayshore and into the heart of the city.
Thanks, man. Keep me posted.
Tony had been to San Francisco on only one other occasion and then, his trip had been one of pleasure rather than business. Passing through the city, the curves of his girlfriend had been a sufficient distraction from the windy, hilly roads that channelled the various buildings. Now, staring out of the smeared cab window, Tony developed an appreciation for his bright and quirky surroundings that were a stark contrast to the grey rigidity that he was more accustomed to.
"Dempster is looking on target for a good one," the cabbie piped up, once again. Registering the cabbie's eyes on him in the rear view, Tony avoided the urge to run a hand through his hair, so typical of him when irritated, and decided to appease the guy at the wheel. After all, if he wanted to make this meeting, it was better to have the person chauffeuring as a friend rather than an enemy and to have his hair looking mildly presentable.
"That's good. We need him to have a good series."
"Yeah, you do. I mean, the Yankees are looking strong. Hey, which restaurant did you say it was, again?" The driver shut off the radio without notice, turned and faced Tony when he pulled up at a red light.
"Eternity," Tony enunciated, his patience, rather unfairly, wearing thin. "Eternity, on Geary."
A whistle echoed around the cab as it took off.
"I hear it's a nice joint."
"I wouldn't know," Tony responded, shortly. But Tony did know his client, Jane and if she had anything to do with picking the location for this meeting then it was bound to be top of the class.
"Yeah, my girl read about it in the Chronicle the other day and she's been dropping hints that I should take her there for our anniversary." Tony remained tight lipped, the tension in his jaw growing with every word. Couldn't the driver see that he wasn't interested in conversation? Couldn't he take a hint?
"You should have requested a car," Tony internally chastised.
The sound of an incoming text mildly abated his annoyance.
Bases loaded and I'm not talking about Goldilocks and me ;)
Tony shook his head, but inside he was grinning. Surprisingly, he'd become immune to Emmett's comments relating to his younger sister, but God would need to seriously help any other guy who came close to talking about her in such a fashion. They'd have to contend with Tony and Emmett.
"Someone giving you updates?"
Tony simply raised an eyebrow as he switched his phone to silent and the eyes in the mirror flicked back to the road. He couldn't be sure, but he thought he heard the driver mumble, "Who holds a meeting while the World Series is on, anyway?"
"People who don't give a shit about sport."
Jane Vista, a world class model, had been dealing with Stone Masen for two years now and those two years had seen her fame heighten. You would most probably describe Jane as a friend of friend of Eleazar Stone's family. Most influential families had some contact with others in the Chicago area. When Jane had walked into the Stone Masen office, her piercing blue eyes, which had crippled many a man when he gazed upon her pictures and magazine spreads, had instantly been attracted to Tony and further prodding had led her to discover his name. Tony's father wasn't going to deny a potentially significant customer her particular wish and so Tony acquired a new client… much to his dismay. Yes, Jane was attractive if you preferred the stick thin model types, but Tony didn't and her startling narrow blue eyes, on more than one occasion, had freaked him out. When Emmett had asked Tony what his problem with Jane was, Tony had surprised himself with his admission.
"It's like she's Gollum and I'm the One Ring, Em. She looks at me like that!"
Emmett hadn't held back his laughter and had patronisingly and rather heavily slapped Tony on the shoulder.
"Aw, man, now that's a bit precious!"
Tony was grateful when the opportunity arose to dangle Tanya on his arm in front of Jane. Jane's stare had been nothing compared with the look Tanya had given Jane and, since then, the task of working with Jane had been far less… daunting. Just as Jane had been naive to Tony's disinterest, she also seemed to have no knowledge of sport and neither, Tony guessed, did the gentleman who Jane had asked him to meet with.
The Volturi fashion label had been prominent in Italy for at least five years (according to Tony's secretary's research) and they had every desire to enter the American market and saw their opportunity to do so by hiring Tony's client. A well-known model, such as Jane, could be viewed as their ticket to universal acclaim. Their one problem – Jane knew what they wanted and saw this as her opportunity to feed her bank account. Obviously, it was Tony's duty to see that the latter was achieved and formalised in a contract and Jane had told him as much when she called two days prior and told him to meet her in San Francisco while the Volturi brothers were in the country.
"That'll be forty-five."
Tony was shaken out of his recollections and back into the present by the cabbie's curt remark.
He took a quick glance at his surroundings and noticed the distinctive facades and pastel coloured apartment blocks that Google Earth had recently shown him. Any doubt that he was not in the right location was eradicated when the rather elegant sign of the Eternity Restaurant was highlighted by a fleeting ray of sun.
"How much?" Tony queried, while rummaging his wallet out of his pants pocket.
"Forty-five and the meter is still ticking."
Tony easily found President Grant's face and placed the cash in the driver's outstretched fingers.
"Keep the change," he grumbled, before gathering his light coat and briefcase, stepping out onto the sidewalk and determinedly walking towards the entrance to Eternity.
He never made it to the door smoothly.
A sharp force rammed into Tony's side, causing him to drop his briefcase and steady himself against a lamp post.
"Watch where you're fucking going!" A scratchy male voice yelled scathingly from the ground.
Tony looked at the pavement and met the steel grey eyes of a guy about his own age dressed in a waiter's attire. Luckily, his coat had appeared to cushion his landing and save his pressed black pants from getting marked. His dirty blonde hair was riddled with gel and not a strand had moved out of place from his fall. Tony righted himself and offered a hand to help the guy off the ground.
"I'm sorry. I didn't see you," Tony offered as a way of apology.
"No shit!" The guy answered, not having to move his head an inch to meet Tony's affronted stare. "I turn up looking like this and the boss'll fire me! I don't know if you can understand this, but I need this job."
Tony really didn't know what to say. Taking a step back and collecting himself, he moved towards the door, conscious of the time, and held it open to offer his apologies before heading to his meeting.
"You look fine, man. Once again, I'm sorry."
"I'm not," James Hughes thought as he watched today's sucker walk in past the ornate grandfather clock to be seated. His face adorned with a satisfied grin, James checked that no one down the road near the popular gas station was watching before extracting a fine black leather wallet from his coat pocket and examining its contents. His eyes bulged when they fell upon the black American Express card and a few Benjamins. While he usually picked the finely dressed people to target, today he'd scored a big one. He hadn't been lying when he told the guy that he needed his job as a waiter at Eternity. Without it, he wouldn't be pocketing decent amounts of cash and handing credit cards over to Vicki each night in exchange for other jobs.
"Yes, I'll make sure to toast you tonight in the kitchens, Anthony Masen," James said to himself as he pocketed his prize and moved towards the steamy kitchen entrance, having no idea just how heated things were about to become.
"Right this way, Sir. The two gentlemen have already been seated. I understand that you are expecting one other."
"Yes," Tony answered, trailing the Maître 'D as he led him to an isolated corner of the restaurant, adorned with ornately framed landscapes. Two men with thick black hair sat whispering and sipping glasses of red wine.
"The Volturi Brothers," Tony surmised, readying his hand for greetings.
Very professionally they stood up to greet him, but Tony was quite unnerved by the wide eyes and smile etched on the face of the man with pencilled eyebrows.
"Gentlemen, I'm Tony Masen and I'm here to assist Miss Vista in these negotiations." Tony moved from the smooth hand of one brother rather apprehensively to the one that unnerved him. It was the one who unnerved him that spoke in a sickly, mellow tone as he firmly grasped Tony's hand.
"Ah, Tony, a pleasure to meet you. I am Aro and this is my brother, Marcus. Jane is not coming?"
Tony motioned with his head that they should sit down, mainly to escape Aro's reach and regain the use of his hand, before responding.
"Miss Vista, as I understand it, should be here momentarily."
Up until then, Tony hadn't noticed Marcus' eyes scrutinising his tie and met his stare with a quizzical one of his own. Marcus responded with a twitch of his lips and an unexpected remark.
"Armani tie. It's a good choice for you and the colour brings out the green of your eyes."
Tony hadn't even considered feeling self-conscious during such meetings, but that was definitely what he was feeling as a beverage menu appeared before him. Appreciative of the diversion, his eyes looked to those of the waiter and found a familiar shade of grey.
"Would you like a drink, Sir?" The waiter grinned with a glimmer in his eye.
Tony couldn't help, but respond by raising his brow. Being met by such a smug expression nearly tipped him over the edge and made him want to purchase a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred).
"I'll have the…" But Tony didn't get the opportunity to finish his order.
Just liked he'd felt before he'd entered the restaurant, a huge force threw him to the ground. Vibrations wracked his body as sounds of broken glass pierced the choir of screams echoing around the restaurant. Tony added his own groan when the edge of an ornate gold frame landed directly on his shin sending shards of pain up his leg.
Gritting his teeth and grimacing, he smelt the blood before he saw it. The cocky waiter was unconscious and on the floor, a river of blood cascading down his gel covered hair and onto the gold frame that had cut his head. Tony tried to reach for something to grasp as the tremors of what he now recognised as an earthquake grew more intense and soon the smell of blood became intermingled with smoke. Flashes of light and painful screams made the hairs on Tony's arms stand on end. With shaking hands, he tried to find his cell, but a new round of shakes forced his sweaty hand forward and propelled the phone across the room, near the kitchen door.
"Shit!" He groaned, wiping his brow and trying to shuffle towards the kitchen.
He registered the heat and then he saw the flames… and they were engulfing the room.
A million thoughts bombarded his head, but the most prominent was to get out of this place – get outside. Shuffling back and trying to keep the pressure off his leg, he tried to seek out the Volturi brothers, but amidst the smoke and dust they were nowhere to be seen. The only person in the vicinity was the flattened waiter. Tony's heart pounded in his ears as the flames began to encroach and his conscious initiated a war with his survival instincts.
His conscious won and despite everything that had happened with the waiter, Tony gritted his teeth and tried to use his shirt to shield his mouth as he pulled the waiter along the hardwood floor, all-the-while dodging falling plaster and shattering glass. His lungs ached and prickled with every intake of breath and they screamed for oxygen when the earth threw him against a centre column. Head against the floor, Tony shook of his own accord as he witnessed the flames descend.
"You've got to get out, Tony!"
Gasping for breath, he realised that he couldn't continue to pull the dead weight of the waiter and apprehensively let go. With every ounce of energy that he had, he focused his eyes on the door before him, but no matter how much time passed, it never appeared any closer. He prayed that a rocket would just come and push him forward and for a moment it felt as though his prayers had been answered when blistering heat amassed at his left ankle and continued to spread up his leg. He heard his scream before his brain even registered that the flames had caught him. Adrenalin like he'd never felt before awakened every muscle in his body and coerced them to push his body forward. Tony could see the doors and, though they appeared dim compared with his surroundings, they were his only hope. He crawled and crawled and nearly collapsed with exhaustion as his hands met the smooth tiled floor of the entrance.
Just when he thought his plight was over, a new wave of tremors rocked Tony's world.
Time closed in on him as the grandfather clock by the door fell away from its fastenings.
Something wasn't right and Emmett knew it. Murmurs had suddenly erupted all over the stadium and a woman two rows in front of them had just passed out.
"Em, what's going on?" Rosalie leant over and whispered.
Both she and Emmett received an answer when the man behind them consulted his cell.
"Shit! There's been a massive earthquake in San Francisco!"
Rosalie gasped and gripped Emmett's stiff arm.
"Em, check if he's ok!"
Rosalie didn't have to ask twice. Emmett's fingers flew across the touch screen.
You safe, Tony?
He never received a reply.
What's the verdict? Is it a hit or a miss?