A/N... PLEASE READ... Oh, here we go again... ;) Mercward's back in another story. You guys begged for this, but at the end of S&I, I didn't have a plot, but now I do.
Summary: 3rd in the Gravity Series. Carlisle brings a client to Gravity for protection, but there is more to this famous female singer than meets the eye. Bella, Edward, and crew not only will have to keep her safe, but figure out who is threatening her. AH/Sequel Rated M Canon Couples.
I need to remind you of a few things before we start this one. I don't write cheating. Period. End of story. No ifs, ands, or buts. So if that is a considerable concern for you, then relax and hang on... Okay? :) This picks up just about 6 months after the epilogue of S&I, if that helps you out. Keep in mind that the technology I write of is out of my imagination.
Next... as always... Twilight and its characters don't belong to me, but this plot and its original characters do. SM owns the original peeps...I own Bethy, Samuel, and Kurt and a few more. LOL
Lastly, this is rated M for Mature...for violence...for guns...for foul language...for Mercward himself, because he's a deadly force of deliciousness and needs a rating all his own. This is M for lemons as well, which this chapter comes with a LEMON WARNING...and a VIOLENCE WARNING.
Without further ado... Let's get started, shall we? See me at the bottom.
"Why are you here?" I heard the asshole ask Emmett again in a thick accent, as if we hadn't told him a million times, and I heard the sound of Em's laugh, despite the slap that preceded it.
I glanced up at where my hands were bound to a pipe, tugging on it again. Smiling when rotten concrete showered down around me, I did it again. The bolts securing it were loosening, but not quickly enough, and I wasn't sure getting free would do me any fucking good, because there were three more assholes just on the other side of the door – not to mention an entire fucking factory filled with armed men. They'd taken our weapons, shirts, and phones, separating us when we were questioned.
"Fuck," I hissed, shaking my head at what should've been a simple fucking missing person case, but we'd fallen into something bigger.
Eileen Vincent had contacted Gravity just a few days ago, practically begging us to help her find her husband, Frank, who was currently in China. She'd heard that we had no problem searching outside of the country for missing persons, which was something the local authorities and the American Embassy couldn't help her with. Frank was a doctor that preferred missionary work to the drab walls of a hospital. She'd offered us an ungodly amount of money to find him, because he should have contacted her, but she hadn't heard from him in a week. No one had seen him. He'd left the tiny little hospital just outside of Beijing to head back to his room for the night, and no one had seen him since.
Emmett and I took the case, because Alice's intel seemed to scream kidnapping for money. The Vincents were extremely well off, but good people. They liked helping those in need, liked giving back, and were widely recognized for it. Dr. Vincent had even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize at one point for his dedication to cleaning up areas with poor or contaminated water supplies. The man had worked all over the fucking world, but he'd run into trouble when he reached China.
Once we'd started tracking the good doctor, we realized that he'd accidentally pissed off the wrong people – some asshole businessman who'd watched The Godfather too many damn times, considered himself a mafioso, and was offended when his niece didn't make it through her emergency appendectomy. Chang had taken Frank hostage, which brought me to the cell I was currently in.
We'd followed Vincent's trail to a small village, and that's when things went all wrong. Emmett had asked the wrong question the wrong way, and the Air Force tattoo on his upper arm had sent up alarms everywhere. We'd suddenly found ourselves surrounded, outnumbered, and out-fucking-gunned. We'd been accused of being murderers, rapists, and "stupid American soldiers." It was all bullshit, because it was Chang running shit in the area. He had a small fireworks factory in the village, and there wasn't a soul that lived there that didn't work for him, so they did anything he asked of them, which included taking the doctor, me, and Emmett prisoner.
The metal door clanged open, and three men brought Emmett in. I sneered at his guards, but it morphed into a smirk when he fought all three of them. Despite his bound hands, Emmett swung his two fists around, knocking the smallest guy on his ass and ramming the next one into the concrete wall with his huge shoulders. In a split second, he had his large hands wrapped around the guy's neck, lifting him up off the ground. But it was the loud metallic click of an automatic weapon being engaged that caused him to freeze.
"Let him go, Em," I sighed, rolling my eyes to the smallest guy, who slowly got up off the floor, only to give Emmett a quick jab to his side. His friend fell limply at Emmett's feet. "Their time will come."
"You think so?" the gunman asked me, gesturing for his friends to tie Emmett back up to the pipes.
"I know so," I spat at him. "You don't stand a fucking chance, little man," I taunted him.
He fucking smiled, glancing up at my tied hands, and then down to his gun. "I've got the advantage," he noted. "And there are more of us..."
I smiled back. "Untie me and put that gun down. We'll be even, asshole. Then I'll show you who has the advantage," I chuckled, lunging at him just enough so that it took him off guard, and he stumbled back two steps, almost tripping over his own feet.
Embarrassing his ass only earned me the butt of his gun rammed into my stomach at the same time that the metal doors clanged open again.
"Motherfucker!" I growled, trying to catch my breath that the little prick had knocked out of me, but a sharp voice stopped my guard from swinging on me again.
"Enough!" Chang said, strolling in, wearing a crisp, clean suit and a smug ass smile as two more armed men brought an unconscious Frank Vincent into the room. "We need them whole and unharmed," he stated.
The doctor wasn't holding up as well as Emmett and I were. He looked wrecked, sick, and weak as they threw him into the opposite corner of our make-shift prison cell.
"Aw, damn," Emmett sighed from beside me, shaking his head at how bad Vincent looked. "He doesn't look so good, Ed," he muttered, glancing up at me.
I grimaced, but nodded, giving Chang a long look. "What do you want?" I asked, shifting my hands, because the metal was cutting into my skin.
"What does anyone want?" he countered. "I want to move out of this little town. There's a building in Beijing that I need, and the doctor over there is going to bring in enough money for me to get it."
"There's not an authority in the U.S. that will give into a kidnapper's demands, pal," I told him, shaking my head. "You're kinda fucked." I chuckled, because I knew for a fact that all calls to Eileen Vincent had to go through my wife's office first.
"I've already spoken to Mrs. Vincent," he stated, waving me off. "In fact, her lawyer is on his way as we speak."
"Lawyer?" Emmett murmured, raising an eyebrow at me.
I chuckled again, shaking my head. "Well, that should prove to be an interesting meeting, Chang. Did you happen to catch this laywer's name?"
"Why do you care?" he asked, stepping closer to me.
"I told you, asshole. We were hired to find Vincent, and we will walk out of here with him," I vowed to him, raising my eyebrow at him and tugging on my restraints some more. "Whether you're alive to see us do it... Well, that's yet to be seen," I taunted with a half-ass shrug.
Chang laughed, looking to one of his goons and gesturing to me. "Shut him up," he commanded, and he grabbed my arm, looking at the ink there. "Cullen," he read my tattoo, his voice coming across as thoughtful, but he was grinning. "Mr. Cullen...you need to learn respect."
The guard with the automatic rifle stepped forward, smiling like it was fucking Christmas. I lunged at him, and he fell for it again, only this time, he came back at me with the butt of the gun. After one hard jab to my stomach, he countered it with a smack to my face, causing my world to go dark.
"No, Daddy," Bethy begged. "I want to go wif you."
"You can't, little sweetness," I sighed, falling down on the edge of the sofa and pulling her to my lap. "There's a man that's missing, and I've got to bring him home."
Her nose scrunched up adorably as she studied my face. "How far?"
"China," I replied, glancing up when Emmett appeared in the door, dropping his duffel bag to the floor. "I'll be back before you can miss me," I told her, but at five years old, Bethy was no longer as easily placated. In fact, she rolled her eyes at me, looking just like Bella, which caused both Emmett and me to chuckle at her.
"I already miss you, Daddy," she sighed, folding her arms across her chest, like I was dumb for not realizing this shit.
"Me, too, baby," I breathed against her temple, pulling her into a hug. "You'll take care of Mommy and Samuel for me?"
"Yeah," she said, grinning and biting down on her bottom lip. "Love you," she sang, grasping either side of my face and kissing my lips. "Be safe."
"Give Daddy his hat, handsome," Bella giggled, leaning up against my car as Emmett loaded the trunk with our bags.
"Take, Da'ee," Samuel commanded softly, holding out his arms for me from his mother's embrace. He opened and closed one hand, while my baseball cap was firmly gripped in the other.
"Thanks, buddy," I chuckled, taking my hat from him.
He grinned up at me, showing off his new teeth, as he held his hand up for a high five, which I gladly gave, only to lean in to kiss his forehead. He grabbed at my face when I pressed my head to his, simply so I could take in the scent of clean kid, his mother, and just...home.
"Hey," Bella whispered, looking up at me with worried, deep brown eyes that matched the one-and-a-half-year-old in her arms. "I'm going to miss you, you know."
I chuckled, gliding the backs of my fingers up her cheek, only to slip them into her hair at the base of her neck. "I love you, sweetness."
"Love you," she stated, and I could see that her eyes were filling with needless tears, because we just fucking hated to be apart. Unfortunately, I didn't feel comfortable bringing any of the girls this time.
"We'll be right back. I promise."
She sighed, pressing her lips roughly to mine. "Yeah, well...I've still loaded you and Em down with GPS chips, just in case. If I don't hear from you every day, we're coming to get you. Got me?" she snapped, but kissed me again before I could answer her.
"Yes, ma'am," I said with a small nod. "No one has my back like you do, love."
She grinned, and it was beautiful and sweet, strong and no nonsense. "And don't you forget it, Mr. Cullen."
"Yeah..." Samuel whispered, grinning up at me. "Don' forget."
I snapped awake, my arms now numb from being over my head so fucking long, but I shot a quick glance around me. Vincent seemed to be asleep, Emmett was watching me carefully, and guards paced just on the other side of the door. I couldn't tell whether it was night or day, and my head gave a dull throb when I tried to look around a bit more.
"You haven't missed anything," Emmett whispered, giving the door a side glance.
I nodded, swallowing as best I could without having anything to drink in two days. "They'll come," I rasped out.
He chuckled darkly. "Oh, I know they will. I have a feeling that 'lawyer' is your dad."
I huffed a short laugh. "I'm pretty sure you're right," I sighed, wincing as I shifted my arms again, because I was damned certain my hand was either badly sprained or fucking broken. "Bella said she'd call him if something went wrong."
"This is as wrong as we could get," he barked a laugh, but I could see he was in a little pain. Because he was so fucking big, the assholes had attacked him first, hoping to take him out as a threat, but Emmett was a tough son of a bitch. He was smiling, but I still wanted to keep an eye on him.
However, both our heads snapped to attention when alarms started to sound, pounding feet ran past the door, and loud voices called out to each other. It was all punctuated by sharp and rapid gunfire and an explosion so loud that it rocked the foundation of the cellar we were being held in, sending concrete dust showering down over our heads. The door slammed open, and three guards came barreling into the room, snatching Dr. Vincent up off the floor and carrying him out, not even bothering to look our way.
"Yup, your dad's here," Emmett muttered, smiling when another explosion wracked the factory.
I laughed roughly, shaking my head. "Um...no. Bella's here. And it sounds like she's pissed."
"We're going in dark and silent. Got me?" Carlisle confirmed in a rough voice, pulling off to the side of the narrow dirt road. "Alice, any changes?" he asked.
"Nope, nope, nope," she chanted over our headsets as she sat in comfort back at the hotel room in Beijing, though her voice was rather subdued, because we'd all panicked when Edward and Emmett hadn't checked in for two days in a row – me and Rose, especially. We'd brought her with us this time, because we wanted her online and accessible, which apparently, was perfect thinking. "Both chips are showing strong and still in the same place. You'll have to watch yourselves in that building, though. It's a fireworks factory, so it's nothing but..."
"Gunpowder," we all groaned at the same time.
"Well, that's just...fan-fucking-tastic," I sighed, shaking my head as I checked my weapons. "Pixie, send me a layout of that building."
"Already on your phone, Bells," she countered. "There's a shit-ton of activity in that little village, guys, but the main concentration of it is around that factory. In fact, if you take the next side trail, you'll be able to pull up at the south end of the building near the woods."
Carlisle followed her suggestion, killing the lights on the Land Rover as Jasper and Alec followed suit behind us. Once he'd stopped, we exited the cars, keeping to the shadows of the surrounding forest. I tugged one of Edward's black bags over my shoulder, checking to make sure I had an extra gun for him, ammo, and a few other supplies, including a first aid kit. Knowing Edward, I never went anywhere without it.
Mickey pulled up the layout of the building, and we both studied it together, the bills of our baseball caps touching.
"Through the fence, you think?" she muttered, looking up at me, and then through the binoculars.
I nodded, looking through the binoculars myself. "We've got a back door facing this way, and it's covered by...three guards and several armed men making rounds throughout the property."
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly to calm either my temper or my nerves. All I wanted was my husband and Emmett back. I'd had the sickest of feelings when he'd called two days prior, letting me know that they were leaving the city of Beijing to check out a lead in a neighboring village. Something just hadn't felt right. Edward had explained all about this guy Chang, about a little girl that hadn't made it through surgery, and when Alice had pulled a background on him, it was nothing but one financial problem after another. My gut-wrenching suspicions were confirmed when Edward didn't call the next day to say good morning to his kids. Edward never missed a phone call to Bethy and Samuel when he was away from them. Ever.
"Relax, sweetheart," Carlisle soothed, placing a warm hand on my shoulder. "We'll get him out," he whispered in my ear, taking the binoculars from me and scanning over the situation in front of us. "Jasper, I want you to get to that truck at the edge of the property and dig in. That should give you a clear shot of just about anything coming out the front of that building, because the rest of us are going in the back," he commanded, finally turning to us.
Jasper spun his sniper rifle to his back in order to look at the layout in my hand. "You're gonna push them my way?"
"I think we can," Alec chimed in softly, giving the building a long, slow study, only to turn to Carlisle. "It's a fireworks factory. The very sight of fire or smoke is going to send these assholes into a panic. We could...fake it."
"Flash discs?" Mickey suggested, digging around in the side pocket of her cargo pants, pulling out a handful of the small, but extremely useful weapons. They were about the size of a half-dollar, giving off a bright flash and pop to take the enemy by surprise.
"They still set off a hefty spark," Carlisle mused, taking one from her and turning it slowly in his hand. "They'll still ignite that gunpowder if it touches it just right. But you might be right; the smoke alone will start them running."
"Alice, how many are inside? And just where is that GPS signal?" I asked, not wanting to start any fucking fires anywhere near Edward and Emmett. I knew she'd been studying the thermal satellite images since we'd locked onto Edward's and Emmett's signals.
"I'm looking at about twenty people, Bells," she answered immediately. "Some are concentrated around some of the machinery, and others are pacing up and down the corridor. Edward's signal is down that corridor. Last door at the end."
"That's here...this end of the building," Mickey stated, pointing to the side of the factory closest to us, and then to the phone's screen. "If we hit this entry, this hallway, and this window, then we'll send them out the front door toward Jazz."
"Corral them, you mean?" Carlisle verified, but he was already nodding slowly. "Fine. Keep all gunfire to a minimum, try not to blow us to hell, and stay low and quiet. Girls, you take that window and stay together. Alec and I will take the two doors. Jasper, get going."
"Sir," we all answered, checking our weapons and breaking away from him.
Mickey and I ran quickly at a crouch, skirting along side the fence line and sticking as much to the shadows as possible, though I was pretty sure we couldn't be seen. We were both dressed in black, both small in stature, and we weren't making a sound.
The fence wasn't really made for any security purposes, so Mickey was able to lift up on the barbed wire to allow me to crawl through, and I did the same for her, once on the other side. We paused behind a tree, making sure that Jasper was in place before continuing. Carlisle used silent signals to tell us he wanted us to all go in at the same time, using the flash discs as a big distraction.
Once we were on point outside the window, Mickey and I waited for Carlisle's go. Peeking inside the window, I noted that it was some sort of office, and it wasn't empty, which I was quick to show Mickey. She nodded, a small smile creeping up her face, because we could see exactly who it was. Chang.
"We've got Chang," she barely breathed over the radio.
"Take him out," Carlisle ordered softly, crouching down just outside the door he was about to enter. "From what I've heard, he's a tyrant in the area. Look around you. My Chinese contacts hate him. In fact, they've asked me to use this opportunity to take care of this shit."
It didn't shock me that Carlisle had called on some old business contacts to inquire about Chang. It shocked me even less that he was stepping back into an old role to do this, especially since his son was involved. My eyes took in the area, and even though it was the middle of the night, I could tell that the small village was repressed. Crops were meager and withering, homes were shabby and falling apart, and the livestock was too thin – almost emaciated. He was starving these people, yet he looked quite fat and happy.
"Fucker," I muttered, a sneer curling up my top lip. "Can we please get our boys? On you, Carlisle."
He snickered softly, most likely at my sharp tone. "This will be loud and fast. On me... Go!"
Mickey took the butt of her rifle and swung it hard toward the glass, shattering it instantly. I clicked the flash disc and tossed it into the room, and we turned our faces away in order to avoid getting the brief blindness that came along with the loud pop that echoed three times throughout the building.
A tinny, sad sounding alarm broke out as Mick and I dove into the window. Two guards flew through the office door, and I took them both out, my shots ringing loud in my ears in the small space. I spun to see that Chang was making a run for it down the hall.
"Fuck," I groaned, rolling my eyes. "Chang's loose," I stated over the radio, though I could hear that Alec and Carlisle had their own issues to contend with.
Commands were shouted left and right in Chinese down the hallways and in English over our headsets, and we paused to give the corridor a brief glimpse, ducking back into the office.
"Okay," Mickey started, "so we've got four doors before the end. Alice, talk to us."
"Behind those four doors, you've got eleven warm bodies," Alice answered immediately. "Three of them are in the last room. That's the boys and most likely Dr. Vincent."
"Hmm, so eight against two, huh?" I mused, pulling Edward's extra Glock out of my bag and engaging it.
"Those are decent odds," Mickey chortled, giving me her wickedly sarcastic grin and a wink.
I laughed silently, rolling my eyes, but nodded. "We've certainly dealt with more, Mick. Ready?"
"Yup," she answered, pulling out a small grenade. "Since we're away from the factory part..." Her voice trailed off at my nod. She pulled the pin, saying, "Fire in the hole," over the radio, and Alec and Carlisle acknowledged back.
She bowled it perfectly down the hall so that it came just shy of the door we needed to protect, but right smack in the middle of the doors we wanted to open. We wanted them to panic, needed them to burst out of the rooms in which they were hiding in order to shoot them like fish in a barrel. And it worked. The rumbling explosion shook the building, sending bits of wall, doors, and floor shooting past us.
"Let's go. Let's go," I snapped, pointing both guns out in front of me and taking down three men as they flew out the first room. Mickey took the next two.
I could barely see the end of the corridor through the smoke and debris, but there was movement.
"Bells, Mick... You've got three coming out of that last room, and it looks like they're carrying a fourth," Alice piped in helpfully over the radio.
"Go, go, go," Mickey hissed, and we ran up the last half of the hallway.
Dr. Frank Vincent looked unconscious as two men held him, while the third was raising his weapon. Mickey and I came at him so quickly and quietly, he didn't have a chance to react. I pressed the muzzle of my nine mil to his temple, pointing Edward's Glock toward the other two men.
"Drop your weapons. All of you," I ordered, not knowing whether they could understand English or not, but I was pretty sure they were getting the idea, because two automatic rifles and a revolver hit the dusty floor, especially when I pulled back on the hammers of my guns, barking the order again. Mickey caught Dr. Vincent just as Alec and Carlisle came around the corner. She eased the older man to the floor, checking his pulse.
"We've got these assholes, Bellissima," Alec said, gripping two men by their shirts and shoving them down the hallway, while Carlisle took the other.
"Mickey, stay with him," Carlisle ordered, jerking his chin toward Vincent. "Bella, find those boys."
"There's still three warm bodies in that last room," Alice advised, "but it looks like the rest of that factory is emptying out."
The door wasn't completely closed, so I nudged it open in order to peek inside. I groaned internally when I saw a small flight of steps leading down into what looked like a basement or a boiler room, because ever since Miller had taken me captive, basements made me extremely uncomfortable. I glanced back to Mickey, but she was trying her best to stem the flow of a cut on Dr. Vincent's forehead. She was whispering softly and kindly to him, and all he could do was nod.
Taking a deep breath, I pushed the door open just a little more. A voice with a thick Chinese accent echoed up from below, and I took the steps at a crouch, one by one, both my guns at the ready.
"Whoever is here for you is too late," Chang said, strolling slowly from left to right.
I couldn't see the boys, but I smirked when Emmett chuckled wearily.
"Sure, big dude. Then why do you look so fucking scared?" he asked, continuing to laugh.
I slowly took another step down, and Edward and Emmett came into my vision. My heart clenched at the sight of them, imprisoned with their arms shackled to what looked like water pipes above their heads. It was all I could do not to rush to them, but Chang was waving a handgun around and looked to be quite on edge. One more step down, and I was on the concrete floor. And it was Edward that saw me first, shooting me a sweet, cocky wink, despite the gun in his face.
I rolled my eyes at him, bringing both guns up and taking another step closer to Chang.
"Not scared. Under pressure," Chang replied, reaching into his pocket. "I've got to burn this room before your friends get here."
"Won't fucking happen," Edward stated nonchalantly, glaring at his captor, and I wanted to smack him for his smugness, because nestled in the corner of the room were a few old boxes of fireworks, not to mention the furnace behind me. The room was a giant explosion waiting to happen, and I was pretty sure Chang knew that. "I told you we'd fucking walk out of here with Vincent, and we will still walk out of here with him."
Emmett shifted, finally seeing me, and he fought his smile and barely won. Flickering his eyes above, he struggled against his restraints, causing the pipes to pull away from the ceiling just a little. My eyebrows raised and I nodded, knowing what he was trying to tell me. I stepped silently up behind Chang. Both hammers on my guns clicked loudly behind Chang's ear, and he froze, beginning to turn around.
"Drop the gun," I ordered, and the fact that it was a woman's voice must have shocked him, because at that point, he spun around, his eyes wide. But he still hadn't dropped what looked to be Edward's Glock. "I said drop it."
Chang tossed the gun at my feet, and I kicked it behind me, sending it skittering across the floor.
"Hey, sweetness," Edward sang, at the same time Emmett boomed, "Hey, Bellsy."
"Hello, boys," I said back, fighting my smile at their overly sweet tones. "We got a little worried, you know. So...I thought we'd just come check on you. We didn't get a chance to give you all the info on this guy."
Edward chuckled low, deep, and sexy, shaking his head. "I bet. Do tell, Bella."
In my ear, Carlisle's voice commanded, "Keep him talking, Bella. I'll take him from you. We've got military police heading this way... We've got to go."
I wanted to answer him, but I couldn't. And I knew for a fact that both Edward and Carlisle never wanted me to assassinate someone. Shooting in defense was one thing, but Carlisle and Edward would rather put the responsibility on themselves, not me.
"This guy is small time...a thug and a bully," I continued, poking Chang in the forehead with the muzzle of my nine mil and tapping my ear so that they knew I was listening in to Carlisle. "And he's broke. So he saw Dr. Vincent as a paycheck. It most likely has nothing to do with his niece, considering that Chang here is estranged from his brother." I smiled up at a very upset Chang. "We should leave you to the locals. Do they know that you can't pay them? Because I bet if they knew you were the reason their families were about to go hungry, I wouldn't need these." I waved my guns just a bit.
"I didn't do anything wrong," Chang said, changing direction on me. "I merely was protecting the honor of my family."
"Ah, yes...family," I said with a sneer. "You mean the daughter you sold on the black market, because you wanted a son, instead?"
That alone caused Edward to jerk in his restraints, his face glowering with black fury. Emmett kicked him to get him to calm down.
Chang paled, his mouth falling open in shock at what I knew, but with Alice, not much could stay hidden. "Who are you?" he asked, shifting on his feet a little.
I smiled and shrugged. "Someone you should've never fucked with," I said, using one of Edward's old lines, which caused him to grin and shake his head. "Now...have a seat." I kept one gun pointed to his head, while the other gestured to the floor by a post. "Move. Now."
"Coming in, Bells," Mickey stated, softly coming down the stairs. Her automatic rifle was at the ready, but her teasing smirk at the boys hanging from the ceiling was hard to miss. "Oh, damn," she chuckled, rolling her eyes at the glares they were giving her.
Before Chang sat down, his arm shot out, a lighter lit in his hand. It was one of those metal military ones, where it didn't need to be in-hand to stay lit. He threw it toward the back of the room, but his aim was off, because Edward's legs were suddenly around the man's neck. My husband had used the pipes above him to pull himself up.
"Mick, the lighter!" I ordered, pointing across the room.
She dove for the small flame, because it was mere inches away from the stack of fireworks in the corner. Chang was struggling against Edward's hold, but with one graceful twist of his body, Chang fell to the floor limply.
"Damn, baby. Did you break his neck?" I asked, bending down to check for a pulse and finding a faint one.
"No, but I could have," Edward answered gruffly, righting his feet back down on the floor and looking like pure muscle and strength and power as his upper body flexed with the motion and his biceps bulged. "He's just unconscious."
"Guys!" Jasper called over the radio. "We've got company comin' down the road. We've got to go!"
Mickey and I looked at each other, and then to Carlisle and Alec, who were rumbling down the steps.
"The doctor is loaded up in the car," Alec said as he and Carlisle yanked Chang up.
"You okay, boys?" Carlisle asked, eying his son and Emmett as he shoved an awakening Chang toward the stairs.
"Yeah, Dad," Edward groaned, but looked to Emmett, who was nodding.
"Girls, get them down. We've got to get the fuck out of here." Carlisle's voice was brusque, but it was because he was about to take care of the asshole in front of him that Alec was currently threatening with a low, smooth voice.
"Get your ass up the stairs, Chang," Alec muttered, pointing his gun to the man's head. "There are some people that want to see you."
Mickey walked to Emmett, eying the cuffs at the same time that I finally was able to give Edward the once-over. He looked tired, but aside from the cuffs cutting into his wrists, he seemed relatively unharmed.
Dragging a box over by Emmett's feet, Mickey pulled out a handcuff key to unlock him.
"You okay?" I asked Edward, cupping his face and making his gaze lock with mine.
"I'm fine," he sighed, smirking down at me. "Thanks for coming."
I chuckled, rolling my eyes and shaking my head. "Like I wouldn't. That was the plan, right? If I didn't hear from you for forty-eight hours, I was to come to you?" I verified, and he nodded, shifting uncomfortably as we waited for Mickey to finish helping Emmett.
Mick kicked the box my way and tossed the handcuff key at me, and I stood up on it, looming over my husband.
"These fingers look broken," I noted softly.
"Maybe," he sighed, gazing up at me with sweet, warm green eyes. "Just...get me down, sweetness," he ordered softly. "Please?" he tacked onto the end with a chuckle.
I grinned at his beautiful mix of sweet and commanding – something that always drove me crazy when he'd first rescued me from Riley Miller, but that now turned me on completely. "I don't know," I sang softly in his ear, starting to unlock the cuffs anyway. "You're kinda fucking hot all tied up and at my mercy here, handsome."
Which he was...utterly delicious. He was totally rugged and dirty, sweaty and flexed in a way that turned me on to no end. It didn't help that he exuded pure confidence, despite the circumstances.
"We can test that out later, love," he crooned up at me, dragging his nose along my neck, which just happened to be right in front of his face as I worked the restraints off of him. Opening his mouth to my skin, he murmured softly, causing chills to break out along my neck and arms. "But turnabout is fair play, Bella." His voice was smooth and thick, with a touch of huskiness to it. "Would you like that?"
I laughed once, and I noticed a small moan escaped me at the same time, which caused Edward to chuckle low and sexy. His eyes, despite how tired they looked, gazed up at me with naughtiness, pure love, and respect, but also with a deadly carnal gleam. It was truly funny how we could lose ourselves in the most desperate of moments, because we needed to get the hell out of that factory.
"Maybe," I teased, rubbing his arms and lowering them slowly. "Keep rubbing them, baby," I told him, hopping down from the box I was standing on and reaching into my bag. "You've got to get the blood flowing again."
He did what I told him, and I tugged out an extra black t-shirt, holding it out for him. Walking across the room, I picked up his Glock and disengaged it. He tugged on his shirt, and his wince did not go unnoticed as he pulled it down over his taut stomach. I could imagine that his arms were achy, but those fingers looked downright painful.
"We gotta go, Edward," I told him, handing him his weapon and an earpiece; he tucked the latter into his ear immediately. "I'll look at that hand in the car, okay?"
"Okay," he said, but leaned into kiss my temple sweetly. "Sorry shit went to hell."
"Just glad you're all right," I sighed the pure truth as we ran up the stairs, where Mickey and Emmett were waiting for us. "And that we got Dr. Vincent back. He should be okay."
"Guys?" Carlisle called over the radio.
"Sir," we answered automatically.
"You can come out the front. And stand down," he ordered in a voice that sounded calm.
We did as he'd asked, exiting out the front of the factory to see a shit-ton of men milling about the front of the property. Carlisle was standing off to the side, speaking to an Asian gentleman, who was wearing a suit. They were laughing together and shaking hands. The rest of the men around the building were wearing military garb. They were loading Chang into the back of an SUV, and they weren't being gentle about it.
"Okay there, kid?" Alec asked as we came to stand beside him. "Em?"
"Yeah, we're good," Edward replied, eying the whole property. "Who is that guy?"
"Lee," Jasper answered with a shrug of one shoulder. "Apparently, Chang has owed him money for too long. And your dad knows his dad or some shit."
We all paused, but it was Alice that explained over our earpieces.
"Twi Tech owns a few subsidiary companies in Beijing. Lee's father managed them for Charlie for years. Now, Lee's son does it for Carlisle. That fireworks factory has been losing money for the past year and a half," she rattled off quickly. "In fact, that's how Mrs. Vincent found out about Gravity, because she and her husband have attended charity functions with Twi Tech for years."
"Is there anything Twi Tech doesn't own?" Mickey asked wryly, smirking at our chuckles.
"I've found that the answer to that...is no," Edward replied, rolling his eyes, but wincing when he reached up to tug off his baseball cap.
"Sit," I ordered softly, tugging open my bag at my hip. "Let me see that hand, baby." I looked to Emmett, who was swiping at a cut above his eye. "You, too. Sit."
Both men sat on the back tailgate of our rental SUV as Carlisle called Jasper, Alec, and Mickey over to help unload some supplies that Lee had apparently brought to the people of the village. Not only were we taking out a problem by removing Chang's influence, but we were helping out hungry people at the same time.
Using what I had, I splinted Edward's hand, wrapping it from the tips of his left fingers, all the way to just inside his elbow. It wasn't great work, but it would do for a temporary fix.
"Better?" I asked him. "I don't think they're broken, but keeping them straight will keep the pain down."
"It's perfect, sweetness," he chuckled, kissing my fingers. "I'm sure I've been worse off."
With a kiss to Edward's forehead, I turned to Emmett, cleaning the wound just above his eye and butterflying it carefully. "Okay, Em?" I asked, making sure he was all right.
"It's all good, Bellsy," he said with a wink and a kiss to my cheek. "Thanks for the rescue. I'd better call Rosie," he murmured, asking for my phone.
I giggled, rolling my eyes and ducking his hand when he tried to ruffle my hair, despite my cap, but my eyes fell to the back of the SUV at Dr. Vincent. He was weak, but didn't seem to be injured other than a few bruises and scratches here and there.
"He needs water, Bella," Edward said, kissing the side of my head once he and Emmett stood up. "They roughed him up pretty badly, but they needed him in one piece."
"Gotcha," I sighed, reaching into my bag and pulling out a bottle of water. "I'll take care of him. Go help your dad so we can get the hell out of here. Okay? You're little soldiers were kinda pissed when I left."
Edward grinned, his cheeks tinging a touch pink at the mention of Bethy and Samuel, and I couldn't help but smile up at him, because he was nothing if not the best dad. "Yes, ma'am," he said, smacking at Emmett's shoulder. "We're on it."
I snickered once, watching them walk away, and then turned back to the doc, who seemed to be coming around. "Hey, Dr. Vincent," I said, soothing him when he jerked awake suddenly. "You're okay. My name's Bella." I crawled into the back seat beside him, opening the bottle of water. "Here. Drink this slowly."
He drank a little, sputtering when he overdid it, but nodded when he'd had enough. "Thank you," he sighed, looking weary and scared.
"You can relax now," I told him, smiling slightly and checking the bruise next to his eye. He was an older gentleman, with sun-bronzed skin and wise gray eyes. "Your wife sent us..."
"Eileen!" he gasped, trying to sit up, but he was rather weak.
"Easy. She's fine, and we'll get you back to her soon, okay?" I consoled him, easing him back against the seat again. "She told me to tell you that retirement was eminent."
He cracked a real, honest smile, even though his eyes were closed, and I chuckled at him. "She may be right this time," he snickered softly, cracking one eye open to look at me. "Thanks, Bella."
I smirked and nodded. "Mmhm...now relax for me. You're safe now."
"Elizabeth Renee, why on Earth do you insist on dictating Samuel's every move?" Bella sighed exasperatedly into the phone, her head thumping to the hotel widow as the lights of the city at night shone around her like an angel's halo. Her eyes snapped up to meet mine as I came out of the bathroom. "Daddy told you to do what?"
My eyebrows shot up, because there was no telling what my daughter was about to rat me out on. Bella pulled her phone away from her ear, turning on the speaker.
"Daddy s-said to t-take c-care of y-you and S-Sammy while he was g-gone," she sputtered adorably, and I smirked, because she only stuttered when she thought she was in big trouble.
"Yes, he may have," my wife said, her eyes narrowing on me as I walked across the room to the window seat she was sitting in. "However, I'm sure that forcing him to play with you and Abby was not what Daddy meant. Samuel doesn't always want to play house...and he definitely doesn't want to lay in a baby crib while you two play dress up."
I grinned, shaking my head. "Little sweetness, give your brother a break, will ya?" I chuckled, sitting down next to Bella on the cushions.
"D-Daddy," she groaned, and I could just imagine her huff and eye roll. "B-But we n-need a b-baby...C-Caleb is the dad."
I could very well imagine the gender war that had ensued while poor Esme was babysitting. "Bethy, boys don't always want to play house. Let them do their own thing."
A loud, dramatic sigh sounded through the phone, and Bella smiled up at me, shaking her head. "Even it out, baby. Play what they want sometimes, too. Okay?" she asked, picking up my now unwrapped hand to check out my fingers.
"No. No yeah buts," Bella and I said at the same time.
"Ooookay," Bethy finally conceded over the phone, dragging the word out. "When are you coming home?" she asked, changing the subject beautifully.
"Our flight is in the morning," Bella answered her, "so we won't see you until the next night. We'll pick you up on Saturday night. Be good for Gamma, okay? Try not to drive her crazy."
Bethy giggled, a sound that was too cute – and a touch naughty, if I were to be honest. And I couldn't decide just exactly who she sounded like more in that moment – me or her mother.
"I won't," she laughed. "But I miss you. Hurry. You pwomised the park, Daddy."
"I did," I agreed. "And when we get home, we'll all go. How's that?"
"Yay!" she cheered, babbling to whoever was in the room with her.
After "I love yous" and "be safes," Bethy was a little better on the phone, and we hung up. Bella set it down beside her and picked up my hand again.
"How's it feel?" she asked softly, gently caressing my middle and ring finger. "They're a little swollen."
"Like they did when I jammed them playing baseball," I chuckled, shrugging. I made a fist, though it was a little painful, and then wiggled my fingers. "Sprained, baby. I'll live."
She smiled up at me, leaning in to kiss my cheek. "Good. Can't have them out of commission for long, Mr. Cullen. I'm rather fond of those hands – specifically those fingers," she giggled, letting out a sweet squeak when I suddenly pulled her to my lap.
She was just fucking beautiful as she loomed over me, wearing nothing but the hotel's silk robe. Her hair was still a little damp from her shower, her skin glowing in the soft light from lamp on the bedside table. Cupping my face, she pressed her forehead to mine and closed her eyes. She took a deep breath when my hands ghosted softly up and down her back over the silky material, finally landing on her sweet ass.
"Good thing I'm right handed, huh?" I chuckled, nuzzling her nose up one side and down the other and giving her ass a light squeeze as I leaned back against the window.
"I prefer you...ambidextrous." Her smile was wicked and sexy, but totally honest.
I laughed, and it felt fucking good to have her in my arms again, even though this last mission was tame in comparison to some other things we'd been through. Leaning in just a little, I kissed her softly, relishing the taste of her, the sweet sigh that always rushed out against the skin of my cheek.
Pulling back, I said, "Th-Thank y-you f-for c-coming to g-get m-me," my stutter emerging because her warm gaze was slowly unraveling me. I wanted her right there in that window for all of fucking China to see, though we were high enough that it would've been impossible for anyone to be watching.
"Were you scared?"
"No," I sighed deeply, playing with the belt on her robe. "I was pissed off for allowing us to get ambushed, but I knew the plan. I just had to wait."
"He could have killed you," she countered, watching my hands as I finally pulled the belt off and let it fall to the floor behind her.
I let the robe hang loosely against her skin, licking my lips when her nipples peaked hard and tight.
"Chang's fear of American soldiers kept him from killing us, because he wasn't quite sure what we were," I explained to her, tracing my nose over each silk covered breast. "He was afraid of retribution if he'd killed two American military men in cold blood. However, I'm not sure he was prepared for a pissed off wife."
She grinned, and a small giggle burst from her. "His face was priceless when he realized a woman was holding two guns to his head."
I nodded slowly, and suddenly, I was done with talk of Chang, my weariness disappearing. Skimming my fingers down either side of her face to her neck, I gently slipped the robe off her shoulders. It pooled silently onto the floor. The only thing that was between us was the towel from my shower.
Shamelessly, I ogled my wife, because she was fucking stunning. She was perfect to me, despite old scars that she didn't even give a second thought to anymore. She continued to work out, sparring with Kurt, so she was in excellent shape, no matter that she'd had two beautiful children. Bella was soft curves, strong muscles, and breasts that were full and made my fingers twitch to touch them, which I did.
I wrapped my left arm all the way around her waist, bringing her smooth, warm skin in delicious contact with mine, while I flattened my right hand in order to feel all over her at once – the curve of her back, the side of her breast, her heart beating heavily, and the sweet dimples just above her ass. She whimpered when my pinky slipped just barely between her cheeks.
"We're in the window, Edward," she whispered, nipping softly at my lips. "Someone could see..."
"Fuck them," I rumbled, tracing my fingers up her body and pausing just long enough to brush my thumb across her tightly peaked nipple. "You're beautiful, and they should see who you belong to," I said, my voice taking on a huskiness I couldn't control.
A small smile flickered across her face, and she hummed against my lips. It was all I could do not to kiss her fucking senseless, but she seemed to be holding back.
"Perhaps I don't want to show off what's mine," she countered, and then suckled lightly on my bottom lip, letting it fall from her mouth sexily.
I grinned and shrugged one shoulder, not giving two shits who saw me. I was owned by the girl in my arms and had been since the moment I'd scooped her up off of Miller's table.
Giggling softly at my silly ass smile, Bella reached around to capture my hands in hers. She pushed them up until they were pressed against the glass. "And perhaps... I still want you at my mercy..."
"Sweetness, don't you know?" I chuckled darkly, rolling my hips against her heat and moaning when my towel loosened, "I'm always at your mercy."
Lightly scratching her nails down my arms, she threaded one into my hair, while the other snaked down to finally rid us of my towel. I took the opportunity to put my hands back on her, slipping one up the side of her neck to bring her mouth to mine. I couldn't hold back from her anymore. She was wet and hot grinding against me, her hand taking a firm grip of my cock. Gripping her ass with my pain-free hand, I jerked her closer at the same time her thumb swirled over the head of my heavily leaking dick.
Tongues swirled and teeth nipped, and it was comfortable, it was home, and it was never fucking enough. Claiming her with long slow strokes of my tongue, I started to writhe underneath her, finally breaking away from her sweet mouth to kiss down her neck, because I was so fucking hard for her.
"In this fucking window or on that damn bed, baby... Tell me," I practically growled against the flesh of her neck as her head fell back. "I'm going to take you hard no matter what," I warned her, which only resulted in the best of wicked smiles.
"Here," she commanded, and I flipped her onto her back, looming over her and settling into the cradle of her strong thighs.
She laughed at the quick movement, her head falling back against the pillows stacked behind her in that window seat, and I couldn't help but smile against her neck as I let my body finally line up with hers, because her laugh was the best of sounds. And fuck, if she wasn't soaked for me.
"Oh, sweetness...so very wet," I crooned, dragging my lips along her jaw, only to tease her lips with my tongue.
"Tied up was very hot on you, Edward," she purred, biting down sexily on that bottom lip of hers, but her body rolled in a gorgeous wave of want and lust when my hand skimmed down her side and stomach to the apex of her legs. "Oh God, yes..." she breathed in shock, her eyes rolling back when I slipped my uninjured fingers through her saturated folds.
"Did you think I couldn't touch you?" I asked, pressing my forehead to hers just to watch her struggle to answer me when I slid deep inside of her. Curling my fingers just right, I grinned when my name burst out of her in a breathy rush. "Oh, my Bella... You should know pain is the furthest thing from my mind right now..." Her breath caught when my thumb brushed across her clit just right. "Oh, so close...so soon..."
She shook her head, pulling at my hand. "You, baby. I want you..."
Never wanting to deny her anything, I pulled my fingers from her, only to lift her leg into the crook of my arm. I lined up with her entrance and slipped slowly inside of her as deeply as I could, both of us moaning at the complete and utter feel of just...perfection.
"You wanted hands...now you want my cock?" I asked her, pulling out only to thrust back into her. "Such a demanding pussy, baby..."
"I want all of you," she countered, her fingers digging into my back and my ass and her leg wrapping around my hip.
"Mm, my needy girl," I rumbled in her ear, nipping at her earlobe as I thrust hard into her over and over.
Bella was so damned beautiful, and it didn't matter that we'd been married for going on six years. It didn't matter that we worked together just about every day or had two adorable kids. When we were alone like this, it always felt new and perfect, fulfilling and just as hot as the first time I'd kissed her – all fire, lust, and unending want. I used to think it was how we'd started, having to take things so very slowly, having to measure progression with each touch, but I'd thrown that theory away years ago, because by now, I was convinced it was just...us.
Her insides clenched down hard on me as her hips met me thrust for thrust. "Edward..."
"Sweetness, come for me," I begged her softly in her ear. "I want you all night long..."
It didn't take long for her body to obey that command, though she was damned close to begin with, and she shattered hard around me, causing my own stumble into the abyss with her. The sound of hips meeting hips and heavy breathing filled the hotel room. Curses and our names pushed out against sweaty skin as our bodies pulsated, her sweet pussy milking me for all I had.
"Mm, all night?" Bella purred, her hands gliding over my back and up my arms.
I grinned at the post-coital bliss that was practically radiating off of her. "Indeed," I said against her lips. "No kids waking up early. No having to keep the noise down..."
She smiled lazily, dragging her tongue along her bottom lip. "And we can sleep on the plane..."
I chuckled, nodding slowly. "And we can sleep on the plane," I repeated in a whisper.
The giggle that erupted from her was sweet, though filled with a sexy, deep tone. "Then it seems, Mr. Cullen...that I am at your mercy."
A/N... There you have it... We've jumped into the deep end again with Mercward. Next chapter will bring you up to speed on our old friends, some newer than others...and of course, some Bethy and Samuel time.
I need to thank JenRar for beta'ing this for me...in fact, I think I shocked her with how it began. And to GooberLou for pre-reading it. I'm not sure I would've attempted another Mercward fic without either of them.
Okay, you know the drill by now. I post twice a week if possible, but if it's not, I always give you warning. The next chapter will be up Sunday. :) So let me know what you think. Until next time... Later! :)