DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property to the respective author. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
Ten minutes later, we had the duffel bag in our possession and we were standing across the street from the senator's mansion. It wasn't anything like I expected. The conversations I had with Edward describing the home he grew up in were vague, but I'd created this vision in my head of a pale blue house with a white picket fence and grass on the front lawn. Not a ninety-two-story highrise surrounded by security cameras and cold, hard concrete.
The grand reveal was a disappointment, but doubt soon followed that initial reaction. There was no way in hell we were getting into this building. The security measures were top of the line, and the six-foot-seven doormen, secret service type looking dudes with black suits and ear pieces, were focused and on high alert—not to mention the billion cameras that were bolted to the pillars and pointed down at the street and chrome-plated double doors. They zoomed and panned, capturing and documenting every face that had the unfortunate luck of having to walk by Fort Knox on their way to work.
It was nuts.
"Who the hell does your father think he is, the fucking president?" I grumbled, shaking my head in disbelief.
"No," he replied, voice saturated with resentment. "The fucker thinks he's God."
Edward was many things, all buried below the surface, and he projected a man that instilled fear into people who crossed him. I saw past the bullshit and into him because he allowed me.
He wanted revenge, but he was smart enough to know that it wouldn't change anything. The pain would still be there, torturing him for days and years to come. This job, and everything that was to follow, was only a temporary Band-Aid to a permanent and deep-seated wound that would never heal.
And that broke me into a million pieces.
"They're assholes, baby," I said, hooking my arm with his and snuggling close, seeking warmth but also wanting to comfort him. "They don't matter."
"Yeah, I know," he said, reaching around with his other hand and tapping the tip of my nose playfully in an effort to lighten the depressing mood. "Well, what do you think, kid? Should we get this party started?"
I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out my stopwatch. "I think we only have forty-two minutes and thirteen seconds until the senator comes home to get in and do what we came here to do."
"Well..." I glanced down briefly and back up at him. "Forty-one minutes now."
"That's plenty of fucking time," he said, waving me off, and I laughed.
It didn't matter if we had a hundred years or five minutes to do this job; we were destined to run out of time. That all too consuming fire we had for each other was our Achilles heel, and eventually that weakness—that distraction—was going to get us caught.
"Come on," he said, taking a step back from the edge of the sidewalk and turning north on Fifth Avenue.
We walked a few feet down the street, his arm wrapped around my shoulders for warmth, but a chill wind came with a vengeance, blowing my hair around and away from my face. It felt like a thousand knives stabbing me all at once, freezing me down to the bone.
Fuck…I shivered, it's cold.
Edward, hearing the chattering of my teeth, looked down at me with his eyebrow cocked. "Are you cold?"
"It, it, it's bbbbelow eighty-fffive degrees, is, is, isn't iiit?"
Edward smiled, and maneuvered himself in front of me to block out the wind. He rubbed his hands up and down my arms to generate a heated friction. "How are your ears?"
My eyes widened with mock surprise. "I, I, I, hhhhave eeears?"
Reaching up and tugging on my left lobe, he gave a firm nod. "Yes, it appears so." Dropping his hand and hot touch, he pulled out a knitted beanie from his back pocket and placed it on my head, "A wise person told me once," he said, tucking my hair up inside and pulling it down over my numb ears, "that a beanie was a proper disguise for a well-known outlaw, such as yourself."
"Oh, yeah?" I said, gazing up at him and that unruly penny-bronze hair. I frowned. "Where's yours?"
"Ah, don't you worry about me, I've got that shit covered," he said, reaching back and pulling up the hoodie on his sweatshirt.
It shocked me how taken aback I was, because even though it was just a small change in his appearance, it was huge. The intensity of his eyes and strong features of his face were more prominent now.
He looked dangerous, menacing, and it was fucking sexy. That simple flick of his hood on top of his head turned me on to a level that I didn't even know was possible. It wasn't fair to other men out there for Edward to be this beautiful.
"I like it," I said, feeling hot and uncomfortable as the heat of my attraction flooded my chest and face.
"Look at us, we're completely unrecognizable, kid," he said, grasping my hand and tugging me towards the curb. "Let's go flaunt our faces."
"What?" I gasped, and damn near choked on my own spit. "You're joking?"
"Nope," he said, looking both ways down the street, a wide break in the oncoming traffic. "I need you to run now."
"Oh, okay…" I said, barely able to get the words out before Edward was dragging across the four lanes of traffic.
With our disguises firmly in place and a bag full of cocaine on our back, we ran across the street and made our way to the other side of the building, towards the underground garage instead of the heavily secured front entrance.
Slowing down to a walk, we came to a closed gate, a thick, steel one that kept the wrong people out. Edward glanced around, looking to make sure the coast was clear, before releasing my hand and pulling out his phone.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I'm calling Marcus to let him know we're here."
My heart stopped. "He's…Marcus is here?"
"No," he answered, clicking and scrolling through his contacts.
I grasped my chest as my heart regained its steady beat, and I sighed with relief. "Good."
His head shot up. "Wait a sec...are you afraid of Marcus?"
"Um..." I shrugged. "Maybe a little."
"That's fucking…" He laughed.
I glared. "Why is that funny? You're the one who told me he was someone to fear. Was that bullshit?"
"No," he said, his laughter dying down and taking on a serious tone, "He's a deadly and frightening man, but you, of all fucking people, should be the last person to fear this asshole, all right?" I shook my head slowly, confused as to why I would be immune to the terror. "Look," he continued, "Marcus is in your fucking debt now. You got that? You own him."
"But I'm the one who shot and killed his brother."
"Bingo," Edward said, and winked. He turned away from my shocked stare, pressing the phone to his ear.
I own him?
This was unbelievable and I was at a loss for words.
The biggest and baddest boss of a Mexican drug cartel was indebted to me, an eighteen-year-old high school dropout?
"Yo," Edward said, tapping me on the shoulder and redirecting my attention to the gate.
"What?" I whispered.
"Enter this number," he said, pointing and leading my eyes to a keypad.
"Okay," I said, flipping the cover open, my fingers posed and ready for the code.
"1-1-9," he said, giving me time to enter the numbers, "8-2, and then press pound."
Doing as instructed, the keypad beeped and the gates rolled open.
"We're in," Edward said, nudging me forward. "Where do we go now?"
The garage was dimly lit with orange light, giving off an eerie feel. The walkway we were on was slanted downward, taking us deeper underground. It was quiet, making the scuffling of my sneakers and Edward's voice echo and bounce off the concrete walls.
"Babe," Edward said, grabbing my arm and pulling me backwards, "it's this way."
"Where?" I asked, squinting to see where he was pointing.
There was an elevator to the right in the distance, but Edward was leading me to the left towards these gray double doors.
"We're going through the kitchen?" he asked Marcus, pausing and listening for the answer.
It was in times like these that I wished that everyone was as loud as Emmett.
"And then what...do they know about...they don't...what the fuck am I supposed to say if they ask?"
Edward looked like he'd been kicked in the nuts. He squeezed the bridge of his nose, and breathed in slowly and deeply, trying to keep his aggravation under wraps. He didn't want to fuck up our only connection by losing his temper.
I smiled to myself, amazed by how attuned and a part of Edward I'd become in such a short amount of time. I could read his thoughts by just the tenor of his voice and body language. He was an open book to me, now and forever.
"This shit better not become an issue...baby," Edward said, tugging my coat sleeve and regaining my attention. He jerked his head slightly towards the doors. "Knock on it."
I pointed to myself.
"Yes, baby," he chuckled, rolling his eyes, "I'm talking to you. Knock on the door."
I raised my hand and hesitated, taking a deep breath to prepare myself for whatever was behind this door. It could be a trap with the police on the other side, lying in wait, ready to take the Bonnie and Clyde wannabes down.
Knocking three to four times, I took a step back and waited. Edward was beside me, getting the final instructions from Marcus before hanging up the phone.
"Did you knock?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said, chewing the shit out of my nails.
"Jesus, woman, you need to fucking relax," he said, pulling my hand away from my mouth.
"I'm fine," I said, gulping loudly. "Do you think we should we knock again?" but just as I asked that, one of the doors swung open and revealed a short, rail-thin Hispanic man with a phone glued to his ear.
"Sí, las veo. La joven mujer y hombre," he spoke gruffly, his dark eyes assessing us. He nodded to Edward. "Do you have the wildcat?"
"Yup," Edward said, shaking the duffel bag off his shoulder and swinging it towards the front. He patted it. "It's right here."
"Show me," the man said, eyes narrowed with distrust.
"All right," Edward said, dropping the bag to the ground. He bent down and zipped it open, spreading it wide to showcase the endless white baggies.
As I stared down at the cocaine, it occurred to me then that it was meant to be used as our ticket into the building. It was a shady, backdoor drug deal, and Caius was the middle man, the familiar face that would ease the air—which was now thick and uncomfortable.
The man reached down and grabbed a bag, slicing it open with a pocket knife. He then licked the tip his pinky and dipped it into the white substances. Placing the sample on his tongue, he smacked his lips loudly and hummed with satisfaction at the taste of what I imagine to be pure merchandise.
"Si, todo esta bien. Hablaré con usted mañana, adios, primo." He hung up the phone. "Close it and leave it."
Edward zipped the bag shut and rose to his feet. "I have an arrangement with Marcus."
"Yes, I know, and for these drugs, I will personally make sure that you get into Senator Cullen's penthouse without a problem," he said, stepping away from the entrance of the door and ushering us in with a grand sweep of his arm.
"Go ahead," Edward said, placing his hand at my lower back to ease me forward. I couldn't move. My feet were planted to the cement and unwilling to cooperate. Panic surged through me, all the doubts that had been plaguing my mind resurfaced and caused this strangling fear to overwhelm me. I started to shake my head no, to turn around and run, but then a soft and reassuring whisper, "It's okay, baby, I'm right here," changed everything.
And just like that, all of my stage fright was gone. There was nothing be afraid of, not this petty drug dealer nor the unknown danger that lurked behind these doors, because I had the love and the trust of that man who stood less than a foot behind me. I knew with him close by that nothing bad was going to happen.
He would never allow it.
"Hello." the man nodded with a polite smile as I turned to the side to squeeze past him, "I'm Ramon."
"Hi," I replied, my return smile terse and not as polite, "I'm Kid."
A/N: Thank you so much for reading! I'll see you soon.
Love and shout out to my girl, Brina for pre-reading and being a great friend to me.
An overwhelming appreciative of thanks to Cris for betaing this and cleaning it up, making it look all pretty and sparkling.
Translations: (loose, very loose)
"Sí, está aquí. Una mujer joven está con él."
("Yes, he's here. A young woman is with him.")
"Si, todo esta bien. Hablaré con usted mañana, adios, primo."
("Yes, all is well. I'll talk to you tomorrow, bye, cousin")