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.
It left my mouth without thought, and Ramon nodded in assent, reaching out to shake my hand. He didn't question it. And why would he? I was a kid. By the mere look of me, I was youthful and innocent, wide-eyed and impressionable.
He didn't know the true meaning behind that slip of the tongue…but someone did.
I could feel him before he touched me; those dark, severe eyes on me, boring into my soul. He was a tornado in my life, sweeping me off the ground and spinning me into his chaotic funnel, around and around, unwilling to ever let me escape his entrapment.
My affliction, my disease, my treatment, and my cure, twisted into one obsession, never fading and always wanting more and more, had given me my name.
And at first, I fucking hated it.
It was patronizing. People used it to remind me of my age and how young and infantile I was—as if I didn't already fucking know. But more than that, it represented the one truth that I didn't want to realize and that was how inappropriate my feelings for Edward were. I was seventeen and lusting after this gun-wielding criminal, a tattooed god who was ten years my senior.
It was illegal…
It was wrong…
It was shameful…
That only made me want him all the more.
"Kid?" His voice was a purr in my ear. The heat of his body radiated off him in waves and I nodded, my heart hammering away in my chest, anticipating his touch. "I like it."
"Yeah?" I smiled.
"Yeah," he agreed, because we both recognized what that meant and who I'd become…
"Shit," I gasped as his finger traced the curve of my spine. Biting the inside of my cheek, my mind became more highly aware of everything, and when he slipped his hand into the waistband of my jeans and tugged me backwards into his chest, forceful and dominant, I wanted to throw him against the wall and devour him.
My name was Kid, and I fucking belonged to Edward Cullen.
"What the hell happened to you guys?" Ramon asked, bringing my focus back to the forefront. He stood there with a questioning look, taking a step back and fully examining our appearance. "Did you get caught in a downpour?"
From the tips of our boots all the way up to the shirts underneath our coats, we were drenched. The hoodie and beanie hid our dampened hair, but from the occasional drip of water down our brows, it was quite clear that we were wet and miserable.
"Yeah, you could say that." Edward cleared his throat and discreetly removed his hand from my jeans, but he didn't stop touching me…ever. He kept his palm flattened and rested on my lower back.
"Here, let me get you something dry to wear," Ramon said.
"No, man, that's not necessary," Edward said, stepping out from behind me and grasping my upper arm. "We're on borrowed time."
Ramon scoffed. "No, trust me; it's necessary, but first things first." He glanced around him, looking for someone, and then brought his fingers to his mouth and whistled. A young guy in a waiter's uniform came running from around the corner and Ramon nodded, pleased. "Damien, there you are. Grab the bag and take it to my office." He tossed him some keys. "Make sure you lock up, all right? I don't want anyone walking in there."
"You got it, Boss," Damien replied, jogging past me and Edward, keeping his eyes cast down and muttering a polite apology when we brushed shoulders.
Ramon directed his attention back to us. "Shall we go?"
"Let's do it," Edward said, pulling me forward, but I kept my feet planted on the ground.
Damien was a small guy, no taller than me, and for the past sixty seconds, I'd been hearing him grunt and pant behind me. The poor guy was struggling to pick up the bag. A very prominent vein was bulging out of his forehead, looking it was going to burst, and sweat was rolling down his face.
"Wait," I said, jerking Edward back.
"What, baby, what is it?" he asked, brow furrowed with worry.
"It's just, you know, do you think we should..." I started to say only to be cut off by Ramon.
"What's the problem?"
The lack of concern on his face for the poor guy's plight was disconcerting—never mind the fact that Ramon entrusted a bag of dope to a guy who looked no older than me.
I hesitated, and Ramon tilted his head to the side, unsure what the hold-up was, but irritation heavily marred in his features. He sighed and tapped the face of his watch. "Tick tock tick tock, remember?"
I glared and came out with it. "Maybe we ought to help your friend over there. He's not moving the merchandise very well."
"Who?" Ramon asked.
I pointed towards Damien, who was wiping the sweat from his forehead and widening his stance. "Your busboy."
Ramon laughed, shaking his head. "Damien, you pussy, pick up that fucking bag like a man, you got this little girl feeling sorry for you."
I think that's worse than being called Kid. I wanted to fucking strangle him.
"Fuck you, Boss," Damien replied, slinging the bag over his shoulder.
"Fuck me? I'm the one who gives your sorry ass a job." He guffawed, turning his gaze back to me, smirking arrogantly. "See, he's fine."
I shrugged. "Whatever, I just thought he could use some help."
"First mistake, Kid, is giving a shit. That sort of thinking is likely to get you killed."
I stared at him, unblinking, not knowing what to say to that. In the back of my head I knew he was right, but helping a guy carry a bag full of drugs out of a fucking doorway was smart and not careless.
Ramon laughed again, more boisterous and mocking, and said a few things in Spanish—some words I understood to be demeaning to females. He waved Edward and me forward, leading us away from the door into the deeper parts of the kitchen.
I tugged on Edward's sleeve and whispered, "What the hell was that about?"
"It's nothing. He just doesn't know how different you are."
"What do you mean?"
Edward threw his arm over my shoulder and pulled me close. He brought his face down to mine, secretive, keeping his eyes trained on Ramon's back. "He sees your caring nature as a weakness rather than strength, which is a fucking mistake on his part. If he only knew the brutality you are capable of he would see that out of the two of us you're the bigger threat."
I snorted, rolling my eyes. "Hardly. Babe, I'm barely tall enough to see over a fucking counter."
"Yes, this is true," he chuckled and he patted my head. I slapped his hand, trying to pull away but he brought me back, tighter into his side. "But that's why you're a bigger threat. Fuckers see me coming from a mile away. You're a wolf in sheep's clothing."
"Oh," I said, and damn me to hell if I didn't cover my mouth to hide the shit-eating grin that spread across my face.
It was ridiculous. He was probably blowing smoke up my ass to make me feel tough in this world filled with drug dealers and murderers, but then again, it made sense to me. Because all this time I thought of being seen as a delicate flower, pristine and innocent, as an annoyance, when actuality it worked in my favor.
It hit me then, and I felt stupid for not figuring it out sooner.
I knew my role in the family: Edward was the leader, Jasper was the diplomat, Emmett was the muscles, Alice was the hacker, Rosalie was the thief, and I was the decoy.
"Hey, lovebirds, listen up, this is very important," Ramon said, stopping mid-motion and swinging around to face Edward and me, quickly realizing that he was losing our attention.
Edward smirked and gave me a sideways glance. "We're listening."
"Good, because I am only going to say this shit once and if you fuck it up, I'll be the first one to sell you out. You got that?"
"Yeah, we got it," Edward said, and just like that, he was all business.
"I'm going to talk fast so pay attention," Ramon said, spinning on his heel.
He did talk fast, but he walked even faster, weaving us in and out of the kitchen, side-stepping packed food trays, frantic waiters, and irritated cooks. He explained his plan to get Edward and me into the senator's penthouse without being noticed and with no difficulty.
It was simple enough, but there was no room for errors and that was why it was important for us to listen to each detail.
The hotel was filled with security, on high alert and awaiting the senator's return home. The guards outside were evidence of that. Every time the senator left, the security team compiled a list of all the tenants, making sure they knew who belonged and who didn't. They questioned all visitors, asking for identification and patting them down for weapons. It was iron-clad and efficient.
It was impossible to breach...unless you knew someone from the inside.
That was where our buy-in came in.
It seemed that the only people who weren't to inquiry by the security personnel were the employees-which didn't make sense to me. They were the ones with unlimited access to the senator: they delivered his food, took care of his dry-cleaning, and made the very bed that arrogant asshole rested his head on every night.
That would seem like the people who would be investigated and watched the most, but they overlooked that key component in their well-oiled machine because they trusted the man who was in charge of screening the staff.
He was the manager of the hotel/condominiums, and he had the final say when it came to hiring. All background checks and invasive interviews were done by him. Every person in this hotel who worked under Ramon's tight rein had a spotless record. They were good, honest, hard working people...until today.
Ramon was going to have Edward and me change into standard uniforms, walk us right past the heavily armed men, smile in their faces and flaunt us like weren't well-known criminals on the run.
No, we were now two newly hired employees.
My life was quickly becoming an Ocean's Eleven movie—or twelve or thirteen or fourteen or however many they made, except there was no witty commentary from Brad Pitt.
I did have an Edward, though.
"You guys can dress in here," Ramon said, opening the door to the staff lounge. It was small, barely five-by-eight in space, filled with wall to wall lockers. "You can leave your belongings in here or in my office. I'll give you a few minutes to change." He slowly was closing the door, when his head reemerged. "Lock this behind me or you'll have people walking in on you."
Edward saluted him. "You got it, Boss."
Ramon was not impressed. "Marcus was right. You are a prick."
"Yeah, I get that a lot," Edward said, pushing the door closed and locking the deadbolt.
It was silent for a beat, and I stared down at the starchy black fabric folded nicely in my hands, a typical maid's uniform. Nothing too flashy, simple enough in design, and something I'd seen my mom wear a time or two—before she met Phil and he ruined her.
"Hey, Kid," Edward asked, tugging my beanie down over my eyes to gain my attention, "what's our time?"
I yanked my head away and dropped the garments down on a bench. I dug into my coat pocket and pulled out the stopwatch, still ticking away. "Thirty-four minutes."
"Fuck," he said, and unzipped his sweatshirt, "I thought we had more time than that."
"Yeah," I said, my voice drifting off and I stood frozen, eyes glued to him as he undressed.
The gun was one of the first things to be set down, after that, I sat in a stupor, cataloging each layer of clothing as it came off. The wifebeater discarded in one swift motion, over his head and ending up on the floor in a pile, revealing the taut muscles and tattoos that lay underneath.
I was unable to look away, Edward oblivious to inappropriate ogling, continuing about his business. But as soon as he unbuckled his belt and the pants slid down, all bets were off and my throat went dry. The sight of his grey boxer-briefs got my heart rate up. The cotton, tight and thin, was snug in all the right places, accentuating one bulge in particular…
I closed my eyes, taking away the stimulus and quickly rushing over to the other side of the room. The air in this fucking lounge was suffocating, and I clutched my throat, feeling the parched burn that Edward always seemed to cause.
Control your fucking hormones, you freak. This is not the fucking time. This is not the fucking time!
"So," I said, hoping to distract myself from the naked and beautiful man less than four feet away from me, "do you think this plan will work or do you think Ramon is full of shit?"
Personally, I suspected that we were being set up, but I didn't trust anyone.
"Fuck no!" And I could hear the sudden anger in his voice. "I don't trust that asshole, but it's better than the flipside."
"What's the flipside?" I asked, removing my jacket and gun, and setting it down in a neater pile than Edward's mountain of crumpled chaos.
"Shooting our way through."
I laughed, and tried to imagine how far we would get with that strategy. My guess was not very far.
In all truthfulness, it seemed like Ramon had a solid plan. And dressing up as part of the help wasn't the worst idea, but it wasn't foolproof, either. There were so many unforeseen variables that could still get us caught. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life behind bars. I didn't want to live without…
I shuddered at the thought of never seeing Edward again.
"No," I said in a defiant tone, "this shit is going to work. It has to!"
I didn't know who I was trying to convince now, him or me. All I knew was that I was going to do what I had to do, and putting on this maid's costume was the first step.
Taking off my shirt and folding it, I bent down to grab the uniform when I felt his hands on me. Hot to the touch, squeezing and digging his fingers into my waist.
"What's our time?" he whispered, his nose buried in my neck, lips kissing and tickling the skin.
"Um..." I closed my eyes, thinking really hard on the question he was asking but distracted by his mouth and the hardness pressing into my lower back. "What?"
"Our time," he laughed, his hands sliding up my sides to my breasts, stopping short of grabbing them, "what is it?"
I opened my eyes and looked down at the stopwatch that laid face up on the bench, bright neon green numbers ticking away and taunting me with their cruel truth, and somehow, even with his fingers slipping under the bottom of my bra, I was able to get my words out to answer him. "Thirty-one minutes and forty-six seconds."
He groaned in disappointment. His hands were completely under my bra now, gripping my breasts. He thrust his hips into my ass, pushing me forward, and my hands flew up on the lockers in front to brace myself.
I rested my forehead on the cool metal as he trailed his kisses down my bare back. There wasn't enough time, and I knew Ramon would be coming back to check on us, but I didn't want him to stop.
Every nerve ending in my body craved his touch: my nipples hard and sensitive under his fingers as he pinched and pulled at them. My thighs were trembling with anticipation and need as he slipped his knee in between them to widen my stance. My breath labored as he grazed his teeth along my skin, biting my ass cheek and eliciting a slight whimper from me.
"Motherfucker," he hissed, removing his hands from my chest and rising to a standing position. He spun me around to face him, not even giving me a chance to say anything before his lips were on mine.
I was pinned against the lockers now, body consumed and surrounded by Edward. He was rough with me, mouth hard pressed to mine, his tongue frantic and hasty. It was insane, chaotic, and I was breathless from his kiss but wanted more and more. I lifted my leg up and threw it around his waist, needing that friction and the feel of him hard and ready. He wrapped his fingers around my throat and grabbed a handful of my hair, squeezing and tugging, forcing and pushing his body into mine.
I took my nails and dug them into his back, clawing my way downward towards the thin, flimsy fabric that served as an unwanted barrier. I gripped the waistband of the boxers, yanking them down in one swift motion.
"Jesus," he cursed, his cock twitching against my stomach. He released my hair, sliding his hand down the front of my pants and stroked my throbbing clit with two fingers.
It drove me even more insane, and I reacted, biting at his lip ring, putting it in between my teeth and tugging on it, causing him to shove his hand deeper down and his fingers curled up inside me.
He kissed me again, plunging in and out, faster and faster, my moans getting louder and louder. Nothing mattered anymore. I didn't care about Ramon, the senator, or the cops that wanted to lock us up and throw away the key.
All I wanted was Edward to fuck me.
Then it happened, just like I knew it would, we were interrupted with a loud knocking, Ramon on the other side of the door shouting for us to hurry up.
"Fuck!" Edward pulled away from me and slammed his fist into the locker by the side of my head. "Yeah, yeah, we're coming."
"I know I was," I said, saddened and bitter.
"I'll make it up to you, Kid," he said, leaning in and taking a hold of my bottom lip, sucking it into his mouth, biting it and making me squirm. He pulled away abruptly, crossing the room and leaving me there, a panting mess.
Fully dressed in the uniforms and with less than thirty minutes to go, Edward and I were standing in Ramon's office and he was handing over several baggies filled with white substances and various pills that we were going to plant in the senator's home. It wasn't the massive amount of drugs I'd originally thought it would be, but I was assured that it was enough for an arrest.
"You're going to have to remove those piercings," Ramon said to Edward. "My staff isn't allowed to wear jewelry on their faces and I don't want to show favoritism."
"Fair enough," Edward said, taking out the curved barbell from his eyebrow and lip ring. He shoved them in his blazer pocket and looked over at me. It was striking how different he looked.
"Now listen to me very closely," Ramon said, exiting the office with Edward and me close behind. He locked it and turned back to us and spoke in a low, rushed voice. "You let me do the talking if we get stopped, okay?"
"That's not a problem," Edward said.
"Good," Ramon said, stooping at the door that entered out into the lobby. He slid a card in the key slot and it flashed green, clicking open.
On pure instinct, I reached back behind me, fingers gripping at Edward's crisped blazer. He was there, and I knew he was, but I had to have tangible proof of his presence. It relaxed me. But I couldn't keep a hold on him after we passed through this door because we were supposed to be strangers and touching each other was no longer allowed.
This was going to be a long and miserable…I breathed heavily through my nose and pulled out the stopwatch…
Ramon glanced both ways and nodded. "Let's go."
The lobby was crowded with people. I tried to pinpoint which ones were security and which were the guests, but it was pointless. I had no idea. Ramon said that everyone would be dressed the same and he didn't know who was a part of the security personnel, which made it all the more dangerous and frustrating.
Edward kept in step with Ramon, and they chit-chatted back and forth about God knows what, and I walked behind them, surveying the surroundings. There were cameras everywhere, giving rise to nausea in my already uneasy stomach.
Even the elevator had a camera and I heard the whine as it zoomed in on my face.
Ramon pulled out his two-way phone. "We are in elevator seven."
"We see you. The camera has been switched to a prerecorded feed."
It seemed that Ramon had the entire staff under his thumb. I turned to Edward and he winked.
"Is there security still on watch?" Ramon asked.
"No, sir, they all left to grab a quick bite before the senator returns home. It's going be a long night for those poor bastards." There was a sympathetic chuckle on the other end of the line. "Your friends, at the most, have twenty minutes."
I gasped and my heart skipped a beat, looking down at my stopwatch. That cut our time down by ten minutes. Edward and I always liked to get out before the stopwatch hit zero. It was better to play it safe than sorry, something that I'd learned the hard way.
I shook my head, and Ramon caught sight of my minor breakdown, glancing over at Edward with a questioning eyebrow raised. "Is that a problem?"
"It's less than we planned for, but no, it's not a problem. We'll make it work," he glanced over at me and nudged my arm. "Won't we, Kid?"
I nodded and got my shit together. What other choice did we have? Giving Edward a small smile, I reset our stopwatch.
"Here," Ramon said, handing Edward a key. "It's a two-key turn system. It was an extra precaution the senator set in place for the penthouse. In normal circumstances, if you didn't know somebody," he smiled and gestured to himself, "it would be very difficult to penetrate."
"Unbelievable," Edward said. "Shit has definitely changed."
He was floored by the security measures taken since his departure, but even more so, the luck he had to stumble across the right people.
Yes, I was starting to see how valuable having Marcus in my debt would truly be beneficial.
"You lived here?" Ramon asked, and his eyes were wide with surprise. Edward nodded. "No shit. Who is this guy to you?"
"My father," he said, and it almost sounded like an apology.
Ramon laughed. "Shit, Cabrón, that's fucked up to screw over your old man."
"Yeah, well, you don't know the prick like I do."
It was quiet, uncomfortably so, and I spoke up to ease the tension. "So why are you helping us?"
"I'm not. I'm just paying you for the Wildcat."
The elevator came to a stop and Ramon nodded over to Edward. They both put the key in at the exact time, turning it to the left, and the doors dinged open. Ramon put up his hand and poked his head out. Once the coast was clear, he waved us forward.
I could feel the adrenaline in my blood, pulsating and drumming in my ears as my heart pounded against my chest, the time continuing to tick by, and reminding me that we had less than fifteen minutes to get this fucking job done.
"Is the Wildcat that good?" Edward asked, sensing my panic and grasping my hand to comfort me. The halls were clear and we didn't have to obey the 'no touching' rule.
"You never tried it?"
Edward shrugged. "Coke really isn't my game."
We stopped before two large mahogany doors. There were four chairs set up in front and a deck of cards. I could only imagine how boring a job it must be to just sit around and watch an empty hallway. It was just too bad that they weren't here now; they might actually have something to do.
"Ah, well, it's fucking superb. I'll give you and your girl a little taste before you leave," Ramon decided. He peeked over at me and winked. "It'll blow your pretty little mind."
I was shaking my pretty little head, and Edward laughed. "That's very generous of you, Ramon, but we like to stay clear-headed as much as possible. We already have issues staying focused."
Ramon didn't exactly catch us in the act, like so many people had in the past, but he knew what Edward was referring to. "I'll give you some to take with you then. Have a little party at home."
"That's not…" Edward was protesting, but Ramon wouldn't take no for an answer. Edward sighed. "Okay, whatever, man. Thank you for this and, well, for being so generous."
"It's the least I can do," Ramon said, and leaned towards me with a knowing smile. "A friend of Marcus is always friend of mine."
"I'm not his friend," I said, only because it was the truth, no matter how stupid it was to say at that moment in time.
Ramon shook his head. "Oh, but you are." He turned back to Edward. "Make it quick. I'll be out here waiting for you, but if the security comes back before you're out, I'm leaving you to fend for yourselves."
Edward nodded, fully understanding his reasoning, but I was perplexed by the endless contradictions.
"What happened to all that talk about any friend of Marcus is a friend of yours?"
Edward smiled when Ramon looked at me, shocked. He knew me all too well, and I called people out on their bullshit.
"I'm a friend, but I also don't give a shit about you or your boyfriend," he said and his words were cold. I knew right then that I'd misjudged him. There wasn't anything contradictory about this man. "Like I said, that sort of thinking will get you killed." He flicked his wrist at me dismissively, nodding his head towards the door. "Now go."
A/N: Thanks for reading and I'll see ya soon.
Thanks to Brina for pre-reading and Cris for Beta'ing this for me. *mwah* Xoxo