Monday, November 25, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 11 & Pics

Chapter 11
I rubbed my wrists, glaring at the cuts and blood that were left behind when they removed my restraints. With a deep breath, I glanced up at the two men who were waiting for me to eat. I noted that they hadn’t bothered to cover their faces this time around, and I tried not to let that bother me.
However, I was far too hungry and thirsty to give much focus to anything other than the big bowl of stew in front of me. Picking up the spoon, I gave it a taste. It wasn’t the best, but it certainly beat out some of meals I’d had in the military, and it most definitely was better than nothing at all.
My eyes followed one of the men as he paced impatiently, only to take in the one leaning near the doorway. Neither had said a word, though I wondered which one may be calling my son. Though neither had a broken fucking nose from when I’d head-butted them the first day. That disappointed me.
Alexander Gunter. That motherfucker.

I sighed, shook my head to myself, and continued to eat in silence. That job had happened a long time ago, and I never thought anything would come of it, which reminded me that I owed Edward an apology. I should’ve listened to him when it came to coming over here, because never in my wildest dreams did I think things would go this far, that any of this bullshit was connected. These stupid assholes were using my son, my family, to get them what they wanted. And knowing them like I did, they would do it, too. Edward would walk through hell for his family and crew, and this was no different. However, if my son handed these motherfuckers nuclear weapons, I was going to kick his ass. That – if anything – made me determined to get the fuck out of here.
The man by the door spoke low to his pacing partner, and I caught the words, “relax, cousin, and revenge.” Meeting the gaze of the man walking back and forth in front of me, I saw his pacing for what it really was – pure hate and anger. And it was aimed toward me.
Smiling, I finished my soup, pushing the bowl away. I took my time drinking the two bottles of water on the table in front of me. I could see both men were armed, though their guns were strapped to their thighs in holsters. They were relaxing around me, and that meant my silence, my cooperation, was working. It was leaving them with a false sense of security around me.
I stood up from the table, which caused both men to stiffen, but I truly needed to stretch my legs. They’d only let me loose to eat and occasionally to take a piss, but that was it; as soon as I was done, it was back in the chair or on the floor in restraints. And that thought and another glance at my wrists made me think of Bella.
I took a good look at myself...a mental inventory of my injuries and my surroundings. I had it way better off than she’d had it when she was taken by that psycho-weasel, Miller, though I knew I had a longer time to wait.
Bella had told me once that she’d shut her mind to the pain, blacked herself out in order to survive. Back then, I’d watched my son find patience he never even knew he had in order to heal her, and he’d showed every bit his mother’s beautiful soul – something I thought had died in him the day she left us – the entire time he’d sheltered, protected, and brought Bella back to life. She been as fragile as a baby rabbit…and just as easily spooked.
Something about that thought, about the strength that Bella and Edward had found, made me proud, angry, and determined all at one time. Maybe I’d been locked down in that fucking cell for too long, but by the time my two guards decided I’d walked around enough, I was pissed the fuck off.
The guard that had been pacing grabbed me roughly, and I grinned his way. “You must have some fucking problem with me.”
He shoved me hard, my back hitting the concrete wall. “It’s all I can do not to kill you now,” he growled in my face.
“Oh, so you do speak English,” I sang back with a laugh, shoving him off me when his partner tried to pull him away. “You can’t kill me. Your coward of a boss needs me alive.”
“He won’t always need you,” he vowed, grinning my way. “You killed my cousin in Moscow.”
I laughed, pushing up my sleeves. “I’ve killed a lot of people in my very long life. You might wanna be specific, asshole.”
Why I was taunting him, I had no idea. Maybe I was hoping they’d snap, reveal some information by mistake, or maybe I simply had been trapped for far too long. Either way, I was feeling more alive than I had in days.
“Was he the slow-moving bastard I shot on my right? Or the twitchy little shit I shot on my left?” I asked with a grin, but it fell quickly when the guard finally lost his cool.
He rushed at me, but I was prepared, so I ducked his heavy roundhouse swing, only to shove my shoulder hard into his stomach. The man had to have been my son’s age, if not a little younger, but he was slow to react. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard the other guard calling for help, but I didn’t stop. We landed with a grunt on the dirt floor, and I had the advantage. Straddling his chest, I swung my fists over and over, without giving the asshole a chance to catch his breath.
Just as I was about to reach for his gun, I found myself lifted and pressed against the wall by three men.
Russian was spewed in my face, then at each other, and finally, they dragged the beaten bastard out of my cell. The man to my left muttered one name that caught my attention.
I gave up fighting at that point. I let my two new guards zip-tie my hands – to the front, this time – and push me back down to the floor, where they did the same to my ankles. I winced at the pain, but I took it. Glaring at the guards as they left me alone so they could clean up my lunch, I shifted to a more comfortable position against the wall.
I shook my head slowly, letting it fall back to the cold, hard concrete behind me. Everything suddenly made sense – Sergei’s back and forth behavior, Boris’s disappearance, my captivity, and even why I was still alive.
I was bait…for my son.
Yury had wanted Norilsk and had been the buyer that had backed out when I’d had Boris dig deeper, but now I saw the bigger picture…and now I recognized the voice behind the shadow. I had heard it before, and I was an old fool for not remembering.
Sighing deeply, I closed my eyes as my heart calmed down. Just before my guards left the room, I called out, “Hey! You fuckers speak English?” When one nodded, I said, “You tell that stupid bastard, Yury Spektor, that he’s a dead man. He has no idea what he’s done. I’m not bait. I’m a fucking homing beacon.”
I laughed as they left the room, slamming my cell door behind them. Smiling to myself, I pulled out the spoon I’d stolen from my lunch. With a little work, it may just come in handy.
“Pay attention, dammit,” Mickey ordered, shaking her head. “You have to know how this camera works before you just stick the son of a bitch on whatever container. Got me?”
“Ma’am,” Felix and Eleazar replied instantly.
I turned to Jasper and Edward. The former was tugging on a camouflage jacket that he’d found in Eleazar’s stores along the side of the hangar. The latter was dressed all in black, as was Alec when he stepped out of his small room. Both Alec and Edward were strapping their handguns to holsters on their thighs.
Pulling up a map, I looked to Jasper. “There’s no high spot for you, Jazz. MCC is completely surrounded by woods, though. How long has it been since you climbed a tree?”
He grinned, all sweet and crooked. “Aw, Bellsy…just tell me where I’m goin’, yeah?”
I shot him a wink, but zoomed in on a spot. “Here. The helicopter landing pad is just on the edge of the property. The best place for you is this east section of woods, but you’ll have to hoof it on foot. It’ll give you the best position to see not only the chopper, but where El and Felix will enter the building. I’ll let you decide where, but Edward,” I said, turning to my husband, “you need to drop him off several yards back before landing here.”
He nodded once, pulled on his baseball cap, and took the tablet from me. “J, that’s looking like about three klicks. What I’ll do is drop you off, circle the property, and then land. That should give you time. We have to ask for permission to land anyway.”
“Roger that,” Jasper answered, but checked his sniper, only to set it down on the table. “And if I see Stefan’s men?”
“Do not engage!” Eleazar answered from the other end of the table. “Unless they pose a threat to us, let them get in and get out, but I’d like to beat their asses there. In other words, I’d like to watch this go down after we’ve left.”
“In that case, we need to load up,” Edward countered. “I hope you’re right and we beat them, but if they watch this shit go down, they may get a clue.”
“So far, we’re clear,” Felix stated, holding up his phone. “I just called to arrange this meeting. I told them to heighten security for the next few hours. They said they’d do one better and put the place on lockdown – no one in, no one out. You’ll verify us when we land.”
The hangar was noisy as everyone packed up what the guys would need, but it slowly started to empty.
“Excellent,” I said, looking to Edward. “You’re fueled up. Emmett’s on it. Once you’re in the air, I’ll get with Alice and calibrate the camera on the chopper.”
My eyes narrowed on him. He was the definition of focus and determination at the moment, but I could see that he was also letting his temper lead him.
“Edward,” I sighed, shaking my head, because I was hating the fact that we were going to separate, even for this little bit. His head snapped up from the tablet. “You’d better stay focused, and you’d better be careful. Am I clear?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said softly.
“There may be a Plan B, baby, but if we have to use it, I’ll be so pissed,” I warned him, grinning when he chuckled a little.
“Don’t I know it,” he murmured, setting the tablet down onto the table and reaching for me. “I need you in my ear, love…and on my shoulder. So constant communication.” He cupped my chin, forcing my gaze to his. The green was piercing, sharp, but so loving. “This is probably the simplest mission yet, sweetness. We’re in, we’re out. We’re just eyes in the sky. This is the legal part.”
Snorting, I nodded. “Up ’til now? Not so much.”
“Right,” he agreed, giving me my favorite sweet smile. “I-I l-love y-you. W-We’ll b-be b-back w-well a-after d-dark, but I want to hear you the whole fucking way.”
“Sir,” I whispered in response, but stood up on my toes to kiss his lips. “Love you. Be safe.”
His fingers slipped into my hair at my neck, threading through it almost roughly. He kissed me like he always kissed me when he had to leave me like this – thoroughly, with possessiveness and a claiming tongue that usually left me clueless as to what my name was. This was no different. I moaned when his hand tugged my hair just a bit, but also at the feel of my ass getting squeezed. Edward was a fucking tease.
He grinned against my lips, giving them three sweet pecks before pulling back. “Sorry.”
“No, you’re not,” I said with a laugh. “But you’d better finish that when you get back.”
“I plan on it, sweetness.” He chuckled, shot me a wink, and picked up his duffle bag. “Even if we have to sneak off to do it. Repeatedly.”
Shaking my head, I chuckled. “Get in the air, flyboy. And tell those boys to bring you back to me.”
“Ma’am,” he said with a crooked grin.
I walked him as far as the hangar door, and my eyes stayed on him the entire walk to the chopper. Once he double-checked a few things, he shot me a wave before pulling himself up into the pilot seat. I didn’t wait to watch him lift off. Instead, I walked back to the table, arranging my equipment so that I could see everything.
“Igor, engage,” I stated.
Yes, Miss Bella…”
“Activate the chopper camera. We need to see everything.”
I looked up when the sound of thundering chopper blades rattled everything around me as he flew over. I smiled to myself, shaking my head, because he’d probably done it on purpose. Something about that sound was sexy, comforting, and just…Edward, who happened to be both of those things and more.
The hangar filled with everyone left behind. They didn’t say anything as they sat down around the table and got to work beside me. Edward would be in the air for a few hours, so we were going to use that time to make sure the camera was working, the GPS trackers that El had in his pocket were activated, and if we were lucky, Alice would be able to snag a satellite image of the roads leading in and out of MCC.
“Igor, contact Alaska, please,” I ordered, smiling when my daughter’s face filled the screen. “Hi, pretty girl. What’cha doin’ up?” I asked her.
“Hi, Mommy. Aunt Alice was showin’ me you and Daddy,” she stated, pointing to the big screen on the wall behind her that stayed constantly locked onto our GPS trackers. “She said Daddy’s flyin’ a mission.”
“He is. And you can watch for a bit, but I want you in jammies and bed soon, baby.”
“Yes, ma’am.” She looked up. “Here’s Aunt Mack. Love you!”
“Love you, too, Bethy.” I smiled when Makenna’s face took Bethy’s place. “Hiya. Ready to get to work?”
“I’m all yours. Alice is breaking into satellite feeds now. You should have access soon. She’s gonna send you intermittent shots.” She turned a little and typed quickly. “We tried finding this George Stefan guy. No go. At least, no phone records, no vehicle in his name…that sort of thing.”
“I figured,” I sighed, shaking my head. “From what I can tell, he’s the type of guy you have to know in order to contact.” When I looked around the table, heads nodded in agreement. “Do we have a picture of him?”
“That I do have,” she stated, grinning and typing. “I’m sending it your way now.”
I eyed the picture, looking to the only man in the room that could identify Stefan, and Boris nodded. “That’s him,” he murmured.
Linking up to Edward, I said, “Edward, I’m sending a picture your way through Alec’s phone. It’s George Stefan.”
“Copy that, sweetness,” he answered immediately.
“That’s him, Bellisima,” Alec added. “We’ll keep an eye out.”
The next couple of hours were quiet. Edward checked in with his location every now and then, Alice sent the occasional satellite image of the entire Krasnoyarsk area, which had a few vehicles she was keeping watch over, and Irina showed up in the hangar with food.
Mickey and I grinned at each other when Kurt practically fell out of his chair to help her. He even spoke Russian so we couldn’t understand him, the ass, but Boris was highly amused at the whole thing.
We teased the absolute shit out of him the second she left with a bit of a blush to her cheeks.
“Oh, dude,” Emmett said with a deep chuckle and a slow shake to his head. “Just you wait until Eddie and Jazz get back. This shit’s too good not to rag you over.”
“You’d better watch your ass,” Mickey told him with a grin. “Eleazar may shoot you over her.”
“Aw fuck, you think? She’s just…”
I rolled my eyes. “Just be careful, Mack Daddy.”
Laughter rang out through the hangar and even through the radio link to Edward. His amused chuckle was all I heard, until Eleazar spoke up.
“Irina can take care of herself, but I’ll warn you…she’s not a throwaway type of girl, Kurt. She gave up a lot in New York to come back home when her father was ill. Watch yourself,” he warned, and when I looked to Kurt, he was nodding, although he stayed quiet.
As Edward drew closer to where they needed to be, the hangar became filled with tension and focus. I took the chopper’s camera with Emmett at my side, Mickey monitored the radio, and Alice took Mack’s place on the video chat.
“Bethy went to bed, Bellsy,” she murmured, giving me a pointed look.
“Thanks, Alice,” I said, focusing on the chopper’s position. “Edward, you’re right on target. It’s time to set Jasper loose.”
“Ten-four, sweetness.”
I smiled at the sound of his voice, but gave all the monitors a thorough gaze. Edward was hovering just high enough that Jasper could repel down, and just as his feet touched the grass beneath him, he was already diving into the woods. The chopper banked hard left, carrying on closer toward MCC, and Edward did exactly what he’d promised, which was take his time calling in his landing after making a full circle around the combine.
Jasper’s GPS tracker showed his progress. He had to have been running as fast as the woods would allow, because just as Edward set down on the helicopter landing pad, Jasper stopped a few yards from the edge of the forest. We’d attached a camera to his sniper rifle just to be able to see what he was seeing. And what we saw was his climb up a fairly large tree, settling somewhere near the top. The entire combine was spread before him after he broke off a branch here and a twig there.
Back at the helicopter, Edward and Alec stepped out onto the pad, only to stand firm by the bay doors. They were playing the part of pilot and security to Eleazar and Felix, and it was working perfectly, because three men met them at the edge of the landing pad. There was a round of handshakes, a few nods of acknowledgement, and finally, Eleazar and Felix were led inside the closest building.
“Okay, everyone, stay sharp,” I ordered, glancing over the screens in front of me. “Mickey, I want you monitoring Jasper. Alice, I want inside MCC’s security, if possible.”
“On it, on it, on it,” she chanted. “They don’t have much, though.”
“I’ll take what I can get,” I replied, looking at the satellite images. “Well, well, well... What’dya know,” I said in a sing-song manner, pulling the tablet closer. “Jasper’s not alone in those woods.”
“Sweetness, talk to me,” Edward demanded over the com link.
“There’s movement on the north side of the combine. Jasper, you might have visual. From your location, approximately thirty yards deep into the trees, forty-five degree angle. Take a look.”
“What’cha wanna bet they were waiting ’til nightfall?” he asked, chuckling quietly. “Ed, Bellsy’s right. We’ve got company. They’re pretty interested in the newest activity on the combine grounds, but they’re not makin’ any moves. And I don’t see Stefan.”
“Copy that,” Edward replied, but took a deep breath. “El, you catchin’ this shit?”
“Yes,” he replied softly. “Change in plans, guys. Listen up.”
It seemed we all held our breaths and leaned forward.
“We’re going to take this crate, but…” His voice urged us to listen by dragging out the last word before he went on. “But we’re going to let those bastards steal it from us. They tried in Chernobyl; they’ll try again now. Felix and I are seizing possession and responsibility as of this moment. The gentlemen here don’t want to risk the break-in. We’ll attach the GPS trackers and the camera before we even try to load it up.”
“Fuck me,” Edward groaned. “Okay, everyone listen up. Jasper, I need you sharp on this chopper pad. You’re to stand down unless you see a problem. Then…and only then…you’re to find a solution to that problem. Am I clear?”
“Crystal, Ed,” Jasper replied casually, but that was totally his way of working. The whole world could be blowing up around him, and he’d hum a tune while saving us all through the sight of his sniper rifle.
“Sweetness?” Edward called.
“Go ahead,” I told him.
“Keep those beautiful eyes peeled on our forest friends over there. I want to know the second they twitch. Got me?”
“Somewhere in there was a compliment. I’ll take it,” I teased him, grinning when he snorted. “Yeah. So far, you’re clear. They haven’t moved, so relax that sweet ass for me, okay?”
He laughed softly, but merely said, “Roger that.”
I loved flirting with Edward on the radio. We all did it. The girls drove the guys crazy when there was a cheating wife under investigation, and the guys usually filled our ears with innuendo and trash talk. It kept us real, it kept us from taking shit too seriously, and it gave us a second to take a deep breath.
“What? I don’t have a cute butt? What the hell, Bellisima?” Alec taunted over the radio, and I could’ve sworn I heard Edward punch him.
“Yes, you do, Alec,” I said in a placating voice – the same tone I used on my kids – as I scanned the satellite images Alice was feeding me. “I’m simply partial to the butt beside yours.”
Edward snorted, sighing loudly with a groan mixed in.
Emmett grinned from across the table, but shook his head. “You know,” he chortled, “I’ve actually heard this conversation before. We were out in this bar one night…”
“Emmett, I swear to fucking God, I’ll kill you dead when I get back,” Edward growled over the radio, which made everyone – Boris included – crack the fuck up. “I don’t need your ass on this mission.”
“Hush, Edward,” I chided softly. “You think I don’t see women checking you out? You think I don’t know how you used to be? Please…what do you take me for?”
“Shut it, sweetness…”
“Anyway,” Emmett sang, shooting a wink my way when I waved him on with a grin. “If I’m remembering correctly – because you know, it’s been so long and I was kinda wasted – there was this group of chicks. They actually voted on the best ass. It was me, Eddie, Alec, and Jazz.”
“Is that the time they pulled out quarters to see if they’d bounce?” Jasper added.
Mickey laughed and nodded. “Yup, we were in…Miami, if I’m not mistaken. Stupid drunk college bitches…”
“Oh my damn,” I groaned. “I actually considered that very thing when I was pregnant with Sammy. I blamed hormones.”
“So do I,” Edward added with a laugh. “On both counts, Bella.”
I laughed, shaking my head at the fact that Edward was probably way too handsome and sexy for his own good. “Yeah, yeah…and let me guess. Mr. Cranky wouldn’t participate.”
“Ding, ding, ding,” Mickey said with a laugh. “And we have a winner!”
“Right in one, Bellsy,” Jasper added.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” Edward grumbled. “I was not gonna let some chick try to bounce a quarter off my ass in a bar.”
“Sounds like a challenge, Edward,” I told him, pulling a quarter out of my pocket and slapping it down in front of Emmett just to see him laugh.
“You first, sweetness,” my husband threatened, but I could hear his smile through that deadly velvet voice of his.
“Mmhm,” I hummed nonchalantly, glancing over at the security feed inside MCC. “Okay, looks like Eleazar is attaching the trackers and the camera. Am I right, El?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he stated softly. “Give me another twenty seconds, then you can give it a check.”
“Ten-four,” Mickey stated, tugging the laptop closer to her.
“And go,” Felix said.
Mickey and I worked together as quickly as possible. She calibrated the small camera, and I set up the GPS trackers on a separate map.
“We are locked in,” Alice sang over the video chat, and she rolled into the view of the camera. “Now, let’s see what those guys do.”
I pushed the map with the trackers on it over to Kurt and then pulled the laptop over to me to get a better view of the satellite images. Alice had switched to thermal, giving me a better idea as to what I was looking for, but it didn’t take long for the colorful blobs to start to separate.
“Okay, everyone on me,” I told them, glancing over at Jasper’s view, which showed me that Eleazar and Felix were making the removal of the case in their hands a big production. “We’ve got El and Felix exiting the building on the north side, and they have three guards with them. We’ve got three…no, four heat sources moving along the edge of the woods. And my two turtle doves at the chopper better be ready.”
“We got this,” Edward vowed, and through Jasper’s sight, I saw his and Alec’s forms remove their guns from the thigh holsters.
“Jasper, I need you sharp. Looks like our company is going to bide their time until the MCC employees go back inside,” I advised. “Jasper, the control is yours.”
“Copy that, B,” Jasper replied softly, and I smiled at the light humming he was doing over the com link.
It sounded like an old gospel song, or maybe a kids’ song. I wasn’t sure, because he was so soft. If Jasper was concerned, no one could tell. He carried himself as a laidback Southern gentleman, and he was absolutely born to do what he did. He could sit still for days in that tree if needed, not moving an inch. He was, by far, the sharpest shooter I’d ever met. I could hold my own, but Jasper could knock the wings off a fly from a mile away, it seemed.
My eyes drifted back to the edge of the woods, flickering between that and the camera on Jasper’s rifle, which showed me the crew down on the landing pad. They were taking their sweet time setting the crate inside the cargo bay of the chopper. If the men inside the woods were going to act, they were going to do it soon.
“Brace yourselves, boys,” I told them. “You’re gonna have company in…three, two, one…”
Jasper’s camera barely moved, but I watched as he sized up every last man running up to the landing pad. He even counted them off quietly to himself.
“Ed, I’ve got a solution should you need it,” he advised.
Edward didn’t answer him, but no one needed to say a word. Just like at Chernobyl, there were automatic weapons pointed at our four men. Alec and Edward were advised to drop their weapons, and I noted that both men tossed them too far for their captors to reach. Felix and Eleazar – with hands on their heads – stepped slowly away from the chopper’s bay door.
The voices coming across the radio were speaking English.
“Don’t fucking move!” one guy yelled.
“Asshole, do I look like I’m fucking moving?” Edward asked belligerently.
I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath and letting it out. I sometimes wanted to smack him. I knew he was making it seem legit, but he didn’t need to get shot in the process. Though, Alec was no better.
“Put the gun down, stunad,” he said with a grin. “We can work this out like God intended…”
“I don’t think so,” another one replied.
“Pussy,” Edward spat, stepping forward.
“Edward Anthony, take another step and you’ll answer to me,” I threatened through gritted teeth.
Edward froze mid-step, but glared toward the man with the gun aimed his way. “You have any idea who you’re rippin’ off?” he asked them.
“We don’t care. We’re getting paid no matter who you are,” was the answer he received as two men lifted the crate out of the cargo hold and walked back toward the woods. The man engaged his weapon, saying, “Get down on the ground and put your hands on your heads, or I’ll shoot you now.”
“Jasper,” I stated.
“I got this, Bellsy,” he answered instantly. “Fucker won’t have time to pull the trigger.”
The guy that had been talking to Edward jerked his chin at his friend, sending him back toward the trees. My lip twitched in anger as four of the strongest men I knew lay down on the concrete on their stomachs, their fingers linked behind their heads. The logical part of my brain knew this was what we wanted, to use the uranium as bait, but to see those men, my Edward in particular, face down on the ground made me want to tell Jasper to pull the fucking trigger anyway.
I had just about resided myself to the fact that the final man was simply going to walk away, but he didn’t. Instead, he raised his weapon, aiming toward Edward’s head.
“Jasper! Take it!” Emmett and I ordered at the same time.
The shot rang out over the com links, causing everyone at the table in the hangar to jump, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen in front of me. After making sure that my four men were okay, specifically the lithe, backwards cap-wearing one that was already on his feet running for his and Alec’s guns, I took a look at the satellite image.
“You gotta go,” I warned them. “They’ll know they’re missing a guy pretty fucking soon. Go, go, go!”
“Already ahead of you, sweetness,” Edward stated, diving into the pilot seat of the chopper. The whine of the blades and engine were loud.
“Felix, I want that called in, and I want you to stay on the ground to follow those bastards,” Eleazar ordered him. “We’ll need a cleanup crew on that ASAP. No story, just a cleanup.”
“Roger that,” Felix replied, and I heard him call back toward MCC for the guards.
“Jasper,” Edward called as I watched Jasper’s descent out of the tree in which he’d been perched. “Can you beat those motherfuckers to the landing pad? Or you want to be picked up elsewhere?”
“I’ll get to you quicker,” he grunted as he ran his fastest straight toward the combine, his GPS signal maneuvering through the remaining treeline. “I’ll be on you in less than sixty seconds.”
“So far, they haven’t noticed,” I told them, eyeing the satellite image. “They’re too concerned with getting that crate loaded up.” I switched to a different screen, smiling as Jasper made it to the chopper just as Edward lifted up off the ground.
“I got the door,” Eleazar stated. “Felix, you’ll check in as soon as you’re free from this place. Go!”
Edward’s smooth voice called his flight in, and the chopper’s camera slowly drifted over MCC. Out the back of the north side of the woods, an SUV took off, leaving a dusty trail behind it.
“Damn, they didn’t even check on the last guy,” I snorted, shaking my head. “They just left him.”
“Oh well,” Emmett sighed, looking over Mickey’s shoulder. “Ed?”
“Go ahead,” Edward replied.
“The package is transmitting perfectly. The camera’s still rollin’,” he told him. “Mission accomplished.”
“Ten-four. We’re heading back,” Edward stated, sighing wearily.
I knew him so well. I knew he was worried about losing track of that crate, about losing the last thing we needed to get his dad back, but we’d all agreed that wherever that crate stopped was going to give us the answers we needed in order to beat all of these assholes at this game.
“Igor, monitor that signal at all times. Alert us and Felix to any changes in direction or speed so that he can follow,” I ordered.
Yes, Miss Bella.”
“Edward, you can stop for fuel. I’m sending you the coordinates,” I told him.
“Thank you, Bella.” His voice was subdued, and I shook my head.
“That was too fucking close,” I muttered to Mickey, who simply nodded, wearing a solemn gaze. “I swear, sometimes I don’t know whether to kiss him or beat him to death.”
“I heard that, sweetness.”
“Good.” I rolled my eyes at his chuckle. “I’ll have made my decision by the time you get here.”
He laughed again. “I look forward to it, love.”
“Mmhm,” I sighed, sitting back in my chair. “Stay safe, flyboy.”
“Roger that.”
The hangar was quiet, the fire from the furnace in the corner giving off a little heat. I couldn’t sleep, but I never could when Edward was in the air. And this time was no different, especially with how close he’d come to having a bullet put in his head.
Emmett walked slowly by outside the hangar door. He’d taken the next shift. We knew we were safe at Irina’s, but Edward still wanted us to keep watch. Mickey and Kurt had crashed once we saw that the uranium was tracking just fine, though we’d yet to see any faces on the camera. Boris was asleep in the chair across from me. And Felix was already mobile, using Igor’s help to stay behind Stefan’s men at a safe distance. Irina’s sister-in-law had dropped off some more food so Eleazar, Edward, Alec, and Jasper could eat when they got back, which I expected at any moment.
Boris snorted a little and continued to sleep, but the heavy thumping of chopper blades made me stand up and walk to the hangar door to watch Edward set down. Emmett guided him, wrenching open the bay door once the blades started to slow. There were a few words exchanged, but they shut up when I stepped out of the hangar.
“Don’t kill him, Bellisima,” Alec teased, but grimaced when I raised an eyebrow at him.
“Oh shit, she’s gonna blow,” Jasper muttered, shoving Emmett and Eleazar toward the hangar, leaving me to wait until the chopper shut down completely.
Edward slipped down out of the pilot seat, setting his headset on the cushion before turning to face me. His smug smirk made my hand ball up into a fist.
“Well, is it a kiss or a smack, sweetness?” he asked, but flinched when my knuckles connected to his bicep. “Ow, Bella! What the hell?”
“Don’t you ever put yourself out there like that again,” I grunted, because with each word, I was smacking at him anywhere I could reach, not to really hurt him, but to get my damn point across.
“Bella! Stop!” he growled, grabbing me about the waist and setting me in the open bay door. His hands were big enough and strong enough to hold my arms down by my side as he stood between my legs. “Okay, okay! I’m sorry!”
“We may have a Plan B, Edward Cullen, but I don’t want to fucking use it!” I hissed at him. “You have any idea what it was like to have to give Jasper that order?! Do you? That asshole was aiming at you!” I yanked my arm out of his grasp, only to poke a finger in the middle of his forehead. “Not Alec, not El…you!” I poked him again. “All because of your damn mouth…”
Edward stopped fighting me, gazing up at me with a pitiful and apologetic face. His eyes were dark green, his lashes sweeping up slowly, and his eyebrows furrowed together as he realized what I’d seen. Suddenly, I wasn’t mad at him anymore; I was simply grateful he was right in front of me again.
“It was stupid, Bella…I know…”
I cut him off with my mouth on his, grasping at his hat and tossing it behind me into the cabin of the helicopter so I could sink my fingers into his hair. My kiss was angry and hurt and scared, and he took all of it. Using my legs, I pulled him closer, whimpering when his hands gripped my ass and squeezed. There were teeth and tongues and moans, and it reminded me of our first kiss, that angry, needy, jealous kiss in the stairwell of a law office. So much had transpired since that kiss, and with that thought, my heart hurt.
“So fucking stupid,” I hissed against his lips. “Don’t do that to me, Edward. Never again. Do you know what that would’ve done to me?” I asked him, unable to stop my hands from touching his face – through his hair, along his now overly scruffy jaw, and finally, his chin, where I pinched and forced him to look at me.
He nodded, looking down at my lap, only to lock that heated gaze back onto me. “Get in,” he ordered, shooting a glance over his shoulder before following me up into the cargo hold. With one last look toward the hangar, he slammed the door closed behind him, only to sit down in the closest seat. “C’mere, baby.”
The very second his arms wrapped around me and pulled me astride his lap, my eyes filled with hot, still kind of angry tears.
He cupped my face, his thumbs swiping beneath my eyes. “Y-You’re r-right. I-It w-was s-stupid, B-Bella. I-I’m s-so f-fucking s-sorry. I should’ve just kept my goddamn mouth closed. I was just so pissed. He was so damn smug, like he was getting away with something, and I…”
“And you thought you’d taunt the man that only sees you as an obstacle in the way by calling him a pussy? Edward, dammit!” I groaned, shaking my head. “I can’t lose you…I just can’t. I will tape your mouth closed next time, I swear to fucking God.”
He grinned at that, unable to stop himself from saying, “You’d do that?”
“I would,” I confirmed, nodding once.
His eyes flickered around us. “You’d miss my mouth, sweetness…”
“Don’t you dare be cute and sexy right now. I’m not so sure you’re forgiven,” I stated, though simply being back in his arms was causing my anger to drift away the longer I stayed there straddling his lap. “In fact, I should still get the damn duct tape. You’ve got some in here, right?” I asked, leaning up and reaching for the storage bin above his head.
Edward let out a soft chuckle and a deep sigh, his hands holding my sides, but they started to move, lifting my shirt in the process. “I’m telling you, Bella…you’d miss my mouth.”
I grinned, but hid it behind the storage door, because I knew that tone. Edward was absolutely shameless about making me relent, and he knew just what to say, how to say it, and what to do to get me to give in. Glancing down, I braced myself as his lips met my stomach. The scruffiness of his beard tickled my skin. My eyes rolled back when tongue and teeth were added to the sensation of the kisses he was dropping along my ribs, sternum, and belly button.
He pushed and shoved at my shirt until it was under my breasts. He continued kissing, licking, and sucking at my skin, always paying extra attention to the scars that were still visible. Sitting back down on his lap caused those kisses to stop, and our eyes locked for a moment.
“We should get back inside,” I sighed regretfully, starting to adjust my shirt. “We’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Fuck them,” he muttered, his hand slipping into my hair. He gave a gentle tug, bringing my forehead to his. “You’re more important right now. They’ll alert us to changes.”
He took a deep breath, brushing his lips over mine – top, bottom, a swirling, light graze of his tongue. With a swift movement he’d perfected ages ago, he peeled my shirt up and off me, setting it in the seat beside ours.
“Besides,” he purred, “if you’re gonna tape my mouth, don’t I at least get a chance to use it one…more…time?” His voice was deadly smooth and hypnotic as he leaned in to kiss where my pulse was already pounding. “You can’t grant a man one last wish?”
It was utterly impossible to ignore him, to fight the need he knew how to build up between us. He knew what to say, more now than when we’d first met. His tongue swirled over my skin, making me gasp when he sucked just where he knew was the most sensitive – right behind my ear. Edward pulled my earlobe into his mouth, only to pop off.
“Last chance, sweetness. Where do you want my mouth for the last time?” he taunted, smiling against my jaw.
I shook my head, sighing in defeat. He was too much to resist, and I knew his temper was on a razor’s edge with all that we were doing to get his dad back. I also knew my husband. He never, ever meant to scare me, that he trusted his crew – Jasper, in this case – to the ends of the earth and back. And Edward also needed me; he needed something to make this harsh shit…not so harsh.
“It’s your punishment, Edward,” I said haughtily. “I suppose you should pick. Where would you like your mouth for the last time?” I held up the heavy, silver roll of duct tape for emphasis.
Edward grunted, an evil smile curling up the corners of his mouth as he dragged his tongue along his bottom lip. With one shake of his head, he said, “Everywhere.”
Grinning, I could read his face like a fucking book. “Say it, Edward. The right way.”
“Hmm, Bella,” he crooned, shaking his head slowly. “You know I’d die a happy man if it meant I got to taste that sweet pussy one more time…”
There it was. He’d spit the word at the jackass with the gun pointed his way, but when he said it the right way – the sexy, shameless, wanton way – I wanted to climb him, give him whatever he wanted. I felt my whole body surge forward, my hips grinding down over his as I reached for his shirt, but he stopped me.
“Stand up, baby,” he ordered, and I did. He stood up as well, but set me back down in the seat, pulling off my boots that weren’t really tied. Next, his fingers reached for my pants, smiling when I lifted enough for him to yank them off. “Well, damn, sweetness…” he said with a light laugh. “Where have you been hiding those?”
My bra was black, which was being removed with a simple flick of his fingers, but my underwear was camo boyshorts. They were sexy, but cotton and comfortable…and now very wet.
“Fuck it, don’t answer that,” he muttered, reaching for the black waistband. “I don’t care. I just want what’s inside these.”
He tugged me forcefully to the edge of the seat, draping my legs over each armrest and spreading me out in front of his face. He reached back to grip his shirt and pulled it off over his head, only to toss it in the seat on top of mine.
The green in his eyes swirled away, and heated black and naughty met my gaze as he dragged his lips up my thigh to my scar. He dropped one kiss to the middle of it before licking and nipping his way up to where I now needed him the most.
The feel of his tongue, but even more his prickly beard, caused me to buck up with a hiss.
“I’ll shave, baby…soon,” he vowed against my clit, only to suck it into his mouth.
By sheer habit, my fingers wove into his hair, despite the fact that it was almost too short to do so. It was all I could do not to grind all over his face, but I wasn’t sure he’d have cared. His mouth was on me like he was starving – licking, sucking, and occasionally nipping with his teeth just enough to get me to cry out his name.
Slipping two fingers deep inside me, his mouth latched on to my clit, sucking and swirling his tongue, until I was a writhing mess in the chopper seat. My hands gripped at him, the armrest, anywhere I could, but he was bringing me to the peak hard and fast, which was probably what he wanted.
“Jesus, Edward…I’m gonna…”
“Mmhm,” he hummed against me, and that’s all it took to send me flying over the edge.
My whole body arched up out of the seat, my breath catching in my throat. “Aw, fuck,” I growled through gritted teeth in order not to let them hear me all the way back inside the damn hangar, or hell, possibly up to Irina’s house.
A warm, calloused hand gently rubbed my stomach, helping me come down from the spasms that racked my frame. But it was the sweet green eyes that watched me carefully, though they were a touch smug at the same time.
Edward didn’t say anything, but reached beneath the seat to pull out a sleeping bag, spreading it out on the cargo hold floor.
“Get in before you catch a chill, love,” he said softly, kicking out of his boots and cargos.
I did as I was told, saying, “We should really go back in, baby.”
“Not yet,” he murmured, dropping his boxer briefs to the floor before crawling in beside me. “They know I’m in trouble,” he whispered with a crooked grin, but it fell quickly. “I-I’m s-sorry I-I s-scared y-you, s-sweetness.” His whisper was sincere, honest, and sweet as every inch of his bare skin slipped amazingly against mine.
“You did.” I cupped his face, snuggling closer and tangling my legs with his.
“I know, baby,” he admitted, ghosting his lips across my cheek. “I’ll keep my mouth in better check, Bella. I swear.”
Laughing softly at that vow, I rolled my eyes. “Save this mouth for me only, handsome. Keep it shut against assholes with guns.”
“Promise.” He chuckled, rolling on top of me, and I welcomed the feel of him everywhere. “So…no duct tape?”
“Shut up, Edward, and kiss me. They’ll interrupt us soon enough,” I sighed, holding him just a touch tighter. “And we haven’t fooled around in the chopper in way too long…”
He grinned, nuzzling my nose with his. “Thanks for making that call today.”
“Don’t make me do it again, Edward Anthony,” I whispered, shaking my head.
He leaned down, lining himself up at where I was still aching for him. “Yes, ma’am.”


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