Author's Note: It's out, it's out! Be happy. Go visit Flash Me Suddenly! when you've finished reading. -shameless plug- Now go read already!
Darius had trailed Aislin to her bedroom before heading off to his. He wasn't stupid. He knew he still had a job to do, even though it left him feeling uncomfortable. So, he watched from afar and let Brandon take care of things up close.
And yeah, he was being a douche—as Brandon liked to remind him every night since the encounter of Naked Aislin. They'd ended on a teasing note, but every time he saw her, flashes of pale skin, her mouth rounded in a gasping oh, twin spheres of suckable…
He ran a hand over his face, readjusted Dare-Dare, and felt as though he'd been channeling more and more of Brandon's personality lately. What was it about Aislin that caused him to want to argue with her, stare at her, and undress her, all at the same time? This was getting ridiculous.
Maybe it was his curiosity over the birthmark he'd spied below her left…
He'd have to get over this soon if he was to continue with the case. If not, maybe he'd have a chat with Grandfather, and get it moved to someone else. But he wasn't the type to quit a case, and that would mar his record.
Brandon swung into the room, tossing his backpack down onto the tiled floor.
"Jesus, what a long day," he groaned, falling back first onto Darius' bed.
"Yeah, tell me about it."
"Well, first Amanda tried to maul me in the middle of a hallway, then Stephanie wouldn't put out when we crept into one of the janitorial closets, and then Jessica found out I'd slipped out of our date to go help you that day you picked up Aislin—so naturally, she thinks I stood her up to bang another chick—"
"I get it, I get it." Amused, Darius put down the book he'd been attempting to study for class and picked up the tracker. Glancing at the glowing dot, it still showed Aislin was all the way over in Pittsburgh. Right. "Anyway, anything new with Aislin?"
"You know, if you'd quit being a jerk and just talk to her, and continue your role as her bodyguard, maybe I'd be getting laid more, and therefore be less cranky." Brandon patted his package as if consoling it.
Ignoring him, Darius reiterated, "Hey, big brother's asking you a question. Fill me in, will you?"
"Older by like a minute, you ass. And I'll fill you in when I get to fill someone else—female—in."
Darius rolled his eyes. "Haven't you ever heard of self-servicing?"
"Masturbating, you mean? Prude. Can't even say the word."
"Riiight. So, go masturbate you prick."
"But then I'll slowly turn into you. I'll get used to masturbating and never leave the bathroom."
"Carpet-muncher—oh wait, not lately." Brandon smirked as Darius flipped up his middle finger.
Grinning, Brandon sat up. "Aislin's good. She's getting used to the campus, and she's a lot of fun. Quit being such a pussy and just talk to her. If you don't, I'm going to start demanding details about her bod in exchange for this undercover guarding you've got me doing. I want details to go with what my imagination comes up with."
"I'll be fine, and no messing around with the client. Seriously. If I hear that you're making passes at her, I'll stomp your ass so deep into the ground, you won't need a burial." Darius stood and considered punching his twin. But they were in his room, which would mean he'd end up cleaning up the mess. Sighing, he ignored the itch.
"Dude, chill out. I was just messing. Way to get all caveman on me." Brandon eyed Darius before getting to his feet and picking up his backpack. Heading for his own room, he shot over his shoulder, "Man, you two need to make up. I can't deal with your PMS anymore."
"Haha, very funny."
A shrill beeping resounded in the air, coming from Darius' watch.
Darius tensed, noting quickly that the tracker still had Aislin in Pittsburgh.
"Is that Aislin's…?" Brandon started.
Darius looked up, caught Brandon's expression, and they both bolted for the door.
"Shit, Brandon, check in with Dani. I'll get her dorm," he rushed out before sprinting for Aislin's dorm room.
Darius hit the stairs, taking them by threes, and reached her floor. He got to her door and unlocked it, rushing into the suite.
Slamming his fist against her door, he shouted, "Aislin! You okay? Aislin, open up."
He swung around, fists up until he noticed it was just Keiran and Jen.
"Have you guys seen Aislin?"
"Uh, she's usually running around campus by this time. I'm not sure if that's where she is right now—Darius? Darius!" Jen called.
A run? He raced out of the room, slipping an earpiece from his watch and into his left ear.
"Brandon? Brandon, you online?" he asked, knowing the Rolex had been modified to pick up the quietest whisper.
"Man, I hate this earpiece crap. Yeah, yeah, I'm here," came the static reply in Darius' ear.
"Good. She with Dani?"
"No. Not at the dorms?"
"No. Fuck, she might be on one of the runner's paths. I'm checking the west side of campus, so you get the east. Is Danielle with you?"
"I'm here, I'm here. Granddaddy gave me one of the toys, too."
"Ok. Dani, check the main building. You guys let me know if you see anything, stat, got it?"
"Sure thing, D."
Silence stretched aside from the running, panting, and rushing wind.
"You know, Darius, if you'd have just stuck by her—"
"Shut up, B, not helping." Danielle's voice came out sharp.
Grunting, Darius knew Brandon was right. "I know, Bran, I know. I'll fix that once this is over. Hopefully, this is just her way of getting me out, and not something serious."
"I'm sure that's it. It'll be fine, D. We'll find her," Danielle soothed.
Shit, he prayed that was it. He'd say sorry if it was just a prank, a reason to get him to notice her, but his gut told him she was too proud to ever pull something like that. Fuck, he should have been around, should have banged it into her silly head to stay put when he wasn't around her. Damn.
Darius hurried, squinting into the dimming night, checking left and right before moving forward. He ignored the cramp building up in his side and kept going. Nearing the edge of campus, when he noticed something glowing a couple hundred feet ahead, sprawled out on the pavement.
Approaching cautiously, he scanned the perimeter for any movement, checking and double-checking the small copse of trees up ahead.
"I might have something, guys, but—holy shit!"
The glow he'd seen earlier blurred, and then was gone.
"What happened? Dare? Darius? I'm heading out to you."
"Hold on," Darius hissed.
He crouched, ready to sprint in case he needed to, narrowed his eyes, and checked his surroundings once again.
God, he hoped to find Aislin soon.
Maybe it was nothing. Maybe she'd gone off the path.
He didn't see anything out of the ordinary, couldn't hear anything aside from the slight breeze whistling through the grass, and neither did he smell anything like gun powder in the air—but there was still that tingling sensation in the pit of his gut that said otherwise.
Scanning the sidewalk, something glittered with what little sunlight was left. He strode over and picked it up.
"Shit, guys, we might have to phone this one into Grandfather."
"What's wrong? What'd you find?" Danielle asked.
"I found her iPhone. And the screen's cracked and the frame looks like it's been stepped on."
A sudden movement had him wrenching his gaze up to peer ahead, the phone forgotten as he jerked and slid into a fighting stance, fists raised, ready for an attack.
Siobhan watched as Aislin's guard scanned the area around them. Taking soundless footsteps toward him, she brushed her hand against his cheek. He jerked away with his brows drawn together in confusion. How blind.
This night had been too easy. She'd taken the project over from Irial's human peon, then claimed the princess of Eamon's House, crossed with her through the portal into Faerie, and then came back to check the status of Aislin's bodyguard—a human, blinded by the glamour she'd cast around herself. This was the challenge she faced, the challenge any Faerie faced?
Irial had drummed caution into every tirade, penalty of death for any failure.
Caution from what? Failure to do what?
Take her alive—his only real demand.
Standing close enough to touch the princess's bodyguard, Siobhan smirked.
Blind human. He'd been far too slow. Perhaps the game would be more interesting if she dropped her glamour. Let him see that someone besides himself and Aislin had been there—was still here.
She made her way back toward the portal, hidden from humans with a small glamour spell. Glancing behind her, she pitied how easily it was to outwit the man sworn to protect Aislin.
Smiling, Siobhan dispelled the magic that hid her from his view. As she crossed the threshold of the portal, she heard his rushing footsteps as he cleared the lawn towards her.
Spinning around, she grinned. Her amber eyes glowed. Her skin glowed.
Had he seen anything? And if he had, how had he rationalized it?
From her position behind the portal, already into her home in Faerie, she saw as he lurched forward, slapping branches out of his way, his eyes narrowed on her form. She sneered at his failing attempt to catch up to her.
Too slow, Human.
Siobhan laughed, and the portal snapped shut.
Turning to look at the princess passed out in the center of her room, Siobhan moved to one of her mirrors, placed a palm on one, and called for Eamon to file her first report.
Then she'd call up Irial.
Her lips curved up slowly as the connection caught and linked with Eamon's main line—his study.
"Eamon," she sang out.
She'd see who would offer her more. Her eyes glowed brightly as her reflection faded and was replaced by Eamon.
"What do you have for me, Siobhan?"
Author's Note: Thank you everyone for staying with me thus far (especially over the eight-month wait). And, to new readers: I hope you have enjoyed reading to this point, and please look forward to more! :D Review to let me know what you think!
Don't forget to check out Flash Me Suddenly! (a site hosted by myself, and staffed by VenaCava, McQuinn, Le Meg, and Calah_). :)
As always, thank you very much to Nota and Vena Cava for your input! S2