Chapter Eight: Secret Translator

Edward suppressed a groan when she tugged him higher up her body. He settled his weight on his elbows, his body barely touching her, their naked skin a breath away from contact.

He looked down at her flushed face, the rapid rise and fall of her chest and let his eyes fall closed as she traced her fingers along his jawline.

"Where have you been staying while you've been…observing me?" She drew out the syllables and her lips formed into an almost smile.

Edward turned his head towards her hand, his lips pressed into her palm as he spoke. "The Extended Stay Suites on 7th."

Kari traced her thumb along his lower lip, her mind was entirely focused on his naked skin nearly pressed against hers. "Is it nice?" she asked dully and smoothed her fingertips down his neck, skimming his shoulders and bare chest.

Edward held his breath as her fingers danced down his ribs and smoothed lower to rest on his hips.

"I didn't spend a lot of time there," he mumbled as she brushed the back of her fingers towards the apex of his thighs.

Kari flicked her tongue against his lower lip as she closed her hand around his hardening cock. She felt a fluttering deep in her belly at the sound of his low feral growl as her hand rhythmically squeezed and stroked his length.

"It's probably the worst time to mention," Edward started and stopped short as she tightened her grip and pulsed her hand around his nearly painful rigidity . He suppressed a shudder, "checkout time is 3pm," he gasped and flicked his eyes to the bedside clock. "Today," he added and returned her kiss, his lips urgently moving against hers.

"You're going to need somewhere to stay," she whispered in between the touch of his lips.

Waves of pleasure coiled tightly in his body and he tried to keep his breathing from becoming too erratic.

"What are your thoughts towards that?" he managed and dropped his head to the warm curve of her neck. Edward felt intoxicated from the warmth and feminine scent of her skin, her hand increased its pace and he fought for control.

"You could stay with me," Kari whispered.

Edward raised his face and found her eyes. "Will you share your life with me?" he asked without blinking.

"Yes," she answered and heard him stifle a moan as she varied the rhythm of her hand on his cock that strained for release under her hand.

"Your love?" he asked as he grasped her breast and teased her nipple under his thumb and added. "Your heart?"

"Yes," she moaned when she felt his lips replace the rough skin of his thumb on the soft skin of her nipple.

"Your body?" he asked and tentatively moved his hand from her breast and trailed down the front of her body.

"Not just yet," she mumbled and dropped her eyes from his.

Edward placed a hand under her chin and tipped her gaze back to meet his. "There's no timetable."

He dropped his head and groaned. "But if you keep doing that," he started before Kari interrupted him.

"You can have the left side of the bed," she whispered and pressed her lips against his ears, adding. "Come for me."

Edward fully wrapped her into his arms and pressed his face into her neck as his body took over, he groaned against her soft skin as his engorged member spurted his hot, sticky seed on her fingers. Kari kept stroking him as his cock twitched and softened, his ragged breathing began to smooth out into an even rhythm.

They both gave deep, exasperated groans when Edward's phone rang. He knew he had to answer it with the impending danger he had invited into her home and life.

"You have to get that," she stated as her color began to return to normal. Kari smiled when he wordlessly kissed her deeply before shifting and reaching for his phone. A frown creased his forehead when he read the caller ID. Mom.

Kari watched Edward's face before he answered the call. She froze when he answered the call in German and the sudden realization that he didn't know she also fluently spoke the language. Her mind whirred as she juggled the thought of telling him or if she should keep that knowledge to herself.

"Hello," (Guten Tag) Edward answered and listened as his mom detailed the times for the family and rehearsal dinner. He nodded on his end as she prattled on about how beautiful the ceremony was shaping up to be and that his sister was a nervous wreck over the flowers being the wrong shade of pink, but that Valentine's Day was the very best day to be having a wedding. Edward nearly rolled his eyes as his mom got to the real motivational root of her calling and began peppering him with questions about the bride-to-be he was bringing.

"Mom" (die Mutti) he finally interrupted, "I promise you'll like her, she's." (Ich verspreche, du wirst sie mögen, sie ist)Edward looked over at Kari as she plucked a few Kleenex from the blue cardboard rectangular box next to the bed and wiped her fingers clean. "I knew right away that this was the woman I was going to marry," (Ich wusste sofort, dass dies die Frau war, die ich heiraten würde) he said and looked back towards the brightly lit window.

Kari pressed her lips tightly together as his words filled her head. She was more and more certain that too much time had passed for her to reveal her understanding of his words, a battling thought was self-preservation and the proverbial ace up the sleeve.

Kari located the remote control and turned back on the sci-fi marathon as Edward continued to answer his mom's increasingly probing questions. With the volume of the winged alien movie turned up, Kari couldn't hear his mom's questions, but gathered the gist from Edward's replies.

"We'll be heading there tomorrow; there's just a few loose ends I need to tie up with work." (Wir werden ihn morgen, es gibt nur ein paar losen Enden, die ich bei der Arbeit binden muss.)

Kari was hyperaware of her body language as his words fell around her, she pulled the blankets up and around herself and tried to focus on the human mercenaries attaching IED's onto the wings of the alien spacecrafts as Edward continued to describe Kari's laurels to his mother.

Kari waited until the first of the fleet of alien ships exploded on the screen before she put the tv on pause and tugged on the top sheet. She wrapped the cool linen around herself before walking to the bathroom. She immediately pressed her ear to the door after closing it and caught her spying reflection in the oval mirror. She flushed thinking about his touch and closed her eyes and strained to hear his side of the phone call.

"Yes, we're all packed. (Ja, wir sind alle gepackt) he said and paused listening to another wave of questions. "We're going to leave either after the Superbowl or the next afternoon." (Wir werden nach dem Superbowl zu verlassen.)

As Kari listened to Edward describe their fictional relationship and how they led to be engaged to his mother, a few states away, Zeus's fingers flew with intense ferocity over his well-used keyboard. His eyes moved quickly across the screen as he read through Evan's financial accounts and other information, he had so far discovered about the spoiled millionaire living in his New York flat.

Evan's father, Nico, may have well been duped out of the stolen paintings by Kari's father, but he had embezzled millions that he had been able to keep secret from the government and that had enabled him to give Evan a parochial school education and automatic Ivy League admission with a library dedicated to his name.

Zeus was able to get around several firewalls that Evan had sheltering him and was eventually able to locate Evan's incoming and outgoing phone calls and computer activity.

Zeus's mind had begun to recall that ill-fated mission with Edward in South America. He closed his eyes and leaned back in his squeaky swivel chair. The rich smell of the jungle filled his nose and he could practically feel the wet, warm air fill his lungs. He opened his eyes long enough to fish his menthols out of his breast pocket and take a deep drag off the cigarette before immersing himself fully into his memory of the jungle floor being turned into a red, wet river.

Zeus, Edward, and the trio of mercenaries had moved smoothly through the dense jungle, brilliant green leaves shiny from the damp air sliding along their exposed skin nestled between artillery and flash grenades. Zeus exhaled a cloud of greyish-blue smoke, his fingers practically twitched as he felt a swell of pride that he had taken the first enemy life.

The quintet of men had moved in after Zeus had opened the throat of the hostile enemy with brutal efficiency. It had taken him years to perfect his technique of severing the carotid artery and jugular vein with one pass of his wickedly sharp, curved blade. One sweep under the soft part of the jaw and death was near immediate. The men skirted the growing puddle of warm blood and entered the embassy.

As Zeus shook himself free from his memories, Kari listened as Edward ended the call with his mother. She opened the mirrored medicine cabinet and pulled a few bottles out. She quickly washed her face and brushed her teeth while on the other side of the door, Edward tucked his phone away in his jacket pocket and got back under the covers. He smiled to himself and slid to the left side of the mattress as Kari emerged from the bathroom.

"All okay?" she asked in what she hoped was a casual tone as she got under the comforter. She avoided his eyes as she picked up the remote control and let the alien decimation continue.

"Yes," he said nodding and added with a chuckle. "My mom is excited."

"Are you close with your sister?"

He shrugged. "We talk on a regular basis; I haven't seen her in a while though."

They sat in silence for a few minutes, the movie credits began to roll as Kari fiddled with the remote.

Kari cleared her throat as a preview for the sequel began playing. "So, we're driving there?"

"I'd like to leave tomorrow afternoon or the day after at the latest."

"How long will it take to get there?"

"Depending on stops, a day and a half."

Kari glanced over at him and covered her mouth to hide her smile as she asked. "So, there would be no reason to necessarily rush?"

Edward pulled her hand away from her mouth before answering. "What did you have in mind?"

Kari felt a blush threaten to blossom and she quickly spit out her words. "I just think more time to talk and get to know each other would be best. Before I meet your family," she stammered.

Kari looked down at her hands and scrutinized her fingernails as her mind kept replaying his conversation that she had eavesdropped upon. As she tried to keep her mind from focusing on hearing him talk to his mother, high above the Atlantic Ocean, Jekyll and Hyde drew closer. On board the luxury aircraft, Hyde napped in one of the butter-soft recliners that served as seats and Jekyll mixed himself a stiff martini, he generously filled a high-ball glass with top-shelf gin and the barest splash of dry vermouth. He popped a couple olives in his mouth as he continued to read from the encrypted file that Evan had sent him. His lips twisted into an insidious grin as he turned back to the photo of Kari leaving the hospital, his crudely creative mind imagined raping her until she was lifeless and then disarticulating her one limb at a time.

Jekyll reviewed a copy of the same newspaper article about the art heist that Edward also had folded in his jacket pocket. Evan had provided a scant amount of information about the immediate aftermath of the robbery. Most of the notations that Evan had made in the margins of the newspaper article were rife with conspiracy theory and unfounded accusations based on little to zero evidence.

Jekyll turned back to the photograph of Kari and tapped the glossy surface, "where oh where are those paintings little girl?"

As Jekyll drained his glass, back in Kari's room, Edward moved closer to her on the bed and dropped his arm around her shoulders.

"Do you like to camp?"

"I haven't been camping in years, but I love everything about it," she said with genuine enthusiasm.

Edward looked away from her for a moment and pretended to study the screen as he spoke. "There are some nice campsites between here and Vancouver," he said in a soft tone.

He continued as she tried to corral her thoughts, "that would give us some extra time to get to know each other better." He squeezed his arm tighter around her and pressed his lips to the crown of her head, inhaling deeply to capture the scent of her warm skin. "We could do some hiking and swimming."

"Would you like that?" he asked as he leaned down and whispered against her ear. She closed her eyes as she absorbed his words, his warm breath tickling against her skin.

"I don't have much in the way of camping gear or even a sleeping bag anymore," she said as she leaned against him heavily.

"We'll have to do some shopping before we leave anyways," he answered and quickly added. "You'll need to get something to wear to the wedding unless you already have something in mind, my mother said it's shaping up to be quite the formal affair."

"I'll need to get something new to wear then, the mall on 4th has a couple sporting goods shops too."

As she added more unnecessary details to the mall's store directory, Edward shifted them around until he could pull her back until she was flush against the front of his body.

He would be content to listen to her describe the life cycle of a sea cucumber if he never had to let her go. He gritted his teeth and bit back a hiss of anger as the text message chime from her phone sounded from his inner jacket pocket. Edward felt a modicum of tension pass through her body as her phone chimed.

Edward pulled the blankets up to her shoulders and moved to his jacket folded haphazardly on the window seat. Kari half-rolled over and watched him fish her phone from his pocket, in seconds his features pulled into a frown. He turned to her with a scowl etched across his face and anger started to emanate from his every pore.

"What's wrong?" she asked with a surge of anxiety and sat up quickly, holding the blankets tight to her bare skin.

Edward read the screen's message through gritted teeth.

"Is everything okay jellybean?! I missed seeing your lovely face this morning."

"Who is this? Jellybean?" he demanded with an unreadable tone and held the phone's face out towards her.

Kari didn't answer quick enough for his liking and he repeated his question, heated emotion started to leak into each of his spoken syllables, his eyes growing hollow.

"David's a friend from work," she started with a small smile, continuing until Edward's features finally softened.

"I forgot we were going to get coffee together this morning. I was also at the dinner when he proposed to his boyfriend Ryan."

Kari replied and didn't blink as he weighed her words.

"And I earned the nickname after getting sick from eating too much candy when we all went on a tour through a jellybean factory," she said with a mirthless chuckle as she remembered the colorful mess, she had flushed down the toilet.

"I'm sorry," Edward said and was startled at how fast the apology came tumbling from his lips.

"Don't apologize," she said and quickly began listing the reasons it was her fault for not remembering to tell him about her morning coffee with David.

Edward cut her off mid-sentence. "Don't do that," he said in an overly harsh tone.

"Do what?" Kari asked and felt her heart start to beat faster.

"Don't supply me with reasons for my unnecessary reaction. I shouldn't have reacted how I did and that is entirely my fault, even if you had told me of coffee this morning with this, David."

Kari had the sudden realization that she had forgotten to breathe as her eyes left his face and moved over his naked form, she let the air out of her lungs slowly as she dragged her gaze down his body.

The corner of Edward's lips lifted in a smile as she drank in his nudity, between his legs, his cock hung heavily.

His words broke her out of her intoxicated trance. "Kari, may I get back in bed with you?"

She bit her lower lip and nodded, not trusting her ability to fully form a coherent answer.

"Are you sure that's okay with you?" he added with a wink and slid back under the covers next to her.

Edward brushed a few errant strands of hair off her forehead, reluctantly he turned the mood into more somber territory. "I need to tell you a few things, but I don't want you to be worried."

Kari blinked slowly and picked up the remote and turned the tv to mute. She gave the barest of nods which he interpreted as a signal to continue speaking.

He stared intently at her face as he spoke, he watched the color drain perceptibly as he explained who Evan Carrillo was and how he was connected to her father and the art heist. He pressed a couple fingertips to her lips as she began to protest at the mention of her father being one of the art thieves.

Kari stilled under his touch and he further elaborated that Evan had grown impatient and his spoiled impudence had led him to hire the dangerous brothers to finish the job.

Edward pulled her close and heard the hitch in her breathing as he relayed that the deadly duo was currently in route.

Kari wouldn't be shushed again and tried to struggle free from his hold. "We can't be here; we have to leave. Now," she said as her voice rose in octave with each syllable.

"No, it's okay," Edward tried to say in what he hoped was in a soothing tone. "Please, trust me, I swear you're safe."

"Safe? You just dumped all that in my lap and none of that indicates safety."

"Would you feel better if we left now?"

"Can we?"

Edward looked over his shoulder at the bedside clock and back at her face, he hated seeing the fear present in her eyes and the feel of her body's rigidity in his arms. He struggled to find the words that would make the fear drain from her eyes.

"Tell me what you need," he practically begged.

"Tell me what else you've withheld from me," she whispered.

Edward let his gaze wander from her eyes to her slightly parted lips, focusing on her bruised lower lip.

"I've hurt a lot of people Kari, some in service to this country but most were of a more salacious nature."

He paused, unsure of elaborating further. Edward took a deep breath and added, "I enjoy my work."

He raised his eyes back to meet hers, expecting revolt and disgust at him painted across her face.

Instead, he found Kari's returned gaze pointed, scrutinizing in nature. He felt certain that she was seeing into his heart's ventricles and examining the shape of his red blood cells. "And you're sure that you're ready to retire from that?"

He nodded without hesitation, "I didn't have a reason to not live life in a perpetual suicide mission."

As Kari remained silent, mentally dissecting his words, across the country, Evan sat behind his massive desk that was polished to a rich gleam. He rubbed his temples with his manicured fingertips and narrowed his eyes at the clock. His frustration surged with the dangerous duo he hired still over the Atlantic Ocean and the nagging distrust of his last phone call with Edward.

Evan opened his top desk drawer and pulled out an unlabeled prescription bottle, he shook one of the pale-yellow pills into his palm. He regarded the single tablet for a moment before dumping another two tablets into his palm to join the other. He dry-swallowed the opiate trio and leaned back in his obscenely overpriced office chair and waited for the pills to infiltrate his blood brain barrier and wrap around his central nervous system. He craved the dull void that the pills provided.

As Evan closed his eyes and surrendered to the narcotic chokehold, back in her bedroom, Kari shifted in his arms and placed her palms flat against his chest, she felt the various scars and ridges on his skin as she traced her fingertips along the thick corded muscles of his shoulders and upper arms.

"That's a lot to take in," she finally said with a humorless chuckle. Kari smoothed her fingertips up Edward's neck, feeling his strong pulse under his warm skin.

Kari's mind returned to his succinct description of the hired homicidal brothers and she felt a returning surge of anxiety. "I should pack, when can we leave?"

Kari started to rise, and Edward pulled her closer and squeezed his arms around her. "There is still plenty of time, I'm going to take you to the room I have at the hotel. We'll leave after I tie up the loose ends here."

"What do you still have to do?" Kari asked in a clearly perplexed tone.

"I need to make sure the brothers will not harm you or anyone in the future," he stated without inflection.

"You're going to kill them?"

Edward nodded, "does that bother you?"

She struggled for her words, "I just try to keep people alive and I'm finding it hard to believe that I'm having a conversation about killing people."

"If someone was suffering or in pain, would you help them?" Edward whispered against her neck. His lips brushed over the pulse that pounded in her slim throat.

"First do no harm," Kari started in shaky words that were cut off as he wove his fingers through her hair and crushed his lips to her. Edward broke contact long enough to add, "I'm in pain, will you help me?" before his lips found hers again.

Kari was only capable of nodding at his question as Edward kissed along the line of her jaw.

Her mind whirred at his spoken words and the sound of his ragged breathing as he pressed his lips to her temple. Edward kept his tone light, "I know this is a lot to take in, do you want to watch some more of that marathon?"

Kari didn't trust her voice and nodded again. She longed to feel his touch more intimately and fumbled for the remote control that had gotten wrapped up in the bed linen. Kari depressed the soft grey button to increase the volume, desperately hoping that the noise of gratuitous arterial spurting, bowel eviscerating, and wet life-ending sounds would temper the need that was growing more and more intense as she lay in his arms.

She wanted to unabashedly grab his wrist and direct his hand to cup her wet femininity. The very thought created a molten ball of heat that spread throughout her lower body. Kari dragged her gaze down the front of his body as she ached for the intimate kiss of his fingertips against her. She longed for the feel of his breath hot on her neck as he rubbed lazy circles around her swelling clit.

Kari closed her eyes as her thoughts began to grow overwhelming with the feel of his arms around her body. She increased the volume as her breath came faster and she barely suppressed a low, satisfied moan as she imagined Edward sliding his cock into the center of her warm femininity. She craved the sound of him matching her exhales as he sheathed his entire length into her.

Edward mistook her nonverbal state for being upset, "are you okay?" Concern heavy in his voice. When his eyes found hers, he knew immediately that she was not upset in the slightest. He fought a broad smile at her slightly flared nostrils with her increased breathing, her wide, glazed eyes, and slightly parted lips.

Kari felt a blush begin to spread across her face under the formidable weight of his gaze. She closed the small distance between their bodies and circled her arms around his neck. Edward dipped his head and caught her lips. "Where do you keep your suitcases?" he said and trailed off into a light chuckle that she soon matched.

"In the garage, above the washer," she giggled as he untangled himself from her. Edward reluctantly pulled on his slacks, not wanting to leave her side. He paused in the doorway and looked back at her as she lay on her side partially under the blankets.

"Kari, I need to ask you something before we leave."

She sat up and held the linen to her chest, "yes?"

"Do you know where the paintings are?"

She blinked slowly, and her right eyelid twitched, it was a barely detectable movement unless you were looking for it. He knew in that moment that she was lying.

"I told you I don't know anything about that."

Edward regarded her quietly for a moment, the only sound was the classical music from the screen's scrolling credits.

"I'm going to go grab the suitcases, we can leave whenever you want."

Kari watched him go and settled back against the pillows. She strained her ears until she heard the door to the garage shut behind him. She waited a few seconds and slipped out of the bed, wrapping the top sheet around herself. Kari crossed the room to a squat bookshelf and pulled a copy of Great Expectations from the bottom shelf and opened it to the middle. The pages opened to a small white envelope nestled in the pages. Kari pulled the envelope free and replaced the book on the shelf.

She squeezed her hand around the envelope and felt the blunt shape inside the rectangular paper tomb. She put the envelope into the nearly hidden zippered compartment of a small purse and glanced back at the doorway just to make sure she wasn't being observed.

Kari pulled on jeans and rooted around for the rest of her clothes, she slipped on a long-sleeved shirt as she heard Edward returning from the garage, his footfalls on the stairs grew louder as he approached.

She turned, slipping her feet into leather clogs as Edward appeared with two burgundy suitcases.