DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Jordan yawned, sitting up out of bed, he stood up stretching, a little moving back and forth. Leaning over, he pulled on running shorts and his iPod off the floor before slipping into running shoes. He quietly made his way into the living room to wake up Adonis and Echo, who oddly enough were whimpering by the front door. This wasn't good, they never did that unless something had happened during the night. It was only six am, but he knew his sister would already be up, and on mid run down the beach by herself. She'd be unreachable if something had happened. Jordan clipped a chain to both Adonis and Echo's steel spike leather collars, and opened the front door.
"Fuck..." Was all he could say. There was red paint everywhere; all over the lawn, the house, the patio furniture, everywhere. "Fucking bastard." He let the dogs off their chains as they started to sniff around the front yard aggressively.
"Adonis, Echo, STAY!" He commanded the dogs with the proper signal, both of them laid down on their belly's heads parallel to the ground, whining softly. Jordan ran back into the house and knocked firmly on Calleigh and Natalia's door, hating to wake them up.
Hearing the knock on their door, Natalia slid out from underneath her still slumbering wife, wiping her face, and made her way to open the door. "Morning Jordan."
"I need you to come outside, it's an emergency, I'm sorry that I have to wake you, but it's bad." Jordan looked anxiously behind her at Calleigh, and then back into his cousins eyes, she was so much like his mother it was unnerving.
Calleigh had started to wake up when Natalia left the bed, but when she heard the timbre of Jordan's voice, she was wide-awake in an instant. Sitting up, she swung her legs over the side of the bed, reached into the nightstand closest to her side of the bed and grabbed her gun, before she made her way over to her wife. "What's going on Jordan?"
"Eric has covered the entire front of your house in red paint. He must have used a paint ball gun." Jordan lead the way out onto the lawn, as he fished his phone out of his pocket before realizing that Grayson was unreachable for the next forty-five minutes. "Damn.." He looked at the dogs, who were watching Natalia and Calleigh behind him.
Calleigh swore as she walked outside, looking at the carnage that her former friend had done to their home. There was no way that she was going to allow Natalia to remain here any longer. Eric was getting bolder, and thus, more dangerous.
Jordan put his hands on his face, trying not to scream in rage. "Go inside, start packing, you're both going to the Complex as soon as Grayson contacts me." He ground out, staring at the lawn.
Natalia stood there in her front yard with her hands balled up into tight fists. 'How dare he do this,' Shaking her head, she turned to face both her wife and her cousin. "No, I'm not leaving. He's not going to chase me out of my own home."
Going around to stand in front of her wife. "Darlin, it's too dangerous. It's not about pride anymore, please." Calleigh took her wife's hand in her own, her voice breaking in sadness and sympathy.
"Calleigh, if we leave, he wins. We can't give him that satisfaction."
"If you stay, he gets you both." Jordan interrupted. "And then Grayson really will kill him." He added as an afterthought, like it wasn't such a bad idea to begin with.
Turning to look at the entire front yard, Natalia realized that Jordan was right. Eric wasn't going to stop, and there was no way that she was going to jeopardize her family. Sighing, she turned back to them both. "You're right, but we need to arrange for the house to be painted, and the lawn furniture to be replaced."
"I can take care of that. I'm good with decorating." Jordan answered back, he felt his hip vibrate.
"Jordan, I just walked off the beach, what's wrong?" Came the tiny voice from the chirp. It was Grayson checking in after her morning run, she'd finished early.
"Eric covered the entire front of the house in red paint. I want the girls at the Complex. Get here as soon as you can, and help me escort them back, okay?" Was Jordan's reply. Moments later, he heard her answer. "They can have my room." The chirp ended, and he sighed looking, around at the destruction.
Jordan escorted the two women inside, calling to the dogs and giving them the proper commands to watch both doors.
On their way to their bedroom, Natalia pulled out a couple of suitcases out of the hall closet, and took them with her. Placing them on the bed, she opened them, and started putting her clothes into one while Calleigh took the other. A quarter of an hour later, the suitcases were in Natalia's Avalanche along with two hanging garment bags..
There was a horrid screeching noise in the distance, the sound of protesting rubber came roaring through the house. Suddenly there was another similar noise, only it came from the driveway. Grayson came bursting through the front door, a 9 mm strapped to her hip, she was wearing black racing leathers and a jacket to match, in her hand was a black helmet, the boots clipped across the tile floor.
She took a few calming breathes in the hallway, snapping her fingers at the dogs, both of which barreled out the front door, she followed them closely, hoping they would spot something she would normally miss.
"GOD DAMN IT! FUCKKK!" Grayson screamed in the front yard, she was livid. The dogs hadn't found anything, which meant she was still grasping through the dark for a hot iron. In her anger, she threw her helmet down on the concrete, it shattered into several pieces under the force of her throw, the visor flipping off into the side yard. She fumed silently in the driveway.
Natalia walked over to her cousin. "It's not your fault. None of us thought that he would be this brave to come here. Now we just need to move on. Let's go to the Complex, and we can plan from there."
Grayson nodded quietly, and pushed on reflective sunglasses, pushing her hair into a ponytail she straddled the loud looking bike, waiting to get on the road. Jordan came up behind her, herding the dogs towards the Rover.
Natalia had already opened the garage door so she walked back into the house, locking the front door, then through the house before setting the alarm and walking out the kitchen/garage door. Calleigh had pulled her Crossfire out and was waiting in the drive. Natalia got into her vehicle, pulling out and closing the garage door by remote, and they were soon on their way to the Complex with Grayson leading and Jordan bringing up the rear.
Upon arriving at the Complex, Jordan drove the Rover into a lift, and left the car, instructing the girls to do the same in the open bays that were available. Grayson jumped off the bike, making sure that the Mustang was covered.
Reaching into the Avalanche, Jordan pulled out the suitcases while Grayson came up behind him to grab the garment bags before leading the two women to the elevators.
Natalia looked around the garage, impressed with the cleanliness, and order of everything.
Grayson pushed the button for the second floor, waiting patiently, when the doors opened, then carried the garment bags past the massive kitchen, living area, and into Grayson's enormous wood paneled bedroom with a huge bed. "You two can have my room. I'll sleep upstairs."
"We hate to kick you out of your bed." Natalia stated.
"It's not a problem, I won't be sleeping much now anyway." She smiled sharply, and left them alone to unpack. Grabbing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt out of the closet, she disappeared into the enormous adjoining bathroom.
Calleigh sat on the bed, sighing. "She's gonna blame herself, and will run herself into the ground.'
Natalia finished hanging up their clothes, before she turned back to her wife. "I know. I think that they both will. We are going to have a tough time convincing them otherwise."
Grayson walked back into her bedroom, buttoning the vintage jeans, she pulled on flip-flops and smiled at them. "Feel free to go back to sleep, that bed is like a black hole."
"Grayson, can we talk to you for a moment?" Calleigh called from her spot on the bed.
Grayson distractedly nodded at the blonde, digging through her closet to find the air mattress she would be sleeping on in the gym later tonight. "Sure, talk."
Natalia reached down, and touched her cousin on her back. "Grayson, this wasn't your fault."
"Right." Grayson stood up and backed away from Natalia, not comfortable with being touched right now. "I should of been looking for Eric last night, instead I was here working on that stupid car." Grayson looked down, twisting her hands, backing towards the door, wanting to escape.
"Listen, neither one of us thought that he would come to our home. We assumed that there would be no way that he would take that chance because if someone else had seen him, they would have called the police. And....damn it. We should have told the neighbors before we left not to do exactly that." Natalia went to look for her cell phone..
"Jordan will take care of that. He's good with people in times of trauma." Grayson's thoughts flashed back to the night her parents were killed, and how he had carried her for blocks while she bleed all over the both of them. Her hands reflexively went to her neck, and she left the room quickly heading for the elevator, and slamming the doors shut, she couldn't talk about this not, not now.
Natalia turned to her wife with a horrified look on her face. "What did I say?"
Grayson was slowly losing it on the way to the third floor gym area. If she could just get to the second vault door; the music studio with sound proofed walls, she would be fine. She couldn't deal with telling Natalia and Calleigh all of her past right, then and there.
Racing to catch her cousin, Natalia saw as it stopped on the third floor, so she took the stairs next to the elevator. Running up the stairs, she came around the corner just as Grayson was trying to opened the combination lock to the second vault. "Grayson, I'm sorry if I said something to upset you."
Jumping in fright, Grayson spun the dial faster, the quicker she escaped her cousin, the quicker she could escape the possibility of her death on her hands. "It wasn't you, go back downstairs Natalia." Grayson swung the giant vault door open, walking into the music room, leaving the door open, knowing deep down Natalia wouldn't really leave.
Looking into the room, Natalia's eyes grew wide at the sight of the multiple drums sets, guitars, a sound system, but what really caught attention was the Baby Grand piano. "Oh, hello gorgeous!" Walking into the vault, Natalia couldn't help, but run her fingers over the keys.
Grayson flinched away from Natalia, retreating further into the vault far away from the taller brunette, curling herself up in her 'writing chair' where she wrote her music, hiding deep in the shadows caused by the random lights around the room.
Walking towards the young woman, Natalia ignored the desperate look that she was given. "Grayson, don't hide yourself in here. We need to concentrate on what we are going to do. I didn't want to leave my home as it was like I was letting Eric win."
Kneeling down in front of Grayson. "I will do anything that I have to do to keep my family safe, and you are part of that family, and I will not have you blaming yourself. So get your ass up, and let's get to work."
"This is actually the only room I can't hide in. No one can hide in this room." Grayson stood up, and walked past Natalia, her hands gliding over the white baby grand piano lovingly, almost reverently.
"Grayson, next to my wife, you are the strongest woman I know, and I don't think that you are hiding. I think that you are pushing down your feelings to appear positive to Calleigh and I. We don't need for you to be positive. We need to know what we are dealing with. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All of it."
Grayson knew that Natalia was right. She couldn't sugar coat things any more for them, she knew she'd never let them do it to her if it concerned Jordan or Quinn. "Eric will come for you. He will come for your family, your sisters, your nieces. Anything to weaken you into leaving Calleigh to him." Grayson sat down on the piano bench, her hands flat on the bench next to her hips.
Sitting next to her cousin, Natalia stared her dead in her eyes. "There is nothing in this world that will ever get me to leave Calleigh, just like there is nothing that will get you to leave Jordan. She is my heart, if I lose her, I'm lost."
"And there is nothing that will take me away from Natalia." Calleigh's voice came from the door.
"Love is one of those few emotions besides hate and revenge that can drive a person to unnamable highs and lows." Grayson answered them. "Eric will most likely kill Natalia if he can. She's really his main target; he may desire Calleigh above all, but Natalia is his immediate goal."
Calleigh's voice lowered the temperature in the room. "Then he is a walking dead man. I will hand in my badge right now, because I'll kill him. I won't need you or Jordan. There will be nothing that will be able to stop me."
Grayson turned her head slightly to the side at this, still not turning around, her fingers touching the keys, making them ping very softly. "If it comes to that, your badge won't be what's sacrificed. You can kill him; I'll gladly serve the time for that. It would eventually force Benedict to come for me one last time." Grayson cursed softly, admitting that man's code name between herself and Jordan was a big stumble. Damn her family, they were so good at forcing her hand subconsciously.
Natalia placed her hand on Grayson's thigh while staring at her wife. "If you two don't mind, let's not talk about what's the worst that can happen. Let's concentrate on what we can do to end this as quickly as possible."
Grayson looked down at Natalia's hand on her thigh; she sighed, and looked back at the piano top. "I'll start watching your sisters, Jordan can watch Natalia. Calleigh, I don't think he wants you just yet. Most likely, this is his chance to make your wife suffer for loving you the way he does... I take that back, he wants to punish Natalia for loving you the way he can't..." Grayson amended her last statement. Eric couldn't love Calleigh the way her cousin did, it was impossible. She knew that look in their eyes; she'd seen it in Quinn's eyes before.
"Anya is in New Orleans with Calleigh's brother Chance, so we just need to watch Christine, Andre and the girls. If you really think that he'll go after them, I can send them to my father in Puerto Rico." Natalia reached out for her wife's hand.
Coming over to stand behind Natalia, Calleigh took her hand, wrapping her arm around her shoulders.
"He will. He'll take one, if not both of the girls, for the ultimate betrayal, the ultimate revenge must be dealt." Grayson turned to look at Calleigh in the reflection of the massive mirror, then to look at Natalia.
"Fine, then you need to take me over to my sister's house. I need to get them out of here."
Grayson stood up, pulling out her cell phone, scrolling through her list of contacts. "Dom, I need you on the tarmac in an hour." Grayson was never more thankful then for her massive fortune; three private jets were a much-needed luxury in her line of work. He answered back that he would be waiting for her, engine running in an hour.
Natalia leaned back into her wife's embrace, taking the comfort and the love that was freely given. Placing a gentle kiss on caramel colored head underneath her chin, Calleigh whispered. "I want you to go with them. If you go with them, Eric will come after me, and we can end this quicker."
Natalia almost bolted up. "No." Natalia's answer was firm, if not almost violent in its response. Turning, she grabbed the front of Calleigh's shirt. "I am not leaving you to him. I will not leave you." She stared down at wife fiercely.
"I won't be alone; I will be with Grayson and Jordan while you and your family will be safe." Calleigh pleaded.
"It won't do any good." Grayson interrupted them. Her gaze was like liquid ice as she stared them both down. "In his mind, she has to be out of the way permanently; in his state of mind he wants Natalia to die more than he wants Calleigh for himself."
Turning towards Grayson, Calleigh asked. "So you think that he will go after her, no matter where she is."
Without missing a beat. "Yes, and as cruel as it sounds, she is my bait. It even helps that we look a tiny bit alike." Grayson was referring to that morning when she'd attempted to wake Calleigh for breakfast. "I'm hoping he'll mistake me for her."
"No! I will not have you taking my place. It's bad enough that you're involved now. You can protect me and Calleigh, but you are not to take my place. Is that understood?" Natalia took a step towards Grayson.
"If that's the way it has to be to save your lives, then that's the way it has to be." Grayson believed that whole-heartedly, with Calleigh involved along with Jordan, if she could end it quickly and painlessly, she would do so. "We need to get your family out of the country Talia." Grayson held the vault door open, silently hoping she'd come with her, and drop the subject.
Reaching back, Natalia grabbed Calleigh's hand. "Tell her she can't do that. She can't put herself in my place."
"Tell her yes I can do that, and I will." Grayson answered for Calleigh, leaving them behind her as she walked towards the elevator.
Looking up into a fearful chocolate eyes, all Calleigh could do was whisper. "Yes, she can and she will. The only reason that she will is that I can't pass for you. I would take your place in a heartbeat, but she's right. He will find you, at least here; we have friends who can help us. "
Natalia was teary eyed, as she looked at her wife. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath before opening them up again. "I don't want either one of you to put yourself in harm's way, but I will have to have faith that both of you will do what you have to do to stay safe. Because just like you, if anything happens to either of you or to Jordan, I'll go after Eric myself."
"Eric isn't going to survive if one of us gets hurt." Grayson lifted the gate on the elevator, motioning to Natalia and Calleigh that they needed to leave to get to the airport on time.
"Where's Jordan?" Natalia asked as she reached for her phone to call Christine.
"Would you rather have him pick up Christine and the girls?" Grayson reached into her own pocket fishing out her phone, scrolling. "I don't want to scare your family. He would make it easier on the girls I'm sure."
Shaking her head, Natalia disagreed. "No, he can come with, but I need to explain to Christine at least something about what is going on. And not to worry, I will just tell them that you're friends that are helping out."
"He's at the house talking to your neighbor, who is apparently very nosey." Grayson explained dryly. "I'll go with you." Grayson lifted the gate on the elevator when they reached the bottom floor.
Getting into the Rover, Natalia called her sister, telling her to get her family packed up. They were going on vacation to see their father. "Christine, please just do what I ask. Get the girls, and yourself packed up. Tell Andre that he needs to meet you at the airport at the southwest entrance. There will be a ..." Looking at Grayson, who whispered. "A Gulfstream G550, waiting for him. We're on way right now and should be there in about fifteen minutes."
Closing her phone, Natalia leaned her head back against the headrest, murmuring. "She's not a happy camper right now."
"A lot of the emotions you have come from our side of the family." Grayson murmured from the front seat, she hadn't spoken the entire ride. She was thinking of ways to draw Eric out into the open. Scrolling through her phone, she texted Tucker, asking how he felt about Puerto Rico for a few days on her dime. "It's in our blood to try to control everything, Talia."
Soon they were pulling up to Christine's two story home, and Natalia helped Calleigh out before making her way up to the front door and walking in.
"Tia, is it true? Are we going to see grandpa?" Isabel ran down the stairs, jumping into Natalia's arms.
Chuckling, Natalia answered. "Yes, Miss Izzy B, you are going to see grandpa."
Grayson had chosen to wait in the car, loading her personal side arm with a full magazine, and tucking it into the shoulder holster. Reaching into the back seat, she pulled a black zip up leather racing jacket over white shirt to conceal the gun from the children.
Hugging Natalia neck, Isabel caught sight of Calleigh. "Tia Calleigh! I've missed you." Wiggling out of Natalia's arms, she raced to hug the blonde about her waist.
"I've missed you too Izzy. Are you packed and ready to go?"
The young girl reached up to tug on Calleigh's hand. "Yeah, momma is upstairs packing her clothes. Eva is ready to go too."
Natalia made her way upstairs to find her sister in her bedroom, packing her clothes. "Hey, did you get hold of Andre?"
"Yes, he's gonna meet us there." Christine folded a shirt and placed it in a suitcase before folding her arms across her chest. "Now tell me exactly what is going on."
"Eric has a medical problem, and is threatening not only me, but I'm afraid that he will come after you and the girls. We have just enough time to get you packed, and to the plane. I'll call papa once you're in the air for him to expect you." Sighing, Natalia explained.
Grayson chirped as many men as she thought she needed for a full security detail, which was about twelve. Within minutes, two black Ford Excursions, their turbo diesel engines humming in the afternoon heat, pulled up in front and behind her Range Rover. Getting out, she called an impromptu meeting; Tucker was the first to reach her, handing out instructions to his eleven-man team. He was the only one however, getting on the plane.
Christine heard slamming of car doors, went over to look out her window. "Who are all those people down there? Do you honestly believe all of this in necessary?"
Calleigh walked into the room. "Yes, however many people are out there, they are necessary." Motioning behind her, Grayson walked in and stationed herself at the door. "This is Grayson, and the reason that she looks this way is because of Eric, and we are not going to take the chance that this or something worse will happen to you."
As uncomfortable as Grayson was about using her face for an example, it was necessary for them to understand how dire the situation had become. "I have a private jet waiting to take you to Puerto Rico. My man Tucker Rains will be going with you. He's only going in a bodyguard capacity, so as soon as you land, you won't see him unless things go wrong. Don't worry; he comes from a very large Cajun family."
Christine paused, and looked at Grayson for a moment. "Have we met before?"
Grayson was intimately thankful for her sunglasses that she'd refused to take off, which of course if she did, Christine would realize that they were related. She stared back at her through reflective lenses. "No ma'am, I'm afraid not." Turning to Natalia and Calleigh, Grayson insisted. "We need to get a move on."
Natalia quickly helped her sister finish packing, while Grayson grabbed the children's luggage and made her way downstairs with Calleigh.
Isabel walked up to Grayson, and pulled on her pant leg. "Momma said that we are never supposed to wear our sunglasses in the house because we might bump into the furniture."
Calleigh quirked an eyebrow, wondering how the young woman was going to handle this.
Grayson went completely still; she'd never been around children, a rule laid down by every teacher and every mentor she'd ever had. If children were involved, the engagement was a no go. Children and violence were a no fly zone for her profession. Leaning down on one knee, Grayson slowly took off her sunglasses, and looked the little girl in the eye. "Your mother is right. I shouldn't be wearing them in the house. It was just very bright outside, and I forgot to take them off." She didn't know what else to do other than to be honest with the child. Well, for the most part anyway.
Isabel put her hand near Grayson's eye. "Wow! What happened to your eye? Do you work with Tia Calleigh and Natalia catching bad men? Do you want me to kiss it to make it feel better?"
Grayson took the tiny hand in her own, marveling at how small it was, so innocent tiny, even helpless in her infinitely larger grasp. She pasted on the happiest smile she could, and shook her head. "It's okay, I'm fine, but I thank you anyways. No, I don't work with your Tia Calleigh or Tia Natalia, but I do catch very bad men like they do." She pushed her sunglasses back down and stood up to her full height as her cell phone begin to chirp. "Cerano, it's Dom, the jet is ready."
Natalia and her sister were making their way down the stairs, so Grayson slipped outside, taking the children's luggage with her to the Rover.
Tucker and his men formed a flanking position around the small group of women, as soon as they were safely inside the Range Rover; they all loaded back into the black SUVs and pulled away from the curb headed towards the private airfield.
The ride to the airfield was filled with the children's excitement that fortunately masked the adult's nervousness. Not soon enough to suit neither Natalia nor Calleigh did they finally make it to the airfield to find Andre waiting on them.
Grayson left the family to talk to one another while the security detail, minus Tucker watched over them. She herself accompanied by Rains went to talk to the pilot privately. She needed to make something very clear to Dom. Pilots now a day's tended to talk to the highest bidder, and she wanted to make sure she was still the highest one.
Natalia explained everything once again to Andre, making sure that both he and Christine understood that this was the only way that she could guarantee that they would be safe, She assured them that it wouldn't be for more than a couple of weeks, and that she would call, and give them updates every day.
Grayson exited the plane, motioning to the security detail, and had them start loading the bags. She walked past the family, and began talking with the few men that weren't loading the bags. Her sunglasses stayed on, and she never once gave eye contact to Natalia or Calleigh, she needed to take the emotion out of her job.
While Natalia was talking to her sister, Calleigh took the girls inside the plane, and found them their seats, before getting them boxes of juice, and cookies. She stayed on board until the rest of the adults boarded.
Grayson shook hands with Tucker one last time, who tried to smile warmly at her, which she ignored. He finally rolled up the stairs behind himself, and closed the door.
Grayson held open the back door of the Rover for Calleigh and Natalia.
"I hope that we are doing the right thing." Natalia whispered.
"There are no right choices, just the lesser of two evils." Was Grayson's only reply, shutting the door behind them, and loading herself into the driver's seat.
Calleigh muttered to herself. "I just love cryptic." Scooting over, she leaned her head against Natalia's shoulder.
Natalia placed her arm around Calleigh's shoulders, drawing her closer. "If it's alright with you, I'll call my father when we get back to the Complex."
Grayson stayed stone silent in the front seat, she turned on classical music; Mozart and drove them back to the complex as quickly as possible without breaking the speed limit for once.
As they pulled up to the Complex, Natalia looked down at Calleigh to see her looking off into space. She can just tell that her wife is trying to figure out the next move in catching Eric. "You can't do it all by yourself, babe. You need to let Gray and Jordan do what they do best. They have people out on the streets, looking for him."
"I know, I just feel helpless."
Grayson exited the vehicle, and held the door open for them silently, her sunglasses showing the reflection of the Miami skyline behind them. Grayson smelled the salt in the air, the tinge of the gasoline in the air. She took a deep breath trying to relax and stay calm.
Going up to the second floor, Calleigh's stomach rumbled loud enough for all of the occupants to hear.
Laughing, Natalia turned to Grayson. "Would you mind if I whipped us up something to eat? Calleigh told me that you have a state of the art kitchen."
Grayson motioned towards the kitchen with a wave of her hand while she walked into the living room, taking off her jacket, dropping it on the couch, and opening up all the windows.
Going into the kitchen, Natalia started to open the refrigerator when she remembered that she needed to call her father. Leaning against a counter, she opened her cell phone and punched in some numbers. After waiting a few moments, her father came on the line.
As calmly as she could, Natalia explain the situation, and that Christine and her family were on their way to him. When he insisted that she join them, Natalia tried to explain to him that she was safer where she was. She assured him that Calleigh was doing everything possible to keep them both safe, and that they had hired bodyguards and private detectives to help them out. Alejandro still demanded that she leave the area, but Natalia explained that he needed to respect her decision, and that she was staying right where she was.
Calleigh could tell that her wife was getting upset, so she reached for the phone, and started to explain. "Alejandro... Hi... Yes sir, I understand your concern, but I promise that we are both in very capable hands and will call you every day... No sir, I'm not taking this lightly... Well, not exactly... Horatio is aware of the situation... Yes sir... I will... Thank you... Good Bye."
Grayson threw open most of the windows, and pulled the holster off her shoulders, setting the gun down on the countertop. She looked silently at Calleigh, and then at Natalia's stress ridden form. Turning around, she left them quietly, she wasn't really that hungry to begin with, she sat down on a large black leather couch, facing an open window, examining the vivid scars on her knuckles.
Closing the phone, Calleigh went to stand next to Natalia, who was leaning with her elbows on the counter, with her head in her hands.
"Darlin', he's just worried. He wants us both to be safe."
"It's what parents are supposed to do.. WORRY." Came Grayson's gruff voice from the living area.
Natalia turned in that direction. "I know that they are supposed to worry, Grayson. I just wish that he didn't have to go through it. I wish that none of us had to go through this." Turning towards their borrowed bedroom, she continued. "I wish that Eric didn't have a fucking bullet moving in his head, and didn't have some wild fantasies about my wife. All I want is to love Calleigh and to get to know my cousins. Is that too much to FUCKING ASK FOR?"
Grayson stared after Natalia for a long moment, and then finally spoke. "That proves it, you have Cerano blood. You have our temper. Natty.. Talia.. it's not too much to ask for, but everyone has their fight." Grayson called after her.
"You're not helping." Calleigh told Grayson in a singsong voice.
"The only family I've ever known has had twenty-five years to perfect it with me, so cut me some slack, Short Stack.." Grayson glared at Calleigh half-heartedly. It was true, what did she know about children, feelings, and things like that? "Besides she's your wife.. what do you suggest I say to her?" Grayson raged somewhat pitifully.
Stopping in her tracks, Calleigh abruptly turned to go stand in front of the young woman. "What do I want you to say to her? I don't want you to say a fucking word to her right now. I appreciate that you're a big, bad hit man... woman, whatever, and that you can kill me with one flick of your finger, but there are times when you just need to be quiet. Neither one of us are as hard-hearted as you, we feel a lot. I'm sorry that you have a violent family, but Natalia has a very loving family that cares about her well-being. So please, think before you spout off, or you'll regret it."
Grayson effectively shut up. She stared at Calleigh before standing, putting up her hands, palms outwards, facing the blonde. She backed away silently towards the elevator, leaving the couple in solitude.
Calleigh turned to finally make her way to her wife. Looking through the door, she saw Natalia standing in front of one of the bookcases. Now that she had the time, Calleigh took a good look at Grayson's room. The bed is on a raised dais in the center of the room, oak four poster bed with hunter green sheets and burgundy comforter, the room itself is modeled after a library, all the walls are shelves of books on almost everything, hunting, literature, philosophy, poetry, history, art. A massive steel Cerano crest with the family colors and motto hanging on the wall over two fencing swords. An iPod was on the dresser next to the only picture in the room. Grayson and a young woman were fighting in a ring, oblivious to the camera.
Going to stand next to her wife, Calleigh reached forward to pull out a history book on feudal Japan. "Your cousin's mouth engages before her brain does, but she's young and will hopefully learn."
When Natalia spoke, Calleigh could hear the tremor in her voice that would eventually give way to tears. "It's in her blood. I'm hoping she'll grow out of it too." Natalia smiled a little bit, trying to fight away the wave of emotion that threatened to pull her under.
"Darlin', if she's anything like you, she ain't never gonna to grow out of it, so she's just gonna have to learn." Putting back the book, Calleigh pulled Natalia into her embrace. "You've turned out real well, so I have high hopes for her."
Natalia melted into Calleigh's body, her arms naturally circling the lithe body in front of her, bringing their foreheads together, she whispered softly. "I have hopes that she lives past her next birthday." The taller brunette closed her eyes, just holding Calleigh to her.
Biting her tongue, Calleigh thought to herself. 'I hope that we all make it to our next birthdays'. Rubbing her hands up Natalia's back, Calleigh nuzzled the tender spot underneath her wife's ear. "Talia, we'll get though all of this together, but right now, I need something to eat, so let's go see what they have in their kitchen."
Natalia agreed, and let her wife lead her towards the kitchen. Silently she noticed Grayson was nowhere to be seen, though that would most likely change once she smelt food, if she was anything like Natalia.
The two women opened the double doors to the refrigerator, checked out its contents and decided on hamburgers with bacon, avocado, salsa and a Caesar salad. So while Natalia fried the burgers and the bacon, Calleigh took care of making the salsa and the salad. When she had finished, she told Natalia that she was going downstairs to find Grayson.
The stormy brunette was at the farthest end of the garage, far away from any of the occupied lifts. She had a bull's eye hung on a far wall and from forty feet away she was chunking pieces of razor sharp steel into the bull's eye. Each knife landed in the wood almost to the hilt making a dull thud every few seconds.
Walking up behind Grayson, Calleigh watched for a few moments, before coughing loud enough to get attention. "Lunch is ready."
Grayson threw the last knife hardest of all, so hard in fact, that it went through the bulls eye, and the metal tip penetrated through the other side, making a sharp ping off the steel pillar. Grayson left them where they were, and walked past Calleigh silently, her stomach grumbling.
Calleigh turned and silently followed. Neither on saying anything in the elevator. Letting Grayson get the gate, Calleigh led the way into the kitchen where Natalia was finishing up.
Turning to her cousin, Natalia asked. "Is Jordan coming back anytime soon?"
"No, he'll be gone until I go to work tonight." Grayson's reply was short. She wasn't actually in the mood for talking at all. It was something her brother respected, her ability to turn her emotions on and off at the flick of her wrist.
Natalia didn't bat an eye as she handed the young woman a plate with the burger and salad, then directed her to sit down at the table. After handing two more plates to Calleigh, she picked up three tall glasses and placed them on the table.
Calleigh grinned when she realized what her wife had fixed, and quickly took a big swallow.
Sitting down, Natalia spread a napkin on her lap while saying, "I hope that you like chocolate and peanut butter shakes."
Grayson took her time chewing, thinking mostly to herself about Calleigh verbally handing her an ass whopping. She understood though, she wasn't really the best with her words. Words weren't really her thing, it was always about punching, shooting, driving, escaping; feelings and advice were a whole new area to her... unless you wanted advice on how to have someone disappear.
Finally swallowing after a long few minutes she looked at rest of the hamburger. "I don't eat sweets." She murmured taking another large bite chewing again, her eyes fixed on something out the window on the skyline. If Eric wanted to play dirty, she could play dirtier.
Reaching over, Calleigh snagged the shake in front of Grayson, placing it in front of her plate before getting up to go over to the fridge. "Water, juice, milk or what?"
"I'm fine." Grayson snatched a bottle of water out from under the cupboard. She knew how this worked, even though they were family, they had cop like tactics, Grayson thought with a smile. 'Oh, please let me make you more comfortable, food, drink? Ha.' Grayson's pride was a little wounded, and instead of opening her mouth and making it worse, she thought it wise for the first time in her life to just stay quiet.
Shaking her head, Natalia knew what Grayson was thinking, and smiled. It really wasn't that hard to figure out; Calleigh had called her out on her actions so Grayson was sulking while thinking that they were trying to get back in her good graces by feeding her. Maybe one day, she would realize that they actually cared for her and her brother.
Finishing their sandwiches, both Natalia and Calleigh pushed back their plates and enjoyed the remaining shakes, slurping down the last drops.
Calleigh couldn't resist. "Thanks for not drinking yours. Usually Natalia won't let me have more than one, but what the heck."
Grayson finished her burger while the ignoring the slurping noises coming from Calleigh. She wiped the corners of her mouth neatly before folding her napkin into a small square. "You're welcome. I'll do the dishes since you cooked." Grayson lifted the plates, glasses, and silverware into her hands, and laid it all in the sink, starting up the hot water.
Natalia stood up to grab a wet towel to wipe down the table, and playfully wipe Calleigh's face clean of her chocolate mustache. Chuckling, she made her way over to the sink, there she grabbed another towel and started to dry the dishes.
Finishing up the dishes in relative calm, and quiet, Grayson took all the dishes her cousin had dried, and put them back in their respective cabinets. Then she made sure to feed the dogs since she'd forgotten to do so in the confusion of the early morning, filling up their giant steel water bowls.
Natalia stopped Grayson as she started to walk away. "Gray, wait a moment please."
The young woman stopped, but didn't turn around.
Pausing for a moment, Natalia continues. "I know that this is hard for you. To think that you are on a simple bodyguard job, then to find out that they're family, it's a lot to take in."
Slowly going around in front of her cousin, Natalia tried to gauge if she's getting through, but it's impossible to tell by the lack of expression on Gray's face, so she continued.
"I know that you have every reason to not trust cops, but right now, neither Calleigh nor I are officers. Right now, we're your family, and as your family, Calleigh was just letting you know that don't always have to say what's on your mind. I shouldn't have gone off on you, and for
that I apologize. And I also wanted to thank you for opening up your home, and giving up your room to us. We can never repay you for your hospitality."
Putting her hand on Grayson's shoulder, Natalia leaned down to place a gentle kiss on her cheek, and then turned to walk away.
As badly as Grayson wanted to, as much as she needed to tell them both, 'I trust you, you're welcome, and anything you need' she couldn't. It was physically impossible for her to utter those words. Fifteen years of ingrained training wouldn't allow her to begrudge a flicker of emotion across her blank face. Outwardly, she was the picture of perfection, calm and serene. Inwardly, Grayson was a hurricane force of emotions, and words, but it all went unsaid as she sighed, and headed back down to the garage, silently.
Natalia headed towards their temporary bedroom, determined to see if Grayson was right about her bed being a black hole. After all of the excitement this morning, all she really wanted to do was to lie down for a while, and relax.
Pushing away from the table, Calleigh washed the final glass, dried it off, and put it away before following her wife. As she walked into the bedroom, she found her just getting comfortable under the green sheets.
"Hey Darlin', did you take your vitamins this morning?"
Putting her hand over her face, Natalia muttered, "No, I didn't, and I don't even believe that I brought them with me. Can you ask Gray to call Jordan to see if he could bring them with him when he comes home?"
Kissing Natalia on the forehead, Calleigh whispered. "Not a problem. You just take it easy for a while. I'll be downstairs if you need me."
"I'll always need you, and want you even more, but I will call you if something comes up."
Calleigh laughed. "The feeling is mutual, Darlin'. See you in a bit." And with that, Calleigh made her way downstairs to find Grayson.
The downstairs was thick with the Miami humidity, with the tangy smell of gasoline and motor oil in the air. All the bay doors were thrown open, and Led Zepplin was playing softly in the background. The sound of a wrench being tweaked hard every few seconds gave Calleigh a clue to where Grayson was. And as she came around the corner, she saw Grayson's long legs jutting out from under the body of the '67 Mustang, her feet rolled limply to the side, everything from the waist up was underneath the car.
"Grayson, I hate to bother you, but do you think that you could contact Jordan to ask him if he would bring the pill bottles that are near the sink back here with him?"
Grayson pulled out her Blackberry, laid it on the pavement next to Calleigh's foot, and went back to tightening the bolts on the body of the car.
"Mmkay." Leaning down, Calleigh picked up the phone, and started to scroll through the phone book. Finally finding Jordan's name, she pressed talk button and waited for him to answer.
"Hey Gray! Their nosey neighbors are annoying as hell." Jordan answered back as soon as he picked up the phone, thinking it was his sister.
Chuckling, Calleigh answered back. "They may be, but they are a hell of a neighborhood watch during daylight and evening hours."
"Oh hey SS, what's the deal?" Jordan leaned against the fence, watching twelve men attempting to strip the DuVista house of red paint.
"Hey Bear; would you please bring the pill bottles that are near the kitchen sink? We forgot them this morning."
"I will defiantly bring them when we're done here. Is there anything else I can bring you?" He replied back kindly.
Calleigh almost said, 'A personality change for your sister', but she refrained. "No, that's it. How are things going there?"
"We're getting the first couple of layers of paint off the house; we're going to have to repaint the whole thing. You sound stressed out, is everything alright, Calleigh?" Jordan's voice sounded slightly worried towards the end.
"Yeah, just peachy. Well, thanks for what you're doing." Calleigh sighed.
"Grayson isn't the only one who knows how to read people Calleigh; we'll be having a nice long chat when I get home tonight." Jordan replied to her exasperated sigh. His tone left no room for any argument.
"Well then, someone needs a refresher course. See you when you get here. Be careful please." Calleigh cautioned.
"She takes awhile to get used to Shorty. I'll see you tonight." Jordan said his farewells, disconnecting the call.
Sighing, Calleigh put the phone back in the same spot that she picked it up from. "Thank you... Is there anything that I can do to help?"
Grayson didn't say anything for a few moments, silent seconds ticked by before she slid out from under the car, staring hard at Calleigh. She still didn't say anything, nodding to rows of tools in the towering toolboxes; she slid back under the car.
Standing with her hands on her hips, Calleigh sarcastically asked. "Yes, those are tools. And I'm supposed to do what with them?"
"Coveralls are under the last bench on the left." was all Grayson said in way of explanation.
Going over to the last bench, Calleigh found the coveralls, and pulled them over her jeans and t-shirt. Rolling up the legs past her ankles, then the sleeves up to her elbows, she went back to stand next to the car. "Okay, now what?"
"Get down here, and give me a hand." Grayson responded, moving over slightly to the side, making room for the blonde.
Sitting on the floor, Calleigh leaned back and scooted next to her in-law. "What do you need me to do?"
Grayson sorely wanted to tell the blonde to stop testing her patience because it wasn't infinite, she choose different words though. "I'm attempting to tighten the bolts around the bottom of the chassis so I can lower the engine further into the car." She handed the blonde a socket wrench, and pointed to several bolts a few inches above their heads.
"Okay, not a problem. Tighten it is."
Grayson went back to her own work, shifting her body further away from the blonde, and reaching for a different wrench, preferring to work in silence than to talk. In the garage, she preferred to spend her time in silence.
After tightening the bolts to the best of her ability, Calleigh coughed to get Grayson's attention. "What's next?"
After making sure all the bolts were nice and tight like they should be, Grayson slid out from under the car and leaned over the open hood. Since Calleigh's hands were so small, it was easier for her to maneuver the engine down into the correct space, while Grayson lowered the three hundred and ninety cubic inch 6.4L V-8 engine onto the bolts. "Don't let it hit the sides, please." After making sure that it sat perfectly, she slid back under the car, seeking out the motor mounts.
"Is it in the right spot?"
Grayson grunted an affirmative, and moved around, checking each motor mount, making sure it perfectly tightened. She didn't want to sacrifice the power of the car because the engine was swinging around inside. She reached up, and unhooked the chains from around the massive heart of the car and tossed them out over the body, hearing them hit the floor. She handed Calleigh, yet another wrench, and pointed to several more bolts that needed to be tightened, now that the chains were out of the way.
Leaning over the engine, Calleigh reached to tighten the bolts, but found that the only way that she could do that was to almost lying on the side of the car, with her feet off the floor.
Grayson reached for her digital camera underneath a nearby toolbox, making sure Calleigh wasn't looking, and turned the flash off. She tried to catch the perfect angle after aligning the photo. Snapping it quietly, she thought it would make a fantastic gift along with the car when she handed both the photo and the keys to the couple.
"What are you doing?" Calleigh caught a glimpse of Grayson, putting something away.
Grayson just smiled humorlessly, and slid back under the car with another socket wrench.
"Hey! What am I supposed to be doing up here?" Calleigh called out.
"Making sure you don't drop a giant piece of steel onto my skull... for starters." Grayson sighed. She reached up, took Calleigh's hand, and moved it towards a bolt she hadn't noticed before. The younger woman then slid out from under the car, and leaned down to admire their handiwork. "Not bad DuVista."
Calleigh smiled, crossing her arms over her chest. "Thanks Cerano, so what's next?"
"Right now, nothing. Jordan will be home in an hour, I need a shower before work." Grayson looked at Calleigh out of the corner of her eye. "What color should I paint it do you think? I haven't decided yet."
"Oh, I don't know. Mine was a midnight blue, but a black car is always hot, and we all know that you look good in black."
The tips of Grayson's ears turned slightly pink, but that was about all that happened by way of expression. "I'll keep your opinion under advisement. Let's go grab a change of clothes, I'm sure we stink."
Calleigh couldn't help, but chuckle. "Now suga', don't you know that Southern women don't sweat. We perspire."
Grayson arched an eyebrow, still no smile though. She left well enough alone, and started cleaning up the mess, putting away any tools that were still left out.
Walking around the car, Calleigh made sure that they didn't leave any tools or loose items. Picking up a wrench that she found almost underneath a tire, she took it over to Grayson.
The brunette in turn, grunted in response, and took the wrench, stowing it away in the giant Craftsman toolbox. Grayson peeled off the black mechanic's gloves, throwing them into a bin, and walking towards the sink to wash what little oil was on her hands off under some warm water.
Sighing, Calleigh shook her head and started towards the elevator.
"DuVista." Grayson ground out. She had to say something, she knew the blonde thought she was a heartless bitch, it was true, for the most part. Grayson motioned her back with a nod of her head.
"Yeah. what's up?"
Grayson dried her hands off, thinking carefully what to say. "What I said upstairs..." She looked at the floor, damn it, she didn't do emotional or anything remotely near it. "It was out of line and you were right saying what you did." There it was out, thank God. Grayson dropped the towel on the workbench, and walked towards the elevator. Throwing it open, she waited for the blonde patiently.
Grinning, Calleigh walked past and lightly punched her on the shoulder. "Not a problem. It's in the past. You learn, I learn, we move on. Hey! Do you still have beer in the fridge?"
"Yes." Grayson closed the gate behind her, and looked at the offending shoulder. Jordan showed affection towards her like that, she wondered if the blonde wanted her to return the favor, though more than likely it wouldn't be wise on her part. One mistake in her calculations, and she'd cripple the CSI. Oh well, she shrugged to herself, and walked out of the elevator towards Jordan's bedroom.
Heading into the kitchen, Calleigh opened the fridge, found a beer, and opened it. Closing her eyes, she almost moaned with her first swallow. Leaning against the counter, she smiled slightly as she thought back to Grayson admission. She knew that it took a lot for her to say what she did, and that in itself was a big deal. With the second swallow, she went over what she told Natalia's father. She didn't exactly lie to the man, but she did give him the impression that Horatio knew what was going on... Shaking her head, Calleigh sent a quick prayer to cover her lie.
One more swallow, then Calleigh poured the rest of the beer down the sink, and headed to her wife. Opening the door, she squinted to see Natalia's form underneath the sheet. Quietly, walking over, she looked down at her peaceful face, loathe waking her so she instead turned, and headed towards the bathroom. She opened the door, and literally skidded to a stop. The shower was running, and the room was steamy, so Calleigh quietly backed out and closed the door. Damn! She didn't know that the bedroom shared the bath. That would have been quite interesting.
Turning around, she went and sat on the floor where she could watch her wife sleeping.
A few minutes later, a dripping Grayson slid past Calleigh, and a sleeping Natalia, trying to keep herself covered with the hunter green silk robe, and towel. She disappeared into her enormous closet, shutting the door. Grayson emerged from the closet a few minutes later, wearing running shorts and a white t-shirt. She'd heard Jordan lift the elevator gate downstairs, and she wanted to meet him before getting dressed for the evenings work.
She shut the soundproofed door of her bedroom, and greeted Jordan with a bear hug, while he set down Natalia's vitamins and his car keys. "Grayson, we need to talk." He glared down at her ominously."About?" Grayson waited.
"When I talked to Calleigh on the phone earlier, she sounded a little bit stressed. Care to share why?" He tapped his fingers, staring at Grayson, who rolled her eyes in annoyance.
"Oh that... Natalia called her father, understandably he's worried about her entire family leaving to stay in Puerto Rico, but she's continuing to stay here." Grayson quickly filled him on how she thought it would be for the best to get them out of the country.
When she told him about Calleigh tearing her head off, he scoffed at her. "Grayson. You can't expect everyone to have your lack of emotion all the time. You may not have any, but other people have emotions. They have feelings. And right now, I'm sure Calleigh and Natalia are terrified out of their minds and are trying not to show it. You on the other hand are always as cool as a cucumber." Jordan glared at her.
Grayson almost snapped at his words, she had feelings, she had plenty of them, she wanted to shove Jordan's face into a steel pillar, but she refrained, showing nothing more than a blank face, and no indication she even cared. "I understand perfectly, it won't happen again." was her toneless reply.
"Good. Now, I have an offer for you from Carlos Salvatore, if you're interested?" Jordan pulled a water bottle out of the fridge, and leaning against the counter.
Mentally, he knew his sister was trying to keep her temper in check, she was insulted he thought so little of her emotions. On the contrary, he had respect for the way she handled herself most of the time, always calm and level headed. Jordan couldn't stop himself from cussing if he stubbed his toe, his sister could keep her cool demeanor at Hells Gates. More than likely, Calleigh had bruised Grayson's ego, and she was still sore on the matter.
Voices interrupted whatever Grayson was going to say. "Yeah, I thought that I heard Jordan come in, and he was supposed to bring your... Hey Bear! How did everything go?"
Looking at Grayson, who averted her eyes and turned towards the sink, lining up Natalia's vitamins by the coffee machine, Jordan then smiled at them both. "Fine, There's still paint everywhere, but it's going to take awhile. I can promise you, it'll have a fresh coat of paint before Wednesday though." He leaned against the counter.
Natalia walked over to the young man, giving him a hard hug. "You are amazing. I don't know how much we appreciate what you're doing. It just takes one less thing off our list of things we have to handle. Thank you so very much."
"Not a problem, Cerano's have been fixing things for years." He waved off her thanks, and smiled. He turned towards Grayson. "Carlos Salvatore has an offer for you that stands if you want to accept?" He looked at her. She yawned, stretching, looking at the clock above the microwave. It was still early enough to do something illegal.
"Depends on the offer.." Grayson ventured as she sat down on a barstool, her hands holding up her chin while she rested her elbows on the countertop.
"He needs a date for the evening... says he'll give you some information that you're needing if you'll let him take you out to dinner." Jordan sighed, Carlos wasn't really that bad a guy, he just liked dream that someday he'd end up with Grayson.
She looked at him sadly, and then shrugged. "Fine, what time?"
Holding up her hand, Natalia interjected. "Umm, he wants you to be his date?"
Grayson smiled for the first time, laughing at her cousin. "I realized I'm quite scared physically, and emotionally, but I'm under the impression I'm not bad to look at. Yes, he wants a date." She slid off the barstool in a bored fashion, she could let Carlos fall all over himself to be with her if he'd hand over information about Eric or the mystery man she'd been chasing.
"That's not what I meant Gray, and I apologize if I offended you. It's just I... I don't know what I thought. Never mind." Turning to Calleigh, she tugged on the coveralls. "Come on baby, we need to get you out of those clothes because you really stink."
Following Natalia, Calleigh offered a very weak protest. "Hey! I do not stink... I perspire."
"Every Southern lady I have ever been with has said that, and I always prove them wrong." Grayson whispered under her breath after Calleigh, her parting shot from the garage comment.
"I heard that!" Calleigh shouted before Natalia closed the door to the bedroom.
"I take it you've been getting along for the most part though?" Jordan needled his sister, who in turn sighed a little bit, waiting for Natalia and Calleigh to get into the shower so she could change and get ready for the night.
"You could say that I guess. I'm just worried they'll get too close and... I worry that Grandfather will call, and want to know why I've been so busy lately." Grayson let the unsaid threat hang in the air. One word, one whisper of Grayson doing anything for the police, and it was a death sentence for Calleigh and Natalia. They both knew it.
Jordan let it go and put his hand on her arm trying to calm her down.
She in turn shrugged his hand off with annoyance. "Not right now, I need to get ready, we'll talk later, I promise, spend some time with the family." Jordan noticed, that Grayson still refused to call them OUR family or MY family. She much to his delight for now, was keeping Natalia and Calleigh at a safe distance.
Grayson left the kitchen, and peered into the bedroom. Seeing that it was empty and hearing the shower running. Quickly going inside, she dressed silently in form fitting, sleeveless black dress, that didn't reveal anything, except for her excellent physical shape and stunning curves, not to mention beautiful legs. She slipped into black and white heels, and grabbed a black clutch, repeating the same idea as the night before; white garter belt with a knife high up on the inside of her thigh and a gun in her purse. Grayson gave herself a traditional once over, quickly sweeping up her hair into something somewhat presentable, with silver hoop earrings and light make up. She exited the closet, and sat to wait with Jordan in the kitchen to say good night to the family.
Natalia was the first to come out of the bedroom, wearing a pair of pale blue cotton lounge pants with a white tank top. Her hair was still wet, but brushed back while her skin almost glowed. Calleigh follow a few seconds later, dressed in pale green cotton shorts with a matching t-shirt.
"Dang girl! You look hawt!" Calleigh joked when she saw Grayson.
"Thank you." Grayson's blush extended half way up her cheeks before she fought it under control. Before she could say anything however, her cell phone started vibrating across the counter top. Looking down, she felt the floor give way beneath her, and all the warmth drain from her body. It was her Grandfather.
Jordan's eyes widened. "Quiet, don't say a word." He warned Calleigh and Natalia.
While Grayson in turn placed her hand over the phone, took a deep breath, and answered. Her voice was measured, and respectful, if not placating. "Yes Sir." She locked eyes with Jordan, silently backing away from him a few feet, her unoccupied hand flying to the scar on her neck unconsciously.
Calleigh and Natalia watched as the usually self-assured woman became almost timid, and that scared Calleigh.
Grayson pulled the Blackberry away from her ear, hitting mute so her Grandfather couldn't hear her next words. "Jordan, he wants to be put on speakerphone. He wants to talk to us both. Calleigh, Natalia, please be quiet." Grayson pleaded with them, desperation saturating her voice.
Grayson clicked the mute button off, and let the speakerphone come on, setting the phone down in the middle of the countertop between herself and Jordan.
The voice that came over the speaker was chilling and cold. "Grayson, I don't like being put on mute." Came the accented male voice from over the line. "Don't let it happen again." Jordan put his hand on Grayson's arm, she shoved him away from her, stepping around him. "I am very sorry Grandfather. I didn't want you to hear me yelling for Jordan, he was downstairs.." Grayson said smoothly, looking at Jordan who nodded yes, it was a good lie.
"I didn't ask you for an excuse Grayson. Why haven't you returned Stefan's calls?" Her grandfather was referring to his personal assistant Stefan, who contacted her when her professional services were being asked for by the Familia.
"I've been busy getting to know the locals, the town, and the scenery, I ran into a few problems here and there." Grayson was trying to dissuade her Grandfather from asking more questions. It usually never worked.
"Nothing to serious I hope? Nothing you can't finesse into nothingness, right Mia?" She hated it when he used that stupid nickname for her. Mine was what it meant in Italian.
But she was his to command, another person to warp into his own ideals. "No Sir." Was all she answered.
"Good, I'll be in town in a few weeks. Don't make any plans unless their worth their weight to me in gold." He was implying that she keep her contacts limited to those that were useful.
"Jordan, How are you?" Their Grandfathers tone turned more conversational and pleasant when addressing his grandson. Jordan answered that he was fine, and they chit chatted back and forth over nothing before her Grandfather cut the call short saying he had business to attend to and they would catch up again soon. Grayson agreed, and she ended the call, leaving the cell phone on the counter top, staring at it.
Natalia had watched Grayson during the entire phone call, and had watched as she had rubbed the scar on her neck unconsciously. And as much as she wanted to go over to the girl, and wrap her in a hug, she knew that it would not be a very good idea. Looking over to Jordan, she saw that he had laid his head down on his arms on the counter.
"He's coming to town Jordan." Grayson's voice was calm and calculating, almost identical to the one that had just come over the phone line.
"I know..." came her twins answer.
"That means that Stefan will be in town..." Grayson hated Stefan; he was sick, cruel, twisted, like her Grandfather. She couldn't wait to kill him. Her hands shook, as she made sure her appearance was still somewhat presentable to outsiders.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it though." Grayson was talking to herself, walking around the counter, she opened a drawer, and pulled out a pair of stainless steel brass knuckles, she dropped them in her purse. She then came up behind Jordan, who stood up, and looked at her for a long moment. They silently exchanged good luck, and Grayson left heading towards the elevator, throwing the gate open, and shutting it quietly behind her.
In an instant, Calleigh was running down the stair to catch up with the young woman. "Grayson wait!"
Grayson opened the door of the Ferrari F430, and tossed her clutch into the passenger seat. She turned a reflective set of sunglasses on Calleigh, who had snapped her out of a daze of some sorts. "Yes?"
"This is going to come out all wrong with everything that that we know about you, but... please don't do anything that you can't live with. Be careful and come back to us. We need you Natalia needs you in her life." Hugging the young woman quickly, Calleigh turned, and walked back inside.
Grayson was touched at the gesture, though she didn't understand everyone's strange need to touch her all of the damn time. Rarely did she still feel the need to indulge in it with Jordan. Checking her reflection in the mirror after sliding into the driver seat, 'Here we go', she thought to herself. Pulling the Italian Stallion of a sports car off the lift, and out of the garage, then dropping the hammer, tearing down the street in a loud show of power and driving skill, whipping around a corner, out of sight.
Jordan watched his sister pull out of the garage from the second story window, and silently prayed she'd come home in one piece; if a little more scarred and jaded than before. As long as she came home alive, he didn't care how she came home.
Calleigh slowly walked up the stairs to the second floor, wondering why she had felt the need to tell Grayson that. Making her way into the kitchen, she saw that Natalia was taking her vitamins while Jordan was looking out a window. Going over to him, she rubbed his back. "She'll be okay, you know?"
Jordan turned at hearing Calleigh's voice, and he tensed under her touch. "I know." He took a deep breath, trying to relax, all the muscles in his forearms that were straining from his death grip on the windowsill. Jordan scratched the afternoon shadow that was starting to break through his bronzed skin. "How was yawl's day?" Jordan covered his mouth, his Texas accent thick. He laughed to himself. "I'm sorry. How was the day for both of you?"
Calleigh drawled back. "Well Darlin', oura day way quite interestin', but I hear that you love oura neighbors."
Jordan's eyes widened, and he leaned over the counter towards the both of them, his grin back in place. "I bet. Any day with a horse's ass is always interestin." He laid his bear like hands over both of theirs.
Shaking her head, Natalia chuckled. "Jordan, your sister is not a horse's ass. She just needs to get used to having people around. She's not like you."
"I heard somebody thinks different." He shifted his gaze towards Calleigh, his eyes burning with laughter at remembering his sister's words, and her timid reaction to them.
"Don't worry about it. We worked it out in the end."
"Good. I saw the 'Stang... Gray actually let you pick up a tool in that garage?" His gaze turned to a little bit more in awe, Grayson was incredibly protective of her tools, her privacy, and just her life in general.
Grinning, Calleigh leaned against the counter with her arms crossed. "Yeah, we worked a couple of hours while Talia took a nap. Grayson wasn't the most talkative, but we got along quite well.
Jordan stood up, opened the fridge and pulled out large steaks, sauce, bread out of the freezer, potatoes out of the cupboard, and laid them all on the table.
"Not hungry, are you Bear?"
"Hungry isn't a word we use in this house, famished, starving, ravenous are more our style. Sit down and keep me company, if you don't mind." He pulled out a large steel grate, and slipped it over the stove, pulling up the vent on the overhead steel pillar. Dumping charcoal into the expensive stove grate, and lit it with a few matches. "Grayson's really not much for talking if you haven't noticed."
Natalia watched him in silence with a look of amazement on her face. "This is what I call a kitchen."
"My sister has her skills, and I have mine. Everyone knows that a way to a person's heart is through their stomach. Though I'm sure Grayson would say it's through their chest slightly to the right." He laughed to himself chuckling.
"That was bad Bear. Funny, but bad. Is there anything that I can do to help?" Calleigh offered.
"Tell me about your family." Was his quiet reply. He was curious to know what other peoples families were like. Grayson had told him about Natalia having nieces, and Calleigh having brothers, he wanted to know what they were like, though if his cousin and her wife were any example they were good people.
Making herself comfortable on a barstool next to Talia, Calleigh leaned against the counter. "Well, I have two brothers. The first is Court. He's an assistant district attorney is Atlanta, married to his high school sweetheart Eileen, and has two little boys named Cal and Lee. Then there is my baby brother Chance. I try to call him my little brother, but since he stands at six foot six inches tall, he says that I can't. He's a Law Professor at Tulane, still single, but he's seeing Natalia's sister Anya, and we are overjoyed at that."
"Natty was right about keeping it all in the family. Calleigh, it's a shame you don't have sisters, Natty and I obviously share the same taste in women." He shoulders shook with silent laughter. "I can see you growing up with brothers though, fitting, you seem to share the same animalistic need Grayson has to survive, and you two have more in common than you realize, oh Short One."
"I don't think that the world could handle another Duquesne woman. Lord knows, I do enjoy it though." Natalia laughed.
"Hey! I resemble that remark." Calleigh huffed.
Natalia leaned over to place a quick kiss on her wife's cheek. "Yes, you do, and I wouldn't change a thing about you... except maybe your need for bacon."
"Leave the bacon out of it. It didn't do a thing to you." He handed her a piece of bacon he'd been grilling on the stove to the blonde, he'd kept it out of view as a surprise, and grilled bacon was a personal favorite of his.
He laid the rare bloody steaks on the grill, and moved them around the bacon a bit, before laying the bacon on top of the steak and started making the mashed potatoes, adding milk when necessary. Finally he opened the oven, and laid the bread in just right, after covering it with foil.
Closing her eyes and moaning, Calleigh just knew that she was in bacon heaven.
"Should we leave you two alone?" Jordan stared at Calleigh, feeling a little bit out of place at the gratuitous sounds coming from her throat.
Giving a full out laugh, Natalia couldn't help herself. "You might as well get used to it. Her brothers are just as bad when it comes to bacon. I almost had a fight at one of our BBQ over bacon wrapped shrimp."
"Sounds like my kind of BBQ, I'll pass on my recipe for Bacon, Shrimp and Seafood Gumbo." Jordan served the bread alongside the bacon flavored steak, making sure to slide a few extra pieces onto Calleigh's plate, and then added mashed potatoes with gravy from the microwave, and fold their napkins, laying them next to their plates. "And to drink?" He looked at them expectantly.
"Do you have any tonic water?" Natalia asked.
Jordan skimmed the shelves in the fridge, and noticed his sister had been grocery shopping again, pulling out the asked for beverage, he then turned to Calleigh.
"I'll have the same, and if you have some limes or lime juice, that's the way that we prefer it."
Jordan sliced a few limes, and slipped them into two tall water glasses before adding the tonic water, with a straw to each. He handed the women their drinks, and sat down with Shiner Bock beer in hand, digging into his meal.
The two women dug in, and the kitchen was quiet... save a few moans of enjoyment.
The black Ferrari pulled down the block looking for the correct address, Grayson didn't know how she could have missed the house because moments later, a house party of epic proportions was in full swing. People were spilling out all over the lawn, out of the back yard and the house.
"Good Lord..." Grayson muttered to herself. At least she wouldn't be noticed that easily in the black Ferrari, there were Porsche's, a few Aston Martins, even the occasional vintage sports car. Parking as close to the house as she could, the deadly brunette exited the car and walked towards the party.
Within moments she could smell alcohol, cigar, and cigarette smoke, she even caught a few people smoking a joint by the door. Laughing to herself at the youthful group of the party, she spotted Carlos Salvatore by the back door of the party talking to a beautiful blonde.
As soon as Carlos saw her, he completely turned away from the blonde, and graced her with a giant platinum white smile. Carlos was twenty years old, young, but rich and streetwise beyond his years. His family owned one of the oldest cigar rolling companies in Miami. His parents were legalized criminals as were their only son.
Carlos took Grayson's right hand, and kissed the back of it. As usual, she was stunning. Not only was she rich, young, smart, successful, and deadly, she was a breath taking beauty. "Grayson, I'm so glad you could join me."
"Well Carlos, I would like to say that it was my pleasure, but you know how I hate to lie. You told Jordan that you have some information on Eric Delko. What is it? Grayson pulled back her hand, barely restraining herself from wiping it off.
Carlos's smiled dimmed considerably, 'Oh well, business before pleasure,' but he would needle her first. "What's to stop you from jetting out of here the second I pass on said information? I don't want to end up alone for the night." His eyes raked down her body. God, the things he could to do her if only she would let him.
"If my word isn't good enough for you, we can end this little farce right now, and I can get the information from someone else. I'm quite sure that there is someone else out there with it." Grayson spat out as she started to turn away.
"Delko has been buying huge amounts of Zanex, Prozac, and Morphine, anything he can get his hands on that has any kind of pain dulling attributes." Carlos walked over to the bar, and poured himself a dirty martini. He poured Grayson a glass of bourbon, she didn't drink, but he knew she appreciated the smell of the oak in it. He handed her a glass, watching her blank face.
Bring up the glass to inhale the smooth aroma; Grayson closed her eyes briefly before snapping them back open, spearing Carlos with her pointed gaze. "Where is he getting them from? Who is his supplier?"
"That I can't tell you, I don't reveal my sources just like you don't reveal yours." Carlos eyes twinkled. He'd seen the women she'd been protecting; they were amazingly beautiful. He wondered if she was sleeping with one or both of them, she usually was from the rumors he heard.
Grayson took a step closer to the young man. "What would it take for you to give me just a name?"
"A race, across town, between some friends; if you win, I'll give you the name. If I win, you're mine for the evening. "His eyes mentally undressed her; he'd heard Grayson was an animal in bed. Her last love interest had been a friend of her ex-girlfriends. She'd claimed Grayson could arrange a personal meeting with God in minutes.
Taking a few seconds to appear that she was thinking over the wager, Grayson mentally thought back to all of the cars that she had seen in the front of the house. "Deal. Where are we racing to?"
"Anywhere you want your choice. I hope you're well rested." He placed a hand on her shoulder, standing behind her taking a deep breath of her perfume. She smelled like Burberry perfume, coconuts, and sandalwood. She probably tasted even better, his mouth watered at the though. Stepping away from her, he walked out the front door towards his 1970 GTO that was already idling in the front driveway next to a Porsche Carrera GT, an Aston Martin Vanquish, and a Ferrari 360 spider.
Before she went over to the Ferrari, Grayson stepped over to Carlos. "Let that be the last time that you put a hand on my body without my permission. The next time, I won't be so forgiving. The first one to South Pointe Beach wins." Walking away, she coolly got into her car, and started it up, allowing the engine to warm.
Carlos felt the cold sting of fear in his stomach, he didn't' know if he wanted to cry or be turned on, he went with turned on. Revving the enormous V-8, making the car shake and lurch, he nodded back at her. "See you in my bed tonight."
"See you in my rearview mirror."
The two cars made their way down the drive until they were even in the middle of the street. Grayson looked over to the wildly grinning young man. Shaking her head at his over confidence, she closed her eyes for a moment, mentally mapping the route that she would take.
Carlos nodded to his friends behind them; they were giving him the thumbs up. He'd work so hard to find this car and restore it; he hoped Grayson's Ferrari wasn't as tough as it looked. A partygoer put his hands in the air between the two cars. Making sure both drivers were ready, he dropped his hands. Carlos dropped the clutch, and dumped everything he had into the start, pulling a head of the beautiful brunette by two car leagues within seconds.
Smiling, Grayson let him have his brief moment of grandeur, as it was going to have to last him long through the night. After a minute or so though, she geared down and moved around him; intentionally just missing his front end.
Carlos slammed on the brakes, avoiding the primer black Ferrari. "BITCH!" He screamed, slamming his fist on the steering wheel, she'd cut him off, but he smiled. He stayed as close as possible, drafting off the back of her car, making sure he was only inches away if she faltered.
Watching him pound the steering wheel in her mirror, Grayson turned up the stereo, Fall Out Boy's 'I Don't Care', heavy bass reverb through the speakers. Tapping her fingers on the steering wheel, Grayson made a sharp right, catching the GTO by surprise.
Carlos gritted his teeth; he slammed on the brakes, and turned the GTO sharply, trying to follow. He heard the supercharger kick on under the hood, and he grinned, pulling around her. The Ferrari didn't have his raw horsepower off the line; he flipped the bird driving by.
"That hand will be pleasuring yourself tonight, little man." Grayson muttered as she maneuvered her car into the sweet spot. She was very content to draft... for the moment. She knew just the right spot to make her move.
Carlos weaved around a semi truck, and onto the freeway, narrowly avoiding a minivan. He could almost make out the exit for South Pointe Beach, a mile down the road. He grinned to himself, pushing the motor just a little bit harder. 'Three more turns and I'm home free, with Grayson under my body,' Carlos thought to himself. He'd envisioned this moment for weeks, since the first time he'd laid eyes on the only living female Cerano.
Grayson took her hand off the clutch, blowing cool air over the heated flesh of her hand. She shook it a few times before doing the same to the other one. She could hear the pounding of the bass from the speakers under her back seat, she could smell the exhaust from Carlos' sorry attempt at vintage muscle, her eyes blinked lazily, and she rolled her shoulders watching as the final turn came upon them. She watched Carlos slam on his brakes, trying to swing it wide, and drift his way through the turn; it didn't work. Grayson laughed to herself, down shifting without breaking, and swinging the car wide. She slipped into the space between Carlos, and the wrong side of the road, effectively cutting him off, and sliding into the parking lot, stopping in a squeal of rubber.
Carlos saw three different shades of red, watching the striking brunette crush his dreams in less than two seconds flat. "Damn." He muttered; there was always next time. He frowned, opening the car door staring at Grayson.
Opening the door, Grayson made sure that she showed a lot of leg as she exited the car; after all, the poor boy was going to have to have something to dream about tonight when he was all by himself.
Carlos mouth hit the floor; he knew Grayson had legs for miles, but this wasn't even close to his fantasy. His eyes traveled past the Fuck Me Heels and up the expanse of nail biting flesh on parade. He took a few minutes to control his emotions, and smiled warmly. "The name is Denton. I don't have a last name for you." Carlos looked elsewhere other than at the brunette's legs. The young Cuban knew Grayson could make good on her threats of removing a hand if he touched her, and he was sorely tempted at this moment.
"Though I did have you in my grasp most of the race. How about I settle for that cute little blonde I've seen you around town with? Or maybe that mouth watering brunette that lives with her?" Carlos smiled in a spoiled manner, his hands resting on the hood of the GTO watching Grayson closely. He wondered if he could get a reaction out of her at all.
Grayson bowed her head for a moment before she brought it back up to look Carlos straight in the eye. Walking over to him, she purred. "Denton huh? Well, thank you very much for honoring your debt." Stopping bare inches from where he was leaning, she smiled seductively. "However..." Faster than he could realize, her left hand came across his face, and opened up a cut next to his eye. "If I ever find out that you have even looked at either one of those women, I will hunt you down and will use parts of you as target practice. Have I made myself perfect clear?"
Carlos held the cut next to his eye, blood dripping from between his fingertips. He moved away from her, trying to escape any more of her physical wrath. "Crystal clear. I am so sorry..." He stuttered. His face felt like it was on fire. Opening up his fingers, he looked in his side mirror to see that the cut under his right eye was straight to the bone; he could see the bleach white surface peaking through mottled flesh of the cut. Jesus. "I-I-I heard that Delko is looking to find some girl named Anya with some guy named Chase. I also heard he's not interested in the male right now." Carlos flinched away from her; he wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.
Going over and grabbing the front of his shirt, Grayson lifted him almost six inches off the ground. "What did he hear about Anya? Exactly?"
Carlos wrapped his hands around Grayson's wrists; he was a man, he was stronger than this woman right? Wrong. He couldn't break her grip; he struggled in a useless attempt to free himself before finally giving up. "He was only interested in her because of her relation to the brunette you're always with. He wants a piece of her just as badly as half of Miami does." He smiled for a moment before realizing he'd said the worst thing he could.
Grayson's fiery black eyes went completely dull in a matter of seconds. She lifted him higher, and slammed him hard onto the hood of car. She moved her hands from the front of his shirt to wrap them around his neck. Squeezing painfully, she put a knee in his chest, staring down coldly at him "What the fuck are you talking about Carlos? Don't leave anything out or I swear to the Lord above, I will turn you into fish food."
Carlos' feet kicked uselessly in the loose gravel and sand of the parking lot; he could just feel the air escaping his lungs as she had slammed him down on the hood. He couldn't breathe period, gurgling uselessly for a moment before she slackened her grip, barely. Carlos gasped as beautiful air rushed into his deprived lungs. "She's a CSI for Christ's sakes; did you think no one would notice that you were tracking a cop while helping two of more?"
Carlos whimpered when Grayson tightened her grip again, cutting off the airflow once more. Her voice in his ear made a warm damp spot appear between his legs. "If you ever tell anyone about this conversation, your mother is going to need a closed casket funeral for your body. Those cops are dirty. I don't work for the law, the law works for me." Grayson let him go, and as he falls to the ground, she knees him hard in the face, banging his head against the front of his car, knocking him out cold.
Grayson wiped her grimy hands on the front of Carlos's expensive shirt, the white silk effectively taking all the blood and dirt off her hands and knuckles. She grabbed Carlos by the jeans and threw his unconscious body into the driver's seat, but not before checking his pockets. Minutes later, she came up with a dime bag of coke, an ounce of pot, a few hundred-dollar bills, and a rip off Louie Vuiton wallet.
'What a cheap ass.' she thought dumping the coke out onto the ground; she hated real drugs. Disgusting and uncivilized in her own grandfathers words. She smelled the ounce of pot, and turned her nose up at it; it was a waste of good money, pretty in color, horrid in way of actual potency, this stuff would probably give her a headache.
She smiled pouring the pot all over the car happily, closing the door, and tossing the purged wallet back into the open window. She climbed into the Ferrari, pulling out of the parking lot.
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