Disc.: I do not own Twilight or any of Stephenie Meyer's characters.
Viena perceived the city of Washington D.C. as a blackened blur of streets and cars as they wove through the traffic always going slightly faster than the speed limit allowed. She guessed no one would think twice about a speeding black SUV with tinted windows and government plates in the nation's capital. Her head fell against the cool pane of the back seat window and she closed her eyes, recalling the events that had led to this point, her being driven to the airport wearing only pajama pants and a baggy sweater, accompanied by three secret service agents.
She sighed against the cold glass and doodled absentmindedly in the mist her breath had left on the inside of the car window when she realized that she had no idea what to expect of her new assignment. What exactly were her duties as an ambassador's attaché? It was highly unlikely that it really included endless hours of brewing tea and making coffee as she had imagined just half an hour earlier, when she had practically been taken from her apartment. Viena pondered what she knew about embassies and ambassadors in general and realized it wasn't much to begin with. Why of all people she had been chosen for this position was completely beyond her. Whoever had decided that she was the best choice to navigate the treacherous waters of diplomatic small talk that defined the role of any nation's envoy to another country must be in dire need of a shrink or better medication, or both.
Viena had never been the social type, being more comfortable in laboratories and around computers than in clubs and in a crowd of people her own age. She preferred her research or 'prodding DNA' as she called it over awkward dating disasters or any relationship for that matter. At least her work never had bad morning breath or bad taste in music or just enough intellect to manage a half decent conversation. Her last official date had been while she attended Harvard over four years ago. It had ended when Viena's date told her to look over the edge of the petri dish she was apparently stuck in and tried to convince her that discussing the differences between two kinds of gene sequencing methods was not an acceptable subject for conversation during a first date. Having no social life whatsoever had helped her academical studies immensely, though. She held degrees in Genetics as well as Biological Engineering and had been nominated for Geek of the Year by her fellow peers at Harvard Medical. Fortunately she had not won in that category.
A small part of her still hoped that this was just a big hoax and there would be laughing colleagues at the airport calling her gullible and naïve and pointing out her other endearing qualities. She sighed again playing with the hem of her sweater. If this was indeed real she at least hoped that her new boss was patient and had a high threshold for pain and abuse because she was so not the right person for the job!
Viena turned her head and watched her entourage, grinning at the thought of how she was being escorted to the airport.
'This ambassador must be pretty damn important or extraordinarily well compensated for his position', she mused when she studied the interior of the SUV. To call it elegant was an understatement. Mahogany inlays, black leather seats, TFT screens in the back of the headrests, the thick bulletproof glass tinted almost black and the digital dashboard, all hinted at this being more of a privately owned car than an official agency vehicle.
'I guess embassies have their own standard, even if it's only a very, very small country' Viena added when she let her fingers glide over the smooth leather that covered the surface of the center console between her and Agent McCarty. She looked at his brawny frame out of the corners of her eyes and studied his appearance. The black suit fit his form perfectly and she could see the muscles strain against the fabric. He appeared to look straight ahead and Viena took the opportunity to take a closer look at his profile. His skin was almost a perfectly pale alabaster, even his features could have been chiseled out of stone. She let her eyes linger on his brown curls which framed his face... his very young looking face. She narrowed her eyes at him and tried to guess his age despite his huge body. He had to be around twenty years old she decided. Then she remembered her other two escorts and they hadn't looked any older either. Very handsome or beautiful in Hale's case, all of them very pale and definitely at an age where you expect them to be in college and not guarding VIPs. Viena giggled, now there was a thought! She had never considered herself to be very important before!
Agent McCarty turned his head slightly towards her and raised one eyebrow.
"Ms. Serrata?" he asked after a second of looking at her.
"Uhm, well,... you look awfully young to have made it into the Service." She answered a little embarrassed and fidgeted in her seat. "How old are you if you don't mind me asking?" He looked stunned for a second before breaking into a huge smile showing perfect white teeth and dimples.
"Well, thank you," he said, his smile becoming impossible wide," good to know I still look alright even after sevent..." He broke off when the blonde woman cleared her throat. He snapped his head around to the front and seemed to listen for a few seconds. Viena looked back and forth from Hale to McCarty and wondered what that was all about, they seemed to be in a conversation but she didn't hear a word being said. He huffed once then turned back to her and grinned apologetically.
"I am sorry, Ms. Serrata, I was..."
He was interrupted when a cellphone started ringing, the happy melody strangely out of place inside the black furnished car and the gloom from the tinted windows.
Agent Whitlock reached into his pocket and produced a small silver phone. He snapped it open and listened for what seemed like half a minute before he ended the call and turned to Agent Hale. Viena thought she saw his lips move so fast it looked like they were trembling but she couldn't hear anything he said.
"Emmett!" Agent Hale hissed. Viena's neighbor exploded into motion. So fast her eyes couldn't begin to follow he had secured her seat belt and draped his right arm in front of her stomach holding her tight against the seat. Cold radiated from his arm through the sleeve of his jacket.
"All done." He answered in a low voice. Then he looked at Viena. "Please don't be alarmed, Viena, there was a change of plans. We have to take a slight detour."
''Viena?' What happened to 'Ms. Serrata?'' She wondered.
"Detou...?", was all she could utter before Hale stepped on the brakes, spinning the SUV across two lanes and turning 180 degrees. The massive car swerved violently and avoided the oncoming traffic by mere inches. Tires squealed as they accelerated back the way they came from. A few honks could be heard but they grew faint with distance as they sped away. Cars were flashing past them at an astonishing speed and Viena grabbed the handle above her window with both hands trying not to scream in horror. Abruptly she felt a wave of calmness wash over her and she relaxed a little into her seat.
'Guess this is what they call a normal day of work in the service, huh?' Viena commented sourly to herself.
"What's going on?" She gasped and then exhaled loudly. Her stomach felt as if it was still back where they had turned around.
"We have to pick up a few... associates." Agent Whitlock answered reluctantly without turning around. "We will take them to the airport with us. It will get a little crowded in here and I apologize for any inconvenience this might pose for you. "
"Ah, I see." She mumbled. "That's fine, I guess."
McCarty reached between them and slid the center console into the back rest of the their seats before grinning at Viena and steadying her again with his arm. Which was absolutely necessary the way the blond maniac behind the steering wheel handled the heavy SUV.
Agent Hale drove without superfluous maneuvers, apparently never using the brakes and somehow she always found another opening in a neighboring lane to slip into when Viena thought they would crash into the rear of the car in front of them. She peeked at the speedometer and her breathing faltered. 86mp/h in the inner city! The agency's drivers training must be really worth the tax payer's money or Agent Hale was simply insane. Probably the latter. Viena swallowed hard and bit her lip. She closed her eyes and tried to breath evenly, always waiting for their car to hit another vehicle. But that never happened. Seconds became minutes.
Suddenly she was pressed into her seat belt when Agent Hale stepped on the brakes. She opened her eyes and looked outside. The SUV rolled past the front of an outdoor fashion store, camouflage gear and hiker's accessories on display in the front windows. They turned right into a small alley which led past the left side of the store and came to a stop after a few yards. She heard McCarty leave the car and then her eyes widened when the store's emergency exit right next to her side of the car opened and four shadows rushed towards them.
"Dogs in the trunk!" She heard McCarty shout. And then three things happened simultaneously. Agent Whitlock opened his door and suddenly the pixie girl who had delivered her new BlackBerry was grinning back at her through the front seats while sitting on the blond agents lap. Her golden – 'golden?!' - eyes sparkled with excitement. The little devil had worn the same shades as McCarty and Hale the first time they had met. She looked very much out of place, her short spiky hair and the bright yellow sweater she wore oddly at contrast with the agents' black suits and the dark leather interior of the car.
"Hi again!" she trilled and smiled showing her disturbingly white and glistening teeth.
"Uh...," was all Viena could stammer before movement to her left demanded her attention. She noticed a young woman with waist length brown hair who now sat in the middle of the back seat. She looked at Viena and a shy smile showed on her face. Another pair of golden eyes.
"Hello." The girl breathed and waved her delicate pale hand.
"Hey...," Viena managed to respond before the door of the trunk was almost ripped off its hinges and two black haired men with russet skin crawled into the tight space behind her seat. A small shriek escaped her lips and she shrank back against the door besides her as she watched the two struggle to find a comfortable position to sit in. From the way they had to crouch and twist their legs as they tried to close the door behind them they were probably very tall. Both of them wore identical black jogging suits but Viena could see they didn't wear any shoes. And that the jogging suits still had the price tags attached.
"All set back here!" One of them called out and Agent Hale stepped on the accelerator.
As the car raced down the narrow alley the two men in the back settled down and Viena was able to get a better look at them. They appeared to be Native Americans and looked like there were in their mid-twenties. Both had dark brown eyes, almost black in the dim light the tinted windows allowed inside the car.
'At least not another golden pair," Viena noted relieved. She was no fan of colored contacts at all. Not anymore. Another past date and another conversation horrible gone wrong had cured her of ever trying to be different. What had been wrong with Pac-Man contacts? Oh well. Let bygones be bygones...
Both looked at her with curious expressions and nodded towards Viena.
"Hey, … uhm," one of them greeted her and smiled sheepishly. "I didn't catch your name back there. I'm Embry Call." He awkwardly held out his hand towards her and hit his head on the low ceiling while trying to lift his arm above the back of her seat. He cursed under his breath which earned him a reprimanding "Language, mutt." from Agent Hale. He huffed indignantly.
"My name is Viena." She grinned back. "Viena Serrata." She took his hand and shook it. His hand was warm, almost feverishly hot against hers.
'Maybe he'd been running,' she tried to reason with herself. She had already forgotten that both men had been barefoot when they scrambled into the trunk and did not sweat at all. Who goes for a run without shoes? And in brand new jogging suits.
"Pleasure to meet you." he answered and nodded again. Another russet colored hand was offered to her and she automatically took it.
"Jacob Black." The man opposite Embry murmured.
"Nice... nice to meet you, too." She suddenly felt a little intimidated by the whole situation and fell silent for a minute
"Well,.. so, you work for the ambassador as well?" Viena finally offered trying to be brave and hoped she did not sound as insecure as she thought she did.
"Yeah...," Embry answered with a smirk, "we are kinda like the guard dogs of his Highness."
There was a moment of silence before the car erupted with laughter. McCarty and Jacob guffawed out loud. The pixie girl laughed and it sounded like wind chimes while the young woman next to Viena just shook with silent amusement hiding behind her long hair. Agent Whitlock and the blonde maniac behind the steering wheel chuckled as well.
"Oh. I see." She mumbled confused. Viena had no idea why his answer was that funny or what it meant at all. Jacob reached across and hit Embry on the arm.
"Ow, man! What was that for?" Embry rubbed his shoulder and glared at Jacob.
"Stop with the bad jokes, she clearly has no idea what you're talking about and you being funny isn't helping either."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Embry grumbled and leaned back. He scratched his head and then closed his eyes. Another long silence followed before Embry spoke again.
"So, this must have been the biggest mess I ever had the pleasure of getting myself into!" He repeatedly hit his head against the window behind him. "We're so screwed!"
"No shit, sherlock." Jacob answered, his voice was tired and Viena could see the stress in his face.
"We'll talk about it and discuss our options when we are back at the airport and aboard the jet. No need to start worrying about things we cannot change at the moment." The voice was soft and musical but very calm. "Rose, please get us there as fast as you can."
Viena lifted her eyes and she realized it was the golden eyed girl next to her who had spoken. To Viena's astonishment everyone in the car nodded at that statement, the only further reaction to it was that the car sped up even more.
'She must be related to the embassy and pretty high in the food chain if even the agents listen to her like that.' Viena studied her more closely. Her neighbor wore a green hoody and tight blue jeans with red converse. She looked like the typical girl next door if there wasn't her startling beauty and the golden eyes. And the pale skin. And the dark circles under her eyes. And the cold that radiated from her like an aura of frost.
Viena shivered involuntarily and leaned against the cold window. Even the cool glass felt warmer than the girl next to her.
The rest of the drive to the airport was silent and ominous. The feeling of uneasiness was enhanced when Viena managed to tear her eyes from her new fellow passengers and noticed a military convoy led by a jeep and followed by a line of trucks with soldiers in the back and a few APCs (armored personnel carriers) on the other side of the street they raced down. A loud noise startled her and she looked up. She saw four helicopter gunships fly towards the direction the convoy had taken. She tried to follow them with her eyes but they were gone as fast as they had appeared.
Moments later they crossed the Potomac river and took the first exit leading to Ronald Reagan National.
A/N: Please tell me what you think so far. I realize there are alot of questions unanswered at this point but I promise the next chapter will be more forthcoming with background information :)
Additionally I changed the rating from T to M for language and possible graphic violence in future chapters. Just to be on the safe side.