If you haven't already, please read the first chapters of the story before you move on.
Chapter 1: Prologue: The Briefing
Chapter 2: Pride and Extreme Prejudice
Chapter 3: The Monk
Chapter 4: Sagittarius
Chapter 5: A Misplaced Identity
Chapter 6: Shit Happens
Chapter 7: Family Ties
Chapter 8: Tartuffe
Chapter 9: Non, Je Regrette Rien
Epilogue (Part 1)
Epilogue (Part 2)
Image by porbital
Chase and Mercedes descend the airstair just aft of the cockpit to the tarmac below where the limo waits in the late morning sun, its rear door standing open in welcome. They climb into the back, and after the driver stows their few pieces of luggage, the car leaves the small Teterboro Airport and heads to the city.
As Mercedes had said earlier, it was a good thing it was a long flight. In the hours since she awakened, she has had enough time to come to terms with everything she’s recently learned about her family. Chase thinks it’s possible that she may even understand why he didn’t tell her.
Interesting to Chase, the thing she cares most about is that her father was not the terrorist the Nemesis Group thought him to be. The rest of it she easily dismissed with her usual sarcastic aplomb.
Great-granddaughter of Grigori Rasputin? “No big whoop.”
Distant cousin of a notorious contract killer? “Isn’t everyone?”
She’d just killed that cousin? “Yeah, well, he fucking had it coming.”
The fact that said cousin had killed her father and was bent on doing the same to her was a whole other story.
“You should have told me, Ed. The only reason I lived long enough to benefit from your Dudley-Do-Right rescue -- and don’t get me wrong; I appreciated your timely arrival -- was the man’s monumental ego. He just had to let me know how clever he was.”
Chase agrees that, had it not been that ego and a commitment to his signature style, the Monk would no doubt have put a bullet in Mercedes the first chance he had.
“I should have told you. There’s a lot I should have told you. And I will,” Chase promised as the plane was landing. “Soon.”
As the limo passes through the Lincoln Tunnel and makes its way into the city, Mercedes asks, “So what’s this big surprise you have for me?”
Chase smiles and holds up his index finger in a wait-a-minute gesture as the car pulls to the curb in front of the Vanderbilt Avenue entrance of Grand Central Station.
“Oh, please. You’re kidding right? We’re not getting on a train to somewhere… Not after hours on a plane.” Mercedes face speaks volumes about her displeasure at the idea.
“No, no more travel.” Chase climbs from the car and holds his hand out to help her from the car.
“Shall I bring the bags in, Mr. Chase?” the driver asks as he closes the car door.
“No, not right away. Please wait about 30 minutes and then give me a call,” Chase responds as he takes Mercedes arm. “I’ll come out and get them.”
“Very good, sir.”
As Chase and Mercedes walk into the Grand Concourse of the majestic train station, she raises her eyebrows at him, and says in a low voice, “What the hell are you up to, Chase?”
Although both have been in Grand Central many times, when they get inside, they pause and look up at the sun streaming in through the high arched windows encircling the soaring space above the concourse. As they stand playing tourist, Chase takes her hand. Mercedes is surprised by the fillip of response she feels deep inside.
He leads her in the direction of the famous clock in the center of the concourse, but before they get close to it, Chase does a 180o and starts up the staircase to the mezzanine behind them.
Mercedes is mystified, but decides not to say anything. She barely recognizes this man beside her. She’s never known Chase to be playful before, but she’s rather liking this new side of him.
At the top of the stairs is a bar, but they walk past it to an unmarked door. Chase takes a key from his pocket and unlocks it, pulling it open to reveal a small elevator lobby. After the door closes behind them, he pushes the call button. While they stand waiting, their eyes meet in the gleaming brass door.
Good looking couple, he thinks. The woman’s dark eyes are gleaming and she looks happy; that makes him happy. He doesn’t know how he’s going to do it, but one thing’s for sure: before this night is over, Mercedes Karpov is going to know that he’s in love with her and has been for a long time.
The door whispers open and they step into the small mirrored enclosure of the elevator, Chase trying to decide what his next move should be. The door closes on them, and in the next moment, Mercedes takes that decision away from him. She reaches out and slips her fingers in between two buttons on the front of his shirt, pulls him against her, and kisses him. The kiss is decidedly not one she would bestow on an uncle. When the door begins to slide open she steps away, a self-satisfied grin on her face.
It’s all the encouragement he needs. Chase pushes her through the elevator door and into a small sitting room, but he doesn’t give her a chance to get her bearings. He scoops her up and carries her into an adjoining bedroom, kissing her as he walks. When he sets her down again, and pulls back to look at her, her self-satisfied grin is still there, wider than ever.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for that,” she said. “I was beginning to think you didn’t like me.”
“Didn’t like you? I…” Chase stammers.
“I was kidding, Ed. I’ve known you had the hots for me for years,” she laughs. “I was afraid if I kept waiting for you to make the first move, by the time you finally did, we might both be too old to, um, get it up, so to speak. I’ve just been looking for the right time and place.”
Mercedes looks around the pleasant bedroom. “I have no idea what this place is, but it’ll do nicely.”
Before Chase can gather his thoughts and respond, she has lifted her summer-weight madras shift over her head, tossed it in a nearby chair, and kicked off her sandals. Stunned, Chase takes in the vision before him, scarcely believing his luck. She is everything he imagined, and more. Rather than revealing scraps of silk and lace from the latest Victoria’s Secret catalog, Mercedes wears a white cotton bra and men’s-style boxers. Anything more would have been overkill.
This body needs no adornment, he thinks. In fact…
Chase reaches out and very slowly slides one finger under the soft cotton trim along the top of her left breast, his fingertip just grazing the nipple beneath. He feels rather than hears the soft intake of breath Mercedes makes in response. He pulls her to him and after a stop at the corner of her mouth, presses his lips to that soft pulsing spot just below her left ear that has seduced him for years. As his tongue makes its way down her neck toward a creamy shoulder, Chase reaches around to her back and unfastens her bra, and tosses it on the chair to join her dress. In short order, the rest of their clothes follow suit, each undressing the other.
“Not bad for an old man,” Mercedes observes with a smile, her eyes traveling his body head to foot with a stop about midway along the journey. “Guess I needn’t have worried.”
“Gee, you think, smartass?”
With that, Chase tackles her, landing them both on the wide bed beside them and sending several decorative pillows on a flight path to the floor. What follows is a strange and wonderful mix of playful wrestling and increasing need. After a brief tussle, Chase falls to his back in mock surrender.
Mercedes straddles him in triumph and lowers herself. She moves slowly at first, teasing his nipples with her fingertips as she grins down at him, but it isn’t long before all thoughts of play vanish and her pace quickens. When his own hunger, built of many years, overwhelms him, Chase rolls her over. She wraps her legs around his waist and reaches up with her hips as though trying to consume him. Together, they race to the edge and fall over, landing in a sweaty tangle of limbs.
And that’s when Chase’s cell phone rings.
“The bags! Dammit!”
He jumps from the bed, pulls on his trousers and shirt, and jams his bare feet into the loafers at the foot of the bed.
“I’ll be right back,” he says heading for the door of the suite, tucking in his shirt as he goes. The door closes on Mercedes’ laughter drifting from the bedroom.
To be concluded in A Legacy of Smoke and Shadow: Epilogue (Part 3)