~ Breanna Vincent contributed to this story
The cool feel of the metal vanished as Ray wrapped her fingers around it. She pushed heat from her palm, melting it. She let her fingers slide to the other end, grasping it again so the other end came loose and she was able to pull it free. She swung as the nosferatu jumped at her, catching it in the side and twisting her hips to drive the creature away. It staggered, slamming into the side of a black Mercedes. It screeched at her, showing mouth full of two rows of sharp teeth. It came against and she choked up on the pole, calculating the amount of force she would need to send him flying. She braced herself, using gravity to lock herself into place and she swung again, twisting her hips, the sidewalk beneath her cracking. The end of the pole caught him under the chin and sent him arcing through the air and into a fire hydrant. One hand swept up the pipe, heat melting it as she molded it into a sharp spike and approached the dazed nosferatu. It stumbled to its feet and she flipped the pole, holding it like a javelin. She pulled back, pivoting on her back foot and putting as much force into it as she could. It sailed through the air, hitting the monster in the chest and sending it backward and pinning it to a telephone pole. It screeched, hands fighting to pull the pole from its chest. It flailed angrily in denial as blood seeped from the wound and then it was still and silent, it grotesque body falling limp. Ray approached it, her fingers wrapping around the makeshift weapon and she jerked it free so the nosferatu fell to the ground. She pulled out her phone, pushing the number two and send.
“It’s done, send the boys. It was stalking its prey when I found it, but it won’t be bothering anyone anymore.”
“Come back to the office, I have another job for you. Bodyguard work.”
“What did I say about the sir?”
“Father, yes father.” They hung up and she made her way back the way she had come, knowing the cleanup crew would already have been dispatched.
Ray was happy she had another job so soon. She loved her work, all of it and often found herself just wanting more to do in the rare stretches of time she didn’t have something lined up. Not only was the work satisfying but in working with her father she got to spend time with him and he was by far her most favorite person in the world. The other two people she worked with were close friends of hers as well so she was always among friends and loved ones. When she made it back to where they conducted business her father was waiting, seeming happier than he normally was when she had bodyguard work. He trusted her but he was her father as well so he wasn’t normally happy when she needed to do such things. “I think you’ll be pleased with who is hiring us”
“Ivor Alexander” she was left speechless a few moments before asking “there is someone who’d really want to hurt him? I know he sleeps around but as far as I know he doesn’t break up relationships or anything”
“He has secrets that are his to keep Ray. We know not to ask questions but to defend, that is our duty.”
Ray nodded in understanding. She knew the rules and kept to them closely. Many of their clients needed protection and from what they were often surprised. There were creatures out there that didn’t just want your life, they were satisfied until they had your soul in never-ending torment. They preyed on vulnerability and any slip could cost you what you hold most dear. Ray was proud of her most recent victory but it was short lived as she immediately started studying up on her new assignment.
“I want you to be careful, on your guard. We do not know what we are up against here, they are withholding information and in doing so jeopardizing your safety. Do not stray from your duty, all eyes on deck. Do you understand Ray?”
“I understand. You can count on me, I never let you down. I am here for you as I am here for the people of this world to protect, serve, and save. You can count on me Father.”
“I know I can dear, that’s why you are my best.”
Ray went home that night and after a short shower and quick dinner, she went into the living room and pulled one of the drawers of her entertainment center open. It had all of Ivor’s movies and she picked one out and got it started. She then went and grabbed one of his books. She knew a lot about him from the news, but she had always been able to judge him best through his talents. He was an amazing actor, passionate, charming, stealing the hearts of everyone who watched with such ease. She could see it in his writing too, his strength and attention to detail. She let out a little sigh. She was going to have to stop herself from fangirling. When she grew tired enough, she put her book down and set an alarm on her phone before laying down on the couch and falling asleep.
The next morning she dressed in a pair of leggings and a dark blue blouse that fell a little past her bottom. Her boots went up to her knee and had no heel for speed and maneuverability. She checked herself in the mirror then left, making a quick detour to get coffee and a muffin. She found herself standing in front of a photography studio a bit later and took a moment to calm herself before walking in. She was a professional, she could do this. “Come on Ivor, look more aloof, you want them to chase you right into buying your new album.” The photographer was saying when she found her way into the large room. Her eyes widened when she saw him. He was gorgeous, his posture and eyes giving off a bad boy vibe as picture after picture was snapped of him. It wasn’t until he noticed her and held up his hand that everything stopped.
“You must be Ray.” He said as he stepped away from the camera.
“Yo, Ivor, you need to finish this first.” The was his agent, his voice all business.
“Just a minute, I’m not going to be rude.” He held out his hand to Ray. “It’s nice to meet you, you’ve definitely brightened up the place.”
“Uh…what?” Her brain was still playing catch up.
“It’s a joke.”
She was finally able to crack a smile. “Oh you mean like ray of sunshine.”
He nodded. “Exactly. Sorry I called you in here, but if I didn’t work then Jesse would kill me.” He indicated his agent.
“It’s fine, I actually like your work.” She inwardly shook herself, thinking she already sounded like an idiot.
“Then come here.” He took her hand and she felt goosebumps move over her skin. He pulled her in front of the camera. “Just act natural.”
“We should talk about what happened, why you hired me.”
“Then talk.” He turned his gaze briefly to the photographer. “Get a few of us would you.”
“Ivor.” Jesse said.
“Come on, I’m still working, let me have some fun.”
She couldn’t help but smile, there was the fun loving playboy she knew him to be. Though he’d be a complete dream if he wasn’t a playboy. A man could certainly be fun like this without sleeping around, charming into bed everything that had a vagina. Though she wasn’t judging him for it, if that made him happy he certainly had the right to that lifestyle. She was just musing about that one change that would make him her dream man, beyond just her favorite star. He seemed to annoy his agent when he started playing around with her and making her laugh but he also didn’t seem to care at all.
They hadn’t wound up talking about much but his laughter when they could walk away made her heart tingle. “sorry, I hope you had as much fun as me though”
“No worries, we do need to talk though”
“Of course, how rude of me. Is here fine or would you like to go somewhere else?”
“Here is fine if you’re comfortable, you’re the client.”
He chuckled. “Alright then.” He guided her over to a corner where a couch was set up. “I suppose you would like to know the details of that night?”
“If you wouldn’t mind, it’s important I’m able to paint a mental picture of this person.”
“The truth is, I have no idea who it is, a stalker perhaps, I’ve had a few, but none like this. The man who was guarding me before, Henry, was shot in the chest protecting me.”
“Is he alright?”
Ivor nodded. “He’s recovering, unconscious, but alive. Anyway, were coming out of the premier for my newest film, I was signing autographs, saying hello to fans when Henry suddenly shoves me out of the way. The next thing I knew I was face down on the ground, Henry was laying a foot from me with a hole in his chest, and people were screaming and running. I remember shoving Jesse off of me and pulling my jacket off to stop Henry’s bleeding. Whoever is was had come out of nowhere and then vanished.”
“I’m sorry you had to go through that. Now I have to ask, are then any exes who might be at all angry with you?”
“Not that I know of and I’ve never had to fire anyone. I haven’t even been in a fight since high school.”
“Why is that?”
“My strength and speed put me at an unfair advantage. If I had seen who shot Henry, I would have made an exception.”
She smiled, it was hard not to around him, even in the current situation. She was sitting with her favorite actor and writer. “we’ll figure this out and in the meantime you have me. I wont let anybody harm a hair on you”
“Thank you but know I’ll have your back too. If something happens I’m itching to get the bastard back”
“what if you realize it’s someone you’ve wronged?”
“I truly can’t think of anybody though”
“I’m not judging, I swear I’m not but you’re a playboy. You may have hurt a woman more than you think. Jealousy or wrong doing by someone you care about can lead to stuff like this” She couldn’t quite read the look he gave her which was odd because she was normally good at telling what people were feeling “well, I’m hungry. What do you like to eat?”
“You don’t have to feed me too”
“But I want to, I want us to be more friends than employer and bodyguard” with a smile she said “okay, but seriously, I’m easy to please. I’m good with whatever you want”
“Then allow me to take you to my favorite pizza place.”
“I’ll follow you there, if that’s okay.”
“Sure.” He stood. “We can work out the details of your job once we’re eating. Jesse, time to eat, I’m starving.”
They left after the photographer had been paid and Ray climbed into her car while Ivor and Jesse went to get his. Ivor honked at her as he passed and she pulled up behind him, staying wary as they made their way through town. She couldn’t believe she was being given this opportunity. People went their entire lives never meeting their favorite celebrity. The pizza place was small, but he promised their food was the best and he refused to order from anywhere else. “Same as always?” Jesse asked.
“Yes please, don’t forget the side of pineapples.”
“Pineapples?” Ray gave him an amused grin.
“I love them, Jesse not so much so I get them on the side.” He pulled her chair out for her and pushed it back in once she was seated, amazing her with how polite he was. “How about you?”
“They’re pretty good, more so with ham than on pizza.”
“You wound me, I don’t think I’ll ever recover.” He said with a laugh and she couldn’t help but smile back at him, her heart stuttering in her chest.
She cleared her throat. “So, my job?”
“Of course. Accompany me to all of my gigs;book signings, recording sessions, movie sets and see if you can spot anyone suspicious.”
“We would also like you to stay at his place.” Jesse said as he rejoined them. “I don’t want someone breaking in and attacking him in his sleep.”
“that’s fine by me’
“good, thank you” The pizza soon came and Ray was glad she let him choose because it was amazing. She wasn’t sure she’d ever want to eat pizza from anywhere else again either. The rest of the day went by fairly quick and they were soon getting her set up at his place. She would have been fine on the couch but she was glad he was giving her a room. She had brought over essentials and clothes which he now left her alone to get situated with. He had promised her a tour of his place when she was done so she left her room to find him.
He was pacing in the living room and talking on his phone and she gave him a little wave to get his attention. He gave her his most charming smile and winked at her which sent her heart dancing. “Just tell them that the tickets will still be valid even if the tour is pushed back. I’m not making people spend more money than they need too and you know how some venues roll their eyes at reimbursement so just make sure it’s announced the tickets are still valid and apologize for the push back.” He nodded as the person on the other end spoke. “Yeah, alright thanks.” He hung up. “Sorry about that.”
“Is everything alright?”
“Yeah, I had Jesse push the dates for my concerts back until I get this resolved.”
“It’s very kind of you to let your fans use the tickets they already bought.”
“Hey, an artist is nothing without their fans, they’re what makes all this possible.” He gestured to his home, “Speaking of, prepare to be amazed.”
She smiled, eager to see everything. He was just as sweet, fun and charming as he showed her around. He told her everything about the different rooms and showed her how to work anything in it so she’d be completely comfortable in his home. When the tour was over he said “you’re welcome to use anything in my home and if there’s something in the fridge you want you’re welcome to eat or drink it. You’re staying with me and while I know this place is nice it’s disrupting your life so consider being free to enjoy anything part of me paying you for living with me and following me around”
“Thank you, I’ve always been a fan of yours but I didn’t realize just how nice you are” He smiled and she practicly melted. She didn’t understand how a man could have such a devastatingly handsome smile. He was beyond logic in general. It seemed impossible to her that all his sleeping around could be true when he was a musician, writer and an actor. She couldn’t see where he could find the time but she guessed she would find out soon. Living here she knew she was probably going to experience the parade of girls a playboy like him should have rotating through here.
“So, is there anything I can help you with or anywhere else you need to go today?” She asked.
“There’s a new script I need to go over, you can help me practice. Let’s do that later though, I’m enjoying getting to know you.”
“Yeah, you’re actually pretty great.” He walked over to the fridge and pulled out a can of Pepsi. “Want one?”
“Sure, thank you.”
He grabbed another then went and flopped down on the couch. He was happy when she sat down next to him and when he handed her her drink, he felt a little tingle of warmth move up his fingers as they brushed hers. “So, you’re gifted right?”
“Yeah, to put it simply I can control gravity, calculate the amount of force I have to put into things, and heat and form metal into weapons. I would show you, but I don’t want to break anything.”
“We’ll have to go out somewhere then so you can show me.”
“It’s not that amazing. I mean look at you, how accomplished you are.”
“That’s my other gift. I can pick up anything, any skill you can think of.”
“I think that would be the best skill to have”
“I really am interested in yours. I’m interested in everything about you. We can sit here and basically play twenty questions, just answer things back and forth”
“really?” he chuckled at how surprised she was and ended up answering truthfully “I don’t get a lot of company. It’s nice having someone to talk to” She took it to mean company that wasn’t just there to sleep with him and felt she understood so she said ‘well it’s your home, you go first”
“is your hair naturally curly?”
“Yes, what inspired your first book? Like what made you say hey I’m going to write”
“I’ve always had an active imagination. I would see stories in my head all the time so I thought I’d put some of the stories out there when I could fit it in between everything else I do. I have a lot more left in me to write”
“I hope you do find the time. I think I enjoy reading your writing the best out of everything you do”
“For you I’ll try to force more time for writing. We all make time for what matters right?”
“Is that your question?”
“Is that yours?”
They both laughed. “I’ll give you another.”
“Did you always want to do the kind of work you do? I know that you do more than bodyguard work.”
“Well, dad did it my entire childhood so I kind of took after him. I thought he was cool so when I was old enough he started teaching me how to fight and how to use my gifts to my advantage. I really love my work, I get to protect people, awe kids, baffle scientists, it’s just amazing.”
“It’s your passion.”
“I guess you could say that.”
“well I’m glad your dad had a line of work established that you could be passionate about. I’m sure it made it easier to get started and be trusted by people to do good work. You and your father have such a good reputation built. Hopefully at least one of the children you end up having will want to do that as well so they have a good start. If you’re going to have children that is. I know not all women have this deep desire for kids.”
“I haven’t really thought about it but, I’d like to think at least one would want to. It’s such a good way to bond and like you said, it makes getting started easier because there’s already trust there”
“I guess I sort of asked another question so you go Ray”
“did you really write every single one of your songs?”
“yep, that’s absolutely true”
“That’s really amazing.”
“You could help me write on if you want. It’d be fun.”
“I couldn’t, I’m no good with music.”
“Can you sing?”
She blushed. “Well, a little, but I don’t think I’m that good. My dad says I’m great, but he’s my dad so he’s biased. I sing to a lot of your stuff.”
“Then when we have time, we’ll make a song together and if you’re comfortable, we’ll record it and I’ll make it into a bonus track.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
against his better judgement, he reached over and took her hand. He wasn’t thinking of her misunderstanding, he wanted her to know he really wanted to spend time with her. “But I want to, you’ll love it. You, me, my guitar and a recording booth. Once you get in there everything else just melts away.”
Her heart stuttered again but she was growing concerned that maybe this was more about getting her in bed than just getting to know each other. Even if she didn’t have an aversion to getting involved romantically with people that slept around he was a client and her father would kill her if she let him draw her into his bedroom when she was supposed to be guarding him. She took her hand away, doing it gently so not to hurt his feelings. He was still a nice guy after all. She saw the flash of sadness and it tugged at her heart “sorry, I just don’t know if it’s appropriate for us to be touching” she felt like she needed to explain “I get it..I know you must have your rules while working. You want to do a song together though right?”
“yeah, that sounds like fun”
“Cool, so I’ll get that script and my schedule. We can do a little before dinner.” He stood, rubbing the back of his neck as he reprimanded himself for even thinking of touching her. He caught a glimmer of something out of his bedroom window as he crossed over to his computer desk. The script was there somewhere.
Ray felt a little bad for shutting him down and felt like maybe she should explain a little more. She followed him and he glanced at her, smiling as he moved a bunch of papers around on his desk. “Hey, Ivor?”
“Here it is, I really need to clean up in here.” He turned to her showing her the script.
“I think most artistic people tend to be messy. I wanted to know if…” She noticed a flash outside in the building across from them.
“What?” He started to her and she immediately made gravity stronger so he was pulled towards the floor. “What the hell?” He managed to push himself onto his hands and knees, a feat that amazed her.
“Why? What happened?”
She crawled over and slowly peeked out the window. “You either have a sniper across the street or someone with binoculars.”
“I want you to stay here, I’m going to investigate.”
He actually felt afraid but not for himself, he was afraid for her. “you can’t”
“I’m your bodyguard, I need to. Please, let me do my job and stay on the floor. If anything happens to you so many more people will be brokenhearted over the loss than if I were to die. I know you have a good heart, I really do but do not let that get you wounded.” He didn’t want to let her go but he did. He knew he needed to let her do her job, even if he didn’t want to see her hurt. She was trained for this type of stuff, he wasn’t. She crawled away from him and the tugging at his heart grew worse. He wasn’t a selfish person but he wasn’t used to being this concerned about another human beings welfare.
Ray made sure his door was locked before taking the stairs down. Ivor’s apartment was on the top floor. She could have taken the elevator down, but that would have let her out near the front entrance. The stairs allowed her to go straight to the back of the building without being seen and since the person’s attention was more than likely fixed on Ivor, she could slip across the street unnoticed. Once she was out, she moved down the alley along the right side and peeked out at the building. Whoever it was, was still there and she hoped Ivor had listened and had stayed down. She moved slowly across the street, but kept herself low, not wanting to draw attention to herself if the person did have a gun. When she made it across, she tested the door and found it locked, let out a sigh and heated the metal until it melted. The sound the door made opening was a loud, shrieking whine as old hinges protested. She cursed under her breath as she raced upstairs, knowing the culprit was probably on the move now.
Ivor hated how useless he felt just sitting there. He had felt this way when Henry had been shot, like he was weak and couldn’t do anything. He hazarded a peek out the window and had to do a double take when he saw someone climbing along the side of the building across the street. He could see Ray run into the room and he quickly stood and threw open his window. “Ray,” he yelled and she looked in his direction, “the roof.”
Seeing him in the open where he could be shot made her heart race but she was grateful for the tip. Now she might not lose him when before he could have slipped away easy if he had any sort of real skill at all. She quickly pursued, getting to the roof and daring a glance back at the window. He was back down so she was able to put her mind at ease as far as that was concerned. She saw it was a man and he was still there. She still wouldn’t be able to tell who he was since he wore a mask but she used gravity to push him to the ground even as he attempted to run at her. “You have a lot of explaining to do asshole” she said as she approached, ready to reveal who this was.
She wasn’t expecting the kick that caught her in the stomach and sent her backwards across the roof. She felt open space behind her and then she was falling. She barely managed to catch the edge with her fingertips and turn gravity down so she floated up enough that she could pull herself back over the edge. He was rushing her before she could stand and she wound up rolling out of the way and back to her feet, her hands coming up. “You ruined everything, you little bitch.” He snapped.
“I can’t let you kill, Ivor, he’s under my protection.” He swung at her and she blocked, catching him under the chin with an uppercut so he stumbled back. “What has he done to you to make you so angry? Did he steal your woman or something?”
“He’s nothing but another faker, smiling for the cameras, stealing the hearts and souls of everyone he comes across. Even my Rebecca. All she cared about was him from the moment she saw him, Ivor this, Ivor that. It was an obsession. Every woman is pulled in by that stupid smile, even her. The bastard, he knows what he does, he has to know.”
She used her gravity on him again and noticed this time that he slammed his hand against the roof before getting back up again. He was nullifying her power. They scuffled, her blocking each hit and kick he threw her way until he caught her across the cheek and then again in the stomach as she fought to regain her balance. He started to kick her when they both heard footsteps running towards them and looked up as Ivor landed a blow to the side of the masked man’s face. It was hard enough that it broke the mask and sent him to the other end of the roof.
Ivor was a little relieved to find it wasn’t anybody he knew. Stars dealt with crazy crap sometimes, weather they really did anything or not but having someone he knew after him would have meant something. The man spoke, his voice angry and sad. “why do you have to have fucking everything…why was she so obsessed with you…”
“Rebecca, my Rebecca…you stole her”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I really don’t”
“I guess you’ve just been with too many Rebeccas to know one from the other huh you fucking piece of shit” Ivor gave an exasperated sigh “Look, I didn’t sleep with anybody. I don’t have time to sleep with anybody. I’m always working, do people really think books and music are writing themselves? How much time do they think it takes to make movies? The things I produce take up all of my time. My agent just tells people I sleep around because a lot of girls are apparently into that. I don’t know how true that is. I think he thinks that because of the caliber of women he sees but he does it because he thinks its good for sales. I haven’t slept with or tried lead away any Rebeccas. The only woman I’ve truly given the time of day in forever is Ray over there”
“Liar, you fucking liar.”
Ivor sighed as he grabbed the man by the front of his shirt and hauled him up so they were nose to nose. “I don’t care what you believe, no one made you come after me, no one made you shoot Henry, that’s all on you. I can’t forgive you for hurting my friend no matter what excuse. I could have snapped your neck punching you if I had wanted to, but I’m not a monster, so consider yourself lucky.” He dropped him back onto the roof and turned to Ray as he pulled out his phone. “You alright?”
“Yeah, what were you thinking? I told you to stay.”
He smiled. “Only dogs stay when they’re told to.”
She crossed her arms. “Ivor, what if you had been injured?”
“Seeing you dangling like that scared the shit out of me. I was running before I could even begin to think. Save Ray, that’s all that was on my mind. His nervous system might be a little out of whack for a bit and he probably has a concussion, but I think he’ll live.” He dialed the police.
“You held back.”
He nodded as he let the dispatcher know who he was and what was going on. He gave them the address for the building they were on then hung up. “It’s kind of sad we caught him so fast, I was really enjoying spending time with you.”
“Is what you said true? It’s all just an act?”
“Yeah, Jesse’s a great guy, but he knows he’s has to market me so he made up a little lie to get me more fans. It’s not so bad being the bad boy, it’s actually pretty amusing at times. I can already see how he’s going to spin this though. If anyone asks he’ll simply say the media interprets things the way they want to and that’ll be that.”
“I’m sorry I assumed you were, you know…that way.”
“Why? I played it up for Jesse. Anyway, maybe now you’ll actually let me hang out with you without worrying about it. The truth is, I really like you, you’re an amazing person.”
“I really would like to get to know you then, I mean, I didn’t have anything against you before” he chuckled “hey it’s okay, I’m just glad to know why you didn’t want me touching you. You’re a hard woman not to touch but before I just was trying to make you see how interested I was. It sometimes slips my mind he markets me that way so I didn’t realize you’d think I was just trying to get you naked” They stayed there until the authorities came then answered questions. They spent a lot of time together in the following months. Ivor had realized he loved her the night they caught the man after him but he was taking things slow to make sure she knew she was special, that he didn’t just screw around with anybody willing. Ray was perfect in his eyes and he wanted her to see herself that way. He saw a real future with her, he was already thinking about marrying her one day but for now he was just her friend and when the time was right they’d be more.
~ The End