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His chest was still huffing for air as she entered the room. Gavin looked upwards at her, giving a shake of his head. [b "We can't stop,"] he hauled himself into a seated position. [b "Stopping is what caught us off guard in the first place. Not being in control of what was going on around me let a clinically psychotic man get his hands on my father's company."]
Even with every muscle in his body screaming, he forced himself to his feet. [b "I don't care if I never regain feeling in my legs; I have to be pushed. I need you to push me. Yell at me, hit me, do what you have to. If I don't stay motivated, I'm going to get us killed."]
It made him sick to even consider the possibility that he wouldn't be skilled enough to save her, if she needed him. [b "What good am I to you if I can't help? I don't want to be the lazy alcoholic that I've been. I want to be strong enough to be worthy of you. Of protecting you. Of being the kind of partner you can rely on when sick fucking people kidnap you and leave you for dead."]
Gavin realized he was probably getting too heated, but he couldn't stop himself from speaking. His eyes were practically bugged out with adrenaline. [b "I'm not going to be the weak link in our plans."]
Serena hesitated to walk inside. It’s not like by being hesitant would change anything. Nor is it a movie where you can leave and change your fate. Perhaps you can, but not when you care about someone. You can’t just leave them behind after doing so much to keep them safe.
When she did walk inside she saw him laying on the floor. He has to be exhausted. She’s drilling him the way her parents did. It may not be as hard, but she knows first hand how draining it can be. Not to mention the pain for getting it wrong. [#Af18ae We can stop... I know this is too much.] she says sitting down petting their pets.
To be honest she hasn’t had this much action. It is draining. This is what happens when you take breaks. You get rusty and when you need your skills to be sharp... well it’s not easy. Right now she wants to stuff her face with food, but she has a lot to do. With Luna in her arms she walks to the computer to start searching up routes back home. They need to have more than one safe route.
[b "You mean I'm not already a sexy badass?"] he called after her in his smartass tone.
The moment he was left alone, he felt himself breathe deeply for the first time in hours. Everything they had to do was weighing on his chest and his thoughts were running rapidly with no end in sight. How the ever-loving fuck was he going to pull this off without making a dangerous mistake? It wasn't just his own life, but hers also at stake. A month ago he was drunk on his couch on a Wednesday morning, and now he was helping her plan a corporate take-down against his family and the man likely responsible for his father's death.
[b "What the fuck have I gotten us into?"] he sighed into the silence.
Ignoring the throbbing in his temple, he rose from the couch to do some bodyweight training. Crunches, push-ups, and squats. Repeat the order. He was sweating all over again, but he was willing to push himself to ensure that his endurance was building up. If he got winded after fifty push-ups, he wouldn't be able to defend himself if he got caught in a violent situation.
[i Don't fuck this up.]
[i Don't lose focus.]
[i Do as she tells you.]
The words looped in his head. When he finished his impromptu workout, he collapsed on the carpet trying to catch his breath. His eyes fell closed and he pictured the last time he saw his brother. [b "Luke, what have you done?"]
Serena turns to look at him. [#Af18ae Oh I don’t trust you with a gun. But I trust I can teach the ropes. The very short and basic ropes to survive. Have you ever been electrocuted?] she asks curiously. It hurts like a son of a bitch. Especially if you’re strapped down on the chair, wet. He needs to know what to expect when being tortured. [#Af18ae I don’t like surprises for reasons you may learn very soon... depending on the situation I can let down my guard enough to somewhat accept it. But we don’t have that luxury. Ymir you ever get taken you’ll be tortured for answers. Even if you’re telling the truth. They won’t stop until they believe you and 96% of the time it’s when they kill you is when they believe you...] if it’s one thing they definitely need to do is get him to tolerate pain. In the most brutal way she was taught. If getting shot, surprised about her double life, and getting your heart broken wasn’t painful enough this would be.
The growl crawls toward him to straddle him. [#Af18ae I know this is a lot to take in. If this goes smoothly I’m cutting your sugar intake. You’ll be reward after learning everything with whatever sweetness you want for 24 hours. When I’m done with you you’ll look like a sexy badass straight out of a action movie.] Serena says grinning. [#Af18ae Because I know you, you may have 30 minutes to yourself. I was allowed 90 seconds so be grateful.] Serena went to get the other tuna so he can learn how to work each one. Everyone has a different preference on the glocks they use. During this time she’s going to set up a shoot range. Empty boxes with leafs and twigs in them, bottles with some water, fire logs, etc.
What else can she teach him? Serena plays with the dog who followed her outside. He may also need some training. Although he’s too far gone for her to treat his over grown puppy features. This is one mission she didn’t want and is afraid to lose.
Given that he was usually a fairly shitty student, Gavin did a decent job at keeping up with all of the information she was throwing at him. He'd asked her to repeat things he didn't grasp right away, but excelled at lock picking. Hand gun training was a little bit worse for wear, with his marksmanship lacking her talents.
By the end of the first day, he could feel a migraine forming. The tracking pendant she'd given him hung around his neck on a chain, tucked behind the fabric of his shirt while he continued practicing picking the locks on the handcuffs. He was trying to get through the process smoothly, using only one hand.
The handgun she'd given him lay in pieces on the table, part-way through a cleaning. He'd gotten distracted by the fact that he wasn't as fast as she was with getting out of the handcuffs, and set the gun cleaning aside. He looked rightfully stupid with his tongue poking out of his mouth in concentration, wiggling his arms as he poked around for the latch inside the cuff.
[b "Don't you judge me,"] he threw a glare at Luna. [b "Your mom has had more practice than I have."]
The cat wasn't fazed. Instead, she sprawled across the table, knocking pieces of the gun to the floor. [b "No!"] he lunged forward to pick them up before Linus could nose his way through them looking for a snack.
[b "You're clever enough,"] he huffed at Luna. [b "We should just send you in to take care of everything."]
Giving up on the handcuffs for the time being, he put his gun back together and slumped back on the couch. [b "It means a lot that you're trusting me with this, you know,"] he called to Serena, covering his eyes with a pillow to fight the headache. [b "I know it's not easy when you don't have full control over the situation. Surprises never were your thing."]
They are going to surprise them. His family probably hates her. Then again, she doesn’t know what he told them. Do they know what really happened or did he cover it up? The girl is a bit nervous to go back. They’re going to be sitting ducks. But it’s something they need to do.
[#af18ae Or maybe this is a hostage situation. Interrogation status. Honestly it can be anything.] this thing is getting sloppy. Someone has to be on to something or the bad guys are growing impatient. They need to start stepping up their game. Her game. He’s still a newbie. [#af18ae There’s this special program that’s in the dark webs. I need to get in. you can only have access to it if you’re connected. I’m a good hacker, but I wouldn’t want privilege to that crap. Those who are can’t have normal or fake life. They need to be well hidden because people will kill for unlimited access…] it could help find is brother and even the identity of the guy from the yacht.
They need to pack light. Anything can happen once when they’re back. They need to be prepared. [#af18ae Alright, gun lessons and whatever else I can think off like… using bobby pins to break free from handcuffs, how to unarm a guy point blank if it’s possible and a few moves to get out stick situations like a hair grab or choke hold. You may be alone from time to time.] Serena walks to the bedroom to get something out of her bag. This something is something her mother gave her that has a secret tracking device in it. A silver cross. [#af18ae It may be a little feminine, but it has a tracking device so it’s a must.] she even had it when he was her job. Except back then she didn’t know it was bugged. [#af18ae You can wear mines and I’ll wear my mothers. I’ll show you what you need to do in case I go missing.] she heads back to the room to get a device. [#af18ae This beautiful gadget is clones cell phones. It does take a few minutes. So we need dozens of burner phones and a few to transfer date from this device to the burner.] It was the first thing she taught him. [#af18ae I feel like I should write a few of these things down… it’s a lot to learn in so little time.] she says scratching her head. [#af18ae I once wanted to be a teacher but teaching someone this kind of thing is hard and a lot of work… I’ll rather be your lover and workout partner…] she says awkwardly laughing, before continuing the lesson.
The lesson went from the phone cloning device to picking door and handcuff locks. Even the basic gun lesson. Like where to place his fingers. What would happen if his index fingers is on the wrong location. If it’s jammed. How to load and time him loading a clip. Tomorrow is going to be combat moves. Before these criminal lessons ended she showed him some bugging devices and the magical flash drive that copies everything from a laptop or desktop. Gavin needs to learn everything he can for when he goes back and something happens when she’s away from him.
He huffed a laugh. [b "They all think I'm in rehab, so surprising them won't be a problem."]
He tried to be nonchalant about it, but the fact that Luke had been off grid for more than twenty-four hours was enough to ring alarm bells in Gavin's head. His brother was addicted to his phone, and rarely went more than an hour without electronically checking in somewhere. Social media was an addiction for Luke, as was his obsession with flaunting his wealthy lifestyle; meaning that his bank account going untouched was suspicious.
Rubbing at his hair in frustration, he tried to recall his brother's business contacts, and any upcoming board events. [b "Maybe he finally bit off more than he could chew, trying to swindle business partners,"] he sighed. [b "He was always too obnoxious. Bound to make enemies at some point."]
He wasn't sure why he felt so agitated by it. Maybe it was due to his father always insisting he fix his damaged relationships with his siblings. [i This business can go under at any time, and then all you'll have is each other,] he'd always lecture. Gavin couldn't even remember the last time his brother and sister had even invited him over for dinner.
Pushing the nagging thoughts aside, he turned to her new plan. [b "Is there something particular about this painting?"]
Serena nods. It’ll be easy to get inside and bug the place. As the meat cooks she added a few veggies in it so he can’t pick it out. He needs to eat better and workout more to keep up with this bullshit of a life style. Well it’s not that bad. This time around it is because they’re playing super dirty making it difficult.
[#Af18ae We can leave soon. Get the upper hand. Surprise everyone. Well you more than me... not sure if I should go as me or as someone else. Maria’s cover is blown and who's going to want her back after she disappeared around the same time as you is beyond suspicious.] she says adding a small amount of water to soften the veggies. She goes to the computer to go sneak into the secret back portal she created in the security program. His siblings weren’t in the building. Yet his sister swiped in. She opens up another tab to track his brother my his cellphone. It’s off. [#Af18ae Your brother seems to be off the grid. Last credit card transaction was three days ago. His phone is off and he’s not at work.] the girl continues to look for him but nothing. His sister has been active which is good or maybe suspicious.
Serena left the computer to go make some burritos. [#Af18ae If we leave soon we’ll get there morning. Unless we fly out but that can set of any alarms anyone made with your name or facial recognition.] before eating she gave their fur babies some wet food so they don’t beg them for their food. Part of her doesn’t know if this is a good move or not. She wants to get revenge but she also wants to figure crap out. Why did her parents escape? Who’s the guy on the boat? Now the question is where’s his brother? She walks back to the computer and made a call. Her friend made a very dangerous program and Serena needs access to a program. It’s sobdangerous that the government wants it. It’s call the gods eye and it’s to help search for his brother. She wants a particular painting that her father has. She needs to give them coordinates to where to find the painting. She’ll leave soon to get it ready for transport and send it over seas through a container. [#Af18ae I have to go to my parents house tonight to get a painting and ship it.] she says eating her burrito slowly.
Gavin's brow scrunched and he halted in the middle of the doorway. [b "Wait, what?"]
She'd been so intent on this plan. After Gwen getting the upper hand and nearly beating her to death, he'd been convinced that Serena would jump at the chance for any amount of retaliation. Still, she looked bothered.
[b "What's changed?"] he closed the door, stepping back into the room.
Luna appeared to sense something off in her owner, and brushed against Serena's legs to comfort her. Gavin followed the girls to the kitchen, Linus barely keeping up behind them. If her intuition was telling her they needed to back off, he wasn't about to question it. She'd not been wrong before. [b "Okay, so we just change tactics a bit. Focus more on the company. I think you're right, and I need to make an appearance at the office. Who knows what Byrnes has told everyone about where I've gone."]
He set out to help her gather food to cook. [b "If you're good at bugging phones, we can get into the department heads' cells to keep track of their conversations. Any information they give us is better than nothing. Maybe one of them knows Byrnes' end game plan when he finally has all the cash and alliances he needs."]
They'd have to fly back soon. Julienne would no doubt tell Byrnes that they'd contacted her, and he was bound to step up his pace. A red-eye flight out of there within the next few days would be ideal.
Serena isn’t liking how things are turning out. Something in the pit of her stomach is screaming don’t go. Not tonight. With what happened to her and her parents having. Not to mention a few alarms went off in one day. [#af18ae “We should stay... I’m getting a bad feeling about this. It could be a setup. We’ll have another shot... if she does try to leave someone would take her out. I’ll be sad it wasn’t me but i can’t shake this bad feeling I’m having...”] she tells him.
The girl sure isn’t happy about this. She has so much planned for that traitor. Even though she told Gavin to make something, she ended up going to the kitchen to make something to eat. Something simple. Burritos came to mind. Her mind wouldn’t stop racing. One thought after another. She was trying to make sense of recent activities. Nothing seems to be clicking.
[#Af18ae “Alright so our first order of business went to shit. What are we going to do next? Are we even going to fly go back so you can settle things with your family and the business or at least speak to your lawyer?”] she asks finishing making and setting up the burritos.
He wasn't about to deny her any form of affection. Wrapping her in his arms, he pressed a kiss to her head. [b "Yeah, they didn't look exactly happy to see me. If your dad could kill through a computer, I'm fairly sure I'd be long dead by now. I tend to have that affect on fathers."]
At the mention of food, he rolled his eyes. [b "On it,"] he acknowledge the order, moving to the kitchen.
He was pulling ingredients for a stir fry out when the alarm sounded. Rejoining her in the living room, he spotted the footage of Gwen's home. [b "Looks like food will have to wait. Get whatever you need and we'll leave in five minutes."]
He changed into jeans and a plain t-shirt, knowing that basketball shorts wouldn't exactly be functional for what they were about to do. His hair trimmers were placed in his backpack, along with a few extra rounds of ammo. And, because he's paranoid, the first aid kit soon joined the pack.
[b "Got the clippers to shave her head. May as well do her eyebrows while we're at it, don't you think?'] he asked, grabbing his keys and one of the burner phones just in case.
With one last pat for Linus, he gestured to the door. [b "Shall we?"]
[#Af18ae “A lot of money where you don’t have any...”] Serena tells him honestly. They wanted everything. The business, money, and power. Come to think of it her parents would’ve done the same thing like Byrnes. However, they wouldn’t have gotten caught. The girl has to give it to him though for having sex on someone else’s desk. It’s fun. Hences, them having sex in at the boat party and then they had to escape because they were rudely interrupted.
They need to relive that moment one day... is she remembers. [#Af18ae “If it’s important documents on paper it won’t be in the office. He may carry it with him or have it at home... I can see if I can get another, but a smart person would carry it with them or put it somewhere safer than an office and a home.”] she sends her parents Byrnes the home address according to what’s on file. It would be an easy task to sneak in and get things. Maybe she can either sneak inside or disguise herself. [#Af18ae So are we going to do this?] she asks him turning to give him her full undivided attention. [#Af18ae This is going to sound so lame but i was abused as a child and seeing my parents brings back horrible memories. I need a hug...] the girl says pouting. Her arms raises requesting for a hug. [#Af18ae “Okay, all seriousness that was really awkward. I bet you anything my dad is complaining in four different languages. And I’m hungry again. It’s your turn to cook now.”] she says blowing him a kiss.
Serena double checked on how much is in the bag. She had to double check it’s the right amount. Another silent alarm goes off. Gwen is packing. Someone sent a picture to the other goonies [#Af18ae “Gwen is packing. It has to be tonight. Let’s shave her head. It’ll be like Brittany Spears that one year...”] Serena is going to ruin her life and eventually kill her later. She’s not going to know what happened to her. It may scare Gavin when he sees what’s going to happen to her.
His attention was drawn to the laptop where, sure enough, Byrnes and Julienne were going at it like rabbits on his desk. He nearly threw up. [b "Alright, I'm burning that desk the second I get back. Secondly, the image of that man's saggy ass is now burned into my memory forever."]
Gavin shuddered and scrunched his face. [b "These fucking people don't have any boundaries,"] he grumbled while pouring himself a glass of scotch.
He heard her video chat start up, but he attempted to stay out of it. He was ninety percent sure her family wasn't going to be fond of him, and judging by the tone in her parents' voices, there was little he was going to be able to do to change that. So, he let it go. That is, until Serena aimed the camera towards him to get him in the frame.
[b "Hey guys,"] he gave a tight-lipped smile while raising the glass.
He drained a second one as the conversation ended, thanking whatever god there was that he'd stocked up the liquor cabinet. [b "How much can I pay them to make sure they stay on our side?"] he sat back down beside her, this time nursing his drink. [b "We're going to have to pull whatever files we can from Byrnes' office. Which means, I'll distract him while you get access because you're faster, more efficient, and know what the hell you're doing. He's got massive filing cabinets in his office to keep track of everything."]
One bonus of Byrnes being from an older generation was that he wasn't entirely tech savvy. The man preferred hardcopies as opposed to digital files. [b "We need to pull any documents that shouldn't be there. Suspicious transactions, files from my office, anything like that. The cabinets are always locked, but I'm sure we can break them open."]
It’s interesting watching Gavin talk as if he knows what he’s doing. It would’ve been a turn on, but truth be told he’ll probably die five minutes into whatever plan they make. [#af18ae “No because we need to keep a low profile and I’m pretty sure they added a metal detector after seeing your office full of bullet holes.”] she tells him honestly. They probably even fixed his office which would give anyone the opportunity to put hidden camera or mics. Maybe even a weapon. Who knows? Wait... they do. They can check the recording from that day and see when the fixed his office and who was in it... Yup, she is a plan. Since they’re both using the laptops she got on the regular computer. She entered a few things and boom. Past recording popped up. She enters the date and a random time. Her fighting popped up. She fast forwards to the office being fixed which was a week later after the police had finished using it. Brynes is there putting in a few things. Then a girl walks in. They talk for a few minutes before things got sexual. [#Af18ae “Is that your ex lover? They’re having sex on your desk...”] serenes minimizes the tab and opens up the chat with her parents to send them a picture of Brynes. They requested to video chat with her. Sighing she accepts. They haven’t seen each other in a few years.
[#Af18ae Mom. Dad.]
“Has he tried hurting you? How did you get this picture?”
[#Af18ae “With one of the secret cameras I installed in Gavin’s family company. What you describes fits everything he has told me”] her father began to speak in another language about how disappointed he is in her. How could she fall for a target. Now her life is in danger. Serena conoces the webcam so they can see Gavin.
“Oh... hey Gavin. Nothing personal...” her mother says waving high. It did shut the dad up though. Serena ended the video chat. She looks at him.
[#Af18ae They escapes jail. Whatever his name is went to them asking about me. They’re on our side for now. So we need to make a plan and fast.”]
[b "You're not wrong there. She talked about him like he was a god,"] he grumbled. [b "Then again, she always had a thing for men with authority. If he tried waving his power around, it would have caught her attention. Age difference is kinda gross though,"] he shuddered at the twenty year age gap between Julienne and Todd.
Serena did have a point; it wouldn't be a terrible idea to make an appearance. It would quiet down rumors of his disappearance, and ensure that his authority is still recognized. Plus, it would be nice to see Byrnes' face as they called his bluff. [b "I can arrange a hotel room. I don't entirely trust staying at my place. Who knows what kind of surveillance Byrnes has placed on the property. There could be cameras watching our every move."]
Gavin crossed the room to slump on the couch. [b "Only myself, my brother, and my sister have unlimited access to every inch of the office. Whatever Todd is trying to use the department heads for, he won't get everything he needs. I'll need to take a look around and see what he's tried accessing while I've been gone. I know there's still employees that have loyalty to my father. They'll talk if I ask questions."]
It was good that she was confident about their success chances, because he was still nervous about the whole thing. He was still making mistakes in training, despite starting to put on a bit of muscle. Strength was nothing without skill. [b "I don't suppose this plan includes going into the company with firearm protection?"]
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