Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | VanderwoodxOC Cerise – Tagged | A Day Out

After an extensive bout of shopping, Cerise had created what was likely her cutest phone yet, and Vanderwood had essentially gone on what was his first ever date, he figured.

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***Cherrywood continues, going on what could technically be called their first date =0 It’s going to be a while before they ever have a life that’s considered ‘normal’ isn’t it? Kinda same for me here, going through some financial issues at the moment, but such is life sometimes. I will *eventually* get around to working on Seven Good Ending Continued, but there is a lot more research and prep involved with his character arc, so it may take some time. #accuracymatters  In the meantime, please continue enjoying Tagged! ~Let’s Connect! FFC

Remember, this is a sequel to Vanderwood Backstory, and Cerise has a bio. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list for access to R-Rated Scenes and my monthly newsletter. You can support my writing on patreon and get access to my VIP Discord Server or other goodies like early chapter releases and hidden scenes.  Tagged Chapter Directory******

Cerise didn’t know when she finally fell asleep, but an annoying beeping was trying to interrupt that precious time. Grumbling, she pulled her covers over her head and tried to ignore the sound, drifting back off to sleep. In the other room Vanderwood was getting up, doing his morning exercises. God, why wasn’t she turning off her alarm? He grumbled and put his earbuds in as he continued his routine. As long as it wasn’t Secret Agent Man…

The sound didn’t bother Cerise again, and she ended up waking up from sleep on her own, stretching under the hotel covers. They were nowhere near as fluffy or cute as her covers at her apartment, and she didn’t have as many pillows, but it wasn’t so bad. Maybe she could convince Vanderwood to get her a cute shaped pillow for while they were still at the hotel. She grabbed for her phone, sleepily checking the time. The time! Oh crap… She hadn’t meant to sleep in this late! Cerise ran around her hotel room, finding the clothes she wanted to wear and then quickly brushing her teeth and hair. She was hoping that he was running a little behind too as she threw off her pajamas, just tossing them anywhere for now. At the time, she didn’t have time to care.

Vanderwood already had everything in the car, other than the one gun he carried in his go bag. He tucked that one into the back of his pants so that it pressed against the small of his back before grabbing his bag and slinging it over his shoulder. It was well hidden there, thanks in part to his jacket and his penchant for loose fabric shirts. The thought of spending more time taking Cerise somewhere had him blushing like crazy. He was definitely infatuated. Now he made his way back up to the rooms, spending a few more minutes in his and wondering what she was doing. It seemed like she was taking her sweet time getting ready, and he couldn’t hear anything from her room.

He raised an eyebrow and opened the door between their rooms, just wanting to check, thinking that she was sleeping since he didn’t hear much of anything. “Cerise? Are you…ready….” His voice trailed off as he took in the sight in front of him, completely frozen, rooted to the spot. Cerise was hooking her bra, in a bra and panty set that he had technically purchased for her. Something about that was incredibly erotic. Vanderwood couldn’t move. His mind wandered, and he internally slapped himself, heat rising fast in his face but still unable to do anything but stare.

She hadn’t noticed the door opening at first, fighting with the clasp of her bra, and it took her a moment to notice the voice. When she turned her head towards the voice, her brain took a moment to catch up with the situation at hand. At first, she was frozen, and then her brain started to work again, causing her face to turn completely red. Was he staring at her? He was definitely staring at her. “NO I’M NOT READY YET! GET OUT!” Her first instinct was to chuck pillows at him, so that’s what she did before grabbing her remaining clothes from the bed and disappearing into the bathroom.

“I didn’t mean to!” He didn’t even bother to knock the pillows away, letting them hit him as he fled back to his room. Was it even possible for him to get any redder at this point? Now he was banging his head against the wall in an attempt to get the image of her out of his mind. God I’m the worst. Think about something else… He looked around the room trying to think of anything to distract him, but not really finding much. Guns. You’re going to shoot guns. Think about shooting guns. Finally…something worked. Vanderwood sighed in relief before gently knocking on the door, this time waiting for an answer. “Hey…Let me know when you’re ready…”

It felt like she was getting dressed more quickly than she ever had in her entire life. She was trying to block out of her brain that he had seen her in her underwear. The fact that they had kissed only made it worse. Wait. Didn’t he…buy these for her? Oh God. Oh God. That thought hadn’t crossed her mind until just now. Vanderwood had picked out and bought her underwear. Cerise felt like she could die right then and there. She walked out of the bathroom and jumped when she heard a knock, the sound of his voice making her face even more red. “I’m…I’m ready now.” At this point, she was trying really hard to keep calm, but her voice was betraying her, coming out in a higher pitch than usual. She really needed to pull herself together.

After a deep breath to get his own blush under control, Vanderwood opened the door. Even clothed, she had his mind slipping to the image from earlier and the raging blush was back. Nope. You will be decent. He internally slapped himself for what felt like the tenth time that day. “I uh…I didn’t mean to…walk in on you like that.” He rubbed the back of his head awkwardly, biting his tongue before he went to open the door for her and lead her towards the car. “Let’s get going then?”

Their walk to the car had been quiet, and now the drive to wherever they were going was quiet. What could you even say after that? Vanderwood was attempting to figure that out himself, and he finally figured he should tell her what they were doing. “I’m going to teach you how to shoot a gun.” Oh good, his words were actually working pretty well. “Just in case…I’m not around when something happens. I want you to be able to protect yourself. I’m not letting the best thing that ever happened to me get hurt.” Okay, so his words were working too well. He hadn’t meant to say it quite like that. Too late now.

Cerise was honestly oddly excited when he said he was teaching her to shoot a gun. A scary gun in the hands of cute her? It was sure to be an instant hit with her followers when she posted the inevitable selfie. The next part of his explanation just made her blush. She was the best thing to ever happen to him? It seemed that he really knew what to say to make her heart melt, though she hoped she’d never have to use a gun due to him not being around. That thought was scary, but she pushed it to the back of her mind, grinning at him with her obvious blush and putting a hand on his shoulder, her sing-song voice very much in evidence. “I’m ready to learn, Mister Secret Agent Vanderwood.”

He had been watching her reaction from the corner of his eye, seeing the little bit of excitement coupled with a bit of fear. She really should be afraid, and he felt like shit for doing that to her, since it was his fault she’d gotten kidnapped and shoved into his life. Her flirting just had him biting his tongue and nodding his head, not trusting his words when he felt like he was dying of cute. At least by the time he reached the empty wooded area outside of town, he felt like he was in control of himself. Enough to handle a gun anyway.

He went around to help her out of the car, not that she really needed it, but Cerise wasn’t complaining. As he grabbed a few empty cans from the back of the vehicle, PHD Pepper from that idiot redhead, Cerise looked around the woods looking back to him to see him pull a gun from the small of his back. So, that was where he hid it? Vanderwood checked it over, ensuring it was properly loaded. This one would probably be easier for her to work with since it was the smallest out of the two he had with him, not nearly as heavy, the only drawback would be the recoil.

She watched curiously as he set the three cans on a fallen log. “Right, so…” He walked back to her, holding out some earplugs towards her. “You’re going to want these. Obviously, you wouldn’t have time in a real situation, but might as well not blow out your eardrums when you’re practicing.” That earned him a snarky remark from her, a snort escaping him as she talked. “Oh, right. Best to blow them out later. Gotcha.” Damn, she was something. Vanderwood almost wanted to kiss her. He was really out of his element with this whole…romance type thing.

Right, he was supposed to be teaching her to shoot. First, he showed her how to turn the safety on and off before going over everything else, coming back to the safety feature once more. “If you remember nothing else, remember the safety. Alright, pop those ear plugs in for me, and I’ll show you how to do this.”

Vanderwood placed his own ear plugs in. Sure, his ears were beyond damaged by now, but why make it worse when he had the opportunity not to? Cerise had listened intently and now placed her ear plugs in, watching as he positioned himself and shot one of the cans off the log, deciding to leave the other two for her. She jumped a little when the gun went off, amazed at how effortless he made it seem. It was pretty cool, though. Now that Vanderwood was turning towards her and pulling his own ear plugs out, she did the same.

He held the gun out to her, so she could grab it handle first. “So, ready to give it a try?” This earned him a wink that made his heart stop completely for a full two seconds. “Ready as I’ll ever be.” Once more he found himself biting his tongue to make his head work. “Alright, shortcake.” Okay, so, he just called her a pet name. Vanderwood was internally dying, heat filling his face. Romance was not his forte’, not at all. It didn’t help that she was giggling at him now as she took the gun. “Shortcake, huh?” It felt weird to actually be holding a gun. This small thing could do so much damage, even take a life. “You don’t like being my shortcake?” His own comment had him so confused. Why did words just keep falling out of his mouth? Cerise was blushing hard too, and for once in her life, she had no comeback.

He realized that he needed to keep going, get this done before he said anything else ridiculous. “You’re going to want to put both hands on the gun.” Vanderwood leaned down, wrapping his arms around her, his head just above her shoulder as he positioned her hands, feeling the warmth of her against his chest. That wasn’t helping his blush at all, and with Vanderwood’s close proximity, Cerise couldn’t help but to blush too.

“It’s going to have quite a bit of recoil, since it’s not very heavy, so make sure you hold it tight so it doesn’t buck back in your face. Be ready for it.” At the moment, it was a miracle that he could actually talk. “Now, show me how you stand, and I’ll correct you.” Hopefully that would be easier, except…Oh God, she’s wearing a skirt. Cue the extreme blush again. Shit, he hoped he wouldn’t have to fix her position too much.

Cerise wasn’t thinking about her skirt. It seemed easy enough to shoot a gun, but she was rather worried about the recoil he mentioned. A busted-up face wasn’t good for selfies. She did her best to mimic his stance though. “This…doesn’t feel quite right.” Then she changed her stance a little more to something she thought felt a little more comfortable. “Like this?” Vanderwood realized almost as soon as she had moved again that her stance needed correcting. Damn it. Her hips weren’t quite right, and thank God he didn’t have to touch her skin to skin thanks to his gloves. “Here.”

Vanderwood was gentle as he put his hands on her hips, guiding her as his face slowly turned more red. Now he carefully touched her inner thigh, to get her to spread her legs properly. Jesus. He had to bite his tongue to keep from bringing up an image from earlier. It had been too long for him, even just a couple of weeks, but he could surely behave better than this. At this point, Cerise felt she was probably as stiff as a robot, as she struggled to keep her eyes forward on the can that were her targets. Anything to keep her brain from completely shutting down when she had a gun in her hands and his hands on her. He was touching the inside of her thigh now. Oh God. She tried to tell herself to calm down and loosen up.

His heart was slamming against his rib cage as he pulled away, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. Thank God that was over. How could she mess with him so much when she wasn’t even his type? Or maybe the thing was she was the only woman who was his type. He certainly loved her, felt about her like he’d never felt for anyone else, and she didn’t want anything from him. It felt so good to be around someone who didn’t want anything from him except his presence. Vanderwood shook his head at himself. It wasn’t the time to be thinking about that. “Alright, so try to hit those two cans for me. You have seven shots left in this gun.” He noticed the way she seemed so tense and lightly touched her shoulders. “And relax.”

Carefully, he moved her wealth of hair to the side to place her earplugs for her, putting in his own after and standing back to give her a questioning look with a thumbs-up. Cerise had let herself relax a little in response to his gentle touch. With her ear plugs in now, she took a deep breath, whispering to herself, although she couldn’t really hear it. “You can do this.” He had given her a thumbs-up, but it took her a minute to gather up the nerve to actually shoot the thing. She was able to successfully shoot the gun the first time, but the recoil did scare her, causing a yelp in surprise.

Vanderwood was watching her, a chuckle escaping him at the yelp. That was to be expected. Honestly, she looked really fucking good with a gun in her hands. Stop that. He had to reprimand himself, watching her next shot miss. Thanks to the ear plugs, he wasn’t able to hear her mumbling to herself. “Third time’s the charm.” She took another deep breath and tried to focus, her third shot finally hitting a can. Vanderwood was impressed, watching her relax and lower the gun, putting the safety back on before she turned to look at him with a big smile and a thumbs-up of her own.

That simple action made his heart swell a little, and Jesus, he really wanted to give her a kiss right then, gun and all. Even with the safety on, it was best to get his hands on the weapon too. His hand closed over the top of the gun, lowering her hands so that it was pointed to the ground as his other hand took her chin gently. Vanderwood bent his head to hers, not quite kissing her yet, by some miracle letting her close the gap if she wanted to. He was going to have to work on his self-control, clearly, but at least he had the clear thinking to let her make the final decision. Was he actually holding his breath as he waited?

Cerise had been searching for his approval, and she guessed this meant she had earned it. She could feel her heart in her throat, the fact that her ear plugs were still in only making it more obvious to her how hard and quickly her heart was beating. It was like he was waiting for an answer from her. He acted totally different now than what he had previously described himself to be. She might have been able to imagine it at first, but it was kind of hard to now. Cerise closed the gap between them, bringing her free hand up to touch his face. Now she was wondering how much it would take for her heart to actually beat out of her chest, because she was pretty sure that it was close to doing so.

His heart was pounding in his ears as she kissed him, partly because of the earplugs, but mostly because of the way he reacted to Cerise. Nothing in his life had prepared him for what it felt like to be with her. Vanderwood took his time in the kiss, removing the gun from her hand completely before he broke away, bumping her nose softly with his. She grinned and nuzzled him. Kissing him felt nice, and besides the first time, it always had so far.

He snorted softly. Vanderwood didn’t want to pull away from her at first, enjoying the feeling of her hand against his cheek, wanting to kiss her more, but she would still need time. In fact, he still needed time, to be sure he wasn’t going to hurt her. If he ever did something like what he’d done the first time they’d kissed, Vanderwood didn’t think he’d be able to forgive himself. He tucked the gun back in its place at the small of his back. “I guess I’ll have to get you your own gun. But for now, I believe I owe you a trip out somewhere you want to go.” Where would she want to go? All in all, he didn’t know too much about her, other than that she loved social media, Spanish dramas, and phones. She was definitely a phone nut. An adorable one at that.

She was realizing that she had completely forgotten to take a selfie with the gun, which probably would have annoyed him, now that she thought about it. Cerise could almost hear him scolding her, something like ‘Guns are not props!’ Oh well, she’d have another chance one day, especially… ”My own gun? Do you think they have they have them in pink? Oh! Or maybe even ones with cute designs on them?” She had seen such guns on aesthetic blogs, but she didn’t know if they were real or if it was possible to buy them like that if they were.

The second part of what he’d said only processed now. Somewhere she wanted to go? Right…”You did say I could pick out any accessories I wanted for my phone, so…” She latched herself to his arm and attempted to drag him to the car. “Let’s go and get some!” Cerise was always excited for anything that had to do with her phone, especially when it came to decorating it. A boring phone was not a happy phone. Besides, her phone needed to look as good in a mirror as she did.

Vanderwood hadn’t expected her to be so excited about a gun, and he honestly had no idea whether they came in pink. His had always been agency issue, but if she wanted a pink one or one with designs, he would find it for her. That was a little weird to him still, wanting to do something like that for her just because it would bring a smile to her face, even though he thought it was somewhat ridiculous. To see her excited like this warmed him in ways he’d never known were possible. From anyone else, her attempt to drag him would have been met with harsh resistance, but instead he feigned like she was dragging him along towards the car, all the time chuckling at how incredibly adorable she was.

It was obvious to him that she loved her phone and aesthetics. She was a beautiful woman, so it only made sense for her to have beautiful things. He furrowed his brows a little. Well, he sure as Hell wasn’t beautiful, but he’d get her whatever cute shit she wanted…As long as she didn’t try to put it anywhere near him, other than herself. He wanted her near him all the time. As they got in the car he nodded towards her as he pulled the car back out onto the road. “Find your phone store then.”

Cerise was quick to comply with his request. That was one thing she loved about Korea, it was so much easier to find stores like this than in France where she had to do online shopping to get what she wanted. By the looks of the pictures in the description on the website, it had everything she would be looking for. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on some cute new accessories. As attached as she was to her old ones, they were pretty dated. After giving Vanderwood the address, she busied herself with her cellphone. A short while went by before she stared at the screen perplexed. “Uh…what does it mean when someone says they want to ‘eat you like a cannoli’ and then ‘take you to Pound Town’? Where even is Pound Town?”

Everything was fine, going well, the world seemed beautiful, and then Cerise asked that. Vanderwood went through a surprising range of emotions in just a matter of a second: surprise, laughter, and then finally landing on anger. Obviously, that wasn’t directed at her, but whoever the Hell was sending her messages like that. “That’s not a place.” His eyebrow twitched. Already he was pulling over and holding out his hand. “Phone.” Whoever this was, he was in for a world of hurt. Why was he even so angry? It didn’t really matter. Vanderwood wanted this creep taken care of.

“Sounds like some sort of amusement park to me, but…honestly I’d rather not get eaten.” Cerise looked around confused as he pulled over. Her initial thought was that something was wrong, but when he held out his hand and requested that she hand over her phone, she placed it in his hand, trusting him not to throw it out the window. Why would he hurt it if he was taking her to get accessories for it, anyways? “Just, try not to hurt it or anything, okay?”

Vanderwood sighed heavily as he took her phone, trying to go for bluntness was much more difficult with a subject like this for some reason. He should be able to talk about it, out of all people, but his tongue twisted, finally untwisting at her request. “Cerise…he’s talking about sex. Of course I won’t hurt your phone.” Almost as soon as Vanderwood was looking at her phone, a few more creepy messages popped up along with a picture of the stranger’s lower extremities followed by a ‘like wut u see?’ with a ton of eggplant emojis. Previous messages revealed that the conversation had started out rather pleasant, the guy seemed genuinely interested in what she liked and where she was from. She had explained that she had moved to Korea from France and all the places she wanted to visit, prompting the creepy messages about ‘Pound Town.’

His eyebrow was really twitching now. This piece of shit was going to get it. The text speak was a little hard to follow other than that he’d been dealing with it from Seven for years. The eggplants he didn’t understand at all, but that picture. Vanderwood removed the gun from its place at the small of his back, taking a photo and sending it back. `Do u like wat u see` Typing like that hurt his perfectionist mind, but he tried to type like Cerise simply for the added shock value. Of course, that wasn’t enough to just threaten him with a gun, so he was already sending the guy’s number to Seven as he messaged one handed on his own phone. Guys like this annoyed him incredibly, even more so since this person was messaging Cerise. At least when he wanted a hook up, he was up front about it. This kind of guy went from ‘I care about you’ to ‘I want you in bed’ without warning and would always be on his shitlist.

Cerise had made a noise of disgust to Vanderwood’s explanation. “What a creep.” Watching in confusion as Vanderwood took out his gun and sent a picture, prompting her to giggle. It was cute in a way. She never quite knew how to handle these types of people anyway. It wasn’t like that had been the first time she’d gotten that type of message; that was a given with popular accounts. She had just never heard of those terms before. Cerise wouldn’t even have responded, but the guy had seemed so nice at first.

Apparently, the guy had liked what he saw and responded with another picture of himself. `I got sumthin else 4 u 2 shoot.` Vanderwood had a feeling his eyebrow was going to remain in a state of twitching for a while. He dialed Seven’s number, thankful for how quickly the redhead picked up. “That info I just sent you, troll your heart out for me.” Seven was exactly the perfect guy for this kind of thing. This was really right up his alley. “Also, if you could send his pictures to his mother for me, or anyone in his family really.” Vanderwood listened as the redhead mentioned something about putting the guy’s information on public boards. “Yeah. Go for it.”

Now the redhead was laughing, so excited that he was probably loud enough for Cerise to hear now. “You’re not usually this angry. Ooooo! Is it the girl? Good old Mary Vanderwood has a crush!” Vanderwod clenched his jaw. He was getting more irritated, but also, maybe embarrassed was the word. Blushing like a maniac was a new thing to him, and he wasn’t particularly fond of how it was happening right now. “Tell me more, she doesn’t seem like your type.” Vanderwood’s voice went a little gruff. “Just shut up and do it.” He hung up before typing out another reply to the creepy guy. `Have fun.`

Cerise watched him and raised an eyebrow. The guy on the other end of the phone sounded excitable. She knew of the guy, but had never actually heard or seen him. She just knew they stopped by his house to switch cars that one time. Was Vanderwod blushing? He was totally blushing. Cerise felt heat rise to her own cheeks. Great, she was too. “Yeah…so…” She stared at him intently as he pulled back onto the road after handing her phone back to her, heading towards the cell phone store again. “Mary? Youre real name is Mary?” Now she snickered a little. It was such a feminine name for someone like him.

That redhead was annoying as Hell. “It’s Marion. Pretty sure my dad was high when he named me.” Cerise was trying to contain her giggles and mostly failing. His name was essentially Marie in French. There was something hilariously beautiful about that. The giggling faded as she thought about the rest that Seven had said. “Um…so…what is your type?” That phrase ‘his type’ she’d heard it a lot in the short time they’d been around each other, and apparently she wasn’t it, and it was plaguing at the back of her mind.

With her next question, he sighed heavily again as he drove before biting his tongue. This was the kind of thing that had him itching for a cigarette. Thankfully, it wasn’t enough to have him needing a different kind of fix. Even the thought of girls who were supposedly ‘his type’ made him sick now. “I’ve never really been with a woman romantically. It’s always been escorts and hookups…so tall with tons of curves, I guess.” That came out a little weird. “It’s always been emotionlessly getting my fix. I don’t actually have any interest in any of them.” If he hadn’t been driving, he would have been rubbing at the back of his head. It felt so odd to have these types of conversations, but maybe they were necessary. “You…make me feel completely different.”

His type was…pretty much the polar opposite of what she was. She wasn’t tall at all, and she definitely didn’t have any curves to speak of. All her friends back home had been that type. As cute as she was, guys seemed to go for the girls who were well endowed and blessed with legs for miles. Cerise seemed to have gotten the short end of the stick, literally. He said he didn’t have any interest, and she understood that there was addiction involved, but she still couldn’t help but to feel…insecure? Disappointed? It wasn’t a normal feeling for her, she was very confident in her looks…so why did this feel so different? “Oh, h-hey! I can see the store down there!” A change of subject was definitely needed, and being in the store would be a great help.

(Hidden Scene of Vanderwood and Cerise shopping at the cell-phone store available as a patron.)

After an extensive bout of shopping, Cerise had created what was likely her cutest phone yet, and Vanderwood had essentially gone on what was his first ever date, he figured. That was such a weird thought as old as he was and as many women as he’d been with. Really, he’d rather not think about it and just start over with Cerise. Maybe that was something he could actually do now, start over?

His thoughts were broken as they made it to the hotel, and he helped her out as usual, but something seemed…off? Vanderwood couldn’t quite put his finger on it. His eyes searched the parking lot. Nothing strange there. As they walked inside, he kept just a little closer to her than he even usually would, and then he knew why he was on edge. One of his least favorite redheads, Jessica, was leaning over the lobby table, probably showing off her cleavage to the guy there and trying to gather information. She and Drawl must have been sweeping the different hotels. This wasn’t good.

Cerise had watched him with a confused expression as he tensed up in the parking lot. Did he have some sort of weird secret agent sense or something? She couldn’t help but feel a little tense too as she walked beside him. Vanderwood stopped Cerise by putting his hand lightly on her shoulder, but she was still startled enough to jump. At least she hadn’t yelped. Fear was swamping him, a feeling he was starting to get used to dealing with when it came to Cerise. He took his bag off his shoulder and removed the gun from the small of his back, placing it in there. “Cerise, I need you to listen very carefully.”

He made eye contact with her to make sure she was listening, and she nodded, the serious tone he was taking with her telling her that the situation must have been bad. Vanderwood took out the two hotel cards and placed them both in her hands before handing her the bag. “Go up to the room, and stay inside. Keep the gun in your hands. You should have four bullets left. If anyone tries to enter the room without saying…” His voice trailed off for just a moment as he grabbed the first word that came to mind. “Caleb, do not let them in.” So, using his brother’s name, not a bad time for that information really. No one else knew anyway. “I’ll be up there soon. Remember the name.”

What he wanted right now was to kiss her deeply, tell her that everything would be alright, but it wasn’t the time. “Caleb.” Cerise repeated it to him, indicating that she understood before she was making her way up to the rooms, Vanderwood watching her go to make sure she wasn’t followed. Obviously, she would be scared, and if he was being honest, he was too. For the first time in a long time, he had something to live for other than the fear of death. He wanted this not to be their first and last day out.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | VanderwoodxOC Cerise – Tagged | Relief

They sat like that for a while before he gave her a kiss goodnight and went back to bed, staring at the ceiling for a while, thinking of her with a warm feeling in his chest.

CeriseEmoji

***Look at this adorable MM gif of Cerise by our official artist and her creator – tumblr’s chaoticstarblossoms~~ Isn’t it precious????? No hidden scenes this week, just…*maybe there’s a kiss, maybe there isn’t*. I just hope Vandy makes up for what he did last chapter. Bad vandy, bad. GO #CHERRYWOOD ~Let’s Connect! FFC

Remember, this is a sequel to Vanderwood Backstory, and Cerise has a bio. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list for access to R-Rated Scenes and my monthly newsletter. You can support my writing on patreon and get access to my VIP Discord Server or other goodies like early chapter releases and hidden scenes.  Tagged Chapter Directory***

Cerise wasn’t sure how much time had passed of her staring at the ceiling, when she thought she heard her name from beyond the door. She threw her legs over the side of the bed and stood up, walking over to the door, putting her ear to it. Yeah…he was definitely there. “What do you want, Vanderjerk?” Vanderwood made a soft snort at the name.

Even angry, she was the same adorable woman. He was standing there, the door unlocked, but hoping that she would be the one to open it, even though he wouldn’t blame her for not doing so. “I want…to apologize. What I did…I can explain it, but that doesn’t make it okay.” Vanderwood clenched and unclenched his right hand, noting the way that his scars rippled with the motion. “Will you at least let me explain…I guess the explanation doesn’t really matter, because either way I was out of line, but…I’d still like you to know.”

Would she even want to hear it? Vanderwood was having an internal dilemma still. Was he really about to tell her about his past? Yeah…he needed to if he was going to explain what had happened. He just didn’t want her to think it was an excuse. Damn. It was just confusing, and he felt awful on many levels.

She stood there for a moment, contemplating on whether or not she wanted to let him in. At least he realized what he did was shitty and not okay. With a sigh, she unlocked her side of the door and opened it. Cerise would at least let him explain himself, even though she was pretty sure it would just turn into some lecture about how she didn’t know how to handle herself, and he wanted to prove that to her. Without a word, she turned to go and sit on the edge of her bed, grabbing a pillow to hold onto while she prepared to listen to him.

Vanderwood was beyond relieved that she’d opened the door, but his stress wasn’t over yet. He opted for sitting on the floor, not wanting to loom over her. Really, he felt much lighter, but now it was time for a long story, one that might make her dislike him more. At least then he wouldn’t be in some delusional state that things could work between them. “So…guess I’ll start from the beginning…” Her eyes had followed his figure as he moved to sit on the floor. She hugged her pillow tighter when he began to talk, ready to hear whatever dumb excuse he had for acting the way he had towards her.

He sighed, tracing the scars on his hand absentmindedly as he talked. “My father was a drug lord, and my mother…After my mother had my younger brother she got hooked on heroine and left to live with my aunt. Caleb, my brother…” The smallest of smiles crossed his face but it was so bittersweet. “He was a little shit…I raised him for the most part, even though we were only five years apart.” Okay, now time for the real pain. How did a person even brace themselves for that?

His tracing of his scars became more erratic, stopping and starting in strange little starts. Cerise noted the way his fingertip was rubbing over his right hand, but she wasn’t entirely sure why. He was giving her essentially his life story, and she was just trying to figure out how that fit in to the lecture. If he was going to gripe at her, he might as well get it over with already, but she sat patiently.

“When I was eighteen, I moved out, brought Caleb with me. I did some street fighting for money. After a while, he started staying over at his friends’ houses, but he knew he was always welcome at my place. He’d come sometimes, but I didn’t realize…I didn’t realize that he was on heroine.” His voice felt choked, a lump in his throat that was becoming difficult to talk past as memories and images flit through his head. “He…OD’ed in my bathroom at fifteen.” Now he paused, holding up his hand to show her the white gouges. “These scars…I kinda destroyed my living room window. Just to feel something…anything…other than the numbness, the anger, the guilt…” Only now did she really see the crisscrossing white lines, how some were deep and others raised. Somehow Cerise had ended up at the very edge of her bed, hanging on to every word of his story.

Alright, so, he’d gotten to the part that finally related to her. Vanderwood looked up to meet her gaze, her honey-gold eyes beautiful as ever, but gauging her reaction to what he was saying. “I went between feeling nothing and being angry…all the time. So, I just kind of…wandered around, doing street fights. Then I met a hooker at a bar. Sex…made me feel something, so I got addicted to it. I went to parties, messed around with as many women as I could. None of it meant anything to me except the euphoria of the high.” Cerise’s face seemed to be filled with shock, maybe something else too, but he couldn’t quite pinpoint it. “A while later, I tried to pick up an expensive escort, and she turned out to be an undercover agent. She’s the one who recruited me.”

Vanderwood paused to take a breath, rubbing the back of his head for a little while before continuing. “So…they got me under control for the most part. The agency really cleaned me up, but…any time I’m angry or tense, sometimes I just need that fix.” Cerise was just staring open-mouthed now. It explained why he was so rough around the edges. He’d been through so much, and he was still rather young.

She had always lived a rather privileged and cushy life, so she couldn’t even imagine what he’d gone through between losing his brother and dealing with an addiction. The explanation he was giving her was so much different than the one she’d conjured in her head, and she had been totally unprepared. Cerise had gone into this expecting to argue with him, but he was really throwing her for a loop now. There was no way she could claim to understand completely, but she was glad he was sharing this with her…despite the circumstances behind it.

It took Vanderwood a while to realize that she wasn’t about to start talking, and then he realized he hadn’t even truly apologized yet, just told the story. The relief of the weight of that story having been taken off him had gotten him rather confused. Vanderwood bit his tongue and took a breath before he continued. “I was so angry at myself for letting you out on your own, potentially putting you in danger…Cerise, I was panicking. I can’t think straight around you. You’re the only woman in my life who’s ever made me genuinely feel something. I was scared. I was angry. I needed an outlet. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it was all my fault.” The words were coming now, much quicker than he was meaning, just falling like he had no control.

“The way you make me feel about you…I can’t think straight, but I know you don’t deserve that kind of treatment. You deserve to be loved…be held at night and handled with gentleness. What I did to you, it makes me sick to think that I did that to someone I love.” Well shit…Love had just slipped out, but he couldn’t take it back now. He watched as Cerise’s grip on her pillow loosened, really staring at him with eyes wide now, lips slightly parted. This man…loved her? Is that what he had just said? She made him feel something? This tall, perpetually irritated, brooding guy? Her words were caught in her throat. Cerise wasn’t entirely sure how to respond, but she wasn’t mad anymore. She couldn’t be mad after all of that.

Okay so…she wasn’t saying anything still. Wasn’t turning him away, wasn’t fighting him. Cerise had genuinely listened, and even seemed to…maybe feel for him? The way she was staring at him, well it only made him babble on further. “You’re beautiful, you’re irritating, you’re hilarious, and absolutely adorable when you’re excited. Around you, my heart stops, then it skips…More than anything, I wish I could love you like you deserve…kiss you, hold you…the right way…” What the Hell was he doing? He should have left it as it was, but he was a complete mess around her.

Vanderwood was floundering. How could he fix this? He sure as Hell couldn’t let her just respond to all of that. “But…please don’t say you love me back. If you do, I won’t be able to go back. I’ve already put you in so much danger in the short time I’ve known you…but if you keep letting me be around you, spend time with you…I might not be able to leave you after this is all over.”

Cerise just…the way he was talking had her heart fluttering despite a heavy feeling on her chest. Did she love him? She’d only met him a week ago. She stared at him, her honey-gold eyes trying to search for an answer to her own feelings. Cerise couldn’t deny that she was attracted to him, that she probably had somewhat of a crush…but was it love? What she did know was that despite his demeanor, she did like for him to be around…even poked at his nerves to get a rise out of him, so his attention would be on her. Nobody had ever said they felt that way about her before, not genuinely. Cerise knew that she had never been this confused in her entire life, either.

He really felt he looked pathetic, sitting there on the floor of her hotel room, spilling his feelings and then trying to push her away again. Hell, he was fucking insane. This was the best way. She deserved the honesty, and she’d know why she couldn’t be around him. “But I do want to make it up to you…so just tell me what I can do.” Finally, something normal to say.

Before she could really even realize what she was doing, Cerise lowered herself to the floor in front of him, embracing the much larger man. “…You can stay. Please stay…” She knew that was probably the opposite of what he had wanted to hear, but she couldn’t help herself…not after everything he had told her. At first, Vanderwood tensed up, wanting to run away even as his heart did that now familiar backflip, but he relaxed and wrapped his arms around her as well. Cerise wanted him to stay? “I…don’t think I should…but I will.” He felt like he wanted to kiss her, but strangely it wasn’t like when he’d pressed her against the wall. Vanderwood didn’t understand himself. “Cerise…I think you should let go…”

What even was his life right now? His face was flushed, and it felt like little strings were connecting him to her even more so than before. It really wasn’t a good idea to hold her like this, and yet, he didn’t want to let go. For Cerise, the feeling she had when he said that he would say was indescribable, it felt like she had been holding her breath and had just been able to breathe again. She felt comforted and right sitting there with his arms wrapped around her. As soon as he suggested that she let go of him, her response to that was to only hold him tighter. “Don’t wanna…”

She was so obstinate, and his heart was just a goner at this point. Vanderwood closed his eyes and turned his face towards her, nuzzling into her hair. Cerise smelled like heaven. He held her closer, mumbling softly. “I want to kiss you…” His face filled harshly with red. “Not…like before. I just want to….kiss you, the right way. So really…you should let go.” Why could he never make his words work when he was with her? Even at that, kissing her again, without it being a part of his addiction, that wasn’t a particularly good idea with how attached he already was to her.

Cerise was lost in her own head. He wanted to kiss her again…the right way? What even was the right way to kiss someone? Certainly not what he did before. Her mind was screaming at her, but she pulled away and let go anyways, looking up and into his eyes. “…So, you plan to give me a proper first kiss this time?” She was blushing madly. Why couldn’t she learn to not talk? Her lack of filter was going to be the end of her one day.

They were both flustered now. “Is that a yes?” That just made the blush on her face grow, her heart pounding in her ears. Vanderwood was thinking her eyes were so beautiful, and he couldn’t look away from her. He slid his hand along her cheek, leaning forward, their lips so close they were nearly brushing. What was he doing? He stroked her lower lip with his thumb. “It doesn’t count as a first kiss unless you kiss back anyway…” His heart was doing acrobatics in his chest, and his breath stilled, his voice low and barely above a whisper. Everything in him wanted to kiss her, but he wouldn’t until he had her answer.

Cerise felt like her heart was going to escape her chest with how hard it was beating. He was so close to her again, and it felt so different from before. The way he had slid his hand along her cheek, the way his thumb brushed over her bottom lip, it gave her butterflies in her stomach. It was such a bizarre but not unwelcomed feeling for her. She finally nodded, just a small motion, not trusting her dumb mouth not to say something stupid again.

Vanderwood pressed his lips to hers then, holding her to him by the hand on her cheek and wrapping his other arm around her again. He was taking his time, being slow, gentle, in a way he never had before. This felt right. This was what she deserved, and this was what he wanted. Everything in him felt so alive. Could he ever let her go now. Damn it, he wanted to be with her forever, but he would do everything in his power to protect her and keep her safe. She was the only thing, the only person he needed right now. There was no pain, he needed no cigarettes, no sex, just this kiss.

For Cerise, it just felt so different. She had zero experience to call upon, so she literally had no idea what she was doing or how she was supposed to feel, but the feeling she had as he kissed her gently was nothing short of amazing. What was she supposed to do with her hands? It felt most natural to let them wrap around his torso, so that’s what she did. She had watched people kiss so many times in person or on TV, but never imagined that it would feel this good or this right. She was sure her response to him gave away her blatant inexperience. Cerise talked a big game, but in reality, she had no clue. All she could really do was go with the flow and do what felt right.

She seemed so unsure of herself, which initially made him worry, but Cerise was kissing him back and had wrapped her arms around him once more. Vanderwood slid his hand from her cheek into her hair, forcing himself to keep things from going further, and he found it…surprisingly easy to do. But he couldn’t keep kissing her forever, as much as he wanted to. He didn’t think she was ready for anything more than this simple chaste kiss, so he pulled back and rested his head against hers. “Think I’m forgiven?” Even after he pulled away from her, the fluttery feeling was still there, and she knew she was still probably super red. “…For now. Vanderjerk.” She laughed a little at her own joke, happy she hadn’t completely shut down.

Cerise enjoyed this proximity. She had never gotten this close to anyone before, and it felt nice. Vanderwood thought it had been a really bad idea to kiss her. There was no way he wanted to let her return to her normal life without him. That wasn’t something he could prevent, though, not without massive potential consequences. And yet…Vanderwood didn’t give a shit…He would gladly face those consequences if it meant staying with Cerise. As long as they would go over him and not her. “I don’t think I could ever leave you now…” His voice came out much softer and quiet than he was used to. Was he scaring her? Probably…but he’d decided to be honest with her, so that’s what he was doing.

Her heart was beating faster again. “…Who said I wanted you to?” At this point, she was undeniably attached to this man, in such a short amount of time. Was that how it was supposed to happen? She didn’t know, but she wasn’t complaining. Vanderwood snorted softly, stroking her hair. Was that a normal thing to do? Her blush was so adorable. He kissed her again, soft and slow, though he broke away a little quicker that time as he couldn’t help but graze his tongue along her lower lip.

The second kiss that came was unexpected and sent her into a small daze. He was so gentle and nothing like she had expected, and what did he do there at the end, oh God. It was a pleasant surprise for her though, and the thought of someone who was as rough around the edges as him being gentle and affectionate made her heart melt. She was definitely smitten. There’d been crushes before that had led nowhere, but nothing like this.

His heart was going haywire, and even just a kiss like that felt better than anything he’d ever experienced. But he didn’t want to go too far with her. “I guess you’re stuck with me…And I will take you out somewhere tomorrow. I’ll…teach you something first, but…then we can go wherever you want.” Cerise shifted so she could hug him again, enjoying the warm tingly feeling it gave her. “Guess so, lucky you, huh?” She teased and nuzzled into him slightly. “Teach me something, though? Like what? Neat secret agent stuff?”

“Something like that…yeah.” He tightened his arms around her. What he was going to teach her was for all intents and purposes something she should never have had to learn, but if he was going to keep her safe, it was imperative that she knew how, just in case – especially now. Vanderwood wasn’t exactly sure what the status of their relationship was right now, but any sort of relationship with him meant hurting her would be more fun for Drawl.

It was so strange to him, holding her like this, feeling how warm she was in his arms, and the way they were so comfortably chatting now. He pressed a soft kiss to the top of her head, awkwardly, unsure of what was normal or okay. “I am most definitely a lucky man…” They sat like that for a while before he gave her a kiss goodnight and went back to bed, staring at the ceiling for a while, thinking of her with a warm feeling in his chest.

Cerise had enjoyed being there with him so much that she almost hadn’t wanted him to go. That night after he had left, she had trouble going to sleep. She just couldn’t stop thinking about everything that had happened that day…about him. Cerise brought her hands up to her lips for a second time that day, a blush spreading over her features as she recalled the feeling. Cerise tried to play around with her phone, but not even that could distract her from all the thoughts whirling around in her head. Sleep wasn’t going to come easy, but eventually it did.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | VanderwoodxOC Cerise – Tagged | Secret Agent Man

“Let’s see how long you can handle…this!” She pulled up a song on a music app and set it to repeat on the loudest volume setting, putting it by the door. “I hope you like this song, hon~” Cerise laughed, making sure he would be able to hear it through the door. “Oh, who am I kidding, of course you would!’

***No hidden scenes this week, but….I think you’ll enjoy the comedy of this chapter, even if it ends on a bit of a…sour note? ~Let’s Connect! FFC

Remember, this is a sequel to Vanderwood Backstory, and Cerise has a bio. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list for access to R-Rated Scenes and my monthly newsletter. You can support my writing on patreon and get access to my VIP Discord Server or other goodies like early chapter releases and hidden scenes.  Tagged Chapter Directory***

Cerise had spent the next few days catching up on her favorite telenovela. She couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but she enjoyed it nonetheless, imagining it was a bit like being addicted to crack…except not really. Rarely did she see Vanderwood beyond when he would bring her something to eat, but he would never stay. Cerise had tried inviting him a few times to play a game or watch a movie or just something, but to no avail. It was getting to the point where Cerise was beginning to crave real actual social interaction with actual people, and she felt like she was going to go stir crazy in that room when the evening of the fourth day rolled around. “Hey!” She called out, seemingly talking to a door, if there’d been an onlooker. “Vanderwoooood!” Now she knocked on the door, waiting for a response from him.

The knock and call for him had his heart doing that stupid flip thing again. He’d been trying to keep his distance, as much as he wanted to join her for a game or a movie, it just wasn’t a good idea, not with the way his heart jumped when she talked to him. Mostly, he’d kept to himself, going through intel reports on Jessica and Drawl to brush up on their habits and fighting styles, doing some minor paperwork, and making sure to check in with boss that he’d officially been given the counter-hit job. Of course, only he and Seven knew about Cerise. It wasn’t good to involve a civilian where the agency was concerned. It was really fortunate in this case that Drawl and Jessica had a personal vendetta against him. Vanderwood was planning on killing the two, whether he’d gotten the counter-hit or not anyway, simply because that’s what it would take to keep Cerise safe.

He went to the door, internally groaning at himself and his reactions to her before responding, just another person seemingly talking to a door. “What’s wrong Cerise? Do you need something?” She typically left him alone other than when he brought food, so it was possible something was amiss. The thought wasn’t a comforting one. Vanderwood opened the door for her, eyes quickly sweeping her room for anything, but everything seemed the same, nothing out of place except the beautiful and very petite woman standing there.

Cerise was just happy that he’d come to the door. Not that she’d been expecting him to ignore her or anything. He seemed to be scanning the place over for any trouble, but the only real trouble was that she was so bored. Cerise put on the most pitiful look she could manage and tugged at his shirt. “Yeah…” She started, making sure to sound the part too, so far so good. “I’m really lonely and bored…will you please let me out? I wanna go do something fun.” Cerise wasn’t sure he would fall for her dramatics, but it was certainly worth a try. All for the good of her sanity! She wasn’t above a little trickery.

Vanderwood was…Lord, he was choking on air. It took all of his concentration just to figure out how to talk again with a puppy dog look like that staring up at him. How was he supposed to respond to a look like that, and her tugging on his shirt? What even were words? How even did you use them? He internally slapped some sense into himself, biting his tongue. It simply wasn’t a good idea for her or even him to go out right now, in fact, they should be limiting their contact with other human beings as much as possible. Anyone who saw their faces was at risk of leading Jessica and Drawl right to them, and if they were caught on anyone else’s cameras and posted to the internet, hello facial recognition software and geotags.

She was lucky he was even letting her be on social media, but then again, it was best if no one in her life thought anything was going on and tried to find her at her apartment. By now, it would have been cleaned of any evidence of a struggle, and his blood on the floor, but it would still be a major problem if she had any visitors. Damn…he needed to give her a good answer, puppy dog eyes and all. Vanderwood sighed and leaned his arm against the doorframe. If only they could watch a movie or do something together. Even the thought was overstepping bounds. “I’m sorry, but it’s going to be a while before I let you out. Can’t you find something else to do? Instafram some selfies or something?” Vanderwood didn’t really know what he was talking about. Social media wasn’t something he used personally, especially the picture services.

“A while?” Now she was really pouting, and that really wasn’t good for his heart. “How long is a while? There’s only so much I can post or take selfies about how bored I am before my followers get bored too, ya know?” Cerise sighed and let go of his shirt, still looking up at him. “There’s nothing interesting to do in a hotel room.” I can think of a few things. His internal response was very much an unwanted thought.

Vanderwood just looked at her for a moment before he could find some sort of proper response. “A while is a while. I’m preparing to do a hit, you know. I can’t have our position compromised before I want it to be.” Honesty, as uncomfortable as it was, was what she needed to hear, and what he’d promised himself to give her to make keeping her trust easier, and maybe even hopefully scare her away from him. “Until they’re dead, the likelihood of me taking you out to do anything is pretty slim.” He realized his oversight a little too late, mentally griping at himself that even afterwards he wouldn’t be taking her out to do anything. That wrenched a little at his heart, but he shook his head and pushed off from the door frame. “Start learning another language, or find a game on your phone. I have intel to go through.”

Cerise huffed, clutching her phone in her hand. If he was going to be difficult about it, so was she. It wasn’t like she was asking much, just to wander around the hotel or something. Anything was better at this point than being stuck between the same four walls. When he pushed off from the door frame, she saw her chance. Now she ducked under him and crossed into his room, planting herself on the floor, looking up at him with her arms crossed. By the look of things, all of his work was in here, so it wasn’t like he could just leave. “Guess I’ll just have to hang out here, then.”

God fucking damn it. Her entering his room, well, that was exactly the opposite of what he needed. It was frustrating enough the way he reacted to her whenever he brought her food, even in the simplest of conversation his heart going wild, but now she was in his room. It wasn’t good for him, especially with as long as it had been since his last fix and how irritated he was. That thought didn’t help him any either, because it just made him feel guilty, which irritated him more. Vanderwood had a few choices, pick her up and place her back in her room, potentially making it worse or dissipating what trust they did have between each other, or just dealing with it.

The latter was probably the better option. He was somehow on the road to a recovery thanks to her, not even thinking about grabbing a cigarette anymore. Maybe if he clung to the thought of her long enough he’d be able to kick his bad habits completely. No, probably not. Somehow, he had a feeling that when she went back to her old life, his old life would seem that much more fascinating. Vanderwood closed the door before walking past her to sit on his bed. She was so fucking cute when she was being obstinate, and it honestly made him feel a little angry, certainly tense. He wasn’t angry at her, though, just his own reactions to her. Just don’t touch her, whatever you do. “Find something on the TV then.” At least if she was watching TV, they wouldn’t have to talk much.

Seriously? She was blinking at him in confusion now, tilting her head a bit. Cerise had expected much more protesting from him. Was she disappointed or relieved? At least arguing with him would be something to do. The remote was on the nightstand, seemingly untouched. Did this man not watch TV…? Cerise stood up to retrieve it and then took a place on the floor, at the foot of the bed so it was easier to see the television and have something to lean against.

Shortly after turning on the TV, she found exactly what she wanted to watch. It was a show about a handsome player doctor, a pretty smokin’ lady janitor, and their romance despite all the protests from their families…or at least she thought that was what it was about. Cerise honestly had no idea what anyone was saying, but she watched intently as what appeared to be a cat fight between two women played out on the screen. Even though she was stuck watching TV again, she took comfort in the fact that she wasn’t completely alone.

He’d raised an eyebrow at her show choice, but wasn’t saying anything. Did she even speak Spanish? She was watching the show rather intently, so he couldn’t be entirely sure. It wouldn’t be completely surprising if she did, considering she at least spoke Korean and French. Surely, she could speak another language. Vanderwood snorted softly as the doctor character accidentally called the maid fat. Why was he actually getting into this? He stretched and laid across his bed, Cerise right in front of him at the foot of it. Well, he shouldn’t have done that, but it did feel better for his back. Vanderwood broke the silence out of curiosity, having noticed that she didn’t react to the ‘fat maid’ thing at all. “Do you even know what they’re saying?”

She took her eyes off of the TV and peeked her head over the food of the bed to look at him, not having actually expected him to talk. “Nope!” Cerise now laughed a little, realizing how silly it sounded to watch something she didn’t understand, but hey. A guilty pleasure was a guilty pleasure. “…Do you?” He had snorted at something, probably something to do with the show, unless he was having an interesting conversation in his head.

“Maybe about half of what they’re saying…yeah.” Her laugh had his heart twisting. Why was she so perfect? This one girl was the only one who’d ever made him feel this way. Vanderwood bit his tongue before he explained what little he’d gleaned from the show so far. “The doctor guy accidentally called the maid lady fat, who it turns out is pregnant. That other lady is the doctor’s wife, and the maid just told her about the baby.” Really these shows were incredibly dramatic, and he wasn’t sure he understood why anyone would watch it, whether they understood Spanish or not.

The way Cerise was now looking between him and the TV had him starting to translate what the maid was saying next, but then his face filled with color and he just wasn’t able to finish the sentence. “So, she’s telling the wife all about…nevermind.” Cerise frowned at him. “All about what?” Now she was turning to look towards the TV again and try to guess at it. Whatever the maid was telling the wife, she looked really upset and offended. He had begun to tell her and now she was just dying to know, but it looked like he wasn’t talking.

Wait…was…was he not telling her on purpose? Because she forced her way into his room? She hadn’t seen his massive blush thanks to the TV screen, but Cerise pouted again and climbed up to plant herself beside him now, prodding at him with her pointer finger. “Heeey, Vanderwood, you meanie. Tell me!” Jesus Christ. That made him tense up. What the maid had described was bad enough on its own, but having to tell her with her right next to him?…Could he even control his own mind from slipping to thinking about Cerise doing?…Nope. He mentally slapped himself and bit down on his tongue. Maybe he did need a cig…and a hooker…like he needed air. This was far too much for him. Cerise wasn’t going to stop unless he gave her something, so he tried to get his words worked around enough that he didn’t have to directly translate it. “Alright…so…she described….rather specifically…how that baby was conceived.” That wasn’t too direct, and she’d get the picture probably, or so he hoped. Now he scooted a little away from her, but the bed was only so big.

“Oh!” Cerise said it like the entire world suddenly made sense to her. “So that’s why the wife is so mad.” Now she nodded, pleased with his answer, but not moving from her spot. “You know, I didn’t even know until just now that that was even his wife.” She paused as she watched the TV, one woman slapping the other, causing Cerise to unconsciously wince. “I just…kinda figured she was some salty lady who liked him too. Now the jealousy makes sense.”

Vanderwood snorted softly. “Yeah…things tend to make shit ton of sense when you speak the language of the show you’re watching.” So that was a little douchey of a response, but he was rather a douchey guy most of the time. There was something oddly intimate about watching a ridiculous telenovela with her, and it wasn’t helping him with how tense he felt at all. Now he pushed out of bed to stretch. Maybe exercising would relieve him a little bit. “I’m going to work out for a bit, if you want to go back to your room.” Out of habit, he’d started to pull off his shirt before thinking better of it, noticing the way her eyes widened. He’d at least let her decide whether she wanted to leave first.

Her response was quick, moving to make a grab for a pillow and hanging onto it. “And suffer eternal loneliness again? Never.” She had finally achieved some sort of extended human interaction after what seemed like forever, so she might as well make herself comfortable, because she didn’t plan on moving. Vanderwood returned to taking off his shirt again then, and Cerise’s eyes only continued to widen. Was he really taking his shirt off…right now? Oh no….Don’t say something stupid, don’t say something stupid. “Besides, I think I found a more interesting show.” Her sing song voice didn’t give away the internal screaming as she berated herself. Dammit, Cerise, you had one job!

Fuck. He was too busy internally dying to notice that she was too, as his face lit up with blush again. Vanderwood had literally never blushed around any woman before her. Hell, even in high school when he’d gotten kissed by a classmate, nothing. He groaned at himself internally before he tossed his shirt towards his bag, turning his back to her and stretching for the ceiling, revealing his half demon, half angel wing tattoo, the exit wound scar from the bullet he’d taken for Seven marring a few feathers on the right side.

Cerise felt like her brain had just stopped functioning, and she pretty much lost all interest in whatever was going on on the television. He was really muscular, which made sense considering his line of work. She could feel the heat rising in her cheeks as she just kept looking. It was impossible to tear away her gaze really, now noting the various scars he had, which again wasn’t so surprising. Cerise almost wanted to ask how he’d gotten them, but she didn’t think he’d answer her even if she asked.

Was it rude to keep staring? Probably…but she just couldn’t help it! While his back was turned, she snapped a picture, making sure to zoom in slightly to get a good shot of his tattoo. Vanderwood didn’t notice, thinking it was easy enough to reach the ceiling, being as tall as he was in a country that was mostly built for shorter people. Unfortunately, it wasn’t like Seven’s house where he had installed the bar hanging from his ceiling to use for pullups and sit-ups. On the road, he had to do everything on the floor. If there was one thing he missed while on the road, it was that bar. Now, he got on the ground and started doing sit-ups, trying to pretend that a beautiful woman wasn’t watching him.

She fumbled a little with her phone when he went to do sit-ups, hiding that she had just taken a picture of him. It was almost too much now, and she had to bury her head in the pillow she was holding, otherwise he was going to notice how red she was. Probably red enough to put a tomato to shame. Vanderwood was just happy that she wasn’t watching him anymore. Yet, he found that strangely disappointing too. He finished up his sit-ups and switched to push-ups, first both arms and then one handed, needing to do the full reps on each hand. Had he caught a glimpse of her blushing as she nuzzled more into that pillow? She certainly seemed interested in that thing. Did it smell like him? That was a weird thought to have. What kind of a weirdo thought like that? Or was that normal for people who had crushes? Shit fuck. Best not to dwell on the fact that he had a crush…or whatever.

Now Cerise peeked out over the pillow. He was still going at it. She at least admired his dedication to keep his body in shape even while they were stuck in a hotel. Cerise probably wasn’t doing herself any favors by hiding in the pillow…In fact, she was probably being all the more obvious. This was definitely a lot better than being trapped in her room though…Her eyes flickered to where he was again. Yep, definitely a lot better. She couldn’t help but to…take another picture. Her hands moved automatically like it was the most natural thing in the world for her as she quickly, and not so inconspicuously, took another picture of him.

Had she just? Vanderwood stopped and just stared for a moment. Of course she had. He groaned, and sat up, giving her a look. “Didn’t I ask you to stop taking pictures of me?” Vanderwood had only just started to feel better, and now he was irritated again, pushing off the floor to make a grab for her phone. Cerise squeaked and fell backwards when he reached for her phone. Her first instinct was to smack him in the face with the pillow she had been holding, which promptly fell to the floor as soon as she chucked it, but she made sure to hold her phone away from him so that he couldn’t grab it.

He ended up crouched on top of her, having swatted the pillow she’d thrown at him away. Now he’d managed to grab the phone as well as her hand, but then he looked down at her face which was literally only inches from his. Vanderwood’s face heated up quickly, and he let go of her, sitting back on his haunches and holding his hands up like she was pointing a gun at him. The gun, was just how damn attractive she was to him. What the Hell? He dropped his hands and sighed. “Can you please not?”

It took a second for Cerise to recover. He had been so close. Now she sat up and looked at him. Somehow, he looked annoyed, but he was still…blushing…No matter how harshly her brain told her not to, she leaned forward towards him. She was sure her face was red too, but this was just too perfect of a moment. “Not what?” Cerise all but purred, dangerously close to him now. “This?” She waited until she was basically right up on him to take another picture while his blush seemed to be at its maximum. Payback for not letting her out of her room for all that time.

Fucking Hell. It was taking everything in him not to just grab her and kiss her right then, particularly after she took that picture. Of course, then it would have been out of anger, the need for a fix. Wait…would it have not been that way before the photo? All he knew right now was that he couldn’t have Cerise playing around in his room anymore. He took a deep breath before he stood, picking her up over his shoulder and taking her to the door.

Cerise didn’t have time to respond before she was slung over his shoulder. “Hey!” She protested and struggled a bit before he opened her door and set her down. He was quick to close and lock the door then, talking to her through it. “Have a good night, Cerise. Dinner will be soon.” She was probably all sorts of upset with him, which hurt a bit. He just couldn’t be around her right now, not with what he was wanting to do. Vanderwood could hear her complaints through the door. “Vanderwood, you meanie! It’s only six pm!”

She knew that he could hear her, but he wasn’t responding. It wasn’t like she had been asking to roam the city or anything. Now she tried knocking, no answer still. “Ugh.” Cerise huffed and sat on the bed, hugging one of her own pillows as an idea dawned on her. If he was going to be like this, she was going to make his life Hell until he decided to finally let her out. “Let’s see how long you can handle…this!” She pulled up a song on a music app and set it to repeat on the loudest volume setting, putting it by the door. “I hope you like this song, hon~” Cerise laughed, making sure he would be able to hear it through the door. “Oh, who am I kidding, of course you would!’ And that marked the start of a three-hour loop of the song Secret Agent Man.

He ignored her at first, chuckling a little at how cute she was and then grumbling at himself for thinking that. After a few rounds of the song, he was starting to get irritated. Then the first hour passed, and he tried working out again, but that didn’t help. Next, he attempted to listen to music with his earbuds in for the second hour, but that wasn’t working, because now he could still hear the song in his head. Finally, the third hour rolled around, and he unlocked the door, opening it and pointing towards the door to the hotel hallway. “Turn that God damn music off, and you can leave. Please leave.”

Cerise had heard him shuffling around and walked over to the door. Was he finally unlocking it? Her suspicions were confirmed when she saw his figure appear in the doorway, looking incredibly irritated, his eyebrow twitching like crazy. She did feel a little bad, but she’d won her freedom fair and square, mostly. He didn’t have to tell her twice before she scooped up her phone and left out the door with a song songy “See ya, Vandy!” Cerise didn’t trust herself or anyone around enough to actually leave the hotel, but there was a bar attached. Maybe she could go and meander around there? She certainly wasn’t going to that horrible diner restaurant again. It didn’t take her long to find the bar, the ‘bouncer’ seeming to have dozed off, allowing her to easily get in. Much to her delight, the place was lively. This would do well in curing her boredom for now.

It hadn’t taken long before she got multiple requests to buy her a drink, which she rejected. She wasn’t dumb enough to accept a drink from any random person in there. She wandered around the bar area, honey gold eyes sweeping the place. There were men and women everywhere of all shapes and sizes, the rug a slightly different pattern than the one on the floor of the hotel, and the lights much dimmer. It wasn’t a dance bar by any means, which was a little sad, but she didn’t have her dance pants anyway, and she wasn’t about to allow for any accidental up-skirt pictures. The bar itself was your standard type, a hardwood bar top and the typical barstools. There were tables with chairs all around the place too, but for now, she was staying away from that in favor of the bartender who was calling her over to have a seat at the bar.

“I’ll make you something on the house, if you promise not to tell my boss, that is.” He seemed nice enough, and at least she could watch him make the drink too. Cerise gave him her signature wink. “I won’t tell if you don’t!” It was always best not to accept drinks from sleazy guys unless they were buying it for you right at the bar, and it went straight into your own hands. She kept a close eye on him, making sure he wasn’t doing anything fishy. He was decent looking enough and deserved something for his efforts in wooing her, right? “So, are you here with anyone?” The light flirting she was giving him was of course making it easier for him to bring up conversation, and she didn’t falter in coming up with the backstory Vanderwood had given her. “Just a family friend, showing me around Korea. I’ve been in France and only just got back.”

He nodded, and she noted the way his smile seemed to get a little bigger. So, he probably thought he was getting somewhere. Cerise was really only being polite, but she did enjoy the attention, at least when her lack of filter wasn’t making her internally scream. As he handed the drink to her, he was about to ask her for her number, but instead his eyes grew wide as this tiny woman downed the drink with seemingly no effort. Cerise uttered a thanks and was off again, taking in the scenery of the place a little more, the mass of plants that seemed to get thicker and more…foresty, the deeper she walked into the place.

Weaving through the crowd of people, she came across this rather large and burly man who was loudly boasting that nobody would be able to out drink him. Well…they’d see about that, wouldn’t they? “Excuse me?” Cerise approached him with a smile, and the crowd around him stilled from grumbles to incredulous whispers. “I’d like to challenge you.” Instantly the man, along with his buddies, began laughing, obviously thinking that she was joking, causing her to pout. “I’m serious, you know!” Cerise stared the man down, a fierce look in her eyes that actually made him, as well as his buddies, quiet down.

The biker gulped a little. Damn, this tiny lady had a lot of fire in her. He motioned for her to sit down. “Okay, girly. But if I win…” He thought about it for a moment before a chuckle escaped him. “If I win, you have to go on a date with me.” Now it was Cerise’s turn to laugh. “You won’t win though. When I win, you have to buy everyone here a drink.” The man had a twinkle in his eyes, his rosy red cheeks not indicative of blushing, but he had the cash and now the crowd was excited for this little gal to win more than for him. Well then. A good challenge indeed.

For a few minutes, Vanderwood had just lied in bed, praising, for once, whatever God existed for mercy once the song stopped playing in his head. How long had he even been lying there? That’s when he realized what he’d done. He’d let Cerise out without him. Cerise who had a target on her back thanks to him. Cerise who might have been grabbed by a pimp in this very hotel if it wasn’t for him. This was not okay. Vanderwood was immediately panicking, far more than he usually would when he’d made a mistake.  He had to find her quickly and make sure she was safe.

As he left the hotel room, he couldn’t stop thinking about it. Vanderwood had promised to protect her, and he meant to, no matter how confusing his feelings were for her or how much she annoyed the crap out of him. She didn’t deserve to get hurt just because he was an ass. Granted, her little game had been…still, he shouldn’t have fallen for it. He was supposed to be keeping her safe.

Vanderwood made his way down the stairs of the hotel, trying to gauge where she would go. Hopefully she was still in the hotel. Since she’d mentioned earlier that she didn’t want to leave it, there was a good chance. He figured that she wouldn’t go to the restaurant again, but the only other thing this hotel had was…the bar. The bar. His heart stilled. She could get into a Hell of a lot of trouble in a bar. He was quick to find it, slipping past the ‘bouncer’ and curling his lip in disgust at the sleeping form. What a useless prick, sleeping on the job. Now his eyes scanned the bar area, hard to do thanks to the swathe of other bodies.

Apparently, it was more difficult to find a peach-haired petite shorty in the crowd than he had anticipated. As long as she was here and not out of the hotel…She had to be here. Panic was making his heart race and his body feel colder the more he had to search. Cerise made it so hard for him to think, and it made all the sense in the world to him why you weren’t allowed to be attached to people in the agency. He needed to stop and breathe. A slow and deep breath was hard to take in the midst of panic, but he managed, and once he had, it was much easier to scan the room. That’s when he heard her voice over a throng of people and laughter as he made his way into the more foliaged area of the bar. ‘I’m serious, you know!’

What was she doing? Vanderwood had to push through a crowd of people to finally see her…challenging a man who looked like he was from a biker gang to a drinking match. He was there in a flash, his hand on her shoulder. “We are going back upstairs. Now.” His eyebrow was twitching up a storm and he gave everyone a look, his normally bright brown eyes dark and dangerous as they met the eyes of the burly man who had stood as though to start something with him, the look causing the man to slowly sit back down.

Cerise had jumped at the hand on her shoulder and now turned to look up at him. “Vanderwood?” She thought she had irritated him enough to at least give her a few hours out. Vanderwood wasn’t really paying attention to her as he swept Cerise over his shoulder as effortlessly as he had in the hotel room, taking her out of the bar. Cerise protested, struggling against him to no avail “Hey! This isn’t fair, you said I could go out!” She stopped struggling when she realized it was getting her nowhere and just groaned the entire time until he finally placed her on her feet again once they reached the stairs.

Vanderwood was the first to speak, his voice rather grim and dark. “I’ll take you somewhere tomorrow. Just. No. Bars.” Everything in him felt tight and angry. How could he have made a mistake like that? He didn’t even want to think about what a bunch of drunk men could have done to her. That had him thinking what he wanted to do to her. Now he was just disgusted with himself in every way a person could imagine. He needed a fuck, and he needed it bad, or he was going to go insane, but he wasn’t going to make it her. Cerise was just glowering at him, feeling mildly irritated herself. The promise of going somewhere the next day hadn’t even seemed to help. He’d begun to start up the stairs, but she was now running up ahead of him, a few steps above him, putting them at eye level. “You know, I could have taken that guy.”

His eyebrow twitched and he bit at his tongue, a sharp and angry inhale before he started to gripe at her, like he’d done on many an occasion with Seven and Caleb, the very few. “And tell me, Cerise, what exactly would you have done when he and his drunk friends decided they wanted to take you home? What would you have done if one of those drunkards decided he wanted to find out what you look like naked?” He lived in a world of scumbags, sociopaths, and murderers. At least two of those categories included himself. Vanderwood was absolutely pissed at himself, and now the flood gates of anger had opened.

It was far too easy to pick her up and press her against the wall. “You cannot tell me, that you can take them, that you would have been fine on your own.” He’d been trying to make a point about her physical strength in comparison to his and to those men, but…even the look of surprise on her face didn’t register for him now. Her face was so close, and he was so done. Vanderwood kissed her hard, the unrelenting and emotionless kind he was used to, not even in control of what he was doing, but just searching for relief.

God fucking damn it. No. No, no no. Guilt and shame flooded him like a dam had broken, and he felt sick to his stomach. This wasn’t what he wanted at all. It took him a moment still before he could break away, and that only made it worse. Now he was just stuck staring at her in disbelief. What had he done? He’d treated her like one of his whores and it felt like his heart was actually collapsing in on itself. She deserved so much more than that, so much more than him. He loved her too much to want that for her. Love? What was even happening right now?

Cerise hadn’t let her glare falter except for just a brief moment of surprise when he’d picked her up. She was pissed, and it only got worse from there. His kiss sent an entire shock through her system that her brain couldn’t quite catch up with. He hadn’t been gentle at all…Was he trying to teach her a lesson? About how easy it would be for someone to just take what they wanted from her? What a shitty way to demonstrate. And now he was just staring at her? What did he want her to say? ‘Oh, you have a point, I see the error of my ways now, please lock me back up?’ When she was finally out of her confused daze, she frowned, speaking in a calm voice, despite how angry she was. “Take me back to my room. Now.” She would have just gone herself, but he was the one with the key card.

Vanderwood didn’t say anything. There was nothing to say. He just put her down, walking silently to the room and letting her in. Everything was crushing in on him. More than anything, he wanted to apologize, tell her he hadn’t meant for that to happen, that she deserved better. The words wouldn’t come, and besides that, he needed to get away from her for now, relax, get himself under control, if he even could. Any trust she’d had for him was probably gone now. He realized that he was staring at her closed door. She’d slammed it as she went into the room.

Cerise was curled up hugging the fluffiest pillow she could find, her head buried in it. She felt like she wanted to cry, but she wasn’t going to allow herself to. “What made him think that was okay…” Now she mumbled to herself before flopping onto her back and picking up her phone, trying to occupy herself. She found that even that wasn’t making her feel any better. Sighing, she brought her fingers to her lips…That had been the first time she’d ever been kissed…and it had been wasted on some stupid lesson. “Jerk…”

After he’d finally bothered to enter his own room, Vanderwood just sat on the ground, placing his back against her door. Why couldn’t he control himself? Even with her. She was the most wonderful thing he’d had in his life for years. Cerise made him feel more than he had in years. He’d known he hadn’t had a chance with her, shouldn’t even have thought of the option, knowing what he did of himself. He simply didn’t deserve her and couldn’t have her, but it still hurt beyond reason that he had hurt her. How many hours passed? Maybe it was just minutes? Vanderwood took off his leather gloves, gently tracing the crisscrossing scars along his hand. “Cerise…?” His voice sounded foreign to him after so much silence, but he had to apologize for what he’d done.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | VanderwoodxOC Cerise – Tagged | Day One

There was something happening to him with Cerise, and it wasn’t simply needing a fix, was it? He was getting hopelessly attached to her, and he needed to take care of Drawl and Jessica soon. She needed to get back to her normal life, a normal life without him. The fact that the thought genuinely hurt him had him worried. He’d need to get that done sooner rather than later to avoid anything happening between the two of them.

***So this is what it’s like to be on the run with our favorite secret agent. =0 Special thanks to my official artist and best friend chaoticstarblossoms on tumblr for this new cherrywood art which is absolutely amazing~~~~~ There is a deleted scene this week of Vandy picking out clothes for Cerise so make sure you patrons head on over to get your hands on that!

Remember, this is a sequel to Vanderwood Backstory, and Cerise has a bio. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list for access to R-Rated Scenes and my monthly newsletter. You can support my writing on patreon and get access to my VIP Discord Server or other goodies like early chapter releases and hidden scenes. ~Let’s Connect! FFC Tagged Chapter Directory***

(Deleted Scene, Vanderwood buying clothes for Cerise)

The first thing he’d done when they’d gotten to the next town over was find a clothing store that would suit her liking, which he figured meant pink, comfortable, and cute based on how she was dressed the day before and her pajamas now. He’d tried to wake her to get Cerise to go in, but she’d refused thanks to her current state of dress, and that had been the only reason he’d bothered going in for her. It was uncomfortable, in fact it was rather horrible.

Per Cerise’s suggestion, he’d talked to a sales woman about what to choose, but of course he’d ended up in the bra and panties aisle with the woman because, well, Cerise needed those items too. Thanks to his cover story, the woman had picked out a piece of lingerie too, which he tried not to imagine Cerise in as the woman said, ‘I’m sure your girlfriend wouldn’t mind you picking out something for yourself too.’ Vanderwood just shoved all of the clothes into the trunk, tucking a specific clothing item into the far back of it, just like he was doing with his imagination.

It was a relief to him that Cerise didn’t start to wake up until after he’d gone to get her new phone too. When she was sleeping, she was much easier to manage, and she could apparently sleep harder than even Seven. Vanderwood could see her waking up now, though, but maybe that was a good thing, since it was time to find a hotel.

Cerise opened her eyes again slowly, adjusting them to the light. The road still passed by them as she tried to train her eyes on anything outside, hard to do when everything was moving. Instead, she turned her head and let her eyes focus on the man who was currently still driving. How long had it been? She noted that he didn’t look as intense, at least. Cerise yawned and stretched before sitting completely upright. “Morning.” She greeted him with a sleepy smile, rubbing at her eyes. Maybe she’d bug him soon to stop for coffee.

Vanderwood turned his head slightly to see her, a half smirk on his face. “Well, good morning, sleeping beauty.” What would have been and should have been a normal quip, made him feel red-faced and embarrassed. Normally he was so good with women, and it was really starting to bother him. Cerise’s sing song response wasn’t helping him any either. “Well, I have been told that I have quite the cute sleeping face.” Vanderwood was internally groaning again, taking a few minutes before he could talk. “I got your new phone. It’s in that bag on the floor, and when we get to the next town we’ll be staying at, I’ll transfer your files.” That came out normally, good.

Cerise had been taking his few minutes of silence to try and wake up, to process the events up until the current situation, but she perked up immediately at the mention of her new phone. Instantly she was grabbing at the bag, taking it out and examining it. “Oh my God! It’s actually the new model…Yes!” She began to chatter for the next few minutes about all the functions the phone had and how it would help her social media, how much higher quality the camera was and all the new emojis and filters. Cerise couldn’t wait until they finally got to the next town, and she could test out her new toy.

Vanderwood was absolutely stunned by her reaction. The way she reacted to a simple new phone was just…He wasn’t sure whether he was annoyed or endeared. On one hand, he should really be paying attention to make sure that no one was following them, but on the other hand, she was just so adorable talking about the new phone. His heart felt like it had grown wings and was going to fly away that he’d managed to make her so happy. Well, the phone had.

A sign welcoming them to the next town was what reminded him of what they needed to be doing. He had to choose their hotel, and get them checked in. It would be best if it were somewhere that people wouldn’t think for him to go, which gave him an idea. He interrupted her chatter, as much as he almost wanted to hear her go on and on about the phone for eternity. “Cerise, choose a hotel.”

“Wait, me? Well, okay, I guess.” Cerise looked around their immediate area, not bothering to look anything up on her phone. She didn’t want to waste time until she could get into her new phone and get it up and running. There was so much to post about that it would probably take her upwards of two hours if she hurried. The throw away phone was pretty much useless to her. She just couldn’t do anything with it. Cerise pointed to the first hotel that looked…not questionable. “That one looks nice, I think?” That and it looked like it had a restaurant attached to it, which was great because she was starving and really wanted coffee. What was he even looking for in a hotel anyway?

Vanderwood had to admit that the hotel she had chosen looked pretty decent. The best part really was that he hadn’t chosen it. That would slow Drawl and Jessica down as far as finding Cerise and him. Vanderwood found his way into the parking lot, realizing that Cerise still needed to change into some decent clothes. That meant they should probably start with checking into the hotel rooms first. Granted, he was starving, and she probably was too, but that would have to come after.

“Let’s change, check in, and go eat.” His mention of food was like music to Cerise’s ears, and she couldn’t wait to finally get out of the car, that and out of her pajamas to get into some real clothes. It was winter, after all. Vanderwood was apparently thinking about the same thing because he went to the trunk instead of around to the passenger side first. He figured she needed at least some shoes on now, so she wouldn’t have to walk through the parking lot and hotel bare foot.

Cerise was wondering what he was doing in the trunk, but didn’t have to wait long before he was opening the passenger side door, causing her to pull his jacket tighter around her against the cold winter air. Vanderwood handed her the shoes, which she slipped on happily. Thankfully the store he’d gone to seemed true to size because her feet fit perfectly.

Vanderwood had waited for her to put on the shoes before he took her hand to help her out of the car. Holding her hand, even though it was a perfectly normal action, seemed to make his face light up with red again. He coughed to clear his mind so that he could get his brain functioning properly in agent mode. “I’ll get the bags. We’re getting two rooms connected by a door.”

Cerise was thankful for his help, feeling rather stiff from all of her time spent curled up in the front seat. The moment he had taken her hand, though, her chest felt…fluttery? That was weird…His abrupt cough pulled her back to reality, and she looked up at him as he spoke. “Wow…You’re such a gentleman.” The praise had him just not able to process what she was saying as she turned to grab the two cellphones from the car so the files could be transferred later. “A gentleman and good looking, you’re just the whole package, aren’t ya?” She was teasing him but also internally asking herself Why?

Vanderwood somehow managed a “Yup.” Even though his brain was on the fritz. He busied himself with grabbing their bags from the car and locking it before leading her to the entrance of the hotel. Cerise remained quiet, and the entire time he was checking them in, and he was berating himself for not knowing how to respond. His eye scanned constantly as he led her up to the hotel, unlocking her door for her.

“Just knock on our connected door when you’re ready, and we’ll head down together.” It was probably a little strange for her that he was keeping even her room key, but it was safer if he was in charge of her comings and goings. She took the bags that were meant for her, affirming to him that she was listening before disappearing into her own room.

Once he was in his room, he finally had a chance to just breathe and be alone. For the first time that day, he noticed the burning sensation in his abdomen. Everything going on had made him forget that, right, Drawl had stabbed him. He tugged off his shirt, going to the sink to examine the wound. It looked swollen and angry, cauterized instantly thanks to Drawl’s love for knives covered in acid, so at least there wasn’t blood to clean off. The acid did need to come off, though.

After quickly cleaning the cut with some items from his go bag kit, he changed into some normal looking clothes, a purple t-shirt and some jeans, putting his taser in his right pocket for easy access. He needed some comfort right now, but that didn’t mean he was going to go without his favorite weapon. Not that he didn’t have plenty others hidden on his person.

His entire body felt tense and not just from being in the car all day. A cigarette would have been a dream, but that wasn’t an option, and he had to avoid talking to others as much as possible, so getting his other fix wasn’t an option either. Just the thought of getting an escort with Cerise next door was making him feel a little guilty too. He was supposed to be protecting her, considering it was his fault she was in danger in the first place, so he shouldn’t even consider doing something so dangerous.

Cerise had dug through the bags Vanderwood had given her and laid out the new clothes she had received, trying to figure out what to wear. He really hadn’t done so bad picking stuff out, and she could definitely see herself wearing it. It didn’t take her long on deciding what she wanted, opting for a cute top and skirt that she threw a tan jacket over. There was even a matching scarf!

She changed out of her pajamas and into her new outfit to find that it was even really comfortable, much to her enjoyment. When she was satisfied with how she looked, she grabbed her phones, wanting him to make good on transferring the files as soon as possible, and knocked on their connecting doors. “Hey! I’m ready now!” She called out, the last part she emphasized in a sing-song voice. She was not only excited for food but also for her brand-new phone.

As soon as Vanderwood heard Cerise’s voice, he went to open the door only for another shock to his system. Sure, he’d picked out her clothes, even imagined her wearing them, thanks brain, but they were even better actually on her. Vanderwood was certain he was going insane. He couldn’t possibly like this woman, could he? She was nothing like his sexual type, and she was certainly nothing like him. He was cold and brusque and she was lively and excitable. He had to shake his head to clear it.

Cerise was confused as Vanderwood just kind of…stared at her? Her face started to turn red, but she narrowed her eyes and stared back defiantly. He was incredibly attractive, she’d noticed before, but it was impossible to ignore when she was staring at him like this. When he shook his head, she realized that this wasn’t some weird staring contest. She was about to ask him ‘What are you staring at, handsome~’ but thankfully, his talking saved her from embarrassing herself.

“Alright, let’s head down then…For cover story purposes, you’re a family friend, and I’m showing you around Korea.” That would make more sense than, girlfriend because of the separate rooms, and it made a lot more sense for his brain continuing to function. Cerise just listened as he led her down the stairs to the restaurant. It seemed simple enough to her, easy to remember, not to mention she didn’t look completely Korean, so the story would hold more merit. Good thinking on his part!

Vanderwood made their order at the restaurant, and the staff was pretty prompt with taking it, spending a little extra time attempting to chat with them, which he was sure was because the waitress was interested him. He pretty much ignored her. Cerise was just surprised at how fast their order was taken and their waitress seemed super friendly to her. She was liking this place already.

He wasn’t talking much, which was boring, and to avoid sitting there in awkward silence, Cerise looked around curiously. Normally, she would just use her phone to keep her attention, but the poor little throw away phone just couldn’t keep up and ended up frustrating her, doing more harm than good. Her followers would just be even happier when she returned.

Vanderwood scanned the restaurant for any sign of trouble, anyone looking their way unnecessarily. Mostly, he saw the usual reaction of shock of people reacting to him. He wasn’t exactly inconspicuous, with his height, let alone just the air he gave off usually made people either uncomfortable or turned on, depending on the person. Vanderwood noted that there was one person continually sending glances their way, but he wasn’t looking at Vanderwood, he was eyeing Cerise. Vanderwood’s eyebrow twitched. Could he really blame the guy? Cerise was pretty cute. That thought just made his eyebrow twitch again.

Cerise’s eyes locked with a young man’s from the next table over and he averted his gaze quickly, looking down with a large blush. As she continued to look around trying to amuse herself, she would catch him staring at her again, and she would just flash him a smile and wave before she decided she would just go talk to the flustered guy. Vanderwood was already getting more irritated with the way she was interacting with the kid, but then she was saying “Hey, I’ll be right back.” In her sing song voice, and before he could give her an answer, she had made her way to the table, pulling up a chair opposite of the young man.

Vanderwood had wanted to tell her that she would be doing no such thing and grab her wrist, but that would have been an overreaction, and he hadn’t had time to come up with an appropriate response that could keep her at his table. Instead he settled for watching her from his own seat. They were talking and laughing, and Vanderwood could feel irritation growing by the second. The more she smiled at the other guy, the more he felt his body growing tight. This wasn’t normal for him at all. Vanderwood felt…possessive. He wanted to keep her safe, and he was certain his irritation over this young guy was just the physical reaction to his sense of duty to protect her.

She was talking and laughing with the guy for a few minutes before he scribbled something down on a napkin and shyly handed it to her. Cerise thanked him with a wink before getting up and returning to her own table, sitting down with a giggle. She’d have to wait to put the number he had given her into her new phone once it was in working order. Vanderwood was almost going to say something, but as Cerise returned to the table, seemingly pleased with her conversation, the waitress appeared again with their food.

Vanderwood gave the waitress a smirk, where before he had ignored her. He needed some sort of relief for his frustration, so maybe a small bit of playing around wouldn’t be so bad. “Thanks for the food, sexy.” Her face turned red, but she made a motion to sit next to him, which he didn’t refuse. She whispered something in his ear about when she would get off work and that he should meet her after her shift. Nice, one night stand material. Just as quickly, she was gone to help her other customers.

Cerise watched the scene in front of her unfold with a slight confusion. He had seemed disinterested in everything before now. Honey gold eyes flickered between him and their waitress as the woman sat down next to him and whispered into his ear. She watched as the woman got up and walked away, scrunching her nose up before talking. “She’s…really nice?” Cerise picked up a fork to dig into some pasta that she had ordered. She noticed that even the guy she had talked to earlier was staring at their waitress. Weird.

“Nice isn’t exactly what I go for.” He speared a sausage on his fork and took a bite before noticing the waitress giving a little display. The woman seemed to drop something before letting out a quite audible ‘oops!’ then quite dramatically bending over to pick it up. Vanderwood grimaced in disgust. He wasn’t one for shows, but what he really needed was someone quick to get in and out of bed. The thought occurred to him that he really shouldn’t be getting anyone into bed for the time being, but something about Cerise’s new ‘friend’ was making him too irritated to care. The fact that even that guy was watching the woman’s display, too eagerly, only made it worse. Somehow, he’d have to help Cerise lose the guy’s number.

She was a little confused by his comment. “Go for? Oh…” So that’s what he meant by that. The exchange with the waitress made so much more sense now. Cerise shook her head, blushing from the blatant display for attention and letting herself focus on her pasta in front of her. Okay, so the waitress had forgotten her coffee. Despite how much she had wanted it, she was not about to invite that woman back over to them. Cerise was going to have to endure without that heavenly liquid crafted by the Gods themselves. Woe was her.

His eyes strayed to the waitress again. With the way this one was acting, he wasn’t entirely sure she was just a civilian. More likely, she was a fuck you and steal your wallet kind of whore. Vanderwood looked back to Cerise to realize that her coffee hadn’t arrived and raised his still gloved hand, indicating they needed the waitress to come back. She scampered over quickly. “Hey, lovely, my friend here still needs her coffee.” Vanderwood wasn’t eager to spend time with the waitress by any means, but he was paying for coffee so he’d better receive what he paid for. That was his only rule for spending money in general.

Cerise had opened her mouth to protest when he called the waitress back, but didn’t want to make a scene of it. Now, Cerise looked down and poked at her pasta some more, forgetting that she actually had to eat it. She sunk down in her chair a little and waited. If anything could brighten her spirits, coffee could. Cerise didn’t have to wait long for her coffee to get to her, which was great, but she could have done without the display of melons that the waitress was now giving Vanderwood.

The waitress had bent over to give Vanderwood a glimpse of her cleavage once she’d brought the coffee. He had to admit she had some decent curves, and now he decided to test his theory from before, leaning forward to whisper in the waitress’ ear, asking for her rate. Vanderwood caught a lock of her hair between his fingers and slid it out of his hand just as quickly. This one was definitely not a civilian with the way she so easily let him do as he pleased. She winked at him before indicating a man in another booth he’d only briefly noticed earlier. So that was the pimp.

When she was gone he went back to eating like he hadn’t done anything. Cerise was just shoveling pasta in her mouth, likely trying to distract herself too, and on some level he felt bad for the little show he’d forced her to watch, but it was all for the sake of information. He wasn’t going to use this woman’s services, she was too cheap for one and had pretended not to be a whore in the first place. If there was one thing he hated, it was a liar.

He saw the pimp approaching first, but he could tell that Cerise had noticed him too out of the corner of her eye. The man was rather plump, middle-aged, and Vanderwood could already smell him. That was not something anyone could call pleasant. Cerise had turned her head to watch curiously as the man made his way toward them. He seemed to be dressed nicely, but the closer he got, the more she noticed that he indeed did not smell nice, causing Cerise to absentmindedly scoot her chair back. Vanderwood could hardly blame her. The man leaned his hand on the table and started to talk with a crooked, toothy smile.

“Ey.” He greeted them, keeping his eyes on Cerise who replied “…ey?” cocking her head to the side. “I…like your hat?” This was really awkward. What did this guy even want? The man grinned even wider and straightened said hat. “Yeah, yeah. It’s coo ain’t it. Say listen…” Now he turned his attention to Vanderwood, putting a hand on his shoulder. Usually pimps would let the johns come to them, so as much as Vanderwood didn’t like the man anywhere near Cerise and certainly did not like the man touching him, he was going to wait and hear what the man had to say, even though his skin was starting to crawl with the need to get away from this obviously dirty person.

The pimp kept up his toothy grin the entire time, scratching at his cheek occasionally before replacing his hand on Vanderwood’s shoulder over and over. If this tall man was so interested in his girl, maybe he would make a deal for this little one…? “I saws you puttin’ the moves on my girl over there and that’s coo, that’s coo. She’s a good girl.” Now he was moving to sit down next to Vanderwood, which he allowed without a fuss even though the guy absolutely reeked, causing Cerise to scoot back further. Whatever was happening she did not feel comfortable. The vibes this man was giving off were really strange.

“I was wonderin’ if you’d be interested in a lil trade?” As soon as the mention of trade was made, Vanderwood raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?” What the Hell was that supposed to mean? The nasty man continued onward, not noticing or too stupid to notice that neither of the people at the table were actually interested in what he had to say, laughing in a dry cough that grated on their ears and made Cerise shiver.

“Ya see…some mens – well a lot of dem actually, dey would pay a lot, and I mean a lot, of money to have a legal ho whos looks like a kid, like dat one dere.” The man then gestured towards Cerise. Her honey-colored eyes widened at his comments. She’d had her fair share of creepy comments directed towards her, but nothing like this. The only thing she could do was sit and stare in disbelief at what was happening. Surely Vanderwood wouldn’t give her over to a creep like this…She’d have to think of something quick just in case things went South.

Vanderwood’s eyebrow twitched as the man talked. He’d suggested one, that Cerise should be a ho, and two that she looked like a kid. There was something ugly stirring in his chest. It’s not like Cerise was that important to him, but the things this asshole was saying were definitely making Vanderwood vehemently angry. “Whatdya say? My ho for yours, I’ll even gives ya fifteen percent of her earnings.” Now he was holding his hand out to Vanderwood.

He looked over to Cerise before he looked at the pimp, giving him a smirk as he took the man’s hand, seemingly like he was going to agree. That moment, Cerise’s heart fell. She didn’t have time for the panic to set in before Vanderwood was yanking the man forward. Vanderwood was squeezing the guy’s hand like no tomorrow and pressing his taser hard into the guy’s side.

Cerise couldn’t tell what Vanderwood was threatening the man with, but he looked absolutely terrified, which served him right. She listened as Vanderwood leaned towards the man, seeing his nose crinkle in disgust at the stench. “Here’s the deal. You are going to apologize to this beautiful young woman, and then you are going to turn around and walk. You’re going to walk, and walk, and walk, until you’re out of this hotel and you’re never going to come back. In exchange, I won’t tase you to death.” Vanderwood let go of the reeking man, shoving him away with a scowl, his eyes dark and menacing. Really, the man was lucky to not be dead.

Despite the intense and even a little frightening situation, Cerise found that Vanderwood’s words were having quite the effect on here. He’d really just called her beautiful? She felt her face heat up a little despite everything happening. It was like his words held a greater weight than the ones the gross older man had said about her, as negative as they were. The smelly pimp couldn’t get away fast enough, uttering a quick, half-assed apology before he rushed out the door.

The whole establishment had their eyes on them at this point but Cerise didn’t really care. “Hey, Vanderwood…thanks for that.” She was really happy that he had been there; she didn’t know what she would have done if she had been on her own, and more importantly, the way he had fiercely defended her sent her heart into a frenzy. She’d be the first to admit that she was weak for those kinds of things in the things she read, but to have it actually happen to her?

He had been giving a dark look to those looking their way, daring them to say or do something, irritated with himself and angry at the pimp because of the display which could be of danger to Cerise and him, but her thank you brought his attention back to her. Was she blushing? Oh God, now he was blushing, and his heart was doing that strange flip thing again. He rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. “Don’t mention it. He was way out of line…Let’s pay and get back to our rooms for now.” She wasn’t about to argue with that; she wanted to get away from that place as soon as possible.

The waitress was terrified of him now, bringing his ticket and taking it and his money back as quickly as possible. He paid her no mind, his interest soured over her pimp, although he would love a cig or something to relax, but it was just as well. Vanderwood led Cerise back up to the room, and to her relief, they made it there with no incident. It seemed like her life had gotten significantly more complicated since moving to Korea again.

Vanderwood could feel his skin crawling, still thanks to that disgusting piece of shit having touched him so much. His OCD could occasionally be coupled with germophobia, thanks to the need for everything around him to be so clean, but he noticed Cerise’s phones still both clutched in her hand as he held her door open.

Cerise turned around when he spoke. “I think…I owe you transferring your phone files now.” Her phone…she had almost forgotten about it with all of that commotion going on. Almost. She nearly squealed as she jumped to grab her new phone and the old one, handing them both to him excitedly. “This is going to be so great! I have so much to catch up on.”

He snorted softly at her excitement, taking the phones and grabbing the cord from his pocket to connect the two. “You’re really cute when you’re excited.” Fuck. He hadn’t really meant to say that out loud. Nothing to do about it now. Vanderwood had meant to pretend that he hadn’t said anything but then she responded along with a playful punch and wink. “You’re not so bad yourself~”

God, his face was red. Vanderwood went through the new phone, in part to distract himself but also because he needed to ensure once again that the geotags were off. He just couldn’t control himself or act normal with Cerise. Once he was done with her phones, he handed the new one to her before forcing his mind to work on putting together sentences.

Cerise was already burying herself in the new phone, tapping away, only stopping when he began talking to her again. “Ground rules. One, you don’t leave this room unless I’m with you. Two, you do not tell anyone where you are staying or why you’re staying there.” He looked her in the eyes, locking brown to honey gold, wanting to make sure she understood how important what he was saying was. “If you need anything at all, I’m right next door. If you hear something strange, see anyone following you or looking at you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, you tell me. I’ll protect you, Cerise, okay?” Why was it so important to him that she believe him? It was just about making his life easier while he took care of her, certainly…No, there was something to it; he just didn’t understand it.

“Okay.” She nodded, indicating that she understood what he was saying. Cerise could totally lay low for a few days, catch up on her shows and blog posts. Especially since she now had a hold of this beautiful new phone. Piece of cake! After today, Cerise had no doubt in her mind that he would protect her, which made her feel comforted even when she was supposedly trying to get away from two deranged maniacs. Cerise smiled and stared at him for a moment, his face and especially his eyes looked really intense in that moment; it was a perfect opportunity for…She quickly snapped a picture with her new phone, for the first time right in front of his face, giving him a wink. “Sorry, couldn’t help it~”

Damn it. Cerise was going to be the death of him. He already felt like he was having a heart attack every time she did anything but her wink was just…not helping. At least she seemed to be listening to the ground rules, so that was good, although the way she’d just taken that photo made his eye twitch. Maybe she would literally be the death of him. “I have the feeling you aren’t sorry at all.” Vanderwood hated his picture taken, let alone the attention he was apparently getting from her followers. It wasn’t something he liked to think about, even Seven had already called him Vanderhottie in a text he’d checked while Cerise had been sleeping in the car. Really, it was just one big security risk too, particularly if he started getting recognized on the street.

Vanderwood needed a cig, but he just sighed. “Do me a favor and make that the last one you take of me, alright?” He was far gentler with her than he would have been with anyone else, but now he decided it was best to get out of there before she tried again. Cerise seemed like the type to do it again simply because he asked her not to. Vanderwood ducked into his own room, flopping onto the bed and sending a few messages to Seven before staring at the ceiling.

Cerise was somewhat disappointed, almost having wanted to snap another quick picture just for defiance’s sake before he slipped away. Oh well. She spent the rest of her day lounging about her hotel room, getting accustomed to her new phone. It was everything she’d hoped it would be and more. After about three full hours getting caught up on her social media, she’d done pretty much everything she could with it. It looked like her followers were just eating up the previous pictures of Vanderwood she had taken. Cerise pulled up the one she’d taken of him earlier that day. If she posted it, it was sure to be a hit, but she couldn’t help but want to keep just that one to herself. She noticed that he was rather quiet; she couldn’t hear anything beyond the door. Was he even in there? Must have been a secret agent thing.

He was lost in his thoughts for the rest of the day, only slipping out of them when Seven sent him some files of information to on Jessica or Drawl to review. When Seven sent him a file on Cerise, Vanderwood opened it instantly, but he could only get past the first sentence stating her age and birth date before he felt like he was invading her privacy. She was quite a bit younger than him…but he didn’t care. Vanderwood bit his tongue.

There was something happening to him with Cerise, and it wasn’t simply needing a fix, was it? He was getting hopelessly attached to her, and he needed to take care of Drawl and Jessica soon. She needed to get back to her normal life, a normal life without him. The fact that the thought genuinely hurt him had him worried. He’d need to get that done sooner rather than later to avoid anything happening between the two of them.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | Tagged – VanderwoodxOC Cerise | The Long Road Begins

Once they were about halfway to the next town, he tossed her phone out of the window and onto the side of the road. It wouldn’t be terribly long before they made it to the next town, but it felt like he had a long road ahead of him, at least figuratively.

***It’s about to get Hella intense in here, so everybody buckle up. Also, you should totally get your hands on the new Drawl Backstory available to patrons only.

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Why could he never get a full night’s sleep? Vanderwood had of course trained himself to be a light sleeper, so clearly that was why, but it never ceased to annoy him just how often something would wake him at night. This time it was his phone buzzing like crazy. He rolled over to grab it, expecting it to be from boss, only to unlock the screen to find a slurry of texts, screenshots of photos of him, and one with Cerise with him in the background.

His internal dialogue was Fuck. She had been taking photos after all. He’d noticed but had completely forgotten about it again, a huge mistake. The screenshots themselves weren’t the worst of it. There were comments from the unknown sender. ‘She’s got such pretty eyes, pity if I were to pour acid into them?’ ‘Look at those fingers, just begging to be bent back.’ ‘This is what you get for getting attached, Vanderhottie.’

Vanderwood felt sick, but instantly he knew who these messages were from. Drawl. (Get Drawl Backstory by becoming a patron.) He was up and getting changed in mere seconds, running out of the room to grab one of Seven’s keys, not bothering to take the time to ask. If Drawl had Cerise…he didn’t want to think about it, and he certainly didn’t have much time. The guy was a sociopath. From the information the agency had, he’d even murdered his own family just to become an agent for the rival agency. (insert Drawl hidden scene backstory) What was worse, Vanderwood had shot the guy in the shoulder and completely shattered it. Drawl wasn’t exactly known for being forgiving.

He was panicking, speeding down the highway to the address Drawl had screenshotted from Cerise’s geotags. This was all his fault, and he couldn’t let her get hurt. Cerise was just a civilian, one that wasn’t supposed to be involved in this shit at all, but look how the cookies had crumbled. She shouldn’t have been in his life for even a second.

***

Drawl smirked, this was going to be so much fun. Vanderwood deserved it too. It had taken months for Drawl’s shattered shoulder to heal. The lock was easy to pick, nothing to it. Such a nice little apartment Vanderwood’s sweetie had. The girl wasn’t hard to find, sleeping soundly in her bed.

Well, she had been sleeping soundly until Drawl pressed his hand down over her mouth and nose, watching her struggle for air for a while. All Cerise knew was that she could not breathe. She struggled against her attacker, and she so desperately wanted to scream, but couldn’t. He was feeling his pants grow tight from the image. Watching the panic, seeing the life leave a woman’s eyes was always great, oh, it was great. He disappointedly removed his hand from her face to allow her to grab some gasps of air as he pressed a knife against her side to keep her still and under his control.

Cerise wasn’t sure how long she was deprived of air, but it seemed like an eternity. As soon as the hand came off, she gasped for air, breathing heavily. Her blood ran cold, senses coming back to her once she felt the cold touch of the blade against her side. Normally she would fight, but there was nothing she could do with a knife pressed against her. She had only just started breathing again, but she was choked with fear now.

He wasn’t a weak man, far from it. Some likened him to a chimp or an orangutan because of his thick body and square features. Still, it was easier if they didn’t fight him openly, and much more fun to watch them struggle aimlessly. The fear in their eyes was always most intoxicating. It was just unfortunate that he couldn’t feel their soft skin anymore, thanks to the way his acids had burned away the sensations in his fingers. It was well worth it to have acid covered blades to cut with. That always kept them from bleeding out.

His slow and deliberate tone as he bent to mutter in the girl’s ear gave away the reason for his nickname. “Hello, sweetheart, we’re going to play a game.” That voice, even just the sound of her attacker speaking was enough to make her feel nauseous. Drawl took his time in tying her up, Cerise struggling lightly. It wouldn’t do her any good, she was too small to do any real damage to the man.

Right now, the only thing she could do was observe him, as much as even his person was repulsive. His dark black hair was a greasy mess, peppered with gray although he didn’t look old. Even his eyes were black, glinting with an intent that made her entire body feel cold. Now he was sitting on the edge of her couch, playing with the point of his knife against his thumb. Just his clothes were enough to make someone uncomfortable, an oversized puke green jacket, brown pants, and black combat boots clearly meant to make him appear taller. The man’s skin was a dark brown, but his hands were discolored as well as discolored splotches on his wrists.

Drawl’s voice broke her observation, making her whimper. “Do you think your Vanderhottie will come quickly enough to save your pretty little lips? I might just cut them off…and he’d never get to kiss them then, would he?” Who was this guy even talking about Vander…oh. The man from earlier. She started to cry and plead. “No, I really don’t know him, please. My…my parents are rich…is…is it money you want?” Now she was sobbing, her voice broken. Cerise wished that she would have just listened to her parents and stayed in France where it was safe.

He snorted at the girl. She thought money mattered. Although, he was disappointed when she said she really didn’t know Vanderwood. The one good thing was that Vanderwood was the kind of guy who would do anything to protect a civilian, so he’d still come. The revenge wouldn’t be nearly as sweet, but he could always have his way with the girl afterwards. His slow voice held a snide tone as he replied to her desperate pleas. “Money doesn’t matter to me. I have plenty. Revenge, blood, people screaming in fear, that’s what I like. Speaking of…” He took out his phone and snapped a photo, captioning it ‘Hurry.’

***

His phone was buzzing again; he was almost there. It seemed like it was taking far too long to get there, even driving as fast as he was. Vanderwood risked checking his phone and his heart was at his feet, fear like a living thing in his chest. Seeing Cerise like that…This was his fault, and he had to get there in time to keep her from getting hurt. If she’s not already. The thought had him practically pressing the accelerator to the floor.

***

This had to be a dream…These kinds of things just didn’t happen in real life. Only on TV. She was brought back to reality as her attacker approached her, pressing the cool metal of his knife against her throat, a light burning sensation accompanying it. “I think I hear our Vanderhottie friend…” Drawl’s typically slow voice was dragging out even more as his smile spread wide. Cerise didn’t dare to make a noise or even to breathe too hard, fearful for her throat and her life.

Vanderwood realized quickly as he parked that his taser would do him no good since Drawl’s weapon of choice was also close range. He reached under the driver’s seat to grab the emergency gun stashed there. Thankfully, there was on in each of Seven’s cars as well as the ones he had on his own body. As soon as he had the weapon, Vanderwood nearly jumped out of the vehicle, kicking her door open, allowing him to keep use of his weapon, quickly scanning the room to point it at Drawl. Cerise desperately wanted to feel relieved as soon as she saw the source of the crashing, but there was still a knife to her throat, making her panic.

That knife against her throat had Vanderwood panicking every bit as much as she was. It was an unfamiliar feeling to him, true panic. He hadn’t felt fear like that in years. It nearly had him doing something rash, but he couldn’t afford to have feelings right now. “Leave her the fuck alone. She’s got nothing to do with me or you.” He was angry, pissed really, wanted to beat Drawl into a bloody pulp, but he had to get his hands on the smiling bastard first. “Didn’t you hear me? Get the fuck away from her. She’s a civilian, you ass.”

Drawl still wasn’t moving. He just kept smiling more and more, watching like he liked to. Vanderwood realized that clearly this wasn’t working. The feelings swirling around inside of him had his muscles taught and tensed, and they weren’t helping his focus. He took a deep breath, shoving them away. Finally, he looped the gun around his thumb, pulling his taser out of his pocket with his other hand to drop it to the floor. “Just step away from her, and you can have me. That’s what you want. You know you can’t touch her without your agency punishing you.”

Now Drawl finally moved, pulling away from Cerise to stand and approach Vanderwood. Cerise felt like she could finally breathe again once the knife was away from her throat, but all she could do now was watch the scene in front of her unfold, unable to move. She felt so useless, she couldn’t even call the authorities. That gave her an idea. She glanced over at her nightstand. Good, her phone was still there. Her attacker was advancing towards Vanderwood as she attempted to wiggle free from the rope binding her.

“I guess you are right…as much as I’d love to scar that pretty little skin.” The man’s voice made her skin crawl as she continued to attempt to reach her phone. Drawl was approaching Vanderwood warily. He was too short to reach the gun looped around Vanderwood’s thumb, so Vanderwood had to lower it for him. Drawl pressed his blade against the lower left side of the taller man’s abdomen, letting it press in just slightly, using his blade again for some leverage. Cerise had looked over from her attempts just in time to see it, causing her to gasp in surprise. Still, Vanderwood seemed to be taking it well enough.

The only reaction Vanderwood gave was a sharp intake of breath as the blade pierced him, acid burning and instantly cauterizing the wound. He knew what he needed to do. Although Vanderwood wasn’t fast, Drawl was even slower, and he was able to grab the man’s wrist, letting the blade press in even farther in favor of grabbing Drawl’s throat, squeezing his wrist until Drawl couldn’t hold on to the knife anymore. It clattered to the floor as Vanderwood applied the same treatment to his neck. Cerise had never seen anything like this, and she watched as he gained the upper hand over her attacker. She wanted to look away, she really did, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the scene. Then the man went limp in Vanderwood’s grasp. Was he dead?

Vanderwood grimaced at Drawl as he dropped him onto the ground. The creep’s smile hadn’t faltered the entire time. He didn’t have much time now, knowing that Drawl had a partner. How had he even been alone here in the first place? It didn’t matter; time was of the essence. Vanderwood moved to untie Cerise, and that was what finally made her able to tear her eyes away from the scene, jumping a little at his voice, even though it was far more welcome than the voice of the other man. “I’m not going to hurt you, alright? But you’re going to have to trust me, because I need to get you out of here.” He was trying to keep his tone as calm and even as possible, even though he was irritated and panicked beyond belief. She wasn’t used to these kinds of experiences, so he had to be gentle. “If Drawl was here, backup isn’t far behind, so we need to leave fast.” Cerise nodded, her voice still shaky. “O-okay…” As soon as she was free from the ropes, she made a grab for her phone, yanking the charger out of the wall.

Irritation was very much his enemy at the moment as he snorted at that damn phone of hers. He was going to have to take it from her later, but now he needed to get them out of there. “The black car outside, get in.” His tone was brusque because it had to be. Drawl needed to be dealt with permanently, and it was always his disgusting job to take care of that. Vanderwood grabbed the gun and taser before returning to look down at Drawl’s limp body.

She did as she was told, not wanting to stick around and tempt fate. Cerise shivered as she felt the nighttime winter air hit her skin, making her way to the black car and quickly hopping in. Her bare feet felt like ice cubes. Was she really going to let this stranger take her away from her apartment? He had just saved her life, even if it sounded like he’d been somewhat the reason she was in trouble anyway, but she trusted him. She had to…and there was just something about him that she couldn’t quite shake.

Vanderwood was bending down to finish the job when he heard it, the sound of another vehicle’s brakes grinding the car to a halt. Damn it. He was out of time. Vanderwood ran out of the house to see Jessica on the way out of her car. He flipped her off before hopping into his, putting pedal to the metal. “Hang on, Cerise.” There wasn’t even time to put his seatbelt on before they were peeling off away from the scene.

Cerise held on to the ceiling handle tightly as soon as he’d gotten into the car, although she hadn’t managed to put her seatbelt on either. He was driving like a bat out of Hell, but she couldn’t really complain. She just wanted away from the man that had attacked her, silently staring out of the window and trying to make sense of everything in her head.

He was focused on getting away and to Seven’s garage, running through an action plan as he went. They would need to switch cars and head out of town to lie low somewhere. She was in far more danger than any civilian ever should be, and there was a lot of guilt there, but he didn’t have time for it right now. Thankfully, his go bag was already in the red car, so they could switch over pretty quickly. His eyes searched the rearview mirror to see that no one was tailing them, allowing him to slow down and drive far more legally.

She was quiet, reflective even, as he watched her from the corner of his eyes. This was probably the biggest shock of her life, and he had done this to her. Cerise was thinking, why her? What luck was this? Her phone made her jump when she felt it vibrate in her lap. Vanderwood watched as she put in her pass code and immersed herself in the world of what he assumed was social media. Her fingers were tapping at her phone’s screen at an alarming speed. She was clearly freaked out, it was only too obvious. On one side, he wanted to destroy her phone since it and his stupidity had gotten them into this mess, but on the other, it seemed to be helping her, somewhat of an escape, which he only understood all too well.

He sighed and bit his tongue before he began to speak, feeling like the words needed to be said, like he was compelled to comfort her. “I’m sorry…I got you into this. But I’ll keep you safe, I swear to God, I will.” He felt like complete shit for doing this to her, and although he didn’t trust any God, he would swear to all of them just to make the point to her that he was going to protect her. She was under his protection now, even though she shouldn’t have had to be.

Cerise looked up when Vanderwood spoke, not really knowing how to respond. Keep her safe? Were there more of those creeps…? “Are they…will they just leave you…us alone?” He had to shake his head at her question, as much as he wished he could just drop her off back at home and she would be fine, it simply wasn’t the case. “We’re going to have to go on the run until I can backtrack them or they find us, and I terminate them. Undoubtedly, Drawl’s got a hit out on me now…the guy that attacked you. I didn’t have time to take care of him before his partner showed up.”

Take care of him? So, the guy wasn’t dead, but Vanderwood had intended to kill him. The thought made her shiver more than the cool air did. Vanderwood thought that all of that was probably terrifying enough to listen to, and he didn’t want her to be afraid of him, but it felt wrong not to be honest. She had her eyes trained on him, listening intently as he talked. “I’m a secret agent. They’re from a rival agency. They found pictures of you and me on the internet and used the geotags to find you. So…until they’re dead, I’m going to take care of you.” It wasn’t up for debate, not that he thought she was going to argue.

Vanderwood pulled into Seven’s garage. It only made sense that Cerise was terrified, and he was going to need to be a little gentler than his usual to make her able to trust him, so he did his best not to sound gruff, as much as he was tense and frustrated. “Stay in this car until I say to move, alright?”

Cerise couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt as she thought over what he’d said, staying in the car as he’d instructed and fiddling with her phone to pass the time. The pictures…this was her fault. It’s not like she knew that he was a secret agent, though, that wasn’t something that came up in real life…being tied up by a psycho, running into secret agents. Did that mean…she had to be on the run for a while? With him? In any normal circumstance, she’d be all for a road trip…and with a cute guy, no less. This wasn’t that situation, though.

He tried not to take too long as he went inside to exchange keys, grabbing the ones for the red car. Vanderwood harshly woke Seven and explained the situation, getting the kid to begrudgingly agree to loan him the red car mostly because they didn’t have much time to figure out anything else. Then Vanderwood returned to the garage, opening the door for her. “Alright, we’re moving to the red car.” He offered his hand to help her out. It was hurting him so badly that this was happening. She was just a normal person; she wasn’t a part of this, and he’d made her a part of it.

She hesitated before taking his hand, letting him help her out of the car. As soon as her bare feet hit the cold concrete she remembered again that she hadn’t grabbed shoes…or clothes for that matter. Clutching her phone, she looked down. Yep. Still in her pajamas. In the wintertime. Good job, Cerise! She wanted to slap herself for not thinking to at least grab her coat by the door.

Vanderwood finally took stock of her clothes when he saw her react to the cold concrete floor and heat instantly went up into his face. She wasn’t even his ‘type’ and yet his heart was doing gymnastics as he looked at her. Her ‘pajamas’ were just a pink flowy tank top and shorts combination, the top not quite fully covering her midriff. His face turned bright red as he took off his jacket and draped It over her shoulders gently. “Wear this until the car heats up…” The red-faced agent opened the passenger side of the red vehicle for her. “I’ll get you some new clothes to wear once we get to the next town.” He’d also need to take care of her damn phone, sooner rather than later.

His jacket was huge on her, as well as heavy. It might as well have been a blanket, but she was grateful for it either way. She wrapped it around herself as she got into the other car. “Thanks.” The promise of new clothes was another thing she was grateful for. Cerise definitely didn’t want to be seen in public with just her pajamas on…even if she did look amazingly cute in them. Still not something she should be seen in public in.

Once he’d helped her into the car, Vanderwood got in and started it up, letting it get going on warming up. They didn’t have a lot of time before he was certain the rival agency would have people watching traffic cam footage and potentially trailing them, but the geotags on her social media needed to be turned off before she had the chance to post again. She needed a new ip address too. “I need you to hand me your phone.” Vanderwood was gentle and matter of fact about it as he held out his hand expectantly.

“My phone…?” She stared at him blankly. He wanted her phone? That wasn’t going to happen. Her phone was a part of her, and she wasn’t about to hand it over to someone she barely knew. “You mean this?” Cerise kept eye contact with him as she pulled her phone into his eyesight, letting him get a good look at it before defiantly shoving the phone into her shorts, beneath the strap of her panties. If he wanted her phone, he was going to have to work for it.

Holy Jesus his face was red, and he felt like a complete mess. There was no way he could put his hand down her shorts. Hell, he wasn’t even sure with as irritated as he was that he could control himself right now. That defiance was…sexy…coming from this cute little lady, and he had to shut down his brain. Vanderwood coughed softly, shaking his head to clear it of any dirty thoughts before he could explain, trying to reason with her. “I need to give you a new one, and in order to move all your information to the new one, I’m going to need the old one. Need to turn off your geotags too. So, you give me the phone, or they find us. Every second we wait, the more danger we’re in.” Hopefully that would be enough to get through to her on some level.

“I don’t want a new one. Find another way.” Cerise huffed and turned her head away from him, crossing her arms. She knew that judging by how red he had turned, he wasn’t about to reach into her shorts to grab her phone. If he was that serious about it, he would find another way around it, because there was no way in Hell she was giving anyone her phone. She may be in danger, but her phone was her life.

Vanderwood internally groaned. Cerise was going to test his patience during this whole situation, he had a feeling. She looked cute, but she was definitely a lot more than that. “And I don’t want to die.” He had to think fast on how he could get her to agree willingly. Her phone seemed pretty new, but hadn’t a new model just come out? He seemed to remember Seven going on about the new capabilities of some smart phone. “How about, I buy you any model phone you want, with whatever accessories?” That would probably peak her interest.

He was right. That caught her attention, and she whipped her head back to him. “…any model?” If he really meant that…she was going to go for the newer model of her phone that had just come out a few days prior. Cerise wasn’t able to get it due to budgeting, and she wanted to show her parents that she could be responsible with her money. Well…not that she’d have to worry about that now since her purse was still at her apartment. She pulled her phone back out and handed it to him, lingering for a moment before she left her most prized possession with a total stranger. This must be what mothers feel like when they leave their child in a daycare…”You win…but you better make good on that promise.” She narrowed her eyes at him, crossing her arms again as though making a point.

That whole time he’d had to sit patiently and wait for her to deliberate while her phone was right there for the taking. It wasn’t like him to be bashful with women, and he was anxious to get moving, but he just couldn’t do that with her. He rationalized to himself that it was because he knew he needed her trust. Finally, she handed it over. “I will, right after we get you some different clothes, we’ll get you a phone.”

As soon as he took her phone from her, his face grew red again. Even through his leather gloves, he could feel that her phone was warm from having been in her shorts. He coughed softly and got to work, grabbing a throw away from the glove compartment, easy enough to do when one’s arms were as long as his were. She was short enough that opening the compartment didn’t threaten her knees too, thankfully. After hooking the phones up to each other, he transferred everything before going through her apps, turning all of the geotags off. She had a shit ton of them, it was insane. Then he handed the throw away phone to her. “You can use this until we can get your new one. This one…” He wiggled her old phone. “Is getting thrown out the window on the way out of town. Buckle up.”

Cerise grimaced at the plain phone he had given her. It was so…ugly and undecorated. “This isn’t cute at all…” She complained as she held it at arm’s length, examining it. When he mentioned throwing her phone out of the window, she winced, but it was for the better if she wanted a brand-new phone. Cerise would just have to deal with it, not think about it. She could do this. She could. Cerise buckled her seat belt and waited for them to leave. The car was getting warmer, which she was thankful for, and his jacket certainly helped.

Vanderwood mumbled what was meant to be an internal thought, thankful that it was hopefully quiet enough that she didn’t overhear. “Nowhere near as cute as you.” What the Hell was he doing flirting with her? He pulled out of Seven’s garage, heading on the way out of town. As he drove, he watched her out of the corner of his eyes. Cerise frowned at his mumbling. If he had something to say, he should say it, but she didn’t bother to say what she was thinking either, too worn out to care.

After a little while, Vanderwood deigned to speak, not sure why he wanted to. Small talk wasn’t exactly something he was very good at or used to. “I’m sorry if the jacket smells.” He’d been smoking so long that he was used to his own smell, but she probably wasn’t. Although he was very careful to keep his jacket clean and cared for, it probably had at least some residual scent of cigarettes. Cerise just shook her head before resting it against the window. “It’s not bad…” Her answer ended with a yawn. His jacket did smell a little like cigarette smoke, but she could tell that he took care of it.

The two of them sat in silence for a while, him watching her and her too tired to even check the phone or any of her social medias. Vanderwood was thinking just how incredibly beautiful she was…and how incredibly stupid it was for him to be thinking about that. This was going to be difficult for him. She made him feel way different than any other woman, and that might not bode well for staying unattached, even if he was convinced that it was just part of his sex addiction not having been assuaged for a while. At any rate, his job wouldn’t allow attachment, and it wasn’t like he hadn’t gotten her in enough trouble already, so Vanderwood was going to do his best to have as little contact with her as he could manage. Just enough to keep her safe. He also couldn’t report that he was with her at all. No, he was alone.

Cerise was exhausted, both physically and mentally, and this man went through all of that to rescue her, so she had no reason to believe he was of any threat, allowing her to relax for the time being. By now the car was toasty, and she pulled her legs up in the seat so she could cover herself completely in his jacket before she let sleep finally claim her.

She looked so small and peaceful sleeping curled up like that. He felt a strange tightness in his chest looking at her wrapped up in his jacket. Vanderwood realized that he should focus on the road, essentially giving himself tunnel vision other than checking the rearview mirrors for anyone potentially tailing them. Once they were about halfway to the next town, he tossed her phone out of the window and onto the side of the road. It wouldn’t be terribly long before they made it to the next town, but it felt like he had a long road ahead of him, at least figuratively.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | VanderwoodxOC Cerise – Tagged | Move Out, Move In

It seemed the men following him had turned down the other side of the alley first, but he had no doubt they would be coming this way before too long. He realized he should remove his gloves and jacket. If he was going to pretend to be her moving crew, that only made sense.

***OMG Welcome to Tagged! I’ve been talking about this fanfiction in the works for a while, and I’m so glad to finally get to share it with you. This will be my version of Vanderwood as seen in Vanderwood Backstory and an OC created by my best friend and you can read Cerise’s bio here. This is legit my OTP #cherrywood for life, so I really hope you love this~

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Why did it always have to take so fucking long for computers to transfer their files? Even with Seven’s modified flashdrives it could take eternity. Vanderwood was just waiting for the rest of the files about the different women this company held as ‘product’ to finish transferring. As far as missions went, this one was going pretty well. He’d infiltrated the place easily with Seven’s intel. Although, he couldn’t help that nagging feeling in the back of his mind. The last time they’d checked the security was a week ago.

That’s when he heard it, the telltale sound of guards making their way up the stairs. Fuck. How did they get tipped off? Maybe some sort of silent alarm had been installed since their last reconnaissance. Vanderwood had to think through his options fast. His heart was racing as he looked around the room, a familiar feeling that any other time, the adrenaline rush would relax his muscles, but right now he felt tense and sick. Brown eyes searched the room. There were two other doors in this room, one a fire escape that would set off an alarm and the other a lab that might not have another opening.

There were still five minutes for the documents to transfer, but now he could hear the footsteps reaching the landing he was on. How many were there? Judging from the sound, three or four. Vanderwood yanked the flashdrive from the computer and made a dash for the fire exit. God damn, that alarm was loud, but this was the safest option. He could hear one of the guards above calling for the others to “Move out!”

He scaled the side of the fire escape, dropping from one landing to grab the next until he made it to the ground and turned down an alleyway to head down into an empty street. Fuck, fuck, fuck. He had to find somewhere to hide and fast. Vanderwood could still hear the guards coming, so he was again, stuck trying to think fast.

Up ahead, he caught sight of a moving truck and a young woman carrying some boxes into an apartment. Perfect. He’d just have to get her to agree. Vanderwood was pretty good with women, so it couldn’t possibly be that hard. In fact, he had a bit of a reputation as a womanizer thanks to his addiction. Still, this was a civilian. Granted, he often slept with civilian women too, but there was a much higher risk, especially if he was spending more than just the time it took to sleep with them. At any rate, there weren’t many other options available.

Vanderwood launched himself into the moving truck as she entered her new place, waiting for the girl to come out again with his hip leaned against the wall as he worked on catching his breath. It seemed the men following him had turned down the other side of the alley first, but he had no doubt they would be coming this way before too long. He realized he should remove his gloves and jacket. If he was going to pretend to be her moving crew, that only made sense. Setting them aside on a box, he looked through the door to her apartment which was propped open. It seemed like a nice little place, and certainly a good cover as long as the girl didn’t raise any problems.

***

Cerise felt nervous about moving back to Korea after so many years, especially without her parents. She had convinced herself that she needed to break away for a bit, out from under the watchful eyes of her parents – cutting the umbilical cord, so to speak. They’d given her a good amount of money to get a start in her new life until she could find a job on her own, but that wouldn’t be for a while…Not that she was really complaining.

Here she was, in a new place, a new environment where she knew nobody, and where she had to move her own boxes. Most of them were as big as she was! Cerise huffed, struggling to move another particularly large box from her living room to the kitchen where it belonged. After finally managing what seemed like a super human feat, she dropped the box and panted. This would be the perfect opportunity for a selfie, as miserable as she was.

She took out her phone and snapped a quick picture, making sure she looked extra miserable before she put a bunch of cute filters on with the caption, ‘not cut out for physical labor sum1 save me );’ There. That would do it! Within moments of posting it, her phone pinged multiple times. Back to the grind…Cerise headed back outside and was surprised to find a man leaning against the inside of her moving truck. “Hey!” She called out to him, opting to stay in the safety of her doorway. “Can I…help you?” The guy looked like he was probably twice her size!

“Hey!’ Vanderwood put on the nicest smile he could manage. She seemed a little wary, rightfully so. This girl was incredibly small in comparison to him, and the fact was that he was probably pretty intimidating. He approached slowly so as to not freak her out. “I have a proposition for you. I need to hide, and you need your boxes moved into your house.” Vanderwood took in her appearance. She was actually pretty cute, her long light red hair, auburn? Was that the word? Peach. That was it. And her eyes were a beautiful golden color. His smile became a little more genuine. “I’ll help you with moving in your boxes if you do me one favor. Whoever comes knocking, whatever happens, you tell them I’ve been here for at least an hour.”

He was trying to be as charming as possible, but it only made sense for her to accept his offer. It looked like she would have trouble moving in all those boxes by herself, particularly the ones that looked like they were as big as she was. What was she anyway, maybe five foot? At any rate, his offer didn’t have much downfall for her. “The name’s Vanderwood, and no, you’re not going to get arrested for helping me out.” There was a high likelihood that the guards would be chasing down this street any minute now, so he grabbed a particularly large box with ease and hoisted it carefully over his shoulder. “Just free labor.”

“Hide…?” She’d repeated the word as she listened to the rest of his proposition. The man…Vanderwood, seemed pretty sincere. Cerise watched in awe as he lifted a box with no trouble at all. In any other circumstance, she would probably tell him to beat it, but he obviously needed help and so did she if she wanted to be done moving in any time soon. “I’ll take you up on your offer.” She slowly walked towards him, still a little wary, picking up a smaller box that she could easily handle on her own. “After you, Mister Vanderwood.” Letting someone play hide and seek in her house was a small price to pay for free labor…and by someone so handsome too! She grinned at her luck.

Vanderwood felt incredibly relieved, surprisingly so. He should be feeling anxious still that he was involving a civilian, but the guards wouldn’t do anything to her most likely…Well, he wouldn’t let them do anything to her. A little spark of anger went through him at the thought. Usually he was protective of civilians, but that was just a part of his job, staying covert with little effect to bystanders. Really, if it came down to it, he was supposed to avoid revealing his skills to bystanders too, even if that meant not saving them, but he wasn’t that kind of guy.

He made his way into her house, needing to duck under her doorway thanks to his height. Being six foot wasn’t the easiest thing in Korea, since most people tended to be at least half a foot shorter than him. That was the fun part about being American born in an Asian country. He looked around the apartment. There weren’t many boxes in there, so obviously she’d either just started moving her boxes or his help was sorely needed. “Just tell me where to put it, short stuff.” It wasn’t really a bad nickname for her, and he didn’t know what else to call her.

“I think that one goes in the kitchen.” Cerise called out to him as she broke off to drop her box in her would-be bedroom. Short stuff, huh? She laughed to herself; she’d certainly been called worse. Peeking her head out of the room, she took her phone out and snapped a quick picture of the strange man while he wasn’t looking, tagging the picture with, ‘look!! My savior~ >///<!’ before posting it. She put her phone away and walked back out to join him in her kitchen. “So…how long do you need to hide out for?”

Vanderwood had placed the box down carefully, brushing some dust off his shirt. Something in his periphery made him pause. Was that her phone? After turning, she was already back in the other room. Maybe he was just paranoid? Not likely. Her question had him shrugging, rubbing the back of his head. “I’m not really sure, but I’ll stay until your truck is empty as thanks.” Until the truck was empty? That sounded amazing to her ears. “Than-“ her words were cut off by someone knocking and appearing in her doorway. Cerise wasn’t really sure what else to do, so she went towards the door as though to answer it, even though it was open and there were now other people standing in her doorway.

He was preparing to pry as toward what she’d been doing with her phone, a security risk wouldn’t be good along with an incomplete mission, but he’d heard the sound of someone knocking on her doorway too and decided to keep quiet to survey the situation.

Three suited guards were standing in the doorway, looking far more official than he did. They were clearly sizing him up, and he casually stretched, placing his hand near his taser strapped to his thigh. The girl had approached the three, causing Vanderwood just a brief and unusual moment of panic. She was looking to him for a cue as to what to do. At least it gave Vanderwood the opportunity to approach the men too, head tilted in false intrigue and a smile on his face. “Hi there, can we help you with something?”

The biggest of the three nodded before starting to speak. “We’re looking for a man who ran off, probably down this street. Did either of you see anything?” His eyes and those of his buddies were clearly taking note of everything about Vanderwood, trying to discern whether he was the one they were looking for. Vanderwood looked towards the girl with false concern as he angled his body to stay between her and the men. “I’ve just been helping my girlfriend move in, and I didn’t see anything. Did you happen to see anything, hon?”

At least Cerise’s look of confusion was genuine, although she did get the picture as the men talked. She wrapped her arm around Vanderwood’s waist, clutching onto him as if she were worried or scared. “How suspicious…I haven’t seen anyone like that, dear.” She averted her eyes to the ground, feigning worry. “I hope they find him soon.”

He pulled her closer to his side, feeling blush rising in his face. She was so warm against him. This girl’s acting was damn convincing. Vanderwood mentally slapped himself to pay better attention. “Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’ll keep you safe.” His eyes flitted to the three men in the doorway. “I’m sorry we’re not much help…But if we see anything, do you have a number we should call?” The biggest of the three who had spoken earlier nodded towards one of the others who reached out to place a card into Vanderwood’s outstretched hand. After the card was in Vanderwood’s hand, the big one grunted before gesturing to the others to leave the doorway.“Thank you for your help, nonetheless.”

Cerise let out a breath she forgot she was holding once the men were gone. “Homigod that was intense…” She looked up at Vanderwood and examined him briefly now that she had front row seats. He really was handsome…more so than she realized before. Vanderwood didn’t let go of her at first, marveling a little at how she fit in so perfectly under his arm. He wasn’t used to that at all. Most of the women he met were just one night stands he didn’t pay attention to, and generally women had no effect on him, but this one was damn…cute. Vanderwood frowned at himself and finally stepped away, wild blush in his face. “Hey…thanks, short stuff.”

She was almost disappointed when he moved away and she couldn’t admire his face anymore without being painfully obvious. Vanderwood noted the little look of disappointment that crossed her face with a raised eyebrow before she had him blushing like a maniac again. “Hey” she mocked him, “No problem.” Cerise poked him in the chest for emphasis before she headed towards the door again. “Think it’s safe to go back out now, hon?

The girl was even spunkier than he had expected from someone so small, and that poke to the chest only made his blush worse. He was thankful that she had turned around to head out the door. Why was he reacting to her like this? Likely it was just because she was the first woman he was spending time with that he didn’t intend to sleep with. “Yeah, probably safer for my cover anyway.”

There was a possibility that the three men were still watching, if he’d been the only person they’d run into that raised their suspicions it was a possibility. Plus, he’d promised to stay until the truck was empty. He shrugged and followed her out, grabbing another of the larger boxes. “So…do you mind if I make a phone call once I get this box in?” Checking in with Seven was the next priority, since the plan hadn’t exactly gone…as planned. He was already overdue to update the redhead.

Cerise picked up another of the smaller boxes, walking a little closer to him than she’d dared before. “Phone call?” She clicked her tongue, looking a little worried. “I dunno…As long as you’re not calling other women~ You wouldn’t want to break my heart now, would you?” Giggling, she headed inside with her box. This was the first person she’d really met since she came back to Korea…so what in seven Hells was she even doing!? Flirting with a stranger?? A potentially shady one at that?? As soon as she got inside, she put the box down and walked into the bathroom to splash a little water on her face and looked into the mirror. Oh God, she was blushing. She facepalmed and groaned, mumbling to herself. “Why are you like this, Cerise…”

Vanderwood couldn’t help but nearly choke on air as she teased him relentlessly, barely managing to get the box he was carrying down in the living room before stumbling. His heart was a mess of flutters and he was so confused. Had he breathed something in in that building? “I wouldn’t dream of breaking your heart.” That was true; he didn’t break hearts, because he never got attached. Well, maybe for a few crazies, but that wasn’t his fault. Vanderwood couldn’t let himself keep fawning over her like this. He was going to have to clear out that truck fast. But first, Calling Seven. Once she was out of sight, he leaned his hip against the wall and called the redhead, pushing his bangs back like he always did when he was on the phone.

“Your lazy ass almost got me killed. The douche had a silent alarm installed since last week.” The redhead, for once, wasn’t laughing as Vanderwood chided him. When they worked, Seven was usually at least in a no nonsense mode, which made life easier. “I told you we should have done another sweep last night.” Now the redhead was asking if Vanderwood had actually managed to get what they were looking for. “Yeah, I got most of the documents. Hopefully it’ll be enough to end the trafficking ring.” Vanderwood was trying to be quiet even as disgust curled into his voice.

Granted, Vanderwood was a part of the sex scene. His addiction had him frequenting escort services, but he was always certain that those women were fully consenting adults, not kidnapped immigrants like this scumbag organization they were attempting to take down. At least the girl wouldn’t have much to go off of with only half of a conversation, but Vanderwood wasn’t going to say much more, he couldn’t let her get more involved with him than she already had.

Seven noticed the silence and asked if he was with someone. “Yeah, just a uh…a girl.” There was a pause as the redhead half-teased and half-scolded him. “No, I’m not having sex with her, you prick!” She uh…just helped me out.” Did he hear her coming back out? “I’m going to do her a favor real quick, and then I’ll be back to your place with the flashdrive.” He hung up as the redhead started going on about using protection. That was his line anyway.

Cerise slapped her cheeks lightly to help herself snap out of it and dabbed her face with a fluffy towel before looking at herself in the mirror again and messing with her hair a bit. She needed to look good for any impromptu selfies. Speaking of which…Cerise thought she could hear him talking. Something about documents and rings? Was he…a jewel thief? Probably not…that was only in the movies.

She popped her head out of the bathroom, and it supplied her with a rather pleasant view of him leaning against her wall rather…photogenically. This was obviously the perfect time for a picture! After making sure her flash was off, she sneakily snapped another picture of her ‘savior,’ adding the caption ‘he can call me any time ^3~’ After hitting send, she slowly walked out of the bathroom now that he seemed to have ended his call.

He sighed as he pushed away from the wall, tucking his phone into his pocket. His muscles were so taut and tense after that phone call and knowing they’d probably get shit from the agency. Vanderwood needed a cigarette, and a good fuck wouldn’t be a bad idea either. When missions went wrong, he always got stressed. The adrenaline rush from running away from potential death wasn’t satisfying like the rush of success.

His brown eyes met the golden ones of the girl as he turned his head. She was really cute, rather beautiful really, although she wasn’t his regular type. What the Hell was he comparing her to his type for? He wasn’t going to sleep with her. She’d already spent far too much time with him as it was, and he almost felt guilty for thinking about her like that. “Alright, I’m all yours until that truck’s empty.” Vanderwood made his way back out to grab another box, not wanting to spend too much more time interacting with her…well a part of him did, but that wasn’t good.

“Sounds great, handsome~” She laughed and winked at him, leading them outside again. Whywhywhywhywhy Cerise repeated it in her head over and over, a furious blush on her face. Why did she keep doing this if all it did was fluster her!? She made a point to conceal her face when she could, grabbing smaller boxes and moving quickly. Gotta get that cardio in somehow… After passing him a few times wordlessly, she couldn’t help but note that he was handling those boxes like a champ. Cerise took another opportunity to snap a candid photo of him as he carried in the last particularly large box, making sure to catch herself in the photo too. She smiled and flashed a cute peace sign in the frame. ‘#whatagentleman +A+’

Vanderwood was used to being called handsome, it was a pretty regular thing for him really, but when she said it, his face had turned a whole new shade of red. He’d coughed and grabbed another huge box to hide behind. She was really something else. Vanderwood thought he detected a blush on her face as well as she hid behind smaller boxes. Really something else…adorable…beautiful…Where the Hell was his head going? He shook his thoughts away and focused on moving boxes.

Finally, after an hour or so, the truck was empty. Vanderwod was incredibly relieved and yet also a little…He wasn’t sad, but maybe he was feeling regret? That was weird. It was stupid too. There were no options, he couldn’t bring her anywhere nearer to his life than he already had, but for the first time in his life, he actually wanted to give a girl his number.

Cerise looked at the empty cabin with a slight disappointment. Well…she figured that maybe it was enough excitement for one day anyways. She had an apartment to put together. The man, Vanderwood, had been a huge help. By morning the truck driver would be there to pick it up. Cerise jumped up to reach the handle to close the back, Vanderwood snorting softly as she struggled in the air for a moment before the door finally slid down along with her. Curse her height…She made her way back to Vanderwood, dusting off the skirt she was wearing. “Thanks…I’m Cerise by the way. Cerise Song.” Cerise smiled and patted his arm. “I just moved here from Paris.”

He’d tensed only just a little at the unwanted touch before he felt a hard pang in his chest. “Oh good, you finally trust me with your name.” The name wouldn’t do him any good. He couldn’t see her again. This was one of the strangest moments of his life, because he fucking wanted to see her again. Something in him wanted her around. A regular woman and not one of his whores. That was a dream too good to be true, though. “Well, Cerise…Maybe I’ll see you around.” Empty promise; he couldn’t. Lying made his gut twist, but he didn’t have a choice.

He looked down at her, eyes locking for a few seconds, but those seconds felt like minutes. Vanderwood just couldn’t tear his eyes away from her. Then he bit his tongue, effectively breaking whatever the Hell spell it was keeping him there, grabbed his jacket and gloves and was out of there quickly, running down the street again like he had been earlier. This time he wasn’t running from anyone chasing him, although it felt like it.

When their eyes had locked, the only way Cerise knew how to describe it was intense. It was the first time she’d ever experienced that, and the feeling was…strange? She couldn’t put a finger on it. Before she even had a chance to react, he was gone. Cerise had meant to possibly ask him for his number, but she never got the chance to. She sighed and went inside her apartment. It was getting cold out, and she certainly wasn’t dressed for that kind of weather. “This is such a great start to my new life here…” She mumbled to herself.

At least if every day was as exciting as today had been, she would never be bored, and she hated to be bored. Her honey-colored eyes scanned her new apartment. There was a mess of boxes everywhere. “Time to get to work if I plan on sleeping.” Before she got started, she prepared to take what seemed like the hundredth selfie that day chronicling her first day in her new home. She posed herself in front of all the boxes, making sure to put on a sad pouty face. ‘vanderhottie left )’: #time2get2work’ It seemed her followers on social media were simply eating up her posts that day. Cerise dug through a box to throw on some pajamas, deeming them more comfortable to unpack in than being dressed up.

Vanderwood didn’t even bother to take the bus when he reached a stop. He ran the whole way home, thankful for the distraction. The small adrenaline rush was at least something to take his mind off that beautiful smile. Damn. He couldn’t stop thinking about her. What was this? Why was he like this? Vanderwood wanted to turn around and find her again, pick her up and kiss her. His addiction coupled with meeting a regular person probably.

He shook his head and leaned against Seven’s door, the metal cold against his forehead before he took out his cigarettes and popped one in his mouth. How had he managed without them for so long? Vanderwood groaned and lit the thing, taking long drags. What he really needed right now was a good fuck, but thinking about Cerise had him feeling…guilty about that. Something was seriously wrong with him.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | Vanderwood Backstory | The Perfect Woman

He still called her the next day. She was the most perfect woman he would ever have in his life. In fact, she would be the only woman he would ever have actually in his life. Just one to two hours at a time, most often once a week or whenever things got to be too much. That was just the woman he needed.

***OH MY GOODNESSS! It’s the end of my vanderbby’s backstory, but hold onto your seats because, guess what? My OTP VanderwoodxOC Cerise will be rolling out with an rp conversion soon!!!!

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He was finding it so hard to focus. His tie was annoying enough, but the suit was hot and uncomfortable. Why did he have to wear a suit? Oh, right, for the mission he was supposed to be paying attention to. Tonight, he would be framing someone for the murder of a seedy public official. They had dealings in sex trafficking, each of them. There was a small syringe of the chemical that the other man, the one being framed, was developing in his labs. So far, as far as anyone else knew, that lab was the only one to have this particular lethal chemical, and it was meant to be used for disposing of chemical waste, but Vanderwood was about to change that.

Vanderwood pulled on the collar of his suit once more. It felt like he was going to die. He much preferred his shirts and jacket. At least they were comfortable and easier to move around in. Although sometimes the jacket did get a little in the way just because he preferred to wear it over his shoulders rather than on, so that people could see the leopard print. Say what you would about him, but he happened to think it looked rather good. It was certainly the most expensive thing he’d ever owned besides his imported mattress and his agency issued taser. He felt oddly…comforted by the print. Seven had asked him once why he wore it, but that was all he could come up with. Trying to think about it made him upset.

The target was walking past now. A tall, slick-haired man with a beautiful woman on his arm. Vanderwood found her far more interesting, probably because he was already irritated. Honestly, Vanderwood would be surprised if the woman wasn’t an escort. Her dress was body hugging, silver like her nail polish and jewelry. The only thing that wasn’t silver was her hair which was a light purple, although it did have a hint of gray tone to it. Maybe she dyed it? No, it looked natural.

She was unique, but she had assets, and that was all Vanderwood ever cared about with women really, besides making sure that they didn’t touch him. Watching her with the target, she was definitely an escort. No one else would notice the way she was touching him just this way, making sure to keep her attention focused solely on her client. Yeah, escort. His eyebrow twitched as he once more discreetly tugged at his collar. Damn he wanted to hit that, she looked like a good fuck…, just to get some relaxation out of tonight.

***

He’d been watching them all night, waiting for his opening, and now, here it was. Vanderwood followed the target and his escort from the ballroom of the hotel and up the elevator, taking the adjacent one. It wouldn’t be long now. Quietly, he stood at the door, listening for when the man would finish, and he snorted when it only lasted five minutes. At least she was getting paid, Jesus. He was probably going to have to pay her off handsomely. If he knew escorts, he knew they just needed money, at least the good ones.

Vanderwood carefully inserted the hotel key that Seven had created, pressing the button on his phone that alerted Seven to the fact that he was commencing with the hit. The redhead would keep his location and send in a call for reinforcement if Vanderwood was gone longer than fifteen minutes, but the brunet really wasn’t worried.

He made his way in quick, taking the syringe and decapping it to hear the sound of the escort gasping as she dropped the dress she’d been putting back on, re-exposing herself, probably a self-defense mechanism meant to stun the attacker, but he wasn’t paying attention to her at the moment. The man was shouting something along the lines of ‘What are you doing here?’ when Vanderwood shoved the needle into the man’s thigh. The chemical apparently reacted quickly as his veins started to protrude and turn purple, his hands scratching at his throat as he fell.

Now he allowed himself to pay attention to the escort, turning to face the woman who had so far remained silent since her first gasp. She was eyeing him, false modesty had her covering her body. He snorted softly looking her over. God, it would be so nice to get out of this suit and into her, but he couldn’t do that while on a mission. Based on the way she now lifted her chin, giving him a calm and collected look, she knew that he wasn’t being fooled. Her tone was soft and gentle, like the brush of soft fabric along your skin, a little too pure for his taste, but so be it. “I won’t talk. I’m not stupid. You don’t even have to pay me. I’d rather be alive.”

She really was smart. He straightened out his shoulders as she dropped her arms away and went to put on her dress again. “Thought you were in this for the money.” It wasn’t really a question, but she answered anyway. “I am. Paying for law school and putting some money in savings, but I don’t want to be killed for greed. I easily make enough money as it is.” He noted that even though her voice was soft, it wasn’t not childish, more like sweet seduction. Vanderwood was actually smirking a little. So far, she hadn’t tried to touch him, beg for her life, nor threaten to blackmail him which was what he was used to.

This one was the genuine real deal detached escort. “How much for an hour?” It rolled off his tongue like normal conversation. There was a dead body in front of him and a now elegantly dressed escort to his right, but it was such an easy topic still. His life would never be normal, clearly; he’d accepted that a long time ago.

“$2,000 for one hour. I won’t touch you anywhere you don’t ask me to, and I’m silent unless otherwise requested. Do you want to right now?” Her eyes slipped to the man on the ground. “In another room?” She was so calm, probably some other client had met a similar fate before, that or she was really well trained by her pimp. Most likely the first option, seeing as she wasn’t even shaking. As tempting as her offer was, he couldn’t now, even though he wanted to. “Give me your number.”

Crystal was her name. She was so simple, so perfectly suited for his needs, and she didn’t want anything from him other than her money and to leave at the end of the night. Sometimes he would ask her about how school was going, tell her to be wary of her pimps and johns, particularly if clients getting killed was a normal thing for her. Usually she would give him a small smile and tell him that she knew what she was doing.

Only once, the week he had her there every day, did she ask him why he needed an escort when he was such a great catch. He actually told her the truth. “I’m a sex addict and a secret agent. I can’t ever find love or be in a relationship.” Vanderwood said it casually as he pulled his shirt back on. It was the anniversary of his brother’s death, that’s why that week was so hard, although usually he’d be seeing a different woman every night. Her soft tones grated a little on his ears for the first time when she answered. “There’s someone out there for you. She’ll heal you. You just haven’t found her yet.” Vanderwood had snorted at her before she left.

He still called her the next day. She was the most perfect woman he would ever have in his life. In fact, she would be the only woman he would ever have actually in his life. Just one to two hours at a time, most often once a week or whenever things got to be too much. That was just the woman he needed.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | Vanderwood Backstory | Mistakes Were Maid

Vanderwood was going to delete this night from his memory, because this whole mission felt like one huge mistake.

***This fanfiction covers my version of Vanderwood which I rp in this Mystic Messenger Discord server. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list for access to R-Rated Scenes and my monthly newsletter.

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Seven was packing the things in the car before they would be on their way to the hotel that the target was staying at. First, Seven would get them into the room posing as a maid, and then gather the information from the target’s laptop. Vanderwood was just the backup again. He much preferred this to doing hits. However, the redhead was insisting on dressing up as a female maid. Ever since that first time that he’d dressed up for a mission and managed to trick Vanderwood, this just seemed like Seven’s new ‘thing’.

“Hey, remember that one time, Mary…” Vanderwood’s eyebrow twitched as his hand went to remove his taser from its hooked position on his leg. The leather straps had flicked away easily, Vanderwood pushing away from the car with his hip to lock eyes with the eccentric younger man. Seven raised his hands, just a flicker of fear under the amused smile. “Nevermind, forget it.” He definitely remembered. It wasn’t that anything had happened. All he’d done was walk into the hallway Vanderwood had been waiting in, but he’d let Vanderwood hit on him. It had taken ages for Vanderwood to wash the revolting feeling off of his skin. It was like he’d hit on his brother and that was just, no. So much no.

Vanderwood just wanted some peace and quiet as they were driving, but that didn’t seem like something Seven was going to allow. The redhead was already putting on his long red wig, and Vanderwood was just trying to pretend that the kid wasn’t already in his maid’s dress. Seven made a convincing woman, and that was irritating as all Hell. Not that it had any effect on Vanderwood now other than making him want to jump out of the moving vehicle in irritation.

His hands tensed on the steering wheel as soon as Seven started talking in his ‘female voice,’ and it wasn’t long before his eyebrow was twitching again. “I brought you an outfit too!” Seven held it up cheerily before giving Vanderwood a wink and sticking his tongue out at the brunet. “See, we can be matching! Just in case we need to run.”

God. Vanderwood was so thankful he had more sense than to grab the little idiot right now, because otherwise they’d be in the ditch or have crashed into one of the other vehicles on the road. “I will not be wearing that. Today or any other day. Throw it out the window.” He glanced over at the redhead with as serious a glare as he could muster, which was a pretty serious death glare. Seven just laughed and tucked the dress into his ‘purse.’ Vanderwood could feel his muscles clenching. Oh good. Irritation before a mission was just his favorite thing.

Now the redhead was just laughing harder. “You’d make a very convincing woman, Mary.” Vanderwood bit his tongue and took a deep breath before replying, his jaw clenched rather painfully. “At 6′ and as much as I work out. Sure. Very convincing.” The redhead wasn’t going to stop laughing, and Vanderwood’s eyebrow wasn’t stopping its twitching anytime soon.

At least once they got to the hotel, Seven had gotten serious. Vanderwood was leaning his head back against the wall outside of the hotel room now. It wouldn’t be long before the redhead came out of the room with the information they needed. The agency’s newest virus would be used to clear out the laptop after Seven was done too.

After hours of going over just how crucial it was that they make sure to remember to bring the flashdrive containing the virus back, Vanderwood was going to be damn happy if it ended up not working. It was just an added liability on the agency’s part the way they currently had it set up. After all the hours Vanderwood had spent watching Seven in his computer classes at college, he was certain that there was some better way to put the virus into use, although what way eluded him.

Seven stuck his head out of the door again just as Vanderwood was about to see what was taking so long. Their file extractors were even faster than anyone else’s thanks to Seven’s genius abilities with computers and engineering. “Got it?” The redhead nodded, his wig staying on perfectly. How he had gotten so good at dress up was no mystery because now Seven did it all the damn time. Vanderwood bit his tongue and motioned with his head that they should get out of there. His eyes swept the hotel hallway again before he walked off in his designated direction. Seven would act as a maid for another couple of rooms downstairs near the exit before Vanderwood would join him after having a drink at the hotel bar. Nice and simple, quick in, quick out.

***

“What do you mean you left the virus there?” Yup. Vanderwood was pissed. In fact, it felt like there was so much bunched up energy in his body that it needed an escape. That liability, it really was one. A major one. “I’ll be down in a second.” It would have been much more satisfying hanging up if he still had a flip phone. Fuck. Now he had to go back up to the room and get it out. At least he could take care of it himself.

The hallway was still quiet. After listening at the door and ascertaining that no one was inside, Vanderwood used one of the hotel keys they’d stolen from one of the real maids to enter the room. The flash drive was sitting so nicely in the guy’s laptop, it was a wonder that the redheaded idiot could have forgotten it, but there wasn’t time to think about it right now.

As soon as Vanderwood had grabbed the drive, the hotel door opened. The target was standing there in shock with a bodyguard. Fan-fucking-tastic. “Hey, you there! What are you doing with my laptop?” Fucking a. Vanderwood grabbed his taser, noticing quickly that the bodyguard was only carrying close range weapons, a police stick actually. He snorted softly as he straightened his shoulders. “I was just-” and then he moved. Seven had higher advantage in the speed department, but against a similarly burly opponent, Vanderwood wasn’t so bad. His taser made contact with the man’s stomach, making him fall back in shock. Now Vanderwood was running off with the target screaming out after him. “Stop that man!”

By the time Vanderwood had made it down the stairs to the maintenance room rendezvous, there were hotel staff everywhere. Hell, it was a miracle he’d even made it to the maintenance room. His heart was racing and he was actually out of breath, but as soon as he saw the redhead, that desire to punch him in the gut was back. “You ass! How the Hell am I supposed to get out of here now with the place swarming with staff?” Even though he was absolutely pissed, Vanderwood kept his voice quiet, whisper yelling.

The snicker that escaped the redhead made Vanderwood’s eyebrow go absolutely insane. “What? What. Is. So. Funny.” It took Seven a couple of minutes to completely bite back the uproarious laughter that wanted to escape him. The brunet was really missing that serious attitude his partner usually had while working. Ever since that damn girl had joined Seven’s little club the redhead had gotten worse. Vanderwood was obviously missing out on the best joke ever. Except he wasn’t. Now Seven was pulling out that dress from earlier and held it out to the brunet. “You sure you’re never wearing a dress?”

***

Vanderwood wanted to punch something. Every muscle in his body was aching as he was driving them back home. The redhead was still laughing his ass off and still taking pictures. He’d even managed to get one selfie style and Vanderwood was seriously considering tasing the kid to death once they got back to the garage. “I’m going to kill you.”

Seven snickered and laughed some more, wiping tears away from his eyes. “Don’t worry Vanderwood. At least no one else will ever see them, right?” After shooting some more glares Seven’s way, nonverbally telling him ‘They better fucking not’ Vanderwood looked back out the window. As soon as he was home he was having a smoke and finding himself a hooker. At least that would be some revenge, since Seven hated when he had his women over, but Hell, Seven deserved it.

It was the redhead’s fault for never doing his work anymore that had made Vanderwood move in with him in the first place in favor of living with him again over being killed for not finishing assignments. The kid was going to put on his noise cancelling headphones anyway, and it was Seven’s fault that Vanderwood wasn’t able to relax. Vanderwood was going to delete this night from his memory, because this whole mission felt like one huge mistake.

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Next Chapter

Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | Vanderwood Backstory | Ambush

Now they’d send someone if he didn’t check in within an hour. It wasn’t even a full minute later when Vanderwood picked the lock and entered the little hovel that he scanned left and right, the right was what got him, an ambush. One whack and he was out.

***This fanfiction covers my version of Vanderwood which I rp in this Mystic Messenger Discord server. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list for access to R-Rated Scenes and my monthly newsletter.

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Vanderwood honestly hated Italy. People wanted to stand too close to him and they talked way too much with their hands. At least they were short, because if Italians were a taller people, he would have gotten hit in the face plenty of times. Seven almost seemed to be treating this mission like a vacation. It was his first mission abroad, so on some level it made sense, but at the same time, Vanderwood wanted to tase him at least once every five minutes.

Why were they even here still? That’s right. There was some member of the other organization here that was working with the mafia. The ‘mafia’, Vanderwood didn’t really believe they even existed, but the guy was working with some sort of organization. Vanderwood turned down the side street towards the little hovel Seven had clued him in on. It was finally time for the hit. Seven had spent the past few weeks trying to figure out which cell phone belonged to whom in the group of people they had been following. The kid had wanted to come along, but there was no way Vanderwood was letting him anywhere near a hit mission.

It was eerily silent for being broad daylight in a poorer neighborhood. Usually there would be more children around. Vanderwood furrowed his brows, starting to feel something nagging at his mind. He bit his tongue and kept going. No point chickening out until he had proof that something was up, but he pressed the little emergency tracker he had in his pocket and swallowed it. Now they’d send someone if he didn’t check in within an hour. It wasn’t even a full minute later when Vanderwood picked the lock and entered the little hovel that he scanned left and right, the right was what got him, an ambush. One whack and he was out.

***

“Fucking shit…” His head was ringing, and he was struggling to remember what had happened. Right…the hit. It had seemed so routine, but the target had apparently been lying in wait, completely aware of what was coming rather than surprised. Vanderwood opened his eyes slowly, taking in the room. It was small, a single door in front of him, and bare except for a table full of tools. They looked to be old, rusted, some knives, some hammers. Great. Those were probably for him. Other than that, there was nothing there.

Vanderwood leaned his head back and tested the ropes his hands were tied to the armrests with. They were solid, and so were the ones on his legs. So today he was either going to die, or the agency would send an extraction team. Was he valuable enough for that? All Vanderwood knew was that he’d have to wait the torture out for at least an hour to be sure, granted he didn’t know how long it had been since he was knocked out. At the very least ten minutes, at the most, maybe a half hour.

Dying really didn’t sound so bad. He’d honestly been waiting for it for years, knew it was coming at some point, but he didn’t have much more time to dwell on that thought before the door opened and a familiar face appeared. That damn redheaded bitch. “Oh look, it’s the great Korean Casanova.” She was speaking in Korean, a language he’d gotten used to only speaking with Seven lately but that he knew better than Italian anyway.

“I’m not Korean.” So, there was more than one agent from the enemy agency in town, clearly, since she hadn’t been the target. “What am I supposed to call you again? The great whore?” Antagonizing her seemed really smart, but he was most likely on the way to his death bed already. Since their last encounter, they’d been able to gather some information, and included in that was that her job was generally espionage and quiet assassination, infiltrating a man’s bed and poisoning him. Poison was her weapon of choice. That wasn’t a pleasant thought, since that probably meant a slow and painful death, but since it looked like she meant to torture him anyway, what did it matter? It would be slow and painful either way.

She flipped her vibrant red hair over her shoulder before catching his eye with those venomous green ones of hers. “Call me Jessica.” Vanderwood snorted. “Jessie it is.” He wasn’t about to be nice to this woman. She’d already nearly killed him once. “So, ready to finish the job? Can we just get this over with?”

There was a little glint in her eye which only made him more irritated. His muscles were starting to clench up too, great. It wouldn’t be long before he was irritated beyond belief, he figured. “Actually, I’m supposed to get just a specific piece of information off you.” Jessica went to the table, her spiked heels clicking against the concrete floor in a way that only irritated him more. “You’re not going to get anything out of me.”

Now she was really smiling. “If you say so, handsome.” She chose a short-bladed knife, seemingly sharp and clean, unlike most of the items on the little table. “All I really need from you is who tipped you off on this mission in Italy.” Vanderwood happened to know, which was great, but even if he didn’t know, she would probably still torture him. “You’re not getting anything out of me.” He repeated it, knowing what would be coming, or at least some of it. He’d been cut before, but not by a knife. What a great time for a new life experience. Was he ever not a cynical asshole even in a moment like this?

Jessica approached slowly, the sound of those spiked heels against the concrete putting his teeth on edge. Vanderwood made sure to clench his jaw instead of biting his tongue. If the agency did show up, he would prefer to not have choked on his tongue. The cold blade brushed against his neck, making him want to shiver. “Just kill me.” That actually made her pause for a second. He couldn’t possibly mean that. If he was still alive after she’d shot him, clearly, he wanted to live. She slowly pushed up the sleeve of his left arm. “Who?”

Jessica dragged the blade in a curve down his forearm, making him clench his jaw even harder. That stung more than he thought it should have. She waited for him to talk, bending to look him directly in the eyes. Something in Vanderwood reacted, and he hated it, the tenseness in him seeking relief and knowing there was a woman right there. Still, knowing her, maybe she would go for it anyway, as distasteful as sleeping with someone like her might be. “How about instead of jabbing me, you let me take care of you, huh?” Vanderwood put on his typical smirk, the kind that always seemed to get him a win.

Wait…was it actually working? It had been a bit of a long-shot, but now Jessica was smiling even broader, leaning in. Her lips brushed against his and he leaned forward as much as he could manage to take possession of them. Even tied up, his dominance shone through. Granted, if he needed to let her do what she wanted in order for him to get out of this and kill her, well then, he would let it happen. His lips started to burn, and she leaned back. “Please enjoy my poison lipstick. It tends to leave some blisters.”

God, fucking damn it. Then she was dragging the knife down in a curve in the opposite direction on his arm, leaving a long burning x. If this was the way it was going to go, he might as well just shut down completely now. Vanderwood attempted to blank his mind, letting the pain be the pain, but not bothering to think about anything else. If he was going to die, he was going to die. If not, then not. Fighting it was as pointless as quitting smoking when he had no future to speak of.

A loud clanging sound had him opening his eyes to see Jessica looking up towards the ceiling. Voices and footsteps. There were some already sounding like they were coming down the stairs. The agency had decided he was valuable after all. Vanderwood snorted as he watched Jessica try to decide whether to kill him or make her escape.

Apparently, self-preservation won out in the end, because she pressed a kiss to his forehead leaving another painful burn before she disappeared behind him. Really, it wasn’t smart to antagonize the enemy when they already seemed to have a vendetta against you, it was stupid, but he was so done. “Bye, Jessie.” Someday he was going to kill that poison bitch. He heard a heavy metal door open and close and then the door in front of him opened again to reveal Seven and a couple other agents. “So…bit, of an ambush, Mary?” Now that he knew Vanderwood was safe, Seven switched immediately from his serious mode to his joking asshole side. Vanderwood wanted to tase him already.

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Mystic Messenger Fanfiction | Vanderwood Backstory | Healing

Vanderwood pulled his shirt on, covering his newest scars, the large indented circle on his left pectoral and the smaller indented circle on his back.
That bullet wound had taken months to heal, so long in fact that he’d had time to learn Italian for their next mission. What a life.

***This fanfiction covers my version of Vanderwood which I rp in this Mystic Messenger Discord server. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list for access to R-Rated Scenes and my monthly newsletter.

You can support my writing on patreon and get access to my VIP Discord Server or other goodies like early chapter releases and hidden scenes. Check out our official artist’s Vandy art!

Chapter Directory.  ~Let’s Connect! FFC***

It had been way too long since he’d last gotten a good fuck, and this girl had offered herself to him. Now, she was just sitting there watching him as he got dressed to leave. She wasn’t a hooker, that was a bad one on him, but she didn’t seem interested in keeping him there either. Seemed to him that she had been as sexually frustrated as he was, although, most certainly not for the same reason. Vanderwood pulled his shirt on, covering his newest scars, the large indented circle on his left pectoral and the smaller indented circle on his back.

That bullet wound had taken months to heal, so long in fact that he’d had time to learn Italian for their next mission. What a life. Vanderwood snorted softly at himself and the curvy blonde in the bed pushed up onto her forearm. “What are you snorting at, handsome?”

He didn’t particularly feel like talking to her. It always grated on his nerves when the women wanted to talk. Even hookers would talk sometimes, but the civilians always talked the most. Bad on him for not having had the patience to find a good hooker, but Hell, at least now he felt like he could breathe again after having been cooped up in bed for months. Even worse, after having been cooped up in bed for months in Seven’s house. It had been easier than staying at his little apartment.

“Just snorting at myself.” His eyes trailed over the woman’s body. She was pretty, very sexy, hard to believe that she was that sexually frustrated to just throw herself at him as soon as he walked in the door, but maybe she had her reasons. Vanderwood finished getting dressed by pulling on his jacket and gloves. “Bye now.” He grunted it at her as he left the house, and she didn’t bother to answer, which was great for him.

As he opened the door, a white-haired man with ruby colored eyes looked up at him. The guy was maybe four inches shorter than Vanderwood and had a rattail of his peculiar colored hair. His face was impeccably molded, angular and beautiful. If he dressed right, or wrong, he could easily be taken as a woman. That just had Vanderwood cringing with bad memories. “Excuse me.” He slipped past the dumbfounded man. It wasn’t long after he’d started down the hallway of the woman’s apartment building that he heard the yelling. ‘You cheated on me?’ It sounded more hurt than angry, but there was definitely anger in his tone too.

Vanderwood turned back towards the room, frozen in place. Well, that explained a lot. Honestly, he felt a little sick. Sleeping with someone else’s woman was something he would never have put on his bucket list, but now he had crossed it off nonetheless. Great. Just another of his many wrong-doings. There was nothing he could do about it now, and it wasn’t like he had known, so he just made his way out of the apartment building.

***

The day had gone by as his usual schedule. Vanderwood had watched some secret agent movies and yelled at the TV that they were doing it wrong, made food for himself and the redhead, which Seven barely ate in favor of these disgusting chips that he’d somehow won a warehouse full of – Vanderwood didn’t want to know – and he’d cleaned the house, slowly so as not to do too much now that he was finally allowed out of bed and out of the house again.

As Seven’s handler, Vanderwood spent most of his time cleaning up after the kid while Seven worked which he was really good at getting sucked into, so the cleaning would take all of Vanderwood’s focus too. Still, he couldn’t get the idea out of his mind that he’d slept with someone he really shouldn’t have. It just made him feel gross. Maybe he should head to the bar again to actually have a drink and a smoke. Picking up a hooker tonight was out of the question, even though he knew he could easily go again.

Vanderwood went to the same bar, figuring that the blonde wouldn’t be there again, and he was right. Still, something felt weird. There were eyes on him. He scanned the room. It seemed this was a bit of a local hang out for motorcycle gangs. Vanderwood had seen several of the vehicles outside of the bar, but now he saw that there was a group of similarly dressed in leather men over in the corner of the bar, and for whatever reason, they were watching him.

He shrugged and sat at the bar, feigning dropping his guard. If there were eyes on him, it was better to pretend he thought nothing of it. He ordered some hard liquor and drank it back. It wasn’t long before he heard footsteps approaching, not just one set but several. Their boots left heavy thuds, so they couldn’t possibly hope to sneak up on him. Vanderwood turned in his chair to look at the three thugs that had approached. This really wasn’t good. Whatever they wanted, he would have to give, because he wasn’t in the state to really fight.

“Hello there, gentleman, what can I do for you?” That wasn’t well received, a rather tall one with short blond hair, the underside a dark brown spoke up, his arms crossed and stance indicating that he was looking for a fight, not yet ready to swing, but looking for a reason. “You can stop sleeping with our women.”

Oh, so that was it huh? So, the albino man he’d seen must have been some sort of member of this gang, then. Come to think of it, he had been wearing the same leather jacket these goons were. The tall one spoke again. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

Vanderwood sighed and placed his glass on the bar top. “I don’t have much to say other than that I didn’t know. She threw herself at me, and I was in the mood.” That was the God’s honest truth, but a short one to the right side of the one that had spoken grabbed a bottle from the bar counter and smashed it. “That’s my sister you’re talking about!” Vanderwood jumped up to avoid his swing, but he was too slow, and now there was a cut down over his left hip. It was better than getting a cut to his crotch, which was where the guy had been aiming. “Hey, hey, let’s calm down.” Maybe reasoning would work? Probably not, all three looked angry now, but then he heard the door open.

“Hey, Zen. Glad you got my text. We found the douche who screwed your woman.” The tall one was obviously the general leader of this group. Vanderwood turned his head just enough to watch the albino from his periphery. The guy looked heartbroken, and it made Vanderwood’s heart clench. That look on his face was Vanderwood’s fault. At this point, Vanderwood was getting ready to accept his fate, but then the albino spoke up. “Back off guys, it’s not his fault. Vira was trying to get back at me.”

Okay, Vanderwood hadn’t been expecting that, and the albino was apparently full of surprises. He turned to Vanderwood now, noticing his wound. “Holy shit, you cut him? You need to get that looked at. Come with me.” Vanderwood just shook his head. “No, I can take care of it myself.” His jacket pocket had everything he needed to stitch himself up, and he reached in to grab it, showing it to the younger man. “I just need somewhere to sit where I know I won’t get cut open further.” The younger man gave him a weird look, but didn’t try to argue with him, which was rather refreshing.

The Zen guy nodded towards the others and the tall one reluctantly pushed the other two goons along with him. It didn’t take long to stitch himself up as Vanderwood sat outside in the open air with Zen. “Hey, man. I really didn’t know.” The albino had been pretty quiet up until now, but his eyes roamed over the taller man before he shrugged. “I know…I’m sorry about my…buddies. They get a little excitable sometimes.” Zen pulled out a pack of smokes which Vanderwood recognized as Black Angel brand. Vanderwood could really go for a smoke, although he preferred the rough taste of generic cigarettes, but he was pleased when the albino held out the pack for him to take one.

Vanderwood popped the cig in the corner of his mouth before producing his own lighter with which he lit his own and then the albino’s before taking a long drag. His muscles relaxed slowly, his other addiction not nearly as soothing as sex, but it got the job done when he needed it. It was killing him slowly, but Vanderwood really didn’t care. He was most likely going to die early anyway, and it wasn’t like he had anything to live for.

Zen piped up again after a moment. “To tell you the truth, I’m leaving the gang. I’ve gotten a bigger role at my acting job. That’s why Vira was always so mad at me, too…I’m addicted to my job more than I’m interested in her.” Vanderwood just nodded. He didn’t know what else to do. Guy talk wasn’t exactly something he really did. The last person he’d had a heart to heart with was dead, and the others he’d always just pushed away.

Once their cigs were down to the filter, they each stomped them out. Zen turned to Vanderwood and offered him his hand, which the brunet took and gave a solid shake. It was weird, but whatever, it wasn’t like he was going to see the guy again. “No worries about Vira…But if you ever want to come see a show, look up my name.” For a heartbroken guy, Zen could really put on a smile. “Yeah, I’ll think about it.”

Vanderwood laid in bed, fingers playing along the bandage of what would most certainly be a new scar. Just another to add to the collection. It wasn’t like he didn’t have enough already. At least this one wasn’t going to take months to heal. His emotional scars were worse than the physical anyway, and there was no healing from that. Zen…he would do his best to forget the guy. It was safer for him, but if Vanderwood ever saw him again, he’d have to give the guy a smoke to return the favor.

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