tagNovels and NovellasLady in Red Pt. 02 Ch. 18

Lady in Red Pt. 02 Ch. 18

byHarddaysknight©

Never one to drink very much, Steve totally abstained from alcohol when the wedding party reached the old castle for the brief wedding party reception. He escorted Gwen to the various food stations while he observed his surroundings. He thought it odd that the wait staff wore heavy work shoes that were badly in need of polish. He had imagined that the wedding of the son of the Russian President would have more rigorous standards.

As Gwen, with a plate in her hand, stepped up to the man carving steak, Steve noticed the man's nervous actions. His hands shook slightly while perspiration seemed to roll down his neck and face, even though the room was air conditioned. He was also doing a rather poor job with the cuts of meat in his charge.

Steve heard a sudden, loud yell, but he kept his focus on the man positioned between him and Gwen. Although Steve was very alert, he was still caught off guard when the man suddenly made a lunge for Gwen. He had grabbed her bodice with his right hand and pulled Gwen toward him as he brought the knife in his left hand upward and directly toward Gwen's chest.

Steve slammed his fist hard into the man's shoulder, causing the knife to miss its mark. The attacker clung to Gwen's gown as he staggered backward, ripping most of it from her upper body. He quickly regained his balance and started for Gwen again. Without any compunction whatsoever, Steve drove the butter knife he had recently been using into the man's throat and pushed him away.

"Steve! Look out!" warned Gwen as another waiter moved in from behind. Steve kicked his new assailant in the knee to slow down his approach. When he turned to face the man, Steve was faced with another carving knife being utilized as a weapon. The man suddenly lunged forward in an attempt to stab Steve in the lower stomach. Steve parried the attempt with his left arm. That move momentarily left the man off balance. Before he could recover, Steve slammed him in the jaw with his right foot. The knife wielding man went over backwards, cracking his head on the stone floor. Steve saw blood begin to seep across the stone as he turned his attention to the bedlam in the banquet room.

It was immediately apparent that all of the wait staff, male and female, was intent on killing the members of the wedding party. Two of the bridesmaids were already slumped on the floor, as well as a very bloody groomsman.

A burly man pulled his knife from the chest of a downed bridesmaid and turned toward Steve. Watching the man closely, Steve wrapped his tuxedo jacket around his left arm. He used it to blunt the man's attack. As he blocked a thrust with his left arm, Steve felt a fist smash into his right eye. Knowing that time wasn't a luxury he had, Steve once again used a kick to back the man up. Before Steve could pursue his advantage, someone struck Steve from behind with a serving tray.

Unwilling to take his eye off the man he was fighting, Steve dared not risk a glance backward. From the corner of his vision, he saw Gwen move in to engage his attacker, allowing him to concentrate on his immediate adversary. The attacker rushed him, swinging his knife back and forth as he moved. Once again, Steve parried the knife thrust, although he felt a burning sensation on his left arm under the jacket. Deeply concerned about Gwen fighting with a knife wielding man, Steve ignored the pain and drove a fist into the man's face. Blood spurted from the man's nose and he staggered slightly. Seeing his opening, Steve grabbed the man's knife arm and forcefully pushed the blade back into his body. When he felt his fist come in contact with his assailant's stomach, Steve yanked the knife upward and into the man's heart.

Still worried about Gwen, Steve dropped the already dead body and swung his attention to the struggle behind him. He was relieved to see Gwen holding another woman by her hair as she delivered several vicious jabs to her face. Gwen released her grip and as her opponent began collapsing to the floor; Gwen delivered a hard, barefoot kick to her jaw!

Steve once again assessed the situation in the room. Two of Vlad's groomsmen were in the Russian Army. They had apparently teamed up to take three male and two female assailants out of the conflict. To his left, he saw Vlad struggling with a large man wielding yet another knife and he quickly moved in that direction. Anna was cowering behind her new husband, her white gown covered in blood. Before Steve could reach them, the man plunged the knife into Vlad's chest! Steve approached the attacker from behind. He simply grabbed the man's head and viciously twisted it. Gwen heard the bones break as the man dropped in a heap.

Vlad was clutching the knife in his chest when the only assailant still standing, a woman, swung a heavy serving tray like a horizontal guillotine that struck a vicious blow to Vlad's throat. She was pulling it back to deliver another blow when Steve's right foot connected with her jaw. Her head bent back at an unnatural angle as she dropped the large tray and collapsed to the ground.

Steve quickly grabbed Vlad and lowered him gently to the floor. Blood leaked from his upper chest, but Steve was more concerned about the fact that the son of the Russian president was turning a dark blue as he now clutched his throat.

"Get me a sharp knife and a straw!" demanded Gwen as she dropped down by President Novokov's only son. Steve scrambled a short distance to pick up a steak knife, and then removed a plastic straw from a drink glass. He quickly returned to Gwen and knelt next to her as she took the knife from his hand. Steve held Vlad's hands away from his neck as Gwen ran her fingers over his throat. Once she was satisfied that she had found what she was looking for, she carefully made an incision. Then Gwen took the straw from Steve and cautiously slid it into the small opening she had made in Vlad's neck.

Suddenly a loud gasp came from the straw as air once again found its way into the young Russian's lungs. Within seconds, his coloring began to improve. That was the moment when Russian police poured through every door of the dining room with guns drawn and pointed everywhere, and at everyone!

Gwen's friends and family had been enjoying delicious hors d'oeuvers, excellent wines, and very good beer as they waited for the actual reception to begin. They were seated at a two large tables not far from the bar. As they enjoyed the food and drink, numerous Russian dignitaries smiled and nodded to them. Those that knew English would stop and exchange greetings. Everyone was having a good time, when police suddenly entered the large dining hall and closed all exit doors.

They shouted orders that caused the guests to become extremely agitated. "Please tell us what's happening," implored Paula to a young man that had been chatting in English with Stephanie. Paula's stomach had begun to spasm nervously as she felt the anxiety level in the room increase by the second.

"There's been a terrorist attack on the wedding party! We're in lock down until it's determined if we are safe here. There have been fatalities."

Paula felt icy fingers squeezing her chest as her breathing became labored. Ted pulled her close and tried to console her. Jason and Chip did much the same with Lisa and Kate. Ashley began sobbing in Richard Drake's chest while little Ingrid became increasingly frightened. Jared was the first to comment as he wrapped an arm around Naomi.

"Okay, we know that there was an attack. Haven't Gwen and Steve been involved in them before? Don't they always pull through? We need to hope for the best here. I know that Steve will protect Gwen with his life."

"We have these international cell phones," pointed out Naomi as she held up her phone. "Let's call them!"

After numerous attempts over several minutes, the group finally accepted the fact that Steve and Gwen were not answering their phones, for whatever reason. Their imaginations and worse fears began to resurface once it became clear that their loved ones could not be reached.

Suddenly, Naomi's phone rang. She checked the caller ID and answered immediately. "Yes, Senator Mason? We're removed from the scene by 30 clicks or so. It was a reception for the wedding party. We've been told that we're on lock down until our safety can be guaranteed. The word is that there are casualties. We don't know who, or how many. Yes, Senator, both Gwen and Steve would have been involved. If we hear any more, I'll let you know immediately. Madam, if you'd do the same for us, we'd appreciate it. Thank you, Senator Mason.

"That was Senator Mason wanting to know what's going on. This could become a very serious international incident if Novokov's son was killed, or seriously injured in the attack. All of our intelligence agencies are pulling in every favor, and talking to every contact they have."

"Let me just add that there'll be pure hell to pay if anything has happened to Steve and Gwen," promised Chip through gritted teeth. "I didn't drag his ass half way across Iraq to have some nut take him out now!"

"Chip! We're taking Jared's suggestion," insisted Kate. "We're talking about freaking Steve Hammer! He'll never let anything bad happen to Sis. I'm sure of that."

Just then, Lisa's phone rang. "It's Gwen! Hello, Gwen? Are you okay? Yes! Thank God! Oh, no! Okay, but call as soon as you can. We love you and Steve! Bye!"

Everyone was on the edge of their seats as they waited for Lisa to explain what she had learned. "Gwen and Steve are alive! She couldn't talk long and wasn't supposed to say anything about the attack. They were monitoring her call. They've both been injured, but Gwen says not too seriously, whatever that means. They're being transported to a Russian hospital. She doesn't know which one. She asked that we be patient and wait for one of them to call."

"That was all" asked Chip. "How bad were they hurt? Were they shot? Hurt by an explosion? What's the closest hospital?"

"Gwen did say one more thing. 'Steve came through for me again' were her exact words. You can decide for yourself what she meant, but I think we all have a pretty good idea."

"I'm getting a text from Cheryl!" exclaimed Stephanie. "I'd forgotten about her being there! We received permission for her to attend the wedding party reception as a photographer, as long as she remained in the balcony area and didn't mingle with the guests."

"Here's what she texted. She was scared to death, but she videoed the entire attack. It was very bloody. The attackers used knives. There were men and women posing as waiters and waitresses that were trying to kill the wedding party. Gwen actually beat up some skank! Steve killed four or five of the terrorists with his bare hands! Both Gwen and Steve were bleeding, but she thinks they're okay. Novokov's son was stabbed, and Gwen actually operated on him at the scene! She isn't sure exactly why.

"She's sending some photos from her phone and then erasing everything. The police are taking all cameras and phones. They'll be taking hers when they get upstairs. She's switching memory chips in the camera and sending what pictures she has on her phone before she deletes everything. She's a smart girl!"

"Let's see the pictures!" insisted Jason. "Gwen was in a fight with a terrorist? I hope she wasn't badly hurt. Knife fights are awfully bloody!"

"I'll forward the pictures to your phones," promised Stephanie. "Don't let the Russian authorities see them or they'll take away all of our phones. I've got to get a laundered version of this out to FaceBook and Twitter, so friends and family know that Gwen, Steve, and Cheryl are doing okay."

"Look at the third picture," insisted Kate as she stared at her phone. "Look at the blood and all of the bodies. You can See Steve and Gwen kneeling by a bloody male. It must be Vlad! Cheryl couldn't get close or even zoom much with her phone, but it shows the entire room and you can zoom your picture in a little and make out faces. Gwen's in her underwear!"

"It looks like two of the bridesmaids are either badly wounded or dead," observed Naomi. "I see two groomsmen down and quite a few waiters and waitresses, or terrorists as we now know them to be. I've got to pass this information on to my superiors right now!"

"I see Gwen's dress in this picture!" gasped Paula. "One of the dead waiters is gripping it. It looks like he paid with his life for that bit of poor judgment."

"It looks like blood on Gwen's arm and her hands," offered Ashley. "Steve's arm is bleeding. His shirt looks quite red. I hope he wasn't stabbed!"

News organizations were in a frenzy to learn more about the attack. When Lady in Red's FaceBook page reported that Gwen and Steve were injured but alive and expected to recover, it swept across the internet and TV air waves almost immediately.

Cheryl's parents were stunned when their morning TV news program suddenly switched to a reporter in Moscow for breaking news of a terrorist attack on President Novokov's son and his wedding party! Cheryl's mother was unsuccessfully fighting back tears when her cell rang.

"Mrs. Baxter? This is Helen. I work for Lady in Red Productions. I have to ask if you've seen the news this morning. I can tell by your crying that you have. I've been told to call you to let you know that your daughter is unharmed and that you should not worry. We realize that isn't easy to relax, but the company owners on the scene in Russia have asked me specifically to inform you that she was not directly involved in the terrorist attack and was not harmed in any way. Your daughter is perfectly safe."

Gwen was still leaning over Vlad, holding the steak knife in her left hand when the Russian police barged into the dining hall. Two officers approached her and demanded that she put the knife down. Gwen realized how tense the officers were and immediately placed the small knife on the floor and raised both her hands.

Steve watched the policemen closely as their eyes traveled over Gwen's chest. Her push-up bra was performing admirably, and with the loss of her gown, Gwen gravity defying breasts were on display. However, the situation was far too grave for the officers to dwell on the treasures contained in Gwen undergarments.

Between sobs, Anna Suchkov managed to explain how Gwen had restored Vlad's breathing, but he needed to be transported to a hospital immediately. He had been stabbed in the chest!

The officer in charge spoke into a hand held device as his men moved about, checking the terrorists for signs of life. Medics of some kind appeared within seconds and rapidly moved to treat Vlad. They nodded approvingly when they saw the makeshift throat stoma Gwen had just completed.

They immediately placed Vlad on a gurney and hurriedly wheeled him from the room. Gwen was concerned about the lack of assessment and treatment by the medics, but realized the futility of suggesting alternative actions.

Steve was not surprised when it was determined that all of the terrorists were dead, except for the woman that Gwen had rendered unconscious. His intent at the time of the struggle had been to render his enemies incapable of continuing the fight. He had pulled no punches and given no quarter.

Several of the more seriously injured people were placed on gurneys and wheeled from the room. Gwen and Steve had somehow suffered fewer injuries than the others. They were escorted to a police car where they were to be transported to a hospital. Before they left, Gwen insisted that Cheryl go with them. She was not willing to leave the frightened teen in a strange place, especially when she didn't speak the native language, and the old castle reeked of death.

The police apologized about not having enough ambulances as they drove the three Americans to a hospital. On the way, Steve requested that they be allowed to speak with their family. After some discussion and a quick phone call by the apparent government agent riding next to the officer driving, it was agreed. But nothing could be said about the attack, who was involved, and who was injured. The government agent told them he spoke English fluently, and he would monitor the conversation.

The agent returned Gwen's phone to her and she immediately called Lisa and explained the situation while avoiding any discussion of the attack or the aftermath. Then she returned the phone to the Russian as soon as she ended the call.

Steve had ripped what was left of his shirt into bandages and had placed one on Gwen's arm where she had a nasty knife cut. Then Gwen did her best to bandage his arm and stomach where an attacker had come very close to disemboweling Steve.

"I want to be there when you get stitches," insisted Gwen as she looked at his injuries. "I think we can prevent scarring if the doctors are careful and have the right sutures. You'll need ice for your eye and it feels like I will, too. Is my right eye discolored? It's beginning to sting."

"It's all bloodshot and looks sore as hell," confided Steve as they checked each other's battle wounds. "Your left eye is starting to develop a nice shiner. When you're in a fistfight, you're not supposed to let the other guy, or girl, hit you like that."

"Look who's talking," chided Gwen. "You already have a black eye, along with a nice knot on your forehead. And you shouldn't let people cut you when you're in a knife fight."

"A knife fight, as I understand it, means that both adversaries have a knife," replied Steve with a bit of a grin. "I was in a 'knife attack' and people do get cut up when that happens."

"I guess I'm proof of that," acknowledged Gwen as she glanced at her bandaged arm. "You were great, Steve. I saw that knife coming at my chest. Then you slammed that guy and made him miss. You saved my life."

"I was a little slow with my reflexes, Gwen. I should have taken him out before he even got close. I feel pretty bad about that," admitted Steve as Gwen kissed his cheek gently. "You sure kicked the living crap out of that woman what was smacking me on the head from behind. That saved me. I didn't dare take my eyes off the guy trying to knife me to do anything about that crazy witch behind me. At least she's alive and they'll get everything that she knows out of her pretty quickly. They won't be asking her nicely, either."

Photographers had been set up near the entrance to the castle where the wedding party reception had been scheduled. They had to leave when the police arrived on scene and demanded they put the cameras away. Unknown to Steve and Gwen, or the police, a few paparazzi that had more international experience had set up farther back, on a hill that overlooked the old castle location.

They were unseen by the police, but their telephoto lenses gave them great images of whatever, and whomever, left the castle. Before Gwen and Steve even arrived at the hospital, photographs of the famous couple emerging from the scene of the attack were traveling at near light speed across continents and oceans. Cheryl was seen on the other side of Steve from Gwen in the pictures.

In one photo, Gwen's face was clearly shown and it was apparent that her left eye was discolored. It was also readily apparent that she no longer wore her gown. Her strapless red bra performed admirably as her ample breasts rode high and firm on her chest. She had some blood on her cheek and considerably more on her hands, stomach, and chest.

Steve's left eye was already turning colors and a large purple bruise was visible on his forehead. His shirt was barely hanging from his shoulders with most of the front gone. Two red lines could be seen across his stomach, and blood covered his left forearm and hand. His right arm was placed protectively over Gwen's shoulder. All three Americans appeared to be looking directly at the camera.

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byHarddaysknight© 25 comments/ 41131 views/ 24 favorites

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