And we're on our way
No we can't turn back, babe
Yeah we're on our way
And we can't turn back
'Cause it's too late
Too late, too late
Too late, too late
- "I Looked At You", Jim Morrison and The Doors
"I killed him."
Edward turns the wheel as we set off towards the road, seemingly indifferent at the information he's just given me.
"You WHAT him?" Dropping the envelope into my lap, I cover my mouth with my hand and stare at him wide-eyed.
"I. Killed. Him. His bitch of a wife too," he says nonchalantly.
I envision the body count we're wracking up behind us like a football scoreboard. Bella Swan: 1, Edward Masen: 2. "What happened…why?"
He looks at me through a haze of exhaled smoke he blows towards the windshield and shrugs. "They got in our way."
"Got in our way?" I take the envelope from my lap and put it into the glove compartment, stuffing it next to some maps and an old first aid kit.
Edward lets out a long sigh, "He's been threatening to expose where my parents are. We had a huge fight about it before...I got to you."
I shake my head, confused. "Your parents, what do you mean?"
"It's a long story, Swan," he says, a bit of annoyance in his voice.
"Well, we've got time. Tell me." I turn in my seat and fold my arms, staring him down. The plan is to get rid of one more pound of meth tomorrow before heading to Alabama. Confining ourselves to smaller roads is timely, but Edward feels it's safer, so we have a few hours until we get to our next destination.
Edward shoots me an irritated look, but I just raise my eyebrows at him, waiting. "On paper, my parents are dead. My Uncle Peter is one of two people that know where they are. I'm the other one. He's been threatening to expose their location to certain people for a long time now, so he can use it as leverage to keep his own ass out of trouble if he needs to."
I wait for him to continue, and when it's clear he's not, I prod him gently. "Edward, tell me all of it." He throws his cigarette out of the window with a huff, obviously not wanting to discuss this, but I won't let him shut down now. I put my hand on his neck and rub my fingers along the back of his hair. "Tell me. It's us."
His shoulders ease their staunch position as my nails scratch against his scalp. I continue stroking him while we drive through the industrial part of the city and pass over into a nicer area. Big houses with gardens and live oaks covered in Spanish moss line the driveways spread before us as Edward resumes talking.
"My parents were drug runners. They were dirty fucking criminals," he laughs at this with that weird, crazy grunt. "Besides a multitude of some petty and not so petty crimes, they got into some bad shit at the end. They stole from the dealer they were transporting for and he was NOT happy. They had wanted to get out of the country, start over, and were stockpiling money before they ran. They decided to steal from him, a really large payoff." I furrow my brow at him, wondering how he'd know all this if he were just a kid. My question must be obvious because he answers without me having to voice it. "They kept nothing from me. And I sometimes helped them. A ten year old can come in handy when you don't suspect you'd get played by a kid."
I nod, telling him I understand even though I'm a bit horrified, and he begins again. "When they never returned with the money, he sent some guys to our rental in the middle of the night, and they torched the place. My folks got us out but not two of their friends who were squatting with us. I don't even remember their names. We went into hiding for a day or two…that part, I don't really remember, it's fuzzy." He trails off, lost in thought for a moment before continuing. "When my parents found out that the police couldn't identify the bodies because they were so badly burned, they decided it was prime time to get the fuck out and let the guy who'd ordered the hit come to the conclusion that it was them."
Edward looks at me to see if I'm still following, and I reassure him with a squeeze to his neck. "They hatched a plan and spoke to my uncle who agreed to come get me, thinking I'd be better off with him until things died down and then he'd be able to help return me to them. They wanted me to have a better life, a safe life for a while. Then they'd get me back. They really believed that." He shakes his head.
Edward's mind wanders, and I watch as his lips twitch and his eyes lose focus. I wait for him to catch up to himself as he lights a cigarette and smokes half of it before he shrugs. "Problem was, my uncle never came. I didn't know him, so I couldn't give his name to anyone. He didn't want to come forward because of some heat that had come down on him at that time, so he let me rot in foster homes in Texas until I turned seventeen." His voice takes on a mocking quality. "That's when he realized he could use me. He tracked me down and became the 'oh so loving uncle that was happy to finally have me safely returned home where I belonged'."
Edward snorts loudly, "The fucker finally decided to call me family which was all bullshit. He made me into a fucking hump for him. He threatened to tell the dealer in Texas where my folks were if I didn't comply," he sneers that last part, the bile in his voice acidic. "That guy and my uncle were apparently business partners."
Edward falls silent again, his expressions are a calliope of emotion; sadness, anger, vehemence. They all shadow his face in rolling waves.
"How did he know their location?" I ask gently as I scoot on the bench seat closer to him, my fingers trailing from his neck to stroke his cheek as he leans into my hand.
He shakes his head against my palm. "My uncle knows everyone and everything. He's got eyes everywhere. That's why he had to go."
"And your aunt?" I ask, unsure she deserved Edward's wrath.
"She was next to him when I gutted him in the kitchen." Edward makes a stabbing motion towards his own stomach. "Bitch saw. And she's just as dirty as he is. I'm sure she knew too," he mutters under his breath, lost in his head somewhere.
I try to get Edward to come back to me from the darkness he's fallen into, as I'm sure recalling the story is painful and most likely one he's never shared. I try to turn his face gently towards me, coaxing him to make eye contact. "How do you know where your parents are?"
Edward blinks, his eyes looking straight ahead at the road. "They told me. They told me to come to them when I could. It's all been planned since the night they left me in front of a hospital."
"Edward, why wouldn't they have tried to get you or contact you when you never showed up?" I ask gently, continuing to stroke his face to get him to look at me.
"Because…because…I'm sure that douchebag told them I didn't want them…or…told them I was happier and living a good life without them. They want what's best for me." Edward nods his head sharply, cementing his words in his own mind.
"Okay, okay." I kiss his cheek, hoping to settle him down.
He turns to me finally, the first time since he'd started his tale. "They thought they were doing the right thing. They were trying to get out. They just don't know what a fucking shit heel my mom's brother is." He turns to the open window and spits out, getting the taste of his memories off his tongue.
I run my hand over his stubble and cuddle up closer to him. "Was," I whisper and kiss him just under his ear. "What a shit heel he was." I pull back and smile at him, happy to see the expression on his face.
He looks amused, and his eyes regain some of their brightness. His hands start turning the wheel to the right, and he pulls the car over quickly onto the shoulder of the road we're on, under a weeping willow tree with pink blooms hanging from its branches. The car is thrust into shadow, and he pulls my face to his roughly as soon as he rolls to a stop. He kisses me hard, his mouth hot and powerful on mine, sucking all the breath out of me from the sheer force of it. His hands hold my head tightly, keeping it captive as his tongue invades my mouth, tasting and teasing me before releasing my face, leaving me speechless as he pulls the car back out on the road. "They're gonna fucking love you."
Edward and I have been holed up at a Days Inn in Manchester, Georgia for two days. He hasn't been able to contact his second guy on what he called his burner phone, and in the meantime, we've learned the police have made the connection between the stabbing at the Piggly Wiggly and me.
We've been watching the news ever since. The video of us stealing the convertible has been released, and they're interpreting the action on screen as Edward forcibly holding a knife to me and shoving me in the car. I remember how playful we had been, and I'm astounded at how it just doesn't look that way in the footage, fueling the idea that I'd been abducted.
They've also now identified the murder victim in my trailer, and the alleged suspect of both my kidnapping and the slaying. One Edward Masen, owner of the only set of prints found on the murder weapon and the handprint in the pool of blood on the floor. After listening to the report, I question Edward about why there were only his prints on the knife, and he explains he wiped it clean of any trace of me and left his own. I replay seeing him kneeling near Mike's body and recall the blood on his fingers. Apparently, he had purposely braced himself against the floor when he stood after wiping the handle with his t-shirt.
He's adamant that it was the only way to ensure my absolute innocence if anything happened to separate us. I punch him again for that, which he just brushes off while laughing at me.
The black and white video from the Piggly Wiggly and the car lot play on repeat a few more times over the course of the night, intermittent with mentions of my mother, and the crime she committed three years ago. You can't really see Edward's face in the videos, and the news has been unable to unearth a photo of him. Edward laughs at the screen and wishes them luck, as apparently, he hasn't had a picture of him taken since he was a boy. So far, no one has paid much attention to him, but every time he risks going out to get food or something else we need I worry regardless.
My clothes are starting to annoy me, wearing the same two pairs of jeans and interchanging the three shirts I have. I've spent the afternoon washing socks and underwear in the bathroom sink, and everything is splayed out air-drying. Edward tells me he'll get us some new stuff as soon as we leave Georgia, which should be the next day once he gets rid of the second pound of meth.
I sit on one of the double beds he'd gone back to requesting, waiting for Edward to return with dinner. Last night was the first night he actually lay on a bed instead of sitting in a chair up against the door, and I only surmise he'd done that because we're not in a strip motel with the doors facing the parking lot but inside with actual hallways. It was short lived, as I found him this morning in a chair by the door, fast asleep.
I am utterly confused as to why he hasn't slept with me in one bed, nor made any other move towards me. That first, hot kiss after the Piggly Wiggly and the other three we've shared have been the only sexual contact between us and doubt is starting to etch the outside layers of my brain. It feels like he wants me when he's seducing my mouth with his tongue, and I consider telling him how desperate I am for him, but the Bella Swine inside of me can't find her voice.
Edward's phone rings early the next morning, waking me up and I find him pacing the room, running his hand through his damp hair and listening to whomever is on the other end. I assume it's his drug guy, and he confirms that as soon as he hangs up.
"We're out of here, Swan. Get your stuff together."
"Stuff. That's funny. I own six things." I rub my eyes and sit up, wishing for the sunlight that Edward won't allow through closed, hotel curtains.
"I'll take you shopping as soon as we cross the Alabama state line." He shoves his clothes in the bag while I gather my own. "I'll buy you whatever you want."
"Hmm, intriguing." I smile and hand him my measly pile. I notice he has his Doors shirt on again, so I pull mine off the stack and exchange it with the one I was going to change into. We really need to visit a Laundromat, but that will have to wait.
Once I finish in the bathroom, I give him the stuff I slept in and grab the eyeliner, leaning over the dresser to apply it. Before the pencil makes contact with my skin, Edward grabs it from my hand and holds it up above his head.
"Let me do it."
I look at him like he has three heads. "No way. You'll poke me in the eye." I reach for it, but my shortness is no match to his height. I try a jump/grab move, and fail miserably, making him laugh at me.
"You don't trust me, Swan? Here I am, protecting your ass and you think I'd jab a pencil in your eye. Nice." The corners of his lips turn down but he's still smirking, making his mouth sexy as hell.
I elbow him in the stomach trying to get him to release the eyeliner and it works for a minute, as his arm lowers and I grab his hand in mine. "Fuck, you fight dirty!" He takes the hand that's holding his and flings me around. "But I can fight dirtier." I shriek, my arm now behind my back. He walks me to the bed and turns me again, pushing me back onto it and straddling me immediately. His knees come up to pin my arms down.
"Okay, okay! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to gut you!" I laugh and move my head from side to side to avoid the pencil he has poised above my face.
"I'm disappointed in you, Swan. Truly hurt. I killed two people for you, stabbed another," he holds his thumb and pointer finger together closely, "and you won't even let me draw a little black line on your eye."
"Fine," I huff and turn my head so I'm looking right at him. "If I come out looking like Marilyn Monroe, you're dead."
"Nope. Marilyn Manson, all the way." I laugh as he releases my arms and comes closer to me with his tongue out again like he does when he's changing license plate numbers. "Close your eyes," he says softly, and I comply, feeling the drag of the pencil lightly across my top lid.
The stillness of us both and the lessening of our levity have made me notice the position we're in. I can feel his breath on my face; Edward's thighs are tight against my sides, and his crotch is almost directly above mine. I squirm minutely and feel Edward pause. I swallow and feel him resume his drawing. He moves the pencil under my lashes, and I feel him begin to underline my eye.
Edward's voice catches in his throat when he tells me he's moving to the other one, and I wonder if he's realized just how intimate this is. I take a chance and move my hips, satisfied when I hear him suck in a breath and pause the pencil once again. He doesn't move for a second, but then I feel it.
Edward barely brushes his groin against me, but there's no mistaking the hardness underneath his jeans. I open my eyes and look at him as he looks down at me; pencil still paused, waiting to finish. "Keep your eyes closed, Swan," he barely speaks, and I comply. Once they're closed, I feel him move his hips against me again, this time with a little more intent. I push back up against him and move my hands to his ribcage, sliding my hands up his sides. I feel the pencil shake on my eyelid, but he finishes the line and moves to complete the job underneath.
He pulls the pencil from my skin only for me to feel the point directly below the outside corner of my eye. He's drawing something on my face, and I stay still until he's finished.
"Done," he says and sits back slightly; the hardness in his jeans barely rubbing me but it's enough to make my insides flutter.
I open my eyes and see him hovering over me with both arms on either side of me, capturing me, and pressing into the mattress. "What did you draw?" I ask, and move my hands forward to slide up his chest.
I see him swallow at my movement. "A tear."
"I'm far from sad."
"Tear tattoos in prison represent how many people you've killed." His mouth is moving closer to mine and I just nod, waiting for his lips to find my own. He pauses a minute right before I feel his mouth, closed, but pressing firmly against me. I quickly open my mouth to let him in and he takes the invite, jutting his tongue out to land on mine and as soon as they touch, it's like we've flipped the 'on' switch. I move my hips forcefully as his tongue goes deeper into my mouth, both of us moaning at the way our lips move together. Edward is a passionate kisser, and I feel it through my entire body. His mouth is relentless on mine, sucking, closing, only to open up again and again to consume me and make me crazy.
I move my hands on his chest and feel a nipple ring through the fabric of his shirt and I gasp into his mouth, excited that I didn't know he had one and desperate to see it. He kisses me hard, his stubble rasping across my face deliciously while grinding into me with more need than before, so I move my hands down to his jeans. I barely brush his hard cock with the tips of my fingers before suddenly, his mouth is off mine and he's leaning back, his body losing all its contact points against mine.
I open my eyes to see him capping the eyeliner. "Um so, yeah, Marilyn Manson." He says, before crawling off the bed and moving back to the bag, throwing the eyeliner in. I'm left on the bed, feeling cold and needy at his quick departure.
"Did I…did I do something?" I ask the back that's turned towards me.
His voice sounds strained, but he tries to cover it. "Fuck no, Swan. It's just time to go." The zipper on the bag catches as he pulls it, and it's the loudest thing in the room next to my heartbeat. He lights a cigarette and I watch him tip his head back, the smoke trailing up to the celling as he exhales.
Another drug run. Another parking lot. Same shitty Buick.
Edward is in a much less protected environment this time around, a fact that worries me. I'm watching the white house with the peeling paint he disappeared into about ten minutes ago from a McDonald's parking lot that's within sight of the house. I consider getting out and getting myself a Happy Meal, but decide that Edward would be furious if I left the car.
The urban neighborhood is rife with clichés. There's a bum sitting on a crate just outside the chain link fence in front of me nodding off with a brown bag glued to his hand. Kids are playing in a dilapidated playground across the street with graffiti marring their play structures, and it makes me sad to think this is the way they're going to grow up; in a less than ideal neighborhood with crack houses framing their own. My trailer was pitiful, sure, but it sure as hell wasn't a danger zone. I laugh to myself thinking about Edward and I becoming a modern day Robin Hood and Maid Marian, passing out our drug money to needy families.
I chew on my hoodie string and eye Edward's pack of cigarettes. I take one out of the box and hold it between my fingers awkwardly, the smell of the rich tobacco hits my nose and it's surprisingly pleasant. Much more pleasant than when it's in smoke form. Not that I mind when Edward smokes; because everything he does, I love.
I fiddle with the lighter and flick it open, bring the cigarette to my mouth and light the end. Sucking in air, I immediately begin to cough. Huge, wracking sounds that make my nose and eyes run. I throw the cigarette out the window and pound on my own chest.
In my struggle to clear my lungs, I hear Edward's door open and feel him slump in next to me. "How'd it go?" I ask between coughs.
I get no answer, instead, I'm thrown against the dashboard and side door as Edward puts the car in reverse and then takes off out of the parking lot like a bat out of hell. "Jesus, Edward, you're gonna kill us." I really must begin to wear a seatbelt if he's going to continue with these great escapes.
I brace myself against the door and settle myself back into my seat. Edward starts laughing like a madman so I look over only to see his sleeves pushed up as he sometimes does, but his hands and arms are smeared in blood. "Edward, what the fuck?" I ask, moving closer to him to see if he's hurt.
"Holy shit, Swan! Holy fuck!" He starts banging his fist on the steering wheel maniacally.
"What…" I ask alarmed, searching to see if there's blood coming out of him somewhere. "Is this your blood?"
"No! It's that motherfucker's. Tried to fucking double cross me. Try again, douchebag!" he yells out the window.
"So you're not hurt?" I demand, trying to get him to focus.
"What? No! This isn't mine." He waves his hand over himself. "Fucker tried to tell me that he pays six grand for a pound. Pulled a knife on me."
"Oh my god!" My hands cover my face in worry, and I look at his arms again, even though he told me he wasn't hurt.
"Bitch thought he could play me. I threw the bag at him and he went to catch it like an idiot. I grabbed his knife and slashed that motherfucker right across the stomach. Simplest play in the book." Edward's face is beaming; his crazy eyes are darting all over the road. He shifts in his seat, reaching into his hoodie and pulling out a bloody knife. "Got you a present," he laughs as he places it in my hand and I hold it with two fingers by the part not covered in blood.
"Gee, thanks." I drop it on the floor and stare at it, using my feet to kick the blade farther up the rubber mat.
"So, no money, and we lost the meth?" I ask.
"Fuck, Bella, what do you think I am?" He reaches into his hoodie again and slides out a fat envelope, much like the one from the other day. I muse that perhaps, drug dealers get a bulk discount. Before I can ask how much, he reaches back into his hoodie and pulls out the bag of meth. "Fucker got nothing, I got everything." He throws it in my lap and tells me to put it away.
I scramble to reach the bag in back, and ask if there was anyone else there, any witnesses that might be chasing us right now.
"Nope, dipshit was alone. Figured he could deal with Peter Masen's teenage nephew by himself. Fucker."
"So how much is this, the six grand?" I turn back in my seat and open the envelope.
"And we kept the meth to sell again," I say, excited at the prospect of potentially making more money to get us to Mexico.
"Yup." The pull of Edward's fingers on my neck surprises me, and the force of his kiss surprises me even more after what happened this morning. I keep my eyes open as he assaults my mouth, his tongue pushing against my lips to gain access. He watches the road and closes his eyes intermittently, until his kiss slows and he pulls back, refocusing on driving.
I sit with my head foggy for a bit at his vacillating ardor towards me until I move and put the envelope into the glove compartment, shutting the door. I clear my throat. "So, is he dead?"
"As a fucking doornail." Edward reaches for his cigarettes, which aren't where they usually are when driving. I look around, spotting them and pass the pack and lighter to him sheepishly, as they'd fallen between my seat and the door. His eyebrow quirks in my direction as he takes them from me.
"I tried one." I shrug.
He sticks one in his mouth and smiles that sexy grin around it, making it bob between his lips as he speaks. "Don't you know these things will fucking kill you, Swan?"
Charlie Swan isn't allowed at the Masen crime scene, so he waits patiently at the station for the special homicide team from Gainesville that had been brought in to return with any new information.
In the meantime, he's mulling over Sherriff Tate's suggestion that it's time they took to the airwaves. A plea from a father in distress could ultimately help his daughter, making her abductor see her as human and not just a bargaining chip or hostage.
Charlie wants nothing more than to beg for his daughter's safe return, but the shared pictures and scribbled notes in Bella's notebook the deputies missed tell him Edward Masen quite possibly already sees his daughter as something much more than collateral.
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From the planetblue Archive of Awesome Fic List:
An Undefined Affair by jayhawkbb
Bella, recovering from a broken heart, meets Edward, who isolates himself emotionally. Their attraction is immediate, but can they be friends and lovers - without the love? BxE, all the regs, some drama, some funny, lemony, language AH
As always, thank you to Carrie ZM and LayAtHomeMom for their hard work.
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