Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Stephenie Meyer created it all; I just like to play around in her world.
So, this is a story that came to my mind as I was working on my original fiction, Apathy. My book is an FBI/suspense thriller, and as I slaved over a chapter revision one night, a Discovery Channel program about kidnapped children came on in the background. It was specifically about children who were kidnapped and raised in loving families, only to discover, later in life, that their "lives" had been stolen from them by the ones they loved most. Throw in my love for Twilight and the characters and a plot bunny was born.
Special thanks to Fic Sisters for doing a post on the story. AllyVera, Glo, and Caro are just such special ladies! Another to Tinie from a Different Forest for my banner! It is amazing. Also for the support you've given me. Lastly, to AngelycDevil, Nan, and Sue for pre-reading/betaing and putting up with my horrible grammar. You ladies rock!
Hope you enjoy and don't forget to leave me feedback – positive or negative.
She sits alone, an empty stare
A mother's face she wears
Where did she go wrong, the fight is gone
Lord help this broken home
Journey - Escape
Punctuated by Michael Newton's shout, the slap of several files landing on the desk in front of me startled me from the computer screen. I'd been adding notes to the case Jasper and I had closed the previous day. The manila folders Mike had thrown were ancient, and I was afraid they would disintegrate from the force. As it was, the tape sealing the top one broke open, allowing several pages to slide out, including one with a picture of an adorable two or three year old. She had the biggest brown eyes.
"What the hell, Newton?"
Mike snickered. "You and Whitlock drew the short stick. Cold case. Chief wants to see the two of you in his office ASAP."
There was no telling where Jasper was, and I could only hope he was at least on his way to work. Since introducing him to my sister, Alice, his sign-ins were coming dangerously closer and closer to tardiness. I didn't even want to consider why he couldn't seem to make it to work on time. There were certain things a big brother didn't need to know. Grabbing my phone, I texted him.
Black wants to see us in his office ASAP. You even coming to work?
It didn't take long for him to respond. Picking up my coffee to take a drink, I hit the message button when the first few notes of Look Away Dixieland played.
Your sister finally let me out of the chains. I'm hobbling up the stairs now.
Spitting my coffee out at his statement, I had to hurriedly search for napkins to clean up my desk, grateful I hadn't gotten any on the documents. Strolling in whistling, a smirk filled Jasper's face when he saw what I was doing.
"You need to learn to drink your coffee, not wear it."
"No thanks, you're not my type, and besides, Alice wore me out. I couldn't do you justice even if I was into your scrawny ass."
"That's not what you said the last time you got drunk. You were crying on about loving me and all." The smirk on my face was one of pure delight. Jasper hated being reminded of his weeping session.
"Bro, that's low. Your sister had broken my heart at the time. I was having delusions and the family resemblance and all."
While there were some features I shared with my tiny sister, we were as different as night and day. Jasper had just been sloppy drunk. Cracking a grin, I grabbed the files from the desk, carefully sliding the beautiful girl's picture into the file. Something about her had gotten under my skin already, and I didn't even want to consider what awful facts and pictures the packets I was holding contained.
"C'mon. Let's go find out what case the illustrious Jacob Black has foisted off on us."
We had to pass several cubicles to get to Senior Agent Black's office, including Jessica Stanley's.
"Mm . . . Mm . . . Agent Cullen, those pants sure do make your ass look fine," Jasper mimicked when we did.
Damnit. Jasper wasn't above teasing me about that woman at every opportunity.
Swinging my hand behind my back, I shot Jasper the middle finger causing him to burst out in laughter as we walked into Black's domain. Jake was on the phone, but paced in front of the window overlooking part of downtown Seattle.
In his early forties, Jacob Black was a Senior FBI agent, and a menacing figure. He stood at six foot five and was built like a linebacker for the Seahawks. His only concession to time was a few white strands sprinkling the jet black hair at his temple. Distinguished would be the best way to describe him, until you saw Black in a fight. Then, mean ass son of a bitch would come to mind.
I respected him immensely.
"Yes, I'm on it," Jacob said to whoever was on the other line. "I'm well aware of that." He glanced up to stare at Jasper and me. "I've got two good agents assigned to it." While he continued to talk, Jake pointed to the chairs in front of his desk. It was an order, not a request. He hung up the phone seconds later.
"Isabella Marie Swan," Jacob said as he sat down behind his desk and held his hand out for the folders I had. "Disappeared when she was five years of age. Her mother is Renee Swan, father's Charles Swan."
The name caused me to sit up straighter. Charles "Charlie" Swan was a cop who had brought down a large drug cartel many years ago in Seattle. He and his family had moved to a small town close to the coast not long afterward.
"His wife and daughter were killed, right?" I asked, remembering the history.
"Presumably," Jacob said, using his fingernail to open the file. "Renee's body was found in an alleyway. She'd been shot execution style. Isabella, or Bella as she was called, was never found. It was assumed, after many months of looking for her, she'd also been killed and dumped. No trace of her was ever found."
"No disrespect boss, but she doesn't look five." Jasper held up the photo Jacob had slid over the desk.
"No, she doesn't. Per all accounts, she was a tiny thing."
I hadn't been able to look at the photos again. Just because nothing was ever found didn't mean the girl's death hadn't been brutal. Anyone who could shoot a woman execution style wouldn't have had pity on a child.
"The main theory of what happened is the killings were done in retribution for Charlie breaking up the cartel. Rumor had it the operation traced back to Aro Rossi."
Although confused about the path of the conversation, I couldn't help but laugh. "Didn't Aro's wife off him when she caught him with the mistress?"
"Yeah, Sulpicia Rossi is serving a life sentence in federal prison, but she's treated like a queen by most. She also took out Jane, the slice of the day. Their son, Demetri is now the head of the family, with the next oldest, Felix, being second in command."
"So . . ." Jasper shrugged, looking down at another picture.
It was then I gave into the pull of the pictures and wished I hadn't. Isabella "Bella" Swan was dressed in a pink tutu, holding a magic wand. She was the most beautiful child; her eyes were large and full of laughter as she smiled at the camera. Of anyone in the bureau, I knew all too well how Charlie Swan must have felt to lose a child. It was something a family never recovered from, no matter the time and space between.
"So, you two are going back to school."
"School?" Jasper sat straight in the chair finally.
"Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia." Jake's sharp teeth gleamed just like a dog ready to tear into his dinner. He grinned as Jasper whooped.
If I'd learned anything in the past five years with the bureau, it was that Jake was about to be dramatic.
"It seems an Isabella Rossi has enrolled to get her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Political Science instead of the business degree her family was advocating for. Word on the street is she wants to be a social worker, and this is just the first step."
The hair on the back of my neck stood up.
"As part of her rebellion, Ms. Rossi also applied to serve as a mentor at the local domestic violence shelter, and guess what happened?"
"Fingerprints." My heart beat faster at the memory of those eyes. "She had to do fingerprints."
"Bingo," Jake said with a flourish, spreading the paperwork across the desk. "I'm betting she didn't tell Daddy Felix and Mama Irina about her little plan." He pushed the analysis across the desk to me. "Charles Swan is a tough son of a bitch by all accounts. And paranoid. Paranoid enough to have his five year old fingerprinted. The originals aren't perfect, but the markers match."
Pulling a file from the credenza behind him, Jacob Black opened it and turned the information for Jasper and me to see.
"Isabella Rossi is a reported eighteen year old freshman at Emory. She will be living on campus, as do all the other incoming newbies. She will be starting classes next week. By the way, Jasper, you have been enrolled in their political science program. Edward . . . sorry, man, but you're a pre-med Psych major. I figured you could use some of that mumbo jumbo you've learned on something fun this time."
I barely heard what Jake was saying, my attention focused on the beauty portrayed in the picture. Isabella Rossi, Bella Swan, had been laughing at something when the picture had been taken. Dark brown hair streaked with auburn highlights only accented her eyes, while her red lips were curled in the most electrifying smile. The beautiful girl in the pink tutu had grown into a mesmerizing young woman.
"Washington wants answers. First, is this Isabella Swan, and if so, how did she end up with the family suspected of her murder?"
I didn't have to question; I just knew. The baby in the picture was the vibrant young woman in print before me.
But Jacob continued on. "More importantly, they want her pumped for information. We'll already get them on kidnapping, but if we can find out anything else on the family . . . the suits up top want it. Particularly on Demetri and Felix."
"You're asking we buddy up to her and try to learn her secrets?" The subterfuge made me uneasy.
"Yup," Jake answered, popping the p at the end of the word.
"Why us?" Jasper asked.
"The two of you haven't been involved in any narcotic cases, so headquarters is thinking you're fresh enough not to set off any of the alarms with the goons who will most likely be following her around. You'll be far from home, and it doesn't hurt you're young enough to pass as college kids. One of you should be able to charm her, use what you have and get us the info. But more importantly, if this is Isabella Swan, bring her home. Charles Swan deserves to know his child is alive."
Jake snickered before he added. "Cullen, let your hair out. You look too GQ with the shave. Jasper . . . I don't even know, cultivate hippie maybe. Your new IDs and pertinent data are in here." He laid two sealed envelopes before them. "I don't know, watch 21 Jump Street or something to learn how to be cool."
"That's high school, boss," Jasper said in a strangled voice. "For college it would be 22."
Whatever indeed, I thought staring at the gorgeous woman laughing in the pictures.
I had a bad feeling about this case.
So, some have asked. Yes, I wrote an original fiction named Apathy. I am in the works of getting it published, but it just isn't ready yet. Jada just sent me an awesome book cover, and I'm so excited about it! I hope to have my website up soon, with a copy of the book cover. I'll also be posting all my other fan fiction stories over on the site – with some new epilogue chapters. I know at least one of the sites I've posted on has considered shutting down, so I wanted to make sure to put my stories somewhere that they could remain. As soon as everything is ready with the website, I'll post the particulars.
The first few chapters of Mother Father will be short, but most of my readers know that I have a hard time doing a short story. HA! Mother Father is almost complete, I'm working on chapter 22 as this posts, so don't worry, it won't be a WIP that lingers for weeks or months without update. I'll most likely continue with the Sunday postings that I've done in the past, but make sure to put me on author alert!