Submit entries to: welovemobward
Story Title: Duplicity
Summary: Du-plic-i-ty: noun 1. contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action 2. the quality or state of being double or twofold. Synonyms: deceitfulness, deceit, deception, double-dealing, underhandedness, dishonesty, fraud, fraudulence, sharp practice, chicanery, trickery, subterfuge, skullduggery, treachery (Warning: Contains violent content)
Word count: (not including summary or title) 9795
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong solely to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended
The sounds of Dropkick Murphy are streaming through the speakers of the pub, and there's laughter and conversation going on all around us. Emmett, my brother and right hand, has a glass in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. He has his cell phone wedged between his ear and shoulder; undoubtedly arguing with Rose again.
The buzzing from my pocket gets my attention. Pulling my own phone out, I see that I have a new text message. Opening it, I see 'Álainn' flash across the screen. I know she's at work right now, and would only contact me from this number if it's important.
Emergency? Fuck, she must have something for me.
I hit send, and check my watch. It's noon and I know with midday traffic, it will take her a while to reach home.
"What's with the look on your fuckin' face?" Emmett's tucking his phone back into his pocket.
"I've got something I need to go take care of." I stub out my own cigarette and down the rest of my Jameson before scooting over and getting out of the booth. I pat my pockets to make sure I have what I need, checking that my piece is still securely in the waistband of my jeans at my back before throwing on my jacket. As I pass the bar, I toss down a few bills. Even though the place is mine, it doesn't hurt to let the guys know I appreciate them. Heading for my car, I can hear Emmett's footsteps hurriedly pounding behind me, trying to catch up.
"You need me to come along, Ed?" I turn to face him as I pull the keys to my black Audi TT out of my pocket.
"Nah, this is something I need to take care of myself. But hey, I'll call ya if I need ya, yeah?"
"Yeah, sure. I'll see ya tonight, though?"
Giving it some thought, I know I need to let him know there may be a problem with tonight's shipment. I say what I can without saying too much.
"We'll see." I look him straight in the eyes, and see the moment it clicks.
"Shite," he says under his breath. "Yeah, okay. You'll call though?"
"Yeah, I'll be in touch." With that, I climb into my car and take off. The streets of downtown Boston are busy this time of day, so it takes me longer than it should to get to my destination. As I drive into the underground parking garage, passing the silver Lexus SUV in its assigned spot, I know she's already in the building.
I pull into my own spot and kill the engine. I rest my head back on the seat, closing my eyes. I know she's got bad news for me, so I take a few minutes to gather my thoughts. I know none of it is her fault, but sometimes my temper gets away from me and I direct it at her.
Steeling myself for whatever news she has for me, I get out of the car and head for the elevator. Once inside, I put my key into the slot, turning it, and press the button for the penthouse. Wishing I had the time to stop on the floor below mine, my finger hovers over that button as well. Resolving to take care of business first, I shove my hand into my pocket, resisting the urge.
When the elevator dings and the doors open, I walk the short distance to the door. As no one besides a trusted few know this place is mine, I don't have any extra security here, just an alarm system. Unlocking the door and stepping inside, I disarm it. I toss my keys on the table in the foyer and remove my jacket, tossing that down as well.
"Álainn?" I yell out. "Where are you, beautiful?" When I don't get a response, I decide to pour myself another drink. She must be downstairs settling things for the evening. Sinking into the brown leather sofa, I savor the burn of the whiskey going down my throat. I'm just hoping it's enough to keep me level headed when she tells me whatever news it is she has.
I must've closed my eyes and nodded off, because the click of the closing door wakes me. Turning my head, I see her coming from the direction of the hidden door in my closet. It's connected to a stairwell that leads to a similar door in her own closet downstairs. She's never been seen on security footage coming or going from the penthouse.
Watching her approach, I take a moment to appreciate her beauty. Her long dark hair, her slight but curvy figure, the deep brown of her eyes, it's all beautiful. But the sight of her beaming smile when her eyes meet mine is the most stunning thing about her.
"Hey, beautiful. How are you?" I rise to my feet, and open my arms. She walks into them, wrapping her arms around me. I feel her take a deep breath and relax, even if only a bit.
"I'm better now." I run my fingers through the ends of her hair before my hand finds the back of her neck, holding her to me.
"Tell me." She's quiet, collecting her thoughts.
"They know about the shipment tonight." I feel her tense up a bit when my grip on her tightens. Knowing I need a minute to process the information she just shared, I release her. She watches me walk to the bar, pouring myself another drink. Walking over to the windows, I see her out of the corner of my eye taking a seat on the sofa.
"Do you know who the source is?" My voice is low, but calm. As I take a swig from my glass, I hear her clear her throat before she speaks.
"No. They're holding this one close to the chest. I read through the file, and there're no details on where the leak came from. But Edward, there are things in there only a few people know. I mean, even Liam is mentioned."
"Yeah, shit is right. Do you have a plan-B? That delivery can't go as planned." I simply nod, not giving anything away. She knows I won't say anything else. Tossing back what's left in my glass, I turn back to look at her.
"I'll take care of it. Go on back down, have dinner together, get her settled down for the night, and I'll be down to tuck her in." She nods in agreement before rising to her feet. "Come 'ere."
I open my arms once again, and she willingly steps into them. I hold her for a moment before pulling back just enough to take her face between my hands. I lean in and place a kiss on her lips. When they meet, it's soft at first; then she deepens it, opening her mouth, our tongues dancing with each other. My hands begin to wander, roaming down to hold her close to me.
When our kiss becomes more heated, I know I need to stop before we get carried away. Pulling away from her is difficult, but necessary. I lean down, my forehead resting against hers. My hands are cupping her cheeks, her breath washing over me, as her hands are wrapped around my wrists.
"I should go." Her words are quiet; I know she doesn't want to leave. She looks up into my eyes. "She'll want to see you tonight."
"I know. I'll be down as soon as I get things settled here. I've got some calls to make." Kissing her forehead, I release her.
Watching her walk away is difficult, but I know I have work to do. When she disappears through the doorway leading to the hidden stairwell, I look at the clock on the wall. I only have about eight hours to clean up this cluster fuck, and find the leak. There are only a few in my inner circle that knew the details of tonight, and losing any of them is going to hurt.
Sitting down at the desk in my office, I get started on at least diverting the shipment coming in tonight. It might cost me extra, but it's worth the price. Dialing a familiar number, I wait for him to pick up.
"Yeah? What can I do for ya? We're right on schedule for delivery tonight." Liam's gruff voice carries over the line.
"Looks like we need to make a few adjustments." Waiting for him to pick up on my meaning, I can hear him moving about the bridge of the boat, probably heading out to the deck.
"What the fuck do ya mean 'adjustments'? We're just hours from port and you expect me to change course? Change boats for Christ's sake! Eddie, ye know I love ya like a brother, but how in the hell am I supposed to do that? I know we've got a plan 'B', but it's down to the wire now. I'm not sure if I can make any changes." He's quiet for a moment, probably waiting to see if I'll change my mind. "It'll at least cost ya."
"Yeah, I know Liam. Trouble is, I've sprung a leak and I need to plug it." I can hear him curse on the other end, even over the sound of the wind whipping around him on the deck of the ship. "Now, you can make the delivery, I just need ya to make it elsewhere. If you and I are the only ones that know things have changed, it'll be easier to find the leak."
He's quiet for a bit, thinking things through, no doubt.
"Alright. So, plan 'B'?"
"Yeah, and I'll be there. Let's move the drop off time a couple hours, say four a.m.? I'd like to get a look at what goes down at the docks."
"Yeah man. I'll be there." With no parting words, he hangs up. Sitting back in my chair, I rest my head against the cool leather. Closing my eyes, I wrack my brain for a plan to find out who's crossed me. The possibilities are limited, as only a few knew what was happening tonight.
Opening my laptop, I boot up the tracking software and choose my first target. Once it's open and running, I place my first call.
"Yo! What's up boss?" Emmett's enthusiasm always makes me smile.
"Not much. I was just wondering if you had a minute."
"Sure. Is this about tonight?"
"Yeah, as a matter of fact it is. Small change in plans. I need you to meet the boat tonight." There's silence on his end. He's quiet so long, I wonder if he's still there.
"Me? Eddie, they're counting on meeting you. Are you sure you want me to go in your place?" I hear him start the engine of his car. Now, there are two distinct possibilities. He's either headed to pick up his daughter from daycare, or in the unlikely event he's my leak, off to see his contact to let them know there's a change in plans.
"Absolutely. Something came up that I need to take care of."
"Are the girls okay?" My brother has always had a soft spot for my girls.
"They're fine, I just need to stay home tonight." I don't give him any more information.
"All right boss. I'll take care of it, and I'll call you when it's done."
"Thanks man. I knew I could count on you." We say our goodbyes, and hang up. Watching the blip on the screen move as he drives, I can see he's heading toward the daycare. After he's been there for just a bit, the blip begins to move again, this time toward home. When he arrives, he stays. No other calls are made from any of his phones either.
Pulling up the next name on my list, I place a call to my advisor and father, Carlisle. After a somewhat similar conversation, telling him that I'm having Emmett take care of the hand off tonight, I watch for any suspicious activity. When enough time passes without any movement on his end, I move on to my final suspect; the one that, honestly, was at the top of my list before I began making calls.
Things have been strained between us for years, and I've always kept him at a distance. But, at my father's insistence, I've included him in a few recent business ventures. As the phone rings, I brace myself for the conversation I'm about to have.
"Eddie! To what do I owe the pleasure?" His sarcasm is pouring through the phone. Since he made the choices he did all those years ago, he's been distant and spiteful, yet arrogant. He's never gotten over the fact that I'm in charge and not him.
"Oh, I just wanted to touch base with you about tonight." I can hear him shuffling things around on his end. "I won't be able to make it, so I need you to take care of it." The shuffling noises stop, and I hear him take a deep breath.
"Oh, um, yeah. I can do that. Are you sure they'll meet with me?"
"Yeah, it'll be fine. I'll just make a call."
"So, why can't you make it tonight?" He starts to laugh as he asks his next question. "You havin' trouble with that whore and her bast..." I hang up on him before he can finish his sentence. Looking at the screen, I'm not disappointed. His signal was moving within minutes of hanging up. Watching his path, I'm actually surprised at first, and then I'm not. Nothing he does surprises me anymore.
Placing another call, I set things in motion.
"I need you to keep tabs on Jasper. Don't let him see you, but I need to know who he's meeting."
"Got it, boss." We both hang up, and I know that Jimmy will track him down. All the family cars have a hidden GPS unit in them, and Jimmy has access to them all.
Still watching the signal move on the screen, I settle back into my chair. Once he reaches his destination, I wait. I don't have to wait long, and my phone is ringing. I pick up the phone, just listening.
"Um, boss? You're never gonna believe this. Your dumb fuck of a brother is meeting with a Voltolini. Looks like it's Caius. What do you want me to do?"
"I want you to follow Caius, and keep this afternoon's activities to yourself. I need to know what's going on before I make a move."
"Understood." The line clicks, and I lay the phone down. My head falls heavy once again, back into my chair. There are several thoughts swirling around in my head right now. I came to terms with Jasper's poor judgment years ago; his lack of motivation, his drug use, what he did to Bella what seems like a lifetime ago. But nothing compares to the betrayal he's committed this time. I'm so fucking angry, it overrides every other emotion I have. The sadness, the disappointment, the hurt, they all pale in comparison to the anger I'm feeling. He's chosen to sell out his family, but for what? What does he possibly have to gain?
Some time passes and I get a call back from Jimmy. The news isn't good. After getting the details I need, we hang up.
Making what is hopefully my last call for the night, I get Emmett back on the phone.
"I need you to meet me at the office before you head out tonight."
"We'll talk tonight."
"Yeah, alright. I'll see you later then." We make our plans, say our goodbyes, and hang up.
Glancing at the clock, I see that it's nearing bedtime for a special little princess, so I proceed to shut down the laptop, turn off the lights, and walk into the hidden stairwell, heading for the one place that really feels like home.
When I walk through the doorway into Bella's walk-in closet, my ears are met with the sound of giggling. It makes me smile; something I don't do enough of, according to my girls. Walking through the hallway, I'm careful to steer clear of the guest room, where my angel's overnight babysitter stays on Bella's long nights at the station. I hired her myself, so I know I can trust her, but I also know she doesn't approve of the arrangement Bella and I have.
Standing in the doorway of my angel's room, I see them, the loves of my life. Bella is curled up next to her daughter, Kaitlin, my princess. They're having a tickle battle, and it's beginning to get out of hand. When Kaitlin's eyes flash in my direction, her face lights up.
"Daddy!" She bolts up, practically knocking her mother out of the bed in the process. "I missed you!" Running and jumping, her arms are around my neck, and she's in my arms in the blink of an eye. I close my eyes, and take a deep breath of her bubblegum scented hair. She must've had a bubble bath. "Mommy said you were going to tuck me in tonight. Can you read me a story first?" As she pulls away from me, I look into her bright blue eyes, the eyes of her biological father, and smile. I've never been able to tell her no, and I'm not going to start now.
"Of course, princess. Which book?" I set her back on her feet, and she runs over to her bookshelf to choose one. Looking over at Bella, she's smiling up at me, still snuggled in Kaitlin's bed, her arms wrapped around the pillow her head is resting on. The book being shoved in my face breaks my gaze.
"This one, Daddy!" It's a copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet for Kids, which makes me smile. She is definitely her mother's daughter.
"Alright, then, let's get you back in bed." Glancing over at Bella, I give her a wink. "Think mommy's gonna move over, Kaitlin?"
"Mommy, will you please move over so me and Daddy can be together?" she asks in her sing song voice.
Scooting over in dramatic fashion, she answers with an exaggerated sigh. "Oh, I guess so."
Once all three of us are cuddled into the bed, I start reading. The story is an ironically appropriate end to the day I've had; the tale of a brother's betrayal.
Both my girls' arms are wrapped around my middle; Kaitlin between Bella and me. Looking over her head between pages, I see Bella's eyes, not on the book, but on me, a smile on her face.
About half way through the story, I hear my princess's soft snores. Bella and I carefully pull away from her, leaving her room and quietly closing her door.
Walking down the hallway toward the bedroom, our arms are wrapped around each other tightly. The revelations of today have left me feeling unsettled, in need of reassurance. Once we're safely in the privacy of our darkened bedroom, I pick her up, her legs wrapped around my waist, and carry her to our bed.
She's smiling, biting her lip, waiting to see what I'll do as I lay her down, crawling on top of her. I reach up to release the plump flesh from between her teeth with my thumb.
"What did I tell you about that? I'm the only one allowed to bite that lip." My hand finds the back of her neck, and I pull her up toward me, our mouths meeting. It's slow, but deep; our tongues dancing, fighting for dominance. Feeling her hands in my hair, I pull back, just enough to softly nip her bottom lip. Staring into her eyes, I see love and trust, and my future.
As my lips find her neck, my other hand trails down her side, looking for a way to her skin. She had changed out of her work clothes earlier and into a long, cotton dress, so it's an easy task. Finding the bottom, my hand glides up her leg to her ass, searching for something that isn't there.
"You naughty little thing. You always walk around with no knickers on?"
"Only when I know you need me as much as I need you." Her hands have found my belt buckle, and she makes quick work of my jeans as I rip my shirt over my head. A moment later, her dress and bra have found their way to the floor as well.
In a move that surprises me, she pushes on my shoulder until I'm lying on my back and she's straddling me.
"I don't think so." Sitting up, I grab hold of her, holding her tightly to me. She's moving, grinding her wet heat against me. "Damn, baby. I need you," I growl into her neck.
Lifting herself up, she grabs hold of me, and slowly sinks down. I groan into the space where her neck meets her shoulder as she cries out, her head thrown back. My arms wrap around her, holding her tightly as she begins to rock against me. It's a slow, almost tortuous pace.
The sounds of our heavy breathing fill the room, as she begins to rock harder.
"Lay back," she asks, breathlessly. She gently pushes on my shoulder, urging me back down. When I do, my hands go to her hips, pulling her tight against me, thrusting up into her, slowly, deeply. Her hands have moved to her breasts, her fingers gently tugging on her nipples. Licking my thumb, I brush her hand aside, and circle one of her hardened peaks with it. She moans out in response.
"That feel good, baby?"
"So good." Her head is thrown back again, her eyes closed.
Taking advantage of our position, my other hand slides down, my thumb circling her clit while the rest of my hand spans the tiny bump of her abdomen. When our eyes meet, I can see she's close. The last few weeks, she's been incredibly responsive.
"That's it. Feel it." Her eyes close once again, lost in the sensations coursing through her. I can feel her walls begin to clamp down on me, her hands woven tightly into her hair.
"Oooh God. Ungh!" Her eyes are screwed shut, her mouth open, quiet screams coming from her. Seeing her like this, so beautiful, in the throes of passion, I can feel myself getting closer. When I know she's coming down, I grab her around her waist and flip us over, never leaving her warmth. She's like putty in my hands. Rising to my knees, still deep inside her, I grab her legs to wrap them around me, lifting her hips from the bed. She finally opens her eyes, and we lock gazes. No words are spoken as I continue to move. I let the sensations take over, so it doesn't take long for my orgasm to shoot through me. My thrusts falter, then still, as I release inside her, coming with a roar. It's like I can feel the stress of the day leave my body.
Feeling like I've used all my energy, I collapse next to her, pulling her pliant body right next to mine. Her breathing is heavy, hot, on my already overheated skin. As my hand traces a path up and down her back, we both catch our breath. Even with everything that's happened today, I'm once again calm, centered, lying here with her in my arms.
"Did things go okay after I left?" Her soft voice breaks the silence.
"Yeah, things are in order."
"Do you know who..." I reach down, my finger gently pressing against her lips.
"Shh. I do, and it will be taken care of. That's all you need to know." She nods in acquiescence as I kiss her forehead. "What about you? Were you sick this morning?"
"Yeah, first thing. And, uh, Kaitlin saw me. She was really freaked out."
"What did you tell her?"
"That I ate something bad. I know we talked about waiting to tell her, but I'm not sure how long I can keep it a secret. She's nine Edward, and she's not stupid. She'll figure it out soon."
"I know. Let's just wait a little while longer. I mean, you're barely showing. I'm the only one that can see it." My hand drifts down, ghosting over the barely there bump once again. I feel her place a kiss to my chest, over my tattoo—her tattoo—and I kiss the top of her head.
Knowing it's probably going to lead to an argument, I still can't stop myself from asking the one question she hates answering. "How much longer are you going to work?"
I feel her take in a deep breath. Whether it's to gear up to argue, or to calm herself, I'm not sure. There's a long silence before she speaks.
"You know, when I joined the academy I was still grieving my father. I was so focused on revenge, finding the men responsible for his death. He had been working with your family, going after the Voltolini's for years when they had him killed. When I was finally moved to the organized crime department, I thought, 'finally, I get my chance. I can finally go after the fuckers that ripped my world apart'. But at some point along the way, after I got so close to you, it became more important to help you than to seek revenge against them."
Running my hand up and down her back, I try to calm her. Her breathing has picked up, like it always does when she talks about her father.
She looks up at me with her dark chocolate eyes. "I don't think I'll ever succeed in bringing them down. Things have changed now anyway. We're about to have another baby, and I'm so in love with you. I won't risk our family for some old vendetta. I'm tired, so tired. I've been focused on them for almost ten years. It's time to let go. I want to go out in public as a family. I want you to finally be able to adopt Kaitlin. I'm ready to walk away from it now. I want to focus on us, on our family."
"Does that mean you'll finally marry my sorry ass?" I ask with as much humor in my voice as I can manage. But the look on her face makes me realize how serious her answer is going to be.
"Yes. I'm ready to be your wife. I'm ready to be Mrs. Cullen." Grabbing her face, we're a tangle of lips, tongue, and bodies. The next hour is spent celebrating in the best way, wrapped up in each other. We finally drift off to sleep, but the beeping of the alarm wakes us just a few hours later. I hit the snooze a few times, and when I finally wake, the space next to me is cold.
Looking across the room, I see her putting her shoes on, ready to face the enemy.
"Sorry baby, I need to be there in thirty minutes."
Looking over at the clock, I see it's eleven thirty.
"Yeah, I need to meet up with Emmett in a bit too."
Walking over, she leans down and gives me a kiss.
"See you tonight?"
"No, not tonight. I've got…business to take care of."
A look of understanding crosses her face. I know she wants to ask more, but I also know she won't.
"Alright. Tomorrow, then?"
"I love you, Edward."
"Love you too." Another kiss, and she's out the door.
After a quick shower, and slipping my clothes on, I peek into Kaitlin's room. She's sleeping peacefully, completely unaware of the world around her. Leaning down, I give her a gentle kiss to her forehead, inhaling her sweet scent once more.
Walking into the pub, I see it's just Emmett there. Peter is nowhere to be found, and the lights are low. Seeing me walk in, he raises his coffee cup to me in greeting.
"I was wondering when you'd show up. So, what's so important that we needed to meet before I headed over there?" I settle onto a barstool.
"Bella had some news for me today."
"Shit. What now?"
"Seems we've got a leak."
"Son of a bitch." He stomps behind the bar, abandoning his coffee, pouring himself something stronger. After swallowing it down, he turns back to me. "I assume you've got an idea of who it is?"
"More than an idea, Em. I know." I grab his coffee, and finish it off for him. I'll need the caffeine if I'm going to stay up all night.
"Well? Who is it?"
"It's Jasper. He's been meeting with Caius." The silence is broken by the sound of shattering glass.
"After all the chances we've given him to make things right..." He's still behind the bar, his hands balled into fists, ferocity on his face.
"Yeah, I know. He's made his choice, Em. He had to know there would be consequences."
"But, you're sure? Eddie, we can't do anything unless we're absolutely sure."
"Yeah, I'm sure. I had Jimmy follow him this afternoon, and he went straight to Caius. I didn't have to give the order, but Jimmy followed through. Apparently, with all his tech garbage, we've got taps on a few of their lines. A few calls were made; the last was to a number at the station." I pause, looking directly into my brother's eyes. "For whatever reason, he sold us out, Em."
After a few minutes of silence pass, Emmett takes a deep breath and speaks up.
"Alright, just tell me what we're gonna do."
Watching from our elevated position, I can see half the Boston PD, as well as FBI and ATF scurrying around trying to figure out what the hell happened. Using night vision goggles, I search the crowd for Bella. She's standing with others in her unit, being berated by her supervisor, Banner. They've got to think that their tip was bad, or they've been crossed. Funny thing about having a mild mannered, five-foot-two brunette, whose father was murdered by the Italian mafia: they'd never suspect her as my mole.
"You see Jasper anywhere?" Emmett's question brings me out of my thoughts.
"Nah. He must've bailed. Maybe he caught wind of what I knew, who knows. Tell ya what, let's go down and meet up with Liam and get things square with the shipment, then I'm gonna go pay our big brother a visit."
Packing up the few things we brought, I can sense Emmett staring at me.
"What?" Looking over at him, I see the conflicting emotions on his face.
"He's a dead man walking, ain't he?"
"Em, he's betrayed us. He's left me no choice." I don't need to say any more. Emmett knows that family comes first, and Jasper has chosen to turn on us.
Our time at the second drop point is short. Liam was able to transfer the shipment to a smaller vessel, so we're waiting at a small, private dock. We inspect the crates as they're unloaded off the small yacht, and everything is in order. Money is exchanged, and the deal is sealed with a handshake. Liam takes over the transfer of the actual crates, moving them into several waiting trucks to be driven to another location before they're shipped yet again.
Driving back, the air is thick with tension. We both know what's about to happen, neither of us looking forward to it. Emmett reaches over to turn down the stereo, silence settling over us.
"Do you want me there?"
I focus on the road ahead of me, not sure what I want to happen.
"Just say the word, and I'm there." I only nod, not looking in his direction.
Driving up to Jasper's house and stepping out onto the sidewalk, I can see lights on. It isn't the lights being on at this hour that's strange. No, what is strange is I can hear his drunk of a wife, Alice, screaming at him. She's usually passed out at this hour.
Emmett gives me a wary look, and we head up the walk. Knocking doesn't seem to get their attention, but neither does the doorbell. Emmett resorts to pounding on the door while I ring the bell constantly.
"Yeah, yeah. Hold on. Who the fuck comes to my door at five in the mor..." As the door swings open and our eyes meet, Jasper realizes this isn't a friendly social call. I can see behind him, at the foot of the stairs, several packed bags. Looks like big brother was planning a last minute trip.
Looking over his shoulder, he yells out to his wife. "Um, Alice? I'm gonna head out. I'll be back in a bit."
"You son of a bitch, we're not done here!" I can hear her angry screaming from down the hallway, followed by something glass, a plate maybe, hitting the wall. "You think you're leaving me, you've got another thing coming!" Her words are drowned out as Jasper closes the door behind him.
"Sorry about that. Crazy bitch hit the roof when I told her I had to go out of town. Pretty sure she knows about Maria, but what can she do? She's stuck with me." The asshole has the nerve to laugh. "So, to what do I owe the pleasure of seeing the two of you at this hour?"
Opening the door to the car, he slides into the back.
"Just thought we could go down to the pub, discuss business." My voice is calm, nonchalant. On the inside, I'm anything but. I get into the driver's seat as Emmett buckles into the passenger side.
"Little early for a drink, isn't it little brother?"
I look into the rear view mirror, seeing his bright blue eyes.
"Eh, it's five o'clock somewhere, right Eddie?" Emmett slaps my chest with a laugh, forced as it is.
"Yeah. Besides, it's not early if you haven't been to bed yet." We all chuckle as I pull away from the curb and head toward the pub. All of us are lost in our own thoughts, so the drive is quiet, and thankfully short. This time of day the streets are mostly empty.
Walking inside, I flip on a few lights and walk behind the bar. Emmett and Jasper head for our regular booth and have a seat. Shrugging off my jacket, I grab a bottle of Jameson and three glasses then head for the table. Instead of sliding into the booth next to one of them, I set the bottle on the table and grab a chair, spinning it around at the end of the table, straddling it and taking a seat. Pouring our drinks, I glance at both my brothers.
"So, I say we drink to a successful night, yeah? We're gonna make a mint off that shipment." Grabbing my glass, I knock it back, allowing the burn to help me focus. I don't miss the expression on Jasper's face. He looks worried, but quickly covers it up before downing his own drink. Looking over, I see Emmett didn't miss it either. "So, how did that go? Any problems with Liam?"
"Yeah, about that. Would you believe that the fucker never showed up? Waited two hours for him." He grabs the bottle, quickly pouring another glass for himself, a very generous glass, then tips it back.
"Really? Well, I'll have to give Liam a call. Maybe there was a problem. I haven't spoken to him in a couple of days. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for it."
Watching him pour his third glass in almost as many minutes, I know it's just a matter of time before he starts talking. His dilated pupils tell me there's already something in his system.
"So, you're off to see Maria for a few days?" Emmett is pacing himself with his glass as well, knowing we need to be sharp today.
"Yeah, I just couldn't take another minute of Alice's yakking. I swear she's driving me outta me goddamn mind." When I start to hear his accent come through, I know it won't be long. I just need to steer the conversation where I want it to go.
"So, how long will you be gone?"
"Eh, not sure. Once I get started with Maria, who knows when I'll come back up for air! Not much that cow of a wife I've got could do to get me to come home. Speakin' of cows, how's that used up skank and her brat doin'? You still paying her bills after all these years?"
"Do you mean, am I taking care of the woman you took advantage of when she was just a sixteen year old girl you left pregnant and alone? Yes, I'm taking care of what you wouldn't. Kaitlin didn't ask to be born, Jasper. And Bella didn't deserve..."
"Don't say her name! Don't say either of their names! That whole feckin' mess cost me in more ways than one. My wife still brings it up all these years later. Don't say her name in front of me."
I raise my hands. "Alright, alright, forget I mentioned it." This is why our relationship has been kept from Jasper. If he'd ever found out that Bella and I were together, let's just say things wouldn't have been pretty. He thinks I just take care of them financially, as part of the family. He doesn't even know she's been working in the Boston PD for the last seven years, five of those in the organized crime division, heading off trouble for us. As far as he knows, she sits back and collects a check from me every month.
"Just don't forget, you were the twenty-five year old man, a married man at that, in that situation, taking advantage of a girl that had just lost her father. Her being under our roof didn't give you a free pass. She was under Ma and Da's protection, and you exploited things. You're the one that denied that baby and left her no choice but to ask us for help."
"Eh, she coulda gotten rid of it. No one told her she had to keep it."
"She was sixteen years old, for feck's sake! Only seventeen when she had her!"
"So, what, she had to stick around and shove it in my face for the last, what, nine years? No, she's made my life hell. Every time Alice hears anything about them, my life is hell for weeks." He downs another glass, and his hand is shaking when the tumbler hits the table. "No, she shoulda gotten rid of it, or maybe I shoulda just smothered her in her sleep. Would've solved both my problems." His chuckle causes me to grip my own glass so hard, I'm afraid it'll shatter in my hand.
Emmett's stare is directed at me, willing me to calm down. He's known about Bella and me for years, and adores her and Kaitlin. So he knows it's taking all my self control to sit here and listen to my brother wish them dead. Remembering that this is the last chance I'll have to settle things with Jasper, I decide there's no time like the present to crack open Pandora's Box.
"But Jasper, if you had done that, I'd have never gotten the chance to get to know them as well as I have." I can see Emmett smiling around the rim of his glass as he takes a drink.
"What is there to know? She's a whore who spread her legs open for the first buck to come along. Didn't even have the good sense not to get knocked up." Digging through his pockets, he pulls out his pack of fags and lights one up. Blowing the smoke out through his nose, he grins. "But don't tell me you're aren't gettin' a free ride from her whenever you need it." His slurring words tell me he's bolloxed.
"Now, Jasper, that's my fiancée you're runnin' your mouth about." He chokes on his next drag, coughing.
"Fiancée? What the feck do you mean, fiancée? That brasser's not fit to be yer wife! She's nothing but a whore!"
"Watch it now. She's gonna be my wife in just a few months. You'll speak about her respectfully."
"Like hell I will. I don't have to sit here and listen to this." He grabs his glass, throws it back once more, and goes to stand. When he does, he sways and stumbles, grabbing onto the table for support.
"Emmett, looks like we need to give big brother a hand."
"Like hell you do." He tries to pull away, falling over and hitting his head on the table in the process. The head injury combined with the alcohol flowing through his system knocks him out.
We flank him on either side, lifting him to his feet.
"Come on big boy. We're gonna go for a little drive." With that, Emmett throws an unconscious Jasper over his shoulder and we head for the car. We're parked in the back, so people seeing us in the early morning light isn't an issue.
We manage to shove him into the trunk that's already been lined with a tarp. Gotta be prepared, I always say.
The drive to Squantum, in Quincy, where we have a private dock, is long, but peaceful. The properties out this way are beautiful. Maybe Bella will want to look at a few houses before the wedding.
The house here is used strictly for business. No one lives in it, but it's used for meetings and for what we're about to do. Pulling into the driveway, I drive around back and into the garage. We wouldn't want any prying eyes seeing what we were up to.
"You want me to come along?" Emmett, always there when I need him, one of the few I can always count on.
"Up to you. I'll need help loading him into the boat though." With a nod, he helps me drag the limp body from the trunk. I hear Jasper's moans and groans as we move him into the giant chest cooler that's on the flatbed cart we use to move 'heavy loads'.
Stepping out of the garage and into the light, I squint my eyes. The late morning sun has made its appearance, intensified by being near the water. I can tell it's going to be a warm one.
Wheeling him down the dock, I scan the area. It doesn't appear we have an audience, not outside anyway, but that doesn't mean we don't have nosy neighbors peeking out through their curtains. Reaching the boat, Emmett helps me load the cooler onto the deck. When he climbs aboard, I don't bother to ask; I know he wants to see this through to the end.
We drag the cooler below deck, opening it to see if he's still breathing. I look around and grab the chair from the corner. After I've placed the plastic sheeting under the chair, I look back to Emmett.
"As I'm gonna be. Let's do this." We each grab an arm, lifting Jasper out of the confined space of the cooler, and into the chair. His groans have gotten louder, and his eyes are trying to open.
"Grab that rope over there Em. We need to make sure he isn't going anywhere."
"On it." Emmett grabs the rope from the corner and starts to bind Jasper's hands together, and a leg to each leg of the chair. Once he's satisfied with the knots, he loops one bit around Jasper's face, in his mouth. That should help stifle some of the screaming, at least until we're out on open waters. Leaving him in the back room to stew, we close the door behind us and head up.
Going back up on deck, I check our supplies. The fridge and cabinets are stocked well enough for a day trip, and I know we're gonna need it. I'm thankful I had the good sense to ask Jimmy to head down here earlier to get things ready for us. We'll have to wait until sundown before the real fun can start. After doing a pre-departure check, I start the boat and pull away from the dock. Knowing we have a long day ahead of us, I settle into the Captain's chair.
"Here." Emmett comes up beside me and hands me a cold can of Guinness.
"Thanks." I crack it open and take a swig. "As nice as this is, I think I need to switch to water. I've had almost nothing but feckin' scoops since yesterday. Bella would have my head if she knew."
"She got you on a short leash then?" He just laughs at me.
I can't stop the smile on my face. "You could say that." I lift the can to my mouth, taking another swig. "Ah, Christ, I need water." Getting up from my chair, I go to the refrigerator and grab a bottle. "I need to get off the drink."
"Yeah? Why's that? Never thought I'd hear Edward Cullen say he was gonna stop drinkin'."
I know Bella's gonna kill me, but if I can't trust Emmett to keep it a secret, who can I trust? That goddamn smile is back.
"She's havin' my baby."
"All right! Congrats man!" He shoots out of his chair and gives me a hug. "When?"
"She's only about three months."
"So, maybe a Christmas baby?"
"Maybe. And maybe a fall wedding. I'd like to get her down the aisle before the baby comes."
The sounds of yelling and banging bring me back to the horrible task at hand.
"I'll just keep watch." Emmett points to the horizon.
"Yeah, I've got this." Sighing, I check my gun and head back below deck.
Jasper's eyes are wide and panicked, but they flash in relief when he sees me. He obviously doesn't realize I'm the one that's dragged him here. Walking over, I remove the rope from his mouth.
"Thank Christ. Help me out of these ropes, Eddie." He's squirming, fighting the ropes.
"Sorry Jasper, I can't do that."
"And why the fuck not?"
I find a spot to sit, and relax back into the chair.
"Care to tell me why you ran off to have a meeting with Caius Voltolini the instant we got off the phone yesterday?" The color suddenly drains from his face.
"I don't know what you're talking about." His indignant tone betrays the fear I see in his eyes.
"Cut the shit Jasper. You were tracked to your meeting with Voltolini. Care to tell me why you're consorting with the enemy? How the information about our shipment was leaked to Boston PD?"
"What? How do you..."
"I know because Bella's been working there for us for the last five feckin' years!" My voice is a roar, and I'm worried that they could hear me on shore. Taking a deep calming breath, I close my eyes. Opening them, I can see the sheer terror on his face. "What I want to know is, why? Why would you be working with the Voltolini's? Why would you betray your family?"
"Betray my family? My family? You mean the people that turned their backs on me, let me struggle for years, then gave my rightful place to my little brother?"
"We didn't turn our backs on you! You were a drugged out coke head, who blew through all the money that was just handed to you, yes, handed to you, and didn't do a fucking thing to work for it! For years Da tried to teach you about the business, show you how to run things, but you blew him off. He couldn't hand things over to you; you would've snorted your way through the family fortune. Is that what this is about? Money? Is that what the Voltolini's are offering you? Is your monthly allowance not enough?" My voice is booming, loud to even my own ears.
"Monthly allowance?" He scoffs at that. "Yeah, they're giving me money, but they respect me too." I can't stop the humorless chuckle from escaping me.
"Jasper, if you think a bunch of Italians are going to treat you with equal respect, then the drugs must've done more damage than I thought. The only thing they're getting out of you is information. And when you've outlived your usefulness, they'll dispose of you."
"That's not true! I've proven my loyalty."
"Loyalty? A man that would betray his own family? If I know anything about the Voltolini's, it's that they value loyalty above anything else, even money. And you're an idiot if you think otherwise."
"I proved my loyalty to them when I shot Charlie Swan!" I'm on my feet with my gun drawn, and in Jasper's face before I can blink.
"The fuck did you just say?" I pull the hammer back, the click echoing in the room.
"I said I proved my loyalty when I shot Charlie Swan for those Italian scum. They needed to see that I was all in, that I would take out someone close to the family. I couldn't kill any of you, so I took out someone close to us. It just worked out that Charlie had been gunning for them for years." It's like my arm has a mind of its own, and I'm watching it happen of its own volition, when the butt of the gun comes in contact with his head.
"You bastard! You killed a man in cold blood, then preyed on his sixteen year old daughter when she was grieving? You're not a man, you're a goddamn monster. A lying, greedy, conniving, disloyal... " Fury blinds my vision and I can't stop myself; blow after blow landing on his head. Before it registers what's happening, Emmett's arms are around me, trying to move me away from him.
"That's enough Eddie. Can't kill him just yet. Let's wait until at least sundown. It's a bit too hot to have a corpse aboard for hours." My chest is heaving, and his attempt at a joke doesn't even register. Seeing that I've knocked him unconscious again, I engage the safety, and toss my gun at Emmett, heading back up on deck.
Once outside, I close my eyes, breathing in the fresh air, and try to calm myself down.
"He's out cold." I don't speak, but nod, letting him know I heard him. "He really killed Charlie?"
"That's what he said."
"Damn. Man, he was like an uncle to us."
"Yeah. I miss him." I watch the sun get higher in the sky. "Think about all the time that's been wasted, too. All the tea parties, bedtime stories and dress up games Bella missed because she was out chasing a monster that was there all along. What he took away from her, not to mention the hell he put her through, when he got her pregnant." I'm lost in my thoughts when I hear him speak again.
"So, how do you want to do this?" Turning to face my brother, I look him dead in the eyes.
"Slowly. Fucker needs to pay."
Several hours pass, and once the sun has set and we've found a good spot, we cut the engine and mentally prepare to get down to business.
"Emmett, I'll understand if you can't do this."
"I've got your back Eddie. This is for the family, not to mention little B and the princess."
"Alright then. Let's get this shit done."
Heading back below, I can hear his screams again. Opening the door, I start right in on him.
"Christ! Would you shut the fuck up?" Taking aim, I get a shot off into his arm, just to get his attention. It works, as his cries fill the small space. "Now, we're going to do this my way, nice and slow." The evil grin that crosses my face causes a fresh wave of fear to wash over his. "Now, since it was your greedy little hands that started this whole mess, I say we start there."
Pulling the knife from my boot, I make a show of examining the blade. Walking behind him, I grasp his right hand, using pressure points to hold his fingers out. As the blade pierces the flesh, I smell the undeniable odor of urine.
"Emmett, it seems our big brother here has pissed himself." I push just a bit harder, feeling the blade cut through muscle and tendons. His screaming has turned to shrieks.
"Aw now Eddie, we shouldn't tease him. I'd imagine that smarts a bit." Emmett's dark chuckle makes me laugh, as the knife makes its final pass and completely severs Jasper's index finger. The cry that comes from him is inhuman, pathetic, tears streaming down his face.
"Oh Emmett, grab a bucket. I want some chunks to toss overboard. Maybe we can attract a shark or two." The whine that comes from Jasper almost makes me feel sorry for him.
I continue on my task of removing each finger from his right hand, one by one, as slowly as I can manage. There's hoarse screaming coming from Jasper, and blood everywhere at this point. Grabbing a rag, I wrap his stump tightly.
"I don't want you to bleed out. Then the fun would be over." Standing, I look him over. "Now, let's see, you've lost your hand for your greed. What shall I take from you for taking a man that was like family, a man that was the center of Bella's world? Emmett?" I look up to him for guidance.
"Well, Bella thought he walked on water, so I say he loses a foot."
"What a great idea! Though, I know it's kinda hard to walk without your toes, so let's start there." One by one, I remove the toes of his right foot, all while listening to his screams.
"I'd say I'm going to take perverse pleasure in this next part. You seduced a child, a grieving child, and took something from her you had no right to take. So for that..." I pull my gun from my back, take aim, and fire, straight at his dick. I see Emmett wince in my peripheral vision, as the room is filled with the screaming of the pathetic excuse for a man in front of me.
"Seeing how you decided to sing to the Voltolini's, and you won't shut the fuck up now, I think your tongue goes next." Grabbing his chin, and with Emmett's help, we manage to pry his mouth open, and I slide my knife inside, carving away at the muscle there. When the offending appendage falls to the floor, so does my knife.
"Let's drag his sorry ass out on deck."
"You got it, boss." Working together, we drag his bleeding, broken body up on deck, sitting him up against the side. Going back inside, I fill a glass with cold water, then walk back out, tossing it in his face.
"Wha, ungh, uh."
"What was that? Cat got your tongue? Oh, no, that's right, I got your tongue. See?" Pulling it up and out of the bucket to show him causes him to puke all over himself.
"Guess we'll have to clean him up now, huh Eddie?"
"Sure will. Oh, I know, let's see if we can find some help." Walking to the side of the boat, I toss a couple of 'pieces' of my brother into the water. "Emmett, did you know that sharks can smell a drop of blood something like three miles away?"
"I did not know that." Emmett's busying himself with getting the hoist ready. The sun set hours ago, so we're doing this by the paltry light of the full moon and what's coming from the cabin. As I toss bits and bobs over the side, my eyes don't leave Jasper's. He's focused on what I'm doing, the blood still dripping from his mouth, tears silently running down his face.
"All set." Emmett's voice pulls me out of the staring contest I'm having with Jasper. "Help me hook him up."
"Right." I put down the bucket, and help Emmett attach Jasper's limp and broken body to the hoist that's used to haul large fish on deck. We wrap some rope around his ankles and attach the hooks. Using the motor, we lift him high enough to swing him over the edge. When he's swinging over the open water, I see the moment he sees the fins circling the area.
"You know, I don't think any of them are big enough to end you right away. They'll probably bite bits and pieces off till there's nothing left. What do you think Emmett?"
"Sounds about right."
"Oh look, there's a few out there already."
His muffled screams fill the air as we begin to lower him closer to the water. Putting my hand up to stop Emmett from lowering him completely, I hang over the side, resting my forearms on the edge.
"You know, you turned your back on us, betrayed your family, all for money. Turned to the Italians instead of being loyal to us. So, in honor of where your loyalties lie, I'll steal one of their phrases. Have fun sleeping with the fishes, Jasper. See ya in hell."
The sound of the motor lowering him into the water is only matched by the screams coming out of his mouth. When he finally goes under, it doesn't take long before I see the first shark approach. He struggles and thrashes under the surface of the water, which only attracts more.
"Hey Eddie?" Emmett points at the larger fin approaching the chaos in front of us. "Think we should cut him loose? I don't want that thing too close to the boat."
"Yeah, just wait a minute." Watching him come closer, I see him swim close enough that I could probably reach out and touch him. "Now." With that, Emmett cuts the line, and what's left of our brother falls beneath the surface and into his watery grave.
After the frenzied splashing has calmed, and the water is calm, I pull out my cellphone. Dialing a familiar number, I wait for him to answer.
"Eddie! To what do I owe the pleasure, at...four in the morning?" His tone is light, but irritated.
"Da, we need to talk."
Translation: 'Álainn'- Beautiful
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