Disclaimer: I own, like, myself. And that's stretching it. Also, please read the A/N at the end :)))
She had the smile of an angel and the intentions of a devil.
Her eyes were a deep brown that penetrated anyone's soul. Her smile was alluring when it wanted and sweet when it had to; fingers caressed skin and flawless hair curled around men's rough fingers if she so wished. If she deemed it necessary.
They said food was the way to a man's soul, but she thought that sex served just as well.
And nothing would stop her, she thouhht, eyes blazing as she walked past the double doors.
"Ms. Swan, Mr. Jenkins wants to see you," the nasal voice of Gloria, Mr. Jenkins' secretary, informed. Isabella thanked Gloria, telling her she'd be right up.
Inside, Isabella fumed.
This was the third time this day that the old cooter called to see her. She was a busy woman, damn it, and didn't have time to be fending off the advances of a handsy fifty-year-old. Her position, though given to her by her father, wasn't acquired easily. She was only twenty-three, fucking hell, and already one of the chairs in her father's electric car company. He'd always been a man with fingers in many pies, and when this market took off, he wasted no time in appointing said daughter to one of the highest positions he could.
Not that it was handed to her.
No, of course not. She graduated with honors from high school at the tender age of fourteen, and by twenty had her PhD from Harvard University on Electronic Engineering with a subfield of Computer Engineering. She was an elite, not only in name but in action.
She was top dog where anyone was concerned, except—
"Fucking printer won't work!"
She was incredibly useless with printers.
And that was it. That was the piece of machinery that most eluded her capability of understanding. She should've been able to press print and receive the amount of copies she'd asked for, but no— that was too easy. She had to wrestle with the piece of shit until Jerome from accounting took pity on her and came to fix it. It was ridiculous; every single time this happened Isabella paid close attention to whatever Jerome did, and when the printer jammed or did whatever it is printers do, she attempted it... to no avail.
I think far too much of my hatred for printers, Isabella thought, flipping the bird to the printer outside of her office.
"Jake," Isabella snapped at the man, two years older than her, who happened to be her personal assistant. "I've got a meeting in an hour and the stupid printer won't work. I need fifty copies of the document I sent out when I get back, please."
Jacob Black nodded, watching his boss strut away.
Confused as to why she still tried printing crap herself when she gloriously sucked at it.
Shaken from his stupor, Jake called out to her.
"Boss!" Isabella halted, turned around and arched a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. "Your mother called. She wants you to check your phone."
Internally groaning, Isabella nodded and thanked her PA for passing along the message.
Boarding the elevator, she checked her messages.
Bell, Flynn's fever is lowering. —RS
Isabella sighed in relief, for a moment not Isabella Swan, businesswoman extraordinaire, but Bella, mom to one spectacular Flynn Swan.
She fired back a text.
Thanks mom. I'll pick him up at 6. —IS
She tucked away her phone, unloaded at the twelfth floor and headed for the office of one sleazy Jenkins, another chair at her father's company.
"Mr. Jenkins, you wanted to—"
Her words died in her mouth, unwilling to leave her.
Sitting in front of her was Emmett McCarty, once and always the bearer of bad news.
"Emmett," Isabella said, voice tight. "I thought you were out of my life for good."
Regretful, but not enough to just leave her be, Emmett shrugged apologetically.
"Bella, you look good," he said, standing up. As elegant men tended to, he looked amazing in his suit, which had obviously been tailored to his body. "It's ok now, Jenk. I've got it from here."
The sleazeball scurried away, and Isabella just shot him a glare.
"You know it's Isabella in the workplace," Bella said, not really expecting anything different by now. "What are you doing here, Emmett?"
He pursed his lips.
"You might want to—"
"Why. Are. You. Here." Bella ground out, furious about this man attempting to stall.
He sighed, sitting back down.
"I'm sorry Bella, but he cut a deal. Freedom for information. Full immunity. Apparently, whatever information he'd been sitting on was too precious to forsake."
The world shook beneath her.
"You said he'd never be out," Bella said, collapsing on the chair she'd refused. "You said if I testified he'd be locked away, Emmett!"
She was hurt.
She trusted this man, once. Did as he asked, hoping it'd be enough.
"I'm sorry, you know I had no say in this," Emmett said sadly, laying his palms open towards her in a show of vulnerability. "I really believed I'd be able to uphold my word."
So did she.
Blood pooled at her feet and became lead.
"And he... does he..."
Emmett shook his head.
"He has no clue as far as anyone is concerned, although I wouldn't be surprised if it was a front. Bella, my brother, he..."
Emmett uttered the words Bella had feared most since that day in court.
"He's out, and he's coming for you."
"How is he, mom?" Bella asked as soon as she got into her brand new BMW, putting her mother on speaker in the car.
"He's fine, baby girl. Just anxious to see you," Renée Swan said, looking back at her grandson, presently watching an old cartoon. Flynn really enjoyed watching old cartoons, as opposed to the new ones. Renée doubted the child understood even half of the show, but he seemed fascinated by the dumb humor. "How are you?"
Bella guessed her mother would hear the distress in her voice.
"Not well, mom. But I'll tell you about it when I get home," Bella promised, knowing she needed to talk to someone. Anyone.
"Alright. Is it serious?" Renée frowned, wanting to worry more but not knowing if she should. With her daughter, it could be as serious as anything or as dumb as having had coffee spilled on her.
"Yes. It's... it's serious," Bella finished weakly, not knowing how to proceed.
Not knowing how to tell the woman she loved most her life might be in danger.
Immediately, Renée was filled with dread.
"I'll be waiting for you, honey."
They hung up.
On the way to her apartment, Bella thought of the choices that had led her to this moment. She contemplated all of this even as cars honked, cursed and flipped the bird at her, oblivious; Bella had never been a good driver, and in her state of mind she really should've had someone take her home. That first meeting with Emmett; that damned agreement made when she was vulnerable and too high on herself to know better. Those green eyes that haunted her dreams, the tell-tale sign of a coming nightmare she had no way of avoiding.
It's true, she feared him.
She feared, more than the man, his love for her.
Overwhelming, true, possessive, powerful...
Flynn Swan, not even three years old, was already the cutest child Bella had ever seen. It wasn't because he was her child, really. But the adorable kid was already wicked smart, cute (again), shy and atrocious. One moment Bella turned away, and the next Flynn was painting with the crayons the walls of his room. Or being called into the pre-kindergarten's principal's office and being admonished for coercing his classmate into eating raw macaronis (how does a child even coerce, anyway? He still couldn't clean his own ass). Or giving her a flower he picked up to tuck her into letting him watch Tangled way past his sleeping time.
He was the apple in her eye and the little shit knew it.
"Flynn?" Bella poked her head into the room through the half-open door, looking at her precious boy as he sat up from his laying down position to look at his mom. He was surrounded by toys, a blanket made up of cars and red pillows. He was dwarfed by the bed, so much so he had trouble staying there by himself and would usually whimper into the security radio she kept there long enough that Bella would be forced to bring him to her bed. Devilish indeed. "How's your fever, baby boy?"
"Better!" Flynn gave her a charming smile. "Gramma says much better!"
She breathes out a sigh of relief. At least there was that.
"Baby, are you hungry? Did you eat yet?" When Bella saw he was confused by the double question, she simplified it. "Dinner?"
His eyes lit up, and he nodded enthusiastically.
She was about to turn away when suddenly Flynn raised his arms and turned his cheek.
Oh! She'd forgotten to properly greet him.
So she made a show of weeping, making her son giggle, and flew across the room to hug the snot out of him and kiss the sweat off his cheek. There were no words to describe how much she loved her son.
He was her most precious blessing out of the whole undercover fiasco.
"Bella, sweetie? You're home?" Renée Swan poked her head in, not wanting to disturb Flynn but needing to know if her daughter was home. Seeing she was, her expression of worry pinched further.
"I'll bring you your dinner, Flynn," she mumbled, kissing the top of his head before following her mother to the kitchen.
"What is it? Are you ok? Was it something at work? How can I help? Is there—"
Warmth filling her, Bella stopped her mother. No matter how old you were it was nice to know your momma had your back.
"I'm fine, mom. For the most part." Ok, all or nothing. She needed to let it out. "It's just..."
The tension was bound to kill Renée.
Bella poured herself a glass of wine, the first in eight years. She'd quit drinking after a bad night out in college, and had never felt the need for a drink as much as now.
Renée knew that cup of wine would be the first and last she saw her daughter drink, just as she knew that whatever Bella had to say would shake her world irreparably.
"Royce King is a free man."
Renée was right.
THIS IS IMPORTANT. If this is the first time you pick up this fic, here's the only thing you need to know: every chapter will have a POV from a different character (usually Bella or Edward) alongside some unknown POV. If it's a new unknown voice, I'll let everyone know.
For those of you getting an update about this story: see above. That's the way it'll be formatted from now on. This means that chapters will be longer and the updates further in between. I'll finish arranging the rest of the revised chapters, but don't freak out over seeing everything gone. It'll take me a couple of hours, tops. I recommend reading it again, just to get a sense of togetherness I guess. You don't have to, but I'm making a few edits to make everything link nicely.
With that out of the way, hopefully you enjoyed this chapter! Don't forget to favorite, follow and review! :))