So I have been promising a new story for the last 3 weeks and because my nerves wouldn't stop messing with me, I am posting it a week early.
Omg. I am so freaking nervous right now.
I hope you enjoy the new ride. Thanks for joining and don't forget to tell me what you all think.
Okay. I was in such a rush to post this chapter, I completely forgot to thank all the people who have helped me make this the best it can be. So, I would love to thank CopperTopJ for beta'ing, FanficsR4nerds, Danidarlingxx, and Lily Jill for prereading every chapter almost twice.
I would also like to say, I did extensive research before picking a location for this fic. Kennett , Missouri was my chosen town. Currently, one of my favorite shows in progress is Ozark, and so I decided to follow this particular path for Forbidden. If I have mistaken the landscape it was not intentional, as I studied maps to determine the setting. Anyway, thanks so much for being a part of this new exciting journey, and I hope you all enjoy this delicious little ride.
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The Forbidden Alliance
Edward climbed into the double cab black Silverado next to his brother Emmett. Passing him a wary glance, he took in Emmett's attire, and his jaw clenched. A simple T-shirt and jeans? The man had no respect for his position in life. Edward shook his head as he propped his elbow on the door, biting his thumbnail in speculation. "How many times do I have to tell you to dress like you are of importance? Fucking jeans and T-shirt, are you kidding me right now?"
"As I see it," Emmett started, glancing toward Edward with the jolliest smile he could manage. Why? Cause it pissed Edward off to no end, one of life's finest pleasures. Emmett was beginning to think the asshole liked to lecture, just to hear himself talk. Perhaps, he'd believe this more if the dick ever laced two sentences together back-to-back. "There is only room for one stuffy asshole in this family, and since we have you, I am safe for now."
Since Irene died five years ago, Edward rarely spoke, and when he did, it was strictly for business purposes. Considering they ran one of the most profitable organizations this side of the Mississippi, Edward found little time for anything—which also meant Emmett had little time for anything else, always pulled from fun to handle affairs. Honestly, it was starting to wear him a little thin.
Barreling through a hidden trail in the hills, Emmett yanked the wheel with enough force to rock them and the truck as it climbed over gravel and tree roots like they were nothing.
"Pfft. Spoken like a first-rate spoiled fucking brat," Edward threw back, his indigo blue eyes flashing as he took in the scenery around them. Dirt road and trees for as far as the eye could see. If they drove a half hour to the right, they'd be sitting in plain view of the largest river in the United States. That damn river offered gateways to all sorts of deals and being the boss of the largest ring of mobsters in the country; deals were vastly important. "When you ever actually do any real work, I will be impressed."
"How about I pull over and toss your ass out on this trail?" Emmett glared in Edward's direction. "Ever since you took over the Kings when Dad died, you've become a first-rate jackass. If Irene …"
"Don't!" Edward warned, passing Emmett a lethal stare. His jaw clenched at the mention of his wife's name, his teeth feeling as though they would splinter and break. "Don't talk about Irene …"
Just the mention of her had Edward's guts churning. He'd been a different man when Irene had been alive. While they never had a puppy-love-bullshit type of relationship, they'd found mutual joy and happiness together—more than most couples were afforded. A familiar loneliness crept into his soul, sniffing back the emotion that threatened to overwhelm him.
The fucking rumors circulating around town were enough to cause bile to rise in his throat. The whole town believed he was responsible for death, and while the thought made him want to rip the throat from every living thing—somehow he maintained control over the urge. The simple fact was their fear made them all complacent. Let the bastards believe whatever they wanted, made zero difference to him. With a Herculean effort, Edward shoved Irene from his thoughts.
However, as he did, another face popped into mind, and those innocent wide blues were even harder to endure. Edward's fingers pinched over his eyelids as he attempted to shove Lily from his thoughts. Yet her angelic face wouldn't be ignored.
His heart squeezed in his chest as Lily's image persisted. She had waist-length blond hair so much like her mother's, a little dimple in her chin with a pert nose, and sculpted cheekbones. She was the definition of beauty, and despite her flawless features, Edward couldn't bear to look at her.
It was hard to believe his daughter would be five this spring. Five years ago … shit … five years ago …
Edward refused to contemplate what the significance of that date entailed. Reaching forward, he yanked the glove box open and grabbed his brass knuckles. Tucking the weapon into his pocket, he pulled out his 9mm and checked the clip and chamber. "Locked and loaded."
Emmett rolled his eyes heavenward, catching a wink of the starlit sky overhead between towering oak trees. "Which brings me to another topic we need to discuss."
Edward already knew where this conversation was headed, and quite frankly, he didn't even want it to start. "If your next words are about my daughter, Emmett." Fuck … he was so screwed up over losing Irene; he just couldn't bear to say her name. "Just shut the fuck up about family. When you can take care of them all on your own—then, maybe you can have a say in family affairs."
"Man," Emmett growled, running his hand through his inch-long frosted tips. "Mom wanted me to ask you when you plan on putting her in preschool?"
"Shut the fuck up, Emmett. I have enough on my plate dealing with assholes that owe a shit ton of cash to our family. I think we should be focused on that," Edward grumbled, not wanting to discuss his daughter—his precious little girl stepping out into this vicious and dangerous world. The longer he could keep her hidden away, the better he could protect her.
"You did have Brad and James find Charlie Swan, right? That is where we're going?" Edward already knew this to be the facts. Charlie Swan had passed his payday a month ago, and Edward was out of patience. Perhaps when he left the barn, the guy would be mulch, yet grinding up his sorry ass didn't fill his bank account. So, the next best thing was a good beating and just a little bit more time to see reason. "They've got him tied up?"
"Always fucking business with you …" Nothing punched him in the stomach like watching his brother fade from the happy man he'd once been to this bitter, hate-filled replica of the man he'd used to know. "You know, that little girl won't be a baby forever, and she's …"
Edward's growl filled the cab as he slammed his hand down on the center console. "We cannot all be playboys, trotting in and out of panties all fucking day. Some of us have a responsibility to this family—namely me … Em, not you. Me … shut the fuck up about her. I said I didn't want to talk about it."
Emmett merely fell silent as he squinted through the windshield, anger filling him as he'd never experienced before. When he couldn't take anymore, he looked toward Edward, his knuckles turning white with the grip he had on the steering wheel. "Just so you know, I don't jump in and out of beds. I gave that shit up a year ago … just not satisfying anymore."
Edward's gloved fingers ran through his hair, his eyes rolling to the velvet sky. He didn't want to discuss Emmett's fucking sex life-or lack thereof, and Edward had zero desire to converse about family life. He just wanted to take care of business and lock himself away in his study. For the last five years, Edward had spent his evenings in just that manner, and he saw no reason to change it now.
An eternity seemed to pass before the barn came into view. This is where they brought all the people they'd turned into chum over the years. Even though Charlie wouldn't see the same fate as his predecessors, he'd discover a path equally as cruel, and Edward was all too eager to show him the error of his ways.
The truck barely rolled to a stop before Edward pushed the door open and hopped out on the gravel. The only sound for miles around was the chirp of crickets and the crunch of rocks beneath his feet. With determination dictating his steps, he hurried into the barn. Seeing his men scattered around, he gave them a nod of acknowledgment before turning his attention to the man in question. Sweeping his black hair from his forehead, his lashes dropped into an intense stare.
"Charlie," Edward called, sauntering toward him. Crouching, he gave him a knowing smirk as he watched the fear flash in his eyes. Edward's dry chuckle filled the barn as he cuffed him on the leg. "You are the man of the hour. You owe me a lot of money, and I've patiently waited as long as I'm going to."
Blowing a deep breath, Edward heaved back up to his feet. Retrieving the brass knuckles from his pocket, he motioned for James. "Give me that towel; I wanna fuck him up without beating his brains out."
Edward wound the towel around the brass covering his knuckles as he moved forward and yanked the tape from Charlie's lips. "If you don't have good news for me, there will be a lot of pain in your future."
"I-I have a few deals in motion, and I swear I'll have a portion …"
"A portion? Did I give you a portion of the shipment you asked for?" Edward's brows lifted as his jaw went hard. "I believe your exact words were, I will have your money Friday. Guess what, Swan? That was three weeks ago, and I have no money. Now I could gut you and feed you to the fishes, but killing you doesn't fill my pockets."
"Can I-I have j-just a few more days?"
Edward really hated seeing a grown man cry. One, it pissed him off to no end, and two, the tears were born of fear. There was simply no truth to them. "I don't think that's going to work so well for me. I'm betting if you were going to have the money in a few days, you wouldn't have avoided my calls. Right? Right …"
Silence fell in the barn as Edward stood there studying the Sheriff long and hard. Finally, Edward shrugged as he backhanded Charlie with the wrapped knuckles. Instantly, his lip split and crimson bled from the corner of his mouth. "See … really, I'm doing you a favor … I'm reminding you of the importance of following through with your commitments. I mean, Jesus, you don't even have any fucking collateral."
Edward gave Charlie the beating of his life, hitting him repeatedly until the left side of his face was swollen and unrecognizable. Satisfaction filled Edward's chest as he stepped away from the firearms dealer. Glaring down at his wilting form, Edward growled in a menacing tone. "You have one month to get me my money. If you don't, Laurent and James will take your carcass to the river. You feel me?"
Charlie mumbled something intelligible through drool and blood. Edward assumed that was his way of agreeing to the terms placed before him. Tossing the blood-covered towel aside, Edward paced towards the door. "Cut him loose … let his sorry ass find his own way home."
Twenty minutes later, Edward strode into his study and went straight for the liquor cart. Staring out at the bright moon in its full glory, he poured himself a glass of scotch. Swallowing a mouthful, he turned to the door when a creak of the floorboards caught his attention.
His jaw went tight as a blonde head peeked around the door. His heart thudded to a stop as crystal blue eyes went wide. Edward felt his chest grow tight, his nostrils flaring as a wealth of emotion swirled through him. His jaw went rigid as he regarded the little creature hovering close to his study. In a tone much harsher than he'd intended, he rumbled, "Isn't it past your bedtime?"
A slight whimper erupted from her tiny form, and instant tears filled her eyes. Before Edward could collect himself enough to soften his voice, the patter of footsteps racing from the doorway filled his ears as his daughter ran down the hallway.
With a huff, he shook his head and wandered toward his desk. Plopping heavily into the chair, his roaming gaze came to rest on the picture of his wife. Edward sipped the drink in hand as he stared long and hard at the photo, missing the brightness of Irene's smile.
He wasn't sure how long it took to get over one's dead wife, but apparently, five years wasn't it. With this thought lingering in his mind, he reached for the whiskey on the corner of his desk and refilled the glass.
Edward was halfway through the second glass, his mind deliciously numb when he ripped his gaze from the portrait of them together on their wedding day. Grabbing the remote, he turned on the eighty-inch TV as Emmett strolled into the room.
He was half buzzed when there was a break in the news. Mayor Winthrop flashed across the screen, and they were announcing the mayor's upcoming engagement. Emmett plopped down in the chair across from his desk.
"I feel sorry for the woman marrying that man … he has to be pushing seventy at least. She isn't getting any dick, that's for sure."
Edward's gaze blurred slightly as he watched images come and go on the set before they focused on a young, attractive blonde woman. When the announcer stated her name, Isabella Swan, his ears perked up.
Could it be? Could this woman be related to Charlie? As his interest piqued, Edward set the glass aside, leaning further in his chair. As he wondered about her ties to the dealer, his jaw went hard. "Emmett, do something useful and find out who she is to Charlie. When you do … let me know.
Emmett ripped his eyes from the TV, running them over Edward's lean form. His cheekbones were so prominent, and he wondered how often Edward actually ate versus drinking himself into a stupor every night. His brother's lack of nutrition was apparent in the sharp line of his jaw. Emmett would have mentioned this yet knew it would do little to no good. "Who?"
"Isabella Swan … I believe we just found our collateral."
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