Title: The Art of Online Dating
Chapter 16: Handcuffs and Heart-to-Hearts
Summary: Bella and Alice have decided to try eHarmony just before going off to college. Will they find Mr. Right? Follow their adventures as they meet some handsome men online and discover what love is, and isn't.
Type: AH AU OOC; Pairing: Bella/Edward, Other Canon Pairings.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters. They all belong to the wonderful Stephenie Meyer. I also do not own any songs or websites mentioned. They belong to their respective owners.
A/N: I apologize for the long wait. Again, I had ten people in my house, I lost my job, and school got really busy. Everyone finally moved out and I got my mojo back. Hope you all forgive me! Now is the time to see who won, or whichever I just chose anyway. :P Alice and Bella are finally going to have their talk in this chapter and soon is Valentine's Day, so you know what that means! :D
It worked! My plan could continue on. I quickly shoved the rope back across my wrist and made my way downstairs. They were waiting on the couch with their coats on. James had his precious camera around his neck, once again. He was also twirling a DVD on his finger.
"What's that?" I asked, confidently.
"Oh, just a little parting gift for your dear Edward," he replied lazily.
My blood ran cold, but I had to keep my composure for my plan to work.
"Alright, it's time to go," Victoria commanded, roughly leading me by my shoulders to the van.
I got in quietly and let them buckle me in. The ride to the airport was a quick and silent one. James dropped us off at the terminal entrance, then drove away. Victoria led me straight past the baggage check-in and to a woman at security. Her name tag read, "Lucy."
Before she could speak, flashes of cameras were blinding me everywhere. An olive-skinned man and James were taking pictures of me, as if they were paparazzi. My hood was pulled over me quickly and I heard Victoria trying to whisper to Lucy.
"Maria should have called you, but we need to get Miss Whitby to her flight ASAP. These paps won't leave her alone because of her upcoming television series."
What in the world? I'm a television star now?
I just kept following her, as Lucy called more guards over to distract the "paps" and led us to the correct terminal area. At the security checkpoint, Victoria secretly handed me my passport, so that I could match it to the ticket she was displaying. Lucy only ran the wand over me, after it was requested I keep my coat on for privacy issues.
I knew as soon as Maria had involved this woman, Victoria could get anything she wanted from her. We calmly followed Lucy to our gate. Thanks to her, we were more than early and would have plenty of time to just sit and wait for the flight. It also meant more time to complete my plan.
We were in the South Satellite, near gate S6, which is where I would be taking off from. Near us was an elevator and a restroom. While Victoria found a seat, I slowly inched towards the restroom. When she caught sight of me, she marched over.
"Where do you think you're going?" she whispered.
"Bathroom. Or am I not allowed?" I whispered back in a monotone voice.
"You may go. Lucy will stand guard at the door to guide you back when you're done." She snarled at me and went back to her seat. As she sat, I saw the glint of metal hidden at her hip, under the jacket. I hadn't realized Lucy didn't check her at security.
This meant I wasn't going to be able to do the screaming part of my plan B.
I walked briskly to the restroom, twice as eager to get away from the retched woman, while she informed Lucy of her task. Lucy made her way over slowly and I went inside. I immediately went to the sink and yanked the rope off my hands, giving myself burns. I stuffed the rope into a coat pocket and pulled out my earlier plans.
The elevator was to the side of the restroom entrance. I had to somehow sneak there and get inside before I was noticed. If I could walk out behind someone, it could work. Unfortunately, the only other people in the restroom were a little girl and her older sister. They weren't tall enough to sneak out with and if I didn't hurry up, Lucy would be sent in to check on me.
I peeked out and saw Victoria reading a magazine, while Lucy was actually chatting up the nearby male security guard. I didn't stick around. I knew this could be my only chance to get away.
I stayed close to the wall outside the restroom and hurriedly clicked the down button to the elevator. The door opened and I got in with one last look over my shoulder. Lucy had begun to turn towards the restroom and caught sight of me, just as I watched the doors begin to close. I smashed the door close button, knowing she was probably coming after me.
I ran out as soon as the doors reopened to the bottom floor, looking back to see if they had taken the stairs. I ran smack into the last person I expected. My dad.
I fell to the floor and skidded on my butt, before scrambling up to hug him. Sobs wracked my body, as I tried to explain what was happening.
"Bella? Are you alright? Where is Victoria?" he yelled urgently.
I didn't bother to ask how he knew who Victoria was or why he was even here.
"She'll be down here soon with a blond security guard named Lucy. Victoria has a gun."
His radio went off on his hip.
"Swan, do you copy?"
"I've got Bella. Waiting for suspect to come down. She is armed with at least one weapon. We're in the South Satellite, bottom floor. I need backup, fast. Over."
"On it. Over and out."
I had never seen my dad look so dangerous, in my life. Before I could say or do anything, two more police officers came off the tram. The elevator doors opened and Lucy and Victoria emerged, looking around for me.
"That's them!" I whispered urgently, while pointing at them. I heard my dad's gun click, as he raised it at them.
"Victoria Wells, surrender your weapons. We have you surrounded. You can do this the easy way or the hard way." Dad yelled forcefully across the room.
Victoria was angry. I could've sworn her red hair became even redder and she was sure to make it difficult for them, as her hand glided to rest on the butt of her gun. She surprised me, by using her other hand to grab hold of Lucy and walked calmly towards the officers.
"You're out of jurisdiction, chief," she said with a sneer.
"I may be, but the rest of these officers aren't, so tough luck trying to pull that. My daughter is involved and I was not going to let you get away with it. I still won't. Hand over the gun before I shoot. If you come quietly, we may be able to do something about lightening the hefty sentence you're about to face. If not, I will make sure you never get out prison." She opened her mouth to speak again, but he stopped her, "Oh, and don't worry about James. We have him. Got him after he tried running at the sight of us." My dad spoke with confidence and smiled menacingly in return.
Apparently, she decided she'd like to save herself prison time, as she let go of a clueless looking Lucy and she walked directly up to my dad. I hid behind him, afraid she might try to attack me. She threw the gun on the ground and the nearest officer scrambled to grab it.
"Fine. Cuff us. Try it, old man." Victoria's hands were on her hips.
Lucy tried to run, but the officer that had grabbed the gun ran faster and tackled her to the ground. He cuffed her as she screamed and whined in protest, shouting out strange things.
"I didn't know! Maria said she needed a favor! It's what cousins are for! Victoria lied to me!" she wailed, with her face pressed against the linoleum floor.
"We can figure out your mess down at the station. For now, you are part of the crime and will need to be taken down for questioning," the officer that cuffed her said.
Victoria had continued to stare down my dad, begging him to do something irrational with her eyes.
"Come on, Charlie. Don't you want to get back at the woman who took your precious, baby girl? Well, don't you?"
"I want to see you go to prison."
He quickly grabbed her left arm and spun around to pin it behind her, catching her off guard. The other officer that had been their backup had things gotten ugly, ran over to help finish cuffing Victoria, much to her dismay.
They began marching the secured women off to the tram, so that they could be taken to the police cruisers. My dad wrapped his arm across my shoulders, pulling me close to him.
I felt safe and protected. I felt closer to him. I had been drifting from him ever since I became a teenager and hadn't realized it until this moment.
The father-daughter love bubble was quickly burst when I realized this was not over. I still had to find out how my dad had known I'd be there, too. I was starting to get a headache from the whole ordeal, so I let my mind wander to Edward, to help ease it on the ride to the station. I wondered what he had been playing the night before. What it sounded like. What feelings it carried. I couldn't wait to hear it once all of this was over.
My dad's voice brought me back from my thoughts.
"I can't stay with you at the station. They're going to want to question you and they aren't going to want me being there to hold you back from answering honestly. If you don't wanna do this today, I can see if they'll let you come back tomorrow."
"I want to get it over with. Are they going to make me stay in there for all the others getting questioned? And how did you know this all was even happening? Not that I'm not thankful or anything, 'cause I totally am."
He smiled halfheartedly.
"They might make you stay. Especially for that Lucy girl, since she seems a little confused about the whole situation. As for how I found out, I have always trusted Alice's ability and thank God I did last night." He let out a sigh of relief.
This had definitely just cemented my need to talk to Alice when I got home.
Pulling up to the station, I started to get nervous. What would they ask me? How long would they keep me?
My dad walked me inside and checked me in. I waited on a hard bench, while the other officers led Victoria, Lucy, and James straight down the hall. One of the officers came back for me soon after.
She led me down the hall to her office and closed the door to give us privacy.
"My name is Shelly. I will be doing your questioning, Bella, and I feel that first name basis makes the person more comfortable. I'm going to have this recorder on during our conversation. I hope you don't mind now if I ask some questions?" She spoke carefully, as if speaking to a child.
"It's fine. I'm ready," I said quietly, knowing she was watching out for me. She clicked the record button on.
"Can you tell me what happened? Start with the day you were abducted."
The days felt like they had blended together. It took me a moment to gather my thoughts and recount everything that had happened.
"I was told I was invited to an internship downtown. When I got there, I went upstairs for a meeting. James and Victoria were waiting for me. They tied me up. They talked to a girl, named Maria, that works at my school and had sent me the original e-mail about the internship."
"Do you know her last name? What school is it that she works at?"
"South. Maria South is her name and she works at Cornish College of the Arts."
She wrote down the information, then motioned for me to continue with my story.
"They drove me to some old house outside Seattle. They had a whole surveillance system on my house and my boyfriend's house. They had nine cameras. I broke all the remotes so that they couldn't control them. They were asleep. I barely ate. I had stale crackers and water. I ended up finding out I could slip out of my bindings, but all exits were blocked or too dangerous. We were there for two nights."
"Did they ever physically harm you? Was there ever an attempt to get sexual with you?"
"Other than some manhandling while tying me up or relocating me to or from the van, no. Neither of them really wanted anything to do with me. Victoria said the whole thing was a plot to get back at my boyfriend for something that happened in Elementary school. They were just using me to get to him."
She looked confused and a bit worried. I was about to continue on, but she spoke up again.
"How did they plan on using you against your boyfriend? And what exactly is your boyfriend's name?"
"They made a video of me. They were trying to make me tell him goodbye because they were going to send me halfway across the world and leave him with just the video to remember me by. His name's Edward Cullen. James did all the filming and took some still shots of me with that camera of his. He has a prior issue with photos with my best friend, Alice Brandon."
Her eyebrows shot up into her curly red bangs with this new information, writing frantically and starting a new sheet with just James' name on the top.
"Tell me more about this photo incident with Alice?"
"Alice went on a date with him back in August. He has a studio in his home. His walls are covered with pictures of girls he stalked and lured into his house. He tried to force himself on her, but she got away, locked herself in a bathroom and called her brother and me. That's all I know. You'd have to ask her the rest."
She finished writing all the details I had given her. I noticed that even in a hurry, she had pretty penmanship. It reminded me of my high school secretary's writing. She slid the paper underneath the original one she had been using. She looked up at me and paused.
"Are you alright? You look faint. Did you get to eat today?" she asked, already digging through a drawer in her desk.
"No, I haven't actually," realizing how haggard I must look.
She passed me a bag of grapes and a bottle of water.
"Thank you so much," I said before popping a grape in my mouth. The juices sliding down my throat made me feel better already.
"When we're done with this, tell them Officer Cope said you could have the rest of her sandwich. If they argue, I have it on tape." She winked at me and patted my hand lightly. I smiled at her and got back into my story.
"Anyway, I came up with a plan after I found out where we were going in the airport. When we got to the airport, Victoria led me to this girl, named Lucy, and she honestly seemed to believe I was some TV star that needed special treatment. I think she's a cousin of Maria's, but I'm not sure she really knows everything that was going on. She ended up leading us to the terminal and I pretended to go to the bathroom. I escaped from there. I think that's everything," I said, stopping to eat some more and take a drink of water.
"I think that's all we'll need Bella. We'll stop by later to talk to Edward and Alice, was it?" she asked, looking through her notes.
"Alright, then you are finally free to go. You should grab that sandwich and take a rest in the break room. Call your ride when you're ready." She stood up, so I mirrored her.
I shook her hand and grabbed the water before I left her office. I went straight to the front to get the food she had talked about and ate in the break room.
As soon as I was done at the station, I walked outside to breathe some fresh air and try to get away from everything. Waiting outside by her car, looking worried, was Alice. I didn't even have to call her.
I walked over and tapped her on the shoulder. She let out a screech and jumped, but as soon as she saw me, she pulled me into a hug.
"Oh my God, Bella! Are you okay? Did they do anything to you? Did they hurt you? Are you traumatized? Speak to me, Bella!" she rushed out.
"I would, if you would let me," I said, with a half-smile.
"Oh, Bella. It's just so good to see you alive and well. You are alive and well, right?" Worry creased her tiny brow.
"Yes I'm fine. A little freaked out, but other than that, they didn't hurt, or do anything, to me. If you don't mind though, I'd like to get away from here and talk to you privately?"
Her mood automatically changed to one of curiosity and she let me get into her car. We drove along downtown, going much slower than her usual speed.
"What did you want to talk about?"
"A couple of things. First though, how did you know where I was and when I would be there?"
"I found it weird that I hadn't heard from you about your first experience on the job. I know you and I knew you'd tell me even if phones weren't allowed. That was my first clue something was up." She turned down an unknown street, obviously taking a scenic route for our conversation.
"I tried to ignore it, thinking they just had you really busy the first night. But after the second night of nothing, I went into a meditation on you. I had never tried it before, but I had to really concentrate because the images kept changing, like they couldn't make up their mind on what to do with you. Finally, I saw the plane tickets and a passport and that was all I needed. I knew who you were with, where you'd be and what time. I called your dad at two in the morning and told him everything I knew. He got right on it and called the Seattle Police department and here we are now. What else do you want to know?" She finished talking and turned to face me at a stoplight. I could see the dark circles under her eyes now.
I fidgeted wondering how to approach the subject. I decided it was best to just jump in with Alice. She hated when you danced around something, unless it was a stage.
"It's more of a personal question for you. It's about you and Jasper?" I made my statement sound more like a request for permission to discuss it.
She gave me a strange look like she had actually not been expecting this. Maybe I'd just been making things up in my mind and she hadn't actually gone to that level with Jasper yet. I began to blush before I could even get the question out of my mouth.
"Areyoutwosleepingtogether?" I blurted out, running the words together.
"What?" she asked, looking confused.
"It's just, you guys seem more touchy-feely, and I just thought that if you had gone to that step, we would have talked about it like we always do."
"Wait, what? I didn't even catch what you said. Are you asking if Jasper and I are...having sex?" She whispered out the last part.
I could only nod my head and make a noise of agreement.
"Well, um, you see..." She ran one of her hands across her neck, unable to figure out where to start. Her cheeks were turning a rosy pink.
I noticed we were turning onto our street, but she pulled over and parked, so no one else would see that we were almost to the house.
"Okay, I'm just going to let it all out...Deep breath, Alice. Okay. No we are not having sex...officially. We've tried a couple times, but the attempts have not been very successful. One of the times, he actually, um, went before he got in," she said, looking thoroughly embarrassed.
"Went? Went where?" I felt very ignorant to all of this.
"Went, as in..." She made a vulgar hand gesture of something spewing between her legs and I suddenly understood.
She looked ready to die after seeing the comprehension dawn on me.
"Oh...ohhhh! Before he even got in? Oh, wow, I'm so sorry, Ali," I said, trying to console her. "What about the other times?"
"Well, the first time hurt really bad and he stopped because he couldn't stand hurting me, but I kinda pulled him in, so I could just break through the barrier and be done with it. It kind of scarred us for almost a whole week."
I was beginning to wonder if I even wanted to get to that step with Edward at this point.
"The last time, we actually were able to enjoy it...for like a minute. He said he had stopped having 'L'il Jasper Time,' to make it more special when we were together. I told him he needed to continue with it or we were never going to have good sex." She sighed, probably overwhelmed with having confessed to everything. "My mom always said, 'try before you buy. You need to know if the engine won't start or if it runs out of gas too soon. If it does, then nicely tell the car that it's a great car, but not the one you'll end up with.'" She mimicked her mother's voice terribly.
"I love your mom. But I have to ask. Does he seriously call it 'L'il Jasper Time?'" I said, trying not to laugh.
She smiled, relaxing a bit, "Yeah, I told him he should rename it to something more manly, but he's dead-set on it. And don't worry, I'm not turning in the car yet. There hasn't been a proper test drive to decide on."
We both burst into a fit of giggles, until tears streamed down our faces.
"Oh, Alice, what have we got ourselves into with these boys?" I asked, smiling at her and wiping my eyes.
"No idea, Bells, no idea. But let's get you home, so you can finally see your boy. He missed you terribly, you know. Constantly humming your song under his breath."
She started the car and took us home. I opened the front door to find Edward standing there waiting for me. I jumped into his arms, while he covered my face in kisses.
"You know, now that I think about it, I should probably shower. I'm pretty sure I stink," I said, once he was done kissing me, my head laying on his shoulder.
He pretended to sniff me.
"Well you do smell a little funny...," he trailed off, faking a disgusted face.
I leaned back and pretended to look offended. He gave me a kiss and set me down, so I could go shower and wash away all the bad memories, although I knew it wasn't over. They still had to set a date for the trial and come to my house for more questioning.
For now, I would enjoy my friends and family and make sure to get rid of all those awful cameras, if I could find them all.
A/N: I know, I took super long. I'm so sorry. I had it handwritten in my writing journal, but finding the time to type it all out and then edit was a bit difficult. It's finally here. It's just over 9 pages and around 4000 words. I hope it didn't suck. I know a lot of it is repeat, but I kind of needed to put some of the info from the questioning instead of just saying 'oh, she was questioned by the police.' I hope you enjoyed her talk with Alice and the outcome of Bella's bindings issue. I thank all of you that decided to stick with me and I hope I can keep your interest until the end. We still have quite a bit to go, I think lol. The next chapter will be delayed due to the writing of a drabble for Profmom72 who so kindly paid 20 dollars towards The Fandom Gives Back for my words. Here's to hoping I can crank that out in a timely manner so that you guys can get an update on this again. Next up is a bit of a fast forward to some story-moving stuff and our lovely Valentine's Day. Thanks for reading and if you have the time, please leave a review to tell me what you think. Reviews still = previews. Much love to you all and have a Happy New Year! :D
P.s. Story you all should be reading if you aren't already, Edward Wallbanger by Feathersmmmm. It's amazing and the UST makes you fan yourself and wanna scream for them to get together already.