"Carlisle I can do this. I'm qualified for the job and you know it. The only reason you're hesitating is because of my dad." I was frustrated beyond words, beyond understanding. Unbelievable.
"You are very qualified for this job, but this is a very serious situation."
I turned and stomped off. I knew it was childish and totally unprofessional, but I was sick and tired of my dad cock-blocking my job. I was the youngest person to graduate from the academy with the highest G.P.A. mind you, and youngest person to get a job like this in the DEA, yet I sit on my ass behind a desk everyday waiting for my first big job.
When your overprotective father was the Chief of Police in New York City, he had a little bit of influence in the government. And when this little bit of influence doesn't want his daughter out in the field, she doesn't go out in the field. I didn't work this hard in school to sit and shuffle through paperwork. I was trained for undercover work and gun handling. I know all the procedures better than almost all of the overweight assholes that were out doing everything I wanted to be doing.
I sat down on my desk and spun around in my chair. My eyes fixed on the photograph sitting next to my computer. My finger reached out and lovingly stroked the face pictured next to mine, his smile wide and happy. It was on the day of our graduation from the academy. His hat was tipped to the side and my face was turned towards his, laughing. Warm tears started to form in the corner of my eyes.
"Agent Swan." I closed my eyes as Captain Cullen entered my office. "I know that this case is…very personal for you. I just don't know if you're ready to be out there yet. It's only been three months."
"Sitting at a desk all day isn't helping me." I opened my eyes and stared at the face in the photograph again.
"We all lost him that day Bella, it wasn't just you."
"Carlisle I am going absolutely insane. I need to get out of here."
"I'll see what I can do." I'd heard that before. That was always his answer to everything. He'd see what he could do, and he didn't do much. Especially since the case was in my dad's jurisdiction.
I picked up the phone and dialed my mom's number.
"Hey Mom." I leaned back in my chair.
"Hey baby. What's going on with you?"
"Dealing with Charlie's stubborn ass. Like usual."
"I'm sorry sweetheart. You know he's just looking out for you."
"I'm not a little kid anymore Mom. He needs to stop trying to protect me all the time."
"Bella he's your father. He's never going to stop protecting you."
"I'm just trying to do my job Mom. And I can't do that if he's being Cop Dad twenty four seven. I chose this job, he has to accept that."
"I know you're frustrated sweetie, just keep up the hard work for a little bit longer, I'm sure they'll realize how kick ass you are at your job….What Phil? Just put some ice on it...Bella I'm sorry I have to go. I'll talk to you soon." The line went dead.
I stood up and decided to make my way across the treacherous main floor to the coffee room. I say treacherous because it truly was when you were the only female agent in the entire office. I've been called Agent Legs and Agent Boobs and been subjected to numerous cat calls by my "colleagues." Today was no different. There was mindless chatter filtering into the coffee room in everything ranging from last night's basketball game to the new bar downtown.
I shook my head as I took a sip of coffee. I decided since I was over on this side of the office I should go to the bathroom. This was the nice part of being the only woman in the office; I pretty much had my own bathroom. I looked myself over in the mirror. My black pencil skirt was immaculately wrinkle free. I adjusted my shirt slightly. My mind wandered as I contemplated over the buttons at the top. They called me Agent Boobs anyway, why not work it to my advantage. I undid one button, then another, making sure that my cleavage was peeping out the top. I pulled my hair down from the low bun it had been in to let if flow freely down my back. I shook it out one last time before exiting the bathroom.
The office had turned silent, which wasn't a usual occurrence. I stepped into the silence and right into the middle of Carlisle speaking. His eyes were full of strain and stress.
"…his body was found earlier this morning…"
My mind flew back to that day three months ago when he had uttered those same words to me. I remembered collapsing on the floor, screaming when anyone tried to touch me. I forced myself to refocus on the here and now.
"Agent Newton was a great asset to this agency and an all around good guy. He will be sorely missed."
Carlisle stepped back into his office and closed the door.
Newton. He was involved with the Volturi family case. The Volturi was the most powerful mob family in the country. They made most of their money off of drugs, which was why we were so involved in the case…why the man in my photograph was involved in the case. We'd been trying to bring them down for years, sending out agents in undercover. They had a tendency to end up dead.
I stormed into Carlisle's office, not bothering to knock.
"They killed him didn't they? James and Victoria? They killed him just like they killed…"
"Bella just calm down." Carlisle put his hands up, trying to calm me down.
"No. I will not calm down. This is fucked up Carlisle and you know it. We keep sending in agents who don't know what they're doing and they're getting themselves killed. I know this job inside and out. I eat, sleep, breathe it. I can do this. I can finish this. Please give me that chance."
He tapped his pen on his desk. He knew everything I said was true.
"Give me a minute."
I stepped out of his office and sat in the chair next to his door.
I heard him pick up the phone and dial.
"Charlie, it's Carlisle….Yeah they found him this morning…We're doing the best that we can Charlie…Listen, I'm sending her in." My heart started to accelerate. "Now calm down Charlie. She's the best agent I have. I can't keep sending blind men in there and sit and wait for their bodies to turn up."
There was a long pause.
"Three months?" Another long pause. "Agreed….Okay. Bye."
I was almost jumping out of my chair,
"Agent Swan. Could you come in here please?"
I got up and walked confidently into his office.
"You'll begin briefing in a month. We'll be shooting for three months for placement."
I held in my urge to jump up and down.
"Thank you Carlisle." I turned and walked out of his office.
I left the office and started towards the cemetery. It was probably the last time I'd be able to visit him before I launched into training. Going undercover was an intensive process. I needed an alias, a back-story, a change in appearance, new residence, new I.D.'s, new everything.
The cemetery was completely empty, except for the few squirrels and birds running about. The headstone stood on top of a small hill, the sun glistening off the marble. I slowly climbed up the slope and sat at the small bench across from the headstone. I remembered burying him here. It was rainy that day, so rainy that a light mist surrounded the grounds. I was silent the entire day, not knowing what to say or what to do. My dad was there and Captain Cullen was there, in fact the entire office was there.
My phone vibrated in my pocket.
"Bella I need to talk to you about this. I need you to understand this is very…"
"Dangerous. I know Dad."
"What are you doing? Where are you? Can you meet me?"
"I'm…I'm at the cemetery visiting. I thought it might be awhile before I can make it back here."
"Oh sorry for calling honey. You take your time and give me a call when you're done."
"Okay I will. Bye."
I hung up the phone and got off the bench, walking towards the headstone. My fingers ran along the top as I crouched down and sat on the grass.
"Hey. It's me. I just wanted to come and see you since I won't be back here for a while. They're…they're actually letting me go in there. I know, I know you'd be fighting me tooth and nail on this but I need to do it. They took you away from me and now I have to do something. It's time for them to pay for it." I looked up at the other headstones in the cemetery. "I'm tired of burying good cops, and people that I love. It has to stop now." I bent down and kissed the headstone as I got up. "Love you always Jake." I walked away from my best friend as a single tear ran down my cheek, not knowing when or if I'll ever be back to this place, because I was going to risk my life to bring him justice, to bring all of them justice. It was my job as a cop and a best friend. Revenge was a dish best served cold. And this was for revenge, among other things. Yeah I'd like to see scumbags like the Volturi behind bars for the rest of their lives, but I needed to do this for Jake. He was the driving force that was keeping me going.
An hour later I was meeting my dad in his office.
"Now Bella you know you can't start right away. You need to be briefed and prepared for this. It's a very detailed thing. We have to make sure everything is flawless. And plus they just killed one of your guys, they'll be suspicious of new people."
"I know Dad."
"Okay I know that Carlisle said that you wouldn't start briefing for another month while we put some things together, but I pulled the file for you. I want you to start studying it so there are no surprises. I want you to know this family in and out. If one of them takes a shit I want you to be able to know who it was."
"That's gross Dad." I scrunched my nose up. I knew he was just using it to emphasize his point but still.
"That's being a cop."
The case file lay on my bathroom floor as I soaked in the bathtub later that night. I felt like it was staring at me, trying to persuade me to flip through the pages. I knew I needed to; it was part of my job. But opening up that file meant opening up wounds that weren't quite healed yet. It meant opening myself up to the pain of losing my best friend again, it would make it all real again.
I sighed and reached for the folder, careful not to drop it all into the bathwater. My fingers flipped the folder open to the front page. A picture was paper clipped to the first page. Carlisle stood, his hands on his hips, looking down at a bloodied sheet. A whoosh of air flew out of my lungs as the tears fell down my cheek. I closed the folder and threw it across the room. It landed against the wall with a thud.
I bent my head back, the tears lulling me to sleep in the warm water.
"I'm going in Chief," Jake said over the radio. The wire he was wearing was coming in clear.
"You're clear Black, just get the stuff and get out of there. We don't want you in there longer than needed," Carlisle whispered into the radio.
I sat nervously in the car with Carlisle outside of a dark warehouse. My leg bounced impatiently up and down and my fingers tapped against my temple. Just this one last time, I thought. As soon as Jake got this evidence out he'd be done with this job, we'd be done with this job, and the Volturi family would be in prison for the rest of their pathetic lives.
"Connor man, what's up?" Demetri, one of the Volturi's bodyguards, must have been standing guard over the shipment. I held my breath, hoping he wouldn't be suspicious of Jake's presence here. It wasn't like Jake was new to the family. He'd been undercover with them for over 6 months as Connor. Connor's specialty was money. He knew what to do with it, how to make it disappear, and how to make it. In mob-speak, an "earner." You pick up on the lingo after being exposed to it for a while.
"Demetri." There was a clap that sounded like a high five. "How's it going? Is the boss man here, I just wanted to make sure the shipment came in alright."
"Yeah he's here. He's in his office. Go on up."
"Alright buddy I'll see ya later." Jake was so good at this, acting natural in a high-pressure situation. This all seemed totally natural to him, and good thing it was or else he'd be in a load of trouble right now.
There were a few loud thuds as Jake ascended the stairs up to Aro's office. He was the boss. He ran everything in the family business. His brothers, Marcus and Caius, definitely held influence over everything, but Aro was the kingpin.
"Connor. Delighted to see you." There was some shuffling of papers.
"Did everything go as planned with the latest shipment?"
"Yes it's just arrived. Good work son. Would you like to take a look?" This was good. He trusted Jake. He'd never actually let him in the shipment room before.
"I'd love to. I always like to see the spoils of my hard work." Jake laughed.
They must have left Aro's office because I heard the loud thud of the stairs again. There was a sharp screech, which I guessed to be the opening of a large warehouse door.
"There it is." Aro said proudly.
"Great." Jake must have adjusted the tie he was wearing, because we got our first image from the microscopic camera he was wearing. The images of the mountain of drugs flashed on the computer screen. They walked all around the shipment, Jake snapping shots at will.
"Great job, Black. We got em. Now get out of there." Carlisle and I smiled at each other. This was huge. We could finally prosecute.
"Well boss I'm glad to see everything arrived safely. If you'd excuse me I have some other business to attend to. See you tomorrow at the dinner banquet?"
"Sure Connor. Have a lovely evening."
I heard Jake exhale as he turned and began walking out.
"Oh one more thing Connor? Did you get all the pictures you needed?"
I heard the screeching of the door again. This was really bad. They knew.
Jake's breathing sped up. He knew something was wrong. "Get out of here Chief, now," he whispered into the wire.
I looked at Carlisle, completely panicked.
"We're not leaving in him there!"
"Swan, he knows what's best. We can't lose this evidence....Copy that Black."
Carlisle's foot pressed down on the gas as we sped away.
"Carlisle...NO! We have to go back! They're going to kill him!"
"Bella, Jake's a good cop. He can take care of himself."
The warm tears started to streak down my face.
"No! Turn the fucking car around! Right now!" I grabbed at the steering wheel.
I heard the gunshots but I didn't realize that we were the ones being shot at. The glass of the windows began shattering all around me. The car swerved and started streaking down the road sideways. I screamed as we smashed into a brick wall.
The next thing I remember was waking up in a hospital bed, my father hovering over me.
"Dad?" I was disoriented and groggy. It took me a few minutes to realize where I was.
"You and Carlisle were waiting for Jake outside of the warehouse. They must have gotten tipped off that you were there because one of their cars starting shooting at you. Thankfully backup showed up right as you crashed into the wall. The Volturi car drove off."
Everything was starting coming back to me, especially the panic.
"Dad where's Jake? Did he get out?"
He shuffled his feet and looked down as he put his hands on his hips.
"Bells we lost contact with Jake right after you guys sped off. We haven't….we haven't heard anything from him. That was five hours ago."
I sat straight up in the bed, the IVs and tubes pulling at me.
"Then why the hell aren't you out looking for him?!"
"Bella calm down. You're going to hurt yourself."
I started tugging at the tubes.
"Fine! If you won't go get him, I will. I'm perfectly fine, get me out of here!"
"Bella you had a concussion they aren't going to release you tonight."
"Dad! It's Jake!" I stopped and just let the tears fall. Why didn't he understand? Why weren't they launching a full out search for him? He was out there somewhere, all alone and who knows how bad they'd beat him…or worse.
"I know. I know. Bella they did an extensive search of the warehouse. The drugs, the papers, everything was gone. There was nobody there."
"Okay so they just moved everything."
"They found..." Hr paused, unsure if he should continue. "They found quite a bit of blood Bells."
"But…maybe Jake fought them off. Maybe….it was their blood." My voice cracked as I tried to make excuses, make any reason for the blood besides the truth.
Charlie's phone rang.
"This is Swan….Okay….Okay…Fifth street dock?" His eyes flickered to mine. "Alright thanks for calling. Did someone call Billy?" My heart sank.
I tore off the tubes, ignoring the resistance from my father and a few nurses who tried to restrain me.
I ran through the hospital halls, desperate to find the exit. I spotted the emergency stairs and flew through the door, setting off the alarm.
I stood on the street in my hospital gown, trying to wave down a taxi. I doubted anyone would pick me up looking like this, but someone did.
"Fifth street dock please? As fast as possible." As soon as my dad called Carlisle, they'd be on the lookout for me.
I don't know if the cabbie was scared of the hysterical tears, or my attire, or the terrified look in my eyes, but he kept looking back at me.
"Are you okay miss?"
My answer didn't invite any more questions.
The drive there felt like it took forever. Like we got stopped at every red light, or got delayed by the pedestrians crossing the road, or anything that could possibly stop the car. I saw the police lights flickering up ahead.
I jumped out of the taxi without paying him.
"Hey miss you owe me $19.50!" He stuck his head out the window.
"I'm a cop. Bill me!" I ran as fast as I could towards the lights.
Someone grabbed me around my waist just as I was about to cross under the police tape.
"Newton! Let me through!" I punched and kicked at him, trying to get him to release me.
"Bella you don't need to see it."
"Yes I do!" I elbowed him in the groin and he let go of me.
I ran under the police tape and around the corner. The flash of the camera caught me off guard and I stopped. Carlisle stood with his hands on his hips, looking down at the other side of the dumpster. I could see Jake's shoes peaking out from under the bloodied white sheet.
Everything happened in slow motion. I started towards the dumpster, but my knees buckled and I fell to the ground. Carlisle rushed over to pull me back up as I started to crawl towards it.
"Bella…no." He was tugging me back, away from Jake.
"Carlisle get your hands off me!" I was absolutely hysterical, barely able to construct a full sentence.
I wriggled out of his grasp and crawled quickly over to the white sheet. My hands shook as I grabbed the top of the sheet and pulled it down slowly.
He looked like he was sleeping. Very peaceful. My fingers trembled as I touched his lips.
"Jake…" I reached under the sheet and grabbed his hand.
I saw all the blood. It was pooled by his stomach. Those bastards shot him in the stomach so he wouldn't die right away. He had suffered. He hadn't gone quickly. It broke my heart into a million pieces.
I sat for another twenty minutes just holding his hand and rocking back and forth. Carlisle came up and touched my shoulder.
"Bella they…they need to take the body."
"Stay. Away. From us."
He didn't say another word he just backed away.
"She's going to need a few more minutes," he whispered to the ambulance workers.
Another ten minutes later, Carlisle tapped my shoulder again.
"Bella I'm sorry. It's time. They have to take him now."
I didn't say anything, I was all cried out. I kissed Jake's hand and let it go as I stood up and walked away.
The ambulance workers walked over with a stretcher and started loading his body onto it.
"Carlisle please tell me we have enough to put them away. Please."
"I'm sorry Bella. Everything was lost in the crash. The laptop was completely destroyed. We don't have anything."
"So he died for nothing."
"No Bella he didn't. Jake was a great cop. We'll get the chance again. We'll get the chance to honor him when we put those bastards away for good."
I crossed my arms as I watched them load Jake's body into the ambulance. I jumped as the door slammed with a loud thud.
I suddenly realized I wasn't at the dock anymore. I was in my own house, in my own bathtub. The water had grown cold while I slept. I hadn't had one of those dreams in awhile, I thought to myself.
I glanced over at the case file, still sitting against the wall. Right now that thing was the scariest thing in my world, but my world was about to get a lot scarier. I had to do this all the way, not half ass it. Jake deserved it. I was going to bring them down.
"This is for us Jake. For the both of us."