Chapter Ten: Bella Deals
A/N:Hope you didn't think that was too OOC for Bella, but I thought it was funny.......
"Yes I suppose you do." Said Alice. "There is the matter of what you have chosen to become, and the loose ends from your human life, Charlie and Renee. They need closure, we can't have Charlie putting out an APB on you, they will eventually figure out you got on a plane with me, and the FBI will become involved, so that will need to be handled, let's go talk to Aro."
We left my room and I was saddened. I would miss my dad. And my mom of course, but I had really gotten to know my dad since moving back to forks, and I did not want to hurt him like this, he really deserved better.
We got to Aro's door and I knocked. "Come in Bella and Alice!: he said brightly. I opened the door and walked in followed by Alice who shut the door behind us. Aro was looking at a monitor on the wall which showed a view of the lobby! He had seen the whole thing!
"Bella! I am quite amused and impressed at your latest exploits! A newborn with this kind of control, I imagine I am seeing my friend Carlisle in you. I had always wondered how he found the strength in his early years to resist the pull of the blood. And here I have watched you do the same. In the name of a prank, but you still were able to resist. I almost interfered when I looked up and saw you alone in the lobby with Gianna. But I sat here transfixed by what I was witnessing. Very impressive indeed. And the movie party you just had with the rest of my guard, very interesting team building exercise. Wish I had thought of it! Now what may I do for you ladies?"
I composed myself for an instant. I did not expect his response. He was PROUD of me. I felt oddly comforted by his approval. "I have some loose ends to tie up, my family........" I let that trail off sinking into sadness.
"Yes, that. Normally I would have already dealt with that, we would have had your badly damaged and unidentifiable remains pulled from the wreckage of an automobile crash, and your family notified. But something in your case made me hesitate. As it turns out, we may be able to let you have your cake and eat it too. I so love a happy ending, as I said the other day. We get so few that I find that orchestrating them from time to time gives me the strength to go on." I asked "How do you mean?" He continued as I noticed Alice go into one of her trances "Well, we have a resource we did not have before, Alice may not have told you, but she has decided to join us also, along with Jasper, so that she can be a better friend to you and be with you." I looked at Alice who had snapped out of her trance and grinned up at me guiltily. "Oh, Alice! You didn't have to do that! I don't blame you any more for leaving with Edward, I know you were trying to do what was best for me. It isn't your fault how I took all of you leaving!"
"I know Bella, but I missed you too, and I did not want to be without you in my life, and moving around as we do, carrying on our friendship would have been difficult, so......." I threw my arms around her "I love you Alice! You're the Best!" Then I turned to Aro, "So what do you mean Have my cake and eat it too?"
"Well," he began and Alice looked at him and said "It will work Aro, it will work out perfectly!"
He continued "I thought you could call your father, and apologize for leaving but we will create a cover story for him. Something he will be able to accept that will explain your absence. I already have reviewed your transcripts from the last few months, you have really excelled. That is, in spite of your depression you have focused on your academics and have a near perfect grade. With the Cullens help we will explain you went to Edward, who missed you and only dumped you because his father made the whole family move, and your leaving with Alice was to straighten him out, but while there you found out about a school program that Alice and Edward were in that took high school seniors and had them continue their studies abroad, earning college credits and interning for major corporations. And you applied and were accepted with a letter of recommendation from Dr. Cullen. As of about two hours ago this program does exist, so it will be a valid cover story if Charlie gets suspicious and investigates."
I was stunned, I did not have to hurt Charlie. Or mom for that matter. For some reason it was Charlie I worried about more. Mom had Phil, but Dad was a loner, he made me his world I felt so guilty. So I asked. "So when do I call?"
"No time like the present!" Aro said sliding the phone to me. I looked at Alice who nodded. I picked up the receiver. Gianna answered. "Gianna speaking how may I assist you?" I flinched, but decided to press on. Doing the quick math in my head I figured it was about 2pm in the afternoon in Forks. "This is Bella Swan get me the Forks Washington police department in the United States Please." I heard her gasp "Yes ma'am! Right away Ma'am!" Alice and Aro chuckled quietly as we watched the monitor on the wall seeing Gianna scramble to google the phone number. She put me on hold and once she had entered in the number picked up and said "Connecting now ma'm I will stay on the line until the connection is made to ensure the call goes through." I felt bad now. Yeah she deserved to get her attitude checked, but I did not want to make anyone live in terror. I was going to have to go down and explain the joke in person and apologize. I would ask Alice about it later.
He phone rang and the department secretary Mabel answered. "Forks Police department is this an emergency call?" I swallowed hard, knowing my voice was going to be wrong, but trusting in Alice's judgment to go for it. "This is Bella, Mabel, is my dad there?" I heard her gasp "Chief Swan! Bella is on the phone" I heard her yell. She must have clapped her hand over the receiver since it was muffled.
Then my dad came on the phone "Bella! What in the hell?!? I have been worried sick. Are you OK?"
"Dad," I began "I am sooooo sorry. I know it has been a week since you have heard from me, and I just disappeared, I am so sorry. I am fine, I am coming home, but I am going to be leaving again...." "What is the meaning of this?!? What do you mean you are leaving again! No you are not young lady! You are grounded!" I felt guilty, but also a little angry. I took a deep unnecessary breath finding it still worked to calm me. "Dad, I am 18 years old, I am way past the age where grounding, and spankings are appropriate don't you think? Now please hear me out." I waited..... "OK Bella, I guess you are right, it is a relief to hear your voice, but with everything that has been going on, I feared for the worst. What is going on?" I told him the cover story filling in details that Alice and Aro whispered to me so he could not hear. When Charlie dropped the bombshell about what he referred to earlier about "everything that was going on". They had a serial killer loose in forks there have been 3 deaths where the victims were mutilated. At first they thought it was a Bear, but forensics and fish and game had ruled out animal attack and the killer was leaving long red hairs behind at the crime scene. I gasped Alice said "Victoria!" not loudly enough for my dad to hear. Aro looked angry. He put it together from what he had learned from Edward. "Well, I am fine Dad. I am in Italy actually...... "Italy?!? what in blue blazes are you doing in Italy Isabella Swan?!?" "Well at least I am safe?" My dad sighed "I suppose there is that. So tell me what is going on in Italy Bella?" "OK, so the students abroad study program I am with the group Alice Cullen is with, we are studying merchandising and the fashion industry here with a firm in Italy. I have already been accepted by the program, and Alice had to get back so, I went with her. I am sorry Dad, it was rotten of me to do this without warning. But it is a great opportunity, this program has not produced anyone who has made less than 300k per year, their first year after graduation, and I could not look a gift horse in the mouth. Plus I will have just about my choice of any college I want to go to!" I of course left out that this program has also not produced anyone period so while it was technically true that it had not produced anyone who made less than 300k it has also not produced anyone who made less than a billion. I don't know where I got the 300k figure. But Alice continued to nod so I must be doing OK?
"Well, Dad, I have to go this call is on someone else's dime. I will be home Friday. I am going to get a few of my things, and need to leave again but I will be there for the weekend. Can you call mom and bring her up to date for me?" He agreed to do that and we said goodbye.
"Well! That went well!" Alice shouted happily. I jumped at her exclamation. "Yes, but Victoria is killing people in forks!"
"Yes, well about that.." Aro started. "This will have to be dealt with immediately." He pressed a button on the phone. "Assemble the guard in the main hall. I have an assignment for them."
We followed Aro to the main hall and the guard came into the main hall in small groups and one by one. When everyone was there Aro had already brought Caius and Marcus up to speed and they agreed it needed their intervention. "Dear ones. We have a situation we need to deal with. One of our kind a nomad named Victoria is killing indiscriminately in Forks Washington. The Cullens have been unable to stop her, she is there because they killed her mate who tried to kill our dear Bella here when she was still a human. Since Bella has business there tying up loose ends from her human life, I am going to send a contingent of the guard to help her cover story and to deal with the rogue. The humans are now passing her off as a serial killer, but if this continues Alice sees that they will look into the bodies closer and notice the lack of blood. Which will lead them to ask questions we do not want them to." He began walking around the room handing out papers. "Demetri this is your target Victoria, she has long red hair, and is enraged over the death of her mate. Felix you will go with Bella as the program administrator from her cover story to help sell her father on the program which will explain Bella's absence. Jane, and Alex you will accompany Demetri and once Victoria is located you will deal with her expeditiously and with finality. If she has any others with her, they will also be put down. Are there any questions?"
"No Master." they all answered in unison. Well then I will see you all upon your return.
Alice fell into one of her trances "Aro they are already in the air and we will be in the air when they land so I will not be able to speak to them. When they arrive can you ask them to stay here?" "Of course my dear." he answered.
There was a flurry of activity and I since I had a few moments, I decided to go to the lobby and make amends.
I strolled into the lobby and Gianna was busy looking down at her terminal, and speaking on the phone. "Yes that is right, have the plane fueled and waiting wheels up in one hour. File a flight plan to Seattle/ Tacoma. Yes, six passengers. No they will eat prior to leaving no meals en route." She hung up and was quickly dialing again. "Yes, this is Gianna from Volterra International. I need to book one of your cars for tomorrow at 1am. We will have a flight landing at Sea/tac at the private terminals...... Yes that is correct. And a car large enough for six passengers......... Alright send two cars if that is all you have. That will be fine actually........ Very well, thank you." As she put the phone down she looked up, and flinched. We were alone again. I put my hands up in surrender and kept my distance. "Listen, I owe you an apology. I am not your normal newborn, I am in control. You were not in danger before, we were just having a laugh, at your expense and I am sorry, I am not the type of person who enjoys making people feel like that....." As I thought about it, was I even a person at all? Gianna composed herself fighting her obvious discomfort. "Well, I found out afterwards it was just a joke, I suppose I had it coming. You didn't have to apologize to me, but all the same I appreciate it. I lost sight of what I am involved in, and you made me take stock. I hope when the time comes if they decide to turn me, I have the strength you have or if I reach a point where I am no longer useful I am allowed to retire somewhere quiet. But at least now, I am reminded what I am faced with and hope for the best."
I left to return to my room and was deep in thought, Poor Gianna. They actually had a few humans on their staff. I wonder if they all realized the danger they were in as Gianna now had. I shuddered at the thought that there were people around me working for me in a way who were viewed by most of the others as nothing more than tools, sheep to be slaughtered when they were no longer of use. I hoped to change that when I got back from Forks. I was going to see what I could do to make them safe somehow.