"So how's the book coming along, Bella?"
Bella looked away from her lunch and to her best friend Alice and shrugged. "I'm not really sure. There is just so much research that I'm going to have to do. I mean it's like no one wants to go into details about these people."
"I wouldn't want to know much about them either. Those people are nuts! Scary nuts!" Alice said twirling her pasta around her fork.
"I know, they are the perfect antagonists! But I need to know more about them. Their characters are incomplete and I want to know more about the cases involving them."
"Bella, you should be careful. I've heard that people who snoop too much, especially on people like them, end up….oh….'sleepin' with the fishes'"
"Too many mob movies, Alice."
"Where's Angela?" Alice asked changing the subject. She didn't say it out loud, but she worried about Bella getting in too deep with these criminals. Even if all she was doing was researching them for characters in her novel. Alice knew all too well what these people could do.
"I think she had a lunch date." Bella winked.
"Oh no, not that Eric guy!"
"The very same. I don't know why she tortures herself with these guys."
"Bella Swan, some people were told fairy tales as children. She wants her happy ending. Not all of us were being told stories of the days criminal activities."
"Hey! I was told fairy tales. Grimm's Fairy Tales had Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood…" Bella trailed off.
"Yeah, but for normal people we are talking about a Disney Happily Ever After."
"Pssff! Where's the fun and suspense in that!"
The two girls finished their lunch and said their goodbyes. Bella made her way back to the University. She walked into her office to get ready for her next class. A professor of English Literature at the University of Washington, and best-selling novelist, she was a busy woman. She grew up in a small town in Washington, where her father was the police chief. Her mother left her and her father when she was very young and they were all each other had. They had a very close relationship and Chief Swan did all he could to protect her. Paying for self defense classes, gun handling classes, the 9mm she carries with her, and all of the stories he told her growing up.
After Bella was finished with her classes for the day, she made her way to the Law building on campus. She had talked to a lawyer friend who taught at the school about the cases. It turns out that he knew a guy who worked for the prosecuting attorney in the most recent "La Push" case.
La Push was the most heinous criminal organization that Chicago had ever seen. Sam Uley, boss of the La Push gang, was a sadistic bastard who hid it well. A perfect gentleman to everyone, but with a dark side that would make Freddie have nightmares! Al Capone had nothing on him. Bella thought that these thugs would be perfect to base her characters on in her new book. The only bad thing was that everyone was so afraid of them, that there was little information…even in the trial records…about any of the members.
Bella had done her best to get all the records she could, she even tried talking to people. It didn't really do any good. All of the witnesses were now in the Witness Protection Program, and no one friend or foe wanted to get in the La Push's business.
Bella made her way up the front steps of the law building. She entered the empty building and made her way to the second floor where she was meeting Mr. Jenks. He was the only person to ever offer his assistance to her. Although he never gave his name, just Mr. Jenks, she was so excited to care if he was the real deal or not. She walked to the conference room where they were meeting, files in hand, she reached for the handle and gently turned.
"Fuck Banner! I thought you were smarter than this!" Bella heard a very angry and rough voice. She stopped suddenly, thinking she had the wrong room. She glanced at the door. No, room 205 she was right. She peaked through the gap she had left between the door and door frame.
She saw three people, two men and a woman. One man was short, balding, with glasses and looked terrified. The other man was dark, Native American, maybe? With short black hair, very muscular and looked pissed. The woman, like the man looked to be Native American with long dark hair pulled back in a pony tail. She was holding a gun attaching a silencer to the barrel.
"Paul…I…I…wasn't gonna say nuthin! I swear!" The balding one said, terror clearly visible in his eyes.
"Damn it, Banner! Stop your whimpering. I don't really care about that. Sam feels mighty betrayed by you, and you know what happens to those who betray Sam." The only called Paul said looking toward the woman.
"Leah, would you like the pleasure?" he asked her.
"Thank you, Paul." The woman, apparently her name is Leah said while taking aim at the man, who Bella now guessed to be "Banner".
Bella was stunned momentarily thinking of what she should do. Who were these people and why were they going to kill this man. She thought of the gun in her purse, but she never brought her gun on campus. She then decided to throw all logical decisions out the window.
"Hey! I wouldn't do that if I were you!" Bella yelled at the two thugs in the room.
They immediately turned to her, now the gun that the woman Leah was holding was pointed between Bella's eyes.
"Who the fuck are you?" The man Paul yelled and pointed at Bella.
"Run Miss Swan!" The man known as Banner yelled. How did he know her name? She didn't debate this for long before taking off.
She felt the close range of the bullet by her head before she cleared the doorway. As she ran down the hall she heard a crash, but didn't stay to find out what it was. She turned towards the stairwell and just as she rounded the corner she felt the closeness of another bullet by her head. She ran faster and when she was downstairs she heard Leah screaming at her.
"Bitch get back here!"
I'm not that fucking stupid. Bella thought to herself as she ran towards the buildings exit.
She got to the doors before a bullet crashed through the glass. Bella screamed and jumped though the now glassless door, and ran down the steps. She ran towards the main buildings of the campus as students and other faculty members ran towards all of the commotion that was being made at the Law building. Bella suddenly found herself face planting into a wall. A 6"3' wall, with messy blonde hair, and a Southern accent that knocked most every woman on campus on their backsides. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders to keep her from falling.
"Watch it now, Miss Swan. I can sue you for sexual harassment." The History professor joked.
He looked down at her and saw her fear. "Bella, what's wrong?"
She looked at her friend and the concern in his eyes. And she just started crying.
"Shh.. it's okay Bella. What's wrong? What's going on? Everything will be okay." He was trying to comfort her. He felt helpless. He had no clue what was going on and hated to see a woman cry. So he just held her, stroking her hair until she calmed down enough to talk.
"Oh Jasper! It was horrible!" Bella sobbed.
"What was darlin'?"
"Those people they were gonna kill him! I don't know what I was thinking!"
Bella told Jasper all about her meeting with the man and what she saw when she got to the room she where she was meeting Mr. Jenks. She told him about her trying to stop them and then about Leah chasing her.
"Come with me, Bella." Jasper said grabbing her hand and pulling her behind him. They walked to his office across campus.
Once inside Jasper picked up his cell phone and made a call. Bella listened to the once sided conversation.
"Hey it's Jasper Whitlock."
'Yeah, it's been a long time."
"Dad's fine. But listen there is a reason that I'm calling."
"Well, a friend of mine has just witnessed something I think you may be interested in."
"Well, she's doing research for a book she is writing. And said research is about La Push. Well she was meeting with someone with information about La Push when she walked in on two people trying to kill a man."
"I mean trying as I don't think they got to it. She made herself known."
"Don't ask. "
"I think she got some names….Bella, what are the names of those people?"
Bella looked down and told him the names of the people in the conference room, plus the name of the man she was supposed to meet. Jasper relayed these names and continued his conversation.
"Okay, fax them to me."
A few minutes later Jasper's fax machine roared to life.
"I'm getting them now. I'll show them to her."
A few minutes later and Bella was identifying three mug shots from the FBI as the three individuals in the conference room.
"Aro. She said they were the ones."
A long silence.
"I understand. I'll keep her with me until then. Are you going to contact the local police?"
"Okay. Tomorrow then."
Jasper disconnected the call and looked at Bella with sorrow filled eyes.
"Bella. I'm sorry. You're coming home with me tonight and meeting with two FBI agents in the morning. There will be police escorts here shortly to take us to your apartment and then back to mine. Bella, I'm so sorry."
Why did he keep saying that?
The old man in the black suit walked into the large room filled with FBI agents and sighed.
"Okay, here's the news" he started.
All agents looked at him eagerly awaiting the new information on La Push. The criminal organization that they had been after for years. Finally, Sam Uley's thugs were getting sloppy and they were able to make a few ties. Nothing good enough yet, but sometime soon they would put them away. All of them.
All eyes were on Aro, all except a pair of green eyes that was skimming over paperwork.
"Masen." Aro looked at the young agent.
"You will want to hear this."
The young man's breath caught. This wasn't good.
"The new information we've received was from a college professor that I know in Seattle."
The young agent's heart started beating rapidly.
"Apparently, a novelist was researching for a new book when she stumbled upon a hit. She identified the hit men as Leah Clearwater and Paul Crow And the hit as Steven Banner. Apparently Banner was meeting the woman under his alias, 'Jenks'"
All eyes and ears were waiting on the older man to continue.
"They found her out and now she is in danger. She is under police protection and I want two agents with her tomorrow morning. Bring her back here and we will go from there. It is very important that we get this girl here ASAP. Uley's men are getting sloppy and he's probably really pissed already. Having a witness to a hit will send him over the edge. This girl is our priority. As is our other witness in Seattle." Aro said looking at two of his agents.
"Masen, Cullen. I want you to go to Seattle, get those girls and bring them here before anything happens to them."
The young agent and a large senior agent nodded and grabbed their phones and jackets and started towards the exit.
"Wait. You two will need back up. Ivanov and Adler go with them. Protect these girls at all costs."
With that, the four men left to pack before the airport. To two agents this was just another assignment. Two the other two, this was personal.
Bella followed the police officers and Jasper to her truck. She and a small detail of officers went to her apartment to gather some clothes. They then escorted her to Jasper apartment.
"Jasper, can you tell me what is going on?" Bella asked as they sat on his couch, Chinese takeout in hand, and cheesy B movies for entertainment.
"I guess I can tell you a little background, but you have to believe me Bella, the less you know the better." Jasper started taking a bite of his Lo Mein. "The man I called was my Godfather, his name is Aro Voultri and he works for the FBI." Bella nodded, and he continued. "He thinks that you witnessed a hit by the La Push Organization."
Bella's face paled and she just stared at Jasper. "I what?"
"Bella, it's okay. There will be FBI agents here tomorrow to take you into protective custody."
"What about school? My students? My book? You? Angela? Alice?" Bella gasped. "My Dad?"
Her thoughts were zooming though her head. Jasper moved to hold her and calm her down.
"It's okay Bella. The authorities have this all figured out. There will be tighter security on the campus and officers outside of mine and Angela's apartment at all times. Your Dad will be safe; the Forks Police Department has been notified and is taking care of it. As for Alice, I'm sure she will have escorts as well I won't let anyone near her." He promised. And he meant it. Dear, sweet, small Alice. Heaven sent, he would protect her with his life.
"I need to call her." Bella said wiping her eyes and dialed her phone.
"I need to tell you something."
"You want to go first?"
"No, you. Please."
"Okay. I'm not sure about how much I can say, but I have to go away for a while. I don't know where and I'm not really sure what is going on. I'm scared, Alice."
"Bella I have to leave, too. My cousin and brother are coming in and I am leaving with them."
"Oh. I'm so sorry I'm going to miss meeting the famous Emmett Brandon."
"Ha. You may miss meeting him, but I am sure that you'll hear him as soon as their plane lands."
The girls giggled.
"I'm gonna miss you so much, Bella!"
"I'm gonna miss you, too, Alice."
The girls disconnected their call.
Jasper looked at Bella curious.
"Alice is going out of town with her family."
"Oh" Was all he could reply. He wanted to make sure she was okay. Could these people get to her where she was going? Where was Alice from? Could her family protect her? He'd have to give Aro a call later.
Jasper and Bella finished their takeout. It was getting late. Jasper insisted that Bella take his bed. Always the gentlemen. Raised a Southern gentleman in the heart of Texas. No wonder he was considered a catch.
The next morning, Bella woke up to the smell of pancakes and sausage.
"Good morning, Jasper." Bella smiled while entering the kitchen.
"Good morning, Darlin'" Jasper smiled and handed her a plate of his Gram's famous blueberry pancakes. "I figured with all that is goin' on today, you could use the nourishment. It may be a while before you get to eat again. I'm not sure how these things work."
Bella was touched by her friend. They ate breakfast and both began getting ready for the day. After all, Jasper still had classes to teach. It wasn't too much longer that a rapid knocking at the door had them standing still.
"Who's there?" Jasper asked through the door.
"Agents Felix Adler and Demetri Ivanov, FBI." A husky voice announced.
Jasper opened the door and let the two agents inside.
"Miss?" A tall, muscular man with blonde hair asked.
"I am Demetri Ivanov. Your name?" This man was not the one who spoke behind the door. His voice was kind and his eyes full of sympathy.
"Miss Swan, I am Felix Adler." A large man with dark hair and glasses. His voice was rough but his expression kind.
"Where are we going?" Bella asked, her voice shaking.
"We are going to the University. We will speak with the Dean and gather any belondings you absolutely need. From there we will meet with two more agents and another witness." Agent Ivanov answered.
"Another witness? Did that man survive?" Bella asked with hope.
The two men looked with regret and shook their heads.
It was all for nothing. I put the people I love in danger for nothing. No, not nothing. That man didn't deserve to die. But I could have done something else. Bella thought.
Jasper and Bella followed the agents to the elevator and into the lobby. They were talking into microphones, to who Bella assumed was the other agents.
Bella, Jasper, Demetri, and Felix climbed into a black SUV and drove to the University. The campus was surrounded by police officers. The Law Building had crime scene tape blocking it from use. Jasper was dropped off by the building where is office was housed. Bella and the two agents made their way to Bella's office a few buildings down. Once inside Bella grabbed her laptop, research, and a few mementos.
As they were beginning to walk out the door burst open and the agents drawled out their weapons. Pointing their guns at the tall blonde figure in the door way with ice blue eyes which were as cold as their owner.
"Miss Swan what the Hell is going on?" The Dean, James Warren, eyed Bella then looked at the FBI agents glaring at them. Feeling no fear at their pointed weapons.
"Dean, It's just….oh gosh you scared me….I have to leave…." Bella didn't get to finish before she was interrupted by James.
"Leave? Why the Hell for?" James sneered.
"Because Dean," Demetri started "she is now in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and that is all you need to know." He glared at the man in the doorway. James relaxed his stance a bit. Yeah, that's what I thought. Demetri smirked at him.
"This has something to do with the dead man on my campus doesn't it?" James asked. What an embarrassment. This is making him look like a fool. It's all over the news reports and there are people flocking to the building in the center of the campus. People asking him questions and for comments. It pissed him off. Now these two "agents" were taking away his English Lit professor.
"That's classified." Felix retorted.
Since the Dean was already here, Felix and Demetri filled him in on a cover story for Bella and the three of them left.
"Oh, Miss Swan." James said as she passed. She turned to look at him. "When this nonsense is over, I expect you back. Don't take too long."
Weird. Felix thought.
Fucking freak. Demetri grimaced.
Jerk. Bella turned and walked down the hall.
Bella, Demetri, and Felix walked into Sea-Tac International. The two agents began "talking to themselves" Bella had called it. Because it did look like they were talking to themselves which Bella found quite funny. They walked into the airport a little more approaching a door to the side of the room. Walking in Bella gasped.
The small girl in the chair looked up. It was obvious that she had been crying, but when she saw Bella her face lit up.
Alice jumped out of the chair and over the table tackling Bella to the ground.
"What are you doing here?" Bella said gasping for breath.
"I told you I was leaving with my brother and cousin. What are you doing here?" Alice sat on the floor in front of Bella giving her friend room to sit.
"I'm leaving with them." Bella pointed to the two agents in shock that their women's display.
"Oh." Alice's face fell.
"That's just not a good thing." Alice said standing up.
"I'm so confused." Bella stood and leaned against the wall.
"Not for long." Demetri said placing a hand on Bella's shoulder giving it a reassuring squeeze. She smiled at him. He returned it.
"Ivanov. Adler. It's almost time to board." A booming voice called from across the room. She looked for the voice and spotted two more men. Agents she assumed. One was very tall. Even taller than Jasper. He had to be at least 6"7'.He was loud, and looked like a body builder. He was pale like Alice, with brown curly hair. She giggled to herself. How the Hell do you keep a guy like that undercover?
The two agents nodded and grabbed Bella's bags and took off out the door.
"Alice, are you ready?" The other mystery man asked Alice. He was tall, but nothing compared to his companion. 6"2' maybe, closer to Jasper. He had hair that looked like he had pulled at it all day and emerald eyes. He was also pale. Attractive. These must be Alice's brother and cousin.
Alice nodded and turned to Bella.
"Bella this is my brother Emmett." Alice pointed to the big man and he reached his hand towards her and shook it. "And my cousin Edward." The young green eyed agent turned towards Bella and held out his hand. She took it and a sudden jolt went through each of their bodies.
"Fucking Hell! She shocked me!" Edward jumped and shook his hand laughing. "Sorry if I scared you." He said looking into Bella's big brown eyes. "That shit creeps me out."
Bella nodded and shook her own hand. "Sorry."
"Okay. Masen, Cullen we are ready to go." Demetri appeared in the doorway looking at Edward and Emmett.
Cullen? Masen? Where was the Brandon? Why didn't he call Emmett Brandon? Do the FBI change names? Hmmmmm… Bella thought
The two men corralled around Alice escorting her out of the room. Demetri lead Bella out a hand on her back. Felix took to her other side and escorted her to the plane.
Alice and Bella sat between the four agents on the plane. Bella wasn't sure why Alice was here, but she was glad that she was. She needed her friend.
Many hours and airports later they began their decent to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Alice and Bella held hands as the descended. Neither of them knowing what was going to happen next.