Sound of Salvation
Chapter Five: I Need You
When the door shut behind him, and the latch locked, I took a deep breath and then froze. Across from me, on the very stool Emmett was sitting on before, was a serrated blade and a note. I reached over, my hand shaking while doing so, and picked it up.
For protection. It's quieter than a gun. Don't hesitate to use it if need be. Keep yourself safe.
With that simple gesture, my trust was placed in Emmett. He trusted me not to turn on him. He had plenty to lose in this situation, and arming a hostage was very risky. Hell, he was risking his life. Either I could kill him, or the bastards out there would if they found out what he was doing. It seemed to be a lose- lose situation for him no matter what. And maybe that was why I had faith in him. He was the underdog, one man trying to do good in this hell.
From that point on, I was going to help Emmett in any way he asked. There were parts of me that were unsure of him but he had too much to lose if we failed. He had shown me kindness, helped me, and was still technically helping me. He was trying to free us, the hostages, when he was a hostage taker.
Looking down at the laptop I got to work.
Earlier, I was sure I was going to die in this damn mall, but Emmett had fixed that. He had given me an almost silent promise that this situation would end at some point and we would get out of here. I would get to see Alice and Bella again, and things would be good. They just had to be.
I tried my best to do as Emmett had asked, following his instructions exactly. It wasn't that easy though. Some of the things he spoke about were very complicated and more something a tech-savvy person would understand. I was not tech-savvy, not in the least. But, I knew I had to get as much done as possible so did everything I possibly could, experimenting a little with my options and eventually, eventually, the feed Emmett had set me up with was being linked up to a private server.
Once I had finished I placed the laptop on the seat next to me and lay back on the couch. I was exhausted, and starving. Alice, Bella and myself were going to go back to Alice's apartment and pig out on food after shopping, and given that it was well after midnight, I was ravenous. Emmett mentioned bringing food and I was hoping he would do so soon.
Lying there, locked in a tiny room, while chaos ensued on the other side of the door, really put things into perspective for me. All the silly things I cared about before were pointless. If that night was going to teach me anything, it would be that life was too short to waste time on the daft things. Worrying about bills, arguments with my neighbours, all of that, was nothing. As long as I was happy, then life was good. I needed to start making myself happier.
Sinking into the couch further, I curled up and shut my eyes. There was silence, complete and utter silence. It was possible to imagine myself in my apartment or hanging out with my friends. The harsh reality was something I was keen to avoid thinking about. Letting myself relax further, I fell into a deep sleep.
God only knows how long I slept for, but I woke with the jingle of the door handle. Flying up from the couch, my eyes wide with fear, I grabbed the knife and moved silently. Placing myself out of sight from the door I hid behind the filing cabinet, hoping to surprise whoever was coming in.
For protection. It's quieter than a gun. Don't hesitate to use it if need be. Keep yourself safe.
Emmett was right, I needed to keep myself safe. If the only way to do that was to slit a guy's throat, then so be it. My life was on the line, and I was not going to toy with that. Internally, I thanked God for giving me the foresight to take physical defence classes. They were going to be needed, badly.
The latch of the lock turned and I heard the door open. The quiet boots of the intruder walked into the room and shut the door behind themselves. I didn't dare look to see who it was, but waited patiently. I did not want to give my position away, it could cost me my life.
"Rosalie?" Emmett whispered, making my whole body relax.
However, I hadn't lost my mind completely so before coming out from behind the cabinet I peeked round first, just to check it was him. Thankfully, it was, and I had never been happier to see him. I dropped the knife and walked over, my eyes glued to him.
He turned at the sound and gave me a small smile. "I'm so glad you didn't stab me."
"Me too," I murmured, moving past him and taking a seat.
In Emmett's arms was what could only be described as a heap of food. He had sandwiches, juice, potato chips, candy bars, the whole lot. Catching my inquisitive look, Emmett shrugged and placed it all down.
"I don't know how long you may have to be in here, and I want to make sure you don't want for anything. The only thing I can't actually give you is a bathroom, but I do have a solution to that." He wiped down his 'uniform' as he said that last part, not meeting my gaze.
"What kind of solution?"
"I've given you an empty bottle, I know it will probably not be as easy for you as it would be for a guy, but you could possibly pee in it. I've known women who in the toughest of situations have managed this."
Looking at him like he had lost his mind, my mouth fell open and I sat speechless. What kind of women did this man know? Who the fuck did he hang out with? G.I. Jane?
"It's only a suggestion. I just…I can't get you to a bathroom. You have to stay in here." I nodded in understanding and sighed. "Why don't you eat, okay?" He handed me a sandwich and then took a seat on the stool.
Emmett checked over everything I had done on the laptop before closing it completely. He then spent the rest of his time watching me eat, which was very unsettling. I tried to keep my cool and act strong, so he didn't think I was weak, but I was shaking slightly. In the silence, with him there, I couldn't help but wonder about Alice and Bella. Were they okay?
"You did a great job here, thank you, Rosalie," Emmett said, giving me a smile.
"Is that my job done?" I asked, fiddling with my sleeves.
"I hope so, yes."
"Good, I want this to be over with. I need to know if my friends are okay."
"Your friends?" Emmett inquired, sitting forward. It was too late to rectify my slip. Friends, plural. They didn't know about Bella.
"Well, my friend, Alice. She was with me in the mall tonight. We were dress shopping." I left it at that and hoped he wouldn't press for more. Instead, he surprised me by changing the subject.
"Rosalie, do you know why you were brought in here?"
"To help you?" I replied, curious as to where this was going.
"Well yes, but in some of the hostage takers opinions you were brought in here for a different reason. The store that you were collect from was the very first store to have its alarm set off. About twenty seconds later the rest went off. They believe that someone was hiding in that store. You were brought in here to answer that question."
"But you didn't ask me anything about that?" I replied, praying to God they hadn't found Bella. If I lost her, I would never forgive myself.
"I know, but they think I did, and more so, they think you died because of your lack of help." Which explained why he was yelling abuse and slamming into things earlier, he just needed them to think he was questioning me.
"So what happens when they find out you lied?" I asked, thinking of the worst possible outcome. It was likely. Emmett couldn't keep me locked away forever while all this went down. Yes, he was helping the cops by sending the camera feed to them but still, they could take ages before coming in. For every minute they stayed outside my life was at risk.
"If that was to happen," he began, "then we would be tortured and murdered." He clenched his jaw and shut his eyes, sighing. "But please, trust me, I will do my best to make sure that doesn't happen."
"Trust you?" I spat, frowning at him. "How can I trust you? You're one of the bad guys. You are one of them. I can't, nor will I ever, trust you."
I may have put some of my trust in him earlier, but I wasn't going to let him know that. No, he needed to think I was still one pissed off hostage. If he thought for just one second that I trusted him, that could end bad. I was opening myself up to a lot of pain, if he was to abuse said trust. He was trying so hard to save me, but I knew it was going to come at a price. Once we got out of here, was I meant to suddenly proclaim his innocence? I think not. He was in the mall holding people hostage. Innocent men don't do that. Trustworthy men don't do that.
Emmett looked at me like his puppy had just been run over. Rather than argue with me though, he cut his losses and went towards the door. Before opening it, he picked up the blade and put it on the couch.
"Keep that close, you may need it."
Locking the door behind him, I was alone, again. Once more, it was me and my mind. Crawling up behind the filing cabinet I pulled my knees to my chest and cried. Alice was alone, out there in the mall with those monsters, her life hanging in the balance, and Bella was…well, for all I knew, Bella could have been dead or hidden away somewhere. I was praying for the latter. I needed my girls. They were my life.
Just when I thought my night couldn't have gotten worse, in walked the bitch from hell, Jane Regal. That crazy woman was the prosecution attorney. Maxwell probably called her in, what a tool. With her here I was going to have to follow strict rules in regards to not killing the fuckers across the street. She would want them prosecuted no matter what, and probably would get them prosecuted. A silly hostage negotiator like myself wouldn't be able to stand in her way.
"Ah fuck," Roddy said, shaking his head. "Does she have to be here?" he asked me.
"Probably, otherwise I don't see why she would be here."
"She's going to kick my ass." I raised my eyebrows at him and he shrugged, giving me a sheepish smile. "So I forgot to call her back, is it really that big a deal?" Rolling my eyes, I turned to see Jane disappear into Maxwell's office.
"Things are just about to get complicated."
"You can say that again," Roddy muttered.
Jane's arrival could only mean that things were not as good as originally thought, which did not help ease my worries. What with my mother and sister not calling me back yet, the death of three hostages due to my error, and having not heard from Bella in so long, I couldn't see how things could get any worse.
But of course, I spoke too soon.
Within twenty minutes of Jane gracing the place with her presence she had Maxwell wrapped round her finger. Every decision I made had to be backed up by her and Maxwell. If I wanted to ask for more time from Aro, then they had to agree. If I wanted to talk to Bella, they had to agree. Hell, if I wanted to take a piss, then they had to agree. It was a bloody nightmare.
My job was only going to get harder, and given the amount of red tape all over the case so far it didn't even seem like that was possible, but of course Jane found a way. At that moment, she was prancing round the office floor, looking over every detail and plan we had, and tearing it to shreds.
"A tactical option is too risky," she said, looking over the floor plans with Ben. I was standing at a nearby table, watching carefully and listening.
Jane hadn't spoken to me since her arrival, which I took to mean she didn't think I was of any use. No doubt she was also waiting for Howler, their hero, to waltz in the door and clean up the mess because I couldn't do it. If only they knew of the stress I was under. It was not easy to juggle a situation you had no control over. Aro could simply decide to blow everyone's head off and that would be me, completely screwed. With all the training in the world, you could still not be prepared for the events that could unfold in a hostage situation, especially one like I was dealing with.
I had no bargaining chips. They had food. They had blankets. They had water. They had all the resources they could need. I couldn't give them anything. If it had not been for Aro's 'kindness' the children, elderly and the sick would still be inside the building. I was completely at their mercy, waiting on them to give me something before I could do my job.
Watching Jane go over all the plans we had and tear them to shreds was making the situation worse. She didn't want us bursting in there with guns blazing. Instead, she wanted to help them, give into their demands, and make sure they took the stand to testify against their previous boss.
As far as I was concerned, that wasn't happening. No way was I going to give into their demands. They had killed innocent people, and due to one stupid lawyer, they would walk away without a charge even being brought on them. No, they were going to be leaving that mall in body bags. If I had to break every rule and go over their shooting just to achieve that, then I would.
"Excuse me, Edward, I think you need to come and take a look at this," Arkin called, frowning at his screen.
"What is it? Is it Bella?" He shook his head and turned his screen for me to get a better look.
"I received this a few minutes ago. It's video footage inside the mall." He sighed and looked at me in confusion. "Our guys aren't in the building yet, and there are no fifteen second loops. I think this is from the hostage takers' cameras. We have unlimited access to the feed, we can look at every camera view. Hell, we actually can control three of the cameras set up. I don't know what's going on."
Arkin may not have known, but I did. Thanking him, I walked back towards Commander Maxwell's set up office. Jane was back inside, hammering on about something, but I didn't care. I opened the door without knocking and shut it behind me. Both of them froze, Maxwell looking annoyed, and Jane glaring holes into me.
"We can see inside the mall. Arkin believes that we have full access to the cameras the hostage takers have set up."
"Our guys managed to do that from the vents?" he asked, standing up.
"No, this is from an outside source. I have no idea how he got it, but he did. You need to go have a look." Without missing a beat, Maxwell strode out the room to go and do just that. Jane went to follow, but I stood in her way. "I don't think this concerns you. Your job is in the courtroom. This is my job, so stay out of my way."
"If you were capable of doing your job, Lieutenant Cullen, I would not have to get involved," Jane answered, sneering at me.
"It wasn't my guys that screwed up the immunity deal. No, it was some lawyer, like yourself. You have no idea what you're doing, so do not tear our plans to shreds. You may want these men to testify, but I want them dead. If a tactical operation is the only way to end this, I will give the order."
"Unfortunately for you, Edward, Maxwell would never go for it. And let's just be honest, you're only in control until Lieutenant Howler gets here. No one would give you a case like this after what you did in Greensburg; or have you forgotten about the eleven lives you ended with your stupid and dismissive comments?"
Jane always did go for the jugular.
Her eyes bore into mine as she waited for a response. Seeing that she wasn't going to get one, she smiled at me wickedly. "That's what I thought. So, go back to your desk and try not to kill anyone else."
I wanted to argue with her. I wanted to tell her it wasn't my fault, that Greensburg was in no way my doing. But I couldn't. My handling of Greensburg was appalling. I didn't know what I was doing. I was rude to the hostage takers. I thought if I pushed them then they would crack. Instead, they rigged the house to blow, played on my ego, and when I sent in the tactical unit, they blew the place to pieces. Two officers, seven hostages, and the two hostage takers died in the blast. A further three officers were seriously injured as well.
It was the biggest cock up the department had seen, and how I managed to keep my job was beyond me. An inquiry ruled that the hostage takers were going to blow the place up either way, and that the seven hostages were going to die regardless. Other hostage negotiators agreed with my decision to enter tactically, and with enough support behind me, I kept my job. However, I was like a leper after that.
This hostage situation was either going to sink my career, or spring new life into it. At that moment, it looked like I was going down with the ship. Unless something drastically changed, and we had a reason to bargain with them, then I was screwed.
I walked back to my desk and took a seat, covering my face with my hands. I had over two hundred lives in my hands and I couldn't do anything to save them. For once, I had no control over the situation, and I was scared. If I didn't do something, they were going to die. But, if I did something, and it was the wrong thing to do, they would also die.
"Hey buddy, you look like hell. What happened?" Roddy asked, leaning against the corner of my desk.
"Jane has me by the balls and she's not letting go. I will be out of job as soon as this is over. And you know what hurts the most, it's the fact I can't do anything to help those people. I'm absolutely useless."
Roddy shook his head at me, gearing himself up to argue back. "You're not useless. There is a hostage sitting in there, hiding in there, who depends on you. She needs you to pull your finger out, stop moping around like this is over already and the body bags have been counted, and she needs you to save her. We will end this, and it will end on our terms, not theirs."
"Thank you," I muttered, nodding my head. He was right, Bella relied on me, and I wasn't going to abandon her.
"No need to thank me, just start working. Now, I'm going to go over there and try to do some damage control. Maxwell loves the fact we have eyes in the building now, but he seems reluctant to do anything about it. I'm blaming Jane. The poisonous bitch probably has already infected him with her bullshit."
"Good luck," I said, watching as he walked over to Ben.
With Roddy taking control of the tactical options, I turned my attention to what we knew about the hostage takers. For starters, they were well armed, trigger happy, and had nothing to lose. It was a hostage negotiator's worst nightmare. They also had complete control over the building, and knew exactly what we were doing outside, and inside, if we ever got around to it.
Fortunately, they seemed to have a few chinks in their armour. Our undercover cop was doing his job well and feeding us as much information as possible. We could see what they were doing, work from that information, and find their weakest spots to infiltrate. He was our biggest asset. With his help, we could actually salvage the situation.
"Edward, phone!" My thoughts halted abruptly and I turned, grabbing the phone instantly. My brain didn't need time to think, it already knew who was on the other end of the line.
"Bella? Is that you? Are you okay?" I asked frantically. My actions had already caught the attention of Maxwell and Jane, but I didn't care. They could frown and glare at me all they liked; I wasn't going to abandon Bella.
"Yes. Yes, it's me. And yes, I'm okay," she sounded relieved; why, I do not know.
"Oh thank God. I have been terrified. What happened? The alarm went off and then-" I couldn't seem to stop my mouth from spewing forth words. It was embarrassing.
"I know, I'm so sorry," she said, cutting me off. I was glad she did. "I forgot about the security tag on the dress. I didn't mean for any of this to happen." God, she sounded so upset, so distraught. I needed to fix that.
"Shhh, it's alright. You're back now. I promise you, I'm doing everything I can to end this." I wasn't , but the second I hung up the phone, I would be. She needed to get of there, I had to do it for her. I had to end it.
"I know you are, but three people died, because of me."
"Bella, don't do this to yourself. It is not your fault, okay? Trust me when I say this isn't your fault." How in the world could she think it was her fault? Nothing about this was her fault. She was innocent. There was no blood on her hands. It was all on mine.
"If I hadn't left-" Hating the beginning of that sentence, I cut her off.
"No," I said forcefully. "I won't stand to hear you blame yourself. Now please, tell me how you managed to get back to your store when the alarms went off." I was hoping that distracting her would help, and it seemed to.
She walked me through everything that happened; how she hid in the bathroom, met a hostage taker named Jasper, him escorting her back to her hiding place, bringing her food, and trying to look out for her. It sounded to me like he was the undercover cop, but I couldn't tell Bella that. If he wasn't, if he was actually using Bella, then I could be putting her live in danger by admitting that detail. So instead, I kept my mouth shut and let her talk.
"Edward?" The way she said my name set me on edge, and looking round the rest of the room, I could tell those listening were also worried about what was about to come out of her mouth.
"I think…I think some of the hostage takers may be raping the hostages." I froze. God, if they raped her then I would fucking kill them, regardless of the consequences. "Edward?"
"Yeah, I'm here. I heard you," I replied quickly, knowing my silence must have been unnerving for her. Fighting the urge to whimper at the mere thought of her being harmed, I decided to ask the question I needed the answer to. "They didn't rape you, did they?"
"No, gosh no. They haven't laid a finger on me, Edward." Oh, thank the lord. I exhaled in relief and dropped my head to the desk, happy to hear so. But still, that didn't explain why she was worried about that.
"Then what makes you think…?"
"Just the way some of them were speaking about things." Speaking about things? Was she threatened? Did she overhear someone being raped?
"Are you sure you're safe?" I asked, worry seeping into my voice.
"Yes, or at least I think I am. Nothing bad is going to happen to me, and if it does then you need to just get on with your job. Remember, there are plenty of others in this building as well as me," she replied, her voice pushing back my worst fears.
"I'm aware, and I am doing my best. But if something was to happen-" I began, only to be cut off.
"No, Edward, you can't think that way." Her voice was strong and commanding, which gave me a little strength. She had faith in me, faith in my ability to do my job successfully, no matter what.
"I can't help but think that way, Bella," I admitted, turning my chair to look out the window at the mall. "You're more than just a hostage involved in this mess. I care about your safety; I don't want anything happening to you." My boss was listening, my co-workers were listening, my subordinates were listening, but I didn't care.
"Then try and make sure it doesn't."
"I will. And I'll try and get you out there as soon as possible."
"I have every faith you'll manage. But promise me something?" she asked, sounding nervous.
"Anything." Did she not realise that I would walk over and get her if I could?
"When I do get out of here, can we go out to lunch or something? I'd like to actually see you when I speak to you." I chuckled and couldn't help the blush that started to form when I heard the others laugh behind me.
"Most definitely. When I get you out of there, we will arrange to have lunch or something. I look forward to the many face to face conversations ahead of us." And I did, I was desperate to see the person I was speaking to, to know who I had formed this connection with.
"Me too," she replied, and I was sure she was smiling as she spoke. "I'll let you go, I know you're busy." I bid her goodbye, and got ready to hang up.
"Be safe," I added at the last moment.
Putting down the phone, I sighed. Her safety was out of my hands, for now. I needed to change that. I was going to change that. We had eyes inside the building, thanks to the video feed, but I was going to get ears. If I had to send a couple of guys in to mic the place, I would. We needed to know what they were saying.
Then just like that, they wanted to talk.
"Edward, it's Aro!" I picked up the phone quickly, waiting to hear his calm, yet creepy, voice.
"Aro, what can I do for you?" I asked, but instead of Aro replying, I got someone else.
"It's not Aro. He's no longer in charge. I'm afraid his time ran out. You're now dealing with me." His time ran out? What the hell was going on?
Looking round the room, I knew everyone was asking themselves the same question. It didn't make any sense. Where the hell had Aro gone?
"And who exactly are you?" I questioned, wanting to know immediately who I would be dealing with.
"Caius, Caius Volterra. And you are?" He said his name proudly, and as though it was something to fear. From the devastated look on Jane's face, I knew it probably was.
"Lieutenant Edward Cullen."
"Well, Lieutenant, I have some demands. Would you care to hear them?" New demands? Hell, we were bending over backwards to get the old demands worked out. What did they want next? What more could they ask for?
I didn't like the situation one bit. We no longer had any idea what we were dealing with, and it felt like we had just walked on scene, with our pants down by our ankles. This was different, this was entirely different. All the information we had on Aro, and how he was leading the negotiations, was worthless. We needed to start anew.
God help me, at this rate I will be here all night.
Hi *waves from behind keyboard* It has been a very long time since I last updated, and if I'm being honest, I had to reread this story just to know what was going on. If you read this chapter and have no clue what's happening, I suggest going back to chapter one.
I am sorry that it has taken forever for me to update. My health is all different kinds of sucky, and this just got pushed onto the back burner. But, I'm back! And with any luck, fingers crossed, you shall get a new chapter soon.
Thanks for reading!