Roaring Twenties One Shot Contest
Your pen name: edwardsisobel
Characters: Edward, Bella, Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, Mike Newton, Eric Yorkie, Tyler Crowley
Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters belong to S. Meier, the ideas for this one-shot belong to me.
To see the other entries of the Roaring Twenties One Shot Contest, visit the C2:
www (dot) fanfiction (dot) net/community/The_Roaring_Twenties_Contest/75957/
The competition is hosted by: Thedarknessofthemoon, Jessica0306, and Littlelea05
May 1929 – Chicago
I sat in a booth at the back of the juice joint watching her.
She knew I was watching even though she hadn't glanced, not even once, in my direction. The way she avoided looking at me spoke volumes. It was in the tension radiating from her slim body. Her nervous laugh at some lame joke from one her college friends hovering around her. In the way, I would see her instinctively turning to look for me, but then catching herself before our eyes could meet.
Yes, she knew I was watching.
And she thought she knew why.
She would be wrong.
I worked for her uncle, her very over-protective uncle. He trusted me. A trust I had worked hard to earn over the last two years. He was in a position of power in this city and was worried that she could be used as a pawn against him. Six months ago, she had moved to Chicago to go to school and he had asked me to look out for her, to make sure nothing bad happened to her. And when her uncle was the one doing the asking, nobody ever said no.
If he had known me, the real me, he would never have asked me to protect a member of his family. If he knew the real me, I would be lying under tons of concrete in the foundations of the very building in which I was now sitting, the Jewellers Building, and not sitting here in the Stratosphere Lounge charged with protecting Isabella Swan. Bella, as I found she preferred to be called.
I remember well the first time I saw Bella Swan. It had been just over 2 years ago and the memories of that day were as clear to me as yesterdays. I will never forget one moment of her presence in my life.
I was waiting to see my new boss to discuss the business of the clubs I had been made responsible for. Fifteen minutes earlier, I had entered the foyer of the Metropole Hotel and had been frisked by a couple of Sicilian goons before stepping into the elevator. Sitting in an armchair in one of the anti-rooms outside his office, my heart was still pounding. I was feeling extremely nervous as I was fully aware of the consequences of displeasing this particular boss.
I slouched in the armchair pretending nonchalance, with my fedora tilted and partly obscuring my face. I was still worried that someone might recognise me and the jig would be up. I was also more than a little worried by the memory of the infamous Jack McGurn and his machine gun standing sentry next to the elevator doors as I had entered the inner sanctum.
The boss's door opened then and he strode out of his office, closely followed by 2 women. One appeared to be in her early forties and the other, who was following timidly behind, looked to be in her late teens. I surreptitiously studied the girl from under the brim of my hat. She was a pretty little thing.
She wore a flowery chiffon, long waisted dress with layers that swirled around as she moved. Her chocolate brown hair was quite long and she used it as a shield to hide her face from the world. Her skin was so pale it was almost translucent and the hint of it I saw glowed in the incandescent lighting above. I couldn't seem to look away and when she lifted her head and I saw her eyes for the first time I was mesmerised by their color, so warm they were like deep dark pools of chocolate in which I could fall into and happily drown. What was it about this dame that had me gawking like a teenaged boy?
The boss was hugging the older woman, "Don't leave it so long to visit next time, Renee."
She nodded, "I promise, we'll be back in a few months for Thanksgiving." She pecked him lightly on the cheek.
Renee? The boss had a sister named Renee. This must be her. Which meant that the vision now hugging the big guy in the green suit and gaudy tie must be Isabella, her daughter? I had researched this man thoroughly before taking the job, being unprepared was not an option in my line of work.
"Isabella, you grow more lovely every time I see you. How is that possible?" The boss drawled.
"Oh Uncle Al, you say the sweetest things," the angel replied in a low sultry voice, completely at odds with the demure picture she presented.
I could imagine the owner of that voice wearing a full-length red dress, slit up to the knees, reclining on the top of a piano, her soulful voice crooning a love song. I started to imagine her on my piano her eyes beckoning me to her, her lips mouthing the words of a love song only for me. My body betrayed my interest in that little scenario a little too much.
I heard the ding heralding the arrival of the elevator car and I started guiltily, realizing I had been staring at the boss's niece far too long. To get caught staring at her was akin to writing my own death sentence. The boss would invite me to take a little ride with one of his hoods. A baseball bat, cement shoes, a bullet to the head, the only likely outcomes from that little ride.
I heard the boss bid the women farewell at the elevator and walk past me to his office doorway when he stopped briefly and called out, "Coming, Eddie-boy?"
What! I squawked in my head, my hands clasping the front of my lap in an attempt to cover up the prominent body of evidence, before realizing he meant for me to follow him into the office. I was grateful that he was facing away from me during the whole exchange.
I jumped to my feet and discreetly adjusted myself, plucked my hat from my head and followed Mr Capone into the lion's den.
Obviously the meeting went well. Almost 2 years later, I was the money man for about 60 of Mr Capone's speakeasies as planned. However, becoming nursemaid to one Isabella Swan was definitely not in the plan. Yes, I had a plan and I was determined that it would be followed and that nothing would get in the way of achieving the outcome I intended. No matter how much temptation was placed in my way.
Although I doubted that Bella had seen me that first day in Capone's office, I had never forgotten her or her mesmerising eyes. Finally, about nine months later, Mr Capone introduced us when she and her mother had visited Chicago just before Christmas of 1927.
I had been about to leave from my regular meeting with Mr Capone when a knock had sounded on his door. He had indicated for me to open it and there she stood. She looked even more like an angel that time, her dark hair curled enticingly over the white fur coat she wore. Her cheeks had been pink and her lips slightly reddened from the cold air outside. I had moved out of the way so that she could enter with her mother and she had smiled at me. I was completely lost in that moment and would have followed her anywhere if she had asked.
Capone had hugged both of the women and then turned to me still standing there holding the door open. He had introduced Renee and Bella to me then, of course, calling me Eddie-boy which I hated with a passion. Not that I would ever say so to Mr Capone.
I remember reaching out to shake Renee's hand gently and then turning to Isabella. At the first contact of our fingers, I had felt a tingling sensation run from my fingers up my palm and all the way to my elbow. I made the mistake of looking into her eyes then and I had retained a hold of her hand a little too long. I was stunned at the look in her eyes. Her chocolate brown orbs looked at me with surprise, and she was biting her bottom lip. I had come to my senses only when her fingers tugged out of mine and she clasped that hand with her other, rubbing the palm with her thumb.
I had excused myself then, not wanting the Boss to think that there was anything out of the ordinary, and removed myself from his office which suddenly felt very warm. I needed to collect my thoughts which had scattered the moment I had touched Bella and calm down soon. There were two many spies surrounding Capone and I could not afford to appear nervous around here. My smooth demeanour stayed in place as I had walked unhurriedly to the elevator, which luckily opened immediately when I pressed the button. Inside was one of Capone's personal goons, picking his nails with his knife. Nice! I nonchalantly adjusted my reading glasses which I didn't really need but wore as I thought they made me look unassuming.
The elevator reached ground level and, as I walked into the foyer past the rest of the goons, I placed my fedora back in place on my head. I walked out of the hotel and after a slow stroll for a block, I stopped, confident I was out of sight. I leaned my hand against the side of the building and let out a huge breath in an attempt to slow down my beating heart. What was with this woman? I had to get her out of my head, the feelings she stirred in me were impossible. It was way too dangerous to even be thinking about her.
I had only seen Bella on and off from a distance since that day until Capone called me into his office outside of our scheduled meetings six months ago. Typically, being called in outside of the scheduled times meant one of two things. Either Capone was very happy with you, which usually meant more work being thrown at you, or he was very unhappy with you which usually meant more work being thrown at one of the goons.
Capone wasted no time once I had walked into his new offices at the Lexington Hotel, striding over to shake his hand as if I didn't have a care in the world. He indicated I should take a seat in front of his desk and then, as usual, he dipped his hands in the crystal bowls on his desk filled with water and rose petals before he sat in his seat. That was a good sign, right?
"Eddie, I have been watching you for a while…." I was praying hard, "…and I have liked what I've seen. You are a hard worker and you keep your nose clean. I appreciate that in a fella."
"Thank you, Mr Capone, sir."
"I have an important job which I need someone I can trust implicitly. Is that you?"
Oh hell, so far I had been lucky and the skills that were important to the Boss had been my head with figures and my knack with managing people. I knew when I took the job on that I might need to go further. I knew I had the skills to do it, but I really didn't want to.
Ignoring any qualms I had, I manned up and replied, "Certainly Mr Capone, what can I do for you?"
Capone burst out laughing and said, "Don't worry Eddie, I have enough willing and able men for that."
I guess my suave demeanour didn't pass muster at the thought of having to off someone.
Capone continued, "No, Eddie, this job is way more important than that. My niece, Isabella, has just moved here to attend college at the University of Chicago, some business course. Don't know why she is bothering, she should be thinking of marrying and having children."
Okay Eddie, wait Edward! Stop thinking of Isabella and the act of producing children.
"Yes, Mr Capone, how can I help?"
"Well, Eddie, I have some good friends at the University and they need a business tutor, specifically in the classes that Isabella is taking. You start next week."
That doesn't sound so bad, I can handle that.
"I need you to make sure that no harm comes to my Isabella, Eddie. I am an important man around here and she might become a target for people trying to upset me, see. I need for you to make sure she gets home safe and when she is out and about, I need to know she will not be bothered. Do you understand me?"
I nodded at Capone. Oh God. I sure did understand. I would be playing bodyguard to Isabella around the clock.
"Now, I don't expect you to personally follow her around all day and night. You can choose who you need to help you but I will hold you personally responsible for her safety though. Have I made myself clear?"
The Boss had stared at me intently as he made his requirements of me clear and I was feeling a little hot under the collar from his scrutiny of me. Capone had even stood up just before he told me that he held me responsible for Isabella's safety, leaning over his desk towards me to emphasise his point.
I eased myself out of my chair and stood in front of his desk. I did not want to be in a position of intimidation.
"Yes, Mr Capone, sir. You have my guarantee that Isabella will not even stumble while she is in my care."
Capone chuckled again. It sent chills down my spine. "I won't hold you to that statement, Eddie. My Isabella can be a little bit clumsy. That girl's been known to trip over on flat ground."
With that he waved me out of his office and I commenced the trip into my own personal hell. Right from the get go, she knew her Uncle Al had designated me as her personal bodyguard even though he had said nothing to her. Capone himself dropped her off to the University that first morning with McGurn driving the bullet proof Cadillac no less. She saw me in class on that first day and glared at me in disgust.
After class, I approached her and advised her that I would be escorting her home. She ignored me the entire drive to her apartment which happened to be in the Jewellers Building at 35 East Wacker Drive. Turns out this was handy as my head office was at the back of the club on the top floor of the same building. It was a truly beautiful building with its marble and art deco touches. I laughed to think that a few years before, when I had started working for her Uncle Al, I had been thinking that if who I really was had been found out I would now be buried in the very foundation.
As we exited the elevator and moved towards her apartment door, I spotted Emmett McCarty who I had organised as one of my backup guys, leaning against the wall next to her apartment door. Isabella unlocked the door, walked right past us and slammed the door. Hard! I hung around for a few minutes going over the final arrangements of this bodyguard duty with Emmett, a big burly guy who wouldn't let anything or anyone past him. I was glad to have him on the job.
Emmett and Jasper Whitlock, the other bodyguard I had assigned to Bella, had both worked for me in one capacity or another before as well as taking shifts as bartenders in some of the clubs I managed. They were straight up fellas and I knew I could trust them. Emmett informed me that he had checked out Isabella's apartment about an hour ago when his shift started and all was clear. The apartment faced away from any of the neighbouring buildings so we should be sweet just standing guard outside of her door and taking her wherever she needed to go.
Emmett jerked his head towards the door that Isabella had not long slammed through and chuckled, "So Edward, I take it from the glare and the door slamming, the dame ain't too happy about having bodyguards? Or is it just you? Have you done something to upset the little lady?"
"Who knows, Emmett, but one thing I do know is that she sure does have a rather large temper for such a little thing, doesn't she?"
"Feisty, I like it!"
"Easy, big guy. This one is a favourite of ole Scarface and I don't particularly fancy going for a ride with any of his associates any time soon. By the way, Jasper will start his shift at midnight and I will collect her at 8am in the morning and drive her to class."
I returned in the morning fully expecting Jasper to be manning the front door; however, as soon as I exited the elevator, I could see that the hallway was empty. I panicked, pulled out my gun and ran to the door, using my key to let myself in, thinking the worst. A burst of laughter greeted me as I strode through the door and I was greeted by the sight of Isabella, ready for college and sitting at the table eating freshly made pancakes with Jasper. She looked happy and relaxed and my gut clenched in dismay. She never looked like that at me and I felt an irrational hatred of Jasper bubble up in my gut.
She saw me then and her face darkened noticeably.
"So, Eddie-boy, ready for nanny duties?"
Jasper let out a chuckle which he cut short when I glared angrily at him.
I guess it was just me then that Isabella despised. She certainly had no qualms with Jasper. I schooled my face into its usual impassive mask and raised an eyebrow at Jasper. He took my warning with great alacrity and darted out the front door after thanking Isabella for the breakfast.
"Are you ready to leave for class, Isabella?" I asked her calmly as if I was not churning mad inside.
She ignored me, grabbed her red coat from the back of the chair and slipped it over her shoulders. Once it was settled, she picked up her black patent leather handbag from the table and extracted her gloves making a great show of putting them on slowly. Once that was accomplished she disappeared into a doorway at the rear of the apartment and returned a few moments later with a scarf in place and her bright red lipstick touched up.
I went to pick up the pile of books on the table, and she breezed out the door so fast that I had to run to catch up to her in front of the elevator.
Basically that was the pattern of my existence for months. Emmett, Jasper and I would take round the clock shifts. Emmett and Jasper would be invited in for coffee and breakfast and she would joke and banter with them. Me, she just ignored. Well, most of the time anyways. On occasion, my constant presence irritated her so much she let go of her temper.
She had stomped her foot angrily at me when I informed her that she was never to go anywhere alone and that any acquaintances she made had to be approved by me first. Bella had poked me in the chest and accused me that day of being Capone's Yes Man and having no mind of my own, just following orders like a good little boy. I held my face impassive but inside my heart had pumped erratically just watching her. She was absolutely magnificent when she was angry. Her eyes flashed, her face flushed a delicate pink and her chest heaved deliciously.
Sometimes when she thought I was distracted with work or in the lecture theatre, I would catch her eyes on me, watching me thoughtfully. She would blush and look away every time. I could tie myself up in knots just wondering what was going through her mind in those times.
So here I am six months later, in the Stratosphere Lounge at the top of the Jewellers Building, enjoying some bootleg hooch and keeping an eye on the doll that had been systematically driving me crazy from the first moment I laid eyes on her.
Lately, she seemed to be testing me more and more to get a reaction out of me, trying to push the boundaries I had set for her. I don't know why but she was flirting madly with everyone this past week and I am pretty sure she isn't interested in any of them.
I watched her now as she tried out her wiles again tonight. The smiles and the little touches she bestowed on her juvenile little college boys. Mike stupid shit Newton, Eric Ethel Yorkie and Tyler lame-ass Crowley. I never gave her any indication that what she was doing was affecting me. I acted as if I couldn't give a rat's ass that she was all over these guys trying to get a reaction out of me.
I was feeling that I should win one of those awards that the actors in the talkies win for their work. Not by a flicker of an eye, a twitch of a jaw, or a clench of a fist could she tell that I wanted to rip the losers' heads off and claim her as my own. And I did so badly want to do both. But it wasn't in the plan.
Finally, she looked over at me to gauge her actions on my infamous control, her tiny white teeth latching on to her luscious lower lip. I stared back at her, hard-pressed not to lick my own lips at the sight. I forced my eyes to remain on hers although everything in me clamoured to devour the sight of her elegant little body in the shimmering figure-hugging silver flapper dress.
Bella had changed a lot from the first day I had seen her in Capone's office and even from the first day she had moved to Chicago. Where once she had long hair that she tended to hide behind, she now had the demeanour of the quintessential flapper. Shiny bobbed locks curled around her ears, the skin of her long arms bare from her delicately boned shoulders to her long manicured fingernails painted an outrageous red to match her rose-tinted lips. Her dress dipped in a sharp V stopping tantalizingly close to her bubs and shimmered down to mid-calf showing off her fabulous gams.
Sometimes, it seemed to be her sole mission in life was to torment me. Did she want me to lose control and take her up on her come-hither looks or was it a trap to get rid of me? Get rid of me for good.
Falling for Bella was not part of my plan. How much did she know of her Uncle's operations? The people I really worked for had no compunction about using anybody in achieving their ends. I had put my foot down about using Bella in this way and so far they had agreed. I didn't know how much longer I could hold them off. They were getting impatient and wanted me to get the results they expected and pronto. They did not have the patience that I did.
I looked away then from her mesmerising eyes and returned to counting and recording the takings for the week from this club. The managers I had installed in the other joints made cash drops to my head office here each week on their allocated days. I still had a job to do besides Bella-watching after all.
My concentration on the paperwork didn't last long. My head jerked up from the books at the first sound of her sultry laugh and I watched her drag Newton to the middle of the dance floor. Strains of the Charleston reached me and it was pure torture watching her jig around with him. Her breasts bounced tantalisingly beneath the sparkly silver bodice and her shapely legs kicked back and forth with enthusiasm. Luckily for him, the Charleston involved very little touching or he would have been a dead man. I shook my head humourlessly; maybe working for Scarface was rubbing off on me!
I had to stop watching after a minute or my baser side would have taken over and I would have dragged her off the floor and had my way with her in some dark back room of the club and damn the consequences.
Forcing my eyes to remain on the books, I heard the Charleston thankfully finish and the first notes of a tango started. It was my favorite, Por Una Cabeza, and the notes called to me. I wished I could dance to this music with Bella. I was actually quite good, having learned the steps as part of my job training. Don't laugh, knowing how to dance has come in very handy in a few of my jobs and it doesn't hurt with the dames either.
I looked up expecting Bella to be moving off the dance floor. Of course, she never did the expected and I could see that she remained on the floor with Newton and he had gathered Bella against him.
"No bloody way," I growled and I was halfway across the dance floor before my brain had caught up with my actions. I stood menacingly behind Bella and glared at Newton, tossing my head towards the rest of the college saps indicating he should return to them. I remained on the floor until I heard Newton stammering his apologies to Bella before turning on his heel and leaving the dance floor rather speedily.
Before I had a chance to move away, Bella spun around, a calculating look in her narrowed eyes. I was pinned to the spot by her nearness, the sweet smell of her perfume weaving its magic around me. Languidly she moved even closer to me, never taking her dark chocolate eyes from mine, until she gripped my forearm which was hanging by my side with one hand and with the other, she trailed a long red fingernail down the lapel of my black dinner suit. I was frozen in place, I had never been this close to her before and I was overwhelmed by the feel of her hands on me. I had never allowed myself to consider the consequences of such an action.
The lights, which moments before had been blazing on the dance floor, were now dimmed and it felt like we were the only two people on the floor. The music flowed around us, ensnaring us in its sensuality. Bella's fingertip traced up the side of my other lapel and then she circled behind me dragging her fingertip across the top of my bicep and around my back. The hand that had previously grasped my wrist slid up the length of my arm, across my shoulder and into my hair, her fingernails lightly raking against my scalp. I couldn't help it, I groaned at the sensation of her fingers buried in my hair and turned my head towards her.
I searched her eyes for any sign of subterfuge and briefly weighed my options. For a brief moment, I almost did what I should have. I almost removed her hands from me and taken myself back to my seat. Instead, I could only stand there and feel the current running between us and the rightness of her hands on my body, her fingers tugging gently in my hair.
All conscious thought left me when I felt her lean into my side, tug my head slightly back and closer to hers and then her warm breath against my neck moments before her lips touched the shell of my ear. At that precise moment, I didn't care any more that she was off-limits to me, that one more step could mean the end of my plan, that it could even mean my death and I was not being melodramatic.
"Edward, dance with me…" she whispered against my ear.
I took a deep breath and inhaled more of her scent, my decision made. She wanted to dance, so we would dance. My way!
I spun on my heel, gripped her tightly around her waist and pulled her to me. Hard! Bella gasped, her breath quickened and I could feel her heart hammering against my chest. Her hand that had been on my back slid seductively to my shoulder, her elbow held out in the proper position. I reached up and snared the hand still woven in my hair, extended her arm at right angles and our clasped hands above my shoulder.
The feel of her dainty hand in mine set off every possessive instinct I owned and I knew then that I wanted her for my own. Mine! I placed my right foot between both of hers and leaned into her, moving her backwards quickly for a few steps before pulling her into me again as I leaned slightly to the side in a little half dip. Her hands gripped me tightly as I whirled her out of the dip and then into a slide, our feet in perfect synchronicity as they slid toe to toe and back together. A few more quick steps, our hips brushing with each movement and then I dipped her back slightly, her neck arching back. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
I spun her out of the dip and guided her backwards, and then the tempo of the music changed. I spun Bella away from me and with the hand I still held tugged her back and enfolded her in my arms, I danced her faster around the floor, her feet following each step of mine and without warning, I lowered her into a dip so deep her hair almost trailed on the floor and her hips pressed into my hips to balance herself. It was torture and at the same time it was heaven.
Her eyes snapped to mine when I lifted her from the dip and they smouldered with a banked heat that promised much. As I manoeuvred Bella back for a few steps, I could feel her breasts rubbing against my chest with each step and my shaft hardened against her stomach. I knew she could feel my appreciation of her when she turned slightly in my arms, leaned closer to my ear and whispered to me.
"They say that the tango is the vertical expression of horizontal desires. What do you think, Edward?"
Hell yes, every time I spun her, every time I pulled her hard against me, every dip and every intricate step I took was expressing my desire for her, how I would worship every inch of her if we were alone in her room.
In response, I whispered back, "Why, Miss Swan, it very much depends on with whom I am dancing it."
The tempo of the song slowed and almost stationary now, I held her at right angles from me and we gently lowered ourselves for a moment, our knees bending slightly before our legs wove intricately back and forth, our eyes caught the entire time.
My arm firmly wrapped around her waist as we danced cheek to cheek circling the darkened room. I flung her out from me and her arm gracefully extended before I pulled her into my chest once more. I raised our joined hands high into the air before pushing her into a spin that continued the length of the dance floor and as the music slowed, I firmly pressed her body into mine, insinuated my knee between her legs and turned her slightly so we finished the dance with her left leg draped over my right.
We stayed like that for a moment, our breathing laboured, our hearts beating furiously, my aching erection pressed against her warm centre. I turned my head until my lips grazed her earlobe.
"Don't ever doubt, Isabella, not for one moment, that if circumstances were different, we would be dancing this tango horizontally tonight and the pleasures we would experience would know no boundaries."
She gasped against the skin of my neck and her grip on me tightened. I moaned thinking about the strength in her hands and what they would feel like wrapped around me. A smattering of applause accompanied the dance and I came to my senses and lifted Bella away from me, settling her on her feet, which threatened to collapse. I kept hold of her hand and she looked at me dazedly for a moment before all of a sudden her eyes widened and she tried to snatch her hand from mine. She leaned closer to me and I was lost in the perfection that was her lips. In fact, I was a moment away from claiming them when her whispered words sent a chill down my spine.
"McGurn just walked in."
I don't know how I kept my cool, but I did, and adopted the slightly bumbling demeanour I normally utilised for this job. I bowed over her hand and said, "Miss Swan, it was a pleasure to show you the tango. You were delightful." I air-kissed her hand and led her back to her friends before returning to my booth at the back of the club to my books, ignoring the thumping of my heart and the stare of Capone's goon as he sat at the bar and ordered a drink.
Jasper, who had been working behind the bar tonight, walked over to me a few minutes later. He busied himself with picking up my glass and wiping down the table, all the while whispering to me.
"Bloody hell, Edward, what were you thinking? You were so lucky McGurn didn't walk in earlier. If he had seen you and Bella dancing like that, you would be dead meat right now. Word around town is that the only reason that the Boss selected you for the job was because he thought you might bat for the other team."
I raised my hand and wiped the sweat from my brow with my sleeve and contemplated everything Jasper was saying. It was true. I had caught many a whispered conversation about me and the speculation in everyone's eyes since I was one of the few men in the organisation that stayed away from the whores constantly underfoot. It wasn't hard as they really held no interest for me. Luckily, there was enough uncertainty about my orientation that I hadn't been beaten up for it yet either.
Jasper confirmed he was about to finish and go home to his wife, Alice and would be back in time to take the 8am shift in the morning. He left then and returned to the bar, leaving me to contemplate what I had just done and said to Bella Swan on the dance floor. Oh hell! Bella now knew for sure that I was interested in girls and specifically in her. What else would she wonder about me? Had I blown my cover?
I looked over at the bar then and saw McGurn chatting to one of Bella's friends, Rosalie Hale, of course. She was a curvaceous blonde and just his type. I wasn't worried so much, as Rose was dating Emmett, and loved Bella like a sister. She would never disclose anything about Bella or me to the goon. I took the chance with McGurn's distraction to look over at Bella to make sure she was alright. Bella's back was to the bar and although her body leaned to the side slightly while she was listening to Newton, her eyes were trained thoughtfully on me. When she saw me looking at her, she blushed a beautiful pink but this time, her eyes didn't leave mine as they usually did.
After a few moments she turned and said a few words to the college crowd. She spun around and when she saw Rosalie, she walked over to her at the bar. I started to sweat for real and I could feel rivulets of water sliding slowly between my shoulder blades and down my back. Bloody hell! Would she say something to McGurn? My eyes caught with Jasper's and he shook his head infinitesimally to indicate that I should wait before I reacted. My hand slipped under my coat and checked that my gun was within easy reach in the holster under my jacket. I could see Jasper move to the end of the bar where I kept a Tommy gun in a secret drawer, all the while wiping down the counter.
Bella smiled at McGurn as she stopped in front of Rosalie and I heard her acknowledge them both before telling Rose that she was tired and going home now. Rose agreed, called out a goodnight to Jasper behind the bar and went to the hatcheck to retrieve the girls' coats while Bella called out a goodnight to the rest of her group.
In the meantime, I breathed a sigh of relief as I packed up my papers, stowing them in the briefcase I had stored under the table. I walked over to McGurn and asked if there was anything I could get him? Being the typical Neanderthal that he was, he just grunted back and said he was just waiting for Frank Nitti, who was running late as always. I sympathised with him, having been in the same position and reiterated again that if he needed anything he just had to ask at the bar. I grabbed my hat from my under the bar and left with Bella and Rosalie, as if I hadn't a care in the world.
Rose lived on the same floor as Bella which was how everyone had met. Rose and Bella entered the elevator car and moved to the back when I entered. It was less than a minute after the descent commenced when Rose decided to comment on the dance.
"So Eddie, where did you learn to dance like that? It was smoking hot! I thought our little Bella here was going to go up in flames. You are the cat's meow!"
I blushed and I saw out of the corner of my eye, Bella lightly pushing against Rose with her hips. I didn't answer her as I was too busy worrying about the meaning of McGurn and Nitti meeting here and not at his own joint, the Green Mill. The Boss was a damn suspicious fella. I knew he had spies everywhere and never before had I let my guard down like I had tonight with Bella. What a time to lose my self control!
Everyone working for Capone was only too well aware of the consequences of doublecrossing the Boss after the incident just last month. Scalesi, Anselmi and Giunta had been found out in a plot to take out Capone. He had invited them out for a lavish meal, which was unknowingly their last supper, before beating their heads in with a baseball bat.
The month before that, Capone had orchestrated what had since been dubbed the St. Valentine's Day massacre where McGurn and company had gunned down seven of Bugs Moran's men, in cold blood. Attacks on Capone had doubled since then and I was terrified of Bella being caught in the cross-fire.
We arrived down on the 14th floor and I escorted Bella and Rose to Bella's door. Rose hid a huge yawn behind her hand and waved her goodnight to us as she continued further along the hallway and then into her own apartment. For once, Bella lingered outside her door and started fidgeting with her bracelet. She looked up at me eventually and I was expecting to see the usual derision for me on her face. Again, she surprised me as her eyes were thoughtful as she studied me closely.
"Is there anything I can do for you, Isabella?"
Bella humphed and crossed her arms in front of her chest, her eyes narrowing on me.
"Why do you do that, Edward? Why do you always call me Isabella, never Bella?"
Now it was my turn to look at her consideringly.
A small smile hovered over my lips, "Why, Miss Swan, that is your name, is it not? And, by the way, you have never requested that I call you Bella."
This time she stomped her foot in frustration.
"There, you are doing it again, hiding behind a mask. I know what you are, you know?"
My heart raced, how the hell did she know? I had been so careful to keep my true self a secret; the real reason I was working for Capone hidden.
Bella laughed then, "You should see your face, Edward. Your mind is racing a mile a minute worrying. Why do you let everybody assume that you are an Ethel? I've suspected for a while and you confirmed it with that dance tonight. You are quite clearly not!"
I felt relieved that she only guessed part of my secret and not the most important; however, I couldn't get into this conversation with her. It was of paramount importance to my job and to the longevity of my life, and last, but not least, her life that I kept everything between us on a professionally distant footing.
"I don't know what you are talking about, Miss Swan…."
Bella interrupted me before I could continue and walked right up to me. I tried to take a step back and she grabbed the lapels of my dinner suit and pulled me closer.
"Edward Cullen, you are driving me completely crazy with this 'Yes, Miss Swan, No, Miss Swan.' You were amazing out on that dance floor, Edward So forceful and so passionate. Why do you hide behind a disguise with everybody?"
She was getting too close.
"Miss Swan, might I remind you that you were acting out of character tonight also? Not once in the last six months have you indicated any interest in me and in fact, I would go so far as to say, that you have gone out of your way to ignore me. Yet tonight you taunted me, you touched me and dared me to dance with you. So, I did what you asked, that is all."
Bella gasped with shock and drew away from me, hurt clearly showing on her face at my words. I wanted to take them back the instant I said them. But it was for the best, it was too dangerous for her to be anything more than under my protection.
We stood there staring at each other, Bella with tears welling up in her eyes and me, valiantly trying to ignore them and keep my face impassive, when all I wanted to do was go to her and kiss them away. We both jumped when the ding of the elevator signalled its arrival to this floor. Moments before the door opened, I felt queasy remembering my absolute fear when McGurn had walked into the speakeasy earlier and what it meant. Had he been checking up on me? Or was it just coincidence?
I hurried Bella through her open apartment door and closed it quietly before locking it, taking up the position in the chair next to the door with my hand resting inside my pocket which held a small revolver. The door slowly opened and out came Emmett on his way to Rose's apartment.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and Emmett noticed.
"What's up Edward? You look a bit twitchy tonight."
In whispers, I informed Emmett of McGurn's visit to the Lounge and my fear that there was more to it than a meeting with Nitti. Everyone working for Capone was second guessing everyone else these days after the escalation of violence in the last few months. He reassured me by concluding that there was nothing we could do besides continuing as per normal. I agreed and we ended the discussion after confirming Bella's security plans for the rest of the week. Emmett loped up the hallway then and was pulled into Rose's apartment after knocking quietly. Somehow I think Emmett will be losing as much sleep as I would be tonight, but definitely in more pleasant ways.
I spent the next ten minutes going over and over my own plans, making sure that everything I needed to do would be undetectable to the organization. My role was so pivotal to the success of the master plan that Capone was sure to know who to blame when his meticulously planned downfall came to pass. I doubted that I would survive too long after that and for once I was less resigned to that thought than usual.
I was pretty sure I had been handpicked for this job as I was all alone in the world. My parents had both died in the Spanish Influenza epidemic back in 1918 and although I had been quite ill as well, I had been one of the lucky ones and had managed to survive it. I had no other family and as I had been recruited halfway through business school into the FBI and whisked across the country for training, I hadn't formed any lasting attachments to anyone.
Meeting Bella Swan made me regret all of my decisions that had led me to this point. She was everything that I had always dreamed of, all that I could ever want. And I couldn't have her. Ever! Where could I start? She was closely related to the man I was helping to bring down. She had no idea who I really was or even my real name. She would come to despise me very soon and, at that point, I decided that maybe my expected execution may be a blessing if I never got to see that.
I was startled at that point to hear her whisper through the door to me, "Edward, I'm scared."
"I'm right here, Isabella. There is nothing to be afraid of, it was only Emmett before."
I laid my head against the wall, right next to the door jamb to be closer to her.
"Edward, can you come inside, I will feel safer with you here."
I sighed, the temptation to acquiesce almost too much, "Isabella I don't think that is a very good idea."
"Please Edward, I am so worried, I need to talk to you."
I argued with myself with regard to the right thing to do. The side that pushed me to unlock her door and slip through won out. Bell's apartment was almost in complete darkness with one lone light shining out from the kitchen. I started towards it when I stopped and zeroed in on the couch where I thought I heard a noise. Bella was curled up on the seat in cute flannelette pajamas with small pink and grey stripes. I went to turn on the lamp on the table but she stopped me and said that she felt safer in the dark.
I shrugged and looked for a place to sit as far away from Bella as possible but there was only the large couch in the living room. I went to get a chair from the kitchen when Bella again stopped me.
"Edward, come and sit on the couch, I want to talk to you, not shout across the room."
I signed again and ran my fingers through my hair in agitation. I walked towards the couch and took a seat as far from Bella as possible. In the dim light, now that my eyes were adjusting to it, I could see Bella rolling her eyes at me.
"I won't bite, Edward!"
I laughed nervously; she has that effect on me.
"What's wrong, Isabella? What is it that has you so worried tonight that you could tolerate my company?"
"Don't be like that, Edward, and please call me Bella."
I nodded my head in acknowledgement of her request, "Okay then Bella, what has you so spooked tonight?"
Her bravado vanished in an instant with my words
"Uncle Al and Jack McGurn scare me," she whispered so quietly I had to strain closer to her to catch her words.
I was so surprised for a moment that I said nothing and before I could, she continued.
"All of the things I have been reading in the newspapers lately have been scaring me, the awful shooting on St Valentines Day and the baseball bat incident. They are saying that Uncle Al is responsible. I didn't believe it at first but recently he has seemed a little unstable whenever I visit him. The other day I was in the waiting room outside of his office and I heard Uncle Al yelling at Jack McGurn to take care of things while he was in Atlantic City next week for a conference and he didn't want to be implicated again. Edward, what things does he need taken care of?"
Why was Bella telling me all this knowing that I worked for him? What the hell should I say to her? Yes, you should be frightened. Your Uncle Al is so evil he makes Lucifer look good and I know this because I have been working undercover for two years to bring your Uncle Al down? Damn it all to hell!
While she had been talking, Bella and I had seemed to gravitate closer to each other on the couch, so I leaned over and took her shaking hands in mine and rubbed my thumbs across her knuckles to ease her disquiet.
"Bella, I really don't know your Uncle very well, I only meet with him once a month and update him on the progress of the businesses I run."
"Do you believe what the papers are saying? Is Uncle Al responsible for all of this bloodshed, these murders? I trust you, Edward. You must tell me!"
She trusts me when all I have ever done is lie to her? My self-loathing at this point has reached an all time low.
"Bella, I have read and heard all the rumours just as you have, but truly I know about as much about these murders as anybody else. Your Uncle was down in Miami last month. I know because he moved our regular meeting forward, but that is all I know."
Everything I said to Bella was true. I had no firsthand knowledge of what had happened, just what had been passed down to me by my superiors and they couldn't get anybody who had seen what had happened to talk. No one had seen nothing!
Subconsciously, I had been pulling Bella closer and closer with each pass of my thumbs across her fingers until I now realized she was inches from my face. I ached to reach out and touch her lips with my fingertips, and then follow with my own lips yearning to feel the softness of hers. I couldn't control my heart. The chambers beat thunderously against my chest. So loud I was sure Bella could hear its rapid beat through my skin.
Her fingers were gripping my hands like a vice.
She whispered so softly I had to strain to hear her, "You make me feel safe, Edward. Please hold me, make it all go away."
I couldn't help myself. Her pain wiping away the last of the common sense I owned. I drew her closer until her face was resting against my chest and my arms were wrapped securely around her body. I could feel her breath against my throat when she exhaled deeply and relaxed against me. My right hand stroked up and down against her spine and I cupped the back of her head against me with my other hand, all the time whispering to her.
"Bella, love, I won't let anyone hurt you. I will keep you safe. No matter what happens, you are my first priority. Please believe me, you are everything. I will protect you with my life, with my last dying breath."
Without thinking, so caught up in the moment, I leaned my head down and pressed my lips to her forehead ardently, lingering longer than I should have once I had tasted the forbidden fruit of her scented skin.
I came back to my senses abruptly when Bella suddenly lifted her head and searched my eyes for long moments. I doubted I was very successful in wiping how I felt for her from my face in those moments and I was certain with her next action.
From out of nowhere, her arms reached up and twined around my shoulders, the fingers of her right hand returning to their rightful place twisting through my hair. Almost brutally, she pulled my head down to hers and our lips met for the first time with a clash. My Bella pressed her perfect lips against mine over and over until I couldn't take it any more and I held her steady against me. With my lips, I worshiped her, dragging them across her mouth before taking the bottom lip which had taunted me for so long between my teeth and biting down gently. Bella's lips parted in a moan and I took the opportunity presented to me and licked her lips with my tongue, moaning myself at her exquisite taste.
I lifted her onto my lap so there was absolutely no space between us and continued to gently nip and kiss her succulent lips while rubbing my hands up and down her arms from shoulder to elbow. Bella twisted restlessly in my lap, trying to get closer still and I had to restrain myself when on my passes up and down her arms, she twisted to the side and my fingers grazed the side of her breast. It took all of my willpower not to slide my hands over her beautiful breasts and cup them, knead them and then to take her delectable nipples into my mouth.
Instead I gripped her tighter and slid my tongue into the warm cavern of her mouth and our flesh blended together like the tango we had danced earlier. The feel of the tip of her tongue stroking mine was so erotic, more erotic and sensual than any previous experience I had ever had. My body reacted by swelling against her heated core which was pressed into my lap. We groaned in synch and Bella responded to the feeling of my hardness against her by grinding her hips into my lap and sucking my tongue into her mouth.
I almost lost control of myself at her actions, almost ripped the clothes from our bodies and took her against the couch. I wanted to bury myself inside her and bring her so much pleasure that the pain and fear would be erased. I had even gone so far as to bring my hands to rest against the placket of her pyjamas and my fingers were curled around the topmost button. Bella's hands had snuck inside my suit coat earlier and she had somehow unbuttoned my waistcoat and was easing my shirt tails out of my trousers. Little minx!
The muffled ding of the elevator through the closed door brought us to our senses at last. I could feel Bella tense against me and grip my shirt tightly in her clenched fists. I looked down at her and she was staring at me frozen in fear.
I also felt fear, but the fear was for her.
I stood up from the couch and settled her on her feet in front of me.
"Bella, do you remember how to get into the hidden room?"
She nodded and glanced towards her bedroom door.
"I am sure it's nothing but just to be on the safe side, why don't you go there now. When I am sure that there is nothing to worry about, I will tap on the entrance three times. Okay?"
Bella nodded again, then surprised me by reaching up to me and taking my face in hers, "Edward Cullen, you be careful, you hear?" and then kissed me forcefully before spinning around and disappearing into her room.
Once I was certain that she was safe, I quickly tidied myself and cautiously approached the front door of her apartment. I put my ear to the door to ascertain the whereabouts of whoever had exited out of the elevator. I could hear nothing and quietly opened the door. There was no one there and so I assumed that it was one of the tenants from the other end of the hallway returning home. I seated myself in the chair for ten minutes to make certain there was no danger before returning inside and assuring Bella of the same. The tension of the last few minutes worked its way through my system and brought me to my senses.
What the hell had I been thinking back there? I felt so embarrassed. How could I have acted like an adolescent schoolboy on his first date, all roving hands and no brain cells? It was simply not possible to date Bella. I knew this. I knew it all along. And to top it all off, my part in the master plot to bring down Capone has been brought forward because of the escalation of violence over the last few months. The government wants Capone brought down and suddenly my work seems to be the lynchpin. This was not the time to be taking my eyes of the ball.
But I also had to protect Bella. She was close to Capone, thereby making her a target many times over. Bugs Malone had attempted to take out the Boss at least three times last week. The last time in a blaze of gunfire at the local pizza joint. Capone had escaped out the back and amazingly no one had been hurt. I was worried that she would be a target if they kept failing at the Boss.
On top of all that, at my last meeting with my contact, I had been told to ascertain if Bella knew anything and if so, did I think she would turn and give evidence?
I knocked three times as planned and was almost pushed to the floor by Bella leaping out of her hiding place and into my arms. As calmly as I could, I removed her stranglehold from around my neck and held her at arm's length. I explained that it was a false alarm and expected that it was only another tenant from this floor returning home. Bella was still shaking when I finished speaking but she had calmed a little from when I had first returned to her.
"Edward, I can't stay here any more. I don't want to be dragged into this life. I had no clue it even existed before I moved here to Chicago. Come with me to Washington and get away from this madness."
Oh my God, she had absolutely no idea how tempting that idea was. Oh, to leave all this behind and to be with Bella. We could get married and have a family. I could get a real job, one that didn't involve all the lies, the deceit, the threat of violence and death if I made one wrong move. But how long would it take for Capone and his men to find us? Would he spare Bella?
My heart plummeted. Bella might want to get away from Chicago and her Uncle Al now, but what would happen when she found out the truth about me? That I had lied to her and worked with the FBI to bring a member of her family down? She might despise him now for what he is but he is still her family.
"Bella, I'm sorry but that's not possible. I have to stay here as I have a job to do. But I can probably arrange for you to go home to your family in Washington. You will be safe there, I can arrange for Jasper to come with you for protection."
Bella was shaking her head vehemently and in a tremulous voice she said, "Edward, can I ask you something?"
I nodded slowly, uncertain where this conversation was heading.
"Why have you been so aloof, so restrained towards me all this time? I had no idea until we danced that you might have feelings towards me?"
"I could ask the same thing of you, Miss Swan. I was pretty sure that before tonight, you loathed me."
Bella smiled tentatively at my tone. "Edward, it wasn't that I loathed you. It was just the opposite in fact. I was fascinated by you as soon as you opened the door to Uncle Al's office eighteen months ago. You are very attractive, you know? And then when you held my hand, I felt this spark of electricity shoot right through my arm."
Now I was really confused. Bella had felt the same as I did at that meeting in Capone's Office?
Before I could stop myself, I blurted, "If you felt that way then why have you been so angry with me and ignored me all of this time?"
Bella sighed, "Well, Edward, after you shook my hand, you left the office so abruptly and then when I saw you in my class I knew that Uncle Al had organised you as my bodyguard. I was upset because I really liked you and I thought you had only taken the job as bodyguard because he asked. I had so wanted you to spend time with me because you wanted to, not because you had to."
"I can't lie to you, Bella. I do really like you. I liked you from the moment I first saw you. That is the problem. I like you too much and I shouldn't."
"If I asked Uncle Al, if we could date, I am sure he would give us his approval. He keeps telling me to meet a nice boy and settle down. You could be that nice boy, Edward. I can tell he likes you. Please let me ask him and then you can take me back to Washington yourself and get away from this life."
I turned pained eyes towards Bella, regretting every action I had made tonight because now I had to hurt her to keep her safe.
"I'm so sorry, Bella. It's just not possible. I'm really not as nice as you think I am and I can't go to Washington, I need to stay here and I can't explain why."
A soft repetitive knocking on the door interrupted us then and I motioned to Bella with my eyes to return to the hiding spot. I withdrew my gun from its holster under my jacket and slunk back to the front of the apartment making sure to avoid being directly in front of the door in case a shotgun blasted through it. As I made my way closer, I heard Jasper whisper my name.
I rushed to open the door and let Jasper in. Once the door closed behind him, he looked around for Bella and I indicated her hiding place. He nodded and keeping his voice low told me that when Nitti arrived he made a beeline for one of the hoofers at the club, before heading over to McGurn. I breathed a sigh of relief, feeling certain now that it was just a coincidence that they were at my club. Nitti was well known for his fondness for chorus girls and my club had the best in Chicago.
While we had been talking, we had walked to the far side of the apartment and into Bella's kitchen, tucked in a corner around from the living area. I needed to talk to Jasper without Bella being within hearing distance.
"Jasper, did you hear anything of McGurn's and Nitti's meeting?"
"Bits and pieces, mostly they met up to coordinate extra security for the Boss at this week's game at Wrigley. Capone is extra worried after Bugs' attempts to bump him off last week and he wants to take Sonny to the game with him this weekend."
"Jazz, have you heard anything about the conference in Atlantic City tomorrow? Bella overheard the Boss asking McGurn to take care of something while he was away and that he did not want to be implicated."
Jasper gasped at my words, "Bella told you that?"
"Don't get too excited, Jazz. She doesn't know anything in detail, just what she overheard when she was visiting the Boss. And even if she did know anything, there is no way I would involve her. It is way too dangerous."
"Alright, Big Cheese, but what I am excited about is her trusting you enough to tell you. What does that mean?"
"Big Cheese, really Jasper?" I rolled my eyes at this week's name for me. He had started a few weeks ago with Big Shot, then Chief and then progressed to Captain. Still not sure why, but it seemed to amuse himself and Emmett to no end.
"Edward, what has changed between you and Bella? First that tango tonight. Oh man, the sparks were absolutely sizzling between you. And now she is confiding incriminating things about her Uncle Al?"
"Actually, there is a problem, Jasper. Bella is becoming more aware of the true nature of her Uncle's business and she wants me to take her away from Chicago. McGurn showing up at the club tonight terrified her."
"Oh hell, Edward, you can't leave now, we have to finish this job or it's our necks on the line."
"I am well aware of that, Jazz! I have already told Bella that I can't go. But I do want her to leave Chicago as I'm scared that the next attack will be against her. I've already told her that it would be a good idea if you went with her for protection. In fact I think you should take Bella and Alice with you tomorrow and head to Washington."
Jasper nodded his head thoughtfully, "So, when this is all over, you coming out to Washington too?"
Damn Jasper and his all-seeing eyes.
"Jazz, you know as well as I, that once all this goes down I will most likely be taken out. Mr Capone does not take betrayal lightly, as we all know too well. That's why I was chosen for the job, you know that, no ties." I smiled at him ruefully.
"No ties huh? Maybe that was true once but something tells me that a lot has changed for you in the last six months."
I don't know what compelled me at that point, but something about Jasper encouraged me to spill.
"It's true, Jasper. I have fallen in love with her. But it's impossible, you know that. An undercover cop falling for a member of the target's family. It's one of the oldest clichés in the book. You know it never ends well."
"I don't know about that Edward. If we can put Capone in the pokey for 10 years, things will change around here. I suspect that Nitti or McGurn will take over the organization and they might be happy for him to stay there. Besides, you will not be named specifically in court, nor will you need to appear. Irey has found two of the old bookkeepers from your tips and thanks to you, we have Capone's codes. Now all we need is for the hidden ledgers to come to light and we are done with all of this. You may not be implicated at all."
"Jazz, Capone is not stupid. He will know that someone in his organization has turned on him. Very few people know the codes and I am one of the few. Besides Bella will find out soon enough that I have been lying to her and I can't imagine she would want anything to do with me once she finds out."
Jaspers eyes jerked suddenly to a place behind my shoulder, widening for a moment and then immediately flicking back to mine. With great foreboding, I swivelled around on the kitchen chair, already knowing what I would see. Sure enough, Bella was behind me leaning against the kitchen bench just staring at me.
I jumped out of the chair to go to her, to find out how much she had heard of our conversation and work out what the hell I could do to fix this mess. Before I had taken two steps, she held out her hand to stop me and once I had, she turned to Jazz and asked him to leave us for a moment. Jasper nodded quickly and as he was passing her on the way to the door, he reached out and squeezed her shoulder. She gave him a half-hearted little smile and then turned back to stare at me.
She had sounded so calm and composed when she had asked Jasper to leave us that I wondered briefly whether she had heard anything at all. My heart plummeted when I realized that if she had heard nothing of our conversation, she would hardly have asked Jasper to leave.
When I heard the front door close and lock behind Jasper, Bella walked over to the kitchen chair that Jasper had vacated and sat down. Her eyes never left mine. I resumed my seat with trepidation and cleared my throat, anything to delay the inevitable crumbling of the life I had built.
"Is Edward your real name?" Bella asked me, so quietly I strained to hear her.
There goes my wildest hope that she hadn't heard my conversation with Jasper.
"And what about Cullen, is that your real last name?"
"No, my name is Edward Masen. Cullen was from our family doctor who looked after me when my parents died when I was 18. Bella I…." I was cut off again by Bella holding out her had for me to stop.
"So who do you work for? The FBI?"
Shit, shit, shit. Oh well, in for a dollar!
Bella nodded thoughtfully at my confirmation, taking her time to process what I had said. The minutes ticked by and I was starting to sweat.
"So your plan is to find evidence to convict Uncle Al with some tax offence?"
I nodded and started to explain further when again she stopped me.
"So you aren't working undercover to take him out then?"
"No Bella, I have never taken anyone out and I don't plan to."
"Will you keep working for the FBI, Edward, when this job is finished and my Uncle is in jail?"
"I don't plan on it, Bella. Can I ask you a question?"
Bella nodded and I took a deep breath before asking the question that could quite possibly mean life and death to my team.
"Now that you know about me and Jasper and our real purpose behind working for your Uncle, are you planning to tell him?
Bella tilted her head and looked at me, her brow furrowed in consternation, before answering me.
"If you had told me that your plan was to take out Uncle Al, I would have had a dilemma about what to do Edward. On one hand I know that he is evil and needs to be dealt with, but on the other hand, he is still my Uncle Al and I am having a hard time reconciling the man I have always known with the man I strongly suspect him to be. My answer is no, Edward, I am not planning to go running to my Uncle and foil your rather inspired plan to remove him from this scene with no bloodshed required."
My relief was so palpable that Bella smiled at me. She knew the real me, she knew that I was an undercover FBI agent working to bring her Uncle to justice and she was smiling at me. That was a good sign, right?
"Edward, did you really mean what you said about me earlier?"
"How much did you hear?"
"Edward I heard you talking to Jasper when he walked through the front door and I opened the hidden door just as you both walked into the kitchen. I think I heard your whole conversation."
Bella paused and took a deep breath before continuing, "Edward, I need to know if you meant what you said to Jasper about being in love with me."
Bella was looking at me with such hope in her eyes, her lips quivering with emotion. There was no way I could be less than honest with her from now on. Before I answered her, I reached across and lifted her hands from the death grip she had on the edge of the table. I gently rubbed my thumbs across the knuckles of each of her hands and then grazed my lips across her fingers in a feather-light kiss.
"I meant every word Bella. I love you completely with all my heart and soul and every fibre of my being. It's true, your Uncle did ask me to look after you, but I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. I felt that buzz of electricity between us when I first touched your hand in your Uncle's office and I haven't been able to get you out of my mind ever since. It has been torture for me to be around you these last six months thinking you despised me. You have become everything to me."
Tears gathered in Bella's eyes and she whispered, "I love you Edward, so much. But I am so scared, more so now than ever before. You have to find a way to get out of this alive. I can't lose you now."
Suddenly the stakes for this job were too high. When I had taken the job, I didn't have a tie in the world. Now, I had Bella who held my heart in her hands and she herself would suffer if the fate I foretold for me came to pass. On top of all that, somehow in the last two years, I had grown close to Emmett and Jasper who put their lives on the line with me everyday. Even Rosalie and Alice had wormed their way into my affections.
For the first time in years, I had everything to live for and I meant to try, if not for my own sake, at least for Bella's. Maybe Jasper was right, if we could just get Capone convicted and behind bars, we may just be home free. I had no desire to stay in Chicago when the job was complete, and if we relocated to some out of the way town, we just might have a chance.
Bella felt too far away from me at that moment and I pulled her to her feet and scooped her up in my arms, a smile lighting my face for what felt like the first time in years. She laughed in delight and I kissed her soundly before declaring, "Bella, you're absolutely right. We do have everything to live for and I am going to make damn sure we do."
With that thought, I ran through the apartment with her in my arms until we came to her room. I deposited her on the bed and shut the door. I then proceeded to show Bella that life was worth living to the fullest.
A/N: I am planning on continuing this story after the competition closes so this seemed like the right place to end the one-shot.
Below is a dictionary of 1920's terms, people and place which were mentioned in this story:
Al Capone: Legendary gangster of the 1920's, famous for the St Valentines Day Massacre and the baseball incident and was convicted for tax evasion in 1931 and put away for 10 years.
Bootleg Hooch: Illegal Liquor
Cats Meow: The best, very cool, hot stuff etc etc
Charleston: A dance from the 1920's
Doll: Good looking woman
Elmer Irey: Head of IRS Specialist Intelligence Unit
Ethel: Homosexual orientation male
Fedora: Very cool hat, think Johnny Depp in Public Enemies
Fella's: Men, guys etc
Frank Nitti: One of Al Capone's right hand men. Nickname: The Enforcer.
Gams: Womans Legs
Goons: Gangster dogsbodies
Hoods: See above
Hoofers: Female Dancers – usually chorusline
Jack McGurn: One of Al Capone's right hand men – key suspect in St Valentines Massacre. Nickname: Machine Gun McGurn.
Jewellers Building: Very cool building in Chicago built in the 1920's, its now 35 East Wacker Drive – was called the Jewellers Building because it actually housed Jewellers.
Joint: Same as Juice Joint below
Juice Joint: Speakeasy, establishment that sold illegal liquor
Saps: Nerds, losers etc
Speakeasy(ies): Hidden bars selling illegal liquor
Stratosphere Lounge: Actual speakeasy owned by Capone, this was in the dome of the Jewellers Building.
Talkies: Movies with sound
Tango: Very sensual dance
Tommy Gun: Machine Gun