This is my very first attempt to write something other than the checks for my bills, and I do that online now!
Thanks to Cullen818 for taking the time to proof this!
SM owns them, I just try to kill them off!
To Keep you Safe
I was late. Really really late. I hated being late more than anything. Well, almost more than anything. I hated being trapped in an elevator for thirty-seven floors with strangers more. Strange men to be specific. Ever since the attack. Ever since the attack I always seemed to be running late.
But I didn't want to think about that. If I didn't think about it, then it didn't debilitate me; it didn't hold any power over me.
So what if I was now late for my own meeting just because I had to wait an extra fifteen minutes in the lobby to catch an empty elevator.
So what if I couldn't take the train into the city anymore because there were too many people in too tight of a space.
So what if I couldn't make copies in the little room off of my lab simply because the walls felt like they were closing in on me.
So what if I tended to freak out a little in the parking garage at night even when security walked me to my car; which is why I didn't go into the parking garage anymore.
So what if my own employees had to make a conscience effort to not approach me from behind or out of my periphery or even follow too close when walking down the hallways.
I was Isabella fucking McCarty, and I was not going to be defeated by some random mugging.
I fumbled in my suite pocket for the inhaler, inhaled twice off of it and let the medicine steady my breathing. Before the attack I rarely ever needed the medicine, but in the three months since I noticed an increasing tightness in my chest and shortness of breath that came usually before stressful situations.
I stood just outside of the boardroom giving myself thirty seconds to center my thoughts. No one but Emmett knew how much I hated getting up in front of a group of people and talking.
I cleared my throat and pushed the door open. Twelve sets of eyes turned to stare at me.
Emmett was standing at the podium, glasses on the tip of his nose reading from his notes. He cocked an eyebrow at me. He was mad.
"Nice of you to join us Ms. McCarty. I am so glad that you find us worthy enough to grace us with your presence at our small meeting here." He waved his had indicating the audience in the room.
He was really mad. Emmett was not a scientist, had no background in science and wanted to know nothing of the specifics of my project. The only thing he wanted to know was how much money it was going to cost him and how much money it was going to make him.
"I was just attempting to go over the data from the field research."
"Ah, that explains why everyone is asleep." I purposely slammed my briefcase down on the oak table causing everyone to jump in their seats. "I'll take it from here Mr. McCarty."
"What the fuck Bella?"
Emmett was yelling at me and yanking on his tie at the same time.
"Twenty four minutes late to a board meeting. You stroll into a room full of directors that are looking for any reason to toss us out on our ass and you show up twenty four fucking minutes late."
I kicked off the stilettos and curled up in his leather desk chair. He hated when I sat behind his desk. "They can't toss us out, I'm gonna make them so much money they'll be using it to wipe their snotty asses with."
He spun the desk chair around; hands braced on the armrest of chair and leaned down to look in to my eyes. "Listen here little girl, I will not put our fathers company in jeopardy of being lost to those blood sucking leeches just because you can't seem to get out of bed in time."
I wanted to kick him in the balls for that statement, but the look in his eyes told me that it would be better not to assault his person at that moment. I was just as committed to the company that our father had built from the ground up as he was. But at the moment his presence looming over me was my biggest concern.
My heart knew that it was Emmett, my over protective bear of a brother standing in front of me, yet my brain wanted my body to melt into the chair to get away from him.
He was standing too close in my personal space and it was starting to freak me out. I closed my eyes to try to separate the fear from reality. Reality was that Emmett was not a threat. Fear was that he was a man and standing way to close for my comfort.
I must have unconsciously made some sound because he stepped back immediately, eyes widening and face going pale at how his actions were affecting me.
"Oh God Bells, I'm sorry. I...I didn't mean…I forgot…"
I waved his apology away, changing the subject and trying to steady the beat of my heart. He only knew parts of the story of what had happened to me and was not completely use to my new fear of being in close proximity of others. "Em, I didn't over sleep. I couldn't get an elevator," I said softly looking down at my lap.
He all but flopped down into one of the leather chairs on the opposite side of the desk, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. He only did that when he was stressed. The anger of before seemed to automatically pour out of him. "Next time have Felix clear one out for you."
"I cannot ask security to clear out an elevator simply because I'm too chicken shit to ride up like a normal person."
"There is nothing abnormal about you," he paused and smirked, "well, that's not entirely the truth. You do seem to have a few screws loose up here." He tapped his temple.
"You're not funny."
"Seriously Belly, there is no harm in asking for Felix's help. You just cannot be late to another meeting. It makes us look like we don't have our shit together."
"I know. I'll do better."
We talked more about the meeting and my project before I excused myself to go work in my lab.
"I've got a friend coming over Saturday for lunch. I need you to meet him."
"Need?" I asked. He never stressed the importance of me needing to meet one of his friends before. In fact he usually tried to keep me away from a lot of them, stating that they were too rowdy for me to be around. If he only knew some of the people Rose and I use to hang around.
"I've got that charity breakfast that morning. I should be back in time, but just in case I would like for you to be home to greet him." He explained.
I shrugged. "Sure, sure. I gotta pick up my bike earlier that morning, but I should be back by then."
I saw him tense up at the mention of my bike. Emmett was not necessarily warm to the fact that I like to ride and collect motorcycles. Of course they were okay for him and his friends, but as soon as I sparked an interest in them he considered them a nuance and a death trap.
Emmett ignored the statement about my bike, probably not wanting another argument.
"He'll be staying in the pool house overnight. Can you schedule Angela to clean it tomorrow? I keep forgetting to mention it to her. And I'll be grilling so she'll probably need to pick up some steaks."
"What's this guys name?
"Jasper Whitlock. He's a friend from college."
I turned to leave.
"Bella, I need you to be," he paused for a brief moment, "nice to him."
I quirked my eyebrow at him expecting him to explain himself. I was never not nice just because. Whenever I wasn't nice I always had valid reason. I just didn't randomly go off on people for no reason.
"Why would I not be nice to him?"
He didn't offer any other explanation and I dropped it, wanting to get to my lab. I had a few ideas that I needed to start working on.
Saturday morning I jogged tree miles into town and met my best friend Rose for breakfast. We sat at a little table outside of the quaint café and ate scones and drank tea. She had recently gotten back from a three-week trip to Paris and was sharing her shopping, working and sex-capades with me.
"I swear to God Bella I have never seen a fucking dick that big."
As she held up her hands measuring, about a foot apart, three old ladies walked by overhearing us. They scowled at us, not approving of the unlady like conversation.
"Shhh Rose, I swear you are so loud." I giggled.
She waved away the reprimanded, giggling herself. "If you had seen it you would be loud too. He had me screaming his name for hours."
"I'm glad you're home." Rose was more than just my best friend; she was for all purposes my sister. With the exception of when we went off to college or either of us were away on business, we had been inseparable since we were seven years old. And even though she had an apartment in the city she still had her own bedroom at our home too.
"Yeah, yeah, back to exciting old Sound Beach, Connecticut."
"So come by the house for lunch today. Emmett has some guy coming by and I may have to baby-sit him until he gets home."
"I don't know Bells, I've got a ton to do to get ready for festival, not to mention all of the unpacking."
Rose was an artist, a painter and sculptor. She was really good and one of the reasons that she had been to Paris for three weeks was that she was overseeing the shipment of several of her recently finished commissioned pieces. Her client had insisted that she accompany her work and have them personally set up in his home to achieve the maximum lighting and room design to coordinate with her masterpieces.
"What time did you say, around noon?"
"Oh, so you'll come for food, but not for your best friend?"
"I cum a lot of different ways whore," she winked. "I'll be there."
We hugged and I left her to go to the bike shop around the corner.
Any basic maintenance that my bikes needed I always did myself. I had spent hours with dad in the garage when I was younger and had grown to love it because he did. But since I had moved back to the Sound almost a year ago my time was now divided between working in the lab and heading the marketing department of Applied Sciences at McCarty Enterprises. And besides, my vintage Ducati was different. I didn't want it sitting under a tarp not being rode simply because I didn't have the time to do the proper maintenance.
The shop owner Jake was also another of my best friends. He and Rose kept me balanced and usually if two of us were in trouble it was the other that got us out.
He understood what the bike meant to me, knowing that it was gift from my dad, and he cared for it as he would his own.
"Bella, hey girl!"
I had known Jake for nearly fifteen years and up until three months ago his standard greeting had always been accompanied by a bear sized hug. I literally trusted Jake with my life, but to be enclosed within his arms even for a few seconds was too much to deal with now. I missed his hugs, we both did, but until I could find a way to deal with the paralyzing fear that came with them we settled for a simple high five.
We chatted for a while and then I changed into my suite that I had left with him when I dropped the bike off. It was one of those thick padded biking suites that I only wore when I had planned on doing some serious riding on the back roads. With my long curly brown hair secured at the nape of my neck I pulled the helmet on.
I had two hours before I had to be back to the mansion to meet Emmett's guest. Two hours to ride the back roads of the Sound and to be free from my fears and worries about strangers and elevators and closed tight places. I took off.
I slammed the side door connecting the kitchen and garage loud enough to be heard in the next county and flung my helmet across the travertine tile floor. It thudded against the stainless steel refrigerator door and wobbled off to the left. I flopped onto the sofa and kicked off my boots.
When I saw the black Crown Victoria in the driveway I had thought my head would explode. No body drives the speed limit. No body except little old ladies, grandpa's and soccer moms yelling at their bad ass kids in the back seat.
Four bloody fucking tickets! Four!
My chest was starting to feel tight and the suite I was wearing to protect me from road rash was now starting to make me feel like I was trapped in a sauna. I fumbled with the zippers on my pockets searching for my inhaler but I was unable to get my fingers to stop shaking.
"What the hell Bella-" Emmett rushed over to me knocking my fingers away. "Inhaler, in this pocket? Nod for yes."
I nodded so hard my neck hurt. I was starting to not be able to breathe at all now.
"It's not here Bella."
From the casual observer Emmett seemed to be the calmest individual in cases of emergency. His voice never cracked and his mind was always moving, forward thinking. But I knew that inside he was freaking out. He could do a lot of things, but making me breath on command was not one of them, and it scared the living shit out of him.
He ran to the built in desk and flung the drawers out, dumping the contents on the floor searching for the extra inhaler that he insisted I keep in every room of the house. Every fucking room. All fifteen rooms, not counting the bathrooms and the rooms that weren't even finished being refurbished yet!
"Jasper!" Emmett called frantically.
"Emmett, what the hell-"
"Help me man. Inhaler. One of these fucking drawers." Emmett was flinging papers and odd drawer junk onto the floor.
Jasper saw me struggling with the zipper to get out of the damn suite and ran to me first, not only unzipping it all the way down, but pushing it off my shoulders and down my arms and body as well. A shot of cold air instantly chilled my body causing me to take two quick breaths before the wheezing started again.
Jasper spun to his left and began searching the drawers contained within the island.
He was at me in an instant, forcing the inhaler between my lips and plunging downward on the smaller aluminum barrel. One hand kept the inhaler in my mouth and the other guided me down to the sofa, careful so that I didn't trip over the suite that was only pushed down to my knees.
He heard my breathing start to ease and plunged once more on the medicine barrel. "You're doing well Isabella. Just take it easy now." He crooned in my ear. " Yes, that's good, concentrate on steadying your breathing. You've just had too much excitement for right now, you're going to be fine."
I didn't know who this guy was, or why he took it upon himself to be Florence fucking Nightingale, but his bedside manner was immensely calming and quite therapeutic. Who knew that mumbling a bunch of garbage into someone's ear would get them to calm down.
Of course, later on that night when I had time to think about it, it wasn't what he said, but how he said it and how he looked while saying it and not to mention the current of electricity that seem to be coursing through my body from his firm hold on me. Think: full plump honey lips on a freaking god like man.
When my breathing finally settled I was able to concentrate on the rest of that which was connected to those amazing sweet looking lips. He was tall, almost as tall as Emmett, with curly brownish blonde hair that hung almost to his chin. And what a glorious dimpled chin it was covered with a scruffy beard.
I noted the way his tee shirt pulled across his chest, he was not as thick and muscular as Emmett, but definitely not scrawny either. His honey topaz eyes widened as I realized that he was watching me check him out.
I shut my eyes with a snap and leaned back into the sofa cushions, embarrassed that I had been caught ogling him.
"Now can you please tell me what the fuck all of the noise is about?"
I opened one eye and closed it. Emmett was standing over me, hands on his hips and not looking at me like someone is suppose to look at a sick person.
"Emmy I'm so sick right now." I tried to feign fragile. It always worked with dad and up until my seventeenth birthday had worked on Emmett.
"Shut the bull shit up Bella and tell me what happened? I'm not dad and you're definitely not seventeen anymore."
He didn't move.
I sighed and sat up a little, resting on one elbow and the sofa cushions.
"I got four tickets." I mumbled.
"FOUR!" He roared, throwing his hands up as in defeat. "What the fuck Bella?"
"It's not my fault." As soon as I said it I was mentally kicking myself. But it was out there now and it was all I had to work with.
"Who the hells fault is it then Bella? Did the motorcycle fairy make you do it?"
He started pacing. He only paced when he got mad.
"I was trying to get home in time."
"In time for what Bella?" He asked, already knowing, teeth clenched.
I looked at Jasper.
"Oh, this is so not my fault." He stood, backing away, hands up palms out.
"If you and your slow junk heap hadn't been taking turns at ten miles and hour I might have made it on time."
"I'm sorry that my obeying the traffic laws of this county inhibit you from –"
"Not the laws, just the operator. I thought they stripped senior citizens of their right to drive when they got too old to remember to turn the turn signal off!"
I saw him blush and trying to remember if he had indeed driven for too long with the signal on.
"No, they take that right away with four tickets." Emmett said angrily flipping through said tickets that I had pulled out of my pocket. "Reckless driving, improper turn, following too closely and operating a vehicle without a valid drivers license. What the hell Bella? How did you even get home?"
"The pig made me walk the last three miles, pushing my bike."
"What? Which one of them was it?"
"It was Swan."
Charlie Swan was the Chief of Police and his hatred of our family was well known and widely talked about.
Emmett sat on the edge of the other end of the sofa, running his hands through his hair. "Start at the beginning."
I took a deep breath. "I was coming through town, turning right onto Main Street. You know it has that small turning lane and so I merged but didn't signal. Ticket one. Ticket two and three was when I was cruising along and ran up behind Mr. Slow Poke here and got the ticket for following too closely and The Pig said I was speeding through town. Ticket four is because I forgot to put my license in my pocket before I left the house this morning.
"Swan made me push the bike home since I refused a tow truck. He followed me the entire way to make sure I didn't get on it again. He even came up the driveway although when I told him he was trespassing he said that I should call the police and have them come and check it out. Fat bastard laughed the whole way too."
I took another pull on the inhaler. It was like nicotine to a chain smoker.
Emmett sat quietly. "You know that they will suspend your license when you go to court next week."
"Not if Jenks can fight-"
"No, you made this mess, we're not using our lawyers to get you out."
I jumped up to argue. "But-"
He stood to face me, well, to tower over me. He was a freaking giant compared to my five foot four inch frame. I hated when he did that shit, it was almost as annoying as when he went all psycho over protective of me.
"No Bella. You," he was pointing at me, "cannot let others fight for you. You made this mess, now you have to let the justice system deal with it." He repeated his earlier statement a bit more forceful than usual. "Now clean this shit up." He pointed to all of the drawer contents on the floor. "Rose called looking for you and said she would be here in an hour. We will eat then."