The doorbell rings and a shudder of both disgust and excitement rushes down my spine. I pull my Bella's beautiful face down for one last long, lingering kiss before she stands and moves toward the bedroom, where Jenks along with Jake and the rest of our security detail is waiting. It's fucking torture to let my love out of my grasp but I know that it's necessary. This is our one and only change to get through this ordeal unscathed, so I'm putting all my hope, anger and energy into making this a believable performance for the short amount of time necessary. There is simply no other alternative to get this bitch where we want her.
I take a deep breath and cast one last glance at my beautiful wife before opening the heavy oak door. Swallowing back the bile that rises up my throat at the sight of Gianna in a short, dark grey trench coat belted tightly above her phony baby bump and sky high black stilettos, I barely manage to keep my face from twisting in disgust and step aside, motioning for her to enter my suite.
"Gianna. Looking lovely, as usual." I force out a cocky smirk, but the words nearly burn my tongue with the amount of revulsion and betrayal behind them. It's so goddamn hard to put on this façade but I know that I need to man up and do it. This is for my family, and I refuse to fail. I cannot let this viper sense even the slightest bit of weakness; she knows me too well. So with a sickly saccharine smile and forced but calm, smooth voice, I purr, "Let me take your coat."
I deserve a motherfucking Oscar for my superb acting skills right now.
She is all too eager to shrug out of her expensive Burberry trench coat and hand it to me, revealing a form-fitting black mini dress underneath. It's low cut and shows off plenty of cleavage. Bitch is on the prowl tonight. Too bad she has no idea what is about to happen to her.
I take the coat and toss it unceremoniously across the back of the sofa making my way over to the drink cart. I take my time to pour myself a double shot of brandy, and enjoy the way it burns going down my throat. I know I'm gonna need it. Fucking liquid courage.
Just as I'm about to turn around, her shrill voice cuts through the silence, "Where's Jake? I know he was with you when you checked in, and it's not like you to leave yourself unprotected." She raises one eyebrow as she makes a show of looking around the empty room.
Stalker much? Jesus I can't fucking stand this woman.
"He's around." Is my only cryptic reply. On cue, Jake, Seth, Jenks and Paul step out from the bedroom and position themselves so that they are blocking the entrance.
Bella saunters across the room and tucks herself into my side before tossing the envelope onto the coffee table. Her smooth, sexy voice cuts Gianna off just as she starts telling Bella to leave us alone. "You might want to take a look at those before you start threatening me, Gianna." The confidence in her voice is hot as hell and as inappropriate as it may be, I find myself wondering how long it will take to get rid of all these fools so I can get inside her. I want nothing more than to feel the tight, wet heat of my gorgeous wife right now. I need the closeness and reassurance.
Gianna is startled by the envelope hitting to coffee table, but there is a fierce determination shining in her eyes as she reaches for it. I see the tattoo for the first time just as she picks it up and it sickens me to see my name etched into her deep olive skin. I know Bella sees it too by the sharp intake of breath I hear at my side. What a fucking bitch. I can't begin to describe the rage I feel knowing that that small work of ink hurts my wife so deeply and the gleam in Gianna's eye as she senses the break in Bella's tough demeanor.
We will deal with that later. First we need to get down to business.
I tighten my arm around her waist but it really is unnecessary considering it takes my Bella only a moment to regain her composure, a feat that impresses me greatly considering the circumstances.
Gianna takes her sweet time pulling the six black and white photographs from the envelope and even longer sifting through them. When she finally looks up at us there is a deep sadness in her eyes that I've never seen before. It is both frightening and exhilarating. "What exactly are you hoping to achieve by showing me these, Edward?"
Fucking crazy bitch.
"We just want to be left alone to live our lives, Gianna. Nothing more." I feel complete truth as the words fall from my lips. That is ultimately all Bella and I want, just to be left alone to live our lives and raise our family in peace. Her eyes fill up with unshed tears and the despair I saw earlier turns quickly to desperation as she reaches for her handbag.
"I'm sorry, Edward, but I'm afraid I can't give you that."
Everything from this point moves faster than my overloaded mind can comprehend and before I know what is happening, I instinctively curl myself around my Bella as I see Jake barreling toward us and Paul lunging at Gianna. Searing pain rips through my abdomen and shoulder and I faintly hear Bella let out a blood curdling scream as we collapse to the floor under the massive weight of my body guard. My head slams into the corner of the drink cart with the force that Jake hits us with and it is at this moment that I realize that there have been four gunshots fired, but is too late to do anything because just as my head hits the floor, the room goes black.
"Bella!" That is the first thing that escapes my lips as my eyes fly open. I have no idea where I am but the constant beeping and medicinal smell quickly leads me to believe that I am in the hospital. It is at this moment that I become aware of the intense throbbing pain in my shoulder and left side.
"Calm down Mr. Cullen. Mrs. Cullen and the baby are just fine. She's only stepped out for a moment. She's will return shortly. The poor dear has hardly left your bedside. A real beauty you have there, hon, and so sweet."
"Jake?" I manage to choke out the name through the dry, grittiness that I've only just noticed in my throat. The weary look that crosses the nurse's face tells me all I need to know. "Is he alright? Jacob? Goddamn it! Tell me!" I know that my outburst is frightening the poor old woman who is only trying to do her job but at this point I don't really give a fuck.
"Holy hell, ciccino, give Marilyn a break here. For fuck's sake calm down, you're gonna give her a heart attack!" I have never been more relieved to see my gorgeous wife's extremely pissed off face in my entire life. She looks absolutely breathtaking in dark, skin tight jeans, a fitted jacket, and sky high leopard print heels. She's never looked more beautiful to me with her fierce dark eyes and perfectly pouty, glossed lips turned down in a frown.
"Baby," I say reaching out for the swell in her stomach where our precious child rests. My voice is more of a breathy whisper than anything and I don't even care that I sound like a complete pussy the moment her fiery eyes soften. One side of her full lips pulls up into a smirk as she saunters across the small hospital room to stand at the side of my bed. I will never get over the sight of how large my hand looks spread out protectively over our child. Her voice, along with the touch of her small, soft hand against my stubbly cheek, is perfect and I quickly grab hold of her hand making it impossible for her to pull it away from my face. "I'm fine, ciccino, the baby and I are fine." She answers my unspoken question. The relief that courses through me is immense and I can barely close my eyes and breathe under the weight of it.
It is only when I feel her lips moving against mine that I know that everything is going to be alright. And when I feel the slick, silkiness of her tongue push into my mouth , I know that the worst of everything is behind us.
"I love you." I feel more than hear the words and I don't hesitate to say them back, never once pulling away from her pillow soft lips, "I love you." I only allow myself a moment of bliss before I push the question again, "Jake?"
I know it's serious the moment she pulls away. The sadness in her eyes speaks volumes. "Jake's been shot, but he's gonna be alright. I promise. You saved me, and he saved you." She places her hand tenderly on top of the tiny baby bump that has just started to grow, and a tear slips down her cheek as she looks back up into my eyes. Terror races through me at the thought of what could have happened to my Bella and to our child. I wouldn't have survived losing either one of them. I now know with every fiber of my being that I owe this man, one of my closest friends, my life.
"What happened? The last thing I remember is seeing Gianna pull out a 45 and stepping in front of you, searing pain then Jake knocking us both to the ground."
"Yeah. That crazy bitch pulled out a gun! She was going to shoot me, ciccino. She tried to kill me." I reach for her hand and pull her down onto the bed with me because I can't stand even the smallest distance between us. "She reached inside her purse and before I knew it you were pushing me down then Jake was on top of us. Thankfully, it was a smooth fall for me and all I have is a small bruise on my thigh. Unfortunately, she managed to get six rounds off before Paul got the gun away from her. The two that hit you, one that hit Jake in the back, the other two were stray."
She is a sobbing mess by the time she finishes telling me about the struggle, the chaos and ultimately Gianna's arrest. Such sorrow should never taint those beautiful brown eyes and it kills me that I wasn't there to support her during this traumatic time.
"They were both flesh wounds with clean exits. Oh, God! I've never been so worried in my life. There was so much blood! I thought I was going to lose you, we can't lose you!" A fresh round of sobs wracks her small body and I immediately regret asking. I never want to be the source of her sadness. "I'm here, baby, and I'm okay. We're gonna be okay." I hold her close until her sobs quiet then ask the pressing question that has been on my mind since the moment that I knew she and the baby were alright.
She knows exactly what I'm referring to, and the sadness in her eyes speaks volumes.
"The bullet barely missed his left lung, but it did graze his spine. They were able to remove the bullet, but he's paralyzed from the waist down on the left side of his body. It will be a long recovery for him but the doctors don't believe that there will be any permanent damage. With therapy, he should regain full use of his lower body. But he's alive and that's what matters right now. "
"He's alive. That's good. Fuck. Thank fucking God." Her smile is radiant as she bends over and plants a sweet kiss to my lips. "Yes, thank fucking God."
As much as I love my wife and don't want to part from her I can't manage keeping my eyes open a second longer. It feels like a thousand knives are being stabbed into my skull and just the thought of keeping my eyes open makes me nauseous. I'm told these are just the lingering symptoms of a severe concussion, and along with two gunshot wounds, that I need to listen to my body and rest. I do just that with the comfort of knowledge that my gorgeous wife will be waiting right by my side when I wake and thankful that it's me with the injuries and not her. There is no greater feeling at this moment than knowing that she and the baby are perfectly fine and healthy.
Five days later I'm sleeping soundly on one of the sofas when Lily decides to bathe my face with her tongue. Fucking disgusting. I still have some lingering side effects of the mild head trauma but other than a few shooting pains in my head, and the lingering pain from the gunshot wounds, everything seems to be getting back to normal and I couldn't be more thankful. It still blows my mind how a goddamn concussion is more painful than being motherfucking shot.
Gianna's formal hearing is next Wednesday, but neither Bella nor I have spoken about it. I guess we kind of want to enjoy this small amount of normalcy before facing the media frenzy and constant reminders of what we've been dealing with for the last six months. To be honest we haven't even ventured out toward the gates of our property, knowing full well that there are literally hundreds of reporters camped outside at any given moment. This afternoon will be the first time we have to deal with them at all being that Jake comes home today. Bella has been running herself ragged trying to help Leah get their house ready for him. My Bella is such an astonishing woman. She is so incredibly selfless and thoughtful, it amazes me every day.
Paul peeks his head into my office around three o'clock to let me know that he, along with the rest of our security team are about to head out for the ordeal that is bringing Jake home. I'm grateful that the fucker is well enough to come home, but let's be honest, I'm nervous as fuck to open the gates to our property. The leeches have been out in droves over the last week just dying to get a glimpse of me or my wife. Speaking of my wife,
Her beautiful smile lights up the room as she enters my messy office with Capo hot on her heels. He's been unnaturally protective of my Bella since we came home from the hospital. It's almost as if he can sense the tension around our home. I'm incredibly thankful for him and Lily. I know they would never let any harm come to Bella or the baby.
"We have a doctor's appointment on Thursday, don't forget." She softens her bossy tone with a sweet grin and a wink making me want nothing more than to peel those leggings right down her long, shapely legs and bend her over my desk. Too bad that's just not possible with holes in my body and my arm in a sling. That doesn't stop me from assaulting the fuck out of her mouth, however, and using my good hand to get a nice feel of that sweet ass.
I sit back and let my mind wander to Thursday's appointment. My Bella has been through so much stress lately and even though it makes me sound like a complete pussy, I really can't wait to hear our son or daughter's heartbeat fill the room. I just need the reassurance that the baby is safe and healthy and that everything is just as it should be.
With a small smile on my lips, I let my mind drift from my unborn child to my wife. My wife whose body has taken to pregnancy like no other. The little bit of weight she's gained so far, motherfuck, that's all I've got to say. She's all Bella and sexy curves and glowing skin and shining hair, damn I really do sound like a pussy. Before I can get too worked up over my growing vagina, however, my phone rings.
"What?" I bark into the receiver because let's face it I'm always a complete dick on the phone, unless it's my girl-or my mother, but its neither so what-the-fuck ever.
"Mr. Cullen, how is your wife handling the news that Gianna's pregnancy was a complete sh…?" I roll my eyes and end the call before the reporter has a chance to even finish his first question. Fucking leeches. They'll get the information they're looking for as soon as that cunt sucking whore gets what's coming to her, until then I'm not saying a goddamn word. I refuse to give the media anything to talk about. Besides, it's best for our case against Gianna to keep our mouths shut. The media always finds a way to twist your words and the last thing we need is to add any more complications to the situation. I'll admit though, these bastards are getting on my last fucking nerve and I can hardly wait to give our interview and get them the fuck out of our hair.