Hello everyone and happy Friday! First I have to say that I am completely blown away by the support you have shown me. You guys are all truly the best and I am excited to see what you think of the new adventure I have planned for our favorite fictional couple. This story will be a little different than the last one. I got part of the idea for this story from a book I read and thought it would make a great adventure to take the gang on. So in addition to some romance and drama, I'm throwing in a little mystery as well.
I have been lucky enough to bring Hope4more along with me again. For some reason she is crazy enough to want to do this with me again. She is an amazing friend that I cherish and I am happy to have her along for the ride. I have also been fortunate enough to be given tips, suggestions and advice from My Bella and her help is also greatly appreciated.
One thing that has changed this time is that I now have a blog-site. I will post teasers to upcoming chapters there as well as pictures and links relating to the story. So come on over and check it out at, http:/eternallyaddicted(dot)blogspot(dot)com/ Don't forget to remove the word dot and replace it with a period.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. And Of course just in case that doesn't cover it, Stephenie Meyer owns anything and everything relating to Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
Now on with the story. Enjoy!
Long lost words whisper slowly to me
Still can't find what keeps me here
When all this time I've been so hollow inside
I know you're still there
Watching me, wanting me
I can feel you pull me down
Haunted by Evanescence
May 13, 2010
"Damn it, Isabella, I'll suspend you if you don't willingly take a leave of absence," Special Agent McCarty snarled at me. I snorted and smiled at his attempt to threaten me by using my full name.
Pacing back and forth across the room, I gathered my thoughts in a last ditch effort to get my boss to let me help with this investigation. "Look, Emmett, I helped put this scumbag away, I've been inside his head. Don't you think that gives me an advantage over everyone else? And what's with the Isabella shit? You know I am beyond letting that get to me. I'm not some child you can easily intimidate."
"No maybe not, but as your superior, it's my responsibility to do what's best for this unit. That includes not unnecessarily risking the safety of my agents. You might have an advantage, but that is not enough of a reason to risk your safety in my opinion. Especially when you are his target. Reynolds is a sick motherfucker, Bella, you more than anyone know that, and until we find out if he is the one sending that shit to you or if he has an accomplice, I want you as far away from here as possible."
My problem was I knew Emmett was right. As much as I hated to admit it, I was the last person who should be trying to investigate whether or not James Reynolds had indeed acquired an accomplice. I was too close to the situation and too emotionally involved, given the fact I was the one who was being targeted by him. But another fact to consider was that I was also the one who was best trained to handle this sort of investigation. Reynolds was trying to manipulate me into thinking he had the upper hand. He wanted to punish me for having the gift to read him and see through every lie he had told in trying to prove his innocence in the brutal murders he had been convicted of and was now facing the death sentence for. I should have never told him his time was up; that the game was over once the conviction had been handed down. He took it as a challenge and not long after I began receiving boxes of apples in the mail each containing a cryptic message. The first message had read, My darling, Isabella, you consume all my thoughts. The one a couple of weeks ago, My darling, Isabella, One day you will be mine and the last one simply said, It won't be long now.
I walked around the edge of my desk and sunk into my chair. I knew that there was no way of getting out of the unwanted vacation that was being thrust upon me. Sighing in defeat I turned my gaze to meet the person staring intently at me, waiting for me to agree to his demands.
"Bella, you know I'm right. Just agree now and make this easier on us both," Emmett pleaded while pushing his fingers together to form a steeple at his chin.
Not wanting to say the words out loud, I simply nodded in acquiescence.
"I'll go get the paperwork started. Do you have any idea where you'll go, you know, just in case?" I knew he hated this as much as I did. Not only was he my boss, but he and his wife Rosalie had become some of my closest friends, which only made his concern for my safety increase tenfold.
My grandmother's home on the island of Capri immediately popped into my head. I hadn't been there since I was a little girl. Surely leaving the country and going halfway around the world to Italy would be far enough away. I couldn't help but smile when I thought about how ecstatic Nana would be to see me.
"Yes actually I do. Italy is rather nice this time of year and the food is amazing."
"Italy? Bella, humor me for a minute, what the hell is in Italy?"
"Well it's actually a small island off the coast, Capri. My grandmother lives there."
"Your grandmother? How come you never told me you had family living in such a great place?" he asked.
I snickered as I explained, "You know me Emmett. I try to keep my personal life very private. I just never thought to mention her. She comes here every Christmas to spend the holidays with us and for as long as I can remember she has been hounding me to come spend some time with her at her home. Maybe now is the right time to finally do that."
"I think it's perfect. Is there anything you need to finish up before you can leave? Any cases you got hanging that need to be wrapped up, anything you might need a couple of days to finish up here?" he asked as he pulled the door open and stood waiting for my reply.
"Um, no actually I just have some paper work to write up and some files to seal and put away. I should have that taken care of by the end of the day today."
Three hours later I was in Emmett's office and signing the papers for my involuntary, voluntary leave of absence. As I put my John Hancock on the last line, I thought about a request I wanted to ask of Emmett, but was hesitating a bit.
"What's on your mind, Swan, I can see your gears grinding so hard, I'm expecting smoke to be shooting out your ears any second."
"So, I was wondering if I could make a small request about this investigation. Two actually," I muttered just barely loud enough for him to hear me.
"Depends, I am not going to make any promises until I know what you want first," he said as he signed his own name to the papers that would officially send me on a personal leave of absence for an undetermined amount of time.
"Well for starters, I was wondering if you would keep me up to date on any progress. I know you want me to be safe, but I am going to go crazy not knowing what's going on. This does concern me so I just want to be kept up to speed."
"I think that is within reason. As long as you promise to stay put, I have no problem with that. You said two. What's the other one?" he asked.
Chewing on my bottom lip, I met his gaze and inquired, "If this investigation starts turning up nothing but dead ends, will you let me get involved? You know I will be able to get a read on him like no one else. So if doing things your way gets the department nowhere, will you at least promise to give my involvement serious consideration?"
"Only as a last resort, Bella. It will have to be a matter of not having any other choice left."
"Okay." I may have conceded for now, but this was just one small battle, not the war. I kept my gaze directed on his; I wanted him to know that I wasn't going to back down completely just because for now it might be the safest thing to do. I, more than anyone, had the right to protect myself and if doing things his way didn't work, I wanted other options.
I got up and left his office to get my laptop and a few other things before I left. Making my way to the door, I flipped the light switch and after turning the lock on the knob, I pulled the door shut behind me. As I walked through the office a few other agents bid me well wishes and said to have a great time on my vacation. The entire group I worked with in our department was aware of the reason for my departure. Seth was second in command behind Emmett and he would be the one to head up this investigation. Working with him would be Jake and Sam. While Emmett and Seth were being assisted by the two of them, no one else in the office knew exactly where I'd be and it would only be disclosed in the case of dire need. The remainder of our team, Jessica and Tyler, were knee deep in another case and wouldn't be called in unless needed.
However, everyone knew who James Reynolds was; it was the most recent case the entire team had been involved in together. I had been right smack in the middle of it and had been most crucial to his conviction. We all basically had one foot stuck in each other's cases, so to speak, but it was simply to be aware of the facts in order to report anything useful that might come to our attention. Like a system of cross referencing and information sharing.
I waved goodbye to everyone and told them to be safe as I left the series of offices where we were located on the thirty-fifth floor of the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle. I then walked down the corridor to the elevator. It didn't go unnoticed by me that Jake had been nowhere in sight. For this I was grateful. He was constantly hitting on me and begging me to go out with him. I knew without a doubt that was something I'd never do and it amazed me that he didn't know why. He knew that I was more than just your everyday, standard FBI psychologist. My abilities went far beyond that and the fact that he continued the charade he did was completely annoying. Did I trust him in his line of work? Yes. He was a capable agent but that was as far as it went.
I heard the elevator approaching the floor and as the doors slid open I barely held in the groan I wanted to let out upon seeing Jacob Black standing in the elevator. Expecting him to exit the small space, I was surprised when he pushed the button for the parking garage and remained inside. I sighed and leaned against the cold stainless steel wall with my arms crossed in front of me. Not wanting to engage in conversation with him, I focused on the geometric shapes of the well-worn carpet on the elevator car floor, only once briefly glancing at the illuminated numbers on the button panel to see how many more floors there were to go.
"So this is it? You're off to frolic on a beach somewhere while we figure out what the bad guy wants." He chided with such a pompous disregard for my feelings that I wanted to smack the smirk right off his face.
"You know I wouldn't be going if I had any other choice," I sneered at him.
He moved to stand directly in front of me. When he saw I wasn't going to back down and cower under his glare, he leaned forward placing his hands on the wall next to my head, thus trapping me between his arms. With his nose barely an inch from mine he stared me in the eyes and chided, "You know, you could always come home with me and be a good little girl. I promise to protect you and not let the big bad wolf eat you."
Turning on the sweet little girl charming act, I raised my hand and placed it gently on his cheek. He turned his face to place a kiss on my palm and as he did so I fought the urge to vomit in his face. Instead I smiled sweetly and said, "Oh, Jake, you'd do that for me?"
"You know I would, Isabella. How many times have I tried to convince you to go out with me," he crooned.
God his breath is rancid. What the hell did he eat for lunch?
I glanced quickly at the number panel and saw there were only two more floors to go. I knew I would have to call Emmett as soon as I got in the car and fill him in on why I did what I was about to do.
"You know, Jake, if I was a normal girl who needed a big bad body guard to protect her, your offer might be truly enticing, but again I am finding myself having to remind you that you really need to learn to take no for an answer."
The door dinged and the sound set off a chain of events that played out as smoothly as a choreographed dance. In the first few moments, it seemed time itself had slowed to watch me work. The doors rattled as they started to separate … My palms touched the scratchy fabric of his suit jacket … A victory smile spread across his face. Suddenly time seemed to speed back up and light from the garage overheads began to spill into the elevator cabin as my fingers clamped down on his shoulders, finding purchase and granting me the leverage I needed to raise my leg and bury my knee in his balls. Shoving him away I left the small confines of the elevator, my heels tapping against the concrete seconds before his body hit the elevator floor and shook the cabin.
I turned around as I stood at the door opening with my hand on it to prevent it from closing before I had my say. "Back the fuck off. Don't make me tell you again," I growled before pushing the button with the number thirty-five on it to send him back up.
Emmett hadn't been thrilled when I'd told him what I'd done, but he had understood why I had done it.
May 15, 2010
As the ferry pulled into the port, I breathed in the fresh salty scent of the ocean as I scanned the area looking for the familiar face of my Nana. It didn't take long for my eyes to pinpoint the one I was seeking. My Nana, Carmen Bacherelli, my maternal grandmother, was standing by the rail of the port holding a colorful umbrella over her head to shade it from the hot afternoon sun. Next to her was a young man who was probably close to my age that I didn't recognize. She introduced the young man as Lucca, the grandson of her dear friend Irina. While doing so she was quick to mention that he was very single. I rolled my eyes at her as Lucca held the car door open and grandma climbed in first.
Just as Lucca was about to close the door behind me, he flashed me a toothy smile and said, "Your grandmother has told me so much about you. I hope we can get to know each other better while you enjoy your stay on the island."
Not wanting to be rude and face a possible scolding from my grandmother, I gave him a weak smile to acknowledge I had heard him, while praying not to encourage him and get his hopes up. Sitting down in the back seat of the car, all I could do was shake my head at my grandmother as she held my hand and patted the top of it stating what a nice boy Lucca was.
Later that evening, the entire neighborhood which consisted of Nana's close knit friends gathered to welcome me to the island. What would have probably been a wonderful evening was tainted by the fact that what appeared to be every eligible bachelor on the island, was in attendance. The whole way from the port this afternoon she had scolded me, claiming I had behaved rudely towards Lucca.
"Geez, Nana, did you send out applications with an attached note stating, 'Husband for Hire, apply now' the moment you knew I was coming?" I retorted as I watched the line of men close to my own age of twenty-five parade past me like they were modeling for the latest fashion magazine.
"I know you were taught better manners than what your sassy mouth has been saying all night," she huffed indignantly as she strode past me to greet her friends. I suddenly was trying hard to remember why I had come here. That's right, I had been more or less been forced.
Frustrated with her obvious dismissal of how I might feel about this, I got up from the table and made my way across the courtyard to a marble bench which gave a spectacular view of the beach and Mediterranean Sea. Taking in my surroundings I mentally chastised myself for waiting so long to visit. It was truly an island paradise. The breeze was heavy with a mixture of the salty sea air and the sweet scent coming from the vast array of flowers growing in the garden. It was quite intoxicating. There were clematis vines growing over a large trellis that lined an entire length of the southern facing wall of the house. The huge purple and white blossoms stood out against the lush green vegetation of the leaves and vines as they snaked and twined their way across and through the wooden frame.
Hearing my grandmother's laughter carry in the breeze, I turned my gaze in her direction. My imagination went wild wondering what sort of stories she must be telling about me. I hadn't seen her for nearly four years, but when I was a child she visited my family in Washington frequently and I was sure she had many tales of my childhood stored in her memory. As much as I resented the fact that she had somehow gotten the notion she was going to find me a man to be married off to, I knew she meant well and was only trying to take care of me in her own way.
It wasn't as if the men she had invited were hideous or even seemed to have unkind personalities. In fact most of them were quite attractive and appeared to be quite kind and gentlemanly. The problem was with me. I had serious trust issues when it came to romantic relationships with men.
I slipped my sandals off and left them on the bench as I made my way down the path to the beach. The cool evening breeze swept through my hair and my sundress, causing them both to billow behind me as I slowly padded across the sand. I relished in the feeling of it under my feet. It was soft and warm. I felt a sense of relief after putting some distance between myself and the myriad of guests and their outpouring of emotions as they continued to drink, eat, and party.
Being an empath had its disadvantages at times. In situations like this, where the emotions were overflowing from a large crowd, it could get overwhelming at times. My grandmother had the same gift and I had been the only one in the family to inherit it. While the ability to read people's emotions and tell with complete accuracy whether or not they were lying had hindered my personal life into a state of almost nonexistence, my gift certainly had its benefits when it came to my job. Unfortunately the unique ability also led to the sick bastard that was stalking me to become obsessed. It for some sick and demented reason fascinated him that I could sense his emotions.
I tried not to think about him, to put the whole horrid situation out of my mind. I was safe here and as much as I had argued with Emmett about leaving, I now admitted to myself that it was nice to be able to relax and not have to worry about what Reynolds would do next. Even before his case, my life had been hectic and it had been a long time since I had taken any time off and did something for myself.
June 5, 2010
For three weeks now, my grandmother had been relentless in her pursuit of trying to find me the perfect husband. I swear I had been introduced to every single male in all of Italy. Okay, I may be exaggerating a little, but she was driving me bonkers. I couldn't even remember who was who anymore when she would refer to a certain someone.
"Nana, I do not need a husband to complete my life. Why do you insist on finding me one?" I whined causing her to chuckle at me. She had continued to pursue the topic relentlessly. I had hoped that after her parade of all the eligible men on the island, that she would let it alone. But she hadn't, and it seemed that every day another pursuer of my affections came calling at the front door.
"Do you realize I was married and had four children by the time I was your age," she replied as she continued to clear away the dinner dishes from the table.
"I know, Nana, you tell me every time you come to Washington for a visit. You were lucky to find grandpa, lucky to find someone you could trust. You two were truly a match made in heaven. I just haven't had that kind of luck," I groaned in frustration. How many times did we need to have this same conversation?
"What about Stefani or Lucca, what did you think of them dear? They are good boys, ones your father would be proud to give your hand to. Men who can provide for you and then you wouldn't have to keep doing that dangerous job of yours," she shrugged, indicating she didn't understand what was holding me back.
I watched her as she moved around the kitchen. To give myself some time to gather my thoughts on what I wanted to say I helped her clean up. Once she had placed the last dish in the dishwasher and motioned for me to sit with her, I found the words that I hoped would help satisfy her.
"Oh, Nana, they both seem like really sweet men who any girl would be lucky to have. But I just don't feel anything." I knew I was disappointing her, but if I lied she would know in an instant and honesty was one thing that was greatly valued in our family. It was simply not tolerated to be any other way.
"Don't you want more from your life, Isabella? A family of your own?"
"Grandmother, I know you think my life is empty and sad because I don't have a man in it. And yes I want a family of my own someday. But I just haven't found the right man to share it with. No one I can trust. Besides, I have my career, it keeps me quite busy. I can hardly find time to date, let alone find someone to marry, and those I do date, well, it always ends up the same way. They lie, I say goodbye."
"Well I won't give up until I find you an honest man to marry," she said stubbornly.
"Nana, please," I begged her.
Turning to face me, she took both of my hands in hers and with a pleading look in her eyes, she spoke to me softly. "Look, just promise me you'll think about this. No matter what things you have in your life, your job, the fanciest house money can buy, they are just things, and what good is having everything money can buy if you don't have anyone to share it with? Someone to help fulfill all your hopes and dreams."
"And someone to give you beautiful great grandbabies too I assume?" I chided, quirking an eyebrow at her, letting her know I was on to her.
She never said anymore as we cleaned up after our meal. I knew she only wanted me to experience the happiness that she had shared with my grandfather for over fifty years. But it really was hard when every man you dated told you a lie sooner or later, thus leading me not to trust them.
I kissed my grandmother on the cheek and told her I was going to take a walk on the beach. "Don't be too late," was her response.
The sun was setting and the contrasting oranges and reds of the sunset against the blue of the sea were gorgeous. I wandered along until I found a sand dune, where I plopped down and thought about the things she had said to me. I considered for a moment that maybe I relied on my gift too heavily. It was weighing on me more now than ever before, and feeling more like a curse than a gift. But at the same time, I remembered the one time I had ignored what all my instincts had been telling me. I remembered my broken heart and the loss of something that I could never get back.
Suddenly feeling as if I wasn't alone anymore, I looked around and just a few yards down the beach I noticed a man walking near the edge of the surf.
The last rays of the sun cast a reddish glow on the mess of hair covering his head. I couldn't help but wonder if it was windblown from his time on the beach or if he had what I had heard was referred to as natural bedhead—sex hair. Not that I'd know much about either one when it came to men.
I quickly lowered my head and fiddled with the edge of my shirt when he looked up and caught me staring. What he didn't know though was that I was still watching through the curtain my hair had formed around my face. He was walking this way and it was impossible not to notice that his body was beautiful. He was wearing a pair of red basketball shorts that hung low on his hips and light gray T-shirt that was snug enough to show that his upper body was very fit. It highlighted the broadness of his shoulders and the bulge of his biceps. The dark trail of wetness down the front suggested he had been doing more than just walking. Maybe he's a runner, I thought.
As he moved closer, I continued to gaze up at him through my eyelashes until he got close enough to notice and then I focused on twiddling with the hem of my shirt once again. I went on doing this until I thought enough time had passed that he would be gone. The sun had set and I figured it was about time to head back to the house. It wasn't that late and the beach was brightly illuminated by the full moon, but I didn't want my grandmother to come looking for me, or worse send one of her husband prospects to look for me. And there was no doubt in my mind that she would.
Pulling myself up from my spot in the sand, I was shocked to see the stranger standing just a few feet in front of me with his back facing my direction. He appeared to be tossing stones and small shells into the water. I had a hard time tearing my eyes away from him as I watched him bend over and pick up a few more stones to toss. Watching his muscles bend and stretch as his body flexed in movement was completely mesmerizing. Feeling the urge to flee before I was caught ogling him, I quickly brushed the sand from my backside and started to walk towards the house.
I had barely taken two or three steps when I heard an enchanting voice call out to me, "It's a beautiful night isn't it?"
Thinking that surely the words must have been meant for someone who was joining him I started to walk again, but was stopped dead in my tracks when he spoke again, "The moon is never this bright where I come from."
I stopped and turned where I was standing to make sure there was no mistake he was talking to me. I could feel my pulse quicken as he took short strides until he was just an arm's length away from me. Something was off and it took me a few seconds to pinpoint what it was. There was nothing coming from him. No hint of any emotion at all. In all the years since I had discovered my gift, never had there been anyone I couldn't get a read on. This frightened and thrilled me all at the same time. I focused and tried to concentrate a bit harder without becoming obvious, but still nothing. Holy shit how was I to know if it was safe to even be standing here so close to him? What if he was trouble? I couldn't stop all the thoughts that were suddenly bombarding my head.
He moved just a step or two closer and held out his hand, "Hi, I'm Edward; it's a beautiful night for a walk on the beach is it not?"
I hesitated for a moment before I slowly reached out to shake his hand. He was almost too gorgeous to touch and when our hands connected a buzz of energy shot up my arm. My eyes widened from the shock and darted up to his face to see if he'd felt it too. The intensity burning in his eyes launched a wave of desire over me, leaving me dizzy and somewhat breathless. I had never had this sort of reaction to anyone in my entire life. The pull I felt towards him was scaring the hell out of me.
Jarring me from the daze I was stuck in, he asked, "Do you have a name, beautiful?"
Shit did he just call me beautiful?
The heat of my blush warmed my face as I realized that I still hadn't uttered a word to him despite the fact that he had spoken to me twice. I inhaled a deep breath, and unable to stop the smile that spread across my face I sputtered, "Oh, um, sorry, my name is Bella. And yes, it is a perfect night for a walk on the beach."
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Til next time,