Cimmerian at the Aurora
Title means: Cimmerian: Absence of light.
Aurora: break of dawn.
Full Summary: Edward suffered from a traumatic teenaged existence and succumbs to a life of turmoil as a hired hit man. After seven years, the hands of fate bring him face to face with his angel's husband. Before Edward realizes it, he is put into the position to kill the only love he's ever known. Will fate have its way, or will Edward?
A/N: Thank you to my amazing betas/co-conspirators, Jen (Twilightcullenlvr9), Tif (VampPixyJAK), Kelley (Kelley77), and Char (CheekyCharlie) and the others that have read to make sure it is up to par for the contest (The Daylighter, GeeOh, and Jason (my hubby)). Your help and encouragement have caused me to cross mountains and brave the deserts.
My nights were spent lying awake at all hours, for reasons unbeknownst to most and transgressed by me. I had become good at working the façade, forcing the world to believe I was happy, that my ducks were in a row, and that shit wasn't about to hit the fan. And in truth, maybe it was partially right, so rightfully I couldn't complain too much. Not about life anyways. There were too many other things to complain about, such as how the red fucking glow from the damn alarm clock seemed to grow painfully brighter the longer I stayed awake, and seemed to blind me through the back of my eyelids. Silently, I cursed it for being the cause of my insomnia; but I knew it was nothing of the sort—it was only my scapegoat. Something had to get the blame right? At least this way it was an inanimate object and not an actual person.
Yes, I spent my nights awake and alone, but to the outside world I was happy; I had the perfect job, the perfect family, possibly the perfect fucking life, but I never shared their feelings on that part, life wasn't perfect. Those facts only proved truth isn't always a feeling of reassurance. In reality, truth was taxing and exhausting, heavy and bearing; and in my life, truth was death and destruction. But to those who saw me, I had it all—with the exception of a special someone to spend my life with. Not that I haven't been looking, I just haven't been interested in looking, so of course it never went successfully. As far as I'm concerned, I lost the possibility of that someone when I screwed up my life years ago.
Life started normally— or as normal as can be when you are born and raised in the city of Chicago. I had a happy childhood, grew up with loving parents in the suburbs, and then the inconceivable happened. My father died, and mom was forced to live with the consequences, resulting in everything I knew to be life ending. The family dinners, family vacations, and sports Sundays were all a memory of the past. The confident, self-assured mother I once had, faltered and broke down into a tidal pool of garbage and muck. At that point, there was no semblance of a happy childhood left—or life at all for that matter.
Nothing can compare to the horror that overtook me when I walked in and saw the blood surrounding her lifeless body; right then and there my world, my reality, ended. Right there, in my parents' bedroom, my life changed and became unrecognizable; it became a dark transparency of what it used to be. I was abandoned at twelve years old with no parents, no family to be heard of; I was totally alone in the world.
When I read or hear people claim such bullshit as a person chooses their own path in life and that the right to make that choice is left upon no one but themselves, I reflexively want to vomit at the fucking absurdity of it all. It's the largest load of fucked up shit you'll ever fucking hear. I didn't choose this life; I didn't even want this life. I realized at that point, poker rules do apply to life (as odd as that sounds); so you do have to deal with the hand you are dealt, and so I was.
Conceivably, one could argue my life took a violent turn the day I found my mother with pieces of her brain splattered on the walls around me. Others may claim it began back on the day my father was wrongfully murdered by that pompous asshole who should have known better than to drive. Both options could prove to be correct, as one led to the other, which led to the fucked-up-ness that was me and my life.
I knew the truth. I knew why I was sentenced to this life. It was for me to atone for the day I couldn't save her—the day I allowed her to die, it was my own personal hell. It was evident to me that she died long before pulling the trigger; my mother was dead the moment she identified my father's body. Even as young as I was, I avidly recognized the semblance of death, and I watched it creep into her eyes and claim her soul. It should have been obvious; I needed to do more to protect her—to save her—but I did nothing. I sat idly by and let the darkness and sorrow overcome her as the grief became more insurmountable than she could handle.
I did nothing, and in essence because of that, I killed my mother. That in itself was the first regret I ever had, and I knew I would do anything to change it. I know life's a bitch—a fucking bitch that likes to come in and tear you to shreds with all the strength it can muster. I know I created this bitch of a life that I am now living in, and I regret every moment of it, but there is nothing at this point that I can do about it.
After her death, I was moved from foster home to foster home, being passed around like an ugly, abused, old mutt straight from the pound. Each place was confined of different surroundings, different people, none of which I could settle into and become comfortable with. I didn't want people to care for me; I wasn't worth being cared for.
Life didn't hold feeling after her death, unless it was physical, whether it was a hard slap across the face, a kick in the ribs, or an uppercut to the jaw. In some regards, I appreciated the pain; I felt like justice was being served for what I had allowed. I felt the pain as necessary to feel, to know I was being punished in some form for what I had done. Beyond the fighting, I would revel in each sting from the belt my foster parents would deliver to me. With each hard blow of a fist, came the realization, that I was still alive.
That's it, the cold hard truth, I was still alive, and they weren't. They weren't because of me.
As selfish as I was, as horrible as I was, I still wished on every star in the Chicago sky, for some sort of salvation, some sort of sign, something to let me know my parents still loved me, even though I had done the unthinkable. I needed to know they loved me; I needed the reassurance that even though she had committed the most heinous of crimes, that my mother was in heaven with my father, and they loved me. That was all I wanted, all I needed.
That sign came in the form of a little pixie. She was god's gift to Earth if you asked me, the one beaming ray of light that held the world together and showed the grace of any sort of a higher being. She was glorious, and she was full of life, excitement and love—but most importantly, she picked me out of a line up; she picked me to become her 'big brother.'
The little sprite never realized she was agreeing to damaged goods, agreeing to someone who wasn't worthy of the shit scraped off of her shoe. She never realized this chump didn't belong in her fairy tale life, and I wasn't the jester she had hoped for. Admittedly, life got better with some structure and discipline. I was adopted at the request of the fairy princess. And no matter how bad things turned, my new owners never laid a hand on me, and they respected my space.
I found it to be a heavy form of betrayal though. By being with them, by being happy, by picking up the pieces of my life, all I was doing was betraying my mom—replacing my parents. The harder I tried to lock my new family out, the farther they pushed to become my confidents. My insistence on isolation may have won out in the end had it not been for the little fairy and the fact that I was never able to deny her of anything she wished. I was a pawn in her hand, and I would do anything to protect her. She was my atonement—my responsibility, my vindication—for everything I had done wrong.
Life went on like that for awhile—me protecting her from everything I could. I held her during her nightmares, sang to her to calm her fears, served her while she was ill, and beat the living shit out of any boy who even thought about looking at her. It wasn't love, it wasn't lust; there were no romantic feelings, only brotherly/sisterly compassion and protection… though I may have taken it a little far. Eventually someone always gets hurt, because they aren't man enough to take the responsibility for their actions. But the assholes learned quickly; you fuck with my sister… I fuck with you. It was as simple as that.
High school was when everything changed, when I met my other half—my soul mate. This is where I sigh in wonder, where I ponder all that could have been, had I been a whole human being. If I could have been normal, not a worthless, jaded shell of a man, I could have been good enough, I could have accomplished great things, I could have been her one and only just as she was mine… but it could never be. I could never be hers, and she would never realistically be mine. The world would never allow an angel such as her to murk in the darkness with us sinners.
Even seven years later, I can still envision her mahogany hair cascading down her back in soft waves, and her beautiful chocolate brown eyes that peered so deep into my soul. I swear, she could release the weight of the world in one small glance. Her wonderful, full lips begged for me to kiss them, and her rosy, pink cheeks pleaded with me to hold them. She was the essence of everything good in this world, everything I could never have.
This seraph guided me when all was lost, held my hand when the needle pricked too deep, and wiped my tears when the high was too intense. She was in the wrong crowd, but I loved her more every second for it. Hell, the chick even took a fall for me at school when I got caught with weed and a little left over vial of H. She was my savior, my amazing grace, and every time I heard her voice, I marveled in the sweet sound, because she was attempting to save a wretch like me. I was lost, and she found me, she was my guardian angel.
Silently, I watched as she was passed around between the boys in our circle (they were lucky I gave them that term, realistically they were babies, infants even). None of them deserved my cherub, but at least they were more worthy than I was. She was the embodiment of perfection, but there was nothing I could do. I broke a few boys' noses for her, beating them when they tried to force themselves on her. The arrests were well worth the fights, because her father, the police chief, always had a steak dinner waiting for me, or if I was lucky, a beer. And he never allowed any charges to be pressed. Even without those perks, she was worth every single punch. If I had to do hard time for her, I would have, no second guesses, no considerations. It would have been done in a split second, and I would have been honored.
Our friends often asked me why she was worth it, deeming she liked the attention—she liked to be hurt, and that she didn't deserve the pedestal I so willingly sat her on. But they were wrong. They never saw the internal beauty I saw. They never saw her caring nature, how she rushed home every day to make her father a meal after he fought crime all day, or how she did stupid little things to make me smile when life tried to show me how much of a bitch it could be. They never witnessed the times she made me admit to her I loved her in her crazy ways that always left us laughing until there were tears streaming down our cheeks.
She was perfect because she made me forget, she made me feel whole, and she had more unconditional love in her heart than anyone could have conceived possible. If you looked up the definition of purity, if you truly researched it, you'd find all of her qualities. She was only selective to who she showed it to, because she didn't want to be deemed weak. Weakness was not a favorable quality in high school; the motherfuckers out there would eat it up and tear her apart. But I saw it all.
High school graduation—a pivotal point in the lives of most, was certainly a game-changer for me as well, but not in the happy for the next stage of my life kind of way as should have been expected. Naturally, I passed with honors and several college scholarships across the board, but none of them were my destiny, I knew that. I wasn't Ivey League material. I wasn't even the dog shit in the back yard material. I was the slimy nasty sewage you found in the bottom of the sewer system. I was the scum of the Earth, once you added all the evil and demented powers of the devil to it. Sure, I was smart enough, had the wits and brains to carry though medical school, but my heart wasn't in it. I knew my college life would end before it even began, so why would I bother?
Once I defied all odds by graduating, there was a big exposé in the Chicago Tribune about me—about my successes. About how even though three of my foster families had been locked up for child abuse, and another one for child molestation, even though my mother killed herself, and my father was hit by a drunk driver, I still passed with National Merits. They wanted me to know that good ol' Chi town was proud of the once-son of the most prestigious writer the town had ever seen.
That article only proved to be the threshold, guiding me to unleashing who I was deep down, what I was capable of, and the destruction that I was destined to leave in my aftermath. The only thing this article accomplished was to successfully cause more bloodshed and pain, but vengeance all the same. That day was one in which everything was righted in my world—it was the day destiny finally let me have my ending. The day that will forever live in my memories was the day when I killed the son-of-a-bitch who killed my parents. The day I watched his eyes bulge in his head, the capillaries and veins burst with the pressure of my choke hold around his neck. That was the day I stabbed the motherfucker and felt his blood rush over my clenched fists and relished in the warmth of the sticky substance. The instant that I felt him take his last breath and knew his life was over, was the moment in which my world's axis shifted beyond measure. It was from this act that my love for death and its calming nature spiraled into an overtaking force.
I wasn't sadistic, I never thought of inflicting pain on others. I didn't want to kill him, it just happened. I never premeditated anything. I saw him, all smug and mighty in his cheap imitation of a power suit, and I watched silently as he apologized for killing my father. His exact words were: "Sport, I feel beside myself…" blah, blah. Bullshit. He didn't feel anything. How could he? The only reason he even attempted this mere show of sorrow was to appease his conscience, and that fact alone made me sick and murderous.
As I buried him deep within the woods surrounding the local reservation, I vowed I would take care of whatever evil I could, so maybe this world would be rid of all of the evil spawn that ruined good peoples' lives. It started off by killing the asshole from my hell, followed shortly thereafter to the asswipe, Royce King, that raped my best bud's girl.
I couldn't help but chuckle, remembering the look on Royce's face when I watched the life being sucked out of him. He was the first vengeance where I didn't use my hands. His belt worked nicely, and slid well around his neck. But what was even better was that the belt was long enough so I could make it look like suicide, as if he hung himself in his bedroom. It was all too easy. Taking these motherfuckers out was becoming too simple, too gratifying. And that thought scared me shitless. I never wanted to be a monster, I never wanted to kill anyone—it was never my life dream, but those were the cards I was dealt, and the only choice I had was to make the most of it.
All of this leads me to where I am now, lying wide awake in bed, turning over my past and contemplating my future. As much as I enjoy a romp down memory lane, the guilt gets to me every time. Not the guilt of following through for those who couldn't—no never that—but the fault of not being there for my mother when it mattered. The shit-eating guilt of not stopping the pixie from moving down to LA, a place where I couldn't keep an eye on her, and for not telling the angel how much I loved and adored her before my life turned to the biggest fuck up of the world.
Every time she came to memory, my heart broke more. I had begun to think it impossible, but she had that effect on me. For her, I had to stop. For her, I had to find myself and become whole again. There were times I'd watch my angel across campus, watch her interact with my roommate or his fiancé, or even a random student, and every time it only brought more pain than I ever thought possible. She was becoming more and more like a drug to me. With every passing day, I was growing more addicted to the thought of her—of touching her, being with her, listening to her laugh. I needed her more now than ever. I needed her to help me find myself again—to help me find where we belonged.
Right here, right now, it's decided—tomorrow will be my last meeting. Tomorrow will be the next turning point of my life, but this time for the better. Tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of my life, and I will make my self worthy of the seraph. I will make myself her lover, and her friend. I will be everything she needs and more. My beautiful angel will be proud of me, and it all begins the moment the sun rises.
At eight sharp, I had a meeting with one of the most dangerous men I had ever come across, and he had a high-paying gig for me. All I had been told was that the 'Mephistopheles' (as he so eloquently put it, probably knowing I wouldn't act unless it was truly the case) was the most evil creature, and was torturing him, taunting him into impurity. At first assumption, I came up with some chick that was blue ballin' him, but was quickly assured that wasn't the case.
As per normal, I spent the early evening cleaning my guns, scraping my fingerprints, clipping my fingernails, trimming my hair, and shaving my face. Anything that could be used to identify me was taken care of. During the actual exposition, I would have my hair fully covered and dark sunglasses on that were large enough to cover full traces of my face.
With experience came caution and knowledge. With my angel's father as the Chief of Police, I got a lot of free first-hand insight to help me in any way possible. But what helped the most in keeping from being caught was that since I was killing mobsters and drug lords most days now, no one reported them missing. No one noticed their dead bodies in the ghetto dumpsters, or recognized them when I left them in deranged alleyways. Most of the time, my vengeance was categorized as a hobo killing, and the police would arrest whichever street-bound individual was in the area just to appease the community locals. This also appeased me just fine.
Really if you think about it, I was doing everyone a favor. The accused homeless had a home and warm food at the taxpayer's wallet, while the world was rid of fiends such as Caius Volturi and Royce King along with about thirty others—give or take a few dozen.
Knowing that sleep would continually evade me, I made the calculated decision to get an early start on the day. While in my line of work—'private investigating'—one had to stay in excellent physical condition, which roughly translated, equates to me working out like a mad person with the bear.
Realizing it was only three and I'd have to start without my mammoth of a best friend, I secured my running shoes and tightened the draw strings on my sleep shorts, ensuring their position around my hips. My five mile jog was filled with visions of her—my driving motivation for turning my life around. During the hour, I had seen almost every memory play out with perfect precision. I watched repetitively as her silky chestnut hair got caught in some breeze, or as she flung it over her shoulder as she acknowledged me, or even as she used it as a barrier to hide herself on those rare occasions. Either way, the beautiful stranger, in my mind's eye, was the most glorious creature I had ever seen. I was blind when I met her, but now, because of her, I can see.
Without notice, I had spent two hours jogging around the city of Seattle, awaiting the first signs of day break so I could wake my roommate and force him to come down to the gym with me before my meeting. I wasn't accustomed to being labeled as a hit man, or a sports man; it was just something that came with the territory, and something this asshole I was meeting called me each and every time we ever had a fucking conversation. The dude was a true class action.
"Yo Em, come on, it's five fucking a.m. Get the hell up so we can go to the gym. I have a new client meeting at seven."
"Dude, kinda busy, go work out on your own," an annoyed male voice came from inside.
Shit, his girl was here. Two things were good about my best friend's girl: she was hot, and she took good care of me, made sure there was good food on the table, and the fridge was always stocked with beer.
"Hi, Barbie. Don't fuck her too hard. The Pattersons downstairs complained last time!" I answered with a chuckle before leaving the door area.
I hated working out alone; it would only result in thoughts of her, my mother. How she would always put the number of candles on my birthday cakes to represent my age—the way she would swing me as a child and kiss my cheek every time I would come back to her. Her smile when my father would buy her something sweet. Her smell as she just got out of the shower, baby powder and Caress soap. The way her eyes would light up whenever I brought home a good grade. But I had learned to take these memories in and use them to my advantage. With every memory, a harder jab would ensue on the punching bag in front of me, a higher jump kick would register on the kicking bag, or another mile was added to the lap track.
Once my watch beeped indicating it was six-thirty, I jogged into the locker room and cleaned myself up, so I could meet with Mr. Scumbag Watson. From doing business with him before, I knew he only lived a few blocks north in the business district of Seattle. It would only take me mere minutes to arrive on his front—or in my case, back—door step.
To say I was puzzled at the two other cars in attendance at the back of the house was an understatement. Immediately, the hair on the back of my neck shot up as my instincts went into overdrive, trying to figure out if this was a black op I was being led into or if he was only enlisting other help for this job. He'd never been dissatisfied with my assistance before, I couldn't imagine I had done anything wrong. His targets were always killed within their scheduled time frame, and completed just as he asked. I usually threw in a few little intricacies just to ensure him of their punishment before death, which he always seemed to appreciate.
Brewing, I climbed out of my Volvo and looked at the Mercedes and Audi sitting idle next to me. Following my lead, two other businessmen stepped from their ostentatious automobiles, and instantly I recognized them. Laurent looked at me questionably before he ran his fingers through his long dark mane, his skin more olive toned since the last time I had seen him. The other, Alec, still looked like the chump kid he truly was. He wasn't aware that he was a child playing in a game for grown-ups yet, but I was sure he was soon to find out.
That's how Mr. Watson worked—he always pushed the limits, always wanting to out do his creative ideas of torture, in attempt to crack even the most evil of men. The only thing holding him back from committing the atrocities himself were balls. The man had none, which is why he had to enlist those of us who did, to do his dirty work.
Each of us nodded our greetings, and then made our way to the back entrance of the house, where we were quickly greeted by the help and led upstairs to the douchebag's office. Everything in me was screaming fight or flight, but I knew I couldn't react yet. I knew I could singlehandedly take out each one of these fuckers with no sweat, but if I were to retaliate and begin asking questions at this point, with James' goons around in odd positioning, my life would be over with the squeeze of a trigger.
Besides the looks on Laurent and Alec's faces were the same—riddled with worry. Their thoughts were likely in line with mine, questioning James' motives. But they couldn't be as suave as me; they had neither the power nor the knowledge to win this if it were to progress to anything dangerous.
I wasn't cocky; I only knew my limits and training. My roommate had trained me in single, one-on-one, hand combat. I knew how to fight better than most, and I knew how to kill when necessary with my bare hands. Having a deadly weapon as a best friend definitely had its advantages in my line of work.
"Greetings gentleman," the aforementioned asshole addressed, slowly rising from his overpriced and obscenely tacky hunter green, mismatched upholstered desk chair. I swear the thing looked like it could have been handed down through the generations. A man of his caliber, you'd think he'd own better property—more fitting furniture for his business meetings.
"James," Laurent addressed, nodding his head.
Alec and I followed suit by outstretching a hand to be shaken. Each movement, each gesture was over-calculated, trying to figure out who was his target, attempting to guesstimate if it was one of us. In an effort to shift my discomfort, James ushered me to a seat, front and center of his desk and offered me a homely smile.
James might have been an asshole, but he wasn't dumb by any means. He was a smart prick, I had to give him that much, but he wasn't good at reading people. James was better at other means of reading such as simple body movements—blinks of eyes, shuffling of feet, pitch levels in voices; all signs that each of us were showing, him included. He was as nervous as we were. Which only meant one thing—there were large stakes to be had.
"So James, who's the target? You trying to off one of us?" I requested, trying to throw a teasing tone in the mix, so he wouldn't realize my suspicions were up.
"No, it's touchier than that. The target is my wife. And in this case, the faster the better, which is why I need the three of you. I don't care if it's messy or clean, I don't care if she dies in pain or if it's quick. Have fun, be vigilant, and do it as soon as possible. I'm engaged to a new woman and wish to be married within the year, and I can't begin for us to make arrangements until my current wife is out of the picture."
"Why not just divorce the broad? I mean, yeah, she'll take you for half, but you know when it's a quick job, then it's going to cost more," I questioned, raising an eyebrow. Something was off; I could tell by the way he was fidgeting.
"Because the bitch insisted on a pre-nup before she would consider marrying me. Most of our money is hers, because of some book deal she had when she was younger, and she even had it written up so that what is hers during our marriage remains hers in place of a divorce. The bitch will take everything."
"So your wife is an author?" Alec inquired, raising an eyebrow, pretending to be more interested than he really was. He was stupid to think that brown nosing at this point in the game would win him any brownie points, but then again I've only been in this game for seven years, what did I know?
"Well, kind of, but no. She's a professor at U Dub; writing is only a side gig for her… well, side to touring. Universities around the nation ask her as a guest speaker. Supposedly, she's some big shot in what she does. When we met she had a few books out but that's about it… I think. I don't know, I don't ask her about it, and I stay out of her business."
"What's the pay?" Laurent asked, jumping straight to business. It made sense that there was no time for formalities; this was to be a quick job. James had said so himself, so it only seemed the wiser to jump straight to the heart of the matter.
"This week, five mill. Next week the offer will be down to four point five. Each week you'll lose another half a mill. Whoever gets the job done the fastest will receive payment once all of the legalities are cleared. I want it to look like an accident or a murder. No suicide, no traces, no tags. There is no reason for the police to believe that this is linked to any other killings, so change up your MO. Her dad is a cop, so I expect a full investigation into whatever killed his little daughter, even though they haven't talked in years. So make sure all ties and lines are clean, do you understand me? This is not to come back to me. Even if it comes back to me in twenty years, I will hire whichever one of you pussy lips is still alive to kill the one who completed the job, do you understand me?" James ranted. Quickly, he ended and rested his head on his hand as if the speech left him taxed.
"What about fuckage with fighting? Can we fuck that tight pussy of hers if we use a condom and there are no traces?" Laurent, the sick fuck, asked. I could only shake my head and swallow back the bile which forced itself up my throat. If I knew I could get away with it, he would be the next name on my personal list. Laurent was a cuntsucker who didn't deserve to live, or breathe for that matter. The very act of exhaling only allowed his poison to seep into the world of the innocent.
"Do whatever you want, like I said, I don't care, I just want her out." Something was up; James was acting too nervous for it just to be as simple as us killing his wife.
"What's the catch… why are you acting pussy whipped, James?" I couldn't help it, I had to ask.
"Well like I said, her dad is a cop… well really the Chief of Police where she's from, and I expect a full work up. I'm just nervous it will somehow be linked back to me. But you assholes better not fuck this up."
His fears were rational. If he were to dispel any amount of cash in a large sum, the police would get nervous and begin watching his every move. He'd already be a target just because he was her husband. And if these two sick fucks got her first, there would be a mess on their hands, which would only lead to more questioning. Laurent was possibly onto something with the rape though; because at least then it would look like she was raped and then killed, because she possibly saw his face…. The police wouldn't consider a husband gang banging his wife in an alleyway, then leaving her to die.
"If you think we are incapable of doing our jobs then why did you enlist us? You called us here because you know we're the best. You know we can complete this. If you don't have faith, we have no choice but to leave," Alec seethed. Alec knew better than to count himself as the best marksman in the group. Without any shadows, he knew Laurent was yards above him, while I was at the top of the game. I had killed more assholes than both of these fuckers combined. I knew my trade, and succeeded well—while they had been known to fuck up on occasion… many occasions. I lost track on how often their goal lived through the torture and they had to go back to finish the job. But a girl should be easy, even for them.
On one account, Alec was right. James was offering a huge price for this, we knew the risks, and he knew we were good at what we did. But I also knew Alec was full of fucking shit. He wanted Laurent and me to walk out so he could be the only one on the kill. That wasn't about to happen. I didn't need the money, per say, but after all was said and done, I was hoping to retire and never have to lift a fucking finger again. Maybe move back to Chicago and start over with a better life, try to find someone to settle down with. I knew no girl, or woman, would ever amount to what my angel was—they would never reach her caliber, but at least I might deserve them. Someone may be able to appease the loneliness I felt since I couldn't have her. But no matter whom I was with, my heart would always call for hers, always long to be with hers, and ache to feel the electricity of hers. It could never happen, I would never allow it.
I had to quiet the mad man laughing hysterically in my mind on that last thought. What kind of bitch would want a fucked up piece of shit like you, Masen? Who the fuck would want to get to know you once they looked into those dead ass eyes of yours? Yeah, chicks liked to look, liked to feel… some even liked to fuck the shit out of me, but I never let any of them in. I never called the next day, or even stayed the night. Their lives were better off without me tainting them, and secretly I knew they thanked me for it.
Often, the fucking sessions I pursued were too harsh for women… countless times they've begged me to stop, which I did (I could never willingly harm a woman), or they came harder than they ever had before, if they were masochists. As of late, I'd been heading down the masochist stream, going to dom bars, trying to find a good sub for a night, so I could fuck her harshly and senseless without any qualms.
I wasn't into the dominating shit. I wasn't even into the ordering around on a normal day to day basis. I just knew a chick in a collar meant good and rough, hard and steady. It was good for both of us, I got out my built-up frustration that plagues my body on the regular, and she worked through her daddy syndrome she had developed since childhood. See, I was good at give and takes.
Sitting here contemplating killing a woman—even if she was a demon as James had claimed—was unnerving. There is no way in hell I'd be able to rationalize it and live with my choice. But I couldn't tell them. I couldn't tell them I was pussying out; I had to act like tough shit and just back down after we were released. If they knew I was chicken shit on this mission, I would have a huge target on my neck because of my obvious intel. And I didn't feel like risking my life for some dame I'd never laid eyes on before, so I had to go along with it.
Unwillingly, her corpse came into view as I blinked. I watched the blood and brain matter stream and streak down the wall and pool around her body. I saw the note she had clenched tightly in one hand and the rosary in the other.
"Shut up, you dipshit and fucking listen," James countered as he hit his fist hard on the table. "This is extremely important to me. I need it to be taken care of carefully. Her father will look at me first, because the asshole hates me. Her best friends from high school will do nothing but fuel the fire, and quite frankly, I'm terrified by her best friend's boyfriend. The dude is huge and has offered to kick my ass on more than one occasion. Bella knows how to work a gun, and can fight dirty when need be—compliments of dear old dad and Emmett."
Too many things were making my brain revel in wonder at the sentence he used to describe her. His wife's name was Bella, Bella's father was Chief of Police, and her best friend's boyfriend's name was Emmett. I was stupid to think of the comparisons, there is no way in hell that my angel—my Bella—would marry this asshole. My angel—my love—was pure and all that was right in the world; there was no way she would be attracted to his false sense of charm.
"Why friends from high school? How old is this bitch?" Laurent warranted.
"She isn't allowed to talk to anyone outside of me and the help. But her friends from 'back when' still keep tabs on her. I don't understand it; they know it only makes things worse on her. She hates telling them no, or to stop calling, but they are persistent fuckers."
As if to answer my question, James grabbed a folder out of his desk drawer and handed one to each of us. The first picture almost made me shit my pants and die of a heart attack on the spot.
"The first picture is Emmett. That's the bitch's best friend's boyfriend. He owns a gym here in town, is nationally-recognized black belt, and sees her as a little sister."
I could fill the holes in by myself. Emmett not only had earned three black belts, he was a three-time national champion, and was now learning more fighting techniques in other ranges of fighting. He had a shot gun above his bed (being that he was from some southern state and declared it was his civil duty to have it, well that and he liked hunting on the weekends), he knew how to use a rifle and a hand gun, and had a license to pack. If that wasn't enough, Emmett was my roommate—my lifelong best friend, but he knew me as Edward Masen, while the rest of the world—the world that was important to James, knew me as Edward Cullen. Emmett knew me before I took my adoptive name, and I wanted to keep it that way. That last name gave me the ability to change characters in this charade I called a life.
Taking an unnoticeable gulp, I turned to the next picture and almost fainted. Sure enough, it was Emmett's beautiful fiancée, Rosalie—the busty blonde who oftentimes shared our apartment—the beautiful vixen who was contemplating moving in with us to save money for the wedding.
I heard James's words, but it was impossible to compute them, they soared around the room as empty and meaningless particles of sound space.
Flipping to the next, I was greeted by a photo of Bella's long time best guy friend and self-proclaimed bodyguard, Jacob Black. He had grown up on the reservation fifteen minutes from where we lived in Forks, and he was the son to Bella's father's best friend, Billy Black. It was known all over the small town of Forks that Jacob hated me. Everything about me screamed bad news to Jacob, and he despised the fact that Bella saw through it and so willingly gave me a chance. He hated that Bella might possibly have had feelings for me (well according to him anyways, her and I knew the real truth—there was no possible way), but never for him. He hated that when she fell down she came crawling to me time and time again.
I closed my eyes tightly for a moment before flipping to the next picture, knowing exactly the face that would appear and reminding myself I had to keep my composure in front of these cronies. Just as anticipated, Bella herself peered up at me from the flat surface. Her beautiful, chocolate eyes piercing into me, offering me peace I hadn't felt in years, and laced with secrets only I could tell. She used to tease me and tell me that I could read her like a book; it was true. All I needed was one look into her eyes and I could tell all of her secrets.
But she was only being stubborn. It was easy to read her emotions, but the reasoning behind them was much harder to grasp. Bella had always been more complex than most girls in high school. She was easy to appease, easier to love, and amazing to be around. An off day occurred when she wouldn't warm my heart, or her smile wouldn't fade my hatred. By being around Bella, she made me a better person. By holding her hand, I became complete. She was everything I had ever wanted, but could never obtain, and now this motherfucking asshole is offering a bounty on her head.
The longer I basked in the glory of everything she was, the angrier I grew, the harder it became to sit still and not think about killing the slimy motherfucker in front of me. People like James didn't deserve to be her husband, to be in her life, or to even walk on the same ground as Bella. They didn't—
"I'm in, dude, I can't wait to feel her tight pussy when I fuck the ever-loving shit out of her before I kill the bitch," Laurent broke into my thoughts with a sneer written across his face.
"I'm in too, this should be easy," Alec chuckled, fingering Bella's face lightly. I didn't even want to think about what was going through his head right now, because I would probably snap and break his shit right here in front of James which would inevitably break my cover.
All expectant eyes looked to me, and my eyes darted back and forth from each person.
"James, you're sure you want to kill your wife? This is what you really want?" I asked, trying to keep my hostility to a minimum, but offering him an out so I wouldn't have to kill him later. If Bella was harmed, James was next, and I would certainly follow. I could live in a world where she existed—just knowing that she was somewhere and breathing, alive and well, was all I needed. But the moment she was dead and cold… this world held nothing more for me. I would find something more creative than just a gun to the head… and something substantially more painful.
"Yes," he answered simply, not even taking time to rethink his position on the matter. He didn't realize he was signing his death wish with his answer. If he had, it might have taken him a little longer.
Mother fucker I'm going to kill you if these assholes get to her! I mentally seethed.
"You can count on me," I vowed, but not to James.
Just as I had always done in the past, I would ensure Bella's safety. I will keep her alive. She will not be some cumsucker's fuck toy, or another man's money machine. My Bella, my angel, my love was going to live, and I was going to make sure of it. I knew her safety was all that mattered; it was more important than anything, and I would risk my life to complete the task… even if it were the last thing I would do.
Each of us nodded at each other and exited the house. I waited in my car, contemplating what my next move should be, but was pulled out of the thought process once I heard the screech of tires on the main road. Fuck, they were getting a head start.
Following their lead, I did the only other thing that seemed to make any sort of sense. I opened the file and looked at Bella's itinerary, realizing she was at lunch break from the university at this time. Fuck! She could be anywhere. Instincts then took charge as I raised the phone to my ear and hit the familiar speed dial.
"Rose, where the fuck are you?" I growled into the line, forgetting all pleasantries.
"I'm at lunch with a friend… Why? What's wrong?" she questioned, quickly picking up on my mood.
"Who are you eating with? Are you with Bella?"
"Edward, what's going on, what's wrong?"
"Just answer the question, Rose. I don't have time for games, are you with Bella?"
She paused a moment trying to gauge why I was finally asking about her. Her name hadn't sprung from my lips in the past seven years, and she knew the moment she and Em started discussing her, I left the room. I didn't want to know about her, I only wanted to know she was still alive and safe. Everything above that was too much, and too painful.
Finally, she spoke, giving me the information I so desperately needed to know. "Yes, we're at the university diner. What's wrong?"
"I need you to trust me on this, okay? You two are in danger, I need you to get her out of there now! Lay down a large bill and get up and leave. I'll pay you back the moment I get home. Call Emmett and have him meet you there, okay? Please don't question me, don't hesitate, just do it." I waited until I heard Rose tell the person next to her they had to go, and a soft objection in the background before I hung up.
Typical stubborn Bella, always having to argue, always having to know too much. Why would I even consider this an easy task? Even in high school, she'd bust my balls and make me squirm with her determination and talents to mangle all things her way. She was never one to follow orders or to respect authority, but then again, she never needed to—she never caused any trouble or stepped out of line. As odd as it was, we hung out with the stoner crowd in school, but she never once dabbled. Smoked a good cigarette once in awhile, yes, drank alcohol, yes, but never traveled higher on the chain than the one time use of the Mary.
Breaking every traffic law standing in my way, I swerved in and out of traffic to make sure they had left the diner before tweedle dee and tweedle dum decided to arrive in all their glory. Taking her out while in public would be one surefire way of ensuring no one suspects James was behind it, especially when he would be sure to keep himself surrounded by people until the task was complete, but also because no one would be able to identify him as the killer. Even if Laurent or Alec were seen, they would be out of the state and onto the next big city before night fall. That's how our lives worked… well theirs; I didn't care if I got caught. I had heard the electric chair calling my name on more than one occasion, and silently prayed for it.
The five miles to the stupid campus were ridiculously long. Fucking five miles should never take twenty five minutes! Of course, once I crossed the section of road which read "University of Washington," I spotted Laurent and Alec's deserted cars as they searched on foot. Steadily, I had to pray they wouldn't see me, and would not follow me to the diner, in case Bella had put up too much of a fight and they hadn't left.
Upon completion of my drive by, I concluded that, surprisingly, Bella had complied with my wishes and followed through with the orders. Another assessment of the cars in my rear proved Laurent and Alec weren't tailing me, which gave me the freedom to go home, fill everyone in, and place Bella under lock and key. I knew it would be ridiculous to keep her at my apartment as I wished, but I couldn't help the fantasy. The thought of waking up beside her for the rest of my life, the thought of kissing those full lips, and holding her thin frame to my body did amazing things to my heart, in which I couldn't comprehend.
Realistically, I knew a rational person would ship her off to some secluded island and keep an eye on matters here, keeping in sight so the fuckers would know you didn't tamper with their future earnings. If I got caught in any of this, my head would roll. James would make sure someone killed me if he didn't do it himself, or Laurent and Alec would claim the pleasure themselves and then hunt Bella down to kill her just to spite me and still earn the money they lusted for.
As I got closer to my apartment, the butterflies grew violent in my empty stomach. I hadn't felt this intense since high school, but the moment I felt it, I knew exactly what was going on. Instinctively, I knew she was close; her energy was broadcasting to me, just as it had done all those years ago. Oddly enough, her body still called out for me, and the thing that killed me was I knew it shouldn't. She deserved so much better than some fucked up man-killer who sleeps with his eyes open. She deserved a calm and sensual life with a man who could love her, who could protect her and cherish her—someone who could love her with ease and never put her in danger.
The list of things Bella rightfully deserved from this life grew longer, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could promise her most of the things. I could protect her, I could love her, and cherish her, but she would always be in danger with me around. I would never be able to touch her, or make love to her. I'd never be able to hold her and dry away her tears; I wasn't made to do those things. I wasn't made to recognize the worth in those tendencies. But then again, I had done those tasks in high school, maybe I could relearn.
"No, there is no way in hell you are allowed to get close to her again!" I quickly scolded myself, thrusting the ideas out of my head. I couldn't allow myself to hurt her, and that was all I could guarantee. With me around, with me touching her, she would get hurt. It would never be intended, but it would happen without question.
I ran the ball of my tongue ring over my lower lip, trying to calm myself. I had to calm the raging mad man living in my brain before I even attempted to see her. Then the questions arose, would she want to see me? How would she react if and when she saw me? Would it be just like it was in high school, or are we too different to be recognizable to each other?
Fuckin-A! I was turning into a chick with all of my fucking psycho babble of bullshit worries and qualms over shit that didn't even fucking matter. I mean, who the hell worries about this crap when they see an old blast from the past? No one, except someone with a pussy. God damn, I had to get a hold of myself, I was falling off the edge of no return, and that's the last thing that I need right now with Bella's life at stake.
'Exhale one, exhale two, exhale three… breathe, relax, calm. Succumb to the feelings of tranquility,' I thought, before hitting myself square in the fucking forehead. What the hell did I do to my dick? Leave it back at James's house? I mean, who the fuck am I at this moment? I'm so fucking tied into a fucking knot that I can't concentrate, and I can't just stroll up there and be normal. No, I'm sitting here freaking out because the love of my life is sitting upstairs, and I don't fucking deserve her, because I kill people for a living. I'm supposed to fucking kill her for five fucking million dollars!
God damn this motherfucking shit!
With that, I parked the car, and after a quick scan of the street to ensure Laurent and Alec were nowhere in sight, made my way up to my apartment where I knew she would be. Each step became more excruciating. With each step, I felt the electric current strengthen. With each fucking step, I felt my heart break just a little bit more for the girl I knew I could never have.
Once my hand fell onto the doorknob, I froze and closed my eyes, relishing in the feeling of the pulse that ran through my body, the sensation heightening all of my senses. Standing there, feeling her near me, made me feel almost normal; it made me feel as if there was the possibility of hope for tomorrow and for the future. But reality had to bring me the knowledge that all that was a sliver of false hope.
The truth was such that there was no tomorrow, there was no future. The only thing that would result if I got close to Bella was death for the both of us. I had to get her out of here, and get her somewhere far away. I had to send a notice to school from an unmarked mailbox staking a claim for her life, so it would give her reason to miss school, and I had to call Charlie to let him know of the hit out on her life. I had to protect her, even if it meant exposing me for the horrendous murderer that I was. She was all that mattered. After she disappeared, I would do anything I could to ensure her safety and the secrecy of her hide out. There were no other options. She had to leave Seattle, and she had to do it within the hour. And with all of these realizations came the epiphany that I deserved her even less than I had originally thought.
New realizations lead to new determinations and before I could register what had happened, I was in my apartment walking steadfast toward the voices in the kitchen.
"Bella, Edward said to stay here and wait for him… something is wrong, I know him, he wouldn't just order something like that up and not follow through," Rose insisted before being countered by an overbearing Bella.
"I have class in fifteen minutes. My students will be looking for me. What the hell am I supposed to do, Rose? I can't just cancel my life because Edward has a bad feeling. I mean, I haven't even laid eyes on him since high school."
"Just trust me. Something's up," Rose countered.
Upon entering the kitchen, the spirited, chocolate brown eyes I remember verbatim were peering into mine, her mouth was slightly agape in shock, and her fingers stopped their incessant tapping on the counter space.
Slowly, I bowed my head toward her and greeted, "Bella."
I watched as she gulped and blinked a few times before the words could be found. "Edward, god, it's been years," she breathed. God, she was even more beautiful than I remembered. My memories have definitely not done her justice, and deserved to be shot for their blasphemy. Her hair had more shine, as if she had given up smoking, her skin had more luster, but also a fading yellow bruise on the side of her neck. Unable to help myself, I walked to her and moved her hair out of the way to view it more freely. Amazed she allowed me too; I matched up the bruises to my finger pads and took a step away.
"Who did this to you?" I seethed, unable to hide my temper.
"Doesn't matter, I left the dumb fuck," she answered.
"James? Did James do this to you?" I asked my voice three octaves higher then necessary.
"Like I said, it doesn't matter, I packed up my shit and I left two weeks ago. He's out of my life, and I've already filed for divorce. How'd you know… never mind, Rose probably told you." Shit, I just blew part of it. I was only lucky she didn't know that I never asked about her—about her life. It was understandable why Rose wouldn't tell her this; she wouldn't want her friend hurt. But why would her knowing that trivial part of knowledge hurt Bella? She didn't care about me. Everything between us was just a stupid high school friendship—that's it—a childhood friendship.
I looked to Rose and noticed the sad expression she was wearing as she looked between Bella and I. "He did this to you two weeks ago, and it's still that prevalent?" I questioned through clenched teeth.
Bella chuckled lightly before taking a drink from her glass. "What'cha going to do, Edward? Go beat them up like the good old days? Hmm, sad thing is I may just let you do that. So enough of the heavy talk, I haven't seen you in years! What's been happening? Tell me about you!"
"He owns his own PI firm and does freelance stuff. Edward's still single, Bella," Rose prompted.
"Thanks for that, Rose. Remind me to ask you to write my eHarmony ad, will ya?" I fired back, causing Bella to giggle. God, I missed her laugh.
"Well in that case, Edward, why don't we just throw down like old times and have some fun, since I don't have to worry about some chick coming out and beating my ass for hanging out with her man?" Bella giggled.
"There are more important things we need to discuss than our reunion right now, Bella," I answered, getting straight down to business. "You need to get out of town. You need to go across the country, or even better, out of the country, to Cabo, somewhere and just stay there."
"I can't do that. I have a job. I have students who depend on me, a book deadline. I can't just drop everything and move when you tell me to… Why do you insist on me moving anyways? Why couldn't I finish my classes today? What's going on? Damn, is that a viper bite? Did that hurt?" she asked, leaning forward to examine the piercing evident on my lip. Without regard for good judgment just like always, she reached forward to touch it, but then regained cognitive thinking and stopped herself.
That's right Bella, take it as a warning, I'm dangerous, I'm not that sweet hold you 'til you're okay guy from high school anymore. I'm a fucking killer. I need to kill you.
"James put a hit out on your life. He wants you dead, Bella. He's hired two… well three hit men and has offered them five million dollars if they kill you this week. The stakes are high and there's no time left because he's dropping the bounty half a mil for each week you're still alive. The men after you are dangerous, born and raised to be killers, and they're going to act as quickly as possible to get the maximum reward. One of them is a rapist and has full intention of killing you shortly after. I know you're fucking stubborn as shit, but you need to trust me on this. And Rose, it might be a good idea if you go with her, they definitely have your name and picture as well."
"Why would they have Rose's name and picture, I'm not even supposed to see her. James doesn't think I associate with her. That's why we have to meet at campus, he never comes there."
"They have Emmet and Jake's information too. Just trust me on this. You need to get out of Seattle. I can't protect you here, they know Emmett and Rose live here and it's just a matter of time before they come here searching for you. If they find me, then we're both dead on the spot."
"Why would James hire people to kill me? It makes no sense. He's moved on with his secretary, and he's made it obvious he doesn't give a rat's ass what's going on in my life."
"Because if you die, he gets everything that is yours. If you get a divorce, you have the pre-nup that saves you. He wants the money, and he's desperate to do whatever it takes to get it."
"But the money isn't his even after I die. The money goes to my father. It's in my will. He knows that. My dad is considered executive to my estate with full rights of everything," she answered, narrowing her eyes at me trying to call my bluff as if I were lying to her. "Edward, I'm sorry. It just doesn't make any sense. Yeah, James is low enough to hit me, choke me or try to force me to do sexual things, but he wouldn't kill me… he's incapable. The man has no balls."
"He tried to force you…" Red blots were forming in my vision as my fists clenched into tight balls of fury at her admittance. As if it weren't enough he touched her, harmed her… hurt her, but now he was forcing her to please him. She was mine, he had no right! "That fucker is as good as dead, Bella, he won't hurt you anymore," I promised.
Soft fingers came to my cheeks and held my face until I looked at her. "Edward, he isn't worth it. He isn't worth the time in jail, or the hostility he is causing you. Trust me, we're better off just forgetting he even exists," she whispered, gazing into my eyes. "Please, promise me you won't do anything. Seattle isn't Forks; my dad won't be able to get you out of it if you do anything. I'm fine. I'm here, aren't I? I'm safe. You can see me, nothing has happened. Just calm down."
As always, I instantly felt the rush of calm take over my body with her touch. I gazed into her eyes and blocked out the rest of the world. With her near me for the first time in a long time, I felt home and whole. I felt as if my heart hadn't been dead and cold for thirteen years.
"It's good to see you again," she whispered with a slight blush.
"Bella, please, you have to believe me, we have to get you out of here."
"I'm going to be fine, Edward. I've survived this long, I'll make it through whatever he throws at me now," she tried to reassure, but I was effectively unconvinced.
"He hasn't hired hit men before, Bella. He wants you dead, and he doesn't care at what cost."
She inhaled deeply, and then looked down at the floor possibly trying to gather her thoughts. "He doesn't know where I'm staying. I'll go home, and I'll cancel my classes for the next couple of weeks, or email in my class plans to my TA. Everything will work out, but I'm not running away. I can't conform to what he wants this time."
At the end of her speech, she pulled away from me, reclaimed her seat at the end of the island, and looked up at Rose. I couldn't tell what was being said between the two of them, but I knew I wasn't supposed to notice the silent conversation. People were typically easy to read—one look and I could sense their greatest fear, or how they would like to die. When faced with my conquests, generally, I was gracious and took it easy on them, making sure to do it quick and easy, but there were the occasional tough battles when they fought, or were child molesters or rapists when I felt no pity. Those jobs were messy, and I enjoyed the bloodshed.
I was at a complete loss for words; I was rusty when it came to trying to convince Bella to do something she didn't want to. If I remembered anything it was how I had to win—with a practical argument. She only responded to wits and practicality. Without thinking it through properly, I grabbed the file out of the back of my jeans and slid it over to her on the granite countertop.
Questionably, she looked up at me, her eyes in narrow slits, her head cocked adorably to the side and everything unspoken was rushing to me.
"Open it. It's the kill order. If you don't believe me, I have to prove it to you. Your husband wants you dead, Bella, and I'm not going to be able to stop him unless you allow me to, so stop being stubborn and just fucking listen for a minute, will you?" Her eyes grew wide with my persistence and obvious asshole tendencies she wasn't obliged to. "Inside you will find a picture of everyone you are close to, Rose, Em, your father, Jake. There's a school schedule. Your address along with your cell phone numbers and passwords, they can access your account and locate you… which by the way you need to turn off your cell phone so they can't track you here. There is your email address and the passwords also, in order for them to be able to track your meetings, and your itinerary for the next three weeks. Now, tell me he isn't hiring people to kill you. Tell me you're going to be okay. Because according to the information in that file, you're as good as dead the second you try to do this on your own."
Her shaky hands opened the manila folder and started looking at the different pictures, flipping them over and noticing the information which had been gathered on each and every person in it. She ran her soft fingers along the laugh lines on her father's face as the tears began to silently fall from her eyes. As expected, she reviewed all of the written information about her and her possible whereabouts at certain times, and even gasped when she turned to the last page and found James certainly did have all of her information. James knew where she was at every second of every day. He had hired someone to follow her, and justifiably I could conclude he also bugged her apartment and her phone line.
"Shit… Edward… how did you…" she whispered, looking up to me with huge, crocodile tears sitting in the corner of her eyes, waiting to fall. "How did you get all of this?"
"I just left James's house when I called Rose. I was asked to the meeting. He asked me to kill you."
She gasped, and I instantly realized I had told her too much. I had given her too much information about who I truly was, and now it was time for damage control.
"Bella, listen, you know what happened to my dad, and then what happened to my mom. I feel it my responsibility now to keep people safe, to try to get as many bad guys locked up as possible… sometimes I have to go in undercover and get this information so I can turn it into the police. It's my responsibility to protect people who can't protect themselves… and I need you to listen to me. I need you to put aside all of your personality issues and just listen to me, so I can protect you, okay?" I asked as I kneeled down in front of her. "You know I've always protected you, and you've always trusted me to do so… don't stop now, I need your trust now more than ever."
She exhaled loudly and kept her gazed locked on my eyes. "How are they… what are they…?"
"One of them will probably kill you quickly, if given the chance, the other will torture you with every way he knows how. He's a sick fuck and gets off on that shit."
Trying to calm her nerves, Bella inhaled deeply and tried to steady her trembling hands by furiously shaking them in an attempt to get the nerves out.
"Edward, what are we going to do?" she whispered, panic finally entering her voice. "Why is he doing this to me?" Instantly, she threw herself at me, and I caught her, holding her tightly in my arms, trying to hold her close and wish away all of her fears. I had her now, and I'd be damned if anything ever harmed her.
Part of my brain registered when Rose exited the kitchen to greet Emmett upon his arrival, but the forefront of everything sat right here, in my arms. Touching her again made me feel as though my heart could beat again, as though I could love again. But I knew it would never be enough. I knew I'd never be able to love her as she needed to be loved, or hold her as she needed to be held. I'd never be able to show her the compassion she so richly deserved, or even desired. I could never be her Edward; I could never be a safe loving haven. I wasn't that type of a man. I was a killer—a monster—and there was nothing I could ever do about it.
The whispers were soft and terrified from the other room, as Emmett and Rose eagerly watched us, while Rose enlightened Emmett on the situation. I knew he would be a key factor in all of this, because between the two of us, we were truthfully her only line of defense against Alec and Laurent.
"I don't understand… I did everything. He told me not to talk to Rose and Emmett; I stopped for awhile, until I couldn't take it. He told me not to eat certain foods, I didn't. How did I get myself into this? I didn't even love him!" she sobbed into my shirt.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Bella, the spit fire from younger years would have never married someone she wasn't in love with. This woman in my arms, she was Bella… but different from my Bella. The years had changed her, and I could feel it as her tears seeped into my pours.
"Why did you… why would you marry someone you didn't love?" I whispered before I fully registered what I was doing.
"I was scared, and alone. Edward, please don't make me leave… don't send me off, I… I can't be alone right now. I can't be somewhere I don't know… please… just please…" she begged, finally looking into my eyes again. Immediately, I registered the fear there, the deep heart-wrenching fear consuming her heart. A deeper look proved the fear was more profound than just this instance. She had been afraid for a long time, and it was finally eating away at her and consuming her.
Quickly, she pulled away from me and handed me her phone, palm pilot, and some other electrical devise she had in her purse. The smile was unavoidable. Bella was handing me her trust, she was giving me everything right there in one action. But it faltered when I realized I had nothing to return. Without hesitation, I took the devices, removed the batteries and placed them on the island. Without them being functional they couldn't be tracked, which in turn meant she could possibly be safe.
"I know that you have training with a gun… do you carry one with you at all times?" I questioned, trying to find the best means of protection.
"Yes. It's in my purse. I have my conceal permit, and my dad has something with the university so I can carry it on campus," she informed with questions in her eyes.
"Typical nine mil?"
"No, it's a 25 special. I've graduated in the world of guns. Why…?"
"I just need to know incase anything goes down, I obviously carry my own, but I don't have a conceal permit… this way I know we're okay," I reassured, then turned to Rose. "I need you to do a favor for us. Do you still have that brown wig?" I questioned, my eyes never leaving Bella's.
"Uh, yeah, somewhere."
"Get it. Bella, I need your id and your credit card." Though the questions were evident in her searching eyes, none ever breached her lips. Following orders this time, she retrieved her wallet and handed it and the contents over to me.
"Take whatever you want…. What are you doing?"
"If Alec and Laurent see Rose and me on the streets or anywhere together, nothing will register. She doesn't look like you enough for them to do anything. They won't kill until they are sure. We're going to the airport and we're going to get her on a flight somewhere, under your name, and she's going to come back under her own so that Alec and Laurent won't think you're here in Seattle. You are to stay here, do you understand me? We're closing the blinds; you are not to open the door. If someone knocks don't even say a word. Do you understand me?"
Mutely, she nodded.
"No email, no school stuff, no phone calls to anyone. I will take care of getting you out of your classes, and I will inform your father that you are fine, but no other details will be given out. Is there anything you need while we're out? Shit, you're going to need clothes."
"She can borrow some of mine. I'll bring some stuff over for her," Rose answered.
I realized I was barking out orders faster than I could really rationalize them, but my mind was on overdrive and everything, thankfully, was correct and viable in her safety.
"Okay, Rose, let's go…."
"Wait buddy… if they think you're in on this, won't they be suspicious if you're walking around with someone who…" Emmett asked blocking my exit.
"She doesn't look enough like her, Em. I promise Rose will be safe. You know I'll protect her. I just need you to watch over Bella, okay? Don't order in food, I'll bring something home on my way. Just don't leave her alone, okay?"
Cautiously, Emmett patted my shoulder and allowed me to leave with Rose. The brown wig only did so much for her; the rest of the act would have to come in at the airport. I turned a sharp left into the first drug store I saw and drug Rose into the makeup aisle for some sort of eyebrow cover up allowing her to turn them from blonde to brown. While she checked for supplies, I jogged to the pharmacy area and asked for a pair of regular, non-prescription contact lens so we could alter the eye color as well.
Once all items were accounted for, I purchased them and we rushed to the car, speeding our way to the airport. I knew my mind should be at the operation at hand, but I couldn't help thinking about Bella. I couldn't shake the admittance she made earlier; she was alone, afraid, and not in love. She didn't love him, but married him anyways, because she was afraid. What happened to cause her to give up her family, her friends, and marry some fucking lowlife who only wanted to hurt her? What happened to the strong, independent girl I used to know?
"She married him because he raped her and faked a pregnancy test, at best we can figure. There was this party after she graduated with her Ph.D. and she got really drunk… I'd never seen her that drunk before. She was there one second… but then disappeared. Emmett went searching and found her under the dipshit, with bruises all over the place. Edward, I'd never seen him so mad before. I mean, yeah, he was mad at Royce, and he was terrifying, but this was different. He caught it all in the act, which I think only made matters worse. So, of course, Bella left him afterwards. But then all of these strange things started to happen, dead animals on her doorstep, someone killed her cat… just horrible, terrifying things until she received a note one day saying she was going to be next. The next day she was back with James and living with him. We didn't even know they got married until she told me three weeks later and confessed she was pregnant. Somehow the egg dissolved… or there were three false positives or something, but she couldn't get out of it. He wouldn't let her go."
Without realizing it, Rose just answered all of my unanswered and unasked questions regarding Bella and how she would ever agree to anything concerning that dipshit. I mean yeah, she was a girl and girls tended to have some sort of attraction toward bad boys, which is why I was offered so much ass, but Bella was a smart girl. She grew up in a strong household where Charlie never placed a finger on her, Jacob and Emmett always protected her and treated her nothing but like a lady, and she knew that's how a lady deserved to be treated. Why would she put herself into that position? She should have come to me or to Emmett. We would have protected her just as we always had. God damn it, why didn't she just do that! Why couldn't she have put that pretty little head of hers to good use and actually use it when it came to something important?
But Rose wasn't done making me feel like shit. "I don't know what happened to you two in high school… I obviously didn't hang out with you often, and really only knew of you because of Emmett and Bella, but her heart never left yours, Edward. She asks about you all the time… asks if we've seen you, talked to you, anything. She used to let little things slip after we graduated about 'oh this shirt looks like Edward…' or 'This is Edward's favorite book,' just stupid little things that always added up to more in the grand scheme of things, ya know? I know you consider yourself broken, I know you think you're evil or whatever, but maybe she could help you fix all of that," Rose informed, looking over at me with hopeful eyes.
If only she knew. If only she knew what kind of monster I was, how deep the poison and evil had spread by this time. Had Bella not gone off to college, had I not killed the drunk fuckshit who killed my father, then maybe things would be different. Maybe then I could start a life with Bella… or maybe we'd already have one. But as of right now, with the way I am, with my life, I couldn't even afford to entertain the idea. It was too dangerous for her, and for me.
"So here's what I want you to do. Go purchase a ticket with Bella's credit card, give them all of your information, get the ticket somewhere close… like Vancouver or Portland so you can just turn around and come back. Make sure it's a big city so they will be looking for awhile, okay? If you want to get a ticket for farther away, then that's your choice. Call Emmett when you are ready to be picked up; do not have your disguise on, okay? Leave it at the airport where ever you land. I'll stay in the airport with you, until you go through security."
"Ed, what if this doesn't work?" I could tell she wasn't thrilled that I didn't acknowledge all of the information she just gave me, but I couldn't. I mean, what was I supposed to tell her, 'You're right Rose, I am all of those things, and I don't deserve her'. Fuck no, all she would do is argue with me, and I was in no mood to argue right now. I had shit to get done, and I couldn't mess up. I had to get this task done so I could throw everyone off of Bella's trail. It was only a matter of time before they came to Emmett's place looking for her, which would in turn lead them to me and then to Bella if I failed. I couldn't fail.
"These guys are dangerous, but they aren't brilliant. They don't think things out as thoroughly as I do. Plus, they are in a hurry. Hurry means messy, but they won't make a mistake like killing the wrong person. Just trust me, Rose, everything will be okay. I'm going to buy a track phone before you come back, and from now on that's what you and Emmett need to call me on."
"Is she going to be okay?" Rose asked worriedly.
"I'll make sure of it," I reassured, carefully taking her hand and holding it in mine for a moment. Bella comes back into my life for two minutes and I turn into some touchy feely person. What the fuck?
Thankfully, the airport flew by in a breeze. No one questioned her ID or why she was going to Vancouver, and she was taking off in no time. As promised, I ran to the nearest super store of sorts and grabbed a track phone no one knew the number to and headed back to my apartment, praying to god Alec and Laurent weren't scouting the place out. Idealistically, I knew they shouldn't be, but you never know when it comes to twisted minds. Rose had brought her car back home, leaving Bella's on campus, which would give us quite a bit of leeway. No one would be looking for her off of campus until it was moved or they realized it hadn't moved in awhile.
When I arrived home, I found Bella and Emmett on the sofa, watching TV and talking quietly. Both looked up to me quickly once they heard the door open.
"She's on her way to Vancouver; she should be home in about three hours. She's going to call you to go pick her up." Bella turned toward me slightly, her eyes and forehead turned pensive, trying to read my expression, I'm sure. "I didn't see anyone outside the apartment, and I'm hoping that with your car still on campus, it will throw them off for a little longer," I encouraged.
"I'm going to head back into work now that you're here. Once Rose calls, I'll give you a heads up and we'll come straight back here, okay?" Emmett asked.
In passing, I handed him my new number and gave him instructions to call that number instead of my normal cell, and fell in step, sitting next to Bella. For some reason, unknown to me, they were watching some stupid assed cartoon with anime characters. All the same to me, I wouldn't be paying attention, so it didn't matter what was on. Each and every noise stirred my reflexes; every movement in the hallway jarred my nerves. And that was all before I noticed Bella staring intently at me.
"What?" I asked nervously.
"I'm just trying to figure out what you are," she answered softly as she carefully ran her fingers through my hair as she used to do when we were children.
"I wish you wouldn't try," I whispered, trying to look away but finding myself unsuccessful.
"Because you think I'm good, but what if I'm not good? What if I'm the bad guy?"
"You're not," she answered simply, not daring to go on.
"How do you figure?"
"Look, I see what you're trying to put off, but it's not going to work on me. I've known you for too long, Edward. You tried to do it back then, just as you are now, but I see your heart, you're as good as they come."
"You're wrong," I snapped harshly, but it didn't seem to faze her.
"No, it's all about how you read people. I know you are good, I know you are kind, and you're scared. Not because of what's going on right now, but you're afraid to open your heart because you're afraid to lose someone else. You're afraid you won't be able to survive it. And you're afraid if you let someone in, they may just find out all of your secrets, they might blame you for something in your past."
Her lips moved to the side as if she were trying to figure out a hard math equation, which I knew was not her strong suit. "I've got you figured out. I know exactly what you are," she stated matter-of-factly.
"Oh yeah, what's that?" I asked after taking a harsh swallow.
"Vampire," she replied with a huge smile. "'Cause remember, you never used to sleep!"
I just shook my head and looked back at the TV. "You used to tell me that all the time. You used to tell me that I had all of the qualities, but I was able to go out into the sunshine without turning into some sparkly freak or fry or some shit."
"Yes, and I always told you, you were my guardian angel, and I'd never find anyone like you in a lifetime. Oh and don't forget the whole lack of drinking blood. That's kind of important, huh?"
There was a long pause as my wind pipe constricted, preventing me from breathing. I shook my head at her remembering the many times she had told me such things. She always deemed me her guardian angel… her protector. But did she not realize I only did it out of obligation. I wasn't able to protect my mother… Bella was just a replacement, someone to make up for my inability to fulfill my one and only task once my father was taken from our lives.
I knew that wasn't true. Bella was anything other than an obligation. I honestly loved her, and cared for her, not that I could ever show her, because she would never want someone as fucked up as me. She looked into my eyes and saw the death, she saw I had nothing to give her, she knew that she deserved better. Maybe I was just another James. Maybe my angel was truly a masochist who enjoyed getting hurt, who enjoyed feeling pain and that's why she stuck around.
I refused to believe it. Bella was so much better than any of that. She had to know it.
"You know I was right… I never did find anyone like you. And you proved to me again that you are my guardian angel," she continued.
"Whatever, Bella," I chuckled, unable to hide the small smile. She was playing the strings of my swelling heart, and I couldn't stop it—I didn't want to.
This was a rarity for me, smiling. I never smiled. Not since graduation anyways. I never had reason to. And here she goes bringing in the smiles just like old times. With the smiles came the memories, the ones that weren't painful, but rather pleasant. The memories of her calling me in the middle of the night because she couldn't sleep and knew I was awake, which would, more often than not, result in both of us falling asleep on the phone, and waking up together the next morning. The days where she would grab onto my hand and walk me through the halls. The laughter in Biology class when she would do something insanely clumsy. The arguments over who was right or wrong on our group assignments. Every memory I had with Bella was pleasant. She never failed to make my world a brighter place, or make me want to become a better person. She made me want to ignore the monster lurking beneath the surface.
She giggled slightly and rested her cheek on the back of the couch as she looked at me. "Do you love me?"
"Huh?" I asked being taken off guard.
"Do you love me?"
The shit eating grin came on its own accord. I knew the answer, but that didn't mean I had to tell her. "What kind of question is that?"
"Edward…" she whined with a giggle. "The answer is…" she prompted and motioned with her hands for me to continue.
"I love you as much as I'm able. You can count it among the stars in the sky, and the sands on the beach."
She giggled and rested her cheek on my shoulder. "Good! Because I love you for as many people as there are in China and as many fish as there are in the sea."
"God, I can't believe we still remember that… wait, I can't believe you made me say that!" I answered covering my face.
"Well it's well-rehearsed by this time, so you should be good at remembering it."
"You used to make me tell you that at the end of every day. You crazy girl." I shook my head, trying to block out the memories. If only she knew how true they were. If only she knew I truly loved her that much. But then she would know what I am, and she would run.
"I never made you, I just prompted. It was your choice."
"Whatever," I sighed, rolling my eyes.
"So what kinds of things do you PI for?"
"I don't want to talk about work. What have you been up to since high school?"
"Um, lots and lots of school, obviously marrying the world's biggest asshole, uh, other than that, not too much. What about you, any leading ladies in your life?"
"You know me better than that, Bella. No ladies, I'll never do the whole lady trail," I openly admitted. She knew this about me. I had been the same for as long as she's known me. She knew I thought I was a dirty piece of shit, and she argued with me adamantly about it, but none of it mattered, I still knew the truth.
I am a killer. I was hired to kill her before I knew who she was. I have killed before, and I most likely will kill again. She was an angel of epic proportions. Bella was the definition of beauty, perfection, innocence, and I was her opposite. If only it could be an instance where opposites could possibly attract.
"Edward?" she asked, lifting her head so I would look at her. "Thank you, for today, for saving my life."
"Don't thank me yet, Bella, we still have a few weeks before they back down. I know these guys, and I know they won't calm down for anything over a million."
"But if you hadn't gotten to me today, I would most likely be dead already," she contemplated aloud. Instantly, she looked down at her hands as if she were contemplating that fate, thinking about the ways they would have killed her. Her face looked pained and tortured, and I would have given up anything in my power to make that look dissipate. I needed to see her carefree smile and her bright eyes again, only then could I feel like I was healing within myself. That was her power, her gift, the ability to heal others with her presence. She was glorious and magical, and I was everything opposite. I was the darkness and evil which surrounded the world; I was the killjoy that stole the miracles and happiness from the world. Without question, I felt I could be deemed Satan himself, only without the glory.
"Can I ask you something personal?" That's how she always got too much information out of me, asking open-ended questions. I've never been good at denying her what she wants. Whatever question she asked the correct answer she would always receive.
"You're always more than free to ask, but I hold my ability to not answer."
"What happened to you after graduation? You disappeared and never said good bye. I mean obviously, you stayed in contact with Emmett and Rose… why did you cut me out?"
"I told you from the beginning Bella, my life isn't a place for you. My life isn't safe. When people are around me, they get hurt." If only she knew how truthful I was being… how honest that one statement truly was. If she stayed with me… if I allowed her to be around me, she would inevitably end up dead—or if Laurent had anything to do with it, raped then dead.
"Rose and Emmett don't," she argued, her lower lip protruding in the most suckable fashion. I hated it when she pouted, not because it broke my heart, or because it was adorable, but because it raged the monster in me even more. The more she begged, the more she pleaded, the more I wanted to take her lower lip into my mouth and lick, and suck, and nibble until my heart's content. The more I wanted it, the more I knew she would end up getting hurt, and I could never allow that. She deserved more than someone who only knew how to fuck. She deserved to be made love to, to be filled, not foraged.
"Bella, just trust me," I whispered, hoping this to be the end of the conversation. But I should have known Bella better than that; she was never one to allow someone else to have the last word.
"It's hard to trust you when you won't let me in, Edward." The tiger part of the kitten was coming out to play. Bella had always been the kitten, soft and comforting, loving and caring, but every once in a great while, the tiger would come out and mingle… and let me tell you, she was sexy as hell when this happened. But you wanted to make sure to take a step back—with a tiger always came claws, and most of the time they didn't fight fair. Bella was no exception to this observation.
"You trusted me before," I prompted, hurt she felt she couldn't trust me now. I knew it was irrational. Why should she trust me, I couldn't even trust me. Had I not just admitted to her that I was one of the men hired to kill her? Had I not ditched her after graduation but kept in contact with our friends? Had I not just left her to rot unprotected after high school? I had always told her I would be there to protect her, and yet I let her down. I let her marry that asshole. I let him fuck with her and ruin the carefree angel I once knew. I let all of it happen, and for that I shouldn't even be allowed to be in the same fucking room as her—breathing the same shitty-assed air as her. God damn, I'm such a fucking fuck up.
"Don't lock me out." Her voice was soft and pleading, begging me with all of her grace. My heart broke a little more knowing that I had to deny her of her greatest wishes; I just had to remind myself this was for her own good. Everything was for her now; I had to forget my desires. "I can feel you doing it… Edward don't…."
"There was never a choice with us, Bella. We just cared about each other too much for our own good—for your own good. Everything that is happening right now only makes us that much more dangerous. And I'm not willing to play with our lives like that. If James finds out that you are here, there's a good chance that none of us will make it out of this, but I'm being too stupid and chicken shit to really send you away. Truthfully, I don't trust you enough to stay out of trouble. At least this way, I can keep an eye on you and make sure you don't put an even larger target on your fucking back." It was only a half truth. I wanted to keep an eye on her… but not for the reason I had said. I wanted to keep an eye on her because now that she was here—now that I felt complete—I didn't know if I could ever let her go. I knew she deserved better, I knew she deserved a real life, but now that I had her, my lungs constricted at the thought of letting her go. My heart turned into itself and began eating away at the life that was living there with the memories of being alone, and my mind began screaming—cursing—at the knowledge my dream life would never exist, because I could never allow it. Everything in me was killing me, because I knew that this—whatever it was between her and I—could never develop into anything real and lasting.
"Well god, it's great to know I'm such a burden," she answered bitterly before getting up and leaving me alone on the sofa, staring at the infomercial that just started screaming at me.
There I go yet again, fucking everything up, just like always. Of course there were only two things I was good at doing royally in my life. Fucking—whether it be fucking the shit out of someone, or fucking some shit up—and killing. The latter I feel is self-explanatory. I wasn't good at relationships, wasn't good at conversations, or careers, or really anything for that matter. I had a brain, but I never used it for anything other than plotting and scheming. Once again, this is not the life for Bella. This is not the type of situation I want to put her in.
But fuck it if I wasn't willing to quit everything and move to the fucking Philippines for her in a heartbeat. I'd give up everything for her, and she'd never have to ask.
I groaned loudly, pushed myself up off of the sofa and jogged to the bathroom door which Bella was locked behind.
"Bella, come on, open up, you know I don't think of you as a burden," I pled through the door.
"Go away, Edward." She drug my name out as if it were a curse word falling from her lips.
"No, open the door. This is bullshit; you know I didn't mean that."
"So, what, now my feelings are bullshit?"
"Damn it, woman, that's not what I fucking said! Will you stop it?" This might be one of the greatest reasons why I didn't do relationships. Girls/women were great at these fucking mind games where they twist all of your fucking shit around to mean something completely different from what you had first intended. And as of right now, Bella was the queen of the game, because she was the only one that truly mattered.
She opened the door and got into my face. "I'm sorry, I can't do this. I can't sit here and look at you, because I know why we stopped talking after high school. I know why you drifted away from me, and it's all still the same. This stupid electric thing we have running between us… it's still there, it's still pulling us together and seven years did nothing to stop it. I'm not going to sit here and let you just block me out anymore."
"We've already talked it to the ground. There is nothing between us. You're like my kid sister. Are you not still best friends with Alice and view her as a sister? It's the same with us. I mean come on, we've laid this to rest," I lied convincingly. Damn her if she wasn't right. If anything, seven years only made the stupid electric magnetic force between us stronger. Every little thing she did, whether it be to piss me off or thrill me, only made me want her so much more and it was driving me fucking insane. Every muscle in my body was begging me to take her right now on this floor, but my feet stayed in place, not allowing me the satisfaction I had yearned for all of my life.
"You're full of bullshit, and we both know it," she seethed through clenched teeth. So maybe my lie wasn't as convincing as I thought. Of anyone in my life, Bella knew me the best. She was a pro at looking through my crap and lies and getting to the heart of my soul. I was stoic, but yet she was capable of breaking the façade and getting to the core of me. "Admit it!" she demanded, stomping her foot like a child.
"There is nothing to admit." I tried to walk away, but she grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me back, causing me to stop dead in my tracks. "What?" I asked, spinning around to face her.
What I didn't expect was for her to be so close to me. I didn't expect her to pull me directly to her and throw her arms around me. And I never expected her to be so forward as to push her lips against mine, milking me of all of the love and passion I had been feeling since my sophomore year. The tingle shocked my heart and fought to bring life back to the ashes that were once there. With the intensity of her kiss, it was impossible for me to deny that I didn't want this… that I couldn't somehow create a safe haven for us to survive in.
I wanted so badly to cave and just hand all of myself over but there were too many things that conflicted with that thought. If I were to hand myself over to her, if I were to allow her in, I was only setting her up to get hurt. We could never be seen in public together, for obvious reasons, and I would never be able to treat her the way that a woman of her stature deserved to be treated.
Bella deserved the world, and I was only able to give her everything that was dark and cimmerian. There was no aurora for me in this life; there was only death and destruction. She needed so badly for some prince to come swooping in on his white horse, but I could never supply the Stetson. No matter which way you looked at it, I always fell short. I always lacked the luster of a normal carefree life. And I would never be able to amount to anything else.
There would never be a safe and happy life for us. Everywhere she went, she'd have to look over her shoulder to make sure that someone wasn't using her to get to me, or that someone wouldn't jump out of the wood work trying to kill her to get back at me for killing someone in their group. My life was too dangerous for her, too sinister. I would never belong in the world of unicorns and fairies that she did.
Now I just had to find a way to tell her.
Reluctantly, I pulled away and looked into her eyes trying to gauge where she was at emotionally before I started with my rant. "Bella, we can't do this…" I began, but quickly stopped when I saw the hurt in her eyes. I knew that look. I had seen it the one time that we had made it this far before.
Before graduation, before the murders, just after I rescued her from a bad prom date and we were walking along the beach in La Push, I fought with my better judgment and kissed her. When I pulled away and told her it was a mistake, I saw that same look of pain and rejection. Each time she had put herself out there for me, each time she had begged me to be more than what I was and to accept her for what she was. But she could never realize that she was the epitome of perfection, while I would always fail to measure up.
She was the beauty and I was the beast, there were no other ways of describing it, and things would never change. I wished, more than anything, for my spell to be broken so I could become the prince she so rightfully deserved, but it wasn't in our cards. It wasn't a spell that bound me to this life—it was me and my evil, my transgressions and my darkness. Nothing could free me, least of all her and her magic.
"What do you mean we can't do this? Edward… why can't you just…"
"Look, Bella, things would never work out with us. We don't have a hope in hell of ever making it. I've told you this all along. This is why I haven't had contact with you in the past seven years, you just push too fucking hard then get all pissy when I tell you that we'll never work. I've never been one for games, so why the hell are you starting this up again now?"
I knew it would get her. I knew that by saying that it would piss her off and she would back down. If only I didn't love her so god damn much, telling her to back off wouldn't hurt like a fire blazing through my soul. Telling her those words went against everything that I ever believed or felt. But I knew it was what was right. I didn't belong in her world, and she could never exist in mine, that was the simple reality of things.
I came back to that reality when a harsh hand flew up and made contact with my cheek, causing my head to turn with the force and my eyes to bug with the contact.
"I'm not doing this anymore, Edward. Good bye." Were the last words she spoke to me before walking out of the apartment. Utter shock and confusion ran through my mind, clouding my better judgment before I registered what she had done, where she was, and the possibilities of what could happen to her in the outside world.
"Fuck, Bella no…" I yelled before running after her. The moment I stepped onto the crowded sidewalk in front of my building, my instincts took on a life of their own.
Life around me was moving by in slow motion as I looked around trying to find her when I saw the second most terrifying sight possible in this moment. Alec's eyes were locked on Bella as she walked hurriedly down the row of market shops and trinket booths. His hand was resting on his hip where I figured his gun would be holstered or hiding in the top of his pants. Fuck. She was a block away from me. Fuck. He could conceivably get a clean shot. Fuck! No one would realize it was him because the sidewalk was too fucking busy.
All regard was left in my door jam as I took off running as fast as I could down the sidewalk slamming into passerbys and slamming forcefully into those that were standing in my path. Groceries went flying and curse words were screamed, but none of it mattered. My aching heart beat its way into my throat as the world slowed to a standstill. With dry eyes, I watched Alec pull the black nine mil from his pant waist and count his rounds before looking around him to check his coast.
Fuck, he was getting ready to mark his spot and claim his money by killing the one person I ever felt anything for. The moment he prepared to duck behind the car in front of him, I finally caught up to Bella and pulled her to my chest, throwing us both down onto the ground just as I heard the gun crack. Our bodies collided with each other, and we twisted in odd angles trying to lessen the blow of the harsh ground that was about to be felt. Throwing all well-being to the wind, I wrapped my arms around her and cradled her head to my chest as we hit the ground full force.
The screaming ensued around us and some idiot kept yelling, "Gun, gun, everyone down!"
My brain never shut down, the adrenalin never tired my bones or muscles. The only thought that I could process was I had to hunt the fucker down for this. I had to kill the asshole who shot Bella. I sat her up and looked into her eyes for a spilt second before latching gazes with Alec. His orbs grew larger than a bitch in full heat as he took a few steps back, raising his hands in defeat. He knew damn well what was coming next.
"Get into the apartment and lock the fucking door! Now!" I ordered before I took Bella's purse and rummaged around until I found her gun. "Move!" I insisted, thrusting her purse and my keys at her chest. She looked at me for a shaky second before turning and looking across the street and seeing Alec. That was all the convincing it took before she ran.
I didn't waste time making sure she was okay, I didn't check for signs of a concussion, or traces of blood. The only thing that my brain could focus on right this moment was killing the fucker that nearly took out the most important thing that I had in my life.
In one fowl jump I broke all of my mom's traffic rules and ran across the street without looking both ways, or listening to traffic. Her lessons of stop, look, and listen still reverberated, even now. Right that second, I didn't give two shits if I was hit by a car; it wasn't going to stop me either way. Alec was going to die that instant, regardless of what hurdles stood in my way. Once he saw me in the middle of the street, the fucker took off, running and weaving through people who were oblivious to the world around them. Every few feet he would slow to look behind him just to see how close I was and if I was still following him. Of course I am dipshit. You're as good as dead, why would I stop?
The retard ran toward an alleyway hoping to lose me in the pedestrians and other obstacles that he could possibly use to his advantage. But he was in my terrain. I knew this block better than he could imagine, and I had been training for this since I moved to Seattle seven years ago. I could block, jump, and run better than any other motherfucker. Finally, I caught up to him in the back of the dead end and thrust him with all of my strength into the wall that now held him prisoner. Instantly, I shoved Bella's gun in the back of my pants and grabbed the pistol from its place on Alec's hip.
"You honestly thought I would allow you to kill her?" I fumed though clenched teeth, tightening my grip on his throat, waiting for his answer to throw me off of the edge.
"Edward… dude, I'm just doing what I was supposed to do… what we were supposed to do."
"No, not what we were supposed to do. My only goal is to protect her, do you understand me?"
"You agreed just the same as we did man. You're just as deep in this shit as the rest of us." He tried to look at me over his shoulder but I wouldn't allow him, I pushed him harder into the wall knocking his head into the brick with as much force as I could exert. In some ways he was right. I was just as deep in this shit as he was, but for different reasons. My sole purpose in this life was to protect her, to save her, to ensure she was happy and lived a long and pleasant life. There was no way in hell I was about to let this fucker change that course of fate for me when I was graced with this second chance at redemption of this task. There was no way in hell I was going to let him take her life away.
Just because I didn't deserve her, didn't mean I didn't want to see her excel, that I didn't want to see the smile that crossed her lips when she accomplished something great or the look in her eye when she was up to mischief. I wanted it all, and I wanted it with her, even though I knew I could never obtain it. Her life was worth more than my wants, and it was obvious that eventually I'd have to take myself out of the equation again, but now was not the time. Right now I had to fight for her and ensure her security, and I would do just that.
"You'll be happy to know that you are no longer involved. You're about to die," I whispered huskily into his ear. The inner monster in me chuckled as I felt him shiver at the realization that I was right. The motherfucker knew that I was about to kill him and that there was nothing he could do about it. The only question that should be running through his mind right this moment, was whether I was going to be gracious and do it quickly and painlessly or drag it out and make him suffer for the thoughts of killing Bella.
"Why, because I almost shot a fucking whore who ruined James's life? A bitch that's going to ruin your fucking life, if you let her? She'll ruin you, Eddie; you know that, you have to know that. You have to know she's going to make you soft, and make you lose your touch. After James finds out what you've done, that you're fucking protecting her, you're next. You'll die right next to her. Is that what you want? If you let me go right now, I'll split the fucking money with you and we can both retire rich fucking men, and no one will be the wiser."
"No, you almost fucking shot the only thing I'm fucking living for. And I'm not going to let you live to do it again," I answered before pulling his neck roughly to the side and snapping it in the other direction in one swift motion, successfully breaking his neck. The sharp crack reverberated through my body like a powerful injection coursing my being. It was the sound and feeling of satisfaction, success, achievement. The exhilaration and high rivaled that of my first kill; personal ties brought about guiltless pleasure in doing what I do best.
I should feel remorse, I should feel some semblance telling me what I just did was wrong, and it was a step in the direction of losing Bella forever; but because of those actions I saved her life. Because of the monster that I am, I rescued her when only I could. I felt liberated because for the first time, my sin saved an angel. I should feel all of those guilt inducing feelings, but the only thing running through my head in this very moment was 'dun dun dun another one bites the dust.'