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A/N: This is my entry in the Picture Says It All contest. I'm glad I entered because I definitely found a new form of inspiration through this story. It is an avenue I will be exploring again in the future. For anyone interested, I used image #10 to bring this story to life.
I want to thank my amazing betas andromida1964 and AgoodWITCH who made this look and sound as well as it did. I love all the help you ladies gave me. I appreciate it more than you know.
Just a quick note: This story will be told from Edward's POV unless otherwise indicated, so I won't be added that to every chapter.
The scent of death was so thick in the room; it almost knocked me down with its sheer force. This scene was like countless others I had walked through in my career. It didn't get any easier but the utter horror of the situation gave way to the sense of obligation I felt toward the victims to close their cases as quickly as possible.
As a homicide detective, I had to learn to put any feelings I would have at seeing multiple dead bodies aside and focus on the case at hand. In most cases there was a single victim and the scene wouldn't be as bad. Today, however, we got the call for a triple homicide. Two women and one man were murdered in their apartment. Those cases didn't come around often but when they did they took weeks to solve and I was physically and emotionally drained for days afterward.
Walking through the tiny, blood-splattered living room was like walking through a minefield. I had to watch my every step to make sure I wouldn't disturb the scene. If anything seemed out of place, it could be cause for all of the evidence collected to be thrown out of court when we finally caught the motherfucker who did this shit.
I looked over to my partner who was working the other side of the room, maneuvering his huge body just as carefully as I was. "Anything?" I questioned him.
"Other than the footprints leading out the door, not much. There is one thing I can't put my finger on but…I'll get back to you on that." The tone and hesitation of his last sentence made his answer sound cryptic and left me wondering what it meant.
"I'm gonna check out the bedrooms. Make sure you check this room thoroughly, nothing gets missed." I ordered. I outranked him so I was able to give commands without questions.
The rooms were in pristine order, except for one. This one looked like a tornado tore through it. There were clothes thrown everywhere. The bed was moved about five inches to the left of its normal placement based on the indentation in the carpet. The sheets were practically ripped off and hanging halfway onto the floor. The bedside table had been hit hard enough to send a lamp crashing to the floor and knocking over every picture frame that rested on top of it. I had been doing this a long time and my instincts told me this was where the struggle had started.
I left the room and did a quick sweep of the small bathroom at the back of the apartment…nothing. I walked back to the front of the apartment to wait for the M.E. to show up while looking through a few more things to get a clear picture of what I think went down.
Just as I walked in, the chief came through the door. I actually expected him sooner than this but, judging by the way he was dressed, he was at yet another charity event. Those events were a waste of everyone's time, if you asked me. The police department, in my opinion, didn't seem to benefit much from the money raised at those things.
He nodded to me as he saw me walking in. "Cullen…McCarty, what do we have here?" he asked as he was securing his gloves in place.
"Three victims…two female, one male. These two here…" I said as I pointed to the male and one of the females just to the right of the door, "have multiple gun shot wounds. This one here was beaten leaving multiple broken bones and the marks around her neck are a clear sign of strangulation. We'll have to wait on the M.E. to know for sure."
"What are your theories, Cullen?" He knew I already had my assumptions.
"Judging by the rest of the apartment, I would say victim number one was here alone with someone. It appears they were in the bedroom, where a fight broke out. She ran in here where the suspect followed and killed her. The other two, possibly a roommate and her boyfriend, walked in on the scene and the suspect shot them before they could leave or call for help." I walked the chief through the apartment as I explained what I thought to be the events of the night.
He nodded while taking in my assessment. "McCarty, what's your view?" he asked looking for more information.
"Well, based on the footprints by the door. I would say we're looking for a six foot male, roughly about my height. He wasn't careful when he was leaving judging by the smeared handprint by the door and the footprint just outside where it looks like he pivoted back to see that he was leaving tracks. That's the last one so I'm assuming he took his shoes off when he realized it." He was using the pen that he always carried to point out the different things he was explaining.
"Also, I've spoken to the building manager and he assures me that there are only two women living here but, taking into account the number of beds in this place, we have a missing roommate. I don't think she was here but we need to have someone here in case she shows up later," I suggested.
"We've got men speaking to the neighbors to see if they heard anything or if they can tell us who the third woman is. Hopefully she'll be easy to find," McCarty added with a touch of concern in his voice. That got my suspicions up again.
"Good work, men. This is a sloppy job and I'm guessing there will be plenty of evidence to pick up once the forensic team gets here. Gather the neighbor's statements and start working on finding the missing girl. She may be able to tell us who the victim was with when she died."
"We're on it," I replied before we walked out of the apartment and down the hallway.
A few hours later, after walking through the crime scene one more time with the forensic team and speaking to any of the neighbors that had some useful information for us, we were back in the car on the way to the station.
"What the fuck is up with you, Emmett." I was going to find out what all the strange behavior was about.
"Nothing. It was just a bad scene that's all." If I hadn't known him for the last five years I might have believed him. Emmett McCarty was never bothered by a crime scene unless it involved children.
"Fuck you if you think you can sit here and lie to me. I'm not taking your bullshit…not tonight. After the scene we just walked out of, I'll be damned if I don't get some answers out of you." I was yelling at him now. "Something is up with you tonight and you better start talking."
He was shifting in his seat looking extremely agitated. "This has nothing to do with the job, alright."
"I can't be sure, I was pretty fucked up that night, but I think I've been in that apartment before," he confessed. He didn't need to say anymore because I knew what he meant.
"You fucking son of a bitch." I lost it. "You said you were done with that shit."
"I know what I said." He was yelling back at me. "She happened way before that okay."
"Who the hell is she?" Then it clicked. "Wait a minute, I'm guessing, since you didn't know either of the two victims, then the missing girl is the one you were..." The rest of that sentence wouldn't pass my lips.
He didn't say anything and that gave me my answer.
"Shit! How long ago? Are they going to be able to find any of your prints on the scene?" My mind started going over the consequences of his actions.
"Hell no! It was too fucking long ago. I barely even remembered it," he answered like that made this shit better.
"You better hope to god you're right, Emmett. If they find one print…just one, our careers are over. The chief will know that you withheld information and he'll think I was in on it because I'm your partner. I will not allow you to jeopardize my family because you can't keep your dick in your fucking pants."
"Look Edward, let's just go back to the station and work this case like we would any other. The chief won't know a thing."
He seriously wanted to act like this shit didn't happen. He was putting my family at risk here. I could lose everything I had worked for just to cover for him, but I couldn't back out either. I would be worth nothing in the department if someone found out I turned on my partner. This fucking asshole had me stuck in this situation with no way to get out.
"Fine," I said the word through gritted teeth. "We'll do this your way for now. Tonight we write up the paperwork and work the few leads we can and then I go home. I'm not dealing with your shit tonight."
It was a long night. I finally called it quits and headed for home. I just needed a night to wrap my head around the shit storm I was stuck in the middle of. It was three in the morning when I crept into the house. I locked up my gun as always and walked through the house to my daughter's room.
I kneeled by her bed and gently fixed her covers hoping not to wake her up. She looked so peaceful laying there wrapped up in her dreams. Her little lips twitched and she mumbled something in her sleep that I couldn't quite make out. It made me smile. She was just like her mother.
I was about to shut off the lamp beside her bed when I saw a folded piece of pink paper with the word "Daddy" written on the front. She was six years old and just learning how to write so we were finding notes to mommy and daddy everywhere. I even found one in my shoe once, as I was getting ready for work. I stifled the laugh that wanted to escape and opened the note.
You were not here when I went to bed. I saved a kiss for you instead.
My daughter's name was Angie, but I always called her precious because that's what she was to me. I had a feeling mommy helped with this little note. Just under the writing was her little lip marks where she pressed them to the paper…using mommy's lipstick of course. I sighed as I kissed her forehead and walked out of her room.
I silently made my way to my bedroom where my beautiful wife would be waiting for me. She should be sleeping, of course, but she always said that she couldn't sleep well if I wasn't with her. I changed into a loose pair of pajama pants and crossed the room to join my love.
She rolled over as soon as I hit the bed. "Hey baby," she whispered to me and I knew she was smiling just by the tone of her voice.
I pulled her into my arms and placed a soft kiss on her lips. "Bella love, why aren't you sleeping? You know I hate that you lose sleep waiting for me. The doctor says you need to get more rest. I want you and our baby to be healthy." I rubbed circles over her small belly. She was so much more beautiful when she was pregnant.
"I know, but I miss you when you're gone and I love to be able to hold you when you come home." She tightened her arms to emphasize her point.
"Baby, you love me more than I deserve." I kissed her forehead and laid my cheek against her hair. I blew out a deep breath. "How did I get so lucky?"
She pulled away from me and propped herself up on one elbow. "I know you too well, Edward Cullen. I can hear that something is wrong. Can you talk about it?" she asked knowing there were some things I wasn't able to share with her.
"Well we caught a case tonight and it was really bad. I'm sure you'll hear about it on the news tomorrow. Unfortunately, there is one potentially big problem." I paused and she remained quiet waiting for me to finish. "Emmett has a…connection to someone who could possibly be involved in the case."
"Oh Edward, he didn't." The disappointment was apparent in her voice.
Bella and Emmett formed a tight bond as soon as they met. She liked him so much that she introduced him to her best friend, Rosalie Hale. Unfortunately, at the time, she didn't know what Emmett was like. She felt bad for both of them and always held out hope that he would change.
"Yeah baby, he did. I don't know when he did it but he said it's been a long time." I didn't usually tell her about Emmett's escapades because it wasn't my place. She got all her information from Rosalie when she would call Bella in tears. I had to tell her about this one though because it may affect us and we needed to deal with it early.
I briefly explained the details I could tell her and let her know what it could possibly mean for us. One of the biggest reasons I loved my wife so much was that she always kept a level head. She saw things from a different angle than I did and was always able to give me some sound advice. The crazy thing was she actually agreed with Emmett this time. If enough time had passed since it happened then there was no way his prints would be anywhere in that apartment.
"I love you so much. Now I need to let you get some sleep." I kissed her lips again, deeper this time, savoring every second.
When I released her she laid her head on my chest and allowed me to wrap my arms around her. "I love you too, Edward…more than you know."
It had been two months since we closed the triple homicide case. We arrested the fucker who killed those people but, just like every other criminal, he claimed he didn't do it. The only thing that bothered me was that we never found the missing roommate. We had plenty of prints to work with but couldn't ID her because nothing matched in the system. We couldn't find a single neighbor who ever remembered seeing her either. She was like a ghost left behind to haunt me because I hated loose ends. As much as I hated to do it, because she wasn't essential to the case, I let the thought of her go and chalked it up as an unsolved mystery.
Life moved on and everything was back to normal, well as normal as things can get for a detective. Even Emmett and Rosalie were doing okay. I guess they were better than okay. Emmett finally asked her to marry him and she accepted. They really did love each other and they were going to take the final step in their relationship.
Rosalie and Bella were talking everyday going over wedding plans. They were planning a nice, quiet and small wedding. The guest list consisted of very close family and few of the other guys from the station.
Because the wedding was so small they were able to plan it in a few weeks. Neither one wanted to wait, they were just going to do it and get it over with. Bella wasn't too happy because, being seven and a half months pregnant, she claimed she would look big and fat in her dress. I had told her over and over that she looked amazing and that belly that she kept complaining about was a sign of how much we loved each other. That usually got her to blush and to thank me for keeping her sane.
The wedding was in a couple of days and the guys decided to take Emmett out one last time. Given his track record with bars, drinking and women, he shouldn't even be considering it but Emmett was never one to turn down a free beer. I wasn't going just because I was the best man and the best friend. I was going to be the fucking babysitter. Emmett needed some looking after when he drank and Rosalie trusted me to take care of him.
There were only going to be four of us tonight but that would definitely be enough. We were meeting Jacob Black and his partner Sam Uley at the bar. They were already there when we showed up and the first thing Jacob did was stick a beer in Emmett's hand. I grabbed one myself but made damn sure I was sipping that thing slow. I couldn't deal with Emmett's loud ass if I were drunk too.
Jacob and Sam were both single so they had Emmett out on the dance floor pushing women at him while dancing with the women they picked up. Being the only married guy of the group I was sitting at the table alone. Not that I couldn't or wasn't allowed to dance with other women, Bella wasn't the controlling type; I just didn't have any interest. None of these women could hold a candle to Bella, all they wanted to do was fuck the first guy that would show them any interest. My three friends out there were all too happy to help them out with that. Jacob and Sam could do whatever the hell they wanted but I was here to keep an eye on Emmett to make sure he remembered he was getting married in a couple of days.
I did notice there was one woman in particular that he was dancing with more than anyone else. Well, what he was doing wouldn't be considered dancing in anyone's book. He was practically fucking her in the middle of the dance floor. Things like this were exactly what I was here for.
I made my way over to Emmett and grabbed him by the arm. Not exactly the brightest idea I had ever had. Emmett was my height but built like a fucking mountain. Grabbing him while he was drinking got his defenses up and he pushed me off of him before he realized it was me.
"Hey, sorry Ed. What's up?" He abandoned the woman he was dancing with so he could talk to me.
"Emmett, I think you've had enough. It's time to get back to Rosie." He needed to get his ass out of here before this woman pulled him into the alley or some other equally shady place with her.
"But we're having fun." He looked at his wrist at a non-existent watch. "It's not even late. Rosie will understand."
"After everything Emmett, I seriously doubt that. You even think of stepping out on Rosie again, she's gonna cut your fucking dick off and you know it." I watched as his legs snapped shut out of reflex.
"That's not funny, Edward. You and Rosie need to leave my dick alone. Now I have a dancing partner to get back to." He wiggled his eyebrows at me.
Fuck, I didn't want to have to drag him out of here, but I would if I had to. I went to grab Jacob and Sam to ask for their help as Emmett wrapped himself around the woman on the dance floor again. Before I took my second step my cell phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and it was Bella. I hit the ignore button. I would call her back as soon as we had Emmett in the car.
When the second call came through right after the first, I got worried, that wasn't like her. I rushed outside to talk where it was quiet. I hit the button to redial and paced while I listened to the ringing.
"Bella, what's wrong?" I questioned when she picked up.
"Edward, I think I'm in labor." She barely got the words out. She was panting and using her breathing exercises.
"No, it's too early." I was panicking. "Call the doctor, baby. I'll be there to pick you up in a few minutes." She said okay as I was closing the phone. I ran back in and went straight to Jacob.
"Jacob, I have to go now!" I hollered over the music.
He turned his attention to me and saw my worried expression. "What's up, Edward."
"Bella's in labor. I have to get outta here." He nodded his head. "Listen, you need to get Emmett home now. Got it?" I basically ordered him to do it.
"Sure Edward, whatever you say." I watched him motion to Sam as I turned and ran out of the bar.
I was speeding all the way to the house. I picked up Bella, dropped off Angie at the neighbor's house and we rushed to the hospital. The doctor met us there and she did her preliminary check. Bella was so close to having the baby and we made it to the hospital just in time.
By the morning, we had a perfect baby boy. Bella insisted that we name him Edward Jr., making me the proudest father around. Rosalie showed up at the hospital late in the afternoon with my little girl and a hurting Emmett in tow. The hangover was visible and it served him right for drinking as much as he did.
Angie jumped into my arms and hugged me tight around the neck. "Hey precious, did you come here to see your baby brother?"
"Yes daddy. He's finally out of mommy's tummy and I wanna play with him." She was so excited it was going to break her heart when we would tell her that she couldn't play with him yet.
"No, my precious girl. You can't play with him yet. He's still too little." I tickled her stomach. "You just have to wait. You can see him though."
Her eyes lit up and the biggest smile spread across her little face. I held her up and tipped her over Bella's bed so she could look at her brother. She giggled and waved at him. It was adorable. Bella sat up in bed and called Rosalie over to take the baby. She reached out with her now empty hands and pulled Angie into a huge hug.
While Rosalie was holding the baby she told Bella that they were going to postpone the wedding a couple of weeks to make sure we were both able to be there for them. We tried to tell them it wasn't necessary but she said they couldn't get married without their best friends there. After a long ass debate we finally agreed to go along with it. It was their wedding after all and if they wanted to delay it then who the fuck was I to stand in their way.
Rosalie and Emmett stayed until visiting hours were over. They each kissed the baby and Bella and then congratulated me before they left, taking Angie with them. I wasn't going to leave Bella's side, so she was going to stay with them for the night.
I pulled the chair next to Bella's bed and just stared at my gorgeous wife while holding her hand in mine. She blushed before I spoke, "Do you have any idea how much I love you?"
Her smile was luminous. "Edward, you gave me two beautiful children. I'm the luckiest woman in the world to have you but you have to know that there is no one, not even you, who could love another person as much as I love you."
I may be a hardass at work and sometimes out of work but this woman always brought out the closet romantic in me. I leaned over her and kissed her forehead, both eyelids, both cheeks and then her sweet lips. It was a slow, soft kiss with my whole heart poured into it.
I pulled away, smiling at her. "Get some sleep my love. Tomorrow is going to be a long day." We both remembered how hectic life got when we brought Angie home so she needed her rest.
Bella settled herself in bed and I tucked her in. She rolled to her side so she was facing me and gripped my hand before closing her eyes and falling asleep.
The next afternoon, I was just getting Bella settled in at home when my phone rang. Having already called our families, I checked the caller ID wondering who it was. It was Sam. I flipped open the phone and he was talking before I could say a word.
"Edward, man, I'm sorry to have to do this now but you need to get your ass out here. We have a major fucking problem." The worry in his voice was unmistakable. He didn't explain much. He basically gave me an address and no other choice than to go out to meet him.
I told Bella about the call and she told me she would be fine and it was okay to go. I kissed her and hurried out the door. I drove to the address Sam gave me and was met by a street full of emergency vehicles. I parked my car and jumped out. I needed to flash my badge so they would let me up to the door where Jacob and Sam were waiting for me.
"Alright fuckers, my wife just had a baby. This better be good," I warned.
"There's something you need to see." Jacob was serious as he walked me into the house…nothing seemed to be out of order. I was getting irritated. They dismissed all the cops from the room for a minute before they led me into the back bedroom.
"Is this a fucking a joke?" I asked as I saw the victim's body in the middle of the bed. The same woman Emmett was nearly fucking on the dance floor the other night was lying in the bed stripped to her bra and panties, hands behind her back and her face slightly buried in the blankets.
What the fuck?
"Has the M.E. been here? Do we have a time of death?" I was silently begging that this happened after they got Emmett out of the bar and away from her.
They both nodded their heads. Sam was the one to speak, "M.E. puts the time of death around three o'clock yesterday morning."
"But you two…" I began but Jacob cut me off.
"Sorry Edward. We couldn't make him leave. He fought us every step of the way and our fight caused a full on bar fight. Somewhere in the chaos, we lost Emmett and we think he went home with her."
I leaned down with my hands on my knees trying to get a handle on my anger. It wasn't working and I was ready to explode. "Holy fucking shit, Sam! Do you think he came here with her?"
"Without word on the prints it's too hard to say but where else would he go with her. It's not like he could have taken her home with him." Sam's answer was not what I wanted to hear.
"We wanted to bring you in on this Edward because we wanted you to know what's coming. I would say a number of people at the bar saw him leave with her. Unless he can prove the time he left her house, Emmett will be the prime suspect since he was probably the last person to see her alive," Jacob explained.
"This is a fucking nightmare." I had both hands fisted into my hair. I couldn't believe this was happening. "Does Emmett know yet?"
"Well, he could." Sam's response was puzzling.
"What the hell does that mean?" I questioned.
Jacob clapped his hand on my shoulder. "Edward, forensics has already been here also. They found plenty of usable prints and were going to take them back for processing." He drew in a deep breath. "With Emmett being a cop and in the system, they are going to know immediately whether he was here or not."
I was good cop and an even better detective. I always had a certain sense about a crime scene when I showed up and I knew this wasn't going to end well. "What's your take, guys? How do you see this going down?"
They looked back and forth at each other and then at me. No words needed to be said. "Fuck! I have to get to Emmett's right now! Call me as soon as you hear anything?"
I sprinted back to my car, turned it back the way I came and floored it. I hauled ass and made the thirty-minute drive to Emmett's in fifteen minutes. My tires screeched to a stop and I threw the car in park. I jumped out and rushed to the door. I burst through it with no warning and saw Rosalie sitting in the middle of the floor in tears with the telephone in pressed to her ear.
"Oh, thank God. Bella, he's here," she said into the phone.
"Rosie, where is Emmett?" I grabbed her by the arms and made her look at me.
"They took him." Her eyes were pleading with me to understand.
"Who took him?" I shook her gently to make her focus.
"The police. They came in here and said he was being charged with murder." She broke down into uncontrollable sobs. I held her for a minute trying to offer any kind of comfort I could before she asked, "Edward, what's going on?" She wanted an answer that I couldn't give her yet.
"I'm not too sure Rosie but, I promise you, I'm gonna find out. Until I do, please go to my house and stay with Bella." She nodded and I took off to the station.
When I got there I asked some questions and found out that Emmett's prints were all over that woman's house. They had several witnesses that claimed he was the last person to be seen with her. Normally, when a good cop was involved, the DA's office would drag their feet a little and give us some time to clear things up. However, this woman was the daughter of someone with a lot pull and he demanded an arrest be made.
I was allowed into the holding area and see him. He was sitting on a small bench in a single cell keeping him away from the other men being held down here. He had his elbows resting on his knees with his head buried in his hands. He looked broken.
"Emmett," I called his name to get his attention.
He slowly lifted his head to look at me, he had been crying. I never imagined I would see Emmett McCarty cry over anything. "Edward, I don't know what happened."
"Don't talk, Em. We have to get you a lawyer. You know as well as I do that you say nothing until then." I warned him. "Jacob, Sam and I are going to be working on this but you know we don't have a lot of time. They're out for blood on this one and, I hate to say it, but you're probably facing the death penalty here."
He broke down again and the tears spilled from his eyes. I felt sorry him. Emmett didn't have an evil bone in his body. He just let his dick make his decisions for him sometimes. He had cheated on Rosalie countless times in the last five years but all those mistakes combined didn't warrant a punishment like this. Someone killed that woman but it wasn't the man standing in front of me. My best friend couldn't do something like this.
I had my hand on his shoulder and he composed himself enough to speak. He looked at me with red-rimmed eyes, full of tears. "They said I killed that girl from the bar. I don't remember anything, Edward. Everything is a blur."
"I said shut the fuck up, Emmett. I told you not to say a word…not even to me...not yet. For once, listen to what I say and keep your damn mouth shut. I'm going to find someone to help you."
I turned as he reached out and grabbed my arm through the bars. "I'm sorry Edward. Please tell Rosie I'm sorry. Please tell her that I didn't do this."
I got myself free of his grip and heard him calling to me as I took off to find someone who could help him.
"Edward, I didn't do this!" he screamed at me before the door slammed shut behind me.
A/N: Just so you know, this story is in no way finished. I will be continuing this story so be assured that we will find out what happens to poor Emmett. I can't let him down.
Thanks for reading and I would love to hear what you think, good or bad, it's all appreciated.