Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of these characters. No copyright infringement is intended
I spun around to face once again the person whose voice caused my heart to nearly stop beating. The poker clattered to the ground. "Laurent! What are you doing here?"
He laughed at me. "Edward, Edward. You always get right to the heart of the matter don't you. Nice to see that hasn't changed." He took a tentative step toward me, his hands were raised in front of him showing me that he wasn't going to harm me.
"Are you going to answer me? How did you find me?" I asked.
A serious expression took over his normally calm demeanor. "I didn't think you would be awake, but I saw you through the window. I came to warn you." His voice was barely a whisper. "He knows you are alive. I thought I had covered our tracks better."
My world caved in around me. Deep down, I wasn't totally surprised by this, I mean the flowers had been a giveaway, but to hear it and having it confirmed by someone who was close to the head of the beast, took anyway any semblance of hope that might have remained.
"Come inside, we can't talk here." I led him into the kitchen where I turned on one of the under cabinet lights to give us some illumination.. I turned to him, the words caught in my throat. "How?"
Laurent stared at me. "I don't know exactly, but he was alerted to the fact you had potentially been seen some weeks ago. Of course he didn't believe it at first. I heard some of the men talking about watching your apartment and then here. It took them some time to work out for sure, you were in fact alive. I thought he had given up, dismissing it as a fanciful rumor. I was wrong, and by the time I heard, it was too late. I am only sorry."
"What's going to happen to me? Is he coming for me, for Bella?" I wasn't scared for me, I could take what was undoubtedly to come but I worried about her and my family. They were blameless, yet had been threatened before.
"I would be lying to you if I said I knew the answers. No one can second guess what he will do next." He let out a deep sigh. "All I do know is that right now he is enjoying toying with you."
My feet carried me to the kitchen sink where I retched. My hands braced against the counter, keeping me upright, somehow. This could not be happening to me, to Bella. Wiping my mouth on the back of my hand, through tears that stung my eyes I turned back to him. "Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke, Laurent. He can't know, he won't let me go this time, will he?"
Laurent came to stand in front of me, reaching out and placing his hands on my shoulder as if this would calm me in some way. "No one knows what he will do. He was angry, so very angry. I have only seen him lose it like that once before." His voice faded away.
My mind raced, I couldn't comprehend what he was saying or how this would affect things for me and Bella. She was the most important thing in my world, there was no way of my protecting her from that madman.
"What will it take for him to leave Bella and my family alone?" The words came out barely in a whisper, and I was terrified of the answer.
"I don't know, he doesn't seem to want you back in his control, yet. Trust me if he did, you would be there now."
Sighing I answered. "I know. Look I have questions about Heidi, what happened to her and…"
Laurent looked uncomfortable and moved away from me.
"Please? I need to know what happened to her and the baby. I remember that he said it had been taken care of, but I need to know what happened to both of them."
Laurent looked at his watch. "I cannot stay any longer, they will notice soon that I have gone."
My hand reached out and grabbed hold of his arm, "Please? I have to know."
He pulled away from me as if my touch burned him, he hissed "You need to know? Do you think you can live with that knowledge every day? Knowing you are responsible for this whole mess? Knowing their blood is on your hands? The baby wasn't taken care of. Heidi? Well I didn't see her after the night you were captured."
I stepped away from him, knowing that he had just confirmed my worst fears, they were both dead and it was my fault.
The hall light came on and I could hear the sound of my mom's voice calling out. "Hello? Edward is that you?"
Turning to the door that led out into the hall, I was torn between answering her call and asking Laurent what he meant, to confirm what I was thinking. I turned back to him, but all that greeted me was an empty kitchen.
I sank to the floor and pulled my knees to my chest, wrapping my arms around them as I became lost in my thoughts. I never heard Esme's footsteps getting closer to me, and it wasn't until she was crouching in front of me that I registered she had come into the room.
Her hand gently touched my cheek, I didn't react. "Ssh, it's okay my darling I'm here." She whispered as I began to cry, Before I knew it she had her arms wrapped around me and was sitting on the floor with me.
All I could do between sobs was mutter. "It's all my fault."
How long we stayed there I had no idea, but I was shocked when I heard Carlisle's voice and I recoiled as the kitchen light was switched on, flooding the room with a harsh, white light. When he saw my reaction, he quickly turned it off again.
"What's going on?" There was concern in his voice.
"I don't know. I thought that I heard voices down here, so I came down and found him here."
His face appeared before me. "Son, come on now, let's get you upstairs and into bed."
He gently guided me to my feet and wrapped his arm around my waist to support me. We made our way back to my bedroom. Once there, Esme pulled the covers back and I laid down but I knew that sleep would not find me. I closed my eyes, only to avoid the questions I knew would be asked of me.
I feigned sleep as I waited for Carlisle and Esme to leave. Thoughts raced through my mind. Laurent had sought me out, was it only to tell me that Aro knew I was alive or was there some other reason? I honestly felt that he cared what happened to me. I mean he gave me no reason in my whole time in Volterra to believe that he held any ill feeling toward me. He was the closest thing I had to a friend.
Once I heard the door to my bedroom close I sat upright in bed, I couldn't stand the images that were playing out in the darkness. I reached out toward the lamp on the bedside table, as my hand stretched out I thought I saw Heidi's face in the darkness and my hand recoiled. My mind was clearly playing tricks on me so I pushed on and flicked the switch. Once the room as bathed in the comforting light I heaved a sigh of relief.
Now that I was no longer in the darkness, I laid back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Aro knew, but yet I wasn't in any immediate danger. Why? If what Laurent said was true, and he wanted me, then he would quite simply come and take me. I feared that he was planning something far worse, that would involve my family or Bella. I couldn't stand the thought of that. Quite simply I would die before I allowed any harm to come to any of them for my mistakes.
I sent Emmett a text message, asking him to call me when he woke up. I wanted to check when Bella was heading to Forks, the further away she was away from this, and me, the better.
Thankfully dawn began to break. There was no way to describe it, other than I was exhausted. Maybe now the night was over I hoped I would be able to relax and catch up on some of the sleep I had missed. Just as I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head I heard my phone vibrate on the nightstand. Reaching out to grab it I thought it would be Emmett asking me what I wanted.
"Finally woke up from your beauty sleep have you?" I teased.
There was silence at the other end of the line which surprised me, so I pulled the handset away to look at the number and was faced with an unknown number on the display. My heart began to pound in my chest as I waited to hear who was on the other end.
"Who is it? What do you want?" I demanded.
The voice that finally broke the silence shocked me, it was Bella.
"Edward, sorry it was so strange to hear your voice again. I didn't make to freak you out, I never thought about the possibility." The words came out all in a rush before she let out a soft sigh.
"Bella, it's okay. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap, it's just been a long night." I snickered at the irony of my own comment. "So, dare I ask why you are calling me?"
"I'm leaving town for a few days. Going to visit Charlie and get my head together. I wanted to let you know." She sounded hesitant.
"Talk to me, what's wrong." I pushed. Knowing her like I did, there was more than just a common courtesy to the reason for the phone call.
Silence greeted me once again, I could hear her breathing into the phone.
"I'm scared Edward, what was with the flowers? Then Emmett leaves one of his guys with me and Rose? It's like having a bodyguard, tell me the truth, you owe me that much."
Of course she was right, there seemed little point lying to her. Taking a deep breath, I spoke.
"Bella, all this is linked to my kidnapping. It turns out that my survival, and escape has been discovered." My voice dropped. "He knows I am alive. The flowers, they were messages from him, maybe a warning. I don't really know what will happen next."
"Great. So not only do I have to deal with the fact you cheated, and the fallout from that. I now have to look over my shoulder, worrying that some deranged Physcopath might pop up at anytime and hurt me?"
The anger was clear in her voice, there was nothing that I could think to say to her.
"I know that it doesn't help you, and it's the last thing you want to hear from me, but-"
"Don't you dare say you are sorry Edward. It's a word that I am tired of hearing, it means so little now." Bella spat at me.
"Bella, please? Let me explain, I know that this is hard for you, trust me this is equally as hard for me. I am now living in fear for not only, my life, but yours and my families lives too right now. He knows I am alive, it puts us all risk. Me? I don't care what happens to me as long as you are all safe." I paused as the enormity of what I was going to say hit me. "I would die before I let anything happen to you, or them. I'm so sorry I brought this to your door."
Once again there was a period of silence. "I think it's for the best if I do get out of town for a while. Charlie will keep me safe. I'm sorry Edward if I went off at you, it's just…"
She couldn't finish. I felt better at hearing those words from her, I thought that there might some hope, just a tiny sliver of light at the end of the very long tunnel that I was currently in, but I wasn't to be that lucky as she quickly extinguished it.
"This doesn't mean things have changed between us. I still have to work out what I want, but I don't want any harm to come to you or your family. You've all been through enough."
Those words hurt me, but somehow I managed to speak. "I know. Just be safe, please?"
"I will. Just give me some time. I'm not saying I can get over this, but I am also not saying we don't have a future. I'll call you when I get back. Look after yourself Edward."
With those words, the call ended. I was left holding the phone in my hand. Thinking of everything I should have told her, how Laurent had come to me, and no decisions had been made regarding my future which in turn meant hers. Thinking about it, I wasn't sure hearing the deranged madman who put me through hell was enjoying toying with me, with us, before he made his final decision.
I knew that once his decision was made, his vengeance would be swift and precise. All I could hope was he left Bella and my family out of this, and focused on me. Bella's words to me about us not being over was a faint glimmer of hope in the distance. But it wasn't anything tangible, it was there. All that was left now was hope.
PHEW! I will say that only two of you guessed correctly that the visitor in the darkness was Laurent. Many of you thought that it was Aro, or Heidi.
Happy New Year from the UK, and I will be keeping the chapters coming on this, as I really want to get this finished. Massive thanks go out to Leigh Warner for being my faithful pre-reader on this fic. There is no beta at the moment, so any mistakes are mine.