A/N: I know it's been a while since my last update, but I haven't forgotten about you guys! This chapter is just a filler so it's short, but you'll get more information on Bella and Edward's relationship in the next one. Too all of the new readers: Welcome! Hope you enjoy!
My beta, SUNFLOWER3759, has been wonderful with all of her help! She's really guided this story along and I appreciate her work.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight Saga and its characters.
The sun broke over the horizon in the early hours of the morning, dawn had arrived. . We all pulled into the driveway of the family home. Rosalie had called ahead to let our parents know that we were coming. Alice and Jasper were there when we arrived. Esme was in the kitchen brewing tea while the rest of us were sitting in the living room, waiting impatiently, everyone anxious. The silence was deafening, but it gave me a lot of time to think about what I was going to say. I was sitting on the arm of the sofa while Rose and Emmett sat on the cushions with the sleeping twins in their arms. Alice and Jasper were cozied up in the loveseat with Sarah playing on the floor at their feet. Carlisle, always the patient one, sat coolly in his usual chair, staring calculatingly at me.
"Son, where's Bella?" He finally questioned. At that moment, everyone's eyes shot in my direction.
"I was just wondering the same thing." Esme spoke, as she entered the room, setting the tray of tea cups down on the coffee table. Carlisle took a cup to be polite, as did Alice and Jasper, but the rest of us were too on edge to do so. She then turned to look at me. "It's your anniversary weekend. You two should be together right now."
"Too bad Eddie screwed it up." Emmett grumbled, earning a light smack on the arm from Rose.
"Don't even say that." I hissed, glaring at him. He met my glare with one of his own.
"What is he talking about?" Esme said, as she eyed me speculatively. I rubbed the back of my neck, not responding.
"Edward." Carlisle addressed firmly. I looked to find him staring expectantly at me.
"Bella and I got in an argument…and she left." I admitted.
"What?" Esme's eyes widened.
Carlisle shook his head. "Edward, what else happened? Does this have to do with her pregnancy? I told you that you need to accept-"
"It's not about the pregnancy." I sighed, running a hand through my hair before pinching the bridge of my nose. "Look, I made a mistake, but I'm going to fix it."
"Oh, please! Are you seriously going to sit there and tip-toe around the truth?" Rose scoffed, squinting her eyes at me. "Edward cheated on Bella." She stated turning to face my parents.
Esme gasped, shaking her head. "No," She said with disbelief.
"Is this true?" Carlisle asked somberly.
"No! I mean….not completely." I grimaced. They only stared at me, waiting for an explanation. "Look, there was this woman at the office. I'll admit, I was attracted to her, but I didn't sleep with her. I would never do that to Bella. We kissed, that's it. And now she's holding it over my head. She sent pictures to Bella and she completely freaked. She left me….and I don't know where she went." I said quietly, clenching my jaw as I stared down at the floor.
"What woman?" Alice voiced.
"Tanya Denali, the ex-CFO. Edward fired her." Emmett explained.
"Wait, you mean the woman that was with you at the car launch?" Alice looked at me. I nodded and she rolled her eyes. "We knew something wasn't right…" She shook her head. "It was like she was attached to your hip the whole night."
"She was not attached to my hip the whole night, Alice." I said.
"No? Then why was Bella with Rose, Shuree, and me at the bar the entire night while the two of you mingled with the rest of the guest?
"It was strictly business." I spat.
"If that was the case, you wouldn't be in the mess you're in now!" Rosalie fired back.
"Okay, that's enough." Carlisle raised his hands yieldingly. "We need to approach this situation calmly. Now, has anyone tried contacting Bella?"
"We've all called her, she's not answering her phone." Alice answered.
"What about Shuree?" Esme suggested.
"I was at her place earlier. Bella's not there." I clarified.
"Well, she couldn't have gone far. She probably rented a hotel room downtown." Jasper tried to reason.
"But she knows Edward would easily be able to find her. All he'd have to do is check her last credit card transaction." Alice picked up Sarah and sat her on her lap, bouncing her a bit.
"But a hotel doesn't charge until after your stay. So it wouldn't show up as a transaction." Emmett pointed out.
"True…" Jasper rubbed his chin in thought. "Then, if you don't mind me asking, what was the last transaction on your card?" He eyed me carefully.
"The plane tickets." I said without hesitation. We all froze as the words sunk in. "Fuck…" I mumbled , as I stood up and started pacing. "I can't believe I didn't figure it out before. Why the hell would she do something so ridiculous?"
"You didn't know your own wife left the country?" Rosalie asked skeptically.
"It's not like Bella to do something like this." I countered. "It wasn't my first thought. That trip was to celebrate our anniversary. Why would she want to go to Barcelona?"
"To get as far away from you as possible." Rosalie sneered.
I stopped pacing, and glared at her, clenching my fist tightly at my sides. "I'm sick and tired of you always getting on my case."
"Because you're always screwing up." Rosalie returned , with a glare of her own. Daryn started moving in her arms, letting out a soft whimper. Rosalie rested the child against her shoulder, rocking her gently as she patted her back. When Daryn quieted down, Rose continued in sharp whisper, "If it wasn't for you thinking with your dick instead of using the brain in that thick skull of yours, we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. It's your own fault and I don't feel the least bit sorry for you. I hope she divorces your ass."
"Now that's a bit extreme, Rosalie." Esme said, coming to my defense.
"Leaving the country is a bit extreme, don't you think?" Emmett said. "I mean, don't get me wrong, Bella has her reasons, but I just wanted to put it out there that she left without a single word. We're all sitting around worried about her, come to find out there's an ocean separating her from us."
"Emmett's right, but Bella honestly believes Edward slept with Tanya. I don't blame her for leaving." Alice said.
"No one's blaming her, but we at least could have received a phone call." Emmett insisted.
"Bella will call when she's ready." Carlisle, always the mediator, tried to placate. "I'm not pointing a finger at anyone. Edward and Bella need to work it out themselves. But until then, we're just going to have to wait for her to contact us. Trust me, Bella is a smart woman. She'll be fine." With everyone in silent agreement, he looked at me. "Now, Edward, what is it that you needed to talk to me about?"
"Finally, we get to the reason why we're all here in the first place." Emmett groused. Ignoring my brother's remark, I rounded on my father and he waited patiently for me to speak.
"After Bella left, I received a call from Tanya. When I asked her why she's been blackmailing me, she didn't give me a straight answer. All she said was that I should ask you." I stated. Everyone looked at Carlisle curiously.
"Ask me what?" He questioned bewilderedly.
"Do you have any connection to Tanya Denali whatsoever?" I asked, outright, not even believing it was possible that he would. Esme, who had been standing loyally by his side since she entered the room, peered down at my father stunned.
It was silent, as Carlisle paused for a moment, appearing to collect his thoughts. "Possibly, yes." He admitted. Everyone gasped, and my eyes widened.
"Carlisle, explain." Esme demanded, crossing her arms as she stepped slightly away.
"But, not in the way you think." Carlisle continued. "I never knew her personally. I didn't even know about her until recently. When Edward introduced me to her at the car launch weeks ago, instantly recognized her last name, but I didn't worry too much about it; At least, I tried not to." He sighed. "God, it's been so many years, I didn't think…" He trailed off, reflecting.
"Didn't think what?" I stressed.
For the first time in a long time, Carlisle appeared to be unsettled. Ever since his heart attack, he's been very careful not to let anything upset him, which is why he's always the calm one out of all of us.
"Listen, I haven't been completely honest about how the Corporation got its start." He said. "When I was in college, I met a man named Eleazar Denali. He was my old roommate in our junior year. By that time, I already had the plans for Cullen Auto in the works but I didn't know how to go about getting it off the ground. Eleazar told me that his family worked in the auto industry and he had a few connections. Now, he didn't know much about business, but he knew someone who did. He's the one that introduced me to Aro Volturi. Around graduation, we began work on the project. Eleazar helped with work on the Cullen 28c. Back then, we were tight on money. I mean, we had just graduated, so we had a lot of debt from student loans. Eleazar knew how to get the parts for the car and the V-6 engine." Carlisle explained, heaving a heavy sigh.
"I didn't question how he got them; I only cared about finishing the project." He continued. "With the success of the Cullen 28c, we knew that the company would be a success and I offered Eleazar a percentage of the company. However, before we could draw any contracts, I found out what his family really did. Apparently, they had been stealing cars for parts, which is how Eleazar got the parts for the Cullen 28c. I considered Eleazar a good friend, so I didn't know what to do. Aro said that it was bad for business, and suggested that we should cut ties with the Denalis. I was hesitant at first, but when Eleazar and his father were arrested after getting caught making another run, Aro insisted that when the contract was drawn up, Eleazar's name not be included in anything. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't afford to let the company go under. If it got out that the Cullen 28c was made up of stolen parts, Cullen Auto would have died. Esme and I had just married and we had been living with her parents because we couldn't afford a home of our own. I made a difficult decision, but I had to take care of my family. Eventually, Eleazar tried to sue, but he didn't really have a case without giving himself away. Our friendship ended on bad terms, obviously, and the last I heard of him he had moved out the California." He paused for a moment, in thought as we took in his story.
"Why didn't I know about this?" Esme finally voiced.
"I didn't want you to worry about anything." Carlisle reason.
"What else haven't you told me?" My mother pressed.
"Trust me, that's the only thing I kept from you. I didn't want you to think I was a crook."
"If you had told me the truth, I would have believed you."
"I know, and I am sorry. But believe me when I say that I never intended to deceive you." He said, as he pulled Esme closer to him.
"I believe you. It's nothing we should worry about now." She appeased. "What's done is done. We need to figure out what this Tanya girl is up to."
"But I don't remember hearing about him having any children, but I could be wrong. Tanya could be his daughter." Carlisle said thoughtfully.
"But that can't be right. Tanya told me her father was in the Navy. You can't join any part of the military with a criminal history." I said.
"She could have lied to you. It probably wouldn't be the first time." Rosalie stated.
"But she did say she had an uncle in California. Did Eleazar have a brother?" I inquired.
"Now that you mention it, he did have a brother who was only a year older than him, but they weren't on speaking terms, so Eleazar didn't talk about him much. You're right, Edward. If Tanya was telling the truth and her father was in the Navy, then he couldn't have a criminal record, which would explain why he and Eleazar weren't on speaking terms. He most likely cut ties with his family because they were stealing cars."
"Which would make Eleazar her uncle she contacted when her father was stationed in San Diego." I concluded. "Shit…"
I didn't know if anger was the right emotion to feel at the moment. Even though my father technically didn't do anything wrong, he was partly the reason why Tanya was causing so much trouble. Her family could have a vendetta against our family. And she was seeking her revenge through me. However, I couldn't bring myself to fault my father. I was the one who fucked up. I should have seen right through Tanya's façade. It was my own stupidity that brought this upon me. But at least now I knew she didn't have petty reason, such as me firing her and not having sex with her. This was a lot more personal.
"Where is Eleazar now?" Jasper ask.
"If he's alive, probably still in California." Carlisle answered.
"Maybe he planned this." Emmett suggested. Both of the twins were now wide awake, and he had Casey sitting upright in his lap. "Maybe he sent Tanya here to do the dirty work because he knew that Dad would recognize him."
"He had to have been keeping tabs on the Corporation. How else would he know that Carlisle was no longer CEO? Obviously, Edward wouldn't know anything about the Denalis, so when he hired Tanya, he wouldn't suspect a thing." Rosalie stated.
"How would he have been sure that Edward would hire Tanya?" Alice asked.
"Simple. He wasn't sure. He was taking a chance and got lucky. Obviously Edward didn't do a thorough background check on her." Jasper responded.
"I did do a background check. Everything she told me in the interview added up. She used to work for GM subdivision in New York. There was no criminal record. She graduated with honors and a degree in business from Princeton." I justified.
"That doesn't necessarily mean she's not a criminal. We don't have the information about her life in California to fill in the holes, but at least we know what her motive is." Jasper said.
"Wow, she's really stupid. She completely gave away her position." Emmett laughed hardily.
"So she has a motive. Isn't that all we need to have a case?" Esme asked.
"A case for what? She hasn't done anything besides make passes at Edward and get fired. She hasn't really done anything to damage the Corporation." Rosalie said.
"Couldn't Edward file a sexual harassment claim?" Alice put forward.
Emmett snickered and we glared at him. "Exactly who was harassing who here?"
"Emmett, now is not the time." Rosalie hissed.
"She already lost her job. There isn't much else the law would do." Carlisle said.
"She has made a few threats. Blackmail is a crime." I offered.
"Has she actually said what she would do? I mean, specifically?" Jasper turned to me. I shook my head. "Then there is nothing that the law can do. But that doesn't mean we can't do anything about it. What does she want, money?"
"No way, I'm not paying that bitch a dime!" I snapped.
"Edward, this isn't just about you anymore. If paying her is what will stop her from wreaking havoc, then that might be what we have to do." Carlisle tried to rationalized.
"So we reward her?" I criticized, pissed off. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."
"Don't you dare take that tone with me." Carlisle scolded, standing from his chair. He approached me, a couple inches taller than my own frame. "Before you start shooting down any solutions we have, let's not forget who let this situation get out of hand because of his own foolish arrogance." He spat. "I made you CEO of the Corporation because I thought you were ready. But I can see now that you still have a lot of growing up to do. Although I am no longer on the board, I am still part owner of Cullen Corporation. And many of the members are my good friends."
I swallowed roughly, glaring up at him. "What are you saying, father?"
"I am saying, Edward Anthony Cullen, that next week, I will take it up with the board and put it to a vote."
"A vote for what?" My nostrils flared.
As we stood there, no one said a word. It was a standoff between the two of us, neither wanting to relinquish power to the other. I couldn't help it. I felt like I was being challenged , and there was no way I was backing down. However, little prepared me for what my father was going to say next.
"A vote to have you demoted, Edward."
A/N: Like I said, this chapter was just a filler. Now you know how Carlisle is involved with this mess. What do you think? Comment below and let me know! Reviews are wonderful! Thanks!