AN: I just want to thank all of you for your support of this story. I love this Bella and Edward. I really love 'Annie' and 'Matt', because even though they throw tantrums, rub their snotty noses on my shirt and run around in dizzying circles they are my babies.
We are almost to the finish line. I would say only two, maybe three chapters left. Let me know what you think of the chapter. Your reviews make me really happy.
Mauigirl60 helped me make this chapter pretty. I thank her with all my heart.
All decked out in their Halloween finest, the ragtag group trudged into the Forks Police Station. The children had been calmed down from the fright of the creepy masks worn by their father and grandfather by the candy that Bella had let them eat. As soon as they entered, a jovial Charlie called out from his office, "Bring the kids in here, Bells!"
She walked into her father's packed office. He was sitting behind his desk, eating a slice of pizza. Carlisle was pacing, as Esme cried softly on the couch. Alice, looking completely calm, was patting her mother's back, trying to comfort her. Jasper was clutching Alice's hand, his brow furrowed in worry. There were two strangers conversing in a corner and, much to her surprise, one of her favorite people was reading a file near her father's desk.
"Jason Jenks, you brilliant man, you got them off!" she cheered.
He gave a bashful smile and pushed his thick frames back up his nose. "Not quite, Bella, but close. Miss Alice here is in the clear. There was no indication that it was anything but protecting a friend in danger. I have friend who's a judge. He isn't the type to let bullies blackmail him to do the wrong thing. I think Mr. King is helping your ex-father-in-law put pressure on you, dear girl. The have mutual business interests to protect. It doesn't seem that he's very fond of his son normally. Unfortunately, Charlie needs to stay in police custody for a while."
"At least there's pizza," Charlie said, taking another bite. Bella looked at her father questioningly and he lifted his foot. It was chained to the desk. "Kids, you want some of Grandpa Charlie's pizza? You, too, Sammy, I consider you family."
The children ran over happily. Annie's face dropped, as she looked down at her grandfather's leg. "Are you pretending to be one of the bad guys?"
"I am just for a little bit, short stuff. Don't fret a bit about it." Charlie kissed her head. "How about you little guys take your pizza to Deputy Seth's office? He has McGruff the Crime Dog coloring books and crayons."
Once the children scurried out to the promised coloring tools, Carlisle stopped pacing and growled at Charlie. "How can you be so calm? These people are destroying our lives!"
"Dr. Cullen, the agency has it under control now. We just need some more concrete information on both the Volturi and King operations. That's where Ms. Swan comes in. I'm Tom Malloy, and it's my job to make sure the Volturi family stops harassing you, Ms. Swan." The older man with peppered hair smiled a kind smile toward Bella. His eyes crinkled at the corners, indicating he was a man who was quick to smile. He pointed to the handsome man with dark hair and lively blue eyes. "This is my partner, Agent Walker."
Agent Walker took Bella's hand and squeezed it gently. "Please, call me Garrett. I'll be with you every step of the way. The plan is that I'll hook up recording devices to you and we'll have a camera..."
"Whoa there, buddy, who's planning on hooking Bella up to recording devices?" Edward came and wrapped his princely-clad body around Bella pulling her away from the man, so Agent Overly-Touchy-Feely got the hint that she was in a relationship with him and not on the market. He didn't like the way this guy was ogling her one bit. "We found out about Alice and the Chief being arrested by the psychopaths when we were out trick-or-treating. She's not going anywhere near them!"
"Sir, it will be perfectly safe! I'll be there..." The man attempted to protest.
Edward sneered, "That doesn't ease mymind any!"
Jason looked up from his paperwork. "Dr. Cullen, these men are the best in their field. As Bella's legal counsel, I think that their plan would be most beneficial to her. I would never put Bella in any danger."
Bella looked around the room, at her family and friends squeezed into her father's office with worry on their faces. She had to help them because, ultimately, Alec was her responsibility to take down. She refused to let them pay for her inability to stop him so long ago.
Taking a deep breath, she held tightly to Edward's arms. "I'll do it, Agent Malloy. Let me know what needs to be done."
Edward turned her body toward him. He placed his lips on Bella's temple and murmured, "Please, don't do this."
"I need to stop them. I want us to get married without fear."
"Mr. Cullen, I understand your concern..." Garrett began to say.
Edward looked at him in anger. "It's Doctor and you don't understand. This woman is everything to me and I almost lost her once! I won't have it happen again!"
"I'll be fine." Bella caressed his cheek. "What do you think I can do to help?"
"Ms. Hale gave us some valuable information, but we really need to hear them to vocalize their misdeeds. Ms. Swan, Aro Volturi needs a face that can deflect his son from some of his less-than-savory pursuits. Alec was supposed to be the legitimate face of the non-illegal pursuits of the company, and you would be the woman who'd make him look like a good man. They need you desperately, because their blackmail and favors aren't working anymore. We believe you can make them admit to their crimes," Tom Malloy stated as he grabbed a slice of pizza off of Charlie's desk. "Where did you get the pie, Charlie? This is almost as tasty as a New Haven pizza!"
"It's Lombardo's pies over on South Street. It's pretty tasty, if I do say so myself." Charlie took another bite and looked over at Edward. "Son, if there was any other way, I would make sure that Bella would never see those men again. Tom promised me that they would keep her safe."
"Are you all crazy? Why are we talking about pizza when Bella is being offered to the monsters that we just had to deal with?" Edward felt panicked. "Who in their right minds would wear frightening masks in front of their children and grandchildren?"
Jane, who was holding Rosalie's hand in the corner, stepped forward. She had been surprisingly quiet the whole time. "My father and brother crawled out of a cesspool, Javelin. Listen, I'm going with her."
"No!" Rosalie cried and rushed to Jane. She pulled her close.
"Oh my darling Prom Queen, I'll be fine. I had to live with those psychos my whole formative years. If I can't deal with them, then no one can. I'm the best way in. They know that Crazy Pants..." Garrett looked at her in confusion. Jane sighed and said to Garrett, "I'm talking about Bella, GQ."
"Who's GQ?" Garrett asked. He found the Volturi sister to be the strangest woman he'd ever met.
Jane groaned, "It's you, because you look like a male model. I thought FBI agents were supposed to be clever. I will spell this out for you. You need me to get close to them. If Sparkle Slut goes by herself, they'll be suspicious. My family is known for worrying about their self-preservation. It was drilled in me since I was young. Demon Dad will believe I forced her into it. You'll just have to make sure you leak that you're investigating me."
"Do you ever call people by their given names?" Garrett started rubbing his temple.
"Rarely," Jane truthfully stated.
"Truth," Emmett muttered grumpily. His friends were going into a dangerous situation and he could do nothing, but worry. It sucked.
Bella gave Jane a grin. "Where did you get the name 'Sparkle Slut' and how can I get you to stop saying it, Wicked Witch of the East?"
The women just smiled at each other through the tension. They both knew their friendship would protect them from anything.
"I don't think it's a good idea that either of you are doing this!" Edward looked anguished. "Let me come!"
Bella took both of his hands. Kissing his forehead, she softly said, "You can't come. We need information and if you're close by, I have no doubt that the first horrible thing that Alec says about me will make you barrel in on your white horse. That can't happen."
"I love you and..."
"I need you to love me and trust that I can do this for us, for the children and our families. They won't stop until they get their way or they both end up in prison. I want to stop looking over my shoulder and worrying about them taking the children. I need you to help me with this."
"Promise me you'll be safe." He buried his face into her shoulder.
"I promise that I'm going to end them." Bella looked over Edward's head at Jane who nodded in agreement. This was going to be the end of the Volturi tyranny if Bella had anything to do with it.
It was a week later; Edward was standing in an upscale jewelry store and staring morosely at the glass cases filled with sparkly baubles. The track lighting seemed to hit the wide assortment of jewelry in the cases, making the items glow. Edward was pretty sure this was for marketing purposes. People couldn't help but get taken in by the glitz that the jewelry was displaying. Obviously, human beings were actually one step up the food chain from the bowerbird, which collected shiny objects for its nest.
Sighing, he let Annie pull him to a case of gigantic glittering pins. "You should get Mommy an octopus! He's pretty!"
"Does your mommy even like octopuses?"
The little girl stopped to ponder this question. "Well...she likes to eat that calamari stuff. Is that the same as octopuses?"
"Not quite, princess. We aren't buying Mommy a pin today," he said, patiently. Edward was feeling stressed and knew Annie was feeling it too. He could tell by the way she clung to his hand and the moments where she would stare off into space. Her worry was one that was a direct result of observing the odd behavior of the adults in her life, because she didn't know the potential danger her mommy was facing at the moment.
"Really? This duck one is cute!" Her eyes lit up at the yellow jewels that lit up under the lights like beacons.
"Edward, son, bring Annie over here to look at the rings," Carlisle called out. He stood next to a fidgety Emmett from across the room.
The Cullen men were sent by Charlie to help Edward pick out an engagement ring for Bella. In Charlie's mind, distracting Edward like this would be beneficial, without a doubt. That boy was one step away from rushing in and rescuing Bella. His father and brother wouldn't be any better at containing themselves if things got dicey. That family's superhero tendencies were found to be annoying and potentially dangerous by Charlie. He'd had to kick the whole lot of them out when he was working on a plan with the FBI and Bella, even sweet Alice was getting annoying with her wish to help.
The plan was simple and safe. Jane had acquired a hotel suite for her to share with Rosalie in the appearance that she needed a space away from the craziness of Bella's home. Garrett and Tom had surveillance set up in the two rooms that were on either side and the one across the hallway. That hotel was full of seasoned agents which had put Charlie at ease. The room had microphones and video equipment hidden with live feeds, so if anything was to go amiss, the women would be protected.
Edward knew the plan and in his head, he knew that Bella would remain safe, but his heart was an entirely different story. He stared sadly at the rings his father was pointing out to him despondently. "None of them are perfect for Bella."
It was true; everything he saw was gaudy and would be a hindrance when Bella was making her own jewelry. The problem with being engaged to a talented and established jewelry designer is that nothing held a candle to her own pieces of art.
"How about this one? It looks like it has a lot of bling." Emmett pointed to a large oval setting that was covered in flecks of diamonds.
"Is she supposed to grate cheese with that thing?" Edward looked at it with a grimace. That thing was a cheese grater pretending to be a ring.
Carlisle pointed to a ring with a large stone surrounded by rubies. "What about this one? That brave girl needs something to show how special she is."
"It's pretentious, Dad. That doesn't look like my girl!" Edward looked at the ring with scorn.
"Kind Wizard, it's pretty but not for my mommy. You should buy it for Nana Esme! She would love it so much," Annie declared, and Carlisle picked her up and gave her a hug. "She's watching Matt and my boy, so she deserves a prize."
"That's a fabulous idea, Annie bug!" He exclaimed.
"We're shopping for Bella!" Edward ran his hands through his hair. "We shouldn't be here right now. We should be at the Hilton and..."
"Cracking skulls for Bells!" Emmett declared.
Annie looked up from gazing lovingly at the pretty, sparkling objects to say, "They wouldn't like us to break the dinosaur skulls at the museum, Uncle Giant. Mommy wouldn't like that either. She likes dinosaurs like the Triceratops, but not the Tyrannosaurus. They would eat us!"
"Annie, honey, Uncle Emmett was just using an expression." Carlisle gave his eldest son a disappointed look. Carlisle then gave Annie a sweet smile and lied, "He meant he wants to crack coconuts to make your mommy a cake."
"She doesn't like coconuts," the child stated, looking at Carlisle as if he were crazy.
"Annie, which ring do you think your mom would like me to give her?" Edward interrupted the odd conversation to ask. He had to admit this was a pretty good distraction. Annie's creative outlook on everything made him relax slightly.
Annie looked at the cases and her little face was solemn. She was worried that nothing would be perfect for her mother. Everything was so big though - to a little girl like Annie, that was the greatest thing - but she knew her mommy liked smaller rings. Rings that wouldn't snag on her sweaters or get playdough stuck in them. She remembered when her mommy wore the ring her daddy gave to her. Mommy would complain about it constantly and Daddy yelled when it was dirty.
That's when she saw it. The diamond was a circle and the way the light hit the facets, it looked as though the jewel was erupting into rainbows. "Oh! Oh! Oh! This one is the best, Prince!"
Edward looked at the ring. It was a simple round cut on a silver band. It looked like his Bella.
He called out to an older woman who was dusting off a display of antique watches. "Ma'am, excuse me, but could you help me? I'm interested in looking at a ring."
The woman, whose name tag read 'Mary', had a gentle smile and came over to help Edward. "Am I to guess that you are going to be asking a young lady to marry you?"
Annie squealed, "It's for my mommy! Prince Edward is going to be my daddy! Also, I have a brother named Matt. I guess he'll be his daddy, too. Matt won't use the potty, but likes to pee on the floor. My prince cleans it up though just like a good daddy does..."
Carlisle whispered in her ear and Annie quieted down with a look of embarrassment.
The kind woman just grinned at Annie. "You're very lucky to be getting a wonderful daddy, Miss. Which ring are you interested in?"
He pointed to the ring Annie had found. "I like this one with the silver band. It's platinum, isn't it?"
Edward never had to pick out an engagement ring before. Kate had picked out her own gaudy, jewel-encrusted engagement ring and had the bill sent to Edward. He liked the choice to pick out Bella's ring and felt so blessed to have her in his life. He thought about his love's big brown eyes and sassy mouth and knew as soon as she was out of harm's way and in his arms, the ring was going on her finger and they were setting a date for the wedding.
"It is," Mary agreed. She could see love in the man's eyes as he held the ring. It was her favorite part of her job, watching the love someone put into picking the perfect gift.
Edward started to purchase the ring, when he glanced over to a large case with children's items in it. "Hey, Dad, Emmett, it's almost lunch time. Could you take Annie over to that café next door and get some lunch? I'll be right over. Grab something for me."
Annie squealed, "Let's get cake, Wizard!"
"Sounds good..." Carlisle started to say.
Edward admonished, "Lunch first, Dad!"
His dad was a sucker for anything Annie asked him and Emmett wasn't much better. That child had a career as dictator in her future.
Edward watched as they left and went over to the case. Immediately finding the perfect gifts for Annie and Matt. He wasn't only marrying Bella, but becoming the children's new father. They would be a small token of all the joy and love they had given him. He smiled at the little trinkets, as Mary came over.
"Would you like anything else?" she asked.
"Absolutely," Edward said, pointing to a small butterfly necklace and a big boy watch. "Do you engrave?"
Edward wanted tonight to be the start of their new beginning without fear. They just had to get there. He internally said a little prayer and thought of his love bravely facing her past alone.
"You are making me nauseous with all the pacing, Nutty," Jane declared, as she watched Bella pace the carpeted floor of the hotel room. Jane just sat in a soft chair at a table and sipped a cup of coffee. "I'm so glad they didn't mike you. It would have slipped out with your inability to be still."
"How can you be so calm?" Bella questioned, chewing on her hair. It was a disgusting habit she'd picked up from Annie.
Jane held up her mug. "Whiskey. Hey, GQ...testing, testing, testing...bring Bella booze."
A voice came from nowhere. "Miss Volturi, could you please contain yourself? Bella, you'll be just fine. I promise you, we will be there in a moment's notice if you're in danger. You are such a brave young lady. I need you both to remember that as soon as they admit to their misdoings and we enter to make the arrests, we need you to move away quickly to the location we discussed."
"GQ is always flirting with you. Does Javelin know?" Jane questioned. "Hey, GQ, she's engaged to Doctor Feel Good."
Laughter from several voices was heard, and then there was a loud sigh. "Miss Volturi, this is Agent Malloy, not Agent Walker. Please try to not antagonize your father or brother."
"Jesus, all the Feds sound the same," Jane muttered. Then louder she said, "You do realize the fact that I was even born is antagonizing to them."
"I can see that," the agent drily agreed.
Bella just ignored the conversation happening around her. She needed to get her head in the game. The room was very bland in the way that hotels were often decorated. She would think that the cream walls and delicate floral bedspread would be relaxing, but the opposite was occurring. Her stomach was tied up in knots.
The triple knock at the door made Bella feel even worse. It was vintage Alec, all cockiness and bravado.
Bella took a deep breath and Jane whispered, "It'll be okay! We can do this."
Opening the door, Bella looked sadly at a sneering Aro and the handsome, arrogant Alec standing before her. Alec placed a bouquet of red
roses, the color of blood, into her hands with a smug grin, "We have another wedding to plan, wife."
Bella held in her tears at the thought and let them in.