DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property to the respective author. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
The coke high came on in stages. A whirlwind of feelings, and I went through all of them. The first snort up the nose burned and stung, but the second line, cut and laid out before me, went into the other nostril with ease. The drug coursed and weaved its way through my veins, lightning fast and with purpose.
It was jarring to me at first, not knowing what to do with this new abundance of energy. Feeling as though I could run twenty miles, but logic creeping in and asking what I would do when I got there. My body and mind were at constant odds with each other, and this was merely a prelude to the drug's grander effect.
Charlotte walked in, took one look at me, and knew what we'd done. Peter scrambled to explain his reasons and placate her concerns, but she wouldn't hear it. She went into a quiet rage and flushed the remainder of the wildcat down the toilet. Peter didn't attempt to stop her, and neither Edward nor I could find it in us to give a shit. We were too wrapped up in our own joyful bubble, more intense and concentrated than usual, with hands tightly entwined and knowing smiles on our faces.
Nothing was going to interrupt that.
That was the euphoria stage of the coke high, complete and utter happiness, despite outside circumstances. That lasted for about ten minutes before slowly fading into the powerful and invincible stage. It was mixed in with the chatterbox effect, where words would rush out of my mouth in a constant spewing of babble. Edward kept up with me, engaging in my nonsense of conversation and countering with lame jokes.
Then there was kissing Edward on coke. It tingled and electrified every nerve ending in my body. We kissed and kissed, frantic and mad, until our lips and tongues were sore.
I didn't want it to end.
About thirty minutes later on the south side of Chicago—and after constant reminder from Charlotte—Edward and I finally got our minds to focus on the job. Peter pulled into the back parking lot and turned the car off. He glanced over at Edward and there was a universal head nod between men. It wasn't a goodbye, but a good luck. We exited the beat-up Ford Escort, gathering our things: Edward's brown leather, gold buckled briefcase, which held the documents we needed, and my Gucci knock-off purse.
It was a cloudy day and the smell of rain was in the air. The wind knew no mercy with its frigid chill, blowing with a vengeful force and pushing my body back.
"What do ya say, Kid?" Edward caught me, both of his hands on my hips to steer me straight. "You ready for this?"
This was the biggest con we'd ever done, but everything about it was different. I wasn't bombarded with stage fright, something that always plagued me right before a job. I felt invincible, brave, and powerful. I could do anything now, and walking into a bank with the faux senator at my side was on the top of my to-do list.
I looked up and met his downward gaze. "I've been ready."
"Well then, lead the way, boss," Edward said, opening the door for me.
Upon entering the bank, I was surprised to see how small and unimpressive it was. The deco was outdated with a faded orange and brown checkered carpet. The counters were dull wood, peeling and aged. There were two guards on duty—only one of whom was actually armed. Robberies were out of the norm, and the last one they had was in 1976. They'd become accustomed to monotony and grew relaxed over the years, feeling secure in their small town. But in spite of all that, and their negligent security measures, they stocked their vault to capacity.
"This place is asking for it," Edward leaned down and whispered into my ear as we stood in line, his eyes roaming over the three security cameras that weren't even on. "Man, I wish Char didn't make us leave our guns."
I nodded, equally disappointed. It would be nice to have a contingency plan if this one went to shit.
Five minutes had passed since we arrived and we were still in the same spot. There was one teller behind the counter working at a snail's pace and the line of five people was at a ridiculous standstill. I held on to Edward's sleeve and leaned into him, hoping that he could keep me from bursting out of my skin.
Fucking move, fucking move, fucking move, I chanted in my head, fingers twitching and tearing at the fabric of Edward's suit.
Just as I was about to break free and scale the damn walls in this place, a man rose from his desk and came over to us. In one glance, he took in our well put together attire and the strides in his legs quickened. Dollar signs were clearly in his eyes.
"You don't need to wait in this line. Follow me," he said, leading Edward and me back into the rear corner of the bank, giving us a close and personal view of the vault. My eyes took on the dollar sign quality, eager to get my hands on it.
"Thank you," Edward said, pulling out my chair like a gentleman. "We were just about to leave."
I smiled to myself. Not only was he chivalrous, but a convincing liar as well.
The man bobbed his head in understanding, circling around the desk to take his seat. "We're in the process of hiring and things have been rather slow around here. Sorry for any inconvenience you may have experienced." He held out his hand to Edward. "My name is J. Jenks."
Edward shook it. "I'm Frankie Wallis." He gestured over to me. "And this is my wife, Cecilia."
"Nice to meet you," I said, reaching over to shake hands with the man. The smile on my face gave away my excitement of being referred to as Edward's wife. No matter what shape or form it was in, real or not, I was running with it.
"Likewise." Jenks smiled back. "Now, what can I do for you today?"
"We're here to close our account." Edward brought the briefcase up and sat it on his lap.
"Oh." The smile on Jenks' face fell, instant regret that he was the one who called us over. "Well, that's certainly a shame. Can I ask why?"
"It's not of your concern," Edward replied in a flat, somewhat terse tone. He sounded and looked identical to the senator. It was eerie...and I was ashamed to say, it turned me on.
"I understand," Jenks said, briefly glancing over at me. I portrayed the role of a prim and proper wife, who stayed quiet—which was a little hard to do, considering there was so much I wanted to say. I had to place my hand on Edward's leg, discretely hidden from Jenks view, just to distract myself. Returning his attention back to Senator Edward, he sensed the impatience behind his steely eyes and swiveled his chair towards the computer. He cleared his throat. "Account number?"
"3-2-8-3-5-5-1," Edward said, opening the briefcase and pulling out the driver's licenses, passports, and social security cards. He had everything prepared and laid them out in a neat pile, pushing it across the large oak desk.
Jenks picked up the licenses and compared them to our faces. They were flawless. He set them back down, seemingly satisfied, and typed all the information into the computer. It took a moment of clicking on the keyboard and twirling the mouse on the pad before the account popped up.
"All right, I got your information right here and you'll be withdrawing…" He stopped mid-sentence, eyes focused on the screen, rapidly moving side to side. "Two million dollars?"
Edward's smirk was smug. "Is that a problem?"
"No, of course not, Mr. Wallis," Jenks said, shaking his head and quickly double clicking on the mouse. "It's just, uh, a lot of money. It's a part of our banking policy for withdrawals over ten thousand dollars that customers have fill out a form and a manager has to sign off on it." He smiled with ease and stood up. "How about we move you to our executive lounge? It'll be more private and accommodating for you and your wife."
Edward glanced around, towards the tellers and the front door. The rain was pouring now, fogging the windows with moisture, and making it hard to see outside. There was suspicion about the offer, not sure if it was legit or a scam to contain us in a room.
Either way, Edward didn't like it, and being on edge made him curt. "No, we're fine right here. Do you think you can hurry this along? We have a flight in an hour."
"Yes, of course, Mr. Wallis," Jenks said with a nod. "I'll go get my manager and we'll have you out of here shortly."
"Thank you," Edward said, aiming to be polite but still managing to come out clipped.
Jenks was impervious to the treatment. He gave a benign smile and knocked on the desk with his knuckles. "Sit tight, I'll be right back."
The clicking of his shoes on the floor signaled his departure, fading as he got more distant. There was a stifled air between us, thick and suffocating, filled with was unspoken questions. It was our collective gut instinct telling us that something wasn't quite right. Or maybe it was the coke talking, and the rare, but very real, paranoia stage was kicking in.
"It seems too easy," he said, rising from his chair and casually walking over to the front side of the desk.
"What does—what are you doing?" I whisper-shouted, quickly stealing a glance over my shoulder.
"Calm down. I'm just looking," he said, putting his hand on the mouse and swiveling it, waking up the computer.
I leaned over the desk, barely catching the corner edge of the screen. "What does it say?"
"Nothing," he said, but there was a hint of relief in his voice. "Everything seems good." He reached into the blazer and pulled out his phone. "No one has called me."
I sat back in my chair. "We can relax then, yeah?"
"Fuck no," he chuckled, dimming the screen and coming back around to join me. "Not until we get to Mexico. Then we can relax."
I stared at the side profile of his face, in awe of his long eyelashes and how the close shave made his jaw more defined, his lips fuller. He was beautifully unreal, practically perfect, but it also made me miss the smaller details, like the scruff and facial piercings.
"Love you," I said, reaching out and grabbing his hand, intertwining our fingers.
I knew we agreed to act indifferent with each other, in hopes to not get distracted, but that was a difficult restriction for me. I needed to touch him. He was my connection to the world. Besides, there was no one around, Jenks was taking forever—or so it seemed—and I just wanted to feel his warmth.
"Love you." He squeezed my hand, bringing it up to his lips and kissing it.
I could hear those words every second of every day and it still wouldn't be enough for me. Two words, powerful and true, made my heart constrict to the point of pain. If it hurt this much with him, I could only imagine how much it would ache and destroy me from the inside out if I was to ever lose him.
In that one instant, I understood why Edward was scared to love me as much as he did.
"All right, Mr. and Mrs. Wallis, this is my manager, Paul Stanley," Jenks said, and Edward and I glared up at the intrusion. Jenks had a short and pudgy man in his late sixties with him.
"Good morning," the man said, forcing a smile and thrusting his dry and severely cracked hand out to me. I refused to touch that thing, but Edward was more than willing to play the game, leaning across me and shaking it with vigor. The man winced, unprepared for Edward's strength. "I hear you're closing an account with us today and it's a fairly large amount."
"Is two million really considered a large amount these days?" Edward asked, adopting his father's pompous attitude.
Both men chuckled and pulled up a chair.
Things moved a long rather quickly after that. They didn't ask invasive questions, just told us where to sign and asked how we would like our money, cashier's check or large bills. Edward made it easy for them, half and half. The check would be given to someone who wasn't wanted in the states. The cash was ours, every single Benjamin and there were ten thousand of them.
I broke character and grasped the edge of the desk when they were discussing the amount. Edward laughed, rubbing my back and trying to get me to calm the fuck down. It was hard to watch them go into the vault with a large duffel bag and stuff it full—and we weren't done after we left here. There were still six banks to go to and each account varied in cash. For all we knew there could be less than a thousand or more than twenty million. It was a mystery and completely up for grabs.
Two trips and two bags later, Edward and I were ready to leave. They shook our hands and thanked us for our business. They were sad to see a large account depart with them, but I could see it in their eyes, packing up that much dough gave them a thrill for the day.
"Easy peasy, Kid, what did I tell you?" Edward said, bumping shoulders with me.
It was playful and not how a senator should be acting. We weren't out if the woods yet.
"It's a little early to be getting cocky, Cullen," I countered, hooking my arm in his.
We were two steps away from the door. Two steps ahead of our freedom. Two steps further away from Mexico.
Till the day I die, I will always remember those two steps were taken a moment too late but delivered our fate right on time.
"Wait, hold on! Don't leave!" Jenks yelled, his voice echoing off the walls, and we froze, slowly turning around to see him running after us. Edward's phone in his hand, the screen all lit up, and I could hear it buzzing. "You forgot this."
There was a sigh of relief, and Edward set down the bags, reaching out to take the phone from Jenks. "Thanks, man."
"Not a problem," he replied, panting. He was out of shape and it showed. "I would have missed it under all the paperwork on my desk if it wasn't ringing off the hook. Someone sure wants to get a hold of you."
My heart stopped and Edward gave me a sideways glance, our thoughts the same. Someone was calling to warn us. This was not good.
"Business," Edward said, flipping the phone open. "If you'll excuse me..."
"Oh, of course," he said, chuckling and waving us off. "Have a good day."
Edward waited until Jenks was out of earshot. "Peter, what's wrong?"
We took two steps towards the front, coming out the swinging glass doors and out into the dreary weather. I couldn't hear the other side of the conversation. I could only read Edward's face. It took two steps for him to know before it happened and two steps for him to be powerless to stop it.
"Oh, shit," was all I heard him say, eyes closing and head lolling back.
"Freeze! Don't you fucking move!"
There were multiple voices, overlapping and shouting, coming from every direction. It was loud and disorientating. It took me a second to figure out what was going on. Through the downpour of the rain, I saw twenty men with FBI vests and guns aimed at our heads.
We didn't have to ask, we knew why they were here.
"Drop the bags!" one cop said, closer than the others, his glock's muzzle inches from my left temple.
Edward saw the gun pointed at me and panicked. "Okay, all right, just..." He slowly set down the duffel bags. "Take it easy."
The man didn't lower the gun, just redirected it from me and towards Edward. This seemed to ease the tension.
"Both of you, hands on your head! NOW!"
My hands shot up in the air without hesitation, interlocking my fingers behind my head. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched Edward's fist tightened around the phone, squeezing it until was obliterated. He dropped the plastic pieces to the ground and raised his arms.
"Turn around and face the wall."
They were all descending upon us, circling around and closing in, making escape impossible. I caught a glimpse of Edward's eyes, fierce and resistant, and I was thankful the guns were with Peter and Char, long gone from here. I knew either he or I would do something stupid and Billy Badass to get ourselves killed.
"Sorry, baby," Edward whispered, leaning his forehead against the wall, unable or refusing to look at me.
"Me too," I whispered back.
"Shut up!" the cop snapped, pulling my hands down from my head and cuffing them behind my back. He then patted me down and read me my rights.
Beside me, the same was being done to Edward. It was fitting that it should happen this way. We rode together and were arrested together, side by side.
They swung us around and pushed us towards the waiting unmarked FBI SUVs, but there was a fork in the road, where he went right and I went left. We were being detained and transported separately.
When Edward realized this, getting further away from me, he struggled in the cop's hold and shouted over at me. "Don't you fucking tell them anything, all right? Nothing! Do you got me?"
"I got you!" I shouted back.
"Bella…" His eyes, desperate and filled with remorse, sought out mine. "I fucking love—" And that was where it ended as they threw him in the car and slammed the door shut, cutting off my lifeline.
"What? No," I said, shaking my head, unable to process what was happening.
The engine roared to life, deafening to my ears, and my eyes watched in terror as the SUV rolled forward. The pull that tied me to him was quickly slipping through my fingers, fading into nothing.
I fucking lost it.
"EDWARD!" I screamed, moving to run after him but something thrusted me back and kept me in place. It was the cop. "Fucking let go of me!" Bucking my hips and trashing my head back, hitting the fucker in the nose.
He cursed and tightened his grip on my arms, lifting me off the ground and tossing me in the back seat. He was not gentle, and the impact busted my bottom lip open. I scrambled to get up, catching a brief glimpse of the man's face before the door closed with a heart wrenching finality.
Two steps sealed my fate…one, two…steps, was all it took to kill me.
A/N: I'll try to update once a week until we're done. Four choppys left. Thank you for the reviews. I'm slowly replying. Oh, please, PLEASE, trust me :) See ya soon!
Thanks to Brina for being awesome, per usual. And Cris for updating Wisp...Oh, and for betaing for me.