As you can see, I haven't dropped this story, it has just been kicking my ass. The huge note book I have filled with nothing but back stories and time lines are testament to that.
Well this is a repost of That Which We Call a Rose. While writing the original chapters more and more ideas were coming to me. Ideas to thicken out the plot and make it a more interesting read. I made a few changes to the original and updated the chapters but it still wasn't enough and in the end the whole plot line changed so I had to start again.
The first few chapters with time jump but not by too much.
Please let me know what you think, I love to hear it.
This is an Edward and Bella HEA and it won't take too long for them to get together - they will meet around chapter 5 or 6.
Chapter 1 - Edward
She was glowing, there was no other word for it. Her short, wavy, strawberry blonde hair that framed her beautiful face, shimmered in the last rays of the evening sun as she shook with laughter.
I was the luckiest bastard on the planet!
She was nervous about tonight, not only was she meeting my family for the first time, but we had news to share, and I had been trying to distract her with stories of my childhood antics as we travelled along the I-495, down Sunrise Highway and across to my parents estate in Southampton.
The traffic lights ahead of us changed to red, and I took the opportunity to bury my fingers in her hair and pull her lips to mine. Her laughter stopped short and a small sigh sounded from the back of her throat.
"I love you," I whispered against her soft pink lips.
"I love you, too," she breathed, her sweet breath fanning across my face. I smiled, kissed the tip of her nose, and shifted the car back into first as the lights changed back to green.
"They'll love you too, you know," I reassured her. My parents had been in England for the last twelve months and as we had only been together for ten, this was the first chance for us all to get together.
"I hope. . .EDWARD!" Her piercing scream echoed through the confined space of the car, mere seconds before the sickening crunch of metal crushing against metal.
I shot up in bed, a sheen of cold sweat covering my body, my limbs tangled up in damp sheets and her name dying on my lips.
On instinct I glanced over at her side of the bed, hoping beyond all hope, that it was just a dream. That she would be there, the soft moonlight edging her perfect form.
Breathing out a painful sigh, I swallowed down the lump in my throat and buried my face in my hands. Of course she wasn't there, she hadn't been for over two and a half years. Scrubbing at my tear-streaked face, fighting to get control of my erratic breathing and attempting to stay above the tidal-wave of emotion that was trying to pull me under, I climbed out of bed. There was no point in attempting to get more sleep, despite the fact that it was only three thirty in the morning. An hour or two was all I seemed to be able to manage these days.
Padding into the bathroom, I flicked on the shower but left the lights off. I had no desire to see the scars that marked my face arms and torso. They weren't really visible to the naked eye any more, but I knew they were there. The sounds of her cries, the crushing of metal, the sirens, the horns, the voices. I had enough auditory reminders haunting my every living moment, I didn't need the visual ones too.
Stepping into the steaming water I braced my hands against the wall, hung my head and let the tears out. God I fucking missed her.
From the first moment that I laid eyes on her, she consumed almost every one of my waking thoughts. She was just so young, so carefree. Running through Central Park in her cut off jeans and football jersey, chasing after her wayward puppy. She was so tiny, yet her sun-kissed legs seemed to go on for miles.
She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, chin length strawberry blonde hair, big brown eyes and a smile that lit up her whole face.
It was a Sunday morning in March 2006. I was just two miles into my morning run, when the small bundle of yellow fur she called Heath, came bounding my way. She followed not too far behind him, panting and clutching at her chest as she scolded the Labrador puppy that was now in my arms.
"I'm so sorry," she told me when she had breath enough to speak, "He went running after a cat."
I told her it was no problem, gave her my name, got hers in return and asked for a date as payment for my heroic rescue.
Heath was all I had left of her now. Unless you count the platinum and diamond engagement ring that's behind the locked door of my safe, or the hundreds of photographs that were stored on my computer and in frames around my home and in my office, or the beautiful black and white grainy image of our twelve week old child, that was still tucked safely away in it's mothers womb when she was taken from me. When they were taken from me.
I wasn't coping well with the grief, but who fucking does? Two and a half years and I was still stuck somewhere between guilt and anger. Both were eating away at me, slowly taking over, like an incurable cancer that was devouring the man I once was, the man that she had helped me become.
I had no fucking closure, none what-so-ever. Her parents had come and taken her body, they'd had her cremated, her ashes scattered to the wind, along her favourite beach, a week before I had woken from a drug induced coma.
The fucker who was driving the car that hit us, had fled from the scene. His car still embedded in ours, his engine still ticking over. This is were my anger was centred, where the fury and the hatred and the need for revenge burned like acid.
I'd come too fifteen days after the accident, the physical and emotional pain crippling me. I knew she was dead, I just knew. I didn't have to ask, didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to see or hear the tears and the sympathies that were pouring from my parents and my sister, Alice, and I will be forever indebted to Emmett, my head of security, for politely throwing them all out of my room and getting down to business.
"Tell me," I told him quietly, knowing that Emmett McCarty, ex marine, ex secret service, and my best fucking friend, would not have just let this go. He loved her almost as much as I did.
"The car came back unregistered, but blood and hair samples were found on the airbag. Best I can guess is that the fucker broke his nose when it deployed," he gritted out, his barely concealed anger just bubbling below the surface, "Garrett hacked the systems for all surrounding hospitals, and fifteen people were admitted for the same on the night of the accident. Eleven of those were male."
"It was definitely a man," I spat, my own anger taking over.
"We thought as much by the short coarse hair that was found at the scene," he nodded, "We've questioned all but two of the eleven. One is seventeen year old, Tyler Crowley and the other is twenty five year old Alec Santiago. All of the other have a valid alibi. Looking deeper, Crowley is African American, the hair samples aren't, so for now and until we can track him, my money is on Santiago."
"What do we know about him?" I asked, the image of the olive skinned fucker that hit us, that killed them, flashing through my mind.
"Alec Santiago, twenty five year old Italian immigrant. Worked as a security guard at Volturi inc up until three weeks ago," he told me carefully. My teeth snapped together audibly as I fought the wave of nausea that rolled in my stomach.
Volturi Inc had been at war with Cullen Corp for decades. Both held contacts with the government for the production of weaponry but up until six years ago the percentage split was negligible.
After graduating MIT at the age of nineteen with Ph.D's in Physics, Biological Engineering, Aero and Astronautics and Business, I'd joined my Grandfather, Ed Senior, at Cullen Corp. Working with the design and production teams it wasn't long before our products blew Volturi's out of the fucking water.
I was Cullen Copr's secret weapon. With an IQ of 235 I was classed as the most intelligent person in the world. What the world wasn't aware of was my photographic memory, my 20/10 vision or my lightening reflexes. I was a phenomenon.
Within two years of me working there, Cullen Corp held the contract for new fighter jets. Two years later it was bio-weponary and WMD's . Eight months ago we started talks on their surveillance systems and smart robots.
"It was a hit?" I choked out, my whole world turning on it axes.
"It's looks that way to me, that or a warning."
I couldn't hold it in any more. Emmett just had time to push the bin under my nose before I was throwing up what ever crap they had been pumping into my stomach for the last two weeks.
Knowing that she was killed because of me, knowing that our child never had a chance to live because of what I do, tore my fucking heart out. That's where the guilt came in.
Taking a deep ragged breath, I tipped my face up to the water, letting it wash away the tears. I kept my eye's closed as I reached for my body wash, I didn't want to see hers this morning. The one she always used, that still sat on the shelf next to mine. It was there for the mornings when her scent alluded me. I didn't need it this morning, all I could see, hear and smell was her
After being home from the hospital for three weeks, I finally went back into the office. I had taken over as CEO from my Grandfather just over two years ago, but he had been in covering for me while I was in the hospital. I'd tried to come in the day I was discharged but he had my security detail, Emmett, Garrett and Alistair escort me home.
The fucking traitors worked for me!
There I threw myself back into work, letting that, and the need for revenge, take over my every thought, my every action. I was more determined than ever to see the Volturi go under. I was going to take them, and every other motherfucker associated with them, and rip them apart piece by piece. And when I found out who the fucker was that called the hit, I was going to have him screaming for mercy hours before I put a bullet between his fucking eyes.
Trying to shake off the anger that was, once again, taking over, I finished up my shower and after throwing on my shorts and t-shirt I made my way into the kitchen.
"Morning, baby," I whispered, running my finger over the picture of her that still hung on the fridge, right next to the scan picture she'd placed there, just like I had done every morning since she died.
"Heath!" I yelled, he'd not shown his face yet, he was more than likely still asleep in the corner of her empty closet. A place he had taken to sleeping since I got home from the hospital without her. Four fifteen was obviously too early for him. He didn't look too happy with me when he rounded the corner into the kitchen. "Don't look at me like that," I scolded as I poured his biscuits into his bowl. I was almost positive that if he could talk, he'd be asking me every ten minutes when his Mommy was coming home.
I wasn't hungry this morning, I very rarely was any more. But while Heath had his breakfast, I threw down a cup of coffee and grabbed his leash.
"Come on, boy," I whistled from in front of the private elevator. Knowing he was going for his morning run, Heath bounded around the corner just as the doors opened, and I clipped his leash on as we stepped in.
The ground was still covered in dew as we ran to the park. I was trying to keep my head clear. Trying not to remember the day that we met for the first time. My legs still took me down the path though. Just like every morning. Down by the field that she had been running through. I felt my throat closing in on me again and I swallowed repeatedly trying to push the emotion away.
I was also attempting to ignore Garrett as he ran a few pace's behind me. I had no fucking clue how he knew when I was up and about. But without fail he was here every morning, no matter what time I was out. We were just rounding the last bend when my phone vibrated. Without stopping, I pulled it out of my pocket. It was a text from Emmett, a blank text from Emmett. I knew what that meant.
I stopped, pulling back on Heath's leash, and turned to see Garrett putting his own phone away.
"He's got the fucker," I announced quietly, Garrett nodded.
"I'll get the car," he replied as we turned and ran back to the apartment building.
Alec Santiago had signed his own death warrant the day he agreed to get behind the wheel of that car. A blank text was enough to tell us that after all this time, this was his day of reckoning, no trace, no evidence to tie any of us to his disappearance – or murder if his body ever turned up.
I raced back up to my apartment, Heath in tow, and after topping up his water bowl, taking another quick shower and throwing on a black suit, I grabbed my nine millimetre out of the safe and stowed it at the small of my back.
I was going to finish him. Not Emmett, not Garrett, me! Alec Santiago and any other fucker that was responsible for her death was going to meet the fucking devil at my hands.
Garrett was waiting besides the car when I arrived in the garage. Emmett wasn't taking any more chances with my life so this car, unlike the last, was damn near tank proof. The engine was chipped, security cameras were linked and the GPS was trapped within the car's own little black box.
"Ready boss?" Garrett asked as he opened the door for me.
"I'm more than fucking ready," I promised as I slid into the leather seats.
We were both quiet on the fifty minute drive from my Manhattan penthouse to the abandoned warehouse in Port Morris. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins, but my nerves were rock steady. I was ready for this, I had been ready for this for the last six months. And what better day to get rid of the fuckers that killed our baby, than two years to the day it was due to be born.
That date, June 7th 2007, has been stuck in my head from the moment she whispered it to me.
"June 7th 2007, remember that date, it's gonna be the best day ever," she whispered as she climbed into my lap. I was sprawled on the couch watching the Yankees game, the Yankees were up, 3 for 2 in the ninth, Ming Wang was up to pitch.
"Why's that, baby?" I questioned pulling her against me and giving her my undivided attention.
"Because that's the day this little one will make his appearance, Daddy," she whispered again, placing our joint hands on her flat stomach.
"Really?" I asked, pulling my head back to look into her sparkling eyes. We'd only been together six months, we didn't even live together at that point, and in no way were we trying for a baby. She had told me earlier that week that she was worried, her period was late, and that wasn't normal for her. While I was shocked and somewhat apprehensive about becoming a father, I knew she was it for me. So if she was in fact pregnant, then it wouldn't be the end of the world.
Now though, as she sat there in my lap, her eyes shinning and her smile wide, telling me that I was going to be a Daddy. . .well, there were no words.
"God, I love you so much, baby," I told her quietly as I crushed her to me and pressed my lips into her silky hair.
"We're here, boss," Garrett called, pulling me out of the memory. I was too choked up again to speak, so I nodded to him and climbed out of the car. It was still early, only just gone six in the morning, but the sun was already just above the horizon, so it was fortunate for me that stepping out of the sun, and into the dimly lit warehouse, had no impact on my vision.
Emmett and Alistair were stood in the centre of the room, but I ignored them. My eyes were fixed on the fucker that was tied up on the floor, three feet away from them. It was him, despite his swollen right eye and busted nose, I could still recognise the fucker that had ripped my God-damn heart out. It took everything I had in me to stop myself from just pulling out my gun and shooting his fucking brains out.
I didn't even think about stopping though, as I crossed the distance between us and blackening his other fucking eye. He rocked backwards and Emmett stepped forward to stop him from hitting the floor. The last thing we needed was for him to crack his skull before we had any answers. But my fury was uncontrollable as I landed punch after punch and kick after kick.
"You fucking son-of-a-bitch," I yelled, my foot connecting with his ribs, time and again. All the pain, all the hatred and anger and heartbreak, of the last two and a half years came pouring out of me.
"Ed, man, calm down. You can kill the bastard when we've got answers," Emmett told me quietly as he grabbed me at the elbows and pulled me back away from him, "Think about Tiny T," I recoiled at the use of her nickname, but shrugged Emmett off and bent at the waist, my hands resting on my knees and my head hanging low. I needed to regain control, I needed to see this through, get the answers I needed, for her, for them, for me.
Taking a final deep breath, I righted myself and slowly walked back over to him.
"Start talking you fucking piece of shit," I spat, ripping the duct tape from his mouth. He didn't make a sound at first, he just glared at me, and I had to remind myself, once again, that I couldn't just kill the fucker.
"I don't got nothing to say," he choked, spitting blood out onto the floor.
"I'm not gonna ask you nicely again," I told him, my voice now calm, quiet, deadly, as I pulled the nine millimetre out from behind my back and aimed it at his right knee, "Now start fucking talking."
"It was meant to be you, you know. Not that fine piece of ass you were. . ." his words stopped short and an agonising scream left his lips as my gun went of, the bullet going straight through his knee cap. He was screaming and shouting and jerking as he tried to free his hands. Not so cocky now are you shit-face?
"Who called the hit?" I asked just ask calmly. He didn't answer, he was to consumed with pain. I took a sick sense of satisfaction in that, "I'll give you five fucking second to answer me before I take out your other knee cap. After that I'll introduce my box cutters to your fucking fingers, one by motherfucking one."
"I-I don't. . ."
"One. . .two. . .three," I began, aiming the gun at his other knee, "Four. . ."
"DeMarco," he yelled, Felix DeMarco."
"And where will I find Mr DeMarco?"
"He w-works at Voltui," They were his last words. I didn't need anything else. Before he could even draw another breath, I re-aimed and pulled the trigger, hitting him between the eyes.
"Clean that up," I ordered, walking back out of the warehouse and climbing into the back of the car.
I felt no remorse, not additional guilt, no shame in taking his life.
I didn't feel any better either!
I didn't bother going into the office. Instead I spent the day locked away in my apartment, attempting to drown myself in drink. I sank into the chair behind my desk and looked at her smiling face, her innocent face, the guilt washed over me and I found my face once again buried in my hands.
The guilt wasn't for talking his life. No, it was for what she would think of me now. She wouldn't recognise the man I had become. She would hate this person. This cold, heartless monster, consumed with hatred and anger.
"I'm sorry, baby. God, I'm so fucking sorry," I cried, hoping to God that she could hear me from all the way up there. Heaven, a place I would never be welcomed into.
Rosalie, was already at her desk when I entered the office three days later. She had been my assistant since I had taken over Cullen Corp. two years ago. We worked well together – when we weren't trying to kill each other – both of us adopting a no bull-shit attitude, she told me what was what without the usual pointless non-information, provided results and worked her fucking ass off. Most importantly, she was trustworthy.
"Morning, boss," she smiled slightly as she glanced up from her computer screen.
"Morning," I nodded, "When you're ready we can go over today schedule."
"I'll be though in five," she told me, looking at her watch. I'd have asked her to bring coffee in with her, but I knew that I didn't have to. Rosalie was nothing if not efficient.
Nodding again, I walked into my office and closed the door. The five minute time frame that Rosalie had given me, allowed enough time for me to quickly go over a few emails and pull up a copy of todays schedule. I had a meeting with my Grandfather at three but other than that my day looked pretty clear.
Without my permission, my eyes landed on her image, a picture of the two of us that had been taken in Mexico. I had surprised her with a trip for her birthday, right before we found out she was expecting. He was more than likely created while we were there.
Fighting against the threatening tears, I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. Would this ever get any fucking easier?
Before I could sort myself out, and being the disrespectful bitch she is ninety percent of the time, Rosalie pushed the door to my office door open without knocking. I didn't look up, I knew it was her. Nobody else would have the guts to walk in unannounced.
"Oh, shit, sorry, I'll come back," she gasped, but I shook my head and looked up. I'm sure I looked like shit, but I really didn't care.
"Your here now, so lets just get this over with," I sighed, wiping at my eyes and turning to my computer.
We spent the next thirty minutes going over my day's meetings, messages that had been left over night, and adding new appointments to my diary. There were a couple of reports that I needed completing and contract changes that I needed to have sent over to my lawyer, Jason Jenks, so between taking meeting minutes, it would be enough to keep Rosalie busy for the day.
I was surprised when Emmett turned up at two o'clock. He'd spent the last few days in his home office with Garrett, trying to dig up as much information on Felix DeMarco as he could.
"How you feeling?" He asked as he wondered into my office. I looked away from the Apple contract that I was going over – weapons were not my only line of business – and glanced at him. Emmett was fucking huge. He was a six foot five, 240lb wall of solid muscle. At thirty-eight he still had the face, body and mentality of a twenty five year old.
"Just fucking peachy," I muttered. I wasn't in the mood for small talk, "What did you find?" I asked impatiently, he wouldn't just turn up here for no reason.
Emmett sat down heavily in the seat opposite me, his eyes hardened and his jaw clenched, it wasn't very often that Emmett let his emotions get the better of him, but I could see that what he had to impart was getting the better of him.
"Felix DeMarco," he spat, "Has worked for Volturi since he graduated MIT in 1996. Aside from his employee record and a company credit card, on paper, Felix DeMarco doesn't exist."
"What the fuck does that mean?" I demanded. Emmett didn't even flinch.
"You would know him better as James Hunter."
"What the fuck?" I yelled jumping up from my seat. James Hunter had been two years above me at MIT. I'd dated his sister Kate for most of my Junior year. Kate was beautiful. Long brown hair, brown eyes and pale skin. She had been a few years older than me, but so were all of the other collage girls.
"Felix DeMarco, AKA James Hunter. Born February 2nd 1973, to Laurent Hunter and Jane Hunter," Emmett began, watching me as I paced the room. "Jane Hunter was the daughter of Aro Volturi and Sulpicia Volturi, nee DeMarco,"
"Fucking son-of-a-bitch," I yelled. I grabbed the first thing that my hand could touch, and launched it across the room. Glass shattered against the wall, and the smell of brandy saturated the air as the decanter exploded.
"Jesus, Ed," Emmett jumped up, dusting glass shared from his hair and off his clothing. Ignoring him I resumed my pacing.
"Where is he?" I spat.
"Living in Brooklyn with his wife, Kate Hunter, and his daughter Charlotte. Alistair sent a man in to confirm it's him."
"Kate Hunter?" I asked in disbelief, "His wife?"
"Yeah," he nodded, "Ed?"
"You've had visual on the wife?" I asked, my mind spinning with the possibilities.
"Yeah, Jake's seen her. Petit girl around five two, five three. 110 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes. Why what's going on?"
"Kate Hunter was James' sister. I dated her for a few months back in 97. She was found raped and murdered six months after we separated,"
"I want them watched. I want to know where they go, what they do, who they see," I informed him, "You said they have a daughter?"
"Yeah, Charlotte Hunter, two years old."
"What ever happened, the kid stays out of it!" A kid complicated things. I needed time to work out what the fuck was going on, how it was all connected and how to make James Hunters death look like a fucking accident.
Love it? Hate it? Please let me know. I think I have put more work into this then anything I have ever written. It is mashing my head completely and I'd love to know if it is worth all of the headaches I've been getting.