Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
Beta'd by HollettLA.
Banner by FemmeCullen.
Summary: He's a cop. She's a student. A missed connection during a traumatic time leaves them both longing, until fate brings them back together again. Edward/Bella. Rated M. Romance, Slight Drama, and Humor.
WARNING: Adult themes.
You guys know me . . . always trying to make things as realistic as possible. It's 7k words, but it moves FAST! It's not jammed packed with monologue, but actions, things happening. Please do not skim, pay attention, or you might get lost. Idk. LOL. Enjoy!
Chapter One: Cop and Copper
Lazily, I sat on the bench and started to button my shirt. It was the beginning of my shift. Being a rookie cop, I had the shift no one wants—the three to eleven p.m. shift, when all the shit goes down.
"Love and happiness . . ." My partner Jasper Whitlock danced on over to his locker. He continued to sing as I finished changing. He has this weird obsession with Al Green. I don't question; I like Al Green, too, but it can be too much at times.
"It's Monday," I interrupted him. "I hate Mondays." Shutting my locker, I grumbled and double-checked everything on my belt.
"It'll be lovely." My partner also has this odd outlook on life. Everything is sunshine and rainbows as soul music plays in the background.
"Right." I stared as he shimmied into his uniform. "I'll see you at call." I hurriedly left the locker room.
After sitting through a recall of the last patrol, Jasper and I headed to our RMP—the squad car. I walked and he sort of danced over. I've only been his partner for six months, and it was getting so tiring—all that enthusiasm.
I had to admit that he was a great cop, though, an excellent partner as well. Never in my life will I bet against his instincts. He's taught me a lot, like, staying silent during our first round about the neighborhood we patrol. We like to take in the scene—get a feel for what we'll be up against during the next few hours.
We work at the 78th Precinct in Manhattan. Our jurisdiction spans thirty city blocks, but our immediate sector is only about eight. We share the space with Hale and McCarty—Emmett and Rosalie—who are total cowboys. Those two are always forgetting about procedure, always sitting on their radios and disappearing. They stay off the radar, knowing Jasper will respond to any call we get.
But as soon as something good gets called out—a robbery in progress, anything involving a weapon—they're the first to try and beat us there, so they can bank all the credit.
Cowboys . . .
When I first started, I thought I was a police officer—someone to commandeer the law and get the bad guys off the streets. Jasper was quick to inform me that we're actually problem solvers. There's no job too big or too small for us to handle.
I'm stuck in the middle—halfway—thinking we solve problems. And we do all the things I believed cops to do as well, such as, keeping the peace, enforcing the law, and making arrests . . . Basic policing procedures.
"How's Maria?" I asked, after we had been driving around for a while.
His grin straightened into a tight line. "Uh, we broke up over the weekend—no big deal."
"Oh." I nodded. "That sucks . . . shit." Looking out the window, I saw some dude snatch this lady's purse. "Pull over!" I shouted.
The brakes screeched as we came to a halt; meanwhile, I was almost out of the car already. I heard the sirens blaring behind me as I took off for the perp.
The lady was knocked onto the sidewalk, and I actually hopped over her.
I'll worry about her later, although I hoped she wasn't dead. I wanted to return her things.
The guy hadn't made me yet. He was still running, and then he ran behind a building.
He turned, and I ran faster.
I almost missed the sonofabitch because he stopped to rummage through it. Angry and not able to process that he came to a stop, I tackled him to the ground.
"Don't hit me!" He let go of the purse and went to crawl away.
"I'm not—" I wrangled him closer, reaching for my cuffs.
"Don't hit me!"
"Shut up!" I snapped, rising to my feet while I pulled him up as well. "What was she, eighty?" I asked, slapping my handcuffs on him.
"Just—" He paused, at a loss for words. "This economy is shit."
I started to pull him toward the street. "I'm sure you can find a better day job."
Jasper laughed, having pulled up onto the curb. "Purse snatching—whatta classic!"
I sighed, still reading Fucko his Miranda Rights before I shoved him into the back. "Watch your head!"
Jasper must have called EMS—an ambulance—since they were already attending to the old lady. The large bus was parked right behind our RMP.
"Dude, where's the purse?" Jasper asked.
"Fuck!" I winced, cringing as I jogged behind the building to retrieve the bag.
The handbag was still on the ground. I was happy. It would be just my luck that some other thief would have stolen it.
"What's your name, ma'am?" Jasper asked the lady.
"Francesca." She pushed Mike's, the paramedic, hand away. "I'm fine. I'll call my doctor."
"Last name?" Jasper tried again.
"None-ya." This old broad had a sense of humor. "Thanks for getting my stuff back." She nodded and winked in my direction. "But I don't care for cops."
Jazz continued to smile. "Can you make it easy on us?"
"Blood pressure's good—130 over 80," Mike said to Ben, his partner.
"I told you—" Francesca started again, just as there was banging behind us. The guy in the back was knocking his head into the car's window.
"Cut it out!" I shouted.
"I gotta piss!"
I rolled my eyes, turning back to Francesca. "Sweetheart." I bent low to wink and try my charm. "We still gotta do some paperwork. Can we please get your last name?"
"Hips are good, ankles are fine—" Mike was still assessing.
"Stop touching me! My doctor will come."
"You have a doctor who makes house calls—in this city?" Ben looked surprised.
"Francesca," Jasper tried getting her attention.
"Palmieri—P-a-l-m-i-e-r-i—and my Ralphie, my son, always takes care of me." She beamed back at Jasper.
My partner raised a brow, looking from the car and back to Mrs. Palmieri. "Ralphie Palmieri is your son?"
I laughed, looking at the car, too.
"He most certainly is." She seemed proud.
After taking Mrs. Palmieri's statement and wishing her well, we went to the station to drop off Fucko.
Before we left the car, Jasper stared at him. We both did, highly amused. "Do you know who you just robbed?" He quirked a brow.
I was still laughing and trying to hide it.
"What do I care?" Fucko replied.
"That was Ralphie Palmieri's mother, you moron—"
His eyes widened in shock, his face ghostly pale suddenly. "The mobster? Ralphie Palmieri, the mobster?" Fucko was panicking now.
Jasper and I both chuckled as we booked him. Then we had a cup of coffee, used the rest rooms, and right before we were going to leave, Chuck at the desk received a call.
"She's not pressing charges," he said, unlocking the cell.
"What?" Adam, previously known as Fucko, gripped the bars tightly. "You guys can't let me go, man. Can't—he'll get me. I didn't mean it—"
"Save it." Jasper pried his fingers loose and pushed him out.
"I have names . . . That liquor store robbery? Where that clerk got shot? I know who did it." He rushed out. "I'll tell you. Just let me stay." Now he wanted to stay locked up to avoid a mobster.
Jasper and I exchanged a look.
"The robbery?" Detective Serrano happened to hear our guy.
"He's all yours," I said, giving him a nudge and walking away.
"Cullen—Whitlock. I got a call." Chuck hollered. "Come'ere and take it." He waved a piece of paper, shoveling a donut into his mouth.
Jasper was still too busy, engrossed by detective work—still too chickenshit to take the exam. He lingered by the desks, trying overhear whatever our perp told Det. Serrano.
"Whitlock!" I widened my arms.
He nodded, coming toward the front desk. "What do we got?"
I looked down to the address that was given, rapidly walking out to the car. "The M15 bus stop on 92nd—harassment." I shrugged.
"Let's do this."
We hopped into the car, turning on the lights and sirens. We got there in no time, and nothing looked out of the ordinary. The bus stop was empty, except for a young blonde.
"Officers!" She sprinted the few feet to us.
I stopped her by holding onto her forearms. She practically fell into my lap as I exited the car. "Slow down."
Then she started to speak a million words per minute. She was frightened and looked about eighteen.
"Relax," Jasper said, taking her from me to get some facts. "I need you calm down and tell us what happened."
She took in a large breath. " . . . this guy was staring at me. He hangs around the library on 91st, where I go. He is just always staring at me. Like just now. I was standing at the bus stop, and he kept looking. Then he came over and just started talking to me—he asked for my phone number."
"Are you sure he just wasn't trying to ask you out on a date?" I asked.
She shook her head no. "Look, I am not an idiot. He knew things. He knew my name, m-my class schedule—when the bus came, I didn't get on it, so he didn't either, and then he kept talking—asking me to marry him. I got scared, so . . . I called you." She slumped her shoulders.
"Ma'am, did he make any threatening statements, suggest he was going to hurt you?" I asked, ready to take notes with my pen and paper.
"N-no . . . but he knows everything about me."
Jasper looked up and down the block. "Where is he now? Is he still around?"
She shook her head no. "He saw you guys coming. He left toward Third—" She pointed. "So . . . can you arrest him or something?"
"I'm sorry, but it doesn't sound like he broke any laws," I said.
"Wait!" she yelled. "He-he can just harass me like that—find out everything about me? About my family?"
Jasper and I exchanged another look. "You say he was heading uptown on Third?" Jasper asked.
"Yeah." She nodded.
"Do you know his name?" My pen was still ready.
"No, but he's old—looks about thirty." She shrugged.
Jasper's face fell, and I hid my grin.
My partner just turned thirty a few weeks back.
"He had blond hair—it was long, and he wore it in a ponytail. He also wore a blue suit, and, and he carried one of those marble notebooks, which he's always writing things down in."
Jasper nodded, jerking his head to the street.
"We'll see if we can find him," I assured her. "We can't arrest him, but we can let him know that his affections are…unwarranted." I smiled.
She frowned. "Thanks." Her gaze stayed on the sidewalk as she shifted her backpack.
"You're OK," I reminded her. "We gotta go . . . what was your name again?" I knew she didn't give it.
I waved, backing up to enter the car.
Jessica slid into the bus stop, peering up and down the street.
"Do you think she was serious?" I clicked my seatbelt in place.
Jasper blew out a breath. "We'll find out."
We took off in the direction we were instructed to, driving slowly and looking every which way.
"So…what happened with Maria?" I scanned the corners, straining my eyes for this guy.
"Uh . . . she couldn't imagine being a cop's wife. It's probably because I don't make six figures a year."
"Just like that?" I snapped my fingers. "And she figured this out now?"
Jasper continued to drive. "It just—"
Walking at a snail's pace was our guy—greasy blond hair in a ponytail, navy blue suit, and he hugged a marble notebook to his chest. "Stop the car!" I hollered, always eager when I find what I'm looking for.
Jasper pulled over, but it wasn't an exciting chase. We left the car, while that guy was still walking.
"Excuse me, sir?"
He kept walking.
"Hey!" Jasper shouted.
He ignored us, picking up the pace.
"Buddy, hang on." I started walking faster.
He didn't bother to run. He turned to face us, and he didn't even look alarmed.
"Were you harassing a girl. . . down by the bus stop on 92nd Street a couple of minutes—a little while ago?" I asked.
He laughed. "I wasn't harassing her."
Jasper stepped toward him. "She said you were pretty persistent. You knew a lot of details about her."
"It's illegal to talk to a girl?" He backed away from us, hugging that notebook.
"What's in the book?" I tapped it with my finger.
"Stuff . . . you know . . . that I write down." He grinned.
"Like what?" Jasper reached for it.
"Hey, I have rights!" he exclaimed.
Jasper and I laughed at him.
"It's private stuff!" This guy definitely seemed weird, like, off his meds or something.
"Whoa!" I put my hands up. "Relax . . . What's your name, sir?"
"Brown, Leroy Brown." He tilted his head, his eyes boring into mine.
My partner and me had a good chuckle after that one.
"Can I see some ID . . . Mr. Brown?" I raised a brow, holding my hand out.
"What for?" He looked smug. "I haven't broken any laws . . . haven't you ever heard of the Bill of Rights?"
I groaned, stepping toward him. "Well, here's the thing, Mr. Brown. That girl you 'talked' to, she has rights too . . . I'm going to suggest that you take our showing up as a definite no on her part—she doesn't want to go out with you." I took a deep breath.
He looked from Jasper to me, his beady little eyes moving. "Maybe we got our signals crossed." He grinned. "She smiled at me, though."
Jasper leaned into him. "But we're clear on you leaving her alone from now on, correct?"
He nodded. "Yeah . . ."
"Great." I ran my hand through my hair, realizing I left my hat in my locker.
"Can I go?"
Jasper hopped to the side, moving his arm with a flourish as he gestured toward the street.
Mr. Brown quickly left us, and we watched him walk away.
"People are so fucking weird." A negative comment fell from Jasper's mouth.
I was surprised. "Yeah, they are."
We entered the car again and managed to talk for a bit. Jasper informed me of the gory details of his breakup, and they didn't sound too horrible. It sounded like they spoke civilly and just parted ways.
I'm never that lucky. There are usually tears, things get thrown at me—the commitment phobic—and we never stay friends after.
My mother, who hates that I became a cop, wishes I could settle down with a nice girl already. I'm hellbent on the fact that nice girls don't exist anymore. After all, I'm twenty-three. Why do I have to settle down now? I'm content to live the life of a bachelor. I work too much. There aren't many women. There isn't enough time for me to go out and meet any. There's only been one since I started the job last year, and that didn't last longer than two weeks.
Emmett McCarty always finds the time, and I envy him. He works alongside Police Officer Barbie—even I can admit she's better to look at than Jasper—and he has a different woman warming his bed at night.
I know because we share an apartment.
We were at the academy together. He used to live out in Queens, and I still lived with my parents. We were fast friends and even faster roommates. He doesn't care how loud I play my music—play my keyboard—and he pays half the rent. What's not to like? He cooks, too, and his lady friends usually have one for me.
At least that's what happened while we attended the academy. I don't meet his one-night stands anymore. I just can't be bothered.
" . . . convenience story robbery in progress, 96th and—" Came through on the scanner.
"This is 78-Bravo. We can handle it. Over and out." I heard Emmett's loud mouth on the radio, answering a call that we're closest to, I think.
"He doesn't even know where he's going!" I shouted, my thumb already on the button. "Central—this is 78-Alpha. Can you repeat that? Over."
"78-Alpha, that was 96th and Park."
"Thanks," I sighed, as Jasper turned on the lights and siren.
We actually got there just as McCarty and Hale did. Our bumpers nearly touched, and I could see the dismay on Emmett's face. "I said we got it!" he shouted.
Jasper laughed, leaving the car. "Is that right, cowboy?"
"Oh, don't start with that shit." Hale chuckled.
Jasper shook his head. "You know better, Hale . . . It's sad they put a trigger-happy rookie with a trigger-happy—"
Emmett's partner and my partner don't exactly get along. I think they're cousins or something. I know they're related and come from a long line of cops.
"We doing this or what?" Emmett rapidly approached the store's door, while we ran behind him. He's always got to be the hero—the one who gets to the most interesting calls first. Dispatch never said if the perp was armed or not, so we all grabbed for our holsters, too.
Sadly, when we entered the store it was empty. There was nothing but a mess, and a scared clerk lying on the ground.
"50, 51, 52—" The clerk was counting.
I grabbed Jasper's arm and pulled him back, just as Hale did the same to Emmett. "You got your robbery. See ya!" I waved, pushing Jasper out of the store. There was no live action, and there was no way I was doing any paperwork for it.
We laughed, entering the RMP. "You're learning, Cullen."
I smiled, buckling myself in.
Then we circled around the neighborhood, waiting for dispatch to give out the description of the convenience store robber. It's better to be out on the street, rather than wait for the victim to give it. Sure enough, after Emmett and Rosalie called it in, the radio told us what to look for.
"White male, early forties. He's wearing a yellow shirt, black and white striped pants, and he had a bald head, but with red fringe—the clerk says he looked like a clown."
We laughed at dispatch, and then we went in search of a clown . . .
Because we always steal their collars—get the credit, while they're still filling out forms.
"Bozo is eastbound on Lexington—armed." We heard Emmett on the radio. They must have told the clerk they'd be back.
Soon, we saw Hale and McCarty's squad car going westbound.
"My cousin has the shittiest sense of direction." Jasper shook his head. "McCarty's from Queens, right?"
"Yeah," I said. We were at a light and saw them pass us, going the opposite way—away from where the perp supposedly was.
As I looked at Jasper, I spied some dude who fit the description casually walking across the street. "You think . . .?" I pointed.
Bozo walked up to a payphone, checking for loose change.
"How many clowns do you think walk around this city?" The sirens blared, and Jasper made a U-turn, coming to a stop on the other side of the avenue.
"A lot, actually." I nodded.
Bozo saw us and then he took off. He was fast, but not fast enough—trying to run in those oversized clown shoes. They were red, too, and I took him down with ease. He put up a fight, and we drew a crowd.
When we loaded him into the backseat, we got a call about a domestic disturbance. We instructed dispatch that we were on our way back. Jasper and I did have to fill out forms.
I heard Emmett curse us on the radio while we entered the station.
"Hey, Edward!" Heidi waved. She was handcuffed to a chair, wearing a skimpy halter top and a miniskirt. She's a frequent flyer, and I can't count how many times she'd been busted for prostitution. Heidi is actually a great informant—what better way to find out the word on the street than from someone who's always on the corner.
Most cops just let her go.
"What'd you do?" I asked.
She made a face. "I was giving some balding, fat ass a hummer when some child caught us. He's got nothin', nothin' . . . I met that dude in a bar." She turned to Jacob, who's out of the academy a month, and spit in his direction.
He was at a desk, keeping his head down as he wrote out his report.
"Did you see any money handled?" I asked him.
He looked up with wide eyes. "You, too? He picked her up at the corner of—"
"All right, so I met him on the street." Heidi shrugged. "I had a few beers . . . from that bar." She winked at me.
"Give her a ticket for misconduct, a desk appearance," I sighed.
"Yeah, yeah . . . " Jacob grumbled. He's really a good kid, but carries around his regulations and protocols book in his pocket.
My first day, Jasper threw mine in the garbage. Turns out, it's not all black and white. There's a shitload of gray out there, where your own instincts and judgments come into play.
After our breaks, we did another patrol. Luckily, everything seemed calm, and we were just cruising.
I started it, but Jasper got in on it. I found myself humming the melody to "Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown." And then we were singing it.
Dispatch interrupted with a domestic dispute again, or it could have been a different one. We were really close, and we were able to see a woman fly at some guy with a bat.
"Hold it!" Jasper shouted through the loud speaker. Then we left the car.
The woman had the bat raised, ready swing.
"Lady!" I yelled. "You hit him with that bat you're going to spend the night in jail!"
Jasper was close enough to reach for it. "Give it up," he said.
She gritted her teeth, handing it over.
"She's crazy—bitch is crazy!" That dude hollered—'cause that's all anyone does is yell.
"Calm down." I got between them, and then they both started shouting over each other. "One at a time!" I waved my hands, and they went at it again.
"Enough!" When Jasper decides to scream, you can hear it blocks away. "Now you first," he told the woman.
"I was doing the laundry like I always do—washing his pants. I found a bunch'a rubbers—all different colors. He's sleeping around with a bunch of whores." She went for him again, and I blocked her.
"Is that all?" I asked.
"I have my fucking tubes tied. What the fuck you need the condoms for, Bradley?"
"Stop," I warned before it got out of hand again.
Behind Jasper, Hale and McCarty came to a stop. "Oh . . . it's the social worker." Emmett taunted Jasper.
We ignored them.
"Do you have anything else to add?" I asked the husband.
"Bitch is crazy. She hit me with a skillet. I want to press charges!"
"You sure about that?" Jasper walked toward him.
"She's going to kill me!"
"With good reason—"
"Shut up!" I snapped at her.
There are certain things you shouldn't say in front of a police officer, like, what she said. I could already see the excited glint in Emmett's eyes, taking a collar from us. He hasn't made any arrests today. He needs one, and this is just a scorned woman.
Okay, so it's a total double standard. If it was the other way around, I would have hauled this dude away already. But the woman standing before me with the tear-stained cheeks was five feet tall and maybe one hundred pounds.
How much damage did she honestly do?
"You want to press charges?" Jasper asked.
"Yes! Arrest her!"
His wife just cried. She wasn't going anywhere—about to run.
My partner walked up to the husband. "I'd say you have a lot of apologizing to do already," he whispered.
"My tubes are tied . . . we're married. What the fuck do you need condoms for?"
"She's crazy and dangerous!" The husband stepped away.
Jasper shrugged. "She doesn't look dangerous to me. A woman finding out her husband's catting around on her is bound to make her crazy . . ." He paused. "If you want us to arrest her, we will . . . but do yourself a favor and don't."
"Oh, come on!" Emmett was getting upset. "He's got bruises."
"Welts." The husband lifted his shirt, but there was nothing there.
"Just stop," I said.
Everyone became quiet.
"Is this over?" Jasper stood between them. "Do you still want to press charges?"
And after the husband shook his head no, we were in our cars again.
"You—with the social work." Emmett laughed, hanging out of his car window.
"Solving problems, McCarty—that's all we're doing." Jasper started the car. "It's not necessary to arrest every single person who has a conflict. They're people, they have bad days and good days, they're just like us."
"Yeah, yeah . . . Let's go, Rosie." Emmett pounded his fist on the door, and they were gone.
We watched them speed down the street—off to the next big bust that doesn't exist—and shook our heads. "I'm glad you get it, Cullen."
In truth, I didn't, but I can understand thinking logically and not arresting everyone. "Yeah." I needed another cup of coffee.
Dispatch gave us the address for a residence. They requested an officer come out to their home—there was a peeping Tom situation with assault. It sounded odd, but we were told that the perp had taken off.
We speedily drove to the apartment building, double-parking on the city street, and ran up the steps.
"Yeah?" a small, feminine voice answered.
"Ma'am, it's the police," Jasper said.
The door opened quickly, and then this teeny, little thing pulled Jasper into her apartment. "Good, you're here."
I noticed we were on the second floor. "Did he go out your fire escape?" I pointed to the window, walking toward it.
"Oh!" the tiny brunette exclaimed. "I. . ."
"You were assaulted?" I stepped in, since Jasper seemed stuck on stupid. His gaze was a bit vacant as he stared at her. He had his pad and pen in his hands, yet he wasn't writing anything down. "He had a weapon?" I asked.
She shook her head. "No. They say if you say that—the police come quicker."
"Ma'am . . ." I chuckled, trailing off. Reaching for my pen and pad, I asked, "Some guy was looking at you? What did he look like?"
"No . . . listen, the first time I called they dismissed me—refused to send someone here." She had tears in her eyes.
"Then . . . what's the matter?" I looked around the small space decorated in pink tones and smelling like flowers. This was definitely a single woman's apartment.
"My friend might be hurt—I don't know." She danced from foot-to-foot. "She comes home every day at five, and she's not home yet. They wouldn't help me when I called."
"Uh . . ." I didn't know where to start. "What's your name?"
"Alice," Jasper repeated.
I looked to my partner and then back to Alice. "Okay . . . maybe she's out with friends or—"
"Bella doesn't have any friends. Well, besides me—Bella's my cousin." She pointed to herself. "She's home every day by five. I know because it's true. She has a touch of OCD—doesn't break away from pattern. I mean, she's not crazy. She just comes home at five. Something happened; I know it." She grabbed my hands. "Please."
"Alice." I took her hands from mine. "Maybe she got something to eat? Maybe she—there are a million and one explanations on where she might be. How old is she?"
"Twenty," she whispered. "We're home from school every day at this time. I'm downtown at NYU, and she's uptown at Columbia. We're from Washington State," she cried.
"Calm down." Jasper finally spoke. "What does your cousin look like?"
Now it was my turn to stare at my partner like he had three heads. "She could just be out. Does she have a cell phone?" I asked.
"I called thirty times—all calls go to voice mail." Alice started sobbing. "Something's wrong—I know it. I know it." She grabbed a picture off the entertainment center. "We've been inseparable since birth. Maybe we go to different schools now, but . . . I can feel it in my gut, my bones. Something's wrong."
"Relax." My partner soothed her.
Alice continued. "She has brown hair. She's a little bit taller than me—look." She shoved the picture in our faces. Her cousin was gorgeous, absolutely breathtaking. "She wore a green sweater today. I keep telling her to throw it out."
"And she hangs out near Columbia?" Jasper asked.
My thumb caressed her pink cheek in the photo. She looked happy, and her chocolate brown eyes were so deep.
"No. She just goes to school there. If anything . . . Bella hangs around here, the library . . . She's never this late getting home!"
"Okay," Jasper said softly. "She's only two hours late."
"Never!" Alice shouted. "Aren't you listening to me? Something's happened. Something bad. I can feel it, and I need help—we have to find her."
I groaned, tearing my eyes away from the picture. "And you checked in with all her friends—a boyfriend?"
"We don't have boyfriends—"
"Pity." Jasper blurted.
We ignored that.
"I'm telling you . . ."
"Look, I'm sure she's going to come walking through that door any minute talking about how something came up." I reached back for one of my cards. "If she doesn't . . . we'll say, come home by nine, you call us and we'll come right back."
Alice collapsed back on her sofa. "Why aren't you helping me now?"
"Because people aren't technically missing until a certain amount of time passes." I rushed out. "I'm sorry, but—"
Alice gasped. "There's this man who's been bothering her. What if he took her?"
"Listen—" I started.
"No! You listen!" She stood up and poked my chest. "I know something happened!"
"Relax." Jasper held her biceps. "Tell us more—there's some guy bothering her?"
I groaned, and I couldn't believe he was encouraging this chick. Like I'd said before, there are a million and one reasons why she might be late. Also, Alice could probably think up several different scenarios if she concentrated hard enough, has a decent imagination.
"Yes, some guy's been harassing her at the library. Bella goes to the one a few blocks away." Which is the same spot Jessica said she was followed from earlier.
Jasper and I exchanged a glance, and I raised an eyebrow—because now a bunch of scenarios were now flashing through my mind.
"She reads there on Saturdays—a few days a week, actually. But we go there after dinner to study. She wouldn't be there now. It's late and she does NOT break away from her pattern! She should have been home two hours ago! Aren't you listening? That's why I know—"
"Shhhh." My partner soothed her. "Tell us more about this guy." Jasper looked to me, shrugging a shoulder, which meant we'd check out the guy—just make sure he wasn't behind anything.
"He's creepy, and he has blond hair, and he kept asking her out—"
"Do you know his name?" I asked.
She shook her head no. "He walks around with a notebook."
I nodded. "We'll look into it. In the meantime, you keep trying her cell. Call us with any information . . . if you get any. You'll hear from us soon."
"Thank you!" She threw herself into Jasper's arms. "Can I come with you guys? Please?"
"Absolutely not," he said. "I apologize, ma'am."
"What am I supposed to do?" She leaned away, throwing her hands in the air. "Bella..." She collapsed back in sobs again. "Nothing can happen to her...she has to be okay."
"We'll do the best we can," Jasper said.
"Hey...maybe she met a guy?" I smiled, trying to squash her fears. "Maybe she—"
"No." Alice's lip quivered. "You don't know Bella."
"Calm down. We have to go. You keep trying her cell." Jasper pointed.
We left the apartment with the picture. I held it in my hand as we walked the two blocks over to the library. When we spoke to Jessica earlier about Leroy Brown, we weren't far from here at all.
We walked up to the counter. "Is this where you check out books?" I leaned in.
"Can I help you find something, officer?" The librarian turned her computer screen away from me. I already saw her Facebook page open.
Jasper stepped in. "We're looking for Leroy Brown—his home address? He comes to this library."
The librarian shook her head. "Library records are confidential. Do you have a warrant or something?"
"Can you give us a break?" I groaned out. "Please . . . it's been a long day."
"We were hoping you'd help us out." Jasper smiled.
She pursed his lips, raising a bitch brow, but she did turn back to her computer. "Leroy Brown." She hit a key loudly. Then she slowly shook her head. "No record of a Leroy Brown."
"Okay . . . thanks anyway." Jasper tapped the counter. He turned to walk away, but I stepped up—my stomach knotting.
Jasper's always talking about instincts . . . and we already took Alice's worries seriously. We should see this through, I thought.
"He's in his thirties, receding hairline, but wears a blond ponytail. He walks around with a composition book—he bothers women. I know he hangs out here." I rushed out.
The librarian frowned, forming a sneer. "James Bryant." She turned to her computer and typed in some keys. "He sits in periodicals all day. Never reads anything, just harasses young women when they come in."
I nodded. "Did you find him?"
She turned the computer screen toward me. "Checks out medical books, mostly—Female Anatomy, Gynecology. Every time he brings a book back, we debate burning them."
I reached for my notepad, but Jasper pulled on my arm. "I got it . . . thanks!" He shouted to the librarian, and we were on our way to this guy's apartment.
Once we were in the car, I realized what a long shot this was. "She might not even be there."
Jasper pulled way from the curb. "After being rejected, us approaching him . . . if he's really sick, he wasn't taking no for an answer again."
I sat back, giving my jumbled stomach a rub.
"After being on the job for years . . . you just know things, know how the perp will react." He shook his head. "I wished we had a reason to bring him in earlier. Sick fuck."
"If it's the same guy . . . he might have taken her." Jasper nodded. "That Alice has good intuition. If they're as close as she says . . . who knows? She could be right, was right for calling us over. Maybe—let's just hope we get there, they're there, or she's not there at all." He showed me his crossed fingers. "Hopefully she's just screwing around, but people with OCD hardly veer off their routines—my brother has that shit."
I just shrugged my shoulders, and I didn't know Jasper had a brother. "Right."
Nervous as hell, we ignored the radio—doing what McCarty and Hale do most of the day, letting us take the calls. If we don't answer, they have no choice but to.
The apartment building was a large one, and only three blocks from the library. We got in the front door when someone else was leaving. The hallways reeked of urine, and we heard the miscellaneous sounds as we passed each door.
As we approached Mr. Bryant's place, all we heard was very loud music—classical—Bach. It was insanely loud, so we pounded on the door. "Police, open up!" We kept at it until James slowly opened the door.
"Can I help you?" he shouted over the music.
"Uh . . . can you turn it down?" Jasper pointed.
"Oh." He smiled. "Is that why you're here, because of the stereo? I'll turn it down." He went to close the door on us.
I kept it open with my foot. "Go turn it down!"
He left the door, going back into his apartment, and we followed in after him.
There were books and crap, piles and piles of different things everywhere—trinkets, magazines, even some dolls. This guy was a pack rat.
"I didn't say you could come in!" He had yet to turn off the music.
"Oh," Jasper said. "I thought you said we could—that we were welcome. Isn't that what you heard, Cullen?"
I nodded. "Loud and clear." I reached around him for the stereo. I had just started to lower the volume when I heard a noise. "What was that?"
When I turned, James pushed Jasper and went for the door. I lunged for him, but Jasper already had him, and we were able to cuff him. If someone runs, they're doing it for a reason, so they won't get caught. We were correct in cuffing his ass.
And I still heard that odd noise, a faint tapping. "Where is she?" I punched him in the nose, getting him so good he fell back. "Answer me!" I elbowed him.
He wouldn't even look at me. "I love her!"
"Go . . . look around." Jasper pushed me, and then reached for his radio. "Central, this is 78-Alpha requesting back up and a bus at …" He called for EMS, and I briefly heard Emmett answer the call first.
Walking down his hall, I didn't have to look anywhere. I followed the sound—a quiet scraping, a muffled cry, and some soft banging. As soon as I saw light under a door, I kicked it open, and the sight I was granted . . . It broke my heart and made me want to vomit, but most of all it made me want to kill that asshole.
There, crying on the floor, was Bella—her hands held high, tied to a towel rack with duct tape going around her wrists so many times. I wouldn't be able to break it. Her feet were free, but her mouth was gagged, and she was only in her bra and panties.
I dropped to the floor quickly to undo the tape around her mouth. "You're okay."
She slumped, sobbing, as I uncovered her mouth.
"Shhh . . . shhh." I rushed to untie her hands. My own fumbled, not able to unravel it fast enough.
"Fuck," Jasper was in the doorway. "McCarty's got him . . ."
I was still trying to free her. "Go get something to cover her with!" I shouted. "Hale, too . . . bring Hale in here!"
Jasper disappeared from the door.
"He can't hurt you now." I stared into those deep—expressive—and now sad, yet beautiful eyes. "You're okay." My hands circled over her wrists, gently rubbing where the tape was.
She surprised me by hugging me tightly—shaking like a leaf in my arms.
"You're okay." I didn't know what else to say, covering her with my body, and trying to keep her warm. "Bella, you're all right." I rubbed her hair.
Of course, she was still a sobbing mess.
"Sweetheart?" Hale bent down, wrapping a blanket over her shoulders. "Are you hurt?" she asked.
Bella was still holding onto me, but shook her head no.
"Did he assault you?" She turned to her radio. "Central, I need that bus at this location on a rush."
"No," she cried. "He didn't get the chance to." Her voice kept breaking. "It was time, but, but—" She fisted my shirt with both hands, burying her head into my chest. "He touched me while he undressed me. That's it. That's it . . ."
I held the blanket on top of her. "What's your last name, Bella?"
She sniffled, swallowing and looking up to me. "How do you know my first?"
"Alice," I said. "She's so worried about you." I was too, at this point.
"Al-Alice . . ." That started a fresh round of tears. "I want Alice."
"We'll get her," I said.
"We should let crime scene get in here . . . get her to a hospital so they can do a kit," Rosalie instructed.
I nodded, agreeing with her.
"He didn't—he only kissed me. He didn't get the chance to, um, do that."
"How long have you been here?" I asked.
"Since—since I left the subway at about 4:45. He brought me in here and left me. I don't—I don't know." I barely understood her, she was crying hard. "You saved me. You saved me." She held me even tighter.
I hugged her back. "You'll be fine. This is traumatic, but you're just shaken up."
"Really, Cullen? She was just kidnapped and—" Rosalie placed her hand on her hip, staring at me. "Come on, hon." She took Bella away from me, ushering her toward the detectives.
I couldn't keep my eyes off the beautiful brunette as she walked away from me. She gazed back, too, but then I saw Jasper and Emmett hauling James away. I was quick to walk with them, leaving the apartment.
In the stairwell, my buddies held him still, while I got a few more hits in on him. He was bloodied and beaten by the time he made it to the squad car. After all, he was resisting arrest.
It was procedure like always after we left. Bella would talk to the detectives, get checked out by EMS, and whether or not she had to go to the hospital, she'd probably be home within an hour or two.
That was comforting, although nothing truly went by procedure.
Unfortunately, James tripped over something on his way in, and Jasper dropped him. He fell on his face, and I spied a tooth on the sidewalk after we picked him back up.
This guy was so accident-prone—kept falling.
Once he was in the cage, asking for medical attention, I sat down to fill out my DD-5 forms. My mind was shit, though, and Jasper took care of them while I had a cup of coffee.
"She was lucky," Rosalie said. "Very fucking lucky." She shook her head. "If you guys hadn't shown up . . . Geez. I don't even want to imagine. That was a hundred in one shot—getting there before he did anything, or killed her. That's one lucky girl."
I nodded. "That was still horrible . . . even if he didn't get to—" Offenders like James should just be shot on the spot—no one would miss them.
"How did you guys know?" Emmett asked.
Jasper grinned. "We're problem solvers. We look for clues, and we never dismiss a damn thing." He gave me a high-five, only I was frowning because we were ready to blow Alice off. Well, I was ready to blow her off, and Rosalie was correct. If we didn't get there when we did, who knows what that sick fuck would have done to her. "It's not all about arrests and the juiciest case," he told Emmett, "some people just need help . . ." He looked to me. "We work this beat every day. How come we never saw them before?"
I shrugged. "They're not troublemakers."
He nodded. "That Alice chick—you think she was twenty, like . . . the Swan girl?" He stared down to the papers in his hand, looking like someone shot his dog.
I winced. "They both were—they're young."
"Who?" Emmett again.
"Stay away from those girls," Rosalie warned. "They're babies. That one we just rescued . . . she doesn't need another pervert looking to get into her pants." She gave me a wet Willy.
I smacked her hand away, knowing she was correct and agreeing. But I knew I'd be seeing Bella again in court.
Thank you for reading.
I hope you enjoyed it!
I'm not 100% sure what I'll be doing with this: a ficlet? A full-length fic? or maybe a two-shot? You guys tell me. How was this? Worth elongating?