AN: Thank you for reading this story. I love hearing your theories and thoughts.
Thank you to RMFM86 for pre-reading and mauigirl60 for being my Beta. The support and help you two give me with this story is amazing. Thank you to cutestkidsmom and mosolis05 for their support and enjoyment of the story.
Disclaimer: This story is like a Grimm's Fairy Tale. It's creepy. Be brave and strong, because it will be worth it. I hope you like the chapter ending, because I loved writing it!
Chapter 9: Trip, Trap, Trip, Trap...Beware of the Troll Bridge
Garrett tried to keep his eyes from gazing at the woman sitting across from him. Her glasses were perched on her head, blonde hair coming haphazardly out of her bun as her fingers entered totals into her calculator. He still thought Bella Swan was one beautiful woman, but he was drawn to his new accountant, Kate Scott. She had stumbled into his coffee shop, tripping over her own feet, and Garrett found her positively charming.
"How's it looking?" he questioned.
She looked up, her blue eyes shining, and blushed. Kate quickly looked down again. "You seem to be in pretty good shape. I still need to go through that other shoe box."
"Do you get a lot of shoe boxes? I hope I'm the only one putting you through this torture," Garrett teased.
She grinned at him. "It happens more than you think."
Garrett was so close to asking her out on a date, but what about his feelings for Bella? She was now confronting the man who killed her father and he was flirting with a new woman. What was wrong with him?
"How much longer do you think..." he started to say.
"Would you like to go get a drink?" Kate inquired with a blush.
They just stared at each other. The chemistry between the two of them pulsated. Garrett didn't know what to say, but he was quickly saved by Jasper.
"Hey man, can I leave a bit early? I want to walk Alice home." Jasper held Alice's hand tightly. He was completely devoted to the shy woman. Her beliefs brought him joy and her kisses were nectar to his soul. He needed Alice in his life completely.
Garrett nodded. "Of course, you guys coming back tonight? I thought you might play a set. I don't know if Edward will be back in time. He went with Bella to..."
"Oh!" Alice squeaked. "I thought she decided not to do that! I'm going to check on her."
She went quickly over to a corner and Garrett watched as she pulled out her cell phone. He assumed she was calling Bella to check in.
"Is Bella dating Edward, Gar?" Jasper asked. He could see clearly, even if his boss ignored the signs, an attraction between the two. Bella and Edward would be a couple sooner than later.
"He's just helping her out," Garrett stated. He began to feel cranky.
"Is your friend okay?" Kate asked, sweetly.
"Yeah, she's just finding answers." Garrett felt much calmer by the sound of Kate's voice.
Alice had ended her call and quickly latched onto Jasper's arm. Her face was grim. "I need you to take me to Aro's."
"I get to meet your foster dad? Cool!" Jasper grinned at her. He wanted to get in the good graces of Alice's foster family. They were an odd bunch, but he could see his future with his fairy girl.
"Was that Bella?" Garrett was concerned. Something wasn't right. "Are they heading back?"
"No, Bella and Edward are staying..."
Before she could finish, Emmett Cullen came up to the group. Alice shuddered. Though his smile was large and his dimples made his face look youthful and jolly, the man's eyes were dark. It felt like she was looking into the face of evil.
"Bella's little friend, why would she be with my brother?" It appeared his questions were innocent, but there was viciousness in his tone.
Alice quickly said, "They're picking up some things for Garrett at the grocery store, but are waiting in line."
"Hmm...do you think she'll be back soon? I was hoping to talk to her," Emmett said. He looked over at Kate and licked his lips. Garrett wanted to throw himself in front of her to protect her. Emmett thought the woman looked yummy.
"Why?" Garrett asked. After seeing the look he gave Kate, he wanted Edward's creepy brother nowhere near Bella.
"We've both suffered loss and with Angela Weber missing, I thought she needed a friend," Emmett answered with his big grin.
Garrett though Emmett was full of bullshit.
"Well, I'll let her know you were looking for her." Garrett looked at Alice. "Hey Al, you'll let me know about where to find the boxes, right?
Instantly, Alice knew what 'boxes' Garrett was talking about. "Sure. Come on, Jasper."
Before they could leave, Emmett called out with a wink, "Little one, when you talk to Angela, tell her Bennie needs her."
She winced at his wink. Emmett knew they were hiding Angela.
Quickly pulling Jasper out the door, Alice started to look panicked. Jasper grabbled her hand and led her over to his motorcycle. "Sweet girl, what's wrong?"
"Bad...so very bad...I..." Alice pulled out her phone and typed, The boxes are in Forks.
Garrett's reply was a simple, Fuck.
She grabbed Jasper and kissed him hard on his mouth. Alice Brandon did something that wasn't at all in her nature, but things were getting scary. She could feel it from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Jasper Whitlock was important to her and she would protect him with her life if it was necessary. She stepped away from the clearly shocked Jasper and sat on the motorcycle. "We need to go!"
Nearby, Ben Cheney stood and glared at the motorcycle that roared away down the busy city street. His fists tightened as he watched it weave past honking cars and buses. They were off too quickly. That mouse, Alice Brandon, not only knew where his wife was hiding, but was now deeply involved with the man Ben desired.
He whispered, "I will see your blood leave every inch of your body, mouse. I swear it."
Bella stood in front of her old home and tried to stay calm. It looked the same in some respects, but the grass, that Charlie had made sure was mowed religiously, now grew long. The porch had broken floor boards. The tan paint on the clapboards was flaking off, making the home look like one found in a horror movie. Which in reality, Bella thought sadly, it was a real-life horror movie for her family.
"We don't have to go in there," Edward stated, placing his hand on her shoulder.
"True, we could investigate Mike's death in the library." Bella looked at him sadly. "Pull out the old copies of the newspaper."
"Bella, this isn't the 1950s. We can head back to the diner and look it up on my phone." He pulled out his cell phone and waved it at her.
Bella gave him a dirty look. "I have one of those too, dumbass."
"I love your pretty names for me!" He smiled at Bella. "Remember when old Mrs. Walsh kicked us out of the Classics area? That was all your fault, woman."
They were sitting in a corner on the floor next to a shelf of books. It was quiet that Saturday morning and Edward was trying to take notes on Robinson Crusoe. At least, he was trying to take notes, because Bella was busy sucking on his neck.
He pulled away slightly. "Bella, I need to finish this paper by Thursday! We leave for tournament at noon on Friday. Molina will make sure I can't play if it isn't done!"
The State Baseball Tournament was a huge deal to a small town like Forks. Edward was the star player and he knew that if he failed to bring the school a trophy, there would be hell to pay with Emmett.
"I'm sorry. I've missed you," she apologized. The practices and, more importantly, Emmett, were keeping them apart. She'd refused to visit Edward's house. Emmett had a way of brushing past her and touching her in inappropriate places. His words were harassing and Edward was always apologizing for him. Bella refused to deal with it anymore.
"You can come over tonight. He's supposed to go out with Tanya Denali. It will be fun! We can rent a movie," he pleaded. He hated that she felt uncomfortable in his home. Edward wanted to marry this girl one day and it wouldn't be possible if his brother didn't stop teasing her so unmercifully.
She turned away from him and grabbed her book. Looking down she stated, "Your brother has an uncanny knack of showing up whenever I'm around. I could bet you five bucks that somehow the date would be cancelled or he would bring her to your house instead. I would like to avoid that. Come to my house."
"I have an early practice! I need to be home," he whined.
"Then I'll see you when you come over," she said, and started gathering up her books. Couldn't he understand that what Emmett was doing was offensive and borderline scary? Bella loved Edward, but letting herself be subjected to that horrible Emmett wasn't going to happen.
Edward pulled her down onto his lap. "Please don't go! I'll come over tonight for a few hours, okay?"
She pulled him to her and kissed him. Looking into his eyes, Bella whispered, "Thank you. I wish it didn't have to be this way."
"I know." Edward hugged her tightly. "I'll try talking to him again."
Bella knew his words would have no effect on Emmett, but she appreciated the effort.
Bella put her lips onto Edward's and wished the love she felt could be conveyed in the kisses she gave him. Their hands started to wander and Edward's slipped up her shirt, the heat of them branding her cool skin with his touch. They were like fire and ice, yet they completed one another.
"Excuse me, this is a library and not a brothel!"
The couple looked up at the angry face of the prim Mrs. Walsh. Her brown suit and high-collared dress would be more appropriate in the Victorian era. Bella and Edward started to laugh and were promptly banned from the library for three weeks.
"You're trying to distract me!" Bella exclaimed. She steadied herself and stomped to the stairs leading to the porch. "They were looking for something the night of the murders and I have a feeling they didn't find it. It doesn't hurt to look before it gets dark."
"We could try to find Tanya. She might be able to explain why she has a picture of something I don't remember." Edward was wracking his brain trying to remember that night, but it was still a blank.
"We'll get a room at the inn and call over to her parents' house. I think they're still in town." Bella glanced over at the nervous-looking Edward. "I had a company come and clean up the house. All the scary aftermath is gone. It's only a house."
Edward didn't think anything was normal anymore, mostly a house that murders occurred in.
They walked in and even though it was light outside, the inside was dim and dingy. The furniture had a layer of dust and it just smelled off. There was a skittering sound and Edward jumped. Bella just gave him a surprised look. "It's okay. I have a feeling there might be a mice problem now."
That didn't make him feel better one bit.
The oddest thing then occurred. Bella's face became blank and her eyes glazed over. She started to tremble and shake. Edward tried to settle her, but it was all for naught. Suddenly, she just stopped. "We need to look in my room."
Bella wasn't sure why she could only see her bedroom in her mind's eye and why she knew that was where they needed to be, but she was a woman possessed. Bella grabbed Edward's arm and pulled him up the stairs.
The room was sparse. Posters of disbanded indie bands, held up long ago by pieces of tape, were falling off the walls. The mattress was bare. The shelves held a few random knick knacks, like a stuffed cat with one eye and a pink frog figurine that was chipped. Pulling what was left of her books off a bookcase and flipping through them, Bella looked back at Edward who was standing in the doorway looking melancholy. "If you don't want to help, then just check your handy dandy phone, Batman, and see what the deal is with Mike. Make yourself useful."
Articles about the tragic demise of the quiet Michael Newton quickly came up on the screen. Opening the first link, Edward started to read the details to Bella. "Mr. Newton's remains were found at the Quileute Reservation on the Sullivan Corner Trail. Umm...the coroner said his body had been ripped apart by what can be concluded was a wild animal."
"That's bullshit," Bella scoffed, as she peered behind the bookcase to see if anything had slid behind it.
"That he was ripped apart? That probably was pretty evident," Edward stated. The facts were clear.
"No, Edward, that Mike would be in the woods. He would never go hiking of his own free will." She frowned at the thought. "He was forced to go there or his body was put there. It's the only possible way his body would be in that location."
Mike was Bella's good friend. They were on the academic team together and shared an appreciation for the jazz music of John Coltrane. He played a better-than-average saxophone and loved watching the original Star Trek. She knew the shy boy better than most and he hated the forest and was allergic to pine trees. He wasn't supposed to be there.
"This adds to the myster...oh fuck," Edward had continued reading. "We won't be seeing Tanya."
He held up his hand to quiet her. "Listen to this. This is the second tragedy to hit our town after the disappearance of Tanya Denali two weeks ago. She was camping with her boyfriend, Demetri Petrov, and they did not return. The Denali and Petrov families have called off the search."
"This is a tangled web we're uncovering, Edward," Bella announced. She started looking in her old closet. It was practically bare, but she peered at a shelf.
"Let me help..." Edward started to head toward Bella when his foot crashed through the floor. He shrieked, "Damn it!"
He pulled his foot out and that's when he saw the hole was filled with books. "I think we found your dad's secret stash."
Bella ran over and started pulling the books out of the floor. Her eyes widened at the titles she saw before her: Incantations of the Nineteenth Century, Magic and the Natural World, The Occult and the White Light and Supernatural Beings of the Sun and the Moon.
"What the fuck?" Bella murmured. Then she spoke louder, "This doesn't make sense, Edward. My dad was a cop. He watched sports and went fishing. Sometimes he said strange things, but I always blamed the cheap beer he drank."
Edward couldn't help but chuckle. He looked down and saw an envelope that lay at the bottom of the hole. He pulled it out and saw Bella's name, written in the Chief's chicken scratch script. He handed it to her and said, "I think your answers might be in this."
Opening the letter quickly, Bella read aloud, "Dear Belly Beans..."
Edward started to laugh.
Bella shot him a dirty look and continued reading, "These books are your legacy. They would only be discovered by you with my death, so I will reassure you that I'm with you on every step of your journey. You might not see your old man, but I'm here in the breeze that surrounds you and the sun that beats down on your face."
Bella started sniffling. Edward took the letter and continued reading it, "I have friends that can help you, but remember to let you mind be open to them. When you were young I told you about mermaids, elves and other mystical things that couldn't be explained in the rational world. Not all people could see them, but I could. It was my gift. You have your own, but that was mine."
"He tried to tell me, but I laughed at him." More tears ran down Bella's face.
"Sweetheart, he understood. This sounds insane, but with everything going on, it makes a bit of sense." Edward wrapped an arm around her shoulder and continued to read. "There are also dark creatures trolling the forest, cities and suburbs that will cause much harm. Baby, I always wanted to keep you in a bubble and away from the horrors, but I can't. I'm so sorry for this. Please go to Harry Clearwater on the reservation. He was a true friend and will be one of your guides. I'll love you forever, my brave angel. Dad."
Bella stood up quickly and wiped the tears away with her sleeve. She bent down to grab the books. "We need to go."
"It's getting dark, Bella. Let's go to the motel," he pleaded. She was much too upset to deal with even more wild stories. "We can go over to the reservation in the morning."
She looked at the house and thought of her father's wise and all-knowing eyes. "Tonight, Edward. I need the answers tonight."
The Quileute Reservation was not far from the Swan's home. Edward clutched his steering wheel tightly as he took the car down the curvy roads, surrounded by tall trees to the entrance of the reservation. He felt his stomach get increasingly queasier and his brow sweaty the closer they arrived. It was almost as if he was coming down with the flu.
Harry Clearwater had requested that they meet in the first parking lot next to the Welcome Center. The wood building was surrounded by decorative totem poles with fierce animal heads that glared down menacingly at the nearly empty lot. It had grown dark and though a bit of the sun remained in the horizon, the lights surrounding the parking lot were needed.
When they parked, Bella was about to jump out with the pile of her father's books when she looked closely at Edward. "Are you okay? You look pale."
"I might be suffering the effects of the Fork's Diner Famous Jumbo Cheeseburger. That with all the other reveals of the day, I'm just a little off. Go on out and I'll be over in a second." Edward gave her a little smile and waved her away.
Through the front window he watched her walk toward a group of men; Edward clutched his stomach and groaned in pain.
"Mr. Clearwater?" Bella asked and smiled brightly at the older man in front of her. He hadn't changed much from the last time she saw him. His long braid now had white and silver strands mixing in with his black hair, but his brown eyes still conveyed the warmth of a campfire and a generosity of spirit that moved her.
He pulled her into the hug. "Isabella, I'm so glad to see you. Seth called and said you came to see him. Thank you, child."
"I did. I know he's innocent. I want to help him and Leah," she stated with a sad smile. "I have my dad's books. I don't know how they'll help."
"My daughter is a brave warrior. I worry for her. Those books should have the answers we need." Harry's face suddenly looked so much older. "Bella, do you remember Jared and Brady?"
She smiled at Jacob's good friends. "Hey, guys."
Jared spoke first, "We are going to help you figure out where to go from here. To be truthful, we're trying to find answers too."
"The wolves are just a part of the problem and with Leah there..." Brady started to say, but his eyes narrowed at something behind her. She turned to see Edward stumble out of the car and drag himself toward him. "Shaman, that man smells!"
"That boy is infected! He needs to leave the sacred grounds. It's triggering..." Harry started to explain, as Edward let out a bloodcurdling scream.
Bella ran toward him and reached down to hold him. He felt like ice and was quivering. "Edward, you need to stay still!"
He fell into the hard concrete, clutching his chest. It felt as if his insides were being pulled apart into little pieces like the cotton candy he loved so much when he was young. Edward whimpered, "It hurts."
Harry ran toward them followed closely by Jared and Brady. "Bella, get away from him!"
Bella wrapped her body tightly around him and even though dusk was working its way onto the horizon, her body seemed to glisten like she was sitting on a beach and the sun was beating down on her skin. Harry Clearwater shouted, "Jared, help me move her!"
"No!" Bella called out as she whispered words of comfort into Edward's ear. She felt Harry's hands around her waist, but she seemed to heat up more making him let go with a pained groan.
"Bella, honey, it isn't safe!" Harry tried to reason with her.
She tightened her grip on the boy she realized she still loved and cried out, "He needs me!"
Edward nuzzled his head into her neck. He felt her lips kiss his ear. He inhaled her sweet scent. It was a mixture of heaven and hell. Life and Death. Alpha and Omega. He kissed that beautiful long neck reverently and opened his mouth to take a bite.