Disclaimer: I do not own anything Twilight related, Goodfellas and Mobsters are copyrighted material that I do not own either. Toad's Place is an actual bar in New Haven CT that I do not own but I do enjoy their drink specials and local bands.
In light of the Sandy Hook incident in my home state of CT I feel compelled to warn my readers that this chapter does contain violence in a school setting that may be upsetting to some readers.
Thank-you to my lovely wife Cutestkidsmom, my pre-reader Pricana, and my beta Eternally Edward's Girl for their help and encouragement.
After the incident with his car, Edward laid low for the rest of the evening. I thought it would be an uneventful night of relaxation and maybe some conversation with the others. That thought went out the window when Jake brought out the tattoo gun and announced that it was time for me to get my tattoo.
"You're doing it?" I ask incredulously. "What if you screw it up?"
"Gee, thanks a lot Bella, I'm hardly insulted by that at all." Jake feigns hurt feelings.
"How do I know that you even know what you're doing?" I am not keen on letting Jake do the tattoo, even if his drawn design was beautiful.
"Demetri, show her the one I did for you." Jake looks smug as Demetri walks over and pulls his shirt over his head.
I gasp as Demetri turns around and shows me the artwork on his back. It is nothing short of beautiful. It is an incredibly detailed phoenix that covers almost a third of his back from his left shoulder to the lower left side of his back. Every feather is perfect in detail and the flames are so realistic and vibrant against Demetri's pale skin. I am sold.
"You … did this?" I am stunned. "How long did it take?"
"Four three-hour sessions; that was a few years ago. I've gotten better. I should be able to do yours all at once. What do you say?" Jake looks eager to get started.
"Okay, what do you need me to do?" I obviously have no experience with this type of thing.
"Well, I need access to your back, so your shirt and bra have to go…" Jake holds up his hand, "Relax Bella, I'm under no illusions that you are about to whip your tits out for all of us here. Just go put on a bathrobe, but put it on backwards so I can get to your back." He grins at me.
I do as he tells me, and then he has me lie down on the floor where the others have put some couch cushions so I am comfortable.
"First, I'm going to draw the outline on you and you can let me know if you like the position of it." Jake has inked the design onto a sheet of transfer paper and he presses it against my skin after first prepping the area with rubbing alcohol.
After a few adjustments I am happy with the location of the stencil and Jake gets to work. I expect it to hurt more than it does, I listen to Alice and Demetri comment as Jake continues with his work.
"Amazing work Jake." Alice is examining the freshly inked design as he finishes up with the black, and pulls out a vial of his special ultraviolet ink.
"Now for the finishing touch." Using the ultraviolet ink like we discussed, Jake adds the tri-ring symbol of the gentlemen to the artwork he has already created.
"Are you almost done?" I have been laying on the floor for a while and it is starting to get uncomfortable.
"Just about, don't move." Jake finishes up and smears a disinfecting cream over the new tattoo. He then takes some clear plastic wrap and sticks it to my back. "Keep that on until tomorrow night." He helps me to my feet, "You done, good, it came out great."
"Did it?" I look at the others for approval.
"Very good!" Demetri is sincere.
"It looks beautiful, Bella. Jake, you are getting really good; if you keep improving I might let you do one on me someday." Alice winks at Jake.
"Anytime, beautiful!" Jake finishes packing up his equipment and then runs up and grabs Alice and throws her over his shoulder. "So, what are we doing on our last night of freedom before school starts?"
"The answer to that is simple." We all turn to see Edward in the doorway … "Anything we want!"
We end up watching movies, Demetri makes some homemade fireworks, and we set them off in the backyard by the pool. I'm pretty sure I see Alice kissing Jake before the end of the night.
The next day is my first day of university. There is a lot of orientation and housekeeping; going over class syllabuses and meeting a lot of new people. True to her word, Alice helps me find my way around so I don't have to get lost like the other freshmen. I see a few envious looks from lost students that wish they had someone to usher them around. It is nice, but it doesn't help me make any new friends.
I make it about halfway through my first day before I actually speak to another person. She is standing in the hall and checking her campus map. I recognize her Sociology 101 textbook and suspect she is headed the same place I am.
"Heading to Sociology 101?" I ask her.
"Huh? Oh yes, do you know the way?" She looks over her map at me hopefully.
"Sure, follow me. I'm rooming with a bunch of people that are second and third year students so they kind of gave me the lay of the land. By the way, I'm Bella Swan."
"Grace Blue, call me Gracie. Thank you again for helping me out, I know literally no one here." I like her; it is nice to be around someone that I don't have to speculate about ulterior motives and back-alley connections.
We make it to class, I give her my email address and cell number so if she ever needs anything she has someone to call. Having experienced for myself what it is like to be alone, I don't wish that feeling on anyone else.
At the end of the day Alice is waiting for me outside my last class. I am eager to tell her about the new friend I have made. I feel silly, like a kid coming home from my first day of grade school.
"Did you enjoy yourself?" Alice seems genuinely interested.
"I did! I even made a friend in one of my classes." I try to sound nonchalant but my excitement is hard to contain.
"Wait a minute … a friend? Didn't Garrett talk to you?" Alice sounds concerned.
"Talk to me? About what?" I know I am not going to like this.
"We don't make friends, with anyone. There is too much at stake and too much risk involved." Alice is not telling me this to be mean, she is actually surprised I don't already know this.
"I would never tell her anything." I start to protest.
"Not the point, what are you going to do? Invite her over for dinner? Go to dinner with her and explain Garrett tagging along? Trust me, Bella, it will never work. You are from two different worlds." Alice shrugs, "Talk to Garrett, but I can pretty much guarantee you he's not going to like it."
I am silent for the trip back to the house. I don't want to hear any more about what I was and was not allowed to do in my new life. When we arrive, I walk in and go straight to my room; slamming the door behind me.
I have been in my room for only a few minutes before there is a knock at the door. I know it is Garrett, wanting to know what is up. I have no idea what Alice has told him, but it is not a conversation I want to have.
"Go away Garrett, I don't want to talk right now!" I yell at the door.
"Bella, what happened? Are you alright?" Garrett sounds concerned, I don't like worrying him but I don't want to hear anything he has to say.
"I said go away!" Raising my voice louder.
I hear the door open, he isn't listening. I am hardly surprised, it's not like I think he will pick now to start doing what I tell him.
"Bella, what happened?" Garrett is not asking as a friend now, this is the man who is in charge of my safety and he wants answers.
"Didn't Alice tell you?" I snap at him. I am curious to find out how much I can actually trust her.
"I'm not asking Alice, I'm asking you." Garrett is no stranger to this game and is not giving me any information that he doesn't want me to have.
"I was just enlightened about the rules regarding who I can and cannot associate with, and I'm not thrilled about it, okay?" I'm not about to give him the satisfaction of breaking down, but it is a bit of a struggle. I'm embarrassed by my weakness.
"What do you mean? Who did you talk to?" Garrett is alarmed now.
"No one special; I just made friends with someone in my SOC-101 class. It's no big deal." I want to placate him; maybe he will make an exception.
"Bella, this is important. Who is this person? What did you say to them?" Far from being placated, Garrett is sounding more anxious.
"No one important! Look, her name is Gracie Blue…"
"Gracie blew who?" Jake wanders into the room. "She sounds like my kinda girl." He winks at me.
"Jake, this is not a good time…" Garrett growls at him.
"Hey man, I just want to check on Bella's ink. Gotta make sure it is all healing up right and not bleeding or anything." Jake is oblivious to what he has walked in on.
"OUT!" Garrett's patience has reached its limit.
"Alright, alright I'm going! Bella, come find me later okay?" Jake retreats.
"Now, Bella, answer my question. What did you say to this girl?" Garrett is not backing down.
"Nothing! I just made friends with her, gave her directions to a class that we share, and then we exchanged cell numbers and email addresses. That's it!" I am a little insulted that he would think I am dumb enough to tell the first random student I meet all about the secrets they have entrusted to me.
"Bella, I'm sorry. I thought you understood." Garrett looks uncomfortable. "You cannot maintain friendships or relationships outside of the group. It's too dangerous."
"Yeah, Alice told me. Is that it? Are we done here?" It is easier not to cry if I focus everything toward being angry at Garrett.
"Not yet…" He holds out his hand. "Your phone?" Garrett says apologetically.
"Take it!" I throw it at him and he snatches it out of the air effortlessly.
"I'm sorry Bella, I'll have a new number programed into it." Garrett turns to leave. "I'll have Ms. Blue moved to another SOC-101 class so you don't have to deal with having to explain."
"Don't you dare screw with that poor girl's schedule!" I roar at him. "Bad enough the only friend she has in the world is going to disappear on her without a word. Move me to a different class, not her." I sit down on the bed. "She'd never find the new classroom."
"Okay Bella, if that is how you want it." Garrett walks out and closes the door behind him.
I come downstairs for dinner after hiding out for an hour or so. Jake checks my tattoo and tells me it is healing fine, and I will be able to take the plastic off by tomorrow. He places some more antibacterial ointment on it.
After dinner, Jake declares it 'Mob movie night' and we all go into the living room to watch a Mobsters/Goodfellas double feature. It rapidly turns into a deconstruction of the validity of the movies, as well as a general mob knowledge trivia session.
"Who are the two main mobsters missing from this movie?" Jake tosses out while we are watching a young non-Italian actor play Lucky Luciano, while the only Italian in the movie plays Bugsy Siegel, a Jew.
"Too easy, Dutch Schultz and Albert Anastasia." Alice laughs as she throws popcorn at Demetri. "My turn, who was the main suspect in the Albert Anastasia barbershop hit?"
"Crazy Joe Gallo," Ben says without looking up from his book. I forgot he was there. He reappeared that evening from wherever he had been hiding out, and decided to join us. "What card was Joe 'the Boss' Masseria holding when he was shot in the restaurant by Benny Siegel and Frank Costello?" he tosses out for us to fight over.
"Come on, even Bella can get that one!" Edward looks smug. "It was the ace of spades from a Tally-Ho deck. Only the most famous mob hit photo next to Bugsy's shot-out face." He leans back. "My turn."
"Actually, that's wrong," I say softly.
"What did you say?" Edward looks surprised.
"I said that's wrong. Joe 'The Boss' didn't die with any card in his hand. It was placed there by an enterprising young photographer and it became an iconic photo; but it was staged." I know I'm right, but I enjoy goading Edward.
"You know, I think Bella is right." Alice sits up, "I remember reading something like that once." She looks right at Edward. "We can Google it if you want a ruling." Alice smiles at me.
"Nah, let her have it." Edward stands up, "I'm done anyway." He walks toward the door.
"Don't you want to see if you can answer my trivia question?" I ask him, smiling innocently?
"Ha, sure. What have you got, little girl?" Edward is back to being patronizing again.
"Okay, here we go; for the win." I lick my lips, "Who was known as the canary that could sing, but couldn't fly?" I watch their faces.
Edward's face falls, I know he doesn't know. "This is a stupid game anyway." He storms out of the room.
"Bella, you really shouldn't goad him like that," Alice chuckles.
"So, I take it that I win?" I look around the room. Jake shakes his head, Ben shrugs and Alice has no answer either.
"Abe Reles," Demetri says softly.
"That's right Demetri! How did you know?" It is not a common mob story. Informant Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles, a Jewish mobster, was in a hotel under NYPD protection waiting to give testimony when he mysteriously took a nosedive out of the window and was killed. Speculation has included suicide, murder by cop, or a mob paid hitman.
"My grandfather was the one who gave him his flying lessons." Demetri gets up and walks out of the room without another word. The game is over.
The next day I'm not permitted to leave the house. None of us are, and no one is talking. We all speculate about what is going on, but Alice says it is probably nothing. I think it might have something to do with my breaking the rules, I don't realize how accurate my suspicions are.
"There has been a murder on campus!" Jake comes running into the room, he stops short when he sees me and looks at Garrett who is making a cup of coffee in the corner.
"Go ahead and tell her Jake, she's going to find out anyway." Garrett sighs and sips his coffee.
"Tell me what?" I look at Jake.
"The victim was that girl you met, Gracie Blue. She was found strangled and dumped on a trail between the campus dorms; the cops are investigating." Jake pauses to let this information sink in.
"Why?" I turn to Garrett. "What did you do to her you fucking psychopath?" I scream across the room.
"Nothing Bella, we had nothing to do with it. It's why I have you on lockdown. Until we can confirm this is nothing more than an unfortunate coincidence, no one is leaving. We can't ignore that this girl was killed less than a day after meeting you." Garrett maintains his trademark calm.
"Garrett, if you had anything to do with this I swear to God I'll…" Garrett cuts me off by raising his hand.
"Bella, I wouldn't go throwing that statement around lightly if I were you. You never know when God is listening. If it were me, they never would have found a body." Garrett drains his coffee cup and walks out of the room.
I spend most of the day in my room avoiding the others, being friends with me seems to be nothing but bad luck lately. I don't even approach the idea of attending the funeral for the poor girl I hardly knew. I know I wouldn't be allowed so there was no point in asking.
I skip dinner. I read my textbooks and relax. I am surprised Garrett hasn't been up to check on me, so I start playing 'find the hidden camera' in my room. I have ripped out eight of them when there is a knock at the door.
"Guess someone noticed the technical difficulties on camera's one through eight," I chuckle to myself and put on my best 'bitch-face' and answer the door. I am stunned to see Jake, Demetri, Ben , and Alice standing there. They walk in and make themselves at home.
"Ummm hi?" I venture, wondering what is up.
"So we came by to see if you were up for a night on the town?" Alice smiles and starts looking through my closet at the various outfits that are there.
"How are we going to do that? Aren't we under house arrest?" I haven't heard anything about the restriction being lifted, but I am usually the last to know anyway.
"Simple, we sneak out." Jake is matter of fact, like it is the most everyday occurrence in the world.
"Oh sure, why not? And after that little miracle maybe I'll go punch out God." I'm sure they are having a bit of fun at my expense. I'm surprised Ben is involved though. "C'mon guys, you aren't actually serious."
"Of course we are, Bella. Do you think this is the first time we have been under house arrest? We do it all the time, and with your skill set and our know-how, this time we won't get caught." Jake is eager to get going.
"This time? How many times have you actually gotten away with this?" I have a sinking feeling I'm not going to like the answer to my question.
"Well ... that is, we've never actually made it past the front door." Ben finishes lamely.
"Perfect." I sigh and stand up. "Okay, well your first problem is you don't use the front door." They all look at me like I am explaining the secrets of the universe to them. "Seriously, none of you ever thought of that? Come on, even sluts use the back door." They look at each other sheepishly. "Where's Edward, anyway? Doesn't he usually lead you when you get these bright ideas?"
"He's off on one of his mystery excursions; no one knows where he actually goes." Ben replies.
"Alright I guess it's on me then, everyone go get dressed in dark clothes. Nothing too conspicuous; meet back here in half an hour." I look at Alice. "Pick something from my closet if you want." She squeals in delight and starts weeding through my outfits for something new to wear. She settles on a dark blouse and skirt and borrows the pendant my father has given me. I've never worn it, I favor the one that belonged to my mother and never take it off. I don't have any attachment to the one from my father.
Ben uses my sonic mapping device, which he has rebuilt and renamed the sonic shatter-wall, to break all the windows in the front of the house. Once the guards all run investigate, I manage to sneak everyone out through the garage.
Once in the garage we pile in Demetri's SUV. A quick hotwire job (Garrett had confiscated everyone's keys) and we are off.
We cruise for about fifteen minutes before we hit the main strip in New Haven where all the college kids go when there is nothing else to do. I realize I am going to have a hard time getting into any of these places since I am vastly under-age.
"Do not worry Bella, I will have your ass!" Demetri says sincerely. When I look at him strangely Jake whispers in his ear. "I mean back… Demetri has your back!" he blushes at his mistake.
We make it into a club with the charming name of 'Toad's Place' which is apparently a landmark in New Haven. I don't know how Demetri got us in, but we are not bothered for ID or a cover charge. After a few hours of dancing and hanging out (and more than a few rounds of drinks) I am happy I chose to join them.
"Where's Alice? I ask Jake, who is busy doing shots of something called Kettle One with Demetri.
"Dancing with that guy she was chatting up earlier." Jake doesn't seem bothered and I don't want to point out the hypocrisy of her being allowed to flirt when I am scolded for having a friend.
"I don't see her." Ben sounds concerned; he has refused all drinks and says he will drive on the way home.
"Maybe he has got her ass!" Demetri laughs at his own joke and I roll my eyes.
"I'll call her phone, hang on." I pull out the phone that Garrett had returned to me. I call her phone and she picks up on the second ring.
"Help me! I'm in trouble he's got…" the line goes dead.
I waste no time springing into action. "Guys! Alice is in trouble. We have to find her. I'll check the bathrooms, Demetri, Jake, check outside. Ben , get the car and call Garrett" I get up and run toward the restrooms, not looking back to see if my commands are being followed.
I poke my head in the men's room; no sign of her. I look in the ladies room and see a window is broken and one of Alice's shoes is on the floor. I climb through the window and hear the sound of a struggle in the dark alley I have just dropped into.
"Hey!" I yell, trying to distract who, I assume is her abductor. "You picked the wrong girl buddy." He stops and faces me. I see Alice lying on the ground, as my eyes adjust to the dim lighting. I can see she isn't conscious.
The man looks around, I'm guessing he's trying to assess his ability to deal with me quickly and quietly. I imagine his brain is determining which reflex, fight or flight he is going to follow. I guess I don't cut a very imposing frame in the darkness as he opts for fight and charges me.
Never interrupt your opponent when he is about to make a mistake. Eleazar's words echo in my brain. Napoleon said it first; but I had heard it from Eleazar, who had taught me the true meaning of the phrase.
I kick one of my dark shoes at his face and the other at his feet; he slaps the high one away as he stumbles over the other in the dark. I go low and punch straight out into his groin, I miss my mark but hit a nerve cluster in his inner thigh. He grunts in pain.
My assailant swings around unsteadily and I see the flash of something in the darkness. I keep moving to make myself a harder target to hit like Eleazar had taught me. I start yelling for help, I just have to survive long enough for someone to investigate the noise. I yell 'Fire!' like I have been taught. People always come to watch a fire, not so much for a murder.
"Shut up bitch!" my attacker hisses as he slashes at me with the object in his hand. I see it is a six inch knife and he handles it like he knows what he is doing.
I see over his shoulder the silhouette of two men coming down the alley and relax. "Time's up asshole. Drop the knife and you might live to explain yourself." I hear a small pop and he drops at my feet. I see something fall out of his pocket and pick it up. It's a black and white photo of my pendant. The one I am wearing now, the twin of which Alice is wearing.
"Bella!" Edward runs up to me with a small pistol equipped with a long silencer that is still smoking. "Are you hurt? Let's get you out of here!" He turns and leads me to a waiting car.
"Edward!" Garrett is examining the body of my assailant. "You didn't have to kill him, we trained you better than that!" He stands up. "We can't get answers from a corpse."
"Lucky shot, or unlucky for him, anyway." Edward shrugs it off.
"What the hell are you doing sneaking out with them? I expect better from you, Edward!" Garrett is really pissed and Edward is just taking it, even though he had nothing to do with our unscheduled exodus from the house.
"Wait, is Alice okay?" I see someone carrying her limp form to the car.
"She's fine, just drugged." Garrett is not in the mood for delays. "Bella, in the car, now!"
I get in the car and we take off back to the house. Garrett directs his security team to get us inside and secure. He then issues orders for a doctor to come to look at Alice.
Once I am inside and things have calmed down a little, Garrett walks into my room. I'm ready for a lecture from him but it doesn't come. Instead he stands there; then my father walks in.
"Dad…" I begin, not sure what I'm going to say next.
"Don't say anything, just listen. I expect a certain amount of mischief and nonsense from you kids. After all, I was young once. I thought you were smarter than this Bella, but today I am very disappointed in you." He pinches the bridge of his nose.
"Charles…" Garrett begins, looking uncomfortable. I don't want his help.
"And where were you?" My father wheels around and stares Garrett dead in the face. "I trust you with the most precious thing in my life and you drop the ball?" he shakes his head.
"Sorry Mr. Swan. It won't happen again." Garrett is seething but keeps his temper in check.
"Dad, stop it! This is not Garrett's fault. If you are done with the lecture I have something important to show you!" I pull the picture out of my pocket. "The guy that tried to grab Alice was carrying this. Look familiar?" I pull the pendant out from under my shirt and show it to him.
"Wait, what?" he grabs the picture out of my hand. "Why did he grab Alice then?" he wonders aloud.
"Um, well I loaned her the pendant that you gave me. Since the photo is black and white he wouldn't have known the color of the gem." I see his face fall a little when I tell him I loaned out the first gift he had given me.
"I see, well then that confirms it. You were the likely target." My father hands Garrett the picture. "You know what to do. No more screwing around chasing ghosts in the islands until we find out who is behind this." He turns to me. "As for you, no more sneaking out! I mean it." He turns and stalks out of the room, I hear him barking orders at people as he goes down the hall.
I look up a Garrett and see him staring at me. "Sorry Garrett, I just wanted to… I don't know, fit in?"
Garrett relaxes a little. "Don't worry about it kid. By the way, you handled yourself pretty good out there." He grins at me, "Eleazar will laugh when I tell him about the shoes."
"You saw that huh?' I'm a little embarrassed. "I didn't know what else to do"
"Well it worked, better lucky than good I guess." He walks out the door. "Get some sleep kid, you're safe here. I won't let anyone hurt you."
I want to believe him; but I suspect whoever is gunning for me is just as dedicated to getting to me, as Garrett is to protecting me. I don't want to find out whose resolve is greater.
"Garrett?" I stop him from leaving.
He sighs and turns around. "Yeah kid?"
"Can you have them put the cameras back in?" I ask quietly.
"Way ahead of you kid … You'd never find them all anyway." He smiles and leaves.
I feel better knowing he is watching over me and I am able to sleep.
Fic Recommendations - Please check out Salacious and Because of a Boy by Cutestkidsmom (my darling wife) and Love Through Another's Eyes by EternallyEdwardsGirl (My beta). Also check out this weeks FOTW winners on TLS!
I am also now on wordpress. Due to the number of fics being pulled from FFN I have decided to protect my work by putting it on Wordpress to protect the continuity (link is rjjking. wordpress. com [remove spaces]) Info can be found my FFN profile.