Author's Note: First fic I've written in quite some time, so I hope you all will enjoy. Reviews would be greatly appreciated, as always. ;)
It was Edward's job to run bank errands once every few months. Whether it was to deposit stacks of his own cash that he hoarded in his bedroom, withdraw money for Jasper since he was still too old school for credit cards, or to transfer funds for Carlisle into Esme's account as a shopping surprise from the former, Edward was the only Cullen trusted not to escape to Vegas for a weekend without everyone else's money. Decades ago, Rosalie had deemed herself unfit for the job when she developed a terrible gambling addiction and blew about $200,000 of her own money before losing another $50,000 of Emmett's. And because of this, Carlisle finally put his foot down and took control of the family's collective fortune. When media was beginning to pick up a story of an impossibly beautiful young blonde card counting at several casinos around the United States, Carlisle demanded no large sums of money were to be spent on any expense unless the family as a whole could agree on the purchase. And Rosalie eternally ruined the fun of gambling for everyone else.
Not that his brothers and sisters didn't spend their money on the finer things anymore. Edward admired his deep plum Lamborghini before hopping in, laying the briefcase full of cash on the leather passenger seat and revved the engine. He definitely enjoyed the finer things.
Driving down the winding roads under a gray sky that threatened rain and promised no sunshine, Edward cranked the stereo to the Forks, Washington classic rock station and enjoyed the empty interstate all the way to Seattle. He contemplated stopping once when he picked up the scent of a herd of deer along a stream in the surrounding wooded area. He let his foot off the gas pedal, and over the purring of the engine he could hear the delicate laps of the tongues as they drank thirstily. Edward swallowed once and made a mental note to stop on the way back from the bank. No point in overindulging when there was only so much time for his errands. His foot reapplied pressure on the gas and he sped forward, smirking at the speedometer as it climbed. He was making great time.
"It's okay, Mom," Bella assured her mother on the phone for what seemed like the hundredth time. "I really don't mind. I picked up like three extra shifts at the diner last week and was on my way to the bank anyway to deposit all these tips." This was a lie, but a white one. Bella occasionally had to fabricate truths when it came to her tender-hearted mother.
"I feel so terrible," Renee mumbled into the receiver. "I have become that irresponsible, pathetic, middle-aged mother asking her children for handouts. But if I'm late on this light bill again, they'll turn off everything..."
"Mom, it's okay," Bella repeated, a chuckle escaping her lips. "You gave me life, remember? You know that painful process nine months in the making when you were nineteen years-old?"
"Oh, that...thought it was indigestion. Guess you're right."
"Yes," Bella laughed again. "It's hardly a handout when I have extra cash lying around anyway." She had to mentally push herself with two hands in order to blurt that very big lie out. She stopped at the end of the busy sidewalk and waited for the signal to cross the intersection. Her chocolate brown eyes nervously swept the busy streets of downtown Seattle as she rotated in half circle, twisting her body to regain a sense of direction. "If only I could find a place that'll wire to your account. I swear, I've lived in this city for six months and I still don't know where anything is."
"Well, just ask for directions to First Bank of Seattle, it's a huge building right in the middle of downtown," Renee suggested. "You're probably not that far."
"I'm not asking for directions, are you insane?" Bella muttered, hurrying across the street. A car horn sounded a series of blares and she started, whipping her head around in time to see a pair of men with dark sunglasses hanging out the passenger side of a black Chevy Tahoe. They waved and one of them let out a few cat calls to her. She narrowed her eyes, and leaned against a bus stop advertisement for the local news station. Both anchors had thick mustaches, but the woman's mustache was cleverly drawn on with a dark green permanent marker. "I'll look like a tourist if I ask for help. Hey, Mom, just text your bank info to me and I'll let you go so I can concentrate and search for this place."
"Okay," Renee relented. "I love you, Bella. Thanks again so much, Sweetie. I know you don't have to bail out your old mom all the time, but you do it anyway."
"I love you, too, Mom. And you're not old. Middle-aged."
"Cute kid. Call me when you're done."
Bella hit 'END' on her cell phone and slipped it into her pocket as she squinted up at the tall buildings towering over her. She hated feeling so small, so alone in such a populated area, which was why she avoided getting to know downtown by never coming. Her father Charlie lived about 3 and a half hours away in Forks, Washington, but on her salary and the high price of gas these days, she hardly got the chance to go visit, but she wasn't missing anything. If there was one thing she hated more than being alone in Seattle, it was suffering through a weekend in mundane and dreary Forks, which is why she hadn't been to visit her dad since she was in middle school.
Sighing, she continued east on her trek to find the bank for one more block before it came into view. Relief flooded her as she came closer to the stone building with cream-colored pillars and tall, glass revolving-doors that were in constant motion. It was noon and lunch time for most of the suits who worked in the city. She looked both ways across the street and made her way to the entrance.
The air was filled with the buzzing of conversation and squeals of busy traffic and one particular smell that invaded Bella's nostrils. A sandwich shop adjacent to the bank had their doors wide open and the smell of freshly baked bread wafting out was making her mouth water. She was hungry, but would wait until the wire transfer to her mother was complete to eat. It shouldn't take more than five minutes, Bella reasoned with herself as she stopped at the revolving door. Before she took another step, she heard a familiar string of horn blasts to her right. She glanced up and once again saw that Tahoe full of men who were staring in her direction with calculating smiles. She couldn't make out their faces clearly due to the large sunglasses that donned their faces. And in an instant, they were gone, having driven around the corner of the block that opened to the alley entrance of the bank she was about to walk into. Shrugging off the cold feeling that the SUV full of obvious miscreants gave her, she continued for the revolving door of the bank to complete her business so she could hurry up and eat.
Edward heard their thoughts before they could even make it within a mile of the bank he was already inside of. He knew that he had options, of course, one being that he could quickly make his transaction and leave, allowing the bank robbery to take place once he had left, and just not look back. The four young men had guns with clips of blanks, not actual bullets, and did not plan on harming anyone. Petty thieves, Edward thought with a roll of his eyes. The petite, redhead teller caught his sudden change of attitude as she counted the bills he spread in front of her to be deposited. She rolled her own eyes, and Edward tuned in to her frequency, biting back a laugh at her expense. She thought he was a rich snob and that the roll of his eyes was because he somehow thought she wasn't counting correctly. Her own bitter train of thoughts had wrecked and she faltered, silently cursing and having to start counting the hundreds all over again.
Why is it always the handsome ones that are such assholes? she rambled on.
While she began counting again, Edward thought about his other option: he could wait in the back of the bank, the alley entrance, where the car robbers were planning to rendezvous. Then he'd simply kill them, snap four necks in a matter of 2 seconds tops, and leave them in their truck. He'd done it before; intervened before a crime happened. He wasn't keen on killing these days, or ever, but he felt he had done the right thing by the would-be victims. Jasper and Emmett felt that Edward was far too intertwined still with his human feelings and did way too much to preserve human life.
They referred to him as "soft", but Edward knew this was just their polite way of calling him a "pussy" in front of Esme. Obviously he could read their thoughts, but even if he couldn't, their smug faces always spoke volumes.
Edward decided he'd allow the trivial bank robbers carry on with the stick-up. He shifted his weight, leaned casually on the counter between him and the teller, and looked around. He was trying to maintain a human demeanor. Over his shoulder, he could see the security guard gazing outside of the revolving glass doors, boring thoughts in sync with his bored face. Just tipping off any hint of trouble to the teller or to the guard would implicate Edward was part of the whole stint. Sometimes he felt bad in situations as such where he could see the evil intentions of another through their thoughts before they even happen, but have no way of preventing them in fear of putting him and his family at risk of exposure. But other times, like today, where he was thirstier than he had initially thought and therefore was, as his sister Alice lovingly put it, 'grumpy', and being that he could see that since the bank robbers, due any moment, had not a murderous intention in their minds, Edward could quite frankly care less.
"Done," the teller announced, flipping her red locks out of her face. "Twenty-thousand dollars to be deposited into your savings account, Mr. Cullen. Is there anything else I can do for you today?"
"No, that will be all," Edward replied, plastering a sweet smile on his face. He knew his eyes were darkening as his thirst increased, so he slid his sunglasses down from his head to his eyes, which judging by the impressed bat of the teller's eyelashes, he was sure he looked friendly enough.
"Okay, give me one second to take this to the back and I'll print you a receipt," the poor teller said, barely able to keep her wits about her. She spun on her heels and gestured to the only other security guard in the lobby of the bank to escort her to the back. Thoughts of her ankles near Edward's ears, framing his lust-filled face flashed quickly in her mind and vanished as she focused on the code she punched into the number pad for the vault. His eyebrows rose. Women.
Before he knew what was happening, Edward's body suddenly stiffened and venom quickly filled the sides of his mouth. Alarm and instinct intertwined and traveled through his lifeless body at once, the way dread would make a living human feel cold all over, like the blood in their veins turning into ice. He had become disoriented and ducked his head down while his eyes darted left and right as if expecting an attack. Rarely caught off guard, especially with such a significant advantage of mind reading, Edward cursed under his breath. Not only had the impending bank robbery arrived quicker than he had anticipated, the minds of these robbers had darkened as they revealed their disturbing pleasure upon seeing a girl walk into the very bank they planned on assaulting in less than 60 seconds. The same girl he watched stroll through the revolving doors at that very moment.
The delicious bakery smell still lingered in the foyer of the bank, causing Bella to enter the fancy building with a goofy grin on her face. It immediately was wiped away when she surveyed her surroundings. Rows of large mahogany desks with customers and bankers in discussion created a bullpen like atmosphere among the center of the bank, and to the far left she saw a very long line full of fidgety adults waiting to be called on by an open teller. Once she got her bearings, she nodded politely to an overweight security guard staring listlessly out the windows and started to make her way to the end of the teller line. She reached into her purse and grabbed the thick envelope full of cash and stood behind an older gentleman with a cold. He sniffled and something rattled in his throat, and Bella's eyes rolled up, asking God or whoever was listening to make the line move quicker. Not that she was happy about it, but Bella had been contemplating joining her mother's bank account to hers, just to avoid situations like this. Lowering her eyes to people watch some more, Bella felt that slight, yet undeniable twinge of surety that she was being watched, though the feeling had a more urgent sensation, like that of being hunted. She rolled her shoulders and extended her neck from left to right, attempting to shake the feeling when she locked eyes with the culprit.
He was stunning to say the least; reddish-brown and untamed hair styled upward and carefully, eyes so dark in contrast with the paleness of his face, causing him to give off an almost shimmery aura. The very definition of tall and handsome, the stranger continued to stare, almost rudely, not abashed at having been caught by Bella. The intensity was too much, and she had to look away as the blush stained her cheeks. Though wildly uncomfortable with the sudden attention of the stranger, she couldn't help but look up again and meet his eyes. They were glazed over, and she was slightly embarrassed to consider that maybe he was just staring off to into space while deep in thought.
Bella's face grew hotter as she risked one last glance at the stranger when suddenly she felt the air around her change. There was a crackle of fear as the tiny hairs that covered the back of her neck rose like a signal of warning. She felt cool air on her left arm, like opening the freezer door on a hot summer day, and before she could figure out why, a piercing scream of fear split through the quiet bank.