A/N: Sherry rocks
Everything went dark.
I woke up with my ears ringing. My head was throbbing and my body felt as if I had just gone through several rounds with Mike Tyson. I tried to lift my hand to examine the wet patch on my face, but something forced it back down, causing me to snap my eyes open. A paramedic was leaning over me, trying to examine me. I pushed him away, trying to remember what the hell was going on.
"Mr. Cullen, please," his voice was distant, almost inaudible.
I looked down realizing I was lying on the ground. How the fuck did I end up here, and why was there EMTs everywhere? And then it hit me, the bomb. Fuck! Where was Bella? I looked around me, trying to find her, but I couldn't see her anywhere. Just a bunch of people I didn't recognize. I pushed the paramedic out my way, trying to sit up. I had to find my princess. I had to know she was okay.
The paramedic protested as I struggled to my feet, but his words fell on deaf ears. I didn't care about myself, I only cared about her.
I surveyed the scene around me as I looked for Bella. My car was totaled; all that remained now was a shell. The bomb had taken out several surrounding cars, as well, as all the front windows of the restaurant. A lot of people had been injured. I was thankful that the Le Suites that my family were dining in were situated at the back end of the building. So, I knew they were safe.
As I made my way around, I caught sight of a body bag lying on the ground. I froze on the spot, staring at it, unable to move or breathe. "Please," I begged, to anyone willing to listen. "Tell me it's not her. Someone, please, tell me it's not her." Plenty of faces looked my way, but not one of them made an effort to answer me. I was about to lose my shit when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see Avi standing beside me.
"Boss, it's not her." He grabbed my shoulders and turned me to face an ambulance on the side of the road. "She's over there."
Jasper and my father were standing outside the ambulance, arguing with the EMT. I couldn't hear what they were saying, nor did I care. All I wanted was her. There was someone lying on the gurney, inside the ambulance, but I couldn't see past them to see who it was. I hurried towards them, desperate to see her.
"Edward?" My father said, alarmed.
I didn't bother speaking. I just shoved him out the way so I could see in the ambulance. There she was. There was my Bella. Her face was covered in blood and bruises. She had a bandage over the top of her head, but I couldn't see the rest of her body to know if she was okay, because it was hidden underneath a blanket. "Is she okay?" I asked, hoping someone would ease the ache in my heart.
My father put his hand on my shoulder, causing me to wince. "She's fine Edward. She's been drifting in and out of consciousness. You were the one that was causing us more concern. What are you doing up and about?"
"I had to see that she was okay."
"She's fine." he assured me. "You should sit down. Rest."
I shook my head. "What happened?"
"We don't know who planted the bomb," Jasper said, hesitantly. "We're still retrieving intel. Garrett, he ah, he didn't make it."
The body bag, it was Garrett. "Fuck," I hissed, running my hands through my hair.
"Em's handling the cops and Liam is with the women inside the restaurant."
I nodded. "We should get them home, to a secure location." I didn't want to risk anyone else getting hurt tonight.
"There is something else you should know. They were trying to take Bella to the hospital. I already told them that-"
"That's not going to fucking happen," I said, turning to the EMT and pointing my finger in his face. "She goes home with me, where she will be looked after and protected." She would be nothing more than a sitting duck if she went to the hospital.
"Edward?" Her weak voice cried.
"I'm here," I answered, climbing into the back of the ambulance with her.
She started crying the minute our eyes locked. "They wouldn't let me see you. I thought you were dead."
"Shh, princess it's okay," I said, pulling her into my arms. "I'm here now and I'm not going anywhere."
"I'm scared, Edward," she whimpered.
"I know," was all I could say in response. I wished I could offer her more, but I didn't want to give her any more broken promises. I had failed her again.
Bella wasn't coping. She may have gotten away with a few cuts and bruises from the car bomb, but mentally she was much worse than I had ever seen her. Of course, she was pretending to be fine, but I could see underneath the mask that she put on, and what I saw, wasn't pretty.
To say I was worried about her would be an understatement, but I had absolutely no idea what I could do for her without pushing her away. I suspected, no, I knew she was off her meds and I knew she needed to get back on them, but I was terrified to approach the subject without setting her off.
She had started drinking again, and I knew it was selfish of me, but I was letting her. I was letting her sink into the bottle, because right now, I was torn in a thousand different directions trying to keep my family and her safe. I could barely stay afloat.
The whole fucking thing made me angry. We were a mess and I wasn't sure how to fix it. I felt that we were finally finding our footing, only for the rug to be pulled out from beneath us. Our whole world had just fallen apart, and I was losing her. Maybe I never deserved to have her in the first place.
"We're here, boss," Avi said, pulling me from my inner turmoil.
I simply nodded and got out of the car, making my way towards the warehouse, where Heidi was waiting. It had taken us a few days to find her, much longer than it should have, but now that we had her she was never going to leave that fucking warehouse.
It amazed me how quickly her men had betrayed her after a few hours of grueling integration with Jasper. They weren't made to endure. Not like my men.
Emmett was waiting for me when I entered, on the other side of the packing hall. "Has she talked yet?" I asked, as I approached him.
He shook his head. "We didn't want to start without you."
"Good," I muttered. I didn't want to miss a fucking second of this.
I walked into the room, followed by Emmett. Heidi was gagged and tied to an office chair. Her eyes were red and puffy, and she had black eyeliner halfway down her face. She didn't look like the same pampered pooch that had come to Succubus a few weeks ago. Her eyes went wide with fear when they landed on me.
"Surprised to see me?" I asked, taking a seat at the desk. "I canunderstand why since you planted that bomb in my car. I bet you thought you'd never see me again." I pulled a bag of coke out my pocket, emptying some of its contents onto the table. "Just so we're clear. One way or another, you're going to answer all of my questions and tell me everything you know." I went into my suit, pulling out my wallet to get my credit card. I began to sort the powder into two lines. "And when we're finished, I'll send you back home to daddy." Piece. By. Piece. I smirked to myself as I leaned over and snorted the magic dust up my nose, followed with a whiskey chaser from the flask in my pocket. It was time to do this.
"Remove the gag," I ordered Em. The second he pulled it off, she started screaming like a fucking maniac. I sighed. She hadn't been listening to a word I had said.
"Shut the fuck up!" Em yelled, slapping her across the face.
"No one can hear you. So, there is no point in screaming. The only thing you're going to achieve is pissing me off, and believe me when I say, you don't want to make me angrier than I already am," I warned her.
"My father will make you pay for this," she hissed.
"I highly doubt that."
"You Cullens think you'reall badass, but you have no fucking clue. You're pathetic," She spat.
Emmett laughed. "We'll show you just how pathetic we are sweetheart."
I smiled when I heard the office door open. Jasper walked into the room with a towel and a few gallons of water. It was showtime.
"Let's begin," I said, clapping my hands.
Emmett grabbed the back of Heidi's chair and tilted it back. "You're going to like this part," he smirked. Sick fucker, more like he was going to like this part. He lived for this shit. I suppose I used to too, but my heart was no longer in it.
Heidi began to panic, screaming at the top of her lungs and struggling to get free. I should have probably told her she would have been better keeping her mouth shut, but why ruin the show.
Jasper pushed the towel over her face and began to pour the water on her. Heidi coughed and spluttered, struggling to catch her breath. After twenty seconds or so, I signaled for them to stop. Em let her go and her chair rocked forward, causing the towel to fall from her face.
"Where's your father?" I asked.
"Go fuck yourself," she wheezed.
Normally, I would toy with her, tell her I'd much rather fuck her. Put the fear of rape in her head, but I just wanted to get out of here. I nodded for them to go again.
"I can do this all day," Jasper warned, as Emmett pulled her back and they put the towel in place. Then, he began pouring the water again.
I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. I pulled it out to see Bella's name on the screen.
Are you coming home? B x
There was nothing I would have loved to do more, but business had to come first. I had to make her and my family safe.
Not just now Princess. X
It went again before I could put it back in my pocket.
I sighed. "Let her breathe." I ordered them.
I'll be home as soon as I can. I promise. I just have a few loose ends to tie up first. X
I typed a message and then shoved it back in my pocket before it went off again. I knew she would be upset, but I was trying to get this shit done so I could get home to her as fast as I could. I felt it vibrate, but I didn't acknowledge it. Instead, I turned my attention back to the room and Heidi. She was gasping for air and struggling with her restraints.
"Tell me where your father is."
"He's in New Orleans," she choked.
"Where in New Orleans?"
"How the fuck am I supposed to know?"
I motioned for them to go again. She obviously wasn't ready to talk and I didn't have time to waste.
We went through the same routine several more times, but she didn't break. She refused to give me answers. The simulated drowning just wasn't working fast enough. It was time to try something new.
"Go get the blowtorch," I ordered Jasper.
Heidi's eyes went wide. I wondered just how long she would hold out to save her father's skin.
"He's not coming to save you," I said, walking over to her. I grabbed her hair and pulled her head back. "He doesn't care about you. You're expendable," I whispered into her ear.
She tried to shake free from my grasp, but I wouldn't let her go. "You're wrong," she growled.
I laughed. "C'mon, even you're not that stupid. Do you think he would have let you stay in New York alone, in our territory if you meant anything to him?"
"Who says I'm alone."
Her face changed the moment she realized she had let it slip.
"So, you're not alone," I said, releasing her and walking back over to the desk. "Who's here with you? Your father? Your uncle?"
"I'm not telling you anything."
Jasper walked in with a small blowtorch. He pulled up a seat next to her and took out his knife, heating his blade in the flame. Heidi couldn't take her eyes off the knife. She was trying her best to stay calm, but I could see the terror in her eyes.
"There is still time to tell me what you know," I said, offering her a way out.
She shook her head, probably thinking he wouldn't go through with it.
I signaled for Jasper to go ahead.
"This might burn a little," he teased, as he shoved the blade against her thigh.
Heidi let out a blood-curdling scream as she struggled against her restraints. Tears were streaming down her face, and her breathing was rapid. I grinned, knowing she was getting closer to caving.
I gave her a few minutes to calm down, before questioning her again. "Is your father in New York?"
"Yes," she panted.
"I don't know."
"Wrong answer," I snapped. I motioned for Jasper to do it again.
"No!" she screamed. "Please."
"Too late," Jasper smirked, as he pushed the hot knife against her other thigh.
She howled in agony. "Make him stop!" she begged. "Please, make him stop!"
"Take it off," I ordered.
I walked over and grabbed her face, forcing her to look at me. "Talk."
"I don't know where he is." I dropped her head and motioned to Jasper. I wasn't going to play her games.
"But I'm supposed to meet him on Friday," she continued.
That gave us a few days. "Where?" I snapped.
"The Metropolitan Museum."
She had better be telling me the truth. I grabbed her face, and looked into her eyes, trying to read them. "What's the meeting about?"
"I don't know. I swear."
She was convincing. "Why's he here in New York?"
"He wants the girl dead."
That was never going to happen.
"He wants her dead, so that you suffer before he kills you and the rest of your family."
"Why?" I hissed.
"He wants New York."
I laughed. As if we would let him take it. "Who planted the bomb?"
"One of my men," She mumbled. "It was my father that gave the order. I have nothing against the girl. I swear. I'll leave her alone."
"Yeah, we'll make sure of that," Emmett gnarled.
"Is that everything?" I asked.
I believed her. Too bad, I didn't plan to let her walk out of here. I motioned to Jasper for the knife and he tossed it to me.
"You said you'd let me go," she screamed.
"I lied," I said, as I grabbed her hand. I jerked the blade and cut off one of her fingers.
She screamed in anguish as the blood poured from her hand where her finger was severed.
I threw the finger to Emmett. "Keep that as an insurance policy. We may need it to get her father's attention, if he doesn't show up on Friday." Emmett smirked as he looked down at the finger. "I want someone with her at all times. I want her alive until after the meeting on Friday."
I left the warehouse room, heading to the car, where Avi was waiting for me. "Take me back to my father's."
After the car bomb, Bella had blatantly refused to move to a safe house, and she wouldn't let the family move into our house. So, I did the only thing I could at the time, I had forced her to move into my parents' house.
It was easier to run a security detail with everyone was under the same roof. Bella wasn't exactly happy about the situation, but I wasn't taking any chances. I didn't want to lose anyone else.
I pulled out my phone, remembering I had received another message earlier.
It was from Bella. I sighed, instantly regretting not answering it before. She clearly had needed me, but I knew I wouldn't fully be able to be there until the threat was eliminated. I dialed her number, waiting for her to answer, but it just rang out. I left a voicemail. "Baby, call me when you get this."
"Everything all right, boss?" Avi asked, his eyes connecting with mine in the mirror.
"I don't know," I sighed. A million different scenarios were running through my mind right now. Why was she scared? Had something happened? Was someone there? Had someone gotten to her?
I dialed Liam's number in the hope that he would put my mind at ease.
"Liam, when was the last time you checked on Bella?"
"About fifteen minutes ago, why? Is there something wrong?"
The text message had been sent a few hours ago. I sighed with relief.
"Was she okay?"
"A little drunk, but other than that, she seemed fine. Do you want me to look in on her again?"
"No, it's fine. I'll be home soon anyway."
When we arrived back at the house, Avi went to crash on the couch and I headed straight upstairs to find Bella. I found her in our room, sitting on the bed with a bottle of whiskey in hand.
"Look who decided to come home," she muttered, slurring her words a little.
I took off my tie and suit jacket, tossing them over a chair. "Princess, I got home as soon as I could," I said, sitting down across from her.
"You promised not to leave me," she said, pointing the bottle at me before taking a swig. She was beyond drunk. I knew I needed to get the bottle away from her and get her to sleep.
I put my hand under her chin and tilted her head, forcing her to look at me. "I know and I'm sorry princess, but I have to see this through. I have to make you safe."
"I don't want to be alone anymore," she mumbled, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
"You're not alone," I said, leaning in and placing a kiss on her forehead.
"I wish it felt that way."
It pained me to hear her talk this way. I pulled her into my arms and held her as tight as I dared because she was still injured from the attack.
"I want you to make love to me," she uttered.
I pulled back, looking deep into her eyes. Was that what she really wanted? We hadn't been intimate since before the night of the bombing.
"If we're all going to die, then I want to die knowing that at least one person in this life loved me."
"Baby, don't talk like that," I said sternly. "I do love you, more than anything and no one is going to die. I'll make sure of that."
Tears rolled down her cheeks. I cupped her face with my hands and wiped them away.
"Your father loves you, too."
She laughed bitterly.
"Am I missing something?" I asked, confused.
"He doesn't love me. I did everything I could, to win his approval, but nothing was ever good enough."
"Baby, what are you talking about?"
She shook her head. "He left."
"Bella, he hasn't left. He's staying at our house."
"I haven't seen him since I told him what I did," she mumbled, looking down at her hands.
"You have. He came here after the … Well, he's been here to see you. Don't you remember?"
"No," she sobbed.
She wasn't making any sense. "Baby, it's late. You've had too much to drink," I said, taking the bottle from her. I sat it down on the dresser on the other side of the room. "Let's go to sleep." I scooped her up in my arms and pulled back the covers, settling her on the bed. I lay behind her and pulled her to me, holding her tightly, waiting until she fell asleep.
When I knew she was out, I grabbed the whiskey bottle and poured what was left of it down the toilet, along with the coke from my pocket. Bella deserved better than a junkie. I had promised her that much, plus I couldn't stand the idea of her finding it and using it either.
The next morning my brothers and I went to work on our resources trying to figure out where Caius was hiding in New York, but no one knew anything, or perhaps they did and they just weren't telling us. I believed that someone in the city was helping him. I just had to figure out who that someone was.
At noon, we came home for lunch, mainly because I wanted to check on Bella and see how she was doing, with my own eyes. As soon as we walked into the house, Rosalie came marching towards us, her heels clicking against the tiled floor. "Thank God you're home," she said, exasperated.
"What's wrong?" Emmett asked, rushing to her side.
She looked past him, glaring at me. "You need to do something about her."
I didn't need to ask who she was referring to. "Where is she?"
"She's in Carlisle's office."
What was she doing in there? "Is my father with her?" I asked confused, thinking, maybe he was trying to talk some sense into her.
Rosalie shook her head. "Carlisle went out over an hour ago."
A chill ran down my spine as I imagined her finding his gun again. If she and Rose had been arguing, then she was going to be in a pissy mood. There was no telling what she would do.
I hurried towards the office, finding Bella sitting behind the desk. Her legs were propped up on the desktop, giving me a full view up her dress, but she didn't seem to care who could come in the door and see her like that. She had a glass of whiskey in one hand and a cig in the other.
"Bella," I sighed, disapprovingly. "What are you doing?"
"What does it look like?" She sneered.
I stormed over to her and took the cig from her hand, stubbing it out on the paperweight. "If you want to smoke, do it outside. Don't do it in my father's office." I went over to the window and pulled it open, hoping it would help take the stench of the smoke out of the room before he came back.
When I turned back around, I saw she was refilling her glass. "Isn't it a little early for that?" I sighed.
"It's 5 o'clock somewhere."
I shook my head and took a deep breath, trying to control my anger. "What are you doing in here anyway?"
"This is where Carlisle keeps the good stuff," she said, giving me a wink.
I sighed as I grabbed the bottle off the table. Benromach 1949 "You do realize this stuff costs over six grand a bottle." I groaned, knowing that I would have to replace it.
Bella laughed. "I didn't. Perhaps, that was why he had it hidden so well."
"Hidden where?" I asked, cautiously.
She motioned towards the desk. "There was a secret compartment on the bottom drawer. I had to force it open."
I grabbed the bridge of my nose and held it tightly, taking a few deep breaths before I dared to look at the desk. The bottom of the drawer had been bustedopen, destroying the entire drawer.
"That's an antique," I whined.
Bella smiled before she took a drink of scotch.
"Why were you going through my father's stuff anyway?"
"I was bored."
"And what did you do to Rose?"
"I put her in her place," she shrugged.
"You shouldn't have upset her. The doctors said she's to avoid stress, especially after the ..."
"Go on Edward, you can say it," she said, as she got up from her chair and walked around the desk to face me. "I'm not gonna break just because you said the word bomb."
She was trying to prove to everyone that she was okay, but I could see the emotion bubbling behind her eyes. She was scared and broken. I knew, then and there, that the only way she was going to get better was if she got professional help.
A/N: Thanks goes to SunFlowerFran & CristinaN for working with me on the old version of this chapter.