A/N: Thank you very much to SunflowerFran & Cristina for making this chapter what it is.

AND thank you to everyone that reviewed/alerted /fav'd

Sorry I didn't get to update as quick as I had planned, but sometimes that happens.

I will be a little slower with updates over the summer holidays as I will be spending time with my kids, but as always I will update asap.

Thanks for reading x

Chapter 26

EPOV

Everything

Went

Black

I woke to the sound of ringing in my ears.

My head was throbbing and my body felt as if I had just gone 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.

I snapped my eyes open to see a Paramedic leaning over me.

I shoved him away.

"Mr. Cullen, please …" His voice sounded distant.

I looked down realizing I was lying on the ground.

What the fuck was going on?

And why were the EMTs here?

Then I remembered …

The bomb.

Bella.

Where was she?

I needed to find her.

I had to know that she was okay.

I jumped up as fast as I could, stumbling forward. My legs were weaker than I had expected.

The paramedic moaned at me as he helped me steady myself, but his words fell on deaf ears.

I took in the scene around me.

My car was torched to a shell. It had taken several other cars along with it and blown out the windows out Le Bernardin.

I was thankful that my family's Le Suite had been in the back end of the restaurant so I knew they would be okay.

I caught sight of a body bag lying on the ground and a lump formed in my throat.

I couldn't breathe.

It felt as if my chest was caving in.

"Tell me that's not Bella." I muttered to anyone that would answer, but no one did.

"Someone tell me that's not Bella." I roared.

"Boss." Avi called from somewhere beside me. He grabbed my shoulders and turned me to face an ambulance on the side of the road. He said something to me, but I didn't pick up what it was.

Jasper and my father were standing outside the van arguing with the EMT.

There was someone lying inside on a gurney, but I couldn't see past them to see who it was.

I stumbled forward, desperate to know if it was Bella.

"Edward?" My father asked alarmed when he saw me coming.

I pushed him out the way so I could see inside the van.

She was there.

I sucked in a breath as I looked over her blood-covered face. She had cuts and a bandage on her head. I couldn't see as the rest of her body 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 of a 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."

I shook my head. "What happened?"

"We don't know who planted the bomb," Jasper said hesitantly. "And … Garrett … He ah … Didn't make it."

The body bag was Garrett.

"Fuck."

"Em's handling the cops for now and Liam is with the women inside the Suite."

"We should get them home," I said. I didn't want to risk anyone else getting hurt.

My father nodded. "They were trying to take Bella to the hospital. I told them-"

"That's not going to fucking happen," I said turning to the EMT who had been standing awkwardly listening into our conversation. "She goes home with me, where she can be protected."

She would be a sitting duck if she went to the hospital and I wasn't going to let that happen.

"Edward?" Her weak voice cried from inside.

"I'm here," I answered as I climbed into her van.

She started sobbing the minute her eyes land on me. "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 couldn't sit there and promise her that I would protect her, not after I had let this happen.

I had failed her again.

-x

Bella wasn't coping very well. 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 she put on for everyone else, 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 once again.

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 and I was also struggling to stay afloat.

The whole fucking thing made me angry.

We were a mess and I wasn't sure I had the strength to fix it.

I felt as if we had finally started making ground, and then our whole world was just torn out from underneath us.

I was losing her …

Maybe I deserved to lose her.

"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, but we had her now.

It was amazing how quickly her men betrayed her after we had worked them over with a blade for several hours.

I knew she was responsible for the car bomb and for killing Garrett. I could feel it in my gut.

Emmett was waiting for me on the other side of the packing hall where he was holding her.

"Has she talked?" I asked as I approached him.

He shook his head. "I 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 and Emmett followed.

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 when they landed on me.

"Surprised to see me?" I asked as I took a seat at the desk. "I canunderstand why after you planted that bomb in my car." I reached into my pocket and pulled out a bag of coke, emptying some of its contents onto the table.

"Just so we're clear. "One way or another, you're going to tell me everything you know," I said as I went into my suit, pulling out my wallet. I got my credit card and 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 as I leaned over and snorted the magic dust up my nose, following 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.

I sighed.

"Shut the fuck up." Em yelled as he slapped her.

"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're all gangster, but you have no fucking clue. You're pathetic." She spat.

Emmett bellowed out a laugh. "We'll show you how pathetic we are sweetheart."

I smiled when I heard the office door open and Jasper walked into the room with a towel and a few gallons of water.

"We can begin," I said clapping my hands with enthusiasm.

I nodded to Em and he tilted her chair back. "You're gonna like this." He smirked.

More like he was going to like it.

He lived to torture.

She began to panic, screaming and struggling to get free.

She would have been better keeping her mouth shut for what was coming next.

Jasper pushed the towel over her face and began to pour water over her.

I watched as she coughed and sputtered, struggling to catch her breath.

"Enough," I told them after about twenty seconds or so.

Em let her go and she rocked forward, the towel falling from her face.

"Where's your father?" I asked.

"Go fuck yourself" She answered as she wheezed for breath.

I nodded for them to do it again.

"I can do this all day." Jasper warned as pushed the sheet back in place and started pouring the water over her.

My phone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out and looked at the screen.

Are you coming home? B x

There was nothing I would love more.

Not just now Princess. X

It went again before I could put it back.

WHY?

I sighed.

"Let her breathe." I ordered them.

I'll be home as soon as I can. I promise. X

I typed a message and then shoved it back in my pocket. I didn't have time for a conversation with her right now. I felt it vibrate again, but I ignored it.

When I turned my attention back to Heidi, she was gasping for air and struggling with her restraints.

"Tell me where your father is." I ordered.

"New Orleans." She choked.

"Where in New Orleans?"

"How the fuck am I supposed to know?"

I motioned for them to do it again.

She obviously wasn't ready to talk.

We went through the same motions several more times, but she refused to give me answers.

The simulated drowning wasn't breaking her quickly 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 planned to 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 her head free from my grasp. "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."

"We'll see."

Jasper walked in with a small blowtorch.

He took a seat next to her. Then he pulled a knife from his ankle and struck up the torch, heating the blade in the flame.

Heidi was doing her best to hold it together, but I could see the terror in her eyes as she watched him.

"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 do it.

I nodded to Jasper.

"This might burn a little." He teased as he shoved the blade against her thigh.

She let out a blood-curdling scream as she struggled to get free.

Tears were streaming down her face, and her breathing was rapid.

She was close to caving.

I gave her a few minutes to calm down before I spoke again.

"Is your father in New York?"

"Yes." She panted.

"Where is he?"

"I don't know."

"Wrong answer." I snapped.

I motioned for Jasper to hurt her.

"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 screamed. "Please, make it 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 didn't have time for 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."

"When?"

"Noon." She gasped.

She had better be telling me the truth.

I grabbed her face, looking into her eyes for answers.

"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 ordered me to do it. 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.

"Yes." She sighed.

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 gushed out her hand

I threw the finger to Emmett. "Send that to her father, maybe that will get his attention,"

Emmett smirked as he looked down at the finger.

"I want someone with her at all times and I want her alive until after the meeting on Friday."

Jasper nodded.

I left the room, and went out to the car where Avi was waiting for me.

"Take me back to my father's."

After the car bomb, Bella had directly refused to move into a safety house, and she wouldn't let the family move into our house. Therefore, I did the only thing I could and forced her to move into my parents' house.

It was easier to run a security detail when everyone was under the same roof.

Bella wasn't exactly happy about the situation, but I wasn't taking any chances.

I pulled my phone out when I remembered I had another message from her earlier.

I'm scared

I sighed, instantly regretting not answering her when she clearly needed me. I knew I wouldn't be able to be there until this threat was eliminated.

I dialled her number, hoping she would answer, but it just rang out and went onto her voicemail.

"Baby, call me when you get this."

"Everything all right Boss?" Avi asked his eyes connecting with me in the mirror.

"I don't know." I sighed.

A million scenarios were running through my mind.

Why was she scared?

Was someone there?

Had someone gotten to her?

I dialled Liam's number in the hope that he would put my mind at ease.

"Hey Boss."

"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 there soon anyway."

When we arrived back at the house, Avi went to crash on the couch and I headed upstairs to find Bella.

She was 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. "Baby, I got home as soon as I could," I said as I sat down across from her.

"You promised not to leave me." She said pointing the bottle at me before taking a swig.

She was drunk and I needed to get the bottle away from her and get her in bed to sleep it off.

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 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, as 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 the night before the bomb.

"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." She said sourly.

"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 drink from her. I sat it down 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 down behind her and wrapped myself around her, waiting until she fell asleep.

When I knew she was sound asleep, 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 and I couldn't stand the idea of her finding it and using it either.

-x

The next morning my brothers and I went to work on our resources and contacts trying to figure out where Caius was hiding in New York, but no one knew anything, or perhaps they weren't willing to divulge any details.

I believed he had someone in the city helping him. I just had to figure out who that someone was.

It wasn't as if we were short of enemies, people would line the streets to see the Cullens fall from power.

At noon, we came home for lunch, mainly because I wanted to check in on Bella and see how she was doing with my own eyes.

When we walked into the house, Rosalie came marching towards us, her heels clicking against the tiled floor. "Thank God you're home." She said sounding exasperated.

"What's wrong?" Emmett said rushing to her side.

She looked past him, glaring at me. "You need to do something about her."

I didn't need to ask, I knew she was talking about Bella.

"Where is she?"

"She's in Carlisle's office."

What was she doing in there?

"Is my father with her?" I asked.

Maybe he was trying to talk some sense into her.

She shook her head. "Carlisle went out over an hour ago."

A chill ran down my spine as I imagined her finding his gun.

If her and Rose were arguing, then God knows what kind of mood she was in.

I hurried towards the office.

I found Bella sitting in Carlisle's chair, behind the desk. Her legs were resting on the table, giving me a full view up her dress. She didn't seem to care who had come in the door.

She had a glass of whiskey in her 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 pulled the window open, hoping it would help take the stench of the smoke out 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.

"I'm sure it's dinner time somewhere in the world." She said grinning.

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.

She 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 wood on the bottom drawer had been busted open.

"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 away behind her eyes.

She was scared and she was broken.

I knew then that the only way she was going to get better was if I got her to see a professional.

But how could I convince her to get the help that she so desperately needed?