Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 24

CHAPTER 24
EDWARD
"You can't escape, Eli," Jasper growled, circling around the young newborn.
And he was really new; he couldn't be more than months old, with his feral, red glare, the dark shadows under his eyes, and the constant swallowing of venom. Eli was no more than eighteen, and he was instantly roused to temper. It was Jasper and Alice that had found him wandering just inside of the Times Square area. He was about to take an adolescent girl from around the corner of an ice cream shop.
"I don't know anything," he whined, struggling against Bella's shield that held him fast to the chair.
"Not true," I sighed, shaking my head when I saw flashes of more newborns, an industrial type setting, and a vampire giving instructions on how to hunt. He was holding back out of loyalty. "Eli, it would be best if you just told us what you know."
The wolves shifted on their feet as they guarded the situation from as far back as they could get. Jake was willing to let us try for answers, and was patiently waiting for us to hand Eli over once we were finished. They would be taking him down below in order to destroy the newborn without having to use fire inside the warehouse.
"Emmett," Jasper called, pointing to the kid, "rip his arms off."
My giant brother stepped forward, flexing his arms, and Eli panicked.
"No! Wait! Okay, I'll do anything...just don't let him near me."
"Fine," Marcus sighed, pushing away from the stack of boxes he'd been leaning against. "Where's Sinclair?"
"I don't know," he whined, his hands balling into fists. "We never see him. We aren't allowed to see him. He does the changing, but he stays in the shadows. It's Lance that teaches us everything."
Carlisle stepped forward, placing a hand on Jasper's shoulder. "Eli, how were you changed, and how many of there are you?"
"There were three of us taken that night, but we were taken to a big building. There had to have been ten or twelve of them. We were put into dark rooms separately and tied down. Someone let a dog in with me. He was pissed or rabid or something, because he bit me everywhere. I couldn't even fight him off."
Sam and Seth both snorted, pawing at the concrete flooring in anger. They had sympathy for his unfortunate circumstances, but not for what he was. They had learned through my family that there were choices to be made in this life, that we have consciences.
More than once had I wondered if Carlisle was our conscience when we were all newborns, or would we have been this uncontrollable? But one look at Alice told me that we did have something inside of us that told us right from wrong, because of all of us that could have been a killer, she'd found a way to be good – and that was without Carlisle's help.
Eli eyed the wolves with nothing but pure fear coating his features and his mind.
"Jasper, calm him for a moment," I said, stepping forward.
Jasper nodded, and the boy calmed instantly, loosening his tongue. "Once the dog was taken from outta the room, someone came in, and the next thing I know, my shoulder is on fire."
Emmett walked up next to me. "So we're looking at a dozen or so, huh?" he asked, folding his arms across his chest.
"It seems that way," I sighed, looking over to Jasper, who started asking more questions.
"Why? Why are you here?" Jasper asked, his voice calm as he knelt before the young man.
"I asked that," Eli snorted, but it wasn't in humor. "I was told that it was for science. I was a test."
"Test, my ass," Demitri growled, coming to stand next to me and Emmett. "He was tortured for shits and giggles. I promise you that."
"He was," Marcus agreed, but turned to the boy. "Eli, have you been given instructions?"
"Yeah," he nodded vigorously. "Feed."
"Damn," Marcus sighed, when I confirmed that Eli was being honest. "Sinclair's not creating an army; he's taking over the city. At least, that seems to be his goal."
"It's always been his goal," Carlisle agreed. "He's been screaming immortal domination for centuries."
"Okay," Marcus stated with a nod, sounding defeated. "We're done with him."
"You're destroying him?" Carlisle asked, turning to stop Jasper.
"He's too volatile. And his loyalty is to Lance. I see it," Marcus said tiredly, but looked to me for verification.
I nodded solemnly. His mind was filled with ways to find Lance, even though he had no idea where he was, to let him know there was a group of different immortals out to get them. He hoped it would win him favoritism. We could never let him go.
"Jake," Jasper called, and two large wolves walked over calmly. "Bells, you can release him now."
With a deep breath, my angel pulled her shield from around the boy, and then turned her back when Eli was dragged down below the warehouse. She flinched when Eli could still be heard screaming well after the doors were closed, but her mind was set. She didn't like that he had to be destroyed, but it was for the protection of everyone in the room. She loved us all, and there wasn't anything that she wouldn't do for her family and friends.
She also knew that despite Eli's unfortunate beginnings, he was a death sentence on the streets. No one was safe from him, and she and Carlisle were sharing the same thoughts at the moment: Eli's death was for the greater good – as were the rest of the newborns that we would have to kill.
Bella leaned on the table next to Esme, studying the maps, and asked, "So what's today's plan?"
It was Jasper that answered. "It's too bright for outdoor activities today," he chuckled with a wry smile, but held up his hand when the girls started to mention Kevin. "I know you want to take him, but it will have to wait until tomorrow when it's raining."
"Fine, I'll let him know." Rose nodded, pulling out her cell phone. She sent him a quick message and turned her attention back to the room.
"I say we give the wolves a chance to rest," Carlisle sighed, pulling the map to closer. "Jake said they only need a few hours."
My father looked up at me.
"They called the local precinct," I said aloud, answering his silent question, "but are waiting to hear back from them. They didn't have any new information concerning the girl they're looking for."
Carlisle's mind began to plan, but he turned to Rose. "What hospital is Kevin's father in?"
"Mt. Sinai," she answered.
"Then I think," he mused, pacing back and forth, "that tomorrow the girls should go ahead and accompany Kevin to see his father – not that we could keep them away from him much longer." He chuckled, looking at the faces of his smiling girls. "Esme, you should go with them. He may need you, too, because Alice says it won't be long." He turned to her, and she was already nodding. "Boys, you'll come with me to scope out Central Park."
"Do you want us in the park as well?" Peyton asked, having become the unofficial spokesperson for their little group.
"Even better," Carlisle agreed, nodding her way.
"Who's Kevin?" Adrian whispered to Bella, who smiled brilliantly.
Adrian rarely spoke, but it seemed when he did, it was Bella he tended to cling to. She made him comfortable, at ease with everything he was going through – almost as much as Jasper did. And his thoughts were kind, clean, and completely respectful when it came to her. He was hard not to like.
"He's a human friend of ours. He's under our...protection," she stated, but it was a subtle warning delivered with her sweet smile, warm eyes, and a tilt of her gorgeous head, which caused me to smirk with pride, because she meant the threat. And it was sexy as hell.
"Relax, Chocolate," Brody scoffed. "We won't drain your little friend."
"You know what?" Emmett growled, finally losing his patience and pushing away at the same time as I did from the boxes we'd been leaning against. "I'm just about five seconds from removing your jaw from your face."
I didn't give him a chance to make good on that promise, because I launched myself at Brody at top speed, tackling him hard to the concrete floor. We slid a few yards away from everyone, coming to a stop by the metal wall.
"You have less than a second to apologize to her, or I will ruin you," I snarled, gripping him by the throat. "Her name is Bella, not chocolate..."
"Edward," my love said calmly, tugging on my shirt. "Let him up, please."
"Apologize," I growled, squeezing his throat.
"Sorry, Bella," he wheezed, his breathing coming out in gasps.
"By the time I let you up, you better have found some manners," I sneered, slamming his head into the floor before releasing my hold on him. "You will treat these girls with respect."
"Does he need lessons in respect, Ed?" Jake asked, leaning against the doorway.
Brody's eyes widened as all four members of the pack filed into the warehouse in their human form. His mind registered that the La Push boys were just as intimidating out of their wolf form as they were in it. It wasn't that they went out of their way to scare him, but it was their calm, knowledgeable demeanor and their relationships with us that made him unsure of what exactly they were capable of.
"No, I think he's found his etiquette book," Emmett chuckled, lifting Brody off the floor with one hand gripping his shirt. "Emily Post is a damn smart woman.
"What?" he asked, looking at all of us when we stopped to stare at him. "Esme made me read it!" he growled, pouting that he was totally busted.
Esme's soft, silly giggle drifted through the warehouse, meeting our ears.
But it was Adrian that we turned to listen to.
"Bro, I won't save you again," he sighed, looking weary. "Act civil, or they can do with you as they please. Got me, Brody?"
"Yeah," he snapped, looking at all of us. "Fuck, I got it. Damn, I was only playing. And shit, her hair looks like chocolate... It's not an insult; it's a description." He pouted as he dusted himself off, giving me one last glare, but flinched when I stepped towards him.
It was Bella's sweet laugh that broke the tension. She wrapped her arm around her middle as she laughed hysterically. "Fine," she choked out. "Everyone...just relax. So he's sarcastic...let it go."
"Can we please get today's schedule done," Rose snarked, "or do you boys need another pissing contest?"
I snorted into a laugh, shaking my head.
"Schedule," Carlisle beamed, chuckling a little. "Okay. So today...Jake, why don't you take a little break and get some rest? I think we could all use a few hours away from each other. When you're ready, we'll take the underground with you."
"Sounds good," Jake agreed, "but we'll only need a few hours sleep and something to eat."
"Just call us when you're ready," I said, taking Bella by the hand. "Everyone keep their phones on."
I opened the door to the SUV for my angel and got in on the driver's side.
"Where are we going that we can drive in the daytime, Edward?" she asked, her laughter from earlier still caressing her words.
"You'll see," I chuckled, backing out of the warehouse and rolling up the tinted windows.
~oOoOo~
BELLA
I should have recognized where we were, but my human memories were hazy. It didn't help that this time, we pulled into a garage instead of out front. Once I was in the lobby of the Westin Times Square, though, I knew immediately what Edward was up to.
"Oh, Edward," I gasped, as he held the lobby door open for me with a sweet smile. "Really?"
"Yes, love." He grinned, shrugging a little. "I couldn't help it. It was our first real trip together."
Edward had booked us a room at the very same hotel that we had stayed at over five years prior. I was still human when he had taken me away for Valentine's Day, and I'd be willing to bet that he had requested the very same suite.
He laughed, looking like the seventeen year old I loved so very much. "It is the same room, baby," he chuckled. "Like I said, I couldn't resist, even if we only use the room for breaks and showers."
"God, I love you," I whined, my brow furrowing as I cupped his handsome face.
"As I love you," he sighed, kissing me and then leading us to the elevators. Once the doors closed, he turned to me and said, "Carlisle checked us in already, beautiful girl."
"Avoiding the front desk girls, Edward?" I giggled at his scoff and eye roll, but I had a feeling it was true.
"No," he huffed, guiding me out of the elevator with his hand at the small of my back. "This is where everyone else is checked in, so Carlisle did the work for us when he brought Marcus here earlier."
"You know," I smirked as he pulled out the room key from his wallet, "I don't need sleep this time..."
"Get in there," he growled with a smug grin on his face.
As soon as I walked through the door, the memories hit me hard. They may have been human and slightly fuzzy, but they were there – and they were beautiful.
I walked to the window, remembering the view, and I wasn't disappointed. It was stunning, even more so with my new vision – a sea of buildings, a glimpse at the Hudson and New Jersey, and the bustling streets of Times Square. I turned around, catching a glimpse of the table and chairs – the same chair that I'd given Edward a lap dance on. My mouth hung open as I turned the corner to look at the bed, and flashes of love and lazy smiles and gasping breaths and strong gripping hands leaving perfect bruises flickered before my eyes.
The memories made me come to a utter standstill.
~o~
Edward stretched out on the bed, watching TV until I finished with my shower, so that he could take me to see Times Square at midnight, just because I was too wired for sleep.
Edward intense and dark as he experienced the roughest of moments, pressing me into the door, only to pull me away and take me roughly on the bed, his grip on me leaving perfect bruises in the shape of his hands on my ass. I had loved them – a sign I was his in every sense of the word.
Waking up to his sweet smile and coffee and kisses.
Seeing his handsome self dressed in a suit for the first time since the prom.
Grinding against his thigh while he begged to touch me.
Being blindfolded as he touched every inch of me with soft and gentle kisses and caresses, coming so hard that tears blurred my vision behind his silk tie.
Waking up after a nightmare to a sweet, clean, freshly showered Edward and the room filled to overflowing with the prettiest roses I had ever seen in every shade of red, pink, and white.
The beautiful ring that he gave me – the one still on my right hand – that represented our past, present, and future.
~o~
"Love? You okay?" Edward asked, coming up behind me as I stood motionless at the foot of the bed.
I spun in front of him, unable to stop myself from kissing him. I gripped his shirt, pulling him to me and pressing my lips to his. "I'm better than okay," I mumbled against his mouth. I pressed my forehead to his, practically panting. "You...this...oh, baby...it's perfect," I whined, huffing in frustration that I couldn't say what I wanted. "Thank you," I blurted out finally.
Edward's chuckle was too cute, because he wasn't laughing at me. Well, he was, but I could see the warmth and love and happiness in his liquid honey eyes. "You don't need to thank me, sweet girl," he said softly, placing a light kiss to my cheek. "I've finally figured out that the simple things mean more to you than big and expensive."
I huffed a laugh, shaking my head and looking around the room again, but I didn't leave the circle of Edward's strong arms. "This is a really good surprise," I sighed with happiness.
"I know how much you wanted to come back to New York, baby," he whispered, sitting on the bed and pulling me to stand between his legs. He looked up at me with a touch of sadness. "This isn't exactly the greatest of circumstances, so I thought maybe I could at least give you this."
I nodded, the only thing I was capable of doing at the moment.
"I have a confession, though," he chuckled, giving me the sexiest of crooked grins.
"What?" I whispered, brushing his hair from his forehead.
"Remember when we first checked in and you went to take a shower?"
"Yeah..." I snorted, wondering what he was up to.
"I wanted so badly to join you," he laughed, shaking his head, "but I knew you were tired from the flight and just wanted a moment to yourself. You have no idea how hard it was for me to stay on this bed and just watch TV."
I studied his face, remembering the moment he had slipped into almost the second we had stepped through the doors of the room. "We have been out all night... I suppose we could use a shower," I mused dramatically, squealing as he tossed me over his shoulder and ran us into the beautiful bathroom.
The bathroom was exactly the same – dark, slate granite tile that covered the floor and halfway up the wall, shiny chrome fixtures gleaming in the lights, and four strong shower heads creating a warm fog in the room.
Edward took his time undressing me, placing random kisses to my skin every time a new part of me was revealed. He was slow, meticulous, and so sweet, indicating to me that he needed this time with me, this connection. I watched as he took the kindest of care in unzipping my hoodie, lifting my t-shirt over my head, and helping me step out of my boots and jeans.
When I stood there in a black lace underwear set, he looked up at me with the softest of smiles. God, he was so handsome that I could barely refrain from quickly removing the rest of my clothes and all of his, but I wanted him to do what he wished with me.
"The last time we were here," he snickered, tugging on the hip of my underwear, "this was red."
"It was Valentine's Day," I giggled, rolling my eyes at him.
He nodded, the little smile fading as he placed his thumbs at my hips, so that his hands palmed my ass. He was remembering the bruises that he'd left on me.
"I loved them, you know," I whispered, brushing his hair from his forehead again, this time placing a loving kiss to the wrinkle of his brow.
"I know." He nodded, frowned, and looked back up at me. "I never understood why. I hurt you."
"You marked me," I stated firmly, smirking with a raised eyebrow. "You marked me by trusting yourself to let go just a little. I will forever love those bruises, and they didn't hurt. It was a big step for you."
He smiled, tilting his head up at me. He was still on his knees in front of me, the fog thickening in the small bathroom. He reached up and traced his immortal scar over my heart with his long finger. A small charge zinged through my body at the simple contact between us.
"And this one?"
"My favorite. Ever." I giggled when his smile lit up the room. "Shower, Edward," I reminded him with a grin.
He nodded with a deep chuckle and stood before me. I was not as controlled as he was when I removed his clothes, but by the time he scooped me up and set me under the spray, we were both ravenous for each other.
"I want to wash every inch of you," he whispered, his brow furrowing as he wrapped my arms around his neck. "But after..."
His hands slipped to cup my bottom, and he picked me up with little effort. I pressed my forehead to his as I wrapped myself around him, locking my ankles at the small of his back. He didn't press me into the tile, but held me under the water as I slid down over his cock. Our breaths caught at the same time, as water dripped from our faces and lips, our eyes locked onto each other.
I reached up, pushing his wet hair from his beautiful face as he stared at me like I was a miracle, a vision he wasn't quite believing. His eyes were dark, but filled with warmth and sweetness. His hair was darker when wet, making his skin flawless and perfect. And his scent filled my senses, making me feel happy and loved and a touch wanton.
I rolled my hips, taking him deeper within me, just to watch his mouth fall open slightly and his eyes roll back.
"Bella," he groaned, gripping my ass as he turned to press me into the tile.
The last time we were in New York, I was human and weak. This time, I was strong and his equal, so I could hold on when he let go of me to brace his arms on either side of my head.
I gripped his forearms, meeting him thrust for thrust, watching as he used his strength to make me feel so good, to bring himself just as much pleasure, but not too much strength as to shatter the beautiful tile at my back. I took immense pleasure in watching every muscle of his upper body flex and roll as he angled to hit me deeper, swiveled his hips to touch the spot that made me cry out.
He was perfect and dark and mine.
He wrapped one arm around my waist to pull me away from the wall slightly, so that he could ravish my neck, my breasts, and my scar.
"Come for me, beautiful," he whispered against his bite mark. He traced it with his tongue, knowing that it would surge a sharp spark between us.
My whole body reacted, bowing in his arms as I lost control. "Edward," I said through gritted teeth. I could barely open my eyes when he gripped my ass again.
He pressed me back into the wall, burying himself to the hilt and pulsing deep within me. His head hit my shoulder as he held me close, whispering words of love so sweet that I couldn't help but hug him closer.
After making good on his promise to wash every inch of me, I reciprocated, loving when he knelt before me again so I could wash his hair. I teased him that he was too tall as he nipped my belly with his teeth and gave a sweet chuckle.
We stepped out of the bathroom happy and sated, hearing both our phones beeping with awaiting messages from Alice.
A: Warehouse. The wolves are ready to hit the tunnels.
~oOoOo~
"I've got new socks on!" an old, filthy, extremely smelly woman yelled as she passed right by us in one of the tunnels. She was so dirty that I couldn't even tell her nationality, other than the fact that she had a New York accent.
Edward and I pressed our backs against the wall in the darkened tunnel as she pushed a grocery cart by us, filled with what looked like garbage, but was probably every possession she owned.
I looked up to his face, and it was unreadable as he watched her walk past us.
"They are new," he muttered, his eyebrow raised.
I snorted, and then elbowed him. "Shut it," I hissed, pulling him away from the wall and further down the tunnel and away from the old woman. "That's not funny, Edward," I growled, looking up at him. "These are forgotten people, and probably sick, both mentally and physically."
"I'm sorry," he said, looking sheepish. "But she just got them from the charity van outside. They are, in fact, new socks." I rolled my eyes up to his. "And you're right. These people underneath the city are...different. I've heard them referred to as 'Mole People.' Some of them rarely set foot on the street."
I grimaced, following the path we had set out on. "That's sad. Period. And they could get hurt down here. I smell an old scent."
"Me, too," he sighed and nodded, looking around. "But it's weeks old."
"Should we follow it anyway?"
"Yeah."
We followed the trail for a few hours, winding and twisting through not only the subway, but the sewer system as well. That grossed me out more than anything.
"We showered just to do this?" I whined, stepping carefully over a nasty creek of smelly water.
Edward laughed softly, holding my hand as he helped me navigate the sewage pipe.
"We showered because I wanted to..."
"Oh no! Shut up," I laughed, shaking my head. "Do not waste pretty words on me while we're down here. Something about that is just too...wrong."
He laughed again, kissed my hand, and said, "Yes, ma'am."
We weren't the only ones that had discovered the same old trail. Just as we were under 5th Avenue, we smelled the wolves ahead.
"Jake?" I called.
They all appeared around the corner. The wolves were so big that the tips of their ears brushed the top of the sewage pipe. But they were still my silly pack, because as soon as they realized it was us, they gamboled over, acting goofy, pushing and shoving at one another to get to me.
"Silly asses," I scoffed, ruffling Seth's fur.
He chuckled wolfishly and nuzzled my hand.
"Yeah," Edward answered Jake's silent question. "We found the same scent."
"Where did you find it?" I asked, knowing Edward could hear the answer.
"They said it started under the Port Authority Terminal," Edward said, looking over at me. "That makes sense. There's easy access down there."
I nodded, looking around and still catching the scent. "Should we continue?"
"Definitely," Edward answered for everyone. "At least we can see where it leads."
For the next hour, we all followed the trail, not really speaking, even when we left the sewer and entered back into the subway tunnels. This time, we were in working tunnels, so we had to be careful and quick—especially the wolves, being as large as they were—so we wouldn't get hit by trains or seen by humans.
When the trail led us to a door, it was Edward that cracked it open to see inside. "Subway station," he muttered, looking over at the wolves. "Yeah, the sun has begun to set. We can go up with you."
I pulled the backpack from my shoulders. "Here," I said, pulling out clothes. "Alice saw me pack this, but not why."
The boys went around the corner to change, in both senses of the word, joining us back at the door fully dressed and human again.
"Can you tell what terminal?" Sam asked, peeking through the door.
"If my guess is correct, somewhere around the Upper East Side," Edward said, looking back. "Everyone ready?"
We all nodded, following him out the door. The trail weakened as we walked through the terminal. My theory was that too many humans had tramped over it, but it was still there. It faded even more when we reached the sidewalk up on the street above.
We stopped in the fading light of the day, gathering our senses and catching the merest hint of the scent.
"This way," Seth stated, and turned towards a very rich, very posh neighborhood.
We followed him around to the back of a small restaurant at the bottom of a building. I realized the building was very close to the Natural History Museum. And I'd be willing to be that if we went down below the restaurant, there was a way to get into the museum.
"You think?" Edward frowned, looking over at me.
I nodded, pulling out my phone. Demitri was manning the warehouse and the computer, so I texted him a quick message.
B: D, can we find out an employee list of the Natural History Museum, and who owns the building next door?
D: Yes, but give me time. Helping Em and Rose with a mess.
"Oh, damn," I sighed, looking up at Edward. "Apparently, Emmett is handling a situation."
"And I'm sure it's with a smile on his face," Jake laughed, shaking his head. "I'm sorry we missed out."
"I'm not," I chuckled. "Let him have his fun."
Edward studied the back alley, glancing over to the museum. "Come on, let's go learn something," he chuckled, taking my hand. "My treat. I want to see if this smart girl is right; if that scent leads to the museum."
"Sweet!" Quil and Seth laughed.
"So we do get to do the tourist thing," Sam snickered, shaking his head.
As Edward paid for us to get in, I was in hysterics as the boys quoted lines from Night at the Museum. If Seth had called Jake "Dumb-Dumb" one more time, I wouldn't have been able to even go in.
Edward and I didn't get a chance to see this museum the last time we were in New York, so in all reality, I was sort of excited to see the inside of the beautiful building. Once inside, we split up, the boys going off one way and Edward and me another.
The dinosaur bones were interesting, and so were the histories of different civilizations, but the most intimidating thing in the entire place was the giant, full-size whale that was suspended from the ceiling of the sea life section of the museum. It had to have been two stories tall, as it took up most of the area. There were two sections – an oval floor display with glass enclosures, and then a balcony that wrapped around the room. The whale hung in the center like an enormous chandelier.
My mouth fell open as I took in the humongous animal from the second floor. "Whoa," I breathed, looking up at it.
"Bella," Edward chuckled, and when I turned to him, I could tell this was one of those moments where he was living vicariously through me, seeing new things through my eyes. "They seem bigger when you swim next to them..."
"Stop it!" I growled, turning to face him. "You have?"
He laughed, looking around at the tourists that were amused by us. "Yes, ma'am. But they don't stick around when we're in the water," he whispered in my ear, giving me a sweet kiss to my neck. "Let's keep moving, love."
"'Kay." I grinned, wrapping my arm around his waist as we checked out employee entrances, back doors, and restrooms.
"You might be right, baby," he mused, eying the security guard as we walked slowly near a side entrance. "I can faintly catch that scent here. Whether they just cut through here or worked here, they don't anymore. There's no new scent."
"You're right," Jake said, joining us in the Egypt room and holding out a sheet of paper. "We used our police status to get an employee list for the last few months. Look," he sighed, handing Edward the paper.
I leaned into Edward as we read down the lists. "Lloyd Sinclair? He's still using the same name?" I asked, looking to Jake, who was nodding.
"They said he was taking care of the dark legends section of the museum, but when it moved on to another city, he resigned his position." Jake looked around, seeing the security officer, and turned back to me. "I'd love to see down below, but I doubt we'd find anything but that old scent."
"So...dead end, you think?" I asked them all, but my eyes met Edward's.
"For now," he agreed, nodding. "Let's get back to the warehouse. I want to look that 'dark legends' exhibit up online. Plus, I'm curious as to how Emmett and Demitri are faring."
"You sure?" Jake asked, smirking with a mischievous gleam in his eye. "I mean, we could go down below. I'm pretty certain we could get in there."
"Come on, Dumb-Dumb," I teased, tugging on his warm hand. "We can always come back."
~oOoOo~
"Why can't Demitri just track this Sinclair?" I asked as we all settled on the train.
"I asked him," Edward said, linking his fingers with mine. "It's been too long since they've met. Over a century. Remember when Demitri was tracking Joe with us?"
"Yeah." I nodded.
Joe was a human boy that had stalked me at Dartmouth. Well, stalked wasn't quite the correct word. He never really stood a chance, but he had attacked a young student one night after I'd angered him. I'd explained to him quite loudly that there was no one for me but Edward. His fragile mind had snapped. I'd been tired of his stares, his constant fumbling flirtations; the threats Edward and Jasper had warned him with time and time again had never sunk in. I was afraid that Edward's temper would eventually get the best of him when it came to the boy. He eventually was caught, choosing to commit suicide instead of seeking help.
"Well, it's harder for him when he hasn't ever met the person, or when it's been a particularly long time," Edward explained to all of us. "It's not that he loses the flavor of the mind, but that some minds change. The last time he was here, he tried, but he couldn't lock onto anything."
"So...if he were to see him...or meet him again, he could catch him?" I asked, standing when the train stopped at the station we needed.
"He could. Just like he would be able to catch Tanya if she were to go rogue." He laughed at the evil grin that spread over my face. "Bella, I really understand your dislike for her, because it matches my own. Is there a part of you that hopes she messes up?"
"No," I sighed, shaking my head. "I honestly never think about her."
"Bells," Jake growled, picking up my other hand as we walked back to the warehouse in the early evening. "She almost got you two killed!"
"Believe me, I know," I growled, frowning up at the both of them. "And I hate her for it. You have no idea what that thought did to me."
"Why would she sell you guys out like that?" Seth asked from behind us.
"She's extremely jealous," Edward stated, a dark look on his features as he remembered the day I thought I'd lost him. "And Carlisle has a feeling that her mind isn't stable anymore. Even though she's mated, her...desire for revenge against Bella and now me has only grown stronger. There are immortals that have lived too long, seen too much, and their minds can't take it. Somewhere along the line, they lose it." He shrugged, but reached up to lovingly caress my face. "She won't do it again. I won't allow it."
"Good man," Sam huffed, nodding once. "Call us if you need help with that one, too." He smirked at the murmurs of agreement from the rest of the boys.
We walked into the warehouse to the faint stench of burning vampire. It was sweet and seemed to be coming from the underground passageway.
"We got two of 'em!" Emmett beamed, giving me a fist bump.
"They were under that hypnosis that Peyton told us about," Rose growled, rolling her eyes. "We couldn't get a thing out of them. Hell, they couldn't even tell us their names."
"That's a shame," I sighed, waving my hand in front of my face. The smell was almost overwhelming.
"Did you burn them in the sewer?" Edward chuckled.
"Yeah." Emmett shrugged with his boyish grin. "It's not like we have a blasting furnace up in this joint."
"We could," Jasper smirked, turning the computer around. He was, indeed, shopping for furnaces.
We all laughed, shaking our heads.
"What did you guys find? Demitri said you called about the Natural History Museum," Jasper said, going back to the computer.
"We found out Sinclair worked there at one point. The scent was weeks old, but he used the underground to get around." Edward walked over and joined Jasper at the computer. "I want to look up the exhibit he was working on."
"Speaking of Demitri...where is he?" I asked, spinning around and looking for him.
"He ran out," Emmett chuckled. "Those newbies called with a trail, and I told him to go."
Just about that time, several people burst through the back of the warehouse, coming up from the tunnels below. The arguing was so loud, I could barely make out what they were upset about. Demitri, Carina, and Agosto looked as hot as kicked cats, while Adrian, Peyton, and Brody seemed to be so nervous that they looked like they were going to be sick.
"Look," Brody growled, giving the three of them a hard look. "I said I was sorry."
I heard Edward snort, but he said nothing.
"Brody, I swear to God," Demitri seethed, his nostrils flaring. "Do you have any idea how close you came to being caught?"
"I saw the girl, and I took off after her. I wasn't thinking about people being down in that tunnel," Brody pouted. "I caught her, didn't I?"
"In front of an old woman! You smashed her grocery cart!" Carina snapped, her fists clenched.
"Did she have on new socks?" Edward and I asked at the same time.
"What?" everyone asked, spinning to look at us fall into hysterics.
"Never mind," Edward snorted, shaking his head and pulling me to his lap. "It wasn't her," he whispered in my ear, which only made me laugh all the harder.
To be honest, I think we were just a little punch-drunk from the last few patrols. I could barely concentrate on the conversation.
Jasper chuckled, looking at us and back to the argument. "Demitri, did he get caught, or not?"
"No," he and Brody answered, but Demitri added, "At least we got some information out of her before we destroyed her."
"Yeah, damn good thing it's winter. No one thinks twice when the sewer is smoking and smelling funny," Peyton chuckled. "Anyway, yes. Apparently, Lance is supposed to take a group of immortals out tonight. Some club or something...to train them."
"And the hottest club—" Emmett began, doing the funniest damn impression of Stefon from Saturday Night Live, "—is Bite." He spoke with a gay lisp, and even did the hand gestures of covering his face with shaky fingers over his mouth. "It has everything...werewolves, warm-blooded humans, feral newborns, and veggie vampires. You know...it's that thing...of when kick ass vamps go in and stop the stupid bad guy from draining the city..."
The whole warehouse exploded into laughter. It was the funniest thing I'd ever seen.
"Oh my damn," Rose snorted, shaking her head. "We really need to restrict your time with Kevin."
"Or take away the TV," Jasper cracked up, looking over to Edward and me. "Guess we're going clubbing tonight."
~oOoOo~
Most of the time, I rarely paid attention to how the human world perceived us. Yes, we were all beautiful and strong and ethereal, but I just saw my family and friends. I also rarely gave our wardrobe any thought. I had gotten used to shopping with Alice and her demands for the best.
But sometimes, both of those things paid off.
Beauty and fashion, not to mention the aura of money, were what got us into the very upscale, very busy club that night. One look at all of us and a few bills slipped between hands, and we bypassed the long line outside.
We decided that everyone needed to go, but not everyone needed to be inside.
Demitri and Carina joined Edward and me, along with the rest of my siblings, inside the club. Peyton, Brody, and Adrian – under the guidance of Agosto – monitored the line of humans waiting to get in. Two of the wolves were patrolling underneath the club, while Jake and Sam were using their police status to speak to the club manager about the missing girl and the possibility of trouble. Carlisle, Esme, and Marcus were back at the warehouse, just in case we needed them.
In our normal family fashion, and despite the fact that we were suppose to be working, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. We didn't stand or sit together, but coupled off. As I leaned back against Edward's chest, I surveyed where they all were.
Emmett and Rose were wrapped around each other on the dance floor, surrounded by humans that were grinding and writhing to the rhythm of the music. Jasper had perched Alice up on a stool closer to the back hallway of the club, and I could tell they were currently in the middle of an adorable conversation, because Jasper looked like he would be blushing if he were able. Demitri and Carina were by the front doors at a table, much like Alice and Jasper.
Edward and I were at the bar so he could listen to the thoughts of the bartenders. The first sign of trouble always seemed to go there anyway. He was sitting on a bar stool, with me standing between his legs. His fingers traced lazy lines up and down my arm, as he placed the occasional kiss to my neck. As his sharp eyes scanned the club, he would hum along with the music or tap out the rhythm on my thigh.
So far, the night had been quiet – no immortals, no trouble, and no fights.
When Jake and Sam came from the manager's office, they took seats beside us, but said nothing. I giggled at the looks the two large boys received from both men and women.
"Shut up, Bells," Jake growled with a slight chuckle to his voice. He picked up the drink that was set in front of him and took a sip. "Have you even noticed the stares you're getting?" He grinned, saluting me with his drink.
"No," Edward snorted. "She never does."
Jake and Sam laughed, shaking their heads.
"Shut up," I pouted. "All of you."
"Love you, beautiful girl," Edward chuckled in my ear. "Come dance with me."
We took Rose and Emmett's place on the dance floor, sending them back to the bar. The change in song and Edward's wry smirk made me laugh. As Beautiful Monster by Neyo started, I could understand why Edward found it funny.
He spun me quickly in front of him, grabbing my hips and pulling my back to his chest as he sang the words softly in my ear. But it was his smile against the skin of my neck that made me melt into him.
All my life
And the hereafter
I've never seen
Seen one like you
You're a knife
Sharp and deadly
And it's me
That you cut into
But I don't mind
In fact I like it
Though I'm terrified
I'm turned on but scared of you
I turned in his arms to see his sweet face. Wrapping my arms around his neck and slipping his thigh between mine, we moved as one. His lips never left my neck, nor did his hands leave my ass.
She's a monster
Beautiful monster
Beautiful monster
But I don't mind
And I need her
Said I need her
Beautiful monster
But I don't mind
Edward's eyes were black and locked with mine as he sang the last verse, his strong hand gliding down my thigh to the back of my knee, only to scoop it up and wrap it around his hip.
No I don't mind (I don't mind I don't I don't mind...)
No I don't mind (I don't mind I don't I don't mind...)
No I don't mind (I don't mind I don't I don't mind...)
No I don't mind (I don't mind I don't I don't mind...)
In her eyes
There's love and fire
In my heart
She's burning through
But I don't mind
In fact I like it
Though I'm terrified
I'm turned on but scared of you
She's a monster (she's a monster)
Beautiful monster (beautiful monster)
Beautiful monster (beautiful monster yeah)
But I don't mind (I don't mind)
And I need her (and I need her)
Said I need her (said I need her)
Beautiful monster (whooah)
But I don't mind (I don't mind I don't I don't mind)
No I don't mind
The next lines were just about my undoing. As the music slowed down, he turned me in front of him again and pressed his arousal against back. I felt him everywhere behind me – his breath in my ear, his thumbs just barely grazing the underside of my breasts over my shirt, and his want for me twitching as I pressed back into him.
Playing with my heart
And she's playing with my mind
And I don't mind I don't I don't mind
No I don't mind I don't I don't mind
No I don't mind I don't I don't mind
No I don't mind I don't I don't mind
When the song was over, I turned to face him. "Are you saying I'm a monster, Edward?" I giggled.
"Mmhm." He smirked, pulling me close and lifting me up slightly. "Yeah, my little monster," he growled, biting at my neck, only to suddenly pull back to look around the room. "You've got to be kidding me," he sighed, shaking his head. "We have an issue outside, baby. Let's go."
Edward waved Emmett and Rose to come with us, and as we left the club, I noticed that the line was just as long as before. We passed by them to turn down one of the alleys.
Peyton and Brody were holding an immortal against the wall, but it was who Adrian was helping to his feet that caused the growl to explode from me and Rose.
"Are you all right?" Adrian asked, a concerned look on his face as he helped Kevin up off the ground.
"Son of a bitch," we growled, shaking off Emmett's and Edward's hands.
We walked straight passed Adrian, pushing him aside. "Dammit, Kevin. What the hell are you doing here? I thought we told you to stay home."
Kevin was drunk, that much was for certain, and he never had a chance to answer us, because Alice joined us in a hurry. His eyes flickered from mine to Adrian's, but he didn't speak.
"No time," Edward growled, his eyes on the immortal at the end of the alley. "Bella, you and Alice get Kevin somewhere safe, and don't let him out of your sight."
"Are they close?" I asked, gripping Edward's shirt.
"Yes. I'll get back to you as quick as I can. Go to the hotel, okay, sweet girl?"
"My vision is blotchy. Just be careful," Alice frowned, looking at everyone.
In the blink of an eye, they were gone, leaving me, Alice, and Kevin in the alley. I turned to Kevin, watching him flinch at the anger that was probably all over my face.
"I'm sorry, my goddess," he whispered, looking at his hands. His speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot, and his lip trembled.
"You could have gotten killed," Alice growled, shaking her head and putting her hands on her hips. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"When you texted me earlier and said this was where you'd be..."
"Fuck, Kevin!" I snapped, trying like hell not to put my fist in the wall. "I told you that so you would stay away...not come looking for trouble!" Kevin flinched again, and I took a deep breath, trying to rein in my temper. "Come on, Kev. Let's get you somewhere to sleep this off."
"No, Kevin," Alice chuckled, shaking her head profusely as she took his other hand. "I wouldn't test her. She means it. Your night is over."
As we made our way down the side of the park, I felt uneasy and looked over at Alice. She caught my eye and shrugged, but I wrapped my shield around us all, until we caught the next cab.
Just as I tucked a drunken, passed out Kevin in the bed of our hotel room, my husband checked in with a text.
E: Love you. Caught two more, and will be at the warehouse if you need us. See you in a few hours.
I answered him back, letting him know that we were safe in the hotel room, and I settled on the couch with Alice to wait through the long night. Tomorrow, my little human friend was in for a long chat.


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