Sunday, March 25, 2001 | By: Drotuno

Blood & Glory Chapter 13

"I love you, too, Edward."
I'd had to say those words, but I'd needed Edward to know just how important they were. I'd cared about Jake, loved him, though it never ran as deep or as strong as the love I felt for the man that was currently looking at me like I'd grown a second head.
"I love you," I whispered again, cupping his face.
"Yeah?" he breathed, his mouth quirking up into that crooked smile I loved so much.
And suddenly, the reality of how close were, how underdressed we were, came into sharp focus. Edward was in just a pair of gray cargo shorts, and I was in a sports bra and underwear. I leaned forward, allowing the skin of my stomach to graze against his, and my whole body lit on fire – not from fear, but from pure, raw want.
"Don't you have to work?" I whispered, trying to distract myself from the fact that I wanted everything Edward's body could offer me, especially because I couldn't take it all.
"Fuck them," he growled, and it was the single sexiest, two-word sentence I'd ever heard whispered in my ear. Ever.
The rain spattered against the window of the bedroom as the very thin thread of control left me. I didn't know how much I could take, but I was going to take as much as I was able because I was sitting in the lap of the hottest man I'd ever seen, and he'd told me he loved me, told me he'd die protecting me, and I wanted to eat him alive.
Howling winds rattled the window pane as I finally just...took. Turning my head at the same time Edward did, our mouths connected with whimpers and gasps, tongues and lips, and while our mouths were wild and wet, his hands were still, his arms wrapped around me and his hands flat on my upper back.
"Fuck that shit," I growled, pulling back and glaring at him. "Touch me..."
"Where, love?" he panted, his eyes a deep, heated green. They looked like fire and sin, like they held sexual secrets that would cause my mind to explode once he finally revealed them.
"O-Over the material, but for shit's sake, touch me!"
Every nerve ending in my body wanted skin on skin, but I knew after the boundaries we'd pushed earlier, it wasn't going to happen; it would've been too much – but everything that was uncovered was his to explore. And I wanted him to explore like Lewis and Clark only dreamed of.
A deep, sexy-ass chuckle escaped him as he placed his hand flat between my shoulder blades and bent me back. I panted as his head lowered, his heavy-lidded eyes locked onto mine as he looked up at me through his gorgeous, long eyelashes. He opened his mouth, his tongue snaking out to leave a kiss just above my breast. Swirling his tongue over my skin, he worked his way up to my collarbone, along my throat, and up to my ear.
"Is all skin free game, Bella?"
I grinned at the amusement, yet pure huskiness to his voice. There was an underlying happiness to his voice, as well, and I loved it. I nodded against the top of his head as my fingers wove their way into his still-damp locks.
"Mm, then I'm gonna have to roll you over, love, because I much to do..."
I snorted at him but found myself on my back, looking up at his beautiful face. His hair was everywhere, both his and my doing. His face had a touch of scruffiness to it, just adding to his dark look as he gazed down at me.
"Like what?" I asked innocently, just to see the wicked half-smirk that crossed his face.
"There have been parts of you that I've completely neglected, baby," he said, feigning sincerity. "Take your arm, for instance," he whispered, picking up my right arm as he lined his body up beside mine, leaning partially over me.
He picked up my hand, brought it to his face, his mouth opening to the inside of my wrist. The very second his tongue tasted my skin, he moaned, and I gasped. With open-mouthed, sucking kisses, he worked his way up to the inside of my elbow – this time, dragging his teeth ever-so-lightly across my flesh.
My stomach clenched at the sharp zap of want that one simple kiss did to me. I couldn't help but press my legs together to alleviate some of the need that was now flowing through me. I felt wet and warm, like goo next to him.
I pulled my arm away from him to reach for his face. I brought him to my mouth, which caused him to press more of his weight on me – and damn, it felt good. If I thought being in the same room with him made me feel protected, nothing could have prepared me for the feeling of his body covering mine because we both shifted at the same time. Edward braced his arms on either side of my head, his mouth never leaving mine, but his body lifted and then lowered between my legs. Keeping one elbow bent to hold himself up, he gazed down at me, the other hand hovering.
"Still okay?"
"God, yes," I whined, my body practically writhing under him.
With his free hand, he skimmed lightly down my arm, side, and down to my leg, hitching it up higher around him. His thumb found my scar, rubbing it one time before he leaned back to me. His mouth captured mine in a searing kiss, leaving me breathless as he pressed his forehead to mine.
"God, Bella, the things I want to do to you..." he groaned, his eyes squeezing shut as my hands began their own exploration adventures.
With my fingers practically in claws due to the hunger of wanting to touch him so badly, I caressed every muscle of his chest, over his shoulders, and down those fantastically-strong arms, only to glide back up to slip them down his powerful back, finally reaching my goal of the waistband of his shorts. My fingers dipped just inside, feeling his hips press forward and the muscles of his ass flex so tightly, and I whimpered at the whole feel of it.
Until he moved away.
"Edward," I groaned, reaching for him, but he just grinned wickedly, dragging that tongue of his across his bottom lip.
"Patience, baby," he crooned, slipping down my body until he was level with my bent knees. "I want to try something..." he said against the skin of the inside of my knee. "But I want you to tell me if it's too much, Bella. Promise me..."
I nodded frantically, hoping to God and all that was holy that whatever he wanted to try brought that glorious body of his back to my hands.
"Say it, love," he commanded, his voice taking on the tone that caused my whole body to writhe. An in-charge Edward was a fuck-hot Edward.
"I promise," I squeaked, nodding again and reaching for him, but he just shook his head at me.
"I want to make you feel so good, Bella," he whispered, his lips dragging down the inside of my thigh.
My breath caught, and I could feel my brow break out into a cold sweat as panic started to rise.
"Easy, love," he soothed, reaching up to take my hands and linking our fingers together. "You stay clothed..."
"'Kay," I breathed, my eyes sharp on his as he lowered his mouth to my mound, and with just his nose, he traced the edge of my underwear, placing random kisses here and there.
"Fuck, you smell so good," he growled against the cloth of my underwear. "Are you wet for me, Bella?"
I whined a laugh, and it sounded almost humorless because I was dying for him – never mind just wet. I could feel the moisture that had leaked out onto my thighs. I could feel the throb when my center clenched at just the mere idea of how close his mouth was to where I needed him the most. But when his tongue dragged over the cotton of my underwear, my hips shot off the bed.
"Holy fucking hell," I panted through gritted teeth.
"Mm, and you taste even better," he purred, leaning back in to repeat his actions.
I squeezed his hands, trying to bring him in closer, or to move more, or something...anything. My legs spread wider for him, and he moaned appreciatively, which only caused me to writhe at the vibration of his voice.
"Edward," I whined. My eyes rolled back in my head when his mouth applied the perfect pressure, his tongue pushing firmly against my clit, and I couldn't stop my hips from grinding against his face.
Pulling one of his hands free from mine, he looked up from between my legs as his thumb caressed the crotch of my underwear, and my hips followed every movement.
"So wet, love," he whispered, his thumb pressing harder with each pass. "I love you...and I want to see you come for me. From now on...every orgasm of mine..."
"Oh, damn," I whispered, my eyes unable to tear away from the most amazing sight of Edward's face, mouth, and tongue between my legs.
It didn't even matter that my underwear was still on. It didn't matter that I was so wet for him, I could feel it when his tongue dragged up the cotton again and again.
What mattered was the pressure of his thumb, the warmth and wetness of his tongue swirling over my clit and finally sucking hard on it through the fabric. And not for the first time did I wonder how shattered I'd be when – or if – I was actually able feel this man skin on fucking skin.
It was that thought, along with the things he was doing with his hand and tongue, that caused me to explode. My free hand fisted the comforter beside me while the other gripped his hand tightly, his thumb circling over my knuckles in a soothing gesture, but my head pressed back into the pillow as I lost it. Completely. My whole body seemed to shatter into a billion pieces out into the room and then snap back together. I shuddered as tremors wracked my frame.
I panted, my legs falling limply back down to the bed as a very smug and sexy Edward crawled back up my body. If I ever had any reason to get better, to be able to be free of the fear of Miller's touch, it was in that one brief moment of watching Edward crawl back up me, because fuck, I couldn't wait to play with that man.
"Hmm," he sighed, fighting his sexy smile as he brushed my hair from my face. "It seems we're crossing all kinds of lines with you tonight."
The man was deadly. I thought I knew him – every grumpy look, every sweet tilt of his head, even the fact that his stutter meant he was nervous. But I didn't know this guy. I knew he kissed better than anyone I'd ever pressed my lips to. I knew he could talk a big game, but I didn't know the deep, sensually-charged man that was currently rubbing my stomach to help me settle down – the same stomach that twenty-four hours ago, I could barely wash in the shower with my own hands. I didn't know if he was sex incarnate or the devil himself. But God, I wanted him, and the fact that he wanted me, too, just made him that much more lethal.
"I love you," I whispered, my brow wrinkling at just how true that statement was.
He grinned, sweet and silly. "You're just saying that because I just made you come your brains out."
I laughed, bringing him in to kiss him fully. I wanted to try to touch him more, but suddenly, I was so very exhausted – a great, big orgasm will do that to a girl – and after the places Miller put my hands, I was nervous. Anyway, I could tell by the way Edward was moving away from me that he wasn't going to allow it.
"Not tonight, Bella. This was all about you, all about making you feel good, sweetness." He gave a crooked smile at my giggle. "I'm so very proud of you," he whispered against my temple. "You've overcome another fear, baby. And I love that it was me that got the brilliance of that experience."
Tears welled up at his sweet words, but I stopped him from getting up. "I want you to stay..."
"Believe me, love, I want to stay, but I do need to make a perimeter run with Jasper."
"Well, then, I'm switching to nights," I said, pouting, and then gave a wide yawn.
He grinned, leaning over to kiss my forehead. "We'll talk about it. I'm never far, baby. Just call me if you need me, okay?"
I nodded, gripping his belt loops to keep him close to me as we heard Emmett's hefty chuckle echo down the hall as he made his way to the bedroom.
"What will we tell them?" I asked, looking up at his so-very-soft green eyes.
"They know," he snorted. "They've guessed and theorized, and I'm pretty sure between Esme and Jasper, they all know. And I don't care...because you love me, and at this point, the whole world can know."
I sighed in contentment. It wasn't shame that had held him back in front of everyone. It was just...the unknown of our relationship.
"I do love you," I said, yawning again.
"Good!" He chuckled, tucking the covers up around me. "Sleep, Bella. I'll check on you all night, okay?"
"Mmhm," I sighed, closing my eyes at his kisses to each of my lids, nose, and finally, lips.
I heard the bathroom door close and the shower turn on, but I couldn't think to remember that he'd just had a shower. I was asleep before the door opened back up.
I grunted in frustration when the pillow I'd been clinging to tried to pull away. "No," I whined, holding on tighter. "Stay."
I smiled against her neck and chest as the sweetest giggle shook the bed.
"Your schedule, Edward. I'm just following it," she snorted, trying to pry my arms off her.
"Fuck the schedule. You're too comfortable," I grumbled, hitching my leg up over hers, which only caused her to laugh that much harder.
I'd revised the whole schedule two weeks ago – the day after Bella had told me she loved me, which had to be the best day of my life. I sat down with every single person in the house and wrote the best schedule I could to keep everyone happy but fairly even with experience and coverage in twelve hour shifts.
Emmett, Rose, Makenna, and Mickey all preferred the daytime hours, though at this point, I was pretty sure that Rose could tell Emmett to jump off of a cliff, and he'd do it blindly, with a stupid-ass smile on his face. Not that Alice was any better when it came to Jasper, because she and Bella had decided to work something of an in-between shift. Alice and Bella liked working on the computer together, following Billy Black's progress, monitoring Bella's "disappearance," and the all-around snooping of the TT employees and King's men. But they wanted to be with Jasper and me, so we'd compromised.
The daytime shift worked five in the morning to five at night, and Jasper and I worked the opposite, with Bella and Alice working three in the afternoon to three in the morning.
Getting to spend all that time with Bella was great, but it was when I'd crawl into bed in the early morning and Bella pulled away two hours before I was ready to get up that I tended to whine a bit, which wasn't getting me very far at the moment.
"I'll make you breakfast," she sang softly in my ear.
"No. Stay." I pouted fabulously, nuzzling her neck and holding her that much closer, even though Bella could cook a mean breakfast. She made the best blueberry muffins on the fucking planet.
"I'll let you sleep in, and I'll wake you up with a surprise," she cooed, running her fingers through my hair.
That got my attention, so I opened one eye to glare at her. "How late are we talkin', Bella? And what's the surprise?"
She snorted, rolling her gorgeous brown eyes at me. "I'll give you an extra hour, and the surprise stays a secret."
"Do I get to keep the sexy teddy bear I'm currently holding?"
"No, Edward," she sighed dramatically.
I cursed at that, but an extra hour of sleep sounded awfully tempting. "An hour?" I asked, smiling up at her.
"And breakfast...and a surprise," she countered.
"Deal," I huffed, finally letting her up.
She laughed, shoving me playfully. "Damn, you drive a hard bargain, Mr. Cullen. And it's...your fucking schedule," she growled, but I could see her smirk as she turned away from me.
I sat up on an elbow to watch her walk into the bathroom. Her sleepwear of choice hadn't changed since I'd first been able to touch her stomach. Sports bras and underwear. I was so proud of her progress – though she hadn't gone much further than that night – that I could barely contain myself. The skin she covered was the skin that was off limits and probably the skin I wanted to touch the most; not that I was complaining one bit, because she was trying her damnedest to conquer every fear she had, and that included touching me back; I'd found out later that Miller had made her touch him off and on when he'd hurt her, and the fear came from there. She didn't give many details, and I didn't ask for any.
Some days, I was left with a raging case of blue balls, but I didn't care how many cold showers it took because Bella was worth the wait. Some days, I'd find myself unable not to touch her, play with her, because she was so responsive to my hands, my words, and my mouth. I couldn't help it; I felt consumed by her most of the time.
When the shower kicked on, I rolled over to go back to sleep, falling pretty much instantly.
My dreams hit me immediately, but they'd changed. They were no longer about the little girl in Iraq; they were about Bella, about chasing and chasing her but never catching her, or if I did catch her, they were so hot, I would wake up hard as steel. I didn't tell Bella, but I'd talked it over with Jasper. He seemed to think – in his infinite Southern wisdom – that I was completely terrified of something happening to her. No shit. My entire being was on edge with every email my father sent, every trigger of the alarm that they'd installed, and every panic attack that girl had. Yeah, and I'd sworn to myself, and God, and Jasper that when this shit was all over, I was taking Bella away to my house and locking us in for a fucking year.
Jasper had laughed at me.
I awoke a little later with the feel of warm, strong fingers gliding along my bare back. They'd start at my shoulders and work their way down to my ass, kneading and touching, and God, it felt amazing, but I wasn't sure if it was my dream or reality.
"Edward," Bella whispered in my ear, and I could feel her body leaning over me. "Baby, turn over," she urged, tugging at my shoulder.
"Wha—" I mumbled, but I did whatever that voice told me to.
Those same fingers on my back began working their magic on my chest, arms, and stomach – only this time, I could've sworn I felt lips and tongue and heavy breaths against my skin. I felt lips on my chest and neck, on my stomach and bellybutton.
Groggily, I opened my eyes when I felt a tug at my sweatpants, which were tented to full capacity as it was, but when I caught sight of what was kneeling over me, I just about came right then.
"Baby, what are you do—Oh, fuck," I moaned, my brow furrowed as she pulled my sweats down.
"I really need to do this," she whispered, licking her lips, like I was her next meal. "God, for so long...I've wanted..."
"Not that I'm telling you no or anything, but fuck, don't have t-to." My stutter emerged the very nanosecond her warm hand wrapped around my dick.
I never wanted her to feel obligated to return anything I've done for her, but I'd be a fucking liar if I said I didn't want it, hadn't fantasized about it, or beaten off to the mere thought of it in the shower. However, this wasn't about me; this was about what Bella could do, and from the look on her face – that same determined, yet fucking sexy-ass look – she was on a mission.
"I told you that I had a surprise for you, Edward," she whispered, and my mouth fell open as I watched her face get closer and closer to my cock.
Suddenly, I was the most grateful motherfucker that ever lived, because I hated surprises, but this, I could definitely get used to. This was one hell of a way to be woken up.
"Oh, baby," I chuckled darkly. "You have no idea how fucking hot that's going to look from here."
She grinned and then dragged her tongue across her bottom lip, finally breaking from my gaze to look at what was in her hands. I watched as a wicked expression crossed her face before she looked back up at me.
"Do you always wake up this hard?" she purred as she slowly bent down to drag her tongue up the side of my dick.
I hissed like a seventeen-year-old getting his first blowjob. "Only lately," I ground out through gritted teeth, propping myself up on my elbows for a better view. I was not going to miss a second of this.
She chuckled, nodded once, and finally swiped a lick right across the tip, where I was leaking like a busted pipe. "Sweet dreams, then?"
"The reality is far better," I whispered, wanting to reach out and touch her, but I could see how she'd positioned herself was for her benefit, not mine, so I opted to lie back on the pillows, gripping the sheets in order not to just pull her to me and plunge myself as deep inside of her as I could, because I loved that girl so much, and it was so very difficult sometimes not to just show her in every way possible.
"How would you know that?" she teased, her hand moving slowly up and down my shaft as she looked up through her eyelashes at me.
"Educated guess, baby," I panted.
"I'll show you education," she murmured, and her mouth sank down over me.
"Holy hell," I growled, trying to stay quiet in a house full of people. My head fell back for just a moment as I relished the feel of her hot mouth wrapped around me.
My mouth fell open when she took every inch of me, which wasn't usually the norm. I panted when her tongue did things I couldn't see because I felt them from head to toe. And I wanted to cry or laugh or something when she began a rhythm that had me fighting to keep my hands from her hair and my hips from raising up to fuck her mouth. That would have been asinine behavior on my part.
No, this was perfect just the way she was doing it because she was doing it. And for a moment, I wondered how long it had taken her to build up the courage to try this. It had been weeks since our first kiss, weeks since we'd discovered her fear of touch, and weeks of her only touching me through clothes. But this was the boldest I'd seen her, and I promised God or whoever was above that if this was the real Bella Swan coming out to play, I would save homeless puppies, or cats from trees, or pull thorns from lion's paws from this moment on because if this was her...the real her...I was the luckiest fucker alive. If this was how she was in bed – sexy and bold and a touch naughty – I would never, ever need another woman again. Not that I'd even thought about it because Bella was it for me. I was done. And my brains were fucking being scrambled.
"Oh, so good, good," I groaned, my eyes rolling back in my head as one of her hands met the same rhythm as her mouth and the other cupped my balls.
She hummed around me, her mouth coming up off of me with a soft pop, but her hand never stopped. "All your orgasms from now on...are mine."
I huffed a laugh at my words being thrown back at me. I laughed because she had no idea that they were hers anyway. They had been since before I knew I loved her. They were hers the very first time she turned that fiery temper on me or gave me that sweet giggle I loved to hear. They were always hers, and they would always be hers.
"Oh fuck," I breathed as she sank back down over me, her little hand working along my shaft, but it was when I saw her squeeze her thighs together that I finally gave in. I didn't want to because she felt so fucking amazing, but it was inevitable, especially when what she was doing to me turned her on.
"Baby, baby...I'm gonna come..." I told her, feeling the burn deep in my stomach, and I grew that much harder in her mouth when she hummed around me again.
When she took me all the way back in, swallowing around me, I came. My head fell back, my fists twisted the sheets, and curses flew from my mouth in gasps because she didn't stop. She took all that I lost, and it was more than I'd care to admit. She cleaned me up, finally popping off with another amazing sound.
"Oh hell," I panted, everything – and I did mean, everything – about me going limp.
I heard a sweet snicker, and I lifted my head to see that pride-filled smile on her face. Another fear had just been crossed of her list.
"Come here, 'cause I can't move," I told her, opening my arms.
She giggled, crawling up my body and stopping to place a kiss to my tattoo before bracing her arms on either side of my head. Her hair fell around my face, trapping me in with her beauty and her sweet smell.
"You have to move, baby. I've let you sleep in too long," she told me, nuzzling my nose with her own.
"'Kay," I sighed, but made no movement, except to wrap my arms around her. "You're way too dressed."
She laughed, rolling her eyes. "There's a reason for that, silly ass. We have work to do," she urged, punctuating each word with a kiss to my lips.
"No way. I owe you...big time," I growled playfully at her, rolling us so that I was looming over her now hysterically-laughing self. "And you really do have too many clothes on."
"No, that was...a test, Edward." Her face showed amusement, but her voice was serious.
"And you so fucking passed," I grunted, kissing her with complete abandonment.
When I pulled away, we were both breathless, but Bella just gazed up at me, cupping my face.
"I made breakfast for you," she said softly, her eyes a sweet chocolate.
"Blueberry muffins?" I verified, beaming when she nodded. "I love you. Have I said that lately?"
"Not since your blowjob," she answered with a laugh, squealing when I bit roughly at her neck.
"Mm, mm, mm, and what a job well done, baby," I purred in her ear, suckling at her earlobe.
"It was a...hard job...but someone had to do it," she teased, her eyes twinkling with mischief. "A big job, too... But I am woman enough to...handle it."
I laughed, burying my face in her neck, loving that she was just as dirty as I was. "Okay, enough..."
She giggled when I finally pulled myself from her arms. She crawled off the bed, heading toward the door, but stopped before opening it. "Oh, yeah...I love you, too, Edward."
I smiled, shot her a wink, and made my way into the bathroom. No extra soap was needed this morning.
"Step off the fucking blueberry!" Edward barked in the kitchen.
I snorted, looking up from the computer, watching him barely restrain the violence that certain foods brought out in him. Hell, who was I kidding? The man could be violent over just about anything.
"I'm not fucking kidding, Emmett," he growled. "Take the banana, but drop that blueberry before I fucking break your hand!"
I laughed, got up from the lounge chair outside, and walked into the kitchen. Opening the microwave, I pulled out a stash of three blueberry muffins on a plate, shoving it into Edward's hands before walking back outside.
"Don't kill anyone over muffins, Edward," I called out, sitting back down to the computer.
Alice laughed, looking over at me. "Who knew you could tame the savage beast with blueberries?" she asked, shaking her head.
"No shit," I chuckled, scrolling through the latest list of employees that Carlisle had sent us.
The first list of newer employees didn't set off any alarms so Alice had told him to just send the entire list, even external companies. We couldn't really leave the house, and the alarms were hooked up and working properly, so we had time to search through them all.
"Oh, this poor guy," I sighed, curling my legs up in the chair as I read the next file. "I certainly hope that Filbert is a family name..."
Alice giggled, looking over my shoulder. "Oh damn, he never stood a chance, did he?"
I grinned, pushing her away. "Filbert apparently has quite the Star Wars memorabilia collection because he spends way too much money on eBay. And he's proud enough to show it all on Facebook."
"Wow, he's...attractive," she snorted at the poor thing with thick glasses, a beak of a nose, and braces at thirty-something.
"Already looking for other men," Edward snorted, straddling the lounge chair behind me. "Oh damn!" He laughed when he caught sight of Filbert. "Go for it, baby..." he teased, grunting when I elbowed him in the stomach.
"I guarantee...Filbert, there," Alice snickered, rolling her eyes up to Edward, "is still a virgin, and Bella would give him heart failure."
He laughed, picking up his next blueberry muffin and taking a huge bite. "Yeah, she would...but what does Filbert do?"
"Chew, swallow, and then speak, Edward," I chided, but smiled when all he did was take another ginormous bite with a big grin. I turned back to the computer, scanning through the file. "Filbert – that handsome thing – runs the website of Twilight Tech. He makes a damn good living doing it. He has multiple online gaming accounts and usually sets up a comic book booth at conventions in the Washington and Oregon areas.
"He's so clean he squeaks," I huffed, looking at the two of them. "If you're both done ogling Filbert, may I move on now?"
They both laughed, and Edward picked up his last muffin, leaning back in the lounger. He kept his legs on either side of mine while I worked through the next few files as the sun slowly set until I came to a name and face that seemed familiar.
I turned to Alice. "Is Mack still up?"
"Yeah, I think so," she answered, looking up from Billy Black's financials to study my screen. "Why?"
"Makenna!" I called, and she appeared within seconds at the door.
"Don't you have a picture of a guy named Savage?"
"Yeah, Bells," she said with a nod, darting inside for just a second, only to reappear with the picture in hand. "Paul Savage. It's rumored that he pushes illegal weapons out the back of his pawn shop, and he answers to King."
Edward sat up from behind me, where he'd been quiet for some time now, to look over my shoulder.
"I've got a Peter Savage working for TT," I muttered scrolling through his file. "He was hired a year ago to run the cell phone division of my father's company."
"Savage, Savage, Savage," Alice chanted, closing out what she was working on and opening another screen. "Peter, Paul...what the fuck did I read about them? Come on, come on, come on," she whispered, her brow wrinkling as she scrolled through screen after screen of text. "Got it!" she chirped suddenly.
Edward and I both jumped but leaned in to read over her shoulder as Makenna sat at the table. Jasper joined us, looking like he'd just gotten up and like he was curious as to what we were doing.
"Paul and Peter Savage – twins, both did time for uttering forged instruments, which is fake money, bad checks. They were arrested back when Charlie had to testify in front of the grand jury – you know, when King was investigated for counterfeiting."
"Then how in the hell is Peter working for TT?" I growled. "They should have found that shit when he was fucking hired."
"Hmm," Edward mused, reading from my screen and then switching to Alice's. "He may have just gotten lost in the shuffle, love. Look," he said, pointing to each computer. "Here, you can see that the cell company was bought out by Twilight, but all the employees were grandfathered in."
"Shit," I sighed, turning to Alice. "Email Carlisle. Just tell him to look into Peter Savage."
"'Kay," she said with a nod, pulling up email. "And he's sent a message to us, too."
"What's he say?" Edward urged, sitting up straighter.
"Nothing; he just sent a link." She clicked on it immediately, bringing up a newspaper article. "Oh hell," she sighed, shaking her head. "Listen to this..."
The search for Isabella Swan is still in full swing. The daughter of millioniare, Charlie Swan, who is rumored to be in the protective custody of the FBI, has been missing for several weeks. A hotline has been set up with the Seattle Police Department if anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of Isabella.
Isabella was last seen at the law offices of Spencer, Wyatt, and Townsend, where Ms. Swan's investigative services have been used previously. She was seen in the company of a man identified as Edward Masen. He was over six feet tall, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt, and a brown leather jacket. He has reddish-brown hair and green eyes.
Spencer, Wyatt, and Townsend was also the same law office where the shootout occurred in the parking garage, shortly after Ms. Swan and Mr. Masen were last seen. A drug bust allegedly went down badly, resulting in the death of five men, but the FBI is still withholding information. They are stating that the investigation is still in its earliest stages.
The Seattle Police have received numerous tips concerning the whereabouts of Isabella Swan. She's been spotted in California – most specifically, Disneyland – Portland, Oregon, and most recently in the WalMart of a small town just outside Glacier Peak Park. The official spokesperson at the Seattle Police Department states they are investigating every lead because Isabella is a person of interest in another investigation, regarding the death of a Randall Chapel.
Anyone that has any information concerning Isabella Swan or Edward Masen is strongly urged to contact the Seattle Police Department.
I stood up, starting to pace. "Shit," I breathed, looking over at Edward. "We were spotted in WalMart, Edward..."
He grimaced but nodded, standing up slowly and turning to Jasper. "Get everyone out here."
Jasper nodded and bolted inside the house, calling everyone's names as he went.
"Some...bored housewife with nothing better to do than watch CNN all damn day saw us," I growled, shaking my head.
"Bella, that was weeks ago," Edward stated, stopping my pacing by putting his hands on both my arms. "They could believe WalMart just as quick as they could believe Disneyland."
"I wish we were at Disney," Alice muttered, typing away on her laptop. "But now, we have to worry that they find this place in the family records, Edward. Your family records, I might add."
"Edward, what's wrong?" Esme asked, coming out of the house with everyone on her heels.
They all fell into chairs and loungers, looking up at Edward's darkening face, but it was Alice who explained, reading them the article that Carlisle had linked us to. I could see my girls' reactions and read them perfectly. Rose was mad because she hadn't wanted to stay in the first place but would always be a team player. Makenna looked worried, while Alice stayed calm, pulling up housing records for the local area.
Edward's crew reacted differently. They were focused, leaning forward, waiting with bated breath to hear his next command, but he was watching Alice's work.
"Can you see requests for information concerning this house, Alice?" he asked her.
"I'd have to break into the state's system, but I could get with Ben and see if he's heard anything," she told him.
"Good. Go ahead. See what other info Benny's got for us, and let me know."
"Sure, sure, sure, Edward." She nodded, still typing away. "Do you still want Carlisle to look into Savage?"
"Yes," I told her. "Please tell him. I don't want him out there without that piece of info."
Alice nodded and silently got to work, but I looked up at Edward, whose face had gone from the earlier playfulness, to serious and dark and intense. He paced, running a hand through his hair as everyone talked softly.
"Um, Ed?" Emmett started. "I say we install a few more sensors..."
We all snapped around to look at him, including Edward, who asked, "Where?"
"That back fence...the side over by the main highway...and the far treeline over there," he explained, pointing. "I've got the lines for it, and I've got the extra sensors. I could...or we could...have them in by morning if we started now."
"That would..." Edward sighed, looking up to me. "That would be the entire perimeter. Too bad we don't have lights."
"We do," Rose piped up. "I saw some in the garage when we installed the alarm. There's a whole case of them. Your dad must've considered putting them up because it's like everything is there. With everyone's help, we could be wired for alarms, lights, and sensors by morning."
"Well, if we're gonna work through the night," Mickey sighed, standing up from her chair, "then let's get goin'." She looked to Emmett because he'd been a huge help the last time we'd done this.
"Okay, just like last time... Rosie, Bellsy, you guys run the wires to the electric box again. Alice, you, Esme, and Mack can get all the sensors ready. Ed, Jazz, let's find places for the those lights," he said, looking up at Edward, who was nodding. "By the time we're done, this place will be more secure than Jonestown."
I laughed because I couldn't help it, which caused everyone to turn my way – especially Emmett, who was quite proud of his pun.
"Okay, note to self: don't drink anything Emmett makes," I chuckled, the whole group of them joining me.
"I have the Kool-aid, Bellsy! Don't tempt me. You'll be begging for a glass when Eddie starts to piss you off," Emmett guffawed, walking away toward the garage with everyone else following him.
I grinned, shaking my head, and looked up at an amused Edward. But as I looked at him, I remembered the taste of him, the feel of him, and the weight of him from that morning. God, he'd been so perfect as he'd slept that morning, I hadn't been able to stop myself from at least trying to touch him; he'd been so beautiful as he lay there in my arms and belligerent when I tried to get up and get ready. My pull to him was so strong that I could barely see straight. I wanted to touch him, wanted to taste him, and I wasn't going to let my fears take that from me – or him.
And holy hell, if he wasn't a fucking fine specimen of a man; in every way, he was perfect. His body was one thing – all toned muscles, wide shoulders, an impeccable ass, and smooth, warm skin. His face was another – with a jaw that could cut glass, eyes that could break your heart or make it pound, and a smile that melted a woman's panties right off her without her even knowing it. But when I'd revealed what was inside those blue Air Force sweats this morning...well, it was by far the most perfect part about him. I'd felt it through clothes, I'd ground against it on his lap, but to actually see every beautiful inch of it made every cock before it pale in comparison.
"What are you thinking?" he asked with a chuckle, probably watching my teeth tear away at my bottom lip.
"That it's going to be a long night," I sighed, lying through my teeth, even though I'd been shamelessly ogling him, completely unable to stop the innuendo that escaped my mouth.
"Mmhm," he mused, looking me over. "Liar." He chuckled again. "But you're right. We'll be at this when the sun rises."
"Then let's just get it done, Edward," I groaned, leaning up to kiss his lips softly, something that the rest of our friends were now getting used to – not on my part, but it shocked them to see Edward that affectionate. "And behave... Don't make me get Emmett's Kool-aid," I ordered, raising an eyebrow at him.
He grinned, nodding, and took the stack of flood light boxes from Jasper's hands. We all quickly got to work.
It was amazing what military-trained people could get done. My girls and I were smart, educated, and hardworking. Alice had tried over the years to teach us various technological things – from using it to fixing it. There wasn't much Alice didn't know, and what she didn't, she'd find the answer online quickly.
Edward's crew was a different machine. I don't know if it came from living in the middle of the desert for years, having to build everything they needed, or from picking up and moving all the time when they were still in the service, but it was fascinating to watch. The whole time that my girls, Esme, and I ran the wires from different parts of the property and attached them to the power source, Edward and his team figured out where to best put the lights. We didn't have time to put up poles, so they were arranged on the ground or on the trunks of trees.
Just before sunrise, it was up and running. If someone stepped anywhere on the back, side, or front of the property, lights would turn on and an alarm would sound. Alice even set up an alert on her laptop, showing a grid of the entire grounds, including the house – something she'd been working on since we'd installed the first set of alarms.
As morning dawned, we all took different shifts so the others could catch up on sleep – the main ones being Emmett, Rose, Mickey, and Esme, who'd all been up for almost twenty-four hours.
Alice and I were so exhausted, we couldn't even look at another fucking thing on the computer, so the two of us sat stupidly staring at the TV, where some movie that I was sure we'd seen was playing softly. Pots of coffee stayed brewed and hot, and it was the only thing that was keeping me up at the moment.
Edward and Jasper were out on a perimeter check, a habit they weren't about to break because the sensors could still be set off by the wildlife around the house, so they told us human eyes were better. To be honest, I just think that they were trying to find ways of staying awake.
When the sliding glass doors opened, I could hear the twin sighs of relief echo from both myself and Alice. The two tall men walked into the house to the kitchen, pouring themselves more coffee, only to come join us in the living room.
"Whatcha'll watchin'?" Jasper asked, his sweet, calm, crooked smile in place. He seemed to be the only one that wasn't suffering from exhaustion.
"No idea," Alice and I muttered, both breaking out into wide yawns.
Edward chuckled, sitting down beside me, and pulled me to him. "Close your eyes, baby. It's okay."
I wasn't about to argue that command because he was warm and smelled like sunshine, coffee, and just Edward. My head fell to his chest, and my body curled to his side, and I wasn't sure I even took two deep breaths before I was out.
I wasn't sure how long I slept, all warm and cozy and pressed to Edward's side, but I was jerked awake when the driveway alarm sounded shrilly throughout the house. I gasped, sitting up straight and gripping Edward's T-shirt as everyone poured out of their rooms, including Esme.
Jasper shot up from his chair, ran down the hall, and I could hear the sound of the attic ladder being yanked down in a hurry. The rumbling of his running feet thundered overhead.
"Ed!" he called, and Edward shot up from the sofa. "It's a local cop, man. He's coming down the drive in an SUV."
"Fuck," Edward breathed, running a hand through his hair. "Girls...all of you get back into one of the back bedrooms. Don't make a sound. If this fucker sees Bella, it's all over. Go!" he ordered, pointing down the hallway.
"You, too," I urged, tugging on his sleeve. "They're looking for you, too, Edward!"
He just shook his head, pulled his gun from his waistband, and pressed his lips to mine. "I'll be fine. I love you. Go, baby, and stay quiet!" he hissed against my lips.
Before I turned the corner of the hallway, where Makenna was tugging my arm to get me to move, I watched as Edward hid behind the front door, looking deadly as he raised his gun. Emmett positioned himself in the kitchen – also with gun in hand and out of sight, even if someone were to look straight inside. Esme was placed by the door, ready to open it, with Jasper visible behind her. Mickey had bolted up to the attic to watch everything from above, letting Rose shut her in up there.
I took one last look at Edward, poised behind the door, and our eyes locked. A gut-wrenching, knee-buckling, stomach-clenching fear wracked my entire frame, and suddenly, I was so very afraid. He was everything strong and good, and nothing could happen to him, but the dread that I was feeling just made me start toward him.
"Edward," I breathed, my brow wrinkling.
"No, Bella," he whispered, shaking his head, his face fierce with the command. "Go, baby." He pointed toward the hall behind me. My mouth opened to argue, but he shook his head again, his gaze softening just a bit when he mouthed, "I love you. I'll be fine. I promise."
It took everything I had to turn away from him, but I did, following the girls. Rose and Alice chose the bedroom closest to the front door so they could crack the window to hear what was going on. We all slid down to sit underneath the windows, and Rose and I pulled out our guns. Despite the fact that we were prepared for it, we all jumped when the knock pounded on the door.
I heard the front door open, and all I could think to myself was, Please don't see Edward...please don't see Edward. I chanted it over and over in my head, sort of like a prayer, because I couldn't be found. The police would take me away, handing me over to the FBI, and even Ben said they couldn't protect me like Edward's team could, and there was no way in hell I was getting separated from my girls – or Edward, for that matter. My father could testify all he wanted, but there was not a chance in hell I could face Miller or King.
"Good afternoon, ma'am," we heard from the doorway. "My name is Seth Clearwater. I'm with the Trinity Sheriff's Department. I was just going door to door, asking a few locals and vacationing folk a few questions. I don't know if you've seen the news, but a missing girl was rumored to have been spotted up here, and the FBI has asked us to look into it."
"Really?" Esme gasped. "I haven't heard anything about it, but then again, I don't watch much TV."
"I understand, ma'am," the sheriff chuckled, "but would you mind at least taking a look at a few pictures?"
"No, not at all."
I heard shuffling around, and Esme sighed, sounding forlorn, but I knew it was all an act. "No, Sheriff, can't say that I have seen them."
My eyes widened, and I looked over at Rose. "They have a picture of Edward?" I breathed, barely making a sound.
She shrugged as she put a finger to her lips so we could listen at the same time that Alice's laptop pinged softly from the floor. She crawled to it, but I listened to the sheriff again.
"What about you, sir? Have you seen them?"
"Nope," Jasper drawled. "Not at all. But then again, I haven't really left the cabin since we arrived."
The sheriff chuckled again. "I'm sorry to have to bothered you, but if you see them, could you please give me a call?"
Rose, Mack, and I all scrambled to peek up over the window sill.
The sheriff was young, tall, and looked to be of American Indian decent. He had a sweet smile as he shook Esme's hand, tipping his hat before walking back out to his truck. His cell phone rang, and he stopped to speak on it, leaning on his truck.
"Carlisle emailed," Alice whispered, her eyes wide.
"What'd he say?" I asked, leaning over her shoulder to read it, and my mouth fell open.
On my way to you now! Do not leave until I get there.
My heart plummeted because as I realized the urgency behind Carlisle's email, the driveway alarm sounded again. Looking carefully out the window, Rose and I gasped because the sheriff hadn't left yet, which meant we were about to get more company.
The bedroom door flew open, and Edward and Emmett waved us to them, pressing fingers to their lips for us to stay quiet. Jasper ran passed us, yanking down the attic door in the ceiling so we could see Mickey.
Her eyes were wide as she whispered, "Four SUVs...all black, turning in the driveway. They should be here by n—"
Before the word "now" could leave her mouth, shots rang out from the front yard. Emmett darted back into the room that my girls and I had been hiding, peeking out the curtain.
"Fuck me, that sheriff is dead," he whispered. "A dozen or so goons in the front yard...ten or so heading to the back..."
"It's time to go," Edward growled.
"We can't," Alice hissed, grabbing his arm. "Your dad just emailed. He said to stay put until he got here."
"Fuck!" Edward hissed, looking around the hallway, where we were all waiting for his instructions. With flared nostrils and gritted teeth, he pointed to Jasper. "Get up there; get guns in those girls' hands now! Mickey, get your ass down here. We're about to see if this drill of yours and Emmett's is worth a shit. Let's go!"
Alice and Makenna scrambled up into the attic to join Jasper. Mickey darted down the hall to the front window, where she set up a rifle.
Emmett bolted down the hall into the room he'd been staying in and came out with a handful of headsets, passing them out to everyone. We immediately put them on. He then grabbed Rose's hand, both of them pulling out their guns.
Edward tugged my hand and rushed us into his bedroom. He dove into his closet, pulling out a duffle bag and tossing it on the bed. He pulled out two more guns, handing one to me.
"You..." he growled, giving me no room for argument. "You will not leave my side. Do you hear me?" he asked, and I nodded fervently.
Checking the Glock he handed me and making sure that it was loaded and tucked into my back, I looked up at him. "Are we going outside?" I asked.
"Yeah," he answered with a nod, pocketing several clips, pulling a black baseball cap on backwards, and slinging the bag over his shoulder. He turned to me, slipping his hands into my hair and pressing his forehead to mine. "No arguing, Bella. Just follow me, and do what I tell you, okay?" he asked, but before I could answer him, his mouth was on mine, kissing me too roughly, too desperately.
We both spun when one of the perimeter alarms sounded. We left the bedroom, heading for the kitchen door, and Edward tapped his ear piece. "Open radio. I want to hear every last fucking thing! Got me?"
"Sir!" they all called out.
Edward took his gun in one hand and my hand in the other, and we we got ready to slip carefully out the back door – into what...I had no idea.


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