Friday, April 29, 2011

CBWR? Chapter 65

Authors’ notes:
This chapter is all the fault of your twitter people encouraging me to do stuff I shouldn’t.  You know who you are.  It probably ought to have been beta’d.  I’ll fix it tomorrow.
 I knew it wasn’t right.
Chapter 65:
Bella was still pretty groggy when we got to Paris.  I half walked/half carried her into the lobby and sat her down in an overstuffed chair while I checked in.  The hotel I had chosen was just down the street from the Eiffel Tower.  I remembered how she had looked at it when we were here before, and I asked for a room with a good view of it.  At first, the lady at the desk tried to discourage me – those rooms were expensive.  Once I set her straight on that deal by handing her my shiny black credit card, we got the pick of the entire hotel.
When we walked into the room, Bella was instantly awake.
The hotel had an odd, triangular shape to it – very modern for the rest of the area we were in.  Our room was on one on the angles, and as you walked in, the suite doors opened into the bedroom, which was two whole walls of glass, meeting at an angle on the far side.  The bed was in the center, and the lights of Paris were shining through the windows and making the whole room glow with light.
The view of the tower was nothing short of spectacular.
Bella went to the window and looked out at the giant landmark with the light from the setting sun making it glow in the distance.  I ran my hand through my hair and just watched her as she marveled over it.  She turned back to me and her eyes were glowing.  My heart started to beat faster, which was really starting to make me wonder if I didn’t need a complete physical once all this was over.
“It’s beautiful,” Bella said.  She walked back over to me and tossed her arms casually around my neck.  It felt…weird.  Good weird.  Like they were supposed to be there, but since nothing else was ever supposed to be there before…well, I didn’t understand it, but I liked it.
I put my arms around her waist and gave me a half smile.  I tried not to focus on her lips too much, though I really did want to kiss her again.  I was also kind of wondering if she hadn’t wised up on the trip over here, and would maybe tell me she didn’t want anything to do with me anymore.
Actually, I kind of waited for her to tell me that about every thirty seconds or so. 
Maybe she wouldn’t say anything.   Maybe I’d just come back from getting ice or something and she just wouldn’t be here anymore.  For some reason, I remembered my mother fiddling around with the rabbit ears on top of the television in the trailer the day I went to school in the morning, and when I came back that afternoon she gone.  She didn’t say anything to me as I got my book bag and walked to the bus stop, but I remembered her yelling at the TV.  It was the last time I saw her.
“Why do you look so sad?” Bella suddenly asked. 
“I’m not,” I replied.
“What were you thinking about?”
“Um…my mom, I guess,” I said with a shrug.
“What about her?”
“Nothing, really.”
That answer apparently wasn’t good enough, because she kept on me until I told her more.
“I was just thinking about the day they left,” I finally admitted.
“Why?” Bella asked.  “What did she say?”
“Nothing,” I told her.  “She was trying to get the TV to work.  She didn’t say anything to me.”
“Did you ever see her again?”  Bella’s eyes had narrowed and her brow was all furrowed up.  She looked like she was upset, and I didn’t want her feeling that way.  Not about me.  It just wasn’t worth it.
“I didn’t have to share the TV all afternoon,” I said with a smile.  Bella did not return the smile, but instead, her hand reached up and brushed over my cheek.
“There was something wrong with her, Edward,” Bella said softly.  “Not you.  You were just a kid.  Moms aren’t’ supposed to be like that.”
I didn’t know what to say to that, so I didn’t say anything.  I never really noticed anything wrong with her.  It was just a shit situation – we didn’t have any money or anything, so she did what she could, I guess.   That’s why I started running guns in the first place – the money was fucking incredible.  It still was.
I kind of wondered if I had gotten a job before they left and brought in some money…well...maybe they wouldn’t have gone.
Bella’s eyes dropped down to my lips, and a moment later she had risen up on her toes to reach me.  I let her tongue run over mine as my hand ran up her back, holding her close to me.  We stood there for a moment, just kissing gently and holding each other.  It was strange, like Bella throwing her arms around me was strange.  I had just never done something like this – just kissed.  I never would have even considered it before.
Before her.
Her arms slid down to my shoulders and she pulled at me until her she sat back on the bed.  She looked up at me and smiled the most incredible smile I had ever seen.  It was beautiful, and sexy, and lovely, and just…just…joyous.
I crawled into the bed after her, crawling up her body as she lay backwards on the bed.  My mouth found hers again, and she tangled her fingers in my hair and pulled me close to her. 
I knew it wasn’t right.
I knew it wasn’t good.
But I really, really wanted it, right?
Chapter end notes:
Thanks to all the tweet peeps who reminded me the word I wanted was LANDMARK.  I appreciate that.
Why does Edward in this always make me think of the Nine Inch Nails Song “Kinda I Want To”?

CBWR? Chapter 64

Author’s notes
O...k...I'll try posting it again!  LOL 

Here’s another one for ya!
If you are not getting alerts, make sure you check your junk email.  Also make sure you didn’t just sign up, but clicked the link that was sent to you in the first email, too.  If you didn’t get that, try it all over again. Hehehe
I sucked at this.
Chapter 64
I made my third pass around the train, and I still didn’t see any sign of the guy who had been following us before, but I wasn’t stupid enough to think he couldn’t have any friends.  We changed trains when we stopped in Stuttgart and headed to Luxembourg.  We bought multiple tickets again there, and switched again at the last possible minute to head back to Paris.
I had to practically carry Bella to the train car, she was so tired.  It was afternoon, and we hadn’t slept all night.  As soon as we entered the private car, I shut the door, pulled the shade down to block out the sun, and let her lay down on the seat with her head in my lap.  She was out about thirty seconds later, leaving me to think.
I was doing a lot of thinking lately, and I didn’t like it.  Not at all.
I kept thinking about some of the things Bella has said about me and trying to wrap my head around them.  I didn’t want to just tell her she was wrong, but I was pretty sure all I had really wanted was sex, because jerking off sucks and I was tired of having to deal girlfriends who were expecting more from me.  I never wanted more.  I didn’t want to take women out to movies and dinner and shit like that.  There was no interest on my part to go tour a fucking museum or go watch some concert with a woman.  I didn’t have any desire to walk in the park or go dancing.
I ran my hand over Bella’s shoulder, and she sighed in her sleep.  I remembered dancing with her…well, if you could call what we were doing dancing.  I recalled how she felt in my arms, and wondered if I would take her somewhere where there was actual music to go with it.  Of course, I didn’t really know how to dance, but I might be willing to just hold her and sway around a bit again, even though I would look like an idiot in the process. 
Maybe if I just got some decent music in a hotel room, it would be good enough.
I sucked at this.
Emmett called, and I answered quickly and quietly so it wouldn’t wake up Bella.
“Harry said he’s never heard of the guy,” Emmett told me.  “Seth either.  We’re looking for the name, but so far we got nothing.  Probably not his real name at all.  Got a picture?”
“It was dark,” I told him, “but you might be able to get an image off the security cameras.”
“I’ll get Rose on it.”
“She wants to talk to you.”
“How is Bella?” Rosalie asked.
“Not what is she doing, how is she doing, you idiot.”
“I don’t know,” I answered.  How was I supposed to answer that?
“Tell her to hang in there – she won’t have to put up with you much longer.  Let her know we’re close on the chip.  Maybe another week.”
“Okay.”  I hung up.
Another week.  Still four days past her birthday, but at least it was close.  Bella rolled slightly, and I had to keep hold of her so she didn’t fall off the bench all together.  She didn’t wake up, and I was glad.  She needed the rest.  I put my head back and closed my eyes for a minute.
One more week, and Bella could go back to her family and I could go back to my business.  As much as I wanted her to be with her family again, I hated the idea.   I didn’t want her to be nearly a whole freaking continent away from me.  I wondered what it would take to relocate to Seattle or something.  I started mentally listing all the crime businesses in the area, thought about some of the names and wondered who I would have to fuck up to make it happen.  The list in my head wasn’t bad, at least.  I’d have to do a little more research.
I pulled my phone back out, went to Google, typed in “being romantic” and hit the search key.
There was a freaking “wiki” on it.  When I was done reading it, I felt like I knew even less than I did before I looked.
I tried another one.
It didn’t help.
Frustrated, I tossed the phone on to the bench and closed my eyes again.  Everything seemed to be assuming you were in a real relationship, not that you had recently married your ex-master and were now hiding from unknown villains as you traipsed across Europe.
I picked the phone back up and Googled that, but nothing that came up made any sense at all.  One was about vampires in books, and another about Nazis.  Yeah, not working.  I sighed, wanted to just say fuck it and forget the whole thing, but then I looked down at the girl in my lap.  For once, I wanted to do something the right way.  I wanted to give her the wedding night she dreamed about, sex or not.  I wanted to make her feel wanted…cared for…lo-
No…fuck, no.  I couldn’t think like that.  It was far too fucking wrong.  Still, I wanted to do something for her.  At least get a decent hotel room and maybe some flowers and Champaign.  That seemed so trite though, and I didn’t want her to be disappointed because it was kind of boring romantic, either.  On the other hand, we’d had a little too much excitement lately.
Maybe boring was the way to go, right?
Chapter end notes:
Go ahead and google the whole sentence – “had recently married your ex-master and were now hiding from unknown villains as you traipsed across Europe”.  You know you want to.  You really will find shit about vampires and nazis.  At least, I did.
Next update – probably tomorrow.

CBWR? Chapter 63

Author’s notes:
Ready for some action?  Well…sort of.  LOL
Within about two minutes, I saw a car behind me.

Chapter 63:
For the longest time, we just looked at each other.  I contemplated the phrase making love, and wondered if I was even capable of doing such a thing.  I knew fucking, but I hadn’t watched enough chick flicks to understand how they were different.  Bella would know, though, but I didn’t want to ask her.  I wanted to…prove I could do it.  For her.
So what made it different?
It should be slow, I figured.  And it should be someplace nice, and someplace where she was safe, and I didn’t have to worry about someone showing up in the middle of the night.
“Bella, we have to get out of here,” I said.
“That guy who was here – he was probably just a customer, but having anyone know where you are isn’t safe.  We need to get out of here.”
I leaned in and brushed my lips over hers once again.
“I will give you the wedding night you want,” I promised her.  “I’ll make it good – I swear I will.  Just not now and not here.”
Bella’s eyes studied mine for a minute before she nodded.  I dragged us both out of the bed and started throwing shit into the suitcases we had brought.  I watched Bella carefully tuck the little castle snow globe in a nest she made out of one of her shirts.  She also packed what looked like a white shirt box into her bag.  I remembered it from the hotel in Paris, but hadn’t thought to ask about it.
“What’s in there?”
Bella smiled and bit down on her lip.
“You’ll see,” she responded cryptically.
I narrowed my eyes at her, but didn’t really have the time to get into it.  Maybe I’d ask again once we were in the car.  I threw the rest of my stuff in my bag, holstered my gun under my jacket and started putting things in the car.  Bella followed me out with her bag, and we headed down the driveway in the dark.  Once I got to the main road, I looked around and didn’t see any more cars, which made sense at four in the morning.  I pulled out and headed towards the train station. 
Within about two minutes, I saw a car behind me.
I’d been going at a pretty decent clip, and they would have had to be going faster to have caught up with me, but once they were in my sights, they stayed about the same distance behind me.  Not good.  I grabbed the phone and called Rosalie.
“I just got out of the shower and I’m going to bed,” she quipped over the phone.
“I’m getting Bella out of here,” I told her.  “We had a visitor, and now I’ve got a trailer.”
I told her about Lee Stephens, and she agreed she had never heard the name before.  She yelled to Emmett to contact Harry Clearwater and see if he really knew him or not.
“I need the train schedules for Dilsberg,” I told Rose.  “Whatever one will get us out of Germany the fastest.”
I looked back behind me.  The headlights were still in plain view – no closer, no farther away.
“Make that two trains heading to two different countries.”
Rose gave me the info, which I repeated to Bella and she wrote down.
“I’ll get the tickets ordered for you,” Rose told me.  “Once we hear back from Harry or Seth I’ll call you back.”
She hung up, and I increased my speed.  The headlights went out of view, but only for a minute before they were back again.
“What do we do?” Bella asked, sounding a little panicked.  I reached over and grabbed her hand.  Her fingers wrapped around mine.
“We get on one train, hope whoever is behind us gets on it, too, then we get off and get on the second one instead.  We’ll have to move fast.”
I saw her nod in my peripheral vision.  I sped up again, and we were rally flying now, but the car remained the same distance away from us.  I slowed down, and they didn’t get any closer.  We rode in silence the short distance to the Dilsberg train station, and I parked the car right up by the front door, where we abandoned it.  The other car passed us up, turning slowly into the parking lot.
“Come on,” I said as I took Bella’s hand and dragged her through the station.  I bought both sets of tickets, using some of my more colorful German words when the guy in the booth asked why I was getting tickets to two countries on trains that were leaving five minutes apart.  He backed down, gave me the tickets, and we headed towards the platforms next to the lines of trains.
I scouted out the train that left second and would head to Switzerland, finding it already waiting four platforms away from the first train, which would take passengers to Lichtenstein.  We had about twenty minutes until the first one was scheduled to take off, so I walked Bella slowly up and down random platforms – watching for anyone who might have been following us.
He wasn’t hard to find.  There weren’t a huge number of passengers looking for transportation at this time of night, and he stood out just because he wasn’t looking around at train schedules or even carrying a bag.  Amateur.
It wasn’t Stephens, because he was way too short and lanky.  I considered finding a place to just off him before we left, but there really wasn’t time.  I doubted he was going to actually follow me into a men’s room anyway.  I led Bella to the train heading for Lichtenstein, and we boarded at the very front of the train, which was the farthest from the station, and then began walking slowly down the cars until we reached the back.  The guy was still behind us, leaning over the edge and smoking a cigarette, but watching us closely. 
Damn, I wanted a cigarette.
We stopped at the second to last car, standing just outside the little siding door to the area when you could sit and relax.  Yeah, we were doing a lot of relaxing right now.  Bella hadn’t said anything, but she knew I was watching the guy, and she kept twisting her fingers around themselves and biting her lip.  I leaned over and kissed her lightly, whispering that it would be all right, even though I knew it wasn’t the very best of circumstances.
The conductor announced that the train was leaving.
I grabbed Bella’s hand and raced to the edge and the stairs that led off the train and back onto the platform.  I glanced behind me and saw the guy toss his cigarette down and start running towards us.  With Bella’s hand in mine, we jumped from the train just as it started to move, landing on the platform below just as the conductor started yelling at us.  Bella stumbled, and I had to drop the bag I was carrying to keep her from falling.  I looked over my shoulder and saw our trailer arguing with the conductor, who was holding him back as the train began to leave.  He shoved the conductor hard, and I started to run, leaving the bag behind me with all mishit in it, mentally taking note of what was inside and figuring none of it really mattered.
We raced up the platform to the middle of the station, over to the platform of the train for Switzerland, and got to the first car just as the conductor was starting to shut the gate.
It was all going to be good now, right?

Chapter end notes:
See?  He does know what he’s doing…sometimes!
I should be able to get one more update out today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

CBWR? Chapter 62

Author's Notes:
Really late, but still techinically today!  And it's a long one. Hope that makes up for it.
“Why…how can you…want this?”

Chapter 62:
The muscles in my arms tightened, bringing her closer to my chest.  I listened to her sigh, and felt her warm breath against my skin.  I kept my eyes closed, just holding her until she decided she didn’t need me anymore.  She wouldn’t need me – not much longer, anyway.  Another ten days and we would likely be able to return to the States.  I would be able to take her home.
No, I wouldn’t.
I would have to have someone else take her home.  How would Daddy Cop react if he saw me bringing his long-lost daughter home to him?  I had a pretty good idea, and only really wondered if he’d shoot off my balls first or go straight for the kill.
Bella’s head moved, and I opened my eyes to find her looking at me.  My chest tightened up again, and I had to force myself to swallow, though it still felt like there was something lodged in my throat.  Her eyes were still red, but her tears had dried on her cheeks, making strands of her hair stick to her skin.  I reached up and pushed the stray hairs from her face, tucking them behind her ear and out of the way.
Bella glanced down, and her tongue popped out and licked her lower lip.  This served to remind me exactly how her lower lip had tasted, and how it felt when her tongue was in my mouth.
I swallowed hard again.
Her hand came from around my neck and rested against my jaw.  Her fingers rubbed against the rough stubble on my cheek, reminding me how badly I needed to shave.  Her touch was also reminding me about earlier in the evening, what she had wanted, and what she had said when I refused her.
Her eyes were on mine, and I felt the gentle pressure of her hand on my face, pulling me closer to her.  As much as I knew it was the wrong thing to do, I moved with her touch until my lips were against hers, slowly kissing her wile I held her close to me.  I tilted my head slightly trying to get closer…to taste more of her.  I wanted more of her…all of her…anything she would be willing to give me.
My breathing was coming far too fast, and I was overwhelmed.  I didn’t understand anything I was feeling, and thoughts just weren’t all that forthcoming.   Whatever thoughts I did have just conflicted with what I was feeling.  The vast majority of me just wanted to lay back and do whatever she wanted, because my whole body was just drawn closer to her the more we touched – the more we kissed.  I had never really spent time kissing a woman before – it was only a prelude to getting off.  But this…this I could do all night.
I still didn’t understand her reasoning, and as much as that part of me wanted to just say “fuck it” and go with whatever the hell was happening here, there was the other, albeit smaller part that wanted answers.  Needed answers.  As much as it was physically painful to do so, I pulled back from her, kissing her lips softly just a couple more times before I looked into her eyes.
“Why?” I asked softly, just trying to make some kind of sense out of any of this, and figuring it was a hopeless task.  I knew why I wanted her – it was far too obvious – but I didn’t understand why she wanted me.   Not at all.
“Why what?”
“Why…how can you…want this?”
The backs of her fingers brushed my cheekbone.  She brought her mouth back to touch me briefly, gently running her lips over mine.  I let my hand glide down her side until it rested on her hip.
“Because I can see the man inside of you,” she whispered back.  “He’s not what he tries to show everyone else.  He’s not even what he thinks he is.  He wasn’t trying to do anything…evil.”
Even as I kissed her again, I didn’t believe her.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” I said with my lips still against hers.  “I can’t make up for what I’ve done to you.”
“But you have tried,” she responded.  Her fingers twisted into my hair and she pulled me hard against her mouth.  I felt her tongue on my lips, and I welcomed it…craved it…longed for it.
I would never be able to refuse her again.  It just wouldn’t be possible.
“I know what you really wanted,” she told me.
I felt that lump in my throat again.
“I wanted sex.”
“No, you didn’t, Edward,” she corrected me.  “That’s not what you wanted at all.”
“It isn’t?”
She slowly shook her head from one side to the other.
“You wanted someone to stay with you,” she said.  “You wanted someone you could trust – who you knew wouldn’t leave.  That’s not a bad thing to want, Edward.  You just didn’t know how to find that without doing something stupid.”
I couldn’t argue with the last part, but I narrowed my eyes a little.  This was not something I wanted to think about, not even inside of my own head.   Yeah, I was tired of girlfriends getting sick of me and bailing, but that wasn’t why I did this.  I just…I just didn’t want to…to…I wanted sex, and I didn’t want to have to…to…
Fuck it.  I had no fucking idea anymore. 
Besides, we weren’t supposed to be talking about me here.  I didn’t want to think about my reasons for shit – I knew why I wanted her.  She was beautiful and soft, and she made me stop smoking for a while to get more Asian noodles.  When she smiled or laughed, it made me want to smile and laugh, too.  When she cried, I wanted to make her feel better.
But I was responsible for her tears, and I couldn’t reconcile that in my head with her gentle touches over my face and shoulders.
“I don’t understand,” I admitted.  I just couldn’t leave it alone – I needed…something.  Answers?  I didn’t really know.  Justification, maybe.  My hand stroked against her cheek, and I loved how soft she felt against my skin.  “How can you…want this?  With me…with anyone?  After everything that’s happened.  How?”
She was silent for a moment, looking down and away from me as she finally spoke, her voice trembling.
“I don’t want what…what we did before.  What they did to me.”
Her eyes flashed quickly back to me.
“I will never, ever do that again!”  Her voice was still quiet, but full of all the hate and venom I would have expected.  She took a deep, stuttering breath.  “I won’t do that again.”
I had no doubt what she meant.  Part of me wanted to ask her just how often – how many times she had been forced to perform orally until she got it “right,” but I really didn’t think I could handle the answer.  Actually, I was completely sure I couldn’t handle it.  Just thinking about it made me nauseous.
How did she even cope?
I took her face in both of my hands.
“I would never ask you to,” I told her.  “Never.”
She looked up at me and studied my face.  Maybe she was trying to decide if I meant it or not, and I could only hope she would believe me.  Finally, she nodded.
“Good.”  Her forehead dropped back to my chest, and I held her close again.
I held her again while my head spun in a complete circle a couple of dozen times.  I was so fucking confused, I would have been hard pressed to try to put my feet on the floor and not end up on the ceiling. 
“I won’t do that again,” Bella repeated with her head still tucked against me.  “But it’s not the same thing.  I don’t want that…I want something else.”
“I know,” I answered.  “But it still…doesn’t seem right.”
She should hate me, not want me.
“We’re married, aren’t we?” Bella suddenly asked.
“Yeah, I guess we are.”  I gave her one of my championship shrugs.  “Technically.”
“But we didn’t have a normal wedding night.”
“Not…really.”  How was I supposed to argue with that?  Straight from the chapel to the killing fields, then jump on a plane to go into hiding on another continent?  Happy wedding day to you!  Yeah, there were easily a dozen other marriages that happened just like that in the same week.  Not.
“Maybe it’s a girl thing,” Bella said with a slight smile.  “You get this idea in your head about what it will be like.  I guess life is never quite like your dreams.”
I knew what she meant.  I’d turned her dreams into nightmares.  Again, I wanted to take it all back, and again I was powerless to do so.  I could not change the past, and I couldn’t clear her mind of what she had suffered.
“What did you think it would be like?” I asked.
“Your wedding night.”
“Oh.” Bella danced the tips of her fingers over my chest.  “Not being dragged across the Atlantic for a murder spree, and then spending hours in a train car, that’s for sure!”
I recoiled a bit, and then glanced back at her.  There were tears in her eyes for the hundredth time.  Like a total moron, I went and opened my mouth again.
“I’ll give you whatever kind you want.”
She looked to me as she wiped the back of her hand over her cheek.
“Whatever kind of what?” she asked.
“Wedding night,” I said.  “I know it’s a little belated, but I’ll give it to you.”
Her eyes widened and then narrowed in thought.  My heart was beating faster than I ever recalled it doing before, and I opened my mouth to take it all back – try to pass it off as some kind of bad joke – but that’s not what came out of my mouth at all.
“I’ll stay with you, if that’s what you want,” I told her.  “Or I can go sleep on the couch if you want to be alone.  Or I’ll…I’ll give you a real wedding night.”
“What does that mean?”
Even as the words were trying to leave my mouth, I knew they were going to be about as dumb as trying to spread peanut butter on Wonder bread with the flat end of one of those big-ass screwdrivers everyone always has in their garage, even though no one ever has any screws that are big enough to be screwed with that sized driver.  It would make a damn big mess, though – wouldn’t it?  Kind of like what usually comes out of my mouth.
“I’ll make love to you, if that’s what you want,” I said.
My throat tightened up, but self-strangulation was to come way too late.
Bella turned her head to look up at me again.  For the longest time she just stared, until I was starting to feel like that guy in the human zoo from Slaughter House Five.  I wondered if there was any way I could do a little time-jumping around and maybe take some of the shit I spewed back into my mouth.  It didn’t work in that book, though, so I guess I was screwed.
“Do you even know how to make love?” she asked.
I closed my eyes and paused while I tried to find a way to remain silent.  I had no idea how to answer her.  My skin started to feel too tight for my insides, and there was this weird pressure behind my eyes, and I didn’t know what to make of it.  Finally I opened them again, and just went with what was as close to truth as I could muster.
“I don’t know,” I told her.  “I’ve never tried.”
The backs of her fingers stroked my face again.
“So it would be a first for you, too?”  Her voice was so quiet I could hardly hear her.
“Yeah.”  My voice was nothing more than breath through my lips.
If she really wanted it, it was okay, right?
Chapter End Notes:

Well, you've been right so far, right?  Err....right?


Is he really capable of understanding her perspective?  Would anyone in his position be capable of understanding?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CBWR? Chapter 61

Author’s Notes:
Surprised/impressed about how many people identified Lee Stephens as the Biology kid who also passed out during blood typing.  I didn’t recall ever seeing him in a FF, so I thought he deserved his chance!
“I’m a fucking idiot, and I’m sorry.”

Chapter 61:
I watched Bella’s eyes as they slowly dropped to the ground.  I could see by how red they were, and I knew she had been crying, but I had to push that out of my head for now.  Her posture changed immediately as she spoke.
“I’m sorry…sir,” she said.  I did a little mental happy dance that she was on the same page as me.  She glanced up at Lee and then back at the ground again.  “I didn’t know there was a…a guest.”
“He’s not here to see you,” I said.  “Get back to bed.”
“Yes, sir,” she responded.  She turned and quickly went back inside, shutting the door behind her.
I looked back to Lee as I took another long drag, trying to gauge his reaction.  His eyes were still on the closed door, but when he looked back to me he smiled.
“Nice,” he said with a nod.
“She’s all right,” I shrugged.  I didn’t want his attention focused on her at all, so I made a quick subject change.  “Now let’s get on with this.”
We spent about a half hour talking about exactly what he wanted, what quantities, and what he might want in the future.  He certainly knew the talk, which made me think he was more likely to be a legitimate customer, but didn’t leave me completely trusting him or anything.  When everything was worked out, I walked him back to his car.
“Thanks for talking to me,” Lee said.  “And I’m really sorry if I…interrupted anything.  I didn’t really think you’d talk to me tonight.  Well, not at all, honestly.  I hoped you would, but I really didn’t mean to interrupt your…vacation.”
More nervous laughter.  Was this guy some kind of gangster fanboy?
“Don’t do it again,” I told him.  “You’re lucky I was in a good mood.”
“Yeah…um…well, thanks again.”  He held his hand out, and I just looked from the outstretched fingers back to his face, raising an eyebrow a bit.  He dropped it, nodded, and got into the car.  I watched him maneuver back down the gravel driveway before heading back inside.
I took my jacket off, but brought the gun into the bedroom.  Bella was sitting on the bed with her knees tucked up to her chest, and her arms wrapped around them.  I stopped in my tracks, not knowing what I should do.  I wanted to go to her – try to do something to make her feel better, but I also knew I was the one who upset her.  She may not have wanted anything to do with me.
There was also little time for such things, because we needed to get the hell out of here.  Legit or not, Lee Stephens was a risk, and I wasn’t going to take any risks when it came to Bella.  We needed to leave Germany as soon as possible.  Tonight.  Now.
“Who was he?”
I looked away and shook my head.
“Doesn’t matter,” I told her.  “Just some idiot looking to get his head blown off if he isn’t more careful.  He’s worked with Aro before, though.  I didn’t want him to get…suspicious.”
“I figured.”  Her tone was sharp and blunt.
“I’m sorry,” I said as I reflexively tried to run my hand through my hair, hitting myself in the forehead with the H&K in the process.  I grimaced, and Bella started laughing.  I looked up and her and smiled a little, because it was good to hear her laugh.  It only lasted a few second though, when her laughter turned back into tears.  She wiped them away quickly, and I just stood there, not having any idea what I should do.
“I’m not playing that game again, Edward,” Bella suddenly said.
I grimaced again, and then nodded.
“I didn’t know what else to do,” I tried to explain, but knew it was pointless. 
Bella put her forehead down on her knees, and I continued to stand there like the idiot I was.  I had no idea if I should just leave her in peace, which might very well be what she would prefer, especially since she had already slammed the door once, or if I could try to offer her some kind of comfort.  I wanted to do the latter, but I didn’t know if I should even go near her.
She looked back up at me, and she looked as lost and scared as she had the first night – right after her first nightmare.  The night she looked at me in horror after she realized it wasn’t just a dream.  The acid reflux came back with a vengeance, and I started to wonder if that’s really what is was.  The next thing I knew I was in the bed with her in my arms.
“I’m so fucking sorry,” I said softly as I held her against my chest.  “I didn’t want him to be suspicious…I didn’t know you were going to come out…I couldn’t think fast enough…”
I closed my eyes tight and breathed in the scent of her hair.
“I’m a fucking idiot, and I’m sorry.”
Bella’s arms went around my neck, and she held on to me tightly.  She didn’t say anything, and for the longest time I just held her, rocking back and forth a little bit.  She eventually stopped crying, and I felt her body relax against me as she sniffled.
“I’m so tired,” she whispered, and I took that as my cue to lay her down against the pillows.  I started off lying beside her, still holding her against me, but then I remembered how pissed she was.  I played a little mental tennis between stay or go, but when that stupid 80’s song started bopping around in my head in time to the tennis balls, I had to stop thinking and just ask her.
“Do you want me to leave?” I asked.
“No!” she yelled, and her grip on me tightened.  “Don’t leave.”
“I won’t,” I promised.  I shifted to my side and wrapped one arm around her shoulders and the other around her waist, holding her as close to me as I could.  “I’ll be right here.  I’m not going anywhere.”
I would be, too.  As long as she’d let me, I would be right here beside her.   No matter what else happened, I wouldn’t leave her unless she told me to.
At least I had a purpose, right?

Chapter End Notes:
*Singing* Should I stay or should I go now?  If I go there will be trouble!  If I stay it will be double!
Yeah – no winning here, huh?
I probably won’t have another update tonight – too much else going on.  See you all again tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CBWR? Chapter 60

Author’s notes:
Chapter 60???   Can you believe that??
A great big giant shout out to Fourchette, who has been doing all the blog changes you have seen!  It is awesome, and I am graphically challenged, so there is no way I could do it on my own!
I am seriously behind in reviews, emails, PMs, etc.  Sorry about that.  I’m playing attention, really!  But I probably won’t be able to respond to very many of them before the weekend.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing. 

Chapter 60:
“Considering which end of the gun is pointing at you, I think your name is a little more important here.”  I sounded calm, even to myself, but inside I was a freaking wreck.  I had no idea who this guy was.  His voice wasn’t familiar, and I couldn’t see him in the dim light well enough to determine if I knew his face.  Normally, I might not have cared that much – I would have either shot him or taken the chance, solely dependent on my mood – but I couldn’t do that now.  Bella was inside, and if anything happened to me, she’d be on her own.
“My name is Lee Stephens,” he told me.  “I know you probably don’t know me, but we have a mutual friend.  Aro Volturi?  Well, I guess he’s an ex-friend.”
He laughed nervously.
“Um…seriously,” he continued.  “I was trying to work out a deal with you, through him, when he…well…”
His feet shuffled a little on the gravel drive.  I took a half step forward and touched the back of his neck with the barrel.  He went still.
“I just want to talk business, I swear.”
“You want to explain why you showed up here, to talk whatever business you want to talk about at this time of night?”
“I wasn’t really planning on talking to you tonight,” he said.  “I heard you were in the area, and thought I’d take a chance on finding you.  You know…to maybe talk about finishing the deal with you directly?  I should have been here hours ago, but I got lost and drove around forever.  I wasn’t even sure I had the right place, but when I saw a light on…”
His nervous laugh resurfaced.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing.  The thing that sucks about it is that you can’t use it before hand.
There were probably a dozen little alarms going off in my head.  I didn’t know why I didn’t pay them any heed.  Bella was far too distracting, and I really did seem to have a hard time thinking straight when every other thought was about her, even with my gun up to some idiot who practically snuck up on me in the middle of the night.  A thousand thoughts about her safety were going through my head – killing him would require either a cleanup crew of a big-ass hole in the ground, which I did not want to dig.  I didn’t want him to even see Bella, because even knowing I was here with someone could be a threat.  At the same time, someone probably knew he was here, so killing him wasn’t the best idea, either.  He could even have a collection of thugs on the other side of the hill.
If he was really just here for a quick deal…well…it would be a lot more suspicious for me not to talk to him than it would be for me to talk to him.  Besides, if I talked to him for a while I might get an idea of he was legit or not.  If he was, I could make nice with him, talk a little business and send him on his way.  If things got a little dicey…well, I’d deal with that as it comes along.
“I can leave…come back in the morning…”
There was sweat collecting on the back of his neck, so at least I knew he was genuinely worried.  I dropped the gun slightly, but still kept it aimed at him.
“Back of the house,” I said.  I followed behind him as we walked around the corner to the back patio.  I reached over and shut the door, not wanting Bella to wake up or be seen.  I motioned with the gun for him to sit in one of the chairs, and I sat next to him and finally got a good look.  He was a tall guy, kind of burly and maybe about twenty-five.  He kind of looked like one of those suburban gang members who desperately wanted to be a bad ass, but just couldn’t quite pull it off.
“Who are you again?” I asked.
“Lee Stephens,” he said.  “I’ve been kind of an admirer of yours, I guess you would say.  I’ve done a few deals – small time stuff only, nothing that would interfere with your business or anything.   I was hoping I might be able to start using you as a supplier, to be completely blunt.”
His nervous laugh was starting to annoy the shit out of me.
“And…um…”  His hand wiped the back of his neck.  “I tried to get an appointment with you, and I couldn’t.  So, I went through Aro.”
“Maybe you should still go through Aro.”  I kept my gaze steady and right on him.
“Is that a joke or something?” he asked.
“Am I laughing?”
“Um…no…” he mumbled.  His hand rubbed at his forehead.  “Aro’s who organization got taken over.  No one’s seen him, so I kind of figured he was out, you know?”
“No, I don’t,” I said.  “I’m on vacation.”
“Oh…yeah,” he stumbled over his words.  “Shit, I’m really sorry about that.  I just…wanted to meet you…you know, start up a business relationship?  I know you can get what my clients want, and I’d like to work with you.”
“How did you find this place?”
“Word gets around,” he said with a shrug.
I leveled the H&K with his face.
“Give me a better answer,”  I demanded.  This guy was either stupid or extremely amateur.  Maybe both.
“Shit…Uh…I heard from Harry Clearwater that you had a place around here.  I do some work with his son, Seth.  They said you were out of the country – out of the States, that is – and that you weren’t too far from where I had a warehouse.  I was here anyway, so I took the chance.”
“Not good enough.”  I stood up and took a step towards him.  His hands went in the air.
“I swear!” he cried.  “Shit – really!  I only wanted to meet you!  I tried to work through the Hales and a couple of the Pack guys, and they couldn’t get me an appointment with you!  I just want to buy some guns, I swear!”
I stared at him for a moment, making sure my calm and collected exterior remained and none of my internal thoughts and worries were displayed.  His story was plausible.  I didn’t tend to take appointments for new customers – I had enough business and I was pretty exclusive.  It was entirely possible a small times dealer like this guy obviously was would go through Aro, who would place a larger order for multiple clients.  I slowly lowered myself back into my chair.
His story fit.
But I didn’t like it.
The sliding door moved.
Ah, fuck no.
Bella stepped out, her bare legs sticking out of the short robe she had wrapped around her.
It was entirely possible that this guy – whoever he was – would recognize her for what she was.  Or rather, what she was supposed to be.  If he had done business with Aro in the past, he most certainly knew.  If he realized she was not a slave, he was going to be suspicious.  If he got suspicious, Bella was in danger.
And I really, really didn’t want to dig a giant-ass hole for his body.
Aside from that, there was no telling who knew he had come out here to find me, a group of buddies nearby or not.  Having him just disappear without understanding exactly who he was could be more deadly than killing him now.  If I could convince him we could have a business relationship – which he really seemed interested in having – I could avoid the whole mess, and keep Bella safe.
But only if she understood that she had to play along.
I looked up to her and our eyes met.  I found myself hoping she really could read my mind like she implied earlier, because I needed her to act like the slave she was supposed to be.  There was only one way I could think of, aside from actual telepathy, to cue her in on what I needed her to do.
“I don’t recall giving you permission to leave bed,” I snapped at her.  My eyes narrowed and I glared in her direction as her eyes went wide.  I placed my gun in my lap, pulled out a cigarette, and lit it.  “I thought you were supposed to come trained already.”
She was going to play along, right?

Chapter End Notes:
Oh Bella…can you play nice for Eddie?   Will she be willing, even if she does realize what he’s trying to do, or is she still too pissed off at him to care?
I probably would have cracked my chin open on the keyboard if anyone had actually guessed the name of the guy who came to visit them.  Actually, just knowing that name is some pretty Twi-serious trivia.  No googling!  Do you remember who Lee Stephens is in the books?
More tomorrow!

CBWR? Chapter 59

Author’s notes:
I do have a little more info on the updates.  Basically, if I’m reading everything right, you’ll get one email update per day, regardless s of how many updates I do.  I set it to send out between 7-9:00pm Eastern US time (GMT – 5).  At this point, that’s all I got.  I tried another setting that *might* send you additional ones, but I won’t know until I post this.  Ha!
And now…on to the evilness!
A moment later, blinding headlights from a car coming up the drive burned into my retinas.

Chapter 59:
I dropped down in the plastic seat on the porch and reached out to the ground where my pack of cigarettes and lighter lay next to the brick wall.  I glanced at my watch to verify it was two minutes after midnight before I lit one and brought it to my lips.  I let the smoke into my lungs, and then blew it back out again with a big sigh.
I’d obviously fucked up again, big time.
What else was new?
I put my hand over my face and closed my eyes, thinking back to what had transpired just a couple of hours ago, and what the hell I could have done differently to make it any better.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t know what else I should have done.  If I had rejected her outright, we’d probably still be in this same situation right now.  If I had taken her to bed…
Fuck, what if I had?
I’d probably be laying there right now, with Bella in my arms, in the most intense post-coital bliss imaginable, that’s what.
I flipped the cigarette into my left hand and took another puff.  In the darkness, I could just barely see the glint off the gold band around my third finger. 
What the fuck did that mean, anyway?
I never thought I would be married, even under the circumstances that had necessitated this farce of a marriage.  As soon as Bella was safe she would go home to her parents and we’d get it all annulled or whatever.  I didn’t really even know what the whole institution of marriage was supposed to mean.  I was never going to have kids – no way in hell.  I wasn’t about to bring some kid into my fucked up life.  No one deserved that.
Bella was just a kid, really.  I’d brought her into my life, and look where that got her?  She was trying to seduce the asshole who bought her for sex, and I probably would have let her if she had just asked one more time.  If it had been anyone else in the world, I probably would have just rolled her over and fucked her on the couch.  Then I would have gotten up and left.  Maybe I would have called her again later.
Probably not.
She hadn’t even finished high school.
I wondered again why that was.
I leaned back in the chair a bit, and my fingers rubbed deep into my eyes, like maybe if I shoved my fingers into my eye sockets hard enough I’d stop thinking about all of this.  Thinking about it didn’t seem to help any, and it just left me feeling confused, stupid and useless.  My hand dropped, and I looked up into the clear fall sky.  All the stars were out, and this remote location had almost no light pollution at all, so I could see every point of light clearly.  As I stared, little flecks of light shot across the sky – tiny specks of dust blazing into a big fiery ball as it hit the atmosphere.
A moment later, blinding headlights from a car coming up the drive burned into my retinas.
The cigarette forgotten, I pulled open the patio door, grabbed the H&K and checked the clip before trying to shove it into the elastic waistband of the lounge pants, which of course didn’t work. 
Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  
I pulled my jacket out of the closet, slipped the gun into the pocket, and went back out the patio door, leaving it open as I went and silently cursing myself for being so unprepared.  A couple months of non-violence and I had already lost my touch.
The car was pulling up alongside the rental we’d brought from Heidelberg.  I watched from around the corner as the engine turned off, the dome light went on, and the driver’s side door opened.  There didn’t appear to be anyone else in the car, just a single guy who pushed himself out of the car and looked towards the house.  The light was still on in the kitchen, and he cocked his head to one side to peer in.
I moved around the edge of the house, coming up silently behind him as he walked towards the door.  I lifted the gun up and aimed at the back of his neck.
“Don’t move,” I told him.  His steps halted, but he had enough sense to not turn around.  “Put your hands up on your head and tell me who the fuck you are and what the fuck you are doing here.”
He moved slowly, holding his hands out to the side as he brought them up over his head and laced his fingers together on the top.  I couldn’t see his face, and could only tell he was a tall guy and pretty big in general.   He took a long breath, held it a second, and then breathed back out.  My fingers tensed on the trigger. 
“Edward Cullen, I presume?”
Him knowing my name wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, right?

Chapter end notes:
Ohh…yeah…evil cliffie.  Who do youthink this guy is?
He waited until past midnight to smoke!  Good Doofus!
I’ll try to update again this evening.