Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Perdition Chapter 14

Once we finish reviewing the documents Sue and Seth gathered and we devise a somewhat basic plan of immediate actions to take, everything seems to happen simultaneously.

We decide that Edward and I will have no contact with each other publicly. This includes me refraining from going to the diner during his regular lunch dates with Malone.

Sue checks our phones for bugs, and instructs Edward and I how to perform these checks ourselves, as well as inspecting my apartment daily for any listening devices. Since we can't see each other publicly, we start spending a considerable amount of time talking with each other on our cell phones.

We decided it wouldn't be prudent to report the break-in at my apartment. Since we’re unaware of who’s loyal to Charlie, we can't trust anyone in the department.

While working at the Dead End, I’ll write down information after each of my shifts, noting the make of the vehicle for the keys I've stolen, and as much as I can remember about each customer whose keys I take.

I get a hysterical call from Sue three days after our conversation, telling me that she and Harry were just in a car accident. Harry has a broken nose from hitting the steering wheel, but Sue is fine. The part that has her terrified is that the brakes just went out completely; no matter how hard he pumped them, the car wouldn't stop. Luckily they weren't travelling very fast, or it would've been worse. If they'd had a newer car, the airbags would've prevented Harry's broken nose. All in all, she's shaken up and worried for all of us. I urged her to report the accident to her contact at the FBI, and she agreed.

I can't help but look over my shoulder everywhere I go, despite the fact that I think Jacob is in Seattle. He has plenty of worker bees happy to follow me around and report back to him. I visit Sue and Harry, bringing a potted plant as a get well gift, and she hugs me for a very long time.

“I haven't been able to reach Seth since the accident, so he doesn't know what’s going on."

I try to get the image of Harry's bruised face out of my head, but now I'm worried about Seth as well as the rest of us.

Edward and I text each other, discussing the idea of his parents taking Mallie out of the city, between the tension in town and the car accident. He tells me he'll talk to them and get back to me. I happen to be at the diner one night when a note is dropped on my table by a dark haired guy in a leather jacket, who just keeps walking out the door. I jump up and follow him, but he gets on a motorcycle and takes off down the street, the loud noise of the exhaust reverberating between the businesses.

I go back to the table, picking up the piece of wrinkled paper and looking at it. Hands shaking, I drop it, watching with barely focused eyes as it flutters to the floor. Sinking into my seat, I put my head in my hands and try to remember how to breathe in and out. I jump when I feel a hand on my shoulder, looking up into the concerned face of Angela.

“Hey, Bella. Are you okay? What happened?”

I bend and retrieve the note, handing it to her without a word. She takes it, but continues to stare at me for a minute. Finally, she looks down.

“Wouldn't it be a shame if Edward's brakes went out like Harry's?” she reads aloud. “What the fuck? What have you gotten yourself into this time, Bella?” she demands in exasperation.

I watch as she sits across from me before answering. My head is throbbing and my throat is parched. I swallow thickly. “I've talked everything out with Edward,” I say quietly. "I don't know how they found out, but it looks like someone is pissed off," I murmur.

“Who?” She leans closer. “The ones you won't tell me about?”

I look at Angela, with her porcelain skin and dark, straight hair. Her glasses frame her brown eyes, and she's biting her upper lip.

I sigh, the sound dredged up from the recesses of my soul. “Yeah. I guess he's reminding me of my place, and who he thinks I belong to.”

“Well, what are you going to do? Edward has to keep Mallie safe.” Her fingers worry the edges of the paper she's still holding.

“We've planned for it, but it needs to be sooner, I guess. His parents are going to take her away for a little while. They've got family in Alaska.”

We're leaning toward each other across the formica tabletop as we speak, but we both jump as the door is slammed open so hard the bell crashes to the floor with a cacophony. A frighteningly skinny woman strides in, her blonde hair over-processed and greasy. She has so much jewelry on that she jingles as she walks, a deranged reindeer with no sleigh. Her makeup is overdone and smeared in a few places, the liner smudged under her eyes and her lipstick bleeding at the corners of her lips. She’s wearing this ridiculously short, and I mean you could see her panties if she’s wearing any, leopard print mini dress with matching platform heels. If I didn't know better, I’d think there’s a prostitution ring in Forks. She marches up to the counter and starts yelling, and nobody in a five mile radius could miss what she's saying.

My eyes widen on Angela, because just as she spews her verbal vomit over the counter, I recognize her.

“Where the fuck is my brother-in-law? He's always here, ain't he? You hidin’ his ass in the back or what?”

I frantically text Edward as the cashier cowers.

Rose is at the diner looking for you!

His reply is swift.

Uncle suffered ‘heart attack’. Mom and Dad heading up with M now.

I know this is his cover story, and I sigh in relief. Rose is still shouting, and I finally hear the kitchen door squawk open. Sue looks ready to kick ass and take names as she charges down the aisle between booths. Dinner and a show, goody.
“Hale, you get your scrawny ass the fuck out of my diner!” Sue bellows. Several patrons hunch over like she's the school marm scolding us all.

Rose turns like she's moving in slow motion and glares in Sue's direction. “It's Mrs. King, and what’re you gonna do? Call the law?” she snickers.

Sue's hands prop on her hips. “I take care of my own. Now get out, before I yank your cheap extensions out of your head and whip you with them!”

Rose snarls at Sue, and I'm starting to wonder if I should stand up and take a side when Edward comes silently in the door. It's surreal to not hear the bell and its merry chime.

“What do you want, Rosalie?” he demands. He looks every bit the avenging angel, which is so hot by the way, and things are rapidly clicking into place in my brain at this showdown.

“My daughter, you bastard. Where is she?”

My daughter is out of town with her grandparents. Why are you really here?” I watch a muscle tic in his cheek, and she crosses her arms and taps her foot.

“I want full custody. I can do that, you know, she's mine.”

“You can't do that, either. Let me refresh your drug-erased memory for you, Rosalie. You will never get custody due to the fact that you legally revoked any parental claim to my daughter. Now… for the last time, what are you doing here?” Edward moves closer to her, keeping his hands in his pockets. I know I'd be tempted to deck her.

“Look, I just want you to know I filed. Your time is up.” She pushes past him, stalking out the open door and disappearing on the dark sidewalk.

Edward looks to me, and I nod as he makes his way to the kitchen. Sue loudly tells everyone the show’s over and takes up a position behind the counter like a sentry. I get up slowly and saunter into the kitchen where Edward is waiting for me.

“We need to talk,” he starts.

He looks flustered, and I can't blame him. “Malone is Rose's daughter,” I state. I slip my hands in my pockets to avoid soothing him as instinct demands.

“She's also Emmett's daughter,” he says.

“I figured that out.”

“I thought- you didn't think she was mine and Rose's after that display?” he asks anxiously.

I shake my head and finally decide to touch him, running my hands through his thick hair as I lean against his firm chest and tilt my head to look at him. “I still know you better than that. You wouldn't have been with Rosalie Hale four years ago, much less any time recently.”

Edward exhales into my hair. “Can I just hold you for a minute? I promise I'll explain, but for just one minute, can I pretend nothing’s changed?”

I nod my head in agreement, and his mouth crushes to mine in a heated kiss, stealing my breath. So much more than merely holding me, Edward tangles his hands in my hair as his tongue presses into my mouth. His lips move hurriedly, surely afraid that I'll go up in a puff of smoke and leave him again. I groan in my throat as his hands wander down to cup my ass and press me against the hardness I feel growing in his pants.

The door behind us opens and Sue returns to the kitchen. She laughs when she sees us tangled together.

“You really need to be careful who sees you two,” she warns.

Edward has loosened his hold, but he doesn't let go yet. His lips touch mine in a gentle kiss before he steps away completely.

“We need to talk,” he repeats.

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