Once the three of them were settled in the office, with a beer – even though it was probably somewhere around noon, Annie started to brief them on the information she gathered in the town center.
“We have a couple days at most before they all return to their home. Special Agent Douchebag managed to drop that information, but he also made it clear that he didn’t quite like it that the Institute had a job in town. No matter how hard I tried to deny it, that I was here on a trip with my friend and coworker. I swear, he’d have started a pissing contest if Alice wasn’t with him,” she said as she took a sip of her beer. “Their renovations have been done and it seems that Esme’s fit for travel after they bumped up her ‘operations’.”
“That was to be expected,” Bella muttered as she downed half the bottle. “They’re the most patient, and the most impatient, family there is. I’m still not sure why they choose to return stateside though. It seemed to me that they had a perfect life in Europe. And why now? I mean, I have seen more of them in the last year than I have since I broke up with Edward. This is ridiculous. They’re up to something.”
“Well, I didn’t get more information on them, but I do have some more information about the puppy brigade hired by them for security. I caught a few of them while they were doing groceries, I could tail them without them even noticing and this is where it gets interesting. I think it was the youngest of the bunch, I heard him say that it wasn’t fair towards you, Bella, that they were going to work security for the Cullens. That even though it paid well, that they were letting go of the values they had been taught by their parents.”
“The fucker drew Seth into this?” Bella’s eyes grew large. “What the fuck!”
“The other boys said that you’d understand and that they didn’t particularly cared because you haven’t shown your face or written them in years.”
“I haven’t bothered with those dogs because that’s exactly what they’ve proven themselves to be,” Bella defended herself. “Jacob continuously expected us to get together simply because of our dads and it doesn’t work like that. He lost any respect he had from me years ago.”
“Yeah, I kinda got the jist of that as well. But seriously, I’ve seen some shitty security people but these are still kids, in it for the quick buck. They probably won’t give that much trouble,” Annie said as she took another sip of her beer. “Take them out drinking and shit.”
“I’d rather take them out and wring their necks,” she responded. “Only a few days now instead of weeks… Great. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get this over with quicker.”
“That would be awesome,” Annie smiled.
“Yeah, and while that would be very awesome, we do have to realize that we can’t cut corners on this because otherwise this thing will continue to haunt Bella and I don’t want that,” Auggie said as he was typing on his laptop and listening to the sounds. “Emmett and Rosalie are flying in from Amsterdam, their flight leaves tomorrow. Carlisle and Esme leave Italy the day after tomorrow with their son Edward via private jet, so make that three days, tops, before hell breaks loose.”
“Can’t we just stick a bomb on it?” Bella questioned.
Auggie thought for a long moment. “I think I have some people over there who owe me a favor…”
“Guys, we’re supposed to be the good guys,” Annie reminded them.
“Hey, isn’t Eyal in Italy or close? Maybe he could do it!”
“Auggie!” Annie scolded him.
“The asshole does owe me big,” Bella mused quietly.
“And what would Joan and Arthur say? It could cause an international incident and cause a shitstorm,” Annie countered.
“I’d make sure I wasn’t caught,” she replied innocently. “Their Italian cousins aren’t fans of theirs after all…”
“Yeah well, you should have thought about that plan before, it’s a little too late now.”
Bella huffed and fell onto the couch. “They really should have just gotten clearance to off them instead of trying to get to the inner network. They are so far off now it’s ridiculous. Hey, Auggie? Did they find anything on Demetri’s computer?”
“Yes,” Auggie replied after a moment of silence and typing on his computer. “If you have a moment or two, I can open the- You know what, I’m going to call the internet company,” he sounded frustrated. Well, he was. Everything worked so slow. It had taken him a long time to actually get all his emails. “Barber sent me some stuff and it’s taking far too long.”
“Hey. At least it’s something. I still had to fight with dial up when I was living here,” she pointed out. “Try working with that!”
“Oh, ouch. No,” Auggie laughed as he was on the phone with the internet company.
Bella looked over at Annie. “So you got to see pint sized bitch. I doubt she took your being old friends with Whitlock well.”
“She looked like as if she saw water burn,” Annie grinned. “Mainly because the fed was being a big flirt. But wow, she can talk. I mean, literally, your ears off.”
“Gives a new meaning to nails on chalkboard,” she retorted.
“I wanted to stuff a sock in her mouth. A dirty, smelly, poo crusty sock,” Annie took a swig of her beer. “And pull the stick out of her ass, but I’m afraid that it would turn her inside out.”
“I would bet that she will try to befriend you and then attempt to give you makeovers. How are we going to go about this once they all are in town?” she asked loudly.
“I don’t know, have Jai come over and go party all the time, just often enough for them to show their faces and then publicly break up with him? Annie will be the consoling best friend? Then maybe you can turn up on their doorstep in a drunken haze, crying your eyes out and wanting Edward? Then proceed to destroy them?” Auggie replied back, reaching for the plugs and pulled out every cable after coming off the phone with the internet company. He needed to reset the modem, and he knew it was in the room somewhere but his patience was wearing thin.
Bella didn’t like that idea much as it still put her closer to her ex than she was comfortable with. “You know, it’d be nice if your Fed friend was a bigger douche bag and tried to set us up to fail. It would work out for them, that I become single but they’re the ones handing me information. Like catching Jai being the naughty fiance.”
“I have another idea, and you’re not going to like it,” Annie said as she watched Auggie plug everything back in. She’d never seen him this desperate and for some strange reason she found it quite charming.
“On a scale of one to ten, how bad is this idea?” the girl sighed and closed her eyes in dread.
“It would totally blow every protocol out of the water and Auggie will be so against it, but I think this could work.”
Auggie sat up slowly, not liking what he was hearing. “This – would be bad if you’re leading in like that. What is your terrible suggestion Walker?”
“Pull some strings, have Whitlock’s handler tell him to expose Bella as a CIA agent investigating the Cullens.”
Bella’s eyes flew open at that and shook her head. “You’re right. You’re crazy and it’s stupid. You have any idea how dangerous that is? Because I still have ties working my way into the Volturi that exposing me like that will screw up. It would take years before we get in a similar position again, if ever. They’ll only close ranks.”
“Yeah, but what if this could grant you access in no ways possible before and take them all out?”
“Alright. Fine. You burn me. How do you intend to continue working inside?” Bella glared at her.
“No! No, this is a horrible plan, absolutely not!” Auggie objected. “This means that we have to go off book, unprotected and in unchartered territory, something we can’t control. No.”
“I agree and no way in hell is it happening voluntarily,” Bella said as she stood and moved over to the window to look out to the street. “If they do find out, it’ll be on their own. No doubt that Whitlock is more than a little suspicious already. I mean, I’m on vacation with an agent, and supposedly engaged to a well known name in CIA circuits. The spider web is going to come back around sooner or later and it’s a question of whether he will keep his mouth shut or not.”
“Fine, then we’ll go with Auggie’s plan. Be in public as much as we can, together. If we spot them, you’ll happen to get a phone call from someone telling you bad news about Jai, you make a scene, call Jai, make an even bigger scene and then we’ll go from there,” Annie suggested. “But I still think that burning you is the better option.”
“Of course you would. It would put me out of work,” she snapped at her. “Just stick me behind a desk at that point and then – then I will definitely murder someone. I think will go alphabetically.”
“Auggie comes first, he’s Anderson, I’m Walker, I don’t care.”
“Auggie is sleeping with Bella. Auggie is a nice guy. Auggie doesn’t want to get slaughtered and have Jai Wilcox clean up the mess that Bella made of Auggie. Do be kind to Auggie,” Auggie said as he turned on his laptops again. “We need to make them believe that they’re in control when they’re not. That’s all. I have an idea, and I’ll tell you more about it later, as soon as I get the emails in that I was promised because it’s in those emails.”
“Will I like this idea better than hers?” Bella asked. “The only burning I’m interested in is marshmallows.
“Oh yes,” Auggie grinned. “You’re going to love me.”
She smirked over her shoulder. “I already do. Now I’m wondering how much this one will cost me.”
“Cost you?” Auggie snorted. “I paid for this. Well, actually I cashed in on a favor. It won’t cost you anything. Trust me, you’ll love this.”
Annie looked between them, confused. “What’s the idea?”
“I’ll let you know when I have it,” Auggie said smug. “Now go do girl stuff or something. Braid each other’s hair, make a campfire or whatever. Let me work my magic.”
“Go do girl stuff he says. Do our hair. Maybe we should paint his nails when he goes to sleep later,” Bella suggested as she shoved the blinds closed and moved around the floor repeating the action.
The kitchen door opened and Charlie sauntered in carrying two containers. “Sue didn’t believe the stomach bug thing, but she made us food anyway.”
“Got you some nooky then Dad? Fun times. Keep the shades down and stay away from the windows,” she replied, passing by him.
“I didn’t get any nooky, Bells,” he rolled his eyes at her.
“And next time, please tell us when you’re leaving! I know you’re a big chief and all, that you can take care of yourself, but there’s a reason why I’m here!” Auggie called out from the office.
“Ah, he found the office.”
“Dad. What did I say?” Bella sighed, looking at him. “We aren’t here two days and they are starting their shit.”
“Stay away from the windows, got it. I know how this works,” Charlie muttered as he switched on the oven. “Did you get any visitors?”
“Just a nosey wolf making their presence known. I have no problem shoving my fist up his nose.”
“I have rifles, want to go hunting?” Charlie said with a mischievous glint in his eye.
She laughed and considered it for a moment. “It’s a thought. If they keep coming around I’ll go out and let my feeling be known. For now, I think it’s better to stay inside and watch what is said. Just don’t let any of them in at any time.”
“But I invited Sue over for dinner with Seth and Leah tomorrow night. Seth’s a good kid.” He hadn’t expected his daughter to take this so seriously. Sure, he knew what monsters the Cullens were, but the Quileutes wouldn’t do anything to harm his daughter. Especially Seth.
Auggie had made his way out of the office and leaned against the doorpost. “I think, that for the time being, you shouldn’t talk to Sue anymore. Her son works security for the Cullens and I still need to do a background check on her. I know those people on the Reservation are your friends, Charlie, but right now, we have to consider that they’re working against us.”
“And can be manipulated to think they are helping when they aren’t,” Bella added. “What have you told her about us being here?”
“The usual, Bells. You’re visiting your old father with two of your friends.”
“Okay, good,” she nodded and looked over at Annie. “You interested in stirring up some drama?”
“Depends, what do you want to do?” Annie asked as she watched Charlie put the lasagna in the oven.
Bella only smiled as she reached for her purse, “Come on. Let’s do a beer run.”
“Oh, yep, that sounds great,” Annie said nodding as she grabbed her own purse.
“I’d tell the both of you to stay out of trouble but eh,” Auggie shrugged as he walked back into the office. “You know where to find me.”
“Of course. I have some other things in mind for you too,” Bella said cheekily. “Be back soon!”
He shook his head, laughing, as he heard the door open and close and sat back down in the chair before hitting the ‘print’ button to print out the images that Barber doctored for him. Auggie didn’t need to see them, but this was vital. He then started to dig into the lives of the tribe and their kids, starting with Sue Clearwater, as she was an interest to Charlie.
“The hell are those?” Charlie asked from behind him as he took notice of the printouts. “Wasn’t Bella and Wilcox supposed be the ones together?”
“Yep,” Auggie said as he grabbed an envelope and started to put the pictures in there. “Don’t tell Annie about this, her reaction needs to be as genuine as possible,” he said with a big grin on his face.
“You’re setting her up for a slaughter, Son. Hope you know what you’re doing,” he laughed as he returned to the kitchen.
“Oh, I hope so too,” Auggie said under his breath and dialled Mercer’s number. He didn’t like the guy, but he was currently on their team so he hoped that he could talk him into doing this for the mission. It all had to look as genuine and real as possible.
It was a few days later, in attempt to calm Bella who was spitting nails about the Quileutes and Cullen’s, that she and Annie eventually found their way to Port Angeles for lunch. She was still angry over their inclusion of Seth Clearwater, and then the frequent trips past her father’s house.
“This is nice,” Annie said, musing as she was watching the people pass from their spot on the outside sitting area of the small brasserie they were at. “Drive two hours for lunch and a change of scenery.”
“It was that or I kill a few natives,” Bella murmured as she eyed the menu. “Tonight I’ll sit on the porch with Dad’s shot gun.”
“Or, you know, have your dad’s officers sit in front of your house and arrest them for stalking.”
“Need to establish a pattern of behavior. Three days isn’t enough and it’s someone different each time. Maybe I’ll start with kneecaps.”
“Or miss them by just a centimeter to scare the living daylights out of them first,” Annie said as she sipped her coffee. She thought she saw Ben, but when she blinked, he was gone, so it probably wasn’t him. She had thought she’d see more of him now that they were on the same mission but he was really good at sticking to the shadows, being back up, and hadn’t interacted with them ever since they came out here. She missed him.
Bella eyed her for a minute with a frown. “What’s wrong with you? Someone kill your puppy?”
“No, I just thought I saw Ben, that’s all. Made me realize that I miss him,” she smiled.
The girl’s eyes narrowed as she knew he was the unseen ghost in the area and if they were able to make him, then he was about to pull something. “Some advice. He may have good intentions and heart, but he’s married to the job. You won’t be able to come between them, no matter what he tells you,” she said gently.
“Oh, I know,” Annie smiled at her. “I’m married to the job too, but he’s just so… there’s this pull towards him, you know. And the sex is great.”
Bella cringed and held her hands up. “I don’t need to know that kind of shit! It’s not like I’m advertising my relationship you know…”
“Why not? Jai’s a catch!”
“Some things are meant to be kept sacred if they are to survive,” she said seriously, implying her relationship with Auggie and their denials against everything back at the Agency.
“True, but can anything be sacred in our job?” she took another sip of her coffee and blinked when Ben – with a big smile on his face – passed their table, swiftly, and dropped a big brown envelope on the table with Bella’s name on it. “What the hell.”
Bella looked around and he was gone already and she was all that much more confused as she started to open the package. Peeking inside, she blinked as her mouth fell open slightly at what she saw. “I think you might be hitting the mark questioning whether things are sacred anymore, Annie,” she said slowly, her fingers separating the images to see more. “Do you have something you’d like to get off your chest?”
“No?” Annie blinked, confused. “I don’t know what you mean?”
“Is that so? So you’re denying that you weren’t with my fiancé before we left on this trip?” Bella questioned as she pulled out one image and set it on the table in front of her.
Annie’s eyes grew big in surprise. She was going to kill Auggie. Oh, especially if he sent those pictures to Jai. “I… I uh….” she stammered as she got to her feet and backed away from the table. “Uh… that’s my twin sister?”
“You don’t have a fucking twin, Annie, and your sister looks nothing like you that I can recall,” she argued as she rose to her feet, pulling out more pictures.
“Okay! Fine!” Annie cried out, throwing her hands in the air. “It happened once!”
“Once? Are you sure?” Bella questioned as she pulled her phone out to call Jai. “If I ask him, is he going to say the same thing?”
“Yes! Probably! I don’t know!” she said as she made sure that there was a safe distance between them. “Look, it just happened, okay? I’m sorry.”
Bella scowled, dialing before she set the phone down and reached for the bread basket and threw a roll at her. “Some friend you are!” she cried, forcing tears to come out, though all she wanted to do was laugh.
She ducked to avoid the roll. “I was drunk! He was drunk! It was… one time after the Tavern and… he said that you were so needy.”
Her head snapped up and slung the pitcher of water at her. “Needy? I’m needy?!”
“Bella? Sweetheart? What’s going on? Are you okay?” Jai’s voice sounded from the speaker. “Why do you sound like a dying banshee?”
She looked down at her phone and was tempted to break it before snatching it out and glared over at her friend. “Didn’t think you would get caught with your pants down, huh Darling?”
It was quiet on the other end of the phone before the slightest hint of an email popping up on Jai’s computer could be heard. “What the fuck?”
“Just what I was thinking, Dear. So, tell me the truth. How many times was it?” she asked, shifting to a deadly calm.
Jai sighed. “Look, I’m sorry, Bella,” he started. “It’s just that Annie’s exciting… blonde….”
“How many times?” Bella repeated.
“We were sleeping together for a very long time before I proposed to you. Stupidly, following the in the moment thing you and I had going on.”
“Thanks, Jai. I’m dead now,” Annie snapped as she quickly managed to get her purse.
A small smirk hinted at her lips as she stared at the woman. Pulling her ring off that she’d worn for the role, as soon as Annie was in striking distance, she grabbed her by the hair and shoved it in her mouth. “He’s yours now. Choke on that,” she muttered before digging some cash out and dropping on the table and walking away from the restaurant with her phone. “By the way, Jai. If you didn’t get the message, it’s over.”
Jai let out a relieved breath. “Thank God, I was afraid of breaking up with you myself.”
“Don’t come near me otherwise I’ll neuter your ass,” she hissed. “I don’t want to see you for anything you lying, cheating bastard!”
“Oh, find a bridge and jump off of it, will you? Man, you’re so… frustrating!”
“I’ll sooner push you off first, asshole.”
“Bella?” Alice’s voice sounded, hesitant. “Is everything okay?”
“Great. When it rains, there’s a fucking monsoon around the corner. What do you want?” she asked, turning to face the voice as she hung up on her friend.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear… I’m so sorry, Bella, you and Jai looked so happy, I can’t believe he turned out to be a snake. You deserve so much better,” she said kindly. “Wanna grab a drink and drown your sorrows?”
Her eye twitched as she glanced to her boyfriend before looking at her. “It wouldn’t be the first time I was in a relationship with one, Alice,” she replied, a clear hint towards her brother. Looking around, she caught Ben in the distance and sighed. Knowing she needed to avoid her house for awhile, she shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt to go home sufficiently hammered. Especially if I have to deal with her again.”
“Oh, that’s right, she’s staying at your place,” Jasper said, looking over his shoulder and seeing the blonde pick up all the pictures and make herself scarce by heading towards her car. “And you definitely need a ride back to Forks.”
“I can get a taxi,” she said evenly.
“Nonsense,” Alice said as she put her arm around Bella. “Don’t worry Bella, we’ll take care of you, let’s get you plastered.”
Her eyes narrowed on the woman for a moment before glancing back at Whitlock.
“Don’t worry, Bella, I won’t let anything happen to you,” he said with a promise in his voice and a slight nod as he had clocked Mercer as well. “But Alice is right, you need a drink to calm your nerves.”
“I feel so assured,” she commented sarcastically, but reluctantly let herself be pulled along. Looking to Alice, she added, “I still owe you a stab to the eye with my shoe.”
“I know,” Alice said gently, pulling her into the nearest watering hole. “But right now, I’m the only friend you have and I’ll make sure you forget about him within the hour because that’s what friends do.”
Bella still didn’t trust her and shrugged a shoulder as she looked around the bar. Heading for a stool, she ordered a bottle of high end whiskey and turned to face the two. “Let’s get one thing straight. We are not friends. I think you’re an annoying little twat that needs to be snuffed out. Any friendship that might have been able to be salvaged died when you sided with your brother after that trip to Italy.”
“Yeah,” Alice sighed. “That was a bad choice, wasn’t it? Jasper’s been trying to make me see the error of my ways.”
“And he’s an idiot to think he can try. You’d have more luck suckering him into the dark side of your family’s business deals.”
“Now, let’s not talk about that, okay?” Alice gently rubbed her arm. “Let’s get drunk. Jasper will drive us home.”
Bella lowered her eyes to her hand. “And you all coming out of the woodwork and still intent on my being with Edward isn’t a coincidence?”
“We’re actually back in Forks because we missed the crisp air, and our beautiful home. That, and Carlisle got into a fight with his cousins again and feared that if we stayed longer that one of us would disappear and never to be found,” Alice said with a shrug. “As for you and Edward, I think that that’s between you and him, something you need to talk about as it’s obviously still a sore point for you even after so long.”
She looked amused by that bit of information. “Really? I wonder what you all did to piss them off. Had to have been pretty bad. And Edward is not happening. Not in this lifetime or the next. Not ever.”
“Carlisle misappropriated some funds,” Jasper said as he poured Bella and Alice a glass of whiskey after ordering himself some soda. “He’s scared, that’s all. And I do think it’s a little bit too soon to be talking about Edward, dear,” he said to Alice. “Bella just found out that her fiancé wasn’t the person who he said he was, that he cheated on her.”
“Right. Death to all men.” Alice winked at Bella as she raised her glass. “Except for the good ones, of course. But they’re hard to find.”
“Hmph,” she let out as she took a sip from her glass. Drawing in a deep breath, she prayed that she would be able to maintain the patience needed for the next leg of mission because she was already annoyed enough by the pint sized woman.
“So how’s Charlie?” Alice smiled as she took a sip of her drink. “He must be so happy to see you.”
“He’s fine,” Bella answered succinctly. “He’s not involved with any of this and knows nothing of your family so you keep him out of that mess. Don’t even think about getting him involved.”
“Bella, come on,” Alice sighed. “I’m just trying to make conversation. He’s your father and the police chief of Forks, do you honestly think that we want him involved in our business?”
She only raised an eyebrow knowingly. Shady people maintain shady habits. “So you have no idea why Sue Clearwater, widowed barely a year, is suddenly interested in my father?”
Alice snorted and nearly choked on her drink. “What? Seriously? She can go for someone way hotter than your dad. God, that mustache of his awful!”
“You’re not making yourself very endearing Alice.”
“You know, not everything that happens in your life is because of us, you know. You’re so quick to blame us for stuff that’s happening around you, but we’ve kept to ourselves. It’s you who couldn’t, can’t, let things go.”
Bella smiled at her. “So seeing Carlisle’s name with speeches at my college was a coincidence? Finding out that Edward had been on a plane to the very places I’d just left another coincidence? Don’t bullshit me Alice. It’s been me avoiding your family for years. It wasn’t until I made new friends, if I could even call them that now, that I finally stopped seeing him over my shoulder everywhere.”
“I’ve always liked you, Bella, why can’t we start with a clean slate?”
“I’m not a doll you can manipulate Alice. Not anymore,” she said. “For the record, your taste of clothes in high school was hideous.”
Alice growled as she looked at Jasper and managed to kick him underneath the table.
“Ow! Why did you do that?”
“Because you said that if I’d be nice to her that she’d be my friend again!”
“I didn’t say it would be easy. Things like that take time. Women bond over stupid stuff, offer to destroy something. Like her fiancé.” He then looked at Bella with a smile. “But I’m sure that if Peaches is up for some mayhem and destruction, I’m sure that we can arrange something that’s mutually beneficial.”
The notion intrigued her and she looked at him thoughtfully. “I’m listening,” she nodded. “I draw the line at blood being spilled though. Do I make myself clear?”
He slowly nodded and looked at Alice. “Go ahead, darlin’, I think that if you want her on your side, you’re going to have to tell her the truth.”
Alice skittishly looked around before pouring herself another drink and downed it in one go. “I met Jasper when I caught him snooping around at our cousin’s castle in Italy. It was endearing, really, pretending to be the lost tourist, but I saw right through that. Jazz isn’t a great actor,” she said as she looped her arm through his with a big smile on his face. “I took him to a very special chamber with lots of utensils to make people talk, something that Marcus likes to use, and he squealed before I could even make the first cut.” She caressed his cheek. “Such a gentle soul.”
Bella frowned at that, her eyes darting to Jasper’s as her breathing increased. “You’re a sociopath, Alice. Why are you telling me this?”
“As it turns out,” Alice smiled like a Cheshire cat. “Jasper’s part of the Boston mob and was instructed to steal something quite valuable out of the castle, a priceless artifact that many civilisations have fought over. Something I had my eye on for quite some time. He just didn’t want me to harm his pretty face.”
Sitting back, she rested her elbow on the bar. “And you’re telling me this very sensitive information…for what? What do you want from me?”
“Jasper’s sources told him that you work for the Smithsonian as a… ” she looked pensive for a moment. “Historian? Anyway, something that could be used to get things into the country? We have stashed the priceless trinket somewhere safe, but I want it here. Do this for me and we’ll destroy Jai Wilcox and burn him to the ground. No one deserves to be cheated on. No one.”
“She’s the reason why the Cullens are all at risk, the cousins weren’t very pleased when they discovered their treasure trove of information gone,” Jasper smirked. “I tried to get it out of the country myself, but the resources at my disposal severely lacked. Surely you know someone who could gain access to this.”
Bella hesitated, her fingers tapping on her glass. “I can’t just leave the country to get the things. I have to set up a reason to go to Italy for work and it could take a little time for me to find something legal that will give the excuse.”
“One of my lieutenants is already in Italy. All he needs are the papers, the security.”
“If I’m doing this, it’s easier to keep connections at a minimum. Can you accept that it may take a few weeks to arrange?”
Jasper tapped on his watch, as to indicate time was of the essence. “Sure, why not. However, surely you know someone who could go in your stead?”
“I just caught her sleeping with my fiancé. Uh, no?”
“Excellent, that means that if she gets caught, she’ll be out of your hair forever. If she manages to get it through, she’ll owe you one,” Jasper grinned. “Ultimate revenge.”
“And then, once we have it in our possession,” Alice purred. “Jasper and I can tell everyone in our circle about who Jai Wilcox is, what he does for a living. He’ll never get a job anywhere.” She turned to face Bella. “You do know that he works for the CIA, right?”
Bella bit her tongue as she debated the route to take on this. “His father did, and he isn’t now. Jai wasn’t involved as far as I was aware. He never gave me any indication. But, but, that doesn’t mean anything now. I need to think,” she muttered.
Alice squealed as she rounded the table and hugged Bella. “You’re the best!” She then got a syringe out of her pocket before Bella could react and injected her with it, looking at Jasper. “Dammit, you said she’d be more cooperative!” She hissed as Bella’s limp body leaned against her. “Even spinning that story didn’t make her see reason, she’s too afraid to lose her job.”
“It’s not as if she has a job to go back to when she returns from her ‘vacation’.” Jasper sighed as he lifted Bella in his arms and flashed a charming smile at the patrons looking at them. “She’s drunk, we’d better make sure she gets home safely.”
Jasper hoped that Bella would have realized that he was on her side, that he was going to make sure that she’d make it out alive and in one piece with all the information she needed to bring the Cullens down. For his sake, he hoped he’d be able to do it rather sooner than later, he hated to be caught up in this. He was in too deep and he needed her to get her out.
Alice held open the door of the bar and then the car door. He carefully put Bella on the back seat and helped Alice to get in as well before driving back to Forks.
He hated it that they basically sent Bella in blind. Sure, she had a tracker in her shoe but that wasn’t enough. Auggie became suspicious when it seemed as if she drifted further away from Port Angeles and in the wrong direction.
The security camera footage that he managed to get made his stomach turn into a knot. While the setup had been successful – he had received Jai’s wrath over the phone and Annie hit him repeatedly after she returned home – he hadn’t quite anticipated this. Bella would have been in contact by now.
By day two he was ready to march up to the Cullen’s front door and demand to be told where she was, but all it took was this young man, Seth, to get into the Swan house, out of breath and apparently shaking like a leaf. “Seth, you need to calm down, son,” Charlie said gently as he put the boy on a chair. “What’s going on?”
“I saw her! It was a glimpse but they have Bella,” he said as he hung onto the doorframe, fighting to catch his breath. “The Doc has her in one of the rooms that we aren’t allowed in. Something ain’t right…”
“What!” Auggie said as he burst into the living room, knocking over something that wasn’t important. “What’s not right!”
“Auggie! Calm down,” Annie said as she used all of her weight to stop him from going on to the boy who looked scared shitless.
Seth eyed him unsure about what to say, having only trusted the Chief. “Uhh…”
“It’s okay, Son, they’re Bella’s friends.”
He didn’t look so sure as he nodded to Annie. “They said she isn’t her friend anymore.”
“The big fella is simply very concerned, as am I,” Annie smiled gently. “And I am. It was merely a set up for Bella to come back into contact with the family.”
“Uh, okay, um… The room, I’ve gotten glances in during the renovation and it’s some medical set up. I think he’s looking to do something to her but they haven’t indicated what,” he admitted nervously. “She looked pretty drugged up, but still fought against the new guy enough to draw blood.”
“New guy?” Charlie blinked.
“The Texas dude,” Seth clarified. “He’s supposedly mob from what the midget girl said.”
Once Annie was sure that Auggie wasn’t going to attack the young man, she turned around to face him. “Is there any way we can get in there unnoticed and take her back?”
“The house is surrounded by woods. A good hunter will catch anyone approaching and the tribe is full of them. Sam is one of the best, Paul a close second. The Chief could verify that. I got out there as fast as I could.”
Charlie sighed. “Yeah, the boys are pretty good. If it wasn’t for their intelligence, I would have hired them as new officers,” he ruffled Seth’s hair. “It’s good that you came to me, son. If you have no intention of going back, this is the safest place to be for now.”
“Um, Alice was telling the doc that she needs her alive to do something for her. He assured that she would be, and more than family in time. Whatever that means.”
“See?” Annie said as she punched Auggie in the chest. “I should have gone to Italy the moment you received that email from Ben about the package.”
“I want to know what the hell they are doing to her,” he argued back.
“Fine, then send Ben!”
“Already sent him!” he shot at her. “It’s just you and me. And the chief and we can’t fucking do anything!” He grabbed his cane and headed out the back door, into the woods to let off some steam before he’d hurt someone else. It was his fault. He hadn’t thought for a second that Bella would get drugged. What were they going to do to her? What were they doing to her?
It wasn’t as if being a CIA agent was without its risks, they all knew the risk and didn’t care about the risk, but this mission was personal, and it was worse. There was no way in telling if he’d get her back, how he’d get her back and that scared him.
If Ben knew about this package, he must have seen the whole exchange and he would have seen them taking Bella away. And he didn’t tell him. Probably because of safety for himself, or maybe he went away the moment they had stopped talking about it. Auggie wasn’t sure, but he did know that if Ben would return, he’d kill him.
But it wasn’t Ben’s fault either. The situation unfolded like it had, and if Ben would have interfered, the whole mission would have been over and it would take more time to get this shit done.
He took a deep breath as he stood only a few meters away from the house to calm himself. He was of no use to Bella like this. He needed to do what he did best, and that was gather intelligence, more. The more the better. But the whole notion that Carlisle Cullen was great at mixing chemicals made his skin crawl.
He was going to have to call Joan, discuss this with her, maybe have an entire CIA team swoop down on the Cullens and give them hell. Then again, Joan would probably say that they’d need more cause. Because they all knew the risk, saving a captured agent – even if it was personal or not – was a no-no. But she had bent the rules to send Bella to find him last year, so why not? But that was one agent who was already in the area. Not an entire strike team.
Or maybe… he could go and get Bella himself. No one would suspect the blind guy.
Then again, the blind guy couldn’t do much in an environment that he wasn’t familiar in.
Would Seth be able to return to his friends and keep an eye on Bella like that? Maybe even get her out? Auggie wasn’t even sure he could trust him, sure, he was the kid of the woman that Charlie was supposedly seeing, but could he trust him?