Friday, December 18, 2009

Chapter 43

Edward POV

I sat in the living room with Jasper waiting for Bella to come downstairs. She was in our room getting ready for dinner. Tonight was a special occasion, although she wasn’t aware of that fact, and Alice was helping her get ready.

“Thanks for keeping the car at your place. I’m sure we’ll be by in the morning,” I chuckled. “I can’t see Bella waiting long to drive it once I give it to her tonight.”

Jasper shook his head at me joining in my laughter. “Don’t worry; I’m sure Alice will be up waiting for her to come over. You know Alice is going to want to go for a ride with her.”

“Oh, I’m sure they’ll want to spend the day together after tonight,” I smirked.

“Why is that?” Jasper asked.

“I’m proposing tonight,” I smiled. “I’ve already mentioned to Carlisle that he needs to get started on voiding her adoption.”

Alice walked in the room at my comment. She clapped her hands together, squealing and started jumping up and down.

Alice, baby,” Jasper laughed, rubbing his ear. “You nearly blew out my eardrum.”

“Who knew you could be so loud?” I laughed with him.

Alice put her hands on her hips and huffed at us. It was amazing to see the changes taking place in Alice; in all our women. They were growing in confidence and becoming more outspoken around us. I never thought it would be something I liked to see, but it was. The air of confidence actually made each of them sexier in our eyes. And believe me, Bella was very sexy now. She had a snarkiness to her I would have never seen. She loved to tease me and her laughter was music to my ears. She made me feel more lighthearted and I was learning to laugh with her.

“Very funny, you two,” she frowned. She turned toward me, “Are you really going to ask her to marry you tonight? Like…ask as in really ask?”

“What do mean?” I asked her, glancing to Jasper to see if he understood what she was getting at.

He just shrugged his shoulders, not knowing either. “Look,” I said, pulling the ring out of my pocket.

“I’ve got the ring right here.”

She took the little black box from me and stared at the ring for a moment before handing it back to me. “It’s really beautiful, Edward. I know she’ll love it.”

She smiled softly and brushed at the tears gathering in her eyes. Jasper pulled her into a gentle embrace and kissed the top of her head. He then stepped back and took her face between his hands, tilting it up to look in her eyes.

Alice? What’s wrong, baby?” he asked gently.

“Nothing. I’m sorry, don’t mind me,” she said waiving her hand dismissively.

Alice,” Jasper’s voice took on an authoritative tone. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

I stood watching their exchange and figured I should leave. “I’m just going to go get Bella for dinner.”

Alice turned toward me, tears still in her eyes.

“No, Edward, don’t go yet. You can hear this too,” she said softly. She turned back to Jasper and gave him a weak smile. “You know I love you, right?”

“Of course I do,” Jasper assured her. “I love you too. So very much.” He gave her a gentle kiss then said softly, “You’re my life, Alice.”

Alice stroked his cheek and smiled a little brighter at him. Her eyes were still glistening with tears, but were shining with so much love towards my brother that I felt like an intruder on their moment. Before I could slip out she turned toward me.

“I’m sorry for crying. It’s yours and Bella’s night and I’m very happy for you both. Really I am. It’s just hard not to be…” she paused. She took a deep breath closing her eyes before opening them again. There was so much sadness in her eyes I could almost feel her pain. “Envious.”

“Why would you be envious?” I asked, confused.

I was the one who was envious. Alice and Jasper loved each other. Jasper heard everyday the words I’ve yet to hear from my Bella. I was proposing tonight, but still didn’t know if she loved me yet. I was aching to hear those three little words from her. It would make everything perfect, but I knew I needed to give her more time. I knew she cared for me and we were getting closer all the time. She was coming out of her shell and beginning to glow. I loved the real Bella now that I knew her. How I could have ever thought what I felt before was love was beyond me. It paled in comparison to what I felt for her now. So why would Alice envy us? I don’t think either Jasper or I were ready for her answer.

“You’re asking her,” she answered softly.

Jasper took her shoulders and turned her back toward him. His face was full of confusion.

“Baby, what do you mean?” he asked.

She stepped away from Jasper. She turned and walked to the window, staring out for a moment before turning back to us. There was so much pain in her eyes as she looked at Jasper. I’d never seen that expression in her eyes before, not that I would have noticed before now. She stared at Jasper with her hands clenched.

“You never asked me,” she stressed. “You just showed up in my hospital room with a minister and we were married three days after I laid eyes on you for the very first time. Emmett never asked Rose. They were married the day after he picked her up. Bella is the only one who is actually going to hear a proposal. Do you know how many times growing up I dreamed of having the perfect guy, the perfect proposal?” her voice cracked, “The perfect wedding?” She swiped angrily at the tears sliding down her face. Her breathing was shaky as she tried to keep it together. “Please understand, Jasper, I love you with all my heart and I love being your wife. But you never asked,” she said softly.

Alice, baby. I’m so sorry.”

Jasper walked over to hold her. I was shocked when she held her hand out to stop him, shaking her head. I think Jasper was also by the look on his face.

“No. I don’t want to hear an apology. It’s done now.” She turned toward me, some of the sadness gone from her face. She smiled at me. “Edward, I know this may not mean much to you, but I’m glad Bella is going to get to hear a real proposal from you. She deserves it. Please, give her a real wedding also. Let Rose and I live vicariously through her.”

Then she stepped into Jasper’s arms and let him embrace her. I met my brother’s eyes over the top of her head. There was so much pain in his eyes. I understood what he was feeling. He’s spent two years trying to give Alice everything and missed giving her the most important gift of all. A choice.

Alice, I promise to give her a real wedding,” I answered. “I’m sure Bella would love for you and Rose to help her plan it. Our home should be finished by the first part of June so she’ll be a June bride. Isn’t that some sort of wedding clichĂ©?” I laughed.

“Edward,” she asked hesitantly, “what if Bella says ‘no’? Not that she will,” she rushed to explain,

“but just, what if? What would you do then?”

I looked at her in surprise. “Bella won’t say ‘no’,” I said confidently. “I haven’t told you this before, but maybe Bella did. There was a situation in Phoenix when Bella had the opportunity to leave me. Bella and I have already had this talk. I gave her the chance to leave me and she chose to stay. She could have left and I would have let her. Bella made her choice; she wants to be with me. She knows we’re getting married. Tonight I’m just making it official. But,” I stressed, grinning, “if she did say ‘no’ then I’d ask her every day until she said ‘yes’.”

Alice was stopped from continuing by the sound of Bella’s footsteps on the stairs. I turned toward the door as her steps sounded on the hall tile outside the doorway announcing her entrance. She took my breath away. She was dressed in a black halter dress the stopped just above her knees and high heels. I smiled at seeing her wearing the diamond earrings I’d given her for Valentine’s Day along with the diamond pendant necklace I bought when I picked up her ring.

“Bella,” Alice gushed, “you look beautiful.”

I smiled as she came toward me. Alice took the words right out of my mouth,” I whispered to her.

“You really are beautiful.”

She smiled and leaned into me. “Thank you,” she answered softly. Her cheeks stained a beautiful soft blush.

“Well, my love,” I said, as I held my arm out to her, “your chariot awaits.”

She and Alice hugged each other before she took my arm and I led her out of the house. I smiled as I put her in the car, feeling the weight of the keys and ring in my jacket pocket. Tonight she would officially become my fiancĂ© and I couldn’t wait. I knew she would say ‘yes’. I felt just a twinge of guilt at the thought that I was hedging my bet with the gift of the car and house. They really weren’t mine to give. The changes she wrought in me taught me this. The car was her gift from her parents and it was her home. I was only giving back what was rightfully hers to begin with.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chapter 42

Bella’s POV

“I’ll have the Chicken Marsala and Caesar Salad,” I ordered.

“And to drink?” the waiter asked.

I opened my mouth to answer when Edward interrupted.

“We’ll have a bottle of your best wine,” he answered. He turned to me and smiled. “You don’t mind just for tonight, do you?”

I shook my head at him and smiled. He was always so thoughtful. So much has changed over the last month. My nightmares were becoming less frequent. When he first came back from the conference they were worse, due to the constant glares I received from Carlisle. After all this time though, I didn’t worry about Carlisle as much. Maybe he’d lost interest and wasn’t such a threat to me any longer. He didn’t stare at me with lust any longer, only anger.

I shuddered at the memory of that first family dinner on the day after their return from the conference. I never thought a person could really turn purple until then. I wish he just had a coronary on the spot and died. We could have all danced on his grave. He was so angry. We'd just put the meal on the table and were standing, waiting for the men to sit so we could serve them as per usual. I wasn't expecting Edward to cause a scene.

“Bella, be careful not to slip,” Esme warned quietly as the men came into the dining room.

I nodded my head in response. I reminded myself that this was a small thing in front of his father. I was, at least, still wearing my clothes. Edward's only comment when I got dressed this morning was he missed the access to my shoulders to kiss he had before. He was used to me showing more skin. Maybe we could find a middle ground on my clothing, things we both liked.

I gave Edward a weak smile as he came into the room. I hated pretending. I watched Carlisle sit, and then Emmett and Jasper gave Rose and Alice a kiss before sitting. I now understood the meaning behind their kiss. It was their silent reminder that they loved Alice and Rosalie. Edward came up to me and gave me a gentle kiss. When he stepped back he winked making me smile for real. He then shocked his entire family as he led me to the table and pulled my chair out for me to sit. I couldn't resist; I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him tight.

I laughed with joy that I would never pretend again. I knew he promised, but I honestly never thought he'd seat me at his father's table. I sat and beamed as Emmett and Jasper jumped up and seated Rose and Alice as well.

Carlisle glared at us. “I don't know what the hell has gotten into you boys, but it stops now. You women know your place. Now serve your men,” he demanded throwing his hand up in the air to indicate we should rise.

We each began to rise from our seats before Edward, Emmett and Jasper each put a hand on us to stop us.

“Rose, sit. You don't need to be on your feet and you've served me enough,” Emmett said.

“Same here,” Jasper told Alice as he leaned in to kiss her cheek.

Edward leaned over and kissed me. “You're a lady and I'm going to treat you like one.”

I opened my mouth to respond to him when Carlisle slammed his fist on the table. I realized

Esme was still standing looking at her family with pride shining in her eyes.

“Don't even think that's going to happen for you. You will serve me. Do you understand?” he demanded.

I saw the smile she had been wearing disappear.

“Of course, dear. I wouldn't have it any other way,” she whispered. She turned to get the pitcher of tea as she discreetly brushed away the tears that quickly gathered.

Edward stood and walked to her.

“Mother, sit down please,” he asked. “You're a lady too and deserve to be treated as such.”

He took the pitcher from her and set it on the table as he led her to her chair.

“I think you're quite capable of pouring your own damn glass of tea. Don't you?” he asked Carlisle.

Esme sat as Edward pushed in her chair for her. He turned back to Carlisle and shocked everyone further.

“That's how you treat a lady,” he said.

Carlisle threw his napkin on the table and stood. “I've lost my appetite. I'll be in my study.” He turned to Esme and pointed a finger at her. “I won't forget this.”

After he left there was a moment of awkward silence.

“Well, that just leaves more for me then.” Emmett announced. “Ow!”

Emmett was rubbing his side, pouting at Rose. We all laughed relieving the tension as we realized Rose had pinched Emmett’s side.

“You’re such a man sometimes, I swear it’s a wonder I love you so much,” Rose laughed.

We had a wonderful family dinner that night. Everyone laughed and joked around. It was a true family dinner without Carlisle there to dampen things. Now I received glares and calculated stares anytime I was in the room with him. Carlisle blamed me for the changes taking place in his family.

The men still ordered our food when we were out, but it was only after we told them what we wanted to eat. We no longer served them at family dinners. I never expected to be a catalyst for the entire family; I was only out to change Edward.

The only downside was Carlisle. Poor Esme was taking the brunt of his anger. Several mornings she didn’t look well and moved stiffly. She always smiled and assured us she was fine, but we knew better. He was punishing her for our behavior. We tried to go back to the way we acted before to save her. It’s the only time I’ve seen fire in Esme’s eyes.

“Esme, we’ve decided to go back to serving our husbands like before,” Alice was saying.

Rose was sitting on a barstool tossing the salad while I stacked the dishes to carry to the table.

“No, you won’t girls,” Esme shook her head. “I’m fine.”

Rose slammed the tongs down on the island. “You’re not fine! Look at you,” she insisted. “You can barely move in the mornings. You can’t tell us he’s not taking this out you.”

“Esme, I’m so sorry,” I murmured. “This is all my fault.”

“Don’t you dare apologize, Bella,” she admonished.

She put her arms around me and I felt her wince as I hugged her back. I quickly pulled back and looked at her. She tried to hide the pain in her eyes, but I caught it.

“Esme, what did he do to you?" I asked in shock.

Alice and Rosalie came around to stand with us.

“Esme?” they asked in unison.

She stepped away from us and turned back to the stove.

“It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it,” she replied.

Rose walked up behind her and touched her back. Esme winced again and turned back to us.

Her eyes were like fire as she glared at us.

“Yes, alright. Carlisle whips me in retaliation for the changes he’s seeing in his family. It’s not the

worst I’ve ever gotten from him. This is nothing by comparison. And you know what? It’s all worth it. Every single bruise is worth it to see my sons become men I can be proud of. I’ve waited years for this day.” She stopped to angrily wipe at her eyes. She took a deep breath and reached out to hold our hands. She gave us a watery smile before continuing. “Don’t you see? If you revert back to the way you were before then Carlisle wins again. He is doing this knowing you’ll break. Emmett, Jasper and Edward can’t protect me. They can only protect each of you. If you break because of me, then they will revert back as well.”

She put Rose’s hand over her baby along with hers. She felt the baby shift and smiled.

“Rose, you’re going to have a son. You can’t afford for Emmett to go back to the way he was before. You’re carrying the next generation of Cullens. This lifestyle has to stop with us. I want my grandchildren to be decent, caring individuals. So please, save my sons, save my grandchildren. That’s all I want.”

We continued to help her sons change, become more open. We were excited when Carlisle finally gave up hurting Esme to get to us. We thought we won. Little did we know we were living in the eye of the storm. We should have known Carlisle wouldn’t give up so easily. I should have known, but I’d grown complacent.


Our wine arrived and I waited while the waiter had Edward taste that the wine was to his liking. Edward assured him that the wine was acceptable. The waiter poured our glasses and left. I took a sip and smiled at Edward as I set my glass back down.

“The wine is very good,” I said.

Edward reached across the table for my hand which I placed in his.

“Thank you,” he said smiling. “I wanted tonight to be special and a coke just wouldn’t cut it. I have something for you.”

“You don’t have to give me anything. You’ve given me so much these past weeks,” I answered quietly. Edward treated me so sweet all the time now. He even started a new habit of bringing me a drink for the ride home from school in the afternoons. We laughed and talked more. We were learning more about each other everyday. Some subjects were still off limits for now, like college and our marriage, but I knew it was only a matter of time before I could broach those topics with him.

“I think you’ll disagree when you see what I have in my pocket.” He reached in and pulled out a key chain with two keys dangling from it. He held it up for me to see. “Do you know what this is?”

I stared at the keys for a moment before shrugging my shoulders. I didn’t understand what it was for.

“A key?” I asked.

He chuckled softly at me, “Yes, well actually, it’s two keys. Would you like to know what they go to?”

“Our house?” I asked, unsure where this was heading.

“Close, but not quite,” he answered. He held up the first one and I realized it went to a car as it had the lock buttons built into the base. “This goes to a certain maroon SUV parked in Jasper’s garage.”

My breath hitched and my hand flew to my mouth. I felt the tears immediately start welling in my eyes. He kept my car; it was here and he was giving it to me!

“Oh Edward, “ I began. He stopped me by holding up the other key.

“And this one,” he continued, “does go to a house. It goes to your house in Phoenix. I didn’t sell it.”

I sat there in stunned silence. I felt a drop of water on my hand and realized I was crying.. I swiftly wiped at my eyes as I reached to take the keys from him and stared down at them in wonder. I gently brushed my fingers over the house key as my mind flashed to a hundred happy memories of coming home from school or a friend’s house, to hearing my mom calling to me as I walked in. My mind then thought up new pictures of coming home to visit with Edward by my side or with Edward and our children by my side.

I was so lost in my dreams that I didn’t realize Edward was kneeling at my side. He was brushing my hair back gently from my face and smiling at my response to his gift. I looked at him through my tears. I clutched the keys to my chest, loving the feel of them digging into my palm.

“Edward,” I croaked, “You can’t know what this means to me. This is everything I could ever want. You’ve given me back a part of my parents to keep with me forever.” I cupped his cheek with my hand and leaned down to kiss him gently on the lips. “Thank you so much. I have something I want to tell you, too.”

I swallowed and beamed at him, “I’ve been waiting for the right moment to tell you this. I wanted it to be special and what you’ve given me tonight couldn’t be any more perfect if I tried. I want you to know-“ I paused to take a breath. Edward seemed to be holding his as well.

“Edward, I love you,” I whispered, staring into his eyes. I let every ounce of love I felt for him shine through my eyes as I gazed at him.

He laughed and stood, pulling me up and into his arms. He kissed me deeply in front of everyone in the restaurant before letting go of me. He knelt back down in front of me and took my left hand in his.

“Well that makes this so much easier,” he laughed. He pulled a ring out of his pocket and slid it on my finger. He kissed the ring and then the back of my hand before gazing back up to me expectantly. “I love you, Bella. Will you marry me Bella and make me the happiest man alive?”

I smiled brightly at him and nodded my head. “Yes, I’ll marry you. I love you.” I knew we still had things to work on, but I was confident we’d fix them together.

He stood and turned to everyone who was watching us. All the patrons were smiling at us. “She said ‘Yes’! he announced proudly.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chapter 41

Carlisle’s POV (One month later)

No one was in the house when I arrived; Esme wasn’t expecting me. I left my briefcase in my study and had to come back for it. I was all the way to the hos
pital before I realized, which really pissed me off. I was distracted by Bella again this morning. I was glad the weather was nice again; she wasn’t hidden from me in jeans and sweaters any longer. I never wanted to see her in jeans again. She should always be in dresses; the shorter the better as far as I was concerned. As soon as I made my plans known to her, I would rectify her clothing. I couldn’t believe the crap Edward was allowing her to wear lately. I wanted her back in the clothes she wore before. She was beautiful then; hints of her assets flirting with my imagination.

I took a moment to stand at the window in my study to look for Esme. Since she didn’t know I was here, it was an opportunity to verify she was where she was supposed to be; not that I worried about her any longer. She knew what would happen if she wasn’t. She was working in her garden, like always. I had to admit its size has grown over the years and yet she still managed to keep up with it. I never understood her dedication. They were just flowers; nothing special. I let her have the garden as a reward for her good behavior once I had her under complete control. I almost bulldozed it down as punishment when she helped Renee escape. Destroying her relationship with the boys, especially Edward, was much more effective. It also helped him finally grow up and start acting like a man instead of the momma’s boy he had become.

The entrance to my home is remotely monitored by my private security team. They don’t operate on the grounds because I refuse to risk someone befriending our women and deciding to help them escape. My father learned that the hard way years ago. He was madly in love with my mother, but she was nothing but a whore. She cheated on him with one of his guards when I was about six years old and they ran away together. My father went insane looking for her. It took my father almost a year to hunt them down and drag them back. My brother and I watched him pull the trigger, executing her lover in front of us all. After that he built a wall around our home and moved the security team outside. My mother never set foot outside that wall until the day she died. My father taught us how to hold a family together; you never gave her a way to leave.

I caught Esme several times in the beginning trying to run away after I started letting her out on her own. She never knew when she was being followed and certainly didn’t like the punishment she received if she was caught trying to escape. I smiled wickedly. It was so much fun keeping her off balance; I felt like a cat playing with my very own little mouse.

Then, of course, they needed to watch over Rosalie and Alice for the boys. Since they were both so well trained, they never tried to run. They were content to stay where they belonged and were treated well because they didn’t run.

Now they watched over Bella. Someone always watched the school during the day. It was the one place she could escape from and I wouldn’t allow that. She was worth too much for Edward to lose her. Edward was quick to agree with me after Bella’s one attempt at leaving the school. Now she knows she’s watched, so she keeps her ass inside the building until Edward arrives. I was pissed that Edward still refused to use the basement to punish her. Everything he needed was in there to do whatever he wanted with her; he knew this. It would also give me access to her that I’ve been denied thus far. I know he punished her that day because her eyes were still red and puffy when they came down to dinner, but I wanted more.

I was livid with Sam the day of the ice storm. He had a new guy watching her who left when it started sleeting. He was the reason for her illness. The idiot cared more about his precious car than his job. Needless to say, he no longer had that car; I had it destroyed. If he wanted to keep his job then my commands were priority over anything else.

I began to turn away from the window when I saw Esme look up and laugh at someone on the path. I followed where she was looking and saw them. I couldn’t hear their words, but he was listening intently while she gestured with her hands. My eyes narrowed as I saw him laugh at whatever she said. He picked her up and spun her around causing her to shriek. When he put her down she punched his arm.

I held my breath in anticipation for him to drag her back to the house to administer discipline. I would finally get to hear her screams again. I was angered that instead he reached to pluck a flower from the rosebush beside them and bowed before her extending the rose to her like an offering. She took the rose, smelling it as he straightened and stood on tiptoe to kiss him. I watched in disgust as he smiled, tucking a stray hair behind her ear before they continued down the path hand in hand.

I turned away and sat at my desk to brood. I knew Edward would want her. He was always drawn to her even as a child. It was the reason I gave Edward less than perfect candidates for his bride. I needed to drag out his selection process until I had Bella. I knew my son wouldn’t pick anything less than perfection, which was Bella. I just didn’t take into account how much he would want her. He was as obsessed with her as I was.

I closed my eyes and remembered back to when she first arrived. She was quiet and timid, as she should be. She didn’t cry or beg when I told her of my plans for her. Charlie was very good at stripping girls of the will to fight. They always did exactly what was expected, no complaint, no argument. They were perfect.

Well, I didn’t tell her everything. Edward wasn’t even aware of my plans yet. I shifted in my seat, my fists tightening as I remembered her bent over my desk and the feel of my fingers pumping her tight ass. I slammed my fist on my desk in frustration. Fuck, I needed to get in her. I can’t believe she’s been here all this time and I still haven’t been able to get her alone. Edward never left her alone; if he had things to do he took her with him. I told him repeatedly to leave her to no avail. Now she spends her afternoons at Emmett’s picking up the slack from Rosalie still needing to take it easy. At least Rosalie was finally earning her keep, giving me a grandson after the fiasco of her last two pregnancies.

That was another problem I needed to address; Emmett’s attitude. He had become even more outspoken and belligerent in his behavior. He always was a wild card and impossible to control completely. I’d need to give some consideration soon how to get him back under control.

But back to Bella; I knew that trip to Phoenix was a mistake. She was perfect before they left. Now she was starting to develop an air of confidence that Edward was encouraging. She was changing him. All of my sons were beginning to change. I had complete control over my family before. If I’d known she was going to cause so many problems, I would have found another way.

Don’t get me wrong, I care about Esme. She’s still a beautiful woman and once I had her under control she became exactly what I wanted her to be. She was quiet and didn’t give me any trouble, but she wasn’t Renee. I wanted to kill her when Charlie showed up at the house with her in handcuffs. Charlie caught her trying to sneak out of his house after Renee drove away. It was obvious she encouraged Renee to run away. Renee would have never run without encouragement. I kept Esme strung up in the basement for a week releasing my anger and frustrations on her body. She received one small bottle of water and a protein drink each day, nothing else. At night she was chained to the wall. A week in the basement was a bit excessive, but she deserved every minute of it. She didn’t know just how much she had taken away from me.

I was in love with Renee in high school. She was the most beautiful girl in town. She had moved here during the summer before our freshman year. Charlie and I saw her at the same time. If I’d gotten to the gym 10 minutes earlier that first day I could have claimed her as mine. Instead I waited for Charlie like the great friend I was and we walked in at the same time. She was already dressed for her gym class in her little red shorts that hugged her ass and a tight white t-shirt that did nothing to hide her glorious breasts. Charlie and I both wanted her so we did the only thing we could to decide who would get their chance at her. We flipped a coin and I lost.

It was torture watching her with Charlie and then to see her walk down the aisle to him; forever out of my reach. My hatred of Charlie grew through the years watching him with Renee. He was so careless with her. He had the best girl in town but still slept around. He spent so much time down in La Push cheating on Renee that he didn’t keep a firm hand on her as she needed. Renee needed structure and guidance. She was too outspoken and rebellious. If only she had been mine. She would have wanted for nothing, I would have laid the world at her feet and she would have had no reason to fight me. She would have loved me and done anything to please me. When you love someone, you want to do anything for them. Of course, Charlie lost too in the end. He was such a fool to let her go and an even bigger fool to let her take Bella.

I felt no guilt giving Sam and Jacob the go ahead to eliminate Charlie. He was good at what he did but he was sloppy when it came to James. He never kept that damn boy under control. I already paid for one mistake with Alice, but if they had been successful in breaking through Bella’s hymen I would have killed Charlie myself. Edward was going to be the one to have that privilege, and then I planned to share her. She was made for Edward and me alone.

I planned everything from the moment Charlie told me Renee was pregnant again, this time with a girl. He hated that she had so much trouble getting pregnant and didn’t see any use for a girl. He had Renee longer than I had Esme yet I already had three sons. He would always only have the one. She wasn’t even supposed to get pregnant again after James. She had complications with James and was warned not to have more children. Charlie didn’t care; he wanted another son even if it killed her. He never cherished Renee the way I would have. I would have paid for the best specialists so that she could continue to give me my sons. Charlie was cheap and risked her life.

I was overjoyed at the news. If I couldn’t have Renee, then I would at least have her daughter, I knew she would understand. She would become my crown jewel. I knew she would grow into a beauty like her mother. She was supposed to have the added benefit of being trained from childhood. I had planned to have Charlie sell Bella to me when she turned 13 for one of my sons and complete her training myself. I would have paid any price he asked for her. I fought hard not to laugh when he told me how much he wanted for her. He really had no idea her real value. I set aside $1 million the day she was born just for her purchase. There was still over $300,000 in the account.

I unlocked my desk drawer and pulled out the file I kept. I knew where Renee went within a couple of weeks of her leaving; it wasn’t hard to guess she’d go back where she was from; she still had friends in the area. I never told Charlie; he didn’t deserve them and Bella was mine. It contained all the reports I received over the last ten years and the background check I ran on Renee’s new husband. I had to be certain he wouldn’t be a threat to Renee and Bella. Even though I couldn’t have Renee for my own I still loved her enough to watch over her. I had their wills naming his brother as guardian and trustee for Bella. Their wills were never filed, they were sent to me instead. It’s amazing how easy it was to convince a young attorney just starting out and in need of a wife to do you little favors. His wife was a freebie since I knew I would need to keep him in my pocket until I got Bella back. I even had the evidence Renee kept against Charlie. That had earned him a very nice honeymoon with his new bride.

I pulled out the stack of photos and started looking them over again for the thousandth time. I really enjoyed getting these over the years, seeing my precious jewel as she grew from a shy, awkward little girl with freckles into the beautiful woman she is now. I paid Sam’s cousin, Embry to relocate to Phoenix and keep tabs on Bella over the years. I knew who all of her friends were.Along with photos I had a copy of every one of her report cards. He monitored their internet activities and had installed several hidden cameras within the security system of their home. It was easy to see that Bella was everything I knew she would be.

I made several trips to Phoenix over the years to see her. I’d even been to a few of her softball games. I didn’t approve of her playing sports; too many risks for injury. I knew Bella’s appendix ruptured when she was 15. I told her surgeon I was Bella’s father and Renee wouldn’t let me see her if she knew I was there. After all, if things had worked out differently in high school, she would have been my daughter. She should have been mine. He convinced Renee to go home and rest so that I could spend the night with Bella. Renee never knew I was there.

I spent the last two years planning what to do with Bella. The original plan was to take Bella after she moved to college. Embry would take her from the campus of whatever school she attended on the first day. Out of my love for Renee, I wanted her to see Bella graduate high school and enroll in college as this would be the last memory she would ever have of Bella. I wouldn’t take this time away from my love.

Embry’s report over the summer indicated a boy had taken an interest in her and from all indications Renee was going to finally allow Bella to date. I moved up my plans for Embry to take her from school the day after her birthday. I wouldn’t take her on her birthday; that would be unfair to Renee, but I wouldn’t allow some boy to get to her before Edward either. It was going to be a risky move but I had to take her before it was too late.

I almost lost it when the call came that there had been a car accident with fatalities until I knew Bella was safe. I was saddened to learn of Renee’s death but it stopped me from doing something desperate. Their attorney came in handy, blocking her stepfather’s family from fighting for custody. He handled everything according to my wishes. As her biological father, and with a new will in place, she was sent to Charlie and ultimately me.

All my plans changed with Renee’s death. I wouldn’t need to take Bella now. I just needed to manipulate Charlie to bring her to me. I knew Charlie couldn’t resist the chance to have Bella back in his home. He hadn’t had any new girls to work with since Alice and was excited about the idea of keeping Bella permanently for himself and James. He really was a sick mother fucker. However, I knew Charlie loved money above all else and would be too greedy not to sell her to me once I planted the idea in his head that Edward wasn’t thrilled with his selections.

When Charlie brought Bella to the hospital that day, it was like looking at Renee at seventeen again. I enjoyed giving her the exam I knew was unnecessary. I had all of her medical records and knew she was a virgin. She was constantly watched and it had been verified at every annual exam since she started her cycles and reported to me. It helped that her doctor was an old fraternity brother who was extremely happy with his very young wife. Charlie never knew two of the girls he trained would be living in the same city as Renee and Bella.

He never was very bright. I had to lead him anywhere I wanted him to go. Every idea, every decision came from me. Charlie was nothing but a puppet and I was his puppet master. Before he died, I took great relish in explaining just how long I’d been planning this and the fact that I’ve known all these years where his wife was. I still managed to exact my revenge on Charlie for taking Renee from me even if it wasn’t how I’d planned. I had wanted Charlie to see me with Bella; how I would make her mine. The blank stare that widened with shock as everything became clear to him was a decent consolation.

His comments about Bella’s abilities and submissiveness proved that even though she got away for those ten years, her subconscious remembered Charlie. It remembered the few lessons he was able to teach her in her first seven years.

I have to fix the problem she is creating now. Edward is giving her too much freedom. She will only expect more. As she is now, she will fight me and I can’t have that. I need her complete submission for my plans. I want to openly share her, not hide my desire for her any longer. I would even love to have a son by her after she gave Edward a couple of sons. My life would finally be on track where it should have been since high school.

I saw my computer screen blink that I had a message from my brother. I put everything back in the file and locked it away again. I opened his email and skimmed through. My nephew, Demetri was ready for a wife but without Charlie, Marcus needed some guidance on procuring and training. I smiled. I knew exactly what to do to solve all our problems.

I picked up the phone and called Marcus as I turned back to the window. I watched her as my plan formed in my mind.



“Hello Marcus. How would you and Demetri like to come for a visit? We can discuss his problem. It’s been a while since you’ve been down.”


“Sure, we have some time. Demetri and I can be there in a few days. He’s been working out of the office in Hong Kong the last couple of years and just got back last week,” he said. “We’ve depended so heavily on Charlie’s skills over the years that it didn’t occur to me until we were talking that I would need to make other arrangements.”


“That’s what I want to discuss with you. Is Demetri planning on working in Hong Kong or Alaska after he marries?” Worst case Alaska wasn’t too far to see her. I knew Demetri wouldn’t have a problem with my plans with the right incentive. I wouldn’t allow him to take her all the way to Hong Kong though. I wanted her accessible when I needed her.


“His plans are to work here for the first couple of years or so,” he laughed. “You know, make sure the bugs are worked out. He hasn’t decided past that yet. Why do you ask?


I laughed with him. The first couple of years were always the hardest until they were completely broken in. “How do you think he would feel about settling in Alaska permanently if I let him take over all future training needs? I can teach both of you Charlie’s methods and we can find Demetri a girl from the center here. I financially support the center to keep the trustees complacent. They’re just overjoyed that all the girls Charlie took under his wing landed on their feet in good marriages. You may want to consider becoming a supporter after this if you continue to use them. They usually have a wide range of choices since it’s the only center for female runaways within 100 miles. I give all the girls their physicals when they arrive so I already have a file of prospects to choose from. Plus you won’t have the added headache of her knowing the area when you get back.”

I thought internally; if I ended up letting Demetri have Bella, she would never leave the walls of Marcus’ compound ever. That would be part of the agreement. I wanted her kept under constant guard so that she was always protected and kept safe for me. I’d even send Jacob or Embry to be her bodyguard so she’d never escape or be hurt. I knew they were dependable.


“That actually sounds like a great idea. I’ll have Demetri email you his preferences when he gets in tonight. I think I can speak for my son and say he would be honored to take over training for the family. Thank you for thinking of him.”


“Yes, well I had thought Edward would take the role, but he’s proving to be a disappointment in that area. I know Demetri won’t let the family down.” I had planned that if Edward got to handle all the training then he wouldn’t mind so much letting me have Bella on occasion. He’d be plenty happy.


“What’s up with Edward? He has always worked so hard to earn your respect. I’m surprised that would change. I always thought of your boys he was the most like you.”


“Yes, well we have a little problem with his selection that he doesn’t seem to be able to handle. That’s part of why I want Demetri to come. It’s been too long since Edward has had a challenge and I think this may be just the thing to get his head back in the game.”


He laughed, “So do I tell Demetri before we get there what the challenge is so he’s prepared?”


”No. This time I think it will be obvious when he sees her.”


“What if he decides he wants her? Are you going to let me buy her? You know I don’t want my son to be disappointed,” he warned.


“I want Edward to keep her, but he’s not to know that. He’s going to have to earn her now. I’ll pick an alternate for Demetri if things work out with Edward. If it doesn’t then we’ll negotiate something for her. I know once Demetri sees her he will want her so I’ll be sure the alternate selections are among the best so he isn’t disappointed,” I assured him. “But we’ll talk more when you arrive. Have Demetri email his behavioral checklist tonight and call me when you know your flight.”


“Alright, I’ll call you later tonight. Goodbye.”

I hung up the phone and finished formulating my plan. I heard a door slam somewhere in the house and two sets of footsteps running up the stairs.

“Bella, you’re going to pay for that!” Edward was yelling at her.

“No! Edward, please!” she shrieked. “I’m sorry! I swear!”

I smiled. It was about time. I stood and went quietly to the door to watch unobserved. I saw Bella get to the landing a few steps ahead of Edward on her way up to their room. She kept turning back to see how close he was to her. I saw the expression on her face and felt my blood pressure rise. Instead of the fear I expected to see at the punishment she obviously knew was coming, she was laughing as she turned up the next flight of stairs to the third floor.

I saw Edward; his hair and shirt were dripping water. He leaped across the landing at her and caught her, making her scream again. He threw her over his shoulder and continued on to their room.

“I got you now. There’s no escape for you. I’m going to tickle you until you can’t breathe and then I’m going to see how much you like a cold shower, you wicked girl,” he laughed.

“Uncle! Uncle! I give up!” she screamed, laughing. She was hitting his back, hanging upside down. “Please don’t, I need to pee.”

I watched in disgust as he set her down at the top of their landing, laughing at her. “Okay, no tickling. What about a kiss until you can’t breathe instead?”

She bit her bottom lip in that sexy way she does and tilted her face up to him as he leaned down. She shoved him back and took off again to their room. “You have to catch me first!”

Edward growled and took off after her. I heard their door slam twice and then her giggling before silence.

I picked up my briefcase and headed down to my car smiling. That type of juvenile behavior was about to end. I could feel control coming back within my grasp already. I whistled all the way to the hospital. It was going to be a great day.