July 13, 2017
The explosive thunder echoed through the hot summer night, as the bolts of lightning streaked across the sky, providing a silhouette for the storm’s billowy clouds. The past week had seen torrential rain, with horrendous thunder and lightning. Bella had spent the day reading through microfiche copies of newspapers spanning the last fifty years, hoping to find some bit of evidence of the elusive Cullen family. She knew they existed. She also discovered that they had immigrated to America and had settled in Chicago, but after hours of research that had caused her eyes to burn from staring at the small blurry screen, she hadn’t found one article concerning them. Looking at her watch, she knew she had to pack up before the librarian came growling that it was time for her to leave. Shoving the copies of her notes in her bag, Bella placed the strap over her head and headed towards the front of the library, waving to the librarian as she passed by.
As she walked out the door, she pulled her hood up on her rain jacket and headed down the stairs. “Fuck, I wish I could have parked closer,” Bella murmured softly as she trudged through deep puddles of water that had formed from today’s never-ending rain.
When she had arrived this morning, she was surprised by the number of cars that had taken all the close parking spaces. The nearest spot was three blocks down and two streets over. During the daylight hours, the alleys were usually busy with people, but as Bella began her trek through the dark, trash cluttered alley, she realized that she was all alone. Stepping over of discarded cups, cans, and fast food bags, Bella wanted to dash through to the other end but was afraid she might trip and fall.
Suddenly, a large creature scampered across the alley in front of her, causing her to scream. The creature was a rat that quickly picked up a half-eaten burger and scurried off into a gaping hole at the bottom of a trash bin. “Fuck,” Bella wheezed holding her hand over her heart as it pounded like a racehorse at the end of a two-mile race. Taking a moment to regain her composure, she began her trek once again through the dark alley. Midway through she had to move between trash bins that took up most of the walkway. Just as she emerged from between them she was grabbed from behind and dragged toward the wall. Feeling a hard jab to her ribs, she realized that it felt like a gun.
“HELP ME!!” Bella began to scream, but was quickly stopped when a hand clamped across her mouth.
“Bitch, you really don’t know when to keep your big mouth shut,” the man growled, pushing the gun harder into her ribs.
Bella tried to prevent the tears that began to form in her eyes, not from the pain in her side, or that the fact she was being attacked by a man who seemed to want to do harm, but because she was pissed. She hardly ever cried and when she did it was because someone had made her so mad that it caused her to tear up.
“You had to stick your nose in something that was meant to be dead and buried; and for that you need to be silenced. I promise to make it quick and painless if you tell me how you came by the name Cullen?” Ricky asked as he slowly removed his hand from her mouth and pulled her so she was facing him. If she began to scream again, he would just shoot her.
“I don’t remember,” Bella answered calculating her possibilities. Her father had made sure she had been taught and taught well how to defend herself. He had been both her father and mother. The woman who gave birth to her left them when she was only three days old. Even during this dangerous moment, Bella could recall the stories that Charlie had told her since she was a child.
Charlie had met her mother, Renee, at a diner one rainy Chicago day. She came rushing into the diner, soaked to the bone and shivering. Finding the only remaining booth available, which happened to be across from Charlie’s, she began drying herself with the napkins from the holder until the waitress appeared.
“What can I get you?” Margaret, the waitress, asked popping her gum between each word.
“Coffee black,” Renee whispered.
Margaret headed back to get Renee her coffee when Charlie put out his hand and grasped Margaret’s arm.
“Bring the young lady a towel,” Charlie said giving her one of his signature smiles that could make the coldest heart melt.
Margaret would do anything for Charlie, as she was hoping that one day he would wake up and see that she was the perfect woman for him. “Sure Charlie.”
A few minutes later, Margaret brought over a large cup of steaming hot coffee and a clean towel. Renee looked up in bewilderment at Margaret when she handed her a towel. Margaret motioned towards Charlie. “The gentlemen thought you needed a towel.”
“Thank you,” Renee said to Margaret, then looked towards the man who had been so kind and her heart stopped. Even though he was sitting, she could tell he was tall with broad shoulders, dark brown hair, and piercing blue eyes. He was staring at her with a small, but incredibly sexy smile. Renee smiled back. “Thank you, Sir.”
Charlie wasn’t one to be forward towards women. He had been too busy moving up through the ranks to have time for a personal life, however, there was something about this woman. Picking up his coffee cup he walked over to the booth. “May I?”
“Of course,” Renee swooned.
They spent hours talking over coffee and cheeseburgers. After that, they spent every possible moment together and six months later they were standing before a judge pledging their love to one another. Renee moved into the house that Charlie owned and they began to build their lives together. The months that followed their marriage were ones filled with love and happiness, even though at times Renee seemed very distant. Charlie would ask her what was wrong, but she brushed it off as nothing.
Two years later, Renee was only days away from giving birth to their first child. Charlie came home from work to find Renee staring out the window with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Rushing to her side, Charlie fell to his knees and placed his hand on top of hers. “Darling, are you ill?”
Renee just shook her head, pulling her hand away from Charlie’s.
“What is wrong?” He asked.
“Nothing,” she answered softly.
“But why are you crying?”
“It must be the hormones,” she lied, knowing that she couldn’t tell him the reason.
That evening Renee went into labor and several hours later gave birth to a beautiful little girl that they named Isabella Marie Swan. Charlie was beyond taken by the tiny little bundle of joy. They brought her home to the nursery that they had decorated, and Charlie felt his life was now complete. He had a loving wife and a beautiful daughter, who could ask for more. However, his perfect life didn’t last long. Three days later he awoke to find Renee gone with a note lying on her pillow.
I have been living a lie for so long and I can’t continue. You are a great man and I know you will be a wonderful father, but I don’t want to be a mother or wife. Don’t come looking for me.
Charlie was shocked with what he was reading and couldn’t or wouldn’t believe that their entire relationship was based on a lie. He reread the letter over and over, until he was brought out of his trance by a crying Isabella. Dropping the letter, he rushed to her crib and looked down at his precious daughter. He would make it his mission to be a wonderful father and mother for his daughter.
As Isabella or Bella, as she was called by her father, grew, she never missed or really thought about her mother. She had asked her father about her when she was ten and he told her that she left because she felt she couldn’t be a good mother to her. Bella looked into her father’s eyes which were filled with so much love for her. Charlie not only taught her to be a good person who worked hard to reach her goals but also how to defend herself. He knew the evil that walked the world and he knew that to have the skill set to protect yourself was a must.
Remembering back to each one of her lessons, Bella began to form a plan to get out of this horrible situation.
Ricky whipped his hand hard across her right cheek, causing the sound of flesh against flesh to echo down the alley. Bella instinctively placed her cool hand against her hot cheek. Fuck that hurt. “Bitch, I am giving you one more chance to tell me the truth or that little tap will be nothing compared to what I will do to you.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about. I am just a writer, writing a fiction story, nothing more,” Bella said, hoping that the guy would drop his guard for just a second.
Ricky had been told to extract the information from I.M. Swan and then kill her. However, this bitch was not cooperating. He pulled back his fist this time, and struck her in the stomach, causing her to drop to her knees coughing and gagging. He took this opportunity to kick her hard in the ribs, giving him the satisfying sound of ribs breaking.
Bella was breathless and in gripping pain, but that was not stopping her in thinking about making the fucker pay. Then it happened, Ricky took a step closer to place another kick, but before he could, Bella reared back and head-butted him in the groin.
“YOU FUCKING BITCH!!” He screamed in a higher pitch voice, as he cupped his dick and balls.
Bella smirked and went to escape, but she wasn’t quick enough and Ricky grasped a hand full of her dark brown hair and pulled her closer to him. Then she saw his foot come down toward her face, but before it hit he seemed to be pulled backward. Then she heard a new voice, it had a menacing tone, but there was something assuring and down right sexy. Wincing as she tried to turn around to look up at the person connected to the voice, she gasped at the sight of the man who had her assailant restrained with a knife against his throat and one arm twisted behind his back. In the dim light, she saw that the new man was tall, with reddish brown hair, full lips, and a strong jaw. He was the sexiest man she had ever seen, even though he was sopping wet from the rain.
“Are you alright?” He asked looking down at her.
“I think I might have some broken ribs,” Bella answered as she winced in pain.
“Hold on. I will get some help as soon as I take care of this fucker.”
Edward pulled harder on the arm and slammed the Ricky into the rough brick wall pushing his face along the jagged edges, cutting the soft facial skin.
“Fuck that hurts,” Ricky cried.
“Well you shouldn’t have tried to hurt a woman. Now stop your crying and tell me who you work for?” Edward asked keeping up the pressure on the arm.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Ricky spat.
Edward pushed up even harder until he heard the shoulder joint pop. At this point Ricky screamed in agony. “Hurts like a motherfucker, yeah? Now tell me who you work for and I will make the pain stop.”
The pain was crashing like waves on a beach and Ricky couldn’t even think straight. “Fine, fine. I work for Aro.”
“I knew that, but wanted to see what wimps his men truly are,” Edward chuckled.
“I told you, now put it back in place,” Ricky whimpered.
“I said I would make the pain stop and I will,” Edward said as he took the knife and pushed it through Ricky’s back into his heart. Pushing the lifeless body to the ground, Edward turned toward Bella.
Bella was shocked how easy this handsome man just killed her attacker; and she knew she should be frightened, but there was something about him that put her fears at ease. He bent down beside her and gave her a smile.
“My name is Edward and I promise not to harm you. I only want to help.”
“My name is Bella.”
“I am going to help you up and take you to someone who will check out those ribs,” Edward explained holding out his hands, which Bella took. Slowly and carefully, he helped her to her feet.
The pain was coursing through her body. “OH SHIT!” Bella cried out in agony.
Edward knew what it felt like to have ribs broken. Each step you take is like a dull knife stabbing deep inside of you. “Look, I need to get us out of this alley before anymore of Aro’s goons show up. I am going to pick you up, which is going to hurt like hell, but it is the quickest way to get you out of here.”
“Alright, but tell me your last name,” Bella quizzed.
Edward bent over and swooped her up in his arms. She cried out in excruciating pain and just before she passed out he whispered. “Cullen.”