July 17, 2017
Bella awoke early, and after watching Edward sleep for several minutes, she decided to get out of bed. Putting on her robe, she slipped out of the room and walked out onto the terrace. The sun was rising across the lake, the golden rays dancing across the ripples of water. It was glorious here. She could see herself purchasing a home here. “Hmm, I wonder if Edward would come with me?” she thought.
Edward Cullen came into her life as her green-eyed hero but quickly became so much more. There was this invisible pull between the two of them. Every time he touched her, it set her heart and soul ablaze. Never had any man touched her heart as Edward had, why was that? She had researched men in the mafia, meeting a few low members of a few mafia families across the states. But she had never met a leader, a Don of the family, well until now. Edward was the epitome of a Mafia Don. He exuded power and confidence with every action and decision he made. She noticed his demeanor changed every time Aro’s name was mentioned, and she couldn’t blame him. His entire family, both blood and mafia, were murdered. Bella was so happy that Angela had protected and loved him. He grew into a man with compassion and purpose.
Edward awoke and reached for Bella, but the bed was empty. Sitting up, he looked around but didn’t see her. Getting out of bed and putting on his dress pants from the night before, he went to find her. He needed her in his arms, soaking in her warmth deep into his dark soul. She was a beacon of light, and he was never letting her go. His father had written in his journal about what it felt like when he had met his mother. When he had first read it, he couldn’t understand how anyone could make you feel lighter, then Bella came along, and he knew. God, he wished his parents were still alive to meet Bella. From everything he had read and what Angela had told him, they would have loved her as much as he did. What? Love? No, it was too soon.
He walked into the living room, looked out the window, and saw her on the terrace. She was a goddess in white standing by the railing. A breeze was blowing her chestnut brown hair, and the morning sun’s rays were shining down on her. She was a vision. Stepping out on the terrace, he looked to the right and saw Seth standing guard, after nodding to him, he walked towards Bella. Stepping in behind her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close.
“Good morning, my sweet,” Edward whispered in her ear.
“Good morning. I awoke early and wanted to take in the sunrise,” she murmured. “It is so beautiful here.”
“Not as beautiful as you are,” he said as he nuzzled her neck and placed hot kisses onto it.
Bella turned, looked into his sparkling green eyes. “I hope we find some more information about your family today. You deserve to know everything about your family history and to take back what they worked hard to build. I’m not going anywhere. I know your goal is the reinstatement of your family and their honor, so I am telling you now, you do what you need to do. I will be here beside you, I don’t think I could live without seeing your face.”
“I am a dangerous man,” Edward disclosed. “And while I cannot stand the thought of you in any type of danger, I don’t think I could let you go.”
Bella reached up, placing her arms around his neck and pulled him down. She claimed his lips pouring all her feelings into it. When they finally pulled away, Edward laid his forehead on hers.
“As much as I want to take you back to bed, we need to get ready to go,” Edward said.
They walked back towards the terrace, and at the point, Bella noticed Seth. “How long has he been there?” Bella asked.
“He has been on since five, Ben had the night shift,” he explained.
“Do you expect problems?”
“No, but I am always on guard,” Edward confined. “I will never let what happened to my parents happen again. I’ve learned from their mistakes and my family is made stronger because of their deaths.”
“You are a great leader,” Bella praised.
“I want to be a leader that my father would be proud of,” Edward declared.
“I am sure he is.”
They went to their room, showered and dressed, even if it took all their self-control not to say “fuck the world” and get lost in each other for the rest of the day. Bella dressed in a pair of jeans, that hugged her curves, an off the shoulder blouse, and a pair of ballet flats. She wanted to be comfortable as they explored Edward’s family home. She was in the bathroom applying her makeup and fixing her hair in the mirror beside Edward; who was beside her at the other mirror shaving. To anyone who might walk in, it would appear that they were an old married couple.
After Edward had finished shaving and brushing his teeth, he placed a kiss on Bella’s cheek and sauntered out into the bedroom to dress. He normally didn’t wear jeans, though he figured that the house was going to be dusty and dirty and didn’t want to ruin another suit. Selecting a button-down shirt, dark-wash jeans, and a pair of Italian loafers, he looked at himself in the mirror. He might be dressed down, but he still gave off an air of danger and the authority of his position in the family.
Bella came out of the bathroom and took a deep breath. “Fuck,” she gasped. Edward dressed in a suit was enough to make her heart flip-flop but in jeans, her heart stuttered.
Edward turned when he heard her gasp. She was standing with her mouth open and panting. Closing the distance between them, he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. “Now you know how I feel, every time I gaze upon you and I make my solemn pledge that I will make you scream in ecstasy tonight.”
“I will keep you to your pledge,” she groaned.
Placing a quick kiss on her lips, he took her hand and led her out of the room. He heard the talking and laughing come from the dining area of the villa. As they entered the room they saw everyone sitting around the table eating breakfast. Grabbing their plates, they filled up with the food that had been delivered and sat down. Edward sat his plate down and pulled out the chair for Bella, which was to the right of his seat at the head of the table. Once he was seated he looked at each one of his family members at the table. Without saying a word, and positioning her beside him, he had made a statement of Bella’s importance to him.
After breakfast, Rose checked Bella’s ribs and gave her another shot. Even though the ribs were still broken, they were healing slowly. Rose was impressed by Bella’s pain tolerance.
“Is everyone ready for today?” Edward asked.
“Yes. How long will it take to get there, Bella?” Jasper asked.
“About twenty minutes,” she answered.
“Then let us get going,” Edward exclaimed.
Bella and Edward were in the front car so that Bella could give directions on how to get to Villa del Cullenello. When they reached their destination, Edward helped Bella out of the car and walked over to the hidden plaque. Pulling back the vines, she showed Edward.
“Damn, I can’t believe I am seeing this,” Edward murmured.
As Bella started to go through the gate, Edward stopped her. “We don’t know if anyone else happened to find this place. Let me go first, just in case we run into danger.”
Edward followed by Emmett and Jasper, with the guns drawn and ready to shoot, pushed their way through the vine-covered gate, then began surveying the area. There was no evidence that anyone had been around.
“It is safe,” Edward called out. Bella, Rose, and Alice joined them and they proceeded to the front of the house, fighting through the vines and weeds. When Edward got to the door, he noticed the ornate plaque on the door, which he knew as his family’s crest. Tracing his finger over it, he relished the sensation. Before he met Bella he never thought he would find anything else about his family, but here he was touching a piece of his history.
Bella stepped up beside him and placed her hand on his arm. “I thought it was lovely when I first saw it.”
“It is,” he said with a small smile. He then took hold of the doorknob and began to turn it. It didn’t move right away but with a little more force it turned, unlatching the lock. Placing his shoulder on the door, he gave it a push, opening it up. The room was just like Bella had described. “Alright, let us go look around and see what we can find. Just be careful, because we don’t know how unstable the structure might be.”
The couples teamed up together and went in separate directions. Bella showed Edward where she had found the picture of his grandparents. The room was exactly as she had left it. They began looking around the room and removing the sheets that covered the furniture and windows. The sun shined in glistening against the dust particles that were floating throughout the room. Other than a good cleaning, the room seemed to be in perfect shape.
“The house seems to be sturdy,” Edward advised as he ran his hand down the walls.
“I agree. With a little love and some minor repairs, this place could be brought back to its grand heritage,” Bella said.
Edward began to look at the books on the shelves and could almost picture his grandparents sitting in their chairs, with a fire in the fireplace, as they read from a book on these shelves. As he stepped over to the shelf on the opposite wall of the fireplace, he began to read some of the titles on the spines. He stopped when he saw the title of one of the books, Omertà. Placing his fingers on the top of the spine he pulled it forward and when he did, the shelf next to it sprang open.
“Bella, look,” he exclaimed.
“How did you do that?” She asked.
“It was triggered by the book. EVERYONE COME TO THE LIBRARY! He yelled.
They came running, thinking that something was wrong, once they got to the room they saw that they were fine, but were excited over something. “What is it, Boss?” Jasper asked.
“A hidden room. Come let’s see what is in there,” Edward said as he took Bella’s hand and with a flashlight in the other went through the opening. It was a small passageway, the floor covered in dust and a musty smell.
At the end of the passageway was a door that Edward opened with a little force. They stepped into a large windowless room. As he flashed the light around it, he noticed several lanterns positioned around. Taking out his lighter, he lit one. “Jasper, Emmett light the rest of them.”
Once the lanterns were lit, the room came to life. On the walls were pictures and plaques with different symbols on each one. As the group looked at each one trying to figure out who they were. Bella examined several of them and a memory from her research surfaced. It couldn’t be right though, there was no way that they would have come together in one place. “Edward, I know this is going to sound crazy, but these are other Mafia families.”
“What?” He gasped as he looked around again. “Why would their picture be here? They were rivals of each other.”
Bella moved over the mantle where a picture of Caius hung. He looked so regal in his black suit. He reminded her of Edward. Suddenly something caught her eye. The frame of the picture was not straight and when she pushed to fix it, she saw that there was something behind it. “Edward, look,” she exclaimed.
Edward came over and helped her take the picture down. On the wall behind where the picture had hung was a safe. “Damn, I wonder what is in that?”
“Without the combination, we may never know,” Emmett exclaimed.
Edward stared at the lock cylinder and wondered what the combination could be. Thinking back on all the journals he had read from his father, then he remembered the journal that Bella had found. “Bella, do you remember anything in the journal you found that had a sequence of numbers.”
Bella closed her eyes and thought about everything she had read in the journal. She didn’t have a photographic memory, though she was great about remembering just about everything she read. There were dates of births, deaths, and weddings. There was nothing strange about any of them and unexpectedly she remembered a footnote on one of the pages. She had wondered what it was when she had first seen it. Could it really be what was needed to open the safe? “24 35 31.”
Edward began turning the lock knob first to twenty-four, then the opposite direction to thirty-five, then back to thirty-one. Once he had he heard the lock disengage. Pulling down the handle, he pulled the door open. Pointing the flashlight into the safe, inside he saw it was full of money, a few guns, and a parchment paper rolled up. Picking the parchment up he took it over to the desk. There was a wax seal that was his family’s crest. Breaking the seal he unrolled it and began reading. What he discovered shocked him.
“What is it?” Rose asked.
Edward looked up and smiled. “A weapon that will bring about the total annihilation of Aro.”