A secret and mysterious cult is stealing artifacts across Europe, all with a goal made in the middle ages in mind. And that goal deals with only one thing. Vampires. Bella Swan is the only person in the world with the full knowledge of vampires, and is joined by her fellow agents of Zeta to try and stop the cult from spreading. But when a run in with her past occurs, will her duty be the only thing pushing her to fight?
All things from Twilight are Stephenie Meyers. All things from the Sigma Force novels (like the idea of Zeta) are by James Rollins. Everything else is by me.
4. Secrets to Keep
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2258 Review this Chapter
Secrets to Keep
Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)—Wyclef Jean
Edward smiled crookedly, and my breath caught. My pulse hammered, and that just made him seem happier. Emmett just shook his head and blurred away. “You’re going to need help lifting him. And I’m sure you don’t want to make your car all bloody.” He slipped off his black jacket—I suddenly noticed that he was in a suit—and handed it to me. “Put it on the back seat so he can lie on it.”
I nodded, and walked over to my car, opening the back and laying it down where his shoulder would be. Edward lifted the man up and carefully set him in, tying his tie around the wound. I watched him for a moment, wondering why he had always had thought of himself as a monster when he was so gentle, before turning to the car and turning it on. Edward got in the passenger seat, and I pulled out of my parking spot, turning toward Zeta.
“I thought you didn’t like it when people drove like this,” Edward asked, staring at me with an odd expression on his face.
I didn’t look over at him, instead keeping my focus on the dark streets. “Times have changed,” I said, my voice slightly harder than I meant it to be. His face, from what I could see in my peripheral vision, fell slightly, became unemotional. The face reminded me of the day he had left me, and something in me hardened just like in my voice.
I pulled up to the building that secretly housed Zeta. It looked like any of the other offices in the capitol, which it really was. It was just when you got below the ground that it held any interesting additional offices. Zeta went three floors below the ground, and spread out a bit further than the basement. The top three floors were filled with a few of our agents, but it was really an accounting office.
“Come on,” I whispered, getting out of the car and opening the back seat for Edward to get the man. As I closed the door, I hit a button the pager in my purse, making it look like I was locking the door. Two men would be coming out in a moment to assist us, and then I would have to go home and pack, and then I would be on a plane to Europe. And I would be away from Edward, maybe forever.
Sure enough, as we walked inside, two men came up to us, dressed casually. I recognized them as people I knew that had medical degrees. “Tell Commander Alber that this man was sent to get me, similar to what happened to Jen. Also that I need to get my things and that I’ll meet him at the airport,” I said briskly. Both men nodded and carried the man away, down the hallway. I became aware of a low growl coming from next to me.
“What are you doing, working here?” Edward hissed. “I thought you promised not to do anything reckless or stupid!”
I closed my eyes. Here was the argument I had with myself when I first met Morgan. Keep my promise and be a desk worker, or break it and have a life to live? “Well,” I started. How could I say this so it would make sense to the beautiful vampire standing beside me? “How can I live without doing something a little reckless? How can I learn if I don’t make stupid mistakes? What you asked me to do was to just go through life without really living it.”
“No, I wasn’t,” Edward said, and his voice was hard. I turned to him in surprise, and he was staring at me with narrowed eyes. “I asked you to live life without doing things that could get you killed!”
“Too late for that,” I muttered, rubbing my arm where a long red knife wound was. I had had it for a few weeks, and it still hurt as bad as it did when I got it. Meka thought that there had been acid or something on the knife that had been used on me, and it wasn’t letting it heal. Luckily, Edward couldn’t see it. I was sure he would get even angrier, though I wasn’t sure why. But right now, he was still, looking into space, obviously reading someone’s mind. As I turned, he seemed to become aware of our surroundings again.
I could feel Edward following me, staring at me, but I didn’t acknowledge him as I strode outside. This discussion was over. “I don’t think I’ll be able to give you a ride back to the gala. My apartment is in the opposite direction, and I’m in a rush now.” I swallowed once, knowing that I was about to go through a lot of pain. “It was nice seeing you again,” I whispered, still not looking at his face. I was at my car now, and was about to open the door when I felt a cold hand grab my arm and spin me around.
“Bella,” he whispered, and my heart hammered unnecessarily. “Look at me, please,” he whispered. I couldn’t disobey him. I looked up, and his golden eyes were impossibly deep and tender, staring down into my own.
“What?” I breathed, lost in his gaze. What was wrong with me? I could stare calmly into a gun pointed at my face, but I completely lost my mind looking at him? Just staring into the deep honey pools that were his eyes?
“Don’t go there, please,” he pleaded. “It’s not safe for you in Italy. You’ll be killed as soon as one of my kind realizes what you know, which will happen fast with what you were planning to do there. Why would you even be doing this?” Obviously, it was either Meka or Morgan whose thoughts he had listened in on. Or perhaps even a techie. Too many people knew the private facts of missions, I thought angrily.
I blinked once, and ignored his question. That wasn’t something he needed to know. “What do you mean? I’m going to Italy to save your kind, not kill them. Why would they want to kill me?” He obviously knew what our objective was.
He looked away, and I was freed from his golden gaze. “Get in the car,” he commanded, walking around to the passenger seat. He paused when he saw that I wasn’t moving. “Come on,” he said.
I sighed and got in, and he did the same.
“Where are we going?” I asked, starting the car.
“To your place,” he answered back. Though it was dark in the car, I could still see and hear the smile on his face. I looked away, trying not to get dazzled like I had so much when I was seventeen.
“And why are we both going there?” I questioned, my voice smooth and calm like his as I began to speed down the streets. I was going a little faster than normal, my fingers tight on the stick shift.
“You asked why the vampires in Italy would want to kill you. I thought it would be better if we were someplace more…private to talk about that,” Edward said carefully. I nodded, knowing that an important part of his life was making sure people didn’t know about what he really was. “And you would feel more comfortable talking about your…occupation, in private as well,” he added.
I tensed, and blew out a gust of air. “What makes you think I’ll tell you anything about it?” I demanded.
He raised his eyes at me, and then tapped the side of his head with a grin. “Because anyone else would tell me everything, and I’m sure you would rather me learn most of it from you.”
I stared forward for a minute, driving carefully now down the street, trying to reign in my emotions. “Why do you even care?” I finally whispered, my voice filled with the pain I had harbored in me since the day he disappeared from my life. “I mean, I thought you didn’t—“
“Bella, watch out!” Edward suddenly exclaimed. I noticed a car swerving around, and I quickly went to the side, letting it pass. I watched it go for a moment, and then sighed.
“Dumb college kids,” I muttered under my breath. You think they would be careful, here in the capitol, but they were still like any other kid after seven with a case of beer and a bunch of friends.
Edward snorted and stared at me. “Shouldn’t you be in college right now?”
I shrugged. “Maybe, but I already have a degree, and a pretty good paying job, so it doesn’t really matter. And I enjoy what I do, most of the time.” What I didn’t enjoy was the killing or being held hostage or the multiple wounds I had gotten…
“Most of the time?” Edward picked out, staring at me with raised eyes. I ignored him now, getting out of the car as I rubbed my left forearm, where the knife wound still was. Ugh, why wouldn’t it heal already? Wasn’t hemorrhaging almost to death enough?
Edward seemed to pick up on my mood, and silently followed me into the nice apartment complex, up to the seventh floor—not on top, but too high to climb up to. A slightly paranoid choice, but that was what I was paid to be.
Once we were in my apartment, I dropped my purse on my counter, and put my cover in the closet. Edward silently drifted over to my office, seemingly drawn the small library I had going in there. He silently read through everything as I stared at him for a moment, before composing myself and quickly going into my room to put on jeans and a black sweatshirt. I quickly scrubbed all of the makeup off my face and adjusted my hair from the twist it was in to a pony.
“You have a lot of historical books,” Edward commented quietly as I stepped into my office. He now was standing over my desk, staring at the passages on the Guardians of the Shadow.
“I have a degree in general history. I needed a lot of books to study from,” I said, walking over to stand next to him. It was odd, how much I felt like I did when I was seventeen. I wanted so badly to wrap my arms around him, to breathe in the delicious scent that came of his skin, to have him hold me too. It was something I had been missing since he left me.
He turned and smiled down at me. “You just have to do whatever you can to keep reading, right?”
I nodded with a grin. “Of course. Being able to read and understand almost everything is one of the greatest skills I have. I might as well do something that can correspond with that.”
He nodded too, looking down at me thoughtfully. He lightly put a finger to my face, gently tracing a small scar that went from the edge of my jaw to the hollow underneath my ear. “How did you get this?” he asked suddenly, calmly, though I could almost hear the murderous workings of his mind towards whoever gave it to me.
I frowned a little. “I got that last…November, after I first met Morgan. He was trying to get me to a safe house, and we were ambushed and kidnapped.” My voice grew distant as I remembered the horrors that had happened. “He tried to break us out, but a guard noticed, and I didn’t notice him coming until the last second, and he nicked my jaw. All I remember after that was a bang, and then I was suddenly in a car going to some government hospital.”
Edward blinked. “Morgan seems to save you a lot,” he commented.
I sighed and nodded. “Yes, he does. I may not be as bad as I used to be, but I am still a very klutzy person.” A fact that I really did hate. “It’s given me more grief than ever before. I mean, the people I work with made me take dance lessons to try and help! It was horrible!”
“I would hope that helped,” Edward said, his face slightly amused, though it was still also very somber.
I nodded grudgingly. “I suppose it did.” I sighed as Edward fought back a chuckle. I unconsciously had moved closer to him as we talked, and now stood right next to him.
He seemed to become more aware of this at the same time I noticed, and he was suddenly right in my face. I blinked once, inhaling fast and breathing in his scent, which made me more incoherent.
“Bella,” he whispered. I just continued to stare into his dark gold eyes that were staring intently into mine. His face was suddenly so much closer to mine, and one of his hands came up to cradle my face. I blinked again, shock coursing through me at the tenderness and adoration in the small gesture. “I don’t want you to go. Please, just stay here. You can still help even if you aren’t right here.”
“Why?” I breathed. “Why do you want me to stay? Why do you even care?”
It was as if I had slapped him. His face recoiled back, and his hand dropped from my face. Something akin to agony filled his eyes for a second, before suddenly two golden pools were gazing intently at me.
“Bella, how could I not care?” he said softly. “I love you.”
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