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No Way Out

Summary:
Edward left Bella and never came back, Victoria never came after her, but a monster of the mortal kind did. Now Bella is an NCIS agent trying to solve the most difficult case of her career.


Notes:


4. Chapter 4

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1222   Review this Chapter

ON the way back to NCIS headquarters DiNozzo filled me in on his encounter with Alice.

“I mean, it was really weird Bells. One minute we’re sitting there discussing the case and the next she goes totally space cadet on me!”

Until that moment I had not been paying much attention to Tony, knowing that Alice had undoubtedly provided a rock solid alibi for Edward that meshed with the story Carlisle had given me, but that comment caught my attention, and not in a good way. “What do you mean?” I asked attempting to keep the panic out of my voice.

“She just completely zoned out! Right in the middle of telling me about her brother’s insomnia, and then she gets all cryptic for a second and says something about needing to nail down the time frame better. I really think this chick is certifiable Bella--”

“Don’t say that,” I cut in, “You don’t even know this girl.” Despite everything I still considered Alice my sister, and no one gets to pick on my family. I knew Tony couldn’t know how close to the truth he was, but in that instant there was nothing I could do but defend Alice.

Tony gave me a look, “What’s up with you Swan? You’ve never gotten this way about a case before.”

I took a deep breath, praying that the Cullens would be able to pick up on the story I was concocting, “It’s just, I was talking to Dr. Cullen about how he seemed fairly young to have such a mature family, he’s only in his thirties and the youngest kid in eighteen. He told me that he and his wife were unable to have children so they adopted teens, most of who were abused. Alice in particular came from some bad circumstances.”

Tony was quiet form a moment, mulling that over, “Oh, I see. How did he acquire our suspect?”

I knew I was walking a very thin line. I had to make sure everything I said I remembered, and I had to do my best to get Edward out of custody so we could focus on finding the real killer. “Edward was adopted after his parents died of some sort of incurable illness. Dr. Cullen treated his mother and felt that Edward should be his responsibility as he had no other relatives. Apparently the Cullens are loaded. I got their home address in case we needed to conduct further interviews, and they don’t live anywhere too cheap.”

At this point we were back at the office in the elevator on our way up to Gibbs. When we reached him and made our reports he told us that the victim had been IDed. “Our petty officer’s name was Linda McAlister; she was scheduled to go to Iraq next week. Stable home, no history of drug use, not even a DWI.”

Gibbs gestured for us to follow him and we went down to Abby’s lab where McGee was already waiting. I could reasonably assume that Ziva was either out talking to the officers who found McAlister or playing babysitter with Edward. “What have you got for me Abbs?” Gibbs asked while handing over Abby’s fuel; a Caf-Pow.

“You mean besides my undying love and admiration? Not much, you didn’t give me a lot to work with Gibbs. There were no finger prints on the murder weapon, but I managed to get a couple of partials off the victim’s clothes, I’m running them through AFIS now, but it’ll probably take a while. Over to you Timmy.”

McGee started making his report to Gibbs, “I managed to get into the call log of the victim’s cell phone only three calls were made in the last 48 hours. One to a pizza place, one to the victim’s parents, and one to a residential number listed to the victim herself. I’m assuming she had a roommate or boyfriend who was at her house.”

“Your job isn’t to assume McGee; it’s to bring me facts, go get Ziva and check out the victim’s house.” Gibbs turned to go motioning for me to follow him. I waved goodbye to Abby and McGee and left the lab. “Bella, I don’t have enough to hold Cullen overnight, but I don’t want him to go home.”

“Why do I have the feeling I’m not going to be thrilled with where this is going?” A deep feeling of dread was starting to work its way into my stomach.

“Oh, I know you’ll hate it, you have a new house guest Swan. Take him by his place to pick up some of his things, and then take him back to your house for the night.” I knew it would be no use trying to protest Gibbs’s decision, and I very slowly made my way up the stairs to pick up my new roommate.

Edward did not speak until we were my car about ten minutes off the base. “So, when did your truck die?”

I smirked, “About a week after I started working at NCIS. I strongly suspect DiNozzo and Ziva had something to do with it.” I’d gotten myself a used Jetta after the fall of my Chevy, but I’d kept the old keys for memorabilia.

“How’d you get involved in NCIS? It doesn’t exactly seem like something you would have done.” For some reason Edward’s voice seemed to burn with curiosity.

“My college roommate’s sister was a petty officer. She came to stay with us and was murdered by an ex-boyfriend. A couple of days later that same boyfriend showed up again at our apartment. I was the only one around, and he tried to kill me, but Gibbs got there just in the nick of time. I was unbelievably grateful, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. After all, I wanted to help other people and I figured it was some kind of kismet that I ran into Gibbs, so I took what the universe gave me.”

Edward was silent a moment before speaking in a low voice that was riddled with some unknown emotion, “Bella, I am so sorry for everything. If I had known…”

“Don’t blame yourself Edward, I certainly don’t blame you. You can’t help how you feel, or don’t feel, so why should I blame you? You can’t possibly go around saving everyone in the world from sociopaths, so why should I be any different. Just imagine that you’d never met me.” I kept my eyes firmly on the road, refusing to look at his face because I knew that the instant I saw his eyes the carefully constructed barriers I’d put around myself would crumble to dust and I would start crying.

“What do you mean? Imagine I never met you? Bella--”

I cut him off, “Let’s not even talk about it Edward. We’ll be at your house in a couple of minutes, and I really want to see everyone again, I never did get the chance to say goodbye. Then we have to go back to my house for the night, or Gibbs will have my head.”

I finally turned to look at him and I was surprised by the sadness in his eyes, “If that’s what you want Bella.”

“It is,” I said simply as I pulled into his driveway.