No Way Out
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.
5. Chapter 5
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2352 Review this Chapter
My mind was in utter turmoil as we started up the walkway to the Cullen home. I’d meant everything I’d said to Edward in the car, and I truly did not harbor any feelings of animosity towards the rest of his family. Quite the opposite actually, I missed them more than I’d thought I could ever miss anyone. But somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind a voice was reminding me that they’d left me alone too, and even if I didn’t blame them for leaving me once Edward realized what a mistake I had been I couldn’t help but wonder if all the love I’d thought I’d gotten from them was also a lie.
I leaned over to ring the doorbell, but Edward stopped me, “What are you doing?”
“Letting your family know we’re here?” It came out like a question instead of an explanation.
“There are two things that are a bit strange about that Bella. One, I live here, I don’t exactly need to use the doorbell, and two, you should know better than anyone that the doorbell is merely a prop, they’re all waiting on the other side of the door. Alice is planning to ambush you.” I blushed. In my defense I didn’t usually work cases which involved vampires, let alone vampires I knew.
Edward opened the door, and sure enough I was enveloped in a very tight hug from a very tiny person. “Bella Bella Bella! I missed you soooooo much!” I laughed and hugged Alice back as tightly as I could.
“I missed you too Alice,” I whispered.
“Ease up squirt! You’re breaking her and I haven’t even gotten my chance to say hi to the human yet.” The voice and comment was unmistakably Emmett. Alice finally detached herself from my waist and Emmett took her spot.
“Alright children, let Bella breath! I’m sure she’s had a very long day, and she’d like to rest,” I turned to see Esme behind Emmett, “Bella, why don’t we go sit in the living room, and we can talk.” She held out a hand which I gratefully took and led me into their living room.
“So Bella, are you like a secret agent now?” Emmett was insatiable.
“Not a secret agent Emmett, just a navy cop.”
“Really? You don’t get to travel the world and swim up under secret lairs of evil guys only to get out of your wet suit into a ball gown and attend the evil mastermind’s gala event?”
“For heaven’s sake Emmett, you need to stop watching James Bond movies,” Esme shook her head, “Bella, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about the people you work with. Alice told us about Agent DiNozzo, but I’m curious to hear about everyone else.”
By this time Carlisle had come in the room, nodding a greeting to me, but I had no idea where Jasper and Rosalie were. “Sure, let’s see, I’ll start with Gibbs, he’s my boss and one of the most stubborn people I know, but in a good way. He’s impatient, a bit short tempered and demanding, but he’s also amazing to the people he likes, he’s an awesome mentor. McGee is a total techno-geek, he’s a bit like a lost puppy, but he’s sweet. Ziva still sort of scares me, she’s an ex-assassin, but she’s very patient and even tempered most of the time. Abby is our forensic scientist, she’s a complete goth, but she’s so sweet. I think she just see’s the world in a different way. And then there’s Ducky our ME. He’s sort of like the grandfather I never had, he’s always making sure I’m alright, and very frequently patching me up after I fall.” I thought about my team, the ones I now considered my family and smiled to myself. I looked up to see everyone else smiling too.
They asked me a few more gentle questions after that, nothing that wasn’t about work or how I kept myself busy when I wasn’t at work. It was like we were all walking on eggshells, trying not to say anything that might upset the other. I was there for about an hour before I remembered that Gibbs would probably be calling my house soon to make sure I hadn’t been killed.
“Edward we have to get going, Gibbs will probably be checking up on me soon to make sure you didn’t hijack my car and kidnap me. I’m sorry Esme; I don’t want to go but…”
“It’s perfectly fine Bella, we wouldn’t want you to risk your job to sit around and talk with us all night. Will you be able to come again?”
I hesitated, “I would really love to Esme, I missed you all so much, but I definitely can’t come until this whole mess is worked out, right now the only suspect we have is Edward, and it’s a bit tricky to try and get Gibbs to realize he didn’t do it when we have no one else to consider.” Esme nodded that she understood, but she still looked a bit sad, and Alice and Emmett didn’t even bother to attempt to hide their disappointment.
Edward ran upstairs to get his things and then we left after giving goodbye hugs to everyone in his family. I was quiet on the car ride to my house, immersed in my thoughts. It seemed that everyone had genuinely missed me, but then, they’d all seemed like they’d genuinely cared before they left me.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Edward asked, off handedly, but I knew it must still be annoying not to know what I was thinking.
“It’s nothing, “I replied, “I was just thinking about how much I missed them, and how good it was to see them again.”
Edward sighed, “They were all happy to see you too Bella, they’ve all missed you as much as you’ve missed them. None of them wanted to leave.”
“Then why did they?”
“Because I asked them to.”
“Oh.” We resumed or silence for a while longer, until I heard Edward whisper something under his breath. “Hmm?”
“What did you just say?”
He hesitated a moment, “I said, I didn’t want to leave either, but I knew it would be worse if I stayed.”
“Yes, I probably wouldn’t have been able to cope at all if you’d stayed. I mean, I would have found a way to deal with it eventually, but it would have hurt.” He was silent once more.
We pulled into my driveway. I didn’t have a very big house, but it was neat and I liked it well enough, it served its purpose. Suddenly I was very nervous; I didn’t want to know what Edward was going to think about the inside of my home. But my desire not to stay out all night won over and we went inside.
“So this is where you live?” Edward asked.
“Umm, yeah, it’s not much, but it’s home.”
“I disagree. I think it’s very you. You were always a bit of a minimalist, but your house is still very inviting.”
“Thank you.” It was strange for us to be so formal, but I suppose saving the two car rides we hadn’t been alone together yet. “So, what do you want to do?”I was at a loss. I rarely had anyone over and my house wasn’t exactly equipped for entertaining as I spent most of my free time reading or at the shooting range.
“Bella, I really think we need to talk, but I also really think you need to sleep. You’re dead on your feet.”
“I’m not allowed to sleep; after all, you could be a dangerous criminal who may escape if I don’t have my eyes on you every second.”
“Please Bella; you know I’m not going anywhere. Get some rest.”
“NO can do. I may know you’re not planning on leaving, but Gibbs will expect me to be wickedly tired tomorrow, so I’m staying up with you.”
He took a deep breath like he was trying to calm himself, “You were always stubborn. Fine, stay up, but we really do need to talk.”
I didn’t want to talk just yet, my mind was still reeling from the last 24 hours, and I think it had just begun to catch up with me, “Sure, just let me change and we can talk all you want.”
I went to my room to change into jeans and a tee shirt. Truth be told, I didn’t want to know what Edward had to say. Even if I wouldn’t admit it to anyone, I knew that when he had to leave again my heart would be ripped out of chest for a second time. I knew he didn’t want me, but I was 100% sure that he was about to remind me of that particular fact, and I needed my emotions to be under my control when he broke my heart again. I took a deep breath and went back to the living room when Edward was patiently waiting, looking at the small collection of CDs next to my stereo.
“So what did you want to talk about?” I tried to sound nonchalant, I’m quite sure I failed.
“Why don’t we sit?” I conceded and went to the couch, “Bella, why exactly do you think I left?”
“I thought vampires had perfect memories. You told me you didn’t want to be with me anymore and that you were all pretending to be much older than was really feasible.” I didn’t understand, didn’t he know why he had left? Why was he doing this to me?
“Bella, I left because I wanted you to be happy and safe. I convinced myself that a life surrounded by vampires was no life for you. You were such a magnet for danger, and I knew that I stayed around sooner or later something bad would happen to you. I wanted you to have a happy normal life, and I didn’t fit that mold. I knew that I could keep you safe from everything but myself, and I couldn’t handle that fact.”
He paused to take a breath and I cut in, “Edward, you didn’t do anything wrong, there’s son need to try and make me feel better by telling me you left to keep me safe. I told you before, I’m not angry with you for leaving.”
“But don’t you see Bella? You should be beyond angry with me. I left you alone with a lie, and it didn’t do you any good. After all tried to protect you, monsters of the mortal kind found you, and now you’re out there every day risking your life. Which by the way goes against the promise you made me. What happened to no danger Bella?”
I started to feel anger ignite in me, but I had no idea where it came from. “It went right out the window with no reminders Edward.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that everything reminded me of you. I realize that you couldn’t take the forest, or music, or the cloud, or the rain, or anything else with you, but it was still a reminder. I tried to live a safe life, but danger found me, and once it did I decided it was better to embrace it and do all that I could to fight it rather than just curling up in some little ball and hiding away from the world. I made myself be normal for Charlie after you left and I made myself fight the bad guys after they came after me. So I don’t tell me I didn’t keep my promises when you didn’t either.”
Edward didn’t speak for a moment, and then he whispered, “I will never forgive myself for hurting you so much Bella. But please try to understand I just wanted you to be safe and happy. If I couldn’t be there to love you I wanted someone else to love you in my place, because you deserve better than me.”
“I didn’t want anyone else Edward. I only ever wanted you, and you’re still the only one I want. But there is nothing to be done about that. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will be alone and that you do not love me. So I don’t see why you need to make this harder on me by acting like you left for me instead of because you didn’t want me around anymore. Really, I’m fine with it, but please, don’t act like you left for me, because I don’t think I can take it.”
By this point the tears I’d been so afraid of were leaking out all over the place, and I felt myself being pulled into Edward’s arms. I didn’t resist. “Bella Bella,” he whispered. “Look at me.” I looked up into his golden eyes despite my better judgment. “Bella I need you to realize something, I did leave only for you. I cannot imagine a world in which you do not exist. I need you the same was you need oxygen. I…I went back to Forks about two years after I left. It was around Thanksgiving, and I promised myself that I was only going to make sure you were happy and safe. I told myself that I would just watch you for a day or so, and then I would leave, and you wouldn’t be any wiser, but when I got to your house you weren’t there. I thought that must mean you were with someone else for the holiday, that you were happy, so I didn’t come looking for you. But if I had known I would have found you wherever you were and never left you again. It hurts to be without you. I was the one who curled up into a little ball and let every vile emotion Pandora let out of the box have me,” I sobbed harder into his chest, “I love you Isabella Swan.”
At that precise moment the phone rang.
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