Chapter 9 of Infinity Claims

Chapter 9

 

After Brad had given all the information about the security box and gave the extra key to Emmett, he also informed him that he had added him to the signature card for the box.

 

“Emmett, even if Rosalie and you decide not to be put in the will as legal guardians, I trust you will be able to get the contents of what is in the box to Bree, when she reaches the age of eighteen.”

 

“Of course.  Just let me talk over your proposal with Rose, and I will let you know very soon.”

 

Brad looked out the window at the cold bleak day, and knew that it was only a matter of time before Caius would be back to cover his tracks and those who were actually behind this whole situation.  Brad was smart enough to know that Caius wasn’t the man behind this whole thing.  He had thought about trying to contact Carlisle Cullen, but was not sure who to trust and who he shouldn’t.  This was more than evident when he happened to look up the funerals of Elizabeth and Isabella Marie Cullen.  In one of the photographs of the crowd, there, in the background, was Caius.  This proved to Brad that this was orchestrated by someone close to the Cullen family.

 

“Thank you, Emmett, for considering this.  Louise and I will sleep better knowing that little Bree will be taken care of should something happen to us.”  Brad said, then walked out of the office.

 

Emmett got up, locked the door, and walked out the back door and down the walkway that connected his office to the main house.  Once inside the mudroom, he removed his boots and went out to find his darling wife.  He found her in the den.  She was sitting on the couch, wearing a tight pair of yoga pants, fluffy socks, and one of Emmett’s sweatshirts that was ten times too large for her, but, in his eyes, it made her even sexier.

 

“Hello, good lookin.”  Emmett smirked.

 

Rosalie looked up from her book, and smiled at her husband.  She counted her blessings daily to have someone like Emmett love her.  “Hey, sweetie, did you get some work done?”

 

Emmett picked up her legs and slipped underneath them.  “I did, Brad Mathers came in to have his will updated.”

 

Rosalie looked at her husband’s face, and, instantly, could tell there was something more he was saying.  “That is nice.  I really like Brad and Louise, and, of course, Bree.  She is such a little angel.”

 

“Rose, I need to talk to you about something that Brad requested.”

 

“What?”  She questioned.

 

“If something would happen that both Brad and Louise were killed, or died at the same time, he has asked if we would consider becoming Bree’s guardians?”

 

Rose couldn’t believe what she heard.  She knew that Brad and Louise had no other relatives, as well as how much they seemed to care for Bree, but why would they want them as guardians?  She instantly lost herself in the thought of being Bree’s mother.  She could see them doing everything that a mother and daughter would do: she saw them walking down the mall together with shopping bags in their hands, baking cookies in the kitchen, and talking about boys.

 

“Rose, what do you think about it?”  Emmett asked, wondering what Rose was thinking about.

 

“Emmett, of course, I would love to be a guardian to Bree.”  Rose declared.

 

“Rose, dear, this is just in case something happens to both Brad and Louise, which could happen or never happen.  I know you care for her, but remember that Brad and Louise are still her guardians.”  Emmett explained.

 

“I know, but I want us to be there just in case something horrible happens.  I need, no, we need to be there for Bree.”  Rose implored.

 

“We will be if we are needed.  I will call Brad and let him know our decision, but Rose I must also tell you that I have a funny feeling that something is wrong.  Please be aware of your surroundings when you are with Bree.”

 

“Do you think she is in danger?”

 

“I don’t know, but Brad was definitely scared today.  I couldn’t live if something happened to you.”  Emmett begged.

 

“I promise.”

 

Emmett called Brad and let him know their decision; Brad was relieved.  That night, when Bree was all tucked away in her bed, Brad told Louise that Emmett and Rose had agreed to their request.  He had kept nothing from Louise and she agreed with him that they had been lied to about Bree’s father.  She had broke down when she saw the photograph of Carlisle saying his goodbyes to his daughter.  Brad had told her that he was sorry for pulling them into this mess and putting her in danger, but he wasn’t sorry for helping Bree.  The months with Bree had been some of the happiest of his life.

 

**************I C ****************

 

Aro had been keeping a close eye on Carlisle, and, several months after the funeral, he was sure that Carlisle didn’t suspect that his daughter was still alive.  When Esme and Edward had started coming over, he was worried that Carlisle would marry Esme and have another possible heir, but, after doing some investigating, he was happy to find out that Esme couldn’t have anymore children.  She had had some complications after Edward’s birth, and the doctors had to do a complete hysterectomy.  After learning that piece of information, he began leaving hints to Carlisle about moving on with his life, and how wonderful Esme seemed to be.

 

Carlisle knew how wonderful Esme was and how precious Edward was, but he thought it was too early to try to move on.  Even though he never truly loved Elizabeth, he did care for her.  Could he really allow himself to give over to the feelings that he had for Esme?

 

One day, Aro was in Carlisle’s office going over some business dealings.  “Carlisle, brother, I think you should really consider taking the next step with Esme Masen.  She is already in the family and she seems to have some very serious feelings for you.”

 

“Aro, it is too soon.”

 

“Carlisle, Elizabeth would want you to move on and be happy.  I am not telling you to forget them, but to start living again.”  Aro pushed.

 

“I will think about it.”  Carlisle answered, as he looked at Aro.  Never had his brother had concerns about his feelings, and he wondered why now.  Maybe his prayers had been answered and Aro had finally come around to be the brother he had always prayed for.

 

After Aro left, Carlisle mind was flooded with memories of the conversation.  He thought of Esme and how she had allowed his heart to open and allow the love that he had locked away inside for her out.  The warm, peaceful feeling poured over him into every cell of his body, and, for the first time since Elizabeth and Lizzy Bell’s murder, he felt lighter.  Aro was right, Elizabeth would have wanted him to move on, and he knew his little Lizzy Bell would be cheering him on from heaven.

 

Picking up his phone, he called Esme.   “Hello, Esme, how are you today?”

 

Esme was excited to hear from Carlisle.  “I am well, and yourself?”

 

“Good, busy as always.  How is Edward?”

 

“He is currently cleaning his room.  I can’t believe how dirty it can get in such a short period of time.”

 

“Yeah, we are just that way.  Must be in our DNA.  The reason I was calling was I was hoping that you and Edward could come over dinner tonight.”

 

“Oh that sounds nice.  What time?”

 

“How about six-thirty?”  Carlisle asked, knowing that he would have enough time to get everything he needed to ask Esme to marry him.  They could spent months in dating before he asked, but why wait?  Life was too short.

 

“That sounds wonderful.”  Esme cooed.

 

“I will pick you up.”

 

“Oh, you will?  We will be ready.  I am looking forward to it.”

 

“See you then.”  Carlisle confirmed as he hung up.

 

The rest of the afternoon was filled with Carlisle going to his jeweler and picking out a ring for Esme and arranging the special dinner for them.  He even went out and purchased a new suit for the occasion.  After a long drawn out argument with Garrett, where he decided to take his favorite Bentley to pick up Esme himself.  Carlisle finally convinced him that he would keep an watchful eye out of danger.  Garrett wasn’t happy about it, but agreed.  He had been unable to find out who had murdered Elizabeth and Lizzy Bell.  Whoever had done it had covered their tracks very well.  But he continued with his investigation, because he would find out who had done it and make them pay.

 

Carlisle arrived at Esme’s house and rang her doorbell.  The door was answer by a smiling Edward.  “Mr. Carlisle, we are going to your house?”

 

“Yes, you are.”  Carlisle chuckled, then he saw her.  Esme walked toward them wearing the most beautiful navy blue form fitting dress, with her long brunette hair swept to the side.  As she got close, he reached out for her hand, and brought it to his lips, and began kissing the back of her hand with several light kisses.  Then, he looked up at her.  “You look lovely.”

 

Esme blushed a bright shade of rose on her cheeks.  “Thank you and you look very handsome as well.”

 

“Can we go already?  I am hungry.”  Edward insisted.

 

“Okay Edward.  Let’s go feed this hungry monster.”  Carlisle joked, then offered his arm to Esme, took Edward’s hand, and took them to his car.  Once inside, Carlisle began driving back to the mansion.

 

“One day I am going to have a car like this.”  Edward exclaimed, excitedly.

 

“Yes, you will.”  Carlisle confirmed, because if Esme said yes, Edward would his son and he would have all the privileges and wealth that Carlisle had.  After dinner, Edward wanted to go out to the garden and play.  After putting on his jacket, hat, and gloves he was out the doors and began playing in the new snow that had fallen overnight.  It had been a cold and snowy November and a cold December had been forcasted, as well.  Carlisle and Esme bundled up as well and went out to watch as he ran around and played in the snow.

 

“He loves it here.”  Esme stated.

 

“I love having him here, as well as you.”

 

“You do?”

 

“Yes, very much so; actually, I was hoping that you would agree to marry me and come live here forever.  What do you say Esme, will you marry me?”

 

Esme was shocked by Carlisle’s question.  She couldn’t believe he wanted to marry her.  She loved him with all her heart and soul, but never imagined that he would ever return her feelings, because he was Carlisle Cullen, the head of the Cullen crime family.  “Are you sure?”

 

“Esme, you have done something that I never thought I would ever be able to do again and that is to finally find love.  I want to share all that I have with you, I want to love you with everything that I am, and.”  He said, then stopped and looked up towards Edward.  “I would love to be a father to Edward.  So, what do you say?  Will you marry me?”

 

“Yes, oh yes, I will marry you.”

 

Carlisle pulled out the ring and slipped it onto her finger, then pulled her close, leaned in, and began to kiss her.  The feeling of their lips together ignited a fire in him that he had never felt before, and the love that he had for her poured into the kiss.

 

“Eww.”  Edward boomed.

 

Carlisle pulled from Esme’s lips, and smiled at her before turning toward Edward.  “What is eww about that, little man?”

 

“Girls have cooties, and if you kiss them you get double cooties.”  Edward explained.

 

Carlisle chuckled at Edward.  “All right, but I will remind you of this one day.  Come over here, your Mom and I want to tell you something.”

 

Edward came over, and climbed up onto Carlisle’s lap.  “Edward, Carlisle has asked for me to marry him.”  Esme said.

 

“What does that mean?”  Edward asked.

 

“It means that Carlisle will become my husband, and, if you’d like, he can become your father.  Now I know you still miss your dad, but he would want us to be happy, and I am happy with Carlisle.  So what do you think?”  Esme proposed.

 

Edward thought for a moment, and then looked up at Carlisle.  “Does this mean I can come over whenever I want?”

 

“Edward, you will be living here all the time.”

 

“Cool.  Let’s do this.  Come on, Mom, I need to go home and pack my toys.”  Edward demanded as he jumped down from Carlisle’s lap, and grabbed his mother’s hand.

 

“Hold on there.  We won’t be moving in until after the wedding.”  Esme explained.

 

“Well, when is that?”  Edward asked.

 

Esme looked at Carlisle.  She never expected to get married again. Her first wedding was a formal event, and she really didn’t want that again, but she wondered if Carlisle needed to invite all the family.  “What type of wedding do you want?”  She questioned.

 

“Anything you want, my love.  It can be the grandest of affairs or a simple wedding between just us and the priest.”  Carlisle answered.

 

“I would really like something small, just a few friends and immediate family.”

 

“Then that is what you shall have.  Edward, do you think you can wait a few weeks?”  Carlisle asked.

 

“Do I have to?  Come on, Mom, this place is huge I am sure Carlisle has room for us now.”  Edward pleaded.

 

“He is right, you know.  You can stay in the guest suites in the west wing until after the wedding.”  Carlisle said, hoping she would consider it.  He didn’t want to pressure her, but the thought of seeing her daily gave him great joy.

 

Esme thought of the offered and knew she wanted to be here with him as soon as possible.  “I like that idea, a lot.”

 

“Wonderful, Edward, you need to help your Mother pack, because it looks like you are going to start living here very soon.”

 

They all went inside and Carlisle showed them where their rooms would be. Then, they talked about the move and the wedding.  After calling Father Christopher, Carlisle called Garrett, and told him the great news, then called Aro to thank him for pushing him.

 

After Aro hung up with Carlisle, he quickly called Caius, and told him to start planning tying up the loose ends; he wanted it to happen right after Carlisle said I do.

 

 

Chapter 5 Defiance

 

Carlisle never stopped looking for Edward and his bitch of a wife, Esme. He had often dreamt about how he would make her suffer for taking his son away. She deserved to die, but that would be letting her off too easy. Just like Johnny, who daily begged to be put out of his misery, Esme would beg for her life to end. Many different types of punishment were thought up, each one crueler than the last, but it wasn’t until he thought of what would she was had he decided what he would do when he found her. Pouring another glass of whiskey, he sat down and began looking over the books for his many businesses.
“Good afternoon, Boss.” Bobby said. walking into the office.
“Bobby B, any word?” Carlisle asked.
“No, Boss.” Bobby replied, hating he was unable to give his boss the news that he had waited so long to hear.
Carlisle frowned and gave a quick nod. “So, you are checking in before your trip?” He asked.
“Yes, Boss. I still can’t believe Janice is going off to school all the way on the West Coast. We tried and tried to talk her out of it, but she is as hard headed as her mother.” Bobby grumbled.
“Haha, you mean her fucker of a father. Bobby, your head is so hard it could knock down a stone wall with it.” Carlisle jested, as he held up his glass. “Pour yourself one and tell me about the school.”
After pouring a large glass Bobby sat down. “It is an art school. You know all too well how much she loves to draw.” Bobby chuckled, remembering the time when Janice was about five when she took a magic marker and drew stick animals in the journal that kept the totals of the lastest gun shipments. “Thanks for allowing us to take the jet. I don’t want to know how many bags she is taking.”
“Is she staying on campus or did she agree to the apartment?”
“The apartment. After she found out that it was across the street from an art gallery, she was all in.” Bobby said.
“Be careful and get back as soon as you can; we have a large shipment coming in at the end of week, and I want you there to oversee it.”
“I will get her settled and be right back. I just need to set up the cameras and install the bugs. You can’t trust those horny fuckers on the West Coast.”
Bobby downed his glass and headed out. He could tell in Carlisle’s tone that he was okay with him going, but he needed to get back as soon as possible.
************Defiance*************
Esme was more and more nervous the further away from Forks they went. She didn’t think that Carlisle would be in San Francisco, but she couldn’t help to be afraid. The years in Forks had been everything she had dreamed of in living a normal life. Edward had grown up to be a polite, honest young man; something that Carlisle knew nothing about. Esme never regretted a day of their hiding out in Forks, because she felt sure that, if they had stayed, Edward would be a totally different young man than he was now.
Looking back at him in the backseat of Charlie’s large SUV, he was smiling down at a sleeping Bella on his shoulder. Esme and Renee had noticed the change in Edward and Bella’s relationship over the past few months. They were still best friends, but now the look in their eyes was sparkling of love between a boy and girl. They had not voiced their new-found love yet, but Esme was sure that it was only a matter a time.
“Maria, are you okay?” Charlie inquired. He had noticed she was not her regular self. Every time they would stop, she seemed to be frightened to get out of the vehicle.
“I am fine; I guess I am little worked up about the show.” She answered, hoping that it would convince him. Over the last several weeks she had almost canceled the show a hundred times, but, as she looked at the pieces for the collection, the theme beamed through…DEFIANCE. Her defiance against Carlisle was in each painting, and it gave her the strength she needed to go on with the show.
They had planned to make several stops along the way and take in some of the sites. As they arrived in San Francisco, they were tired, yet excited about being in the city. Edward and thought and planned to make his feelings known to Bella on the beach at sunset. He had purchased a heart shaped necklace for Bella with an engraving on the back, T + B 4 ever. He only hoped that she would feel the same way.
They pulled into the Hyatt next to the waterfront. The hotel was close to the art gallery where Esme’s art show was being held. All her paintings had been shipped earlier in the month and Brandon had Skyped with her to get her feelings on where each piece should be hung. She would be spending most of the day tomorrow fine-tuning the setup before the opening in two days.
“Mom. Is it okay for Bella and me to go down to the waterfront?” Edward asked.
“But I thought we could go out to dinner and relax a little bit after that long trip.” Esme said, wanting to have a nice sit down meal and a long, hot bath.
“Bella and I can grab something, and take it to the water. I really want to see the sunset over the water.”
“You can go tomorrow evening.”
“Please, Mom. I need to do this tonight.” Edward pleaded. He couldn’t wait another day before he confessed his love to Bella. The whole trip, he couldn’t think of anything else.
“Why is it so important?” Esme asked.
Lowering his head and kicking at the floor with the tip of his shoe, he tried to get the nerve to tell his Mom. “Damn it.” He thought. If he couldn’t even tell his Mom, how the hell was he going to tell Bella?
“Tony, you know you can tell me anything, right?” Esme encouraged.
“I know, Mom.” Pulling from all his courage he had within himself, he started, “I want to give Bella a present. You see… you know that Bella and I have been friends for what seems like all our lives, but, recently, I have felt something more for her.”
“Tony, you love her.”
He nodded his head yes. “How did you know?”
Esme walked over to the couch, and patted the seat beside her. Edward walked over and sat down. “Mothers can sense these things. I am sorry your father wasn’t around for you to talk to about these things.”
“No, Mom. You have been the Mother and Father a child could ever hope for.” Edward declared. “I have dreamed of confessing my feelings for her at sunset next to the water.”
“Then you shall. Do you have something to give her?”
“Yeah. I saved my allowance for months and bought her a necklace.” Edward said, then stood up and reached into his pocket to pull out the blue velvet bag. Pulling the necklace out, he handed it to his mother to look at.
“Oh, Tony, it is beautiful.”
“Not as beautiful as she is, but I wanted her to have something to think about me.”
“She will love it. Go and have fun; make sure you take your phone with you.”
“I will, Mom, and, Mom, I love you.” Tony said.
“As I love you.”
Edward left to go get Bella, and Esme decided to order food in, and just relax. The trip had been trying on her nerves; with being away from her safe cocoon, and the upcoming show, she was at her breaking point. Some quiet time was what she needed.
Edward rushed next door to Bella’s room and knocked on the door. She opened it, and Edward noticed she was wearing a lovely pink flower dress and her dark hair down.
“Are you ready to go?” Edward asked.
“Yes.” Bella whispered. She was excited to be spending some time alone with Tony. They had been friends forever, but, over the last year, her feelings for him had changed. He was no longer her best friend, she now loved him like a woman loves a man. Everyday she hoped that his feelings for her would change as well, but he never said otherwise. However, over the last few months she had noticed him looking at her differently. “Maybe, just maybe.” She thought.
Edward felt bold and took her hand. “Come on.”
They walked out of the hotel and down the sidewalk toward the waterfront. Along the way, they picked up some food from a street cafe and continued on. They walked on the sand and laid the large beach towel that Edward had brought along. Sitting down, they ate their dinner and talked about all the sites they wanted to take in while they were here. As the sun begun to set, Edward turned toward Bella and took her hand once more.
“Bella, you have been my best friend for all my life. There is not one memory that I have that you are not part of, and now I hope and pray that this memory will stand above all those.” Edward proposed as he steadied himself for the next part. “Bella, I have fallen in love you and I hope that you will accept this necklace and be my girlfriend.”
Bella gasped. “You love me?”
“Yes.”
“Oh, Tony, I love you.” Bella exclaimed, throwing her arms around his neck and knocking them over, causing them to both bust out in laughter. They sat back up and Edward pulled out the necklace and showed it to Bella. “It is beautiful.” She cried.
“No, you are beautiful.” Edward confessed. “May I?”
Bella nodded and picked up her hair so he could place the necklace around her neck. Once it was latched, he looked at the shiny diamond glisten off the setting sun. The overwhelming joy of seeing around her neck, confirmed their proclamation of love of each other. Looking up at her face, he wanted to seal it with a kiss.
“I know you have kissed me once, but I really want to kiss you now.” Edward stated.
“We were five, and I would love for you to kiss me.”
Leaning in, he placed his lips onto her soft lips, and, as the sun set, he knew that he would never want to kiss another woman. Bella Swan held his heart and soul until his last dying breath.

Chapter 7 of Infinity Claims

Over the next several months, Bella slowly began to accept her life without her Mama and her Dada.  Louise and Brad were kind and very patient with her.  The worst time was at night, when she was lying in her little bed, clinging onto her Eddie Lamb and thinking about not only her parents, but Edward.  She wondered if the bad people had hurt him or his parents.  Louise had asked if her lamb had a name and Bella said no.  She had to protect Edward, like her father said many times.

 

“Lizzy Bell, you are part of a very large family, and, as a member, you have to protect the family and respect them with everything you have.”

 

Bella didn’t know what was happening with her extended family, but she remembered what Caius had told her, and would pretend to be Bree as long as she needed to do so.

 

Louise and Brad showed her how to take care of the many animals on the farm.  Bella especially enjoyed the horses.  Brad began teaching her how to ride on a small spotted pony named Lilly.  At first, she just sat in the saddle while Brad lead them around the corral, then, over time, she became comfortable riding without his help.  After showing Brad she could control Lilly with ease, he moved her up to a filly named Grace.  She was a much bigger horse, but was a gentle, well trained animal, and seemed to form a special bond with Bella.

 

All summer, Bella rode Grace, and helped take care of the other animals on the farm.  Louise and Brad introduced her to people as their grand-niece, whose parents who had passed away in a car accident.

 

When September rolled around, it was time for Bella to begin school.  They used the fake documents that Caius had giving them and enrolled her.  She was old enough to be in first grade, and was placed in Ms. Thomas’ class.

 

There were only ten students in the class, and Ms. Thomas was able to get a feel of each student’s academic level and was quick to notice how extremely bright Bella was.  After talking with Louise and Brad, it was determined that Bella be giving an aptitude test to see if she needed to be placed in a class that would challenge her.  When test results returned, it was just as Ms. Thomas suspected.  Bella was reading at a fourth grade level, and her math skills were at the sixth grade level.  After talking to Louise and Brad, they planned for her to remain in Ms. Thomas’ class, but would also have some one on one instruction from Mrs. McCarty.

 

Mrs. McCarty was only a part-time teacher, who specialized in children that were gifted.  She was married to Emmett McCarty, an ex-NFL player who retired after eight seasons.  He wanted to enjoy life with his lovely wife, while he was still injury-free.  They purchased a home in the small town of Youngstown, and planned on starting a family.   After several years of not becoming pregnant, they went to the top OB/GYNs in the country.   They determined that Emmett, not Rosalie was the reason they were struggling with fertility.  They had a one in a million shot of ever becoming pregnant naturally.  Heartbroken over the news, they decided to take some time and let fate take its course.  Rosalie began teaching the gifted students at the local school, and Emmett opened a small law office, using the degree that he had earned before joining the NFL.

 

Bella was taken to Mrs McCarty’s classroom.  “Bree, this is Mrs. McCarty, she is going to be your special teacher every day.”  Ms. Thomas said.

 

Rosalie came over to them, and bent down to Bella’s level.  “Hello, Bree.  I think we are going to be good friends.”

 

Bella smiled and nodded her head.

 

“Ms. Thomas, I think we are okay here.  Thanks for bringing her; when we are finished, I will take her lunch to meet back up with the rest of the class.”

 

Rosalie offered Bella her hand. Bella looked up into the crystal blue eyes of Mrs. McCarty, and, for a moment, she thought she could see a little bit of her father.   Placing her tiny hand into Rosalie’s, they walked over to the desk, and began to work.

 

Bella loved going to work with Mrs. Rosalie, as she had told her to call her.  She enjoyed the work, but also enjoyed spending time with her.  Some days they would go outside and have class under one of the large shade trees by the school.  Their time together was about learning, but also they talked about themselves.  Rosalie noticed that Bree was very guarded with her emotions and about talking about her family.  Before Bree came to her for the first time, she had read her file about how her family had died and was living with relatives that she didn’t know well.  But Rosalie felt there was something more.

 

Several times, Bree had been asked to put her name on a piece of work and she had written Isabella instead of Bree.   Rosalie questioned if that was her middle name; she quickly erased it and wrote Bree.  The other thing was the necklace that Bree wore all the time; it had an infinity symbol on it.  Rosalie could tell that it was not a cheap necklace; it was either made of white gold or platinum.  She had known the Mathers since moving into Youngstown, and could tell that they did not have the money to buy such an expensive necklace.

 

Rosalie told Emmett all about the curious things about young Bree, and he was also sure that there something else that wasn’t being said about her.  He had gotten to know Brad from purchasing vegetables that they grew on the farm.  Brad and Louise both worked hard on the farm, and he had seen them out working in the wee hours of the morning and until the twilight end of the day.  Hearing that their great niece was wearing such an expensive necklace, he wondered why, then, would Bree’s family not leave an inheritance to Brad and Louise to take care of her.

 

As fall became winter, the area was hit with one snowstorm after another, but the people of Youngstown were used to it.  A foot of snow was dealt with, and the everyday work went on as usual.  One cold snowy afternoon, Emmett was sitting in his office, which was a small building that was on his property.  The chiming of the bells that Rosalie had attached to the door to make him aware when someone walked in.  He hadn’t been expecting anyone, and so, he was dressed in jeans and a turtleneck with a bulky red checked flannel shirt over it.  Walking out of his office into the small front reception area, he was surprised to see Brad Masters standing there.

 

“Brad, what a surprise to see you.  What are you doing out in this cold snowy day?”

 

“I was wondering if you could write up my will?”  Brad explained.

 

“I sure can.  Come in and let’s see what we can come up with.”

 

As they sat down, Brad explained what he wanted.  “If anything should happen to me, I want everything to go to Louise, but, if by some chance that both Louise and I both die at the same time, I want everything to go to Bree.”

 

Emmett wasn’t shocked by Brad’s request.  From what he had seen and heard from Rosalie, he knew that he loved Bree.

 

“Make sure you put all my property.”  Brad incited.

 

“I have the house and property.”  Emmett assured him.

 

Brad had thought long and hard on what he should do with the money that Caius gave to him, to take care of Bree.  After watching her for several weeks, he went against his wishes and did some looking around, and, after awhile, he found the information that shook his very soul.  It was an obituary for Elizabeth and Isabella Cullen, the wife and daughter of the head of the Cullen crime family.  He was convinced it was Bree’s family, when he saw a photograph of Carlisle Cullen standing by the coffins at the graveyard. In the background was Caius. After that, he knew that something was wrong and knew it was only time before someone would come and try to take Bree, or Isabella, and would get rid of all those who knew her.

 

He had not stopped there, he continued to look into Carlisle Cullen; every picture of him with his family showed a devoted husband and a loving father.  He might be the head of a crime family, but there was no doubt that he was also a good man.  Brad had thought about trying to contact him, but he was unsure who to trust.

 

“Emmett, I have a security box at the bank.  Make sure you list that.”

 

Emmett was shocked to hear that he had a security box.  The more he thought about it, he wondered why it was so important to him.

 

The next thing Brad wanted to talk to Emmett about was something he thought and prayed about.  He was not naive to the fact that both Louise and himself were getting up in age.  He wanted to make sure that someone that Bree knew would take care of her if something happened to them.  She talked all the time about Rosalie and Brad knew that Emmett and Rosalie were on a list for adoption.  There was no one else he could think of that would love and take care of Bree.

 

“I have one more request that I want to put out there.”  Brad said, hoping that Emmett would agree.

 

“What is it?”

 

“If, by chance, something would happen to Louise and me before Bree is eighteen, we were hoping that Rosalie and you would take care of her.”

 

Emmett couldn’t believe what he was hearing, but the look on Brad’s face showed that he was serious.  There was something more that Brad wasn’t telling him, and, before he agreed to the arrangement, he would have to know all the secrets that Brad was keeping.

Chapter 4 of Defiance Friends or Not?

After talking to Esme and Melinda about her painting, Melinda recommend that she should purchase her own easel and paints, and set up an area in the house for her to work on her painting.

 

“Maria, you have a gift, and it would be a shame if you didn’t let all that out.  I can’t wait to see what you have inside of you.”  Melinda said.

 

“Are you sure?”  Esme asked, still not believing that she had painted the picture.

 

“Oh my God, yes.  I have never seen anything like this in all my life and I have been around well-known artists for years.  You owe it to yourself to continue with this gift.”

 

“Thank you.  I think I would like to see what I can do.  Do you have any recommendations?”  Esme asked.

 

“Why don’t we go to craft store, and I will help you pick out what you will need.  Then, after you pick up Tony, I will come over, and we will find the best place in your house for you to set up.”  Melinda proposed.

 

“I think that is a great plan.  I would love to help, even though I have no clue what to do, but I can be there to help carry and move things around if needed.”  Renee offered.

 

After Melinda showed them how to clean their brushes, they took off the smocks, and went to the craft store to pick up the art supplies that Esme would need.  Melinda wished they carried a better selection but she couldn’t expect much from a craft store in Forks.  She would just order from an art supplier in California.  She couldn’t wait to show her friend what Maria painted.  There was no doubt in her mind that there were going to be people who would love to have a painting, and she would be able to set her own price for them.

 

The day went quickly, and soon it was time for Renee and Esme to go pick up Bella and Edward.  Esme thought the day would drag by, but she was surprised by how quickly it passed.  As they waited at the sidewalk beside the school, they watched for them to emerge from the school.  The school bell rang, and the kids busted out the doors, and ran to either awaiting parents or the school buses lined up.  Edward and Bella came out the door with smiles on their faces, but, as soon as they saw their moms, they took off running and wrapped their arms around their legs.

 

“Mom, I had the best time.”  Bella exclaimed.  “I almost got lost, but Tony kept his promise, and didn’t leave me alone.”

 

“Mommy, what is on your hands?”  Edward asked.

 

Esme looked, and saw that she hadn’t gotten all the paint off her hands.  “Well, while you were in school,  Miss Renee and I also went to school and took a class in painting.”

 

“Cool.  We had art today.  We made a chicken out of macaroni and mine was the best in the whole class.”  Edward boasted.

 

“Was not, mine was so much better than yours.”  Bella chimed in.

 

“Was not.”  Edward argued.

 

“Was too.”  Bella said, then proceed to stick out her tongue at Edward.  “I will go home and show my daddy, and I know he will think it is the best picture ever.”

 

Edward thought about what Bella had said.  She was going to show it to her daddy. That was the one person he couldn’t show it to, because his daddy was dead.

 

“ISABELLA MARIE!!”  Renee yelled.  “You tell Tony you are sorry this minute.”  Renee was shocked at how insensitive Bella was being.  They’d had had several conversations about the fact that Tony didn’t have a father, and how important it was not to point the fact out.

 

“Well, it is the truth, and you always told me to tell the truth.”  Bella pointed out.

 

“Maria, Tony, I am sorry.  We are going to go home now and have a long conversation about this.”  Renee said, feeling horrible when she looked upon Tony’s sad face.

 

“Thank you, Renee, we will be okay.  I will call you later.”  Esme proclaimed as she took Edward’s hand, and walked up the steps of their house.  Once inside, Edward burst out in tears.  Esme wrapped her arms around him, and allowed him to cry it out.  Over the years he had asked about his father, and understood that he was no longer alive.  The secret of the true identity of his father would be always locked away in her, because she could never allow him to know anything about the monster who was his father.

 

After he had cried himself out of tears, Esme pulled back, and took his little tear stained face into her hands.  “Tony, I want you to know that I love you enough for both a father and a mother, and it grows every minute of every day.”

 

“You do?”

 

“Yes.  You are so special, and I am so proud to be your mother.”

 

“I love you.”  Tony said, wrapping his arms around her neck, and giving her a strong hug.

 

As they sat in the floor holding onto each other, there was a knock on the back door.  Esme got up and walked over, and looked through the peephole to find a sad looking Renee.

 

When she opened the door, she saw Bella standing behind Renee’s legs.

 

“Maria, Bella would like to talk to Tony.”

 

“Tony, Bella is here to talk to you.”

 

Edward walked over, and held his head down, and shuffled his feet.  He didn’t want Bella to see that he had been crying.  Boys were not supposed to cry, but he couldn’t help it today.

 

Renee stepped to the side to reveal a sad Bella, who had also been crying.  “Bella, do you have something to say to Tony?”

 

“Ah, hmm.”  She stammered.

 

Edward raised his head, and looked at his friend, and, when he did, she broke out in tears.  “Tony, I am so sorry.  Please, please, please say you are still my friend.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Bella ran over, and kissed him on the lips.  Edward was shocked at first, then quickly wiped off his lips.  “Yuck, Bella, why did you do that?”

 

“Because I wanted to.  Hey you want to go play in the treehouse?”

 

Edward looked up at Esme.  “Can I?”

 

“Yes, I will call you for dinner.  I was thinking maybe pizza tonight, and Bella could stay for dinner, if it is okay with her mom.”

 

“Can she Miss Renee?”  Edward asked.

 

“Yes, she can, but afterwards she has a list of chores she needs to get started on.”  Renee explained.  After a long conversation with Bella about her behavior toward Tony, she had told Bella that she needed to clean her room and help pickup around the house as punishment.

 

“Thank you, Mommy.  Come on, Tony, let’s go.”  Bella said, smiling brightly that she had not lost her very best friend.

 

After the kids had taken off across the yard and up the ladder to the treehouse, Renee and Esme sat down at the breakfast bar, and enjoyed a cup of tea, and talked about how children were always so forgiving of their misdeeds.   They finally decided to make the sunroom Esme’s art room, because of all the natural light, but they would have extra lighting installed so she could work in the evening after Edward had gone to bed.

 

After the incident between Edward and Bella, their friendship seemed to grow stronger, and, with each year that past, they were inseparable.  They would spend every evening hanging out with each other, and, on the weekends, they were always doing something together.

 

Esme threw herself into her painting, and was happy surprised by how good they actually were.  Melinda had sent a few pieces to her friend who owned an art gallery in San Francisco; he was immediately interested in any and all work that she painted.  He placed the pieces in the gallery, and, within a few days, they were sold.  He wanted to do a showing of her works, and, after weeks of convincing her that her talent needed to be shared, she agreed.  After starting on the collection, each piece seemed to flow out of her.  Naming the collection Defiance was her own secret way of ridding herself of all her feelings she had kept bottled up over the years.  The collection was complete and the show was booked.

 

Edward was turning fifteen in a few weeks. It was planned that Charlie, Renee, and Bella would join Esme and Edward in San Francisco for the show.  This was the first time since moving to Washington that she had left the state.  She was not only nervous about the show, but also nervous about leaving her protective hiding place.  But, after thinking about the fact that she wouldn’t see Carlisle or any of his men at an art gallery in California, she finally relaxed.  The Swans would not only be supporting Esme’s show, but they would be celebrating Edward’s birthday.

 

Over the last few months, Edward had been confused by the feelings he had toward Bella.  Of course, she was his best friend, but, one morning as they were walking to school the sun broke through the trees and the warm glow shined upon her face. In that moment, he felt something else for her.  For days after that, he tried to figure it out, but, instead of it going away, it only grew.  Each time he saw her, he wanted to take her into his arms and kiss her.

 

Listening to the guys in the locker room as they dressed for gym, he overheard Michael Newton talk about how he had asked Jessica to become his girlfriend.  Hearing how Michael talked about Jessica, Edward knew that he didn’t want to be only Bella’s best friend, he wanted her to be his girlfriend.  But how did he do that? He didn’t want to mess up their friendship.  Could he have both with her?

 

 

 

Defiance Chapter 3

Painting a New Future

 

It took several years before Esme stopped looking over her shoulder whenever she walked down the street.  She had become to love the tiny little town that had welcomed her and Edward so much.  Charlie and Renee had become more like family than close friends, and Bella and Edward formed a close bond with each other.  They celebrated birthdays, played in the park, went fishing with Charlie, and learned how to ride bikes together.  Before you could blink an eye, it was time for them to start kindergarten. Esme and Renee walked them to the school, which was only a few blocks from home.

 

“Tony, be a good boy for Miss Stanley.”  Esme said, as she tried to hold back the tears.

 

“I will, Momma.”  He proclaimed, trying to be brave like Ironman.

 

Bella began to cry, and latched onto Renee’s legs.  “But, what if I get lost or no one will play with me?”  She cried.

 

Edward saw Bella crying, and walk over, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a child-sized handkerchief.   Charlie always carried one, and Edward, one day, asked him why.

 

“Tony, I carry just in case someone needs it.”

 

“So, it is not for me to blow my boogers on it?”

 

“No, Tony, it is for someone who is sad, and needs to know that someone cares enough about them to give them a handkerchief to dry their tears.”  Charlie explained.

 

Edward thought about what Charlie said; if someone as cool as Charlie said it was a good idea, then he needed to do it as well.

 

Running home, he told his mother that he wanted to carry a handkerchief like Charlie, and that, when he was all grown up, he was going to be a policeman, too.

 

Esme smiled, and said that was a good goal to have, but, deep inside, she chuckled that the son of the ruthless Don of the Cullen family wanted to be a cop.  Carlisle would have a fit if he had heard that, because his grand plan was to groom Edward to take over the family, and to be as ruthless and deadly as he was.  Thankfully, she had been able to escape with Edward.

 

Bella took the handkerchief, and wiped her eyes.

 

“Bella, I will with you all day.”  Edward proclaimed.   “I promise to not to let you get lost.”

 

“You promise?”

 

“Yep.”  Edward said, holding out his hand.  Bella looked up at her Mom, and smiled, and then took his hand.  They walked down the sidewalk toward the door, and, when they reached it, they turned and waved.

 

Once they were inside, Renee and Esme stood for a few moments, willing themselves not to cry.  Each was feeling both happy and sad at the large milestone.

 

“Maria, come on, let’s go get a cup of coffee, and decide what we are going to do while they are in school.”  Renee said, linking her arm around Esme’s.

 

“Your house or mine?”  Esme asked.

 

“Why don’t we go over to Jack’s?”

 

Esme smiled, and nodded.  She loved Jack’s coffee and pastries.  Jack and his wife, Melinda, had moved from San Francisco about two years ago.  They had wanted a quieter and slower pace than the big city.  Jack opened Jack n’ Beans coffee shop, while Melinda opened an art studio, and offered art and pottery classes.  They were expecting their first child in a few months, and were super happy about it.

 

Renee and Esme walked and the door, and were met by a smiling Jack.

 

“Renee, Maria, it is so good to see you.  Did you get the Tony and Bella off to their first day of school?”

 

“Yes, we did, and I am proud to say we didn’t cry.”  Renee said as she looked over to Esme.  “Well, not much.”

 

“Come in, and have a seat, I just made a batch of fresh blueberry muffins, using blueberries that I picked this morning, and two cups of my finest brew.”  Jack explained.

 

“Actually, Jack, can we get it to go? We would love to go over, and say hi to Melinda.”  Renee said.

 

Jack quickly got Renee and Esme’s coffee ready, and also fixed a cup of peach blossom white tea for Melinda.  She had been going through some morning sickness, and they had found that the white tea had helped.  He placed three muffins in a bag, and took it back over to them.  Esme reached into her purse for some cash to pay for it.  But Jack held up his hand, and shook his head.

 

“This is on me today.  Call it a first day of school gift.”

 

“Thank you.”  Esme exclaimed.

 

After taking the bag and drink holder, they proceed across the street to Melinda’s shop.  When they opened the door, they were welcomed by Melinda with a large smile.

 

“Hello, it is so good to see you again.”  She greeted, wearing a smock that was covered in different colors of paint.  Melinda was a striking beautiful woman with long red curly hair and mossy green eyes and a smile that could light up a room.  “Oh, I see my darling man has been busy.”

 

“Yes, he has, and he sent you a cup of tea and a muffin.”  Esme replied.

 

Melinda took them over to a small sitting area next to the window, where they sat down and enjoyed their refreshments.  Once finished, Renee turned to Esme.

 

“Maria, I have a confession.”  Renee said.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I signed us up to take some art classes with Melinda to get you out of the house while Tony is in school.”  She confessed.

 

“You didn’t need to do that; I had planned on picking up around the house and doing some cleaning while he was in school.”  Esme explained.

 

“For pete’s sakes, Maria, the damn mice that came from your house had to be hospitalized for starvation.  I doubt there is one spec of dust on any surface in the entire house, and that includes those upper shelves on your bookcases.”  Renee joked.  “Please take the classes with me.”

 

Esme looked into Renee’s pitiful eyes.  “Fine, but I doubt I will be any good at it.”  Esme huffed.

 

“GREAT!”  Renee screamed, clapping her hands in glee.

 

“Well, since that is settled, come over and let us begin our first project.  I have two canvases ready.”  Melinda stated.

 

Renee and Esme followed Melinda over to the easels. Melinda handed them both a smock for them to put on.  After they had put on their bright yellow and blue smocks, they sat down on the stool in front of the easel holding the blank canvas.  To the right was a tray with tubes of paints, a palette, and several different brushes.  Melinda explained about the paint, and what each type of brush could be used for, and that just because it was mainly used for one type of brush stoke, didn’t mean that was the only thing it could do.  At the end of the training section, she walked over, and unveiled a sculpture of a mother and child.

 

“I want you to paint what you feel when you look at the sculpture.  Now don’t fret over your technique or colors; just paint what you feel.”  Melinda explained.

 

Esme placed the paint on the palette, and picked up the first brush.  Looking at the image, she was overcome with emotion at the lines of the sculpture and how the artist had captivated the emotion of motherly love.  Esme took what Melinda said, and began letting each stroke come from deep inside.  She was so immersed in her painting, she didn’t hear or see Melinda and Renee walk over to her.

“Oh my God, that is so beautiful.”  Renee cried.

 

Esme laid her brush down, stood up, and backed up from the painting.  When she looked at the canvas, she couldn’t believe she had been the one who painted it.  The feelings she had gotten when she first looked at the sculpture were the same, or even greater, looking at the painting she had done.

 

“Maria, are you sure you never painted before?”  Melinda asked, shocked by the painting before her.  She had never seen anything so beautiful and full of emotion in her entire life.

 

“No.”  Esme whispered as she continued to look at the painting.  When she escaped from Carlisle she felt a little bit lighter.  After years of happiness and freedom here in Forks she felt even more lighter, but, looking at this image, she finally felt free of the emotional pain that she had carried for all these years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infinity Claims Chapter 6

Carlisle was barking out orders to all guard and family members around.  Everyone in the family was either on the phone or on the road, trying to find Elizabeth and Isabella.   As his men did everything they could, Carlisle paced around the docks and continued to call Elizabeth’s phone.  He rounded the building and came back upon Angelo’s body. In that moment, he thought of poor Esme and Edward.   This was a duty as Leader of the family that he had always done.  He felt that if a member of his family gave up their life for the family, then he should be the one to be one to notify their loved ones of the tragedy.   Calling Elizabeth’s phone one last time, and still getting no answer, he called Garrett to meet him where Angelo’s body was.  Ben didn’t have any immediate family.  His father and mother had been killed in a horrible house fire a few years back.   Ben had been a low man on the street with no ambition, but, after their death, Carlisle had a long conversation with him, and convinced Ben that he needed to strive harder, and to become someone that his parents would have been proud of.

 

Garrett quickly found Carlisle, because he wanted to do anything possible to help him find his family.  However, as the time ticked by, he had a horrible gut feeling that something bad had happened to them.

 

“Garrett, any news?”  Carlisle asked.

 

“No, Boss.  We are tracking every lead that we find.”

 

“Fuck.  Keep on it.  I want them safe and home.”  Carlisle said,  then looked down at Angelo’s body.  “I am going to go break the bad news to Esme.”

 

“Carlisle, let me do it.  We need to keep you safe, in case this is a rival family trying to make a move on us.”

 

“I will fucking kill every one of the motherfuckers.  This is my job, and I am going to do it.”

 

“Boss, at least take some extra guards with you.”  Garrett pleaded.

 

“No.  Everyone needs to be looking for my family.  I will be vigilant, but I need to do this.  You know how much Lizzy Bell likes Edward.”

 

“I do.  Call if you see anything out of the ordinary.”

 

Carlisle nodded, and started walking toward his car.  As he began to get in behind the wheel, he looked up and saw his brother standing by the building and the look on his face was not of concern for Elizabeth and Lizzy Bell, but that of enjoyment.  Fuck.  Surely he wasn’t part of this.

 

During the drive to Angelo and Esme’s home, Carlisle couldn’t get the look on Aro’s face out of his mind.  He knew that his brother had resented him, because he was older and was the leader of the family, but he never had one thought that he would do something to Elizabeth and Lizzy Bell.  Surely, this was just the stress of the day.  Before he knew it, he was pulling into Angelo’s driveway. Before getting out of the car, he tried Elizabeth’s phone once again, but still just rang and rang.

 

He exited the car and walked up to the door.  Taking a deep cleansing breath, he rang the bell.  He heard the running of little feet, and Edward yelling out that he would get it.

 

Edward opened the door to find Mr. Carlisle standing there.  “Mr. Carlisle.”

 

“Edward.  How are you?”

 

“Great.  Mommy found this old video game, and I am beating it.”

 

“That is wonderful.”  Carlisle praised Edward, and Esme walked around the corner, drying her hands on the edge of her apron.

 

“Edward, what have I told you about opening the door?”

 

“But it is Mr. Carlisle.  Oh, wait, is Bella with you?”  Edward asked, looking around him.

 

“No, Edward, she is out with her mommy today.”

 

“Well, truck.”  Edward grumbled.

 

“EDWARD!!!”  Esme yelled.   She had been telling Angelo to watch his language around Edward, but he continued to say “fuck” all the time.  Looking up, she was once again mesmerized by Carlisle Cullen, but, as she looked deeper into his eyes, she could tell there was something wrong.

 

“Mr. Cullen please come in.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

Esme lead them into the living room, and offered Carlisle a seat.  “Edward, why don’t you go play your game some more before dinner.  Don’t you think I am forgetting your colorful language, mister.  We will have a discussion about it.”

 

“Ah, Mom.”

 

After Edward had left the room, Esme turned to Carlisle.  “Something has happened?”  She asked, knowing that Carlisle wouldn’t be at their house like this.

 

“Esme, there is no good way to say this, but Angelo has been shot down at the docks. I am sorry to say that he has died.”

 

Esme just looked at Carlisle in shock.  Her husband was dead.  Time ticked by; with each passing second, she couldn’t bring herself to tears.  She cared for Angelo, but she didn’t love him.  The visions of another man was what got her through her wifely duties, and even find some enjoyment.  Looking up at Carlisle, her cheeks bloomed. She was never so glad that he couldn’t read her mind.

 

“Are you okay?  You look really flushed.”  Carlisle asked.

 

“I am fine.”

 

“The family will, of course, pay for any arrangements you make for Angelo.”

 

Esme nodded and then began to think what she and Edward was going to do for money.  She had a degree in art, but never used it, and she’d never worked.  They, of course, had a life insurance policy, but that would only go so far.

 

“I am sorry; I was just thinking about what we are going to do for money.  This house is paid for, but I don’t have a job.”  Esme declared.

 

Carlisle reached forward, and took Esme’s hand into his.  The moment they touched, he was shocked by the warm, comforting feeling that washed through his body.  “Esme, you both are family, and we take care of own.  An account will be set up and there will be deposits made each month.  Edward’s education will be paid for by the family, and that includes college.”

 

“Really?  I had no clue.  Are you sure that the family can afford to do that?  I mean I could get a job somewhere.”

 

Carlisle chuckled by her statement.  Angelo must have kept secret the amount of money that he only brought into the family, which didn’t include all of their other lucrative businesses.  “I can assure you that we have more than enough.”

 

“Oh, okay, thank you.”  Esme said, then the doorbell rang.  “I wonder who that can be?  Please excuse me.”  She got up and went to the door; when she opened it, she found Garrett standing there.  She had met him a few times, but really didn’t know him.

 

“Hello, I am here to talk to Carlisle.”  Garrett declared.

 

“He is in the living room, please come in.”

 

Esme walked ahead of Garrett to the living room. As soon as Carlisle heard footsteps, he glanced up and immediately stood when he saw Garrett.

 

“Garrett, what has happened?”

 

Garrett walked over to Carlisle. With tears in his eyes, he placed a hand on Carlisle’s arm.  “We found them.”  He choked.

 

Carlisle looked at his friend, confidant that something was wrong.  “Please tell me they are unharmed?” More like a question than a statement.

 

Not being able to get the words out, Garrett shook his head no.

 

Carlisle’s world went black, because his wife, and, the joy of his life, his Lizzy Bell, were gone forever.

 

 

 

Infinity Claims Chapter 5

Caius drove toward the home of Brad and Louise Mathers.  They were the couple he had paid to keep Isabella.  She was still asleep in the back of the van, and he hoped she would stay that way until they got close to the Mathers’ home.  He had the story all planned out; he knew exactly what he was going to tell Isabella.  From what he knew about the child, he knew she was highly intelligent for a child her age. He was going to use that to his advantage.  Carlisle had already began teaching her what to do in case of an emergency.  He had a special room setup for his family just in case a rival family attacked.  She was taught about family and how she could always be safe with them, as well as the bad people who would try to hurt her.

“Where am I?”  Isabella called out groggily.

Caius pulled over, went around, and opened the door.  She was sitting up, rubbing her eyes.  “Hey, sleepy head.”  Caius said, with a fake smile on his face.

“Caius?  Where is my mommy?”

Caius climbed into the van, and sat down beside her.  “Isabella, remember when you father told you about the bad people?”

“Yes.”

“The bad people came today. Sweetie, I have some really bad news.  Your mommy and daddy are dead.”  Caius said.

Izzy Bell just looked at Caius.  Her Momma and Dada were dead.  Were they dead like her new pet fish that she had forgotten to feed?  Did that mean they weren’t around to play with her, and to tuck her in at night?

“Do you understand that they are never going to around anymore?”  Caius asked.

“But Dada said he would never leave me.”

“He really fought hard, but there were too many of them.  But his last words were for me to take you somewhere safe.”

Izzy Bell’s little heart broke in half.  Her Dada was gone.  Burying her face into her little hands, she began to cry.  What was she going to do now?  Who was going to take care of her?

“I know you are sad, but you must be strong right now.  Your father had this plan set up just in case.  You are going to live with an older couple in a small town in Pennsylvania.  They don’t know your parents, but know that you need a safe place to stay.  Isabella, these bad people are still looking for you, and we need to make sure they don’t find you.  When we get to the house, you will no longer be Isabella Marie Cullen, but, instead, your name will be Bree Tanner.”

“But I am Izzy Bell.”  She exclaimed.

“No, sweetie, you are now Bree Tanner.  However, I promise you that, when it is safe again, I will come back and get you, but you need to be careful.  Can you do that?”

“I want to see my Mamma and Dada.”

“Isabella you can’t.  They wouldn’t want you to put yourself in danger; your Dada would want you safe.”

“Okay.  Are they nice people?  Will they read me a bedtime story?”  Izzy Bell asked.

“Yes, they are nice, and you are going to be on a farm with all kinds of animals.  Now, we have got to get going so we can get there.  Why don’t you lay back down, and I will tell you when we get there, okay?”  Caius asked, hoping she would.

She laid down, so Caius closed the door, got in the driver’s side, and started driving again.  He could hear her in the back crying softly.   About an hour later, he pulled up to the white, two story farmhouse with black shutters.  An older couple walked out onto the porch as they pulled up.

Brad and Louise had been watching for them to arrive.  When they had first been contacted about keeping a child, they were not interested, even though they were offered an astronomical amount of money.  However, when they learned what the poor child was going through, they agreed.

Caius got out of the vehicle, and walked around to get Isabella.  Helping her down, he looked deep into her little eyes.  “Remember, you are now Bree Tanner.”

Nodding her little head, she knew that she needed to be strong.  Caius took her hand, and they walked up to the porch.

“Hello, you must be the Mathers.”  Caius said.  “This is Bree.”

Louise leaned down, and held out her hand.  “Hi, sweetie, I am Louise, and this is Brad.  Would you like a cookie and a glass of milk?”

Bree looked up at Caius, who shook his head yes.  “Yes, please.”  She whispered.

Taking Louise’s hand, they walked into the house.  It was much different than her home.  The furniture looked old and worn. Unlike the shining floors at her house, these were a dull wood.  Louise took her into the kitchen, and, instead of the shining stove and refrigerator, both were a yucky green color, like the sweater that Aro had giving her for Christmas.  Louise pulled out the chair for her, and she sat down.

“I hope you like chocolate chip.”  Louise said.

“I do.”

Louise placed a small plate in front of her with three cookies and a glass of milk.

“Bree, we will try to make you happy.”  Louise promised.

Lizzy Bell looked at the cookies, and tried not to cry.  “Thank you.  I hope we can be friends.”

“I am sure of it.  After you eat, would you like to go take a look around the farm?  We have a new colt this morning.”

“Colt?”  Lizzy Bell asked.

“A baby horse.”  Louise answered.

Lizzy Bell eyes grew large with excitement.  “I love horsies.”

While Louise and Lizzy Bell were in the house.  Caius handed Brad the envelope with the money inside.  “That is 1.5 million dollars.  You agree to never search for any information concerning her family?”

“Yes, but what if she starts asking questions later on?”  Brad asked.

“She knows that her mother is dead, and I just told her that her father was killed.  She has no sisters or brothers.”

“I feel sorry for the child.”  Brad sighed.

“I do, too, but this is the best for her safety.  I must be off; just remember, don’t come looking.”  Caius warned.  He shook Brad’s hand, and walked to the van.  He had purchased two suitcases full of clothes for Isabella. He removed them, and left them at the end of the path.  Getting into the van, he pulled away in a cloud of dust, leaving Isabella behind.  He was now one step closer in getting the rightful heir to the lead the Cullen family.