“My apartment burnt down.”
“What?” she shrieked.
“The cops think it was arson,” I growled.
“James. He’s getting closer,” Bella whimpered. Her knees buckled. I ran to her and scooped her up, placing her on the island of the kitchen. Turning off the veggies, I hugged her to my chest. Bella’s sobs filled our home. I held her as she broke down. James needed to go the fuck away. Asstard. “Why can’t he just go away?”
“I know, love,” I soothed. Bella’s hands clutched at my shirt as she sobbed against my shoulder. “I wish I could take you away and never come back.”
“Someplace tropical sounds nice,” she mumbled, playing with my hair. “Edward, I’m scared. He’s gone after me. Now he’s after you. You’re not safe.”
“Bella, I’m stronger than I look,” I said, pulling away, looking into her cinnamon eyes. Bella pursed her lips. “I’d do anything for you, love. Even die for you…”
“No, you won’t,” she spat. “I’ve finally found the one person that I want to be with and you’re not going away.” She crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head petulantly. “If you die, I die. Simple as that.” She wrapped her arms and legs around me, pulling me to her warm body. “I can’t lose you, Whip.”
“I can’t lose you, either, Bella,” I murmured into her skin, gently kissing her ‘E’ tattoo. We were pulled from our little bubble by a loud buzz from the telephone. We jumped apart. Sullenly walking to the phone, I picked it up. The police were here and the front gate was informing me that they were here. I allowed them entry into the subdivision and waited in the foyer. Bella stood with me, gripping my hand tightly. The police officers arrived and asked us both a few questions. I was surprised that the investigating officer didn’t have any knowledge of the restraining order on James and Victoria.
That raised huge red flags for me. After some searching, ‘Barney Fife’ managed to find the paperwork on the restraining order on the computer. As he read the information, his fat face paled at the description of Bella’s attack along with his menacing that he had done with the help of Riley.
“Mr. Cullen, we’ll increase patrols in your neighborhood. Erm, rather around your neighborhood. In addition to that, we’ll add more police presence around your place of work,” ‘Barney’ sputtered.
“What about while you’re at school, Edward?” Bella asked, gripping my arm.
“Are you a student?” Barney asked.
“I’m enrolled at University of Washington,” I answered. “Working on getting my degree in psychology.” Barney nodded and added that information to his notes.
“Now, apparently this James character is out for blood,” Barney said nervously, shifting uncomfortably on my couch. “You need to keep your eyes peeled and if you see him, call 911 immediately. Inform your friends and family to do the same. Is there anyone else that is working with him?”
“Riley Biers and Victoria,” I answered. “But, her last name is slipping my mind right now. She’s got red hair and was a doctoral student at UDub. Or least pretended to be.”
“Ah yes, we have a picture of her. Her name is not Victoria,” Barney said. “It’s Virginia and she’s James’ sister. Same mother but different fathers. Virginia Thomas or Ginny likes to change her name. Victoria is one of her twenty known aliases. She’s wanted by the FBI for identity theft and grand larceny. She’s a genius and quite slippery when it comes to being caught. Evasive, that one.”