“Take her away for a few days. It’ll give me a chance to do what I need to do.”
“Go somewhere for spring break. Someplace warm and tropical,” Jasper said.
“Edward!” Bella screamed. I looked at him briefly before running to my girl. I crouched in front of her and held her to my chest while she fell apart. Alice gently ran her hand over Bella’s back while Jasper was hissing on the phone. “How could he have found us, Edward?”
“I don’t know, beautiful,” I cried. I buried my face into her soft hair, wanting nothing more than to make all of this to stop. “But, we’re going to leave for a few days. I’ll make arrangements tomorrow and we’ll be out of here on Monday.”
“Running away won’t do anything,” Bella spat, pushing me away.
“No, it won’t. But it’ll give us a chance to step away from this situation.”
“Bella, your leaving will be beneficial,” Jasper said. “I have a friend of mine who is going to watch over the house and protect you. He needs the time to set up his equipment around your property. Also, it will give me time to get the paperwork together for Edward to obtain a FOID card and for me to get him a weapon that he’s comfortable with. Do you trust me, Edward?”
I nodded. I hated guns but if it meant that I could protect family, I’d have a gun. Bella’s pistol was locked in a safe in our closet. I turned and stared at my love. She was trembling, unable to control her body. “Alice, can you get the ativan from the bathroom?”
“Sure, Edward,” she said as she got up and darted to the downstairs bathroom. “How many?”
“One, please,” I answered, cupping Bella’s face. Her eyes were dead. Vacant. Terrified. She came back with one pill and Bella took it without prompting. She slumped against me and clung to my body. “If you guys want to stay, there’s a guest room up the stairs. It’s the third door on the left. There are some t-shirts and shorts in the dresser if you would like.”
“Thanks, Edward,” Alice said. She turned to Jasper and they went upstairs.
“This is a nightmare, Edward. He’s going to kill you. Kill Emma. Kill me,” she said brokenly.
“Not if I have a say in it, my Bella,” I whispered. “James will never hurt you again. I promise.” She nodded and put her head on my chest. I gently picked her up and carried her up the stairs. Placing her on the bed, I went and grabbed some comfy pajamas for her. My clothes. She put on a pair flannel pants and one of my Springview Pep Banned shirts. She crawled into bed and hugged my pillow. “It will be okay, my love.”
“Promise?” she asked, sounding like a child. Her eyes were glistening brightly with unshed tears.
“With my life,” I answered, taking her face into mine. “Sleep, baby. I’m going to arm the security system and then I’ll be up, okay?” She nodded and kissed my hand. I tucked her into the bed and dimmed the lights in our bedroom. Bella was sniffling quietly as I left. I did a cursory mopping of our kitchen floor. Where the pasta salad had fallen, it was sticky. After my OCD moment, I went into the office and started searching for possible trips for our family.
I refused to fly us to the west coast. Too close to the possibility of James finding us there.
Out of the country wasn’t an option. Emma didn’t have a passport.
I typed family vacations into the search bar of Google. A few of them were geared for younger children and I threw those ideas out right away. I considered Disney World, but remembered that Emma didn’t like it since she went with Jessica and Mike. She got sun poisoning from being outside without sunscreen. Great parenting, Jessica. When she came back, my baby girl was a lobster and was so sick. But, Florida sounded appealing.
The Florida Keys caught my attention and I was drawn to several resorts that were geared for adults with young children. There were a ton of things to do on the island and I jotted down the website on a slip of paper. I’d make arrangements for our trip tomorrow when I was more awake.
The Parrot Key Resort