Ryan, Kellan, Agent Torres and Charlie, via Skype, came up with a very detailed plan to keep us safe and sane. However, Bella was an anxious mess from the conversation. The fear of the unknown was weighing heavily on her. Me, too, but we had to fight this battle head-on.
We stopped halfway to Nashville, about four hours into the trip. Everyone got off the bus while the gas tank was filled up. Agent Torres got into a waiting Yukon Denali, heading to the closest city to fly back to Washington D.C. He wished us luck for the rest of our tour and said he’d try his hardest to capture James and his accomplice, whoever they may be. Bella was curled up on the couch, barely keeping it together, watching the SUV drive away.
I really wanted to snap my fingers and take our strife away. “Cantante?” I asked as I sat down next to her. “How are you feeling?” I took her hand, kissing her knuckles.
“Nervous, scared,” she whispered. “I just want this to be over.”
She shrugged, idly playing with her hair. “I want James caught. Then, I could actually enjoy the rest of the tour. But, until he’s gone, I’m constantly on edge and just plain terrified of my own shadow. Edward, something has to give. I don’t know how much more I can take, baby.”
“I don’t blame you, beautiful,” I said, pulling her to my side and leaning my cheek against her soft hair. “I wish I could wave my hand and all of this was fucking over.” The doors of the buses closed and the driver came back on. He smiled, giving us the privacy we needed and took off from the gas station. “Let’s just get through our performance at the Grand Ole Opry and then spend time in Chicago, relaxing and celebrating our anniversary.”
“I hope that Pandora is doing a thorough sweep of our home in Chicago. I want to be able to stay there without fear of being …” she trailed off, her face paling. “What if he put cameras in our house, Edward?”
“You heard Ryan. He’s got a team watching all our properties and there has been no suspicious activity anywhere, but the house will be swept. Senior is meeting the team to check the brownstone. They’re going now and checking again just prior to our arrival,” I said, tracing her cheek with my finger. She pressed into my hand and moved so she was snuggled next to me. “I know that the pictures and videos rattled you, Bella.” She gave me a glare. “It more than rattled me.” I held up my hand, which was still encased in a cast.
“I’m just … this sucks,” she grumbled, burying her face into my chest.
“I know, Bella. Believe me, I know,” I muttered, holding her closely. “Come on. Let’s lay down. Our sleep the past few days have been lackluster at best.”
“No funny business,” Bella chided, getting up and walking to the rear of the bus. We settled on the queen-sized bed. Bella fell asleep quickly, draped across my chest. I idly played with her hair until I drifted off.
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