“I promise you that nothing will happen to Bella,” Emmett whispered. “She’s stronger than you think.” I shot up, moving to the window and tried to calm down. “Ed, have faith in your family, in your crew. We love Bella, too. She won’t be touched.”
“Just that photo … it’s burned onto my brain,” I whispered. “If something like that happened to Bella … I would murder the monsters who did that to her, but she’d … she’d be ruined because of her association with me. I’d lose her.”
“Don’t focus on that,” Carlisle said. “She’s fine. She’s at home, working on her psychology papers. When you get home, hold her, love her and never let her go. We live in a dangerous world, Edward. I know that. You know that. Have faith in your family to protect you.”
“Nothing will happen to her,” Emmett said, his ice blue eyes glacial and angry. “I vow my life to protect her. Protect you.” He pulled out a knife from his belt, slicing his hand, blood pouring out of the wound and onto the glass table. “A blood vow.” He held out his knife. I took it, slicing my own palm. I grasped his hand and stared into my brother’s eyes. “I love you, brother.”
“I love you, too, Emmett,” I whispered. We hugged and I let my brother shoulder some of the burden.
“Go home, Edward,” Carlisle said. “What more did you have to do today?”
“Just paperwork. I can do that from my home office,” I shrugged. I wrapped a handkerchief loosely around my hand. Emmett did the same. “You want to come for dinner, Em?”
“I don’t think so. I think you need your woman,” Emmett said with a smarmy grin. “I’ll bug the parentals.”
“Oh, goody,” Carlisle deadpanned, shaking his head at Emmett. He whipped out his cell phone. “Felix, meet me in the basement. Emmett will be joining us.” He hung up and kissed my cheek. “Love you, son.”
“Love you, too, Dad,” I said, blowing out a breath. My brother and father left. I sat down, trying to calm down. I tightened my bandage on my hand, rubbing the cut with my thumb. My brother was on my side, even though it was his ex-wife who had been the one in the photo. No love lost there, it would seem. With another deep breath, I went back to my office. I sent out a quick email about Angela’s vacation to the staff, along with my intention from working from home for the rest of the week, before packing up my laptop. I put on my protective overcoat before I slung my bag over my shoulder. On my way out, I spoke briefly to Jessica, the woman in charge of reception. I asked her to patch any calls to my cell phone for the remainder of the week during the workday. With a wave, I rode down the elevator and got into my car.
I drove to my condo, parking in the garage and riding up to the Fortress first. Letting myself in, I walked into the wall of screens. Jacob was working on the computer. “Jake,” I said. He turned, flashing me a wide grin. “Did your dad call?”
“He did. He told me about your meeting,” he muttered. “That’s some scary shit.”
“Please, keep an eye out,” I whispered.
“Boss, I love Bella like a sister. I would die for her, just like how I’d die for you, too,” Jake said. He blinked back at me, a grimace on his face. “How bad?”
“Let’s just say that they’ve got some sick minds and someone who is really good at Photoshop,” I shuddered. I blinked, unseeing and the image of Bella … I gulped down bile.
“Boss, no one will touch her,” Jake said, standing up and putting his hands on my shoulders. He frowned. “I promise you, Edward. I promise.”
“Okay,” I said. “I’m sorry. This is … I …”
“I get it,” Jake smiled, kind and understanding. “But, those assholes will have to go through me.” He smirked. “And I’m bulletproof.”
“You keep telling yourself that, Jake,” I snorted. “Thank you.” I turned on my heel and rode upstairs to my Bella.