AMDFT Chapter 23 on FFn
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“Hey, Mase,” said Jake. I was at home, working on the travel plans for Bella, Charlie, and Alice, with the possibility of Linda and her son, too. I’d have to do some background checks on Linda, Michael and his partner before I could even give them the option of joining us. “Charlie actually kicked Alice out.”
“No shit?” I breathed. “What did she do?”
“Not following through on her promises she made to Charlie. The apartment is a mess. Alice had drugs and she called your girl a whore. Again. She also ripped into Charlie, too,” Jake growled. “That girl … she’s trouble. But, the boyfriend? I think he’s got a major influence.”
“You got a name?” I asked.
“I do. Charlie told me. I’m going to tell Seth that name. I may have freaked him out when I flashed my badge,” Jake snorted. “Alice, too. Look, Little Bells is, she’s upset. Understandably so. Charlie’s a mess, too. Linda’s going to stay with him and comfort him.”
“I don’t need that visual, Jacob.” I shuddered, my mind delving into the pervy recesses, all starring Charlie and Linda. Ewwwww! “Anyway, when you get back, I need you to run a background check on Linda Newton and her family members,” I said.
“Did you tell your mom about Bella?” Jake asked.
“That would be affirmative,” I sighed. “Are you on your way back?”
“I’m making Charlie some tea while Linda is talking to Bella in the demolished bakery,” Jake answered. “The place is empty. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know.”
“About the bakery or that the evil sister has been evicted?” I quipped.
“Well, both,” Jake answered. “Look, the water’s boiling. I’ll talk to you when I get back.”
“Drive safely, Jake,” I said, hanging up the phone. I tossed it onto the still messy bed. I smiled, remembering how that bed became messy. Shaking my head, I walking back to Bella’s bedroom. I was nearly done moving her clothes into my closet. After I’d finished my video conference with my mom, I did some work at the consulate before I had one of the military officers drive me back to the condo. I spent the afternoon moving Bella’s clothes. It was oddly domestic and I found comfort in doing so.
I also started working on dinner, making a new recipe. It was a lasagna dish, with alfredo sauce, spinach, cheese and chicken. I was assembling the lasagna when the door opened to the condo. I blinked up, seeing Bella walking in. Her face was red and her eyes were puffy. I walked toward her. She looked at me, running into my arms and clinging to my sweater. I felt her tears against my chest. “Cherie,” I breathed.
“I don’t know why I’m crying,” she sniffled. “Alice brought this on herself. I … I just …”
“Bella, it’s understandable that you’re upset. Alice made poor choices and those choices resulted in Charlie throwing her out,” I said, sitting down with her in my lap.
“I helped,” Bella muttered. “I packed up her shit, but …” She idly toyed with a string on my shirt. “Dad gave her some money and I put a note in her bag with my cell phone number. I’m terrified that she’s going to go to the paparazzi or do something ... like get killed. With her being out there … with her loser boyfriend …”
“I know you’re worried, but she’s an adult and she’s made her choices,” I whispered, kissing her temple.
“It still sucks,” she grumbled, putting her head on my shoulder. “Masen …”
“What is it, love?”
“Promise me you won’t throw me away,” she said, her voice small and uncertain.