Chapter 24

Waiting in the Twilight

Ch 24

BPOV

I opened the French doors to let the other bodyguard inside but, to my horror, I realized too late that it wasn’t a bodyguard at all. It was James Hunter, that pap who’d verbally attacked Edward and me at the premiere and caused my accident. I recognized him immediately despite the fact that he’d cut off his long, dirty hair.

I tried to shut the doors and lock him out but he shoved them open so hard it slammed me backwards into the dining room table. I toppled over the chairs and crawled to the wicker chair in the living room. Using it for leverage, I was almost on my feet when James kicked the chair out from under me. I went sprawling onto my back, looking up at him completely petrified. He grabbed the floor lamp near the couch and yanked it out of the wall, jerked the cord out of the lamp and tossed the lamp aside. Asshole! I paid 90 bucks for that lamp! I watched in disbelief as he twisted the cord around his gloved hands as if he was planning to strangle me. His eyes never left my face as he grinned down at me.

“What do you want?” I demanded, using my uninjured leg to propel myself away from him. “What happened to the real bodyguards?” I cried, trying to distract him. “Where are Seth and Sam? What have you done to them?” He snickered! The son-of-a-bitch actually snickered! Were they dead? Was I next? No! I wouldn’t accept that! How was I going to get out of this? How had he found me? I thought he was in jail!

Using the coffee table, I managed to right myself and was backing away from James when he lifted the coffee table with one hand and tossed it out of his way. I managed to get a few feet between us when Victoria shoved me forward into James. He caught me by the shoulders and my heart slammed into my throat! My only thought was Edward! I just wanted one last moment to tell him I loved him. James looked at me and I saw nothing but blankness in his eyes. They were as cold and hard as steel. Staring into them, I knew my only chance of ever seeing Edward again was to fight and fight hard! I did the only thing I could think of…I kneed him in the groin as hard as I could with my injured leg. It hurt like hell but I knew that leg wouldn’t support my weight while I kneed him with my good leg. Still, it doubled him over and Victoria rushed to his side as I hobbled to the kitchen. I grabbed a knife from the butcher block and reached for the phone in the pocket of my robe. Before I could flip it open and dial 911, both Victoria and James were blocking my exit from the kitchen.

They spoke not a word! No threats, no screaming, no violent intimidations. It went against everything I’d ever heard or read about criminals and it was freaking me the fuck out. If they would speak, threaten, scream, yell…anything, I could get angry. Their words would fuel that anger and help me find the strength to fight them. As it was, all I felt was incredible fear. After all he’d had to say at the premiere, why wasn’t he talking now? I could fight back if I knew what they wanted. Their silence filled me with dread.

“Don’t you come any closer or I swear I’ll kill you if I have to!” I screamed in panic. I waved the knife at them to prove my point. They weren’t frightened at all. Victoria actually covered her mouth and giggled like a little school girl. James began unwinding the lamp cord from around his hand.

“Fuck you! Fuck you both!” I yelled and dialed the police. The two of them were so cocky about being here, doing whatever it was they were attempting to do. They seemed to think they were unstoppable. It was disturbing as hell.

With more speed and strength than I would have thought possible, James flicked the cord from the lamp at me like a horse whip, striking me in the cheek with the plug. It hit with such force, it knocked be backwards into the counter and split my cheek wide open. I grabbed at my face, fearing he’d popped my eye out of the socket. The pain was so vicious, the knife and my phone clattered to the ground as blood oozed between my fingertips and blurred my vision. The last thing I remember is having a cloth held to my face that felt cold and smelled sickeningly sweet. If I wasn’t so terrified, I’d be glad the pain was going away.

EPOV

Darkness. All encompassing.

Cold. Bitter and biting. My tux isn’t heavy enough to provide any protection from the numbing cold.

Despair. It hangs over me like a shroud.

Escape. It’s all I want to do but I can’t turn back.

A sound catches my attention and I listen intently. I’m not alone. An evil, unseen presence lurks in the darkness. It hides behind the gnarled tree trunks, creeping through the obsidian night waiting, so patiently waiting, for its chance to attack. Am I hunting for it, or is it stalking me?

This all seems so familiar and yet so foreign. I look towards the night sky searching for the moon to guide me, the one constant I know I can depend on. Black clouds inch slowly across the face of the pallid full moon vaguely illuminating the forest surrounding me. I know this place. It haunts my soul. This place withholds from me the one thing I need most in my life. She’s lost here in this malicious darkness. The light shining down from the moon gives no comfort. It casts eerie shadows making the darkness within them more sinister. It allows me to see the gaunt and gnarled trees, their roots crawling across the ground determined to ensnare me and stop my progress. The stench of dirt and wet wood assaults my senses. A thick fog swirls at my knees and I know I should get away from it but I can’t run because it’s everywhere. There’s no escape. I feel a multitude of sinister eyes watching me through the skeletal branches of the trees, waiting and watching oh, so patiently.

The cold is so intense, I can’t discern if I shiver from that or from the unnatural feeling that I’m being watched by something truly evil.

I need to get out of here, back to the warmth of my beloved…EDGe. She’s why I’ve come. She’s here, too. Despite the bitter cold and darkness, I must find her. I will not leave her here to succumb to the shadows. Everything is deathly quiet. The trees stand like statues in a mausoleum. Fear fills me with the thought that I am indeed among the dead or dying.

I see movement in the darkness ahead. Thinking that it might be my EDGe, I run towards it. The sound is wet, like something being drawn through damp leaves.

“EDGe?” I call her name, silently praying for a response. I search frantically for a sign of my love but only the eerie darkness greets me. “EDGe!” I cry and then listen. At last, a faint and feminine whimper. The sound is so sorrowful, so filled with dismay and pain, that it hurts me to hear it. It sounds as if she’s trying not to cry out, covering her mouth, yet the sorrow in her heart is so deep, it will not be silenced.

“EDGe! Where are you?” I plead. I’m greeted with dark laughter from a multitude of voices echoing back at me mockingly. The laughter surrounds me, making it impossible to determine from which direction it comes. I hear another choked sob and, as my heart slams into my chest in terror, I run towards the sound of my EDGe. I fear for her safety and tear through the dark forest as fast as my legs can carry me, tripping and stumbling over the brambles, roots and vines that hide beneath the ghostly white fog of the forest floor. The intense cold rips down my throat and feels as though it will tear my lungs apart.

“EDGe!!” The desperate sound of my own voice echoes back at me in a hollow scream. I stop to listen again and, just up ahead, I can see her bare feet lying on the ground. They’re blue and one is deeply bruised, swollen, and twisted at an odd angle. It’s only from the cold, I tell myself. Dear God, I hope it’s only from the cold. She’s not walking; she’s being dragged along by something I can’t see. She’s struggling, barely able to resist in her weakened condition. I don’t know how I know she has no strength left, but I know. I can feel her giving up to the darkness and terror for her fills my soul.

“EDGe!” I scream her name and tear through the forest, catching just a glimpse of her feet as they disappear behind a gnarled old tree. But it’s so far away! I’m coming baby, hold on! The thought is in my head, yet I hear her weak and frightened reply.

“Edward?”

She sounds so small and frail. Her voice is not playful and light as it has always been. She sounds afraid.

“EDGe!” I’m out of breath and feeling panicked. “Where are you?” I whisper. I look around and, in the encroaching darkness, things begin to look familiar. I turn to where our tree is supposed to be. There! I can just barely see the deepest part of the V against the cold, black night. I begin to run towards it, but the damp and heavy tuxedo drags at my limbs.

“EDWARD!” I hear her frenzied cry in the night and charge through the darkness.

“EDGe!” I scream in desperation. The sound echoes back to me in a condescending tone, as though the mist had become a living entity with the intelligence to torment me.

“EDGe! EDGe! EDGe!” I hear deep, dark laughter that sounds like evil leaking from the very bark on the trees.

I’m nearly to our tree. I can see her small, delicate hands clinging to the trunk. Her slender fingers clutch the spot where she usually reaches out to me. She grips the tree so tightly, her knuckles are white. She’s just a few feet away. I lunge through the blackness, though it seems the cold, the protruding roots, and the swirling fog are all sentient beings intent on stopping me. I will not be hindered. I will save her!

“Hold on, baby! I’m here!” I yell.

“Edward? NNNNOoooooo!!!!” she screams, and I see her forearms and hands scrape across the bark of the tree, leaving her blood behind. I lunge to grab her hand but she’s gone…she’s just gone.

“Oh, God! NO! EEDDDGGGEEE!!!!!!!”

I stumble and fall to the ground, disappearing beneath the white mist. I can just make out my hand on the forest floor as a drop of her blood falls onto it.

I woke to the sound of my own animalistic screams of intense anguish and pain. My head was at the foot of my bed as though I’d lunged across it in my sleep. My hand outstretched grasped thin air. I’d failed her again.

EPOV

I’d only slept for an hour and a half before the nightmare woke me up. There was no point in trying to go back to sleep now, since I had a plane to catch to Madrid in a little over an hour. Grabbing my cell off the nightstand, I saw that Bella hadn’t called or sent a text. I opened my laptop and logged onto EA but there was no message there either, even though it said she was still on-line.

EC: EDGe I’m here Love but not for long. Are you ok?

EC: Talk to me please! At least let me know you’re all right!

No reply. I didn’t like this…I didn’t like it at all. Every second that ticked by without hearing from her weighed heavier and heavier on my heart. It was only 11 pm for her, so she could still be sleeping and planning to get up early to talk to me at a more reasonable time for me. At least, that’s what I kept trying to convince myself for the next hour while I showered, got dressed and packed my suitcase. All the while, every fiber of my being was screaming that something was wrong.

When I got downstairs for breakfast, Alice knew right away I was stressed out about something. She wouldn’t let up until I told her about the dream and my concerns about Bella. While she sympathized and understood my fears, there was little she could do but try to keep me calm and focused on my obligations.

“I’m sure everything’s okay, Edward. She’s probably just sleeping. You said yourself the pain pills made her sleepy. C’mon, we have a plane to catch,” Alice insisted, standing up from the table to take my hand.

Although it was only a two-hour flight, lack of sleep caught up with me and I fell asleep the moment we were in the air…

* * * * * * *

“Oh, God! NO! EEEDDGGEEE!!!!!!!”

“Edward! Edward, wake up! It’s just a dream. Edward, please wake up!”

I woke up, my throat raw from screaming in my sleep yet again. I was startled to see Alice and Jasper to my left, Emmett in front of me leaning over the seat, and Dean behind me looming forward over my seat. All of them looked at me with horrified faces.

“What is it, bro?” Emmett asked, looking far more disturbed than he sounded.

“EDGe..she’s in trouble!” I rasped.

“No. It’s okay, Edward. It was just a dream,” Alice said soothingly.

“No! No, it’s not. It’s bad, Alice! The dream…I had it again, only worse this time! It was so much worse! The moon had turned to blood! It was darker in other ways, too, more sinister than ever before. Don’t ask me how I know because I can’t tell you but I do know it’s happening. Whatever it is, whatever the dream means, it’s happening right now!

“EDGe didn’t answer any of my texts or PM’s last night. I tried to call and PM her this morning and still got no answer. Emmett, get on the phone to Sam and find out what the fuck is going on!” I demanded.

“Dude, we’re 2000 feet in the air! I can’t do anything until we land,” Emmett replied incredulously. “Besides, it’s like midnight her time so she’s probably asleep.”

“I don’t care! Use the on board phone, whatever it takes! Just do it!”

I was panic-stricken. I’d never felt more trapped or useless in my life. EDGe was in trouble. I knew it in the depths of my soul and I couldn’t do anything to help her. The bad thing was I didn’t know what was wrong, only that something was. Was she sick? Had she passed out? Had she fallen and broken her ankle completely? Maybe she was lying on the floor, unable to get up and walk! Oh, God! What if she accidentally took too many pain pills!

I’d learned my lesson in the past with Alice not to shrug these things off. If I was wrong…well, that would be freaking fantastic! I hoped to God I was wrong. I hoped EDGe would wake up and answer her fucking phone and tell me I was being ridiculously overprotective and not to worry. By this time tomorrow, I hoped Emmett would be making fun of me for crying wolf over a fucking dream. But I knew it wasn’t going to go down like that.

“Just calm down and try to relax, brother,” Jasper said in his usual calm manner. Hell, I wish I could borrow some of his calm right now but I was beyond freaked out at this point.

“Fuck calm! Look, I’m not pretending I’m psychic but, damn it, the few times I’ve felt anywhere close to this certain that something was wrong, I was right! Alice almost died the last time because I didn’t react right away. This is ten times more intense! Don’t tell me to calm down! If she doesn’t answer her phone the minute we land, I want a flight to Indiana as soon as possible!”

“But Edward, you’re in the middle of a huge promo tour and…”

“Fuck the tour! Fuck Summit! Bella’s more important than anything! God! Don’t you get that?” My outburst apparently got through to them because they all stopped trying to console me and agreed to do everything I asked of them the moment we arrived.

The plane landed in Madrid 20 minutes later. I’d never had to pay attention before but now my mind scrambled to translate fucking time zones! It had been a two-hour flight but time had gone back one hour. I was now only 5 hours ahead of EDGe, which made it 7:30 Madrid time and 2:30 her time. The moment the cabin doors opened, I dialed EDGe’s number. On the fifth ring, it went to voice mail. Fuck! I switched to the internet through my cell phone and logged onto EA which said she was still on-line. I didn’t buy it for a minute, but I had to try.

EC: EDGe R U there? Answer me please! It’s an Emergency!!!

Just as I feared, there was no reply. My heart was racing, pounding in my chest so hard I was surprised everyone wasn’t able to hear it. Alice and Jasper were standing beside me waiting to see if I got an answer. Emmett was already on the phone trying to reach Sam and Seth.

“She’s not answering. It says she’s been on-line for several hours with no recent activity. Something is very wrong here. Get me a fucking flight to Shelbyville, Indiana right away. I don’t care how much it costs! Go!” I growled at Jasper. He left without word to make the arrangements. Alice wrapped her arm around me and leaned her head against my shoulder silently. I appreciated the gesture but I couldn’t stand still. I pulled away to pace back and forth while I sent EDGe another text and waited to hear if Emmett had managed to reach Sam.

“I couldn’t reach Seth or Sam. Neither of them is answering,” Emmett replied after several minutes had passed. His face was ashen white and that look alone told me he’d never failed to reach one of his men before. The overwhelming fear that something was wrong went off the charts at Emmett’s words.

“Call the other two guards and get them to EDGe’s house right away,” I told him.

“Already done, bro. They hit the road five minutes ago. Embry said that, when they left Bella’s house last night, everything was fine. She’d been sitting in the living room typing on her laptop, presumably working on her novel. Seth and Sam came in at ten till ten to relieve them. With nothing to be concerned about, Embry and Quil returned to the hotel for dinner and then went to bed. Other than the incident with her friend Jake, nothing had been out of the ordinary,” Emmett stated emphatically.

“Jasper! I need that flight NOW!” I yelled at Jasper. He was talking with a woman at the ticket counter, and I knew he was doing everything he could, but every second’s delay seemed like an hour to me. I was holding on to my sanity by a thread. Jasper finally returned with an unusual expression on his face. For a man who was the epitome of calm, the unreadable expression on his face spoke volumes.

“We have three options for getting you on a plane today, I’m just not sure you’re going to like any of them. There’s a commercial flight out today, of course, but it won’t be leaving for 6 hours. It’s about a 9 hour flight plus an additional 2 hours of driving time to Bella’s house.

“Christ! That’s almost 18 hours by the time we get on and off the plane and get moving! What are the other two options?”

“Well, we can travel faster by private plane, cutting the flying time down to 6 hours. However, the closest one available is an hour away. It’ll take 3 hours to get it here, refuel, file a flight plan, and round up a pilot. Once we hit Indiana, we’d land at small airport instead of a commercial one and that will cut the drive to Bella’s house by 1 hour. That still leaves us with 10 hours of traveling time.”

“That’s better but you said there were three options. What’s the third?”

“Well, it’s the one you may like the least. It would require some serious schmoozing on your part.”

“What the hell is it?”

“Adele. You know, that singer from the UK? She’s on tour and her next stop is Chicago. They’ve got a Cessna’s Citation X business jet, the fastest damn private plane on the market. She’s here now, ready for take-off in fifteen minutes. Use some of that lethal Cullen charm on her and we might be able to dead-head our way to Indiana. You game?”

“I’ll kiss her ass on the corner of Hollywood and Vine if she can get me to my EDGe faster than our other options!” I assured him.

Grabbing Jasper by the arm, we ran to catch up with Adele before she boarded that flight.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

BPOV

My head hurt so bad I didn’t want to open my eyes. I tried to hold my head in my hands but they wouldn’t move. I opened my eyes to figure out what was wrong but pain shot through my head like being hit with a red-hot fireplace poker. I waited a few moments and tried again, slowly. Still painful, but not quite as bad. My hands were tied to a wooden beam with a cord from something. I’m lying on an old, damp hardwood floor. This place seemed familiar to me. I looked around, but each movement of my eyes and head was pure torture. The pain in my foot was throbbing and relentless. My cast was missing. I had no idea where it was or why it was taken from me, if indeed it had been taken. My foot had swollen to nearly twice its normal size. It looked blue and I couldn’t tell if the blue color was from the swelling, bruises or the intense cold. I could see my breath on the cold air. It took a moment of trying to look around in the awkward position I was lying in, but I saw an old stone grinding wheel and I knew where I was. The old, abandoned, grist mill! It was located in the wooded area behind my house less than a mile away.

HuntersMill crop 01

I knew these woods like the back of my hand. There was a window directly in front of me and I could tell it was breaking dawn. How ironic that those particular words had popped into my mind. Apparently, I’d been here all night. I saw a long stick lying on the floor just inches away from my feet but there was nothing else in the room that wasn’t nailed down.

I could hear heavy booted footsteps of someone pacing back and forth from another part of the mill. I heard voices, too. There was no door in his room, allowing a partial view into the next room. I did not see anyone in there. It was impossible to tell exactly where the voices were coming from in the 4 story grist mill but I was sure a woman was speaking only her voice was too faint to make out. The man I assumed to be James, I could hear clearly.

“Once he comes to save her, we won’t need her anymore. I’ll make him watch while I have some fun with her,” he said. I cringed to the depths of my soul at his words. Again, the woman spoke and he replied.

“I’ll kill her, of course.” I could hear the woman say something and then I heard them both laugh.

“Of course he’ll come. Cullen can’t resist playing the hero!”

No! my mind screamed. I wouldn’t let them get to Edward! I had to get away… I had to warn Edward. Frantically, I twisted and turned my wrists trying to loosen the cord that bound me. I used my good leg to push myself up higher and wrenched at the tie with all my might. I felt the cord grinding into my flesh bruising it. The rotting, hardwood beam I was tied to cut into my skin with each attempt I made to loosen the knot. Angry looking welts and cuts formed as blood began to ooze from them and trickle down my arm. I didn’t care. I had to get away. I had to save Edward. I wouldn’t allow them to use me as bait to draw him here to be harmed. I’d rather die.

My blood began to mingle in the knot of the plastic cord, allowing the knot to slip and loosen enough to free my hands. I didn’t pause to examine my wrists. Using my arms for leverage, I scooted close enough to the stick to pick it up with my foot. I used it and the railing to struggle to my feet. A scream threatened to escape as intense pain shot through my entire leg, but I stifled it. You can do this! There is no pain! Get away and warn Edward! I repeated those thoughts in my head like a mantra. Using the stick for a crutch, I began making my way to the window, praying all the while that I was on the ground level. Every step I took was sheer agony. I thought I’d pass out from the intense pain in my ankle and leg. You can do this! There is no pain! There is no pain! There is no pain! At last, I made it to the window, deeply grateful to discover I was indeed on the ground level. The windows of the old mill had long since been broken out so I sat down in the windowsill and put my good leg outside the window.

“What the fuck are you doing?” a male voice snarled.

Half in and half out of the window, I turned just in time to watch in horror as James stomped my fractured ankle beneath his booted foot. It snapped at unnatural angle. As I screamed in pain, he grabbed me by the collar of my robe and threw me back into the room.

“Let’s see you escape now, bitch!”

That was the last thing I remembered before everything went black.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

EPOV

As it turned out, Adele knew me from the days before Twilight. She told me she’d seen me perform in a nightclub once and had been amazed by my singing. She also recalled thinking I was going to make it big in the music business. When my acting career had taken off first, she’d been quite surprised.

I thanked her for her kind words and hurriedly explained that I’d abandoned my promo tour which left me in desperate need of a lift to Indiana. I offered to pay for everything, including her Chicago trip, if I could borrow her plane and pilot for a few hours once she had reached her destination. God love her, she wouldn’t hear of it. Since she was just starting her tour and was arriving a half day early anyway, she was more than willing to alter her flight plans to drop us off in Indiana. I could’ve kissed her right then and there! Once we were in the air, she’d have her pilot alter the flight plan. That meant we had to board right now. I had no problem with that. The sooner the better.

While we waited for clearance to take off, I was a nervous wreck. I caught myself wringing my hands, running my hands nervously through my hair enough to go bald, and chewing on the side of my thumb. Hitching a ride with Adele would bring me 4 hours closer to reaching my EDGe. This plane could travel at 650 miles an hour but it still wasn’t fast enough. About an hour after take-off, Adele sat next to me and took my hand.

“It’s none of my business, of course, but something is obviously bothering you. If you chew on your thumb much longer, you’re not going to have a thumb left. Edward, I know a man in love when I see one. I saw the fiasco at the premiere. How’s Bella doing?”

I told her about our run-in with James and how he’d hurt her ankle, putting him in jail for assault. Then I explained that I hadn’t been able to reach her since yesterday (Was it only yesterday? It seemed like ages!) and that the bodyguards I’d sent home with her weren’t responding. She kept me calm and talking all through the long flight and I would be forever grateful for her kindness, compassion and generosity.

The relief pilot was ready and waiting for us in Chicago. The fuel was quickly topped up while Adele hugged me goodbye and wished me luck. I promised to give her an update as soon as I could and buckled myself into my seat for the last leg of our journey.

Jasper had arranged a large SUV to be waiting for us upon arrival and we were on the road to Bella’s home within 30 minutes of landing.

AN: We’re nearing the end though it may not seem like it! A Special thanks to my friend and Mad Editor Lady Rita01tx for sticking with me through 2 + years of reading, writing, discussing and editing, for suggestions and for letting me bounce ideas off of you as well as having the balls to say “Nah, Don’t that! That sucks!” LOL and for just plain putting up with me and all my typos in chat! And a special thank you to all of you for reading, reviewing, favoriting, sharing Recing nominating and most of all for your patients and sticking with me and my Story! Much Love to You all!

AN: On a sad note My thoughts and Prayers go out to all the folks in Boston!

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