Driving Forces Chapter 12

Chapter 12
I can't help overanalyzing what just happened. In a span of a few moments, everything was ruined. I swear that Edward and I were right on the brink of planning our first date as a couple. We were moving forward. But now... what happens now? Internally, I curse myself out for even thinking about such things when Edward is scared and frightened.

I drop my head in my hands, and the papers are right in front of my face.


Pure, unadulterated rage flows through my body as I stare at the legal paperwork.

They let her out. They let that psychotic bitch out of her fucking cell. My hands tremble as I set them on the desk, trying to think straight. The problem is, the papers are in my sightline and I can’t help looking at them again. Edward left all of it with me when I told him to go home for the day. He ended up going to my house with Emma, Eleazar, and Alistair. Edward said didn’t feel safe at his apartment, so I told him to go to my place because I have extra security features. That way, he and Emma can feel safe. I want to tell him never to leave, to move in with me. Then he and Emma can feel safe forever.

I wish I was at home with them eating pizza and watching something silly, but I’m beyond furious and I don’t want to scare them, considering what is happening right now.

Books are laid all over my desk and my computer has different case documents open. I’ve spent the past few hours looking up everything I can to make sure that there is no possible way Tanya can get anywhere near them.

The door in my office opens, causing me to look up at my dad.

Charlie Cullen has always known when I needed him. As a family man, I think he has it ingrained into his DNA to just know when one of his kids needs him. He gives me a sympathetic smile as he walks in and sits down.

I can feel his gaze as he assesses me. My eyes are welling up, but I refuse to blink and let the tears fall.

A small sigh escapes Dad. “Are you okay?” His whiskey-smooth voice washes over me, soothing me just a bit.

Shaking my head, I fall back against my chair and close my eyes. I'm desperately holding the angry tears at bay. “I don’t think I’ve been this angry in a very long time.”

Memories flash behind my eyelids: the loss of my baby, the divorce, the betrayal of two people that were very close to me. And yet, this anger seems to be burning at my core.

He hums. “Tell me.”

I cluck my tongue. “Edward has lived through hell. Hell, Dad. Survived it miraculously, really, and now, now the woman responsible for his near-death is getting out of prison and has filed to get visitation rights with Emma.” I growl just thinking of the injustice of it all.

I hear his chair scratch against the floor as he brings it closer to me and takes my hand. “What's the plan?”

I can’t help but smile at his protective-dad tone. Clearing my throat and looking him dead in the eyes, I say, “I’m going to fight for him and Emma, and I’m going to use every resource and power at my disposal.”

Patting my hand, he replies, “And every single member of the Cullen family is going to be there every step of the way.”

I latch onto him, hugging him fiercely. “I can’t lose him.” The tears finally break free, making feel like a little girl needing her daddy.

Dad makes shushing noises and rubs my back. “Over my dead body will you ever lose that man and his daughter. They're part of the family now.”

He holds me for a long while, letting me cry on his shoulder and telling me everything is going to be okay.

“He was just starting to feel comfortable in his own skin.” I finally pull away to wipe the tears off my cheeks and chin.

“I think with you and all of us standing next to him, he will continue to be comfortable in his own skin.”

He cups my cheek and I nod my head against his hand. “I’m going to choose to believe that.”

*Driving Forces*

I have to sit in my car in the driveway to gather the strength to go in. I have no idea what’s waiting for me inside. I can see that Al is still here, but Eleazar’s car is gone. I also see that the new security cameras are up and the gate code is working.

Sighing heavily, I gather my courage and head inside where everyone is in the kitchen eating some pizza. Emma is giggling, which is such a wonderful sound to hear instead of crying.

Her laughter puts a smile on my face and I greet everyone. “Hey.”

Emma jumps up and hugs me and begins talking about her day. Edward has a smile on his face, but his eyes are unfocused. Alistair just nods, but he's watching Edward like a hawk.

As Emma keeps talking and talking it occurs to me that she hasn't been told what’s going on.

I don’t broach the subject, instead I eat and make small talk, feeling the intense pressure building around us as Emma’s bedtime comes around. Edward and I tuck her in together. I keep up the charade that Edward and Alistair created to keep Emma happy and unafraid.

The moment her door is shut we head back to the kitchen. I watch Edward’s body crumble into a chair.

“I am so scared, Bella.”

I sat in the chair next to him and picked up his cold hand. “I know, but we're all going to be here for you. We'll fix this, I promise.”

“I wish I believed you wielded that kind of power.”

I nudged him with my shoulder. “You bet your ass the Cullen name does, and we’re all here for you.”

I saw hope flare in his eyes, and that meant everything to me. We would figure it out together.


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