"Days like this, I don't know
what to do with myself
All day -- and all night
I wander the halls along the
All day -- and all night
I wander the halls along the
walls and under my breath
I say to myself
I need fuel -- to take flight --
And there's too much going on
But it's calm under the waves,
I say to myself
I need fuel -- to take flight --
And there's too much going on
But it's calm under the waves,
in the blue of my oblivion
Under the waves in the blue of my oblivion
Is that why they call me a sullen girl -- sullen girl
They don't know I used to sail the deep and tranquil sea
But he washed me ashore and he took my pearl
And left an empty shell of me…"
Under the waves in the blue of my oblivion
Is that why they call me a sullen girl -- sullen girl
They don't know I used to sail the deep and tranquil sea
But he washed me ashore and he took my pearl
And left an empty shell of me…"
Sullen Girl-Fiona Apple
I followed Alec down a set of dark stairs to the basement. He held onto my hand like I was going to run away. Admittedly, I was frightened. Besides Riley and Bree, I knew no one. The baby kicked, as if to say that I should trust this strange man that seemed bent on helping me escape purgatory.
Bree was already down there, pacing back and forth. We ran into each other's arms.
"Bella, I was scared. This man says he can get you home. I just want to help," she said, patting me on the back.
I shook my head vehemently. "No! I'm not leaving you, Bree. You go where I go."
Alec cleared his throat and stepped between both of us. I pushed Bree behind my back. In the little time that we'd known each other, I'd become very protective of her. I could only imagine what she'd suffered at the hands of James and his cruel cohorts.
Alec held up his hands. "Hey, I don't bite. I'm going to get both of you out. "
"Bella, your husband, Edward, is out of intensive care. He's gotten a tip on this location. All hell is about to break loose, and if we wait for him to come, James or one of his men will kill you. In less than twenty four hours, this house will be a warzone. Time is of the essence."
I shivered from the cold dampness of the room. "My husband sounds like a scary man. How do you know that Bree and I will be safe with him?"
Alec chuckled. "I really wish you could remember, Bella. Edward can be down right brutal, but you're his weak spot. He loves you more than life itself. There's a reason that James kept you all these months. He wanted Edward to suffer, and there's no better way to make a man suffer than by taking the thing he cherishes most in the world. In Edward's case, that's you."
It was strange, but each time Alec said my husband's name, the baby went wild. I put my palm over my swollen belly to calm my little bundle down. I really hoped that meeting Edward would help me to get my full memory back. Having amnesia was like being lost in the dark without any guide to help.
Bree squeezed my hand and stepped forward. "It will be better for me to stay here, no? My limp is worse than ever. I will only slow the both of you down. All I care about is Bella and her baby going home. I'm not important."
I wrapped my arms around her tiny waist. "Don't ever say that! You are very important to me. If it wasn't for you, neither I nor my baby would have made it this long. Your limp is no worse than my pregnancy waddle. I'm not leaving you. Ever.."
We hugged each other again. When I looked up, Alec was watching us curiously.
I glared at him. "What?"
He shrugged and scratched his head. "It's nothing. You're going to make a wonderful mother, Bella. You may not remember who you are, but you're still the same woman that I knew. You're very brave and selfless."
I pondered his words quietly. Am I really brave or selfless? Maybe I was just stupid.
We walked through a complex maze of stairs. Alec had a flashlight, but it was still pretty dark. Both he and Bree held onto me to make sure that I wouldn't slip. I inhaled and exhaled slowly to keep the panic out of my system.
My swollen ankles and legs were killing me. I was about to give up and ask for a break when we came to an outside door. I greedily breathed in the refreshing sea salt air. It was pitch black outside. Even the stars dared not to shine on James' territory.
Alec picked me up and carried me down the rocky path that led to the Black Sea. After he was done, he went back and got Bree, bringing her down the same path. I had on an old sweatshirt and a jacket that Bree had gotten for me, but I was still freezing.
A tall man appeared from the shadows. He motioned for us to follow him. We were led to a large boat. There were other men on the deck, loading stuff. I stopped in my tracks. Had Alec led us into a trap? Before I could speak, the man that was leading us turned around. His face was wrinkled and rough. He had a small feminine locket around his neck that stood out of place against his rough visage.
"Hello, my name is Vladimir. This is my grain boat. We smuggle for James, but we do not like him. This is finally our chance to get rid of him for good. He is a disease on the good people of Russia." His accent was even thicker than Bree's. I had to read his lips to understand what he was saying.
Another man came to stand beside Vladimir. He handed Alec a black duffle bag. Bree eyed the men warily. They didn't look like people that we should trust, but something told me that I was wrong. It was a moot point, though, because right then, we needed all the help that we could get.
There were two heavy coats inside the bag. Alec handed one to Bree and the other to me. Mine was quilted with a fur hood. Bree's was the same except that it was blue. We helped each other zip them up and put the hoods over our heads. I was just glad that mine fit. Even though I'd suffered extreme cruelty the last few months, I'd eaten well--Bree and Riley made sure of that.
After we were all bundled up, Alec turned to me. His eyes were sad and lost. I knew then that he wouldn't be going on the journey with us. My fear increased exponentially.
"Bella, you and Bree will be led to the bottom of the ship. There is a tiny room with a bed and small table that you will sleep in until you reach the port city of Novorossiysk."
"I have been there," Bree said, interrupting him.
Alec nodded. "Good, you'll be able to help Bella. James smuggles drugs and guns from the port. He has a lot of friends in the city, so it's very important that neither one of you deviate from the plan. Listen to Vladimir; he's going to help you. Unfortunately, I can't go with you. I need to keep James' men from finding out that you're gone for as long as I can. I'm going to make up a story about Bella bleeding and needing an operation.
As for you, Bree, I'm going to tell him that you're assisting me. I wish you both the best of luck and I'm sorry that I couldn't help you sooner. The voyage that you guys are embarking on is very dangerous. Keep your wits about you and stay together."
Bree and I took turns hugging Alec. He was as big as….
"Alec, what about Riley?! We can't leave him. Is there any way you can get him out?"
"Please! You have to help him also. He is not like his brother," Bree added.
"Don't worry, ladies. Riley is fine. James would never kill him, because he considers Riley his heir. That's a very important thing to have in the Mafia world, and since James can't have sex with a woman, he needs Riley to continue his legacy. I will do what I can to get him out."
I frowned. "What do you mean James can't have sex with a woman?"
"I know he did bad things to you, but you were never raped. James is gay. His father caught him in the act with a man when he was younger and sent him to some deprogramming camp, but it didn't work. That's the reason that James hates women so much. He blames females for his homosexuality. I couldn't keep you safe, but I knew that at least you'd be spared that brutality."
I nodded. It all started to make sense. The way he talked about Laurent… He'd loved him; not as a friend but as a lover.
"Enough talking, Bree, Bella, this is goodbye for me. I sincerely hope that you make it home safely. Oh, and Bella, in the bag are some snacks and the book that you read to me when I was sick. You don't remember, but you comforted me when I needed it most. I want you to live to be an old woman, have lots of babies, and continue to keep Cullen in line. That goes for you too, Bree, minus the Edward part. Now, get on the boat. May God be with you."
After a lot of blubbering from me, we followed Vladimir onto the boat. The men stared at us as if we were ghosts. Some took off their hats when we passed. Bree and I kept our arms wrapped around each other. The thick coats were doing a wonderful job at keeping us warm.
When we got to the hull of the ship, Vladimir opened the door to a small room. It was exactly like Alec had described. There wasn't a lot of room, but it would do. At least we wouldn't have to worry about James coming to torture us.
The bed was clean and there were a bunch of thick blankets folded on top of the mattress. In the corner was a tiny wooden table and a single chair. Bree made up the bed while I rested in the chair. I wanted to help but my body was too fatigued. My bladder was also full.
"Um, Vladimir, sir, where can I use the restroom?"
He smiled and opened a tiny adjacent door. Inside was a toilet and sink. Thankfully, there were towels and soap.
"You have to use restroom a lot because of baby. My wife was the same. When she was pregnant with my boys, she spent most of her time by the toilet."
He helped me into the bathroom. I closed the door and sat down to do my business. The ship's rocking made it hard to keep balance, so I held onto the sink as I washed my face.
To me, I looked okay. My skin wasn't as bruised as before. I even had a light flush to my cheeks. My hair was braided around my head so that it wouldn't be a burden. It was silly of me to be concerned with my looks, though, because my stomach drew all the attention away from my face. I was huge. The baby moved, letting me know that it was okay and that my girth was serving a purpose. I laughed and exited the bathroom.
When I stepped back into the 'bedroom', Bree was fluffing the blankets. She'd actually managed to make the small room look cozy. I helped her with the top layer and then we laid down to rest. Because of the stress of the day, both of us fell asleep immediately.
We were awakened to the sounds of someone knocking at the door. Bree jumped up to answer it. Her hood had fallen down revealing her long blonde hair. She looked beyond tired. I felt guilty for not helping her more.
"Hello, I come to feed you," Vladimir said, bringing in a tray.
He set everything down on the table. Bree handed me one of the bottles of juice. I hadn't realized how hungry I was until the sweet apple liquid hit my tongue. Suddenly, I was ravenous.
Thankfully, Bree handed me a plate. It had various meats and cheeses along with fresh bread. There was also a big bowl of something she called' borscht'. It was good, hot, and filling. I downed the whole thing before Bree sat down. Both she and Vladimir laughed. I felt my cheeks heat up.
"Sorry, I'm just incredibly hungry. Thanks for this. It's really good."
Vladimir left us a few minutes later. Bree made me another bowl of soup and began to eat her own food.
After my third plate of cheese and meat, I was finally full so I laid down on the bed. A few minutes later, I fell asleep again. I dreamt of a baby boy with odd colored hair that wouldn't stay down no matter how many times I brushed it. He had chubby reddened cheeks and beautiful emerald eyes. I cuddled him to my breast and hummed softly until he fell asleep.
When I woke up again, the sun was shining through the tiny window. I sat up and went to the bathroom. There were tears in the corner of my eyes. The dream had been so real that I'd been sad to wake up.
Bree was still asleep and snoring softly. I kissed her on the forehead before going to find Vladimir. The ship was rocking too much for me to go very fast. I tripped and was about to fall, when sturdy arms caught me.
"Thanks, I'm just so big and clumsy," I said, turning around to see who had saved me.
It was one of the crew. He had dark olive skin, black hair, and beautiful eyes that were the color of wood. I blushed and tried to step away. I was shocked when he picked me up in his arms and carried me to a small room. There was a desk surrounded by a few chairs and a portable TV in the corner.
"Um, listen, I didn't mean to bump into you. If we could…"
He held up his hand and retrieved a notebook. I sat in the chair as he scribbled away. His size and mannerisms were enough to frighten me. I was just about to scream for help when he thrust the notebook into my lap.
I looked down at the words: "My name is Nahuel. I am Vladamir's son. I wanted to meet you and the pretty blond girl yesterday, but father said that I shouldn't bother you. You are very pretty. You remind me of my mother."
Nahuel was openly staring at me when I finished.
I held out my hand. "My name is Bella, and the pretty blond girl is Bree. She's still asleep. It's nice to meet you."
He grabbed the notebook and began to write again. He really was handsome. His almond shaped eyes were a much lighter brown than my own. They stood out against his ink black hair. He must have looked like his mother because he barely resembled Vladimir.
After a few minutes, he thrust the notebook back into my lap.
"Thank you, Bella. I don't mean to be a burden. Father and I travel for much of the year. We don't see too many women. Would you like to play cards later? Bree can play, too. I have my own deck."
I glanced up. Nahuel's eyes bored holes into mine.
"Sure, um, right now I'm hungry, though. Do you think you could help me back to the room and bring Bree and I something to eat?"
He nodded enthusiastically and carried me to the bedroom. Bree was awake and pacing the small room nervously.
"Bella, where did you go? I was afraid something bad happened to you or baby. You must wake me next time," she said, hugging me.
I nodded and introduced her to Nahuel. He smiled brightly. I was just about to ask him why he couldn't speak when Vladimir came into the room. He was carrying storage containers filled with food.
"I see I wasn't able to keep my son away. I hope he has been gentleman," Vladimir said, giving Nahuel a look.
"Oh, he was so sweet. I went out to look for you and almost fell, but he caught me. Don't be mad at him. If it's alright, he can come back later tonight and play cards with us."
Nahuel's whole face lit up. Vladimir sent him to do some work. Nahuel bowed before leaving us all.
When he was out of earshot, Vladmir turned to me. "Thank you for being kind. He has taken a liking to you because you remind him of his mother. You look a little like her. She was pregnant with twins when she was murdered. Nahuel was only three."
I gasped and grabbed my stomach. I had come so close to losing my life and baby; to hear about someone that had devastated me. My lip quivered as I began to sob. Bree handed me a washcloth and rubbed my shoulders.
"I'm sorry, Vladimir. How did your wife die?" Bree asked.
The older man lowered his eyes. "Pire, my wife, was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was immigrant from South America. We met at school and fell in love. There was much hate for immigrant so I taught her Russian so hers would be good enough that no one would know. When she graduated, we moved to Novorossiysk…"
He stopped to hand both Bree and me the food. I popped the lid and began eating the oatmeal, eggs, and bacon. The baby did karate lessons in my stomach as I swallowed my breakfast without chewing.
"Please, let mama eat, little one," I cooed softly. Almost immediately my angel calmed down.
Vladimir looked away and continued his story. "We were happy. Pire have baby, Huilen, Nahuel's sister. I was lucky man. My wife got sick and almost died. I ask God for miracle and she live. Later, she conceive two babies.
"One day, Pire went to market to get me special dinner. Chechen Rebel suicide bomber blow up the market. Pire die with many other people. Later, I find out that Stefan, James' father, was responsible for selling bombs to Rebels. I vow then to help take down his Organization. I do not want my daughter to have same fate as her mother."
I had never stopped crying, so by the end of Vladimir's tale, my face was very wet. It was hard trying to swallow past the lump in my throat. Bree was sniffling softly beside me.
Vladimir patted us both on the knee. "Do not cry. My wife spread happiness everywhere she went. I was proud that she choose me for husband. Now, enough with the past. We should arrive in Novorossiysk a few hours. You will stay with my family. We tell people that you are cousin. Bella, you are not to speak. I will say you are like Nahuel and cannot talk, okay?"
I nodded. "Yes, that makes sense. My accent would give me away."
"Yes, and James has many men around city. Alec is trying to get word to Edward Cullen so that he will come to my house first. It is not easy. All communication is monitored. Stefan had KGB ties and they still keep the city on lockdown. Several men lose life for disagreeing with James."
I shuddered at the name. I knew that James was evil, but apparently he was even more dangerous than I'd given him credit for. Bree clutched my hand until I calmed down. Vladimir made sure that we were okay before going back to the deck.
Bree and I spent the rest of the day reading Dante, suggesting baby names, and braiding each other's hair. I ate every three hours and slept more than usual. Thankfully, Alec had included my prenatal vitamins in the bag.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get comfortable. Poor Bree tried her hardest to help but nothing worked. Eventually, I ended up curled on my side in the fetal position. My lower back was on fire and I had a migraine.
There was no doctor on the ship but Vladimir remembered that Pire used to take Tylenol when she was pregnant. Luckily, they had some on the ship. After I took the pills and drank some juice, I fell into a peaceful sleep.
I was dreaming about my precious baby boy again when someone woke me up. I huffed and sat up, blinking sleepily.
"What? Where are we?" I asked
Bree helped me stand and led me to the bathroom. I did my business and came out. She was putting on her jacket.
"Vladimir came. He want us to stay here and be quiet until he come to get us."
I waddled to her so that she could help me put on my jacket. I really hoped that there was a bath in our future. My body was covered with sweat.
We waited for what seemed like forever. I ate some of the candy that was in the bag that Alec had packed. The constant chewing helped me to stay calm. I was dozing on Bree's shoulder when our door opened.
It was Nahuel. He grabbed our bags and helped us up to the deck. There were several men with guns drawn speaking in Russian. I remembered what Vladimir had told us and kept my head down, not speaking.
The man that had been talking turned to us. His military uniform was slightly different from the others, so I assumed that he was the leader. He licked his lips when he saw Bree. I wanted to scratch out his eyes. The man said something in Russian to her. Whatever he said scared her. I kept my arm around her waist, offering comfort. Nahuel growled.
Thankfully, Vladimir kept his wits. "I am sorry gentleman. These are my nieces. They will be staying with us for a time. Please, do not bother them. The young one is cripple and the other is with child. They both have sexual disease."
The men grunted and turned away, ignoring us. I was glad that Vladimir had thought this out. As long as the soldiers thought we had some kind of STD, they were sure to leave us alone. I felt Bree relax next to me.
We were given a wide berth as Nahuel led us off the ship. Not one of the men even looked at our faces.
We walked to a waiting car with a beautiful dark haired girl behind the wheel. She had the same eyes and hair as Nahuel, but her face looked slightly older.
When she spotted us, she jumped out of the car. I watched as she hugged her father and Nahuel. Something about the action triggered a flash of a memory. I saw a younger version of myself hugging a boy with curly blond hair and an older man with dark hair and a mustache. Sadly, it was gone before I could grasp it.
Eventually, the girl disentangled herself and walked over to Bree and me. "Hello, I am Huilen," she said, shaking our hands.
There were still a few men watching us so I just smiled as Huilen and Bree greeted each other in Russian. Vladimir gave orders to his men to unload the ship, and then we took off.
Even though it was nighttime, there were still people out walking and doing various things. The air was colder and I was glad for the heat in the car. Huilen kept looking back at me through the mirror. I smiled to let her know that I was okay.
Nahuel never took his eyes off of Bree. I suspected that he had a crush on her, but she was already taken. I just hoped that Riley would live so that they could finally get their chance. In my mind, I'd already planned their first date.
During the drive, my baby boy was very active. It felt like he was playing soccer in my tummy. I rubbed my belly to calm him down.
Huilen drove us out of the city and towards the mountains. Bree stared out of the window with wide, interested eyes as we drove up a winding rode. Eventually, we got to a small village. It was very beautiful.
At the gate, were two men with guns. Vladimir made small talk before they opened it and let us in. It was too dark to see clearly, but I could make out several flowers and lush green grass. It was so different from James' fortress.
Vladimir's home sat at the edge of the village. It was a large two story with a big front porch. Huilen led Bree and I upstairs to a bedroom. Nahuel and Vladimir went to shower and unpack. We were all going to have dinner once everyone got settled in.
.As usual, my little kicker was right over my bladder. The first thing I did was go to the restroom. While there, I decided to run myself a bubble bath. Bree knocked at the door before stepping in to bring me a robe and some pajamas. She stayed to help me into the tub before excusing herself.
The hot water felt wonderful to my aching muscles. My breasts were very sensitive and engorged. When my thumb accidentally grazed my nipple, it hardened. I moaned and leaned my head back against the wall.
During my time in James' fortress, I never felt aroused, but now… I was embarrassed at the noises I was making as I touched myself. I dipped my fingers into my wet folds. My clit was hard and needy. I rubbed it hard, willing myself to orgasm.
I saw another vision. This one was of long, thick masculine fingers inside of my core. I pinched my nipples and came hard as I thought of those elusive fingers. The rest of my bath time was spent with me bringing myself to orgasm over and over again. Stress did strange things to people.
By the time, I finished bathing and got out of the tub, I was exhausted. Bree came to chastise me for not calling her to help me out. I apologized. My body felt wonderful and boneless. Huilen brought my dinner upstairs. The baked chicken and Borscht was delicious.
After dinner Nahuel came to play a few hands of cards with Bree and me. Vladimir sent his apologies. He'd had to go back down to the docks to supervise something. Huilen and Nahuel assured us that they were excellent shooters. There was also a secret room where Bree and I could hide if necessary.
Nahuel, Huilen, and Bree made Russian jokes at my expense. My baby boy, not wanting to left out, flipped and and flopped every which way. The card game turned out to be a bust. We played for candy and everyone kept letting me win. I fell asleep during the third game.
My dreams were filled with more of my precious baby. Sometimes, I would get a snippet of a memory back. I saw my younger self swinging with a pretty brown haired woman and the same man I'd seen earlier. I assumed that these were my parents. Riley had already told me that they were dead. I'd cried the whole night after that.
I awoke at Twilight. From my window, I could see the sliver of light in the darkness. Someone had put cheese crackers and juice out for me. I was eating when I heard a loud explosion.
Bree and Huilen ran into the room. Minutes later, Nahuel joined us. He was carrying a big gun. Bree grabbed some blankets and Huilen led us down to the secret room. It was some kind of a bomb shelter.
I begged Huilen to stay, but she insisted that she had to help her brother. My heart was pounding out of my chest. It sounded like we were in the middle of a battleground. Bree alternated between rubbing my back and my stomach as we listened.
The pop of bullets sounded nearby. Then, all of a sudden, we heard a commotion upstairs. There must have been some kind of vent in the room, because Bree and I could hear clearly.
"Where is your father? Cooperate with me and I might let you live," someone barked.
The voice was bone-chillingly scary and clearly American. Apparently, my little angel was frightened too, because he went wild. No matter how many times I tried to soothe the baby, he wouldn't calm down. I eventually gave up.
"Leave him alone. He cannot speak. Please. My father is at the docks. He will be back soon," Huilen said.
Bree's big blue eyes were wide and terror-stricken. I also tried my best to calm her down, but she was as restless as the baby.
Everything was quiet for a few minutes before we heard something heavy crash upstairs.
"I warned you, boy! I guess your father will have to come home to a dead son. Hey, it's no skin off my back." It was the same voice again.
My mind snapped. All I knew was that enough people were in danger because of me. Vladimir had already lost his wife. I'd be damned if he lost his son because of my cowardice. Before my brain could catch up to my legs, I was waddling up the stairs and wrenching the door open.
Bree screamed and ran after me, but with her limp, I beat her to the top. My baby boy kicked harder than ever. I winced in pain. I didn't want to put my little one in danger, but I couldn't sit back and let my friends die.
A man grabbed me before my eyes adjusted to the light. He practically dragged me into the living room. Nahuel was on the ground with Huilen was hunched over him. There was blood all over his handsome face.
"Stop! It's me you want. I'll go with you. Just leave my friends alone." All the fight was gone and fatigue was the only thing left in its place.
I expected to be dragged out the door, but instead, everyone just kind of stopped. It was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop. The meathead that had been holding me dropped his arms and stepped back.
When I dared to look up, I saw a room full of big, armed men gaping at me. One did the sign of the crucifix and got down on his knees. They were all staring at me like…like I was a ghost.
I looked around to see who'd spoken. When I made eye contact with the man, I gasped. He looked like a human mountain. His dark brown eyes and hair only added to it.
"Bella. Isabella Swan?!" He repeated, this time stepping closer.
My whole body began to shake uncontrollably. This was too much stress for me and the baby. Before I could form a coherent thought, I passed out. The last sound I heard was Bree screaming.
My sweet baby boy gurgled as I changed his diaper. I finished the task and held his tiny bronze-colored head to my breast. He immediately latched on and began sucking quietly, looking up at me with his bright green eyes. Feeding my baby was the most natural thing in the world. My heart was so full and light when I felt his little lips on my skin.
"I love you, Dante. Mama will always take care of you. You're my precious little angel."
Soft piano music played nearby as baby Dante and I drifted off to sleep. When I woke up, I was still in the rocking chair. I looked down expecting to see my baby, but my arms were empty.
I went from room to room searching for my angel, but I didn't have any luck. I screamed his name and cried for help but no one came. I was just about to give up hope, when I saw a light under a nearby door.
Without thinking, I rushed into the room. It was covered in mirrors and the only exposed walls were red. I had been here before. A movement in the corner caught my eye. It was…James, and he was holding…
"Give him back, you bastard! I'll kill you!" I screamed, running forward.
James easily sidestepped me, laughing the whole time.
"Silly, Bella, did you really think you could escape me?"
I lunged for his throat, but met with thin air. When I looked down at myself, I saw that there was blood all over the bottom of my white nightgown.
"No, no, no! Not my angel! Please, take me. Not my angel," I sobbed.
James only laughed. All I could do was watch in horror as my baby boy burst into flames.
"Baby Cullen is dead and you are next, Bella."
"No! No! No!"
"Bella, sweetheart, you're safe. Wake up now. You're okay."
I followed the thread of consciousness, slowly blinking my eyes open. Everything was too bright. Where was I?
I looked around, recognizing my room at Vladimir's house. Several people were bent over me. I sat up, scanning the room for Bree. She was right next to me holding a bottle of water. I took it and drank almost half before I came up for air.
The nightmare…. Immediately, I reached for my belly, sighing in relief when I felt my little angel moving. As long as my baby was alive, I could face anything. Bree gently took the water bottle out of my hand and began rubbing my back.
It was then that I noticed some of the other people in the room. They were all armed men. Nahuel was in a corner with an icepack over his lip as Vladimir talked to one of the strangers. Huilen was on the other side of Bree staring at me.
They both fluffed pillows and helped me sit up. The big man with the dark eyes moved closer to my bed. I whimpered and clutched Bree's hand. She kissed my forehead, instantly calming me.
The dark haired man fiddled smiled at me. "Bella, we all… All this time, we thought you were dead. Bree tells us that you have no memory. Can you really not remember anything?"
I shook my head. "No, I only remember what has happened since I woke up in James' fortress. Who are you?"
The man bowed. "I am Felix. I am your husband's head of security at his club and your friend. Today is a fucking miracle. When Edward finds out…" he trailed off excitedly.
"Edward? Is my husband here?" I asked nervously.
Felix frowned. "Not yet, but he'll be in Russia tonight. He's on a mission to kill James, but now everything has changed. We need to get you out of the city right now. It's not safe. James is in Iceland, but he's gotten word of your escape. We lost track of him. You aren't safe here."
"The soldiers are blocking the roads and headed this way. We must go now," Vladimir said as he helped Huilen put on her coat.
Felix barked orders to the other armed men. Many of them were still staring at me with shocked expressions. Bree asked the men to leave so she could get me dressed. Thankfully, Huilen had a pair of sweatpants that I could fit into.
After I was bundled in layer upon layer, it was time to go. Felix picked me up and carried me to a black SUV that was waiting in the driveway. There were guns, cars, and debris everywhere.
"I'm scared," I whispered as Felix helped me put on my seat belt.
"Don't be. You and the baby have survived for a reason. I doubt your luck will run out now, Bella. I promise I'm going to get you back to Edward."
I nodded as he slammed the door and got behind the wheel. A blond armed man kissed a gold cross around his neck before taking the passenger seat. Bree took one of our favorite Dante books and began reading. If my baby boy and I made it out of this mess alive, I would name him after the great poet. The fact that I'd called him that in my dream was a sign.
Luckily, Bree had time to pack me something to eat. I was craving pizza, but the hot ham and cheddar sandwiches she handed me were very welcome. I ate three, downing them with a bottle of grape juice.
After I finished, Felix took off like a bat out of hell. There were gun shots, bomb blasts, and general chaos all around. The blond man kept assuring us that the car was bulletproof. We also had the other guards flanking us.
When we got to the main road, things calmed down considerably. I took the book from Bree and began to read aloud. In no time at all, we were far away from Vladimir's village and on the road.
Felix said that we were going to get on a private jet to be flown to Moscow, where we would meet up with Edward. I was both excited and nervous. What if my husband didn't like amnesiac Bella? Would he put me away? Was he cruel?
I was still pondering that when I heard a purring sound from under my seat. Felix looked at me through the rearview mirror with a sheepish grin on his face.
"Don't worry, that's just some cat that I found by the docks. The men were going to kill it because they believe black cats are bad luck, so I took it. I don't know what I'm going to do with it, though." I smiled. Despite his size and general menacing aura, Felix was clearly a good man.
"Here, kitty, kitty," I said, trying to coax the cat out of it's hiding space.
The purring got closer until I was met with a pair of bright yellow eyes. Bree bent down and picked up the little kitten, placing it gently in my arms. My baby boy kicked, perhaps trying to touch his new future pet.
The cat rubbed its soft furry head against my large stomach. I lifted and kissed its tiny head, causing it to purr louder.
"Aren't you precious," I cooed.
Bree reached over and scratched behind its ears before looking at the genitalia. "It is girl kitten; very pretty. It likes you."
I unzipped my jacket so that my kitten could climb in. She immediately did, snuggling against my chest.
"Hmmm, since she's black and so very precious, I vote we name her Onyx. What do you think, Bree?" She giggled and gave me the thumbs up.
Felix and the guy in the front laughed.
"Bella, you are the only woman that would be so calm in this situation. You haven't changed at all. You handle danger well and obviously so does your unborn child."
I thought over those words as we pulled up to a runway. There were armed men waiting for us at a nearby plane. Felix put some kind of tarp over me and Onyx and ran us up the stairs. The other man did the same for Bree. It all happened really fast.
When I was being buckled into the seat on the plane, I remembered to ask about my friends. Vladimir had risked his and his family's life to get me out of danger. Felix assured me that they were being taken to a safe place. I just hoped that I got to see them again under better circumstances.
The plane took off almost immediately. I could hear some kind of commotion on the ground, but thankfully, it didn't affect our liftoff. Felix breathed a sigh of relief and plopped down in the seat next to me.
I took Onyx out of my coat and handed her to Bree. They both fell asleep. I asked Felix to make her comfortable once we could move around. My body and brain were too wired to sleep.
"Felix, I need to know what kind of man is my husband? Be honest. Will he hurt me because I can't remember?"
The bastard chuckled. "Bella, Edward loves you very deeply. These last few months he's been in an asylum because he thought you were dead. He kept a picture of you and the baby's sonogram right on his nightstand. I was at your wedding and it was amazing. Rarely have I seen two people so in love. Cullen isn't anywhere near perfect, but you make him a better man."
I still wasn't convinced. Even though Felix was kind, he still worked for my husband. He could be lying.
I asked Felix tons of questions. It turned out that he and my husband's men were there to get Vladimir to smuggle them into James' fortress. Edward had been seriously wounded in Greece and had only just gotten out of hospital care. They'd gotten a tip on James whereabouts from one of his Uncles.
"I still can't believe you're alive, Bella. I spoke at your wake," Felix said, handing me a box of candies.
I stuffed three in my mouth before answering. "That's creepy."
The rest of the flight was spent with me eating everything on the plane and Felix filling me in on some of my missing memories. Onyx woke up as we were landing. Felix got a bottle of milk and a medicine dropper so that I could feed her. She was just too cute as she ate her dinner.
Felix left me to talk to the pilot. When he came back he had a huge smile on his face. "Edward is here, Bella. Our communication was watched closely on the port, but one of our men managed to get a message to him. Are you ready?"
I looked down at my baggy clothes and protruding belly. There hadn't been any time to do my hair so it hung in tangled knots down my back. I knew that I looked awful, but there wasn't time to put on makeup or change clothes.
I took Felix's hand, looking back to make sure that Bree was okay. She was still halfway asleep in the other guard's arms. I held Onyx in my arms as we departed the plane.
Once again, Felix carried me down. It was dark outside. There were men with weapons everywhere. I saw several large trucks, cars, and SUV's behind them. My hood was over my head, so I couldn't get a really good look at anyone's face.
All of a sudden, Felix put me down, making sure I was steady before letting me go.
A tall curly haired blond man ran to me, pulling me into his arms. "Bella! Bella! Oh thank you God! Bella, it's me. I'm your brother Jasper."
I handed Onyx to Felix so that I could return the hug. None of my memory was coming back, but I could feel the love that Jasper radiated. We cried all over each other before he let me go, wrapping his arm around my waist and stepping to the side.
After that, everything got eerily quiet. I raise my head to see why everyone had suddenly stopped moving. When I did, I saw Felix walking through the crowd. Upon closer inspection, I realized that he was pushing something or…someone.
"Babydoll?" That one word spoken from a deep, rich velvet voice set my body on fire. It felt like I was being electrocuted. The baby kicked harder than he ever had before. My nipples also hardened. I took several deep breaths that ultimately did no good.
Eventually, Felix made it to the front of the crowd of men. It was then that I saw…him. He had the same unruly bronze hair and jewel green eyes as the baby in my dreams. Although he was in a wheelchair, he still looked formidable and strong.
A lump in my throat made it hard to speak.
"Babydoll?! Oh my fucking god! Bella," he sobbed, standing from his wheelchair.
He half limped, half ran to me. Jasper gently patted my back before letting me go. The beautiful man wrapped his arms around me, kissing me breathless. I melted into his soft but firm lips and gentle caresses. The baby continued to do jumping jacks. The man reached down and felt my stomach. His eyes glowed and a beautiful smile overtook his face upon feeling the baby's movement.
Tears fell from my eyes as he laid open mouthed kisses on my neck and flushed cheeks. All I could do was cling to his massive shoulders and sob. Sadly, nothing was coming back. I didn't remember this man, and something told me that he was definitely worth remembering.
He finally lifted his head and took a good look at my face. His piercing eyes bored deep into mine before he licked my lips, letting his tongue slip slowly into my mouth. I knew that I should have been embarrassed, but his touch felt too damn good. Besides, no one was complaining.
After we made out for a few minutes, the man pulled away. "Babydoll, tell me this isn't a dream. Are you real?" He asked, stroking my cheek.
"I'm real and so is our baby," I whispered.
He wiped his face and beamed. "Jesus fucking Christ! What the fuck did I do to get so lucky?! Babydoll…. You… Our baby…This is a motherfucking miracle! All this time… I love you so fucking much, Bella. I'll never let you go… I'll never let you go again. Forever, remember? Me and you are forever, babydoll," he cried, burying his tear-soaked face in my neck.
I played with the soft hair on the nape of his neck while I whispered in his ear. Our tears drenched each other's clothes, but neither of us seemed to care. I vaguely heard people shuffling about. In that moment, it was only me and my husband.
"I don't remember yet, but I swear to you that I will, Edward. I don't need my memory to know that I love you, too. Forever."