Chapter Three

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Damn you, ever-nagging plot bunnies ... I just can't get this one out of my head. I am focusing on one story, but I wanted to get a foundation on this new one. So, here we go ... This will be similar to Buying Love, Friends with Benefits, Mafia Princess and The One That Got Away, with shorter chapters and more frequent updates: Monday/Friday updates with Tuesday/Saturday teasers.

Chapter Three


After Carmen left with Bella, I sat in the empty conference room trying to come to grips to the hollowness I felt. It wasn't until Marcus came back that I flew into action, calling my contact at the Seattle Police Department, Detective Emmett McCarty, to meet with Carmen and Bella at Harbor View Medical Center.

Emmett and I played football in high school. We were close in high school, but drifted apart when we went to college. After my breakdown, when I began working for legal aid, I ran into him at one of the precincts. He'd arrested one of my clients. We got to talking and exchanged numbers. Whenever I needed a cop, I called him and he pulled through. Every time.

I also made a reservation at a hotel near the office, using my name. Bella and I were traveling for business and needed adjoining rooms. I didn't know her last name, so I used my birth name as her surname, Bella Masen.

Yeah, I was adopted by the parents from hell. Okay, not from hell, but definitely from purgatory. Alice and I were the accessory children for Esme and Carlisle Cullen. Esme was a home maker, housewife, and chair to numerous charities. Carlisle was a decorated state senator, who was running for congress in this election. From what Alice told me, Carlisle had a good chance of winning.

When we were kids, Alice and I had everything we could have ever wanted. We were loved, protected and cherished. However, if we made a mistake, it was hell. I got a speeding ticket and I was forced to sleep in my car for a month. Alice got a C on a midterm and she was grounded for the rest of the academic school year. Our parents only expected perfection. Mom was more lenient than Carlisle, but she was still strict. So, an adoptive son with mental health issues?

Not an option for the cookie-cutter, perfect Cullen clan.

Hence, my parents disinheriting me and giving everything to my sister.

Bitter much, Cullen?

Shaking off my anger, I sent a text to Carmen and told her that I had Bella and I in the Hampton Suites a mile away from the office. I also told her that I was picking up my clothes and trying to find Bella some clothes as well since she probably only had the clothes on her back. I dialed up my sister, praying she'd pick up. To my relief she did, "Hello? Edward?" she squeaked.

"I'm so glad you answered, Ali," I said, driving to my apartment. "I need your help."

"I can't help you financially, Edward. Not anymore. Dad is having my bank accounts monitored," Alice snarled.

"I'm not talking about money, Alice. I'm fine," I shrugged. Mostly. "Anyway, I have a client who is a victim of domestic abuse. We're getting her out of her house and she has nothing. Do you think you can donate some clothes to her? Think of it as a tax write off, charitable donation."

"That I can do. I'll swing by my condo and pick up some clothes that are no longer in style," Alice said.

"What, from last season?" I teased.

"Yes," she snorted. "I have an image to portray as the daughter of Representative Cullen. Whatevs. Oh, and do you know how they are explaining your absence? You're in rehab."

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