Chapter Twenty-Three

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So, none of this is mine. I wrote the first chapter for a contest and now, I'm expanding it. What I own ... a condo and too many books. What I don't ... Twilight and all its characters.

Cliffie ... sorry. Not sorry. *Snorts* Anyway, we had Edward's birthday, got to know Demetri and had Bella and Edward's wedding shower. Next up, we'll find out what happened with the 'fire fight'.

Chapter Twenty-Three

EPOV

We drove through the city, to a warehouse just outside of the city limits. Demetri and Felix were heading up a delivery of some new weaponry and technology. However, there was an ambush. At least, that's what Seth said as he drove to the warehouse. So, I was on my way to the scene of the crime, praying there were some of Royce and Stephan's men who I could torture to get information.

This war between us had to fucking stop.

I don't think that my sanity could take it anymore. I feared for my fiancée's safety.

Nothing could happen to her. I refused to let anything happen to her or to anyone else in my family.

"Boss, here's your weaponry," Jasper said, handing me my gun and knife. I removed my suit coat and tugged off my tie. I checked the safeties of the gun and slid a clip into my pocket. "Are we going in guns blazing?"

"We need to be smart, Jasper," I growled. "It's a bright, sunny day. We can't go in with guns blazing. If things are as bad Seth said, the place may be already crawling with cops. We can't ... I refuse to be arrested."

"Me, too. Alice would kick my ass," Jasper chortled. I smirked, shooting him a look. "It's true. The last time I was arrested? Alice said she'd refuse to pay my bail!"

"You were arrested for indecent exposure, Jasper," I retorted, giving him a wry smile. "And drunk and disorderly conduct. I understand your need to blend in while you were undercover, but really?"

"I was an idiot. I know," Jasper sighed. "I learned my lesson. If we get arrested now, though? It won't be for running around naked, drunk and disorderly. It could be a lot more serious. We really could ... murder, illegal weapon sales ... the list goes on, Edward."

"I know, I know," I murmured.

"Boss, we're here," Jacob said. "No police presence."

"Good," I nodded, releasing the safety to my weapon. We got out of the SUV, which was parked behind the large warehouse. I put on a bulletproof vest and made my way inside, Jasper and Jacob on my flanks. Inside the warehouse, we ran into Seth. He was crouched next to a fallen man. I didn't recognize him. "Who is this?"

"One of Royce's men," Seth whispered. "There are fourteen other men that were killed, scattered inside. There's one man still alive."

"And our men?" I asked.

"We lost ten," Seth hissed. "The two that are still alive are upstairs, holding the remaining attacker at bay. He's of a great deal of importance, it would seem."

I nodded, making my way through the warehouse. I saw the carnage of the attack. Men who trusted me, who followed me, were slaughtered by my enemy. Blood stained the floors. Eyes were caught in a death stare, looking at nothing. When I reached the stairs to the second level, I saw a familiar face. "No ..." I gasped, crouching down in front of the crumpled, bloody body. "Demetri ..."

The man I'd recruited, after he'd stolen from me only because he was starving, lay on the floor. His body was littered with bullet holes and he was pale, unmoving. I said a prayer, closing his eyes and biting back tears. Be strong, Cullen. "I'm sorry, my friend. I didn't protect you. You ... I'm ..."

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