A/N: So you better fasten your seatbelts, guys. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. 😉
Chapter-12: My BFF
After a gruesome day of hunting down any and all information I could find on Laurent and passing on my vast knowledge of tailing people to my sidekick, aka, Anthony, I finally get to step out of the office.
“Ahh!” I spread my arms and take in a deep breath. Then I turn my head to look at Anthony. “Is the life of a journalist all you dreamt it to be, Tony?”
He squints at the sky, as if waiting for the heavens to open up and swallow him and sighs. “Not really. But it’s fun working with you, Ms. Bella.”
I roll my eyes as I try to correct him for the umpteenth time. “Only Bella, please. But don’t start thinking that you’re my BFF, mister. I’m your supervisor and you’re my junior, understood?”
He looks at me and nods, looking like he’s holding back a smile. “Yes, Ms. Bella.”
I can’t help but smile at his too innocent-for-his-own-good-face and start walking toward the subway station. He follows me dutifully because his car is parked at a lot somewhere near the station. I appreciate the company even if I don’t tell him that.
It happens when we enter a dark alley to take a shortcut.
A car drives up to block our way. I frown and turn to find Anthony only to see that a group of four men standing behind him, surrounding us both. I turn around and bravely take a step toward the car. The car doors open then, revealing four more men, all clad in black.
“Excuse me,” I address the man right in front of me. Behind me I feel Anthony grip my hand tightly. The poor guy must be scared out of his wits. I squeeze his hand and say loudly, “If you could move your car a little, my friend and I could get out of your way.”
The men don’t respond as they take a few steps to form a tight knot around us. “Look here, mister,” I start, opting for playing my journalist card. “I’m a journalist. We both are. So if you don’t want your faces plastered on the evening news, please move out of our way.”
The guy right in front of me laughs then; the look on his eyes challenging as he tilts his head at me. “Isabella Barone?”
I narrow my eyes at him. “Who’s asking?”
He pretends to not have heard me and addresses the men behind us. “Leave the lackey and take her with us.”
Anthony seems to have woken from his daze as he starts shoving the men away from us. “W-who t-t-the hell are you?” he stutters and my heart aches for him.
Giving his hand another quick squeeze, I take a step back to him and look right at the man in the front who seems to be the leader. “I’m not going anywhere,” I tell him.
“But our boss wants to meet you,” he says.
“Too bad he can’t come to the office to meet me,” I reply sarcastically. “I’m sure he has my office address.”
“Ms. Bella,” Anthony whispers in warning as the leader grabs my other hand. I try to wrench my hand out of his grip, but he’s too strong for me.
Before I know what’s happening, the rest of his guys come forward and one of them takes Anthony in a chokehold. “B-Bellaaa” Anthony whimpers. One of the guys land a punch to his gut, making him cough hard.
“Wait!” I cry out. “Don’t hurt him. Please!” I look beseechingly to the leader. “Please, make them stop. He’s innocent. Let him go please.”
“You’ll go with us then?” he asks, his eyes contemplative.
I nod, a sob escaping me. “Yes, yes, I’ll go. Just don’t hurt him.”
He signals his goons to leave Anthony and they still aim a few kicks at him, making him crumble into a ball as he sobs. “Tony,” I call his name. “Tony, it’s okay. Tony, are you hurt?”
He doesn’t answer me as he continues to sob in pain. All I manage is a pitiful glance at him when the men pull me into the car with them. We drive away from the alley and the last thing I see before they put a blindfold on my eyes is Anthony … alone and in pain.
I wait till the car has left before sitting up and putting on my earpiece. “Es?” I ask.
“What happened, kid?”
I spit out a mouthful of blood. “You tell me. They’ve got Bella.”
Esme lets slip an uncharacteristic curse word and is silent for a whole second before she starts speed-talking. “Okay. So I picked up their license plate number thanks to my foresight of the camera in your glasses … and I’ve tracked them through traffic cameras. They’re headed east from where you are.”
I start running toward the direction she indicated while still talking to her. “Who were they? Can you find out?”
“Already have,” she answers. “The leader is actually one of Volturi’s top henchmen.”
“Volturi?” I ask, shocked.
“Turn left here,” she directs me. “They’ve stopped at a red light.” Then she adds, “I don’t know why or who got the Volturi involved in this. They’re ruthless, Virtuoso … way more than us.”
I nod, pushing myself to run faster. “I know. I think it’s about the article she wrote.”
“Virtuoso,” Esme says all of a sudden, her voice filled with warning. “Be careful. The car has turned toward the deserted industrial area. You’re almost there.”
Why are they taking her there? I feel a chill run through my spine as I worry, wondering whether I should have gone to get my car before chasing them.
As if she can hear my thoughts, Esme tells me, “You did the right thing, Virtuoso. If you had taken your car, they’d have found out about you coming to get her. This way, you’ll have the element of surprise.”
“Yeah,” I respond absently as I tiptoe around the perimeter of the abandoned building they’ve taken her into. I see their cars lying there – deserted. Sticking to the shadows, I quickly exchange my work clothes for my dark clothes to disguise myself and then put on my mask, pushing my work clothes back into the backpack Esme had begged me to carry when I decided to work with Isabella.
Once I’m done, I slip into the building, climbing the stairs three at a time to reach Isabella. It’s the sound of raised voices coming from an open space in the second floor that reels me in. I hide just out of sight and watch as the ring leader circles around a figure crouched on the ground. Bella!
“Where is she?” the leader asks.
“I don’t know who you’re talking about,” Isabella says in a pseudo-calm voice. The slight tremor in her voice tells me how scared she must be.
“Don’t lie to me,” he growls. “Actress named R, you said in your article. Where’s that slut?”
“Do I look like a pimp to you?” Isabella asks bravely and I can’t help but smile a little at her words. My brave girl. “Besides,” she says, “There are probably at least a hundred actresses with names starting with R. Reese Witherspoon? Rachel McAdams? How am I to know who you’re talking about?”
“I’m talking about Rosalie Hale, you bitch!” he screams, getting into her face and slapping her.
White hot anger burns through me the moment I hear her cry out in pain. Forgetting any plans about being stealthy, I barge into the room, heading right for the asshole who dared to raise his hand on her. “Didn’t you mother tell you to never hit a woman?” I ask as I land a punch square to his jaw.
“Oooff!” he howls in pain as he’s taken by surprise with my sudden appearance. It takes a moment for his men to realize what had happened and then they’re all upon me.
“Run!” I shout in the general direction of Isabella while kicking and punching anything and anyone I can get my hands on. The next few moments are a blur of limbs as I fight with her captors to protect Isabella. When I stop to take a breath, I see with satisfaction that all the bad guys are groaning and moaning in pain thanks to my fighting skills.
The moment my eyes fall on her though, everyone else evaporates. There, kneeling just out of the door from the room we’re in, is Isabella; her hand clutching at her heart. I run to her, hoping like hell that she’s alright.
When I reach her, she looks up at me, her eyes filled with a mixture of surprise and fear.
I crouch down next to her and ask in a deeper voice, “Are you hurt?”
She shakes her head, breathing hard. First, I wonder if she’s recognized me from the day I collected her DNA and is afraid. I hold my hands up and say, “I’ll not harm you.”
She shakes her head again, her hands motioning to where the scoundrels must’ve dropped her bag.
“Your bag?” I ask to clarify.
She nods vigorously, closing her eyes as if in pain.
I bring the bag to her and unzip it for her. When I see her reach for a blue inhaler, it all clicks. Taking the machine from her hands, I shake it and then hold it to her mouth. “How many puffs?”
“T-tttwo” she mumbles before opening her mouth.
I follow her direction and wait till her breathing goes down to normal. “Better?” I ask.
I lift her up in my arms and then walk down the stairs, taking her far away from the villainous creatures that wanted to hurt her.
Esme, who had been silent throughout the fight finally speaks into the earpiece I’m wearing. “Virtuoso, I’ve called the police. They’re reaching soon.” Even as she speaks, I can hear sirens from afar.
Isabella looks relieved when she hears the sirens too.
I put her down on her feet and say, “You’ll be safe now.” Then, before she can speak another word, I run out of there and into the darkness where I belong.
Dazedly, I watch him run away into the night. I let out a sigh and then start walking toward the direction the sirens are coming from.
By the time I bring the cops back to the place, it’s empty. The police keep asking me whether I was kidnapped or not because apparently, someone informed them of my abduction. Must be Tony! I realize, feeling thankful that he had the presence of mind to do so.
Not wanting to get into any legal matters without my dad present there, I neither accept or deny any such claims. Instead, I request them to drop me home, hoping and praying that Anthony is okay.
A/N: Share your thoughts with me and leave a review.
Thanks for reading.
Chapter pic is on the ScribblerAlliance blog.
See you on Wednesday.
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