The End

17 – Epilogue

Two Weeks Later

In a shocking turn of events the case of the “Sunny Butcher” was reopened this week when local police found some remains and DNA of children who went missing at the old Sunny Acres asylum a few years ago inside the building walls. The authorities can’t say how this new evidence came to light only commenting that it was an anonymous source. Many people are speculating if this was some kind of conspiracy as the “Sunny Butcher” himself, Charles Gresham was found dead in his cell the same day as the discovery was made. Police are saying it was a suicide and that Gresham was in solitary confinement at the time. His younger nephew also Mr. Charles Gresham was reported missing by his wife adding fuel to the fire. The investigation continues but at least now hundreds of families will finally have some kind of closure after years of uncertainty and torture. 

I turn off the television, Adam and I glance at each other. I continue stirring our coffee admiring my wedding ring. He snickers as he flips a pancake. I press my lips together to stop from smiling and just shake my head. Handing Adam his coffee I take a seat at the kitchen island and patiently wait for my pancakes as I sip my coffee. What the public doesn’t know won’t hurt them but our mayor and chief of police were happy to help sneak some rat poison into Charle’s food. He was chewing on the last bit of bread when a note delivered by friend was slipped under his door. It read;

For Charlie and the kids

Charles Gresham had a painful and slow death. The poison ate him from the inside-out and no one heard him scream before it ate away his throat. He laid on the ground for hours in his own muck wailing from pain. Ironically the rats got to him before the guards did. The remaining Gresham’s were not told what happened to Charlie and they continue to search for him; that secret will stay with our family. The headstone I made for him reads “The Monster, not born but made.” There are no dates on it so he will be forgotten with time, wiped away like dust, just like the kids they will never find. The police had to search his house because his wife reported him missing and they found all kinds of illegal pornography, a cage, torture equipment and the skull of a young boy in his basement. His wife was cleared of any charges after an investigation proved that she had no knowledge of what was going on in her own house. She said she wasn’t allowed to go down there and she was terrified of Charlie although he never hurt her. Her statement shocked the shit out of me, I really thought that he made her life hell but she was living like a queen. It seems the monster valued his young wife’s company. She seems genuinely sad and conflicted at the discovery. I will spare her the truth…

 “Bon Appetite little fawn and hurry we need to catch the plane.” Adam says sliding the pancake and some bacon onto my plate 

“Thanks Jellybean.” I say back cutting into my food 

A comfortable silence falls between. The sizzling of the pan and the smell of coffee is somehow enough to keep us company. Adam and I got married yesterday. It was a small wedding with only ten people to witness the occasion. After everything that has happened we wanted to get married as soon as possible and move away. We are leaving the business behind. The palm tree on my charm bracelet was about the deed my father left me. He purchased a small private island for me and left me a fortune that would sustain me for five lifetimes. Jo thought this was a wise choice given everything that has happened; he and Daisy will be joining us for an early retirement. 

He said “fuck it, I’m tired.” 

My mother has already been moved to the island. She has her own house and I employed a full team of staff with medical personnel. We talk everyday and Charlie was right, she is brilliant and intelligent. She still breaks down but she is slowly healing. Between Adam and Jo they have enough of their own money to buy a small country and without the Gresham’s to worry about the cities have been given to leaders who will not destroy it or the people living in them. I secretly hope all the corruption and thievery stops but I won’t hold my breath, the world is dark place. 

“Welcome aboard” Brice greets, he is also a world class pilot. We are taking a private jet out of the country because our location is a secret 

“Damn Brice, nice uniform.” I tease 

“The chicks love it” he chirps with a bright smile 

I giggle at him and we take our seats. After a few checks and getting something to drink we take off. I sip on my Mojito staring at Adam who is deep into the psychology book he is reading. It must be my hormones or something but he gets sexier every time I look at him. 

Staring out the window I mentally wave at the shit hole we are finally leaving behind. As for my life, the bracelet is still a mystery but I have made peace with it because everything I could ever want I have… A fresh start with the people I love is more than I could ever have hoped for. The flight takes a whole day and we are all very happy when our new home comes into view. The island is beautiful and exotic. You can only get to it by plane or a couple of hours by boat. The island has four large homes on it and then a few smaller ones around the edges for our staff. Brice got himself a nice cozy one with a ocean view and he cant wait to go fishing everyday. I am taking piano lessons again and Adam is pursuing an online degree in psychology. Jo and Daisy said they will be gardening and breeding horses so we all have something to keep us busy and help us settled into our new lives. Jo and my mom have also been talking a lot and many tears of forgiveness and regret have been spilled. I am happy that we have peace 

Adam and I walk up the grand stairs of our new home and excitement bubbles inside me. I want to hurry so I can go and see my mom; I have missed her so much. I push the doors open and as soon as my feet enter the door I gasp dropping my handbag on the ground. 

“Daddy” I whisper 

“Welcome home Bella.” My dad says 

The End

You didn’t know

16 – Monsters do cry…

“Why didn’t you stop? Why didn’t you find help?” 

“Because I enjoy it Bella. I am a predator.” 

“But you hated it, they forced you.” 

“They just showed me what was inside me all along, I am a Gresham after all.” He snickers sending chills up my spine 

“Why couldn’t the police find the rest of the kids?” I ask 

“The walls.” He sighs 

“The walls?” 

Charlie shifts in his chairs leaning back. He stares at me for a few moments with the saddest most lost expression I have ever seen and coming from me that says a lot. 

“They mashed the bodies into a paste and they mixed it with the concrete. The wing they added to the building is made of concrete and kids.” He says drumming his fingers on the armrest of the chair faking a big sarcastic smile 

I clamp a hand over my mouth gagging 

“Fucking hell.” Brice says disgusted running his hand through his hair 

I groan swallowing what feels like buckets of my own spit. Taking a few deep breathes I calm myself down. 

“I am sorry.” I whisper not knowing what else to say 

I was truly sorry… sorry for the boy he was, sorry for the fucked up family he has, sorry for the children, sorry that life was so messed up, sorry that this was our past, sorry that people who were supposed to know better kept quiet, sorry that he was too crazy to live and sorry that I couldn’t let him see another day. I just felt sorry… and empty 

“W…what?” Charlie whispers 

“I am sorry.” I say a bit louder 

“My dad was wrong about you.” 

“What did he say about me?” 

“That you would become just as evil as everyone else in our world, that it was unavoidable.” 

“I am not good Charlie. I kill people too.” I say softly 

“Yeah, but you’re different Bella, you always have been.” 

“I was glad when my dad got capped. I loathed him more than anything in this world.” 

“Adam killed him.” 

Charlie snort and shakes his head “Good, that’s good.” He says softly 

“I have two more questions, no three… then we are done.” 

“Let’s hear them sweetheart.” Charlie smirks. His mood swings are unnerving. 

“Who is the purple man?” 

“Unbutton my shirt.” 

“Excuse me?” I squeal and Brice takes a few steps towards Charlie 

“You want to know? Unbutton.my.shirt.” he bites out 

“Bella” Brice warns 

“It’s fine.” I say waving my hand in the air 

(It’s not fine… It’s creepy and I need a drink) 

I slowly approach Charlie and lean forward just a bit reaching for the top button of his dress shirt. Charlie breathes out slowly and groans; his erection is prominent so I focus my eyes on the buttons between my fingers. My hands are shaky as I unbutton each one. Charlie patiently waits, he doesn’t move; he just watches me blinking slowly. 

“I have often wondered if I wasn’t this broken and if I met you like a normal person, what our lives would’ve been like.” He says softly just as the last button glides through my fingers 

“I think Adam would’ve found me” I whisper staring into his crazy blue eyes. 

“No one would’ve found you Bella.” He says in a way that holds too much truth for my comfort. 

I blink looking down at his shirt and I slowly pull the edges apart. I gasp taking a few steps back and Charlie chuckles. His chest is covered in old wounds. Thick ridges like mountain peaks litter his torso. Purple peacock feathers and writing that looks like it could be poetry are tattooed all over the scars, covering his whole front side. 

“What happened?” I ask in a shaky voice not sure I want the answer. 

“That’s an extra question Bella.” 

“I know” I say staring into his eyes nodding 

Charlie’s expression softens as he stares back at me and he clears his throat. 

“My uncle ate me.” 

“What?” Brice and I exclaim in unison 

“He ate me… He would cut off pieces of flesh and skin from my chest and cook it. He always said I was his favorite.” Charlie whispers and another single tear rolls down his cheek 

Our eyes meet and I stare at Charlie shocked and wordless. My mouth feels dry and my stomach turns. It takes me so long to form a sentence that he eventually tilts his head and smiles at me. 

“That’s really fucked up” is all I manage to get out 

Charlie sighs and nods his head “That’s were I got the taste for it, so to speak” 

I take a deep breathe clearly aware that my brain has not processed all of this yet but I push on. 

“Is my dad alive?” I say with a tremble in my voice 

Charlie furrows his brows and stares back at me like I am crazy one. 

“Your father is dead, I saw the body” 

“Maybe you saw a body.” 

“Sorry sweetheart but I am pretty sure he is dead. We dumped him in the ocean.”  Charlie says matter-of-fact 

My last bit hope drains from my heart and I jolt as sobs rip through me. Covering my face I cry into my hands. 

“Bella it’s enough, you should go, I will take care of him.” Brice says softly rubbing my back 

“Show me your tears Bella” Charlie says 

I slowly look up sniffling “Beautiful, sad little girl” Charlie mumbles 

I give Brice a small smile telling him I’m alright. I am after all a Pinto. I tilt my head staring at Charlie. I take a moment to just look at him. His blue eyes are stormy and wild. His messy blond hair is streaked with blood and sticking to his forehead. Charlie is a handsome normal looking guy and its easy too see why so many girls swoon over this killer. 

“What?” he asks frowning 

“I’m sorry.” I say again 

This time my words seem to hit Charlie right in his chest. He breaks eye contact with me swallowing hard. He clears his throat blinking away any emotions, glancing between me and the floor. 

“Last question Bella.” He says 

“You look so lonely and sad, I never noticed. You are clearly tortured and I can’t imagine you sleep much, you must have terrible nightmares. When I look at you there is nothing scary about you anymore, just a broken boy that’s beyond any kind of help because you enjoy what you do too much.” I say softly 

“I will always be a monster Bella.” Charlie whispers “What is the question?” 

“Would you like me to kill you now?” I ask my last question 

“Yes please.” Charlie says in a shaky voice almost pleading. 

I swallow hard and walk over to the table where Daisy left her equipment. I pick up the scalpel and turn walking back towards Charlie. 

“You will never stop Charlie.” I whisper 

“I know Bella.” He swallows staring up at me. “Just do one thing for me, I know it’s asking a lot but I never could, I never had the courage.” He says with tears running down his cheeks 

“What?” 

“End my uncle for me and the other kids, please?” 

I can’t look Charlie in the eyes when he is this emotional because I don’t want to feel anything except hate towards him but he is making it really hard with his fucked up live. Just like me he was also a pawn in this sick world but, he chose his path and I chose mine. 

“Sure” I whisper rubbing my forehead with my palm 

Charlie snickers then nods “So save me from myself Bella” he says 

I stand right in front of Charlie extending my arm so the scalpel rests just below his ear. Charlie doesn’t flinch and he makes no attempt to move or come at me. He just stares up at me with a relieved smile, blinking. My hand is shaking but I have a firm grip on the scalpel. I need to do this hard and fast. I am drowning in a sea of emotions. I feel nothing and everything all at once. Charlie winks at me and says 

“Bye beautiful Bella.” 

Before I can even react Charlie jerks his head to the side with so much force that the scalpel lodges into his neck right up to me fingers. I gasp and start to cry as Charlie looks up at me smiling. He blinks slowly, gagging as the blood pours from his neck. My hand and arm is covered in blood and the warm red liquid runs across the tiled floor pooling around my sneakers. 

(Welcome to church Charlie) 

“Bye Charlie” I whisper as his body jerks and the light in his eyes fade away. 

“It’s over Bella.” Brice says softly pulling my arm away where I am still holding the scalpel in place 

I slowly let go and watch Charlie slump forward. 

(Dead) 

“Brice I need you to do something for me that is going to sound really crazy but please do it for me because I literally do not have the strength to explain it or do it myself.” 

“Sure kid.” Brice says 

“Take his body and bury him next to our mausoleum on the opposite side of Sophia. I don’t want him close to her but I want him where I can see him. His family will never come near him again.” I whisper not sure why I want this or if it is even sane but that’s how I feel 

“Okay Bella” Brice says without judgement or arguing 

“Is it done?” Daisy ask from behind me and I slowly turn around 

“Oh my little baby girl.” She gasps “Come on.” She says opening her arms for a hug and I don’t think twice before crashing into her and holding her tight 

I break down and weep holding onto Daisy. My tears soak her shoulder and I tremble as sob after sob rips through me. 

“Lets get you cleaned up.” She says guiding me to the door 

I take one last look over my shoulder at Charlie whom Brice is rolling up in a plastic sheet and my heart clenches, not for the monster but for the little boy before the monster. 

Daisy walks me into the house and up the stairs just as we are about to reach the top Adam meets us 

“Bella, what happened?” he gasps 

“He killed himself” I say in a shaky voice 

Daisy hums likes it’s the most normal thing but Adam grabs my shoulders staring into my eyes. 

“Tell me.” He says 

“Both of you need a shower. You can talk there.” Daisy says kissing my cheek. “I will send up food and some stuff the doctor left.” Daisy turns and walks down the stairs again. 

“Where is Jo?” I ask 

“In the study, it can wait.” She calls over her shoulder 

Adam and I walk into my room closing the door behind us. We saunter into the bathroom and he opens the shower, checking the water with his hands. We undress slowly groaning and moaning. Adam’s beautiful body is covered in bruises and scars and it makes me angry at Charlie all over again. That anger becomes sorrow and then anger again because he was so fucked up and my emotions are just a jumbled mess. Adam and I help each other into the shower and we stand there for a few moments hugging our naked bodies against each other under the warm water as steam fills the bathroom. 

“I nearly lost you.” I whisper 

“Sorry little fawn.” Adam apologizes for almost dying like it was his fault “Thank you for saving me.” He says softly 

“Thank you for not dying.” I say back

Adam tightens his arms around me and gently rocks us from side to side. He has this way about him that makes all the evil things in the world just vanish. 

“I am sorry I wasn’t awake and you had to do that on your own. I wanted to be there with you.” Adam says 

As soon as we got home a doctor was waiting for Adam and he connected him to an IV. Whatever he gave him was strong because Adam was out cold. 

“Its okay… We spoke for a while; I know everything I wanted to know.” 

“Tell me.” Adam whispers tilting my chin up so I’d look into his lovely amber orbs 

We stand there in the shower holding onto each other and I tell Adam everything that happened word for word. His face dances with every kind of emotion you can imagine as I tell him the story. Adam is as white as a sheet by the time I am done and blankly stares at the wall behind me blinking slowly. I don’t say anything; I leave him with his thoughts just clinging to his chest. I mean after all that what can I say? What can anyone say? 

It’s my turn

15 – Careful What You Wish For

“You can start honey.” Daisy says 

“What is your name?” I ask first to make sure he understands me 

“Charles Gresham” he answers 

“Does Sunny Acres belong to you?” 

“Yes, you bitch.” Charlie grits through his teeth fighting not to answer me 

“Why do you have Mildrid Pinto?” 

Charlie curses a string of colorful words but there is no getting away from the concoction Daisy gave him 

“She is… my… sacrifice.” He pants 

“Why is she your sacrifice?” 

“Because you are not.” 

“What the fuck does that mean!” I yell “Tell me about her! Tell me about my past!” 

Charlie chuckles through the pain like the crazy son of a bitch he is then answers me 

“I wanted you, I always wanted you, and my father told me I could have you.” 

I gasp staring at him confused and horrified 

“Your father refused so my father devised a plan. He kidnapped your mother one morning just as she was leaving a salon.” 

“What are you talking about?” I ask in a shaky voice because I have no memory of it 

“Oh come on Bella! You think a good mom like yours would just suddenly out of nowhere become a whore and leave you? She played the part good though, fooled all of you.” Charlie breathes out staring at the ground 

“What the fuck did you do?” Jo growls making me jump 

Charlie’s eyes shoot up and he glares at Jo with nothing by hate. 

“You… you fucked it all up. You and your stupid son.” Charlie hisses 

“Tell me!” I scream 

“You see Bella after my father was done with your mother she was never the same. He did things to her that makes even my skin crawl.” He snickers 

“You bastard!” Jo yells punching him in the face, splitting his lip open 

“Jo!” I yell “Daisy take Jo, please?” I ask her

“No, I am not leaving I am going to kill this bastard!” 

“Pop, please?  I need to know and you are too close to this.” 

“Oh and you’re not?” he yells throwing his hands in the air 

“Pop, please?” I whisper 

Jo sighs running his hand over his face “Fine but Brice stays and if that fucker even breathes the wrong way he dies.” 

“Okay” I whisper again 

Jo nods and kisses my forehead before Daisy walks him out to the house. He will be going straight to Adam’s room to check on him. 

“Such an obedient little girl, I love it.” Charlie whispers licking his lips making my skin crawl… again 

“What did he do to my mom, what happened?” 

Charlie groans tugging at his chains 

“Fuck!” he yells 

“My father kept her for a few hours; he raped her and shot her up with heroin then he cut small pieces of flesh off her arms. He fried it in a pan and he force fed it to her. He planted evidence of an affair with the pictures he took off the rape so even if your mother told your father it would break him” Charlie hisses 

“You fucking monsters” I whisper sobbing 

“Yes sweetheart, we are monsters and my father made sure she understood it. He told her if she didn’t ruin her marriage and help us end your father we would come for you… You would be mine and I would keep you day after day so she agreed.” 

I shake my head as tears run down my cheeks 

“Your mother had to choose between you and your father.” 

“I fucking hate you! Why? Just for more power and more money?” I yell 

“Silly girl… all I ever wanted was you; in a cage, on your knees.” He whispers softly 

I have never in my life been so repulsed and horrified by another human. 

“You took her anyway, why? She did what you asked.” I say sobbing 

“No, she didn’t. That sly fox…” he chuckles darkly 

“She met Jo… Jo was not supposed to be in the plan. Jo was not supposed to exist!” 

I sniffle wiping my tears staring at the monster in front of me 

“She played you” I whisper “She played you” I say again and then start to giggle because something inside my brain has clearly broken. 

My giggles turn to full blown laughter and I don’t know if I am losing my mind or if it is just the stress of what I have been dealing with but I cant help myself. After a few moments I calm down and Charlie is glaring at me like he would love nothing more then to kill me 

“What did my mother do Charlie?” I hiss 

“I will fucking kill you, I will get you” Charlie grits though his teeth 

“Tell me!” I scream 

“That bitch made sure your father and Jo would meet. She made sure they would follow her. Your mother later told me when she first saw Adam there was just something about him that she liked, even as a boy she knew he would be perfect for you.  The baby wasn’t something she planned but somehow that only strengthened her plan so much more.” Charlie says defeated 

“She couldn’t have known my dad and Jo would get along.” I counter 

“Oh Bella, so naive… Your mother is brilliant and intelligent, she ran most of the daily operations with your father… well she was…” Charlie chuckles 

Anger boils up inside of me like a volcano “You made me believe she left me! You made me think she hates me and that she was just some whore!” I yell at him 

Charlie sighs like I am boring him to death with my emotional response 

“Like I said, she played her part and of course she knew they would get along. Your mother knew your father like the back of her hand and she knew everyone in the business.” 

Guilt and horror clamps around my heart and I swallow back the bile threatening to push up. 

(All this time…) I start to pant so I pace up and down the room trying to calm myself down. At this point I don’t care if Charlie sees how broken I am because he will not see another sunrise. 

“Little Bella, so tortured… It’s beautiful.” Charlie says softly tilting his head 

“I will cut your fucking tongue out!” Brice hisses 

I completely forgot he was standing in the room but the realization makes me relax a bit. 

Charlie chuckles like the crazy man he is and nods 

“Always protecting the princess” he whispers 

“Why do you keep my mom?” 

“Because she fucked up Bella, she broke the deal so if I can’t have you I will make her pay.” 

“I am taking her back you sick fuck.” I hiss 

“There is not much left.” he laughs 

I rush towards Charlie and slap him across his face so hard that my hand throbs. Charlie groans and immediately his erection is visible straining his pants. I gasp jumping back 

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” I growl disgusted

“Everything Bella!” he yells at me “My father and my uncle made damn sure of that.” He says looking away 

(Monsters made a monster) 

“What happened at Sunny Acres?” I ask softly 

“No Bella don’t.” He warns fighting the truth serum 

“Do you want another dose? Tell me.” I demand 

Charlie sighs and for the first time a single tear rolls down his cheek. 

“My uncle is a narcissistic sadist and he likes kids. It must run in the family because my dad wasn’t any better. They use to take me with them to the old asylum. The underground “facility” was much more private and spacious.” He says staring at the wall deep in thought 

Goosebumps are already crawling up my arms and my scalp prickles with sweat. I don’t like where this story is headed. 

“They tortured and raped more kids than I can count. At first they would just make me watch but after a while they made me do it as well. I didn’t want to, I vomited as soon as I got near one of the kids, they were the same age as me at the time. My father threatened to do worse to me but I still refused… My father wasn’t joking, I couldn’t sit for weeks, he tore me open and my mother did nothing. He and my uncle kept torturing me till I finally broke, I was just a kid… I wanted them to stop, so I became this, this monster Bella and I have never looked back.” He says locking eyes with me

Look inside

14 – Meeting The Monster

The apple tree seems even more alone and brave than the first i saw it. I push the doors open and walk right up to Infinity. Everything seems normal likes it’s just another day. A few people are sitting around waiting to see their friends and family. Light classical music is flowing through the air and no one is paying much attention to anything 

(Perfect) 

“Hello again” Infinity greets with a warm smile 

I stare at her with a pointed look and she cautiously furrows her brows staring back at me 

“Hello” I say in a calm voice 

“Are you alright?” she asks 

“No, not really but that’s not important right now. I need something from you and I don’t have much time so just answer with a yes or no. Do you understand?” 

“Yes” she responds nervously 

“Would you like a better job earning twice your salary you receive now and I need a pin?” I ask glancing at the door 

“Yes and yes” 

She removes an access card from her drawer and writes two numbers on it. She slips the card into a flyer about “Treatment for anxiety” and hands it to me. I sigh at the irony and take it from her. 

“As soon as I disappear behind that door you take your handbag and go on your lunch break… permanently” I instruct her and head for the door 

I swipe the card and enter the first pin. The door clicks open and I try to make my way to the orange door as fast as I can. The light classical music is still playing and patients and nurses hardly notice me. It seems so peaceful up here compared to the hell downstairs. 

(Hold on Adam) 

I stop in front of the elevators and press the down button repeatedly like it will magically speed things up. The guards behind the orange door is watching women play volleyball on the small television sitting beside the security monitors and I pray they don’t turn around. They doors chime open and I quickly slip in pressing G2. 

(Please be okay Adam) 

I remove my gun from my waistband and crouch as low as I can to the ground. Stepping of the elevator I remember the room being a small square and to the right closest to the elevator is the gate and the guard station. The guards will have a blind spot in the opposite far right corner of the room. When the doors chime open I quickly crawl out and dart for the wall in front of me. I slowly move to the corner and take a deep breath. Beside me above my head is the steel bars of the guard station. The camera only has a midway view of the elevators and the gate where you need to swipe to get in. 

“Did you hear that?” 

“Yeah” 

“Is it her?” 

“I don’t know, I cant see anything” 

I hear Adam screaming and a soft gasp escapes my lips. My heart is racing and tears are burning behind my eyes. I press my lips together and swallow hard. The guard presses his face against the bars to try and get a better view of the room so I pin my back against the wall as hard as I can and breathe slowly. Suddenly we are all startled when a panel in the roof opens up and a figure sliding down a black rope hits the ground. 

(Brice) 

I jump to my feet and spin around pulling the trigger. Brice already has his gun in hand and fires off a shot, like the well oiled machine we are we clip the two guards in seconds. The silencers on the guns make sure no one hears a thing. Blood splatters over the monitors and we quietly move to the gate. I slide the card and enter the second pin. The door buzzes and clicks open. 

(Thank you Infinity) 

Adam screams in agony and I swallow back a sob. (Not now Bella, be strong) Brice clenches his jaw as we quickly move down the passage. Some of the patients don’t even notice us as we rush past them. Right across the cell from where they keep my mother another one of Adam’s cries ring in my ears. I signal to Brice and he stays out of sight. I put my hands up and slowly walk in front of the glass box. 

I gasp with sob when I finally see Adam. His hands are bound above his head with chains where he is hanging from the roof. He is covered in blood and purple bruises and they have been electrocuting him judging by the marks on his body and the cattle prod in Veronica’s hands. 

“Oh, you’ve made it sweetheart! I am so delighted” Charlie chirp 

“Let him go!” I yell 

“Now where would the fun in that be? Drop the gun or he dies” he says with a smirk 

I slowly put my gun down not daring to look away 

“You wanted me here and I came so let him go” I demand again in a shaky voice 

“Bella” Adam whispers and my heart clenches 

“It’s alright baby, I’m here” I say softly 

“No!”  Charlie suddenly shouts like his whole mood changed making me jump 

Veronica giggles swinging the castle prod around and the screams of my mother from the cell behind me to release us just excites her more. Charlie clears his throat and his mood changes again to a cheerful one. 

“You have no idea, do you? You see I cant let him go and I cant let you go because you both need to pay for the pain you have caused me and for ruining years of planning” he says waving his hand 

“What are you talking about?” I ask frowning 

“Oh it doesn’t matter now you will be dead soon” 

“Humor me” I hiss 

“Well sweetheart you see… I am a lair and a killer and a thief and I always get what I want so now Veronica over here is going to get you a nice comfortable spot next to this piece of shit and then we can talk and talk and talk” He laughs throwing his hands in the air.  

“Exactly how fucking crazy are you?” I growl at him 

I definitely hit a nerve because Charlie and Veronica’s expressions immediately change to a murderous glare. Veronica jolts towards me with the castle prod and I quickly move to the side. Brice comes into her view behind me and before she can blink he puts a bullet right between her eyes. Charlie gasp and grabs a gun from his waistband. I quickly move flicking my wrist and a tranquilizer dart hits Charlie right in the neck. He groans and drops to his knees. His gun falls to the ground and he sways from side to side. I walk up to him and grab him by his collar 

“Well sweetheart you see, I am also a lair, a killer and a thief and I always get what I want” I whisper in his ear through my tears. 

“Bella!” I hear Daisy call 

“Brice” Is all I need to say and he walks out to get Daisy

I rush towards Adam and take his face in my hands. I finally breakdown looking into his hooded swollen eyes. A ghost of a smile runs over his lips and then he passes out. Panic drums inside me and I tremble as tears run down my face. 

“Bella wh…. oh dear! Get him down!” Daisy motions 

Her team works fast and in no time Adam is free. Brice and Omar carries Adam and I take deep breathes to regain my composure. My mother bangs against her cell door with her fists so I walk out towards her. 

“Good girl… good girl… good girl” she keeps repeating looking into my eyes 

“Daisy?” 

“Yes Bella?” 

“This is my mother” I whisper staring at the Mildrid 

“I will take care of everything here, get Jellybean home” she says and I nod 

I pull myself away from my mom knowing that Daisy will get her out and I follow Brice and Omar out the building

One hour later

I am standing in the church with Jo. The building looks normal today; Charlie is chained to a chair which is bolted to the floor. Daisy has rolled out her torture equipment on the table next to us and Brice is standing on the other side me. Long gone are the party decorations… 

“I need to know what he knows. He is hiding things from my past. I want to know how my mother is involved in all this” I tell Jo 

“Why do you think he knows anything?’’ Jo asks 

“He was rambling on about how Adam and I ruined years of planning” 

Jo furrows his brows glancing at Charlie and then back at me 

“You know he is crazy right?” Jo says skeptical and I nod 

“Can we just make sure?” I plead 

“Sure honey, let Daisy just pump him with some “gossip juice” real quick” Jo says patting my shoulder

Daisy walks over to Charlie and waves a small open bottle under his nose. The smell is terrible even from where I am standing. Charlie groans and then jolts awake panting. 

“What the fuck have you done? Let me go! Do you know who I am! You will pay for this! You will all die!” He yells 

Jo sighs and rolls his eyes “Daisy please” Jo says in a calm voice waving his hand towards Charlie 

Daisy approaches him with a syringe and Charlie starts to pant like he ran a marathon. 

“No! Don’t you fucking touch me! Get away from me!  No! Stop!” 

Daisy smirks and jabs the needle into his neck. Charlie screams causing Brice to punch him in the face then he whimpers. The truth serum works fast.

Hello?

13 – No Answer…

After we tell Jo what happened and what we found it is clear that he is just as confused as we are. He examines the bracelet in his hand looking at each charm. A backpack, a fish, a deer, a Mercedes, a vault, a pair of gloves, the number 21, a heart, a small diamond key and a palm tree…

“This cant be possible”  Jo mumbles 

“If he is alive he just left me.” Bella sniffles 

“No Bella, if he is alive he is hiding and with very good reason. It would put you in more danger if people thought he was alive.” Jo explains with a sad smile

My dad is right, people like Swen would make guarding Bella a nightmare if they knew her father was alive because they hate him and getting to Bella would mean getting to him. 

“I want to be 20 again, when things were easy.” Bella sobs 

“It’s alright love, come on.” I fold Bella in my arms and just hold her while she cries 

“It will get easier, I promise.” 

My dad and I glance at each other, both of us not knowing what to think and there is this uneasy feeling inside of me that we know far less then we thought… 

“Take Bella upstairs, let her rest.” Jo sighs running his hand through his hair 

“You might need some rest too dad.” 

Jo nods and kisses Bella and me on our foreheads before heading towards the kitchen. Bella has healed my dad in so many ways by being his daughter and I am grateful because I missed the dad that gave me kisses on my forehead, even though I am a grown man my dad is still my dad. 

We slowly walk up the stairs “Can I stay with you tonight?” 

“Bella you don’t need to ask, of course you can, you are mine.” I tell her

Sometimes Bella is too polite for her own good; relationships are a whole new concept for my little fawn.

Not long after we fall asleep 

“Adam… Adam… Baby your phone is ringing”  

I feel two tiny hands on my shoulders shaking me. 

“Oh, fuck… I’m up, I’m up.” I groan 

Brice’s name flashes across my screen and I quickly sit up. He is with a crew at the factory tonight moving some “product” around. 

“Brice” 

“They broke in?” 

“Do you know who it was?” 

“So they knew where the cameras were.” 

“Fuck… I am on my way.” 

“Jellybean what happened?” Bella whispers with her eyes closed 

“Someone broke into the fish factory. They avoided the cameras so we don’t know who it was and the weird part is it doesn’t look like anything was stolen.” 

“I will come with you.” 

“No Bella, please stay. We shouldn’t be long.” I tell her 

Bella groans slowly blinking her eyes. She is fighting to stay awake but I am sure she will be fast asleep by the time I get to my car. I quickly do my business in the bathroom and rush out. I throw on pair of black jeans and a black t-shirt paired with my sneakers. I think it’s unnecessary to wake up Jo, this is nothing that Brice and I cant handle. 

“See you soon love.” I whisper kissing Bella on her cheek 

I rush out the room and down the stairs; jogging out of the house to my car.   

(Who the fuck would be this stupid?) 

Bella 

My eyes feel heavy from tossing and turning the whole night. I slowly blink; yawning and giving my brain time to wake up. 

(Adam isn’t back yet?) 

The empty bed beside me has my heart racing immediately and I quickly sit up clutching his pillow. It’s just before sunrise judging from the time on his alarm clock and he should’ve been back hours ago.

(Shit!) 

I grab my phone from the nightstand and dial Adam’s number 

“Off?” (his phone is never off) 

(SHIT!) 

“Okay I will phone Brice.” 

I scroll down on my phone log to Brice’s name and select to dial him 

“Pick up, pick up…. come on.” 

Brice’s phone just keeps ringing and now my heart is not just racing it feels like it is going to jump out of my chest. I race into Adams bathroom and quickly do my business. I get myself as presentable as I can with my shaky hands. I grab my jeans off the floor and one of Adam’s t-shirts; my room is right next door but there is no time to waste. Jumping on one leg out the room as slip my sneakers on I am already panting 

“Jo!, Jo! Poppa!” I yell 

Jo’s door swings open just as I am about to knock. I stare at him blinking with my fist suspended in midair 

“Bella?” he asks with a groggy voice 

“Pop, it’s Adam… Brice phoned him last night and said that someone had broken into the factory. He said it shouldn’t take long but he’s not back yet and his phone is off, His phone is never off and….” 

“Slow down Bella.” Jo says in a calm voice 

“We need to go, now!” I squeal 

“I am sure they are fine, who would be so stupid to break into our factory?” 

“Swen or Charlie!” I yell whisper at Jo 

Jo stares at me expressionless for a few seconds like he is debating what I just said and then he nods. 

“Take a crew I will meet you there, because there is no point in asking you to wait.” 

“Thanks Pop.” I breathe relieved kissing his cheek 

I turn on my heel and race down the stairs. 

“Be careful!” Jo yells from above 

“Yes pop!” 

I phone Frankie and he picks up after two rings sounding all cheery. 

“Yeah, tiny Copo, what’s up?” he chirps 

“Don’t you ever sleep?” 

“Nah, things to do.” He says 

“Right, well can you grab a few guys and get to the factory pronto, Por favor? There was a break-in last night and Adam and Brice with all the crew hasn’t come home yet so be careful.” 

“What the fuck? How can someone be that dumb and still breathing? We are on it.” 

“Thanks Frankie.” I tell him before ending the call 

(Who indeed…) 

I race towards the factory in my Merc like a lightning bolt and silently pray that they are all alright. I really hope that no traffic officers are awake. My grip on the steering wheel is so tight that my knuckles turn white and every time I breathe out my body slightly trembles. 

(They’re okay. This is nothing… They are fine, just fine.) 

As soon as I get to the gate it’s obvious that nothing is fine. The security guard’s booth is covered in blood and fleshy bits which I assume is his brain. The gates are wide open and the lights are burning. 

(FUCK!) I scream in my head 

All the cars are still here but the factory door is open. 

“This is not good.” I whisper to myself while taking the safety off my 9mm 

As I get out my car Frankie with the crew pull up beside me. 

“Who drives that?” I ask pointing to a black SUV with no plates 

“Fucking Swen” Frankie hisses 

“Anyone in there that’s not family, dies… clear?” I ask them 

“Yes” they all nod and we team up in pairs quickly entering the building from all sides. 

I swallow hard blinking back tears as soon as we enter the factory because a very familiar smell assaults my nostrils. People are dead… Bodies are scattered everywhere.

(Oh, shit… no, no, no, please?) 

“Over here!” Matt yells 

We run to Matt where he is standing over Brice. Brice is beaten up but he is alive. 

“Brice!” I yell shaking him 

Brice jolt awake grabbing onto my shoulders. 

“What happened?” He asks panicked 

“I was hoping you would know; where is Adam?” I ask 

“Fuck!” Brice yells 

“What?” 

“After the phone call last night we got jumped. They never left the factory, they were waiting for us. We fought like crazy but they were ready and there were a lot of them. I never saw Adam. Someone hit me from behind.” He explains frustrated 

“That probably saved your life, you’re lucky.” I tell him 

“Tiny Copo, you need to see this!” Frankie calls 

I jog towards him where he is standing in the walk-in freezer over a large male corpse with expensive shoes and way too much gold jewelry. It can only be one person… 

(Swen) 

I pull out the knife from Swen’s chest and read the note sticking to it; Adam was kind enough to join us at Sunny Acres… Come alone and keep your mouth shut! C

I feel the blood drain from my face and my heart is hammering in chest. (No! They took him!) 

“Where is he?” I hear Brice behind me 

I shove the bloody piece of paper into his hands staring into the distance. I need to stay calm because if I give into the panic trying to surface inside I will be no help to Adam. 

“Fuck!” Brice hisses “What do you want to do?” 

“This guy is bat-shit crazy. We need to get to Adam now, but I wont play his game” I say tell Brice taking my phone from my pocket 

We walk out to my car and I dial Jo’s number. 

“Pop they have Adam” I say softly with a broken voice (keep it together) 

“Charlie took him to Sunny Acres. He said I should come alone and not tell anyone” 

I listen carefully to Jo’s instructions. His voice is even and calm but I can feel the anxiety he is hiding. 

“I have everything in the car Pop’s, no problem. See you soon.” 

I put my phone away and take a deep breath to calm my nerves and push back my tears. 

“You and I are going in first. They will have Adam underground on G2, that’s the floor with all the dangerous patients. It’s sound proof and private; isolated from the public. G1 is a private parking area so I suggest you come in from there; the crew can follow. You need to be invisible. Pop is sending Daisy’s crew.” I tell Brice and he nods 

“The doors outside and inside need access cards and to move between the floors you will also need a pin number so find another way” 

“No problem” 

“I want Charlie alive, we are taking him to church” I say getting into my car 

Brice smirks as he heads for his Jeep and we drive off to Sunny Acres. My fingers nervously drum on my steering wheel and I keep telling myself to stay calm. Adam needs to hold on. I shudder to think what they might have done to him remembering the condition my mother was in. 

(No… stop it) I take a deep breathe 

I mentally go over the weapons I have in the car with me. I have enough firepower to take out a small village but for this specific situation that won’t be necessary. Given what Charlie does down there the number of people he would trust to know will be very few. I have my father’s knife in my boot and my 9mm pistol in the back of my jeans but because I want Charlie alive there is one more special little weapon I am taking with me. I stop in front of Sunny Acres and quickly open the glove compartment of my car. I take out my wrist dart gun and strap it to my hand. Pulling my sleeves over my hands will hide it. The institution doesn’t have any metal detectors so at least I have that going for me. 

“Oh fuck” I breathe out as I step on to the gravel trying to calm myself 

The other woman

12 – Sophia Reed

Last night was absolutely amazing… eventually, but first it was awkward and hilarious. Adam guided my hands and my mouth to exactly where he wanted them. We snorted with laughter when Adam said; 

“It’s like eating ice cream Bella!” 

He enjoyed my lack of experience way too much. My hair got stuck in the clasp of his wrist chain and then I accidentally bit down too hard on his… um, manhood, instead of nibbling it. I know I shouldn’t have laughed but the look of complete shock and horror on his face was priceless. 

“It’s attached to me; I will need it for babies!” he exclaimed jokingly and I rolled with laughter. 

I apologized and then carefully tried again. After I found a rhythm to what I was doing Adam’s head rolled back and he grabbed onto my hair. His hips bucked forward and a low, throaty groan vibrated from his chest. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard and I wanted more of it. I was very pleased with myself when Adam moaned my name, trembling. His warmth filled my mouth and ran down my throat. I love the way he tastes and I can’t wait to do it again. 

I am well aware that most 21 year old’s probably already know what they are doing in the bedroom. I remember my friends all experimenting with their sexuality when we were still teens and house parties were more like code for random hook-up. I think because of what happened to me it made me really careful and in no rush to have people’s hands all over me. Besides that, when most of my friends were hanging out and dating I was breaking into vaults and stealing priceless art and I was happy to do so, I loved my childhood with Jo. 

I remember not long after coming to stay here I had my first period and Daisy was out of town so Jo went to the store and came back with a box of tampons. Both of us stood in my bathroom reading the instructions… Jo had the pamphlet out and I was reading the box. I had a good idea of what to do I wasn’t completely naive. 

“So you tear it open, take the thing out and then just… you know” he said motioning with his hand 

“Yeah, I got that part… then this part goes here with a string.” I said deep in thought pointing at the picture and Jo hummed in agreement 

“It’s crazy Bella, good luck sweetheart. I will be right outside.” He said patting the top of my head like a puppy 

“Thanks Pop.” I answered 

“Oh, and now you can get pregnant so don’t have sex because I will kill the boy.” 

“Noted.” 

“Good” 

That was my first experience with becoming a woman. Daisy returned two days later and she was delighted when I told her and so proud of me like I had done something amazing. She took me out to brunch and shopping and she told me everything I needed to know. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. 

“Good morning love.” Adam whispers 

“Good morning Jellybean.” 

Adam chuckles and brushes my hair out of my face with his fingertips. I get so lost in my happy place every time I stare in to his amber eyes. 

“I love your eyes.” I whisper 

“Thanks. My mom had the same eyes, just lighter.” 

Jo and Adam lost Amelia to Hepatocellular carcinoma which is just a fancy word for liver cancer. They tried everything to save her and Jo had the bests specialists take care of her. In the end she refused further treatment and just wanted to be home with her family. It was a truly horrible time in all their lives and it drove them apart, well until now… 

“You miss her a lot don’t you?” I ask stroking his cheek with my thumb 

“Yeah, she was amazing. She could light up a room with her smile and she wasn’t scared of anything. We use to go on road trips a lot.” Adam says with a sad smile 

My heart clenches when he looks so sad. The honesty and vulnerability he shows me is something no one else gets to see and knowing that, knowing he trusts me enough to show me this side of him is something I will guard with my life. Adam is funny and intelligent and so much more caring then I would have ever guessed. I will forever be grateful that my dad and Jo thought we would make a good match. 

“I am really sorry you lost her Adam. I know she would’ve been so proud of you.” I say softly 

“Thank you Bella.” He whispers and kisses my forehead 

“Family is all we have.” I tell him 

“Sure, but look at us and our lives… The beautiful thing about it is that we get to choose our family Bella. Jo wanted to be your dad and you his daughter. We chose to be together and you are my family, just like Jo.” 

Adam’s words ring in my ears and my heart starts pounding. I shoot up startling Adam; staring out in front of me I take a moment to let his words sink in. 

“Bella what’s wrong?” He asks confused sitting up as well 

“We chose each other.” I whisper 

“Yes?” 

“So my dad chose her.” 

“Who?” 

“Sophie! Its her!” I laugh excited 

“Bella, stop and tell me.” 

“The deed my father left me… The letter said we choose our family and Sophia Reed was like a mother to me.” 

“You really think so?” 

“It has to be.” 

“Okay little fawn get dressed and I will take you.” 

“I love you.” 

Adam stares at me for a few seconds just blinking and I am not sure if I said something wrong or if he is daydreaming but then a small smile runs over his lips 

“Say it again.” He whispers 

“I love you.” I say softly feeling my cheeks turn red 

He smiles at me then pulls me back to him in a tight hug 

“I love you too Bella.” 

Adam

Last night was one of the best nights of my life. I had no idea getting oral could be that fun and satisfying. After Bella got the hang of what she was doing she took me to heaven and back. I am not even sure how she did it because halfway through it my mind turned off. Then to wake up this morning and hear her say she loves me… I mean, how did I get this lucky? My dad is a Rockstar, I need to thank him. 

“You ready little fawn?” 

“Yes, I have it.” Bella says waving the letter from her dad in the air 

Jo and Daisy is with her team in one of our cities today, some rich lawyer capped her abusive husband and the mayor wants it “handled” I told Jo I would go but he insisted I spend time with Bella and I wasn’t going to argue; I feel anxious when I am not around her. Brice follows in a car behind us as we head for the cemetery again. Bella is singing along to the radio, Lover by Taylor Swift is blasting through the air, she has the window open and her hand is lazily playing in the wind. It’s ironic that Bella doesn’t know how special she is but I will remind her everyday. 

We pull up to the cemetery and I instinctively look around to make sure we are alone. After what happened the last time Bella was here I don’t want to take any chances. Brice gets out of his car and starts walking around to check our surroundings. Bella and I each grab a shovel and a bag from the car and I smile to myself because we must look like grave robbers. 

“I hope I am right about this” 

“I think you are.” I reassure her because it makes sense to me 

“Over here.” 

We stand in front of Sophia’s grave just staring at her resting place for a few seconds. 

(Sophia Reed, 1988 – 2013. Forever in our hearts) 

“Sorry Sophie.” Bella whispers 

If we do find the deed here with Sophia it will be great but… how; would be my next question? Sophia died the same day as Bella’s dad, so how did the deed end up here? I don’t think Bella realizes it yet and I don’t want to add that to this already emotional situation. 

“Look here babe.” Bella says pulling me from my thoughts 

Bella removes the vase from the grave and right at the foot of the headstone is a thin dirty red ribbon sticking out from the grass. 

“Let me.” I say motioning with my shovel 

Bella nods and takes a few steps back still holding the vase. I clear about two shovels of dirt when I hit something hard. 

“What is it?” Bella ask 

“A wooden box” I answer frowning 

Two gun shots hit the tree beside Bella, she yelps as we both hit the ground. I crawl to Bella to cover her. 

“Get the box!” she yells as we both pull our pistols out 

(Fuck I love this woman) 

I crawl back and reach down for the small wooden box. The long red ribbon is sticking out of it from the side. I push the box in to my pocket and we crawl to the closest tree

“You better run fucker!” we hear Brice yell and both of us peek around the tree like squirrels on caffeine. 

“I wounded him.” Brice says out of breath when he reaches us 

“We’re okay.” I tell him and he nods 

Bella jumps to her feet “Thanks Brice.” She smiles at him 

Brice nods back and we jog back to our cars. The sooner we get out of here the better. I hand Bella the box before we drive away to get back home. 

“Watch the road.” Bella says and I snort 

“I want to see too.” 

Bella giggles at me and wipes the soil off the box. She holds the box in the air in front of her face and carefully examines it turning it from side to side. 

“How is this possible?” she asks softly 

“What?” 

“This was mine; my dad gave me a charm bracelet the morning of my birthday, it was the last gift he ever gave me.” Bella whispers with tears in her eyes 

“I don’t know little fawn.” I say softly confirming my suspicion 

Bella slowly opens the box and she gasps swallowing her sobs. I hate that she is crying so often and that all of this is coming at her all at once. 

“What is it baby?” I ask 

“My charm bracelet and a key.” She says softly sniffling 

“Fuck, what is going on?” I mumble 

“I don’t know.” She cries 

“It’s alright Bella, I got you. We will find out.” I tell her putting my hand on her thigh. 

She nods at me with a small sad smile and wipes her tears away. 

“Okay.” She breathes with a ragged voice and I squeeze her leg 

“My brave girl.” I coo her 

Bella swallows hard and takes my hand from her thigh bringing it to her lips. She kisses my hand, clinging to me. 

“I love you Adam” she says and my heart flutters 

“Love you Bella”

When we get to the house no one is home yet so Bella and I decide to watch a movie and stuff our faces with junk food. The wooden box with the charm bracelet and the key is lying on the table in front of us between the pizza and the beer. Bella is curled up beside me with her legs over my lap and I have my arm around her. I don’t know how much of the movie we are actually watching because both of us keep glancing at the items in front of us. What really gets to me is the charms on the bracelet feel and look recent like someone has been following her life and the only person who knew where that box was hidden was Bella’s dad… 

“Do you think he is alive?” she asks in a soft voice 

“I don’t know what to think love.” I tell her honestly 

“Hey kids” Jo says as he walks into the room and his face immediately falls when he looks at us 

“What happened?” he asks 

Bella jumps to her feet and runs to Jo putting her face in his chest 

“Pop I found some stuff.” Bella cries 

Meet them

11 – Meetings and Ice Cream

Two Days Later 

“Welcome, Thank you for coming” Jo greets our guests 

It’s Monday morning and we have each taken a seat in the cigar room. Today we will discuss the different rolls each of us will play in regards to running this city. The guests include every high profile position from the Mayor to the Chief of police and most CEO’s of our big companies like the fish factory Jo owns, among others. We need to keep people like Swen and Charlie out of our city and in our line of business that can be… shady, that’s why people like the mayor and chief of police work with us and stays out of our business. They understand that there are far worse people in the world than us. No other “street activity” is tolerated aside from ours. Our boys are protected and in turn we respect some rules laid down for us that Jo thought was reasonable and so did I. If the boys cross that line Jo and Adam deals with them internally and let’s just say they all would prefer jail. 

“We picked up five guys this morning hassling some hookers down at the docks” 

“Who were they?” Adam asks the chief because our crew didn’t have a drop at the docks this morning 

“They don’t want to talk; I thought we might “lose” them during transportation and you could persuade them to be more…” the chief of police gestures with his hand 

“Talkative?” Adam asks 

“Yes, talkative” 

“Sure Clive, just name the time and place” 

“I think they run with Charlie’s crew, that idiot has been pressuring us for property in this city for months now and with the last visit he threatened to take what he wants.” The mayor hisses 

“He is one very sick individual” the Clive says 

“In what way?” I ask furrowing my brows 

“Just rumors Bella, but we heard he likes to keep people locked up in his house for days and when they are released they are so distraught and crazy that they just end up in Sunny Acres.” 

“Can’t they stop him or arrest him?” 

“No evidence” he shrugs “and by the time we get to them they are so out of their minds that they can’t testify, not to mention that everyone is too scared to go up against him. That city of theirs is a hell hole.” Clive explains 

“All the more reason to keep them out of here.” Jo says and I nod 

People always talk about Swen like he is the devil walking the earth but the more I learn about Charlie the more I realize there is always a greater evil. I found a nice room for my mother in White Rose, our local metal hospital. It’s really more of a private clinic and they have to move her on my request because I am family. There has been some delays with the paperwork and I am very sure Veronica had something to do with it although I cant prove anything so instead I asked a lawyer friend of ours to speed up the process regardless of the issues they have. My mother will be back in our city and safe by Friday instead of two more weeks. I mean two weeks to move a person is ridiculous.

“I heard you are moving Mildrid.” Clive says looking at me 

“Yeah, I went to see her and she was in real bad shape. That place gives me the creeps it’s kind of inhumane.” I say softly 

Clive stares at me for a few seconds then nods “It’s good you’re moving her. More people then I can count have hung themselves on that apple tree in front of the place” 

Shock is evident on my face staring back at Clive. “Do you think it was all just suicides Bella?” 

“No, I don’t” 

“Clever girl, too bad you’re not a cop” 

Jo scoffs at Clive’s remark and I giggle shaking my head. 

“Adam, we are truly happy that you and Bella have decided to get married. Gustav was my associate for many years.”  The mayor says 

“Not as happy as I am” Adam smirks 

I do my best to hide the blush on my cheeks as all the heads in the room turn towards me. 

“We appreciate your support mayor.” I nod clearing my throat 

“That brings me to the other matter. They need safety should they decide to walk away from this and the city needs to be safe as well.” Jo says 

Adam and I glance at each other. He is clearly as surprised as I am by this. Neither of us knew we had the option to walk away after we were married. I thought this was it… not that I mind, I would marry Adam anyway. 

“Everything is in place should they decide to do that. After they are married all operation from the five cities we currently rule will become one giant operation. People have been assigned and allocated to their different divisions. We just need the paperwork” 

Adam and I glance at each other again. We don’t say it but we are both thinking it… “paperwork” like our marriage is only some business deal to us. Truth be told we are all just pawns in this and the only language these greedy bastards understand is money. After all they are in the den of thief’s among us not the other way around.  The three cities that belonged to my father and now to me has a network of dangerous people controlling them for us. Jo and my dad made sure they would stay loyal to us even if something happened to one of them and it’s a good thing they did. It hasn’t always been easy, people get out of line with no leader and I was too young to step up although Jo has made sure to groom me. There have been times when things got… messy. Since my birthday I have had to learn a shitload of new things in a very short time. The two cities belonging to Jo and Adam will join mine and that is the “small army” Jo and my dad wanted for us. 

We finish the last details of the meeting and see the guests out. Today has been productive and overall the outcome was very desirable with no resistance from either side. Jo and my dad really did a lot of ground work for us. 

“Are you alright little fawn?” Adam asks as we walk into the kitchen

“Yeah, just tired.” I sigh 

“Bella I want you to know you are not paperwork to me.” 

“Neither are you.” I tell him 

I help myself to a tub of choc-nut-fudge ice cream in the freezer and I grab a spoon from the open dishwasher that’s still warm. Climbing onto kitchen counter-top I wiggle my butt around to sit comfortably. Adam walks over to me and leans in, between my legs. There’s a comfortable silence as I take a bite of ice cream and then feed Adam a bite. We take turns as I feed us just staring at each other sucking ice cream from the spoon. I hope we do this for the rest of our lives. I want to feed him ice cream and fall asleep in his arms and run him a bath and just… love him. 

“More?” I ask looking down at the half eaten tub 

“No, I’m good” he shakes his head licking his fingers 

My eyes follow his tongue gently sucking on his fingers and I try to press my thighs together only to pin Adam closer to me in the process.

“Oops, sorry” I giggle nervously 

“I want you too.” Adam says in a low voice “Let’s go” 

Adam turns around and motions for me to get on his back. I blink at him like a idiot before nodding with a smile. Adam cradles my butt in his hands and I throw my arms around his neck, careful not to choke him. He chuckles tightening his grip on my butt and I am suddenly very suspicious. It’s like mischief just blew in through the door and is now hanging thick in the air. 

“Ready?” 

“For w…what?” I ask cautiously clinging to him like a monkey 

Adam takes off like a rocket and I yelp pressing myself against him harder. I laugh holding on to him as he runs through the house with me. 

“Adam!” I yell through my laughter 

“Stairs!”  he yells back 

“No!” 

“Yes!” 

“Adam!” 

“Hold on little fawn!” 

I squeal and laugh hopping up and down on Adam’s back as he runs up the stairs and into his room. 

“I had too much ice cream for this! Stop!” 

Adam is still laughing as he gently lowers me onto the bed. I’m standing on the edge of the bed looking down at him. His toothy grin melts my heart so I pull him closer and kiss him. 

“I love you.” I whisper on his lips 

He pulls away from my lips, staring at me surprised. “Yeah?” 

“Yeah” 

Adam smiles at me like a kid in a candy store and it’s contagious because I start to giggle again. 

“I love you too” he whispers sweetly “and I have something for you” 

Adam walks over to his dresser and removes a rectangular box from his drawer. 

“Need you down here” 

“Okay” I chirp jumping off the bed 

Adam hands me the red velvet box with a bow-tie and I carefully open it. Inside is a gold chain with Adam’s signet ring on it. It feels very old school and I love it. 

“I… um, it’s not a ring, obviously and I will get you one, a ring… I mean, but I want to do it right you know? With our family and friends because you deserve that. You deserve the best Bella, things have just been crazy but I want this now, I want you now… and forever”  Adam breathes out 

“It’s perfect Adam. I love it.” I tell him honestly feeling my smile reach all the way to my ears 

“Please put it on for me?” I ask 

I turn around handing Adam the chain. I hold my hair up so he can put the chain on; the cool gold ring resting on my chest. (Zoret) 

“Thank you Jellybean.” I tease him spinning around 

Adam chuckles, a deep red blush coloring his face. My heart nearly jumps out my chest at the sight of it so I wrap my arms around his neck and I kiss him again. Adam groans sending sparks of electricity through my body waking up all my senses. I have been wanting to please Adam the way he did to me but I have no idea how to do it. 

(Just ask!)  My mind screams 

I slowly pull away from our kiss staring into Adam’s beautiful amber orbs. I have never seen eyes like his and I cant get enough of them. 

“What?” he asks suspiciously 

“I want to… um, you know when we…”  I stutter motioning with my hand between us 

Adam’s signature smirk is back; looking at me and nodding. 

“I want to do that to you” 

“Oh” Adam says shocked, his smirk becoming a wide smile 

“I just… don’t know… how?” I tell him biting my lip 

“Fuck Bella, your inexperience is already such a damn turn on, can you please not bite your lip as well? I am trying really hard but I am just a guy.” Adam says running his hand over his face 

“Oh, it is? Really?  I ask surprised 

Adam nods staring at me in a way that makes my tummy flutter and I swallow hard not minding that I do in fact, feel like a little fawn being hunted. 

Okay… so?”  I whisper 

“Are you sure?’’ 

“Yes” 

“Alright. Take off your clothes little fawn.”

Peek a Boo

10 – The Devil’s Pet

On our way home I tell Adam everything about the building and the patients and about my mom. I also tell him what Infinity told me and he listens intently. After a few minutes of silence, just taking everything in he turns his head towards me 

“How did we miss they have the same names?” he asks 

“I don’t know, probably because we know him as Charlie and his surname is common”  I shrug 

“It’s fucking creepy” Adam says and I hum in agreement 

“I am not ready for a relationship with my mom but we need to get her out of there” I say softly 

“I understand Bella. I kind of feel the same way and I have no love for your mother but something about that place is just wrong.” 

I nod thinking over everything again. I am not ready to forgive my mom but I went in there wanting to kill her and I walked out wanting to save her. She has been living in pain and suffering for years and I just can’t be alright with that. How can anyone? They clearly abuse their patients and my mother is nowhere near as dangerous as the rest of the people down there, she doesn’t belong there. I shudder to think what they are doing to her as I wipe a silent tear from my cheek. I hate all these mixed emotions… 

“Hey, it’s alright little fawn… We will fix this” Adam says in a soft voice taking my hand in his. 

I nod with a small smile bringing our locked fingers to my lips and I kiss him on his knuckles. Adam flashes a toothy grin at me and he looks so adorable I cant help but giggle. Adam has this amazing ability to calm me down and make me feel loved. The more time I spend with him the more I fall in love with him. He has this side to him that very few people ever see and I treasure it. 

“Are you staring at me again because you feel you are allowed to?” he asks still grinning 

“Yes” 

“Good, I like it” he smirks 

That’s not weird at all…

9 – Crazy Apples

I look up at her making sure I am allowed to explore the very intimate parts of her. Bella nods and opens her legs for me. I want her to know she always has a choice and the right to say no even when we are married, especially given her past. I nod smiling, having a very good idea of what a hungry wolf must feel like. Bella melts in my hands as I pleasure her and I lock the image of her in complete ecstasy deep in my thoughts. Her eyes flutter open like she is waking up from a dream and I think time froze for a few minutes 

“You alright little fawn?” 

Bella nods out of breath and I crawl up the bed beside her propping myself up on my elbow. Bella turns her head looking at me with a smile. 

“That was… a lot of… wow” she says out of breath and I chuckle 

“I will give you a lot more of that” I say honestly and she blushed again 

“What about you?” she asks looking down at my strained pants. 

“I can take of it; I wanted you to enjoy yourself” 

Bella blushes again and suddenly rolls on her side burying her face in my chest. She clings to me and her soft lips brush against my skin sending Goosebumps up my arms. 

“Thank you” she whispers 

“For what?” I ask running my fingers through her hair 

“For being gentle and patient, I feel safe with you” She answers in a small voice 

I feel like there is a vice around my heart squeezing my emotions to a pulp. She has been so traumatized by her past that letting someone see her naked and pleasure her takes all the courage she has and it makes me so fucking angry that people did this to her but at the same time I am so grateful I get to share this with her and not some schmuck that’s just going to hurt her. 

“Baby, you take all the time you need. There is no pressure from me” I tell her honestly 

Bella nods kissing my chest and warmth floods me. We lay there for a few minutes and it doesn’t take long for her to drift to sleep. I get up slowly and silently, making my way to the shower. Was this ideal for me? No. Is Bella worth the wait? Absolutely, because once she understands I wont hurt her she will be mine; mind, body and soul and that shit is rare. 

Bella 

Adam and I left for Sunny Acres right after breakfast. We told Jo and Daisy that we decided to get married and I have never seen either of them so happy in my entire life. Jo will be dealing with the families and associates to inform them and to setup a few meetings for us. Since last night I can’t stop staring at Adam… He can be so domineering and forceful when it comes to my safety but never with my personal issues. I feel like Adam understands the dark struggle I have within me and that is rare – Adam is rare… 

“You ready little fawn?” 

“As ready as I will ever be” 

“Don’t worry honey, it will be fine and if for some reason it’s not fine we will deal with it” 

I stare at Adam just blinking. I have never met a man like him. He makes me feel like I am not broken, like I am wanted and like I am not alone. 

“What?” he asks confused 

“Nothing, I am allowed to stare at you” 

“Can’t argue” he says grinning “There is the place” 

Sunny Acres was built right outside of Derbermount, our neighboring town. The story goes that all the worst cases of people who had mentally… checked out; from all over the country was sent there. Apparently the people of the town did not want all that “crazy” so close to them. The institution was shut down for a couple of years after reports of children that had disappeared or mysteriously died were leaked by a former employee who committed suicide shortly after. Many people speculate the suicide was staged but they could find no proof. They discarded the old building on the property because people could not get rid of the smell coming from there even though police had searched every room and the grounds. They found small skeletal remains buried in the back garden of 23 children and that was obviously enough to shut them down and arrest the people responsible. They arrested the Psychiatric administrator, Doctor Charles Gresham and a nurse, Suzanne Kirby who he had an affair with. The doctor and the nurse was admitted to a different institution out of state as patients after being found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. So to sum it up there has never been anything sunny about Sunny Acres and looking at the new building in front of me I shudder to think what the old one must look like because this place was giving me the creeps. 

The dark stone building has an Ivy plant crawling up the front wall. The tall bulky building has many rooms like an old hotel, it seemed from the outside. All the windows have burglar bars in front of them and the grounds seem kept and neat. In the driveway right in front of the double wood doors is a apple tree. One single tree in the middle of all this; it looked out of place and in the way and there was no bench to sit under the tree. It just stood there looking all proud with its shinny red apples and I felt that, I felt that tree. (So you’re an apple tree in the driveway of a loony bin now? really?) I sigh internally at my thoughts as we approached the doors and Adam knocks. The doors slowly open with a creek and I grab Adam’s hand. He glances at me with a blank expression before turning his head back to the doors. We are greeted by a slender nurse with long brown hair and deep dark eyes that look like she can swallow you whole if you stare too long. 

“Welcome, my name is Veronica, please come in” 

I am both baffled and horrified by her voice. Her appearance frightens me in that “perfect on the outside but the devil inside” kind of way. Her voice sounds deep and musical and it doesn’t match the way she looks at all. It’s fucking creepy to be honest. 

“Thank you” Adam says with a nod and smile like we booked into some exotic hotel room in Hawaii and this is all very normal. 

I roll my eyes internally and follow him. Veronica stops in the middle of the voyeur turning around to meet our eyes. 

“This is Sunny Acres. We take great pride in the work we do here. We are passionate about serving and caring for people gifted to us, because every person is a gift” 

(For the demon monster you keep in the basement, no doubt) I think to myself

“Please sign in at the front desk and I will wait for you over there by the door” she says with a big smile that makes my heart rate speed up. 

“I will sign in and we will be there shortly”  Adam says 

“Oh, just immediate family” she drawls faking her disappointment 

I swallow hard and my eyes dart to Adam. He is clenching his jaw in disapproval like he always does just before people end up dead but he gently squeezes my hand 

“I hope that won’t be a problem” Veronica says still grinning 

“No, not at all; just bring her back to me the way you found her. We wouldn’t want the people we care about to go missing.” Adam says calmly in a deep cold voice tilting his head to the side and pining Veronica with a look. 

I glance at Adam and he is dead serious at the moment. It emphasizes to me that this man has been guarding me for most of my life and I relax a bit. Her smile falters and she nods in understanding. I walk over to the front desk and I am greeted by a young lady with a big beautiful afro and red rim glasses. Her brown eyes and smile are friendly and I can’t imagine how someone so sweet-looking survives in this hell hole. Her name-tag reads “Infinity” 

“Hello I am Infinity; sorry about the Hag we call her Morticia because “creepy-fucking-walking-dead” is frowned upon by Human Resources. Please sign your name and number here and the rest you can put there and there” Infinity says with a big smile pointing with the pen 

I giggle at her nodding “Noted, thank you” 

“No problem hun, just watch yourself in there. I never go in there if I don’t absolutely have to” 

“Why?” I ask 

“Too much bad energy, I keep my shit clean” she says breathing deeply and exhaling slowly 

“I’d very much like for my shit to be clean as well” I say smiling 

“Look if they get in your face just tell them you are going to call the purple man” she says shrugging 

Chills run down my spine and I do my best to quickly hide the shock on my face. 

“Who is the purple man?” 

“I have no idea but they are all scared to death of him. Sounds more like the boogeyman” 

“Thanks I will keep it mind” I say and turn around waking to Adam 

“Will you be okay?” he asks 

“Yeah, sure… I think, and you are right here” I say motioning towards him 

“Bella if you are not back in 30 minutes I promise you this place will see a whole different side of hell.” He says in a serious voice and I believe him with my whole heart 

“Okay” I whisper 

“Good luck little fawn” Adam says and kisses the top of my hand 

I smile at him and turn away walking towards the door. Veronica isn’t looking at me but past me at Adam and she swallows hard. I don’t need to look over my shoulder to know he just warned her in all kinds of colorful ways to make sure I am not harmed. I stop right in front of her and her eyes meet mine. She has a blank expression on her face. Swiping her card we walk into a smaller reception area and then onward to another door with steel mesh covering the door-lite. 

“When we enter through the next door stay in the middle of the hall and avoid eye contact. Don’t go near the doors and pay no attention to them. No one on this floor is likely to harm you but you never know. We will take the elevator to go to G2 for the patient you are looking for.” She explains as we walk in 

My fists are clenched at my sides and I mentally face palm myself for being so nervous because the people on this floor are mostly battling with things like eating disorders and depression, I mean it’s not like they can scare me to death with ice cream… (Brussels sprouts maybe) We pass several rooms and I try not to look but I cant help myself. We walk past a big room with couches and a television. Another room leads outside into a garden. There is an arts and crafts room and also a kitchen. Everyone seems calm and peaceful. We turn the corner and pass by the living quarters and shared bathrooms. We take another turn and stop in front of an orange door. 

“We will take the elevator just through these doors. Please stay close to me. Everyone is locked up but you never know.” 

“No problem” I say clearing my throat 

“If I may ask, why did you come to see Mildrid. No one ever comes for her.” 

I will not tell this woman anything but I also cant hide who I am because everyone knows the “girl who’s dad was murdered” so I answer her the way Jo taught me; I give the truth vaguely. 

“I have questions about a man she knew years ago although I feel this is a waist of time.” 

Veronica quickly hides the ghost of a smile that ran over her lips and the tingle in my gut starts clawing at my insides 

“Indeed, I’m afraid… she has never made sense in all the years I’ve known her” 

“You seem young, have you worked here long?” 

“I think it’s been 10 years now” 

“How is that possible?” 

“I started to volunteer here when I was 16. I’ve always had a passion for the “insane”  she says making air quotes with her fingers. 

“That’s very nice” I say with the best fake smile I can muster 

“What is it you do?” she asks in a condescending tone 

“I am a part-time antique curator and the rest of the time I pack fish” I chirp 

She doesn’t need to know part-time antique curator means “I am a professional thief” and by packing fish I mean “get rid of body parts” That’s the weekend job I told you we would get to. Jo taught me from day one how to pick locks and vaults and steal priceless art and antiques. I am really good at my job. 

“You pack fish?” she asks disgusted and I nod with a smile 

“All kinds” I say winking at her and she frowns but doeskin say anything else

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