Love In Miami
Bella entered the crime lab and looked around, trying to spot the familiar head of red hair. She took a step back as someone almost ran into her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to just stand still in the middle of traffic.” She said watching as he stumbled slightly.
“Oh.” He said his cheeks tinting slightly. “It was my fault. I got caught up in my work.” He rubbed the back of his neck in a nervous habit. “Um… Can I help you find something?”
Bella smiled, “I’m looking for Horatio Caine. Do you happen to know where he is?”
“Yeah, of course I do. Can I get your name?” He questioned nervously, something about her seemed to make him nervous.
“Isabella Swan, but he knows me better as Bella.” She responded with a warm smile.
“I’m Ryan. I’ll go find him for you, just wait right here.” He said as he walked away looking over his shoulder to make sure she hadn’t moved.
After looking just about everywhere, Ryan found Horatio in the lab. “Lieutenant, there’s a Bella waiting by the check in desk for you.”
Horatio turned and nodded. “Thank you, Mr. Wolfe. Can you escort her to my office, please?”
“Of course, sir.” Ryan responded, doing his best to hide the eagerness he felt as he turned and speed walked back to Bella. “He wants you to wait in his office.” He announced as soon as he was close enough to her.
Bella nodded with a smile. “Where is his office?”
Ryan smiled, “I’ll show you.” He responded eager to lead the way to Caine’s office. “Here on business?”
Bella smiled. “Not really, I’m here more on personal matters.” She looked as Ryan dropped his files by accident. Bella squatted down and helped him gather them together. She stood and smiled as his ears reddened and his face looked embarrassed. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed.” Bella said quietly as she opened Caine’s office door. “You’re charming, and being a little awkward only adds on to it.” Bella smiled widely before she entered the office. She turned back around seeing him run his hand through his hair. He was quite charming to her, she watched him for a moment before he turned and walked away.
Bella took in a deep breath and looked around the office. It was so bland that she could tell that he never really used it. She walked over to his desk setting her bag on top of it before she took a seat in his desk chair. She smiled and picked up the one picture he had on the desk. The one little token that proved that this was in fact his office.
“Your graduation photo.” Horatio said entering the office. “I still remember your speech; you’ve always had a gift with words.”
Bella looked up with a smile. “Yeah, the only reason I said yes to giving that speech was to make you proud, Pop. I wanted to make sure you knew how much I appreciate everything you’ve ever done for me.” Bella stood and approached her adoptive father embracing him in a tight hug. “I missed you, Pop.”
Horatio nodded, “You’re back in Miami permanently, correct?”
Bella nodded getting a bright smile on her face. “I got this office space downtown and I’m opening up my own office. I’m working mainly with children, I’ve teamed up with this wonderful program, and I’ll be offering my services at a very low cost to children from low income families that have suffered abuse. It’s going to be a good thing for me, Pop. I want to give back to the community.”
“What brought you in today?” Horatio said taking in Bella’s demeanor, he could tell by the stiffness in her shoulders that something was plaguing her mind. “Is there something wrong?”
Bella took in a deep breath. “Renee called.”
“How many times in the last month?” Horatio questioned. Knowing that any conversation with Renee disturbed Bella greatly as the woman only called Bella to harass her.
Bella sighed running a hand through her hair. “67 times in the last month.” Bella said with a sigh. “I’ve blocked three different numbers from my phone that she’s called from. I can’t do this anymore, Pop. I can’t change my number; my clients have this number. I need this to stop, I need her to stop. I have messages after messages of her insulting me and degrading me. She keeps telling me it’s all my fault… I don’t know what to do, Pop.”
Horatio nodded, “Go home, unpack those boxes, and meet me at your favorite restaurant at 8 for dinner. I’ll handle Renee.”
Bella nodded she ran her hands through her hair. “That woman has put me through 8 years of therapy, I’ve let her go, and I think it’s time she does the same. I don’t want her to ruin my life, Pop.”
“She won’t, sweetheart.” Horatio said offering his daughter an apologetic smile. “Go home, unpack and be ready for dinner.”
Bella sighed, “I unpacked all yesterday. I couldn’t take a moment to rest, you know I can’t stand all that mess. I suppose I should start on my office.” She grabbed her bag. “Eight, at Romano’s?”
“Eight at Romano’s.” Horatio agreed, he smiled as Bella hugged him. “I’ll see you later, sweetheart. Be safe.”
Bella nodded with a smile. “Always am, Pop.”
Bella walked out of her dad’s office and made her way to the elevator. She paused as Ryan was the only other person waiting for the elevator. “Doing okay, Ryan?”
He turned and smiled at her. “Better than before.”
“Good.” Bella said with a smile, she stepped into the elevator first being followed by Ryan.
“Do you, umm…” Ryan ran a hand through his hair. “I just got off of my shift, would you like to go get a cup of coffee?”
Bella smiled widely. “Instead of a coffee can I get a hot chocolate?” Bella teased.
“In this heat?” Ryan responded amused. “I think that’s a horrible idea. How about a compromise, and we get an ice tea?”
“Okay, but only if you agree to a muffin.” Bella responded with a smile, when the elevator dinged she exited with Ryan at her side. “There’s a small café around the corner. Would you like to walk?”
“I’d love to.” Ryan responded following her lead.
Bella smiled as Ryan was exactly on time to pick her up for their second date. With his schedule, they were going out to breakfast, something that greatly amused her. “Flowers?” She questioned as she took the small bouquet of tulips, her favorite. “And my favorites.”
Ryan smiled, “You mentioned it before, when we passed that flower shop on the way to the café. I thought it would be a good idea to start this date on a good note.”
Bella set them down at the table next to her door. “A good idea indeed. So, where to?”
“A diner, not that far from here. That way you don’t have to go far.” Ryan said apologetically. “I know it’s early…”
Bella grinned, “Ryan, waking up a little earlier than usual is worth it in this case.” She smiled as he took her hand in his and led the way.
“You know what I do for a living, so what is your occupation?” Ryan asked as they walked to the diner.
“I’m a therapist, I specialize in children.” Bella said as they walked. “No offense to your line of work, but working in law enforcement is something that terrifies me to no end.”
“You never thought of joining? I thought that was what you were doing at the lab with Horatio.” Ryan said moving to open the door for her.
Bella shook her head with a smile. “No, I told you, I was there on personal business.” Bella let Ryan lead the way to a booth in the corner. “He’s my dad, I go in to see him when I can. I just moved back to Miami, so I wanted to see him while I had some free time.”
“Where were you before?” Ryan asked as he thanked the waitress for their menu’s.
“New York.” Bella said quietly. “I was working in an office, and it just wasn’t fulfilling. It didn’t give me what I wanted.”
“What did you want?” Ryan questioned curiously.
Bella smiled, “I want to help children who needed my help. I didn’t want to get paid to listen to a conceited, spooled heiress complain about her life. I wanted to be able to help someone, I just want to be able to make someone’s life better.” She blushed lightly knowing she was talking too much about herself. “What about you? What made you join the lab?”
“I was working patrol.” Ryan responded as he set his menu down and looked to Bella. “I wanted to be able to follow a case until the end. Help solve it, in patrol all you do is take the statements and hand the case over and move on to a new one. I wanted to be able to give the victim some peace.”
Bella smiled truly interested in his words. “Was this something you always wanted to do?”
“No.” Ryan said nervously. “I wanted to be a math teacher for a while, but then I started University and that all changed.”
“I went through a phase where I wanted to be a circus performer.” Bella said with a serious face, she smiled and joined Ryan in laughter. “We all have secret dreams we wanted to accomplish as a kid.”
Bella turned in her bed and smiled at the head of short brown hair on the pillow beside her. The weight around her stomach let her know that he was still holding her. She moved closer and gently brushed her lips against his. She closed her eyes and brushed her lips against him one more time with a little more pressure. She smiled as his arm pulled her closer and their kiss deepened, her hand tangled in his hair and she held him close.
Pulling back to breathe, Bella rested her forehead against his own. “I have to get to work in an hour.”
“I should get up too.” Ryan responded leaning forward slightly, just enough to brush his lips against hers.
Bella smiled. “A few more minutes wouldn’t really hurt.”
Ryan nodded, moving to hover on top of Bella. He kissed her deeply taking in her warm scent. He groaned as his phone rang interrupting their moment. “Duty calls.”
“Go ahead and answer that, I’ll start making the coffee.” Bella said getting out of the bed, she grabbed Ryan’s shirt and draped it on buttoning a few of the buttons. “I have that extra set of clothes you left here the other night. I got them dry cleaned for you!”
Ryan smiled and watched her walk out of the room. He answered the call getting the location for his next case. He walked over to Bella’s closet seeing that there was in fact one of his suits hanging there waiting for him. He grabbed it and walked into the bathroom changing and washing his face quickly. He smiled as his toothbrush was already there.
Two months with Bella and he had never felt so close to anyone in his life. To others, it may seem like they were moving quickly, but to him and Bella it felt just perfect. He walked into the kitchen fixing the cuffs on his shirt. “Something smells great.”
Bella smiled pushing a cup towards him. “Black, no milk, two sugars and just a little bit of vanilla. I also packed a muffin for you, so you can eat it on the road.”
“Thank you.” Ryan said, he leaned over and kissed her quickly. “I’ll call you later?”
Bella nodded, “If I don’t answer I’m in an appointment. I’ll meet you for dinner?”
Ryan nodded with a smile. “Sure, any place you want.”
Bella smiled and walked him to the door. She sighed as he kissed her one final time before he left to get to work. She smiled to herself, she loved the mornings she could wake up with him, they always set her day on a happy tone.
“I got two tickets to that art gallery downtown.” Ryan said with a smile. “Want to go with me?”
Bella smiled, “I’d love to go, Ryan. Let me change out of my work clothes.” Bella hurriedly walked into her room and tried to calm her racing heart. She knew exactly what show Ryan was talking about, and she was getting nervous. That part of her life, she was hoping she could figure out a right way to tell him about it. Getting into a formal dress Bella went back into the living room and smiled at Ryan. “Ready to go.”
Ryan smiled, and held out his hand to her. “Want to get something to eat before?”
Bella nodded “The show won’t open for a couple hours, so we have time to get something to eat.”
Bella began to become more and more nervous as they got closer to the gallery. She fidgeted slightly as they made their way around the gallery. She paused as she came upon her painting, she remembered when she painted it. It was directly after Renee had last contacted her, now looking back to the painting she realized how much she actually liked the piece.
“It must’ve taken whomever painted this hours to finish.” Ryan said breaking Bella’s thought bubble.
Bella smiled, 3.5 hours, she thought to herself. “It has a lot of detail.”
“ISABELLA!” a voice said behind her and Bella inwardly groaned to herself.
Ryan turned and looked over his shoulder as the woman approached. He looked to Bella as she turned around to face the woman.
Bella accepted the hug the woman offered and stepped back into Ryan’s embrace. “Tracy, this is Ryan. Ryan, this is my old friend, Tracy.”
Tracy smiled widely at Ryan. “How does it feel to be with the star of the show? Admiring your own painting, Bella, I thought you were more modest?” The girl laughed and turned to the painting. “I’ve already got several offers on it! Isn’t that just fabulous!”
Bella nodded her blush rising to tint her cheeks. “That’s great, Tracy.”
“I’ll deliver the check to your office on Monday.” Tracy said with a smile. “I’ll leave you two to look around.”
Ryan smirked, “So you have a side job?”
Bella frowned, “It’s a hobby from which I make money.”
Ryan chuckled lightly. “A side job.”
Bella groaned and rested her head on his shoulder. “This isn’t something I tend to tell people.”
Ryan smiled, “Do you want to leave? You’ve been acting a little weird since we got here, I can see why now.”
Bella nodded. “Want to go get ice cream? My treat.”
Ryan took Bella’s hand and led her out. He let her lead the way to an ice cream shop that wasn’t that far away. He didn’t say a word knowing that eventually she would speak to him about it, they sat down in a booth sitting side by side instead of across from each other.
“It started as a form of therapy.” Bella said quietly as she played with her hands on the table. “My therapist told my dad that it would be best if I adopted some sort of hobby. My dad knew I hated sports, I fell down too much and I kept getting hurt. Instead, he put me in some art classes after school. I started to enjoy what I was doing. It got to the point that my Christmas presents would be art supplies.”
“How did you get into selling them?” Ryan questioned as he pushed her ice cream towards her to get her to eat it before it became soup.
“I got accepted to Columbia University. It’s an expensive school and I didn’t want my dad to pay for it, so I used the inheritance that was left to me by my biological father and paid for my first semester. I told my dad that I got a full scholarship and that there wasn’t anything to worry about.” Bella said running her hand through her hair. “I figured I’d get a part time job and I would save enough money every semester to pay for the next semester.”
“I’m guessing that your plan didn’t work out?” Ryan questioned curiously.
Bella shook her head. “No, I started getting really stressed out. That’s when I started painting again, it relieved the stress and it always made me feel better. This girl that lived next door to me asked me for one of my paintings to give to her aunt for her birthday. I agreed and gave her one of the ones I had stacking up in the corner. It turns out that her aunt was a very wealthy lady, and during a dinner party she had, a lot of her guests started asking about the painting and who it was from. In a matter of days, I had 10 different calls from people wanting to buy one of my paintings.”
“You paid your way through school by selling your paintings?” Ryan questioned curiously.
Bella nodded, “One of the first ladies that had called me, she told me that her husband owned an art gallery for starting artists and that he was interested in showing one of my paintings.” Bella smirked. “I was lucky because of this girl’s aunt, several people wanted my paintings. I made 5,000 dollars on the first night, after that I was part of a lot of galleries. I sold about 15 paintings while I was in college, and I paid off everything. After I started to work, I didn’t sell them as much, there really wasn’t a need to. Every once and a while, I’ll get anxious or stressed and I’ll paint something. Then I send it to a gallery to be sold.”
“Why don’t you ever keep them?” Ryan questioned curiously. “They’re beautiful.”
Bella grinned, “Ryan, what am I going to do with so many paintings? All my apartment walls would be covered in them. From time to time, I’ll give one to my dad or Alex, that’s as close as I get to keeping them.”
Ryan smiled, “I’ve never seen any art supplies at your place.”
“Ryan,” Bella said turning to look at him. “You really think I’d leave a mess out in the open with you around? I know how much that sort of thing bothers you. I like to keep my art supplies organized and tucked away.”
Ryan smiled, no one had ever cared so much about his OCD to go out of their way to keep things organized. “You’re going to have to show me photos of your other paintings.”
Bella grinned and looked at Ryan. “Not a problem, I have a scrapbook of all of them.”
Bella sat curled up with Ryan on her couch, a scrapbook was on his lap and she had her head resting on his shoulder.
“This one?” Ryan questioned curiously. “It has an enormous amount of detail. Is it about Horatio?”
Bella shook her head, she knew it would seem as if it were about her dad seeing as it was a cop with his back turned and a pair of wings on his back. “No. I painted it free hand on the 30th birthday of Charlie.”
“You don’t speak a lot about him.” Ryan said quietly.
Bella nodded, “It’s hard to talk about him. I never really knew him growing up, all I know about him was what my dad knew about him.”
“What happened to him?” Ryan questioned as he looked over the picture.
“He died when I was 3 years old.” Bella said looking over the picture. “He was in Seattle one day and got caught up in a bank robbery. He jumped in front of a little girl and took the bullet that was meant for her. It went straight through his heart, he died instantly.”
“What did you do with this painting?” Ryan questioned, “Did you keep it?”
Bella shook her head. “I couldn’t keep it. There was this guy, he lived down the hall from me, and when he saw I was taking it out of my apartment, he stopped and commented how much it looked like his father. He told me that his father was NYPD and died a little over a year ago. I gave him the painting and he gave it to his mother.”
Ryan flipped to the next page of the scrap book. “I’m curious.” He said as he kept looking through the book. “Whatever happened to your mother?”
“After my dad died, my mom moved to Arizona. She was always a little angry that my dad’s insurance money and savings was left to me and I wouldn’t have access to it until I was 18. They had officially divorced a week before his death so she had no right to the money. I suppose, this made her resent me. My mom is Horatio’s younger sister, growing up my uncle would come out to Arizona to visit me every few months. When I was five, my mom drove me to my dad’s home and she told him that she had to attend a teacher convention in Las Vegas, but she couldn’t find anyone to babysit me. My dad didn’t think twice; he took care of me for a week before he realized she wasn’t coming back.” Bella said her fingers tracing circles down Ryan’s arm.
“Horatio adopted you after that?” Ryan questioned curiously.
Bella shook her head. “He couldn’t adopt because Renee still had parental rights to me. Horatio started sending me to a therapist when I was six, he didn’t want me to suffer even more because of what my mother did. I told me therapist how much I wanted him to be my dad, but how scared I was that he wouldn’t want that. She told him that, she let him know what I wanted and my dad set out on a mission. He tracked down Renee and found her living in California, she was married to this baseball player named Phil. My dad went to speak to her, there was a problem as her current husband didn’t know that she had a daughter, and Renee didn’t want that getting out. She signed over her parental rights and told my dad that she didn’t want to see him or me ever again. After that, the adoption process was easy, and once everything was settled and done I could call him my dad, officially.”
“Have you spoken to her?” Ryan questioned.
“Renee got divorced with her husband around the time I started university. I guess she remembered that I was getting a big check by then, and she called demanding that I help her find a place. I told her no and that was the end of it. For a while. A while ago, she found my number from my business card and started calling insistently. At first she wanted my help, leaving voicemails about how much she loved me. When I never answered she started getting nasty, leaving cruel and hateful messages. My dad took care of it, she hasn’t called in months.”
Ryan tilted his head recognizing a painting. “This is in Alex’s office.”
Bella grinned, “Yeah, Alex loves daisies. I made that for her and gave it to her for Christmas, she was always really nice to me when I was growing up. I wanted to give her something in return, she almost cried.”
Ryan smiled as Bella leaned forward just slightly to kiss his neck. “Do you have any in progress?”
Bella blushed lightly, “Umm… no.”
“You’re the worst liar, Bella.” Ryan responded, he closed the book and set it down on the coffee table. He wrapped his arms around Bella. “Why be a therapist when you have a strong career as an artist?”
“I’m not helping anyone but myself when I’m an artist.” Bella responded she rested her head on his chest. “And I think I’m a wonderful liar.”
“You bite your inner left cheek when you lie.” Ryan responded with a fond smile.
Bella smiled as she stood with her back to her car and Ryan stood directly in front of her. She ran her hands up and fixed his hair. “What are the chances you’re going to meet me for dinner tonight?”
“I don’t see why not.” Ryan said, “Hopefully it’ll be a slow day.”
Bella leaned up her arms going around his neck. “Call me if something happens and we have to cancel our plans.”
“Going straight to work?” Ryan questioned as he rested his forehead against hers.
Bella shook her head, “No. I have to stop by the bank, I’m having a problem accessing my account.”
Ryan closed the distance between them and kissed her. He didn’t have long as he too had to get to work soon. “I’ll see you later, Bella.”
Bella smiled and nodded, “Stay safe, Ryan.”
Bella got into her car and waved at Ryan before she drove off. She made it to the bank in perfect time, Bella walked in and smiled as she was immediately assisted by one of the clerks. Bella turned her head as a flood of children entered.
“Sorry for the noise.” The woman helping her said. “We have a field trip scheduled for today.”
Bella smiled, “It’s not a problem, a child can get excited over the simplest of things. I’m sure seeing how a bank works is the center of their world today.”
“Do you have children?” The woman questioned curiously.
“No, I’m a child therapist.” Bella responded looking to see the face of all the children as they formed a line behind the manager of the bank. Bella’s eyes glanced to the door and in a matter of seconds everything went cold inside her. She noticed the man’s gun in his hand and she knew this was going to be a bad day.
Ryan arrived at the bank and walked up to Horatio ready to hear the plan. He had a bad feeling creep up his neck and he looked over the parking lot. His eyes landed on the red mustang, the one with the Columbia University Alumni sticker. “Horatio.” Ryan said not taking his eyes off the car.
“Something the matter, Mr. Wolfe?” Horatio questioned turning to look at him.
“Red mustang in the parking lot.” He said turning to look at the car. “That’s Bella’s car.”
Horatio didn’t question how Ryan knew, his mind was already whirling with the thought that his daughter could be in danger. “I suppose we have a real problem now.”
Bella looked at the man who was getting nervous his gun pointing at everyone. She looked at the little girl who was next to her. She had been grazed by a stray bullet and was bleeding profusely. Bella pulled off the small black rope bracelet she always wore. She looked to the little girl who was starting to hyperventilate. “What’s your name, sweetie?”
“Katie.” The girl whispered tears staining her cheeks.
Bella nodded, “I’m Bella.” Bella took off her scarf and put it around the girl’s wound to help stop the bleeding. “You’re going to be just fine, Katie.”
Katie shook her head. “He’s going to kill us.”
Bella shook her head, she held the black bracelet in front of the girl. “This is my lucky bracelet. My dad gave it to me when I was 6 and no matter what, as long as I wore this I was always okay.” Bella placed it on the little girl’s wrist. “Just keep this on, and no matter what happens I promise this is going to give you a lot of luck.”
Katie looked down to the bracelet and then to Bella. “You promise?”
Bella nodded, “Cross my heart.” Bella responded, she moved from sitting beside the girl to sitting in front of her needing to protect her.
“She’s going to bleed out.” Bella said to the gunman.
“SHUT UP!” The man yelled pointing his gun at Bella. He looked to the little girl and banged his hand on his head. “It wasn’t supposed to go this way!”
Bella nodded her head, “If the little girl dies or if they find out she’s in here and bleeding out, there is nothing stopping them from crashing through that door. All you need is one hostage, get rid of the rest and you’ll be able to buy yourself some time.”
The man looked to Bella and kept his gun pointed at her. He walked closer to her and pulled her up by her hair startling all the other children. “Who the hell are you?”
“I’m Lieutenant Caine’s daughter.” Bella said trying to keep her emotions censored. “You don’t need any of them as long as you have me. My dad’s not going to let them come in here as long as my life is in your hands.”
The man nodded, he jumped as the phone rang. He pulled Bella by the hair with him before answering the phone. “I don’t want them to use that voice recognition software on me. Put it on speaker, and you’ll be the one talking.”
“This is Special Negotiations Agent Mark Smith speaking. May I know who I’m speaking with?” the man said.
The man put a gun to Bella’s head and pulled her head back. “I want your dad on the line, and I want him now.”
Bella took in a deep breath. “Agent Smith, my name is Bella Swan and I currently have a gun pointed at my head. The gunman would like to speak to Horatio Caine, my father.” She winced as he pulled her back throwing her to the floor. She looked as the gunman hung up the phone, she looked to the side and saw the little girl that was bleeding out. She knew once this was all over she was sure to receive several lectures once this was all done with. She looked up to see the gunman with his gun pointed to her head again. She swallowed back and stood, she winced out as he grabbed her hair again and pulled her to the phone as it began to ring.
Bella put it on speaker and took in a deep breath.
“Lieutenant Caine speaking.” Horatio said and Bella felt a large since of relief pass through her as she heard her dad’s voice. “I want to know how the hostages are doing.”
“I want them all to step back.” The man whispered into Bella’s ear. “Get them to step back or I blow your brains out in front of them. They have three minutes or I plaster your brain on these walls.”
“He’s asking for everyone to take a step back. You have three minutes or he pulls the trigger and kills me.” Bella said doing her best to control the tremble in her voice. She hissed out as the man pulled her away from the phone before hanging up. He kept his gun on her but Bella didn’t budge.
“Do you know what’s going to happen next?” The man said with a frown.
“You let the others go free and during the commotion outside you try to escape out the back door.” Bella said gulping as the man grew closer with his gun still on her.
“You have an awful lot of advice on this.” The man said. “Why is that?”
Bella shrugged, “Too much Law and Order, I suppose.”
“I don’t think you’re that funny.” The man said he pulled Bella by the hair over to the window. He stood behind her and looked as the cops had moved back. “Looks like you get to live for a little longer.” With a simple motion of his hand he threw Bella to the ground. Bella whimpered out slightly as she knew she was going to get a bruise on the back of her head. She met the eyes of the little girl Katie and gave her a warm smile.
Horatio turned to Ryan. “Mr. Wolfe, do we have access to the cameras inside.”
“Eric is working on it now; without the manager’s password it’s going to take a bit of time.” Ryan said fidgeting from foot to foot. “Are all exists covered?”
Horatio didn’t answer as he saw the bank doors open and a sea of people rushing out. His eyes landed on the little girl that was screaming as the teacher carried her out.
“NO!” Katie yelled in worried. “BELLA!”
Horatio hurried over to the little girl and kneeled down in front of her. He noticed the bracelet on her hand, “Did she give this to you?”
The little girl shrieked back from him but nodded. “She said it would give me luck, but it took away her luck.”
Horatio nodded, “What’s your name, sweetie?”
“Katie.” She squeaked.
“I’m Horatio, and I need to know if the woman that gave you that bracelet is still alive.” Horatio responded as he watched the little girl.
“He took her!” Katie said with tears in her eyes. “The bad man took her! He’s going to hurt her! You can’t let him hurt her!”
Horatio nodded. “Don’t worry about that, no one is going to hurt her.”
Bella screamed out in pain as the man shoved her into the car. She had no idea that the bank’s vent system was connected to the bakery next door, this guy was smart, but she knew he had to have a partner. It’s the only possibility.
Bella put her hand over the open wound on her side, she had cut herself on broken glass and now she was paying for it. Bella looked on in worry as the man tied her hands together. “Where are we going?”
“We’re not going anywhere.” The man said as he drove. “I don’t need you anymore.”
Bella closed her eyes in fear as she knew what this meant. She’d seen his face, and now he was going to kill her. Bella looked on as he pulled up to a small lake, she struggled to free her hands noticing him picking up a large boulder. “Please, don’t do this.” She said as she struggled against the ropes.
“Sorry, you’re disposable, but at least those kids got to live another day, right?” The man said he put the boulder on the gas pedal and reached over and put the car into drive.
Bella shouted out at the top of her lungs as the car surged forward and it started to get submerged in the water. The windows were down and it was all filling with water. “FUCK!” Bella shouted in anger as she struggled against her restraints. Bella took in a deep breath as she went underwater, she needed to get out of the water.
“Horatio.” Ryan said approaching his boss. “911 just got a call, they found a girl fitting Bella’s description out by a lake, she’s alive but unconscious, EMT’s didn’t find any ID on her. They’re not sure if it’s her.”
“Go to the hospital.” Horatio responded, the anger in his tone evident as this had become more than personal. No one got to hurt his little girl and live to tell the tale. “Call me as soon as you know anything.”
Ryan nodded, he didn’t need to be told twice, he was going to the hospital in hopes that his Bella was there and that she was going to be alive.
The drive to the hospital was quick with the sirens on and the hummer in full speed. He rushed in immediately and sighed in relief as they took him to the girl they had found. It was his Bella, and the monitors let him know that she was still alive.
“She had a wound on her torso, but we were able to clean it and get it stitched up. She fainted as soon as she got out of the water, a passing car found her. She had minor bruising on her head, assumingly from a fall, and partial bruising on her arms and back. All of which should clear up within a few days. Doctors gave her some pain medicine and are letting her sleep, her body is exhausted and they don’t want her to put anymore strain on it.” The nurse said as she looked over the paperwork.
Ryan nodded. “Thanks.” He muttered before entering the room. He quickly sent a message to Horatio, before he pulled up a chair at her bedside. He reached out and took her hand in his, running his finger over her wrist. “Dammit, Bella. I thought you said it was just going to be a quick trip to the bank.”
Hours passed and Horatio finally arrived at the hospital, Alex directly behind him. They paused at the window of the room, they both saw Ryan at her bedside her hand in his. The two of them were softly talking, Bella’s eyes red and puffy as she had her head turned in Ryan’s direction.
“How long do you think they’ve been together?” Alex questioned quietly. “She looks so in love, Horatio.”
“I think it’s been more than a few months, Alex.” Horatio said in thought. “They met the day Bella returned to Miami and came into the lab.”
Alex laughed lightly. “Have you ever seen that girl with such a moony look in her eyes?”
Bella blinked her eyes repeatedly as she adjusted to the light. “Ryan?”
Ryan sat up and pulled the chair closer. “Thank god! I was thinking about splashing some water on your face to get you to wake up.”
Bella smiled turning her head to fully look at him. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to cause so much trouble”
“You shouldn’t have told him you were a cop’s daughter. You put yourself in the line of fire.” Ryan said reaching forward to push the hair out of her face.
“Ryan, do you know how much damage this sort of situation can have on a kid? He was going to start shooting, I saw it in his eyes. I did what I knew would allow those kids to get away from the danger. The little girl, Katie, is she okay?” Bella said worried.
“She’s fine, they’ve stitched her up and she’s with her parents.” Ryan responded he took in a deep breath. “I have never been so terrified in my life.”
Bella smiled, “Are you sure? You were pretty scared when we watched that horror movie the other week.”
Ryan chuckled lightly. “I was not that scared.”
“Ryan, sweetheart.” Bella said smiling. “You kept waking up and checking if the windows were locked.”
“I was trying to make sure you were safe.” Ryan said with a smile, his face fell slightly. “I should’ve protected you today.”
“I’m fine, Ryan.” Bella said, she reached forward and stroked his cheek. “I’m feeling extremely better knowing you’re here.”
Bella and Ryan looked up as Horatio and Alex entered. “Dad, Alex.” Bella said trying to sit up, she smiled as Ryan helped her as he put the bed in a more comfortable position for her. “Thank you.” Bella whispered she turned back to the two in front of her. “I’m sorry that you had to come all the way here for me.”
“You kidding, babygirl?” Alex said approaching. “You’re like my daughter, I had to make sure you were doing okay. How you feeling, baby? I heard you were trying to play the hero.”
Bella smiled, “You know me, Alex. I have to be the center of attention.” Bella responded in a joking matter.
Horatio took Bella’s distraction to look at Ryan. He saw the man stand and step away from the bed. “Going somewhere, Mr. Wolfe?”
Ryan nervously rubbed the back of his neck. “I thought I’d give you some space.”
Horatio shook his head, “Take a seat, Mr. Wolfe.” Horatio put his hands in his pockets. “My daughter wants you here, so you will be here.”
“Dad.” Bella sighed, “I’m fine. My assistant has rescheduled my appointments, and I’ll only be taking emergency sessions. You don’t have to worry about me.”
Horatio placed his hands on his hips. “I think you should revisit Mrs. Remington.”
Bella smiled, “I know. I already called her, I can’t go into her office so we’ll be doing this session by skype.”
“Good. Do you have everything you need here?” Horatio questioned as he looked around.
“Yes. My laptop is here, my fridge is stocked and my art supplies are waiting for me.” Bella said she ran her hands through her hair. “I was going to tell you about us. Ryan and I.”
Horatio nodded. “Are you happy, Isabella?”
Bella nodded her hand playing with the material of the sofa she was in. “Ryan makes me feel safe. I feel comforted knowing he’s there for me.” Bella smiled and shook her head. “It was instant, dad. I saw him and I remember it caught me off guard and then I got to know him and I was a goner. I kept thinking of ways to tell you, but I was scared that you would disapprove, and then I’d be put in that position of having to choose between the two of you.”
Horatio kneeled down in front of Bella. “All I have ever wanted for you was a life where you’re happy. You deserve to feel happy, and if Mr. Wolfe can provide you with that then I can support your relationship.”
Bella smiled, “Thanks, dad.” She leaned back on the sofa. “You can go; I know you’re itching to get to work. Save some lives, and do what you have to.”
“I’ll call frequently. Tell me if something is wrong.” Horatio said standing, he leaned over and kissed the top of her head.
“Be safe, dad!” Bella called out to him.
Ryan knocked on the door but didn’t receive an answer. He reached into his pocket using the key Bella had given him to open the door. He closed it behind him and entered, he walked slowly into the living room to see Bella curled into the corner of the sofa with a sketch pad on her lap and a large pair of headphones on her head. He crept closer and once he was on the other end of the sofa Bella looked up. He scrunched his eyebrows together as she blushed and closed the sketch pad. “Feeling okay?” He questioned worriedly.
Bella smiled setting the pad on the coffee table. “Yeah, I’m bored out of my mind, but I’m feeling okay. Two more days and I’ll be able to go to work.”
Ryan took a seat beside her. “Your head still hurting?”
“A little, but not too much. I put on noise cancelling headphones to try and block out everything.” Bella responded moving to rest her head on his shoulder curling herself around him. “I’d ask how your work day went, but I feel like I might get a little jealous that you get to work.”
Ryan chuckled, “If it makes you feel any better, I spent the majority of my day rummaging through sewers.”
“Oh the fun.” Bella responded with a smile, she pressed her face into the collar of his shirt. “At least you don’t smell horrible.”
“I’m assuming your sense of smell is a little off.” Ryan responded his hand coming up to stroke her hair. “What were you drawing?”
Bella shook her head. “Nothing of importance.” She slyly kicked the sketch book to the floor. “Why don’t you go shower and get into some pajamas and I’ll order us some take out. We can laze around for the rest of the night.”
Ryan nodded, he leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “Do I still have some sweats here?”
Bella nodded, “Yeah, they’re in the closet.” She looked up at him as he stood. “Any preferences on what to get?”
Ryan shook his head. “No, go ahead and get whatever you want.”
Bella smiled and stretched out on the sofa. “Good, I’ll be right here when you come out.” Bella smiled and reached for her phone scrolling through the contacts finding Ryan’s favorite pizza place, she ordered them a meal.
Ryan exited Bella’s room and looked on amusement as she was curled up on her side and asleep. He looked around and couldn’t stop himself as he went to pick up the sketch book on the floor. It was starting to bother him that it was there, he reached down and picked it up. He sighed as one of the sheets of paper slid out and onto the floor. He picked it up and opened the sketch book to place it inside. He stopped startled as he saw a picture of himself in the book, and it was incredibly accurate.
Ryan couldn’t help himself as he flipped through the book. Seeing the occasional drawing of himself, there were others, Horatio, Alex, Eric, and that little girl from the bank.
“I do them when I get bored. I think they’re better than pictures, this is exactly what I see.” Bella said rubbing her eye and sitting up on the couch. “I didn’t want you to see them because I didn’t want you to think I was weird.”
Ryan chuckled, “You’re anything but weird, Bella. You’re utterly amazing, how the hell do you manage to do it?” He took a seat beside her and looked through the sketches. “This is amazing.”
Bella smiled and shuffled closer to him resting her head on his shoulder. “You don’t think it’s a little creepy.”
“I think it’s flattering.” Ryan said turning his head to kiss her, he tangled his hand in her hair and brought her in closer. He groaned out at the ring of the doorbell. “Delivery guys have the worst timing. I bet you he was waiting for the worst moment to announce himself.”
Bella laughed, “You think he was waiting just outside the door to interrupt?”
“That’s exactly what I think.” He responded as he smiled and walked over to the door.
Bella blinked her eyes open as this was her last day before she could get to work, but her phone was ringing insistently. She reached over and picked it up. “Bella Swan, speaking.”
“Miss Swan!” A woman said in a panic. “Jamie’s in with the cops, I can’t… I don’t know what to do! He didn’t do anything I swear! He’s not capable of this sort of thing! Please! He’s acting out! I can’t control him! He’s screaming for you!”
“Mrs. Gwen, you have to calm down. Text me the address and I will be there soon.” Bella said jumping out of her bed and already shuffling around the room getting her things. “I want you to call a lawyer, I want legal presentation available for Jamie, I don’t him to be interrogated by police any longer. Do this immediately, I want that lawyer present before I arrive.” Bella hung up the phone and quickly changed into her work clothes. She grabbed her suitcase and filled it with a few things before she grabbed her phone and exited the apartment in a hurry.
Bella arrived at the department to come face to face with Detective Tripp and her father. She looked to the man standing beside Jamie’s mother. “How is he?”
“He won’t talk!” She exclaimed in a sob. “These monsters are blaming him for the murder of our neighbor!”
“Jamie isn’t mentally stable.” The lawyer said pulling out a medical file. “I’m requesting that you allow his therapist time to see him.”
“That is far too dangerous.” Horatio said in gruff voice. “Jamie has already attempted to attack two of my officers.”
“Your two officers approached a boy who has been known to hallucinate.” The lawyer said. “Jamie has been under the care of Miss Swan for months, he has not attempted to hurt her before. He will not attempt to hurt her now. I want to clear my client’s name, and you want to catch your killer. Allowing his therapist to speak to him will help both sides.”
“We’ll bring him into an interrogation room. One sign of violence and we take him back.” Horatio said staring pointedly of Bella. “Tripp will escort you to the room while our officers bring Jamie over.”
Bella nodded she followed Tripp and entered the room. She sat down at the table immediately taking out a pack of colored pencils and an empty sketch pad. She placed her hands on the table, only looking up as Jamie stepped into the room being escorted by her boyfriend. She ignored Tripp’s disapproval and looked to Jamie. “Hello Jamie.” She said softly. “Do you know who I am?”
Jamie looked up his eyes seeming glazed over, but he nodded his head, whispering out a soft, “Swan.”
Bella smiled, “I heard you’ve had an interesting day.” Bella said she moved her chair so she was sitting beside him. She pulled the sketch pad forward, and opened it. She ripped out a page and set it in front of herself before she slid the pad over to him. “I see you’re not in a talking mood, so why don’t you draw for me what you did today, and I’ll do the same.”
Bella smiled as he reached forward grabbing a pencil and she grabbed her pen and began to slowly sketch beside him. She looked over as he stopped and set the sketch pad down. “That’s amazing, Jamie!” She said looking over the picture, there was obviously a dragon and a fairy, both looking threatening. “You had to fight off the bad guys, right?”
Jamie nodded, “They hurt her, they were going to hurt me too.” He whispered quietly and he looked around before his gaze fell back on Bella. He leaned in. “We’re not safe.”
Bella nodded, “You saw the monsters didn’t you, Jamie?”
Jamie nodded, “I’ll show you.” He whispered grabbing the sketch pad and flipping to a new page.
Ryan looked in on the interrogation room ready to move as in any moment this kid could attack Bella. He watched as Bella tore out a page from the sketch book before standing up. He looked at her as she entered the area.
“Jamie didn’t attack the officers because he was running from them.” Bella said crossing her arms over her chest. “He attacked because he was scared and thought they were coming after him.” She handed her father the drawing. “Jamie has difficulty telling reality from fiction, he sees everyone as some sort of creature. Mrs. Robinson, she’s the alligator, your suspects are the lions, they’re identical, you’re looking for twins. Jamie said he woke up in the middle of the night, he looked out his window and saw her being killed. He hid in his closet and when he saw the officers he thought they were working with the lions and were coming after him.”
“The boy is a murder witness, not a killer.” The lawyer said. “You have no evidence placing him at the scene of the crime. I’m asking that you let him go home with his mother, he needs to be in a safe environment. Being here is only hurting his mental stability.”
Bella turned back around as Jamie started to cry. “Jamie lives by a strict schedule; every minute he spends here he gets worse.” She opened the door to the room and headed back inside. She walked over to Jamie and kneeled down beside him. “Jamie, it’s snack time, isn’t it?” She reached into her bag and pulled out a small kid’s bag of gummies. She opened it and handed it to Jamie watching his demeanor change. She watched as he set up the dinosaur gummies by color before he ate them. She pulled out a bottle of water and opened it for him.
“A T-rex is scary.” Jamie whispered as he set that dinosaur aside, he grabbed the bottle of water and took a drink from it before he went back to sorting the gummies.
Bella smiled as he ate them ignoring the T-rex. Bella looked on in astonishment as he handed her the T-rex. “What’s this?”
Jamie leaned down towards Bella. “You’re stronger than the T-rex.” He whispered.
“You’re stronger than him too, Jamie.” Bella whispered setting the gummy down. “Why don’t you draw me a picture of something that makes you feel strong.”
Bella looked up as Jamie’s mother entered the room. The lawyer following in after, he nodded her way and Bella grinned. “Jamie, it’s time to go, you’re going to go home and read with your mom.”
Jamie stood, before his mother could take him out of the room he leaned back towards Bella. “What about them?”
Bella stood up, “Do you remember what I told you?” She said looking down at him.
Jamie nodded, “Mommy won’t let them hurt me.” He looked up at her with wide eyes. “And I can call you if there is an emergency.”
Bella smiled, “Exactly, now, your mommy is going to take you home. You’re going to be safe from those lions.” Bella stood and watched them walk out, she gathered her things together and went to walk out, she took in a deep breath as she saw Ryan waiting for her. “In my defense, I did tell you that I was only taking emergency calls.”
Ryan nodded, “How’s your head?”
“I’m fine, I promise.” Bella said with a smile. “You were the officer Jamie attacker weren’t you?”
Ryan shrugged, “He wasn’t too happy to see me.”
Bella smiled, “You’re the evil dragon.” Bella said with a smile, she reached up and ran her hand through his hair and down his cheek. “Have to admit.” She whispered. “Seeing you at work, huge turn on.”
Ryan smirked, “Remember this feeling for when I’m not on the clock.”
Bella grinned, “Of course.” She smiled. “I’ll see you at home, sweetheart.” She kissed his cheek before leaving.
Ryan stood puzzled, he thought back and noticed that her apartment had become his home. For the last week he hadn’t stayed a night in his place, and he didn’t feel the need to. He was practically living with her.
Bella looked at Ryan as he nervously shuffled around. “Ryan, sweetheart, what the hell has you so worked up?” She stood up and walked forward pressing her hand to his back. “Ry, what’s going on?”
“I’m in love with you!” Ryan said in a rush.
Bella smiled moving to stand in front of him. “I love you, Ryan.” She leaned up and kissed him her hand pulling him in closer. “Now, what the hell is causing you to pace a trail into the carpet. I doubt it was telling me that you loved me. They were unspoken words.”
Ryan put his arm around Bella and kept her close. “I haven’t slept at my place all week.”
“Ry, if you want to sleep in your apartment you can.” Bella said quietly slightly hurt that he didn’t like staying with her.
“It’s not a bad thing.” He stated. “I like being with you, but I don’t want to have to use your injury as an excuse to be with you all the time. I like being able to come here and know you’re here already, and I like waking up knowing you’re going to be there too.”
Bella grinned, “Ryan, will you move in with me?”
Ryan shook his head. “No, this is your place. I wanted to get a place that was ours.”
Bella beamed, “I’d love that, Ryan.” She laughed lightly as he picked her up and kissed her. This was by far one of the better days of her life.
“Ryan?” Bella called out as she made her way down the stairs to their new home. She had woken up to find that he wasn’t in the room with her. She turned into what was the office. “What are you doing? It’s 3am?”
“I couldn’t sleep; this mess is killing me.” Ryan said moving round the room.
Bella smiled, and approached him, she wrapped her arms around him pressing her head into curve of his neck. “I love you, I do, but I will tie you to the bed if you don’t come back to sleep.”
Ryan smiled, “I wasn’t aware you were into that sort of thing, Bella.”
Bella laughed lightly, “I want you back in bed, Ry. You have to go to work in the morning, and I don’t want you to wake the next door neighbors and have them hate us on our first night.”
Ryan sighed, “Sorry, come on, I’ll go back to bed.”
Bella smiled, she took Ryan’s hand and led him back up the stairs. She pulled him into bed with her, and cuddled around him, “If I wake up again and you’re gone, I’m tying you to the bed.” Bella warned her head on his shoulder.
Ryan chuckled, “I know.” He kissed her head and held her close as he began to fall asleep. He felt Bella’s lips kiss his neck softly before she moved impossibly closer to him.
Ryan screamed out in agony as there was a nail in his eye. “I need to take it out!”
Alex patted Ryan’s hand. “You can’t do that just yet, honey. They’re going to check you out first.”
Ryan sagged against the hospital bed. “How much longer?”
“Alright, Mr. Wolfe.” The doctor said entering the room. “We’re going to go ahead and pull it out. Try not to move, I know how strange it’s going to be.”
Ryan nodded, he flinched as the nail was pulled out of his eye. He thankfully held onto Alex’s hand as he was all stitched up. “What the hell am I going to tell Bella?” Ryan questioned as they finished cleaning him up.
“That you accept her apology for arriving so late.” Bella said entering the room. She looked up on Alex and grinned in thank you.
“I’ll go get some coffee, and call Horatio.” Alex said standing.
Bella took the empty seat and moved closer too Ryan taking his hand in hers. “I didn’t get the message until a few minutes ago. I’m so sorry, Ry. I should’ve been here sooner, how are you feeling?”
Ryan smiled as Bella ran her hand through his hair. “Better now that I don’t have a nail in my head.”
Bella grinned. “I did always find pirates more attractive than princes.”
Ryan laughed, “That’s a wonderful thing to hear! Now I know I can wear an eye patch and still have my girlfriend think I’m attractive.”
Bella smiled gently running the tips of her fingers down his face. “I’ll always find you attractive, Ry.”
Ryan smiled, “You did go on a date with me when I had longer hair, I guess that does say something.”
“I liked you then, and I love you now. Nothing will change that, and I loved your longer hair, but you do look a little more mature with shorter hair.” She teased lightly smiling. “I guess this is my turn to take care of you like you did all those months ago.”
Ryan took comfort in feeling her fingers gently running through his hair. “You can’t take days off work for this, Bella.”
Bella rolled her eyes, “Ryan, you’re not getting me away from your side. Besides, the next few days were going to be slow anyway because of long weekend. I’m going to force you to do absolutely nothing for the next few days, and you’re going to act like you’re enjoying it.”
Ryan chuckled lightly. “I love you.”
“Let’s hope that you continue to think that once the weekend is over.” Bella responded leaning over to kiss his jaw. “I’m going to go see when I can get you out of here. I’m sure the idea of all the germs are killing you. Try not to get yourself hurt.”
Ryan woke up, the book he was pretending to read left open on his chest. He looked down as Bella was sitting on the floor her head leaning against the sofa were his head was. He moved his hand and gently woke her up. “What are you doing on the floor?”
Bella rubbed her eyes. “They told me to keep checking to see if you had a fever. I was scared you’d get a fever once you were asleep.”
Ryan smiled he pulled Bella up on the couch with him. “What time is it?”
“I think it’s about 2 am.” Bella responded resting her head into the curve of his neck. “You’re not warm anymore. That meant the fever has passed.”
Ryan smiled, “You were just sitting here watching me?”
“No, I was drawing for a while. I kept checking on you every few minutes or so.” Bella admitted. “I was worried; I don’t want you to get worse.”
“You’re the first person in a very long time to worry about me so much.” Ryan admitted running his hand through her hair.
“I’ll always worry about you, Ry.” Bella responded. “It comes with the title of being your girlfriend.”
“Lovely girlfriend of mine,” Ryan said with a grin. “The couch is horrible, come on, let’ s goes to bed.”
Bella sighed standing, “If you insist.” She stood walking behind him up the stairs. “How does your head feel?”
Ryan smiled, “I’m fine, Bella.” He put his arm around her waist and brought her in close. He kissed the top of her head, truly pleased knowing just how much she worried about him.
Ryan entered the private beach and looked around. “So what happened again?”
“It was a beachside fundraiser, but one of the waiters ended up falling out the third floor window.” Eric said looking around. Something caught his eye and he nudged Wolfe. “Hey, girl in the corner, with the little boy. Isn’t that Bella?”
Ryan’s face turned to the direction and he groaned. His lovely girlfriend was in a red bikini, that was just too attention catching for his liking. “She’s killing me.”
Eric laughed, “Just saying, man, if you break up with her, there’s going to be a line of men and some women waiting to take your place.”
Ryan shook his head, “I’m planning on doing the exact opposite of breaking up with her.” Ryan said walking over to Bella once the little boy had gone with his mother.
Bella blushed lightly. “It’s a beach side fundraiser and the woman organizing it is one of the founders for the program I partner with. She invited me last minute, said a bikini was mandatory. You had to work, so I didn’t ask you to come.”
Ryan grinned, “You’re killing me, Bella.”
Bella laughed, “You bought this for me, remember?”
“Yes, but my assumption was that you would only use it with me around. Hence why it’s so small.” Ryan said with a smirk.
“I’m going to go give my statement.” Bella said with a smile, she reached to the lawn chair and grabbed her black cover-up and put it on. “There, now no one will see me in my bikini.”
Ryan smiled as he watched her. “Why didn’t you wear the orange one?”
Bella laughed, but paused as she saw his face. “Ry, the one piece? It has ruffles on it, and I look like an overgrown kid in it.” She used the hair tie on her rest to tie back her hair. “You’re kind of hot when you’re jealous.” She teased before going to find an officer to give her statement to.
Ryan shook his head, but looked after her as she walked away. He turned back as Eric appeared. “Right, got it, work on the crime scene.”
Eric chuckled, “You’re going to propose to her aren’t you?”
“Shut up.” Ryan said as he started to work on the evidence. His eyes shifted to Bella as she talked to one of the officers. He smiled as she turned to look at him smiling before turning back to the officer, he would more than love to see his ring on her finger.
Ryan paused as he had decided to stop by Bella’s work, but he saw her outside talking to a man in a suit. He approached slowly being able to hear the man obviously flirting with Bella.
Bella smiled in relief as she saw Ryan. “Chris, this is my Fiancé, Ryan.”
Ryan hid his shock, but shook the man’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”
Chris kept his smirk on his face. “I wasn’t aware you were engaged, Bella.”
Bella smiled holding onto Ryan’s hand tightly. “The ring is being resized, it was a little too big for me. Anyway, I don’t want to keep you any longer, Chris. I hope you have a nice day.”
“Always a pleasure, Bella.” Chris said with a wide grin he turned to Ryan. “It was nice to meet you.”
Ryan nodded, “Likewise.” He draped his arm over Bella’s shoulders. “Who was that guy?”
Bella sighed pressing her forehead to his shoulder. “That was Chris Swanson, he’s a divorced father, he just came by to tell me I was doing wonders with his son. He’s a current contributor to the program I partner with, so I have to be polite to him. He hits on me constantly, and I politely turn him down, but today he wasn’t relenting. You came at the perfect time.” Bella shot up, her cheeks turning red. “I’m so sorry if that made you uncomfortable, Ry. I don’t want you to think I’m pressuring you…”
Ryan chuckled, “Calm down, Bella, we’re okay. I came by to ask if you wanted to have dinner with me.”
“You never have to ask. I’ll always have dinner with you.” Bella smiled, she held his hand as they walked back to Ryan’s car. “Is something on your mind, Ry?” She questioned as they reached his car.
Ryan turned to look at her, “Why do you ask?”
Bella shrugged her shoulders. “You just seem a little distracted. I just figured something was on your mind.” Bella smiled and leaned forward pecking his lips. “Whatever it is, I can guarantee you that you’re overthinking it too much.”
Ryan smiled, “You’re probably right. I’m just overthinking.”
Bella smiled widely. “You tend to do that too much.”