Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc., are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author-mama4dukes. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

TRIGGER WARNING: There is a recollection of sexual assault in this chapter. If this disturbs you, please don't read.

Intensity Forty-six

XOXO

Charlie's POV

Two days after their arrest, the day after Bella and Paul returned to their home in Arizona, Marcus Cedro and Travis Johnson were arraigned on charges of attempted murder and felony possession of drugs. In Cedro's case, bail was set at five-hundred thousand dollars—an amount he could not raise unless some miracle occurred. In Johnson's case, bail was denied. However, he fervently argued he should be released on his own recognizance owing to the fact he was a police chief. He was informed that he had been suspended without pay pending further investigation to his chagrin. La Push was temporarily transferred to my jurisdiction as their police chief was currently incarcerated.

Immediately following their arraignment, Cedro and Johnson were sent to separate facilities, making it impossible for them to have any contact with each other. Ironically, they each placed Tony Fuller on their individual blocked visitors' lists. Twenty-four hours after Cedro arrived in jail, I received a call from the prosecuting attorney. With the suggestion of his court-appointed attorney, Cedro was willing to talk in the hopes of obtaining a plea deal. When I met with him, he pointed his finger at Johnson. He claimed the shady cop asked him to assist in grabbing both Bella and Linda as a favor to Tony Fuller, who only wanted to chat with them. He also denied any knowledge of the syringes. Later that day, the results from the fingerprint analysis of the syringes became available. Marcus Cedro's fingerprints were not on either syringe; however, Travis Johnson's and another unidentified set were on both. So much for wearing latex gloves. I had a feeling the other set belonged to Fuller. Unfortunately, we didn't have his prints on file anywhere. The guy had a clean slate.

XOXO

I was currently in Travis Johnson's office with Lieutenant Ken Marshall at the police station in La Push, seeking evidence to be used in the case against him. We were investigating the contents of Johnson's desk. It looked like a typical, undamaged desk on the exterior, but the bottom drawer on the right side of his desk was jammed shut.

"Charlie, I can't seem to get it open. It's been jimmy-rigged shut." Ken crawled out from under and kneeled on the floor to show me.

"Let me give it a try." I slid on my back to take a look underneath the desk. A mechanism locked it closed, obviously to deter the curious from searching within. I tried pulling on it, but it didn't work. Maybe I should push it? But, no, that didn't work either.

"Ken, see if you can take a video of me trying to operate this doo-hickey. Maybe someone else can help us figure it out." I took out my iPhone and pressed the record button before handing it to Ken. Paul would most likely be able to figure it out. Ken filmed me fidgeting with the lever when we heard the sound of footsteps in the office and the door closing.

"Travis, there you are. I've been looking all over the reservation for you."

Is that who I think it is? I shot Ken a warning look. He scooted down even lower, so he was fully concealed behind the desk.

"What happened to Lahote's wife? I told you to take care of her while she was here. Well, Travis? I thought I told you to handle Bella Lahote. What happened? Answer me! Now!" The voice demanded.

What the hell?

I slid out from under the desk to meet Tony Fuller's eyes. "Exactly how did you want Travis to handle my daughter."

Fuller gasped, turned, and ran out the door. I quickly got to my feet and chased after him. Ken was hard on my heels. Several La Push officers rushed to assist me, but I was determined to apprehend him myself. Fuller had ordered my daughter's death. This time, it was personal. I caught up to him as he tried to exit the station. Grabbing him by his shirt collar, I shoved him up against the wall. He attempted to get loose, throwing a hard jab at my rib. I clocked him with a left hook across his jaw, followed by a right uppercut, before dropping him to the floor and cuffing the perp.

After searching for weapons, I turned him around to face me. I looked straight into his eyes so he could see the anger in my eyes. "Anthony Fuller, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?"

Never in my career had I derived so much satisfaction from reading the Miranda Rights as I did when I read them to Tony Fuller.

"Yes," the perpetrator hissed. "You won't be able to hold me. I have a clean record."

"We'll see about that."

"I want my attorney!" Fuller shouted as I loaded him up into Ken Marshall's squad car. He was going to take care of the preliminary processing for me. After that, I would personally handle everything else, including the interrogation. No one—and I mean no one—messes with my family and gets away with it.

XOXO

Five days later, Tony Fuller was arraigned on two charges of attempted murder, one charge of conspiracy to murder, and one charge of aggravated assault. One of the attempted murder charges and the aggravated assault charge stemmed from the beating of his wife, which Fuller claimed he knew nothing about. Unfortunately for him, he was arrested on a Friday, which gave us the entire weekend plus a Monday holiday and Tuesday because the court was too booked to handle his case. However, it worked out to our advantage because Lieutenant Barry Blackfoot and the Paradise Valley Police Department district attorney were in court on Wednesday. They presented evidence of Brenda Fuller's grave injuries and details of her desperate flight from Washington to Arizona.

As for his attempt to have Bella killed, the conspiracy to murder and the second attempted murder charge was locked down using video evidence. The judge allowed us to use it because Ken and I were not intentionally recording Tony Fuller; we were filming the jimmy-rigged locking mechanism while doing an authorized search of Johnson's office. Furthermore, Fuller had barged onto the premises without our prior knowledge. In short, he had put his foot in his own mouth.

Fuller was deemed a flight risk and held without bail. Now that we had him where we wanted him, the real work was beginning. But, first, we needed more hard evidence of his crimes against the Quileute reservation and drug dealing.

Regarding the latter, I needed to speak to Johnny Lahote. After looking into his allegations against Tony Fuller, I realized his claims had some validity to them. I needed to talk to Johnny in person and off-the-record. The only way I'd be able to do that was to visit him at his rehabilitation facility. He was in a facility on San Juan Island, a good six-hour trip one way, including a ferry ride. When I dropped Johnny Lahote off at the facility, Paul flew us in on his private jet to the island, so we were able to make the trip in one day. This time, I didn't have access to the plane, and I would be alone, so I planned on staying overnight on the island.

Only a handful of us knew his location because we didn't want Fuller or Johnson to have any contact with him. However, when looking into his past release records, we realized that Johnson had a hand in every single one of his post-prison rehabilitation plans. I had a feeling Johnson was under direct orders from Fuller. Fortunately, this time, I was in control of those plans, and I had no intention of failing to make an honest citizen out of Johnny Lahote.

The rehabilitation center looked more like a fancy resort. Located on over fifty acres of land, it included a self-sustained farm, a horse ranch, and a dairy barn maintained by the residents, who were given more levels of responsibility as they proved their capability.

The residents attended mandatory group and individual counseling sessions as part of their rehabilitation. They were taught a comprehensive array of life skills so they could succeed once they were ready to be released into society. Those who had not completed schooling received tutoring sessions to earn their GEDs. The recidivism rate for those enrolled here was relatively low compared to others in the state, but the standards the residents had to meet before being released to society at large were high.

The main living facility provided each resident with a private room and full bathroom accompanied by beautiful landscape views. In addition, there was a shared living room on each floor with nightly group activities and a dining hall where the residents were provided three nutritious meals per day. Adjacent to the main building was a building where the residents attended classes to attain vocational skills. Each resident left with a certificate of completion, vocational training, and recommendations for job placement.

I checked in with the front office and was led to a meeting area on a deck overlooking the ocean. Johnny Lahote, clean-cut and dressed in a polo shirt and chinos, came to greet me.

"Charlie Swan. Should I be afraid that you're here to see me?"

I stood up and shook his hand. "Not at all. You're looking better."

"Thanks. Really, I have Paul and you to thank for all of this. This might be the toughest rehabilitation program I've ever had to go through. It may look like paradise here, but they are strict."

"But it looks like it's working."

"I think so." He looked away from me and out towards the ocean. "You know, Paul bought these clothes for me after realizing the clothes on my back were all I had to my name when I left prison. I received a suitcase from him, filled with enough clothes for a week—all brand new. I can't remember the last time I had brand new clothing. And his wife, your daughter, the one I insulted when y'all came to see me in prison—she sent toiletries and stuff to do laundry with, along with homemade cookies." Johnny turned to me with tears in his eyes. "I am so ashamed. I was a terrible father, and the boy I abused is providing for me the way I should have provided for him. He is taking care of my dental bills so I can get my teeth fixed. He is also paying to have my tattoos lasered off. He is an excellent son, and your daughter has a big heart."

"Yes, he is. He cares about his family, which is the way things should be. As for Bella, I couldn't ask for a better daughter."

"Charlie, why are you here? I know you're keeping tabs on me. It was part of the deal, after all. But something major had to bring you six hours away from home."

"I'm going to tell you straight then. After you were sent here, Travis Johnson attempted to kill my daughter, Paul's wife, your daughter-in-law, under direct orders from Tony Fuller. They are both in police custody now along with Marcus Cedro."

The look of anger that crossed Johnny's face probably mirrored mine when I arrested Fuller. "Will that asshole ever stop messing with my family?"

"Well, now, Johnny, I believe we have something in common. He tried to hurt our kids."

Johnny started laughing. "I never thought the day would come when I would call you family, Charlie Swan." He shook his head. "Okay, hit me with your questions."

"I want to know, in particular, what you can share with me about Tony Fuller's drug operations."

"Tony's drug operations." He let out a sigh. "I can tell you what I know. But, keep in mind that I was locked away for the past twenty years, so my information is old."

"I'd appreciate any information on Fuller. Why don't you start with how you met him?"

"Sure, I dropped out of high school…." Johnny trailed off. "Charlie, aren't you going to record this?"

"I was going to keep this off the record."

"But you'll have a better chance of putting the scum bag away for life if it's on the record, right?"

"Yeah."

"Well, then record it."

"Alright." I took my phone out and hit record. "Jonathan Lahote, do I have your permission to record this conversation with the understanding that it may be used as incriminating evidence in a criminal case?"

"Yes, you have my full and complete permission."

"Thank you. Tell me how you met Anthony Fuller."

"I dropped out of high school after my sophomore year and moved to Tacoma after a few years of bumming around La Push. I stayed with Malcolm Blackcrow—Paulina's brother. He was the one who introduced me to her. He was upset that he'd been saddled with her since his parents died. I couldn't see how she would ever be a burden—she was beautiful, only sixteen years old when I met her. I fell in love at first sight with her, but she refused to marry me until she graduated from high school.

"Paulina graduated with honors from high school, and we got married on the Monday following her graduation at the courthouse in Tacoma. For a while there, everything was peachy, but then my wife became pregnant. It wasn't a good situation. I was a dropout with a tenth-grade education and no prospects. I worked a ton of minimum wage jobs. My intentions were honest and noble in the beginning, I wanted to support my wife and child, but we could never make ends meet.

"One day, about a year after Paul was born, Malcolm introduced me to Tony Fuller. He was from La Push. He remembered Paulina from high school—he was a year younger than she was. Fuller was attending college in Seattle. We were all in awe, of course. People from our area didn't go to school, especially those days. He told us about how he was paying for his own college by running a business and asked us if we wanted to work for him. We'd make way more than minimum wage.

"Malcolm and I jumped on board, of course. We were in awe of him. He was smart, clean-cut, and educated. Oddly enough, he presents himself a lot like Paul does, except greasy, do you know what I mean?"

I chuckled at Johnny's summation of Fuller. "I do know. While Paul is the real thing when it comes to being smart and educated, Tony Fuller is a cheat, a sleazeball, and fake."

"Yeah, that's it exactly," Johnny agreed. "We ended up being Fuller's lackeys. We'd deal drugs on his behalf while he cooked it up in his apartment. The thing is, Fuller would always get us high, and then we'd want even more of a fix. Even worse, we got Paulina hooked. Anyway, with all of us hooked on drugs, we needed more than what Fuller would give us for free, and soon we ended up owing the asshole money.

"By the time Paul was eight years old, Fuller had graduated from college and even managed to get his MBA at a fancy school out in California. Sometime in the middle of college, he married a Quileute girl and had a few kids. According to him, it was good for his image to be a family man. But I know the truth, it was because he knocked Brenda up while he was home for the summer."

Unbelievable! Fuller claiming to have married his wife and had kids for his image? Some family man he is. He kicked his son Brady out of the house when he became a wolf. I turned my attention back to Johnny.

"Fuller was successful while Malcolm and I were barely making ends meet. Everything was going to rent and drugs. Paulina was collecting welfare. The money problems combined with the drug addiction were a terrible cocktail—it was when I started beating my wife and kid. I never gave a thought to the fact that my kid was just that—a kid. He was too young to understand everything going on around him and exposed to bullshit he never should have witnessed.

"The next part, I already told you about. I worked at a gas station pumping gas back then. I owed Fuller money—about two-grand. He said he'd cancel the debt if I let him pimp out Paulina. I refused, of course. I have some morals and knew how wrong it was. The next day, I came home to find him raping Paulina. I was furious. The asshole looked straight at me and said that he wanted to keep her since he got to have her. I, of course, refused. The asshole soon left, but not after reminding me of the money I owed him.

"Paulina had no idea she had been raped. Tony had gotten her high before he did the deed. So she was passed out cold." Johnny turned to me. "Now, I don't know about you, Charlie, but I can't get it up if a woman is passed out cold. The fact that Fuller could get it up should tell you how low of a scoundrel he is."

"He roofied her?"

"I'm pretty sure he did. I'm no saint, but I would never drug a woman then take her. I would also never take a woman against her will or without her knowledge and consent. I'm not that low."

"I never said you were."

"Anyway, I was desperate, so I robbed a busy, convenient store in Olympia. I paid Fuller the cash I owed him, but the cops caught up with me a week later and put me away in prison. I told Paulina to go home to La Push with Paul and have no contact with Fuller, thinking it would be safer for her.

"Things went from bad to worse in jail. Drugs were readily available, and they affected my brain—I know that now. I kept focusing on the thought of Fuller raping my wife. Somehow, I twisted the situation in my mind thinking Paulina was a willing participant. I became angry about all the responsibilities I had. I didn't want to be saddled with a wife and kid. In my mind, I was stuck in jail because I stole from a mini-mart for Paul and Paulina and didn't deserve my fate. So, when I was finally released from jail, I went to La Push where my wife and kid were, intent on making them suffer."

Johnny turned to me. "I know what you're thinking, Charlie. It wasn't their fault. I'm just trying to explain to you how crazy I had become in jail."

"Thank you."

Johnny nodded and continued. "Life went on. I was in and out of jail, as you know. Travis Johnson was the only one from the area who kept visiting me. He always made sure he took care of me both in and out of prison, and I was always released to the same halfway house near home." He shook his head. "Now I know he was just keeping tabs on me."

"It was easy for Tony Fuller to infiltrate himself in my life again. He apologized for what he termed 'the incident' with Paulina and again offered me a job selling drugs. I, of course, took it. Soon, we fell into old habits, and we kept owing Tony more money. I think it was when my son was ten years old that Paulina came to me in tears. Tony wanted to 'borrow' Paul since we couldn't come up with the cash we owed him."

"Borrow him for what?"

"Use your imagination, Charlie."

"I don't even want to think about what that depraved motherfucker wanted with your son."

"Yeah, well, neither do I. I did the only fatherly thing I ever have; I had Josh Uley take him in because I knew he hated Fuller passionately. For some reason, Fuller was afraid of him. Maybe because Josh saw right through him. Paulina and I went to rehab voluntarily. For whatever reason, it did the trick. Fuller never bothered Paul again. I was not going to have my son used and abused by that lunatic ever."

"What happened after?"

"Well, Paulina and I completed rehab. In my opinion, it was too easy, especially when compared to how it is here. This place really makes you take a hard look at yourself. At the place Paulina and I went to, we were just given medication, once a week individual counseling, and thrice-weekly group counseling. We spent the rest of the time reminiscing with the others about how good it felt to be high."

After a pause, he said, "But I digress. After leaving rehab, Paulina and I were invited to a party over in Clyde Hill by her brother Malcolm. Malcolm was always bad news, but he became worse throughout the years. He continued working for Tony, but he moved up in ranks. He was now one of his deputies—whatever the hell that meant. When we got to the house, Malcolm had fancy clothes ready for us to wear and even someone to fancy up our hair. We got high on the pure stuff and felt like royalty in our snazzy clothes and in a rich neighborhood. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a big mistake to go there. Malcolm had invited us so Fuller could rape Paulina again. This time I was made to watch. A couple of thugs held me at gunpoint and snickered at me the entire time. When he was done, Fuller told Malcolm they were now even and that he had proven his loyalty. Then he turned to me and told me he would do me a favor and forgive my debt, too, since I was a good boy and watched."

Jesus Christ! In my opinion, Tony Fuller should have the death penalty thrown at him. He was a seriously depraved individual, and I was glad he was in jail. I meant to keep him there for good, too. I turned my attention back to Johnny.

"How did Malcolm buy a house in Clyde Hill?" I asked.

"It wasn't Malcolm's house. Although I didn't know it then, it was Tony Fuller's house. Malcolm told me he bought it years ago using drug money. When Fuller was in college, he was cooking up drugs in his apartment and then selling them to the college students in Washington and Oregon. He has hundreds of lackeys like Malcolm and me do the grunt work for him. He made a pretty penny and then he invested in property. I remember him telling me that he was majoring in accounting so he can always take care of his own business.

"After returning to La Push, Paulina became worse. She became increasingly dependent on alcohol and drugs. I did, too. We both wanted to escape from reality because reality was too harsh. As you're aware, I committed a ton of petty crimes—you've seen my arrest record. I couldn't get a job because I could never stay clean, and I took it out on my wife and son. The worst beating I gave them was the night you arrested me. Had it been Travis Johnson, he would have let me go with a warning, but you did the right thing because you knew my family needed protection from me. You put me away for a good, long time. And I appreciate that, Charlie.

"While I was in jail, I met many guys who had a vendetta against Tony Fuller for one reason or another. I can tell you now, Charlie Swan, you want to contact these guys if you want dirt on Fuller."

Johnny proceeded to list off names. I was familiar with most of them. There was a kid who had been in Bella's grade at Forks High School and some even younger on the list.

"Johnny, I have another question for you. Where was Brenda Fuller when Tony was doing all of this?"

"Oh, he kept a tight rein on Brenda. She wasn't allowed to interfere with his business life. I don't even think she knew he was a drug dealer. He had no compunction about hitting her if she disobeyed. Her job was to be the perfect wife and mother, but I've seen him lose his shit with her and his kids more than once. He especially resented the oldest son—called him a mama's boy. Tony was pissed that he knocked Brenda up and had to marry her. She's not really his type. He likes the more voluptuous types with big knockers like the Makah woman—Tiffany Call. He knocked her up, too. I think Travis told me that her kid was fathered by Tony while he was still in high school. If you noticed, Tony never tried to use that kid like he tried with mine."

"But Embry Call grew up poor on the reservation. Fuller should have acknowledged paternity and provided for him."

"Travis once told me that Tony had to beat Tiffany into not saying who the father was. I don't know how he finagled it, but somehow, he was able to get her housing on the reservation. He did that so he could keep an eye on her." Johnny shook his head. "I laughed about it then, but it's no laughing matter in hindsight. That kid was as much a victim as mine was, and so was his mother."

"Can you tell me how Tony was able to get Tiffany Call reservation housing?"

"I don't know how he finagled it. He was still a high school student. I do know that, back then, he helped the elders at the tribal office because he needed volunteer hours to get into college.

I'd have to look into that. I wouldn't be surprised if, even as a high school student, Fuller had been manipulating the tribe. "Johnny, is there anything else you can tell me about Fuller?"

"Yeah. One of Marcus Cedro's kids—a son named Anthony—is Tony Fuller's kid. He raped Cedro's wife like he did Pauline and forced him to name the kid after him as a reminder of what happens when you don't pay your bills."

I should not have been surprised by this information because Fuller was more depraved than any criminal I've come across, but this shook me to the core. Cedro's wife, like Paul's mother, was a beautiful woman. Fuller just took what he couldn't have. Wasn't it in the ten commandments that you shouldn't covet your neighbor's wife?

"Is there anything else you'd like to share?"

"No, but if I think of something, I'll let you know. You have my word."

"This concludes our interview," I said and shut off the recording. "Thank you for this, Johnny. Is there anything I can do for you?"

"There is one thing. Tell me about Paul. I don't know anything about him. Even as a kid, I never really got to know him." He motioned around himself. "All of this is possible because of him. I never had hope for recovery until Paul, and you put your faith in me."

"Paul Lahote. Hmm… Well, he had a rough time growing up, as you know. Paul was one of the poorest kids on the reservation, maybe the poorest. He was so poor that he couldn't do drugs, which probably saved his life. Paulina was in and out of rehab, and Paul spent a good chunk of time living with the Uleys, and they ran a tight ship. Josh Uley is strict but fair, and I think a lot of that rubbed off on Paul. He was an angry kid, especially as a teenager. Still, several people on the reservation kept an eye on him—the Blacks, the Camerons, the Clearwaters, the Uleys, and even me. We made sure he didn't go hungry. Paulina was often found trading her food stamps for liquor. In her later years, she was more of an alcoholic."

"How did he go to college?"

"Hard work, diligence, and believe it or not—by taking the advice of Paulina. Apparently, she always told Paul to get an education and get out of the area, which is exactly what he did. He majored in Civil Engineering at the University of Washington and earned his degree while working at Starbucks brewing coffee. After graduation, he moved to Phoenix and started his own successful company."

"In other words, he did it the right way. He didn't sell drugs or do anything illegal like Fuller did. He earned his money honestly."

"That's right, and he works hard for his money."

"That plane we went on to come here. Is it really his?"

"I think he leases it. Bella told me she's going to make him give it up because it's frivolous spending."

Johnny Lahote let out a full belly laugh and clapped his hand. "I like your daughter. She's good for my son and a fierce protector."

"That she is. I've never seen a couple more in harmony with each other."

His expression became tentative. "Do… Do we have grandbabies, Charlie?"

I let out a frustrated woosh of air. "No, not yet. They claim they're too young."

"Too young? They're already in their thirties."

"I know, but apparently, they still have a lot to do."

"Maybe one day." He laughed. "I told everyone in a group counseling session that I want to become a grandfather my grandkids can respect since I was never there for my son. It's true. I'm a fuck-up, but a fuck-up can still dream, right?"

"We all have dreams, Johnny. When our dreams die, we lose the will to keep going."

"You're a wise man, Charlie Swan."

A staff member walked out onto the deck to warn us that we had five more minutes of visiting time left.

"Charlie, thanks for coming to see me. I appreciate it. Will you thank Paul and Bella for me? Tell them I'm working hard to improve myself even though algebra is driving me bonkers."

"I will tell them, and I know algebra is hard. I couldn't stand math in high school." I shook his hand, laughing. "I know you can do it, Josh. One day, when you get out of here, we'll take our grandbabies fishing together. How does that sound?"

"That's a goal to work towards."

"It certainly is. Good luck, Johnny. I'll check in with you from time to time, and make sure you let me know if you need anything. Okay?"

"I promise."

He waved goodbye to me with a toothy grin. I had faith that Johnny Lahote would overcome his demons because he had something to live for this time.

Author's Note: After this heavy chapter, you probably need a good laugh. Fortunately, I have posted a new Sam/Bella story called "Dead Man's Party." It is a straight comedy/action story that is sure to make you giggle. Best of all, it's complete! If you haven't read the story, please do so. And if you have read the story, read it again. I can't wait to hear your thoughts!