A.N. Here it is! This time I have a non-crappy reason for taking so long! I have a new Beta reader that began to work with me on this chapter!
My sister who was Beta-ing for me previously is getting pretty busy with looking for work, and she is doing summer classes for college. To make sure that she had her time to get what she needed to done, I went on a search for a new Beta. I finally found a great match in miss ElizabethFromTheWolves. Her strengths as a Beta are my weaknesses as a writer, and she is full of helpful tips and ideas. I am so lucky to have her!
Onto chapter notes: This as you can see, is only the first part of this chapter. I added in something special at the end that I haven't previously done in this fic, and I hope you like it. The next part will answer a lot of things from this one, so please be patient-I won't leave you hanging for too long.
Scheduling: I am going to continue pumping out chapters as quickly as they are written/edited. However, I am no longer going to make any promises as to when the next chapter will be up, until it is in the final stages. If you are wanting to keep updated with how quickly the next installment is coming along, check the bottom of my profile, and I will update every time I make progress!
To everyone who reviewed [glowing or not], and for all of those who viewed the last chapter: thank you so much! I take all comments to heart and will be eventually going back through previous chapters and making edits/changes when necessary while still keeping the feel/plot of the story.
Thanks so much-hope you like it!
How Cruel is the Golden Rule? pt1
I woke up the morning after I came home to find all the windows in my house open feeling a familiar pit in my stomach. The lightness I tried to convey around Jacob and the others yesterday was gone, and all I could process was a sense of dread.
The windows were obviously a message to all of us: you might as well be out in the open. Though previously I had no illusions as to being safe while in my home, to have the point driven by one of those hunting me had me shaken.
I tried to keep my heart beat even, not knowing if Jared was awake yet or not. I felt bad for him having to keep watch at my place more than the others. He had someone to get home to, and I know sleeping in another girl's room was not high on his 'want-to-do' list.
The last thing I needed was for Jared to phase and tell the pack that I was scared. I wanted to keep things as normal as possible, and though vampires hunting me had become the norm, never before had such a simple thing as an open window utterly terrified me.
Leaving the windows open was such a petty thing. Though made grand by the fact that every window had been opened, it was still such a small thing that I was amazed that a being like a vampire had done it. Theatrics were not uncommon among their ranks, but this was odd in comparison to other stunts I'd seen vampires pull.
It has to be a newly turned vampire, I thought frowning into my pillow. Someone who may still have some human instincts and thoughts.
My mind automatically shifted to Lauren and Jessica. I hadn't allowed myself to truly think in depth about the possibility that the unknown vampires in town were really just Lauren and Jessica returning home after having been turned. I shivered and pulled my covers tighter around myself. That was the last thing I needed after Victoria. Two new bloodthirsty vampires that hated me so much in life that they've come back to torture me in death.
My alarm clock went off, causing me to sit straight up in an instant. I reached to my left and slapped the 'off' button and took a shaky breath. I had to get my shit together, or I was going to be even more guarded than I was now. I was beginning to miss my time alone since I so rarely got any of it. Little moments like taking a shower or brushing my teeth became reprieves from intense eyes.
Jared stretched and yawned from the rocking chair across the room. "Morning, Bella." He drew out my name as he got caught up in yet another yawn.
"Sorry about the chair, Jar," my frown deepened, "I wish there was another option for you. That can't be comfortable."
"It's not," he grinned, "but it's something I can deal with once a week." He stood and stretched himself, his neck cracked as he rolled his head in a circle. I winced at the sound.
"Not that I don't like spending time with you, or anything," I got out of bed and headed to my closet to pick out my clothes for the day, "but I really wish you didn't have to."
"Same here, Feisty," I looked over and he was at the window, peering off into the woods. I guess he saw who he was looking for because he nodded and opened the window, before pausing to turn his head towards me. "Seth's here. He's got watch until you get to LaPush later."
"Sweet," I nodded my appreciation, "thanks Jared. See you later. Tell Kim I say 'hi'!"
"Will do," he grinned and dove out of the window.
I shook my head at his display and turned back to my closet. I was feeling a bit adventurous today. The box of new clothes my mom had gotten called to me. I pulled it swiftly from the closet and searched through until I found a suitable sleeveless top that had extra large arm holes. I grabbed a skin colored tank top to throw on underneath, and a pair of jeans. I adored the weather in Forks in May. Barring random rain storms, it was mostly sunny, and decently warm for the area.
I was feeling so good about the way that I looked, that I decided to throw on some eyeliner and mascara. I had picked up a hidden talent to apply a perfect cat eye from a Halloween party for my mom's work that I was dragged to a couple years prior. I had tried at home and failed horribly, but had no time to attempt to fix anything before my mom had dragged me at the door. I was so self-conscious that one of my mother's friends from work had taken me into the bathroom and taught me how to get perfect winged liner. I wouldn't have figured this would be information my brain would retain, but on very rare occasions it had come in handy.
Today was one of those days. I smiled at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. The wings were small, but symmetrical, and the lack of liner on my lower lashes made my eyes look huge and round. I found a brownish nude lipstick—the only lipstick I owned, and popped that on to balance out my face.
I had never found myself to be ugly, but I never would think of myself as someone that anyone would give a second look. Usually I would describe myself as plain, but today I verged on pretty. I was rather proud of myself for looking so put together, and hoped that when I saw Jake later today that he would appreciate the work I had just put in.
I put my hair up into a high ponytail and headed down the stairs to find something I could eat without messing up my lipstick. Anything liquidy or greasy was out, so I just settled on a package of smores pop-tarts. I angled my chair towards the clock and watched the clock closely as I broke off bite sized pieces of the pastry. Even if I took my time eating, I would end up being at least half an hour early to school. I didn't mind. I could always read in my car until Angela showed up, and then go join my friends. Then it would only be a few short hours until I would be on the road to LaPush and would be with the pack again.
The only thing about today I wasn't looking forward to, was coming home later in the evening. I was being toyed with, and I knew it wasn't going to stop at just the one occurrence, but there was no way to tell when the next time I would get messed with would be. I knew that at the very least I wouldn't be alone when the time came, but I just hoped that it wouldn't be so bad that we couldn't fix things before Charlie showed up.
With the last bite of pop-tart in my mouth, I stood and tossed the wrapper into the trash before heading out the door. I looked off to the right of the house, and saw no sign of the sand colored wolf, but I knew he was somewhere in there watching.
"Morning, Seth," I called. I got no answer, as expected. Still, I suspected he had heard me.
The drive to school seemed longer than normal due to my excitement to see Jake later in the day. There was next to no traffic on the road, and I was even slightly speeding, but I felt as if I was driving through molasses.
I pulled into the parking lot which was a lot fuller for this early before school than it should have been. I ended up having to park almost completely across the lot from the entrance to the school. Everyone was out of their cars socializing, and showing each other things on their cell phones.
I became slightly annoyed at the sight. The prevalence of cell phones bothered me. Nearly everyone at the school had one, and if they weren't forced to put them away, their noses were all but pressed to the small screens. Kids at lunch tended to text each other instead of simply looking over and talking to the person next to them. It was impersonal, and seemed to come between people instead of bringing people together as they were originally intended to do.
Mike, and Angela had asked me repeatedly why I didn't have one. When I told them my reasons why, they just laughed. The biggest reason, one that I hadn't told them, was that I felt that a cell phone just boiled down to being a six hundred dollar leash. There was no way to cut yourself off and just be alone without constant vibrating or stupid ringtones. Sure you could turn the phone off, but at that point it would just be an expensive paper weight.
I was so lost in my mental rant about cell phones that I barely noticed the momentary quiet that had come over the parking lot. The usual din of chatter had hushed, and everyone was watching as I pulled my truck into one of the last open places. I was vaguely reminded of my first day at Forks High School.
The movement of lips began again, almost as soon as it had stopped. I scanned the area for Angela, and finally settled on the familiar faces of our usual group. Mike's eyes were as wide as saucers as he just stared down at the screen of his phone. Tyler, who had been morose and nearly on the verge of tears the day before due to Lauren's disappearance, was grinning like a cat that ate the canary at Mike's phone from over his shoulder. A few of Tyler's friends were standing around doing the same—but Angela wasn't in sight.
I wasn't much of a fan of Tyler, and since I had outed him to Lauren about how he had criticized her sexual technique, he wasn't a fan of me either. We pretty much pretended that the other didn't exist after that point which was fine by me. I didn't have to hear him apologize for almost killing me the year before, anymore.
I pulled out my history textbook and began to go over the chapters we were reviewing for class. Finals were in two weeks, and so we were doing overviews of everything we had learned this semester. I had fallen slightly behind in my schoolwork since I had become so active with the pack, and with Jacob, and if I had any hope of ending the school year with straight A's I had to do well when finals hit.
I was in the middle of the civil war when there was a knock on my window. I jumped slightly and whipped to see who it was. Good, it's just Angela. I rolled down my window with herculean effort and smiled at her. She was looking down at her feet, as she usually did when she was debating on something.
"Hey, Ang," I leaned closer to the door, trying to pull her attention upward. "What's up? Stressing over finals?"
"Yeah...kinda," her gaze stayed glued to the floor, and she shifted slightly from foot to foot. Her hands were shoved deep into the front pocket of her hoodie, and the slight bulge in the front made it seem like she was holding something.
"You shouldn't worry on it too much, Ang. You're going to do just fine—its just test anxiety." I took a moment to turn back to my bad and shove my history book back inside. I zipped my bag closed quickly, and looked back to Angela. She was looking at me, and her face was creased with indecision, and worry.
"Its not that," a loud laugh a few cars away caught both of our attentions. I made a face of disgust as Tyler ground his pelvis into the side of his van while his friends laughed or made exaggerated moans. Mike was looking at me apologetically, and immediately looked away when I made eye contact.
"They are fucking stupid," I grumbled and looked back at Angela who looked mystified. "What's the face for?"
"You don't know." It wasn't a question, rather a statement of fact. My face contorted in confusion.
"Know what?" My eyes flickered back to Tyler who had pulled his basketball shorts up into short shorts and was parading around in the circle his friends had formed, before going back to Angela.
"Shit," I raised my eyebrows at Angela's curse. Something must be really wrong if she broke her self-imposed no swearing rule. She fumbled for a moment in her pocket and pulled out her cell phone. I waited patiently while she fumbled to unlock her screen, and tapped on it a few times. She then pulled the screen protectively against her chest and looked at me with a sincerely apologetic look. "I just...I don't want you to go in there and get caught off guard, okay? I don't want you to see this, but if it were me I would want to know."
"Just show me, Ang," I held out my hand and she shakily offered me her phone.
It took me a moment to register what was on the small screen. At first glance it seemed like a series of explicit pictures, and I was wondering why Angela of all people would have porn on her phone. I tapped on one to enlarge it and gasped.
The picture was of me standing at the foot of my bed, in my lacy top, and red satin shorts over a shirtless Jacob. No. I swiped to the next one—I was straddling Jake with my hands on his chest, my head tilted back in ecstasy. God, no.
Every picture was worse than the last. The pictures, fifteen in all, documented my entire night with Jacob, up until the point that he had laid me down on the bed to finish himself off. From the angle of the pictures, there was no was to tell that he wasn't buried in me to the hilt. In some of the pictures you could see darkness in the corners which were none other than the edges of my window.
I wordlessly handed the phone back to Angela, resisting to throw it as far away from me as possible. "Who sent this," I whispered, l kept my eyes on my steering wheel.
"I-I don't know, Bella. The ID is blocked...it just says 'unknown'. I tried responding asking who it was, and nobody answered." Her voice was sad, and I knew I should thank her for trying to help, but I couldn't get the words out.
"Who else got them?"
I heard the sound of her shoe grinding against the asphalt. "Uhm...so far, from what I've heard...everyone."
"Everyone?" I squeaked and white knuckled the steering wheel. This cannot be happening...this cannot be happening…
"I don't know for sure, Bella...but I walked all the way through the parking lot to get to you, and from the sound of it, that's all everyone is talking about." Angela sounded like she was going to cry. I still was processing the idea that my first serious sexual experience had been put on blast for the entirety of Forks High School to enjoy.
I am a private person. I like keeping things close to my chest. I like the fact that if someone wants to know something about me, it is within my power to fill them in. The matter of the pack having the intimate details of my relationship with Jacob was different. We all were in the same boat, everyone shared everything, so in turn everyone was respectful of the others. More so, the pack had context, and a story along with the images they saw. Other than the bowl of watermelon, and the jibes at Jake's expense, no one made fun, or commented on what had gone on between Jacob and I that night.
This, however, was the worst invasion of privacy I could think of. None of the people that had received these images knew me as a person, save for Angela, and none of them knew Jacob. They had no idea of what was going on in our lives, and they certainly had no concept of how to be discreet about it.
My eyes traveled through the various groups of students. Most were looking between my truck and their phones, others were laughing loudly and sharing what I assumed were my private moments with those who hadn't yet seen, and lastly there were the groups, like Tyler's, that were making obscene gestures and cat calls.
Tears threatened to spill out of my eyes, and there was no way I was going to let the school see me cry. Part of me thought that making such a scene would make them think twice about their actions, but the other part, the stubborn part of me, didn't want to let them think I was as embarrassed as I was.
Still, with as bad as the staring was, now, I didn't think I could handle being trapped in classes with these people all day. Angela, it seemed was the only person that was the least bit upset on my behalf, but I only saw her in a couple of classes and at lunch.
I can't do this. I sniffed loudly.
"I'm going home," I spoke to the steering wheel, hoping my voice was loud enough for Angela to hear me.
"Okay," she whispered and backed up. I rolled up my window as quickly as I could and turned the key in the ignition. My truck roared to life, and instead of giving it the customary warm-up period that Jacob had suggested when he had first gifted her to me, I immediately backed out of my spot, and swung to the right so I could head out.
I cursed silently at the speed at which I had to drive through to get to the exit of the lot. Everyone stared openly as I passed, not bothering to be discreet in their oggling. I wanted
nothing more than to give them all the bird, and scream at them through the thick windows of the cab, but I didn't. They had enough reason to talk, and I wasn't going to do anything to make it worse.
I sped home, not caring that it was my job as the sheriff's daughter to uphold the law at all times. I blew through the only intersection between myself and my home right as the light was about to turn red. Thankfully I didn't see any of Charlie's deputies.
Fuck. Charlie. I had no idea what I was going to do about that. There was a high chance that soon, not only would the entire school know, but the rest of the town as well. Forks seemed to have the highest population of gossips in the continental US. The news would be all the more juicy due to who my father was.
That's the last thing Charlie needs...to be labeled as the father of an exhibitionist daughter. I hoped that this wouldn't reflect so badly on him that it would affect his job. I didn't want people to start wondering how he could keep the town in order if he allowed his teenage daughter to sleep with men under his roof.
My fist slammed against the empty seat next to me. Damage control was something I had grown accustomed to, but I was at a complete loss at what to do in this situation. There were so many factors and people to consider that I had no idea where to begin.
I pulled up in front of my house and cut the engine. I opened the door, leaving the key in the ignition and ran up to the front door, almost forgetting to shut the driver's' side door shut before I went. The lock was uncharacteristically hard to open in my haste to be out of view of the public. I was still fighting tears, and didn't want to turn into a sobbing mess out on my porch.
When I finally got inside, I let out a shuddering sigh of relief. I was alone, and I was in a place where I felt safe enough to finally cry.
I was at the foot of the stairs when I stopped and looked up at the entry to my safe haven. I stalled. Yet again, the sanctity of my home was ruined by some vampire that was intent on ruining my life before they decided to eat me.
If I had been thinking clearly I would have gone back outside and driven straight to LaPush, or better yet, stuck my head out the door to see if Seth had followed me back from the school, and asked him to get the others. Thinking clearly is hard to do when you've been publicly humiliated, and your home has been invaded, yet again, with the intent to remind you of the humiliation you've just gone through.
I was so intent on what was in front of me that all sense of reason went out the window. I took the stairs slowly, keeping my eyes on my bedroom door, and the word spray painted across it:
Below the bright red scrawl was the lace shirt, and the red satin shorts. Both items were held tightly to the door by two inch long nails. Each of the nails was driven at least half way in, and were bent to prevent my simply trying to slide the clothing off over the ends.
This outfit had been a symbol of not only my further letting go of Edward, but of my forging new friendships with the pack girls, and my wanting to please Jacob.
Now the two items of clothing had become beacons of embarrassment, shame, and crippling fear of what was to come.
I was mad that something that should have been life altering in a good way was now causing me to fight the pop-tart I had eaten earlier back down into my stomach. I knew I had done nothing wrong by physically showing affection to my boyfriend, and that there was no shame in what I had done, but the circumstances of the day skewed the whole situation enough that I felt the shame, and embarrassment wholly. I became convinced that if I got rid of the evidence in my home, that maybe the reaction from Charlie wouldn't be so bad. The spray paint was going to be the tricky part, along with the nail holes that made an outline of a tank top and shorts.
Fuck, fuck, fuck. I began grasping wildly at the nails trying with all my might to pull them out of the door. I had no idea where Charlie hid the tools in the trash heap he called a garage, so a hammer was out. I could call the pack to come by and help, but I didn't want them to see this either. I am so fucked.
The dam broke, and tears began to flow down my face freely in my frustration. The nails, which were probably pushed in and bent with minimal effort felt like they were encased in stone instead of wood. I only knew of one person who was mean enough to do something like this, and for all I knew she was a few miles away smirking at the sound of my cries.
In my mind there was no doubting it now. Lauren, and most likely Jessica had been turned, and were toying with me as only a vindictive high school girl would...by destroying my confidence and my social life in one fell swoop. I cried even harder at my inability to leave their threats without a reaction. I wished desperately that I was strong enough to not react—that I would've gone to school with my head held high and told each and every student to 'fuck off and mind their own business'. I wished that I could have a cool enough head to not worry about what Charlie would think when he got home and saw the damage done to the house, and to tell him 'its fine dad—some girls at school just don't like me'.
The vicious cycle I found myself in continued to spiral. The more I realized that no reaction was the best reaction, the more I found that I was incapable of having no reaction and I would cry harder.
I felt a warm presence behind me on the small landing, and a tentative hand reached out and touched the word on the door. I heard a growl, but it wasn't as deep as most of the others. Seth. Great. In my hysterics I had momentarily forgotten about the wolf keeping tabs on me. There was no way I could keep this from the pack now. As much as Seth feared my retaliation, what I could do would be nothing compared to Jacob or Sam if he tried to keep this a secret. A fresh wave of sobs began.
"Bella," I felt his hand lightly on my shoulder. I shrugged out of it quickly. I didn't need comfort, I needed these damn nails out of my door before Charlie got home! "Come on, Bella, the house smells like leech—they'll kill me if I leave you here!"
I shook my head and pulled harder at the nails. The metal bit into my skin due to the force I was putting behind my mad grabs, and I was sure that I had a few cuts, though I didn't feel them.
Seth sighed heavily and I felt the heat behind me dissipate. I knew he wasn't going to leave me alone for long, and the next time he showed up, it would probably be to drag me to my truck.
Seth had made his way into the kitchen and was on the phone. I didn't have super hearing, so I only caught the one side of the conversation.
"...she just left school...of course she's here, that's why I am…well I had to call because I wasn't going to leave her in a house that smells like leech! ...I don't know all of what happened, really...I'm not telling you over the phone….just get here, she's going to hurt herself!" The phone slammed down, and I heard Seth groan in frustration.
Soon after he was behind me again on the small landing. I was still working on the same nail from where I had started, and as the adrenaline began to wear off I realized that the pads of my fingers were probably bruised from gripping the hard metal with all my strength. I also noticed that the insides of my hand felt wet. They slid as I tried to keep a good grip on the nail. Probably bleeding. I wasn't bothered by it in the slightest, the only thing on my mind was getting the nails out before any of Seth's backup arrived.
"Bella," he put his hand on my shoulder again. I tried to shake him off again, but he just pressed firmly against my skin. I kicked a leg back, hoping to put some distance between the two of us, and connected against his knee. He sighed heavily and I quickly felt two large arms wrap around me. One over my shoulders, and the other around my waist. I screamed in protest, but he just pulled me closer to him and further from the door.
"I need to get the nails out! I don't want anyone to see," I wailed. My cry might as well have fallen on deaf ears, because Seth didn't stop walking until we were standing squarely between the mantle and the couch in my living room.
I hadn't bothered kicking or trying to get free. Even though he was the smallest male of the pack, Seth was stronger than I could ever hope to be. I continued trying to cajole him to let me go through my tears, but he never responded other than a curt 'no'.
As stubborn as I was, I knew this wasn't a battle I was going to win. I was already becoming quickly exhausted from crying, and just didn't have the fight in me to try and wriggle free. Not that I could have managed to get away from Seth anyway. Some of my sense was returning to me, and I wondered if I promised to sit on the couch, if Seth would get rid of the damning evidence on my door for me. He could pull those nails out no problem. The only thing that wouldn't be able to was erase the slur written across the top. That would have to come later.
I was just opening my mouth to speak when my front door opened and slammed into the wall of the foyer. A framed picture of Charlie and I fell to the floor, the glass encasing it shattered. Jacob, Sam and Leah walked in, trembling. I was unsure if it was due to the smell of whatever vampire had been in here earlier, or because they had some knowledge of what happened.
Jake's eyes zeroed in on me being restrained by Seth, and his lips curled up into a silent snarl. He moved quickly, vaulting over the back of the couch, and grabbed a hold of me, yanking me from Seth's death grip.
I wanted to get away from Jacob and get back to my door, if for no other reason than to block it from view, but Jake's grip was tighter than Seth's. The only room I had was for my lungs to expand, and I guessed that was only because it was necessary. I tried leaning away, not wanting to even attempt to rail against Jake. He usually allowed my movement, but I felt like I was leaning against a brick wall. There was no give. I was stuck. He leaned his head down, and rested his chin on my shoulder. His breath was hot on my cheek as he asked me what was going on. I clamped my mouth shut and shook my head.
"Come on, Bells, we can't help if you don't let us," I shook my head again. I was losing any anger I had quickly at the uncertainty of how Jacob, Sam, and Leah would react. My stomach heaved again, and my body jerked. I managed to keep breakfast down but just barely. There was no way I was going to be able to tell them what had happened.
"Seth," Sam took the pressure off of me, and placed it squarely on the youngest pack member. "Explain." Seth shifted under everyone's gaze. I could only imagine the holes being bored into him. I still didn't like the fact that soon my somewhat private pain would be pack knowledge, but I also knew that if Seth didn't speak now, he would be Alpha ordered to do so. There was no getting away from this.
Seth looked from me, to his pack mates. He took a deep breath and swallowed. "Sorry, Bella," he started. Seth looked from me, to Sam.
"I followed her to school, like normal. She was early, but it was like the entire school was there. They all had their faces in their phones, or were showing each other something. I picked out a few different conversations and most of it was things like 'that's so sad' and 'glad it wasn't me'. It was really confusing. I should have been listening for Bella, but I got caught up on what was going on around her instead." His eyes shifted to the floor.
"There was one group though, they were being really fucked up. They were saying things...'Told you the quiet ones were the closet sluts', and 'She's bald. Bet that felt nice.'
'Bet that feels as good as it looks. Heard crazy girls are the best.'"
The two other wolves I could see looked pissed, and Jake was shaking around me. Seth put a hand up to let him continue:
"I had no idea who they were talking about, I was looking at Bella and she was talking to a friend of hers. Things seemed fine, but then the girl asked Bella if she had seen it, and seemed pretty torn about showing Bella whatever it was. Bella saw whatever was on the girl's phone and just...wilted." He frowned.
I turned in Jake's arms with great effort and hid my face in Jake's chest. His hold on me had only loosened a fraction, but it was enough that I could spin in place. I couldn't look at them anymore. As much as I wanted to keep them in the dark about the photos, Seth hadn't seen what I had, and couldn't do this for me even if he wanted to. Better it be from me than anyone else. I shut my eyes tight, took a deep breath and exhaled loudly.
"It was pictures of that night." Jake's anger induced tremble ceased, pulled me closer and began quietly whispering apologies and words of comfort into my ear. I hadn't needed to speak the rest of it, they were the ones that had found the vampire sent in the tree the next morning. The only thing anyone was fuzzy on was who the vampire was.
"I think it was Lauren or Jessica," I sniffled. A large hand smoothed my ponytail, followed by a pair of lips that pressed against the top of my head. "This isn't something an old vampire would do...not that I know of, anyway. Its torture, but its human torture. Wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to get me to go to them..." Jake growled into my hair and pulled me closer to him. I sniffed loudly and muttered that I wasn't actually thinking about it.
"That is so fucked," Leah muttered. I turned my head in her direction and saw her running her hands through her short hair. "Chicks fucking suck, man."
"These aren't just 'chicks'," Sam grumbled, "they're first and foremost leeches."
"Since when have you known a leech to pull this type of shit," Leah rolled her eyes. "Sure they have heightened senses, and are super fast, and drink blood, but other than using their abilities to aid them in tormenting Bella, they haven't done anything very vampire-ish." She began to pace in the small foyer, looking at her feet as she walked. "There have been no disappearances here, no killings...so they're not feeding in Forks. They know when we're not watching the house, so they're scoping us out without us realizing...fuck. Are new vampires that smart?"
"Maybe they're not working alone?" Seth's voice was uncharacteristically hard. "Some bloodsucker had to turn them."
"Victoria," I mumbled into Jacob's chest. It all made sense to me now. Victoria had gone through the school records to find my home in Arizona for James, so it wasn't too far of a reach that she would have spent time around there before Bella watch started at the school. It was common knowledge to anyone that had eyes or ears—Lauren Mallory and Jessica Stanley hated me. If Victoria really needed help bringing me down without exposing herself to the wolves, why not turn some allies that hate me as much as she does? It wasn't uncommon for Lauren to show up on a Monday bragging about her shopping sprees in Seattle. She usually took a friend, anyway. All Victoria needed to do was follow and catch them out of their room and she would have two willing accomplices.
I explained my theory to the present pack, and though it was still just theory none of them could deny that it was likely what had happened. I barely managed to keep Jake from phasing in my living room.
He had only let me go and pushed me toward Seth when his tremors got really bad. Once he had backed off to a mere tremble I stepped back forward and slid an arm around his waist.
"What cunts!" Leah's rage fueled screech drew my attention to the base of the stairs. The boys heads whipped to see what the outburst was for. I preemptively put a hand on Jake's chest before the growling even started.
"Jacob, stay calm," Sam ordered as he gently pushed past Leah and ascended the staircase. He began pulling the nails out without strain. Within a few moments the lace top fell to the floor at his feet.
Jacob walked us over to the couch, and sat down before pulling me onto his lap. His body heat was relaxing after the events of the morning. I sank against him, glad to not be able to see upstairs anymore. Jacob's shaking relaxed soon after he lost sight of my door as well.
"What do we do now?" I tilted my head up to get a read on his face.
"I don't know," distress clouded his voice. "Charlie's going to be on the warpath when he gets here."
Sam took that opportunity to drop heavily into Charlie's recliner. His hands were full of the bent nails he pulled from my door. He rested his elbows on his thighs and looked at the both of us on the couch. Sam wore that impassive expression he got when he was in Alpha mode. After a while he looked to Seth and offered him the handful of nails.
"Get rid of these," he ordered quietly. Seth simply took them and headed into the kitchen to go out the back. When the door shut behind him, Sam looked back to us and sighed.
"We need to be very careful about what we consider doing next," Sam began, "Bella is pack and it is our job to keep her safe, but she is also underage and Charlie can make hell for us if we overstep his parental rights."
"We need to tell him, Sam," Jake pulled me tighter against him to peer at his Alpha from over my shoulder. "They would both be safer if he knew, and you know it!"
Sam's head dropped. "I know, I know. Believe me, Jacob, if it were up to Billy and I, Charlie would have known as soon as you imprinted." His head rose again, and his eyes held a fierce glint. "Unfortunately the rest of the council is still wary of the fact that Bella is your imprint. As much as some of them like Charlie, they feel it would be a slap in the face to the rest of the tribe members that should know, if Charlie were to be informed before them."
"That's a moot point," I grumbled. "Those people the council speak of will never be allowed to know the secret, so no one would get upset with them if Charlie knew—they would have no fucking idea there is anything to be upset about!"
"If it's one thing the council is good at, it's covering their asses...it pisses me off that it's at the expense of my pack, and there's nothing I can do about it without serious repercussions." Jacob grumbled, but fell quiet after that.
I tilted my head as I wondered what 'repercussions' the council had that would keep the Alpha of a wolf pack in line. It would have to be something that could seriously damage a wolf...or maybe exile? That doesn't make sense. The pack would fracture without a leader. I shook my head to clear the thoughts. I couldn't get stuck on that, now.
"We need to get them to change their minds," Sam sank back into the recliner. "The trick is making them think they've made the decision on their own."
"Have you ever tried to put one past my dad?" Jake snorted loudly and shook his head. "The man has a bullshit detector you wouldn't believe."
"We wouldn't have to trick Billy. I'm counting on him catching on. He's a good ally to have. He's not going to like the means to this end, but it'll just light a larger fire under the bastard's ass." Sam looked at Leah who was still hovering behind the couch. He nodded at the floor to his left, and she immediately moved and sat where he indicated. Seth came back at that time and sat next to his sister.
The Clearwaters, were looking at Sam the same way they did during a pack meeting...which I guessed this was. They were straight backed, and alert, waiting for orders.
"We need to push the bond of the imprint. Stress it as much as we can," Sam looked at the two of us on the couch. His mouth was set in a grim line, and I knew already I wouldn't like this plan. "Now, from what I know of Charlie, he's not going to want you around for a while, Jacob. That's the perfect cover stress the bond purposely without the council suspecting anything."
"So we miss each other so much that the council takes pity for the sake of true love?" Sarcasm dripped from my voice. There was no way those old assholes would give up their ancient secret just because Jacob missed me.
"No...not quite," Sam rolled his eyes at my comment. "Its more than that. There are physical complications when the imprint bond is stressed and the two are separated." His gaze shifted to Leah and he gave her an apologetic look. She simply nodded in acknowledgment and then gestured to us. "After I had harmed Emily I was so ashamed of my actions that I ran away. I ran to Canada, and stayed up there for two weeks dwelling on what I had done. I began to experience physical symptoms, during that time I thought it was because I was so stressed. It wasn't until I had gotten home and seen Emily that I made the connection. She had felt the same illness I had, but in a lesser form."
"No fucking way, Sam," Jacob went rigid under me, and I tried to move so that I could comfort him, but I was once again locked in his inescapable grasp. "There is no way I am purposely making Bella sick."
"Think about it, Jacob," Sam leaned forward to accompany the urgency in his voice. "She may get sick, yes, but it won't be nearly as bad for her. When I bring news of your illness to the council, and they see how bad you are, they're going to have to do something eventually. With as many leeches as we have running around there is no way we can lose a wolf, and they know that. They'll tell Charlie just to get Bella back in LaPush and with you. If that takes letting him in on the secret, I think they'll do it to keep you."
"You're assuming Charlie doesn't ship her off to live with her mom at the mention of a group of teenage boys that turn into giant wolves," I shivered at Jacob's bitter tone.
"I'd just come back," I tried to shrug, but my arms were trapped. "I have enough money saved for at least one ticket back to Sea-Tac. If I stay hidden on the rez long enough, he won't be able to say anything...I'm turning eighteen in September, and then he'll have no say at all."
"But until then, we'll be harboring a runaway, and I'd bet my house that Charlie would come looking here first thing when he found out you were gone," Sam retorted. "Charlie is a good father from what I've seen. His first priority is to keep Bella safe, just like ours. The hardest part of this will be convincing Charlie that she is safe with us, yes, but after that everything will be easier. We'll have the benefit to get inside information if anyone in Forks goes missing, or is killed. He'll have back up if his investigations turn out to be supernatural. Everyone wins. Most important, there will be another person looking out for Bella's safety, and since we have no standing to take her from her father, and kidnapping is not on my to-do list, we need to make do with the cards we have. However, we can stack the deck in our favor."
I nodded. Everything Sam was saying made sense to me. There was no way that I could just leave. I had a few months before that option opened up. If there was anything I could say about Charlie it would be that if the truth was staring him in the face, he accepted it. My only worry at this point in the grand scheme was how to ensure that we got to that point.
The stone I was sitting on that used to be my boyfriend was still. I couldn't even feel his chest move, and I was pressed as close to him as I could be without fusing. "Jake...breathe. This needs to happen. Charlie has to know. We'll figure it out." I felt him let out the breath he had been holding for god knows how long.
"So how do you think we should go about this? We can't just pull out and leave her unprotected." Jacob implored. "We need at least one of us with her at all times."
Sam nodded and looked to me, "will that work for you?"
"Doesn't really change from how things are now. Though, since I am going to probably be grounded until I'm thirty for sneaking Jake into my room, I probably won't be leaving the house at all." I tried to look down at my lap, but all I could see were Jake's arms wrapped around me. "I'm….I'm not going back to school. I'll finish online or something. I only have two weeks left, but I don't think I can deal with walking around knowing that the entire student body has seen me mostly naked."
"Bells, are you sure?" Jake planted a soft kiss on the side of my neck. I tried to smile at the gesture, but I'm pretty sure it came off as a grimace.
"I'm sure. The talking, the staring, the pity, the jokes...I just don't want to deal with it. I don't need that negativity on top of the stress of being hunted. I might try and go back when the new year starts and see if the masses have moved on to some new scandal." It was a long shot, but hey—a girl could dream. "Anyway, it'd make things easier for the pack. Only one place to be. No worries about me getting taken on the road, or whatever."
"Its your decision," Sam frowned. "I do agree that you staying here would make our vigil easier. I will say now, that as soon as we leave here today, I am going to order Jake to stay on the reservation. You will not see him until you are able to visit. If I don't, the imprint will pull him to you, and this plan will not work."
"If you have to," I leaned my head against Jacob's and sighed. The next few weeks were going to suck without him. Knowing one of the pack would be close by alleviated my fear of Victoria, Lauren, and Jessica, but being trapped in my home for an undetermined amount of time, with only Charlie for company was going to be hell.
"I still don't like this," Jacob sounded defeated. I felt bad knowing that as bad as I was going to feel, he would be worse off.
"I'm sorry, but I think Sam's right," I turned and kissed his cheek. "There is no way that the council will let Charlie in without this...and Charlie? He loves me—he'll do what he thinks is best, and though that will probably keep us apart for a while, it won't be forever. I'm not going anywhere, Jacob. We have the rest of our lives. A few weeks isn't going to end us."
The phone rang cutting off any response I may have gotten from Jacob. I tried to get up, but I was still locked onto Jacob's lap. "Christ, I'm just going to answer the phone," I playfully slapped his arm, trying to make light of the sense of dread that was already beginning to set in.
He let me go with a grumble. I quickly made my way to the kitchen and answered on the fifth ring.
"Isabella!" Charlie's relieved voice boomed through the receiver. I pulled the handset away from my head and winced.
"Yeah?" I spoke loud so that he could hear me through the extra distance.
"Are you okay? I got a call from the school. They told me they had confiscated several phones and there were compromising pictures of you..." I swallowed quietly. Well that didn't take long. It couldn't have been later than second period at this point.
"Yeah...Angela showed me before school. That's why I left," I began to feel teary again. I sniffed and tried to fight the urge to cry. I hated crying.
"Stay there. I'll be home in five." Crap. Charlie had broken out the 'dad voice'.
"Okay, dad. See you soon." I hung up and side stepped so that the others in the living room could see me in the archway. I knew that they had heard the conversation clearly, so that saved time from having to explain anything.
I saw the back of Sam's head shift as he turned to the two on the floor. In unison the Clearwaters rose and gave me small hopeful smiles.
"See you soon, Bella," Seth gave me a tiny wave.
"Buck the fuck up, and be the hard ass I know you are, Bella. You'll get through this." Leah turned and headed for the front door with Seth close behind.
"Thanks, guys," I called out as the door shut behind them.
Sam had risen and was standing close to the front window. I couldn't tell if he was watching the Clearwaters walk away, or if he wanted to be in the best position to hear Charlie arrive.
Jake watched me sullenly from the couch. I couldn't remember the last time I had seen him look so upset. I held my hand out for him to come to me, and he silently rose and crossed the space in a few large strides. He gathered me into his arms and walked us into the kitchen and further from the presence of his Alpha. Jacob lifted me a bit more before placing me on a clear parcel of counter. His hands slid from my waist to rest on top of my legs. I was expecting for him to lean in and kiss me, but he just stood there and studied me.
"Jake?" I tilted my head at his inspection. The forlorn look in his eyes was heartbreaking, and I became unsure about wanting to know what he was thinking. Chances were, he was jumping to the worst case scenario. I had to admit that the amount of unknown outcomes associated with this plan had me worried. There was a chance, and I wasn't sure how small, that the council would refuse to reveal the truth to Charlie. Maybe I wouldn't be allowed to see Jacob until I turned eighteen. Could we last over three months without each other if Sam was correct about the both of us getting sick? What if Charlie after being told the truth about the wolves was insistent on keeping me away from them? Would Charlie go as far as to pull a gun on the pack?
I had to force myself to stop going down that path. Dwelling on the 'what ifs' wasn't going to do anything but make our separation worse. I needed to focus on what to do to make this work in our favor. I was the only one of the both of us that was in the position to do so, and Jacob needed me to make sure I would be able to come to him as soon as possible.
Jacob's expression hadn't changed the entire time I had been thinking. I brought one of my hands to his shoulder and pulled him closer. My other arm wound around his neck and I nestled my head under his chin. "You need to quit looking at me like that, Jake."
"Like what?" His chin tickled my scalp as it moved.
"Like you're never going to see me again. I won't let that happen. Worst case, I'll be in LaPush on my eighteenth birthday, and we'll both get a present." I grinned against his collarbone.
He chuckled softly. "Oh really, and what's that?"
"Well, I'll be moving in, for one. We can have the ceremony...start work on getting our own place?" I closed my eyes and pictured one of the little cottages that were common on the reservation. They were small, worn, and completely perfect. One day in the not too distant future, no matter what, one of them would be ours.
"Promise?" Jake's scratchy gruff voice couldn't hide the insecurity laced in the question.
I never got the chance to respond. Two muffled howls rang out through the neighborhood. I was getting better at estimating distance when it came to the pack's howling, at the reservation. It was easy when the only thing to block the sound were trees and the occasional house. Though Forks was a small town, it had more infrastructure than LaPush. There were more walls to block and redirect the sound.
Jake pulled back from me and moved to stand in the archway that divided the kitchen and living room. He was on guard as he looked to Sam for instruction.
"They got one," Sam called out from the other room.
I nearly face planted as I scrambled to get off of the counter. This was the best news that the pack had gotten in months. I hoped it was Victoria, but would take any of the three at this point. I caught myself with my hands and righted myself.
"Do you know which one?" I yelled as I came to stand next to Jake. I peered around the side of the arch, trying to spot Sam. I could barely see the front door from here. All I could tell was that it was open.
"No...but I can smell blood. Lots of it," I frowned. I wished he would have expanded on whether it was wolf blood or not. Can they even tell that? Now didn't seem like the appropriate time to ask.
Jacob inhaled deeply next to me. I distinctly heard the intake of air turn into a growl. "Get in your truck," he grabbed my wrist and began leading me forcefully toward the front door.
"What's going on?" I kept watch on my feet as I followed him through the house and out the door. Once I was safely off the porch, I looked up to see Sam standing in the bed of my truck, his hands braced on the top of the cab.
"We need to go to Leah and Seth," Sam urged and slammed an open hand on the roof of my truck a couple of times. The sound was jarring and spurred me to pick up my pace.
"I'll drive," Jacob let go of me and opened the driver's side door. I crawled across the bench seat to the other side, and before I could become properly oriented, Jacob had already gotten in and started the truck.
The truck roared as he backed up quickly, and I felt it stutter as he nearly stalled her while switching gears. One of them must be badly injured if he was so frazzled that he forgot how to properly drive stick.
"Jacob!" Sam roared over the engine, and we lurched forward down the residential street. The scenery outside was a blur as we sped past. I was glad that any young kids that could potentially be outside playing were safely in school, because even with Jake's reflexes this car was hard to slow down once it found momentum.
My house was deep in the neighborhood, and we still made it to the highway in less than half the time it would take if Jake had been driving like a sane person. We turned toward the edge of town towards LaPush and in the distance I could see a flume of dark smoke rising from deep in the woods.
"Is that where we're headed," I briefly glimpsed at Jacob. His eyes were narrowed, and his mouth was a tight line. He just nodded, and the car bobbed forward as he pressed the gas pedal down further. From my vantage point I could see the car had hit its maximum speed.
My stomach began to flip. Lots of blood? Who was hurt? I wrapped my arms around my stomach and hoped the pressure would alleviate some of my nausea. I was hoping that the 'lots of blood' was due to the wolves being massive and therefore having more blood than the average being. If I was lucky, maybe I could help Leah or Seth with whatever injury they had. But by the time we get there, won't they have healed? Now I was confused. The only injury I knew of that a wolf couldn't heal from immediately was a bite, and the chances of one of them having chunks missing like Jake did were slim. But still possible.
I sighed in frustration and leaned forward. The trees had cut off my view of the smoke, now. We were close. The car screeched and I felt myself being pulled forward as Jake smashed on the brakes. I braced myself on the dashboard so my teeth wouldn't get knocked out. I realized why just a few seconds later. There was a break in the trees a short distance ahead signaling the road to LaPush, and Jake was going to take that turn doing forty-five miles per hour.
"Jake, no!" I yelled. Even with the decrease in speed we were going way too fast to take that turn. Maybe the Rabbit could handle it. Maybe. My truck, however, was top heavy and a sharp turn at such speeds would most likely end in a roll over.
My hands pressed even harder against the dash as the truck slowed again. The pressure was there longer this time, and by the time we were about to take the corner, I felt my chances of surviving the turn had greatly improved.
As soon as we turned onto the heavily wooded road, I spotted Leah's wolf about half a football field away right before a curve in the path. She backed up a few paces before she turned and headed around the bend. Her movements were fluid, and I saw no red on her. She wasn't carrying herself the way Jake had when he was hurt. That would leave Seth, but even that didn't make sense. If he was so bad that Jacob would risk flipping the truck to get here, Leah wouldn't have been standing in the road waiting for us. She would have been at his side.
We made it around the corner and the reason why we were in such a hurry hit me in full force. Charlie's mangled police cruiser was blocking the road before us, a thick black smoke rose from the gaps of the crumpled hood. The car was bent so badly that there was only a couple of feet between the headlight and the tail light on the driver's side. If I hadn't known any better it would have seemed like he had power slid into a tree and wrapped the car around it.
"Dad," I shrieked as I flung my door open. My terror made me move so quick I was out of the cab and range of the door before it bounced back closing itself. I sprinted toward the wreckage to the gaping hole where my father's door should have been. He was half out of the car, his head and shoulders resting on the dirt. One leg was strewn out over the driver's seat, while the other was in the footwell below. His lower half was covered in shattered glass from the windshield.
I then understood what the 'lots of blood' comment was referring to. Red sticky fluff poked out of four long gashes in his jacket. The gold badge that was sewn over his heart was ripped in two. The rain resistant material was shiny with unabsorbed blood that was beginning to pool around his head as it ran down his body.
Oh god. I stopped a few feet away and heaved as my stomach rejected my breakfast. It made a wet sound when it hit the ground, and the noise just made me retch again. I thought I was better with blood. I groaned and sank to my knees. This was the absolute worst time for this. I needed to be strong, and do what I could for my father.
A shadow fell over me, and a large warm hand rubbed my upper back. I didn't need to look to know it was Jacob. I stayed where I was and kept my eyes on the ground. My thinking was becoming fuzzy and I was worried about how long I would be able to keep conscious.
"Sam," Seth's voice drew my attention from the ground to the treeline behind me. I whipped my head around to see Seth emerge from the brush, his hands covered in red. Big mistake! I turned back to the ground before me, and shut my eyes. I willed my breathing to become more even, and tried to find my center.
"Seth. Is it burnt enough?" Sam wasn't that far away from me, and the clarity of his voice seemed to bring me back to myself a bit.
"Well the parts aren't trying to crawl out of the fire," the young wolf replied. "We do have a problem, though." I didn't need to see Sam's face to know that he was giving Seth the stare down. "Charlie saw me phase back. I don't know what happened. I got so scared when I saw all the blood that I just phased and tried to help him!"
"Shit," Sam cursed. Really? My eyes squeezed harder together as anger washed over me. Now is not the time.
"The fuck? Now is not the time to worry about what he saw. It doesn't matter what he saw if he dies," the panic and anger that coursed through me drowned out my nausea and trepidation about looking anywhere but the ground. I rose and gave myself a minute to look over the scene. We were too far from Forks or LaPush to go and get help on foot. He needed an ambulance now.
A crackle came from inside the car, and a muffled voice followed through the static. Dispatch! I moved further from the others and carefully made my way around the blood, and my father's body. I knew from the copious amounts of time I had been in the cruiser that the handset for the radio was attached to the center console.
The voice on the other end of the radio was repeatedly asking my father to respond as I braced myself against the twisted frame of the car and reached into the front seat to feel for the radio. I fumbled to get past the steering wheel for longer than I liked. The dispatch officer had called in three times by the time I had leaned further down and continued my search from under the steering wheel.
I winced a couple times as my arm knocked into Charlie's knee. I hoped that I hadn't accidentally just nudged my father's dead body. He has to be okay, I bit my lip and strained further as I patted along the dashboard of the car. Little rounded box about the size of my palm.
Jackpot. After figuring out how to remove it from its holder, I pulled my arm back and watched as the stretchy spiraled cord followed me out of the car.
"Chief," the little box blared from my hand, "never received your call. Come in, over."
I swallowed and firmly pressed the little button on the side of the handset until it was flush with the plastic surrounding it. "Dad—Chief Swan has been in an accident. He is unresponsive, and needs an ambulance...over." I let go of the button and mentally thanked my mom for having a love affair with crime dramas.
"Bella?" The box crackled, "Shit—okay, where are you? Are you hurt, too?" No 'over'? Apparently protocol was out the window as soon as the Chief went unconscious.
"I'm fine. We're off the highway. Have them take the turn to LaPush. We are just around the first bend in the road. He's bleeding badly! They have to hurry!" I released pressure on the button and waited for a response. I knew he had to relay the information, but without the voice on the other end of the line keeping me stationery, my instinct to back away from the bloody scene next to me began to get overwhelming.
"Ambulance has been dispatched, Bella. They'll be there soon. I need you to tell me what his injuries are so the paramedics will be prepared when they arrive. Can you do that?"
"Yeah," I bit my lip and looked down at Charlie. I fought off a fresh wave of nausea while I scanned his body for something visibly wrong other than the slashes across his chest. The only thing I could find was a welt on the left side of his head. "There is a welt on his head, and it looks like he was mauled by an animal."
A clearing throat a few feet away took my attention from Charlie. Sam looked incredulous. He shook his head sharply and mimed for me to keep my mouth shut. I let go of the button, glaring, and pointed at him with my free hand.
"We need a story, Sam. I'm just going with the old stand by." The older man threw up his arms in frustration, turned, and headed into the trees.
"An animal," the dispatcher sounded dismayed. The last year when people started turning up dead, everyone believed it was a giant bear that was attacking hikers. The Cullens and I came to find out it was Victoria's coven. When the deaths around town stopped, the Cullens actually found a large bear and gave Charlie and his hunters the general area to look in. The bear was killed for crimes it didn't commit and everyone was happy.
"I think it's another bear."
"Shit," the dispatcher groaned. "How bad?"
"His jacket is torn, and there's a lot of blood. It looks like the thing tore off his car door and pulled him out. Got him across his chest."
The faint wail of an ambulance siren broke the relative silence of the forest. My shoulders slumped in relief. I contacted the dispatcher once more and told him I could hear the sirens, and that I needed to get out of the way. I tossed the radio back into the car and watched it as it hit the passenger seat before it bounded to the floor.
I carefully backtracked to where Jake was standing, and managed to keep myself from getting any of his blood on me. He wrapped an arm around my shoulder, never taking his eyes from Charlie.
"You did good, Bells," he said quietly.
"Sam didn't think so," I muttered back.
"Yeah, well Sam didn't get to the radio first," he chuckled darkly.
"Last time there were vampire attacks, they blamed a bear. Could be possible there are multiple bloodthirsty bears." I had to raise my voice over the siren baring down on our location.
I saw Jake's head bob in agreement at my summation. "Leah, Seth," Jacob turned to the she wolf and her blood covered brother. "Go. I'll stay with Bella. We don't want to give different stories, and it'll be hard to explain how we all got here before the paramedics." Leah's wolf huffed and nodded, and Seth just gave me a sad smile before following his sister into the trees. Jake squeezed me closer to him and bent so that his lips brushed my ear as he spoke. "I was at your house and we were headed to see our friends to get your mind off of things. We found Charlie like this, you radioed in. That's it."
"Sure sure," that was easy enough to remember. It was simple and had elements of the truth. I could work with that easily.
The ambulance pulled up behind us as we finished speaking. We both stepped back out of the road to give the paramedics space to move. From near the trees I could see a couple of police cars stop behind the ambulance on either side of the road.
The paramedics moved quickly to charlie with bags and a gurney. They began gently poking, prodding, and checking for a pulse. One of them found it and began yelling for the others to get him moving. Within a matter of a few minutes Charlie was hauled onto the gurney wearing a neck brace and a sheet that was quickly becoming stained with his blood.
The entire time I watched the paramedics work, I was being questioned by Charlie's deputies. I gave them the story Jacob had fed to me moments before their arrival, and with the exception of clarifying why I was skipping school and needed to see friends, they didn't ask questions.
"Can we get to the hospital," I wanted to get away from the pool of Charlie's blood before my resolve failed. I could feel myself beginning to crack under the stress of the situation. Now that Charlie was safe, my need to be strong to help him was gone.
The deputy nodded and then reminded us to observe the speed limit on the way. Jacob said he would, and pulled me off to my truck.
We didn't speak until we were back on the highway. I was sitting in the middle of the bench seat leaning heavily on Jacob's shoulder. I had become extremely tired after I had the chance to sit for a minute. The lack of adrenaline, and puking up the only food I had was starting to do me in.
"Bells, we need to make sure we're there when Charlie wakes up." I nodded against his shoulder and 'hmm'd in response. "You have to tell him he's alright and explain things before he starts spouting off about giant wolves. Chances are the doctors will think its just the pain meds, but we need to do as much damage control as possible."
"Kay," my eyes drooped. I needed to get as much rest as I could if I was going to be chained to Charlie's bedside for god knows how long.
Damnit! That bitch is like teflon!
Why did it have to be all about her? She's not all that pretty, for one. She's tragically pale, her hair has no volume, and she never puts any effort into her face or her clothes. She wears the same dumpy sweaters and jackets, and everyone fawns over her because they hadn't grown up with her.
Sure, she's smart. Okay, fine. Whatever. So she reads? Big deal. Anyone can pick up a book and pretend they're better than everybody else. Sad part is she seemed to believe her own hype along with the rest of Forks. What is she doing? How is she feeling? Did anyone else see how manipulative she truly is?
Bitch flutters her eyelashes and everyone with a dick in a five mile radius falls to their knees praising the lord that she gave them the time of day. Even Edward Cullen fell for it. No one else was good enough for him, but somehow she had gotten her claws into him. Karma finally came back around when he dumped her ass in the woods and skipped town with the rest of his family. She handled it horribly which finally showed everyone else how unstable and pathetic she is. People finally started seeing her for what she truly was and everyone gave her up like a bad habit.
Now she has this new ? Tall, dark, and gorgeous. Is there a rabbit's foot she has hidden somewhere under those baggy clothes? How does a girl like that get two insanely hot guys in a row? He seemed like the type that was pretty slow. Thats it. She went for hot and stupid this time. Learned her lesson from Cullen, I guess.
The boys in town. Cullen. Jacob. She had the nerve to take even more. Because of her, parents were missing their children. Those children would never get to sit down to dinner with their families, or lay in their own beds ever again. Friends that they had grown up with were wondering where they were, and if they were okay. Boyfriends were left behind without so much as a call or a text saying 'goodbye'.
They were gone because of her. Her need to ruin everything had touched so many lives that she had to be taught a lesson. People have died over this girl and she carries on as if none of it matters to her. Maybe it doesn't. If she did have a heart, and she did care about the damage she caused, she didn't show it. Her, her family, and her loved ones that let her act the way she did all needed to pay.
Even that was ruined. Someone died today but it wasn't the person that should have died. No. That would have been fair. Right as justice was about to be served, one of her friends came out and ripped our executioner to pieces and left them burning in the woods. With luck, the helper will still die before he gets help. There has to be a silver lining to this turn of events.
Worst case, there will be eyes and ears on her at all times, as there have been for the past few months from what has been said. Only now, not all of her babysitters are working to keep her safe. Someone has to be on the right side of things, and that person is me.
A lot of my kind have a gift. Mine, from what I have been told, has yet to have been documented over our history. I can mask my ability to be found through any one of the senses. It only works with one sense at a time, and I need to meditate to change my focus, but once a sense has been masked it is final. I can be invisible, or make no sound, or block others ability to feel me. The one I have been using the past couple of days is the ability to block my natural smell.
Take that, dogs. They rely so much on their noses to find us that they gave up trying to look at their surroundings. Last night I sat in the woods outside her house only barely covered. No one bothered to look in the freaking trees! Her window was open, and they didn't smell me so they went about their business thinking they were alone.
I had been so close this morning that I could have touched the small dog if I had wanted to. They sucked as bodyguards. They could keep that up for all I cared. I would use their blatant weakness to my advantage. I was going to stay close enough to that hospital to be able to hear every little thing that was said, no matter how long she stayed. Not like time means anything, anymore.
I would carry out my part, and be ruthless in making sure that there are no more mistakes. I checked my burn phone as I dodged the trees on the highway. I was starting to get into the town, and needed to be very careful not to be seen. No missed calls. No missed texts. Shit. I was told that I would be informed how the rest of the plan was coming along, but it had been days since our last contact. Was I alone? Only time would tell.
Even if everything went to hell, I would make her pay for all the pain and suffering she caused. She was a zit on the face of this earth, and she needed to be popped. Soon. I would take whatever came after without giving any of them the satisfaction of hearing me scream. They would never have that on me.
I settled finally in the woods behind the hospital closest to the long term stay rooms. I was perched on a branch half way up one of the huge trees with my eyes closed. There were so many voices and noises coming from the hospital that I was having a hard time picking out anything having to do with her helper.
After a few minutes I picked up on the sound of doctors yelling somewhere on one of the lower floors closer to me. Give me this. Hand me that. I need this. Stat. I smiled to myself hearing the tremble in the surgeon's voice. They were scared he was going to die. Good. My morning was getting better already.