The Haunting of Bella Swan

Chapter Thirty-Three


"It's probably not wise to antagonize beings that could hinder the ability to leave the house." Jasper shrugged when Bella leveled him with a lethal glare. He ignored that and hummed in thought. "It's obvious the council knows where you two are and that you're together. That's not a good thing. I also have to wonder how." As a counterspell, her father and Jasper had made it quite difficult for Edward and Bella to be found.

"The fact that her immortal father was summoned before that thing showed up isn't a coincidence, either," Edward stated. Damn, he needed a cigarette. He quit cold turkey after the accident, but stress usually brought on the desire.

"No, it's not." Bella peered out one of the front windows and cursed. "The demon brought friends. Since when did the council use them as messengers?"

How would others of the supernatural world see the development?

Jasper made his way to the window, confusion, and anger converging in his eyes. "They don't! It has always been a rule to never use them in such a manner. The host rarely lives."

"You mean the human?" Edward had a hard time disguising his disgust. "Demons possess humans, they're not just hosts. They are unwilling and sometimes aware of what the demon is doing. Those that do survive have to live with what they'd done." He joined Bella by the window, observing half a dozen "messengers" standing in the shadows of Bella's yard and across the street. Each of them stared blankly at the window, toward her.

Bella stepped away and watched as Jasper started to pace, her jaw ticking with annoyance. Anger still simmered in her blood; the past-life memory of her last encounter with him hadn't ended well.

"Is decapitation the only way to kill you?"

The deceptively soft-spoken question stilled Jasper's movements, his heart racing, all too aware of the menace in Bella's voice.

Yet, he met her darkened gaze. "Yes."

Edward watched the byplay between them, and in some ways, wanted the answers, too, but in others, wasn't ready to face them. He'd always known there was more to Jasper. His initial instinct when they first met had been to never turn his back to him. His instincts had never failed him to warn him, though he learned to live with the feeling around the man, he always remained aware.

She folded her arms across her chest. "In the last life, why did you kill me?"

Edward's gaze snapped to Jasper's unnaturally blue eyes that held a thousand secrets. "You killed her?"

"There was little choice. She was watching you die, and it was only a matter of time before she would, too. So, I snapped her neck to put an end to her suffering."

Edward's hands itched to wrap around Jasper's throat and squeeze, but logic overcame his anger. "We do not have time to go down what sounds like a grim memory lane." It was already difficult to keep the memories from overtaking his mind. "We need to find our son before we can talk. How do we get rid of the councils' watchdogs?"

"They at least can't come into the house with all the wards I have up." Bella tapped a finger to her lips and concentrated on an errant memory. "There's a spell I remember that will send them on their way." She clapped her hands together. "It will require some time, unfortunately, so we might as well rest. Regroup until tomorrow evening."

Exhaustion weighed heavily on Edward's shoulders, and he had to agree. If they intended to search for their son while watching their backs against demons and possibly corrupt council members, they needed to be well-rested and energized. A torrid of emotions was the only reason he hadn't given in to how tired he felt.

"Tell me what you need, and I'll take care of it." Jasper held out a small notepad and pen Bella kept by her landline. She started to write as soon as she had it in her hand. "Get some rest while I hunt for the ingredients." He looked down at the list once she was done and whistled. "A magical forcefield?"

"The ancient spell had been lost for centuries until I remembered it." Bella held up her chin and answered the question in Jasper's mind. "No, I will not be sharing it with anyone other than Edward. In the wrong hands, it could win a war, which was why all written knowledge of it had been destroyed centuries ago."

Jasper could only watch her for several moments; she had a right to be wary of him. The council had eventually been divided right down the middle, with only one member capable of being semi-neutral. The seventh member always dealt with conspirators; they often used threats to keep him on their side or attempted to bribe him. There was a reason he'd been chosen—his ability to see each side and make a logical choice based on facts and not emotional attachments. He had hunted down his father and brother after learning of their inability to control their bloodlust. He'd been new to his vampiric lifestyle at the time and had destroyed them after a killing spree in the late 20s.

Not long after he collapsed and entered a truly painful transformation to an Immortal.

The council likely wondered about his connection with Bella and Edward. It would take time for them to find out, if ever. They would trust him in time; he had infinite patience.

"I will have everything ready by morning." Jasper tipped an imaginary hat and winked at her, earning a slight blush.

Edward stopped him with one word at the door. "Alice."

Jasper's shoulders sagged. "I never intended to fall in love with her. You've met your sister, there was little choice. I was hers before I knew it."

"I'll give you some time to tell her the truth."

"Thank you."

They watched as Jasper quickly maneuvered through a gauntlet of demons who couldn't touch him but berated his every step. He disappeared in a cloud of brake dust and burnt rubber.

Edward's eyebrows shot up when Bella all but dragged him to the nearest shower, clothes and all. Water fell from overhead, though most of the heat came from their bodies. Wet cloth clung to skin under tired but urgent hands; they didn't stand a chance to their life-affirming need from each other. Past and present seemed to meld together in their minds—old memories from former lives. They'd been cursed to never really forget, always aware of a missing piece.

They had a son.

Their fingers slid slower and kisses softened as her pregnancy in their past lives filled their thoughts at the same time. "Oh God," Bella cried against his shoulder, her hands nearly limp as her pained wail haunted him. "We didn't even get to see him take his first steps, and now we have to face watching him die."

They held each other closer, desperate for some kind of reprieve from the onslaught of emotions they'd felt in the last few weeks. Was that how they eventually gave in to the curse? So grieved by their past lives, so overwhelmed that one or other was a tad less careful? Took one too many pills? Drank heavily and got behind the wheel of a car? How many times had they held onto their last breath only to watch the other die?

Dozens?

A hundred?

Too many lifetimes.

The desire for each other evaporated as mounting despair threatened to pull them under, into an abyss they'd never escape.

Because they wouldn't want to.

.

.

.

Sometime later, when Bella came to on the cold tile of the shower, Edward lay beside her with his eyes closed. Confusion gave way to fear as she realized her right arm was phased. She looked toward where her fingers should be, only to find them inside of Edward.

And his phased fingers were clenched around her heart.


AN: Before you sent someone to hunt me down, I'm trying my hardest to write every single day. I have other updates coming up soon. Thanks for your continued support. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.