A/N: It's a little short. It's a lot late. I've had writer block. But I came to visit my friend for spring break and her wonderfully bright children who gave me many ideas for finishing and this spilled out in a matter of hours. I want to give this as a peace offering and a promise that another will follow in a couple of days.
Here's the drawback: My wonderful beta is leaving for month long vacation so these chapters will be un-beta'd because I refuse to bother her while she is trying to pack for her adventure and while she is gone. Besides, she's coming to see me on part of it. *so excited*
So, here is my offering and my apologies. MarinaNamaste usually helps me fill in the visual elements of my chapters...so you SEE what is going on. I think her voice was in my head the 59 of the 60 times I read over this and proofed it.
"When did you arrive?" Edward asked Emmet in surprise as he glided through the open glass door in the rear of the Cullen house.
"This morning," Emmet answered, sounding nonchalant. "We've been down in La Push." He totally ignored a shocked Alice. She was mid-vision and didn't even notice the snub.
Edward was too distracted to notice Alice.
"La Push?" Edward sounded very confused. He searched Emmet's thoughts and found only thoughts of looking for something that Rosalie had hidden. Jake strode in behind Emmet while Sam lingered on the porch both out of Edward's sight and mind.
"What's he doing here?" Edward snarled, baring his teeth.
"He's here to help us clean up your mess. Now calm your tits and tell us if you tailed Victoria after you caught her scent at school," Emmet answered still sounding bored with Edward. He went to an old oak armoire and fished through some papers in a file. He didn't find what he wanted so he left the room.
"I don't need his help or your help," Edward called through the door. "Besides, he's insulting me mentally," Edward complained. Jake smirked and Alice's head jerked up towards the door.
"We did follow the scent," Alice answered, first frowning at the door and the smiling.
"Alice!" Edward hissed like he wanted to keep it a secret. Jasper walked through the door. Alice's smile stretched across her face.
"We followed it to some place called Oil City. She went into the water from there. I think they're coming in on Third Beach and soon," Alice gushed. Jasper returned her smile and he rushed forward to her. "I'm sorry Jasper. I understand now." They hugged each other close and Jasper rubbed a hand soothingly up and down Alice's back. He could feel her remorse.
"Shhhh," Jasper soothed.
"Third Beach?" Jake asked.
"What do you understand?" Edward asked Alice.
"Yes," Alice answered Jake, looking over Jasper's shoulder. "It is very soon, like later tonight. But it fluctuates like she knows how to mess up the visions." Jasper pulled away and Alice took a step towards Jake as she explained. "But then it stabilizes like someone else is turning the knobs to fix the reception…does that make sense?" Alice did not notice the stare-down between Jasper and Edward.
"Yes, oddly enough. We have a really old TV at home," Jake answered.
"Found them!" Emmet called, holding a file of newspaper clippings in the air.
"She understands that what you have been doing is wrong, Edward. You can't force Bella to love you. The vision Alice once had of your happy ending with Bella no longer exists. You have lost her. And Alice finally realizes that she's been wrong to help you for so long," Jasper explained in a calm, quiet voice.
"You don't speak for her," Edward scoffed. His posture was stiff and defensive. Jake wanted to scoff at Edward's double standard, but the wolf strengthened his game face. Jake had finally learned to listen as well.
"Actually, Edward, he does here. We have been so wrong." Her honeyed eyes turned to him so he could lock on. "I no longer see any futures with you and Bella." He stared back at her as she played something in her mind. Edward's eyes darted towards Jake's, looking confused.
"Well, it doesn't look like she's with him either," Edward said, pointing at Jake. Jasper shook his head and Emmet laid the file on the table.
"But I'm not a sore loser like you," Jake mumbled and stepped towards the clippings on the table. He couldn't contain everything. He was only sixteen. "Can we get on with this? There actually more important things to consider other than Edward's fucking broken heart. Bella's life is at stake."
"No trace of the subtle scent from the school in the surrounding areas," Jared said striding through the door. I did pickup the redhead's scent down near Oil City like she said." He nodded at Alice.
"Who is he? And what do you mean you're not a sore loser?" Edward asked. His eyes slid to unfocused. "Stop it! I don't want to see that!" Someone was showing Edward Bella in a position that Edward wouldn't even allow himself to think about. He totally forgot about Jared.
"Rose has been keeping tabs on the disappearances in and around Seattle since before we left" Emmet said, ignoring Edward as his finger quickly placed them in chronological order. "Since her own disappearance she's hypersensitive to how they are written up in the papers. Hers was merely a byline and never mentioned Royce." Alice focused her eyes on Edward, showing him her earlier vision of Bella's future and he shook his head roughly.
"Tell him to quit showing me pornographic images of Bella and his afternoon tryst," Edward said. "Carlisle is in town, too? What about Esme?"
"Edward you have a lot to learn that you don't know everything and when to just back down and shut up," Jasper said moving closer to the table. "I've seen him," Jasper said pointing the one of the earliest pictures. The article featuring a light haired man was one of the most recent articles, but written about one of first disappearances on Rose's timeline. That meant nothing was ever discovered on his disappearance.
"Where?" Jake asked, a little too excited. "When?"
"On my way to La Push today. That can't be a coincidence," Jasper answered. Jake looked very closely at the picture, examining the man's details and the details of the article.
"Where's fucktard and brownnoser?" Jake asked Jared. He started moving towards the door. "This is good."
"Brown-noser caught a scent up the road from Fucktard's house and it was mixed with Bella's. A-prime is phased outside relaying all this information to those phased," Jared answered.
"Do you have to use the code names?" Edward said as he followed the others out the door.
"Yes," Jared, Jake, and Jasper said together.
"Where's Leah?" Jake finished flicking his eyes to Edward and back a Jared as they headed to the end of the yard.
"Tracking Bella with Fucktard so she doesn't castrate Edward after hearing Rosalie's story."
"Wait, what?" Edward asked.
"Rose told her story," Jasper answered, "no one is very happy with you."
"Not that," Edward hissed. Someone must have told them in their mind because Edward hissed.
"I knew you dogs couldn't keep her safe! I knew I should have followed her into the woods after school!"
"He better be glad that Fucktard isn't here," Jared said. "I don't even wanna phase in after that." But Jake and Jared both phased as they headed towards third beach. Edward hadn't noticed he'd never heard the pack mind even though Sam's wolf sat on regally on his haunches in the yard looking at the house. Sam followed the others into the forest.
But he is fucktard one voice said to throw Edward off. Jake was mentally running over all the information he'd just seen in the newspaper clipping.
Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk I'm a woman's man: no time to talk. Music loud and women warm, I've been kicked around since I was born, one voice began to sing and two others joined in.
"Please stop!" Edward begged, keeping pace as they all sped to wherever Jake was leading them.
And now it's all right, it's okay. And you may look the other way. We can try to understand. The New York Times' effect on man, the voices kept singing.
That Jasper is a fucking genius! One said while the others continued. Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin' And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive! Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive…
They were running through the forest, taking great pride in the tuts and scoffs that Edward was throwing Jasper's direction. But as much as he hated the wolves' rendition of the Bee Gee's classic hit, it did keep Edward's mind off the fact that a strange vampire with a faint scent had taken Bella and no one knew where she was. Just when he'd processed that thought and got irritated again, the wolves suddenly stopped.
Shut the fuck up! an unfamiliar voice roared through this minds.
Edward tilted his head because all thought ceased. There was nothing except Jasper's perpetual mental ticking of the surrounding potential threats and Emmet wondering what Rose would be wearing underneath her clothes next time they were together. Alice hadn't followed.
Edward looked around just to make sure the two wolves that had been running with them were still there because he could no longer hear the cursed disco tune nor could he hear any other profane and flippant thoughts of the wolves that disgusted Edward to his core.
"What is it? Did you find Bella?" Edward asked.
She left us a trail. Fucktard ran ahead and told me to wait here.
And then the pack mind disappeared from Edward's mind.
"What is it Edward?" Emmet asked sounding annoyed.
"I don't hear anything right now either!" Edward said answering Emmet's mental frustration. "The one they're calling fucktard found her scent on a trail that, apparently, she deliberately left."
She's not as fucking stupid as you think she is.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Edward said.
"What is what supposed to mean?" Jasper said, just as annoyed.
"Someone just told me that Bella isn't stupid as I think she is. I don't think she's stupid. She's human…frail," Edward sounded a little contrite.
She was there. An image of a little, rundown house appeared in Edward's mind. Emily was there, too. Come on, Brownnoser! And then Edward's mind was silent again.
"What are we going to do?" Edward said after he relayed the information to Jasper and Emmet.
"We're going to wait here until Fucktard tells us where to go," Jake had phased back human. "And I have some information for you." Jake stalked forward towards Edward, looking very menacing. Edward made a great pretense of avoiding looking at Jake's naked form.
"You take orders from someone you call Fucktard?" Edward scoffed, but taking a step back. "How does Sam feel about being called Fucktard?" The air shimmered with a phase.
"They're not calling me fucktard," Sam said. "And Jake isn't taking orders from him. And he doesn't take orders from me either. There are two packs now. Jake is alpha of the other. He gives orders. But fucktard," Sam looked to the direction where they'd be running, "he answers to no one."
"What's with all the secrecy and code names?" Edward asked, his lip curling defensively at the new information.
"Because you can't be trusted you manipulative bastard. After the deal you made with Sam, who just wanted to protect his tribe—which includes Bella by the way—we knew you'd do anything to get Bella back," Jake answered. "Anything." Jake took another menacing step forward.
"What deal did he make?" Emmet asked.
"It was a ruse," Jasper answered. "Sam insisted that they work with the vampires and Jake was adamantly opposed to it. It caused a split in the pack, just like the wolves hoped and predicted. They led Edward to believe that Sam would do whatever he could to protect the tribe without telling him that she was imprinted to a member of the pack and considered part of that tribe."
"What?" Edward asked dropping his silly pretense and looking at Jake straight on.
"So Edward thought that Sam would help him get Bella back if he helped them get Victoria," Jake continued. He actually liked Japser. "But what the leech didn't realize is that Sam is the one who found Bella in the woods after he left her there," Jake finished looking at Edward dead in the eyes. Sam then replayed the image of Bella on the forest floor, broken and sobbing and shivering with cold. Jake played him a flipbook of images of a depressed, lifeless Bella with hollow eyes and a gaunt face. "You did that to her." Jared's wolf whined.
"You're never getting her back, Edward," Sam said before he phased.
"And I'm not her imprint," Jake said before he phased. Edward stood there stunned as she stared at the three wolves in front him who were mentally silent. He finally realized that they had the ability to mask their thoughts and they were discussing new finds with each other and excluding him.
"Then, who," Edward looked at Jasper, who would have felt the connection. He remembered Alice's vision and the unfamiliar man in it who wasn't Jake or Embry. It wasn't the third wolf who came into the Cullen's house and looked at newspaper clips and it wasn't Sam. "What is an imprint?" he finally asked.
"It's the strongest connection I've ever felt. Ever," Jasper answered. "Bella's future is with him. She chose him because he helped her discover her own strength instead of reminding her of her weaknesses."
Edward took another step back as all the new information sent his world reeling off its axis. He couldn't hear the wolves, Alice had turned against him, Bella's future was with another man...
And they call me fucktard the voice snarled through Edward's head. You're the fucktard.
"Who is that?" Edward yelled stumbling around in a circle, looking through the trees. Jake phased back but spoke to Jasper.
"Call the rest of your family and tell them to go to," he looked back at Sam's wolf, "she called it their clearing?" Sam yipped. "Go to Edward and Bella's clearing." Jake look confused, but Jasper nodded his understanding. "Bring medical supplies for cleaning and stitching cuts. Someone is hurt." Jasper nodded and Jake phased. Leaving Jasper dialing his cell, everyone else took off and Edward followed them to the place where he and Bella had declared their undying love for one another.