Okay, deep breath here it is. The last chapter. I really hope you enjoy it and I just wanted to dedicate this story to all the wonderful people who stuck by me over the weeks upon weeks of writing. I want you to know that without your wonderful encouragement and reviews, I never would have gotten past the first chapter. Because of you this story has become more to me than just a fanfiction. It has become a message of hope and understanding to be spread through writing and I've really fallen in love with it as you have. I want you to know that I am considering writing a sequel, because I'm not sure I'm ready to let go yet. So here it is. Enjoy! And may you find hope in the words, comfort in the message and love in whatever you choose to take from it. I love you all!
Chapter 50: Full Circle
People would notice when I went missing – one of the unfortunate consequences of being the bride and therefore the center of attention more or less. But Edward would cover for me. He would say I was emotion or needed a few minutes to myself. Whatever he said, it didn't matter to me. This was something I had to do and, as I turned briefly to see Edward wink and nod once in my direction as I crossed the field to the woods, I knew he would understand.
Alice would have no idea. I may simply disappear from her vision for a while, but Edward would assure her everything was fine. I would be back before anyone knew I was gone.
I'd slipped away as quietly as I could, glad for a little time away from the party and my parents – although not entirely glad for being away from Edward. Although I supposed it didn't make that much of a difference; we would always have eternity together so it couldn't hurt to slip away briefly to grant myself one – probably last – second with Jacob. It was a second that deserved to be had. And I owed him this much. I never could have ended the war by myself, after all. He deserved a proper explanation at least.
Holding the brim of Esme's dress above my ankles so as to keep it from dragging in the dirt, I strode purposefully over to where I knew Jacob was still standing – although he'd disappeared from view – leaning against the trunk of one of the trees just out of sight. I could smell him.
I stole minimal glances over my shoulder as I reached the edge of the tree line and stepped in, confident now that no one but Edward had noticed my quiet escape.
I stopped when I spotted Jacob, not three feet from where I stood, resting his bare back casually against the green bark of one of Forks' magnificent trees. His eyes had been critical only moments ago, but softened as they took me in, a surprising smile suddenly crossing his lips. His husky voice hadn't changed in the least. "Bella, you look…amazing," he half-whispered a little throatily. "That dress…"
"It's Esme's," I informed him quickly.
I thought for a moment. "How are you?" I asked finally, coming up with the only ice breaker I could think of.
Jacob shrugged his massive shoulders. "Better now," he told me. "I won't lie, Bella. It stung a little when I found out about…" he gestured to my dress again. "You know."
I nodded, understanding.
"But then I saw you walking down that aisle today and I realized how simple it was."
I was right. He had been watching. But I was confused. "Simple?" I confirmed, raising one eyebrow inquisitively.
Jacob shrugged a second time. "You're happy," he clarified.
A small smile broke my features and I studied the dirt under my feet for a long moment. One thing I had to give Jake credit for, he did care about the right things. I couldn't deny him that nobility. I had never truly thought of Jacob Black as noble, but today he'd proved me wrong. I thought of Carlisle's line. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Jacob had chosen the second option, despite everything. But then, perhaps he simply didn't know what he would have said given the chance. Either way, I was touched that he'd chosen to remain silent. It really meant something to me. It meant that he cared.
I looked back up at him then, still beaming. "You know you could have come," I informed him a little too kindly, gesturing to where the rest of my family was still celebrating in Charlie's yard. "We have plenty of food and only three people to finish it off…"
But Jacob was already looking morally opposed to that idea. "I didn't want to crash the party," he explained indifferently, although I was sure it wasn't as indifferent to him as he made it seem. It was true; pulling a werewolf into the picture now wouldn't have been the best of notions. I'd forgotten how hostile certain members of my family still were to the Quileutes. But then, it was too easy for me to forget. I was there. They weren't. They were more than willing to keep the peace from here on out, as agreed, but that didn't mean they wanted to share sacred ceremonies with the wolves. This was fine with me. Peace was more than I had ever expected to have in the first place. I was at least grateful for that.
I nodded my understanding. "That's probably best," I agreed. "But I for one am glad to see you here. I wanted to thank you again…for everything."
He nodded too. "Sure, sure," he replied casually, as though it wasn't have as big a deal as I'd made it out to be. "But, Bella, believe me, I don't deserve your thanks. If it weren't for us this whole 'war' mess never would have got started in the first place."
I was a little indignant to this. "Actually, Jake, it's more like if it weren't for me this whole 'war' mess never would have got started in the first place…" – his face fell so I regrouped before he could protest – "but I can see your point. Thanks anyway."
He nodded a second time. Then he was suddenly serious again. "Bella, I just came to tell you that…we're going to be leaving Forks for a while."
My eyes widened as they snapped to his face abruptly. "What?" I croaked, suddenly horror-stricken.
Jake held both hands up a little defensively before I could lose it completely. "Sam agreed to leave your family be," he promised me, "but he thinks it would be best if we…went away…for a bit. He's afraid someone else is going to get hurt if we live too close to the Cullens after everything that's happened and he wants to give Paul a chance to…mature a little."
I raised my eyebrows. "Oh," I said after a moment. "Well that's good I guess…how did you know we were moving back?"
Jake shrugged. "Well, I just assumed the only reason you were in Denali to begin with was because of us and eventually you'd be coming back anyway…"
I nodded, understanding. "Well, that's very…generous…of Sam," I told him.
Jacob nodded too for what felt like the thousandth time. "Yeah," he sighed after a moment. "He's really come around since I mentioned how Esme was to you what Emily is to us. It's really changed the whole pack's outlook a little…although Paul could still use a little…convincing. He doesn't quite get the whole 'family' concept of yours. But it shouldn't be long before he starts understanding…" Jake's voice trailed off and I understood perfectly. The pack could communicate thousands of times faster than any human or even vampires could. They had no secrets. One member's opinions were the opinions of the entire pack. They understood one another.
But my face fell again after a moment. "Will I ever see you again?" I questioned slowly, my eyes scrutinizing his face for the level of honesty in his answer. Even after everything he'd done to me, to us, the notion of Jake disappearing forever wasn't a pill that was easily swallowed. I had to remember how much he'd done for me. Both now and all those months ago in Edward's absence. We'd had some really wonderful times together. What would I ever do without him?
But Jacob was already nodding, causing the mammoth muscles in his neck to flex in a bit of an intimidating manner. "I think so," he replied lightly. "What with you living forever and all…it shouldn't be too difficult to meet up again somewhere down the line." This was meant to be funny. It wasn't. Did this mean he didn't expect to return within the span of one lifetime? How long would it be?
With an agonizing jolt I realized Jacob Black wouldn't be around forever, as I would. Wolves didn't age the same way humans did, at least not at first. They could live for centuries if the will was there, but once they made the decision to settle down and stop phasing, it was human years for them from then on out. I would lose him eventually. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not for a hundred years, but eventually. Why was this so hard? Why did I care this much? But then I knew the answer to that was simple.
Slowly, I dragged in a deep but unsteady breath. "When are you leaving?" I asked tentatively, uncertain if I wanted to know the answer. It couldn't have been worse if I'd dreamt it in a nightmare.
"Now," he told me. "I came to say goodbye."
I could feel the knot tightening again in my throat. "Oh, Jake." Without thinking, I threw my arms around his thick neck, feeling but not being repulsed by the heat that radiated so potently off his skin. Carefully, his huge arms encircled my back.
"Aw, Bells, honey it's not so bad," he murmured quietly in my ear when he realized what he'd done. "I'll come back. And until then you and the rest of your…family will have Forks all to yourself."
I nodded. That at least would be nice. "But I'll still miss you," I murmured, my voice muffled against his chest.
He hugged me a little tighter. "Yeah," he sighed, "but it'll be better this way. You'll see. This town isn't big enough for two packs of monsters."
This made me laugh a little. Only because it was too true. Forks was small. Monsters probably made up half of the population as it was. We had to cut it down a little and Jacob knew none of the people would be harmed on our watch. There was no reason for them to be here for protection.
I pulled away finally, drawing in another composing breath. "So who exactly is leaving?" I asked for the sake of conversation if nothing else – I didn't want him to leave just yet.
Jake looked thoughtful. "Well, just the pack really. Chances are more will end up phasing at some point but don't worry – Billy will keep them in check…maybe you could drop in on him sometime? Just to make sure he's alright?"
I nodded, more than willing. "Of course, Jake," I promised him.
He nodded one more time. "Alright then." He drew me in for one last hug, making it last. "And we'll be back. As soon as everyone's under control and we know where we stand, we'll be back."
I tried to nod, but only made it half way. I hugged him tighter, careful still of crushing his bones – something I never thought I would have to be careful of.
Finally though, Jake shook me off – he had to use a bit of force to do it. "They'll be wondering where you are," he reminded me gently, clearly searching for any excuse that could cause me to be the one to leave instead of him.
I looked at him seriously. "Yeah…" I tilted my head a little in the direction of the wedding reception, reluctant.
Jacob smiled his beautiful smile, giving me more of a reason. "Go," he encouraged softly. "Be with your husband." The term flowed uncharacteristically easily from his full lips.
I looked at him once more, my eyes boring into his hard features. "Thank you," I told him one more time. "And take care of yourself…for me."
He nodded yet again. "I will…bye Bells."
I had to force myself to turn away but I did it. "Bye," I murmured so low that I could only trust he heard. Then, slowly at first, I made my way back across the field toward Charlie's yard. Then I broke into a run. Only when I had nearly reached the edge of the reception again did I let myself turn to look back. Jacob wasn't there.
I stood for a moment, staring at the vacant darkness of the woods that used to house his towering form. They were leaving. It felt so odd. Right. But odd. How could there not be a Jacob Black down in LaPush every time I wanted to go? How could there be no horse-sized canines terrorizing the forests of Forks, playing at the boundary lines and causing trouble? It seemed so…unnatural for the town. But he was right. It would be better this way. My family would be happier. And that was what mattered. If they were happy, I was happy. I had Edward.
I kept my distance from the crowd as I worked my way around the yard. Attracting attention the way I smelled at the moment would be about the worst idea. Fortunately no one seemed to notice until I crept up behind Alice, tapping her gingerly on her barely-strapped shoulder. She wheeled to face me.
"Oh, Bella!" Her voice was suddenly choked as her hands darted hastily to cover her nose and mouth. "You stink!"
My own hand flew to my mouth as well, only the purpose of my action was to indicate she should tone it down. I held one finger to my lips. "Shh!" I commanded, not wanting to attract too much attention as I glanced around just to make certain I hadn't. "I know!" I took a deep breath to calm myself before I began again. "I just went to see Jacob…"
Her already huge eyes doubled in size. "You what –?!"
"Shh!" I waved my finger in front of my mouth again at the same as I ducked behind her briefly to escape the gazes of Emmett and Rosalie, who stood not too far off. "I'll explain later," I promised her in a harsh whisper. "Can you please just fix it somehow?"
She looked thoughtful all of a sudden, the alarm in her face gone as she considered the wondrous notion of a fresh project. "Hmm…" She mused aloud as she eyed me considerably from head to toe. "I don't know…werewolf smells just don't go away, Bella…" then she seemed to regroup when she caught sight of the desperation in my face. "But I can't let you walk around on your wedding day smelling like that." She turned and waved to me over one shoulder. "Follow me," she commanded quietly.
It wasn't long before she had me miraculously smelling like myself again. The dress had to come off of course – odors stuck to fabric like turpentine and needless to say, Alice was a little more than confused when I refused to replace it with something nice. I pulled on a pair of my old jeans and a T-shirt I hadn't worn for months instead – that, of course, was after she'd dragged me into the shower and hosed me thoroughly from head to toe – something I hadn't expected to have to do again. At least not for a long while anyway. Vampires didn't sweat. They never smelled – except to wolves of course – and their marble-smooth skin was more or less self-cleaning. Showers were for humans. But it was an interesting thing to experience again.
She dried my hair but was dancing around the edges of frustration when I refused to let her redo it fancifully. I instead threw it up into a high ponytail at the back of my head and bounded downstairs before she could protest again. I had an explanation. And it was good. She would like it once it was revealed.
The sky was already darkening as I skipped gleefully out into the yard, feeling more like my old human self than ever. Alice was close in tow, looking a little frazzled.
Edward was first to notice my intriguing choice of wardrobe as he was closest. He raised one eyebrow in curious question, although the crooked smile that crossed his beauteous features then betrayed him to his own amusement.
I looked painfully underdressed next to him. Next to anyone, for that matter, but for once I didn't care. That wasn't what was important today.
"Well," Edward sighed contentedly as he drew me in under the crook of his arm, "I'm sure there is a fascinating explanation for this."
I beamed up into his perfect face, happier than I had ever been as I hugged myself closer against his hard side. "Of course," I assured him a little too cheerfully, "but you don't get to find out what it is until after."
Edward's already-raised eyebrow lifted a little more, nearly disappearing into his hairline now. "After what?" He asked, curious.
I didn't bother answering. The clink of metal against glass was already ringing out across the yard, calling our attention to Charlie suddenly. Just like Emmett had, he held a knife and Champaign glass between his hands, although this announcement looked as though it wasn't going to be as formal and he didn't appear too comfortable with the fourteen pairs of eyes that turned on him then. Still, he cleared his throat rather loudly and made himself follow through with it. "Uh…" he sighed hastily, "okay everyone, it looks as though the rain has been kind enough to hold off long enough for one day. Why don't we bring the party inside?"
There was a small, mutual flutter of movement as people – and vampires – moved toward the back door. But I stopped it before anyone had a chance to disappear on me for good. "Uh, actually, Dad," I called over the quiet bustle of movement, stopping everyone where they were, "there was something else I wanted to do today."
Charlie raised his eyebrows, surprised – he hadn't seen my unexpected turn of wardrobe yet. "Oh?" He questioned, clueless.
I nodded, not quite succeeded at keeping the grin off of my face. I turned to Alice suddenly. "Alice," I asked as innocently as I could manage, "how's that storm brewing?"
She smiled, understanding suddenly and I knew she'd already seen it. She held up one hand, holding three fingers erect. As I watched, she counted them down. Three…two…one… Thunder rolled purposefully overhead and my knowing grin blossomed, breaking my features completely. Perfect.
Emmett leaned down toward my mother. "Eerie, isn't it?" I heard him whisper to her, making her already intoxicated frame jump.
I laughed. It seemed like a lifetime ago now, but I could recall him muttering the same thing to me once when Alice had made use of her gifts to predict a storm. My parents never needed to know how she'd done it, but they could certainly laugh at the uncanny 'coincidence' – my mind formed quotation marks around the preposterous word.
Suddenly Tanya was at my side, stage-whispering delightedly in my ear. "We can hold down the fort here if you guys want to go," she assured me kindly.
I beamed at her and nodded. "Thanks," I told her. "I'd really appreciate it."
She nodded once in confirmation before moving to usher both my parents and the rest of her family inside. Edward moved closer to me.
"What's going on?" He asked again, although his tone was colored with trusting curiosity. There was a smile under his words.
I grinned. "Can't you guess?"
Edward's eyes turned to the skies momentarily and his glorious crooked smile confirmed that he already had. Then he glanced back down at my overly-casual clothes. "Oh," he chuckled after a moment.
I nodded. "Oh." I confirmed.
Within the next minute I was able to find Rosalie a pair of jeans that had been a bit long for me and Alice a pair that I'd long-since grown out of. T-shirts were supplied to them both. The boys would do fine in simply their dress pants and the white shirts under their tuxes. It was the girls that needed clothes supplied. I couldn't possibly let them play in their dresses.
Edward was waiting for me out back as my sisters and I snuck past the shrunken party in the front room. I couldn't be sure what Tanya had decided to tell them, but I was certain it wouldn't be a big deal. We would be back soon enough. And her family was more than capable of keeping my parents entertained for an hour or two.
This was something I had been meaning to try since my change. I could recall how incredibly unbelievable it had seemed when I first say it as a human. It was going to be quite entertaining to try my hand at it for the first time as an immortal.
"Did you get them?" I demanded of Emmett as I danced gracefully off of the back porch, still unable to suppress my excitable smile.
Emmett raised one bear-sized fist to reveal a small white object and the other to display an aluminum bat, swinging it casually over one broad shoulder. These were only necessities for us today. I'd made him run to the Newton's Olymipic Outfitters store. I knew they were bound to sell sports supplies there.
I grinned wider and nodded once. "Good," I praised, winding my fingers around Edward's hand suddenly. "Let's go!"
I could hear Carlisle laughing softly behind us as we took off, breaking into a brisk run the moment we were clear of the house's sight-line. I didn't care that my excitement was my family's endless source of amusement at the moment. This was going to be the most fun outing we'd had in a long time – besides the wedding itself of course. I had been looking forward to this for weeks, although things kind of got in the way whenever I considered having a bit of fun. Now we could.
Edward's hand tightened around mine suddenly and he fell back from his family a little, pulling me along with him as he slowed to a walk. The trees had thickened around us and I knew it couldn't be much farther. I recognized this part of the forest. I would never get used to the remarkable lack of time it took for any of us to get places anymore. It truly did make things easier…although perhaps not for newly weds.
Suddenly Edward's smooth lips were at the skin just below my ear. The force of the kisses as they showered my face was enough to cause me to stagger backwards against a neighboring tree trunk. It didn't seem to matter how strong I was. His sheer force of will was stronger. I had to succumb.
"Edward," I managed finally against the skin of his neck. "Edward, they're going to wonder where we are," I murmured, a smile on my lips despite myself.
There was a smile in his voice too as he placed both hands on either side of the huge tree at my back. "They can start without us," he whispered between kisses, moving his lips to the skin under my jaw. I lifted my head slightly and dragged in a deep, unsteady breath. My arms wound around his neck, pulling him closer.
"I love you so much," I whispered in one of his ears as I felt him leave a trail of kisses down my neck to my shoulder.
He raised his head suddenly to look into my face, although it was mere inches from his. A content, tranquil smile played on his perfect lips. "Bella, I have seen you come so far," he breathed and just his scent was enough to send my thoughts reeling. "I still remember that shy girl I dragged up to my house to meet my family more than a year ago…I loved that girl…"
I sighed heavily as I struggled not to be taken in by his smoldering ochre eyes.
"But I never thought I could ever love anyone this much." Slowly, his lips fell onto my cheek, lingering there for a long moment before he spoke again. "After everything that we've been through it's still difficult to believe how inconceivably lucky I am that you are mine."
I smiled, calmly now. "Forever and always," I whispered into his face.
The crooked smile that colored his perfect features then proved too much for me. I met him half way as he leaned in to kiss me fully on the lips this time. My arms tightened around his neck, crushing myself against him as he pressed me gently against the tree – it didn't last long.
"Hey!" Emmett's booming voice echoed from somewhere deep in the surrounding trees. "Are you two coming or not?!"
I smiled and laughed quietly as Edward let me go, pulling me along beside him again by the hand. "Don't worry," he murmured in my ear as we began walking again, too quickly for humans. "We'll have plenty of opportunity as soon as we're on the honeymoon."
I grinned a little broader and shrugged. "I don't mind," I assured him softly. "spending time with the others is tens of times more enjoyable than it used to be…" – somehow enjoyable didn't seem like the right word. "I love it, actually," I rephrased. "I love them."
Edward's answering smile made my breathing flutter a little. "I know," he nodded. "And so do I. We'll be back to see them again before you know it."
I nodded too. "Definitely…but I wanted to try this before we left." My eyes went to the path ahead again and I doubled my pace. I heard Edward chuckle as he broke into a graceful jog to keep up.
Suddenly his tone went in a new direction. "You showed a lot of control out there today," he told me with quiet pride. "Actually that's an understatement," he corrected himself quickly. "I've never seen a vampire of your age manage such close proximity with humans…it's remarkable. You have the control of a hundred-year-old, Bella."
I grinned and looked at the ground a little modestly. "I learned from the best," I told him. "And it was certainly easier once I knew I could do it." I sighed. "Everything was perfect today," I redirected contentedly. "Of course every wedding has its glitches…fortunately my mother getting drunk was the extent of ours."
Edward laughed loudly. "I like your mother," he told me matter-of-factly. "I think she's very…amusing."
I nodded thoughtfully. "That's one word you could use," I acknowledged, making him laugh again.
We had reached the field – the field I hadn't seen in over a year. The field where it all started…the field that was twice as massive as any baseball stadium. I recognized the bare outcrop of rocks, maybe a hundred yards away. I recognized the huge hemlock tree and I recognized the shadow of the Olympic peeks in the distance. I sighed contentedly. I hadn't realized what effect it would have on my life the last time I was here. Talk about catalysts…
This place was what had started it all. And now it was here that I intended on ending it all. All the heartache. The fear and the hate. It all stopped now. Because today I was going to play the game of my life, with my forever family.
Thunder boomed overhead, much louder than it had been before. It was misting a little; static was tangible in the air – perfect weather for a baseball game.
Emmett was staring intently in our direction as we emerged from the trees. "'Bout time you showed up!" He called playfully as he tossed the ball lightly from one massive hand to the other. I could see Carlisle off behind him marking bases – they still looked impossibly far apart, but now I understood how much more interesting that made the game for us. Emmett tossed me the ball. I caught it too effortlessly. "You start pitching, sis," he told me lightly before turning away to jog for one of the bases, but I stopped him.
"Actually," I called, chasing a few steps after him before he stopped. I tossed him back the ball, "I would prefer to referee if you don't mind." I grinned purposefully. "Someone has to keep you hooligans honest."
I could feel Edward's knowing smile on my back and soon it was matched my Emmett's. He nodded more seriously than I was used to. "Sure," he smiled meaningfully before he turned and dashed toward the pitcher's mound himself. He tossed Alice the ball – she was already standing there, ready. Another crash of thunder made my smile grow. The storm was escalating around us as though it knew what it's purpose was for coming to earth.
I raised my eyes to the heavens briefly while the others took their positions on the field – it seemed they had already organized themselves into teams.
"Wait!" Alice called too urgently for my liking. My eyes flew back down to her tiny form in the middle of the field. Her expression was panicked as she glanced around hastily at us. I could see the alarm in her face only too clearly. She locked gazes with me. "Someone's coming!" She exclaimed.
I felt my breath freeze in my throat as her words sank in. I'd seen that look in her eyes before – heard that urgency in her voice. Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. This wasn't happening. Not again. Not now. This was what had started it all from the very beginning. This place was where we had first crossed paths with James, Victoria and Laurent. It was because of a game like this that they had chosen to pursue me in the first place – it had nearly cost me my life and Edward's too as a result.
Had it been foolish of me to drag them here again? Was I simply pushing the temptation of fate too far? It had been a mistake. I never should have brought it all back down to this. I never should have…
But suddenly as I watched, a broad, knowing grin broke Alice's pixie-like features. She laughed. "Just kidding."
My breathing jump started again and I had to work to quiet the trembling in my knees. "Alice, that was not funny!" I snarled from across the field, although I found myself smiling out of sheer relief as she continued to chime with silvery laughter. The others were laughing too, and suddenly the delight of it all washed over me with staggering abruptness. We really were okay. I could see it now.
It was all over and if we could go as far as to laugh about it, then there was no reason we could get through anything that would come our way in the future. Hesitantly at first, and then more confidently, I laughed too, allowing the feeling to take me in. This was good. This was very good.
"Alright!" I called in a clear voice after another minute of amusement – I had to work to speak through my own hysterics. "Batter up!" I moved to the edge of the field, standing exactly where I had the last time, with Esme. I would have to do her proud. As I'd said to Emmett – someone had to keep her family in line.
Emmett had moved back to where home plate had apparently been set, the aluminum bat tight in hand. Just as it had been before, Jasper was catching, Edward was far out in left field, Carlisle stood between the first and second base marks, while Alice was pitching. Edward winked at me as Alice readied herself to toss the first pitch. I smiled.
I saw her hand dart out in that familiar, deceptively stealthy motion, the ball moving nearly too quickly for even me to keep an eye on. Emmett swung and the bat, making it a blur in the heavy, warm air. The answering crack was one that almost made me cover my ears in distaste. It was louder than any thunder I'd ever heard and it hurt a little to the overly sharp ears; even so, it made me smile with content excitement.
Emmett was already running, headed for first as Carlisle bounded for the ball, racing his son to first base. There was another audible crack as the two collided. "Safe!" I called before they had a chance to argue about it.
Emmett stood up to his full height again, clearly pleased with himself and even a little smug as Carlisle backed off to his former position.
Then Jasper was up, Alice flashing him a row of brilliantly white teeth as her hand flicked out again unexpectedly, intent on striking him out. The first strike took him by surprise and he fielded the ball back to her, not losing his confidence in the least. She pitched again. Somehow he hit it this time, sending it in an impossibly quick fly to left field. Edward ran. So did his two brothers. As I watched, Emmett slid into home easily but Jasper was just coming around to second when Edward emerged from the trees again, the ball in hand. He hadn't caught it – I knew that – but he'd still gotten to it with remarkable speed.
Home run, my human instincts led me to believe, but then I could remember Esme's words the first time we'd played. Wait, she'd told me, her eyes on the field with almost amusing intentness. Edward runs the fastest. Yes, I remembered that now.
Edward was catching up at an impossible speed. Jasper was racing for home, confident that he had enough time. He didn't. Edward slid into him only fractions of a second before he hit home plate. The boom of 'supposed' thunder was deafening this time.
"Out!" I cried in a clear voice ringing with authority.
Jasper's expression was more than indignant as he turned to look at me. "I am not!" He protested.
I opened my mouth to argue but Edward beat me to it. "Yes, you are, Jasper!" He confirmed hastily. "I tagged you before you slid in!"
Jasper was already shaking his head, stubborn. "No!" He took a step away from the plate. "I'm sure you tagged me right here! There's no way –"
I rolled my eyes, fully aware of what had to be done. "Boys!" I growled from where I stood. They stopped arguing immediately, their expressions defeated as they looked at me. I pointed back to left field and Edward sighed, trudging back over to it. I looked at Jasper meaningfully and he returned to his catching position.
And then I smiled. I was sure I heard laughter on the wind.