DISCLAIMER: The characters do not belong to me…they are all the creations of the wonderful Stephenie Meyer.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Edward, Emmett and Jasper head to Vegas for four days and three nights of gambling and fun.
Three more hours until we head for home and face the wrath of our wives. But for now, I was right in the middle of kicking Edward's butt at Halo. I had just started firing at him again when my phone rang. I kept shooting at my brother with one hand and whipped out the phone in the other. "Yellow!"
"Emmett, listen closely and pay attention." Rose's voice was frantic. Nothing ever ruffled Rosie's feathers. I dropped the controller and sat up straighter, paying close attention to her every word. "There isn't time to repeat any of it. Demetri is on his way to the house. He's following Alice with his gift. He should be here in about forty-five minutes. Bella and I are hiding in the mountains where Edward took Bella for their date. Carlisle and Esme are staying with Alice. The story is that Bella and Edward are on a get-away and you, me and Jasper are in town. Get home now!"
"Are you okay, Rose?" I asked. Her tone worried me more than anything. She was always so composed. I glanced up to see Edward pacing the room and pulling at his hair. This was not going to be pretty. Jasper was trying to calm him, but Edward just growled at him.
"I'll be better when you're home," Rose replied. "Please hurry, Emmie!"
"Edward's already figured things out from my thoughts. Let him talk to Bella just so I can get him calmed down," I said. I passed the phone over to Edward.
I could hear Bella on the other end. "Edward?"
"Bella!" Edward cried in relief. "Are you okay?"
Jasper and I started running around the room, packing our bags up. We had to get home right away. We couldn't leave them home alone with that creep. Edward had told me some of the guy's thoughts from when they were in Italy. This could be a very bad situation.
"Rose is with me. Please hurry home," she said.
"Edward, get them to put their phones on vibrate so we can stay in contact without alerting Demetri," Jasper ordered.
"Do you have your phone with you?" Edward asked.
"Yes," Bella replied.
"Tell them we'll send messages every half hour to check if they're together," Jasper stated.
"You and Rose need to put your phones on vibrate so that we can send you text messages without alerting Demetri's hearing. We will send you both messages and wait for your replies every half hour so that we can be sure you're still together," Edward explained.
"You're a genius, Edward!" Bella seemed to be a little more relaxed.
"Ed, we have to go now!" Jasper ordered.
"I have to hang up now, Bella," Edward said sadly. "I love you."
"I love you too. Please hurry."
Edward closed the phone and his shoulders sagged. Jasper tried to calm him again. I could tell it wasn't going to work. I walked up to my brother and grabbed him hard by the shoulders. "Edward! Stop! She's with my Rosie and you know she'll be protected. The sooner you get yourself together, the sooner we can get out of here."
Jasper's phone beeped. He opened it up and looked at us. "Text message from Alice. She says to buy a sleeping bag for Edward and a shirt for Rose."
"Why does Rose need a shirt?" I asked.
"Doesn't matter right now," Jasper replied. "We just need to do what Alice says."
Edward nodded. "We need a plane."
"Commercial will be too slow," Jasper mused.
"Private. We've got plenty of cash on us. We can buy ourselves a pilot," Edward said.
"That sounds like a good plan. You and Jasper get the bags in the car. I'll check us out and turn in the key. Meet you out front," I said, already half way out of the door.
All of the human contraptions seemed to be moving too slow. I wanted to take the stairs, but without Edward, I might run into someone. I impatiently tapped my foot while I waited for the elevator. As soon as the door opened, I jumped in and hit the lobby button. If that piece of scum touched my wife or my sister … my fists were clenched as I tried to contain my rage. What the hell were the Volturri doing showing up unannounced at my home?
My thoughts turned to Edward and my rage melted. He was going to blame himself, I just knew it. He would blame himself and never trust leaving Bella alone again. For all the fun we'd had and as much as he'd relaxed and actually spent time with me and Jazz, it was all wasted now. Some days, I really hated that my brother was such a masochist.
The doors finally opened onto the lobby. I ran over to the desk as fast as I could. "I need to check out."
"I'll be right with you, sir," the lady behind the counter said, not even looking up at me.
"Lady, I have a family emergency and you need to check me out now!" I said a little louder than I intended.
The lady glared at me, or I guess that's what she was trying to do. "I will be with you in a moment."
I decided sympathy was in order. "Listen, mam, I'm sorry for being loud. We just got a call that my new sister-in-law was in a very bad accident. She might not make it and we're trying to get her husband home to her so he can say goodbye if the doctors can't save her."
The woman gasped and rushed over to me. "I am so sorry. I didn't realize. What's the name?"
"Cullen. We were in the Grand Lakeview Suite," I told her.
"Just hand over the key and I'll finish all the paperwork for you," the lady said.
"Thank you, Mam. God bless you," I replied, already running toward the front door.
The car was there waiting. I jumped in the back. Edward was tapping his fingers against the wheel, waiting for an old couple to move out of the way. As soon as they were clear, he stomped the gas and flew out onto the street.
"Edward, we don't have time for an accident," Jasper warned.
"I know what I'm doing," Edward growled.
"Save the hostility for Demetri, would you?" Jasper snapped. "I get that you're worried for Bella, but our wives are there too."
Edward growled from deep in his chest and stared hard at Jasper. "Do you honestly think for one second that I am only thinking of Bella? Those are my sisters and our parents!"
"I didn't mean that, Edward," Jasper said in a calmer voice. "I'm just having a little trouble controlling the emotions in here."
"It's fine," Edward said stiffly.
"No. I was wrong to say that to you," Jasper replied. "I know that you and Alice are very close and that you would do anything you could to protect her. The same for Rose."
Edward's grip on the steering wheel tightened. It was a wonder he hadn't broken it off yet. "Edward, you need to relax," I warned him. "You're about to rip the wheel off."
"I can't relax! We've left them all defenseless!" he yelled while looking at me in the rearview mirror.
"Hold on just a minute!" I roared, leaning forward toward him. "Don't you start that crap! You might be faster and I might be stronger and Jazz here might be able to calm a room, but don't underestimate the rest of our family! Rose can rip into a person pretty damn easily. Alice practically can't be touched. Esme is a damn fine fighter when she has to be and believe me, for Bella, she will be! And Carlisle is a leader. He's got nearly as much of a tactical mind as Jazz does. Bella might not be as tough as the rest of us, but she has a mind like no other. If she can't fight, she'll find a way out."
"Emmett's right," Jasper said softly, trying once again to calm our brother.
Edward relaxed his grip on the wheel and lowered his head some. "Okay."
"Okay, what?" I asked, wondering why he was suddenly so much calmer.
"Okay, I see your point," Edward sighed. "While this is far from an ideal set of circumstances, at least it's only one guard and I do know that our family will keep each other safe until we get there."
"So you are capable of being sensible," I chuckled, patting his shoulder.
"I just can't believe they're going through this alone after what we put them through just last night," Edward said.
"Whatever apology we come up with is going to have to be twice as good now," Jasper muttered.
We didn't seem to have anything to say after that. I watched Edward as he pushed the rental car to the limit to get us to the private air strip as fast as possible. I knew that with the amount of money we had at our disposal, it wouldn't take us long to find a pilot willing to get us to Anchorage. When we got to the strip, I went around and told my sad story until I got a guy to agree to fly us out. It wasn't the fastest plane at the strip, but it would be quicker than commercial. It would just have to do.
Once we got to Anchorage, we grabbed the Volvo and headed to the mall to complete our tasks from Alice. Edward appeared calm on the outside, but I could tell he was pretending. He drummed his fingers on the dashboard in a hard staccato motion the entire time we waited for Jazz to come out of the mall. As soon as Jasper had one foot in the car, Edward was speeding away from the store. By the time we hit the interstate for home, Edward was driving the Volvo hard enough to break it and he loved this damn car. Jasper had given up trying to calm him long ago. The only thing that would calm him at this point would be seeing Bella with his own eyes. Rose was going to have her work cut out for her when this was all done.
Jasper and I talked in low whispers, trying to leave Edward alone. "What do you think we should do when we get there?" I asked.
"Best to just let Demetri have the lead. We don't want to give anything vital away. Bella needs to appear like your everyday normal newborn. Any sign at all that she's different will give Aro the excuse he wants to show up. I'm sure Carlisle realizes this and has warned her."
"How do you think he got past Alice?"
"Probably waited until the last second to make a decision about looking for Bella. It will be a good advantage to us if he still can't find Bella with his gift."
"It will be further proof that nothing has changed about her from when she was human."
"Jasper, you are the man when it comes to this type of stuff."
"I wish I didn't have to be. I was hoping the Volturri would forget about Bella. It would mean that they would also forget about Alice. When she went to Italy … for all her sight, she doesn't see just how much Aro wants someone like her."
"She sees. But she couldn't let anything happen to Edward."
"I know. I know she made the right choice in going."
"But you love her enough to wish she wouldn't have."
Jasper nodded his head. I didn't need his gift to know that he was worried for her. "It's time to send them another text," he announced loudly.
"We should send them something that will make them smile," I said. "How about things we're good at? Edward, you can send Bella 'piano' and I'll send 'singing' to Rose."
Edward snorted. "That will only confuse them! Rose isn't going to consider your singing something you're good at."
"Then what would you suggest o' stiff one?" I teased.
"How about wrestling?" Edward offered.
"And for the second one?" Jazz asked. He was in charge of all the cell phones for now.
"Food?" I asked.
"Okay," Jazz replied. "That will be 'lion' for Edward and 'bear' for you."
"Send them Jazz!" I said.
We waited for a while and then got the replies from the girls. I looked over the seat at my phone which had things that we were good at. Bella replied 'falling' and Rose replied 'everything'. "Yep! That's my Rosie," I said happily.
Jazz showed Edward the phone and he snorted. "The girl is absurd."
"Yeah, but you love her for it," I teased.
"That I do," he sighed.
"What are the answers on Ed's phone?" I asked.
"I'm confused," Jasper said, staring at Edward's screen. "Why would Bella say lamb? How would she know if she liked a lamb?"
Edward roared with laughter. "She misunderstood!"
"Obviously!" Jasper laughed. "And she passed that confusion on to Rose! Her answer is 'Goddess'."
"Wait!" I said. "What does Bella think 'lion' and 'bear' meant?"
Edward snorted again. I was so glad Bella had made him laugh. I was seriously becoming concerned for his sanity earlier. "She thought we were asking what creature are they most like," Edward explained. "The first time we were together alone, I compared myself to a lion and her to a lamb."
"Edward, I love you, man, but you are one weird dude!" I said, clamping him on the shoulder.
We stopped about twenty miles from the house and parked in the woods. Jazz sent out the final text messages to the girls before handing our phones back to us. We weren't sure if they would understand after the last confusing round of texts, but it didn't matter. We would be with them soon. Edward grabbed the sleeping bag from the trunk and took off to find Bella and Rose. Jasper and I would be waiting here in the car until Rose showed up. The car was a lot less tense with Edward gone.
"What do you think, Jazz?" I asked.
"I think I'm going to have a very long week," he replied, rubbing his temples. I thought of Rose, of times we had just hung out in the garage or walked through the forest, trying to send Jasper some peace. "Thank you, Emmett. Don't worry. I won't tell anyone you were nice to me."
I laughed and clapped him on the shoulder. "They wouldn't believe you anyway!"
I climbed out of the car and stood leaning against the hood. I was scanning the forest for any sign of my Rosie. I nearly fell over laughing when I saw her! She was running toward me in my Halo t-shirt! It was floating on her petite frame. She smiled as she saw me and threw herself right into my arms. I held her tightly to me, kissing her temple.
"How's my girl?" I whispered.
"Perfect," she purred into my ear.
"Rosie, I love your outfit."
"You weren't supposed to see it," she sighed.
"Don't worry," I soothed her. "I didn't see a thing. Why don't you go to the trunk and change into the shirt Alice had Jasper purchase for you?"
"I love that pixie!" Rose sighed happily.
I knocked on the roof of the car and Jasper hit the button for the trunk. I stood near Rose while she changed her shirt. "You really okay, Rosie?" She nodded her head. "Squirt holding up okay?"
"She was so happy when she smelled him coming," Rose mused. "They'll be fine. I know I blamed her for a lot when she first came along, but … we can't have anyone take her away. It would break up our family."
"Then let's get on the road and get home to make sure she's well protected," I said, taking her hand and kissing the back of it. I opened the back door and Rose slid in. I followed her. She lifted an eyebrow at me. "I missed you. Sue me!" I pulled her into my arms and kissed her cheek. "Get us home, Jazz."
Jasper smiled and started the car up. He spun the Volvo around and got us back on the road. We were home in just a few minutes. Rose grabbed the pretend shopping bag from the trunk and we headed into the house.
Alice met us at the front door. "Finally! You three took forever! I was starting to wonder if I would have to go fetch you all."
Jasper pulled Alice tightly against him and held her for a long moment. I nudged him in the shoulder, reminding him that we were being watched. "Shopping's boring without you," Jasper said, playfully pushing Alice away a little.
"Children, we have a guest," Esme announced. We did our best to seem surprised.
"Demetri," Carlisle called. "These are my sons Emmett and Jasper and my daughter Rosalie." Demetri nodded towards us. We did nothing. "Demetri has come from Italy to see Bella and Edward."
"Are they home from their camping trip?" Rose asked, looking up at Esme. My wife was a great actress.
"Not yet. Alice says we should expect them any moment now," Esme replied.
"Oh, Jazzy!" Alice said sweetly. "I was getting ready for a game night, but now we have a guest. Would you mind terribly putting the games away for me? I want to compare the shirt Rose bought today with the one I got Bella the other day and see which one would be best for tonight."
"I don't mind at all," Jasper said, staring at Alice intently.
"Let's go up then," Rose stated, pulling Alice along by her arm. Rose gave me a look I knew well. I was to follow.
"I'm going to head up and change my shirt," I announced. "Some human sprayed cologne on me at the store. It stinks."
I followed up after Rose and Alice. I headed toward my room and the girls. When I got in there, they had a shirt ready for Bella. I didn't question them. I knew Alice had some sort of plan. I quickly changed into a new shirt then sat on the bed, waiting to see what would happen next. That Demetri guy didn't look so tough. I could take him easy if he messed with any member of my family. He did give off a really creepy vibe though. One little excuse! That's all I needed and I would gladly rip his damn arms from his shoulders.
The front door opened and then we heard Esme's voice. "Welcome home, children! Did you enjoy camping, Bella?"
"Very much," Bella answered. "Edward taught me some of the constellations."
"I think we will need to get her a telescope soon," Edward added. I watched Alice zoom out of the room.
"Taken with the stars are you?" Carlisle asked.
"Bella!" Alice squealed. "You must come upstairs with me right away. Rose and I went shopping for you while you were away! You have to see what we got you!"
Alice and Bella ran into the room. I was happy to see she didn't look scared. She smiled at me and Rose. "Where's Jazz?" she asked.
"We were planning a game night tonight and I had yanked them all out of the closet downstairs before our guest arrived," Alice said, winking at Bella. "Jasper was kind enough to offer to put them all back."
"Bella, you simply must try on the shirt we bought you," Rose said, waving at her. I closed my eyes as tightly as I could. I did not want to see my little sister! "Perfect!" Rose cooed. "Edward will love this on you."
"Let's go show him," Alice said, patting me on the back. I opened my eyes and smiled at the Squirt. Alice pointed at me and Bella and I could tell Bella was figuring it out.
"Hey, Em! Feel up to giving your little sister a piggy-back ride?" she asked, lifting her hands up to let us know she was confused. I chuckled at her while Rose and Alice smiled.
"No problem, Squirt!" I said proudly. Bella climbed onto the bed and I scooped her onto my back.
"Aro will be pleased to see that you've kept your word, Edward," Demetri was saying as we came out onto the landing.
I brought Bella down the stairs and over to Edward, keeping her out of Demetri's line of sight. Demetri stood near the television, smirking for no good reason. I wanted to wipe that damn smirk off his face. Ruin my vacation and freak my brothers out! Damn vampire pain in the … calm thoughts, Emmett. Find your calm thoughts. Can't do anything unless he does something first. Think of Rosie. I dropped Bella right into Edward's lap and then sat near Rose on the arm of the sofa. I wanted to stay within striking distance if this creep moved toward Bella.
"Ah! There is the lovely Bella," Demetri said. His voice was annoying. "Aro will be so pleased to know how much your transformation has enhanced your beauty. How are you coping with your new life?" Every word out of his mouth seemed to have a double meaning for him. It was disgusting. I hoped this guy would be leaving quickly. I didn't know how much of him I would be able to stand. This guy was worse than Newton could ever wish to be. I think I'd even take one of the mutts over this guy.
He smiled in a weird way as he looked at Bella. It was in that moment that I swore I would never let that guy spend a single second alone with my baby sister. I didn't trust him one bit. I would just be keeping my eyes on him. For his own sake, he had better plan on leaving soon. Oh, well! At least Vegas had been fun. With any luck, we could get rid of this guy and Edward wouldn't beat himself up too much. I'd have to talk to him and Jasper about our next vacation. I was thinking somewhere tropical and secluded. Maybe we could finally get around to wrestling some sharks. For now, I had a creepy vampire to watch.
Hope you all had as much fun with this as I did!
Thanks to everyone who gave me ideas!
If you want to know how the boys made everything up to the girls, check out Chapter 49 & 50 of My First Year as a Cullen.