Marcy: So, yeah. It's been...awhile since we updated.
Roo: What ever happened to "look for updates frequently" and "writing at breakneck speeds?"
Marcy: We're posers. Clearly.
Roo: Or somehow developed lives outside of the internet...temporarily, mind you.
Marcy: Yeah. The real world, now THAT was just a phase. Now we're back! (And with a vengeance, mwa ha ha.)
Roo: Back! To write what COULD happen in Breaking Dawn..though we hope that it's not what's going to happen in Breaking Dawn.
Marcy: cringe For Edward's sake, I hope its not.
Roo: As do our readers. We keep getting all these reviews from livid members of Team Edward who are angry that the child's not Edward's and that Edward and Bella don't look like they're going to live happily ever after in wedded bliss. What did they expect though? I mean, did they read the title?
Marcy: PREGNANT VAMPIRE (yeah shut up, I know we made her a werewolf) Bella joins the ARMY. Does that SOUND like a fary tale?
Roo: If people want a fairy tale ending, they can go read "First Light" by Blondie AKA Robin.
Marcy: And the readers who were bummed by the lack of descriptions of the werewolf mating ritual should read Ticking Clocks by Stupid Shiny Volvo Driver (but not until after they read this, of course).
Roo: And all the complaints we're getting that our story's not filled with smutty sex scenes need to read Passion Fish by qjmom and AdmittedlyObsessed or Boycots and Barflies by vgjm.
Marcy: But they better read fast, because we're going to be updating at crazy speeds again...right? right? Like…three time a week!
Roo: Three times a week?? We update our phys ed and sex ed stories like...three times a year.
Marcy: Yeah. But knocking Bella up and sending her to boot camp is more fun than sending her to PE or Sex Ed. grin
Roo: I'm on a clinical right now, which ends July 3, at which point I'll have no school and no work for 10 weeks. I can TOTALLY update like a mad woman at that point! People will have so much PVB their heads will spin!
Marcy: I'm all for spinning heads. So long as there's no pea soup.
Roo: I solemnly swear there will be no pea soup. So...where were we before T-ball and stroke patients so rudely interfered with the writing process?
Marcy: Bella was naked. Jake was thrilled. The Cullen's were in captivity.
Roo: And Aro was psycho. Gotcha. Alrighty then! On with the near implausibility!
Chapter 5: You Lock 'Em Up, We Knock 'Em Up!
Jake's friends turned their backs as I donned the running shorts and sports bra that Rebecca Black had thankfully left in her old room before she moved out. Jake, on the other hand, made no effort to avert his amused gaze.
"Do you mind?" I said, glaring at him as I tied the drawstring waist of the shorts. His satiny brown skin, slightly sweaty, shone in the silvery light that trickled down through the treetops.
"Mind what?" He asked innocently, still unapologetically gawking.
"Give a girl some privacy, why don't you!" Anger flooded through me, and he could tell that he'd crossed a line. He looked down and his shaggy hair fell across his eyes, forming a barrier between us.
"You're acting like it's something I haven't seen before," he muttered defensively.
I felt my hands form fists. I closed my eyes so I didn't have to look at his sculpted, shirtless shape. So strong…so manly. My pulse raced, hot. Makes me want to take him and…UGH! I pushed away the stupid werewolf-hormone induced thoughts that were infiltrating my mind like a disgusting infection. "May I speak to you alone in private?" I hissed. He nodded.
We ran for about five minutes, light on our feet, wind rushing past us, and we reached the rocky bank of the Quillayute river. I waded in, ankle deep, and let the water cool my toes, surprised that the sharp rocks felt quite comfortable against my bare feet. Sure that we were out of earshot of the other pack members, Jake faced me and crossed his arms. I could tell this was going to be ugly.
"So what's there to talk about?" he asked hotly. "Besides the fact that you're running off on quest of suicidal insanity ensuring that no one who loves you will ever sees you again…again." There was no denying the bitterness in his voice.
"What the heck happened between us tonight?" I asked, with sudden vulnerability, my words coming out in a rush. "One minute you're insulting my future husband, the next thing I know we're doing…I don't even know what to call what we were doing. What was all that? How did it…I mean…why did it…aw Jake! How could you let that happen between us?" I fought back angry tears.
"You started it," he retorted, voice flaring.
"I did not!" I exclaimed, indignantly.
"Did too! You whipped your tail in my face! Don't you know what that means in werewolf?"
"Sorry. Not fluent yet."
"Roughly translated, it means: 'do me, you big strong sexy beast.'" He stood inches from me, scowling. My face was at the level of his naked chest, and I found myself speechless for a moment. Damnit! Why can't he just put a shirt on? I recovered quickly, however.
"It was you who started it," I argued. "You pinned me to the ground, remember?"
He snorted. "Only because you threw yourself at me."
"To attack you! Not to engage in retarded, revolting, repugnant, and altogether repulsive werewolf…sex!" I yelled. The last word sounded strange coming from my lips.
"You liked it," Jake snapped.
"That's hardly the point," I mumbled before I could stop the words from slipping out. I felt my face grow hot and I knew that I was blushing furiously.
His eyes softened. "Admit it Bells…you wanted it. You wanted me." He looked hopeful, and for a moment I wanted to admit that he was right. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! The logical side of my brain was screaming at me. Stupid werewolf hormones! Stupid full moon!
"I'm engaged to Edward," I said, dropping my volume, hoping that if I stopped shouting I wouldn't phase and ruin yet another set of clothes. I looked up at him, eyes pleading. "I love him. I'm going to marry him. This changes nothing. We need to forget that it ever happened." He looked offended. Beautifully, toweringly, wonderfully offended. My heart sped. Control yourself! I thought angrily, cursing my overactive endocrine system.
"I can't," he whispered, his brown eyes, so wide, so human, filled with despair. "And you're lying to yourself if you believe that you can either." He touched my face with his huge hand, and I didn't stop him.
"Why does it have to be like this?" I asked helplessly. He sighed.
"Because you're too stubborn to change your mind and too brave for your own good." I looked up at him with an apologetic smile. He returned it with an oafish one, and I hugged him. He held me close, and for a minute, we weren't caught in the midst of a love triangle, or a crazy Volturi plot. We weren't legendary creatures from mythology. We were just Bella and Jake. He sighed.
"Friends?" I asked, a little sad.
"Best," he replied, squeezing me tighter. We both laughed, a little sheepishly.
My phone rang. It was the standard, ordinary ring of a cell phone, which meant it wasn't coming from any of the numbers Alice had preprogrammed. It had to be the Volturi.
Crap. We still have no plan. "Hello?" I forced the word.
"Is this Isabella Swaim?" an overly perky voice asked.
What the… "This is Bella Swan," I said firmly.
"Well, Miss Swaim, this is your lucky day!" Jake overheard the shrill singsong and scrunched his eyebrows at me. As if I had any way of knowing more than he did. I just shrugged my shoulders and waited for the woman to continue.
"If you act now, you can get five rooms connected to HDTV satellite for the price of…"
I pressed my thumb against the red disconnect button with as much angry force as it is possible to channel through such a small appendage. My world was crashing down all around me, and telemarketers were calling. That figures.
Just as I was attempting to place the little silver phone into the nonexistent pockets of Rebecca's shorts, it rang again. Like before, it was the same, nondescript ring tone.
"Hello," I said testily.
"Good afternoon, Miss Swan." The voice was smooth, aged and confident, and definitely used to speaking a language other than English. My heart sank. I was out of time.
"What do you want from me?" I tried not to sound as desperate as I felt. It didn't work.
"Oh, no. No. The question is, what do you want from me?" The voice luxuriated in the words, nibbled on the phrases.
This wasn't Aro. Caius, maybe? But I didn't think so. The voice was so musically androgynous that it could have been either male or female. Maybe it was one of the family members I hadn't met yet—that I had hoped to never meet at all.
"I already told you. I want my friends released. I want you to leave them alone. I offer a trade. Me for them."
The auditory smile left the musical voice. Now it sounded harsh. Angry. "Are you with PETA? Our kennels have been inspected and our dogs are treated humanely, just like family members. This is an outrage! Posing as a customer!"
"I…er…who is this?" I finally managed.
"My name is Douglas Everett Stilez, the owner and proprietor of Doug E. Stilez bitch studding service. You lock 'em up, we knock 'em up."
"Oh," I scrambled for something intelligent to say, and then settled for "Huh?"
Now poor Douglas sounded as confused as I did. "We received a call earlier from a Mr. V. Turrey that you have a female in heat that needs…servicing. The bitch's name is Bella?"
Jake grabbed the phone away from me, shaking so hard with laughter that I was surprised he managed to stay upright.
"Already been taken care of Doug E.," Jacob snorted, and then he flipped the phone closed. I tried to glare at Jake, but had a difficult time keeping my expression severe when I saw the mirthful tears that were streaming down his cheeks. The phone rang again.
"Another call from "out of area," Jake said, chuckling. He handed me the phone. "Tell Comcast I said hi."
"Um…hello?" I answered warily.
"Why so anxious darling?" Aro's half amused voice asked.
"Oh," I said in relief. "It's just you. Thank God. I thought it was going to be more telemarketers."
"Clearly, I need to work on my fearsome image," he muttered, troubled.
"You're so easily distracted," I complained. "Get on with your evil-overlord ultimatum."
"Your ultimatum!" Confused silence met my ear. I sighed. "Come on! Isn't this the part of the story where Darth Vader or Saruman or the White Witch comes in and says 'join with me Luke/Gandalf/Edmund. With our combined powers we can rule the world! Mwa ha ha ha ha!'?"
"Actually, no," he said apologetically. "I don't engage in maniacal laughter. It's bad for morale."
"Oh," I said quickly. "I'm sorry. I judged you too soon."
"It's okay. I get that all the time. But on with the point." He cleared his throat and began to speak in an ominous voice, like he was telling a ghost story. "Since my encounter with Alice and Edward last year in Volterra, I have much desired their presence on my guard. The possibilities of their combined powers enthrall me! Virtual omniscience, if you will. It is a dream that haunts my every thought…a desire that keeps me up at night."
"You're up at night anyways," I pointed out.
"True," he conceded. "But that's off topic. You see, Edward doesn't want to spend the rest of eternity at my side; instead he plans to turn you into a vampire and to spend the rest of his very long life at your side. Which makes you a thorn in my side." I groaned.
"Tell you what: if we both join the guard, will it appease you enough to leave the rest of the Cullens alone?" He sighed.
"You just don't get it, do you Bella? What use would Edward be to me with you around? Your obnoxious abilities block his powers, rendering him impotent!"
"I don't think he's actually impotent," I countered. "Just very very old fashioned." He ignored my joke.
"I like you Bella. I really do. I only wish that your power were something useful instead of this awful mind-blocking. It looks like I have no choice except to kill you and take Edward by force. I'm terribly sorry."
"Wait…" I said, thinking as fast as I could, making stuff up on the spot. "What if I have other powers…besides mind blocking?"
He drew in a sharp breath, intrigued. "You had other aptitudes beforethis experiment?"
"Yes!" I said quickly. "I've always had dreams that gave me insight into what things truly were. And I could smell blood…even as a human! And…well…I had really bad luck. Edward called me a 'danger magnet.' Those talents could…er…develop into something useful to you!" Aro snorted.
"Explain how enhanced, supernatural bad luck could possibly be useful to me?" he sneered. I began grasping at straws, desperately making up random nonsense.
"What if I could control all those things?" I whispered, inventing wildly. "What if I figured out a way to only block mental powers when I wanted to? Or if I could direct bad luck to people…like a weapon? Or…what if my intuitive dreams developed into visions? It's all possible Aro. I've only been on this side of the supernatural for an hour. You hardly know what I'm capable of."
This time his laugh held no humor. "I'm afraid I know exactly what you're capable of, Bella. That's the problem."
I let out a sigh of defeat. I hadn't really expected my defense to work, but I had been hoping. So much for my bargaining skills.
"So what happens next?" I pressed.
"You die, Edward and Alice become mine, and I…er…live happily ever after," he sang.
"Aren't you going to be more specific than that?"
"You want to know the details of your demise? I rather thought it would make for a nice surprise. I'd like to build up the suspense."
"Oh. But you see, Aro, this is the part in our story where the evil villain—that would be you—full of assurance of his own victory gloats by telling the physically outmatched but mentally superior heroine—which would be me—just enough information about his dastardly scheme to allow her a small chance to thwart it and save the day."
Aro chuckled. "You don't gamble do you, Miss Swan?" I thought briefly of the casino we visited on our way back from Phoenix after James had nearly broken me, and of the massive amounts of Edward's money I had lost. "No," I choked.
"I thought not. Even if I spell out every minute detail of my plan, it will make no difference to you. The odds of you escaping are infinitesimal, you're already caught in my trap."
"Then what's the harm?" I prompted, sounding braver than I felt.
"Ah. I always was a fan of the…underdog." He snorted at his own pun.
"Very clever. Throw me a bone here, Aro," I hoped that if I could keep him laughing, I might cause him to slip.
"Well, its really very simple. We have Edward. We'll soon have you, or we will dispose of him. Marcus has assured me that you won't allow that to happen. So we'll soon have both of you. We also have an antidote to the were-juice we put in you, which will negate the…dog odor. We'll just bleed you a little bit and lock you up in a room together. I've smelled you through him, and I'm confident he won't be able to resist forever. Having drained you himself, he'll blame himself. He'll want to die again. We will barter to end his existence in exchange for a century of servitude with us first, making the promise that for every toe he steps out of line, another of his family members will die painfully. By the time the century is over, he will desire vengeance more than he desires death, so we will be able to employ him for longer. It works out of everyone…except you, of course."
My head spun as I imagined the possibilities. I knew Edward wouldn't kill me, not if they left us alone and bleeding for a century. I also knew that my blood wasn't as tempting as it used to be…
"Ah, but you see Aro, there is one little hitch in your plan. The antidote that you have won't negate the wolf smell, not completely. My blood won't be the least bit tempting to Edward."
"Silly girl. Our medical researches have assured me…"
I interrupted, grasping wildly for a story that would work. Fresh out of tall tales, and not thinking of the consequences of letting the proverbial cat out of the bag, I confabulated a mixture of fact and fiction, hoping the Vampire would mistake my lie for fear. "There's something you don't know, Aro. I happen to be…involved with a werewolf, and under the pull of what you've done to me, we consummated our relationship earlier. If what my mate told me about my scent is correct, I will most likely be delivering a litter in fifty nine to sixty three days." I paused dramatically at the end of the sentence, and held my breath for his response.