There was always someone at Emily's house, but when I reached the house the entire place was filled to capacity. I opened the front door and had to squeeze past Seth and Leah. One werewolf could make a room relatively warm, but the temperature of ten werewolves and their imprints made the place scorching.
Emily ran around opening windows, pushing her way in between bodies to reach from one end of the small house.
Sam saw me and glanced around the room to do a head count.
"Let's get this thing started. Everyone outside. We're having a meeting."
Paul walked out behind everyone else, his nose twitching. When he found me in the crowd a relieved smile immediately lit his face. As annoying as it was that I had to come to terms with the fact that Paul was never going to trust the Cullens, it was nice to see that someone was glad to see that I returned unharmed after a day's work.
Werewolves shuffled past me, but he stopped right in front of me. I spread my arms wide, openly displaying the fact that I had managed to return alive.
"Check me out. I survived a party at the vampire house," I said somewhat dryly. Paul ignored the sarcasm and gave me a welcoming hug and kiss on the cheek.
"Then I guess they can live another day," Paul concluded.
"Guys, come on," Sam called to us as he walked the way around to the back of the house to their unfenced ocean view backyard. I looked around Paul and saw Jacob, Quil, and Embry follow after him. I narrowed my eyes, biting my lip. Paul gave me a questioning look.
"I'm going to kill the stooges," I said.
"Why?" Paul asked genuinely confused. Quil must have heard me, because he turned around and winked at me. It looked as though today's master prank must have been recently planned because he didn't seem to know why I should come back angry at them.
"I'll tell you later," I promised.
The pack made a circle in the backyard using what we could of the outdoor furniture Emily had managed to collect as the Pack continued to grow. By the time Paul and I got there it was standing room only. Jared sat on a larger chair with Kim sitting between his legs while he looked to Sam.
Kim and I shared a look.
I didn't like what she saw there. Kim was worried, stressed. The way she looked from me to Paul with some small amount of panic made my heart pause. I remembered what Alice had said that morning about my future not being changed and my stomach began to churn.
The mission to keep me from leaving Twilight wasn't going so well.
"What happened at the party?" Sam asked.
Grateful for the distraction, my brain jumped to focus on solvable problems. I took a deep breath, automatically assuming that I was the one being spoken to.
"Jacob found out that Bella is being hunted by something known as a newborn army. Someone, who is currently unknown, has created them in Seattle in order to distract the Cullen family so that he or she can kill Bella safely," I reported.
Everyone stared at me and I realized that Sam was addressing Jacob.
I smiled weakly, making Paul chuckle.
"Yeah," Jacob jerked a thumb in my direction. "What she said."
Jacob went on to tell the others what Jasper and Alice had told him. For the party I'd left Eclipse in the car, but for this meeting I'd brought it with me in case I needed to recite the information about the newborns word-for-word.
Sam listened, worry creasing ever-present lines in his brow that made him look thirty years old. He nodded, agreeing with Jacob when he said that they would meet in the clearing at three.
"What can you tell us about them?" Sam asked.
I shook my head.
"I think you should ask the Cullen family tonight."
Almost everyone in the circle groaned at once.
I rolled my eyes.
"You need to learn to cooperate with them. And in case any of you skeptical werewolves were wondering, this is the war I was talking about in the last book. You're going to war against the newborns," I said with a pointed glance at each one of them.
Jared gave me a look.
"A war? As in more than one battle?" Jared asked.
"No. Just the one," I said.
"Then it's going to be a battle not a war. You had us worried for nothing!" Quil said.
I pointed a finger at him.
"I've been telling you that you've been worrying for nothing for months!" I shouted in exasperation. I ran a hand through my hair. "But that's not important. I'll tell you everything you guys need to know later, but there's got to be some faith shown between you guys. Talk to them. Edward will translate."
"She's right," Sam said to everyone's shock. "We can't have Cammy be a designated go-between for us."
Emily stood by his side.
"And nothing is going to go wrong in this battle? No one's going to get hurt?" Emily asked me specifically, her watchful gaze gauging my reaction carefully. I would have hesitated to answer if I hadn't been interrupted by Leah's snort.
"Of course not. Sounds like it will be good practice," she muttered, her gaze fixed on the dusty ground. Emily ignored her cousin's derisive tone and gave me a meaningful look. While I knew that not everyone would get out exactly unscathed, I felt like confidence would be more helpful than the absolute truth.
"It will be safe," I said. Then remembering Edward's words I added, "Someone could even sit out if they wanted to."
"I don't think so," Seth said as though immediately detecting Sam's response.
"If that's true than the younger ones will stay behind to protect La Push," Sam said. Seth, Brady, and Colin all groaned at once. Sam looked at Leah, but she was already leveling him with a gaze, daring him to try and make her stay behind.
Sam added nothing, too guilty to deprive her.
"Leah's right," Jacob said. "This is an opportunity we can't afford to lose. The Cullens are letting us learn their moves and strategies. If…" Jacob hesitated for a second before he made himself go on. "If they bite Bella it will help to know what to expect."
From Jacob's tone I couldn't tell if he was talking about what Bella would be like as a newborn or if he meant the war they would want to wage on the family for breaking the treaty.
I looked at Kim again, my fear for Breaking Dawn to happen without me renewed. She reached out and squeezed Jared's hand for comfort while he smiled excitedly at the prospect of tearing his blood enemies to pieces.
"Let's just take this one step at a time," Sam said crossing his arms over his chest. "We've got a few hours. Everyone get some rest for tonight. Our minds are going to be an open book for the mind reader. This will be good for us. And I agree with Cammy about a show of good faith. If things take a bad turn in the future it will not be because we didn't try to cooperate."
"Cool," I took my phone out of my pocket, ready to set my alarm. On the screen I saw that I had four missed text messages, all of which were from Kim. There was apparently no avoiding the bombshell waiting to crash, but like anything else, there was a way of putting it off a little longer. "Then I'm going to take a nap before we head out."
I felt Paul stiffen beside me.
"And this was going so well," he lamented shaking his head. I turned to meet Paul's steady stern, brown eyes. He had the advantage of looking older than he really was, which tugged of my teenage instincts to immediately start whining.
Paul and I stared at each other, ready for verbal battle.
"I don't have time for this," Leah decided.
"Hold up, you're my ride," Seth said trailing at her heels.
"No I'm not. We ran here."
"Whatever. Keep walking," Seth hissed, pushing her forward. Several others followed suit, but Sam, Emily, and Quil stayed. Kim seemed to want to stay, but Jared took her hand and led her away. I crossed my arms over my chest and faced him.
"I'm going to the practice," I said.
"Because you need to brush up on your vampire killing techniques?"
I narrowed my eyes at him.
He didn't blink.
"Will Bella be there?"
"Then why are you going?"
I opened my mouth and closed it, unable to come up with a legitimate reason for my being there. Emily nudged Sam, trying to be subtle about hinting him to leave Paul and me to our own matters. Sam held up a finger.
"Hold on. He has a good argument. He might win this one," Sam whispered.
We ignored them.
"I'm going to be there to… mediate…" I started to say. Paul gave me a skeptical look. "Okay, fine. I planned on hiding in the trees and watching with the rest of you guys. Why is that so dangerous?"
"It could get rowdy," Paul argued.
"But I know it won't. Besides, I wasn't going to volunteer to participate or anything. I just want to watch," I said.
I took a deep breath. Because I had made promises to be more careful now that I was beginning to understand just want the bond between Paul and I meant. It was a tether so tight that severing it could rip apart our sanity. Maybe even cause death.
Then again, I knew what was going to happen. And I really really wanted to go.
"It's hard to explain," I said looking away.
"Try me," Paul said putting his hand on my shoulder. It was strangely unnerving to see him being so rational. He hadn't started this discussion by deciding that there was no way I was getting my way no matter how much I thought I needed to go.
And the truth this time was that I didn't need to go.
"I've only seen vampires in action under the worst circumstances. Even the Cullens are so careful not to do anything acrobatic or cool in front of me. The most I've seen them do is run fast," I said. Paul's brow furrowed still unsure of what I was trying to explain. "I want to go because I think it will be awesome to see. Okay?"
Paul barked out a laugh.
"And how would you get out there? It's ten miles into the forest," he said.
I hadn't thought about that. He was right.
"I guess I could hitch a ride with one of the Cullens before Bella gets there. Maybe I can get someone to run me out there," I said.
All traces of humor fell from Paul's face.
I ignored the "because I said so" tone. If Paul was going to put up with my annoying habits, then I would have to put up with his.
"Or…" I said my voice trailing as my mind scrambled for an alternative suggestion. "I could always get a ride with you."
"What do you mean?"
"I could ride on you."
From behind us, Quil chuckled.
Paul and I glared at him.
"Really? I was the only one whose mind went there?" he asked.
"Don't start with me, Quil. I've got a bone to pick with you," I warned. Quil started to snicker when Paul gave him a suspicious look. Quil coughed into his fist and looked away to let us continue. "Remember when we first started spending time together? I said it would be fun to ride on your back while you ran and you thought it would be dangerous because I might fall off…"
Paul looked like he was seriously considering the idea.
"Do you still think that?" I asked him. Paul looked at Sam, who also looked thoughtful. Emily raised a brow.
"Maybe," Sam said with a shrug.
"Our fur is long enough to hang onto and it's not like she'd be bouncing around a lot if you're just running straight through," Quil suggested.
I felt a spark of hope.
"Really? You think it's possible?" Paul rubbed the back of his neck, uncertain. This was my opening. I had to take it. "I mean, you guys are supposed to be all graceful like vampires. I don't think I'll get hurt with you around."
Quil rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"And with a saddle and a good set of reigns-" Quil added unhelpfully.
"Shut up, Quil," Paul and I coursed.
I gave Paul a look, letting him think.
"I guess we can try," Paul said rubbing his chin. His expression slid into a mischievous smile. "If you try something for me."
I eyed him warily.
"Try what exactly?"
"Could you try talking to the Cullens about redrawing the boundaries? We get full access to Forks, including Debbie and Bob's house, no matter who or what is there," Paul said. I suppressed the urge to snort. Paul gave an innocent shrug. "It's just like you and Sam said. It can be a show of faith from them to us."
Sam was suddenly even more engrossed in our conversation, seeing that the progress Paul was making with me would ultimately benefit the entire pack.
"It doesn't matter if they agree to it or not, of course, but it would be so much easier for us if they stopped giving us death glares every time one of shows up," Paul said taking one of my hands and smoothing over the skin with the pad of his thumb. He wasn't verbally begging, but he was giving me a very non-Mike Newton puppy dog look that made me want to melt.
"Oh. You're good," I admitted. I thought about it for a moment and realized that Paul was right. They should have as much access as the Cullens to Bella and me. Weren't we the most likely ones to need protection? "Okay, I will. And I really will try. I just don't know what they'll say."
Quil's jaw dropped. Sam exchanged an impressed look with Emily, who looked to be trying to hide a proud smile.
"Holy crap. Paul, do you understand the power you've just harnessed?" Quil teased.
Paul rolled his eyes.
"Is there a reason you're here?" Paul asked.
"Yeah. I just wanted to ask Cammy how everything went with Newton today," he said. I clenched my jaw and stared him down, hoping that I would spontaneously acquire laser vision. Paul looked from me to him, correctly reading my annoyance and rage.
"Alright, that's it! What did you do to her?" Paul snapped out suddenly.
He dropped my hand and started to stalk toward Quil. Quil backed away with his hands up, obviously having miscalculated Paul's unpredictable rage. I stepped back to let Paul take care of Quil. I could hear Quil and Paul arguing as they disappeared into trees.
Sam shook his head.
"One minute he's revolutionizing the way we interact with the Cullens through Cammy, the next he's taking a bite out of Quil," Sam said shaking his head at Emily. She shrugged. Sam sighed started to take off his shirt as he walked into the woods.
He stopped to put a hand on my shoulder.
"About what Paul said, if you could somehow talk the Cullens into this it would be very helpful for all of us and we'd all appreciate it. Also keep in mind that this doesn't mean we're changing our borders to let them in," Sam said.
"Yeah, I figured," I said. In the end it wouldn't matter what the wolves wanted. They would give Edward and Carlisle access to La Push to take care of Jacob.
A high pitched yelp echoed in the trees.
Sam tugged at the hem of his shirt as he started into the darkness.
"I better break this up," he said.
Emily and I waited until Sam was completely out of sight, the sounds of massive bodies slamming together, snapping saplings and shuffling across the dirt was nothing unusual for either of us. It wasn't the first time she reminded me of Sam. They had the same posturing, the same hard looks with a cool attitude that made it hard to argue with her. Behind the angry marks on her face was a worried expression.
"You should talk to Kim," Emily said finally. "She's been trying to get a hold of you all day."
"Yeah," I said averting her motherly gaze. "I haven't bothered with my phone all day. I was busy with all this stuff. Do you know what's going on with her and her theories?"
Emily paused, careful not to upset me.
That wasn't good.
"I think that coming up with a way to find a solution to your problem is harder than she'd thought it would be. I know she's going to talk to Old Quil again tomorrow," Emily said. She crossed her arms over her chest. "According to what the psychic told Jake there's about four days left until this big battle thing happens. There can't be much story after that. Just how much time do you need?"
My heart beat picked up. She was right. Was it really just four days? Yes, of course it was. Jacob and Alice had this conversation right in front of Bella. I'd read today's chapter about a dozen times.
"I don't know," I said honestly. I ran my hand over my ponytail, looking out into the darkness where the sounds of Paul and Quil's scrap seemed to be winding down with Sam's help. "I really don't. Maybe a week or two."
I only had a week or two left in the books?
"That can't be right. I've got to fix this, but there's so much going on. I have to-"
Emily put her hands on my shoulders and made me face her.
"Calm down," she said. Slowly, the panic lifted. Her voice lowered, afraid that someone equipped with super-senses might be able to hear us. "I know you've got a lot on your plate right now. We're not going to let anything happen to Paul. Okay?"
I nodded stiffly, too panicked to start thinking about the what-ifs that nagged at me.
"Just give her a time limit and answer any other questions she has. You know Kim. Once she has a taste of new information she'll run with it," Emily said locking me in her brown eyed gaze. I gave her a sharp nod.
"There's always a way out," Emily said.
I nodded again.
"There's always a way out. Right," I repeated. I straightened my shoulders and looked right back at her. "Thanks. Sorry. It's just… I don't know why just thinking about something bad happening to him makes me so crazy that I can barely function."
The good half of Emily's mouth lifted in smile.
"You love him," Emily explained simply. I tamped down the urge to give a little sigh as a smile tempted my lips.
"That's sweet and all, but that doesn't make this any easier. There's too much to do and I need to be focused," I said. Emily and I walked toward the house, her arm over my shoulder and gave me a little squeeze.
"I would tell you that you shouldn't put so much pressure on yourself, but I have a feeling that it won't change anything," she said. By the time we made it to the porch Kim was standing out the screen door. From the way she looked over her shoulder as she left I guessed she'd just escaped Jared's attention.
While I had been dreading running into Kim and receiving bad news, it wasn't so bad as long as Emily was there. Kim assured me that she was still on the case, looking into shape-shifting legends from other tribes. Preferably ones with love stories attached to them.
I wasn't sure how that was supposed to keep me from being ripped out of this universe, but Kim seemed sure of herself.
"I'm going over to Old Quil's again tomorrow. He's got some friends in the Makaw tribe who might have some legends we overlooked," Kim said. She looked over her shoulder again to see if anyone was around, then put her hand in front of her mouth as she stage whispered, "By friends, I mean Embry's mom. She's part of that tribe."
I shivered, reminded again about Old Quil's imprinting escapades.
Emily scowled at her.
"Kim," she warned in a low voice.
Kim threw up her hands in defeat.
"Right, but that's none of our business and we will pay attention to the matter at hand," Kim promised hurriedly. I felt a wave of relief sweep through me. Emily seemed to think I was okay and gently dropped her arm from my shoulders.
The boys emerged from the woods with their clothes miraculously intact. Neither Quil nor Paul looked very happy, but Sam was wearing that weary look again that had Emily immediately stepping to his side.
Sam seemed to calm almost instantly at her presence.
Behind them, Paul shoved Quil by the shoulder, toward me.
"This idiot has something to say to you," Paul growled at me.
I folded my arms and looked at Quil as he stopped in front of me.
"Yeah. We're even for the food stealing," Quil said. Paul smacked him on the back of the head, the sound of flesh against skull making me cringe. Quil whirled on him, his fists trembling, but his control was much better than Paul's. "The prank was maybe a tad harsh. It was the only way I knew to get you and Paul at the same time."
He paused, smiling a little.
"It was a little funny though. And now that you've rejected the marshmallow he'll probably start liking you instead of Bella."
Paul tried to smack him again but this time Quil anticipated it. Before we knew it Kim and I were both giving them room to wrestle on the dusty dirt path. Kim folded her arms across her chest as we watched them scramble over each other trying to pin the other to the ground.
Kim turned to look at me.
"Boys are dumb."
I snorted, careful not to agree.
"Want to grab a soda inside?"
I shook my head.
"It's naptime for me," I said rubbing my palms together. "I've got front row seats to vampire wrestling match. Emmett's going to eat dirt when Jasper's through with him." Kim huffed.
"And apparently I'll be stuck here doing homework on legends from tribes that aren't even mine," she snorted.
I patted her head sympathetically.
"Thanks again, Kim. We'd all be lost without you," I said.
She tried to look modest as she shrugged, but she was obviously touched by the compliment.
"See you later, Paul," I said loudly over the sounds of their fists beating into each other. Their fighting wasn't too serious, so it didn't take much for Paul to literally toss Quil aside and follow me toward the house.
"Hey, wait up."
I turned on him.
"Quil's an ass," he declared. "Mike didn't seem like he was into you, did he?"
I shook my head.
"I don't think so. After Jacob passed along Quil's message Mike told his buddies that I liked him. The only reason he made me dance with him was to save face," I explained. Paul frowned skeptically, as though waiting for me to come clean with a more truthful answer.
"No. He was not into me."
"Are you sure?"
Paul wasn't convinced.
I rolled my eyes.
"Come on," I said hooking my arm into his so that I could lead him away. "We've got a big night ahead of us. Let's just relax until it's time to go."
Paul and I had crashed on the couch watching bad TV. It's hard to cuddle with a werewolf for very long, especially in the summer. When I woke up we were on opposite ends of the couch, my legs resting on his lap. Still I was covered in a light sheen of sweat. Lovely.
Paul, of course, was awake much sooner than I was.
People were beginning to return to Emily's to prepare for the meeting. I could sense the growing tension immediately. Jared stood leaning in the threshold between the living room and the kitchen, arms folded over his chest and his expression lost in thought. Embry also sat in the armchair opposite of the television pretending to watch it.
"Did something happen while I was out?" I asked Paul drowsily.
He thought for a moment.
"No," he said. "Unless it happened while I was out too."
Embry seemed to return to the present at the sound of my voice. He smiled in greeting, but something was still off.
"Why is everyone acting so weird?" I asked Paul.
"Oh I don't know," Jared perked up sauntering into the living room. I could hear more people rummaging inside the kitchen, silverware tapping softly on Emily's plates. He shrugged, "Maybe because we're about to go meet a bunch of man eating monsters to get lessons on how to kill other man eating monsters. Oh, and also being in a state where we will be constantly fighting the instinct to kill our teachers."
I stared at him.
"So you're nervous?"
"Yeah," he said.
I tried not to laugh.
"They're not going to hurt you," I assured him.
Jared gave me an incredulous.
"They should be worried about us hurting them," Paul said. He gave me a look. "They know our control is not one hundred percent, but if you're going to be there I'm thinking everything is going to go smoothly."
"Or its not and Cammy just wants to be part of the action," Jared pointed out.
I narrowed my eyes at Jared. Paul rolled his eyes to show his exasperation with Jared. I smirked at him and drew my legs up from Paul's lap. "I'm going to go get ready for the show. Is Kim still here?"
"It's two in the morning. She's at home," Jared grumped.
My phone buzzed alerting me that it was two o'clock. Paul's expression sobered.
"Come on, Cam. We're going to need a head start," Paul said to me.
"A head start?"
"You and I have a little experiment to do. Remember?" he asked. Suddenly remembering that between meeting back with the werewolves and the upcoming newborn killing lessons was the problem of getting me from point A to point B.
The look I got from Paul made me nervous.
"Right," I said straightening my now rumpled party clothes. Alice would murder me if she saw what became of these purchases. "Let's do this."
"I want to see," Jared said following us as we went toward the front door.
"Me too," Embry added.
We went to the front yard where it was pitch black out. The boys didn't seem to have a problem seeing though so I stuck by and walked after them, pretending I could see just as well as they could.
"Okay, so how do we do this?" I asked as walked further and further from the light of the porch. We entered through the trees. Emily's house was a fair distance from the closest neighbor and sat at the edge of the forest and the makeshift dirt biking course that only the kids, and occasionally Bella, used. But for now it was abandoned.
Paul turned, but it was too dark to read any expression on his face until we were out of the cover of the trees. He wasn't too worried, but he was definitely unsure.
"We'll be going pretty fast," he said in a warning tone. "I need you to tell me the first time you feel like you're slipping. Even a little bit."
"Got it," I agreed with a nod.
Embry and Jared stood beside me as Paul started to take some steps away from me, getting ready to change.
"I'll start off slow and start to speed up. Tell me if I'm going too fast," he said.
"Okay," I promised.
"Paul, just do it already," Jared interrupted. Embry smothered a snicker, but didn't disagree. Paul narrowed his eyes in annoyance.
Finally he turned and started to wrap his hands around the hem of his shirt. It suddenly occurred to me that Paul was changing here, right now in the open, and was making no move to cover any part of his body.
And I do mean any part.
When hanging around werewolves a certain amount of nudity is expected. I'd accidentally caught glimpses of almost everyone here and there. Briefly after the run-in with Laurent I'd seen a whole lot of Embry. But they usually made an effort to cover themselves at least, especially since the relationship between Paul and I was not quite to that point yet.
But apparently it was getting there.
Paul stood in the moonlight and took a few deep breaths. His hands clenched and unclenched by his sides. In the bad lighting I recognized his silhouette tensing, shaking like he did when he lost control. Usually this would be my cue to give him some space and it was my first instinct to give it to him, unused to his changing around me on purpose
Then suddenly his entire body tensed, expanded and dropped to all fours. It didn't hurt, or so I was told, but there was no middle ground between transformations. The moment his hands hit the ground they were paws. Fur sprouted from his, covering him in an instant.
It was strange to see Paul one moment and then a snarling wolf running completely on instinct the next. He whirled on us, teeth bared and his shoulders hunched before he was struck with a sudden calmness.
I hadn't noticed just how tensed Embry and Jared were until they relaxed at either side of me.
"Alright. You're up, cowgirl," Jared said.
I stepped toward the huge wolf, his head well over mine. His violent changes always made me hesitant around him, but I could see that he was in control. As if to prove it, Paul lowered his head and nudged it against my hand.
Smiling, I scratched his ears.
Paul lowered himself to the ground. Embry stepped beside me as I awkwardly calculated the best way to get onto his back.
"Need a boost?" Embry offered.
"No, I'll just…um…" I began, continuously shifting and then changing my mind about the best way to hoist myself onto a horse sized wolf. "Ah, screw it."
I stepped into his side and attempted to heft a leg on him. The boys laughed, but I ignored them as I used whatever leverage I could get to pull myself up. I felt ridiculous, like a two year old trying to ride the family dog.
"You're not going to hurt him. Just step on him," Embry suggested.
I hadn't realized that I was being careful not to kick him too hard or pull on his fur. I'd forgotten that he was a killing machine capable of taking a beating from a vampire. What possible damage could I do?
I pressed my foot into his side and pulled myself up.
Since everyone seemed keen on making horse-riding jokes about this I centered myself over his back like a horse and curled my hands into the fur around his neck like reigns. Paul moved up slowly. I didn't wobble too much once I got a feel for his movements.
"How do you feel?" Jared asked.
I scanned my surroundings, considering.
Jared rolled his eyes.
"I think what Jared means is do you feel like you're going to fall off?" Embry asked.
"Oh," I said. I wiggled my butt a little, testing my balance. "Not really. He's big enough that I don't feel like I'm going to tip one way or the other." Jared studied Paul, tilting his head to the side.
"What about you, Paul?" Jared asked.
He lifted a shoulder one shoulder in a kind of dog shrug. Even then I didn't really wobble. He started forward, walking slowly in a small circle like one of those pony rides they have for kids at carnivals. His steps were soft and graceful, never even crunching the gravel.
It felt a little silly, but Jared especially seemed interested.
"I think we've got this," I craned around to meet Paul's gaze. "I'm ready if you are."
After a hesitant pause, he nodded.
Paul strayed from our test circle path and into the forest. We moved into rougher terrain, stepping over roots and uneven ground. Even out in the forest I didn't feel at all unsafe. Paul was trotting no faster than any other animal, testing as the limits slowly.
"So far so good, but the meeting place is ten miles away from the ranger station. I think we can go a little faster," I said. Paul gently sped up to a light jog. Still I felt safe, but Paul seemed unwilling to change his pace.
I could sense the forest around us as we moved through it, but the cover of the branches blocking the moonlight limited what I could see. I did know that it didn't feel like he had gone much faster than that.
"I promise I have a good grip on you."
The air moved faster around me and faster until it felt like a storm was blowing past me. I could feel him moving, but I sat perfectly in place. I couldn't compare this experience to holding onto a vampire while they ran.
This wasn't horrifying.
It was fun.
"This is awesome!" Paul's speed suddenly started to slow down. "Hey, what's wrong? We were doing so well." It suddenly occurred to me that I could see through the trees now, the forest was thinning. Paul walked in between the trunks, revealing that we had made it to the clearing where the Cullens were their skin stark white under the night sky.
One by one they seemed to look our way, but I couldn't hear what they were saying.
"We're here? Already? How fast were we going?"
He stopped at the end of the trees. The clearing was wide enough to fit a football field in. In the distance I could just barely see the six figures standing there. Everyone was there except for Edward and Bella, I was pretty sure.
Jasper and Emmett stood across from each other exchanging some muted words right before they disappeared into a flurry of movements. It probably wasn't nearly as spectacular as it would be up close, but I was amazed to see what I could make out the explosion of dirt that came from Emmett hitting the ground with brutal force.
My jaw dropped.
"Wow," I whispered. "They must be practicing before the meeting. Do they know we're here?"
Paul barked out a laugh.
"You're right. Dumb question," I muttered.
The Cullens were so careful to keep the use of their physical abilities. It was an amazing gift to see those abilities used and feel perfectly safe.
I turned to see Paul watching me instead of the Cullens. I smiled at him.
"Thank you for this. It looks like our experiment was a success," I said. He nodded and moved toward me until our sides were touching. I crossed my arms over my stomach, watching on. "Werewolf pranks aside, it's been a pretty cool day. And as promised I'll talk to them about the whole letting werewolves come over whenever they want thing."
Wolf faces are usually expressionless unless they were growling or hanging their tongues out, but I saw something that looked like happiness sparkle in his eyes.
"But we're going to get closer than this for the meeting, right? This spot is like the nosebleed seats of Eclipse. There's no way I can hear Jasper's lesson from here," I added. Paul shook his head and rolled his eyes. "What? I think that's a legitimate question."
Paul let out another derisive huff which I took as a scoff.