We need to wrap the story up with this chapter. We're almost out of quotes. Well...not Shakespeare quotes... There's plenty of those left... But how many more quotes can possibly be left from that awful Monty Python movies?
I think you're right...the only thing we didn't do was make the boys go find a shrubbery. I guess the hunting trip will end here.
Everyone keeps telling us that the want the story to go back to Edward's POV again...rolls eyes Apparently all our readers are either so in love with Edward that they crave the sound of his voice, or they've realized that writing from his perspective is what YOU do best.
Bad, Naughty Roo,
That is just an afrnomical (Roo's word) understatement. But I think Edward's POV could lead to a nice conclusion – if we throw in a good dash of Emmett's imagination… and sex… that's always popular.
Then Edward's perspective it is! Write on, my fair lady!
And thus concludes our epic story…
Back to Edward POV:
Inconceivable Midsummer Knight Shrubbery
The difficulty with being a mind reader is that all beings capable of rational, factual thought (be they immortals, sons of men, or odious canine lycanthropes) are also capable of fabricating whatever weirdness their minds happen to conjure. This leaves me with the difficult task of not only sorting fact from fiction, but of putting up with certain mental images that are just plain…well…wrong. Swift as a shadow, short as any dream; brief as the lightning in the collied night, that, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth, and ere a man hath power to say 'behold!' the jaws of darkness do devour it up: so quick bright things come to confusion.
Unfortunately for me, the vivid and life-like image that popped into my extraordinarily screwy brother's head was that of Rosalie in front of a mirror. This by itself would be nightmare enough, but he'd devised a way to turn the merely obnoxious into the freakishly repulsive.
The Rosalie in Emmett's mind was no svelte goddess. Instead, she had become a forty-something year old, age-worn and tested by time. Had she accepted the natural beauty of motherhood (laugh lines, silver-streaked hair, and a soft, full figure), she could have been quite attractive. However, this vain woman, having rejected eternal youth and beauty, was trying desperately (and unsuccessfully) to get it back. Her hair had been dyed and permed so many times that it'd lost its natural sheen. The wrinkles on her face were filled in with a cakey layer of foundation, and a layer of "muffin top" baby fat protruded from just above the waistline of her too-tight low-rise jeans. Emmett gasped in horror.
But…I don't want any of that, Emmett thought, bug-eyed and repulsed.
"But…I don't want any of that," Emmett said, immediately after.
How shallow, Jasper thought condescendingly. To limit your love based on exterior packaging? It's simply inconceivable. My soul cries for my lover. Together we fly through time and space, and I feel her love rushing around me. I've found the love of make-believe and fairy tales. Ours is the love of legendary passions. Her name is written on my heart. No matter how changed her body was, our souls would still be joined. Out loud, though, he quietly said "I would not say such things if I were you…"
Edward actually WANTS Bella to grow all old and icky, Emmett thought incredulously.
"But Jasper! Edward actually wants Bella to grow all old and icky," Emmett said, wincing at me.
Jasper's thoughts were oozing with discomfort. "I WOULD NOT THINK SUCH THINGS IF I WERE YOU!" he growled.
His warning came too late. Unbidden, a hobbled image of a frail, hunched, white-haired Bella Swan punched into my mind from Emmett's. She was walking down the hall of the nursing home, her knobby hands clutching a rolling walker. A pair of thick glasses rested across the bridge of her nose, and she wore fuzzy pink slippers. Even as a great-great grandmother, the sight of her made me smile. She was the cutest little old lady I'd ever seen.
"Now where's that rotten vampire gone off to again?" she croaked to the nurse, who was walking down the hall with her.
"There's no such thing as vampires," said the nurse (who obviously thought Bella was senile).
"Bah! Try telling that to those royal shuffleboards up in Sicily!" retorted Bella (who obviously was senile).
"I'll make sure to do that," the nurse said patiently, humoring her.
"Great. You know, I was once a werewolf. A mighty mighty werewolf. Fought llamas in L.A. you know. Rarrrrrr."
"Isn't that nice?" said the nurse. The scene ended abruptly, though, for Emmett couldn't focus on making Bella look old for very long. Before you could say "Vile Mike Newton," the mental image had switched to a geriatric Rosalie, whipping off her shirt to reveal a set of ta-tas that hung so low she could have tucked them into her pants. I yelled, outraged.
"Help me, Lysander, help me! Do thy best to pluck this crawling serpent from my breast!" I shouted, permanently traumatized by Emmett's thoughts. "Ay me, for pity! What a dream was here! Lysander, look how I do quake with fear," I cried, trying fruitlessly to erase the image of Rosalie's jiggling from my mind.
Huh? he thought, not understanding or recognizing the Shakespeare line.
"Huh?" he said, not understanding or recognizing the Shakespeare line.
Must make it stop…must make it stop…Jasper thought, rocking back and forth. His eyes flew open. "Fezzik! Jog your memory!" he yelled desperately, feeling both my distress and Emmett's shock as if the emotions were his own. "Dream not of large women!"
Emmett managed to change the image to the memory of his last tryst with Rosalie (something involving a lime-green leisure suit and the soundtrack to Caddyshack…ugh), and for once I couldn't complain. He finally sighed, back to his jovial self. "We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril," he snickered, looking directly at me as the last of his sexual feat flashed through his mind. I grimaced.
Jasper also winced – the emotion accompanying that particular… er…stunt… must have been strong. He's sucked a year of our lives away, he thought, shaking his head at me."I'm sorry, Inigo," he said out loud. "I didn't mean to jog him so hard."
"Friendship is constant in all other things save in the office and affairs of love," I groaned. I glared at Emmett. "What on earth could have possessed you to conjure such an…er…unconventional… image of Rosalie?"
Oh don't grovel. "Oh, don't grovel! One thing I can't stand, it's people groveling. Actually, it was our deep intellectual discussion about you and your still-human girlfriend." My eyes widened. Hey! Don't blame me! He started it. "He started it!" Emmett said, wagging his finger at Jasper. He stuck his tongue out at him with a "Thpppppt!"
That Vizzini, he can fuss, Jasper thought, shooting an angry look at Emmett. "Do you want me to send you back to where you were, UNEMPLOYED in GREENLAND?" he said, throwing a shoulder into Emmett with no effect. He made eye contact with me, communicating as clearly as if he was speaking out loud. Believe it or not, Edward, he was just starting to understand your indecision regarding Bella.
"I understand not what you mean by this," I said, confused. What could a pregnant, human Rosalie have to do with my taking away Bella's soul?
Jasper then mentally recapped his conversation with Emmett. I listened, intrigued. When he finally got around to explaining the hypothetical possibility of giving Rosalie her heart's desire, to somehow make her human again, I understood. Emmett's situation was the reverse of mine, and though he wasn't faced with the choice that I was, thinking about it was nearly as difficult. Rosalie's heart's desire was to be human. Bella's heart's desire was to be a vampire. Though Emmett couldn't give Rosalie what she wanted the way I could fulfill Bella's wishes, considering the what ifs of the situationhad gotten to him to the point that he could empathize.
Edward, I think I finally did something right, Jasper thought, beaming.
I turned to Emmett, who was listening intently to something far away. "You're really going to give me a break, Emmett?"
He smiled. "Oh, I am afraid our life must seem very dull and quiet compared to yours… but yeah, I'll cut you a little slack."
"I'd become human for her in a heartbeat, if I could," I sighed wistfully. "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew."
Emmett rolled his eyes. "You're a looney."
"Doubt thou the stars are fire; doubt that the sun doth move; doubt truth to be a liar; but never doubt I love," I said forcefully. "I'd leave her to heaven."
He smiled his toddler-like grin for a moment, but then became serious for a change. "Sorry. No can do. One way or another, she is going to join us at the Round Table – you know that is the way it must be. It's already been decided and voted upon, by a simple majority in this case a purely internal affair."
"Good lord," I muttered, interrupting him.
"We don't have a lord," Emmett quipped, eyes sparkling. "We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune…an autonomous collective."
"Truly, you have a dizzying intellect, Emmett," Jasper said, laughing. The mixture of humor and deep conversation brought us to a pensive silence. Our little trio sat perfectly still, each lost to his own thoughts, as we watched the sky grow darker. Before long, the evening star shone in the darkening blue. At long last, stars burst forth into the heavens. I stood, stretching.
"You're ready then?" asked Jasper. I shrugged.
"Doomed for a certain term to walk the night," I said. "Either way, we've dallied enough. Let's be off."
"And the peasants rejoiced. Yay…" Emmett finally said with a wicked grin. He stood, and his head turned again. We all heard the sound of hoof beats below us near the river.
Jasper nodded eagerly. "We must be ready for whatever lies ahead."
Emmett held out his hand to Jasper. "What is your quest?" He asked. His wild, competitive side was now resurfacing.
"To beat a giant," he laughed. "No tricks, no weapons. Skill against skill alone." He crouched down, playfully.
Emmett chuckled. "Oh? Well then! Come see the violence inherent in the system!" He coiled himself back, and then sprung at Jasper, who, on the impact, went sailing off the cliff.
"Alas, poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep into sedges," I sighed. Emmett now held his hand out to me.
"What is your quest?"
"There, gentle Bella, may I marry thee," I said, remembering my proposal.
Emmett's tawny eyes grew wide. "You asked her to marry you?"
"Yes I did. Do you know what that means?" I asked slyly.
He thought for a moment. That she'll be my sister, in one way at least. But also that they'll finally… Out loud, he said: "It means that you'll finally have…"
In that second I stood and grabbed Emmett's hand, spinning him around like a hammer thrower and flinging him over the cliff.
"…SSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEXXXXXX…" he cried as he flew through the air toward Jasper.
Laughing I jumped off the cliff in a perfect swan dive, enjoying the air whipping through my hair. For a few blissful seconds I flew – my iridescent skin flashing in the waning sunset. I smiled, thinking how a human would probably call me angelic…
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy!" I called to Emmett, from my place in freefall. I passed him in the air. I was falling faster than him, due to the wind resistance against his greater surface area.
The ground came up to meet me, and as it did I caught the branch of a pine tree and spun around it, dissipating the energy of the fall. I flipped off the branch and landed perfectly next to Jasper.
"You feeling any better?" he grimaced, fiddling with his now ripped shirt. Dammit, now Alice will want to take me shopping…
"Such tricks hath strong imagination, that if it would but apprehend some joy." I smiled widely. We heard rustling nearby.
Emmett had landed with a thunderclap sound that probably caused a fault line on the other side of the world to shift and ended up lying face down in the middle of a small clearing. He shook with laughter. He couldn't get over the idea that I would ever consummate my love with Bella.
"Edward… Bella… the union of two young people in the joyful bond of the holy wedlock." Another wave of laughter overcame him. "The beds here are warm and soft and very, very big…"
"You asked Bella to marry you?" Jasper was finally catching on, and started to get control of his emotions again. "And…"
I just grinned at him. Well, what did she say?! they both thought loudly.
At that moment, the wind shifted and the smell of elk blood surrounded us.
"My fairy lord, this must be done with haste, for night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast," I spouted, and headed toward the source of the delectable scent at top speed. The river came into view as well as the elk congregated there, and Emmett screamed, "RUN AWAY… RUN AWAY," scattering the herd.
We all laughed loudly now, delighting in the chase. I quickly targeted the largest buck and flew to intercept him. The buck planted its front hooves and turned away from me, but I sprang in front of it again. Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have, to wear away this long age of three hours between our after-supper and bed-time? I chanted to myself. His heart was pumping hard now, trying to escape me, and the dance quickly came to a violent end. I savored the buck's pulsing blood as it flowed hotly down my throat.
Jasper had also taken down his prey, and drank thirstily. Well, it's the only way I can be satisfied, he smirked.
Emmett taunted his buck until the animal charged him at full speed. He easily caught the animal by the antlers, and in one graceful move, landed on his back, snapped the animal's neck loudly. As his teeth found their reward he snickered in his head, what are you going to do, bleed on me?
I sat back comfortably, enjoying the feeling of fullness after such a rewarding hunt. Both Emmett and Jasper shared my contentedness, and I knew we could now head home. The thought of seeing Bella again energized me.
"O, I am out of breath in this fond chase! The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace. Let's head back." My brothers looked at me lazily and did not move. I didn't wait for them to get up and started back to the car, kicking Jasper on my way by.
He took a weak swing at me, which I dodged easily. "I did that on purpose. I don't have to miss," he hissed at me.
Emmett then sprang up in front of me – a gleam in his eye. "You didn't tell us what Bella said to your proposal," he said seriously. I took another step toward him and he crossed his arms. "None shall pass!" his voice boomed.
I rolled my eyes – how many more quotes could there be from this horrid movie? "You are a villain; I jest not: I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice."
Emmett crouched, and in the instant before he sprang I saw his intention. He jumped at me and I dropped down, catching him across the chest and throwing him over me.
Jasper was also prepared, and as Emmett flipped over me, he grabbed Emmett's foot and threw him another ten yards behind us into the river. "You shouldn't go swimming after, for at least, what… an hour?" he laughed over his shoulder.
I grinned at Jasper, and then glanced in the direction of the car. He grinned back… Ready, Set, GO! he thought, and we raced back to the car, leaving Emmett soaking behind us.
I reached the car first, of course, and automatically ducked, seeing Jasper's leap at me through his eyes. He sailed over the car and landed with a smooth summersault. We laughed together again, and when we heard Emmett charging toward us, Jasper quickly hopped into the front seat. "Shotgun!" he yelled.
Emmett came racing up the hill after us, dripping.
"I wanted shotgun!" he yelled.
"Too bad. I was here first!" Jasper said.
"Only because you threw me in the river!"
Emmett crossed his arms. "Things like this are decided by a vote. Not by some farcical aquatic ceremony."
"Fine then," I said, my patience growing thin. "I vote that Jasper sits in the front. You're too wet."
"I second that motion," Jasper agreed.
"Two votes to one," is said. "That should satisfy you. Now get in the back." Emmett's expression hardened, defiant.
"Oh yeah? Well take this! NEE! NEE! NEE NEE NEEE!!"
The two of us stared at him blankly, utterly unaffected. Emmett's face fell.
"Aaaauuuughhh?" he said hopefully.
"You're trying to trick me into giving something away," Jasper said in a bored voice. "It won't work."
"You let me have the front seat or…or… I'll attack you with my holy hand grenade!" Emmett growled, yanking Jasper's door open. Jasper yawned, and completely unfazed, attacked Emmett with a blast of lethargy. My ogre of a brother stumbled, his knees giving from underneath him.
"Get some rest," Jasper said condescendingly. "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."
Oh, all right. "Fine," Emmett said, defeated at last. He shook the remaining droplets of water from his head and crawled in the back seat. I was glad that my seats were leather, for the amount of swamp water he was pouring onto them would have caused some major mildew problems had they had been upholstered.
I threw my shirt back on and slid behind the wheel. For the longest time no one said anything, as we all enjoyed the memories of our trip silently. Emmett then recalled his unanswered question. Hey, what DID Bella say to your proposal, anyway?
"Hey, what DID Bella say to your proposal anyway?" he piped up.
"The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible Edward bear it, pluck off the bull's horns and set them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters as they write 'Here is good horse to hire,' let them signify under my sign 'Here you may see Edward the married man.'" I quoted.
"I think that's the worst thing I ever heard. How marvelous," Jasper whispered.
"I-- what?" Emmett said, confused.
"She didn't say yes," I muttered as we approached the Forks town limits.
Both of their mouths dropped open at exactly same time. What? screamed through their minds.
"She didn't say no, either. I told her that if she would marry me, I would change her."
Jasper gasped. "It would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways, inconceivable."
"Oh, Sht!" Emmett swore. "I thought Carlisle was going to do it."
"She wants me to be the one." Jasper stared, and I could tell that he was feeling the full force of my mixed emotions.
"Doesn't she realize how easily you could become a widower?"
"No…actually…she believes in me." I said simply. "She's so…" I struggled to find the right word. "Trusting.
We pulled up in front of Bella's house, as my brothers remained frozen in stunned silence. I looked up at her brightly lit window, happy to see that she was still awake. What light through yonder window breaks? Charlie's mind was silent – he was deeply asleep. I parked the car and hopped out.
"Farewell, sweet playfellows: pray thou for us!" I said with a smile "I will be a bridegroom in my death and run into it as to a lover's bed." Jasper rounded the car and sat in the driver's seat, finally allowing Emmett his heart's desire. Within seconds, I'd scaled the siding on Charlie's house, slid open Bella's window, and entered my personal sanctuary. The awful, terrible, wonderful scent filled my nostrils, but the fresh blood from the hunt was circulating through my previously desiccated circulatory system and I was pleased to find that the pain in my throat was perfectly manageable. Bella looked up at me from the desk, where she'd been reading. Her face was warm, welcoming. I swept her into my arms and tumbled onto the bed with her, feverishly trying to communicate the depth of my love for her. A thrill ran up my spine as I felt her warmth beneath me. I ran my fingers down her face and touched her lips. She gasped, pleased at my enthusiastic reaction to seeing her again.
As our lips met, I heard Jasper finally find his voice, spoken quickly, in a sonic range that would be inaudible to Bella. "Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind."
Emmett laughed as they drove off. "If he marries her, he's going to have to do a lot more than kiss her. And that, my liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped."