Disclaimer: All the wonderfully addicting characters of Twilight are a figment of Stephanie Meyer's imagination, not mine.
Bella Plays Baseball
The clearing still felt very ominous. I knew the three vampires I had met on a previous occasion had been ripped apart and burned. The thought gave me no comfort, as I clearly remembered the trio stalking forward through the clearing. There had also been newborn training with the wolves. With Jacob.
Edward tightened his grasp on my hand reassuringly. In contrast with my dour mood, Edward seemed to be glowing with excitement. He anxiously bounced from foot to foot as his other family members scattered into the field.
The sky illuminated briefly and I found my head tracking the sound of the thunder as it rolled from one end of the sky to the other, directly over our heads. It sounded like a Zues had gone bowling.
Alice suddenly bounced next to me, and I jumped when she wrapped her tiny cold hand around my arm. Her eyes flashed wickedly.
"This is going to a doozey," she chimed, gesturing skyward with a nod.
I couldn't help but roll my eyes, but I was thankful for the distraction of the storm raging above our heads. I turned my gaze toward Edward again.
The fear that had been festering in my stomach became a comfortable swirl of butterflies as I focus on the bronze-haired god…my bronze-haired god. The wedding was less than two weeks away now, and the suspense of the new life was almost within my grasp.
The sky lit again followed immediately by the rolling thunder. It was truly an unsettling sound. I had never heard it sound so heavy, like boulders crashed behind the black blanket of clouds, searching for a way through.
"Batter up!" Esme yelled, breaking me from my reverie.
Alice was already standing at the plate and Edward had taken a catchers stance behind her. Looking out to the field, I saw Jasper on the mound. Carlisle hovered around second to cover the base line and I could barely see Rosalie's slender silhouette far out in left field.
The sky exploded at he same instant Alice did. I could barely register the motion of Alice's tiny arms whipping the bat around or the speed with which she tore off toward first. Rosalie had her head pointed skyward already tracking the ball's progress high in the storm.
I hadn't seen the small white ball once, but Esme called Alice out as she streaked past third heading for home.
"Gotta lay off the high ones," she mumbled heading toward me. She still wore a huge grin on her pallid face.
The sky above continued to roar and flash menacingly above us.
Emmett now stood at the plate, shaking out his broad shoulders awaiting Jasper's pitch. His hit went much farther than Alice's, and had sent Rosalie darting into the trees. In a flash, I saw the ball whizzing toward Carlisle as he guarded second from Emmett's oncoming form.
"Safe!" Esme called out.
Emmett whooped in delight. "In your face!" He yelled pointing two fingers toward Jasper and laughing loudly.
"You're up," Edward said from my side. He grabbed my hand and pulled me gently to the batter's box. The crooked smile he wore left me no choice to follow him. Next thing I knew, Esme was gently patting a red batter's helmet on to my head.
"You've got to be kidding me," I groaned. "How am I supposed to play with vampires?"
"It'll be fine," Edward reassured me with a wink.
"Sure," I moaned back.
Accepting my fate, I turned to face Jasper.
He stood much too far away for me to see him clearly in the gloom. As soon as the sky lit again, I wished it had stayed that way. Jasper was staring me down, a malicious grin upon his face,
"Go, Bella!" Alice cheered excitedly.
"Oh my Edward," I whispered under my breath.
At that same moment, the thunder masked Edward's own voice as he muttered lowly. I might have cared that I missed it, if I hadn't been so terrified by the look on Jasper's face.
I blinked. Edward's mitt snapped behind me.
""Do you call that nice and easy, Jasper?" Edward hissed as he threw the ball back. Jasper's grin grew.
My heartbeats were pounding in my ears. The hint of blush crept into my face and the many layers of warm clothing I had piled on suddenly felt like too much. I tugged at the collars of my shirt, trying to entice a breeze.
"Calm down, Dear, or you'll give them all heart attacks," Esme cooed.
I took a deep breath, and aligned myself in the batter's box once again, not that there was a chance in hell I'd ever hit it.
This time, however, Jasper seemed to have listened to Edward and gently tossed an underhanded softball pitch that arched perfectly before descending toward me. It was almost too slow. I had been expecting Jasper to repeat his first pitch, and I wouldn't even be able to see the ball as it whizzed by. But I could see the red stitches perfectly floating gracefully to the plate.
With a surge of confidence, my left foot dug into the dirt preparing to lunge myself down the first base line, almost as if it wasn't the first time I'd done the same action. I swung my arms around fiercely feeling the bat slice through the air. The lack of any resistance surprised me (as if it should). I was thrown completely off balance and spun completely around until my legs tangled in each other. I landed with a hard thump on to the plate.
This time my face burned bright. Then, I heard the laughter. I glanced up and saw Jasper bent over the mound, hands on his knees, shaking with deep laughs. Emmett, directly behind him, was rolling back and forth over second. And though I couldn't see her in the darkness, I could hear Rosalie's soft laughter far out in the outfield. Then my eyes widened in shock.
I turned my stunned expression on Edward. "Is that Carlisle?" I gasped.
Esme was the one that answered, after she snorted a couple of times, trying to regain control of herself. "You are unintentionally humorous, Bella."
Edward already had a cool hand on my waist, and my embarrassment lessened slightly. I hadn't heard his laugh ringing with the others, but I could hear the smile on his face as he whispered, "You're hopeless." He chuckled and shook his head gently.
I didn't have a chance to retort. Edward spun me around and placed me on my feet. His arms snaked around me, caressing my arms and my hands where they still gripped the bat. Pressing his whole body against mine, I felt every rise of each muscle pressing against me. My cheeks burned with the blush of arousal.
"Hey!" Emmett shouted, in control of himself again. "None of that. We just started the game!" It was strange that some one as big and foreboding as Emmett could manage a whiney edge to his voice, but he pulled off the adolescent voice flawlessly. In fact, I found Emmett to be the one Cullen who was in essence a child.
I had to smile, despite the crack on our sex-life, or lack there of. Edward didn't respond, but his body tensed slightly. He settled our bodies into a professional stance to await Jasper's pitch.
Jasper stood on the mound, fidgeting with his cap as he stared us down. The look on his pale face had a harsh edge and I knew he wouldn't be lobbing anything in our direction this time.
After a few more tense moments, Jasper finally turned his body parallel to the third base line, bringing his legs together with a snap. He shifted his glance from Emmett taking a substantial lead off his base, and back again. I swallowed loudly.
Faster than the lightening streaking across the sky, Jasper threw his hands over his head, lifted his front foot and flung his arm around hurtling the ball straight for us. Edward pulled the bat around and my entire body vibrated as the bat mad contact. It exploded, raining chunks of wood on to my head.
I was too stunned by the fact that I had actually hit the ball (forget about Edward's help) to realize that his arms had released me.
"Run Bella!" He urged excitedly.
I stupidly took the time to turn around to look at him, completely dumbfounded. I had time to register his dazzling smile, before I was forcefully slung over his shoulder and flying toward first.
"Safe!" Esme called over another loud crash of thunder.
I gasped. I had never even managed contact with a baseball, except in my eye, and I had certainly never made it to base before. My face stretched into a huge smile as Edward picked me up into an enveloping hug and spun me around. Emmett was whooping from third and Alice and Esme cheered from home.
Edward bent down and gave me a quick kiss. "You're on your own, now." He winked before shooting behind the plate where Alice was waiting.
"What do I do, now?" I mumbled.
"When Alice hits the ball, run!" Carlisle said softly.
Just then I heard the crack of the bat clearly distinguishable from the roaring thunder. I tried to jump from the base, but my feet seemed unable to cooperate with the rest of me. For a second time, I felt myself flying toward the dirt. As my nose just grazed the ground, I was suddenly yanked upward and a cold arm snaked around me. All I could think to do was pull my legs up to stay out of Alice's tiny feet as she flew toward second. A fall at this speed would be disastrous for me.
Emmett had made it home and was cheering for us. I could just make out his broad figure bouncing up and down as he shouted us on.
Alice headed for third, but stopped abruptly halfway there, setting me on to my feet.
"Run, Bella, or we'll both be out!" She cried, giving me a gentle shove to get my momentum going again. I pushed my legs harder than I'd ever had the desire to before. Esme, Emmett, and Edward all cheered me from home, and Alice was shouting encouragements back at second.
I could see Jasper streaking toward the base. I seemed to be able to follow his movements better while I was running. The cheers became more excited and urgent, and I knew Rosalie had made her throw.
Maybe it was instinct that took over then. Maybe I had just watched one too many games with Charlie on ESPN. Maybe I just tripped. Whatever the reason, I suddenly found myself sliding head first toward Jasper's knees.
The bag brought me to an abrupt halt. I couldn't tell what happened. A huge cloud of dust hung around me, obscuring Jasper completely, though I knew he was towering directly above me.
A pale hand appeared in front of my eyes and I grabbed it. Jasper gently lifted me to my feet.
"Way to run!" He congratulated me, but his eyes seemed distant. "Ah, the thrill of the chase. Excellent! This has to be the best game of baseball we've ever played!"
"I'm so glad for you," I said, rolling my eyes, before walking toward home.
"Where are you going?" Jasper asked. "You're safe, you know, but I'll tag you out, if you want to give up." A playful smirk rested on his face.
I felt my own face spread out in a smile of my own. I ran back to the base and nudged Jasper with my shoulder. "Vampire stealth? Please." I teased.
His eyes flashed. "You'll never make it all the way, Bella. I promise you that."
Emmett bellowed in laughter back at home plate. "That's what Edwards keeps telling her!"
The blush returned to my face. I wished Edward's family…our family would just stay out of our private business. It wasn't like we hadn't been trying. Well, at least I had been trying, but Edward refused to budge his morals this close to the wedding. The rest of the Cullen's now took advantage of our sexual frustrations by bringing it up every chance they got. It seemed to happen much too often.
Coming back, I saw Edward reach back and slug Emmett square in the jaw. Emmett immediately retaliated by grabbing Edward around the shoulders and throwing him roughly to the ground. The fight that ensued was both loud and violent, what glimpses of it I actually saw, anyway. But the rest of the Cullens seemed completely nonchalant and I felt a little reassured.
Alice had gracefully seated herself on top of the base, and Jasper knelt by her side. They gazed deeply into each others faces engrossed in silent conversation. Rosalie had reappeared from the field and stood next to Carlisle. They spoke quietly. Carlisle shook his head slowly and Rosalie smirked, eyes on the blur that was her husband.
Only Esme seemed concerned.
"Really…" she began.
"Two grown vampires…"
She seemed to be getting more frustrated at each attempt to chastise her children.
"BOYS!" She finally let out with a gust of air.
Emmett and Edward stopped rolling in the dirt and looked at her, shame evident on both faces.
"Sorry, Mom." They sang in unison, jumping back to their feet.
Edward brushed himself off and resumed his position behind the plate.
I knew Jasper was gunning for me, so this time, when I heard the ball smack into Emmett's bat, I ran quickly toward home. Just then, the sky seemed to burst and the rain that had held off up to this point, fell in buckets toward the ground. It felt fantastic on my overheated skin as I raced forward.
I stepped on the plate with a loud whoop! Mud splashed around my feet as I jumped up and down. I realized Edward had not grabbed me to congratulate me properly.
I couldn't see the seven shadows crowding second base, but I could hear a murmur of voices.
The excitement slid from my body like the rain as I walked slowly to the group. When I was close enough, I could see Alice in the middle of the circle, her eyes glazed and unfocussed. Edward's face was pulled tight in concentration. His eyes were drawn closed and his dexterous fingers pinched the bridge of his nose.
Whatever it was that Alice was seeing was not good at all. I felt the familiar tear of trepidation creep into my stomach as I reached out to grasp Edward's hand.
A/N: I'm up for any comments or ideas, and I'd even like to see some criticism. Just please review!