Flashes of Alice's face clouded my dreams. "Bella," her voice whispered. I smiled, my head turned to face her as we lay side by side in the tall grass of our meadow. "Tell me all of your secrets," she begged quietly.
"What are you talking about, Al? You know all of them already," I sighed, contentedly, enjoying the peace.
"Please, Bella," she whispered more closely. "Tell me again?"
"Fine... which secret would you like to hear... again?"
"The most important one," she requested. I remained silent, wondering why my first instinct was to keep it from her. Something was different this time. After a few moments though, Alice decided to ask another question. "Does it hurt... when you change into a wolf?"
"Only when I don't want to phase," I sighed, giving in. Alice gasped loudly and my eyes flew open. I had been carrying on a conversation with Alice while I was sleeping. Not good. I jumped out of bed quickly, eying her warily from across the room. She sat stunned on the bed, her eyes wide in shock and confusion.
"What are you," she asked.
"Some call us loup garoux," I whispered, lowering my head as I wrung my hands waiting for her rejection. I couldn't lie to her anymore. She had to know, whatever the outcome, she deserved to know the whole truth. Besides, trying to keep this secret had driven me to the point of exhaustion. I was tired of hiding.
Alice's bedroom door burst open to reveal a livid Jasper. He was growling furiously at me, his eyes explaining everything. He was protecting Alice from me.
In one swift motion, he grabbed a fistful of my hair and drug me out of the room, down the stairs and into the yard. I could hear Alice shouting after us as she flipped her phone open to call the rest of the Cullens for help.
Jasper shoved me up against a tree and I stumbled, falling to the ground. He towered over me, shaking with rage. I glanced over at Alice who stood frozen a few feet away.
"Don't look at her," he spat, his eyes black. "Give me one good reason I shouldn't kill you right now!"
"Jasper," Alice squeaked, confusion still written on her face.
"I mean you no harm," I said softly.
"You're lying. I know all about you and your kind. I know what you do, what you are capable of, so just tell me now. Why are you after this family," he growled. My eyes flickered to the new arrivals as I heard them approaching from the surrounding woods.
"Don't look at them, just answer me," he shouted.
"I'm not after any of you," I answered.
"Lies," he roared, inching closer.
I stood up quickly, holding my hands up. "Stop. I will defend myself," I warned.
"Is that a threat," he sneered, edging a little closer.
"Leave her alone," Edward demanded, now at Jasper's shoulder.
Jasper growled but remained where he was. "I will not let her hurt Alice."
"I would never hurt Alice," I roared, my tolerance now shot at his accusations.
Jasper scoffed. "You lie, again. Why wouldn't you hurt Alice? She is one of us and you... You were bred to terminate our kind. Why should I, or anyone else here, trust what you have to say?"
"Because she was my friend way before she became my enemy," I hissed angrily. "Alice is my sister and I'd kill myself before I let any harm come to her!"
We were now nose to nose, our fists balled tightly by our sides in frustration. Edward glared at Jasper, ready to jump between us as Alice still stood, shocked, a few feet away. Rosalie, Emmett, Esme and Carlisle watched warily form the side, unsure of what exactly was going on.
Carlisle stepped forward, clearing his throat. "Jasper, Bella, how about we all go inside and discuss this rationally. Whatever this is, I'm sure -"
"No, Carlisle," Jasper hissed furiously. "She's not going inside. I don't trust her."
"Jasper, she's one girl and there's seven of us. It's okay," Carlisle tried to reason with him.
"No, no it's not okay. You don't understand. She's the white wolf; loup garoux. She's extremely dangerous and conniving."
"What is loup garoux," Esme asked curiously, exchanging confused glances with Rosalie and Emmett.
"It doesn't matter," Alice finally spoke. "I trust her. Think about it. She's had several opportunities to kill any one of us and yet, she hasn't," Alice pointed out.
"It's a game," Jasper insisted. "She'll take us out, one by one, when we least expect it."
"That's not true! I'm not out to kill any of you," I said calmly. "Besides, you are already dead, aren't you," I teased sarcastically. Jasper growled and lunged forward. Edward blocked his path and pulled him farther away. Emmett came up to help when Jasper continued struggling against him.
"Wait," yelled Rosalie. "You knew the entire time and you still made us eat that revolting... If Jasper doesn't kill you, I will," she threatened.
"Nobody is killing anyone," Esme spoke with authority. "We are all going to calm down and go inside. Now."
Edward and Emmett drug a resisting Jasper into the house, Rosalie following closely behind. Alice walked up to me but Carlisle moved in front of her. "Isabella, I need your word. Swear to me that you are not here to harm any of my family."
I looked him in the eye and promised him, " I swear it, Carlisle. That is not why I am here."
Carlisle relaxed visibly. Esme reached over to squeeze his shoulder in reassurance as she smiled warmly at me. Alice grinned and held out her hand for me to take. As soon as our hands clasped the scar on my palm began to tingle. Alice's eyes widened as she flipped my hand over. She traced over the pink scar tissue and looked up at me. "We have the same scar," she whispered, holding her palm up.
Sure enough, she had the same scar only hers had a pearly, white iridescent sheen.
"I know," I stated simply.
She opened her mouth to respond but was abruptly cut off by Jasper's roar. "He'll come around," she promised, gazing back at the house sadly.
We sat around the dining room table, everyone except for Jasper who refused. Emmett was absent until he returned down stairs with my rugged backpack in tow. My jaw dropped as he dumped the contents on the table.
"Looks like she's telling the truth about knowing Alice before.." he said, picking up my favorite photograph.
I made a mad dash for my only possessions when a cold hand clamped down hard on my wrists. "Have something to hide," Jasper smirked.
I blushed furiously as I eyed some of my under garments poking through the pile. Esme followed my gaze and understanding washed over her face.
"Jasper, release her. Emmett, how can you be so inconsiderate," she sighed, quickly scooping up all my clothes and placing them back in the bag.
Jasper still had a hold of my wrists, squeezing them even tighter. I winced, trying to tug them away when Edward leaned over the table, bringing him face to face with Jasper. He didn't say a word, but Jasper got the message. Reluctantly, he let go and took his place standing against the wall.
"I had long hair," Alice mused.
"You didn't like it," I told her.
"You were at a hospital and your doctor wasn't a very nice man. He liked your long hair, so much that you began to despise it. One night, you got a hold of a pair of scissors and chopped most of it off."
"Oh. I was sick?"
I looked down at the table, fidgeting with my hands. How was I going to tell her she was in a mental institution? "Um, not exactly..."
"Can we back up a minute," Emmett bellowed suddenly. "How about someone explain to us what a lugaroo is," he demanded.
"Loup garoux," I corrected quietly. "Some call us werewolves, but we are more like shape shifters in a sense. We exist to keep the human race safe from... vampires."
"And we are her targets," Jasper concluded.
"No! That's not true," I disagreed, shaking my head.
"Then why are you here? Have you been following Alice? How long have you been planning this? Better yet, who are you working for," he demanded.
"I'm not working for anyone," I shouted, standing abruptly. "I'm here because of Alice!" ...and Edward, I added silently. Tears were now streaming down my cheeks as I faced Alice. "I was lost without you, Al. I blamed myself for what happened. When he came, I followed him, trying to make sure he wouldn't get anywhere near you, but he tricked me and... and... I couldn't reach you in time. I swear, I searched for you but when the trail suddenly disappeared, I-I assumed you were dead. But I was mistaken. When I saw you in class that day I was so happy to see you but you didn't recognize me. I thought at first you ignored me because you remember what I was and you didn't want anything to do with me because of that, but it's because you didn't remember. I had already decided that despite what you had become, you were first and foremost my best friend and I intended on keeping it that way, even if I had to hide my true identity from you."
"No, no Alice! Don't listen to her. That's what they do. She's fooling all of you. Can't you see it," Jasper pleaded.
"She has proof," Esme gestured towards the photograph.
"That can be easily manipulated," he growled.
"It looks real enough," Edward interjected.
"We can't trust her. We can't..." Jasper trailed off, somewhat defeated.
"Jasper," Alice called to him softly. "Walk with me," she asked, holding out her hand. He glanced at me one last time, sighed and grasped her hand tightly. After they walked outside Emmett laughed.
"So... you're Wolf," he chuckled. If you're so tough, enough to worry Jasper, then how come you didn't off me after you ruined my favorite shirt," he questioned seriously.
"I wanted to," I admitted as Rosalie growled. "But I held back. It would have hurt Alice. Anyways, it was more like a stress reliever, and I wanted a good fight so I picked you. Besides, you wanted it too, I could tell."
"So, the fact that I'm part of Alice's family is the only reason I'm still here," he asked.
"Yes," I said, raising my eyes to meet his.
"Ha! Now she's lying. No offense, but I could totally take you," he spoke proudly, puffing out his chest slightly.
My lips twitched as I tried not to laugh at his outburst of macho pride.
"Who are these people," Edward asked, holding up some of my other photographs.
"Those are my brothers; Rafe, Bane, Finn and Christian, and that's my parents on their wedding day," I explained, pointing each of them out.
"Didn't you say that you were alone," Carlisle questioned.
"I haven't seen my family in a very long time," I informed them, my gaze dropping to the tale. "My parents are dead."
Before I could blink, I was wrapped up in a pair of cold arms. I bit my lip, trying to keep my sobs at bay but I was exhausted and so very tired of trying to keep everything bottled up inside that I just let it all out and clung desperately to the one holding me.
"Shh, Bella, it's going to be okay," Esme assured me as she pulled me closer, stroking my hair. We stood in each other's embrace, Esme still whispering soft reassurances in my ear as she swayed us back and forth in a comforting motion. When my sobs melted into sniffles she held me away at arm's length, studying me.
"How about some hot chocolate," she asked exuberantly. "All girls love chocolate, right?!"
"Of course," I agreed, returning her contagious smile. I glanced around the room and couldn't resist. "Anybody else want any?"
"Why you little..." Emmett growled, chasing me into the kitchen. "I still can't believe you made us sit through that torture," he grumbled as we sat down at the bar. I laughed heartily, feeling relief after my much needed breakdown. My cheeks flushed when my eyes connected with Edward's. He was grinning back at me, his eyes twinkling.
Rosalie took a seat next to Emmett, huffing in the process. She turned her nose up when I glanced in her direction. "Rosalie," I started. "I'm sorry about yesterday."
"Hmph," she sniffed, turning away from me more.
"I was hoping we could start over... maybe? What do you say," I asked hopefully. I fully intended on sticking around for awhile and I wanted to get along with everyone, including Jasper and Rosalie.
"What do I say," she sneered, jumping offer her stool and leaning over the bar.
"Rose," Emmett warned softly, tugging on her shoulder.
"No, Emmett. She wanted to know what I have to say," she growled, still facing me. "You are nothing but a freak of nature. Some mutt freeloader who, like Jasper says, will kill us all when we least expect it!"
I coiled back, flinching. Her words stung. Esme slammed a mug of steaming hot chocolate down, half of it's contents splashing out on the counter top. "Apologize or get out of my kitchen," she demanded.
Rosalie glared at us for a moment before turning on her heel and stomping upstairs. Emmett sighed, and flashed a sympathetic smile my way before following her out.
Esme frowned, cleaning up the mess. "I'm sorry Bella. I'll make you another cup."
"It's okay Esme. This is plenty. Thank you," I smiled gratefully, taking a sip.
"Ignore Rosalie. She's just upset that you made her eat leaves. She'll get over it," Edward said, winking at me.
Carlisle walked back in the room briskly, kissing Esme on the cheek lovingly. "So, Bella. How long will you be staying with us," he asked.
I sat there taken aback. "Stay?"
"Well, yeah. I, we, assumed you would want to stay close by Alice..." he trailed off noticing my confused expression.
"I didn't know that was an option," I shrugged. "I figured I would just keep seeing her at school and such."
"I don't see Alice accepting that," Esme chuckled.
I was about to argue when a nearby howl erupted in the distance. Too close, I thought. What was Jacob up to? Esme, Carlisle and Edward exchanged glances, their eyes finally resting on me. I closed my eyes, trying to focus, when another howl rang out, only much closer this time. It came from the same direction as Alice and Jasper took for their walk.
The color drained from my face as I choked out, "Alice!" I bolted out the door, the Cullens not far behind.
Author's Note: You guys overwhelmed me with the reviews. It was so awesome! Thank you all so much. Last chapter I mentioned a movie that a few of you wondered if it actually existed. I was waiting to see if anyone knew which film I was talking about but no such luck. Anywho, it's an actual movie and it's called Lone Star State of Mind. It's a cornball, so stupid it makes you laugh kind of movie. It's great for downer days.
I haven't been able to respond to everyone's review. I'm sorry. Hopefully I will get to it this chapter. If you had a question that you really wanted answered, feel free to ask it again or PM me, whatever floats your boat.
I cannot believe Twilight is coming out in less than a week. I'm excited, how about everyone else?!
Also, the snapshots mentioned in this chapter are up on HM's myspace page. The link is in my profile, be sure to check it out! If you're ever curious as to what status each chapter is on, that page will tell you. I always update it for you guys, but I don't think many of you actually look at it, haha. Please do, take advantage. That's why I created it!
Disclaimer: I wish the characters were mine! SM is the almighty... Plot is mine though!