Chapter 5 – Quileutes – Emmett's POV
Author's Note: Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated ! LOL It's been too long since I've updated and I'm sorry.
I would like to dedicate this chapter to bluejake235, EdwinaCullen and dreamsofjosten, the ladies from the Twilighted thread, who kindly kicked my butt into writing this chapter. Thank you for the kind push. :D
Also, Blondie, my friend and beta, for patiently going over and over this chapter "just one more time" and helping me out when I had major brain fail. Thanks, Blondie.
Lastly, my friend and beta, KlutzLikeBella, deserves a thank you as well for all the early work on this chapter. Thanks, KLB.
OK, I'm shutting up now. Here's the chapter, in Emmett's POV.
Life was good. I was a thousand dollars richer (which I really didn't care about), I had bragging rights over Jasper (which I did care about), and I didn't have to tell Rosalie that the girl was going to the game because clearly either she or her father had thrown Edward out.
And I had a beautiful wife who – if my ears didn't deceive me – had just turned off the shower.
Yes, life was very good!
A little Edward-baiting would be the cherry on my sundae! "So Eddie . . ." I began.
"Not now, Emmett," Edward snapped irritably. He turned to lock eyes with Alice who sat perched at the top step of the staircase. I was startled to see her there. I hadn't heard her arrive.
"You saw?" Edward asked her cryptically.
"Yes, but not until after you left."
"What's this going to mean?"
"I'm not sure. I can't see clearly. There's too much that's still undecided."
I groaned in frustration. I had had to listen to Edward and Alice talk in their own secret code for over fifty years. At least today Alice was answering out loud, not that her cryptic answers were any help in following their conversation.
"Hey, not all of us read minds, you know!" I reminded them irritably for what felt like the millionth time. "What's going on?"
"We need to call Carlisle," Edward stated, seemingly in answer to both myself and Alice.
Alice nodded her agreement.
"Why?" I demanded. Then I remembered what a drama queen Edward could be. It was probably just what I'd originally guessed. So I grinned tauntingly at him and asked, "Which one kicked you out – Bella or her old man?"
But Jasper was shaking his head and slowly rising to his feet. "No, Emmett. It feels more serious than that."
Edward turned to answer him. "It is. The Quileutes have taken an interest in Bella too. They decided to break the treaty."
My family gathered in the dining room a few minutes later to call Carlisle. Esme and Rosalie had come downstairs when they heard Edward's statement about the treaty.
Edward, being the control-freak that he was, held the phone. One advantage of our enhanced hearing was that we didn't need speaker phone for us all to speak to each other; it was easy to hear and be heard even without it. Regardless, Edward held the phone to his ear, probably more out of habit than anything else.
He paced impatiently while we waited for the hospital staff to locate Carlisle for this call. Neither Edward nor Alice had provided any more information to us, preferring to explain once Carlisle could hear too.
Esme and Alice looked worried about the idea of the Quileutes breaking the treaty. Rosalie was furious. This was one more incident of Edward's fixation with the Swan girl bringing trouble to our doorstep. For the moment, Rosy was choosing to keep her temper leashed, although Jasper kept shooting her exasperated looks. I'm sure her anger was irritating to him; once again I was grateful not to have Jasper's talent. Rosy was trying to look disinterested, as though the whole conversation was beneath her. She stared blankly at the wall over Esme's head and feigned disinterest, almost as if there were other things she'd rather be doing right now. I chuckled as I hoped one of them was me.
Jasper angled his head toward me and rolled his eyes. Hey, would he prefer that I was steaming, too?
But my wife's negative reaction couldn't squelch Jasper's and my mood. He and I were extremely excited. Life had been far too boring lately, aside from all the Edward / Bella drama. A little turf war would spice things up nicely.
When he picked up the call, Carlisle wasted no time. "What's wrong?"
"Can you speak freely?" Edward asked.
"I'm in my office. What is it?"
Edward placed the phone down face-up in the middle of the table.
You're still a control freak, I taunted him. And a drama queen!
Edward continued as if he hadn't heard me. "The Quileutes are on the verge of breaking the treaty." He paused briefly to allow Carlisle a moment to digest that. "When I drove Bella home, one of the tribal elders was waiting on her porch, a descendant of Ephraim Black. It seems Chief Swan is a life-long friend of several of the Quileute elders, including Black. I had seen Black earlier this week at the Swans' house. That night, he had recognized me as a Cullen, but his thoughts were garbled with shock, and the silent curses he threw at me were no different from anything we've heard from the tribe before. It didn't seem particularly noteworthy. However he did become aware of my interest in Bella."
Rosalie snarled quietly, unable to continue to silence her anger.
Edward ignored her and continued. "Tonight, his thoughts were crystal clear – he has spent several days weighing his duty to uphold the treaty against his duty to protect his friend's child. He considers the Swans to be part of his family, even if they aren't technically covered by the terms of our agreement. Tonight, he decided that Bella was more important than the treaty."
Hunh, he's not the only one, I thought, remembering how Edward's decisions regarding Bella had also come perilously close to breaking the treaty time and time again. If he had succumbed to his desire for her blood, we would be the ones to be violating the old agreement with the Quileutes. What is it about this girl?
She had seemed ordinary to me when I'd seen her at school. Once we learned of Edward's fascination with her, we'd all taken to watching her whenever we could, trying to discern what Edward saw. Sure, she was pretty, but not remarkably so. Nothing compared to my Rosalie. There seemed to be nothing extraordinary about her. And yet here she was again, at the centre of a brewing battle. I wished I'd had the chance to meet her earlier today, maybe then I'd understand.
Then I shook myself. Who cared? The point was we were getting a chance to fight with the Quileutes. I should stop worrying about girly stuff and focus on the important stuff like fighting. Shit, I'm definitely spending too much time with you, Edward. I'm going all emo and shit. Go on with what happened! When do we get to fight them?
Edward just frowned at me, not liking my train of thought one bit. I grinned back at him.
He rolled his eyes and continued, "Black feels it is his duty to warn Charlie Swan to keep his daughter away from us, even at the cost of breaking the treaty. He and his child were waiting outside for Bella's father to return home. He intended to tell Chief Swan everything he knows, which is considerable. The tribe has not forgotten about us, passing the stories down through the generations. They are remarkably accurate. Damn them!"
Like me, Carlisle heard the anger in Edward's voice. His tone was cautious when he asked, "You didn't do anything to provoke them further, did you, Edward?"
"No, of course not, Carlisle," he said flatly.
Of course not, I grumbled. Not Perfect Edward. He was such a spoilsport. He wouldn't know fun if it came up to him and poked him stooge-style in both eyes.
Edward continued in an offhand tone, "I didn't say a word to him. I just looked him in the eye, kissed Bella's throat and stared him down until they went inside."
"You what?" Carlisle hissed in disbelief.
Jasper and I burst out laughing. I reached out and thumped Edward on the back. Not too bad at all. You've got some fight in you, little brother. This girl is good for you, isn't she? Of course, I was also impressed that he could get that close to her throat without biting her.
Rosalie rolled her eyes and muttered, "Jackass." But she was just pissed with Edward in general. I doubt there was anything he could have done at this point that she would have approved of.
Edward tried to hide his self-satisfied smirk. "He needed to understand that it wasn't within his power to keep me from Bella. I made my point. She's mine," he growled possessively.
"She belongs to no one, Edward. Not even to you!" Esme snapped. She had strong views on women's rights – which wasn't surprising, given her past.
Edward just shrugged. "Agreed. If Bella decides to stop seeing me, I'll respect that. But that old man had better understand he doesn't own her, either. And he will not make decisions for her."
I heard Carlisle sigh. He apparently decided not to pursue this argument because his next question was to confirm facts. "So Black hadn't spoken with Chief Swan yet at all regarding this?"
"No. When I left them, Chief Swan was still out fishing. Bella and I got to her home first."
"Where is Bella now?"
"I left her there. She wanted to 'take care of it' as she put it."
"Was that wise?" Jasper pondered aloud.
Edward shrugged again, "It seemed wisest to allow her to speak with Black without my presence. He's harmless enough to her."
"So what'd you hear when you eavesdropped after kissing your girl goodbye?" It wasn't much of a leap to assume Edward had stayed to listen. God, he stayed to listen to everything else that girl did – making dinner, doing her homework, eating, sleeping. He sure as hell better have stayed to listen to this conversation.
His expression was torn between admiration at Bella and anger at Black. "I didn't think she'd be able to stop him from speaking with her father. Black was very determined. But she challenged him directly, called him right out on his beliefs, on the terms of the treaty. You should have heard her. She was amazing." He was beaming with pride now, his earlier scowl replaced by a look of pure adoration. I choked on a mouthful of venom. God help me, this was nauseating. "She got him to agree not to speak with the Chief. But he wants her to tell her father herself."
Jasper scowled and Edward hastily answered his question without giving him time to voice it. "No, she's already proven she'll keep our secrets. You really should have heard her, Jasper. She was incredible."
Now it was Jasper's turn to roll his eyes. Gah, if I was feeling sick at watching Edward's display of nauseatingly sweet emotions regarding Bella, I could only imagine what Jasper was having to put up with. I chuckled. That had to be annoying to Jasper.
"That doesn't mean that the Quileutes won't decide to break the treaty later," Jasper persisted. His point was well taken, but I also thought he was trying to divert Edward's attention away from his feelings for Bella and back to the matter at hand.
I decided to help him out. "Maybe we should just fight them. Why wait for them to go first?" I suggested hopefully.
No one was buying that. I didn't think they would, but it was worth a try.
"Emmett, we are a peaceful family. We won't fight if there are any other options open to us," Carlisle scolded me.
Dammit. Jasper and I exchanged an exasperated look.
But his next word gave me hope. "However . . ."
Carlisle addressed Alice directly. "Alice, we need to know what they are capable of, in case it does come down to a conflict. Can you see if the tribe still has the ability to shift into wolf-form?"
Alice frowned as she focused. She seemed to concentrate for an abnormally long time.
I snorted at the idea of how hard she was looking. "They'll be easy to spot, Alice. Just look for horse-sized dogs running through the woods. They're hard to miss." Then I threw in a new idea that came to me, "Or you could try looking for really BIG yellow stains in the snow beside trees. That would be a good clue too."
Jasper and Rosalie snickered.
With her eyes closed, still trying to see, Alice answered, "I don't see anything."
Knowing Jasper and Alice had never experienced the dogs, I suggested dryly, "Well, if you can't see them, try smelling for them. They're impossible to miss. On a windy day, you can smell the stench from ten miles away."
Jasper laughed, thinking I was joking.
"Edward, tell Jasper I'm not kidding."
"He's not kidding. Though I'd put it more at twenty miles," Edward stated, waving his hand in front of his nose.
I nodded sagely at Jasper's astonished look.
Alice finally opened her eyes. "I don't see anything – no giant dogs, no attacks, no fighting with the Quileutes."
Carlisle sighed with relief. "Then it's as we suspected. The gene that allowed the mutation died off. Which means the only thing we have to worry about from this generation is them revealing the information they have."
I was surprised when Edward suddenly grimaced and hid his face behind his hand. "I should have said earlier . . . It seemed inconsequential at the time. . ."
"What?" Carlisle voiced the confusion we all felt.
Edward sounded abashed as he explained, "This isn't the first time the Black family has broken the treaty. Black's child broke it earlier this week."
"And you didn't think this was worth mentioning?" Carlisle's displeasure with Edward was evident in his tone.
"It slipped my mind. I found out on Tuesday, the same night Bella was attacked in Port Angeles. I was distracted."
Why was I not surprised to hear the words 'distracted' and 'Bella' in the same sentence again? But I wasn't going to allow my exasperation with my brother to detract from this chance to poke at him.
"Edward, Edward, Edward. Where are your priorities?" I intoned trying my best to sound like a disappointed parent. "You mean we could have been fighting with them five days ago and it slipped your mind?" I turned to Jasper, "Kids today! No sense of priorities – or fun – whatsoever!"
At first hearing Edward's admission, Jasper had looked angry, but at my mocking words, he relaxed, picking up on my amused emotions. Like me, Jasper wanted a confrontation with the wolves – it seemed irrationally silly to be angry at getting what we wanted. And to have Officer Edward of the Fun Police deliver it to us on a plate was just too funny. Deciding to join me in taunting Edward, he nodded condescendingly. "It's sad really. Back in my day, kids knew how . . ."
"Emmett! Jasper!" Carlisle snapped. "Edward, what do you mean you knew five days ago that the treaty was broken? How could you have kept this to yourself?" He sounded very angry, which was saying a lot coming from Carlisle.
Esme looked pissed too. "Edward! You should have told us." She was glaring at Edward with the angry-mother stare that she usually reserved for me. I grinned. It was nice to see someone else on the receiving end of that look and that tone of voice, for a change.
Edward knew he was wrong and in trouble and he looked like he was thinking fast about how to back-peddle out of it. OK, Smarty-Pants, I'd love to see how you're going to talk your way out of this one, I laughed at him silently. You're in so much shit right now.
From the gloating look on my wife's face, I was sure she was sending Edward the same kind of reassuring messages that I was. Who knew this little family meeting would turn out to be so much fun?
My soon-to-be-dismembered brother drew a deep breath to collect his thoughts – it seemed I was right about not being the only one sending him disapproving messages – and began to explain. This ought to be good, I threw at him before he had a chance to start.
"While Emmett and I were hunting last weekend, Bella went to the beach in La Push. She met the young Quileute there and convinced him to share what he knew of us. His information was startlingly accurate – the tribe has a very long memory. He told her we were vampires and about the treaty and that we'd lived here before. He told her everything. It seems the only thing he left out was his family's history of morphing into dogs. But Bella told me this just after she'd had been attacked and she was still badly shaken. My first priority had to be her safety. I had to take care of her first."
Rosalie snorted in disgust and crossed her arms over her chest. I knew she had felt sympathy for what almost happened to Bella, but my wife's irritation with our brother overshadowed everything today.
I preferred to see the humour in the situation and couldn't pass up the opportunity to torture Edward a bit more.
I deliberately claimed the moral high ground, not out of a sense of righteousness but just to get on Edward's nerves. I assumed a holier-than-thou tone of voice. "Well, that answers the question of where Edward's priorities were and what he was thinking. He's obviously distracted by the irresistibly delectable Miss Swan and thinking not so much with his brain as with his . . ."
"Emmett!" Esme snapped at me, to cut me off before I could finish my sentence.
"I was going to say 'thirst', Esme," I retorted defensively. It was a lie; I was going to say 'penis'. She didn't need to know that though.
"I'm sorry, Emmett, dear. I guess I'm a little on edge."
Edward shot me one of his famous 'you're an ass' glares, but didn't correct Mom.
Honestly, I was surprised I had gotten away with my little lie. After so many decades, Esme almost always knew when we were lying to her. We hardly ever bothered to try. I decided to press my advantage a bit. It was too much fun to pass up.
"Don't worry, Mom. We're all a little jumpy, what with Edward's defection from our family and all," I said understandingly.
Oops, I'd laid it on too thick with that last comment. She eyed me suspiciously, suspecting I was leading up to trouble making but not knowing exactly how.
I drew a breath to say something to deflect her suspicion from me again and to stir up a bit more trouble . . .
"THE POINT IS . . ." Edward's angry voice purposefully overrode me to bring the conversation back to the treaty. "The point is that Black's child didn't believe he was telling Bella the truth or that he was actually violating a valid treaty."
Carlisle's voice cleared of tension, "His own child doesn't believe the elders' stories."
"That's right. We misjudged the danger, Carlisle. The danger was not that the elders would expose us – it's the younger generation, the ones who were warned but don't believe the legends, who pose the risk of revealing the truth about us. Like Black's child. However, it's also true that if their own children don't believe the legends, there's little chance that others raised outside of the tribe will either. I doubt if Chief Swan would believe, even if he were told the truth. In fact, once this older generation passes, I believe the stories will quickly be relegated to folklore or superstition."
Whispered comments and speculations broke out across the room.
Carlisle interrupted to take charge of the meeting. "Alice, can you see what the tribe intends to do? Can you see the next tribal elders' meeting? What are they planning?"
Alice's brow furrowed in deep concentration. Looking uncertain, she drew her knees up to her chest, resting her heels on the edge of her chair.
Reacting to her distress, Jasper frowned and put his arm around her shoulders.
Her eyes still squeezed shut to focus, Alice said, "I can't see a meeting. I think . . . there isn't another meeting. Or maybe they just haven't decided to have one yet. Yes, I think that's it. They haven't decided to have a meeting yet. I'm sure I'll see it when they do."
Yeah, that made sense, I decided. Maybe Black hasn't told the other elders he intends to break the treaty. Maybe that's why there are no plans for the elders to meet – they haven't realized there may be a need.
Edward's eyes snapped to me. "That makes sense, Emmett." He explained my idea to the others.
Once again, Carlisle directed Alice to look ahead for him. "Alice, can you see anything changing at the Swan house? Is Bella considering confiding in her father? Is Black going to call Chief Swan later? Is there any immediate danger to us?"
How did we ever manage before the tiny psychic freak joined us? I wondered to myself, silently admiring my sister's invaluable talent. Of course, it also seemed she was diverting my little turf war, so maybe I'd better think of something to get it back on track.
Edward snorted in amusement and shook his head at me.
Alice again closed her eyes to focus. Then the worry cleared from her face. "No, of course, Bella's not going to say anything. And I don't see Black contacting Bella's dad about this again. I can see Edward arriving to pick her up after dinner for the game. Ugh," she wrinkled her nose at our brother. "There's a fifty-fifty chance that her father will spend the evening calling you 'Edwin'."
We all laughed, even Esme and Carlisle. Heck, even Rosalie laughed at that. The tension evaporated from the room. Crisis averted. No turf war. No fun. Dammit.
Author's End Note: In trying to envision this scene, one basic question came up. Can Alice see the wolves before they begin to phase? Specifically, could Alice see Jacob on the porch on this day?
I asked both my betas for their thoughts on this question and got conflicting opinions.
Blondie hypothesized that the werewolves' abilities and characteristics were due to their different chromosomes (SM stated that Quileutes with the ability to phase have 24 chromosome pairs, whereas normal humans have 23). Therefore since Jacob's genes are already established, Alice would not be able to see him even before he began to phase. Which is also why Alice never saw Bella getting hurt riding the motorcycle – cause Jake was always with her, pre-phase.
KlutzLikeBella thought (as Edward and Carlisle hypothesized in Eclipse) that it was the wolves' volatile nature that made it impossible for Alice to see their future – because it keeps shifting too quickly. Therefore until they began to phase, Alice could see them.
Both arguments make a lot of sense. I only wish SM herself had been more clear and consistent in her background science . . . yes, I'm very OCD about the scientific details! LOL
In the earlier drafts of this chapter, I had Alice trying to look into Bella's house to see the conversation with Billy. And I went with the idea that Alice COULD see the wolves prior to them phasing because I thought if Alice had looked and realized she was blind, she'd be forewarned for the events of New Moon. Know what I mean?
In the final version, I had Edward stay to overhear the Black-Bella conversation at the Swans' house and therefore Alice had no reason to look there at that time.
What's your opinion on that question?
And in case you didn't catch it, the reason Alice cannot see the tribal elders' meetings is because Sam Uley (now phasing) always attends them, thus blinding Alice's sight of them.
So what do you think? Can Alice see the werewolves before they begin phasing? Let me know your thoughts on that and on whether you enjoyed this chapter. I'd love to hear from you. :o)