Written by: A. Lincoln
Author's Notes and Warnings: Believe me when I say I did not ignore your wish for another chapter. I kept your wish in mind, but I also wanted to be a part of the contest. Thank you to everyone who voted and I applaud the winners and the entrants. Without further adieu, here is the next chapter of Winded.
Emmett fired off a round of questions when I returned. He found no awkwardness in talking to a wisp of wind as he followed me through the corridor.
As he trudged down the dimly lit hallway, his questions became more personal and disturbing. I was not enjoying the way he referred to my Bella, but I did not attempt to materialize into my human form lest my face give him more reason to question my activities.
We continued like that, him talking to seemingly nothing, until we reached my door. He stopped once he noticed that I had, and his mouth shut the moment I began to change.
He was quiet, probing, as I turned to look at him. His eyes scanned my face warily, probably looking for any answer to one of his questions, and then he visibly slumped when he saw that my face betrayed nothing. I let a tiny smile slip through, knowing that he would be unable to detect the sadness I felt.
He grunted and walked away, mumbling about the one sided conversation, and I quietly entered my room and closed the door. It was dark, a fact I noticed only because it made the screaming in my head much more apparent.
I sat on the bed and stared at the wall, feeling nothing. So occupied my mind was that sensory overload came quickly; I could no longer feel her smile, touch, or laugh as the memory of the night rippled through the dark waters of my mind.
Was it denial? I wanted to feel her touch on my skin - hear her voice as she told me she loved me - but my mind was too far-gone to comprehend such things. Was I simply not able to accept that she was still alight with a love for me - that someone else had not smothered it?
I did not know. I was not even sure if what happened was real. It could not have been. The odds were against us. Logic was against us, something not so easily defeated - if ever. Even the Gods were against us.
That was it. The Gods were the ones responsible. There are no accidents in life because the Gods will it so. Everything is under their control because they are the creators. They have the right to be judge and executioner, powers which give them influence beyond imagination. And here they were, willing me this, giving me this unfathomable dream to be with the one person I ever loved, and then tearing it away so violently that no pain came to deal its card.
I wondered about this morbid playfulness of the Gods. If they were known for anything, it was their love of pain and their pursuit of being unique. Prometheus had his fair share of pain, but physical pain knows bounds that love does not. Even in death, love hurts. I would know.
The wall was my only companion as the images continued to replay themselves in my head. I saw her as she opened the door for the valet, and the way she disregarded the valet's looks made my heart tighten with hope. I saw her as she looked around in confusion for the disembodied voice, and was enthralled in the way her hair fell down her back as she turned towards me. I saw her as she leaned back to let the cool air drift over her, and I felt raw emotion as I watched the blush tint her cheeks. I saw her as she cried out to me, her body quivering under my touch. I saw her as she tried to bring me contentment, the love in her eyes branding her touch into my soul. I saw her.
However, I would never see her again if the Gods found out.
My aggravation grew as I pondered. My thoughts were leading to something that required for analyzing and planning, and I knew then that I was prepared to sacrifice anything to see her once more.
The first thing that came to mind was the thoughts themselves. In my room, my mind was my own; it was not open to read by anyone. Once outside, however, my mind was laid bare for anyone higher in position to use at his or her disposal. Since I was a member of the night incubi, the only higher ranked were the Gods and the half-deities. Unfortunately, Aro was a part of that small circle.
Aro was one of the friendlier Gods on Olympus, but no one spoke of his uncharacteristic cheerfulness. Those who had been incubi for longer knew him much better than those who regarded him as nice did. He was a man of his time - many millennia ago – where rulers assassinated citizens with smiles on their faces. He was a person of humility, but one who yearned for power like humans loved money.
He was only important to me because he coveted my ability. Incubi were granted the ability to read the minds of those lower down in their groupings and the wavelength in their possessions. Only the Gods were able to read the minds of everyone. Then again, so was I.
Aro immediately drew me into suspicion. At first, he assumed me a trickster, a God with the ability to take on the aura of other creatures, but some inhumane torture cleared my name. I had assumed he had let me be after that, but he soon began to regard me as special.
'One of us,' he used to say, with a knowing smile on his face that sickened me.
Now, it was no different. It was obvious that Aro knew of my memories; he could see that I was the only incubus who was able to retain my most vivid human recollections. I was also sure he knew of my attachment to this girl. But what caused a spark of hope within me was Bella's power. If I was more alike to the Gods than many, and she was able to block her thoughts from me, then she was more powerful than any mere mortal was. If I wanted to protect her from the wrath of the Gods and the selfish eyes of Aro, I would have to start there.
The quiet of the room began to bother me as I thought of distinctions between my room and the hotel. I had never been so transfixed on a goal before. I was joyous at the possibility of the wavelength belonging to her. I was happy.
For the first time since my death, I was alive again.
I wanted to smile, but a twisted frown marred my face. Was I not as selfish as the Gods themselves were? I hoped for Bella's love, was overcome with passion once I found that it was intact, but I knew that we could never be. It was fleeting to think I could please her for the rest of her life; I was a creature bound to give women sexual pleasure, and Bella was a goddess who deserved someone human and normal.
I wanted so badly to tell her what I was and to explain this, but I was afraid of rejection. Never in my life had I been so terrified of the human capacity for emotion, so it was surprising to realize how greatly I feared her anger. I have been in the beds of many women, though not by choice and certainly not merrily, but there I have been. What would she make of that? What would she say?
I was torn. I wished she would move on, but I selfishly hoped she still had love for me. I could not stand losing her again.
I buried my face in my hands as I mulled it over. The quiet of the room was annoying, but a strange tapping overpowered the unease. It was a hesitant knock at the door, and I was grateful for the companion as I went to answer it. I opened it to find Jasper there with a look on his face that held more than one emotion.
He said nothing as I motioned for him to come in. The room smothered his thoughts the moment he walked through the door and that left me to wonder why he looked that way (since I could no longer read his thoughts).
He sat on a chair across from me and, with a quick wave of his hand, motioned for me to listen closely.
"Your wavelength is calling for you," he whispered, as though he knew someone was listening.
"There is nothing I can do. It's the middle of the morning," I replied. I damned the Gods for restraining me to a certain time. If I could not go to her, then there was one promise broken already.
He took a moment to reply. "I had my inauguration ceremony at dusk."
His quick subject change caught me off guard. I stared, frustrated, at him. I was in no mood for congratulations. I sighed and nodded my head in acknowledgement.
He glared at me. Confused, I let his sentence replay itself in my head. It was then that I realized how strange it sounded.
"You skipped the midday level," I said slowly, letting the words resonate around the room.
"Yes," Jasper responded, the added, "and Aro says hello."
"What?" My reply came out much harsher than intended, and Jasper was quick to become defensive.
"Don't shoot the messenger. He just told me to tell you that he says hello."
"Aro was at the ceremony?"
My mind immediately went into suspicion. Aro never attended inauguration ceremonies. No Gods except for Hera and Aphroditewere there. It was universally accepted that they had better things to do than watch us be promoted.
Aro had been at my ceremony only because he coveted me. For him to be at Jasper's. . .
"He knows," I breathed. The revelation was a punch to my stomach. Of course, I should not have expected anything less. Nothing can be kept from those who could hear everything.
"Knows about?" Jasper inquired.
I explained everything - last night, my wretched past, the girl I loved, my death. By the time I was finished, he knew everything about me and it was as though a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was no longer just a vessel with immeasurable pain held inside; I was a being with the ability to share my emotions with others.
I felt the brunt of shame though, as I watched several emotions register on Jasper's face. He was clearly angry at the means of my death, but that was not what caught my attention. Beneath everything, I could see his gratefulness in his standing. I could see that, despite trying his best efforts to hide it, he was grateful for not having such a disastrous existence.
I should have been angry, but I could not help but agree. If I were in his position, would I not feel the same way? Would I not be pleased that I led a life knowing only the physical pain of others and myself (as Generals knew) as someone else dealt pain of every kind? Would I not be in high spirits?
My anger came from the answers to those questions, and it was directed at myself, not Jasper. As the seconds trudged on, I was linking more people into this inevitable tragedy, and it was obviously not my place to condemn them to the wraths of the Gods. My selfishness was causing my mangled fate to mix with others and everyone knew that knots were harder to untie when more strings were involved.
I closed my eyes and let the situation run through my head once more. If Bella was calling for me now and Jasper had just been inaugurated, there was only one visible solution to this growing problem.
I turned to Jasper and said the only thing I could.
"You have to find her for me."
Jasper's eyebrows creased and he only took a second to formulate his answer before he spoke.
"Why can't you?"
"It is morning and you are a morning incubus. I think it adds up," I whispered harshly, pinning a glare in his direction.
Guilt rushed through me again. I should not have been directing my anger at him. If this worked out, he would be helping more than anyone would.
"But how will my being there help your problem?" he replied, meeting my faulty glare with a condescending one of his own.
I let my hand run smoothly through my hair as I tried to stay calm. Bella was looking for me - there was no time to waste.
"Once you pick up her wavelength, no one else will be able to please her. I do not want someone like James pursuing her."
"And you're sure I'll be able to pick it up?"
I had not thought about that. I knew that those lesser incubi were unable to pick up her wavelength, but I never realized that Jasper's lack of ability would be a culminating factor. But what other option was there? If there were a slight chance - a minute possibility - I could be with Bella once more, I would go for it. How would I know if I never tried?
"Is confidence a sign of surety?" I asked offhandedly.
"I suppose it could be."
"Then I'm sure," I replied smoothly, standing up in one swift motion and making my way towards the door.
Jasper followed calmly, not replying to my statement as we moved like shadows down the dimly lit hallway. I slowed when we passed James' door, and I checked to ensure that he was safely inside his own room. The only person he could harm there was himself, and I was hoping that he would.
I knocked on the door and continued down the hallway. I could feel Jasper's confused look on my back though he understood once we heard the door open and a curse emerge from inside. He was definitely there.
The main hall was quiet as we neared the loom. There were some morning incubi lounging around the couches and a few were wiping up Peter (he was a little overweight; he had a hard time masking back into a human). I listened closely for the thoughts of a God nearby, and was relieved when the hum of the other mindless incubi was my response.
I instantly spotted Bella's wavelength when we reached the loom. It was in the corner, pulsing dimly among all the bright, blinding strings. My body warmed with the sight and I yearned to be the one to see her now. I reached out for her unthinkingly and a searing pain shot through my fingers. There was no visible barrier as I brought my hand back, but the pain was real.
I turned to Jasper, unsurprised at his frustration. This was something else that needed explaining.
"If it is not your designated time, you cannot take a wavelength."
He seemed more confused. "Then why did you try?"
Because I want to escape this hell and love the only person my heart can love. "I don't know."
He grunted, gave me a wary look, and then reached for the wavelength. I noticed how he did not pause at where I assumed he would (where I was shocked). His hand inched forward, the motion only slowed by my impatience, and then he stopped.
"What is it?" I demanded. He was so damn close.
He hissed in pain and my eyes shifted to his hand. His thumb jerked forward violently, and the skin began to change into soft clouds . He stared, transfixed, as his hand began to disappear, and I swiveled quickly on one foot to pin a glare on Aro.
He outstretched his hands and smiled jubilantly as he walked forward. I twisted my head to see if he was still causing Jasper harm and saw that Jasper was maneuvering his intact thumb experimentally. Once he was certain his thumb was fine, he shifted and watched as Aro came closer.
My eyes caught the faint shifting of bodies as newcomers watched the God. I could see the terror laced in their depthless eyes; I could taste the fear in the air; and I could certainly hear the screams in their head as they assumed the worst.
I craned my neck to stare at two particular middays lounging on the couch. They smiled happily at me, mouthing 'fool' as they stood up to leave. They both took one step before they erupted in flames.
Their screaming echoed around the large space and many covered their eyes and ran for their cabins. Jasper twitched as he watched the two burn, and I turned my attentions back to Aro.
"Leave them be," I whispered quietly.
"My, my, Edward. Is that how you expect to gain my trust?" Aro said, smiling as he waved a hand to stop the burning.
The two bodies crumbled to the floor as ashes, then immediately morphed into their original bodies. There was not a single trace of any altercation on their bodies, but their faces gave them away. Both men apologized furiously before rushing out.
I smirked. "You're just like your father in that aspect also."
He laughed and took three long strides before standing right before us. His hand came down on my shoulder and my mouth twitched as he stared down at me.
"The apple never falls from the tree, my boy," he said. Jasper rolled his eyes, not caring anymore that he did not understand.
I expected him to shield my mind from me, but he kept every facet open as he stared. He was grinning, as usual, but the look in his eye suggested something entirely different than the euphoria he was expressing. Jasper noticed too because he tensed, and I heard his mind formulating plans of actions.
Aro looked at us warily and let go of my shoulder. He took a step back and eyed us, and I glared at him as his probing eyes looked beyond my form. He stared at the loom, speculation deep in his withered depths, and I tensed as I sifted through his mind for his next course of action.
"I mean no harm," Aro said calmly, putting his hands up in surrender. Taken by surprise, I narrowed my eyes at him.
"How did you know?" I asked, clenching my fists as his hands came together.
"It is not difficult to tell when your mind is being invaded." He grinned and disappeared. My eyes widened for a fraction of a second before I sprung into action.
Jasper turned to ask what was going on when an unseen force hurled him back. His body collided with the pillar with such force that I was frozen to watch as he crumpled to the ground. He twisted his arm to catch his decent, grunting in obvious pain as the pillar began to fall.
I had only a moment to react, but I did not know where Aro had gone. The inner workings of my mind strained painfully as I wrapped my mind around the room, looking for any hint of his thoughts. It was hazy when I found it, but the sound of his amusement rang in my ears.
I stretched a hand out and watched as it morphed into a condensed form of wind. I brought it back slightly and whipped my arm forward, letting the chord wrap around the pillar. The pillar seemed to whine as it fell, and I grunted against its strength.
"Damnit." I pulled the whip upwards and the beam shot up in response. I breathed out to gain my bearings, but the beam jerked and the whip snapped under the pressure. The beam began its descent once more, and I saw Jasper's immobile body beneath. I cursed and twisted my arm painfully, and the whip expanded into a wall of wind.
I pinned my eyes open as the wall made impact with the beam. The sound was deafening as the beam exploded into a thousand tiny fragments. I condensed my wall once more and grabbed hold of Jasper's leg, pulling his body towards me.
A pinprick of thought stabbed at me, and I remembered that Aro was nearby. As a creature of the wind, I was sensitive to the changes of it in an area. My ears heard the distinct swoosh of wings as they soared closer, and I manipulated the wind to create a funnel in the path of whatever was coming at me.
A furry of black rushed in and a shrill scream erupted from the beak of the vulture. It cleanly wound itself around my funnel and soared over my shoulder. With a jolting realization of what it was going for, I turned.
My eyes caught the exact moment the wretched bird caught Bella's wavelength. It shimmered frantically, seemingly calling for help, as the vulture flapped its wings in excitement.
Anger coursed through my veins with such intensity that I could not control it.
I swore and shot myself upwards, my eyes a hazy red as I reached for the vile creature. My fingers touched a dangling leg before cold fingers grasped my shin. There was a chuckle, and I landed back on the ground with no injuries.
My eyes followed the vulture until it perched itself on Aro's arm. It opened its beak and dropped Bella onto his calm, awaiting fingers. I hissed.
"Calm, calm," he said, his voice soothing but still laced with his humor. "Is this the source of all this trouble?"
"What the hell do you want, Aro?" I asked, my hands trembling with fury. My muscles tensed as he let his eyes roam over the shimmering string. He looked at her the same way he gazed at me and that only caused me to fall deeper into uncontrolled rage.
"I can't read her thoughts," he mumbled to himself. He brought his hand up to observe the wavelength more closely, and I hissed and took a step forward.
"Ah, now, now," he said in warning, letting his gaze drop to my feet. He smiled again and returned his stare to the string.
"How fascinating. . .," he mused, letting his head tilt to the side. "How such a creature can escape the power of a God is indeed fascinating. She is yours, Edward?" He looked at me then, the grin on his face daring me to take a claim to what he wanted.
Hurt lapped at my heart as I gazed at the piece of her in his hands. She was not mine now. She was when I had a beating heart, but the beating of my heart now was not the same as it once been. This beating was the pain pulsing through, demanding that I realize that she never was mine and never would be.
I kept my face devoid of any emotion as I responded. If I told him she was mine, he would have that much more fun looking for it. And anyway, was it not lying?
"No, she is not."
He let all his teeth show as he grinned at me. The vulture on his shoulder whined and he patted it comfortingly. "Maya would like to know why you care so much about her wellbeing."
I tensed. "I never knew her wellbeing was in question."
He laughed and stroked the creature lovingly, and then it disappeared from his shoulder. "It was never in question, my dear boy. I am just curious."
"Are you?" I questioned harshly, pointing to Jasper's body and then to where my life was in his hand.
His eyes narrowed fractionally, his red orbs glaring at me as he pursed his lips. He was not accustomed to challenge from anyone, and I was glad he had the opportunity to think about his answer.
"Of course not, but I will not pursue this any further for today. If she is important to you, however, it should be in your best interest to protect her."
His subtle threat did not deter me. I smiled politely at him, my eyes swimming with the same hate. He responded with another blindingly bright smile as he flicked the string from his hand. It landed neatly in its original position, and my eyes cleared for a second to ensure that it was safe.
I turned and Aro was gone. I noticed that the pillar had returned to its original position, untouched. The only evidence was Jasper himself, lying on the ground. I walked over to him, kneeled down and tapped his forehead lightly. His eyes shot open and he glanced around wearily. He grunted as he sat up, cracking every spot in his back as he stretched out.
He said nothing as he stood, but I could tell he was angry. It was obvious this his General past made him weary of weakness, and this blatant display of it embarrassed him. He did not voice it though, instead making his way over to the loom. I followed him quietly. He did not reach for the string, but asked about the string pulsing brightly beside her.
"Why is that one much brighter than any of them here?" he said breathlessly, still working out the kinks in his back.
"Someone knows about us," I replied, surprise unaltered in my voice. He looked at me then, surprised that I was, and I shrugged.
"The brightness correlates with their desire for another's touch. The only way it could be pulsing that brightly was if someone was looking specifically for us."
It was then that I realized Bella had listened. She had been perceptive. She would not have been able to ask for someone's help unless she had an idea of why I was not responding. Hope lurched in my chest and I turned to Jasper.
"Pick that one up and go to her."
He saw something in my eyes that caused him not to ask any questions. He reached for it with ease and plucked it from the loom. It shimmered and changed into a black bracelet. I recognized it immediately.
He read the words on the bracelet and frowned.
He began to dissipate, and I laughed (although it sounded too hard and tense to come off as humorous) as I caught his words.
"I hope you don't have a sister complex."
I woke up to the sounds of objects clashing. A beam of light caught my eye as it opened, and I groaned and flipped myself over. The clashing stopped and I heard someone come to the edge on my bed. There was a faint crumpling sound, and then my sheet was gone.
The sudden cold assaulted my bare legs, and I sat up and hissed. I reached blindly for the blanket, but my hands met nothing but air. I groaned and let my eyes adjust to the brightness of the room.
"We're leaving," a calm voice reached my ears. I strained to keep my eyes open, but I dropped back to my pillow. My legs were freezing, but I was so tired to. . .
The ball of sheet hit my face painfully, and I murmured my distaste as I shot myself up. I swung my legs over the edge of the bed in confusion, and my ankle twisted painfully before I fell to the floor in a mess of body parts and sheets.
"Ow," I whined, rubbing my tender ankle. Alice paced around the room with a mission, tossing all of our belongings into our suitcases. I watched her curiously, my mind instantly wondering what I had done wrong to be the source of her rising anger.
Her hair was a tiny black storm of spikes as she emerged from the washroom with her towel. Her bright eyes caught me staring, and she narrowed them before turning around hotly and sauntering into the closet.
The room was eerily quiet as she made sure the closet was clean. She moved with determination, and in her haste, completely ignored my presence. It hurt to have her glance at me and say nothing, but I did not ask because I already knew the reasons for her anger.
I tried to use the side of the bed as as a brace to hoist myself up, but my ankle burned with its resistance. It stung with the pressure I was attempting to put on it, and I whimpered as I lowered myself back down. The rummaging around me stopped suddenly and I turned my head to see what Alice was doing.
Her eyes were wide as she stood by the washroom. A blush crept onto my cheeks as I realized she must have observed that pathetic attempt at getting myself upright. I tried to smile to lessen the embarrassing atmosphere, but Alice's mouth fell agape at my reaction.
She moved blindingly fast as I opened my mouth to ask what was wrong. One moment she was peering through the doorway, the next she was at my side, my hand cradled in her palms. I looked at her questionably, but the intensity of her stare made me divert my attention to the hand enclosed in hers.
I saw then the object of her scrutiny.
I completely forgot that I had left it on. I had fallen asleep with tears in my eyes, and I was so numb that I could not feel the material of the dress on my skin. I dreamt of nothing that night, but the memories were vivid; they were clear, as though my mind had not converted them to memories, but just put them in a place where time did not matter and they could replay in my head. It did not seem like a memory.
Alice's head slowly turned to mine and I could see the question scorched deep in her eyes. I bit my lip as I thought of lies to spout, but the mere thought of last night blocked my mind from conjuring anything else.
I shut my eyes for a long moment and opened them to meet hers. I knew this was an eventuality, but I was still lost for words. When Alice noticed that I would not say anything, she stated the obvious.
"This is Edward's ring."
"Yes," I replied.
The obvious became hazy – just like the ring on my finger and his lingering presence - as the tears began to fall.
Supposed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Greek poet Homer is believed to have created another poem entitled Didyeus. This epic story focuses on the lesser-known Goddess of happiness, Didyme and her supposed lover Marsyas (known as Marcus to many). The oldest surviving copy of the book, auctioned off in 1982 to the Museum of Greek Antiques, is said to tell the story of deception in the lives of the God of Happiness and a satyr.
In this story, Didyme revels in the happiness of others, but is unable to acquire a happiness of her own. She seeks Aphrodite, the God of love, and asks for a companion. Aphrodite, who knows that Didyme is in need of a more physical love, finds Dionysus and requests a male satyr to be wed to Didyme. Dionysus sends Marcus to Didyme, and Didyme uses her influence in order for both to fall in love.
Once the two are wed, Didyme finds that this physical love is indeed something that brings true happiness. She finds that Marcus, although a satyr, never truly wished to simply please women. As she journeys to bring people closer to one another, she begins to notice that many women wish for a love that she is unable to give. She asks for the help of Marcus, and they create a creature called the Incubus.
This creature brings happiness to many women, but the creature craves a higher being. It takes the form of an owl, using the wind to direct its path, until it finds an olive tree to perch. It eats from the olive tree and Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, is summoned. The owl presents itself in its true form, and Athena is enraptured and brings him back to her home. After many visits, the Gods of mount Olympus begin to notice Athena's change. She no longer offers advice, instead opting to retire to her room as early as possible. This brings the attention of her brother, Ares, who spies on his sister. He discovers her escapades with the Incubus, and in his rage, assumes that it is nonconsensual since his sister is too knowledgeable to find pleasure in such a being. He searches for the Incubus before it arrives at Athena's room, and threatens the creature. The Incubus has no emotional ties to anything, and reveals that it is only a tool to bring happiness onto others. This clue leads Ares to Didyme, and he soon discovers that Marcus is a satyr. This pushes Ares into an unspeakable fury, and he lures Didyme away from Marcus and kills her. Marcus finds her body the next day and sets revenge on Mount Olympus. He does not know the identity of the murderer, and so he decides to create more creatures to displease the killer. He no longer holds any emotion, and the creatures he creates learn that they are meant to please women, just as he pleased his lover.
Athena finds out what Ares has done, and demands that Zeus punish his son. Zeus, not caring for their trivial arguments, sends Ares down to Earth to keep track of every Incubus released. Ares is doomed to this eternity, and the Incubus, knowing that their leader was the murderer, mockingly name him Aro.
"Ares, dear murderer of Marsyas, are you not then a defect arrow of Cupid's bow? Do you not speak? Can you not love? Tell me, my friend, are you not as horrid as the Incubus who loved your sister many a night? You may be our leader, but we do not fear a coward. God of bloodshed, how do you show your face when you control those who shed different fluids? This is not a question to be answered, my friend, for you already know that your face is nothing of importance. If you have murdered true happiness, expect none to grace your feet."
If you plan on using this Sparknote as a reference, please give the appropriate credits.
I exited the site before Alice returned. She came a moment later with a pile of books, all of which had demons somewhere along their spine. I rolled my eyes. She dropped them onto the table from a considerable height, and the sound earned a hush from the librarian.
When the librarian turned her head to collect something from a person, Alice stuck her tongue out at the old woman. I laughed lightly as she sat down beside me with the top book opened to the first page. Before she began reading, she asked me about my internet search.
"Well, you can put away those books now," I responded.
"Why?" she whispered, her eyebrows knit closely together in frustration.
"We're not looking for any information under demons. Why would you even consider Edward a demon?" I said haughtily, offended by her offhanded suggestion that we search under 'demons' first to find any clues.
"Who leaves a girl crying in her bed after he gives her a wedding ring?" Her tone was skeptical, and I realized that she was lying when she told me earlier that she completely believed my story. It was ridiculous to expect her to take everything in stride, but I was grateful that she was at least trying to help me solve my delusions. However, her bluntness was not helping me.
"Alice, he'll come back."
"And when will that be?" She looked at me expectantly.
"When I call for him," I said unsurely. I still had not figured out what to do.
"Are we going to have to set up a crop circle? Sacrifice a sheep? Please help me, Bella," she said harshly. I flinched at her tone.
I understood why she was being so hard on me. She believed that I was going through another phase again. Nearly three years, she had said matter-of-factly. She knew that I was still unable to continue on without him, and she figured this was my outlet. But the ring (a loophole she called it), was the only reason she was helping me. She knew that I could not have gone to Chicago to pick up the ring from his house, so she agreed to help ease my pain.
"Alice, he's an incubus," I whispered.
"What?A man-whore?!" Alice shouted, her eyes widening. My hand shot up to my mouth to tell her to keep it down, and blush tinted my cheeks as I looked around to see who had heard. Apparently, the whole library had.
"No, he's a spirit."
"Incubi are demons who have sex with women in their sleep, Bella," Alice whispered. Her eyes stayed in that deer-in-the-headlights position as she spoke. It was nearly laughable the way her face clashed with her words, but I was not even smiling as I let her words float around in my head.
"He's not a demon," I said, feeling the choking tears gathering in my eyes.
"No, he's not," she agreed, "but he has sex with other women."
I could not deny it. From what he had told me last night and the article I had just read, I could conclude that he did please other women. I could also say that I was extremely jealous and slightly disgusted, but Alice did not need to know about that.
"But he still loves me," I said lamely, placing my chin on my fingers as I leaned closer to Alice.
She smiled. "I could have told you that in a heartbeat," she said.
The sincerity in her voice uprooted a smile from me, and I proceeded to explain what I had read. She listened intently to every word, and once I was finished, she grinned impossibly wide.
"What?" I asked, confused.
"So we have to summon an incubus," she mused.
"Will you help me?"
Alice simply smiled and took the books back to where they belonged.
We were in her room when we began. We had found nothing on the actual summoning of an incubus, but when I told her how Edward had arrived the first time, she thought of an idea.
Just think of him, she had said - and that is what I was doing. That is what I had been doing for the past hour. Clearly, it was not working.
"Well, I'm not sacrificing a sheep if that's what your murderous glare means," Alice said.
I stifled a laugh. "But you're not helping," I whined, feeling awkward by the way she stared at me from her chair in the corner.
She was obviously enjoying my embarrassment. I was hoping to put her in her place when Edward came through the open window and materialized on my lap, but that was not happening and I was becoming more and more displeased.
It was nearly ten thirty when I decided to stop. I felt the hot tears prick at my eyes when my body realized he was not coming to see me. Alice creased her eyebrows, and then sighed as she walked over to the window.
She looked out the window for a moment and then shut it. Her voice was far as she spoke without turning around, but I could see the sadness on her face through the reflection of the glass.
"This is hopeless. We rushed back home to catch the library at opening. We've been up since six in the morning, and one of us is dead tired from waiting for someone else at a party. We've stayed in my room for the last hour, calling for someone to give you pleasure. If he had come, what would I have done? Watched? I'm his sister, and the last thing I want to witness is him doing the dirty with my best friend. I need to pee and take a long nap, so I'll do one thing for you."
She turned around and clapped her hands, her bracelets dangling together as she closed her eyes. I watched this for a long moment, and when she opened them, she glanced at me warily.
"There. I called for an incubus. No one is coming. Now, if you'll excuse me," she ran right past me into the washroom, shutting the door with a large bang. I sat, confused and agitated, on her bed, waiting for her to come out.
"Have you seen my name bracelet?"Alice called a second later.
"You just had –"
There was a clattering noise, a scream, and then a plea before the door opened and Alice came tumbling out. She ran over to me, her pants riding low on her hips, and stood in front of me protectively.
"Who are you and what are you doing in my house?" she demanded, lowering herself slightly and taking a case from the drawer. She clutched the case to her chest, her thumb on the button, and took a long step forward.
I slid over to the end of the bed and glanced at the open door. The toilet paper was strewn across the room and the soap dispenser lay open on the carpet. I rushed to my feet and grabbed the back of Alice's shirt before she could walk any further.
"Someone's in there?" I asked, my heartbeat increasing with each passing second.
"Yes," a voice called from the washroom, and I instantly lurched back with Alice in my grip. We both fell onto the bed, Alice cursing as she tried to go back to the washroom.
"Don't kill him, Alice," I said excitedly. She heard my words and turned her head, sending me the oddest look before nudging her way out of my weak grip.
"You think he's the incubus, don't you?"
"He is!" I pointed to the washroom door as he emerged, and Alice turned. I could not see her expression, but the way her hand opened to let the case fall to the floor told me that she was a little more than surprised to see a man clad in a skimpy white robe leaning against her doorframe.
His robe had a spot of pink on it from the soap, and I watched as he touched it with a finger. He brought the sample to his nose and smelled it lightly, and then it was gone with a casual flick of his long fingers.
"You must be Alice," the man said, staring at her beside me. My heart was beating frantically at this new development, and my eyes roamed over his figure to look for any sign that he was connected to Edward. I caught the bracelet on his wrist, and my eyes widened as I realized to whom it belonged.
Alice was just as aware as I was, but her way of showing it was much different than mine. I could nearly see the smile playing on her lips as she got up and crossed the room faster than I had ever seen her move.
She stood in front of him, and the drastic difference in height was comical. She was small and thin while he was tall and lean. He had muscles – that much was sure - and his masculinity was the polar opposite of Alice's daunting femininity.
The man hardly spared a glance at me as he towered over Alice. I watched in surprise as his hand came up to lightly touch Alice's shoulder. There was no visible response from her, so I paid more attention to the reactions of the man in the room.
He seemed to be just as surprised as I was, as if it was the first time he was seeing a human. That comparison seemed more realistic than anything else, and I was enraptured by his presence as he caressed Alice's arm. He did nothing more than that, seemingly just enjoying whatever facial response she was showing him.
Alice suddenly took a step back, and turned to look at me. Her face was devoid of emotion, but I could see the raging curiosity in her eyes and a hint of something else - anger?
She turned back to him. "Who are you?" she breathed.
"Jasper," he replied, his voice wrapping around both us of like a blanket. I felt strangely calm in his presence, although I still understood the situation.
"Who summoned you?"
"Alice Cullen." His words were smooth, touched only by a withering southern accent.
Alice stared at his wealth of pale, perfect skin, spending most of the time staring at the beautiful blond curls on his head. They framed his face delicately, making the lines of his jaw more pronounced. I watched as Alice's gaze feasted on his lips, and the way her gaze was suddenly on me after she met his.
"Bella, I called for Edward," she explained.
"We know," Jasper cut in, and Alice turned to glare daggers at him. It surprised me how quickly she became familiar with anyone.
"So why are you here?" I asked, blushing as he turned to look at me.
"To tell you that you can only summon Edward at night." His voice was strained, and I wondered if he was hurting from Alice's bathroom attack.
Alice seemed oblivious to his discomfort as she spoke. "We know now, so you can kindly leave."
He leaned back against the frame for support as the hand with her bracelet went through his hair. "Ma'am, I can't just –"
"Yes, you can. You told us what we needed to know and now you can leave and go do another poor, defenseless woman. This is sickening. You may be beautiful, but you are scum for giving women something so temporary. I bet you somehow make money off this. Why are you stepping closer? Get away from me. I am with Bella. St –"
"Ma'am, if you'd stop talking for a moment, I'd explain why I have the inexplicable urge to…," he trailed off with a broken sigh, his teeth clenched as he tried to conceal the immense pain on his face.
I understood what he meant. In the library, I knew of one condition that Incubi had to fulfill in order to complete their task. I had not thought that Alice would need to know. Guilt rushed through me, and I regretted asking for her help.
"Alice, I'm sorry," I whispered. She turned to look at me.
"For what?" she asked warily.
"For this." Jasper's lips were suddenly at her ear, and he paused, his beautiful eyes frustrated, before he crushed his lips to hers.
Posted: Sunday, November 2, 2008.
Revised: Coming soon.
Edited: Coming soon.
About Next Chapter:
I have written it three times, and they are all completely different. That is not good. I suppose we will have to see. I have found a sentence that will definitely be in there though. Here is a line from the next chapter:
"She hasn't come out of her house for days. We're going there today whether she expects it or not."