Chapter XI


Now that Alice had gone her separate way, and we were moving on towards Denali, it became apparent that we were going to have to do something about Charlie. Bella took my phone, and after a long, stutter-filled, somewhat loud conversation, she'd told Charlie the eloping story, and where we were "honey-mooning."

After the phone call, everyone was basically dry enough to keep moving. We crossed Vancouver Island, which was a mountainous stretch of land. It was beautiful, but on the outer edges of the Olympics, it was a land of many summits. We traveled a generally northern direction and took to a trail near the peaks of the terrain, avoiding the valleys and crevices as much as possible to save time. Not needing to breathe truly was of great assistance in situations like this.

We arrived in a city called Kokish, and after consulting local maps and a few conversations with Carlisle, we stone-stepped and swam across the islands south of the city until we reached the coast of Canada proper.

After more land travel, we found ourselves in the city of Kingcome, BC. Edward smirked in a bitter way, leaving me wondering what caused the expression. "I was just thinking we have finally reached Kingdom come."

I made a pained face, and glanced at Bella who rolled her eyes. I heard Carlisle grunt, and breathe out a soft "Edward."

We were keeping to the coast, and I was searching the map for the next place we could stop. Smiling, I read from the map. "Bella Bella."

Mistakenly assuming I was calling her, Bella turned around and looked at me. I lifted my head to look at her, with a smile on my face. "No, the next place we'll stop, it's called Bella Bella.

Bella frowned and looked at the ground. I was concerned, "Bella? What is it?"

She lifted her eyes back to meeting mine, "Why do we need to stop?" I opened my mouth to answer, but Carlisle cut me off. "We need to commission a helicopter for the remainder of the trip to Denali there."

I said, "I think we'll have to stop in Juneau. That's a pretty long leg by helicopter."

Carlisle shook his head in agreement. "Very true, it will probably be a welcome relief for you, Bella."

"How so?" she questioned Carlisle.

Carlisle's face became grave as he answered, "Bella, you're going to be in a very tiny space for several hours...with a human."

Bella shuddered and sank onto a rock. "Oh no, I'm not sure I can do this, Jasper, I don't think, what if I...I can't afford to-. Holy crow!"

I went to her side, "It'll be fine, Bella. I know you're worried you don't have the strength, but we'll just make sure you hunt on our way. We have plenty of miles to cover. Surely even in this wasteland, you can find something."

Bella looked at me, I could feel her exasperation. She nodded, with a very nervous look on her face.

"Don't worry, Bella. Keeping you from danger is as much for our benefit as it is for yours." Edward added from behind me.

"We'll all be there, Bella. I'm sure it will be fine." Carlisle answered, frowning at Edward.

We arrived in Bella Bella late in the afternoon. We made sure Bella hunted several times along the way. She was absolutely full, and I hoped that was enough. My experience with newborns was that it wouldn't be easy either way, but I told her it was going to be just fine.

We found the local airport, and from there Carlisle received instruction on where we could look into renting a helicopter. There weren't any available, so we opted for a small private jet.

I watched a television which had been awkwardly mounted in a corner of the rental office, and was showing the news. The weather report was on, and it looked as if snow was headed towards Alaska. I smiled to myself, a fresh blanket of snow was always so peaceful and beautiful. The world was reborn with snowfall

The jet was likely the better option, because the jets cockpit was closed off by a door from the passenger area. It belonged to some corporate executive who was in British Columbia visiting a sick family member. It was a very comfortable plane, and we were secluded once on board.

I watched the runway disappear beneath us as we powered up for take off. As we approached the end of the runway, gliding over the area where the trees reclaimed the open spaces for their own, I saw four muzzles nose their way through the trees. I looked at Bella to see if she'd seen them. Thankfully she hadn't. I looked back out the window, and four dark-skinned, now upright figures watched us fly over their heads.

I heard my brother's voice, "Jasper?" I looked back at Edward, his expression questioning. I nodded my head, and caused Bella to look between us.

"What?" she asked, concerned she was missing something. I could feel her confusion.

"I was just wondering if we would make it to Denali before the storm arrived. Thoughts aren't private around Edward however, as I'm sure you've found."

Edward turned his head towards her, and looked stern for a moment.

"Actually, I can't hear Bella." he said, slightly annoyed. "I never could. Even before I left for Denali. The silence was and is, very distracting."

A quiet, whisper of a voice spoke, so soft it took me a moment to realize it was Bella's, "Y-you can read everyone's mind, except for m-mine?" Her eyes were round and wide.

"Yes, and I have no idea why that is. It's unprecedented in the whole of my existence." Edward looked at her with a penetrating expression, and I could feel a slight feeling of animosity coming from him.

"Great! I'm different, from...everyone." she whispered the last word. She hadn't realized that we could all hear her regardless, but everyone kept quiet and gave her privacy.

I looked back at Bella, who was frowning and staring out the window. I took a cue from Edward's words, and decided a distraction from her thoughts would be wise, "How are you feeling?" I asked.

"Like an anomaly." she grunted.

I chuckled, "No, I meant is the pilot causing you any trouble?"

She looked at me in confusion for a moment, then my meaning became clear for her. "Oh, you mean ... no, I - I'm fine."

She looked at Carlisle, "I'm sorry you can't have an attendant because of me."

"There's no need for you to be, we're perfectly capable of managing on our own. We arrange flights without attendants whenever possible." he said, an unusually playful glint in his expression. Carlisle seemed to like Bella, and I was pleased to note it.

Edward had overcome the initial guilt he'd had for attacking her, and now appeared to feel a mild hostility towards her. Not being able to read her mind must be truly troubling him.

The vibration of my phone caught my attention, it was a text from Alice. "Buy jackets as soon as you land in Anchorage, it will help you on the road to Denali."

I looked at Edward, who gave a humorous "Hmmph" and shook his head.

The flight was quiet until we passed over Prince William Sound. Bella began asking questions. "What is it like in Denali?"

Carlisle spoke first, "It's beautiful, Bella. I'm sorry for what's happened with you, but as a human, it would likely be too cold there at this time of year for you if you were still human.

"What is the Denali family like? Will they be angry with me?"

Edward answered Bella's question this time, "Actually, I fled back to them because of you, so at the moment Tanya at least is rather grateful to you. Though she's been preoccupied by what's been going on with Irina and hasn't paid it much attention, I know she feels very grateful. Irina may feel overtly mutinous towards your presence, so none of us can tread too cautiously.

I hadn't considered how Irina would feel towards Bella. I leaned closer to her, and lifted my arm around her back, feeling protective.

We landed soon after, and I moved quickly to get Bella off the plane before she caught the scent from the pilots.

As we came down the steps from the jet, I looked over my shoulder at Carlisle. "Can I take Bella back to that park we passed over? I'm sure we could find something for her. She's gone a long time without ..." as I finished the sentence I noticed Bella looking at me with an expression of horror and couldn't complete my description.

Carlisle put a hand on my shoulder, and touched his fingers to Bella's elbow with his other hand. "I'm sorry, Bella, but it's probably a good idea." She dropped her head, she wouldn't argue, and I knew she was reaching into her hidden reservoir of strength to accept what she had to do, but the feelings of self-loathing coming from her broke my heart.

I found myself unconsciously glaring at Edward, a tiny bubble of blame percolating into my mind for his indiscretion against her. The bubble burst as soon as he turned his head and our eyes met. Whatever I'd thought in that moment of unprotected avarice caused Edward's face to wear a challenge. I lowered my head slightly, and looked at him apologetically.

Unaware of the exchange which had taken place between us, Bella didn't catch the edge in Edward's tone, nor his double meaning, "We'll work it out, we'll find the resolution which works best for everyone."

I was grateful she'd mistaken his menace.

I took Bella hunting all over the park at the tip of the runway. The weather didn't effect us, which made tracking prey easier. Following the hunt, in which Bella took down several local animals, we ran to the Denali house in Kantishna.

The area that the house was in had previously been a small gold mining encampment. The homes of the locals were still in use.

I decided to take her in to the Denali house by a longer direction, so she would see the things I'd always found so beautiful about this cold, frozen land.

There was a waterfall I knew from past visits, which was usually frozen solid at this time of year. You could still see the water falling down the inner side, but on the outer edge, a long shelf of frozen water directed the flow down into the rocks below.

Bella and I stepped through the trees before it. She gasped and exclaimed when she saw it. "Jasper! This is beautiful."

I chuckled at her reproachful tone, "I'm very selective on who I allow to see it."

She cut her eyes at me, and walked under the gleaming sheet of frozen water. I smiled playfully and followed her. Just as I stepped onto the bank of land behind the fall, I froze. I caught the scent of a nearby animal. The scent blew away as quickly as it had come. I scanned the surrounding area for a moment longer to satisfy my concern.

We stood under the falls looking through the frozen sheet. Bella stood transfixed and silent for some time. She finally spoke.

"I don't think I remember things the way I should, but there is something I keep thinking of. It seems to be the beginning of everything that has happened to me, lately." she finished. She looked at me with a look of concern, as if unsure of something, and I could feel her uncertainty.

"Bella, we've been through this before. Ask what you wish, I'll answer you to the best of my ability."

"I understand that Edward had to leave because he wanted my blood, but I don't understand why he attacked me so suddenly at the house in Forks."

"Well a part of that was because I didn't consider that Edward might return with Carlisle. There's a more complicated explanation to why Edward attacked you in Forks. I'm sorry that I didn't realize the danger. I'm haunted by the realization that if I'd had a little prescience of thought, I might have prevented what happened to you. You see, when Edward first encountered you and had to flee to Denali, it was your blood. There were other kids in that room with the two of you. Their blood made him thirsty, but yours was different. Yours made him ravenous, it made him forget everything Carlisle had taught him. He nearly risked everything, our life, our repuations, all the kids in your class and you. Your blood was that potent for him. I've never come across anyone who has that affect on me.

"Everything Edward told me, and everything I could feel from him as he explained was overwhelming. I hope I never do come across anyone who is for me, what you are to Edward."

"So, I was a pull on him so strong he could barely resist?" Bella looked sheepish.

"Yes, and he fled then because of it." I shifted from foot to foot in discomfort, "When he found you in our house, alone, vulnerable and drawing him so strongly, it was irrisistable. He lost control." I looked down in shame. "We were lucky to stop him before he killed you, Bella. I can't imagine if..." I trailed off, unable to continue.

Bella walked to me and put her hand on my cheek. "It wasn't your fault, Jasper. I don't blame you. I don't even think I can blame Edward. I just wish it hadn't happened, because I don't know what I'm going to do about Charlie, and Renee is going to have a fit eventually.

Suddenly, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I sprang away before thinking, and was after whatever was moving without a goodbye to Bella.

Whatever it was, was fast, I inhaled deeply crashing through the snow covered Alaskan plantlife. Mostly bare skeletal branches scraped my untouchable skin as I flew by. The scent was wolf, and not just any wolf, werewolf. I could feel feelings of fear and also something I couldn't quite identify. Suddenly the scent swelled up around me. I recognized that in the path ahead, there were more than just one of the wolves. I leaped high up into some sort of pine and stayed above.

From my vantage point I watched as a small, sand colored wolf moved out of the white drifts below. Just ahead of its path were a dozen others of his kind. They circled each other, pacing and bellowing. the small wolf ran into the center. He stood his ground, growling and barking at the others. A large reddish brown one stepped towards him and snarled loudly. The sand colored wolf cowered a little, hanging its head, but to me, it looked as if he was arguing with the larger wolf. The small pack seemed very agitated, and after a few moments, the large red wolf whipped its enormous head in the direction the smaller wolf and I had come from, and snarled again. The small sand-colored wolf turned and ran off back toward where I'd first seen him, back toward...

It took half a thought to realize he was heading towards Bella, before I was airborne again. I flew through the trees until I hit the ground and ran. I caught up to the smaller wolf and tackled him. I snarled every bit as fiercely as the alpha wolf this one had just left behind had. The smaller wolf fought to get free, but didn't attack me at all. Eventually he worked his way free and jumped behind a grouping of white blanketed bushes, sending a spray of snow into the air. I curled myself down, preparing to spring when suddenly a tall, gangly dark-skinned boy jumped out before me. He held both hands out in a gesture of surrender. I froze in surprise.

"Okay, okay...stop!" he said.

I recollected myself and crouched down. He was a kid, but I wasn't taking any chances.

"I'm not going to get away, so kill me if you have to."

I looked at him in awe. "What kind of game are you playing?"

"It's called surrender, man. I'd really like it if you could not bite me though." Despite the tension, or perhaps because of it, I laughed.