As always, thank you to my wonderful beta Mottmom (check out her story, The New Day).
So - I'm addicted to the movie, FYI. I've seen it three times, and am looking for a patch or gum to help me through my withdrawal. It's sad. Truly.
I hope you like the chapter! It has several fun pop-culture references in it -- cookies to those who find them :)
And a BIG Thank You to the large amount of people who have reviewed, alerted, or favorited this story.
Hot patootie, bless my soul! I really love that rock and roll!
I jumped at the sound of my cell phone ringing. I panicked slightly, and debated not answering it. I knew it was Bella checking up on Nessie. However…if I didn't answer it, I could see Bella pulling Edward by the ear all the way back to Forks…Grr.
Jasper smirked knowingly, and Renesmee's eyes lit up. "Mama?" she mouthed as I pulled my phone out of my sweater's pocket.
"Yes, sister dearest - The house is still standing and Nessie is sleeping like an angel…in fact, I've been re-organizing your closet. It seems like you've snuck in some unapproved sweat pants from American Eagle…"
"Alice! Stay out of my closet! Edward," I could hear Bella pouting over the phone line. "I'm going to murder your sister!" Edward chuckled in response.
"Bella, give me the phone…"He coaxed her. "Hi Alice. What are you doing to my poor wife?"
"Nothing! Nothing…" I laughed. "Be a sweetie, and take her phone and step on it. Hard."
Nessie opened her mouth to say something, and in a flash I placed a finger over her lips, silently shushing her. If Bella was to hear her daughter talk, she would know her daughter was still awake…at 1:30 a.m. I groaned, and gave my red-headed niece the evil eye. It did not escape my notice that Jasper was rocking with silent laughter. That traitor.
"Alice," Edward laughed, and I knew I would get grilled when the two of them came home. Bella might not think I was corrupting her daughter, but Edward…oh, dear.
I flipped my phone shut, and flopped backwards on to the bed. Nessie raised one small, perfect eyebrow in a very Edwardian manner and whimpered, "I'm not in trouble, am I?"
"You're not tired by any chance, are you kiddo?" Jasper tried. Ha,he would not be so easily forgiven.
I groaned again. My Porsche was so gone. Probably half of my wardrobe would be burned. Bella would never let me baby-sit again. With my eyes closed, I waved part of the blanket in a white flag sort of way. "Jasper, tag. If you put her to sleep, I will give you a cookie."
Once my vile husband's laughter had stopped, he began where I had left off.
Love. I was still waiting for the heavenly choir to start playing. Surely, there should be at least a few white doves flying down? Maybe a harp?
I grinned to myself as I stalked a moose in northern Idaho. Part of my mind was focused on the big cow, but the other half was thinking of Alice. This was happening more and more lately. She just smiled knowingly, and I reveled at how calm her emotions were now. For quite some time, her primary emotion was apprehension – she was waiting for something to happen. Apparently, she was simply waiting for me to realize I adored her.
This was different from any other form of love I thought I knew. I remembered those awkward human emotions when I would go to an officer's ball and saw the town beauty with her big blue eyes, and wavy hair. It had felt like love at the time – but I now knew it was infatuation. How could I possibly have loved that long dead human? I never even spoke to her. But at the time, it was enough to just look at her and imagine a different future.
Then, there was Maria. I loved her. I hated her. Part of me wished Maria, Nettie, and Lucy had just killed me back in 1863. But, I had intrigued Maria as a perfect addition to her army and I was eager to please her, until things began to change.
"Jasper," Maria purred.
Irritation was rolling off of her, and I found myself clinging to the wall of the tent trying to escape the cloying emotion. "Why did you just let Peter and the newborn escape?"
"How many times do I have to explain to you that there is a certain order to things? Peter disobeyed me. You, as my right-hand man, should have gone after them and killed them both for their disloyalty. Instead, you stood there and watched them. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you right now?"
I proved my worth the only way I could at the moment, and wallowed in misery for the next five years. Peter, eventually, came back for me, and I welcomed the escape he offered me.
When Alice entered my life, I was overwhelmed at how complete and at ease I suddenly felt. She was my silver lining. I didn't deserve her. I had done nothing in my life to warrant this delightful creature loving me. And she did love me. I was content to just sit next to her, with my head resting on top of her head, just savoring the emotion.
I could stare into her eyes and revel in the pure love shining from them. We didn't need words to express how we felt. Even if I wasn't empathic to every emotion she felt, I still would have been able to tell.
I would kill anyone who threatened to take her from me.
I grimaced, and my foot snapped a twig causing my 'delicious' meal to run away. I let it. It would be easy to chase it, but the cow was being given a second chance. Just like how I've been given a second chance. I saluted the departing animal and leaned against a tree.
A rather large part of me did not regret killing the man in Chicago. He had taken one look at my Alice, and his emotions exploded with lust and a sadistic desire. I couldn't stop the venom from pooling in my mouth, and I felt sick. Alice was able to distract me enough for the men to go further into the department store. The burning in my throat slowly disappeared and I was taken by surprise when I overheard them. They were sick.
They were mine.
My mouth watered as I remembered sinking my razor sharp teeth into that vile man's throat. I could feel his fear and remorse as I greedily drank. But, I was overwhelmed by his acceptance. He knew he should die for what he was. He was thanking me for ending his life. I tuned out his friend's blubbering and concentrated on the feel of his blood sliding down my throat. For the first time since I had met Alice, my thirst pains were finally abating - but at what price?
Alice eventually found me. I hadn't been gone long, and was amazed at how quickly her vision led her to me. I pushed down the low growl that was threatening to spill from me. As if Alice would try to steal my game.
The look on Alice's face finally made me push away the man's lifeless body. My eyes met hers, waiting for the disappointment and anger. There was nothing there but love. She wasn't mad at me for slipping. She was concerned about me.
I sighed while I ran my fingers through my hair. This was harder than I had expected it to be. Animal blood sated my hunger, but left me longing for more. Alice told me, eventually, I would be able to ignore the longing. I hoped so.
Alice was waiting where I had left her. She was sitting on a large boulder near a river, a peaceful smile on her face. Her eyes were closed, and her head was tilted back absorbing the warmth from the sunlight. Alice sparkled like the precious jewel that she was, and I quickly closed the distance between the two of us.
"Hello," she murmured, as I pushed her hair off her brow and gently kissed her.
"I'm sorry your moose got away…" She giggled.
I moved to stand behind her, and pulled her small body against my chest, hugging her tight. I didn't need to tell her that I loved her; she could feel it from the contact of our two bodies. "Are you ready to make the final trek into Alaska?"
"Yes, I am eager to meet Tanya and her family."
A big grin spread across Alice's face, and her tiny fists clenched with excitement. "I finally had a vision of us meeting them and learned their names."
"Good for you," I laughed, nudging her with my shoulder. "Did your vision give us any more information to go on?"
"I didn't sneeze!" She pouted, and I kissed her lips gently. "Humph."
She was adorable. "Alright, so is Denali a person or a place?" I would play her game.
She began to smile, but her eyes went blank. I waited patiently for her vision to finish. I looked up at the clouds, searching for shapes to distract myself. A turtle was chasing a pumpkin. The pumpkin started to turn into something else…perhaps, a cannon. A breeze slowly blew the clouds apart and I felt Alice's body tense.
"Everything OK?" I was concerned by the sadness she was emoting. Alice looked like she was about to cry.
"Emmett," she began, mentioning the name of one of our future brothers. "Emmett is going to make a mistake. He is going to kill a poor woman…"
I hugged her close, but secretly a part of me rejoiced. I couldn't believe I actually felt slightly happy, but it was reassuring to know my future coven wasn't as perfect as Alice thought they were. I wouldn't be the only one struggling; I would have others to talk to who were going through the same difficulties I was. I would learn with them.
"He was so sad, Jasper," Alice continued, and I felt guilty for not paying closer attention. "It was so fast…he was walking down the main street of their town – oh! They were in Amherst, Massachusetts, the post office showed me – and he stopped dead in his tracks. I could see his nose flaring as he caught the woman's scent. It was like he was possessed; he was drinking from her before he even realized what he had done."
"Should we turn around and head towards Amherst?" The Yankee name felt strange on my tongue.
Alice sighed. "No, by the time we get there they will have moved on. They weren't there very long."
"Do you think this is the first time this has happened to Emmett?"
Alice raised her shoulders in a shrug. "I think so – I've been watching the Cullens for some time now. I'm going to see if I can find out what's going to happen next," she warned. I nodded and her eyes glassed over.
She was under the vision for only a minute, and she smiled radiantly as her eyes focused on mine. "Edward will help him deal with the guilt from killing a human."
"Have they made a decision as to where they will be moving?"
"No…they keep changing their mind. I just hope they decide to relocate to someplace closer to Alaska!"
I was beginning to feel like we were searching for a needle in a haystack, but I tried to remain optimistic. Alice jumped down from the rock, and nodded her head northwest. The sky was beginning to darken, and we quickly hunted.
Watching Alice hunt was like watching a beautiful ballet. She was so tiny and graceful, and she moved as if her feet didn't even need to touch the ground. Alice quickly found her quarry and dispatched the animal before I had even locked onto my target. With a growl, I threw myself at the bear I was tracking. We finished our meal, and by the time we were running the sky was dark.
It was much colder now than it had been in Illinois. It was nearing the end of August, but in this northern state it felt more like winter. We were getting closer to our goal. The sky was clear, and I could see every star twinkling. Alice and I pointed out constellations to each other. Her favorite was Orion.
"Jazz," she stopped, and lifted a trembling finger to point at the horizon. By this point, we were close to or already in Alaska.
There were a million colors staining the night sky. They rippled and moved over the other on their own private journey. It was perhaps the strangest and most beautiful thing I have ever seen. We watched in awe.
"I think they call it the Northern Lights…I'm not sure though. It's beautiful!" Alice clapped her hands together and ran forward, twirling and spinning.
I was transfixed by the image of her dancing under the colorful sky. I had been wrong; the vision before me was the most beautiful sight in the world.
I cocked my head at her call.
"Come dance with me!"
How could I deny her?
I quickly joined her, and pulled her close. We did our favorite swing steps, before settling into a gentle swaying. We lost valuable time, but we were caught up in the moment. We danced until the vibrant reds and purples turned into dawn.
Our dancing slowed, and I ran my hand down the side of her face, cupping her chin lightly. My marred skin looked hideous compared to her flawlessness, but there was nothing I could do about it. The scars were the price I had paid in order to stay alive.
Alice tilted her head into my palm, and closed her eyes. A gentle smile played on her lips, and I kissed her nose.
We walked at a very quick pace, and together we cheered when we saw the Welcome to Alaska sign.
"Now, we just need to find a very tall mountain."
I scanned the horizon, and groaned. "Alice…there are several tall mountains. Did your vision give you anything more to go on?"
Alice stuck her tongue out at me, and chuckled. She looked in the direction I was looking in, and narrowed her eyes. "I think…the one on the right is the one we are looking for. It's the tallest. But, we might as well stop in the first town we get to and ask for directions to Denali."
I chuckled to myself. Here I was waiting for Alice to receive all of her answers from her visions, and she came up with a simple solution. I wasn't too surprised. However, not too long ago, I wouldn't have even contemplated asking a human for help. Humans are friends now; I reminded myself -not food.
Alaska was beautiful. It never ceased to amaze me how quickly America had changed in the years since I became a vampire. For example, many years after the War had ended I returned to the town in Texas where I had grown up. My family was long dead, and there was very little left in the town that matched the few memories I still had. However, the Alaskan territory looked as if it hadn't changed much since the U.S. government purchased it in 1867.
I followed a skipping Alice as she led the way into a small town. I leaned against the exterior wall of the general store she popped into. It wasn't long before she came back out, clutching a large bag.
"Only you would find clothes in a trading post in Alaska," I joked.
She was feeling pleased with herself, and she smugly handed me a dark brown sweater. Belatedly, I observed that the other humans were dressed much warmer than we were.
"I was right! The tall mountain is Mount McKinley, but it was originally called Mount Denali, which means the Big One," she sounded smug. "There's a large park settled around it. The nice man inside explained that I was probably looking for the park more so than the mountain."
"That makes sense - where better to hide a coven of animal hunting vampires than in a large park?"
"Exactly!" Alice jumped from foot to foot. "There's big game in there, too, everything from Caribou to Grizzly."
I hugged her close, and breathed in her scent. "Good job, honey."
Now, we just had to find the local vampires. I absorbed Alice's optimism, and we trekked forward.