~Act Three: The Play~
With the black cloak covering my head, another coat of vampire musk seeping into my skin, and a mask surrounding my focused eyes, I watched.
Nessie... My Nessie touched each individual human, one by one, leaving a small gape of time between each of them before proceeding to the next. A strange understanding seemed to register on every one of their expressions before rejoining the conversation they were already involved in. It took a mere sweep of her hand.
I was hypnotized by her movements, so graceful and filled with beauty. It was hard to believe that the pack was completely unaware of her existence. It was hard to believe that my intense hatred for these creatures was instantly swept away by a single look at this angel.
I loved her. More than anything in this world, I loved my Nessie.
Unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as getting the humans out the door. The Volturi was always watching, always ready. A bait needed to be thrown to lure their attention away.
It was then that I felt a peculiar pull. Something particular catching my undivided attention as if I had a sixth sense whenever she may be in danger. My eyes flicked towards the crowd, and he stood out like a sore thumb amidst an assembly of leaches all disguised in practically the same wardrobe. A tall member of the Volturi with snowy white hair falling cautiously over one red eye, flickered his attention to Nessie.
I instantly felt something tug at my gut, and my throat tightened so bad I could have burst through my seems from that one simple look.
It wasn't just a look of hostility, but his eyes were disturbingly intense and angry. It was a glare of pure disgust, dread, brooding resentment and hatred. He looked at my Nessie like he wanted her dead.
It took a demon to hate an angel.
I watched with furious interest as his mouth opened and closed repeatedly, as fast as a hummingbird's wing. He was communicating with the bloodsucker at his side. The words fell like liquid from his mouth, so fast and quiet that they leaked through the cracks of my fingers.
My muscles tightened, squeezing the tendons and veins in my forearms. If he didn't turn his attention away soon, I didn't know if I would be able to control the wolf within me.
"Sam," I hissed lowly to attract his attention, and he leaned over to me casually. "It's time."
He tensed, and I heard his jaw lock when his teeth clenched together. Then, he nodded in acceptance. "Ready."
"Seth?" I asked. "Embry?"
They both nodded.
"We're with you, Jake," Seth spoke lowly.
I took a deep breath, closing my eyes for a few intense seconds. When I opened them again, Nessie's eyes caught mine. The depths of her chocolate eyes took away the fear in me. The world around her wrapped in a thick veil of fog. It was me and her, her and me... and I quickly found my strength.
"Edward Cullen!" My voice echoed through the large room, and the voices in it instantly hushed to an eerie silence.
Like the sound of a gunshot at the beginning of a race, something ignited in the humans gathered inside the house. One by one, each of them slowly ducked into the shadows. Odd how they took on the roll of creatures in the night this time, disappearing in the darkness.
To hold the leaches attentions I grasped the veil cloaking my head and yanked it off. The thick material blanketed to the floor, and my hair fanned darkly against my cheeks.
My gaze focused past the vicious snarls erupting in recognition throughout the crowd, and straight to Nessie's father. Edward stared back at me in blank astonishment. He was aware that we wouldn't stand back and let this happen, I was sure, but something about my presence there still surprised him. Maybe he was focused on my thoughts, clouded almost entirely by the image of his daughter. It took a second, but his lips soon pulled over his teeth, baring the razor sharp tips of his 'fangs'.
Bella was beside him, a hand grasping his arm fiercely. She was focused on me as well. But something different registered in her gaze, something familiar, but nothing intimate like before.
The rest of the Cullen's looked so furious that I began counting down to my last seconds of life.
'Nessie,' I thought, determined to see her face in my mind in case they did attack. 'Nessie, Nessie, Nessie, Nessie, Nessie...'
Meanwhile, every other bloodsucker in the room turned to one vampire in particular. Head bloodsucker I'd imagine. This one gave me the creeps more than usual. He looked oddly delicate, with skin as thin as a slice of printer paper, and just as white. His milky red eyes stayed focused on me as he tilted his head in slight confusion, causing his long, stick straight black hair to feather across his left cheek.
"What's this?" he asked.
I had to narrow my eyes at his question. Did that voice come from him or from a fucking dove? Even more eerie was the strangely ecstatic smile painting his alabaster face.
"More guests!" he exclaimed, clapping once in excitement before gracefully whipping his head around to face Edward. "You didn't tell me we would expect such wonderful entertainment!"
I stood silently, hoping Edward had read Nessie's thoughts and taken them seriously enough to act on our plan. She had been next to Bella, touching her lightly on the shoulder so she was now aware of our plan. But now Nessie was standing next to the stairwell, a gentle hand perched on the hand rail. Just as I asked, she was very close to me, no more than five or six feet. In case I had to spring into action, I wanted to be able to get her to safety first.
The array of expressions painted on Bella's face ranged from welcome, to worry, to intense anger, to understanding. Now she was staring directly at me, blankly.
"I assure you, Aro," Edward hissed, still staring at me like I were a dead dog, "they've come uninvited."
I swallowed slowly when the overly excited leach tilted his head to the side, staring at me from the corner of his blood red eye.
"DOGS!" The white haired one suddenly exploded, and my hands balled into tight fists at my side. "Sons of the moon! Allow me to kill them, master!"
"Oh calm down, Caius." Aro glided across the room in my direction.
I flinched back, and heard as Sam, Embry and Seth all began to growl loud enough to throw the entire room into a frenzy of dangerous hisses.
'Bella's gift,' Nessie spoke silently, and an instant wave of calm settled my agitated body. Briefly I wondered how I heard her thoughts without her skin being against mine. Was she even aware that I could hear her? 'She's blocking you from him. He can touch you, my Jacob. We will not let him hurt you.'
On instinct, I bared my teeth as his palm reached up to rest against my forehead. His smile instantly faltered, and his eyes struggled in concentration.
"You have come because of the dead humans, I see."
This surprised me. How would he read that if my thoughts were blocked? That's when I noticed from the corner of my eye that Nessie's gaze was settled upon Aro firmly. Was he reading her structured thoughts instead of mine?
"You leaches have broken the treaty." I spit the words out as if they were vomit in my mouth. "And I suggest you remove your hand before it's bitten off. My associates came hungry."
For emphasis, the pack joining at my side growled again.
Aro laughed and glided back only a few steps. "How interesting! Are these not the same mongrels who killed Carlisle and his beautiful Esme?"
His words deliberately taunted the Cullen's. He wasn't as politely excited as he was bloodthirsty, craving theatrics. Just a simple look in his eerie eyes and I knew he wished for them to pounce on me.
So far as I could tell, Emmett was the closest to doing just that. His chest was heaving with such intense rage that each breath of air was as loud as a grunt.
"Just as you killed Jared and Kim," I reminded them. "An eye for an eye, Edward."
"I suggest you remain silent, mongrel," he retorted.
'Be cautious,' Nessie warned. The softness of her velvet voice was like an aphrodisiac, momentarily numbing me from the rest of the world. How could I put up a fight when she made me so calm? 'The humans are in the woods.'
It was true. I had lost their scent. It was only a matter of time before everyone else noticed too.
"Tell me, hound, is it war you seek?" Aro asked.
"This war," Edward interrupted, stepping forward, "is between the wolves of La Push, and the Cullens, Aro. I will not stand for a fight to erupt in my house with my daughter standing by to watch."
A few of them turned to glare at Nessie, making the muscles in my neck tighten. I instantly felt the pack stirring at my side. There hadn't been a chance to explain Nessie's heritage yet. Right now, I expected they were all tracing the room in search for a baby or a preschooler. I could almost read their minds, questioning how the hell vampires reproduced. Perhaps they thought about the possibility that Edward and Bella had adopted a human girl. That would upset them even further.
Edward was directly in front of me now. I hadn't been this close to Edward Cullen in ten years, and the last time I was, I craved to rip his throat out. This time, I owed him my gratitude.
For a long moment, we stared at each other. By now he was fully aware of the imprinting. He knew with every fiber of my being Nessie would remain safe. I would lay down my life willingly to save hers. For that, hidden beneath the absolute fury, I could tell by his eyes that he was also grateful.
"Forty-three Werewolves are waiting within a few feet of the forest, bloodsucker," I told him. "A battle would result in bloodshed, and both sides would lose."
"And to prevent it?" he asked.
A sly smirk bubbled up my lips. "We already have."
"The humans!" Caius exclaimed. As if on cue, the vampires noticed their disappearance.
It was my one condition. We would leave as soon as the humans were gone only if Nessie would agree that we take the blame for their escape. Hesitantly, she had no choice but to accept. Otherwise, I would have never left her there without me.
The plan was so simple, it put me to shame. Nessie lead the humans into the woods as if it were a game. The pack outside played along, leading the crowd down to the beach where they would drink spiked wine. The easily manipulated humans would pass out in the sand and wake up the next morning with a hangover, but at least they would wake up. With Nessie's amazing gift, the plan was executed easily, almost flawlessly.
Now, to keep up my end of the bargain.
"We'll leave now," I ordered, tilting my head to peer back at my faithful brothers.
But the crowd had begun to move, and when I spun around to leave, Rosalie was standing there blocking my way. Her eyes narrowed into vicious slits. Instantly, I noted the change in Nessie's demeanor. I felt it. As if her own world came crashing like glass.
Rosalie's hand whipped across my face, slapping me hard enough to feel at least. I heard snaps, howls, and growling coming from my side, but Nessie was the first to step in between us.
"Stop!" She ordered. Instantly the room went silent once again, and all eyes fell towards the two of us. Instinctively, my hands draped over her slender shoulders, and my lips curved over my teeth, ready to protect what was mine. She turned towards me, and I was drawn to everything about her. Her scent, her eyes, her voice... everything called to me, made me hers. For a moment the world was lost again. Her fingertip softly trailed the length of my forearm, leaving behind a path of heat against my skin. Her eyes were locked on mine, soft and adoring. I wanted to kiss her, and I almost did...
"Renesmee!" Rosalie demanded. Like a slap to the face my head jerked up. So her name wasn't Vanessa. It was even more beautiful, even though she was caught lying to protect me. First Rosalie's furious gaze focused in confusion at her niece. Then it slowly slipped up, staring past my Nessie, and straight at me. "Do you know who the fuck this is? He killed them!" She was screaming now.
Nessie, surprised by both of us, turned her attention to Edward. His golden eyes met hers for less than an instant before they flickered upwards to me again. His expression seemed downright fearful after our sudden, bold moves. For a moment Nessie was silent, and then I heard, I don't want them to kill you!
"Get out of here, dog!" Nessie whipped around and pushed me hard enough to make me stumble back. At first I was confused, but then I realized the crease in her brow. Her eyes were pleading. She was worried for me, wanting me to leave before they had a chance to kill me. The Volturi can hear me! she thought. Go, NOW!
With a nod, I eyed her adoringly for a brief second before ripping my gaze away. The physical pain of walking away from her was so intense that I bent from the waist to fight the urge to vomit.
The music heightened after Alice quickly flicked the switch, and Bella pulled Nessie into her arms, leading her back to the stairwell. For a minute I was unable to peal my eyes away from her, worried about her safety when I was gone.
"Bella!" I called, and she stopped to look at me. My eyes were pleading with her, hoping with every strength in my being that she could read what I was trying to tell her. Keep Nessie safe.
Though her eyes were angry, she nodded once, and tugged my girl up the stairs. Nessie seemed resistant, her eyes never leaving mine.
I will come to you! She told me.
Immediately I shook my head. No! She shouldn't. It was too dangerous.
I'm not afraid.
"RIDICULOUS!" Caius erupted viciously, breaking my attention from Nessie just long enough for her and Bella to disappear up the stairwell. "We're just allowing them to leave?!"
"Quite Caius!" Aro said, raising his hand as he watched us leave. "We are guests in this house."
This wouldn't be the first rule they'd broken. I wondered why they were allowing us to go so easily.
"Jacob!" Seth was yanking on my arm roughly, and finally I turned. "We have to go, now!"
I nodded, but it felt as if my breath had been stolen. I could barely carry my body weight to escape out of this place.
We reached the door, slowly easing away from the ruckus in the main room, and a sudden icy-cold breath tickled my ear. I knew who it was, and I didn't turn, but I stopped in my tracks.
"Stay. Away." Edwards voice, slow, threatening and deadly, echoed fiercely in my ear.
"I... I can't." I responded honestly, surprised by the gentle calm in my tone. "You know I can't. I'm sorry."
Keep her safe! I thought. Don't let her come to me! Edward, please keep her safe!
He snarled, but gave me a quick, barely noticeable nod.
Sam snapped his head around to watch us. "You are lucky we came with a mere warning!"
Edward hissed, "I will tear you both apart with my bare hands the next time you're seen."
A deep growl emanated from Sam's chest as he began to advance on Edward angrily.
"Don't!" My voice boomed loudly from across the room. Though I was aware of the smirk on Aro's face, I was suddenly thankful for the raging music that occupied the rest of them. "You can't!"
I'd never seen Sam look at me with such raging disgust. "Why not?!"
Seth's hand joined mine in holding him back, and Sam growled loudly.
"His daughter." I whipped around to see the fury building in Edward's dark eyes before facing Sam again. "She... I... I lo-" I fought to keep my focus, wondering if he could see the pleas in my eyes.
"Spill it Jacob!" His last ounce of patience had worn too thin.
He huffed when I didn't answer immediately and charged forward again, ripping his arm from Seth's grasp so it tore a slit of his sleeve. A small cut ripped through his skin, and blood splattered against the hardwood floor. My arm jetted out and snatched his wrist so roughly that he swung around with another resounding growl.
"Do you want to leave Emily in mourning for you tonight?!" I erupted. "I am the rightful Alpha and I command you to back down now! Do you understand me?!"
Instantly I saw his face relax, and sadden. He stared back at me, clutching his head in pain. After a brief moment, he ducked his head to the floor, clenching his hands into tight fists. He couldn't bare hurting Emily, just as I now couldn't bare hurting Nessie, even if it meant never seeing her again.
"Fine," he agreed. "Let's go."
When I looked back again, I saw her peering over the railing of the stairwell. Nessie's deep chocolate eyes were wide with worry. My mouth parted to inhale a sharp breath, and my eyes lingered on hers.
"Go mongrel," Edward warned, his voice deep and low. "If you want her happy, leave now before she sees me kill you."
When Embry gave a hard yank to my hand, I stumbled out the door. Even as we ran, I couldn't rip my eyes away from the house. And I saw the shadow. The silouette of an angel as Nessie ran to her bedroom window.
"Sam," I said, my eyes never leaving the window as I slowed to a stop in the middle of the yard.
I felt the presence of the pack slow with me.
"Jake, we have to get out of here!" Embry urged.
Sam held his hand up to Embry's chest to silence him. "Don't tell me, Jacob."
I swallowed heavily, feeling as if hundred pound weights had been dropped on both my feet. I couldn't move. I didn't want to move. My feet would only take me further away from my imprint.
"Funny huh?" I said, feeling my lips curling up at the sides when Nessie barely opened her window to look at me. She offered me a comforting smile, and I inhaled a deep breath, hearing her speak to tell me she was okay. Nessie... Renesmee... "All this time I spent mourning Bella," I said, barely registering that I was speaking at all, "And here I am... imprinted with her and Edward's daughter."