Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to the very talented Ms. Meyers. Thank you for letting us play with your characters!
"Alice, tell me again why I let you talk us into this?"
"I told you Edward, we're supposed to come here but I can't see why. It keeps changing." Alice smoothed her dress down and turned a dazzling smile to the blonde man standing next to her, effectively ignoring Edward's sullen attitude behind her. "Why don't you try and enjoy yourself and stop worrying. We all hunted this morning, and I don't see any problems," she chided.
Edward rolled his eyes at her back and Jasper smirked at him.
The three stood outside a club pulsing with the beat of current dance music as others moved past them instinctively leaving a wide berth. Their stunning beauty should have been welcoming but subconsciously, the danger pushed them away.
Taking her husband's hand in her own, Alice led the way up the stairs, both men following silently in her wake. The small crowd parted to let them through and straight into the dim interior. This time it wasn't just their unknown fear moving them. The sight would have intimidated all but the most confident of people. Alice was petite and dainty in her appearance. Her inky black hair cut short and spiky, she walked with a natural grace any ballerina would envy. She wore a black off the shoulder dress fitted around the body and lightly flaring out at her hips before ending abruptly half way down her thighs. The silver 4 inch heels did little to bring her height anywhere near the 2 men with her. At barely 5 feet against their 6'2" and 6'3" respectively, nothing short of a step ladder would. Instead her presence and energy alone overpowered the difference in size.
While her appearance was delicate and pixie-like the two beside her came closer to resembling fabled Greek gods. On her right Jasper was muscular but not overtly so. He was lean and sinuous, with curly blonde hair hanging down just below his ears. The thin long sleeve V-neck sweater and fitted jeans he wore hugged his frame and outlined the flawless condition of his body. He stood protectively against her, possessiveness evident to anyone looking, though his face was carefully masked to appear no more than bored with his surroundings.
On Alice's left stood Edward, his bronze hair tussled and his stance arrogant. He wore a plain black T shirt that hugged his frame along with low slung kakis. A leather cuff with his family's crest in silver adorned his wrist. Jasper wore an identical one that was partially hidden by the sleeve of his sweater. Like Jasper, his body was flawless, yet more leonine in comparison.
All three were incomparably beautiful with pale skin and molten gold eyes.
"Jazz, let's dance," Alice begged excitedly. He grimaced good naturedly.
"Whatever you want love," he responded.
Edward rolled his eyes at the thoughts passing through their minds. Images he didn't want to see passed through his head as the two lovers headed towards the throbbing beat of the music in the large room they had entered.
"I'll be over by the bar. Try not to be too obvious, will you." Alice shot him a quick dirty look as they blended into the crowd on the dance floor of the club, her hips already swaying to the beat. Edward tried to ignore their thoughts as much as possible; there were some things a brother really didn't want to know about his siblings, adopted or not. Keeping to the outskirts of the crowd, he was able to use his gift for mind reading to his advantage, carefully avoiding the girls - and occasional guy – that contemplated approaching him. Normally he didn't care one way or the other for his appearance, other than being respectable and clean, but occasionally in times like these he wished for the disfiguring acne or greasy hair that helped dissuade potential suitors.
There were a number of others here from his high school, many he had classes with. The Port Angeles club had realized the need for Friday night entertainment for the underage population in the area and teens from miles around flocked to the once monthly events. He saw Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory up by the bar whispering behind their hands and giggling conspiratorially while sneaking covert glances his way. Those two had been a constant annoyance lately. Neither dared to approach him, but their thoughts during classes made him wonder if the long held notions about boys and sex were really so gender limited. Their constant creativity appalled him.
He caught occasional glimpses of Jasper and Alice grinding against each other on the dance floor over the next hour or so and was trying to choose a reasonable excuse to leave when Jasper's thoughts caught his attention and their eyes quickly met over the pulsating crowd. Jasper's eyes widened with the intensity of the emotions he was hit with. Someone nearby was immersed in feelings of disgust, pain, fear, and above all hopelessness. Suddenly Alice stilled in front of him, Jasper quickly breaking eye contact with Edward to watch her face, her expression blank. Edward was the only one to share the sight before her eyes; a dimly lit room, the music still throbbing but muted and a girl lying on the floor. The vision ended and both she and Jasper looked quickly at Edward, her thoughts mirroring his own. We have to find her.
His siblings made their way across the dance floor as quickly as possible without attracting unwanted attention. As soon as they reached Edward, Alice paused, trying to look ahead for more clues as to the girl's location.
"Upstairs, I think," Alice spoke quietly. No one else in the club would have heard them even if the music had been silenced but the two with her heard clearly. Edward swiftly led the way towards a door marked private. He knew from unwillingly "overhearing" past daydreams of several of his classmates that through it was a poorly lit stairway, perfect for the occasional private interlude between couples.
Glancing around to be sure they weren't seen all three carefully slipped through the door into the darkened stairwell. Their sensitive eyes could see without trouble and all three stiffened at the subtle scent that assailed them. Vampires.
The thoughts of his siblings in his head were similar to Edwards own, extreme caution was always prudent when approaching others of their kind. Not all were as open minded about their own chosen lifestyle as some.
"I don't see any of them up there. They're gone for now but we need to hurry and get her out of here. Edward, she's hurting." Alice's whispered comments were so low and fast a human standing next to her would have noticed nothing.
Quickly, all three flew up the steps, not a sound between them. At the top of two flights was a narrow dark hallway with 4 doors. All three hastily drew upon their gifts to assure themselves no one else was present. Jasper cautiously moved to the last door, following the faint sound of a heartbeat, carefully testing the knob as the other two followed close behind. It turned without resistance, unlocked. Inside the scent of vampires was stronger but also present were whiffs of old food, human sweat and the unmistakable odor of old blood. Jasper immediately stopped breathing at the first taste of blood in the air, old or not. Though he worked carefully on his control it was still no where near that of his siblings yet. Edward grimaced and carefully stepped into the room, Jasper immediately behind with Alice tucked protectively at his back.
It was a small apartment, filthy and dark. A tiny light beside the large unmade bed cast a dim yellow glow around the unkempt bedroom illuminating the only sound present. The quiet steady heartbeat came from a young woman lying on what looked like a large dirty pink dog bed in the corner. Silently warning the other two to stay put by the door Edward cautiously approached her. His perfect eyesight made the lamp unnecessary but it still cast a sickly color across her pale skin. Her dark hair was long and lank, mostly hiding her face. She wore a thin dingy pink slip that reached mid thigh and was half curled on her side with her back against the wall. There were two dirty metal bowls next to her; on both were etched "Bella" in flowing script. One was crusted with the dried up remains of some unknown food and the other half filled with grimy water.
Carefully, Edward knelt down in front of her. Her eyes were half closed, mere slits, and she didn't so much as flinch when he reached out to gently brush her hair out of her eyes and tuck it behind her ear. Monitoring her emotions through Jasper he thought she was aware of them but couldn't be sure. She made no outward sign of even recognizing his presence.
Edward was hit with a sudden need to protect the frail human girl in front of him. He had no idea where the impulse came from. Normally he was indifferent to the presence of all but his family, choosing instead his solitude. For the first time he felt drawn to another, but not like he was to his family. He knew Jasper could sense his confused feelings but was wholly unprepared for Alice's vision flashing before his eyes. Like before, it was brief, only lasting a few seconds. But it was all he needed to recognize himself with a beautiful dark haired girl standing below an arbor of flowers surrounded by his family.
"Edward!" Alice exclaimed reverently undiluted joy evident in her voice. Unwilling to dissect at that moment what they had just seen and how he really felt about it, he chose to ignore her and quickly began assessing the situation before him. She appeared to be in her mid to late teens, and he could see that even without the obvious semi-starvation she'd endured that she would have been slender. Her dark brown hair was dirty and tangled, and her body unclean. It was obvious she hadn't washed in days at least. There was no scent of urine or feces so he quickly deduced that some of her needs were being taken care of in some small way. She was bare other than the thin slip and a motley assortment of bruises could be seen on various parts of her visible body. He also noticed her left ankle was swollen and bruised making him guess it was badly sprained if not broken.
The girl still had not moved and if it weren't for the subtle signs of life only his kind could see he would have thought her dead. As it was he was increasingly worried about her mental state. She was silent. Not just to the room, but to him as well. His only experiences with such things were from the deepest coma patients he'd occasionally observed when visiting Carlisle at the hospital. It was strange though… he'd at least felt their presence then and once in a while a flickering color or shape they would see in their unconsciousness. But here, this girl, it was like hitting a wall. Nothing.
He didn't have time to ponder that strange revelation. There was little doubt of the abuse she'd suffered, and from the look of her, for more than just a few days or weeks. For the moment though her lack of awareness was for the best. If she had suffered at the hands of vampires no doubt three strange ones carrying her off would not be a welcome solution to her current situation. There was something else he was noticing now this close to her. Beneath the filthy smells around her was an intoxicating aroma. Subtle now, but more noticeable the more he breathed. It called to him, igniting his instincts in more ways than one. He wanted her. Calling on every bit of control he possessed he fought back his thirst.
Slowly he reached below her legs and chest to lift her. As he did, her hair fell away to reveal a wide pink leather collar tight around her neck. A single gold heart shaped tag hung from the ring and was etched with the name Bella, just like the bowls. Immediately Edward suspected this must be the girl's name, but he was more concerned with the other item attached to the collar's ring. A length of chain led to a small ring screwed to the wall behind her. The leash couldn't have been more than a few feet long not enough for her to even stand upright he was sure. Attempting to move her as little as possible he tried to unbuckle the collar from around her neck. When it refused to cooperate he instead squeezed the chain itself and with a small metallic crunch it was broken in half allowing him to gather her into his arms freely and turn to his companions. The few links remaining tinkled lightly with the movement, loud in the silence of the room.
Quietly he spoke to his siblings. "Jasper, go get the car and meet us around back. Alice and I will get her out through the window outside the front door. I don't want to go back down the stairs and risk being seen." Jasper sped out of the room silently and Edward approached Alice. The girl was limp in his arms and he tried to be as gentle as possible while handling her.
"Alice, can you see if you can get the collar off without hurting her," he whispered quietly. She leaned forward and carefully slipped her fingers underneath and against the girl's neck. Lucky her hands were so small as there was very little room to spare. The collar was barely loose enough for the girl to breath.
Alice swallowed a mouthful of venom when the girl's pulse pressed against the back of her fingers. She may have had excellent control but she was not immune to her instincts. When the buckle refused to come undone she tugged the leather between her fingers, careful where the pressure built and was rewarded a split second later as the leather ripped apart, freeing the girl from her constraint. A soft growl vibrated through Edward's chest as he saw the red indentations it had left around her throat.
Silently they slipped out and Alice closed the door softly behind them. She turned and slowly slid the glass window open in the dark hallway climbing up with ease to perch in the frame. The cold air that blew in lightly didn't affect them, however the weak human in Edward's arms shivered almost immediately, already chilled from Edward's own body temperature.
"Alice. Go back in and grab a blanket off the bed. She'll freeze out there with us." Edward whispered quickly. Alice nimbly leapt down and slipped back into the room and out in mere seconds. She helped him to carefully wrap the girl in the blanket tucking it between his skin and hers to be sure she was as well covered as possible. Immediately he missed the contact. Her skin was torturous pressed against his own. It called to his thirst and it called to what still remained of him as a man. A part he had long since thought non-existent. He wanted her.
Alice leapt back up into the window immediately. "Here, hand her to me. Jasper will be here in 30 seconds." He paused, for some reason not wanting to let the girl out of his sight, not even for a moment. Alice's perfect eyebrow arched over one eye. Edward! Hand her here. We need to get her out of here now! Alice's thoughts were filled with worry for this girl. Mentally shaking his head at the strange new emotions taking him by surprise he slid the bundle he carried into her arms, mindful of her damaged ankle, and the two dropped out of sight. Swiftly he followed, careful to close the window behind him before landing just as quietly on the ground below.
He took the girl back from Alice immediately, and both turned as her yellow Porsche pulled up beside them, Jasper at the wheel. Alice held the seat forward as Edward deftly climbed in the back setting his burden gently on his lap and holding her close to his chest. Her heartbeat thudded back at him steadily giving him hope that in time she would recover fully from whatever harm she had suffered. His medical knowledge was mostly theory and based on texts, not hands on experience, but from his cursory examination she didn't appear to have any life threatening injuries.
They drove in silence, Alice glancing back frequently to watch the girl for any sign of consciousness. Jasper raced the sports car along the darkened back roads taking the tight turns expertly at well over a hundred miles an hour. As they pulled into the drive of their secluded home in nearby Forks, Edward could hear the thoughts of his family; not just Esme and Carlisle as expected, but Emmett and Rosalie as well. Great! They're back from their hunting trip early… how am I going to explain this!
Jasper's thoughts were running along similar paths, along with thoughts of how having a human in the house indefinitely would be difficult and not knowing what they could do with her once she was better. Though worried about the health of the girl, Alice was the only one of the three completely confident that things were exactly as they were supposed to be.
As the Porsche slid to a stop next to the large porch, Emmett flew out to greet his siblings and skidded to a halt when he noticed Edward exit with the unmoving girl in his arms. His thoughts were confused, but before he could launch into a bout of twenty questions, Edward slipped past him and called softly "Carlisle. Help."
A/N: This is my very first attempt at writing fan fiction. Please review and let me know what you think. I welcome constructive critisism if you can see an area that should be improved. I also welcome comments, questions and plot ideas :). I have an idea where I want this to go, but there is room for adjustment if someone offers a better idea that gets my mind working. Thanks for reading!