There Will Be Blood
DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em.
The kiss I shared with Bella in the parking lot was a genius move on my part. With that one maneuver I'd accomplished what I'd set out to do. Everyone saw and now they would talk. Our little kiss was even more effective than Stanley's ineptly odious drivel.
As I shuffled through thought after thought infiltrating into my head, I was quite satisfied with the gossip I encountered. Mostly it was surprised ranting from the female populace and appreciative envy from the males, but there was also speculation tempered with vivid recounts from different variations in perspective. Still, the most important detail was always identical in very mind I had the pleasure of hearing.
It was the new, indisputable truth.
Bella was mine.
That kept a smug smile on my face all morning, only building my anticipation to meet with Bella in the lunchroom. I was prepared for the inevitable attention we would receive and I was willing to make an exhibit of myself so long as this means to an end served its purpose. Normally such critical awareness left me annoyed and uncomfortable but, oddly enough, I truly enjoyed flaunting pride in my proximity with Bella, and of course there was the necessary but unspoken warning that Bella was now untouchable to anyone but me.
Bella, however, was having noticeable difficulty with our new-found popularity.
She stalked into the cafeteria with purpose, her shoulders hunched and her thick hair obscuring her face in a way that suggested she was trying to shield herself from the world. She looked vulnerably overwhelmed and I had the unfamiliar urge to protect her from whatever it was she felt threatened by. But then her expressive eyes met mine, narrowing with pure malice and all my protective impulses vanished like a wisp of smoke as I fought the need to bend her over the nearest table and fully perpetuate my withstanding claim. I was hard as rock with one fucking look.
Bella stomped over to our table and took the seat across from me with jerky, livid movements. She glared daggers at me as her face flushed with embarrassed anger and I felt myself get harder. I was dying to kiss her, just to see if she would bite me. My cock twitched at the enticing thought.
"Don't you dare smirk about this Edward." she hissed. "I swear to god, the next person that makes a comment about us is gonna get pummeled with my backpack!"
I laughed. I knew it was only going to piss Bella off more but I couldn't help it. Between the lust she inspired and the envy of those around us, I was giddy. "They know about us now. Deny what you will, but we both know you are enjoying this as much as I am." I countered.
"Hardly." Bella snapped back.
I wasn't not talking about the added attention and she knew it. She wanted to be mine, her racing heart and shaky breaths betrayed her anticipation.
"You are not a very good liar, Bella." I chuckled softly.
She didn't say much after that.
It was the same in biology. She sat beside me, close enough that I could feel her body heat but far enough away for the sake of propriety. I was tempted to touch her in some way to prove my point but there were too many eyes sneaking glances at us despite our location in the back of the classroom. I didn't mind if they watched but I was pretty sure Bella did, so I kept my hands to myself.
The class was long and monotonous, especially when Newton started his pathetic pining. I tried to block out his mental pity-party but he was directing almost every other thought at me, burning with jealousy and absolute loathing. It would have been amusing if his projected thoughts didn't include Bella, naked and moaning his name while looking like an armature porn star.
I actually paid attention to Mr. Banner's lecture just to get a reprieve before I succumbed to my burgeoning irritation and slammed his head into the lab table hard enough to shatter both his skull and the wood.
I walked Bella to her gym class, mainly because Newton was going to offer but also because it had started misting sometime in the last hour and her scent was even better in the rain. I breathed her in greedily until we were forced to part ways outside of the gym.
Spanish class passed much the same way as biology. I spent the hour flashing Mrs. Goff bone-melting smiles that kept her off my back and free to distract myself by watching the parody of Bella trying to play volleyball. I steered clear of Newton and Stanley's minds- I use the term mind loosely- and observed her through the eyes of Coach Clapp because the man could appreciate the humor without thinking about Bella's tight ass and bouncing tits.
But the highlight of my day, the best part by far, occurred as I was waiting for Bella after school by my car. Naturally, Newton was walking at her side like a loyal lapdog and as much as that irked me, it was their conversation that put a genuine smile on my face. He stopped her under the covered walkway and I watched Bella carefully, my eyes reading her body language from across the parking lot while in my mind I watched her face via Newton's faulty brain.
"I don't like it." Not at all. Cullen is an asshole. Why can't Bella see that?
Bella's expression was more than a little confused. "What are you talking about, Mike?"
So much for brunettes being smarter… "Cullen." Hello? Isn't it obvious? "I don't like it."
Bella shrugged dismissively. "You don't have to."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Okay stupid question. She's telling you to stay out of it.
Bella's patience was at its limit, even I could see that much in the way her eyes flashed with anger and I was viewing this second hand. In the periphery of Mike's fuzzy, unfocused, human vision I noticed Bella clutching her backpack defensively. I fervently hoped she was going to make good on her threat from lunch and beat Newton down. I had the best view from all angles.
"It means that what's between Edward and I is none of your business," she replied scathingly.
I was proud of my Bella. I didn't think she had it in her to be bitch. Jesus that was fucking hot.
Now I've annoyed her. Great. Fucking Cullen. Its all his goddamn fault anyway.
Newton's sulking was painfully juvenile. That therein was the difference between him and I. Newton is a boy. I am a man. If he couldn't even assemble his thoughts and press his case coherently then how the hell was he supposed to satisfy Bella's needs? Granted I'm new at this too, but then I suppose decades of sex-by-proxy paid off in the end. Who would have thought?
"So I guess you're not coming with us to the beach Saturday?" No. Why would she come? She's got Cullen now. Wait, she might want to bring him along. Aw fuckin' hell! Then I'll have to watch them suck face all day. I'd rather make out with Jessica then have to see that…
I might not have scruples but I do have standards and making out with Jessica Stanley…
"Mike…" Bella sighed his name sounding thoroughly frustrated. "I know I said I would go but Edward wants to do something… you know… just the two of us." She flushed at the last part and I snickered to myself.
A date? Figures. "So like… is he your boyfriend now… or something?" Pleasesaynopleasesaynopleasesayno…
I found myself waiting just as impatiently as Newton for her answer.
"Yeah," Bella choked, her pretty face turning the most tempting shade of rose. "Edward is my boyfriend. We're official and all that stuff." She looked uncomfortable as she waved her hand around as if the action could sum up all the "stuff" she didn't mention. Her guilt-ridden gaze shifted to me as she worried her bottom lip between her teeth.
"I've got to go. Edward is waiting for me," she mumbled quickly before starting off in my direction.
It was easy to block out Newton once I no longer had use for him.
As eager as Bella was to get away from Newton, as she approached me she was dragging her feet and becoming more flustered by the second. I had to concentrate on hiding my amusement as she tripped, stumbled and practically fell into my arms as I reached out to catch her.
The breath knocked out of Bella's chest with a soft "oof" as she collided into my stone solid frame. Reflexively, my arms crushed her soft, warm body to mine and I laughed. "You don't have to throw yourself at me." I quipped.
It took a moment for her lungs to work properly but when they did she sucked in a shaky breath. "You're an ass."
Bella's expression was guarded and I couldn't tell if she was still angry at me about this morning's kiss or not. I wasn't sorry. Actually, I wanted to kiss her again. She looked incredibly sexy with her pretty face all flushed and her chocolate eyes dazed. Her toasty body temperature felt searing even through the layers of our clothing. She made it exceedingly difficult to abide by public decorum without even trying. Should Bella ever put her mind to it, I swear she'd be the fucking death of me.
I debated on whether I should goad her temper further or try to pacify the situation, but I couldn't decipher which method would get me in her pants with minimal effort. Bella was so damn unpredictable that I was never truly certain. It was maddening.
Opting for some kind of hint as to what she wanted I asked, "Should I apologize?"
"Don't bother. It only counts if you mean it," she huffed.
Since there was no point in lying, I tried another route. "Are you still angry with me?" I wheedled, trying for a genuinely put out expression.
When Bella did not respond, I pulled her to me tighter and she didn't resist. I arched a brow in question and whished like I had never wished before that I could hear what was going on in that mysterious mind of hers. She was gazing up at me, her eyes oddly unfocused.
Bella blinked, as if she couldn't concentrate on the question I'd asked. Then she blinked again.
After a long moment she pushed at my chest half-heartedly, mildly annoyed. "Stop doing that." she accused.
I frowned. "Doing what?"
"Dazzling me." She sounded as if I should know exactly what she was talking about.
I stared at her, completely perplexed.
"When you look at me like that I can't think straight. You're eyes…" she trailed off, going unfocused again. I almost laughed when she literally shook herself, "I'm serious! Stop!"
I was still a little dazed myself at this new discovery. "I dazzle you?"
"All the fucking time." Bella muttered. She struggled to pull away and this time I let her.
Ignorance may be bliss but knowledge is definitely power and now that I knew what I could do to her I had a new leverage over this… well… whatever the hell this "boyfriend" thing was between us. I regret not taking more interest the intricacies of the human mating rituals going on around me. A better understanding of what Bella expected from me would be invaluable right now.
I ran through my options quickly as we both got in the car. Apparently, I was going to have to resort to the human method.
"So what were you and Mike talking about?" I asked trying to come across as nonchalant but unable to help the sneer that crept into my voice at his name. I kept my eyes on the road and waited for Bella to fess up or cut her own throat.
"Nothing important," she hedged. "Told him I'm not going to La Push Saturday. He wasn't happy about it, but oh well."
Bella was being honest and forthcoming so far. I wondered how far I could push her.
"That's all? I would have expected more of a fight from him."
"Why?" she asked warily.
"He's quite smitten with you and he absolutely loathes me for making my move first." I replied, stating the obvious.
You know this and you use it because you're no different from anyone else Isabella…
I wasn't fooled for one second. Bella was charming and she was innocent in the terms of her young age and her limited life experiences, but Bella was not stupid by a long shot and that angel's face of hers hid a very shrewd mind that I did not trust. It was easy to get suckered into her spell and fall for the aura of humility she projected but the truth was, on the inside, Bella was just as self-serving as me. The silence of her mind only made her more dangerous.
I parked the Volvo in front of Bella's house and cut off the ignition before she finally responded.
"Mike got the point. He knows that you and I…" she peeked at me nervously, and then spoke in a rush, "Okay, don't get mad but I sort of told Mike that you're my boyfriend and I know we've never talked about anything serious like that but I didn't know what else to say to get him to back off so I just agreed when he asked if we were together and if you want me to, I'll take it back 'cause I'm not trying to pressure you into anything-"
"Bella," I interrupted her silly rambling feeling amused and something else I didn't have a name for. "Why would I be angry?" I asked, honestly curious at how she could draw that conclusion.
"Well I told him we're official. It's going to be all over school tomorrow and if you think they're talking now, just wait," she warned defensively.
I gave her a tolerant look. "I kissed you where everyone could see knowing that they would probably come to that conclusion regardless. I'm certainly not angry about it." But Bella was and it made me question what she was editing that I couldn't hear. Before I realized what I was doing, I found myself saying, "I'm fond of the idea but if you would rather not be seen with me publicly then I won't stop you."
It was foolish to risk undoing the progress I'd made but my damn pride was sorely bruised.
Before Bella could say more, my cell phone buzzed. Only my family had my number and they wouldn't call me unless it was important. I took the hone from my pocket, flashed Bella an apologetic smile and answered. I knew from the tone of Alice's voice as she said my name that something was seriously wrong.
"Edward, how fast can you get home from Bella's house?"
"Five minutes." I said briskly. "Alice? What's wrong?"
"I don't know…" she sounded terrified.
"What do you mean you don't know?"
"I can't see anything." Alice cried. "Our futures are gone. All four of us. I tried to see but there's nothing. Its blank. That's never happened before, ever…"
I went still as alarm damn near floored me. Alice's psychic abilities never failed us, and though it wasn't perfect, it was always there. I could only think of one reason why our futures would disappear.
Something cold settled inside of me and I embraced it, focusing. "Does Carlisle know?"
"Esme is on the phone with him now. She already locked down the house."
"I'm on my way. Don't do anything until I get there."
The line went dead.
"Is everything alright?" Bella's voice was soft and gentle when paired with the violence raging inside me.
"I have to go." I ground out between my clenched teeth.
She nodded and I was grateful she didn't ask anything more as she quickly exited the car. Over her shoulder, she glanced back, "See you tonight?"
I nodded, unable to say anything else.
I made the drive back to my home in record time. The tires squealed since I took every turn entirely too fast and I seriously considered abandoning the car since I could run faster but as I neared the house I began to detect the Esme and Alice's thoughts. Nothing had changed.
I didn't bother bringing the car around to the garage, I simply left it in front of the house and raced inside. Esme's relief was palpable upon seeing me. Alice smiled weakly.
Esme grasped my hand, her fingers curling around mine. "Carlisle is on his way here."
"What happened Alice?" I asked.
"I don't know how to explain it. One minute I could see everything clearly and then nothing. I've looked ahead for us and there isn't anything. I don't know what it means."
I could see it in her mind, the way she could predict up to a certain point… up to Carlisle's arrival and then abruptly the vision ended… and like she said, nothing.
I pinched the bridge of my nose with my free hand. "There has to be a reason."
"We die." She growled.
"Alice!" Esme gasped, her hand going to her throat.
"Admit it. You're both thinking the same thing too. What other explanation could there be?"
It seemed impossible and yet she was right. It was the only explanation I could come up with and as vehemently as Esme wanted to deny it, it was there on her mind as well. But what could possibly change so drastically and quickly that it would put four vampires in mortal danger?
We all heard the sleek purr of Carlisle's Mercedes and I sighed. "Well I guess we're going to find out."
I opened my mind completely to my sixth sense, something I rarely do, and tried to focus on any wandering thoughts that might give me some clue as to what could be coming our way. I didn't have to search far. What I was looking for was being led to us by Carlisle himself.
I heard Carlisle first.
Edward the Quileute have sent a few members of their tribe to come and speak with us. Please tell Alice to calm down. Esme explained on the phone about her visions but there is nothing that can be done about it now. I'd rather our guests remain uninformed about your abilities and Alice's.
I was already one step ahead and thinking the same thing. At this point any advantage was a plus in our favor.
I explained to Esme and Alice the situation and I didn't feel any better bout it than they did. I could hear the Quileute's thoughts but it was impossible to tell how many there were with they way their minds overlapped as if they were all independent and yet interconnected at the same time. And my understanding was unclear since their minds were focused more on emotion and instinct and not using words… And then I realized why. They were in wolf form.
The mind of an animal functions different that it's human counterpart. What I was hearing now was a complex influx of both, creating the most interesting balance. I listened carefully, enthralled. One thing that I could discern was that they did not appear hostile, only cautious, which was quite reasonable.
We joined Carlisle on the porch and he was alone, but I could pinpoint the Quileute just beyond the thick border of trees that surrounded our house. Then abruptly there was a fissure in my head that buzzed like a mental itch, and then I found the human thoughts I'd been searching for.
There were three of them, more remained in wolf form but I focused on the ones I could understand. They were here to discuss territory lines. They were not looking for a confrontation and were anxious to keep this peaceful just as we were.
I let out a slow breath of relief.
"They don't want to fight." I informed my family with the barest sound.
There was no time to say more as three young men emerged from the outcropping of trees. They were massive in size, dressed in shorts and nothing else with their heads shaved in the standard military fashion. They approached in V formation with the alpha flanked by his seconds. All three boys appeared barely out of their teen years.
Carlisle, ever the diplomat, stepped off the porch and greeted them as if they were old acquaintances. "Welcome gentlemen."
The alpha smiled somberly at the greeting and nodded his head politely. "We appreciate you meeting with us on such short notice."
"We were anticipating as much. My family understands the potential severity of our species residing in close proximity. We certainly do not wish to cause any discord for your tribe while we are here." Carlisle replied smoothly. Seeming to remember his manners he turned to us and pointed toward our guests, beginning the introductions. "The leader is Sam Uley, to his right is Jacob Black and the other is Paul Shue. Gentlemen this is my wife Esme, my son Edward and my daughter Alice."
Sam offered another polite nod as Jacob glared stonily ahead and Paul flashed a lazy grin.
Sam's thoughts were becoming confident that this meeting would be productive. The Quileute were not going to allow their people to fall prey to out dietary needs but beyond the desire to protect their own, they did not begrudge our presence. So long as we did not hunt on Quileute land, the tribe did not intend to cause us any problems. I listened as he explained the borders to Quileute territory and while their land was a rather large portion of the area to our west, it still left us plenty of hunting range.
I thought of the red headed vampire Alice had seen and new idea occurred to me. The efficient way in which Sam gave us the exact information we needed prompted me to ask, "Do you encounter many vampires in this area?"
Sam lifted one of his massive shoulders in what I supposed was a shrug. "Not really but others of your kind have passed through from time to time. We've never seen vampires live as you do though. Seems to me like it would be extremely difficult interacting so closely with your food source. I have to ask, how do you manage it?"
Discretion was the unspoken rule amongst all of nature's anomalies. None of us wanted to end up in a government laboratory to be dissected for human study. Add to that the predictability of human nature to fear what it does not understand and destroy what it fears…
Nothing good would come from either of our species being discovered. That, at least, was something the wolves did not need to worry about. We Cullen's were connoisseurs at remaining inconspicuous.
I smirked. "We're vegetarians."
Paul snickered and I caught his mental image of a rabbit eating lettuce.
"What Edward means is that our family is unique in many ways." Carlisle clarified. "We've chosen an alternate lifestyle apart from the usual habits of our kind. We abstain from feeding on humans."
Jacob eyed Carlisle incredulously. "Why?"
In his mind Carlisle's job at the hospital was the prefect set up to feed from his more dire patients and then ship the corpses off to the morgue for easy disposal. I nearly rolled my eyes at his uneducated theory. Carlisle was a doctor, not a coroner and no medical board in the country would over look a doctor with a high patient death rate. How stupid was this kid?
I responded before Carlisle could, something about Jacob's annoyed attitude bringing forth my own. "The same reason your tribe has made the reservation a safe place for your kind. The best way to stay under the radar is to blend right in." I couldn't help adding a touch of sarcasm. "And it's rude to live amongst humans and then turn around and eat them. Animals suffice well enough."
As I expected Jacob bristled at my implied insult but Sam and Paul found it amusing. Sam gave Jacob a sharp look and the boy looked away glaring off to the side as his thoughts ranted his displeasure at having to be "polite". He knew Sam could hear every word and I assumed that was a wolf thing. He didn't know that I could too and I tried not expose my amusement.
Edward curb your temper!
Carlisle smiled apologetically at Sam. "Don't take offense please."
"Think you could keep wolves off the menu?" Sam asked me, snarky but not angry.
"It shouldn't be a problem." I replied honestly because they did smell like wet dogs even from halfway across the front yard. Very unappetizing.
"So what do you guys feed on? Like deer and stuff?" Paul asked, still entertained by the idea of vegetarian vampires.
"Yes. It is enough to sustain us and every so often we will hunt in areas with an overpopulation of carnivores." Carlisle replied.
That's not all your son is hunting…
It wasn't the actual words but the driving, jealous fury behind them that caught my full attention.
Shut the fuck up Jake! That is an order!
Sam's reprimand came sharp and swift cutting through Jacob's angry thoughts and stilling them in their tracks before I caught their origin. The command reverberated in his head and I watched as he clenched his jaw in muted frustration.
I felt as if there was something incredibly obvious I was missing and the illusive answer was right there, on the edges of Jacob's mind dancing just out of my grasp. I wasn't sure where his animosity was coming from but I now knew for certain that it was directed at me, though I could not fathom a reason why.
I truly did not care what this overgrown child thought of me but I was curious as to why he would take an instant disliking to me, and I'll be the first to admit that I probably did deserve it but I was more galled that I couldn't simply lift the cause from his mind.
I searched Sam's thoughts but he was once again focused on the discussion at hand.
"Does your pack hunt beyond Quileute territory?" Carlisle asked.
Sam nodded. "Sometimes it's necessary. There is a large number of us and the competition for game can get very aggressive." As he spoke he gave Paul a meaningful look.
I still maintain Embry had it coming. He knew I wanted that stag and he went for it anyway. So I hamstringed him, big deal.
When Sam ignored him, Paul's thoughts went back to speculating how long this was going to take and the current score of the basketball game he'd rather be home watching.
"Speaking of large numbers, we were under the impression that there are a few more of you?" Sam asked Carlisle.
"Yes, three. Two sons and a daughter. They will be arriving tomorrow."
"And are they vegetarians too?"
Paul snickered. Run Bambi! Run!
I tried very hard not to crack a smile.
"They share the same lifestyle. I'll inform them of the boundary lines. They won't be a problem."
Sam was appeased but still a bit boggled at the size of our family. It was odd for so many of our kind to live together in close quarters peacefully. As individuals we suited each other well. We managed to get by with the occasional argument that usually ended with breaking Esme's furniture…
And that was always Emmett's fault.
Seeing as there was really nothing more to say, I took it upon myself to bring this little powwow to an end and moved to stand beside Carlisle. I noticed Jacob tense, his dislike intensifying.
"It seems we have an understanding. Was there anything else you wanted to discuss?" I asked Sam.
"No, I think we covered everything. Honestly, this went more smoothly than I expected." He was thankful for that, his tone mirrored the appreciation in his thoughts. He hadn't expected us to be reasonable and now we'd earned a measure of his respect.
Like hell we're done Sam! The prick needs to know she's off limits!
This time Jacob's thoughts were clear and I finally got the glimpse I'd been hoping for, but it was last thing I was expecting. In his mind I saw my Bella through his infatuated haze. I could feel it now, the burning, gut-wrenching jealousy. He could smell her lingering scent on my clothes and had picked it up the minute he'd come close to the house just like a fucking dog.
I kept my face neutral and it was an effort not to betray my own steadily rising fury. But I couldn't stop my hands from clenching. It was either that or go for the bastard's throat.
Jacob step down.
No Sam! Charlie and Bella are as good as family and that means we protect them too! You agreed to that remember!
Until there is a reason she needs protection you are staying out of it.
Don't tell me you trust him? He's a goddamn vampire! Her scent is all over him! This is bullshit!
Some leader you are!
Even I almost flinched as Sam's command echoed through my head with the force of a wrecking ball. Jacob literally hunched in on himself, his head bowing in a show of submission even though his mind still rebelled weakly.
This is about more than you Jacob. While I am concerned for Bella, she is not one of us and therefore is not my first priority. What you tell her when you see her tonight is up to you but I'm warning you now, if you say one word about what we are or what the Cullen's are I will skin you and wear your fucking pelt! Do you understand?
Jacob relented. Though the entire stand off was silent to everyone but me, Carlisle caught the sudden tension between the two wolves. He glanced at me worriedly and I forced myself to relax so he would know everything was fine.
"Thank you for taking the time to meet with us." Sam said, more composed than I expected despite the dominant anger he kept leashed. With a final nod to Carlisle, he started off back toward the trees with his companions on his heels, Paul keeping his mind carefully blank while Jacob nursed his frustration.
I waited until I felt the fissure in my mind as they reverted to their wolf forms. Then I waited another few seconds until the pack's collective psyche faded from my range of perception. Then I couldn't help myself, I let out a purely livid snarl catching my family by surprise.
"Edward!" Esme worried, "What's the matter?"
"A complication." I spit out through my clenched teeth.
Carlisle, all while watching me closely, took my arm firmly leading back toward the house. "Calm down son. Lets go inside and you can explain everything you overheard."
I did as told, barely acknowledging Alice's sudden excitement when our collective futures suddenly returned, as if her vision had never failed in the first place. There was only one thought filling my mind.
Jacob was going to see Bella tonight and I had no idea what he was going to tell her.
A.N.- You can thank insomnia for this update. Due to complete sleep deprivation I was able to finish this chapter last night. I'm working on the next chapter of Desecration as I get a minute here and there so please be patient. As I explained in my profile I have a lot going in RL and probably won't update again until the around the end of the month. Hopefully. Keep your fingers crossed lol.
One more thing, please forgive any typos. I haven't had the chance to get this beta read, I literally just finished this… like five minutes ago.