Inevitable Chapter 23
Calm. Stay calm. Esme will take care of Bella. Bella will not come to Forks. Bella will not be killed by the Volturi. I must remain calm. What the-
Shhhh. You'll alert them to our presence!
I can't control my sneezes, Jake! Bodily functions are uncontrollable.
Alright! Enough! You two control yourselves, we're almost there.
Yeah, Sam. Sorry.
Cullen! I know you can read my mind! Get your leech ass out here now!
"Does anyone smell that?"
None of us stuck around long enough to respond to Felix's question. My family knew the wolves and their scent; they didn't have to read their minds to know that they were just outside.
We were downstairs and in front of them in a split second. Two humans flanked by four enormous wolves. Still, no match for eight vampires.
I recognized Jacob but not the man standing to his left, who decided to speak first.
"Which one of you is Carlisle Cullen?"
"I am," Carlisle responded. "May I ask the purpose of you visit? I don't recall any provisions of our treaty being violated."
I loved to watch Carlisle like this, as a leader. Carlisle, by his very nature, was non-violent and peaceful. This was as close to bad-ass as he got, and who doesn't like their father to be bad-ass once in a while?
"Our treaty is with Carlisle Cullen and the direct members of his family. I don't believe those two are members of your family?" He used air quotes when he said the word "family" and nodded toward Felix and Demetri, still standing up on the deck. Thankfully, they did not join us in the yard. If what this dog was saying were true, it wouldn't help us any to have them down here adding to our show of force.
"They are our guests. They are not here to cause any trouble and will be instructed to hunt as far away from Forks as possible." This last piece of information did not help us any.
As soon as the words came out of Carlisle's mouth, the wolves started growling and getting anxious. Their thoughts were conflicted. Apparently the one who spoke for them, Sam, was their pack leader. They could not attack or make any move otherwise without say so from him first. But they wanted to. They were genetically pre-disposed to slaughter us.
"This is ridiculous! They should be stopped!" Jacob finally decided to speak, not being able to hold back any longer. "It's ok for them to kill humans so long as it is away from Forks? Are you kidding? Sam, we have to stop them. What about Bella?" He was turned towards Sam as he spoke, but looked at me when he said Bella's name.
"Did you think of that bloodsucker? What if they go to Seattle and see Bella and decide she would make a good snack? She may not be afraid of you but she should be. You're all a danger to her!" Little did he know, Jacob had done more damage than if we just let Felix and Demetri go on their merry way. There was no way they would not question us about her now.
I had broken a cardinal rule. I told a human about us.
"Jake, calm down." He put his hand on Jacob's shoulder and immediately, Jacob closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Sam turned his attention back to Carlisle. "They have an hour to leave Forks. We'll be watching. And remember, our treaty is with you, not them. We are within our rights to defend the humans." He looked up at Felix and Demetri to address them personally. "Go back to where you came from, and don't come back. This land, and the people on it, is protected." He gave a high pitched whistle and took off, the rest of his pack following, before any of us could respond.
"Well, that went better than expected," Rosalie spoke first. Unfortunately I could not agree with her. It was time to face the music, so to speak.
In the blink of an eye we were all back in the living room. Nobody sat but everyone paired up, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"So who's this Bella then? I take it she's human? The young one was looking at you when he spoke." Felix was looking at me. His tone was that of a casual conversation but his thoughts were far more accusatory.
"She's just an acquaintance, really." I tried to match the bored casualness of his question.
"He said 'she's not afraid of you'. She knows what you are?" It may have been a question but it was plain he knew the answer. Aro shall hear about this.
"It's too bad those mongrels have cut our trip short. We'd so like to meet her." Not afraid of vampires, indeed. We'll give her something to be afraid of, he thought.
"Perhaps, you will bring her to visit Volterra? Soon?"
Edward! Just then I got a very disturbing vision of the future from Alice. A visit to Volterra would not turn out well for me or Bella.
"Perhaps," I replied. It was all I could manage as my previously quiet family chose this moment to bombard my thoughts with their own. Emmett's, I wasn't surprised, mirrored my own: We'll fight'em, they will not get their hands on Bella! We'll hide her if we have to.
When Demetri, who had been silent both verbally and mentally until now, finally spoke, his voice was unnervingly sweet. It was like he could read my mind. "Try not to keep us waiting too long. We may be forced to come find her ourselves. Felix, let's go."
"Carlisle," Felix said with a nod as the two disappeared, the sound of their car peeling out of the driveway in their wake.
"I take it back," Rosalie said as she moved to the couch, sitting down and bring Emmett with her. It was debrief time. "It went exactly as I expected." She smirked at me, and from her thoughts I could tell she knew the Volturi would get involved when I started seeing a human.
All eyes were on me. It seemed everyone, except Carlisle, expected a trip to Volterra to end painfully and they were concerned for themselves and their mates. No one thought of abandoning me, however.
"So what do we do now? What do we say to Bella?" Jasper put his arm around Alice when she spoke and she cuddled into him. I felt a pang of jealousy and wanted Bella to be here. I then told them as much.
"I think any conversation we have about this should involve Bella. She's strong, she can handle it." I added that last part more for my reassurance than theirs. Luckily, Alice agreed.
"You're right," she paused, looking off in to the distance. I could see that she was getting a glimpse in to our future once I decided to involve Bella in our discussion. "She'll handle it quite well. She's sassy."
"That's my girl!" I stood; all this talk of Bella was making me miss her even more. It didn't help that those feelings seemed to be ricocheting off of Jasper, making them more intense.
It was then that Carlisle's phone rang.
"Esme," he answered. I knew it had to be equally hard on him having to deal with this situation without his mate. "Good. That's under control, they've gone and so have Felix and Demetri. They know about Bella though. Please, come back and bring Bella with you."
"I've missed you," I said to Bella as I buried my face into her neck. I breathed her in, allowing it to calm me. She had been quiet while I explained everything, processing the situation in her head like I knew she would.
When Bella and Esme arrived, I took Bella straight to my room. We needed to have a family discussion about the Volturi but I wanted some alone time with her first.
We were sitting on the brand new bed Alice had purchased for me. I was leaning against the headboard holding Bella in my lap, sitting with her back to my chest so I couldn't see her face very well.
"I've missed you, too" She turned a little to place a kiss on my jaw and I almost started purring. "This is a lot to take in, Edward."
Edward, can you and Bella come down now? There's a lot to discuss. Carlisle's thoughts broke through my Bella-induced haze. I knew our time alone was limited.
"I know it is. Come on, Carlisle wants us to go downstairs." I nudged Bella to sit up and we got off the bed.
"Is everyone down there?"
"Yes, they're waiting for us to discuss our options for dealing with the Volturi." Even though I knew our options were limited, as in limited to visit or die, I was trying to be positive for Bella's sake.
Her forehead wrinkled. "What do you mean they are waiting for us?"
"This is something we need to discuss as a family. Everyone is affected in some way or form, so it only makes sense that everyone gets a say. Besides, don't they say 'two heads are better than one?' or in this case eight?"
"I guess I just never had to think that way before. When I lived in Phoenix, my mom would make most of the big decisions, mainly on a whim, and mostly without my input. She even does it Phil. I'm not used to having family meetings or having a say for that matter." She smiled up at me and grabbed my hand, leading me downstairs – to our destiny.
The tension in the room was palpable. There was no escaping the simple truth that our summons to Volterra was non-negotiable. Sure, we could run and hide but Bella quickly put the kibosh on that option. Without having met them, even she knew their resources meant that it was only a matter of time before they found us. Besides, she didn't see us as criminals and refused to act like one.
Wait, Kibosh? I can only imagine who I picked that word up from, I thought as I looked at Bella. She was pacing the floor, much like I do when I'm deep in thought and I chuckled to myself at how we were rubbing off on one another. Mmm, rubbing off on one another…
Oops. I could feel Jasper's eyes burning a hole in the back of my head before I heard his thoughts. Can it with the lust buddy. This is neither the time nor the place!
I glanced back at him with an apologetic smile and sunk down into the couch, covering my face with my hands. We were all frustrated.
"So when do we have to go? Now?" Bella spoke softly and I looked up to see that her question was directed at me. Too bad I didn't have a good answer. "What about my classes? What about Charlie?"
"If they wanted you there right away they would have gone to Seattle and gotten you themselves. The Volturi are big on show and making examples of people. They win either way here. If you go to Volterra they can make a spectacle of it. If you run, they make a spectacle of it," Carlisle explained.
"We can pick a time when you are out of school. Christmas break perhaps?" I looked to Carlisle for confirmation that that time frame would work.
"Yes, and in the meantime, we could send a note apprising them of our travel plans-"
"A note, yes! That will go over well!" Alice interjected.
"Do you see anything else Alice?" Jasper asked.
"No. Everything else is still too up in the air," she said, a touch of regret in her voice. Her gift was powerful, but since it relied on so many changing factors, it was not easy for her to control.
"We're not all going, right?" Ah Rosalie, ever the self-preservationist.
I left that one for Carlisle to field, not trusting myself to keep a calm voice.
"No, I don't think that would be wise. I will certainly join Edward and Bella, but I think the rest of you should remain here." No one missed Esme's quiet gasp at Carlisle's statement. "We will take advantage of my former relationship with Aro and the others.
The room was abuzz with thoughts now. Emmett was the first to voice his.
"I should go with you. You need back up!" I could hear Jasper agreeing with him in his thoughts.
No! Rosalie shot me a death glare along with some choice positions she pictured killing me in.
"That's precisely why I wouldn't want you there. If they see that we are not a threat, then maybe we can resolve this peacefully," Carlisle argued.
"What kind of peaceful resolution are you looking for here? If they don't kill you, what would be the alternative?" Jasper asked. "They certainly are not going let you go with a slap on the wrist."
This time, Esme spoke up, looking at me. "You could change her? Make her one of us, and then there would be nothing to punish you for. You love her, right?"
I looked at Bella and could only image that her expression mirrored mine. Two deer caught in the headlights.
Yes, I loved her. But didn't that mean I shouldn't want to change her?
A/N Got my Eclipse opening night tickets. Mixed feelings. The wigs and make up are getting worse with each film!
Thank you for reading!