A/N: Two updates in one week. I told you all I was back. I want to thank those of you who reviewed the last chapter and for all of you who've stuck with my story from the beginning. This one's for you all!
"So should we race back?" Alice asked after getting her fill of what she was now affectionately calling 'their song.'
"Why so I can win again or so you can delude yourself with thinking you actually won again?" Bella shot back, hopping down from the rock, using her wings to break her fall instead of using her legs to absorb the shock.
"Well if you're going to take that attitude, I don't even want to race with you anymore." Alice teased, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Why don't you just race yourself back!" She continued, sticking her tongue out at the siren.
"I have a better idea if you want to hear it, or you can find your own way back." Bella teased back heading for the border of trees, not bothering to look back.
It took only a moment for the vampire to huff, leap off the rock, and run over to her, "Your proposition makes me curious." She said standing right in front of the siren.
"Are you good at holding on?" She asked.
"I'm not sure I like where this is going…"Alice said before wrapping her arms around Bella's neck, "But I'm always up for trying something new." Before she had time to process what was going on, Bella's wings spread out in front of her eyes and began a long almost stretch like motion that scattered a few loose leaves, "I take that back, I really like where this as going."
"I'm glad you do, because I've never carried someone before." Bella said wrapping her arms around the vampire's middle, flapping again. Alice didn't exactly weigh a lot, but she was still extra weight, but more specifically she was extra weight that the siren wasn't used to carrying. "You need to switch to low fat blood. If you keep gaining weight like this I won't be able to carry you." She teased, flapping again, and again, and again; each time harder than the last.
"I'm not fat, you're just too weak to carry me; so don't go blaming me for your inadequacies." Alice continued in the vein of teasing that had started long before the singing stopped. "Maybe I'll find another siren to fly me home, one that's prettier."
"Well make sure to get one that doesn't enslave people or vampires while you're at it, otherwise you'll be in trouble." Bella lashed back, through gritted teeth as she finally managed to lift both of them off the ground. Unlike her usual steep climb, Bella decided for a gradual climb, away from town. For one it was much, much easier on her than a near vertical ascent, and two, it gave Alice a little better ride.
Alice had flown in all sorts of airplanes, from early commercial planes, to a single engine, even a biplane once upon a time, and of course all forms of modern air travel: jumbo jets, a Concord, a Gulfstream, even a glider. But this, this was completely different, this wasn't flying (flying is what she did in a plane), this wasn't falling (that was what she did when she decided to try skydiving), this was soaring. "This is incredible!" She shouted into Bella's ear, the rushing of wind made it almost impossible to communicate unless her mouth was directly over the siren's ear.
"You haven't seen anything yet." Bella shouted back with a smile that Alice could hear evidence of in her voice. Had Alice a heart it would have been hammering against her rib cage so fast that it could have burst from her chest; but she didn't, so it wouldn't.
To her left the swirling white and grey marine layer loomed over everything, ready to engulf the entire peninsula for the evening; the siren banked hard into the cold mist, Alice screaming her approval the entire way. Once Bella hid herself from anyone looking up in the sky by staying in the high fog she started doing things she'd only done a few times. She started as gently as she could; pulling into a steep climb only to fold her wings and rolled over onto her back freefalling through the sky until she brought them back out just enough to control herself to do a back flip in mid air. She pulled up again, to make sure she stayed tucked into the marine layer before doing a series of barrel rolls; after she was sufficiently dizzy from those, she rose out of the clouds and beat her wings just to a hover over the ocean of clouds that always seemed to hang over Forks.
Once up at that altitude the wind generated by her massive white wings was quiet enough that they could actually speak without having to shout into one another's ears. "How was that for you?" Bella asked nearly out of breath.
"That was the most fun you can have with your pants on." Alice laughed in reply, "We're clearly going to have to do this more often, you know that right?"
"Oh, most definitely," Bella said nodding as she squeezed Alice tighter in her arms.
A wicked thought crossed Alice's mind, well not so much wicked as slightly dirty, "I wonder how hard it would be to join the mile high club like this…" She trailed off, smirking to herself.
"Well we are about a mile up right now, but I think it sounds like a better idea than it actually is. We wouldn't want me losing control and crashing us both would we?"
"Hmm…no I suppose that wouldn't be a good idea. At least not yet." Alice winked pressing her lips against Bella's in a passionate kiss.
Bella closed her eyes and kissed back, her tongue gently exploring the inside of Alice's mouth as her wings wrapped tightly around them both. With the siren's wings no longer flapping the two began to plummet as they continued to kiss, wrapped in a blanket of brilliant white feathers. Alice wrapped her hand into Bella's now soggy hair as she gently sucked on the siren's tongue before letting their tongues dance again. It was by far one of the ten most romantic kisses ever seen by man, and by far the most adventurous. A couple hundred feet off the ground the siren's wings snapped open and acted as a parachute; by the time the two of them crossed the tips of the trees they were falling as slowly as a feather until both of them finally touched down on terra firma.
"Okay," Bella said, now utterly out of breath, "That was the most fun you can have with your pants on." She released Alice from her arms, realizing just how stiff they'd become from holding her so tightly. Now that she was on the ground she decided it was probably a good idea to tuck her wings back into her back, and with the same effort it would take to put her hand in her pocket she did just that. The long vertical slits closed up without a seam; leaving her, for the first time that afternoon, freezing cold.
"I'm not going to disagree with that." The vampire said kissing her quickly one last time before she released her arms from around the siren's neck. She took Bella's hand in hers and began walking back the short distance to the house.
The walk back was nearly silent, but not anywhere near a strained silence of two people that didn't know what to say to each other; more like a silence that comes about when two people are so comfortable with each other that silence between them is filled with contentment; that kind of silence is in itself very rare. Neither was going to complain that they could get away with having such silence between them, and neither of them wanted to break it.
Soon they broke through the trees yet again and found themselves in Bella's front yard; parked next to the rusted red pickup was Charlie's battered police cruiser. Each gave a small sigh, realizing that they'd have to give up their content silence sooner than they would have liked. Grudgingly they started opened the front door, letting the rest of the world in. "Dad, we're back." Bella announced, crossing the threshold.
Charlie walked in from the kitchen, a small scowl stretched tightly across his face, "Did you girls have a nice time?" The banal question didn't attempt to mask the contempt he felt. The look was that of a parent who's getting ready to say 'I'm not angry, just disappointed.'
"Are you alright?" It didn't take someone with Bella's abilities in empathy to know something was seriously wrong with him but it was the first thing that came to her mind. Instinctively she gripped Alice's hand tighter and stared at her father waiting for him to say something. She'd never seen him quite like this before.
"No, I had to go and look for three missing hikers today, all of them older and more experienced than either of you two are. And then I come home to find this note." He waved it wildly in front of their face, "You didn't tell me where you were going, you didn't tell me when you left, and you didn't tell me when you were planning on getting back. I've been worried sick about you."
Bella started playing the typical child role: make excuses and lie, "Through the woods, dad we didn't go a half mile away from the house…"
"We're terribly sorry," Alice chimed in, using a much more diplomatic tone, "We didn't realize we would be gone as long as we were, the note was merely a precaution in case you got home a few minutes before we did. We didn't intend to be gone longer than an hour, but we lost track of time. I apologize."
The chief was taken aback slightly, hearing language he wasn't used to hearing from the average high school student; of course his typical interaction with high school students prior to Bella's arrival normally involved dealing with speeders, the occasional vandal, and the slightly regular drug possessor. And both Alice and Bella were far from those usual suspects. But that still didn't stop him from closely scrutinizing both of them; their clothes were clean, their hair was clear of leaves, sticks, and other debris. It didn't seem they were up to anything that he, as a father, should be worried about. "Just…just be careful out there; please don't make me worry. It'll give me more grey hair than I already have." He turned around muttering some about men of his age, but none of it seemed directed at either of the women.
"Nice going." Bella said facing the vampire.
"Thanks," Alice said absently, "Something about that didn't seem right though. He seemed genuinely spooked about something."
"Yeah, he's not normally like that; not so much the confrontational type; I don't think he found those hikers alive." Bella said, not wanting to think of that possibility; she knew that she was put together better and stronger than any regular person on the planet; and Alice was nigh on invincible. Nothing would ever happen to them like that. But something might, the siren suddenly felt nauseas thinking of Alice's words earlier that day. Something might happen to her; and Charlie might never even know the truth. That single thought made her want to simultaneously throw her arms around her dad and throw up. She began to shiver uncontrollably, when she really just wanted to cry. Her love for her father had always been an intangible presence she
Alice lovingly wrapped her arms around the siren and pulled her in closely, reaching her hand up she gently cupped the back of the sobbing girl's neck (because by that time she'd broken down) and brought her head into the crook of the vampire's neck. "Shh…shh," Alice hushed, "Everything's going to be fine remember? By now Carlisle will have talked to Aro and everything will be fine. No one's going to hurt you remember?" She felt the siren nod gently into her neck, staining the collar of the vampire's shirt with tears.
Alice, Bella thought, was far too calm; maybe she'd had someone try to kill her before, but for the siren this was a very new experience that she now had to deal with. Maybe she was taking it a little too seriously, but when a person uses the word 'kill' in the same sentence as 'you,' the normal reaction is to freak out a little bit. Or, well, a lot in Bella's case. "How, how can you say that? How can you know?"
"Because I've seen it before, the Volturi are rulers. They have power, lots of it, and like anyone with power they want more of it. And when someone threatens their power they want to destroy that. All we need to do is make them think that you're not a threat to their power and they won't have a problem letting you live." Alice's voice took on a soothing, almost melodic quality as she explained with clear logic just exactly how she knew everything was going to turn out fine.
"And what if they don't see things our way?" Bella chocked out in between sobbing into Alice's shirt.
"Then we fight. We show them exactly why they hated sirens to begin with; we'll take them down several pegs and show them that they don't mess with my girlfriend." Bella couldn't help but laugh at Alice's determination.
Something about Alice always put Bella at ease, even when people, vampires rather, were trying to kill her; even if: "I don't know how to fight."
"You leave the fighting to my family and me. They're afraid of you, we are going to play into that fear, and you are going to strike at them and force them to leave you alone. All you need to worry about is singing your heart out, that's your weapon, and it is the most powerful one against a vampire. Here's why, we have the best hearing of anything in this world. Can you imagine being able to hear someone shouting from two and a half miles away as clearly as if they were standing right next to you. And your songs will carry much further than that; but the Volturi, they might not know that. I've been doing nothing but research since you came into my life. I found that on a clear day the song of a siren can travel ten miles across flat ground. That means they won't even be able to see you before they're under your spell. And when that happens; you can have them do anything you want."
Bella stopped crying, stunned by what Alice just said, "How much of that is true?"
"Every. Single. Word." Alice replied, looking Bella directly into the eyes. Of course Alice neglected to mention that the bulk of the vampires they would be facing had their ears torn off and cauterized closed before they were turned to negate the impact of the siren's song; but Bella didn't need to know that right now. Right now she needed assurances, she needed to have confidence going into the fight of her life, and that's what Alice was aiming to give her. "Right now I think I need to go home and talk to Carlisle. I'll call you later tonight okay?"
Bella swallowed hard and nodded. "Okay. I'll be here."
Alice squeezed her tightly once more and planted a loving cheek on the siren's lips, "I'll see you then. Tell Charlie goodbye for me."
"Will do," Bella said, managing a weak smile to go along with her words. She walked her girlfriend to the door and waved as Alice disappeared in a blur through the forest. Her smile stronger she went to find Charlie, watching ESPN in the living room.
"Everything alright in there kiddo?" Charlie asked when Bella came into the room and sat next to him on the small couch.
"Yeah, couldn't be better." She leaned her head against her dad's shoulder and shut her eyes.
"Is everything alright with Alice?" He asked uneasily.
"Yeah, she told me to tell you good bye for her." Bella said as her father wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
"I'm not used to you watching TV with me; that's all." He said, turning the volume down so he didn't feel like he had to shout.
"I know, I just felt like spending some time with my dad."
Random Fact: I don't know about a siren's song, but I do know that a human voice will travel up to ten miles over open ocean. See you all learned something today. Please review if you would be so kind.