AN: Haha, another update, finally! I'll spare everyone the torture of hearing me list off my various commitments, auditions, job interviews, etc., etc.
Let's get on with creeper James, pedophilic Edward, and weak sexual harassment victim Bella!
(I enjoy making fun of SM's characters.)
James…dinner…hugs and kisses….
His promises to take me to that new park that opened up a few days ago….
No…no, the vampire didn't belong. My brother didn't belong with here, with James and me.
Or was it James who didn't belong?
I dozed off again.
And I watched her.
In her sleep—or, perhaps it would be better described as delirium—she squirmed.
Sometimes they were odd phrases, always trailing off. "I remember…," she would sigh. Or, "Of course, you always keep your promises."
And there were names, too. There were two names. Edward and James.
I watched, tormented, as she slept restlessly.
Of its own accord, my hand moved to grasp hers, soft and smooth. Her pulse beat strongly, frantically under my fingertips.
Every few minutes, her facial expression would change. Sometimes, it would go lax, wiped clean of emotion. Sometimes, her eyebrows would furrow into that adorable expression, even in unconsciousness, and she would murmur phrases, often unintelligible.
And sometimes, she would scream, her voice laced with fear.
That sound broke my heart, over and over.
Despite it all, I remained, keeping round-the-clock vigil at her side.
Finally, the delirium broke.
I noticed the change: the altered, ragged breaths, the energy that radiated off her, the life. I put my hands on her cheeks, seeing them return to color, fresh and pink.
Her eyelids fluttered open.
"Thank God," I breathed fervently, and pressed my lips to hers.
Through a tired, painful haze, I saw his face.
"Thank God," his soft, faraway voice breathed.
And then there was ice.
Ice on my lips?
Edward, my foster-brother, was kissing me.
I wanted to lift my arms, to push him away, to ask him what the hell was happening, but my limbs were leaden. All I managed to do was shift them feebly, and groan a sound of protest.
The frigid, heavy pressure lightened, and was gone altogether.
"You're awake now," he breathed.
I blinked, and saw him more clearly. His lash-framed eyes, dangerously dark; the worried set of his eyebrows; his marble-pale face—
"What the hell?"
In truth, I hadn't been expecting to say that—the words just sort of busted out on their own.
But something seemed to snap inside him. "What?" he asked, and then burst out, "Oh, Bella, I'm so sorry, that was—"
"Shut. Up." I was beyond cranky—I was in a right proper rage. "What the hell? My boyfriend tries to rape me, and my brother kisses me!" I grasp my hair in a moment of true insanity. "What next? A flying pig?"
He was quiet for a few seconds, before asking quietly, "Should I get Alice?"
"If you don't mind," I answered coolly, my tone clipped. "And you can stay outside, too!"
"Okay." He rose and gracefully glided out the door.
Within seconds, Alice was inside. "I just saw that!" she exclaimed in outrage. "Trust me, I've already given him a beating he'll remember." She perched on the edge of my bed. "How are you feeling? That son of a—but no, that won't help. You got this huge lump on your head, Bella…thankfully, no concussion, but it still looked pretty bad when it started to change colo—" She stopped.
"Are you done?" I asked quietly.
"It feels…like a nightmare," I muttered, rubbing my forehead. "The memory is so muddled, so vague. Did he really…?" I picked at the edge of my sheet while asking.
"Not really," Alice said quietly, her gaze intent. "I mean, he obviously had those intentions in mind, but no, he never penetrated you, if that's what you're asking."
Those very words made me blush furiously. "How many days ago?"
"Two," she answered without hesitation.
I grinned, but it felt so fake and painful that I dropped it again. "Two whole days, huh?" I whispered. "No wonder why it felt so far away."
Alice looked down. "I know it's been a lot, and that jerk of a brother didn't help matters much, I assume," she added, glancing sideways at me. "But…I think he does love you."
"Pfft. As if," I mumbled. "I'm no incestuous necrophile."
Alice let out a short, cynical laugh. "Living with us, Bella," she said quietly, "living with vampires, you've gotta be a necrophile."
"Not in that way, though," I protested.
"We don't have to talk about this right now," Alice reassured me, and stood up. "But just remember—he saved your life."
He saved my life.
Edward saved my life.
Alice came downstairs from Bella's room, and shot me a death glare, making me wince slightly.
"Guess I shouldn't have done that, huh?" I muttered, but she heard me anyway.
"You guess, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen," she retorted, using my full name. "Do you think any girl would take to being woken up from a near-rape experience by a kiss from her brother?!"
"I'm not her—"
"Oh, same difference," she huffed. "Be grateful that I didn't point out the brother is a hundred-odd years old, and undead."
"You just did."
"Oh, so you really want to—"
Esme broke up our bickering. "If you'd like to continue your quarrel rather than read this…summons from the Volturi, be my guest," she said, a bite of sarcasm in her voice.
That shut us up. Parenting magazines do work, she thought smugly.
I sighed. "What is it?" I asked.
"It's what I'm getting to," she murmured, ripped open the benign-looking envelope, and unfolded the letter.
To the Cullen clan:
It has come to my attention that a human child is being harbored in your home. It has also been revealed that she is an object of strong attraction, mortal and otherwise, for Edward Anthony Masen, one of your members. I will enjoy an audience with your coven—perhaps, save the young one—come the start of winter.
Also enclosed were six plane tickets, to Italy.
Oh, dear, Esme sighed. No return tickets? This could take a while.
I sighed, slipping in a chuckle. "Took them long enough, too," I murmured.
"The start of winter is in two days," Alice whispered. But we'll get there in time, she added silently and smugly.
"Save the young one?" Esme muttered. I bet that's Edward, she concluded, frowning. They wouldn't want anything with Bella anyway—except maybe to tell her of her death.
Oh, for the love of God…!
Tensions were strong enough as it was…and to leave Bella and me alone? For however long the Volturi chose to detain the rest. Part of me rejoiced, leapt in happiness at the thought of just the two of us.
And, of course, there was the part of me that went, Oh, no. No. Nononono! She already hates me!
I was still waging my internal war against myself when Alice's wide eyes focused on me, eerie and searching, and turned back to Esme. "That sounds like a good idea."
Her eyes narrowed, she shot a glare at me. Try anything and die, you creep.
I just rolled my eyes at her.
They left so suddenly, it seemed as if scarcely any time had passed from when I was called downstairs to be notified of this…till now.
And I was alone with Edward.
He turned to me with an awkward expression, one which implied that he wanted to say something—serious.
"Bella, I'm sorry, I really, really am," he said quietly as we headed back into the house. "I never meant to—it just happened, you know? It just—"
"Ugh, I don't want to hear it!" I snapped, interrupting rudely. "It doesn't even matter anymore, okay? It doesn't. Freaking. Matter! So you can just stop trying to apologize all the time and stop acting all awkward and just leave me the hell alone!"
He was quiet.
Stunned silence, almost.
When he finally spoke, it was quiet and subdued. "All right," he said. "I'll try to make myself scarce, then."
"Good!" I fumed.
I stomped upstairs.
He held true to his word—I barely even saw his shadow that night, except for when he made me dinner. By the time night had rolled around, I was beginning to feel an immense pang of guilt.
Guilt, I thought despairingly. And he was the one who'd…who'd….
"Oh, shut up," I muttered to myself, fully aware that he could hear me.
The next morning, I woke up and upon padding downstairs, found Edward standing in the middle of the kitchen.
"I just wanted to tell you I'm going hunting," he said smoothly. "I don't know when I'll be back."
"Yeah, okay," I murmured, opening the refrigerator to retrieve the carton of milk.
The next second, he was gone.
"Well," I said to myself. "What now?"
Obviously, I wasn't going to haul myself to the dreary little high school at 11:24 a.m….as much as I wanted to hear the rumors circulating around James and me.
Small town, small world.
I turned on the TV, but there was nothing of interest. I flopped myself down across the couch and….
Well, I think I was beginning to doze off, but the sound of the phone—my phone—ringing instantly woke me up.
I reached over on the counter and hit the green, glowing button.
There was a pause, a pregnant, unnatural pause. Then:
"This is Bella? Bella Cullen?"
"Yes, it's me," I answered, puzzled.
The voice on the other end hesitated once again. "I am Demetri—perhaps you've heard of me."
"The only Demetri I've heard of is Dmitri Kabalevsky," I muttered.
Another pause, and a short, forced chuckle. "Good one. Okay, I'll get to the point."
"You see, I work for the Volturi." Before I had time to concoct an audible response, he barged on. "Your little friend Alice here, and her—and your, I suppose—coven, has been, ah, detained."
"But I owe her a favor," the voice plowed on without reprieve. "And so I'm passing onto you this message.
My hands were, suddenly, dry and cold. "What message?"
"Come to Italy and seek the Volturi."
By this point, I was thoroughly bewildered. "Seek the Volturi? How? Why? Did she lose her mind?"
"Hah. No." By this point, Demetri's voice had grown softer. "It concerns your foster-brother? Edward, that's it."
Edward? "He's out hunting," I argued.
"Alice says he's not."
"But I don't even know how to buy tickets!"
"I've already bought them for you, as another favor to her," he answered. "Go to one of the information desks at Sea-Tac and tell them you're Code 54184A2YP. That's your ticket code."
"Let me write it down…." I frantically grabbed around on the counter and scribbled the code on my arm with a Sharpie.
"Thanks," I answered. "Wait…you sure you're not just trying to lure me to Italy to become dessert?"
He snorted, the first sign of real emotion. "Of course not. Thanks for your wonderful trust in me, you know. And hurry. Your flight's at two in the afternoon."
I hung up and threw my phone into my coat pocket, donned my coat, and headed out.
And of course, I had lost all rational thought and was only focused on one undying, glowing, and rather absurd goal: Edward.
AN: First...yes, I resubmitted it, because I noticed I used "necrophiliac", not "necrophile". Asian perfectionism, sigh. XD
Such a lame ending, I know. How else? I've never left a home on two hours' notice to go to Italy….but anyway. Hope you liked it ^-^
OH, and it's chapter 10! Yay-ah! Took me a while to get here though -____-" but hey, chapter 10's chapter 10, right? Lol.