A/N Wow, I'm floored by the amount of people who added me to alerts and favorites with my last chapter. Was it the lemons? Is sex the answer? I should have known! I just wanted to thank you, every alert makes me smile. I'm glad so many of you are enjoying this; I'm having a blast writing it, finally. This chapter ended up being a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy it!
Sacrificial Lamb Chapter 17
Before I knew it we were on our way back to Forks, leaving Paris behind. Edward promised me that we could return anytime I wanted. I did want…I wanted to see the world with him by my side. I couldn't wait until after my transformation, endless possibilities awaited.
"What are you thinking about, love?"
I looked up to realize we were close to home. "The future."
He took my hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "What about it?"
"All the things I want to do and see. I can't wait for forever with you." He smiled softly.
"For the first time in my life, forever doesn't seem daunting." I couldn't help it; that made me light up inside. "But Bella…before we start on forever, you really need to spend some time with your father. I know how much you're going to miss him."
I swallowed the lump that formed in my throat at the thought of leaving Charlie behind. Edward wasn't fooled though; he could see the tears in my eyes. "Bella…"
I had to cut him off. "Edward, I know what I'm doing, I swear it. Charlie will be fine. He'll have Billy and Jake; they'll be there for him." My voice cracked when I said Jake's name, I couldn't help it. I hurried on before Edward could pounce on any weakness. "I'm going to see my father right after we give everyone their presents, I have to take him his and I want to make him dinner."
He pinched the bridge of his nose. "That sounds like a good idea but don't you think..."
I reached over and took his hand away from his face. "Edward, you would give me anything, wouldn't you?"
His golden eyes burned into mine. "Of course I would."
"Don't you think I would do the same?"
He looked confused. "Yes."
"And you'd give up your life for me, wouldn't you?"
"You know I would, I nearly did."
"Then why can't you comprehend that I would do the same for you? That I want, no, I have to do the same for you. I have to be with you forever, Edward, it's the only way I can live."
The confusion melted out of his eyes and he gave me a half grin. "Trapping me with my own actions, are you? I guess you do know what you're doing."
I couldn't conceal a triumphant smile. "I learned from the master."
"Master, huh? I think I could get used to that."
I gave him a light smack on the arm; no way was I breaking my knuckles again. "You wish!"
His smile turned sultry and his eyes turned black. "Maybe I do." He broke off with a sigh as we pulled up in front of the house. "Unfortunately we're home and I don't need Alice's foresight to know that we're about to be pounced on by our entire family." Sure enough the front door burst open and Alice was at my door before I registered her movement.
"Bella! I'm so glad you're home! I've missed you, have you missed me? How was Paris?" It was a good thing she didn't need to breathe because her mouth was going a mile a minute. "How was the spa? Did you see any good fashion? Of course you didn't, well except for my dress! Thank you so much for it, it's perfect! Can I have it now? Why are you still sitting there? Come in!" I just stared at her and she finally got tired of that, huffed and leaned over and released my seat belt and pulled me from the car. "Really, Bella, cat got your tongue?"
Esme reached over and gave me a gentle hug. "Welcome back, we missed you." I clung to her for a moment, afraid to relinquish my grasp in case Alice was going to drag me into the house. She released me but I was immediately engulfed in Emmett's strong arms.
"Hey, little sis, glad to have you back!" I returned his hug and told him I was happy to be home as well.
Emmett's lips twitched. "Home, that's right, this is your home now! We'll have to get you a key. What do you think of that Edward, Bella's key?" The look on my husband's face could only be described as irritation. He scowled at Emmett. The entire family was laughing and I hadn't a clue why, clearly it was some inside joke.
"Why would I need a key, nobody locks the place, who is going to break into a house of vampires? What are you all laughing at?"
"Nothing, Bella dear." Esme gave Emmett a stern look and guided me toward the house. "Come inside and tell us all about your trip. It was your first time in Paris, right?"
"Oh yes! Esme it was magical. Such a beautiful city! Edward took me to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower and all these boutiques and restaurants. It was like living in a dream for a week."
"Sounds like a very active honeymoon, Bella. You must have been exhausted after all that sightseeing." Emmett smirked at me and I felt my cheeks redden.
Edward sensed my discomfort and tried to silence his brother. "Emmett!"
Emmett widened his eyes and batted his lashes. "What's the matter, brother dear? I'm just observing how very tiring that week in Paris must have been on my little sister. I'm sure all that stimulation was exhausting." Yeah, I actually felt my cheeks getting hotter with every word he uttered.
"Enough, son." Thank God for Carlisle. Emmett looked like he had plenty more innuendo to lay on us but he bit his tongue. I'm sure he'd hit us with more once Carlisle and Esme weren't around to stop him.
I decided to change the subject as best I could. "We got everybody presents. I haven't wrapped them or anything but…"
Alice cut me off. "Wrapping isn't necessary. Just pass them out!" She was bouncing all over the couch, excited despite knowing exactly what she was getting. She took the dress out of my hands the instant I moved toward her. "Oh, it's as soft as it looks. I'm going to try it on right now." And she was off, not really caring about the rest of the presents, already knowing what they were and what reactions everyone would have anyway.
"This is lovely, Bella, thank you so much." I was embraced in another sweet Esme hug.
"I know you don't really need things like lotions and bubble baths but I thought you'd like them anyway." I felt self conscious, I didn't know what to get and they all had everything they could ever want.
"Bella, we may not need these things but we are female and we like them! Who doesn't like a bubble bath?" Rose muttered something in response but I couldn't understand her and Emmett put his big hand down on her shoulder to stop whatever derogatory thing she was saying.
"Just say thank you, baby."
"Thanks Edward, Bella." She said it in the most grudging voice she possibly could but I wasn't going to push the issue.
Jasper was already flipping through the pages in his new book. "This is great, guys, really. I haven't bothered to study French history before. I'm sure there are some different war strategies…" His voice trailed off as he got caught up in whatever was on the page. I grinned over at Edward, proud that I had picked up something Jasper liked.
"Jerry Lewis? Sweet!" Emmett vaulted over the couch and ran to the DVD player. "He is one funny dude." Edward just rolled his eyes at me.
"I told you he'd love it." Clearly he did, not that I'd ever understand why. "Bella picked out all the gifts herself; I just gave a few suggestions here and there."
"Well, Bella, I must say you did a wonderful job. I love my sweater." Carlisle had already put the sweater on and it looked lovely, the gray contrasting nicely with his blond hair and golden eyes. "It was kind of you to think of us while you were on your honeymoon."
"You're my family now." I told him shyly, looking down at the couch and picking at a nonexistent thread. Edward's arms wrapped around me and he kissed my neck.
"Yes, they are."
Alice ran over and grabbed my hand. "Since we're giving gifts…"
I was horrified. "No, Alice! Absolutely not, no more presents."
"Oh, please, Bella, you know how we are. Besides, this is something you want!" Something I want? I had everything I could possibly want already. "Come upstairs, this one is for your eyes only, at least for now!" Oh no. What had she done? I let her drag me up and into her room while laughter followed us up the stairs. There was a huge cardboard box sitting on her bed; it was bigger than I was.
"Alice, what did you do?"
"I did exactly what you wanted me to do, nothing more, nothing less!" She put her hands on her hips and glared at me. "Are you going to open it or not?"
"Open it? I can't even reach the top Alice."
She sighed and scrambled on the bed. "Okay, I'll open it." She tore into the box like a child on Christmas morning and piles of clothing came spilling out. Colors upon colors cascaded down on the bed.
"Alice, what is all of this?"
"Think about it, Bella. What did you wish for while you and Edward were on your honeymoon?" Wish for? I wished for plenty of things that I didn't want her to know anything about. Having an all-seeing sister had its perks but also many drawbacks.
"I don't know Alice, what did I wish for?" I wasn't going to start throwing out all the fantasies and dreams I'd had during my honeymoon, thank you very much.
"I'll give you a hint…it was the after you wore the beige see-through nightie that so horrified you when I gave it to you!"
"Oh!" Oh my! "Christian Lewhatever nighties in every color?"
"LeClerc, Bella, and yes, every color. Multiples, actually, as requested." She looked at me expectantly and I couldn't let her down so I threw myself onto the bed next to her and gave her a giant hug. "Thank you, Alice! It's just what I wanted."
She laughed. "I know and it's nice to see you respond well to a gift."
I looked down at the pile of nightgowns and looked back up at her. "Well it's the perfect gift. Thank you again."
She started to shake with laughter. "Yeah, the kind of gift that keeps on giving!"
I felt my cheeks get warm. "Um, yeah. Well, I think I had better go downstairs and…"
"Now wait a minute, Bella, you don't think I'm really going to let you out of here without talking about your honeymoon, do you?"
"Well, I, uh, I need to go visit my dad."
"Your dad can wait; he won't be off work for another hour at least." Dammit. Inspiration struck.
"Yes, but I want to surprise him with dinner so I need to go to the store and get some groceries." Alice narrowed her eyes at me but seemed to be won over.
"Alright, that excuse will work for now, but don't think you're off the hook. We WILL have girl talk." I knew better than to argue, I would just take my escape now while I could get it.
"Okay, I'll see you later then!" I gave her another hug and started down the stairs. Edward was still sitting in the living room with Jasper, still engrossed in his book, and Emmett planted in front of the TV laughing like a loon.
"Hey, love, did you like Alice's present?" Edward grinned knowingly at me and I flushed again.
"I liked it a lot; I think you'll like it even more though." I couldn't believe I said that, especially in front of his brothers.
Emmett guffawed even more loudly and Jasper looked up from his book and grinned. Edward pulled me down onto his lap and whispered in my ear, "I have no doubt of that; perhaps we could go put that to the test now though."
I combed my fingers through his soft hair and whispered back to him. Why I was bothering I didn't know. I knew they could all hear me but I felt better pretending anyway. "I'd like to but I need to head over and see my dad."
Edward nodded in understanding and gave me a light kiss. "Tell him I said hello."
"Will do. Hey has anybody seen my keys? The truck is out back right?"
Emmett's head shot up and he grinned. "Keys? Edward, do you know where Bella's key could possibly be? Have you seen it?"
Edward glared at him and didn't respond, his arms tightening around me for some inexplicable reason. "Edward, do you know where it is?" Emmett and Jasper burst out laughing at my question. I was mystified as to what was going on with them.
"Knock it off, guys." What in the world was going on?
"Seriously, do you know where my key is? I can't get anywhere without it."
Emmett was now on the floor laughing his fool head off. Really, Jerry Lewis could not possibly be that funny. "Edward," he choked out. "You need to help her get there. You have to find the key!" Jasper's book fell off his lap as he buried his face in the couch cushions and shook with laughter. I could hear Alice and Rose laughing from the second floor. What was going on with them? They'd all lost their minds.
"Edward, will you please help me find my key? Remember when you found it while I was at school before you went hunting? Right before our first date in the meadow?"
He sighed as uproarious laughter started again. Jasper finally lifted his head from the couch and put on a stern face. "Really, Edward, I am shocked! You found her key before you two ever went out? Before you ever even kissed? So much for our virtuous brother!" Emmett howled with more laughter and rolled around the floor, actually knocking over his beloved TV and causing a loud crashing noise.
Edward pinched the bridge of his nose. "What is wrong with all of you? Can't anybody help me find my key?"
"I don't think Edward would appreciate it if we did that, Bella!" Emmett shoved the TV off of him and stumbled to his feet, still laughing and clutching his stomach. It was the first time in my life I'd ever seen a vampire look drunk. "But I bet I could find it, no problem."
"Emmett!" Rose's voice was cold and angry sounding. All the hilarity died from his face and he looked even paler than he usually did.
"Um, coming Rose!" He was up the stairs in a flash.
"Edward, what is going on?"
"It's nothing, Bella, inside joke is all. Here, take my car." He shoved the keys into my hand and hurried me out the door. Clearly I wasn't going to get an explanation from my husband. That was fine; I'd get one of them to explain it later. Edward gave me a quick peck on the lips goodbye.
"Have a good time. I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too." But I wasn't going to miss our insane family, not in the weird mood they were in. I got in the car. As I was driving away I swear I heard a loud crack, almost like thunder, coming from the house. God only knew what they were doing now.