Rosalie grinned. Of course she would want to. I also had no problem with leaving the cars so in the end we all agreed to just run. Once we made it back to the castle Esme and Carlisle anxiously awaited us at the door.
"Did you get it?" Carlisle asked nervously.
Bella grinned and held up the scrap of fabric. "They'll be so surprised when their powers don't work on us!"
Emmett hooted, "We're going to show them!"
Rosalie let out a laugh and Alice squealed, matching Emmett's enthusiasm. Even Jasper allowed himself a small smile. I grinned as I watched them. Bella caught my eye and winked at me. I let out a laugh. Carlisle and Esme were both smiling, their postures relaying the relief they felt.
"Well we haven't won yet so don't get too excited." Bella scolded us but the way she said it made us have a hard time calming down; her voice was confident and much more relaxed than it had been just a day ago. Emmett just rolled his eyes at her.
"Don't be a party pooper," He whined.
She grinned. "Oh what the hell; party all you want!"
I raised an eyebrow at her and she shrugged, as though to say "what can I do?". I just shook my head and smiled. Carlisle cleared his throat slightly. "Well I understand that you are going back to school soon, correct?"
Bella nodded. "Yup."
"So do you think we should train some more before you go back or that we're all set?" Carlisle asked.
Bella thought about it for a few seconds before shrugging once again. "Better safe than sorry; besides, you're still going to go up against 40 vampires. Granted, they don't all have powers now but we still should probably resume training now."
Emmett shrugged. "I'm up for it."
Everyone else's agreements followed shortly afterwards. Bella nodded. "Ok then, you guys can all change out of these clothes; I'll meet you guys back in the same field as the one we previously trained on."
We all went up to our rooms and I washed all the make up off my face before changing into a green polo and jeans. I headed back downstairs before making my way out to the field Bella had shown us. I was surprised to note I was the only one there; absentmindedly I laid down on my back and looked up at the starry night sky.
"What are you doing?"
I looked behind me and Bella seemed to melt out of the shadows. She was back to her violet-eyed form, her raven colored hair was pulled back into a pony tail and she was wearing a black lace spaghetti strap shirt and black shorts.
"Is it a crime to look at the stars?" I asked as I adjusted my position so I was sitting up. She sat beside me and crossed her legs, Indian style. She looked up at the sky.
"I guess not." She murmured, seeming almost sad. "You know, entire constellations have been lost with all the pollution in the world. This is the last place that you will ever find that you can see all the stars from."
"All of them?" I asked, amazed.
She smiled slightly. "I might've done some work."
I laughed feeling completely amazed. "Wow."
She grinned at me. "I have some talents."
"Some…" I mumbled dubiously. Who as she kidding, trying to be all modest; she had loads of talent. She lightly smacked my shoulder before leaning into me. The stars shone brighter for a second. I hesitated before I put my arm around her shoulder.
"Do you ever feel like everyone is blindly relying on you?" Bella asked, looking up at me from her spot on my shoulder.
I bitterly thought about my mind reading power. "Yeah, sometimes; I suppose it's because I can always get a look into a person's mind they expect me to know everything about them in seconds when it's much more complicated than that. There is the factor that I don't know everything, just what was on their mind at the moment. And then people just don't understand how complicated it is to decipher all the thoughts. Every thought is like a complicated puzzle. I feel like I'm completely invading people's privacy a lot of the time but its not as if I have an off switch for it."
She nodded and I felt her arms wrap around me; secretly I was ridiculously thrilled by the small gesture. "What about you? There must've been some reason you brought up the subject."
She looked unsure of herself. "Well… I don't really know."
She let out a puff of air and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "Suddenly, I realize that besides the fact that I would be miserable…. If any of your lives are lost during the battle I feel like I'll be held accountable because of the hope I've given all of you; and I don't want to feel like I'm giving you false hope. I know to all of you I may seem glamorous and indestructible but sometimes I really don't feel that way and… and I just don't know…"
Her last words were muffled by my shirt because she buried her head in my shoulder, but I had heard them anyway. She peeked at me from her spot on my shoulder and she seemed embarrassed as she realized I was watching her. I lightly kissed her forehead.
"I think you've been doing a great job. And hey, no one will hold you accountable. We know that you've been doing your best and that's all we could ask for. Besides, you are a member of the family now, whether you want to be or not; everyone loves you."
I felt her cool breath on my neck as she spoke. "Thank you."
The words were almost a whisper. Her lips then brushed across the skin that was exposed to her on my neck and I resisted the desire to foolishly put my hand on the spot she kissed me; which was now tingling from the lack of contact.
"Bella," I began, looking into her eyes as her gaze finally met my own. "Bella, I-"
"Hey guys!" Emmett's voice came from somewhere outside the door. We quickly disentangled ourselves and the door burst open and Emmett bound outside and sat beside us with a loud thump.
"Hey Em," Bella responded seeming amused but I sensed an undertone of irritation in her voice. I glared at Emmett from behind Bella's back. He seemed oblivious. Suddenly Alice's petite figure danced into the room.
"Sorry we took so long guys," She apologized to Bella and I, "Emmett decided to hold us up with a play by play story of what happened out at the bar place…. Finally I just sent him here so we could get ready."
So it was Alice's fault. I gave her the death glare while Bella wasn't looking. She looked confused. What did I do, Edward? Her thoughts called out to me. I beckoned over to Bella while she was distracted by talking to Emmett. I mouthed the words 'I love you'. Alice's eyes widened and her mouth popped open as she realized what she interrupted. Bella finally turned to Alice and she looked at her stricken face.
"Is something wrong?" She asked looking in between the two of us. I shrugged, feeling slightly guilty. Alice tried to compose her expression but she still looked horrified about her blunder.
"No," Her voice was more high pitched than usual and she quickly cleared her throat. "Nothing is wrong."
"Ok…" Bella said dubiously as she looked between the two of us. She then just rolled her eyes before turning her attention to the door where Carlisle, Esme, Rosalie, and Jasper stepped in.
"Great," Bella said. "Now that everyone's here we can begin."
Everyone lined up, anticipating another sparring session. Bella shook her head. "No sparring today. That had just been to see where your level of skill was at. I'm going to have you guys partnered up today and I'll explain the… drills after you guys are ready."
Everyone's eyes automatically went to their mates for their partner. Bella laughed. "I'm making the pairs."
Rosalie let go of Emmett's hand. Bella smiled as she noticed. "Alright… Who is the fastest here?"
All eyes went to me. "Ok then, Edward is my partner."
I smiled a little. Bella continued. "I'll have ….. Esme with Jasper, Carlisle with Rosalie, and Emmett and Alice."
Everyone went to stand before their partner. I stood beside Bella and smiles at her. She looked at me from underneath her lashes and shot me a grin of her own. "Ok everyone, today we're going to be doing speed drills. You will get faster this way. So… um… look at the faster person."
I looked at Bella and she laughed a little. Carlisle looked at Rose and Esme looked at Jasper. Alice and Emmett were arguing about who was faster.
"Emmett I'm faster!" Alice exclaimed. Everyone watched in amusement.
"No you're not!" Emmett said.
"Am too!" Carlisle and Esme didn't bother doing anything, knowing that when Alice and Emmett argue nothing will stop them. Jasper looked over at Bella as though to say, do something! Bella nodded and stepped forward. She stared at the two of them for a few seconds.
"Alice is faster." She said.
"How'd you figure that out?" Emmett asked, excited to hear about some new power. We all curiously waited for a response.
"I have 4 very important words for you," Bella said dramatically. "Enie- meanie- mineee-moe"
We all laughed for a second before everyone was able to regain control of themselves.
"Alright; so what I want you guys to do is for the slower person to keep striking at the faster person and the faster person to move out of the way for each strike. The purpose is for the slower person to try to strike to faster person and for the faster person to avoid being struck. Straightforward enough?"
Everyone answered with a yes. "Then you guys can begin."
As soon as she said that Emmett hit Alice on the arm. "What was that for?"
"She said we could begin…" Emmett replied, stating the obvious.
"Yeah but I wasn't ready!" Alice complained.
Emmett smiled gloatingly. "But I still managed to hit you."
"What? No! That was unfair; you cheated."
"I did not! You never prepared yourself!"
"Um… On second thought," Bella began, "How bout I make it so that we can't hear each other?"
Carlisle, Rosalie, Jasper, Esme, and I sent Bella pleading looks. She laughed slightly at our earnest expressions. Alice and Emmett continued to argue; unaware of what was going on. Bella took a look at them before turning to us. "So you'll only be able to hear your partner until I decide that we've had enough."
We all agreed readily enough. Suddenly everything around us was silenced. I saw Emmett and Alice's lips moving but not a sound came out from them. I gave Bella a broad smile. "You're amazing, do you know that?"
She gave me a sheepish look. "So what had you wanted to tell me earlier?"
I froze and she ended up having to fix my posture for me to get moving again. "Oh…. I forgot."
"You forgot?" She deadpanned. I winced slightly. Of course I couldn't forget things; I was a vampire for crying out loud. I wanted to tell her but I just didn't think now was the right time. The spell had been broken when Emmett had joined us.
"I'll tell you later." I said, trying to redeem myself. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously as she looked at me.
Finally she managed a grudging smile. "I'll hold you to that."
"Tell me something," I requested.
She quickly dodged another of my swipes. "It depends on what it is."
I thought about my first question and quickly decided against it. "What era did you like the best?"
Bella looked surprised by my random question. "I'd have to say…. Victorian, Pre-Civil War."
"Is there a certain reason for Pre-Civil War?" I asked, wondering if it had anything to do with Jasper…. But then again he had been with her during the Civil War; not before it.
She gave me a look. Her voice turned accusing. "You're saying that because of Jasper aren't you?"
I was happy the others couldn't hear what we were saying. "No! I just…. Well, yes."
She looked at me sadly. "Is it too much for me to like it without having some ulterior motive?"
"I just… never mind. I'm sorry if it came out that way but I didn't intend to offend you." I explained.
Her eyes softened for a second. "It's fine Edward."
We then continued to have an idle conversation until Bella decided that we all had had enough training. I had whole heartedly agreed with her as did everyone else. Bella had us all switch roles and while I had only managed to whack Bella once or twice she kept hitting me with persistent blows. They weren't hard but the numerous beatings left me feeling weary. The few days that Bella had left with us, that would be uninterrupted continued that way, except with multiple other drills. Finally the day came when Bella had to go back to Forks for school. We ended up lounging around the castle until Bella came back home then we would fall into the pattern of training relentlessly. Bella worked us from the second she got home until the second she had to leave back to school. The days seemed to pass by in a dreamlike sequence and then before I knew it we had hours until it would become the day that Victoria, James, Laurent, and their army of vampires would attack. Bella had one last sparring session with each of us and I marveled at how much everyone's skill had improved. It was strange watching Carlisle and Esme fight; they were always so gentle and it was almost ridiculous to believe how dangerous they now were when fighting. Bella had drilled it into each of us that we couldn't show them pity or let them have any advantage over them. If the chance came we had to kill them without a second thought. There would be no room for mistakes out on the battlefield. Jasper, being the former soldier knew exactly what she meant and he continued to lecture us about that matter when Bella couldn't. They both would shoot glances at Esme and Carlisle when talking about the matter. Carlisle and Esme who were both so kind and compassionate; who could never stand to see another person in pain. They grimly nodded when either Jasper or Bella talked about it; they knew what they had to do, even if they didn't like it.
Bella's attitude had changed drastically from the night when we had retrieved the scrap of cloth. She assured me that she knew she would still be able to ward off the other vampires' powers and that that wasn't what she was nervous about. In the end she burst out, admitting that she was still scared she would loose one of us. I watched her as she took on sparring with Alice. Bella's face for once showed signs of strain. Not from the fighting but from being tired and worrying too much. It dawned on me that she never before had to actually fight with others and worry about their lives as well as her own and that it was taking its toll on her. I wanted to tell her something to ease her mind a little bit but I couldn't think of the right thing to say, the only words that popped to my mind would probably have the opposite effect. The hours passed by as everyone continued to spar and then finally it was the day that the vampire army would arrive. Bella didn't know the exact time they would come but she guessed around twilight; we didn't doubt her at all.
Even though it had only become a new day merely minutes ago we all decided that we would find a battleground first…which would be hard to do in Phoenix, which was why we were departing so early, and then we would spend the rest of the day there waiting for twilight and resting. Bella had us all follow her and she led us out of the house that was in Arizona. "Alright guys, here we'll temporarily split up in search for a battle spot. Even if they aren't attacking until twilight, remember to stay vigilant at all times. I also think it would be best if you all had at least one person with you. If any of you find a spot just come back over here, which is where we will be meeting up with each other every five minutes; to make sure no one is missing and to see if anyone found an appropriate place."
Everyone seemed eager to have Bella be their partner but in the end it was everyone with their mates and Bella with me. We all went off in different directions. Bella clutched my hand.
"I'm nervous." She whispered.
I looked at her, worried. "I'm sure everyone will be fine. You trained everyone so well; no one could've done better."
My words fell short as I realized I just couldn't find anything to say to make her feel better.
"But what if they get hurt?" Bella asked; her face lined with worry. I smoothed away the wrinkles on her forehead as she scrunched up her face in frustration.
I couldn't say anything more than, "Don't think like that Bells."
She nodded and kept silent as we continued our fruitless search. Pretty soon our five minutes were up and we went back to the house where everyone was waiting for us. They all silently shrugged showing that their attempt at finding some place was fruitless. We all split up again and searched for another place. Bella didn't voice her concerns this time but she held onto my hand even tighter than before. Another five minutes passed and Bella and I still hadn't found any place. We headed back over to the house where everyone was once again waiting for us, Rosalie and Emmett found a place and they led us to it. It was a while away but it was perfect. It was a secluded field, with a surprising amount of trees. It was so green it almost reminded me of Forks.
It was silent as we all sat down. Our trail of scents would probably confuse the vampire army for a little bit because it was all over the place but they would find us eventually. We all sat underneath the cover of the trees as the sun came out, although it was unnecessary due to the fact that no humans came out, either way we weren't risking anything and were extra cautious. No body spoke as twilight fast approached. I looked over at Bella as the sky turned crimson and orange as the sun set, she was looking at me. Quickly she averted her eyes. With a sad jolt I realized that I might not see her ever again. The sun was about to be fully obscured from view in a few minutes. I took Bella's hand and led her to a completely different section of the field. The trees were behind us and Bella and I were bathed in the red glow. Everything looked so surreal and breathtakingly beautiful.
Bella looked up at me, confused as to why I led her here. I summoned whatever nerve I had. Gently I cradled her face between my hands. "I should've told you sooner and I regret not doing so but now might be the only chance I have left to say this. Bella…. Bella I love you."
She was looking at me, her eyes wide and her lips slightly parted. Only a bit of the sun remained visible but the sky was still a beautiful red. I remembered Bella telling me once that red was her favorite color.
"I think I loved you from the moment I saw you but I just didn't know it at the time. You're the most-" I stopped when I saw tears tickling delicately along her face. My heart sunk.
"Edward I love you too. I love you so much!" She cried. I looked at her forgetting all the troubles that lay ahead, her face was the beckon of light, guiding me. I brought my lips down to hers. The kiss was soft and sweet but the undertone of sadness and desperation took over in the end making it fierce and passionate. Her hands tangled themselves in my hair and I clutched her to me. With a sudden jolt we were both brought out of our bittersweet moment as we realized that it was now twilight. We held onto each other as we made our way back to the others. They all looked at us; their eyes wide. They knew I told Bella I loved her, it suppose it was obvious. But the overwhelming panic that set in prevented them from commenting. It was odd. All the time you read stories about it and see movies portraying fights such as this and it's all played out so coolly but in real life everything is different. There is an irrational terror that settles over you, the type of paralyzing terror that is never described in the movies or books. Bella's hand tightened around mine as I caught a flash of Victoria's red hair in the distance. Bella looked at me, her eyes wide and the thick black lashes framing them making her seem so innocent. She brought her lips to mine and held me closer to her. We ended our kiss as the vampire army came in sight. I knew Bella was going to be safe and that gave me a sense of profound relief. I realized now that that was why she was even more worried now; she had no assurances that I would be safe.
"I love you," I whispered to her.
She placed her hand on the side of my face. "I love you."
And then the vampires charged. It happened so suddenly that for a second I wasn't able to comprehend it. Bella's hand was torn away from mine and then with in seconds I realized that I was surrounded by three vampires. I already heard the screeching sound of vampires being torn apart. I craned my head trying to get a view of Bella. And there she was, looking positively lethal. Her raven colored hair whipping around her face and her eyes in those dangerous animalistic slits as she attack a few of the many vampires surrounding her. I yelled out as one of the new borns took advantage of my momentary distraction and bit me, trying to take off a chunk of my arm. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Esme surrounded by five vampires. She hissed and attacked one. As I lunged at the vampire that bit me I winced as I saw a chunk of Esme's arm come flying off. I ripped off the head of the vampire in front of me and kicked the other two vampires away as I saw them coming towards me. Quickly dismembered the vampire in front of me and produced that lighter I had in my pocket and set all the pieces on fire. The other two vampires screeched in fury as they saw their friend being licked up by the flames. Both of them attacked at the same time and I dodged both but then winced as I realized a vampire had come up behind me as well. It had bit a section of my hand off. Quickly I positioned myself so that I had a view of all three vampires and quickly moved and dismembered another vampire. Two were still left and they both came charging at me from the opposite directions of each other. I dodged and they both hit each other with a loud crack that rivaled the sound of thunder. I took advantage of it and bit both of their head's off. They were left blind and I was able to take them both apart easily. I tossed all the pieces into the now huge fire that was near me. I saw Bella surrounded by James, Victoria, and Laurent. I wanted to go help but another new born charged at me. I bit my neck but not hard enough to be able to take it off. The new born screeched in fury and tried to ram me. I sidestepped and grabbed it by the hair. I took advantage of its exposed neck and ripped it off. The rest of its body was easily broken apart and tossed in the fire. I flinched as I saw a portion of Carlisle's leg on the ground beside me. I kicked it away from the fire, knowing that there wasn't much else I could do about it at the moment. I saw Rosalie taking on 5 vampires at once and went to aid her. In minutes we had all the bodies torn up and in the roaring fire. I looked over and saw Emmett finishing up the vampire in front of him and moving on to the next one. Suddenly a piece of Victoria's head came flying at me. With a flick of my hand I caught it and threw it into the fire. I noticed Bella throwing the last piece of Victoria in the fire and with that Victoria, Laurent, and James were no more.
I looked around wildly trying to see if anyone needed help but Bella was already at Jasper's side, fighting off one of the many vampires that surrounded him. With a sudden rush I realized that besides the ones that Carlisle and Alice were fighting there were no more. With a sudden rush I realized that I couldn't find Emmett and Esme. Horror struck me and I looked at the floor trying to find parts of their bodies, hoping against hope that they weren't thrown into the fire. With a surge of relief I found Emmett's entire torso and part of his head all attached. My eyes zeroed in on the rest of his body which wasn't too far away. I quickly sealed all the pieces together with my venom.
"Help me find Esme." I commanded him. He nodded and got Rosalie to help too. We searched, avoiding the chaos that Carlisle, Alice, Bella, and Jasper were in. A few seconds passed and then Emmett was waving part of Esme's head in the air. Her arms and another part of her head were right by it. Then I noticed a few feet away was the rest of her body, in pieces in a pile. A lighter was beside it and I cried out in joy as I realized that Bella must've gotten there before the vampire could light Esme's body. Rosalie, Emmett, and I worked together to piece her back to her normal state. In seconds she was perfectly fine again. I let out a sigh of relief as she engulfed us in a giant hug. We all bound over to the area that the others were at just in time to see Jasper throw the last piece of a vampire into the fire. It had all happened so fast that I could hardly believe that it was over, but here we were all still alive. Everyone, except Bella of course, had new bite marks but the tingling/burning sensation was a small price to pay. My eyes locked with Bella's and she ran over to me, throwing her arms around my neck and kissed me. I could sense everyone's happiness as they watched the two of us.
Finally we broke apart. Bella held up a piece of someone's body. "Oh, by the way Carlisle I think you might need this."
He took it from her with a smile and suddenly engulfed her with a hug. Esme hugged her next and soon we were all hugging each other, just thankful to be alive. We managed to get everyone perfectly pieced back together after that… except for Emmett. Part of one of his fingers must've flown into one of the fires but other than that everyone was okay. It seemed almost ridiculous that we would be going to school the next day but we were; that didn't stop us from partying crazily once we got back to the house. The next night we all went back to our actual house in Forks. Bella came with us and is now staying in my room. I was honored when she asked me to stay with her one night while she tried to go to sleep for once. She didn't have a single nightmare.
Bella twirled around, her long black dress swishing. She laughed as I brought her back to my arms and dramatically dipped her. The orchestra's song ended and I noticed the rest of the family watching the two of us from a distance. They knew what was going to happen. The orchestra began to play again and I danced with and twirled Bella until we were outside in the rose garden. We were on the small bridge that had roses and vines growing on it, in its place above the small man made stream beneath us. The fragrance of the roses all around us drifted in the air. The stars and moon gave everything a silvery glow. From behind us I could still hear the orchestra playing and the laughs from everyone in the ball room. This song ended as well and gently kissed Bella on the lips before I let her go. She smiled at me, her face glowing with happiness. I knelt down to the ground and pulled out a velvet case and opened it, to reveal a diamond ring.
"Bella, will you marry me?" I asked softly.
Her face broke out into a radiant smile and happy tears trickled out of her eyes, glistening like diamonds. Her answer was short and sweet as she murmured. "Yes."
I smiled and got up and kissed her. I heard the applause from my family and realized that they had come out to watch. Bella laughed and kissed me again.
I'm so sorry for the wait. I really couldn't do much about it. I was going to make the end of the story much better and I know that there are still so many things I haven't properly explained but I had to cut it short. Anyway, I'd like to thanks all of you for being such great readers. Admittedly it was a little hard to finish up this story, besides the obvious reasons I've also grown attatched to it. Anyway, I'm going to be coming out with a new story soon so keep your eyes out for that! I love you people! So au revoir for the last time.~