Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight! Though I do obviously own every word of this original story, and as soon as humanly possible I plan to pull it to publish, and make you all pay to read my story about "Edmund the ex-vampire and his girlfriend Betty"… … … ;)
Thanks go to my good friend for betaing this chapter, and for not telling me to bugger off considering I've not posted in so long…
FINALLY – This chapter comes with a warning. I have no clue when the next one will be up, as my time and inclination is so limited at the moment. If you think the last chapter is a nice place to stop for now, come back when I hit complete (which I will do at some point, just can't promise when).
Time passed, as of course it must, and the days and weeks of winter stretched into spring.
Those days were some of the happiest of our lives, and although we knew that darkness lurked somewhere around the corner, we were surrounded by friends and family, and it was somehow forgotten in the light.
Until one day it was the beginning of the end, and nothing would ever be the same again.
This is the story - of the death of the name Cullen.
There was something different, and I couldn't quite place what it was.
I was lying in bed, warm and comfortable with Bella curved across my chest like a cat; but something had woken me. I opened one eye carefully, certain that it was still early, and fairly unimpressed at being awake at this hour on a Saturday, and tried to work out what it was.
Our room looked the same as ever. Now full to the rafters of my belongings, both Bella and I were seriously considering moving some of our stuff into the cottage on Cullen land that Esme had prepared for us.
Barely any carpet had been visible for weeks, buried under… stuff, which was quite frankly driving me mad, and to get from one side of the room to the other now was becoming quite a task.
Neither of us actually wished to move out of Charlie's house, which is why the "stuff" situation was becoming such an issue; but something was going to have to give soon. I might not have been trying to hang on to all of my old life, but I wanted enough of it that there just simply wasn't room for it all in Bella's bedroom.
I looked around, wondering if maybe today was finally the day that I needed to give in and start boxing things up and taking them to the cottage, when I realized what had woken me.
A narrow shaft of sunlight shone through the gap in the curtains at the side of our bed, brightening the room more than I had seen in months. In fact, I was pretty sure I hadn't even seen the sun in months.
A small smile crossed my face as I snuggled back under the covers with Bella, deciding that it really wasn't time to get up yet. Spring was finally coming; graduation was getting closer with every day that passed; and I could hardly contain my excitement at the prospect of our lives actually starting soon.
In the last couple of weeks both Bella and I had received various acceptances and rejections to colleges from across the country (well, I hadn't actually received any rejections... but Bella didn't know that) giving us a wide choice as to where to go in the fall.
My personal preference was for Dartmouth, but although I had already received my acceptance, there had been no sign of one for Bella yet. The control freak in me was desperate to send a large donation to the faculty in exchange for her quick admittance, but I was still biding my time. I was sure she was capable of getting in on her own merits, and I just had to be patient.
A word that seems to be dominating my existence at the moment.
Patience. I could hardly believe how many years I had seen pass sometimes, as each week of school seemed to drag more and more slowly, with graduation hovering just beyond my reach. It felt like my life would really start on that day, my final graduation.
Still lying in bed, but now certain that whatever I did I wasn't going to get back to sleep, I realized that today was precisely three months until that auspicious day. The fourth of June; so near, yet so far…
"Your brain is keeping me awake," Bella suddenly mumbled from my shoulder. "Go back to sleep, it can't even be seven yet."
"Sorry," I whispered softly. "I didn't mean to wake you. The sun woke me up."
She groaned as she rolled off my chest onto her back. Her hair was wild around her face, and one cheek was bright pink where it had been lying on me.
We were quiet for a few minutes as we enjoyed each other's warmth in bed. Watching her go from asleep to awake was still one of my favorite things to do, though it was something I didn't get to see very often these days. My human self enjoyed my sleep, and I was rarely awake before Bella; she often joked that I had ninety years of sleep to catch up on, as she rolled me out of bed in time for school.
Eventually, she turned over and looked at me, her lips set in a firm pout. "You know, all week it virtually takes a bomb to get you out of bed, and yet Saturday morning, you're awake at the crack of dawn."
I couldn't resist stealing a quick kiss of her pouty lips, but she pulled away from me as soon as I did, her expression still set. "I mean it, Edward. What gives?"
My eyes flicked around the room for an instant, and realized I had to give in. My OCD had finally reached a tipping point, and it was time to confess.
"I've been thinking about this all week," I said with a smile as she started to edge back towards me in the bed. "I can't live like this anymore. We need to find somewhere else for all of this…"
"I was going to stay stuff… But ok, I think once you officially can't see the floor anymore, it's time to admit you need more space."
"We can't see the crap that's on the floor, let alone the floor itself," she grumbled as I quickly shifted and climbed out of bed. I had recognized the look in her eye as she tried to snuggle up against me, and I'd decided if we wanted to get anything done today, I needed to get out of bed right now. "It's not my stuff anyway."
I started to pick my way across the room, headed towards the bathroom, as she shuffled around in the bed, but I stopped when I heard a thud from behind me.
"Shit!" I turned to find Bella sprawled on the floor, having clearly fallen over a pile of my books that were now scattered across the room, as she glared at them in disgust.
"Are you ok…?" I began as Bella's glare shifted from my books to me. There was silence in the room for a second as she glared, and I did a quick bit of mental arithmetic, and realized that this weekend really wasn't one to be annoying her any more than absolutely necessary.
"I'm fine," she eventually sighed as she stood up, waving my hand away irritably when I tried to come to her aid. "Let's just start packing some of this junk up, shall we?"
She pushed past me and headed into the bathroom, as I did my utmost to restrain a smirk. My Bella was one of the best natured people in the world for 25 days a month, but for the other three, I had discovered that it was best to stay out of her way, unless I was armed with chocolate.
I surveyed the room quietly for a minute, before I started to search for a pair of jeans in the pile that served as my wardrobe these days. Today was the day; it was time to sort this mess out.
"Where do you want me to put all these books?" I called, as I carried the fourth enormous box of books through the front door, of what Esme had insisted was now our cottage when I had called her that morning.
Esme had been delighted the we were finally making the cottage "our own" as she'd put it, though she hadn't seemed to really believe me when I'd explained that we were staying at Charlie's, and merely moving some of our stuff over there for now. Finally, she had sighed knowingly, simply saying yes dear, and asking if we wanted any help with moving our stuff over that morning.
I'd declined any help, after all, it was only a few boxes, and had assured my family that there was no reason for them to rush down to Forks today. I was quite happy to get Bella to myself for a change; between school, Charlie, and Alice, alone time came at a premium these days.
"Oh, there are more bookshelves in the spare room," Bella replied as she appeared from the kitchen, where it smelled to me like she was making us some lunch. "I think the shelves in the living room are pretty much full."
I winked as I made my way past her into the spare room, and she smiled back before turning to finish up with lunch, or so my stomach hoped at least.
Once we'd made a start at packing up her room, Bella had cheered up enormously - I thought that the mess had probably been getting to her too. We had spent a busy, but pleasant, morning packing up our belongings, sorting them into things we could live without day to day, and things that needed to stay at home. In a way, it almost felt like the beginning of the beginning, the beginning of our preparations for college, as I knew many of the boxes I had packed up today would not be opened again until we moved to college in the fall.
We were unpacking our books, onto the many bookshelves around the cottage, as I knew that Bella would not be happy unless her favorites were easily accessible somewhere, but there were three boxes of my CDs which would not be seeing the light of day for some time.
I couldn't help the grin that spread across my face when I heard a footstep behind me; as I put the box down on the floor. "What's cooking for lunch, love, it smells…"
I stopped talking suddenly as I turned, and realized that the person standing behind me wasn't Bella. I caught a slight fragrance in the air in the instant before my eyes reached what they were moving towards, and it was enough for the blood to run cold in my veins.
An instant later my eyes met with dark red, and my stomach and legs turned to jelly beneath me. It took everything I had in me to speak without allowing my voice to shake.
I sounded confident and unafraid, but unfortunately I could hear his thoughts registering my very human terror in the face of him. He could smell my fear, and through his thoughts, I could hear my own racing heartbeat being echoed back at me.
"Edward?" He replied slowly, the dozens of questions currently flying through his brain all being summed up into one confused word.
"Yes, Edward Cullen," I replied, hoping that the inference of the use of my last name reminded him that I was not just any other human, and should not be treated as such.
We eyed each other for a few seconds, a lifetime for him, but not nearly enough time for me. The color of his eyes told me at once that both Bella and I were in very great danger, before I even registered some of his underlying thoughts. Panic was scrabbling around inside me like a small animal, threatening to burst out at any second, but I knew that our only chance was for me to make him wait long enough to kill us, for my family to get here.
"What… I don't understand," he murmured, his French accent becoming stronger as he mumbled something quietly to himself for a moment.
"I would imagine you don't." I was trying as hard as I could to bring my body back under my control as I spoke, and I was glad that my voice at least still sounded cool and confident. My heart was still racing, and I knew that the adrenaline pounding through my veins must have smelled strongly to him of fear, but I couldn't allow him to think of me as prey.
I had to make him think of me as his equal.
We stood in silence for a few seconds, and I could hear his thoughts running through his mind at lightning speed. He examined me all over as only a vampire can, shocked to find that however close he looked, I appeared to be an entirely normal human, very different from the last time he saw me. I heard as he tried to work out if I was perhaps a relative of the vampire he had met last time, unable to believe that I was in fact one and the same creature, despite what his eyes and other sense were telling him.
I fidgeted a little under his close scrutiny, unable to stop myself as I listened to every thought running through his head. There was something else beneath his thoughts of the changes that had occurred to me, something that flew through his mind so quickly that I couldn't catch all of it, all I heard was that someone would not like this new development.
"You know…" I had to stop myself from jumping when he finally spoke aloud, his head tipped slightly to one side, still observing me. "… I have seen many things in my three centuries in this world. I have seen men become monsters. I have seen the dead rise from their graves as both ghosts and demons… But I have never seen a monster become a man."
Faster than I could see he moved behind me, and I felt the air against my neck as he inhaled my scent.
"Yet, here you stand, Edward Cullen. I wonder, why do you still use that name, now the rest of your coven has left you to your flesh?"
His movement behind me had caused panic to rise within me again, and the burning flare of hunger that had ravaged his thoughts as he had breathed me in a few moments before had only heightened it. In that second, the true danger we were in right now had really hit me – Laurent was thirsty.
"They haven't left." My voice cracked as I replied, but I didn't think it mattered that much. He was well aware of quite how terrified I was right then - there was no hiding it. In the back of my mind I wondered how far Alice or anyone else was from us by now. I knew she must have seen what was happening here, the only question was, when?
"The house seems very empty… though… the scent does – linger." I turned slowly and met his eyes again, and I heard the question in his mind.
How far away are they? Have they really left you both… unprotected?
My heart seemed to crash in my chest when I saw Bella through his eyes just a few moments before, putting the finishing touches to lunch only a few feet from where we currently stood.
Oh God, please let her stay there for now.
"They aren't staying far away," I replied. "They had some disagreements with the locals, but they have stayed nearby for my sake." I didn't want to even say Bella's name in his presence; he was already thinking about her too much for my liking, and through his mind, I could smell her, the way she smelled to him. A scent that had once been so very familiar to me, along with the burning thirst it created.
And it was terrifying.
"Hmm." He was quiet for a moment, before he vanished again. I turned to find him to one side of the doorway, as Bella walked in.
"Lunch is ready, baby, what are you doing?" Her smile dropped quickly as she looked at me, but before she could move Laurent was behind her, with his nose pressed against her throat. She made a small squeak, and the fear I could see in her eyes almost broke me right there.
"Stop!" I yelled, as I saw Laurent imagining tearing into her flesh there and then, not quite daring to move, not sure how he might react. "My family will be here any moment, and they will destroy you if you harm either one of us." Somewhere in my fear for her, my fear for myself had gone; and my furious stance and reactions were no longer a pretense.
Laurent stepped away from Bella and circled her slightly, until he stood almost between us. In three steps I was by her side, and she hid herself behind me without a word.
"Edward," he whispered cajolingly. "What would make you think that I would harm either one of you…?" But in his mind I could still see him imagining himself drinking greedily from Bella's throat.
Oh yes… your little party trick. Irina has told me all sorts of things about your coven.
He thought directly at me, as, again, he deliberately imagined himself drinking Bella's blood, imagining it so clearly I could almost taste it myself.
"What do you want, Laurent?" I growled, my anger turning to rage as he continued to taunt me in his head.
"Now, that's a very interesting question, Edward," he replied, and once again I caught an undercurrent to his thoughts. "I came here as a favor to a friend, but now, I'm not so sure I want to tell her what I've seen."
He was trying to mask his thoughts from me, but he couldn't keep back the flash of red hair as I caught his momentary thought of why he was here.
"Victoria?" I blurted out, without thinking. All I wanted to do was keep him talking; I didn't know how long I had until they got there, I only knew that they would get there. I just needed to buy us some time.
"Yes, Victoria." A lazy smile stretched across his lips, showing me all of his teeth as his thoughts of drinking Bella switched to feeding upon me.
Being in his place in his imagination as he ripped my throat out and drank my blood was very disconcerting, and I knew that he was trying to make me stop reading his mind. But it was the only advantage I had, and I couldn't give it up.
"She wants to know where we are... why?" I asked, as again Laurent couldn't hold back an image of Victoria, this time raging in grief and anger, and the name on her lips was mine.
"You know how we are Edward... Well, not that you are included in that anymore." He laughed elegantly, before he took a step towards me and spoke more quietly, almost conspiratorially. "A mate for a mate. Victoria blames you for James' death, so naturally..."
"No." Victoria wanted Bella, not me. A mate for a mate, she wanted to make me live through the pain that she had.
"But, now, I'm not quite sure what to do. Do you even still care for your mate now, as you did as a vampire? The human heart is a fickle thing in comparison, as I recall."
I stopped my natural urge to insist that my love for Bella remained unchanged, and I felt her hands on my back form fists in my shirt as her face pressed more tightly between my shoulder blades. Would downplaying my love for her now save her, or maybe even just buy us a few more precious minutes?
"A human heart is very different, I admit." In truth I thought my love was more raw, more demanding and certainly more needy than it had been when I was a vampire, and without doubt no less intense. But that was something I knew I had to conceal from the creature before me.
"So, maybe taking a mate for a mate is not enough now..." Laurent stopped, and I saw his nostrils twitch slightly. "Though, I must confess, right now I wonder if she'd really mind if I simply... dealt with the problem for her."
"She doesn't want us dead, Laurent. She wants to kill us. Do you want her grief turned on you instead?" I had hoped that maybe Victoria had some kind of power or authority over him when I said that - maybe threatening him with her was better than with my family.
But I was wrong.
With a whistle of wind I felt Bella being jerked away from me, and in an instant she was standing in front of Laurent a few feet away, his hand wrapped around her throat, holding her tightly against his chest. Her terrified eyes were fixed on mine as I stumbled forwards, trying not to fall from having had her yanked away from me so roughly.
"Do you think I am afraid of that whore?" Laurent snarled as he ran his nose down Bella's throat. "I came here as a favor to an old friend only, and instead I find a human instead of the vampire I came to spy on. Tell me, Edward, what happened to you? What made you this way? Tell me now." His final words came out as a hiss, the threat within them an undercurrent of every syllable.
Bella's eyes bugged out slightly as I saw him squeeze her neck a little tighter, but I stopped myself from moving towards them, knowing that if he wanted it, she could be dead before my foot had even hit the floor.
"I don't know," I replied, panicking when I thought of how he might take a truthful answer. The last thing I wanted to do was make him angry, by making him think I was trying to lie to him.
"Think harder, Edward," he said softly as he leant down and licked Bella's by now bright pink cheek. "The smell of her blood is so thick, I am almost mad with it... Tell me."
"I... I think it was magic. I came across some travelling gypsies in Europe. I think they did it." It sounded to me far more plausible than what had actually happened, and right now, all I wanted was for him to believe me. "Please, let her go, she can't breathe."
I could see Bella trying to struggle, but his grip was too strong for her to move with any great success. Her face had now gone a dark purple color, and she was gasping for air. Tears were starting to build up in my eyes as I watched her agony before me, not daring to move in case he killed her because of it.
"She can breathe a little," he replied, his expression thoughtful as I saw Bella gasp in a tiny breath. My stomach hurt with the fury I was keeping in as I watched him hurt her, but I still didn't dare move. I could hear from his thoughts that it really didn't matter to him whether he killed her or not.
Alice, please, where are you?
"Let her go, and I'll tell you exactly where I was." I could tell that I had pricked his interest with what I had said, and I hoped that maybe I had a bargaining chip to buy us just a little more time. "Maybe you could find them, if you wanted to."
"I think you'll tell me that, whether I let her go, or not." Laurent squeezed a little tighter again as his lips drew into a thin line, and Bella's mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping for air. She clearly couldn't breathe at all now.
"Please. Please," I begged, dropping to my knees as everything that held me up left me in an instant. Bella's lips were starting to turn blue, and I could see that she was dying right in front of me. "Let her go, I'll do anything, please, let her go."
I looked at him, searching for a spark of humanity in his eyes, but there was none to see. I could only see a predator standing before me, and his pleasure in the hunt was building as the inevitable conclusion raced towards us.
Bella was now hanging limply from his hand, and inside my mind I was screaming, but I couldn't let it out. I was the only chance she had.
Suddenly he dropped his hand from her throat, and Bella tumbled to the floor before me in a lifeless heap. Laurent, though, had clearly heard something, as his eyes suddenly flicked around the room, before, with a swirling of air, he vanished, to my eyes almost as if he had never been there at all.
But I wasn't focussed on that, the instant he had dropped Bella I had thrown myself forward, too slow to catch her, but she was in my arms a second later as I tried to feel for a pulse.
"Bella! Bella!" I virtually screamed as I felt around her swollen neck for some sign of life, all of my medical training leaving me entirely as I shook her trying to get some kind of response. Her head flopped uselessly in my lap as I did it, and I began to shake all over as grief overwhelmed me.
"Edward, move." Carlisle suddenly appeared beside me and pulled Bella out of my arms and laid her down on the floor.
I felt cold arms encircle me from behind and pull me away as the terror I had been fighting back for the last few minutes finally crashed through my defenses, and enormous, wailing sobs began to break free from me, as I watched him work on her. For a few seconds my sanity hovered above me, until he looked up, his face full of relief.
"She's ok, Edward; she's breathing, her pulse is normal. She's got some serious bruising, but she'll be ok."
"Oh, thank God. Thank God." The arms around me tightened and pulled me into their neck, and I recognised Esme's scent as I continued to thank God until the words coming from my mouth were nothing but incoherent gibberish. I knew that I was crying, but I didn't care. I allowed myself to be comforted for a minute as I listened to Carlisle talk to Esme.
"She's ok, but she's unconscious. It's a good thing we weren't a minute or two later... Bella, Bella, can you hear me?" he said as he lifted Bella into his arms, gingerly supporting her neck with his arm as he tried to bring her around..
"Well, we weren't. And we won't be next time either."
"No, you're right. It's time we came back to Forks."
"Carlisle?" At the sound of Bella's voice, I shook myself and sat up, pulling myself out of Esme's arms as I scooted over to where she lay. Her voice was rough and sounded painful, but it was the most wonderful sound I had ever heard in my life.
"Bella? Oh, my love, I'm so sorry. I couldn't do anything to-" my voice was breaking as I tried to express my guilt at simply standing and watching as she suffered, but she wouldn't let me
"Don't, Edward, I know; he would have killed me if you'd taken another step, I just know it. I think he was going to anyway." Every word out of her mouth sounded agonizing, and both Carlisle and I hushed her at the same time.
"Bella, speaking is going to be very painful for a few days, please, try not to say anything you don't need to," Carlisle said as he ran his hands over her throat. I couldn't miss the way she flinched as he touched the quickly darkening finger shaped bruises all the way around her neck. "I think we need to get a cold compress on this as soon as possible. Esme?"
"I'll go and find a cloth." Esme vanished from behind me quickly, as I looked at Carlisle.
"Laurent was here for Victoria... but I guess he'll be long gone by now," I said, but Carlisle was shaking his head as I did.
"I wouldn't bet on that. Emmett, Jasper, Alice and Rosalie were all outside waiting for him. And with what Alice saw a few minutes ago, I think it unlikely he will survive the encounter." Carlisle was blocking his thoughts from me, but he didn't need to. I'd seen inside Laurent's own mind what his intentions were in the moments before my family had arrived.
"Good. As I think letting him go right now, would be a very bad idea." As I said those words, I realized that despite my deep inner need to destroy Laurent myself, I was no longer capable of doing what was now necessary with him.
As I cradled my poor bruised and terrified beloved in my lap, I only hoped that one of my family was.
We had all been at home when the vision of Laurent arriving at Edward and Bella's cottage had come to me, thank God.
I didn't wait to see what was going to happen, the mere fact that his eyes in my vision had been red was enough for me to react. I had simply shrieked, and thank God my beautiful boy had known what needed to be done without a thought.
Within seconds we were in our cars flying to Forks from Port Angeles, and despite the fact that it was the middle of the day, we did a journey that at the speed limit takes nearly an hour, and usually takes even one of us about twenty minutes, in twelve.
I was able to tell the rest of them what I had seen as we drove, the distance between our cars not preventing them from hearing me perfectly clearly, and with every word the tension rose in all three cars.
I knew that from the second I had begun to see my vision play out, Edward and Bella had only seventeen minutes to live. Maybe less if Edward didn't play it very carefully indeed.
The twelve minutes it took us to reach Forks were torturous, as with every move Edward and Bella's fate swung in the balance. Visions of events coming almost as they happened were the most unpredictable, and I saw a million variations of what could happen between them all as we tore towards them, horns blaring in our wake as we negotiated Saturday afternoon traffic at Grand prix speeds.
The second we arrived back on our property we were out of our cars and headed towards the cottage at top speed, and I saw Laurent's decision to leave the second he heard us pulling up.
"Carlisle, Bella's hurt," I couldn't help but sob as we approached the cottage. I could see that she would be ok, but I couldn't see if that was because Carlisle was here or not, so it was with relief I watched as both he and Esme broke away from the rest of us and headed towards the cottage itself, rather than the woods beyond it, where I knew Laurent would be heading.
"Which way Alice?" Jasper said from beside me. Emmett and Rosalie were to my left, and Jasper to my right as we ran as one towards our prey. We all knew that there was no way we could allow Laurent to leave this place today.
"To the north, into the woods..." I replied, but as I said it he changed his mind, instead deciding to run straight towards the main house instead. "Wait, no..." But before I could say anything, he changed his mind again, this time planning to head east.
"What, Alice, which way?" I could hear Jasper's frustration, but I wasn't sure which way to head now, Laurent seemed to be changing his mind every second, every half second.
"I'm not sure, he keeps on changing his mind... it's almost as if..." I paused, not quite giving voice to the suspicion in my mind, though that didn't stop Jasper, ever the soldier.
"As if he's trying to manipulate your visions?" He said glancing my way quickly. We were only a second from having to decide which way to run, and I had no idea which direction to take us.
"Split up," Jasper said as we began to separate as if to surround the cottage. "Emmett, Rosalie, take the north side, we'll cover the south."
We moved quickly, forming a net around the cottage, but an instant later I realised that he had somehow fooled me again, and that he had already left. Before I could even voice it though, Jasper picked up his trail, heading away to the south of the cottage.
"Emmett, here," Jasper yelled, and in an instant both he and Emmett were in hot pursuit of the trail. Both of them were faster than Rosalie and me, and within seconds they had pulled maybe a hundred feet in front of us.
"How did he trick you into thinking he was still in the house?" Rosalie said to me as we ran, the confusion in her expression matching that which I felt.
"I don't know... he was manipulating me even as we approached though, I couldn't see what he was going to do. He seems to know a lot about how my visions work, and how to get around them." The thought that Laurent had been using my own visions against me crossed my mind, and anger flared inside me when I realized that the only way he could know so much was for one of my family, or should I say extended family, to have told him about me. In great detail.
"It might explain why you've not been able to see whatever the 'big bad' heading Edward's way is -" Rosalie replied as Jasper and Emmett suddenly veered sharply to the right ahead of us.
"Maybe..." But before I could even finish the thought, there was a snarl ahead of us, and suddenly a huge grey wolf leapt across the pathway through the forest in front of Jasper and Emmett, followed by an enormous russet brown one, then a black one, which finally stopped directly in their path.
A flash of a vision hit me, of Jasper and Emmett fighting with the wolves... and in my vision there were five wolves, and only two of them.
"STOP!" I screamed, but it was too late. Neither Jasper nor Emmett had any intention of stopping, but when they tried to duck around the wolves in their path the grey wolf struck out at them from one side.
The horse sized wolf lunged at Emmett, who neatly sidestepped it, missing its enormous jaws by mere inches. But a second later it lunged at Jasper, who stood his ground, and swiped at it, cracking his fist across its jaw the instant before it was about the strike at him. The crack of the impact between them echoed around the forest, and the almost human shriek that came from the wolf as it rolled away from Jasper reverberated around with it, accompanied by the snarls of the other wolves as they prepared to attack.
"You're on Quileute land!" I shrieked, as visions of the bloody-battle about to happen between us all began to push everything else out of my mind. "Come back to me now. JASPER!"
I half sobbed-half screamed his name, as in my mind the hidden wolves leapt at him and began to tear him to pieces in the impossible fight we were only seconds away from. A moment later he was by my side, with Emmett beside him.
"His trail goes that way, we have to follow him!" Jasper said in an agitated manner. He had clearly only backed down from the fight in response to my distress, and his need to pursue Laurent was still obviously uppermost in his mind.
"We're chasing the bad guy, you stupid fucking DOGS!" Emmett yelled as the final two wolves revealed themselves, and the now five enormous wolves stretched out across the trail in front of us, their intention clear. Each one of them was baring it's teeth and snarling, even the grey one which Jasper had hit, which seemed to be edging a little closer towards us than the rest of them.
Both Emmett and Jasper seemed to be unharmed, but they were both windswept from the run, and they wore matching expressions of frustration as we moved about edgily, trying to work out what to do now, as the wolves no doubt tried to do the same.
"Another vampire just crossed into your land, just here!" Rosalie suddenly yelled, taking a step forwards as she did it. The wolves all immediately began to snarl more loudly, and I could sense that now two of them really wanted to attack us. I wasn't sure what was holding them back.
"He's a human drinker," Rosalie continued, and I could see the wolves finally begin to take notice. "He just attacked Bella and Edward. Instead of standing around growling at us like a useless bunch of little bitches, go and get him, if you won't let us do it!"
The wolves seemed to hesitate for a moment, but then a second later they were gone, tearing through the forest in the direction Laurent's trail had been headed in, almost silently.
Jasper, Emmett and I all turned to Rosalie as one and looked at her - as she looked at her fingernails, as if the entire event had bored her.
"What?" she said, not bothering to look up. "There's no point us all standing here while Laurent gets away. They want something to use as a chew toy? Rather him than me."
"Fuck!" Emmett hissed as he stalked off, before he suddenly kicked at a large boulder standing on the top of a short rocky outcropping nearby. The boulder took off, flying a good hundred feet before landing with a soft thud deeper in the forest. "I can't believe we let him get away! What are we going to tell Edward?"
"I don't know," Jasper replied, looking more thoughtful, but still just as frustrated as Emmett. "But whatever we do now, we can't leave them unguarded for a second. Unless the wolves get him, we have to assume that Laurent now poses a constant threat to Edward and Bella."
"Shit, Bells; we'd better go and check she's ok..." Emmett said, but I hushed him with a wave of my hand.
"She's fine... bruising..." I knew my voice sounded distant, and I sensed everybody turning to me as the vision of the coming days played out in my mind. They waited for me to speak again, each of them knowing that they had to allow the vision to play out.
"Alice?" Jasper eventually said, a few seconds after my eyes had cleared and dropped to the ground.
"The wolves won't get him," I replied, before I turned and ran back towards the cottage, leaving the others trailing behind me.
My vision had been thorough, and there was so much to do - but at least now we weren't blind anymore. I forced myself to look on the bright side; knowing that the visions that I had just seen were only of things that could be, and that somehow we would be able to stop them.
But first, I needed to see my brother and my sister. I needed to see with my own eyes that they were both ok, as sometimes living inside my own head so much made me question what was even really real anymore.
And after that... well, then it would be time for me to talk.
A/N – Well, if you made it this far, thanks for reading! I wasn't intending on posting, but this chapter crept up on me, so I thought I may as well. I cannot promise when the next one will come, it will most likely be a while.
I'd just like to thank everybody for the messages of support I've received since we got the news that my son's Leukaemia relapsed over Christmas. The last few months have been a horrible time, and there's only more to come unfortunately.
The good news is he went back into remission well, and is now home again. We have also found a Bone Marrow donor via the Anthony Nolan Trust (which is a UK charity, I'm certain there must be something similar in the US and other countries around the world), and my son is scheduled for transplant on 26th May. This is what he needs to have a chance to get better, but it is obviously a hard procedure, so it's difficult to look forward to putting him through it, despite everything.
I do seem to spend a lot of time sitting about with my son at the moment, which is how this chapter came to pass, so you never know. Another one may be forthcoming sooner or later. I estimate there are 5 regular chapters left, plus 2 epis. But I'm crap at that, so you should probably read that as 6, or even 8...
No recs, as my fic reading has dropped to zero these days. If you haven't discovered the Black Dagger Brotherhood books by J R Ward though, they're brill.
Til the next time,