Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all.
This took for-FREAKING-ever! I'm sorry! My real life problems really suck right now. First family issues and now friend issues on top of that. I had half of this written for the longest time, but never got around to finishing it, and I apologize for that.
NOTE: This is the LAST chapter! There may or may not be an epilogue, depending on how many of you want one, so tell me in a review what you think of the idea.
I made this an EXTRA long chapter with lots of fluffy goodness at the end for your reading pleasure. :)
Once and for All
Damn, she got away again.
How did we keep losing her!?
"Rose, let's go," Alice ordered, her tone violent. "Esme, come on. You too, Ness. Bella, Edward, before you start yelling, let me say something. Renesmee is an adult; she has the right to go if she wants to. And I'm not allowing either one of you to come. Edward gets too easily manipulated, and Bella, we can't have her changing into you again. If we happen to see you while we're searching, we'll know it's her. You stay put."
Edward's eyes darkened, his expression furious "No fuc-"
"Edward!" I exclaimed.
"-freaking way," he switched words last second at my interruption.
I shot him a disapproving look, but he barely noticed, still glaring at Alice.
"I'm coming," he growled.
"I'm coming, too," I chimed in.
"I'm going. Bella, she's right, you need to stay here. And so does Renesmee."
"Edward," I warned seriously. "I want to be there, too, okay? I want to help. You have absolutely no say in it. But, I do agree, Renesmee is staying here."
"Would you guys just shut up already?" Rosalie nearly shouted, her expression one of annoyance. "Why doesn't anyone who wants to come, come? Except for you, Emmett."
He noticeably frowned at her statement, but amazingly didn't argue.
"Wait a second," Carlisle spoke for the first time this night. "I think we should think this through, create some plan of action before just charging out there. I wouldn't like for anyone to get mixed up if she changes into one of us."
He then took on his leader's voice, giving us his final word on the subject. "Edward goes. He'll have to read her thoughts, or lack of in case she's impersonating one of us. Bella, have you ever thought to try and use your shield around us, to see if her powers can penetrate it? From the sound of it, her gift is a mind manipulation, which is exactly the kind of thing your shield prevents."
Ah, yes, my shield. I had never once thought of using it against her before. How idiotic of me that I wouldn't realize I had the power to stop her.
"And I've been giving this some thought, and I think there may be something else your shield can do…" he trailed off momentarily, and I nodded eagerly for him to go on.
"Well, do you think it's possible that if you place your shield around her, that she wouldn't be able to use her power? That it would revert her body back into its normal appearance?"
I shook my head. "But that's a physical power. It could possibly stop her from using her mind manipulation, though."
"But what if it's all connected?"
"What do you mean, Carlisle?" Edward asked impatiently, leaning in the direction of the forest, just itching to get going.
He inhaled deeply before beginning to tell us his theory. "Well, is it possible that her power is purely a manipulation of the mind? Like, her appearances are all an optical illusion? And she sways your mind into desiring that version of herself. Maybe when she orders you to do something, you simply do it because in your mind you can't say no to her, not because she can control you."
"No, I was under some type of control. I wanted to say no plenty of times," Edward angrily cut in.
"But you did say no, just the other day in the school parking lot, Edward. I think your mind finally came to the realization that you could, in fact, say no to her. And it was because Bella was there, someone you would do absolutely everything for. In your mind you couldn't say no to Evelyn, but you couldn't say no to Bella either. And because Bella is the most important thing in your world, I think that forced your mind to realize that you could defy Evelyn, if that was what Bella wanted of you."
Edward sighed from beside me.
"This is all so confusing. What should I do, Carlisle? Shield our family, or shield her?"
"Who cares? We have to move before she gets too far!" Alice exclaimed. Edward appeared to be about three seconds away from decking her in the face. He looked pissed.
"My advice would be to shield us, just in case."
"Alright, I'll do that. Are we ready?" I inquired.
"Who's going to stay with Sarah?" Renesmee wondered aloud, her voice laced with worry.
Edward smirked. "Well, you are, of course."
"Oh, don't even," she countered. "Esme, do you mind?"
Esme bit her lip apprehensively; clearly nervous about letting us all go on without her help. "Sure, dear. Everybody be safe."
"Now let's go!" Alice roared.
"Teams?" Edward inquired, his tone fierce, unnaturally rough.
"Couples," she stated simply. "You and Bella are going to go back to that cabin I keep seeing in my visions, but have no idea where is located. Rose and Em are going to search the woods in all the surrounding areas. Jazz and I will go back to her house, see if we can maybe find something, and then we'll start searching the forests, too. And Carlisle can go with Ness and Jake to make sure they don't get hurt. They're going to stay closest to the house, in case she didn't go very far, and that way Esme's right here to help if needed. Everyone clear?"
Edward's vice grip on my hand tightened impossibly further and without saying a word he yanked me towards the wood, his pace incredibly fast.
We had only gotten about a half mile before I could no longer keep up with him. He was already practically dragging me by the time I spoke up. "Edward," I breathed, my voice strangely breathless. "Edward, slow down, I can't go that fast!"
He didn't let up, didn't even speak. Abruptly he tugged my arm again, harder than he had been, and I slammed into his back. I shrieked as he found my other hand and slung it around his neck. I clung to him, wrapping my legs around his waist and holding on for dear life. "Edward, what the hell?!" I shouted, annoyed, while simultaneously impressed at how he didn't lose his momentum.
I was amazed as we glided through the trees.
He was nearly flying. Even as a newborn with my extra strength and speed I had never even come close to running this quickly. My vampire eyes could barely process the rapid scenery that raced by us, everything blending together.
It made me feel inferior…and oh so human again.
I'm positive only about two minutes had passed since we were in the clearing, and suddenly we were directly in front of the gaping hole of a doorway at Evelyn's hideout cabin. Edward flung us inside without slowing down and then jerked us to a sudden halt in the direct center of the blindingly lighted room.
I dismounted from off his back, and when my feet were safely on the ground once more, let out a playful whistle. "Damn that was pretty impressive, Cullen. You were going like eight thousand miles per hour! I think it gave me a headache, if that's even possible."
And that's when I noticed it. He was bent over with his eyes squeezed tightly shut, his hands rested on his knees, his breathing frighteningly labored. "Oh my god, Edward!" I exclaimed, terrified. My hands fluttered fretfully around him, attempting to do…something helpful. "Baby, are you okay?"
I realized that that was the very first time I had ever called him 'baby,' and pondered that for a moment before I snapped back into reality, focusing on the matter at hand.
I placed my hands on either sides of his face, trying to get him to open his eyes and look at me. "Edward, look at me," I ordered.
He lifted one of his hands off of his knees and wrapped it around my thigh, holding me close to him. "I'm...," he panted, "I'm…fine." He dropped his head and I ran my fingers through his hair, worried for his health….never thought I'd say that.
His breathing gradually slowed down, and he swallowed coarsely. "I'm sorry….I'm alright. I just…too fast, and with the extra weight, and I….it was different the first time, when I was trying…you…to get to you…earlier," he rambled, still winded.
I was completely horrified as I saw what he was putting his body through. I was mostly concerned. How was it possible for a vampire to get winded, or run too quickly? It was unthinkable.
"You can't keep doing this to yourself," I muttered angrily.
His voice was finally back to normal when he spoke again. "I wanted to get here before she did, to make a surprise attack. If we're silent right now, which clearly we aren't being, then she won't notice and walk right into my trap."
"Don't do it again."
Eventually he righted himself, smoothing down his shirt, staring at me through squinted eyes.
"What?" I finally asked, suddenly self-conscious.
He smirked. "You called me baby."
"Oh, shut it. I wasn't thinking clearly. To be honest, I was terrified."
His smile faltered, his beautiful topaz eyes shining with guilt. "I'm sorry," he breathed, wrapping his arms around me. "I didn't mean to worry you. I just wanted to get here as quickly as possible. I'm completely fine now. It was just for a few seconds. And it's not like I can overdo it, Bella, I'm a vampire."
"I know," I whispered, nodding into his shoulder. "I just don't like seeing you like that. How is it even possible for you to go so fast to where it makes you lose your breath?"
He shrugged. "I don't-"
A noise, similar to a tree branch snapping in half sounded out in the far distance, cutting Edward's sentence off. I knew straight away who it was. I leaned up, kissing the side of Edward's neck quickly before pushing him away, focusing.
It took only three more seconds before I, or should I say Evelyn, blasted through the door. She stopped dead in her tracks, wide eyed. She composed herself quickly, but I still caught the flash of fear in her/my eyes.
I felt Edward's arm wrap tightly around my waist, squeezing me into his side. "There's nowhere to run, Evelyn."
Her head tilted to the side, silently observing us. "Hmm, I'll give you this, you actually caught me off guard this time. I was not expecting you to be here. But you can't kill me, Edward."
She sauntered further into the room, overly confident.
He scoffed. "Like hell I won't."
"You can try. But really, Edward….Can you honestly tell me you'd murder something that looked exactly like your Bella? And what if…just what if I really was Bella, and she's Evelyn, and has fooled you? Sure, it's pretty obvious who's who, but would you actually be able to do it? For the rest of your eternal life, in the very back of your mind, you'd always wonder…what if? Cause we all know Evelyn's a great actress. She could pretend to be Bella forever if she truly wanted to."
Edward growled from beside me. "Stop trying to mess with my mind."
She just smirked sardonically.
My shield was already in place around the both of us, but she seemed to have figured that out already, and had found another way to mess with him. Vindictive witch.
"Come do it, Edward. Come kill me if you'd like to."
He stepped forward, bringing me along with him, but then halted, glancing at me uncertainly. His eyes squeezed shut, and he shook his head. "I know it's you, I do. She's…she's trying to make me second guess myself."
I reached up, running my fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck, hoping to soothe him. He knew which one of us was real. I was completely certain he wouldn't kill me. I wasn't worried...much.
His eyes reopened. "You're Bella."
"I knew that." He sighed. "I'm sorry."
I pushed away my shield, opening up my mind to him. Before asking my question, I showed him every special memory of ours I could think of, a few even from my human days. By now I could only remember very significant things, such as our wedding, honeymoon, the proposal, prom, and my first glimpse at Renesmee. Sadly, I couldn't even remember our first kiss. It wasn't that it wasn't memorable, because it was, just that because I didn't focus on it when I first became a vampire, it had slipped away.
Do you need me to kill her? I asked.
He shook his head, kissing my temple. "We both can. I just…thank you, I needed that."
We turned to face Evelyn again to find her arms crossed, her eyebrows raised as if doubting that we could actually kill her. I'd be sure to make it extra painful just for that.
Edward and I growled in unison, and she took the slightest of steps backwards. We stalked forward side by side as she continued to step backward, finally twisting around and trying to get away. Of course, Edward was quicker than she was, stepping in front of the exit before she even got two steps forward.
She turned back around with a hiss, crouching down and springing towards me. We flew backwards, smashing into the stone wall, not quite enough force to go all the way through.
She clawed at me as I grabbed a hold of her arm, giving it a tug with all of the force in my body. A sheer metallic tearing sound, resembling nails on a chalkboard pierced through the air as I ripped her arm off, throwing it across the room.
Edward yanked her off of me, throwing her body effortlessly into the wall on the west side of the cabin. He slammed into her, biting at her shoulder as she cried out in pain. Her body kept flashing with a bright light, as if her body was trying to change back into its true form, but she was struggling to keep up her appearance as me.
A streak of white flew across the room and landed on the other side of the room with a loud thunk. I realized then that it was her other arm.
I rushed over to the two of them, helping Edward disassemble her.
As I was trying to get her head off, she leaned forward, sinking her teeth into my shoulder. I shrieked, caught off guard by her action and stopped what I was doing to pry her off me. Edward swooped in, landing a heavy punch in her gut, wrapping his arm around her neck and yanking. That same sharp noise echoed around the room, and then abruptly, a wave of blonde hair flew past my eyes. It landed on the other side of the room along with the other pieces of her.
I assisted Edward in tearing her other limbs apart. We worked quietly and efficiently until there wasn't a piece bigger than my hand. Once we had finished, we searched the cottage high and low, making sure to get every last part of her before we started the fire.
Edward ripped up the floorboards and threw them on top of the pile of body parts, grabbing the lighter out of his pocket and flicking it on. He set fire to one of the boards and looked towards me, nodding down. I glanced down at the head that was nestled in between my hands. Very gruesome, I'm aware, but I had made sure to get a good look at the woman she truly was before I destroyed her.
I dropped the head into the blaze, stepping away from it and into Edward's open arms. He held me snugly to his chest, his lips finding my forehead, my cheeks, my chin, everywhere on my face except for where I wanted them the most.
I grabbed his face, guiding his lips to my own, kissing him with all of the passion I could muster. In between the heated kisses, I whispered how much I loved him, instantly recognizing that I meant every single word of it.
"Edward," I whispered, my hands trailing up underneath his shirt, tracing the defined muscles of his stomach and chest as I practically attacked his mouth with my own. "I think I'm ready."
"Ready?" he panted against my lips, uncertain as to what I was ready for.
I nodded, my lips trailing down to his neck as my fingernails dragged down his chest, grabbing a hold of his belt buckle. "Ready."
His eyes widened as he swallowed noisily.
Thirty minutes later we were dashing through the trees, our fingers laced together, back to our home. As we neared the clearing, I heard the distinct sound of someone pacing on the front porch, and the muffled voices of a conversation inside the house.
When we came into the clearing we found Alice sitting alone on the porch, her arms rested on her knees, Jasper pacing behind her. "You guys are sick," was the first thing out of her mouth as we approached them. "Right beside a fire that someone was burning to death in, really?"
I hid behind Edward, burying my face in his shoulder. "It wasn't my idea!" Edward exclaimed innocently, like the traitor he was.
"Yes, I know that," Alice side smiled and winked at me. "I guess tearing evil bitches up gets Bella frisky."
"Shut up. I'm going upstairs," I huffed. "You guys are mean."
"Oh, I'm just joking, Bella," Alice laughed. "And you aren't the only ones. Emmett and Rosalie still aren't back. They seemed to have run into the same problem."
I nodded, muttering sarcastically. "Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only whore around here."
"Yeah, I guess you aren't. Anyways, you guys were good."
I just gaped at her. After a moment she seemed to have realized how that sounded. "God, that is not what I meant. You think I'd watch that? Again, you are sick. I meant you were good in the fight! Let me see your bite mark, that looked painful."
I pulled down the sleeve of my shirt, showing off my latest scar. I had several, only one of which I remember getting; the faint scar on the inside of my palm from when James had bitten me. The others, the ones all over my body, I was told those were given to me by Edward, from whenever Renesmee was born and he had to bite me in several different areas to get the venom flowing into my bloodstream. I was too disoriented at that time to remember it.
After a few minutes of conversation, Edward coiled his arm around my waist and led me up the stairs and into the house. Renesmee rushed towards us, embracing the both of us at the same time. I kissed her forehead at the same time Edward did. "I was so worried," she admitted quietly. "Are you okay, Mom? Alice said she bit you."
"I'm perfect now that I have you both right here." I kissed her forehead once again. "I love you, Renesmee."
When she finally released us, we were swarmed with hugs from the rest of the family, even Alice and Jasper.
Just as we were about to head up the stairs, Sarah came bouncing down the hallway. Of course, she ran right into Edward's arms, just as she always did. He hugged her as tight as possible without crushing her, whispering things in which were too low for me to hear in her ear. She was still young, and didn't understand the concept of whispering, so therefore when she did try, it came out louder than her speaking voice, earning a few laughs from the family.
After he was done, he then passed her to me, and I willingly took the toddler in my arms. The small girl placed her chubby hands on either side of my face and kissed my nose. "I love you, Grandma."
"I love you, too, baby."
Sometime later, Edward and I finally made it up to our room. He immediately collapsed on the bed, and I repeated the action right beside him. "I think I'm tired enough to sleep."
I groaned, rubbing at my eyes. "I wish we could."
"We could pretend?" he suggested. "I just want to lie down and not move for several days."
"Mmm, me too."
He discarded his jacket and shoes, dragging himself up to the pillows before crumpling down again, getting himself under the covers. I switched off the lamp and crawled in beside him, snuggling into his side and resting my head on his chest. His fingers automatically came up to rub my back lightly.
Thirteen minutes and four seconds were spent in total silence before he broke it. "I think we need to move again."
"You get to tell the family."
"Damn it," he muttered. "Oh well, they're probably listening right now. If they aren't willing to move with us, than we still can. We'll take Renesmee and Sarah with us…even the mutt, I guess."
"Hey, be nice," I whispered as I heard a faint snarl from the general direction of Renesmee and Jacob's bedroom.
"I said he could come, didn't I? You know, I kind of like that kid now. He went ballistic the day I ignored Renesmee, and I respect that. You should have sent him, Em, and Jazz to beat the hell out of me for that. I certainly deserved it."
"I'll beat the hell out of you now if you'd like," Jacob's deep, woodsy voice called from the other room. "Just admit it, Ed, you like me. You wouldn't know what to do if I wasn't around," he added.
I peeked up at Edward, biting my lip to prevent myself from grinning. He rolled his eyes, ignoring Jacob. "You think this is funny, don't you?"
I held out my thumb and forefinger, mouthing, "just a bit."
He just shook his head. I leaned down, pressing my lips into the corner of his jaw. "It's okay, sweetie, I still think you're cool, even if you love Jacob."
He growled from underneath me. "I do not love him. I love you. I love Renesmee. I love Sarah. I don't love the dog. I just happen to care for him in a purely platonic, he's my son-in-law type of way."
"You know, it's very common for man to love his pet. Dogs are a man's best friend, isn't that what they always say?" I teased.
Snickers could be heard from all around the house. "You're so mean to me," he moped.
I laughed at his cuteness, kissing away the pout of his lower lip but leaving my forehead resting against his. He kissed me again, pulling me even closer into him. "You like it," I whispered.
He hummed, kissing the spot behind my ear, earning a shiver from me. "I do," he murmured. "I really do."
I smiled, pulling his lips to mine again. "Good, cause I foresee a lot of this in our future."
"I'll be looking forward to it."
He rolled over on top of me, squashing me, but I didn't mind, wrapping my legs around his waist and locking my ankles together.
"You know," he started as he broke our kiss, "I love you."
"Hmmm, you should," I answered playfully.
"What? I don't get an I love you, too?" he asked, placing a hand over his heard as if he were offended.
I shook my head. "Nope."
The pout that I had kissed away earlier returned, and just as before, it brought a smile to my face. "Well," he drawled. "I guess if you don't love me than this is highly unacceptable right here," he rubbed one of my calves that now had the strength to keep him trapped here, unlike in my human days. "I think I'm going to have to stop this immediately."
"Well," I mocked the overly arrogant tone of voice he was using. "I don't think you want to leave."
A gorgeous half smile spread over his lips. "Never."
I'd like to thank EVERYONE! Not only the reviewers, but for everyone who has taken the time out of their days to read this shenanigan. I love you all! Without you, none of this would have been possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!