Jake and I flew to see Renee for a few days. Charlie didn't even grumble too much over the fact that we missed two days of school for the trip.
Renee welcomed Jake with open arms, giving him a kiss and exclaiming on how big he had grown. It struck me as odd that she would have met him when he was a baby. How come I could barely remember anything from back then? She even had some faded photographs of us as children. Sent to her from Charlie.
"Hey! I have a copy of this one!" Jake picked up a photo. He and I were sitting in the dirt at front of Jake's house, with scraps of bright red cloth tied around our necks. I was grinning up at the camera, a little pink sunhat shading my face, my hands in fists around the edge of Jake's makeshift cape. Jake was concentrating intently on filling up the gumboot in front of him with dirt and dead grass, a look of fierce determination on his tiny round face.
Renee laughed. "I don't think Billy was too happy about his boot being filled with mud." She leaned over Jake, spreading the loose photos out across the table. A lot of them were of Jake's sisters and I. "Here, this is my favorite, I need to get a frame for this." She singled out a picture, sliding it to the edge of the table.
I picked it up. Jake and I sitting against a white wall, a big book spread out over our laps. A square of sunlight from an unseen window lit us up, the rest of the shot was dark. We were dressed up, I was wearing a frilly dress and he was in a tiny shirt and tie. We were facing each other, staring at each other. My face was stern, my hand was spread out against the open page. Jake's face was slack, his mouth hanging open. I put a hand over my mouth, it was so cute! He was staring at me like I was amazing, you could almost see the stars in his big eyes.
Renee's voice was soft. "You were 'reading' to him. Although I think that was a ledger that you stole from somewhere in the church." Jake tugged the picture from my fingers. He stared at it for a long time.
"That was at Mum's funeral." He said quietly. "I remember that. You told me about… Hades?"
Renee laughed again, "Ah, the Greek mythology phase. You liked the monsters in those." Jake snorted in laughter, muttering under his breath about me and monsters.
I gasped at the memory. I had completely forgotten, but now it was crystal clear, I could almost smell the musty church smell. "Hades… and Persephone." I smiled, putting my hand over Jakes. "He kidnapped her, made her his wife…" I trailed off.
"And she ate the pomegranate seeds!" Jake grinned.
"You two were so cute." Renee gushed. "Charlie always arranged for you to play with the girls, Bella. He thought you would enjoy it more. But you and Jake were always good little friends." She beamed and moved to take the kettle off the stove. "Tea?"
* * *
It was raining when we got back to Forks. Typical. Charlie dropped me off at school, running the cruiser fast through the puddles, sending up sprays of water. I was laughing when I jumped out of the front seat, slinging my bag over my shoulder. Charlie leaned over to yell at me through the rain. "Billy's coming over to watch the game tonight. You want me to order pizza or something?"
I shook my head. "I'll teach Jacob the art of pasta. See you! Thanks for the ride!" Charlie raised a hand in farewell, and sped off.
"Bella!" Julie was behind me, crouching under a massive umbrella. She held it up as I jogged towards her, sheltering us both. "So! How did it go? Does she approve?"
I launched into a description of the weekend. Including the awkward discussion where Renee had asked if Jake and I were using protection. Julie was in hysterics at that, her cheeks turning bright red. She, in turn, told me about meeting Mike's mother for the first time.
"She hates me." She grinned, pulling books out from her locker. "I'm a bad influence." I gaped at her, how could she laugh at that? She raised her eyebrows at my incredulous face. "I don't care!" she laughed. "You've met that woman. She hates everything!" Julie pulled out her cell phone, glaring at the screen. "Ah, class time. You need a ride home, my little cripple?" She reached out to squeeze my injured arm. "I have to go see the AV boys after class, so I'll be a bit late. Meet you here at half past last bell?" I laughed. I loved the way she talked, all in code.
"See you at lunch, anyway!" I called as I headed down the hall. Half an hour late home. Maybe I would have to just fry up some fish, there might not be time to make a good pasta sauce, especially not with Jake hindering my every move in the kitchen. I hugged my arms close to my sides, excitement welling up in my stomach, looking forward to another perfect evening.
* * *
I had this big bubble of anticipation in my stomach all day. I was restless, shifting in my seat, fidgeting. Quil found it funny in the morning, but after lunch had ended up smacking me across the back of my head. "Sit still!" he hissed "What the hell is the matter with you?"
I shrugged, worried. "I don't know. I have to run, see if there's any news." I tried to concentrate on the lesson. But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.
Home time couldn't come soon enough. As soon as the teacher let us go, I was in the woods, tugging off my clothes to phase.
Paul and Leah were running.
Hey, Jake! Paul's voice laughed in my head. Leah acknowledged my presence without words.
Something's wrong. Can you run past Bella's? Make sure she's home okay? I'll run home, see if she's left a message or something, if she's called.
Paul and Leah agreed to check if she was home. They thought I was crazy, though.
I realized that I sounded hysterical, that I had no reason to think that anything had happened to her. But my stomach felt icy cold, I had to make sure she was safe. I prayed that I was just being paranoid. Nothing would have made me happier than to hear her sweet voice, laughing at me, telling me how stupid I was being. I phased behind the house, pulled my shorts on, and sprinted to the door.
Billy was on the phone, his face colorless. His hand was gripping the receiver so hard that his knuckles were white. "Jacob's here." He stated simply, and held the phone out to me.
"Bella?!" I barked, desperate.
"Alice." Came the musical reply. One of the leeches. I felt myself bristle. "Jacob, listen. I think Bella's in trouble. I just saw her, with Edward. It might already be too late. You have to find her! We're on our way." I growled. This couldn't be happening!
"I have to go." I said flatly, and hung up. It instantly started ringing again. Insane hope pumped through me as I picked it up. "Bella?" I could hear the desperation in my voice.
"Jake?" My heart fell as Mike's voice came down the line. "It's… It's Bella. She went… with Edward." There was a long pause, I could hear his breath coming in short pants. His voice was hoarse, like he had a cough. "He's a fucking psycho, Jake. He fucking kidnapped her!"
* * *
It was pandemonium when I arrived at the school, police cars and ambulances filled the car park. Solemn looking people huddled together beneath umbrellas. I hadn't even bothered trying to look normal, I had phased and run as soon as I hung up on Mike, I came running out from the trees, tugging my shorts on properly as I moved.
"Jake!" Charlie was waving from underneath his umbrella, on the far side of car park. I ran over to him, I couldn't move fast enough. I needed to know what had happened, but I needed to be out there looking, I needed to find her! The entire pack was on alert, trying to pick up her scent. Charlie was talking to Mike, who was sitting in the open doors at the back of an ambulance, a neck brace wrapped around his throat. They just nodded at me as I came up to them, their faces ashen. "Okay, Mike. What happened?" Charlie asked, his voice low, shaking.
"It was just Julie and me… we were late… there was no one else around… we went to meet Bella and Edward was there. He was holding her, against the lockers." His gaze flicked to my face, but he couldn't meet my eyes. "At first I though they must have been back together, he was that close to her… but she was scared." Cold terror ran through me as I listened. Mike's voice sounded even worse now, he could barely choke the words out, and he was obviously in pain. I tried to concentrate, to put the tremors running through my hands to the back of my mind. The last thing these people needed was an unnaturally large wolf exploding in the parking lot.
"He tried to tell us that he would give Bella a ride home, but… but we know what happened, last time he was here. I told him to let her go, that we were taking her home, that I would call the police, but he snarled at us." He paused, taking a deep breath, tears were in his eyes. My hands were quivering, a roaring was flooding my ears. My Bella.
"Julie… Julie got angry. She isn't afraid of guys like that. She started to shove him, she got right up in his face, yelling at him. Bella said, she said not to, she was begging, telling Julie that he's dangerous, not to make him angry. Edward went to leave, dragging, literally dragging Bella behind him. She was clinging to anything she could grab hold of. Her hand was blue, with how hard he was holding her." Mike took a deep, shuddering breath. I started to see red, blood was pumping in front of my vision. I turned my head when I heard a raspy breath beside me. Charlie's face crumpled, tears leaked down his cheek. I bit my lip, I couldn't turn, not here.
"Julie jumped on his back, but he just picked her off with one hand and threw her across the hall, like she was nothing." His face softened for a second, his mouth hanging open, his eyes far away. Shit, Julie.
He shook himself, gathering his thoughts. "I grabbed Bella, tried to pry his fingers off her arm. He's too strong." Mikes eyes darted between our faces, begging for some kind of forgiveness, for some explanation. "He picked me up, by the throat, like in the movies. Then he just looked at Bella, like he was threatening her. So she nodded, said okay, that she would go with him." He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. "He dropped me. And she left with him. I… I stayed with Julie, she was bleeding…" He stopped, guilt and fear all over his face.
Charlie patted him on the shoulder. "You should get to the hospital." His voice was dripping with panic.
Mike nodded morosely. He shifted to sit up on the gurney, jerking his head up just before the paramedics closed the doors. "Jake! Jake. She said… she went really weird when they were leaving. I'm sorry, I don't remember very well. But she said to tell you… she went Tell Jake – You are my Sunshine, my only sunshine… You know that old song?" I nodded dumbly. This was all too much. "She said to 'tell you'. Then just started singing."
The doors closed on Mike, and Charlie put his hand on my shoulder. "Mike called us… we heard a lot of it." Horror. Poor Charlie, listening to his daughter being abducted. "The lockers, where he threw Julie… it looks like a car crash…"
I shrugged Charlie off and ran to the trees. It was too much. She was gone. Sam's apologetic voice was in my head as soon as I phased.
"He's got the Volvo. Jake, we can't track him. We lost the scent at the highway."
"No! We have to find her Sam! What if…" I whined, my mind trying to stop me from thinking my next thought. Bile rose in my throat. "What if he turns her?"
The mind was silent. I could feel their pity, their hopelessness.
"Jake. Get it together. We're going to find her. We're going to meet up with the leech's soothsayer sister, figure out where he is, and get her back. We'll run the entire country if we have to."
My brain was running in circles, I was helpless. Why weren't we doing something? What were we waiting for?
"He needs to get somewhere secluded before he can turn her, right? And even then it's a risk, she'll be stronger than him. If we attack him now, he might bite her anyway, so he would have won. We need to be smart about this. We need to wait for his sister."
The trees rushed past me as I went flying through the forest. He must have been planning this since the last time he was here. He probably had safe houses all over the country, all over the world. He had money. He had a hundred years of experience in hiding…
…He had Bella.
* * *
So that's it!
Do not fret, there will be another! OBVIOUSLY it can't really end like this! But it will be another 'book'. This one is finished. Cheers for reading peoples! -Eva