Man, it's freezing today. I couldn't feel my fingers or toes after walking to my bus stop. :S
"Look." Jasper said, nudging my shoulder. We had been in the ball room since it was opened, admiring all the decorations that Heidi and Esme set up, catching up with other covens we hadn't seen in a while, dancing a little, but mostly we were all waiting to see if Bella was going to make it here tonight like Marcus said she would.
After what had happened a few hours ago, everyone had been on edge, well, everyone but Victoria's coven. They had just walked to their rooms grinning at each other, talking in hushed voices. I was shocked that the Volturi weren't doing anything about it, but Renesmee had grudgingly informed us that they couldn't act unless Victoria's coven did something physical, which they had made sure not to do for that reason alone.
So, once Marcus took Bella wherever he did, I ran up to her room, setting out her outfit, and leaving a note for when she was ready. Since then I had been sitting at our table in the corner of the room, watching Esme and Carlisle, Rosalie and Emmett, Jasper and Maria, and Edward and Bailey, all have a good time dancing with each other. To say that I was bummed out would be the understatement of the year.
I twirled my black mask around in my fingers, sighing to myself. "No, no amount of unique dresses people came in is going to make me feel better now."
"What about the one you picked out for Bella?" Maria asked with a smile, pointing to the stairs at the other end of the room.
I followed where her finger was pointing and my mouth fell open. There she was, completely oblivious to all the people watching her. Bella was a sight for sore eyes, even with her angry expression she had on she looked amazing as she glided down the stairs, running her fingers along the stone railing. She had so much grace as a vampire you wouldn't ever be able to have guessed that she was a total klutz as human.
I got to my feet, slipping through the crowd until I got to the bottom of the stairs to wait for her. Her eyes scanned the crowd and then met mine, warming on the spot as she smiled at me. "Wow." I breathed as she descended the last couple of stairs.
She looked me over and smiled wider. "I could say the same about you," She said, doing a double take. "In fact, I will. Wow." She said and I laughed. She sighed and wrapped her arms around my waist. "Music to my ears." She whispered.
"Someone's in a good mood." I commented, slipping my arms around her waist as well.
"I figured I'd show you the softer side after what you saw earlier." She said, wincing.
"Everything they said is totally and completely untrue, Bella." I said immediately, tightening my grip on her.
She smiled again and scanned the room before looking at me. "I know, I shouldn't have let them get to me like that. It's just…" She said, closing her eyes. I didn't push her, she was always editing things, closing herself off and hardly ever opened up, and I didn't want to ruin it. "It's just that I felt all of that for so many years and hearing it out loud brought it all back for a second."
"We shouldn't have left." I whispered, more to myself than her. If we hadn't left, she wouldn't have ever had to feel that. It hurt to know that we were the cause of that much suffering.
"I'm glad you did." Bella said, bringing me out of my reverie with a start.
"What?" I asked. Maybe I hadn't heard right, though I'm sure I did.
She laughed and spun us to the middle of the dance floor, swaying to the beat of the music like everyone else. "I said I'm glad you did." She continued when I looked at her as if she lost her mind. "We wouldn't be here if you didn't, I'd be with Edward, you'd be with Jasper. So, no matter what, I can't bring myself to regret anything and I'd do it again and again if I had to."
I was sure that if I could cry, I would have been. Bella seemed to always know what to say and how to say it, constantly making my stilled heart beat. "I love you." Was all I could manage to say I was so choked up.
Bella grinned, lighting up the whole room and dipped me. "And I you." She whispered, softly pressing her lips to mine before straightening out and twirling me towards the tables. "Let's go say hi to everyone, I just have to compliment Esme, the room looks fantastic."
I looked up at her, raising an eyebrow. "Trying to win over my parents?" I smirked.
"Isn't that how it went back in your day, m'lady?" She asked, playing along.
I nodded seriously, trying not to smile. "And just how are you planning on providing for Carlisle's little girl?"
"I'll buy a farm and…do stuff with it." She shook her head. "I would have made a terrible man, my family would have starved." She laughed. We approached the table where everyone was, talking and laughing to one another and they all turned and smiled at Bella warmly, well, everyone but Bailey, and Edward whose eyes were glued to Bella, effectively getting on my nerves. Let me tell you right now, jealousy is a strong emotion. "Hey."
"How are you feeling?" Carlisle asked as we sat down at the large table with them.
"Good, well, basically. Aro and I found some things out, but we can talk about that later." She said, seeing the question mark on his face. "I love the decorations Esme, simply fantastic, as always." She said, smiling brightly at Esme.
"Thank you Bella." Esme replied, glancing around the room and smiling.
I looked around the table again, smiling at Jasper and Maria who got up to go dance again, and my eyes landed on Edward who was practically drooling over Bella. My last nerve snapped and I bit back the growl building in my throat, settling for leaning my head on Bella's shoulder and smiling again when she wrapped her arm around me and rested her head on mine. "So, when are we going to have that arm wrestle, Bells?" Emmett asked.
Bella froze, though I was the only one who could tell and she sat up straight again. "Not tonight Emmett, maybe later." She said, looking down at the table her hands were now resting on. Something was up.
"So," I said after a few moments of silence. "You decided to go for the Phantom of the Opera look after all, I see." I said to Emmett as he fiddled with his white mask.
He shrugged and looked around the table at everyone else's mask. "I figure if he can pull it off, so can I."
"He actually was a vampire." Bella said quietly.
"Pardon?" Esme asked curiously.
"I met him and he was a vampire. That's why he had the mask, not to cover a disfigured face, it was to cover a beautiful one. He preferred people to fear him and leave him alone instead of finding him breath takingly beautiful and have them follow him around all the time. " She said and then looked up at everyone. "Well, that's what he said. I think he liked the mysterious profile they all gave him and that's why he put up the charade."
"You've met the 'Phantom of the Opera'?" Rosalie asked and Bella nodded. "Who else have you met that we might know of?"
Bella thought for a second. "Uh, I think that's it. However, did you know that Abraham Lincoln was also a vampire?" She said and I looked at her bewildered. "Yes, he wasn't shot, he was bitten. He did die shortly after that though, he couldn't take giving up his life and wanted to expose us so he could be the president again. And as you know, we can't allow that, so Jane and Alec paid him a visit."
"You must have come across many stories over the years here." Carlisle smiled. Bella nodded again, scanning the room once more and then facing everyone again.
"Why do you do that?" I asked. It was starting to peak my curiosity.
"Do what?" Bella asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Looking around the room every once and a while." I replied, looking around the room as she did again.
"It's my job, I've got to keep the peace, which means I've got to look for trouble." She shrugged.
"Where are the others? Aren't they supposed to be watching too?" I asked. I hadn't seen Heidi or anyone else in the ball room yet.
"Just because you can't see us doesn't mean we can't see you." Renesmee said, skipping up to the table from nowhere. She laughed at me, and all the other Cullen's shocked faces. "Man, you guys have to stop by here more. It's like you don't even know us." She said and shared a laugh with Bella.
"Yeah, come on down for the holidays. We'll pull out the Christmas tree for you." Bella snickered.
I quickly glanced around at everyone else while Bella and Renesmee went on, laughing at the jokes they were making. Everyone was looking at me, it was obvious that I hadn't asked Bella to come back with us yet. 'Soon' I mouthed to them and turned to Bella, about to ask her to dance so I could then ask her to come home with us.
"Bella." Edward asked as I opened my mouth. Everyone looked over to him as he stood up. "Do you think we could talk?" He asked, holding out his hand for her to take.
She looked at it for a few seconds, and then to Bailey who was scowling but keeping quiet while Renesmee was watching her, and then Bella looked around the table at all of us. "Fine." She said, pushing her chair back. She looked at me and her face softened into a smile. "Jealousy looks cute on you." She said and everyone laughed while she walked out to the dance floor with Edward.
"Well that's great, just perfect." I mumbled, huffing to myself.
"What's wrong dear?" Esme asked.
I sighed and calmed myself down a bit. "Edward is talking to Bella, dancing with Bella, alone with Bella." I said and they all looked confused. "He still loves Bella!" I said, throwing my hands in the air.
"I'm sure that nothing will happen, Alice." Carlisle said, glancing over my shoulder at the two in the corner of the other room. "And it's hardly dancing, more just moving their feet to the beat of the music."
"You're not helping." Rosalie said to him and he shrugged, looking helpless. She smiled and patted his shoulder and then looked at me. "You've got nothing to worry about, she pretty much hates his guts, right?"
"I guess. It's just that he was her first love and all." I said.
"Then don't make his mistakes and you're golden." Emmett put in and I looked at him curiously. "For instance, he refused to change Bella, and left trying to be all noble and crap. Now, she's already changed, so just don't be stupid and run away trying to be noble. "
What he was saying actually made sense, Bella used to get quite frustrated with Edward all the time. "What else?" I asked, searching my memory as well.
"Not that I think this kind of brain storming is right, I don't think we should do that to Edward, but if it helps you and Bella," Esme said, looking at us sternly. "Edward used to keep her out of the loop, all the time, and I noticed she didn't like that at all."
I nodded and looked to Rosalie as she sat straighter. "Also, she hates it when he reads her mind while she's with Emmett in the bedroom and then complains about it later, over and over again until she wants to beat him to a pulp for being such a snoop in the first place." She said and we all stared at her. "Okay, maybe that's just me. But I bet she'd hate it too!"
I went through everything in my head once more and then turned in my seat to see Edward and Bella in a discussion that didn't look like it was going so well, Edward looked frustrated and Bella looked pissed off.
"You must be Alice." Someone said, stepping into my view. I looked up to see Riley's face smiling down at me and I didn't like it.
I turned back to the table and saw everyone watching him closely. "Yup." I answered shortly.
He sat down in the chair beside me and I held back a groan. "I haven't heard so much about you, or any of you really other than Bella and Edward." He said. "Victoria didn't even mention this one before." She said, looking at Bailey who hissed at him. "I can see why." He muttered.
"How do you know Bella?" Emmett asked in a serious tone.
"Bella and I? We go way back, twenty years I believe." He grinned and I growled. "Oh, so she has told someone about me." He laughed. "Well, look now, you see that monster of a scar on her shoulder blade?" He asked. Emmett nodded to him, his face growing darker as he saw where this was going. "That's how we met, I've never quite left a mark like that before." He said and then sighed longingly. "I can't wait to make more on her."
I snapped and jumped to my feet, turning and glaring at him while the hissing was nonstop in my throat. "Leave her alone or I'll rip you apart myself." Rosalie snarled, on her feet like everyone else was, excluding Bailey who was looking between everyone with wide eyes.
"I don't think I will." Riley smiled, getting to his feet slowly. "I think I'll go and have a chat with her now."
"That wouldn't be wise." Carlisle said in a low voice.
Riley looked at Carlisle for a few brief seconds. "No, but it would be fun as hell." He laughed. Esme made to go around the table, but Carlisle put a hand on her shoulder. "Now," Riley said once Esme was still. "I did come over here for a reason. You," He said, pointing at Bailey. "Are Edward's new mate, correct?" He asked.
No one said anything and just glared him. "Victoria will be glad to have her facts straight." He said and I actually felt sorry and a little worried for Bailey. "As for me, you," He said, turning to me. "I've seen how Bella looks at you, you're her mate, aren't you?"
"Yes, and if you don't leave her alone, my eyes will be the last you'll ever see." I growled.
His smile widened. "I like competition." He said, leaning in to whisper to me. "It makes life more interesting, no?"
"Get away from her!" I heard Bella hiss, grabbing Riley by his suit jacket and tossing him towards the dance floor in a movement that none of us, vampires or anything else for that matter, could even register until after it happened.
Riley too looked shocked for a second before he got to his feet and smiled again. "Always a pleasure." He nodded to Bella before disappearing in the crowd of people dancing.
Bella grabbed my face between her hands gently, looking at me frantically. "Are you okay? Did he do something? What did he say? Did he threaten you?" She said, a growl building up in her throat again as her eyes got darker.
"I'm fine." I told her. "What the hell was that?" I asked.
"What are you talking about?" She asked, confused.
"That was really fast Bella, how did you even do that?" I specified while everyone else nodded.
"Oh, it's just something the venom did to me. Don't worry about it, it's actually quite fun. We'll have to go for a run sometime." She smiled at me.
"One more question." I said and she nodded. "Is Riley, I mean, he kind of seemed a little, does he have," This was harder to say than I thought, mostly because I prayed it wasn't true, but I had a feeling it was.
"Is he obsessed with me?" She sighed and I nodded. "Sort of," She said, looking at me. "More with my body and marking it." She said and made a face. "He thinks I'm his now that I've got his mark, like a blood rite but with venom."
"A blood what?" Emmett asked.
"A blood rite." Carlisle said. "When a vampire has a human they can mark them with a scar so that everyone else knows that they are taken and no other vampires will go after them or change them. It's like an unspoken agreement, but hardly ever used since there are not a lot of vampires with that much control to be able to stop once they taste the blood."
Bella nodded and then gasped, tumbling to the table, clutching her heart. I was leaning over the table to see her face in seconds, not wanting to move her and cause more pain. "What's going on?" I asked.
She squeezed her eyes shut. "I'm…f…fine..." She whispered.
"Bella." Carlisle said, putting his hand on her back lightly and she shuddered. "You're warming up, tell me what's going on." He said calmly, as to not make a scene to all the oblivious people still dancing.
"My heart." Bella gasped, loosening up and laying her head on the table as she slid into a chair. "I'm practically human." She muttered darkly and we all immediately knew why. We could now hear and smell the blood pumping through her body, watching as she slowly gained some colour. "Fantastic."
"Is she turning into a human?" Emmett asked, alarmed.
Bella sighed and leaned back in the chair, her cheeks flushed with blood as she breathed deeply. "No. well, not really. My skin is still harder than yours even, unable to be ripped by vampires and I've got a super vampire speed. I've got no thirst, though I'm not hungry either, and I don't think I've started aging again."
"So," Jasper said as he and Maria returned, watching Bella carefully. "You're basically a vampire with blood instead of venom. And no strength or thirst."
"How'd you know about my strength?" She asked, startled.
"You couldn't even hold yourself up there." He said gently and she nodded miserably.
"Huh." Renesmee said. "A human/vampire hybrid."
Bella looked uncomfortable so I took her hand and got to my feet. "Let's dance." I said and she nodded, smiling at me as I pulled her to the dance floor.
"Thank you." She said, stepping into my arms.
"That's what I'm here for." I smiled. "Besides, you shouldn't be sad, there's at least one upside of this."
She sighed and rolled her eyes, smirking at me. "And what might that be?"
"You smell delicious again." I laughed. "And I can make you shiver!" I said, running my fingers along her shoulder and smiling when she shivered.
"Mmm, yes you can." She sighed, her hands pulling my hips closer to her.
I could feel my eyes growing darker and groaned. "Why do we always have to be in public?"
She laughed and leaned down to whisper in my ear. "Bad timing." Before kissing the side of my neck below it.
I smiled and tilted my head as she continued down towards my shoulder. "We should move out to the middle of nowhere in a cabin." I said and she 'mmm'ed. "Would you live in a cabin with me?" I asked.
"Of course." She whispered.
"Would you live in a house with me?" I asked again, getting an idea.
She smiled and kissed my cheek. "Of course."
"Would you live with my family with me?" I asked, watching her closely.
She closed her eyes, resting her forehead on mine and holding the back of my neck with her hands. "Of course." She breathed. I closed the distance between our lips but pulled back again to look at her curiously when I felt her smile. "You taste good." She grinned. "You've always smelt good, even when I was a human, but I didn't know that's how you taste too."
I smiled and then looked at her seriously. "Bella, did you really mean it when you said you'd live with us?" I asked, making sure.
"I one hundred per cent meant it, Alice. I'd love to live with you guys." She answered. "Even…" She sighed. "Even with Edward, who 'wants to be friends' still. My god, talk about the most over used phrase in relationships, huh?"
I scoffed. "I thought we were friends." I smirked. "Well, I guess friends with benefits."
She cracked a grin, spinning me and then pulling me close again. "You're so much more than a friend. You're my friend, my love, and my life."
I was about to kiss the crap out of her for being so sweet, but someone snorting behind us made us turn around and come face to face with Victoria.
REALLY long chapter! But I loved writing it, I had to stop and go 'Awwwww ^^' a lot.
Review please! I need them, I'm running out of motivation and inspiration. D: