As always, thanks for the lovely reviews! Also, I just posted a new story, so if you would like to read it, you know where to look. And as I have no idea what I'm about to write, all I can say is to enjoy this next chapter!
I made a mental list of everything we would need, playing it back to Bella for her convenience. I could tell that she didn't understand why on earth we would need all these things at the same time, but she listened patiently anyway. I stood up, taking her warm hand in mine.
"How are Emmett and Rosalie doing?" she asked curiously, her gorgeous brown eyes peering up at me.
I tilted my head and smiled, extending my mind to welcome the rush of voices that constantly pounded through my head.
I swear, if Alice gets one SINGLE piece of that vile human food in my hair, I will rip her to shreds!
Rose is sexy when she's mad. Then again, she's sexy all the time…maybe I can take up that offer of hers soon… I rolled my eyes at that one.
Sorry, man. Alice is on a rampage, and she's getting to me. However, this might be hilarious. So no, I'm not really sorry anymore.
I know you're listening, Edward. If you don't surrender, I'm going to have to kidnap Bella. And that will NOT be pretty. Well, for you. For her, I just bought these six inch stilettos, which will go nicely with that baby blue dress…if she doesn't end up in a cast.
I growled ferociously at that one, with a tinge of shock. Jasper was right, Alice must really be mad for her to threaten to actually hurt Bella. A red haze drifted over my vision, and a protective instinct welled up inside me. I clutched Bella's warm body to me, wishing I could secure her to me permanently. I'd like to see her try to lay a hand on my Bella.
"Edward? What's wrong?" Bella's anxious voice brought me back to the present, and I looked down at the angel in my arms. Her hands were on my chest, just below my collarbone. Warmth radiated from her touch, and I relaxed, taking a deep breath. But still her tense eyes stared up at me. I sighed.
"Do you really want to know what they were thinking?" I asked, frivolously hoping she would say no.
"Of course you do." I muttered. "Rosalie was murderous at Alice for trying to get food in her hair, Emmett's thoughts were….crude," I continued, and we both made a face. "Jasper is letting Alice's rampage get to him, and Alice…" I trailed off on the last one, swallowing the venom that pooled in my mouth.
"Alice…?" she trailed off questioningly.
"Alice was threatening that if I don't surrender, she'll try to kidnap you, and play Bella Barbie."
"So? I've played Bella Barbie hundreds of times." She said, frowning.
"Not with six inch stilettos, a dress, and…" I said, not wanting to reveal the last part.
"Six?" she asked, shock written plain on her face. She shook her head and recovered. "What else?" She sensed my reluctance, and I knew I wasn't getting out of this one by the determination in her voice. "Just tell me, Edward."
I felt sick just saying it, but I could not deny her anything, as usual. "She said you might end up in a cast." I said, flinching at the thought. Her eyebrows pushed together, and she bit her lip.
"Don't worry. I won't let that happen." I said, trying to convey as much sincerity as I could through my eyes. I pulled her chin up gently, so I could see her gorgeous face. "I promise." She relaxed slightly, her hands moved up to my shoulders and she leaned her head on my chest. I kissed her hair, reveling in her luscious scent. "Although, I may not mind the dress…or the shoes." I teased, laughing. Warm blood stained her cheeks, and she smiled, laughing with me.
Hurry up, Edward! You'll have time for that LATER. I sighed at Rosalie's thoughts. My siblings could be such a nuisance.
"I guess we should go get the supplies now." I said reluctantly, my voice flat, but made no move toward either door.
"Mmmmm." she murmured, closing her eyes. Her arms wrapped around my neck, and her breathing became deeper than before. I chuckled.
"Bella, you can't possibly be tired." I said, looking down at her in light humor.
"Well, I am." She mumbled, barely coherent. She pulled herself up higher, so she could wrap her arms further around my neck. "Carry me." She muttered quietly.
I laughed, the sound sending deep vibrations through my chest. "I'd never thought I'd hear you say that." She smiled, her eyes still closed. I wasted no time, scooping her up immediately, and her warm body sent shivers down my spine as I cradled her to my chest. I took a couple steps out the door of our bedroom, my vampire brain calculating quickly. I could get everything we needed in one trip…if I didn't want to leave Bella alone, even for a millisecond. I could ask Rosalie or Emmett to keep watch, but they seem to be preoccupied, and they'd probably just call me overprotective anyway. I scoffed mentally. They had no idea how much of a danger magnet my wife was. Bella shifted in my arms, and I laid her down on the couch in front of the enormous flat screen in the living room, hoping she would be more comfortable. She opened her eyes and frowned.
"What did you do that for?" she asked, and I noticed a hint of irritation.
I couldn't help but smile. "I just wanted you to be more comfortable." I said innocently.
"Well, get back here." She said, smiling. "I'm not done with you yet." I laughed, and kneeled on the floor next to her. "Your wish, my command." She smiled and leaned in closer, placing a warm hand on the back of my neck. I shuddered, and if my heart could beat I knew it would have shattered by now. I could hear her own heart increasing in tempo, and she closed the distance between our lips quickly. I almost gasped at the touch, her soft, warm lips instantaneously sending electric currents down my spine. I gripped the couch cushions in front of me tightly, ignoring its protests. I resisted the familiar urge to crush her to me, to wrap my arms around her and embrace her like I should be able to—like I would-if I were human. I allowed myself one satisfaction, and my hands moved to her waist as if they acted of their own accord. I deepened the kiss, moving her lips urgently against mine, electric shocks running through my veins all the while.
It was like lightning was pulsing through my fingertips, conserving all my energy for these moments with Bella. I was even more dangerous than usual. She pulled away, gasping for breath, but my lips never left her skin, trailing kisses down to the soft, silky skin at the hollow of her throat. I inhaled her delicious scent, ignoring the burning of my throat that never ceased. I moved up to kiss along the edge of her jaw hungrily. To me it felt like a feather light touch, but I knew that with just a fraction more of pressure, I could easily crush her like a twig. It was something I had become accustomed to, something that had been easier to control over the past few days. I smiled against her skin. "What?" she asked, breathing heavily. I cut her off with another passion filled kiss, to wish she gladly obliged, tangling her hands in my already messy bronze hair. It felt unbelievably good to let go, no more boundaries, no more restraint.
Holy crap Edward, tone it DOWN! And be grateful I warned you, I sent Emmett to get the supplies, since you were too busy. I could practically see her sneering. Meet us outside. Rosalie sighed mentally, and her thoughts took an amused tone. I hope you didn't break anything this time.
I scowled, pulling away reluctantly, but refusing to release my grip from Bella's waist, standing up and pulling her close. I looked down at the couch cushions, eyeing the ripped fabric. Whoops. I hope that wasn't becoming a habit. I truly had forgotten there was anyone around, and I'm positive Bella had too. "Oops." She said, still breathless. "Where to now?" she asked. I was impressed, she caught on quickly. "Or, you know, we could ditch…" she said, trailing off suggestively.
"Tempting." I said longingly. "But no, Rosalie would go after us. Or worse," I shuddered, "Emmett." I sighed, still bitter about being interrupted, and pulled her onto my back. She smiled at the familiar position, planting a kiss on my neck. She smirked, and I growled playfully.
She frowned. "No fair. You know I love it when you do that." She mumbled the second part, burying her face in my neck.
I laughed. "We're even." I said, and whisked out the door, into the white hot sun. I took my place next to Rosalie, who was facing Alice and, not to my surprise, Jasper, whose hands were still cuffed. He must have gotten frustrated and broke the chair. Esme will be mad. I pulled Bella off my back, and she clung to me with wide eyes, eyeing Alice's high heeled boots. Alice grinned like a madman, but her voice was sugar sweet. "I have these amazing shoes picked out for you Bella! And you should just see the dress!" she said excitedly.
Bella bit her lip, pressing herself ever closer to me, if possible. Not that I would complain. "Yeah, I heard…" she muttered, her gaze flicking to my face. "It's too bad I'll never get to wear them." Rosalie looked shocked at her brave statement, but I just smiled slightly, and turned to glare murderously at my sister. She smiled sweetly, and laughed as if she'd just heard an amusing joke. "Silly Bella. I've seen it. When I see visions I like, it's hard to let them go, you see. And I will do anything to make them come true." She practically sang. She could be almost as scary as Rosalie, when she wanted to be. Bella narrowed her eyes, but said nothing more.
Wanna see it, Edward? I'm sure you could appreciate it. I rolled my eyes, trying to appear unaffected. Jasper snickered.
"I need that key, Bella." Alice said pointedly, blinking her eyes innocently. I narrowed my eyes, searching her mind for anything suspicious. Get out of my head, Edward. I smirked. Not likely.
"Just let it go, Alice. Sheesh, Jasper's hair doesn't even look that good." Rosalie said, planting a hand on her hip, locking one leg out to the side. Ah, crap. "Rosalie…now is not the time to have an attitude." I said, sending her a warning glare.
But the damage was done.
"Excuse me? Do you want to repeat that?" Alice said, her eyes glistening coal black, taking a step closer. "Or maybe a better question iswould you like to burn, Rosalie Hale?" she threatened. "Because I can make that happen." I'd like to see her try. Let's face it, pixie, I'm hotter than you anyway. Rosalie fumed, shooting one of her infamous death glares at Alice.
"Don't say it." I warned, glaring at them both. I didn't want to have to break up a fight, that meant letting go of Bella. Although, that may have been Alice's plan all along.
Is that a catfight I hear? Wait for me! I scoffed, and Emmett materialized next to me, grinning, resting an elbow on my shoulder. I could see a flashing red light in a palm tree close to us, which I concluded was the video camera. "I hope I didn't miss the catfight! Whoa…what's up with you, bro?" Emmett said, directing a wary glance toward Jasper.
Jasper's eyes were blank, his gaze flicking between Rose and Alice's murderous glares, Emmett's grinning face, my protective hold on Bella, and my wife, who was peering over at Rosalie and Alice with wide eyes.
Too…many…emotions… I snickered. "Payback."
He glared at me, and I glowered back.
"Hey, Bella, we gotta get in on this staring showdown! Why wasn't I invited?" Emmett asked feigning hurt. I heard Bella laugh musically next to me. Finally, a good emotional climate. Jasper thought, sending out waves of calm.
Rosalie and Alice relaxed their stance and took a step back, the fire burning out from their eyes. Emmett removed his arm on my shoulder, draping the other around Rosalie's shoulders. I relaxed my hold on Bella, but didn't let go.
"All right, back to business. Last chance, Bella. Are you going to give it to me, or am I going to have to force it from you?"
"Good luck with that." The four of us muffled laughs, Rosalie's being the loudest. Alice narrowed her eyes, confused. "I'm sorry you think that way, Bella." She said, regret pulsing through her tone. "Why me?" Bella exclaimed, annoyance radiating from her face.
"Because you can't get away as easily." Alice said, grinning mischievously.
"Well, great. I guess it's pick on the human day, again." Bella said sarcastically, frowning. Emmett laughed loudly, sending birds scattering in all directions. "It's always that day, Bella." She grimaced. "Yeah, I figured that out about three hours ago." She said, her bottom lip sticking out. I didn't try to resist, she looked to adorable. I pulled her face to mine and kissed her, making it retreat.
"Cut down on the PDA, bro!" Emmett said, pretending to shield his eyes.
All heads turned in his direction, including Rosalie's.
"That is the most hypocritical thing I've ever heard, Emmett." Jasper said, raising an eyebrow and looking at him as if he had a third eye. Murmurs of agreement ran through the group. "At least I'm not handcuffed." Emmett grumbled, crossing his bulky arms over his chest.
Yeah, okay, I'll give him that one. Jasper thought, frowning. I laughed quietly. "Not for long, Jazzy." Alice said, running her hand through his hair sweetly. I heard Rosalie muffle a laugh beside Emmett.
Good luck finding that key, smurf.
I couldn't help laughing at that one, and eventually Emmett and Bella joined in. I assumed we were all thinking the same thing.
"What?" Alice yelled, glaring at us. "What am I missing?" She demanded. That only made us laugh harder, which in turn made her more furious. "One of you had better tell me what's going on!" she insisted, her enraged eyes growing darker.
"Sorry, sis, no can do." Emmett said between laughs, slinging an arm around Rosalie's waist.
"So help me, Emmett, I'll tell Esme and Carlisle about the time you and Rose got it on in the back of the Mercedes!" Emmett swore loudly, and his eyes flicked to the camera duct taped to the tree above us, almost too fast for me to see.
Gotcha. Alice's thoughts were brimmed with satisfaction.
"Don't you dare, Emmett." I said, and his eyes flicked between Alice and me, apparently trying to decide who he feared the most.
"Well, you asked for it. Speaking of which, I still haven't forgiving you for being here in the first place." I said, glaring. "Unfortunately, I promised Rosalie I wouldn't kill you…yet." I couldn't resist adding the last part.
I winked at Bella, and she giggled.
"So what's it going to be, Emmett? The unmistakable, infamous, gut wrenching, tear jerking, horror that IS Alice Cullen's wrath," she paused for dramatic effect. "Or Eddie boy over there?" She finished lamely, waving her hand in dismissal. I growled at the detested nickname, my eyes prickling as they grew darker. I looked over at Emmett and grinned, shooting as much venom as I could through my eyes.
Ugh, creepy. "What, you think I can't take on my little brother and sister?" He scoffed.
"Emmett, I'm older than you." I reminded him.
"I have more muscle and masculinity than you. Therefore, I am the big brother." I rolled my eyes and bared my teeth at him.
"Oh, calm down. Just because I lost my virginity eighty years ago and you lost yours a week ago, doesn't mean you have to get jealous." Emmett said in an as-a-matter-of-fact tone. "Although, I hear you're pretty feisty in the bedroom. I saw what you did to the couch. 100 years does it to you, I suppose. I wouldn't know." Rosalie burst out into fits of tinkling laughter, and Alice and Jasper followed soon after.
Bella groaned, leaning her head on my chest. I sighed, stroking her hair.
"Keep it up, and there might not be any furniture left by the end of the week! Tsk, tsk, Edward. Control yourself!" Emmett said, putting his hands on his hips firmly, copying Esme the last time Emmett and I broke the coffee table wrestling.
"What will it take for you to shut up, Emmett?" Bella asked, glowering at him.
"Beat me in an arm wrestling match." Emmett laughed. Bella scowled, frowning. I smoothed out the crease between her eyebrows with my thumb, and she relaxed under my touch. I pushed her hair behind her ear fondly, smiling down at her. There was no one else but us two again. "AHEM, earth to Edward!" Rosalie called out from behind us. I sighed, and turned to face them, still clutching Bella as close to me as possible.
"As I was saying," Alice started pointedly, drawing our attention to her once again. "What'll it be, Bella?" Alice said, daring her to refuse. Bella looked up at me, fear swirling faintly in her deep chocolate brown eyes. I tightened my arms around her, silently reminding her that no one would touch her as long as she was in my arms.
"Sorry, Alice." She said, shrugging.
"It's my husband!"
"It's my honeymoon!" she yelled back, glaring at her furiously. The corners of my mouth twitched upward when she said that. Alice narrowed her eyes menacingly. "I don't have anything against you yet, Bella. But Edward ruined Jasper's hair, so now its war. And since you refuse to give me the key, I have to result to other methods."
"For the last time, Alice, that wasn't me!" I growled.
"Sure." She said sarcastically. Jasper fought back a smile. I was so right. This is hilarious. I bared my teeth at him. I knew there was a reason he was staying silent.
"I'm the mind reader, remember? And I was there."
"Whatever, I'd still believe Jazzy over you." I scowled, frustrated. "You may as well give up," I warned. "There are four of us and two of you. Besides, I could beat you in a fight any day." I said furiously. Jasper glowered at me. I ignored him.
I heard a small beep from somewhere near Emmett, but ignored it; too busy staring Alice and Jasper down to do anything about it. I heard the sound of a small object rushing through the air, and the three of us simultaneously turned toward the sound, confused. A bright purple paintball whizzed through the air at Alice, and she shrieked, barely avoiding it in time. More followed, and I realize it was coming from the camera. I turned toward Emmett questioningly.
Jasper's not the only one who can improvise.
I laughed, and a pink paintball hit Jasper in the middle of his chest. Alice took Jasper's arm and ran, but the unnaturally fast paintballs kept coming. I took advantage of their distraction, slinging Bella onto my back and bolting for the trees to the left, the wind whipping past my face. I heard Rosalie and Emmett following behind, laughing loudly, the camera in hand.
I ran past the house, into the thick vegetation of the island, heading toward the small clearing on the edge of a cliff, where Bella and I had watched the sunset a few days before. I pushed my speed to the limit, eager to get Bella as far away from Alice as I could. Vines, leaves, and branches whipped past, but to me it felt like a caressing breeze. As we entered the small clearing, the hot sun met my skin, sending diamonds in all directions.
I put Bella down, and waited a few seconds for Emmett and Rosalie to catch up. They entered the clearing and Emmett pretended to shield his eyes again.
"Sheesh, Edward. Put a shirt on already." I laughed.
"You don't have to get jealous, Emmett." I said, imitating his tone from before. Bella's melodious laugh sounded next to me, and Emmett just scoffed.
"Once again, Eddie, you are the one that should be jealous of me. Did you see Alice's face when the camera started shooting paintballs at her? Priceless!" He slapped Rosalie a high five, and eventually we all broke down into laughter.
After we had all calmed down, (which took quite a while) Rosalie spoke. "So," she started, authority ringing from her tone. "We need a game plan. We could adopt the plan Bella came up with last time she was being chased by a sadistic vampire…but we'd have to switch it up a bit." Rosalie said, tilting her head thoughtfully. Emmett walked over to the ledge, and continued pelting paintballs at Alice and Jasper to keep them distracted.
I said nothing, just pulled Bella closer protectively.
"What are you implying?" I stated suspiciously, never taking my gaze off of Rosalie.
Well, if you leave Bella with me or Emmett—
"No." I growled ferociously. "Bella does not leave my side." I said, daring her to protest.
"Let me finish." She warned, her voice tense.
IF you leave Bella with me or Emmett, most likely me, then you two could go chase them down. It would buy us more time, and Bella wouldn't be in danger. You'd be in hearing distance, so knowing where we are at all times wouldn't be a problem.
I shook my head, but she could see that the logic was getting to me.
"I don't like it."
"You don't have to." She said, imitating Bella's words from before. I shuddered, and through her eyes I could see the internal battle raging inside of me. "What is it?" Bella asked, reaching up to touch my face. I sighed, and Rosalie explained it to her. She frowned and bit her lip, looking up at me, wearing a torn expression. "Relax. It'll be different this time." Rosalie said, pleased with herself. "This is…weird. I mean, Alice is no…James." Bella said, wincing. I growled at the name. Rosalie laughed humorlessly. "I guess you just haven't been around long enough to witness one of Alice's stampedes." She said, shrugging. On one hand, I didn't want Bella anywhere near Alice. But on the other, she'd probably be farther away from her if we split up. I frowned, not liking either result.
"SCORE!" Emmett yelled behind us, punching his fist in the air. "Emmett for the win!" we all turned toward him, confused. "I got the pixie." He said, grinning. This sent everyone into another round of laughter, Emmett's ridiculously happy face replaying over and over in my mind.
Perfect. He'll never see this coming.
He didn't wait for the laughter to die down, launching a few paintballs my way. I avoided them easily, moving a few inches to the right to let the harmless objects fly by. They splattered against a tree, leaving neon colored marks. I smirked.
"You'll never catch me by surprise Emmett. Hasn't happened yet, and it never will."
"Kill joy!" He coughed, and I rolled my eyes.
"So what do you think?" Rosalie asked, ignoring us. Bella fidgeted next to me, wearing an indecisive expression. "Alice will expect you to be with Edward. And it's not the same; he'll be a short distance away." She sighed, and I could see it made sense to her…in theory. But the more sense it made, the more I didn't like it.
"Don't we have another option?" I asked, searching futilely for another solution.
A few, but none are as good as this one.
I continued to stare at her, waiting for her to go on. She sighed.
All right, fine. We could ambush as a group, but you'd probably go all OCD about Bella. Sheesh, Edward, you need to stop being so overprotective. I just shot her a warning glare and shook my head. How little she knew. There really isn't anything good that doesn't involve splitting up. Alice knows you won't leave Bella. It's the only way, Edward.
"I hate silent conversations. Let's get some action! We don't have much time, I just ran out of paintballs. It's too bad I couldn't bring a legit gun." Emmett said, voicing his opinion loudly, as usual.
"It's too bad you had to come at all." I muttered bitterly.
"Anyway." Rosalie started, clearing her throat pointedly. "It's the only way." She tilted her head slightly, listening. "You have 60 seconds to decide, tops." Alice will be furious, Edward. It's best to keep Bella out of range.
I glared toward the left, where light, airy footsteps sounded across the jungle floor. Sighing, my arms relaxed around Bella. I had to make myself give in, and I knew it. I closed my eyes briefly, recalling every single moment between Bella and I on the island. If I wanted this to end quickly, I had to let Bella go with Rosalie. I opened my eyes to see her looking up at me, the same emotion written across her face. I didn't have to read her mind to know she thought the same thing.
"All right." I said quietly, turning towards Rosalie. The weight of my words hung in the air.
"Good. Bella, come with me, and hurry. They'll be here sooner than I thought."
I looked at Bella frantically, memorizing every single aspect of her face. A million emotions swirled in my head, all of them related to fear. When she was away, it felt like some part of me went with her. I could never be absolutely sure she was safe if I didn't see her with my own eyes, feel her in my arms, smell her pure scent…
She opened her mouth to speak, but I didn't give her the chance. I didn't want to say goodbye. I pulled her lips to mine, relaxing at her touch. This felt all too familiar. I refused to let this be a goodbye kiss, but instead forced myself to be less frantic; moving her lips softly with mine. It felt like a thousand shards of glass pierced my heart to have to pull away, but I managed. I rested my forehead against hers, closing my eyes.
"I'll come back for you. I promise." I said solemnly, but half-smiled, looking forward to the end. Determination radiated through my voice.
"I love you." She said, forcing as much emotion as possible into those three words.
"I love you more." I said, igniting a familiar argument.
She opened her mouth to protest, but Rosalie pulled lightly on her arm. "Time to go, Bella." She shot me one last glance, and allowed Rosalie to pull her onto her back.
"Rosalie, if she you return her to me with one single scratch—"
"Relax, Edward." She said, shooting me a what-do-you-take-me-for look, and then disappeared with my wife. Emmett came up behind me, clapping me on the back.
"Come on, bro. Let's go chase down Alice." I sighed, and stepped forward to wait for my revenge-seeking sister.
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