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Part one: Brothers
I watched as Bella slept. Peacefully now, earlier there had been some tossing and turning. After she had insisted that I go hunting with Jasper and Emmett, I talked to Alice, and asked her if Bella would be okay. She told me that Bella would be fine physically (Alice was staying behind to watch her), but she wasn't very forthcoming about how Bella's emotional state would be. Because of the fact that Alice wasn't telling me, it probably wasn't going to be very good.
I had finally managed to wheedle a bit of a response from Alice. She'd told me that Bella still had nightmares; but only when I was gone. I was obviously more than unhappy to hear about that; in fact, it made me downright loathe myself even more.
I gave Bella nightmares. As the monster I am, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised; but my monstrous side isn't even the focus of her nightmares, it's the fact that she doesn't believe herself to be enough to hold me.
Her nightmares were almost understandable when taking her doubts into account; absurd, but understandable. How could she not see her value? She lives with the fear that I will leave her, but how can she not see and understand that living without her is simply impossible for me?
As soon as I had gotten the information from a reluctant Alice, I had almost called my brothers to tell them that I would be hunting near Forks again. I knew though, that Bella would have none of that. I could tell that she was always happier when I came back with fresh, gold eyes. I wanted to make her happy, give her as much reassurance as was possible. Maybe if I consistently came back from even the smallest of trips, Bella would begin to trust me, and her value to me more easily.
Bella put on a brave face, but I knew that she was never really enthusiastic about me leaving to hunt. I had thought it was the thought of me killing, but now I supposed that I knew the real reason. I should've realized her reason would be something other than the norm, because this was Bella. Her reasons were never 'normal.'
It was almost one in the morning now, and I knew that Jasper and Emmett would pull me out of the room if I wasn't waiting on the lawn when they got here. I thought about what I could leave Bella to make her feel a little better, and let her know that I would be back as soon as I could. I heard my brothers approaching, only a few miles away. A thought came to me and I wrote Bella a note, laying it carefully on the pillow next to her. Then I snagged my shirt and put it on, listening more intently to my brothers now.
Hey Edward! You ready to go yet bro? Or are you still stalking the sleeping human? Dun dun dun.... dun dun dun...
I sighed. That was Emmett, thinking the 'Jaws' theme at me... what next? I had a feeling that this was going to be a long night.
Come on Edward, I'm starting to get really thirsty now. Thinking about our upcoming trip, I've been having a difficult day. And you smelling like Bella now isn't going to help either.
Hmm, Jasper sounded a bit cranky tonight, I hoped that everything was okay between him and Alice. Or maybe he was just having an off day like he said.
"I'm coming," I whispered to my brothers; they had stopped on the lawn. Then I kissed Bella softly, and slipped out the window.
I saw Emmett reaching for the driver's door and snarled. No way was he driving my Volvo. I pointed meaningfully at the "shotgun" position, and Emmett reluctantly walked around the car. Then a ridiculous grin appeared on his face. "What?" I asked him.
"Well, I was just thinking that I should make a recording of the 'Jaws' theme"
"Uh-huh. And why would you do this?" Jasper asked. He had no idea what Emmett had thought at me just a bit ago.
We all climbed into the car and I smacked the back of Emmett's head playfully, and answered Jasper. "He thinks that it would be funny to play it for Bella every night before she goes to bed."
"Oh, I suppose I understand..." There was some uncertainty underlying Jasper's speech though, he wasn't quite sure exactly why it would be funny.
Emmett burst out laughing, "Wouldn't that be great though? I mean, Edward is kind of like a shark - a creepy stalker-hunter."
Ah, Jasper thought; he was pretty sure he got it now, and gave a slight chuckle.
I scowled at them both, "Emmet, you might think it's funny, but what about Bella?"
He grinned at me, "I'll bet she would think it's funny too. Bella has a good sense of humor."
I gave him a small growl. "And if she doesn't?"
"Well, then you'll be there to comfort her and protect her from scary ol' Emmett." He said as he gave his eyebrows a good-natured wiggle.
"I still don't want you to do it."
"How about we wrestle for it? No cheating with talents of course." Emmett suggested with a grin.
"Haha. No, that would be like me asking if you wanted to race for it."
Jasper intervened, saying, "How about we have a hunting competition? I'll keep score."
"You do know I was just kidding, right Jasper?" Emmett commented, craning his neck to look at our brother. "Eddie here needs a bit of loosening up. I don't have your ability, and I can still feel the stress radiating from him."
I growled loudly at that. "Don't call me Eddie, Emmett."
Emmett frowned unhappily at me, "Fine Edward; You do need to loosen up though, or else I'll tell Bella that you made our fun-hunting-trip not so fun."
I gave a small snort. "You wouldn't dare. I have too much dirt on you to share."
Emmett hung his head in momentary mock defeat, then he dropped the subject and turned the radio on, starting to sing along. Jasper pulled out a book and I retreated into my head, thinking of Bella. Worrying about her and if she really would be all right, my anxiety increased. Jasper took note of this, and sent a calm wave towards me. It helped for a moment, than I just started thinking again.
Jasper sighed, Why don't you just call her?
I shook my head once, "No, I can't do that now! It's 2:15 in the morning!"
Emmett gave us a strange look, but then ignored us, going back to his singing. Well, maybe you can call Alice; I know that you asked her to keep close to Bella in case she needs help.
Ha. He didn't know the half of it. I had practically ordered Alice to keep near Bella at all times. It would be just like Bella to go see the wolves; and that was far from beneficial to her health, or mine. Alice had readily agreed, promising that she would never be more than 15 minutes away.
I gave Jasper a nod in response and pulled out my cell, punching in Alice's number. Before I could hit send, my phone rang.
"Hi Edward!" It was Alice of course, sounding cheerful and chipper as ever.
I got a small smile on my face, "Hello Alice. Can you check to see if Bella is going to be alright tomorrow?"
I heard a small sigh come over the phone.
"I checked before I called, silly. She'll be fine. The worst part of her day is that she's going to trip over a box of baseballs and end up in the rack with soccer socks strewn all over."
"I guess that doesn't sound too bad, but are you sure she'll be all right?"
Alice gave a small giggle, "Well, she'll be pretty much okay. But-"
I cut her off, "Pretty much okay? What's going to happen? Is she injured?" I started to turn the car around, but Alice broke in again.
I could hear the exasperation in her voice."Yeesh Edward, you should let me finish my sentence! I repeat: She. Will. Be. Fine. This next part is just kind of funny, and I know that you still need some 'loosening up.'"
Emmett snickered, and I threw him a glare. "Oh, okay. Sorry Alice. Continue."
She giggled again. "Well, Mike is there when this happens-"
"Edward! Let me finish!"
"Sorry," I mumbled again.
Alice told the story at super speed, "Okay, so Mike is there and when Bella trips, he is a little worried but he thinks that this would be a good time for him to play 'Hero.' So he helps her up and she thanks him, blushing of course and apologizing for her clumsiness. He says it's no problem, and offers to help her to straighten up the display. She accepts, and he must've been brooding, so Bella asks what he's thinking about. He's quiet for a bit then basically says to Bella that he thinks you're rotten, Bella is the most beautiful girl in the universe, and doesn't he deserve to have a chance with her?"
Now I snarled. Loudly. Emmett's booming laughter rang out in the car, especially after hearing my reaction. While he too, was snickering, Jasper sent a calming wave towards me, because Alice was still talking.
"She stands there speechless for a moment, than smacks his face with all her might." She burst out into laughter, and Emmet almost cracked the window because he was practically in hysterics.
Now a small smile crept upon my face. That was my Bella, setting Mike straight.
Alice still had more to say though, "She hits him so hard that he loses his balance and falls back onto another display, and two manikins fall on top of him. Bella can't help herself and laughs, then quickly stifles it and apologizes. Then says that she really has to leave for the rest of the day. I'll be there waiting to pick her up and we'll do something fun. I promise."
Now I did let loose a chuckle. "Thank you Alice, I truly appreciate it. Call me if anything changes?"
"You're welcome; I know; I will; and don't worry, she will be fine." Then she hung up, and I gave a relieved sigh.
Emmett was slowly recovering from his laughing fit, and opened the window for some fresh Washington air. Alice's lightening-up method had worked; the mood of the car was considerably brighter.
A few hours later, we were ready to hunt. We had triple checked the surrounding area for any wayward humans; as far as we knew, it was all clear.
We had decided that a hunting competition did actually sound like fun, so Emmett and I had decided that we would let Jasper hunt first, to take the edge off; then we would each take our turn. Jasper, as the 'referee' had also come up with some rules, we had only 20 minutes to see how many animals we could get, and depending upon size and presumed difficulty of the kill, they all had different 'point values.'
Emmett was supremely confident that his strength would give him the edge, he could more easily take down the larger game which had higher point values.
I honestly didn't care very much about the competition anymore. Now that it was 7:30, I was becoming engulfed in my thoughts of Bella again. I was worrying mostly, but if I truly tried to identify all of my emotions, I could easily find jealousy there, along with some others. I frowned to myself, trying to pinpoint not only all of my emotions, but also the reasons behind them. The concern was easy enough, the jealousy was a bit harder.
Jasper gave me a concerned look, You sure you're going to be okay Edward? I know that you're worried, but what I'm feeling from you now is on a whole new level. There's also some some other feelings that I've felt from you before, but not with quite this much intensity.
I morphed my features into what I hoped was a reassuring smile, shrugged, and then waved him on. Emmett and I each climbed up into a tree, getting comfortable so that we wouldn't be in the way when Jasper settled in to hunt.
Emmett and I had given Jasper 40 minutes to do whatever he wanted, then we were going to have our competition. For the first few minutes I kept close tabs on Jasper, but tapered off a bit when he sank deeply into his hunting mindset. I still kept one corner of my mind aware though, in case he came upon some humans. I looked around, thinking, and caught onto some of Emmett's thoughts.
'Kay, so if I can catch more than one scent, I have to go for the larger game first, unless they are far enough away that it would be inconvenient...
I gave a small smile, he was strategizing... He was taking this competition way too seriously. I purposefully lost myself in my thoughts once again... thinking of Bella, and what we could do when I got back.
Before I knew it, Emmett was leaping into the tree that I was occupying.
"I can hear Jasper coming back, you ready?"
I sighed, "Sure Emmett, but Jasper said that we had to go over the rules again, remember?"
He nodded, "I know, but I'm still looking forward to this. - I'm so hungry right now that I could eat a bear." He chuckled at his own joke.
I gave him a small grin, "You could just go right now, you know, but then you would automatically forfeit."
"No way! I am not forfeiting! I have this competition in the bag, little brother."
I sighed again, "Emmett, you're actually the youngest, you know."
"I know, but you're still the littlest."
I took a breath to break in and protest, but he continued, "Ah-ah, no interrupting! Follow my logic here."
I rolled my eyes at this, but listened.
"I am the biggest, Jasper is the oldest, and you are the most immature. Therefore, you are the 'little brother' of our family."
This time I did burst out laughing, almost forgetting about Bella, albeit momentarily. "Emmett," I said to him, "I am most definitely not the most immature, I believe that would be you. In many things at least." I continued laughing. Jasper who had come back into the clearing during Emmett's 'logic' speech, laughed along with me.
"I can't argue with him there Emmett, you do tend have more sophomoric moments than anyone else in the family."
Emmett gave both of us a mock pout. Jasper grinned at me and then in sync, we both stuck our bottom lips out and pouted back at Emmett. He looked startled for a moment, then his laughter was booming through the trees along with mine and Jasper's.
We calmed ourselves after a few minutes, and Jasper reiterated the rules to me and Emmett. Then Emmett asked if he could go first. Jasper and I 'thought' about it for a few minutes, until Emmett was starting to get agitated. Jasper finally agreed and as soon as he gave the go-ahead, Emmett ran off, inhaling deeply. I sighed, listening to Emmett was going to make this a very long 20 minutes.
I did the same as I had done with Jasper, keeping a corner of my mind trained on Emmett so as to avoid any accidents. Then I sank back into my own head once again, daydreaming of Bella. Daydreaming was the best I could do.
- Author's Note:
Hey everybody! I really hoped that you liked this story! It takes place during Ch. 4: Nature, and Ch. 5: Imprint of Eclipse. This story fits in with two of my other stories, Anxiety, and Hidden Sentiments. Feel free to check them out. I love reviews and constructive criticism, so don't be afraid to be a harsh (but correct) critic/reviewer. I hope to hear from you!
Thanks go to my God, and everyone who has(or will) favorited, or reviewed this story!