So sorry for the delay. I had to reformat my computer, so I lost everything! Lucky for me, I had already had these chapters beta'd so my beta was able to just resend them to me. I will try to make up for the delay by posting another chapter very quickly – like in a day or two.
Thanks, as always, to my LC – Alitriona/Eila, Allysue08, Rags88, and WhatObsession17! I love you guys tremendously!
Hell Hath No Fury…
Unfortunately, by the time Edward snapped out of his monomaniacal feeding frenzy and realized it was his cell phone ringing in the distance, he was also made aware that he could no longer sense Bella nearby. He knew instantly something was wrong. Within an instant, he was answering the phone to a frantic Alice.
"Oh my God, Edward! It's too late! Where were you? Why weren't you answering your phone? She's gone! They have her! All of our preparation was for nothing! They snuck up on us anyway!"
Edward was already halfway to the back forty when Alice screamed for him to come to the house instead.
"Fuck that! I'm saving her. This is my fault! We know where she is, I'm gonna get her right now!" Edward screamed.
Edward was close enough to see the immediate vision alongside Alice.
Bella's hanging from the rafters by her wrists. James and Victoria are standing nearby smiling wickedly as they watch out the window to see Edward coming into view. No sooner than he becomes visible, a wooden stake catapults toward him from a nearby tree. The next action thoroughly shocks them both. The stake penetrates Edward's skin, stopping him in his tracks. Within seconds he collapses on the forest floor. James and Victoria are at his side instantly, laughing as they grab him and drag him back to the barn.
"I told you it would work. I knew he would come for her," James says smugly.
"What the hell?" Edward said as he stood there frozen.
"Dead man's blood. It's the only explanation. How did they know?" Alice asked, whispering.
Edward could hear Carlisle in the background say, "James has been around for a long time. If he wasn't left to fend for himself when he was turned, his sire would have warned him about dead man's blood. It isn't taught much anymore because no one takes on their responsibility as a sire anymore."
"Edward, you have to come back here. We need to figure out another way. The whole thing was a trap. It's all just to get to you. It wasn't for her at all." Alice was freaked out.
Edward was already on his way back as he listened to Carlisle and Jasper deliberate about what it could possibly mean and how they could change the course of the vision.
"Well, obviously, Edward will have to stay behind first of all," Jasper began.
"Over my dead… man, I need a new fucking phrase," Edward mumbled. "Anyway, I don't fucking think so. I'm going, end of story."
Carlisle tried to reason with him. "Listen, Edward… I know you care about Bella, but ultimately, this was a trap for YOU, not her, so it makes perfect sense for you to stay behind to keep the trap from working."
Edward had come close enough so he could close his phone and continue the conversation. "Look, we know where the stake is, so simple solution: come from the opposite direction. Alice?"
Alice concentrated and didn't see any negative outcome using that scenario. "Well, it should work… but…"
"But?" Edward asked.
"Well… I think they somehow know how to trick my visions. Think about it. I'm just not sure how much we can rely on my visions in this case."
"Let's put it this way. I'm going. You guys can come or you can stay behind. Regardless, I'm not screwing up anymore when it comes to Bella."
"But Edward… what if going screws up everything?" Emmett asked.
"Guys…" Edward sighed and decided to just put it out there. "Look… I… I love her," he whispered.
Alice squealed and clapped her hands. "It's about time, you nincompoop! You finally admitted it to yourself!"
Edward walked in the door, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. "So you see? I have to go. I mean… honestly, Jazz… what if it was Alice?"
Jasper nodded in agreement. "No one would keep me away."
Alice wrapped her arms around Jasper's neck and whined, "Oh Jazzy! I love you so much!" She kissed him sweetly and then pulled her face back, giving him a reprimanding look. "But you know this is freaking stupid, right?"
Jasper chuckled. "Well, love is stupid sumtimes, huh? Yer my better half. I couldn't live without ya. And yer life in sumone else's hands? Sorry, I don't think so." He smiled sadly.
"Well, as sweet as all of this is, if we don't dock the Love Boat, Bella is never gonna be rescued," Rosalie said snidely.
Grinning, Alice said, "Aww, Rosie! I thought you didn't care! You do have a soft spot for her, don't you?"
Rosalie huffed and rolled her eyes. "Whatever, I just wanna kick that red head's ass!"
Emmett pumped his fist and boomed, "Chick fight! And with my sexy bitch doing the ass kickin'! It doesn't get any better'n this!"
Rosalie slapped Emmett on the shoulder. "Hey! What did I tell you about calling me your bitch?"
Hanging his head, Emmett mumbled, "I'm sorry, baby."
Edward and Jasper both fake coughed and mumbled, "Pussy-whipped."
Emmett's head snapped up. "Hell yeah! It's the best damn pussy around! You better believe I'm whipped by it!"
You could hear everyone snickering as Rosalie said, "Anyway, that's if Bella hasn't torn her apart already. I mean, look at what she did to Eddie boy while she was still human! I'm still not sure who was in more danger that day."
Edward chuckled and nodded as he remembered the little spitfire using her martial arts against a vampire.
Esme then spoke up. "Okay guys, we really need to formulate a plan. Bella is in danger and whether or not she can get out of it is still yet to be seen, so what are we gonna do?"
It didn't take them long to come up with a strategy that they were fairly certain would work. Once they made their decisions on how to proceed, Alice's visions showed no difficulties, so they had high hopes that everything would go as planned.
Armed and ready, they all hopped in Emmett's Escalade and headed toward the barn, only they went wide in order to come around the back undetected. They had decided it was best to park out of hearing distance and run the rest of the way for the best chance of a sneak attack – knowing a true surprise attack was not possible when dealing with vampires. However, they also knew they had the home-team advantage. Should James and Victoria make a last minute decision to run, the Cullens knew the surrounding area far better than they did – even after James' short stay with them.
Everyone had already slammed their doors and bolted in the direction of the barn before Emmett had even shut off the engine. Knowing they had limited time before they would be detected, they ran stealthily at full speed – weapons in hand – toward Bella.
Being the fastest, Edward still managed to reach the barn first, but coming from a different direction – thanks to Alice's vision – he missed the trap entirely. He barreled through the back door of the barn like a rocket, busting it to shreds as he did so.
In a split second two things happened to Edward: he heard Bella calling his name, but he had to force himself against instinct to not rush to her, and James and Victoria composed themselves enough to ambush him, attempting to rip him to shreds. There were arms and teeth everywhere as they tried in vain to grab hold of Edward. He was far too quick and far too lithe and – being a newborn – far too strong for them to do much damage in the short time they had. In the midst of their fury, they hadn't even realized Edward had company in the form of six angry vampires, only seconds behind him.
Rosalie and Alice crashed into Victoria while Emmett and Jasper hurled themselves at James. Esme, as planned, was releasing Bella from her restraints and Carlisle tried to look her over to see if she was harmed. However, holding her still long enough to do so was incredibly difficult, because, just like Edward, Bella was still a newborn, with all the strength of a newborn. And Bella was out for blood – so to speak.
Bella charged toward James, growling and baring her teeth for attack, but Emmett was struggling to keep hold of him as he squirmed beneath his grasp. Just as Bella was within reach of her target, James pulled all his weight forward, Emmett shifted slightly as well, in the very moment Bella's teeth, dripping with venom, came down like razor blades in what would have been a savage attack on James, except Emmett's movement put one of his bulging arms directly in her path, causing her teeth to penetrate his skin rather than James'.
"Shit Bella! That effin' hurt!" he grumbled.
Emmett inadvertently loosened his grip and James tried to escape. He managed to get about two feet before slamming into Edward. James snarled and Edward, furious at James' attempt to take what belonged to him, snarled right back. Unperturbed, James reached his hands up to grab hold of Edward's shoulders before his expression morphed into one of shock. He stared wide-eyed at Edward, just inches from his face, and then went weak and slumped to the ground, leaving Edward standing above him holding the blade, dipped in dead man's blood, which he had just stabbed into James' gut.
He's lucky I didn't decide to use it on a different body part of his, Edward thought as he remembered the vision Alice had of James touching Bella. He didn't dismiss the idea completely, just in case Bella was hurt in anyway.
Seeing James go limp, Victoria submitted in fear. She knew she was outnumbered and resistance was futile. Still, Bella needed retribution, so she drew her arm back and punched Victoria square in the face.
Victoria, afraid to retaliate, sank to the ground, cowering in fear. Worse still was the humiliation that this was her own doing. If she had never sired Edward, none of this would have happened. She knew she would be the laughing stock of the vampire community if word got out that she was defeated by a bunch of veggie-vamps.
Emmett laughed heartily. "Nice one, little Bell!"
Seeing the situation under control, Edward rushed over to Bella and wrapped his arms tightly around her, whispering in her ear, "I was so worried. Thank God you're safe." At the same time, he attempted to inconspicuously check her for injury by running his hands up her back and down her arms. He knew Victoria would need more than a few vampires to help her if she had hurt Bella.
Bella knew exactly what Edward was doing and was taken by surprise by his concern and his actions, but she returned the gesture, thanking him with a smile for coming to her rescue.
"What are we going to do with these guys?" Jasper asked Carlisle.
Carlisle rubbed his chin in thought, while the others stood around waiting for his guidance. "Let's take them back to the house and consider our options."
"I really don't want to involve the Volturi, and I have no desire to kill, but I honestly have no idea what other options we have. They will always be a threat to us and our family." Carlisle contemplated all the choices they had, still no closer to a solution than when he began.
"I swear… I swear you'll never see me again. I don't know about James, but I will never come back. You have my word. Please, just let me go. Please!" Victoria begged.
Still groggy with the traces of dead man's blood in his system, James laughed and began taunting her. "You are so pathetic! This is all your fault!" he slurred. "You are the moron who changed Edward and left him to run off to these herbivore suckers. You are the one who was pissed when I told you where he was and how he ended up. And you are gonna go and say you'll never come back and they have your word? HA!"
"Wait, wait, wait!" Victoria shouted, standing up. "You hang on just a minute! This was all your idea! You wanted that brown-haired bimbo so bad you couldn't see straight! YOU came up with the plan of trapping her so Edward would come to her rescue and you could kill him!"
Edward looked toward Carlisle and motioned toward the blade he was still carrying, indicating that he should immobilize them before things got out of hand.
I have a vial filled with dead man's blood. I can insert it into his wound before it fully heals if necessary. There's no more need for stabbing. Carlisle mentally chuckled at Edward's pouting face.
Regrettably, during Carlisle and Edward's silent conversation, James had gained enough strength to stand to his feet, break the chair he was sitting on and swing the leg as if it were a ball bat, knocking Victoria upside her head.
Carlisle and Edward jumped into action. With both of them having their attention on James, Victoria was able to catch Carlisle off guard and knock the syringe out of his hand. She caught it before it hit the ground, but in that same instant, she raised her hand and shoved the entire syringe into James' mouth, busting it and forcing him to swallow the entire vial of dead man's blood.
James reached up, taking Victoria's head between his hands, and with his last bit of strength, he ripped her head from her body. Both of them fell in a heap to the floor.
Everyone stared open-mouthed at what had just happened.
"Well, I guess we have nothing to consider anymore," Emmett said quietly.
"Wait, won't James wake up when the dead man's blood wears off?" Bella asked.
"Um… no." Carlisle said, as he inspected James' body. "It appears Victoria shoved the syringe into his throat with such force it severed his spine, detaching his head from his body."
"Oh, that's… disgusting," Bella said, wincing.
Rosalie huffed. "You chase down and drain Bambi and he's been trying to hunt down Simba for weeks," she said, pointing to Edward. "And here you think tearing off a sick vampire's head is disgusting? You are a strange being, Bella."
Bella pouted. "Well, it's better than chasing down humans. Besides, as a human I ate animals, so what's the difference?"
Chuckling, Carlisle motioned toward Emmett and Jasper. "Let's go dispose of these guys."
Emmett slung James over his shoulder, pocketed the Zippo lying on the fireplace mantle, and followed Carlisle out the door with Jasper carrying Victoria behind him.
Shyly, Bella asked, "How do they 'dispose' of them?" including air quotes at the appropriate time.
"You have to burn them. They don't decompose," Alice explained.
"Oh," was Bella's articulate response.
Edward came up beside Bella, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and whispered into her ear, "Are you okay? This was one helluva day, wasn't it? I'm so sorry I didn't protect you from that sick bastard."
Bella snorted. "You? What about me? ! I didn't even notice they were around until they captured me. I'm a sorry excuse for a vampire."
"No you aren't. You were still post-coital, it's quite understandable." Edward smirked.
"Ew. It's bad enough I have to see your shenanigans in my freaking visions, can you please not make me listen to the post-coital debriefing, too?" Alice whined.
"You started this, Alice," Edward reminded her.
"And besides, debriefing sounds good to me," Bella remarked with a playful wink to Edward.
Alice rolled her eyes and started walking away.
"Where are you going?" Edward asked teasingly.
"I'm off to see if we are stocking any brain bleach, I think I've created a monster," Alice called back, chuckling to herself.
At that time, Carlisle, Jasper, and Emmett came walking back into the house.
"Well, I think I'm ready for a L4D2 match! Whaddya say boys?" Emmett asked, rubbing his hands together with a wicked smile.
"Well, Jazzy and I need to go hunt real quick first. I know it's not needed anymore, but it's been a few days for all of us, so I think it's best," Alice explained.
Edward smirked. "Whatever. It was the debriefing. Now you need some alone time." Edward snorted when Alice looked at him in shock.
Jasper bit the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning as he mentally told Edward he was right.
Edward busted out laughing as he went to sit on the couch with Emmett to play the Xbox.
"Yeah, we should go when they get back, Emmett," Rosalie said as she took Esme's vase of flowers to the kitchen to fill them with fresh water.
"Nah, I'm not really hungry today," Emmett answered.
Without warning, a crash was heard from the kitchen. Completely shocked from the action, Esme and Carlisle darted toward Rosalie to see what had caused a vampire with impeccable reflexes to allow something to drop and shatter.
Rosalie was standing in the middle of the kitchen, still as a statue, hands still held in front of her as if she were grasping the vase that lay in pieces at her feet.
"Rosalie? What is it?" Esme asked in concern.
"He… it's… what… how?"
Carlisle and Esme exchanged troubled glances. "What's the matter, Rosalie?" Carlisle asked.
"Something's wrong. He's never… something's wrong."
Carlisle furrowed his brow. "Something's wrong with whom?"
"Em. He's… he's not hungry," she said bleakly.
Carlisle grinned and said, "Well, you know, Rose, that doesn't mean something's wrong with him. Granted, it's out of character for Emmett, it doesn't mean something is actually wrong."
Rosalie looked at him in disbelief. "Carlisle… this is EMMETT we're talking about, here! He has never, ever, ever turned down a meal. In fact, he is usually ready to hunt long before I ever am!"
Emmett came walking into the kitchen, put his arm around Rosalie and said, "Oh come on! Can't a guy just enjoy his time playing Xbox and not be hungry?"
Esme, Bella, and Edward all said emphatically, "NO!"
Rosalie called Jasper, telling him to turn around immediately; she needed him and Alice right away.
A few moments later Jasper and Alice came walking in.
"Is it true? Is he really not hungry? Please tell me he's just distracted? Or… I don't even know what would be a good excuse for him to turn down food!"
"I…" Jasper looked at Emmett in astonishment. "Never in mah whole life… well, mah whole life around y'all… have I ever been 'round Emmett an' him have absolutely no thirst. Yeah, thars definitely sumthin' wrong with him, Carlisle."
Emmett laughed. "Man, you guys… I'm not that bad!"
"YES YOU ARE!" almost everyone responded together.
"So, you really have no hunger at all right now?" Carlisle asked Emmett.
"Nope," he said defiantly.
"Interesting." Carlisle tapped his chin as he began thinking of what it could possibly mean. "Well, let's just give this a few days and see what transpires. Maybe it's just a fluke, who knows?"
Three days had passed. Emmett hadn't felt like feeding once, but to ease his wife's worries, he feigned hunger and went hunting with her. She felt better, but Emmett had begun to worry by this point. He knew she was right and he never went that long without feeding.
"Hey, Em? That new Steve Carell movie came out today, you wanna go to the movies?" Rosalie asked excitedly.
"Sure, babe. Whatever you want."
Once they were close enough to town to smell the inhabitants, Emmett knew something was seriously wrong. He wasn't one to struggle with abstaining from human blood per se, but just like everyone else in the family, the smell of their blood was very appetizing. They had just learned to avoid it, just like someone who is lactose intolerant would avoid a mouth-watering milkshake. But at that very moment, Emmett realized human blood held absolutely no appeal for him.
"Rosie… I think we need to talk to Carlisle."
Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts ;)