ENTRY FOR THE PLOT BUNNY CONTEST
Story Name: Drink Me
Word Count (not including header/author's note): 6,156
To see other entries in the Plot Bunny Contest, please visit the following C2:
A/N: Thank you to whoever submitted this fresh, fantastical plot bunny:
Alice In Wonderland...Twilight style. Except instead of Wonderland, Bella wakes up a vampire. Have fun with this one. Narcotics = win.
I have had lots of fun, as instructed :)
Other big thanks go to YogaGal, SorceressCirce, and Il Bel Mondo for hosting the contest, to Miss Beckie Louise and DreaC from PTB for beta reading, and to BelleDean and kisvakondok for pre-reading.
I don't own Twilight or Alice in Wonderland, obviously. Stephanie Meyer is master of her Twiverse, and no profit/copyright infringement is intended.
This story is rated M for sex and general nightmarishness. While it in no way glorifies violence against animals, certain nightmare images earned it the "Most Likely to be Protested by PETA" judge's pick award in the Plot Bunny Contest.
My final heartfelt thank you goes to araeo for reccing my story as her judge's pick despite her animal-lover misgivings. I hope you enjoy it too!
"Beeell-laaa! Anniversary present!" Alice sang as she burst into the room. The sounds of Charlie watching baseball on T.V. started drifting up the stairs behind her.
"What kind of present?" Bella gasped from her bed, clapping her hands over her ears. She winced as a very pink package sailed through the air to land lightly on her chest. "Alice? D-d'you think you could shut the door?"
Baseball and Bella had never been best friends, and that status had worsened since Phoenix. Every bat-on-ball crack now tended to sound like when James had stepped on her leg. Alice shot her friend a worried look, but closed the door without asking any questions.
"You know, Bella, it's rude to forget your best friend's anniversary. And how many times am I going to have to tell you to prop up your leg while you rest?"
Alice settled into the rocking chair with a ladylike harumph, having already perched Bella's cast atop a swaying tower of pillows. The swaying wasn't bad enough for Bella to let the leg drop as if by accident, but it was more than enough to foil her attempts to prop herself up on her elbows.
"Just eleven more days till you get the walking cast, Bella! You must be so excited!"
"Um…Alice? Why do I get a present when it's your anniversary? Also, uh, don't you want to go hang out with Jasper tonight?"
She rolled her eyes. "It's only 6:52, Bella. Boyfriend time starts at seven. And you can bet that I'll be taking off the second Edward gets past Charlie."
"What did he do to you this time?" Bella asked with a grin she was glad she could pass off as wry amusement. It still freaked her out to admit, even to Alice, how well T-minus-Edward's-next-visit could predict her mood.
"Four hours of funeral dirges on my anniversary eve! I'd like it, Bella, if you'd encourage him to stay here with you tonight."
"I'll try, Alice," Bella mumbled, her smile melting away.
"Oh, Bella, don't look like that. This present should put you right back on his good side. He'll be incredibly annoyed with me and see that you're a perfect angel in comparison." Alice fanned herself with the package and bounced onto the bed so that pillows flew out from under Bella's cast. Unfazed, she redid the stack in half the time it took Bella to unwrap the gift.
"You didn't!" Bella gasped, not entirely in horror, when she saw what the package contained. The red lace bra and panties looked expensive and much too tiny, but at the same time they looked very…interesting. The bra was embroidered with pocketwatch-carrying rabbits and what looked like playing cards on legs, while the panties were sprinkled with loopy gold writing that repeated one phrase: 'Drink me'
Alice cackled, apparently pleased with how Edward would respond to the gift.
"You don't have to wear them. He saw them in my mind, and it was priceless! Here he comes now; I have to run, Bella, but keep your leg up, okay? And I put your new painkillers on the nightstand."
As Cullen family shenanigans went, Bella decided this wasn't too bad. She'd have to hide the present from Charlie, which would be annoying, but Alice could've done much worse. Besides, Bella knew that Edward's funeral dirge marathon had been her own fault entirely.
Last night, Edward had asked Bella to prom for the twenty-third time since Saturday, and she'd led him to believe, for a moment, that his persistence had been rewarded. Then she'd revealed her only stipulation: that "you know. We do prom night for real." Edward had not been pleased to learn what "real" prom nights end with, and it went without saying that, after he left, Bella's night had been as sleepless as his.
Now Bella could hear Edward climbing the stairs, taking them two- no, three- at a time. His steps were light, but they echoed in her chest like thuds that might have brought the house down. Then, yes, he was done with the climb and opening her door, and the baseball noise was scary but Edward was smiling and everything was perfect. His piercing green eyes captured Bella's and didn't glance away as he closed the door behind him, and their eyes stayed transfixed as he strode to her side and started kicking off his shoes with strange abandon. He never let his shoes fly in random directions like that, and the sight sent tingles all through Bella's body; as much as she loved neat freak, responsible Edward, it was impatient, urgent Edward who made her crazy. Ohh…what he could do to her if this lasted… Bella shivered.
"I am so very sorry for leaving you alone last night, my love," Edward whispered, cupping her neck between his hands. Bella turned her face up to his and he attacked her hot mouth hard, not breaking the kiss as he slid into bed to twine his legs with hers.
"S'okay. I was…stupid," Bella whisper-moaned when Edward's lips moved to her neck. His breath raised a rash of goose bumps on her back, and she gasped as he moved her nightshirt aside to try and rub them away.
"I wish…" Edward whispered, making the goose bumps all pop up again, "that it were proper for me to take care of you. In every way; as Alice does. To wash you…" Edward licked Bella's earlobe. "To see properly how you're healing…" His hands were on her ribcage now, gently probing every spot he knew to be bruised. "It would be sweet, sweet torture for me, and besides…my bad-influence sister would be out of a job."
"Yes?" Bella panted, too blissed out to see that Alice's honor needed defending. "Oh, Edward, I love you so much." She sought out his mouth again, using her tongue to admire the strong angles of his lips.
Satisfied that the goose bumps were gone and Bella was not going to freeze on his watch, Edward smoothed her shirt back down and chastely kissed her forehead. He chuckled and kissed the corner of her mouth when her expression deflated and pouted.
"It wasn't Alice's fault. I just got…greedy, is all." Bella casually inched closer to Edward, hoping she could manage to get cold again.
"Has the pain been keeping you awake, my Bella?" Edward asked, touching the circles under her eyes. "Did Alice let your Percocet supply run low? Where does it hurt, love?" He ran an agitated hand through his hair. Bella licked her lips, debating whether that hair had gotten messier since she'd been hurt.
"No, Edward, she wouldn't do something like that. She brought new pills today, and I'm not even out of the old ones." Bella rolled to face the wall and her pillow shifted, exposing Alice's present. "I was just-" She pulled up the blankets, muffling her already subdued voice. "Just…you know, ."
"I want you to take a full dose tonight, regardless." Edward picked up the red lingerie and shoved them forcefully into his pocket.
"I don't need those meds tonight." Bella rolled over to face Edward again. "The pain isn't that bad, honest, and they make it hard to focus on you. I mean… of course I wouldn't not take them because you're here or anything like that," she backpedaled. "Cut me half a pill? That's all I need; honest."
"Open," Edward answered, and Bella complied. She wasn't really surprised when two bitter pills materialized on her tongue. Tonight is gonna be fun, she thought with a grimace, but reached for her water and swallowed. Much as Bella hated Percocet dreams, she hated fighting with Edward even more.
"It feels like this stuff is drowning me," Bella whispered in a cottony voice. She gripped Edward's collar and licked his worry-pursed bottom lip. "So if I'm, like, your drug or something…?" She had to stop kissing Edward to yawn. "It means you're trying-" She yawned. "-to fight me off all the time? Like-" Another yawn. "-I'm drowning you and making you not yourself?"
"Sleep, Bella. Don't worry about that now." Edward rubbed her back through the blankets, and she was done for.
Even in her sleep, Bella stayed aware of the icy breath tickling her neck. The sensation was so intense that she started to feel like it was tickling her skin all over. Opening her eyes- or so she thought- she found that she was falling through a cold, vertical air tunnel. On the plus side, her leg seemed unbroken and she'd never been especially scared of heights; on the minus, she wished she were wearing more than just the 'drink me' bra and panties.
It was hard to say how Bella knew that she was falling straight toward Edward; she only knew it was true and felt both eager and scared to see him. Her goose bumps were not about the wind on her skin and her vertigo was not about the obvious; both had everything to do with the fact that Edward was about to see…everything. What if he didn't like how she looked? What if he liked it too much? What if the sight hurt him like tasting her blood had hurt him in Phoenix? Each new worry tied a knot in Bella's very naked stomach, and she modestly hugged her knees when she saw that her fall was coming to an end.
The sight of where she'd crash-landed took Bella's mind off of how she was dressed: she was fenced in by mirrored walls cut in half by a thick horizon of ballet barre. A flock of shivering Bella clones locked eyes with each other for a moment, then bent to ward off their panic by counting the lines that scored the linoleum. All at once, they quaked when their hands found reflections of James's camcorder. They jumped like they'd run into land mines and were answered with explosions of a sort, as each camera extended its screen and cued to the bloodiest part of the tape.
The moment that made Bella wooziest wasn't when her skull or her leg got battered, but the moment when Edward bent his lips to what looked like the least of her wounds. More than anything, she hated the senselessness of the act; how he'd hurt himself so her scent could keep on hurting him. She screwed up her eyes and jabbed the power button hard, breaking her thumbnail in the process.
When Bella opened her eyes, the awful video was gone, but the screen was still glowing stubbornly. Renee would have said it had a mind of its own and been right for the first time ever. Bella stopped thinking about Renee, however, when the screen glow resolved into a picture.
It was the view from a hundred feet above where the Cullens lived, and though Bella had imagined their house from every angle, she'd never seen it from this one. She liked how it made the mountains in the distance look grander than usual, but she still wasn't sorry to see them pan out of sight. They were pretty, but the room with the view of the mountains…yes, it was coming into view.
"I found you," Bella whispered when she glimpsed her Edward at last. She wished it felt less familiar to have a barrier like the screen between them.
"We shall always find each other, my love." Edward smiled his crooked smile. Then, just like that, he vanished, spinning like an oddly non-elfin Rumplestiltskin.
"Edward!" Bella cried, jabbing 'stop' again and again. This time it didn't do a thing, and soon she lay down on her side in despair. That was until Edward's last words replayed less tinnily than before.
"We shall always find each other, my love," Edward whispered with his lips grazing her earlobe. He slipped his leg between Bella's from behind and squeezed her lower calf between his knees. All at once, Bella felt tingly and secure, and not even the mirrored walls could change that.
"Your skin is a confusing animal, Bella." Edward grasped her hands in one of his and stretched her arms above her head. She squeaked and tried to pull her knees up to her chest, but was trapped by his legs like…prey. Bella never would have expected to enjoy feeling like prey in this room, but with Edward…it felt so good. She shivered.
"Like any prudent animal," Edward went on, "your skin goes on alert whenever I touch it." To make his point, Edward dragged one finger up the vein inside her wrist. "I touch here," he breathed heavily, "and your hair stands up. Just a little; only a little. Then I touch you here-" He fingered the curve of her trapped knee. "-and your wrist hairs still stand up."
Edward trailed his finger up and down her knee, each stroke eliciting a throb between her legs. The throbs got stronger with each caress till she had to rub her thighs together.
"Not a chance…" Edward grabbed her free thigh and pried it away from where the other one was pinned. Bella moaned as he massaged steadily up her leg, slowing down as the flesh got softer. Without warning he released her other leg from between his own and spun her around to face him. Still holding her legs apart, he leaned forward and licked up the vein in her neck.
"And now this part is most affected," Edward intoned, letting go of Bella's leg to touch her arching spine. "Dramatic, how it curves, though not prudent as an animal defense. On the contrary, it brings another part of you to my attention."
Edward stared Bella down until she started to hyperventilate, then bent his head to where her breasts swelled out from her sternum. She moaned as his breath made her nipples strain painfully against the lace. The rest of her muscles strained against how his hands were now gripping her ribcage, but he held her perfectly still and kept her from rubbing any part of herself against him. Bella whimpered his name, but half-regretted it when he raised his head to meet her eyes, the look in his own eyes dazzling her and making her body ache worse all over.
"Edward…?" she whimpered again, and this time he deliberately licked his lips. When he was done, he bent his head, maintaining their eye contact as long as he could. This time he licked a circle around her nipple through the lace, then bit down gently when Bella's moan got as high as her voice could go. Edward let go of Bella's ribcage then, rolling to pin her under his weight, and turned his thought-erasing touch, at last, to the fabric between her legs.
"Fascinating," Edward whispered once he'd released Bella's nipple from his mouth, sitting up to place a steadying hand on the flesh of her stomach. "Your body? How the parts and reactions are connected? I could spend at least an eternity working it out." He rubbed at the wettest part of lace, feeling for where she was sensitive.
"Do you remember what the writing says, my love?" Edward whispered against the hem of the panties. He began to trace out 'drink me' with the tip of his very cold tongue, slanting downward over the lace like a child learning to write on unlined paper. Of course, he ended with a precision that was anything but childlike, positioning his tongue in the depression between her legs and tracing the 'e' twice for good measure.
"Do you remember?" he repeated.
"Edward; yes, oh, yes," she replied. It was mainly a response to the vibrations of his voice; not so much to the sense of what he'd asked. Still, she repeated her "yes" when he bit into the cusp where the lace uncovered her thigh. Blood bubbled joyously up from the artery under her skin, a final wet expression of the fact that Edward was everything she wanted.
Though the bite hurt, it was not the same pain that Bella remembered upon 'waking'. What she remembered more vividly were three burning days that could not possibly fit into one dream. The catch was that she knew, in theory, how long the turning was supposed to take, and it's not like people who are burning alive are that good at keeping track of time anyway.
Time was not Bella's real concern, at any rate, when she woke to find Edward smiling down at her. His face was framed by the screen of James's camera, which had grown to cinematic proportions. Did becoming a vampire shrink you? Bella didn't remember anything like that, but she wasn't overly concerned. She was Edward's size and that was what mattered; now she just had to get to him somehow. Bella raised her eyes to his and happily scrambled toward the screen, breaking eye contact only when she stumbled and found that her feet were caught in a strange red net.
The net wasn't hard to rip through, but there was somehow an awful lot of it. Red netting had sprouted up everywhere all of a sudden, growing so thick that she couldn't see the screen. Must be the giant red panties, she decided, bemused that she hadn't noticed she was naked. She hugged herself a little but was too impatient to stress very much about the clothes thing. Edward had liked her in her underwear after all, so he probably would like her like this.
Bella's newly sharpened senses were no match for her sharpened impatience, and she soon tripped and fell into something oddly damp and gooey. Deep too, and it smelled really familiar- maybe her tears from before? Bella didn't think she'd cried this much though, and she hadn't wiped her eyes on her panties. Oh, gross, she thought, remembering that her panties had been wet with- not tears- and she redoubled her efforts to dog-paddle the stringy goo into submission.
"You'll never get out that way," called an exasperated soprano. Bella looked up to see a little blonde girl wearing a pinafore and patent leather shoes.
"Alice?" she gasped, her mouth falling un-vampirically open.
"Grab this. You're sure to catch cold if you don't get dry very soon," Alice sniffed. She rummaged in the pockets of her overly fluffy skirt and produced…a squawking flamingo? It smelled sort of like that shrimp cocktail that Phil had bought for Bella in Florida, and she wondered if maybe it tasted- no. Not going to go there, period. It was humiliating enough to be naked and trapped in a pool of her own…um, yeah…Bella wasn't about to add flamingo-drinking to the score of strikes against her. Bella was the kind of girl who parents thought was the best babysitter on the planet, and if those parents could see her now…Bella shuddered at the thought.
Bella held her breath as she grasped the flamingo's neck, managing not to break the skin and letting Alice pull her out of the pool. By some miracle, Alice was carrying a towel and a dress in Bella's size. Bella wished it weren't a blue-and-white pinafore dress, but she still struggled gratefully into it.
"You really are as wet as ever," Alice pronounced, eyeing the dark spots seeping through the dress. The girl's stare had made Bella so self-conscious that she'd dried herself for only about three seconds. Luckily, Alice didn't press the issue and offered to guide Bella out of the panty-forest.
"You shouldn't have cried so much," Alice went on as they bushwhacked through the netting. "You were nearly punished for it, I suppose, by being drowned in your own tears! That would be a queer thing, to be sure! Though everything is queer today."
"You got here today too?" Bella asked, praying that Alice would keep on thinking the stuff was tears.
"Why yes! The sun hasn't set, and it can't be midday from the looks of it. Though I did fall ages and ages ago and I'd quite like to grow a bit older. I can't seem to grow except by magic, you see, and it isn't a bit like growing up. It'll be a comfort, one way- never to be an old woman- but then- always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn't like that!"
"You sound like my boyfriend. He- erm- can't wait to be done with school." Bella felt a bit silly lying to Alice in Wonderland of all people, but the secrecy was so ingrained at this point that she couldn't spill if she tried. "I don't think it's so bad, though," she offered. Alice had saved her from a grizzly fate, and she wanted to cheer the girl up.
It was true that the bad part of school, for Bella, had been sitting by herself all the time; she didn't think she'd mind sitting through class as long as Edward was there at lunchtime. Still, she felt like a liar when she remembered what being Alice's age had felt like. School, life, everything had moved at the speed of molasses dripping; being immortalized at ten years old sounded about as bad as dying at ten years old.
The "best way" out of the panty forest was filled with twists and turns; too many turns for Bella to bet that Alice really knew where they were going. A few times Bella thought she saw the far-off glow of the camera screen, but it was always obscured by red netting too quickly for her to point it out. Eventually, though, the screen glowed into view and stayed there, and Bella felt like hugging her little guide.
That impulse vanished abruptly when Bella saw that the film had changed once again. Edward had been replaced by a baseball game, and Bella was suddenly pulling Alice backward. Still, the girl was nothing if not determined, and kept pulling her toward the screen whether she liked it or not. Bella nearly melted with relief when Alice dropped her hand at last, prancing up to a munchkin-sized sofa that definitely hadn't been there before.
"You've changed; you've changed!" Alice squealed, clapping her hands. "I did think you would be a butterfly, but this is rather more interesting!"
Curious, Bella inched forward to see who was on the sofa. From the side, she thought it was the hookah-smoking caterpillar, the one from Alice in Wonderland who blew really amazing smoke rings. Its face was turned away from her toward Alice, but she could see the air shimmering above the bowl of the pipe. Only when she'd moved to stand next to Alice did she get what the 'interesting change' was: a mustache adorned the creature's upper lip and its dour green face looked like Charlie's.
"And who might you be, exactly?" Charlie asked, looking from Alice to Bella and back to the game on T.V. Alice seemed unreasonably offended by this, stamping her foot and whirling to face Bella.
"Char- Dad, it's me? Bella?" Bella offered. The creature squinted and scowled, and her heart sank.
"How d'you know my girl's name? I know your type; kids that stay out till their eyes are all red'n dilated. My Bella's real responsible. Gets a good night's sleep; no drugs."
"Dad? I am a good girl. I'm Bella!" She couldn't quite look him in the eye as she said it, her mind having picked that moment to replay the best ways Edward had just touched her. Was it just the "good girl" part that was a lie, or had the change made her stop being Bella?
"Never seen a good girl with eyes that color. You gonna tell me you're not on drugs and you always get your beauty sleep?"
"Well…not last night, exactly, but-"
"And look how bedraggly you are. Not fit to look after yourself, much less this little girl here."
"She isn't looking after me at all," Alice piped up unhelpfully. "I had to pull her from a pool of tears and lead her out of the forest just now." Bella's slouch confessed that this was basically true. Someone hit a home run and she did her best not to squeak, which the Charlie-pillar took in with a look of pity and disdain. He removed the hookah slowly from his mouth as if all the talking were exhausting him.
"Listen: I don't know who you are, but my Bella's not some twitchy little damsel in distress. She's had to keep an eye on her mom growing up and doesn't get spooked real easy. Fell down the stairs and broke her leg last week and was real, real brave about it all. Also…" He paused to look Bella's pinafore up and down. "I don't know much about clothes, but I know my girl wouldn't be caught dead in that…dress thing."
Another home-run crack made Bella hug herself again, remembering how James had eyed her across the field. Maybe being a vampire meant she wasn't Charlie's little girl anymore. And if she wasn't Bella, maybe she was bad like Charlie seemed to think.
"Her crying did get her into trouble, but look: she isn't crying now," Alice offered. "Not even with you being terribly rude. Help her, like you helped me!"
"Sorry; don't remember you either, hon."
"The mushroom! Where have you put the mushroom?" Alice stamped her foot. "When I met you, I was dreadfully tired of changing my size so often, but you gave me the mushroom I could use to shrink and grow, and I felt very much less lost once I could decide when I wanted to change."
"You mean this?" asked the Charlie-pillar. One of its little arms elongated, reaching under the couch. It emerged holding a half-eaten plate of moldy mushroom ravioli. Bella knew that human memories were supposed to fade when you became a vampire, but she was sure she'd remember that plate of ravioli for the rest of her unnatural life.
"Too late. Somebody used it up," said the Charlie-pillar, putting the plate down and turning back to the screen. Then the unthinkable happened: someone changed the channel on Charlie during his sports time. A series of menacing, fanged smoke ring creatures issued from the shimmering hookah.
"That's you on the screen, I believe, Bella, only you've slept ever so much more. Still, you look just the same!" Alice looked from the screen to Bella and back again, but Bella barely glanced at herself. Her eyes were only for the big-screen rendition of Edward on their Port Angeles dinner date.
"They can't be the right mushrooms," Alice complained. "She's not getting bigger or smaller or changing at all, it seems to me."
"You're wrong," Bella whispered too softly for anyone else to hear. The Bella Charlie knew, the responsible one, was melting away on the screen before her eyes. That was when she'd changed, really, not when Edward had bitten her. It was already too late at that point for Bella to be anything but what she was now.
So if she wasn't Responsible Bella anymore, what did that mean, exactly? Bella wasn't sure, but she did know that she wouldn't change what had happened to her.
"So you're the one that brought these home and put 'em in the couch to get all moldy?" said the Charlie-pillar, sweeping his expression of distaste from the screen to the plate of ravioli and back again. Bella was oddly pleased that he identified the girl on the screen with her rather than the good Bella he remembered. "You want me to believe you're responsible like my girl? Go throw out that food and scrub the plate off." A garbage can and kitchen sink materialized nearby, and Bella began walking toward it with the rotting ravioli in hand.
Bella stopped in her tracks when her doppelganger asked whether Edward should be trying so hard to save her, arguing that "maybe her number had been up the first time, with the van". The plate of ravioli was now poised on the lip of the trash, but Bella couldn't bring herself to toss it. She straightened up, her eyes never leaving Edward's on the screen, and popped what might have been the moldiest piece of pasta into her mouth.
The instant Bella had chewed and swallowed a bite, the picture on the screen changed again. Bella was sorry to give up the sight of Edward's perfect face, but not sorry to see his family estate from the air once again. Bella smiled a thank you at Alice and an apology at the Charlie-pillar, then ran toward the screen and jumped headfirst toward the place she could now call home.
Bella's fall through the sunny country air was slow and felt more like flying. It took nearly as long as the fall that had begun her dream in the first place. Once again, she wasn't afraid because she knew she was falling toward Edward, and that's probably why she didn't notice that a wind was blowing her gently off course. When she landed, it was in a meadow she knew well and had briefly liked. Third base had been there, and home plate had been over there, and-
"Care to play? We were just about to start."
Bella jumped at the sound of the familiar, slightly accented voice. She spun around to face Laurent, who was holding a cloth-covered base in his hands. Several more vampires, forming lines behind him, were beginning to toss a ball back and forth.
"It would be a shame for you to sit out now that you are like us at last." He squinted at Bella. "Unless…I believe you are like us now. Perhaps it is a trick of the li-"
"I'll play; I'll play," Bella interrupted quickly. Laurent had seemed less dangerous than James and Victoria, but it still seemed like a bad idea to let him think she was weak. Bella's knees shook, but she figured that maybe this game could her get past her fear. It would be nice to make the James-related nightmares stop for good; nice to feel like there wasn't anything scary about being a vampire.
Bella was okay, she supposed, at the start of the game. Laurent let her play catcher, and it wasn't like the batters missed very often. Protecting herself from oncoming balls had always been her strongest move in sports, and she remembered that immortality was supposed to enhance all the things she'd been best at. Still, she was scared by the idea of running around in these shoes and this dress. Could all of her human clumsiness have gone away that completely?
Just before the end of the inning, Bella heard a commotion off to the side. She stopped being grateful for the distraction as soon as she heard little Alice's voice, feeling a pang of guilt for having left the little girl alone with the Charlie-pillar. Was responsible, even-keeled Bella really gone for good at this point?
"It isn't fair! You promised to leave her alone if I played! Dinah! Diii-naaah!" Alice screamed, kicking a vampire who barely seemed to notice. Another vampire entered the clearing with a snarling cat in tow. From the way Alice lurched toward the cat, Bella suspected it was Dinah.
"Excellent," said Laurent from his place on the pitcher's mound. "The queen would prefer a bit of blood to scent the air while she watches the game." Bones snapped loudly as he tied the cat's tail around its legs, and Alice's screams turned to sobbing. Without further ado, Laurent pitched the cat toward the batter. When the bat made contact, the air began to fill with a delicious-smelling mist.
The noises Alice was making were not enough to drown out a coming procession. Bella heard various mutterings of, "The queen! The queen!" and soon an elaborate carriage entered the clearing.
"Play ball!" commanded a soprano voice that Bella didn't think she recognized. The teams had to scramble to rearrange, since the cat-ball had ended the inning, and Bella somehow found herself the first player up to bat.
It was very hot for Washington- more like Phoenix, almost- and Bella had to wipe her sticky face and hands off on the pinafore. An awful lot of glitter seemed to come off on her clothes, which puzzled her. She didn't think Edward ever left glitter on her bed sheets; then again, she didn't think it had ever been this hot in Forks since she'd known him.
Remarkably, Bella hit the ball and ran quickly past first and second base. Unfortunately, she then got distracted by the catcher. She didn't remember seeing him come up to bat before, and she thought she would have remembered his big muscles and huge, Cheshire-cat-like grin. He wasn't the only smiling player, but was the only one whose smile comforted Bella, probably because she knew she had seen that grin somewhere before. His mask covered up his face really well, but on a body that huge…it was Emmett! It had to be!
Bella's eyes filled with tears at the thought that Emmett had come to watch out for her somehow, and she was sure that Emmett smiled back when she shot him a grateful grin as she ran. The smile could have been an illusion, but it still gave her the courage to go for third, and she renewed her courage by keeping her eyes on Emmett as she ran. Unfortunately, she ended up running smack into the shortstop, and it hurt a lot. The sound it made was worryingly more of a "crunch" than a "boom."
When the ringing crunch had cleared from Bella's head, she found herself lying in the grass. Grass that was soaked in blood she definitely wasn't supposed to have anymore. She wondered why she was still alive what with all these less-than-civilized vampires running around, but quickly deduced it had something to do with the police efforts Laurent was spearheading.
"Please, please, control yourselves. It's an unusual occurrence, and that's why the queen would be put out if we didn't leave it to her." Bella saw Laurent walk over to the carriage and draw its curtain. Behind the curtain, Bella could just make out a could of fiery red curls.
"Would you like me to move her into the shade, Queen Victoria?"
"Be quick about it, Laurent. I'm displeased."
Cold hands dragged Bella roughly through the grass, and she managed to hold back only most of her screams.
"Who are you?" the Queen demanded.
"I hardly…know…at present, Your…Majesty," Bella panted. Quoting Alice in Wonderland seemed easier than deciding what to say on her own. Did that mean she had perfect vampire recall? Bella was confused about everything at this point. She did remember not to be surprised when the queen shouted "Off with her head!" to one of her minions.
The last thing Bella noticed before she blacked out was that the queen wasn't talking to Laurent. She was addressing a very still figure sitting next to her in the carriage, a figure that looked more like granite than Edward ever had. The silhouette of the face, Bella realized, must have been carved to look like James, and she had some inkling that the statue had been glued together from bits of burned-up vampire. "Poor Queen Victoria," she whispered, not staying awake to hear the queen's response. Not staying awake, or rather not staying asleep, as the next thing she felt was Edward shaking her.
"Bella? Bella? Wake up, my love. You were having a nightmare."
"Mmm, Edward? Edward?" Edward chuckled at first as Bella attacked him. Bella was not yet conscious enough to exercise proper restraint, and all too soon Edward pried her face from his. She sighed as she remembered all the ways that her dream Edward had touched her.
"It wasn't all a nightmare," she sighed, rubbing her eyes and pouting. "And…Edward? Is it okay if I keep Alice's present?"
"Love, it would drive me insane to picture you wearing it when I'm not there." She parted her lips to protest, and he silenced them with a finger. "And we both see the problem with you wearing it…at other times."
"You know, Edward? Loving you is no fun at all sometimes." Bella closed her eyes, remembering how it had looked to see her blood spattered all over the ballet studio, reflected back and forth until it looked like a whole battlefield's worth of suffering. But now Edward had started breathing in a way that made it sound like he was crying, and that sound was somehow more horrible to her than anything James had done.
"Don't worry; I'd never be able to stop loving you," Bella whispered, opening her eyes. "Promise me though- never make me take two Percocets ever again?"
Edward carefully took Bella's face between his hands, cooling her sweaty skin.
"I promise, Bella. I'll never make you take two Percocets ever again."
A/N: I would love to hear what you thought, be it good, bad, or whatever. Also, please read other Plot Bunny entries and vote if you liked this one!