Disclaimer: All the Twilight stuff belongs to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. I'm just playing in her sandbox.
Author's note: Hope you enjoy this! I'm trying to get out 2-4 chapters a month, getting back in the hang of it! lol
Chapter 150 Details
"I will go," I said decisively. "Gianna," I called, but she came through the door answering as though she had already been told to approach me, "Make arrangements for me to be invited to this . . . this . . . premiere. The woman will be there, will she not?" I asked.
"Yes, my lord. She will attend," the girl answered.
"Fine. I will go and meet her there. I have only to touch her hand and we will know who of our kind informed her, gave her information so near the truth," I said, grimacing somewhat. "I will know where the woman, this Stephanie Meyer, came up with the ideas for these books. The books were the beginning," I said dismissively, "I suppose that I should have taken more care to quell them . . . before they became popular."
I just could not believe that a human had come up with all that she knew . . . and wrote about, without one of our kind to direct her - inform her.
I had to know who the traitor was.
WE had to know, if our kind were to remain safe and the secret be kept.
I hadn't bothered going to London in a few hundred years, well, not since a hundred years or so after we had to rid the sewers of our kind that dwelt there. I hated even thinking of those wretches as "our kind".
I rested my chin on the tips of fingers, palms placed together as I sat looking out of the window. It was a gesture I had attempted to utilize, along with many others, if I were going to move among the humans again in London. Remembering them was a simple matter, bothering to implement them was another . . .
London had been filled with our kind; sewers, dark alleys, rundown buildings . . . the town was overrun with them and vickers were starting to hunt them, causing even more humans to be bitten, but not drained. Mobs would chase our kind till some poor unfortunate actually caught up to one of us, or was caught I should say. The crowd would be close behind and often there would not be time to completely drain a body, thus creating discarded wretches that would burn for days till their heart stopped and they faced their uncontrolled thirst for creatures were untaught and had no idea about keeping our secret, ragtag lower scraps of what had been humanity . . .
I sighed, again testing the human behavior . . . never remain perfectly still for long at a time . . . breathe . . .
The train was as elegant as I remembered it, though I had not been on the Orient Express in decades. I kept getting the faintest odor, the wisp of a scent of vampire in the coach I was using and I moved to visit the rest of the coach to see if it was in the other cabins as well.
Slowly, I must remember to walk very slowly, regardless of having the entire coach to ourselves. Vampire speed was just so much more natural for me, of course.
I was met with, "Can I help you, Sir?" by the porter as I opened my door and stepped into the hallway. He was assigned to our coach, I presumed, and there to meet our needs. I smiled to myself as I thought that the only need I had was for lunch . . . and that was one need he would not like to fulfill for me.
"No, nothing, thank you."
"Will you and your party be going to the dining car this evening, Sir?"
"No, young man, not this evening. We're retiring immediately and will have no need of your services," I explained curtly. He looked surprised but had an odd attitude that it took me a moment to remember. We made humans . . . nervous. Humans around me were one thing, but in this small an enclosed space, it was . . . uncomfortable, perhaps as much for me as it seemed to be for him.
I had to remember to look him in the eye, blink, and nod my thanks, as humans were accustomed to doing . . . at least the ones with manners. Walk slowly, grip gently, that's it . . . the grip wasn't a problem. I was accustomed to handling somewhat delicate clothing, but the light weight doors and handles here were quite a change from the heavy ornate wooden doors and solid metal handles in the castle in Volterra.
"Very good, Sir," he responded and toddled off. I opened the door to the coach next to mine without knocking, it was my guard, after all . . .
"Demetri, do I detect the scent of our kind," I inquired politely, entering the cabin they occupied and directing my question to him rather than Jane or Alec. Demetri was our tracker, his senses should be far more acute than any of the others, or even mine for that matter, dull as I had become from stagnating in Volterra. He hesitated a moment, perhaps processing what I had asked.
"Yes, Lord Aro, the scent of several of our kind," he answered, standing to address me.
"Ah. I thought so. And do we have any idea who the scents might belong to, my dear ones?" I asked, taking care to tilt my head and look at each individual member of my guard.
I touched fingertip to fingertip, my hands steepled in front of me as was my habit when I addressed them, moving to stare out the window.
"No, my Lord. It's no one I've met before, nor has anyone else here," he explained.
"Fine, fine. It could have been anyone, I suppose. Our kind doesn't usually stay in a place long enough for their scent to . . . linger," I contemplated, speaking as much to myself as to anyone else. I turned, "How long is the train ride, Jane, before we reach London?"
In, out. Breath in and out on a regular basis. Blink. Move around, never stand perfectly still.
My guard were accustomed to working out in the world, away from the protective confines of Volterra. They moved unnoticed among humans on a fairly regular basis but I . . . did not.
"Tomorrow night, my Lord. We change means of transportation in Paris tomorrow afternoon."
"And the weather?" I directed my inquiry to Demetri with a nod of my head.
I was remembering the human characteristics rather well I thought.
"Cloudy with light rain and fog, my Lord," he answered with a smile.
"Good, good. And have we planned . . . refreshments?" I inquired.
"Yes, Lord. In Paris, before we continue on to London. Felix is awaiting our arrival," he bowed his head slightly, in deference.
"You have done well. And our accommodations in London?"
"The Claridge, of course," Jane answered with a bit of a smirk.
I immediately had her by the throat, my face inches from hers as I explained, "You will not address me with such a familiar tone, dear one, unless we are in a more . . . private situation," I all but hissed, tossing her back onto the seat I had snatched her from.
I agreed with her choice of hotel, of course. I had been to the opening in the early 1800's and it was certainly luxurious enough. Her method of speaking to me, however, left something to be desired. I did not tolerate familiarity in the company of more than one person at a time, and then only rarely. Our time on the train was uneventful, the porter taking my advice and letting us alone for the remainder of the trip. Felix had a few snacks rounded up for us, once we reached Paris.
Walk slowly, one step at a time. Fidget, shift from one foot to the other and blink . . . must remember to blink.
At least the air moved in here, it being a large open space. The meal we had enjoyed in Paris had been quite . . . filling. I was not thirsty and of course, that always helped when dealing with humans. There were banners and posters seemingly everywhere, announcing the premier we were attending. Twilight Saga. There had been several movies already and the author of the books was here in the hotel . . . somewhere. Perhaps if I could run into her, meet her and shake her hand . . . I could forgo having to sit and watch the movie as there would be no need. I would have all the information I need as to who had broken trust and not protected our secret, I mused. The real question was how to handle the situation once we did find out.
Breath, blink, remember to shift my weight from one foot to another as I waited. Glance around.
Once we were checked in we waited, allowing the mortals to take the first elevator in favor of completely occupying the next. No need to make anything a strain on any of us, no need to be in a small enclosed space with unfamiliar hearts beating. My resolve and restraint was controlled, of course, but some of my guard tended to be . . . impetuous. It was of no consequence. They knew better. Demetri had the door to my suite opened, having dismissed the bellman and the accommodations were quite as satisfactory as I had remembered.
"When is the premier, dear?" I inquired, nonchalantly of the guard member that attended me.
"Three days from now, my Lord. We are here a few days prior to the engagement, as you requested," he answered.
I walked to the window, my hands folded behind me.
"Will that be all, my Lord?"
"Will we be paying a visit to Carlisle Cullen then, my Lord Aro . . . after dawn?" Demetri asked, almost as an afterthought as he was pulling the door closed, letting himself out.
"No. Not tomorrow," I couldn't help but smile at the look on his face, "I would like to take in some of the exhibits at the museum tomorrow. There is one, in particular that I have not seen in years."
"Certainly, my Lord," he said as he bowed, uttering a final, "Good evening."
I hadn't been to London in many years and the London I remembered seemed to have changed markedly. Seeing the older buildings would bring to mind the memories and update my visions. I would go and see Carlisle, of course, but there was no hurry. No hurry at all. Things would fall into place . . . with time.
"Bella . . . Alice is gonna shi . . . "
"Rose! Not in front of Masen!" the loud voice came from the slight figure bent to pull the sweatpants onto my infant nephew . . . who was the size of a toddler.
"What? He reads it in my mind regardless, you know," I reminded her.
"I know, but we don't have to verbalize and encourage it," his mom sighed. It didn't take a mind reader to see the troubled look that flashed across her face.
Bella was helping her son to dress and her clothing choices were not going to get her far with our sister. I had no idea where she had shopped, but apparently Alice either hadn't noticed or was ignoring her . . . and I doubted the ignoring.
"It's okay, aunt Rose, I heard that word lots of times," the little boy snickered.
"You might hear them, Masen, but that doesn't mean it's polite to say them," his mom explained.
"I won't, mom," the little boy said kind of sheepishly, "Dad says he's washing my mouth out with soap if I use words he's already told me not to."
I had to laugh, "I guess he would at that, sweetie. I can't wait till you're older and we can tell you all the stories about your dad being so uptight."
"Okay, okay!" I said, throwing my hands up, but trading a high five with my nephew as he read my thoughts that promised him stories in the not too distant future.
I was taking advantage of the morning with the newest members of my family. Edward had gone hunting with the rest of the men - some sort of male bonding escapade I guessed. They said they were just going out for a long hunt and they had taken the dog with them as well. Charlie was downstairs, but he and Bella would be heading off to do the marketing while Esme and Alice picked up a few things in town. I would have custody of Masen all to myself, and I was looking forward to it.
Bella tied Masen's shoe, showing him again how to do it. I was pretty sure Masen was just humoring her, he usually understood things the first time he was shown and could repeat them perfectly. Anyway, he soon had his new Nike's on along with the baggy tee shirt and sweats.
Alice would shit.
He scampered off downstairs in response to his grandmother's call that breakfast was ready, and Bella and I turned to follow him.
We heard the exclamation all the way on the third floor, and it didn't take vampire hearing. I raised my eyebrows, looking at my sister as she shrugged her shoulders.
"Well," I chuckled, "you knew that was coming!"
"I did . . . but so did she," Bella laughed.
I guess that was true. Surely my sister Alice knew that Bella would try and share her love for her baggy sweatpants with her son. What we all knew as well, was how hard Alice would fight against it, and the lengths she would go to . . .
We entered the kitchen to see a dismayed Alice, hands on her cocked hips, glaring at Masen as he grinned widely, stuffing a piece of bacon into his mouth from his perch atop the books stacked in his chair at the kitchen table. Charlie was already laughing.
"Like mother like son, Alice. Guess you best get used to it," he chided as he sipped his coffee.
"Is there no limit to the lack of fashion sense in this family!" she pouted, incensed.
"Alice, he's playing outside with Rose this morning. He's going to get dirty and he might as well be comfortable," Bella explained, defending her choice of clothing for her son.
"Still, even if he isn't leaving the property, couldn't he look like someone cared instead of looking like nobody's kid!" she frowned, genuinely becoming upset at the thought.
"Oh now dear, it's not that bad," Esme corrected as she placed a steaming plate of eggs in front of Bella and offered Charlie more. "He is just playing at home, Alice, and little boys do go for comfort."
"You know that I make every effort to purchase only soft, comfortable clothing for him ever since he was born," she pouted, "stylish can be comfortable as well."
"You do get me comfortable things, aunt Alice, and I like them all," Masen explained, "Mom just thinks that these pants are even more comfortable."
Alice walked over and kissed the little boy on the head, telling him that she knew it wasn't his fault and that he would grow up with style and taste in his clothing . . . in spite of his mom's influence.
Charlie laughed, Bella rolled her eyes and Alice left the room in a huff.
"Rose, it isn't funny! I hate upsetting her like that, but he's only just a little boy. What does it matter what he wears, as long as it's clean?" Bella asked.
"Alice just loves clothes, Bells. You never really have, long as they're clean like you say, and maybe the top matches the bottoms. You're like me, comfort over style," Charlie told his daughter, nodding his head as he tried to smooth everything over.
"Yea, mom even used to fuss at me when I lived with her in Arizona," she shared as she pushed the food around on her plate, "she thought I should pay more attention to the way I dressed."
"I KNEW I LIKED RENEE!" Alice yelled from some other part of the house, having heard Bella.
She rolled her eyes again, forking some fried potatoes into her mouth and reached for her coffee.
'Well, let me help with these dishes, Esme. Never ceases to amaze me that a woman that doesn't eat can cook such delicious food. Ha! Makes me glad to go into town to the store with you to make sure you have lots of choices on hand to cook," Charlie kidded my mom.
I knew that mom loved cooking for the humans though, it was after all, the only chance she got to actually cook food. Since Masen ate human food, at least for now, she was getting a lot of practice . . . especially with the dog here. Jacob ate more than Bella and Charlie combined.
"Thank you, Charlie. I do love cooking for my family and it's so nice to have you back with us, even for a short visit. Is there anything special you want for dinner?" she asked.
He humphed and hawed and shrugged, dismissing that she should get anything special on his behalf . . .
"Dad, just tell her," Bella teased as she poked her dad playfully in the side as he took his plate to the sink.
Esme looked expectantly at Charlie, who turned redder than I thought natural for a human, and fussed at Bella.
"Anything and everything she's fed me so far has been amazing, Bells. Kind of like your cooking," he finally got the words out.
"Dad likes steak, Esme. Cow, to be specific," Bella laughed.
"Well for heaven's sake, that's easy enough. I was wondering when you all would tire of eating deer. Beefsteak it is then. Charlie can help pick them out at the store, after we sightsee a little and do a bit of shopping for Sue," mom told us, winking at Charlie.
"YES!" came the response from Alice, who I was sure already had her coat on and was waiting by the door to leave.
I closed the door behind them, Masen snickering as he read the thoughts in my mind. It was weird getting used to having a "little Edward" around, someone who not only listened to my words, but my thoughts. I had experience at blocking Edward over the years, with limited success and I supposed I would just have to work on it.
"It won't matter aunt Rose," Masen snickered as he spoke to me, watching his mom, grama, grandpa Charlie and Alice head out the driveway.
"What?" I asked, leaning down to lift the little guy and head outside to play.
"Practicing," he said matter of factly.
"Practicing?" I asked.
Masen rolled his eyes as though he was exasperated with how simple I was for not knowing immediately what he was talking about.
"Blocking me. You can't you know. No, my ability doesn't work exactly like dads. No, it doesn't matter if you practice. I can read everyones mind and alter their thoughts, well, everyone but my mom," he mused, answering my thoughts rather than my verbal questions.
"Well, let's go out and play while everyone is gone. I'll run the outline of the property f\with you so you know what the boundaries are and . . ."
"Got it, aunt Rose."
Certainly he didn't mean that he knew the boundaries of the property simply because I thought of them, I would just run a quick perimeter so that he would have it and . . .
Masen smiled the most beatific little smile, all the while walking me through - in my own mind - the landmarks that denoted the edges of the estate. Wow. I stared at him, I know, with the widest, most foolish grin that had ever crossed my face as I thought - you are really going to be a hand full, nephew!