Twilight is not mine.
*Tissue warning just to be on the safe side*
I couldn't believe I was up a mountain in the middle of nowhere waiting for tragedy to strike. I waited patiently in the tent with Edward, Jacob having just run off to join the others before the action started.
Hopefully I had convinced him to be careful and return. I still can't imagine that I had actually kissed him as an incentive to come back – alive. What was I thinking? I knew Jacob loved me but he also knew how I felt about Edward that would never change. Maybe the kiss had been a plea for my best-friend or an apology for choosing his enemy. Jake knew that I only saw him as a friend but he had constantly pushed-the-envelop in our friendship.
Now I sat in the tent hating myself. I was relieved Jasper wasn't here to tattle on my feelings to Edward. I'm not sure he would actually do that but I didn't want to take the chance of Edward picking it up in his head.
I gazed at Edward and his eyes were unfocused on the tent door, he was listening to someone's thoughts – Seth. I bet Jake was gloating about our kiss to everyone in the pack right about now. I crawled into Edward's lap and straddled his legs. I threw my arms around his neck, running my fingers through the hair at the base of his head.
"I love you more than anything else in the world, even oxygen. I don't care that it's cold. I don't care that I reek of wet dog right now. I don't care if you're angry with me. Make me forget all about him. Make me forget what my own name is. Make me forget about the world. Make me yours. Fight back – win!"
I didn't wait for him to make a decision – or to have the chance to tell me no, or reject me. I pressed myself against his chest and crushed my mouth to his ice-cold lips. His lips imitated the pressure and intimacy as he returned the kiss. It was refreshing, invigorating, it was a frozen heaven, and it was home.
"Careful now, love," he murmured under my insistent kiss.
"Definitely not," I growled against his lips.
It suddenly went very quiet, that was our only warning of impending danger.
I heard the deep gasp of Seth's breathing cut off, and a low growl from outside the tent.
I stopped breathing also, too frightened to even make my lungs work properly. I realized that Edward had frozen into a stiff block of ice beneath me.
Someone or something was close and getting closer.
I wasn't exactly sure how or when it happened, but I found myself on my feet and the tent was falling around us in tattered shreds. Did Edward rip our tent to pieces? Why had he done that?
I blinked repeatedly as my eyes adjusted to the brilliant light. Seth was all I could make out, he stood right in front us, his face only inches from Edward's. They stared at each other with total attentiveness for one immeasurable second. The sun scattered off Edward's skin and sent sparkles dancing across Seth's fur and the newly fallen snow.
And then Edward whispered immediately, "Seth, go!"
I watched as the huge wolf wheeled around and disappeared into the forest shadows.
Something was coming for us and the possibilities were endless.
"Who is it?" I whispered from behind Edward.
"Victoria," he said, spitting the word, as if it was a curse. The words came through his teeth in a snarl that was louder than I was expecting. It was too loud. It meant that it was far too late to hide. "She's not alone. She caught my scent on my way here. She's followed the newborns in to the fight to watch - she never had any intention of fighting with them. She made a spontaneous decision to find me, guessing that wherever I was you would be there as well. She was right. You were right about the killings in Seattle. It was always Victoria."
She was close enough that he could hear her thoughts. We were trapped, and it didn't matter who heard us talking anymore.
I sighed in relief. If it had been the Volturi, we were both dead. But with Victoria, at least one of us could survive. Edward would survive. He was a great fighter, as great as Jasper. If Victoria didn't bring too many others, he would fight his way out, and run back to his family. Edward was faster than anyone, he would make it.
I was glad Edward had sent Seth away. Unfortunately, there was no one Seth could run to for help at the moment.
Victoria had timed her attack perfectly. At least Seth was safe from the vengeful vamp. When I thought his name all I could picture was the gangly fifteen-year-old boy, I couldn't see the huge sandy wolf in my head.
Edward's body shifted – infinitesimally, but I now knew where to look. I stared at the black shadows of the forest.
It was like having my nightmares stalk forward to greet me.
Two vampires edged gradually into the small opening of our camp, their eyes intent, observing everything. They glistened like diamonds in the sun.
I could barely look at the blond boy - yes, he was just a boy, though he was muscular and tall, maybe my age when he was changed. His eyes - a more vivid red than I had ever seen before - could not hold mine, they were elsewhere.
Victoria was staring at me from a few feet to the side and a few feet behind the blond boy.
Her orange-red hair was more intense than I'd remembered, more like the brilliant fire down in La Push. There currently wasn't any wind here, but the flame around her face seemed to flicker slightly, as if it were alive.
Her eyes were black with thirst. She did not smile, as she always had in my nightmares – her lips were pressed into a straight line. Her impatient, wild gaze flickered between Edward and me, but never rested on him for more than a half-second. She could not keep her eyes off my face any more than I could keep mine from hers. We were locked in a trance of sorts.
Tension rolled off of her, nearly visible in the air around her. I could feel the desire, the burning passion that held her in its clutches. It was almost as if I could hear her thoughts as well, I could tell what she was thinking.
She was so close to what she desired – the focal point of her whole existence for more than a year now was just so close.
And that was – my death.
Her plan was as predictable as it was convenient. The big blond boy would attack Edward. And Victoria would finish me as soon as Edward was adequately preoccupied.
It would be quick – she had no need for games now – but it would be meticulous. It would be something that would be impossible for me to recover from. Something that even vampire venom could not repair.
She'd have to stop my heart. Perhaps a hand shoved through my chest, crushing it or maybe she would snap my neck, effectively stopping everything.
Something along those lines would do it.
My heart beat frantically, loudly, as if to make her target on my chest more noticeable.
A measureless distance away, from somewhere across the black forest, a wolf's lone howl echoed in the still air.
The blond boy glanced at Victoria from the corner of his eye, waiting for her instructions.
He was young in more ways than one. I presumed from his luminous crimson irises that he couldn't have been a vampire for very long. He would be strong, but inexperienced. Edward knew how to fight him. Edward would survive with no problem.
Victoria nudged her chin toward Edward, wordlessly ordering the boy to take him out.
"Riley," Edward spoke in a soft, earnest voice.
The blond boy froze immediately, his red eyes widening in surprise.
"She's lying to you, Riley," Edward told him. "Please, listen to me. She lied to you just like she lied to the others who are dying right now in the clearing. You know that she's lied to them, that she had you lie to them, that neither of you were ever going to help them. Believe me when I say that she's lied to you, too?"
Bewilderment swept across Riley's face. I heard Victoria hiss at Edward's words.
Edward shifted a few inches to the side, and Riley automatically compensated with a modification that matched his.
"She doesn't love you, Riley." Edward's soft voice was persuasive, almost hypnotic. "She never has. She loved someone named James, and you're no more than a device to her. That's why you are all here – revenge."
When he said James's name, Victoria's lips pulled back in a teeth-baring contortion. Her eyes stayed locked on me, unblinking.
Riley cast an anxious glance in her direction.
"Riley?" Edward said in a pleading manner.
Riley involuntarily re-focused on Edward.
"She knows that I will kill you, Riley. She wants you to die so that she doesn't have to keep up the deception anymore. You've seen that haven't you? You've read the unwillingness in her eyes, suspected a phony note in her promises. You were right. She's never wanted you. Every kiss, every touch was a lie. She's always been about James – her mate."
Edward moved a few inches toward the boy, and a few inches away from me.
Victoria's gaze zeroed in on the opening between us. It would take her less than a second to kill me – she only needed the tiniest margin of opportunity to strike.
Riley repositioned himself, slower this time.
"You don't have to die. There are other ways to live than the way she's shown you." Edward promised, his eyes holding the boy's. "It's not all lies and blood, Riley. You can walk away right now. You don't have to perish for her lies. Why would you want to?"
Edward slid his foot forward and to the side. There was a foot of space between us now.
Riley circled too far, overcompensating this time. Victoria leaned forward onto the balls of her feet, ready to spring.
"This is your last chance, Riley," Edward whispered sternly.
Riley's face was desperate as he looked to Victoria for reassurance that it was Edward that was lying.
"He's the liar, Riley," Victoria said, and my mouth fell open in shock at the sound of her voice. "I told you about their mind games. You know I love only you."
Her voice was not the strong, wild, catlike growl I would have put with her face and stance. It was soft and high - a babyish, soprano that was the kind of voice that went with blond curls and pink bubble chewing gum. It didn't make sense coming through her bared, gleaming teeth.
Riley's jaw tightened, and he squared his shoulders, tensing himself to attack. His eyes hollowed – there was no more uncertainty, no more suspicion. There was no thought at all as to what he needed to do.
Victoria's body seemed to be shaking, she was so tightly wound. Her fingers were ready talons, just waiting for Edward to move one more inch away from me.
There was a loud snarl and it came from none of them.
A colossal tan silhouette flew through the center of the opening, knocking Riley to the ground.
"No!" Victoria's baby voice cried out shrill with disbelief.
Two yards in front of me, the massive wolf ripped and tore at the blond vampire beneath him. Something white and hard, much like stone smacked into the rocks by my feet. I shied away from it.
Victoria didn't even waste one glance for the boy she'd just pledged her love to. Her eyes were fixed and motionless on me, filled with a disillusionment so fierce that she looked unhinged.
"No," she growled, through clenched teeth, as Edward started to move toward her, successfully blocking her pathway to me.
Riley was on his feet again, looking malformed and worn-down, but he was able to fling a vicious kick into Seth's shoulder. I heard the bone crunch. Seth backed off and started to circle him, limping. Riley had his arms out, ready, though he seemed to be missing part of one hand. . . .
Only a few yards away from that fight and from me, Edward and Victoria were dancing violently.
Not quite circling, because Edward was not allowing her to position herself even slightly closer to me. She glided back, moving from side to side, trying to find a hole in his security. He shadowed her footwork sinuously, stalking her with faultless attentiveness. He began to move just a fraction of a second before she moved, reading her intentions in her thoughts.
Seth pounced at Riley from the side, and something tore with a gruesome, strident shriek.
Another weighty white chunk flew into the forest with a thump. Riley roared in ferocity, and Seth trotted back – remarkably light on his feet for his size – as Riley took another swipe at him with one distorted hand.
Victoria was intertwining through the tree trunks at the far end of the little clearing now. She was torn, her feet pulling her toward safety while her eyes coveted toward me as if I were a magnet, drawing her in. I could see the blazing desire to kill me warring with her survival instinct.
Edward could see her conflict, as well.
"Don't do it, Victoria," he muttered in that same mesmerizing tone as before. "You'll never get another chance like this to give up."
She exposed her teeth and hissed at him, but she seemed incapable of moving further away from me.
"You can always run later," Edward purred. "There's plenty of time for that. It's what you do best, isn't it? It's why James kept you around. Useful, since you like to play deadly games, to have a partner with an uncanny instinct for escaping. He shouldn't have left you – he could have used your expertise when we caught up to him in Phoenix."
A snarl ripped from between her lips as she kept her stare locked on me.
"It's silly really, to waste so much energy avenging someone who had less fondness for you than a hunter does for his mount. That's all you ever were to him, though. You were never more than a mere convenience to him. I would know." Edward's lips curled up on one side crookedly as he tapped his temple.
With a strangled screech, Victoria scurried out of the trees again, maneuvering to the side. Edward countered, and the dance began again.
Just then, Riley's fist caught Seth's flank, and a low yelp emitted out of Seth's throat. Seth backed away, his shoulders twitching as if he were trying to shake off the soreness.
Please, I wanted to plead with Riley to stop, but I couldn't find the strength I needed to make my mouth open, to pull the air up from my lungs so I could speak. Please, Seth is just a child!
Why hadn't Seth run away? I thought Edward had told him to go? Why didn't he run now?
Riley was eliminating the distance between them again, driving Seth toward the cliff face beside me. Victoria was suddenly and unexpectedly concerned in her partner's outcome. I could see that from the corner of her eyes, she was judging the distance between Riley and me. Seth snapped at Riley, forcing him back again, and Victoria hissed.
Seth wasn't limping anymore. His circling took him within inches of Edward; his tail brushed Edward's back lightly, and Victoria's eyes nearly bulged out of the sockets.
"No, he won't attack me," Edward said, answering the question in Victoria's head. He used her distraction to slide closer. "You provided us with a common adversary. It was your fault, you made us allies."
She clenched her teeth, trying to keep her center of attention on just Edward.
"Look more closely at the pup, Victoria," he murmured, pulling at the strings of her concentration. "Does he really seem like the monster James tracked across Siberia?"
Her eyes popped wide open, and then began flickering wildly from Edward to Seth to me, around and around. "He's not the same?" she snarled in her little girl's high-pitched voice. "That's impossible!"
"Nothing is impossible," Edward chuckled, voice velvety soft as he moved another inch closer to her. "Believe what you want to. Just so know, you'll never touch Bella."
She shook her head, speedy and bouncy, fighting against his diversions, and tried to stoop around him, but he was in place to obstruct her as soon as she'd thought of the idea. Her face twisted in aggravation, and then she shifted lower into a crouch, and stalked deliberately forward.
Victoria was no inexperienced, instinct-driven newborn. She was dangerous. Even I could tell the difference between her and Riley, and I knew that Seth wouldn't have lasted so long if he'd been fighting this vampire.
Edward shifted, too, as they closed on each other, and it was lion versus tigress.
The brutal dance amplified in rhythm.
It reminded me of Alice and Jasper in the field, a blurred spiraling of movement, only this dance was not as flawlessly choreographed. Sharp crunches and loud cracklings reverberated off the cliff walls whenever someone slipped in their configuration. But they were moving too rapidly for me to see who was making the mistakes and causing the echoing sounds.
Riley was distracted by the aggressive ballet, his eyes anxious for his partner. Seth struck, crunching off another small piece of the vampire. Riley screamed and launched a considerably powerful backhanded blow that caught Seth square in his broad chest. Seth's huge body soared ten feet and crashed into the rocky wall over my head with a force that seemed to vibrate the whole peak. I heard the breath whoosh from his lungs, and I ducked out of the way as he rebounded off the stone and collapsed on the ground a few feet in front of me, not moving.
A low whimper escaped through Seth's teeth.
Jagged fragments of gray stone showered down around my head, scratching my exposed cheeks. A serrated spike of rock rolled down my right arm and I caught it instinctively. My fingers clamped around the long shard as my own survival instincts kicked in, surprisingly. Since there was no chance of a getaway, my body, not caring how unimpressive the gesture was, readied for a fight.
Adrenaline blasted through my veins. I knew the brace was cutting into my palm. I knew the snap in my knuckle was protesting. I knew it, but I could not feel the pain. Behind Riley, all I could see was the twisting flame of Victoria's mane and a smear of white.
The progressively more numerous metallic snaps and tears, the gasps and shocked hissings, made it clear that the dance was turning deadly for someone.
But which someone was it?
Riley staggered toward me, his red eyes brilliant with fury. He glared at the flaccid mass of sand-colored fur between us, and his hands, mangled, curled into talons. His mouth opened, widened, his teeth shimmering, as he geared up to rip out Seth's throat.
A second jolt of adrenaline hit me like an electric shock, and everything was instantly crystal clear.
Both fights were too close to determine an outcome. Seth was about to be defeated in his, and I had no idea if Edward was winning or losing. They needed help – a distraction of sorts, something to give them an advantage.
My hand gripped the stone fragment so firmly that a support in the brace broke loose.
Was I strong enough to do this? Was I fearless enough? How hard should I thrust the coarse stone into my body? Would this buy Seth enough time to get back on his feet? Would he recover fast enough for my sacrifice to do him any good?
I raked the point of the shard up my arm, yanking my thick sweater back to expose the skin, and then pressed the razor-sharp tip to the joint at my elbow. I already had a long scar there from my last birthday. That night, my flowing blood had been enough to catch every vampire's attention, to freeze them all in place on the spot. I prayed it would work that way again. I strengthened myself and sucked in one deep breath.
Victoria was sidetracked by the sound of my gasp. Her eyes, holding still for one tiny fraction of a second, met mine. Ferocity and inquisitiveness mingled strangely in her expression.
I wasn't sure how I heard the low sound with all the other noises echoing off the jagged cliffs and hammering inside my head. My own heartbeat should have been enough to drown out everything.
But, in the split second that I stared into Victoria's eyes, I thought I heard a familiar, infuriated sigh. I barely noticed when Edward flinched. It was the smallest of recoils but it was enough for Victoria to get past him.
In that same short second, the dance broke fiercely apart. It happened so swiftly that it was over before I could follow the sequence of events. I tried to catch up with it in my head. But I couldn't.
I felt the fist pierce through my chest. I looked down at the bloody appendage stretching from the wound in my chest then my eyes slowly lifted to the blackened orbs as they beamed down at me. A wicked and ecstatic smile curled her lip.
I gazed across the clearing to the pools of honey, they were traumatized and damaged. All I could do was look, words failed me. I felt the hand retract from my chest and I fell to the ground with a thump. My eyes drifted closed and I vaguely remember the enraged growl and the sound of metal being stretched beyond its limits. I barely even felt any pain despite the gaping hole in my chest.
I was dying. Soon I would be dead and the red-headed bitch would have succeeded in her revenge and I would never see those loving topaz eyes again.
Chapter End Notes:
So how was the beginning to the new story? If this seemed boring to some it will pick up in speed.
Next chapter is all Edward's so if you don't like it, yell at him. He's feeling a bit violent considering what just happened to Bella.
I will post chapter 2 after Captured/Hidden are done. Someone needed the link to this story so I posted it, plus I was curious as to how well it was received. I hope it was liked...except of course what happened to Bella.
Preview of Chapter 2: My Cold Dead World
"I'm going to clean Bella up now if you want to wait outside or something," I composed myself as much as I could, reminding myself that I had been through Med School twice, and that I could do this.
Jacob scowled at me. "And why are you the one cleaning her up? You're the creature that feeds on blood!"
I hung my head and sighed heavily. "Her blood hasn't drawn me since I saved her life back in Phoenix. And I have two medical degrees, I have the capabilities to look at her as a patient not as a woman and she's my fiancé so that bestows upon me certain responsibilities." I then turned and glared at him. "Now, if you're done whining, I would like to clean her up before my family gets here."