Highway to Hell
A|N: Let's pay the Cullen's a little visit. It all gets better from here. The reviews were wonderful! Chapter title is from Julius Caesar (Shakespeare). Also, I really like the update to the site. Very nice.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Twilight or anything dealing with the series. I am merely borrowing it.
Chapter 30: Et tu, Edward?
Unbeknownst to everyone, Carlisle had been intently watching the young Cullen for quite some time. He had grown suspicious of his beloved son some odd years ago, had grown wary whenever he left the house for an extended period of time. He swore to himself to never take his eyes off him. What possessed him that day, he would never know.
Unfortunately, Edward wasn't stupid. He knew he was being watched. Yes, Carlisle had perfected the art of hiding his thoughts from him much like Alice had, but that didn't change anything. Where he perfected protecting his mind, he lacked everywhere else. For a vampire, Carlisle didn't have one hint of subtleness in his body.
He also didn't like beliving that people—whether human or not—had any kind of darkness in them. He liked to give them the benefit of doubt until proven otherwise.
This naivity would no doubt be the reason he was no longer around to live out his eternity.
Back on the other side of the house, the most active couple—or, since Carlisle and Esme could hold their own against them any day, "shameless" would be the more appropiate way to describe them—were at it once again. Lost to everything but the other, how could they ever have suspected their day would have taken a turn for the absolute worst?
"Emmett, that's probably the tenth time my phone has rung," Rosalie murmured, pulling away from him.
Emmett shook his head and pulled her back down. "Don't be silly. It was only the fourth. I counted for you."
Rosalie rolled her eyes and went to say something more, but he captured her lips in another searing kiss before she could.
"If it's really important," he began after they broke a part, taking unnecessary breaths, "they'll leave a message. No, they'd come to you. I doubt it is, though. You know those bill collectors have been after you ever since you maxed out."
Once again, Rosalie rolled her eyes. She'd accidentally maxed out one of their credit cards, and he refused to drop it.
"Besides, isn't kissing me so much better than taking phone calls?"
She climbed off the bed, began putting her hair into a ponytail, and smirked. "Yeah, it is."
Emmett moved to sit on the edge of the bed, opening his legs just enough so his mate could step through them. He placed his hands on her hips and trailed them up to her waist and back a few times slowly, tracing random patterns with his thumbs as he went.
"We can't change, but I swear you get sexier every day," he murmured, which made her giggle, and then started trailing light kisses along her neck.
A quiet sigh of pleasure escaped from between her parted lips, and she tangled her hands in his hair, stepping closer to him. "Little compliments like that can you a long way, babe."
"I hoped so." He chuckled.
After he unzipped her dress, she shrugged her shoulders and let it fall. Right as she went to push him onto his back, they heard someone coming, and their room door burst open.
"Edward!" they exclaimed together.
Rosalie was dressed before he had even touched the doorknob, but she still moved behind Emmett, not at all comfortable with having another man barging into their room right as they were about to have sex. It wasn't a group, but it was still one more too many.
While the busy couple had been blocking out everyone and everything around them, Edward had been wandering about the house, trying to recruit people.
"Edward, get the hell out of here," Emmett growled. "Whatever it is you want, the answer is no."
Edward grimaced. The things that were going through both his and Rosalie's head were downright awful. He couldn't understand how anyone, human or not, could be so vile and uncaring; he couldn't understand how they could be so disgusting.
"I'm sorry," he apologized, sounding sincere even to his own ears. "I'm just trying to go hunting, and I'd like some company. I'd go by myself, but, you know, I don't want to…"
Emmett glared. "Like I said, the answer is no. What the fuck is your problem, dude?"
"Really, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt. I'm just trying to get some company."
"Well, you're not getting it, so leave," Rosalie snapped.
Edward nodded, seeming to be remorseful. "Again, I'm sorry. I'll go now."
He turned to leave, but before he could, Emmett stopped him. "What was that?"
"What?" questioned Edward, turning back to face him.
"First you come barging in here without permission, and now you're taking shit?" Emmett was getting angrier as the seconds ticked by.
Edward chuckled and held up a pen. "You borrowed this from me about three and a half months ago. I only wanted it back."
In reality, what he had really taken was Rosalie's phone. Again, Edward wasn't stupid. He knew who was calling; he knew that day would be the day they finally caught on. The day they finally became half as smart as he was.
It was funny to him, how easily everything worked out for him. Jasper was gone, off whining over the rejection Bella had put him through. Carlisle was slacking on his "watching" him. Esme was much too sweet for her own good to notice anything off with one of her "children." Alice was stupid, oblivious to her surroundings because she was in love with him, therefore she could not "see" him for what he was. As for Rosalie and Emmett, the two of them were so far gone in each other that problems barely even registered on their radar.
"Decided to go hunting on your own, then?" Carlisle asked when Edward walked past his study. "I can come if you're really desperate for company," he told him, though he was distracted, rapidly jotting down notes in his journal from a new medical textbook he'd gotten.
"No. I think the time alone may do me some good. Clear my head of all thoughts but my own," he said.
Carlisle nodded. "That's understandable."
When Edward was gone, Carlisle removed the medical textbook from his eyesight, it having never been what he was truly working on, though he did continue to write in in his journal.
—Meanwhile on Edward's hunt—
Edward ran westward, running until there was no chance that he could be overheard.
"It took you long enough," Jacob muttered, scowling.
He shrugged. "I had to make my leaving believable. Forgive me for wanting to get out of the house without someone questioning my motives." When Jacob rolled his eyes, he growled in irritation. "Look, if you're not going to help, then fine. Leave. I'm starting not to care anymore. If you're going to stay with me, then stop being a little bitch and actually help me."
Jacob's eyes narrowed and he thought over everything. Literally in an instant his life had changed. His life went from ordinary boy to every day hell. One minute, he was a teenage boy; more furious than he had ever been in his life, and the next he was a giant dog. Suddenly, his friends were his friends again, and the reservation gang-bangers were suddenly his friends, his family—his pack.
Jacob, he quickly found out, was a shape shifter. The wolf gene, he was told, was thought to have died out, but vampires—the Cullen's—returned to town, which once again offset said gene.
He hated the life that was thrust upon him with a passion. The pressure was too much, the expectations too high. As if turning into a wolf wasn't bad enough, he was told he would eventually have to take his "rightful role" as alpha. He had to be in control of a dozen other wolves. He had to protect them while at the same time protecting an entire town.
Everything was so bad that he considered killing himself. He was going to—jumping off the highest mountain in all of Forks, Washington seemed to be a good way to go—but he was stopped, told it wouldn't work.
"It'll feel like a thousand pound weight has crushed you, and it will feel that way for hours. You will be in the most excruciating pain you will probably ever face in your life," Edward had told him that day, knowing his thoughts. "But you won't die."
After that sad, rainy day up on the highest mountain in Forks, Washington, the two had become inseparable. Yes, their relationship had been extremely rocky at first, but the more time they spent together, the closer they got, the more stable their relationship became. Sometime between all the sneaking around and fits of laughter, Jacob had fallen in love with the friendly neighborhood vampire.
He had been in love then, and he was in love now.
"If I didn't love you so much," he began in a whisper, "I would walk away."
Edward's smile was small at first, but it slowly grew as he realized he had officially won one of his lovers over. If he wasn't so eager to finally get the other, he'd have gone over and kissed him the way he deserved to be kissed.
"I don't want to do this for the rest of my life," Jacob mumbled. "If we're doing this, let's go already."
Edward nodded in understanding. "You go now. I'll meet you there."
"There's something I need to get first," he explained.
—Where we last left of with the other Cullen's—
Back at the Cullen mansion, a few hours had passed, all of them none the wiser to what was going on a mere fifty miles away. No one felt out of place until Rosalie began to panic.
"Has anyone seen my phone?" she asked, running around the house in search for it, tearing it a part as she went.
Emmett frowned, following her around. "It's in our room."
"Obviously it isn't." She turned to face him, glaring. "If it was in our room, do you think I would be losing my head trying to find it?"
Emmett rolled his eyes. "Whatever. I was only trying to help. Why is it so important that you find it, anyway?"
"Early this morning, Peter told me to expect a phone call from Bella," Rose explained. "He wouldn't tell me why—I'm not sure that he could—but to just expect it and be ready to do as she requested. I was so caught up in what we were doing that it kind of slipped my mind, I guess."
This time, it was Carlisle that spoke. "Why?"
Fortunately, Carlisle wasn't stupid. He was slower at figuring things out than Edward was at plotting them, but he wasn't stupid.
For 13 years, Carlisle had been jotting down notes in his journal—notes about the disappearance of one Charlie and Renee Swan. How he came about doing this, he would never tell, but he spent those 13 years trying to figure out how it happened and why.
He hadn't realized that the couple's child had survived until he met her. He knew who she was the second he laid eyes on her. How could he not? She had her father's eyes, and her mother's smile, and her cute, little button nose. It was little Isabella Swan in the flesh.
From there, he and Peter worked together to find the monster that orphaned Bella. (How those two came to work together would be a story saved for another time.)
Never in a million years would he have thought it was his own son.
But the notes all added up.
"He said it was time."
Before anyone could further question Rosalie, Alice came running down from her room, eyes wide and frightened.
"Carlisle," she choked out.
His phone rang, and he answered it. All eyes turned to him, and the mood finally began to catch up with the actions of the day.
"He's cut me off, I don't know exactly what's going on, but I know it's bad," Alice said. "Edward has gone completely off the grid. I can't do anything about him now."
With a scream of frustration, Rosalie stopped running and tackled Alice to the ground, hitting her as hard as she could wherever she could. Alice fought back as well as she could, but there was hardly any point. Rosalie was much stronger and much angrier, and she wasn't going to let Alice go until she was dead.
"Enough!" Esme roared. Grabbing Rosalie by her hair, she yanked her back, throwing her half a mile across the other side of the forest. She helped Alice up and then glared at the two of them. "Fighting amongst ourselves isn't going to solve anything. It will not get us Bella back. All it's doing is wasting time. I'd rather not have my time wasted when it could be used to find Bella. Don't let this happen again, you understand me?"
"Yes, ma'am," Alice mumbled, hanging her head.
Rosalie scoffed. "Honestly, Esme, I don't understand you. You're standing there going on and on about how us fighting isn't going to help Bella, yet you're the main reason Bella's gone! Time after time, we have had the opportunity and reason to take them both out—Alice and Edward—but you always say no. You always have to try and keep the peace. You know what, Esme? You are not at all the good judge of character I once thought you were. You're not at all the mother I thought you were. A good mother knows when to both protect her children and when to set them free for their own good."
"Rose!" exclaimed Emmett in disbelief. "Don't."
Alice couldn't look at them for the guilt would not allow her; Esme looked as if she was going to start crying at any moment; and Carlisle seemed to not know what to do.
As fate would have it, it didn't really matter what he did.
"Give us a reason why we shouldn't kill you, and then watch us do it anyway."
Standing back-to-back, the Cullen's looked around in surprise as they found themselves surrounded by a dozen wolves. The (very) naked Sam stepped up, his body shaking violently from the rage boiling within him.
"My family and I have done nothing wrong," Carlisle said. "Nothing in our treaty was broken, and we do not want a fight."
Sam growled. "Unfortunately, we do. No official agreements of the treaty were broken, but we find corrupting, coercing and kidnapping one of our own a pretty big violation. Had we done the same, you'd be doing this very thing."
"We haven't done anything like that," Rosalie protested, shaking her head. "We don't want to associate with you, let alone kidnap you and put up with your foul smell and uncontrollable tempers for longer than we would have to."
Taking another step forward, Sam barked, "Your brother doesn't seem to harbor the same feelings."
"What?" they all said together, eyes widening.
Edward working with the dogs was the last thing they expected.
Their shock seemed genuine.
"Are we supposed to believe that you didn't know he was mind-fucking with Jacob?" That came from another wolf that had changed back.
Jacob. His hatred toward Bella had thrown them all for a loop. They couldn't understand why it was there because he didn't even know the girl.
But now it all made sense—his behavior, the person that had been walking in their homes, the dreams—the premonitions—it all made perfect sense.
He was working for Edward.
Only no one knew why except for Alice, and she couldn't bring herself to tell just yet.
"You can believe whatever you want to believe, but if you think you're about to hurt my family, you're wrong," Carlisle said, his voice low and dangerous—more dangerous than anyone had ever heard it. "We're in the middle of a family crisis. My friend—my granddaughter—has been taken from right under our noses. Torture is a high possibility considering the person who has taken her, and your wolf-boy is apparently a part of it. Unless you all want to die tonight, I suggest you step aside and let us go."
"Jacob is…what?" questioned Sam, taking a few steps back as he tried to process what he was hearing.
Around them, the other dogs whined. They didn't like that Sam seemed to be having second thoughts. He silenced them with a hard glare.
"Nothing is wrong with your precocious Jacob," Rosalie spat at them, finding it beyond irritating that they were worried about him. "But then, everything is wrong with him. You're all idiots! He's not a victim of Edward's—he's working with Edward! They're in this together, though we have no idea why. What is the appeal of torturing another person?" She asked the question, but as she thought about what she wanted to do to Edward and Jacob, she could see it.
Esme sighed and stepped forward, pulling her hand away from Carlisle as he went to pull her back. "Look, just let us go without any trouble. All we want to do is get Bella home safely. If you do that, and we can go to her in time, I promise I will do my best to get Jacob returned to you."
"Looks like someone's vying for the Mother of the Year award," Rosalie muttered sarcastically. If she had anything to do with it, he wouldn't be alive long enough to see the sun again.
"I can assure you that my family and I will do whatever we feel we have to do for Bella, but if I can get him home to you, I will," she continued firmly, ignoring Rosalie. They'd work out their issues later.
Sam took a deep breath. He looked around at his pack, and they all nodded their heads slowly. They understood the vampires' hardships. They would give them the one chance to get back their human before they felt forced to take action.
Esme sighed quietly, the relief evident on her face, in her voice, and in the way her body visibly relaxed, though, given the situation, her body did not completely lose its frigidness. "Thank you."
Whether replaying the details of the day made them any safer from him, Emmett didn't know. It was hard to even take a guess at what was going through his head after he had finished telling him what had happened.
"…" He had gone to say something, but he was temporarily at a loss for words. He honestly couldn't understand how Edward had managed to do it. He had been so carelessly sloppy, too caught up in the "game" to actually pull something like that off.
Yet he had done it—right under all of their noses.
"She called more than once," he finally said. "And you couldn't find it in you to stop. Your mate couldn't find it in herself to stop, though she was aware that my mate would be calling at any moment. Not only did he manage to take her phone right in front of the both of you, but he also managed to fool you into thinking that he was going on a hunt? That 'maybe the alone time would do him so good?'"
Emmett opened his mouth to say something, anything, but he closed it immediately, thinking better of it. Nothing he said would change what happened, but everything he said would (probably) only serve to piss of the Major even more; he wanted to be alive when Edward met his end.
Still, even knowing what would be his fate if he spoke out of turn, Emmett just couldn't resist. He pointed out, "You know, if you had just been a man and stayed, maybe…"
Emmett's body went limp, and he fell to the floor with a hard thud, his head turned at a sickening angle and his arm torn off unevenly.
No. This was their fault. He wouldn't take any of the blame. He might have left, but they stayed. They should have protected her, and they didn't. Emmett couldn't turn their mistakes around on him. He wouldn't let him.
Finally, as alone as he could have been in that moment, he allowed himself to lose the slightest bit of control, letting loose the most heart-wrenching roar that had ever been heard. His emotions spilled off of him in gallons, paralyzing anyone and anything that was able to feel within 30 miles of him. Charlotte and Peter had it the worst, falling to their knees and screaming and crying as well as they could for vampires in agony, though they somehow managed to work through it. Decades after decades of being with him during their time with Maria seemed to have paid off in more ways than one.
Just as quickly as he had lost that bit of control, he got it back—feeling interrupted.
His eyes, that were once a shimmering crimson, were pitch black. They held every horrible emotion he had ever felt in his life. They were haunted; having seen more destruction than any man could ever handle in their lifetime—and mostly by his own hand. They were furious and full of sorrow, his thoughts echoing loudly in them: death. Looking into his eyes was like looking at the devil himself.
James fell to his knees, prisoner to the emotions that were forced onto him. He immediately felt a pang of regret. He shouldn't have come. He had a target on his head, and he really shouldn't have come. It was stupid. As he looked over at Victoria, seeing her just as frightened as he, he wished that she would have stayed away.
The fear was suffocating him, eating away at his insides, rendering him speechless, as the man—Not a man, but a beast, he thought to himself—walked toward him. He wouldn't have even called it walking. It was more of a slow prowl—a predator stalking its prey, playing with its food.
The god of war himself was standing above him, and he tried to speak, but the only sound that left his mouth was an almost inaudible squeak.
"I remember you," whispered the god, squatting down so they were eye-to-eye. "You're the other one that was foolish enough to think you could hurt my mate and get away with it."
James' blood-curling scream was his response, but he didn't know why. The thing in front of him hadn't moved even an inch to bring him the pain his heart was suddenly feeling.
"That isn't even the half of what losing your mate feels like," confessed the beast rather softly, standing back up to his full height.
He made to break his neck like he had all the others, not knowing just what he wanted to do to him yet, but right as his hands grabbed hold of both sides of his face roughly, James managed to find his voice, screaming out, "I know where she is!"
Charlotte and Peter came down just as he said the words, the former holding a map in her hands that gave way to the location of their daughter—of his mate.
He looked toward the Captain, and Peter nodded.
They had found her.
"You're rather useless to me now." The enraged god snapped James neck, looking toward his mate. "Run."
She only hesitated a second before moving out of that house as fast as she could.
He turned to face the last two remaining.
"Take me to her."