"You're kidding me."
"Nuh-uh." Jacob deadpanned. "Time to rock'n'roll."
Edward crossed his arms and glared. "No. Absolutely not."
"Whatever." Jacob got on the black motorbike and took the helmet in his hands. "If you're done being such a girl, it'd be great if you could, you know, hurry the fuck up."
Edward opened his mouth to protest, and realized that any form of argument with Black was beyond pointless. He'd drilled the fact that he didn't do motorcycles to the damned shifter, yet this happened.
"Why?" Edward asked reasonably. "The car wasn't that bad."
Jake snorted. "Lesson number one when you're fugitives from badass vampires: no two trips must be made in the same vehicle. They can track us down before you can say death wish."
Edward admitted, reluctantly, that this sounded logical. He got on the other motorbike- the red one- and strapped his helmet on resignedly.
Jacob smirked. "That's what I thought."
Edward growled internally at him, and refused to answer.
Typically, the journey became less about covering ground and more about outdoing each other as the two rivals raced at inhuman speeds through the roads.
Much to Jake's surprise, Cullen didn't drive like a ninety-year-old grandmother, as he'd originally suspected. On the contrary, Edward leaned forward so that he was almost flattened against the metal frame and accelerated until he became a blur of sheer speed. Jake found it an actual challenge keeping up.
Accordingly, he revved up, and concentrating intensely, he maneuvered the bike until the front wheel was completely in the air, and he was speeding along solely on one wheel. After the bike reached its full height, Jake tossed a triumphant grin at Edward, who had slowed down a bit. The vampire rolled his eyes, and mouthed "show-off".
Jake laughed, and lowered the bike back to the normal state, the rush of being just a tad reckless after a long period of constantly looking over his shoulder pumping adrenaline through his veins. Then, the instinctive weariness set in as he looked around.
He signaled at Edward to slow down.
They pulled over to the side of the road.
"Where'd you think we are, at a guess?"
Edward, instead of making a crack at incompetence, looked around and shrugged. "I'd say somewhere around South Dakota." Then, he shrugged again. "Can't be certain. I haven't been here in a while."
Jake nodded. "Then this is bad." He said without preamble. "Couple of miles from here, there's a motel, and the chick that owns it is with the Volturi. Plus, her sister has this weird power…it's some freaky shit." Jake didn't know exactly how freaky, and judging from the rumors, he wasn't sure he wanted to.
"Can't we avoid it?"
Jake shook his head tersely. "Part of the magic. Now that we're within a hundred-mile radius, it'll only get worse if we go around." He cursed himself for not being on lookout. He'd been so preoccupied with showing off that he hadn't even noticed the warning signs. That taught him to have fun.
"So what do you suggest?" Edward asked calmly.
"Take them by surprise." Jake could see no other option. "Walk straight in."
Edward looked at him sharply. He apparently decided that Jake's experience trumped his instincts, because he nodded.
Jake could only hope for the same.
The motel wasn't much different from the one from the morning; the same dim lighting, the same rough layout, and even the receptionist slightly resembled the one from before.
Jake was buying none of it, judging from his tense shoulders. He walked straight up to the girl, and barked, "Where is she?"
The girl looked between the two of them. She looked no more than fifteen.
"I'll tell them," she said.
Edward entered her mind just as she thought, they're here.
He waited warily. He didn't know what to expect. A figure to shimmer before him? Ophelia with dead, sunken eyes?
Much to his surprise, a door behind the desk opened and a middle-aged woman stepped out. She was wearing a tan business suit, and had crimson eyes that were focused on him directly.
"Edward," she said, and thought, it's an honor to finally meet you.
He jerked his head.
Her blood-red eyes turned to Jacob. "Black," she acknowledged.
"Howdy," Jake retaliated dryly.
"I am sure that you are aware of our request." She said, pleasantly. Her voice was chipped with a slight, untraceable accent. "Cullen to join us and the shifter's head on a stick."
Jake shook his head. "No deal, as usual."
She tsked. "Wrong choice, as usual," she countered, as if they were discussing the weather. "You, of course, are aware of the nature of my darling sister's powers."
"We're a bit sketchy on the fine details, but yeah, we've got the gist of it."
She nodded. "When you feel like surrendering, my name's Jenna." She stood up. "Gentlemen."
Just like that, she evaporated out of sight and a dense forest appeared around them. Edward started when a coiling viper hissed in his ear.
Jacob swore freely.
"Mind control," Edward commented. Despite himself, he was impressed. He'd never met a talent so complex.
"Yeah, it's a friggin' dance party," Jake bit back.
Edward ignored him. "She must be a newborn."
"The newest there is."
Both of them whipped around. Standing next to a gigantic tree was the best rendition of a nymph Edward had ever set eyes on, except that her eyes were blood-red, like her sister's.
He frowned as she spoke up in a sweet, lilting voice. "Boys," she sang. "You beautiful, beautiful boys. What ever are you doing in a place like this?"
"You tell us," Jake said.
She laughed, a high-pitched, trilling sound that made Edward's hands clench. Jacob, in contrast, looked much more relaxed, almost at ease. "Oh, Jake," she fluttered her eyelashes. "You always were-"
But it was too late. In a move that Edward found hard to follow, Jake had her pinned against the bark of a tree, her hands above her.
"You tell us what your sick game is, and I might let you go." He growled in her ear.
She pouted prettily. "You could have asked nicely, you know. For guys as handsome as you, I would've told without the dramatics."
"Get to the good part." Jake commanded.
"Fine," she scowled. "The rules are simple: survive the night, and I let you go."
"How do we know that?" Jake pressed the arm held against her jugular.
"It's the only way it works." She snapped, dropping the sweet-young-thing façade.
Jake glanced at Edward, who nodded and checked her mind.
You know it's the truth, leech.
Edward delved deeper, wading through memories of forests, and finally, snapped out of it.
"She's telling the truth."
Jake looked back at the creature. "Swell." He released his grip on her.
She vanished, her expression dark.
"She's not a vampire." Edward said, immediately. "Not completely, anyway."
Jacob looked at him, understanding dawning in his eyes. "Shit."
"What is it?"
"The Volturi raised a lot of weird creatures. Almost experimented with them." Jake clapped a hand to his forehead. "Now there are more hybrids out there than there ever was."
Jake shrugged. "Witches. Dryads. You name it. It's like living in a bad Harry fucking Potter flick." He narrowed his eyes at the vampire. "How come you don't know any of this?"
"I was in stasis." Edward said, distractedly. "It's probably a nymph."
"Like a powerful dryad," Edward explained impatiently. The memories were stirring back now, half-buried images of the oldest vampires describing them. "They're associated with places, like forests."
"We're not in a forest. "Jake pointed out. "We're in a motel."
Edward shook his head. "I don't think so. Not anymore. That other woman-"
"Yeah, her. I think she teleported us."
Jake raised his eyebrows. "Okay." He nodded, as if physically wrapping his head around it. "It sounds weird, but weird is what I have for breakfast. Fine. We're in an actual forest."
"Question is, what's next?"
A/N: I'm having a ball with these two. Thoughts?