Disclaimer – I do not own Twilight. All recognizable plot and characters belong to the talented Stephanie Meyer.
I had a good response to Big Bad Wolf so I thought I'd post the other few stories I have lying around in my writing folder that I was unsure of. Hope you all enjoy.
This one is a bit different than my normal focus on the wolves. It picks up sort of mid story but basically is all the same up until the ballet studio where things went very differently and now Bella lives with him and Victoria.
"James!" I cried running and jumping into his arms. He held me to him, glaring angrily at the other two vampires.
"Victoria?" He demanded, his voice deadly.
"The Cullen's." He hissed at her reply holding me a little tighter to him.
"It's alright pet." He soothed, his hand running up and down my spine, his voice completely opposite to the one he had spoken to Vicky with.
I felt the movement of his chest as he and Victoria shared a quiet conversation at vampiric speed.
Next thing I knew I was being placed in our SUV, instantly he was in the drivers seat and we were speeding out of the city.
"They will not track us pet. It was only a coincidence them finding us."
"Alice might have seen." I reminded him.
"Alice meant for me to kill you pet. She is not who she seems. She will not want them to find you."
I thought back to that day I had first met Vicky and James. When I was convinced I loved Edward. I remembered the days I spent in the hotel with Alice and Jasper and then the phone call. James telling me he had my mother.
When I realized he did not have her I was relieved. I wanted no one to die for me. Edward was wrong though. James did not want to kill me. Standing in that ballet studio James had not attacked me. He had smiled at me and told me he would not harm me. Then I was in his arms and we were running. He ran a long time before we met Vicky in a small town. He settled me in the back of the SUV she had brought and as he drove she told me many things about her past, about James and about Alice. She then told me about Jasper. I sat stunned listening as she spoke. I don't know why but I believed her.
We drove to a house in upstate New York and I became Isabella Danvers. Five years passed. I had never been so loved and protected. Vicky said I had James wrapped around my little finger, there was no jealousy in her though; she knew he loved her, she was his mate and she loved me as much as he did. I was their sister; we were family, a word that had new meaning to me.
Eventually we were joined by a third vampire. Not Laurent. He had moved on to the Denali's as he had told the Cullen's. The third was called Riley. Vicky had turned him in Seattle ten years before. He was the reason they had been in Washington; he had turned a young girl, his mate, Bree. He was related to James, the child of his cousin or something. Riley came and went checking in with James but not settling with us, even once Bree had long passed her newborn year, though we got on well enough, they were happy on their own.
"I don't want to run James."
His head whipped around to me, "you want to go back to them?" his voice sounded surprised and hurt.
"No and they cannot force me to. It has been five years James. Like you said, it was a coincidence seeing them, I am sure they will leave us alone and if they don't we can run. I don't want to leave our home James. I know you can protect me."
"From anyone but him Bells. I can protect you from anyone but her mate. He is more dangerous than you can imagine. The Volturi themselves would not cross him."
"Please James. I don't want to run. I don't think they will hurt me. Whatever her plan was the others were not in it or she would not have been so underhanded."
"You miss them."
"You will not be alone with them. You will not leave my side. You will not so much as pee without Vicky when they are near. Riley and Bree will come to stay with us. I say we are leaving and we are leaving."
I nodded, "Agreed."
"You will stay far away from the Seer and Mind Reader. Do not anger the Major; do not draw his attention at all. We will meet with them if they desire it and you will tell them you are safe and happy and wish them to leave us all alone. They will not be told where we live."
"James, it'll be fine. I know I freaked out seeing Rosalie but maybe the others aren't even here and maybe knowing I'm here they will just leave."
"I don't think so pet." He said doing a u-turn and driving back towards the city at a more reasonable speed.
"Can we stop for ice cream?" I asked pouting at him.
He laughed, "Coldstone?"
"Please" I nodded.
He picked up his cell and called Vicky. She was not happy. She met us at Coldstone sliding into the booth next to me.
"Riley's gone to get Bree. This is a bad idea James, we should just go, we've been here long enough any how."
"I don't want to leave yet Vicky. I know we have to go in another couple years but not yet and not because someone is forcing us to go. Please. I want to finish graduate school. I know it will be okay. You and James can protect me and I think maybe they'll just leave. I was only really close to Emmett and whatever Alice was planning its ruined already and she's likely moved on to something else."
She sighed. "That look only works with James, Bella."
"Please Vicky. If there is a hint of something, I swear we'll leave. I wont be away from you or James for a second, you can protect me."
"Not from him Bella."
"You have that itch Vic? The warning?" James inquired into the odd feeling that had always kept them safe, her power of evasion that always told her they needed to move and which direction to take to safety.
She sighed, "No, but I don't like it, don't want to risk it and if I get even the tiniest urge to go, I don't want to hear it from either of you, we will leave the goddamn continent."
"Ok, Vicky. I promise."
"You will not leave our sight and I don't want you anywhere near the Major, the Seer or the Mind Reader."
"If we are ever in the same room, do not meet the Majors eyes, keep your head down and stay close to me and behind James."
"That goes for all of them." James added sternly.
I nodded. "I promise."
"Let's go home. Riley and Bree will meet us there." Vicky stood and waited for me to get out of the booth, "And you will eat more than that. We can pick you up something or I can make you a sandwich when we get home."
"A sandwich please." I told her wrapping my arm around her waist as we followed James out.
I skipped classes the next day and didn't have any on Friday, so we did not return to the city all weekend. James refused to let me out of his sight regardless.
With Monday, I returned to classes. James drove Vicky and I to school and walked me to class, waiting outside until each was finished. This continued through Thursday with no sight of the Cullen's.
Our luck broke Friday. Vicky and I were shopping in Manhattan when again we saw Rosalie; she was with Emmett and Esme.
I could hear Vicky growling to low for the shoppers around us to hear but loud enough for the other three vampires.
"Bella." Esme stepped forward and Vicky pushed me a little further behind her.
"Call James. Now." Vicky hissed at me.
Emmett had stepped in front of Rosalie and Esme, the crowd the only thing keeping both of them from dropping into a fighting crouch.
I hit the speed dial for James.
"Bella, honey, are you alright?" Esme asked stepping forward again.
I nodded to her as James picked up his cell.
"Bells?" I heard his voice on the other end of the phone and said only one word.
"Cullen's." I knew he would track us in minutes.
"Bella," Emmett kept his eyes on Vicky, "are you alright little sister?"
Vicky hissed at him.
"I'm fine Em. Please back away. Vicky doesn't like you this close and there are a lot of innocent people nearby."
"Bella, honey, we've been so worried." I could see the venom pooling in Esme's eyes.
"I'm alright Esme."
"The family thought you were probably dead." Rosalie told me.
"Nope, sorry to disappoint, alive and kicking." I told her smirking.
"Please, Victoria, let my daughter go." Esme inched closer to us again.
Vicky growled at her, "she doesn't want to go any where."
"Please, all of you, stop this. We are attracting attention. This isn't the place for this." I turned to Esme. "We'll meet you at the Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskill Mountains, tonight at nine."
She nodded. "Ok, honey."
I started to back up, "Come on Vicky."
She growled at them and backed up. We hurried away and met James two blocks away as he ran at a fast human pace towards us. He had me in his arms in an instant.
"She set up a meet with them tonight in the Catskills." Vicky told him as we walked towards where they had the car.
"Fine," he nodded, "better to get it over with. Bells, you'll tell them you are fine, safe and happy and that you want them to leave us alone. Do not interact with the Seer or Mind Reader if they are there. Remember what Vic told you about the Major, do not make eye contact, remain submissive but strong, do not speak to him unless you must, be polite even if it is difficult."
I nodded at him, "Yes James, I remember."
"Nothing but if I feel something I'll let you know, don't let your guard drop."
"Call Riley and Bree have them meet us there. We'll head home and change, pack a bag just in case and feed Bells."
I sat on a rock near the falls watching the water as it rushed over the cliff and crashed into the bottom. James stood at my back, Vicky beside me. Bree and Riley were off to the side of us, alert and wary.
"Bella, love?" I heard Edward's voice first. James growled and dropped into a crouch.
I stood up and turned to face the Cullen's. I stepped forward towards them, Vicky at my side; I stepped to the left and a little behind of James.
"Hello" I looked to Carlisle and nodded in greeting.
He stepped forward and said my name, nodding in return, "Bella. Are you alright?"
"We've been very worried."
"You needn't be. I'm safe." I told him.
"Bella, love, please come over here." Edward stepped closer and James growled at him again, beside me Vicky dropped into a crouch as well.
"Do not call me that." I told him icily before turning back to Carlisle. I had told James I would not engage with Edward.
"Carlisle, I'm sorry for your worry. I'm quite well and as you can see, I'm protected. New York is our home and we do not welcome invaders. We'd appreciate it if you and your coven found another location to settle."
"Bella, honey, what's going on? Have they threatened you? Hurt you in any way? Please tell us. We can protect you."
I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, it was Jasper and Emmett, "I have not been threatened or hurt, I have no need of your protection."
"Great so, she's fine, can we go?" Rosalie asked looking at her nails.
I smirked, "By all means, please leave."
"Bella, we cannot just leave you like this. They are very dangerous, we want to be sure you are safe and unharmed." Carlisle spoke slowly and softly.
"Please do not disparage my family Carlisle, you know nothing of them. Five years ago you were kind to me and I am grateful, I assure you I am well and am asking you to leave our territory."
"Bells?" Emmett stepped closer to me and Riley and Bree dropped into crouches again.
I turned to him, "Em, I promise you I am well."
"Will you not allow us to see for ourselves? We wish only to spend time with you, we have missed you." Carlisle spoke up again.
"Yeah Bells, didn't you miss us?" Emmett asked looking hurt.
"Of course I missed you Em, but it was safest for me to stay away."
"Why?" Rosalie demanded, eying Bree and Riley from the corner of her eye, while stepping a little closer to her mate.
"Why do you care?" I sneered at her.
"Of course we care Bella." Esme inched a little closer.
James snarled at her pushing me behind him.
Edward growled at him and crouched down, "I'll kill you."
I hissed at him, a sound remarkably vampiric for a human, then I felt a wave of calm and looked over to Jasper, though I quickly dropped by gaze and took a small step closer to James.
"Isabella, come here." He held out his hand to me and I felt a strong urge to run to him.
I looked over to James helplessly. "Isabella." Jasper repeated my name and I felt a fresh surge of emotion flood me with trust and warmth.
I walked over to Jasper and took his hand, looking directly up into his black eyes, "Hello Jasper." I whispered.
"Hello Isabella." I could feel the tension in James and Vicky despite the calm Jasper was still radiating.
"I'm sorry I ran from you."
"Not really, no." I told him honestly.
"Are you with these nomads by choice?"
"They are not nomads, we live here, well, up North a bit and I'm finishing grad school in the city."
"You are with them by choice?" he repeated.
"You could leave if you chose?"
I hesitated not wanting to lie to him.
"Not exactly though the fault is yours not theirs."
I felt eyes on me; James and Vicky were wary, anxious to have me safely next to them. Riley and Bree were calm by Jaspers continued influence but still watchful. The Cullen's all looked surprised, confused and a little hurt.
"What have we done to force you to stay with them?"
"Nothing, its not exactly that, but I must be turned before I turn twenty-five or I will be hunted and killed. It's the law of your kind, humans must not know about vampires. The Volturi have allowed me to remain human for a time, as they owe James and Vicky both. The date is set for summer, after I have completed grad school."
"NO!" Edward cried out and James and Vicky both growled angrily at him. I felt a fresh wave of calm that was laced with lethargy.
"Please, Jasper. I'm with James and Vicky by choice. I am sorry that I ran from you, I did not wish to anger you, only to protect my mother, as I believed James had her captive. When I arrived, I learned her voice was only a recording and James did not intend to harm me. He lured me away to protect me. He has been protecting and taking care of me for the last five years. I went to the studio by my own will, I left with James by my own will and I remain with them by my own will. They would not have stopped me from contacting you if I had chosen it, nor would they stop me from leaving with you if it were my wish. They are my family. I am safe and happy."
"Protecting you from what?"
"James" I turned to Vicky and saw her looking nervous, I knew her instincts were telling her to run. Jasper's power kept her calm and still.
A moment later, more vampires stepped into view. We were surrounded. Subconsciously I stepped closer to Jasper. Vicky had been right; we should have left.
"Jasper please." I turned and met his eyes. "Please let my coven be."
"You have nothing to fear from us Bella" I heard Carlisle from somewhere to my right. My eyes never moved from Jaspers.
I felt a cold finger trace my left cheekbone. "Your coven will go home. You will come with us. We will return you to them in the morning if it is your wish."
"No." James growled.
"I would not fight James. There are many of ours and few of yours." The accented voice was vaguely familiar but I did not turn to look at the speaker.
"Laurent." James growled, "Traitor, I should hunt you down with a blow torch."
"Tsk, tsk. Threats will hardly help you here."
James growled at him again and I felt another wave of calm flow out of Jasper. I put my hand on his chest and shook my head, "please."
I felt the wave stop and turned, walking back to James and Vicky.
James pulled me into his arms, Vicky crouched in front of us, and I reached my hand out to her back.
James held me gently to him as I snuggled into his chest, "Please. It's alright."
"Bella" I felt Vicky's hand on my back, "I'm sorry, with the empath choking me with emotion I did not sense the danger of the others until it was to late. They came up from downwind."
"It's alright Vicky. I think Jasper is right. There is too much tension here. Everyone is ready to rip each other apart."
"Then we will take them down with us." James growled, eyeing Laurent.
I placed my hand on his chest, "James," I waited until he looked down at me again, "I would be the one not able to recover, the one to die."
His arms tightened around me, "No."
"You and the others go home. I'll be there in the morning."
"We will not leave you."
I sighed, "If this continues there will be a fight and I will die. If you leave, I will only maybe die. Which is the better risk?"
"We will let no harm come to you Bella." Carlisle spoke up.
"You see," I placed my hand on his cheek, "I'll be fine. They'll return me here in the morning, unharmed."
"Bella," Vicky's hand stoked my spine.
James bent his head, his nose brushing against my carotid artery as he breathed in. "I swore to keep you safe pet."
"You have J."
"I don't see as we have much choice here." She said sadly, stepping closer to us so I was in a vampire Popsicle sandwich hug.
"Return her here, unharmed, by nine." Vicky said turning from us.
James finally let me go, "If she is harmed in any way I will hunt you down one by one and make you pay with the lives of those you love."
I heard several growls before Carlisle spoke, "She will not be harmed and should it be her choice, we will return her to you here in twelve hours."
I heard my family growl at this, "the choice will be made here where we can see her make it." Vicky snapped at him.
"I've already made it." I reached to her and James let me go to hug his mate, "I'll be back my sister."
She hugged me tightly, "if you are not returned to us James will hunt them down, we will find you and bring you home."
I nodded and looked back to Riley and Bree, giving them a small smile I turned and walked back over to Jasper. If I looked at James I would hold tightly to him and that could spell trouble. I knew the Major was dangerous and if Jasper wanted me to go with them, I would not risk my family.
Edward stepped toward me, "Come love, I will take you."
I shook my head and James growled.
"I'll take you." Emmett stepped towards me, one eye on James.
I nodded, "thanks Em."
In a moment we were off, speeding through the woods, Rose on one side of us, Jasper on the other. I felt fear and loss growing as we travelled further away from my family.
"You have nothing to fear from us Bella." Jasper sent out a wave of calm, "I will return you to them."
"You know they mean me no harm, that I love them, why take me at all?"
"The others need to hear it from you away from their influence. Edward needs to."
I buried my head into Emmett's neck. "I did miss you brother bear." I whispered to him.
"I missed you to sis. I wish you had let me know you were ok."
"If it had been safe I would have. I'm sorry."
We fell silent again and a few minutes later, we reached a house buried in the woods. It looked very like the house in Forks.
Emmett set me down and we all went to sit in the living room. I stood near Emmett and Rose and looked at all those I did not know.
"The Denali's are our extended family. They have helped us look for you." Jasper answered the unspoken question my curiosity had sent him.
"I am Eleazar, this is my wife Carmen, our daughters Tanya, Kate and Irina. You have met Irina's mate Laurent and this is Kate's mate, Garrett."
"Great so the introductions are over, what the hell happened with you and the nomads?" Rose demanded.
"Where is Alice?" I asked looking cautiously around me.
"She is in Paris." Carlisle spoke up, "I'm sure she will come as soon as we have told her we've found you."
"Don't." Several surprised faces stared back at me after this statement. "Look, I came because I didn't want my family hurt. I'll stay the twelve hours but I'm tired and cold and I don't want to be here."
"Have we done something Bella?" Esme asked me sadly.
I sighed, "No, Esme, you were always so good to me. I am grateful truly. Through you I got to see what having a real mother would have been like but I am not part of your family."
"I thought you were Edward's mate? That makes you a Cullen. The nomads brainwash you or something?" The blond stranger spoke up, I wasn't sure if she was Tanya or Kate.
"No." I refused to elaborate, to look at Edward who was studying me from across the room.
"No what? No it doesn't make you a Cullen?" The same blond spoke up.
"Tanya, enough." The Carmen woman admonished her, "I'm sure the Cullen's would like to talk to her in private. Shall we all go hunting?"
"Yes, good idea, girls." Eleazar spoke up.
"No. If James has done something it is best I remain."
"I'm not leaving without Laurent."
"Fine." Carmen sighed, "Tanya, Kate, Garrett, there is no need for us here." Her tone brooked no argument and they all filed out of the house.
"So, Bella, what's the story already?" Rose asked crossing her arms in front of her.
"There is no story Rosalie. I have been living with James and Vicky for the last five years. We are family. I'm safe and happy and wish only to be returned to them and be left alone."
"Bella?" Esme tried again in her softer tones, "please, what happened in Phoenix? And since then? We have been so worried."
"Why? What makes you think they are anymore dangerous than you are?"
"They kill people Bella." Edward spoke slowly like he was admonishing a two year old for wrong behavior.
"What right have you to judge? Didn't you do the same thing? Didn't Jasper? And Alice and even Emmett and Esme? Only Carlisle has a spotless record, isn't that what you said?"
"I had a short rebellious phase where I killed evil people. I quickly corrected my behavior. Jasper and Alice changed their diets once they learned of ours and like Emmett and Esme have only slipped a few times."
"Rebellious phase? Slipped? Pretty words to say you killed and ate people." I snapped at him. "And what gives you the right to be judge and jury and decide a person is evil or not?"
I could see his frustration and annoyance, "you condemn our few indiscretions and yet defend those who kill many? Their eyes are as bright a red now as they were in the baseball field after they had drained your fathers friend."
"Yes, a little slip." I rolled my eyes at him. "I am not condemning anyone Edward just stating that you have no right to pass judgment on my family."
"Bella," he was using that overly patient voice of trying to explain a simple concept to a stubborn toddler, "it is not the same thing at all. They have done something to you; the thoughts in their minds are very bad. You belong here with us. We will take care of you. Whatever they have done to you, we will fix and be happy again. I will take you away somewhere safe and it will all be alright."
He had taken a few steps towards me as he spoke and I immediately retreated, bumping into Jasper as I did, "you promised," I turned to Carlisle, "you gave your word I would be returned unharmed, if it was my choice."
I felt hands come up to my arms and spun around, looking up into Jaspers dark eyes, "I made the promise and will keep it. You have no reason to fear, we will not keep you with us against your will."
I nodded at him, "please Jasper, just let me go. James will have tracked me near here. Once I am in the woods he will find me and take me home."
"Bella, " I heard Edward's voice closer behind me, "You do not want to go back to them."
I flinched, but kept my eyes steady with Jasper's, "please. Let me go home."
"It must be Stockholm Carlisle. We have to do something."
I spun around to Edward, "James didn't abduct me or keep me captive. I am not suffering from Stockholm syndrome you arrogant asshole. He is my brother; Vicky is his mate and my sister. They have kept me safe, protected and loved me." I turned to Carlisle, "Don't you dare try to drug me or hold me prisoner or I swear to you, whatever Laurent has told you about James will be nothing compared to what he will do when I am not returned safely. You might have been friends with the Volturi once but they will side with us if James goes to them." I prayed my words were true, Jasper, the Major, was one vampire James had always said not even the Volturi would oppose.
"He took you to the Volturi?" Edward demanded, "How is that keeping you safe? No, Carlisle, we cannot allow her to go back to them, we have to get her far away from here and make her see that she doesn't want to be with them, that they manipulated and controlled her."
"You are the manipulator!" I spat back at him. "And controlling! You want to talk about controlling!" I felt a wave of calm.
"Enough." Jasper's honey tones quieted the room. "I said I would return you if it was your wish. It is and I will."
I turned back to him, "thank you."
"Tell me what happened. James had found us. We were leaving the hotel to pick up the others. Then you had me take you to the rest room and never came back. We tracked you to the ballet studio but you were gone."
I sighed and shifted my weight from one foot to another. "Please, sit." Esme motioned to a chair behind me. It was a little to close to Edward for comfort. I wasn't entirely convinced he wouldn't snatch me up and run. I looked from the seat to Edward and back to the seat. I inched closer to Jasper and shook my head.
"Would you prefer to have this conversation in private? In my office perhaps?" Carlisle asked motioning to the stairs. I knew they would all hear us but it would put a door between me and Edward.
I looked over at him and nodded, "please."
"Yes, Bella and I should speak alone." Edward stepped closer to me and I flinched again.
"Esme and I will speak with her. You will stay here with the others Edward." Carlisle smiled weakly at me.
I shook my head at him, "I'll talk to Jasper and Rose, I wont be in a room alone with another."
They all looked surprised and hurt, I felt guilty for Emmett alone, "I know you love me brother bear, that you want me back, because of this you would let him," I hissed the last word in Edwards direction, "convince you James hurt me when he hasn't. Rose has never liked me. Jasper has already sworn to return me. I will speak to them or no one."
He nodded at me in sad understanding.
"Let's go then." Rose stalked up the stairs and I followed, Jasper following immediately behind me.
In the office, I took a seat on one of the leather chairs and waited for Rose and Jasper to sit as well.
"Start from the beginning then." Jasper encouraged.
"We were in the hotel and you went to check us out. Alice was in the sitting room. My phone rang, it was my home number, I answered and heard my mother's anxious voice calling my name. James came on next and told me to meet him at the studio or he would kill her.
I tried to think of ways to get away from you and remembered the bathroom, it had two exits so while you waited at one I snuck out the other and ran for it. I climbed in the first cab and went straight to the studio. James was there, my mother was not, the voice had been on a recording from when my mother was looking for me in that exact studio as a child.
I was relieved, I didn't want anyone else hurt; I did not want my mother to die for me. I walked into the center where James was waiting. He smiled at me and called me brave. I smirked and told him I had no self-preservation. He laughed and said he knew but that he had it for me. I didn't understand what he meant but he just stepped closer to me, looked me right in the eyes and said he would not harm me. That he had things I needed to know, that I was in danger and he would protect me if he could. He asked me to come with him so he could explain and then if I wished him to, he would leave me somewhere safe for you all to come get me.
I agreed and he picked me up and ran. He ran a long time, until Vicky met us with her SUV. He set me in the back seat and she crawled in next to me. He got in the drivers seat and as he drove she talked. I believed her. I told James I didn't want him to let me out of the car; that I would stay with them. We came to New York and I finished school online and then went to college and am now in graduate school. Vicky says I have James wrapped around my little finger. I love her, she is my sister and friend but James has always been a little bit more. He is the one I go to first when I'm afraid, or angry or happy. He is my brother and best friend, he would never hurt me, never allow me to be hurt by another. He tricked me into going to the ballet studio to get me alone but I chose to leave with him, I chose to stay with him and I continue to choose to do so."
"What did they tell you? Why were you in danger? Are you still?" Rose asked, her bored tones now interested.
"I don't know why exactly or if I am still in danger, but I know I am safe so long as I am with James and Vicky. They can protect me. Soon I will be changed and have been invited to spend my newborn year in Volterra. I will be protected there and will be much less breakable at that point anyhow."
"And how did you become acquainted with the Volturi?" Rose spoke up again, while Jasper just continued watching me.
"Once we got to New York James set about learning all that I already knew about vampire's and teaching me what I didn't, including the laws about people knowing of your kind, namely being turned or killed. James agreed to turn me. That summer we travelled to Italy. Aro was intrigued by his inability to read me and Jane was also unable to affect me with her power. James and Vicky had already told them of their plans to change me once I finished school. They wanted me turned right away but agreed we could wait as long as I was turned before my twenty-fifth birthday. If I wasn't I would be killed and both of them punished. Vicky, James and I agreed that this summer, after graduation would be the time for it, I am twenty-three and as ready as a person can be. We go back to Volterra for a visit every year. Aro is still intrigued and has a number of his guard attempting to use their powers against me. So far, only Demetri is able to; he like James has no trouble tracking me. Vicky's odd little power for evasion and keeping herself safe has been used for me as it is used for James. We are not sure how her gift works, she claims it isn't really even a gift but it is."
"Do the others have gifts?" Rose again and I wondered if Carlisle was downstairs asking the questions and she just repeating them for my ears.
"Not Bree, but Riley can sense lies."
"What did they tell you?" Jasper finally spoke up.
"James and Victoria. When they took you, what did they tell you?"
I pulled my legs up to my chest in the chair, "They told me many things Jasper."
"Such as?" Rosalie prompted in an annoyed voice.
I blushed a little and looked away, "you wouldn't believe me."
"Try us." Rose rolled her eyes.
"They told me about their past, about how they were each turned and why. They told me about those they had turned and hunted and why."
Her left eyebrow quirked up, "Which had to do with you how?"
"It had more to do with all of you."
"Us?" she looked and sounded genuinely surprised.
I nodded, "I was in danger with you."
"We would not have harmed you." Rosalie spat, "I might never have liked you but even I would not have hurt you."
I flushed with anger and pain and tried to bite back the tears.
"Bella?" Jasper asked, sending out a wave of calm mixed with curiosity.
"James and Vicky were changed in the South." I told him, "in Texas."
"They are connected to my past?"
"Not just yours." I told him honestly. "I learned that people are not always what they seem, Major." My voice was a little mocking, at his title but I could not help it, any more than I could help looking into his eyes, though Vicky had warned me against it.
"I would not hurt you Bella."
"If I was afraid you would hurt me I would not have requested we speak privately. I would be afraid now but I'm not, am I?"
"No. You are not." He sounded a little confused by this.
"I have told you what you asked, can you please take me back now?"
"Not everything." Rosalie noted.
"You would not believe me, it makes no sense and yet I knew they spoke the truth, to me there was and is logic. I will not risk the wrath of those who could hurt me by speaking such things."
"No one here will harm you Bella. I give you my word. If one of ours was or is a threat to you we would like to know."
"How can I be sure you don't already? Tell me Jasper, how good is your gift? How good is Edward's? And Alice's? I love and trust Emmett. Rosalie has always been honest in her distain for me. Esme and Carlisle have been nothing but kind to me. I do not know who to trust when I want to trust you all, so I trust none of you."
"My gift is strong but I am able to and do ignore or partially block it. Edward hears only what people are thinking at that moment, he has no access to previous thoughts. He sees only the surface. Alice's gift is subjective, the future can always change."
"She is your mate and he your bother, I would not anger the Major by any more talk of them or the others. I wish to go home." I told him, focusing my eyes on his collarbone and biting back fresh tears.
"You believe Alice and Edward meant you harm?"
"I believe if they, if all of you, really wanted to protect me from a sadistic vampire, as you all believed James to be, that he would not have gotten to me so easily."
Rose got up and walked over to me, motioning me to stand. I looked into her golden orbs and trusted her, just like I had instinctually trusted Vicky's word without question, I was now trusting Rosalie.
She lifted me onto her back and we were out the window in an instant. We stopped a short ways before the falls.
"Bella, what did Victoria and James tell you?"
"That Alice is not who she seems. James knew her long ago, met her before the change. She remembers more then she lets on. She would have seen his decision to call me, especially since she was watching for him so closely. She would have seen my decision to sneak off at the airport. She would have seen a lot of things she didn't. Edward reads minds, he knows about Alice. He knew her plan, whatever it was. He knows much more than he says. Jasper is her mate; even if he believed me, he would defend her. Carlisle and Esme would follow what Edward and Alice told them. They would defend their children. Emmett and you are the only ones who would do nothing. You have no affection for me at all. Emmett is like a brother to me, he is my brother bear and I love and miss him, he would not do anything to cause me harm, still I doubt even he would believe me over his siblings."
"I have nothing against you Bella. I did not like Edward's behavior and showed my disapproval by being callous to you. It was nothing personal. Emmett does love you and I have no doubt my husband would stand by you. Carlisle might very well stand by his son. Esme would be torn. Jasper though, he would not defend her if he believed you. She might have been his wife but she is not his mate."
I was confused by that, was there a difference? I sighed again, "Rosalie, I'm happy and safe. I just want to be left alone to live my life. I don't know what happened in Forks. I don't know why I was in danger or by whom. I do know that James and Vicky meant me no harm, that they love me and want only to protect me. I know how and why Jasper was changed, I know who he was though I cannot seem to make the connection in my head to the Major, the warrior and god, and Jasper, the preppy, silent, mate to Alice. She is not who you think she is though Rosalie. She is hiding things. I do not trust her."
"Rose. Rosalie is so uptight."
I laughed lightly, "Alright Rose then."
"I have not fully trusted Alice for a very long time Bella and I do not believe that you are Edward's mate. He thinks its jealousy but its not. I love and want only Emmett."
"I know that Rose." I took a deep breath. "I think Alice remembers a lot more about her past then she lets on. I also think that Edward keeps many of her secrets, some of them dangerous."
"Bella I love my family, if they are in danger you have to tell me. I know you have no reason to trust me but trust that my husband loves you and I would do anything to assure his happiness."
"I had no reason to trust Vicky and James either but I did, and I trust you to. You at least have always been honest with me." I paused before continuing, to organize my thoughts. She did not rush me. "You know who Jasper was?" When she nodded I continued, "James was, or rather is, a very talented tracker. He was a trapper or something in Canada way back. He was turned in the wilds by a very sadistic vampire. Many years later he moved south, tracking another evil vampire, Maria. She was very angry and wanted her Major and Captain back, James found his mate among her ranks and so pretended to join her, offering her his tracking ability in exchange for Vicky. He already knew of the Major before having gone south and had no desire to move against him. He was given Vicky who helped him to kill Maria instead."
"Maria is dead?" Rose asked surprised.
I nodded, "Before James went to New Mexico, where he met Maria, he wandered the US alone for many years, playing his makers twisted games. His maker was also Alice's. She was living in a mental institution, her parents placed her there because of the odd visions she would have, they believed her crazy or possessed. They put her in the institution while publically claiming her death. It was there James' maker found her. He would visit her each night, taunting James who saw only the sister Jonas had raped and killed before turning him. The game was begun again. James was hunting Jonas, by hunting the newest target of Jonas' games, to save her from his sister's fate. He finally won against his maker but not before Jonas got to Alice. James killed him and left believing Alice dead. It was much later that James learned Alice had been changed and he went to the Volturi to explain. Alice was as special as Jonas had believed and she was able to get herself through her newborn year without breaking Volturi laws. They would very much like control of her gift. James was working for the Volturi at this point, which is why he was looking for Maria. The Volturi had waited until Jasper had left her before moving against her. The reputation of the Major has long preceded him. No one wants to move against him so they never went after Maria though she toed the line of many laws and they never targeted his mate though they wanted her power and have long since believed, as James does that she is as dangerous and manipulative as their maker."
"So you did not contact the family because James believes Alice means you harm and he believes this because of who her maker was?"
"Yes and no." I answered carefully, once again trying to organize my thoughts to explain as coherently as possible.
"James, or at least the James from five years ago, was still pretty scarred by his early years. He was just as deadly and twisted as Laurent will have you believe. He saw me or smelt me and thought of dinner. When Edward defended me his mind flashed to all the hunts he had with Jonas, where he had to beat his maker to save the girl from his sisters fate. To James people were either food or pets and James does not like the idea of playing with his food. It was these dark images Edward likely saw him think. What Edward did not see was the revulsion and anger James felt; mostly it was anger, not because I was a new challenge but because he hated that kind of needless cruelty. I was not the challenge, Edward and the rest of you were. Saving me from that fate."
She nodded and lay a hand on my arm, "he thought Edward," she gulped, "that we were hurting you. That he meant to, to…"
I nodded so she would not have to continue the thought, "He burned for three days with the image of his sisters suffering. He has never and will never heal from it. He could not protect her. He could not protect any of Jonas' victims. He would not allow me to face such a fate. I might be food and he has and does kill people, he enjoys the hunt but he does not keep pets, he will not allow that kind of suffering."
She nodded in understanding, "so he saw Edward as manipulating you. As all of us protecting a toy we wanted to manipulate and hurt, he saw you as a victim."
I nodded again, "it was then he recognized Alice. He then made the connection of Jasper to the Major. He had believed the Major held more honor than to play such a game, Vicky especially was hurt and disappointed. The Major holds much more than just the reputation as the God of War, he was known to moderate Maria's cruelty, he was known for mercy in a place where such a thing did not exist, and whatever the cruelty of that life, the game of Jonas was something they had not thought him capable. Of all the atrocities in that place, the Major had never done something so evil as to hurt a woman like that."
Rose nodded and I could see the venom in her eyes, tears she could not cry, "he would never."
We had stopped walking as I spoke so as we stood looking out into the woods, I wrapped an arm around her waist and let the silence surround us.
"We would never have allowed something like that. I would never have allowed it." Rose told me, hugging me. When she stepped back she motioned me to a fallen log to sit. I sat with her and she held my hand as she told me of her own change, of Royce and what he and his friends had done to her. I cried the tears she could not.
"They might have been wrong," I wiped the tears, "but Vicky knows when something is not right, it's her gift and something was dangerous that day. I'm also certain that if they had wanted to protect me, they would have. Alice is dangerous Rose and not even the Volturi desire to oppose the Major. I do not know what was going on, or what if anything is a danger to me now. What I do know is that I'm safe, I'm loved and I'm happy. Edward is not my mate. I thought I loved him but have long since learned it was not real. I miss Emmett; he was the big brother I never knew I wanted. Edward didn't know he would talk to me, send me notes in my locker, even sneak over to sit with me in the woods behind my house and talk when Edward was hunting. Long before we were together I was friends with Emmett and even when we started dating, Emmett and I were closer than anyone knew."
"I wondered how he could be so hurt, so lost without you. My husband loves you very much."
I smiled at her, "I love him to. I'd like to keep in touch with him this time."
She nodded, "perhaps we can visit you if you'd like to avoid the other Cullen's still, or he can, I was never kind to you and would not expect your friendship now."
I smiled at her warmly, "to late, I think tonight has already made us close friends and your husband wont let you forget it as soon as he finds out we bonded."
She smiled back at me, "I'm glad. If you will allow it, then we will both keep in touch and you can trust us not to reveal anything to the others, we learned long ago to avoid Edward seeing the thoughts we wish to hide."
"I know." I grinned at her, "He wouldn't have been happy if he had known how close Em and I really were."
"What about the others?"
"Esme and Carlisle were good to me. I liked them both very much but I do not trust Alice and Edward. Jasper, like I said, I have trouble seeing this preppy, quiet, pained looking man with the warrior god of the Major. Him I both admire and fear. Jasper, I don't know what to make of, I trust him instinctually yet as Alice's mate, I cannot trust him. Honestly I don't know what to make of him, he is not who he seems and that is dangerous."
"Neither Carlisle or Esme would hurt you or allow cruelty. I'm not sure I have ever trusted Alice and Edward fully but Jasper, he is much like the brother to me that we often portray to the world. I agree that he is not who he seems but he is not a danger to you. I swear he would never hurt you. You can trust him. He is not the Major anymore but he is not who he seemed in Forks either, then he was under to much of Alice's influence. She is not his mate though and she would not manipulate him so much as to hurt you."
"Alice and Edward are dangerous enough on their own. I don't know what they had planned or what if anything they still plan but I will not risk my family or myself, I wish for them to leave us alone, it is best if all the Cullen's leave. You and Emmett alone will I trust."
"Your family is coming from up wind. I imagine your James was near all along so I'll leave you." She hugged me. "I'll talk to the others and try to get them to agree to leave, Emmett I'm sure will remain. Will you come over tomorrow night?"
"I am not sure the others will leave so readily." James dropped from a tree.
"No, you might be right there. Edward still insists she is his mate."
"Come to us then." I told her, before turning to James, "please?"
"As if he ever says no to you when you pout at him," Vicky had appeared near us as well and was now laughing lightly.
James frowned, mock angrily, "I am the coven leader, my word is final and you women will respect me."
"Please James?" I gave him my best sad puppy dogface.
"Alright, alright. The blond and her mate can visit." He frowned at me and Vicky "but I am not agreeing because she is pouting, its just good strategy to have contact with people on the inside." James told us.
Vicky laughed, "yeah sure." She rolled her eyes and turned to Rose, "right around her little finger, that's where she has my mate."
Rose laughed at us and I pouted at Vicky, "you don't want my brother and Rose to visit us?"
"I keep telling you that look doesn't work on me."
"I guess they wont come then since it's your house too. I mean if you don't want them there I guess I can just be happy to talk to them on the phone, I mean its not like I even had that for the last five years."
Vicky rolled her eyes, "alright, alright, stop with the wounded puppy act, yes they can visit."
I grinned at her. Rose was still laughing and even James was smiling now.
"See, you could have said no to." He told her pulling her into his arms.
"Yeah, yeah, like you said, good strategy." She told him, kissing him and turning back to me.
"Everything go ok in the house? We didn't catch what went on inside."
"Yes, fine. I was introduced to everyone and then most of the strangers left. Edward tried to convince them I had Stockholm. Rose and Jasper took me to Carlisle's office away from the rest to talk but after I reiterated that I didn't trust them and wanted only to come home, Rose brought me here to talk where you would come for me."
"We live up North in a cabin on the Lower Saranac Lake, you should be able to find us fairly easily." Vicky told Rose.
James swung me up onto his back and he and Vicky took off side by side, heading us home.
I felt a part of me relax as soon as I had heard their voices, as they ran I felt the rest of the tension fade away. I was safe.