Chapter 14: Trouble on the Horizon
I sheepishly looked at everyone through my curtain of hair after I detached myself from Peter. I'm not one for making such a public display of affection but my primal instinct overtook me before I could control it. I was right about one thing though: I'm glad that I can no longer blush.
"Bella, we'll take you hunting, then get started on you getting used to your new body," Jasper said with a much kinder smile than I was used to seeing. I guess it was because he was no longer fighting the blood lust that he was used to feeling around me.
I cocked my head to the side, expecting to feel the tell-tale burn in my throat that indicated the unquenchable, burning thirst but felt nothing. Jazz did the same when he felt the lack of thirst coming from me and his smile turned into one of confusion.
"What's wrong, mis Corazon?" Peter asked.
"Peter, I don't feel any bloodlust. None at all. I'll give it a try though; let's go hunting and see if being around a living, breathing being makes it flare up."
He nodded and we took off through the open window with Jasper and Emmett behind us in case we ran into an idiotic hiker out here in the middle of nowhere during the dead of winter.
The first animal we came across was an elk and, while it smelled horrible, the slightest discomfort flared up in the back of my throat. It wasn't anything I couldn't ignore or work around but, with the encouraging nudge from Peter and the slight burst of courage from Jasper, I pounced on the creature, snapping its neck and carefully fed from him.
I felt ready to burst by the time the animal was half drained so I stood, licked the small bead of blood from the corner of my mouth, and offered him to one of the guys. I refused to overfeed myself but I also refused to let something go to waste. Jasper finished the elk off; Peter was still weaning himself off human blood so herbivores did next to nothing to satisfy him and Emmett said that starting on the blood from something with so little left in it would just piss him off.
After I dragged the carcass into the underbrush so it was hidden from a possible hiker but still available for consumption by a carnivorous being, I dusted my hands off and flitted into a tree to watch the guys hunt. Peter took on two wild cats that I couldn't put a name to, Jasper snagged another elk, and Emmett roused a bear from its hibernation and fought with it for a while before finally snapping its neck and draining it.
As I leapt deftly from the tree, Peter shouted for everyone to head back to the house immediately because something was terribly wrong. I pivoted so I was facing the right direction in mid-air and started running before I even hit the ground so I would be moving immediately. We weren't far from the house as it was but I made it back almost five minutes before Emmett, who was followed closely by Jazz and Peter.
I knelt beside Alice, who had a blank look on her face and Edward was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. As soon as she came back to the present, Jasper was knelt on her other side calming her as I asked her what she saw. She looked at me with a horrific expression on her face.
"The Volturi is coming. Not just Aro and the guard, but the entire Volturi, even the wives. They caught wind of Peter mating with Bella, of Char mating with Edward, and their decision to stay with us. They also somehow heard about Peter changing Bella and they believe that we're a threat to them. They believe we're planning to revolt against them and they want us dead."
We all looked at her in shock, then everyone started talking at once, shooting out ideas to protect us. Even though I could now keep up with the speed of the words and the multiple people talking at once, it was overloading my senses and making it impossible for me to hear myself think.
I jumped up onto the coffee table and shouted, "EVERYONE STOP TALKING RIGHT NOW!" Every head turned to me and they all sat down where they stood, most of them ending up on the floor.
"We need to think about this objectively. Jazz, Peter, and Char have the most experience in dealing with this type of thing, so we're going to have to rely heavily on them for instruction. Alice, I know it's a lot to ask, but we need you to keep an open mind for when exactly they're coming. Carlisle, you were with the Volturi for a while; we'll need any information that you can offer on strengths and weaknesses that they may have.
"And, of course, they'll have us significantly outnumbered, so we'll need to get in contact with any alliances that y'all may have to help even those odds. When those people start arriving, Rose and Esme, we'll need y'all to help welcome them and show them where they'll be staying. Carlisle, we'll also need you to get ahold of as many bags of human blood as possible for the human drinkers. Emmett, when the others are here, you'll probably be best to head the ones that are going to rely on sheer strength to fight. Edward, you'll need to read the incoming people to make sure that they're truly pledged to us instead of being sent here by the Volturi to keep track of us. Y'all just need to remain calm and we'll get it all worked out, ya hear?"
Everyone stared at me in disbelief for a moment before Peter spoke up: "Baby, I think you've been spending too much time around Jazz, Char and I. You just said the word y'all three times and used the phrase 'ya hear'."
Everyone busted out laughing and I even allowed a small smile. We separated into small teams according to what needed to be done. Carlisle started making a list of people he knew and, when done, started making a list of the Volturi's strengths and weaknesses. Rose and Esme made a large order to Home Depot to have supplies delivered to build small huts for the visitors while Emmett and Edward went outside to start clearing out some trees for more lumber and space. Alice decided to help Rose and Esme while Jazz, Char, and Peter practically abducted me and we sat in a pow-wow circle in the middle of the living room.
"Why am I here with y'all? You're the military tactic team, I have nothing to offer in this group," I said.
Peter smiled while Jazz explained: "You, a newborn, just got the attention of nine loud, overly excited, panicked, full grown vampires and laid down the law. You also divvied out jobs for everyone and played those jobs to their strengths. That was very militaristic of you. Also, you did this while being overrun with emotion and panic yourself but you just shoved it down like it didn't exist. I think this may be one of your gifts: the power of, shall we say, persuasion for now. Yes, I said gifts. I can't be sure, but I think you're some sort of shield as well, the way you block mental attacks like Edward's, Jane's, and Alec's. We'll be more sure when Eleazar gets here."
I smiled at him and realized that I'll be able to do more good than I thought during the impending war against the Volturi. I want to hurt them for threatening my family without provocation. The Volturi was going down and they would go down hard if I have anything to do with it.
A/N: OK my darlings, I'm so sorry for the delay. With finals having just finished and 2 birthdays and mother's day as well, I got a bit bogged down for a while.
I know I don't do it often but I want to thank all of those of you who review! They make my day.
Also, thanks to 01katie for being my pre-reader. She rocks my socks!
Disclaimer: I don't own, you don't sue, enough said.