And we're back! Sorry about the spaces of time between updates. We hope you'll forgive us. It wasn't our fault, though. McGeek's been busy with her hubby (he just got back from being deployed, remember?) and I've been working (which sucks major gonads). But we've got the next three or four chapter roughly written. They just need some fine tuning and they'll be done.

We want to give a big shoutout to our VB, Tima83, who works really hard to get each new chapter out to you as quickly as possible. We also want to give one to all the new reviewers. We're total review whores and love hearing what you all think of the story as a whole.


Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


A Twisted Reality: One Perspective

Written by: Cullenbabe1231 & McGeek86

Chapter Nine

Sunday morning broke bleakly over the horizon with me having been up the entire night before contemplating all the possible outcomes of the situation with the nomads. I was sitting in the window seat in mine and Whitney's bedroom watching the clouds that had just rolled in with a nagging feeling eating its way through the pit of my stomach. Nervously I bit my thumbnail as I kept going over the time line of when the nomadic coven would be entering the baseball field. Thanks to some unappreciated efforts on mine and Whitney's part we were going to keep Bella from being a part of the 'game'; both the baseball game and the one James would attempt to implement.

For our own protection, Carlisle and Esme thought it would be best for Whit and I to stay locked in the house while the rest of the family was at the 'baseball game'. Whit and I weren't happy about the idea and adamantly argued against it, but Jasper shut us up and got the final word in the end.

"We have enough to focus on without having to worry about either of you getting into trouble."

I couldn't imagine what kind of trouble we could possibly get into unless we went and found ourselves some wolf pups or something, but figured 'whatever'. The more I thought about it the more a spa day at home in my oasis – I mean bathroom – sounded like heaven.

Who'd be stupid enough to turn that down? I won't, but that doesn't change the fact that something doesn't feel 'right'.

Don't ask me, my lips are sealed.

You mean to tell me that I've been trying to get you to shut up for months now and at the slightest inclination of a serious problem you actually decide to listen to me!

Listen Sweet cheeks, if I could tell you I would. Sometimes you get a little help and sometimes there are things you just have to figure out for yourself. Eventually it'll make sense, although with you, I highly doubt it.

Just so you know, I'm not listening to you ever again.

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't shake the feeling of dread that rolled through my body and settled in my stomach like a boulder. I did the best I could to convince myself that it was nothing, but I had always hated storms and it seemed like there would be two different kinds descending on us that day; both the metaphorical one and the literal. Beside the fact that both made everything so dreary, the noise caused by the thunder pulsed along with the blood in my veins and the lightening seemed to make the world around me illuminate.

"Got you a cup of chamomile tea," Whitney's melodic voice broke my concentration. "You alright?"

"Oh thanks," I murmured as I took the mug from her and held between my hands without drinking it. "I was just waiting for the thunder."

"For someone who never liked storms I bet you never thought you'd ever find thunder and lightning so relaxing," she said with a smirk.

"It's not that. I... I just wanna know that they're alright," I whispered as I turned back to the window.

"I know, me too. I hate not being able to do anything," she said before sighing. "I guess I should be getting back to work. You gonna sit there all day?"

"No, actually I think I'll go find paradise behind that door over there," I snickered as I motioned toward the bathroom. "I think that bathtub is calling my name."

"Yeah, I think I just heard it. I think I heard it mention something about not forgetting a towel though. You know, since I won't be bringing you one?" she called before laughing while making her way out of the room.

After going downstairs to grab a warm, clean towel from the dryer I made my way back to our bedroom and the Garden of Eden that was our bathtub. I used a remote to turn on the fireplace, the music, and the electric candles throughout the room then undressed. I started the water and added some scented bubble bath. While the tub filled I put my hair in some rollers and prepared to relax.

As I lied there soaking, I had my eyes closed and tried not to focus on anything other than being as relaxed as possible. My mind slowly drifted to short dark curls, ivory skin, and a pair of deep golden colored eyes.

Sigh. And those dimples.

I failed.

His arms, Amber. Don't forget his arms. Mm!

My eyes shot open. "No! No, no, no, no, no! I can't even think about Emmett. He's supposed to be with Rosalie."

But remember? She's not here. She chose to leave him. Besides, I don't think the laws of marriage apply to traveling between alternative realities.

"Oh, shut up you! Whit's right. We can't let ourselves get too involved while we're here. This isn't our place," I reprimanded myself.

Since my attempt at relaxation had been disturbed I sighed and got out of the water, dried off, then wrapped up in the thickest, softest robe I could find before going into the bedroom where I painted my finger and toenails. With nothing else to do, I decided to see what my partner in crime was up to.

"Whitney!" I called out in a singsong way before I got to the library doorway. As I glanced around the room, I noticed that it was empty.

Well that's weird, maybe she's downstairs?

"Whitney?" I called while heading downstairs. She wasn't in the living room so I called out again, "Whit! Marco! Seriously woman, where in the hell are you?"

I heard nothing from her in reply. Panic started to set in as I frantically ran through from room to room through the house. She was gone. I couldn't find her anywhere. I ran back to the bedroom and grabbed the cell phone Edward had given me. Before I could open it to dial I noticed a blinking light showing that I had a missed text message.

Hey lady face, I went to PA for a book. Don't worry I'm not alone. Bella's with me. Be back in a bit. -W

She what? We were told to stay put. How can she not understand that! They're not complicated instructions.

The sharp pain in my gut telling me that something was wrong nearly dropped me to my knees. I scrolled through my contacts and called the one person I knew that could help me.

"What's wrong?"

"She's gone. She left. She – she just fucking took off when I was in the tub. I don't know how long ago, but apparently she took Bella to Port Angeles. She should have fucking known better! She knows Bella's a goddamn danger magnet! Something's wrong. Like really wrong. I have a bad feeling. I need you to go get her. Right now. I know we don't get always along and normally I would never ask you to do anything for me, but please, Edward! Find her. Make her safe! I'm begging you!" I cried.

I knew I was working myself into a frenzy and – even though I didn't know the exact reasons why – I knew that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

"I'm on my way," he replied in a reassuring way, but it helped me little.

I hung up and called Whitney's cell phone only to be instantly directed to her voicemail.

"Hey you've reached Whitney Brandon. I'm not available right now so leave a message and I'll call you back."

"Seriously, Whitney! Pick up your damn phone and call me back! Right now!" I all but shouted into the phone before hanging up.

Pacing across the room, I kept checking my phone for any kind of update as minutes turned into an hour which then turned into hours. The gray, gloomy day had faded into a dreary night. I read and reread the Twilight book as I urgently needed the time to pass. When I tired of that, I sat vigilantly at the window waiting for any sign of my friends.

There was nothing for the longest time. Unbeknownst to me, three others joined me in the room. I only became aware of the visitors when a throat cleared behind me. When I turned Esme, Carlisle, and Emmett looked at me their countenances full of apprehension. Immediately I feared the worst. I started hyperventilating and couldn't get a handle on the guilt I felt for being responsible for another member of their family being lost.

Oh no! Please God no!

"Jasper... where's Jasper?" I croaked as I struggled to breathe.

"He's fine, sweetie. Please calm down. He went with Edward to get Whitney. They just called. They got her," Esme crooned as she attempted to reassure me with a hug.

"Oh, thank God! And the nomads? What happened with them? Are they gonna move on now and leave Forks?" I asked in between gasps trying to change the subject with the intention of calming myself a little.

"They never showed up. We waited until well after dusk, but they were no shows. Your little book must not be right about everything," Emmett scoffed.

"I... I don't understand. They should have been there," I mumbled with a shake of my head before grabbing the book and flipping through it to make sure that I had the details of their arrival right.

I was right.

Of course you were. You may not be an expert like Whitney, but you do know this.

I hadn't been wrong, but it didn't make sense. If they hadn't made it to the field then where in the hell were they?

A door slammed downstairs breaking through my thoughts and causing me to sprint towards the front door. Edward walked in covered in blood, his eyes black as coal and not breathing.

I knew it! Something is wrong.

Don't do that.

Do what? Freak out because my best friend is missing and a vampire just walked in the front door covered in blood? You're fucked up if you think I'm gonna stay calm right now!

Have it your way.

I looked behind him looking for any sign of Whit, but no one else came through the door. He was alone.

"Is that blood? Whose is it? Where's Whit?" I stammered frantically searching his face for the answers.

"Amber, I – she's – she's with Jasper," he replied fidgeting while trying to get out of his blood-soaked clothes.

Carlisle took him into the study and I could smell the clothes being burnt. Soon, Edward emerged while I continued to frantically, and repeatedly, call Whitney's phone.

"She won't answer," Edward whispered as he sat down next to me. "She isn't in an area where there is service. Jasper took her out of town, up in the mountains as a safety precaution. They'll be home soon enough."

"Why? What's wrong? What happened? Whose blood was that?" I asked, barraging him with question after question without waiting for any answers.

"James' coven was still in Port Angeles and Whitney and Bella encountered them while they were feeding. Jasper and I handled it," he said with dismay and regret written across his face.

"So then where's Bella?" I cried.

He ate her. Oh no, what have I done? Chief Swan knew she was with Whitney. If his daughter goes missing, he will be all over this place like a fat kid on cake.

"Bella is fine. She's at her house asleep," he explained mildly annoyed.

And why wouldn't he be annoyed? You just accused him of falling off the bandwagon. You're lucky he's still talking to you at all!

My heart was beating dangerously fast and felt like it was close to exploding. I couldn't breathe as his look of annoyance faded to concern before he asked, "Are you okay?"

The blood wasn't Bella's then. So that means it was Whitney's? She gotta be seriously hurt then, which means she's probably at a hospital under a fake name with Jasper as her bodyguard!

But Edward said they would be back so it can't be that bad, right?

My stomach was churning, I felt nauseous, and my chest was hurting as I slowly stood up and made my way to the bathroom. I was certain I was only seconds away from throwing up. I had only taken a few steps before the room began to spin. I reached my hand out to hold onto something to keep myself steady only to feel what felt like ice cold skin under my hand. My vision was blurry, but I was able to slightly make out a hulking figure standing next to me.

Immediately, I knew it was Emmett. I squeezed his hard, unyielding hand as tight as I could needing to assure to myself that I was standing stationary rather than feeling as though I was wobbling wildly around the room. My chest tightened further and I began to feel as if the floor had fallen from beneath me. The last thing I saw clearly before an opaque Cimmerian veil fell over my eyes was Emmett's face.

Ugh my head is killing me.

It's killing you! It's killing me and it's not even my head really.

You know, you're not doing anything to help the pain.

Well, excuse me! I'll just shut up then.

Hallelujah! It's a miracle! Are you sure hell hasn't frozen over?

"You know... arguing with yourself is a sign of insanity right?"

"And 'jumping' into a book about vampires isn't?" I replied without opening my eyes.

"Who says you're actually in a book about vampires? What if you snapped and are in a mental institution having hallucinations?" Edward retorted.

I snorted, but didn't reply. He continued, "Anyway, it's about time you woke up. You scared the crap out of me!"

"I scared you?" I croaked as my voice broke and my eyes snapped open. My throat was dry and it hurt to talk. Edward handed me a glass of water after helping me to sit up.

"Yeah, you scared me. You've been out for a while," he replied with concern.

"Aw, Eddie boy. I'm flattered. You care," I responded mockingly.

"I do not care. I just didn't want to have to explain to people how you died," he cried laughing.

"Yeah, whatever. Admit it. You missed my endless mind chatter!" I chuckled weakly.

"Fine. I did, but only a little. And if anyone asks, I'll deny it. Besides, you have the most random thoughts and they amuse me," he said with a small smile. "I've been sitting here for nearly a day waiting for even the faintest thought to come through, but your head was as empty as Emmett's is."

"You have been here the whole time?" I asked with a grin.

"Of course I have," he answered with a scoff. "But now that you are awake, I can leave."

He got up and headed for the door while I looked around only to find that I was in a room I'd never been in before. The walls were black with white trim around the ceiling and floors and a large bed sat in the middle of the room. The frame was black as was most of the bedding aside from the sheets which were white.

I looked around hoping to get an idea of whose room this was, but there were no indicators, not a single personal belonging in the room. It actually looked like something out of a catalog with everything looking brand new and yet there was a scent lingering that was extremely intoxicating; pepper black, clove, and sandalwood. The owner of scent was undeniable; Emmett. It was his scent filling the air.

"Hey Edward!" I cried suddenly.

"Yeah?" he asked turning to look at me before leaving the room.

Thanks.

"For what?" he asked quirking an eyebrow.

"For everything; answering my phone call, believing me, going to save my family even though you don't like us – and most importantly – for having my back," I explained quickly. I was mortified to be opening up to him in any way and it made me feel weak.

"I'm inclined to view you both as part of our family now. Circumstances have changed. Besides, I'll always have your back," he answered with a smirk.

Wow, that almost made him sound human.

He was turning into someone I could actually see myself enjoying the company of.

"Family? Really?" I asked shocked.

"Yeah, what can I say… you're like the little sister I never wanted and family looks after one another, right?" he said using my own words against me.

He turned and left without another word. I inhaled deeply and the scent of the room made my hair stand on end and sent shivers down my spine. It caused such a rush of feelings that I was immediately dizzy again. I didn't understand why they had put me in Emmett's bedroom as opposed to mine though. A knock on the door brought me out of my own head and before I could answer I heard Emmett's voice through the door.

"Hey, are you decent?"

I couldn't stop my mouth before it began replying sarcastically, "No, I'm naked and playing with myself."

Seriously, Amber! Think before you speak!

He walked in chuckling quietly. "Back to your old self, I see. Esme thought you might be hungry so I brought you something to eat."

I glanced down at the tray he held; a bag of Cheetos, a Twinkie, beef jerky, and a bottle of orange soda.

"Wow, I can feel the nutrients flooding me already," I said with sarcasm before laughing.

"Yeah, well Carlisle said something about fresh fruits and veggies, but I heard from a little birdie that you preferred junk food so junk food it is! I almost forgot," he replied before reaching into his pocket. "Something to read while you recover."

"Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe? What? You couldn't find anything more morbid?" I barked with laughter. He looked a little hurt so I continued, "I'm kidding, Emmett. He's my favorite. Thank you, but really I feel fine. Worried, but fine. Besides, I hate kicking you out of your room."

"It's no problem; you being in here. I never use it anyway," he retorted with a small smile before leaving the room.

Well that is just tragic. I hoped he'd been naked when he was in here.

Oh my God, you did not just say that!

Yes... yes, I did. I mean, come on! We were both thinking it!

Shut up!

I managed to get up and found my bearings before walking across the hall to the room Whit and I shared. I glanced around, but it didn't look as if she had been back. I sat the book from Emmett down on the table beside my bed and left the room, closing the door behind me. I snacked on my jerky while wandering around the house. Sometime later I found my way into the kitchen where it was beginning to seem that Esme spent the most time.

"Amber, are you feeling any better?" Esme asked as she set the table for dinner for one.

I sighed and watched her work before asking, "I assume Whitney isn't home yet?"

"She's fine. Actually, she just called to check on you," she answered with a smile.

"That's all well and good, but why isn't she here?" I asked petulantly after slumping into a chair at the table.

"I think you should talk to Edward about that. He's the one that was there," she replied with a half-hearted smile.

I nodded before mechanically eating the food Esme had prepared then went off to find Edward.

"I'm out here."

Edward's voice drifted from the front of the house where I found him on the porch. I stepped outside without my coat as a no-yet-spring wind whirled around. We were both silent for a few minutes before I couldn't take it anymore and broke it.

"I need to know."

He sighed and looked over at me. It seemed like he was trying to do more than read my thoughts and it irked me.

Just tell me what the hell happened, Edward! My best friend is off somewhere with one of the most formidable vampires to walk this Earth and no one is telling me anything!

He nodded and after a moment began to speak, "We made it to Port Angeles rather quickly and it wasn't hard to track down where they were. We overheard them talking and I listened to James' thoughts. He was a little too intrigued by Whitney, like he wanted to learn more about her. Since it was just James and Victoria there, I fought James while Jasper fought and killed Victoria. When James got away I grabbed Bella and went over to where Whitney had moved out of the way to.

"After Victoria was taken care of, Jasper took Whitney and headed north while I took Bella home. I figured Charlie wouldn't like it if Bella got home late rather than not at all which would have raised some enough suspicions to make life here uncomfortable for us. We figured Jazz and Whitney would stay away until we knew if there were going to be problems."

"So you're expecting backlash? For Jasper killing Victoria?" I asked trying to make sense of it all. I felt like I was missing something, like he wasn't giving me the whole story.

"Maybe, but like you said, we need to keep the vampire numbers down in our area. It's safer for everyone involved," he explained.

"Do you think someone should go talk to the tribe?" I asked.

Maybe if they were put on alert they could get rid of James quicker and Whit will be able to come home.

Edward shook his head in response to both my verbal question and my mental query. "Well they don't exactly know about you two, do they? Do you really want us to stroll up to them and explain what's going on?" he asked sarcastically.

"I see your point," I admitted grudgingly.

"So you think you can go back to school tomorrow?" he asked changing the subject.

"Yeah. What story did you give Bella?" I asked. I knew that I needed to stick with the story.

"She may try to question it, but as far as she knows she got hurt before blacking out. Whit gave her a ride home. As for the rest of the public, Whitney's back east with Carlisle going over some financial paperwork for your 'family'. Carlisle really did leave town so that wouldn't be hard to prove. He went to check on Whitney and Jasper and will be back in a few days," he explained.

"Well then I guess that's my story and I'm sticking to it. So what about my absence today?" I asked.

"I told people that you were on your period and cramping really bad," he answered with a laugh.

"Oh, gee thanks Edward. Now everyone is gonna think I'm not only a bitch, but also a weenie. What kind of woman can't handle their menstrual cycle? If it sucked that bad, I'd just get some pills from Carlisle," I laughed.

The next day was business as usual. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and go to school. I was less than worried about my clothes and my hair so I ended up wearing jeans and a hoodie with my hair in a messy bun. I couldn't stomach riding in mine and Whit's car alone so I rode with Edward and Emmett.

"You know you look better like this," Emmett said gesturing towards me as he broke the silence in the Volvo. "It's more natural."

"Oh yeah I'm sure," I replied sarcastically while rolling my eyes and laughing. I didn't want to take what he was saying seriously so I let the compliment roll off my back. "I'm a hot mess!"

The day was full of rumors of Jasper and Whitney's absence. It became an everyday occurrence as week after week passed. Before I knew it April had arrived and, with it came the announcement that Whitney would be coming home. When I was told I honestly thought it was Emmett's idea of a joke and it wasn't a good one. I was hurt and felt like I hadn't seen her in ages.

The day she was supposed to arrive I waited nervously in the living room. I knew we had to be smart and safe to keep the problematic nomads away from the family and I understood why I couldn't see Whitney, but knowing all that didn't make it any easier. Despite my desperation, I had almost become accustom to the five minute-once-a-week phone calls that I received to let me know she was, at least, alive.

I had been pacing in front of the downstairs window facing the driveway when a black car I'd never seen pulled up in front of the house. Once it was parked, Jasper jumped out of the driver's seat and I watched him walk around and open the passenger door. A hooded figure stepped from the car with more grace than I'm sure even Alice could muster and I caught a small glimpse of brown hair blowing in the wind.

It's Whitney!

I ran towards the door frantically with tears practically welling up in my eyes.

"Whitney!" I cried as I went flying out of the doorway and down the porch like a bat out of hell.

Jasper jumped into a defensive crouch and placed himself directly between Whitney and myself.

"Jasper! Seriously? You know I'm not a threat to her. I know you've been in babysitter mode for a while, but come on!" I shouted as I tried to move around him. He kept himself strategically positioned between us, however. Finally, I gave up and crossed my arms over my chest.

"What gives?"

"Amber," said a silky voice from beneath the hood. It sounded like Whitney, but her voice was softer – like the tinkling of wind chimes – than I remembered it being. "If I'm not mistaken, he isn't protecting me from you."

Creamy alabaster hands reached up and lifted the hood of the cloak. She lifted her head and looked directly at me. Her eyes were frighteningly crimson and left me completely stupefied. I watched as her lips moved, but the voice coming from them wasn't the voice I remembered Whitney having.

"He's protecting you from me."


Thank you so much for reading and please review!

H+K,

Cullenbabe & McGeek