Chapter 6: Cullen Airlines
Warning: Under-18s not allowed. This is an M-rated fanfic with violence, lemons, and language.
Special thanks to my awesome BBBF, givemesomevamp.
Since JaspersDestiny is betareading this tweaked version of UYS, she deserves millions of sloppy kisses. Thank you so much, Teenerpeener.
God, I look like shit.
I had avoided the mirrors when I was dressing in the truck stop, so this was the first time I had really examined my body. Once I recovered from the shock of the most surreal phone conversation I had ever experienced, I followed Puddin' Man's advice: I went into the store, bought the cheapest bottle of whiskey they sold, and rented room 16 at the Queets Trail Inn.
Figuring I was the only person that would be drinking the whiskey, I opened the bottle and took a swig. Being the daughter of a cop, I had never tried alcohol before, and I wasn't prepared for the taste or the burn going down the back of my throat. I coughed and spluttered until I could hardly breathe, then started the process over again. After three more long pulls, I could feel the aches and pains that were wracking through my body lessen, and my mind clouded slightly.
Since I didn't want to be a stumbling drunk—just what a habitual klutz needs—I screwed the lid back on the bottle and sat on the bed. I wasn't sure if I sat there for days, hours, or minutes, completely lost in my thoughts. I was thankful for the fuzziness in my mind from drinking the whiskey because it made the memories seem more like a dream. My mind seemed to fast forward through the extremely atrocious parts, protecting me from the horrifying turn my life had made.
I couldn't help but focus on Alice's reappearance, since this seemed like the least burdensome development to my fragile state. To say I was shocked that she'd come back for me was an understatement. She'd left me just like the rest of the Cullens had, only to come back to help me when I needed it the most. Maybe she really did love me? But if she loved me, why didn't she say goodbye when they left? I had spent the last six months healing over their abandonment, and if it weren't for Jacob putting me back together, I would have been dead long before now.
Jacob. Charlie. Blood. No, Bella! Stop thinking about it!
As the horrific thoughts threatened to consume me once more, my body stiffened, causing pain to shoot through my ribs and into my chest. Even though the pain was unwelcome, it managed to snuff my train of thought.
I slowly stood and shuffled over to the mirror, carefully peeling the long-sleeved shirt from my body. My eyes were puffy and bloodshot, with huge bags underneath them from lack of sleep. Bruises littered my arms and chest, the worst being a large, black, half-circle bruise on my upper torso from my contact with the steering wheel. My throat and lungs still ached from my near drowning, the pain slowly returning as the alcohol left my system.
As I continued assessing my injuries, there was a knock at the door. A burst of panic raced through my body, but it quickly subsided as I realized that Victoria wouldn't be polite enough to knock on the door before ripping my throat out. As quickly as I could, I re-dressed, took a deep breath, and staggered toward the door. About halfway there, the tip of my shoe caught on the carpet, causing me to stumble toward the floor. As I threw my hands out to brace myself for impact, a loud crash registered in my brain and I closed my eyes tightly, waiting for death. Suddenly two large, cold hands wrapped around my middle, stopping me before I could collide with the floor. I opened my eyes to the sight of two black, shiny loafers with blue trim and what looked like pewter horse toggles across the tops. The words of the Puddin' Man crossed my mind.
"Wow, those really are ugly-ass loafers." I giggled.
Mystery hands pulled me upright and steadied me, pulling my body toward the bed as I was flooded with peace and calm.
Jasper? What the hell is he doing here? What about Alice's vision? Where is Alice? Why can't the Cullens just leave me alone?
I slowly sat down on the bed and attempted to hide the pain and soreness in my body as Jasper crouched in front of me, his eyes filled with concern as they scanned my body.
I'm no good for you, for any of you. I am the bringer of death, blood, and destruction; the destroyer of worlds, my world. I don't want to destroy your world, too. Please, go away. Go away before Victoria finds you. I've already killed Charlie and Jacob.
Suddenly his eyes widened slightly. He slowly stood and backed away from me until his back was flush with the wall.
"Oh, sweetheart, what did we do to you?" he whispered, his gaze never leaving mine.
I heard the door click shut and the mattress shift beneath me as another person I hadn't noticed sat down. Someone's cold hand snaked out, grabbed mine, and sandwiched it between their own. I turned my head to see who the mystery vampire was.
No, I can't believe Esme is here. If she didn't want me, why is she here? She was like a mother to me, and she left.
Please, just go away. I don't want to hurt you, any of you.
"What are you doing here? You need to leave. Please, just leave me alone," I said, fighting back tears.
Esme looked at me, her eyes filled with sadness, and replied, "Bella, honey, please don't cry. We aren't going anywhere until we go home, and you will be coming with us when we do."
No, I can't go with them. Victoria will hurt them. I will hurt them. I'm just a human. I can't risk their lives to save my own. Didn't Edward tell them? Don't they know? I'm no good for them. Alice had understood because she left again.
"N—no, you have to leave. I won't go. Alice left. Please, just go. I'm no good for you."
"Isabella Marie Swan, you stop that nonsense right now! I know you're upset with us for leaving, but not a minute has gone by that we did not regret that decision. You are in danger, you have lost so much, and you need your family. Don't you dare argue with me! You are coming home. We haven't been the same without you. We need you just as much as you need us. Please…my daughter, come home with us."
I was shocked. Edward had told me he didn't want me. I'd felt like they didn't want me when they left me. But Esme just called me her daughter…
The sound of Jasper's phone buzzing through the silent room pulled me from my musings. He pulled it out of his pocket and glanced at it briefly as the corner of his mouth pulled up in a half-smile. He tossed the phone to Esme and said, "Bella, that text is from Emmett. Why don't you read it?"
"Have you found her yet? Hurry up and bring my baby sister home!"
Emmett still wanted me! I couldn't believe it. I've really missed him…but no, I can't put him or any of the Cullens in danger. It doesn't matter.
As Jasper started talking, my head snapped up to meet his gaze. "Bella, I know this probably isn't the right time, sweetheart, but I need to apologize for attacking you on your birthday. If you are afraid to come home because of me..."
Anger was coursing through my body. How could he think I was afraid of him? It wasn't his fault, it was mine! He was just following his instincts. I'm the one that cut my stupid finger.
"I'm not afraid of you, Jasper Hale! What happened at my birthday was entirely my fault, not yours. If anyone needs to apologize, it is me. If you must know, I am terrified that Victoria will find us and then one of you will get hurt trying to protect my stupid human ass."
He crossed the room at vampire speed and kneeled in front of me once again.
It's kinda weird that it doesn't seem to bother him to be this close to me; it always did before.
"You don't need to worry about us. We can take care of ourselves. We are worried about you. I know we abandoned you, and I will regret that for the rest of my existence, but we really do want you to come home with us. We can help you through this entire mess."
Sincerity was clear in his eyes as he spoke. He truly believed this was the Cullens' fault.
Alice came back for me. Esme came back for me. Emmett wants me. But Edward doesn't want me. I can't put them in danger.
I'm not worth it. I'm no good for you.
I opened my mouth to correct him, but he held his hand up to let me know he wasn't finished.
"Bella, I know I've said this to you before, but I can feel what you are feeling, and you are worth it."
I remember now. It was Jasper. It seemed like a lifetime ago, but I remembered him saying that when we were running from James. He still believed it; he still believed that I was worth it.
I began sobbing, and tears began to trickle down my cheeks as Esme pulled me into a motherly hug. She was whispering in my ear, but the words weren't sinking in. I felt Jasper place his hand on my knee in a comforting gesture as love and concern flooded my body. Slowly, I realized these weren't the manufactured emotions I was used to receiving from Jasper; they were his and Esme's feelings. I couldn't believe the strength of the love as it enveloped me in a comforting cocoon. I looked up and gave Jasper a small smile full of the gratitude I was feeling at this moment.
I can't believe they want me. Edward said I was a distraction, but you don't love distractions this deeply.
Earth to Bella, I believe you call this a motherfucking epiphany. Edward Cullen is full of shit.
It doesn't matter. I'm still no good for them.
Jasper's voice pulled me from my confused thoughts.
"Bella, sweetheart, I know you're concerned about our safety, but you shouldn't be. Let me just say that I have no doubt that we can handle Victoria. I know how to fight, and I promise to keep you safe."
That's exactly what Jacob had told me, and now he's dead, his poor body mangled, covered in blood and bite marks.
Before I could disagree with him, his phone rang again. Esme glanced at the caller ID and passed it to Jasper.
"Emmett, can't you give us a few minutes? I know you're an impatient jackass, but—"
Jasper's eyes widened as he was cut off. Esme jumped up and sped over to the television, flipping through the channels in a determined manner.
What the hell is going on?
….Once again we are looking at a bird's eye view of the sleepy town of Forks, Washington…Charles Swan…brutally murdered…ritual killing…fire...body…Isabella Swan…still missing and currently presumed dead.
The words trailed off and lost their meaning as torrents of memories I wished I could forget plagued my consciousness. I barely registered Esme's arms holding me fiercely against her as horrifying images flashed through my mind. Jasper's calm and love flooded through me once more, pulling me out of my downward spiral.
"Em, what the hell is going on?" Jasper yelled, causing my and Esme's heads to snap up simultaneously. Jasper's brows were furrowed in concentration, and Esme's face was full of panic. What the hell was going on?
"Hand the phone to her, Em."
"Ali, you need to calm down and tell us what you saw."
Esme stiffened and gasped then asked, "Alice, is there anything we can do?"
Slowly catching on, I knew that Alice had had a vision and, whatever it was, it wasn't pretty.
"What if I go, Alice?" Jasper said.
"If you're going, I'm going too. You said we had to stick together, remember?" Esme interjected, her body shaking from the terrors of whatever Alice had seen.
"No, Esme, too dangerous, and don't argue with me. This is different, and Carlisle would tell you the same thing," Jasper said, pushing determination at us to prove his point.
I was getting fed up with this bullshit. They had just finished telling me that they loved me and that I was a member of their family, but I wasn't allowed to be involved in the important vampire conversation.
Stupid-ass vampires and their stupid-ass attitudes. Enough of this shit!
"Would someone explain to the poor little human what the hell is going on? And can't you put the damn phone on speaker or something?" I looked back and forth between Esme and Jasper, waiting for one of them to fill me in.
I think I saw a flicker of surprise flash across Jasper's face, and then he hit the speaker button on the telephone.
Thank you, Jasper.
"Sweetheart, do you know about the Volturi?" he asked me.
Oh no, the news! Edward must have heard that I was dead. Feeling guilty, he's going to the Volturi. But he can't go to the Volturi! Poor Esme… She doesn't deserve to lose her son!
"Oh, crap! Crap! Crap! Crap! Edward is heading to the Volturi to pull a Romeo, isn't he? We have to stop him! What are we waiting for?"
"Oh, no, Bella, you and Esme are heading home. I will try to head Edward off," Jasper said, pissing me off.
"Wait, Jazz!" Alice interjected. "Before Bella decided to go, every vision ended with Edward and whoever went after him dying. For some reason, I can't see Bella, so I can't see what will happen, but I definitely see snippets of you, Esme, and Edward at home afterwards. I don't know about Bella, though… I don't know how to search for fuzzy blank spots."
"Let's go then!" I said as Esme and I both stood up.
"No, no way! I am not gonna be responsible for getting you killed. I am not taking you with me. That goes for you too, Esme."
Oh, hell no! I am sick and fucking tired of stupid vampires making decisions for me. Jacob might have been a werewolf, but he allowed me to make my own damn mistakes. I promised him I would live, and part of living is taking risks. I cannot allow Edward to die because of me. If they really want me as a part of their family, they better realize that it is as an equal, not as a pitiful human! Doesn't he understand? I have lost my father and best friend. I can't even risk contacting my mom for fear of leading psychotic vampires to her front doorstep. If I lose Edward, there will be no putting me back together again. I'll have caused too many deaths of loved ones. I would rather die than watch the Cullen family be torn apart. I know what the pain feels like, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
Well, I wasn't planning on endangering their lives by going home with them, but it's my only bargaining tool at the moment.
"Look," I said as I walked toward Jasper, stopping right in front of him, "you said you wanted me as a part of the family. You said you could protect me from Victoria. If you want me to go home with you, then you are taking me with you. I have lost my best friend and my father today. I will not survive losing Edward. I'll take my chances with the Volturi. Now, are you taking me with me, or are you going to get the fuck out of my motel room?"
"Jazzy, you have to believe me. This is the only way. I'm not lying to you. You three have to go or our family will fall apart. I would never intentionally hurt Bella, you know I love her. Please!" Alice was sobbing.
Wait, lying? What the heck has been going on with the Cullens?
Jasper began furiously pacing from one end of the room to the other, and Esme and I stood frozen in place. His brow was furrowed and I could see the gears turning in his mind. His phone buzzed once again, indicating a message. He looked at it, sighed, and then turned to face us.
"Get in the damn car before I change my mind."
At vampire speed, Esme grabbed my small bag, scooped me up, and ran me out to Rosalie's red BMW.
She climbed in the back seat with me, holding my hand.
"Bella, I can feel that you're in pain, but I'm unable to pinpoint it. Tell me exactly what your injuries are so I can know if we need to find you a doctor. Esme, call Rosalie now. Carlisle won't be answering his phone, so Rose's medical expertise will have to do," Jasper barked at us, clearly attempting to gain some semblance of control over the whole screwed up situation.
Esme dialed the phone as I rattled through my injuries. "Well, mostly I'm just bruised, which isn't anything new, but the one on my chest from the steering wheel hurts the worst. My throat and chest hurt from all the saltwater, and I have a headache."
Esme turned the speakerphone on so I could hear Rosalie as she assessed my injuries. She asked me a few questions and then said that nothing sounded too serious and that I should be fine. I smirked slightly when I realized that that was the longest conversation I had ever had with her just as my stomach growled.
"Bella, dear, when was the last time you had anything to eat?" Esme asked.
"Umm, I don't remember," I said sheepishly.
"We'll stop and get you something in Lynden. Rose would tear me to pieces if I let you eat in her car. Can you wait a couple of hours? I don't want to stop this close to Forks," Jasper said, looking at me in the rearview mirror.
"No, that's fine. I'm not really hungry."
"Well, you need to eat. It's a long flight, and I don't want you getting sick from not eating. Esme, when we get to Lynden, one of us is going to have to run Bella across the border. I don't want to take a chance of anyone recognizing her. We have to be careful, knowing that Victoria is out there somewhere."
"Why run me across the border when they could recognize me at the airport?" I asked.
"We own a private airstrip on the other side of the Canadian border. We pay the employees well and they don't ask questions. We'll worry about Customs in Italy when we get there," he said.
"I can run her across the border, Jasper. Would you like us to meet you at the airfield?" Esme asked.
"No, if you can wait about a mile up from the border, I'll pull over and pick you up. Depending on how long it takes to pass the border guards, we should only be separated for a few minutes."
Esme picked up her phone and made the necessary arrangements to get their jet prepared for takeoff. Apparently we were making a fuel stop in Dallas and another in Paris. I listened to Esme's conversation on and off to keep my mind free from wandering.
Once Esme completed her phone call, the car was bathed in silence. There were so many questions I wanted to ask, but it was obvious that Esme was quite worried and Jasper looked pissed, so I decided to save my questions for later.
Eventually we arrived in Lynden, and Jasper stopped at a McDonald's so I could grab something to eat. I sat down as Esme ordered for me, and I gobbled down the food as quickly as I could, not really paying attention to what I was eating.
Once I was finished, we returned to the BMW and Jasper drove us to the edge of town. He pulled over and we exited the car. Jasper once again told Esme where to meet him, and we took off flying through the trees, Esme carrying me as gingerly as possible in her stone embrace. It was a cold, overcast morning, but thankfully there was no rain. Esme stopped and helped me to my feet at the edge of the forest, where the road was clearly visible.
"Esme, Jasper doesn't seem to be having any problems controlling his bloodlust now, and just six months ago he attacked me. I really don't blame him for that, but I was wondering what changed?" I asked her, taking advantage of the fact that Jasper wasn't around to hear this conversation.
"I really think you should ask Jasper that question. I don't know if he'll tell you or not, but that is his secret to tell," she said, her eyes full of motherly love.
"He truly has been upset over attacking you, and I hope you can help alleviate some of his guilt. He's had a difficult life, and he deserves to be as happy as he can possibly be. I have a feeling the two of you will be getting along famously soon."
Before I had time to contemplate Esme's words, I saw the BMW pulling over. Jasper exited the vehicle at a slightly quicker than human pace, and his eyes scanned the forest frantically. Esme and I walked from the tree line, and the moment he spotted us I could see the muscles in his shoulders relax as he gave me a relieved smile.
Before I knew it, we had pulled up to a small guard shack and Esme rolled down her window and greeted the guard. We pulled through and Jasper parked the car in an outbuilding next to a huge hangar. No matter how many times had I witnessed the Cullens' affluence, it still shocked me. The attendants taxied a huge plane out onto the runway and prepared it for boarding. When everything was ready, Jasper placed a hand on the small of my back and guided me up the steps.
Once inside, I took a seat in a large, comfortable chair as Jasper took the one directly across from me.
Jasper smirked. "You're flying Cullen Airlines today, sweetheart. Esme is your pilot."
"Huh, I never pictured Esme as a pilot."
His smirk turned into a full smile. "Esme, Rosalie, and I all have our certifications. You never know when you're going to have to fly across the world to save your dumbass brother. It's good to be prepared."
I returned his smile, but it was interrupted by a huge yawn.
"You should get some rest, Bella. It's going to be a long flight."
My eyes widened as panic consumed me. I couldn't close my eyes.
Jasper shot a wave of calm at me. "Bella, what's wrong?"
I couldn't answer coherently. My body refused to be calmed and panic engulfed me.
"Nightmare…blood…Dad…No!" My breath came out in gasps and tears flooded my eyes.
Jasper scooped me up and sat me in his lap. He placed his large, cool hands on either side of my face, the torrents of calm increasing with his touch. He guided my head upward so I was looking into his eyes, and I noticed they were clouded with unshed tears of venom.
I took deep breaths and forced myself to calm down, realizing that Jasper would be feeling all the pain and panic that I was. I focused on his eyes, which had darkened since I'd become upset, and slowly my breathing evened out and my body relaxed in his arms. I attempted to give him a small smile, but I was positive it looked more like a grimace.
"Sweetheart, let me help you sleep just until we get to Dallas. I give you my word that I'll keep the nightmares away. We can't have you going to Volterra looking like a zombie. What would Edward think?"
"No, I don't want to sleep right now, but thank you for the offer," I said curtly, pulling myself out of his embrace and settling back in my chair. I crossed my arms and snapped, "And why the hell would Edward care what I look like? Didn't you get the memo? I'm just a distraction to him. I was never good enough for him, or for any of you, for that matter. I'm surprised he feels guilty enough to fucking go to the Volturi in the first place!"
Jasper leaned forward, his eyes narrowed, and he growled, "I think it's time we have a little chat about Edward."