Chapter 6: Then others, for the breath of words respect
Half an hour later found us all in the living room, in deep discussion. Jasper was pacing in front of the window, occasionally touching Alice's back, perched as she was on the back of Carlisle's favorite wing chair. Emmett had cajoled Rosalie out of the garage and into his lap, and they took up most of the sofa. Carlisle had exited Edward's room in a defeated manner and had not found the calmness to sit down beside them, opting for leaning against the mantel of the fireplace. Nothing he had tried had roused Edward. In fact, nothing had affected him in any way. "He looks just as his father had", Carlisle had whispered into my shoulder.
I hated to see his haunted look and the way his eyes flickered to the ceiling now. My heart followed his gaze that seemed to gaze through the wall into our son's room. Edward had been so happy since finding Bella that it seemed even worse to now see him lying lifeless on what we all fondly called "Bella's bed", his skin so pale against the bronze comforter, his hands still and eyes closed. But I also had complete confidence in my husband's skills. Whatever held our son in unnatural sleep, Carlisle would be able to fix it. He always did.
"I didn't even know we could faint", Emmett said with an intrigued look on his face. Two voices answered simultaneously "We can". Carlisle and Jasper looked at each other, and Calisle waved his hand, inviting Jasper to continue. "This is basically what happens to a vampire if you have ripped them into enough pieces but haven't burnt them yet. Not dead, still able to regenerate, but not conscious either." A cold shudder ran through me and I could see Carlisle wince at Jaspers' graphic way to put things. I hated the knowledge that this would not be something that Jasper had been told, but that our gentle southern boy had had firsthand experiences of that kind.
"Just as we can be killed if our bodies and minds are put under enough stress our nervous system can give in, overwhelmed by all the signals it gets", Carlisle supplied. "So wherever they are, we have to free these poor souls in order for Edward to be able to come to again." I had to smile at that. "Carlisle, we would go looking for them anyway. From what I gather from the few words Emmett got out of Edward, no one should treat another living being like that, even if these were government prisoners. We'd never sit idle and let that continue." "Hell no!", Emmett chimed in. "Let's get moving!". "Emmett, we can't. We don't know enough. We need him awake for more information Come to think of it, how did you get him to regain consciousness long enough to tell you that much?" I hated to hear the hint of frustration in my husband's voice.
"That would be my doing". The voice from the door startled me and I whipped my head around. If I hadn't known any better, I'd have thought the vampire in the doorway was Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire. But of course, this had to be Carlisle's old friend, Marylin. "Doubtlessly, Carlisle has filled you in on what he likes to call my gift, so thereby you may draw your own conclusions on the nature of special inclination your young human friend seems to have."
Confused we all looked at Carlisle. Bella had a gift? He just shook his head. "Let me introduce to you all Marylin Bayer, former colleague of me and Edward when researching immunology in Brussels, brilliant doctor, missanguinothrope and gifted friend. No, in fact I have not yet. It didn't seem important except as a means for you to reach them in a timely manner." The grey-haired vampire raised her eyebrows at that. "Well, I have no talent of my own, merely the ability to enhance whatever gifts others have, be they fully developed in a vampire or an ingrained aptitude in a human. Catalyzers we are called, and while I reject being seen as a car part you do get the general idea from the term. My sister can teleport things or people within limits. Me she can teleport to wherever the hell she pleases." She shot Carlisle a wry smile. I raised my eyebrows at that. Past experiences?
"Hold on, lady, Bella has a gift?", Emmett mirrored my earlier thought. "Well, she appears to be able to block whatever thoughts are assaulting the young one. With my help she was able to shield him sufficiently for him to wake. I was rather adamant on her coming with us for precisely that reason, but the school administrators were set against it, so what's an old lady to do?"
"You said his throwing up blood was your fault". Rosalies voice cut icily across the room. "So I said and so it was", Marylin replied unfazed, "I touched him, thereby amplifying his ability to hear thoughts. I presume this sent him over the edge. While touch is not strictly necessary for me I cannot help what I do if in physical contact. And, you see, the catalyzer does not provide the necessary strength. The strain in addition to the increase in reception, so to speak, in all likelihood proved too much stimulation for his system. "
"Begging you pardon, but who cares about the details. Jazz, come on, let's scout the area. Somewhere up close some assholes will learn a lesson tonight and the whole thing's behind us." "Emmett!", I scolded his language out of habit. Deep down I knew that his brusque manner hid his own uncertainties. Vulnerability was a new concept for Emmett the vampire, and he didn't like it one bit. He was looking at Jasper expectantly, and I followed his gaze. Only then did I realize that Jasper had not contributed to the discussion at all. While usually quiet and preferring the background, he had always sprung into action when it came to organizing against troubles.
"Jazz?", Alice asked.
"I just don't buy it."
"What do you mean, you don't buy it? What and Why?", Emmett put into words the confused stares we others were shooting at Jasper.
"March 7th 1952.", Jasper answered, a wistful smile on his lips. I flipped through my memories like a photo album. The boys fighting on the porch of the Victorian mansion we lived in then, an argument between Edward and Jaspers that had gotten out of hand but then been defused by Emmett's suggestion to simply put to the test the object of their dispute. We never quite got the details of what had happened that day in the forest, something parents know they are better off with at times anyway, but Jasper had won the bet, with more than rewarding results for us all I'd say. Humor tugged at the corner of my mouth at the memory. Edward modeling for a painted ad for boxer shorts, which had just come into fashion at that time, had provided the family with hilarity for years to come. As far as I know, the actual poster had grazed the wall facing Jasper and Alice's bed in every house we had lived in since. Sure enough, Alice could be heard softly singing the old radio jingle under her breath "Anti-squirm shorts with the seamless seat".
Jasper shot her a wry smile. "Yes, well, the point is, Edward's range might be more extensive than mine in general, but intense emotion far outdistances intense thought."
"Meaning that my gift is substantial. Granted, so is my control over it and my pain threshold. But there is no way, if a group of humans were being tortured somewhere close by, that Edward is rendered unconscious and I am left standing, without even feeling the current of pain in the air. Now y'all can argue that which way you want, that dog won't hunt, so I'll go and pick up Bella."
And with that he grabbed a set of keys from one of the drawers and was gone. Seconds later I could hear the rumbling engine of his 1964 Ford Galaxy start up. I glanced at the clock and noted that he still had more than an hour until the end of the last period. And he had taken his own car rather than the Volvo the townspeople were used to seeing. Apparently somebody had some thinking to do.
I wish he would share his worries with us. I wish he would not forever deal with everything on his own. But it was an idle wish. We knew him to well by now to think that with time he would trust us. He did trust us. This was just his way of handling things. Alice smiled at me reassuringly. "He'll bring Bella and then stay with us. Don't worry. I have my ways of weaseling things out of him. But about what he said…" At this, a discussion ensued, with theories flying wildly from the precise difference between thoughts and emotions to specific blockings of powers and the roles everyone from the Quileutes to the Volturi might be playing in all that.
I did not join in. From where I was standing, there were three possibilities. Either this involved a group of humans being tortured so cruelly that the intensity of their thoughts was more than Edward could handle but somehow somebody was blocking Jasper's reception. Or somebody or something had come to Forks to specifically target Edward and overpower him. Or there was something out there that could affect vampires physically that neither Jasper nor Carlisle, despite their long existence and stores of knowledge had ever encountered. Then Edward was sick and hallucinating and already in a come.
Whichever of these possibilities was the reality we were facing, it was bad, and there was little to be gained from me weighing the options against each other. So my mind flew out to Jasper, who was in all likelihood doing just that, debating with himself, trying to find flaws in each theory and planning on how to tackle each possibility in turn. I hoped that the girl he was bringing home would once again be the key to breathing new life into Edward, and that then we would find out more. Soon we would know.
End Note: Simple and straight forward: Writers that post online live and breathe for reviews. If you've read that far, please take the minute to tell me how you like this story. I love detailed analyses of what you think works well and what doesn't and what should happen next, but I more than appreciate a simple "Read it, was okay" (or "Read it, sucks" for that matter) as well. Thank you to all of you who take the time to do so!
PS.: The link to the advertisement that inspired the stakes to Edward and Jasper's bet can be found on my profile. All rights are held by Hanes Givvies of course. *g*