A/N - IMPORTANT! - This chapter is un-betated because I took forever getting this chapter done (Blame it on my new job, I barely have time for anything else. =/) And she is now busy with other things. I would like a new beta to review my last few chapters and possible sequel. If you are interested, please PM me. FYI, I prefer contact through email for beta work, if that's okay.
In other news, there is a scene in this chapter that is extremely similar to one from Twilight. I just loved it so much that I had to include it. =)
As always, I have links! This time they are for pictures of Bella's dress and hair for the pictures, and both Edward's and Bella's piano pieces.
The next morning, I decided to fix my hair for our photographs before school. I honestly did not know why we were bothering. Nio's memory was good enough that he could paint our portrait using only images from his memory, but I was humoring him anyway. Though my hair was already naturally wavy, I fashioned it into larger, more defined curls. I then gathered my hair over my left shoulder and tied it loosely with an elastic hair tie, which I would later replace with hair pins made to blend in with my hair.
This done, I headed to school. Nio had already gone ahead on his motorcycle. When I got to the school, I turned my truck off and reached into the back seat to grab my backpack. As I turned back around, I heard my door open. I looked over to see Edward holding my door open and waiting for me.
"Good morning." He said. "How did you sleep last night?"
"Good morning to you too," I replied. I smiled, stepping down out of the truck and pulling my backpack onto my right shoulder, so as not to ruin my hair. Edward closed my door and I locked the truck. I started to step past Edward, but he caught me around the waist and pulled me back until I was in front of him again.
"You did not answer my question." He said, raising an eyebrow and staring me in the eye. This made it slightly, no, exponentially more difficult for me to focus, but by some miracle I still managed to answer.
"That would be because I did not sleep last night." I replied. "I was a bit busy." Edward frowned disapprovingly and I rolled my eyes.
"What kept you busy?" He asked, still frowning.
"My piano," I answered cryptically. Sensing that was all he was getting out of me, he let it go. We turned to walk toward the school, and Edward took my hand in his, lacing our fingers together. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"Not that I'm complaining," I said, "but aren't you worried about starting rumors about the famously anti-social Cullens?" I smirked teasingly, and he rolled his eyes.
"You know, you and Tony aren't exactly social butterflies here either." He commented. I laughed.
"True," I replied, smirking. People were already staring at us, and we were only halfway to the building.
"Well," I continued. "We might as well do our social duty as rumor-mongers." I rolled my eyes and Edward chuckled, and we walked into another boring day of acting like humans.
The day passed relatively calmly until Nio and I arrived at the cafeteria during lunch. We saw Angela waiting for us at our usual lunch table, and we walked over, confused. She was extremely distressed, and I looked over at Edward, who was already there with his family, for any clue as to why she was so disturbed. He looked angry, and I frowned, worried about Angela. As I turned my head back toward her, I heard Edward speak.
"It's James." He said, just loud enough for Nio and me to hear it across the cafeteria. I hissed under my breath, glad for the chance to compose myself before I got to Angela. Nio and I sat down next to her, and she immediately started shaking, fear joining her distress.
"Angela, what is wrong?" Nio asked gently, concerned. She flinched when he spoke, and I suddenly realized that she was frightened of us. I winced, but quickly composed my features and took Angela's hand gently.
"Angela," I said softly, "You know that Nio and I would never do anything to hurt you." I looked her in the eye, trying to convey my sincerity. She held my gaze for a moment, before collapsing into my arms, clutching me tightly.
"I know." She replied with tears rolling down her cheeks. "I'm just so scared. He said you guys weren't human." She continued to cry silently while I struggled to keep my body relaxed. All of the Cullens had stiffened in their seats. I forced myself to keep my voice calm when I spoke again.
"Who said that we were not human?" I asked, already knowing the answer. She let go of me and reached for her bag, pulling a stray piece of cloth out. As soon as it left the bag, Nio and I stiffened; the cloth smelled strongly of James.
"He didn't tell me his name." Angela answered. "He just came to my house last night and told me to give you this. He said you would know who it was from." She handed it to Nio, who had reached a hand out to take it. He stood and excused himself, leaving to put the cloth in my truck. On his way out, Jasper let him know that he had informed Lina, and she would tell Haela. Nio thanked him, continuing out the door. I continued my conversation with Angela
"Ang," I began cautiously. "I don't want to frighten you, but the man who gave you that cloth is dangerous. Do not go anywhere by yourself for a while, okay?" I smiled reassuringly, and she nodded. She stood and joined the throng of students now making their way back to class.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the Cullens rising from their seats. Edward made his way over to me, and the others moved slowly toward the exit.
"Alice?" I said quietly, knowing she could hear me. She nodded sharply, indicating that she was listening, and I continued.
"I am going to be about an hour later than I anticipated." I said, referring to the date she and I had made to alter my dress after school. She nodded again, wrinkling her nose, and I had to smile. Alice really hated not getting her way. Edward and I made our way to Biology in silence, mostly because I was talking to Nio.
"How did James even know that we knew Angela?" Nio wondered.
"I wish I knew." I replied. "We'll have to have someone watch her until we catch James."
"Well, we better make sure we can trust whoever ends up with the job, because James will kill Angela without blinking." Nio commented.
"I know," I said, worried, "I'm going to ask Sam to watch out for her while we are gone next week."
"I thought the pack was coming to the celebration." Nio said, confused.
"Only a few of them," I answered. "Jake, Embry, Quil, and Seth are coming, but Sam, Paul, Jared, and Leah are staying here."
We continued to discuss how best to look out for Angela, and how James could have found out that she was our friend, until Biology class was over. As I rose from my seat, I noticed that Edward's jaw was rigid. He was struggling to control his emotions, but I could feel the anger and concern rolling off of him.
"Nio, we will have to talk later." I said, eyeing Edward. "Edward is growing more agitated by the second; I need to talk to him."
"Of course," Nio agreed.
I turned to Edward noting the tension in his stride. As we walked out of the Biology classroom, I took his hand, and he looked over at me. I smiled apologetically at him; I knew that my prolonged silence had caused him to worry. His overprotective nature would allow nothing less.
"Everything is fine, Edward." I reassured him. "Nio and I are mostly angry at James for scaring Angela. We were just discussing how we should go about protecting her while we are gone and wondering how James knew she was our friend in the first place."
He was still tense, so I squeezed his hand, laying my head against his shoulder as we walked toward the Spanish classroom. After a few moments, he sighed, relaxing, and leaned over to kiss the top of my head. Once we arrived in the Spanish classroom, we greeted Emmett and took our seats. I finished my work early as usual, and walked out to my truck. I tossed my backpack on the back seat, pulled out my phone, and dialed a number.
"Hello?" A gruff voice answered. I smiled.
"Hello Billy," I replied in Quileute. "It's Bella. How are you?"
"I'm fine," He replied, also switching to his native language. "Need something?"
In my periphery, I saw Edward walking toward me. I was surprised to see Emmett with him. Though he could get done as quickly as Edward if he wanted, he usually procrastinated until the last possible moment.
"I was just wondering where the pack was today." I said, answering Billy. Edward raised an eyebrow at me, probably wondering why I was using the Quileute language.
"Why? What's wrong?" Billy asked quickly. He knew I would not ask for the entire pack unless something had happened.
"Nothing unmanageable," I replied. "I just needed to talk with Sam."
"They're spending the afternoon at Emily's." Billy answered. Emily was Sam's fiancée, who often fed the bottomless appetites of the Quileute shape-shifters.
"Thank you, Billy." I replied. "Would you mind calling them and letting them know I will be there shortly?"
"Will do," He answered, hanging up. Edward immediately spoke up.
"What is going on?" He asked.
"I am going to make a stop in La Push before I go to your house." I answered, switching back to English. "That is why I am going to be late; I am going to ask Sam to keep an eye on Angela while we are gone next week."
"Why are you going to be gone next week?" Emmett asked. I looked at Edward, confused.
"Alice and I have not told anyone about the tickets yet." He said, answering my unspoken question.
"What tickets?" Emmett asked, frustrated. He didn't like being left out of the loop. Edward explained that he and the others would be going with us to different events, while Emmett and Rosalie would get the house to themselves for a few days. Emmett looked excited at this, and I invited him and Rosalie to the party that was to take place in Oneonta a few days after the events.
"Sure," he replied. "Rose will jump at any reason to dress up." He went back inside to wait for her, and I turned to Edward, who was facing away from me. He was extremely agitated again, almost fearful even, but I had no idea why.
"Edward, what is wrong?" I asked, concerned.
"Nothing," He answered noncommittally. I placed my hand on his shoulder, hoping he would turn around. He remained motionless.
"Edward, tell me." I pleaded. He said nothing, still not moving. I dropped my hand, suddenly unbearably sad. I knew it was irrational, we had only known each other a few months, but the fact that he did not want to speak with me was painful. I turned and walked to the back of my truck. Making sure no one was watching, I pulled Nio's motorcycle out of the bed and placed it in the next parking spot over. I walked over to the driver's side and unlocked the door.
Unable to help myself, I stole one last glance at Edward. He had not moved, but was now staring at me. As our eyes met, a pained look crossed his face, and he was suddenly in front of me, pulling me into his arms. Relieved, I wrapped my arms around his waist, resting my head on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Bella." He said softly. I tried to pull away to look at him, but his arms stayed locked around my waist, unwilling to let me go. I leaned my head back slightly so that I could look at him, and rested my arms around his neck.
"I'm just worried about you." I said, running my fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck.
"I know." He replied. "I just did not want you to know how ridiculous I'm being at the moment."
"What do you mean?" I asked curiously. He sighed, holding me tighter.
"I don't like that you have to go to La Push." He answered. "I know you can take care of yourself, and the shape-shifters would never hurt you, but I still do not like it." He sighed.
"Like I said, ridiculous," He continued. I pondered his words, still absentmindedly playing with his hair, when a sudden realization struck me. The Cullens were not allowed to set foot on Quileute territory. I had almost forgotten.
"It's because you can't go there with me, isn't it?" I asked. "It bothers you." His eyes stared into mine as he answered.
"No, it does not bother me." He disagreed. "It scares the hell out of me."
"I am sorry." I said. "But I really do have to go." I paused, sighing. "Now, actually; I really do not want to face your sister if I am any later than I told her I would be."
"I don't blame you." He replied, chuckling softly. There was still an undercurrent of fear behind his words, and I hugged him tightly. I pulled back again, and caught his gaze in mine.
"I love you, you know." I said, smiling softly. It was the first time I had used those words, but they felt right, if extremely inadequate. Edward's eyes softened, and his emotions calmed.
"And I love you." He replied. I tightened my grip on his neck, leaning in to kiss him. We reluctantly pulled apart before either of us could get carried away, and I got into my truck.
As I drove to Charlie's, I winced sympathetically; I knew I would feel the exact same way if I were in Edward's position. I would bring him with me if I could, but the Quileutes were very strict. Nio and I were always allowed on the reservation, but the only vampires allowed there were Mihaela and Catalina, and this was only because they were related to the tribe.
I parked my truck in my normal spot and went into the house. First I went up to my room to get the tickets so I could give them to the Cullens when I arrived at their home. I then went to get my motorcycle, which was in the unfinished basement. I pushed it out the basement door, locking it behind me. Once I got my bike to the street, I swung a leg over and kick-started it. Not wanting to linger and give the neighbors a chance to see that it was me on the motorcycle, I hurried off toward La Push.
Once out of town, I relaxed somewhat. I had been to Emily's house once before and quickly made my way there. When I arrived, I turned my bike off and stepped off. I was immediately smashed into a four-person bear hug. I laughed as Jacob, Seth, Quil, and Embry stepped back to let me breathe.
"How are you guys?" I asked, as usual using their native language.
"Good." Jake answered. Quil and Embry answered likewise, but Seth looked concerned.
"Are you okay?" He asked. "Billy said you wanted to talk to us."
"It's nothing too awful." I answered. "Where is Sam?"
They pointed at the house and led the way inside. As I stepped in the door, I saw Emily and the other four 'shifters sitting at Emily's kitchen table. Sam and Emily stood and greeted me. Emily hugged me gently, but Sam held back. My eyes rolling at his hesitation, I hugged him tightly.
"How are you, Sam?" I asked, still in the Quileute language.
"I'm good." He answered. "What's going on?" As usual, he did not beat around the bush. I sighed.
"A human, Angela Weber, was threatened last night." I said. Sam frowned.
"By what?" He asked simply.
"A vampire," I answered. "One of my race; he is Sarah's twin." My eyes narrowed as my anger at James and Sarah rose again. Sam's jaw locked; he knew that Sarah and James were trouble.
"Why are you telling us?" He asked. I sighed.
"I hate to ask you this, Sam." I said. "But I was hoping you guys could keep an eye on her when Nio and I are gone next week."
"Why can't your people do it?" He asked, not accusing, just curious.
"They could," I answered. "But we think someone who works with us told James that we knew Angela. Until we find out who it was, we cannot trust anyone to stop James if he decides to kill her."
"Do you think that's likely?" He asked.
"Honestly, no." I answered. "I think James will follow us East, but it is possible, and I would rather Angela be protected."
"And you guys have no idea who told James about this Angela person?" He asked.
"No," I replied. "And that is what's bothering us. We don't interact with Angela outside of school, so whoever told James would have to have seen us talking to Angela there."
"And none of your people have been to the school?" Sam asked. I froze; one of our people had been to the school. It was foolish of me to forget, but I could not believe that Brant would do something like this; he was our friend. I used to think so anyway. I quickly filled Nio in, and he went to the mansion to find the traitor. I turned back to Sam.
"We know who informed James." I said sadly. "We would still appreciate your help, though, until we can confirm that he acted alone."
"We'll keep an eye on her house at night until you guys get back." He said.
"Thank you Sam." I said. "There is one more thing though." I continued, hesitating.
"What is it?" Sam asked.
"You already allow Catalina and Mihaela on the reservation because they belong to the Capa family." I paused.
"Yes?" Sam prompted.
"I was wondering if you would be willing to allow Lina's brother to come here as well." I continued. "Just as a precaution, really. He has no reason to come here."
"Then why should I let him come onto our territory?" Sam asked skeptically.
"Because," I answered, "He is the only one besides Nio who can kill James if that necessity arises. And if James comes here, Lina's brother needs to be able come here also."
"We can take care of our people." Same retorted, bristling.
"I know that." I said quickly. "But James is not an idiot; he will wait until you are distracted or not here at all."
"Wait," Jake interrupted, "I thought Lina's brother was dead."
"Not dead," I replied, "Lost. And he isn't lost anymore. His name is Jasper Hale; he is a member of the Cullen family."
"Why are he and Tony the only ones who can kill James?" Asked Seth; the only one who had not stiffened at the mention of the Cullens.
"It is an old Protettori tradition." I answered. "A law, really; only a Capa can kill another Capa and only a Gemello can kill another Gemello. This prevented murders motivated by spite. Between the different genders anyway; there were still many attempted and successful murders between different generations of the same gender."
"Wow." Seth replied.
"I will allow this, but the other Cullens are still banned from the reservation." Sam finally answered. "This is not a termination of the treaty."
"Of course," I replied. "And thank you. I have to go now; it was good to see all of you."
I walked back out of the house and to my bike, mounting and kick-starting it once more. I started toward the Cullens' home, following the directions Alice had given me. As I drove, Nio filled me in on what was happening.
"Brant is gone, Iz." He said. "No one has seen him since the last full moon."
"A whole month?!" I exclaimed.
"I know," He said, "I don't know how we didn't miss him."
"Well, make sure everyone knows that if he is stupid enough to come back, he is to be held until one of us can get there." I replied. As frustrating as this was, I was not exactly surprised. Brant was a werewolf only a few nights of each month; the rest of the time he was human, and not a dumb one. He had to have known we would discover his betrayal.
When I arrived at the Cullens' mansion home, I parked my bike and pulled the hair elastic out of my hair, smoothing the curls in my hair that were now slightly windblown. Just as I started to walk toward the front door, I heard Edward approaching from my right. My frustration immediately melted away; being near Edward had that effect on me. He only stopped for a moment when he got to me. Kissing me on the forehead, he snatched my hand, practically dragging me to the door. He ran so quickly I had to jump from the bottom of the stairs to the top so as not to trip on them. He paused when we got to the front door and held it open for me. As I walked through the door, I was greeted by Esme, who hugged me gently.
"Welcome Bella," she said sincerely.
"Thank you," I replied. I handed her one of the envelopes I had brought, which contained the Art Museum tickets for her and Carlisle. I then threw the second one, which contained the Symphony Hall tickets, to Alice, who was standing with Jasper next to the staircase to the left of the door. She, already knowing what was in the envelope, immediately handed it to Jasper. They opened the envelopes, expressing their thanks to me and Nio for thinking of them.
"Won't Tony be slightly bored with only Carlisle and I as companions?" Esme asked.
"Oh, he'll be fine, Tanya is going also." I replied, smirking. Esme gave me a confused look, and Jasper snickered.
"I was wondering about that." He commented. "I ran into them on my way home last night, and they seemed very… close."
"That they did." I replied, chuckling. "He was showing her his studio." I glanced over at Alice, who was staring at me, and growing more impatient by the second. I raised my eyebrow at her.
"Are you okay, Alice?" I asked. She was now bouncing on the balls of her feet. She suddenly ran forward, grabbing my arm and dragging me toward the staircase. She was apparently extremely impatient, because she had me up the stairs and in her bedroom in less than a second. She pointed to her bathroom, where my dress was waiting for me. I rolled my eyes at her.
"You do realize that the dress almost certainly does not need to be altered, right?" I asked.
"Yeah," she replied, winking, "I just want to see it on you."
"You are something else, Alice." I commented, chuckling. I stepped into her bathroom and slipped into my dress.
It was a dark silver color, with a ribbon of rhinestones lining the top and the halter. It hugged close to my body until it reached my thighs, where a studded pendant on my left hip gathered the fabric, letting the dress flow down to my feet. The dress left my back completely exposed except for the two pieces of fabric that tied in the back. I stepped out of the bathroom and Alice cocked an eyebrow.
"Wow," she commented, "You clean up nice."
"Surprised?" I asked, laughing at her tone.
"A little," she admitted easily, stepping behind me to tie the two fabric pieces in the back. "You always wear either clothes that cover your entire body, or simple shorts and the most modest backless tops I've ever seen in my life. I had almost forgotten there was an actual female in there somewhere."
I had to laugh. "And what exactly did you think I was?" I asked, turning around to face her. She shrugged nonchalantly.
"I don't know, but definitely strange." She replied, winking. I rolled my eyes.
"If you're satisfied, I think I'll change back into my street clothes now." I teased. Laughing, Alice left the room, and I stepped back into her bathroom to change my clothes.
As I walked back down the spiral staircase, I felt a piercing pain tear through my head. Unprepared for the onslaught, my knees buckled and I pitched forward. I would have fallen the rest of the way down if not for Edward appearing at my side and steadying me. Distantly, I heard him asking if I was hurt, but my focus was on my brother.
"Nio! What's wrong?" I asked fearfully.
"Nothing!" He replied hastily. I realized that what I had felt was panic, not pain, and when I saw what was had caused it, I grew angry.
"You almost sent me headfirst down a flight of stairs because you cannot find your tripod?" I snarled, not realizing I was also speaking, or yelling, aloud. Jasper chuckled and I ignored him, still focusing on my brother. I wanted to be patient with him, but his constant panicking over this painting was getting tiresome.
"Nio," I began, forcing myself to keep my mental voice even. "I know that painting this portrait is important to you, and you want to do well, but this is getting ridiculous. Stressing over every tiny detail is only going to make it more difficult."
"I know," he said miserably, "I'm really sorry, Iz, I wish I could just stop thinking about it, but I can't"
I heard Esme clear her throat and I winced; I knew it was rude to have a conversation no one else could hear. I started to apologize, but Esme waved me off.
"I was just wondering if Tony would like to borrow my camera's tripod." She said. He is welcome to it."
"Tell her thank you, but no." Nio said, sighing. "The remote that allows me to take pictures from a distance is missing too, and my camera doesn't have a timer. It doesn't look like we're taking pictures today."
I relayed this to Esme, who volunteered to take the pictures for us. Nio tried to decline, but I accepted before he could put his thoughts into words; I could not handle even another day of his tense anticipation of the photographs. Nio, resigned, relayed his thanks to Esme through me, and we allowed our minds to go their separate ways.
The Cullens, having greeted me, or manhandled me in Alice's case, scattered until only Edward and I were left in the room. I nodded at the sleek black grand piano across the room.
"I assume that would be yours?" I said, phrasing it as a question. Edward nodded absently, apparently lost in thought.
"Do I ever get to hear you play?" I asked, suddenly very keen to do so. I wondered what his musical style was. He smiled at me.
"Are you sure you aren't the one who can read minds?" He asked.
"Pretty sure," I replied, grinning, "why?"
"Because I was just thinking that I want you to hear something I wrote." He said, taking my hand and leading me toward his piano.
He sat down on the bench, pulling me down next to him. After a few moments, he began to play one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard. It sounded like a lullaby, but with more movement. He watched me while he played, until he was done. When he had finished, he stared down at his hands until I released a breath I had not realized I was holding. His eyes searched my face, trying to decipher my response. I looked up at him so that he could see my sincerity.
"Edward, that was beautiful." I said, meaning every word. His expression brightened, and he smiled again, something I could never get enough of, even if it did make it difficult to concentrate.
"I'm glad you like it." He replied. "You inspired it."
My eyes widened, and I quickly looked down. Edward gently grasped my chin and tilted my head back up.
"That drives me insane, you know." He said. "What are you thinking?"
"I was just wondering what on earth I could have done to inspire something that beautiful." I replied, knowing I could not escape answering with his eyes glued to mine. He shook his head incredulously, his eyes still boring into mine. In them, I could see and feel all of his love for me, incomprehensible though it may be. He finally released me, letting go of my chin to grasp my hand, standing and pulling me up off of the bench after him.
"Where are we going?" I asked as he began to lead me back up the stairs.
"My room." He answered simply. I quickly matched his pace, my curiosity piqued. He led me all the way to the top of the staircase, to a room on the left.
It was spacious, with a fantastic view of the forest behind the house. There was no bed, for obvious reasons, however there was a couch stretched across the middle of the floor. The walls of the room were taken up mostly by shelves and shelves of music. There were CDs literally everywhere. I had never seen anything like it. I could feel Edward watching me, gauging my reaction.
"Wow." I said. "Even I don't have this much music."
"You haven't had as long to collect it." He replied, chuckling. I sensed contentment from him, and it made me curious.
"What are you so happy about?" I asked. He paused for a moment, looking down at me curiously.
"I don't know," he answered, "I can't explain it; having you here just feels... right, somehow."
"Well that's good," I said, only half joking, "I would hate for it to make you uncomfortable."
He smiled, and I felt his mood change subtly. There was a mischievous undertone to his emotions. I kept my posture casual, not letting on that I had sensed the change, but I knew he was up to something.
Sure enough, not a moment later, he leapt at me from behind. Prepared for his 'assault' I stepped to my right, causing Edward to fly past me into one of his shelves. I laughed as it collapsed on him and he dug his way out of the pile of CDs. I very nearly missed his next jump, but I was able to sidestep him again at the last moment.
A sort of dance ensued, with him attempting to grab me, me dodging him, and both of us growling playfully. In a confined space, staying out of his reach was far more difficult than it had been outside, but I managed until Alice and Jasper appeared outside Edward's door.
I looked toward the door, distracted, and felt Edward hit my midsection in a flying football tackle, though an extremely gentle one. I felt his arms trap me protectively against his chest right before we hit his couch, tipping it over backwards. I landed on top of Edward, and tried to right myself, but he held me fast. Alice stepped into the room, and burst into laughter. Jasper, who was right behind her, stood in the doorway, rolling his eyes. Edward stood, righted the couch, and sat down, all while still holding me against him. I tried once more to free myself from his grip, but he wouldn't have it. Setting me sideways on his lap, he looked at Alice.
"Well, ask her." He said, rolling his eyes. Alice turned to me.
"I was just wondering what clothes I should bring for your party." She said. "I wasn't sure what kind of event it was, so…" she trailed off. I smiled, rolling my eyes as well.
"It is supposed to be formal, so an evening dress should be fine." I replied.
"I tried to tell her," Jasper interjected, "But she was determined to hear it from you. I think she was hoping you would tell her she could bring the entire contents of her closet." He and Edward rolled their eyes, and Alice scowled.
"Or she wanted to distract me so that Edward could grab me." I said, raising an eyebrow at her. Her expression cleared, and she winked at me.
"Come on, Alice. You got your answer." Jasper said, interrupting our silent conversation. "And if I have to be in the same room as these two for much longer, I might vomit."
"Do you really want to go there, Jasper?" I asked, eyeing Alice and smirking. He glanced at over at her and smiled.
"Maybe not." He answered, winking at me. I rolled my eyes as they left the room. I once more attempted to stand, but Edward seemed to like me where I was. Laughing silently, I leaned against his chest, laying my head on his shoulder. We stayed that way for a few more minutes, when I felt Edward's chest shake with silent laughter. Keeping my head on his shoulders, I spoke.
"What's funny?" I asked curiously. He shifted me a bit, tucking my head under his chin.
"I was just thinking." He replied vaguely.
"About what?" I asked, sitting up and searching his face. He smiled slightly before answering.
"It took me long enough, but I finally caught you." He said, chuckling. I rolled my eyes for the umpteenth time that evening, laughing with him.
"Yes, you did," I countered, "Though it was due to distraction." We were silent for a few more minutes, Edward looking at me with an odd expression on his face, and I was afraid I knew what was coming. Eventually he spoke.
"So are you going to tell me?" He asked. Shoot.
"Tell you what? I replied innocently. Now he was just amused; he could tell I was dodging.
"You said that if I caught you, you would tell me what your inspiration was." He reminded me.
"I know." I sighed. It wasn't that I didn't want to tell him. I had just spent so much time running from my feelings for Edward, it had become almost second nature.
"I'm actually surprised you haven't already guessed." I replied. I was stalling, yes, though what I had said was true.
"I've tried," he replied, "but I can't figure out. It doesn't help that I had just met you, so I have no idea what could have changed in the week you were gone."
"It was actually something that happened before I left." I sighed, laying my head back on his shoulder so I wouldn't have to meet his eyes. "I met you." I had never felt this vulnerable in my life, not even when I was the Volturi's prisoner. This was different somehow, deeper.
I was afraid this revelation would bother him somehow, but I felt only a deep tenderness emanating from him. He tugged my head back and fervently pressed his lips to mine. When we pulled apart, he smiled.
"So, did you finish the other song you said you wrote that night?" He asked.
"Yes, would, you like to hear it?" I replied, a spark of excitement running through me. He nodded, and I tried once more to stand on my own, but he simply grinned, gathering me in his arms and sprinting down the stairs. He set me down next to his piano. I shook my head at him, but didn't comment.
I sat down on the piano bench, and Edward sat next to me. My fingers ghosted across the keys for a moment, and then I began to play the song that had been running through my head since I first met Edward.
It was slower at first, but picked up quickly without becoming to overzealous. Its mood was hopeful and much happier than anything else I had written in the last two years, or ever for that matter. It reflected perfectly the way Edward made me feel. Also reflecting my relationship with Edward, the song grew more complicated as it progressed. Not that I particularly cared about complexity when it came to Edward; I would stay with him as long as he let me, and would love him long after.
When the song was finished, I took my hands off of the keys, but did not look up. I had been eager for Edward to hear the song, but now I was worried about his reaction. I was beginning to wonder if my mind was always this ridiculous, or if it simply didn't know what to do where Edward Cullen was involved. After a few moments, he chuckled.
"Well, I think I know how you felt now." He said.
"What do you mean?" I asked, my brow furrowing. He smiled at me.
"When you said that you didn't know how you could have inspired my song," he answered, "I feel that way now, completely inadequate."
"You shouldn't." I replied.
"You shouldn't have either." He countered. I opened my mouth to argue, but I decided against it. Neither of us was going to win this particular argument.
A quick look at a clock in the foyer revealed that it was time for me to leave to meet Nio. I sighed, not really wanting to go, but knowing I had to.
Before I could even stand in preparation to leave, Alice appeared behind me, holding my dress. I smiled and thanked her. Esme was waiting for me by the back door.
"Ready?" She asked, smiling. I rolled my eyes.
"Let's get this over with."
I hated watching Bella leave, and I could tell that she didn't want to go, but she had to. I could also tell that Jasper was rather fed up with being near the two of us. I didn't really feel bad though; he didn't have to hear our thoughts along with the emotions. This was only a taste of what I had to deal with on a regular basis.
I played my piano for a while to pass the time. I was still playing about thirty minutes later, when Alice came barreling down the stairs. Well, for her it was barreling; it was still far more graceful than anything humans could manage. She was guarding her thoughts, which made me instantly suspicious. She sat down next to me on the piano bench, grinning.
"What is it, Alice?" I asked warily. Her grin turned into a smirk.
"I just really wanted to say 'I told you so.'" She replied, snickering. I rolled my eyes.
"Ever the mature adult Alice." I retorted. Her laughter cut off suddenly, and I looked over at her, concerned. She had the blank look on her face that meant she was having a vision.
Jasper was at her side in an instant. He could feel a good deal of alarm coming from her, and it worried him. He was about to ask her if she was alright when she shook her head, coming back to the present. Her face was paler than normal, which was saying something for a vampire, and having seen the same thing she had seen, I understood why.
She had seen the werewolf Brant changing into his wolf form, which made sense, as tonight was the full moon. What did not make sense was that he had placed himself near the Protettori mansion, and was watching Renesmee's window.
I hissed, and Alice's eyebrows narrowed dangerously.
"What is it?" Jasper asked.
"Brant is going to try to kill Renesmee!" I snarled. Jasper growled, and I was surprised at the amount of anger I heard in his thoughts. Until I realized that Bella and Tony and, by extension, Renesmee, were his family, even if he had only just remembered the fact.
"Alice, call Esme and warn Bella." He instructed. "The rest of us will head for the mansion."
The others, having heard the conversation, were ready to go, and we set off straight away. Alice brought up the rear, and we could hear her calling Esme.
"Esme, put Bella on the phone." She all but shouted. There was a pause, and then Bella answered.
"Bella," she said hurriedly, "it's Brant, he's going after Nessie."
The other end of the line was dead silent, and I knew that Bella wasn't there anymore. I picked up my pace.
Brant was not going to get away with this.
A/N - Once again, PLEASE let me know if you are interested in being my new Beta! I definitely need one!
And one last shoutout to my fantastic Beta up to this point, Sunflower3759. She did a wonderful job, and I couldn't have done it without her.