CHAPTER 9: SPEED
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By the way, Happy Valentine's Day to all.
We all sat at the field to watch a group of boys try out for the track team. Martie told us that he was trying out, so I decided to cheer him on. Jacob and my rest of family agreed to for cheer him as well. Dad thought it was the least we could do for him after what he had done for us.
As soon as Coach Grenard gave his signal, everyone ran with all the speed they could exert. Oddly enough, because I could have made it across the field in 1/3 of a second, watching Martie and his friends run didn't feel boring. In fact, I felt excited for him.
Two guys outran the rest. Martie tagged right behind them, giving all the speed he could provide to keep up.
my mind screamed. You can do it.
The others behind him looked like they were attempting to run past him with no succcess.
"Whoo! Go, Martie!" Tommy cheered with excitement.
"Come on, man, you can do it!" Jacob said without screaming.
"Oh, no," Aunt Alice said. I turned my eyes to look at her for a split second. Her eyes stared at nothing, but I knew that she was looking into Martie's future. "He won't make it. There's a stone on the road. He's gonna step on it, and he's gonna fall."
My eyes scanned and found a tiny rock on a turning point of the track field. He will fail?
I looked back at him. Jacob looked worried now, too. Is there nothing we could do?
"Thomas!" Aunt Alice said in a warning tone.
In that exact second, the two boys who were in the lead made a quick leap into the air, stretching their bodies and legs forward as if they were trying to jump over something. But there was nothing there. Martie ran right at the rock on his path. And then he leaped, too. The others behind him did the same. I instantly realized what had happened; Tommy must've used his power.
I glanced over my shoulder at him. His gaze lost focus, met mine and shrugged with a light grin on his face - a gesture of admission in light humor.
I decided to let it go. The important thing was that Tommy cared about Martie enough to help him out. An accident like that would've ruined his chance.
"I still can't believe I made it," Martie chimed after coach told him he made it on the team. What he couldn't figure out was what coach meant about all of them doing a joke by jumping into midair.
"Congratulations," I said.
Sunday was the day we planned to play football.
Jacob arrived in time for Esme to make lunch for both of us.
Dad and Mom picked out the equipment for today's football game from the basement and then went on to enjoy the rest of the free hours with classics; Aunt Alice, Uncle Jasper, Tommy, and June went out for quick hunting trip; Aunt Rosalie and Uncle Emmett took the liberty to replace the Jeep's rusted engine with a new piece; Grandpa had to make four or five phone calls to the hospital to get an update on the conditions of his patients and then go over an e-mail report; and Grandma prepared lunch boxes in case Jacob and I got hungry later.
Once everyone was ready, we parted for the forest.
"All right, we're here," Aunt Alice said when a large open field came into view.
Tommy took off toward the clearing.
"Wha...?" Uncle Emmett muttered, and quickly darted after him.
By the time we got there, they were wrestling against each other.
"Thomas, Emmett," Grandma called in a tone that said, "stop this nonsense right now." It wouldn't be the first time they lashed at each other. Although they hadn't done it as much since we moved to Cloverdale; June's intiation into the family cancelled out this tendency completely. But now, they were back at being feisty with each other.
The two of them immediately released their grips on each other.
"I got here first," Tommy screeched.
"No, I did," Uncle Emmett complained. "I caught up to you and got here one foot before you."
"You need to get your vampire eyes checked," he accused.
Uncle Emmett growled. June prepared to spring at him.
"Boys," Grandma warned. "Don't make a fuss out of something so simple and unnecessary."
With that, they refrained.
Everyone relaxed on a pile of rocks while Mom and Grandpa drew lines across the field. The afternoon sky was covered in dark clouds, and a nearby thunderstorm that oozed a few miles towards our spot.
Aunt Alice went blank the whole time, checking for the proper weather.
"It's time," she declared.
And then the sky rumbled with a sound of deafening thunder.
"Alright, let's get started," Uncle Emmett roared. "Team Boy vs Team Girl."
Team Boy vs Team Girl? Seriously, that was the best he could come up with?
"Don't worry, I'll back you up," Tommy's words to June sounded in my ears, not that he bothered to keep it quiet.
"Oh, no, you don't, bro," Uncle Emmett complained, pointing his finger. "We're going boys against girls. You can team next time." He refocused on the game. "I'm calling the shots."
Grandma rested on the rocks and naturally assumed the role of umpire.
Grandpa tossed the coin. The boys team got the headstart.
"Okay! Ready, set... hut!" Uncle Emmett called.
The next hours passed in a blur. The boys' team made 15 touchdowns, 7 two-point conversions and 10 extra points; and our team made 14 touchdowns, 8 two-points and 8 extras.
It would have gotten a lot worse for us if Mom hadn't blocked Tommy's and Dad's powers. Of course, Uncle Emmett thought it was unfair, since we had Aunt Alice on our side. Then again, they had Jacob, a shape-shifter who, for some reason, Aunt Alice couldn't see in her ability of foresight.
A brief tiff occured between Tommy and Uncle Emmett, but with Uncle Jasper's and June's gifts, it was easy to maintain a peaceful game. Uncle Jasper was very impressed with June's restraint when he could sense anger building inside her so clearly. Mom smiled while watching his impression. When I asked her about it, she told me it was because June reminded her of herself as a newborn.
"We need a touchdown," Aunt Rosalie whispered during our regroup.
"How?" I asked, my voice subtler than a whisper.
Aunt Alice shot a look at Mom.
"No way," she said.
"You could try," Aunt Alice whispered. "June's the strongest in our team, that could be our advantage. We just need you to shield us long enough."
"What are you talking about?" Aunt Rosalie complained.
Aunt Alice turned her gaze to all of us. "Bella'll shield us from Edward's mind-reading and Thomas's illusion. Rose can back her up while I get the ball for Nessie, then she'll toss it to June. We need a touchdown and she's the fastest we got."
"But Dad's really fast," I whispered.
"I know, but I know how to avoid him. We just need to keep him away from June." She smiled confidently.
None of us spoke for a half-second. We just looked at June.
"All right, let's do this," she said, and nodded confidently.
"Bella, keep everyone shielded, we don't want them to know what we're planning."
"Like your minds being shielded doesn't tell that he already knows we're up to a strategy," she said sarcastically.
"Hey," Uncle Emmett called, a hint of impatience appeared in his tone. "You girls done yet?"
Aunt Alice looked up and said, "We're done."
Everyone got into position again. I held the ball in place.
"Ready, set... hut!" Aunt Rose cued.
Tossing the ball out of my hands, Aunt Rose caught it and then tossed it to Aunt Alice while everyone scattered.
She darted through the boys' line and ran across the field, with only Uncle Jasper and Tommy following her back. Right before Dad dodged around Aunt Rose to distract Mom, Aunt Alice tossed the ball to me. I jumped as high as I managed until I caught it in my hand. Gravity began to pull me down again, I used the briefest second I had to spot for June.
"Go after June, boys," Dad called just as I tossed the ball to her.
June jumped across the field right before Uncle Emmett could tackle her; her body twitched until her back faced the ground.
"Oh, my God!" Aunt Alice shouted in an alarming tone just as my feet touched the grass again.
Everyone turned to face her. Her alarmed expression equalled her voice.
We all rushed to her side. Dad's face hardened as he looked into her vision. Whatever was coming was bad. Very bad.
"What do you see, Alice?" Uncle Jasper asked.
"The Volturi?" Mom bit out.
Her eyebrows cringed together and formed a slight wrinkle in the middle.
"I'm not sure. It's almost... unreadable. Whatever it is, it's not vampire."
Dad looked toward the woods opposite from our direction.
"It's strong, too," Aunt Alice continued.
Uncle Emmett looked in the same direction. A grin formed across his face.
"Well, let's find out what it is," he said excitedly.
He started to move toward the woods when Aunt Rosalie caught his arm. Grandpa rushed to his side and put a calming hand on his shoulder.
"It's not a good idea to rush into something we don't know about," he reasoned. His focus shifted to Aunt Alice again. "Do you see what it is, Alice?"
Her brows hardened more. "Barely. It's something I've never seen before." Pause. "I can see its eyes. Teeth. It behaves like an animal, but very different at the same time." Her eyes came back to reality as she said, "it's coming this way."
A warm hand grabbed mine. I knew who's it was before I looked.
"I'm gonna take Nessie outta here," Jacob told Mom.
"Be safe, Jacob," Dad said.
We were facing something potentially dangerous and they wanted me to be safe?
Jacob screamed and growled as he exploded. His clothes tore apart and became small pieces of shreds. Where he was standing was now replaced by a bear-sized wolf. He huffed and lowered himself to the ground. His eyes focused on me.
I shook my head. "No! I want to stay."
A cold hand touched my shoulder.
"Nessie, go," Mom ordered. "Please."
I shook my head again. We were a family, and I wanted to stay and help.
Dad came to our side.
"Nessie, listen," he said gently and urgently at the same time. "You're not as strong as the rest of us. We'll be okay." His tone sounded convincing.
"Please," Mom pleaded again.
Their words sank in faster than my mind could apprehend, and I felt calm and compliable in an instant. Jacob huffed again. I climbed to his shoulder-blades. He rose to his legs.
We were nearly at the trees when Aunt Alice screamed, "Stop!"
No sooner did Jake come to abrupt halt at the first of the tree line than we see something lunge towards us in a blur.