Dragging the rolled up carpet as though it were a dead body Emmett dumped it in the centre of the little living room. "Dude, that thing stinks," he pointed to the offending item.
"It's been cleaned," Edward huffed, sick of Emmett's whining. Going back to the task of lining his beloved books up on the shelving Edward tried to ignore his brothers as best he could. Just as Bella had when he'd been packing them up the two boys hated every item they'd been asked to retrieve from storage. 'It's old', 'it's boring', 'it's stuffy' they'd moaned at every opportunity and Edward was over it.
Wincing as Jasper knocked the freshly painted frame of the arch in the hall with the leg of an armchair Edward did his best not to react. There were going to be knocks and dents everywhere once he and Bella took up residence anyway. Grinning to himself he thought about all the times they'd bashed through the empty rooms in the throes of passion.
"Dude, he's grinning again," Jasper chuckled as both brothers raised their eyebrows at Edward.
"What's done it this time you think, Jaz?" Emmett asked with a wink. "The books? The kitchen table?"
"Don't know," Jasper replied with a wink of his own. They loved goading Edward. They loved goading Bella more because she bit back so well, but they loved taunting Edward about his sex life all the same. The destruction in the Masen house after the two of them had gotten their shit together was legendary and the two brothers took every opportunity to comment on it. "Might be the sofa or it could be the light fitting for all I know. You remember the state of the place 'after'," he chuckled, "they probably hung off the light fitting at some point."
"Does he look like a light fitting swinger to you, Jaz? I don't think he does. I think he's a down on the floor, down and dirty kinda guy," Emmett sniggered, knowing it would annoy Edward. "In fact, I think it's this rug that's done it this time. Bring back some memories does it, Eddie?" he guffawed as Edward turned and growled at the use of his old name. "Yeah, it's a floor thing. Look at him Jaz; it's definitely a floor thing for Ed and Bell's."
"Oh, I get it now," Jasper said, nodding as though he'd just discovered something important. "That's a shag pile rug," he laughed, pointing to the lovely old rug Emmett had just brought in.
Emmett cracked up. "Good one Jaz," he told his brother with a sharp slap to his shoulder. "Shag pile!"
Edward, having had enough of being the butt of all the jokes, decided that if he couldn't beat his brothers he'd join them. "Nah," he drawled as he moved towards the rug and slit the string binding it. "It's a perversion rug," he laughed.
Knowing that Edward and Jasper were out in the forest on the hunt made Bella twitchy and jumpy. She wanted to be out there with him herself. If he fainted she wanted to be the one to soothe him when he came to. She wanted to be the one he confided in and she wanted to be the one he found solace with, if there as any to be had. But more than that she wanted to be on the hunt with him. She wanted to share her hunt with him and she wanted him to share his with her. It's what mates did.
Jasper had assured her that Edward as 'just fine'. And that was great. She was happy he was doing well. She really was. But she needed to see it and know it for herself. Second hand information wasn't good enough when it involved ones mate.
But she hadn't been invited on his hunt and she couldn't go out there without that invitation. If he wanted her along he'd ask her himself.
The term 'itchy feet' had been coined for a reason Bella thought as she paced along her windows watching the yard and hoping for a glimpse of Edward returning.
"Bella!" Esme called from the living room, making Bella jump such was her concentration on the view.
Taking the stairs two at a time Bella came into the living room to be confronted by her parents and the three hags from which there was no escape. "Bella dear, come and sit by me," Kate drawled with such saccharine sweetness Bella nearly gagged from the sugar overload and was glad that vampires couldn't get diabetes.
As Kate patted the seat beside herself on the sofa Bella ranged her hearing out about the house. No Rosie, no Alice, no Emmett. Jasper was with Edward in the forest. This was either an intervention or she was being voted off the island. The absence of torches was strangely ominous. "What's doing, tricks?" she smirked at Kate as she took the proffered seat.
"The young have such wonderful senses of humour," Kate sneered while nobody but Bella could see the expression on her face. "We all thought that while the others were out we'd take the opportunity to talk to you, dear girl."
Bella loathed being called 'dear girl' by this trollop but smiled sweetly none the less. "Oh yes?" she asked, feigning ignorance about what the talk could possibly be about. "Did I win a car or something?" she giggled as jovially as she could.
Carlisle, reclining in his favourite armchair raised his eyebrows at Bella but said nothing. To Bella it looked as though he was trying to tell her something. She hoped the message was that this meeting wasn't his idea. Shackles rising before the meat of the issues were even raised Bella was ready and willing for a showdown with the sisters.
"We're all concerned about you," Kate said in a tone that she probably thought was motherly but was actually quite condescending. "During the times we've been invited to visit before you've seemed so happy, so willing to join in with the group. But this time you just seem so dejected. We've hardly seen you at all and when you do come out of your room you don't seem to want to be a part of the family at all. Family is very important, Bella dear. It's all we truly have in this life."
Bella wanted to lunge at her and tear her throat out; instead she threw her head back and laughed. And it was laughable. Kate didn't care what Bella was feeling at all and Bella knew it. The only person Kate worried about was Kate. "You're so funny," Bella laughed while she pointed directly at a gaping Kate. "Look at you, pretending to give a shit what's going on for me," she sneered. Getting up from the sofa Bella made straight for the backdoor. "There is nothing wrong with me that you going home won't fix," she threw over her shoulder as she slammed the glass door behind herself.
Bella went south; in the exact opposite direction she knew that Jasper and Edward had gone. She'd only gone two hundred yards when she heard two sets of footfalls following her. She hoped for the sake of family unity that it wasn't two of the three sisters that were following her because if it was then one of the sisters would be taking her kin home in a bag.
Ignoring the followers as best she could Bella ran and ran and felt better for it. The run to the beach had been a chore. Having to follow the group and stick to a jog had been frustrating. But now she could really let loose, and she did. She skipped over fallen trees and rocks and branches and tried to let all the rage and aggression she felt towards the cousins go.
By the time she hit the edge of the river and slowed she was prepared for whoever it was following her. She crept along the craggy rocks that lined the river on the west side and crouched low where a ridge lifted into a little lip. She had a good clear view of the path she'd taken so she would see the pair easily as they approached her position. She was upwind of them so identifying them from scent alone was useless. It was going to need to be a visual.
Trying to contain her growl inside her throat Bella steeled herself to pounce. The footfalls came closer, maybe twenty yards back further up the path, and as they got louder Bella's venom began to flow. Frustration and anger and jealousy all swirled through her system as she readied herself to confront her stalkers.
Please let it be two sisters Bella chanted in her head. Please let it be two sisters.
But it wasn't. It was her parents. And as Bella leapt out from her hiding spot and roared into the forest Esme and Carlisle slipped into crouches of their own.
"What the fuck do you want?" Bella hissed once they'd come close enough.
Holding their hands up in surrender Carlisle threw Esme a quick glance then straightened from his crouch. "We just want to make sure you're alright," Carlisle said as calmly as he could.
"Why wouldn't I be?" Bella hissed from between gritted teeth. "Neither of you have given a shit about any of this all this time so why do you care now? You let them speak to me that way!" she shouted as she pointed back towards the house and where the sisters were. "You didn't defend me, or Edward. You invited them here knowing what they were likely to try and pull and it worked, so you can just fuck off home now and be happy knowing your little game worked."
As Carlisle was about to reply his cell chirped. Taking it from his pocket he threw it to Esme. "Please deal with whatever that is," he told his wife without taking his eyes off his daughter. "I invited the cousins here because I did care about what you were going through. You didn't come to me; you didn't talk to anyone else about what you were feeling either. We could all see you struggling and I thought you might just need a little nudge. I admit that the cousins might have been the wrong kind of nudge, and I wish to god that I'd never invited them now, but I did and it's done and I can't take it back." He was about to go on when Bella's cell chirped.
Not righting herself from her crouch Bella took her phone from her own pocket and stared down at the screen. It was Edward; he was back at the house and wondering where she was and if everything was alright. She tapped out a quick reply and slid the phone back into her pocket. "It was Edward," Bella told her worried parents when they asked if everything was alright. "And no, everything isn't all right. It hasn't been alright for a while, but I'm dealing with it."
"Are you dealing with it?" Esme asked carefully.
"Yes," Bella replied belligerently. "My mate and I are dealing with it as best we can." It was the first time she'd allowed the 'm' word to slip from between her lips and it felt good to say it. The radiant smile on Esme's face told her all she needed to know about her mother's feelings on the situation. And that just made Bella madder.
"You've chosen a mate?" Carlisle asked as innocently as he could whilst trying to hide his self satisfied smirk.
"No," Bella replied hastily. "At least I didn't choose. I don't know," she muttered, unsure of how to explain or even if she should. She was so angry at everyone for conspiring and for going behind her back that she found it hard to speak with her parents in anything other than a hiss or a growl. Straightening from her crouch Bella began to pace, as most vampires are wont to do when feeling confused and at a loss. "Edward is my mate," she said firmly to nobody in particular and to her parents it seemed as though she was still trying the phrase on for size. They'd known it to be true, probably long before Bella came to the realisation for herself, and they both knew and understood how daunting it could be. "Edward is my mate," Bella said again, more firmly this time. "But I fell in love with him before I thought he might be. Does that make sense?"
"Perfect sense," Carlisle assured his frantic daughter. "You saw something in him before the idea that he could be your mate came to you. That's perfectly logical and normal, darling. Please forgive us for remaining silent while you struggled with that."
"I could've said something," Bella conceded.
"That doesn't matter now," Esme said as she approached cautiously. "We can help now that we know. How do you feel now?"
"Angry," Bella hissed, side stepping her mother and the help she was offering. "Angry because I failed him, we failed him," she barked. Esme, trying again to reach out to her daughter, stepped a little closer and held her arms out for Bella again. But Bella wasn't having it. She was too angry to accept her mother's kindness, too riled to want to let go of her resentment and far too eager to set eyes on her mate to want to stand in the forest and debate the ins and outs of it. Stretching her neck from side to side, as vampires often did to relieve tension; she looked her mother dead in the eye. "I have a mate," she said firmly. "He deserves to know that what he's feeling is natural and you should've told him. I should've told him as soon as I started feeling it for myself, and I'll answer for that when I talk to him myself, but you two," she said pointing a finger beyond Esme and towards Carlisle, "you two should've taken him aside and made him understand. I don't know why you didn't and I don't know why you decided the cousins were the answer, but you'll have to answer to that with him yourselves. I'm going home now. I'm going home to try and find five minutes peace and quiet to talk to my mate. Follow or don't, I don't really care." And with that she took off in the direction of home.
Her parents stood quietly while they listened to her footfalls along the little path. After they'd abated Esme turned to her husband and grinned. "Feisty when she's in love, isn't she?" she giggled.
Carlisle, matching her grin, stepped to his wife's side. "She is and she's just like her mother." Taking Esme's hand he brought it to his lips and kissed her knuckles softly. "I won't miss the cousins but I think I'm going to miss the sexual tension when Edward finally beds Bella," he chuckled.
Esme, laughing softly, squeezed her husband's hand. "I won't miss the cousins either," she giggled. "But, do you remember those first few years after my change?" she asked as Carlisle nodded. "We made love like rabbits and they will too. There'll be plenty of tension in our house for a while yet."
Back at the house Bella was disappointed to not find Edward there. Finding only Alice and Rose in the house she asked where the boys were and was told that Jasper and Emmett had gone to town for something and that Edward had taken Irina for the drive she'd won. The whereabouts of the other pair of tarts was anyone's guess.
Sniping and griping the whole way she went up to her room to pack.
The idea had come to her as she'd run home. She and Edward needed a few days alone to sort out the mess they were in. Sending the others away was overkill so she'd pack an overnight bag and talk Edward into getting away somewhere, just the two of them, so they could really talk. Throwing two sets of clean clothes and underwear into the bag and then going through to her bathroom she tossed the contents of her vanity's counter into it and zipped it up.
Standing in her doorway staring at Edward's room she wondered if she should pack a bag for him too. There was no way she'd go into his personal space, mate or not. It just wasn't done. She'd be horrified if someone did that to her and she knew that Edward would be too. Instead she went down to the laundry room and retrieved two sets of clothes for him from the clean washing there. Running back up to her room she shoved his clothing into her backpack and went back into her bathroom to grab a new toothbrush to add to it.
She didn't know if he'd be keen to get away so the things she'd packed could easily be returned to their places without him ever needing to know what she'd planned. But she hoped he would want to go. She hoped he did want to talk to her and she hoped he'd forgive her for fighting him and her own feelings every step of their, so far, complicated path.
Hearing her parents returning, and the boys come whooping up the yard after their excursion, Bella moved to her windows and watched the four of them come barrelling across the lawn.
Bella couldn't know the emotional turmoil Edward was trying to work through as he drove home from Bogachiel Park, and she couldn't know that Edward had spent the previous hours, working himself into an emotional lather. She couldn't know that he felt betrayed by the family. She couldn't know how angry he was with her that she'd not told him about the concept and ramifications of being someone's mate. She couldn't know that at the very second she was planning a romantic getaway for the both of them that Edward was planning something less romantic and a whole lot more explosive.
Edward took the drive home slowly. He needed the time to get straight in his mind what he was going to do and what he was going to say. He had no way to know whether the trio were on their way home, or whether they'd taken his threat to hurt them seriously if they did, so he arrived at the house blind.
There was no fresh scent of the sisters in the drive so if they had come to the house they hadn't approached from the front. Their scent wasn't on the porch either and as he slid his key home in the lock he was relieved. The aggression he'd felt in their presence had been a little frightening for someone who hadn't had an aggressive bone in his body as a human. But now, since his change, he felt it almost constantly. There was a violent tendency to his nature now that hadn't been there before. It wasn't just his sense of smell and his perfect hearing and eyesight that had changed, it was his brains capacity to think as well. Every conversation, however insignificant, could be recalled at will. Every nuance of every word spoken could be recounted. Every movement that had seemed trivial or superfluous could be shown like a movie reel in his mind and Edward wasn't used to dealing with that.
He'd had an easy, trouble free existence as a human. As a vampire he was swamped by emotions and feelings he'd never experienced and he was overwrought by them. He'd never had to work to express himself as a human because he'd never wanted to express anything. He'd never had a need to try and make himself understood because his parents understood him from birth because they'd shaped him themselves. He'd never had to fit in with half a dozen different personalities before because his parents had his personality too. Domestic discord was foreign, as was his need to express his unhappiness with turns of events. In the Masen house there had never been any discord and there had never been a turn of events. Life had remained the same since his birth. Nothing new every occurred so there was no need for Edward to ever try and get used to a new situation.
Now everything was new. He was new. He had new thoughts, new experiences, and new personalities to take into consideration. He had a new mind and a new body and they were working overtime, all the time.
The strength and power of his new body were wonderful things on the hunt, but they could be harmful if left unchecked. He'd done his best to rein them in since his change but now, as he moved through the ground floor of the Cullen house, he welcomed those feelings.
In his mind he'd been betrayed. The Cullen family as a collective whole had left out fundamental information in their teachings and Edward felt deceived.
He moved through the house calmly though beneath the surface he was a writhing, seething mess. He felt every inch the vampire he was as he took the stairs to the third floor. It was late enough that the other pairs in the house were in their own suites so nobody came out onto any of the landings to see who it was that was stomping around.
When he got to Bella's door he knocked just once, one firm rap but then went right in without an invitation.
"Hey, I wondered where you'd got..." Bella trailed off as she looked Edward over. "What's wrong?" she asked carefully, seeing the anger in his eyes and etched onto his face. If Irina had done something to upset him she was going to kill her with her own hands Bella thought as she stared at her mate. And she was going to do it slowly.
He looked feral. His fists were clenched at his sides and his lips were in a grimace so contorted he looked as though he'd been struck by a fist and his features had set that way. Bella moved away from the windows and made to go toward him but Edward began to growl steadily from deep within his chest, effectively halting her approach. "What's wrong?" she whispered again, desperate to know, desperate to try and help him if she could.
But Edward was beyond answering questions. Edward was beyond rational thought. Edward was beyond logical, reasonable discussion. He was beyond quiet conversation. He was beyond begging Bella to listen and he was beyond trying to convince her to try to love him.
He was a vampire and he knew what he wanted and he knew who he wanted. He might have been a newborn but he knew without needing to be told that vampires claimed their mates. He felt it inside himself. As he stared at her he saw the concern in her eyes and on her face but all he could think about was the need to claim her. She was his and he knew that she couldn't deny him now. He looked her over, from head to toe, and knew that her luscious, lithe body was his for the taking. She was his.
But Edward didn't want that. Edward didn't want her if he had to take her. He wanted her to give herself to him.
He paced a short line from side to side at the foot of Bella's bed and then he turned to face her. "I'm leaving," he announced as calmly as he could. Bella's face crumpled but he ignored that and stated simply what he'd rehearsed. "You volunteered to educate me but you left out a vital piece of information, Bella. Your family took me in and then left me in the dark. You might think my family were odd but this one is fucked up." Bella opened her mouth to defend the family but Edward squared his shoulders and leaned toward her slightly, the long drawn out hiss that escaped his lips told her to be quiet without him needing to speak the words. "I'm going to my own home. I'm an adult and I want an adult relationship with you. That's where I'll be when you're ready to behave like an adult. You're my mate. You'll find me at my home when you're ready to admit to me, and to yourself, that you're my mate."
He spared no more time to take in any details about how she'd reacted to his words, he simply said them and left. He took nothing with him. He didn't go into his own room and he didn't look back. He walked out of Bella's room, down the stairs and straight back out the front door the way he'd come. He ignored his car in the drive. He ignored the three cell phones on the passenger seat and he ignored his own, still in its holder on the dash. He'd gone to the Cullen house and he'd said what he'd wanted to say. He was leaving and he was going back to his own home and if she followed they'd have it out. If she didn't follow he'd have his answer. She was either willing to take responsibility for her actions or she wasn't. She was either big enough to admit that they were mates or she wasn't. It was out of his control and he was out of control.
A/N: Well, Edward's had enough and he's a tad pissed. Tee hee.
I do love a pissed off Edward, as you all know.
Thanks for reading,