Thank you very much to The Walrus and the Carpenter for helping me Beta this document.

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Chapter 13.- Better to get even.

Maya´s POV

As soon as we are out the house I feel relieved. It's not that I don´t like the Cullens—they seem a very nice coven—but we are outsiders. William and I have been together for so long it's hard to be with such a big group.

I look at William and see the same expression on his face. He realizes I am looking at him and smiles at me, that big wide smile that has always manages to put a smile on my face and warm my cold stone heart.

He tries to take my hand, but I reflectively pull it out of his reach. I am aware of the consequences if he touches me, and I don´t want to risk it. I swear there there is pain briefly in his eyes, but maybe it's just my imagination.

The day is cloudy, allowing us to go outside without the risk of the sun's rays hitting our skin.

"Well, it looks like we have a little time for us," William says, his smile returning.

I feel my breath shortly catch; I can't help it.

"Which way do you think we should go?" I am trying to remember Carlisle's instructions but am finding it hard to focus in anything other than his smile.

"It would probably be better if we go deeper into the forest; most animals won´t come near a house-full of vampires." He steps closer, his eyes on me.

I close mine and try to regain some kind of consciousness, or at least a calmer breathing pattern Once I'm calm, I open my eyes, finding myself facing the river before me. I know William is right about animals not coming near the house, but I still have my doubts. I don´t want William to cross me over the river.

"Okay, let's go," I say with resolve; the burning in my throat at this moment overpowers my pride. I am thirsty, after all.

We run towards the river in silence; William slows down so that I don´t fall behind. I like it when he does that; he doesn´t make me feel so weak, even though I know I hold him back.

Once we reach the river, William, without asking me—when he usually does—literally sweeps me up off my feet and jumps effortlessly over.

His face is close to mine, and there is a ray of sun hitting it, making it sparkle. I´ve forgotten how handsome he looks. I am tempted to touch him; however, the moment doesn´t last long, before he puts me back on the ground.

He turns and looks at me. "Are you going to be able to hunt, Maya?" His face is playful, but I don´t understand what he means. He points to my hands; I look at them and then back to him.

"If you thought I was deadly without them, you'll be amazed." I don´t have any idea if that is going to happen, but my pride can only be compromise so much in one single day.

"I am always amazed by you, Maya." His eyes are tender, his voice kind. "Are you sure I'll be able to tell the difference?"

"How about we go and figure it out?" I say, trying to change the subject. His stare is somehow intimidating me … in very a good way.

"Lead the way, Madame." His smile widens, accelerating my breathing.

Oh nuts, why did he have to be so darn cute.

I close my eyes and sniff the air that surrounds us while trying to calm myself. The smell is new to me; as is to be expected being in a new place.

"I think I'm in the mood for some deer," I say, sensing that there are some close by.

"No, I don´t think I'm in the mood for that. I was thinking something more along the line of a mountain lion," William replies.

I open my eyes and look up at him, not liking very much the idea. I know how to hunt a deer without hands, and it should be easier now that they are back, but a mountain lion sounds a little bit trickier; I have never hunted one.

I sniff the air, and sure enough there is a mountain lion further away than the deer, but I don´t want William to know that I am chickening out.

"Not enough for the two of us," I say it lightly, not wanting to reveal my true feelings. "Besides, it's not as close as the deer; we should hunt near the house. Remember, avoid risks." It's a reasonable excuse.

"Chicken," he says and starts running towards the direction the mountain lion is.

"For crying out loud!" I run, following him, and hoping that by the time I catch up either William has caught it or somehow the animal got away. Obviously no such luck; when I arrive William is crouching and observing the mountain lion resting near a large boulder. I crouch next to him; his head comes closer to mine, his eyes never leaving his prey.

"Time for you to amaze me, so don´t forget the rules," he whispers so low in my ear the mountain lion doesn´t even flitch its tail; a clear signal it's not aware of us.

Having his face so close to mine, his breath tickling my ear, and smelling his scent makes me forget everything I´ve ever thought—including the rules.

"No cheating with your abilities."

What have I got myself into?

I sigh and go over the rules. Okay, Maya, time to focus.

I have the element of surprise by my side. I look quickly at my surroundings; the tree that is in front of me has a branch that falls right over the lion, plus now I have my hands … yeyyy! I have something to get a grip of now.

I move silently towards the tree and easily climb it; something I couldn´t do in the past. I climb to the top; it shakes a little bit, due to my weight, but the mountain lion is distracted. I hear its heart; it's calling me, and his scent is filling my senses. I am no longer conscious of anything else; it is my prey and it won´t get away.

I jump and land on top of it; my weight crushes its body, before my mouth falls to its jugular. My teeth pierce the skin and artery, as my hand remains on its body and head, keeping it down. The flavor is so much better than deer, yet my thirst still not fully satiated. Then again, I believe only human blood would be able to do that. I can feel its heart thumping and deeming until it stops, and I know its death.

When I am done, I stand up and look at William.

I can tell he is proud of me; it was obvious he enjoyed seeing me hunt in my full power.

"Told you not enough to share," I say humorously, making a face. He laughs a little. I walk closer to him and stop where the boulder ends.

"Now that is just mean. I was looking forward for it." He stands up and walks towards me, stopping right in front of me. "Looks like it will be something not as appetizing for me." His voice is playful.

His now black eyes are looking straight to mine, and it is hard for me to break his stare. My breathing begins to feel heavy, and he dares to come closer, putting his forehead against mine, his nose touching mine. I close my eyes, inhaling his sweet scent, and feeling a knot forming in my stomach. His hands glide around my waist, pulling me closer to him, as his body presses against mine. I put my arms around his neck, and enjoy the moment. This is where I belong. It has been so long since he's come this close; I don´t want him to stop.

There is a sound in the background, and the spell is broken. I turn my head to where the sound came from, pushing myself away from William as my nerves go up to the sky. I hear William sigh loudly.

"What was that?" I know I am jumpy, considering how things have been lately, but it's better to be prepared. I start scanning the area, not knowing what to expect.

"Don´t worry, Maya. It's nothing to be concerned about; it's just a stupid bird." I hear the disappointment in his voice. "Let's finish hunting." He helps me down from the boulder and gently puts me in the ground.

He tries to reach for my hand, but again I pull it away. He sighs again and stays quiet for the rest of our hunt.

After we finish feeding, we run back to the house. This time William is not holding back; he runs passed me. When I reach the river he is not there; his scent is still lingering in the air towards the house.

What did I do wrong? I look forward towards the house hoping that he will be back, but nothing.

I know I am cutting it short on time—I don´t want to get Alice upset—so it looks like I will have to make the jump alone.

I go back as far as the forest allows me, which is not much, then run as fast as I can, timing to the last point I will need to jump from. I put all the force I can muster in that one jump, and I feel myself flying above the river. My hopes raise when I pass half the length of it, but I land short and fall into the waist-high water.

STUPID RIVER!

I walk towards the edge, somehow managing to find a dip at the bottom of the river and fall into it. I'm drenched from head to toe. I continue cursing my way out of it until I reach the edge.

Seems my luck has finally run out.

I pull myself out of the water to the sound of laughter coming from the house.

Great I have an audience. I am so mad right now, mad at myself for being such a weak little thing; mad at the river for … wel l… just being here; and above all I am mad at William for leaving me alone, knowing that I wouldn´t be able to cross it on my own.

I walk back to the house, not caring anymore if I am late for Alice's appointment. I reach the first big rock I see and sit down, not facing the house, and take my pink vest and my boots off, dropping them to the ground. I close my eyes and recline on the stone, searching for a few rays of sun to dry me, while letting the wind cool off my anger. After my small display, I don´t want to give them the benefit of an extra show by and letting them know how slow I am.

I hear somebody approaching but I don´t care who is it; at this moment my pride has been hurt, and I feel betrayed.

"So not a very good jumper." I hear a female voice.

I am about to snap with some sarcastic remark, but before I say anything I glance up and see Bella looking back at me. Her eyes are not showing amusement; they are showing empathy. I sigh.

"No, and for the record, not a very good runner either," I say turning my head back.

"I can relate to that." I look up at her again a little startled, but she is not looking at me; her mind is somewhere else.

"Aren´t you like a super vampire or something like that?"

"I thought that was you" she answers, a small smile playing on her lips.

"Not when it comes to anything physical." I smile a little bit. "I might learn really fast, but when it comes to something as simple as jumping a small river, well…" I point my finger back at my drenched clothes.

"Maybe it's nature's way of keeping balance."

"That can be a plausible theory," I respond, my bad mood dimming. "So you know my weakness, what is yours?"

"I believe you already met my two greatest weaknesses." The answer is so obvious. I see flashes of the field facing the Volturi; I even get a small glimpse of the throne room and what I believe was her as a human defending Edward.

"Nessie and Edward." When I asked the question, I was expecting something more like my physical weakness, but now that I think about it, it might be far more important than anything else.

"Yep, I would do anything for them, and it has gotten me in a heap of trouble." She chuckles. "But it's worth it."

Would it be possible to feel the kind of love where I would rather sacrifice myself than to let that loved one die? I can William's face, and know the answer simple is yes; I would, and so far I have proven that … and so has he.

"So, I imagine that Alice sent you to get me?" I need to get off the subject, because right now my thoughts of William are not very happy.

"She is still caught up with William," I give a small snarl, "but Alice is avenging you as we speak."

This takes me by surprise, and makes me laugh.

"How can Alice avenge me?"

"Oh she can be ruthless when she puts her mind to it—especially when it comes to fashion. You´ll see." That sends a small shiver down my spine, and her expression and tone of voice are not helping.

"So, what was that laughter I heard after my small incident?" I can just imagine what happened; I just want to know how bad it is.

"Well, when we saw William come into the house without you, some of the guys were curious if you could make the jump, so there was a little wager inside." Bella says, a little embarrassed.

"So who won?" I might as well enjoy it.

"Jasper and Edward; they have learned to listen to Alice. Plus Edward cheated, he saw you fall in the water through Alice's thoughts. Emmett didn't not consider him on the bet." I can see that she loves him—making excuses to get him out of trouble.

"Did William bet that I wouldn´t make it?" This surprises me. He would have known the answer; it would have been such an easy win.

"He didn´t even stay; he just went upstairs," Bella answers, and this make me curious. Why wouldn´t he bet? "What happened out there with you guys?" I can see she is curious, but honestly I don´t feel like talking about it; I am still trying to figure it out myself.

"I have no idea. I´ve never seen him like that." I get up, picking up my wet vest and my boots. "I might as well spare William the torture"

"It won´t be so bad; you might even enjoy it." Her expression is expressing otherwise.

There is a buzz coming from inside the house; it catches both Bella's and my attention. There's a new voice coming from inside that I don´t recognize.

"The Denali are here. Let´s go in and see what Eleazar makes out of you." Her face is full of excitement.

As we enter to the house, I see the backs of the new comers; there are two males and three females.

"Mi niña Bonita como has crecido," (translation: my beautiful girl, you have grown so much) one of the females is speaking with Nessie, with a wide smile in her face. They both seem happy to see each other.

Carlisle and Esme are greeting a strawberry blond. From my standpoint, I can only see her back, but I can see relief in Carlisle's face.

Edward is with a male and a female; Bella joins him and greets them as well.

The two Quileute are not here, and thank God, the stench has disappeared with them.

They all look happy together; I do not want to interrupt. Besides, I know Alice is expecting me. I swiftly walk towards the stairs so that my presence doesn´t interrupt any of the parties. When I reach the first step of the staircase I see Alice in the dining room together with Jasper; they are talking to a tall male. I have seen his face in Aro´s memory, and immediately know that the male is Eleazar.

He looks up as if my thoughts had called his name aloud. His golden eyes seem to search for something in my face, before he nods as if something has been revealed to him. Alice and Jasper turn and stare at me, while something in Eleazar thoughts attracts Edward's attention as well.

I look around the room; every vampire is staring at me.

William is suddenly by my side; he moved so quietly I didn´t even notice him arrive.

"Tanya, Kate, Garret, Carmen and Eleazar, this is William and Maya," Carlisle introduces in a formal but gentle voice. "Maya and William, this is the Denali coven."

"It is very nice to meet you all," William says politely, and I can´t detect any trace of his previous mood.

The front door opens and Jacob comes in. He looks around the room, his nose wrinkling in the process, stopping when his eyes fall on me. His eyes scan from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, where a small pool of water is forming.

"Maya, where in the world did you go hunting? Or is your vegetarian diet a strict fish diet?" His face is serious, indicating he was not in the house when the incident occurred.

Emmett laughs aloud, while the others—mainly the males—try disguising their amusement behind a cough.

My bad temper comes alive again. I can´t look at William; I don´t know what I'd do if he laughs. It'S his fault I'm in this current state.

I look at Tanya and put a wide smile on my face, ignoring Jacob's previous comment, and the laughter from the others.

"Nice to meet you, everyone." My voice is strained, but I still manage to keep the smile. "If you will please excuse me, I need to go upstairs and change. I will join you in a little while." I turn on my heels, and head toward the stairs. No one says anything. "Oh! And by the way, Jasper," I look back at him, not daring to look at the rest, especially William, "I will be expecting a cut on some of your most recent earnings." I turn back to the stairs holding my head up high.

"If you would please excuse me also," I hear Alice's singsong voice in the lower floor. "I should probably intercept her; otherwise, I'm certain I won´t be able to get her ready for the wedding."

I hear Emmett's laughter from the living room, followed by an "ouch" afterwards.

With a look of horror on my face, I catch sight of William before me; there is a smug smile on his face, which only infuriates me more.

I am tempted to run to the first room I see and lock myself in it.

"Maya, first, that would be childish. Second, that room you are looking at is Jasper's and mine, so it won´t do you any good. Third, there isn´t any lock on it, so come freely and I promise I will be nice to you." Alice is already beside me smiling, so hiding is out of the question now. "Besides, you shouldn´t get mad, how about just getting even?" she whispers in my ear so low I am certain nobody downstairs would have heard.

Now that is a proposition I can actually work with. My temper starts to come down.

"What is your plan?" I ask her with a doubtful smile.

"Oh … that's going to be a surprise." I can hear vengeance in her voice, and somehow now I am more than willing to play dress up under her wing.

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After a quick shower, Alice gave me a couple of dresses to try on. After careful review from her side, she decides on a light blue dress with one shoulder. It´s Greek style; it has a silver brooch on the shoulder, which makes it stand out from the other dresses that I have tried on. The fabric is light, and when Alice makes me walk up and down the little runway that she set up, it makes me look like I'm flowing. She allows me only a small glimpse in the mirror.

After she makes me take it off, she starts working on my hair with a blow dryer, arranging the curls in a fashionable way. I have never paid any attention to it; it is always just hanging straight down with some curls here and there. It helps that my hair has volume and that there is a great deal of it. It doesn´t usually look so bad, even if I don´t style it; especially since I didn´t have any hands to perform that activity, and William never really offered.

I look back at my hands, realizing how much I have missed them, while thinking of all of the things that I was never able to achieve.

After Alice finishes with my hair, she moves on to makeup. Even though I am a vampire and my skin is smooth, she still takes her time making sure it's just right, giving it some color to my pale complexion.

Bella, Nessie and Rosalie walk in. Rosalie gives me a look of approval, and Bella gives me a small smile.

"Looks like Alice really got in your head, and I mean it literally," Nessies says, standing behind me with a playful smile on her face that I catch through the reflection of the mirror.

"You look very nice," Bella says, looking at all the hair styling tools as if they were some kind of torture equipment.

"You were right, Alice, she will knock William socks off," Rosalie adds, checking out her image in the mirror; she already has her dress and make up on.

"Rosie, can you please start with Nessie´s hair, and don´t you whine. You know Charlie is going to be very happy to see you all dressed up, so suck it up," Alice says matter of factly, without raising her head from my face.

It's clear that she's not in the mood to discuss any kind of nonsense.

"Okay, Maya, you're done. Don´t go anywhere," Alice says, stepping away from me and smiling at the whole effect that she was able to create. "I don´t want to ruin the effect. We still need to get you in the dress, and then discuss shoes and jewelry." I wonder how she manages to put so much detail into my own look. I turn and see Bella; she just shrugs her shoulder. "Now Bella you're up, and please be an example for Nessie."

They both sit in the two chairs in front of the big mirror. Alice and Rosalie both work swiftly, while every now and then Alice checks Nessie´s hair and gives a satisfactory nod.

"It was very interesting what Eleazar said about you, Maya," Bella says, breaking the silence that was becoming rather uncomfortable.

This actually gets my attention. I'm only aware of what I can see thanks to Aro´s memories, but it would be interesting to know if there is something else. Besides, from what I know, Eleazar is the guy that can help me with that.

"I can show you," Nessie piped up, and extends her hand towards me.

"I think that Maya would rather hear about it," Alice says while not losing focus on her current work.

"Oh, sorry!" Nessie gives me an apologetic look

"Don´t worry about it." I was glad that Alice mentioned it. I didn´t want to be rude, but I didn´t want to risk it.

"You know what? I think it's better if Eleazar mentions this personally to Maya," Rosalie says, while looking at Nessie´s hair.

I'm curious, but listening to Eleazar would probably be more exciting, and not a small summary. I don´t want to miss any detail

"There, Nessie, you're done," Rosalie says, looking at Nessie´s copper hair arranged in a loose braid.

It's a look that actually makes her look younger. Nessie looks at the results and rolls her eyes.

"Okay, Bella, you're done with your makeup, now switch with Nessie. Rose, can you help me?" Alice smiles at her newest victim.

I get a glimpse of Bella, she looks stunning, and her hair is not done yet.

"Sure," Rosalie answers, as she analyzes Bella´s hair.

"So what are the guys doing?" I ask finally, remembering the rest of the family.

"Oh don´t worry, Alice already has them working on a few errands," Rosalie adds, giving a conspiratory to Bella and Nessie.

"Yeah, is going to look perfect," Alice says, pausing and looking nowhere specifically.

"Too bad it is so windy at the beach. Sue really had her heart set on saying her vows there," Bella says, her face falling.

"It is going to rain, so there'sno point in ever setting up there. Right Alice?" Nessie asks trying to look back at Alice, as Alice anticipates her move.

"Don´t worry, she's still going to love it." Alice's voice is full of certainty.

"Good thing about the defrosting of the mountain," Nessie says. My stand tenses and Nessie doesn´t miss it. "sorry, Maya, I didn´t mean it like that, you´ll see."

"Okay, you're done," Alice says smiling at the whole effect of Nessie's hair and makeup. "Now you know the instructions, no fidgeting, no changing it, and above all, don´t spoil it. Got it?"

Nessie looks back seriously and nods.

Alice quickly starts working on herself. She's an expert, finishing in much less time than it took her to finish just one of us.

"You're done, Bella," Rosalie says,looking at Bella´s hair which is in a complicated up do.

She looks very pretty.

I can see Bella looking at the mirror; her expression is so obvious. I don´t need any kind of mind reading skills to know that she thinks she looks ridiculous. Honestly, the hair gives her a regal look, and the make-up gives her pale complexion a little more life. Actually, it does for all of us.

"Charlie is here. Come on, Bella and Nessie, I'll need your help. He's a little nervous." Alice grabs Bella and Nessie´s hand and does a quick turn to look back at me. "Maya, you stay here."

It is just Rosalie and me. I stand up to have a closer look in the mirror. I like what I am seeing, and I can´t help smiling at my reflection. My face finally has some color and with the makeup, those dark circles that permanently live around my eyes have finally disappeared. I have somehow managed to look more human. My hair is finally done in a way that complements me.

I start to picture myself in the blue dress that Alice has decided I should wear, but I see a silhouette that is standing next to me, I take a second look, which is a mistake. Next to me is Rosalie fully dressed; her hair and make-up are done to perfection. The long red dress hugs her curves; she looks like a statuesque, and next to her, is me. I am such a little thing; I don´t even manage to reach her shoulder. I just sigh. This is the best that I remember looking, and somehow compared to Rosalie … I am nothing.

Thanks, Rosalie, for that reality check.

"Why are you really here, Maya?" She looks at me.

It stops my train of thought, and I suddenly feel overpowered by her height and attitude.

"What do you mean?" I ask as she continues lookng straight into my eyes.

I back away a couple of steps; I can´t help it..

"Well, wouldn´t it have been wiser not to come here. I mean, you're going to bring the Volturi right back to our doorstep." Her expression is menacing. "We should probably just kick both of you out. I mean, we don´t know for sure if you are working with Aro undercover, or if his real plan is for you to come here and learn our abilities so that latter he can take you back to his troops and then come and kill us all."

"I don´t … that is not …." I stammer, because there is so much truth in her words.

"Rose, stop!" I look at the door. It's Edward. "There is no need for that!" His voice is threatening.

"You heard what Eleazar said." Her voice is full of anger. "Do you want to put Nessie in that kind of trouble?"

"I said enough, Rosalie!" His voice is commanding, almost a growl.

"We…no, I should probably go." I stand up. "She is so right; I should leave now. I am only putting everybody in danger. William can stay. He'll be safe here, and I don´t think they'll advance if it's just him. I just need to make sure that Aro knows that I'm not here."

Rosalie turns away and leaves the room.

"Maya, stop thinking like that." Edward's voice is much softer. "What Eleazar said is a possibility, but there are a thousand of possibilities that might or might not happen."

I stare at the floor still thinking of Rosalie's words.

"Rose, she is overprotective, she cares too much for us—especially Emmett and Nessie. Her feelings are right where they should be, but she is not seeing the whole picture. Sooner or later the Volturi will come. I'd rather have an ally now and be prepared, than just wait as sitting ducks. You got that?" He lifts my chin so that I am looking into his eyes. I know that he means every word that he's telling me.

I nod, even though I can´t quite get a grip of it.

"Would you leave William alone, unprotected to wait for the Volturi to come and kill him?" I shake my head, just the simple thought of William in danger makes me anxious. "Or would you find any means necessary to keep him alive?"

I nod.

Why can´t I find my words.

"Good, then we are on the same page." He smiles.

Alice walks into the room; her face is serious, mad, but not necessarily at me.

"I´m sorry, Edward, I didn´t see that coming," she adds, looking apologetically at him.

"No need to apologize. Rose didn´t make the decision until she saw Maya alone with her."

"Thank you, Edward." Her mood is lighter. "Now I need to finish prepping Maya, so would you mind? There are a couple of good looking girls down the hall looking for you," she says, smiling and winking at him.

Edward smiles and moves to leave the room. I remain meditating over what Edward said.

"And, Maya, for the record, you and William are considered our allies. Don´t forget that." He grabs the door by the handle and closes it.

"What did I say?" Alice looks at me,

I grab my hair and twist one strand of it around my finger. "I´m sorry?" She'd caught me off guard.

No fidgeting, no changing it, and above all, don´t spoil it. So stop doing that" She points with her finger towards my hand.

"Oh, sorry." I open my hand and release it as if it was a burning pot.

"And don´t you dare skip out on us, Maya. I will know if you think it. I´ve got my eyes on you, so don´t do anything foolish, got it?" I nod. "Good, now put on your dress…"

I do as I'm told, and as soon as it's on, she zips it up.

"Put on these shoes…"She throws me a pair of sky rocket high heels that matches the light blue color of the dress. I look back at her seeing if she is kidding, but she's not even looking at me. "No, I am not kidding, and you´ll do just fine. Put on these earrings and this bracelet, and for God sakes, wear the blue satin gloves. Those black ones are killing me," she says, throwing all the things at me.

I do as she says, and by the time I'm done, I look up at the mirror in front of me. I'm no longer the short thing with the straight hair and the woven gloves. I know it's me, but can a little make up and a nice dress really do this?

"Maya, you are beautiful. You just need a little push into vanity once in a while," Alice says, standing next to me. She looks gorgeous in her lilac dress. "So let´s go and get even with William, shall we."

"How is this going to translate into getting even?" I swap my hand across my body.

"Believe me, this is going to be way above getting even," she says smiling. "Just play a little bit hard to get." She looks at my face. "But just a little, we don´t want him to leave, now do we?"

I nod, not understanding a word of what she means.

...

Next update is Schedule in two weeks.

On a quick note, thank you very much for nominating the story Solstice for the 2013 TwiFic Fandom Awards, I really appreciate the trust that you have in me and hopefully I can keep up with your expectations.