Edward/Bella. Edward POV. Reality turns on its ear and you have no choice but to forget everything you think you know about Twilight. Is it AU? I guess you'll just have to read to find out.
6. A Wicked Betrayal
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PART SIX: A Wicked Betrayal
It wasn't hard to find them, not when it was just a matter of following the loudest thoughts. They were arguing, that made it even easier. From what I could gather, Isabel had shared what I'd told her, and now they were debating whether I should come with them. I wound my way through what revealed itself to be a rickety farmhouse, stepping through the open front door onto the porch.
"No, Emmett." Isabel shook her head, vehement.
"He's got a point, Iz." It was so odd, to hear Rosalie standing in as the voice of reason. She had maturity in this reality that I could only wish she might find in mine.
"Given the circumstances, I can't blame him for holding his cards close to the vest." Emmett thought his sister was being irrational. I couldn't disagree, but then I was biased.
"He lied. I don't trust him." The emotion was clear in her voice, I'd hurt her. That I had been justified didn't matter. However, there would be time for regret later.
"It's a little late for that, Isabel." Emmett didn't use her full name very often, it got her attention. "You're the one that brought him to us. And for what it's worth, he seems like a stand-up guy to me." Bless you, Emmett. "If he can give us an advantage, then why the hell would you want to throw that away?"
"He's listening to us right now, you know," Isabel growled through clenched teeth.
"We are talking about him." Rose's voice was mild, amused, as she glanced my way.
"My apologies." I stepped forward, nearing where Rosalie and Emmett sat on the steps, facing Isabel. "I realize I was less than forthcoming, but I couldn't be sure my life wasn't in danger by merely being here." Isabel made a face, and I quirked an eyebrow at her. "I am a human surrounded by vampires."
"You were in no danger," Isabel said stiffly. She could say what she wanted, I knew better than anyone exactly how much danger I was in. Had in fact made the decision to stay with just that in mind.
"Jake is." All three of them turned their eyes to me. "And the longer we discuss this, the harder it becomes to save him."
Emmett made up his mind, rising to his feet. "I'm going after Jake. Edward, if you want a ride, you've got one. Rose?" She was already beside him, slipping her hand into his. "Izzy?" I watched her, with no way of knowing what thoughts were going through her head.
Her eyes rested on me, and I gazed back, willing her to let go of her anger long enough to save the missing member of their family. Hurt warred with her innate desire to forgive, and at last she nodded. "Fine. Let's go."
Vampires didn't arm themselves to go to war, they simply did so. In a matter of moments we were racing through the trees, an experience I found more odd than exhilarating. I remembered too well what it was like to do the running. Being reduced to so much baggage was surreal, and a bit insulting.
They were following Jacob's scent, I could tell from Emmett's thoughts that Jake had done little to conceal himself. It concerned him. He regretted taking a step back, letting Jake make decisions while he concentrated on his marriage to Rose. I wished I could have offered him some comfort, but I had little to give. Rosalie, on the other hand, was a bastion of determined strength of will, a silent shadow in the trees to his right. Once Emmett had made his decision, all of her doubts melted away. She would follow him to the last, with no hesitation and no regrets.
This love of theirs was a beautiful thing, fierce and uncompromising.
That thought drew my eyes to the darkness on Emmett's left where Isabel ran, fleet as a doe. I wished again that I could know her thoughts, I needed to know what she was thinking, I needed to be sure she wouldn't do something unwise.
All at once, I was aware of Jake again. After that first searing cry for help, the connection had faded, the distance too great for me to hold on to his frantic thoughts. But now we were finally in range again, and what I could hear was grim. They were toying with him, I could feel it. Running him between them like cats playing with a mouse. His state of mind was odd. I'd never known Jacob Black to succumb to panic as he had now. He was fearful, unnerved, jumping at shadows and making stupid mistakes. It just didn't make sense.
"Something's wrong," I said quietly into Emmett's ear. "Jake's behavior... it's strange." I felt him slow up a bit, a questioning thought coming in from Rosalie as she followed suit. Emmett was struggling, debating whether to leave Jacob to his fate, whether walking into a Volturi trap was worth the risk to his sister and his wife. I didn't envy him his choice, and I couldn't immediately say what I would decide in his place.
Just ahead was a small clearing drenched in moonlight, the clouds given way enough to allow the moon to show her full face. Isabel stood at the tree line, her back to us. We drew closer, and I could see that she was trembling. Jacob Black's fractured thoughts led in the direction she was facing. Was it fear, then? Was Isabel afraid for him?
Emmett slowed to a walk, and I slid down from his back, trying to move as silently as they did. I listened hard, counting the number of minds that waited in the clearing. Seven, it seemed, including Jacob. Six hunters... it was all I could do not to tell them all to run. Six... and there was something bothering me. Something tugging at the back of my mind, wanting desperately for me to recognize it. But my thoughts were filled with Isabel, racing to figure out how I could get her safely away from this death trap.
A few more steps, and suddenly I knew why Isabel trembled. It wasn't fear that held her, it was fury. A huge silver wolf struggled in the moonlight, anchored to the ground with chains as thick as my arm. Depthless black eyes rolled toward us as he seized one of the chains in teeth like daggers, but his bindings did no more than shift, taunting him with a discordant chime. Near his head stood a cloaked figure, the hood of his robe thrown back to reveal a tumble of honey-blonde curls. As we joined Isabel at the clearing's edge, he turned... and I felt my heart seize in my chest.
Jasper. It was Jasper who stood by Jacob Black's head, toying with his emotions to cloud his mind. Jasper who stood there, watching us coolly with the dull red eyes of a vampire that drank human blood. It was not that which horrified me the most. It was the knowledge that Jasper was not alone.
"Hello Cullens!" Alice's high, sweet voice carried throughout the clearing. "I'm so glad you finally arrived to the party." She simply appeared, wearing a cloak to match Jasper's. The moonlight caressed the pale skin of her face like a lover, lingering in the wine-colored eyes that also matched her mate's.
Hands on her hips, she smiled, and it was a terrible thing to behold. "We've been expecting you."
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- 14 May 08
- 14 May 08