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L'Heure Bleue

Summary:
L'heure bleue, the blue hour: Rosalie and Emmett didn't wait until September to return to Forks. Instead, they came back in August -- and, unfortunately for Bella and the other Cullens, they didn't come back alone. Bella and Rosalie get thrown together when a new and unexpected enemy arrives in Forks. When their freedom -- and their lives -- are in danger, can Rosalie's animosity last? Set Post-Twilight; it's my version of the events following that novel. Pre-New Moon.


Notes:


10. Windblown

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3915   Review this Chapter

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Part Nine
WINDBLOWN

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As I noticed when I peeked out of my window earlier this morning, there was no shiny, silver Volvo parked on my street. I wasn’t surprised, especially since Edward told me that he’d arrived shortly before dawn and there was no way he could leave his car out there for Charlie to see when he left, but that didn’t mean that I was pleased at what the missing vehicle implied. In fact, I was the opposite of pleased and the way I rolled my eyes and huffed as Edward led me out the front door told him that.

There was an innocent twinkle in his golden eyes. "Anything wrong, Bella?"

Unlike before, when he’d asked me something similar to that, I knew he wasn’t anywhere near as concerned as he was currently pretending to be. He didn’t need to read my mind to know that I wasn’t glad to see that he was at my house sans-Volvo.

"No car again, I see."

"Is that so?" He narrowed his gaze at the empty stretch of street before us. Then, feigning anger—I’d seen Edward really angry so it was easy to tell that he was pretending—he pointed one of his long and pale fingers at my curb. "Wow, Bella, you’re right. It looks like, this time, someone stole my car," he quipped, surprising me by making a blatant reference to Phoenix when he had to steal a car in order to save me from James in time.

"And with this stunning piece of machinery right here, too," he continued, teasing me by gesturing right at my old truck. Sure, it was pretty beat up looking but I’m pretty sure I could take on his fancy, shiny car. Maybe not in a race or anything but, if we ever got in an accident, my Chevy would definitely take his Volvo out.

"Hey," I said, frowning. I took more offense that he was making fun of my car than that he was ribbing me. "My truck’s a classic, any car thief would be lucky to get in it."

"Not much of a get away when the stolen vehicle can’t climb above 55, Bella."

I ignored that. Besides, if Edward was in as good of a mood that he could tease me when a potential threat was heading towards Forks, well, I figured I could afford to take a couple of shots back. All in the name of love, of course.

"Okay, then, Mr. I-Can-Read-Minds, if someone stole your car, why don’t you use your mind reading to find out who did it?"

He seemed mildly pleased that I was carrying on with his charade. That intrigued me a little, and made me a little suspicious. Edward wasn’t one to boast about his special abilities, especially since it was one that I was immune to. But now… he was smiling—alright, smirking smugly, but still. It was almost as if all of this was a show, that he was acting much sillier than usual to keep my mind off of something.

And, as he kept on talking—saying the magic word ‘Charlie’ as he did—it definitely worked.

"I could do that but it wouldn’t be fair to deprive Charlie… I mean Police Chief Swan… of the opportunity to hunt down a car thief. I doubt he gets to see much action in Forks. It’ll be good for him to sharpen his crime-fighting skills, don’t you think?" he added, still managing to sound as innocent as possible. I don’t know why he doesn’t go out for the drama club or anything; his amazingly good looks aside, Edward would have no trouble getting the lead in any production.

I also didn’t know what was funnier at that moment: that he seemed so sincere when suggesting that Charlie would be able to track down this hypothetical grand theft auto maniac better than he would, or that he seemed to think that Charlie had any so-called ‘crime-fighting’ skills to begin with. Of the two, I guess it had to be the latter; the idea of my dad in a superhero costume, running off to nab evil wrongdoers, was just too great to pass up. I had to laugh.

Trying my best to stifle my chuckles—I didn’t want Edward to think he won—I tried to steer the subject back around to his conveniently stolen car. "So, you want to go find Charlie and tell him someone took your Volvo?"

He smiled back at me. "Absolutely. Though, now that I think about it, I wonder if that’s the best idea."

Edward left his sentence there, dangling in front of me like so much bait. As he must have known I would have, I took a bite. "And why’s that?"

"He is the chief of police in a small town, Bella. Sure, he knows all about crime but, you have to admit, he does seem to have an excess of time on his hands." Bowing his head in my direction, he waited to see my reaction to his assessment of Charlie’s job.

I nodded my head and shrugged my shoulders. His description was pretty spot on.

He continued, "Now, who’s to say that he’s not the one who made off with my vehicle?"

My eyebrow arched, unsure where he was going with this. Hypothetical scenarios or not, I had a hard time imagining my dad as any kind of thief—he even pays for all of his cable!

"Are you telling me that you think Charlie stole your car?"

Edward grinned widely and I knew he meant no harm. "Well, in his defense, it would make it more difficult for me to be around as often if I didn’t have my own means of transportation."

It wasn’t difficult to understand just what he was implying. Considering that Charlie unfairly blamed Edward for my running off on him back in March, I wasn’t surprised—just bothered—that he treated Edward a touch unkinder than he should. He didn’t even have to be able to read my dad’s mind to know that he wished Edward would just disappear; his open hostility at times was unmistakable.

Shaking my head, kind of uncomfortable as I thought of the stubborn way that Charlie could act, I didn’t meet his gaze. "That’s just Charlie," I told him, hoping I could believe my words, "he’ll come around." After all, Charlie was going to have to accept Edward sooner or later if he wanted me to stay with him in his house in Forks. As far as I was concerned, me and Edward were a package deal.

If only he knew the truth, if only my dad had any idea just how much I loved Edward Cullen and how far I was prepared to go to be with him forever… but who am I kidding? It was bad enough, in Charlie’s eyes, that Edward was a boy who taking all of his only child’s—his only daughter’s—attention. Charlie would never be able to handle the fact that the Cullens he thought so highly of were a family of vampires.

Hey, at least then he would finally know that his old friend, Billy Black, wasn’t completely full of it all along…

I was jerked suddenly out of my thoughts by the gently yet cool feel of his finger as he lightly touched my cheek. He drew my focus back to him. There was a reassuring smile on his beautiful face and, in that way he had that made me question his certainty that he couldn’t read my mind, he murmured, "I’m not all that worried about Charlie, Bella. You’re right, he’ll get used to my presence in time, I’m sure."

His smile turned teasing as he brought his hand down low before reaching it out in front of him. Our fingers brushed once before he used his longer fingers to entangle mine, ensnaring them in his trap. Wordlessly, he twisted his hand this way and that; when he’d finished, he had my sweaty, clammy hand—he never complained at the thin sheen that was ever present—held firmly in his.

"Until then," he added, "shouldn’t we be glad that my entire family already loves you and accepts you for who you are? Bella, my beautiful love—"

Trying not to blush my pleasure, I quickly interrupted, "And don’t forget clumsy."

"—beautiful, clumsy love," he amended,his eyes twinkling. He lifted out entwined hands up into the air so he could kiss my knuckles with his smooth lips.

My heart was beating double time in my chest, my skin burning where his cool lips made contact. He was looking down at me with such adoration on his godlike features that I almost didn’t notice that small, niggling feeling in the pit of my stomach; the feeling that reminded me that, no matter how much we both wished his words were true, he was lying. I did notice it, though, and it was a little bit of a killjoy.

I should have kept my mouth shut then. There was no reason to upset Edward. But I didn’t; I guess I just couldn’t forget it. For me, this sweet moment was only soured by the dark and distant look she’d given me yesterday. I just couldn’t believe his lie that his entire family was so accepting of me as one of them.

"Except for Rosalie, you mean." I turned my head away from him, the words muttered before I knew it.

I immediately felt guilty when, after I dared a glance back in his direction, I saw that the spark had gone out of his eyes. Sighing, he lowered our hand but he did not remove his heavy gaze from the side of my face. Edward couldn’t deny his sister’s intense dislike of me any more than he could explain it to me.

"Rosalie," he murmured quietly, though I’m positive there was a hint of a huff directed towards his sister, "she’ll come around, too… eventually."

"Eventually is good," I agreed, giving his hand a tight squeeze as I smiled up at him. I didn’t want him to know how much it upset me that there was that undeniable friction between Edward and Rosalie caused by my presence in his life. All that mattered, really, was that we were happy together.

And, besides, I still had Alice.

My smile relaxed him and the sudden damper on the mood caused by thoughts of Rosalie seemed to fade. He gave me a quick grin then and, loosening his grip on my hand, he expertly used his light grasp to lift me in the air. My stomach dropped at once but, a split second later, I was settling on his suddenly crouching back.

"Edward!"

I hadn’t been expecting him to do that; I just barely managed to hang on, wrapping both my arms and legs around him like an overexcited spider monkey.

As I clung to my perch, preparing myself (and my foolishly full stomach) for what was to come, it suddenly occurred to me that my earlier suspicion was true. All that playful banter had been to keep my mind off of the journey to the Cullens house that was to come. I never believed that his car was stolen. It just was nice to think that, for once, he’d actually planned on travelling through Forks in a way that didn’t make me sick.

Clinging as tightly to him as I could, I huffed and closed my eyes, hiding my face in his neck. He smelled good, definitely, but his delectable scent wasn’t doing my suddenly queasy stomach any favors.

At least when we were driving in his car and he was topping one hundred, the Volvo itself acted as an illusion of safety. When he was running around with me on his back, there was just me, him and the tree. Edward would survive, of course, and maybe even the tree… but me? I’d never have a chance.

I definitely preferred it when he kissed me into forgetting my motion sickness. Telling me his car was missing and slyly blaming Charlie had been too sneaky and, without any kisses at all, I was being carried again. That wasn’t very fair.

"Hold on tight, Bella. We wouldn’t want you falling now, would we?"

I grimaced. He didn’t see. "That’s not funny, Edward."

The only response he gave me was a very hearty chuckle before he started to run.

He ran so fast that, when I kept my eyes closed tight, the only way I could tell that we were actually moving was the feel of my hair streaming behind me and the whipping wind stinging my poor cheeks. The red tinge from the windburn was the only time my albino-pale skin ever held any color but it wasn’t worth the trade-off.

Now, I trusted him more than anyone else I knew. I was certain that he would never let me get hurt while he all but flew through the woods and around the trees that made up the too-green Forks. But still… you never know. What if he tripped? He couldn’t always be so graceful. Hanging around me was bound to rub off on him sooner or later.

I swallowed back a small shriek as I felt him leap in the air. No doubt he was attempting to jump over a fallen log or something in his path; whatever it was, it felt like we were flying. I squeezed him tighter, wishing the run was over already. When he ran around with me on his back like I was nothing more than luggage, that was the only time I ever wished I wasn’t with him. I definitely wouldn’t have minded driving my truck over if he’d wanted me to.

Shoot, I would have happily agreed to let him drive if he wanted to. That was how much his speed both terrified and sickened me.

A tiny voice in the back of my head asked me what it would be like when I—if Edward finally agreed—became a vampire. I pushed it aside. I did know one thing, though: when I was a vampire, I wouldn’t show off by running this fast. Sure, I’d be more graceful and definitely sturdier but I wasn’t quite sure that I wouldn’t still get motion sick.

In a desperate bid to keep my mind off of the exhilarated and carefree way that Edward laughed out loud as he incredibly increased his pace, I wondered if vampires even get motion sickness. I doubted it but, then again, when I was a vampire, I’d probably find a way to get ill.

And, to be honest, I was still trying to wrap my mind around the necessity of drinking animal blood once he finally relented and changed me. Hopefully, by then, I could convince myself that the rusty, salty smell didn’t really bother me as much as I imagined it did.

Positive thinking could do wonders. It was just a pity that nothing I told myself could make these journeys with him any easier.

I sighed and, over the sound of the whipping wind, I heard the clear sound of Edward’s amused chuckle.

"What?" I hollered, yelling needlessly. I could have whispered and Edward, his head as close to mine as it was, would have heard me easily.

My ears, though, were nowhere near as sensitive as his. When he answered me, he too had to yell. "Your breath, Bella. It tickles."

"I’m sorry. I’ll try not to breathe again."

He laughed again, leaving me to wonder if my sarcasm was lost on him or not. "Please do. I like the warmth on my neck, it feels nice."

Purposely exhaling as slowly as I could, I nuzzled my cheek against the back of his neck. It was icy cool, creating a soothing contrast to the sticky, humid heat of the woods. It was still early morning—maybe ten o’clock or so—and the damp dew from dawn still covered many of the tree’s leaves. Every now and then, a drop or two would fall on my head and shoulders. It was an overcast morning and I was waiting for the rain to fall.

It held off for the run to the Cullens house, at least, though I knew it wouldn’t last much longer. By the time we broke through the trees, and his quick pace slowed so much so that I felt brave enough to open my eyes again, I saw that the clouds above us had turned a very dark grey color. Thunderstorms were coming.

I groaned. Considering how far off the beaten path the Cullens lived, it was always nice for it to be a beautiful, sunny day when I knew I was staying there for the afternoon. Because of Edward’s propensity to sparkle in direct sunlight—one of his many vampire attributes—we couldn’t really go out on one of Forks rare sunny days. However, he was more than willing to relax outside with me, basking in the sun, when we were tucked away safely in their sanctuary.

But, no. Not today. I guess the weather borough didn’t get the notice that we were staying in today. Instead of a tiny glimpse of sun, I was confronted with clouds the color of dark grey and sickly purple. There was going to be one doozy of a storm today.

Edward heard my groan and, now that he had slowed his run to a gentle trot as we approached the great white house, he turned his head so that I could easily stare at his flawless profile. He raised an eyebrow.

I gave him a half-smile, interpreting his confused expression easily. "I was hoping that we might see some sun today," I explained.

"Almost a whole year in Forks and you haven’t grown accustomed to all this lovely rain yet, Bella?"

He was teasing and I knew it but that didn’t mean I was going to hide my slight scowl. I would live in rain cloud for all eternity if it meant I could stay with Edward but… well, it was nice to see sun rays every now and again. Not to mention, it was pretty amazing to watch his marble-like skin shine like a diamond in sunlight.

I shook my head. "I feel like a sponge. It just rains so much here."

"I’ll do my best to keep you dry," he promised earnestly, sounding serious all of a sudden. It was almost as if he was promising to keep me safe all over again.

Quickly, I tried think of something to change the subject. The last thing I needed today was to be reminded just how serious this afternoon might be. It was much better to pretend like this was just another day, that I was just going over to the Cullens because, otherwise, I would be home alone without Charlie.

I thought of Charlie briefly, and of the coming rain. He would probably be home way before I was. I just hope the lure of a fresh tuna casserole was enough for him to forgive me for leaving him alone again.

Edward was still looking at me, sincerity written all over his face. I felt a rush of affection for him, like I always did, before tearing my attention from his hypnotizing eyes. We were a few hundred feet from the house and, even though I had weak human eyes, I was petty sure I saw someone waiting out on the front porch. They were tiny and, as I squinted my eyes, I was pretty sure I could make out a shock of dark hair.

"Is that… is that Alice on your porch?"

As soon as I said her name, the little figure that sat there suddenly jumped up as if she was resting on a spring. "Bella!"

Edward didn’t look surprised at all to see his sister. He stopped for a second, nodding his greeting to her—or, perhaps, answering some unsaid question, I wasn’t sure—before lowering himself down so that he was nearly kneeling on the damp grass. I took that as my cue to dismount. Thank goodness.

Once I was standing on my feet again—and, admittedly, resisting the urge to kiss the ground I walked on—Edward moved his right arm so that it was slung lightly around my waist. He knew me too well. My legs were definitely wobbly from the rush of his run and, without his support, it was very possible that I might have fallen.

"Alice," I greeted her, waving my hand energetically as I smile. She was waving just as happily back at me as Edward and I walked over to meet her on the porch.

When we arrived right before her, Alice reached out exuberantly and threw her arms around me. Her golden eyes, just as bright and lively as Edward’s, were twinkling as she gave me a hug. "I’m so glad you’re here!"

It was always so nice to be received by Alice Cullen. Not only was she so adorable, with her petite stature and her pixie-cut hairstyle, but she was so honest and bubbly. If she said that she was glad I was here, I believed her immediately. And, even though she was a vampire, she wasn’t afraid to handle me; unlike Edward, she wasn’t afraid that a simply hug would break me in half.

I gave her a quick hug back, taking great care not to glance at Edward. As soon as Alice threw herself at me, Edward had gently removed his arm and taken a step back, giving me and Alice space. I knew that, if I dared look at him, there would be a disapproving expression on his face. He didn’t appreciate it when his family—well, Alice—treated me so carelessly. It was a bit obnoxious really.

"Me, too," I answered, unable to contain my smile. I almost wanted to ask her how she knew I would be coming since she obviously was waiting but, before I even asked, I had the answer. No doubt Edward had, after talking it over with his family last night, told them that he would be returning with me in tow.

Then again, this was Alice. It was entirely possible that his decision to bring me back was impulsive, a result of his tendency to overreact, but there was never any hiding things from Alice. In fact, I don’t think there were any secrets in the Cullen household. When there was a psychic and a mind reader in the family, secrets were definitely difficult to have.

Pulling back, Alice reached one of her tiny, pale fingers out and reached for a lock of my hair. "A more natural approach to blow drying your hair, Bella?"

I felt my cheeks heat up as I imagined how awfully windblown my hair looked. I’d never bothered pulling it back after taking my shower and now, after running through half of the wooded area of Forks, it must be all over the place. I just hoped Alice had a brush I could borrow.

But, then again, this was Alice. I’d probably be better off walking around like Cousin It than let the makeover queen get anywhere in the vicinity of me and a hairbrush. Who knows what would happen then.

I had the sudden image of me wearing more make-up than a beauty queen with hair done up like a frou-frou poodle. Reaching behind me to pat my hair self-consciously, I tried to hide a shudder. "I guess you could say that, Alice," I said, grimacing. "You know those girls who ride around in a convertible, speeding in the wind with both their hair and the top down?"

Grinning impishly at me as she eyed the mess that was obviously my hair, Alice nodded. "Oh, yes."

"That’s what running with your speed demon brother is like."

I know I sounded bitter but Alice seemed to get my point. At any rate, she definitely laughed. And Edward… he looked as if he had conveniently missed the entire exchange.