Following their triumph over the events that plagued them, Bella and Edward face a new enemy together. An enemy that lives only in myths and archives kept by the most ancient of the vampires.
This is only where I have come to in this story as of yet. There is much more to come. Enjoy.
1. Chapter 1 through 4
Rating 5/5 Word Count 13846 Review this Chapter
I was standing with the professor and Edward in the small library of the professor's home. It was a cramped room, with an unused fireplace stacked full of books inside the hearth. Books seemed to be pouring out of every crevice of this room.
Edward and I were here to talk to the professor, but our pursuers were bearing down on us with every passing moment. As the professor dug through the massive piles of information, desperately searching for the answers to our questions, I could feel the tension in Edward growing. I could also feel the proximate between us and those that wanted us was getting closer. The tension was getting so great that a ringing broke out in my ears.
Edward turned to me, grabbing me by the shoulders. "Bella, stay here." I tried to interject, but he continued, "No," he said, "listen to me,please. I will lead them away from here. You stay here and hide with the Doctor, until they have gone. Find the answers we were sent here to get."
I nodded with my eyes closed, and my lips pressed thin. I could barely feel my own body through all the fear. I had no words for him other than "I love you." And I obeyed his weighty command.
Edward darted from the room so quickly that I am sure Dr. Martinez wasn't able to follow him with his mortal eyes. The doctor reached for me leaning over the coffee table made from books piled together, and led me out of the room. He pushed me hurriedly, but gently into a smaller room down the hall from this library. There was barely enough room for me to stand, let alone hide. Books were pouring from every corner of this closet of a room as well.
The ringing, God, the ringing! My ears seemed to pound with a pressure that was building more and more, as every second ticked by. I began to feel a sick knot forming in my stomach. I vaguely remember that this is what it felt like to have the human stomach flu. I fought against the agony to keep myself together.
The doctor ushered himself across the hall from me, in my line of sight, and seated himself behind a desk, moving books from the seat to do so. It was as if he was waiting for those that were hunting us. Like he was waiting for a patient, or a client. No fear was in his eyes for himself, but he knew what this would mean for me. Death.
Still having the impulse to breath in gasps like an excited human, I found myself hyperventilating. Stop. I took a step back into my own mind, and remembered that this was all a façade. This human reaction was only in my mind. I found my center and tried to crouch as closely as I could to the wardrobe that was positioned against the wall in front of me. I could still see the doctor. He didn't look up to make sure I was concealed. He held his gaze at the desk and the clutter that crowded it.
The ringing was deafening. I couldn't hear the doctors heartbeat any more, because of it's strength. It felt as if the pressure all around me was starting to build in my head, like an over inflated balloon. God, please make it stop!
BANG! The front door flew open, and there was a gust of wind that blew throughout the entire house, blowing papers and notebooks with it. A sharp smell, like decaying meat and sewage quickly crept into the air all around me. Shadows seemed to move through the house by themselves. In large shapes of men, larger than Jacob and the other unnaturally large Quilliute men. Climbing the walls higher and higher as they combed down the hallway walls toward me and the doctor. I froze in fear. Frozen like an alabaster statue that was carved in place.
Now, the doctor moved. He stood as if greeting a guest. He motioned with one hand for what must have been a chair, but obscured from my view by the hallway wall. He spoke in a language that I did not recognize, it sounded french, and latin in combination. His guest must have been large in stature, because Dr. Martinez was now looking up towards the ceiling, as if looking at the light overhead.
He appeared nervous, but was holding his composure. The shadow inside the room seemed satisfied with what information was given by Dr. Martinez, and turned for the door. The professor snuck a glance in my direction, to make sure that I was hidden out of sight. And with that infinitesimal gesture, the shadow froze on the other side of the wall, and turned violently back in the doctors direction.
Angry sounds and growls were erupting from this creature now. I knew instantly that it must have realized that the doctor was hiding something. Someone. Me. What do I do, I wondered to myself. Was I fast enough to make a break for it? Edward left me here, hoping to draw a diversion to himself, but now I was alone to fight. I would not be enough, I felt, even with my abilities. My shield was only strong enough to thwart a mental attack.
I could hear claws clacking together like metallic bones scraping against themselves. The creature was taking deep inhales like a hound, trying to catch the scent of his game. I could hear it's breath becoming more labored, and it's pulse quickened. Surely, it must be demanding of the doctor my whereabouts.
Dr. Martinez was shaking his head, mumbling, "no, no, no." He was backing up for the door, but the wheeled office chair behind him was an obstacle that slowed his retreat just enough. A long arm of a trench coat reached out for the Professor and snatched him over the desk, yanking him off both of his feet. I heard a gurgle of fluid in his throat, and then the sharp snap of bones. His feet went limp instantly, no longer fighting his attacker.
Just then, the creature dropped the doctor, like a toddler finished with a toy, and turned toward the hallway. I couldn't find the strength to run for it. I could only watch in horror as the shadow shrank against the far wall of the office. Slowly it went from this towering figure to that of an average man.
"Come out, come out. Where. Ever. You. Are." , he sang with an accent near that of spanish, but not familiar to me.
"We know you are here, Princess.", I could hear a smile in his voice now. "No harm will come to you, we need only to talk."
I could hear that the voice was closer to me, he was in the hallway. Right on the other side of that one wall. How I wished that wall would be enough to protect me now.
"Oh, sweethea…..", he broke off, as if hearing something that drew his attention. I could hear a commotion now outside, and voices, the same deep voices that this now sweet voice calling for me had been only moments ago.
He was frozen now, only inches from discovering my hiding place in plain sight. I tried to calm myself, for surely if I made a run for it now, I would be finished.
There were suddenly two more of these strangers in the hallway. I could hear hands, large hands on the walls of the hallway. Low grumbling and maniacal voices were discussing something urgent in that same unfamiliar language.
Just as suddenly as they had entered the house, they were gone. No sounds, but rushing wind and a door slamming shut.
I turned to climb out the small window behind me, and came face to face with his eyes, only inches from my own. I hissed and jumped back ready to defend myself. It was Edward. He wrapped his left arm around my waist, pushed open the window slowly , so that now sound came from the aging swollen wood of the frame, and just like that we were out of the house.
From the other side of the house, seemed like acres away, I could hear the growling and yelling start up, and then realized instantly that they must have known that we had made our escape. They were back on our trail.
"They killed him, Edward. They killed him before I could find out anything.", I whimpered.
Not all hope could be lost, could it?
This was something new to me. Smelling her symphony of fragrances mixed in with the bouquet that naturally surrounded us. She made the beauty here even more powerful. I've waited one hundred and fifty years for this, but she was more than even I had ever dreamed of.
From up here in the trees, I had a clear view of her. Her brown hair had a ruby-like glow in the broken beams of the sun that cascaded down from the canopy of the jungle around us. When she moved it was like strands of real gold were braided amongst her curls.
The sound of her laughter filled the air with a wind chime charm that out sang the most exotic and practiced birds that called out all around us. I could only stare at her from my perch. I was definitely under some sort of spell.
She was playing with my sisters, on the bed of leaves dropped by our jungle, tossing leaves at each other and giggling like girls do. They were playing some sort of silent game with their eyes closed. They were all seated in a circle, knee to knee. The four of them looked like some sort of ancient Peruvian sculpture. Four figures interlocked, all female and the same, save one, the pale one. The one that seemed to be the focus of attention and deservingly so.
I dropped through the branches falling about one hundred thirty feet to the floor with a great thump. I landed on my feet of course. This was not my first time.
"What are you four going on about?", I asked, with a broad grin on my face. Being around her gave me a bit of a hop in my step. I couldn't help but have a little attitude, she was in my jungle after all. I felt more at ease here. Not as nervous and clumsy as I had been when I first found out that my sisters and I were not the only four hybrids in existence.
"Nessie's making a movie for us. " my youngest sister, Uiara, said through her very large smile.
"Oh, yeah? What kind of movie?"
"It's simply brilliant, Nahuel. Come. Sit. See for yourself."
My sisters parted, scooting along on their bottoms, making a space for me to join them.
Yara, the oldest of my sisters said, "Sit here, and put one knee to mine, and one knee to Uiara's." She motioned with her left hand to her knee, and then to Uiara's. I sat down, and positioned myself among them.
"Good.", she said. "Now, sit up straight, and relax your mind. Let the thoughts flow out of you like breathe. Relax, almost to a sleep and listen without using your ears. "
I sat up straight and tilted my head slightly toward the limbs above. I took in a deep relaxing breathe and let it escape me slowly. Suddenly, I was sitting in an open meadow with my sisters and Nessie. Snow was falling like it had been that day when I first met Nessie, in Forks. The flakes were falling, but were not cold. They lighted to the ground all around us, but disappeared, not melted, but evaporated before making contact. Large yellow flowers were all around us. We stood up in unison, looking around us and the small circular clearing we were in was in the middle of a vast field of these flowers. They grew waist high to us. I could see a full circle of trees, like pines encircling the meadow like a great protective wall. My sisters all looked at each other, then looked at me and my stunned face, and broke into a chorus of laughter.
"You should see your face!" Mirelli, the middle sister teased. She is the most sarcastic and playful of us all.
They all broke out in laughter again. Making fun of my response. Girls! I thought to myself.
I looked at Nessie. She wasn't laughing like my sisters were, but a confident little grin was on her face. She started humming some lullaby to herself, and raised her hands, palm up and wide to her sides, to the sky. She looked like some sort of feminine Incan God to me. Like she was calling her powers to life.
Just then, brilliant lights were all around us. Like those drapery like lights they have in the far north of the world. Twisting and turning, and completely beautiful. They made no sound as they danced above us. Then small luminescent saphire colored birds flew in a great ribbon, circling us, and rising together as if they were all tied together, up toward the lights overhead. A beautiful song was coming from them, and it seemed that other instruments, like violins and french horns had joined in as well. It was the tune that Nessie had been humming. The power of those notes rang out across the entire meadow, and even the flowers around us seemed to be swaying to it.
My sisters were all jumping and running through the sea of yellow and green, giggling like girls do. They were chasing glass bubbles that bounced through the air in front of them. And, my youngest sister, the frailest of all, was twisting around in tight circles, holding a stick with a long pink ribbon attached to it. She twirled and sprang into the air like a ballerina, wrapping herself with the ribbon loosely and then letting it fly out wider encompassing her. She was having fun with this. Bouncing higher into the air each time she came back to the ground.
It was hard to remember that this was all a "movie". Everything was so real, so detailed. What a gift Nessie has!
"How do you do this? All of this?", I asked of her.
"It's easy." She smiled the cutest grin at me. "I just think it. Dream it. Then will it that you dream it, too."
"This is incredible! Unbelievable! What else can you –"
Crash! The world around us fell in on itself. I was stunned, and my ears were burning like they do when you jump into water from a great height. Like mighty hands had slapped me on both sides of my head at once. I managed to open my eyes despite the blinding white that was all around me. Quickly I could hear Nessie making a sound almost like grunting and fighting. I fought to find her. I was groping all around me with my hands and eyes, desperate to see what was happening to her.
There! She was being held down to the blanket of leaves by a giant bear! It had her pinned to the ground and was hovering over her. We were back in the jungle, and this was no illusion of hers. I watched helplessly and stunned as the monster positioned itself for her throat.
"Stop it, Jacob!" She was laughing as she said it. This was no bear, this was her guardian. The shape-shifter sent with her to be her nanny.
Jacobe chuckled a great laughter from under his ivory white teeth, leaned forward, and drenched her entire face in dog kisses. She laughed and spit and laughed more. She fought to get his weight off of her, lifting his body off the ground slightly, only to let it fall back to the earth with a great thud.
"Stooooop! Jacob! Stop! Jacob, I'm going to pee!"
With that, we were all writhing on the ground with laughter! I have to admit that it was funny, but I hardly saw the appeal that this mutt had. What did Nessie see in him? He stunk of wetness and dirt to me. And he had no manners to speak of, either.
He let her go, and rolled off of her onto the ground to her side. Laughing that lumbering chuckle, and breathing in huge gasps of air. He folded his large furry arms over his stomach, and folded himself in half as if he were in pain.
I wish! I thought to myself. Jacob rolled over onto his side, up to his feet, and walked a quick hop into the trees, dragging his shorts behind him attached to his ankle. We all watched him leave and reeappear in his human form. He didn't look out of place here. His dark skin and black hair was almost esactly that of my cousins and neighbors. Although, he was greater in physical build than anyone I have ever known.
"Gotta pee, huh?" he laughed in Nessie's direction. He skipped over to her in just three short strides , jumped into the air, and landed with his legges crossed beside her. She leaned over and nudged him with her shoulder. He rolled slightly back from the strength of her.
"Shut up." She said grinning.
"So, what's on the agenda for today?"
"We were all going down to the river later to go swimming. Wanna come?" Nessie answered.
" I dunno, I hear they have weird little fish here that like to swim up yer-"
My sisters began to laugh and interupted him. He looked over his shoulder at them, with an embarrassed expression.
"Well, don't… isn't there?!"
Nessie stretched up and wrapped one arm around his neck. "You're so silly"
We all sat for a while, exchanging thoughts and stories like we were old friends, even though it had only been a couple of years and a few months since I first saw her. This was only our second visit. She had grown and matured so incredibly much in that time. I felt comfortable with her, and her beauty was magical. She had me under her spell.
Later in the afternoon we all wandered down to the widest opening of the river and went for a swim. The waterfall across from us roared with an awesome force, and created just enough of a distraction to keep anyone from listening to my silence. I couldn't help it. I sat on the rocks and watched as she splashed the big oaf, laughing all the while. He seemed to hunger for her company, like he fed off of her attention.
My sisters were getting in on it, and started splashing Jacob from all sides. He thrashed around like he was in pain (bad actor, if I might add) and then fell backwards into the water as if shot by an invisible arrow. All the splashing stopped for a moment as the four girls combed the water around them for any sign of him. A long moment passed, and then a great whirlpool was all around them, and took them all under at once. I giggled under my breath as Jacob leaped from the water holding all four girls in his arms. He was laughing at the top of his lungs with enthusiasm.
They began fighting against his vise like grip and he let them drop, dunking them under the water one more time. He left them there, to find their own feet, and waded through the water toward the shore, holding his arms up out of the water parrallel to his shoulders. What, don't want to get your paws wet, I thought.
He found a seat next to me on the rocks, but shook himself dry like the giant dog he was, and plopped down. I was covered from head to toe on my right side with his wet musky odor.
"Thanks." I said, wiping at the residue on my clothes and arm.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't see you there."
I would have asked how blind could he be, but it was obvious he was attempting to be funny. How irritating he is! I really wished that Nessie's family had sent her here alone. But for some reason, this mongrel has to follow her every where.
"How long is your visit with us?", I asked him.
He was fussing with his hair, wiping his broad palm back and forth over it trying to get what water out that was left there. He looked at me like he was searching for an answer. He leaned back onto his elbows, stretching out as if in a lawn recliner. He looked over his left should toward me, but loking at the ground.
"I dunno. ", he paused for a long moment. "I'm not really sure. "
"This isn't just some random visit with newly found friends, is it?"
"I'm not at liberty to say. The most important thing is that Nessie is safe and having fun, and enjoying her time away from home. We'll go back soon. " He looked as if her was pondering something. A face of concern came over him and his eyebrows pushed together. He pursed his lips and then looked straight ahead at Nessie still playing in the river oblivious to our conversation.
"Is everything alright at home? Bella and Edward aren't having any marriage issues are they?"
"NO!", from his reaction I gathered I was headed the wrong direction with my assumption. "They just have something they have to take care of. It'll be fine, and over soon, and Nessie and I will be headed back. Consider this a vacation and don't ruin it for her with your questions. She needs to keep her thoughts short, simple and unfocused."
"Are you hiding her from some-"
He glared at me with angry eyes. I stopped talking, and turned my body to watch the girls playing. We sat together in silence for a long time, then Nessie joined us on the rocks. Not bothering to wring out her clothes her hair, she twirled up the rocks, swinging her arms and hair all around, intentionally throwing water all around her, drenching us both. She collapsed in a childish giggle at Jacob's side, and he rolled over to wrap his arms around her.
I could taste the jealousy in the back of my mouth. How could he be so lucky? Humf!
"What are you two up here talking about?"
"Nothin'", Jacob smiled at her.
"Sure, sure. Whatever you say!"
"Really! Weren't we Nahhy? We were just talking guy stuff?"
I turned again to watch my sisters now making their way out of the water. "Yep. Nothing consequential at all."
"Why don't I believe you?", she said while rolling her shoulders back, but keeping her legs twisted toward Jacob.
Her shape was beautiful. If it hadn't been for the fact that my sisters and I had grown at this exact pace, I wouldn't have believed that this was the same girl I had met in that snowy field almost three years ago. Her wet clothes clung to her like a second skin. They revealed every dimple and curve of her. I looked at the pink soles of her feet. How soft and delicate they were, like newborn baby's feet. I allowed my eyes to travel up her ivory legs to her high waist, dipping deeply toward the earth. He skirt wrapped around her like a statues detail. Leaving almost nothing to the imagination. I continued to follow her body's perfect landscape up to her stomach and rib cage and Jacob's eyes glowering over her at me like he was ready to fight. I diverted my view quickly as my sisters were coming up to join us.
"So, what now?" Mirelli asked.
"Dinner time!" they all chirped at once.
III. Visions and deception
The hunt here must have been so much better for them than what they were used to in North America. Nessie seemed addicted to the panthers and anacondas. If she couldn't track down one, she would surely find the other.
Watching her hunt was like nothing else. She moved with grace like her mother and father, keeping her breathe and heart beat as even as if she was sitting still. I couldn't help but keep my eyes on her. But, of course the nanny was always by her side, rarely letting her more than ten feet from him. He was going to be a difficult wall for me to knock down, if I were ever to have any time with her to myself.
The wolf moved through all the trees of my jungle with surprising speed, taking down a wide variety of predators with ease. He was massive in this form. Monster like. What can she see in him?!
I perched myself high up into the trees again. This is my favorite spot. I may not have visions and "movies" to share, but I have this. I have my own world. Somewhere I can think what I want to think and watch who I want to watch with noone's accusing eyes to stop me. I enjoyed the solitude, but now I wanted her to join me.
I watched her from up here, dancing through the trees, throwing leaves at –him, and humming that lullaby. She was twirling in tight circles, faster and faster until she was just a blur of a collumn. She stopped suddenly, and her skirt and shirt continued to whirl, wrapping tightly around her.
"Jacob!" she hissed.
He came to a screeching hault, digging his paws into the ground. He was quickly by her side sniffing her and nudging her like checking for an injury. She reached up and placed her hand on his cheek. The tiniest moment passed, and he shuddered as if he was being shocked.
My curiousity is too strong for my own good, so I dropped down next to them to get a closer look. Jacob was shaking all over, and growling a low growl, then suddenly he started snapping his teeth at an invisible enemy. Nessie let her hand drop and Jacob began to whimper loudly.
"What is it?" I asked.
Nessie turned to face me, with blood tears welling in her eyes. She had the hardest expression of pain and loss on her face. "My parents. They're being hunted or something."
"Hunted?" Mirelli asked breathlessly.
Jacob ran to the trees again, returning in his enormous human shape. "It'll be okay, Ness." He said, then wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into his chest. She was crying deep sobs now, and shaking all over. "What do you want me to do? How can I make it better?"
"You knew this would happen?!" she said as she pulled away from him.
"Not exactly? What do you mean not exactly?"
"I can't tell you."
"I promised, Ness. I promised that I wouldn't tell you."
"Tell me what?!"
"I can't say. But everything will be okay."
"That's not what I just saw, Jake! What's going on? Why is Alice projecting these visions like this? What is happening? Tell me, before I make you tell me!!"
"Nessie." He lowered his head.
"I can't, Love." And he took her hands into his.
Love? I thought to myself. Love? Is he a guardian, a nanny, or a mate?
She was crying pretty steady now, and turned for the trail that led back to our home. We all followed her like she was leading us back. But, we didin't crowd her so that she could deal with whatever it was she was seeing.
I dropped back beside Jacob. "So, what is it? Why are you really here?"
"If I can't even tell her, what makes you think that I will tell you?"
"Just because you can't tell her, doesn't shut the door on telling me."
"Oh yes it does." And he trotted off faster to join Nessie, leaving me standing on the trail alone.
We all waited for Nessie to join us again. We were all sitting on the ground in an informal circle. Jacob had his back resting on my sister's house. My sisters were all huddled close together, and I was sitting on a boulder with my knees pulled up and my arms resting on them.
Hours passed until she was through crying. Her face was swollen and flushed when she emerged from the guest hut we built for her. She was standing on the long porch under the leaf latched overhang of a sun shade. Her hands were crossed over her chest and she walked with long deliberate steps to the railing. "Jacob, can I speak with you, please?" She turned and went back into the darkness of her room.
We all looked at him, and he didn't look at us. He got up and dusted his shorts as he walked for the steps.
We could hear them arguing, but they kept their voices low enough that we couldn't make out what they were saying. I heard Jacob losing his temper and getting louder. Or at least that's what I assumed was happening. An occassional no and yes could be heard but nothing more than that.
"FINE!" Jacob snorted as he jumped from the porch back to where we were all waiting.
We all looked back toward the doorway to see if Nessie was returning to join us. She slowly krept out the shadows into the broken sunlight. She still had her arms wrapped around herself, self comforting.
"What is it?" My sisters said three voices at once.
"Complications." She said.
"What sort of…complications?" Uiara said.
Jacob, who was now sitting down in his previous spot, grumbled and tossed dirt to the side, and switched positions like he was uncomfortable.
"My aunt Alice is sending me a picture of trouble. I can't really see a lot, because Jacob creates some sort of curtain that blinds Alice."
"And?" I said.
"And. I think my parents are in danger."
"Why would they be in danger?"
"I am really not quite sure. They were supposed to be going on their second honeymoon in Europe. I'm not sure what's happening."
"Do you know something that you aren't sharing, Jacob?" I turned to face him.
"I already told you-" breaking off before finishing his sentence.
"Already told him what?" Nessie asked.
"You can't what?"she asked.
He said nothing.
"You can't what, Jacob? What did you tell him instead of telling me? Why are we really here, Jacob?!" Her voice grew in irritation.
He still said nothing.
"AaaaH!" she screamed out and turned toward me.
"What did he tell you, Nahuel? What?"
"He didn't say much, but I know he's hiding something from you. From all of us, really."
"All I can say is, it's obvious to me that he has an alterior motive for bringing you here. This is no vacation, this is a hideout. He must have known what your parents were up to, and kept you in the dark. This was his chance to get you away from your parents to be alone with you."
"Bull!" Jacob growled. His arms were shaking violently.
"Really? Then why don't you tell her why you brought her here?"
"Shut up!" the vibrations in Jacob were coming even faster now.
"That's what I thought."I turned toward Nessie. "Are you sure he's your protector? Or your keeper?"
The growling coming from Jacob's chest was getting louder and louder now. I could hear his muscles swelling with rage behind me. I could hear his bare feet pressing down heavier into the earth. He was wrenching forward toward me, like he was being pulled by a magnetic force.
"You…you" , is all Jacob could squeeze out.
"Me what?" I turned to face him. He had grown so much in his fury that when I had turned to look him in the eye, I was looking him in the chest. I did not falter my steps, or step backward. I held my ground and just looked up and glared back at him.
He stood over me, looking down into my face, the trembling in his body was every where. He looked up toward the tree tops and back down at me, his eyes were the blackest black I have ever seen. A moonless night in a cave without a flame could not have been as dark. But still, I did not flinch.
"Me. What? Dog!" I knew this knick name stung like a hornet. "Are you using me as a tactic of getting the attention off of your own treachery? I have done nothing wrong. You are at fault! If there is nothing to hide, then share it now. Or did you come here with something else in mind? It's obvious that you are in love with her, but did you bring her here for your own greedy purposes? Get her away from her parents so there was noone to hear her protests as you pursue her even more? Noone around to make you watch your manners, or make sure you keep your hands to yourself. She's barely a human fifteen, you animal! I saw you! I saw you when she was climbing out of the river. I saw your eyes! You didn't look at her like you love her, you looked at her like you lusted after her!"
"You….." The tremors stretched his muscles taunt, and his fury could no longer be contained.
"STOP!" Nessie was right behind me on the ground. She looked angry and confused.
Jacob took a few steps back, trying to calm himself. She walked forward to him with her arms wrapped around her own waist.
"Jacob. Tell me. Why did you bring me here."
He gritted his teeth and with his jaw clenched said, "I can't Nessie. I can't"
"Jacob?" she said in a whisper. And turned her back on him. She walked back toward me and pressed her face into my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her and looked up at him with an accomplished grin.
This might just be the moment I was waiting for, I thought to myself. I turned her around to go into the protective shadows of her room.
"Awooooooh!" A painful howl let loose from Jacob, as he phased into the wolf and ran into the trees.
I sat Nessie on her bed and brushed my hand gently down her long curly hair. She was sobbing softly. I wrapped my arms around her and gently pulled her to me. I let out a relaxed breath and started humming her lullaby that she was so fond of. She seemed to feel more at ease, and leaned into me.
"So, are you alright?" I asked her softly.
"Yes. But…this is the first fight that Jacob and I have ever been in. Why would he lie to me? What is he hiding? I hate this! I want to go home. "
"There, there. Everything will be fine. I'll take care of you now. Nahuel will make everything better."
I could hear another howl in the distance, but he didn't return. This was my chance to be with her alone. Renesmee is my only chance at a happy life with a mate, and I was not going to let anyone or anything come in between us. I couldn't believe how everything worked out for my favor. That stupid hound's greed for her company blinded him to what was best for Nessie.
I was best for Nessie.
I stayed with her until her sobbing stopped. Planted softly beside her on the quilts of the bed. My arms were wrapped around her, protecting her from the nothingness that she couldn't see passed. Her head was still rested on my shoulder.
"Come on." I said. "Let's go find something fun to do."
"Fun? Nahuel, I don't know what is happening to my family right now. How can I have fun?"
"You said it yourself, that Jacob created a blindness for Alice." She shuttered a little when I mentioned his name. " What if you didn't get the correct vision. What if she was dreaming a nightmare or something and sent you nonsense? There is no way to know, and no way to contact them, until they come back for you."
"A nightmare, Nahuel? A nightmare? She's a vampire, they don't sleep. Hence, no nightmare."
"You never know, and like I said, you can't be sure until they've come for you." I slipped off the bed, and took both her hands in mine, and backed for the door. Urging her gently to follow me.
Hesitantly she followed me. For a second I thought I saw a crooked grin on her face.
We walked from the circle of our houses and went for a walk along one of the trails. I held her hand the whole way. We talked about the different flowers that hung here, and the animals that watched us in fear. We continued on for hours like nothing else in the world mattered.
Occasionally when she wasn't looking I would lean over and take in a deep breathe of her hair. I could almost taste the lavender and vanilla her perfume put off. She had already grown up to be everything that I would want forever. But, I remember that she wasn't even mature, yet. How much more beauty could one body hold? I couldn't hardly wait to find out.
We found ourselves down by the river. We sat on the large black rocks that encircled the largest opening of the pool . She stared up at the waterfall, even when speaking to me, she never took her eyes off of it.
"Do you want to go up there? Get a view of things from there instead of here? " I asked.
"There's a way to get up there?" She looked at me with those deep brown eyes, and I could see the faintest hint of golden shards in them.
"Yes, but the trail might prove to be a little risky for your first attempt up there. Maybe I should hold your hand and guide you the whole way…the first time, of course. " I smiled a sheepish smile, hoping she saw the innocence behind my gesture.
"Sure, sure." She answered my unasked question.
She stood up quickly and gracefully, and reached out her hand for mind. Palm up hands showing me their plump little pillows of fingertips, how could I resist? That is of course, if I had wanted to resist.
I placed my hand in hers, and allowed her to pick me up off the rock. My hand was so dark next to hers. My sisters and I were much lighter in tone than the local people here, but no where this light. Our hands connected like this reminded me of the yin yan symbol I had seen a time or two before. Night against day. Funny.
We climbed up the incredibly steep trail that ran parallel to the water fall. Ropes of vines and broken off roots jutted out from every direction. These gave us something to hold onto at least. Although, sometimes they created obstacles for us to have to work around. Nessie slipped in front of me, and falling back along the trail about a foot, and so instinctively I reached up to steady her. Only my hand braced her bottom, not her hand. I blushed a little when she turned to look at me. She looked down at my hand still resting under her like a seat, and she smiled and giggled.
We made it the rest of the way with little effort, and the view was worth it. I'm talking about her lit up face, of course. I had been up here a thousand times, there was an easier way around the back of where we started out. Her face was even more gorgeous with that smile. The ruby lined gold ringlets that lay randomly in her hair were catching the unbroken sunlight here and glowing like embers. I couldn't take my eyes off of her.
"Wow! It's even better than I had imagined! Thank you for bringing me up here. You're such a great friend, Nahhy."
I just smiled at her and then looked out toward the pool and then the trees beyond that. Friend? I'm going to have to work at this for her to see me as more than that.
Just then, Nessie grabbed both sides of her head. Fingers to her temples. She gritted her teeth as if she was in pain. She fell to her knees, moaning loudly.
"Aah. Stop, please stop. No!"
I dropped to one knee beside her held her hands in one hand and wrapped my other arm around her. "What is it? Are you alright? Do you feel sick or something?" I waited for her to answer me, but the sounds of pain were still escaping her.
Finally, she looked up at me through one eye, the other still clenched closed tightly. " I saw the most horrible thing. Teeth and claws, and hot breath in cold air. It felt like I was being hunted. I could feel it bearing down on me. There is the most horrible smell…." She writhed a little, her arms grabbed at her waist like she was about to be sick. "AaaAaaaHH!!" she screamed with a shattered voice. She fell to the wet rocks we were standing on, and tried to catch her breath.
"What is it, Ness? Are you sick? What did you see? What happened?" I knew I was asking the questions to quickly to get answers, but they just poured out of me.
"Someone died. I could feel their pain from here. Someone died."
We stayed where we were for the longest time. I wanted to wait to make sure she was alright. I didn't want her to collapse again while we were going back to my little village. Sure, I thought about it for a second, I could put myself in the position of hero rather than friend, but I didn't want to do it this way.
We made it back to my home longer than it took us to get to the river's pool. Her legs were weak under her, and shaky. Something in her vision knocked the energy right out of her.
I walked with her, as she struggled to get up her stairs back to her room. I held one hand in mine for support and wrapped my other arm around her for assurance. We slowly made our way to her bed and I sat down with her, still with my arm around her. She moaned a little and then looked up toward the ceiling with her eyes closed. She gritted her teeth again.
"Are you in pain again? What is it?"
" I'm trying to see."
" Trying to see? I thought you could only make others see."
"Something is changing in me, I think. This has never happened to me before."
"Maybe you've had enough for today. You don't want to push your body too far."
"I suppose you have a good point. Maybe I'll rest for a little while."
"Do you want me to leave you?" I asked, praying silently that she would say no.
"Okay, Ness, if you need me, I'll be right out-"
"No, Nahuel, please stay with me."
I smiled the most gentle smile I could manage, even though I was beaming from the inside. Maybe she would see me for all that I could be.
I don't know how long I laid there with her. I woke up to the most horrible steamy stench. Puff after puff hit my face, assaulting my senses. I opened my eyes slowly. I was face to face with teeth. Jacob was hovering over me. He was so over taken with rage that he must have been seeing red.
"Jacob, I know what this looks like." I tried to slip my arm out from under the still sleeping Nessie.
He growled loudly and edged closer to my face.
"I was only comforting her."
He snapped his great jaws an inch from my face, barking all at the same time.
Nessie woke with a fright.
"Jacob!" she yelled.
He didn't move. He only continued to growl at me.
"Jacob, stop this right now!" she commanded.
He took a step back. I have to admit that a rush of relief came over me. I had quick disturbing visions of him crushing my face between his massive teeth.
He stood there in wolf form shaking from head to toe, keeping his eyes planted on me. She sat up, realizing that she was laying in bed with me, spooned in comfort. I suppose it was comfortable, until it turned out that who she thought was in bed with her was not.
She inch wormed her way to the end of the bed, and shot me a disaproving look.
"Jacob, where have you been?" she asked him as she walked toward him. She reached up and placed her right hand on his cheek. He let out a low whimper, and she leaned forward and pressed her forehead to his. "It's not like that, silly! You make obnoxious decisions way to easily. You of all people should know where my heart lies."
A reverse trembling started in Jacob's shoulders and head working it's way down the length of his body quickly. He was human, right before our eyes. A human with no clothes on. His shorts were not tied to his ankle like they usually were. He quickly cupped both hands over the area that I truly did not care to see, and spun so that his tanned rear was facing us. Nessie let out a little giggle, raised her hand to shield her eyes, and turned her body in my direction. She was blushed so red! She was almost the color of the flowers from the passion vine I saw once in Venezuela. She stole the opportunity to give me another dirty look.
"What?" I mouthed lower than a whisper.
"You know what!" She mouthed right back.
Nessie snatch the quilt that was still covering my legs, and passed it behind her back to Jacob. He quickly wrapped himself in it, like a long skirt that Hawaiian men wear. Funny. It suited him.
"Nahuel, can you excuse us please?" Nessie asked me. "We have some things to discuss." She paused. "Privately."
Without a word, I gathered my self up and made a break for the doorway. Jacob's chest let out a low growl as I passed him. I arched my path wider to avoid getting too close.
Once I was down the stairs, I turned around to face her hut, but the transluscent silk curtain now hung over the whole opening of the doorway, obscuring my view. Oh well, I thought to myself. There will be another chance soon enough.
A couple of hours drifted by, and I was becoming anxious. What were they doing in there? Certainly he would keep his distance from her. She was much too young for anything other than courting. I began to pace. What do I do? Should I do anything? It's not really my place to do anything, but I can't just sit idly by and let her get manhandled by that wolf. Grrrr…what should I do? My pacing quickened to almost a run. Fine! I turned and walked toward the stairs. The curtain flashed open just as I was one foot from it. Jacob stood there staring out of the darkness at me. Nessie motioned for me to come in.
"Jacob and I need to talk to you about something. You see, he and I are bound to each other. Almost like promised to each other. And both of us have the feeling that you may be wanting to come in between that. "
I opened my mouth to deliver my retort, but she raised her hand palm facing me. I knew this meant don't speak, so I didn't.
"For whatever reason we have been brought here, it doesn't matter. Not really. Jacob is my protector, my friend and my future mate. His actions will always be in my best interest, and I must trust him. Please understand that I know it must be hard for you to have us here, but know that this is temporary and we will be leaving as soon as we receive word. Please, excuse us once more, Nahuel. I am tired still, and Jacob wants some time with me."
I couldn't say a word. I just turned around and headed down the stairs. I kept on walking, I followed the trail past the river's pool, and past the great crack in the earth that circled our home. I walked all the way to the cave where the mud people once lived. I kicked a stone deep into the throat of it, and listened for stirring animals. There was nothing but maybe a mouse, or small rodent. I didn't feel like a fight, so I was happy with that. I pressed forward until the darkness wrapped and the light trickling in from the filtered sun above couldn't reach me. I could feel the coolness of the depths before me reaching out in fingers stinging and frigid. Goose bumps raised where the invisible fingers touched me. Aah, I sighed. Coming mother….
Edward and I had managed to escape the monsters. We had traveled by so many trains and taxi cabs that I couldn't keep count. Not that it mattered, really. I was happy to be safe with my Edward. I would be happy to be anywhere, honestly, as long as he was within reach.
I rode in the black cab with my forehead pressed against the glass. I peered out into the night. Trying to let my skilled eyes catch a glimpse of anything familiar, but the thick falling snow blocked my sight almost completely. I found humor in the moment. Was this what it was like to be trapped inside a snow globe? Never seeing anything but what was in your immediate vicinity? I pulled my head away from the frozen window, and turned to look at Edward. He was staring blankly ahead, past the driver and past the windshield. He was far away in thought. I squeezed his hand for his attention, and there was nothing, not even a flinch. I squeezed again, a little harder. This time, he squeezed back and broke his glazed over face to smile his crooked grin at me. Granted, it wasn't the most enthusiastic smile, but it was still for me. And that made me happy.
We pulled over to the side of the road. When we came to a stop, the front of the cab was facing at a downward angle. I could already tell that we were on a cobble stone road from the sound it made as the narrow tires of the cab passed over them. Edward handed the driver the fair advising that he could keep the change. He opened the door, and we slid out hurried and graceful. Edward shut the door and we turned toward the building behind us. It was an Irish pub tucked in the middle of apartments and traditional English pubs on Battersea High. We walked up the two concrete steps that led to the average sized wooden door. There were no windows that I could see in, but I could hear faint murmurs of voices and the clinking of glass against glass. Edward stood to my left, his right arm around my waist, he reached for the door with his left and gently pushed it open. We moved so silently, noone seemed to notice the two new additions to the company held here.
I scanned the dimly lit room for danger, passing over face after face. Noone grabbed my attention, until I found her violet eyes boring a hole into me. I stiffened slightly and Edward stopped moving for the back of the room and followed where my eyes led. He let out a low grim growl. Too low for the humans to hear of course, but she smiled at us. She stood up slowly, and piveted around the table. The hood of her wrap fell backwards from her hair. It was platinum in color and styled much like the starlets from the glamour days of Hollywood once wore. It was swept over to one side almost hiding one eye, and tucked on the other behind her ear. Her bright lips were together, but still grinning with an unspoken sarcasm.
"Welcome mein kinder. " Her voice was deep and rough, and she spoke with what sounded like a heavy German accent. She reached out her right hand for Edward, palm down with pinky up, almost as if she was granting permission to kiss her ring. I was a little shocked when Edward reached forward, knealt forward and kissed the back of her hand.
"Frau Amsel, how lovely to see you again. Please, allow me to introduce my lovely wife, Isabella." I hated when he used my true first name. It sounded far too formal to me. She nodded in my direction, but never took her eyes away from Edward. As a human, I might have grown jealous of this goddess of a woman, but not now, besides knowing that Edward had an eternal love for me, there was no time for flitting emotions.
"Here for counsel?" she asked.
Edward nodded his head in one quick bow.
"Right this way." She whipped her long coat around to her back with her right hand, and moved for the brick wall in the back of the room. She pushed on one of the red squares, and there was a great heave and sounds of scraping stone against stone. Surely this was no secret to the mortals present here, but when I turned to watch the crowd behind us, everyone was frozen like statues. Frozen in place, in mid bite, mid sentence, mid drink, all save the bartender who was cleaning a mug with a white rag. Only now did I notice the paleness to his skin. He must have been wearing some sort of makeup concealer, because I saw now that his freckles were dimmer than what they should have been complimenting his flaming red hair. He winked at me, and I quickly turned for the hallway that was leading us below the city. Again, we were headed for a city below a city. I wondered if the Volturri knew about this one. Of course they did, why else would we be searching for the answer here?
Drip. Drip. Drip, the echoes of water seeping from the street above rang out all around us. There was an odor here, almost spongey if you could touch it. We moved further and further down the corridor, following the smell with our decent. We rounded a great curve, and I was jolted in place by what I saw. There was a great pile of bodies in the center of a large oval room. Some recently dead, but mostly bodies that were weeks and months old. My stomach turned, but I pushed on beside my husband.
There were three more vampires leaned against the back wall of this room, all staring in our direction. One smiled at Edward like they were old friends, but said nothing, and made no move forward to greet us. I glanced up at Edward trying to catch his recognition of this character. There seemed to be none.
We circled the stinking pile of remains and followed Amsel through a large archway that opened to a smaller room. Surpisingly, there were more vampires standing around this room that I would have thought could comfortably fit. They all seemed to encompass one male, their leader I guessed.
"Son of Carlisle!" What a tall slender figure! He rose from his seated position from the middle of his entourage, and there was so much height to him, it seemed he continued to stand even after his feet were beneath him.
He could easily be ten feet tall, I thought to myself.
His long boney arms both reached out for Edwards shoulders. He grasped him firmly and pulled his face to kiss either side of Edwards face.
"How long has it been? Fifty. Sixty years?"
Edward chuckled a little, " Something close to that. So sorry for the delay in our visit. And again I must apologize, for it is not socializing that we come here tonight."
"No? Then what is it that brings you back to us?"
"A great plague is falling on our brothers and sisters around the world. We were sent here to see if there was something in the ancient writings about anything simular to this. Those of us that have fallen ill or died only had a few things in common, but not enough to put an absolute link on what is causing this. " Edward paused then continued, " we were ordered by the Volturri to find the answer." A hissed carried around the room in a wave.
"Volturri!?! Theives! Liars! Decadent filth!" He snapped off each word at the end with furious anger. Spitting like a rabid dog . The drool hung from his lower lip like a spiders web. He lifted his arms and wiped his mouth with the back of his tenuous hand. I could see long brown stained nails capping the end of each finger.
"Please, Aidan, we need your help. My wife and I had hoped that we had found our answers through another venue, but we lost our contact."
"You lost your contact?"
"He was murdered. My wife witnessed it all."
"Wife?!" he suddenly lost interest in our mission. "When did this happen? Wife." He eyed me suspiciously.
"Almost three years ago, now. But please do not let us drift from the issue at hand."
"Hmmmmm." He pressed the long bones he had for fingers together in a triangle and touched them between his eys. " A plague that is killing us one by one? I don't thinkn I have heard of anything like this before. Patrick! Go down to the archives and see if you can locate anything that would help our friends." A short strawberry blonde man darted out a small doorway that couldn't be more than three feet high.
"Thank you, Aidan."
"Yes, yes, of course. So tell me about the wedding. Was it fantastic and over indulgent or was it a simple elopement?"
"My new sister, Alice, put it together, so it was grand."
"Funny." He tapped a stained nail to his teeth. "I don't recall an invitation being delivered. Hmmmm."
"Please forgive that. We were all under the assumption that you preferred to stay here."
"You were right, of course, but still an invitation would have been a nice way of having an open door to sending gifts." He smiled a wirey smile and cocked his head to one side.
Edward let out a breathy giggle. "ou never change, Aidan." He said through a smile.
We stayed there for hours, Edward and Aidan catching up on time lost and me listening patiently. He spoke of our daughter expecting that Aidanwould be surprised by our little hybrid, instead, we were shocked to find out he was already informed by Siobhan, and our confrontation and victory over the Volturri. He asked about her growth and mental development. He asked why we did not have her by our sides during this outbreak. When we told him we had sent her away with a guardian, a safe distance from all the death and sickness, he understood.
Patrick came up from the basement archives with only a small piece of paper. We were hoping for a large scroll, or book with a written cure. Please don't let this be nothing, I prayed.
Patrick handed the scrap to Aidan, who even though he was seated on a sofa that was nearly to the ground was taller than Patrick, and backed away with his head bowed in a respectful posture.
"Let us see here." Aidan stretched his arm out the entire length, adjusted the distance from his eyes a couple of times, then read to hiself silently. He let his hand drop to his side, not letting go of the paper, leaned forward over his crossed legs, looked Edward dead in the eyes and said, "Cousin, it seems we may all have a problem."
"What is it?" I pressed.
"Centuries ago, before any of us here wer born, something much like this happened. The true ancients were all but wiped out, that is how the Volturri truly gained their control. They weren't a great power to be respected or feared, they were simply opportunists. A force like this stopped some of the ancients dead in their tracks. Turned them to stone, some to ash, some grew very sick and withered away to nothing. It as called the Vampyre Abea. I think I heard a story or two about this, but really, I thought it was just ghost stories meant to keep newborns from straying too far from home. That's why I hadn't thought of it before." He gurggled out a sadistic laugh.
He continued, "The way the tale goes, like I said before, the ash, stone and such and such, " he was waving his hands making fleeting gestures with his dexterous fingers. "The illness stretched far, radiating out from our land of origin like a spider's web, locating coven after coven and nomad after nomad, nearly exterminating them to extinction. The sickness was supposedly guided by escorts in a physical form. Large creatures that stank like feces and moved as fast as we. They were the Addonexus. Or I suppose the most commonly used name is Grim Reaper? It was said that this disease came about when our newborns began to show themselves in the daylight, claiming to be Gods. To protect ourselves from having this happen again, we were taught by our creators never to go out in the sun, for since the disease has passed our skin is vulnerable to the sun, and at any time we can burst into flame!"He laughed that laugh again. "Of course, when you hear this story over and over, and nothing happens, you think it a fairy tale. Not an actual historical event."
I took in a deep breath, even though breathing was no longer necessary. My hands began to tremble. Edward tightened his arms around me.
"What is it?" Aidan asked. "Did I say something wrong?"
"No, " Edward answered. "where we were first sent, to find answers, there were trackers."
"Yes, Bella and I both felt them coming before they found where we were. They killed the doctor that we were sent to speak with before he could give us any information. We hadn't been there longer than three minutes and we had to flee."
"I left Bella in the house with the doctor so that I could create a diversion, give the doctor more time to search through his books and research, but there were too many of them. Some followed me and some stayed behind, killing the doctor. Bella witnessed the murder."
"Did you see the killers?"
"No, but I heard their voices, and I smelled their scent. It was something wretched that I will never forget." I answered.
He sat back into his sofa like he had been kicked in the chest. He dropped both of his hands to either side of his legs. He gathered his composure and leaned forward.
"Seems there is a connection here after all."
We debated for hours on whoe these escorts could be, but non of us came up with any answers. Surely there had to be one, but we just weren't seeing it. If this happened before, and someone witnessed it, and survived, even if only long enough to make a record of it, there had to be an answer.
We all began the ascent up the long corridor past the morbid art pile of randomly arranged dead, to the Irish pub beyond the solid brick wall. We emerged much like actos filing out from behind the massive curtain drawn at the end of a theatrical production. However, we had no audience. The crowd, now dwindling in numbers in the pub, were once again frozen.
"Remarkable! How does this happen? Are the mortals here completely oblivious to your existence?" I wondered aloud, not really expecting an answer.
"It is my job to hide us." Frau Amsel answered me, mixing her words with laughter."See, schild, we have been here for a very, very long time. So long that there was no time for us to record time.The only way for this to happen is for us to remain invisible. The Volturri hide among the human cattle sneding out bait, but we, well, we don't change ourselves. We just hide. The witch hunters don't go knocking down doors to kill a disease. Every now and then an entire family falls victim to a new flu, and we go unbothered." She was still laughing/.
We all walked through the frozen people like a child's hedge maze, making our way to the street. The sun was creeping up over the horizon now, and the sky was lit with a soft blue glow. The rays bounced all around the winter clouds revealing the snow had made it's reluctant retreat.
"I understand the urgency to get back to your family, but please come back to visit us any time." Aidan said. It was so much easier to see him for his full length without a ceiling limiting how far he could let his bones stretch. He was well over ten feet tall.
"Thank you for all your help." Edward reached to shake his hand.
"And don't forget to bring this precious wife of yours."
Edward smiled his crooked smile, wrapped on arm around my waist, and we ran for the busiest corner of the market hoping to find a cab to the next ferry. We moved so quickly through the vendors we were nothing more than a random breeze to them. A blur.
The ferry would be leaving in a few minutes, and there were no cabs waiting, so we just continued forward until we jumped off the dock, landing on the deck of the large flat boat. Could that be? I thought to myself. Sewage?I thought there was the slightest hint of it here. And just like that the scent was gone. I shrugged my shoulders and leaned forward over the banister with Edward, and stared out over the choppy water.
" So, now what?"
"Love, I really don't know where to begin." He grimaced a little.
"Should we join Nessie Jacob now?"
"Not yet. There aren't enough of us in South America to draw the epidemic there. She's safer with him."
I sighed as if completely exhausted. Of course I was. I was mentally exhauste. Answers to find and not much information to debate. So far we had weird escorts of death, wide rangedcauses of death and unforgettable stench. I was almost ready to throw my hands up.
Once theferry reached the other sidfe, I had a new found energy and was willing to go whereever Edward thought we had to go next.
We rented a hotel room for the night at Brown's hotel on Albemarle Street, just off Piccadilly. We needed to regroup since our contact list was shrinking by the hour. And, it wouldn't hurt us to find out how everyone at home was doing.
Edward and I were shown to our room by a boy dressed in traditional uniform. He was wearing a grey button u pjacket and black trousers. Nicely polished shes that glimmered and caught my eye when they reflected the crystal diffused light coming from the fixtures in the hallway. We had no luggage at all, so he was simply a beacon for us to follow to what I hoped would be a sanctuary in all this madness.
He chatted about our options for dining, the Albemarle, the English Tea Room, or the Terenmce Donovan Bar. "If you like privacy, I would choose the Albermarle. If you like sweets, the Tea Room, and the bar is, well, i suppose it is best for mingling. What brings you here to London? You're American, right? I can sort of tell from your accents. Newlyweds? No? Quite right, non of my business. Yes, here we are. " He unlocked the door for us, and handed the key to Edward. "Thank you for choosing the Brown's, sir. If there is anything that I might be of assistance with, please call for me, my name is Henry. Henry Short. "
Henry stood there looking into Edwards eyes as if her was staring at an angel. His eyes were wide and his mouth hung open slightly. It seemed that Henry forgot where he was, so Edward helped him shuffle to the door. He thanked him again, and shut the door. Henry was still staring at him, only inches from the doorway when the door did shut.
Oh, finally. Maybe here I can find the time to think.
The room was quite large, it had to be at least 1000 square feet. A large pillow of a bed was the center of attention here. It was grand in scale compared to our sweet bed at home. Home.
The bed was flanked on either sied by end tables made from the reddes mohagony. Pillows were arranged very deliberatly resting against the overstuffed headboard. Reading chairs were also here, matching everything in the room with the same fabrics.
The bathroom was to the left of us, and was almost as large as the sleeping area. I hadn't thought about using it for much other han a quick freshening up, but once I entered it, I changed my mind. A huge shower, large enough for 10 people, was to my left, crystal lamps to my right. It was just as impressive as the room behind me.
I walked back to Edward who was stting in one of the reading chairs. He was pressed back, both arms on the rests his head was turned to the right and stared blankly out the window. Not really watching anything, just somewhere else.
"Edward/ Are you alright?"
"I'm as fine as can be, love. I'm only searching for alternatives."
I sat down on the arm rest to his left side. He looked up at me and his face read mostly despair. He allowed his arm to remain on the rest beside me, and cupped my left thigh in his hand.,
"We'll find what we are looking for. I know we will. We aren't meant to die. I know it. I can feel it."
I knew it sounded like I was grasping for words, but I was. I didn't really know what to say to comfort him. I just knew that I wanted to.
"Do you mind if I go ahead and take a shower? I want to get some of this grime off of me." I said.
"No, I don't mind at all. " He was staring outside again.
"I guess I need to find something else to wear, though." I grabbed my bag and went for the door. "I'll be back in a flash."
He acknowleded me with a slight nod and I darted out the door. I flew down the stairs, because the elevator would take too long. I slowed before rounding the last corner nearest the lobby. I asked one of the three girls behind the desk where the nearest boutique or store would be. One girl pointed me down the street five doors.
I came back to our room carrying a medium sized paper bag. I touched Edward on the arm in one long caress with only my index finger.He looked up at me. I grinned ever so slightly, then turned to go into the oasis of a bathroom behind me.
I started the shower, laid out the two pairs of jeans, and two long sleeve shirts. His and hers complimenting each other, bt not matching. I took off my clothes, that I had not been out of for 3 days, and threw them in the trash.
The water was so warm. I let it run down my back, just standing there. The heat from the water was fogging all around me like billowing clouds. I lowered my head and tried to let the dread of what would happen if we don't find a cure ot the cause to leave my minf. The water was ripping through my hair and straightening it with the help of gravity. The water found its way to my face and dripped in long chains of diamonds to my feet.
Edwards hands on my back were cold, not yet warmed by the water. I turned to face him, and he hugged me close to him. His hands on my hips, he rested his face on my shoulder. The beauty of his naked body still stunned me. His chest pale and sculpted. His shoulders perfect and squared. He looked into my eyes for a moment, and kissed me passionately. No matter what I have to face to save this for us, I am willng to do.
We laid with each other on the bed for a lng time. Relaxing our minds, and enjoying each other as much as was possible. Edward scooted to the edge of the bed and sat up. He pulled his jeans on and went to his reading chair carrying the phone with him.
"Emmett." He said. "Yes, we found him. There's a problem with that, though. The doctor is dead. He was murdered .Yes. Yes. No.Hmmmm."
I sat up, hearing the strain in his voice begin to build.
"I didn't just giove up! I found Aidan. Yes. No, he was stillin the same building. It's an Irish pub now. His coven seems to have grown since we were here last. Aidan's comfort level hasn't changed though. Yes, he still cherishes his archive, and he was able to give us some information that might help."
I could hear Emmett's voice on the other end of the line, but couldn't make out what he was saying.
"Who?!" Edward almost choked. "All ofthem? Are you sure?"
I couldn't bare the sound of his voice now. I edged on the nearest pooint of the bed to him. Trying to hear what Emmett was relaying to him.
Edward dropped his head still holding the phone to his ear. He shook his head back and forth slowly. He pressed his eyes shut firmly.
He sighed out a quick breath then said, "Okay. Yeah. Okay. I will let you know as soon as we know more. Have you heard from Nessie or Jacob? Anyone else? Okay, I'll talk to you soon. Be careful."
"What is it?" I couldn't contain my nervousness.
"We've lost three more."
"All the Irish."
"All the IRish? All the Irish! Maggie? Siobhan and Liam?"
I cupped my hands over my mouth. Who is next? WE've got to find something.
"The answer has to be right in front of us. Why aren't we seeing it?" he said.
"What else is there to find out? Bedtime tales meant to scare newborn vampires, a doctor's death, and trackers that smell like crap!"
Edward looked at me like he was searching for an answer in what I spit out.
"Let's go back to the doctor's house. Maybe we can search through his papers ourselves."
"Bella, did you see the mess that place was in? There were books, papers, notebooks, pictures, carviings..."
"I know, but we have to try!" I stood up and walked to his side. "Before the doctor died..." I dropped to my knees so that our eyes were the same level. "Before he died, he seemed to be trying to protect more than me. I thought I saw him cover a folder or something with newspapers while he was waiting behind his desk."
Edward pressed his eyebrows together and grimaced.
"I don't know why I didn't think of that before. How far are we from his house?"
"The other side of England, really."
"What do you want ot do then? We can't just sit here while our friends are dying and the Volturri are getting ready to kill everyone else if we fail to help them. What if this disease jumps over the sea? Our family could be next, no matter what we find out."
I stood back up and grabbed his hands. "Come on, let's go."
In less than an hour we were back at the doctor's house. It was still dark, and the wind was just a light breeze. No sign of life inside or around the grounds. Noone must have discovered the body, because there was no tape across the doorway.
We entered through the same tiny window we escaped from. I inhaled deeply once inside. There was no lingering scent here. The smell was definitely gone.
I climbed passed all the books and piled papers into the office where he still laid. He was stretched over the desk on his stomach with his face to the side looking at me with blank eyes. He held the expression of terror in his whole face, even though he was gone. The whole scene was a little difficult to look at. I stopped in the doorway, letting a moment of silence pass before I finished entering the room. I was silently paying my respects I guess.
Edward was right behind me. He held my hand to comfort me. My silence let him know how difficult it was to watch him die and not be able to do anything about it.
I led the way to the opposite side of the desk, and started pushing papers out of the way. There is was. A black leather bound notebook with a red ribbon tied around it. I pulled it out slowly, and pulled back on the ribbon. It uncoiled like a long red snake and fell to the floor.
I flipped the book open. The pages smelled of ash and mildew. They were stained yellow from age and moisture.
The first page I stopped at was covered with sketches in black ink. Drawings of catalogued symptoms and rashes from what must have been some exotic diseases stretched from one page to the other. Page after page there were drawings like this. I flipped and flipped the paes.
"Wait!" Edward reached over me and thumbed the pages back a few times.
There in the middle of the page was the word Addonexus. I couldn't believe my eyes. I scanned the page trying to read the random entries and make sense of them, but there was writing in English, Spanish, Latin and some other language that I couldn't read.
I turned the page to a drawing of a flower and at the bottom of the page was another drawing. It was a rendering of dark angry eyes. These eyes weren't human, they looked like those of an animal. Clearly this book held our answer, but neither of us had the ability to decipher it.
"We're goin to need more help with this." Edward said.
"YEah. Maybe Aidan would know what this means."
Edward nidded at me in silence, and we headed for the window.
Once again, we found our way back to Aidan's place. It was near morning, so there weren't any people enjoying the atmosphere to unique inside. Edward pushed the door open again, and the smell hit us both instantly.
Edward hissed loudly and held an arm in front of me. We stood there frozen in the doorway for a long moment. There was no movement inside, and no heartbeats could be heard. We leaned inside so we could scan the room for anything that could be just waiting for us to let our guard down. There was nothing alive in this room.
There were chairs and tables knocked over everywhere. It looked like a fight had taken place here, and we must have just missed it. The ringing started in my ears again.
Edward gripped my hand firmly, and cautiously led the way to the back of the room where the secret passage though the brick wall was. I could feel a breeze escaping from the corridor beyond it. This wall was not closed tight any more.
Edward dropped my hand and pushed against the wall with both hands, sliding it open just enough for us to pass. The air rushed into our faces now and the stench there was the same wretched stink that I smelled in the doctor's home. I shook my head, but I ignored my own refusal and creptinto the darkness with Edward.
Drip.Drip. Drip. With every drip of the water seeping from the street above, my head pounded like a large bell. I clenched my teeth as I couldn't contain the nervousness any longer.
We stepped into a circle of candle light, and that comforted me. The brightness in this place of death. I knew that just ahead of us was the pile of bodies, and who knew what else now. My ears stopped ringing and I could make out a faint whimper. It sounded like a childe crying. My motherly instincts took over and I was no longer afraid. I led Edward by the hand, quickened our pace with longer strides. Past the pile of bodies and throuh the archway, we entered Aidan's room. The smell of blood was here, and a miriad of other scents that I did not recognize, and of course, the stench of who ever killed the doctor.
The three foot door to the archives was open, and the sound of the whimpering child was coming from there. "Hello?" I almost said in a whisper. "Who is here? Are you hurt? We're not here to hurt you. It's Edward and Bella. We were here two days ago."
I could hear a scrambling of feet and hands against a dirt and stone floor. The whimpering got louder and louder as whoever down there was trying to reach us.
Edward hissed and stpeed back, draggin me back a few steps with him.
The scraping of hard soled shoes and the crying got louder and louder as it grew closer.
Suddenly, Patrick fell through the doorway.
"They're all gone! They're all gone!" He reached out for us with both hands, tripping over his own feet and falling forward into us.
We looked at him with stunned faces saying nothing.
"Help me, please. Help me. Don't let them get me too!" His deep Irish brogue was broken with desperation.