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Choices

Summary:
Choices Banner This story takes place in Eclipse when Riley goes to Bella’s room to gather her belongings for Victoria. This is what could have happened if Bella had arrived while he was still there, and the events following. Written pre-Breaking Dawn, so that book will be disregarded here. This will include my idea of how the series would have ended.


Notes:
Choices Banner *Written before Breaking Dawn was released, so that book will be ignored with this story.


26. Anticipation

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2686   Review this Chapter

(Previously):

EPOV

"Hello, Jacob?" I answered.

"Yeah. Sam agreed. It’s on," Jacob replied, business-like, then he hesitated. "Are you sure Bella’s ready for this?" he asked, uncertain.

I glanced over at my Bella. There was a fierce intensity deep in her eyes as she stared back at me, waiting with the others.

"Yes, Jacob. I don’t think she’s ever been more ready for anything," I answered.

We agreed on the details, and I told him when and where Emmett and Jasper would meet them. After finalizing things, I hung up and looked up at my family. We were all silent, but the emotions that flowed from each of us were the same - anger and determination, like none that I had ever known. The end was near.

Chapter 26: Anticipation

EPOV

Early the next day, just before dawn, Emmett and Jasper left to meet the wolves. We weren’t sure of an exact time, so they were taking precautions and arriving early. Soon after they left, the rest of the family, except Bella and I, left to go to their locations. Before leaving, each of them had embraced Bella and told her not to worry. They expressed their love for her, and let her know we would all be with her the whole time. Carlisle expressed yet again that it would be imperative for Bella to guard her thoughts from Victoria, until we could tell whether or not her gifts’ were shared only with us, other than with any vampire.

Bella and I were in the living room, waiting. She jumped up every few minutes, pacing. As soon as I could calm her down, she would start all over again. Waves of tension rolled off her.

"Bella, are you going to be able to handle this?" I asked, concerned. "You know that we can take care of it, you don’t even have to be there if it’s causing you this much stress..."

She stopped pacing and stared at me. "No. I am more than ready for this. I am simply having a difficult time restraining myself, having to wait."

I didn’t question her further, as her thoughts matched her words, and I understood that she was just anxious. She wasn’t nervous, she was full of anticipation. It was about two hours later when my cell finally rang. It was Jasper.

"She’s just left the newborns. There are about twelve to fifteen...they haven’t noticed us. We’re moving in, it won’t take long," Jasper said as he hung up.

I told Bella what was happening. She tensed, as she knew that must mean Victoria was near. About two minutes later, my phone rang again. It was Alice this time.

"Edward - I know why she thought I’d be near the house!" Alice went on to explain the vision she’d just had. Apparently, Victoria had arranged for one of the newborns to come to the house, to steal Alice’s car. She’d done her research, and knew that Alice would be furious if anyone touched her car. She also knew that if the newborn wasn’t trying to evade Alice, Alice would most likely see it clearly, as we’d have Alice watching the situation once the newborns had been released.

It would simply look as though one of the newborns had escaped and made it to the house, and was trying to steal the car. She assumed that Alice would leave the newborns for us to deal with - which we could have, easily - and return to the house to stop the thief. Even if Jasper or another had insisted on accompanying Alice back, Victoria’s plan still made sense; the newborn would have distracted whoever was with her, while Victoria swiftly dealt with killing Alice.

"Thank you, Alice. Stay where you are...remember to keep your distance, out of range so she won’t catch your scent, until you hear me. Fortunately, this won’t affect our plans at all," I answered. We planned to intercept Victoria before she even reached the house, so she wouldn’t have time to realize Alice wasn’t there.

I glanced at Bella. "Stay here, love. I’ll be right back," I said calmly. Moving towards the garage door, I braced myself. As soon as I opened the door, we sensed one another. I felt a rush as the newborn flew towards me, attacking in it’s straightforward manner. Unfortunately for him, I had no patience, and I knew I’d have to be somewhere else - soon. Stepping sideways as he ran towards me, I reached up at the same time and ripped his head off. I quickly dismembered the rest of him, stepped outside the garage, tossed his remains into a tin garbage can, and lit them aflame, before replacing the lid in an effort to conceal most of the smoke.

Upon reentering the living room, Bella glanced up. "Any problems?" she asked, still pacing. She’d been listening, ready to help.

"No. It’s been taken care of. We should probably be going," I added. Studying Bella’s reaction, I waited. She froze for a second, then looked right at me.

"Let’s go," she said. She was ready. She was out the back door before I could catch her.

"Bella, wait." I called out urgently. She had to be patient.

She turned. "Edward, I don’t want her to get away. Please, understand that I’ll be all right. I just don’t want her to get away," she repeated desperately.

"I know, love. Just try to be patient. We all have to take her by surprise for this to work properly, which means you will have to wait. We will have to wait. Trust me, we’ll hear when it’s the right time," I reassured her.

Bella took a deep breath, clenching her fists. She nodded her head in silence. Our stress built as we stood, waiting. I knew it would be only minutes...

Suddenly, we heard a very faint rustling sound far off in the distance. This was it. I turned to Bella, and thought, "Bella, stay back. You know the plan...stay focused. I love you."

Bella looked back at me, concentrating. "I’ll be ready. I love you, too, Edward," she replied silently.

She nodded, telling me to go. Quickly I began to move forward, running at first, then, after I’d gone about a mile, I slowed to a walk. As I strode forward, I caught my first glimpse of her.

"Hello, Victoria," I called out softly.

Her head snapped up in surprise. "Well, well, well, what are you doing out here, Edward?" She regained her confidence quickly, hiding her surprise. Glancing around, as she saw it was just the two of us, a smirk began to spread across her face. Now that I could really see her, it was clear she was quite demented...Alice had been right, she had become delusional. Her hair stuck up in all directions, twisted in knots, with scattered forest debris caught in it, and her eyes rolled around maniacally. When I listened to her thoughts, I saw just how unbalanced she was.

"Where’s little sis?" Victoria cocked her head to the side. "She’s such an odd little thing. Has she gone back to save her precious Porsche? I didn’t count on running into you, Edward. Don’t worry, though - she’ll still be greeted with a nice surprise," Victoria taunted madly.

I glared silently at her. This was going to take some serious control on my part - all I wanted to do was rip her apart, but I knew I had to wait. Trembling with rage, I tried to remind myself that I’d agreed to let Bella handle this.

"Why on earth would Alice be concerned about her Porsche?" I asked, goading her.

She cackled back. "Ding dong, the psychic’s dead..." she sang out. She laughed madly, almost doubling over.

"That’s funny...I don’t feel dead. Well - not in the literal sense, anyway," Alice said lightly, as she lithely moved in from my left. She had impeccable timing. I had been about to snap and finish Victoria off myself.

Victoria froze as she saw Alice. She faltered, but only for a moment. "Oh! Come to join the party, have you? We’re having a wonderful time! I was just about to remind Edward here of just how much Bella had begged for me to kill her...and how her poor pathetic father, ‘Chief of Police,’ had nearly cried before I killed him..." She broke off in more crazed laughter.

Listening to her thoughts, I saw flashes of her original plan. When helping James, they had noticed how my family enjoyed the finer things in life. Alice didn’t have her car then, but by studying our personalities, she’d surmised that Alice would be very obsessive of her possessions; when she discovered Alice had attained a Porsche, she knew it would be perfect.

I growled, barely able to contain myself. Alice was experiencing the same struggle.

"Oh!" Victoria continued, her laughter suddenly breaking off, "and don’t get me started on that mother of hers...’Renee,’ was it? ‘No, please! Please, I’m pregnant!’" She broke off if hysteria again. "Poor little ba-by," she sang out, contempt dripping from her voice.

"Anyway, I had hoped to see only you tonight, Alice. I was hoping to make you wish for those days back at the asylum, when you couldn’t remember anything. Oh, yes, James told me all about it. Hmm...pity. Oh well, another time," she said, as she started backing up. Her evasive instincts were kicking in, and she didn’t like that there were two of us, and one of her.

She started to run, but I was prepared, and caught her before she could get far. Alice was with me, ensuring that Victoria could not move from our grasp. When she was sure of my grip on Victoria, Alice let go, stepping back slightly. Volatile anger coursed through me, as I fought to quell the desire to tear her apart. Alice didn’t need to worry. I had never felt stronger, and there was no way Victoria would get away from me.

Alice started to faintly smile. Victoria glared at her, enraged. She did not like feeling trapped.

"What are you smiling at?" she seethed. Alice didn’t answer, she just continued to smile.

"Victoria, I know you want to run, it’s your natural instinct. That is more than understandable. Would you like for me to release you, so that you can run from us now?" I asked quietly.

This was disturbing to her. Victoria could not comprehend why I would be so willing to let her go. She didn’t answer, seeming to weigh her options. Clearly, she thought she still had a chance of getting away somehow. She had no idea just how incorrect she was.

Gripping tightly, I sharply turned her to face the south. "How about this direction, Victoria? Does this suit you? Would you like to run now?" I hissed. As she looked in the direction I forced her in, my grasp unyielding, her eyes bulged. Out of the darkness, at least ten wolves slowly crept forward, in a perfect "V" formation, growling menacingly. It truly was a formidable and impressive sight.

I felt her sharp intake of breath.

"No? That doesn’t look good to you? All right, how about this direction, then?" I spun her around to face the east. Her eyes searched; after a couple of minutes, she saw Emmett, Rosalie, and Esme step slowly out of the shadows. I had warned them to stay far enough back so she couldn’t catch their scent until they heard their signal. Emmett had his arms crossed tightly across his chest, fighting to restrain himself. His wife was not so disciplined. The comment Victoria had made about the baby had sent her over the edge.

Rosalie stepped forward, so that she was face to face with Victoria. She reached up and hit her - hard. "I’m really going to enjoy seeing this. I do hope you sincerely miss James, because you’re about to join him in hell," Rosalie hissed at Victoria. She turned to rejoin her husband and Esme.

Victoria remained silent, but I didn’t need to hear her words to know what she was thinking. She was becoming increasingly panicked, her desire to escape pulling at her. At the same time, she was consumed by hatred and the desire for revenge, as she was slowly becoming surrounded by people that had been closely connected to Bella. Her mind was completely unstable. The way James had pursued Bella, and the fact that he had died because of it, had begun to make her think of Bella as ‘the other woman.’ It was utterly illogical; James had thought of Bella as a meal - he loved the game aspect of it, but it was no more than that - a game. Regardless, all that Victoria saw was that Bella was the one that took James away from her. Her rage for Bella consumed every part of her. Victoria was on the edge of insanity, but I had no sympathy for this demon.

"Well, Victoria, you don’t seem interested in going in that particular direction either. I’m afraid your options are becoming limited," I said contemptuously. Roughly, I spun her around to the west. "All right, last chance. Well, aside from heading north, but I can guarantee that you will not like that option."

Victoria hissed as she saw Jasper and Carlisle step slowly forward into sight. Alice lightly skipped over to join them.

"Oh, I get it, Edward...you’re scared to deal with me alone, are you? Have to call in the whole family, even the dogs...that’s just sad," Victoria spat, her insanity creeping in again.

Deciding to feed off of it, I spun her around to face the south again. "Victoria, did you know that Bella had friends aside from my family? These wolves, for instance. Some of them were very good friends of hers." As if on cue, Jacob crouched, and slunk forward, teeth bared. He circled us, growling. I felt no threat, but I could not say the same for Victoria. When previously listening to his thoughts to know whether or not he could handle this, it had seemed he could, and he really wanted to have a part in terrifying Victoria. With my grip on the back of her neck, I held her face still. Jacob stopped in front of her, when his face was within an inch of hers. Her eyes spun wildly.

My grip on her neck unbreakable, I chuckled softly, hearing his thoughts. "I’d love to let go, Jacob, you know I would. However, I think we have other plans," I spoke meaningfully to him.

Jacob narrowed his eyes, and slowly began to back up. Suddenly, he lunged forward, snapping menacingly within inches of Victoria’s face again. The feral growls ripped severely from his throat, making his threat clear. Then he turned, and went to rejoin the pack.

Victoria’s breath was highly erratic as Jacob threatened her, her thoughts a mad display of panic mixed with disgust; I was quite sure he had effectively made his point. Sudden bits of insanity rushed from Victoria’s mind.

"So, what are you going to do then, Edward? Toss me to the wolves? Let your whole family take care of me? Obviously you don’t have any intention of handling things by yourself. Wouldn’t Bella be so proud? The cowardice hero, come to seek revenge, to scared to do it himself..." she broke off in cackles all over again. Clearly, her sense of self preservation was slipping.

"Hmm...well, since you seem so dissatisfied with the other options, how about this one?" I growled as I ripped her around to face the north. There was nothing there.

Victoria hesitated, clearly confused. She thought I was going to give her a chance to run for it. Irrational and overconfident of her evasiveness, she couldn’t resist.

"You really aren’t all that intelligent, are you? I had thought differently, but now..." She looked back at the empty forest ahead of her. "Sure, Edward, the north looks good," she trailed off eerily. She thought this was going to turn into a hunt of sorts, and she had full confidence in her ability to evade all of us, including the wolves. She’d gotten away from so many before...

Instead, I interrupted her delusional thoughts. "Good choice, Victoria. It’s the one I’ll always choose," I growled at her. I called softly into the woods, "Bella, love..."

Victoria’s head snapped up, disbelieving.