Bella and Edward continue their relationship as a vampire and a human. This story takes place after Breaking Dawn but not as you would expect it to. There are the usual threats of other vampires trying to get to Bella and ruin the Cullen family.
20. Chapter 21: Practice
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The next morning Edward called Peninsula and explained that we both had to go out of town due to a family emergency in Florida. They were very understanding and said they would have our professors email us our assignments for the next two weeks. I didn’t like using the excuse that my mother was ill as it seemed like bad karma but in the grand scheme of things what did it really matter. What else could karma possibly throw at us? After all, we were more than likely all going to be dead soon.
Charlie had taken off to the station early. Edward explained that Jasper and Emmett followed him until he got there and was safe amongst the hustle and bustle of other people out and about. They returned and waited outside with the rest of the family until I was up and ready to go.
When we walked into the Cullen’s living room the rest of the family had of course beaten us there. Edward always tried to drive under ninety miles an hour whenever I was in the car to keep me from having a panic attack. I knew it really annoyed him but I guess not quite as much as my constant complaining did.
“Oh good, you’re here,” Carlisle smiled as we walked in. “I just talked to Sam and we’re going to be meeting the pack, most of them at least, near the La Push border in a few hours.”
“What for?” I asked
“As I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, Bella, we’re going to work on some fighting strategies with them. We can’t confirm what Alice saw yesterday is what really happens or if it is another Megan mind game but it’s all we have to go on right now. We need to toss out everything we knew about fighting before and start from scratch. We have to learn how to fight blind and most importantly fight without our emotions. Every minor decision we make from here on out and every little detail we change in our strategy will inevitably change the outcome of Alice’s vision. What she saw is what we’re thinking now, what our normal fighting plans usually are. Once those are changed, everything else will change as well.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot. That make sense I guess,” I mumbled back to Carlisle. “What…what can I do to help?”
Edward wrapped his hands around my waist from behind me. “You can for once listen to me and just try to keep yourself out of trouble,” he whispered, mockingly.
Carlisle cleared his throat as he caught the nasty expression on my face, “Ok…well…we should probably divide up into two groups and go hunting before we meet the pack. “Rosalie, Esme and Jasper, why don’t you come with me now. Edward, Alice and Emmett you can go when we return. Let’s stick as close to the house as we can so we can get to each other quickly if need be.”
The others left leaving me, Edward, Emmett and Alice behind. Emmett and Edward sat at the bar talking about different maneuvers they could use in the upcoming fight and sounding way too excited about it. I knew the predator in them loved a challenge but how could they even be remotely excited when there’s a fairly good chance that some or all us were going to die? I just shook my head at the them and rolled my eyes and decided to join Alice outside on the deck.
“Men,” I grumbled as I sat on the bench next to her.
“Oh, Bella,” she laughed, seemingly not worried about our impending doom either. “You need to relax. We’re going to handle this like we always do.”
“Alice, how can you say that after what you saw? You of all people should be freaking out right now!”
“Like Carlisle said, Bella, all of our decisions and choices will be changing which means so will my vision.”
“Yeah, but Alice, you won’t be able to use your visions to help you this time. None of you will be able to see what’s really going on. You’re going to be more vulnerable than you usually are.”
“Bella, I won’t be able to use my visions anyway because the dogs will be with us. It was the same as fighting Victoria and the younglings, only this time there are less of them.”
“Yeah, but these aren’t younglings. They aren’t stupid. And they have Megan too.”
“You’re right about Megan, Bella. She is a concern but we’re going to work on overcoming that. The others aren’t younglings but they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed either. They’re just a bunch of brainwashed groupies. Besides, we still have something they don’t… Edward. He’ll be out of the thick of things, behind us, protecting you which will give him the time and space he needs to read the others’ thoughts. Even though Megan will be throwing false images at him he’ll still be able to get in their heads to anticipate their moves. Mind you, he won’t be able to handle everyone’s thoughts and moves at the same time but he will be enormously helpful shouting out instructions to us during the whole thing.”
“I wish I had just an ounce of your confidence, Alice,” I replied, still not feeling any sense of relief after her reassurance.
“I wish I could give it to you Bella. It’s more exhausting trying to keep you from worrying than the actual fighting is!” She laughed. “Now c’mon, let’s go do some wedding planning.”
“Wedding? Planning? You can’t be serious Alice!”
“Of course I’m serious. I never joke about party planning or shopping, Bella,” she grinned. “You should know that by now.”
I sat there and starred at her in utter disbelief. “Alice, let me ask you something. Do you even see the wedding happening anymore?”
The smile left her face as quickly as it arrived, “Well…no…I don’t see anything after the fight anymore.”
She sat there in silence, looking defeated for the next few minutes. While I felt bad for bumming her out I was a little happy I got her off of the “w” subject. After all, what use would it be planning for something that wasn’t going to happen? It would just be depressing.
I should’ve known that the unstoppable perkiness that resided in Alice couldn’t be contained for long.
“Oh, Bella, you almost had me there for a minute,” she giggled. “The wedding will be back as clear as it always was once we get our plans down and this whole thing is over. I refuse to let your pessimism get to me. Now c’mon, we have work to do.”
She grabbed my hand and I knew I had no other choice. When we got inside and started up the stairs, I heard my savior’s voice.
“Alice, where are you taking her?” He asked, annoyed.
“Don’t worry about it Edward, we just have some wedding stuff to do,” she replied, equally as annoyed.
“I don’t think so, Alice. I’m spending the rest of the morning with Bella,” he stated with authority as he walked over to the stairs and fighting to grab my hand out of hers.
She glared at him angrily but eventually gave up. “Fine. Have it your way. But if there are things that Bella isn’t happy with on her wedding day it’ll be on your conscious.”
“I’ll take my chances. Besides, when did we actually really have a say in any of the final decisions anyway? It’s always been about what you want and we are fine with that. You have amazing taste and I’m sure the wedding will be just perfect. Now…let go of the bride Alice.”
Alice released my hand as she huffed and darted up to her room. Edward smiled and kissed me on the forehead.
“I hope you don’t mind,” he smiled as his mouthwatering scent consumed me. “It’s just that we’re going to be pretty busy for the next few days and I want to spend as much time with you as I can.”
“Hmm…let me think. Look through a hundred different bridal magazines or spend the morning alone with you. I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I’ll have to think on it and get back to you.”
“Ok then,” he replied as he flashed his half grin. “Go have fun, I’ll just go back and finish my conversation with Emmett.”
“Don’t you dare!” I ordered as I threw my arms around his neck. He laughed and carried me up to his room.
“So, it looked like you and Emmett were enjoying yourselves down there.” I still found it hard to believe they seemed more excited than scared.
“I wouldn’t say we were enjoying ourselves, Bella. Emmett just can’t help getting excited when a new challenge is presented to him. He’s so enthusiastic it’s hard not to get caught up in the moment with him.”
“I just can’t believe you aren’t more scared about this. I mean, Alice saw us die. All of us.”
“Sweetheart, we’ve been over this. Alice’s vision isn’t going to happen. I mean, the fight will more than likely happen, but the outcome will be totally different.”
“So you keep saying,” I replied, still unconvinced.
“Why don’t we talk about something more pleasant, like our honeymoon. Would you like to be surprised or would you like to choose the destination yourself. We can go anywhere in the world you want. Barbados, France…Niagra Falls,” he laughed.
“Edward, I really don’t think this is the time to discuss something that probably won’t happen.”
He heavily sighed and threw me on the bed. “I can see that talking isn’t going to cut it. How about instead of talking about our honeymoon, we practice some more for our honeymoon,” he grinned, knowing I couldn’t resist him.
“Well…I don’t want to stand in the way of your training,” I replied breathlessly as he started kissing my neck.
“That’s so unselfish of you to think of my needs,” he softly, sarcastically giggled as he gently nibbled on my ear lobe.
At the risk of ruining the moment, I knew I had to give it a shot. “Edward?” I moaned as his lips met mine.
“Yes my love?” He answered, still passionately kissing my lips between words.
I forgot what I was going to say. My hands involuntarily wrapped around his hair, pulling him tighter to my body. He let me roll him over so I was on top now. I pulled away ever so slightly so I could see his face. I stroked his hair back and starred at him, totally lost.
“You are so beautiful Edward. I love you so, so much,” I whispered, giving him another long, lingering kiss before he gently pulled me away.
“Oh, Bella…my sweet, sweet magnificent Bella. I can’t find the words that are deserving enough to describe my love for you.”
He pulled my lips back to his. There was no urgency in our kisses, they were gentle and sweet, like all of our love was pouring into each other with each one. My heart felt so full I thought it would burst.
“Edward?” I asked, remembering what my question to him earlier was going to be.
“Yes, Bella?” He replied, gazing intensely into my eyes, stroking my hair.
“I…I want ask you something, but I don’t want you to get mad.”
He smiled, “I don’t think at this moment there is anything you can do to make me angry. I’m too consumed with happiness.”
“I know you keep insisting that Alice’s vision won’t happen the way she saw it, but Edward, there’s a chance that things won’t go well isn’t there?”
His expression didn’t change much as he continued to look at me and play with my hair. “Yes, Bella, there is a chance things won’t go well. I love you too much to lie to you. But it is a very slight chance.”
“Well, keeping that in mind, I was wondering…I mean…I…”
“Just tell me Bella. Don’t be afraid.”
“I was thinking that…well…maybe…maybe we shouldn’t wait to be together until our honeymoon. I mean, even if there is only a slight chance that something bad will happen, I can’t imagine dying and not doing the one thing I want to do more than anything in this world. If I could be with you Edward, even just once, my life would be complete, not matter how short it may be.”
I didn’t really know what reaction I was expecting from him but was bewildered when he gave no reaction at all. He just laid there starring at me with the same expression on his face.
“Don’t worry Sweetheart, I heard you,” he answered calmly.
“Well, what do you think?” His lack of response was unnerving.
“Would it be ok if I took the day to think about it?” His voice was still as calm and as smooth as velvet.
“Umm…sure,” is all I could spit out. I was in shock that I didn’t get the immediate “no, don’t be ridiculous Bella” line.
He smiled, “You seem surprised by my response.”
“Surprised would be a definite understatement.”
“Well, you presented a very valid case, Bella. Even though I honestly believe that nothing bad will happen, I wouldn’t want to leave this world without being with you either. You definitely gave me something to think about.”
I was going to leave it at that. This was the closest I ever came to a yes answer. I would give him his time to think.
“Thank you, Edward.”
He scrunched his eyebrows in confusion, “What are you thanking me for?”
“For considering my proposal, dummy.”
He chuckled and shook his head, “Only you could actually want to thank me for considering stealing your virtue.”
“You’re not stealing it Edward, I’m begging you to take the damn thing.”
He sat up and started laughing hysterically before he grabbing me up in his arms again. “You are crazy, you know that right?”
“I’ve always known it. You’re the one that keeps denying it,” I chuckled back at him.
“I’ll never doubt you again,” he winked.
A few minutes later Carlisle and the others returned from their hunting trip. Esme insisted on cooking me my lunch while Edward, Emmett and Alice went out for theirs.
A couple of hours later when everyone had returned, thirsts quenched for the most part, Edward threw me on his back and we ran deep into the woods to the La Push border. Sam and the other pack members, minus Jacob, Paul and Jared were already there waiting. Leah even showed up. She was the first one Carlisle approached. He brought his bag and changed the bandage around her arm where her hand slash paw used to be as Sam hovered over her protectively. I heard him tell her he was starting to see some regeneration there and thought eventually she would grow it back. You could tell by the smile on her face how relieved she was to hear the good news.
The pack left for a minute and came back in their wolf forms. Edward pulled a huge, fallen tree over to where I was so I could sit and watch while the wolves and vampires worked on their fighting techniques. Just like the last time with Victoria, Jasper ran the show. He started with blindfolding everyone. He repeated what Carlisle had told them earlier; that they had to get used to fighting with their hearing and sense of smell instead of their sight as undoubtedly what they would be seeing wouldn’t be real anyway.
He called up Rosalie and Seth first. He put a long necklace with a small charm around both of their necks. He told them their goal was to snatch the small charm off of the necklace without being able to see. They struggled at first, slowly moving their feet and reaching out their hands like they were in a dark room trying to avoid walking into any walls. After a few minutes they started to move a little quicker, one jumping towards the other and the other moving out of the way just in time. I could see both of their nostrils flaring up and sniffing like two hunting dogs that just caught the fox’s trail.
As the pace grew faster and more intense, you could definitely tell their other senses were taking over. They seemed to be able to detect the other’s each and every move. Rosalie was the first to grab the necklace off Seth. She smiled, still blindfolded and held it up in victory. Within seconds Seth lunged right at her and grabbed her necklace, knocking her off of her feet. Rosalie threw her blindfold off as she jumped to her feet and started growling at Seth. Emmett immediately went to grab her.
When Emmett had her somewhat calmed down she looked over at Seth, “If you ever try that again I will kill you mutt.”
“That’s enough Rosalie,” Carlisle calmly stepped in. “Seth did the right thing. You screwed up. You got cocky. Even though you got your opponent, you can’t let your guard down because another one will be right behind the first.”
The next up was Edward and Sam. They didn’t have the rocky start that Seth and Rosalie did. They immediately started circling each other at a rapid pace, dodging each other’s advances like they had been doing this their whole life. It must’ve been a good 5 minutes before Edward went in for the kill and retrieved Sam’s necklace. Before Edward could yank it off completely Sam had grabbed his as well.
“That was great!” Jasper clapped. Just remember, it’s going to take several strikes for you to dismember each one. Just because you have an arm doesn’t mean you can relax and give them the opportunity to get one of yours. You’ll have to strike over and over again. Once you have them ripped apart, Leah and Seth will run in to grab the parts and bring them to the fire.”
“What? I’m going to be the fire boy,” Seth whined as he came stepping out from the trees, transformed back into human form as his turn was finished.
Edward knew how bummed Seth was the last time they didn’t want him to fight. He walked over and put his hand on Seth’s young shoulder, “My friend, you have the most important job of all. You are responsible for killing every one of them. We just have to rip one or two apart each, you have to handle the whole lot of them.”
Seth smiled at Edward and his posture went from slumped over to standing proudly upright. “I can handle it, no problem.”
“I know you can my friend; that’s why you were given the job,” Edward praised.
Edward and Seth came to join me on my tree bench as the rest of them took turns doing the exercise. It started getting dark so everyone decided to meet again tomorrow at the same time. Carlisle suggested that the wolves stay close to them tonight so we were all together should some trouble arise. Sam agreed and said they would hang out close to my house later tonight since that’s where we had to be to keep an eye on Charlie.
When we got to my house Charlie wasn’t home yet and it was officially dark. It made me nervous that he was out there, maybe by himself, so Edward sent Jasper and Emmett to the station so they could follow him home.
Edward sat in the kitchen with me as I cooked Charlie’s dinner. I sighed a sigh of relief when I heard him come through the door. “Hey Bells, hey Edward. What smells so good?”
“Hey Dad, I made some apple and onion stuffed pork chops with roasted potatoes and green beans.”
“Sounds good Bells. How was your day? How was school?”
“Umm…good…nothing really exciting,” I lied. “How about you? How was your day?”
“Well, I officially closed out the hardware store murders case and handed it off to the FBI. Other than that, it was a good, quiet day in Forks.”
The FBI. Great. That’s all we needed right now. Hopefully Charlie was right and they wouldn’t give the Cullens a second thought.
Charlie took the rubber band off of The Seattle Times newspaper and took his usual seat at the kitchen table. He took out the sports section and offered the rest to Edward.
“No thanks Charlie,” Edward nicely refused. “I have to be getting home myself. Esme is trying out a new recipe and insisted we all be there to be her guinea pigs.”
“Oh, that reminds me,” Charlie replied, lowering the paper so he could make eye contact with Edward. I was wondering what your family was doing for Thanksgiving? I thought it might be nice if we all got together since we’re going to be one big, happy family soon.”
“Umm…that sounds nice, Charlie,” Edward responded, always quick on his feet. “We usually go to Alaska to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with some old family friends but I haven’t heard if we’re going this year yet. I will check with Carlisle and Esme and get back to you. It was very nice of you to think of us. Thank you for the invitation.”
“Sure,” was all Charlie said as he went back to his paper.
After dinner I excused myself and went to my room to do homework. I was sure by now I had an email from at least some of my professors on my assignments for the next couple of weeks. I was disappointed when I walked in and Edward wasn’t there yet.
Sure enough, there were emails from not a couple, but from all of my professors. Most of them wished my mom a speedy recovery before listing out the lesson plans. I printed two copies of each email, one for me and one for Edward. The lists were kind of daunting considering we had to do all of this work and destroy a coven of vampires in our spare time.
I was in the middle of stressing out over it when Edward came through the window.
“Hey, how’s everything going out there?” I asked.
“Things are quiet right now,” he replied in his “I’m keeping something from you” voice.
“What do you mean by right now?”
“Well, Alice had another vision a little while ago.”
“What did she see Edward? Were you right? Did the outcome change?”
“Yes, it did change some, but not nearly enough yet. We’re on the right track though. Once we get more practice in and make a few more decisions, we’re feeling pretty confident it will all end the way we want it to.”
“So, do we still…do we still…you know…die?”
“Not everyone, like the last time,” he replied. But I’m not going into anymore details about that right now no matter how much you bug me. It isn’t going to matter anyway. Alice did get some new information though which will be helpful.
“What kind of information?”
“What Alice didn’t see in her last vision was when this was all going to happen. Tonight, she was able to see there was a full moon the night they attack us. Carlisle used his Blackberry and was able to look up the date of the next full moon so we at least know when they’re coming.”
“How much time do we have?” I asked, afraid to hear the answer.
“The next full moon is Sunday, Bella. We have six days.”
- Chapter 1: Dream
- Chapter 2: Confrontation
- Chapter 3: Postponement
- Chapter 4: Changes
- Chapter 5: Encounter
- Chapter 6: Trouble
- Chapter 7: Visions
- Chapter 8: Fooled
- Chapter 9: Gone
- Chapter 10: Meadow
- Chapter 11: La Push
- Chapter 12: Breached
- Chapter 13: Insecure
- Chapter 14: Revelation
- Chapter 15: Complications
- Chapter 16: Ultimatum
- Chapter 17: Seth
- Chapter 18: Return
- Chapter 20: Promises
- Chapter 21: Practice
- Chapter 22: Presents
- Chapter 23: Plan
- Chapter 24: Italy
- Chapter 25: Volturi
- Chapter 26: Thursday
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- 07 Mar 09
- 13 Sep 09
- In Progress