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Mortality Race

Humanity. Everybody wants it. Everybody would do anything for it. Now that re-transformation is possible, how far will the vampire population go in order to obtain it? And what if not everybody wants it? The race for mortality has begun.

This story was beta'ed by TRDancer of fanfiction.net. A big thanks to her! All the chapters are written out and ready to go, so you can expect fast updates. I know -- I'm shocked too! The story has been my little project for a while now, so naturally I'd be very grateful for some feedback. It's just no fun writing something when nobody tells you how they liked it (it's very depressing too!). Please remember to always review the stories you've read -- you'll make the author's day :) The POV changes quite often so you can get a glimpse of what all the characters are thinking and feeling. Enjoy! :)

4. Bribes and Death Threats Put to Action

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__Chapter Four__
Bribes and Death Threats Put to Action

Emmett's POV

I was starting to seriously worry about Rosalie.

"What do you mean you don't know where she went?" she spat at the motel manager, who was looking at her in a mixture of boredom and disbelief. Rosalie's expression was wild, almost lethal.

Somewhere behind us, Edward murmured Rosalie's name in an effort to remind her of her manners. It didn't do much good.

Tiredly, the manager answered: "Look, if you don't have a warrant or anything, I can't give out any information. Besides, she never mentioned where she was heading."

Rosalie was angrier now, and I felt desolate when I realized that her anger was the mere by-product of ardent despair. I felt a sudden urge to throw my arms around her in consolation, to kiss her face until she was consumed by pleasure, or at least to remind her of how I would always love Rosalie without a shadow of doubt no matter what mythical or not-so-mythical creature she was, but quickly discarded that thought—after all, I did want to keep my arms connected to my body.

"Come one, I'm sure you know something. Is money what you need? I can give you money!" Rose pulled out some bills from her pocket and started counting them. "How much?"

Rosalie staggered the man for good when she finally slapped a generous-looking roll of hundred dollar bills onto the table and raised her eyebrows in silent question.

Well, at least bribes were better than death threats.

The manager looked at the money greedily, wavering, but finally sighed. When he once again worded his refusal, he looked more genuinely apologetic than at any other point of our interrogation.

"I wish I could tell you something, but I can't. I don't know where she went."

My wife measured his expression for a moment, glanced shortly at Edward, and then let out one long groan.

A look that almost bordered pain came across the manager's face when Rosalie snatched away the money. She balled her hand into a fist, and I heard the delicate paper crumple inside her grasp. Well, that money couldn't be used for bribing anymore. Poor Benjamin Franklin. His portrait probably resembled a piece of gnawed chewing gum by now.

Very, very carefully, I put a hand on Rosalie's shoulder and gently told her to calm down.

She hissed.

The manager grumbled something under his breath that included the words "insane" and "mental institution", and finally decided that he wasn't going to be earning any money if he stayed any longer. He turned and disappeared into the office behind the front desk, telling a security guard there to "watch out for those lunatics".

I quickly drew my hand away from my wife when I heard her growl noticeably. Rosalie's temper was a tricky affair, and you had to be tactful in order to preserve your life around her. She was like a little kitten—incredibly cute and soft and cuddly, but blessed with a set of sharp teeth and an equally sharp temper that she would not attempt to reel in. My little kitty-Rosy.

That thought would have been awfully funny if it wasn't for the fact that she was truly hurting now, although she tried not to show that pain by hiding it behind her anger.

Jasper, who was the only one apart from me who dared to stand in Rosalie's vicinity, cursed under his breath and unintentionally sent a wave of frustration across the room. From my peripheral vision I saw Edward look up at the ceiling and close his eyes.

"What now?" Jasper asked. "This motel was our only lead."

Rosalie snarled quietly. "I know what we'll do. We go back home, seek that Jerry guy out again, and then torture him until he releases more information. Who's with me?"

But before anyone could answer—and Jasper sure looked like he was with her—Alice butted in.

"Absolutely not. We promised not to use any violence."

I looked at my family that was scattered around the motel lobby. We sure were a sight with our traveling gear and exasperated faces, and I instantly felt a pang of love for each of them—my big-little brother Edward, the hilarious Bella, my wrestling partner Jasper, and of course little Alice, who awakened an unneeded protective instinct inside everyone she ever met. I thought of my parents back home—Esme and her all-enduring affection, and Carlisle and his fatherly presence.

And then there was always my Rose who, at that moment, looked more like a maniac killer than a graceful rose.

A hot maniac killer, mind you.

But as I felt the pang of love, I also felt a pang of sadness. Who knew how long this family life would last when we had other options to consider? Options that made everything feel like a waste to me.

"Maybe we should give up," Bella suggested, sounding a little too hopeful. The only answer she got was a snarl from Rosalie.

I expected Edward to scold Rosalie about snarling at his wife, but to my great surprise he ignored it and said: "This is pointless. The manager really doesn't know anything."

"So then what?" Rosalie hissed again. "I am not just giving up."

She shot a noxious glare at Bella.

Edward just shook his head, and then abruptly froze. His wide eyes stared at the office door before us.

Instinctively, we all turned our gazes there, and it wasn't long until we heard some talking.

"Jennifer, dear, will you cover me for half an hour? I need to take a break."

"Sure, Jeff. Just come back when you're ready."

"I swear, this city's turning into a setting from Psycho or something. Remind me to never allow pretty, pale-faced girls into my motel again. They bring nothing but trouble."

"What d'ya mean?"

"Those people were the third lunatics asking after Dorothy Mace today. I'm starting to think we should call the police. Who knows what mafia she's running away from. They were all so pale and gorgeous, you know, I think they're family. Anyway, those freaks give me the shivers."

A door slammed shut behind the closed office door, followed by a long sigh from Jennifer.

We all fell silent.

Silent apart from one graceful word from Rosalie.

"Crap," she cursed under her breath.

Kate's POV

I studied the map, staring at the road names as if they could somehow give me the answers I so desperately needed.

"Maybe we should go back to the motel?" Tanya suggested beside me, tapping the wheel impatiently while waiting for the traffic lights to change.

"Pointless," I told her. "He didn't know anything."

We were at a dead end. Things hadn't gone as we'd expected. We'd been so eager, so wound-up when we'd left home; that we hadn't considered the possibility of not finding what we were looking for. We'd assumed that it would be easy to find the motel, extract the information from the manager, and then continue our chase with new leads.

Now we were simply stuck.

"Hey, let's think positive," Garrett said cheerfully from the backseat. "Nobody can know any more than we do. Everyone's stuck on square one."

Tanya and I both mumbled a "Not helping" and continued to scrutinize the map.

However, what Garrett said was true. It was relieving to know that nobody had gotten any further on this chase than we had, and at least we still had the same chances to find the girl as everyone else. My biggest fear was that someone would find her before us, and use up all her powers before we'd reach the scene. That would be even more irritating than not finding her at all.

That there were other vampires looking, we could say for sure. The motel lobby had practically reeked of them, and we'd seen some red-eyed nomads wandering down deserted streets, the sudden escalation of the non-vegetarian vampire populace no doubt decreasing the small city's population count considerably. Though we'd had a head start to the Cullens because we lived nearer to Anchorage than they did, we didn't have so much of an advance to the nomads who were always traveling around this area. This also worried me—what if one of them found something out, and then killed their source of information? We had to come up with it before they did.

I stared another set of holes into the map.

Where are you! I screamed at it mentally. Tell me where Dorothy Mace is!

"Should we check the other motels?" Tanya was clutching at straws, and she knew it.

Nevertheless, I went with it and shook my head.

"No, that would be a stupid move from her side if she knows she's on the run. It's much more likely that she left town."

"By train?" Tanya said, pointing at a railway station that was drawn into the map.

"It's worth a shot."

Tanya pressed down on the gas pedal, and within just two minutes we were on the other side of town, parked in front of a medium-sized dull railway station.

We got out of the car, Garrett swinging his arm around me as soon as we were out, and walked to the ticket office that lay adjacent to the parking lot. Tanya asked about Dorothy Mace.

"Dorothy Mace?" the stout woman on the other side of the glass repeated. "Hmmm… I think I've heard that name somewhere. One second."

Not even stopping to consider whether she was allowed to give out information like this, the woman adjusted her thick-rimmed glasses and typed something into an antiquated computer.

"Dorothy Mace… Ah, yes, now I remember! She was here the other day. She had shoulder-length black hair and really fair skin, just like you. Are you related? Anyhow, she bought a ticket to… let me see… to Vancouver. She should have arrived there by now. Do you want to buy a ticket to there? I can give you a great discount that would really make the journey worthwhile for you. Oh, wait, you came by car so—"

Before the woman could finish what she was saying, all three of us were hurrying back to said car.

And though I was no mind-reader, I knew what thought we were all reveling in.


The Manager's POV

In all my years as a motel manager, some pretty weird and frightening people had crossed my way. I'd had to call the police a multiple times, and I'd certainly felt afraid for my life more than once. But this Dorothy Mace business was slowly starting to turn from a precarious situation into a constant source of annoyance.

After all, how on earth was I supposed to remember where exactly all my guests were going? Most of them I hardly exchanged a word with, and this Dorothy had been no different. Sure, I remembered her—insane beauty was not something that was likely to slip my mind—but the only thing she'd ever said to me was a polite "Thank you" when I'd handed her the keys.

And now people were basically flocking my lobby, all wanting to know where Dorothy Mace had gone to.

They sure as hell weren't policemen. If there was criminal activity involved, the police was most probably completely oblivious about it. Well, that could change. I lifted the phone receiver and began dialing the familiar number.

I'd only gotten to the first two digits, though, when my head snapped up at the sound of the door jingle. I groaned and laid down the receiver. I contemplated not greeting the new visitors at all, but rejected that thought—I had a few empty rooms and quite a number of unpaid bills. Maybe this time I would finally get lucky and the guests would be real customers.

Sure, as if I ever got lucky. The instant I walked into the lobby I recognized the pale, intimidating beauty in their faces, and braced myself for another rebuke.

Or, more correctly, I tried to brace myself.

The people—were they even people?—who walked into my motel now were slightly different from the rest. Yes, they had the same white skin, and yes, they were beautiful, but it was their size that shocked me the most. These two were barely teenagers.

The little brown-haired girl and her equally small companion smiled widely at the sight of me, and gracefully glided over to my desk.

"Are you the manager of this motel?" the girl asked, her childlike, high soprano tinkling in the air.

I knew what the next question would be, but answered in an affirmative, anyway. My thoughts were too incoherent to form a more useful response.

"My brother and I are looking for someone. A… friend, you could say. Her name is Dorothy Mace. Do you, by any chance, know where she may have gone after she left your motel?"

I shook my head, irritated again, and answered in a firmer tone: "I don't know anything about her at all! Ask your friends—they've already looked here. I'm sorry."

But instead of accepting my answer and walking away, the young girl and her brother simply smiled and took a small step closer. Their smiles made my blood curl.

"Oh, I'm sure you know something, Sir," the girl urged on.

"No, I don't," I retorted, and this time the venom made it into my tone. "I don't know anything. Now please leave before I call the police. I—"

I didn't even have time to turn around or scream.

All I could feel was fire shooting through my body.