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Mortality Race

Summary:
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.


Notes:
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! :)


7. 2560 Hemlock Street

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2490   Review this Chapter

__Chapter Seven__
2560 Hemlock Street

Rosalie's POV

"Are you sure?"

My foot hovered above the gas pedal, unsure of what to do. Should I accelerate and get to our target on time? Or should I wait and confirm the new information? Speed or security?

I looked back at Edward, who was still staring out of the window in deep concentration. I hated depending on him—on anyone, for that matter—but right now he was the only one with an answer, and perhaps a new plan. Tanya and Kate faded from my mind. They were useless, after all, now that we were in the lead.

"I'm sure. It's her," he finally answered, straining to hear more.

"Well?"

Edward closed his eyes. "Linda Oakenford… 2560 Hemlock Street… Vancouver…"

I made my decision.

I pressed down on the pedal so hard that for a moment I was afraid that I'd broken something inside the engine, and I had to force myself to lift my foot up a little. It would take too long to snatch another car, and we certainly wouldn't find one as fast as my fine-tuned convertible.

So Tanya was right—Dorothy was hiding in Canada. They'd even gotten the city right. For a moment I felt my lips pull back in a snare. They had such a head start!

"They don't know exactly where she's staying, Rosalie," Edward reminded me from behind my seat, no longer as attentive to Bella as he had been a minute ago. Good. We needed to focus.

"They got lucky last time. I don't want to take the risk of that happening again."

At last it was our turn to have some luck! Though we'd been the first to notice the importance of Richard's revelation, and though we'd been the first with all the information, we'd been running in circles for a week already, getting no further than any of the other amateurs who had come to look for Dorothy Mace. We had everything on our side—knowledge, talent, and grit. But despite all those attributes, it was luck again that decided it for us.

Or was it destiny? It could hardly be coincidence that Jane and Alec had been driving on the exact same road as we'd been, thinking of the exact same thing we were looking for. It couldn't be coincidence that it was exactly then that Edward decided to browse through the minds of his surroundings.

Someone up there wanted us to succeed.

That was also why I felt confident that Dorothy had to be at the given address. Why would God dangle a clue in front of our noses like this, only to reveal it to be a hoax once we reached for it? No, God was cruel, but not that heartless.

Discarding the plan that involved meeting the Denali Coven in the outskirts of town, I began forming a new type of strategy. We had to be fast—Jane and Alec were just mere minutes behind us—and we had to be secretive, unless we wanted the whole vampire world to suddenly show up at Linda Oakenford's door. If we raced there now, I would be human again before midnight…

"Don't get too excited, Rosalie. She might not be there," Edward annoyingly interjected my thoughts again. Why couldn't he mind his own mind?

He sighed. "I'm just trying to spare you from disappointment."

I rolled my eyes mentally and went back to my designs. This time, I wouldn't let her slip away before we got there…

"I don't mean to interrupt," Bella suddenly uttered, looking carefully at Edward in an unmistakable attempt to avoid my gaze, "but shouldn't we tell Tanya and Kate about this?"

I laughed out loud. How could she be so naïve?

Edward seemed less amused by her question, however, and stroked her hair while he answered. "I see what you mean, love, but let us think about this first."

"We are absolutely not going to tell them," I told her firmly, not believing that Edward's overly kind words would have any effect. Bella frowned.

"Why not? They gave us the lead about Vancouver. We wouldn't have ever even bumped into Jane and Alec if it weren't for them. And they're our friends."

"Love," Edward quietly spoke. "I know you feel we owe them something. But we don't."

"How come?"

"We told them everything about Richard's revelation, remember? When they told us about Vancouver, they were only acquitting their debt."

"You can't be serious!" she exclaimed, snatching Edward's hand away from her face. "This isn't about debt and penance! You're supposed to be in league with each other. Not because anyone owes anybody anything, but because that's what friends do. I'm starting to feel like a cold-blooded taxman."

Emmett snorted beside me and extended a hand to the backseat, which Bella then met in a childish high-five.

I sent one frosty stare at him to stop him dead in his tracks. Emmett looked at me sheepishly, trying very hard to look unsettled, but not quite managing to lock away his uneasiness.

"I'm sorry, hon, but I agree with Bella."

"Well, what does Jasper say?" I inquired Edward, who was listening to the car in front of us. I knew who my friends were.

His answer was short and sweet. "He doesn't want to tell them either."

"There you have it," I then told Emmett. "Three against two."

That shut Emmett up, but unfortunately Bella saw the hole in my plan.

"And what does Alice want?"

Edward frowned and did not answer. I sighed. Of course Alice would be on her best friend's side. She always was.

"Carlisle and Esme would want us to tell them too," Bella continued triumphantly, "so I guess the matter is settled."

I snarled at her. What was Bella even doing here if she didn't want to find Dorothy? Why couldn't Edward just leave her home where she couldn't disturb anyone?

"Easy, Rosalie," Edward reprimanded me, instantly protective over his wife again.

I sent another defiant growl through the air in protest, but I knew that I was defeated. Bella had me cornered.

So when the crossroad came, I took the turn that would lead us to the Denali Clan and further away from my only hope of human life.

Curse family! What good had it ever done to me?

Linda's POV

My every move was labored as I tidied up the living room.

I knew now was the time to act normal, and that it was times like these that required the familiarity of routines—and yet I found myself exceedingly jumpy, starting at every small noise.

It was ridiculous, I knew. No one had any reason to suspect that I was aware of Dottie's whereabouts, and no one had any cause to look here. I should have been calm, assured, and trustable, but alas, I was not.

I was scared for my life.

Any second someone might barge inside here and demand to know where I'd hidden Dorothy, I thought. And once they started hurting me, would I be able to stand the pain? Dottie was my best friend, but… still, it had been wrong of her to drag me into this mess. If she cared a fig about me, she would have left the country and never contacted me again. But instead she'd come here, begging for my help.

Considering the circumstances, I'd been a good friend. A good Christian. I'd given her the little help I could at the expense of my own safety.

Ah, forgive me, my Lord! My thoughts were inexcusable. How could I, who had been closely acquainted to Dorothy for over fifty years now, think so coldly about her? Of course she'd come to me for help. If I were put in the same position, I would do the same.

It pained me to know what hands Dottie had left her life in. I was so unfit for this task, so wrong to be trusted. I was perfectly aware of my own weaknesses—I was neither courageous nor smart, neither a hero nor a good friend. Why else had I stayed back when Richard and Dorothy decided to travel? I'd turned down an adventure, and had selfishly hoped my best friend would do the same. In fact, I'd thought she'd do the same. Dottie had never been one for excitement. But she'd said that God wanted her to follow that man, so she had, and had only visited me occasionally to escape Richard's presence.

Dorothy was very partial to that God-fearing man. She'd never told me directly, of course, but this was something a good friend could tell. It was a pity that it did her more harm than good.

As I picked up another towel from the floor where Dottie had thrown it, I happened to pass a mirror. My reflection immediately caught my attention—initially because the sudden movement alarmed me, and then because of the beautiful woman staring back through the glass, blinking at the same time I did.

I'd never been vain, but my appearance never failed to astonish me. As a human I'd been a gray mouse, never the center of attention. My blonde locks were all I'd had to recommend me, but even they had been a mess more often than an asset. But now my blonde locks were golden ones, and my chubby body was simply a curved one, the way most men liked to see it. My round chin was still round, but even that seemed to fit perfectly into the whole. I was beautiful.

I let my appearance astonish and appease me for a while longer, until suddenly a knock made my eyes shift to the reflection of the door behind me.

Knock Knock

The sound waves were almost tangible when they reached me.

I froze.

Knock Knock

"We know you're in there, Linda," a male voice declared from behind the door. "Please let us in so we can talk."

Oh, heavenly father, help me!

I tried my best to ignore the calls, unable to think. Somewhere in the far corners of my mind a voice was telling me to run, but I was incapable of any judgment and could only stand still, which was a silly thing of me to do. I was handing myself to them on a plate!

But instead of acting, I did the only thing I knew—I prayed.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name…

A prompt, loud crash erupted through the apartment when the uninvited visitors finally broke down my door, and I turned slowly around to face the intruders.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

Two men were staring at me, and I nearly started when I saw their expressions—so calm, so kind, almost, that it scared me even more. What was worse: a screaming mob or two composed assassins who would stop at nothing to finish their task?

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…

And now that it wasn't worth it anymore, I was planning my escape. But I had never been fast, and I had never been agile—these men would catch me before I got to any door or window, or possibly even before I took my first step.

How utterly stupid I had been to stay at home! I should have run the minute Dorothy arrived at my door.

"Hello, Miss Oakenford," the taller vampire greeted me, inching closer and closer as he watched me shiver under his gaze.

"If you have a minute to spare, we would like a word…"

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…

"Where is Dorothy Mace?"

They towered above me and I shrank to the ground.

For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

Bella's POV

When we reached 2560 Hemlock Street, we found a broken-down door.

I heard several curses and cries of surprise at the sight of it, and I, too, joined in on their rush as they ran inside, doing it more out of self-interest than for concern for the stranger. How could Rosalie have such a gleam in her eyes when someone was obviously in danger? How could she worry only about herself?

Worse yet: Edward had that gleam in his eyes too. I recoiled from him, the animalistic look on his face disgusting me to the very core.

A quiet sobbing reached my ears when I finally fought myself into the small living room, where I found a young woman curled up in a ball by the far wall. She was clutching her sides so hard that I was afraid she might hurt herself, and she kept chanting something with her head tucked firmly against her legs:

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name…"

The mirror behind her was shattered into a million pieces.

"Oh, my God…" somebody muttered, but I was too shocked to match the voice to a name. All I could see was the young, broken woman sitting amongst innumerable tiny splitters of equally broken glass, mumbling useless prayers and oblivious to her new visitors.

"I told you we shouldn't have waited!" Kate roared at her sister, and I felt a pang of hatred wash through me at the sound of her egocentric worries.

"This is your fault," Rosalie spat at me, and I immediately understood that she was referring to my insisting to tell our friends about our find. I gave her no answer but a glare.

I had never hated Rosalie, even when she'd hated me. But now I did, and it felt fully justified.

As no one else seemed to feel any sort of concern for the girl at all, I took a step forward, intending to give her some much-needed protection from the horrors of the vampire world, but the sound of my advance made her head snap up.

Her eyes widened in fear.

"She's in a store house to the south of the town! A-Abbey road, number 4. Please, please don't hurt us!"

That was all the young woman could say before she broke down again, reciting the prayer louder and louder against her thighs.

"How convenient," somebody whispered behind me. "We didn't even have to ask."

The group filed out again, not once stopping to look back at the broken woman. Somewhere behind me I heard Emmett shiver, but he obediently followed Rosalie out when she told him to move. Soon the room was empty except for me and Edward.

He tugged at my sleeve.

"Come on."

Still not lifting my eyes from Linda Oakenford, I ripped my hand away from his.

Cowards. Idiots. Monsters.

In midst of all the severity, I had to acknowledge the irony of it all. Wasn't it funny how once monsters strived to be human again, they just turned more and more monstrous?

This was the price of mortality, and it was wrong, so wrong…

I took one last look at Linda, and then left her there to lie in the fragments of glass.

Like all the other vampires, I simply turned away.