Best Laid Schemes
Edward is desperate to keep Bella away from La Push and specifically away form Jacob Black. Much to Edward’s dismay, Bella made her move while he was busy hunting and went to see Jacob. Now Edward and Alice have devised a scheme that is sure to thwart Bella’s wayward travels in the future.
On a whim and suffering from an acute case of writers block, I pulled one of my previously posted stories, The Best Laid Plans (available on Ramblings and Thoughts), off the shelf in my search for inspiration. What I found was Edward impatiently tapping his foot awaiting my return. It seems I had forgotten to include some details he wanted my readers to know about when I wrote the story originally. He demanded, as only Edward can, that I revise the tale to such an extent that I had to retitle it. The fact that I made omissions did not surprise me. I am, by nature, an impatient writer. My brain sees the stories much faster than my fingers can fly over the keyboard and some details get missed in my headlong rush to the end. (Just ask my betas.) I like to think of “Schemes” as a variation of the original story much like an artist may do multiple variations of a single subject. Most of the changes are subtle but there are some new scenes and significant details added to others. If you have read the original (it’s still available because I couldn’t bear to take it down) feel free to compare. If you have not read it and are desperate to find out how the story ends, well, I can’t stop you from “reading ahead” as it were but if you can, be patient, you will be rewarded with a stronger, richer story. Best Laid Schemes will be posted very quickly as it is finished. I hope you enjoy “Best Laid Schemes” as much as I enjoyed revisiting one of my personal favorites. Many thanks to Tennyo, my very patient beta. Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
2. Chapter 2 ~ Pacing ~
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By the time I’d finished talking to Rosalie, the clouds had parted, allowing the moon to fill my room with its milky light. A tight knot seized my throat as I surveyed my surroundings. The elegant bed that I had envisioned an angel sleeping in stood cold and empty, stripped of its coverings. It was a vacant wasteland because of my own folly.
Against the wall, the couch stood testimony to my miscalculations. The golden duvet that should have graced the bed cascaded from the couch to the floor. My dark haired beauty was wrapped in a small corner of its silken shroud. Bella did not look comfortable. She was on her stomach, one arm dangling to the floor, her hair splayed over the pillow and across her face, forming a lacy veil. I longed to carry her to the bed where she would be more comfortable, but her current position would stubbornly not allow me to move her without her waking. I would have to be patient and wait for her to turn in her slumber.
Gazing at Bella, I silently wondered at my behavior. “What have I done to you now, my sweet, sweet Bella?” I murmured under my breath. “You would be so much better off if you could just find a way leave me, but you stay for unexplainable reasons.” I knew in the very deepest part of my being that she would be better off without me. But by the same token, I could not accept the alternative she seemed to have chosen: Jacob Black. I couldn’t help but think that even Mike Newton would be a better option given the circumstances.
I crumpled to the floor next to her, not caring that my wet clothes still clung unpleasantly to my skin. What did it matter now anyway? Bella was sure to send me away.
Just the smell of her essence calmed me. The aroma of lavender and freesia gently enveloped me in welcome. The sound of her beating heart was like music, more melodious than anything else I could imagine. She was safe. She was near. I could find some peace in that.
Cautiously, being ever so careful not to touch her warm skin, I reached over and removed the mahogany colored veil from her face to reveal the perfection that was Bella. Lifting a lock of her hair to my nose, I inhaled deeply. The tension in my body relaxed. I could think again.
I wallowed in my blunders and mistakes.
* * * * * *
Last Saturday had turned into a nightmare. Bella had been scheduled to work at Newton’s for the morning shift and then she was going to help Angela Webber address graduation announcements. It seemed like the perfect day for me to do some very necessary hunting. She would be busy with her own activities while I took care of my thirst. I would be back in time to spend the evening with Bella. It was hardly enough time for the anxiety to build for either of us.
At 8:45, the morning light broke through the cloud cover. Piercing splashes of light danced between the breaks between the branches of the forest. The drops of water on the trees and ferns sparkled in the sunlight as if a dusting of diamonds had been carelessly cast over them. A few lingering drops slid from the canopy above.
I was tracking a sizable buck when the vibration of my cell phone broke my concentration. It was Alice. Without a second’s thought, I flipped it open and answered the call. If Alice was calling, I knew that it had to be important. It was. Bella had vanished from her “sight.” The only explanation could be that Bella was with that flea-bitten monster, that . . . wolf!
In spite of my thirst, the buck was forgotten. My apprehension and frustration rose as I raced home to retrieve my car. I could not understand how Bella could even consider going behind my back. She knew how I felt about her going to La Push. It was simply out of the question. That mongrel was unstable and not to be trusted. The risk of her being mauled was far too real. All I could visualize was Bella’s beautiful face scarred much like the image of Emily’s was in Jacob’s memories. She had no business going there. Period.
Forgetting everything else, I barreled through Forks, blind to the traffic. Mud sprayed from my tires as they ran through a puddle on the road’s shoulder at the La Push border. The Volvo stopped inches from the line we had agreed never to cross, so close that I would not even be able to walk in front of the car. I shifted into reverse and backed up a few feet. The urge to go forward was unbearable. I didn’t know exactly where Bella was but I was certain I could find her. The only thing that stayed my anxious steps was a treaty that I had never expected or foreseen would exact such a cost.
I killed the engine and got out. I paced up and down the invisible barrier for hours. The dense forest seemed to engulf me, the dappled light taunting me, the sound of water dripping from the trees shattering my nerves. It would be so easy to step over that line and follow her scent, or catch the thoughts of someone who had seen her, but at what sacrifice? I had never imagined that the price of our treaty would be so high. Carlisle would never forgive me if I started a war. While he was not exactly comfortable with Bella spending time in La Push, he decidedly did not agree with me that the level of danger was as high as I was making it out to be. He thought I was overreacting. Everyone did, except Alice. She was frustrated if for no other reason than that her “vision” was thwarted.
Shortly after noon, the tension became unbearable. The treaty did not matter to me any more. The only thing that mattered was Bella, and getting her away from the fleabag. I was going in. My phone buzzed like an annoying mosquito, stopping me for the second time that day.
Alice’s voice was panicked when I answered. “Edward, where are you?”
“Not now Alice. I’m busy,” I replied curtly as I continued to pace the line.
“I need to know where you are. What are you doing? I can’t see you. You disappeared like Bella did just now!” There was a sobbing quality to her voice, already laced with panic. “Edward . . . all of us just disappeared. You have to tell me what you are doing!”
“Alice, I can’t tell you. Don’t involve yourself or anyone else. I have to do this.”
Alice gasped and then Jasper got on the phone. “Edward, I don’t know what Alice is seeing or not seeing,” he hissed, “but whatever it is, is not good and you are at the center of it all. Tell me where you are or come home . . . now. I’ve never seen Alice in such a state.” It wasn’t hard to visualize Alice’s stricken face.
By now I was panting hard out of my own anger and fear. In that moment I realized that if my future was intertwined with at least one wolf, Alice would not be able to see me. “Fine! I’m at the La Push border. I’m going in to get Bella.”
Jasper’s voice was sharp. “Stop acting like an obsessive seventeen year-old boy.”
Now my venom was boiling. “Gee, I wish I could help you out with that one, Jasper, but just in case you haven’t noticed by now, I am seventeen. I’ll always be seventeen.” I snarled, “I wish I could be otherwise.”
“Take a deep breath and use your head.” Jasper’s response was calmer now, almost soothing, “I hate to say this, but I’m going to . . . Jacob Black does not want to hurt Bella any more than you do. She will be coming home on her own. If you do anything stupid and irrational, there is no telling what will happen to Bella or to the rest of us.”
Jasper’s voice continued to buzz in my ear as my gaze took me deep into the North Western rain forest, penetrating into the Quileute territory, pacing all the while. My gut twisted as the realization hit me that if I went after Bella, my family would have little choice but to either abandon Bella and me or come after us. I knew they would choose to do the latter. The weight in my chest was crushing as I further discerned that by going after Bella I would be endangering her even more. Jacob could inadvertently hurt her in an effort to protect her . . . from me.
“Edward, did you hear me?” Jasper’s insistent tone brought me back to the moment at hand. I hadn’t heard a word he had said, my thoughts had become so engrossed. I’d arrived back at the Volvo without even realizing where I was.
Defeated, I leaned back against the car. “Yes, I hear you.”
“He’s back, I can see him!” Alice’s voice was jubilant with relief in the background.
The caution in Jasper’s voice was pronounced. “What time was Bella supposed to be at Angela’s?”
Sighing, I replied, “She was supposed to get off work at 2:00. She was going to Angela’s from there.”
“That’s good. Let’s look at this rationally.” Jasper was using his best commanding voice. “Two o’clock is not that far off from now. Stay calm. Bella will be leaving La Push shortly. She knows that Angela is expecting her after 2:00. She will be there. If she is not at Angela’s by 2:30, call me.” If I had been in his presence, the command would have been compelling. Even just hearing his voice left little room for me to disobey his order. He was Major Jasper Whitlock. “Don’t do anything before you call me unless it is to come home. Got it, Edward?”
I shuffled my foot through the dirt, tracing an abstract pattern. “I got it.”
Jasper continued, “You’re going to have to leave again to hunt. You’re getting far too thirsty. Carlisle, Emmett and I are going to Mt. Lassen next weekend. They’re having a mountain lion problem there.” Jasper’s tone was meant to tempt. “You should join us.”
Reluctantly, I agreed to accompany them and hung up before Jasper could say anything more.
Jasper was right. I had to pull myself back together.
The minutes laboriously ticked by. I continued to pace.
Finally! The roar of the truck’s engine drowned out all other sounds. Leaping into my Volvo, I took off and followed Bella to Angela’s. I was close on her tail attempting to get her attention. She had to know how mad I was with her. I thought she would pull over before she got there so we could talk. From the way she kept looking in the rear view mirror she had to know I was behind her, but she just kept going. My frustration and anger continued to fester like an infection. I should have been grateful that Bella was safe, but I wasn’t. I felt betrayed.
When Bella finally parked in front of Angela’s, I quickly considered my options. Maybe making a scene in front of the house would not be such a good idea. I kept going. Bella obviously did not want to talk to me just then. That only fueled my anger and aggravation. I could feel it coursing through every part of my being. I couldn’t even look at her when I drove by.
Quickly, I decided that I could afford to bide my time now that Bella was away from La Push. She would have to talk to me sometime. I would wait for her in her room. There was no reason to worry about Charlie finding me. He never went in there uninvited. Even if he did his thoughts, though sometimes vague, would betray his intentions to me well in advance.