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The Voice

Set during New Moon. Written from Edward's POV. What would happen if Edward found out Bella was in danger and he came back to Forks, but he didn't let her know he was there?


2. Chapter Two - Return

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Chapter Two – Return

It was sometime in mid-January, in Texas, when I finally caught a break in the pursuit. Victoria had been infuriatingly precise at staying just out of my range. I could only assume that she and James had discussed it when I had been pursuing him the previous year. But again she needed to stop and hunt, and her this time her distraction allowed me to get just close enough to catch her thoughts for a moment. It looked like she was heading for Brazil. It seemed like an odd destination for a vampire, yet I was fairly certain that Victoria was at least partly insane. My time on her trail had taught me at least that much.

Smiling grimly, I turned my “borrowed” Mitsubishi Spyder toward the airport. It was about time I got lucky. I had long ago given up relying on my non-existent skills. James may have been lower than pond scum, but I had to hand it to him. This tracking stuff was harder than it looked. I had only stayed on Victoria’s trail this long with the aid of my vampire-enhanced senses.

I left the car in the taxi zone at the international terminal. It would be found soon enough, and returned to its rightful owner with a full tank of gas. The theft had been necessary, but there was no reason to be discourteous about it. Somehow, I still doubted Esme would approve.

I grabbed my backpack and entered the bustling terminal. I found one of the flight display monitors and scanned the departing flights for the next few hours. There was nothing heading for Sao Paulo until this evening and it was still early morning, so I would have some time to kill. As I surveyed the terminal for somewhere relatively comfortable to wait, I noticed a gaggle of teenage girls trying to watch me surreptitiously. Which meant they were more or less staring. Teenagers are no subtler now than they were when I truly was one. They seemed to be preparing for a school trip of some kind, and their two chaperones looked tired already. That’s one place I would not be waiting. I was thoroughly enjoying my temporary reprieve from the tedium of high school and the minds of high school students.

As I headed off in the opposite direction, I couldn’t help but overhear a few of their annoying thoughts. Isn’t that the guy from that movie… what’s his name again? He looks like he’s alone, I wonder if he’ll be on our flight? Oh. My. God. Hotness. I rolled my eyes and walked a little faster. If they had any idea who they were looking at, they would run screaming. The mental image entertained me even as it sickened me. I was distracted from my mental rampage as another thought voice caught my attention.

Edward! Edward, I know you’re here. Where are you?

Someone was calling me. Who would be here and would know to do that? I didn’t know whether to smile or growl as I recognized the “voice.” I settled on feeling irritated, but I should probably see what she wanted. I turned in a slow circle, ignoring the irritated looks of the people who now had to swerve around me. Sure enough, I saw two familiarly mismatched figures about halfway down the terminal. A tall, lean blond man, and a tiny, pixie-like girl with short black hair were standing with their backs to me, staring at another one of the monitors. What were Jasper and Alice doing here?

I weaved swiftly towards them through the crowd, but they caught my scent and turned before I reached them. It’s tough to catch a vampire by surprise. Jasper snorted as he took in my appearance, and Alice raised an eyebrow.

“The Stetson is an…interesting look for you, Edward,” her tone was even, but she couldn’t hold back a smirk. Where’s my camera when I really need it?

“It’s been sunny. I had to do something to keep from terrifying the populace.” I was not amused. I was sure Alice was here to give me some variation on the rant she had delivered the last time we spoke. “But as much as I know you enjoy giving fashion advice, I doubt you came all this way to make fun of me. What are you two doing here, Alice? I hardly need supervision.”

No. Obviously you have everything under control. The sarcasm was crystal clear, even in her thoughts. Aloud, she said, “Let’s find somewhere a little more private. You have some time before your flight.”

As we walked toward an out of the way corner, I asked, “I understand you having a vision of me arriving here in Dallas, but how did you know to come to the airport? It was less than an hour ago that I made the decision to get on a plane.”

Jasper smirked, oozing self-satisfaction. “Not everyone stinks at tracking as much as you.”

“… and more to the point, your cell phone has a GPS locator unit,” Alice added, ignoring her husband’s dirty look. She looked pointedly at the laptop case in Jasper’s hand.

“Not that I don’t want to see you, but why didn’t you just call?” Honestly, I didn’t want to see them. There was only one person in this world I wanted to see, and that wasn’t going to happen.

Alice looked around to make sure we had a little space to ourselves before answering, and even then she kept her voice low enough that only a vampire would be able to understand her. “I had a vision of Bella. I wasn’t looking for her!” she cut me off as she saw my mouth open to chastise her. “It just came to me. Edward, she’s in danger. Look for yourself.”

Without any further warning, her vision flooded from her mind into mine. I saw two figures, standing in a wooded area. The first was Bella, looking much as she had in Alice’s last vision, pale and worn. Her eyes were anything but lifeless now, though, as she gazed with naked terror at her companion. It was Laurent. I thought that after he had separated from James and Victoria he had left Forks, but clearly he was back. Despite the onlookers I knew to be around me, I couldn’t repress my growl as I read the thirst and murderous intent in his red-black eyes. Every thought left my mind but one: I had to get to Bella.

As panic and pain threatened to overwhelm me, I felt Jasper using his gift of emotional control to send me a wave of calm. He was obviously worried I would make a scene, and he was probably wise to feel that way. I wasn’t grateful for his help right now, though. I wanted every shred of urgency I could muster.

“Alice, why the hell didn’t you just phone me?!” Even with Jasper’s calming influence I could barely keep from howling with frustration at the time she had wasted by coming to tell me in person. I might already be too late.

“You wouldn’t have believed me without seeing it for yourself, Edward. You know that. I’ve been telling you all along it was a mistake to leave.” Alice was keeping her voice steady, but I could tell it was an effort. Her temper was no better than mine. “And secondly, it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know exactly when it will happen, but you do have a little time.”

“Are you sure?” Alice’s visions were rarely concrete enough for her to be this certain about them. Of all the times for her to take a chance! From the corner of my eye I saw Jasper bristling with irritation, obviously picking up on the feelings I was having towards his wife.

“Edward, who is the one that told you to buy stock in Coca-Cola? Microsoft? Of course I’m sure. As sure as it’s possible to be. I’m sorry I can’t give you a specific date, but I know she’s still safe as of right now. I would have seen if something had happened to Bella.” I was afraid of what you might do if I told you without being here to control your reaction. I didn’t have a choice.

I read between her words enough to see that she meant more than just a little sisterly advice. There was a reason she had dragged Jasper into this terminal full of temptation. It could not be easy for him and she wouldn’t have brought him here unless she anticipated needing his gift. The implication irritated me, but I could sense the depth of her feelings for both myself and Bella and was humbled enough to say, “Thanks, Alice.”

She flashed a huge grin, and then was back to business, “Now, I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of purchasing you a flight to Seattle. You’re leaving in an hour. You can grab Bella, make a story for Charlie and have her on a plane to somewhere safe by tomorrow afternoon.”

I loved my sister, but at times she did not understand me at all. Alice would be furious when she found out what I was planning, but I was not going to be the one to tell her.

* * *

I was at thirty thousand feet when I suddenly had a realization. I was going to see Bella again. If I hadn’t known it was impossible, I would have sworn my heart started beating again at the mere idea. To see her beautiful face again, to inhale her uniquely intoxicating scent, was the only heaven I could ever hope for or would ever want. It would be slightly less perfect in that her smiles would never be for me, her voice would never speak to me. If events went according to plan, she would never know I was there. Oh yes, Alice would be furious.

I had done the right thing by leaving, I was positive about that. Bella should be safe, would be so much safer in Forks without the constant threat of my presence. I would never be able to stop myself from thirsting for her blood, from craving to take her life. I was a monster. I thought back to the night of her birthday party, the moment that my true depravity had become clear to me. Bella had hurt herself, had needed help, and I couldn’t even stay with her and hold her hand through the stitches because the open blood had been too much of a siren call. She was injured, and my every instinct had been raging at me to finish the job, to drink her life away. My throat throbbed with thirst at just the memory.

No, if anything I had underestimated the detrimental effect I was having on Bella’s life. After all, Laurent would surely not be after her now if he had never met her, and he would not have met her if she hadn’t been with me that night when we first encountered James and the others. Once this last threat was removed I would leave again, and leave for good. I hoped I would be strong enough to walk away from her the second time. My mind cringed and shied away from the idea. My whole body was humming with excitement at the idea of being near my angel after all this time.

I couldn’t put Bella through my leaving twice. It would be my penance and final gift to her. Surely she had begun to forget me by now, her human memories beginning to blur around the edges and lose their depth. I felt a moment’s guilt that I would essentially be using Bella as bait, but I did not have many options. She would never be in true danger, other of course than the danger I posed to her. I was confident in my ability to take Laurent down, once I located him. I would watch Bella from the shadows, protecting her without her knowledge. It would be torment, but at least it would be a sweeter torment than the one I had known for the past few months.

* * *

It was just before noon when I arrived in Seattle. I skipped baggage claim and flagged down the first taxi I saw.

“Take me to the nearest car dealership.” I ordered the driver. The man was looking at me nervously in the rearview mirror, unconsciously responding to the threat I posed. Most humans were nervous around my kind, even though they had no idea why they felt that way. I threw a couple of twenties onto the seat beside him. “And make it fast.”

Less than two hours later I was on the road in my new Ford Fusion. It’s really amazing what large amounts of cash can do for you. Salespeople of all types start to gibber mindlessly when they see stacks of hundred-dollar bills. The Fusion was deep blue, with tinted windows and a cream-colored leather interior. It was not nearly as fast as I would have liked; Rosalie really did have a talent for tinkering with cars, and she could have done amazing things with it. It was not my Volvo, but then Bella would have recognized my Volvo if she saw it, and I needed to stay unobtrusive if I was going to be following her for a few weeks. I sighed. I loved my Volvo.

It would normally be about a four-hour drive to Forks from the Sea-Tac airport, but for me it was less than three hours. My built-in radar detector was a real godsend sometimes. I drove by Bella’s house, verifying that her truck and Charlie’s cruiser were both in the driveway, and continued around the corner to park. I wasn’t worried that anyone would recognize me. The Fusion was significantly different from the silver Volvo, and the tinted windows would keep out prying eyes. Besides, with the constant rain, people don’t tend to spend a lot of time investigating strange vehicles.

I cut the engine and leaned back in my seat. Reaching out with my mind toward Bella’s house, I found Charlie’s familiar thought pattern in the kitchen. I indulged in a moment of frustration at my inability to hear Bella’s thoughts. It was unlikely to change, but I wished I could understand why the mind I most wished to hear was inaccessible to me. Most of my existence had been spent cursing my supposed gift, and then the one time I truly wanted it, it failed me.

Charlie seemed to be getting himself some dinner. That was odd. Bella always cooked dinner for him; was she sick? I paid closer attention.

Seems like Bella really did go out with Jessica this evening. It’s good to see her actually doing something for a change. I don’t particularly like Jessica, but I guess going out is going out. If the movie starts at 7, I guess they’ll be back from Port Angeles by 10:30 or so…

She was gone! I was seized by a sense of foreboding. Bella had almost been killed in Port Angeles once. If anyone could find trouble in that sleepy town a second time, it would be her. The engine roared to life before I was aware of reaching for the key…