It has been 17 years since Isabella Swan's death, and young Adora has moved to Forks igniting gossip everywhere she turns. As Adora slowly unravels the clues that lead her down a path riddled with even more questions, she begins to realize that it seems to be more than coincidence, drawing her farther away from the life she knows, and into a world, she does not understand. The closer she gets to the truth, the more her own destiny becomes irrevocably entwined with the girl that haunts the small town. She wonders why everything that's happening revolves around the mysterious Edward Cullen, and why he seems to hold the key to the answers she's spent a lifetime searching for.
I consider this story to be pretty much the unofficial 5th installment of the Twilight Series, it takes place after Breaking Dawn, it is 100% canon, which means that it does NOT deviate from the storyline of the books, although in the first few chapters it doesn't seem like it is anything close to being like the original Twilight series, but trust me, it is.
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I saw the flames again, seeing them through her eyes, and then on one side of the pool of fire, I saw Edward on his knees, trying to scream, his eyes wide in silent terror, clutching desperately at his neck, as he reached out wordlessly. I was vaguely aware of the itching burn in my own throat, as my eyes slid to where he was facing, across the inferno to when I stood, Zachary's back facing my vision, his hands on my upper arms.
"No!" He snarled shaking my lax form roughly, and I saw myself as I flexed my arms, flinging his hands away from me effortlessly, a cool smile on my lips. "This can't be! It's impossible!" He screamed enraged, reaching out to take hold of fistfuls of my shirt, jerking me to him.
"No." I smiled softly grabbing his wrists slowly, shaking my head, my bright red eyes full of some strange compassion. I saw my gaze flicker over his shoulder to the fire a few feet behind him, and then they slid slowly upward, over the blaze, my eyes catching Edward's across the pit of flames, letting it linger for a brief moment, filling with love and sorrow, before they slid slowly back to lock on Zachary's face. "It's love." I whispered. Then I shoved him backwards, catching him off balance as I gripped his wrists to my chest, before wrapping my body against his, my arms encompassing his waist, so that he couldn't break my hold. I pulled him with me as I rushed ahead, towards the flames, and then I dove forward, down, disappearing into the inferno, letting it engulf us both. I felt Renesmee's fear wash over me, feeling what she felt as she watched this, horrified.
The thirst receded slowly and I suddenly noticed, Emmet, Jasper, Carlisle and Esme holding Edward's struggling form, dragging him away from the flames. His eyes were crazed in desperation and fury, grief and pain.
"Bella!" He screamed it so loud I thought my ears would shatter. "Bella!" He shrieked breaking away for a moment, racing his way back to the flames, but the others reached him before he'd even made it half way across. "No! Let me go!" He screamed. "She's burning alive! She's burning!" He clawed at the ground, pulling up chunks of stone. "No! Let go!" He managed to shove Emmet away for a brief moment but he was holding him back down in a split second. "No! Bella! No!" He thrashed against them, shaking his head wildly. "I can save her! Let me go!" He kicked his legs wildly. "I have to get her out!" He went wild, lashing out at them, trying to break their hold, swinging blind punches until Jasper and Carlisle grabbed his arms to pull them behind his back. "No! Let me go!" He screamed as Emmet hugged his arms around him. "Let me go!" He cried as Esme pushed with her palms against his chest. "No!" They held him for a long moment as he continued to scream, pleadingly, desperately, brokenly. "Please! I have to save her!" He fought them still, even when the moment passed when it was obviously too late, he still tried to break free.
"Edward!" Carlisle shouted close to him. "Edward!" His voice softened when Edward's eyes flickered to him briefly. "There's nothing you can do for her." Carlisle whispered leaning close to him, and Edward's struggles lessened, as all the terrible agony of this fact filled his eyes. "She's gone." His eyes suddenly blackened, they were dead, soulless, and his body went limp beneath their hands, staring straight ahead, seeing nothing.
"No…" The strained broken whisper echoed across the room. Dozens of eyes were on him, sorrow filled expressions echoed across their faces. The room was dead silent, the only evidence of life, was the sound of the life devouring flames, crackling mockingly, seemingly licking their lips as they rejoiced in their latest meal. I felt tears on my own face, as Renesmee dropped to her knees, everyone's gaze but Edward's slid to her crumpled form. He was still staring blankly detached into the dancing fire. Renesmee was in Rosalie's arms in an instant as she lifted her, cradling her head atop a hard, blood soaked shoulder. She sobbed, her arms going around her neck.
"Momma!" She cried, tears spilling down her cheeks to mix with the blood. "Momma!" She screamed, sobbing. Then Jacob was there, taking her into his arms, holding her tightly against him, sinking slowly to the ground with her in his arms, tears flowing freely over his own grief stricken expression.
"Should we put the flames out?" There was a voice suddenly and Renesmee's head lifted to watch as a woman with long strawberry blond hair reached out to touch Carlisle's shoulder, tearing his attention away from Edward. Tanya. Carlisle nodded wordlessly, never taking his hands from Edward's arm, and dozens of forms blurred across my vision, returning, what seemed like moments later, with large barrels of water, before dumping them in a synchronized motion atop the flames. The fire sizzled and died down slowly, but never vanished completely. They repeated the process several times until the flames gurgled, steam hissing upward from the deep mouth of the opening. As the air slowly cleared, Renesmee slid slowly from Jacob's embrace, taking his hand, pulling her with him, as she crossed to stare down into the darkness, it seemed almost bottomless. I realized suddenly that the darkness was clearing and I studied Renesmee's far away reflection in the shallow pool of water nearly 50 feet down. She furrowed her brows noticing four blackened steel circles protruding oddly out from the still surface. She looked at Jacob, squeezing his hand softly, letting the visual question pass into him.
"I don't know." He whispered, his voice still tight, shaking his head. She looked up slowly, her brows furrowing as she noticed four hooks that hung from retracting chains from the ceiling.
"Bring them down." Eleazar said firmly from the other side of the edge. There were quick movements, and suddenly the grating sound of metal was heard, as the chains descended downward until the hooks slid over the metal loops and locked into them. "Pull it up." I stared blindly as slowly the tall circled spikes rose higher from the water. There was nothing else at first, and then I saw, large wet lumps of blackened ash, rising slowly, and beneath them suddenly, there was a large circled screen filling the entire expanse of the hole, water dripping like rain from it. It was like a flat strainer, as black gobs dripped through it, to fall with loud splashing plunks, back into the water. There was nothing left but those wet mounds of charred remains. Everyone dropped their heads, Edward moaned from far away in a long painfully aching cry of despair. "Put it back, he doesn't need to see this." Eleazar whispered softly. Something caught my eye, reflecting from one of the smaller piles, as it began to lower slowly again.
"Wait!" Renesmee cried, and the motion jerked to a sudden halt, this time Edward's eyes actually focused on her as she ripped her hand from Jacob's, scrambling forward to take a step cautiously off the edge and onto the screen.
"Nessie!" Jacob cried reaching for her.
"She's fine." Eleazar assured him quickly and he let her go. With slow steady steps, she made her way over to the pile with the gleaming fragment, kneeling slowly, feeling squishy wetness soak the knees of her jeans. With careful fingers, she reached forward, grimacing at the feel of the dark, warm, mushy, paste against her fingers. She curled her fingers around the metal, feeling something solid in her palm as she pulled it away, wiping the black muck from it slowly, as if she were petting a frightened animal, afraid it would flee at her touch. When she'd cleaned it enough to make out what it was, I realized it was my ring. She held it up as tears welled in her eyes, sliding her gaze to meet Edward's. There was frozen horror on his face, before it twisted into the deepest, darkest, facet of agonizing grief I had ever witnessed. Then he screamed, the sound ripped from his chest it seemed, filling the room with a resounding bellow of suffering and pain.
The image disappeared suddenly and I realized I was shaking. I shook off the memory, my eyes focusing on Renesmee again, she watched me with tears in her own eyes before throwing herself at me again, sobbing against my neck. I held her to me.
"Mom." She sobbed brokenly; the others were watching us with pain filled eyes. They knew what she had shown me. I nodded into her hair.
"I know darling." I murmured, rubbing her back, stroking her hair gently. "I know." I whispered before pulling her away to meet her eyes. "But I'm here now, and I'm never going to leave you again." I murmured, she nodded reaching up to swipe at the tears. Something light and cool touched my fingers making me look down to examine them, startled when I found that my ring had been restored to its rightful place. I could feel the warmth that washed through me as I inspected it carefully, smiling softly, I didn't even need to look up. "Thanks Alice." I murmured reaching out blindly with my right hand and hers was immediately there holding it, with a gentle squeeze. I sighed as my eyes slowly slid to the others. "I'm assuming none of the Volturi survived?" I asked raising a brow.
Carlisle stepped forward with his hands clasped behind his back.
"Aro was the only one left still…partially alive." He grimaced. "The others had all been dealt with. We let Edward decide upon whatever justice he wanted for him." He took a deep breath. "It's better that you don't see that." He said meeting my eyes. "Edward wasn't himself; I've never seen him so cruel." My eyes widened. "Not that Aro didn't deserve his fate, a thousand times over…" He trailed off and I nodded looking to Renesmee with a smile.
"No one takes my baby away from me and gets away with it." I grinned and she laughed through her tears before going back to Jacob's arms. I sighed. "I take it, that with the Volturi destroyed, that's why you don't have to be as careful with your ah…notability, as much as you did before? That's why you decided to come back and go to school?" I whispered.
"We debated long and hard over the decision." Carlisle nodded. "We thought being back where Edward spent his life with you, would heal him." I thought on that.
"Impeccable timing." I grinned. "Just another coincidence Jake?" I asked eyeing him teasingly. He narrowed his eyes playfully.
"Drop it already." He muttered. "I believe you." I met his eyes for a long moment, realizing he meant it before I slid my gaze back to Carlisle.
"Did you speak to Edward?" I whispered, my heart pounding suddenly.
"Yes." He said it blankly.
"What is it?" My voice was suddenly tight in fear as he spoke.
"He's on his way." He murmured. I swallowed hard and nodded. "You should probably start practicing with your shield, he'll be here soon." He whispered. "He was already on his way when I called him; he's not even in Alaska anymore." My eyes flew wide, but it wasn't me that erupted suddenly.
"That's impossible, I didn't see him!" Alice shouted alarmed.
"Seth Clearwater is with him, it may have disrupted your vision slightly." Carlisle explained and she suddenly looked taken aback before looking to Jacob.
"You knew he was going to meet him?" She asked calmly. Jacob furrowed his brows.
"I knew he was going to see him, I didn't know they would be traveling together." He seemed perplexed. I furrowed my brows.
"I hope through your connection as his Alpha he can't read your mind and know that I'm here." I muttered darkly crossing my arms. "Otherwise Edward will know too." I added. He shook his head quickly.
"I cut off my thoughts like Carlisle told me to." He grinned. "Perks of being an Alpha." I looked back to Carlisle slowly.
"How am I going to know if I can project my shield still?" I asked. "No one here has mental abilities, they're all physical." I whispered. "And I can't block Nessie's."
"You can block Jasper's ability now, we'll practice with his." His eyes moved to Jasper's and he slowly stood crossing to room to the farthest wall away from everyone. "Do you remember how?" He asked raising a challenging brow.
"Oh, I remember everything." I reminded him with playful irritation. "Let's give it a try." I shrugged looking at Jasper.
"I'm going to try an emotion, any preferences?" He asked.
"Something good, make them all abnormally happy or something." I shrugged. "I don't want to have to save everyone from acute depression." I smirked and he laughed.
"Ok." Jasper nodded. "Edward told me how Kate had you do this last time, everyone raise your hand when you feel normal." They all nodded, waiting patiently and suddenly the room filled with warmth, I pushed it back and everything cooled again. Everyone's faces took on a dreamlike quality, blissful, content. I pushed outward and there was a slight resistance, but I managed to expand my shield like I had as a vampire, it touched Jacob and Renesmee first and their hands went up. Rosalie and Emmet were next, then Alice, Esme and finally Carlisle. It was simple, it made me suspicious.
"That was almost too easy." I sighed when Jasper let the emotions recede so that I could call my shield back to me.
"That's not a bad thing Bella." Jasper smiled.
"I know." I nodded still frowning as I sank into the cushions of the couch, I was tired of ending up on the floor.
"What's wrong?" Jacob's voice whispered. I looked at him slowly letting my fear fill my eyes.
"Is this even going to work?" I whispered. "Or am I just going to torture him more?" I felt my eyes suddenly well with tears. Jacob came to kneel in front of me slowly, resting his hands on my knees.
"Bells, it's going to be all right." He murmured looking wholly sincere. "He'll understand-"
"I don't want him to understand!" I said sharply. "I want him to believe." I whispered. They were all silent and suddenly when a loud noise erupted from the pocket of my hoodie. My heart thudded to a halt and my eyes went wide as I slipped my phone out slowly to read the caller ID.
I sucked in a breath before meeting the curious gazes of the others. "You all are going to have to find a way to go along with the lie I'm about to tell because I don't have time to make up a more believable or convenient story." I murmured and they nodded without hesitation as I flipped the phone open putting it to my ear.
"Hey mom." I tried to sound chipper but it came out in a guilty whisper.
"Where are you? I thought you were going to hang out with Izzy?" She murmured quickly. "I called Mrs. Chaney and she said you weren't with Izzy." She was mad.
"I ran into a friend from Spoons." I looked at Alice and she tried to hide an amused smile. "You remember Alice Cullen?" I knew she wouldn't remember any of my friends from Spoons because I didn't have any friends in Spoons so it was a safe lie. "Her family moved to Forks too, she invited me over to meet the rest of her family, so that I know more people when school starts." I said it all quickly.
"Cullen?" Her voice was soft. "Is she Dr. Cullen's daughter?" She asked quickly.
"Yeah." I breathed. "I met him this afternoon." I murmured. Carlisle raised a brow and I shook my head in response.
"I've heard a lot of strange things about that family." She warned.
"Mom, it's nothing, just a bunch of superstitious crap." I sighed. "They're really nice people, they just have a lot in common with another family that used to live here, and everyone in town is spooked. I told you it's just nonsense." I assured her. She was silent for a moment.
"Alice, has brothers and sisters doesn't she?" She pressed. I smiled. Technically…Rosalie was her only sister, but being married to Edward in a previous life made me family too. I wasn't going to tell my mom that though, that wouldn't go over too well.
"Yeah, they're all adopted, three brothers and a sister." Alice raised two fingers slyly and I rolled my eyes. I know. I thought out to her and she grinned wider.
"Will they be going to school with you too?" She asked, she almost sounded shocked.
"Yeah, they're all enrolled. They moved here a few weeks before we did." I explained. She was quiet again.
"Is Dr. Cullen there right now?" She asked suddenly. I sucked in a breath, looking at Carlisle questioningly and he nodded.
"Yes, would you like to speak to him?" I asked calmly.
"If he doesn't mind." Carlisle was already beside me with an outstretched hand.
"Here he is." I said before handing him the phone.
"Dr. Swan." He smiled politely the way he had when I'd first arrived. I glowered when I realized I couldn't hear her response. I didn't have sensitive vampire ears. "We're more than happy to have her." He smiled. "No, it's no trouble at all, in fact I believe Alice was hoping she could stay the night with us, she's very excited to finally see a familiar face." He looked between the two of us smiling secretively. I smirked, that solved the whole having to go home issue. "If that's all right with you, of course." He nodded. "I look forward to finally meeting you in person at the hospital." He grinned. "You too. Would you like to speak with Adora again?" I frowned remembering the name I would have to use at school to keep up with pretenses. At least Carlisle could keep track of my dual identity, because I sure as hell couldn't. "Have a pleasant evening then. Good-bye." He shut the phone before handing it back to me.
"Are you sure the medical field is the right place for you?" I eyed him playfully as I slid the phone back into my pocket. "Because I'm pretty sure you'd make a great actor." I teased, he smiled warmly.
"And I could say the same about you." He murmured. "Spoons?" He raised a brow and I sighed rolling my eyes.
"Spoon River, Illinois." I explained. "Kids my age just called it Spoons." He raised a brow. "The irony, I know." I muttered. "Forks. Spoons." There were sudden muffled giggles from around me. "My dad lives in Chicago with Jared, it's where I was born, but I lived in Spoons for the past three years before we moved here." I shrugged.
"Irony again." Carlisle mused with a curious expression. I furrowed my brows, confused. "Edward was born in Chicago." My eyes widened and I turned my gaze slowly to Jacob. He stopped me before I could say anything.
"I said I believed you!" He exclaimed holding up his hands defensively. "All this stuff is too weird for me not to." He huffed. I smiled before looking back to Carlisle.
"What am I supposed to say to him?" I frowned. "It's not like I can greet him at the door and say 'Hey Husband, long time, no see.'" I grumbled.
"No." He shook his head.
"No." Emmet grinned. "But I'd laugh if you did." I laughed nervously.
"You're just going to have to play it by ear." Alice said softly. "He's not as far away as I thought he was." She was suddenly looking at something distant. "He's still kind of hard to see, with Seth being near him and all, but they're running now, the visions are jumping around too fast for me to pinpoint exactly where, but it's close, so whatever you're going to do, you'd better decide quickly." She looked at me finally and I looked back at Jacob.
"You're going have to separate Seth from him without Edward realizing something is up." He grinned. "What?"
"I don't have to use my Alpha connection for everything." He slid a phone from his pocket, raising it to show me before pressing a button and putting it to his ear. We waited a long moment. "Seth." He said it sharply. "No, I can probably communicate my thoughts with you just fine from where you are, but I felt like being lazy, and I didn't want to distract you and make you run into a tree or something." He frowned and darted worried eyes to me. "You said you were going to see Edward, Alice told me you were both on your way back." His eyes narrowed angrily suddenly. "Tell him his daughter wants to see him, is that so hard to believe?" He spat harshly before his face softened and she shook his head. "No, I'm not mad at you Seth. No, she's fine." He said assuredly before he looked angry again. "Well he can speculate all he wants; he should have come home sooner." There was a pause and I realized that I'd been holding my breath. "Tell him Nessie will be here when he gets home, there's some pack business you and I need to discuss with the others back at LaPush, I'd like for you to meet me there." His tone brooked no refusal. "How long will you be?" His eyes widened. "Okay, bye." He closed the phone.
"What?" I sounded desperate. I was desperate.
"They're moving really fast, like; they'll be here in less than an hour fast." I shot up quickly, my hands suddenly trembling.
"Hold on," Alice stopped me as I looked at her. Her eyes were unfocused as she searched the future. "Seth may be rushing to get back but Edward seems to be taking his sweet time." She rolled her eyes before blinking to look at me. "He's being a masochistic idiot." She fumed. "He just has to torture himself a little more." She shook her head. "Bella, I swear to God if you pull a heroic stunt like that again I'm going to find a voodoo witch doctor to summon you back just so I can scream at you." She stated sternly with her hands on her hips.
I raised my hands defensively. "No more, swear." I squeaked in mock fear.
"Good." She spat playfully.
Jake chuckled before he turned to Renesmee and kissed her softly. "I'm going back home babe, I need to explain to the rest of the pack what's going on." I furrowed my brows.
"Can your car make it there in time?" I whispered. He looked at me funny.
"I didn't bring my car."
Oh. Right. I kept forgetting he was a werewolf.
He chuckled softly. "You might want to be careful with the whole, thinking your thoughts so loud that everyone can hear them, thing." I nodded numbly.
He was staring at me oddly then. "What?"
"It's just strange," He shrugged with a puckish grin, "You're a blond now."
"I dyed it." I explained.
"I know, I can still smell the…newness of it." He was grinning way too much and I knew him way too well.
I glared at him. "You're just itching for the opportunity to make a blond joke aren't you?"
"Maybe." He chuckled. "It looks good on you, though I liked you better as a brunette." He became serious suddenly. "I wonder what he will think of it…" He trailed off. I blinked at that. What would he think about it?
"I don't know." I whispered.
"I wouldn't worry about it too much, it's not like you can't dye it back." I nodded numbly as he stood to hug me and I hugged him back. He kissed my forehead. "Bye Bells, I'll be back later." I nodded again.
"Bye Jake." I whispered as he pulled away and turned back to Renesmee.
"Bye sweetheart." She smiled kissing him quickly. "Be safe, I love you." Her eyes were bright suddenly.
"I love you too." He grinned kissing her once more before striding across the floor and disappearing. I turned back to her.
"You'd think it'd bother me." I mumbled and she furrowed her brows. "You and Jake, but you're both so happy, it makes me happy." She smiled.
"He has that affect on people." She smiled wistfully. "You couldn't ask for a better Best Friend." She smiled, someone cleared their throat and we both looked at Alice. Renesmee laughed lightly, airily. "Best guy friend." She corrected and Alice smile.
"That's more like it." She grinned. I smiled but the knowledge that Edward was so close filled me with fear and anticipation.
"Do you all think my hair color will confuse him?" I think I caught them off guard with my question. They each looked at me blankly.
"Dad loves you—I don't think your hair color is really going to matter when he sees you." Renesmee offered. I nodded dully.
"Why did you color your hair?" Alice quirked a brow at me.
"I just figured if I changed my appearance, then the shock wouldn't be as bad when people saw me. You know—if I didn't look so much like…me." I sighed. I began to reiterate my first meeting with Mike Newton, then later with Angela and Ben but then decided that showing them would explain it better. I let the memories play in my head, concentrating on it, like I had done with my shield in my vampire life, allowing them to see what I saw.
Emmet was amused. "Their faces were priceless—you might even be scarier than Edward." I glowered at him as my chest tightened from just hearing Edwards name.
"You all really made an impression on Forks—you've managed to turn us into some romantic tragedy—some spooky story that the kids tell around camp fires." I looked at them cautiously. "If Izzy hadn't explained it then I'd still be in the dark."
"Izzy? That's Angela's daughter?" Alice asked looking contemplative.
"Yeah, evidently Angela named her after me." That made them all look at me with surprise.
"Well, that was…sweet of her." Esme commented.
"Yeah, Izzy is my age, so she'll probably have classes with me, and Angela teaches Junior English—which Edward will be taking during third period?" I quirked a brow at them in question.
"How do you know that?" Emmet asked.
"Izzy told me." I shrugged. "Is that really a good idea, sending him back to school?" I asked worriedly. "Especially with Angela as his teacher?"
"We thought it would be best for him to have a routine to stick to," Carlisle explained.
"Somewhere we can keep a close watch on him." Rosalie added. "We thought it would be therapeutic for him to ease back into the life he shared with you, where he had once been so happy."
"You don't think that it's going to be a little bit rough on him?" I winced.
"He said that he could handle it," Jasper said before scowling. "Judging by the intense feelings of guilt and regret and pain I felt rolling off of him when he said it, I think it's some sick way for him to torture himself and that's the only reason he agreed to it." He muttered sourly.
"I swear that kids a masochist." Emmet commented.
"He is not!" Renesmee growled.
"Actually," I corrected her, "he kind of is." My eyes met Alice's as I remembered our honeymoon. I'd told her about his reaction to seeing the bruises at one point. She frowned.
"But you're here now!" Rosalie chimed in. "We've got almost a week until school starts, and hopefully by then he'll be better after knowing that you're alive…again." Her lips twitched in amusement when she added that last part.
"Maybe," Jasper sighed, "but I don't think you can reverse 17 years of grieving in a week."
"It's not just grieving, Edward is…broken." Carlisle said the words carefully. "When you meet him, you'll understand. He's not the same Bella."
"I've figured that out by now." I assured him.
"I just don't want any of us to get our hopes up too high." He said gently. "He may be too far gone to reverse the damage."
A thought struck me. "He's not…violent is he?" I asked and immediately blushed.
"Why would you ask that?" Esme asked in surprise.
"It's something that Charlie said to me," I began, "He said, 'He's dangerous Bella...He could hurt you.'." They all looked at me with slightly angered expressions. "He called me Bella." I went over my conversation with Charlie in my head, letting them see it too before closing my eyes as a tear slipped free. When I opened them again I knew I looked pained. "You never told him how I really died." It was an accusation. "He blames Edward for my death." I whispered.
"I tried to explain it to him, weeks later, after Dad's funeral." Renesmee said wringing her hands anxiously. "So did Jake, but Charlie didn't want to hear it." She said sadly.
"Figures." I mumbled.
"He knew you were here." I looked at Carlisle for an explaination.
"We all moved back a few weeks ago—Edward was here very briefly with us to sign up for school before he returned to Denali—we had Nessie warn him that we would be returning. I didn't start back at the hospital until this week, but I suppose when you told him about Edward being here, he assumed we were here as well." He said it so logically.
"Well, that misunderstanding will be one of the first things that I fix." I stated firmly. "God, what a mess I've made." I groaned covering my face. Panic suddenly hit me making me halt whoever was about to speak. "Help me get my mind off of what's about to happen." I murmured. "Did I miss any big adventures while I was off playing the newborn human?" I grinned looking at them all. They blinked at me.
"Uh…not really." Emmet said sounding regretful.
"Why?" I asked exasperated. "Did danger decide to take sick leave while I was away?" I grinned half-heartedly, trying to keep things light.
"Pretty much." Emmet smirked. "But now that you're back…" He grinned excitedly.
"Oh no!" I put up my hands to stop him. "We are not, going to hope for anything remotely close, to half the situations I got us all in." I assured him. His eyes widened innocently.
"That's not what I meant." He defended. "I'm just saying…bad stuff just tends to happen when you're around." He grinned. Rosalie elbowed him sharply and he winced. "What!?" He exclaimed loudly. "I didn't mean it in a bad way." He pouted.
"Bad stuff happens when you're around?" Rosalie mimicked him. "There's no other way to mean that." She glared at him and he looked at me pleadingly.
"It's true." I shrugged and Rosalie looked at me shockingly. "I'm a danger magnet." Alice furrowed her brows. "I said I wasn't as accident prone." I grinned. "I didn't say bad things don't tend to happen when I'm around." She frowned.
"No dying this time." She glared at me, but it wasn't playful. I swallowed hard and nodded. "I can't watch Edward go through this again." She whispered. "None of us can." I let out my breath slowly.
"I don't want him to have to go through this again." I whispered softly.
"Like I said," Alice said softly, this time with a smile. "No dying this time."
"What Alice is trying to say," Jasper grinned coming to put his arm around me. "Very inarticulately," He squeezed me gently. "Is that we all missed you too." I looked between the two of them quickly and then around to the others, my eyes stopping on Renesmee, and they all seemed to be in agreement. I frowned looking down at my fingers.
"It doesn't seem fair…yet again." I sighed. "To me, it was only yesterday that I last saw you all. I keep getting off easy." I held back a sad smile. "I told Edward the same thing, after he gave me the whole 'I've waited 90 years to find you' speech. He said something to the degree of 'Yes, you got off so easy, you only invite death with every second you spend with me.'" I sighed shaking my head. "He was right; he is a sick masochistic lion." I rolled my eyes. "He constantly fights to stay miserable." I frowned. I stiffened suddenly when Jasper leaned in unusually close to me, his nose touching my temple. My eyes widened as they flew to the others, they looked shocked too.
"What are you doing?" Alice said loudly and he pulled away slowly so that I could turn my head to meet his eyes.
"You smell the same." He frowned releasing me. I raised a brow. "It's stronger than most humans, and your scents all over your car, Edward's going to smell it before he even gets 50 feet from here." He observed. I gasped.
"What am I supposed to do? The house has my scent in it too. Will he still come inside if he smells it?" I whispered fearfully.
"Probably not." Rosalie frowned.
"Should I go outside alone then?" I whispered.
"No." Carlisle spoke and I whirled to face him. "We're all going to have to meet him." I blinked.
"What are we going to do?" Rosalie scoffed. "Hold him down while she tries to reason with him?"
"We may very well have to." He said softly. My mouth was gaping wide open.
"No!" I shouted suddenly and they all looked at me, surprised. "I'm not going to force him to listen to me!" I railed. "From the way you all made it sound, this could break him if it's done wrong." My voice was tight.
"What else can we do?" Jasper asked helplessly. I rubbed my forehead harshly.
"Just let me think." I whispered motioning for them to give me a moment. I flew through every scenario in my head before my eyes snapped to Alice. "Can't you tell me what we're going to do?" She shook her head sadly.
"You haven't decided yet." She sighed. "I can see what will happen if you don't make up your mind quicker…" She said it warningly and it sort of irritated me.
"And what's that?" I spat sardonically. Her eyes widened slightly. "I'm sorry." I sighed.
"He's going to bolt the second he smells you near the house." She ignored my apology. Was she angry? "He'll smell you once he gets close and he'll keep coming, but the second he realizes where your scent leads him, he'll run." I blinked. I was going to have to stay hidden, even if he could smell me, and the others were going to have to try to keep him there in place. I saw his face suddenly, bright and pale in the moonlight, his face contorted into lines of pain as I stared at him. Then he fell to his knees. I blinked away the image and my eyes met Alice's. She grinned. "Glad you finally made up your mind." She smiled.
"You saw that too?" I asked softly.
"Yep." She chirped, once again, sounding too happy for the situation. "Time to go." She clapped her hands together loudly and I jumped.
"What are we doing?" Emmet asked raising his brows. "Please explain for those of us who can't see the future." He grinned.
"We'll cut him off in the woods, before he reaches the house." I answered. "I'll shield your thoughts but it's probably going to make him suspicious, so you're going to have to say something to make him listen." Emmet's eyes narrowed.
"And where will you be?"
"I'll stay hidden, until I think you've convinced him to hear the explanation for the show." I shrugged. "So…who's carrying me?" I whispered looking around.
"I will." Emmet said stepping forward. I nodded and looked around.
"Should we go now, or should we-" I gasped. My words halted as my vision abruptly evaporated again. I could see Edward suddenly. There were trees, flying by his running form, sharp determination on his face, and then he slowed as the forest cleared, until he came to an abrupt halt, his eyes staring out into the clearing, across a paved road, at a house. I gasped suddenly when I recognized it. He was glaring angrily at the black Honda Civic in the driveway, clenching his hands tightly, the muscles in his alabaster cheeks flexing, before his eyes flickered to the second story window. He was moving suddenly, a blur of motion, and then he was on the roof, right outside the window, peering in carefully, tilting his head from side to side, as his gaze swept the bedroom, making sure that no one occupied the small bed in the corner. I hoped Jake wasn't in my room, hoped that he was asleep in my mom's room instead. Edward paused for a brief moment, before sliding the window aside slowly. He froze suddenly, inhaling, and his eyes flew wide, before he sucked in another long breath, his eyes closing, and his face impassive and calm. He stayed that way for a long moment before his lids fluttered slightly, and pain filtered through his gaze. Sorrowful longing.
"Why?" He whimpered painfully as his dark brows knit together sharply, touching the window pane with the tips of his fingers with a soft, light touch. He dropped his face quickly and shuddered, breathing harshly before looking up, his gaze tortured. "Why does it feel like you're still here?" His voice cracked, and he sobbed, choked on the air, tearlessly. "I can still smell you in this room." He squeezed his eyes shut and turned his face away, over his shoulder. "You're everywhere…" He choked again, another sob, another shudder. "If I…" He looked back into the room, back towards the bed. "If I could dream…at all." His words broke again. "It would be…about you." His body shook with the effort to contain his grief. "And I'm not ashamed of it." He whispered, blinking back invisible tears. "I'd give anything…to be able to dream of you now." He sucked in one long breath, shuddering again, before sliding the window shut and backing away, turning on the roof towards the street, before glancing back one last time, to stare longingly at the window. I blinked and the room suddenly focused back into view. I shook my head dizzily and looked at Alice, noticing that the others all shared matching expression of shock.
"Was that a vision?" I asked carefully but she shook her head.
"I'm not sure…I don't think so." She whispered. "I think that just happened, it was too clear to be a vision."
"He went to my house?" My brows furrowed. The others nodded and my eyes went wide. "You saw it to?" I asked in disbelief.
"I think…" Carlisle began. "That whenever you can't control what you're thinking, or seeing, that it sort of leaks out." He murmured. I pressed my lips tightly together.
"When this is all over with, my main priority is going to be to keep that from happening again." I said through clenched teeth.
"So, did she just read his mind?" Esme asked with wide eyes.
"That's what it looked like." Alice nodded. "But she was sort of…there."
"How did I read his mind from so far away?" I asked softly.
"Soul mates?" Esme offered.
"It makes sense." I nodded accepting her answer.
"He's probably on his way here now." Jasper whispered. I looked at Emmet.
"Shall we?" He grinned holding out his arms, I leaned slightly away.
"Can't you carry me once we're outside?" I grimaced.
"Do you really want to waste anymore time?" He stared blankly at me.
"No." He nodded and reached down to scoop me up.
"Where are we going?" Renesmee asked as everyone stood.
"Past the river." I said softly. I saw a flash of Edward running through the mountains. "He's going around the city; we can intercept him somewhere between here and our cottage." I saw the flash of trees again before our cottage came into view. "He's obviously feeling nostalgic tonight." I sighed. Emmet bounced me softly and I looked up at him, locking my fingers around his neck.
"You tell me when to stop." He whispered and I nodded.
"Don't enjoy yourself too much." Rosalie smiled playfully, and I blushed.
"He's my brother." I eyed her. Emmet chuckled.
"And here we go." He murmured, then we were flying it seemed, in an instant we were through the already opened door, going around the house in a blur, across the expanse of the back lawn. Gravity disappeared as we soared over the river, rocking me into his chest when we touched ground again. Then we were moving swiftly, through the forest, the trees melding into a blur, the cold air stinging my exposed skin, as the rush of wind whipped my hair around my face wildly. It reminded me vaguely of being on a motorcycle. Edward's pained expression flashed across my eyes and I gasped.
"Emmet stop!" I whispered quickly and he did, his arms around me keeping me from flying out of his grasp from the force. He let me go and I slid to the ground, my eyes darting around nervously. Everything was black, moonlight barely filtered through the entwined branches. The others were beside me. I took a step back and inhaled deeply, pushing my shield outward like I had before, feeling the small flare of lights in my head as my shield enveloped them.
I hope she remembers to put her shield up. I heard Carlisle think and I nodded. His eyes widened realizing that I'd heard him.
They were all silent.
How will we get him to come to this exact spot? It was Alice's voice in my head. I looked at her and focused.
The same way I can do this. I thought gently. Her eyes brightened.
You can use two abilities at the same time? She asked wordlessly.
I guess I can, I mean, I'm doing it aren't I? I said pointedly.
True. She agreed.
An image of Edward staring at the doorway of our cottage flashed in my mind making me cringe, a look of agony swept his face.
I shrugged and the others eyed me curiously but I shook my head, there was no time to explain. A flash of Edward's running form was in my head, closer than before, and it staggered me for a moment. I shook it off as I stepped farther back, searching the nearby trees for a trunk large enough to hide me. I saw one. It could easily have hidden someone twice Emmet's size.
Is this okay? I pushed the thought out as I slid behind it, pressing my back flush against its base.
I can still smell you, but I can't see you from the clearing. It was Jasper this time. I thought on his words, remembering Edward's reaction when he'd opened my window, wondering if my scent was still as strong to him as it had been before. I fumbled with the sleeves of my hoodie, tugging them at the wrists before pulling it over my head, feeling the slight chill in the air against my skin, making me shiver slightly.
What are you doing? It was Emmet.
My scent might help. I shrugged tossing the hoodie onto the ground by my feet.
Are you sure it won't make him want to kill you? Rosalie thought softly. I blinked. I hadn't thought of that.
I don't think so. I pressed my lips together. I wasn't entirely sure suddenly. Would he? He'd seemed to take my scent as more of an agonizing reminder of his loss, rather than a trigger to the dark untamable thirst that plagued him. Or that's how it had seemed earlier when I'd watched him scale the walls of my house and peer into my room. Was my blood still as potent as it had been before? Sure, it was more notable to Jasper, or so he'd said, but to Edward, would it bring out the monster in him? The monster he'd tried to warn me about in my previous life, before we'd lost our hearts to each other, or did his control survive my death as well? It had been nineteen years since he'd had to fight the desire to taste my blood, would we be starting from scratch, rebuilding his resolve all over again? Or would it be like it had been that first time in our meadow? Mind over matter? He'd said that being confronted with the very real possibility of my death had cured him in a sense, that it had erased the draw my blood held. Would it be like that? Effortless? I said effortless, but I knew better. Even when it seemed so, nothing about resisting the thirst was effortless.
I was a very rare, unusual, exception to that rule. My time as an immortal had not consisted of very many moments spent exuding that same effort the way the others did. I got off easy. I had control in ways that most of them didn't. I remembered suddenly when I'd lunged at Jacob and cringed. Okay, so maybe there had been a few hiccups in that control, but mostly, I'd been spared the agonizing years of blood lust as a newborn vampire. Would it be that way this time? Would I retain that same control? If not, was that the price I would have to pay for this second chance at forever with Edward? If so, I would gladly pay it. I shuddered at the thought of the transformation. That, was not something I was looking forward to repeating, but I would. Edward made that terrible reminder bearable.
It was odd, how I'd already decided the rest of my eternity. I'd only been myself for less than a day, and I was already sure of the decisions I would make over the next few years. That made me strangely proud of my new self, of the person I'd been as Adora. I had taken the past few weeks better than most people would have, handled it in a way that had shocked me at first, but now I understood. My life in Chicago had differed greatly from the one before, although I'd retained the same morals, my parents had made sure that I'd been instilled with the confidence and poise that hadn't existed before. My resentment towards public exposure had lessened to the point where I was now comfortable in settings outside of nature. I was however, still a tad clumsy, sometimes, Jared had always ribbed me for being a klutz, but part of that clumsiness was more bad luck than anything. I wasn't in danger of tripping over every dip and bump on a floor, but I had several scars that proved how unconcerned I seemed to be sometimes with my own safety. Not that I lacked a sense of self preservation, but more so the fact that I didn't fear the obstacles that confronted me, as if I knew whatever danger I faced paled in comparison to the trails I had faced before. Although, I hadn't known of those trails until today.
Memories flashed in my head. James in the mirror room as his teeth sank into the delicate flesh of my hand, crumbling broken onto the ground as Edward said the words that nearly destroyed me, falling fast into churning black water, racing across the courtyard to save Edward from himself, my first meeting with the Volturi. I blinked. It had all happened so fast it seemed now. I remembered, being pressed against the rocks as Victoria advanced on us, and the fear afterwards that came with the knowledge that Jacob had been hurt, flying forward my mind raced to the image of Jacob's bruising grip on my arms after the wedding, the only time I had truly been afraid of him. I blinked, my pregnancy hadn't exactly been a piece of cake, neither had the birth or my transformation. The last two points of danger had both involved the Volturi, that day in the clearing and the night of my death. I had survived it all, only to go down in flames voluntarily, the odds. I sighed, but I was here now, and the Volturi no longer darkened my future, and everything seemed suddenly possible.
Could I have my cake and eat it too? Could I share my life with both of my families? Could I share Edward with them, and tell them the truth if they would understand? Were all my dreams now possible? With my newfound perception I was sure it was. My self-awareness had developed more fully; having the strange underlying wisdom of another lifetime had given me a maturity that stretched beyond my years. Years, that seemed so long now. I frowned as I reminded myself that I wouldn't be able to take up my previous residence in the cottage as Edward's wife as I had before. I would have to stay with my mom, until I could finish high school again, and our wedding could be repeated…again. I frowned bitterly, the memory of our honeymoon hitting me. It was a happy memory, but that intimacy, of which I had so enthusiastically enjoyed, would have to be delayed. Unfortunately, I realized that a whole lifetime had not smoldered my desire for Edward. If anything, it burned more intensely now that I knew the tantalizing ecstasy that was found only in his embrace. I wasn't going to make this easy for him, I realized, he would have to fight against my hormones more than ever now.
I smiled softly to myself. Despite the depressing realization of how much restraint it would require to keep from practically trying to pin him down and seduce him into getting what I wanted, I knew that there were other aspects of our relationship that I would not have to be denied. I could still kiss him, I could still hold him, I could still love him, and Edward would stay with me in my room, the way he had before, his cold arms around me as I slept. I remembered that first night, waking to find him watching me from the old rocking chair, remembered my jubilation that came with the knowledge that he had stayed with me. Those moments were worth everything. Every careful step we would have to take would be a small price to pay when I knew what happiness I would find at the end of that journey. I would have Edward…forever. That was all that mattered.
"Bella?" I blinked and looked up, as Carlisle's words pulled me from my thoughts. "Was it another vision?" He murmured softly touching my shoulder.
I sighed shaking my head. "No." He looked perplexed. "I was just going over everything in my head." I whispered before blinking up at him. "I'm afraid."
He smiled down at me in the dark. "You've cheated death and you are afraid?"
"I'm afraid of hurting him." I breathed.
His eyes were suddenly serious. "Whatever damage must be done to fix him is a necessity, besides, think of how much it will heal him to have you back in his life." He smiled.
"Will it?" I stared up at him.
"I know it will." He smiled and I nodded.
"Okay." I nodded as he turned away, joining the others again.
Ready? I waited until there were a chorus of 'Yes's' in my head before closing my eyes and holding my breath. I saw him running again, and I knew he was closer now.
Edward! I screamed it in my head pushing out through the trees.
Less than a hundred yards away, I felt him pause and turn in our direction.
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