Set during/after Ch. 12 Eclipse. Newborns are terrorizing Seattle. The vampires of the Olympic Peninsula are worried that the Volturi will become involved, so they call their closest friends and allies. But when the Denali clan shun Carlisle's request due to Laurent's death, an old friend unexpectedly answers his plea. Will his presence shake up their rock solid foundation? B&G
2. 2-Fire and Ice
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“No one can change our destiny. Destiny is something that we forge for ourselves, with our own perseverance, sweat, and blood.” jlove34—Once Upon an Unfortunate September
*Twilight is the sole property of SM and her publishing company.*
Chapter 2-Fire and Ice
Since Edward’s return and our almost untimely demise at the hands of the Volturi, I felt more and more like a tiny, breakable ornament. My beautiful, god-like vampire enjoyed gazing at me from afar and safely stowed me away behind glass, keeping me just out of reach, unattainable, even from himself. He handled me with the utmost care and any perceived threat— human, supernatural, or environmental—would be kept at a distance, prohibiting me from crossing that invisible line between his world and mine.
Anxiously perched on the edge of the couch, hands resting in my lap, I watched the ethereal beings as they bustled around my stationary frame, my dull, human senses unable to track the inhuman movements. They spoke of war and armies, things that I was unfamiliar with or too young to have experienced. I felt utterly useless.
A loud growl startled me out of my silent reverie. I jumped.
“This isn’t good,” Jasper said, angrily. “It’s too even a fight. We’d have the upper hand in skill, but not numbers. We’d win, but at what price?”
Jasper looked up at Alice, beseeching her visionary guidance. But as she’d said previously, she needed conscious decisions, and so far, none of the decisions were concrete. Newborn vampires were ravaging Seattle, and my entire vampire family was going to meet them head on, regardless of the possible threat or loss life. I looked around at all the faces in the room—the same faces that I had spent so many months grieving over. I felt a wave of nausea wash over me. There was a chance that someone in this room might never come home. All because their dreaded the Volturi’s wrath—feared destruction simply because Edward refused to heed the law. His obstinence would likely be the Cullens’ undoing.
I looked at everyone with wide eyes, anxiety building in chest, coursing through my veins like molten lava. “This is a suicide mission. Someone could get hurt…or worse. How is any of this your responsibility? If this is about the Volturi, just change me.”
Carlisle stepped forward, stoic and composed. “Bella,” he said softly. “We cannot risk the Volturi showing up on our doorstep. First and foremost, you’re still human. I promised that I would change you, but now isn’t the time. It’s a timely process, and we don’t have that luxury. When you wake from the burn, you’ll just as uncontrollable and bloodthirsty as the vampire hoard in Seattle. So, changing you only adds to the danger.
“If we don’t take this threat seriously and deal with it accordingly, the Volturi will surly come. My old comrades don’t negotiate a verdict, nor do they give second chances to remedy the wrong. Our flagrant disregard for the law has placed a large target on our backs.”
Edward set his jaw and growled at his father. “Carlisle, we spoke of this in depth. Regardless of your promise, Bella will remain human. I refuse to allow her to throw away her humanity.”
I wanted to deny the truth that was clearly apparent; the reality that clawed into my psyche. I could clearly see my life events unfold. Edward loved me but even with my love—my promise of eternal devotion—he wouldn’t alter his original decision, and no matter my feelings on the subject, his word was final. There would be no eternity.
I jumped to my feet and spun on my heel, staring intently at Edward, who looked slightly ashamed. “What are you talking about, Edward? This was planned months ago. Now, after I’ve mentally prepared, you’ll take my choice away? We’re talking about the law. Have you forgotten Voltera already? I sure the hell haven’t! For some unfathomable reason, we were offered a reprieve in exchange for my humanity. Why tempt fate a second time? Your ardent desire to keep me human might bring all of Hell down upon us!”
Edwards liquid topaz eyes glazed over, becoming hard and cold. I’d angered him, and I braced myself for his outburst. “Bella! This topic is no longer up for discussion! You know how I feel about this. Placating you was wrong, but I refuse to destroy your humanity.”
And I did understand, more than anyone here. Even after all we’ve been through, I would never be good enough for him. This was a whole new level of rejection. The words that slipped from his lips were not so dissimilar from those spoken in the forest on that fateful September day. They struck me with same intensity, cut me just as deeply. His words sheathed a brand new dagger in my chest. My blood ran cold under the cold blade and drained from my body. It seemed surreal like a nightmare that manifested during my waking hours. I was on the precipice of a gigantic chasm. Do I jump? Or should I be content to be lead out of the burning desert?
I always knew what I wanted out of life. I never spent my childhood dreaming about weddings and white dresses; never played with dolls or fantasized about babies. Honestly, I wanted none of those things. I only dreamt of love. Edward was that love, I wanted him forever. Yet, his unyielding ideology had driven a wedge between us.
Edward stepped forward and took me into his arms, cooing reassuring words in my ear and promising to love me for the rest of my human life. I closed my eyes and sighed vociferously. Fifty, sixty, possibly seventy years was all we had. During those years, I knew my beautiful vampire’s chaste kisses and reserved caresses would never be enough for me. I would never be satisfied with half of his love. Why would he deny himself happiness?
“This is ludicrous, Edward,” I scoffed, shrugging away from his touch. “You would allow something this miniscule to drive us apart? I would give up anything for you—and I have. I’m still human, and I’ve been forced to shun the very people who saved my life.” I listened for his reply—any reply—yet he didn’t utter a word. Coward! “I refuse to sit by idly and allow you to dictate my life.”
“Isabella! Now you’re the one who’s acting absurd. The wolves are dangerous.”
“And you’re not? I’m your singer, for Christ sakes. Everyday you fight your true nature—war with the bloodlust that, one day, will likely consume you and me with it. I’m only a skinned knee or paper cut away from death. Yet, you tempt the fates by allowing my heart to steadily beat in my chest.”
Edward nodded, agreeing with me for once. I fished the keys to my truck out of my jeans pocket and held them tightly in my hand, prepared to make the short trek to the stairs. He glanced at his watch and offered to take me home. I declined his offer, letting him know that my window would remain closed for the night. Perhaps, I was being just a petulant as the vampire before me, but I felt betrayed by his exclusion. I hated knowing that Edward adhered more to his principles than anything else.
He bent and pressed his lips lightly to mine. I pulled away swiftly and pushed him several inches from my body. I was angry and depressed, but I had to stay strong—keep to my principals. If I kissed him back, the sweet scent of his breath would dazzle me, and I would melt into a puddle at his feet, conceding to his every desire.
Edwards’s brows slowly knit together, sorrow creasing his features. “Please, Bella, talk to me. I’m so sorry—”
I cut him off, tears threatening to spill over my lashes. “No…Edward... you don’t need to say anything else. Sadly, it sounds as though you’ve made my decision for me. You’ve won. I’ll forever be the fragile little human who needs a vampire’s protection. I’ll stay by your side until my inevitable demise. You’re my mate. What choice do I have? I tried to live without you and failed miserably at it. I only hope deciding my future makes you feel like a true man.”
Everyone stared at me like I’d grown two heads— eyes and mouths wide open. Well, everyone but Emmett, who found my speech rather entertaining. He dashed over to me and swept me up into his arms, kissing me on the forehead and apologizing for his brother’s stupidity. As he lowered me to my feet, I gazed up into his soft, ocher eyes, saddened by the residual sorrow that loomed there.
I took a quick cursory glance around the room. I was surprised to see every face had matching looks of grief etched across their perfect skin. Even Rosalie looked forlorn. I knew this was a poignant moment, and I didn’t want to leave any of them. Although, some distance would do everyone a world of good. Perhaps when this mess in Seattle had waned, we could all return to some semblance of normality. Well, as normal as our situation would ever be.
I said goodnight and spun on my heel, rushing out into the chilly night air. The tears that I had willed to stay behind my lashes, flowed freely now. I knew sooner or later I would lament my words, but I could hardly quell the hurt that throbbed in my chest.
Stumbling to my truck, I held the keys in my shaking hands, blinded by the salty tears that repeatedly spilled out of the corners of my eyes. I bit my bottom lip in an attempt to quiet my sobs but they came as regularly as the sunrise. I felt the eyes on me as I crumbled to the ground, watching me fall to pieces out in the open. But I didn’t care.
Let Edward see me weak, I thought. It’ll be good for him to remember what humanity feels like.
I stayed in my crouched state for an unusually long time, allowing my breathing to slow and my sobs to cease. I stuck my arms out and braced them against the ground, preparing to hoist myself up from my seated position. But more quickly than I thought possible, a cool hand snaked out and grasped me around my waist, lifting me to my feet. Weakened from my crying jag and unnatural position, I stumbled as my legs gave out due to sleep. Thankfully, I didn’t revisit the ground but found myself enveloped in strong arms. I assumed they were Emmett’s, until he spoke.
“Careful there, little lady,” a deep, baritone voice whispered, “A pretty little magnolia like you shouldn’t be out here alone—especially at night. Edward should be ashamed of himself. This behavior hardly befits a gentleman. Let me help you back up to the house and get you cleaned up.” Before I could object, the vampire slipped one arm around my back and the other under my thighs, adeptly swinging my body against his chest.
Stunned, my eyes flew up to meet the most beautiful crimson irises that I had ever seen. I knew the color should make me feel afraid. The owner of those fiery orbs was a dangerous creature, but I couldn’t deny the warmth of his gaze calmed my soul. I smiled weakly at him and he returned it in kind.
I gazed at him in awe, enraptured by…well, everything. The vampires pale skin and strong features were framed by long, sandy hair, very lightly threaded with silver strands, which spilled over his shoulders. Unlike the Cullens, this vampire was not clean shaven, but had a light spatter of dark facial hair that set off his sharp, angled jaw.
The blonde was surprisingly handsome, even for a vampire—tall and lean— but slightly older than Carlisle, possibly in his early to mid thirties when he was changed. But those additional years only added to his beauty, giving him a rugged, but unexpectedly sexy air about him. This man was no boy and that excited me.
My inner self beseeched me to run my fingers over ever inch of his skin. I wanted to thread my fingers through his silky hair while I tasted his lips. My whole body felt like it was ablaze— a heady combination of fire and ice. I didn’t understand my reaction to this unknown stranger who held me in his arms. I had never been tempted by another man. Edward was all I ever dreamed about. Angry or not, he was my other half—my mate. Yet, if the sandy-haired vampire asked anything of me, I would do it without question.
I shook my head. Jesus! Bella, have you gone insane? What are you thinking?
The vampire set me on my feet at the threshold of the door, gazing at me with those all-too knowing eyes. I was speechless. “My name is Garrett. You must be Isabella.”
Garrett grasped my free hand and brought it to his lips, allowing the soft, pink flesh to linger for several moments longer than necessary. The contact sent a shiver down my lower abdomen and created a whole new kind of inferno. Oh, sweet Jesus in heaven! Why did he have to be so damned beautiful?
I sucked in a deep breath, but before I could respond, I was wrenched away from the older man and tucked behind Edward. The copper-headed vampire growled deep in this chest and quickly crouched—ready for an altercation. A wave of lethargy issued over us like a blanket, but both men seemed unfazed by the heavy emotion that clung heavily to the air. It may not have affected the vampires but it hit me like a ton of bricks, bringing me to my knees. Two seconds before my head hit the tile floor— my blonde angel swept me up in his arms. As the darkness consumed me, I heard my name upon his lips.
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