The Twilight Saga

Bella’s happily ever after lasted two days. This is Bella’s own account of what happened after Breaking Dawn, her growing understanding of her powers, her battle to remain with the man she loves, finding her place in her new family, and the ever-present threat of the Volturi.

New posting Chapter 55 - Postscript

 

Cold Gray Light

by Chris

Trailers

 

Please view the new trailer by Jesse Desplat it is brilliant.

Thank you so much Jesse!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7XnsKpxIeA&feature=player_embedded

 

 

This fantastic trailer was made for me by Marisa Wilson

 

Please view it is spine chillingly good

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQwfKh2hE9w&feature=colike

 

Thank you so much Marisia!!!

 

 

Contents

Chapter 1 - Intuition

Chapter 2 - Warning 

Chapter 3 - Hope

Chapter 4 - Plan

Chapter 5 - Escape

Chapter 6 - Journey

Chapter 7 - Motherhood

Chapter 8 - Dreams

Chapter 9 - Calls

Chapter 10 - Danger

Chapter 11 - Fight

Chapter 12 - Inquisition

Chapter 13 - Peace

Chapter 14 - Talents

Chapter 15 - Return

Chapter 16 - Talk

Chapter 17 - Training

Chapter 18 - Together

Chapter 19 - Moods

Chapter 20 - Untruths

Chapter 21 - Departure

Chapter 22 - Unwelcome

Chapter 23 - Drill

Chapter 24 - Arrival

Chapter 25 - Discovered

Chapter 26 - Words

Chapter 27 - Manipulation

Chapter 28 - Consultation

Chapter 29 - Awakening

Chapter 30 - Impass

Chapter 31 - Tale

Chapter 32 - Ancestors

Chapter 33 - Shadows

Chapter 34 - Voice

Chapter 35 - Messages

Chapter 36 - stand-off

Chapter 37 - Patrol

Chapter 38 - Diplomacy

Chapter 39 - Rules 

Chapter 40 - Eyes

Chapter 41 - Disclosure

Chapter 42 - Why

Chapter 43 - Reconciliation

Chapter 44 - Confession

Chapter 45 - Spirit

Chapter 46 - Disbelief

Chapter 47 - Teams

Chapter 48 - Practice

Chapter 49 - Match

Chapter 50 - Betrayal

Chapter 51 - Realization

Chapter 52 - Confrontation

Chapter 53 - Untangling

Chapter 54 - Revelation

Chapter 55 - Postscript

Chapter 1 - Intuition

 

From the moment I walked through the door I could feel his eyes on me. Boring into me, owning me, watching even the minutest move I made.

I thought that I’d lose this intuition when I became a vampire. But in reality it had just got stronger along with everything else.

I thought for a moment about the one big change that my transformation had made, my thirst. Although I was still young, and the thirst for blood should be overwhelming, I had been able to handle it from the first moment I awoke in my new life.  No one knew why that was. I could cope with human scents even up close, when I should have wanted to drink them dry. The scent caused me physical pain, an intense burning from my nostrils all down my throat, and feeling my throat squeezing tight with the dryness. But it was bearable. This was unusual for a new born. My kind usual manage this much control after a few years. But even with my self control the thirst was still there, the longing for something to put out the dryness.

My mind churned again. My mind could think of so many things at once. The dryness was always one of my thoughts, sometimes near the surface, then moving back into the background.  I could keep all the thoughts in my mind -- juggling two, five, ten thoughts in parallel -- but never mixing them. Like watching ten TV channels at once. Another vampire trait.

Maybe I was just being paranoid. Maybe there was no one looking at me. I still hated attention just as I’d done as a human, I still shied away from it. I was just letting my imagination run away with me again. No one was looking at me. But I could hear his heartbeat six feet to my left, slightly behind where I was standing. He was sitting on a chair next to the loveseat. He was close enough to feel the warmth of his skin in the cool of the morning air. I could smell the strong scent of the skin pouch he wore round his neck. A smell that forced out every lesser smell from that part of the room, like a car headlamp blinding out a flashlight. It was not just the animal fur with its heavy notes that I could smell, but what was inside it. The herbs and berries that it contained, each type giving a new harmony to the smell. Some sharp, some sweet. Some I knew -- citrus, juniper, cinnamon -- some I had no words for.

Maybe he was just looking at Nessie like everyone else in the room. My four month old daughter was reciting a poem for her audience in her beautiful childish voice, complete with dramatic pauses and carefully characterized accents for the speeches. She was a very advanced four month old. She looked more like a small four year old, but she would have been counted as a genius in any preschool. This was because she was half vampire and half human, and of course could never be allowed in preschool. Her brown hair, with a tinge of bronze that came from Edward, fell down her back in beautiful curls. Her eyes were a warm milk chocolate color that had been mine when I was human, and were now excited by the attention she was receiving. Her complexion was pale with a healthy pink glow of excitement.  We knew now that her rate of growth and progress would slow and she would be fully mature in another 6 and half years, and then live forever.  We’d learned this from Nahuel only two days before. My dark worries of losing Nessie had vanished.  We’d thought we would have to watch our daughter grow old and die in fifteen short years, and we would mourn her for ever.

I didn’t look to check if I was right about Nahuel and his staring. I had caught his eye only once that morning, when we came in and gave the usual greeting to our family and their two remaining guests.

I still didn’t understand why these guest were still here. Yes, I was grateful to them, especially him. So grateful it hurt. He had saved us all: my daughter, my husband, my vampire family, my wolf friends, and me. And he put himself and his father and his sisters in danger. How could I not be grateful to him. We all were.

I’d asked Edward twice why they had not left with the other guests after the standoff with the Volturi. The first time was after the celebrations when all the other guests had left and we had taken Nessie back to our cottage to sleep in her own bed. This was the first day that we’d met them, the first day of the stares. Edward had given his answer, saying Nahuel was so glad to know that a family like ours could exist. A family with a half vampire child, the only one Nahuel knew of that was not related to him, and a surviving mother. Nahuel’s mother died in child birth and so did the mothers of his half sisters.

It is rare to find a vampire who would want a physical relationship with a human woman, even rarer to find a women who survived such an encounter. Her life could end at any moment if he did not concentrate fully on keeping her alive. And what about the outcome of such an encounter? Mortals are not compatible with half vampire babies, the babies are so much stronger than the women.  I had only survived thanks to the care given to me by my vampire family and because Edward changed me into a vampire as soon as the baby was out. The memories of this violent birth were now dimming for me. The vampire venom had mended the terrible damage and left me whole, strong, and beautiful.

According to Edward, Nahuel had spent his long life, over 150 years, thinking he must be evil to the core to have killed his mother. But seeing me set him free from his guilt. He now blamed his father for not caring for his mother as Edward had for me, and for not changing her when Nahuel ripped his way out of her.

The second time I’d asked Edward why Nahuel and his aunt (a full vampire) were still with us, Edward said that they wanted to learn more about our vegetarian lifestyle. This was how we liked to describe our abnormal hunting habits in the Cullen family. Unlike other vampires we only hunted animals, not humans. This gave us distinctive golden eyes which intrigued the normal red-eyed vampires.  When I asked this second time, it was not what Edward had said that set me thinking but the way he said it. If I wasn’t his wife and didn’t know him so well I would not have noticed the slight tightening of his straight shoulders under his tan colored jumper, and that he was holding his perfect jaw a eighth of an inch higher than normal. He was lying to me.

Edward lied a lot. He had to. When you can read the minds of everyone in a mile radius then you have to lie to appear normal. You have to learn to ignore the thoughts most of the time.  You have to answer only the questions people say out loud and not all the far-reaching ones they think in their heads but don’t dare ask. Edward also felt he must not betray confidences of those around him. It was not as though he could stop hearing thoughts if he wanted to, and not as if people could stop thinking when he was around, so he just didn’t pass these thoughts on. I was a shield which meant that he could not read my mind, not even when I was only human.  Now that I was a vampire I had learned to remove my shield if I wanted, but I could only do so for a few moments at a time and even then it was exhausting work.

But why would he lie to me about why Nahuel and Huilen were still here? We had just made it through the worst danger imaginable: the whole of the Volturi forces lined up against us, the judges, jury and executioners of the vampire world. We had survived that, so what now? What was he covering up? Surely we had to have a break from peril sometime.

Maybe bad luck was something that I’d brought with me into this life. Since I met Edward as a human I had always had bad luck. My life before Edward, before my return to Forks to live with my Dad, Charlie, was a quiet life in the big city of Phoenix with my Mom, Renée.  The memory of this former life was becoming hazy, almost a pre life to my human life, as if I was now in my third life, not my second. I’d had too much on my mind to sit down and think about it, though that was the only way my family said that I would remember it for the future.   As I remembered it now, it was a happy but lonely time of looking after my hair-brained mother and being the adult in the relationship even though I was the child. She didn’t need to be looked after in a physical way but in an emotional one, helping her to organize and control her life.  I was the one who made sure we went to the store when we needed groceries and that we went to the bank when the bills needed to be paid.  In many ways you could say I was her keeper rather than her daughter. This role was taken by Phil, her husband of nearly three years.

I argued with myself that I had already brought my shield through to my vampire life along with my strange ability for self control.  I was sure that I could not have brought anything else. I had left my clumsiness behind, which was a truly good thing.  I now moved so fast and was so strong that if I was clumsy lots of things would get broken.  Not just inanimate objects, but living things.  Even people.

I looked over at Edward, to keep my eye from straying to Nahuel. His beauty never failed to amaze me. He was stunning. His eyes were a warm amber color. But this morning more like stone than liquid. Something was bugging him. No doubt he was hearing things he didn’t like. His face muscles twitched slightly and his teeth locked together noiselessly. His smile remained, a facade to keep the others away from his upset within. I had no idea what he had heard or who it was that was having these thoughts, but my mind turned to Nahuel again, though I didn’t let my eyes follow. Edward would tell me when it was right and certainly not in the middle of this gathering.

Edward applauded when Nessie came to the end of her poem, pride now on his face. I felt a jolt of joy at his pride. I was proud of her, naturally, and applauded loudly too. But to have him so in awe of her gave me such a feeling of belonging. I had, in the end, been able to give him something so worthwhile. A daughter, our miracle. It made up for the lack of balance in our relationship. He had given me everything: his love, his life, my new life, money, possessions, a home, a car, a family. But the one thing that that he had never imagined, that none of our vampire family had thought possible, came from me. She was a delight to them all, and especially Edward.

It was only as I turned away from Nessie’s performance that I noticed Alice was staring into thin air, her eyes out of focus, completely still. I knew she was seeing something. My sister’s ability to see into the future was enviable. It had made her top of the Volturi’s list for acquisitions.  It was this ability that had saved the family and herself many times over. The future she saw was only one of the possible outcomes. If decisions that had been made were changed then what she saw would change.

“Demetri is coming,” she said simply in a clear chiming voice, not altering her stance at all. “Aro has decided. He will follow Carlisle to us.”

Carlisle was at her side in an instant. “But why?” he whispered. “Why now?”.

The image of the the Volturi tracker was instantly in my mind. It was not possible for anyone normal to run from Demetri. He had a gift for finding them. But this gift needed access to someone’s mind, and it was something I could block with my shield. As well as being a tracker, Demetri was a warrior, with centuries of experience working with the Volturi.

“But why, Alice?” he asked again.

Alice had gone back into her trance. This time it took her over a minute to come round. “He comes only to observe,” she said with a little relief in her voice. “Aro will order him to stay with us and just observe. He is to watch Nessie grow for Aro and to find out more about the wolves for Caius. He is to cause us no trouble. He will be ordered to hunt like us. Aro wants to see how this will change his character. He is report back regularly by letter. This order will be made at full council the day after tomorrow. He will arrive three days after that.”

She looked around the stunned room.

“Please look for more,” Carlisle urged her.

“Demetri will bring a note with him from Aro but they know that I can see what it says so you will be forewarned. Aro is staring at it so that I can read it...

My Dearest Friend Carlisle,

I am sending my dear one Demetri to visit you as an emissary. I feel that our last meeting left a rift between us which I want to close. I have asked Demetri to learn about your life style and your beloved granddaughter so that we may better understand each other in future.

I ask you to take Demetri into your hearts and your home, and to this end I will ask him to make himself useful to you and cause you no trouble. Please use him as a son.

Yours in friendship,

Aro”

Carlisle looked aghast. “Is there more?” he said, shaking his head.

Her face returned to the distant mask, but seconds later disgust was clear on it.  She came back to the present again shaking her head. “Uh, that is so gross”.

“I saw part of the inner council meeting that was only the family, no guard. It is so gross.” she said, hardly able to speak for revulsion. “Aro says he wishes to watch a half vampire child develop first hand. He says that he will order Demetri to try to father a child when he has returned from his visit. He laughs and says that he may have learned some restraint from us. The mother is to be the only human they trust, their administrator Gina. They will promise her immortality if she successfully gives birth, but she has no choice. If she says no, she’s lunch. He says it will be a great honor for Demetri to father a child to be brought up and studied in Volterra. Caius is against the idea, the decision will be put off until a later date... I can’t see further than that, I’m not attuned to them, I can’t see so far ahead into their futures, I can’t see if she will become pregnant or if they will kill her, it is many months away, it may change.”

There was stunned silence.

All the joy after the last successful encounter with the Volturi was gone.

Then the speculation started. Alice could see the event but not the motivation behind it. It boiled down to three simple questions: why this? why now? and why Demetri? A dozen answers to each question came from the gathered family.  The most likely answer was that they wanted to catch us doing something against the rules as soon as possible, and Demetri can stand up for himself.

The others gave little thought to the planned baby. It was beyond the immediate worry and didn’t affect us personally. But my mind was on Gina and how I could help her.  I had only just survived my own pregnancy and I had had good medical care and love from all my family. I felt cold, cold to the heart.

Had I started some new vampire fashion? Would lots of vampire males want to father children? And what of the vampire females, would they want to become stepmothers? I thought of the loss of human life. I thought of Gina.

I found myself a spot on the floor and sat there still, shocked, horrified.

The discussion went on for nearly an hour, until Carlisle looked at the clock and said that he had to go for his shift at the hospital.

He turned to our guests, “Nahuel, Huilen. It may be best if you were not here when Demetri comes to call. I do not wish to ask you to leave but for your own safety I must ask you to think about what you want to do.  You know you have our thanks for what you have done for us, and I owe you for the safety of all my family. You are welcome here at any normal time.”

It was Huilen who spoke this time. She spoke simply in her heavy accent. “We will leave before he arrives.”

Carlisle smiled warmly at her. “That is for the best. We can visit you before long, and maybe meet Nahuel’s sisters if that is possible.”

The others continued to speculate after Carlisle had gone, Emmett debating with Jasper the possibility of beating Demetri in a fight. Jasper thought that if there were several of us it may be possible, but it would only bring the rest of the guard down on us, a battle which we would not win this time.

Alice touched me lightly on the arm, tutting at my pants and jumper combination. My favorite sister was never happy with my lack of fashion sense. But she could see the future, and would have known the day before about this particular lapse of mine. I thought to myself that I would suggest to her that she warns me in advance next time, so that I don’t disappoint her again.

“You know, I thought you would have learned a little by now Bella,” she chided quietly. “I will just have to take you back to your cottage and show you how to match up those pants myself. I didn’t spend weeks putting together your wardrobe for you to use it like this.”

 

That morning I must have really gotten under her skin. How could she care so much about fashion when she’d just given us the news about Demetri? Really. It made no sense.

I looked down at my outfit. It didn’t look that bad to me. I’d made sure that some of the threads in the jumper were exactly the same tone as the pants, but if it made her happy we could be home and back in a very short time. A few minutes out of the house would do me some good.

“Edward,” she chimed. “I’m taking Bella back to your cottage, can you look after Nessie by yourself?” The look on her face one of great effort.

He smiled warmly at her. “By myself? I don’t think that I will ever be allowed to look after Nessie by myself. She has too many fans for that.” He looked quizzically at her while he made his answer, as if they were having another inaudible conversation but failing to understand each other.

It was true. Most of the room were watching Nessie again, just waiting to see what she would do next, fascinated by her. Her Aunt Rose and Grandma Esme sat on the floor with her.

“We’ll see you soon,” Alice chimed again, wincing with effort, like a small child trying to remember a really difficult times table sum.

As soon as she said this I looked around the gathering to smile a normal goodbye. Then I saw him, Nahuel. He was staring at me. Staring at me with total adoration in his eyes as if I were the only thing he could see in the world.  The only thing he had ever seen. Like a blind man seeing the sun for the first time.

Oh no... no please no, I screamed inside my head. My face turned from a smile to sheer dread, his calm face turning from adoration to puzzlement at my expression.

Edward stiffened beside me, but said nothing.

Alice tugged my sleeve and we were off through the patio doors at the rear of the house,  running back to my cottage hand in hand. I was only too glad to go, and Alice's excuse was perfect.

As soon as we were over the river she said in a very hushed voice, “Shield me, stop him reading my mind.”

 

New posting Chapter 55 - Postscript

Tags: Bella, Chris, Cold, Edward, Gray, Jasper, Light, Sequel, Twilight

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Replies to This Discussion

I'm curious why Tania is calling? Hm??? Thinking cap is on now, LOL.

 

D

Hey Chris, I just wanted to let you know that I have just finished chapter 4, and as soon as I am done writing this comment, I am going STRAIGHT to chapter 5. Sorry I haven't commented in a while, I'm reading now though, and I'm a little.... obsessed :)

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Chapter 5 - Escape

 

When we got back to the house Alice’s face was taut with concentration. She was working hard to keep Edward out. I couldn’t shield her here without him noticing. As soon as she saw Nessie she swept her into her arms. This would make her future vision go blank and there would be nothing left for him to read. She also sat herself next to Jacob who’d come round for his daily visit. The wolves caused even more of a blind spot than either Nessie or Nahuel.

Edward’s face was warm when he saw me. As he eyed up my new clothes, he murmured in my ear so low that even other immortal couldn’t hear, “I prefer you with nothing on best of all.”

The earlier tension from the news of Demetri’s visit had not gone completely, but had turned to a resigned acceptance. We were going to have to present a united front and make sure that we didn’t break any of the rules while he was here.

Rose had gone hunting with Emmett and Jasper. Jacob was playing cards with Nessie on the floor. Esme was upstairs sorting laundry. Our two visitors were watching the card game. Edward had gone outside to tidy up some fallen branches from the trees along the drive. I went out to help and Nahuel came along too.

The day drifted along in the normal pattern but my panic never ceased. I tried as much as possible to keep away from both Emmett and Nahuel, but it seemed that one or the other was always nearby. Maybe my imagination again.

In the early evening , Carlise, who had returned from his shift at the hospital, came from his study where he was ending his discussion with Tania. His face was full of interest and puzzlement. He said as if confirming the discussion, “I’ll see you tomorrow morning."

Carlisle looked round at the now quizzical faces. “I have to go to see Tania and her family. There is something very odd going on. She says they all feel nauseous, and in fact, Eleazar has been vomiting on a number of occasions. It came on as soon as they got back home. It seems to come and go quite quickly. It's affecting all of them, but Eleazar the most.”

Then he was off speculating. “I would have said it was to do with their loss and grief, but Garrett didn’t know Irina and is just as bad. I’ve never heard of a case of our kind vomiting before, unless they tried eating human food, and that's over as soon as it's out the system. Can you see anything Alice?”

Alice stood up and moved to the kitchen, away from her blind spots. She concentrated for a moment and then looking green herself she abruptly came back, “No I can’t see anything, I just want to come out in sympathy with them.”

Edward's face had gone nearly the same shade of green as Alice’s as he read her thoughts, but cleared as abruptly as hers. “Eleazar does look in a bad way.”

“I think I’ll drive up straight away and see what I can do for them. I’m not on a shift for another three days. This will be a first, a coven of vomiting vampires!” He was obviously looking forward to the challenge.

I saw my chance. ”I think that we should come with you. Edward might be useful if they are beyond talking.”

“I don't think they need mind reading. She didn’t seem that bad on the phone, but it was one of her good moments. Apparently when one starts to feel sick they all start, like some mass hallucination. That's common enough in humans with sickness and fainting, but vampires?" He carried on talking to himself as he turned to go upstairs to find Esme.

My chance was slipping away. “I know, we will go with you and stay close by so that you can call us if you need us," I said, trying not to sound too desperate.

I concentrated really hard on pulling my shield away from myself, but keeping my face in exactly the same expression. And I thought to Edward, “Back me up on this, I need to get out of here for a few days.”

Edward started slightly at the shock of hearing me. It was only something I’d managed to do a couple of times before, when we’d been alone in our cottage. He made the slightest nod, which no one else would have picked out.

Edward’s smile was warm. He obviously liked the idea of having a little time with just the three of us. “Let’s all four of us go, we’ll drop you off at Tania’s and find a hotel somewhere close. I think some time away is just what Nessie needs before we have another visit from the Volturi,” said Edward in confirmation.

Carlisle smiled at me. “That sounds like a good plan. I’d like the company on the way up even if I don’t need Edward’s talents, and we should be back soon enough. When the Denalis are better I’m sure they would love to see Nessie again. A small child can help so much with grief. But keep her away from Tania’s clan until I’m sure this is not contagious.”

I couldn’t believe that I had got the break away from Forks so easily. Not that Forks was the problem. It was Emmett and Nahuel that were my immediate problems, and a few days away from them could only be a good thing.

There was a murmur around us. Jacob was about to make a suggestion, but thought better of it. He had somehow realised that this might be a vampire-only outing. Or maybe the idea of being shut up in a car with us was too much for his nose to bare. The wolves thought that we vampires had a sickly sweet odour which burnt their nostrils, and we vampires didn’t find their overpowering tar and burnt wood smell much better. “You won’t let her near them till it’s safe will you?” he asked, “... so bugs can hang around on surfaces and stuff, you’ll have to wash things down for her even if they are better.”

“Jacob, I’m her mother. Not you.” I pointed out with a cutting glare.

“Yeh, I know, I was just reminding you ...”

I glared at him again. He shut up and went back to playing cards with Nessie.

 

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Hi there,

I would really appreciate it if you could leave me a comment if you have read this ( "read it" will do) just so as I know how many people are reading this and if I should continue to post or not.

Please enjoy the story.

Many thanks

Chris

just finished reading all 5 chapters. curious to find out what is making the denalis sick and the deal with emmett
 

Patricia,

Thank you so much for reading all 5 chapters at once! I hope that you enjoyed it. It is really lovely of you to comment, it makes all the editing and publishing  (which does take a long time) worth while.

All the plot lines will be revealed in time, I don’t want to give you any spoilers.

The sickness will be explained in a few chapters time – so not too long.

I love this...“I prefer you with nothing on best of all.” I'm happy to see them being able to comment like this without him being stressful over it. Nice to see.

 

Still curious with this Emmett thing though. You've got me going through my mind of the many outcomes that could possibly come out of this. ooh, it must be hard for Jacob to let Nessie go without him. I see Bella still has a ping of irritation for this imprinting thing.

 

I absolutely love that Edward can hear Bella. Their connection just keeps going.

 

D

I like to think that Bella can 'allow' Edward to hear when she wants, things aren't so one sided now Bella is starting to use her gifts.

 

hmmmm..... interesting turn of events :) curious to see what's next!

Hi Carmel,

well I can easily say things aren't going to get better for Bella until she works out whats going on and how to handle it.

Best wishes

Chris

I hate that after all Bella has went through with her family and she still has to worry about that nosy Volturi. Great chapter though! I shall continue now... ;)

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Chapter 6 - Journey

 

The discussion on the possible causes of vampire sickness dragged on.  I took the opportunity and pulled Edward lightly by the hand out of the door. “We need to pack.”

“Jacob, can you take care of Nessie for 15 minutes?”

 “Sure thing,” came his reply.

Edward clicked.  “Ah, yes. I’m not used to traveling with a family. I guess we'll have to take some more luggage, enough to make a good show of it. Especially if we aren’t staying at Tania’s.”

As we ran back to our cottage Edward smirked at me, “Have you had enough of my family so soon, or are you ready for another honeymoon?” his velvet voice teasing.

“I just need a bit of space, that's all,” I replied, trying to keep the urgency out of my voice. “I’ve had my fill of sharing Nessie with everyone in the main house. I’m not sure all the attention is doing her any good. A few days away will hurt no one and will be really good for us. We've got time before Demetri gets here.”

As I said the words I knew it was not true.  Jacob would really suffer; the pain of being away from his soul mate would be physical for him. A little though surfaced, ‘And Nahuel too’. I forced that thought away.

“Let’s take your laptop so we can videoconference with the family if we feel like it,“ I suggested. 

I would make sure that Nessie and I called Jacob, and we’d do it mostly when Edward was not around. I didn't like having to share Nessie with Jacob, but Edward was her father and felt much more as if he had to protect her from Jacob than I did. He was starting to chill because of Jacob's good behavior and thoughts, but it clearly went against his inner feeling as a Dad.

“We will be back in time for Demetri and we can put on a strong family front," Edward said. "Hopefully by then the Amazons will have gone home too. I really don’t find Nahuel’s thought’s very gracious. But I can’t do anything, not when we owe him so much."

If I’d had a heart it would nearly have stopped. I didn’t want that conversation with him; the one about another man being devoted to me forever. Not at that moment in time, not before I’d decided how I could explain it to him. Not before I’d had time to find the words I could say to him to make things right between us. I just couldn’t go there with him, not then. Was I just a coward? I did what all cowards do - I diverted his attention.

"What do the others think of the Amazons?" I asked.

"Carlisle will be much happier when we are back to a household of vegetarians, and all the wolves will be able to come off red alert and go back to their usual life in La Push. Jacob has taken to Nahuel almost as one of them, but they don’t trust Huilen at all, although they would never push for her to leave because they feel as grateful to her as we do.”

“I think we should get Carlisle to leave as soon as possible,” I said, trying hard not to show any panic in my voice. “The longer we delay the more the others will want to come too, Jake especially.” But my guilt was now going into overdrive. “Do you think I’m being mean not suggesting he comes with us. It's going to hurt him so much to be away from her.”

He pulled up and I circled round back to him. “Bella, we are her parents, we have every right to bring her up as we see fit without reference to a dog. He'll cope, he needs to learn how to. We are a family, just the three of us and we are only planning to go for a few days. We can help Tania as well, a brief visit only. Relax and enjoy.”

Relax, I thought. If only I could.

We were back at the main house in a very short time with a couple of sizable overnight bags and a laptop.  Alice had come to our rescue telling Carlisle that there was snow on the way in 36 hours and encouraging us to be at our destination by then.

We briefly said our goodbyes to Esme, Jacob and our guests. Jacob's look at the doorway was so pitiful that my guilt went into hyperdrive. I promised that we would call his house at later and told him about the laptop. This cheered him a little, but his dark eyebrows still pulled together, his bottom lip turned down slightly, and his shoulders stooped. He hugged Nessie to his over-warm shoulder and whispered, “Take care of yourself and come back to me soon, I’ll be waiting for you.”

This obviously got on Edward’s nerves, and as he snatched Nessie out of Jacob's arms he was bristling with contained fury. Once she was in the car he turned back to Jacob and very quietly but furiously snarled, “Never forget, Dog, when she if fully grown it will be her choice not yours whether she spends her time with you, and up till then we will only let you see her if you behave yourself.”

“What did I say?” Jacob barked back.

“It wasn’t what you said but what you thought, Dog,” Edward spat. “Bella and I can and will look after our daughter without your help.”

This minor conflict over we were on our way out of Forks, Edward at the wheel with Carlisle beside him, Nessie and me in the back.

My panic diminished with every mile that we drove further from Forks, even though Edward and Carlisle were still speculating about Demetri and about Tania’s clan. It was one of those occasions that left me feeling like an outsider again. Edward and Carlisle had been together for nearly a century and knew each other completely.

Their conversation was one-sided, like overhearing a phone call, with Edward speaking and pulling Carlisle's contributions straight from his thoughts. “I know you think he is good man, but I don’t think that is the only reason... Yes, I’m sure he’ll enjoy the change... I just think that it would have been less confrontational to send one of the women, Heidi, maybe, or Corin... Well, no, naturally, I’m pleased it’s not Jane ... Yes, at least his talent is no threat to us when we are at home as they know where we are anyway.” And so they went on speculating. Maybe this is how people with forever fill it, I idly thought.

We made good progress, more like flying than driving. Edward didn’t slow below 120 until he heard the thoughts of nearby traffic cops.

After a few hours Nessie and I spoke briefly to Jacob on my cell phone, while we’d stop to buy gas. He seemed chastened by the altercation with Edward, but happier to hear Nessie’s voice. We promised to call again the next day when we were settled into a hotel in Anchorage.

After that Nessie fell asleep in my arms, tucked in with lots of coats and a car blanket from the trunk. Although we had a child seat in the car I didn’t feel inclined to use it.  If there was an accident the safest place for her would be in my strong arms, not tied in to some piece of plastic. There was peace to the moment. It felt safe, all of us in the car where no bad memories haunted me.

I kept her hand against my face so that I could watch her dreams. My daughter’s ability to project her thoughts through her palms straight into another person’s mind continued while she slept. It was a delicious experience to watch dreams as I could no longer sleep myself.  The dreams were a replay of the day's thoughts and actions all intermingled with images from books and television and more distant memories. Some of the images took new forms, metamorphosing to provide a narrative, however bizarre. I was content that her dreams were all happy with the only off note being the picture of Jacob’s face, longing and forlorn as we left. I appeared many times more than the rest of the family, more even than Jacob, which gave me a smug satisfaction.  There was an image of Tania in a hospital bed with Carlisle taking her temperature.  It was so improbable that it made me laugh aloud.  Edward’s velvet chortle joined in too. He must have been listening to her dreams from the front seat; he did not need her mind speaking abilities.

Eventually, as the cold gray light of dawn filtered though the side windows, the roads got rougher and we had to slow down.

Hours later we stopped to drop Carlisle off, a few miles from Tania’s. The road was deteriorating to a single track through the snow and the Mercedes was having trouble. It would have been nice to have Emmett's Jeep then, but the Mercedes was much faster and two thousand miles in the Jeep would have been a rough ride.

Then there were just the three of us on our own.

 

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