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
Please view the new trailer by Jesse Desplat it is brilliant.
Thank you so much Jesse!
This fantastic trailer was made for me by Marisa Wilson
Please view it is spine chillingly good
Thank you so much Marisia!!!
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,
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
OOOHH!!!! Loved both parts of the story, and soooo wish to find out what happened with Leah and what everyone knows. So tense, I loved it. Awesome work as usual Chris :D
Hi Dark One,
With Leah - it's more of a what, who and why, really as well as what is going to happen - sorry I can't give more away than that.
And how big a fool is Paul going to be, has he finished trying to get him an his little pack killed or is he going to come back for more?
Really please that you are enjoying it.
nice chapter lol..
leah still hates d cullens....dats too bad....and wat was leah thinking....
another plot..????wel i hope everythng ends gud.....
Hello Chris, I got your message I didn't abandon you I've been reading a lot of stories and books, I finally have caught up on your story......Very Good, just trying to follow what's going on with Bella, Demetri visit seems to be working out well.........I'm trying to wrap my head around what's going on with Jasper & Bella..Fred didn't listen , came to visit anyway and now all hell is breaking loose, maybe?....I love Seth , allways willing to help out ........WELL DONE my friend!!!.I'm still around.....There are just so many great stories out here.thanks again for missing me...you have so many people that read your story that I feel blessed you miss me.Love always Robyn
i think i know what happened between leah and fred....cant wait till the next chapter to see if im right. great chappie chris!!!! its an awesome read!!!!
I love your theory but please keep an open mind on it at this point - With Leah we have to remember that Bella said that she hasn't been around for a while, so there are other possibilities.We can't tell just yet.
Many thanks for your comment
I'm delighted that you've read the story and commented and even more delighted that you enjoyed it. It's great to have you back!
Jasper and Bella have a very difficult relationship now after the 'incident'. Bella is starting to trust Jasper a bit more again but should she? Should those two be within a thousand miles of each other? Not unless things change.
Fred is just lonely and a bit pushy as he wants to see Bella again. OK more than a bit pushy. He didn't believe Carlisle that there was danger - may be he'll listen going forward. He has been lied to alot as a vampire and doesn't really know who to trust.
I promise I won't panic again if you don't appear to be around for a while - sorry. I'm sure you'll catch up as and when you want to. As you say there are so many great stories on the site and you can't read them all after each update!
Thank you for the comment.
Leah has been ver set in her thoughts up to this point - will this change?
The thing with Leah is a bit of a subplot to help tidy up a few ends, it's not the main story.
After thirty minutes I’d had as much as I could take. The tension was getting to me and I was tired again. I could feel my shield trying to recoil. I knew I couldn’t let that happen, it would expose Fred and make the others sick.
“It’s no good,” I said, exasperated, “I’m going to have to hold on to you, or my shield will weaken. I’m sorry to invade your personal space and all that.” I took hold of Fred’s shirt and immediately the shield flowed down my arm and over him with much less effort.
Edward stared at me, appalled.
“I have to,” I mouthed at him. “I love you.”
He didn’t look much less appalled even then but there wasn’t anything that I could do about that in the short term. I was trying my best and I was new to this. We may need Fred to work with us; what I was trying to do is keep everyone safe.
We sat in silence, Demetri, Edward, Fred and I. Edward would occasionally fill us in on what was happening and as yet it was nothing at all, no sign of Sam or of any other wolves from his pack. Jacob was trying to talk with him through thoughts but not getting any replies.
Apparently Paul had been given charge of the four new wolves a couple of months ago to take them through some training. Since Jacob left, Paul was now the beta is Sam's pack and had to report to Sam, his Alpha.
Jacob's pack had a couple of new recruits too, both of whom were now patrolling with Jacob and the four others. Jacob had not spoken about them before and I guess that I’d never bothered to ask where all those wolves at the stand-off had come from. The most surprising thing that Edward reported was that both of these new recruits were girls, and they both appeared to answer to Leah. Edward found the pack dynamic as interesting as ever, the soap opera having many more characters now. I was sure he edited out at least ninety-five percent of what he heard. Something was amusing him and worrying him but I didn’t know what it was.
But what was clear was that Jacob’s pack acted with discipline, carrying out Jacob’s commands to patrol without complaint.
Jasper and the others patrolled a half circle around the house, turning when they hit Jacob's half circle. They found no trace of incomers.
Demetri was fascinated by the whole situation, and looked at it from a diplomatic and military perspective. He listened with interest to Edward pulling thoughts out of the minds of those on patrol. As I watched him I thought that he looked more interested in Edward’s ability to do this than in the things he was saying. I realized that this was the first time that Demetri had seen Edward’s gift working fully from the same side of a conflict, and he was clearly impressed at the strength it gave our side. I was just glad that Alice at least was safe from his attention as she couldn’t see the wolves, so her talent was not of any help in this situation.
Then it happened.
Edward said simply, “Paul’s pack are coming. They are going to attack from the North, five wolves. They are after Fred and anyone who guards him, but not Nessie, of course. Paul hasn’t managed to talk with Sam yet for some reason.”
He called Jasper and speed talked him through the situation.
Jasper decided on a show of force, running around to Jacob's side of the perimeter, the idea being to use overwhelming numbers to avoid a fight or the need to make them sick.
Edward turned to Fred and I. “Jasper would like you and Fred out there too, he is sending Rose and Alice back here for defense. That will give us four plus Demetri at the house”
Without hesitation I sprang to my feet and pulled Fred up after me. I turned and saw Edward’s face, a picture of worry and revulsion. He started towards me but I was already moving. I couldn’t comprehend what his problem was and I hadn’t got time.
We were out the back door and off to find Jasper in a second. I tried to focus, not to think too much about the expression on Edward’s face. I grabbed Fred’s hand to run, it was easiest that way to keep him covered with my inverted shield. I couldn’t risk him causing any problems yet.
Holding hands with another man felt all wrong. His hand wasn’t the same as Edward's, it was bigger and slightly more bulky, and he held my hand tighter than Edward did, not unpleasantly so but still it was noticeable. Maybe Edward retained his habits from my human days when he had to be so careful not injure me just by squeezing me too tight. This hold would have put me in hospital with crushed finger bones for sure, but for now Fred’s hold on me was reassuring for both of us.
I heard Rose and Alice enter the house by the front door before we jumped the river.
A great howling rang out and we sprinted in its direction. As we approached we heard Jasper and Emmett running in from the South East. We followed the scent of the wolves around a stand of spruce and there in a small clearing we saw them, the five wolves from Sam’s pack lined up in a v-formation with Paul at the head. They were facing all of Jacob’s pack, with Jacob at point and Leah to his right, Embry and Quill to his left, and Seth and the two new she-wolves further behind, but just as ready to fight.
Jasper and Emmett ran in behind Jacob's pack and we joined them and spread out into a line, Fred and I still holding hands, something that Emmett noticed immediately and clearly didn’t like.
We had the numbers, seven wolves and four vampires. Surely Paul wouldn’t try anything, not with just the five of them. I wondered why Jacob didn’t just give him an order like he had earlier, or was there more going on than that? Did Sam know what was going on? And why wasn’t he here?
Jacob stood his ground and snarled at Paul. The wolves behind Paul seemed less keen to respond with bared teeth than Paul was. Jasper again flooded the situation with calm. Again the growling stopped but the two leaders stood still with their eyes on each other. The seconds ticked by. We all stood motionless.
In the trees above there was movement. Some animal, I assumed, scurrying away from the situation, sensing the danger in that air. A breeze ran round our feet, almost as if it held something and was going somewhere. It seemed familiar, but I couldn't place it. I’d felt a breeze like this before, but when? First this morning, and again now, but also long ago. But when and where? I snapped myself out of my distant thoughts. I had to deal with the here and now, with these hostile wolves, or at least wolf, trying to get himself and the others – what? Killed?
“Think carefully Bella. Think what you want them to do.” My voice was back. I didn’t want it disturbing my thoughts now, I had enough to think about. I tried hard to ignore it but it persisted.
“Bella, what do you want the wolf to do?”
Before I’d even framed an answer to the question, a distant howl came without warning from the far North, and the five wolves that we faced turned about and ran.
Jasper was on the phone instantly with Edward. But Jacob’s pack went back to patrolling the border.
Emmett looked over at Fred and I, looking puzzled and upset. I didn’t see that it was any of his business who I held hands with but decided to explain anyway.
“This is the easiest way to hold the shield over him,” I explained, raising our linked hands in emphasis.
“Well don’t you be getting any ideas about my little sister,” Emmett said gruffly, walking over to where we were standing and looking Fred in the eye. They were much the same height but Emmett was far more muscular and looked intimidating to say the least.
“Hey, I’m sorry that I’ve caused you a problem with the wolves, and this,” he nodded to our linked hands, “was her idea not mine.”
“Fred, this is Emmett, my other big brother.”
“So you’re the guy that Bella took down a few weeks ago then? How is that working for you?”
“Emmett! What is your problem? Will you stay focused on the job in hand, you know, the wolves.”
“Yeah, right, little sis... We can talk later,” and he strolled over to Jasper. His final remark was addressed to Fred in a very threatening tone. Could he really be that upset that I was holding hands with this man, even though he knew I had to? Was he worried for Edward’s sake or just plain jealous? Then it hit me, he may very well be jealous. Not this again, another problem! I was going to have to be in close company with Fred all the time he was here. Were Jasper and Emmett going to get awkward with him about that? I’d thought that Edward might find it hard, he was my husband after all, but the others? They knew I wasn’t theirs, nor was I ever going to be. Why were they doing this? What did it matter to them that I had to be physically near Fred? There was nothing going on between us. I’d only met him once before and then I’d removed part of his ear.
Jasper came over. “Edward says that Paul got a stand down and return to base command from Sam. Edward can’t hear Sam from this distance but the thoughts that he could read from Paul showed that Sam was not pleased with his actions. I think that we need to keep up the patrol for now until Sam talks with Jacob but it looks like we may be OK. If you and Fred go back to the house for now, Emmett and I will take the half circle together and Edward can send you out again if we need you.” And with that he was off into the woods with Emmett.
We walked back to the house, still hand-in-hand, but when we got to the door I switched to holding his shirt again. He said nothing but gave a tiny smirk when I did this. I didn’t understand this expression – perhaps he just preferred less skin contact.
When we came into the house Nessie ran straight at me, jumping from ten feet away into my arms. It was all I could do to catch her in one arm and keep hold of Fred with the other.
“Mommy, Daddy said you were outside with Jacob.”
“Yes I was but I think that most of the wolves will go home soon and then maybe in a while when Jacob's had a chat with Sam, Jacob may come in and see you before he goes home. We’ll hope so, shall we?”
“Oh, yes, I haven’t seen Jacob for ages.”
“Nessie, you saw him yesterday. You can’t expect him to spend all of his time with you, he has responsibilities in La Plush.”
She made a grumpy face at me. I knew too well that Jacob would spend much more time with Nessie if Demetri wasn’t here and if we let him. I thought that they should have some separation (as my Dad use to call it) or else they would get too dependent on each other too soon, and besides which I wanted to have time with my child while she was young. I didn’t see why I should give it all up. Jacob would probably have her for the rest of eternity as soon as she was fully adult.
Fred couldn’t take his eyes off Nessie.
“This is your daughter?”
“Yes that's right, this is our Nessie.”
“But she is so big and you are so young. I still can’t get my mind around it. And she has a heartbeat and everything and… and she is so pretty.”
“Thank you,” Nessie chimed, with an enormous smile on her face.
I really didn’t think that all these compliments were doing her any good. They were bound to be having an effect on her personality. Would she end up as an unbelievably attention-seeking adult and make everyone else's life miserable?
“I wanted to be a teacher before I was turned. Not young children, but eleven to fourteen year olds. I was going to teach Science.”
“It may still be possible if that is what you want to do now,” I suggested.
“I not sure that parents' evening would be too much fun if I’d slaughtered the class, but I guess I could always take the parents out couple-by-couple as the term went on. I haven’t even talked to a human in over a year, I just make them sick if I’m close by. When I hunt I tend to go for a pounce and kill method, it is offputting if they puke before you feed. The smell is awful.”
“We don’t hunt people, it’s wrong,” Nessie said simply. “Even though they do smell tasty.”
Fred looked taken aback at such a dismissal of his lifestyle.
“I used to have donated blood when I was smaller but Mommy says I’m too grown up for that now.”
Fred looked taken aback. “You got people to come here and donate blood?”
“No,” I smiled at the thought. “Carlisle is a doctor at the local hospital and managed to buy a supply when she needed it. In fact I had to drink it when I was human and pregnant with her – I couldn’t keep much else down,” I explained.
“Wow,” was all Fred could manage.
“I didn’t realize that you pregnancy was so traumatic all the way through,” Demetri said. “I was under the impression that there was only a difficulty at the end. Aro never said – I’m sure he must have seen it in Edward’s memories.”
I suddenly felt uncomfortable. We knew the other task that was planned for Demetri when he returned to Volterra and I knew that information about my pregnancy may not be in his best interest to hear.
“Well, it wasn’t pleasant, and as you know Edward had to turn me as soon as Nessie was out of me. It was a close thing – if he wasn’t so clever I would certainly be dead.”
Edward, who was sitting in the chair next to mine, reached across for my hand. “It could so easily have been the worst day in my life but now I think of it as the best. Not only were you safe but we have Nessie. I just don’t want another day like that again, ever, in the whole of eternity.”
“I should gather all the facts I can about you pregnancy so that I can report it back. It is the sort of thing that the Volturi should know and have a record of for the future.”
Now I felt very uncomfortable. Would Aro think that we were somehow trying to tip Demetri off? I noticed Edward's eyebrows slightly pulled in and his shoulders pulled marginally forward and together. He was as worried as I was.
“I’m sure that you’ll have enough for this week’s report,” he laughed to Demetri.
It was Fred who came to the rescue. “So you are from the Volturi. Carlisle explained what they are to me. Where do you fit in? They are kind of vampire police aren’t they?”
“Well the function of the Volturi is to ensure that the rules of the vampire world are kept to allow us all to live in peace. As you say we are like police in that we investigate possible breaking of the rules. But we do differ from the human police in that, with no other vampire authorities, we also have to make judgments and carry out punishments.
“I am here with Carlisle’s family simply to learn. The lifestyle that they adopt is an interest in itself but the ability it gives them to mix with humans is astounding and the product of that is before us now.”
At this point he nodded towards Nessie who was sitting on my knee.
“I have been practicing this style of hunting whilst staying here with the Cullens, and although at first it seemed very unappealing, I have found it adequately nutritious and easier to cope with as time has progressed.
“It was only in January of this year that we learned of the existence of human-vampire hybrids and as far as we know Nessie is the only one who is still in the child state. Hence I am also here to observe her grow which is both an extreme pleasure and a valuable insight into the species.
“I am also tasked with observing the wolves and any problems that they pose to the vampire world.
“My tasks here have been made a delight by the kindness, hospitality and understanding shown to me throughout by the Cullen family.”
It was Esme who spoke next. “We are very pleased to have you as our house guest Demetri.”
I was thinking in agreement. Yes, Demetri, much better you than Felix or Jane.
“Now Fred,” she continued, “we have another guest room at the top of the house, I hope that you will find it to your liking. If you would come this way, I’ll show you where it is and let you get settled in. Am I right in thinking that you only need Bella to shield you when we are in the same room?”
Fred looked taken aback. “You would let me stay with you today, after all the trouble?”
“Yes of course, if you would like to. You are perfectly free to leave at anytime but I suggest that you stay with us until the wolves have calmed down a little. You had planned to visit us, hadn’t you?”
“Yes, I had planned to visit, but I’m not used to being shown such hospitality, not since I was a human.”
“We would ask you not to feed in this peninsular. We can lend you a car to get out of state if you need to hunt – it can cause problems for us and make the local humans more suspicious if there are hunting expeditions in the area. Besides which we live among friends here and should not want them harmed.”
“I hunted in Seattle 36 hours ago, I’ll be good for a few days yet. I can go longer now between hunts than I used to.
As for my gift, if you can call it that, as long as there is something solid in the way I don’t make people sick. I’m trying to learn to control it but I have no means to practice.”
“This way then.” Esme got up and lead the way upstairs.
I tagged along keeping hold of Fred’s shirt as we went. I was so glad that Esme had suggested we show him to another room. The relief was immense. I didn’t think that I could take any more stress today. My shield was feeling like an swimmer's drag suit making each stroke a hundred times harder. A prolonged interview with Demetri could wait until after I’d rested.
After installing Fred, I went down to our room to lie down on the bed. Sleep would have been an escape but it didn’t come easily. I lay there thinking what could have happened. I didn’t worry that Fred might move from his room without me. I was sure he was being monitored. Edward would be reading his thoughts; Alice would be seeing his future; and Demetri knew exactly where he was to the nearest inch. He could just sit and read a book quietly for a bit while I recovered!
What happened today with the wolves had shaken me to the core. I thought the wolves were my friends. I’d spent hours in Paul’s company down in La Plush, why did he think for a moment that I had meant them any harm? But he was there, lining up his little sub-pack of cubs (I was sure that was all they were) against us for a fight even when Jacob had joined our side. What on earth made him act in that way? What was he trying to prove? Were they going to fight and die just because we had trespassed with good cause and with prior notice on to their land? It just didn’t seem right. Why not just bark lots and chase us back to our side of the border? What was the point in standing there in the way when it was obvious we were going? And what had Sam’s orders been, and why? How had Jacob managed to get him to stand down in the woods in the first place and yet not managed the second time? It just didn’t add up. I couldn’t make out the motivation going through Paul’s mind.
Then there were all the issues closer to home that I had to worry about. Shielding Fred was going to be a drag, like babysitting a tiny baby for someone, one that needed constant vigilance and attention. I didn’t trust Fred. He'd already disrespected our wishes by trying to come here in the first place, but I had to admit he had acted as well as could have been expected after he joined with us today.
But the attention that I had to give to Fred was going to have consequences. Edward clearly didn’t like it, nor did Emmett, and who knows what Jasper was thinking. And Fred seemed to be too friendly already – the embrace he’d given me in the wood was far too familiar. Had I already infected him with my mind poison, or was he was just grateful for someone he could hug?
And what would Demetri put in his next report? What would the Volturi do about the wolves now? Had Paul earned them all a death sentence?
And could we keep up the pretense to Demetri that we didn’t know what was waiting for him back in Italy, what he would be expected to do, what he would be ordered to do? I liked Demetri and didn’t want to see him being forced into things against his will, or maybe he wouldn’t see it that way, maybe he would be happy for the arrangement, maybe it would be an honor to him, as Aro would say.
By now I was dreaming. I saw the scene, Demetri down on one knee in front of Aro, back in his dark gray robes.
“Master, I have returned with the information you sought.” He held his hand forward for Aro to take hold of and read his thoughts.
Aro, a mad gleam in his eye, swoops on the raised hand holding it in both of his own. He takes minutes to process all the information.
“Fascinating, fascinating ... You have done very well Demetri as we expected you would. The Cullen coven will give us no problems for a while, they are respectful of our power. And the child... fascinating, fascinating.
“Demetri, I have one more task for you to perform now that you are back here in Volterra. Best to do it before you return to real blood I think, it can’t wait too long.
“You are better with humans now, are you not?”
“Yes master, they affect me little now. I couldn’t do as Carlisle does and work around blood, but the scent does not cause me as much pain as it used to.”
“That is good.”
I saw a small smile come onto Aro face.
“This task, I hope that you will see it as more of an honor than a trial. I want you to father a child with a human.”
I saw Demetri’s face blanch to purest white.
The scene changed and I was the one standing. This time there were people at my feet as Demetri had been at Aro’s. I saw Edward, Jasper, Emmett, Fred, Jacob and Nahuel all before me, all ready to do my bidding. Then another joined them, Paul. He knelt before me, rose to his feet, and fell prostrate to the floor.
End of Chapter 37 - Patrol
Read it, loved it... and Bells just LOVES complications doesnt she! Interested in the dreams she has.... awaiting the next installment :D
Hi Dark One,
Yes Bella's dreams are interesting they do sometimes foretell and are sometimes like a nomal dream just a bundle of memories, recent happenings, stories and bits of the TV all jumbled up together.
And Fred what is he up to? Does he have designs on our Bella? Is that why Edward looks so upset?
And how is Demetri going to get out of Aro's little task? Or would he be happy to go along with it - he does love children. Does he have the control required to carry it off?
So many questions - the answers are starting to appear if only slowly - I like to give you lots of clues so you can work out what is happening.
What do you think about the wind?
Sorry for the late reply Chris
The wind.... still unsure as of yet. Interesting that it shows up and encourages to think about what she wants someone else to do. Almost as if trying to make her use her other gift...
I think Demetri will be a little shocked at first, with Aros request, but will none the less fulfill his duty and I think he may enjoy having a child.
Fred.... hmmm.... judgement still out there (even after reading all chapters)
waiting for the next chapter :D