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
A little bit of mystery never hurts! Now everyone wants to know what is going on!
Always so many mysteries...
Next chapter will have some pointers to what is going on but only a few - lots more twists and turns yet.
Amazing chapter Chris.... Can't wait for more!!
thank you for the comment.
The next chapter will explain some ideas and pose more questions - I might even leave it on a cliffhanger!
hI there. please post soon. :)
I will post more, I have written the two chapters, they just needs to go through the editing process. The next chapter is a very long chapter and the one after chapter is short so I may put them out together. I'll see how the editing goes.
I am working on it.
Thank you for your comment, I do appreciate the support.
The Shadows makes me curious...
As always, my ever present theories have come back. I will wait to see iff they are right or wrong.
Still reading through :)
Hi Dark One,
I know it does get a little mysterious at this point in the plot but I hope you carry on reading anyway, it will all get explained.
Bella is of course totally confused by everything and in a very delicate state of mind. Such stress can't be good for a fairly new born vampire!
Thanks you so much for the comments
My mind could not get past two images: one of me walking in the sunshine with two shadows behind me, and the other of my mother kneeling at Demetri’s feet with him holding the scales of justice in his hand. I couldn’t see the connection. Was there a connection?
My mind was whirring out of control now. What was the connection? Had what I said condemned my mother? In my mind one of my shadows entered the image of my kneeling mother and Demetri killed her.
“No!” I shouted.
Suddenly I noticed I was still in the room with Carlisle and Demetri. Had I just shouted that aloud or in my mind? It felt like my mind was about to explode.
“Bella, are you alright?” Carlisle was asking.
“I don’t understand, that’s all. If I could fit all the pieces together I could understand and it would be OK.”
“Bella, there is no mystery, do not concern yourself.” Carlisle tried to sooth me. He looked concerned.
Demetri was staring at my hand. When I noticed this I looked at it too. Was it a clue as well?
I was drumming my finger on the table so hard that wood dust was flying off it and my fingers were imprinting on the wood. I stopped drumming and quickly hid my hand under the table. It was only then that I realized that my whole body was swaying.
“Bella, I have to ask you about other humans you knew before you were turned.” Demetri looked almost apologetic as he asked.
“What of them, do they have shadows? How many?”
“Demetri, might we conclude this interview another day? I think Bella needs to rest.” Carlisle was watching me closely. “She will be here another day to answer your questions, is there a need for you to continue right now? I believe you have a few days before you need to report back to Aro.”
“Yes, I think we have pushed things as far as would be reasonable today,” Demetri replied to Carlisle, “would you be happy to resume another day, Bella?”
I didn’t respond. I knew he’d asked me a question but I couldn’t bring myself to answer. How could I want to resume when he was going to send a shadow to kill my mother? Even the walls of the house where starting to mock me now - they were pretending to move, to squeeze into us then move away and to bow round at the edges.
“I best leave,” Demetri said. “Have you seen her this way before?” he muttered to Carlisle.
“No, not this bad,” Carlisle answered.
“I had no intention of bringing her to this point.”
“Oh, I know Demetri, but you have a job to do. If we can do it over a few sessions, it may be better all round.”
Demetri stood at the front door ready to leave. Carlisle was standing too, but stayed next to me. I was so confused that I hadn’t noticed that they were getting up out of their chairs. Maybe they had said something more to me and it hadn’t registered.
Carlisle was looking at me with great concern. He squeezed my shoulder and spoke to me slowly.
“Bella, I’m sure that Edward and Alice will be here soon. I’m going with Demetri back to the main house now. Please sit quietly for a while and just rest yourself.”
I did as he asked. I didn’t move to the door to say goodbye as a good hostess should.
“Bye for now, Bella,” Carlisle said, looking back at me from the threshold, worry etched into his face. As he left, the wind blew leaves into the cottage but I didn’t move to pick them up. I listened intently to their footsteps taking the track back to the main house. There was no other sound. The world seemed still, even the trees weren’t moving.
I was on the downwards spiral of guilt and despair.
Had I condemned my mother to death? Would they stop at her? Would they take Phil as well? Why did they want to know about Nahuel? What did he mean by shadows – was some other being after me now? Were they going to kill my mother?
I was pulled out of my internal hell by a voice, Edward’s voice. “Bella.”
I looked round for him out of instinct but part of me knew it wasn’t really Edward’s voice at all. Part of me knew that I was having another episode just like I had when I was human. It was the voice I courted by jumping off cliffs and riding motor bikes. It was the voice of my hallucinations, it was like an old friend. This was why Carlisle looked so worried, my behavior had made him think I was losing my mind again and I could see then that I was.
Would this voice shout at me as it had done when I was human?
“Bella, honey, it’s fine, they will be with you soon. Don’t worry, you did exactly the right thing.”
The voice was almost Edward’s, but didn’t have the depth and richness, some of the underlying harmonies in the notes were not there. But at least the voice was being supportive now. I was glad of its support even though I thought it was only my mind playing tricks.
At the very least, having a disembodied voice in your head was distracting. The voice rambled on a bit more, still making soothing statements. It was pleasant company for someone who felt as alone and wretched as I did.
Too quickly it quietened to nothing and I was spiraling down into a pit of guilt. I missed the voice and wished it would come back.
But the real Edward arrived at the cottage with Alice to try to haul me out of my despair. They were a thousand times better than the voice in my head.
As soon as Alice and Edward walked through the door, Edward rushed to me. He sat on the chair next to me and pulled me into his lap. He just held me tight. I felt secure at last. And the enormity of what had taken place started to hit me. My breaths became harder to keep steady and my shoulders, instead of being statue-still, began to move slightly with each painful gulp of air.
“Shall I go?” Alice purred quietly.
“No Alice ... I’ll be OK in ... a minute ... I just need a … little time to recovery.”
“Hush now, my love, it’s over,” Edward whispered soothingly in my ear.
“Is it? ... But for my Mother?” My sobs now coming more often and louder, I couldn’t control it. The tears started to leak from my eyes down my face. I knew they would see them, I couldn’t hide them. I knew they knew I could cry, they’d just not seen it before. I thought they’d leave and walk away in disgust but they did nothing of the sort. If they were surprised they hid it well.
“Bella,” Alice squatted down next to me and rubbed my back soothingly, “Demetri has no plans to put anything more than the fact that you have not met your mother in person into his next report to Aro.”
Even with this news I couldn’t let go of the vision of Demetri holding the scales of justice over my mother’s kneeling figure. My breaths got harder and harder to pull, I gasped for air, the tears now flooding out of my eyes. I was blinded by them.
“Yes, call him, it would be best, this isn’t doing her any good.” Edward muttered to Alice.
She was on her cell instantly. “Bella needs your help ... very upset ... the cottage.” She snapped her phone shut. I guessed she talked directly to Edward in her mind as he nodded.
“Just hang in there for a few minutes Bella.” Alice said.
I'd supposed they’d called Carlisle back to take a look over me. Perhaps I really was losing my mind now. Perhaps Alice had seen it in my future. If I were human he’d give me a sedative and I’d sleep it off, but now, in this stone body, that wasn’t an option.
“I hate this ... my mind … feels like it’s going to explode! … What are shadows?” I gasped through my sobs.
“I don’t know my love. It’s not a term I’ve come across before. As far as I know there isn’t a supernatural being called a shadow.”
“I’ve not heard the term either,” said Alice, “but it didn’t sound as if he meant it that way at all. I asked him the other day about his gift and he told me that he feels people and they give out a feeling that is almost like an identity, more like seeing someone with particular colored hair and height and face type. But it seems to be linked in some way to their genes rather than their actual appearance, though knowing what they look like does help him. He sees family connections between people as well, though only on blood lines, marriages would mean little. He even said that being with so many of our family changed by the same person he was beginning to see a trace of Carlisle in those he has turned. Carlisle is finding it all fascinating.”
Her ramblings were working; I was being distracted out of my downwards spiral. I was forcing the sobs to be quieter because I really wanted to hear what she was saying. Was there anything in there that was going to assure me that my mother was safe?
“How long now?” Edward murmured to her.
But even as he said it we heard footsteps coming to the cottage fast.
NO!!!! Not now, they can’t have done this to me now!! I screamed internally and the gasps were more painful still.
Jasper came through the door.
“Bella!” His voice was shocked, “... Give her to me!” He almost growled at Edward.
I didn’t want this now, I didn’t want to be close to Jasper, but Edward picked me up and placed me on his lap in his arms, as he sat on one of the armchairs. I made a feeble attempt to hold on to Edward's shirt – it was a futile, childlike gesture and I gave it up quickly out of embarrassment.
I knew I had to shield him from Edward. I fought hard for enough control to find my shield and pushed it over him. But control was much easier now I was in Jasper's arms. The only thing I was allowed to feel was the calm. He was pushing the feeling through all off me. I was surrounded by his body and all of it was stopping me feeling anything for myself. The sensation of it was so overwhelming. My sobbing stopped in it’s own time, the odd gasp still coming after the rest had passed.
With my emotions numb, I found my brain again, and the difference was fantastic. Each thought was only that – a thought. It had no emotion attached to it, letting me think with a clarity that I had never experienced before. This must be the feeling humans seek in flotation tanks, I thought, but it wouldn’t be nearly as good as this. In a flotation tank your senses are dulled and your proprioception fooled. But in Jasper's embrace I had full knowledge of my body but total release from any emotions other than calmness.
Edward and Alice sat on chairs patiently. As I wiped my eyes on my shirt sleeve, I could see that Edward was looking helpless and angry with himself, as if he'd just failed a major test. But it wasn’t him that had been interviewed. I couldn’t understand why he felt so bad.
Jasper sat with his eyes closed with an expression of pain on his face. Did I revolt him that much? And then it hit me – he didn’t know I was shielding him. He was working hard to keep Edward out, unnecessarily.
Now I was calm, I searched for a way out of this dangerous new situation.
“I’m sick of you all talking about me in your minds,” I said, “it’s rude, you know, to talk behind someone’s back.”
And with that I flipped my shield and threw it inside-out over Edward, just like I had in training some weeks ago. But this time I had to do it. If I didn’t, what would happen? Would Edward and Jasper fight? Would his secret – our secret – be out? Would Alice hate me forever?
“Now I have you all shielded, can we try to have a grown up conversation please? I’m not totally useless.”
I felt Jasper relax his posture and I made to move but he held me tight. I was revolted – did he think he owned me now, here in this room, when my husband was present? It felt wrong to have Jasper's body so close to mine, to feel his strong arms holding me tight. He was cradling me as you would a child who had fallen over.
“Bella, stay here with me, it’s too soon. You need me to keep you calm for a bit longer yet.”
Revolted as I was, I acquiesced. He was right. Without him my grip would fall and my shield would fall and then immediate trouble would be upon us all. And I wanted this new clarity of thought for a bit longer.
“Right, does anyone know what a shadow is?” Alice asked.
Jasper replied in a slow drawl, “I used to have a shadow, when I was a boy. My little brother used to idolize me and follow me about. My mother called him my shadow. I’d forgotten all about it – in over a hundred years nobody has used that term to me.” A wave of grief passed over me. It made me feel bereft, as if I’d lost someone dear to me. But as soon as it hit it was whipped away and replaced again by calm.
“I’m sorry Bella, I lost my focus, are you OK?”
“Yeah, it’s just a bit of a rollercoaster of emotion, perhaps I should move now.” But he held me tight and wasn’t going to let me go without me making a very clear stand about it. And I couldn’t make a stand without it seeming out of place to the others.
“Yes, that’s it, he means he can feel people following you about. He can’t feel you but he can feel them.” Alice chimed
“Bella, do you think anyone has been following you?” Edward asked.
I was cagey. I didn’t want to reveal to him how much I’d been hiding. “Well, I did think that maybe someone was on a few occasions but I couldn’t find any evidence. There was no scent.”
“Why didn’t you tell me. I can help find them, I want to take care of you ... you should have said.”
“Edward, I could not hear any definite noise, and no scent, just a feeling that someone was there.”
“A few times, when I was in the woods. And then once when I was here asleep.”
“Someone spied on you when you were sleeping?” Edward sounded appalled.
“Well, I don’t know, as I said there was no trace, I just had the feeling someone was here. I thought I heard footsteps in the house, I thought it was you but when I got up to follow them, there was no trace of anyone.”
“Here, in the cottage, and you said nothing to me?”
Alice sprang to my defense. “Edward, I was here when she woke up. I checked with her, there was no trace. I really think it was just a dream.”
“But with what Demetri has said it doesn’t look that way, does it?”
“Umm ... point taken,” she conceded.
I was feeling drained, I so wanted to take my shield down. I knew I had to break up this gathering even if we seemed to be making some kind of progress. I couldn’t chance Edward finding out what else I was keeping from him.
“Edward, can you go back to the main house and monitor Demetri. I need to know what he is thinking and he’ll be thinking about it more right now than later because he has just finished talking to me.”
“Yes, I was just thinking that, but will you be OK here?”
“We’ll look after her,” Alice chimed.
Edward took Nessie’s coat and boots with him as an excuse to go back to the house. We all knew Demetri would see right through it, but he would have little reason to complain. It was the polite way to handle the situation. Even in a crisis like this Edward would try to be polite about things.
He shot out of the front door. I hated to see him leave but I knew it was for the best all round. I flipped my shield back over Alice and Jasper. I knew that Edward would be able to hear them from some distance but not when he got towards the river.
“You look exhausted again,” Alice said, “your eyes are jet black. When did you hunt last?”
“Will Edward get to the house OK?”
Her eyes went glassy for a moment, “Yes, no problem, did you think that there maybe problems?”
As she said that I dropped my shield – he was out of range.
I made to move off Jasper but he held on tight.
“Bella, it is still too soon. I am absorbing all your other emotions. I can tell they will be too much for you yet a while, you need to quieten your mind first. Do your thinking now and then relax your mind, then maybe try to rest.”
I had to admit it was a good plan, however much I disliked being cradled by him.
My thought patterns were rushing round in my mind, each a bright clear flame that flared for just a moment and died, there were so many of them.
Had I protected my mother? Yes. But why then did Demetri ask about other female family members that may have been here. Had he felt what he thought was someone in my family here in Forks. Was this my shadow? But I don’t have any living female family other than Renée. Maybe he can see me a little at times and that is what is confusing him.
Why had he asked me about Nahuel? I didn’t want him in trouble – he had helped us – even though he had imprinted on me. It was a relief to be able to think of Nahuel without guilt pouring into my mind. He would be in the Amazon and in great pain right now as he hadn’t seen me for weeks. I would work to find a cure for the imprinting, I would look high and low for one, I would study the mythology, I would even try to train my supposed mind-bending abilities to free him.
I laughed inwardly at this thought, as if I could ever do anything but cause trouble with my ‘gift’.
“Alice, what do you see in my mother’s future?”
Again she went into her trance-like state. She came back immediately. “She is coming here. I see her in the woods with you and me. We are watching the boys wrestling, but I can’t see it all.”
Jasper huffed. “Bella, please try not to overreact. I don’t think you realize how close you are to a breakdown. Carlisle warned us all that we need to help you keep in a steady place but you need to help yourself as well.”
Alice said, “Sorry, that wasn’t the right way to put it, it is just one of the possibilities. I’m sure that we can put her off.”
If I could have felt relief at this, I would have. Perhaps Jasper absorbed it from me.
“I’m going to have to go and think about all this somewhere alone. I need to spend some time looking into Renée's future. She is very clear but I need to concentrate, and all this calmness doesn’t help my visions. I need to be able to feel for myself.”
Once more her eyes went glassy. "And you two are going to be just fine. But why do you need to apologize to Bella, Jasper? I can see you doing it as soon as I am no distance away?”
Thank goodness that is all she had seen. At least he had no other plans for me this time.
“Last time I tried to help Bella when she was upset, I said the wrong thing and made matters much, much worse for her. I really am very sorry about it, it was inexcusable.”
“Oh,” Alice said.
Don’t ask Alice, please don’t ask. I thought.
“Well you better kiss and make up then, hadn’t you,” she said, slightly shortly. “I have to go, I’ll leave you to it.”
She looked at Jasper. “Will you mind your manners this time?” It was an order, not a question.
She smiled, skipped over the room, pecked us both on the cheek, and glided out of the cottage.
“I am truly sorry, Bella, it won’t happen again.”
“Jasper, I have to move. You don’t understand and I can’t tell you why but trust me this isn’t doing either of us any long term good. But thank you for calming me when I needed it.” He let me up without any hindrance.
“I need to rest. Please can you stay here while I do so. I don’t want to be in the cottage by myself trying to rest if I am being followed, they may come back in the house again.”
But the emotions were back now and I was spiraling down again. I nearly broke down where I was. Jasper picked me up and carried me to the bedroom. I started panicking,
“Don’t be ridiculous Bella, I’m just trying to get you to rest.”
He lay me on the bed, lay a blanket over me and sat next to me, his hand on my shoulder, “Now rest girl!”
And within a few seconds I was gone.
I woke up hearing Edward mutter to Jasper, “This room is so calm that I almost feel like sleeping.”
“I think that she’ll be OK now,” Jasper said. I felt Jasper’s hand move from my shoulder and him get off my bed.
“Thank you for taking care of her and staying while she slept. Yeah, I know it’s just fascinating isn’t it, I don’t know why but it just is.”
The last comment pricked my consciousness enough to drag me out of the last remnants of deep sleep.
“What is so fascinating?”
“Jasper was just thinking that watching you sleep isn’t as boring as he thought it would be.”
As if an alarm had gone off, my brain put the information together. Jasper thinking about me … Edward reading his thoughts. It was enough make me leap from my bed and shield Jasper all in one maneuver.
“Enough, already, thank you. There is no requirement for you two to pick over my peculiarities together.”
“Sorry Bella,” they both chimed, and grinned at each other like children caught with their hands in the cookie jar. But how near had they come to being at each other’s throats?
Edward reported back about Demetri’s thoughts. “I stayed as long as I could without it seeming rude. He is very confused but he believes everything you said to him. He is just not sure that you know everything that is happening.”
“What is happening then?” I demanded.
“He was trying hard to cover that. But again he’s not sure, it’s almost as if he sees Renée here at times but also still in Jacksonville. He had thought that he just wasn’t picking her up properly but now he has seen the photograph he will be able to study her movements carefully. He is sure he has her feel now and won’t get it wrong.”
“I don’t understand either. She can’t be in both places at once, can she,” Edward asserted.
“Could he be seeing me sometimes?”
“Well, he had thought that before seeing you both together on the photo. But now he has seen the photograph he knows you would have a different feel, especially now you’re a vampire.”
“Umm … And Nahuel, he didn’t think of him at all?”
“He has no bad thoughts towards either of them, so I don’t think there is any danger to either, just a bit of a mystery why his talent is playing up a little.”
I was reassured. The sleep had helped my perspective and now I just had to wait for Demetri to work out what it was he felt.
End of Chapter 34 - Voice
sorry for being away so long... finally caught up with that last 4 chapters and loved them! intrigued as to the shadows and Demtris talent. Starting to feel for bella with her working herself up so much, but maybe she needs to trust Jasper a little more with him keeping his thoughts to himself around Edward??? he has had a long time to practise that lol... interesting with Renee as well.
Cant wait for the next chapter
I'm delighted to receive your comment. I'd missed you.
Demetri is an interesting character, I just couldn't think how he would be able to describe knowing where people were without something like that. Otherwise he'd not know one person from another and never find any individual in a city.
Always the question who is shadowing Bella and why? And how are they able to hide from Edward and Alice?
So many questions.
But at least Bella and Jasper are back on speaking terms again. Maybe she will be able to trust him nomally but I think if she were sat craddled up in his lap he would find it very difficult not to have some hot thoughts about her.
Thanks again for your comment
Poor Bella! It sounded as if she had a full on panic attack! I hope she could sort things out in her mind so she could handle whatever comes at her next! Please update soon!