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Chapter 2: Party Time
After ringing Maddy who had informed me that she and the girls would be there soon after they finished shopping, and that the guys were bring all the equipment out in Corey’s jeep, I had stepped downstairs into the living room and started to clear it for Bella’s party. Alice had told me that Edward would manage to convince her to come out for a small ‘party’. And I was just getting my gift ready. We just needed to practise some more.
You see, my gift was to have Midnight Blood play here at home. And I was going to be joining in. Despite our name, we were more of a pop group then a heavy metal/ emo rock band. We had cooked up the name on a random brain storm after seeing another band called Vampire Weekend, except that they were human. We rarely even got gigs because we all looked too young to be able to play in bars and clubs, and the sun was always out around Australia. Why they lived there, I didn’t know. But it was a damn good place to live though.
The afternoon rolled around and quickly turned into night. We had cleared a space in the living room while Alice flitted around, putting dozens of candles and crystal bowls filled with roses everywhere. She put up a table with a white cloth and stacked crystal plates, more roses and a small pile of presents on it. I thought she had done far enough but then she came out with a big pink birthday cake.
I had been strumming on the electric guitar but had stopped suddenly once I saw the cake. “Alice! Are you nuts?”
Theo snickered from the drum kit as Alice put the cake down. She glared up at us, with me on the lead guitar, Maddy on the violin/ fiddle, Theo on the drum kit, Corey on keyboard, Matt on the other guitar, Jessie on bass and back-up vocals, and Tiffany was controlling all the sounds we couldn’t produce through a sound board set up on a table on the back. There was also an acoustic guitar to the side. “No, but Bella would appreciate the gesture.”
“Bet you can’t keep down a slice for an hour,” Matt shot at Theo.
“Bring it, boy!” Theo laughed back as he made a move towards the cake.
“Hey, no touching the cake!” Alice said, cutting in and standing in a protective stance in front of it.
Maddy scolded them, “Boys, behave!” She was the oldest of us, physically twenty-two and just past one hundred and ten years old and she acted as the martyred of their unique ‘family’. They were smaller then us, with only the seven of them and the only other group of vampires other then the Denali’s and us to be vegetarian. But sometimes Corey and Jessie cheated, but they had sworn to be on their best behaviour tonight.
But that there was on of them that was missing. Peter, the one who I had admitted that I had a small crush on at the prom. Unfortunately, he had been unable to come into America to play with us but, he had promised to call later. We had talked after the prom and according to Matt; we were ‘a thing’ now. We weren’t really dating but maintaining a long-distance close friendship thing. Even though I did like him –a lot.
We headed upstairs to change with advice from Alice. Us four girls stuck to my room while the boys borrowed Edward’s room. They had brought clothes so we didn’t need to borrow anything but it was still cool to try on new things.
Finally, after deciding on to just wear skinny jeans and various t-shirts (mine was a white tank-top, Alice called up to us. “Guys, it’s time! They’ll be here in five minutes!”
We rushed downstairs and quickly went over our final song-list. We had decided to play songs that I knew Bella liked or ones that we would think that she would approve of. Theo, the idiot, stuck my favourite flat-billed hat on my head and grinned at me. We then bumped fist, grinning at each other. Theo was awesome and hilarious, no doubt about it.
We took up our positions as Edward and Bella pulled up. I could hear them. “If I take this will you show up in the picture?”
I couldn’t help it; I let out a bark of laughter at that. The girls giggled with me while the guys grinned. Even Rosalie cracked a smile as my family chuckled with them.
And then the door opened.
Bella stepped in with Edward, looking a bit embarrassed, which had automatically intensified as she caught sight of me and the band standing opposite her with instruments in our hands. Her eyes widened in shock as my family yelled out a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday Bella!’
“Hit it up guys!” Jessie yelled suddenly.
We launched into Green Day’s 21st Centaury Breakdown followed by The B-52’s Love Shack. Everyone cheered us when we finished and Bella was grinning like I had never seen her grin before.
“That was amazing!” she said after we packed up and I waved the band out. “I never knew you could sing that well!”
I laughed quietly, shaking my head slightly. “It’s nothing really. The real amazements are Matt, Maddy, Tiff, Theo, Corey and Jessie. They are the greatest friends a girl could ever ask for.”
“Ah.” She nodded. “Was that my present?”
“Yep!” I laughed. “Did you like it?” I scratched the back of my hand with the other, a thing I did when things got awkward, like Edward’s noise pinching and Alice’s temple massaging. “Er, I didn’t know what to buy you and I knew you would disapprove as well.”
“I loved it,” she assured me, taking a step close and holding her arms out a bit. Her scent tickled my noise but I held my breath while I analysed what she wanted. I then realised she wanted to hug me. I stepped closer to her and we wrapped our arms around each other in an embrace. “Thank you Shay,” she whispered in my ear.
We let go and I grinned widely. Shay, she had called me by my favourite nickname. She was finally warming up to me, finally seeing me as a sister.
For the first time, Bella looked around the living room and cringed slightly as she took in the presents, roses and candles.
Carlisle swept over to Bella and wrapped an arm around her and stage-whispered in her ear, “Sorry about this Bella, we couldn’t rein Alice in.”
Emmett and Rosalie stood behind them. Rosalie didn’t smile at Bella but she didn’t glare. At least that was a slight improvement. Emmett, who went up to Bella next and started to tease her before he stated that he had to step out before winking at Alice and I. “Don’t do anything funny while I’m gone,” he added, more directed at me then Alice. I resisted the urge to stick my tongue out at him.
“I’ll try,” Alice answered as she let go of Jasper’s hand and skipped forward to Bella. Jasper smiled but stayed by the stairs. I joined him, smiling at him as we leant against the stairs together.
“Time to open presents!” Alice declared as she gripped Bella by the elbow and dragged Bella to the present table.
“Alice, I know I told you I didn’t want anything –” Bella protested.
“But I didn’t listen,” Alice interrupted, slightly smug. “Open it.” She pressed a silver package into Bella’s hands.
It was the empty box of the new stereo for Bella’s truck. When Bella realised, she laughed and called out to Emmett, “Thanks, Emmett!” He let out a booming laugh in response.
“Open mine and Edward’s next,” Alice urged, so excited that her voice was a high-pitched trill. She had a small, flat square in her hand which I knew was a home-made CD with Edward’s piano pieces.
Bella turned to glare at Edward. “You promised.”
But before he could answer, Emmett bounded in. “Just in time!” he crowed. He pushed in behind Jasper who had drifted closer then usual to look. I shoved him to the side and stood beside him.
“I didn’t spend a dime,” Edward assured Bella as he brushed her hair back from her face.
Bella turned back to Alice after inhaling. “Give it to me,” she sighed which cause Emmett to chuckle with delight.
She fumbled with the package, while adding an eye roll before she made a jerking movement.
“Shoot, she muttered as a single drop of blood oozed from the cut and down her finger.
I saw it drip and immediately held my breath. I was aware of Jasper stiffening beside me. I saw a crazed look in his eyes as they fixed on Bella’s cut. He then launched at her and at the same time I leapt at him, my hand reaching to grip his arm.
“NO!” Edward roared as he threw an arm out, sending Bella flying across the table, scattering the cake, the flowers and the crystal plates. He held up his other arm and he slammed into Jasper, sounding like a rock-slide. At the same time, I wound my arm around Jasper’s neck and dug my feet into the carpet as I pulled him back into a chokehold. I may have been the strongest female, but I still needed Emmett to help and as soon as he saw this, he rushed over.
And then I made my deadly mistake. I opened my mouth and took a breath as I worked up words.
Oh God, the scent of blood was intoxicating. It made my head spin, my stomach twist with anticipation, my venom flow in my mouth. I wanted her, and I wanted her now.
I released Jasper as Emmett and Rosalie restrained him and I launched at Bella, my teeth bared and a grisly snarl burst out from behind my lips.
“No Shayla!” Alice shrieked as she and Esme launched at me, grabbing me by an arm each. I might have been strong but I couldn’t take both of them.
The scent was sending me into a frenzy. Never mind that it was my human little sister that was bleeding or that my brother was trying to feed from her as well. All I knew that is I needed her.
“The hell you do!” Edward snarled and I roared back at him as I snapped my teeth in anger.
“Get them outside!” Carlisle called out, as he rushed to examine Bella’s arm which now had a long cut from where the crystal plates cut her. And which was still pulsing fresh, delicious blood.
I was dragged outside and then forced into Esme’s arms by Alice before she darted back inside. They, Emmett, Rosalie and Esme, then ran us through the woods, far enough so we couldn’t hear Bella’s heartbeat or smell her blood.
The next thing I knew I was being dumped on the ground as Emmett held Jasper in a headlock as he tried to calm down.
I didn’t struggle; I was so ashamed, deeply ashamed. I thought my thirst was under control now. It still hurt to smell the humans but I thought I was string enough to resist. Obviously, I was wrong.
I sighed as I curled up into a ball, wrapping my arms around my legs and resting my chin on my knees. I tried to be silent as I could but a whimper escaped from my lips. In a second, Esme was beside me, her mothering instincts kicked as she wrapped her arms around me and kept whispering words of comfort into my ears.
“No, don’t,” I mumbled before standing up and moving away from her. I felt my face form a pained expression. “I’m such an idiot! I knew that party was a bad idea!”
“It’s not your fault though,” Alice replied as she jogged into where we were assembled.
“It is, and I know it is!” I snarled at her. “If I could have held him back…” – I pointed to Jasper who was now standing up and calmed down – “And kept my fucking mouth shut, none of this would have happened!” I unleased a grizzly snarl as my vision turned red with rage. I saw nothing but anger as my guilt and shame flitted away to be replace with nothing but white-hot fury.
“Shayla, cool it!” Emmett tried to calm me down with his words but I merely growled in response. He growled back before he launched at me in an effort to restrain me. I turned and ran, leaping up a tree, running, fleeing from my family. As long as I kept high enough from the ground, they couldn’t track me.
And so I kept running.