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Chapter 9: Waiting
The car ride was long even though we raced through the empty freeways at twice the legal speed. It was quiet except for the almost-silent purring of the Mercedes and Bella’s occasional sobs and uneven breathing. She tried to evade sleep and during the night, she ended up leaning against Alice; somehow her cold, hard skin seemed to comfort her. Alice’s shirt was wet from Bella’s tears that had run her tired eyes dry.
‘Poor girl,’ I thought. I felt terribly guilty and sorry for her. When I felt this as we were entering Phoenix, Jasper took a hand off the wheel and held mine in a brotherly gesture.
“I know,” he whispered, so low that Bella wouldn’t hear. “I know what you are feeling Shayla, but it’s not your fault.”
“It might as well be though,” I murmured back. “Perhaps if I hadn’t defended her like I did–” He cuts me off there.
“Shayla, I know how you feel about her. She’s like a sister to you now and you’ll do anything for her, right?”
“Right,” I sighed as I released his hand and moved it back to my lap. I turn to check on Alice and Bella. Bella was staring out the window, her eyes not focusing on the scenery that shot past us. I flashed Alice a concerned look.
“Which way to the airport Bella?” Jasper asked, finally breaking the silence.
“Stay on the One-Ten,” she answered automatically. “We’ll pass right by it.”
“Are we flying somewhere?” she then asked Alice.
“No, but it’s better to be close though, just in case.”
I turned back to the front as we were entering the loop of road around the airport. About halfway through, gentle snoring could be heard from the backseat. Bella had fallen asleep. How I’d envied her, I wish I could sleep again and dream.
“How much further?” I asked Jasper.
“There is a hotel nearby. That’s where we are going to stay for the time being.”
A few minutes later we pulled up at the hotel. Alice paid for a decent room using a fake credit card– Rachel Lee was the name on the side– and we half-carried, half-dragged an exhausted Bella to the room on the fourteenth floor.
As soon as we were inside the small room with the door closed and locked, I lifted Bella and carried her to the bedroom where a queen-sized bed lay. I pulled back the covers and place her gently on the bed before pulling the covers back up over her. I crept to the open door and scanned the other room for her bag. As on cue, Jasper came in the door with it. He handed it to me in silence and I placed it on the dresser. I tiptoe back out and shut the door silently.
I exhaled with relief as I lied down on the plain couch. Jasper sat on the arm and Alice prodded my leg impatiently, wanting me to move. I swung my legs off and instead leant onto the side of the couch, my arms at my side. Alice sat herself down beside me and glanced at me. “Are you okay Shayla, how are you holding up?”
“I’m fine,” I replied. “I’m only worried about Bella. And the rest of the family.” I added.
“I’m sure their fine,” Jasper said. “Alice would have seen if anything would go wrong and they would have called.”
“True, but you can’t help but feel worried; it’s like a gut feeling or something. Do you know what I mean?” I cocked my head to the side, looking at him curiously.
“Of course we do Shayla,” Alice patted my shoulder. I tilt my head back, close my eyes and just let the scent of my family and Bella fill my nostrils.
I watched Shayla uneasily. All she was doing was breathing, breathing in our scent and Bella’s. So if James even tried to enter Phoenix, Shayla would be onto him.
She was worried and slightly scared, I could feel it. And so was I too. How long could she last here with a human? Even though she had recovered slightly from the incident yesterday in the forest, she was still as uneasy and volatile as a newborn. It was like her first day as a vampire all over again…
We walked back slowly as she was in no rush to go home. We had just finished her first hunting trip. When we got closer to the house by following the river, Alice was waiting on the branch of a huge tree,
“Have fun?” she asked while raising an eyebrow and leaping down gracefully.
“Um… yes?” Shayla answered while giving a shrug of her shoulders.
“Yeah, we did,” I answered for her. “She’s a natural.”
Alice smiled. “Just so you know Shayla, Emmett is planning to jump you when you get back. He wants to have a wrestling match.”
“Surprising eh?” I laughed. “He wants to verse someone new because Alice and Edward cheat, Esme gets angry if we really go for it as we usually do and Rosalie won’t get her hair messed up.”
Shayla grinned. “Alright then, cool. He better bring it then,” I could feel eagerness pouring off her.
“Just be careful,” Alice warned. “As a general rule, newborns are much stronger in their first year then other vampires because of the human blood still in your body. Human blood makes you stronger then animal blood. Look at your eyes in the river.”
Shayla walked to the riverbed and bent down to see her reflection in the water surface. I lent over her shoulder as she peered into the water. She did a double-take when she saw her eyes.
“My eyes… their red…” she whimpered but then she glanced back at us. “But yours are gold.”
“Yes, ‘vegetarian’ vampires eyes are gold but newborn and non-vegetarian vampires are red. Yours will go gold over the course a year, if you keep drinking animal blood.”
“Of course, I don’t think I could ever kill a human.” she replied, shaking her head.
“You would be surprised how many newborns say that but end up doing it anyway,” I replied and I felt sadness and disappointment radiate off her. “But with our help, I think you can resist.”
Shayla smiled and I can tell that she is happy, nothing but happy. But then that smile turns into a wicked smirk.
“So I’m stronger eh?” she chuckled. “Well maybe I can give Emmett a little surprise.”
I glanced at Alice. “She’s evil,” I joked.
“Diabolical,” she answered with a small giggle. “I can see what you’re going to do and I must say that’s a very useful gift.”
“What?” Shayla and I said at the same time.
“Shayla has improved sense of smell and she is more athletic then us. She is more animal-like as well. You should see her agility!” Her words tumbled out and I could feel that her mood was soaring. She was so excited, I swear she could have been hyped up on sugar (not that she would be) and no one could have noticed the difference.
“That sounds really cool!” Shayla exclaimed to our surprise. “I’ll have to experiment a bit and find out what I can do.” She gave an enormous grin and more happiness flooded off her. “But what I was doing, while hunting… was that a part of my gift?” She tilted her head to the side in confusion and Alice nodded in response. Shayla’s grin becomes wider, if that was possible.
Then with superhuman speed, she took off and that’s when I noticed her skills for the first time. She changes direction and dodges the trees so fast that it was obvious that she was gifted. The most uprising thing of all was when she came to a huge oak that stood in our way; she simply leapt up it and climbed like a spider monkey through the branches before leaping off and climbing through the next couple of trees. All vampires could climb but when she did it, it was much quicker and obviously easier. When we got to the edge of the back yard she dropped down with ease and landed gracefully. I gave her a small smile and sent a wave of confidence at her.
“Are you doing this Jasper?” she asked me and I nodded. “That’s a pretty cool gift but I assume it does get annoying right? Feeling what everyone else is feeling.” I nodded again and she gave a smile. She touched my arm gently and all I feel from her is love.
She loved me as a brother. Even though we had known each other for only a few days, she thought of me as her brother and truly loved me. Not just me but everyone else: Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Edward, Emmett and even Rosalie. She loved them all so much, especially Emmett, Alice and I.
Then as on cue, Emmett charged out with the goofiest grin on his face, ready to grab her. Shayla turned smiling too and dodged his swipe for her with ease. Emmett seemed surprised. “You’re quick,” he noted to which she grinned in response.
“Yeah, cool isn’t it?” she said back grinning like mad. “It’s weird but for once I feel like I belong somewhere, for a change.”
“Huh? What do you mean?” Emmett asked. Shayla hesitated before answering.
“Let’s just say that my human life wasn’t all that good, let’s leave it at that shall we?” Her eyes seemed to fill with sadness when she said this and no one spoke for a while.
“What now?” she then asked, breaking the silence.
“Esme just fixed up your room,” Emmett told her. “So you won’t have to bunk with Shorty here anymore,” he added with a laugh and Alice stuck her tongue out at him.
Shayla chuckled but then stopped short. “Wait did you say, my own room?” She seemed very surprised at the thought of her very own room.
“Yep!” Alice was very excited.
“So I’m like, family now?” she asked. Emmett and I glanced at each other before grinning.
“Welcome to the family!” we exclaimed at the same time and we then laughed at her shocked face which soon turned into a grin.
“Alice, Jasper, Emmett!” Esme called from the house, scowling us. “Stop torturing the poor girl!”
We laughed again, with Shayla joining in, as we entered the house. Esme’s mouth dropped as she saw Shayla. She was caked in mud, dirt, leaves and blood. “Jasper, what did you do to her?!”
I chuckled. “Nothing Esme, she’s just a natural hunter.”
Esme bites her tongue to avoid laughing but I can tell that she’s amused. “Well, why don’t you have a shower Shayla? Rosalie went shopping for you and bought you a brand new wardrobe.”
“I hope she didn’t buy skirts or dresses. I HATE wearing them. I didn’t wear them as a human and I’m not going to start now.”
“Alice looked into your future and said that she saw you never wearing a dress so a disgruntled Rosalie bought you t-shirts and jeans.”
Shayla grinned. “Alright then, shower time. I stink!” She ran up the stairs, two at a time.
“Oh, how can she hate wearing dresses and skirts?” Alice exclaimed as she ran in. “I will have to persuade to wear at least one!”
“Oh sure Alice,” Shayla said, sounding partly sarcastic. “When hell freezes over!” She gave a booming laugh as she turned on the shower.
I gaze uneasily at Shayla. After a moment, she opened her eyes and glanced at me. “What?”
“Nothing, I’m just worried about you,” I answer. She glared at me, which reminded me of Rosalie.
“I’m not a kid Jasper,” she grumbled as she turned the T.V and watched it with an uninterested gaze in her eyes. “So stop worrying about me.”
She was annoyed. Shayla was a proud person and hated being looked after. It was like me in a way, I guessed.
Alice suddenly sat up and walked to the door of the bedroom where Bella was sleeping. “Bella’s going to wake up in a few minutes.”
I nodded my head in response and Shayla gave a small noise from her nose. Not quite a snort but more sounding like she exhaled quickly. She was frustrated.
I was used to her ever-changing emotions. It was like being on a roller-coaster that never ended. I had recently taken it on myself to watch her emotions. She was happy that she was back but sad because she missed her friends in Australia. She was frustrated that she couldn’t control herself and she was irritated that resisting was so hard.
But now, all she was emitting was worry. She was completely worried about something. I suspected that it was her family. Of course it would be, I corrected myself.
The early morning went slow as Jasper, Alice and I watched the T.V without interest and as we waited for Bella to awake. Around 3 AM, Alice announced that Bella was waking up in a few minutes. I exhaled through my nose too quickly, making a small noise to which Alice glanced at me in alarm. I rolled my eyes at her. She tutted impatiently and heads into the bedroom.
“I better go get some food for Bella,” I said to Jasper. “Edward wouldn’t be happy if she starved.”
“Alright,” he answered and I exited the room going as fast as I can in human speed.
I head down into the dining room of the hotel. A kind looking women is at the counter of the buffet, placing fresh food in. It looks slightly appetizing but I know I couldn’t deal with the slimy, disgusting gunk sliding down my throat only to be thrown up later.
“Hello dear. What can I do for you?” she smiled at me.
“Hi. My friend and I just checked in and we just wanted to get some food,” I said to her. I wouldn’t have a clue of what Bella would like to eat.
“Oh, of course. Help yourself.”
“Well, I would but I’m not sure what my friend would like. Perhaps you can help me?”
The woman takes a platter and stacks on some of the most expensive things on. I resist the urge to snort with disbelief. She handed me the platter back, now covered with a metal dome, and I handed her the small wad of money that Carlisle had bestowed upon me. She took two twenties out and handed me back the money.
“Keep the change,” I muttered as I head back upstairs.
“Food is here,” I announced as I enter the hotel room, balancing the platter expertly on one hand. I placed it on the coffee table and sat back on the couch, leaning back again. “Anything new?”
“No.” Jasper shook his head before he looked up at me with his slowly darkening eyes. “Alice has gone in to talk to Bella.”
I nodded before giving a tired sigh and sat on the floor beside the couch near Jasper. I leant against his leg and for once, I didn’t try to control my emotions around him. I was so worried, not just about Bella, but about Esme, Carlisle, Emmett, Edward and even Rosalie. I was sorry that I had fought with her and called her a bitch. I gnawed my bottom lip, like I was a human again, as I think. Jasper sent a wave of love and calm at me. I sighed again and looked up at him. He places a hand on my shoulder as we watch the TV again, with him sending another wave of calm at me.
I closed my eyes and concentrated on nothing but the calm he sent at me. Jasper was my brother, my best friend, even my mentor in a way. He taught me everything that there was to know about vampires and guided me through my newborn years. I loved him.
His hand moves from my shoulder and I flinch, forgetting he was there. “I love you too Shayla,” he murmured to me from the couch.
“You better,” I smiled at him.