Chapter 14: Visitor
Bella stared at Alice, shock written all over her face, before her knees trembled and she ran and slammed into Alice, but not even moving her an inch from where she stood. It would have been like running headlong into a solid brick wall.
“Alice, oh Alice!” she cried as locked her arms around her and gasped, smelling Alice’s perfect floral scent.
“Bella?” Alice asked, confused but relieved. I let out a sigh, a loud, relieved one, and locked my arms around my chest to stop me from running and embracing Bella in a hug.
Bella began to sob then and Alice dragged her to the couch where she pulled the crying Bella to her lap and soothed her by rubbing her back, and waited for her to control herself.
“I’m… sorry,” Bella blubbered out. “I’m just… so happy… to see you!”
“It’s okay, Bella. Everything’s okay.”
“Yes,” Bella bawled.
My sister sighed. “I’d forgotten how exuberant you are,” she said and her tone rang with disapproval.
I snickered and wandered over to the couch before leaning over the back of it. Bella’s eyes snapped up to mine and I nodded my head, a greeting and a warning in one.
Bella then looked up at Alice through her streaming eyes. Alice’s eyes were blacker then night, her neck tight, straining away from the human on her lap, and her lips together. She was in no better shape then I.
Bella smelled delicious. What I wouldn’t give for a taste of her blood. But the sane part of my head, the one that had my family’s faces imprinted on it. I was smart enough to know that, even though I wanted it very much, I couldn’t kill Bella. I would withstand it. I could do this.
“Oh,” Bella puffed, as she realised our problem. She smelled appetising to two very thirsty vampires. “Sorry.”
Yeah, like it was her fault in the first place. I should have been smarter and hunted earlier instead of ignoring the ache in my throat.
“It’s my own fault. It’s been too long since I’ve hunted. I shouldn’t have let myself get so thirsty.”
“Nor should have I,” I said, speaking for the first time to Bella.
“But we were in a hurry today,” Alice continued on. She then glared at Bella. “Speaking of which, would you like to explain how you are still alive?”
Bella stopped her sobs. She must have realised what must have happened, and why we were here.
She swallowed loudly. “You saw me fall.”
“No,” Alice disagreed, narrowing her eyes. “I saw you jump.”
As Bella pursed her lips, I glared at her too, a frightening gesture. Not that it mattered anyway. Hardly anything scared Bella, practically nothing. I wouldn’t say anything, she was more Alice’s friend then mine and this was her time to talk.
Alice shook her head. “I told this would happen. ‘Bella promised,’” she then quoted our brother, imitating his voice almost perfectly; so much that Bella froze in her seat as she listened. “‘Don’t be looking for her in the future either. We’ve done enough damage.’”
“But because I’m not looking, doesn’t mean I don’t see,” she went on. “I wasn’t keeping tabs on you, I swear Bella. It’s just that I’m already attuned to you… when I saw you jumping, I didn’t think, I just told Shayla and I jumped on a plane while she drove. We both knew it was too late but we just couldn’t do nothing. And then we got here, thinking maybe we could help Charlie somehow, and you drive up.” She shook her head, this time in confusion. Her voice was strained when she spoke again. “I saw you go into the water and I waited and waited for you to come up, but you didn’t. What happened? And how could you do that too Charlie? Did you stop to think what this would do to him? And my brother? Do you have any idea what Edward –”
It was true of course, all of her words were true. If Edward found out that she ha committed suicide, he would be utterly devastated. Would he want to keep living his existence? No he wouldn’t.
But before Alice could continue though, Bella cut her off. “Alice, I wasn’t committing suicide.”
Alice eyed Bella dubiously before she looked at me and we exchanged a confused look with one another. “Are you saying that you didn’t jump off a cliff?”
“No…” Bella answered, grimacing when she did so. “It was for recreational purposes.”
Alice’s expression hardened and I chuckled quietly. Cliff diving was one of my passions. I was an adrenaline junkie and I loved to do anything that would get a human’s heart pumping and the venom in my system racing like the adrenaline in a human system. There weren’t many things that the humans offered to do that got such things happening but, with my brothers helping me, I could find my own things that was higher faster and more exhilarating then anything a human could do.
“I’d seen some of Jacob’s friends’ cliff diving,” Bella insisted. “It looked like… fun, and I was bored…”
We waited for a better explanation. We didn’t have very long to though.
“I didn’t think about how the storm would affect the currents. Actually, I didn’t think about the water much at all.”
I believed her but Alice, she didn’t buy it at all. Bella must have saw this and tried to distract Alice with a different subject. “If you saw me go in, why didn’t you see Jacob?”
Alice cocked her head to the side, distracted. All I said was, “Huh?”
Bella continued on. “It’s true that I probably would have drowned if Jacob hadn’t jumped in after me. Well, okay, there’s no probably about it. But he did, and he pulled me out, and I guessed he towed me back to shore, though I was kind of out for that part. It couldn’t have been more then a minute that I was under before he grabbed me. How come you didn’t see that?”
Alice frowned, her perfect face confused. I too was confused, and my face probably almost imitated hers perfectly. “Someone pulled you out?” Alice asked.
“Yes. Jacob saved me.”
Emotions flickered across Alice’s face. Confusion… doubt… pity? Was her vision bothering her, how she couldn’t see the wolf-boy? She never mentioned not seeing them before, even though she had only met them once and that was to sign the treaty.
I sniffed, and I detected a very, very disgusting smell. Alice must have picked it up as well, because she sniffed Bella’s shoulder, who has frozen in her seat.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Alice mumbled, sniffing a bit more. Her sense of smell wasn’t as strong as mine, so I could pick up the scent from where I was at the back of the couch, as strongly as if I was sitting where Alice sat now.
“What are you doing?” Bella demanded to know but Alice ignored that demand.
“Who was with you out there just now? It sounded like you were arguing.”
“Jacob Black. He’s… sort of like my best friend, I guess. At least, he was…” Bella hesitated and looked distracted.
Alice nodded once, seeming preoccupied. I wandered around to the other side of the couch and sat of Alice’s other side, feeling a bit annoyed that I was being ignored.
“What?” Bella asked Alice.
“I don’t know,” she answered. “I’m not sure what it means.”
“Well, I’m not dead at least.” Well, thank fucking God.
Alice rolled her eyes when she said that last part. “He was a fool to think that you could survive alone. I’ve never seen anyone so prone to life threatening idiocy.” She shot a look at me and jabbed her elbow in my ribs while I was in my slouched position. “This one here doesn’t count since, technically, she can’t die, even though some of the things she does is completely and utterly foolish.”
“Shut it,” I answered. “At least I’m doing something fun.” She rolled her eyes to this comment.
“Hey, I survived,” Bella pointed out, interrupting our mini argument.
Alice went back to thinking of something else. “So, if the currents were too much for you, how did this Jacob manage?” Good question.
“Jacob is… strong.”
There was reluctance in her voice. I exchanged a look with Alice who twisted her neck around to gaze at me. I shrugged before Alice turned back around and raised her eyebrows.
Bella gnawed on her bottom lip as she sat there. “See, well, he’s sort of a werewolf…” she finally admitted. “The Quileutes turn into wolves when there are vampires around. They know Carlisle from a long time ago. Were you with Carlisle back then?”
Alice gawked at Bella for a moment and then recovered herself, blinking rapidly. So, I had been right after all. “Well, I guess that explains the smell,” she muttered. “But does it explain what I don’t see?” She frowned again, her porcelain forehead creasing.
“You smell –” Alice began to say but I cut her off.
“You stick Bells, it smells like a really, really strong wet dog scent. It’s goddamn awful.” To illustrate my point, I turned my face away from her and plugged my nose with my fingertips.
Alice smiled for a brief second before she kept talking. “As Shayla just pointed out, yes, you do smell awful. A werewolf? Are you sure about that?”
“Very sure,” Bella promised, as she winced slightly. “I guess you weren’t with Carlisle the last time there were werewolves in Forks?”
“No, I had only just found him when they first appeared but when we signed the treaty, about twenty years later, they found our scent and tracked us. It was during Shayla’s first year as a vampire as it so happened to be.” Her eyes widened and we both stared at her. “You best friend is a werewolf?”
Bella nodded. I shook my head. Werewolves were not good company to keep.
“How long has this been going on?”
“Not long,” Bella said, her voice getting a defensive edge to it. “He’s been a werewolf for a few weeks.”
And it just keeps getting worse doesn’t it?
My sister and I glowered at her. “A young werewolf? Even worse! Edward was right – you’re a magnet for danger. Weren’t you supposed to be staying out of trouble?”
“There’s nothing wrong with werewolves,” Bella grumbled, slightly annoyed and stung by Alice’s critical tone and the irritated glare on my face.
“Until they lose their tempers.” Alice shook her head sharply from side to side as I rolled my eyes. “Leave it to you Bella. Anyone else would be better off when the vampires left town. But you have to start hanging out with the first monsters you can find.”
Bella was trembling but then she spoke again. “No, Alice, the vampires didn’t really leave – not all of them, anyway. That’s the whole trouble. If it weren’t for the werewolves, Victoria would have gotten me by now. Well, if it weren’t for Jake and his friends, Laurent would have gotten me before she could I guess, so –”
“Victoria?” Alice hissed. “Laurent?”
I opened my mouth and hissed in time with Alice before I clenched my teeth together and instead, let a deep, throaty growl slip out in pure anger and frustration.
Bella didn’t seem fazed one bit my snarls and instead continued on before she pointed to her chest. “Danger magnet, remember?”
I shook her head at Bella and Alice did too. “Tell us everything – start at the beginning.”
Bella started to talk, telling of her depression and when we left, before she moved onto how she and Jacob become best friends. She explained how he ‘dumped’ her and then about the wolves. I hated her hurried explanation about the cliffs and boredom before she talked about seeing a strange flame in the water before she said that she thought it was Victoria.
Alice’s eyes were narrowed at this part and if was really freaky to see her look so deadly, so dangerous – so much like a real vampire. I probably looked like one too with my bared teeth, clenched fists and furious-looking eyes, as well as the loud rumbles echoing from deep in my chest. Bella seemed a little fazed but hurried on with an explanation of what had happened today, when old Harry Clearwater had a heart attack.
But we kept listening without argument. I tutted occasionally and Alice shook her head and the crease on her forehead before it looked like it could become of permanent residence on her head.
Finally Bella fell quiet and sat silently. I gazed at her curiously, until Alice spoke.
“Our leaving didn’t do you any good at all, did it?” she murmured.
I gave a small scoffing noise. “Ya reckon?” I mumbled.
Bella didn’t hear me and laughed a hysterical laugh. “That was never the point, though, was it? It’s not like you left for my benefit.”
Alice scowled at the floor as I glared at the ceiling, still fuming slightly. “Well…” Alice said. “I guess we both acted impulsively today. I probably shouldn’t have come back.”
Bella’s face went white as she clutched Alice. “Don’t go Alice,” she whispered. “Please don’t leave me.” She looked like she was about to hyperventilate which she did, seconds later.
Yep, thanks for wanting me to stay too, Bella.
Alice’s eyes widened. “All right,” she answered, pronouncing every word with slow precision. “I’m not going anywhere tonight, and neither are you Shayla,” she added as I made the decision to leave. “Take a deep breath Bella.”
Bella peered around Alice as she tried to breathe. “Stay… please…” she whispered. She extended a hand out to mine and I took it.
“I will,” I promised. “Until you want me gone for good.”
Bella smiled slightly and I grinned at her. I was happy, I felt like I was wanted, needed now, and not just a prop sitting next to my sister.
Alice waited until Bella seemed calm enough to speak again. “You look like hell, Bella”
“I drowned today,” she reminded her.
“It goes deeper then that. You’re a mess.”
Bella flinched. “Look, I’m doing my best.”
“What do you mean?”
“It hasn’t been easy. I’m working on it.”
Alice frowned. “I told him,” she muttered, more to herself then to us. I nodded.
“Alice, Shayla,” Bella sighed and we snapped our faces towards he. “What did you think you were going to find? I mean, besides me dead? Did you expect to find me skipping around and whistling show tunes? You both know me better then that.”
“We do. But I hoped.”
“Then I guess I don’t have the corner on the idiocy market.”
Then the phone rang.
“That has to be Charlie,” Bella stated as she dragged herself to her feet and staggered over to pick it up. “Charlie?”
“No, it’s me,” a voice answered on the other line. It was rougher, huskier, and slightly deep as well, but it was difficult to tell by the phones old cables.
“Jake!” Bella cried.
Damn mutt. We both scrutinized Bella’s reaction to this phone conversation.
“Just making sure you’re still alive.” I snarled at this remark. He won’t be if I ever got my hands on him. Who does he think he is? The tog dog? I nearly giggled at my joke.
“I’m fine. I told you it was –”
“Yeah. I got it. Bye.” The friggen dog hung up on her! Talk about being rude.
Bella sighed as she replaced the phone, and let her head hang back, staring at the ceiling. “That’s going to be a problem.”
Alice got up and squeezed Bella’s hand. “They aren’t excited that we’re here.”
“Though they have a right to,” I agreed, knowing that though, as much as I hated the wolves, they were right. We left, and so they took over the territory like they should’ve. We came back, they had to go back to La Push and protect only their people. It was a difficult situation all round.
“Not especially,” Bella answered us as I joined them. “But it’s none of their business anyway.”
Alice placed her around Bella. I could have done the same, except, well, Bella and I weren’t as close as Alice and her well. It would have been awkward with a capital A. “So what do we do now?” she mused, talking to herself. “Things to do, loose ends to tie.”
“What things to do?” Bella asked
My sister’s face was frozen, careful as she picked her words carefully. “I don’t know for sure… we’ll need to see Carlisle.” She glanced at me. I nodded in response, a quick jerky movement.
Bella looked shocked. “Could you stay? Please? For just a little while. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you both so much.”
I blinked out of habit and surprise. “You missed me?”
She nodded. “You’re like the little sister I never got to have. You’re so fun and full of life. Just to be around you makes anyone happy.”
Alice spoke again. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea, us staying I mean.” Her eyes were unhappy, uncertain.
“I do,” Bella argued. Still oh-so-stubborn. “You could stay here – Charlie would love that.”
“We do have a house, Bella.”
She nodded, disappointed but quickly resigned. Alice hesitated next, as she spoke for the both of us.
“Well, we’ll need to go get a suitcase of clothes.”
“Alice, you’re the best!” Bella threw her around her before she put one around me as well. I held my breath as her delicious human scent tickled my nose. My venom glands released more venom into my mouth which I swallowed quickly and glanced at Alice.
Alice saw this and said, “And I think we both need to hunt. Immediately,” she added, in a strained voice.
“Oops,” Bella mumbled and released us taking a step back.
“Can you stay out of trouble for an hour?” Alice closed her eyes and focused, holding up a finger as a symbol for Bella to stay silent. Her face went smooth and blank for a few seconds before she opened them.
“Yes, you’ll be fine. For tonight, anyway,” she answered her own question before she grimaced.
“You’ll come back?” Bella asked in a small voice, glancing between us. My body was tense, set, to run the minute Alice decided we should go.
“I promise – one hour,” Alice answered as Bella glanced at the clock. She laughed at this and kissed Bella on the cheek. And with a swift glance at me, we bolted.