Ok! Chapter 3! Hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight Saga, nor any of its characters. I am writing this fan fic purely out of love, and am making no profit from this. Twilight’s character’s all belong to Stephenie Meyer. I do however own my original characters, and they may not be used or abused without my written permission.
A/N2: This chapter was originally part of a 40+ page chapter. I thought it was a bit long, so I chopped it up and made three out of one.
Chains of Love
Chapter 3: Birthday Boy
I grinned as I stepped out of Sam’s truck. The slightly rusty doors on the green Dodge protested as we shoved them closed - a little too hard. My miscalculation of strength was due to my excitement while Sam’s was most likely caused by apprehension.
I grinned again. I still couldn’t believe my good luck! I had only a small pinch of hope that my request would be granted when I’d asked Sam about it three weeks ago, but when he didn’t give me a “no” right away, that hope grew. I was persistent, asking him every day. I even brought it up to the other members of the council. I still couldn’t believe that I had actually been able to convince them. I thought for sure my mom would say no way and that would be it, but she agreed with me. Even with my mom on my side it had still taken some persuasion, a bit of sulking, and a lot of begging; but they had caved in the end.
I was so keyed up that I jumped over the steps and landed lightly on the porch. Sam rolled his eyes at me and shook his head, his face serious but friendly. I rocked back and forth on the balls of my feet as he raised his hand and knocked rapidly three times followed by two slower taps – his special knock.
I was almost trembling with anticipation as I listened to the quiet flowing steps come toward the door at a casual human pace. Just before they reached the door I realized that I was trembling. Wow. That hadn’t happened in nearly a year now.
Calm down Seth, I said to myself. You have no idea how they are going to take the news and the last thing they need is to see you shaking, no matter the reason behind it. I took a deep breath.
Esme opened the door, a warm smile on her lips. “Please come in,” she beckoned.
We followed her into the great room where everyone was standing in small groups. They all waved or said hello to me and then went silent, staring at me in evident curiosity. I looked around quickly to make sure they were all present, but mostly I was looking for Edward. I spotted him standing with Bella, Nessie, Jacob, and Carlisle by the window wall. He was looking at me with a curious, worried, and slightly martyred expression. I gave Bella a questioning look and she nodded, confirming that she had agreed to my request and was shielding my thoughts from him. I smiled gratefully at her and then bit my tongue as I tried hard not to laugh. This was so much fun!
However as I glanced around at everyone again, I noticed just how still they all were and began to feel a touch of doubt. What if they didn’t think this was as great as I did? What if, even though they could go, they wouldn’t want to go? This thought had never occurred to me and, now that it did, I couldn’t seem to get the words out. They stuck in my throat and cut off my air supply.
Sam noticed my hesitation and clapped me firmly on the back. “Well kiddo,” he said. “Tell your friends what you came here to say.”
My eyes slid up to Jacob’s and he smirked at me. “Yeah kid, say what you’ve got to say. It’s not like you to be shy.” He winked at me.
What was wrong with me? These were my friends. Of course they would want to come. What was I worrying about? As the nervousness melted, I felt my original excitement take over. I grinned hugely.
“Well,” I began, deciding it would be fun to drag this out a bit. “As you all know Saturday is my birthday, and I have been trying to cement the party details for the last few weeks.” I shot a glance at Sam before continuing – he was watching everyone’s reactions. “Well… I’ve finally decided.” I paused.
“And?” Emmett prompted impatiently. I grinned evilly.
“I’ve decided that this year I’m going to have a beach party.” I paused again. “Down in La Push… on First Beach.” I watched as surprise and then hurt flickered across their faces. Guilt shot through me. I had intended on surprise and disbelief, but pain?
“But Seth,” Bella was the first to address me, her brow furrowed in confusion. “I thought we were all going to celebrate it together. If you have it in La Push then we…”
“Do you not want us to come?” Nessie asked me, a small pout pushing out her tiny bottom lip. I glanced at Edward; he was keeping his face carefully blank, so I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.
I laughed – something I always did when I was tense. “Oh,” I said. “You are all still invited. I just thought you might like to know where it’s going to be held.” I grinned as I watch my meaning sink in.
Several people gasped, others simply blinked at me in shock and disbelief.
Emmett and Alice started laughing. “Excellent!” He said.
Rosalie had this small frown on her face, and Jasper had an odd expression, somewhere between pleased and pensive. Esme just blinked a few times, a small worry line on her forehead.
I looked back to Edward and his “group”. Jacob was grinning like an idiot, Nessie – who was clinging to Bella, looked… relieved? Huh. Edward was smirking and looking down at his wife. Bella’s face was lit up like a kid’s at Christmas time. It took a second to understand why, but as soon as I did I laughed. Bella had spent a lot of time in La Push and on the beach before she got married, and to suddenly be banned from there… well that had to suck, even if she was blissfully happy.
I looked lastly at Carlisle. He was the one whose reaction really mattered. I knew that if he thought this was a bad idea, the others wouldn’t go, and so far he had been very quiet and thoughtful.
As I watched, Esme flitted to his side and gazed up at him with concerned eyes. “This is an honor, but do you think this is wise?” She asked her husband.
The doctor was silent long enough for me to start to get worried again. What did he think about this? Did he approve or did he think it would be best not to chance it? I had a few counter-arguments arranged in my head before he spoke, addressing both Sam and I.
“This is indeed a great honor. That we have earned your trust enough to allow this speaks notably of the progress we have made.” He paused for a moment, looking around at his family – Bella, Nessie, and Alice all had their bottom lips pushed out in cute little pouts, and then back to Sam before looking directly at me. I swallowed nervously as I waited for his decision, but before it came, Edward spoke.
“Rose,” he said in a warning tone.
Every eye turned in her direction. Rosalie still wore a slight frown. “What? They didn’t want us there the last time, so why now? Why go where we’re not wanted?”
“Things have changed Rosalie,” Carlisle said softly, glancing at Nessie. “You know this. What is it that is really troubling you?”
I saw Edward’s expression soften as he read her answer, and the knot that had begun to form in my stomach loosened.
Rosalie sighed heavily and her bottom lip pouted out. “This is supposed to be a party. I want to have fun! And not spend it being stared at by a pack of teenagers just waiting for one of us to screw up.”
It was Sam who answered her. “While I can’t say that we fully trust you enough that we won’t be keeping an eye on things, I can say that no one is going to be waiting for something to happen. Everyone that will be there are all people that are, how did Seth put it, “in the know”. We have… reserved the beach for this party, so there should not be anyone there to serve as temptation outside of the norm. So trust me when I say that if there is staring, it won’t be for that reason.”
Rosalie thought that over for a moment and then nodded. A smug little smile now replaced the frown she had worn. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Edward shaking his head at her. Leave it to Rosalie to take that last comment to heart.
Now that Rosalie had had her say, we all returned our attention back to Carlisle who was smiling indulgently at his fair-haired daughter. He glanced down at his wife for a split second; she nodded just as quickly, and then looked at me once again. “We would be honored to attend.” He said.
“Yes!” I shouted, punching the air before my manners kicked back in. “Umm… I mean… uh, thank you.” I said, blushing slightly at my thoughtless outburst. However, before I had time to feel too uncomfortable, they were all laughing and coming over to hug me.
“This ought to be interesting,” Emmett said.
“Yes,” Jasper replied, flashing his teeth at Emmett. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a good water fight.” The two of them laughed loudly.
“Now boys…” Esme warned. “This is a public place we are going to. Let’s keep the horseplay to a minimum shall we?”
Rosalie and Alice were now standing next to Bella and Nessie and chatting excitedly.
“You know what this means…” Rosalie began an odd gleam in her eye.
“Shopping trip!” Alice said excitedly. “New bathing suits and beach attire!”
Bella grimaced and slipped slightly to her right, trying to hide behind her husband. I laughed. Bella hated new clothes. Well, not so much the clothes as the volume of clothes Alice’s little trips always ended with.
Bella’s little side step did not go unnoticed by Alice. “Don’t even think about getting out of this. It’s been too long since we went out shopping together. You’re going, or I will simply have to pick out your suit for you.” She said smugly.
Bella grimaced at some unpleasant memory that I guessed had something to do with some other outfit* or whatnot that Alice had picked out for her. Whatever it was, Edward seemed torn between intrigue and laughter. For a second I thought about asking, but then glancing at Bella’s paler than normal face, I decided that I probably didn’t want to know.
I looked around for Jake and found him with Carlisle and Sam, all talking in hushed voices about their “security measures”. This conversation wasn’t very interesting; I already knew what they had done, so I turned back to Edward and the rest of the Cullen clan.
As I listened to the chatter of voices around the room – the girls were now arguing about what city was best to go shopping in - I couldn’t help but marvel a bit about how everything had turned out.
I could remember my father telling me stories of the “Cold Ones” when I was little, and how they were dangerous and evil and that you could never let your guard down. I had always thought he told me this story as more of a metaphor really. You know, things aren’t always what they seem. I never thought it could be true… until I turned.
After that I listened a bit harder to the Elders’ tales. However, something always nagged at me. I accepted what they said, but found myself wondering if the legends weren’t a little one-sided. Granted what the vampires in the tale had done was horrific, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the pretty blonde vampire, losing her soul mate.
My eyes were auto-drawn to Rosalie as I thought this. I watched her talk and laugh with her family, but she never strayed very far from Emmett’s side. I thought of Bella and the months Edward had been gone and shuttered. No one should have to feel that. Yes, I think our legends were definitely one-sided in regards to the vampires.
I know that they are meant to be cautionary, but they really do make one rather prejudiced. I would have probably gone on thinking they were all horrible creatures without hearts if it had not been for Edward. Thinking back, I remembered the night that had changed everything for me.
I had burrowed down into the snow next to the tent to protect myself from the fierce winds. I did my best to ignore their hushed conversation – eavesdropping is rather rude, but bits and pieces seemed to stick in my brain of their own accord.
At first it was mostly just bickering – easy to tune out. I was glad when it seemed to stop. I yawned and thought about sleep, but then the wind carried Jake’s words to me.
“Well, you see inside my head – let me see inside yours tonight, it’s only fair.”
Edward’s soft voice followed. “Your head is full of questions. Which one do you want me to answer?”
Was he really going to let Jacob quiz him? Would he really tell him the truth no matter what he asked? Was this really any of my business? No it wasn’t, but I was intrigued. Here was my chance to maybe understand a little of that other-side I was missing.
They started out on simple subjects like jealousy and Jake’s underhanded use of Bella’s concern.
“I have to use whatever I can.” I heard Jacob mutter. I tried to hide my snort in my paws, hoping they were too engrossed in their conversation to hear me.
The wind picked up at that moment, whipping like a hurricane thought our camp. It was so loud that I missed some of what they were saying. The next words that found their way to me were Edward’s.
“Thank you,” his voice barely a whisper. “Odd as this might sound, I suppose I’m glad you’re here, Jacob.”
“You mean, “as much as I’d love to kill you, I’m glad she’s warm”, right?” Jake replied immediately.
I struggled to hold back my laughter, and they went back to talking about jealousy again. Well, Jake did. Edward lightly scolded him about patience and showing too much of his anger around Bella, almost like a father talking to his son about his first girlfriend.
I guess Jacob must have asked him another question while I was snickering, because I heard Edward reply, “When I saw how much it was hurting her to make her choose. It’s not usually this difficult to control. I can smother the… less civilized feelings I may have for you fairly easily most of the time. Sometimes I think she sees through me, but I can’t be sure.”
Hmm, so that was why. That explains Edward’s recent acceptance of their friendship, and why Jacob wasn’t pushing up daisies over the “kissing” incident. Edward didn’t want to hurt her, even if it meant that he himself had to suffer.
Suddenly Bella’s words from weeks ago popped into my head, “because he’d still be the most loving and unselfish and brilliant and decent person I’ve ever met.” I shook my head at how many times Jacob had run that particular discussion through his head, trying unsuccessfully to reconcile it with the image he – we, all held of vampires.
Now however, as I lay half buried in snow, it made sense. Everything I knew about the Cullens had always been hearsay. Mostly just a generalization passed down generation to generation through our people. Years of prejudice verses one girl’s assurances. No wonder most of us found it so easy to ignore what she said, or chalked it up to infatuation – even our legends say they were beautiful.
I pondered our differences in perspective as I listen to Edward explain what it had been like for him to leave her; the pain and suffering it had caused him being absent from her side, but he had endured it, for her. All so she could be “safe” from him and his family.
I had seen and felt through the pack’s collective mind what it was like when one imprinted; the undeniable need for that one person. Sam, Jared, Quil, they would all do anything for their mate, their other half. What if it was like that for vampires? Struck by this new revelation, I marveled at the depth of emotion it must have taken for him to be able to walk away from her, the selflessness. It hit me again as I listened to his reason for dropping out of the fight tomorrow.
“That’s how she convinced me to stay with her tomorrow, of course. You were wondering about that before, what could possibly motivate me… what she was feeling so needlessly guilty about. She reminded me of what it does to her when I leave. She feels horrible about bringing that up, but she’s right. I’ll never be able to make up for that, but I’ll never stop trying anyway.”
Even Jacob was quiet when Edward finished, most likely trying to digest this new information like I was.
“And the other time – when you thought she was dead?” I heard Jake ask in a slightly hoarse voice.
For the first time in this almost surreal interrogation, Edward both answered and dodged a question. When Jacob pressed him about it, his reply was almost a growl.
“I can’t tell you how it felt. There aren’t words.”
I felt something sharp pierce my chest as he said those words. As harshly as he said them, they were still wrapped in anguish. Wisely, Jacob changed the subject… to Bella’s impending change and Edward’s reluctance to see this happen.
I sighed. How much more was Jake going to pry into? I really felt bad for Edward, having to relive all of this. I also