Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 23

CHAPTER 23
~oOoOo~
"What was the other guys' name?" Alice asked, her voice merely a whisper, and I felt Edward tense behind me. Her eyes were blank, and she didn't even look at Peyton when she asked the question.
"Lance called him...Sinclair."
~oOoOo~
BELLA
"No!" Rose, Emmett, and I all growled, practically jumping up out of our chairs.
Edward held me tight, whispering, "It's okay, love."
I turned to Alice, but it was Jasper's pained face that I locked on. I couldn't imagine the feelings that were swirling around him – shock, anger, protectiveness, not to mention curiosity from the three newborns.
"I need everyone to calm down," Carlisle stated calmly, his eyes flickering to Jasper as well. He turned to Alice and picked up her hands, rubbing them comfortingly. "Alice, do you want this private, or are you okay with talking about it?"
"I'm fine," she sighed, nodding slightly.
Carlisle turned to Marcus. "I told you that Alice didn't remember her past. Bella's father has been kind enough to do some research, and we recently discovered that Lord Sinclair may have been the one to change her. That's why I asked you about him a few weeks back. And when you mentioned him earlier..." Carlisle just stopped, shaking his head sadly.
Demitri cursed under his breath, his fist clenching in front of his mouth. His eyes looked away, and then back to Alice. "Pixie, we don't have to do this now," he urged gently.
If I had ever felt his love for us, it was in that one simple statement. He sounded as if his heart was breaking for her.
"Wait," Peyton said, sitting forward. "Sinclair changed you? When?"
"Nineteen-oh-nine," Alice whispered, looking to Edward. She grimaced, and I didn't have to hear the plea for help. When she didn't trust her own mind, she let Edward read it. "I still don't remember."
"And that's okay," he said softly, patting my leg and getting up to kneel before her. "Remember what I told you, Ali...if you try to force the memories, they aren't always accurate. They become what you want them to be."
She nodded, but looked up at Demitri when he started to pace.
Edward turned to him, answering a non-verbal question. "She remembers her family a little. She remembers having her talent prior to her change. She doesn't remember Sinclair, or his assistant, James, coming to take her to the asylum where she was changed. But she does remember flashes of her last day."
Demitri nodded as he paced back and forth. "I remember Sinclair. Strange bastard," he stated with a slight shake of his head. "He liked the hunt, the torture. He was—or is still—a sadist when it came to humans. He liked to see them suffer, loved to see them weak and begging. It was all about hurting them. And he always had help. He would...mentor a newborn, teaching them how to create the scariest scenarios or find a human with talent that may carry over," he scoffed, gesturing to Alice. "It wouldn't shock me that this James found Alice for him."
Edward's attention snapped back to Alice, and they locked eyes, only hers were slightly glazed over.
Jasper flinched, and I just couldn't let him suffer with the emotions of everyone anymore. I slowly shielded him from all of us but Edward and Alice. He took a deep breath, giving me a small smile of relief.
Edward looked to me, mouthing, "Thank you," because now he could focus on our sister, which he did with deep breath and a fist to his hair. Whatever he was seeing couldn't possibly be good.
"God, Alice," he groaned, looking to Carlisle and then back to her.
"Just say it," she whispered, her eyes begging him.
He grimaced, shaking his head. "It was Sinclair that changed you, but not before...he chained you down," he sneered, black hate filling his gaze. "He and James...took turns..." Edward's fists clenched, he rested his arms on his legs, and his head fell in a defeated posture. "I swear to God, if this guy is still alive, he's ashes..." he muttered, a deep, evil tenor to his voice.
"What did they do?" Jasper asked, his face clearly stating that he couldn't help himself.
"They burned her, cut her, whipped her," Edward growled through clenched teeth. "All just to see her reaction. She saw it coming, but couldn't avoid it..."
Jasper flinched, squeezing his eyes closed. "Fuck," he snarled, looking to Alice like she was miracle to be sitting there. He wrapped a protective arm around her, and I could imagine that he was sending her as much love as he could muster.
"No wonder you don't remember," Carlisle said soothingly, standing up from his seat across from her. He walked over to the three of them and placed a calm, loving hand on Edward's shoulder. "It's okay, son."
Edward nodded, but didn't move from in front of Alice.
Carlisle knelt beside him, and then picked up her hand and kissed the back of it. Her face was passive, but her eyes blinked rapidly, as if she were holding back tears she couldn't cry, while leaning into Jasper. "You probably blocked out the whole event from your mind, Alice. And that was probably for the best," he sighed wearily.
"She never remembered anything until recently?" Adrian asked me softly from the chair next to mine. I just shook my head no. "Oh," he sighed, a sympathetic frown caressing his features. "I'm sorry. And it was the same guy as us?"
"It would seem so," I said, my eyes drifting back to my family. "Though from the looks on their faces, I don't think his time on earth will be for much longer."
Adrian snorted, but it wasn't in humor; it was in agreement. Every single member of my family, including Marcus, Demitri, and Carina, had murderous expressions on their faces. I'm sure my own was no better, and for a split second, I understood what my siblings must have felt when I was being hunted by Victoria. I wanted Sinclair to pay for everything he'd done to the happiest, sweetest member of my family.
"Now do you get it?" Brody snapped from his chair in the corner. "Alice didn't deserve it...we didn't deserve it," he growled, gesturing to himself and Adrian and Peyton. "And I know fucking well...Zoey didn't..."
"There it is," Demitri growled, pointing to the boy, who's eyes were black with rage. "It's about time you turned that hatred on something that you can use. Are you ready now?"
Agosto got up when Brody nodded silently, but it was Edward's voice that caused the angry young man to really pay attention. "It wasn't your fault, Brody. You weren't yourself. Sinclair set that whole thing up so that the one person you loved most was in the room – and she was filled with the one thing you would need the above anything else, the one thing you had to have. He knew you would wake up ravenous and uncontrollable. It has to be the cruelest thing I've ever heard..."
We all nodded in agreement.
Agosto studied Brody for a moment, and then offered him a hand. "Well, then...we've got a few hours before we catch that plane. Let's get to work."
~oOoOo~
Traveling with my family was a hassle. Always. The movie Home Alone, where they all ran late to the airport, would remind me of this every time I watched it. It was a wide range of personalities, needs, complaints, and baggage all trying to push and shove their way into cars, and then onto a chartered plane. The people in the movie had forgotten to set an alarm. We didn't sleep; we just had Emmett and Alice that got way too excited, way too quickly.
We also had seven extra people added into the mix, and it was just pure chaos.
Jasper and I were assigned the task of making sure Adrian, Peyton, and Brody stayed calm in the presence of humans while we boarded the plane, but to their credit, they were well under control for vampires just over a year old.
After Brody's explosion on our patio, he took the anger that had been festering inside of him and focused it on learning. He was good—really good. And he finally cracked a smile when Rose pinned him in the small pond in the back garden, holding him under until he burst into laughter.
Still, he truly was a jackass. He was snarky and sarcastic, cranky and belligerent.
After asking Adrian about it, he simply said, "That's just Brody. He hated everyone but Zoey and me."
Once we were all on the plane and had taken seats and pulled out books and iPods, Edward and Carlisle gave instructions to the pilot. We didn't need a flight attendant—we could serve ourselves, and the pilot could let us know when we were about to land.
Just before takeoff, I pulled out my laptop, checking the other flights we were concerned with. Jake and the boys would land at Kennedy just a few hours after Kevin, who was already in flight. According to the airline's website, both planes were running on time.
The first day back in the States would be tedious, at best. The itinerary we were dealing with was complicated and detailed, thanks to Edward and Jasper. While Carlisle and Esme got Marcus, Agosto, and the newborns settled into a hotel in Mid-town, Alice and Rose were to pick up Kevin and drop him off at his family's home. Emmett, Jasper, Demitri, and Carina were going to the warehouse that we owned on the Hudson. They were to open it up and make sure it would work for what we needed it for.
Edward and I were meeting Jake's plane, taking him and the members of the pack he was bringing with him to a small hotel just a block away from the warehouse. Everyone would meet then, only to begin the first of what I was sure would be many hunting expeditions.
Until then, we had to survive a very long plane ride without going stir crazy – or killing each other out of sheer boredom or nerves.
I closed my laptop and turned to look out the window, resting my forehead on the glass. The movement, the rhythm of an airport was always interesting. Bags were loaded, unloaded, and transported. Planes were guided in, guided out, and taxied into position to take off. And humans everywhere. They moved like ants, scurrying about and doing jobs that kept the place running. It was amazing to watch from a distance.
Honey and sunshine caressed my senses, just before sweet lips pressed to my temple. "Why are you sitting in the very back?" he asked, just as our brothers exploded in some huge debate on what card game to play.
"Poker!" Jasper growled.
"No, no! Gin," Emmett chuckled, holding up the deck of cards.
"Gin is for old ladies playing for coupons...poker is a man's game," Jasper argued, pouting like a child.
Adrian and Brody looked at them like they were crazy. Adrian popped his earbuds in, and Brody pulled out a hand-held game, both taking their seats, which were on the opposite side of the plane from us.
I snorted, turned my head to look at Edward with a raised eyebrow, and said, "Really?"
He laughed silently, picking up my hand and kissing my palm. "Never mind, sweet girl," he sighed with the warmest of smiles, and I couldn't help but pull him closer.
"Well, there's that...and this..." My hand slipped to the back of his neck, pulling his lips to mine.
Edward was never slow; in fact, he caught up damn quickly. His hand cupped my face as he returned my kiss with a languid, lazy, sensual feel. Tongues met, twisting slowly, resulting in that amazing moan that Edward could never control – the same sound that always shot straight through my heart and into my stomach. Wet lips swept over mine, finally suckling and pulling away from my mouth with a soft pop of my bottom lip.
"Mm," he mused, pressing his forehead to mine. "I see the possibilities this seat may have," he chuckled, giving me that beautifully sexy, crooked grin.
"Exactly," I giggled. "I'm brilliant...admit it."
"Pure genius," he crooned, pressing half a dozen chaste kisses to my mouth, before pulling away.
The pilot called for everyone to buckle in, that he was getting ready for take off. We followed his instructions simply to keep up the pretenses, but in all reality, if the plane were to crash, seat belts would not be the reason we would've walked away unscathed. In fact, the only lives in jeopardy were the pilot and copilot.
"Are we ready for this?" I asked, laying my head on Edward's shoulder as we began to taxi down the runway.
His arm wrapped around me, picked up a lock of my hair, and placed a kiss to the top of my head. "As ready as we'll ever be."
~oOoOo~
EDWARD
"Deal me in," Demitri chuckled, taking a seat across from me.
We folded, and Jasper reshuffled the cards as I listened to the girls, every last one of them, giggle in the back of the plane. Bella had started out alone, reading a magazine she'd picked up at the airport, but as her shield always did, she pulled them all in. Now they were talking about some awards show that had been on TV a few nights ago.
Adrian and Brody had tried to play poker with my brothers, but gave up quickly, due to the inevitable cheating. Jasper felt when someone had a good or bad hand. I could read every card in front of them through their mind. However, Emmett just continued to play. He'd learned a long time ago how to control his emotions and thoughts during these games.
The newborns were just watching us play now.
"You really want in on this?" I chuckled, looking up at Demitri.
"Bells is shielding me." His grin was hilarious, and the table cracked up.
"Play fair, boys," Bella scolded from behind us.
"Yes, ma'am," we all chanted, but grasped our cards quickly.
"Well, wait," Brody growled, looking back to my Bella. "Will you shield us?" He motioned to himself and Adrian, who looked hopeful, but was too shy to have asked her.
"Yeah, sure," she chuckled. "Good luck. Even without their extra senses, they play an evil game."
The table laughed again, and my brothers nodded in agreement.
So the games were on. And they were brutal.
Carlisle, Marcus, and Agosto would watch occasionally, but they were deep in discussion concerning the events we were flying to.
We were well into our third hand, when the girls exploded into laughter, and we couldn't help but listen, because it was damn contagious.
"What the hell is she wearing?" Alice growled, and from her mind, I could see some celebrity in what I had to agree was a hideous dress.
"You know," Esme mused, "just because they're famous, doesn't mean they can't have class."
"There's no such thing anymore," Bella laughed. "Seriously. Look." And not for the first time in our relationship did I get frustrated that I couldn't hear her thoughts. Her shield was up.
"Eddie, ante up, dude," Emmett urged, pointing to the pile of money on the table.
With a quick glance at my hand, I tossed a few bills onto the pile.
"Mm, damn, he's hot..." Peyton swooned, and Brody's attention shot up from his cards like a cat that senses a mouse.
It wasn't that he was attracted to her, because he was still grieving for his Zoey, but when a bunch of women start talking about who's hot and who's not, men get too curious for their own good.
"Who?" Rose asked, and I could hear the magazine shift on the table. "Oh, yeah. Christian Bale. He makes a great Batman...for real." There murmurs of agreement from the table.
"Brad Pitt is handsome," Esme pointed out. "He reminds me of Robert Redford."
"He was handsome..." Alice and Bella said at the same time, which caused me and Jasper to chuckle. "He's not anymore," they continued.
"Yeah," Rose sighed forlornly. "I'd do Angelina before I'd do Brad...I mean, c'mon, she exudes sexiness."
Emmett froze, his hand raised in mid-air above the table with a card he was discarding, and I thought Jasper would fall out of the chair laughing. Poor Emmett's mind was completely blank for the first time in years. I huffed a laugh, but otherwise stayed quiet.
"That's true," Alice agreed. "She's sexy, but Halle Berry is gorgeous."
"Wha—" Jasper started, but Emmett slapped the back of his head to shut him up.
"Yeah, but," Peyton started, "what about Eva Longoria. She's stunning. I'd do her before I'd touch Angelina."
"No, Julia Roberts," Carina argued with a giggle. "She's so pretty and funny. Angelina is too quirky."
Demitri snorted with raised eyebrows, and I looked up at him with a smirk. What? My girl is right. Julia is prettier... He shrugged, but we both turned to Emmett to see him squirm.
"Julia's pretty," Rose conceded, "but look at Angelina's dress. All that skin showing on her back…it begs to be touched."
Emmett's mind exploded with illicit thoughts. I couldn't hold back my chuckle, and neither could Demitri. My brother's face looked pained, his eyes blackening, just before his forehead hit the table, much to the amusement of Adrian and Brody.
"No, I still say Halle Berry," Alice growled. "She has amazing legs."
Jasper groaned, his eyebrows furrowed, but his thoughts hit me hard. Why? Why is the thought of your girl and another...just fucking hot. It'll never happen, because it's not in our makeup, but still...
I had to agree with him, but I shrugged stupidly.
Our game had come to a standstill. Oh, the cards were still being set down and picked up, but there wasn't one man sitting at the table that was paying attention. I shook my head to try and clear the thoughts they were all losing themselves in. But it was a lost cause when Bella finally voiced her opinion.
"I don't know," my angel sighed. "Emma Watson from Harry Potter is really pretty. It's subtle, but flawless. She's proof that smart girls can be attractive."
Their whole table laughed, our sisters teasing her about being like Hermione, the character from the movies.
Emmett chuckled. That's nothin' but big brown, doe eyes staring at you, right there. Two sweet faces and brown curls.
I groaned, my head falling back in defeat. He was right. And I tried to keep my thoughts clean, but every man's mind at the table was thinking the same thing – Bella had picked a girl with similar features as herself, only her hair was a deep chocolate.
"You know," Jasper growled low, practically pouting, "you don't see us talking about other guys like that..."
Demitri's head fell back with his laugh, but he looked back at Jasper. "Don't think that they haven't thought about it." He pointed to the back of the plane towards the peals of girly laughter.
"What?" Jasper and Emmett gasped, looking at him like he was crazy.
I kept quiet, because I knew for a fact that most women fantasized graphically, specifically about things that were impossibilities. I had attended way too many high schools and colleges to not know that.
Adrian snorted, looking up from his cards. "I'd be willing to bet you've heard it all."
I winced, nodding as Jasper and Emmett wondered aloud at just who Alice and Rose would have paired them with.
"Besides the bad shit...what's the worst?"
"Seeing yourself in a daydream with someone you don't even know," I chuckled, shaking my head.
"Aw, damn," he and Brody laughed.
"Don't know? Or don't ever want to know?" Brody chuckled.
"Yes." I grinned. "But in all fairness, I've seen these two star in daydreams, too." I gestured to my brothers, who were wincing at that last statement. "And nothing is as disturbing as seeing your father starring in someone's fantasy." I shuddered, and so did my brothers, but it was Carlisle's barking laugh that made us smile over at him.
"Shut it, Edward," he growled, rolling his eyes.
"Whatever, Dr. Feel Good," Emmett laughed, using Kevin's nickname for Carlisle.
He and Jasper broke out into the Motley Crue song, "He's the one they call Dr. Feel Good. He's the one that makes you feel all right..."
Demitri and I laughed, watching Carlisle wave us off, rolling his eyes again. Marcus and Agosto were highly amused at our antics.
"You're one to talk, son," Carlisle countered with a raised eyebrow. "Didn't I have to go down to a school to stop a principal from keeping you in detention...just because she thought you were soooo cute?"
I growled, but it was funny. "God, she was ruthless," I snorted, shaking my head.
"But you just loved her furry mole," Emmett gagged, unable to even say that with a straight face.
"That was nasty," Jasper shuddered. "I don't care who you are...that was the grossest thing. Ever."
"That must totally suck," Brody said with a grimace when the laughter eased up. "Going to school all the time, over and over."
We had given the three of them a little glimpse into our history. Carlisle and Marcus wanted to give them the option of another lifestyle, another diet. And we had explained our history as a family, with moving and fitting in.
"It's not bad," Emmett sighed, giving the laughing girls one last glance before focusing on the young boys. "I mean, sometimes we find places that we can move about in the daytime, live normal lives. England is like that. The weather is perfect."
"Or Forks," Jasper chuckled, elbowing me.
I grinned, nodding happily.
"What the hell is Forks?" Brody asked, looking between us.
"Forks, Washington," I answered with a chuckle. "Rainiest place in the continental US. It was where I met Bella."
"She was human?" Adrian asked, looking past me and then back to me.
"She was," I sighed, nodding.
"And he's been a ruined man ever since," Bella chuckled, walking up beside me and sitting down on my lap, and I couldn't help but pull her closer.
"Not ruined," I argued, my smile not able to be contained. "Better."
"You're so biased, Edward," she laughed, shaking her head and kissing my temple roughly. "I was trouble. Ask them," she giggled, pointing to our siblings. It was then I noticed that Alice and Rose had joined the table.
"Yeah, huge trouble," Emmett laughed, giving her a fist bump. "She pissed off rogue vamps and their mates...she hung out with werewolves...and she drove Eddie here to the brink of sexual insanity."
"And that was while she was human," Jasper snorted, shaking his head.
I grinned up at my angel, who was fighting her amusement. "Okay, so a little trouble," I chuckled.
"Bells," Demitri chuckled, placing a hand on her shoulder and squeezing. "He'll never complain. Look at his face. He'd walk through the gates of hell for you."
She giggled, shaking her head and biting that beautiful bottom lip of hers as she looked at me.
I nodded, kissing her chastely. "And then some..."
~oOoOo~
BELLA
By the time we landed, I was ready to be off of that plane. I was ready to pick up Jake and get to the warehouse. I was going stir crazy.
As we separated in the airport, everyone heading off to get started on their assigned tasks, I linked my fingers with Edward's to head off to meet Jake's plane. Once we were at the gate, I relaxed a little, leaning against the wall to wait.
Edward leaned with me, studying the arrival times on the electronic board overhead. "Their flight is on time, baby," he muttered, looking to me.
"Good," I sighed, meeting his gaze. My brow wrinkled as I watched my husband's eyes blacken to pitch. "What's wrong?"
"Someone thinks you're...fucking hot," he growled low, but his gaze never left mine.
My eyes glanced past him to the sea of people sitting in chairs, leaning against walls, and walking through the main walkway. "I'm willing to bet someone here – in all these people – thinks the same of you," I chuckled, leaning up on my toes to kiss his chin. "Don't worry. I'm all yours."
"Yes, you are." He smirked, reaching up to tuck my hair behind my ear. "Besides, he has a terrible imagination."
I giggled, looking up at my shameless Edward. "I don't even want to know, okay?"
"Duly noted, beautiful," he chuckled, kissing my forehead. "But I will tell you," he purred, leaning into my ear, "that the things I would do to you with my tongue would elicit sounds that he's never heard." With that said, he licked slowly up the shell of my ear, and I'm sure that to anyone watching, it just looked like he was whispering to me.
"Edward," I warned, smirking up at him. "Don't you dare. Not here."
He laughed huskily, pulling back to say something, but he was interrupted by the announcement of Jake's plane disembarking.
It was amusingly shocking to see four large, dark-skinned boys with black hair towering over everyone else around them. Jake's and Seth's smiles lit up the whole airport. I couldn't believe how much they had changed. They looked older, more mature, but still the silly boys I knew and loved.
Before I knew it, I was lifted up by very strong, very warm arms. Jake spun me in the air, only to pass me over to Seth. "Bells!" they all sang, and I heard Edward snort into a laugh as they passed me back and forth.
"Ed!" Jake beamed, shaking his hand. "Believe it or not, it's kinda boring back home without you guys."
"No kidding," Sam chuckled, also shaking Edward's hand as they both laughed.
"Where is everyone?" Seth asked, draping a hot, heavy arm around my shoulders.
I wrapped my arm around his waist and said, "We're meeting everyone as soon as we drop your stuff off. Come on."
"Yeah," Quil sighed, looking over at Edward as we made our way through the airport. "Jess is worried about her friend. She wanted me to keep an eye out for her."
Jake laughed. "You know, she didn't say it exactly like that. She said, 'You find her and I don't give a shit what kind of monster she's become...just save her. Bells will know what to do.' But there were a few more curse words in there."
I laughed, shaking my head. "Does she have any concept of how big this city is?"
"No," they all snorted, but Quil added, "But that didn't stop us from telling her we would do our best."
~oOoOo~
After grabbing the few bags that the boys had brought with them and renting a large SUV, Edward drove us out of the airport. As he drove through the city like he lived there every day, we caught the pack up on everything that we'd learned, including the information concerning Alice.
"No," Seth growled. "Alice is way too sweet for that shit. I always assumed Jasper changed her, or Carlisle. She never talks about it..."
"She didn't remember it, until recently," Edward sighed, shaking his head. "You'd never know it ever bothered her. She's just...Alice," he chuckled, shrugging.
"What about these newborns you're working with?" Jake asked, sitting forward from the backseat. "I mean, can they be trusted?"
"They can," Edward stated with a nod. "They've been given a second chance by Marcus. Their beginnings were disturbing. They're just trying to make the best of what they've been given now."
"If you say so, mind reader," Jake chuckled, and then turned to me. "What's that shield of yours say, Bells?"
I smirked over at him, rolling my eyes. "That Adrian and Peyton are sweet and trustworthy. But Brody needs a swift kick every now and then."
Edward laughed, looking over at me and picking up my hand. "Poor Brody," he feigned sincerity. "The poor kid decided to test Bella first thing."
"Oh, damn," all the boys groaned.
"And you didn't rip him apart?" Jake laughed, looking to Edward.
"Believe me, I tried. She beat me to it," he laughed, shooting a wink my way. He pulled into the little hotel and said, "We're here. This will give you a place to sleep when we aren't out."
"Thanks, Ed," Seth said, hopping out of the SUV.
It didn't take them long to check in. It was all taken care of for them. They just needed to put their things away and change clothes.
While we were waiting for the boys, Kevin texted me that he was home safe.
K: With my sister at home. I'm NOT going to the hospital to see Dad without you, so let me know when you have time. Love you all.
I showed the text to Edward, and he said, "Good. He shouldn't go alone. Tell him we'll make time, but we'll let him know...and to stay put."
I nodded and sent the text just as he said it, telling Kevin it was Edward's instructions.
K: Tell Heavy E that I can behave when I put my mind to it! ;) I promise that I'll wait for you guys.
Edward snorted, shaking his head at the reply, but nodded towards the hotel when the boys were coming back.
Soon, they were back in the car, and we were driving a few blocks to the warehouse. We pulled into the large building, and the bay doors slid closed behind us. Everyone was there, huddling around a large table with maps and plans spread all over it.
We piled out of the car. After welcoming smiles and introductions all around, we turned to the table to see what they were all working on.
"Jake, Sam," Jasper said, waving them over. "We're thinking we could use you in the day time in human form, but at night in the subway tunnels in wolf form. What do you think?"
"That would work," Jake stated, nodding. "Do we have a map of the subway system?"
"Yeah, here." Jasper slid it over. "Take it. We've memorized it."
"Cool, should we start there now?" he asked, looking from his pack members back to Carlisle and Jasper.
"Yes," Carlisle nodded. "My family and I are going to hit the streets, each taking sections around where some of the people have gone missing. Agosto, Adrian, Brody, and Peyton are going to try to sneak into the places that the bodies have been found to see if there are clues left behind, something the police wouldn't have thought was important. Marcus, Demitri, and Carina will take the first shift here in the warehouse, just in case we can corral some of the newborns this way."
"Sounds good. Do we have restrictions? I mean, we're looking for a girl...Megan. It's a friend of Jessica's."
"No restrictions." Marcus smiled, stepping forward. "Handle things as best you can. We're looking for two immortals. An ancient that goes by the name Sinclair, and a younger one. Lance Cooper. We believe those are the ones responsible for this mess."
"Oh, Bells," Jake chuckled, turning to me. "Charlie gave me a message. He said that Sam and I are still sworn in as Forks Police officers. So we can treat Megan as a missing person from our own area."
My family and I cracked up at his grin, because that was just like Charlie to try and help from so far away. "Sweet," I laughed, looking up at his silly face. "So what you're telling me...is that you can walk into any precinct and get information."
"Yup!" He beamed, leaning an elbow on Sam's shoulder, who was nodding as they both pulled out badges.
"God, Charlie freakin' rocks!" Emmett growled, pumping a fist in the air.
"Yes, he does," Carlisle laughed. "Well, then it's up to you. It's almost sunset, so if you want to hit the police station first...go right ahead."
"Nah," Seth growled low. "Police tomorrow. Subway tonight."
"Okay then," Jasper stated, smiling up at them, before turning to Edward.
"Here," Edward said, pulling out a box from under the table. "We got these just in case I can't hear you, and you need help or information or we need to get a message to you." He handed out four small cell phones complete with ear pieces. "I've watched you shift, so those should stay put when you are in wolf form. They fit inside the ear. They're sound activated, so if we call you, then all you need to do is make a sound, and they'll answer. Of course, you'll have to be in human form in order to speak back to us, but..." He shrugged with a grin. "Anyway, we're all programmed in there."
"Nice." Sam nodded, strapping the phone to his ankle along with the rest of the boys. "That would have been helpful in the last fight."
"No shit," Emmett and Jasper muttered.
"So…" Carlisle clapped his hands once. "Everyone get ready, the sun will set soon. Jake...you and the boys have access to the subway from inside this warehouse, so once you've shifted, one of us will show you the way."
Just before Alice, Rose, and I could run off to change clothes, Brody opened his big mouth.
"Wait, it's not a full moon. How the hell can they just change like that?" he asked, doubt lacing his every word. "I thought you said they were werewolves."
Jake grinned, shooting me a wink. "Damn, you're right, Bells." With a snarling growl, Jake shook, growing larger and furrier in the blink of an eye. He loomed tall and strong and menacing over Brody, who's eyes were wide and fearful as he stared up at over seven feet of rusty colored wolf.
"Ask a stupid question…" Jasper chuckled.
"Get a stupid answer," Emmett finished with a guffawing laugh.
"Jesus," Brody breathed, looking up at Jake.
"When will you just learn to shut up?" Peyton laughed, rolling her eyes. "Damn."
"I didn't need a vision to tell me to bring extra shorts for those boys," Alice snorted. "Seth, if you need them, they're in the box by this back room. Okay?"
"Sure, Ali!" He grinned, shifting in an instant, along with Sam and Quil.
"If you're ready, guys," Edward smirked, giving Brody a side glance, "I can show you how to get in and out of here without being seen."
"Wait," I called before they could walk away. "Jake...boys be careful, please?" I begged, ruffling Seth's fur.
Jake rolled his eyes, but Seth nuzzled my hand. Sam's big black muzzle pushed me towards the door.
"Tomorrow," Edward laughed. "We'll take the tunnels with you tomorrow. Tonight, we have to be up top." He turned to me. "They want you with them."
"No," I laughed, pushing at Jake's giant shoulder. "Go. Just be careful."
Edward led them to a door at the far back of the building past stacks of boxes. "Through this door, you'll find stairs. Follow them down until you reach a metal door. Emmett's tied a rope on it, so just tug it, and you're in the sewer. Take a right to another set of steps, and you're in the subway. An empty one, but still, watch out. There are humans that live in these old tunnels. They're homeless. Watch that you're not seen." My husband shut the door behind them with a deep sigh, a sign of his stress at preparing for what we were all about to do.
"Let me change clothes, and we'll go," I whispered, lifting up to kiss his cheek.
I changed into black jeans and a charcoal gray t-shirt, pulling a black fitted hoodie over the top of it. I pulled my hair up into a ponytail and walked out to see my sisters dressed similarly.
I noticed that Agosto and the newborns were already gone as we stepped out the door.
"Hot damn," Emmett chuckled as we walked from the warehouse office to join them at the table. "Hello, Charlie's Angels!"
"Minus the guns and cheesy bell bottoms," Rose snorted with an eye roll.
"And the feathered hair," Alice muttered.
I huffed a laugh, shaking my head and walking into Edward's arms, who was chuckling at my reaction. "What's the plan?"
He kissed my forehead, turning me to the table. "We'll be here," he said, pointing to the NYU area.
"Right." Jasper nodded. "Alice and I will take Times Square. Em and Rose, you'll be working the Hudson, all the way to Battery Park, and checking out some of those warehouses. Mom, Dad..." Jasper grinned, pointing to the map. "We need you in Chinatown and the Tribeca area."
"Oh, Little Italy," Esme squealed, clapping like Alice. We all chuckled at her.
"Ready?" Jasper asked, looking around at everyone.
We all nodded, turning to Demitri when he stood up from a stack of boxes. "All phones on vibrate. Keep us posted, okay?"
We all nodded, before waving and parting ways. Emmett and Rose chose to walk, turning towards the water and using the shadows to move quickly. The rest of us walked towards the subway that was a few blocks away.
"We're gonna walk," Jasper said, wrapping an arm around Alice's tiny shoulders. "Everyone just be safe, okay?"
"They'll be fine, Jazz," Alice chuckled, tugging him away.
Carlisle and Esme took a different train than we did.
As Edward and I settled into our seats, I looked up at him and asked, "So why do you own a warehouse in Manhattan?"
He chuckled, turning in his seat to face me. "Storage," he said simply. "All those boxes are years of our possessions. But I bought the property in the forties. Land is always a good investment. And it's access to underground is perfect for us if we needed an escape."
"Makes sense," I chuckled, draping my legs over his. His hands immediately caressed my knees lovingly, gently. "And why are we checking out NYU?"
"I figured that if any one of us could fit in a school setting, it would be us, beautiful girl," he laughed, tickling my knee. "Don't you agree?"
I squealed and fought his fingers, laughing loud enough to attract attention from an old man at the other end of the train car. "Edward, stop," I panted, finally getting him to relinquish his grip on my thigh.
He pulled me closer to whisper in my ear. "I can't take you anywhere, sexy girl. Even old men want you on their lap instead of mine."
"You are an old man," I growled back, nuzzling his cheek when he placed kisses to my neck with a sexy chuckle. "Shall I tell him just how much I love it on your lap?" I teased, wrapping an arm around his neck and kissing the tip of his nose.
"No, his poor heart couldn't take it, baby," he chuckled, grinning shamelessly. "You're too beautiful. He can barely look at you." He pulled me in for a long, slow kiss, making me sigh with contentment, but he stopped all too soon. He looked up when the train stopped. "The next stop is ours. And Peyton disappeared not far from there. I thought we could check around."
"So I take it we're the average students out for a late night meeting," I giggled, standing up when the train came to the next stop.
"Any excuse to just kiss you senseless," he laughed, wrapping an arm around my shoulders and guiding me out of the train.
We came up out of the subway to see a beautiful, chilly night. We were still a few blocks from the campus, but apparently that was where we needed to be, because Edward started to look around as if he was searching for something specific.
"Peyton said she was heading back to campus this way, but her friends parted from her at this subway entrance," he mused, his eyes narrowing down the street. He took my hand, and we walked west towards the university campus.
Just as the campus came into view, with its flags of purple waving in the night breeze, Edward stopped again, and my curiosity got the best of me. "Are you going by her memory?" I asked, looking up at his now intense face.
"Yes," he said, turning towards a back alley. "The last memory Peyton has just before waking up in that cage is this alley. They had to have hidden in this back corner," he muttered, guiding me back towards the shadows. "It's what I'd do..."
"Yeah, but Peyton's not stupid," I pointed out. "She would have needed something to stop her, to make her forgo her path home."
"It doesn't take much," Edward countered, still studying the back alley. "This Lance could be just attractive enough to pull her in, but she said he has a talent...like he can hypnotize someone." He let go of my hand to pull a dumpster away from the brick wall. "But where did they go from here?" he asked aloud.
"Up," I pointed. "It's the only way out of here if you don't want to be seen."
"You might be right, love," he sighed, looking up at the tops of the buildings, and then he met my gaze, smiling sweetly. "Come on, let's take a look at this campus. It seems Lance or Sinclair has a taste for the youth."
"I noticed that," I growled, linking our fingers together as we continued onto the NYU campus. "Every missing person and every body found was under the age of twenty three."
"Exactly," he sighed.
"It would be helpful if we knew just how many newborns we're dealing with. I wish we could find out that number."
"We will," he stated with a stern nod. "The first one we find will be...interrogated."
I flinched. The word interrogated came out of my husband's mouth with a malice I'd never heard him use. "Edward..."
"We have no choice, Bella," he said, but his tone was softer. "We need as much information as we can get. And Jasper wants to ask the questions." He grimaced comically, because we both knew that Jasper could handle newborns like no other.
"Damn," I shuddered.
We met a large amount of students on the campus. They were leaving night classes, heading to parties and the library, and grabbing something to eat. It was easy for Edward and me to get lost among them. We were dressed like them and looked their age.
As we neared some of the dorms, I noticed that some of the lights were out. "That's been messed with," I muttered, looking up at a light pole with a broken lamp.
"Possibly, but there's no scent," Edward noted, but stopped dead in his tracks. He tilted his head, towards one of the dorms. "This way," he growled, grabbing my hand and pulling me behind him. "There's a girl being...harassed."
He took a few turns through the streets in order to come up on the other side of the alley. There, just in the shadows, was a girl—a very angry girl—arguing with someone.
I inhaled deeply, simply saying, "Human."
"Yes," he huffed with a sneer, "but his intentions are dark."
I studied the couple fighting at the end of the alley, and then Edward's angry face. He would want to stop him from hurting the girl, even though it really wasn't on our list of priorities, but I had an idea.
I grabbed his hand. "Come on." I tugged him out of one end of the walkway around to the other side. When we were just around the corner from the fighting couple, I turned in front of Edward. "Now...kiss me senseless. And make it so that we interrupt them."
"Smart girl," he chuckled, his eyes darkening a bit. He linked our fingers together with one hand, and sank his other into my hair at the base of my neck. "Ready?" he smirked, dragging his tongue along his bottom lip.
I nodded as he walked me backwards a few steps.
With a low growl, he turned us around the corner, pressing his lips to mine and pushing me into the brick wall. I whimpered when his body pressed into mine, his thigh slipping between my legs.
"I want you, baby. Right here," he crooned, breaking from my mouth to lavish my neck with hot, wet kisses, just as the couple really started to get heated in their fight.
"Edward, wait," I giggled, pushing at him. "We're not alone..."
"Oh," he smirked, pulling away from my neck, but his body and his instant arousal was still pressed into me. He turned his head with a chuckle. "My bad," he snorted.
I couldn't help but laugh, burying my face in his neck as the couple took a few steps back from each other.
"No, bro," the young man sighed. "It's all yours. Come on, Cammie, we should talk."
I heard them walk away, but I placed a long, open mouth kiss to Edward's neck. "Better?"
"Better," he chuckled, pulling my face back with the hand that was still in my hair. "He realized he was getting out of hand."
"Good," I sighed, pressing my lips to his. "Will you survive this?" I giggled, wiggling my hips against his arousal.
"Yes," he groaned, a smile playing on his lips, but his brow furrowed adorably. "It's just proof of what a long night this will be."
I laughed, placing a loud smooch to his cheek. "Come on, handsome. I promise when the sun rises, I'll take care of you."
According to the tiny little weather girl, Alice, the following day was supposed to be crisp and clear, so we were stuck indoors or underground. We had to make sure that we were inside by the time the sun came up.
The rest of the night was quiet. We found no trail, no scents, and no clues. We walked from NYU to Greenwich Village and back, spreading out here and there, but never finding anything. Just before we were about to catch a train back to the warehouse, we got a text from Jasper.
J: Got one...meet us at the warehouse ASAP.
"And so it begins," Edward sighed, putting his phone away.
We took the steps into the entrance of the subway, preparing ourselves for some more answers. I just hoped we would be able to find some.


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