Sunday, October 30, 2016 | By: Drotuno

Six - Chapter 17

Six – Chapter 17
Palm Island, Florida
“Dammit, Jasper!” I snapped, shaking the sand from my hair with one hand and punching my other hand flat and forward, which sent a tidal wave of beach sand as tall as him crashing down on his head. It fell over him, sticking to sweat and suntan lotion like glitter, yet my brother still laughed, as did everyone else out on the beach.
Rolling my eyes, I shook my head and sat down in the sand under the shade of a palm tree next to Carmen. Since that morning just after breakfast and after Emmett and Rose stepped through Bella’s window back into Seattle, those of us who were left had been working together and training. Taking advantage of Bella’s windows and his speed to dart all over the beach, Jasper was using handfuls of wet sand as his weapon of choice.
Benjamin grinned my way and, with a wave of his hand, called a wall of water from the ocean silently behind my brother. It crashed down on him with a roar, and we all laughed.

Bella’s adorable mind was amused as she stood in the sun shaking her head at us all, but she focused back onto Eleazar, who was pushing her talent today. He started to instruct her, Jasper, Kate, and Benjamin on what he wanted to do, which was to use Bella’s windows in defense against speed, electricity, and sea.
I gazed slowly around at the area where we were working. We were at the far end of the private beach. I had mentally moved chairs and tables and umbrellas out so that Rae’s shield covered us during training. She sat with Garrett, Esme, and Carlisle in deep conversation. Irina and Maggie were about knee-deep in the water, letting waves splash around them as they picked up seashells. Using my mind, I listened as far away as I could, but no one was paying us any attention. We were just far enough down the beach from the next home on the private island that no one could see us. And the closest boat was simply a speck out in the bay. For the moment, we could get away with using all our talents.
My brow furrowed at one mind’s train of thought, and I shook my head. Some people never learned. Bella’s laugh caught my attention, and I smiled at the pure sound of it. It was free and easy. It was beautiful and came often now, which was a stark contrast as to when we’d first met. I let my gaze travel from her bare feet, up strong legs, to tiny shorts. Her bare midriff made me lick my lips, and the blue bikini top was just about to drive me mad. And I was completely and irrevocably in love with every inch of her, both mind and body.
You’re heartbreakingly beautiful, I thought her way, grinning when her gorgeous head turned toward me. It wasn’t the sun that caused that pink flush in her cheeks either.
You know, you’re not so bad yourself. Her thoughts back were flirty, adding in how she saw me in my board shorts, but I shook my head and waved it off.
“You let her hear you,” Carmen muttered aloud, grinning my way when my head spun to my left.
Chuckling, I shrugged a shoulder. “Yeah, there’s not much she doesn’t know about me, so…” I shrugged again.
“She’s a beautiful girl, Edward. And she’s…good for you. Calming, I think.” She smiled up at me, raking her hand through my hair to knock more sand out of it. “Good. I worried about you and Tanya, but I think this… This is the real thing.”
“It is.”
“Good.” She smiled sweetly. “You’re a good boy, Edward.” She giggled like a girl at that. “Gosh, you’re not a boy anymore. You’re a good man now, son. And as much as I love my oldest child, I was extremely upset with what went on between the two of you.”
Snorting, I rolled my eyes. “Tanya’s—”
“Spoiled. I know. I blame El and me.”
Grinning, I shrugged. “We’re just too different, Carmen. That’s all.”
She leaned in and kissed my cheek. “You’re too sweet. She was wrong, but she’s my daughter. I want her happy. I thought maybe you could bring her that, but…no. Some of that stems from how we came to adopt the girls – their parents having no patience for the extra senses, so they just let them go – and some of it is my daughter determined not to be hurt like that again. Tanya, I fear, will always be looking for that next, better, bigger happiness before she can lose the good thing in front of her.”
Smiling sadly up at her as she stood, I laughed a bit when she ruffled my hair like she used to when I was a kid.
“This one, though, can’t take her eyes off you. And you off her either.” She winked at me. “I know I’m what you love to call normal, but I will tell you a theory of mine. I think sixxers love differently than everyone else. I think the thing that makes you so different is the same thing that guides you to whom you’re supposed to be with and that it’s a permanent thing. A forever thing.”
“You sound like Esme,” I teased her, grinning at her laugh.
“Yes, we’ve discussed it a million times over the years.” She gave me another wink and made her way toward the table where my parents were still sitting.
“Edward!” Eleazar called, waving me over. “C’mere, son. We need to try something.”
I got up from my spot beneath the tree. As I drew closer to where Bella was standing, a small beach sand tornado built up in size and strength until it was about as tall as me. It spun in the center of the circle we’d made, and the wind it created was beginning to become fierce. Benjamin concentrated hard on his creation, but Eleazar stepped forward.
“You’re going to stop that from coming anywhere near you. All of you,” he told us, turning to point at Kate and Jasper, too. “I don’t care how you do it – as a team, paired up, or alone. Stop him at any cost.”
I nodded once that I understood and then glanced to my left to Bella. Her thoughts were on the task at hand, calculating and serious. She debated on asking me to work with her, but she was determined to do it on her own.
Pretty girl, I thought her way, shaking my head and smiling but not looking at her. Let’s teach them all a lesson.
Her giggle was soft, barely able to be heard over the roar of the tornado that now was as tall as the palm trees.
Hell yeah. I owe Jasper payback, for real. He’s pelted me with more sand than what’s on this whole beach. Half of it is in this bikini top.
“Mmm,” I hummed, my eyes betraying me as I glanced down to those beautiful, small, blue triangles of fabric. My tongue dragged along my bottom lip. Want help with that?
Later! Bella snorted, shaking her head. Concentrate, Edward!
Rubbing my hands together, I turned back to the training circle and waited. I wanted to see what my brother would do, not to mention Kate, who was building a blue ball of electricity as big as a grapefruit. She threw it hard, and the twisting sand and wind gobbled it up, causing that electricity to spread throughout the thing from top to bottom. Jasper dodged it easily as it started to move and shift, weaving left and right. It gathered up more sand, more water, and the tiny threads of lightning inside of it started to shoot out. Benjamin chuckled at Kate’s disappointment.
Ready, Edward?
I nodded once Bella’s way, my hands pushing out in front of me. My power found resistance, slamming into the tornado hard. It pushed back, but I held it firmly. Bella showed me in her mind what she wanted to try, and I nodded again.
On three… Ready? I asked her. One…two…three!
I pushed hard at the same time Bella opened up a window beneath the tornado. It fell quickly, with a gasping rush of air, but immediately popped up beside Jasper. I pushed again, this time using two separate forces, sending the crackling tornado at my brother at the same time I shoved Benjamin hard.
Jasper squeaked in surprise and in literal shock as he landed in the shallow waves crashing to shore. Benjamin collapsed back against the small hill of sand his body had created when I’d pushed him. His amusement was contagious, especially when Jasper’s curses became quite colorful.
Silently, I held a fist out to Bella, and she bumped it with a laugh. Good job, Bella!
She grinned, kissing my cheek. We’re getting really good at that.
“Yes, we are,” I agreed softly with my lips pressed against her forehead. “I like it. I like it a lot.”
Stupid powers and stupid sisters… I’m glad Edward got away from her; Bella seems awesome.
Irina’s thoughts, while sarcastic and snarky, were filled with hurt. When I glanced away from Bella to see the girl leading a confused Maggie back to the hotel, I saw what the problem was. Tanya was pushing her power onto Benjamin again. He neither wanted it, nor did he encourage her. His brow furrowed up at Tanya as she fawned over him and brushed him off from our training. He politely refused her offer to help him up and then stood up tall, deliberately turning his attention to Jasper.
I couldn’t help but chuckle. My brother’s usually longer hair was half wet and half shocked into crazy curls from the electricity of the tornado and landing in the waves. When he caught my amusement – and Bella’s for that matter – he rushed to us, but he was ambushed by Bella’s instinct to protect herself. He dropped through the sand and through one of her windows, and I heard the splash in the pool at the hotel from where we were standing.
“Damn, damn!” Bella groaned, looking to me. “I didn’t mean to drop him from so high.”
“He’ll live,” I said through heaving laughter, shaking my head.
“I’d better go to him… Seriously, I could’ve hurt him.” She smirked at my continued snorts but pushed me teasingly on her way by. Brothers!
I was still chuckling as Tanya walked my way, watching Benjamin follow everyone else back to the hotel. My smile fell quickly as I rubbed my temple to ease the light throb training had brought with it.
“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, Tanya,” I warned her. “Irina likes him, and it’s sort of mutual, if you’d quit dowsing him with your talent.” I raised an eyebrow at her, and she snorted, looking rather proud of herself as she shrugged a shoulder. I sighed deeply, shaking my head. “You know, it’s one thing to betray me. I knew the chances – or rather, I know you. But you screw over blood – screw over your own flesh and blood – T, and that isn’t something you can just shrug off. It’s low. It’s kinda fucked up.”
“You got over it,” she countered.
I huffed a laugh, unable to stop the roll of my eyes at just how belligerent and tenacious she could be when it came to her faults. “I did. It sucked at the time, but I did get over it. But Jesus, Tanya, that’s your sister! Is fucking some guy worth damaging the relationship with your baby sister?!” I waved my hand toward the motel. “And even though I don’t know him all that well, he’s a good guy,” I told her, tapping my temple. “He doesn’t deserve getting wrapped up in whatever game you’re playing. But I’m telling you, Alice’s visions are showing some ugly options. You will regret it.”
With that, I walked away from her. I was tired of hearing her mind, and we had too much serious stuff to deal with for all this love-triangle bullshit. I had my family to protect, and I had family across the country sneaking around VI, not to mention I had a girl who meant more to me than the damn world. I didn’t have time to keep my ex on the straight and narrow, but if I didn’t, it would tear this group apart.
I stepped off the beach and onto the pool deck, a smile breaking out across my face as Jasper whipped around the pool at his fastest just to push Bella into the deep end. Her squeal of laughter and surprise was cut off with the plunge. I didn’t have time to react to anything because he did the same to me. I was shoved fast and hard into the pool. By the time I came up for air, my beautiful girl was wrapped around me.
“Hey,” she whispered, smiling at me.
“He thinks this is payback. Somehow, I don’t feel too bad,” I told her, humming appreciatively when strong legs wrapped around me under water. Holding her close with one arm anchoring around her waist, my free hand skimmed over her thighs and around to that sweet ass that drove me crazy most days.
The feel of her wrapped around me and the intimacy of only being in bathing suits started to cause my powers to push out and away from me. The water started to shift, making small waves wash up over the edge of the pool. Bella glanced from me to each end of the pool and then locked gazes with me.
Edward, relax. If you don’t calm down, you’ll crack the pool. You can get this under control, but if you don’t… She frowned a little, but her eyes were warm and sweet. Has this been a problem before? Other girls…
“No.” I shook my head emphatically. “No, Bella. Just you do this…” I grinned at her pride-filled smirk but switched to thoughts. Only you do this to me, pretty girl. I feel too much, all the things, all at once. It’s like I feel everything – your talent and mine – all mixed together. I love you, and I want you, Bella. That’s not something I take lightly, and it’s all a bit…overwhelming, I guess.
Bella moaned a little, grasping either side of my face with flat, wet hands. “The things you say…and think.”
Grinning, I kissed her lips. “That’s another new thing. I’ve never let someone in my head before you, not really, truly inside my head.”
She brought my forehead down to hers, keeping her eyes closed for a moment. Her thoughts were solemn as she considered ways to keep me calm, keep my powers from collapsing whatever structure we were in when we finally had sex. And while I really, truly wanted to test any and all experiments she decided to try, the thoughts around the motel started to seep into my mind, despite the complete focus I had on Bella.
Jasper had given up trying to get us back, and he was currently checking on Alice, who was quietly watching out for visions of Emmett and Rose. Tanya was in her room, pouting. My parents, Eleazar, Liam, and Carmen were all sitting in Rae’s house with Benjamin. It was little Maggie who had me breaking my gaze away from the beautiful girl in my arms.
She was a sweet little girl – with long, curly hair and bright-blue eyes – and she was extremely happy that she was surrounded by people who were different like her. It made her feel accepted. She was also very grateful that we’d come to get her after she’d been taken by VI. She had a bit of a crush on me, but it was harmless. She loved my brothers and Garrett, too, thinking all of us were fun and silly. She thought Rosalie was like Barbie incarnate and that Bella was very pretty. But at that moment, her talent was working on her, pulling her.
“Bella? Are you hurt?”
“What? No, I don’t think so,” she answered but pulled away just a bit to give herself the once-over. “Oh, my knee!” She laughed lightly. “It’s scraped from shells and sand. I lost my balance out there earlier.”
Smiling, I swam us to the edge of the pool and lifted my girl up to the shallow seat on the side. “Well, Miss Maggie here would like to help you. Actually, she needs to help you, I think.” I looked up to the girl in question, who was nodding vehemently, as I pulled myself up onto the seat beside Bella. “It pulls you, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Maggie said through a heavy sigh. “Can you see that in my mind?”
I nodded back. “It’s like the sickness, or injury in this case, is a beacon for you.”
Injury,” Bella scoffed, rolling her eyes just to make Maggie giggle, but we all got quiet when Maggie kneeled down on the pool deck beside us. Bella bent her leg at the knee, bringing it up and out of the water, and I saw the scrape.
Pin-sized drops of blood started to seep out in several spots when the water fell away. Her skin was roughed up and broken in places. It really did seem harmless, but Maggie couldn’t stop herself. In fact, not helping Alice’s eyes had taken its toll on the eleven-year-old girl. The beacon of light that her talent showed her in her mind didn’t exactly tell her what was wrong, just where the problem was focused. At that moment, Bella’s knee, no matter how minor the scrape was, was a beaming light of need for Maggie.
The little girl tilted her head, reached out slowly, and cupped her hand over Bella’s kneecap. Not even a heartbeat had gone by when she pulled away, leaving Bella’s smooth, healed skin behind.
“Better?” I asked, grinning at the two of them. “Both of you?”
Both girls nodded, and Bella examined her knee in awe and wonder. Maggie smiled in satisfaction, standing up straight.
Bella grinned up at Maggie. “Thank you!”
Maggie shyly nodded. “No problem.”
When the kid glanced toward Alice’s room, I spoke up. “Maggie, my sister takes her sixth sense very seriously. It shows her things her eyes can’t. Make sense?” I verified, and she nodded. “Okay, so she told you no because when Alice was very young, she lost her sight seeing a vision of her parents’ deaths, but what she gained was infinitely more powerful. My sister thinks – or really, her talent tells her – that there is a possibility that she’d lose that bigger power with your healing of her sight. She’s afraid she won’t be able to help us. To Alice, protecting us is what she’s good at.” I smiled sadly up at the little girl who only wanted to help, to repay us for taking care of her. “She wants you to heal her, but just…not now. Okay? She’d rather wait until there’s not so much depending on her visions, in case she loses some of that sixxer strength.”
I smiled when she nodded, her mind feeling a bit better about not being able to heal my little sister. My explanation relaxed her, and she was able to push back the beacon that constantly pulled her toward Alice.
“Okay, Edward,” she answered, looking up when her dad called her from Rae’s front door. She shot us both a wave when she walked away.
Bella chuckled softly, leaning forward a bit. “She’s got it bad.” It was meant as a tease, but there was a small part of Bella – just being a girl – that kind of felt sorry for the young girl’s crush.
I grinned, shaking my head as I leaned down to kiss her now-healed knee. “No…well, a little. But I’m afraid I’m very much taken.”
Leaving my lips on that smooth skin, I glanced up at Bella through my eyelashes to see her eyes darken. Both our thoughts went down the same path – my lips on skin in several places. I was just about to offer my complete skin-worshiping services, until my dad threw open Rae’s door.
“Edward, it’s Emmett!”
Bella giggled when I just about slipped off the pool’s bench seat. “So someone can sneak up on you.”
“Hush, silly girl,” I grunted as I pushed up out of the pool, and Bella followed suit. I took the phone from Dad, putting it to my ear. “Em, everything okay?”
“Yeah, yeah…bring us home. Tell Bella we’re at the abandoned warehouse across the street.”
I did as he asked, and Bella opened a window on the closest motel room wall. Seattle was dark and dreary with rain. Emmett carried an exhausted Rosalie in his arms when he stepped through from the warehouse. Bella closed the window immediately behind them.
The commotion on the deck seemed to bring everyone out of their motel rooms as Emmett set Rose down on one of the chairs. He sat next to her, but it was my brother to talk instead of the person we expected.
“They’re moving them!” he panted, glancing up to Carlisle. “They’re moving the sixxers out of Seattle. Rosie has a shit-ton of info, but she wore herself out staying low, staying hidden; she changed forms a hundred times, I think.” He reached behind him to pull a stack of folders and papers from the waistband of his jeans. “That place is emptying out as we speak. They’re moving to someplace remote, a warehouse in the middle of the damn woods. The ones you and Garrett freed are in that stack somewhere. Those goons Bella sent to the Grand Canyon are back, and they’ve been sent to bring them back. Which means…”
“Which means we aren’t as important as the ones who walked away,” I finished for him, but I kneeled beside Rose, who was guzzling water bottles left and right. “Hey, you okay?”
She nodded, setting another empty plastic bottle down. “Yeah, just exhausted. I…I…I saw how they find us. I saw him. He’s…” She trailed off to catch her breath as she wore a disgusted expression on her face. “He’s so fucking powerful, Edward!” she groaned through gritted teeth. “But he’s… There’s something wrong with him physically. He’s deformed or something, handicapped, I guess. He doesn’t talk. He’s like that…that…genius guy, Stephen Hawking, so he uses a computer to speak. But he’s a wicked powerful tracker, only he can see the whole fucking country! It shows up on a screen. I saw them working to move him. I went in as a nurse, and I helped with the loading of sixxers on beds. His name is James. I think he’s… There’s a rumor he’s the son of one of the head bigwigs.”
“Don’t talk, Rose. Just show me,” I soothed her, because she was damned tired, and really, just reading her mind would be easier on everyone.
Rose nodded, closing her eyes and leaning back against Emmett while Eleazar and Carlisle thumbed through the papers they’d brought. My sister showed me a room – a quite comfortably decorated room – inside VI’s basement. It resembled a rich boy’s room, with dark-wood walls, rich fabrics, and expensive electronics, but it also was filled with medical equipment – a hospital bed, a few wheelchairs, and the same IV setup that the other patients had. The owner to that room was a small form in an electric wheelchair, which had a computer attached to it. It was sort of like Stephen Hawking’s chair, so that wasn’t the shock. The shocker was the large flatscreen computer monitor mounted on the wall that had a fairly detailed map of the US.
Those dots on the screen, Edward, those are sixxers. Rose thought to me. That monitor is attached to his computer, which is also sent to someone else’s computer. They chart patterns of sixxers. They can find us anywhere, because that guy sees us all. The brighter the dot, the stronger the talent, big brother. We aren’t showing on that map, due to Rae, but we were smart with living in the bigger cities, because those highly populated areas are just a mess of dots. Whoever is charting those dots, they send Felix and Demetri out to pick them up. They’ve been doing it now for years.
“That puts Carlisle’s talent to shame,” I muttered to myself, but she heard me and nodded.
“No shit,” she sighed, cracking one eye open to look at me. They’ve got to be stopped. They still had a mess of sixxers back under their control, and they loaded them up on really big semi-trucks. The trailers were high tech in order to move comatose patients, but seriously, no one would know what or who was inside those trailers. And where they’re going, it won’t matter, because it’s in the middle of no-damn-where. Somewhere around the Olympic National Forest.
Nodding, I stood up, giving her shoulder a squeeze. I explained everything she’d shown me to the group around us. When I finished, Bella’s eyes narrowed on me, but her thoughts were angry.
“Did you say Olympic National Forest?” she asked, and when I nodded, she glared at the ground. “I used to live near there. It’s nothing but wet, green woods.”
“Okay…” I dragged out the word, wondering what her point was, but she met my gaze with dark eyes and a determined jut of her chin.
“They messed up. There’re no cities or witnesses, which is probably what they wanted, but they really messed up,” she said through a huffing laugh. “I mean, I know that area. It’s why I can pop back there without even thinking.”
“What do you mean, Bella?” Carlisle stepped forward, but it was Alice who piped up, her visions assaulting her left and right.
Alice gasped, tilting her head. I saw a war, a fight like nothing I’d ever seen before, and I saw a large metal structure collapse. I saw the sixxers standing near me but a whole lot of faces I didn’t recognize. It was chaos, but it was planned, too.
My little sister grinned. “Because they wouldn’t even see us coming.”


trbuie said...

I like how everything and everyone (except Tanya) are coming together to work out a plan to get rid of VI and save everyone.

Kristi said...

It's as if the VI has played right into their hands?
Will Tanya betray the family?
If Maggie were to heal James, would he loose his ability? Like Alice fears the loss of hers?
Bella should learn the layout of the zoo, so she can drop her targeted victims into the cages of lions, gorillas, polar bears or any other kind of predator.

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