Sunday, November 27, 2016 | By: Drotuno

Six - Chapter 20

Chapter 20
Portland, Oregon
“Tell me again why I had to come along?” Tanya complained – and not for the first fucking time.
Bella rolled her eyes, and then she glared around me to my ex, wondering if she was truly needed in the great big picture of this coming fight. I was beginning to question that myself with every bitchy comment out of Tanya’s mouth.
I slipped my hand into Bella’s, linking our fingers together. My girl was cold, but the weather in Portland was vastly different to that in Florida. Rae’s place had been sunny and warm and beautiful when we’d left. Portland was rainy and cold.

“We’re almost there, pretty girl,” I whispered against the side of her head, smiling when she nodded. Turning to Tanya, I addressed her question – and not for the first fucking time. I spoke slow and deliberate. “Seth is a fourteen-year-old boy, T. We need your talent to convince him to help us, but I don’t think it’ll take much; he’s pretty pissed off, and you… Well, you’re you and he’s fourteen.” I grinned her way, which made her glare at me. “Try, Tanya, for five fucking minutes to be a team player, okay?” 
Her attitude was pissing me the fuck off, so I finally stopped all three of us in the middle of the sidewalk to truly get her attention. She was mad that she’d had to come with Bella and me. She was mad that nothing she’d done up to this point had gotten Benjamin’s attention, and despite her whininess, she was worried about VI.
“Because they have my sister, Tanya. They want everyone, but they have Alice, and even if she sacrificed herself for whatever reasons, I can’t let her stay there. And I can’t let them hurt her, so find some fiber of decency inside of you and help. Try to put aside your selfish nature, shut the fuck up, and work with us. Because if it had been you taken, we’d still come for you.”
That got her attention, because really, it could’ve been any of us, and Tanya wasn’t an idiot. She knew what Alice’s prediction of “death follows” meant. Someone would’ve died had she not stepped up to the plate to go with Demetri and Felix. When she finally conceded mentally, I resumed leading us to the coffee shop Seth had said he’d meet us.
Once we stepped inside the shop, I told Bella to find a seat out in the courtyard area. The rain had stopped but left the day cool and overcast. I stood in line, keeping my mind and eyes and ears open for not only the kid but the two women with me. Snorting to myself, I shook my head slowly. Bella’s patience was wearing thin with Tanya, and my ex was oblivious to it. I wasn’t quite sure if Bella would open a window beneath her chair just to send Tanya to the middle of the Sahara Desert or some shit. That would’ve been funny.
Looking at the two of them, I realized just how different they were. Bella was calm yet worried, with natural and beautiful features. Tanya was impatient and pouting because she knew I was right about Alice. Light versus dark. Selfless versus selfish. Confident versus calm. Both beautiful in completely different ways. Both sensual and sexy in different ways, but the glaring difference was in the eyes. Bella’s were on me. And me only. Tanya’s eyes were seeking, searching, working the courtyard – and it wasn’t for Seth.
If I drop her on a deserted island, would that be okay?
Grinning, I chuckled softly at Bella’s silent question, and as I dragged my tongue along my bottom lip, I shook my head.
The mention of the deserted island brought back memories of the previous night. I wasn’t sure if waiting to be with Bella made it more or if just Bella herself made it more. However, it was the most intense and amazing night of my life. We’d not been needed out on the deck, and Eleazar had been telling everyone to get some rest anyway, so I’d opted to curl around my pretty girl to get some sleep.
We hadn’t slept. Much. A thought that made me smirk at my sneakers as I stepped forward in the line. We’d stayed awake, wrapped around each other, speaking softly. At first it was about the intense sensation of our sixth senses coming together – literally. A small hypothesis started to form that I could essentially access Bella’s window-opening talent remotely. I’d felt it. I’d sensed how it felt, how she did it, all through her mind when we’d been utterly open to one another. It was a bit overwhelming, but we’d promised each other we’d try it when we had a moment. However, that moment hadn’t come.
Once the sun came up – and once Bella and I had made love again, this time slower, not as intense, before falling asleep – we’d been awakened by a pounding on our door by Emmett, who told us that we’d gotten a private message from the time manipulator, Seth. He’d remembered someone in his head telling him to run, to wake up from where he’d been held captive. And as soon as his eyes opened, he’d frozen everything and everyone in order to get away.
We were hoping to hear from a few more sixxers by the time we got back to Florida.
I ordered and paid for three coffees and started back toward the table by the wall. Just as I was about to set them down, all thought, mental noise, movement, and sound ceased to exist inside that coffee shop and courtyard. The three of us looked to one another and then at the tables surrounding us. Only one person, aside from us, wasn’t frozen.
The tall, lanky kid stood up from his table in the corner. He had tan skin and dark hair, but most of it was covered up with a hoodie and a baseball cap. He reminded me of myself at that age – all legs, arms, and feet.
“Seth?” I asked, and he nodded, glancing around.
“Yeah, yeah,” he sighed, walking to us. “That was you I heard, wasn’t it? Inside Volterra, it was you!”
“Yeah, man. We tried to get as many of you out as possible, but…”
“Dude, you set like a dozen of us free. Most of us were able to work together to get out of there before they realized we were gone. Their goons weren’t even there.”
“That’s because they were probably picking themselves up in the Grand Canyon,” Bella explained, smiling his way and offering her hand. “Bella. This is Tanya and Edward.”
Seth shook her hand, then Tanya’s, and I suppressed a grin when his mind was a typical teen boy. He eyed both women from head to toe, thinking they were gorgeous, oppositely so, and while he liked the strawberry-blonde, it was the brunette who made him nervous, despite her friendliness.
He turned back to me, shaking my hand, too. “Thanks for getting us out. How’d you do it?”
“Let’s just say it was a group effort,” I told him with a chuckle, offering him a chair to sit with us.
“So…” he dragged out, glancing around the table. “You’re all freaks?”
Bella laughed and nodded. “Yeah, we’re all freaks.” She pointed to herself. “Teleporter. Tanya here is what we’ve deemed a pied piper. And Edward has telepathy and telekinesis.”
“Sweet! That’s how you did it!” he gasped, pointing my way, and I nodded.
Bella liked him instantly. She found his sixth sense intriguing, but she found his open demeanor refreshing. We were all pretty callous to what we could do, and the constant running from VI had made us cautious, if not downright paranoid. So his upfront attitude was a nice change. Plus, his youth and his looks were “adorable.”
Rolling my eyes her way, I raised an eyebrow. “Really?”
Hush, Edward.
Snorting, I turned back to Seth. “How long were you in VI?”
“My best guess is a little over six months?” he said, but it came out like a question. “How’d you guys get in? Get us out? How have they not caught you too?”
His barrage of questions made us all smile, but I explained a bit of how it had happened and the why, which had been Maggie.
“She’s not the only kid,” he stated, frowning up at us. “I mean, I know I’m…” He gestured to himself. “I’m talking…little kids. Babies, too. Though, they’re kept away from the rest of the ‘patients.’” He used fingers to insinuate quotes. “They knew what I could do, so I was kept under watch all the fucking time.”
We nodded because we knew, but he shrugged a shoulder and kept talking.
“They threatened my mom into turning me over. Some were just taken from wherever they were. Some were homeless or damn well close to it, and they were promised a roof and food.” He was pissed off at the whole thing. “Those of us you set free were able to use our freak skills to stick together and get this far south. We wanted to make it to Mexico, but this is as far as we got.”
Tanya’s gaze snapped up from her coffee. “You mean…you’re all here?”
“Yeah, most of us,” he whispered in reply with a bit of a nod. “We decided to stay together to watch each other’s backs.” He looked to Bella and then to me. “So what do you want with me?”
I could see his natural distrust, but because we were sixxers – or freaks, in his words – he was much more open. We were in just as much danger as he was, so he felt okay talking to us.
“We’re going back in,” I stated, nodding when his eyes widened. “They aren’t in Seattle anymore; they’ve moved to the middle of the woods. And they have my sister. We…” I trailed off, not sure how to put it.
“Oh,” he breathed, a smile curling the corners of his mouth as his thoughts started to guess at the reason we’d go anywhere near those monsters. “You’re gonna tear the shit down!”
Grinning evilly, I nodded. “I’m getting my sister back.”
“And while we do that, we’re going to get the rest of the sixxers out of there,” Bella tacked on.
And Aro and his goons may just have themselves an accident in the process,” Tanya piped up, her wicked smile causing Seth’s thoughts to scramble into something just shy of porn.
I squeezed my eyes closed, chuckling as I shook my head. “Damn, kid,” I said through a laugh.
“Hoshit…you can see that. My bad.”
Bella cracked up, leaning into my upper arm, and her thoughts were filled with amusement. Ah, teen boys… There’s no telling where that mind just went.
Snorting again, I pressed kisses to the top of her head but gave my attention to Seth. “How long does this last?” I asked, pointing around to the people still frozen in time. “And how far have you stopped time?”
His nose wrinkled. “It won’t last long, because to pause time for too long makes people late for things – work, school, whatever. And it fucks with reality. To mess with real time, making people think they blacked out or some shit, is touchy. They start to question shit, and I can’t have that,” he replied, waving a hand around him like he was swatting at flies. “I can stop a large area, but I don’t push my luck in case someone from outside that zone sees everyone still like mannequins. So it’s just this shop.”
With that said, he let his talent release the room, and all the paused thoughts hit me in one big mental punch. I flinched at the sudden onslaught but recovered quickly. What was interesting was that not one single person around us questioned the slight jump in time, though really it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes.
“You’re here for help? Or what?” he asked, ignoring the pace picking up around him.
“We need the help. We need talented help,” I told him. “We need to tear VI down to nothing.”
“I’m in,” he stated, standing up. “And I’m sure everyone with me is in too, because they all want a little get-back. C’mon, I’ll introduce you.”
We all stood up, and I offered Bella my hand as we followed Seth out of the café. The kid walked with his head down, his hood up, and his hands in his pockets. He reminded me a lot of Bella when I’d first set eyes on her, and I mentally told her so, gazing down at her.
I’m sure, she agreed silently. You have to blend in, avoid eye contact, and stay invisible when you’re hiding on the streets. It sucks!
Nodding sadly, I kissed her temple, turning the corner when Seth did. The next block or so started to become a bit of a shadier neighborhood, but he led us quickly to a two-story old building, glancing around before ducking into the side alleyway. There was an askew piece of plywood covering what used to be a door, and he slipped inside the building. I let the girls go in ahead of me, taking a second to listen to make sure that we weren’t seen. However, no one in the area gave a shit.
The air inside was dank and chilly, the lighting slightly dark due to the covered window, whether by wood or by paint over the glass panes. The minds, though, were wary, nervous, and hidden.
“Come out, you guys.” Seth’s command was taken with true and loyal faith.
In spite of his age, he’d been protecting them, using his talent to provide for them – legally and illegally. He’d take food, money, and clothing, all to keep everyone safe and fed. The ones who had the loudest minds with thoughts of Seth were extremely grateful for his help, because some wouldn’t have made it on the streets without him. Seth, however, did it to survive; he did it with a touch of bitterness, but he cared for them.
Bella stepped closer to me when several people in various ages stepped out from behind boxes and stacks of pallets. Her first instinct was to open a window to get us out of there, but I squeezed her shoulder.
We’re okay, pretty girl, I thought to her to keep her from jumping. When she glanced my way, I tapped my temple.
“Who have you told?!” someone hissed to Seth, but he merely grinned, gesturing a hand my way.
“Say hello to Edward; he’s the one who set us free from Volterra.”
Shadows shifted and started to move closer, but the collective opinion was shock and awe. The group made a half circle in front of Tanya, Bella, and me, and I waved a hand their way. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but the range of ages in front of me was vast.
A little girl about Maggie’s age seemed to be the youngest. The oldest was an elderly gentleman with a thick, graying mustache. And he reminded me of Bella’s father. There were several in between.
“You’re the one I heard,” the old man whispered, stepping closer to me and offering me his hand.
“Yes, sir,” I stated, and I unwrapped my arm from around Bella and shook his hand, careful of the digits that seemed twisted from arthritis. “Although, I didn’t do it alone.”
“Randall,” he introduced himself with a big smile, and I heard my Bella like him instantly.
“Edward, and this is Bella and Tanya.”
“Listen,” Seth interrupted, speaking to his group. “There are more of these guys. And they’re going after Volterra. They need our help. Personally, I think we owe them one. Edward’s sister has been taken.”
There were a few murmurs of worry and some of agreement, so I let Seth take the lead, because he was gung-ho on a fight.
He pointed along the line of people. “Introduce yourselves and tell ’im what your freak skill is…”
The youngest of them all seemed to be the bravest, and the little girl with long dark hair stepped forward. “Makenna. And I can…” She glanced around at everyone, but I smiled at her thoughts.
“You can talk to animals,” I finished for her, and her cheeks blushed pink as she nodded. I placed a hand on my chest. “I can read minds.”
Her eyes lit up, and Bella chuckled. “And move objects.”
“Yeah, that too.”
The girl giggled and stepped back to kneel down. “C’mere,” she whispered, and out of nowhere, a dark-gray rat stepped up to her. She held her hand out with a cracker, which the animal took graciously.
Tanya gasped in disgust.
“They’re not as dirty as people think,” Makenna corrected adorably as the rat nibbled away at his cracker at her feet, making no sign of leaving her. “They just have to live in dirty places in order to have babies and find food.”
Seth urged everyone to do the same as the little girl, so a couple stepped forward. A thin young man and a short girl about Alice’s height – Peter and Charlotte, who’d been taken in Texas. Peter could see the past through the touch of an object. He could see who’d owned it and that owner’s fate. Charlotte had x-ray vision, which made me cringe. It was one thing to hear someone’s mind. It was another to be able to see through stuff like clothes and walls. Randall could make plants grow incredibly fast, and once they were a certain size, they’d do his bidding – vines acting as restraints, trees dropping their fruit, venus flytraps big enough to eat a grown man.
Another younger boy stepped forward, a lighter in hand. With the flick of the flame, Paul was able to control fire, mold it, swirl it, and cause it to grow hotter and taller than himself, without even singeing a single hair on any of us.
“Oh, he’d work really well with Benjamin,” Bella said aloud, nodding a little. To the group, she explained, “He can control the four elements, but with you, there would be twice the power.”
Paul was intrigued but didn’t say much. He wasn’t shy exactly, just reserved.
A woman just a bit older than us – Heidi – had the power of invisibility. Alistair, who wore sunglasses inside the dark abandoned building, had night vision. Gianna, who opted not to shake hands, despite the gloves she was wearing, had the power of a poisonous touch, and I could see in her mind and her expression that she absolutely hated her power.
The last person to step forward was a guy about my age named Mike. He was a size manipulator, which meant he could alter himself to the size of a bug or as big as a giant, although he preferred the former, which was less conspicuous. And he was the first of the entire group to make my temper rise to the surface, because he was eyeing my Bella with less than respectful thoughts.
“Thirteen of you escaped VI,” I stated, glaring at Mike but then moving my gaze to Seth and then Randall. “Where are the other two?”
“They didn’t come with us,” Seth replied, shrugging a shoulder. “They went their own way. It was a guy and a girl.”
“We didn’t even catch their names…or what they could do. They just split out of there when we all ran for it,” Randall explained but glanced around. “When did you need us? And where are we going?”
“Soon. And someplace safe. I promise.” I turned to my Bella. “Go ahead, beautiful. Let’s take them home. We’ll get them some food and sleep and off the street.”
Her smile was small and sweet, but along the wall opened up a bright, warm, sunny afternoon in Florida. The scent of sea air and chlorine in the pool hit my senses first. And I saw my family waiting for us on the pool deck.
“C’mon, everyone. I’ll introduce you to everyone who set you free,” I told them, and Tanya led them through Bella’s window.
Palm Island, Florida
The lanterns were all lit around the pool deck, accompanied by noisy conversations and some laughter. Several tables had been pushed together to accommodate all of us. There were so many now. Even without Alice, there were twenty-five of us. All powerful, except a few, all hoping to stop a common enemy, and all hoping that after this fight there could be some sort of a life.
“He’s so cute!” Maggie exclaimed in a sweet girly giggle.
She and Makenna were instant buddies, and they could’ve been sisters with how similar they were. Both brunette – one curly and one straight. Both almost twelve. Both a touch boy-crazy over some of us. And both were trying to fit into a large group of adults that were continuously busy planning and plotting. Makenna had no parents; she’d been taken from a foster home by Demetri and Felix, so Liam immediately took her in. But right at that moment, the two girls only had eyes for the handsome raccoon with which Makenna was sharing her hotdog.
My amusement couldn’t be contained. The minds of the two girls were my favorite – besides Bella’s. They held no ill will. They hadn’t allowed the world, VI, or the heaviness of their talent to make them callous. And if the upcoming fight put an end to Aro and his schemes against sixxers, then I hoped the bitterness never came. It was hard living in a world that would’ve hated us if they knew what we could do. It was hard hiding a part of oneself all day, every day.
“That little bugger gets into my garbage cans,” Rae muttered grumpily.
Makenna grinned, looking back to the raccoon, who was waiting patiently for his next bite. “Stop getting into the garbage,” she told him. He blinked up at her, then over to Rae, and finally sat up on his hind legs to nuzzle Makenna’s hands. He opened up his own hands in a pleading gesture.
“He won’t do it anymore,” Makenna stated softly, setting another piece of hotdog into those little furry hands.
Grinning, I shook my head at Rae’s disbelieving scoff, because of all the talents around me, that was damned fascinating. Rose was an awesome talent, but to be able to communicate with creatures that had no voice, only instinct, was pretty cool.
You like kids, Bella’s thoughts hit me, and I turned to face her and nodded.
“Yeah, I do. They’re free of bullshit.” My statement made her laugh, but she understood what I’d meant when I tapped my temple.
And the fact that they both think you’re the hottest thing…
My laugh cut her off, and I waved that away. “Yeah, well…I’m not alone in that group.” Switching to thoughts, I pointed around the table. They both are crushing hard on your “adorable” Seth. Both think Garrett is the funniest thing, with the coolest talent, because he made them matching rings from some sort of stainless steel he uncovered on the beach. They are both sad for Jasper – he’s not as fun as he was, because he’s worried for Alice.
Bella’s gaze landed back on the girls, and her thoughts were along the lines of what mine had been; she hoped they never lost that bright outlook. She remembered some girl she’d known as a kid back in Forks. Someone close, a best friend, but despite how inseparable they’d been through elementary on up through high school, Bella could never truly tell her what or who she was. Bella had always hidden a part of herself away from friends and teachers because she didn’t think they’d understand. Even her high school boyfriend, Jake, hadn’t understood her.
I rolled my eyes at the douchebag in her mind. He looked like a jerk. He was tall, with tan skin and a cheesy smile. His attitude came across as someone who thought the world revolved around him. My first thought was that he and Tanya could’ve been besties.
Bella caught that thought from me and cracked up loudly. “You’re probably right. If they didn’t kill each other first.”
I smiled, leaning in to press a kiss to her lips. I was enjoying the bubble we were in, even though we were surrounded by people. The fight was soon and the plan was set, so I just wanted this moment, one more night to not think or worry.
Seth’s group had been with us at the beach for two nights. We’d made space, and Rae had shifted things around to give everyone a place to sleep. We’d considered looking for the other two who’d separated when they’d escaped VI, but Eleazar decided to let it go. We had plenty of people, plenty of power, and we were going in with all we had. Teams had been divided up and given their goals. A place was set to send the comatose sixxers, where Carlisle and Maggie would be to help them, along with those of us who had no talent. A team would be outside the VI building to start the distraction, while a team of us worked our way inside to get Alice and the rest to safety.
Hell would open up in the morning.
Debates had broken out about going in the middle of the night, where there would be fewer employees, less of a chance that any of Aro’s goons were on site. Some wanted to attack in the middle of the damn day for all to see, to teach a lesson to VI. However, when it came down to it, we all compromised. We’d start it all before the sun came up in the Pacific Northwest. We wanted the day to dawn at VI to chaos all around.
I gazed around the table, noting new friends and lingering on family. My thoughts, however, landed on Alice, my sister by choice and adoption. We’d been inseparable from the moment we’d met at the mental hospital when we were just kids. We’d both had a shitty go of things up until that point, and neither of us had met another sixxer, so we’d clung to one another fiercely. Carlisle had once told us that the mere thought of taking one and not the other had been heartbreaking. He knew we belonged together.
I missed Alice. I missed her mind, the constant influx of visions that ran the gamut of topics. From the inane flashes of the future, to the safety of this family – she and I had always worked through them to make sure we were all okay. And without her, this plan seemed sketchy and shaky.
Bella pressed her lips to my cheek. We’re strong, Edward. We’re focused and intent on the end result. No matter what happens tomorrow, we’re doing this for the right reasons. I don’t need Alice’s talent to tell me that we’ll fight hard for what’s right, for each other, and for those who can’t fight.
I turned my head, once again, ignoring the chatter, the planning, the worried thoughts around me to focus on the one thing that had changed my life for the better. She was everything I never knew I needed. Bella had jumped into my world like a flash of bright light, bringing with her love and loyalty and happiness.
Her smile was soft and sweet, and her cheeks blushed a little as she listened to my mind, something that I pretty much left open only for her.
I love you, too, Edward.
When she’d first decided to let us help her, I wasn’t sure she’d stay. Her habit of running, hiding, guarding herself had been strong. Having her here, having her say and think those words to me, made this upcoming fight even more important. Not only would we get my sister and the rest of the innocent sixxers out of that deplorable building, but my whole world needed to rest easy that she didn’t always have to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life. I wanted my friends, my family, and my Bella to have peace of mind. And in order to do that, we had to ban together to destroy the one thing that threatened that peace.
Bella watched my face as she listened, and she nodded a little in agreement. Her lips met mine softly.
So…no deserted island? she teased silently.
Shaking my head solemnly, I said, “No, pretty girl, we’ll fight together.”


trbuie said...

I'm really glad that they found some back up. Seth was a great help in that way. Tanya, on the other hand, needs to be dropped into an active volcano. ugh.... Bella and Edward are still adorable together.

Kristi said...

VI must be on alert. Counting on the fact that the unit Alice belongs to will seek her release at all cost.
Once the plan is implemented, will Edward hear Alice and be able to communicate to Bella and the others who, what and where the traps are set against them?
Tanya needs an attitude adjustment.

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