I left Edward’s house before dawn. I worried that he might ask me more questions about making him into a vampire when he woke up, and so, in a cowardly fashion, I rose from his side and silently made my way through the maze of his home until I found the back door I had entered through. I passed through that door again, like leaving a dream, and I closed it behind me.
I walked to my car, keys in hand, but the smell of a werewolf made me freeze in my tracks. I glanced around, listening carefully for the smallest movement, and I was ready to run should this prove to be another attack.
From the tree line which bordered the driveway, Jacob emerged. I locked eyes with him in the darkness, seeing with perfect clarity his massive form and the glare in his eyes. He gazed back at me, his hands balled into tight fists. “You’ve taken what you want and now you’re leaving, is that it?” he snarled.
“I haven’t taken anything from Edward,” I responded. “You can go in and see for yourself. Maybe tell him what you’ve been up to while you’re at it.”
“You’ve taken his heart,” Jacob spat. “It’s cruel. You don’t know how to love him.”
Now I glared. “I’m not the one who has totally disappeared on him.”
“I guess a vampire wouldn’t understand keeping a distance from mortals,” he retorted.
“Of course I do,” I shot back. “But Edward’s your best friend, isn’t he? You should trust him. He took the vampire thing very well. You might be surprised how he’ll take to werewolves.” I turned away from Jacob and unlocked my car door.
Jacob approached the house, his gaze on the windows of the third story. “Have you told him yet you’re leaking Forks?” I clenched my jaw and said nothing as I opened my car door and slid into the seat. Jacob turned to me again with a glare. “Or have you decided to back out on the deal?”
“Of course I haven’t,” I hissed. I slammed my car door closed and started the engine. I felt Jacob’s gaze on me as I drove away.
When I returned home, I was surprised to find the entirety of Carlisle’s coven in my house. I walked in to discover Alice sitting in my living room with the last member of the coven I had yet to meet, a youthful blond man by the name of Jasper Hale. He gazed at me with cautious consideration and said very little.
The other four were in my kitchen. Rosalie seethed with a subtle yet visceral anger that she seemed only just holding onto. Esme stood with them, whispering to Rosalie in a soothing voice, while Carlisle spoke to Emmet. “How many are in Forks?” he asked.
“Seems like about half of ‘em,” Emmet answered, his own voice tinged with irritation.
“All of who?” I asked, and Carlisle turned to me.
“Bella, great to see you!” he greeted. “Unfortunately, it seems our werewolf friends have decided to change our plans.” Behind him, Rosalie huffed in anger.
“What’s going on?” I demanded.
“They attacked me,” Rosalie snapped. “I was on the south side of town when three of them came at me.”
“Were you hurt?” I asked.
She scoffed. “Course not. I can handle a few pups.”
Emmet grinned at her and slid a long arm around her slender waist. “That’s my girl,” he purred, bringing the hint of a smile to Rosalie’s stony face.
“They tried for Jasper as well,” Rosalie said to me, nodding toward the living room. “He was supposed to stake out your little pet’s house.”
“He’s real tactical, though,” Emmet broke in, “so he gave ‘em the run-around until Alice could join him to fight ‘em off.”
“It seems the pack has decided they don’t want our help,” Carlisle said, looking thoughtful. “Unfortunate, as that only makes things more difficult for all of us.”
I recalled Jacob accusing me of backing out of the agreement. How rich of him, as it was evident that he was the one who had backed out. My own anger flared. “So what does this mean?” I asked with more force in my voice.
“Back to square one, it seems,” Carlisle said. “I don’t want to fight on two fronts here, but the werewolves won’t give us a choice.”
“It’s a mutt James wants,” Rosalie spoke up. “I don’t see why we have to do anything. Let the wolves defend themselves.”
“I gave my word to Ana and Bella to help them out,” Carlisle said. “They’re entitled to defend their territory.”
“They’re leaving, aren’t they?” Emmet asked.
“No,” I said. “As Carlisle said, the werewolves have backed out of the deal. I’m not going anywhere.” Carlisle smiled at me.
Rosalie sighed. “Well, I’m out,” she said flatly. She looked to Emmet, and he nodded in silent agreement. The two of them left my house with little ceremony.
“I should go with them,” Esme said to Carlisle quietly, snaking a slender arm around his shoulders. He agreed with her and kissed her deeply. When they pulled away, Esme followed after Rosalie and Emmet.
I told myself that Carlisle’s coven had nothing to do with this situation, that they had every right to leave. Still, I couldn’t help but feel slighted at Rosalie and Emmet leaving. Forks was in danger from James, and Ana and I were in danger from the werewolves.
Was this their plan, I wondered? Did they not believe that Ana and I would fulfill our agreement, and so they took the problem into their own hands? Once James was gone, what was to stop the pack from simply running Ana and me out of town for good? They were fourteen at least, and we were not adept fighters. I thought of Jacob again, and I wanted to hit something.
“Chin up, Bella,” Carlisle said, getting my attention. “Not all hope is lost.”
“That’s right,” Alice’s cheery voice piped up from behind me. I turned to her as she walked into the kitchen, a bounce in her step. “Ana’s bringing reinforcements. Outcomes are looking good. Honestly, Emmet gets in the way more than he helps, you know?” She snickered.
“Ana’s bringing help?” I asked.
Carlisle nodded. “She set out to Port Angeles to bring a friend back.”
“She does have a lot of friends there,” I said, wondering who she might bring with her.
“Come on,” Alice said, approaching me and looping her arm through mine. “We’ve got the night off, so let’s relax. Jasper and I are going to watch some movies.” I allowed her to pull me into the living room and settle me on the couch beside her. I stared at the television as some old Technicolor film played, but I couldn’t focus on it. My mind was heavy with worries and cares, and I feared I had made a mistake leaving Edward alone with Jacob.