At the Cliffs

My take on New Moon / Eclipse - written from Bella's perspective

← Chapter 22: Surprise      Chapter 24: Preparation →

Chapter 23: Reinforcements

“You’re here for me,” I stammered once I finally found my voice.

Edward turned to look at me, his face impassive and his eyes giving away nothing of what he was feeling or thinking. “Alice had a vision last night. She saw that the Volturi had made the decision to come deal with the newborn situation, but she saw them on this field in Forks and we couldn’t figure out why they would be here, so we came back to find out.”

I frowned. “The Volturi?”

“They’re the governing body for our kind. Our police if you will. They lay down the rules and enforce them when they get broken,” Edward explained, his eyes never leaving my face.

“And they’re coming here to Forks?” I reiterated as the impenetrable glow of his golden eyes made me stumble over my words.

“Tomorrow morning in this field to be exact,” Alice’s clear bell-like voice chimed in as she stepped up next to Edward. “But why here? We’ve been tracking the newborn situation, but that seems contained to Seattle, so why would they come here?”

“Maybe because the newborns are trying to kill Bella,” Jake interjected, his voice harsh and unyielding, as he stared down Edward. His face was also a blank impassive mask.

“Kill Bella?” Edward sputtered, the first time I could ever remember seeing him flustered, as he pulled his eyes from me to look at Jake.

“Yeah, thanks to that red-head leech you ticked off. She’s been hunting Bella for months now. She would have killed her by now if we weren’t here,” Jake continued, his voice was biting in its unabashed sarcasm and hostility.

“Victoria is here?” Edward said slowly and stupidly, as if he couldn’t process what he was hearing. I could see Carlisle and Emmett exchange uneasy glances out of the corner of my eye.

“Yeah, so was her friend, but we took care of him,” Jake sneered.

“Her friend? Are you talking about Laurent?” Edward stammered, still completely disoriented, as he stepped forward as if to demand more info from Jake. Jake dropped his arms, which had been casually crossed in front of his chest, to his sides and stepped forward to meet him. They were only a few feet from each other now and I could feel the animosity radiating in waves from both of them. I didn’t know whether to step in between them or get the hell out of the way.

“Hold on, hold on,” Carlisle interrupted as he put his arm out to pull Edward - who seemed ready to fly off the handle – back in line with the rest of the Cullens. Jake reluctantly took a step back too. “Are you telling us that Victoria and Laurent are here? Right now? In Forks?”

“No,” Sam interjected before Jake could respond. He placed his hand on Jake’s shoulder as he spoke, as if to try to calm him down. “The one with dreadlocks is dead. We took care of him back in the spring. But we didn’t catch the redhead. She was here, but she’s in Seattle now. She’s the one creating all those newborn vampires.”

The Cullens stared at Sam as if he had grown three heads. Jasper made a move forward, but Emmett grabbed onto his arm with an iron grip. Rosalie’s beautiful face was still defiant, though markedly less so than it was a few minutes ago. And Edward’s warm golden eyes had turned a fiery hue from the swirling emotion that I could read in his face.

Only Carlisle kept his calm, taking a measured sigh before continuing, “Start from the beginning. It sounds like there’s a lot we didn’t know.”

“That’s for sure,” Jake muttered under his breath but he cooled it when Sam gave him a sharp look. Sam was no fool. He wasn’t a fan of the Cullens, but he knew that their arrival here was the best thing that could have happened to the survival of the pack.

“Victoria, the redhead, was in Forks for much of last spring. We didn’t realize at the time that she was trying to get to Bella,” – Sam paused to gesture towards me and I felt my face turn red at the look of horror that Edward gave me as he pieced together what Sam was saying–“We tried many times to track her down, but were never successful. We did take down her friend, the one with the dreads, moments before he would have killed Bella.”

“Laurent,” Carlisle stumbled a little over his name. “Are you sure? We talked to him last year after the James incident. He said he was leaving Victoria. He promised …”

“I’m sure,” I interjected suddenly, my voice coming out much stronger than I was actually feeling at the moment. “He told me that he was scoping out the area for Victoria. She wanted to kill me in revenge for James. Edward’s mate”- I stumbled over those words and cursed myself as I felt my face turn hot in embarrassment-“ in exchange for her mate. He said that she would be mad at him for killing me first, but he couldn’t resist because I was too … mouthwatering.”

I barely managed the choke out the end of that sentence as both Jacob and Edward were staring at me intensely, their eyes snapping with rage.

“After that, we didn’t see much of the red-head,” Sam continued as he then described the past few months. His voice was coldly clinical as he related the pack’s short-lived celebration when they thought Victoria had left, the unexplained murders and disappearances in Seattle, the disappearance of Bree and their subsequent reconnaissance work, the discovery of a visiting bloodsucker who had taken my red shirt.

I could see Edward’s eyes growing more and more alarmed every second as he realized the full extent of what we had been through the last few months. I couldn’t help watching him, even though I knew that Jacob was watching my own face just as intently.

Edward, who was usually so impassive and in control, looked close to coming unhinged – his eyes burning with an intensity that I had never seen before - a fiery anger and hatred that made me suddenly scared of him.

What was he thinking? How did he feel? After all this time? Was he unhappy to be forced to come back to deal with an ex-girlfriend that he thought he had left behind long ago? Or was he happy to see me? I couldn’t tell. He was so entirely focused on the task at hand – figuring out what the heck was going on with Victoria - that he barely seemed to notice that I was there.

When Sam fell silent, Edward finally turned his full attention towards me, a mix of anger, profound sadness, and something else that I couldn’t quite figure out in his gaze. But he still didn’t speak. Instead it was Carlisle who gave a deep sigh as he turned back to look at his family. Their faces were equally contorted in a mix of disbelief and frustration.

“I’m sorry, Bella,” Carlisle said suddenly, coming over to put his hands gently on my arms. “We had no idea. We would never have left if we thought she would come back. Edward was actually tracking her for a while, she was seen in the Phoenix shortly after we left Forks, but we found no trace of her there. Alice couldn’t see anything in her visions. We really thought that you were safer with us gone.”

I nodded numbly as I mumbled, “It’s okay.”

I didn’t know how else to respond. After all this time, for them to be here, when I never thought I’d see any of their faces again, was too surreal for me to be able to think clearly. All I could do was marvel at their presence, trying to convince myself of the fact that they were actually here and not figments of my overactive imagination.

“No, it’s not okay,” Carlisle responded as he turned back towards Sam. “But it’s a good thing we came back when we did. It sounds like there will be a big fight at dawn. And it’s our fight too. We want to help.”

“I would be lying if I said we didn’t need your help,” Sam responded gravely with a nod. It was impossible not to hear the relief in his voice.

“Okay, it’s settled then,” Carlisle said as he reached out to shake Sam’s hand. The two men shook once, briefly, and for a moment, I was able to recognize the significance of that gesture. It was probably the first – and only – time in their lives that they would ever be teaming up.

“So your daughter said that the Volturi are coming tomorrow? What about the newborn army? It would be helpful if we knew when they are arriving too,” Sam asked with a nod towards Alice.

“I don’t know,” she replied with a deep frown. Her beautiful golden eyes darkened in frustration. “I can’t see anything related to Victoria. It’s like she’s intentionally not making decisions, because she knows that I’d be able to see the decisions if she did.”

“I thought you could see the future,” Jake interjected with a frown. “What does it matter if she’s making decisions or not?”

Alice quirked her lips, but tried not to look too annoyed. She hated being asked this. “The future is always changing. When people make a decision, I can see the course that their life will take. They can change their mind at any time and the future I see for them will change too. But if they can’t make decisions, then I can’t see what will happen at all.”

“But Victoria is killing innocent people and turning them into vampires,” Edward interrupted suddenly, turning to face Alice, having found a new place to vent his frustration. “How could you not see that?! She’s clearly making decisions there!”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jasper take a step forward to defend Alice, but then I saw Emmett keeping a strongman’s grip on his wrist. Jasper’s eyes flared but he didn’t move.

“Don’t you think I’ve tried? I’ve tried and tried again to see her. But nothing. Just like with Bella,” Alice retorted as she threw her hands up in the air in frustration.

“Me? You’ve been watching out for me?” I blurted out before I could help it.

“Yes, of course,” Alice stated with a half glance in Edward’s direction. “Just to make sure that everything was okay. But I couldn’t see you. I couldn’t see anything that you were doing. It was weird. Maybe my powers are weakening or something.”

Jasper snorted, but Edward wasn’t appeased. “Maybe you’re not trying hard enough,” he ground out. “You were supposed to watch to make sure Bella wasn’t in danger. How could you have missed out on the fact that Victoria trying to kill her?! You were supposed to be watching both of them! And you’re telling me that you couldn’t see ether of them?”

“I told you!” Alice retorted angrily. “I don’t know why! Maybe Victoria isn’t the one actually creating the newborns. Maybe she has someone doing her dirty work for her. That would explain why she isn’t any making any decisions that I can track.”

“Yeah? What about when she was in Forks herself hunting down Bella? Why couldn’t you see that?” Edward demanded, refusing to back down. He looked so angry that I wanted to reach out and put a hand on his arm to calm him down, but I stopped myself in time. I was no longer his girlfriend. I no longer had that right.

“Edward, Edward,” Carlisle interrupted, his voice was soothing, as he stepped between the two siblings. “It’s not Alice’s fault. She’s been trying. I can’t help but feel that there has to be something blocking her view of things in Forks …”

His voice trailed off suddenly as he turned to look at the pack. His eyes were thoughtful as he took in all the wolves who had been watching the interchange between the two vampires with watchful eyes.

“What if it’s them?” Carlisle asked suddenly and cryptically.

“Who?” Alice asked as she scrunched her nose and turned towards the pack. Jake wasn’t kidding when he had told me that there was bad blood between the Cullens and the pack. Alice, the nicest person I knew, was looking at the pack with unabashed disgust and distrust.

“The pack,” Carlisle continued as he met Sam’s questioning eyes. “I’ll be that you can’t see the wolves because their phasing makes them too unpredictable. I’ll bet they impair your vision. They’re the ones causing blind spots in your vision around Forks. That’s why you couldn’t see Victoria here. Or Bella, because I gather she’s been spending a lot of time with the pack.”

Carlisle said that last line as neutrally as possible, but it was impossible to miss the way that Edward’s body tightened up when he heard it. His eyes were now blacker than I had ever seen them and he stared at Jacob with unmitigated fury for a moment, before he relaxed again. Jake wasn’t backing down either, he stood there with his arms crossed again, looking deceptively casual and nonchalant, until you got a good look at the fire in his eyes.

Alice didn’t seem to notice at all as she moved past Edward to take a few reluctant steps closer towards Jacob and Sam. She was about two feet away from Sam when her mouth dropped open into a perfect O. Jasper broke out of Emmett’s grasp to stand behind Alice. It was clear that he still didn’t trust the pack, despite their recent truce, but Jake just rolled his eyes at him.

“I can’t see them!” Alice said suddenly, her eyes alight in amazement. “This has never happened to me before. It’s like my mind is blank. I can’t see anything in their future. Usually, it’s a battle trying to keep all those images out. This is amazing!”

Jake raised an eyebrow but Sam put his hand out to stop him from jumping in. “You’re saying that you can see the future of everyone else, but not us.”

“Yes, that must be it,” Alice marveled. “That’s why I didn’t see what Victoria was doing here in Forks, or why I didn’t see Bella being saved from Laurent, or why I can’t see what happens leading up to the Volturi’s visit. When the pack is in the mix, it scrambles my vision so that I can’t see anything. This is perfect! It wasn’t me!”

“It’s hardly perfect. It’ll be tricky tomorrow. The only thing we know for sure is that the Volturi won’t honor our truce with the Quileutes, but we can deal with that later,” Carlisle commented, logically and practically, “But at least now we know the truth.”

There was a lull as the two groups of former enemies, now reluctant allies, stared at each other, unsure of where to start. Jake finally broke the silence. “Now what?”

“My son, Jasper, has some experience with newborns,” Carlisle explained as he gestured towards Jasper. “He can tell us a little about what to expect and strategies that will work for them. You picked a good place to stage the fight,” he said as he looked around admiringly at the rock formation.

“Good job on the blood trail, shorty,” Emmett joked with a loud guffaw as he winked at me. “We could smell you miles away. It’ll drive them crazy.”

I blushed a deep red, which only made Emmett laugh louder, until Rosalie glared at him coldly. She still hadn’t said a word. Neither had Esme, who looked distinctly pale and worried in the moonlight. She was no lover of violence. I had a hard time imagining her fighting and killing, but I would learn soon enough that there was nothing like a mother fighting to protect her children and her way of life.

Sam nodded curtly as he explained, “Surprise was our only advantage, so we knew we needed to draw them here and ambush them. But now, we’ll almost be evenly matched.”

“We’ll be more than well-matched,” Jasper’s deep Southern drawl seemed to hang in the air as he deftly pulled Alice back in line with the other Cullens and positioned himself on Carlisle’s left-hand side. “Newborns are strong, but they aren’t smart. With just a little strategy, we’ll be more than ready for them.”

Emmett chortled as he came up to high-five Jasper. “They won’t know what hit them! It’s about time we had a good fight.”

I rolled my eyes. He sounded just like Quil and Paul. In fact, the three of them probably would have been best friends if they weren’t sworn enemies. Jake must have thought so too, because his face lightened up suddenly, as he took in Emmett’s lumberjack build and frat-boy antics with amusement.

“So? What are we waiting for?” Jake asked as he gestured towards the field in front of all of us. “Show us what you’ve got.”

← Chapter 22: Surprise      Chapter 24: Preparation →

About Me

I'm a Twilight fan who believes that Jacob Black is better for Bella than Edward, so I wrote these Team Jacob fanfiction stories to try to convert as many people to my side as possible. :)

I've tried to stay as faithful to the original books as possible up through At the Cliffs, which is when I break off from canon and write out Eclipse the way I wish it had happened!

So ... what do you think? Good? Bad? Ideas for other stories?

Please let me know!

Jane

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