The ride towards the Italian shore had taken an hour to get to, considering the fastest speed our ancient truck reached safely was forty miles an hour. I waited for it to fall apart with each bump and crack we hit, but the beast held firm through it all.
Embry was still out and lying on my lap when Alice went to search the dock for the boat they left behind.
"It's still there," she said anxiously when she came back. "Come on, we have to hurry, there's security."
Jasper lowered the tail and climbed in back with Alice following after him. The four of us lifted Embry up gently then down, leaving the truck where it was just beyond the parking lot as we carried him low and quick through the trees and desolate area.
We paused behind a tall group of bushes and waited patiently for the security guard to make his way past before heading to the boat.
We had a few hours before sunrise and were eager to be far out into the ocean by then. No one would notice us leaving tonight if we could help it, with a giant wolf under our hands and a stolen boat.
My eyes widened when Alice stopped and pointed in the direction of our transportation home. This was not just a boat. It was a medium-sized yacht, white with blue striping all around the outside. Up above the cabin, on the second deck, were to two large swivel chairs and a large console containing lots of buttons, dials, gages and a radio under a large white canopy cover.
"Nice, Alice." Jasper beamed, looking over the large monstrosity.
"Don't thank me." She frowned. "Felix found it."
My expression turned cold along with Jasper's.
"Let's get him on board," Edward said, ignoring the name of the long-gone vampire she'd mentioned.
We hauled Embry onto the back platform and barely squeezed his massive body through the cabin door. Inside we found a corner-angled couch we laid him gently on, leaving one extra cushion at the end his body didn't cover.
Just beyond the couch was a small kitchen, and across from that was a booth table, followed behind me a large, blue lounge chair.
I paused for a moment after we set Embry down and looked around, sniffing. Charlie's scent was still strong in here. I followed the couch down to the end by the kitchen and placed my hand on the empty cushion, noticing a few drops of dried blood. This was where my father spent his trip over.
I went to the kitchen cupboards to find something to clean it up with, cursing Felix, Demetri and Aro as I scrubbed at the stains.
When I was finished, I walked outside and eagerly threw the tainted cloth overboard. All traces of Charlie were gone, but his scent had only been dulled, mixed with a hint of lemon. This was going to be a long ride home.
Edward checked Embry's breathing and heart rhythm one more time before he and Jasper jumped in excitement to head above and get cruising. I'll never understand boys and their toys.
Alice and I made our way over to the booth when the boys started the engine and began backing out. And I suddenly wondered if vampires could get seasick? Well, at least there was no human blood wrapped up in a cooler sitting on the floor in front of me all the way home. That I was thankful for; even though my throat tightened at the memory. I swallowed the small amount of venom that boiled in my mouth as I distracted myself to the wolf still unconscious before me.
Alice and I had been very still and quiet for the beginning of our journey. She stared off into space while I kept my eye on Embry and Charlie's cushion, imagining his ride over here. How many times had Felix laid a fist on him to keep him out? And Ahren? Whose bitter-oiled scent, which was very light as it mixed in with Embry's musk, caused my nose to wrinkle from time to time. I assumed the two shared the same cushions, one on the way here…and one on the way back.
After ten hours on the water—which felt like ten minutes—Edward came in and pulled us from our stillness to tell us we were getting ready to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar. I'd heard of this famous pass, but to be taking it myself was incredible. I jumped up eagerly and made my way outside. Alice climbed up to meet with Jasper while Edward went to check on Embry.
I felt like a piece of history as I stood on the bow, in the safe shade from the afternoon sun, watching different kinds of boats pass while the ocean wind whipped through my hair. I could taste the salty air on the back of my tongue as I breathed in deep, taking in all the sea scents around us. There were many varieties of fish in the water and netted ones being hauled up onto fishing boats. Circling birds flew everywhere, squawking while hoping to snag another fresh meal. Seaweed, motor oil, minerals and boat fuel, also laced the air and water—which Jasper managed to grab a bunch of—all dancing around the opening of my nostrils.
Edward joined behind me after a few minutes, placing his arms gently around my stomach and kissing my neck. I melted.
"Beautiful isn't it?" he whispered softly in my ear, sending chills down my spine.
"Yes," I whispered back as I continued to stare out ahead of me and leaned into him.
He pointed to our right. "Over there, is Spain." He then turned and pointed out to our left. "And over there, is Morocco."
"Mmm," I hummed in awe of the two countries and continents that's lay on each side of us. They were beautiful with large cities that sat at each countries end.
"And the large, slanted rock formation," he pointed towards Spain again, "is the famous Rock of Gibraltar."
"I've heard of that." I smiled at its enormity.
"Thank you for bringing me out here." I caressed softly along his arm and Edward placed lingering kisses to the side of my neck, causing my eyes to close for a moment.
"My pleasure," his breath was heavy against my skin, making me wish we were alone while every nerve in my body immediately rushed with excitement and want.
"Edward," I tried to ignore what he was doing to me, barely able to breathe his name.
Because we weren't alone.
"Yes?" he replied into the crook of my neck, driving me crazier, and he knew it.
"You're making it hard for me to focus." I knew one of us had to be reasonable. Or…semi-reasonable. And I was pretty sure right now it wasn't going to be him. And if he kissed me like this any longer—it wasn't going to be me either.
"Sorry," he said with ragged breath as he removed his lips and kissed the back of my head.
"We'll be home soon." I patted his arms still wrapped around my waist, wishing home arrival was in the next thirty to thirty-five seconds.
"Not soon enough, though," he sighed.
"Let's enjoy the scenery for now." I weaved my fingers between his in matched emotion, trying to talk my fired-up abdomen into un-clinching and hopefully calming down.
I felt so under-cultured as I looked back and forth between the two lands. I had never been anywhere but Rio, Isle Esme and Italy. And a few quick stops along the west and east coasts during our honeymoon. Something about what I was witnessing made me feel a little bit older, wiser. In just the last few days I had been to Slovakia, Austria and the Italian coast; which was more than I thought I would ever see in my lifetime, when I was human, and before Edward. Now, here I was, traveling the Atlantic Ocean. How easy it was for me to believe any place was possible for us to travel now.
"What are you thinking?" Edward asked after we remained silent for a while, still watching the boats and listening to the waves hit against the side of the yacht, laughing when sprays of water would spit up at us when a wave hit just right.
I turned my face slightly towards his. "I was just thinking about how much I love you." I smiled.
"That was my thought, too," he whispered into my neck, kissing it again, causing my knees to go weak and thankful he had a good grip on me.
"Edward," I whispered breathlessly, trying with every ounce of will, to condone his current actions with an arguing tone.
"I know, Bella," he sounded frustrated. "We'll be home soon."
"No." I turned to face him. "Not soon enough." He'd won me over as I pressed myself into him and pulled his lips down to meet mine. "I wish we were alone," my lips spoke as they moved feverishly against his.
"We can be…" He broke free from our hot and heavy frenzy, turning his face toward the cabin. I remembered seeing the extra room below deck.
"It's tempting…" I grinned when his hungry stare meet mine, then ran my hand up and down the front of his shirt, picturing myself removing it one pale button at a time. Yes, it was very tempting. He, was very tempting.
Edward closed his eyes and moaned in disappointment when he suddenly leaned his forehead against mine.
"What?" I asked softly.
Just then, Alice climbed down the ladder from the upper deck as we made our way past Gibraltar. "I hate to break up the party." She grinned sheepishly. "But Jasper's ready to open this thing up full speed, Edward."
I groaned slightly into Edward's chest, hiding my displeasure from Alice. That's what he'd heard.
"I guess that's my cue." Edward rubbed his hand up and down my back in an irritated rhythm.
"I guess so." I groaned again.
"Home soon." He leaned down and kissed me one last time before trading places with Alice and rejoining Jasper.
"Come on, Bella." Alice pulled on my arm. "Let's go get comfortable. We still have a long trip ahead of us."
"Alright." I scowled behind her back so she couldn't see. Or…I hoped she couldn't see if Embry was close enough to block me.
We took our places at the booth again, one on each side, after checking once more on Embry. He hadn't changed, and I wondered how long he was going to be out. I was becoming impatient with the wait. And then I wondered about Charlie. Was he awake now? I'm sure he was. Had they reached Venice yet? More than likely. Was he okay with me not being with him? He had Carlisle. Would they get on a plane alright, and would they beat us home? Probably. Then I was suddenly keyed up. Home. We were finally heading home. Renesmee.
I pulled out my phone to call her, then frowned, I had no reception out here. I would have to wait until we reached land before I could call and check on her. All I could think about for the next few minutes was holding my darling, sweet daughter in my arms. I smiled in anticipation.
Looking over at Alice, I noticed her busy in thought. Her face was tight, like she was trying to see, but couldn't. She appeared annoyed.
"Are you alright, Alice?"
"I wish I could see around these wolves," she answered with frustration. "I wish I knew how the others were doing. Although, I'm sure they're fine." Her brows pulled in, still searching.
"Carlisle's with them. I know everything is fine," I said comfortingly. I knew her trouble seeing was to the fact that Jacob and the pack were there and Embry was here, she was double blinded.
"Bella?" She turned to meet my eyes. "What was it like? In the clearing, with Aro?"
I paused for a moment at her question. She'd caught me off guard. Oh, I knew we'd talk about it eventually, but it was a conversation so full of emotion, that no matter when it came up, it would always be difficult to re-live.
"You don't have to answer if you don't want to," she followed up with. But the expression on her face told me she was dying for me to tell her.
"Uh, no, it's alright," I choked, then swallowed away the horrible memory that flowed through my mind. "What do you want to know?"
"Well, I was curious what happened? I mean after what I saw." Her eyes filled with pain again. "How did you get out of Aro's trap?"
His trap. I took a deep breath.
"Didn't Jasper tell you?"
"He told me as much as he knew. But I know there's more." She eyed me.
I exhaled deeply. "Well, you know Aro. He always had a knack for underestimating us."
"Bella!" she hollered at my vague answer when I went no farther. "Please tell me. It's been driving me crazy. Not knowing. And my gut tells me you had something to do with it, too."
Boy, did I…
"It started with Renata," I gave in to her plea. "She distracted my shield with Zafrina and half the group. Then Aro said if I didn't go with him it was going to be bad, according to your vision, and Edward confirmed it."
Alice frowned. That was the part she'd obviously seen before everything went blank in Vienna.
"So I figured if I didn't go with Aro, and things were supposed to go bad…what would happen if I did?" I glanced at her. "You know, try to reverse the outcome if I could." I suffered all over again at the memory.
"That was very smart of you," she chimed, grinning from ear to ear. "Dangerous, but brave. If things hadn't reversed, we could be with Aro right now," she hated to say. And yet she was right. Two more pieces added to a dangerous and deadly collection.
My expression turned somber then.
"What is it?" Alice asked, concerned by my new look as she placed her hand on mine from across the table.
I paused for a second. "It didn't have to be that way, Alice," I answered as I hung my head.
"What do you mean?"
"The whole thing. If Aro would have left well enough alone, we'd all still be alive. We wouldn't have had to go through all that." I sighed. "Vampire parts were everywhere." I recalled arms, legs, heads and hands spread sporadically across the clearing. "They wanted to destroy our whole family, and our friends. It was terrifying." My insides shook anew.
Alice squeezed my hand tightly. "Aro chose his own fate, Bella. He didn't share the same kind of compassion and mercy we do towards others. He was his own downfall."
"I know," I sniffled.
Alice and I sat there hand in hand for a while before I thought about her time at Volterra. Charlie had made mention of Felix and Demetri, and Ahren, and I wondered about her time there.
"What about you?" I took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet.
"What about me?" she asked, confused.
"The day you went missing? We searched everywhere for you and all we could come up with was a strange animal scent. We had no idea what happened?"
Alice inhaled a mouthful of air then blew it out slowly. "Well, Bella, if you must know," she answered, making a face of unease before preparing to tell her story. "Esme and I were picking up some fabric in town, which you're familiar with." She looked at me and I nodded. "After I made my purchase and was walking around the shop, looking at other fabrics, Demetri snuck in when I was near the back door and grabbed me. I wasn't able to see him coming, and I didn't know why until later. Felix was holding a young man in his arms just outside. A young man I didn't know. I wondered who he was, but Demetri held a tight hand over my mouth to keep us from talking. Everything I tried to say came out muffled. We never had a chance to talk."
"The werewolf…" I mumbled, knowing that's why she couldn't see.
"Yes," she replied.
It was Ahren that was out at Charlie's house that one day. Felix and Demetri had heard everything we all talked about and relayed it back to Aro. Alice just confirmed our suspicions why Charlie was taken. Aro knew he knew, and would want me to come for him. He was my bait. And a human who knew too much.
"They were running back with us towards the beach, or so I thought, when Charlie drove by us along the highway. Immediately they turned and followed him through the woods until they passed his cruiser. Demetri jumped out with me in his arms, causing him to come to a sudden stop. Felix struggled to get him out of the car. Charlie put a good fight, until he ripped his hand and got blood all over as he looked for anything to hold on to. But it was no use. Felix was too strong and yanked him from the car."
The blood…all over the car. How could I ever forget? It was from Felix and Charlie, struggling. I figured Charlie had put up a fight. Only, I had blamed the wrong party earlier.
"They were running with the three of us through the woods when the young man woke up at the edge of sunset and began to change in Felix's arms. It wasn't the wolf type like Jacob, I mean it was a wolf, but with man like features in his arms and stomach. It was amazing, and terrifying at the same time. I'd heard about werewolves, but had never seen one myself until then. He was blonde and grey colored, beautiful, but ferocious. I was rooting for him to tear Felix to shreds, but you know Felix. Always ready for a good head pounding."
I snarled, a low growl festering with in me. Felix had also used that hand against my father.
"Once they reached the beach, I knew there was no way Charlie would be able to survive the coldness of the water. So they ran north along the beach until they found a car to drive to the east coast. That's where they found a boat, in Nova Scotia, that they could bring us back in. The one we're sitting in now," she finished.
For the next many hours, Alice and I shared our stories of the last few days. She shared her time with Aro and how he would grab her hand every five minutes, looking for anything from us to go on, and how angry he would get when she couldn't see us at times. She mentioned how Aro had her chained up in a room upstairs; starving her while Demetri stood guard. She knew what that was about once Aro had decided it.
I made sure not to ask about her hunger towards Charlie, and she didn't bring it up. We'd both been there for that. And I didn't want to know the outcome she'd seen when Aro arrived back at Volterra instead of us. The visions of what could have happened were enough to horrify me forever. And Edward would have seen a sufficient amount for the two of us. I could ask him if I ever felt brave enough.
I decided to detour from our current subject when I shared with her our trip to Slovakia, and meeting Marek, Adriana and the werewolf family. I could see in her eyes she wished she had been there. But my details of everything we'd learned, had given her enough information that she almost felt like she had.
I told her about Jacob showing up and surprising us in Vienna, while she asked how Renesmee was doing with all of us being gone.
Alice and I felt relieved as her answers and mine were being revealed one by one, in between her visions and what she had missed. Some things I left out, because they didn't pertain to anything: like when I smashed up my father's police car, causing Rosalie, Emmett and Edward to have to tackle me to the ground to get me to stop. And other things she'd probably seen went unmentioned, as well. Like Jasper and I freaking out on the plane, drinking human blood for the first time, my distraction in the woods and how scared I was to make my way back to Volterra. They were unnecessary topics because they were over. What could I tell her about those that she didn't already know?
I explained about vampires in trees when she told me she saw me flying through them and wondered what that was all about. We both smiled happily when I informed her how that insane adventure ended.
Once everything was out in the open and discussed, Alice and I took the time to sit in silence, reveling in all the things we'd talked about.
We had been traveling for about twenty-four hours, daytime, nighttime, come and gone when Edward came in and informed us we were a few hours out from Nova Scotia.
"Are you alright, love?" He leaned next to my ear and asked before placing his gentle lips to it, causing me to take a quickened, shallow breath. I figured he was asking when he'd heard and seen my reactions to everything Alice and I chattered about.
"I'm f-fine," I stuttered back, hoping he'd pick up on the reality he was going to have to quit sending sparks through me when we still had quite a stretch of ocean ahead of us.
"I'm fine, too," Alice said sarcastically with her head leaned back against the wall, her eyes closed.
Edward took that as a hint as he moved over to her side of the table and kissed her on the forehead. "Good." He smiled when she opened her eyes at his gesture.
She shoved him playfully away. "Get back up stairs and let us know when we're there."
"Very well," he laughed, then came over to kiss me before checking on Embry and heading out of the cabin, back up to the controls.
Between Jasper and Edward, we had somehow managed to avoid all storms, swells, coast guard and naval ships in the area and across the sea. Thankfully, it was only a matter of time before we'd reached shore.
Carlisle had to be home with Charlie by now, and I was envious when I thought of them getting to see Renesmee before her father and I, but turned those thoughts away when I pictured her happy face when we would show up at Billy's in a day or two. I frowned when I pulled my phone out and still didn't have any signal to call and check on her…them.
So, on that note, I decided I wanted some fresh air. When I stood to head out on the back platform for a few minutes—that's when the noises began.
Embry's body began to convulse violently back and forth on the couch. I rushed to him. He looked like he was having a blurry seizure.
"Edward!" I yelled, but he was already behind me.
"Go get a blanket, Bella," he hollered as he pushed his body against Embry to help hold him in place. "He's starting to come around and his body is trying to subconsciously phase back."
I ran the few steps to the cabin below and grabbed the thick, golden comforter off the king-size bed. I draped it over Embry before Edward and I sat on him to hold him as still as possible. Part of me felt like an ice cube in a blender as his body began to thrash wildly underneath us. Alice came over to hold his head, making sure he didn't hit it, or bite his tongue off in the process. Jasper, who had to hear what was going on, kept the boat at full speed, hurrying to reach our docking destination.
And within a matter of seconds, Edward and I went from leaning on a huge wolf, to sitting completely on a human Embry. We both flew off as Edward went to work on checking him over. His eyes hadn't opened, but he was making sporadic moaning sounds, as if he was trying to speak.
"Embry, can you hear me?" Edward asked patiently while waiting for him to respond coherently. Most of Embry's words and responses were confused muffles and groans, followed by intense shaking. I bundled him up further, as best I could. His body was shivering as if he was intensely cold, but for a warm-blooded wolf, I found that highly doubtful.
I stood and braced my legs against Embry, my hands on his shoulders while Edward went downstairs to rummage through the medicine cabinet it sounded. Miraculously, he came back with a thermometer. "Hold his head firmer, Alice," he instructed as he placed the thermometer under Embry's tongue. "Bella, make sure he doesn't bite it in half," he told me as he held it securely in Embry's mouth and leaned against his thrashing legs.
"Okay," I answered, holding Embry's lips closed and placing two fingers inside by his teeth to keep them separated just enough.
"Hmmm…" Edward noised when he reached up to remove the thermometer and read its degree mark.
"What?" I eyed him curiously.
"One hundred and two," he answered disapprovingly.
"Is that so bad?" Alice asked.
"It's six degrees cooler than what they usually run," he replied to what we all knew. "There may be nothing wrong, but we'll need to keep an eye on it to see if it keeps rising to what's normal."
Alice and I nodded.
Once Embry started to come around more, he began to show signs of high aggressiveness. Not knowing where he was, he began to fight violently with Edward who was leaning over him, trying to get him to focus on him. Embry snarled and snapped while Edward blocked every flailing punch headed his way, finally holding his hands pressed against his sides.
"Embry, look at me!" Edward shouted.
Embry thrashed his head back and forth as if he refused to want to look.
"Embry, its Edward, you're alright," he tried to sound convincing. "Stop fighting," he eventually barked.
That must have been what Embry needed to hear, because immediately he calmed and glared up at Edward, trying to focus.
"Alice, see if you can find him some clothes," Edward asked. And immediately she was downstairs going through drawers, looking for something that would fit.
"Embry, do you know who I am?" Edward asked slowly, keeping eye direct contact.
Embry nodded, dazed, but didn't speak.
"Are you hurting anywhere?" Edward asked.
Embry nodded his head again and pointed slowly towards the bite mark that Caius left on his neck, then all down the right side of his body.
I glanced down to see the crescent shaped scar-mark that was just like the one James had left on me. That entry burning wouldn't go away as quick as the others, since it was the part that held the venom the longest. And then he grunted loudly, wanting to scream when he tried to move his left leg, grabbing painfully at his hip.
Alice returned with a t-shirt and shorts, and we turned our backs as Edward helped dress him after he gently examined his hip. "I can't tell for sure without an x-ray, but his hip could be fractured from when he fell on it. Alice, see if you can find any pain killers below. Ibuprophen will help."
"Sure thing," she sang as she danced back down again.
Before I could ask how I could help, Edward was running towards the kitchen and returning instantly with a bowl, just in time for Embry to throw up into. He screamed this time between heaves with every roll on his hip to reach the bowl. I felt so helpless watching him.
Alice returned with some ibuprophen and set it on the table for Edward.
"What's wrong with him?" I asked.
"He's sea sick and in a lot of pain. Let's get him outside in the fresh air," Edward instructed, setting the full bowl on the table, filled with yellow insides, and placing his arms under Embry's back and neck. Alice grabbed under his legs and held his hip.
I went outside and quickly sat down on the back platform while Alice and Edward carried him over to lean against me, so I could hold Embry in place from the choppy motion of the waves.
I braced my leg against his hip: one for the coolness, and two, so he could brace more on the other one, keeping the pressure off.
"Focus on the horizon," Edward told Embry. "It will help keep your equilibrium steady."
Alice placed the comforter securely around him and sat down beside us. Edward headed back up with Jasper after he set the washed-out bowl beside us, just in case.
Embry couldn't stop shivering.
"I think I'm making him colder," I whispered to Alice a few minutes later.
Alice ran back inside the cabin and returned a second later with the pillows from the bed. She placed them between his body and mine, doubling up the comforter to help, but the convulsing continued.
"I'm not so sure it's you, Bella," Alice guessed as she watched him closely.
After a few minutes, Alice climbed up onto the upper deck and Edward returned in her place.
"Should he be shivering like this still?" I asked him.
"He's cold because his temperature is lower than what his body is used to, his symptoms are like someone with hypothermia. It's possible the venom hurt his veins more than we know. His blood isn't flowing as fast as it should be."
"Will he be okay?" I asked quickly and softly so Embry couldn't quite understand.
"I'm not sure," Edward replied just as swift. "He obviously has internal damage, but I can't tell to what extent, except that his body is still struggling. It's possible he may never reach his normal temperature again," Edward sighed. "I wish I knew what his body will do from here."
"Should I move him off of me?"
"No, it's better you hold him still, love. He can't feel you through the pillows and comforter; he's just cold on his own."
"Alright," I replied warily. I still felt like I wasn't helping his body warm up, but listened to the doc anyways.
"Bella?" Embry whispered, his voice cracking on the 'e' my name.
"Yes, Embry," I answered calmly, holding back my excitement that he noticed who I was.
"Where are we? Where is everyone? Are we…all that's left?" he sounded confused and worried. He didn't know what happened after he lost consciousness.
"We're heading home, Embry," I told him as I ran my fingers comfortingly through his hair. "Everyone else took a plane, and we're all fine. Nothing to worry about, okay?"
"Charlie's fine, too. He's with Carlisle and Jacob. They're probably home by now. We still have another day or so ahead of us and then we'll be there as well," I said sweetly.
He breathed in deep then exhaled a loud sigh of relief. "Alright. Thank you."
"Sure thing." I gripped him tighter, hugging his form without crushing his fragile bones to dust.
"No, thank you, Bella," he whispered as he tried to look up at me. His tone was appreciative. And I knew by the look in his faint, exhausted eyes, what he was saying.
"You're welcome." I rubbed up and down his good side with a smile. "I'm just glad you're still with us."
"The pain was unbearable," he began to reminisce, his eyes closing. "It traveled so fast through me. And then I heard you and Jacob talking as the burning increased with each painful second. My whole right side felt like I was on fire. Then I felt your teeth against my neck, and my blood began to reverse, trying to fight against the pull you had on it. It was the weirdest sensation. But the pain lessened with time, and then…everything went dark."
I didn't want to tell Embry I feared I had drained too much of him. But I did want him to know what happened, for his own peace of mind.
"You lost a lot of blood, but, I knew I couldn't leave one drop of venom in you. Luckily, there was just enough left for your body to handle, to keep you alive." I stroked his hair. "Then Edward, Carlisle and Leah took over from there, keeping your heart and breathing going while your body worked on making more."
"Wow," he whispered hoarsely, trying to take it all in as he turned his head to stare out at the horizon, shaking every few moments, but not as bad as before.
Edward went into the cabin, returning a second later with Ibuprophen and a large glass of water. "Here, Embry, this should help with some of the pain."
"Thanks, Edward." He took the medicine and finished the entire glass.
"You're welcome." Edward nodded. And the look on his face toward Embry, gave the impression he was saying 'you're welcome' to more than just the medicine.
"Do you still feel sick?" I asked as I looked down at the bowl sitting next to me, hoping I didn't have to use it.
"No, I'm doing better," he still sounded tired. "I think my stomach hurts more from hunger than anything else."
Edward got up and went inside the cabin again. I could hear him rummaging through the cupboards looking for something to ease the wolf's hunger pains. He slammed the final door when he'd found something and made his way back out, kneeling next to us.
"Here." He handed Embry a freshly opened bag of pretzels. "Eat them slowly."
"Okay." A large hand reached into the bag and pulled out a huge handful, shoving each piece into his mouth.
"Slowly, Embry!" Edward scolded him.
"Sorry," he said around a mouth full, bits of chewed pretzel spitting on me.
I shook in the direction of the edge of the boat, flinging the soggy pieces over the side. When they were gone, I wiped my arm against the comforter to get the remaining saliva off. That was gross.
Embry proceeded to ask questions between pretzels bites about our journey to Volterra and what happened after he was out. We told him everything that happened, even at Volterra as he continued to shiver uncontrollably at times. The timing of some of them made me wonder if they were because he was cold, or if it was in reaction to what he'd just heard.
It was late morning, right when Edward said we'd arrive at the east coast, when Jasper found a safe docking area away from other humans taking out their boats.
We cleaned up quickly, making sure to leave the yacht in perfect condition for its owner: minus a few pain killers, some clothes, a thermometer and an entire bag of pretzels.
Alice and Jasper went to find a car while Edward and I carried Embry one arm over each shoulder from the boat. He growled through his teeth with each step he tried to make on his bad hip. Edward told him to lift both legs and we'd carry him to the vehicle, that he didn't have to try to walk on it—which helped.
Alice and Jasper showed up as soon as we reached the beginning of the dock. They hurriedly took out the last row of seating of the black Excursion for Embry to lie in the back of. And once we got him comfortable, we were on the road, heading quickly west.
We stopped several times along the way for bathroom and food breaks for Embry while Edward and Jasper did rock-paper-scissors to see who was going to help him stand when he had to use the restroom. It wasn't thrilling for Embry either, but necessary. Alice and I couldn't help but giggle.
Embry's temperature continued to climb as we kept the heater on as high as it would go. By the time we reached the Minnesota border, his body temp was up to one hundred and six.
I had to step out of the vehicle to get some cool air in my lungs when we pulled into a rest stop there. Edward met up with me on my side of the vehicle while it was Jasper's turn to take Embry to the bathroom.
"I think he's going to be fine, Bella," he said with some relief in his voice. "I'm glad to see his temperature is rising."
"Me too," I replied as I threw my arms around his neck and placed a few quick pecks to his lips.
Edward grazed his arms down my sides before wrapping them tightly around my waist, and slamming his lips against mine. "Home soon," he breathed heavily into my mouth.
Why did he keep doing this to me?
"You don't play fair," I said, breathing erratically back into his mouth and felt him smile.
Alice opened her door and came and stood next to us. Her continual timing was impeccable.
"Give Bella to me, Edward," she instructed as she grabbed my arm to pull me to her. "You're going to want to help Jasper in the restroom." She eyed him when he looked at her in frustration.
Edward stared at her for a moment then nodded after he looked down the road we'd just pulled off of, and took off for the restroom at a sprint.
And no sooner, a bright red eighteen-wheeler pulled up next to us.
The driver jumped out quickly to make his way to the bathroom. Alice gripped me tight when the night breeze blew his warm scent at me, causing me to want to lunge from her. His blood…
"Don't breathe, Bella," she said, holding me back.
I growled softly when my stomach muscles tightened and venom filled my mouth. I could have dragged her along with me if I wanted to, but fought against the pull. Being around humans wasn't something I'd missed in the last few days. This was torture all over again after almost attacking Charlie. Another thing to add to my list of things I felt bad about. Luckily, my father understood. This trucker, wouldn't.
Edward exited the restroom quickly with Jasper and Embry, just as the man was walking in. Jasper wasn't breathing as he closed his eyes and hung his head when they passed him. I didn't want to imagine what would have happened if Alice wasn't here. She had obviously seen this coming.
"Thank you, Alice," I barely whispered with clinched teeth when the boys reached the car.
Jasper let go of Embry quickly and got in on his side of the vehicle, closing the door with a loud slam, while Edward helped Embry back in.
"You're welcome, Bella." Her eyes danced and she smiled at me before getting in the car herself.
Edward met me on my side of the vehicle, holding the door open, waiting, to make sure I didn't run off towards the bathroom. "We can stop soon," he said, "for you and Jasper if you wish."
"I'm okay," I told him truthfully, using up some of my air. "But it might be a good idea, since we'll be seeing Charlie and more humans soon, and for Jasper." I glanced back at him, his face turned to stare out his window in the opposite direction.
"I'll find a place to stop," Edward said.
I hopped in the vehicle and Edward locked the door, shutting it before heading around to the driver's side. How easily I could have gotten out. And then he locked all the doors.
Alice grabbed Jasper's hand and began stroking her fingers along the back to calm him. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the seat when it started working.
After just half an hour on the road, Edward pulled off the highway and onto a desolate road next to a large forest area.
We hunted in rotation, allowing Jasper and Alice to go first. Embry was asleep and Edward took advantage of our time there to check him over. He still went in and out of shivers, but nothing like he had before, which was a good sign.
"The pack is going to be so anxious to see him," I said with joy. "I'm sure Jacob is wondering…" and then I stopped. Jacob, Renesmee, I thought in a panic. I'd been so used to my phone not having reception that I realized I hadn't spoken to them yet. They must be worried sick?
Edward grabbed my wrist when I reached for my phone and flipped it open. "Bella, love." He looked into my eyes and I almost stopped breathing. "It's late there now. Let them get some sleep, we'll be home by morning."
I sighed and flipped the phone shut, disappointed when I noticed the time was one o'clock am in Forks. He was right, I would have to wait.
Once Alice and Jasper returned, we headed into the forest for our turn, taking down two large deer. They weren't like the elk back home, but perfect enough to satisfy for the rest of our journey.
Edward and I hurried back to the vehicle and buckled our seatbelts as we settled ourselves in. He pulled back out onto the highway and gassed the heavy-duty beast to its max speed as soon as he hit the open road, but it didn't feel like we could go fast enough. I was more anxious than ever, now that I knew where our next major stop would be.
We rode in quiet stillness through each northern state until I gasped when I saw it. The sign far up ahead that said, 'Welcome to Washington State'.
******** Three more chapters and we're done ********