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Hot and Cold (Part 1.2)
The next night, Sunday night, Gabby came to my house and we drove to the cliff where the campfire was. There was a fire already blazing when we got there at sunset. Jacob was adding wood. Almost everyone was there, even the Cullens. It looked just like a small summer camp.
I don’t know why we never got to know the Cullens before we formed that alliance with them when we killed Victoria and her mafia. They were pretty cool people for lee-- er, vampires.
Edward, sitting across the fire from me, laughed a little.
“What?” Nessie asked.
“Embry almost called us ‘leeches,’” Edward said, “but he stopped.”
“Yay!” Nessie said enthusiastically, clapping.
“Thanks?” I said, glancing at Gabby who laughed.
Billy started telling the legend of the werewolves, cold ones, pale faces, Taha Aki, the sun woman, etc. I wasn’t as engrossed in it as I usually was. I was highly aware of the curve of Gabby’s neck as her head rested on my shoulder, the way her hand fit perfectly into mine. I felt protective, even though I knew there was no danger. Still, I had the feeling like someone--or something-- was watching us from the darkness of the trees. Something smelled…off.
“And now we come to a new chapter in the legend,” Billy said majestically.
“Tell me,” Paul said, “Are the Vultures or whatever in the new chapter?”
“The Volturi,” Seth said knowingly. We all looked at him. “What?”
“No one really cares what they’re called,” Emmett pointed out.
“The Volturi are in the new part,” Billy said.
“Couldn’t we just gloss over that?” Jared said.
“From what I’ve heard,” Gabby said, “Jane and Caius sound the scariest.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
A voice came from the forest. Six figures cloaked in black emerged from the trees. Three were in front while the other three followed behind like dogs following their masters, which wasn’t entirely a metaphor.
They were the Volturi. It was Jane who spoke, from the back line with Felix and Demetri. Aro, Caius, and Marcus lead. They moved with eerie beauty and you could not tell if you could trust them or not. I knew I couldn’t.
I clutched Gabby tighter to me. A ring of anxiety circled the fire and was dissolved almost immediately by Jasper using his power.
“What a pleasant surprise,” Aro said. “The Cullens and their…pets.”
Rosalie and Jacob glanced at each other in disgust. Pets to the Cullens?
“Hello,” Edward said.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Jacob said, trying to stay calm. His arm trembled around Nessie.
“We were here on business,” Jane said. “We finished, so Aro wanted to see Carlisle. But apparently he’s not here.”
“Yes, where is Carlisle?” Aro asked, looking at Edward.
“In Vancouver,” Edward said.
“What do we have here?” Felix said, looking directly at Gabby. He took a few steps forward until he was closer to us and breathed deeply. “A little bit diluted from spending too much time with werewolves, but very citrus-y. I like it.”
“Don’t touch her,” I threatened through gritted teeth.
“Does she know?” Caius asked, his red eyes going from the girl in my arms to me.
No one said anything for a minute.
“I shall see what you are trying to keep from us,” Aro said. “Renesmee? Will you be the one to show me?”
Nessie looked at Edward. Edward hesitated for a moment, and then nodded. Nessie stood up and walked to Aro. He took her hand and received all the thoughts she ever had. We were all silent for a minute. I could swear Bella didn’t breathe once out of fear for her daughter.
Finally, Aro released Nessie’s hand.
“A friendship with a human,” he said thoughtfully.
“It’s not exactly unheard of,” Alice said.
“I see,” Aro said quietly. He walked over to Gabby and held out his hand. “Will you allow me to see your mind?”
Gabby held out a shaking and Aro grabbed it. I sat as still as stone as Gabby gave away every thought she ever had. What would he see? Would he let her live after he saw it? At last, Aro let go of her hand, and I let go of the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
“She knows too much,” Aro said. “She said to either be turned or be killed.”
“What?!” I yelled, almost losing control and phasing.
“There has to be another way,” Nessie begged.
I barely heard her. The only thing I saw was the bloodsucker who wanted to take away the woman I loved.
“You of all people know the law,” Aro said, walking back to his small group. “You know how it must be carried out.”
“Wait to make your decision,” Edward said. “Carlisle and Esme will be back tomorrow, we can decide then.”
“We’ll wait until Wednesday,” Aro said. “You have time to think, and we have time to think.”
Was that his definition of “fair”?
“And don’t think of trying to run,” Caius said. “If you do, we’ll know. It will only mean death.”
“Just go,” Edward said.
As the Volturi walked back into the woods, I heard Demetri say to Felix, “Rock Paper Scissors for who gets Gabby.”
Gabby started to cry on my shoulder. Leah mumbled a swear word aimed at the Volturi under her breath.
“Leeches,” Seth agreed.
“Bloodsuckers,” Paul added.
“They’re worse than that,” Jacob said. “They’re demons.”
“From hell,” Quill added.
“Shh,” I whispered in Gabby’s ear. I moved my hand up and down her arm.
I turned to the rest of us around the fire.
“I’m going to take Gabby home,” I said.
“See you tomorrow,” Nessie said.
I scooped up Gabby in my arms and walked back to my car with her. I gently place her in the passenger side, and then walked to the driver’s side. Her crying had slowed to just a drizzle of tears down her cheeks.
“They’re all going to hell,” I said, staring out the windshield.
“Embry,” Gabby whispered, “I don’t want to die.”
“Gabby, look at me,” I said, lifting her face with my fingers. “You’re not going to die.” I sighed and leaned back against the seat. “Want to go to my house?”
Gabby nodded. We drove in silence all the way. It felt like the longest car ride of my life.
About an hour later, the two of us sat on my bed watching The Twilight Zone on an old-time TV channel, talking about anything that came to our heads. Anything other than what just happened to us.
“Have you every heard Rosalie imitate Talking Tina?” Gabby said, referring to the episode we were watching.
“No, I haven’t,” I said. “Is she good?”
“Yeah,” Gabby said. “I got kind of freaked out.”
I leaned across the bed and began kissing Gabby. She wrapped her arms around me. We got more into it than we usually did, but a scream of terror from the TV killed the passion.
Gabby sighed when I pulled away. I switched off the TV and my cell phone rang. I grabbed it off the dresser.
“Hello?” I said, laying next to Gabby.
“Embry, it’s Alice. What time are you coming over tomorrow?”
“What?” I said in disbelief. “Alice, you’re not still having Seth’s party are you?”
“Look,” Alice said, “Vonie and Alyson don’t know about Gabby yet. We can break the new easy to them.”
“You know, you did this with Bella’s graduation party and what happened?”
“Um, we formed an alliance, Victoria got killed…?”
“After that. Bella became a vampire.”
I sighed. “One day, if I’m single, I’m going to kill you for this. I’ll be there at six.”
Then I hung up.
“What is it?” Gabby asked, looking at me worriedly.
“Apparently Seth’s party is still on,” I said.
“Is Nessie insane?!” Gabby said with the same disbelief I felt.
“Alice is, actually. She thinks you should tell Vonie and Alyson tomorrow.”
“What am I going to say to them?”
That one sentence killed me. I hated that she sounded so hopeless.
“Just get some sleep,” I said, stroking her cheek. “We’ll figure it out tomorrow.”
I kissed her on the cheek before turning off the lamp. Gabby fell asleep quickly, but I stayed awake. I couldn’t decide what was worse: Gabby being dead, or being one of the undead. She didn’t think death was really that bad. She said there was heaven. What if she became a vampire? Then what would we do? I thought back to Jasper’s story about how he found the Cullens and the gory images of newborns it brought to my head. Would Gabby be like that? Would she even be Gabby anymore, or would she be a blood-sucking monster? I wasn’t around for most of when Bella was a newborn, so I did not really know what they were like. The only thing I knew about newborns was from when we fought the ones Victoria had made a few years ago. I only knew they were vicious fighters.
I put it out of my mind and slowly, mercifully, sleep found me.