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Hot and Cold (Part 1.4)
“I can’t believe this is my last beach day.”
Gabby and I were walking down First Beach. A few stray rays of sun penetrated the clouds. It was strange that there was actually still sunlight at a time like this. Didn’t the sun know how bad things were down here? Or was it oblivious to us on earth?
“We can’t just sit around and wait,” I said. “Twenty-four hours is too long.”
“What else are we going to do?” Gabby said. She sounded like she had given up. Maybe she had. “You heard what Caius said.”
“We can’t run,” I said, “but we can fight, if we need to. The only thing is I don’t know how to make sure you don’t get hurt in the middle of it.”
Gabby sighed. “Hopefully it won’t come to that. Hopefully Carlisle will be able to talk the Volturi out of it.”
“If not?” I said.
“Then I either become a vampire or die,” she said. How could she put it so simply?
She would die tomorrow no matter what the verdict was, vampire or death, because they were both like the same thing to me. Why did the Volturi have to be so obsessed with secrecy? We couldn’t run. Even if we could, wherever we ran, they would follow.
Wednesday dawned with eerie abruptness. I was up early, before the sun. I could not stay at home; it felt too closed in, too much like a prison. I decided to go out running. As soon as I phased, I felt Jacob with me.
Hey, he said.
Hi, I said without any emotion.
Come by Emily’s place, he said.
I ran toward the cliffs, to Emily’s. As I ran, the sun began to rise in the distance. Once I got to Emily’s, I saw Sam was there too. The sun was almost completely up.
You okay? Jacob asked me.
I don’t know, I said. I don’t think I’ve woken up yet.
In the distance, I heard Brady give a tormented howl.
Alyson and Vonie are pretty distressed, Jacob sighed. Brady and Collin feel it too.
You too? I guessed.
Yeah, Jacob said. Nessie’s anxious.
In the distance, I heard someone howl. Jared, maybe? Then Paul howled, closer than Jared was. Jacob and Sam looked at each other, and I knew. The Volturi had arrived.
We started running toward the other side of the reservation. At the border, what was once known as the treaty line, Paul joined us.
Paul wants to know how you’re doing, Jacob told me.
I whimpered a bit. Paul nodded, but kept a steady pace. I hung behind everyone a little. Eventually Collin and Brady found us. By the time we were almost to the Cullen’s baseball field, we were all there. We did not stop at the field; the trial was being held at the Cullen’s house.
At the Cullen’s house, everyone was split into two sides. The Cullens and Gabby were on one side of the driveway while the Volturi were on the other. Gabby was standing in front with Carlisle and Esme on either side of her. Jasper and Emmett were two steps behind them. Everyone else was in a loose line in the back. I trotted over to Gabby and nudged her gently.
“Embry,” she whispered, wrapping her arms around me and burying her face in my fur.
“Everyone is here,” Aro said as if we were discussing business over lunch. “Excellent.”
Caius shot a disapproving glare my way. I immediately returned with a menacing growl. Seth backed me up, growling angrily.
Thanks, I said.
Anytime, Seth said. We shouldn’t be here, not for this.
“I agree,” Edward whispered.
Guys, shut up, Jacob said to Seth and I.
Gabby let go of me, but she kept a hand on my side. Aro stepped forward, closing the small gap, and Gabby’s fingers began to shake.
“Gabrielle here knows too much about us,” Aro said. “I assume she knows our law.”
“Yes,” Carlisle said. “She wouldn’t expose us, though. She only found out from Embry. They love each other.”
“We can see that,” Marcus said. “It seems like a stronger love than most. Almost as strong a love as Edward and Bella.”
“There is not much to discuss,” Aro said. He turned to Caius and Marcus. “Brothers, let us counsel.”
Aro, Caius, and Marcus put there hands on each other’s, creating a triangle between them. Jane smiled at Gabby. Oh God, no! But for some reason, the pain Jane was trying to torture Gabby with did not reach her. I knew why. Bella was using her shield.
“Enough!” Caius suddenly shouted with more hatred than seemed earthly possible. “We know what must be done. I refuse to prolong it any longer!”
Caius lunged at Gabby. He was on top of her before anyone could react. No! He bit her! Emmett pulled Gabby away from Caius’s stone-cold hands at the same time I began fighting with him. I tried to rip off his head; I knew that I would disable him the fastest that way.
Don’t get into this! I snarled. He’s mine.
I don’t know how long we fought. I could feel Seth eager to jump in, but I had to be the one to kill Caius. It seemed like an eternity and a half that we clawed and bit at each other, blocking attacks.
Stop! Jacob said in a voice I had never heard him use before now. The voice of the Alpha.
I was forced to obey. I ran over to Gabby. She was on the ground, leaning against the side of the house. She was screaming and writhing in pain.
Can’t you do something? I screamed to Edward.
“The venom is too deep in her system,” Edward said, fighting to stay calm.
No, I said, barely a whisper.
Embry-- Jacob started.
NO! I cried out.
I whipped around, but those filthy leeches who called themselves “royalty” had gone. I ran into the forest, following their scent. I would find them. I would find them and kill them all the slowest I could.
Embry, you can’t, Jacob said.
Why not? I yelled.
Think about it, Seth said. What good is killing the Volturi going to do?
Seth’s right, Jacob agreed.
You’re just thinking about Nessie! I argued. What about Gabby? What about me?
Embry, Jacob said. No, the Alpha said. Don’t. Don’t go after them.
The weight of the Alpha’s command constrained me, and I had to follow it. I stopped running abruptly and toppled over, sharp sticks slicing into my arms and side. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the pain. It was the only thing that would not bring back memories of the dead woman I loved so much.
You know how much I want them dead, Jacob said. We can’t fight them now, though.
We’ll leave you alone, Seth said.
The two of them and Leah phased. I couldn’t just sit around while Gabby was in pain, but I couldn’t go back to the Cullen’s house. I got back up and ran through the forest, howling.