Since Bella's birthday, things have been….hectic to say the least. The Volturi wanted to go on a hunting trip and exterminate the whole coven that was coming for Bella, Mike Newton's disappearance turned into a full cop involved investigation, and Emmett and I were suspects because of what he did to Bella, and last but not least, just this afternoon James tried to take my Bella from me.
As I stood on the steps, looking into the living room, I watched my mate decorate the Christmas tree with my sisters, and thanked whoever it was that was watching over us for not taking her from me even if her arm was in a cast.
Edward stood just as I did, alert with arms across the chest, to most we would look like causal observers, but to us we were protecting our mates and our family. Tensions were going to be high for a while and I was scared to let Bella out of my sight. As if she knew I was thinking about her, she turned and gave me a giant smile, then crooked her finger for me to join her. I shook my head no at her, and she pouted. I wanted to laugh, but I was too high strung and today just made it ten times worse.
After Bella and I had our alone time and everyone returned from hunting, we knew we had to sit down and talk about the next steps to take in ending the existence of those responsible for hurting Bella.
Aro stood tall, his guards at his side, "I see no reason for this meeting Cullen's. Demetri will just have to track them down and then Jane and Alec will exterminate them. What is complicated about that?"
Peter, who has been unusually quiet lately joined the conversation, "Aro, no disrespect to you and your guard, but this goes further then what these people did to Bells." He paused and looked at me for a reaction. I bit back a growl but nodded at him to continue, "They are working for Cortez, he wants, the Major, Char and me, to go join him and fight for him, and then they are heading for you."
"Exactly my point Peter, we kill them now while their numbers are still low." Aro countered.
"They have more then you think." Peter said back and didn't answer any other questions.
The conversation moved to Mike and Tanya and what to be done with them. I said that we had to kill them as soon as possible and the others agreed with me, but my stubborn mate decided she didn't like that idea.
"Jazz, what if they served Aro, in Volterra, wouldn't that be punishment?" She asked with her big doe eyes. "I don't want to be responsible for so much death."
"You are not responsible sweetheart, I promise, and Bella, we just can't leave her to get revenge when she serves her time," I tried to sooth her, but she just huffed.
It was determined that Demetri and Felix would go hunt down Tanya and Mike and hand out their punishment. Alice told us guys, that we had to hit the road and find something else to do because the girls were having a slumber party and we weren't invited.
We stayed in the house, but went down to the basement, played some Xbox, and some poker. Peter suggested porn, but Edward said, that Alice said, if we wanted to keep our balls intact we wouldn't even think about it. And all of us like where our balls were.
Just as we were about to start a new poker hand, Charlie came in from his shift and popped open a beer. "Hard day Chief?" I asked.
"Yeah, my future son in law and his brother are suspects in the disappearance of Mike Newton. I had that crazy Newton woman in my office all day insisting I arrest the both of you and demand you tell me where he is." He said full of sarcasm and Edward busted out laughing.
"Sorry, the visuals of Mrs. Newton, oh sorry Charlie." He snorted and bit into his fist to stop from laughing out loud.
Charlie went on to explain that after the incident with Bella at her birthday party, people talked about Emmett holding Newton back from leaving and about him drugging Bella. I suspected that the Slut Twins were involved in the rumor mill, but I didn't say anything.
After four hours, the guys and I got restless, and wanted our mates. Emmett was the first to crack and we just all followed under the pretence of 'stopping him from interrupting' yeah cause they would believe that.
Anyway, as we made our way upstairs to the living room, Emmett stopped in his tracks and then busted out laughing. All the girls were sitting in a circle painting each others toe nails or braiding someone's hair. Each girl was in a different set of pajamas and I felt the lust in the room rise substantially.
When Emmett laughed, all the girls stopped their movements and looked at him with raised eyebrows. Rose was the one to ask the question we were all thinking, "What the hell are you laughing at?"
"Jane….Jane Volturi is painting Bells toe nails….." he cracked again and started laughing once more. The laughter didn't last long, Jane glared at him and dropped him with her gift.
This time it was the girls who were laughing as Emmett withered in pain and asked our small friend to make it stop. I wondered briefly how the rest of us didn't drop too but cast a glance at my mate and felt her smugness rolling off of her. I arched an eyebrow at her and she shrugged and mustered up all her lovey dovey feelings for me. I snatched her up and ran toward our room and we didn't return until it was time to feed her the next morning.
Unfortunately that morning also brought the news that Tanya and Mike had been eliminated. Dem and Felix came in and told us how Tanya was sitting at Mike's side as he went through the transformation. They were glad to have gotten there when they did, because a newborn would have been worse to deal with. Tanya tried to fight back, but against Felix's strength there was no hope. After taking care of Tanya they easily broke Mike's neck since he wasn't fully turned yet.
They brought Mike's body back so that Mrs. Newton could bury him, she still insisted Emmett and I had something to do with his death. We all went to the funeral, Bella cried, not because she actually cared for the boy, but she still felt like his death was on her hands.
October and November went by pretty smoothly. On the rare occasion we ran into Mrs. Newton, she would yell and scream "murders" at us, but other then that, things were pretty great.
I got to actually take Bella out on some dates, I called it 'courting' and she laughed at me, as did her father. He said it was silly to ask him to take her out when I'd already claimed her physically and with her engagement ring. I didn't find anything funny about it.
I wanted our relationship out there for everyone, I wanted to show her off to the world. I loved that we weren't holed up in Peter and Char's house or in the library all the time. So we went to movies, and to the fair in Port Angles. Of course, the family had to come too, well sometimes. Emmett insisted on the fair, because he wanted to prove he was a he-man….with that whole, hit the thing with the hammer make it hit the dinger at the top. He won some prizes for Rose, so all the guys started competing on who got their lady the most prizes. The girls finally put a stop to it after each having five giant stuffed animals. They called it a tie, but keep their prizes in their rooms.
I tried to talk Bella into going to the Homecoming football game and dance, but she said "Hell no, not just no, but hell no." And that was the end of that. Then at the end of October, I tried to talk her into a Halloween party, as did Alice. Then Bella reminded us what happened at the last party the Cullen household held and we ditched the idea.
Bella also crossed Thanksgiving off of her to-do list because it was just her and Charlie, although she's never liked that holiday. She did tell me she was thankful we were together though. Now at the beginning of December is when things went back to worse.
Bella woke up this morning asking if we could get a Christmas tree. I found no reason that she couldn't have a tree and was actually excited that we could spend the holiday together without time limits, or in hiding. We were free to be together now, it didn't matter to anyone.
So we went out into the woods, because Emmett declared we could find a better one on our own then at some lot, and started a hunt for a tree. Every tree Bella picked wasn't right for Emmett's child like mind. He wanted bigger or fatter, the best of the best he said. Bella just laughed him off and allowed him to keep hunting. After two hours in the woods, Bella started a snow ball fight. I wasn't sure why she decided to have one with a bunch of vampires, but the girls teamed up against the guys and it was all out war. Somewhere in the midst of our war, Bella staggered off, and no one could see her. I frantically looked all around and tried to catch her scent.
Alice fell into a vision and let out a low whine. She clamped onto Edward and he suddenly was full of dread, "He's here."
The dread, plus Alice's whimper, and Bella's disappearance only meant one person. James. The man who stalked and ultimately created Alice.
"Is he alone or are their others?" I nearly growled out.
"Yes, he's by himself. He wants Bella back. I lost her, that means her shield is up." Alice murmured.
I snarled and cursed and pushed myself harder to find my mate. He could have gone anywhere with her by now. I caught the foul stench of his scent and followed it toward the end of our territory line. I didn't know if the Quileute's knew anything about what was going on with us, but I'd rather not have them involved in anything.
There on the ledge was James, holding my mate by her wrist. I could already see it bruising and feared he would break it. Edward came through the trees right behind me and snarled at, what I assumed were James' thoughts. Edward's anger rivaled my own, so maybe he was thinking of both Bella and Alice. I looked at Alice with a "What the hell" expression. She had said that Bella had her shield up, so how did that bastard get her?
"Well my pet, you don't smell the same. You smell, like…him." James growled at my Bella, "Why did you have to taint her Jasper?"
"She's not yours James, I suggest you let her go and let me put an end to your miserable existence now, because if I do it at a later time, I can promise you it will be more painful then the change." I growled at the nasty filth that dared lay his hand on my mate.
"Jazz, I'm sorry." Bella cried, and when she did, James snapped her wrist by grabbing her back from the step she took towards me.
"I could have her right now, Major, if I wanted to, but I want you to come find her. Maybe I'll just take her with me, will you come then?" James taunted. "How much are you willing to risk for her?"
The answer was easy, anything, everything, but I didn't answer him and he continued, "She sure is a fine piece of ass, and she tasted so sweet didn't she Major? I'd love to have my way with her."
I wanted to pounce on him so badly, I wanted to kill this man that dared think of my mate that way, but I knew that I couldn't. I couldn't risk her well being, and I knew he was only saying these things to get a rise out of me. I looked at Bella and said, "I love you," and she mouthed it back with an 'it's okay' I wasn't sure why she said it was okay, or what she was saying was okay, but I figured she thought I was going to attack him and she was going to get hurt, but I wouldn't do that. She already had to be enough pain from her wrist.
I noticed that we weren't alone on the cliffs now, the whole family, including Kate and Charlie had now joined us in our hunt for James. "Your outnumbered here James, just give up." Edward tried to reason.
"Oh, you Mr. Mind Reader, how does it feel to know I had your mate, just like I had the Major's?" James was again taunting and I think had Alice not let out another whine, Edward would have attacked him.
James then turned his attentions to Alice, "Mary-Alice, how sweet it is to see you again, I've missed you." He said in a sickly sweet voice, "Do you want to come home with me? I'll take good care of you, just like I used to."
Alice froze, and it looked like she was having a vision, only not the same. Her eyes filled with venom tears and she started shaking in fear. Esme took a step towards her but Edward, put a hand out to stop her.
"No Mom, she's remembering." He whispered. "And he's showing me a whole lot too."
Esme gasped and turned into Carlisle's side. Throughout the whole incident I was trying to find a way to get Bella back. When I turned toward my family, I noticed Peter and Char were missing, then I saw them coming up behind James.
"James, what is it you want. You can't want to work for someone." I turned his attention back towards me.
"I want my freedom, to do what I want to who I want." He complained, "And Cortez says I can have that if I help him. A little work for an eternity of fun, who am I to pass that up?" He waved his hands around and loosened the hold he had on Bella. When he did, Char grabbed her around the waist and took off running. When James reached to grab her, Peter pinned him to the ground.
I was torn on what to do, I wanted to run in the direction that Char did with Bella, but I also wanted to tear this son of a bitch apart. I looked at Edward and he looked to Alice, but she wasn't helping.
"I'm not getting anything solid from her, you make the call, Jasper." Edward shrugged.
Emmett spoke up and suggested, "Why don't you take off one of his arms and burn it, then send him back to this Cortez and let him know what happens if you fuck with us?"
I actually liked that idea, but I wasn't sure if that was the best course. Didn't I just explain to Bella how Tanya had to be killed so she couldn't come back for revenge? I looked at Edward, "Do it. Take his arm off and burn it. Start at his fingers and just light it."
Edward got really excited then, he was avenging, at least somewhat, his mate's agony. "Get any information you can from him Ed, we'll need it."
"You know I'll be back for her," James yelled, "I'll drain her, and I'll have her, every way I want."
Before I could say or do anything Peter laid punches into his jaw over and over until Edward put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. I smirked and mustered up a whole bunch of fear and sent it to James, then I leaned down and got in his face, "You see that man, he's my second in command, he cares about my mate, almost as much as I do." Then I turned his head towards Edward, "And you see that guy over there, well, he's probably even more pissed at you then I am considering how long you have been fucking with his mate, and they had no idea what happened." Then I shoved his face in the dirt, "I hope you have fun with them, now I have to get back to that…what was it you called her, oh yeah, hot piece of ass, and have my way with her."
Then I took off into the woods and back into the house. Once I made it back, Bella was on the porch cradling her wrist with her other hand. When I was close enough she launched herself into my arms.
"Bella, come on, Carlisle needs to fix that." I tried to pull her off of me but she wouldn't let go. "Please let him fix you." Bella didn't speak she just shook with fear as I carried her inside and up to Carlisle's study.
I sat down with Bella in my lap and I ran a hand through her hair and nuzzled her neck with a purr to help her calm down. When Carlisle grabbed her hand and she flinched, I nearly took his head off. I did however, move Bella from my lap to the couch, and had Carlisle pinned to the nearest wall by the throat.
"Jazz?" I heard Bella's weak voice call, "Please come back, I need you."
I immediately let go of Carlisle and returned to my mate, "I'm sorry, Carlisle, I have no clue why I did that."
"You were protecting your mate Jasper, no harm done." He assured me while fixing his tie.
"Alice?" Bella asked.
"She's fine, Bella, Edward will take care of her." I kept talking to distract her from Carlisle working on her wrist. "You should have seen Peter take down that guy, it was pretty cool. I know how you love to watch us spar, but this, was pretty kick ass."
"What about our tree?" Bella snuggled into me, trying to get herself closer. Carlisle worked at vampire speed with the cast so we could be done.
"I got it Bells it's all set up," Emmett said from the doorway, "Ed wants to talk to you Jasper."
I nodded and stood to take Bella to our room, and Bella still clung to me. Kate came into our bedroom and took her from me while I went to speak to Edward. Bella let out a small sob when I walked out of the bedroom and I almost turned back around. Kate waved me off with her hand and Bella curled into her lap and cried.
I walked toward Ed and Alice's bedroom and found them cuddled together on their bed. Edward nodded toward the couch and I sat down.
"What did you get from him?" I asked.
"A lot. Cortez is starting brand new. He's going to create his own newborn army. They are all still in Arizona. Oddly enough, they are living in Bella's mother's house. I'm not sure how she'll feel about that." he sighed, "Alice was flashing back to before she was turned."
I didn't say anything, I just let him continue, because I don't know what I would do if my mate was tortured and then turned, and then didn't even remember it. Which is probably a good thing since it was torture, but, still to not remember anything from your human life is probably worse then just having fuzzy memories like the rest of us.
"She saw what he did to her, while she was drugged in that…place…." He ground out, "An asylum Jasper, for crazy people, they thought her visions made her crazy." He let out a scary low chuckle, "I'm sorry to be keeping you from Bella, but, I just wanted you to know, I got a lot from him and we'll be able to use it."
I nodded my thanks and set out toward my mate once again. I laid down next to her on the bed, and she rolled to face me. "Are you going to tell me what you did to him?"
"Edward took off one of his arms, and made him watch it burn. While he did that, he got any information he could out of his head." I paused to get her reaction, "And then we let him go back and let them know what we were capable of."
"I thought you said you couldn't leave loose ends?" Bella asked.
"We can't but what good is James going to be to Cortez with one arm? He'll probably kill him anyway, at least this way, he'll have gotten a message from me first." I shrugged.
"What kinds of message?" She asked wrapping her legs into my own.
"That you don't' fuck with my mate without consequences." I growled. When I did, I smelled Bella's arousal permeate our bedroom, "Oh sugar, you like that side of me?"
"You know I do Jazz," she bucked her hips into my own and I rolled on top of her.
"How much pain are you in?" I asked expecting a truthful answer and I reached out with my gift to find out the truth.
"Um…when your on top of me like this, none," she paused, "but when I'm not distracted….a little."
"How about we just take a nap, sugar, we can," I wiggled my eyebrows at her, "Another time…okay?"
"You are turning me down, Jazz? Who are you and what have you done with my mate?" she giggled and then yawned.
"See, you might fall asleep in the middle of it and that would kill my ego." I nudged her with my shoulder and then I heard her breathing even out and noticed she was asleep. Yeah she would have really killed my ego, if we started something and then she fell asleep.
As she slept, she would get, really scared, and then really angry, I wanted to help her, but in her subconscious she had her mental shield wrapped around her, so I couldn't.
It took four hours and Rose coming in to suggest decorating the tree to bring Bella out of her scared, and crying position in my lap. As soon as she saw that Alice was also ready to decorate, she jumped up and hugged her close. I surmised that Bella thought, if Alice was okay, then she should be too.
So now, as they decorate the tree and prepare for Christmas, I wonder how many more familial moments we'll have. I wonder what kinds of talents Cortez is going to find, and I wonder, if we did the right thing in letting him go today.
All my thoughts, though, are interrupted when I feel a warm hand reach up and grab my own. "Jazz, it's okay."
"Sorry sugar, but its really not this time." I tried to laugh her off, but she grabbed my face within her hands.
"I believe in you," she kissed one side of my cheek, "I trust you," then she kissed the other, "and most importantly," she kissed me on the lips, "I love you. And everything is going to work out."
I wanted to be as hopeful as she was and the only thing I could think of was, "Marry me now." All eyes turned toward me, wide as saucers and I felt the shock coming off of everyone, then I realized I said it out loud, "I'm serious, marry me now, please."