I hadn’t realized my mistake until it was too late. I felt her tense in my arms and grimaced as I slowly let go of her as I kept my head and eyes down to avoid meeting her eyes. The submissive motion would hopefully ease some of her instincts but something told me that I was about to take a big one for the Cullens and they in turn were going to pay dearly for this from me later.
Before I saw it coming, Bella struck out so fast and repeatedly that she knocked me back on my ass in shock. I could feel that my face had cracked and venom seeping through as it begun to heal quickly but the sheer force of her blows astounded me. I quickly tried to scramble to my feet to find some defensive position to avoid further damage to myself, or to her. Especially to her, but she just stalked around me like a panther to its prey, waiting for the next strike. Her anger flowed from her in waves that ebbed and receded like ocean waves on the shore.
“Easy there Bella. I know you are hurt and angry but give me a chance to explain everything that I know of what happened,” I tried to say but she came at me quickly and I was on my back staring up at the sky. Getting back to my feet, she was about twenty yards away, watching carefully. “I won’t fight you. You can provoke me all you want but it won’t work. I am not your enemy here.”
She let out a snarl as she circled around behind me. I struggled to quell my instinct to view her as a threat, even though she very much was. A much deadlier one because of her newborn strength, but I had my own gift to assist me. Pushing some calm out towards her, and some for the hope I felt for us to resolve whatever bothered her peacefully, I could feel the emotion being pushed away. “Bella,” I implored to her as I held my hands up while I slowly sank to my knees. “I do not know what you remember but I will tell you everything that I know.”
I waited to see what she would do as I continued to move to sit on the ground. As she didn’t make anymore threatening movements, I took it as an invitation to continue. I never hesitated in battle. If I were alive and my heart beat, one would hear it a mile away as I looked up at this beautiful woman before.
“Tell me,” Bella demanded as she took a step forward. I knew in our positions, she would be in the prime position to be able to take my head off if I so allowed her.
Nodding, I ran my hands over my pants needlessly in my nervousness. “Where do I begin?” I asked myself, earning a warning growl from her. My stalling was not earning any points and I wondered what Peter and Charlotte did when she fell into these particular mood swings. “After your party, Edward returned to the house after he brought you home, telling the family that you had enough with us. That you did not want to risk your life any more by being around us and asked for him to leave you alone. That we all leave you alone,” I started, growing angry myself. “I knew he was lying but my own guilt for letting everyone’s bloodlust overcome me and attacking you stopped me from saying anything.”
She stood there blinking at my words but I couldn’t determine what she was feeling because of whatever gift she possessed. Her face gave nothing away so I was left to assume that she might not remember that night well enough so I moved on. “The family moved and we spent the next months trying to forget but it was impossible. You changed our world so much in so short a time that you have no idea what that means. Even Rosalie missed you, even if she wouldn’t admit it. She regretted the way she treated you, especially after I explained that Edward’s story was all a fabrication. Emmett never wanted to leave but because Rosalie thought it was the right thing, he would follow her wherever she went.”
Bella seemed to take some time to think over what I said and I was beginning to feel some of her emotions filtering through almost like a strainer. Rage was the dominant one but underlying the powerful emotion was something gentler that I wasn’t able to place because it was being drowned. She suddenly turned and ran to the treeline where she began to throw punches into one of the heavier trunks until it toppled over. Wincing at the crash it made, I returned to my feet.
Slowly, I made my way over to find her breathing heavy as she covered her hands over her face. “Please tell me how to help you Isabella,” I pleaded, reaching out to pull her hand down so that I can look into her eyes. If I couldn’t get a full grasp of her emotions, then I would need to see her through her eyes.
The venom pooled in the crimson orbs as she blinked back at me, almost instantly calming down. Opening her mouth slightly, she took a steadying breath. “You just did. Please don’t call me Bella. They all called me that. I don’t like it anymore.”
I couldn’t help but to laugh slightly. “It would be my pleasure then Isabella. I could always call you Cupcake if you like?” I asked, referring to my brother’s pet name for her.
“Sure. You can. If you don’t mind my calling you Cornbread,” she replied with her large eyes looking at me innocently.
Scowling at her, I knew I opened a can of worms with that one. “That will only get Pete all riled up and I’ll never hear the end of that. I don’t think so Miss Isabella. No. If anything I’d rather have you on my side against him.”
“What makes you think I want to team up with you? Perhaps I like being on Team Peter?” Bella asked as she started to walk away, her mood seemed to have flipped completely from just a few minutes before when she wanted to take my head off. Granted, I knew she was a newborn but her level of calmness was slightly unnerving.
“Like hell you’ll be on anyone’s team but our own!”
The girl paused in the middle of the field that lead back to the house as she turned to look back at me. Her red eyes glittered just as much as her skin in the sun from whatever thought she held making me narrow my eyes on her suspiciously. “Perhaps you’re right. It would be wrong if I was your mate to play on Team Peter,” she mused with a pout that had my eyes fixated on her lips. “I’ll just stick to Team Charlotte and you can be on Team Peter!” she exclaimed before she turned and sped away, leaving me gaping like a dumb fish out of water.
It took me a full minute to process what the vixen just implied before I took off after her but she had beat me to the house. When I walked in, I found a very irritated Peter waiting in the living room for me. “What the hell did you just do?”
“Uh…I’m not sure what you mean. Where is Isabella?”
“With Charlotte. She just insisted that they share a room together now. That supposedly you agreed that it would be great for her to be Team Char and you are Team Peter? What the hell kind of conversation did you two have out there? I thought you two were supposed to be straightening out your mate bond. Not swap our partners out for each other! I love ya man but not like that!” Peter complained, making me look up towards my old room dubiously. The amusement that was coming out of there was far too calculating and devious to be coincidental.
“Really? I thought it was a great idea Petie. After all, it’s been how long since we’ve really hung out? We should get to know each other again just as much as I need to know Isabella considering the years,” I shrugged, playing along with her game.
He stood there staring at me. “Please tell me you’re not fucking serious,” he whispered desperately. “Cupcake has been driving me crazy this week. If you aren’t going to take her off my hands and get a place of your own soon…I may end up doing something drastic…”
“Lay a hand on her and I will remove your head myself,” I threatened, feeling the Major come out even though I knew he was joking in his own way. “She will tell me when she is ready. I won’t push her into anything she is not willing or wanting. If she prefers to stay with you and Charlotte permanently then I won’t deny her, that is if you still want her.”
“We want her. But she needs to get fucking laid man. Do something about that,” Pete grimaced as he looked up the stairs.
“No. She’s not ready and she doesn’t feel that way about me. I will court her if she expresses any interests, but for now I will be her friend and companion. For myself, that is enough,” I could not help but to smile as I found myself easily recalling the image of my Isabella’s carefree smile in the field just a short time before. Edward was truly a fool for refusing to change the girl and letting her go, but I wouldn’t make that mistake now.