Chapter 27: Back To Forks We Go
Char and I spent the first several hours of the drive touching or giving soft kisses, until my body wanted to stop for a bathroom break. At the next exit, we stopped, so Peter filled the tank. When I got back to the Tahoe, Peter was in my seat with his head against Char's. They were having a moment, so I just sat up front with Jasper to not interrupt them. We may all be mates, but Jasper and I are first to each other, as Char and Peter are to each other.
Jasper knew I was tired but fighting it. “Is it because of the dreams? Have they been getting worse?” he whispered into my neck.
I nodded, but didn't say anything. I was extremely tired. I knew I needed the sleep, but I just didn't want to dream. “Would you like me to help? You're completely exhausted, Darlin'. I can help you sleep peacefully, if you wish.”
I nodded again, causing him to let out a breath in relief. He must be so worried. I should let them help me more.
I snuggled down into the seat, then in no time at all, I was sleeping dreamlessly.
“She finally gave in and let me help her sleep,” I said softly to Peter and Char. “I wish she would let me help more... I feel useless sometimes.”
Peter scowled at me. “Ya aren't useless. You're her mate. Yes, she's stubborn, but she needs ya. She's gonna need ya more than ever when we get to Forks, and I have a feelin' she's gonna let ya help her more, now. She'll sleep dreamlessly and wake up refreshed. Your mind will be at ease, which she'll notice. She'll not want ya to worry, so she'll let ya help when ya feel she needs it. Just don't abuse it, because those powers of hers bite hard... she'll not hesitate to use ‘em.”
He chuckled wryly, then leaned forward to kiss her cheek softly. At least I know that she'll let me help more. Char asked, “Do you know what the plan is as far as the meeting with the wolves? And what about the Cullens and Eleazar's clan? How are we going to explain everything to them? I don't want to step on any toes because it's their house, but you heard Sweetness. We have to stay together... I feel the same thing. We can't be in separate rooms. I won't let them stop us.”
I thought for a second... this could all go very wrong if we didn't do this carefully. “I'll see if we can take the cabin on the property. Esme fixed it up thinking that Edward and Bella might want it for a while once they mated fully. Thank Goddess that didn't happen. The cabin is large enough for the four of us to be in the same room, plus it's just out of hearing distance if she gets loud... which we all know is likely to happen. That'll give us a small measure of privacy, but keep everyone close in case something were to happen. We just have to make it clear that if they can't handle the four of us together, we will not accept their help. It has to be that way. I don't think we should have too many problems, but let your instincts guide you, and Bella's instincts be final word. She feels more than any of us in the instinct department, plus they've proven more than reliable.”
They both nodded thoughtfully, then snuggled in together. I checked my Darlin', who was still sleeping peacefully. I gave her another dose of love, lethargy, and peace. I was hoping she would sleep for a while, but didn't want to keep her under too long. She may need the restroom or more food soon. She turned over so she faced the window, which gave me the perfect view of her mark. It was changing before my eyes. “It's changing again... look.”
They both watched with me as her design morphed to add her name, like it was growing out of the vine scroll work. It was amazing to see happen. It grew and settled next to her element like it was always there to begin with. It glowed green for a brief second, then it was done.
“Amazing. So elegant.” Char said.
Peter added, “Exquisite... truly stunning.”
I agreed, then brought my full attention to the road again. I can drive perfectly from my peripheral vision alone, but I didn't want to take a chance with our still-breakable mate sleeping next to me.
We drove for a few more hours, talking and planning as much as we could, then Bella started stirring. She wasn't feeling anything negative, so I let her wake on her own. She rolled back over, smiled sleepily at me, then whispered, “Thank you, Jazz. I didn't have one dream. I'm sorry I haven't let you help more.”
I shook my head, “No need for that, Darlin'. I just want to help you, and you need to rest to keep your strength. Having bad dreams just drains you more. If I can keep them away so you can sleep, I want to. I love you, Darlin'.”
She leaned over to give me a kiss, then snuggled back into the seat. “I promise to let you help if you feel it's needed. Please don't go changing my feelings on a whim, though.”
I smiled widely. “I promise, Darlin'. I would never do that to you. Now, do you need the restroom or some food? I can have Char hand something up for you to snack on if you don't want to stop.”
I was hungry again, but I needed him to stop. “I do need a bathroom, so it would be good if we stopped for a minute. Char, Hun, would you like to sit with Jasper after we stop?”
She smiled and nodded. Peter said he would take over driving, so Jasper could have a break to spend time with Char. We stopped at a gas station off the next exit we came to. I took my purse and walked toward the restroom, Char following behind. While I took care of business, Char talked. “Jasper thinks it would be a good idea for us to stay in a cabin on the Cullen property, not in the main house. It will be a full house with Eleazar's clan there, plus we don't know how well everyone will take to us all being mates. What are your thoughts, Sweetness?”
I didn't really think I could be in the house with all of them anyway, with the way they left without saying anything to me. None of them said goodbye, other than Edward's shitty breakup. “I think that's a good idea. We all need to stick close, but if the cabin is in easy reaching distance from the main house, I'd rather do that. I don't think I could be comfortable with all of them so soon after they left like that. It was shitty on their parts not to even say goodbye. Edward leaving me in the woods? Well, let's just say he'll be seeing a whole new side of Isabella Swan. I don't know how this will all go down, but stick close to me, please. Don't let any of us be parted. We have to stay in sight of our mates... the closer the better.”
I got a really bad feeling right then.
Oh, no. Protect mates. Destroy enemy and protect mates.
I hurried, “My instincts are shooting off like fireworks. There's a 'protect my mates alarm' going nuts in my head. We need to go... now!”
I rushed to finish washing my hands, and as I ran past the paper towel dispenser, I ripped off what was showing. I didn't stop to think. I just grabbed Char's hand and ran. When we reached the guys, I said, “Get behind me. Touch your element, now!”
They rushed to do as I said, no one saying a word. They knew something was wrong.
I whispered, “Show me,” then an invisible wave rippled through the air towards the trees at the other side of the station. The wind blew toward us before I heard three growls.
“Vampire. Familiar. Laurant.” Jasper growled, “Danger, feeling violent. Thirsty. Directed at us. Kill. Feed.”
I got angry. Really angry. No one was going to hurt my mates. Fucking. No. One. A wave of heat engulfed me, then I heard three gasps as I turned my head to look at my mates. “Her eyes are on fire,” Jasper whispered.
I turned back to the direction of Laurant's location, using my energy to push the wave of heat out of me toward him. My only thoughts were to burn the vampire and get rid of any evidence. I heard his scream, then saw purple smoke rise in the trees.
I started to collapse, feeling suddenly exhausted, but my mates caught me. I whispered hoarsely, “Go check, Peter. Make damn sure he won't be reporting to Victoria. If there's even a particle left unburned, take care of it. I'll make the wind scatter the ashes in a minute. I need nuts and apple milk.”
Char rushed to get the food, Peter dashed off to the woods, and Jasper cradled me to him as he sat in the open passenger seat sideways. Char was back with the food, feeding me because I was so exhausted, before Peter returned.
When he did, he looked awestruck. He kissed my forehead, then said, “There's nothin' left. Not even ashes. I could only smell a faint trace and see a burn mark. It was like you had already blown the ashes away. I didn't find any pieces to burn either. We're all good. By the time anyone looks for him, they won't detect his scent in the woods. We should go soon. Jasper do ya still want me to drive?”
I rushed to stop him. “No! I need to be near you, Peter. You can help me eat. They can sit together up front. If Jasper needs a break, Char can drive. Please.”
They all nodded instantly, then Peter took me from Jasper. I wrapped my arms and legs around him, breathing in his scent as he got us into the seat. Char climbed in the driver seat, Jasper in the passenger. I think he wanted to be on hand in case I needed him suddenly.
We were on the road in no time, with Peter feeding me my nuts and apple milk. I breathed him in, with my nose to his neck, several times. He nuzzled against me, allowing my actions. I began to feel better immediately.
“It's your scent. I needed you, and your scent... it's helping,” I whispered.
Peter nodded, “Breathe me in, Little One. I'm not goin' anywhere. Take all the time ya need.”
I shook my head as it came to me, “I need the Cinnamon Goldschlager, too. I feel it. The apple milk helped, but not enough.”
Peter reached behind him on the floor to get the bottle I needed. I was still really weak, but every breath of his scent I took helped.
As he handed me the bottle, he said softly, “Drink as much as ya feel ya need. I'll hold ya close.”
I drank half of the bottle before I felt more settled. I nuzzled my nose into his neck, breathing a sigh of relief. Peter held me tight, kissing my neck and shoulder, so I just kept inhaling him.
After a while, I was feeling much better, so I took the nuts from next to the seat. I sat up a bit to start eating. Jasper asked from up front, “Darlin', you seem to feel better now, but how are you really?”
I smiled as I looked at him. “I'm not perfect yet, but I feel much better than when it happened. I just got this alarm in my head that said I needed to protect my mates. I grabbed Char and ran. I didn't stop to think. I just knew we had to get to you. Then when you said 'Danger, feeling violent' I got pissed. My only thought was he wouldn't get the chance to hurt my mates, and I didn't want him to live to try again. I pushed all my anger and heat at him, thinking with everything I had for him to burn, the evidence to be gotten rid of. As soon as it was done, I felt like I had no strength left in my bones. Everything was weak. I was so exhausted. I needed Peter. It was his element that took the brunt of my force. As soon as I had his scent against me, I started to feel better. I'm okay now, but I need a shit-ton of food, plus I'll need the regular doses of the rest of the liqueurs. I think once all that is done, I'll be back to my normal level. I'll need to sleep again, too.”
Jasper said, “I'll help keep the dreams away for you to get your rest when you're ready. I'll do anything I can to help, Darlin'. I don't like seeing you so weak. It scares us, but we don't know how to stop it from happening.”
I thought for a second, and my goddess popped into my head in her lotus position. “I think as soon as we get to the cabin and it's deemed safe, Char and I need to have a yoga session. No beginner workout, either. I has to be challenging, so beginner yoga won't cut it. Put me through as many moves as you know, until you think you know the level I'm at, then push me. Jasper will tell you if you push too hard or I'm at my stop point. We need to do it as soon as possible, though. I'll need myself as rested, fed, and centered as possible when the Cullens get there with Eleazar’s clan. There's a lot we'll have to go over with them, but not a lot of time.”
They all agreed, then my stomach growled. I laughed at its insistence while making my way to the coolers.
I grabbed the first 4 bowls of fruit I saw, laying them next to my seat with Peter. Then I grabbed 2 bowls of salmon tartare, a container of caviar, two bags of chocolate covered cashews, a thermos of coconut milk, along with the other three liqueurs. I picked up the glass next to the liqueurs, too, handing it to Peter.
He poured the first dose as I came back to his lap. I drank it quickly. I handed him back the glass, and we repeated the process for the other two. When they were done, I nuzzled my nose into his neck with a hum. He chuckled softly, “I love when ya do that, Little One. Ya sound as if ya would purr if you could. It makes me happy to know I can make ya feel so content.”
I smiled, kissed his neck, then nuzzled against it again. He traced his hand up and down my spine, causing me to hum even louder. It felt so good.
I didn't want to eat now but knew I should, so I leaned over just enough to grab the caviar, a bowl of fruit, and the fork. I placed some of the caviar in the fruit, stirred it up a little, then took my first bite. It made me realise just how hungry I was, so I started eating like crazy. Within forty-five minutes, I had eaten everything I pulled from the cooler, plus drank the whole thermos of coconut milk.
Finally, I felt full. I laid back down into Peter's neck. He kissed and licked my shoulder sweetly. I tightened myself around him, saying softly, “Jazz, I think I'm ready to sleep now. Can you help, please?”
I felt the gentle waves of relaxation and lethargy blanketing me, then I was out in no time.
“Thank Goddess she feels she can ask me for help now. I was so worried. At least she'll sleep peacefully for the next few hours. Hopefully she'll sleep until we get close to Forks. She's had a long day.”
Char sat next to me watching Peter trace his fingers around Bella's elements lightly.
Char smiled softly, then said, “I'm glad she can tell us what she needs, too. The way she just took control earlier... it was very humbling. It almost reminded me of the presence you have when in Major mode. She is just as confident in that role as you are. You don't think, you just do. You know? The power just rolls off of both of you. It pleases me to know I can be a part of it.”
Peter had a sense of extreme awe and love in his emotions as he softly whispered, “Ya shoulda seen the woods, Jasper. It looked like someone had made a campfire and let it burn to nothin' in the ground, but no ashes or pieces were there to know what happened. The purple smoke was thinnin' out above my head and there was a faint trace of vampire, so I knew I was in the right spot. If I hadn't witnessed it myself, I wouldn't believe it. She's powerful as fuck, yet she hasn't even been turned yet. That time is comin' close... closer than you think. It'll be before the battle, but she'll not have a normal newborn year. She will have total control from day one. I don't know why or how, but it just is. When she comes to ya and says it's time, don't second guess her, Major. She won't come to ya until it's absolutely time. I'm sure of this. We really need to talk to her about these things. She's aware, even in her sleep state, now. If we don't, she'll think we're keepin' things from her, even though we aren't.”
I knew something was different about her sleep state, but I didn't think... “Are you saying her sleeping state is just like a trance? That she's aware of everything we do, but can't communicate?”
Peter made a shrug gesture, then said, “I'm not sure it's exactly a trance. I think if ya needed to ask her somethin', she’d answer ya, just as she would when she's awake.”
I was confused, “How can she get any rest or recuperation if she's not fully asleep?”
Peter laughed, “She is asleep, Jasper, and she is gettin' rest. I think it's easier for her to center herself when she lets go to sleep. Literally everythin' floats away from her to be able to fall asleep. Once she's centered, she's tuned into us more fully. I don't think she'd be able to speak to just anyone in this state, but us four definitely. I think it's more like a deep, restful meditation. It's gonna to be her norm now. I don't think she'll ever sleep like she used to again.”
Okay, I think I got it now. When you think about it, you never heard of the mythological gods and goddesses sleeping themselves, but there was a god of sleep. You did hear of them centering themselves and meditating. Hmm. I wonder.
Just then, I heard the barest whisper, “Peter's right, Jazz. Don't sleep like I used to... meditate... only meditate.”
Peter whispered into her shoulder, “Shh, Little One. Ya meditate all ya need. We got ya. We'll take care of ya while ya rest.”
He looked at me like 'I told you', causing me to nod in agreement.
We were quiet for a while, all thinking about things. All too soon, I felt her emotions change. We were getting closer to Forks. I looked back toward her, only to see my name making its appearance on her elemental design. “Peter, look.”
He took his hand away from her design to see what was happening. It was different watching my design appear. It was my name, and it tugged at my heart. I felt it in the deepest part of myself. My name was ingrained in her skin for all to see.
My element and my name. My mate. My exquisite goddess mate.
Just as the design completed this phase and the silver glow faded, she whispered, “I love you my Jasper... my mate.”
My heart jumped at the confirmation in her words, on her skin. I would treasure her forever. I smiled widely.
Her emotions settled again, but 20 minutes before we reached Forks, she started to stir. “I feel like we're getting close. There's so much going on in my head. So much to do before we meet the wolves,” she whispered.
As I was sleeping, I was still aware of everything. The four of us, the other vehicles on the road, the trees we passed, the wind blowing, the car accident with the vehicle on fire, the water gathering in the clouds above us.
I was going to tell Jasper that it didn't work, but that didn't feel right. I tried to center myself, but the answer came to me. I would not truly sleep again, but Jasper would still dose me like he just did. The reason was because it was an easier way to help me center when I was really tired. This was now my only sleep state. Meditation was as close as I would get... yet it would rejuvenate me just as much, if not more, than my old sleep would. I let go and just let the things come to me that needed to. I was sure something would. It did.
I saw visions of Forks all sleepy and quiet, of La Push preparing for my arrival and training the wolves, as well as of the Cullens traveling with Eleazar. He had four women I didn't know with him. I saw my Dad at Sue's house, safe and talking to Seth in wolf form. He was telling Seth that more people had gone missing in Seattle, showing him pictures of them. Seth nuzzled his nose into Charlie's hand, Charlie scratched between his ears, then Seth dashed off into the woods. It was good to know I didn't have to hide from my dad any longer.
I saw flashes of the Cullen house full of vampires talking and planning; of the four of us making love again, the rainbow shield around us as we came; of us making the trip to the La Push border for the meeting. There was so much to do, yet no time. I heard Jasper and Peter talking about my sleep state and meditation, so I said, “Peter's right, Jazz. Don't sleep like I used to... meditate... only meditate.”
I heard Peter telling me they would keep me safe, so I re-centered. I let everything go again, then I felt a change coming in me after a couple of hours.
I knew this was Jasper's name growing from the scroll work on my design. I was washed in love for my mate. I felt his very soul as the design grew to incorporate his name, then as it finished, I whispered, “I love you my Jasper... my mate.”
I felt a burst of pure love from him before settling back into my meditation.
All too soon, I felt we were getting close to Forks. There was so much happening now in my head. The visions replaying themselves over, the planning details we would all need to know. I felt completely rested, and knew it was time to come out of my meditative state. “I feel like we're getting close. There's so much going on in my head. So much to do before we meet the wolves,” I whispered as I shifted to kiss Peter's neck.