Chapter 31: Recuperating
Jasper picked me up, then they guided us to Sam's house. On his back porch was a refrigerator full of fresh fruits, along with fish that was freshly caught. Emily, Sam's imprinted mate, was waiting on the back porch with the screen door open wide when we got to the steps. She smiled softly at me as Sam explained the mates thing to her.
She came in the living room where Jasper placed me on the couch. She knelt down in front of me to ask, “What do you need right now? The whole back fridge is prepared for you. All the fruits are fresh, grown on the rez or bought at a fresh market within the last 2 days. The fish has been caught locally within the last 24 hours.”
I smiled, saying as I cupped her cheek, "Emily, I've missed you."
She smiled, then I said, "Please, two fillets of fish, decent size, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Fruit of every type you have, cut bite sized. A mixing bowl full please, as my appetite rivals the pack’s. Have a couple of them take some of the prep from you. They need to see what amount I need to eat after I wear down. If you have any unsalted nuts, I can eat them until the other is ready... and do you have any dark chocolate?”
She smiled. “I can do you one better, Bella. I just bought a big bag of dark chocolate covered cashews.”
I smiled. “Thanks, Emily. It's good to see you again.”
She hurried off to the back door, calling up three of the pack. They gathered the items needed, then all set out to make my food. “I have to go shopping soon for food at the cabin and the main Cullen house. I would like to get duplicate items for here if you don't mind. That way I'll know exactly what is here and available.”
Sam crouched near my head, stroked my cheek, then said, “You know this is your house as much as it's mine. Anything you wish, Little Sister. Just make sure to let us know if you need something. We will do anything we can to help.”
I heard Charlotte come in from the kitchen, mentioning, “Bella, there is almond milk in the back refrigerator. Would you like some?”
I nodded then she was back in less than two minutes with a glass full. Peter helped hold the glass as I drank, and I was grateful. I still didn't have the strength to do it on my own. He kissed my forehead, “Little One, how do ya feel?”
I shook my head, whispering, “Exhausted. I held my shield up too many times in less than 24 hours. And for a lot longer than during my episodes. Then it only happens at the end. How long was it this time?”
He looked at me sadly, “Almost 3 hours, Little One. More than double of what ya did earlier. Ya need to slow down, or I won't have a healthy goddess mate to love.”
I smiled as I said, “You know it's all instinct right now. I don't even think about it. I can't control it. That's why we're here. The elders and the pack need to teach me how to control and fight with my powers. My shield is part of that. I sense danger or feel the slightest bit threatened, then up it pops. I can't turn it off. It automatically drops when I no longer feel danger. We need to be here, to let them help us. Jasper, they need the Major to teach them the differences between newborns and older vampires. He'll need to teach them how to fight the newborns, while letting them adapt it to their fighting style. They'll need to watch you fight with another vampire. I don't like it, but it has to happen.”
He kissed my lips softly, then whispered, “Shh, you're spending more energy. Eat some of these to gain your strength back. We can discuss all of that after you are stronger and have meditated.”
I nodded, then Char began feeding me the chocolate covered cashews. Peter's fingers trailed my arm gently. After every couple of handfuls of nuts, he would give me some almond milk. Jasper kissed my shoulder and neck, whispering sweet nothings to me. He talked of their love for me, how much they needed me, and how they wanted to love me forever.
I noticed Sam at the edge of the room, so I waved him over. “You aren't intruding on a private moment, Sam. They treat me like this all the time, and I treat them the same. I know you are not used to seeing vampires like this, but this is really the way these three are all the time.”
He smiled, then said, “I'm glad that not all the stories are true. Especially the one that says all red-eyes are only killers. That they have no soul. It's just that we are taught one thing, but these three are total contradictions with you. They are so gentle when they touch you, kiss you, hold you. Peter, is it? What of your... cravings? I don't mean to be rude, I'm just curious. Do you not want her blood? Is it hard for you to be close?”
He smiled as he replied, “No offense taken. With mates, their natural scent attracts ya, lures ya, but ya don't thirst for their blood. It's other things ya thirst for... their body, mind, and soul to connect with yours. It's only hard to be around her when she's clearly aroused, but it's not the proper time or place to be intimate. It drives me up a wall with need for her. I'm sure it's the same with Char and Jasper.”
Sam laughed, “Like imprints during mating season. Mating season for wolves is like pure hell when there's no chance of getting any from their imprint. I couldn't get any pack business done at all the last time it happened for me. We ended up locking ourselves in the house for three days straight until I got it out of my system. Emily found out she was pregnant two months later.”
The guys laughed, but I smiled as Emily came in the room. “Yeah, that was a pretty intense three days. We were both pleased to find out I was pregnant. We had been trying for over a year and a half, then it finally happened.”
I frowned a little, knowing I would never be able to give my mates a child. I hurried to drown the emotion, asking Emily as she handed me my fruit bowl, “Wow, Emily. This looks really good. Thank you. Do you know what you're having? How long before you have the baby?”
I took a few bites as I listened to her response. “We decided to keep it a surprise. I'm around two months out still. Eat, Hun. You need your strength. The fish should be done in less than ten minutes. Is there anything else I can get you?”
I smiled and shook my head, since I had a mouth full of food. I sat up completely, asking her if I could feel. She nodded, grinning from ear to ear. “The baby is always really active at this time of day. Feel here.”
I gasped as I felt a tiny nudge against my hand. “That tiny thing you felt was a thousand times harder on my insides.”
I looked at her in awe. She was so strong to be able to bring a life into this world. I went back to eating my fruit and nuts as I thought. I didn't hear anything around me as I ate, completely absorbed in my thoughts. I didn't hear Jasper or Char calling my nicknames, I didn't see Peter pulling my chin to make me look at him, and I didn't hear Sam talking in the background. “ISABELLA! Look at me right now.”
My head slowly raised as I whispered, “Yes, Major?”
I didn't realise until right then, that I had tears silently falling from my eyes. I broke down instantly in a sob. “Darlin', Sweetness, Little One. Isabella... can't... give you... a baby. I can't ever... give you a chance... to be parents. I can't... so sorry. So much... hurts.”
I heard Peter whispering to Sam as Jasper talked softly to me. “Darlin', look at me, please. It's not your fault that we can't have children. Don't you know how much I wish I could give you that? How much all three of us wish we could have beating hearts to give you all the children you wish for? No way is it your fault, Darlin'. Never. We can always find another way if you wish to be a mother...”
Sam cleared his throat, “I don't mean to interrupt, but there's something in the prophecy about children. I don't think you should give up on children just yet. We'll go over the prophecy and what it entails soon, but please rest and eat first.”
I nodded while sniffling, but didn't see how I could get pregnant when both of my male mates were frozen. I tried to concentrate on Jasper's words. There was always an alternative. I could adopt, like Esme. I got calmed back down, then immediately thought of how much of a fool I just made of myself. “I'm so sorry for flipping out there guys. Feeling the baby kick just tugged at something in me. It's just been a long day, but I need to meditate soon.”
Peter hugged me to him, “Don't be sorry, Kitten. We all know how fast things have happened. There's bound to be things ya haven't adjusted to yet. Just slow down and take a breath. Let's get this food in ya, then ya can meditate. We can all four go outside, ya can sit with Jasper, your hands in the grass, and get yaself grounded again. Then we can have Char whip ya into shape if ya feel up to it.”
I smiled with a nod. “Yeah, that sounds good. I am really hungry, but I'd like to finish eating at the table. Sam, can you invite the the top four wolves in please? I would like to speak with them while I eat.”
Sam went out the back door, then came in a minute later with Jacob, Quil, Embry, and Leah. I had just sat down at the table with my fruit, milk which had been refilled, and nuts. I asked them to join me, so they sat around the table. My mates stood behind my seat to make room for the others. “I would like for the four of you to be present during my meditation. Your energies are the strongest of the pack, and I need to be able to recognise the pack in my meditation state. It's imperative for me to know in that state that my mates are safe. Knowing your energy signatures is part of that. As soon as I'm done eating, we'll be doing the meditation in the back yard. Any other pack members you would like present can be, but I need to be aware of how many and where they will be during.”
Jacob smiled, then said, “If it won't bother you, I would like my entire team to be on the grounds. One at each corner of the perimeter, one in the house, and the four of us with you and your mates. We usually take 12 hour shifts, and each shift gets two of the highest wolves, but for the next few days the four of us will stick close to get to know your routine and how you handle things. We know there are going to be sensitive times, so we will try to give you space then, but we will always be within a reachable distance. Our main purpose is to keep you safe and help with your powers.”
I nodded. I finished eating all of the food made for me, then we retreated to the back yard. Jacob whistled loudly, then all of his team members came into view. “Bella will be going through her meditation routine. The five of you will be taking up posts on the property. Four at the corners, one in the house. I don't care who... flip for it, if you want. The four of us will be staying in reach of her and her mates. Do not move from your positions unless it's necessary, since she'll be getting used to all of our energy signatures. You may watch from your post if you're in the back yard, but stay on guard. Now go.”
They all rushed to their posts as I said, “Jake you're really good with them. They listen to you well.”
He just shrugged. “How are you feeling?”
I shrugged now. “Tired still. My energy really wears down when I instinctively use my powers. But that's what being with you guys will help. I know I have a lot to learn, and I'm willing to learn anything I can that will help. I don't like the sudden weakness when I'm over-extended. It scares me, because it makes us vulnerable if I'm weak and can't defend us. I have three of the strongest mates, but if I'm weak, I put us all at risk. I don't like it.”
He hummed then we got to the center of the back yard. There was a large tree there, so Jasper sat underneath it with his back to the base of the tree. I lifted my dress enough to comfortably straddle his lap. As I sat straight and placed my hands on his chest, Peter and Char sat on either side of us. They were seated indian style facing in toward us, one hand on Jasper's hip, the other on mine.
I took note of where the closest four pack members were in their human form. There was one on each side of the tree five feet out from us to my north, south, east, and west. I centered myself before nodding to Jasper.
“I'm ready,” I said just loud enough for the eight of us to hear. I took several slow deep breaths, then felt the normal pre-sleep state cocktail blanketing me. I was out in no time, able to center quickly.
I took a few minutes to completely orient myself with my surroundings, then locate all of the wolves. Their signatures were very similar, but I recognised the four closest immediately. Theirs were a lot stronger than the others. I could tell immediately that none of the pack members were a threat, so relaxed a small bit.
I centered myself even deeper into my mates and the earth around us. Images floated across my vision. I breathed deeply, slowing them down.
A field similar to Edward's but larger... against a mountain base. Water trickling; there must be a stream or small waterfall near. The wind blowing the last of the leaves off the trees. It would snow soon.
The vision shifted. It was October 7th on the calendar in the cabin. It was a new moon tonight, and something big is happening. It feels right... I feel complete.
The surroundings changed. It's Halloween. Our whole side has gathered at the treaty line clearing. There's a big bonfire happening, with tons of food and stories.
The scene morphed. Victoria's face flashes in and out with images of a very large army of newborns. I see a flash of the cabin calendar. November 6th. Another new moon. The flashes of the army were different. Each one had a different amount of newborns. That means something. November 6th is less than two full months.
The vision changed. I was in the back yard here at Sam's. I was having a hard time with something, really frustrated and angry. My eyes flashed red and I screamed. Three trees in the yard caught fire in a burst of flame. Peter rushed to me, then picked me up. He whooshed me away to a clearing.
The visions swirled one to the other, then blended all together. I took several deep breaths, then let myself go. The visions faded, but I could smell all of my mates with me. It was the best combined scent in the world. It was home.
I slowly opened my eyes, then kissed Jasper slowly. I turned to kiss Char then Peter in the same manner, saying to them, “You're going to be helping me a lot in the next couple of months. The powers are not going to be easy to get control of. Be prepared for a lot of episodes.”
They all hugged me tightly in a group hug, whispering, “We'll be here with you through everything... no matter what."
The hug broke and I called for the wolves to come in. Jake whistled, and all of the wolves came in from their positions. “Have a seat guys, Jake can you call Sam? Tell him I need to speak with the elders?”
Jake dashed into the house. A few minutes later, he came out with all four elders. I motioned for them to join our gathering, “Please sit with us. I need to discuss something with you all.”
I let go of Jasper to turn around. I nudged his legs open, then sat in the space made, facing all of the people here. Peter and Char both turned around too.
I placed my hands in the grass, noting how soft it was. “My powers will not be easy to control. There will get to a point where I have to be turned, or we won't get me to where I need to be. I have to be at full power before the battle. The numbers keep changing. Sometimes it's 30, sometimes less by 5 or 6. I think the newborns are fighting amongst themselves. She can't control that many, even with the two older ones that are helping her… which are no more than two or three years old themselves. We have until the new moon November 6th to be ready. We need to start training immediately. All of us. Sam, Quil, Sue, and Billy... I need to ask your permission for the others of our group to be able to train with us. Newborns act differently and fight differently than someone like Jasper or Char. The ones we will be fighting have had little to no training, but their strength is far more.”
I looked to Jasper, “Can I tell them?”
He nodded. “Before Jasper took on the animal diet, he trained newborns in how to fight. He is not proud of his past, but I tell you so you can understand. He is the best person to have on our side. He will be able to teach us the most effective way to dispose of them once and for all. Jasper, please show them how dangerous newborns are.”
As Jasper stood up, walking around in front of me, he lifted his shirt, saying, “Newborns are vicious. They try to bite anything, as our venom is poisonous. Every mark you see on me is from fighting newborns. Peter and Char have the same marks as I do, because they were under me in the army, but they have less. I was second in command. I know the ins and outs of newborns better than anyone. As Bella said, I'm not proud of my past. I could feel the feelings of every life I took... vampire and human. I am an empath. I don't enjoy killing. I would rather not have to, but these newborns are dangerous and need to be ended. I will do anything it takes to keep my mates safe and unharmed. If you fight alongside us, you as well. None of you will be harmed in the battle to come, if I can help it. I will be needing to train everyone, and mock fights will be part of it, so you can see it in action, then adapt it to your personal fighting styles.”
He took a breath, then said seriously, “This is where the others of our group come in. They will need to train as well. Those mock fights are the best way. All of the ones at the Cullen house right now have gold eyes. A coven close to us from Alaska, plus the Cullens themselves. Bella has made them all go through her shield, so we know that the ones remaining mean us no harm. There was one that she had to deal with immediately. The sisters of the one she had to kill are not angry or vengeful. Bella gave them time alone on the property to grieve for their lost sister, and they gratefully accepted. If you would feel better about all of the vampires being close, we can use the large field we were in earlier. That way they are not too close to the reservation's people. Please consider this... we need all the help and training we can get.”
Jasper put his shirt back on, then came to sit behind me again. I leaned into him, whispering, “Thank you for doing that... I love you, Jazz.”
He smiled as he kissed me softly. “Anytime, Darlin'.”
I looked back to the people in front of us. “If you would like time to think this over, you may have it. I need to eat again, then Char and I will be going through my new Yoga routine. Any may watch that if you wish to. I'm told it is quite a sight.”
I stood fluidly, turning to the elders. “After my routine, I would like to talk with you, to find out everything about the prophecy. I have to know what it covers… the meaning behind all of my changes. I know there's more to it than just this newborn battle.”
They nodded, then all dispersed through the back yard. The elders all took off in the same direction, I guess to discuss what we offered.
I headed up the back porch, opened the fridge to get several things out, then went into the house. My mates followed quietly. I laid all of the food on the counter, then got the cutting board and knife that I needed. I rinsed out my glass from earlier, handed it to Peter, then set out to prepare my food.
I suddenly wanted more fish, so I headed back out to the fridge, pulled a package of fillets out and brought it in. I got the washed fry pan out of the drainer, put it on the stove, got the non-stick spray out from the cupboard, then put it on the counter. I looked to Jasper, so he smiled, “Would you like me to cook the fish while you get your fruit ready?”
I blushed while nodding. “You cook fish so much better than me. Would you mind?”
He laughed and kissed my nose, then went directly to the stove with the fish. Char grabbed another knife, while Peter wrapped his arms around me from behind. He held me, nuzzling into my neck as Char and I peeled, cored and cut up my fruit.
Emily walked into the room, smiled, then stated, “I never would have thought I'd see vampires in the kitchen cooking for a human. It's definitely a sweet sight, though. Do you cook together a lot?”
I smiled. “This is really the first opportunity we've had for the four of us to be in the kitchen together like this. Jasper prepared a lot of food for me before we left Forks. We weren't in Texas long, then it was cooked and prepared for the trip here. It's nice, though. It feels like something normal in all this crazy, mixed-up mess. I wouldn't give them up for the world, but sometimes I wish we could forget about everything and just be... be us, be together, be at peace... just be. Does that make sense?”
She smiled wryly, chuckling as she said, “I'm a wolf imprint, remember? Yeah, I know exactly how you feel. You'll get that time to just be, but take small moments like this any chance you get. Don't let the world outside of the four of you dictate your time. Take these moments often... steal them if you have to. Even during training, just a small intimate kiss can mean a lot.”
I smiled widely, loving her advice, “Thanks, Emily. We can use all the advice we can find. Especially with our relationship being so unique. I never thought I'd find one person I could be like this with, let alone three. I really need to figure out how to tell Charlie. I can't have him getting hurt, but neither can I give up my mates. I'll die without them, Emily. Truly.”
She thought for a minute. When she spoke again, she asked, “Have you talked to Sue yet? She and Charlie have gotten quite close, plus I know he's helping the wolves with something to do with this Seattle thing.”
I shook my head, “I told her that I needed to speak with her soon, that I need to know everything she told him. I also said I needed to figure out how to tell him. We didn't get a chance to talk, though, because right after my shield dissipated, I collapsed from weakness. They said I held my shield for three hours. It drained me completely. Thankfully, the elders did an energy transfer for me, then I was able to be moved here. Since then, all my focus has been on trying to regain what I lost in energy. I wish I knew a way to regain it quicker. It's time I could be using for other things, and we have almost no time left for anything at all. There's just so much for me to learn still.”
We had finished preparing my fruit. Jasper was almost done with the fish. I walked over to him, kissing his spine. “I'll be at the table.”
Peter and Char gathered my milk and fruit, then met me at the table. The three of us -along with Emily- sat down at the table. When Jasper came in with my fish, he picked me up to sit me in his lap. I ate while we all talked, then Jasper and Char cleaned up our mess.
Emily tried to shoo them away, but they told her politely to get off her swollen feet and rest... that they had it taken care of. I walked into the living room with her. She sat down on the end of the couch, so I patted my legs. “Bring your feet up here, Emily. We'll see if we can get rid of some of that swelling.”
She did, and I instinctively knew where not to touch in her pregnant state. Fifteen minutes later, most of the swelling was gone and she was fast asleep. I turned to get the blanket off the back of the couch, but Sam was there, spreading it out to cover her. He whispered, “She doesn't get enough rest, now. The baby is kicking all the time at night, so she only gets a couple of hours at a time. She hasn't been able to get the swelling down, because she's always trying to feed the pack. Then she was preparing for the goddess, which we now know is you. She was worried it would be some snooty bitch that would think the rez was a hole in the wall. We're all so glad it's you, Bella. Maybe she can stop worrying so much now. Thank you for this. The swelling is almost completely gone.”
I nodded. “She's family, Sam. You all are. If I ever start acting snooty, call me on it. I would never think of the rez like that. She really needs the rest right now, so can we set someone at the front and back doors so she isn't disturbed? The more rest she gets, the healthier she and the baby will be. Oh, and please tell the rest of the elders that I will do my routine, then I'll be ready when they've made the decision.”
He nodded, saying, “They are gathered outside, but didn't want to disturb you while you were with Emily. They know you've missed your time with her. We would all like to watch your routine, if you don't mind.”
I gently placed her feet down as I got up, then situated the blanket to cover them. I kissed her forehead, then walked to the doorway where my three mates were. They surrounded me in a hug before Char handed me a set of clothes. I quickly changed.
We all walked out to the back yard, me in a soft workout outfit and barefoot. The elders and the top four members of the pack were here. I addressed them all, “Please sit and be comfortable. I will explain a few things before we begin. I am very new to practicing yoga positions, but I am doing extremely advanced poses. It may look to you that they are pushing me too hard or for too long, but please understand. They will not harm me in any way. Char goes through the moves with me, while Jasper and Peter make sure I don't go too far. Jasper, being an empath, will keep an eye on my mental and emotional wellbeing. He will make sure I am never in pain or hurting my muscles. Peter will be watching my physical form for muscle tension or cramps, so I don't go past the physical limitations of my body. I have not been even close to my limit yet. Please do not stop them from what they put me through, as I am completely safe. This is a focusing and energy gaining technique for me."
They all agreed as they got comfortable on the grass. I walked over to Char, kissed her, then said, “Show me whatcha got, Baby,” as I stood at my starting position. Jasper and Peter were on one side of us ten feet away, the elders and pack on the other at the same distance. Char started me out with my warm up, then took me straight into the routine. We went through it several times.
When she slowed me down, I whined. I didn't want to stop. “Char, you can't keep doing that shit. It's not fair. Every time I just get into it and going, you stop. I'm telling you that I'm ready. Put me through anything you can. Give me the good moves. I can take whatever you throw at me.”
I heard several people laugh at my taunting Char, then Jasper and Peter both nodded. She put me through 6 crazy awesome positions. By the time she was done, she was worn out. “You've got to be kidding me! I just whooped a vampire's ass in yoga! Yess! At least I know I can do something better. You just wait until I'm a vampire, too. I'll really kick ass then."
I dropped back into my goddess resting pose as I heard everyone in the yard laughing.