Twilight Fan Fiction ❯ Chains of Love ❯ Chapter 4 - James Island ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight Saga, nor any of its characters. I am writing this fan fic purely out of love, and am making no profit from this. Twilight's character's all belong to Stephenie Meyer. I do however own my original characters, and they may not be used or abused without my written permission.
A/N: This is my first attempt at writing a fan fic based on a book. Not to mention a series as popular as the Twilight Saga. If you disagree with anything, or simply don't like how I did it, please let me know. Anyway, please enjoy and don't forget to review… nicely.
A/N2: This chapter was originally part of a 40+ page chapter. I thought it was a bit long, so I chopped it up and made three out of one. Also a great big HUGE thank you to my Betas for putting up with me! You guys are wonderful! Also Thank You to CJ and MikoKagome1113 for all of your encouragement.
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Chains of Love
Chapter 4: James Island
(Nessie's POV)
I sat snuggled into Seth's warmth as we gazed out at the endless ocean in silence. I really liked being with Seth. I don't think I could have asked for a better big brother, blood related or otherwise. He was very much like my Jacob: kind and sensitive. He always seemed to know when something was troubling me, like he had earlier this evening.
Sam and Sue had called Jacob over to speak with them. He had started over there with me, but I slid down out of his arms and landed with a soft thump upon the smooth rocks that made up most of First Beach. He had smiled and asked if I was going to watch my parents dance - he knew how much I loved to watch them twirl gracefully around the music room at home. I just smiled up at him.
As he walked away, I turned my attention to my parents. Daddy had his right arm around Momma's waist holding her to him, and cradled one of her slender hands in his left. Momma had her head laid tenderly on his shoulder, and clung to him with her free hand. They swayed gently to some music only they could hear. (“Golden Sky” by Smile was hardly a slow song.)
As I watched them dance, lost in their only world, my thoughts returned to my earlier dilemma. What was I going to do about next week? Should I stay with my grandparents here in Forks or fly back to New Hampshire for a week while my parents took their finals?
If I went home I would be with Momma and Daddy, but what was I going to do while they went through their three days of testing? I suppose I could stay in the college library until they were done. It would be easy for me to find a hiding place, but did I want to?
If I stayed here I could run all over the forest, hang out with my aunts, play with my uncles, and maybe visit La Push again with Jacob. Yes, I would definitely have more fun here, but what about my parents?
Guilt assaulted me and an ache began in my chest as I thought about leaving them. Would they think I didn't want to be with them? Would they be angry with me for choosing to stay? If that was so, would I be able to explain to them that my decision was based on practicality and not my unwillingness to be around them? My parents were very unselfish people, but then we had never been separated by so much distance before. I had no reference to fall back upon.
I had no idea during the time I was thinking through my options what my face had looked like, but it was enough to get Seth's attention. I immediately felt guilty for causing him to worry on his birthday, but I was also happy to finally get too see him without the big crowd. I had only been able to see him a few times today before someone else dragged him off. So when he offered his arms to me, I jumped up into them.
I sighed, and his arms tighten around me in a quick hug before he stood up. He smiled his quick smile and told me it was time to go back. I nodded and laid my head back down. I didn't even make it halfway back before I was pulled under by the gentle lapping of the waves upon the sand.
When I awoke the next morning, I was tucked into Momma's arms while she was rocking me in her chair. I yawned and stretched.
“Good morning sleepyhead,” she smiled at me as she leaned down to lightly kiss my forehead.
“Good morning,” I said looking around the cottage for Daddy, but not seeing him. I reached up and touched Momma's face, asking her where he was.
Momma's smile slipped a little before she answered. “He took off with his brothers for the next two days to head down to a park in California with a mountain lion problem. He wanted to wait for you to wake up, but you know how impatient Emmett can be,” she sighed heavily. “He said to tell you he loves you, and he will call us tonight.”
I was both disappointed and relieved at this news. I missed my Daddy, but this means I could talk to Momma first. It was always easier to talk to Momma about things. I wonder if it was just the whole mother-daughter thing, or the peaceful feeling I got being around her.
I pulled myself into a sitting position on her lap and took a deep breath. “Momma?” I began. She smiled at me, waiting for me to go on. “I want to stay here while you take your finals.” I held my breath as I waited for her reply.
Momma smiled at me and said, “I figured you would. Your father said you were thinking about that last night. Plus waiting around for us to get out of class can't be any fun.”
“Then you're not mad?” I whispered my relief making my voice weak.
Momma's eyes gentled and swam with love as she looked at me. “My darling, of course I'm not mad at you. How could I be? I love you.” She hugged my close to her and kissed the top of my head. “I will miss you of course, but I want you to be happy. If staying makes you happy, then it's fine with me.”
I felt a small tear fall down my cheek as I buried my face in her fragrant hair. How silly I was to think for a second that she would be upset with me. From the very beginning when she first placed her hand over the spot I was growing in, before I was even aware of it, my mother's love was a constant presence in my life. It had been the same with me. From the moment I became conscious of her - felt that love - I had returned it. In that instant I understood that no matter how much distance was put between us, our bond was unbreakable.
Grinning happily at her I asked, “So what are we going to do today?”
Momma laughed and taking my hand we walked out the door and into the forest to go find our breakfast.
The next few days went by quickly. Daddy came back and Momma and I told him what I had decided. He was fine with it on the condition that when they called every night before bed, I was to be here.
“I promise no wild parties,” I teased, making him laugh. I loved his laugh. He had one of the most beautiful voices on earth, as Momma and I reminded him constantly. He usually just rolled his eyes at us, but I'm pretty sure if he had been the type to blush - and could have - that he would have been.
Seth visited us frequently over the next week, proudly driving his new truck here. It was always fun when he visited. He was such a happy person that you couldn't help but feel the same around him. And some of the playful arguments he would get into with Jacob or Uncle Emmett were so funny!
Almost before I knew it Friday rolled around, and Momma and Daddy were getting ready to return to New Hampshire on an evening flight. As I watched them pack a small carry-on bag, I felt the ache in my chest return. I was really going to miss them. Daddy heard me and came over and picked me up, cradling me in his arms.
“If it upsets you so much, you can always change your mind,” he said softly.
I smiled at him and shook my head. I will be ok. I'm just going to miss you a lot.
He gave me the same tender smile Momma had and replied, “I will miss you too, A Stoirin. It will be a long two weeks.”
“Two weeks?!” Both mine and Momma's cries blended together.
Daddy looked at us both like we had gone crazy before shaking his head and sighing. “Yes, two weeks. We were supposed to be spending a week at home after the tests were over, remember?”
Momma blinked a few times, a small crease between her eyebrows. “I thought you said we were coming back Friday?”
Daddy was nearly grinning now. “Yes, next Friday. You were really out of it while we were packing to come here weren't you,” he laughed.
Momma rolled her eyes and shrugged. “I was pretty excited to be going home. I guess I wasn't paying as much attention as I normally do.” Then her face turned concerned. “Nessie, sweetheart, are you ok with us being gone an extra week?”
I looked back and forth between my parents, trying to figure out if it would be alright or not. The ache in my chest got bigger, but as far as I could tell I was ok. I mean, it was only a few more days, right? So I smiled and nodded, squirming down from his arms.
I padded softly out of their bedroom and out into living room, picking up “The Little Mermaid” that I had left sitting next to Momma's rocking chair. I opened the book and buried my nose in it, trying not to think while I listened to my Momma fretting down the hall.
Seeing them off at the airport was even worse than I had imagined. Momma and I had started crying, and even Daddy looked unhappy. Finally Jacob had to take me from Momma while Aunt Alice assured them - numerous times - that I would be fine. After making everyone stay until their plane had taken off, I sadly turned to leave. I calmed down a bit during the car ride, and by the time we got home I was feeling more like myself. Aunt Alice was promising to take me shopping in Portland and Uncle Emmett wanted to try out the new Street Fighter 4 game that came out for the Xbox360.
When I went to bed that night, up in Daddy's old room, and after beating Uncle Emmett for the tenth time in a row (He says he let me win, but I'm not so sure.), I found myself feeling optimistic about the next two weeks.
The first few days they were gone I had a lot of fun with my aunts and uncles. Grandma and I had a movie night, but after day four of waking up without my parents, I started to get depressed. Their phone calls every night helped, but it wasn't the same. I moped about the house, and once again found myself haunting the third floor library.
This is where Jacob found me Wednesday morning, on top of one of the small bookshelves under the window. I had my nose in “The Adventures of Ulysseys” by Evslin, and was doing my best to concentrate on the legendary voice of the Sirens and not the ever-present ache in my heart.
Jacob's soft footfalls stopped just in front of my perch, but he did not speak. Instead he stood there patiently until I had finished my chapter and marked my place. I looked up at him only after I had closed my book and set it down next to me.
He studied my face for a moment before crossing his arms over his chest. “All right little lady, no more hiding out. I thought we were going hunting this afternoon with the runt? Or do you not want to come to La Push with me tomorrow?” He said a note of frustration in his voice.
Guilt, again. Hadn't I had enough of that emotion this week? I had all but forgotten that we were supposed to be visiting Billy tomorrow morning. We'd had this planned out since before Momma and Daddy left, even. I really wanted to see Billy and the others again, and the lovely beach. Instead, I had spent the last two days shut up here with these books. I must have really worried everyone.
I smiled up at Jacob. Nodding, I held my arms up to him. He placed his warm hands around me and lifted my up into his embrace. I hugged him back, and using my gift, showed him how very sorry I was for moping like this. In typical Jacob fashion, he just laughed it off and told me how very like my mother I was.
After tugging on his chin length hair, we headed back downstairs to find Aunt Alice.
“Hey there kiddo,” Billy waved at us from his newly rebuilt porch Thursday morning as he wheeled himself down the ramp Jacob and Daddy had built for him before we had left. “I was beginning to think you were going to stand me up.”
I grinned back at Billy from my place in Jacob's arms. Jacob shook his hand and we went inside to have breakfast with him. I had eaten yesterday with Aunt Alice, so I wasn't very hungry, but I haven't as yet been able to turn down scrambled eggs.
After we had cleaned our plates, we sat in the living room and caught up a bit on what was going on in La Push. Paul was graduating this year and planned to move up to Spokane to be closer to Rachel, Jared was going to propose to Kim after their graduation ceremony, and Sam and Emily had just hit the six month mark as newlyweds. Quil was going to be staying here in La Push, and taking over for Embry at his mom's shop when Embry went off to college in September. All in all, everything was going smoothly, except for that scent.
In the last forty-eight hours the scent had come in as far as the outlying houses along the one-ten. Sam, Embry, and Jared had even started patrolling the town at night.
“They don't believe whatever this is to be dangerous, but until they knew what it means, they are being cautious.” Billy reassured me when he saw how stiffly I was sitting, and then steered the conversation in a different direction, asking about Jacob's Rabbit.
Later that afternoon, Seth stopped by to visit with us and help make sandwiches for lunch. We were just sitting down to eat, when Sam knocked on the door urgently. Jacob jumped up to get the door, but Sam didn't wait for him and let himself in.
“I'm sorry to bother you,” Sam said nodding in our direction and then looking straight at Jacob. “I need your help.”
Jacob became serious at once. “What happened? Is anyone hurt?”
Sam shook his head, “Everyone is fine. What I need your help with is tracking down this scent. Just a moment ago, when Embry phased after school, he came across a fresh trail.”
“It was here in town?!” Jacob asked his eyes going wide in surprise and then narrowing.
“Where was it?” Seth asked getting up from the table and joining them.
“Around the school,” Sam replied in a dark voice.
“No way!” Seth exclaimed. “I just left there not an hour ago, and I didn't detect anything out of the ordinary.”
“Embry only picked up the trail after he phased. Whatever it was made a wide circle around the school, but never came close enough to be seen or heard.” Sam turned back to Jacob, “I don't know what is going on, but I can't let something that might be a threat anywhere near those children.”
Jacob nodded in agreement and the three of them headed for the door.
I jumped up from the table and ran after them. “Wait for me,” I said.
Jacob turned around, a look I had never seen before on his face. It was hard and cold, and his eyes held fear in them before they turned blank and unreadable.
“Nessie honey, we have no idea what we are dealing with, and if this thing has it in for children…” he shuddered, “I don't want you anywhere near it until we find out what's going on.”
My original fear and concern at their earlier words faded as I listened to him. Was he saying that I was a child? Maybe I was in body, but nothing else. I was more advanced mentally than most adults, and my senses were parallel to theirs in every way. Anger and resentment flared inside me, making my cheeks flush. I ground my teeth together before spitting out, “I can help! I can track just a well, if not better, than you can.”
“I know that honey, I do.” Jacob said his voice now soothing. “But again I still can't take that chance, not yet.” He kissed my forehead gently as angry tears started to fall silently down my face.
Seth, who had been watching us, put his hand on Jacob's shoulder. “I'll stay here with her man, so you don't need to worry ok? We'll head down to the beach. The scent hasn't been near there has it?” he asked Sam.
Sam shook his head. “That's a good idea, and we need to go before the trail grows too cold.”
Jacob looked between me and Seth for a moment before nodding. As he turned away I heard him almost growl at Seth, “If you let anything happen to her…”
Seth just grinned at him and waved. We stood mutely as we watched them lope away toward the forest and disappear into the foliage. Then Seth turned to me and said with a wink. “Shall we?”
I nodded and after telling Billy where we were heading, we raced each other down to the beach.
Once there, we walked up and down the mile long beach talking about school, New Hampshire, and anything else that came to mind. When we ran out of things to talk about, we just strolled in silence until one of us thought of something else to bring up. During one of our passes along the east side of the beach I spotted James Island, and a new course of action appeared to me.
“Seth? Can we go see the island?” I asked. Alice would be mad that I got my dress wet, but that was fine with me. With any luck, the masses of pink lace would get snagged and tear off.
“I don't see why not,” he smiled dragging me toward the water.
We swam out to the little island - Seth is a very good swimmer - and spent the next hour exploring and playing tag among the trees. I had just been “tagged” when we heard Jacob and Sam calling for us from the shore.
“Guess it's time to go,” Seth said his pout mirroring my own. “Hey! Let's go off the top!” He grinned.
I blinked at him a few times, trying to figure out which top he was talking about. The island had four “tops, or tree-covered sets of cliffs. Two of them pointed out to sea, and rounded into one that pointed inland and slightly southeast - almost horseshoe shaped. A strip of sand connected the other three to the fourth which pointed north toward Makah territory. If you where to look at it from the air, it would appear to be a wolf's head. All things considered, I don't think the shape was a coincidence.
“Which top are we talking about?” I asked him. I really wasn't all that interested in cliff diving, but it might be fun. Momma had said she liked it.
“The southeastern one of course,” he said matter-of-factly. “It's the closest one to the beach,” he winked, “and the highest.”
We raced through the trees and soon found ourselves standing atop a moss covered overhang. About 200 feet below us the churning gray water slapped against the cliffs sending salt spray into the air. Across the water, Jacob and Sam stood on the beach waving at us. Well Sam was waving, but Jacob looked angry.
“Are you ready to jump?” Seth asked me, an odd little gleam in eyes.
Again I was not wholly aware of my facial expression, but it was enough to start Seth laughing.
“I can't believe you really thought I was going to let you go cliff diving from this high up! Not only would Jake kill me, but I shudder to think what your parents would do to me…” He shook his head, and then pointed to a rope I hadn't noticed tied to a large pine.
I walked over to the rope and looked down. The rope stretched all the way down the cliff and was anchored to a rock at the base. Seeing the rope I felt a bit better, but I was still a little unsure. Just how long had that rope been here? Had it been tested lately? Would we end up cliff diving whether we wanted to or not?
Seth reached out and grabbed my hand, swinging me onto his back. “Hold on tight,” he warned and taking hold of the rope flung us over the cliff.
We bounced a little as his feet hit the rock, and then he began to climb down at a rather fast speed. I was perfectly fine with this until I made the mistake of glancing down. The sight of the rocks and waves still about fifty feet below rushing at us was unnerving. I tightened my grip automatically, and then things began to happen both very quickly and very slowly.
When I tightened my arms around Seth's neck, I wasn't being conscious of the strength I was using and cut of his air. He choked and tried to cough. Reaching one hand back, he tried to pry my arms loose and lost his grip on the wet rope, sending us plunging into the ocean. We only avoided the rocks beneath the rope only because Seth had pushed off the cliff side as we started to fall, and shoved us out into open water.
My heart skipped a beat as we were almost suspended for an eighth of a second before free-falling roughly forty feet. We sliced through the cold water, and surfaced a second later coughing slightly - I could swim quite easily even in the current.
Seth smirked at me and shrugged, “Guess we ended up cliff diving after all.”
I laughed and we swam back to the peninsula that jutted out just north of us. Once on land, we raced back to the middle of the beach were Jacob and Sam stood waiting for us. The whole trip from the top of the island to here only took us five minutes.
I had hardly stopped when Jacob scooped me up into his arms and crushed me to his chest. I barely managed to wiggle my left hand up and touch the warm skin over his collar bone to ask him what was wrong. He let me go enough to pull me up higher and kiss my forehead softly.
“Are you alright?” He asked. Not waiting for an answer, he growled at Seth. “What the hell were you thinking pulling something like that?! I've already almost lost her mother to those kinds of stunts. I really don't want to make it two for two.”
Before Seth could say anything to defend himself I put my hands on both sides of his face and stared into his nearly black eyes. I showed him, firmly, what had happened on the rope and that it had been my fault and not Seth's, and if it hadn't been for Seth's quick thinking both of us would have ended up on the rocks.
Smiling apologetically, I stroked his cheek gently and he relaxed. “I am sorry we worried you, but it was not intentional.”
He sighed heavily and nodded. “Sorry kid,” he said gruffly to Seth who grinned - as usual - and forgave him.
Sam, who had been quietly smirking throughout our conversation mentioned the late hour and, right on cue, Seth's stomach grumbled loudly causing us all to laugh. We started back up the beach to pick up Sam's Dodge and Seth's Chevy, which they had parked over at Billy's, and head up to Emily's for dinner.
Later that night as I helped Emily wash the dishes, Jacob, Sam, Seth, Embry, and Jared sat around the table discussing their findings from this afternoon with Billy.
“We followed it all the way to the main body of the Quillayute River before we lost it in the water.” Jacob reported.
“We even split up and followed the river in both directions hoping to come across where this thing exited, but we found nothing,” Sam said, shaking his head.
“I would like to know what it was doing scouting around the school in the first place,” Embry added.
“Maybe they were simply looking around,” Seth said, unfazed by the tense atmosphere. “Did you ever think that maybe whomever this scent belongs to was just curious?”
From the corner of my eye, I saw Jacob and Embry giving him identical looks of disbelief while Sam just raised an eyebrow.
“Whatever this… creature's intentions are,” Billy replied calmly, “The point remains that we do not know as of yet whether this visit is friendly or hostile, so until then I think it is in our best interest to continue the patrols. Sam, Jake, I would like for the two of you to scan the forest and riverbanks during the day. We need to find this… person, and discover just what they want here.”
Sam and the others nodded in agreement, but Jacob seemed to be troubled and leaned in to speak more quietly with his father.
“I agree that we need to locate this thing as soon as possible, and I have no problem helping in that, but I do have other responsibilities as well…” He trailed off, glancing at me.
Billy and the others also peeked in my direction, but by then I had turned my head almost completely back toward the dishes so they wouldn't know that I had been listening or that I suspected anything.
“I think it would be wise if she stays with her grandparents, at least until we uncover this intruder's identity.” Billy said softly placing a wrinkled hand on his son's shoulder.
Stay home? Why? I could help! Why did they insist on treating me like a child?! I didn't need coddling. I was so furious that the red haze started creeping into the corners of my eyes.
We all jumped at the sound of breaking china.
I looked down, surprised to see pieces of the ceramic mug I had been drying scattered about the sink. I hadn't even noticed that I had been tightening my grip on the cup until it broke.
“Nessie honey, are you ok?” Jacob and a few of the others were all gathered around me, looking at me with concern and, in Jacob's case, fear.
This was odd. What did he have to be afraid of? It's not like I was hurt. I mean like a mere coffee mug could really hurt me, my skin was nearly as tough as my parent's diamond-hard exterior.
But if I wasn't hurt, then what was this curious sensation that was spreading across my palms? And what was that smell?
I glanced down again, this time taking a moment to examine my hands. As I unfolded my fingers I saw that my nails were tipped with red. Nostrils flaring, I realized that I knew this scent. It was the scent of fresh blood, and that mouthwateringly sweet aroma just happened to be coming from the eight small crescent-shaped puncture wounds in the heel of my hands.
It took me about a sixteenth of a second to understand what had happened. When I had gotten angry with Jacob and his father, I had tightened my grip unconsciously and when the cup shattered, shoved my nails into my palms.
I blinked in surprise at the warm red liquid that oozed slightly from my cuts. I had never seen my own blood before. Panic warred with fascination. I knew that because my heart beat that it pumped blood through my veins and therefore I could bleed, but with as strong as my skin is I never thought it was possible.
Turning the faucet on I rubbed my hands together gently under the steady stream of warm water. After about ten seconds I shut the water off. Jacob was already holding a clean dish towel out for me to dry off with. When I was through drying my hands and had set the towel on the counter, he took my hands gently in his large warm ones and turned them over to assess the damage.
He blinked in surprise several times and rubbing the palms of my hands with his thumbs said, “It's healed. There isn't even a red mark. It's like nothing ever happened.”
“Thank goodness,” Emily breathed in relief. She had been standing anxiously next to me while I was bleeding, but now that I was ok she kissed me on the top of my head and turned to start cleaning up the remains of the mug.
“Seems we are a lot alike,” Sam commented.
“Nice one Ness,” Seth said giving me a thumbs up from behind Jacob.
Jared peeked over Sam's shoulder, smiled at me and the headed for the door to start his patrol for the evening. Embry waved and said goodnight before disappearing out the door after him.
Jacob glanced at the clock hanging above the kitchen sink and sighed. “We had better get you back honey. Bella will kill us if you're not home when she calls.”
Wait. If nothing else was being said about tomorrow, did that mean Jacob was going to leave me home while he went out with Sam? No way! I was not going to be left behind again.
I reached my hand up to his face as he helped me into the light jacket Grandma has insisted I wear, showing him my displeasure at being forced to remain home.
Despite himself, Jacob smiled. “That wasn't meant for your ears,” he said. “And yes, I agree with Dad. Until we find this person I think it would be better if you stayed home.”
My eyebrows pulled together. Maybe I could suggest an alternative? So I showed him Seth and me as we were playing on the island earlier that day.
“Well, I suppose that would be ok, but that is something you would have to ask him. He might be busy tomorrow.” Jacob said.
I nodded and he sighed again, picking me up and walking a few steps over to where Seth had wondered in search of after-dinner snacks.
“Seth? If you are not busy, may I spend the day with you tomorrow?” I asked politely.
“I don't think I have anything going on.” He shrugged. “Sure. Do you want to go to the island again?”
I nodded, grinning widely. Jacob sighed again and after hugging Emily and thanking her for dinner, we said goodnight and took our leave.
“I miss you.” Momma's voice said from the receiver of the telephone.
“I know Momma,” I said as cheerfully as I could manage. “I miss you too, and Daddy. How did the last of your tests go?”
“Just fine. Literature is something I'm good at.” She teased. “But come now; tell me about your day. What have you been doing? Did your trip to La Push go well? Did you have fun with Billy? Did Jacob take you down to the beach?”
“Let the child answer you,” Daddy playfully scolded her from somewhere beside the phone. I heard him chuckle a second later and assumed Momma must have stuck her tongue out at him.
“I have been in La Push all day and had dinner at Sam and Emily's. Yes my trip went well. Yes I had fun with Billy. He made us scrambled eggs for breakfast. And yes, I did go to the beach but not with Jacob.” After making sure I answered all of her questions I proceeded to tell her about James Island and playing tag with Seth. I left out the parts about the scent and our tumble into the water. I didn't want her to freak out or worry unnecessarily.
“That's great baby. I'm so glad you had fun.” Momma said. “When we get home you'll have to show me what the island looks like. I've never been out there.”
“Bella honey, we have to go or we will be late.” Daddy said.
“Yes dear,” Momma said with a slight pout.
“Where are you going?” I asked her.
“To the opera,” she replied. “I've never heard of this one, but your father says it's good. I guess I'll have to tell you all about it tomorrow. Goodnight sweetheart. I love you so much.” She blew a kiss into the phone.
“Goodnight Momma,” I said as she passed the phone to my daddy.
“Dream sweet dreams, A Stoirin. You are always in our hearts.”
“Goodnight Daddy. I love you,” I said as I hung up. We never did say goodbye to each other. I don't think either of us could handle it if we did, so instead we just wished each other a good night.
After watching a movie with my family and kissing them all good night, I climbed the stairs to Daddy's room and slipped Bach into the stereo. I said my prayers and crawled into the big soft bed. Closing my eyes, I envisioned colorful fish and bright golden sun.
At ten the next morning, after coming back from breakfast with my grandparents, Jacob arrived to pick me up. The whole family was here today because Aunt Alice had seen it would be very sunny for the next three days.
After saying my goodbyes to everyone, I turned to leave with Jacob but was stopped by Aunt Alice as she pressed a lace trimmed white and green parasol into my hands.
“Accessorizing is very important,” she said. “It matches your dress perfectly.”
Today she and Auntie Rose had picked out a white sundress, much like the one I wore to Seth's party, but this one was trimmed with lace and interspersed with dark green leaves and little pink flowers.
I smiled as I took it from her - I knew it would hurt her feeling if I didn't, and kissed her on the cheek. Taking Jacob's hand, we walked out into the dappled sunlight that managed to hit the porch as the trees swayed in the breeze.
Sam was waiting for us when we arrived at Billy's house. As soon as we stepped out of Jacob's Rabbit, he walked over to Jacob to discuss where they would be searching that day. Knowing I wasn't going to be able persuade them to let me help, I wondered over to were Billy had wheeled himself into a spot of sunlight and crawled up onto his lap to enjoy it with him. The clouds hadn't all cleared yet, but Alice said that by noon the sky would be “as blue as a robin's egg”.
Seth showed up about twenty minutes later, apologizing for running behind - something about watching YouTube too late - and quickly came over to join us.
“It's going to be a nice day today,” he said to us grinning. He proudly wore his new black Smash Mouth t-shirt and a pair of faded denim jeans.
“Aunt Alice said it would be clear and sunny for the next three days,” I told him.
“Sweet! Maybe I should take out that new surf board I got?” He shrugged. “Ready to go?” He asked me.
“Yes,” I replied, hopping down from Billy's lap. “Just let me say goodbye.” I walked over to Jacob and patted his leg - he was wearing his cutoff sweats today.
“You guys heading out now?” He asked. Then he looked me in the eye very seriously. “I know that you can take care of yourself, and that you will also be with Seth, but please be careful while you are out there. I couldn't bear it if anything were to happen to you.” He leaned down so that he could kiss me on the forehead.
I sighed but agreed and returned the sentiment, telling him to be careful while he was out as well.
“Will do honey,” he smirked, thus earning him another tug on his hair.
Satisfied, I returned to Seth and Billy and took Seth's hand so that we could start walking as soon as he was done saying goodbye. Meanwhile Jacob had taken off his t-shirt and put it in the Rabbit. When he came back he was carrying my parasol with him, an even bigger smirk on his face.
I stuck my tongue out at him as I took it - I had purposefully left it in the car. Seth seemed to think this was humorous, and chuckled at me. I retaliated by stepping on his toes. He winced and then started chuckling harder.
I flushed with indignation and - in an attempt to hide that fact - stuck my chin in the air and opened up my parasol, setting it lightly on my shoulder. Then I turned my back to them, attempting to ignore the fresh round of snickering coming from behind me.
Idiots, I thought as I started walking down the road. I heard Seth say his goodbyes and jog to catch up to me.
“I'm sorry about that,” he said after a few moments of silence. “You are just so cute when you get angry.” He looked down at me with a smile and a wink.
I couldn't help it, I had to smile back.
“You know, you're a lot like your mom in that way. Bella was so much fun to tease. She used to blush at almost anything.” He chuckled fondly. “Did you get home in time to talk to her last night?”
I nodded and told him about the opera that they were seeing last night as an end-of-term celebration.
Seth laughed and said, “Leave it to them to think going to see an opera counts as a celebration.”
I giggled; even I had to admit that my parents were pretty old-fashioned. Granted my daddy was born nearly a century ago, but my momma had no excuse. Oh well. I was very much like them in that aspect as well, but you would never catch me celebrating by going to the opera. A nice play or a concert was more my thing.
We spent the rest of the relatively short walk to First Beach chit chatting about random things like the Muse concert Seth had attended last weekend and what our plans for the summer were.
When we arrived at the beach there were only two cars in the parking lot. One was red Ford Laser, the other a rusty blue diesel pickup. I didn't give them much thought as I doubted that anyone was going to be willing to swim the seven hundred plus feet from the tip of the peninsula to the island, so we strolled on.
About fifty yards down the north side of the beach, we came upon the vehicles owners and it became evident right away that we couldn't just ignore them. The three greasy-haired guys were very drunk from the look of their red eyes and the way they fumbled their movements. They had brought two young women with them - college students I believe - and had them pinned up against the exposed roots of a tree.
As we got closer, the wind shifted and brought the strong smell of alcohol our way, causing us to wrinkle our noses. One of the girls, a short blonde wearing a pink jacket, reached her hand out in our direction as soon as she spotted us walking up.
I heard Seth sigh and looked up at him to see his face set in a very grim expression. “Not again,” I heard him mutter as we turned and walked over to the group.
“Good morning gentlemen, ladies. Is there a problem?”
“Just having a little fun,” the one in blue responded, pushing his dirty blonde hair out of his eyes.
“Yeah, s-so bu-tt-out kid. W-we saw `um first.” The dark-haired guy in a green Hawaiian print added with a slur.
The third man with almost a buzzed haircut turned around to face us as well. “Why don't you just continue your walk, boy, if you know what's good for you.”
Seth sighed and I gripped his hand harder. It's not like I was really afraid of these men, but something in me was screaming for me to get as far away as I could.
“There is no alcohol consumption allowed on the beach, gentlemen, as you have been told.” While the men were staring at Seth in blurry-eyed fury, the blonde and her friend snuck quickly away and started scrambling up the embankment. “Besides, I don't think your companions are interested in your kind of fun.” He added with a smirk.
Turning around they saw that the girls had escaped and groaned in anger and disappointment.
The guy with the buzz cut and black leather jacket seemed to be the most furious. He turned to glare at Seth before his bloodshot eyes slid down to me. Instinctively I hid myself behind Seth's legs.
A lopsided grin pulled up the left corner of the man's lips, exposing his yellowing teeth. “Now look what you've gone and done sonny. You've lost us our catch. It was hard work findin' them too. I think we should be entitled to a bit of compensation, what do you think? That little girl there, she looks like she might be fun. We'll take her and forget about the whole thing, what say you boy? Or would you rather end up as chum?” The other two nodded their heads in agreement.
My eyes widened as I listened to the man speak. What disgusting, vile creatures they were, preying on women like that, and now they wanted me? In all appearances, I was a child of no more than five. I shivered in revulsion.
“Nessie?” Seth said without looking away from the men that were now leering at me. “Why don't you run along ahead, and I'll catch up once I've dealt with this.”
For once I didn't feel a need to argue about being sent away from a fight, so I nodded and let go of his legs to close my parasol and tuck it into the waistband of my dress. Just before I left, I lightly touched his hand, showing him a very large sandy colored wolf chasing them down the beach. I heard him laugh as I took off at a brisk run up the beach.
I sped up as soon as I was far enough away from them, and ran as fast as could to the tip of the peninsula where I flung myself into the water. I swam quickly through the cool water to the only sandy part of the island, and from there proceeded to climb up to the top of the horseshoe shaped cliffs.
I paused when I reached the peak of the hill. However, it just didn't seem like enough. Adrenaline still pumped through my veins driving me still onward. So I set out for the rocky half-moon shaped strip of land nestled between the two seaward arms of the island that I had spied while playing here yesterday.
I carefully picked my way down to the beach, and upon stepping out from the trees onto the water-smoothed rocks the last of the clouds that had been hiding the sun blew away, flooding the beach in light.
I blinked once to let my eyes adjust to the sudden brightness and gazed around me. The sunlight bounced of the waves, capping them with gold. The hundreds of different colored stones glimmered and glinted where the light hit them as they lay along the full length of the beach.
For a moment I forgot to breathe, this place was breathtaking. Never before had I seen something so lovely as this. It was like looking at a painting by Fitz Hugh Lane*.
I walked out to the exact middle of the beach and sat down, removing my parasol before spreading out the shirt of my dress so that it could dry in the sunshine. Next I opened my parasol and set down beside me to dry.
As I sat here letting the sun's warm rays beat down on me, I turned my head from side to side taking in my somewhat familiar surroundings. From its midpoint the beach seemed to be about two hundred or so feet long, and was covered in rocks and driftwood like its larger counterpart behind me. Also like its sister beach, only the last five or six feet was actually sand. Out in the cove, a single large rock stood above the waves just to the right of where I was seated. It was roughly twenty-five to thirty feet out, and was shaped like a door wedge.
I giggled as I realized why this scene seemed so familiar to me. Just last night I had been browsing through “The Little Mermaid” again and this looked just like I had imagined a mermaid's lagoon would look. The rock in front of me would have been a perfect place for a mermaid to sun herself, or perhaps sing one of her lovely songs as she combed out her long hair. I giggled again, for just as I thought that a light breeze came along and ruffled my own lengthy locks, twirling them about my face.
I stared out at the green-gray waves, watching them topple playfully over one-another like children on a playground. So lost was I in my daydreaming, that I did not hear her approach until she was barely five feet from me, slipping gracefully between the small bushes lining the edge of the rocky beach I sat upon.
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeee
*Fitz Hugh Lane's paintings can be found at this website. Remember to take out the spaces. www. oceansbridge. com/ oil-paintings/ section/ 1465/ 1/ lanefitzhugh
A/N: Yay! Chapter four is finished (Or part 3 of 3 however you want to look at it). Sorry I had to split this up, but it would have ended up as a 60-70 page chapter if I hadn't. I hope it wasn't too confusing. Woot! New character alert. I wonder who she could be. Hmm… Anywho, please review and tell me what you think.