August 21, 2010
It’s so much easier to hide my thoughts from Edward, now that Bella is one of us.
For one thing, her “shield” is so honed at this point that she can lift it out of her mind to let Edward in whenever she wants – which will never cease to thrill and fascinate Edward. Then, too, they have their cottage, or as Emmett calls it – the “Love Shack” … enough said on that subject. And of course, there’s Renesmee, whose every fleeting thought and vivid dream is of the utmost importance to him. Finally, when that mutt is around, Edward pretty much stalks his thoughts. Poor guy, just can’t get a break with my brother – first they’re both in love with Bella and fighting over her, now Jacob’s in love with Edward’s daughter and watched like a hawk by my over-protective brother.
Anyway, it’s all very convenient for me! As soon as I could tear myself away from Jasper this morning, I was able to go straight to work on Nessie’s surprise birthday party. Jasper and Carlisle settled into their complex game of chess, which was played on three stacked glass boards in a special frame, so that you could move both horizontally and vertically. This game would go on for at least another few days, since Carlisle’s work schedule had him away so often. (How Edward wished he could play! But the only one willing to play against him was me, and really, there was no point in that.) Since Jazz was otherwise occupied, and would be all morning as far as I could see, it was the perfect opportunity for me to log on to the sleek iMac by the wall of windows overlooking the river, and start ordering supplies.
I knew I wanted to have a bouncy house – I could see that Nessie would be overjoyed by that, although I could also tell that some overgrown dogs with boundary issues would likely enjoy it too, if the haziness in my vision was any indication. Whatever, Ness would get her shot at it before the wolves showed up, I would make sure of that. What I couldn’t decide was whether I should just get a bouncy castle, or order a bouncy slide as well? My hesitation stemmed from the fact that, as a half-human-half-vampire-hybrid, Nessie could jump high into the air or down from a tall tree with no difficulty … so would she enjoy the slide, or would it only be used by the pack? Since I couldn’t decide, I couldn’t see what would happen, and it was seriously starting to annoy me. Finally, after sitting there just thinking about it for a full 2 5/8 seconds, I clicked on “add to cart” for both of them. It wasn’t such a big deal, we had the money to spend thanks to my ability to predict stock trends, and since I had mentally moved the party to the baseball clearing there’d certainly be enough space.
It was at this point in my party planning that I had a quick vision. I suppose I’d better interrupt myself here to try and describe what that’s like. It’s hard, because unlike Edward I can’t hear “normal” people’s minds, so my anomaly seems normal to me – it’s all I know. But I guess that it’s like … having the lights dim and an image projected directly in front of you. Not a hologram, not like Princess Leia telling Obe-Wan that he’s her only hope, more like a TV screen that fills your vision completely and absorbs your attention entirely until the scene ends. That’s really the best I can do as far as descriptions go. At any rate, this particular vision was quick – most of them are, actually – and all I could grasp was the image of Charlie Swan’s face, set in an expression I didn’t quite recognize. Replaying the vision in my mind, my crystal-clear memory struggled to place that look on his face. It was sort of a mixture of resignation, concern, and something else …
Before I could figure it out, Jazz was by my side, radiating calm. Of course, he’d sensed my frustration and was worried about what I’d seen to make me look the way I did – reflected in his soft, golden eyes, my face appeared drawn and unhappy in the 1/10th of a second it took me to visibly relax. A wave of guilt washed over me – the family was still in disbelief that the Volturi would leave us alone, so it was thoughtless of me to let any of them see me disturbed by a vision. Before he could speak, I assured him (and the rest of the family within hearing range), “It’s nothing, Jazz – sorry, I was just trying to make sense of a confusing detail, I didn’t mean to worry you.”
“What did you see, Alice?” he asked softly, in that sweet Southern accent of his that could still make my dead heart swell in my chest. Though I’d relaxed, and told him nothing was wrong, he continued to radiate peace; another of my family must be worried, then.
I felt awful. “Please – don’t worry, everyone. We’re all perfectly safe, it’s just a random, strange vision I caught …” As I spoke, I turned to face the rest of them. Carlisle stood by the chess setup, and Esme flitted down the stairs to stand at his side. Rose and Emmett weren’t home. Bella had Nessie tight in her arms, with that fierce protective look in her eye that I recognized from our showdown with the Volturi. Edward had one hand out towards them, but his eyes were trained on me – now that he knew to look, he could see Charlie’s face as clearly as I did, and it appeared that he was as confused by it as I was.
Bella, no fool herself, quickly asked Edward, “What? What does she see?” Nessie’s hand was pressed to Bella’s cheek, and you didn’t have to be Edward to know that she was thinking pretty much the same thing.
“It’s …” Edward hesitated as he looked at his wife. Though I was the one who could see the future, he knew as well how Bella would react to the truth – with that overwhelming concern towards the person she loved almost more than anything (Edward and Nessie, of course, shared that honor). Then he squared his shoulders and told her straight out. “It’s Charlie.”
Things only went downhill from there, but I can’t spend any more time writing this down tonight. I’ll explain later.