I was torn, I was grateful that Rosalie took over watching Dinner for me, and I told her as much, what I was torn over was if I should ask my brothers to help me rip Peter a new one for dumping me on Clint's lap, or kiss him for dropping me on Clint's lap.
When Peter dumped me down, I leaned over to get up when he placed his arms around my waist.
"Wouldn't want you to fall, now would we?" Clint told me; without thinking, I said to him I wouldn't mind; seeing his smile at my response made being dumped here worth it. I heard a slap not long after that; when I looked around, Peter and Charlotte had disappeared, Emmett's booming laugh starting to fill the house, as I saw Jasper walk in cringing.
"Ah, Peter and Charlotte left to have sex." I chuckled out.
"How do you know that?" Clint asked me.
"Jasper's expression. It says it all, really. Would you want to hear your siblings going at it all the time?" I said to Clint; now, his face resembled Jasper's.
"Do you have any siblings?" I asked him, he just nodded.
"One, Barney, he died a few years ago; he was older than me," Clint said as he started playing with my fingers.
"I'm sorry about that," I told him.
"What about you? are you the youngest of you three?" Clint asked me, confusing me utterly.
"Only child, Emmett, and Jasper are the brothers of my ex-boyfriend. Jasper's ex-wife was my best friend, not anymore, and Emmett's wife Rosalie is just over there; I've always seen her as my sister. Family is complicated; it's not just blood relation." I said quietly, looking over those who I called family.
"Well, that makes more sense; Jasper came up to me earlier asking me if I saw Nat, which I'm not, by the way, say that he could still kick the ass of someone 100 years his junior, for someone who I'm guessing is in his early 20's, not possible," Clint said, I just laughed, I'm going to need to talk to Jasper about this.
"Sounds about right; he's just looking out for me," I told him.
"Jasper, I think my uncle and Clint need to be as informed as I am about certain things. If you understand, that is." I said, I felt as if I was asking permission to let them in on the secret, even though it was not mine to share.
"Even though your Uncle knows about Carlisle and Esme, I think it's a good idea if your boyfriend here knows, after all, your Uncle, as well as yourself, have only two options now, change or die. But in saying that, you have me as an Ace up your sleeve. So, knowing this, do you still want him to know?" Jasper asked, this I had not known about.
"Edward never told me that I only have two options. I don't want to change anymore." I said to him; he smiled and pulled out his phone; after dialling whoever it was, he put the caller on speaker.
"Who is this? I demand to know how you got this number!" A male voice demanded over the phone; I just watched as Jasper smiled. "That is no way to talk to your betters now, Your Highness," Jasper said; his tone was one I had never heard before.
"Ares, what can I do for you?" The man said as I heard his sharp intake of air.
"Caius, call your brothers, then call this number back," Jasper said as he hung up and dialled again.
"Before you ask and before people are informed, You both are needed at the Swan house immediately." Jasper hung up the phone again and waited.
He didn't wait long before the phone rang and he answered.
"We are here." the same man from earlier said down the line as a knock sounded on the front door.
"Now, I have four humans here. I want to disclose our secret, too, without penalty of death or change; they are helping my coven in keeping our anonymity; just as you have humans on your staff, I also keep humans for a purpose. This is not to be argued, they will not be hunted or tracked, and neither will any future generations of people they associate with. Is that clear, and no, I will not disclose their names. Any questions?" Jasper said, his tone becoming deeper, edgy.
There were no disagreements on the other end of the line. Jasper said he would be in touch in a few days before he hung up the phone.
His eyes, which had been getting considerably darker the longer he talked on the phone, started to lighten again. He called in Uncle Tony and Charlie before thanking Carlisle and Esme for coming. Tony greeted the new arrivals as well, as he already knew them.
Once seated, he told the humans without knowing what was really out there and were excluded from any penalty from knowing the secret.
"How is it they can know without consequence?" Emmett asked. I was wondering the same, actually.
"Simple answer is the leaders, the Volturi, have a healthy, respectful fear of me, ever since they confronted Maria 100 years ago and lost, they nearly decimated her Army, but she called me out, and I destroyed every single one of their guard, with only my bare hands and my gift, the only one left alive was Caius, one of the kings, I've been to see them once before I meet Alice, let us just say, I rule them, if I wanted I could replace them and rule, I choose not too, as I am happy with the way things are," Jasper informed us all.
"So Vampires. Don't really know what to say to that one." Clint said, sounding almost like he was talking to himself. Jasper had stressed how important it was for us all not to say anything to anyone. We all agreed.
Charlie let me know he was headed over to the Clearwater's tonight; he and Sue had become close since Harry's death; he asked where everyone else was going to be. Tony had made arrangements for a hotel room in Seattle, Jasper, Emmett, and Rose were going back to the Cullens house to talk about some things with Carlisle and Esme, Clint had a room at the same hotel as Tony, Charlie asked if I wanted to go to the Clear waters also. But I declined. I just needed some time.
"I'll follow you out Charlie, I need to call Pepper anyhow," Tony said, nudging Charlie out the door.
The Cullen's and Hales left, saying goodbye with promises to call the next day. I received a text from Peter saying goodbye, for now, leaving Clint and me alone in the house.
"I'm going to go to bed. It's been kind of a long day." So I said to Clint, not really wanting to get up off of his lap.
He picked me up, placing me on the couch next to him. Getting up, I assumed he was leaving. After seeing him out, I locked the door and went up to start my nightly routine; once out of the shower, I hadn't bothered taking clothes in the bathroom with me as I was home alone, drying off in the bathroom, I put my towel in the hamper. Then, I walked naked into my room just to find Clint lying on my bed.
"Well, I wasn't expecting this." He said under his breath, loud enough for me to hear, though. I rushed to find something to cover myself with, thankful that I left my robe on the back of the door.
"How did you get back inside? I locked the door." I asked, a little pissed, and if I was honest, a little turned on at the fact that he, too, had taken layers off.
"Tony asked me to stay here and watch over you; I just checked around the house before coming back inside. I grabbed the keys Charlie had told me belonged to you." He said, getting up off my bed. I just stood frozen, not knowing exactly what was going to happen.
"I'm going to crash on the couch; call out if you see or hear anything. I'll come running. Goodnight, Bella." He told me as he walked, passed me and out the door. Releasing the breath I hadn't realized I was holding, I took the few steps towards my bed and dumped myself down on it. Disappointed but relieved that Clint left, not knowing how I would feel if he had stayed. Getting into my sweats, I jumped in bed and decided to get some sheep for the next day.
"Bella! You have to move. I can't let them get to you; find Tony, he'll keep you safe, but just GO so I can do my job; I can't be worrying about you too." So Clint told me as he was about to run out the door. Before I could answer him, he had kissed me and pushing me back towards something; suddenly, there was nothing. He vanished before my eyes.
I called out for him he didn't answer; I screamed when I fell, tripping over something just to look at what it was and seeing his body lying there lifeless. He couldn't be dead, placing my hands over my mouth, feeling the wet sensation that came with it, looking at my hands and seeing them bloody.
"BELLA!" I heard Clint's voice calling, but his lips weren't moving.
"BELLA! WAKE UP!" He said again.
"BELLA! Come on, Wake up, it's not real, your just having a nightmare; come on, Wake up." Hearing his voice saying to me.
My mind was playing a trick on me; I could not believe he was alive. I was looking at his cold dead corpse, feeling the tears well up in my eyes; there was nothing I could do. When I felt the tears fall down my cheeks, hearing the same voice calling me, telling me to wake up, I just couldn't do it. Finally, I felt myself giving up, so I gave into it.
The overwhelming sense of loss, the feeling of not wanting to believe any of it was real.
"Nah, man, I can't get her to wake up; I even put her under a cold shower to see if that worked, it hasn't." the voice that I knew to be Clint's said,
"Go Away! stop doing this to me!" I shouted out to whatever it was.
"Bella, darlin', can ya hear me?" I heard Jasper ask; I looked around, but I could see him; all I saw was Clint's corpse.
"I know darlin' Imma help ya, but you're gonna need to help me too; just tell me what's wrong, Darlin' Pete and I are here to help ya. okay?" Jasper said to me. Why couldn't I see him anywhere?
"He's dead, Jasper; I don't know what happened," I shouted out.
"Okay, I'm getting that you've lost someone. Pete gets everyone out." Jasper said. There's no one here for Pete to get out. Not long after, I turned around trying to find Jasper, and instead, I saw an old-time Soldier.
"Ma 'am, I'm the Major, now in the real world you still sound asleep in your bed, people have been trying to wake you, and you ain't waking, Now Imma helps ya, but it all depends on you." The Major said to me. He looked like Jasper, but his hair was a shade darker than Jaspers Honey gold, and the Major's eyes were red instead of Jaspers' topaz gold. He also was standing more ridged, where Jasper also did, but he looked more relaxed in his ridged stance.
"This has to be real; it feels so real, I can't be asleep; what's wrong with me?" I asked. Nothing feels right, I keep looking at Clint's corpse, and now I just don't know what's real anymore.
"Is he dead?" I ask; the Major just shakes his head and says, 'no, Ma'am.' I just nod my head and step toward The Major.
I don't know how he does it; he tells me to close my eyes, count to ten, picture my room at Charlie's, then once again count to ten and open my eyes. Doing as directed, once opening my eyes, I see Jasper sitting on the bed in front of me; I feel wet, not from sweat, but water. Just seeing Jasper, seeing my room, helps me come back to reality, but I broke down as my dream settles in, the realization none of that was real, that Clint was alive.
I heard him call Peter in and heard my door open; I hadn't realized that I was in Jasper's arms crying until I was passed to someone else.
"What happened?" I heard someone ask, not even paying attention to who it was.
"She was dreaming; she was next to your corpse; she was giving up. Bella didn't want to carry on." I heard Jasper say. I didn't understand why this was happening, what was going on.
"Oh, honey, no one is worth giving up for. You need always to be strong. always carry on." I heard Clint saying. I felt like I couldn't go back to sleep; if I did, I would lose everything again. I started to shiver from the cold water still covering my clothes, but I didn't want to let go; my dream was still too real, I was having trouble letting it go; that shit was way too vivid for my liking—stupid subconscious.
"Come on; you need to get into some dry clothes. I'm sorry about that; I was trying to wake you up," Clint told me. I just sighed. Nodding, I got up and grabbed some more clothes, and went into the bathroom to get changed. When I came back into my room, I saw that Jasper had taken up in the rocking chair in the corner the Edward used to use. Clint was sitting on my bed; they talked about what was going on; I turned and made my way downstairs and got a drink. Honestly, I just wanted to leave and go for a walk. Clear my head.
Seeing a note on the refrigeration, it looked like a reminder.
FUNERAL OF JACOB BLACK
SATURDAY 10 AM
I was meant to ask Charlie how Billy was; I hadn't even thought about it, he was my fathers best friend, and I also hadn't taken the time to ask how he was if he needed anything done around the house, Jake did everything for Billy, now that support was gone. Opening the front door, I stepped out and just sat on the top step, needing time, always needing time, something Jake won't have any more of.
I had been on the step for a while, a car pulled up over the road, and I saw a woman get out, she looked about my age, a little younger maybe, she started walking towards me, the woman was beautiful, strawberry blonde hair, delicate features, her hair hanging in waves both down her chest and her back, blowing slightly in the breeze that was blowing, was too pale to be human, had dark gold eyes, but she looked, off, somehow. I couldn't put a finger on it, but she just seemed off.
"Are you Isabella Swan?" The woman asked me, not really sure I should answer her.
"Why are you looking for her?" I asked.
"So you are Bella then, you had my Mate killed, so I'm here to kill you." The woman said. I had no idea who her mate was.
"Excuse me. I don't even know who your friend is, let alone have someone killed." I told her, sending a whole shit load of panic to Jasper in hopes of getting his attention.
"Edward Cullen, you got my Edward killed; I can't let you get away with that." The woman said, coming closer still. I started laughing at her.
"Sorry, what do you want me to do about it?" I asked as the front door opened.
"Tanya, what are you doing here? We didn't know you were coming for a visit." I heard Jasper say,
"This girl killed my Mate. I'm going to kill her. Stay out of my way Jasper." So this way, Tanya, I had heard about her, vaguely, as she and Jasper talked, I just sat there and assessed her.
"Who was your Mate? I wasn't aware you had taken a Mate." Jasper asked her.
"You know my Mate was Edward; we had been together for half a century. You know this." Tanya said, getting agitated.
"This young woman did not kill Eddie boy, and frankly, if he had a mate, for as long as you say, he would not have been able to stay away from you for any length of time. So why are you really here, Tanya." Jasper asked her. It looked like her eyes glazed over when he asked her why she was here; it was like he was dazzling her into telling the truth.
"I wanted him, and she had him; I found out he had been killed. I wanted revenge for his death. He deserved better than her." Tanya told him.
"It was me that killed Edward Tanya. Not Bella; he wasn't your Mate; I would have felt it. He never wanted you; move on, Tanya." Jasper said to her. They talked for a couple of minutes longer before she apologized; she looked behind me and smiled. Obviously, Clint was behind me.
Clint walked down the stairs towards her, and they started talking; I knew in that second I would not be enough for someone like Clint, going back inside. I made my way up to my room and went to bed. Falling into a fitful yet peaceful sleep. I woke yet again to my alarm, listening. I didn't hear anyone in the house; getting up, I thought I would go searching, just to be safe. Going downstairs is just my sweat's; I ran directly into a barely dressed Tanya and Clint, making out in my kitchen. I ran back upstairs, got dressed, grabbed my purse, packed my backpack with a few clothes and my passport; I made my way back downstairs and dared my throat.
"I need a few things from the store. Can I borrow your car, Clint?" I asked; he walked over and gave me the keys he grabbed on his way past. Not even saying good morning, but neither did I. Making my way to the car, taking my time to text Charlie before I left.
'Sorry, not going to make the funeral; I am heading out of town, I need some time, I see Jake everywhere, I need to leave. I love you, I'm sorry.'
Turning my phone off, I threw it onto the passenger seat. I started the car and left, not wanting to hang around at all; what I text Charlie was real enough; I just didn't want to tell him the guy I was crushing on clearly slept with a drop-dead gorgeous blonde.
I made my way to SeaTac, and after the 3-hour drive, I pulled into long term parking and went into the airport to book the first ticket out of Washington.
It just happened to be going to New York. I had heard my Uncle talk about a Pepper, so I had done some research. Pepper was his assistant and girlfriend; if my dreams had been showing me, I had an idea of where to go. I also found a few job openings in his company; I thought I would just apply for a position and figure out living arrangements later.
The 5-hour flight would have been good if my mind had not kept replaying the scene in Charlie's kitchen.
I got a ride to the new location of Stark industries and handed over my resume, which I worked on, on the flight. I just prayed I could get a job relatively quickly. And surprisingly, Ms Potts was talking to the receptionist as I walked up.
"Denise, Mr Stark will be away for a while longer; if anyone comes applying for the opening, please page me." Ms Potts said she looked at me, smiling before she walked away.
"Hello, Can I help you?" Denise asked me.
"Yes, I've come to apply for the opening of Mr Stark's assistant," I said. I read that he was putting out a call for a new assistant since they saw each other.
"Of course, if you will wait, please, I will call Ms Potts, letting her know you're here." The woman smiled at me. I could see Pepper had stopped and was on the phone with someone, and I prayed it was not my Uncle. Denise looked towards the way she had gone and sighed, running up to her with my resume.
Pepper hung up the phone and walked back towards the reception, straight up to me.
"Isabella, Hi, I'm Ms Potts; things are a little slow today, I know I'm not giving you much notice, but would you mind having the interview now by chance?" She asked me.
"Not at all, lead the way." I smiled back at her. She led me up to her office and asked if I needed anything. I just shook my head.
"So, what made you decide to apply for the role of Mr Stark's assistant?" She asked while reading over my resume.
"Honestly, I just moved here; got off the plane not long ago. I saw the company had an opening last night, and I jumped on the first flight, hoping I would get seen, or at least hoped for an appointment time to come in," I answered; she was about to talk when her phone rang.
"Well, it's a good thing that you did. Sorry about this. Tony, I'm rather busy. I'm interviewing your new assistant. Alright then. No, we just started. Alright." Ms Potts apologised for her phone ringing; the fact that it was my Uncle was not surprising.
"Sorry, where were we? Ah, yes. Tony can be very demanding, and you need to be on call basically, sometimes up to 20 hours. Are you confident you could handle that type of role?" Ms Potts asked me.
"I have dealt with difficult people in the past, I've had to micro-manage one challenging person, she changed her mind constantly, and I had to be ready for anything at the drop of a hat. So yes, I could deal with that easily." So I answered, even though I felt like I was rambling.
"Okay, Mr Stark will have his own set of questions for you when he meets you, to see if you will be compatible for him., my side of things is rather short; the reality of it is Mr Stark will make the final decision, and get back to you once all applicants have gotten seen, if you will follow me please." Ms Potts said. I got up and followed her out. She led me down to an elevator, which I assumed led down to the lobby. Instead, the elevator went up, and I wondered where she was taking me; once the doors opened, I could hear my Uncle yelling; as I couldn't hear anyone else, I assumed he was on the phone.
"You okay to do this now? He's going back out of town this evening and doesn't know when he will be back." Ms Potts said to me.
"It's fine. Sorry, I had not realized I'd be meeting the boss so soon, is all." I smiled at her. She asked me to follow her, and we went to meet Uncle Tony.
"Tony, I have an applicant for you to meet for the assistant role," she said, calling out.
"I'll find her Charlie calm down; you're a cop, ask Clint, he would have seen her; I asked him to keep an eye on her; why wouldn't I?" Tony yelled. Ms Potts handed me a non-disclosure form and a pen, indicating I sign it, so I did; once signed, she placed the signed form in her bag and tapped Tony on the shoulder, he turned around, and his jaw dropped.
"Okay, I got to go. I'll call you back." Tony hung up his phone.
"What the hell is wrong with you? Charlie has been going out of his mind. We all tried to call you, but your cell is off; what happened?" Tony asked me.
"Tony, what are you talking about?" Ms Potts asked.
"Pep, I would like you to meet my niece. Bella Swan, who went missing this morning." Tony said, introducing me.
"I text dad I was leaving, I couldn't stay there you were still in Seattle as far as I knew, so you can't exactly talk, I borrowed Clint's car, leaving it in long term parking and booked a flight, and applied for a job. I can't stay there anymore." I said to him; Ms Potts looks at me as if the chips were starting to line up and make sense.
"What happened, Bella?" Uncle Tony asked.
"Edward's Ex came around, threatened me, Jasper sent her away, Clint slept with her, found that out this morning when I walked into the kitchen, seeing them half-naked, making out on the kitchen bench, So I left," I said to him, Ms Potts looked at Tony and asked who Clint was.
"Agent Barton," Tony said simply; she just nodded, understanding crossing her features.