A/N: Hi everyone! First of all, huge-as-Everest-like thanks for all of the awesome reviews I've received from my lovely serial reviewers! I loved every single one of your words, and I'm so deeply sorry that I haven't found the time to reply to you individually! I know that sucks, and I promise I'll try to do better, but I have to admit that finding the time to write is an everyday challenge, so I figured you wouldn't be too hard on me if I gave you another chapter on schedule instead... (looking hopefully at all my awesome reviewers with puppy dog eyes). Anyway, thank you so much traceybuie, BridieM, CoppertopJ, fresh-BLOOD-was-drawn-2night, edwards-girl-4-ever and impossible17!

So, many of you have interesting theories and thoughts! traceybuie, you're spot on about something, but I'm not telling anything, as we'll know about it sometime later ;) Sorry fresh, but there still won't be any baby in this series! And CoppertopJ, don't worry too much, but keep you seatbelt buckled, 'cause we're on for a bumpy ride with this one ;)

Enjoy, and please review!

Chapter 3


"What do we do now?"

My question still rang in the hot Brazilian air as I tried to focus on the here and now. Blame my vampire brain, I was also thinking about Charlie, Seth, Caius, the Volturi, Edward and what had happened between us, and all the strange consequences of our lovemaking. He and I were now able to calm each other through our touch, something that was definitely impossible before. It would've come in handy in high school – or during more serious prior events. But I would think about it later.

It seemed like we were in a mess again, because of a former and very stubborn Volturi leader. Stupid Caius. I should've known he wouldn't keep his word and cause trouble after we left Volterra. But why kidnap Charlie? That was really bothering me, and I truly didn't know what to do.

"You're awfully lost, Bella," Jasper commented with a soft voice, his eyes full of understanding. "What do you want to do?"

"Well," I said, running my fingers through the tangled strands of my hair and wanting to be honest. "I don't know what I want to do. I don't know what I should do either."

"The question is, does Charlie still mean enough to you for you to go rescue him from Caius' clutches?" Rosalie stated bluntly, but rightly.

"That's the million dollar question, Rose," I admitted with a low tone, squeezing Edward's hand in reassurance. He wrapped me in his arms and kissed my neck, and I wanted to melt against him. I needed his touch, his comfort and his support so much. "I want to help Seth without question, but Charlie..."

"Knowing you, you'll rush to save him," Emmett said simply, shooting me an appraising look. "You're too forgiving, even with me and my shit."

"Well said, Em," Alice nodded, but still not smiling. She was really starting to worry me.

"Alice?" I addressed her, and she sighed. "What's the matter?"

"I can't tell you right now, Bella," she answered, ignoring Edward tensing behind me. "There are many outcomes to this sticky situation, but first you and Edward have to talk. Everything will stem from that."

I tensed too, and Edward felt it. He kissed me on my cheek, then spoke up softly, his voice laced with worry. "Maybe we should talk now, then."

I didn't know if I was ready for this, but if our talk was going to help us make a decision, then I had to pick up my courage and do it. So I rose to my feet, Edward following me, and after a quick change of clothes, discarding the toga-blankets at last, we made our way outside the house.

"Be back soon, please," Esme's voice reached us, tight with concern.

"We'll do our best," Edward said, leading me towards the eastern side of the island, way out of earshot. We needed as much privacy as we could get for this conversation.

We jogged at a leisure pace, staying silent, and I thought about what I would tell him. But no words were coming. How would I share this weird experience without having him freaking out or beating himself up? Then, as we reached the spot where it had all happened, not far from the three dead capybaras, I found the solution. I would lower my shield, and show him everything. That way he would see what had happened, and hear my thoughts and feelings about it. He would see that I had enjoyed it, however strange it had been.

"Love?" he said, coming to a stop and taking me in his arms, his golden eyes swirling with worry. "Please talk to me. Tell me what happened. I'm... I'm so worried, love. I really don't remember anything, and I'm... I don't want to hurt you, Bella. Ever."

"You didn't hurt me, Edward," I told him firmly, locking eyes with him. "At least not consciously. And it wasn't too painful. It was great, actually. Really."

"Bella..." he started, his voice shaking, but I cut him gently.

"Let me show you, my love. That way you'll see everything."

I lowered my shield, and replayed the memories I had. It wasn't long until Edward, looking turned on and horrified at the same time, started to moan in anguish, burying his head in the crook of my neck. I rubbed his back and neck soothingly, wanting to tell him again that it had been weird but wonderful, and that I had enjoyed the experience. But after I stopped remembering and shared my actual thoughts of contentment and love, now that I was in his strong and comforting embrace, he raised his head. "That was disturbing, love. Even if you've enjoyed it, it was... brutal, Bella. And what I want to know is why?"

His last words exited him in a shout, and he pulled away from me, pulling at his hair and gazing all around us, utterly lost. I was afraid he would snap. "Why, Bella? I love you, but... that wasn't love! That was..."

"Claiming," I offered softly, and he riveted his gaze in mine, his golden eyes full of incomprehension and shame. "Possessing."

"Yes," he agreed unhappily, pinching the bridge of his nose. "But... why can't I remember? Even now, with your memories, I don't remember anything. Nothing, love! I'm a vampire, for heaven's sake! And why did I do this? Why? I don't... I... We're mated! I didn't need to..."

"...claim me again," I finished for him, and he nodded wordlessly, his features tight. Right now he was so much like the first Edward I'd met, the self-loathing one, that it made me angry. We had overcome so much since we'd met eighteen years ago. I didn't want to go back to that. "Edward, look at me!"

His head, hung low half a second ago, shot up in surprise and alarm at my seething tone. I was a volcano, it seemed, and even I didn't recognize myself. I went on. "Stop wallowing at once! I won't have it again! We're mated, yes, and you don't need to feel so badly! I enjoyed it, Edward! Do you hear me? I. Enjoyed. It! It was the most intense experience of my life, and I don't regret it one bit! So don't you dare downplay or taint this feeling with your moping!"

I took a deep breath, trying to tone down my voice, as he watched me with wide eyes. He swallowed uneasily. "But why, Bella?" he said desperately, almost in a whine. "Why?"

"I don't know," I shrugged, my anger abating as he took my hands in his, caressing them. His touch was so comforting. I craved it. "And I assume our family doesn't know either."

"No, they don't," he confirmed with a subdued voice. "And they're so worried about us. From what I could gather, which isn't much, we've been acting weird for a few days before it all exploded today."

"Edward, are you...? Is your mind-reading okay?" I asked him, my eyebrows furrowing. I had to ask, because he seemed to have less access to our family's minds lately, and had to concentrate more to hear them. It was a relief for him, but it unbalanced him, like a part of him was missing.

"I don't really know," he admitted, frowning deeply. "It's been on and off since a few months ago, you know it. Now I have to focus on one or a few people to hear their thoughts. But since a few weeks, well... it seems like I can only focus on you, love. And when I'm near you..."

"...you don't hear anyone else, even when focusing on them," I guessed. He nodded again, worry etched on his face. "Edward, you can't be losing your talent. That's impossible. Powers only grow with time, Carlisle and Marcus said so."

"True. But something is happening between us, Bella, and you're a shield."

"Have you felt how we can calm each other through our touch now?" I inquired, going back into his arms. He was too far away from me, and I needed the contact of his body against mine.

"Yes," he nodded. "Since... what I did to you, and the weird spark of electricity just after that."

"I remember," I said. That had felt wonderful, this strong jolt of electricity between us. And ever since that moment, we had been closer than ever. Needier.

"But it doesn't explain why we're like this," Edward grimaced, his hands roaming my back and shoulders. I was... feral, Bella."

"And I'm a bundle of nerves, ready to blow off any minute," I added, snuggling deeper into his chest as he kissed my hair. "We're together and mated, Edward. I'm perfectly happy and satisfied with you. So why, indeed?"

"I don't understand," he said simply.

"Who would?" I asked him, my voice muffled by the shirt covering him.

"I'll phone Marcus," he decided. "Maybe he can meet us in Forks."

I groaned, suddenly reminded of our situation. But it would have to wait for another minute. "Edward, what can we do about us?"

"We'll ask Marcus. But in the meantime we'll have to... wait and see, I suppose," he sighed heavily, his hands gripping me harder around my waist. "Maybe this new touch thing will be a good thing."

"It already is," I told him. "You've prevented me from attacking Rose and Carlisle, my love. And I think I did the same for you."

"Yes," he confirmed, kissing the new scar on my neck, making me shiver. "Still, I'm sorry about this, Bella. You'll have a large scar. I'm so sorry."

"Don't be, Edward," I told him firmly. "I'm yours, and you can bite me all over my body if you want. It won't stop me from loving you more than anything."

He chuckled weakly at that, then we fell silent. I lowered my shield again, to share my thoughts with him, and he sighed contentedly. I wanted to show him that I meant what I had told him, and that I still loved him more than my own life. And that as long as he loved me, I didn't give a damn about any scar. He shook his head at that, but he stayed silent, kissing my new scar again. I knew he was truly sorry for it, but I really couldn't blame him. He didn't remember anything, and we didn't know why he had acted that way. I really hoped that Marcus would be able to give us answers about our behaviour. I didn't want to stay that way, a time bomb ready to go off.

But soon, my thoughts focused back on Caius, and Forks, and Charlie. And I was surprised to hear a low growl erupting from deep within my chest, however Edward squeezed me harder against him. "I get that you're angry, love, and you have every right to be," he said calmly in my ear, caressing me gently and lovingly. "We weren't meant to go back to Forks ever again. But maybe we were," he added, wincing when I broke away from his embrace and took a step back.

"What do you mean?" I thundered, not having any control over the fury erupting in me. I would soon be renamed 'the walking Mount Saint Helens', I was sure of it.

He raised up his hands, his eyes wary. "Nothing much, love, except that... maybe it was meant to be that you can have some... closure with Charlie."

"Closure?" I scoffed, anger boiling in my veins. "What closure is it if I have to run back to Forks only to see Charlie either killed or changed by mad Caius, huh? What good will it do? He didn't want to see me, Edward! I haven't seen him for seventeen damn years! Why would that change?"

"Bella," he started cautiously, his velvet voice oozing calm as he took a step closer to me. I let him approach, but I held on my anger. I had every right to be angry, as he had told me. "I understand, love. Truly I do. But Charlie is human, Bella. He didn't want to be any part of our supernatural world. He lives away from the wolves, and he doesn't want us to be anywhere near him. But Caius took him. Now he's been forced into our world. It's too late to leave him alone, love. Now you have to decide if we go to Forks, or if we let the Volturi do the work."

"The wolves will be safe. The Volturi will protect them," I thought aloud, and he nodded, carefully taking one of my hands in his. I didn't snatch it away, so he took another step forward, planting himself right in front of me, and took me in his arms again. I melted into his touch, my anger abating drastically. He was my hero, saving me from myself. "But not Charlie," I added after a few seconds with a wince.

"No, not Charlie," Edward confirmed sadly. "Jane has already written him off, and the Volturi, although respectful of human life now, won't take any risks for him. If he's in the middle of a fight between Felix and Caius, then I seriously doubt that Felix will care enough for him to protect his life. Even more knowing that he and you are estranged."

"I think so too," I sighed heavily, torn. "Edward, what should I do?"

"It's your call, Bella," Edward whispered sadly. "Charlie is nearly sixty, love. That's still fairly young. He's married, and he has two stepchildren in addition to his daughter."

"You want me to go rescue him," I stated, looking into his deep golden eyes.

"I don't want you to go rescue him," he said seriously, his sincerity showing onto his face. "In fact, that's the furthest thing I want for you to do, Bella. But I know that you'll go. I know you, love. And the Bella I fell in love with wouldn't leave her father in Caius' clutches, however estranged she was from him. The brave, stubborn human I fell in love with would've torn Caius apart with her bare hands before he lay a fingernail on her dad."

I shook my head as he was speaking. "I'm not this Bella anymore, Edward. You know it."

"You don't want to be this Bella anymore," he countered me ever so gently, kissing my forehead. "But deep down, you still are, love. You've only pretended to change that part of you, Bella, to protect yourself from your father's rejection. But I just know that you're still there, the Bells of her daddy."

I wanted to sob into his arms, for even though I didn't want to admit it, he was so right. He knew me better than myself. And I still desperately needed my dad, even if Charlie didn't want me. And there was the fact that Seth himself had asked for us. My brother needed us.

I sighed. It seemed that my decision was already made, regardless of what I wanted to delude myself with. Edward was right, and had nailed it on the head. I would go.

"We have to book the first flight to Seattle," I exhaled, sagging a little into my mate's strong embrace.

"Yes," he simply said, kissing my forehead, cheeks, then my lips. I kissed him back, and we lost ourselves in each other for a few minutes. But strangely, I didn't feel any too strong desire engulf me. I wanted Edward like I always did, but it wasn't too difficult to resist, right now. Maybe our very intense lovemaking had sated us for the time being?

"Maybe," he answered my thoughts, a frown etched on his gorgeous face. "It's true that I can... resist your appeal for now, love," he said with a faint smirk. "But I don't want to sell ourselves short. We'll see how much time it goes."

"Until we reach Forks, I hope," I said, already focusing on the task at hand. "We must go back to our family. Will they come with us?"

"They will," Edward assured me, though I had never doubted it. "But I don't know what Alice hides from us."

"We'll soon discover it, I suppose," I sighed, not wanting to move from his embrace. "And I hope Carlisle doesn't beat himself up too much."

"He and Jazz should know better by now," Edward said, scowling. "Even Emmett told them that hiding this from us would 'bite them in the ass', and rile up our anger," he quoted with his fingers in the air.

"If even Emmett starts to be wise..." I started, giggling a little. Edward chuckled, and I could feel his mood rise a little. We would be okay, I knew it. But what was looming ahead of us... I so wasn't looking forward to it. "Edward, don't be too hard on Carlisle and Jasper."

"I won't be," he promised me. "It's done. But now we have to brace ourselves. I don't want Caius anywhere near you, love."

"Me neither, and he won't lay a finger on you, Edward," I vowed, my voice fierce again. "But we have to go really soon."

"Knowing Alice, our flights are already booked," he sighed, running a hand through his wild hair. "Will you call Seth?"

"Yes," I nodded, feeling my spirits soaring a little at the thought of seeing my 'little' brother and his family again. "I won't let Caius destroy his happiness, Edward."

"I'll tear Caius apart and burn his limbs slowly before it could happen, love," my gorgeous and determined mate assured me, making me melt into his arms again.

We shared a deep kiss then, and I felt my love and his love fusing together, melting and crushing everything in us, and I was glad I didn't need to breathe anymore. The overwhelming feeling of our love was breathtaking and stunning, making my body tingling and my brain focused solely on my gorgeous mate and what he was doing to me. Sparks of static electricity flew off of us, making us gasp. "Edward!" I panted, eyeing him in awe.

"I know, love," he nodded, just as baffled and overwhelmed as me. "It's pretty intense."

"Yet it feels..." I started, knowing that although what was happening was intense, it was lacking something. Something important.

"...incomplete," Edward finished for me, making me nod. "Something is missing."

I didn't really understand what was happening to me. I was more in love with Edward than ever, I craved him and his body – though the need wasn't strong for now – and our new connection was mindblowing. Yet I somehow knew that this connection could be... more. I didn't know how or why, I just knew it, on an instinctual level.

"What do we have to do?" I asked, almost afraid of the answer.

"I don't know," Edward conceded with a small wince. "But I hope Marcus will be able to help us."

"Yeah, me too," I nodded fervently.

We stayed in each other's arms for a few minutes more, basking in this even more powerful love we were feeling, but then I sighed and Edward disentangled himself from me. "We have to go back, my love," I murmured unenthusiastically.

"I know," he said calmly, his eyes a little bit appeased. "But are you really okay, Bella?"

"I am," I assured him with absolute sincerity, my thoughts echoing my words. "I really am, Edward. I don't know why you did what you did, but I'm glad you did. And I've changed, my love. I don't know much about it yet, but I guess we'll discover it in the days to come. And don't you dare apologize again!" I warned him as he opened his mouth to speak, remorse on his face. "We'll soon see what this all means, my love. But I don't regret anything, and never will."

He closed his mouth, his eyes still apologetic, but a faint smile was playing on his lips. "Yes, love," he exhaled in surrender. "Time will tell. Let's go back."

He led me back to the house, where Alice was waiting for us on the front porch. She was surveying our approach with cautious eyes, noting our linked hands. "Everything okay, you two?" she asked in a crisp voice.

"Everything okay," I confirmed, narrowing my eyes at her. Next to me Edward's hand tightened around mine, but he remained cool enough. I felt a hint of frustration from him, so I guessed that Alice was blocking him again. "Alice, what...?"

"I booked our flights," she cut me calmly, her eyes still wary. "We leave in an hour and two minutes. Edward, go pack. Bella, call Seth."

"Alice!" Edward exclaimed, a growl rumbling in his chest. My mate's temper was very short now, and I wasn't much better, but I trusted my sister and best friend. "Please tell us what's happening!"

Alice huffed a frustrated sigh. "Your decision to go to Forks made everything clearer, Edward, but I'm not telling you anything yet. So much decisions have yet to be made, and not all of them make sense, really. And..."

Her voice trailed off, and I pleaded for us, rubbing Edward's chest to calm his growl. "Alice, please! We don't know what's happening to us, and I'm worried about Seth."

"And Charlie," she added knowingly, appraising me. I shrugged. I wasn't ready to admit that aloud to anyone except my husband.

"I called Marcus," she said, tapping a finger on her nose. "But I doubt he'll be able to help you on this matter between you two."

"Then who...?" Edward growled louder, but Jasper cut him, appearing next to his mate.

"Marcus will tell you in time, Edward," he drawled in a placating voice. "He doesn't even know what your problem is. Let him hear what you have to say, then he'll tell you what to do, or who to ask for answers."

"Will somebody even know something?" I wondered aloud, having little hope in the first place.

"Maybe," Alice said cryptically, gazing sternly at Edward who was shooting daggers at her. "And glaring at me won't get you anywhere, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen! As long as Marcus doesn't hear you, he won't be able to make a decision, and I'll see it even less."

"Then why do I have this feeling that you know more than you're letting on?" my mate inquired with a hint of anger in his voice.

"Maybe because I know that if I share the tiniest bit of information with you, the whole future will change and it'll get us all killed!" she snapped.

My venom turned cold inside of me. Now curiosity and dread were battling in my mind. What had Alice seen?

Not so sorry for the cliffie, just keeping on the tradition ;) Please don't kill me! XD

I'm trying to write more on weekends, but this coming one is batshit crazy, so don't expect the next chapter till next Saturday, sorry... I'll do my very best to update more often!

On a side note, More pheromones is still up for the vote of the top ten completed fics on twifanfictionrecs, so if you'd like to vote for it... ;)

Have a nice week, and please leave me some words ;)