"I shut my eyes in order to see." – Paul Gaugin
Chapter 3 – Decisions
Somewhere in the Colorado Mountains
Monday—September 20, 2010
Deep in the woods that encompass tall mountains, the light snow sifted through heavy boughs of evergreen. Denuded branches of interspersed deciduous trees allowed the snow to slough faster to the ground.
A tiny, dark-haired beauty stilled under one of those few bare trees. Snow began to accumulate on her hair, shoulders, and eyelashes. Snow that didn't melt as it should when alighting on a body with a heat greater than the ambient temperature outside. Her body did not move an inch, no cloud of vapor surrounded her mouth or nostrils as it should have in such cold climes. Her golden eyes, unblinking.
A light-haired man of extreme beauty was running northbound; his hard warrior's face softened by the smile that thoughts of his love always placed there. He searched for the perfect placement to hide and ambush his wife. Crouched down on the edge of a brook, he held three snowballs in hand, ready to try to hit her as she passed. Trying to stave away a vision of this from coming to her, in his mind he had decided not to bombard her, preferring to just juggle them instead.
Where is she? He thought to himself, beginning to worry about her. She should have been here already. Dropping the balls of snow, he began to backtrack, hoping she was just a ways back on the trail.
"Alice?" He stopped, listening as only his kind could. "Darlin', where are you?" All was still around him. No sound other than the sporadic soft ticks of snow landing. "Alice?" A soft wind picked up swirling the snow around him; his face showing the anxiety her absence always provoked within himself.
Nothing. Not a sound except that of the soft sighing of the wind and the skittering of ice crystals being blown about.
Like a shot out of a cannon, he started running; faster than was humanly possible, he came upon his mate. Lightly dusted with snow, she was standing still as a statue. Upon his approach, she would usually have turned to him with a mischievous smile and a humorous quip. But this time, none of that happened.
He came up to her slowly, not wanting to jar her from her trance too early; waiting for her to mine everything from the vision that she could. He lightly laid his arm around her shoulders and grasped her hand in his own, grounding her and giving her the safe shelter that was needed to prolong the trance until the vision had run its course. At his first touch, she closed her eyes, knowing she was safe and secure as long as he was near.
Even though visions of this nature were not uncommon for her, his worry for his love never abated. A bond as strong as theirs allowed them to be able to act almost as if they were one entity. What he needed, she provided for him; what she needed, he provided for her. As it has always been, such as it shall always be, until eternity's end. Thus is the way of vampires and their mates.
As her eyes refocused, he felt as if a mountainous weight had been lifted from him. That lasted just until the emotions the vision pulled from her slammed into him with full force. Old pain renewed. Wracking sadness. Rage at an unimaginable level. All of these emotions sliced through him, almost flinging him to the ground with their magnitude of force. This slew of emotions emanated from this one diminutive woman, brought forth by this single vision.
"Alice!" he gasped out. "Sugar, tell me what's got you to hurtin' so bad?" He wrapped her in his arms pouring all of his love and concern for her through the channel of his empathic gift.
"Jasper." she whispered raggedly, holding him tightly to herself. "We've got to go back to the house. I've got to tell them all what I've just seen!"
"Okay, sweetheart. I've got you. What was it?" He shivered in remembered pain. "It was bad, I know; I felt how bad it was." He was still feeling the waves of sadness and heartbreak that continued to emanate from her. His heart clenched, remembering the borrowed rage he'd felt earlier from her, while she was caught in that future vision.
While traveling back to their reclusive home forty-five miles outside of Boulder, Alice explained her vision to him. The more she spoke, the deeper her sadness and pain was shown. The more she told him, the angrier he became. Anger, pain, sadness; all were deep-seated in his wife's being.
Knowing the depth of Alice's love for their abandoned sister, the pain of their separation enraged him. He couldn't completely contain the anger he held toward his brother.
The brother that instigated the abandonment of that sister.
The brother that was the direct cause of the events surrounding her.
The brother he would beat the hell out of the moment of first opportunity for causing his beloved such heartache, then as well as now.
The object of his wrath heard Jasper's thought but moments before the front door of their shared house burst open. Jasper's momentum stripped the door hinges out of the jamb. Grasping the now freed planks of wood, he rushed over the threshold; too enraged to think his actions through beforehand, effectively surprising his telepathic brother, Edward.
In the next instant, Edward lay sprawled with the door, and Jasper, pinning him to the floor. Shrugging off the chunks of wood that the door had been reduced to, Edward flipped up into a defensive crouch. Just as he was about to lash out at this angry brother of his, Jasper barreled into him again; shoving Edward into the mantel over the fireplace, crumbling the bricks and splintering the aged oak mantelpiece. The crystal figurines atop the mantel and the framed Monet above the fireplace fell and shattered; sending twinkling shards of glass, fragments of wood, and painted canvas flying in all directions.
The noise of boulders colliding and of guttural growls resounded and echoed throughout the room, growing in volume until a single, small voice interrupted them.
"Stop!" Alice gasped aloud, hoping to get through to her husband and favorite sibling. In the ensuing silence, the sounds of rough breathing mixed with the soft tinkling sound of falling crystal and the thuds of wood fragments as they hit the floor.
Jasper, still holding Edward against the crumbling façade of the fireplace, stood nose to nose with his brother, growling as he tried to contain his all-consuming anger. He shoved himself away from Edward, putting distance between them; hoping that would help ease the emotion that claimed himself in that moment. Clenching his fists closed Jasper snarled out, "Family conference, now!" He turned his back on Edward and stiffly walked into the dining room. Alice quickly walked past a frowning Carlisle and Esme, straight into the dining room after her seething spouse.
Since vampires have no use for a room strictly set aside for the consumption of human food, the dining room was only used for meetings. This family of diverse personalities needed this prop mostly to maintain some measure of love and civility amongst themselves. At times, it was used for more drastic conferences, the discussions usually consisting of things that can affect the family in major ways.
Hearing the ruckus; Emmett and his mate, Rosalie, showed up just in time to hear their brother calling for the conference. Taking in the trashed room, they made for the dining room quickly.
Whoa, dude! Did Jaz-man get the drop on you for a change? Emmett thought at Edward, humor lacing through his mental voice. Edward winced, then simply nodded at his burly, perpetually jovial brother. Rose just raised her perfect, blonde eyebrows at Edward as she walked past him, letting a small snicker pass through her beautiful, plump lips.
Esme, ever the loving mother, went to her youngest" son and embraced him. No one ever vocalized it, but it was completely evident that Edward was her favored child. They has spent so much time together, just the three of them before the others came along, that she most definitely had a soft spot in her heart for him.
Still frowning, Carlisle took Esme's hand in his and led the way to the meeting. Rolling his eyes at his older brother and sister's childish exhibition, Edward followed the elders of this coven of vampires that they called a family.
As he sat at the table; an angry, yet remorseful expression marred Edward's exquisite visage as one snippet of information broke forth from the iron-clad bindings in Alice's mind. A picture of a human girl's face, one well-known to him. It was the face of the girl he loved beyond measure. It was the face of the human he felt he had to leave for her own safety. It was Bella's face, and he ached for her.
"This is the cause of Jasper's anger?" he asked Alice, frowning in his confusion.
"Yes!" Jasper yelled. "You see how leaving her affects Alice? You're damned right that's why I'm mad!" Sending Edward a baleful glare, he turned his back on him yet again.
"I don't blame you for your anger, Jasper," the superbly crafted bronze-haired man spoke, voice full of sorrow for his favorite sibling and her mate. "Please, let us talk this out as a family first," his shoulders hunched down in defeat. "And then you can beat me until your heart is content, I won't fight you."
Turning, Jasper snarled at Edward in disgust, "Yeah, just so you can feel good about being a martyr? I don't fucking think so!" Shrugging off the placating hand that Carlisle had placed on his shoulder, he moved away from both men.
"I believe that Jasper called for a family meeting for a reason," Carlisle stated, eying Alice who nodded back at him. "I suggest that we get started then, shall we?"
Surrounding the long table in their usual seats, all eyes of the family were riveted to the restless Jasper as he paced back and forth behind his seated wife. "Actually, I think Alice needs to tell y'all about her newest vision. Edward," he said, jabbing his finger pointedly at him. "I suggest that you especially need to pay very close attention to what Alice has to impart to you. Since you were the one that started this mess, you should be the one to see firsthand what you've caused to happen." He looked over to his spouse and said softly, "Alice, let him have it. Let him have it all."
After a few moments of watching Alice's vision, Edward winced and then gasped aloud. Body shaking, eyes wide, the only word he was capable of getting out was uttered in a guttural growl. "No!"
If vampires could shed actual tears, Edward's golden eyes would be swimming with them. As it was, all he could do was grasp his head in his hands as dry sobs wracked his body. The scenes attacked him, rolling relentlessly over him.
"What about Bella?" Esme's motherly concern burst from her, causing her words to come out harshly.
Alice began reciting aloud what Edward was seeing through her thoughts...
Bella, her mother, and her father sat in chairs in front of a large mahogany desk. Renee and Charlie had anxious and somewhat fearful expressions while Bella's face looked more resigned. She appeared thin, pale, and listless. Almost lifeless.
A man sat behind the desk, his fingers steepled, his grey eyes concerned. He was speaking of treatment
"...as Chronic Pathological Amnesia[*]; or in layman's terms–long term behavioral loss of memory. Since there was no physical trauma, it stands to reason that this was induced by mental trauma.
He got up and walked in front of the desk. Leaning his hips on it, he crossed his ankles as he looked sharply at Bella. She looked up at him and shrugged disinterestedly. The doctor looked like he couldn't understand why she seemed to not care about any of this.
"Bella, this is a big step," the doctor said, trying to get through the apathy that had apparently settled around the young lady. "The reason I talked to you extensively, and even sent that information packet home with you is because Hypno-regressive Therapy is such a huge step.
"I know it is, Dr. Nix," Bella replied stiffly, shrugging her shoulders.
Sighing in abject frustration, Dr. Nix turned to Charlie and Renee. Knowing intuitively that the young woman hadn't talked to her parents about this particular topic, he told them the specifics that should have already been broached by their daughter.
"You see, some memories are like secrets that aren't yours to tell. They will dart down any memory corridor or channel to stay hidden. There are parts of memories that are what we call 'inhibitors'. They will try to suppress any conscious action to bring those "secret" hidden memories to light.
Conversely, there are also other parts of those same memories that will use any subconscious means to bring these hidden memories back to the surface. What happens is that in a subconscious stat of mind you would, or more accurately could, unblock all of the memories that are locked away. So subconscious hypnosis could be the key back to normalcy for your daughter." He glanced meaningfully at Bella, who just shrugged again with a scowl.
"That's the good news." He straightened up and walked back to his chair behind the desk.
Taking in a large breath, he sighed before continuing. "The bad news is that it could also bring back every bad memory to the forefront of her mind. Meaning every traumatic experience could come back to her with a tidal wave effect. Or even the opposite could happen, it could take even more memories and lock them away."
He looked at all three of the people in his office. "So, it looks like a decision must be made between..."
"Then the vision fades away and I don't have a clue as to what her decision will be yet".
Jasper stopped his pacing and spoke to everyone in the room. "It seems like we have our own decisions to make. If she decides to go through with the hypno-therapy, she could out us." He paused, picking his words carefully. "Not only will we be executed, but she will as well," he finished his sentence with a glare at Edward.
"I knew letting a human get close to this family would be the death of us all," Rosalie sneered, raking Edward and Alice with a scathing glance.
"Rosalie!" Carlisle said harshly. That single word admonishment was enough to shut her up. But clearly not enough to make her contrite about the words she had spoken.
Jasper jumped in at that point. "Right or wrong, the deed has already been done. Now we need to figure out what to do in the event that she does decide on therapy of that sort." He glanced at Carlisle. "We still have some decisions of our own to make, and we better be quick about it."
[*] - Since I've no idea if this is correct at all, please don't hate me for what I've put in here! If there are any medical people here that'd like to tell me if I'm even a little bit close... Or even if you want to tell me that I've lost my ever loving mind, please feel free to let me know. Or even coach me for that matter!
Lol – pja
The Marksman—Bella Madonna and Melobel (recently completed)
Dream Walker—A Cullen Wannabe
A Family Affair—babakisses
Thanks go out to my wonderful Beta: JudeOrion
Reviews are not expected, but they are much appreciated.
Till next we meet,