Things with Marcus settled in a timely manner. A treaty of peace was in effect and the Cullens were under Bella's protection indefinitely…even if they were not aware of it. Bella made arrangements to check in with Marcus in Volterra monthly to ensure the new order was well received.
On her way back to her Grams' cottage, she chanced to go to a nearby spot in the woods overlooking the Cullens' home. It seemed most of the other covens had left the area. Carlisle, Esme, Jasper, Alice, Rosalie and Emmett stood in the living room trying to make sense of the days events. Edward was no where to be seen. She chanced to listen in to see if there was any possibility they remembered her. They didn't.
"Do you think Edward will be okay?" Bella heard Esme ask.
"He seemed fine to me," Rosalie smirked.
"No, I agree with Esme," Alice chimed in. "Something was off with him. Could you sense anything from him Jasper?"
"He seemed confused," Jasper mused. "He felt as though something wasn't right, like he's forgetting something important."
"I'm sure once Tanya's through with him, he'll be feeling fine," Rosalie snickered.
Bella stopped listening as soon as she heard Rosalie's comment about Tanya Denali. She saw in Rosalie's mind the entire scene play out…the way everyone was initially confused as to what they were doing in Forks, to Tanya taking the sudden trip to her advantage of getting Edward alone. She'd convinced him to go somewhere private, whispering something into his ear.
Bella couldn't take it anymore. She ran back to her Grams' cottage trying desperately to keep her emotions under control. She'd done this to herself, she knew this. She knew she deserved whatever the consequence.
She had no idea—no way of knowing, really—that the outcome of the impending battle would've been what it was. No idea that she would find an ally and be able to use Marcus to destroy Aro and Caius. If she had known, she never would have enacted that spell to erase everyone's memories. At the time, she had no choice. What if Aro had found a way to kill her…he would've found Carlisle and killed everyone for their involvement in helping her. This way…if they had no memory of her, Aro could not accuse Carlisle or anyone else of treason. But now? With the outcome being as fortuitous as it was…she didn't know what to do. Reversing spells was not easy and there wasn't anything in the book she could find.
She couldn't get the image of Tanya hanging all over Edward out of her head. When she reached the cottage she stopped suddenly, falling to her knees. Tears fell uncontrollably as she screamed out, grieving for what she caused herself to lose. Dark clouds filled the sky, thunder and lightning not too far behind.
Alice watched from the window how quickly the weather changed. It should have been odd but for some strange reason, this type of shift felt too familiar.
"That's odd," Esme mused, taking in the sudden weather change. "I can't say I've ever seen the weather take such a sudden turn like that."
"No?" Alice questioned. "The shift feels oddly familiar to me. I can't place it."
Edward suddenly walked into the door, drenched from the storm.
"Done already?" Emmett teased as he walked down the stairs, taking in Edward's disheveled appearance.
"Nothing happened." Edward gritted out.
"No?" Emmett smirked.
"No," Edward affirmed. "Not for a lack of trying on Tanya's part."
"Why do you keep fighting her anyway?" Rosalie asked. "Why be alone for all of eternity when you have someone who wants to be with you?"
"She isn't who I want," Edward replied simply.
"Who do you want then?" Rosalie asked, rhetorically. Before he could answer, there was a knock on the door. This caught everyone by surprise. Everyone who should've been there, was there. So who could possibly be knocking on the door? Carlisle was closest and opened the door.
"Jacob Black?" Carlisle asked, surprised. He definitely did not expect this visitor.
"Carlisle," Jacob acknowledged, looking around the property outside.
"Is everything alright?" Carlisle asked.
"I could ask you the same question," Jacob replied. "Where is everyone?"
"Everyone is inside," Carlisle answered. "Would you like to come in?" He was surprised when Jacob actually stepped inside. Given the history between the wolves and vampires, this was an unexpected shift.
"You said everyone was in here?" He looked around, confused. The Cullens' were all seated inside, wondering the same as Carlisle. What would suddenly be bringing Jacob Black to their property. Edward could see in Jacob's mind who he was looking for. And it caught him by surprise to see the answers to what everyone had been questioning just hours prior. The reason as to why so many covens were convened in Forks, learning to strategically fight the Volturi along side the wolves. And the one person they were doing it for…a girl named Bella. He'd never seen her before to his recollection but looking into Jacob's mind, the more than knew her. The look of the two of them in Jacob's mind suggested they were in love, if such a thing were possible.
"That girl…the girl in your mind, who is she?" Edward suddenly demanded. "Where can we find her?"
"Wait what?" Jacob asked, surprised. "What do you mean who is she? Don't tell me you forgot about her already?" Jacob smirked.
"What girl?" Alice asked, intrigued.
"You seriously don't remember?" Jacob asked, dumbfounded.
"None of us have any recollection of what you're replaying in your mind right now" Edward answered. "Where can we find this girl?"
"Can we back track for a minute here…not all of us are mind readers," Rosalie chimed in. "What exactly are we missing?"
Edward with the assistance of Jacob took the next moments to recall everything about the last few weeks and what the ultimate goal was. He told them about Bella—who she was and what she meant to everyone. The information had taken everyone by surprise.
"If what you're saying is true," Rosalie started.
"It is," Jacob interrupted, rolling his eyes.
"Then why is it we all can't remember anything but you can?" Rosalie asked.
"I'm not sure," Jacob replied. "I don't exactly know what happened to make you all forget…"
"Could this Bella girl have done something to make this happen?" Emmett mused aloud.
"I wouldn't put it passed her," Jacob replied. "She's pretty badass."
"But it doesn't make sense," Alice said. "If we were all coming together to fight along side her, why would she wipe our memories of her completely? How could she do that to Edward?"
"Sounds to me she did us a favor," Rosalie muttered.
"How is wiping our memories doing us any favors?" Alice rebutted.
"If what the dog is saying is true, then the Volturi would've come for us simply because we all made a choice to stand against him. He would've ensured we were wiped out with or without her around to help in the battle. Wiping our memories of her may have saved us…if it were to come down to it." Rosalie reasoned. "I've got to respect her for that."
"I have a name, you know." Jacob sneered.
"I care so much, let me tell you." Rosalie rolled her eyes.
"Speculation is well and good," Alice started. "But maybe we should go to the source."
"I'll go," Edward suddenly said. "Alone."
"Edward, maybe we should all go?" Alice suggested.
"Right…make her feel cornered by people who don't remember her," Jacob mused. "Who knows if whatever she did didn't backfire and wipe out her memories of you too."
"All the more reason for me to go alone." Edward said, decidedly.
"Or maybe I should go," Jacob intervened. "Seeing as though I actually have my memories…"Maybe with the bloodsucker out of the picture, she'll give me a chance. Jacob thought to himself. Jacob failed to realize in that moment that like Bella, Edward could read his mind. Edward couldn't help but feel overcome with the feeling of protection towards this girl who he could not remember, regardless of his ability to relive events through Jacob's mind. It was unnerving to feel this strongly.
"You won't be going anywhere near her," Edward growled.
"You don't particularly know where to find her," Jacob countered. Then again, he had no idea either. He had never been to her Grams' cottage.
"I'll manage on my own," Edward said, getting ready to go out into the storm.
"You never did tell us how you still have your memories," Emmett said, his tone accusing.
"He wasn't there," Edward answered for Jacob. "While everyone was together practicing and developing strategy, Jacob was at home trying to come up with a plan to lure Bella away from me."
"How could you possibly know that?" Jacob asked, cowering at the sudden glares he was now receiving.
"Mind reader, remember." Edward smirked. Shit. Jacob thought. He couldn't believe he could be so oblivious when just moments prior, Edward was able to recall Jacob's memories of everyone fighting and working together. He had been to wrapped up in the possibility of a chance with Bella that he forgot who he was near.
"Jacob, thank you for coming here and providing us with this information," Carlisle started. "But I think we'll take it from here."
"Edward, you're sure it's a good idea for you to go alone?" Alice questioned once more. "You don't even know where to look for her."
"Something tells me I'll be able to find her," Edward replied.
"How can you be so sure?" Rosalie asked.
"I honestly don't know," he told her. "But I've got to try. I need answers. We all do." With his final words, he went out into the storm and headed to the woods.
Thunder and lightning increased in frequency in the dark clouded sky. As the time passed, the stronger the storm would get. It was unpredictable, Edward noticed.
Edward ran blindly, not knowing where to even begin his search. Initially, it led him to a nearby tree by the high school. He couldn't quite place why this particular location was so familiar to him. He took a moment to take in his surroundings, trying to will himself to remember. He knew it was pointless. He couldn't suddenly magically will things to happen.
He turned away from the school and set off through the woods, allowing an unknown pull lead him to an unknown destination. He stopped when he suddenly came upon a bridge. This bridge also looked familiar. He sensed he was getting close. He stepped onto the bridge hesitantly…unsure if he would be able to cross it but he could. He had a feeling at one point he could not get across as easily.
Eventually, he stopped short as he entered a clear field near a cottage. It wasn't the cottage so much that got his attention but the back of a girl crying uncontrollably on her knees. If his heart was beating, it would break at the sight before him. The girl's pain was coming off her in waves. It was as though her pain was his pain. He carefully made a point to approach her but stepped on a twig on his first step towards her.
Caught off guard by the sudden intrusion, Bella's head shot up—unlooking at the intruder—and Edward went flying back several feet, landing hard. Bella suddenly stood and turned, to brace herself should she need to fight and defend herself if need be. It was then, when she turned to see who was trespassing, that she gasped in shock at who she was looking at. She couldn't believe her eyes as she looked upon him…him looking back in bewilderment and an almost amused expression.
"Edward?" she uttered quietly in disbelief.
A/N: Short, but it's progressing gradually to the end. Mind you, Edward and the others don't have their memories…they just have what Jacob said to go on. Stay tuned…