Almost like clockwork, the moment the sun went away Bella gathered her bag and left the unnecessary things – the brand new pop-up tent and a few towels – on the beach and dragged him off to the nearest hotel overlooking the beach. The moment they got into the room she plopped down on the couch and held up the room service menu. “Order anything you like.”
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” He sat down next to her and looked at her. “You talk of wanting to celebrate your freedom, but since the night in Paris you haven’t been out in the dark.”
“It’s not your problem,” Bella said as she handed him the menu.
“It sorta is, you dragged me into this.”
“And you can leave whenever you want to. No strings, remember?” Bella said, slightly agitated, realizing that indeed, she dragged him into her mess. She could get him hurt. “Maybe you should leave.” She needed to visit a few ATM machines soon. Maybe that would hamper the search for her even further.
“Tell me this, are you in trouble?”
She sighed and nodded.
“Then I’m not leaving, Bella Swan.”
“The fuck!” She exclaimed as she leapt off the couch and ran to the other end of the room – the door – as to create as much distance between her and him as possible. “How do you know my last name?”
He regretted having shown his hand, Bella’s expression was one of panic and pain and he could hear her heart break just a little. “I asked a favor of a friend,” he said holding up his hands defensively. “Something’s off and I just want to help.”
“What kind of favor? Are you working for them? A werewolf? Working alongside them?” She walked to her bag and picked it up before returning to the door. “I knew it! Picking you up was too easy!”
“Bella, please,” he started as he got off the couch as she fumbled in her bag. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he continued as he slowly made his way over to her.
“Stay back!” She got a can of mace out of her bag and held it up. “Our arrangement is over. You can go home, Isaac. I’m going to leave and you won’t be able to find me.” She sounded on the verge of tears. “I won’t be able to get away from them, but I can sure as hell try and disappear for good.”
“Tell me what’s going on. I can help, Bella.”
“No, you can’t.” She valiantly kept her can of mace up as she eyed the door.
He could hear how fast her heart was beating. She was afraid, but was it because she was unstable or was she truly afraid of something? “You know, if you truly believe that I am a werewolf, you do know that I can get to that door faster than you, right? The mace won’t slow me down that much.”
She narrowed her eyes on him as she hugged her bag against her chest. “I can sure as hell try to get away from you.”
“Can I explain myself to you?” He asked calmly as he backed away. “Let me explain myself to you and then you can do whatever you want, I just want to help, Bella. I haven’t done anything you didn’t want me to in the last few days, so please, give me that.”
She nodded slowly as she took a step towards the door.
“Look, I may not look like it, but I’ve been through my fair share of complicated shit. I’ve been in fights. I’ve seen scary stuff. Before that, my father made my life a living hell. When your behaviour changed so abruptly yesterday, I got worried, okay? At first I thought you were just insane. Maybe you are, but you’re definitely capable of coherent thought so I give you that,” he started, calm and reassuring. Her heart rate slowly went down, this was good. “You weren’t giving me anything to work with, I realize that it’s part of our agreement and I accept that, but you can’t fault me for trying to find things out about you when I feel something’s wrong.”
“What did you do?” She asked with a whisper, tears welling up in her eyes and her heart rate elevated again.
“As I said, I asked a friend for a favor. His dad is the sheriff and -”
“No… please, please tell me you didn’t ask the sheriff to look me up…”
“I didn’t. I asked his son to ask his dad,” Isaac deadpanned and saw a small smile appear on Bella’s face. “Did you know you were registered as a missing person?”
“I’m not surprised… but Isaac… you’ve made things even more complicated…” She had to admit, it was sweet of him to try and do his best but he did make things harder for her now. She definitely had to stop using her phone and credit card now.
“The report says you’re unstable. Are you?”
She huffed as she sat down against the door and put the can of mace back in her bag. “I told you that I ran from my overbearing, manipulative son of a bitch boyfriend, didn’t I? I left him at the altar, his step-brother helped me with that, but imagine an entire family of overbearing, manipulative asses. They lie and get whatever they want. They probably told everyone, including my parents, that I had a mental breakdown and that I need to be found.”
“Oh,” Isaac let out and sighed as he ran his hand through his hair. “I’ve made things worse by asking my friend,” he realized that he, indeed, despite his best intentions, had screwed her over.
“My dad is the police chief of Forks. He’ll know that someone pulled up the missing person’s report. They will start looking for me and if they find me, I’ll have to go back and depending on what my ex’ family has told everyone, they’ll make sure that I’ll never run again. They have a freaking precognition vampire on their team. She’ll know what’s going on the moment I decide things.”
“Vampires, again? Is that some sort of metaphor?”
“If you wish,” she sighed as she banged her head against the door. “They’re not the only ones after me. If the Volturi catch me, I’ll be dead.”
“The vampire overlords. I was stupid enough to make a deal with them. Either I get turned or they kill me for knowing too much about the vampires.”
This definitely sounded like some sort of mental break, a fantasy, but he did believe that the people she was running from, her ex-boyfriend and his family, were real people. Seeing the future was something that could happen. Scott would want him to help her, she was someone in trouble, if he’d walk away now, she could very well get hurt. “Are you sure about them? I mean…”
“Isaac, at one point they started to control what I ate. I wasn’t allowed to see my friends anymore but they had to come to our wedding so they could see I was doing fine. They hated my best friend, Jake, who’s a werewolf. His tribe is supposed to protect the humans from the vampires but stood down because of me. Because I was so stupid to fall in love with Fuckward,” she then sighed. “I’m not crazy.”
“Let me help.”
“How? It’s bad enough that I’m telling you this, I don’t want you to get hurt because of me.”
“I know people. Here in France, or even back in the States. Let me help you.”
She shook her head and got back to her feet. “No. I’m sorry, Isaac, but this is my mess. I’m sorry I dragged you into it, I shouldn’t have. I’m leaving now.”
He crossed the space between them and put his full weight against the door so she couldn’t escape. “And then what? Spend the rest of your life running?”
“If I have to.”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I can’t let that happen,” he took her bag and got her wallet out of it before returning it back to her. “And you can think that I’m a controlling asshole for this, but I am going to save your life, Bella Swan, whether you like it or not,” he said with the biggest, goofiest grin on his face.
How could she resist that face of his? She didn’t have any option and if he really wanted to waste his time on her, what else could she do? Maybe it was good to leave the decision making to him for now. Besides, he was a werewolf. He could take out the Volturi if he wanted to. “Fine.”
“Good,” he said with a nod. “First order of business, we’re going down to the restaurant and have something to eat. Out in the open.”
“Yes. And I shall tell you my story, it’s only fair.”
“What if they find me?”
“Then they’ll find you and we’ll see what we’ll do then,” he said with a shrug. “Just one question, why don’t you mind being outside when it’s daylight, with the sun shining?”
“Vampires sparkle in the sun, they don’t want to be caught out or maybe they just don’t want to embarrass themselves. That’s another possibility. But it’s both.”
“Well, there’s enough tacky light in the restaurant downstairs so I’m fairly certain they won’t come and get you.”
“You don’t get it, they sparkle in the sun but they can be seen in normal light, you know.”
Isaac sighed as he played with her wallet for a moment. There were simply too many rules for these vampires not to be real, but he would really believe her if he saw them with his own eyes. On top of that, her heart beat had elevated again. She definitely didn’t want to leave this hotel room despite her threatening that she’d leave. “You’re that scared to go downstairs?”
She nodded for an answer.
“You haven’t had much sleep, have you? Over the last few days?”
She shook her head. “I was playing with you,” she smirked. “It’s fun.”
“Well then,” he rose to his feet and pulled her to hers as well. “Tonight I won’t sleep. Instead, I”ll make sure no one will hurt you while you rest. I’ll order us some food from room service and all you’re going to do is relax. Let me worry about things for a couple of hours.”
“Please, Bella, have a good night’s sleep. It does wonders.”
“Fine, but I’m going to raid the mini bar too,” she gave up as she threw her bag onto the bed and walked into the bathroom to draw herself a bath. She knew Isaac was right but it felt so wrong to involve him in this, despite him insisting on it. Now that he had her wallet, she couldn’t run because her bank card was in it and that had been a great tactical move of his part. But part of her couldn’t stop but wonder if he was truly on her side.
She undressed herself and waited for the bath to run as she watched Isaac from the door. He was busy calling room service to order food and once again, a feeling of guilt washed over her. He looked like such an innocent puppy. An innocent, very talented, puppy, a little naive maybe. No, this was wrong. She was going to figure out a way to get her wallet back and leave Isaac behind. But first, a good night’s sleep was indeed what she needed.
“First things first,” Isaac said as he ate the remainder of breakfast. After dinner last night, he had given Bella a thorough massage in an attempt to loosen the knots in her muscles for at least a while and she’d eventually fallen asleep. He had slept lightly, just so he could stop her if she’d try to run again, but it seemed like he had nothing to worry about; she had slept all the way through the night and woke up around 9 am. “We’re going back to Paris.”
“I’d rather not revisit cities I’ve been to, Isaac.”
“No, we’re going to Paris and then I’ll take you somewhere where I can help you.”
“What part of ‘you can’t help me’ don’t you understand?”
“And what part of ‘I can help you’ don’t you understand?” Isaac retorted as he looked at her. “Trust me on this, okay? I know people.”
“You haven’t even confirmed you’re a werewolf.”
“Why should I? I think vampires don’t exist, why should werewolves?” He retorted playfully and then realized his own words. He knew of werewolves. He had seen a handful of weirdo wolves like the twins. The veterinarian was a druid. To think that vampires didn’t exist was just ridiculous.
“Fine,” she replied as she got dressed. Even though she thought she was beyond saving and all she could do was run for the rest of her life, what harm could it do to believe that Isaac indeed had a solution? That he could truly help her? She was already doomed, wasn’t she? “We’re going back to Paris.”
No, they weren’t going to Paris, she discovered once they got to the airport there. Isaac had asked her if he could use her bank card and she had given her permission to do so. Apparently, he had a knack for running away and making sure there wasn’t any trace and even if there was, they wouldn’t be coming after her straight away as things took time and by making sure she was kept out of the loop of where they were going, it was going to be sort of alright.
They flew to Amsterdam after having landed in Paris and spent the night in a hotel near the airport, both falling asleep as soon as they hit the bed. The next day they flew to Rome and back to London before they caught the plane to Los Angeles. When they arrived there, Bella had finally relaxed enough to feel comfortable and not look around her like a skittish foal.
He paid for a rental car – well, Bella did – and then had her get some money out of the ATM machines scattered all over the airport, enough to tide her over until she was safe again. He explained that if they could look into her bank statements, they could tell where she was. Still, with multiple withdrawals it would certainly raise a red flag, but California was a big state, no one had to know they were going to drive for nearly 6 hours to get to Beacon Hills and she certainly wasn’t going to use her card there. He’d forbid it.
Isaac had been thinking about giving his friends a heads up. Scott would definitely want to know that Isaac was coming back to town. Now, he didn’t necessary have to stay at Scott’s for the time being, because Bella was going to stay at a hotel and he wasn’t going to leave her alone, unless they could stay at the Argent’s… He sighed as he looked at Bella’s sleeping form next to him in the passenger seat and decided to call Chris Argent. Yes, it was probably going to be painful to be in Allison’s home, but it was the safest place he knew. Chris Argent was an expert hunter and there were weapons. He let out a breath. This was going to be hard.
“Hello, Mr. Argent, it’s Isaac.”
“Hey! How are you doing? Are you enjoying France?”
Isaac snorted as he shook his head. “Why did you leave there, all by myself? I mean, your relatives are nice and all but there was no need to just leave me there.”
“What do you mean, ‘there’?”
“I’m on my way back.”
It was quiet at the other end of the line for a very long time.
“You don’t want me to return?”
“Yes, of course, but you know… a lot of things have happened.”
“Don’t give me that bullshit,” Isaac snapped. “I’m coming back because I’m trying to help someone who’s been dealing with vampires.”
“Do they exist?”
“Well, yes, of course they do. Did this someone mention what kind?”
“There are different kinds?” he asked surprised. “Seriously? She wasn’t making that shit up?”
“Isaac, what did you get yourself into?” Mr. Argent sounded worried and he could even hear a sigh. “Drive straight to my place. Are you joined by that girl?”
“Yeah, drive. Don’t stop. Just drive.”
“I’ll be there in about four hours.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
Isaac blinked when Argent disconnected the call. He had truly sounded worried and that kinda freaked Isaac out. He looked to the passenger next to him and wanted to wake her, ask her some questions but she hadn’t slept much over the last few days. Neither had he, but she needed her sleep, nervous wrecks were terrible to be around at.
It was a good thing that they could stay at Argent’s house and that he didn’t need to ask. The full moon was coming soon and even though he could control himself, Isaac wanted Bella to be with someone who could protect her if he was incapacitated one way or another. Maybe he should wake her up and tell her that he’s a werewolf.
No. He was going to wait until she was awake.
Of course, it was just his luck that she woke up when they were about to enter Beacon Hills. “Morning, sunshine, just in time.”
“Huh?” Bella yawned as she stretched her arms above her head as well as she could in the car. “For how long did I sleep?”
“Almost the entire way,” Isaac replied with a smile in his voice. “So, I’ve arranged for us to stay with someone who has experience in dealing with… uh… monsters.”
She narrowed her eyes on him. “I’m not crazy, Isaac.”
He blinked at her before focusing back on the road, trying to find a reason why she responded to that, but they had just driven passed Eichen House and mentally hit himself. “No, oh, don’t worry, he’s a real monster hunter. He hunts things like werewolves, ghosts and whatever goes bump in the night.”
“So you do believe me,” she stated as she pulled her hair out of her ponytail and fixed it again.
“Well… I didn’t know what to believe until he confirmed for me that vampires were real.”
“And you’re a werewolf.”
“I knew it!” She punched his arm in her excitement. “I knew it!”
“Ow! Easy,” he laughed. “I’m driving here!”
She punched him again before crossing her arms over her chest. “I don’t like it when people lie or deceive me, Isaac. It’s been done to me for a very long time.”
“I’m sorry, Bella, but it’s a bit weird that you know about werewolves, we try to keep a low profile, you know. I’m not supposed to tell the first random stranger I meet.”
“Yeah, I understand but with me saying you’re a werewolf, the least you could have done was to confirm it.”
“Once again, random stranger.”
She huffed as she stared out of the window as they drove deeper into Beacon Hills. “So we’re going to a friend of yours?” Beacon Hills reminded her a little of Forks – albeit in a thankfully warmer climate – but with more apartment buildings. It wasn’t until she saw the town’s center that she felt at home.
They drove into a suburban area, a nice cul-de-sac, and it reminded her of home. Not Forks, home, but really California home. Even in the darkness, she felt homesick to her childhood. Charlie used to drive up and down every summer to come and visit her for two weeks because she hated Forks so much. Even though she’d only been gone for a week or so, she lost track of the days, she missed Charlie and really hoped that he was okay.
Isaac parked the car at a driveway of a house where a single light had been left on. Yes, it was nearly midnight, but didn’t Isaac tell his friend that they’d be arriving quite late? Where were all the lights? “Stay behind me, okay?” Isaac told her after she had stepped out of the car. “My friend is a little bit jumpy.”
“Huh,” Bella huffed as she fell in behind Isaac as he walked to the front door. Before Isaac could even knock on the door, the door swung open and all she could see was a flashlight. Isaac scowled as he got pushed to the side.
Bella wasn’t impressed as she looked past the light to try and find a face. “Look, my dad’s a cop, I know what you’re doing, it’s not working.”
“What do you think I was doing?” the man replied, keeping the light focused on her.
“Blind me? Make sure I don’t see your face? Want my license and registration, Asshole?”
Isaac snorted when the flashlight dimmed. “He was checking your eyes to see if you’re truly human.”
“Can’t be too careful,” the man replied before switching on the regular light.
“Well they aren’t red, and certainly aren’t gold so you can shove it,” she glared at them as she covered her eyes while they readjusted to the change of light.
“Oh, great, Isaac,” the man quipped. “You managed to run into a girl who has trouble with the Cold Ones. Well done. Of the two vampire species you could have chosen from, you picked the Cold Ones. Awesome.”
“Tone down your snark,” Bella snapped as she blinked against the light. “I picked him, not the other way…. fuck!” she said as his face began to clear in her eyes. “It’s you!”
Isaac looked at Bella. “You know him?” He asked confused as he scratched his head before looking at Argent, who didn’t seem too pleased with the entire situation. “You know her?”
“Oh, even better, you found her.” The hunter rolled his eyes as he pulled the two teens into his home and bolted the door.