Kayla went very still. So still she could pass for a statue. Her eyes were wide and staring but unseeing. I thought I saw a flash of gold behind her now apple green eyes. She said she was possessed. I was doubtful. Possession was not something that existed in real life. Spirits and ghosts did not exist.
But then neither should I. Or Jacob. We were both of myth and legend which asks the question why can’t spirits exist as well.
Kayla relaxed. She stretched her arms as high as possible and then ran her fingers over her bare arms and the cotton vest she wore.
“Well, I’ve been cooped up in there,” she muttered. “Excuse me for wanting to have a stretch.”
Her hand flew to her head and she cried out in pain.
“I haven’t been in a human body in a while,” she muttered again. “I wanted to appreciate how it felt....I didn’t touch you up....I was feeling my skin....okay, okay, your skin...”
She continued to mutter as if talking to someone. She wasn’t talking to anyone else and if Kayla was really repressed to the back of her own mind I would hear her. I would hear her thoughts because that all she could really do while trapped in her head – think.
“Who are you talking to?” I asked Kayla.
“I’m talking to her,” she answered.
“Kayla. Keep up, vampire.”
Okay. So maybe Kayla was possessed. The way she was speaking to me now, Kayla never spoke to me like that. She looked as me as if I was just another person. It could be true that spirits could take over bodies.
“I can’t read your thoughts,” I said to her. “I should be able to. I can always read Kayla’s thoughts.”
“That’s my fault,” the spirit answered with a giggle. “I’m blocking the telepathic energy so mind-readers like you can’t see I’m here.”
That made sense. I was starting to fully believe that Kayla was possessed now. It was Kayla. It was Kayla’s body yet now she looked so different. The way she held herself, her head tilted upwards, her eyes held none of Kayla’s softness and warmth. The way she spoke, the words articulated with perfection. Something only perfected from living in an earlier century like me. And there was a hint of an American accent in her voice. Kayla was all English.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I’m Loretta,” she said.
I’d heard that name somewhere before. In Kayla’s mind when she’d had her vision. She was thinking about the man and boy she’d seen and she’d mentioned the name Loretta. Something about being someone’s wife.
“I understand now,” I said. “I understand completely.”
“You do?” Loretta looked stunned. “Seriously?”
“Of course,” I replied. “You’ve possessed my fiancée. You’re the spirit of someone’s dead wife.”
“The man who’d helped Kayla when she was kidnapped,” I smiled.
“Yes.” She looked down. “This is happening too fast. I thought it would be dragged out for a while. I thought I would have longer.”
I knew what she was going to do. I couldn’t read her mind but it was obvious. She wanted a longer time in Kayla’s body. She stepped back and then clutched her head.
“Stop that!” she shouted. “Stop it! You have eternity with him!”
I had stepped forward when she had moved back. My plan was to restrain her. Stop her from running. But I was frozen. What she had just said was processing through my mind slowly.
You have eternity with him.
“Oh no you don’t!” Emmett lunged forward and had Loretta in one of his unbreakable grips.
“Unhand me you bloodsucking freak!” Loretta kicked and punched and slapped at Emmett while he grinned.
“Definitely isn’t Kayla,” he said. “She would have called me a handsome bloodsucking freak.”
I shook my head at his bigheadedness and watched the struggling Loretta.
“Eternity?” I asked her. She stopped struggling in Emmett’s arms and her eyes widened.
“Oops,” she whispered softly.
I looked at Carlisle. He would know for sure. He was running tests on Kayla. I would only trust him.
“I was going to surprise you and Kayla today,” he said, smiling slightly. “But then this happened.”
He gestured at Loretta and I nodded. Despite the situation, I thought I would burst with happiness. I could spend my life with her. She wouldn’t waste the only years she had with someone who couldn’t do the same for her.
“Is she happy about this?” I asked Loretta.
“She’s still in shock,” she answered. “The scream you heard? She just realised that if you didn’t believe her and you ran off to Italy to kill yourself she would have to spend the rest of eternity alone and living with the gaping hole and immense pain your death would create.”
“I believe her,” I said, with conviction. “I believe her. You tell her that.”
“She can hear you.” Loretta looked uncomfortable. “I can hear her too and the soppy love crap that is spilling into my brain is going to make me vomit.”
I chuckled. I could imagine what Kayla was saying now just to annoy her intruder.
“So now that we all believe Kayla,” Rosalie called from the top of the stairs. “How about you let her have her body back?”
“I am not giving up this lovely body,” Loretta answered. “I am not an idiot.”
Rosalie and Alice flew down the stairs and advanced on Loretta.
“I didn’t say that right,” Rosalie’s voice was soft and light but with a threat hidden behind it. “You will give Kayla her body back.”
“Or face the consequences,” Alice finished.
Loretta laughed and it sounded wrong coming from Kayla’s mouth. It was harsh and bitter.
“You can do nothing to me without harming Kayla.”
Rosalie and Alice snarled with anger. There was nothing we could do. All we had were empty threats.
“Kayla gained control before,” Carlisle said. “She must be able to do it again.”
“I was unprepared for her attack on me then,” Loretta said, coldly. “She was so upset over her leech boyfriend that she was able to break my control. I am not letting her do it again.”
“Your time is over,” Jasper said. “You need to accept that.”
“I don’t need to accept anything!” Loretta screamed. “Do you hear me? I can stay here as long as I want!”
“By all means do so,” Esme said. “But not by stealing bodies. Walk the earth as a spirit but not in someone’s body.”
“As a spirit?” Loretta laughed in Esme’s face. “I am not as stupid as you may think. I can keep this body. She won’t get out.”
“Kayla is stronger than you think,” I told her. I smiled my crooked smile that Kayla loved. I was trying to coax her out. Maybe her love for me, if it still existed after the way I mistrusted and treated her, would give her the power she needed to take control.
“I’m stronger,” Loretta sneered. She flicked her hands at Emmett and he flew backwards, crashing into the stairs. I heard a loud crack and knew he broken them. Alice and Rosalie backed away, knowing the full extent of Kayla’s telekinesis. Loretta dusted herself off as if Emmett had dirtied her by touching her and advanced on me.
“Now, Edward,” She said, her lips turned up in an almost evil smile. Her eyes glinted and she flicked her hair back. “This can be done the easy way or the hard way. I now have control of Kayla’s abilities. It has taken me a while but I think I’ve mastered them.”
Emmett was on his feet and managed to catch Alice as Loretta flicked her hand at her too. Jasper snarled and stepped forward but Loretta held up a hand and he back down, a scowl on his face.
“I’m going to walk out of here,” Loretta continued to walk towards me. “You’re going to let me. Understand?”
I tried to control my emotions but it was proving difficult. I wasn’t letting her walk away with my fiancée’s body. She was insane to think so. With anger rising up inside of me and my fierce protectiveness of Kayla, I launched myself at Loretta. She was so stunned by my attack that she didn’t have time to defend herself. I pinned her to the floor, my hands on hers to stop her using telekinesis. She snarled at me, her teeth bared.
“I don’t know what she sees in you,” she spat at me. “You’re an ugly bloodsucking fiend! You are only keeping her alive to drink her blood on your wedding night!”
Jasper was not keeping me calm, he was even more furious because she’d tried to hurt Alice. I wanted her to leave, I wanted Kayla, I wanted to apologise. I wanted to grovel at Kayla’s feet, I wanted to see her smile down at me with her dark green eyes. I wanted to feel Kayla’s warm hand on my cold cheek as she forgave me. If she forgave me.
I felt like hurting this stupid spirit, I wanted her to feel pain, I wanted her to-
Loretta jolted forward, her back arching as if something was trying to escape. I stared down at her as a look of pain crossed her face.
“Stop it!” she muttered and shook her head. “Bang against someone else’s skull!”
She tried to push me away but my strength didn’t match hers. She growled and her eyes narrowed. Suddenly, I was soaring through the air. I managed to right myself in mid-air so I landed on my feet not on my back. She was on her feet and was shaking with rage.
“I am leaving!” She screamed at me. “You will not stop me!”
She marched towards the door, her hands balled into fists. But she was stopped by Rosalie.
“You leeches never learn,” she hissed. She raised a hand but then she fell backwards. Again she jolted forwards as if something was trying to escape from her chest. That was when I realised. Kayla was trying to push Loretta out. Loretta seized up, going rigid as she fought Kayla.
Rosalie looked at me and then to Loretta.
“What is going on?” she asked me. “Is she having a fit?”
“No,” I shook my head as she lay unmoving. “They’re having some sort of internal battle.”
“Fighting for the body,” Carlisle said, moving forwards to Loretta. He watched intently with interest.
Minutes ticked by and still no movement. We all watched, not breathing and as still as statues. Suddenly she blinked. Her hand twitched and she sat up.
“That was weird,” she said, rubbing her head.
“Kayla?” Carlisle said. He held out a hand to help her up. “Is that you?”
I watched, doubtful until I was sure it was her. This could be Loretta pretending to fool us into letting her leave.
She took his hand and stood up, smiling at him.
“Yes it’s me,” she said and turned to me. “Hi.”
I frowned. She seemed too cheerful. After something like that I was sure she would be tired. A battle for a body would leave someone weak.
“Hello,” I replied.
She smiled again and I noticed something not right with her smile. It was forced and too sweetly. I listened for her thoughts. If this was Kayla I would her thinking.
Edward, is this Kayla? Carlisle had sensed my hesitation.
I shook my head.
Loretta looked at me, her face set in fake concern. I didn’t answer. Instead I walked towards her, intending to hold her hostage until Kayla could get her body back.
Loretta snarled and grabbed Rosalie by the throat and threw her across the floor. She tried to make a run for it but Rosalie was up and running to Loretta with revenge in her mind.
“No, Rosalie, wait!” I shouted. “You’ll hurt Kayla not her!”
Rosalie either didn’t hear me or ignored me. She grabbed Loretta by her right arm and lifted her into the air and slammed her to the floor. She lay unmoving, a thin trickle of blood oozing from her head.
From the moment Rosalie had grabbed Loretta to her the blood oozing from her head, it had all happened in slow motion. But now, everything happened fast. Carlisle rushed to Loretta, Emmett has his arm around Rosalie’s waist and was hurrying her outside along with Alice who was dragging Jasper away. Esme was next to me, her hand stroking my hair telling me to be calm. I buried my face in her shoulder, wondering when the hell I would see Kayla again.
Oh my sweet Jesus.
I jerked my head up, convinced I’d just heard her. Carlisle was checking Loretta over. Her eyes were closed and blood was still trickling onto the floor. The scent of the blood filled my nose and I felt the urge to run over and drink every last drop but I ignored, pushing it to the back of my mind.
“What’s wrong?” Esme asked me. I looked at her and could see the strain in her face.
“You can go, Esme,” I said, smiling. “You don’t have to stay.”
Esme looked from me to the bleeding girl. She shook her head and I heard her breathing stop.
“I am staying for you and for Kayla.”
Stupid Rosalie. As if Loretta being in my head wasn’t bad enough, now she’s added to my pain in the ass headache.
“Loretta, can you hear me?” Carlisle was lightly tapping Kayla on the side of her cheek. “Wake up.”
Kayla opened her eyes and stared up with confusion at Carlisle.
“Honestly, Carlisle,” she said, sitting up. “It’s about time you remembered my name.”
“Who else?” She rubbed the back of her head and winced. “She hit me hard.”
“It seems you’ve healed quickly,” Carlisle touched the back of her head and looked as his fingers. “I see no blood. Is Loretta gone?”
“She’s not in my head,” Kayla replied. “I think she’s gone.”
Still rubbing her head she stood up. She looked around the room and she saw me. Her dark greens eyes locked on mine for a few seconds before she looked at Esme.
“I’m sorry,” she said to her. “I didn’t mean for it to get out of hand like that. I thought I could trust her. Obviously not.”
Esme rushed forward and hugged her.
“It’s okay, sweetheart.” She kissed her forehead. “As long as you’re safe.”
“I’ll pay for the stairs to be fixed,” she said hurriedly. “I mean, it was partly my fault. My abilities.” She laughed nervously.
“Don’t worry about it,” Carlisle patted her back. “We’ll take care of it.”
Esme let her go and Carlisle took her hand.
“Let’s check on the others,” Esme said. “Rosalie seemed a bit angry.”
“Tell her I am going to cut her hair off for that,” Kayla joked. “And I’ll clean up the blood.”
“Again, don’t worry about it,” Carlisle smiled warmly. “I’ll see to it when I get back.”
Before Kayla could argue Carlisle and Esme had disappeared.
We stood alone in an awkward silence, not making eye contact. I wanted to run over and crush her to my chest and kiss every part of her but I was afraid she would reject me.
Kayla was looking down at her hands. Probably too disgusted to look at me.
“I’m sorry for the way Loretta spoke to you. Coming from my mouth those insults must have cut deeper. You shouldn’t believe anything she said. It was all untrue.”
“What about the part where you’re living for eternity?” I asked her. “Is that untrue?”
She sighed. “You heard Carlisle.”
Again we stood in silence for what seemed years but maybe only a few minutes.
“I’ll just go home then,” she said, sounding sad. “Since Carlisle said he would clean up the blood there’s no reason for me to stay.”
I reached out to her, completely stunned by what she’d said. Go? Why?
“You don’t want me, do you?” she said, failing to keep her voice steady. “Not after being possessed by some evil spirit and saying all those things about you and hurting Emmett and Rosalie and almost hurting Alice and treating you all so nastily and -”
I ran to her and scooped her up in my arms, silencing her with a kiss. Her arms wrapped around my neck and tears flowed down her cheeks, mingling with our kiss.
“I love you,” I whispered against her soft lips. “And will always want you.”