Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Daughter of Apollo - Chapter 13

The Daughter of Apollo

Chapter 13: When In Doubt, Eat Breakfast

I had a very, very strange dream that one of the Kindly Ones were after me - Alecto, to be more precise. In my dream, she had kidnapped Charlie. Also, a Minotaur was battling me in an alleyway and Edward Cullen, strangely enough, was helping me out. I know, weird. But hey, that's dreaming for you.

Oh yeah, and Rachel Elizabeth Dare was in Forks, too.

I let out a long yawn, tired as I was when I went to sleep last night. I tossed and turned, finding the perfect comfortable position to fall back to sleep again, but I couldn't seem to get it right. I reached behind me to grab one of my pillows. With a strong pull, I repositioned it in front of me and hugged it with both arms, burying my head into it. 'Now, that's the ticket...' I thought drowsily.

"Hey!" someone screamed. It came from beside me on the bed.

Wait a minute, on the bed? Beside me?

"What in Hades –?" I shot straight up and looked around me. The first thing I noticed was that I was not in my bedroom. I mean, since when did I have a four-poster bed complete with velvet hangings? Where was I, Hogwarts? The second thing I noticed was the fact that I was not alone in bed. Yeah, Rachel was in bed with me. We were both dressed in knee-length nightgowns, so it appeared that nothing untoward happened between us, which was a relief. How would I explain to my dad that I fell asleep in a foreign bed with the Oracle of Delphi?

"Rachel," I gasped. "Rachel, you're here." I gaped at the disgruntled redhead.

"Yes, Bella," she said, glaring. "I'm here. Now can you please give me back my pillow? Who knew half-bloods could be such a pillow hog?" She tugged at the blanket as well. "And cover hogs, too."

I didn't have it in me to bicker with Rachel this early in the morning. Besides, what she said was true. I was a cover hog. Maybe that's because I was used to sleeping alone? Who placed Rachel and me in the same bed, anyway? Must've been a cynic or something.

"Hold up a second," I said to Rachel before she went back to sleep. "If you're here, that means my dream, the one with Alecto and the Minotaur and Edward... that all happened?"

Rachel chewed on her bottom lip as she got up, leaning her weight on both her elbows. She was wide awake now. "It was no dream, Bella. You did black out though when you and your friend Edward got back to the car, so that might explain why you think last night didn't happen. But, I'm afraid it's all true."

"And Charlie?" I asked.

"Don't worry; he's safe in the Underworld. Like I said before, Hades is just using him as bait. He wants to meet you."

"Why?" I collapsed back on the bed, my hands to my face. "I'm just a completely nondescript girl with no discernible way of standing out," I said, quoting Aphrodite. I peeked through my fingers to look at Rachel. "Why would he want to meet me? And why can't he just come down here instead of kidnapping Charlie? It saves us all the trouble."

Rachel's eyes glanced heavenwards as she rolled out of bed. "Hades is a god, Bella. He's too laz – I'm mean, he's too busy doing his godly duties in the Underworld to come up here and visit a half-blood, even if you are mentioned in a prophecy that could mean the very downfall of the Olympians."

Rachel moved to put on a dressing gown, but neither of her arms made it through because I, quick as a flash, was right behind her and grabbed it out of her reach. "What do you mean I was mentioned in a prophecy that could mean the very downfall of the Olympians?" I asked shrilly. "Is this why all everyone's been hounding me the past few days? First it was Aphrodite and Ares, and then Apollo... Who next? Artemis? Athena?"

"They're not going after you in alphabetical order, Bella. If that was the case, then Apollo would be at the top of the list and –"

I shook Rachel by the shoulders. "But he was the first! I mean, when I met him in Seattle, I found out that he had been spying on my through Frank for the past seven years and... Wait, how is Frank, by the way?"

"He's fine." Rachel shrugged off my hands. "Dr. Cullen took care of him last night. Last time I checked, they were both in hospital. I'm hungry," she said, taking the dressing gown back from me. "What say you to a round of breakfast, Bella?" She was out the door before I could gather my wits about me.

"Wait," I called after her. "We're not done talking about this 'prophecy' yet." I caught up to Rachel on the stairs. "And where are we, anyway?" I asked, glancing confusedly at the practically wall-sized decoration that was a million or so graduation caps. Well, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but whoa. Who was this family and how come they've got that much?

"Oh, c'mon, Bella," said Rachel, grinning. "Use your head, why don't you. Where else could we be? It's certainly not Camp Half-Blood. The Camp wouldn't be caught dead with those masks on its walls. They're freaky, I tell you."

I followed Rachel's line of sight and saw a couple of rows of wooden masks. I wasn't certain as to what culture they were from, but they weren't certainly as freaky as some of the Greek monsters I've encountered. I told Rachel so and she just laughed and nodded her agreement. We talked idly about some of the monsters we've met; she even went as far as talking about her adventures with Percy Jackson, recounting the time when she met Percy for the second time in a freshman orientation where demon cheerleaders were involved, and cheerleaders just as they are were terrible enough to begin with.

When we reached the ground floor (and the climax of Rachel's story), Rachel stopped walking all of a sudden, making me bump into her.

"You go in first," she said, gesturing to the entrance where I was sure the living room was located. By now I knew that we were in Edward's house.

"What, why me? You're right by the entrance. You go." I had no idea what she was worked out about, but clearly Rachel was scared. Still, it does not change the fact that she only needed to take one step around the corner and she was in the next room.

"But the Cullens know you," she insisted. "I think it would be better if they saw you first."

"That's a moot argument, Rachel. The Cullens saw you last night when we arrived. I was asleep, if I recall correctly, so I think it would be better if you go in first." Despite the straight to the point way of how I delivered my argument, I wasn't able to control the blush that spread on my cheeks. That must have been one great first impression for Dr. and Mrs. Cullen, meeting them for the first time while fast asleep.

"Now, hold your horses for a second, Bella," said Rachel, pointing her index finger at me.

"No, you hold your horses, Rachel," I said, copying her finger waggling. "Why are you suddenly to afraid to walk into a room...?" I trailed off when one of the Cullens appeared on the doorway. By the way he was grinning at both Rachel and I, he had overheard our argument.

"Hi, uh, Emmett," I greeted lamely, surreptitiously curling my finger back. Now I see why Rachel was so reluctant in taking that step forward. I would be too, if Emmett was there to greet me on the other side. He was taller than either of us girls, and definitely more muscular and more powerful strength-wise.

And he had this manic gleam in his eyes that was magnified when he said, "Hello, ladies. I trust the two of you had a pleasant sleep?"

"As pleasant as it could be despite the circumstances," I answered. "We, uh, we're thankful, Rachel and I, that you guys took us in last night. I hope your parents didn't ask too many questions as to why we had to crash here."

"Oh, Carlisle and Esme didn't ask too many questions," said Rosalie, appearing behind her boyfriend. "It's Edward you have to worry about. He's gotten himself convinced that a," she chanced a glance to the side, telling me that someone I couldn't see was listening in on the conversation, "Minotaur… attacked you and him last night in an alleyway. Care to explain that?"

Seeing Rosalie standing like that, her hands on her hips and her lips pursed like she was reprimanding a child... it looked strangely familiar to me. Like déjà vu or something. I knew I should be thinking of a way to discourage Rosalie, and Emmett and Edward for that matter, from questioning about last night, but my mind was racing, trying to find a reason why Rosalie behaving like a tyrant was so familiar.

Rosalie. Tyrant. Rosalie the tyrant. I remember when I was around ten or eleven, I had ran away from Renee and found myself for the very first time in an alleyway because (I didn't know it then) a hellhound was after me. Someone found me behind a dumpster and brought me all the way to his home, and I remember waking up to a beautiful, golden-haired woman looking down on me. Her voice was angelic, so I had dubbed her Rosalie the angel. Her alter ego was Rosalie the tyrant.

I eyed the Rosalie in front of me now, ignoring Rachel's attempts to make me soften my look and say something. "Stop looking at her like that. Say something, Bella," she was saying, but none of it was processing in my mind because – well, because the Rosalie I knew seven years ago was the exact split image of the Rosalie standing right in front of me, down to the long blonde hair, topaz eyes and everything.

But that can't be. Rosalie Hale was only a year older than me. If she was the same person as the one that I met when I was ten, she must be at least in her early thirties by now. The resemblance was uncanny, however. And if Rosalie of then was the Rosalie of now, then that might explain her puzzling greeting to me way back when in the cafeteria.

"It's nice to see you, Bella," she had said. She didn't say it's a pleasure to meet you or you must be the Bella Jasper has been raving about. She said it's nice to see you, as if she had met me before. Which, if my theory was correct, meant that she had.

"Bella, stop gaping like Eros struck you and say something!" Rachel yelled in my ear. I suppose she had reached her patience limit.

"Er," I said, shaking my head to clear the resounding hums Rachel had left with her yell.

"I don't think 'er' is going to cut it, Bella," said Rachel, clearly mad. "This is not the time for you to give in to your ADHD and space out."

I glared at her, annoyed for the yell and the ADHD comment. "It's heightened alertness, remember? Anyway, I was not spacing out. I was thinking about something, if you must know."

"Thinking about what?" chorused Emmett and Rosalie. They looked at each other and broke into smiles. "I hope it's an explanation for last night," the latter continued.

My face lit up as an idea to prove my theory just popped into my head. I couldn't contain the smile that played on my lips as I asked, "Hey, Rosalie, am I irritating you?" She looked at me warily before answering that yes, I was irritating her a little bit. "Then don't you feel like stamping your foot and getting Carlisle?"

"Why would I –?" she began to ask, but then she stopped and her features cleared to not show anything. "You know. How?"

"I remember," I said simply, shrugging. "It took me a while, but... here we are."

"I think," said Edward, stepping away from his hiding spot behind the wall, "that explanations are in order."

I raised an eyebrow at him. "Tired of eavesdropping now, are you?" Smiling sheepishly, he bowed his head and looked at me through his lashes. "Still," I said, eyes not wavering from Edward's, "I think breakfast should come first." I nudged the redhead by my side. "Rachel's starving."

She barked a laugh and muttered, "Look who's talking." And then we all adjourned to the dining room, with Rosalie taking the lead.

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