Alice and I stood frozen on the spot, neither of us wanting to say anything. Charlie was so close to....
Light, frothy footsteps behind us. Alice tensed, but I knew who it was. I was used to Renesmee's style of running. When she reached us she was panting, beads of sweat forming on her forehead, which was creased with obvious worry. Her chocolate eyes were watery and bloodshot. She gasped at me frantically.
"Mom! What is it, what's happened?" Her voice was on the edge of breaking. At first I didn't answer and her face grew tense. She reached forward to touch my shoulder. She had learned to use her unusual gift throughout her body, being able to touch anyone anywhere on their body and they were able to see her own thoughts. My eyes saw how nervous she was, too worried for words. Then I saw Charlie, his bright, smiling, living face laughing along with the family. She knew what was going on. The picture in front of me dissolved and a sobbing Nessie took its place, her distraught clear on her porcelin face. I let out a deep breath, not aware of how long I had been holding it. Nessie gave up on me and faced Alice.
"Aunt Alice, if it has something to do with Grandpa Charlie I want to know," she insisted breathlessly. Her expression softened slightly. "And I want to help." Alice's voice was stone cold.
"Go home Nessie." She didn't sway. "Right. Now." Alice's and Nessie's eyes were locked for seconds before Alice looked to me. "She'll be fine. Can she come?" My mouth dropped open. How could Alice even consider putting her in such obvious danger? But, I admitted, I had learned to trust Alice's visions wholeheartedly. I glared at my daughter, my voice coming out stricter than nessescary.
"Fine, but stay out of the way, Nessie. Don't get near the scene at all, do you hear me? Alice and I will be fine, but you...." I choked and stopped, not needing to go any further. Then a thought hit me. "What about everyone else? Dad, Jake?" They could not be involved. Edward did not need to worry himself with this foolishness and Jake could get hurt. Even more so I didn't want him to lose his temper with Nessie around, my mind flickered to poor Emily. She nodded two quick bobs.
"Daddy and Jake think you two just left for a birthday surprise," she told us, rolling her eyes, "and I left for a bathroom break, it's no big deal really. No one is following us." And I trusted her. I nodded hard and the three of us took off for the town.
It took us a minute and four seconds to arrive at the street where the deli was located, but the entire block was abandoned. I looked to Alice desperately.
"His car is parked around the back, they'll come out the door in seven seconds!" I bounded through the empty parking lot, Alice and Nessie right behind me. I hoped Ness wouldn't slip on any puddles from the recent rain. The fence was tall, about ten feet and protruded from the side entrance of the deli, an obvious barrier to the back entrance. I leaped over it easily and gracefully, landing on my toes on the opposite side of the wooden posts.
I was just in time to see a average height, muscular man dressed from head to toe in black come full on sprinting out the metal door at the back of the deli with a plastic bag in his hand, full of green rectangles. Money. Charlie was five feet behind him with his gun at his side in his hand.
They both skipped over the three steps coming down from the door, Charlie the only one able to land upright. The hooded man stumbled on the last step and fell to the ground into a puddle of black water. He got to his knees in an instant and crawled to the side of the back parking lot. Charlie now held his gun in front of his face, ready to fire if need be. How could Alice even assume the way this fight was going to turn out, Charlie had the upper hand in every way possible!
And then I saw it. On his knees the hooded man's hand flickered to his pocket and I knew what was about to happen. But before I could react, Nessie was sprinting ahead of me to Charlie's side.
"Grandpa!" she called, her hand out reaching out for him. For a fraction of a second he looked away from the criminal to his granddaughter who was running to him with incredible speed. But this was just enough time for the gunman to reach his pocket and pull out a shiny metallic silver object.
My sharp eyes caught every movement of what happened next. A ferocious boom from the corner of the parking lot. A blood-curdling scream. And a large furry object flying smoothly in the humid air.