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Dawn's Embrace

Summary:



Sequel to 'The Day I Died': Bella's problems are not over. Now, with the breaking of the treaty, Bella is in more danger than ever. Not to mention her strange abilities which put her at risk. Can their love, however pure, survive it all? Edward/Bella


Notes:
Enjoy! P.S. I just love the banner! :D


2. Chapter 2

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 4833   Review this Chapter

Chapter 2

‘A wretched soul, bruised with adversity,
We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
But were we burdened with like weight of pain,
As much or more we should ourselves complain.’

There wasn't much of a difference between the me now and the me before, well, you know, the transformation. Well, now I still have a heartbeat, a pulse, a lack of the purplish bruises under my eyes, a need to sleep and the ability to eat human food – so I'm pretty much the same as before unless you counted the fact that my brown eyes can change to gold when I'm in an especially good mood and to black when I'm upset. Edward had wasted all his time worrying and dreading changing me, really. I mean, there wasn't really much of a difference, was there? Apart from the fact that I was faster, saw things better and smelt things better, I could easily pass off as a human. Unless of course, I was really upset or really happy, then my eyes would be a tell-tale sign.

Right now, I was ready to bet that my eyes were definitely the darkest shade of black possible.

“Bella?” Alice called from the main door below. It was no louder than how she would have talked to someone in a normal conversation but all of us knew that I'd be able to hear it perfectly. “We're leaving for Seattle now.”

“I'm coming.” I grumbled, deciding to delay it as long as I could.

“Why does it have to be now?” Edward muttered, irritated. He was currently twisting a few stands of my long dark hair around his finger.

“If you had backed me up, I wouldn't be forced to do this now.” I said, standing up and smoothing the creases in my clothes. “So don't complain.”

“You know how hard it is to dissuade Alice from something she has already decided to do... And she's dead set on bring you to shop.” He gave me a ‘what-can-I-do’ shrug.

“Remind you of anyone?” I said acidly. “It does seem to run in the family, doesn't it?”

“Don't be mad, Bella.” He gave me his famous dazzling smile. “Look on the bright side, at least I'm going with you.”

“Since when were you the optimistic one.” I snorted in disbelief, although my tone was gentle.

“Bella!” Alice called for me again, screeching as loud as she could this time. “Don't make me drag you down here!”

“Coming!” I called back. Giving Edward a dirty look, I hurried down the stairs where Alice was waiting for me. To no one's surprise, I tripped on the last step and would have fallen and broke my nose – that's if I could – if Edward had not caught me at the last moment. There definitely were perks living in a houseful of vampires. He gave a light-hearted grin, which made my irritation at the shopping trip dissipate quickly. Edward then held my hand, and led me through the door. Alice was already starting the engines in her car. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught her glowering at me, but I paid it no attention. Her irritation at my lateness would soon vanish as soon as we reached the shopping centre – I had first-hand experience.

The trip to Seattle was a blur, with Alice driving faster than I could take. I sat, staring straight ahead and tried not to look at the blur of trees outside my window. I was sure that if I saw that, I would throw up my breakfast. Edward, realising my discomfort, beamed at me and pulled me into his chest. His eyes were the lightest golden today, I noted. He must have gone out hunting when I was asleep.

I remember that I was never one to wake up from my sleep in the middle of the night – unless due to nightmares – but now, even though I was still asleep, I could hear the slightest sounds that were being made in the room. And I heard the sounds of Edward's footsteps as he left the room in the middle of the night, only to come back around dawn. They did not bring me to hunt with them, as I was reluctant to live on animals' blood when I was happy enough eating normal food. Though I knew that I had to try and drink animals’blood one day, everyone else and I were more than happy to let it be for now. Strangely enough, I did not thirst for blood of any kind – not even humans' – which was good. It must have been my aversion to human blood before I was changed that have caused this. That was fantastic – because it meant that there wouldn't be the temptation for me to resist.

“We are here!” Alice chirped, feeling happier as soon as she reached the car park of the mall.

I looked around. I had not been here before. It must be a new shopping centre. “What do you mean by ‘here’, exactly?”

“You know the twenty-four hour shopping experience place? Yup, we are there.” She proceeded to get out of her car and closed the door.

Edward helped me out and after locking her car; Alice began walking to the shopping centre. Let me just tell you this; inside the shopping centre was not a pretty sight at all – at least for me. There must have been thousands of people in the shopping center, mostly women, of course. The few unlucky men that were there were just huddled in a corner, talking. When we came in, I saw them glance up sympathetically at Edward and then return to their conversation. The place was packed with people – it was like being a sardine squished together in a small can. I had no doubt Alice was going to get it from Edward when we got back home. Hang on, did I just think of Edward's house as my home? Well, one part of my head said, you are married to him, after all. But then again, shouldn't Charlie's house still be my home, at least for now? Yes and –

“Bella.” Alice gushed, breaking through my thoughts. She was holding a dress right in front of me. I hadn't noticed that we had entered a shop already. Man, was she fast. “This looks great on you! Don't you think so?” She directed her question toward Edward.

Edward smiled. “Anything looks good on her, Alice.”

Alice gave a wide, wicked smile. “That's good to hear.” Then her smile, if possible, became wider. “Here, Bella. Go try these out.” Saying that, she dumped a huge pile of clothes in my outstretched hands.

“But... but...” I tried to think up of a decent excuse, at the very least.

“No buts, Bella.” Alice said sternly, shaking her finger at me. She then took me by the shoulders and gently but firmly led me to the changing rooms.

I gave up. Resigning myself to my fate, I sighed morosely. “All right.” Alice was right. The clothes did not look too bad on me – in fact, they looked good. But what was not good about it was that I had to change out of the clothes, put now a new set of clothes and then open the door and model – well, not really model, just standing – in front of Alice and Edward. It was so frustrating. Imagine how long that would take with the whole pile of clothes Alice just dumped into my hands? Right, you get my point.

The late morning and afternoon dragged on. I was starting to get hungry – for real food, mind you.

“Alice, I'm hungry...” I whined incessantly for the fifth or six time. Edward had long disappeared somewhere, leaving me to suffer here. He was going to pay for it tonight, that's for sure. I could tell she was starting to get annoyed – which was good as that meant I would be free soon. Ah, freedom...

“Just try on this last set of clothes and we can go to another shop.” She sighed.

“Another shop?” I was sure my heart stopped for a moment there.

“No ‘another shop’.” Edward said sternly to Alice, suddenly appearing on her left. “Not until Bella has her food.” Thank Goodness, my saviour has finally arrived.

Quickly, I changed into the other set of clothing, modeled for Alice and changed back into my own clothes. I was desperate to leave the shop and eat something. My stomach growled, as Alice was paying for the clothes – a whole load of them – and leaving the shop. “It doesn't like you.” I said to Alice, pointing to my stomach.

“Good, because I don't like it too. It really ruins a shopping trip. I guess that's the downside of being a human, huh? Not being able to shop in peace without getting hungry.” Alice frowned in displeasure.

We walked through the crowd, with my looking for a nice place to eat something. “Bella!” Someone called me from behind. I turned, and so did Edward and Alice. It was Jessica and Angela.

“What are you doing here?” I asked, pleasantly surprised to see my other friends.

“Jessica, Angela.” Edward greeted stiffly, as Alice did the same.

“We are shopping!” Jessica cried. “We stopped by your house this morning to see if you wanted to come with us, but Charlie told us that you had gone hiking with the Cullens.” She eyed Edward suspiciously.

So that was what Carlisle had told Charlie.

“Well,” I said, trying to think up a lie as fast and as convincing as possible. If she had any suspicions, I had no doubt that Charlie would hear of it by tonight. “We decided to come back a little earlier.” I put on a good smile for the effect.

“Oh.” Angela said. “What was it like?” She asked excitedly.

I was confused. “What are you talking about?”

Jessica laughed, an extremely high-pitched sound that hurt my now sensitive ears. I wondered how Edward and Alice were taking this. A quick glance told me that they were just standing slightly behind me, silently waiting for this conversation to end.

“The hike, silly.” Jessica giggled again.

“Oh.” Why didn't I think of it before? Maybe shopping left my mind in a daze, “Umm...” I tried to think of what I had seen the last time I went hiking – which was years ago. “It was great. Everything was, well, green. Lots of plants and flowers.”

She laughed again and I resisted the urge to cover my ears with my hands. “What did you do there?”

What did people do on hikes, anyway? “Well,” I tried confidently, waving my hand in the air. I laughed, trying to sound as natural as possible and at the same time, I noticed an edge of hysteria in my laughter. Hopefully, no one would notice that. “We –”

Apparently, someone noticed, and it was Edward. He stepped in, trying to rescue me. “I'm sorry.” He said, putting his arm around my waist. “But I'm afraid that we're in hurry and have to leave now. Goodbye.”

Jessica stared at him. “All right then. See you soon, Bella. Edward, Alice. We could catch up sometime. I'll call you.” She said uncertainly.

“Bye, everyone!” Angela smiled at us. I knew I always liked her the best. Then, they turned round a corner and left.

“Phew.” I breathed a sigh of relief. When my head cleared, I playfully hit Edward on his arm. “You didn't have to be so rude to them. They were just trying to make conversation.”

He frowned at me. “So this is what I get for helping you out of that sticky situation? Maybe the next time, I shall leave you to your own devices.” He said, jokingly.

I gave him a small smile. “We both know what you won't, right?”

“Won't what?” Evidently, he decided to play the ‘innocent’ card.

“Edward...” I chided, giving him a severe look.

“All right.” He laughed, giving up. “I won't ‘not’ help you out of sticky situations the next time. Happy?”

“Very.” I laughed, planting a kiss on his cheek. “Can we go and find something to eat now? I'm starving.”

“Something for you to eat, you mean.” He laughed, touching the tip of my nose.

I was about to reply, then I blushed, realising that Alice was still there. She was grinning – a perfectly wicked grin. I cleared my throat uncomfortably, while Edward – who did not even seem a tad bit embarrassed at all – just gave me an amused smile. Urgh, vampires were frustrating. But wait, I was one too now – so I'd better stop with all that ‘vampires are this and that’ nonsense,

After walking around for a few minutes, I settled on a restaurant nearby. When I was hungry, I wasn't picky with my food and just ate anything edible. Hence, when the menu was being given to me, I just picked out the first thing that was on it – spaghetti. Edward and Alice, annoyed at being in an enclosed area with food all around them, decided to leave me on my own to eat while they explored some obscure corner of the shopping centre.

“Are you sure you don't mind?” Edward asked, standing up. I could tell that he was not breathing at all, and neither was Alice. What was wrong with the food smells, they smelt delicious – well, to an unusually ravenous me, at least.

“Nope. Of course not.”

“All right then. See you when you're done, Bella.” He gave me a kiss on my forehead. “And try not to do anything dangerous, please.”

“I’ll try.” I grinned. Waving to me, he went off. Before I could even blink, both of them had completely disappeared. Wow, they must really hate the food smells. But Edward did not seem to mind at home... maybe because it was more concentrated here, with so much food here.

I waited for the food to come impatiently. How long does it take to cook one measly plate of spaghetti? A vivid flash of red caught my eye. What was that? I turned in the direction that I saw it, but only to see the doors with led to the kitchen on the restaurant. Did I imagine it? The redness of it reminded me of something... Victoria. I shook my head, trying to knock that crazy thought out. It was impossible. Impossible. Maybe the hunger was getting to me. Yes, that was it.

I tried not to think of those depressing and horrifying thoughts that usually came to mind whenever I thought of Victoria, instead, focusing on more important things – like what was I going to do now that I was a vampire? Was college even an option for me? I couldn't think of how to explain to my teachers and friends as to why I did not look older as each year passed by:

‘Umm... I went for a facial surgery to make me look younger.” Or, ‘You know, now that you ask, there's this really amazing brand of skin revitalizing cream where it makes to look so much younger. I mean, look at me!’

I shook my head. No, definitely not those. Maybe Edward had some ideas on that. I made a mental note to ask him later.

I sighed. My food was not here yet. God, were they trying to kill me unknowingly? I could imagine the Volturi sitting on those chairs of theirs and hearing the news: ‘Master Aro, I have some news for you. You know that girl, Bella. When she became a vampire, she discovered she had the ability to eat human food. So, one day when she was out shopping with Alice, she was starving and went to a restaurant to get some food. Brace yourself for the bad new, Master. Well, you see, that thing is that she died of hunger, while she was waiting for her spaghetti to arrive...’

I tried to control my laughter. I wouldn't want someone to be thinking I was crazy, when I had my doubts on my sanity already. How could just a mere half an hour of Edward's absence do this to me already? Maybe I was that pathetic.

A hand right in front of my face broke though my thoughts. Again, the streak of redness flashed out of the corner of my eye. I looked in front of me and the waitress placed the plate of food with a metal cover on it onto the table. I didn't bother to look at her at all. Then, as I was to reach out and lift the lid, a bone-chilling voice shocked me, whispering horrendous words right into my ear.

“Your days are numbered, Bella. Watch out.”

Cold breath blew into my ear and I shivered involuntarily. It was not Edward, or Alice – I knew that. But what if the redness I saw was not my imagination, but reality? What if the streak of red was not just ‘nothing’, but a streak of red hair? This felt like one of the nightmares I had, except this time, it was real.

I know who it was at once, without needing to turn and look at her – Victoria.

Just the same, I turned, bracing myself for her evil smile and her eyes, bent on revenge. But, to my surprise, no one was there. I frowned, was that another one of imaginations again? But it sounded and felt so real...

It was real. It had to be, since the plate of food was sitting in front of me. Mustering all of my courage, I lifted my plate with shaking hands, still trying to get over the shock. Instead of the spaghetti that I had expected, only a piece of paper lay inside. There's nothing to fear, I tried to encourage myself. You are a vampire now, aren't you? Nothing could be worst than being dead, right? And I already was, so what was there to fear?

Forcing my shaking hands to still, I reached out and snatched the piece of paper off the plate. The plate was ice-cold, I noticed. That was weird. With my heart thumping so loudly that I wouldn't be surprised if Edward and Alice heard it from wherever they were, I read the note.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

That definitely proved that my ‘hallucinations’ were real. And now, I had no doubt as to who it was from. I needed to find Edward and Alice – now. And probably Jake too – to tell him that Victoria was back.

I tried to rise from my chair, but I found that my legs would not obey me at all. Looking down, I noticed that the note was shaking – and then that was when I realized that it was not the note that was shaking like a leaf, it was me.

No, I could not freak out like that. If Victoria was here and seeing this, she'd probably be relishing this moment – that a simple note from her could instill such fear in me. I had to calm down. All right, a deep breath in, a deep breath out. That felt great – I was starting to feel better already. These meditating methods surely worked well for me. I was calm enough to look up now.

And there, right at the entrance of the restaurant, was Victoria. Her red hair was flowing gently under the air-conditioning. Her face was just as I remembered. Her lips were shaped into an impious smile. She raised her eyebrows at me challengingly and as quickly as she got there, she was gone. I forced the air in and out of my nose, in a successful attempt to breath. Although I now did not need to breath, it was just a way to help me calm my pounding heart down. I found that now, even after seeing Victoria with my own eyes, I had the strength to stand up – albeit shakily.

Where was Edward now? Did he know that Victoria was here? I tried to reduce the amount of questions running through my mind. I could only take so much at once. If I was worried about finding Edward, I need not be, for before I even took a step forward, he appeared at my side, pulling me out of the restaurant as fast as he could without attracting attention.

“Edward.” My voice came out as a gasp. “She's here.”

He glanced at me briefly and before I had the chance to explain who exactly was there, he answered shortly. “I know. Alice saw her.”

There was no doubt on the ‘her’ Edward was referring to.

“Alice is waiting in the car.” He said, and dragged me off to where Alice was waiting in her car. Within a few minutes, we were in the car, already driving away from the shopping centre.

Once we were in the car, Edward instantly wrapped his arms around me. “Bella, are you all right? Did Victoria hurt you?”

“No, I'm fine.” I mumbled, my face buried in his granite shoulder.

“Tell me what happened in the restaurant.” He commanded.

And I begin to speak, telling Edward all that had happened – the hunger in my stomach forgotten. When I finished, Edward asked for the note, and I gave it to him. As I passed it over, my sense of smell now detected a strange faint scent lingering over it. Come to think if it now, I had smelt it in the restaurant too, but I hadn't noticed it as I was to hungry. That must be Victoria's scent. That was good news, at least I could tell whenever she was around now.

Edward brows creased upon reading the note. His golden eyes darkened considerably. I could feel him seething in anger. He crushed the note with his iron hands easily, opening the window and with unerring aim, threw it right in the middle of a tree we were speeding past. The force of the impact was so great; it left a dent there in the bark. “She is going to die.” He growled angrily, raising the hair on the back of my neck. “Now.”

Alice looked back at him from the mirror overhead her. “What did it say?”

Edward repeated the note's message and watched as Alice's expression change as well. She nodded. “She's going down.” She said seriously. “But, not now.”

Edward glared. “But she will, eventually. And I'll be the one burning her shreds.” He turned to me, his voice a little gentler. “You'll have to stay here for a few more nights. I can't risk having you at home. She might go looking for you there.”

“But what about Charlie?”

“Call him and make up an excuse. It's for his own safety anyway. If you are there, he will be involved too.”

As always, his cool logic irritated me. I wanted to be sure I was there to protect Charlie, but Edward was right – if I was there, she would come looking for me, and I could not have that happening. “Fine.” I crossed my arms over my chest.

“It's for your own safety too.” He retorted.

“I know.” I answered shortly. I turned my face away from him. He sighed. And gently, with his hand, pulled my face to face him. He brushed his lips across my forehead, across my cheeks, my nose and finally, my lips.

“I love you, Bella.” He murmured, his lips pressed against mine.

That simple statement did it – it dissipated all my frustration at once. I sighed, content that he was holding me so recklessly close to him. “I love you too, Edward.”

The rest of the trip back was in silence, I was lying in Edward's arms occasionally straying in and out of the depths of sleep. The shopping trip, the going in and out of the dressing room and the lack of food really tired me out. I could hear Alice and Edward muttering; probably making plans on how to deal with Victoria. She didn't scare me so much now – being in Edward's mere presence seemed to cure everything. The idea of Victoria coming for me was like an old nightmare – long forgotten.

Once, Alice made a phone call on her cell phone, but I was too dazed to make out much of it. Soon, the steady hum of the car's quiet engines lulled me to sleep.

I woke up, something hairy tickling my chin. Looking down to see what it was, I found that it was actually hair – bronze-coloured hair, to be exact. Edward's cheek was pressed up against the left side of my chest, listening to the beats of my heart. A smirk crossed his face as my heart thumped faster, my brain registering the notion of what Edward was doing to me now.

“How was your sleep?” He asked, without moving his face an inch at all.

“Fantastic, considering I woke up with a handsome man pressing his cheek against my heart.”

He chuckled, and I could feel his chest vibrate against my own. Sighing, he said, “You know something, Bella? I'm glad you have this ability – the whole ‘link to humanity’ thing. Remember the time when you asked me why I didn't want to change you, and I told you it was because I didn't want you to become a monster and all that? That's not the whole story, actually. Well, the other part to the story was that I was being selfish.” He sighed in contentment. “I did not want to give up one of my favourite hobbies.”

“You mean, listening to my heart?”

Edward nodded, and breathed in deeply.

“You are a very selfish person, Mr Cullen.” I chided him playfully.

“I know that, Mrs Cullen.” He flashed me a smile full of innocence. “But don't you love me for it?”

“Of course I do.”

“I'm glad. It seems as though each of us have gotten what we both wanted, don't you think?” He added after a thought.

“What do you mean, Edward?”

“Well, you wanted to be changed by me, and you got that. I wanted you to marry me, and I got that as well. I also wanted to be able to listen to your heartbeat, watch you sleep, see you blush scarlet when I tease you, watch you as you eat your breakfast... and although I thought I would be forsaking all those things when I changed you, by some miraculous means, what I wanted came true.” He explained.

“You are right.” I agreed. “Maybe it's meant to be like a gift for you – for all the good that you have done, or at least tried to do. It's like we got everything we wanted, well maybe except peace – since Victoria is back for me now.”

“Yeah, maybe... You are my salvation, Bella. I truly believe that. Without you, this... existence of mine would be a living hell. Don't worry; Victoria will not harm you in any way at all. I'll make sure of that.”

“Who said I was worried?” I said jokingly. “I trust you, Edward.” I lay my cheek on the top of his head, reveling the sensation of his smooth hair rubbing against my cheek. “And I trust that all this Victoria business is going to work out smoothly somehow – and without anyone getting hurt, well, maybe except her.” I added after a second thought.

He sighed again, with satisfaction, as I reached out and cupped his cheek with my hand. “She's not going to exist much longer, believe me. Then, we can all stop breathing the air which she has tainted by breathing out.”

I nodded then said hesitantly, “Edward, umm... I think I should tell Jake about this.”

“The werewolf?”

“Yes...” I hoped he would not get mad at me bringing up Jacob's name. They did not like each other – no, that was too mild a word – they hate each other to the core of their very being. And that feeling was mutual. Although, upon seeing Jake, Edward could take better control of his emotions better. I had no idea why there was such abhorrence between werewolves and vampires – I mean, both were mythical, right? If not for me, and the treaty, and the fact that Edward was indebted to Jake for saving my life, they would have probably fought each other to death by now. Edward went very still, and I hoped I had not ruined the moment.

“It's a good idea.” He said after a while, to my surprise. “I'll drive you over tomorrow. As for now, it's time for you to go back to sleep, Bella.”

I nodded, still stunned at his answer – though I was pleased with it, nonetheless. Kissing the top of his head, I greeted him goodnight as I drifted back to sleep almost immediately. “I love you.”