CHAPTER TEN -- the last chapter -- NOW POSTEDThe waiting is finally over ... The days leading up to and following Bella’s 19th birthday – the year she never turned 19. And yes, this is a sequel to “August 13th.”
ATTENTION READERS: DO NOT STEAL MY STORIES. Someone has stolen some of my stories from this website -- including this one! -- and posted them as their own on fanfiction.net. It is plaigarism, it is stealing and it is illegal. Read, enjoy -- but don't steal. Post-Eclipse This is a sequel to "August 13th" -- you don't have to have read that story to understand this one, though I highly recommend it! ;) To do so, check it out here: http://www.twilightarchives.com/viewstory.php?sid=986
4. Chapter 4
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“And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
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I slept soundly that night – resting peacefully in Edward’s arms, my mind decided and determined. But it did not last. I was restless the following night, tossing and turning in my sleep. At times, I would wake completely – shooting up from the pillows – startled awake by some unknown thought or dream. Edward stroked my face and brushed my hair from my forehead, kissing my skin where I’d grown flush.
He shushed in my ear. “Sleep, Bella,” he whispered. “This is your last time. Sleep.”
And I did – but not well; my restlessness persisted.
The next morning – after some consideration – I figured out why. There was still one person who had not accepted my decision and, seeing as I would conceivably be spending eternity in that person’s company, I knew that I had to make peace. The morning after my restless sleep, I showered and dressed and set out to settle up in the last hours of my human life.
The subject of my distraction was not hard to find. Rosalie was sitting quietly alone on the front porch – her eyes staring beyond the horizon. The sun sat low in the sky, casting an orange hue across the landscape.
“Rosalie?” I asked, my voice soft and meek – hitching on my bated breath.
She smiled at my human folly and turned her eyes to meet mine; I saw a sadness there I had not seen since the night she’d told me her story and I was once again resolved to have this conversation. “Hello, Bella.” I could tell from her tone that she was displeased; upset that after all she’d told me, I was still choosing wrong – in her eyes, at least.
“Rosalie … I want you to know … that I know what I’m giving up.”
She stared at me skeptically, one eyebrow perfectly arched higher than the other.
“I do … I saw it all,” I said, the words flowing out now in a rush. “I could have had everything with Jacob. A life, a family … children. I saw it all – the whole thing; what my entire life could have been. His father, Charlie, the whole Pack, Jacob and I together – married – two children, dark-haired boys running through a house. Our house; our life – our family. But I also saw that it would never be enough. It would have been easy – but lacking. Because, for me, there is no life without Edward. That’s why – after seeing an entire life with someone else; after wanting it – I still chose this. And I just want you to know that I did think about it. I thought about it a lot. I haven’t forgotten your story, Rosalie. But I know who I can’t live without.”
She smiled at me sadly and shook her head. “You are still choosing death.”
“No,” I said passionately. “I am choosing life. You never saw me without Edward. I was dead without him; I cannot live without him.”
She twisted in her chair elegantly, and cast her eyes directly at me. Her lips pursed and her eyes narrowed just slightly as they looked over my face and my features and my body. I always wondered what she saw there – me, the silly human willing to give up everything for a vampire. My inadequate appearance, my clumsy movements, my awkward features. But that’s only what I would have seen in myself. I don’t know what she saw. All I know is that after a very long moment, her face relaxed and she leaned back into the chair. She shook her head again, but her lips quirked upwards just slightly in the corners and I saw a glint in her eyes.
“I hope we can be friends someday,” she said. “I guess we’ll have plenty of time to try.” She smiled at me very softly, almost sadly, but I could see that she had accepted me. Accepted my decision. Something she saw in me – whatever it was she saw – was enough to satisfy her.
That night I called Charlie. I found myself breathless when he picked up the phone; something caught inside of me at the sound of his half-hearted “Hullo?”
His voice brightened instantly. “Bella!”
“Hi,” I gasped out. “We’re here. We just made it.” I cast my eyes about the room Edward and I were now sharing, and tried very hard not to laugh. I was never good at lying; but Charlie had never been very good at catching them.
“How’s the apartment? How was the drive? Is it very cold yet?” The questions kept coming and I let him run his course for a while, before interrupting.
“We’re fine, Dad,” I said. “The drive was okay – long – and the apartment is very nice. It’s kind of empty right now. Edward is carrying up the boxes now and then we’re going to run out for dinner.”
“And the weather?”
“A bit chilly,” I said truthfully. “But no snow yet – not here, anyway. About ten miles away – closer to the mountains – there’s a light dusting. It’s not cold enough here yet.” I was impressed with how easily the lies came from my mouth; my skill seemed to have improved over the last several weeks. But I had a secret – two secrets, really – to protect. And I was not about to let anyone down by spilling the beans, so to speak – not Edward and his family … and not the Pack. I would continue to guard both secrets with my life. “We’re going to check out the campus tomorrow and buy books.”
“I’m so proud of you, Bella,” he said and I could hear the gushing about to begin again.
“Thanks, Dad.” We chatted for a few more minutes – longer than I would have indulged him had Edward and I actually been at college and doing everything I claimed we were. But the truth kept me on the phone. I wasn’t sure when I’d talk to Charlie again. Eventually, though, he ran out of questions and I ran out of lies. So I told him the only truth I could. “I love you, Dad. I’ll call you again as soon as I can.”
“Bye, Bells. I love ya, kiddo.”
“Love you, Dad. Bye.”
I placed the phone back in its cradle gently, and sighed as I heard the definitive click. I stared at the phone for a long while, until I heard a rustling a few feet away. I looked up and was met by Edward, his eyes fixed on mine. I don’t know how long he’d been standing there; I was certain he’d only made some noise to get my attention. His movements were usually so silent, at least to my ears.
“We can wait,” he said, finally.
I shook my head. “No,” I replied. “I’m ready.”
“Are you sure?”
I nodded and started to walk towards the bed. Edward caught my wrist on the way, and pulled me back to face him. “You might want to change,” he suggested, looking down at my jeans and button-down blouse. “What would you be most comfortable in?”
“Um …?” I was at a loss. I wasn’t sure what you were supposed to wear when becoming a vampire. At one time, I thought it might have been a formal occasion – but that had proven to be completely incorrect.
Edward laughed. He moved to the dresser and back in the blink of an eye, and handed over my favorite pajamas. “Perhaps these?” he suggested.
I smiled gratefully and took the cotton pants and tank top from his hands. “Thanks,” I said and padded across to the bathroom. I changed quickly, but when I came back, Edward was standing at the open door, murmuring in quiet tones with Carlisle.
My brow crinkled in worry; Edward had promised he would be the one. “I thought …”
“I am,” Edward said, knowing my thoughts without having to hear them. “Carlisle’s just here as a precaution.”
Carlisle smiled at me. “I’ll just give you two a moment,” he said. He turned to Edward. “Let me know when you’re ready for me.”
Edward nodded and Carlisle disappeared, closing the door behind him.
I crossed the room and stood face to face with Edward, taking his hands into mine. I looked up at his eyes and we held each other’s gaze for a very long time, until he caught me up in his arms. He crushed himself against me, his hands pressing me to him more tightly than I could ever remember. His lips kissed my hair and my face and my eyes and then he crushed them against my mouth. This kiss was different from others; it was urgent – without a sense of exigency; passionate without a need for more. In this kiss, I knew undoubtedly that Edward loved me eternally. It almost felt like he was saying goodbye. But when our lips parted, he took my hands in his again and led me to the bed, pulling me down beside him.
He stretched out his length beside me, his arms encircling my waist. He caressed my cheek and my hair and my hips. “I love you, Bella,” he said.
“I love you, Edward.”
“There’s no backing out now,” he said. “This is the point of no return.”
I smiled and nodded. “I know,” I said.
“No going back.”
I leaned up and kissed his lips. “I wouldn’t want to.”
“You’re ready then?” He pressed his finger to my lips as I opened my mouth to respond. “I mean really ready. This is going to happen right now unless you say otherwise. If you want another day – another week – just say the word.”
“Edward,” I said, pushing his hand from my mouth. “If you don’t shut up and do this – I may never forgive you.” I smiled at him, and I hoped it was enough to convince him.
He sighed and I watched his body relax in response. “Okay,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be in such debt for all of eternity.” But he prolonged the moment anyway with another kiss – and I did not complain.
Finally, he pulled away, clutching my cheek. “Carlisle,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. The door opened and I watched Carlisle step towards us.
“Bella, I’m going to wait by the door – it will be just you and Edward. But just in case, I will be here to make sure nothing goes wrong. And when you are going through the transformation, you will not be alone. Edward and I will both be here to make sure you’re alright. I’ll do what I can to ease the pain.”
“As will I,” Edward said, catching my eyes.
“I trust you,” I said, meeting his gaze. My eyes flickered to Carlisle. “I trust both of you.”
“Edward has explained everything to you, then?” he said. “You know what will happen.”
I took a deep breath. “Yes,” I said. “But I was hoping not to go over it again just now. I’d rather this didn’t feel so clinical, if that’s possible.”
Carlisle smiled indulgently at me. “Of course,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure you were prepared. It’s easier if you know what to expect.”
“I do,” I said, recalling the long hours of conversation Edward and I had had over the last two weeks on the subject. He’d balked at describing the change to me in the past, but now that we had both committed to this decision he’d spent a great deal of time going over every detail.
“Alright then,” Carlisle said, satisfied, and stepped back to the door.
Edward looked down at me. “I’m going to kiss you, now,” he said. “I’ll let you know when to expect it.”
I nodded, feeling suddenly nervous – though my determination had not wavered. “Shh,” he said in my ear, kissing my throat. “I will not leave your side,” he said and kissed my jaw. “I will let nothing hurt you.” He kissed my forehead. “I love you.” He kissed my mouth and my throat again. “I’m going to bite you, now.”
He pressed his mouth against my neck – his lips closing around my artery – and then I felt a sharp pang as his teeth broke the skin and a strange sucking sensation as he began to drink my blood.
“Oh!” I gasped, but he did not pull away. His arms held me gently against him as he continued to drink and my fingers dug into his shoulders.
Several thoughts crossed my mind at this moment. It occurred to me, first, that this is what it felt like to know I was going to die. I was going to die. In a way, it felt like some of my life was leaving as Edward drank from my neck. Secondly, I realized how much passion was behind Edward’s bite. If my body was not about to go into convulsions, I would have wanted him more desperately than ever before. And thirdly – I realized with sudden clarity that this was the exact moment in which I left my old life behind – and embarked on my new life with Edward. And I was happy, even as the fire began to build in my throat.
Edward pulled his lips from my neck and I instantly missed the chill of his touch. He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth and kissed my lips – stilling the chattering I had not noticed. “I have to bite your wrists and ankles now,” he said. “It will make the venom spread more quickly so that —”
“I know,” I said, through clenched teeth. “Not clinical.”
He bowed his head in apology. “I’m sorry.” I had a feeling he was apologizing for something else entirely.
His face disappeared from my vision, but I knew what he was doing. I felt his teeth break open the skin on first my right wrist – then my left – and then both of my ankles in turn. When he had finished, he stretched out beside me again and pulled my body to his – trying to keep me cool and control the spasms coursing through me.
I felt tears forming in the corners of my eyes, but they refused to spill over. Sounds escaped my lips as I tried to form words, but I could not stop shaking long enough to remember what to say. It felt like the convulsions were getting worse. I heard Edward shout and then another set of impossibly strong, cold arms held me tightly to the mattress.
After that, all I remember is blackness and fire.
* * *