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September 13th

Summary:
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.”


Notes:
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


5. Chapter 5

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1781   Review this Chapter

* * *

“I touch the fire and it freezes me …”
* * *

My memories from those three days are hazy, at best. They come to me at times in flashes and blurs and spots of light in the darkness.

A sudden burst of pain – pinpricks over every inch of my flesh ...

Flames racing through my veins, wilder than any untamed forest fire ...

A wailing that will not cease until I recognize my own voice and clamp my mouth shut, grinding my teeth together because it doesn’t matter how loudly I scream – it won’t change a thing …

Things became clearer towards the end; the memories stronger. I felt my heart speed up – racing inside my chest, beating and thrashing against my ribs like an animal trapped in a cage and about to die. I think my heart sensed its demise. Somehow, my body knew its heartbeats were limited.

I heard the sound of my own blood in my body – rushing past my ears in a thunder, like the rapids of a waterfall in flood season; a loud whoosh that would not cease. I felt each tick of my skin; each bead of sweat. Colors flooded my vision and the room swirled and became dizzy and when the fog cleared again everything came into focus more sharply than before. Every detail was brighter, clearer. When the rushing of my blood fell silent in my ears, other sounds took its place – every sound. A cricket chirruped outside the house. An owl scooped up a field mouse and cracked its skull. Somewhere downstairs, a stranger complained about the noise I’d been making. Dust settled in the carpet. The creaking floorboards as someone walked past the door.

And then, suddenly, everything stopped. Time seemed frozen. The rush and flood of sounds and sights and smells … it all ceased, very briefly but very distinctly. It was a sudden moment of whiteness in the dark – silence in the chaos. I felt my eyes open wider and I lifted my head from the pillow and opened my mouth, gasping once to begin breathing again. I had not realized I’d been holding my breath. I waited for the thrumming in my chest – but my heart did not beat. It was still.

“Bella?” The velvet calling of my name broke the stillness; time pressed on in a rush. I could hear the clock ticking again from the hallway. I fell back into the pillows. Surprisingly warm fingers touched my cheek and my eyes darted quickly around until falling upon his face – hovering just inches above my own.

“Edward?” I gasped again and brought my fingers to my lips – surprised by the sound of my own voice. It was not what I had expected; the timbre was smoother – stronger. Not at all unsure.

He let out a relieved breath – all in a rush, warm and fragrant in my face – and pulled me to him in a tentative embrace. It took a moment but I forced my limbs to react – my arms to wrap around his shoulders, my fingers to clutch at his frame. And then – once I had started the action – my own inertia took over. I pushed against him, sitting up from the mattress. I clung to his body as he pulled me up. I felt him hesitant against me even as I crushed myself to him.

“Edward, my god, Edward!” I pulled back just far enough to look into his eyes. His own eyes flickered across my face, but I did not give him a chance to register an expression, before I pressed my mouth to his. It felt hotter than our previous kisses, and it occurred to me that, perhaps, I was just as cold as he was now – and therefore, the chill did not register on my lips any more.

“Bella?” he asked again, when I finally freed his mouth. With more strength than he’d used with me before, he pushed me back onto the mattress and held me at arm’s length. His eyes flickered over my body again, like he was looking for some sign that the transformation had gone wrong – or that I might still be breakable. But I did not feel breakable. There was still a dull ache in my chest, where my heart now refused to beat – so adamantly silent now, where it had once raced against my will – but I was whole. His eyes finally came back to my face and he met my gaze once again. “It is you,” he said, a ghost of a smile crooking his lips.

“I’m pretty sure,” I said. I pressed my hand against my chest, where I sensed an unfamiliar hollowness. “It feels … different.”

“It’ll go away, eventually,” he said, instantly recognizing my discomfort. He’d felt this himself, after all. This was an experience he could relate to completely. He pulled my hand away and replaced it with his own. Some of the discomfort eased instantly. “It gets easier with time. You’ll grow accustomed to it.”

“Accustomed?”

“To the silence in your heart. To the irrelevance of oxygen. To all of your heightened senses. All of it.” He sighed heavily and brushed an errant strand of hair from my face. “And eventually, I’ll get used to your splendor.”

“Splendor?”

He laughed at the crooked and confused expression on my face. “Bella, you were always beautiful. But now …” Words failed him. He just smiled and shook his head. It was frustrating, his silence. I was desperate to know more – I’d always felt so inadequate beside him; did I finally match my mate?

But I did not have time to press him further. A sudden, overwhelming pain washed over me – a new pain, different from the fire I’d endured for the last three days. I tried to stand, but faltered. Edward was at my side and I clutched at his arms, briefly, but the waves of pain did not stop. My head felt hot; feverish.

I released him and grasped at my head, falling to the floor – tumbling down without any chance of stopping myself. My fingers dug into the flesh at my temples and I squeezed my eyes shut, willing the pain to go away. I heard a wailing sound and quickly realized it was coming from my own mouth. I felt myself breaking into dry, heaving sobs – though of course I could not cry. But I wanted to. It just hurt so much … the pain was beyond anything I had ever felt, different from the agony of the last three days. This was not sharp and constant; it was dull and throbbing. It pulsated. My entire being ached.

Everything seemed to have slowed down as the agony washed through me, but once I was fully engulfed in the pain, it was only an instant and then Edward was there at my side again, his hands caressing and prodding and checking for any signs of damage. But he would not find it there; it was only on the inside.

“Bella, Bella, what’s wrong?” he said, the words flying from his lips faster than I thought possible. But of course, it was his natural speed – and I could hear him now, clear as day. The realization struck me and very briefly – for less than half a second – I forgot the ache. But then it was gone and the throbbing misery returned.

“It hurts,” I said, too simply. That was an understatement. “It’s like I’ve got a vampire migraine.”

I looked up in time to see a chuckle cross his lips, before he stifled it. I narrowed my eyes. “I’m not making fun of you, I promise,” he said. “I just appreciate your turn of phrase.”

“What, vampire migraine?” I groaned, as he took me into his arms, pulling me to the sofa. I sighed, leaning into his embrace and the cushions. My skin was cool now, as well, but the chill of his hands as he laid them across my heated forehead was still soothing. “It feels like a vampire migraine.”

“I assume that’s worse than a normal migraine.”

I groaned again. “Yes.”

“I’m sorry it hurts so much,” he said. “I promise, it will pass.”

“Is it always like this?”

He was silent for a moment, and I twisted in his arms to see his expression. It was momentarily evasive, until he resolved to tell me whatever was now bothering him. “No,” he said, “it’s not always like this when a vampire is changed. But … it is always like this when someone is coming down off of several large doses of morphine.”

“What?”

“Withdrawal symptoms,” he said, his fingers clutching at my arm to hold me against him. “I’m sorry. It’s my fault really. I asked Carlisle to give you the morphine; you were screaming so much – I was hoping it would ease the pain of the transformation. But now, it seems, you are just in pain for even longer.” He looked at me hopefully. “Did it help at all?”

“It hurt a lot,” I said. “And I don’t really have anything to compare it to …”

“Of course,” he said, anger and frustration seeping through his tone. “I’m sorry, Bella. Once again, I’ve tried to do what’s right for you and I’ve messed it up.”

“No,” I said, cupping his cheek. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as another wave of pain washed through my head. When it had passed, I looked into his eyes again. “No, you did what you promised – you stayed by my side and did everything you could to try and minimize my pain. We have no way of knowing if it worked or not. But the important part is …” My words faltered with another swell. I closed my eyes and rode it out; it got easier with each pass. “The important part is I made it through. I’m here. With you.”

His eyes flickered over me again and then he shook his head gently, a small smile touching the corners of his mouth. “I really don’t deserve you,” he said, sighing heavily.

“I feel the exact same way,” I said, but my attempt to smile in return faltered as another wave of pain swept over me and I cringed in response.

He cradled my head to his chest and hushed me. “Quiet now, Bella,” he said. “Rest now. I’ll stay with you.”

“Forever?”

I could feel his smile. “Forever,” he promised. And there was no doubt.

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