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
7. Chapter 7
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2089 Review this Chapter
“She burns like the sun … and I can’t look away …”
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I felt the heat of the sunlight against the lids of my eyes and opened them slowly, blinking against the spots of light that flickered across my vision in those first seconds. Eventually, the room came into focus – the colors sorted themselves out and shapes formed and everything became suddenly very clear. When my sight had adjusted, I turned and saw Edward looking down at me, a bemused expression on his face. I meant to ask what he was thinking but did not have a chance, as he leaned down and pressed his lips sweetly to mine.
It was still there when he pulled away, the expression. Almost like a sense of wonderment … or amazement … like he’d just had a very good dream and awoke to discover it was real. And he was looking that way at me. “What are you thinking?” I asked, finally.
His smile deepened and he just shook his head. “I’m just seeing …”
“What do you see?”
If I could have blushed still, my cheeks would have turned a sudden, deep crimson. As it was, I still ducked my head away, averting my eyes; a reflexive action I would no doubt one day forget about. Edward pulled my chin up with one finger to meet my gaze once again full on. His smile had not faltered once this morning; it was amazing. I couldn’t help grinning in response. “I guess we should go see Alice,” I said hesitantly.
“Alice?” he said. “Try everyone. They are all desperate to see you now that you’ve changed; now that you’re a vampire. They’ve been going crazy waiting all this time. And vampires are usually very patient creatures.”
“I recall.” So many times Edward had proven just how much more patient than I he was.
“Come on,” he said, standing and pulling me to my feet. He paused and watched me carefully as I steadied myself. “Okay?” he asked.
I waited, expecting the waves of pain to return, but was pleasantly surprised and elated when they never came. “Yeah,” I said. “I am.” I turned to look at him, feeling much brighter about the day ahead. And then I let myself pay attention to the sensations of my new body. Now that the pain and ache had gone, I started to notice other things.
There was still a strange vacancy in my chest, where my heart had grown still; Edward had promised it would take time to get used to that. But then I noticed the way I could control my breathing – it was not a necessity anymore. And though it was much more comfortable to allow myself to breath naturally, as if I did need air, I could start and stop it at my own pleasure without any physical side effect.
There was also an uncanny, new sense of balance. Like I could sense which way to move my feet and limbs in order to avoid any obstacles; a sense of grace I had never known before – a very natural sense. My sight and hearing I had already noticed – but I took greater care now, reveling in the sound of the sheets settling on our bed. And the subtle nuances in the shades of Edward’s copper-colored hair.
“Ready?” Edward asked, as my eyes drifted from his hair to his eyes.
And suddenly, I was not ready. I felt incredibly shy and very nervous. I was new to this body. I had not even looked in a mirror. I hadn’t showered in several days – I wasn’t sure how long it had been since he’d bitten me. I was still wearing my ratty old pajamas. I looked up at him, my eyes wide and desperate, and shook my head.
He laughed and pulled me by the hand toward the bathroom. “Let me help you,” he said. Tenderly, he undressed me – pulling the tank top over my head and holding me up as he slipped my bottoms off first one foot, then the other. I felt another phantom blush as his eyes flickered down and then back up. He grinned impishly, before turning to the shower and flipping on the water. It steamed quickly. Edward peeled off his own clothes rather speedily. He wrapped his arms around me and walked with me into the shower. I gasped as the hot water fell against my skin – burning more than it had when I was still human. The contrast was so much more acute and for a fraction of a second I wondered what Jacob’s hot skin would feel like now.
I banished the thought from my mind before it could fully form and focused back on the present – on Edward’s bemused expression as he looked down at me. It was that same wonderment I’d noticed earlier today. I could hardly imagine what he was seeing when he looked at me; I’d have to find a mirror soon.
Still watching me closely, Edward reached for various soaps and lotions and shampoos and washed my hair and my skin for me, his hands gentle against my skin. I shuddered as his hands brushed over my hips and reminded myself that we had to wait … wait until we were alone. I wished desperately that we were alone.
Too soon – and yet not soon enough – Edward shut off the water and was wrapping me in a very large towel. He pulled another towel around his waist, before walking with me towards the extraordinarily large closet in our room. My suitcase lay against one side, flung open carelessly with a few wrinkled articles of clothing tossed haphazardly inside. Across from my suitcase, was a wide rack – and hanging from it, on sturdy-looking wooden hangars – were an assortment of unfamiliar dresses and skirts and silk shirts. Below them, I noticed a few pairs of jeans still folded up inside a bag and a selection of extremely painful-looking, though beautiful shoes. Clearly, Alice had been shopping for me.
“You were a little out of it when she brought these in,” Edward said. “I told her if she was going to buy you clothes, she had to consider what you’d actually like to wear … that didn’t stop her from trying to hide the jeans.”
I stifled a laugh and rolled my eyes. Edward tugged on my hand, pulling me around to face him. “You don’t have to wear these,” he said, glancing towards the new wardrobe. “I don’t care what you wear … it doesn’t matter.”
I considered his offer; then looked again at the clothes … and at the pile of lumpy, wrinkled things I’d packed from Forks. I decided that I needed to know what I was dressing before deciding what to wear. I pulled my hands free and walked back into the bathroom, closing the door for access to the full-length mirror bolted to the back. Edward followed at my heels and watched me silently. I took a few steps away and then turned, my eyes still focused towards the floor, to face the mirror. I could see the reflection of my bare feet and wriggled my toes to be sure it really was my reflection. The feet in the mirror moved the same way mine did. I took a quick, deep breath, dropped my towel and looked up.
And I was startled to find someone who was certainly not me staring back at me. The creature in the mirror was paler than me – her skin a fair alabaster and softer than mine had ever been; smoother. Her features seemed more defined – her limbs less scrawny than mine had been, just long and lean with a roundness at her hips and bust that seemed only vaguely familiar. Her hair was still wet, like mine, from the shower – but it fell down her back in neat cascades, already curling slightly at the bottom. It was a deep chestnut brown with shimmers of red. Her lips were full and pink and her cheeks well-defined, though pale – missing the blush that had so constantly adorned my face. Then her eyes. I gasped, clasping my hands over my mouth when I saw the eyes. A bright, glowing red.
Edward slipped his arms around me, kissing my ear – his reflection kissing the other woman’s ear. “It will fade,” he said.
“Why … why are they like that?” I whispered.
“It’s your blood, Bella,” he explained. “But it will fade.”
“I’m hideous,” I said. I could not tear my gaze away from those red eyes in the mirror. It was all I could see.
“You are incredible,” Edward countered. He tilted my chin towards his face, breaking my stare. “Did you see yourself? Bella, I told you – you were always beautiful. But now … every little detail has become more defined, more enhanced … each part about you that I love is even more incredible than before. You are remarkable. And even your eyes,” he said, refusing to let me go, “are beautiful. Because they are yours … even through the blood, I can see you in those eyes.”
My gaze flickered toward the mirror and I noticed something I hadn’t before. In Edward’s arms, I finally fit. I wrapped my arms around his neck, his hands still burning into my hips, and looked at the reflection of our joined figures. We matched; we looked right together. I did not appear awkward beside him anymore. I looked like I belonged there. Slowly, my scowl lightened … a smile began forming on my lips. Edward noticed and stifled my smile with a kiss.
“Not that I mind standing here with you – naked,” Edward said, leering. “But do you think we should get dressed? Alice is going a little insane downstairs, and it’s exhausting poor Jasper.”
“Oh, I suppose,” I said, rolling my eyes. I grasped Edward’s hand and walked with him back to the closet.
My crumpled pile of clothes from Forks was still very tempting, but I didn’t want to hurt Alice’s feelings too much. I started with the bag of jeans. They were really nice jeans – expensive. And I was sorely tempted to pull them on and dig around my bag for a clean T-shirt. But then I glanced down at myself and remembered the reflection. I’d have plenty of time to wear jeans and T-shirts. Today, I’d make Alice happy. I brushed my fingers across the selection she’d hung up for me. Silk blouses and billowing shirts, soft flowing skirts and pretty dresses in shades of blue and turquoise. I selected one of the latter, one in a deep shade of sapphire with a fitted bodice and fluttering sleeves – and a full, twirling skirt in layers of chiffon that fell just to my knee. Edward helped with the zipper. Then I glanced down at the shoes. They were beautiful shoes – in black and brown and silver and gold and other shades I didn’t know what to call them, with straps and heels and lovely embellishments. But they all looked a little hazardous – even if I did have a newfound sense of grace. I’d have to let Alice be disappointed with my footwear … I rifled through my bag from Forks and pulled out my favorite pair of black ballet flats.
I combed through my hair – mostly dry now and a far cry from the tangled, matted mess it would have been were I still human. It shimmered in the light. I took one last glance at myself in the mirror, then turned to face Edward. He held out his hand to me and I took it happily.
“Ready now?” he asked.
“No,” I said honestly. “But I don’t think I ever will be … let’s get this over with.”
“Okay,” he said, smiling in encouragement.
“Wait,” I said, pulling back on his hand as he reached for the door handle. “Before we go down there, I need to know … how long has it been since … since you bit me?”
His eyes softened and he kissed me quickly. “Four days,” he said. “A little more than four days.”
“Okay,” I said, nodding. “Let’s go.”
Still holding my hand tightly, Edward opened our door and the light from the hallway spilled over us. Hand-in-hand, we walked together to greet the others.
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