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
8. Chapter 8
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1377 Review this Chapter
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“Couldn’t hide the emptiness, you let it show …
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It was more difficult than I’d imagined, spending time around the others. It was much easier alone with Edward in our room. Outside – with the others – I had to cope. Alice, especially, was complicated … she was just so jubilant; so happy that I was finally – officially – her sister. But I could not share in her joy. I was still struggling to just be. I was happy – there was no doubt about that – to finally be a vampire; to be with Edward eternally. But I had not considered the transition after the transformation. And it was, indeed, a transition. I’d already begun struggling to accept the hollowness in my chest – the vacancy left behind by my now-silent heart. I’d already begun learning how to use my new senses – sight, smell, hearing, speed, balance. They were so new – so potent. So inhuman.
But it was a constant struggle. I wanted to feel like I needed to breathe, but I did not. I wanted to feel hungry, but the only sensation was a burning thirst in the back of my throat. And hunting was not easy; it did not come to me naturally, as it had for the others. Edward showed me how, but I found my thirst lacking when it finally came time to swallow another creature’s blood. My human revulsion to blood had, apparently, followed me into vampirism and I had to fight my own, natural gag reflex in order to swallow. Because as much as the smell repulsed me, I needed to drink. I yearned for it, just as I reviled it. Even as the smell made me want to vomit, part of it stirred a longing deep inside of me. The dichotomy was difficult to accept.
The first time Edward took me hunting, we were in the woods, several miles from the house. Alone – just the two of us, when it was easier. A light snowfall had dusted the leaves on the forest floor. I didn’t feel the cold. That bothered me, I realized, that I didn’t feel the cold. I slipped out of my shoes and padded across the frozen leaves. They crunched beneath my feet, but the chill did not affect me. It did not bite or nip; it didn’t burn like prolonged exposure to ice was supposed to. There was no risk of frostbite. I fell to my knees and lay forward, pressing my cheek to the ground. I closed my eyes and wished I could cry; just hoping to feel something.
“Bella?” Edward knelt beside me, brushing aside my hair. He kissed my forehead and it felt warmer than the ground, though barely. I opened my eyes and blinked, looking at him. “Bella, what’s wrong?”
“I can’t feel the cold …” I tried to shiver, but the reaction could not be forced.
“It’s okay,” he said, pulling me into his arms. “There are other things.”
“But I want to feel the cold.”
“You can feel the cold,” he said. “You’ve just got to learn to recognize it. Remember – you’re rather cold yourself now, too. And this doesn’t affect you anymore – you can’t freeze to death, which I’m actually rather grateful for. I wouldn’t want to have to use a dog to keep you warm again.” My lips quirked up; at least Edward was making jokes about that night, now. “Besides,” he continued, encouraged by my reaction, “there will be plenty of time for sleeping in the snow later. Right now, I think someone’s a little thirsty.”
I shook my head and buried myself deeper in his arms. “No.”
“Bella, I know you are. I don’t need to see your eyes to know it. It’s been three days since you came out of it and you haven’t had anything since then. You’ll get sick if you don’t drink soon.”
I was silent for a long time, perhaps hoping he’d just let it go. But I knew better; even as a vampire, Edward was still much more patient than I. When I finally responded, my voice was barely a whisper – just an echo in the air. “I’m afraid.”
He kissed my ear. “It’s okay to be afraid … I won’t leave your side.”
“I don’t know if I can,” I said. Now that one fear had been voiced – the fear itself, that is – the others came more easily to my lips.
“Of course you can,” Edward reassured me. “It will be as natural as breathing.”
“No, I mean … I can smell the blood, Edward.” I looked up at his face, burning into his eyes. “I can smell it out there – in the woods, in the animals – and it makes me sick. I want to faint.”
“Like in Biology class?”
I nodded solemnly.
I watched Edward’s face carefully for his reaction, afraid he would be angry with himself for turning me into a vampire when he already knew I could not stand the sight or smell of blood. But he did not grow cross; his eyebrows did not furrow. Instead, his forehead crinkled and he began to laugh – at me. “Oh, whatever will we do with you,” he said, sighing as his laughter died down. “A vampire who faints at the smell of blood …”
“I’m not going to … starve to death, am I?”
Edward laughed again and rolled his eyes. He stood and pulled me to my feet. “No,” he said, bending down to slip my shoes back onto my feet. “Trust me, Bella, you will get over it. It’s an acquired taste, like fois gras.”
“Isn’t that illegal?” I remembered seeing something on the news about chefs outraged that such an exquisite ingredient would be banned.
“Only in Chicago,” Edward replied, pulling me deeper into the woods – and closer to the blood.
He was right, of course. It got easier; I got over it. Sort of. Edward helped me with my first catch – just a deer – and at first, the sight of its blood spilled out made me want to gag. But Edward forced me to drink, and as the warm liquid touched my lips – burning as it passed down my throat – I found that I could not resist. I drank gladly, and when I’d finished I moved on quickly, finding and catching another and drinking – all on my own.
Back at the house, being around the others grew easier. Having my thirst satiated helped. I could focus less on the feeling of want – my underlying thirst – and focus more on just being with the others. It was still a relief to escape alone with Edward to our room at night; but I began to think that had less to do with my transition – and more to do with the fact that I just desperately wanted time alone with my husband.
And as difficult a time as I was having adjusting, the others insisted I was doing remarkably well for such a young vampire – only a few days old. Carlisle suspected it was because of my choice; because I’d known going in what I was going to become and what, to some degree, to expect of this new life. I understood now why it had been so impossible for Edward to fully explain to me what the transformation and change would be like. Words failed. Even the pain and the fire I’d gone through … I’d briefly felt that once before – in an empty ballet studio in Phoenix – but it was like a paper cut compared to the complete ordeal.
Each day it got a little easier, but it was still hard being around the other Cullens. Edward promised to take me away soon; just the two of us, he’d said. It would be easier, he told me – and I knew it was true. And I truly ached to be alone with him – for more than one reason. But he told me we had to wait, just a little while longer.
So I waited.
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