My take on the classic "What if Edward hadn't kept his thirst in check the day he met Bella" story.
3. Chapter Three
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2637 Review this Chapter
Carlisle looked at me with intense eyes. “Yes, Bella. Vampire.”
“You’re a vampire,” I said, dazed, sloppily pointing my finger at him. “And so are Esme, and Rosalie, and Emmett, and Alice, and Jasper… and Edward.” I pointed my finger at each angel as I spoke their name, slightly pausing before finishing with the bronze-haired boy who made me one of them. Each of them looked at me as their name fell from my lips, various expressions on their faces. The only person who never made eye contact was Edward.
“Yes,” Carlisle reiterated. “We are all vampires. As, now, are you.”
I placed my eyes back on Carlisle’s golden ones. “You’re telling the truth, aren’t you?”
“Yes, Bella,” Carlisle sighed. “I would not lie or joke about anything like this.”
I pondered this new realization for moment. I guess I did feel different. I could see things much more clear now; my eyes could count every stitch that bound together the blanket on top of me. Not only could I see each stitch, but I could also feel each stitch. I was able to feel each thread of cotton rub against my legs’ skin as I moved my knees side to side. I tasted an odd liquid in my mouth; it was tremendously sour, almost like acid. I could hear sounds more strongly now. I heard each person’s breath, and the incessant tapping of someone’s finger. I could smell mint shampoo, fabric softener, and something extremely strange… almost like the scent of a sickly sweet candy combined with sea salt and rust. The last smell made my stomach feel slightly nauseous.
It seemed, in every way, as though I had become something totally new. Every sense seemed to be more defined and magnified. And as I scanned each face surrounding me, I could find no trace of humor, no sign of lying. I could tell that Carlisle was, in fact, not joking at all. And I trusted him.
“I believe you, Carlisle,” I insisted, looking at his anxious face. As I spoke those words, I felt a wave of relief crash over me.
Carlisle granted me a dazzling smile. “I’m so glad, Bella.” He placed his hands on his knees and leaned forward. “So, would you like us to explain everything to you? I’m sure you must feel awfully confused right now.”
“That would be nice.” I faintly nodded, feeling every strand of hair on my head softly tickling my neck. My extreme senses would take some getting used to.
“Esme, would you like to begin?” Carlisle looked to his wife.
She turned to me and a reassuring smile graced her face. “Of course,” she said softly, and then continued stronger. “Bella, dear, you probably feel very… different right now. I’m sure you can hear, taste, smell, feel, and see many things right now.”
I nodded in reply. “I can see, feel, and hear every detail of, well, everything. I can smell strong scents… there’s one that I don’t really recognize, though. And that’s similar with my sense of taste: I can taste something that isn’t familiar, either.”
Esme leaned forward and placed her hand over mine. The sudden touch startled me, but I didn’t feel scared or nervous. Esme made me feel very comforted, like a mother did to her child. “Yes, that is completely normal. Each sense has been enhanced and detailed; it will take a while to get used to. The smell that you don’t recognize is, in fact, blood.” She paused while I let the statement sink in, trying to compose my face. I’m sure I looked slightly horrified. I’d never been a fan of blood. “Now that you are a vampire, your… meals have completely changed. You no longer eat, or hunger for, human food; now, you are only attracted to blood, Bella.”
Now that she mentioned it, I noticed how I didn’t feel hungry, and how my stomach hadn’t rumbled unsatisfactorily. I was completely content. It was slightly strange, knowing how I would never hunger for any regular food again… and the thought of drinking blood was slightly sickening to me.
“Okay,” I told her, my voice wavering slightly. “I now drink blood. I am a blood-drinker. Got it.”
Almost everyone in the room chuckled at my attempt at humor. Esme squeezed my hand maternally and then looked at Emmett, who picked up where she left off. I placed my attention on the big, curly-haired man.
“And Bella, that taste that you said was unfamiliar… that is the venom in your body system.”
“Venom?” I questioned. “What is venom, and what’s it for, exactly?”
Now, the blond-haired boy began talking; Alice’s mate. “The way that a human is changed into a vampire is by the spread of venom inside one’s body. Bella, when you were bitten, the reason you became a vampire is because Edward –” as his name was spoken, a choked cry came from Edward’s chair “– stopped… drinking and allowed the venom to seep into your bloodstream. Once a vampire’s venom penetrates every part of the body, including the heart, then the transformation is finished.”
Jasper paused before further explaining. “Venom takes place of all the fluids in your body. You will feel venom in your throat all the time – it’s somewhat like saliva for a human. But the amount will increase when you smell attractive blood –”
“Can I ask a question?” I cut in.
Jasper seemed taken aback, but replied, “Of course. Ask me anything, Bella.”
“You said that Edward stopped drinking and allowed the venom to spread… what would have happened if he had continued drinking?”
Jasper didn’t say anything, only looked over at Edward. But Edward just shook his head, which had remained in his hands the entire time. Jasper sighed and looked back at me, a stricken expression on his face.
“If Edward hadn’t stopped drinking your blood… then you would have died.” Jasper finished the sentence in a soft voice and cast a quick glance at Edward before continuing. “He would have kept drinking until… until there wasn’t any blood left in your body.”
“Why me?” I asked. My voice sounded pained to my own ears. I realized that this was the question I had yelled at Edward before he bit me. “Why did Edward drink from me; why did he choose me?” I paused to look at Edward, wanting to see his eyes whenever I spoke about him. But they stayed on the floor beneath him. “He had spent the entire day around other humans, with blood just like mine, with plenty of opportunities for quenching his thirst…”
I trailed off as Edward’s head turned upward, his eyes searing into mine. I’d never seen eyes full of such agony, anger, and self-loathing. The emotion in his pitch-black orbs was startling.
“Why me?” I repeated, my whispering voice trembling. I looked directly at Edward as I asked the question. His face crumpled into pain and a snarling sob ripped from his mouth. Suddenly, he stood up and left the room without a glance back, not bothering to shut the door behind him.
My trembling hands moved to my face, preparing to brush away the tears that I knew were coming. But, to my surprise, I didn’t feel any salty droplets. Even as I bawled out my confusion and sadness, there were never any tears.
After several minutes of weeping, I embarrassedly looked at the others in the room. They were all watching me somberly, patiently waiting for the cries to subside. My eyes swept over each person until they found Carlisle.
“Bella, that is for you and Edward to discuss. When you feel comfortable enough,” he added quickly when he saw my expression. My eyes looked down at my hands, watching the tremors slowly grow calmer.
A couple minutes of silence passed before I heard Carlisle speak again. “Would you like us to explain some more… light-hearted aspects of a vampire’s life?”
I glanced at him and saw a smile on his face; somehow, it didn’t reach his eyes. I knew he was just trying to lighten the mood. I matched his smile with a small one of my own. “Sure,” I nodded.
“You’re probably wondering why you didn’t cry a few minutes ago,” a voice across the room stated. I looked and saw that the musical voice belonged to Alice. “That’s because you no longer produce tears. You also don’t produce sweat. Your hair will not grow, and neither will your fingernails. You will never gain wrinkles; you will never physically age. It’s as though your appearance has been frozen in time.” She giggled lightly – to herself, mostly. I heard her murmur, “No pun intended.”
“What do you mean?” I asked her, my eyebrows furrowed.
She smiled at me. “You’re now extremely cool; your body temperature has decreased. Of course, you don’t feel the change – but to humans, you would be considered very cold.”
“Oh,” was my simple answer.
Emmett spoke this time. “Bella, you’re now incredibly strong. And indestructible. Nothing can hurt you. Along with extreme strength, you also have extreme speed. And you are very graceful,” he said with a smile. “You won’t be able to see that until we take you out, but trust me – I think you’ll enjoy your new power and elegance.” Emmett gave me a small wink, and I couldn’t help but smile.
“I’m definitely excited for that,” I replied. “Especially for the grace. You have no idea how clumsy I was as a –” My voice caught on the word, and it took a moment to clear the nonexistent obstruction in my throat. “Human,” I finished weakly. Emmett gave me an understanding nod.
“I have another question,” I stated once I had found my voice again. I felt slightly ashamed at how many questions I was asking. But, strangely, as soon as I felt the embarrassment, a sting of calm coursed over me. I kept talking, though, not wanting to forget my inquiry.
“You said that I would see my new ‘power and elegance’ when you took me out,” I clarified, my eyes on Emmett. He nodded once again. “When will you take me out, and for how long? Ch – my dad is probably wondering where I am by now. How long have I been here, anyway?” I asked, casually looking around the room for any sign of sun or moon. There were no windows, so I couldn’t tell. But I could clearly feel the tension in the air when I spoke of Charlie.
“You’ve been… away for three days, dearest Bella,” Esme said, once again placing her hand on mine.
My eyes widened. “Three days? I’ve got to get back to Charlie. If I’m in Alaska, then it will take several days to drive back, and I’ve already been gone for long enough.” I pulled back the sheets on the bed, preparing to bid my farewells. “I want to thank you for explaining everything to me, but I’ve got to go. Charlie will be worrying about me.” I put my feet over the edge of the bed and was about to stand when two firm but gentle hands pressed on my shoulders so I stayed sitting. With a glance upward, I saw that my captor was Carlisle.
“Bella… you cannot see Charlie,” he said with resounding authority.
“Why? He’s my father. I have every right to see him.” My voice was laced with clear annoyance.
Carlisle’s tone changed from parental to caring. “Bella, you are a newborn vampire; only three days old. While a vampire is between the ages of zero- and two-years-old, he yearns for human blood much stronger than the blood of animals.”
Carlisle was sure that I wouldn’t move, so he took his hands off my shoulders and sat in his original seat. “You do not understand the want and need that a newborn feels for the blood of a human. To you, the scent would be extremely sweet and exciting. You would want nothing else, and you would do anything to get it.”
My annoyance changed to anger. “Are you suggesting that I would want to drink my own father’s blood?” I shouted, enraged.
He stayed calm, and I felt another wave of peace wash over me. He answered my slightly rhetorical question. “Yes, that is what I’m suggesting. Bella, trust me on this – I’ve been a vampire for many, many years. Your thirst for blood has absolutely nothing to do with the person. It only has to do with the blood itself. It’s quite easy for a newborn – or any vampire, for that matter – to lose themselves in the hunt. You wouldn’t care about whom you hurt; all that would matter would be the blood.”
I sat, stunned. My thoughts went back to Edward. I wasn’t sure how old he was, but if he had lost his control on me within the course of one day, I could only imagine how strong the thirst would be for a newborn like me. I decided not to question my thirst any longer.
“You said earlier that a vampire between zero and two yearns for human blood… will I have to wait two years before I see Charlie?” I asked, appalled.
Carlisle’s face showed extreme grief. “Dearest Bella…” He paused, as though to choose the right words to continue. “I am so sorry, but I’m afraid that you will not be able to see your father again.”
“Ever?” I whispered, my body beginning to tremble once again.
“Yes, Bella,” he answered, whispering back. I was sure he was only doing it for my sake. “Whenever Edward changed you, we knew that we couldn’t stay in Forks any longer. And, as a new member of the vampire family, we had to bring you with us. In order to ensure a clean break, we had to make it look as though you had passed away. Charlie and Renee are both of the knowledge that you were attacked by a wild animal.”
He stopped speaking, clearly waiting for me to respond. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. My body was violently shaking; my teeth were chattering against each other, making it impossible to form words. Not that my thoughts were coherent at the moment, anyways. The only things running through my thoughts were two images: one of Charlie, and one of Renee. Carlisle’s blurred words reverberated in my head like we were underwater. My mind vaguely acknowledged Esme’s arm around my shoulder.
Carlisle continued explaining. “Bella, if they had been informed that you had merely disappeared, how do you think they would feel? Both of them would constantly be looking for the rest of their lives, eagerly awaiting the return of the missing daughter.” He paused. “At least now, they have a form of closure.”
I was barely able to nod before the tearless sobs consumed me. I wept for Charlie, and wept for Renee. And, selfishly, I wept for myself. Charlie and I had never been the kind of people to show our emotions to one another. But now that I knew I’d never be able to see or speak to him again, the phrase “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” had never meant more to me.
I felt the bed beneath me creak and groan in protest to the bodies sitting down on it. I could feel hands comfortingly rub and pat me, hoping to offer me some reassurance. I heard whispers and words as my newly founded family tried to soothe and calm me.
It was like my time in the pain of the inferno; only now, I felt ice rather than fire.