My take on the classic "What if Edward hadn't kept his thirst in check the day he met Bella" story.
4. Chapter Four
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 3665 Review this Chapter
“I’m sorry. I don’t want you to feel bad about my… change,” I whispered. My eyes became downcast and I clenched and unclenched my hands uncomfortably. “I know that it hasn’t exactly been a picnic walk for you, either. It’s just that… I think this may take some time to get used to.” They all knew that I wasn’t only speaking about my new senses or life, but my new family, as well.
“Don’t worry about it, Bella,” I heard a new voice speak. I looked up and was surprised to see Rosalie talking to me. It was slightly intimidating looking at such a beautiful person. “It’s completely understandable. And yes, it will take a great deal of time.”
“And just remember, that if you ever need to talk to anyone – anyone at all – we are all here for you,” Esme finished, continuing to rub my back. I knew who else she was including by stressing the word “all”.
“Thank you,” I said, nodding. My voice was still trembling.
We all sat on the bed for a while, surrounded in a comfortable silence. After what seemed like a matter of minutes, but was probably a few hours, Carlisle shifted his weight off the bed and stood next to us.
“Bella, by now, you’re probably feeling a burning sensation in your throat. That is completely normal; it’s only a sign that you are thirsty. If you’d like, we are able to accompany you during your first hunt. I must admit, a vampire’s first hunt feels extremely strange, so allowing you our presence may be a good idea. If you’d like to go alone, though, that’s also fine; we are assured that there are no humans within many miles of this house. What would you like to do?” He gave a small smile and looked at me expectantly.
I just looked blankly at him, focusing all my attention on my throat. Strangely, I didn’t feel anything of the burn he was talking about; it felt completely normal. In fact, the idea of hunting for an animal’s blood made me slightly nauseous.
“I don’t feel any burn, Carlisle.”
His lips pouted thoughtfully and his eyes narrowed onto mine in concentration. “You don’t feel a burning itch in the back of your throat? How about a dull ache in the pit of your stomach? Or a slight pooling of venom in your mouth?”
I unconsciously flinched as he said the word “venom”; I supposed I’d have to get used to this new vocabulary as well as my new body and family. But I focused on what he was saying and isolated each part of my body that he talked of. They each felt completely normal.
“Nope, I don’t feel any of the symptoms that you mentioned.” I paused, confused. “Should I?”
“Yes,” he murmured. It sounded more like he was talking to himself than to me. “Yes, you should. A newborn vampire should be extremely thirsty for blood by now. I’m actually quite surprised that you didn’t mention the thirst earlier, while we were explaining the process to you.”
A quick movement at the doorway caught my eye, and I saw Edward leaning against the frame, looking as puzzled as Carlisle. The sight of his extreme beauty was almost excruciating to look at.
I glanced back at the sandy-haired man and found that he was looking at Jasper with a meaningful gaze.
Jasper shook his head slightly. “I can’t feel the need or desire,” he muttered impossibly quickly.
Carlisle looked back at me. “Bella, are you positive that you cannot feel anything that I spoke of? You are absolutely sure?”
“Yes, Carlisle,” I answered intently. “I don’t feel anything like that. I feel completely normal, actually. Well, as normal as I can feel right now,” I weakly joked, quirking the corner of my mouth, in a hopeless attempt to lighten the mood.
“Incredible,” I heard him mumble. I gazed around the room and saw various looks of bewilderment and awe on each of their faces. What was the big deal? Why was my thirst – or lack thereof – such an extraordinary feat? My attention was drawn back to Carlisle as he said, “I’m going to my study to read up on this. Bella, you may just be the first vampire to –”
But before he could finish speaking his thought, he was out the door and, I assumed, already in his study, looking up whatever seemed to interest him so much.
“Edward, what was he thinking?” I heard Esme ask curiously. Her hand was still on my back, rubbing it calmly.
“He has a theory that Bella –” his face contorted into a painful expression, as though it was difficult for him to speak my name aloud “– may be the first of our kind with the power to resist the scent of blood.”
Edward’s voice was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. It was like a luscious golden river, gushing into my ears and filling my mind with honeyed gurgles. I didn’t remember it being this velvety as a human. I tensed, trying to remember to breathe.
“It’s quite alright, dearest Bella,” Esme soothed, mistaking my posture. “Carlisle’s theory may or may not be true.”
I wondered vaguely what Edward had meant by my possible “power” – were there other kinds of powers, as well? – but I’d asked enough questions for the day. I let that thought go and stored it in the back of my mind for another time.
“Bella, do you need anything?” Alice asked. “If not, I myself need to hunt… but I don’t want to leave if you have any questions or anything.” She smiled a beautiful sheepish smile at me.
I answered her with my own small smile, trying to get over Edward’s effect on me. “Alice, it’s totally fine with me if you need to hunt.” I gestured to everyone else, meeting all of their eyes – save one person. “It’ll be fine if everyone needs to hunt.”
Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and Alice murmured their thanks to me and I received several rapid one-armed hugs. Then, quick as a flash, I was left in the room with only Esme. I turned and smiled at her.
“Esme, I was wondering if maybe you could show me to my room. That is, of course, if you have one for me.” If I were human, I would have been blushing. “I’d like to think for a while, if that’s okay.”
Esme laughed; the sound was like bells chiming happily. “Of course we have a bedroom for you, Bella! Then again, you won’t be using the bed much – but it’s the least we could do… after what happened.” She smiled at me sadly. “Come.”
She took my hand and I followed her out the door, where I was instantly greeted with a huge foyer. The house was unbelievably white and clean. There were stairs on either side of the lower floor, leading up to the hallway where I was standing now, on the second floor. Several open doors were placed along the hall, and I could see entrances to rooms on the bottom floor, as well. And there, in the middle of the foyer, was a gorgeous, black grand piano. I wondered who in the house played.
Esme tugged me lightly past several doorways to the only one that was closed. She turned around to face me. “Welcome to your new room.” She grinned and opened the door.
The room was a vast, pallid space. But, as large as it was, the room itself was simple. It contained a king-sized bed, a black couch, and an open closet. There was a desk with a laptop and a large bookcase. The read the titles across the room; they looked familiar and I ran to them.
Every single one of the books that I owned when I lived in Forks was placed – alphabetically by author, just as they had been in my old room – in the crisp, white bookcase. I ran my hands over each title, every word bringing up memories of Charlie and Renee. Their names tugged at my silent heart.
I turned back around to Esme, who was still standing in the doorway, looking at me with a small smile on her face.
“How did you get these?” I asked softly.
“Before we left Forks, we stopped at your house to pick up some belongings. We figured that you’d want to feel as at home as possible.”
I paused, my mind chewing over her words, before running to her and embracing her in a hug. I felt her laugh into my hair.
“Thank you so much,” I said to her, biting back sobs. “It really means a lot to me.”
She pulled back, petting my hair with one of her hands. “I know, dearest. I know.” She drew me in for one more hug before turning and leaving me to my thoughts, just as I’d asked her. Just before she closed the door to what must have been her room, one of her previous sentences finally struck me.
“Oh, Esme?” I called, though I didn’t need to since she had super-sensitive hearing.
Esme turned toward me. “Yes, Bella?”
I bit my lip. “What did you mean when you said that I wouldn’t be using the bed much?”
She laughed again, and just as before, the sound hit me like a rainbow of joy. “Vampires don’t sleep.”
My jaw dropped open. “Ever?” I couldn’t imagine a life without slumber. What would I do for ten hours out of my day?
Esme nodded her head and entered her room. “Vampires never sleep.” Just before shutting her door, I heard her say, “Happy thoughts, Bella.”
I smiled and shut my own door, flopping onto my bed. Now it was just me and my mind.
Esme was, no doubt, my new mother figure. Her love and compassion for the family oozed out of her pores. She was an incredibly kind and caring person, I could tell that much. I’d barely known her for two hours and I already felt like a daughter to her. I smiled in spite of myself.
But thoughts of Esme quickly led to thoughts of Renee, and then to Charlie. I wondered what they were doing at this moment. Would they be having a burial service for me? The idea alone almost made me laugh out loud, seeing as I was still sitting here, alive, debating whether or not a funeral would take place for me – until I realized that they probably would be having a service for me. Then, I was fighting to keep the weeps from escaping my tremulous lips.
I thought of Carlisle, and how, like Esme, he was quickly beginning to become a parental figure – like a father. Involuntarily, two images were produced in my mind: a picture of Charlie, and a picture of Carlisle. They were two completely different faces – two completely different people – and yet, as I sat on my bed, I started comparing them.
Charlie portrayed his emotions vaguely; I’d never seen him cry, or become terrifyingly upset. He always managed to keep a relatively impassive face – whether because it was his nature, or because he didn’t want people to see what he was really feeling, I couldn’t be sure. Carlisle, on the other hand, wasn’t afraid to tell you how he felt. And even if he didn’t voice his emotions, his face showed them clearly.
And when it came down to parenting skills and technique, I couldn’t compare them fairly. I’d known Charlie my entire life, but I’d only been around Carlisle for a few hours. I couldn’t judge them easily. And really, I didn’t want to judge them at all. It was unfair to them as much as it was unfair to me.
Then, I found my thoughts rotating around each of my new “siblings”.
They all were very caring. Alice seemed like she would make a great sister; she generously offered to stay with me if I needed anything, and she was kind enough to explain some aspects of being a vampire to me. I truly felt that she was a becoming a sibling to me.
Rosalie, though I had hardly talked with her at all, seemed to be the same way as Alice. I suspected she wasn’t entirely happy with my new association to her family, but she had made an effort to act friendly, nonetheless.
I already was beginning to view Emmett as a big brother. He had a playful and lively air about him that made me laugh, but he could also be serious and compassionate. I hoped we could become close friends.
I hadn’t spoken with Jasper much, either, but he was also putting forward an effort for friendship. He seemed kind of withdrawn and very… to himself. And then, there were those words that he said to Carlisle, about how he couldn’t feel any need or desire from me… how could he have felt that I didn’t feel those emotions? I was missing out on something big, something important.
And then, there was Edward.
I had so many different feelings about Edward; I was surprised that I didn’t just explode from the magnitude of them all.
First, I felt somewhat angry. I felt mad at him for the fact that I’d never get to see my own parents again. Or even the new friends I’d made on my first day at school. Why had he bitten me in the first place? I wanted to talk to find out why he’d chosen me and not another person at school – or better yet, why he’d chosen anyone at all. What had made his control over his thirst falter in the first place?
Then, I felt sorrow. I knew that Edward was upset at himself for what he’d done to me; the remorse practically poured out of his body. And, somewhere deep inside me, I knew that he’d never meant to change me into a vampire; I could tell. No one wanting to change someone would ever feel self-loathing afterward. Yes, some part of me believed that he truly regretted what he had done to me, what he had put me through.
And lastly, sadly enough, I felt attraction. I was undoubtedly attracted to my very killer. His chiseled cheekbones, strong jaw, gentle-looking lips, and piercing topaz eyes made his face extraordinarily gorgeous; he could easily be compared to a Greek god. And then there was his voice, a voice the felt like liquid sugar running through my veins. He truly was absolutely beautiful…
And out of all of these feelings, attraction was the strongest and most prominent.
I wanted to forgive him; I knew that much. What happened in the past was done now, and as difficult as it would be, I knew that I had to leave my former life behind. I didn’t want to be angry with him. It was unfair to be so upset at someone when I didn’t know their motives in the first place. I wanted to talk with him and find out exactly why he’d chosen me. And maybe, if I could find it in myself to forgive him, I’d want to become good friends with him, too.
“Esme,” I called, knowing she could hear me. Not two seconds later, she was standing at my doorway.
“Yes, dear?” She smiled.
“I want to talk with you about… about Edward,” I stumbled, looking down.
Esme gracefully walked to my bed and sat down next to me; when I looked up, her smile had vanished. “Of course. What about him would you like to talk with me about?”
All of my confessions came pouring out of my mouth, like someone had lifted the dam to the river of thoughts in my mind. “I feel mad at him, Esme, I really do. He’s taken my family away from me and made me something that’s not human. And I know there’s a reason he did it; I can just tell.”
I paused. “And yet, even though I’m so angry with him, I want to forgive him. I want to talk to him. It’s clear how much my change has hurt him… I just want to find it in myself to forgive him. I want to become friends with him, like I am with everyone else.
“But then again, I’m not sure if he wants to become my friend.” Now that I had gotten my words out, they were beginning to sound almost childish. Like I was a little girl in elementary school, talking to her mom about a friend that hurt her feelings.
Esme, thankfully, didn’t see it that way; she had listened calmly throughout my speech, and when I finished, she placed her hand on my upper back.
“That’s very kind of you, Bella, to want to forgive Edward. Let me tell you – your forgiveness is not something he is expecting. He expects you to hate him, to never want to speak with him again. He doesn’t expect friendship out of you at all.
“That being said, anything you do will be a good place to start a friendship. Any sign of compassion toward Edward will mean to world to him. Even if all you do is say ‘hello’ to him each time you see him, he’ll realize that you don’t want to angry with him forever.
“And can I let you in on a little secret?” She leaned in and smiled at me. I simply nodded my head in response, soaking in everything she was saying. “While Edward doesn’t expect your friendship, or even mere kindness, I know for a fact that it’s something which he secretly desires.”
Esme smiled wider and stood, stepping back toward the door. When she reached the frame, she turned around and finished “Bella, I hope you are able to forgive him, too. While it’s completely normal for anyone in your position to feel angry and distraught, it shows great strength to be able to absolve your issues freely.
“I hope I’ve helped you in some way or another, and I wish you all my luck. If you need me, I’ll be in my room.” Giving me one final smile, she shut my stark white door softly.
I knew that I wanted to become Edward’s friend. But Edward secretly wanted to become mine, as well? That was news to me; he hadn’t spoken to me since I’d opened my newly-enhanced eyes, several hours ago.
I heard a large-sounding door downstairs open and then close quietly, conversations of my siblings filling my ears. Edward’s words, in particular, stood out.
This was the perfect opportunity to begin a friendship. I wasn’t sure how long it would take, but I wanted to start as soon as possible.
Opening my own door and hopping down the stairs, I found myself still watching my steps carefully. I wasn’t used to my grace yet. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be used to it. After tripping over thin air every day of my life when I was a human, clumsiness had practically become second nature.
When I reached the bottom floor, I used the sounds of their voices to guide me through the unfamiliar house. I walked across the foyer and gently pushed against the door blocking me from my new siblings, not wanting to interrupt anything personal. They sounded like they were having a serious discussion about something.
“Come in, Bella.” Alice sounded like she was smiling.
She heard me? I hadn’t made a sound… I entered the room shyly, my eyes downcast of their own accord. Out of my peripheral vision, I could distinguish several figures sitting on a sofa, and one sitting in an armchair. It looked to be a living room. “Um, I’m sorry. I wasn’t eavesdropping or anything like that.” I interlocked my hands and started playing with my fingers.
Emmett’s laughter floated through my ears; its booming quality compared to Alice’s silky voice was striking, making me look up in surprise. “Okay, everyone, stop talking about Bella – she’s here now.” He winked at me, letting me know he was joking.
“Don’t worry about it, Bella,” Alice said, “I’m just extremely attuned to my sensitive hearing; that’s how I heard you. I know you weren’t listening in.” She gave me a wide grin, and I returned it.
Jasper gestured to sit down next to him; I obliged. Now I was on the couch, squeezed between Rosalie and Emmett on my left, and Alice and Jasper on my right. It was a tight fit with both of the big-muscled men on each side of me. Edward was seated by himself on the armchair across from us, his eyes anywhere but on my face.
“Well, hello, you four,” I sang – purposely leaving out the bronze-haired boy – and lightly nudging those sitting next to me. They responded with their own varied hellos, returning to the conversation they were having previous to my entry. Edward’s jaw tightened and his face was clearly more distraught than before.
Taking a deep breath, I stared into Edward’s eyes, eager to see his reaction.
“And hello, Edward,” I said as warmly as I could. His eyes met mine, confused and concentrated. I gave him the brightest smile I could muster – I hoped it didn’t resemble a grimace.
Everyone in the room grew silent and tense while Edward’s jaw dropped a miniscule amount. His deep golden orbs kept looking at me like I was a difficult puzzle he was trying to figure out.
“Hello, Bella,” he said faintly. His beautiful voice drifted into my mind, rendering my thoughts nearly incoherent.
It was a small start… but a start, nonetheless.