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Bella

Summary:
Twilight had passed. The new moon was out. Alternate approach to the second book.


Notes:
Spoilers: New Moon. Was begun before Bella became friends with Jacob (though that is not when it takes place).


2. Chapter One

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Chapter One

I felt intimidated just speaking to her; inviting her into my home nearly gave me a heart-attack—and my heart stopped beating years ago.

The entire set-up was beyond unnerving.

The basic premise was odd and unnatural in and of itself. A vampire and a human, together, under the same roof, living in the same space. In such a setting, there is expected to be one that is cold and one that is warm. In that we were perfectly fine. But also in that we shift into the impossible. For the warmest thing under my roof was me, because of my personality, and the coldest was Bella, because of hers. Our bodies had nothing to do with it, and suddenly we were the freaks of nature.

Getting her something to eat wasn’t as difficult as it perhaps should have been. I still had some leftover human food in my refrigerator from the last time I had had visitors, which I don’t have often, so that was a pleasant coincidence. I fetched her some water and quickly prepared a sandwich. She ate without looking at me, or seeming to notice or care what the food was. A more human instinct I had never seen—and a less human reaction I had never witnessed.

When she was done she thanked me politely, but I shivered at the words. They were so blank it almost hurt me to hear them. I just nodded, not trusting myself to respond.

I returned yet again after cleaning up and sat across from her. This time there was nothing to stave off the awkward silence, no excuse to give myself or the situation for her lack of speech. Bella’s eyes were on me, out of focus; I would call them bored, but it’s hard to be bored when you don’t care. I fidgeted, feeling awkward. I knew that if any other of my kind could see me they would laugh at my behavior. I, a vampire, member of the superior race, was being overpowered by a mere human, a mortal, my intended food supply that was equivalent to cattle? It was absurd, even in my eyes, but that did nothing to change my reactions.

Finally, when the silence threatened to overwhelm me, I spoke up. "Bella, tell me more about this v—" I caught myself, so that she wouldn’t have to "—these people you want to change for. You said you fell in love with someone, and he left, with his family?" My speech slowed; I felt uncomfortable in her gaze. Even more than that, I wondered if it was all right for me to mention them. What if she reacted badly to hearing them mentioned, even if not by name?

But my fears—or perhaps hopes—were wasted. She was as dead as ever when she complied with my request. "He lived with his father and mother figures, as well as others like him, adopted children; two male and two female."

I nodded. "And you said that you wanted to change before now—before he left. Why didn’t you change then?" It seemed to me that things would have been so much easier if she had just been changed, no longer a possible source of food to be worried over and protected.

"He didn’t want me to." The "he" she referred to was obvious.

I frowned. That didn’t make any sense. "That doesn’t make sense...if he loved you, and it would be easier, and you could be equal and together in all ways, why didn’t he—?" I struggled to grasp the senseless concept, and failed miserably. I suppose I am too practical and straightforward for my own good sometimes.

"He feared for my soul. He believed that he didn’t have one, that he was no longer truly alive, no longer capable to die. He didn’t want me to give up my life for him, and he certainly didn’t want me to give up the afterlife. He wanted me to grow old, live a human life, and then die as I was supposed to. He didn’t think that I would linger; he figured that as a human I would move on without him. That I wouldn’t be as tied down to him as I am, because he knows humans so well, and they are predictable."

Somehow I doubted very strongly that Bella was anything like a "normal" human being by that definition; the vibes coming off her screamed "unpredictable" and "unique"—even if those feelings were buried under the void of nothingness. Still, I nodded again. "Earlier you mentioned that his brother tried to attack you—?" I recalled, probing even deeper.

She nodded minutely. "Jasper, as he was called, was the newest to their way of life. He wasn’t as controlled as the others. It was my eighteenth birthday. I got a papercut, and he tried to kill me. Then Edward knocked me back, and cut my arm open. It got worse. Afterwards Edward—" She paused; the taste of his name must have been odd for her; the slip-up gave me hope for the buried Bella to be reborn; I held my unnecessary breath, and she continued "—was upset by this. He argued himself into leaving me. And then he did." Bella’s voice trailed off.

I sat still, stunned. There was so much I wanted to know—everything, I wanted to know everything—and so many questions were flooding through me that I had the oddest urge to keep her talking forever, until I knew all about her, until I understood her; then I could unlock the mystery that plagued me, that I couldn’t identify...

After a bit of a long pause I spoke up again. "I’ll make you a promise, Bella. I will change you if you spend time here with me where I can learn more about you. I want to know everything about your story before I commit to any everlasting decisions—agreed?"

Bella nodded, her eyes still blank. "Agreed."

In truth, I just wanted to see her smile, see her bright and happy like I sensed she could be—I had the oddest feeling that if she became a vampire in her current state of mind she would be trapped in it forever. Humans can change, so easily, when given the right motivation (which would be more extreme for this one than most, but less so than it would be for her as a vampire). I wanted her to be whole and healed before I froze her in time and place. "Come with me—I’ll prepare your room."