What if Edward had been unable to resist the temptation of Bella's blood on that fateful day? What if it resulted in her transformation? Would their love story be the same?
Even though I say this is angsty, I'm not generally an angst writer. I tend to try to have a good balance, so this isn't anything too hardcore. I'm not completely sure of whether or not there will be more angst in future chapters or what.
10. Chapter 10
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3986 Review this Chapter
I'll never be able to thank Esme enough for buying a house with so many bathrooms. I realize how idiotic that sounds, but I don't know how I'd ever handle sharing a bathroom in my current state. Everyone would hate me for taking such a long shower. And they'd hate me even more for using up all the hot water were it not for the fact that, being filthy rich, the Cullens never have to worry about being able to pay an extremely high bill. So, with all this in mind, I attempt to relax, the hot water warming my icy skin as I try my very best not to think of him.
But the only thing I can imagine is the way his lips felt against my own and the sugary taste of his mouth. And that sensation of warmth that traveled through me, much warmer than this stupid water. I sigh in frustration, turning up the heat of the water to a temperature that once would have scalded me. Squeezing my eyes shut, I will myself to think of anything but his bronze hair and that annoying, adorable smirk.
So, somehow, my mind takes this as a cue to instead picture him naked in the shower next to me. My eyes open abruptly and I turn the water down to the lowest temperature possible, jumping as the freezing water pelts my back. But it only reminds me of his skin...
I turn off the water, stepping out of the shower angrily and wrapping myself in a towel. I throw on my clothes and leave, my hair still dripping with water as I step into my own room. Miserably, I sit on the bed Esme bought me. She'd figured that having a bedroom without a bed would be a little weird for a newborn, and she'd been right. I lie back on the mattress just as someone knocks on my door.
"It's me." He doesn't need to introduce himself; I've got the sound of his voice committed to memory. I swear my heart flutters.
"Come in," I say quietly. I open my eyes and see him standing awkwardly at the foot of the bed. "You can sit down if you want to." The mattress barely moves as he sits beside me, leaning back on his arms to support his weight.
"Bella," he mutters, my name sounding so sweet on his lips, "I've been thinking."
"About us." Everything goes dead inside me as I realize what he's about to say. He's going to tell me that the kiss was just a spur-of-the-moment thing, that all that talk about figuring everything out was merely talk. I must be an idiot to have ever gotten my hopes up. Well, at least I got the chance to taste him. And I was able to pretend that he returned my feelings for a day...
"Oh," I say, trying not to sound too disappointed.
"We are friends, correct?" he asks. Knowing that he's about to say we should stay that way, I avoid his gaze.
"Well, I kept thinking about how much I care for you. And I realized that my feelings for you are not platonic at all. And I tried to deny it, because part of me was frightened of feeling this way, but I couldn't continue to lie to myself anymore. It's exhilarating, feeling this way," he confesses. I imagine that my heart starts beating again, pounding irregularly against my ribcage. I can only stare up at his marble features as his topaz eyes search mine for an answer. If I could still dream, I'd think this moment too perfect to be real.
"I-I--" I stutter, feeling lightheaded. "I couldn't have said it better myself." An excited giggle slips from my mouth.
"What's wrong?" Edward wants to know.
"Nothing. Everything is perfect," I tell him as he lies down next to me.
"I'll take that as a positive response." I only grin widely, this new revelation making me want to sing. He returns the smile, rolling over so that he is on top of me, leaning on his arms. His gentle breathing tickles my skin. "I don't understand. You're not human anymore. How do you smell so delightful?" he demands, inhaling deeply.
"Soap?" I suggest, causing him to laugh. His own aroma, sweet and intoxicating, surrounds me. Edward leans down to kiss me gently, but my newborn lust has other things in mind; I nibble on his bottom lip as my fingers tangle themselves into his unruly bronze hair and I put everything into this kiss. The pain, the anger, the frustration, the lust, and the fear all suddenly meet at my lips, trying desperately to escape. I can feel his body responding with its own emotions, his guilt and my confusion coming together to dance at the tips of our tongues.
He pulls away from me and we both stay completely still, an intense, electrical silence filling the air. Finally, he leans down again, but this time to kiss my throat; I shudder at the sensation that floods through my body as his lips touch my skin. "Did you do that on purpose?" he asks, kissing an invisible trail up my neck.
"Do what? Kiss you?" My voice shakes as I speak.
"No," he murmurs against my jaw. "Did you mean for me to hear your thoughts?"
"No," I whisper, unable to speak with more volume. He kisses my chin.
"Hmm." He kisses one corner of my mouth and then the other. "Interesting." Finally, he plants a kiss directly on my lips and says, "Esme's looking for you." With one last kiss on my forehead, Edward is gone and I'm left alone and bewildered. After a moment, I hear a knock.
"Bella, I just wanted to talk to you," says Esme.
"Sure, come in," I reply. She opens the door and walks into the room. She knows, I think. Well, of course she knows. On the off chance that Esme has not heard the conversation that Edward and I had upon our return yesterday, the smell of my room surely gives it away. His scent is everywhere, lingering in the air as strongly as though he is still present.
"How are you feeling?" she asks, taking a seat on my bed.
"Better," I respond honestly. Well, duh. Who wouldn't feel better after what just occurred? She reaches out and holds my hand tenderly.
"It's so hard for you. I can see that. But I just want you to know that it will get easier as time goes on. You don't have to run away from us, Bella. We want you here. Has anyone told you about how I got turned?" she asks.
"No. I mean, Edward told me about you falling off a cliff--" I begin.
"Falling? Oh, no, dear. I jumped," she corrects me.
"He's such a gentleman," she states proudly. "Anyway, when I was sixteen, I broke my leg from falling out of a tree. My family took me to the hospital and the doctor that attended to me was Carlisle." She smiles. "Later on, my father pressured me into marrying a family friend. It was the biggest mistake of my human life. He was abusive. Eventually, I got pregnant, but I knew I couldn't raise a child with such a horrid man. I ran away and became a school teacher, but...my baby died a few days after being born. I was devastated; he was all I had. Life wasn't worth living anymore. So, I tried to kill myself. By some coincidence, Carlisle was working at the only hospital in town. He remembered me and saved me. It wasn't long before we were married. I was happy, Bella, but I never quite got over my son's death; Carlisle helped me to move on as much as I have. And I guess...somehow I've become the mother of our little family," she finishes softly. "You know, sometimes having someone there with you can make all the difference. Jasper never would have made it this far without Alice. Rosalie never fully moved on, but Emmett keeps her going."
"I can see that," I comment.
"Edward has always been alone. And all these years, I've been afraid that he always would be, even though I knew he deserved someone. I'm so glad that he has you now. And I know that he will be able help you through this. It will get better. You just have to believe it," she tells me.
"Thank you," I say. She pulls me into a hug, squeezing tightly.
"It will get better," she repeats. As she lets go, she asks, "How do you like your room?"
"It's lovely," I reply. I'm grateful that the house's previous owner painted my room a cheerful yellow. After all, who knows when I'll step into the sunshine again?
"What about the bed? Is it the right size? I wanted to buy a larger one, but it would completely throw off the arrangement of the room." When she says this, a horrifying thought enters my mind. Surely this is a coincidence. Surely Esme hadn't heard what just occurred and jumped to the conclusion that a bigger bed may one day become necessary.
I must be overreacting. Esme bought me this bed with no false pretenses. It was to make me feel more at home. But, then again, she was just talking about how Edward would make things better for me. No. I refuse to believe that Esme would ever consider that. Even if she did, I'll pretend like she didn't. "The bed is nice," I say calmly, taking a deep breath. Edward's comforting smell fills my lungs.
"Excellent. And there's nothing you'd like to change about you room?"
"Not a thing," I answer. With a smile, Esme leaves the room and I, still filled with embarrassment, bury my head in my sheets.
"Perhaps your defenses are lowered when you feel strong emotions." I lift my head up and gasp when I see Edward standing over my bed. "Sorry," he apologizes, but his expression is smug.
"What are you talking about?" I inquire.
"I'm trying to figure out why I heard your thoughts on two occasions that you didn't want me to. And maybe three."
"Maybe?" I raise an eyebrow.
"Well, just now is one that I'm positive about, because you said you didn't want me to hear that. And by the stream, you thought, 'Why can't he just kiss me?' I'm almost sure that one was unintentional. And after your first hunting trip, when you hugged me, you thought, 'This is nice'. I'm unsure if that one was involuntary."
"Of course it was," I scoff, avoiding eye contact as a terrible though enters my mind. "Did you only kiss me because I wanted you to?"
"You're embarrassed of what I heard," he observes, noticing the way I avert my eyes from him.
"That's beside the point. Why did you kiss me?" It makes sense that he'd only been trying to please me; after all, what could he want with me?
"I couldn't control myself. But I'll admit that you gave me the idea," he replies.
"What did you hear earlier? When you kissed me?" I wonder.
"It doesn't matter, he answers.
"Edward," I insist.
"You know what you were thinking, Bella," he tells me.
"I don't remember. Besides, how would I know exactly when you started hearing my thoughts?"
"How do you not remember?"
"Um, I was kind of wrapped up in the moment."
Sighing, he shrugs in defeat. "Fine. You were contemplating the possibility of the two of us..."
My eyes widen and I suddenly remember. "Oh, God, you were right about it embarrassing me..." 'We ought to utilize this bed' were the exact words I'd used in my head. I groan miserably. "I'll never have any secrets in the house." Edward laughs at my chagrin, sitting next to me.
"We don't keep secrets from each other," he says.
"I like my privacy," I state, sitting up. He puts his arm around me, pulling me to his side.
"They're happy for us. Especially Esme."
"I noticed. She was just talking to me, remember? I don't understand. How can they be happy for us already? This only happened a little more than twenty-four hours ago," I remind him. "And I'm not even sure what 'this' is."
"Alice already knew," he comments.
"Figures," I mutter.
"Do you remember that vision she hid from us? The one that you were in?" he asks.
"Yes," I say, scowling when I think of how curious I'd been about the vision.
"It was us."
"What were we doing?"
"What I saw wasn't very conclusive--"
"You should really consider being more honest," I say.
"All right, you were wearing a white dress."
"I was what?"
"It could've been anything, really..." I start to laugh hysterically. "Note to self: never mention marriage to Bella," Edward says under his breath.
"Sorry. I just...how far into the future was this?"
"No idea. We don't age, so what clues could I have?"
"Hopefully it's not anytime too soon," I say. He frowns slightly. "Please don't take that the wrong way. I've just got some...issues with the idea of marriage."
"I wouldn't leave you, if that's what you're thinking."
"What was your name when you were human?" I want to know.
"Edward Anthony Masen. Haven't I told you that?"
"I needed to change the subject." He chuckles.
"How do you feel about venturing beyond the walls of this room?"
"I feel like that would not be good," I say.
"It won't be so bad. In fact, everyone will probably just pretend they have no idea of what's going on. Why are you so easily embarrassed, Bella?" he asks.
"You don't understand. When things like this happen, I am put on the spot. I hate that. It just leaves room for me to do something stupid so that everyone can laugh. Klutzes are natural spotlight-haters. Also, they've known you for so long; what if they don't think I'm good enough for you?"
He laughs darkly. "Then they ought to consider that I'm the one who lost self-control and bit you. I believe that makes me far worse."
Then another question comes to mind. "What if...what if something bad happens and one of us gets hurt?"
"I've heard enough 'what ifs'," he whispers, kissing my cheek. "Let's go."
"All right. But I have one question first: how would you label this...situation?" When I consider all the things I'd like to label our relationship as, I find that they're all too sappy to say aloud.
"Why not just let it develop on its own?" he asks, standing up. Sighing, I stand and follow him out of the safety of my room.
"Hi Bella, hi Edward," Alice says casually when we arrive in the living room. As she sits in the armchair and watches television, it's painfully obvious that she's trying too hard to ignore the situation between her brother and I, bless her heart.
"Hi Alice," I respond, attempting to sound as nonchalant as she does. Edward only nods before sitting on one of the sofas. I take a seat next to him and ask, "What are you watching?"
"Some reality TV garbage," she replies, shrugging. "My soaps are coming on in a few minutes." She flashes a grin at us.
"Because soap operas are so much classier than reality television," Edward says teasingly.
"Nobody asked for your opinion," Alice sneers. A she speaks, Rosalie walks into the room.
"Isn't there something else on?" she grumbles, sitting in a loveseat.
"So, Bella," Rosalie begins, "you seem to be feeling better."
"Much better," I answer. I see her look from me to Edward and back.
"Good," she say simply, turning to face the television. A frustrated sigh comes from Edward's mouth. I look at him, wondering what Rosalie is thinking that's upset him, but he carefully avoids my gaze, staring straight at the television.
Sitting in a room full of lounging vampires is like being in the middle of a wax museum--no one moves, or even blinks, and yet they look so real, as though they might waltz out of the room at any moment. It dawns upon me that I'm not an eager tourist snapping photos at this museum; I'm a part of this surreal display of living statues. Suppressing a shudder, I look down at my folded hands. Just leaning against Edward isn't enough to satisfy me. I'd much rather be alone with him in my well-sized-but-not-gigantic bed, while he utters my name in that dazzlingly smooth voice--
The angel of my fantasy clears his throat and shoots me a meaningful look that basically says, "Stop it, I can hear every word you're thinking."
"Sorry," I apologize, looking at the television screen. His cool lips brush my cheek briefly, accompanied with a rushed whisper.
"It's all right, I don't mind it." I stare at him incredulously as feigned retching noises reach my ears.
"Honestly, Edward, I always thought you'd be less annoying once you finally got a girlfriend," says Emmett, ducking as his brother throws a pillow at his head. He moves over to sit with Rosalie, who plucks his arm. "Gosh, Rose, what'd I do to you?"
"Stop it," she orders quietly. The force of her words quickly subdue him. It's then that I realize what he said; the word "girlfriend" echoes in my head, childish and sugary.
"God, I hate this show. Alice, you do realize that there's a Lakers game on, right?" Emmett says.
"Don't care. Spencer just kissed Harper and Davey's extremely upset about it. Maybe he'll take off his shirt and cry himself to sleep," Alice responds, causing Emmett to make a disgusted sound in the back of his throat. I can't help snickering at her comment.
"Tsk, tsk, sister. Giggling over soap opera guys? I'm disappointed," he scolds me mockingly.
"I wish I could hear Spencer's conflicted monologue, but someone's loud mouth--" Alice begins, but halts mid-sentence. "Carlisle will be back in three minutes. While he was in the book store, the hospital called. He got the job."
"Of course he did," I mutter.
"We should throw a party!" Alice exclaims.
"That'd be unnecessary. You know he only sits through those things for your sake, right?" Edward tells her.
"Of course, it'd only be us and Tanya's coven, but we'd manage..." continues Alice.
"I agree with Edward," Rosalie pipes in.
"...and we could use Edward's sound system..."
"Once she gets started, there's not stopping her," hisses Edward. Just then, the door swings open and Carlisle steps out of the foyer.
"Hi Carlisle! I saw you get the job and was wondering what kind of music--" Alice starts.
"Give it up!" Emmett interrupts.
"But Carlisle, Bella's never been to one of my parties! Do it for her!"
"No offense, Alice, but thirteen people sitting around and listening to music can hardly be considered a party," Rosalie scoffs.
"If Bella really wants to go to one of your parties, I'd love one. It can be her decision; you know I don't mind either way," Carlisle says diplomatically, leaving the room.
"Bella! It can be a 'Carlisle-just-got-hired-again and 'Bella-and-Edward-finally-got-together party!" squeals Alice.
"Um. No, thanks," I say.
"Please? Please, please, please?" she begs, pouting.
"Sorry, no. I'm not a party person," I decline, looking away from her.
"Fine!" she huffs, storming out of the room. I can clearly hear her mutter the words 'not my friend' and 'never planning your wedding' under her breath.
"Maybe I should--" I begin, feeling guilty.
"Don't," everyone says at once.
"Lakers game! Awesome!" Emmett cries out, snatching the remote from Alice's previous seat.
"That's my cue to leave," Rosalie mutters, rising from the loveseat.
"Mine too," I agree, following her out of the living room. Once we're both in the hallway, she turns to me.
"Bella," she whispers as quietly as possible. "I want to talk to you." She clutches my hand and pulls me up the stairs into her and Emmett's room. It's clear that she did most of the decorating; the walls are painted lavender and the room is filled with gold and purple, reminding of a queen's quarters.
"Your room is beautiful," I breathe, admiring a piece of art on the wall. "Is this a Van Gogh replication?"
She grins. "It's not a replication. And thank you." My jaw drops. "Carlisle met Van Gogh when he was young and always held onto it. He gave it to me after I was turned because he thought my room was particularly dismal."
"But that's not why you brought me here," I say nervously.
"No," she says softly, sitting on her bed. "Sit," she commands. Unintentionally, I notice that her bed is at least twice the size of mine and shudder in disgust as I obey her order. "What's wrong?" she asks.
"Nothing," I bluff, taking a deep breath. After a moment, she looks at me.
"Bella. I like you. Well, I obviously don't know you very well, but you seem to have a good head on your shoulders. And to attract Edward, you must be very special," she begins, smiling. "But don't you think this is a bit hasty?"
"What I mean is, this isn't like a human relationship. Our kind is known to get closely attached to those we love. If you're at all unsure about what you feel for Edward--or what he may feel for you--then it's crucial to slow down. If one of you falls in love and the other doesn't, the consequences could be disastrous, Bella, especially when you'll be around each other for the rest of eternity." She pauses, and my mind hangs onto one word: "love". Now that it has been suggested, it seems like the perfect label for my situation with Edward, but part of my mind protests. Love? Isabella Marie Swan, are you insane? This isn't right! You've known him for all of a month. But so much has changed over the past few weeks. I'm not even human anymore. Why can't it be love? "Newborn emotions can be confusing. I don't want either of you getting hurt," Rosalie continues. "Just wait a year, then--"
"I love him," I whisper incredulously.
"Excuse me?" Rosalie clearly thinks I haven't been listening.
"What you said, it's true. I completely understand. You're his--our--sister, and your concern is appreciated. But I love him." I turn to her, feeling suddenly tipsy as this epiphany floods through me. "Tell me you understand."
She sighs in exasperation, but a hint of a smile can be seen in her golden eyes. "I do."
"And do you object?" I ask, raising an eyebrow.
"No. How can I object if it makes you both so happy?" As she speaks, I can't help but think that this question is aimed at herself rather than me.
"Thank you, Rosalie," I say.
"Just take my advice. Be careful. Please." Her eyes are wide and pleading as she speaks.
"Of course," I promise, unsure of whether or not I'll be able to keep my word. With that, I leave, marching down the hallway to my own room in order to have a little solitude.
But it appears as though I have company. On my bed lies Edward. Startled, I jump. "For a vampire, you're awfully jumpy," he teases, smirking. Grinning like an imbecile, I jump onto the bed, crashing into his arms with a loud thump. He pulls me to his side. "Someone's eager to see me."
I wrap my arms around his waist and lean in toward his ear. "Rosalie talked to me."
"I know," he replies.
"Oh. Right. I guess you heard."
"Did you hear what I said?" I wonder.
"I might've. But refresh my memory," he says.
"Earlier, I'd been trying to figure this out. What I feel for you, I mean," I tell him.
"But she helped me realize something. Edward...I love you. And I know it's stupid and that everything is happening so fast, but...I don't care." I look up at him to see the thoughtful expression on his face.
"Bella Swan, you are my life now," he murmurs sweetly, pulling me closer. He smiles crookedly the way I love him to before adding, "And you always will be."
In that moment, in spite of everything, I'm the happiest I've ever been.
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