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.
12. Chapter 12
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2181 Review this Chapter
"Where could she possibly be?" I want to know. Alice glares at me.
"She only left because of you," she mutters. "And I can't see a thing about her future."
"Of course you can't," I snap.
"It's my fault," Tanya states. "I was upset when I gave her the letters, I should've known better, I should've had more self control. That was stupid of me. I'm sorry."
"There's no use assigning blame," Esme says.
"Yeah. Besides, who's to say she's not actually on a walk?" Emmett asks.
"Oh, yes, because four hour walks are perfectly normal," I grumble.
"Sit down, Edward," Esme tells me, pulling out a chair at the dining room table for me before taking her own seat.
"I can't. I can't take this anymore, I have to go after her," I declare, turning to leave the room.
"Maybe you shouldn't go after her. This is the second time she's run away, maybe it means that she doesn't want to be here," Rosalie suggests. "Now sit down and think about this; she could be furious with you. She's young, she doesn't know much about love. She got carried away, and your feelings are probably much stronger than--"
"No. I will not believe that until the day she outright rejects me," I interrupt, sitting down. "Carlisle, I--"
"Go after her if you feel that it's the right decision. But maybe you should let her make her own choice," Carlisle says.
"She'll be back, Edward," says Irina.
"How do you know?" I demand.
"Because it's true," she replies cryptically. "Don't look for her. I have a strong feeling that maybe she'd be better off alone for a while."
"If I'm not mistaken, Alice is the only one at this table who can see the future," I say. Irina smiles.
"I never said she wasn't. But I'm right. You'll see. If Bella truly loves you, which she does, then she'll come back," she says.
"Don't go after her, Edward," Jasper says.
"You don't understand. I can't just leave her out there. What if she goes back to Forks? What if she kills somebody?" I ask.
"We do understand," Esme says. "Don't forget about the time you left. We worried about you, but you returned. So will Bella."
I imagine that she is trying to comfort me by telling me this, but it only makes me cringe to remember that time in my life. Will Bella turn out the way I did?
"Edward," Carlisle says, "what would you have done if we'd gone after you?" I consider this for a moment.
"I would've been upset. And I probably wouldn't go back home with you," I answer begrudgingly. I take a deep breath and pink the bridge of my nose. "Fine. But if she's not back in a week, I'm tracking her." Alice snorts.
"No offense, but we've all seen your tracking abilities, and I highly doubt they'll help anyone," she mutters. I glare in her direction before going upstairs.
Okay, so I lied.
I knew I wasn't going on a walk, but I could hardly tell Edward that. It's funny how quickly I've come to regret this decision. As a result of my pathetic lack of directional skills, I've landed myself in the middle of an Alaskan forest. Actually, to be quite honest, I may be in Canada. Not to mention the rapidly growing intensity of my thirst.
On a slightly more positive note, my endurance is incredible. I've been running for hours, and don't stop until dawn. As the sun rises, I hear the distant trickling of a stream; somehow, it seems right to go there. As I begin running again, it occurs to me that I may be so drawn to it because it makes me think of the day Edward and I kissed for the first time. I arrive at the tiny stream just as the sun rises, my skin sparkling in its light.
I realize that a part of me expects to be rescued. It's absurd, really, but I can't stop thinking about it. Sitting at the edge of the water, I try to come up with a plan to get back to Denali, but I know deep down that I'm hopelessly lost. And, even worse, I've let Tanya win, because that had been her goal, hadn't it? She's still the queen, and I'm only Snow White...lost, pathetic, helpless Snow White.
Anger cannot describe the emotion that I feel.
Of course, I am angry. I was angry at Tanya for a certain amount of time, but it's not really her fault, is it? I hadn't told Bella everything. She'd offered me every part of herself, even surrendering her secrets. But I'd only met her halfway, too ashamed of myself and my past. Now I realize how senseless it had been. So, at this point, my anger is no longer directed at Tanya so much as myself.
The rest of what I'm feeling is hard to admit. I'm hurt, but I'm also frustrated that I was so close to what I've been looking for, and now it--or she, rather--is gone. Bella, the only happiness in my life, is gone. And worse, she left because of me. I've doomed myself.
Then I realize how selfish I'm being. I'm the one who gave her this life. I should be the one protecting her. I owe her that much, at least, but I've only hurt her. I rest my head on her pillow, closing my eyes and wondering if there's something wrong with me. It seems utterly sadistic to fall in love with someone after killing them.
She must hate me. She must be thinking that right now. I sit up in her bed as I hear someone walking to the door of the bedroom. "Hey, Edward. Um, we're going hunting, so..." Emmett trails off.
"I'm not thirsty," I lie. I can hear his dubious thoughts as he walks away.
I tried to find my way out of the forest, but I only found myself going in circles; now, at last, I am at the stream again. Without even thinking about it, I lie down in the mud, praying for something to get me out of here. I am torn between going back to Edward getting as far away from him as possible. I miss him terribly, and yet some part of me cannot bear to admit him, because that part of me resents him. I spend the entire day wriggling around in the stream's bank.
As night falls, the quietest whoosh meets my ears, the slightest shift of air in the distance. My first thought is of a bird, but I realize that no bird sounds this way. It's something unnatural. There's another whoosh and I sit up, scanning the trees for the source of the sound. In the distance, there's a flash of fiery red; hair, perhaps?
"Stay back!" I call out. "I'm dangerous!"
"Are you?" a voice asks, and I jump at how nearby it sounds. The speaker must be close...
"Really, please, you should--" I begin.
"We do not fear you, newborn," the voice purrs. A woman with brilliant red hair steps out from the trees.
"We?" I echo. Two men emerge behind her.
"A vampire? Such a pity, too," one says, "because we were so desperate for blood."
"But I...I'm just--I don't have--" I splutter. The woman smiles and it sends chills down my spine.
"We know. What is your name?"
"Bella," I mutter, looking down at the mud.
"My name is Victoria. Those two are James and Laurent. How old are you?" she asks. I notice that her stance is defensive, like a cat about to attack.
"Not even two months yet," I reply.
"We're hunting," Victoria tells me. "Surely you're thirsty?"
"I'm always thirsty," I say. Our eyes meet and I see that hers are coal black.
"What abilities do you have, newborn?" James demands. As he speaks, I recall that Edward had once warned me about vampires. Don't trust a vampire, especially after you've just met him, he'd said.
"It's nothing spectacular," I inform him, shrugging.
"Still, it will make for interesting conversation," Victoria says.
"Well..." I begin. What could they possibly do after knowing my gift? "Other vampires can't use their powers on me unless I let them."
"Hm. As you said, it's not exactly spectacular. But I find it quite interesting," James says, exchanging a glance with Victoria.
We split into two groups to hunt; I'm with Laurent while James and Victoria are together. For the most part, the two of us walk in silence, occasionally making a comment about the trees or the animals around us. After a while, I ask, "Where are you guys going?"
"They're actually on the run. James and Victoria managed to anger the Volturi," he explains.
"What did they do?" I ask, remembering the stories I'd been told about the Volturi.
"Apparently, they'd been hunting people in Eastern Europe, which normally wouldn't bother the Volturi. But they killed several people at a time, causing a lot of media attention. The two of them somehow escaped being killed immediately and came to North America, but I doubt that the Volturi have given up."
"So why are you with them?" I wonder.
"James is quite intimidating. An alliance with him can only help me. Now, where do you come from?" he wants to know.
"Denali. I left my coven because...well, that's not important," I say. He nods.
"Bella," he says quietly, "I think I should tell you why they're allowing you to come with us. Even though your gift isn't spectacular, it is interesting. They think that they may be able to hand you over to the Volturi in exchange for their lives. I strongly advise that you go back to your coven in Denali."
"But I--I don't know how to get back," I respond, my head swimming with this new information. James and Victoria are only using me; they don't want me any more than the Cullens did.
"Then maybe you should find out," Laurent says. A sweet smell hits me suddenly. Laurent sees me sniffing at the air and chuckles.
"We're getting close."
"What is that?" I ask, having never smelled such sweet blood. My throat burns with thirst.
"What do you mean? It's prey."
"I know, but...what animal is that?"
He looks confused. "Human, of course."
I stop walking. "Human? You hunt humans?"
"What else are we supposed to hunt?"
"Animals!" I cry.
"Is that what your old coven did?" Laurent inquires."
"Yes! Of course."
"Well, feel free to go find a rabbit. And then you can go back to Denali," he says. When I don't move, he adds, "Unless you change your mind."
My mind is, in fact, unchanged. And yet my feet don't move. I'm chained to the spot by the smell...I can almost taste the blood on the air. And I'm so thirsy... "Come on," Laurent says.
I inhale another gulp of air and step forward. "Let's go," I say.
As we grow nearer to the humans, my thirst grows stronger, clouding my judgement. Eventually, we reach a clearing with a tent in its center. I flinch as Laurent speaks to me:
"The others probably have their own campers. I hear two heartbeats, so that's one for each of us. Try to be quiet." I nod, watching as he walks into the clearing with catlike grace. He moves so quickly that all I see is him unzipping the tent and suddenly carrying out the unconscious body of a woman. She opens her eyes and barely has time to register what's happening as he bites into her neck. Her blood hits the air and I hear the crunch of teeth going through bones. Laurent laps up her fluids eagerly.
I walk into the clearing and creep into the unzipped tent where a man lies in a sleeping bag. He's still asleep, blissfully unaware of what's going on. My instincts take over my body and I find myself leaning down so that my lips are only half an inch away from his neck. His pulse pounds in my head, the desire within my making me dizzy. My teeth break the skin and I no longer know what's going on; the only thing that matters is his blood, flowing into my mouth. It's like nothing I've ever tasted before...sweet and salty and everything else, cooling my throat like water extinguishes a flame. The monster is beside herself with glee.
This pleasure is like no other. Once I drain the man completely of his blood, I leave the tent to see Laurent, Victoria, and James all waiting for me. "So, newborn. How was your first human?" Victoria asks. Her question snaps me back to reality.
"Oh, god!" I whisper. "I...I killed him! I killed a man!" And then my world seems to be crashing down around me.
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