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My Singer

Summary:
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?


Notes:
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.


3. Chapter 3

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2677   Review this Chapter

Edward Cullen

I've been in a forest for the past two days. I'm not sure where I am, exactly, but it's unimportant piece of knowledge. I am alone, just like I should be, just like I want to be. My cell phone rings. Alice. "What?" I snap.

"No need to be rude," she sniffs. After a long pause, she sighs. "Come back."

"What for?"

"People are getting suspicious. Bella Swan disappeared the same say as Edward Cullen--how long d'you think it'll take before they seriously think you're the reason she disappeared?" she demands.

"I am the reason!" I shout loudly.

"So you're willing to put us in danger?" Neither of us speaks for a moment.

"Look, Alice, I can't bear to see her every day and know that I'm responsible for her fate," I say.

"And hiding in the woods is going to make you feel better?" I know that she's right and, after a pause, I give in.

"Fine," I say stiffly. "What about the Quileutes?"

"They haven't said anything yet, but Carlisle says it's only a matter of time. We'll hopefully be in Denali by then..."

"Denali?" I echo.

"We can't stay in Forks with Bella. What if she goes off to try and speak with her father or something? There's too much of a risk, especially since she'll be a newborn," she explains.

"She's not awake yet?"

"No. We're expecting her to be finished in a few hours. Please come back before then. She's bound to be a handful and we'll need all the help we can get," Alice pleads.

"I already said I was coming back, all right? I'll do what I can to get back there soon, but I'm not making any promises." I hang up without saying goodbye.

--

I arrive in Forks at eleven o'clock that night; naturally, it's practically a ghost town. I decide to walk the rest of the way rather than run in order to preserve what little time I have left. I even take the longest route possible, bypassing a cluster of small shops on the way. A crumpled newspaper lies on the wet ground at my feet, and my curiosity peaks. I pick it up and see the headline:

LOCAL TEENAGER GOES MISSING

Isabella Swan, daughter of Forks's police chief Charlie Swan, went missing on January 18th. She was supposed to return home from her first day at Forks High School...

The rest of the article continues in a similar fashion, describing Bella's disappearance. I can only look down in horror as I read the words on the page in front of me, clenching my jaw. Throwing the newspaper onto the pavement, I continue to walk through town until I'm standing in front of the house. Alice is outside the front door, waiting for me.

"Is she awake yet?" I ask her.

No, she answers silently. It won't be long, though. I nod. Come inside, she insists. Reluctantly, I follow her inside.

"You're back!" Emmett's voice calls from the garage. I blink and he is suddenly in front of me. "I was scared you'd go off and do something stupid."

"It's a little late to be worrying about that," I reply scathingly. My brother frowns in response.

Jasper was right, he thinks. An awkward silence ensues.

"So...what's all this I hear about Denali?" I ask, trying to lessen the tension.

"We'll be going in a month or so...Carlisle doesn't want us leaving right after a human girl goes missing. She's been all over the news. Last night, her parents were on national television, begging--" he stops speaking when Alice nudges him, but I can hear his unspoken words in his head: ...begging for her to come home safely. I have robbed this girl of her life, of all normalcy, not to mention the suffering her parents must be going through.

I just destroy everything I touch, don't I? A loud, anguished scream breaks through my thoughts and I am overcome with the urge to put whatever creature that has uttered it out of its misery.

"She's been screaming less today." I look up and see Rosalie. "But she's louder."

"Oh."

"I'm sorry I was so harsh earlier," she apologizes. In her mind, she's recounting the night Carlisle bit her, and I wince, knowing that she shares a connection with this girl; both of their lives had been cut short. But isn't that true for all of us? Would we not all be better off six feet under, where we belong?

"It's all right," I say, "I understand."

"I'm still angry at you, though," she says softly. She had everything going for her--she was bound to be popular at school, to have boys fawning over her. Maybe eventually she'd grow up and get married and--

I try to stop hearing Rosalie's thoughts by focusing on Emmett instead, but his thoughts revolve only around what it will be like to have a newborn in the house.

Gods, can I not escape her? She screams again, reminding me once more of my sins. I can't even escape to my room now, for she is surely on that couch, writhing in agony. I go to the den to watch television, but her face is on every news station, smiling at me in a yearbook picture under scrolling headlines that say, "POLICE CHIEF'S DAUGHTER GOES MISSING".

I flick to a sitcom. It's mind numbing enough that I can just stare at the screen without thinking. I watch several episodes, not moving once, though I hardly notice what's going on. And then I hear Esme speaking, her voice drifting down from my room. "Hello, Bella. The fire can't burn you anymore."

A second voice that sounds slightly dazed asks, "How do you know my name? That I like to be called Bella, I mean?"

"My children heard you correct everyone at school."

"Oh," Bella replies. "Is it...is it true, then? That I'm a...vampire?" She says the word slowly and deliberately, as though she doesn't understand.

"Yes, of course," Esme says patiently.

"Then this isn't hell?" Bella wonders. I wince.

"No, dear, you're still alive." I want to correct Esme as she says this, but there is no single word to describe a life that's suspended between living and dying, so 'alive' will do for now.

"But my heart's not beating," she points out with a panicked tone.

"Neither is mine," Esme says with a chuckle. "Or any of ours, for that matter."

"Where are we?"

"This is where my family and I live. I'm Esme Cullen, by the way."

"You're Carlisle's wife?" Bella asks.

"Yes." It's quiet for a moment before Bella speaks again.

"I feel weird. I don't really know how to describe it. It's almost like I want to..." she trails off.

"You're thirsty," Esme says. "We can go hunting tomorrow. But you've probably got a lot of questions right now."

"They can wait. Where's Edward?" Bella asks. I feel my body go rigid.

"He's downstairs. Why?"

"I heard you all talking about him leaving and feeling guilty about attacking me. I wanted to talk to him and tell him not to blame himself. One of the others--I think he said his name was Jasper--told me that it's hard to ignore your instincts. If this is what thirst feels like, I think I might understand." I can hear her shifting her weight on the couch.

"You don't have to get up if you don't feel well. He probably heard you--we've got excellent hearing, you know. Please lay down and rest," Esme pleads.

"I feel fine. Besides, someone--Emmett, I think--said that we can't sleep. What will I need rest for?" I can make out the sound of her walking slowly out of the room, unaccustomed to her new body. She treads carefully down the stairs with Esme at her side.

"He's probably feeling bad," Esme states. "He might say something he doesn't mean."

They step into the den and I look up at Bella, curious as to whether or not her thoughts are still impervious to my gift. All I can hear is Esme's voice telling me not to feel too guilty. "Um...hi," Bella says awkwardly, staring at the floor. Her appearance has changed very little, though there is something about her now that is clearly different, something that's more beautiful than before, though I can't quite pinpoint it. Her scent is not so overbearing, but it is just as sweet, and I can still detect the vaguest hint of lavender on her. I wonder if this is simply because she is a newborn or whether all of us smell the way we did when we were human. Somehow, the scent doesn't tempt me to attack her, although there is something strangely soothing about it.

"Hello," I greet her. She looks up at me and I see that her eyes have gone from brown to the brilliant, bloody shade of red that marks all newborns, a reminder of my actions. I'm unsure of what to say to the girl whose life I've stolen, so I can only concentrate on her face, trying desperately to figure out what's going through her enigmatic mind.

"Is the way I smelled the reason you were so mean to me in biology?" she asks politely. Esme sends me a confused look.

"Yes," I reply. "I was angry at myself for being so tempted."

"Bella! You're awake! I heard you, of course, but I wasn't sure that you'd be up to conversation. For some reason, I couldn't see you..." says Alice, who has just entered the room. She looks frustrated, and I can tell from her thoughts that she hasn't had any visions of Bella waking up.

"Er...hi."

"I'm Alice. Jasper's still upstairs, and Rosalie and Emmett are in the garage. They're afraid that you'll be angry, but you don't seem upset."

"I'm not," Bella answers. "I want to meet them."

"Good. They'll be here in about forty-six seconds," Alice says brightly.

"Where's Carlisle?" Bella wants to know.

"Working late at the hospital," Alice tells her. "They needed extra help in the emergency room; there was a car accident, and he always volunteers as much as he can."

"You're sure you're not upset?" Emmett inquires. He and the others are standing behind Bella.

"Not upset, really, just...confused. And scared. And some other stuff, too," she admits, biting her lip.

"You're scared of us?" I ask.

"No! No, of course not. Carlisle explained that none of you will hurt me. I'm scared of...well, I mean, eternity's a long time. And I'm confused about any of this being real, like I should wake up in Arizona. But I don't think I'm this creative, and dreams can't hurt," she rambles. I furrow my eyebrows in frustration. I have no idea what she means and I want to ask her why she isn't upset about what she's become. She's so strangely accepting of her destiny; it doesn't make sense.

"Well, I'm going to get back to my book; I'm here if you need to talk, Bella," Alice chimes, leaving. She's followed by Jasper and Rosalie, but Emmett and Esme stay behind.

"You're odd, Bella Swan," Emmett chuckles. "But I think I understand what you mean. When I woke up, it didn't bother me, either. Rosalie was like an angel to me, and being with her forever...well, it didn't seem so bad, even if I was insane."

"Well, if I'm insane, what's the point in fighting it?" She smiles slightly. Emmett just shakes his head, grinning.

"I hate to go, but Rose and I are working on the BMW, or rather, she's working, and I'm handing her whatever tool she needs," he explains. I roll my eyes as he leaves.

I'll be in my room. Keep an eye on her, Esme thinks before departing. And now there's just Bella and me.

"You can sit down, if you want," I say. Nodding, she sit on the opposite side of the sofa.

"What are you watching?"

"Just some stupid sitcom. It's going off." I pause, unsure of whether or not I'll make her angry by asking her what I want to know. "Why aren't you upset?"

"I don't know," she says, shrugging. "It's your nature to drink human blood. I mean, if someone shoved a steak in front of a hungry human, they'd be stupid to blame the human when he ate it. Does that make sense?"

I grimace. "Just slightly. But I still can't believe you're not furious. You should be furious."

"Why?"

"Because I killed you when you had everything going for you!"

"What do you mean?"

"Everyone was talking about you at school. You'd probably make tons of friends, graduate, go to college, and marry someone like Mike Newton. And you'd be happy."

"I could never be happy in Forks," she whispers.

"Why not?"

"I hate it here. I only moved here because my mom got remarried," she explains.

"You don't like her new husband?"

"He's fine. It's just...he plays baseball--minor league, mind you--and he travels a lot. Renée wanted to go with him, but she always had to stay with me. So I came to Forks so that she could be happy with him," she tells me. I can only stare at her. "What?" she asks.

"Emmett's right. You are odd. How many teenagers put their parents' happiness before their own?" I wonder aloud. "Nothing about you makes sense." Then I remember something. "Is that why you were crying?"

"Huh?"

"When I...attacked you, you were crying. Was it because you didn't like Forks?" I clarify.

"No. Well, sort of. It was stupid, really." She looks away from me, embarrassed. I wish that I could hear her thoughts; how irksome it is not to know what she's thinking!

"Tell me," I beg, wanting to understand.

"I was crying because--well, I thought you didn't like me," she admits sheepishly.

I raise an eyebrow skeptically. "You cared that much about what a stranger thought?"

"You just glared at me for no reason! It was upsetting!"

I can't help but laugh when I see the chagrin in her scarlet eyes. "Well, now you know that it was nothing personal." She looks at the Taco Bell commercial playing on the television screen and sighs.

"Do you ever miss human food?" she asks.

I make a face. "No, it's not very appealing anymore. Why?"

"I think I'll miss it," she says wistfully. I don't understand how the only thing she'll miss is food. "What's that noise?" she demands.

I have to strain my ears--I usually tune out background noise--to hear it, but I can recognize the distant sound of a car engine. "It's Carlisle. He'll be here in a few minutes."

Sure enough, Carlisle walks through the door just moments later. "Hello, Bella," he says, walking into the room.

"Hi, Carlisle."

"Esme called and told me you were awake. How are you feeling?"

"Uh, fine, I guess," she responds.

"Bella, you are more than welcome to join our family if you'd like to. That means you'd be adapting to our ways of only drinking animal blood. But I cannot force you to do anything you don't want to do, so if you'd like to be on your own, it's your decision. Remember, no matter what you choose, you can always change your mind," he declares.

Bella looks confused when she opens her mouth to speak. "There are only those two choices? Can't I go live with Charlie?"

"I'm sorry," Carlisle apologizes, his voice ringing with sincerity, "but that would be extremely hazardous for both you and the people around you."

The look of confusion doesn't leave her face. "What do you mean?"

"People notice when you never eat or age. And there's no guarantee that a newborn can handle living with a human without harming them. That's why you should be furious," I tell her. From the way her eyes widen, I know she finally understands. I can feel the guilt returning from its home in the back of my mind, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth like venom.

"I'd--I'd like to stay. With you. If you don't mind," she splutters. "I don't want to be alone." She curls up into a ball, pulling her knees to her chest in a strangely human position.