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.
8. Chapter 8
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2406 Review this Chapter
The next day, Alice proclaims that there will be a thunderstorm; everyone gets excited at the prospect of a baseball game--everyone but me, of course.
"Bella, why aren't you going to play?" Alice asks when I mention this.
"Just because I'm supposedly graceful now--"
"And coordinated," she adds.
"--doesn't mean that I'm willing to play sports. Besides, I'm not even into baseball," I tell her. "I can help Esme--"
"But we won't have even teams!"
"I don't know how to play!"
"We'll teach you!"
"Alice," I say firmly, "no means no." She pouts pathetically, but I turn away before her manipulative tactics can get to me. "What is up with you Cullens and pouting? Emmett got me to play some mindless game yesterday by making that exact face and whimpering about sisters..."
"He does the same thing to me all the time. You just have to ignore him. And, you know, I still don't see you playing baseball--"
"You can't see me do anything," I interrupt.
"Yes, but if you were going to play, I don't think I'd see the game at all, and I do see it, sans Bella," she says, following me as I walk up the stairs.
"With good reason," I say curtly, walking into my room. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like some privacy." She steps out, shutting the door behind her.
The room is little more than storage space; cardboard boxes are piled everywhere, some of them filled with Alice's runway-worthy clothing (she ran out of space in the room she shares with Jasper). In one corner of the room, there is a small, wooden chair that faces a window. Sighing, I sit down and gaze outside at the ominous gray sky, so similar to the one I'd left behind in Forks. Automatically, I raise my hand to my eyes, but the tears I'd intended on drying don't exist. Suddenly, Carlisle's voice echoes in my head:
You are always allowed to change your mind.
Why should I be stuck here, with a group of people I don't belong in? But can I handle seeing everyone's disappointment in me when they see that I can't continue to live like this?
Who's to say I have to?
The plan forms rapidly in my mind; there will be a baseball game tonight, the perfect opportunity to slip away unnoticed. I just need a few minutes; just long enough to start running...or to steal a car.
There's a knock on the door as someone calls my name. "Bella?"
"Yes?" Esme pokes her head into the room.
"May I come in?" she wants to know. I simply nod in an attempt to hide my panic; had Alice somehow seen me leaving? Esme smiles at me weakly and hands me a newspaper. "I wasn't sure if you'd want to see it, but..."
NATIONWIDE SEARCH FOR MISSING TEENAGER
Isabella Swan, 17, went missing on January 18th and has yet to be found. A nationwide search has been started, and her family says they are not giving up on finding her.
"I know she's alive," says her mother, Renée Dwyer. "I can tell. I just...I just hope that, if she reads this, she'll realize that we're still looking for her. There's still hope..."
I ball up the paper and toss it across the room.
"I'm sorry, Bella. Rosalie warned me not to show it to you, but...I thought you'd want to know," Esme apologizes.
"It's okay, I would've found out anyway," I grumble, leaving the room. I head downstairs and, finding the nearest exit, I yank the door open and step into the cold air.
"Bella?" I look up and see that Rosalie is standing next to me, tragically concerned, and yet stunningly gorgeous. "I know it's hard for you. I know you miss your family. But we all went through this, too. And we'll be here for you, but only if you let us." I turn to her again, surprised by this sudden compassion. This is the first time Rosalie has spoken to me, excluding the polite chatter that we'd occasionally exchanged.
"Um. Thank you," I murmur, at a loss for words. By the time I look up again, Rosalie is gone.
"Isn't it eerie when she does that?" asks Alice, who is suddenly standing beside me. "When I first met Rosalie, we didn't get along well, but I knew that we would eventually. Then, one day, it happened; she just sat down and started to talk to me. But it's diffrerent with you. I think she feels like the two of you have something in common. But what she said about us...it's true."
She furrows her eyebrows in frustration. "Then why do I feel like--?" She doesn't finish speaking.
"Like you're going to take off?" she hisses.
"W-what do you mean by that?" I stammer, hoping that my mind hasn't suddenly been vunerable.
"I can't see anything--you know that by now. But I have a strong feeling that you're leaving."
"Alice, I'm not leaving. You're probably just..." I trail off, unable to come up with a reasonable explanation.
She considers this for a moment before turning to me warily. "Maybe. Just promise me that you'll stay."
It kills me to lie to Alice. "I promise." With one last suspicious glance, she turns to go back inside. Sighing, I walk back to the log I'd sat on with Edward. Part of me wants him here again; the other part, the smaller part, wants to wallow alone. I hold my head in my hands and take a deep breath. A whimper passes through my lips, and I feel two emotions mingling. There's sorrow, of course, and...longing. I want Edward to be here, to tell me it'll all be okay, to...
I groan. This is so absurd! I can't allow myself to do this anymore. Desperate to focus on something else, I consider going inside to read a book before remembering who gave me the book. He is, quite literally, everywhere.
And when will these stupid memories start to fade? I am so sick of seeing my parents' faces in my head all the time.
Not to mention this unbearable thirst! Every minute of every day, I feel as though my throat is being consumed by flames, and it turns me into to someone--something--that I don't even know; something that would tear through human flesh, if only it had the chance.
I understand why the others hate this life so much. Looking up at the sky, I see dark, ominous clouds rolling in, covering the few stars that have appeared in the evening sky.
"You'll want to be ready in an hour or so." Alice has peeped her head out the door. "Wear old clothes."
I turn to protest, but she's already gone.
After getting over the fact that vampire baseball is cooler than ordinary baseball, I become extremely bored with the sport, and, despite the fact that the teams are not evenly numbered, I have no problem helping Esme on the sidelines.
Well, except for the fact that it's very difficult to slip away from her. "Could I get something from the house?" I ask her.
"What is it that you need?"
"Uh, well, there's..." I begin, searching for an excuse. "I...just need a...a rubber band. You know, to put up my hair." She doesn't appear suspicious and calls time out.
"Can someone go with Bella back up to the house?" she asks.
"I'll go," says Rosalie. "I need to change, anyway." She gestures to her mud-soaked pants and glares at Edward. "You just had to hit it in the huge mud puddle, didn't you? Come on, Bella, let's make this quick." She begins to run at top speed, darting past me.
"Wait!" I cry.
She stops. "What?"
"I don't run." Rolling her eyes, she comes back and throws me over her shoulder like a rag doll. Then she starts running.
In the house, Rosalie goes into one of the bathrooms to change. "There should be a rubber band in my room!" she shouts. I know that it won't take long for her to change, so I move as quickly as possible without running. I go into the den and grab Emmett's keys off the table and fling open the front door. As I climb into Emmett's Jeep, I see Rosalie standing at the door.
"Well, why didn't you go after her?" I demand.
"Edward, you have to stop blaming Rosalie," Esme tells me, placing a hand on my shoulder.
"It's her choice to leave, if she wants to. And if she wishes to come back, she may," Carlisle says calmly.
"Hopefully, she'll have my Jeep when she does," Emmett grumbles.
"If she does," I correct him.
"I knew this would happen," Alice says.
"You saw it?" I ask.
"No. But I had a feeling she would leave. And--and she promised me that she wouldn't."
"Well, where could she be?" I wonder.
"Maybe you shouldn't go after her," Rosalie suggests. "You heard what Carlisle said, she can do whatever she--"
"I don't want her to do something she'll regret later. So, on that note, does anyone have any ideas as to to where she may be?"
"What makes you think she'll regret it?" Jasper asks darkly. "Some vampire aren't cut out for this lifestyle."
I ignore him. "I could try to track her."
"I strongly advise you not to," says Tanya. "Come on, dear, sit down." She grabs my arm in an attempt to pull me out of the foyer, but I yank it away from her.
Suddenly, I know where Bella is. I don't mean 'visit'...I mean 'check up on'...she'd said. "She's in Forks," I mutter.
"Forks? What makes you--?" Alice begins.
"When I told her about the new treaty, she mentioned not being able to visit her parents," I explain.
"How can you be so sure, though?" she asks.
"Because I know her! And I've got to go after her and find her before the wolves do," I say, going to the door.
"Wait! I'll go with you!" Alice cries, following me.
I park in the woods and step out of the car. Charlie's house is completely dark. Then it hits me; the scent of human blood, closer than I've ever been to it since my transformation. I can feel my muscles tensing up as I inhale it, preparing to attack...
No, I think. You can't eat Charlie. The beast protests, but I hold my breath, refusing to allow it to rule me. You can't eat Charlie, you can't eat Charlie, you can't eat Charlie, I repeat in my head, planting my feet firmly to the ground.
He's vunerable...he's off-guard...
You can't eat Charlie, you can't eat Charlie...
Just think of that hot blood running down your throat... My mouth is on fire.
You can't eat Charlie...
I involuntarily take a step toward the house. No. You can't eat Charlie! I take a deep breath and begin to feel dizzy as the scent washes over me again.
Then, another smell mingles with it...salt. I hear what sounds like a sob. Charlie is crying. I sink down to the ground and pull my knees to my chest, holding myself together. It was stupid to come here, I should have stayed in Denali. I'd been arrogant to think that I could restrain myself, and now it's only a matter of time before I hurt someone I love. No. Don't let the monster win. I hold my breath again, burying my head in my knees, trying not to sob. My body trembles as I sit there, too afraid to move.
"Since when do you care about the speed limit?" I bark, gripping the wheel.
"Ruining your engine won't help anyone," Alice says. I put less pressure on the pedal. After what seems like an eternity, we arrive in Forks. "What if Bella's not here?" Alice asks softly.
After hesitating, I answer, "Then we get out of here as soon as possible."
She nods. "I wish I could see her." I look at the dashboard clock to see that it's too early for Charlie to have left for work.
"We'll take a path in the woods to get to the Swan house," I say, parking on the side of the road.
"Don't you think this is a bit obvious? We've got werewolves to avoid," Alice says. Rolling my eyes, I drive into the trees and park.
"There." With that, I'm out of the car, running toward Charlie Swan's house. After a few miles, I see Emmett's Jeep. Alice and I slow down and walk until a house comes into view. At the edge of the trees sits a trembling figure.
"Bella?" I call softly. The figure's head snaps up at the sound of her name. Her eyes widen in disbelief. "Come on, we've got to go."
She shakes her head, pulling her knees to her chest more tightly. I can hear her voice in my mind. I was being stupid...I thought I could control myself...I can't move, or I might hurt him...please don't let me. I walk over to her cautiously and hold out my hand. She takes it, gripping it tightly as I lead her to the Jeep.
I'll get the Volvo. We can meet at the old house, Alice tells me silently. I nod and help Bella into her seat before climbing into the driver's side.
Once I start driving, Bella starts to breathe again. After a few shaky breaths, a quiet sob breaks the silence.
Unsure of what to do, I look straight ahead and focus on the road. She must not want me to know what she's thinking because I can't hear her anymore; she sobs again.
"I hate this," she whimpers. "I can never do anything. I'll never see my family again. Charlie was crying. They need me, and I'm not there for them because I'm too weak to go near them!"
"You're not weak. You're so young, Bella. It's understandable for you to slip up," I tell her between grit teeth. Without thinking, I reach out and grab her hand so that our fingers are entwined in the air. "Don't blame yourself," I murmur. "You were able to restrain yourself for hours. That's more than I can say."
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