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.
9. Chapter 9
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2214 Review this Chapter
I think she's having a nervous breakdown. Alice thinks as she walks into the living room.
"Are we ever going to sell this place?" I ask in an effort to change the subject.
"I guess." She sits on the sofa that we'd left behind. Despite the fact that most of the furniture is still here, the old house is clearly unlived in; a thin layer of dust blankets everything and the air feels stiff. But that's not the point. She's not adjusting.
"Give her some time," I mutter, wanting to believe that Bella will be all right.
She's not like us. She left everything behind, and on top of that she has to deal with her newborn thirst.
"You weren't there when Rosalie changed. It took awhile, but she adjusted."
Only because of Emmett. Alice opens her mouth and finally speaks aloud: "She's not all right. She's trying to be strong, but--"
"--it's not quite working." We both look up to see Bella. Dark circles have formed around her red eyes.
"You're thirsty," I say.
"Of course. I'm always thirsty," she reminds me. "But I can wait until we get out of here."
"That's probably not not the best idea. You should hunt as soon as--" I begin.
"No," she interrupts. "I'm not waiting around for the wolves to show up. Besides, I want to get the hell out of here. I hate this stupid town."
Alice and I exchange a glance. "All right," she agrees, "but we're stopping as soon as we're out of Washington."
"Great," Bella says unenthusiastically, leaving the room.
"Where are you going?" Alice wonders.
"To the car."
"Oh, no you aren't. We have to wait until night falls," says Alice. Bella groans and collapses onto one of the sofas, a cloud of dust surrounding her.
There's an awkward silence in the car. "Please don't do this," I beg.
"Do what?" snaps Bella.
"Don't ignore me. Say something, please."
"All right. Why did you bother?" she asks.
"Why did you come after me? Why did you bother? Why not just let the werewolves get me? You broke the new treaty and risked everything when it would be so much easier to let me die," she continues.
I stare at her. "What kind of questions that? Why on earth wouldn't I come after you?"
"You should've left me. It was my choice to leave or stay."
"It was a mistake. You regretted it."
"But you didn't know that. For all you know, I could have been happy!"
"Happy? What, because you'd be feeding on humans? On your own father? I don't want that kind of life for you; I don't want you to be like--"
"Like who?" she demands.
"Like me. Bella, I told you about when I hunted people. I don't want you to live like that." I clench my jaw.
"Why not? Why do you even care?" she shouts. And, for the first time, I consider the question in my mind.
After hesitating, I respond, "You're part of the family." The silence returns, but it's angry rather than awkward. After checking the rearview mirror to make sure that Alice is still following in the Jeep, I speak again. "We'll cross the border in a few minutes. The birth certificate that Alice forged for you is in the glove compartment. After we get past them, we're going to find the nearest forest and hunt."
"Fine," she grunts simply.
"Let Alice see your future," I tell her, not wanting anymore accidents.
"You must think I'm crazy."
"The bloodlust is insane. I imagine a human and the first thing on my mind is 'snack time'."
"It doesn't feel normal. You think I don't notice the way everyone in Denali looks at me when I enter a room? I hear everyone saying, 'What's wrong with her? Why won't she adjust?' And if I could, I would. Believe me. I just have a problem with accepting a whole new life in a month. My family is worried sick! And, on top of that, I'm already starting to forget things. Little things, but things nonetheless. I can't even remember what color my mother's eyes are," she admits.
"Brown," I answer. "Her eyes are brown; I remember you telling me that when we...talked." Bella closes her eyes, thinking for a moment.
"You're right. They're brown."
"Let Alice see you future," I prompt. She keeps her eyes closed and I can suddenly see an image; a woman, whom I presume is Bella's mother, tilts her head back and laughs. Then that image is interrupted by Alice's vision of Bella tearing apart a bobcat viciously...
I shake the picture from my mind, making an effort to ignore the vision. When we finally stop, it's at a rest stop on the edge of the woods; we climb out of the cars (luckily, it's an overcast day) and inconspicuously walk into the trees.
"I think the bobcats should be about thirty miles away. Come on, Bella, we'll walk together so that Edward can run," Alice says.
"No, I'd like to stay with him, please," Bella responds politely.
"She can come with me if she'd like to," I say, sending Alice a look.
"All right," Alice agrees. But don't you dare let her out of your sight again. With that closing thought, she dances into the trees.
"So," Bella begins, "can you show me how to run?"
"Teach me how to run. You're the fastest; teach me how to be fast, too."
I blink in confusion at her request, recalling the fear she had once shown at the thought of running; now, as she spoke, her voice was edged with a sort of rugged desire, her eyes wide and reckless. "But I thought you were afraid of running."
"I used to be. But my eyes used to be brown and I used to be weak. And I used to be afraid of you, too," she barks. "Show me."
"It's instinct," I tell her. "Just like when you ran as a human, only faster and--"
"--more graceful," she finishes softly. For a moment, apprehension flashes in her ruby eyes, but it is replaced with something that doesn't belong there, something I've seen in the eyes of countless other vampires, but never imagined seeing in her soft gaze.
It's something insane, something ruthless; I cannot name it, yet I recognize it so clearly as one of the side effects of the transformation. She smiles at me, but her smile is wrong, it's wicked. After a brief second, she takes off running until she becomes a blurred speck in the distance and suddenly stops, turning and shouting, "Are you coming?"
I start running, chasing after her as she darts wildly through the trees, a giddy laugh escaping from her lips. As we run, I'm certain that this must be the wrong direction, but I can hardly leave Bella alone, especially not in this state.
"Edward?" she calls.
"There's a stream coming up. I can hear it and smell it. Can you?"
I inhale deeply, the scent of dampened soil and leaves filling my nostrils; when I strain my ears, I can hear trickling water. "Yes. Why?"
"I want to go there. It sounds nice." We continue to run until the smell gets stronger and the trickling gets louder and we find ourselves at the edge of a small stream. She sits in the tall grass bordering the muddy bank, patting the space next to her. Obediently, I sit.
"Bella, what's wrong with you?"
"I'm not sure," she answers softly. "I don't feel like myself anymore. When you changed...what was it like?"
"You should know," I reply.
"I'm not sure this is normal. It's like...it's like I'm suddenly bipolar. My moods change at the drop of a hat. One minute, I'm furious, and the next I'm completely happy."
"It is normal. When you're changed, all of your emotions are intensified. It becomes harder to control them. But this is the first time I've seen you act like this," I say.
"Well, when you guys left me with Emmett and Jasper, I kind of flew off the handle for the first time. It's scary. And I think the thing with Charlie just triggered it again. But when I ran..." she trails off, closing her eyes.
"It went away. It gave you a chance to calm down," I finish for her.
"Yeah. Exactly." She clasps her hands and looks down at them, and I suddenly notice her lips; they look impossibly soft, despite the fact that they are now harder than steel. There's a sort of energy between us that's too perfect to be described by mere words. Unsure of what I'm doing, I reach out and place my own hand on hers. As she looks up at me, I can sense the surprise she's feeling, but a timid smile still plays at her lips.
The babbling of the stream fills the silence that has fallen between us, this time neither angry nor awkward. Then, I hear her thoughts:
Why can't he just kiss me? Why does he have to be so perfect? I'm sure she doesn't mean for me to hear that. But once the idea enters my mind, I can think of nothing else. I reach out with my free hand and push a stray tendril of hair behind her ear. Nervously, I allow my hand to drift down to her chin, holding it gently between my fingers and thumb. Her eyes close as I pull her closer and our lips barely touch, creating a sort of static between us. Bella presses her mouth against mine and she tastes exactly as she had when I ruined her life, except for the fact that this taste is not so pungent.
Due to my lack of experience in this area, I can't quite compare this particular kiss to any others; however, I can say that the feeling of excitement that courses through me as we kiss is like nothing I've ever felt. A sort of giddyness spreads over me along with a feeling I cannot quite place and the strongest physical attraction I've ever felt.
When the kiss ends, my eyes flutter open despite the fact that I cannot remember closing them. "We should go," I murmur as she opens her own eyes. She nods, and we both stand up to go find Alice.
When we arrive in Denali, my family has already moved all of our things to the new house. Esme is fussing over paint colors as I walk through the door with Bella and Alice, but she looks up from the sketchbook on the coffee table and smiles brightly. "Oh, Bella, I'm so glad you're safe," she says, embracing her.
"So am I," Bella responds, hugging Esme back. Just then, Tanya walks into the room.
"Bella!" she cries out, her voice full of genuine relief. "Everyone was worried sick. Thank goodness nothing happened with those wolves..."
"Where's your coven?" Bella asks.
"At home. I came to try to help Esme with choosing paint colors for some of the more difficult rooms. She was just getting to your bedroom."
"We can talk about paint later, dear," Esme says. "The others are out hunting, but I wanted to stay and wait for you. Oh, and Carlisle's interviewing for a job at the hospital." She turns to me and wraps her arms around me. "I'm so glad nothing happened..."
When my siblings return, more greetings ensue. Jasper keeps sending me strange looks and I can hear him thinking about every emotion I feel when I go anywhere near Bella. Once everything finally calms down, Esme takes the two of us on a tour of the house, and I notice that my room is right across the hall from Bella's. Both of our rooms are already filled with our things, and the paint colors of the previous owner remain; my room is a deep burgundy and hers is a bright, sunny yellow. Once Esme finally leaves, I sit down on the newly-bought sofa in my room and try to block out the chatter of voices swimming around in my head. Just as I'm beginning to settle down, there's a knock on my door.
"Can I come in?" asks Bella. Some part of me that never left 1918 reminds me of how improper it would be for her to enter my room.
"Sure," I call back. The door swings open and Bella walks in sheepishly, sitting beside me on the sofa.
"I'm confused," she says after a while.
"Well, I mean, you kissed me. But on the ride here, you practically ignored me the whole time," she explains. Of course, she's right; I had been a bit rude to her, but only because I had no idea of what to say.
"I'm a bit confused, as well. You have to understand, I've never quite felt this way before."
"What way?" she wonders.
"I don't know what to call it," I lie. Actually, I know exactly what to call it, but the word scares me.
"Well...is it good? What you feel, I mean?" she asks.
"Of course," I snort, "but it's overwhelming at the same time."
"Then I think I feel that way, too," she says. She pauses before asking, "So what do we do now?"
In a moment of bravery, I reach out to hold her hand. "We figure it out, I suppose."
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