Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

Burn Beautiful

Summary:
Spoiler warning. Continuation of New Moon. Being a vampire comes with it's own problems: newfound bloodlust, untried strength, neverending fights between natural vampire will and human conscience. Edward and Bella's relationship takes a completely new turn as challenges fly their way. Namely, a pack of furious werewolves and a certain vampire named Victoria, who's still set on vengeance and, this time, gains some powerful followers determined to end Bella, vampire or not, and do as much damage to Forks as possible.


Notes:
I just finished New Moon and I know I SHOULD wait until Eclipse comes out, but I had to do something to pass the time! Especially since I had about a million ideas running through my head, mainly around how much could happen once Bella IS a vampire. What happens with Victoria, werewolves, Volturi? What's her special ability, if she has one at all? How does she go about realizing her ability? How does she deal with vampire instincts? What about her parents? AHH, idea overflow! I've outlined this entire story and it's turning up to be pretty much novel long, which is exciting. I'm not new to writing, I've just never done this particular "fandom" before and I hope I do it justice.


11. Chapter 11

Rating 3.7/5   Word Count 3969   Review this Chapter

Ch. 11: Hunt

When he didn't return the next morning, I stayed at the window, waiting. Every second the click ticked echoed in my head, every minute that went by hurt, and as the hours passed, my worry grew exponentially. Where was he? Was he okay? Did he get caught?

Alice told me not to worry, but her skin was paler than usual and I saw the sickness and anxiety in her ocher eyes. Her usual light-footed steps were heavy and whenever she passed a window, she stared out for a few seconds before sighing and turning away.

Rosalie was just as upset. She resigned to locking herself in her room and moping about. Carlisle and Esme kept reassuring us, telling us that Edward, Jasper, and Emmett knew what they were doing. The steadfast words barely wavered, but I could see the hollowness in Carlisle's eyes and the way his hands tightened into a fist whenever we mentioned their names.

When the second day passed without a word, I was ready to run out and find them myself. Again, Alice told me they weren't putting themselves in danger. In her vision, she saw them traveling a little farther up north, almost to Canada.

"What the hell is in Canada?" I had demanded, frustrated out of my mind.

"Felix and his crew are apparently taking a little trip up north and Edward wanted to see if he could find out what they were planning," Alice had replied, sounding tired and resigned.

"Figures Edward would do something stupid like that," I'd muttered bitterly. Why couldn't he see that I was dying in this house without him? Didn't he know that I was eating myself up with worry?

Carlisle wouldn't even let me go outside. He'd said something about "danger" and "don't want anyone to recognize you," and I'd just sighed. I talked to Alice and Rosalie, but the conversation hadn't been light. We were all too tensed up about our missing significant others.

By the fourth day, I was beginning to wish I could sleep. Sleep would mean a brief peace of mind - it meant dreams. If I could sleep, maybe Edward would visit me in my dreams and for a few blissful hours, I'd forget whatever danger was out in the world. I tried, too, but the only bed in the house was the one I'd been lying on during my change. For obvious reasons, I couldn't bring myself to go near it.

I tried napping on Edward's sofa, but it didn't work. I would lie down and breath in the faint traces of his sweet scent, close my eyes, and wait for sleep to overcome my conscious mind, but it never did.

It was torture - being awake day and night, unable to stop thinking about Edward, and not being able to do anything productive. At first, boredom wasn't such a problem. My enhanced senses couldn't help but be interested in everything new I picked up.

On the fifth day, my nose picked up something new, something unprecedented, something absolutely delicious.

I was in Edward's room, picking through his extensive music collection when it happened. First came the smell - it was faint, obviously far away, but it alerted me right away. I could feel the venomous saliva pooling into my mouth as the scent grew stronger, followed by the dull roaring of an engine. My hands started shaking and my entire body tensed.

This little waft, this aromatic tease, sent my other senses into overdrive. I could feel my eyes narrowing of their own accord and everything suddenly became sharper - ten times sharper than they were before, millions of times sharper than what they had been when I was human.

Rosalie and Alice suddenly appeared at my door and I whirled, flaring my nose. The look in their faces were stricken and before I could think, they were both at my side, pinning my arms down and pushing me to the floor.

"What's going on?" I asked, hiss almost uncontrollably. It surprised me, the deadly undertones I heard in my own voice. "What is the - it's so good - why are you - "

The scent was stronger than ever now and I couldn't help the growl that escaped my throat. I wanted to know what it was and I wanted to know now.

"Let me up," I demanded, struggling against Rosalie and Alice's death grip. If it had been just one of them, I probably could've broken free - I was stronger, newer, and the mouth-watering aroma was giving me power.

"This isn't good," I heard Alice mutter to Rosalie. Rosalie glared, gritting her teeth when I jabbed my elbow into her side.

"No kidding," she grumbled, twisting my arm behind my back. I shrieked out, furious. She grunted when I kicked her shin.

"What is the human doing here?" Rosalie snarled.

"UPS," Alice answered shortly, tightening her grip.

"Fuck."

Rosalie's swear was accentuated by a cough - I'd just butted my head against her throat.

So that was what the scent was - human blood. My lips curled over my glistening teeth. Something inside me told me to control myself, but that something was so small, so insignificant compared to this urge to sink my teeth into soft, smooth skin and taste -

"Shit, this isn't supposed to happen," Alice cursed, vehemently. "It hasn't even been an entire week yet! She's going to go crazy!"

My deft ears picked up the sound of the front door being pushed open and Carlisle's smooth greeting to whoever was on the porch.

A thick, masculine voice answered, and I renewed my efforts against the two vampires holding me down.

"I have a package for Bella Swan-Cullen," the voice spoke. I should have been surprised and immediately cautious at those words - Bella Swan-Cullen - but I wasn't.

"See? It's for me," I found myself insisting, glaring at my captors. "Let me go down."

Rosalie remained tight-lipped and Alice shook her head.

"I know this is hard, Bella," she said evenly, "But you have to try. That's a human down there. You'll regret it if you do anything to him."

I hesitated, carefully weighing her words. I was torn - the small grasp I had on my actions held me back, but the lure of live blood pumping through hundreds of veins … warm, thick, and tasty…

I found myself growling, fighting another battle inside. It was nothing like before. With the deer, I let myself submit and drink the blood, but right now, I couldn't. It wasn't a choice.

Carlisle's even voice floated up.

"I'm sorry, she's not available at the moment," his tone was pleasant, but I could hear the slight strain in his throat. "Why don't I just take it for her?"

"Oh, that's fine," the human's voice chuckled a bit. "Just sign here, sir."

It was hard to hear his voice and not think of how that very same voice could scream when I strangled him - I groaned, trying to wipe the image from my head.

Why hold back? An unbidden thought crept into my mind. Tempting. Why deny who you really are now? I tensed, listening carefully to this voice. You're a vampire, Bella. This is what vampires do… indulge.

"No!" I suddenly growled, clenching my jaw, refusing to let the voice go on. My frenzy climbed. "I wont, I can't, I wont. I refuse!"

Alice wrapped me in her arms as I started to rock back and forth, sobbing dry tears.

I wasn't sure how long we sat there, huddled on the floor in Edward's room, but slowly, the scent faded. Slowly, I was able to control the blood-lust raging inside me.

Rosalie and Alice loosened their hold on me until it was less restraining and more comforting.

"You did it," Alice whispered, rubbing my back. "He's gone. I'm so proud of you, Bella."

For a long moment, I couldn't talk. I couldn't believe myself. Had I really … considered drinking from a human? A live human with a soul, a life, a family; the thought itself was disgusting and I felt like gagging.

"I'm bad," I choked out, burying my face in my hands. "I'm bad, I'm so … the things I wanted to do to him."

"But you didn't," she squeezed my shoulder. "That's what matters. You fought the monster in you and won. Most new vampires can't do that."

I kept shaking my head, not really hearing her words.

"You don't understand," I cried, "I saw myself attacking him. I saw myself sinking my teeth into his throat, I felt how his blood would feel trickling down my throat, and I wanted it. And it wasn't just - I wanted it to hurt, Alice. I wanted him to scream and cry for mercy."

Rosalie brushed my hair aside and pressed her face against the side of my head. Alice didn't answer, just kept rubbing my back. I felt Carlisle's presence when he softly entered the room.

"What you're experiencing isn't unusual," he told me gently before dropping an oversized envelope in front of me.

I stared at it.

"What is it?" I finally asked, gesturing.

"It was sent to you."

I understood that much. I just didn't know why or how it was possible.

"I don't - "

Carlisle stopped me and said, "You should open it. Maybe it holds answers."

Alice and Rosalie's constant contact was comforting and after a few seconds of deliberation, I reached for the envelope.

For Bella,it read in fancy, hand-written script on the front. Gently, I slid a finger under the tab and ripped it open.

"What does it say?" Rosalie leaned forward, watching as I pulled out a crisp, clean sheet of paper. I frowned at the blank sheet of paper, then flipped it over.

My breath caught in my throat as I read the single sentence written in the middle.

Nothing is sweeter than the bliss of warm, human blood sliding down the throat; wouldn't you agree?

Alice swore.

"Those sick bastards," she hissed. I looked up at Carlisle's face and saw his hardened features.

"Aro would never resort to these methods," he said and I could see a faint wrinkle appear between his eyebrows. "It's not the work of the Volturi, which can only mean one thing."

He paused briefly as if trying to allow his next thought to process in his mind before voicing it out loud. Finally, he spoke.

"Felix is no longer working for them."

At first, I didn't know what to make of that. The thought of the Volturi being involved with anything pertaining my life scared me senseless. But … to an extent, they offered control and stability. They liked the world the way it was and didn't want to rock it.

If that was them, then what was a loose cannon like Felix? I suddenly remembered what Edward told me once upon a time. It was only a few days ago, but it felt like ages.

What do you think the bad guys are like? Not all vampires just stick to themselves and try to lay low. Some of them are big into the theatrics. They'll give everybody trouble and it wont matter if you're a vampire or not.

Was this happening to me already? He told me once that I was only seeing half of his world. I wasn't sure what he meant back then. Now, I'm starting to realize and I haven't even been part of his world for an entire week.

I chose my next words carefully.

"Does this make Felix more dangerous?" I asked.

Carlisle nodded. "Irrefutably so. Do you realize what he was trying to do by sending you this letter?"

I shook my head.

"He was baiting you," he sighed. "If it were up to me, I wouldn't let you near a human being until at least a month has passed. He understands the lack of control a new vampire has and decided to take matters into his own hands. By sending you a letter via UPS, he's attacked from behind, forcing you to face your nature before you're strong enough to fight it."

Alice's eyes widened slightly.

"That's disgustingly clever," she muttered, shaking her head. "I didn't even see it coming until the damned man was starting down the long driveway. By then - Rose and I were barely in time. Bella would have ripped him to shreds."

"Damn," I winced. Carlisle settled.

"But his plan must have backfired," he said, thoughtfully. "By what he's written, it's evident that he expected Bella to do exactly that. It's actually to our benefit. Bella's all the more stronger for resisting and we know he's disassociated himself with the Volturi. I doubt Aro even know that yet."

"The question is," Alice continued for him, "If he's disassociated himself with them, who has he associated himself with?"

"Which brings us to this point," Rosalie piped up, amber eyes flashing dangerously, "Where the hell are Emmett, Jasper, and Edward?"

Where the hell, indeed.

………

By the sixth day of Edward's absence, I couldn't ignore the drained feeling in my body anymore.

"You need to teach me how to hunt," I demanded Alice in the kitchen. She raised an eyebrow.

"You're thirsty? Already?" she sounded surprised, then thoughtful, "That makes sense, I guess. Just-turned vampires tend to need blood more often."

"Yes. So take me hunting."

Alice suddenly seemed uncertain. "Why don’t I just bring something back for you?" she suggested. "It wont take long - I'll just go to the park."

I sighed. Obviously, this was going to be harder than I thought.

"Well, I'll have to learn sometime, wont I?" I asked. When she didn't respond, I smirked, "No time like the present."

"It's not very safe," Alice protested.

"All the more reason for me to learn. So I wont put myself in danger."

She frowned. "I don't think you should be leaving the house."

"Oh, come on! It's three in the morning! Who can possibly see me outside the house at - "

"That's not what I meant."

I froze, understanding seeping into my mind. She didn't want to let me loose in public, yet. A sudden pang of guilt hit me and I felt myself begin to lose my case.

Before I could back down, I lifted my chin.

"We don't need to go where humans are," I said, stiffly. "I get that much. What about the forest where you guys play ball?"

She was still hesitant.

"I don't know. I'd feel much better if Edward was here to take you - "

"Well, he's not here! I don't know where he is and I'm going insane here," I glared. Alice looked deep into my eyes as if she were looking for something.

"You are thirsty," she muttered.

"I could've told you that. In fact, I think I did."

"Okay, okay. Why don't I get you something to tie you over and when Edward gets back - "

"I don't want to wait!" I snapped. "If you're not going to take me, I'll just go by myself and probably get mauled by a couple of grizzly bears and maybe a mountain lion!"

Alice scowled, her elegant features curling up.

"Fine," she growled. "I'll take you. But we go by my rules and you do not leave my side unless I specifically tell you that you can. Is that clear?"

"Crystal!" I smile brightly at her. She glares again, shaking her head and muttering something under her breath.

………

Alice ended up taking me to an abandoned park by the edge of the forest - as far away from civilian life as possible. I could feel my adrenaline already start to race and bounced up and down eagerly in the passenger seat of her Mercedes.

"We're not going for anything big today," she instructed. "Maybe an deer or an elk. Nothing with teeth and claws or is remotely aggressive."

"Okay!"

She glanced at my excited face and sighed. "I knew this was a bad idea," she grumbled.

Alice parked the car discreetly behind a bush by the shoulder of the road and we slipped into the dark trees silently. I didn't realize how fast we were moving until I turned my head and noticed the trees flying past us as we trailed deep into the woods.

"Okay, here," she breathed in slowly and we stopped in front of an ancient-looking oak. I gulped, suddenly anxious.

I could feel the dead blood in my body racing through unused veins. I rocked back and forth on my feet, trying to release some of the sudden energy.

"Lesson the first," Alice whispered, her hand shooting out to rest on my shoulder. "Be stealthy. That means stop all your impatient bouncing."

I grinned sheepishly and froze, working hard not to move a muscle. She rolled her eyes.

"Lesson the second. Relax. Animals sense tension like nothing other."

I opened my mouth to complain, but she cut me off sharply.

"And be quiet," she ordered. I pressed my lips together. We stood there for the longest time, slightly crouched, not moving, and not making a sound.

After five minutes, I grew tired and was about to shift when I suddenly heard something crunch. That's when the heady scent of warm, live blood rushed to my head.

This time was nothing like the first time or the human, though. This time, I felt the sudden hunger, but I squelched it down forcibly.

"You hear that?" Alice's voice was barely a whisper. I nodded. "Do you smell that?" I glanced at her, then nodded again.

"Good," she murmured. "Lesson the third. Choose one animal and chase only that animal. Many vampires get overwhelmed by the number of living things in a forest that we're not efficient. The trick to being a good hunter is detecting one thing and focusing on bringing it down."

We fell into another silence except this time, my ears were tuned into the animal slowly making it's way in our direction.

"What do you think it is?" Alice asked softly. I breathed in, slowly, trying to place the scent.

It was similar to the very first deer I've ever eaten, but something was different. This blood was richer, more bountiful, - the animal was bigger.

"An elk," I answered, narrowing my eyes in the direction of the slow, soft scrunch of forest leaves on the ground.

"Very good," she praised.

I kept listening to the elk that had to be at least fifty to a hundred yards away, waiting for it to get closer. But, much to my frustration, it never did. It seemed to be carefully avoiding the immediate area where Alice and I stood.

"Next lesson," Alice continued. "Animals are very perceptive. They're excellent at sensing a vampire nearby, though they might not recognize that they're in immediate danger. Now. You're fast, you're sharp, but never think that you can outrun a deer easily.

"I'm not saying that you can't, because you most definitely can. But if you think that way, you forget to be stealthy and you end up on the chase longer than what's healthy. Right now, I want you to listen to that deer. I want you to know exactly where it is at all times. Then, when your instincts tell you that it's time to pounce, run. Don't worry about anything that might be in your way. Just run.

"Are you ready?"

What a question. I was already crouched in a runner's stance, ready to dash.

"Yes," I answered, breathlessly.

She nodded. "Then go."

And off I ran.

The second my foot left the ground, the elk sprinted away. There was no way to describe the chase that could do it justice.

I've never been athletic. In fact, I've always been clumsy. If I were a human, I would've run into every single tree in my way, but as a vampire - I barely got snagged by a twig.

The feeling was absolute exhilaration. I could feel the wind against my face, cool and refreshing. The speed blurred my mind, but my feet kept going. My target wasn't fast enough and before I could think, I was leaping through the air, diving for the escaping elk.

Needless to say, I missed. I expected to find my hands full of a bucking animal, but I acquainted myself with the ground.

"Shit," I spat out, furious with myself. For a split second, I looked back and realized that Alice was now nowhere in sight. Unfortunately for my prey, I could still smell where the elk was and immediately took off again.

The second time, I was luckier. When I landed on the elk, I heard the sounds of bones crunching and before I could help myself, I sank my teeth into its hide, need for blood dizzying my head.

The animal yelled out a horrible sound and I barely registered that it was dying slowly. As quickly as I could, I reached out and snapped its neck, never freeing my teeth from its flesh.

I did it, I thought as I finished and stood up, looking at the dead elk at my feet. I couldn't fight the wave of pride, but I couldn't keep off the feeling of disgust. I did it. I did that.

I was responsible for the mauled animal in front of me.

"Survival of the fittest," I muttered to myself, wrenching my eyes away.

It was time to find Alice.

Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks. My nostrils flared. Something strong and bitter permeated the air, stronger than the scent of fresh blood coating my lips. Something that made my entire body tense, fully alert. The sounds of heavy, scratchy breathing reached my ears accompanied by an even, faint growl.

A branch snapped from behind me and slowly, I turned around, ready to face whatever it was - and gasped.

"Bella?" it rasped out.

I faintly registered who it was as I automatically backed away, snarling and baring my blood-stained teeth.

Jacob.

A/N: I think the hunt-lesson scene's too rushed, but I can't really think of any other way to write it. Gah! And, I was excited to get to the surprise at the end =] I know many stories on this site are targeted around the Edward/Bella love story, but I think these chapters of plot developments are necessary, so sorry that Edward's not back yet! He will be back very soon (like next chapter soon), though.

And I've gotten a few questions about Bella's appearance and powers - here's what I have to say. Everything in good time. Be patient and it'll be worth it, because Bella's got an awesome power and I already have a scene between her and Edward that talks about her physical appearance written.

Anyways, another apology for the lack of Edward/Bella during the last two chapters. Remember, this is my interpretation of how the series will continue, so there's going to be other stuff going on besides just their romance. But no fear! There will be TONS of E/B interactions soon. So much so, that I'm debating whether I should change this rating to M. We'll see.

More good news: I was stuck at Rice Univ. yesterday, took out my Calc notebook and instead of doing homework, I outlined the rest of the chapters! So yes, Burn Beautiful is fully outlined and is looking to be 29 chapters long. Maybe 30 if I feel like writing an epilogue - probably not, though, since it never really ends, does it?

Okay, this note's gone too long, so thanks for the reviews guys! And I hope you keep reading and enjoying. Constructive criticism is welcome, too.