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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.


16. Chapter 16

Rating 3.3/5   Word Count 3648   Review this Chapter

Sorry sorry sorry for the wait! Spring break ended and I'm uber busy right now with scholarships, etc.

Ch. 16: Silence

The mood my talk with Jacob left me in was dark. For a good while, I stayed at the top of the cliff, fighting the urge to curl up into a ball and cry myself to life. I listened to the perilous crashing of the waves below me, the instantaneous crack and flash of lightning in the distance, the howling of the wind as it picked up speed, and just stood there.

I thought about a lot of things; Edward, Jacob, love, life. Then I thought of the Volturi, of Felix and Victoria, of the illicit romance between Adrien and Iris that started the Aurelius clan.

My mind floated in and out of reality as I lifted my face to the sky. What was happening? Where was the happiness I was expecting? For a few, brief seconds, I almost thought I could hear my heart beat. I blinked and realized it was the sharp, rapid intakes of breath my body was always used to. I didn't even realize I was breathing. Some habits were hard to break.

By the time I started my trek back to the Cullens', it had started to thunder. The ominous clouds had come together in a mass of blackness and a streak of lightning lit up the sky. With the drops of rain streaking down my face, I could pretend that I was crying. I could imagine that the rain was tears and for a moment, I felt almost human again.

I didn't realize that I'd been running until the house was suddenly in front of me and the driveway was under my feet. Blinking, I shook my hair out and walked through the back door.

Carlisle and Esme were huddled in the kitchen, talking quickly and quietly. Esme gave me a warm smile as I walked passed them.

When I walked into the Cullens' living room, I was greeted with the sight of five vampires wearing a wide array of unreadable expressions. From the looks on their faces, I realized that I was about to be the subject of a long discussion. My temper, which had been simmering the entire way back, suddenly flared.

A confrontation like this wasn't something I expected. My emotions were already in somersaults because of Jacob and the last thing I wanted to do was talk.

I was about to stalk out the room and make my way up the stairs for a change of clothes when I was finally able to decipher the unreadable expressions. Guilt. It took me all of five seconds to figure out what was going on.

My eyes zeroed in on Alice, who was the only one averting her gaze. She must have used her vision to foresee what Jacob and I would talk about. That was the only explanation for the present awkward silence.

"Did you enjoy that?" I asked, bitterly. "Did you give them a play-by-play analysis of what happened? Did you tell them about how the big, bad wolf broke down and the pitiful story of - "

My voice cracked and I stopped talking, forcing my eyes away. I was furious and couldn't explain why.

Edward pushed away from the wall and moved to gather me in his arms. I was tempted to rush into them, but I jerked away. It didn't matter how much I needed him to comfort me right then - it didn't feel right jumping from Jacob's embrace straight into Edward's.

His arms dropped.

"You didn't want any of us to accompany you," he reminded me quietly, evenly.

"For a good reason, too," My nails dug into my skin. "I needed my privacy."

Alice cringed.

"I needed to be sure you were safe," Edward defended. My face burned.

"I'm sorry, Bella!" Alice cried, pleading me with her eyes. "I didn't know what would happen."

I clenched my teeth, feeling betrayed. What had transpired between me and Jacob was supposed to stay between us and the idea that they all knew what happened didn't sit well with me.

"It's not such a big deal," Rosalie sounded bored. My head snapped, eyes narrowed as I waited for her to continue. She rolled her eyes. "He's just a werewolf for Christ's sakes. You're better off without him."

The tension in my jaw was so tight that my face throbbed.

"He isn't just some werewolf," I bit out. "He's my best friend."

She gave me a blank look then turned away. This must be how Jacob felt, I thought, remembering his words:

"I asked Sam about it. He told me that I was chasing an empty dream. Even if you wanted me, it could never happen. He told me to forget about you."

Was this the same thing? I suddenly felt sick.

At that moment, Carlisle entered the room with Esme right behind him. His eyes swept the room quickly and with one raised brow, cut into our impending argument. I was glad for the change in subject.

"Alice described something … different," he said, tapping his fingers on his leg. "Something that had to do with a bear."

Alice looked at me, uncertain. I chewed on my bottom lip, remembering the incident.

"It looked like one minute, he was advancing and then he just turned around," she elaborated. I nodded, realizing how that would've looked to someone who wasn't me.

"It was … I think it, uh," I swallowed, choosing my next words carefully. "I think I found my power."

Carlisle's eyebrows shot up and a small smile began tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Tell us more," he urged.

I recalled the incident, stressing the part when I concentrated on the thought 'turn around.' Every so often, I would glance up at Edward's face and his eyes would be clouded, shielded from me. When he noticed me looking, he would send me a reassuring smile but his eyes would remain closed off.

"And he just walked off," I finished lamely. The entire family was quiet, contemplating what I'd just told them.

"That sounds like mind control to me. Nothing special," Rosalie put in her two cents, sounding bored. I didn't miss the way she pointedly refused to look at me and wondered what I'd said.

"Don't be bitter," Alice shot her a scathing glance.

"Who says I'm bitter?" she glared, lifting a perfectly arched eyebrow.

"Your aura," Jasper inserted, cutting whatever sarcastic remark Alice was prepared to shoot out.

Alice rolled her eyes. "That and the way you're gnawing at your lower lip. The last time you did that was when Tanya found it in good taste to flirt with Emmett. You can't seriously be jealous of Bella's power, can you?"

"Please," Rosalie said stiffly. "Why would I bother being jealous of anybody's power? I stand by what I've said before: they're nothing but a hassle."

As the verbal war continued, the hostility lessened to friendly bickering. I turned my attention away from them and focused on Carlisle who was staring at nothing in particular.

Finally, he looked up. "Mind control," he murmured. "Perhaps we can test this theory?"

The bickering stopped.

"Test?" I asked, tentatively. "I'm still - I'm still not sure how this works. With the bear, I was … really, really scared and it just happened. I'm not sure if it'll work right now."

He shrugged. "It wouldn't hurt to try it."

I nodded and a tiny smile slipped out. "So who's wants to be my lucky guinea vamp?" I looked around the room.

Nobody volunteered.

After a few seconds of silence, I gave Carlisle a hopeless look. Suddenly, Emmett stood up.

"I'll do it," he grinned. "Do your worst."

Rosalie immediately looked alarmed. "Worst?" she hissed, tugging at his hand.

"Just an expression, love," he gently squeezed her hand before letting it go. His attention reverted back to me.

I stared, a little bit uncertain.

"Gimme whatchya got," Emmett teased, playfully crouching down in a wrestling stance and beckoning me with both hands.

"You're sure?"

"No, he's not," Rosalie interjected and gave me a wan smile. "Make him do something completely absurd. That'll teach him to volunteer himself for experimentation."

Emmett shrugged. "I don't mind being a lab rat," he reassured.

I looked at Carlisle, who gave me the go-ahead, then at Edward. His expression was still painfully closed off and I sighed, realizing that we would have to have a serious discussion latter.

Propelling that less-than-appealing thought from my mind, I took a deep breath and concentrated on something.

Pirouette. Do a pirouette.

He was still standing there with a goofy, expectant expression on his face. I tried it again but nothing happened. Maybe it was time for a different approach.

You want to do a pirouette. Do it now.

Still, there was nothing.

Spin around the room.

Nothing.

Pick your nose.

Nada.

I looked helplessly towards Carlisle. He looked at me questioningly.

"It didn't work?" he asked. I shook my head.

Edward chose that second to speak up. "Did you - " he started, sounding uncertain. "Did you ask him to do a pirouette?"

My eyes widened. "Yeah!" I nodded enthusiastically, not thoroughly comprehending what he meant. "How did you know? I thought you couldn't read my mind."

His lip curved up.

"I can't," he admitted. "But I was reading Emmett's mind. At first, he was thinking some thoughts about Rosalie that I refuse to repeat…" - Emmett cleared his throat and glared as Rosalie muttered a "Thank God for that." Edward ignored them - "But suddenly there was this intrusive, demanding thought 'Pirouette. Do a pirouette.' I wasn't sure. It was his voice - if you can call it that - but it seemed so spontaneous that it didn't seem natural.

"Plus," he added, smirking. "Unless there's something Emmett's not telling us, I doubt he would ever voluntarily want to do a pirouette."

"You'd be amazed," Rosalie giggled, sending Emmett a suggestive look. If he could, he would've turned pink. As it was - the tip of his ears were a bit flushed. Edward looked horrified.

"Please don't ever think something like that ever again," he shuddered. "I told you a million times. I don't want to know what you and Emmett do in the privacy of your own bedroom."

Alice perked up. "What were they doing?"

"Some sex game," Edward told her, ignoring Rosalie's protests. "Emmett was dressed up like a ballerina and doing interesting bedroom gymn-"

"Shut up, man," Emmett growled. Edward snickered. "That's not cool."

"It's nothing to be ashamed of," Edward's eyes danced mischievously. "From Rosalie's point of view, you're-"

"Stop!" she squealed, covering her face. He chuckled.

"Back to Bella's ability," Carlisle interrupted, sounding exasperated. I bit back a laugh. "If Edward heard the thought that Bella sent to Emmett, how come we didn't see Emmett doing … uh, pir -"

"Pirouettes," I reminded him. We all turned to Emmett who lifted both hands up.

"Fine," he sighed. "I did suddenly get this strange impulse to do a pirouette. But I couldn't remember what a pirouette was so I didn't do it."

"Oh," I muttered. "That makes some sense. But then why - "

"I also got strange impulses to spin around the room and pick my nose," he looked at me suspiciously. I held back my grin. "But before I could carry those impulses out, I realized how stupid it was and decided against it. I didn't realize they were coming from you though."

"Sorry," I said sheepishly.

"I think I know what's going on," Carlisle looked thoughtful. We all looked at him, expectantly. "I think Bella - as of right now - can only send us thoughts and ideas. The thoughts she sends are just suggestions. How many times have you had a thought that you instantly discarded because it seemed so outrageous? Those are the types of thoughts she sends."

My shoulders slumped. Carlisle had a triumphant look on his face as if he had just solved life's greatest mystery but I was a bit put down. What good was my ability if people could instantly discard the thoughts I sent?

"Then why did the bear just walk away?" I demanded to know, still not willing to believe that my so-called power was so pathetic.

Carlisle smiled. "Animals, in general, are instinctive. They don't really think to second-guess whatever their impulses are. They think something and they do it. That explains why the bear just walked away. He probably wasn't all that interested to begin with and when the idea that he could just turn around popped up, he didn’t see any reason not to so he just did."

Oh. Oh well. I sighed. Then I remembered something else.

"What about with Jacob?" I asked, getting excited. Edward - who had slowly been making his way to my side - suddenly stopped a few feet away and stiffened. The tension in the air rose again with the mention of his name and I fought the urge to roll my eyes.

"What about him?" Carlisle asked.

"Right before he walked away from me. He was hugging me and - "

"He what?" Edward growled menacingly. Suddenly, he turned on Alice. "Was that the vision you zipped through and refused to let me see?"

She shrugged.

"Get over it, Edward," I muttered, keeping my anger in check. A small part of me understood; he disliked Jake and felt threatened by my relationship with him. But a stronger, more insistent part was annoyed. Could he seriously be angry because Jake, my best friend, hugged me? Did he remember who I gave everything up for? Did he even remember who I chose to be with? I suppressed a furious growl.

Oh yes, we were definitely having a long conversation later. He glared and kept silent as I continued with my explanation about the Jacob-incident.

"As I was saying, before he walked away, I sent him a thought to say that he was okay. I didn't even realize what I was doing until he actually pulled away and told me he was okay."

"Maybe he was okay," Jasper suggested.

"He wasn't," Alice answered for me. I looked at her in surprised and she shot me a weak smile. "I saw that moment in my vision. Granted, it was just a split second but it was enough for me to see his face. That boy was not okay."

"He might've been contemplating just saying it and when you sent him the thought, it was just a small push in the direction," Carlisle said. "Or maybe you wanted to think he was okay so badly that the thought overwhelmed him."

The logic behind his words was astounding and I slouched my shoulders. The disappointment mixed in with the night's overload of drama - hell, the entire month's overload of drama - was a bit too much and I was suddenly tired of it all.

"It's not a bad gift, Bella," Jasper seemed surprised by the slightly depressed mood I was in. I shrugged.

"Maybe not. But what good is it if anybody can just use their judgment and … squelch it?"

Alice glanced up. "That just means it's underdeveloped," she explained. "The flashes I got at first used to be so brief I could barely make out where my vision was or who was in it."

I was not convinced but I just smiled and sighed inwardly. Out of habit, my eyes slid over to where Edward was standing, several feet away from me. His stance was rigid and all expression was wiped from his face. I sighed again, wondering what I would say when I talked to him alone.

Carlisle was discussing something with Alice and just as I was about to start paying attention, Edward's eyes flickered up and locked with mine.

God, how did he do that? The second our eyes met, I could feel the electricity pulsating between us, palpable as ever. It was tinged with something I didn't want to think about - something dark, cloudy, maybe a little sad, but it was still there.

I lifted my chin slightly, wanting him to get closer. I needed to be in his arms and suddenly, the several feet separating us seemed like several miles. Several hundreds of miles. His jaw tightened visibly and it felt like a slap in the face.

What was so different now than what had been before? Neither of us ever said the words out loud, but it was still there, loud and clear. There was something between us. A wall, a rift, an entire ocean. It had been there since the moment I woke up as a vampire and as every hour had passed, I felt it grow wider and wider. Even when he kissed me, it was there. When he was holding my hand, it was there. When we talked, it was there, this annoying tension that refused to dissipate.

It felt like hours with him standing there and me standing here, simply standing and staring.

I took in his tousled, bronze hair, glittering under the ceiling light, the paleness of his flawless skin, the perfect angles of his face, the straight nose, unsmiling mouth and sighed, defeated. In less than a step, I was by his side.

Looking up from under my lashes, I muttered, "We need to talk."

"Do we?" his question was a faint murmur, almost lost amongst the heated discussion between Emmett and Jasper about battle plans. His head bent an inch closer to mine but his body was carefully angled as to maintain a distance between us. He tilted his head, "What about?"

The way he worded the question told me he knew exactly what but wanted me to answer, regardless. I opened my mouth but suddenly closed it on the torrent of words about to flood out. What about?

Did I want to talk to him about Jacob? Or was it the fact that the only conversations we've had lately have been arguments? Or maybe I wanted to tell him exactly what I thought about his over-protectiveness.

Instead, I answered him with one word.

"Us."

Something jumped in his eyes and for a split second, they were completely vulnerable. Then the shutters closed again.

"So talk," he instructed, icing his voice over.

"What do you want from me?" I asked softly. Fires sparked in those beautiful irises.

"I believe that's my line," he said stiffly. "I'm doing everything I can for you and it all seems inadequate. All you do is shove me away."

My teeth clashed in frustration.

"I want you to trust me," I hissed, tilting my head up slightly to look at him directly. "Ever since I've become a vampire, you're suddenly different. You didn't even want to change me in the first place!"

"Don't put this on my shoulders, Bella," he growled. "I didn't want you to become like me because I loved you. I didn't want you to have to go through the pain, the - "

A sudden crash interrupted him and suddenly, all the talking ceased and everybody was staring at the front door. Emmett, Jasper, and Edward instinctively placed themselves in front of the rest of us protectively, knees slightly bent and hands clenched in a wary attack stance.

Nobody asked "what was that?" because it wasn't necessary. From the look on Carlisle's face, I was able to figure out what was going on.

There was a slow crescendo of thunder and as it reached ear-shattering volumes, a vicious crack of lightning lit up the entire sky. It was then when I realized that we were no longer in the Cullens' living room.

We were suddenly standing in the middle of a meadow with dense forest surrounding us. Raindrops the size of quarters pelted down and in the distance, a tree burst into flames.

And the only thing I could think about before the panic set in was the way Edward had said he loved me. Loved. Not love.

…………………..

Author's Note: And before everybody freaks out - no, of course Edward still loves her. They're going through a elongated fight and I promise, there will be a very satisfying chapter coming soon where they don't get interrupted. And no, Bella isn't immune to Dorian.

I realize that Stephanie Meyer said that Bella was immune to anything that involved the mind so in all actuality, Bella should be immune to Dorian's power. The thing is - Bella's not immune to Jacob's power and no matter how many times Ms. Meyer tries to push it (no offense), emotions are a psychological state and do come from the mind.

Emotion - A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling: the emotions of joy, sorrow, reverence, hate, and love.

Some may argue that she meant the thinking mind - the conscious mind. It's all a little complicated and I don't really care to get all into it. I'll just leave as this: Dorian's power is strong and vampire ability/immunity/etc is not an exact science.

Things to look forward to: Dorian and Co.!! And a certain "succubus" that will be making an appearance. I'm sure all of you are going to want to kill me for her at first as she does affect Bella and Edward's love life but she's necessary for the big picture. And I decided that I will include the rated-M scene later. It'll be tastefully done so nobody'll be offended.

Aaaand… I got a full-ride scholarship to Baylor University!! It's not really where I want to go, but it's nice to know that I have a safety school. The Ivy League decisions come out this Thursday. Wish me luck!!