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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.


19. Chapter 19

Rating 3.5/5   Word Count 3708   Review this Chapter

Ch. 19: Succubus

"Tanya," Edward's voice was cordial and slightly strained. "How are you?"

I shifted, moving my head just in time to catch the lazy smile stretch across a dazzling blonde girl's face as she took another step into the room and shut the door behind her.

"Oh, I've been well," she answered him. Her voice was low and seductive; I wanted to gauge her eyes out. "Better now that I'm here with you."

I swallowed down an angry growl, refusing to be affected by the nerve of the beautiful vampire as she flirted with my boyfriend. Fiancé.

Her eyes remained on Edward as she said, "And you must be Bella."

I glanced at Edward, but his eyes were fixed on Tanya.

"Yes," I said uncertainly, taking in the indescribable expression on his face. It made me uncomfortable and without thinking, I swung my legs down the side of the couch and stood, taking a step away from him. Tanya raised an eyebrow, taking in my state of undress.

At this point, I couldn't really care less. Let her stare, I thought vehemently. I had never been one to be petty about my appearance. I understood that I had certain good points, certain not-so-good points, and I just couldn’t bring myself to care. The art of flaunting was foreign to me, so the idea that I was discreetly comparing my body with this Tanya's unsettled me.

But no matter. My body was nothing to be ashamed of, and with that thought in mind, I crossed my arms under my chest, discreetly pushing up some certain assets of mine. Not that I was trying to or anything.

Edward's eyes flickered over to me and I noticed them inadvertently get drawn down to my chest. He blinked and visibly swallowed; I hid my smirk.

From across the room, Tanya's eyes narrowed and I saw a cloud of darkness mar her features before a saccharinely sweet smile replaced the frown.

"It's lovely to finally meet you," she crooned, crossing the room and thrusting out her arm. I stared at her outstretched hand for a while and after an incredulous moment, shook it.

Her grip was hard, firm, and it held a warning I didn't fail to read. I low snarled escaped my lips.

"Really," I raised an eyebrow. She nodded, still smiling.

"Alice told me so much about you," she gushed. "She just wouldn't stop talking about you!"

The fact that she deliberately left Edward out wasn't lost to me. She spoke a distinctly female language and I was able to read between the lines. She was trying to tell me that Edward hadn't mentioned me. I stiffened, pretending to be unaffected when all I wanted to do was scream.

"I wish I could say the same," I said, tightly. "I have no idea in the world who you are."

Tanya just laughed, a throaty laugh. It was all sex.

"Edward must have spoken about me, isn't that right, Edward?" her tone was rolling in waves of sexual appeal, all directed toward Edward. I clenched my fists. "We had such good times together."

I looked to him, waiting for him to dispute her statement, waiting for him to tell her to go to hell. It was all in vain; he didn't even respond. My stomach flipped over and apprehension washed over me.

Who was this girl and what was she to him? What had he done with her? What had she done to him? The questions threatened to drive me crazy.

"Actually, no," I answered for him, narrowing my eyes. "He never breathed a word about you. Should he have?"

She giggled and sent me a mischievous look, as if I were her best friend since childhood. My teeth ached.

"Oh, me and Edward," she paused dramatically, raised her hand, and crossed her fingers together. "We were like that. Weren't we, Edward?"

He shrugged and nodded. He turned to smile at me.

"Yes, we were close," he told me. My eyes widened. Was he just offering information like this to me to hurt me? It couldn't be. He wouldn't do that.

Would he?

I studied him intently, but his face was carefully blank. I mustered up all my will power and directed a thought straight at him.

Who. Is. This. Girl?

He seemed surprised at the hostility in my thoughts and I pasted a smug smile on my face at his worried expression. He quickly stood and reached for me.

As if I would walk right into his arms after that.

I snorted and moved away.

"Oh, were you two good friends?" I asked Tanya, forcing my voice to be as sweet as hers.

"You can say that," she smirked, looking at Edward again.

"How very cute."

Edward still wasn't saying anything and I refused to meet his gaze. The three of us stood there for an awkward moment until Tanya decided to be rudely blunt.

"Is there a reason why you're standing in your underwear?" she asked me, lacing disdain in her voice. As if she wasn't a two-cent whore. I nearly scoffed.

It astounded me, the level of resentment I felt for this girl. Usually, I was laid back. I didn't let people like her get to me, and I most certainly never tried to antagonize somebody.

"Oh, I was just playing house with Edward," I tilted my head in his direction and shrugged. "I guess you could say that we're also good friends."

Her eyes glittered angrily.

"Is that so?"

I felt Edward move toward me and before I could step away, his arm slipped around my waist, securing me to his side. I suppressed an annoyed snarl and tried to push him away.

There were times when I wanted to be happy with him and times I wanted to be annoyed. A part of me told myself that this was stupid and stubborn, but damn it! I wanted to be annoyed right now!

"Edward?" I looked up at his face, but instead of meeting his eyes, I focused on something less distracting - like his nose. "Isn't that so?"

He bent his head down to my ear and whispered, "What are you doing?"

I let out a sardonic laugh. "Making friends, what else?" I said in my normal voice.

Instead of answering me, he turned his attention to Tanya and changed the subject.

"Carlisle called you," he stated without question. She nodded and smiled brightly.

"Yes, he did. I was only too glad to come down and help out. And, of course, visit you, darling."

Darling? I threw Edward's arm off me with a sudden surge of force, crossed the room in search of my shirt, and pulled it over my head. His eyes followed me and I saw a flash of something like disappointment in them. I just glared, waiting him to address Tanya.

He sighed and turned back to her.

"I don't know how I can thank you for coming out of your way to help us," he said sincerely and gratefully and I wanted to storm out of the room, screaming.

Tanya shot him a heated look.

"Oh, I can think of a few ways…"

I couldn't mute my growling anymore and it rumbled out from under my breath. Tanya glanced at me for a moment then shrugged, dismissing me promptly.

"But I don't think your friend will like that," she said to Edward. He seemed confused, and I couldn't help but add something to her statement.

"Fiancé," I corrected her, glaring at Edward then looking away.

Before I could blink, two arms enveloped me from behind and I felt his sculpted chest pressed against my back. Tanya stared at us and I wanted to stick my tongue out at her.

Opting for the more mature route, I just let a smug smile wrap around my lips.

"Yes," Edward told her, resting his chin on my head. "We're finally engaged."

"Engaged?" she sputtered, looking dumbfounded.

I flashed my ring in front of me, letting the light catch on the topaz stone and send sparkling glows throughout the room.

She took a step closer, staring at it.

"It's not a diamond," she noted, sounding pleased. I resisted the urge to punch her.

"I didn't want diamond."

She gave me a doubtful look. "Every girl wants a diamond," she insisted.

I shrugged. "Diamonds aren't the color of Edward's eyes."

She sputtered again, a little more angrily this time.

"Well, Edward," she said, sounding less come-hither and more accusatory. "I didn't know you were the marrying type."

His arms tightened around me and I grinned.

"I don't really see how that has any relevance to why you're here," he answered. "Did Carlisle tell you how you're supposed to help?"

She sighed, suddenly looking bored.

"Something about strength in numbers. Kate and Carmen were originally going to come with us, but we're experiencing some… troubles in Canada right now."

He nodded.

"It didn't take you very long to arrive," he commented.

She sneered, sending me a pointed look. "What can I say? I'm fast. You should know that, Edward dear."

I bristled and Edward brushed his fingers against my stomach reassuringly.

"Well," Tanya started turning around. "I better go see what's going on downstairs."

Good riddance, I nearly shouted. She paused mid-step, twisting her head to give us one last look. "Seems like I've got my work cut out for me, huh?"

I didn't bother demanding what she meant by that.

As soon as she was out of the door, I extricated myself from Edward's hold and glared at him.

"What happened between the two of you?" I hissed up at him, putting my hands on my hips. Edward rolled his eyes.

"It was a long time ago. It wasn't even anything important," he told me. I wasn't convinced and he must have realized it, because he went on to elaborate. "A little while ago, we all lived together. Tanya and I became rather good friends. One night, she asked me to be her escort to a town ball and I consented. We took a try at the dating thing after that, but gave up within a week because we just didn't feel anything for each other. That's all. It was nothing and it is nothing!"

I was still simmering. "Doesn't seem like nothing. What about when you were away? Was she one of your distractions?"

He stared at me incredulously.

"Bella, are you jealous?"

"No!"

Edward smirked knowingly. "It's okay to be jealous. It's completely unfounded, but okay. I'd be lying if I said - "

"I'm not jealous!" I shouted, frustrated. I wasn't. I wasn't even close to jealous! Just annoyed that a complete stranger could walk in on me during a private moment and upturn everything I thought was stable and safe and …

"Sure," he drawled.

"I mean it!"

Edward nodded and took a few steps closer, stopping just short of touching me.

"I believe you," he said, clearly meaning the opposite. I huffed and refused to look at him. "Bella, I lo-"

The door opened again and this time, Alice popped her head in. She paused for a second, taking in the sight of us together, less than inches apart…

"If you two are quite done being sappy and disgustingly cute, there's going to be a meeting downstairs in ten seconds," she grinned and disappeared.

………………………………………………………

When Edward and I made it down to the living room, Tanya was sitting on the couch inches away from Emmett, much to Rosalie's obvious annoyance. When Rosalie saw us step in the room, she immediately leapt up and stood next to me.

"If she giggles into Emmett's ear one more time," Rosalie growled under her breath, casting a livid look at our new, blonde addition.

Right on cue, Tanya leaned in, whispered something in Emmett's ear and giggled, making him smile slightly. Rosalie's eyes flashed.

Alice sauntered over to us and whispered, "Tanya's somewhat of a succubus."

"I can see that," Rosalie muttered. Alice shook her head.

"No, she's really a succubus. It's one of her abilities to make anybody - mostly men - automatically desire her."

Edward snorted, listening into our conversation.

"Is that…" Rosalie squinted her eyes, "Is that drool dripping down Emmett's chin?"

"She tried to turn on her charm on Jasper, but it didn't work," Alice said with a smile, obviously proud of Jasper's resistance.

Rosalie kept glaring at Tanya as she mumbled, "That's because the fool is too heads over heels for you to even look at anybody else."

Alice just grinned.

After a few seconds, Rosalie threw up her hands.

"I've had enough of this," she announced and marched over to the couch, dragging Emmett up and away from the beautiful, blonde leech.

He sent her an apologetic look and tried to kiss her, but she haughtily turned her head away.

I felt Edward's hand squeeze my side reassuringly. "She has no affect on me whatsoever," he whispered into my ear. "Stop worrying."

"I'm not worrying." Lie. Lie. Lie.

He smirked. "Yes you are. It's written all over your face."

Carlisle entered the room with Esme and all side conversation ended. He looked at all of us curiously before turning to Tanya.

"We're very grateful you can join us," he smiled at her before addressing the rest of us. "Tanya is one of the oldest vampires that still walks the earth - and is actually the oldest vampire that lives our lifestyle. I expect everybody will treat her with the respect she deserves."

She smirked at all of us as the female half of the family grumbled our acquiesce.

"As long as she keeps her claws off our men," Rosalie mumbled to herself and I choked back a laugh when I overheard her.

Carlisle continued. "I told you this over the phone, but it never hurts to recapitulate," he said. "The Aurelius clan - I'm sure you're familiar with them?"

Tanya nodded and her teeth shone. "Adrienne was absolutely delicious," she purred. "I never met Dorian, though. He's high on my to-do list."

"Well, I'm certain you'll be meeting him soon enough."

"I look forward to it."

"As you know, they have challenged us and I see no choice except to accept their challenge. There are five of them - "

Tanya sat forward, frowning. "I thought there were only three. Iris, Adrienne, Dorian, who else?"

"They've been joined by Victoria - "

"Victoria!" she exclaimed with a delighted laugh. "Her. She tried to kill me once after I fooled around with her mate, what was his name… James?"

Some of the built-up hatred I had for her dissipated when I saw her obvious contempt for the redhead. Maybe she wasn't so bad.

Carlisle sighed. "Yes, James. He's no longer contaminating the world with his existence. Victoria's new mate is Felix. I suspect you know him, too? Former guard of the Volturi?"

Tanya nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, I might have seen him once or twice. In any case, that other guard, Demetri, is much more of an eye-catcher, if I may say so myself."

"Yes, well those are the two new additions to their clan. The terms of their challenge is simply even teams."

"Then I don't see a problem," Tanya noted, looking at the eight of us. "You clearly outnumber them."

"In numbers, yes, we are superior. But not in ability."

"Ah. I see. You want me for my power, then?"

"Correct again," he smiled. "That way, we will have five vampires with special abilities to go against them. It gives us somewhat of an upper hand. Not much, but it's still something."

Edward suddenly straightened.

"What do you mean by five," he said slowly. "There's me, Jasper, and Tanya. That makes three. Not five."

Alice let out an impatient snort.

"There's also me and Bella," she reminded him.

"No there's not," Edward glared. Jasper looked up sharply.

"You're not fighting," he agreed with Edward.

"Of course we are," Alice retorted then turned to look at me. "Right?"

"That's right," I nodded. Apparently, Jasper and Edward had different ideas. They protested loudly, wildly, and the more they said "No!" the more Alice and I were adamant about staying.

"You and Alice are going to leave," Edward said. I had a sharp remark ready to slap back at him until I saw the pleading in his eyes.

"I'm the only one immune from their powers," I told him, keeping my voice firm.

"Not Dorian's."

"Not his, but Iris's and maybe Adrienne's. Iris can't freeze me and Adrienne can't block my ability - you need me."

"I need you to be safe, Bella," Edward punched the wall behind him, making Esme wince.

"Easy on the house, dear," she scolded.

"Sorry," he muttered.

"You still see me as the weak human I was before," I said softly, putting my fingers under his chin until he looked directly into my eyes. "I'm not. You can't protect me forever, Edward. Maybe you should start letting me in."

"Bella - " he swallowed thickly, "Going into this fight. It's - it's suicide. Adrienne makes them all virtually invisible, Iris can freeze minds at a whim, and you might be immune to them, but your power isn't fully developed yet. And you're still susceptible to Dorian's illusions. Can't you see that it isn't safe?"

"And you think I'll let you walk into certain death alone?" I demanded, stepping back.

"She's right," Carlisle interjected before Edward could respond. "If she practices her ability, gains more control of it - she might be the only chance we have."

"Well what about the Quileutes?"

Everybody turned to Rosalie, who put her hands on her hips. "What?" she asked indignantly. "I can be open-minded sometimes."

"That's actually a very good idea," Jasper said after a while. "Aren't werewolves immune to most vampire powers?"

"It's doubtful they'd agree," Edward sounded unsure.

"I'm sure they'd be willing to help," I clapped my hands together. "I'll call Jacob."

"What? No!"

I didn't want to go through this again, so I ignored him and threw Carlisle a questioning glance.

"Go ahead," he motioned. I smiled and walked toward the kitchen. Edward followed me and I was thrown into a wild sense of deja vu.

I ignored him and picked up the phone, only to have him snatch it out of my hands.

"Give it back," I commanded softly.

"No," he said, pinning me with fierce eyes. "Not until you tell me why you have to go against me in everything."

"I'm not."

"Then what's this?"

"This?" I raised an eyebrow. "This is me being rational and you being stubborn."

"Oh, I'm the stubborn one, now?" he sounded frustrated. "By trying to keep you safe, I'm stubborn?"

"You keep acting like I'm weak! Like I don't have a functional brain!"

"I'd just feel better knowing if you weren't in any immediate danger. What's so despicable about that?"

"Then you never should've turned me," I ground out, gripping at the counter and feeling the marble crack under my hand.

"Maybe that was my first mistake!"

His chest was heaving and I froze, comprehending his harsh words. My heart dropped to the ceramic kitchen tiles and shattered into a million pieces.

I stared into his face, not believing, not wanting to believe. His eyes were wide and shining, his beautiful features changing from anger, to shock, and very slowly to regret. I saw the turntables in his mind backtrack as he realized what he had just burst out.

"Bella," he choked, dropping the phone to the floor. "I didn't mean that."

The apology in his eyes begged me to say something and I just couldn't. His words hurt me so much.

"I think you did."

"No, Bella - I don't - "

"Look," I sighed, turning away from him. Looking at him was unbearable. "Maybe you didn't mean that entirely, but the sentiment was already in you. The thought was always there."

"I was angry, I'd never - "

"Stop it, Edward!" I snapped, not willing to hear his apologies. "Remember what you said to me earlier? About me being able to break your heart? It goes the same for you, okay? You can really break my heart, too. You have. Several times."

"Bella," his voice was a croak and I felt him move closer.

"No," I held up a hand to stop him. "I love you. I do. I just can't talk to you right now."

"Wait, don't - "

"Just leave," I squeezed my eyes shut. "Go back to Tanya."

Time froze in place and I took deep breathes, willing my heart to pick itself back up and fall together again. I willed the past few minutes back. I willed myself to be strong.

A part of me understood that what he said was in the heat of the moment, but another part of me didn't want to understand. I wanted to be angry at him - I had every right to. But too much of me understood.

I understood he was scared for me. I understood he didn't want to lose me. I understood that he wanted me alive and with him forever.

I heard his sharp intake of breath and I felt the exact moment he decided to give up. I listened as his feet took him outside of the kitchen.

I waited forever until I picked up the phone that lay forgotten on the floor and dialed Jacob's number.

Author's Note: So there ya go. The stranger at the door =]. Most of you might hate Tanya right now… but I really like her. She's a bitch most of the time, but I think she's pretty bad-ass - she'll be very important to the story (and no, Edward will never cheat on Bella with her).

This story's looking to have about 5 more chapters and a sequel. The sequel wont be in Bella's POV. In fact, it wont be in any of the Cullen's point of view. It wont even be ABOUT the Cullens - though they will make appearances. I don't want to say anything else or I might give something away, but I think you guys'll like it. =]