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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.


25. Chapter 25

Rating 3.5/5   Word Count 3668   Review this Chapter

(the first part of this chapter might seem familiar to you guys, but keep reading because it goes on =])

Ch. 24: Time

The hazy rays of the morning sunrise filtered through the wispy curtains and cast fluttery shadows entwined with pale sparkles across our skin as we lay next to each other on his couch.

For once, I had been able to stay awake with him through the night and watch him just as he'd always watched me all those nights in Charlie's house. It was something I could spend forever doing.

Our first time had been nothing like I'd expected. There was no pain, only euphoria, no awkward movements, only love. I almost wished I could snatch the moment back and go through it over and over again.

When we had fallen apart, all we could do was lay there and stare at each other. His eyes never left mine, even when I reached for an afghan to cover myself with. He had stopped me with a gentle kiss and trailed his index finger over my face as if memorizing it all over again.

Our words were simple. Short sentences and whispered promises, sweet plans for the future.

Now, his ocher eyes were smiling. Simultaneously, a smug, satisfied smile arched across his perfect, soft lips. I reached towards him and traced the corner of his mouth.

"What are you thinking about?" I asked, my voice slightly hoarse.

He didn't say anything at first, just held my gaze and, once in a while, let his eyes roam my face. Then, he leaned forward and pressed his lips against mine in a soft, lingering kiss.

It was almost chaste, until I buried my hands in his hair and pressed him closer, opening my mouth to his sweet essence.

"Remember …," he asked, pulling back a millimeter or so and searching my eyes, "Do you remember the time when I was afraid to kiss you?"

I smiled. "Yes," I answered him, touching his cheek gently with one light finger, letting my nose gently nudge his. "It was the most frustrating thing, wanting you so badly only to have you pull away every single time."

"Mm, yes," he chuckled, brushing his lips over mine again. "Well, you weren't the only frustrated party there. I thought about not stopping so many times."

"Really?"

He nodded, his small smile turning into a full fledged grin as I kissed him.

"So how does it feel?" I asked him, shifting over until he was on his back and my chin was resting on his chest.

"Not having to stop?"

"Yeah."

I kissed his chest lightly and crawled up slowly until my face was hovering above his, my hair creating a thick, dark curtain around our heads.

He laughed and I felt the thick vibrations in his chest thrum against me.

"Better," he sighed, pulling me down to meet him for a long, deep kiss that ended all further conversation as he suddenly flipped me over and positioned himself between my legs.

I hissed in absolute bliss as I let the dream start all over again.

"How long do we have?"

My voice was hardly above a whisper, my breath was short. My eyelids were squeezed shut and all I could see was the mysterious dark.

His body was pressed against mine, his hands grasping at my hips, his mouth seeking my lips.

"Don't know," he replied, his own voice hoarse and urgent. "Don't care. Want you now."

The sun was higher now, streaming bright sunshine through the thin curtains. We'd shifted to the middle of his room, wrapped around in a duvet we'd found in his closet. I sighed, stretching myself out and arching my back. My muscles sighed in content.

A low, hungry growl sounded from somewhere next to me and I turned to see Edward eyeing certain assets out in display.

"Already?" I rolled away as he made a grab for me. "How many times has it been? Seven?"

"Eight," he corrected with a smirk, wrapping a lean arm around my waist and pressing a kiss on my shoulder.

"You're not tired?"

"Not a bit," he murmured between kisses. "Forgive me, but I've gone over a century without knowing this sort of paradise and now that I've finally found out what all the fuss was about, I don't think I ever want to stop."

I laughed and hooked my arms around his neck.

"That's good," I said as I kissed him back. "Because I'm nowhere near tired."

"You're amazing," he mumbled against my skin, his chilly breath sending shivers down my spine.

"Compared to who?" I asked, tracing words and symbols across his chest as we lay there on the hardwood floor, utterly exhausted.

He glanced down at me and widened his eyes slightly when I raised an eyebrow at him.

"You're the only one, Bella," he said carefully, realizing that he was treading on dangerous waters, and I laughed lightly. Nothing could kill my good mood.

"I know," I sighed contentedly and snuggled closer. "For the record, you're not so bad yourself."

I suddenly found myself pinned down to the floor with a virile Edward hovering inches above me.

"Not so bad?" he grinned, his light eyes glittering.

"You know," I prodded him on, leaning up on my elbows as I stared him down. "Compared to the endless - "

He shut me up with a kiss and I laughed against his lips.

The cold ache in my stomach started when I turned to look at his profile as he stared at the ceiling with a permanent smile on his lips. The clock at the far end of the room read 3:04 and in less than three hours, he would be standing in the middle of the field, facing five vampires intent on destroying him.

Don't worry, I tried to tell myself. He wont be alone.

But the horrible throbbing wouldn't subside, no matter how much I tried to push it away.

I anxiously smiled when he turned to face me, trying to hide all traces of the thoughts running through my mind, but he must've caught a hint of the longing in my eyes because his forehead furrowed and he reached over to brush some errant strands of hair away from my face.

"What's the matter?" he asked, softly, his eyes searching my features.

I reached up to touch his hand and pressed his palm flat against my cheek.

"I love you," I forced out, not answering his question.

A happy, contented smile replaced the worried look and he brushed his thumbs over my cheekbones.

He didn't say anything, just moved his shining orbs over my face, lightly outlining the slowly darkening shadows under my eyes. I glanced down briefly, holding my left hand up, watching as the topaz shone glittered in the light.

I moved the hand so that my ring was right next to Edward's matching eyes. Without a word, we both moved closer to each other at the same time, our lips meeting, arms entangling, legs entwining.

Something was different about this time. Something different from the initial urgency, then the playful moments. Something so deep that we were both rendered speechless as I raked my nails down the rippling muscles of his abdomen, took him in my hands, leaned closer.

Something so beautiful as his eyes closed and his neck strained, hitting the floor as he rolled to his back.

When we met this time, we were desperate. It was no longer about a euphoric rhythm or a coming together of two bodies. It was something raw, carnal, and so instinctive of the creatures we were that all I could do was blank out all other senses and focus on the feel of him under me, filling me, the smell of his sweet, sweat-less body, the sounds of low growls and deep moans, the sight of his face in rapture, the taste of his tongue, his mouth, his crystal skin.

There was no music, no rhythm, no time.

No softly spoken words or whispered names.

I barely felt the impact of the hardwood against my shoulder blades as he switched our positions and brought us to completion.

We were laid out bare for the world, sacrifices in the afternoon sun. And when he collapsed on top of me and I came back to the cold, dark earth after a rendezvous in heaven, we curled against each other and closed our eyes. The silence of our bodies lulled us to a place where there was no sleep, only calm.

Before we knew it, there were three sharp raps on the door.

"Meeting downstairs in three minutes!" Alice's voice sang through the doorway.

I sighed and half-heartedly listened to her light steps as she danced down the hall and proceeded to knock on what was probably Rosalie's door.

Edward looked at me and grinned.

"It really happened, didn't it?" he asked softly, his voice almost as light as Alice's, lined with velvet and silk and something irresistibly alluring.

"I think it did," I whispered back, clinging onto his hand and squeezing it for all it was worth.

He paused for a moment, then hesitantly asked, "Did you regret it?"

Regret it?

My instinctive reply was no. And yet, I stopped to think. Did I really regret it? I'd never paid much mind to it until Edward stepped into my life and even then…

"No," I answered truthfully. He seemed relieved as he looked back up to the ceiling.

Suddenly, he frowned and turned back to me.

"Everybody knows," he muttered, seeming perturbed but not entirely annoyed.

I felt like blushing when I realized what he meant. Everybody knows! I buried my face in my hands, horrified.

"How?" I asked, but as soon as the syllable left my mouth, I knew the answer.

Edward gave me a pointed look and I groaned, pressing the heel of my hands into my eyes.

"We weren't exactly quiet," he replied, laughing. "And then there's Alice. Who knows what rubbish she fed them all."

"Please don't remind me."

"It's really nothing to be embarrassed about," he pulled my hands away from my eyes and peered down at me before smirking, "Rosalie and Emmett go at it all the time. Sometimes, it gets so noisy we all have to go on an outing to get away from the sounds."

I wrenched my hands out of his grasp to cover my ears.

"Too much information," I grumbled, glaring at him.

"And don't get me started on Alice and Jasper," he teased. I made a face and moved to roll away, but he trapped me with his arms.

When he opened his mouth again, I interrupted him.

"If you say anything about their sex lives or even so much as mention Carlisle and Esme, I'm canceling our engagement," I threatened. His mouth instantly snapped shut, but the amused gleam didn't leave his eyes.

"Well, that would be unacceptable, wouldn't it?" he smiled and leaned down to gently press his lips to mine.

What started out as a chaste kiss quickly became suddenly more, until -

"If you two aren't out of there in one minute, exact, I'm going to tell everybody what Edward's face looks like when he …"

"We're coming!" Edward growled, lifting his head up and glaring at the closed door.

"Better not be," she giggled suggestively before sauntering off.

Edward groaned and ducked his head down, resting his forehead on my shoulder.

"When this is all over," he said, his voice muffled against my skin, "I plan to haul you into this room and not leave for a year. This, I promise you."

He pushed himself up and stretched. I bit my lip, trying not to look at his muscled body as he moved about the room, picking up various items of clothing.

I wrapped the duvet around myself as I looked around for my clothing.

"I don't think this is reparable," I heard Edward mutter as he picked up the remains of his button-down shirt, scrutinizing it with squinted eyes.

I stifled my laughter and shook my head.

When Edward and I walked into the living room hand in hand, we were greeted by low whistles and a vulgar catcall from Emmett. I ducked my head, wishing I could disappear on the spot.

"About time, man," Emmett laughed at our expense, leaping to his feet and punching Edward good-naturedly on the shoulder. Edward scowled.

"Leave them alone, Em," Rosalie chided, rolling her eyes and dragging Emmett back down on the sofa.

"What?" Emmett asked, looking somewhat confused, "It's a big deal! He just lost his virgini-"

Rosalie clamped a hand over his mouth, muffling the rest of his words.

"Sorry," she gave me a sheepish smile and jabbed her husband in the ribs.

A silky laugh turned my head and I saw Tanya leaning against the wall, eyeing me and Edward with a raised eyebrow.

"Better than Ann Rice?" she asked in a smooth, knowing voice.

Alice and Rosalie grinned along with her as everybody turned towards me.

"Oh Gods," I groaned, spinning around and pressing my face against Edward's chest.

It was nearly 5:30pm and the air was sizzling with energy. The tension and the impending sense of danger loomed ahead, sugarcoated by laughs and thinly veiled jokes.

The lines in everybody's faces were evidence - the subtle dull eyes, the set jaw concealed with a wide smile. The spring in Alice's steps were nonexistent, though she held herself in the same light and airy way, dancing gracefully across the room and dropping down next to Jasper, who turned his head to whisper something in her ear.

Rosalie's hand stayed in Emmett's and once in a while, they would look at each other and smile adoringly.

When Carlisle stepped into the room, we all fell silent, waiting apprehensively.

"Well," he cleared his throat, giving us a reassuring smile. "I contacted Sam and they're already assembling. They're expecting Rosalie and Alice to meet them at their territory in about fifteen minutes."

He paused to look at them.

"You know the rules," he asked slowly.

"Yes," they both nodded, serious expressions frozen on their faces. Rosalie couldn't mask the disdain in her eyes at the thought of waiting with werewolves. It looked almost as if she could already sniff out their bitter scent and it didn't please her.

Carlisle turned to me.

"Jacob will be here shortly to wait with you and Esme," he repeated the plans we made just a few days ago. "He will know when the fight has started and only then will you join us. Remember, if any one of them senses your presence…"

"I understand," I interrupted him with a soft, steady voice. My stomach churned and Edward's hand tightened around mine.

Carlisle held my gaze for a moment before slowly nodding. I had never seen him look so tired.

"Well," he kept nodding, briefly meeting the eyes of everybody in the somber room. "The rest of us know what to do, I suppose."

"We'll kick some butt, huh?" Emmett joked, but the strain was evident in his throaty voice. There was a tiny wave of scattered laughter in the room before silence overtook us again.

I focused on the cold, marbled fingers interlocked with mine, the pad of the thumb rubbing across my skin in soothing circles.

Oh Edward.

I can't lose you.

It was too soon.

Too sudden.

Alice was gripping Jasper's hand like a lifeline and Rosalie's lips were locked against Emmett desperately, as if it were the last time they would ever see one another. Carlisle and Esme had retreated to their room as Tanya stood listlessly at the edge of the porch, staring out into the rapidly setting sun.

I looked back at Edward and swallowed, trying to stop the humming of adrenaline. Or was it even that? I had no live heart yet it felt as if it had never beat faster.

"Please be careful," I choked out, scrunching the edge of his shirt in my fists.

"Don't worry about me," he held my shoulders, leaning back so he could look at me. "I'll be fine."

Emmett pushed away from Rosalie and disappeared out of the door, not saying a word. Rosalie staggered backwards, pressing her hands to her lips as if she were about to cry. Jasper was walking backwards, trying to loosen Alice's vice-like hold on his hand as she kept shaking her head.

They were already out into the open and I knew that Edward would be with them soon.

"I love you," I told him as he started removing my hands from his shirt.

"I love you so much," I repeated franticly, letting go of the material and jerking his head down to mine.

He didn't respond to the kiss at first, but slowly, I felt his lips move. One kiss, two kisses, he pushed me back.

"Don't say it like that," he said harshly, sending me a fierce look. "Say it when I get back."

Then he was out the door.

Tanya glanced back at the three of us standing in the parlor and gave us a rueful laugh.

"That was pathetic," she snorted.

Rosalie raised her head and glared.

"Save it, bitch," she snarled at the other blonde. Tanya gave her a short salute and a condescending sneer.

"Whatever, whore."

And they both smiled as Tanya started walking away.

I couldn't pay attention to anything else as I saw Edward's tall, lean form moving away, wondering why I felt as if a piece of my heart had just been ruthlessly hacked at. I contemplated the empty feeling inside and grasped at something, anything, to fill up the gaping hole.

Suddenly he turned around.

"Bella!" he called, his voice echoing across the football field between us.

I stepped forward, eager to hear him one last time.

"Be safe," he instructed, then turned around and started running.

Don't cry, don't break down, stay strong, I repeated to myself again and again.

The hazy orange of the sunset washed over me and I never felt colder. My back fell against the doorway and I slid down to the floor.

Keep him safe, I prayed to every single god in existence. Please keep him safe.

---------------------------------------------------

Author's Note: Blegh. I told myself I'd finish this before Eclipse came out, but things didn't work out the way I planned. There's only one really long chapter left and an epilogue. Hopefully, people will still want to finish this even after reading Eclipse.

[spoiler warning - don't read on if you haven't read eclipse]

..

....

Okay, my thoughts on the new book in comparison to Burn Beautiful. I'm rather pleased to say that many of the things that happened in Eclipse paralleled to what I predicted in Burn Beautiful.

1. The Cullens and the werewolves joined together against a common enemy.

2. The common enemy did include a rogue vampire clan started by Victoria. In Eclipse, she was the leader - but in BB, her rule was usurped by the Aurelians and I couldn't care less, because I still think Dorian's awesome =].

3. Edward and Bella totally want each other, haha. Except Ms. Meyer refrained them from actually taking the next step.

4. The Volturi did make a brief appearance in both of our stories!

5. Bella accepted Edward's proposal - finally.

The main difference between our stories was that in mine, Bella actually changed into a vampire.

The one thing I DID NOT expect, however, was the Bella and Jacob development in Eclipse. And I really don't want to say anything more to that matter because I'm still not sure what to think of it. All I know is that I like Jacob even more and really don't want him to be hurt. I feel like jumping into the book and screaming "I'm here, Jake!! Fall in love with me!!" haha.

Needless to say, after reading Eclipse, it'll be very difficult for me to continue writing this, since Stephenie Meyer's writing is so much better than mine and it's hard to get HER developments out of my head.

One thing, though... I do think that the Bella that matured in my story took a very different turn than the Bella in her story and I can safely see them as two completely (or not so completely) different people and regard the Bella I wrote as "my" Bella and the Bella in Eclipse as "Her" Bella or the "Original" Bella. The reason I'm saying this is because I've come to like the Bella I've written far more than the original character, NOT because I think that I'm in any way superior to Stephenie Meyer, but because I've come to see "my" Bella as my own character ... which means that it will be close to impossible for me to write anything set after Eclipse.

Burn Beautiful has become so real to me that when I was reading Eclipse, it felt as if I were thrown into a completely different world - as if I were reading something completely apart from the original series. I think it's because I put way too much effort into Burn Beautiful, and because of that, everything else Meyer writes will just... not be the same.

She's a much better author than I am, for sure, but I just can't see the characters the same way anymore! I think that's the big problem with writing Fanfiction. Your fantasies become what you wish would happen and when your wishes don't come true, you become disappointed.

And that was what Eclipse was for me. It was almost as good as what I wanted it to be... but in the end, it was just a disappointment. I did not get the sense of satisfaction and/or closure that I wanted to have.

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End spoilers/author's note.

Next chapter will hopefully be out before I leave for NYC & college!