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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.


3. Chapter 3

Rating 3.3/5   Word Count 1667   Review this Chapter

Ch 3: Commitment

Flashbacks, cont.

We sat facing each other on the leather couch in his room. I tucked in my legs and inched closer to him as he buried his hand in my hair.

"Bella," he said reverently, voice hushed, and I involuntarily inhaled his scent. His breath was sweeter than usual; a sign of a well-fed vampire. A chilly finger traced the tense muscles of my neck down to my collarbone and back up again. "Remember that time when I asked you if you could have anything in the world, what would it be?"

How could I forget?

"Not sure," I lied. His finger stopped mid-caress and I swallowed. "Then again, I can't really think straight when you're touching me."

I looked up into his delicately carved out face and saw it rife with emotion. The corner of his mouth was pulled up slightly, pleased with how much he affected me, yet his eyes were swarming with sadness, frustration,… hope.

"You told me you wanted me," he murmured, resting both hands on my hips then pulling me roughly to him so I was sprawled on his lap, twisted a bit awkwardly. I straightened out and leaned forward slightly.

"And you told me you meant something I didn't already have?"

"You do remember," he scolded, half-heartedly.

"You thought I forgot?"

"No, you said - " he broke off and glared at me. I smiled innocently and reached up to peck him playfully on the cheek.

"What about that time?" I had a feeling I knew what he was going to ask.

He pulled back and looked at me, tilting his head a bit.

"Have you changed your mind? The offer still stands," his lips quirked up.

"You're all into the marriage deal, aren't you," I sighed.

"I'm 'all into' the commitment deal, you must mean."

"So that's what all of this is about?" I asked, disbelieving. "You think I need to marry you to prove that I'm committed?"

He didn't answer me and I snorted.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," I crossed my arms over my chest.

"That's not what I meant and you know it."

"Then tell me what you mean."

"You know what I mean!"

I threw up my hands, angry, "No, actually, I don’t. Not all of us are blessed with your all-powerful, mind-reading mojo." I poked him in the chest and winced at the sudden burst of pain shooting through my hand. It was like slamming my finger into a stone wall. Hard.

He blinked at my face, contorted in annoyance and pain, and burst out laughing.

"Honestly, Bella," his eyes glittered in amusement, hard rock melting like butter, "And I was afraid of handling you too roughly and hurting you. You take care of that all on your own."

I glowered and he sighed.

"I want to marry you," he said, resigned. For the first time since I've known him, his face actually looked tired. As if the life flowing through his dead body actually… drained.

"I get that. You already asked me."

"No, I don't think you do. Bella. I WANT to marry you. Really, truly want to because you make me happy and whole and … and. I love you and I want to be able to call you mine. Now please don't make me go on because this is… embarrassing."

"I am yours. You don't have to marry me to make sure I'm committed, you know. It's unnecessary."

I am, if anything, stubborn. He made a frustrated sound and I frowned.

"I know that, you silly little girl! It's not because I want you to prove anything either because that's beyond lunacy and - why don't you want to marry me?"

"It's not you, it's me," I said, quickly, then winced. Great. I managed to throw him the all-time, pathetic, cliché break up line when I wasn't even trying to break up with him. Not by far.

"I'm listening."

"It's just. Renee would freak. Oh, come on, you know everything that happened between her and Charlie."

"Right."

"And, well…" This wasn't very easy for me.

"It blew up in their faces." Apparently, it was very easy for him.

"Precisely."

He thought for a moment, "And yet, we're not them. We're us. You and me, Bella and Edward, klutz and vampire - "

I slapped at him and he grinned, grabbing my hand and holding it in place. I froze, staring at where my hand rested against the hard planes of chest.

"I love you, Bella," he said, his free hand tilting my head up until I met his eyes. "I want to marry you."

"Oh."

"Yeah, 'Oh'…" he flashed me that crooked smile that I loved so much and I started wondering what the question was exactly… oh.

"You're proposing," I accused, my voice weak from the intensity of his gaze. And I was going to say 'yes.'

Good lord, I was going to say 'yes!' Somewhere deep inside, I knew I should be panicking, but then I lost myself in his shining eyes and I forgot why I ever even considered saying 'no.' I couldn't deny him anything when he was looking like… that.

"Yes, I am," his voice was husky now, smoldering me. I was completely at his mercy. He could have asked me to jump off a cliff and I would have said 'OK'…

But wait, I've already done that.

He wasn't finished. "I even got the ring this time, too." His hand left my chin and I almost wept at the loss. It disappeared down his pants pocket and reappeared in less than half a second.

Oh god, oh god, oh god. My heart was beating in a frenzy, waiting for a marathon to start.

"Isabella Marie Swan," Edward said slowly, his ethereal face inches from mine. His hand uncovered a rectangular, velvet box and I bit my lip, trying to contain my gasp of excitement. I pried my eyes from the blue velvet and stared into his eyes. The topaz irises glittered and I took a deep breath, inhaling his sweet, sweet smell.

The pause was prolonged and I swore he did it on purpose, just to test how fast my heart could beat. He moved even closer and I was in danger of forgetting how to breathe.

"Bella," he said my name again, his voice lower.

I waited, but his next words never came. I stared at his mouth as it opened and closed, as his tongue ran over his lips when he opened it again just to closed it… again.

There was a sudden crunching sound and when I looked down, I noticed that the ring box resting on his palm had somehow acquired a large and unusual dent.

"Sorry… God help me, this is harder than it looks," he muttered and I widened my eyes, looking from the box to his sheepish face.

I couldn't help but laugh. "Why?" I teased, "You already did it once before. Surely, you can do it again."

His eyebrows came together in a frustrated glare.

"That was different," he insisted. I was about to mock him again, but he silenced me with an irritated look. "Just wait a bit."

I couldn't help but feel a little proud. I was usually the flustered one, fumbling around for the right word.

Finally, he composed himself.

"Bella, will you marry me?" the words rushed out of his mouth. His white hands manipulated the poor, dented velvet box and opened it to reveal a princess cut topaz stone resting on an entwined white gold band.

I wasn't sure how long I stared at it, but Edward was shifting, uncomfortably in his spot.

"Say 'yes', please?" he begged quietly, "You're making me very nervous."

His matching eyes were burning holes into my face and I nearly sobbed from the intensity of the moment. This was Edward. There was only one answer.

"Yes," I whispered, sniffing and wiping at the tears that were now streaming out of my eyes. His hand caught mine and suddenly, the ring was resting on it's proper finger as if it had always been there.

Edward grabbed my face and kissed me on my forehead, my cheeks, my nose, and finally my lips, saying "Thank you," after each destination.

It was painfully sweet and excruciatingly beautiful. My fingers stroked his cheek, barely touching the coldness of his skin. I wanted to burn the memory into my head forever.

There was a sudden commotion at the door and when I wrenched my lips away from his to see what was happening, four very excited vampires toppled into the room.

Well, less toppling and more like gracefully landing on the floor. It was obvious that they heard every single word.

"Go away," Edward growled, but Alice paid him no attention.

"You did it, you big doofus!" she cried, bounding over to the couch to seize my hand. I couldn't keep the happy smile off my face as she squealed in delight. "Oh, Edward, it's marvelous! I knew she would love it! You love it, right, Bella?"

"Of course," I beamed, "More than love."

Edward shot me a look and I laughed, leaning over to kiss the hollow of his cheek. Before I could make contact, he twisted his head and redirected me to his lips.

Rosalie settled down beside me to join Alice's inspection of my ring while Jasper and Emmett dropped down next to Edward, laughing and taking turns punching him on the shoulder. At that moment, I knew that they were every much my family as Charlie, Renee, and Phil were. Maybe even more so. Life didn't seem like it could get that much better when…

"When do you want to tell Charlie," Edward suddenly asked me. I froze. Well, I hadn't exactly planned to tell him anything.

"Oh. We have to?"

He didn't look pleased with my answer, but he just shook his head, apparently ready to let it slide. For now.