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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.


4. Chapter 4

Rating 3.6/5   Word Count 3140   Review this Chapter

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. =/

Ch 4: Confessions

Flashbacks, cont.

We never got around to changing me the night of graduation. Carlisle and Esme had burst into the room as well and the greater portion of the evening was spent celebrating. Alice and Rosalie took immense pleasure in dragging me off to their vast closet and pushing me until I faced an entire wall of dresses.

"What are you doing?" I protested, widening my eyes. Alice sighed, impatiently.

"What do you think?" She asked, both hands wresting on her tiny hips. "You're going to get married in jeans and a T-shirt? Not on my watch."

Still, I couldn't stop staring incredulously at the wedding gowns. There were white ones, off-white ones, satin, lace, strapless, halters, off-the-shoulder numbers that made me blush; it was overwhelming.

"There're so many," I gulped.

"Well, of course," Alice sang, attacking hangers here and there, throwing the dresses in my arms. "Rosalie here is the wedding queen."

There was no stopping them. After they had used me as a dress-up doll for every single dress - all of which were ridiculously long - they insisted that I learn how to dance.

By then, it was near midnight and I begged off, claiming that I was still human and needed to sleep.

"Fine," Alice rolled her eyes, clearly upset. "But don't think you're getting off so easily. The second you wake up - "

"Actually," Edward interrupted her, reaching out to curl his arm around my elbow, "She wont be staying here tonight. I'm taking her home to Charlie."

Alice and I were equally surprised.

"You are?"

"Why - "

"You don't think he deserves to know?" His voice was low and smooth, tinged with a trace of hurt. I took one look at his angelic face, both eyebrows raised, half-amused, half-serious, and sighed.

"Fine," I grumbled, making my way to the door. I didn't notice the look Alice was giving him until I heard a low, angry rumble erupt from the back of his throat.

"It doesn't matter," he told her, his voice icy. "He can't stop us from getting married."

"But - " She stopped and sighed. "Fine. Don't listen. Just don't come running to me when - "

Edward pulled me out of the house before I could hear the rest of her sentence.

"What?" I asked him, stumbling a little at the fast pace he had set. He slowed down and took my hand in his, not answering my question.

"Is this about Charlie?" I prodded, staring at his perplexed face as he opened the passenger door for me. The reflexive tightening of his jaw and the way he refused to look at me told me that it probably was.

As soon as my door was shut, he was getting into the drivers seat. I couldn't help but stare at his upset expression as he started the truck and backed out of the driveway swiftly. Obviously, whatever Alice was thinking - or had seen - was bothering him.

I scooted closer to him and he automatically wound a cool, hard arm around my shoulders. His chilly fingers brushed against the top of my arm, making me shiver.

"Are you cold?" he questioned, finally turning to set his eyes on my face. I shook my head and placed my warm hand on top of his cold, larger ones. Our fingers intertwined and I closed my eyes for a brief second, leaning back contentedly.

"You know, he's not going to take this lightly," I said, keeping my voice light and opening my eyes. His jaw twitched.

"It doesn't matter," he repeated what he told Alice.

"You keep saying that," I sighed, nestling my head in the crook of his shoulder and peering up at him from my new vantage point. "But you're forgetting that I know you. What Charlie thinks does matter. To you, at least."

His lips pressed into a tight line and he stared at the road before him. I reached up and traced the contours of his face, relishing the solid marble beneath my feather light fingertips.

My fingers moved to his lips, gently trying to pry them loose. His only response was to grunt and shift his head out of my reach.

"Come on," I groaned, straightening myself. "Why wont you talk to me?"

"There's nothing to talk about," he said, removing his arm from my shoulder and steered the truck with both hands.

"Sure there is," I insisted. "Tell me what's bothering you. The fact that Charlie wont approve or the fact that I really don't want to tell him?"

His fingers gripped the wheel tighter. I heard the distinct sound of teeth grinding as he glared, his entire body rigid. Finally, he decided to speak.

"Both."

I waited, but he didn't elaborate.

"I only don't want to tell him because I know how he'll react," I murmured, wrenching my gaze from his face to the rapidly moving world outside my window.

"He can't stand me. He absolutely hates me."

"That's not true," I widened my eyes, a little surprised. He scoffed.

"Yes. It is."

It was true that Charlie didn't exactly approve of my relationship with Edward, but what he was saying didn't make sense. Charlie never hated anyone. It suddenly occurred to me that maybe Alice had seen something that …

"Was that what Alice saw?"

A pained look froze over his face and for a short moment, I thought he was going to break down. His expression shocked me and I grabbed his hand on the steering wheel, coaxing it loose and easing it to my lap.

"What's wrong?" I asked, suddenly wondering what exactly it was that he was so worried about. It didn't seem like it was about whether Charlie liked him or not.

He shook his head then sighed, slowing down as we neared the turn to my house. My thumb drew gentle circles along the back of his hand, trying to relax him. Before turning onto my street, he suddenly jerked the wheel to the right and parked along the side of the road.

The second the car was still, Edward grabbed me, hurled me against his chest, then pulled me in for a heated kiss. I was more than a little surprised and completely confused, but all coherent thought flew out the window as I gave into the toxic feel of his mouth on mine. When his lips parted, I placed my forearms over his shoulders, curling my fingers against his neck. It would only be a matter of seconds before he inevitably pulled back, forcing the thick air to come between us.

When he finally did pull back, it was because I couldn't breathe, not because of his insistent self-control. As I panted heavily, touching my forehead against his and gasping into his half opened mouth, I cursed the fact that I was human. Who really needed to breathe when the temptation of something so much better was dangling in front of them? Oh right. Humans.

"I'm sorry," he whispered and I felt the warm air of my breath flow from his mouth. Only Edward would be sorry for something like a great kiss.

"I'm not."

He pulled back a fraction of an inch, eyes searching mine. I stared back deeply and frowned when I saw something in them that I've never seen before: vulnerability.

"What's wrong?" I asked again.

"I love you," he smiled crookedly, but it didn't reach his eyes.

"I love you, too."

He cupped my face. "That's good to know."

Something was wrong. I didn't know what it was, but it was becoming obvious now that he wasn't going to tell me. Reluctantly, I pulled away and moved back to my seat. After a long gaze, he gunned the engine and shifted back onto the road.

When he turned the corner, I realized what was wrong - or, at least, what I thought was wrong.

Jacob Black's Volkswagen Rabbit was parked in front of my house and Jake, himself, was leaning against it, back hunched over, hands stuffed in pockets, and eyes glued to mine.

"Crap," I muttered. Edward didn't say a word as he parked the truck on my driveway. He got out and was helping me undo my seatbelt before I could get another word out.

Jake was already striding towards us, his gait even and sure. As I turned around to face him, Edward wrapped both arms around my waist and pulled me closer so that my back was pressed securely against his chest.

"Bella," Jake said flatly, his voice husky and rough. His eyes flickered to Edward then quickly back to me.

"Jake," I returned. He opened his mouth to say something, then shut it, looking utterly defeated. That wasn't what I wanted. I tried to shake off Edward's hold, but that only made him squeeze harder, silently shouting 'No!'

"I want - " Jake started, then looked up at Edward again. His eyebrows bunched up into a glare. "I need to talk to you, Bells."

Edward made it clear that he had no intention of letting me go.

"So talk," I told him, trying to make my voice soft and compliant, not wanting to get either of them riled up. Jacob shook his head.

"I meant privately."

Well, that was going to be an issue. I did love Jake in my own little way. He was my best friend; he protected me from Victoria, he was there for me when Edward was away, he was Jake. I twisted around in Edward's arm and tried to silently make him see all of that. "Edward - "

"No," he said, firmly, looking over my head and glaring at Jacob. I heard a low growl from my best friend and squeezed my eyes shut.

"Please - "

"No, Bella," Edward cut me off again, removing his arms from my waist and grabbing onto my hand. "We need to go tell your dad the news."

"What news?" Jacob asked, stepping forward. His face was stony and dark; I had to look away.

Edward didn't answer and started dragging me towards the house.

"Edward, come on," I tugged against him, futilely trying to free myself from his tight grip.

The front door suddenly opened and Charlie appeared at the entrance, squinting out into the dark, probably to see what all the commotion was about. Or maybe he just heard my obnoxiously loud truck.

"Bella!" he called out, surprised. "I thought you were staying at the Cullens."

"I was," I told him, then glanced back at Jacob, who still held himself as rigidly as a rock. "But I needed to - "

Maybe he understood the situation, because he interrupted me, saying "Edward! Why don't you come inside. Bella, talk to Jake, then join us later."

I turned back to see Edward looking from where Charlie stood with his arms crossed at my door, to Jake, who none-too-discreetly wore a triumphant smile, and finally to me. I silently begging him to comply and go inside. The light in his eyes died and he exhaled, slowly.

"Bella," he whispered, his face unreadable. "I know what he wants to tell you and - "

"Just a few minutes," I said softly. "That's all I need."

Reluctantly, he let go of my hand. Without a word, he swiveled around and stalked off into the house with Charlie, leaving me staring after him and Jake staring at my back.

As soon as Charlie closed the door behind him, Jake spoke up.

"So, I see you're still human."

I whirled around, an unreasonable flame of anger springing up my throat.

"What?" I hissed, frozen in place. Did he come over just to fight with me? Jacob's cold gaze softened a bit and he rubbed the back of his neck with his large hand. After a moment, he shook his head, and lowered his gaze to the floor before meeting my eyes again.

"I knew you wouldn't go through with it," he sounded pleased, maybe a little relieved.

"And I thought I told you that it wasn't your problem."

"But it is," his voice was soft, roughened. His face was reserved, carefully hiding emotions from me that he never bothered concealing before. And I wondered when he had grown up. Really grown up. If this was a few months ago, I would've laughed lightly and given him twenty years, pushing him up somewhere in the sixties.

Was he still my best friend? Ever since Edward had come back, I've only seen him a few times. During those times, we didn't really talk. There were only accusations and interruptions. I didn't want to lose him, but I knew that the only way I wouldn't would be to lose Edward. And that was something I couldn't do.

"Why?" It was an impossible question to ask him, but I did. At first, he looked confused. Then he understood.

"How can you ask me that?" He demanded. "I care about you."

"But not enough to want me to be happy."

"That's not true! I just don't want you to be too friendly with those disgusting creatures!" Jacob's voice was rising and his eyes were livid. "It's dangerous. You just can't see it. I don't care if they've got millions of treaties; nothing will change what they are. Nothing. One day, they're going to turn on you and what are you going to do then? I can't protect you if you wont even listen to me.

"And you think I don't want you to be happy?" he continued, truly outraged. "You think I couldn't see what that idiot in there did to you? You think I could stand you unhappy like that? That's what he'll keep doing to you, Bella. He'll leave, he'll hurt you, then he'll come back and for a few days, you'll think it's all better, and then he'll do it all over again. That's what people - creatures - like him do! They hurt. That's all they know how to do."

I stared at him, shocked, as he ranted into the stiff night. For a few seconds, he paused, taking deep breaths and trying to reign in his temper. He seemed to be struggling with himself, slamming down the urge to change in front of me.

"Bella," he said, softer and more controlled this time. "I would never hurt you."

I hated seeing his face so anguished. I knew he'd never hurt me; God knew how much I've hurt him. And just by being with Edward… it must have hurt him so much.

"I know."

My voice cracked and with a howl, he whirled around and punched the trash can at the end of the driveway, sending it flying down the street. I flinched at the crashing sound of his solid fist on the metal.

"I'm sorry," I whispered. It took him all of two seconds to run to me.

"You don't have to be," his whisper was harsh. Vehement. I shook my head. I knew I had to be.

I never associated Jake with silence, but the entire minute of hushed tension that lapsed told me more than millions of words ever could. He was the first to break it.

"Bella…"

"You don't understand."

He straightened and fisted his hands. "You're right. I don't. I don't know how you could associate yourself with the blood-suckers after all we've been through. All of us; Sam, Embry, Paul, the entire pack. We risked our lives for you. How could you betray us like that?"

"You don't know anything, Jake," I said, too tired to talk and argue.

"That's - " he stopped and breathed in deeply. A scowl overtook his features and I realized that Edward must have stepped out of the house again.

"I need to go," I sighed. "Maybe I'll see you later." Not likely.

I started to turn away, eager to feel Edward's protective arms around me, when Jake suddenly seized my elbow and crushed me against his chest. Before I could push off, there was a terrible snarl coming from behind and a rapid gust of wind as Jacob tumbled to the pavement. Powerful, cold arms held me steady before I could fall and I realized that Edward was next to me, growling and flashing his blinding teeth at the figure huddled on the ground.

"I thanked you before for taking care of her while I was away," Edward's voice, directed to Jake, was ice cold, making my hairs stand on end. "But now I'll have to ask, or rather, demand, that you stay away from her."

I would have protested, but I was too surprised - at Jake's attack and Edward's angry growl - to do much more than widen my eyes.

Jake rose to a crouching stance, slowly, with a steady, low snarl.

"She's my friend and you can't make me stay away," he sneered.

A few seconds passed and the only sounds in the air were the warning rumbles in both of their throats.

"She's my fiancé and trust me: I can."

Jake's eyes widened in surprise.

I froze.

Edward stared at Jacob, coldly.

And a cough interrupted the moment for all of us.

"I'm sorry," my father's voice rang out from the front door. We all turned to stare at him. "What did you say?"

Author's Note:

First thing: I adore Jacob. It might not exactly show in this chapter, but I really believe he's a character that loves and cares about Bella. He's just reacting as he should - protective, a little jealous, trying to get her to see his end of it - and things get a little out of hand. This isn't a Jacob bashing story; not by far. I just took the elements I read from Twilight and New Moon and tried to see where it would naturally bring the characters, and this is where I saw Jacob and Bella's relationship going. She doesn't want to lose him, he doesn't want her with the vampires, and things don't work out.

This isn't the end of Jacob, either. Remember, in the beginning of this story, Bella was in the process of changing into a vampire, so the role Jacob and the werewolves play will be quite large.

Second (and last) thing: Some of you might be frustrated with me… I'm even frustrated with me. Burn Beautiful's going a little bit slower than I intended, but I saw these events as necessary to explain before the end of Bella's transformation. By the next chapter, everything should come full circle and we'll go back to the present time: after her change. That's when the real fun begins.

Thanks, thanks, thanks to the people who've reviewed. Criticism is always welcome. I always want to get better.