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Angel

Summary:
Edward Cullen is a human. Bella Swan is a vampire. This is their story. It's only my second fan fiction, people. Please feel free to criticize it.


Notes:
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this... I think it'll be long, though.


20. Hemophilia

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2553   Review this Chapter

I should have seen it coming. Things were going too smoothly with Edward, what with him taking me rationally and all. I knew there had to be some drawback to the whole my-tua-cantante-knows-what-I-am-and-wants-to-stay-near-me-so-I-can-be-masochistic deal. I just didn’t expect it to be this sudden… or this dangerous.

I should have been more careful. Edward plus sharp objects was a risky undertaking in normal circumstances. Adding blood typing to the equation was sure only to raise the stakes.

But I’d thought he was intelligent. I thought when I said “faint” he would faint – and fast. Apparently not.

I’d watched warily as Mr. Banner drew closer and closer with the little blue barb, praying that Edward would cooperate. I watched the barb slice cleanly into his skin, my throat bursting into flames when I watched the blood bead on the pad of his finger, hot and wet and sweet – the sweetest thing I’d ever smelled. And then Edward chose to slump forward, slipping off his lab stool, hitting the linoleum with a dull thud.

Mr. Banner leaned forward automatically, and a low growl slipped out through my clenched teeth. Sure, I held my breath now, but my brain was still fogged from the one whiff I’d gotten of Edward before I’d been able to stop myself.

“Don’t. Touch. Him.” Stupid human fool! Edward was mine. How dare he get close to him like that, like he might take him away from me?

No, Edward was definitely on the menu. I wouldn’t let an inconsequential human like Bob Banner get in my way. Although, I supposed if I had to he could be my appetizer… No, not worth it. The main course would outshine him by far.

“Bella?” Mr. Banner looked at me, his face pale, his eyes wide as his subconscious registered what he was too blind to see: the way my eyes were black as pitch, the way I leaned forward tensely, as if to spring, the animalistic rumble in my voice.

The shock and fear in his eyes derailed me and I fell back to Earth with an unpleasant jolt. I recognized the deer-in-the-headlights look. I’d seen it many times before – the men in the alley, the first man I hunted, my mom, my dad, my brother, my Charlie… Charlie! There was a reason I didn’t kill people anymore. But my total lack of self-control landed Charlie in the trouble we were all in now.

I cut off my airflow, for Charlie. I forced myself to relax, for Charlie. I made an excuse… for Edward.

“Mr. Banner, Edward is a hemophiliac. I should take him to the nurse’s office right away. He might bleed to death.”

He relaxed visibly. “Of course, Bella. Do you need someone to help you carry him?”

No! the monster in me snarled.

I smiled tightly. “No, thanks. I think I can handle it.”

Now would have been the perfect time for Edward to start stirring. I had no intention of carrying his bleeding body across campus – not in the state I was in. I eyed him anxiously, hoping that he really was only faking, and that he would get up. But he didn’t.

I gritted my teeth and slipped one arm under his head, the other under his legs. Effortlessly, I lifted him up, ignoring the fact that he smoldered in my arms too warmly, too temptingly. “I’ll probably not be back,” I managed to choke out. Then I shoved through the crowd of onlookers that had formed around our lab table, and hurried for the door.

Once I was outside, I glanced down at Edward’s face and was horrified to see that it was in fact too pale. He looked almost as white as me. I ran as fast as was safe, hoping that maybe the wind on his face would wake him. If I was being perfectly honest, I was scared to death that something horribly wrong had happened to him. I imagined him never waking up, and felt like my heart was splitting in two.

Dammit. What was this? I hated Edward Cullen. Edward Cullen made me forget my mission. Edward Cullen made me almost murder Mr. Banner. Edward Cullen tempted me every second that he stayed alive.

I was at the nurse’s office in half a second, hammering the door until someone opened up.

“Oh, dear!” It was Mrs. Cope, the largish, redheaded secretary. She caught her breath and I heard her heart stutter when her eyes landed upon Edward’s face. He was attractive, for a human. He was also a million times younger than she. “What happened?”

I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to talk. “Blood typing,” I spat. “Biology.”

“I see.” She glanced up at me, and the light that had been in her face when she saw Edward disappeared. I wondered what she was thinking? Damn, he’s taken?

Egotistical, Bella. Also, very, very wrong. You’re not in love with Edward. You can’t be in love with Edward. You’re not supposed to be in love with Edward. I sighed.

“I think he’s just nauseated by the blood, but I would greatly appreciate it if Mrs. Stewart could examine him quickly…?”

Her smile was forced, jealous. Good god. “Of course, dear. Bring him right in and then you can get back to class.”

I laid him down on the examination table and scowled. “I’m to stay with Edward.” Thank you very little. Pedophilia is illegal, Mrs. Cope. Just go get Mrs. Stewart and no one will get hurt. I took a deep breath through my nose and winced. Edward was still bleeding.

“I’ll go get the nurse,” she said uncertainly. I glared at her until she walked out. I shouldn’t let my temper get the better of me like this, but sometimes I just couldn’t help it.

As soon as she was gone, I moved back to Edward’s side and touched his face. He groaned quietly and his eyes fluttered. I stroked his cheek evenly, and he woke. “Bella?” he said hoarsely.

“Edward.” My voice was harsher than I meant for it to be. I tried to soften it. “Are you alright?”

He looked around and his eyes widened. “Oh, god Bella! I’m so sorry. I meant to faint, I really did, but it all happened so fast. Are you… okay?”

“I’m fine. What matters is you. You scared everyone when you fainted.” I tried to say it calmly, but seemed to have failed. Realization dawned on his face, and he looked down at his bleeding finger.

“I’m so sorry.” He put his hand over his finger, like that could stop the room from smelling like honey and sunshine. “I’m fine. But are you?”

I could lie to him and tell him that I was fine. The idea was tempting. I shrugged. “I’ve been worse.”

He smiled faintly. The paleness of his skin still worried me. He seemed weak. “I’m sorry I miscalculated.”

I’m sorry I came to class. “It’s fine, Edward. We were just all worried about you. You were out for longer than I expected. You don’t have hemophilia, do you?”

“Hemophilia?”

I forced a smile. “I told Mr. Banner that you have hemophilia so that I could get you out of class. I hope you don’t mind. You won’t have to go back now.”

“That’s okay, I guess.”

The door creaked open and a small black woman came into the little room. “Mr. Cullen?”

“That’s me.” Edward leaned back into the exam table and pretended to be weak. I wondered if the nurse could feel the tension in the room.

“How are you feeling, dear?” She walked over with a clipboard and felt his forehead. “Still a little clammy?”

“I’m better,” he said foggily. I winced, wondering if he was putting it on too hard. Maybe not. Maybe only I noticed the flaws in his acting.

She tutted and stuck a thermometer under his tongue. “What happened, exactly?”

“We were blood typing,” I said coldly, the tension still oozing from every particle of my being. She jumped; maybe she hadn’t seen me. I tried to soften. “The blood made him faint. I carried him over here after he didn’t wake up.”

The thermometer beeped and Nurse Stewart looked at it. “Your temperature is normal, Mr. Cullen. Do you think you can go back to class?”

He looked quickly at me and I shook my head infinitesimally. “Could I just go home?”

“I’ll drive him,” I volunteered. “He’s clearly in no condition to drive.”

He frowned. I smirked.

“When will your father be home, dear?” she asked him, jotting down his temperature on her clipboard. “I’m sure that he could give you a thorough examination when he gets home.”

Edward nodded. “Yes. I’ll ask him.”

“Alright. You’re all set, Edward. You feel better, now.”

I lifted Edward off the crackly paper on the table and he scowled at me. “I can walk, Bella.”

“I know.”

The nurse frowned at our receding backs, and I carried Edward out into the rain.

“Show-off,” he mumbled. “Now everyone will know you’re not normal.”

“I know. But everyone already thinks I’m a freak so it doesn’t matter.”

“Bella, I can walk. I’m not going to fall apart.”

“I know.” I smirked again. “But it’s my duty to make sure you’re safe, and in my book being safe includes not falling flat on your face on the asphalt and bleeding all over and…” Maybe I shouldn’t go there.

“And what?”

“Nothing.” I stared straight ahead into the sheeting rain. “I’ll drive you home, Edward. You can ask me all the questions you want, then. I’m not coming back to school.”

“Bella, I can drive.”

“Alice can take your car home, if that’s what you’re worried about.” I had a hunch about Alice. She probably had some inkling that Edward wouldn’t be driving her home today. She seemed like an especially likely target. I needed to keep a closer eye on her.

He opened his mouth like he was going to protest, but clearly couldn’t think of a good argument. “Can I ask you anything?”

I hesitated for half a second. “Yes.” If I had to make him forget, I could. That was the last hope I was hanging on to. “Anything.”

He seemed okay with that. We were silent as I carried him to my car. I noticed him examining my car closely, which pleased me. I approved of men who knew their cars – their fast cars. He got in, and I walked to my side of the vehicle before he could buckle himself in.

“Should I ask… um… now?” Edward ran a hand through his already tousled hair. I supposed it was rather endearing. “Or when we get home? Will you stay with me?”

“I’ll stay as long as you want me to, Edward.” I cursed in my head. Why was I doing this? I hate Edward Cullen. I’m only doing this to keep Charlie safe. I’m doing this because I made a promise to Carlisle a long time ago. I’m doing this because this is my revenge. I’m only taking Edward home because I need to keep him safe. I dislike Edward Cullen… It was harder and harder for me to believe myself.

He seemed reassured by this fact. But then he blushed.

“What?”

“Nothing. Um… Can I ask a question now?”

I smiled stiffly. “You just did.”

“Oh. Right. Sorry.”

“Kidding, Edward. Go ahead.” Jesus. Were all humans this awkward? Were they all so eager to please? It wasn’t even fear. At least, not fear of the right kind. It was more… like he was trying to be perfect. Trying to get me to approve of him. What kind of fucked up, backwards game was this? Getting the vampire to approve of him. The tendency to get oneself into dangerous situations must have run in the Cullen family.

“You said…” Edward looked down at his folded hands. “You said that you’re not a bat. What are you?” He took a deep breath, and suddenly the words spilled out in a torrent. I remembered that. I remembered having questions. “How do you become a vampire, if you were human once. What is a vampire, if you don’t turn into a bat? How old are you? How long have you been… what you are? Why are you what you are? Why don’t you kill people anymore?”

I sat quietly, waiting for him to finish. Abruptly, he closed his mouth. “Done?”

He flushed. “Yes.”

I smiled. “That’s okay. I will answer… most of your questions.”

His face fell slightly. “Why not all?”

“Because you don’t need to know everything.”

“Oh.”

I flicked the windshield wipers up a notch faster. “I’m not a bat, Edward. Vampires don’t turn into bats. That’s just Hollywood. We don’t turn into anything, really. Just monsters when we’re thirsty.”

“Well then, what makes a vampire different from someone… else?”

I brushed my hand across his face, ignoring the way his pulse sped up. “Feel how cold I am?” I whispered. “Do you feel how hard my skin is? Look into my eyes, Edward. They’re not a normal color. Do you remember the night in Port Angeles, how fast I moved? I don’t eat food like you do. I don’t sleep… ever.”

His lips curved into a hint of a smile. “No coffins?”

I snorted. “No. That’s just stupid.”

“Sunlight?”

I hesitated. “No physical damage. Not like you would think. But I can’t go out in the sun – not when there are people around. It sort of ruins the whole illusion of me being normal.”

“Why is that?”

“Complicated. Next question?” I turned up the winding path that led to his long, winding driveway. He seemed surprised that I knew the way.

“How old are you?”

“Eighteen. But I’ve been a vampire for forty years.” I was old enough to be his grandmother – albeit a young grandma. That should have struck him as odd, but he only frowned momentarily.

“What happened, that changed you?”

My brain froze. “Next, Edward.”

“What happened, Bella?”

“That’s a story for another time,” I said, in a clipped voice. “Not now. Please.”

“Okay.” He was still, quiet. I wondered if he’d forgotten his other questions, or if he was trying to think about my answers. I wished he wouldn’t. The less he knew, the less trouble he would be in. I had a feeling that Edward was going to opt for trouble, instead of being safely ignorant.

I stopped the car in front of his house, and Edward made to get out.

“Wait.” I held up a hand, and he froze.

“What?”

Very deliberately, I took a breath. Edward was, of course, the most dominant, mouthwatering, decadent smell in the immediate vicinity. But there were two other scents that stood out against the sharp, mossy smell of the surrounding forest, smells that made my stomach churn and my muscles tighten automatically.

“Bella, what’s wrong?” Edward’s voice cracked and his heart sped up again. I realized belatedly that my unexplained behavior would startle a human who didn’t know normal vampire behavior.

“Shh. I smell something.”

He held very still, his wide eyes glued to my face. I turned all my attention back to my nose. One scent was very faint, but very familiar – the smell of sunflowers and… was that chamomile? It was too sweet to belong to a human. A vampire, then? Someone I knew. Someone from a long time ago. But she’d already left.

I hissed. What did she want? To warn me? I could take care of myself.

The other smell was equally familiar, but much more confusing. A human – sunshine and honey, faintly like Edward, but also apples and rosemary. A faint shadow of Edward. A human.

Dear God.