First Vampire Act
My entry for the Novel Novice Twilight challenge for August.
Contains spoilers for Breaking Dawn. Read with caution.
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1681 Review this Chapter
My First Vampire Act
Spoilers: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
"Wait a minute," I whispered. "Just hold on. Are you -- are you talking about making Bella drink blood?" -Jacob, Breaking Dawn, page 239
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BELLA SWAN:The baby kicked again and I winced, unable to ascertain any other sort of movement. I tried to bring my hand up to rest on my stomach -- and hopefully to soothe my child -- but it was no use. My fingers twitched, but my arm stayed put on my side. I groaned in a whisper, praying Edward didn't hear me. This was hard enough on him, already. He didn't need to know that I really wasn't as strong as I acted; that my body was giving out on me just when I needed it most.
If he knew exactly how much pain I was in, there would be no doubt that he'd kill our child, whether Rosalie tried to stop him or not. But I couldn't let him even try. I loved this thing, this baby. It was a part of me that I was already irreversibly altered from; a part of me that I loved. If anything happened to him -- and I was positive it was a him, the dreams I had been having recently assured me -- I would die along with him. It would be like losing Edward, maybe even worse.
My stomach throbbed and I tried to swallow, but my throat was like sand. I wished that I could eat or drink something, but my body seemed to reject everything that passed into my stomach. Within minutes of being consumed, said food and drink would reappear and have me hunched over the toilet (or, more recently, a bucket that Edward had brought to me).
I heard the front door open and my eyes slowly traveled to the group of people that had just entered. Carlisle, Rosalie, Edward... and Jacob?
I tried to gather what was going on from the looks in their eyes, but I couldn't gather anything but excitement. Something had happened. Something good? Hopefully things with the pack had been solved...
Before I could react, Edward, Rosalie, and Carlisle were at my side. Jacob hesitated, and then slowly ambled forward to meet them.
"What's going on?" I tried to make my voice sound stern and commanding, but instead it came out weak and raspy. I tried, again, to move my hand on top of my swollen stomach, but it merely twitched and stayed still. If only I wasn't so thirsty, maybe I would have the energy to move...
"Jacob had an idea that might help you," Carlisle explained. I saw Jacob flinch, but I ignored it, waiting for Carlisle to continue. "It won't be... pleasant, but -- "
Rosalie interrupted him before he could continue. "But it will help the baby. We've thought of a better way to feed him. Maybe."
I could feel my heart beating faster in response. Help the baby? I'd do anything to save my precious son. But what had Carlisle said about it being not pleasant? As if any of this was pleasant. I laughed, and it hurt my throat, so when I went to speak I merely whispered. "Not pleasant? Gosh, that'll be such a change." My eyes darted unwillingly to the tube in my arm and swallowed convulsively, laughing a harsh, short laugh that came out as more of a cough.
Rosalie's tinkling laugh echoed around the room, and I smiled. At least, even if everyone else was against him, Rosalie was willing to help the baby. It surprised me, even, that she of all vampires would be willing to help me. If Victoria had still been alive, I might have suspected a more caring action from her than from Rosalie, the Cullen who had always made it quite obvious that she detested me. Before the wedding and honeymoon, she had begun to warm up to me a bit, but things were still strained. I was still making a decision that she resented because, in making that decision, I was giving up everything she had ever wanted.
Or so we had thought.
Edward stepped out from behind Rosalie and I looked up into his face, waiting. As he reached my side, he took my hand gently in his own, rubbing his thumb across the skin soothingly. I tried to smile but I was sure it looked more like a grimace, so I settled for a blank expression.
"Bella, love," he said, staring intensely into my eyes. "We're going to ask you to do something monstrous. Repulsive."
The possibilities flitted through my mind at an amazing speed and for a split second, I was sure they were going to ask me to kill the baby. I tried to take a deep breath even though an invisible weight had settled on my lungs, and asked, "How bad?"
It was Carlisle who spoke, this time, and my eyes found him of their own accord. "We think the fetus might have an appetite closer to ours than to yours. We think it's thirsty."
"Oh," I said, shocked. Of course it was thirsty. I was thirsty, too. But if the IV wasn't helping him, then that must mean that he needed... "Oh." He needed blood.
My mind was racing as I tried to figure out how to get him the nutrients he needed. I was so caught up in my own thoughts that I barely noticed as Carlisle spoke again. "Your condition -- both of your conditions -- are deteriorating rapidly. We don't have time to waste, to come up with more palatable ways to do this. The fastest way to test the theory --"
It clicked in my head and I blurted before I could help myself, "I've got to drink it." I nodded slightly, everything making sense now. Of course I hadn't been able to keep anything down. If the baby wanted blood then it most likely was more like Edward than I. And if he was more like Edward, then he would probably have an aversion to human food. It made sense. "I can do that. Practice for the future, right?"
I smiled; looking to Edward, tried to ease the tension I could feel as his hand stopped moving on my own. He, however, didn't seem amused, and the grin fell from my face. Even though I was even closer than I had ever been to becoming a vampire, Edward still seemed slightly against the idea. While I knew that most of him was excited for me to be less breakable, he was outrageously selfless. And because of that, he felt that he would be damning me by giving me what I wanted. I scoffed inwardly.
Rosalie started tapping her foot, and I knew that she meant for me to hear it. Obviously, she was just as eager -- if not more eager -- to save this baby.
I tried to clear my throat and it only succeeded in causing me more pain, so I gave up and settled for whispering. "So, who's going to catch me a grizzly bear?"
No one answered, and I watched Carlisle and Edward exchange a look. Rosalie stopped tapping her foot and looked down at the ground, a small frown gracing her features.
"What?" I asked, worried. Was there more that they hadn't told me?
Carlisle looked reluctant as he answered, "It will be a more effective test if we don't cut corners, Bella."
I looked on curiously and Edward chose to elaborate. "If the fetus is craving blood, it's not craving animal blood."
My eyes widened slightly and Rosalie hurried to calm me. "It won’t make a difference to you, Bella. Don't think about it."
"Who?" I asked when I could speak. Who would have to die to provide myself and my child with life? It wasn't as if there was anything with a beating heart close-by. Unless...
"I'm not here as a donor, Bells," Jacob explained when he saw my gaze drift towards him. His voice was rough with disgust, for me or for the Cullens, I wasn't sure. But even so, I felt a little bit relieved knowing that Jake wouldn't be involved. "'Sides, it's human blood that thing's after, and I don't think mine applies -- "
"We have blood on hand." Rosalie looked anxious as she cut Jacob off. I looked to her expectantly, my eyes darting back to Jake for just a second before they focused entirely on Rosalie. "For you -- just in case. Don't worry about anything at all. It's going to be fine. I have a good feeling about this, Bella. I think the baby will be so much better."
The baby. That's all that really mattered here, right? That my little bundle of life survived? It didn't matter what happened to me. I had contingency plans. Should the need arise, I could always force Carlisle to get the baby out and change me. But the baby had to be healthy. I struggled to get my hand up to my stomach, and after a few seconds, I managed to brush the tips of my fingers across it gently before my energy was gone.
"Well I'm starving," I said, trying to alleviate the tense atmosphere, "so I bet he is, too. Let's go for it. My first vampire act."
Edward grimaced, but looked slightly relieved. Rosalie smiled softly. Carlisle had a strictly professional look about him, except for the slight spark of hope I saw flit across his eyes...
And Jacob. Jacob looked disgusted. My heart was filled with pain at the fact that Jacob still couldn't accept me for who I was, even as my head tried to reason with it. Jacob was a werewolf; he was bound to find anything that brought me closer to vampirism at least a little disgusting.
It didn't matter what he thought anyway.
Everything was about the baby, now. The entire world revolved around him, like it or not.