This is an AU story that takes place during New Moon. Jacob and Bella never become close friends. Laurent finds Bella in the meadow and changes her. Bella and Laurent move to Salem, MA and little do they know the Cullen’s are there as well.
6. Chapter 6
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The Cullen’s lived on Chester Street, a magnificent, mansion-lined boulevard in the heart of the McIntire Historic District.
Their home was massive, ancient and beautiful. Built in the Federal style of architecture popular to colonial Salem, it had a huge Corinthian porch and cobblestone driveway that was at least a quarter mile long, and was set against a backdrop of lush oak and fir trees. It was much grander than their home in Forks.
I didn’t expect anything less.
Carlisle and Esme were already waiting for us on the candle-lined porch.
‘Welcome home, Bella, I’ve missed you so much.”
Esme was as radiant as ever. She gave me a hug and kissed my cheek. Esme reminded me of screen sirens from the 40’s or 50’s but more petite and far more beautiful. She looked like she wanted to cry, if it were possible for her to do so.
At her side, Carlisle came forward to give me a hug.
“Bella, you have no idea how happy we are that you’re here.” He looked at Edward, pure, genuine happiness on his face.
“Please come inside, you must be eager to see everybody.”
Emmett nearly pummeled me into the wall as I walked through the door.
“Hey, little sis! It’s good to have you back! Maybe now I’ll be able to stand being around Edward again.” He shot Edward a teasing look. Edward just smiled and nodded his head.
“Hello, Rosalie,” I said almost shyly.
Rosalie and I have never gotten along. She absolutely loathed me in Forks. She felt like I was a constant danger to her family, that I would expose their secret and ruin the pleasant and quiet life they made.
“Hello, Bella. I’m glad you’re here.”
Jasper moved towards me. I suddenly felt calm, then a wave of unease. Jasper was clearly using his gift. I instantly knew what he was thinking.
“Bella,” he had a pained look on his face, “I’m so sor—”
I stopped him before he could finish his last word.
“Jasper, there is nothing to forgive. Please, don’t be burdened with that guilt. I am here now and I couldn’t be happier.” I looked at Edward.
“You must have felt it when I entered the house?”
“Yes.” Jasper stood erect and managed a slight smile. “I am very happy to see you.”
And lastly, there was Alice.
She didn’t need to say anything I didn’t already know.
“You all must be curious about what’s happened to me the last five years. I’m glad we don’t sleep. This could take all night.”
Everyone let out a laugh. The different ranges in their voices sounded like a wonderful musical composition.
“Bella,” Carlisle was the first to speak, “perhaps you and Edward would like some time alone first. You obviously have much to discuss.”
“Yes, we do, don’t we?”
Edward led me to Carlisle’s library and we settled in for a long night.********
For a while we just stared at each other.
Vampires are very good at this. I was perfectly content to sit here all night and stare at Edwards dazzling face but I knew we had to get down to business.
I looked down at the floor, my hair falling around my face.
Edward pushed back a few tendrils of my hair and caressed my cheek with his warm hand. His face was soft and apologetic.
Before I could say anything, Edward started.
“Alice should have told me.”
“You asked her not to look for me. You made her promise.”
I hesitated for a moment.
“Actually, I’m surprised you didn’t hop on a plane to Forks the minute she started to block you from her thoughts.”
Edward thought about this, his brows furrowed and then his eyes focused on mine.
I felt butterflies in my stomach.
How does he do that?
“Well, I did suspect something was happening. I knew curiosity would get the better of her eventually and she’d secretly check in on you from time to time. I figured that she saw something she knew I wouldn’t like and for the sake of my sanity, she tried to hide it from me. If I had any idea,” he had my hands in his now, “that you were in any danger, believe me, love, I would have been at your side in an instant.”
I wanted to cry. It was a good thing I couldn’t.
I decided it was now or never. I was going to tell Edward everything I’ve felt, seen and done in the last five years.
“Edward, the day you left, I walked through the woods for hours. I didn’t want to go home. It would have made everything real. I walked and walked until finally, I ended up in our meadow. Laurent found me there. That day in the meadow, I was entirely selfish. I got the idea in my head that if I could convince him to turn me, that I would find you and we’d be together again.” Edward’s elbows we propped on his knees, his hands were in his perfectly coiffed hair. He was so still; he looked like a model posing for pictures. His eyes never left mine. I had to tear mine away from him before I got to distracted to continue.
“Somehow I did it, I convinced him. He bit me. Laurent carried me, trying to suppress my screaming, to an abandoned fishing cannery. He laid me in a closet and waited for the change to be completed.
“I don’t know how long the whole process took. Laurent said three days but it felt like an eternity. The pain was excruciating. Every cell in my body was on fire. I begged for death. But at the same time, I kept telling myself that this is what I wanted. I asked for this to happen. It was all for you.”
I looked at Edward, somehow he looked paler before. It was the first time he couldn’t look at me straight in the face.
“Then one day, the burning was gone. I opened my eyes and inhaled. Colors were more vibrant; I could see every minute detail of my surroundings; I could smell all the fragrances in the air. It was amazing.” I felt a smile spread across my face but disappeared quickly when I remembered what happened next.
“I told Laurent that I wanted to see Charlie. He told me that in my newborn state, it would be impossible to control myself around humans so soon. Laurent tried to stop me but I was too strong and quick for him. I wasn’t trying to hurt Laurent but I had no idea the extent of my strength. I owe so much to Laurent. He risked his own life by defying Victoria’s order to kill me.
“I stood at Charlie’s driveway and his scent hit me like a Mack truck. I was frightened. I wanted to kill my father! I had to get away. Even though Charlie smelled like the most delicious meal, I never wanted to hurt him.” Recalling Charlie’s appetizing scent made me thirsty. I’ve been able to control my thirst around humans, but sometimes just the thought of it overwhelmed me. I turned towards the bookcase, clenched my jaw and bit down on my lip. I breathed in to compose myself before I looked back to Edward who was visibly uncomfortable as well.
“Laurent tracked me to Charlie’s and I told him I needed to go before I did something horrible. I ran to the woods and Laurent followed me. He wanted to help me.
“He was amazed that I was able to leave. I was so confused. My thirst was unbearable. I hunted for the first time. It was almost too easy—it felt so natural. When I finally felt full and satisfied, I felt that I was meant for this life.”
I gave Edward the most intense look I could muster.
“I belong in your world.”
Edward looked tortured by my last statement. I could see the guilt and sorrow in his eyes. Edward sat back in his chair away from me. I wanted to comfort him; he looked pained and angry at the same time.
“Edward, stop looking at me like that.”
“Bella, how could you ever forgive me? I left you thinking I was protecting you from becoming a monster and…” He was on his knees before me, crushing my hands in his. His angelic face was angled up, inches away from mine. I inhaled his sweet perfume.
“Edward, stop! Listen to me, what happened that day, I forgive you.”
“How can you so easily? I need to explain.” He begged, resting his forehead on our balled hands.
“No, you don’t. How could I forgive you so easily? Well, becoming a vampire has changed my perspective completely. There were times when we were traveling that I almost gave in to my thirst. It was so hard to ignore that side that craves human blood. Edward, I know how dangerous it is for us to be around humans. The incident with Charlie…
“After going through the change and experiencing firsthand what the smell of humans does to our already insatiable thirst, I understand why you thought it was best to leave. You loved me and wanted to protect me. I understand. It might make no sense to you, but I truly forgive you.”
“Bella, I’m not worthy of such forgiveness.” His tone was somber as he pulled his hands out of mine.
“I made the biggest mistake of my life that day. All I wanted was to keep you safe. When we got to Denali, I became depressed. I was so miserable, I was pathetic. My family avoided me. Alice was the only one who provided any comfort. I hunted only when absolutely necessary. Mostly, I locked myself in my room listening to music or spent time in the library reading, trying anything to stop thinking about you. Nothing worked.
“One day it got to be too much and I was ready to go back to Forks to apologize and beg you to take me back. It was Esme who stopped me from going to you. She asked me, if there was another incident and I left you again, would I be able to live with myself knowing I broke your heart again? She said living with heartbreak is worse than being dead.” He sat next to me on the sofa, so close I could feel the heat rolling off his body. I wanted to touch him but I didn’t want to interrupt either.
“After three years of misery in Denali, Alice had a vision. She said we needed to move to Salem. She said it would be better for all of us there. I couldn’t imagine how moving would make things any better but she reassured me it was necessary.
“We started over. We enrolled in school as freshman. When I saw you in the hallway today, golden eyes, pale skin…no heartbeat, I was furious. I grilled Alice when we got to class. Prodded her mind searching every past vision she kept hidden all those years. I saw it all, you coming here—us being together again.
“Bella, you are the reason for my being. There is nothing I love or have wanted more in my existence than you.” His hands cupped my face and his eyes were warmer than before. I’ve missed those eyes so much. If I still had a heartbeat, it would have been flying. I was with my angel again.
“Edward, I love you. You are mine and I am yours for all eternity.”
Edward still had my face in his hands and he kissed me fiercely. It was different from this afternoon. I had to stop Edward before I lost my train of thought. I needed to finish the rest of my story.
“Edward, wait, wait. I need to continue. You have no idea how hard it is to focus when I’m near you.”
“Oh, I think I have an idea, my love.” His finger trailed down from my cheekbone to my jaw, down my neck then to my collarbone, leaving me breathless. Metaphorically, that is.
“Please, let me continue.”
“After two months, I told Laurent we needed to leave Forks for two reasons. One I didn’t want to harm Charlie and two, I hated living in the cannery. It smelled awful.”
We both laughed at that. Edward looked relaxed now.
“He suggested Denali. He grew quite close to Irina during his previous stay with her family and he mentioned he was eager to see her again. I wasn’t ready to see you so soon, I wanted to get my emotions under control.
“I told him he didn’t need to stay with me and he was welcome to leave at any time. I asked him that if he were to go to Denali to please not mention me. Laurent became quite fond of me, he considers me a sister. He has been a very patient and wonderful travel companion these five years.” I was thankful everyday for Laurent. I don’t know how I would have survived on my own without his patience and understanding.
“We moved to areas that had the most ideal weather conditions: Vancouver, Idaho, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin. We never stayed in one place for too long. From time to time we would meet small covens of two to three members at most. When Laurent wasn’t around, I would ask if they’ve ever happened across your family. No one knew of the Cullens. It was frustrating but I knew I had plenty of time to find you.
“We’ve made some interesting friends along the way. Talented vampires much like you, Alice, and Jasper. It was with these vampires that I learned that I, too, had a gift. They call it a shield. I can protect my mind from others. That’s why you have never been able to hear me. I learned that I could protect others as well. I can heft my shield from myself to surround those around me. I’ve never needed to use it but if I had to, I understand how it works.
“We were in a town just outside of Bloomfield, Colorado when we decided it was time to pick a city and settle for a while. I wanted to finish high school. I did a bunch of research online trying to find a place that I always wanted to go and would be accommodating to our lifestyle year round. I always wanted to go to Boston but it’s too big a city. I picked Salem instead. Good choice don’t you think?”
“Very.” Edward replied.
“So, where do we go from here?” We were lying face to face on the sofa our legs intertwined, my free hand on his chest, his sweeping the hair away from my face.
“Bella, I think you know that I have no intention of letting you out of my sight ever again.” He squeezed me tight and kissed my forehead. I pushed off his chest to a seated position
“So…I’m your girlfriend again?” I felt awkward and ridiculous saying that. I would probably be blushing scarlet if I were human.
“Bella, you’re more than my girlfriend. How many times must I tell you that you are my life?” Edward was seated too, his face buried in my hair, nuzzling my neck.I didn’t respond, I just smiled.