There are consequences to a love as deep as Edwards and Bella’s and they will not be ignored. Is there such a thing as love, or is all love inherently a triumph of imagination over intelligence, emotion over the deepest most profound truth. Is love freedom or only our acceptence of Moonlight’s Shackles. [Set in AU New Moon with no Jacob.]
Disclaimer: I don't anything from Twilight, never have never will. Note to Reviewers: If you review you get a teaser for the next chapter, so if you read and think to yourself oh I would like some more post and you'll get it. ;]
What if there was no Jacob when Edward had left, assuming that Bella somehow persevered I’d assume she’d come out of the whole situation a lot differently. I liked Twilight and even New Moon, but after that it just got a little too nice for me. Everyone except for the villains was just too kind. The mystery was gone. This fic is trying to get it back. Enjoy. However I am trying my best to keep Bella from going batshit crazy either; I think it’s a progression. People are complicated.
7. Chapter Six: Visceral Chemistry
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Chapter Six: Side Effects
“So, I was just sitting here, as always.” He realized his slip immediately. With a single sentence, he had summarized his life story.
Bella blinked once, and still said nothing waiting, for him to continue. She had read once that the only way to ever truly hear anything was to be quite, so quite that eventually the other person didn’t even realize you were there, until the words became sentences, sentences became stories and stories became truth.
He shifted uncomfortably in the couch, scooting away from Bella slightly. “I was just living down here, you know.” He peeked from underneath his abnormally large lashes shyly. He almost looked vulnerable.
“She just burst through my door,” his hands flew out in front of him and Bella had to dodge from being smacked in the face. She was glad she was silent before; it was refreshing to see someone clumsier than she was. Then again, he was severely visually impaired.
“She had this look, you know, like someone who’s been playing the same level on a video game over and over and they just can’t beat it.” His features became animated and it was almost ghoulish in the ill light of the lava lamps. “She made this big deal of having me bar the door and everything. So I did. Well, I tried.”
“You had never seen her before and she just comes into your lair?” Awe and a little bit of wonder. The person who had rotated her world 180 degrees had snuck in. She wondered if Ed-, if he, had rammed through her door how she would have reacted. Part of her wondered if she would have been as understanding if it had all been revealed to her as immediately.
“The door was locked and it’s not like I let her in! She was just there.” He talked about her the way some of Renee’s friends had talked about faces of saints they saw in random patterns of sawdust and mold.
Bella had a hard time resisting the urge to raise an eyebrow. Instead, she settled for a smirk, concealed behind the movement of her arms crossing themselves. Taunting Damien was like bothering a mosquito, yeah, the bite was annoying but Bella was still worried there was some bigger issue she had yet to pick up on: namely metaphorical malaria. Well, worried was pretty much the understatement of the year, by now she was sure of it.
“But it didn’t even matter, right, because,” his eyes widened in excitement, “the door was already barring itself.”
“What?” Bella tried to imagine a door baring itself but she was having a hard time imagining the doorknob trying to tie itself into the knots. She offered him a little smile, the first one she had given a long time. It was supposed to be condescending but once she tried it on, she found she had missed the taste, the effortlessness of it. The lie became real.
“That whole bookshelf over there,” he pointed to the concrete bookshelf that held mostly physics books, and then over at the door a good ten meters away, “flew towards the door full speed, and then stopped.” He shook his head, his jaw still slightly unhinged.
Bella knew, was more than a hundred percent sure that Erin wasn’t a vampire, but she still had to ask. There was no way any ordinary human could inspire bookshelves to bar doors. “You guys aren’t... she isn’t,” Bella lowered her voice, worried that just mentioning his kind would somehow trigger her faulty mind, “a vampire?”
Damien’s face suddenly went cold all the muscles that had previously been engaged and animated froze. “No,” his voice was a potent mixture of disgust and something else Bella couldn’t define, a kind of dirty yearning, like guilt in the future tense, “Erin is not a Vampire.”
Did he wish he was, was that what this was? Bella thought suddenly, a cult for vampire ‘wanna-be’s. At that thought, Bella had to subdue a laugh. These two human teenagers were so far from the sparkling perfection that the thought of them yearning for it seemed absolutely ridiculous. Then another thought, one much darker, surprised Bella. What if that was exactly it, what if they were so far from Vampires because they were the anti-vampires? “You don’t slay vampires do you?”
“I’m going to have to reassess your nickname. Miss Batshit Crazy seems more accurate than Miss Depressed.”
“Thanks,” Bella responded sullenly, folding her arms tighter. It was cold in the room, not obscenely so, but the temperature had gone down a good degree or two since Erin left.
“But no, the only affiliation with vampires we have is by force. If I had my way we would never think of them, talk of them. They are, to put it lightly, the scum of the earth. Why would I want to dedicate my life to something that I loathe?” Damien was completely oblivious to the poison he was spewing out into the enclosed space.
Bella was very tempted to bring her trembling fist to his face. It would make a nice indent. Bella had never punched anyone before, but now seemed like a good place to start, in this crummy basement with this crummy boy telling these horrible, horrible lies.
He was completely oblivious in an absent-minded professor with a mean streak kind of way. “She was running away from one you know.” He mistook the blank fury in her face for confusion and elaborated. “That's why she wanted to bar the door. That’s why she found you. It’s what this is all really about. She was smart – she ran away from her psychopath, cannibalizing stalker?"
Bella felt the breath sucked out of her, and lowered her fist. All this time, all these cryptic words.... Were they just lies did he even know anything about them. She had been so drawn in by their warnings she had never even stopped to think that they could just be messing with her. Her own agenda had so consumed her. How could she be so oblivious? “So this has nothing to do with me. You don’t know anything about him? You don’t know where he is.”
A small part of her, a part that she had been hiding even from her own mind was suddenly exposed, vulnerable and trembling. She had thought that she was capable of any more dispair. but she realized that this whole time she had been hoping that he would come back, praying that there was some secret code in his rejection she had missed. As if the last couple of months had only been a nightmare, and the terrible thing was that in a way they had. But now she had woken up to find out that reality was even worse than the apocalypse she imagined. In reality no one cared that she was dying–no, correction–that she was dead.
But he didn’t stop speaking just because she stopped breathing. “Did I say that?” His words stank of annoyance. “But no, you’re right. I really could care less about your vampire stalker, or Erin’s for that matter, as long as they both stay the fuck away.” He noticed her smirk of victory and was quick to kill it, “But don’t get me wrong. You’re still in deep shit, Miss Crazy.”
Bella slowly unclenched her fist and decided on a simpler plan of attack: disbelief. “I don’t believe you.” She remembered how much it had annoyed her when he had refused to tell her the truth, had pretended to not know what was going on when it was so exquisitely clear that he did. “No one can outrun a vampire.”
“Yeah, but you can out hide one.” He protested peevishly.
Boys, Bella snorted privately. Did they ever age past three? “No, you can’t – they’ll catch your scent and follow you to the ends of the earth, unless they never really wanted her that much in the first place.” Bella shivered at the memory, without the elixir of the golden eyes as an antidote, all she could remember was the blood and sinking feel of betrayal.
“Well, maybe you just really sucked at hiding.” he countered his eyes narrowing.
Red eyes and broken glass on the ballet studio filled her vision followed by rage at her own stupidity. “Well, I’m not as good as you, obviously.” With the memory she saw flashes of other things, and words... thoughts, almost. But it was like trying on someone else’s clothes. Computer screens, blurry faces and a feeling in the pit of her stomach. Revenge, streams of codes, data, that to her, normally, would have looked like Japanese but seemed to make more sense than anything else in the world. It was these images that inspired. “I haven’t spent my whole life in a subterranean cavern hiding from other people because they called me naughty names in the third grade. Funny you loath vampires so much because you are exactly what they would become if they weren’t infinitely more powerful and good than you are.”
Damien ground his teeth together so tightly that Bella could hear it even as she moved to sit farther away. She was glad, not for the first time, that Damien wasn’t a vampire. He took a breath so deep that it stole the moisture from his vocal cords so his next words were almost raspy. “Let me repeat myself, since you’re obviously retarded: you don’t know anything about me.” But his eyes were so fiercely trained on hers with a deep suspicion.
“And you don’t know anything about anyone else. Here you are, trying to make judgments about love and Vampires when the only reason,” he paused and then made a show of adding a disclaimer for ‘politeness’ sake’. “I suppose that you know anything about this because someone literally broke into your life. How do you know about love when you’ve clearly never experienced it?”
Bella was amazed that they hadn’t gotten into a physical altercation yet. But Damien seemed to be aware that if it came down to a fight he would be no match for Bella. The only muscle he had developed were in his fingers, so that he could type on the key board and while Bella was likely to trip over thin air, she bet if she fell onto him he’d be crushed. His bones looked as thin as a turkey’s wishbone, and just as breakable.
Before Bella could begin to attempt to pummel turkey–boy, she was startled by the appearance of a new person in the room. She saw the new entrance through the mirror. The girl had a gaunt face, skin pale as snow and bags so heavy under her eyes that they dragged her whole face down. Instinctively, Bella turned around, but there was no one there.
Oh, God, the girl in the mirror was her. Bella waited for oblivion to descend, but strangely, it didn’t. She was just as pathetic looking as him–no she looked even worse. At least Damien looked alive.
In fact, he looked indescribably alive now, his eyes bulging even further out from their sockets as his cheeks flushed with blood, fresh human, passionate blood. “Just because I’ve never been in love doesn’t mean you have. In fact, I’m sure you haven’t.”
Bella had nothing more to say, seeing herself had stolen her words, her soul. What could she say about love? He was gone. He had deserted her. He had left her because she didn’t know what love was, how could Bella have possibly hope to keep such a dazzling creature entertained. It was a lost cause from the beginning, at least this was almost tragically romantic in its own right. Maybe someone would write a book about it one day – a lesson against aspiring towards perfection: a lesson on limitations and boundaries.
“Erin thought she was in love, too, and looked what happened to her. Do you want to know why she had to leave the room? Nah, that wouldn’t sit too well with your sensibilities, Miss Bennet.” His voice had turned mocking as it crooned in her ear, the nickname sounding dolor and insulting on his tongue. “Love doesn’t just fucking happen – you have to work, sweat and bleed for it. If love springs up that easily, than something is really wrong with the world.” His words gained momentum like magnets getting closer and closer to thousands and thousands of iron fillings underneath her skin.
“What happened to her?” Bella tried hard not to cry, tried hard not to let the words get to her. She stood up a little straighter, unable to look him in the eye, both out of fear of seeing those clouded over bulbous irises and because she refused to let his insults sink in. “Why did she have to leave the room?” Her voice was already showing the strains of pent up tears.
“Because just like you, she can’t hear her vampire’s name without falling off into dreamland. She’s–” he motioned angrily at her and then the door Erin had exited earlier. “–both of you are like drug addicts, only, you don’t know your limitations. Yeah, you might get a nice hit, a memory here and there of your one-true stud vampire, but you better be damn careful, because an OD ain’t that far away.”
“She’s in love with a vampire, too,” Bella said in wonder. “How is that possible?” It wasn’t until that moment that Bella realized how arrogant she had been about her relationship with him. Even when he had ended it with her, she had, on part, assumed that it was because of her mortal failings, because a relationship between a mortal and a vampire was impossible. She had always thought of them as special, unique. The fact that Erin could have, was even, in love with a vampire felt like someone telling her that she was being silly about all of this, that she was just another teenage girl with a broken heart.
“She’s not in love with him anymore,” Damien said the words so firmly they sounded more like dogma than truth. “That’s why she’s hiding here, from him.”
Bella felt her skin grow colder and eyes dry. “I don’t understand you.”
He must have noticed that some line had been crossed. He must have noticed how dead her voice was beginning to sound: like a plant pulled up by the roots. Or he was just taken to a new track in his mind, one drier and not tinted by anger. “I’m sorry, I’m not being very clear, am I?” He spoke this sincerely, as if not being understood was the greatest possible sin, as if this was his worst offense. Damien’s hands moved apart and he stroked the scene across the air with his gestures. “Sorry, let me set the scene. Erin is a high school student like you. She’s normal, right? Reads fluffy romance books, waits for true love, and still waits for her letter from Hogwarts. A real fantasy chick, let me tell you. But she’s got other interests, too, y’know, she is an amazing scientist – top of her school and is going to Harvard. ” His voice was more admiration than fact, but Bella believed him. There was something inherently smart about Erin, very aware.
“How do you know?” Bella was surprised at how genuine the question sounded, as if she hadn’t intended it to be an insult.
“She told me.” As if this was obvious, Bella supposed it should have been. Maybe she was the unreasonable one here. Damien took a breath like a quick sip of water and continued. “So, anyway, she goes to school and is sad because she thinks her life is normal, she wishes for something extraordinary.” His tongue whips out the word as if flicking away a bug. “Enter Captain Bullshit, Cocky-Bastard from Hell.”
“What’s his real name?” Bella whispered softly, staring at the place where the wooden supports of the futon met the stiff cushion.
“Auyer. He seduced her on a bet, to test his control. But the bet wasn’t whether he would last, but for how long. He went into it, expecting to kill her, expecting to--” Damien shook his head and then added with dark pleasure, “Unfortunately for him, he forgot a little thing called the second law of thermo dynamics.”
“The transfer of heat?” Bella guessed. She had been a good student before she had fallen out of love, or rather, had been pushed out of it.
“Five points to Hufflepuff,” Damien sneered at her, a demeaning leer twisting his mouth upwards in a scary way. “But it’s not heat that fucked both of them over, it was the particles.”
“Particles, like electron and neutron particles?”
“Yep. Up close, they look like stars. You know, the kind you win in Mario Party. Well, it looks more like glitter than stars, but glittery is way too girly.” He sniffed.
“The reason I might die is a pop culture reference?” What the hell was Mario Party anyways?
“Look, why don’t I just show you.” He grabbed her hand so hard that he pinched her, and in turn, she pulled away fast enough to give him friction burns. “Jesus,” he muttered, rolling his eyes upwards in exasperation. “May I please have your hand?”
“No,” Bella muttered. “Explain it to me first.”
“I just did, but if you really are that slow, then I’ll go over it one more time.” He smiled while he said it this time, so Bella was marginally less offended. Marginally.
“Vampires have a lot of star particles around them. I think it probably has something to do with the venom. My other theory is that it just accrues over time and because they’ve been around longer than us.”
“But what are these particles?” She looked around her own skin as if maybe she could see the particles glowing around her.
“No clue. I only know the side effects.” He had already gotten up and was heading towards one of the larger microscopes in a corner underneath what Bella hoped was a fake stuffed zebra head. “Now can I show you?”
“No, I don’t believe you. Vampires don’t get sick, don’t die, how would they have side effects?” The lava lamplight flickered an eerie red against Bella’s gaunt cheeks when she looked back at the mirror again, tracing the contours of her sunken face.
“They don’t,” he whispered ominously, looking at Bella’s face and realizing for the first time that evening that perhaps he had been a little barbaric. He was like a cancer doctor telling his terminal patient how stupid they were for not knowing exactly how and when the cells would metastasize. The patient might be stupid, but now was not the time.
“I hate to go back to the Second Law metaphor, but it works really well. Imagine that Vampires are really hot. No, that’s not strong enough... vampires are the heat of the core of the sun, and we’re–” Damien struggled for an extreme enough comparison until his eyes caught a mobile of the solar system not too far from the Zebra. “– we’re Pluto.” He brought his hands together in a parody of a clap. “Then put them together, and bang: transfer of heat from one to the other. The transfer is too quick, and our human bodies don’t know how to deal with all the star particles. Trouble in paradise.”
“Is one of those side affects depression – sitting around in your bed all day?” She asked dimly, was there really a cure to this? ... To everything? Did he have a solution? Would she just take a pill and remembering Edward would be like remembering her crush on Joe in the third grade, or Sam in second?
“No,” he answered grimly knotting his fingers together. “One of the side effects is a bond. What else would heat and a transfer of particles create.”
“I don’t understand, what kind of bond?”
“Dopamine and Endorphins.”
“Well, sorry I’m a little rusty on my neurotransmitters.” Bella replied angrily to Damien’s exasperated look.
"Same things activated when you shoot heroin, or solve a puzzle, or break a bone in a soccer match. They inhibit pain, create obession." He would have been a great teacher if he wasn't such an asshole.
"I don't want a fucking textbook definition!"
“The bond, Bella, is what you colloquially call love.”
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