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Everchanging Destiny

Summary:
Bella and Edward continue their relationship as a vampire and a human. This story takes place after Breaking Dawn but not as you would expect it to. There are the usual threats of other vampires trying to get to Bella and ruin the Cullen family.


Notes:


10. Chapter 10: Meadow

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Chapter 10: Meadow

It had been a peaceful , surprisingly normal month after the college vampire clan had left Washington and headed back to Alaska. All signs of summer were gone and fall had officially arrived. School was going good, Charlie had the ok from Carlisle to go back to work full time, Edward was still resisting my attempts to seduce him and Alice was going full steam ahead with our Christmas Eve wedding plans. I had even managed to pick up a part time job at Larson’s Photo Studio right next to the diner. The pay wasn’t anything to write home about but I was learning a lot and really enjoying myself while I was there.

It was Friday afternoon when I had to say goodbye to Edward for a couple of days. He was going to go out of town with Emmitt to do some hunting. Winter was approaching and Emmitt wanted to get his grizzly bear fix before they went into hibernation. It had also been a while since Edward hunted some mountain lion so I insisted that he go. I had to work and do a photography class assignment over the weekend so I would be busy anyway.

After school Edward dropped off Alice and Jasper and then brought me home. He was supposed to meet up with Emmitt around 5:00 so he had a little time to kill. I was glad I had the opportunity to spend some alone time with him before he left. Even though I wanted him to go, I was going to miss him terribly. It had been a while since we had been apart for more than a couple of hours.

We went up to my room and I grabbed him and slammed him down on the bed so he was lying beside me, “I am going to miss you.”

He smiled and his overpowering, amazingly intoxicating scent made me feel drunk, “That is good to know because as it turns out, I am going to miss you as well.” His icy fingers were gently rubbing my cheek.

“So are you looking forward to bagging your mountain lion? It has been a while.”

He laughed, “I have to admit I am looking forward to it but at the same time I am not looking forward to leaving you. You know I am always anxious when I am away from you.” He brought out the one eyebrow lift I loved and dreaded at the same time. “With your uncanny ability to find trouble even in the safest of situations, I always worry if I am going to come home and find you in one piece.”

“Can’t we say goodbye just once without you reminding me what a klutz I am? It is really getting old.”

“I wish I could but worrying about you getting hurt is part of the package with you. And it isn’t like what I am saying is somehow untrue now is it?” He grinned his half grin that drove me crazy.

“Fine.” I felt defeated. I knew he was right and I couldn’t deny it.

“You don’t have to say it like that,” he smiled. “While it does make it harder to keep you safe, your clumsiness is part of what makes you so endearing. You are perfectly flawed. Every part of you, the wonderful parts and the not so wonderful parts, like your stubbornness, makes you my amazing Bella. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

I don’t know why after all this time I still blushed when he complimented me but I could feel the blood rushing to my face.

He touched my face with his fingers again, “You are so beautiful when you are flushed.” His eyes, now not quite black, but not quite brown, almost a dark burnt caramel color, looked at me with such intensity I could feel my heart skip a beat. If he didn’t kiss me right now I knew I would self-combust.

His face slowly grew closer and closer, his smoldering, pained eyes never leaving mine. He had both hands on my cheeks now, pulling my face in gently until my lips met his. Our lips moved slowly and softly together in perfect harmony. He moved his mouth to my cheek, then behind my ear, kissing me all the way down my neck, then up again. I tried to calm myself as I knew it was difficult for him to have my heart beat so fast, making my blood surge like a title wave sweeping through my veins. My attempt was futile. I grabbed him by the hair with both trembling hands and forced his lips back to mine. I couldn’t control myself. His scent, his perfectly smooth lips, his hard body pressed against mine was more than I could take.

His marble hands were now passionately caressing me, up and down the sides of my body from my knees to my shoulders. I frantically started to unbutton his shirt as he mumbled “Bella…no…no” I wasn’t going to listen. If he wanted this to stop he would have to do it himself, I couldn’t. “Bella, please,” he moaned as he kept kissing me more feverishly with every second that passed, his hands still roaming my sides. I could barely break away as he was grabbing me so tightly but I managed to lower my head and started kissing his chest. His pale, cold skin was beyond delicious. I was now on top of him, tasting every inch of his chest delicately with my tongue. His hands were on my back, my shirt clenched tightly in his fists.

In one swift second, with his vampire speed, he threw me on my back and was laying on top of me, his lips back on mine moving furiously now. I reached down to unbuckle his belt but before I could blink he was gone. I was so dizzy it took me a minute to see where he was. He was standing in the corner, his back to me, slowly banging his head into the wall.

“Edward,” I said trying to catch my breath. “Are you ok?”

Still lightly banging his head, “Yes, Bella, I will be fine. I just need a minute please.” I couldn’t tell by his voice if he was angry with me or not.

It seemed like an eternity before he finally came back and sat next to me. His eyes were charcoal black now.

He put his finger under my chin and softly said, “I am sorry Bella. Are you angry with me?”

His question startled me. I thought he would be angry with me. “No, angry would not be the word I would use right now.”

He smiled and lowered his head, shaking it up and down as if he was agreeing with me. “Yes, I don’t know if there is a word that could accurately describe this.”

I knew how frustrated I was but I could only imagine what he was going through.

“I am sorry Edward, I shouldn’t have done that to you before you had a chance to hunt. It wasn’t fair to you. You know I…I just have a hard time controlling myself sometimes.”

He started quietly laughing, “Really? I never noticed that before.”

His tone was a little more serious now, “Bella, you don’t have to apologize. You didn’t do anything wrong. I am having just as hard of a time controlling myself as you are.”

“I know, you are hungry.”

“No, it isn’t that, but you are right, I am. That is just the added difficulty to all of this and I should have never allowed myself to get that close to you right now. The truth is I am having a hard time controlling myself the same way you are. I don’t think I have ever wanted anything so badly in my entire existence and it just gets harder and harder to resist giving in every time I am with you.”

“Now you know how I feel.”

He started laughing again, “I think the situations are a little different my love. You know how you feel when we are getting passionate? Well, you are just thinking of the moment, the bliss. You can lose control and not have to think about anything. I have to constantly be aware of what I am doing, how I am touching you, how much pressure I am exerting when I kiss you. I can never lose sight of those things and the more intimate we get I get lost in the moment, the bliss, and when that happens it gets more difficult to remember the things I need to.”

“I know, you have told me this plenty of times before. You won’t hurt me Edward. You never have before.”

“Bella, I don’t mean to keep harping on this but it seems you need constant reminders that this is an extremely dangerous situation for you. Just because I haven’t hurt you yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”

“Well then, given the circumstances, I think there is only one solution here.”

“Oh, you have a solution.” He sounded intrigued but was mocking me at the same time.

“Yes. The solution is you just need to keep practicing. You have two months until our wedding night so you need all the practice you can get before then. After all, practice makes perfect.” I leaned over and kissed him again.

He pulled me away, shook his head and let out a little laugh as he jumped off the bed and grabbed my hands to pull me up.

“I think that is a solution I can live with.” He laughed and kissed me on the top of my head. “And now it is time for me to go practice bagging some mountain lion,” he said smiling from ear to ear, raising and lowering his eyebrows several times rapidly with excitement.

I couldn’t help but smile at him. He was like a kid about to go to an amusement park. “Fine, be gone then.”

He kissed me gently one more time. “Promise me you will keep out of trouble, please?”

“According to you that is a promise I can’t make.”

He smiled at me again, “You are right. Just promise me you will do your best to stay out of trouble.”

“Ugh. I promise. Now Go. Have fun. I will miss you.”

“I love you Bella. I will miss you too.”

My alarm went off at 7:30. I looked out the window and saw that it was an exceptionally sunny day for Forks. I was pleasantly surprised as I thought the rare sunny days we got were over for the season.

I threw a Pop Tart in the toaster for me and made Charlie an omelet with some Egg Beaters. I would normally put some onions and mushrooms in there but since he had been so good following his diet I surprised him with some ham and little cheese. He was very pleased. After he finished he left for La Push to go fishing with Billy.

I got to Larson’s Photo right at 9:00 for my four hour morning shift. I was glad I had the early shift so I could work on my photography class assignment this afternoon. Our professor wanted us to take some pictures of our favorite outdoor spot. It took me about half a second to decide on what that spot would be. Even though I hated the hike to get to our meadow and had grown accustomed to Edward transporting me, it would be worth it. I felt so much passion up there as every flower, tree, and blade of grass reminded me of him. It would be impossible to take a bad picture.

Mr. Larson had a wedding to go photograph so he set me up in his dark room to develop some pictures of a Bar Mitzvah he worked at during the week. I found it amusing that he still used a dark room to develop pictures instead of doing them digitally but he was 65 and very set in his ways. He thought computers were stripping away the actual art of photography so he refused to use them. He still kept his accounting records in a paper ledger and sent out hand written invoices instead of emails. I had to admit that even though I was a technology lover, there was something fascinating about developing pictures the old fashioned way. I loved rinsing them off after they were developed, hanging them on the ropes with clothespins, watching how the images slowly and magically appeared. It was like getting little glimpses into other people’s lives. Some I knew, some I didn’t, but they are were all equally interesting just the same.

When I finished the pictures I still had about 30 minutes left so I cleaned out the trays and swept up in the dark room and the lobby area. I locked up the shop and got into my old truck and headed for our meadow. I don’t know why I was so excited to get there, I knew Edward wouldn’t be there waiting for me. I guess it was because of the memories that came back to me whenever I was in this sacred area, like my own wonderful photo album in my mind filled with pictures of Edward glistening in the sun.

It was about 2:00 PM when I pulled up to the trail. The sun was still shining brightly which would make for perfect light while shooting. The trail was as rugged as I remembered it being the last time I walked but I somehow managed to only fall 5 times. There were no major injuries but enough scratches and scrapes to make it unbearable when Edward and Emmitt returned and would inevitably make fun of me. They both had very different styles of having fun at my expense. Emmitt would just burst out laughing, not holding back any punches ,where Edward would be sly and subtle about it, making quiet, sarcastic comments and using facial expressions.

I could finally see the sun streaming through the trees about a quarter mile ahead. I was relieved I made it without breaking an arm but then loathing struck me as I remembered I was going to have to walk all the way back when I was done. I pulled the lens cap off of my camera and started shooting the beautiful rays of light bouncing off of the mossy trees. As I was approaching the clearing I could see an incredibly bright light ahead like someone was bouncing the sun off of a mirror or magnifying glass. It was almost blinding.

I walked up to the outer edge of the clearing and looked over towards the bright light. I couldn’t make it out at as it was moving too quickly and it was way too bright. I cupped my hands over my eyes to hide the glare and saw what looked like a long, black, satiny ribbon blowing in the breeze. It was still moving too quickly for me to see it clearly. I grabbed my camera and started shooting pictures of the brilliant mass. Then almost like mother nature had read my mind, a cloud drifted by the sun and the shiny mass was gone. What was left in its place made my heart stop. I saw his golden hair, his perfect. naked body moving rapidly along with hers. Her long, black hair thrown out behind her blowing in the wind as they kissed, both of them growling like wild animals. They were moving fast and furiously but there was no doubt it was them.

I froze. This couldn’t be happening. Please God, let this not be happening. Not him, not with her, not in this place. I forced myself to look again hoping with every fiber of my being that I was seeing things but it was unmistakably him. It was unmistakably them. They were unmistakably together.

I couldn’t think or breathe. I don’t know how I managed but I found my way behind a tree back in the woods and fell to my knees. My eyes burned from the tears but I didn’t have the strength to wipe them. I was nauseous to the point where I was getting physically sick. I couldn’t see anything, hear anything or feel anything. The only thing going through my mind over and over again was “Carlisle was right.” I don’t know how long I was lying there but the moon was shining down when I faintly heard her voice.

“Bella, oh my God, Bella!” I glanced up to see Alice and Jasper running towards me. “Bella, can you hear me? She was scooping off all of the Fall leaves that covered me. “Jasper, quick!” Her voice was high and shrill. Before I knew it Jasper had thrown a blanket around me and swooped me up in his arms. Everything was fading in and out; Alice and Jasper’s voices, the rustling of the trees in the darkness as Jasper ran by them, the sound of Alice’s car engine purring under me as I curled up in a fetal position in the back seat. The next thing I knew I was being carried into the Cullen’s house. Jasper lowered me slowly on the couch and I heard Carlisle’s voice as he was kneeling in front of me, “Bella, can you hear me?” He was shining a tiny light into my eyes. “Let’s get her upstairs and under the covers, she is in shock.”

I recognized Alice’s room from all of the pink I was seeing out of the corners of my eyes as Jasper laid me on the bed. Esme covered me with some blankets and then brushed the hair out of my face before she kissed me on the cheek.

“Alice, call Edward.” Carlisle’s words hit me like a shot of adrenaline to the heart.

“No!” They all jumped at once, startled at the sound of my voice.

Carlisle came running over to the bed. “Bella, what happened, are you ok?” He was shining his light in my eyes again.

I had to find the strength to talk. I couldn’t let them see I wasn’t ok. I couldn’t let them call Edward. I couldn’t stand to have to look at his face. “Yeah, I am fine.” I am sure there was no tone to my voice and that I wasn’t convincing at all.

Alice came and sat on the side of the bed. “Bella, what happened? I saw you collapse but I could only see trees all around you. Jasper and I had a hard time locating you.”

I was confused at all of the questions they were asking me. Didn’t they know what happened? Didn’t Alice see this coming? Did Megan ever really leave? Were all of the Cullens in on this or was it possible Edward was keeping it a secret from them as well? I couldn’t bring myself to think that they all knew about this. The pain was too intense already. I already wanted to die.

“Um…well….I thought I saw a bear. I guess it freaked me out more than it should have.” I knew it was lame but I was lucky my brain was functioning at all.

“A bear? Geez, Bella! What were you doing in the woods all by yourself? Didn’t Edward tell you it isn’t safe?” Alice sounded aggravated but relieved.

“I just had an assignment, I was taking pictures….I” I couldn’t spit out another coherent sentence. I didn’t have the strength.

“Well, the important thing is you are here with us and safe now,” Carlisle said with a kind, warm smile as he tucked the covers more tightly around me. “But we do have to call Edward. He would never forgive us if we didn’t.” He kissed me on the forehead and started to walk away.

“No!” I screamed out again. “I mean, let me call him. If he has to hear about this I would rather he hear it from me.”

“Of course,” Carlisle replied. “Here, you can use my cell. C’mon everyone, let’s give her some privacy.”

When everyone was gone I found myself trying to dial the familiar number with my shaking hands. I wasn’t really expecting him to answer but was eternally grateful he did, “Hello, Jacob?” I broke down sobbing uncontrollably.

“Bella? Bella, what’s wrong? What’s going on?” I could hear the panic in his voice.

“Jacob, I know you hate me right now but I need you. Please, you have….you have to come. I have to get out of here.”

“Ok Bells just slow down. Where are you?”

“I am at the Cullens. Please come, please come fast.”

“What did they do to you Bella,” his voice was now angry.

I couldn’t say anything. The uncontrollable sobs were chocking me.

“Bella, what did they do? Are you hurt? I swear if those bloodsuckers harmed you in any way….”

“I don’t…..I don’t have time to explain. I’m not hurt. Just please, please meet me by the edge of the woods. I don’t have much time. Please Jacob!”

“Get out of there now Bella. I’m on my way.”

I hung up the phone and walked over to the sliding glass door leading out to the second-story deck. I opened it as quietly as I could and tip-toed around the deck to the stairs, constantly looking behind me to be sure they weren’t following me. The stairs were creaking and I was terrified they were going to hear me. I took one stair at a time, stepping as lightly as I could. I was relieved when I reached the bottom and ran as fast as I could to the tree line.

The night air was so cold my face burned from the tears coming down, almost freezing in mid-roll on my cheeks. In my mind I kept repeating over and over “please hurry Jacob, hurry.” I could see the Cullen house in the distance but didn’t see anyone coming after me. Before too long I heard a rumbling in the woods behind me and then saw the two familiar bright eyes approaching me. Jacob was in wolf form. I walked over to him and he moved his head to the side, motioning for me to get on his back. As I climbed on I felt the comforting warmth of his fur below me. I leaned over and put my arms around his thick neck, grabbing his fur with my fists. He took off running and we were on our way to La Push, the one place they couldn’t come find me. The one place he couldn’t come find me.