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Mortality Race

Humanity. Everybody wants it. Everybody would do anything for it. Now that re-transformation is possible, how far will the vampire population go in order to obtain it? And what if not everybody wants it? The race for mortality has begun.

This story was beta'ed by TRDancer of fanfiction.net. A big thanks to her! All the chapters are written out and ready to go, so you can expect fast updates. I know -- I'm shocked too! The story has been my little project for a while now, so naturally I'd be very grateful for some feedback. It's just no fun writing something when nobody tells you how they liked it (it's very depressing too!). Please remember to always review the stories you've read -- you'll make the author's day :) The POV changes quite often so you can get a glimpse of what all the characters are thinking and feeling. Enjoy! :)

10. Circles

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2643   Review this Chapter

__Chapter Ten__

Emmett's POV

If there was anyone who knew how to make a scene, it had to be Rosalie.

"I can't believe we lost her!" she screamed at no one in particular, though I had the feeling that a certain part of her anger was reserved just for me. I cringed; my own private tantrum was awaiting, how nice. "She was right there; I could smell her! We all could!"

I looked out into the trees, feeling guilty and relieved all at once. I felt wretched for having caused my wife all this pain, even if she displayed it in the form of rage. I also felt pity for my siblings who were already getting annoyed at her, and realized that I would most likely have to spend the next few weeks apologizing for her behavior. With a sigh I admitted that I was in no position to pacify her—her eyes were like brutal flamethrowers that were constantly aimed at whatever living object was happening to pass by.

Daggers? Huh! The inventor of that phrase didn't know my Rosalie.

"How could she disappear like that?" Jasper interjected in a rare moment of silence. "There's no doubt she was in the building, but she couldn't possibly have sneaked out through the back. There were too many of us. Someone was guarding outside…"

Rosalie emitted a short, humorless laugh that was so cold it made my spine tingle. "I wonder who?"

She turned to me with a noxious stare. Nah, forget noxious. The stare she gave me was practically a nuclear weapon of mass destruction.

I gulped. I had no answer prepared.

"Maybe she hid herself somewhere and waited for us to give up," Bella suggested from the side. I gave her a thankful glance.

Fortunately, her suggestion forestalled Rosalie's lethal attention from me. She cursed a few times and kicked a tree, causing it to come tumbling down with a loud crash that echoed through the empty forest. I thanked my fortune—that tree could have been me.

After another few minutes of Rosalie's raving monologue, Edward cut her off by quietly saying: "I can't understand why I couldn't hear her."

His comment silenced Rosalie for a moment, and caused all heads to turn in one direction. I tried to show no reaction, but failed—when I met Bella's eyes, I frowned. There was no way in hell she was going to talk herself out of this. Sooner or later someone would figure it out. And when they did… well, let's just say that I wasn't looking forward to it.

Bella seemed as forlorn as I was. She quickly averted her gaze to a nearby tree and pretended to examine the thick, emerald moss there, unconsciously chewing on her lip and looking deep in thought.

Edward cocked his head to the side and took a step towards her. "It's very strange, don't you think?"

The whole family loomed in on her.

I was about to distract them in an attempt to shield Bella from having to shoulder all the blame, when she suddenly snapped her head up to stare at Edward with unexpected confidence. The expression on her face was out of place and I knew it wouldn't fool him, but the certainty that radiated from her eyes was enough to stop him in his tracks.

"Maybe I'm not the only like this. Maybe Dorothy is a shield, too."

Neither Edward nor Rosalie looked convinced.

"You know what I think happened?" she continued, looking utterly unconcerned about their disbelieving expressions. "Someone got to her before we did, most likely the Volturi. They sacked her up before she had the chance to scream and carried her off while we were still searching the lower floors. By now they've probably killed her. You know Aro wouldn't want his people suddenly running around as humans, now, would he? That has got to somehow go against some ancient law that he's dug out just for the occasion."

Rosalie's answering cackle was ruthless. "Right! And I grow wings at night and run around collecting people's teeth!"

"You are not the tooth fairy," Bella muttered under her breath in an unusual bout of bravery. I choked back a laugh.

Rosalie, unfortunately, heard it too.

"How dare you make fun of me, little girl! How. Dare. You. You know what, Bella? I hate you. I always have. And you have no one but yourself to blame. What, did you think I would just let this drop? I know you have something to do with this! You and Emmett let her run off, didn't you? What did she offer you? A private session so you can have another little baby with your oh-so-charming husband, and still be turned back into a vampire to enjoy an eternity of motherhood?"

"Rose," I whispered, placing my hand on her upper arm.

"Don't touch me, you traitor! I want a divorce, now. In fact, I want a divorce from every single marriage that we've had over the years. I want all thirty-one of them annulled."

"Don't be stupid," I pleaded with her. She wasn't serious—she'd threatened me like this before. "You know I love you, Rose."

Rosalie barked out a cold, vindictive laugh. "Love me? Is this how you like to demonstrate your love? By taking away the only thing that I've ever wanted?"

"No, Rose, I—"

"Leave me alone, Emmett. Leave me alone."

And she took off into the forest, not even glancing back to look at my desolate expression. Alice laid her tiny hand on my arm and smiled tentatively. "She'll come around."

I shook my head. Of course she'd come around; she always did. I knew she wasn't really all that angry with me. Or specifically with me, I supposed. At the moment, Rosalie was angry with the world in general, and I just happened to be the closest being that she could blame.

No, it wasn't that I was afraid that she might not forgive me. I was much more worried that the whole issue had wounded her permanently. And she was already so wounded…

A wave of comfort washed through me, and I smiled weakly in the direction of my youngest brother. Jasper smiled back; thankfully, he seemed to have forgiven me much quicker than the others.

Edward, who had watched Rosalie disappear into the forest with a rather brooding expression, turned back to Bella and crossed his arms tightly across his chest.

"Another thing I don't quite understand," he spoke quietly, "is why I cannot hear Emmett's mind right now."

I snorted rather loudly. That was my lil' sis.

Bella flashed me a grin and then turned to Edward with a challenging look in her eyes.

With a voice that spoke a thousand words, she said: "Yes, it's all rather strange, isn’t it?

Dorothy's POV

An overpowering sense of déjà-vu flashed over me as I prepared to board the next leaving train with my bible tucked tightly underneath my arm.

I stared at the wheels of the decelerating train and thought of circles. During my entire life, circles had always followed me around—when I saw the trees shedding their leaves and growing them back again, when I saw the generation change around my unchanging little world, and most of all when I heard Richard preach about God and his miracles, which unavoidably somehow involved flowing.

Now I had completed another circle. From the train station to the train station. If life consisted of circles and life flowed, did the fact that I met one of the requirements mean that the other applied too?

In other words: Was I alive?

I stopped that train of thought before it could truly blossom. Philosophy went way over my head. Besides, didn't the bible say something about human wisdom and how it was not to be trusted? Thinking was not my job. Following God's will was.

The train finally came to a halt, but I still had to wait for the slow humans to disembark. The crowd was small, yet somehow they still found a way to accidentally bump into me as I waited near the door. I pulled my hand away as a middle-aged man with a considerable bald patch on the top of his head grazed my free arm. He didn't even notice me, but the contact reignited my worries—was I really safe?

I quickly examined my surroundings, which of late was becoming a troublesome but wise habit of mine, and calmed myself with the notion that nobody was watching me. But my chest was still tense from anxiety when I finally got into the safety of the train.

Very well, so I was finally on the train. Now what?

Oh, Lord, was there a reason I never had a plan ready?

I hugged the bible, my only possession apart from the clothes I was wearing, closer to my chest. Now would be a good time for a sign from above, I thought.

Then I heard the paper crumple.

Surprise swept over me, and I felt ashamed for feeling it—my goodness, had I begun to believe that my heavenly father would forsake me?

Without wasting a minute I laid the thick book on my lap and opened the cover. Sure enough, there it was: the piece of paper the kind woman had handed me. It was folded in the middle, but I could see the dents of the writing that was on the other side.

Thanking the Lord for his mercy, I unfolded it and quickly scanned over the words.

It was an address in the States.

Before I could feel any confusion, I detected a short sentence underneath the scribbled words: Come here.

I drew a deep breath.

Though I knew I was being ungrateful and sinfully faithless, I couldn't help but instantly feel wary. There was no knowing what I would find at that address. It could easily be an atrocious trap. There had been so many vampires there that night, and I remembered how unkind they'd been to each other—what if, like all the greedy people on this planet, they didn't want to share?

The gently smiling faces of my two saviors flew through my thoughts. They'd seemed so compassionate and understanding, but I could be mistaken. Perhaps they weren't as benevolent as they'd lead me to believe.

I closed the bible again. My life was at a crossroad once again, and my decision was hanging on a single little note that I'd received from a vampire I hardly even knew. How was it fair? It felt like I was constantly on trial, and still hadn't made the right choice that would free me from it.

Right and wrong. Faith and faithlessness.

And circles, the never ending circles.

I released the air from my lungs and leaned back in my chair. I'd made my choice and I needed to follow it through—maybe that was the mistake I kept making. I didn't walk to the end of the paths that I chose.

Well, at least I'd gotten a second chance.

And now I had a new destination.

Bella's POV

I was growing tired of all the confusion and disappointment around me. With Rosalie stomping off into the forest and Emmett's look of utter despair, I decided I needed a break from all the suspicious glares. I announced that I was going on a short walk.

But Edward grabbed my arm before I could leave. His eyes burned with something unfamiliar and his grip was oddly firm, as if he was trying to force the information out of me. I squeezed my lips tightly together.

"I said I'll be right back," I told him frostily, though at the same time I felt my features soften from the hurt that was suddenly injected into his black irises.

I'd half expected him to not let go, but he did.

I took off into the woods, feeling confused, weary, and yet proud of what I'd done. It had been the right thing, the only right thing in that situation. It warmed my heart to know that Dorothy was far away and safe now. Not even Edward could make me regret the decision to let her go.

After roaming aimlessly around for a few minutes, I finally sought myself a quiet spot beneath a flourishing oak and sat down on the damp soil. For the first time in days I was able to just take a deep breath and forget my predicament. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the moment of nothingness, listening to the quiet bird song.

Suddenly something rustled nearby that did not fit in with the other noises around me—a footstep. My eyes flew open.

I'd expected to find Edward standing there, or perhaps Emmett, but instead met the eye of Demetri Volturi who was staring at me from behind another tree. My reflexes brought me down to a crouch as I assessed my aggressor's mood.

But Demetri didn't seem hostile. On the contrary—there was almost something gentle in the way he watched me, mixed with indubitable sadness. He stood completely still.

"What do you want?" I asked through a set jaw, calculating the distance between me and the others in case I needed to make a run for it. Were they close enough the get here on time if I called out?

Demetri stepped out from behind the tree and crossed his hands in front of him, a gesture that showed he meant no harm. "I wanted to talk to you."

Already knowing where this conversation was leading, I held back a sigh and answered: "Go home, Demetri."

His eyes narrowed for one fleet second, not out of enmity but of something that almost resembled hurt. He shook his head. "I already know you let Dorothy go," he said staunchly, "but I wanted to ask you something else."

I raised my eyebrows. What could Demetri possibly want from me if not information?

"It's just one question. It'll only take a minute," he continued, his eyes glued on mine.

I mumbled something like "Fire away", though I knew it probably sounded like mush to his ears. My thoughts were still on Edward. For the first time since God knows when I actually felt a longing for him, a longing that he would be by my side and make me feel safer…

The question Demetri flung at me was like a silver bullet that punctured my hard flesh instantly and left me stunned and confused.

"If I was a human, would you want me?"

My mouth gaped.

"I… I don't know what you mean," I confessed, understanding but refusing to believe. "Want you how?"

"Want me… romantically." Demetri had to visibly force the word out, although not much altered about his determined stance and unwavering tone.

I could only stare at him and ignore the meaning of his words.

"I only want Edward," I told him. "Only Edward. Forever. Vampire or not."

I expected—and feared—he'd ask, "Why?" but instead Demetri only nodded and turned his eyes away from me, choosing to stare at the oak instead. His expression shifted minutely.

"Thank you." I had to blink twice—he hadn't just thanked me, had he? "I'll let you go now."

He turned around to leave. I was still too shocked to reply.

Before he disappeared into the woods, however, Demetri turned around and said quietly: "The Volturi won't bother you anymore. Your secret is safe with me."

And with that he took off, leaving me standing in the damp soil with an idiotic expression on my face.

It took me a few minutes to recover, but when I did I suddenly felt something I hadn't felt for a long time—a desire to be with the man whom I'd married, no matter how angry he was with me at the present time.

Still refusing to draw any conclusions from Demetri's question, I simply shook my head and traced my steps back to the forest path where my family was waiting for me to return.