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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! :)

11. Everything You've Ever Wanted

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__Chapter Eleven__
Everything You've Ever Wanted

Bella's POV

Only chaos has the potential to turn into something.

Sometimes that something is what you were expecting. Sometimes it isn't. The only thing you can tell for sure is that whatever the something turns out to be, it has to be the only possible and therefore inevitable ending of the beginning.

And so it was the destiny of all the vampires of the planet to not find the girl whom they so feverishly sought.

We returned home soon after our failure—we grabbed a thrashing Rosalie from the woods and called our parents with the news. They were very sorry that we had lost Dorothy, of course, but they could nevertheless not quite hide their joy when they heard we were heading home again. Carlisle especially, though always so diplomatic, could not cover his relief.

At home Rosalie locked herself into her room and refused to talk to anyone for three days. Eventually she allowed Emmett to join her in sulking, and finally the rest of the family, with me as the only exception. Our relationship was back at square one—another perfect circle had been completed.

What happened to the others? I couldn't be sure. Some gossip had reached my ears: apparently, the Volturi had stayed to rake the woods only to find nothing at all, and some other rumors stated that Jane had been in quite a state when she was finally dragged back to Italy with the rest of her crew.

Another, though exponentially less probable rumor was that Demetri had been the one to call the shots, and that he'd sent everyone home before they even had time to go through all the evidence.

But it was only gossip, and what had my mother always told me? "You can't trust the grapevine."

Though the outside world remained but a bag of rumors, the changes within my family were factual and irrefutable. Rosalie… well, she would now carry one more scar on her beautiful, flawless face. I'd formed a special bond with her husband as of late, so even though I never actually saw her, I was still constantly informed of her condition. Emmett and I were like partners in crime; we shared the same secret and tried to carry each other's burdens as well as we could.

To my great surprise the rest of the family took it quite well. Jasper was bitter for only a few days before he started talking normally to me again, mostly due to Alice's evident delight to have the family whole again. Esme and Carlisle were virtually thankful for our betrayal, so I found no resentment there.

The person who surprised me the most was Edward.

When we'd first returned home he had hardly spoken to me, evidently peeved about my reserve. He didn't say a single word during the first night, and though we shared a room, we didn't touch each other once in the dark hours of the night.

But just as I was feeling so despaired that I was about to burst, he calmed down.

Oh, he was still suspicious, I could tell. But he stopped asking about the matter and starting talking to me naturally again. It was already on the third day that he started to kiss me, and on the third that we did more. After a week it was as if nothing had ever happened between us.

I contemplated confessing everything to him—not that he didn't already know—but feared his response. What if he was only hoping for a confirmation to his doubts and was ready to start searching again the minute he received it? I decided not to tell him until I was absolutely positive that Dorothy had permanently disappeared.

The search for that verification then became my topmost pastime.

I was constantly outside, either hunting or running, and always alone. The duty lay heavy on my shoulders, as I knew that if she came I would have to react immediately or I would endanger her again. I had given her our address in the hopes of offering a safe hideout, but my good intentions were darkly shadowed by the fact that there were at least three vampires there who would gladly capture her at the first chance they got. I hadn't been thinking when I'd passed her that note; surely the last thing she needed right now was to come to me when she could be safe?

Once a few weeks had passed, I started hoping that she'd ignored my note and wouldn't come at all. Still, the possibility of her turning up was too big to give me any slack and I was obliged to carry on with my rounds.

It was just when I was starting to give up with inventing new excuses when she finally arrived.

I was on the west side of our home, a good five miles away from any hostile vampires. Far enough to hope that Edward hadn't heard her yet. I quickly threw my shield over Dorothy and ran in the direction of her nut-like scent. She smelled of peanut butter, I noticed and stifled a giggle. Peanut butter and fruity jam.

Running fast so she wouldn't get too close to the house, my approaching footsteps seemed to alarm her for she froze on her heels, clearly mulling over whether to run or hide. I quickly whispered a reassurance—a chase was the last thing I needed—and slowed down.

Finally I detected her shady figure among the bushy ferns. The expression on her face switched from panic to relief in an instant when she realized who I was.

"It's you," she whispered. "Bella."

She said my name as if it belonged to an angel.

Not wanting to scare her, I halted a few feet away. "It's better to stay away from the house," I warned her. "The others are there."

Dorothy's eyes widened. She hadn't been expecting anyone else, I realized.

I tried to calm her. "We should be fine if we stay here," I added with a small smile.

She nodded and cast her eyes to the ground, shifting from one foot to the other. Was it nervousness? Well, I couldn't blame her. She was practically in the lion's den.

"I wish I could invite you over. My family is really quite nice, you know, and the most of them would love to have you as our guest. But…"

"…they're not safe," Dorothy concluded sadly and closed her eyes. I started internally at the sound of her voice—it was much more childlike than I'd been expecting.

I smiled at her unhappily, wishing once again that I could trust my family enough to let them help her.

"But I can help you," I told her, answering both her silent question and my own thoughts. "You'll need to stay on the down-low for a while, just until things have settled down enough. Nobody knows what you look like, so you should be all right if you use a different name. Head north, and try to blend into the crowd. Rent an apartment… ah, here. Have this."

But Dorothy shrank back from the bundle of money that I stretched out for her.

"I… I couldn't possibly…" She looked at the dollar bills as though they were immensely precious diamonds.

I shook my head and smiled. She greatly reminded me of someone I knew.

"It's okay. Nobody here will miss it. Trust me." I winked.

Dorothy hesitated for a moment, but finally reached out for the money and slipped it into her black jacket's pocket. She murmured me her thanks.

We were silent for another long moment, and her unease grew with each of them. I sighed; I knew I had to let her go before somebody would find us. As much as I wanted to help Dorothy, I had to admit that this was the most I could do for her. The best thing she could do right now was disappear.

"You should go now," I told her, smiling when she looked up from the ground to meet my eyes. Her wine-red irises were encircled by a set of perfect black eyelashes. Her forehead wrinkled.

"You've been so very kind," she said in a quite voice, still not moving from the spot. She hesitated for a moment before she spoke again. "Words aren't enough to express my gratitude. But… there is a way I can repay you."

I understood immediately.

My mouth hung open in shock as I took in her unspoken offer. I hadn't been expecting it, and I definitely hadn't been hoping for it, so the thought had never crossed my mind. During the chase I had been too resolved with trying to keep my family together to even consider it.

It was the one thing everyone wanted… and it was right here before my nose.

The realization hit me like a tidal wave.

I could become human again.

I thought about my years as a human. Though I'd never admitted it to Edward, I really did miss the oblivion of sleep and how it made all your worries dissolve into the numbing darkness. I missed the feeling of my mouth watering up when I smelled something good to eat. I missed the way the hunger faded completely after you ate, as blood thirst never left completely even when you were fully satisfied.

I thought about children. I could give Nessie a little sister or brother…

It was all within my reach.

I looked at Dorothy. She stared back at me with evident fear in her eyes.

That's when I knew I couldn't accept.

"Thanks, but no thanks," I answered, and she blinked twice in obvious surprise. I watched the fear slowly melt from her face—who'd have thought that she was so terrified of her own miraculous powers? Relief once again flooded her features.

And though it ached, I knew I'd done the right thing.

"I'm more than happy enough the way I am," I added, both to myself and to her.

Dorothy nodded, confused, but took a step back and turned to leave.

For one last time she looked over her shoulder to whisper in the tiniest voice imaginable: "Goodbye, Bella."

"Bye, Dorothy."

Her head whipped around again, but before her foot could hit the ground she sighed and turned around again.

"Dottie. My friends call me Dottie."

I smiled.

"Goodbye, Dottie."

But she couldn't hear me, for her figure had already disappeared into the profuse maze of trees.