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Mortality Race

Summary:
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.


Notes:
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! :)


5. Conditional Love

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2548   Review this Chapter

__Chapter Five__
Conditional Love



Tanya's POV

"You've got to turn left here, Kate."

She kept driving straight ahead, and I wondered if she'd heard me. I'd never had to wonder about that before.

"Umm… Kate? To the left."

But, driving a hundred miles an hour, we zoomed past the crossing that would have taken us closer to Vancouver, and instead took a bumpy road that led to God knows where. I raised my eyebrows at my sister—who, of course, didn't seem to notice me—and then turned to look at Garrett. He was staring at Kate fearfully, which was a highly unusual emotion for him to feel.

"Honey, are you all right? If you're intending to go on an outing, you know I won't mind." Garrett paused and then flashed Kate one of his boyish grins. "Let's go to Texas. I've always wondered what camel tastes like."

At least someone was acting normal in all this craziness. I nearly sighed in relief.

I'm sure Kate would have laughed, too, were she her normal self, but as things were, she hardly noticed Garrett's lovable attitude and argued: "There are no camels in America, idiot."

"Kate!" I exclaimed in surprise. I could understand that she was stressed out, and I could even understand any annoyance she might feel towards me, but why attack Garrett, the lovable and hilarious Garrett, who was only trying to cheer up his beloved mate? I admit, I'd never had a steady boyfriend so I really couldn't say, but from all the love I'd seen during my long life I'd come to the conviction that being rude to your admirer was equal to a human sticking a knife into his own beating heart, or a bird ripping out its wings in mid-air. Even the laws of physics stated that, eventually, gravity would take you down.

In Kate's favor, I had to say that she, too, seemed upset by what she had emitted, and apologized before Garrett had any time to form a grudge. Not that he would have, of course—Garrett was pretty much the most non-resentful person I knew. Now, too, he only smiled and accepted her apology without further ado.

Cupid had sure done a fine job there. I wondered if he'd find someone for me, someone who'd fit me as well as Garrett fitted Kate…

I shook my head. Really, staying with one man alone had to be quite tiring. Where was all the excitement in having sex with the same old person every night? What did you do once you got bored? Would the man adore you forever, or quit seeing you that way after the first century? Seriously, why should anyone even bother?

It was only when another huge bump momentarily sent the car flying that I realized which way we were still going.

"Kate, you missed the crossing—"

"Yes!" she cried out. "I noticed!"

The car whirled up a cloud of dirt as it made a strict U-turn on the muddy forest road.

I looked at Kate again, wondering if I should offer to drive. There was a hazardously large amount of trees around us, and though we'd never been in a car accident, I seriously doubted my sister would notice another car in the state she was in.

But as I caught a glimpse of Kate's expression, I saw something so determined, so crazed in her eyes that I started at the sight of it. In my mind, the passing car from the hypothetical accident turned into a truck.

Garrett wasn't oblivious to Kate's mental condition either, but he seemed to think it best to ignore it, like was usually his way. Instead, he pointed at the cell phone that was balanced between our two seats and asked: "Shouldn't we inform the Cullens of our lead?"

Suddenly the car accelerated to an alarming speed that surely wasn't doing any good to the engine. I started feeling sorry for the poor trees, and then for myself when I realized what would happen if the engine broke down. We were in the middle of a mud-spattered forest, and I had my favorite sandals on. There was no way on earth I was going to run all the way to Vancouver out here. Dust and wet dirt did miracles when you wanted to permanently destroy your shoes.

"Call the Cullens? Why?" Kate spat out.

"Because that would be fair. They told us what they knew; we should return the favor."

"Forget it. Can you imagine what would happen if Rosalie got to her first? Do you honestly think anyone else would ever even see that woman again?"

"Don't be ridiculous! Rose will share."

"You sure?" Kate rejoined in a mocking tone. The car slowed down a touch, but still continued to run amok over the thankfully lonely forest landscape.

For the second time that week, I found myself angry at Kate. She had no right to behave like this, and certainly no reason to scorn our long-time friends, the Cullens. I was starting to think that this chase really wasn't worth it. Did I want to be human again if that would mean a break in all of my family bonds? I wasn't too sure.

I had to save what I could. If my best friends were all I could keep, I would seize the opportunity.

"We're informing the Cullens, Kate. And that decision is final."

She huffed, but made no move to stop me when I reached out for the phone.



Bella's POV

"Let's go back and look for her scent. It hasn't rained since she left, so there must be something that will indicate what direction she headed. In case of necessity, we can break into their room and search there for clues."

"Forget it. The room is occupied again—if they really were careless enough to leave something there—which, by the way, sounds pretty far-fetched to me—the new guests would have brought it to the reception. And I'm telling you, that man knew nothing."

"Well, we have nothing better to do here. Why don't we give it a shot?"

"Oh please, Rosalie. You know as well as I do that it would be pointless to return to the motel. Instead of wasting our time, as you suggest, we should try to think of something more effective to do."

"Do you think sitting around doing nothing is effective? Wow, I wonder why you were alone for so long, Edward. We girls just love sloths, you know. The good-for-nothing-ness really turns us on."

I sighed inertly and sunk onto the bed beside Emmett, who had been silently laying there on his stomach for nearly half and hour now. He looked as uninterested as I was and gave me a half-hearted smile when our eyes met. It broke my heart to see my goofy big brother so dismayed, giving me another reason to hate everything about our little hunt. Honestly, what good had it done to anyone? Rosalie was constantly in a foul mood, Edward hardly spoke to me at all, Jasper was positively terrifying with his extreme resolve, and now even Emmett, the always sanguine Emmett, was failing to see anything funny or even positive about the ongoing conversation.

I tried to lighten him up by quietly commenting: "I think Rosalie's gonna blow soon." I admit, it wasn't very funny, but what other joke could I make? I saw nothing funny about anything anymore.

Emmett chuckled politely—politely being the key word—and looked down at his hands that were fidgeting with a corner of the thick bedspread. I could see a few unironable wrinkles already forming.

The arguing on the other side of the room was growing more and more frantic. It was mainly Jasper versus Rosalie, though Edward got his say in frequently enough too. The subject of their quarrel seemed to have moved from the motel to Richard again, and now that that idea had been discarded, Carlisle was the next proposal in line.

"He'll know what to do, Rosalie. He always does," Edward argued, always loyal to his father.

"Don't make me laugh. I'm here, aren't I? If Carlisle had good judgment, he would have let me be all those years ago. Wake up, Edward!"

"Don't blame this on him!"

"Why shouldn't I? It's his fault!"

"Ugh, how can you be so ungrateful and selfish?"

"How can you be so blind?"

"You…"

I sighed for the twenty-fourth time in twenty-four hours. Once Edward and Rosalie got going there was no stopping them, especially now that they were already efficiently heated up. The insults that flew back and fourth would have made excellent comedy if it weren't so darn pitiable.

"…You know what, Edward? You can just go to hell. And take your oh-so-wonderful wife and daughter with you, if you could be so kind."

"Keep them out of this."

"Touchy, touchy. I think you're trying to mislead me. I can imagine you being a little nervous about my future children. What if Nessie wasn't the most perfect soul out there anymore? Ouch, that would hurt…"

"Slow down, Rosalie. Nessie will always be Nessie, no matter how many children you might have if we ever find Dorothy. Besides, I think you're just worried about yourself. I can't wait to see how fat and ugly you'll be after bearing a dozen little naggers that'll ruin your body and keep you up all night. Don't come running to me for help. I won't be your babysitter."

Now the argument had finally reached a level that actually hurt.

"Shut up, both of you!" I screamed at them, almost jumping out of my skin in rage.

I felt my chest sting along with my eyes that were struggling to let out tears that couldn't be cried. My hands clenched into fists as I tried to somehow manage the angry sorrow.

How could they be such idiots? Surely the pale man who was now holding my shoulders couldn't be my Edward, the man I'd married so many years back in the promise of eternal love. There was more of him there now as he cradled me softly against his chest, whispering reassurances in my ear, but where had he been a minute ago?

"Don't talk like that, please," I rasped out. The image of a tired, wide-hipped Rosalie with worry-wrinkles adorning her once pretty face hurt much more than I'd expected. That wasn't the Rosalie I knew. That wasn't my sister.

From over Edward's shoulder, I saw said sister cross her arms. Rosalie had always been colder and more distant than the rest of the family, but never as drastically as this. Now there was no emotion on her face. Not even annoyance.

"We'll go back to the motel," Edward finally declared. His hand glided down my cheek, and I tried my best to smile.

Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Hallelujah."

After a moment of stillness, all of us finally started to unfreeze and were about to go when a loud ring interrupted our departure.

It was Rosalie's cell phone.

She groaned, but dug it out from the very bottom of her bag and answered. The speaking on the other side of the line began directly after the first "Hello."

By the time the caller finished Rosalie's eyes were no longer emotionless. Well, if you can call madness an emotion, that is.

"Are you sure? We love you, Tanya, we really do."

While everyone filed out quickly to the car, Emmett and I lingered back for one additional second. We exchanged one meaningful look, and then Emmett stated: "I don't want a wrinkled, old Rosalie."

I couldn't agree more.



Dorothy's POV

I looked out of the window at the sunny street, being careful to stay in the darkness of the shadows.

There was an elderly lady below the apartment. She walked down the street slowly, painfully slowly, and I wondered for a moment whether I should go downstairs to help her. But there were two things stopping me—firstly the unforgiving sun, and secondly my own binding fear.

What if that elderly lady wasn't really an elderly lady? What if she was a vampire in disguise? What if she was an elderly lady, but had been hired by some vampire to spy on me?

What if she could see me?

I pulled away from the window, and with one swift motion I closed the heavy curtains. But apart from being swift, the motion was also a little too hasty, for with one loud rip, a big, wide hole emerged in the middle of the fabric. Some sunlight leaked through and hit my skin, throwing rainbows on the darkened walls around the window.

Linda rushed in to inquire after the source of the strange noise. Her expression went from worried to a short bout of irritation at the sight of her ruined curtain, but that emotion was quickly replaced by indulgence. She walked over to me and took the curtain from my hands, assessing the damage.

"Nothing that some sewing won't fix," she finally concluded. She reached up to loosen the binds that held the curtain in place.

"Here, let me take this down so I can –"

"No!"

Linda recoiled from me and growled impulsively.

"The...the sun…It'll…You can't…" I stuttered, trying to calm my breathing. In my mind, the old lady from the street below glowered at me menacingly.

What had Linda once said? She'd claimed that if I made my own thoughts less scary, I wouldn't feel so worried half the time. But even when I made my grandma-of-death lift her walking stick and swear at me in a comical attitude, I couldn't wipe the menace from her eyes.

"It's sunny outside," I finally managed to say, hoping that the excuse sounded less feeble in her ears than in mine.

By the look on Linda's face, however, I knew it was a false hope.

"Are you all right?" she asked me, laying a consoling hand on my shoulder.

I shook my head in defeat.

"Linda, Linda, please help me! I don't know…"

I could have sworn that I was on the verge of tears, though none came out at all.

Lord, help me!

"Dottie, darling, calm down," Linda said, trying to pull me into an awkward embrace. I wasn't the type for physical contact—how did hugging ever help anyone?

"I know you're scared. You have all the reason to be. But don't despair, all right? God will take care of you." She was silent for a moment, and then took a step back with a completely new expression on her face.

"I have an idea!" she announced expectantly. "There's an empty storage house in the woods not far from here. It's remote, but still close enough to town…"

I thought about it for a moment. Though the idea of a large, vacant storage house sounded pretty spooky to me, I couldn't help but admit that it was better than staying here at my friend's house, no matter how much more secure it seemed.

If I went there by car and hid my scent…

I could survive a few months on my own, right? Besides, Linda could always visit me. The plan wouldn't be half as scary when put into action.

So I bit down on my lip—probably adding another worry line to the scarred surface there—and nodded.

And then I prayed.