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Transformation

Summary:
THIS was actually a chapter that was supposed to be included in "Existence", but for some weird, unexplained reason, I am an idiot and completely forgot to add it in. So this would be right after she began changing and before the airplane and again, I am so sorry. I know, I'm a dork.


Notes:


1. Chapter 1: Personal Hell

Rating 0/5   Word Count 5360   Review this Chapter

I was in hell…my entire being was aching, with the fiery searing pain of the transformation. Even as I came in and out of consciousness, the pain never ceased. There were times when all I felt was excruciating pain…and I felt as if I was all alone.

I couldn’t make sense of anything…my love for Edward was all I had to hold onto. It was all I had left. I might not have had him…I would never have him again, but he would always be the center of my universe. Everything in my life revolved around him.

To know that I had him for even the smallest second of time was so beautiful, so amazing, that it made all my pain seem meaningless.

I cried his name deliriously with each new stab of pain, clinging desperately to him as I did so. I screamed wordlessly for him to make it stop, begging for it to end…I knew I shouldn’t. I knew it would only cause him agony, but I couldn’t help it.

I used all of my strength to fight it, to not give into my weaknesses, but I had no strength. I knew no strength. While the strength of having him beside me was exceedingly great, I gave in. I allowed myself to feel the pain, to express it, knowing what it would do to him.

I hated myself for doing so, for putting him through this, but what other choice did I have? I couldn’t fight it alone and though he was beside me, I knew now more than ever that I was alone. I supposed I had always known that I’d been alone all along.

I would always be alone…what the hell was I doing? Edward had already made it perfectly clear: he didn’t want me. The mere thought caused me to scream even louder, seven months of anguish and torture haunting me.

No…Edward would never want me again. I was doing this only to be burned again and spend my forever in the endless hell of a life without him. No! I…how could I go on without him? Knowing what we had? What we could have had? What we could never have again. Was I making a mistake?

“No!” I screamed, shaking my head rapidly from side to side, and convulsing angrily, painfully, “No, God…make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.”

I couldn’t see him, but I searched for him. I struggled through the fire that I was being consumed in. “MAKE IT STOP!” I screamed, breaking off to sob relentlessly into his chest, trembling in his arms as he tightened his hold on me and cradled me in his arms, rocking me back and forth.

“Shh…” I heard him whisper, “It’s okay. Bella, please don’t cry. It’s almost over, I promise.”

Well, he also promised he loved me too once upon a heartbreak, but he broke that one too, didn’t he?

I shook my head deliriously in his chest and made to scream again when he began humming my lullaby in my ear, tracing my ear with his parted, trembling lips, memorizing it again as if he had never before known such wonder and beauty.

I instantly eased up in his arms, letting the sweet memory erase my agony. I felt numb once again, incapable of any feeling, and for the rest of the transformation, I felt no pain except for my heart destroying itself.

Not only would it not beat anymore…it would be incapable of existing. Why couldn’t he just rip my heart out of my chest; what the hell did I need it for anyway? It was no longer mine…it couldn’t be mine. From the day I fell in love with him, my heart was his…and it always would be.

I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t think…all that I knew was the agony of my heart breaking again to beyond irreparable. Compared to that, the pain of the transformation was nonexistent. I couldn’t feel any pain from it at all.

Every ounce of pain I felt right now was due to the knowledge and realization that I would never be good enough for him…that alone could have killed me if I let it.

But, I didn’t. I fought it…and I don’t know why…all I knew was that I had some questions for him that I could not die without having the answers to. I had to know…did he ever love me? Could he possibly consider maybe settling for me, despite the fact that he deserved so much better? Why did he really leave? What was I to him?

These questions and so many more had to be answered. Nothing else could be done until I knew.

As he hummed my lullaby, he whispered my name repeatedly, clearly desperate to ease my pain. Little did he know, I didn’t feel pain because of the transformation--it was the fear that he could never love me the way I loved him.

It was torture…the idea of him leaving again haunted me. It had always haunted me from day one. And, now it had become reality…and I knew that if he did leave again, immortal or not, I had no chance of surviving it. None. I would die and even he couldn’t help me.

Why couldn’t I just die? The pain was so intense, so blinding, my whole world was crumbling before me and nothing could stop it. Edward was here--holding me in his arms, but even that was not helping.

As much as I had longed for this for the past seven months, now it seemed pointless--meaningless. My whole existence was pointless as of this moment.

My entire being was screaming, yearning for it all to come to an end--for me to come to an end. I tried to plead with him to get it over with and kill me, but I couldn’t find my voice.

I was aching with my inability to die…dying internally as he held me and whispered his vain assurances of love for me. Why wouldn’t he stop it? Why wouldn’t he just shut up? Didn’t he know how much it was killing me to hear those words? Why couldn’t he just say what he really meant--that he hated me and wanted me to cease to exist?

I didn’t give a damn about my life anymore--it hurt to be forced to live through such agony when all it did was remind me that I was never going to be enough for him.

I should be smitten just because of my vain desires of being with him--my attempts to deserve such an angelic creature. Such blasphemy was sure to be punished, shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t I die for loving him? For wanting him when I shouldn’t. When it was a sin for me--a pathetic, worthless thing--to fall in love with him--the one person that put all other beauty and good to shame merely by existing; my very own insight into heaven--loving a god.

Damn it, when would the pain be enough to kill me? When would I have suffered enough? Never. I would suffer for my sins of wanting him and loving him so desperately. It would be endless torment--but who cared?

It was all for him…for him…it was all for my perfect angel--my Edward. No. Not a “perfect angel”--the malevolence of those empty, evil words was indescribable. No words could ever justify his beauty and perfection and heavenly existence.

I felt I was drowning in the black depths of the stormy seas--wave after wave after wave of pain crashing down upon me, sending me even further and further into the pits of this very real hell that I had fallen so eagerly into.

Right when I started to think that it had to be almost over, more pain would come…so intense at some points that I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell it was I had been thinking, actually wanting this, but then I’d see Edward’s face and…I knew it was all worth it.

I was suffering for him--what better reason was there? I would do this on a daily basis if he deemed it necessary…if it would allow me to possibly have him with me, I would suffer any torture or pain or agony. Nothing could be worse than losing him…nothing.

God, why couldn’t I just die? I had…no right…whatsoever to exist when Edward didn’t want me. I should have died that day in the forest.

The memory of that day brought on a whole new pain and I began screaming even louder, as I writhed and convulsed inevitably in his arms, my entire being slowly, painfully dying.

Edward’s arms tightened instinctively around me and I heard him call my name several times in a strained voice.

“Edward…” I choked out, struggling against my endless sobs of agony, “Kill me.” I begged, finally finding in me the strength to say the words I had so longed to say for the past seven months. “Please…kill me.”

I clung to him desperately, searching uselessly for the coolness of his body, but finding none. I was burning in the fire of a thousand suns and all the fire of hell combined…he was not enough to remove that pain…I so wanted him to be.

He had the power to keep me alive, with his mere existence--he didn’t love me, he didn’t want me--what was I to him besides an unsolved mystery with sweet blood? Nothing. It was clear, now more than ever, that I was nothing to him.

“Oh, God…” I sobbed, nestling further into him, hating myself for doing so, “Let me die, Edward, please…please? Please…Please! Just kill me…”

After that I lost the ability to speak again as the venom and raging fire coursed through me, surging through me at an incredible intensity…it seemed impossible for such a hell to exist. But, what really hurt was that I knew that this hell was nothing compared to the hell awaiting me…the hell of losing him again. No. No, no, no, no, no…NO!

Beads of sweat drenched my forehead and I flinched away involuntarily as Edward made to kiss them away. He tried to touch me, but I refused to let him.

What the hell was he doing? Didn’t he know the torture I felt right now was because I feared losing him more than anything else? I felt no more pain from the transformation itself. It was all because I knew he’d leave me again.

“Bella…” his voice was so pained that I couldn’t help but give in and allow him to take my face in his trembling hands and kiss my forehead, “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, dry-sobbing as he did so, “I’m so sorry I ever hurt you. God, Bella…you have to know…you have to know how much I love you.”

He sounded delusional. Didn’t surprise me. How could I believe him when he was delusional? “You’re…lying…” I gasped, through the pain, “Stop it…don’t…you--you don’t…love…me…” I couldn’t help but cling to him even more with those words, his being here with me my only strength right now.

All my fears fell away and I knew that it didn’t matter…we might not be able to stay like this forever…but I had him here with me…today. So long as that was true, what couldn’t I do? He might not be here tomorrow, so I might as well indulge and take advantage of having him with me today.

He exhaled shakily as he tightened his hold on me, holding me even closer to him, cradling me to his chest. I buried my face in his chest, rubbing my cheek miserably against his chest as I trembled involuntarily in his arms…trembling so hard that he had problems holding me, the combination of my agony and his apparent torment weakening him inevitably.

It wasn’t until then that I realized that my pain had finally began to diminish, easing slightly, but still excruciating. I could hear the smile in Edward’s voice as he struggled through his words: “It’s almost over…just a little more, love.”

I winced. “Don’t…don’t call me that.”

“Bella?” He sounded confused.

I shook my head against his chest, “Don’t…it hurts….Everything hurts.”
He rested his forehead miserably against the top o

f my head…and now, we had nothing left to do. Nothing but wait.

All I could do was wait for the seemingly absurd miracle of my endless pain coming to a halt or at least easing up…but, I couldn’t help but fear, even now, that it would never happen.

The pain I had to endure…sometimes it hurt more than I could bear. If I could live without my passion and love for Edward, maybe I would know some kind of peace. But…I would be hollow…an empty room, shuttered and dank, without him…I would be truly dead….It was inevitable…I’d die without Edward…and it seemed that he’d die without me.

I needed him…I wasn’t sure of much anymore, but that was one thing I would always be sure of. Nothing…no amount of pain or anguish could ever take that away.

I was dying; I was sure of it. I was dying, I was dying, I was dying…was I…was I…dead? Where was I?

“Bella.” I heard a voice cry from the void, as I was being submerged into the dark abyss of death. Edward. I had to come back to him…he had to know that I still loved him…that I always would.

“Bella, can you hear me?” His voice seemed to issue from all around me and I was engulfed by it…drowning in it. “Hold on…be strong…I’m here…don’t you fear…little one…don’t let go.” The conviction in his voice was so strong, so firm that I had no choice but to oblige.

As painful and excruciating as it was…I allowed myself to be consumed by his voice, by his angelic words. Never in my life had I ever felt so loved, so wanted, than at this very moment. And, I knew that I had to fight this.

I cried uselessly, “Edward…” A stab of pain surged through the hole in my chest, deepening it, worsening it, “…Edward…” another stab, “Edward…” another stab, “…Edward, please…” I came to enough to make sense of what was happening. “…I don’t want to die.” I sobbed, “…help me…oh, please, God, make it stop…”

“Shh…” I felt Edward’s hand caressing my face, “…it’s almost over…” His lips were then at my ear, as he breathed the words, “You’re not going to die…I will not let you die.” He clutched me closer to him, “Bella, love, please come back to me. Don’t leave me. I can’t…I can’t do this without you anymore. I need you…now more than ever.”

He caressed my cheek with his own, “Bella, I love you. I do. Please…don’t make me do this alone.”

My pain started to diminish even more with those words, as he exhaled shakily, and whispered, “I need you.” He sobbed, “God, I hate this.” I felt him start to tremble as he held me. “This was not how this was supposed to happen.”

The fire began to subside and my torture began to ease, letting me know that it was almost over. Edward kissed my forehead and hair and cheeks repeatedly, trailing his lips across every inch of skin he could reach.

I knew he didn’t love me…he…couldn’t love me…but the mere concept of having him love me and want me like I so desperately loved and needed him was so beautiful, so perfect that it inevitably made all the pain I felt insignificant.

What did it mean; what could it mean when I had my angel who loved me? Nothing else could matter when he loved me, whether or not it was true.

“Bella?” Edward’s voice was getting closer…so close it was almost tangible through this void… “Bella.” Closer.

Had I fallen unconscious again? I must have because my eyelids felt like 100-lb. weights and it was impossible to lift them for even a second.

“Bella.” His voice was louder, clearer, and I could tell that it was over.

All that I felt now was the sensation of a raging endless fire scalding the flesh of my throat, searing it through and through to the core, and it wasn’t until I felt the venom pool in my mouth that I realized…it was all over. It was done and I had become a vampire.

My eyes fluttered open of their own free will and, despite my expectations to see everything blurred from the pain, I saw Edward, clearer than I’ve ever seen him, holding me in his arms, staring at me in concern.

“Bella?” He repeated, his lips barely moving. I blinked several times, expecting it to be a dream, but I wasn’t waking up. “Are you--can you hear me? Bella, are you okay?”

I forced a rigid nod, incapable of speaking, and he sighed, relieved, “Oh, Bella!” He hugged me closer, stifling tearless sobs, “Oh, Bella, Bella…”

I had expected him to release me, but all he did was hold me closer, repeating my name as if it was the most beautiful sound in the world to him.

After a moment, he said, softly, “Here…I sent Alice to get you some blood to be prepared. Save us some unnecessary complications.”

He braced me in the crook of his right arm and tilted my head back slightly, making sure to trail his fingertips along my jawbone gently.

“Edward…” I managed to choke out, “it…it burns…”

“I know, Bella; I know.” He said, snapping out of his apparent trance. He blinked and shook his head before reaching down and getting the blood.

I was so delirious with the pain that I didn’t even notice where he got it from. All that I was aware of was the quenching of my bloodlust as it touched my lips and made its way down my throat, diminishing the flames of the fire scalding my throat and soothing my pain temporarily, strengthening me.

I drank even more deeply, struggling to breathe as I did so. All that I knew as of this moment was the blood and inevitable easing of my pain, making it seem very nonexistent, yet still very real.

I felt Edward’s fingers tracing my features as I drank…almost as if he was mentally drinking in my existence. “God…” he choked out, with a slight chuckle, “How…is this…how is it possible?…You’re even more beautiful…God, you’re so beautiful!” He whispered, pressing his lips to right beneath my jawbone, sniffing in deeply and exhaling quite shakily.

That was all I was able to make sense of--everything else was…unimportant. I reveled in the quenching of my thirst again and again and again…it was endless pleasure, endless peace…endless…endless…

I whimpered softly as Edward removed the now empty containers away from me and held me even closer, propping me against his knee and taking me by my shoulders.

My head lolled to the side weakly and I moaned,

“Unh…no…more. More.”

Edward pulled me in closer, sympathetically, looking into my eyes, “I’m sorry, love…that’s…all we have. We can get you more. We just…need to get out of here.” Here; where was here? Nothing made…sense.

Taking my face in one hand, Edward tilted his head down to look at me, to look into my eyes. “Bella?”

I had to force myself to look into his eyes, hating the feigned love and concern I saw in them. How dare he pretend to care about me now after destroying me? I might always love him; I couldn’t help that. I was not in control of that factor.

But, I could still hate it. I could hate my uncontrollable necessity to love him unconditionally; I could hate it that he could hurt me so much and make my existence beyond insignificant with one word.

He traced my features delicately with his fingertips and lips, chuckling softly as he did so. “Oh, Bella. Bella, Bella, my beautiful Bella. My God…I can’t believe it…you’re here…you’re alive and you’re here.” He stifled tearless sobs as he trailed his lips down my nose to my lips, which he kissed softly, before pulling away and saying, “God, you feel so good. I had forgotten what it was like. I had forgotten what you were like.” He shook his head, almost ashamed, “How could I forget you?”

Maybe he had forced himself to forget me as he had meant for me to forget him. What the hell was he doing? He should have let them kill me. Why was he doing this to me?

“Bella…” he chuckled, “thank God you’re okay. I love you…” He stiffened up as he said those words, regret filling his eyes.

I knew it. He was just saying it…they were just words to him. They didn’t mean anything; I didn’t mean anything.

I grew so still with that knowledge…not breathing, not blinking…it was as if I had ceased to exist. And, I had. He had killed me. My life was over with those words--the pain of the lie too unbearable…I was dead…my heart, my soul, my existence…was…dead…

“Bella.” Edward began shaking me gently, tracing my facial features with his fingertips, struggling to get through to me. “Bella, can you hear me? Bella, I love you; Bella?”

God, why wouldn’t he just stop it with that already?! Without thinking, I punched him, so angry with his useless attempts to assure me that he “loved” me.

He actually fell back, grabbing his jaw, clenching his teeth in pain, “Okay…guess I deserve that. Actually, no, I deserve a hell of a lot worse that that…I deserve nothing more than slowly being tortured to death--”

“Shut up!” I yelled, scrambling to my feet, trembling with pain and anger, as I stared down at him. “Don’t…just don’t. Who the hell are you to decide that? How dare you come here to kill yourself when you made me promise to be safe for you? You…promised me you would never come here when I asked you and when I do everything I can to keep my promise, you turn around and break yours. After all you put me through, how dare you do this to me?”

“I thought you were dead.” He said, softly.

“And that makes it okay?” I sobbed.

“No, I--Bella, please--will you just…listen to me? Please.”

“Why should I?” I asked, miserably.

“Look, I know that I have no right to ask anything of you right now, but please, Bella…I’m begging you…” He took my hand in both of his and held it to his chest.

I stiffened up. Why did he have to make this so confusing? “Give me one good reason…why I shouldn’t throw myself at the Volturi right now.” I threatened.

“Because I won’t let you for one…” he retorted, glaring at me, tightening his hold on me protectively, “…and because…”

Pain filled his eyes, such agonizing regret and self-loathing that I had no choice but to look away, as it tore me up inside. “…I’m sorry, Bella. I am. For everything. I can’t…believe that you could forgive me after what I did to you and I definitely cannot believe that you could still love me after all I put you through. But, you have to know…it killed me to leave you.”

“It killed you?” I said, incredulously, “Yes, I can see how incredibly horrible this was for you.”

He clenched his teeth, angrily, “Bella, you don’t understand. You can’t…I didn’t want to leave you. I never meant to hurt you. I thought I was doing the right thing; I just wanted to protect you.”

“Excuse me?” I said, struggling to sound as firm as I meant to.

“You don’t know what it was like--”

“I don’t know what it was like?! Oh, you know--that is so unfair. You have no right whatsoever to accuse me of not--”

“Bella--”

“No, you listen to me.”

He held me by my arms and once my eyes met his, I didn’t have the capability of looking away. “Bella, you don’t understand.” He sounded so desperate, so hurt by my reluctance, “I am not going to leave you again.”

His promise sounded so sincere that I almost believed him. Almost. I shook my head, refusing to give into him and believe that he could possibly love me. “How can I be sure?” I asked, softly, “You told me you didn’t want me--how could that change so suddenly?”

He took my face in his hands and said, firmly, “I never meant it, Bella. I do love you; I always have. How could you believe that that could change?” I didn’t answer him so he shook his head and said, “You have no idea how hard it was for me to leave you, especially, like that. Bella, I have made so many mistakes in my life…but, the worst of all was breaking your heart.”

He got to his knees, wrapping his arms around my waist, laying the side of his head against my heart, clutching me closer to him. He practically sobbed as he struggled to say my name. “I’m sorry…God…how could I break your heart? How could I hurt you like this? Your heart…I killed your heart…it’s so beautiful…God, why can’t I just die?”

I stopped breathing, not knowing how to react. I eventually said, “Edward,” forcing myself to ignore the searing pain of saying it. “I can’t--I can’t be sure.”

He looked up at me and said, rising to his feet, “My God, Bella, I came to the Volturi to beg them to kill me…because I couldn’t…I can’t live without you anymore. I can’t; I won’t.”

“That doesn’t prove anything.” I said, coldly. Did he think I was stupid? This was all an act. A way to let me down easy. Why couldn’t he just hurt me again? Say he didn’t love me and put me out of my misery. If he would just admit it, then maybe…maybe…I could die.

I staggered back involuntarily as he reached out to touch me. “Wait…” he begged, “I won’t hurt you.”

“No?” I practically sobbed, “It’s a little late for that, don’t you think? Why? Why didn’t you just kill me? Why did you have to put me through all this? Was it some…sick…twisted vampiric thrill; was that it was?”

“No, that’s not it.”

“Then, what was it?” I demanded angrily.

He clenched his teeth and pulled me in closer.

“Bella, you know that I would never kill you. I would die if anything happened to you.”

“Oh, really…so you didn’t kill me?” I challenged,

“When you left me and stopped loving me, or whatever the hell it was you felt was just enough for leaving me, you didn’t kill me? Then, what the hell would you call the past seven months, huh? I wasn’t alive…I was dead…I forced myself to stay alive for you and I barely found the strength to hardly manage to do so. For you…I did it all for you. I couldn’t breathe…my heart couldn’t beat…I stopped living entirely. I was nothing. And, now you’re telling me that you didn’t kill me?”

“I never said that.” He backed away from me, trembling violently as he backed into a wall, sinking to the floor. “Oh, God…God, what have I done? I don’t--I didn’t mean--I only wanted to protect you.”

I narrowed my eyes and shook my head, “And, why the hell would you want to do that?” I said, through clenched teeth.

“Because I love you.” He said, trying to stand up, but I backhanded him, and he collapsed again.

“Stop saying that!” I nearly screamed. Did he not realize how much that was killing me? Why wouldn’t he stop it?

He groaned in pain as he scrambled to his feet. He looked to me and said, “I love you,” again.

I growled as I body slammed into him, slamming him into the wall, causing a huge dent in the form of our distorted bodies to appear. “Stop it!” I said, through clenched teeth. “You don’t mean it.”

“Yes, I do, Bella.” Edward said, as if I hadn’t just nearly thrown him through a wall. “I have never meant any words more than these words: I love you.”

I increased my pressure on him, knocking us through a wall. “Bella, no!” Edward begged, “I love you.”

I threw him down into the debris angrily as he said, struggling to breathe, “I love you.”

I punched him again, but he merely repeated the words: “I love you.” Again. “I love you.” It was harder for him to speak. Again. “I…love…you…” Again. This time harder. “I love you.” He was sobbing hysterically, in pain, “Bella? Bella, please believe me…I love you.” Again. “I love you.”

I made to hit him again when I realized what I had done. Oh, my God. What was I doing? Why was I hurting him? It was Edward. No reason was just enough to hurt him. No matter how much he hurt me, I had no right to hurt him.

“Edward…” I released him and covered my mouth with trembling hands, “Oh, my God. I’m sorry…I’m so sorry. I--” I broke myself off and let out a scream of pain and anger. “NO!” I collapsed weakly on top of him, unable to control myself, and I sobbed relentlessly onto him. “No! No, no, no, no, no. Edward?”

He gathered me in his arms, cradling me to his chest and rocking me back and forth deliriously. “Shh…it’s okay, Bella. It’s okay. I’m so sorry I ever hurt you, love. Please forgive me. Please…” He broke off, and we both sobbed onto one another, simply holding each other, basking in the brilliance of our mistakes, both loathing ourselves for hurting the other and loving the other beyond even our own comprehension.

After a while, Edward kissed my forehead, letting his lips linger, and then he whispered, “Bella?”

I tightened my arms around him and looked up at him. “Is this for real? Are you really here; are you really with me?”

He cupped my face in one hand and nodded,

“Forever and ever, love…if you’ll have me, if you can find it in your heart--” his hand slid down to rest on my chest, “--to forgive me. If you can still find it in your heart to love me.”

He stopped breathing, looking nervous. As if I could ever really not love him. That was impossible. I rested my forehead against his and nodded, closing my eyes, “One condition.”

He opened my eyes with his thumb and trailed his hand down my face, memorizing my features with his fingertips. “Anything.”

I took a moment to rememorize his beyond beautiful and perfect face, before saying, “You must promise to never leave me again and to always stay with me and love me, no matter what.”

He smiled his crooked smile and hugged me closer, “I promise. Believe me, Bella, I don’t have a choice in the matter anymore. I have to be with you. Forever. I love you…so much it hurts. It kills me that I hurt you this way. God, Bella, I’ve only given you a million reasons to go. What I don’t understand is why you are still here with me. I don’t need to understand; I just need to know that, despite everything, if you can find even the smallest reason to stay, that you will. I’ll do whatever it takes to turn this around. I know what’s at stake and I know that I’ve let you down. But if you’ll just…give me a chance and believe I can change, I’ll keep us together.”

I smiled, the first true smile in seven months, “You don’t have to do anything…and you’d better not change, just promise me that I’m not dreaming.”

He planted a soft kiss on my lips and said, softly, “I assure you, love…you are most definitely not dreaming. A dream…could never be this beautiful.” He caressed my face and shook his head, in disbelief, “I love you, Bella.” He made to kiss me again when we both caught the scent of humans coming. “Oh, God.” Edward said, standing up, still holding me. “Come, Bella. We have to get out of here. If we get caught, the Volturi will definitely, without a doubt, kill us.”

That’s right. Why did they let us go anyway? I gasped softly, “What happened; why’d they release us?”

“It doesn’t matter; we need to leave now. I’ll explain later.”

“But, I--”

“Bella, please…trust me.”

And, with that, I took his hand and we were running away, together, side-by-side, to only God knew where.