Banner by me. Isabella Swan did not anticipate Death approaching her so early on in life. Of course, Edward Cullen had similar expectations. Follow them in their death in the strange land known as Sequel, where the tables have so overbearingly turned.
1. His Green Eyes
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3829 Review this Chapter
She felt hot, but not to the point where it felt like her insides were on fire and her blood was boiling. No, Isabella Swan merely felt as though she was back in Phoenix, the sun beating down on her skin. This did not confuse her half as much as the fact that she was not sweating. How could it feel like ninety degrees yet still not be hot enough to make Bella sweat?
For the first time since the darkness faded away, Bella examined her environment. And then, she wondered how she got here. How were these colors of feces brown, canary yellow, forest green, and deep maroon staring her in the face? Where was she? And how did she get here?
Bella sensed a wave of heat overcoming her like a simple, short gust of wind breezing through her hair. Then it was over. She frowned.
The last thing she remembered was water. Lots of water. And a painful jab that continuously throbbed in her chest.
Bella’s head turned, and it was quicker than she thought she could ever move any part of her body. The colors were so sharp, so precise, as was the new world she was encompassed in. Every tiny detail of everything she laid her eyes on was enhanced and refined, all maintaining unique qualities that she could not have fathomed.
It was then that she realized what had happened. She formulated a theory on where she was.
Bella was dead.
And she was in her grandmother’s house. Hesitantly, her eyes shifted about the room, and Bella realized she was laying on a couch. When her eyes drifted away from the hideous couch that she embellished, she saw the plain white dressing gown that covered her body.
Bella wanted to cry, the knowledge of being dead taking its toll, but she found that nothing resembling tears would fall from her eyes. In fact, the only thing that she could concentrate on thereafter was the burning in her nostrils.
A flowery scent cascaded through the air she breathed. Though flowery it was, she found it simply luscious. So luscious, in fact, that she . . . wanted it.
This fact gave her the undying urge to cry all over again. Bella knew from secondhand experience that she was smelling an essence. An essence that only those called vampires could possibly sense.
“I am . . . confused,” Bella noted to herself. Nobody was in the dark brown room but her. It was early yet, but the room’s unflattering, dull colors created the illusion that it was a dark and dreary day outside. Actually, it was bright and sunny when Bella was able to bring herself to look out the window.
There was a telephone. It was like she could hear it ringing before it actually made a noise. When it rang, she ignored it, but that proved to be difficult. All of Bella’s senses were heightened, including her hearing. Unfortunately, some feelings were also enriched, such as dread, fear, and . . . lust.
Bella was thirsty. But how could she survive here? How could she not survive here? She was already dead, and so was everybody else. All animals were already dead. They couldn’t die here, wherever “here” was. If Bella were to drink someone’s blood to satisfy her thirst, they wouldn’t die. But if she didn’t drink at all, she wouldn’t die, either. She would be in agonizing pain, an imaginary fire scorching through her mouth and rolling wildly in her throat, but she wouldn’t die from it.
What would happen, then? If she “starved” herself? She didn’t want to drink blood. Bella didn’t like blood as a human, and even though she could smell it in a new way, a sweeter and more delicious way, she didn’t want to feel that plasma on her lips, dripping down her chin, filling the dry cracks of her lusting gullet . . .
Bella whimpered, and it felt like her insides were shaking with thirst. She was like an uncontrollable newborn, and even though she wasn’t even awake for ten minutes, she was already reacting like this.
“Edward . . .” she whispered to herself, throwing her own body onto the floor. Her fists collided with the ugly brown carpet with barely any effort. Yet, the carpet ripped and formed a hole. Bella recoiled, shocked at her strength. She would make a mental note to be extra aware of what her body did. Especially around people. Even though they couldn’t die, they could still feel pain.
Bella remembered seeing Edward’s face in the cloudy bluish green water around her. She wasn’t flailing her arms around. She wasn’t holding her breath. She was clutching her neck in an unusually calm manner. Bella had been bitten by a vampire, and his name wasn’t Edward.
“Bella, don’t leave my sight,” Jacob had instructed in a demanding tone. She nodded as he turned into a wolf, too afraid to speak.
They were at the La Push cliffs, and Bella was hiding from the Volturi. Jane was there, trying to find Bella, as was Demetri and the beautiful but dangerous Heidi. Edward wasn’t supposed to be on the land, but he wouldn’t let the Volturi be in Bella’s presence without him. He would much rather the mongrels attacked him and killed him for breaking the treaty than let the Volturi harm Bella in any way. Perhaps they would find it in their hearts to forgive the Cullens for his actions and work it out later.
Heidi and Jacob were fighting things out, and they tumbled off somewhere. Bella obviously did not follow. She, a fragile and weak human, was not feeling the desire to get mixed up in that fight. Actually, her desire was to break it up, but she knew it would only make things worse for Jake . . .
Edward was there by her side in a matter of seconds.
“Edward!” Bella exclaimed, unable to stop herself from hugging him. He wrapped his cold, marble arms around her. “You shouldn’t be here. You’re breaking the treaty! And the Volturi are here, and I’m not a . . . vampire . . . yet.”
He responded to her while still keeping the embrace. “I’m aware of that. But surely you didn’t think I would leave you in his care with the Volturi here.”
Bella breathed his scent in. He smelled so good. She wished everything smelled as sweet.
Bella had to disenchant herself. “Jacob told me not to leave his sight, and he meant it. But he left me . . . I have no clue where he went. He’s with Heidi, Edward. What if she hurts him?”
Bella could barely stomach the thought.
“Jacob will be fine,” Edward assured. “He knows how to fight, and Heidi isn’t looking to kill him. She only wants to find us, mainly you. Which is why I’m here.”
Bella stared into his dark eyes, purple bruise-like circles surrounding them. He was thirsty, but he was there with her. She reached out to trace his face, her hands slowly working their way to his eyes. She caressed his eyelids carefully, frowning.
Edward knew what she was thinking, even though he couldn’t read her mind. “I’m not leaving you. I never will. Not unless you tell me to.”
Bella’s fingers made their way to his cheek, which she traced. He uncharacteristically breathed in an unstable way. This confused Bella.
“Are you okay?” she asked, pulling herself away to make things less difficult for him. He was thirsty, and she didn’t want him to suffer more than he was.
He smiled a crooked smile, kept his eyes closed, and shook his head very slowly. His mouth was open slightly as he pulled her closer to him gently. “You really don’t know what you do to me.” He opened his eyes to look at Bella. Her cheeks noticeably colored.
“You’re distracting me,” she accused with a smile.
“Maybe, but it‘s true.”
“Edward . . .”
But Bella stopped talking. Edward was standing completely still, and every part of him was frozen in place. The only fraction of his body that was moving was his eyes. They shifted from left to right quickly, and then they met Bella’s.
“Bella,” he said in a solid tone, “Stay behind me. Don’t move, please. And don’t worry; I won’t let anything happen to you,” he added when she let concern slip into her expression.
She knew this, of course. She trusted him with her whole being. Therefore, she did what he said. But it didn’t tame the fear that made her blood run so fiercely throughout the course of her body.
“Edward Cullen,” came the voice of a seemingly young girl. “Would you like to explain to the Volturi why your friend still has a heartbeat?”
She was quick, but Edward was faster. He kept Bella protected very well, even if a growl or two erupted from his chest.
“We didn’t expect a visit this soon.” Edward quickly composed himself, but he was still on guard. His eyes were black with a hateful passion; anyone who would hurt Bella was no friend to him. “It seems like just a couple of days since Aro and I last spoke.”
“It does,” Jane agreed, her childish face incompatible with her way of speech. “But I believe you were to get the job done quickly. The Volturi have been anxiously awaiting a friendly visit from a transformed Bella.”
Bella did not appreciate being spoken to as if she was not present, but she was too busy trying to slow her heart rate down to disrupt the conversation.
“How very thoughtful,” Edward humored.
Jane moved in closer, eyeing Bella. “How would you fancy another trip to Italy?” She smirked.
Edward released a warning rumble from his chest again, and his arm around Bella tightened its hold. He could hear what she was thinking, and apparently, he did not approve. “Pardon me, but you seem to be under the impression that I would allow that to happen.”
He always practiced his manners, Bella noticed. But the way his beautiful voice was using it right now made her shiver, which she tried to hide. The combination of his perfect, angelic voice and such a strong, unbreakable statement seemed to come off threateningly. His intention.
Escaping this memory was making Bella’s head spin in the present. The rest of it was a whirling blur of fog. What she remembered was only the burning sensation much more than tickling her neck, along with the crushing blue tide that pressed into her lungs. She was bitten, by whom she did not remember. She had confidence that it was not a Cullen because a Cullen would not push her off a cliff -- not even Rosalie, Bella passed over with a hard expression.
She saw his face staring into hers, horrorstruck. Edward swam faster than a motorboat, and this was easily literal. But the blood coming from Bella’s neck wouldn’t stop flowing, and it was cascading all around the pair of them. Edward already wasn’t breathing, as he did not have to, but he could not confess the same about Bella. She became dizzy, but the sickly heat boiling underneath her skin kept her slightly conscious.
Bella couldn’t remember what happened after that. Her next memory was waking up here, in her grandmother’s house, as a dead vampire.
She sobbed dryly, no tears forming whatsoever. Vampires did not retain the same liquids as humans. Realizing she was mourning over her own death, Bella considered her actions to be vain and pointless. What’s done is done, she thought icily.
She needed a familiar face . . . Someone she knew had to come around eventually, right?
“Grandma . . . ?”
Bella gasped. She didn’t know she was holding her breath until she spoke, releasing the air from her body.
She heard a noise that her human self wouldn’t have sensed. It sounded like a footstep, and she deemed it odd to hear one so clearly without being able to see it, as well.
The noise only grew louder, but Bella’s senses naturally adjusted when the thudding raised to an uncomfortable volume. She knew that someone was about to walk around the corner, through the doorway. She could smell this person, and they smelled somewhat like she used to smell, she imagined . . . when she had blood.
The thought that she could hurt this person very easily frightened Bella. Even though she couldn’t kill someone who was already dead, it wouldn’t be a good impression to make upon someone if she bit them.
The floral-like scent was appealing, but only because she was thirsty. On a normal day of death, the lust wouldn’t be so high, so the blood wouldn’t smell as sweet.
Floral, Bella reflected. Edward had described her as smelling like freesia. Bella didn’t smell freesia, but it was definitely floral. Lavender, maybe, she decided.
In this short amount of time, Bella had thought all of these thoughts and witnessed all of these things through her enhanced senses and abilities. She even concluded that it was her grandmother about to step into the room.
Bella was shocked to see a pretty brunette with straight hair in her late twenties or early thirties present herself.
“Bella?” voiced the woman. “How are you feeling?”
This person slightly resembled Bella’s mother, Renee, but their faces were slightly different, her voice was a tad bit deeper, and her hair was a darker brown color. Plus, Renee wasn’t dead . . .
“Grandma?” Bella asked in a questionable tone. Had she the ability to perform natural spluttering, she probably would have.
The woman smiled warmly. “Technically, yes. But I haven’t really been addressed that way since I was alive. I’d prefer being called Marie.”
Bella was consumed by her grandmother’s youth, but she recovered slowly. “Umm, okay. That’s . . . manageable.”
Marie smiled at Bella again, and then she couldn’t help herself. She hugged her granddaughter, finally reunited. Bella had a glazed expression, a mix of confusion and compassion. Marie’s skin felt warm, and she smelled too good at that moment . . .
But she stopped herself.
“Gran-- I mean, Marie,” Bella began, backing away. “Do-- do you know . . . what I am?”
Bella watched Marie expectantly when she nodded. “A very kind gentleman came over the day you got here and explained everything. He explained your dea-- Well, he told me how you got here. It was kind of hard to hear over your yells and screams, though . . .”
Marie’s granddaughter furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. “I don’t remember screaming anything. I just . . . woke up here. On the couch. Just now, pretty much.”
Marie nodded. “You were probably in shock. It only felt like you were asleep because you wanted to escape what was happening to you. Do you remember how you got here?”
Bella crossed her arms over her chest. That was when she noticed there was . . . more of it. More “flesh” than there used to be, but not such a big transformation that her chest was extremely large, but enough of a change to notice, for sure. Getting passed this, she asked the question she had originally planned to query. “Yes. Where is ‘here’ exactly?”
Marie chuckled quietly. “That depends on your faith. But we all go to the same place. We like to call it Sequel.”
Marie nodded, and then she raised her eyebrows. “The Dead.”
Bella understood now that the name referred to a sequel to life. Which, inevitably, was death.
“Wait,” Bella remembered, “Did you say something about a ‘kind gentleman’?”
Bella could have sworn, what with her eyes now seeing things even clearer and intense, that Marie was smirking knowingly at her. Marie sighed, and Bella caught the smell of her throat, which was awkward because she was so thirsty. She could barely speak without her throat aching in protest, dry and cracking, it seemed . . . But she never gave herself away.
“I thought you might get curious about that,” Marie giggled. She turned her head and cupped a hand to her mouth. “Now, Edward.”
Bella’s worst fear, being away from Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, was no longer weighing on her shoulders. But if Edward was in Sequel then that meant he was dead. She made a quick mental note to inquire about that later.
“Edward? Did-- wait, did you just say--”
Bella stopped before finishing her question. There at the door stood a shockingly old man. His skin was very pale and wrinkly, his hair was gray and surprisingly still intact, and his eyes -- though surrounded by creases and lines -- were a brilliant shade of green. He looked to be over ninety years old, maybe even one hundred years . . .
The old man, Edward, stared at Bella -- eighteen years old -- with care and compassion. Like he was seeing her for the first time, in a way. And Bella felt the same way.
Marie stood there awkwardly for a couple of seconds before excusing herself to take a nap.
Bella and Edward were alone in the small, ugly living room. The room resembled the spew of a seventy’s design gone horribly wrong, but if Marie liked it, then . . .
“Do you want to sit?” Edward prompted, his voice hoarser than Bella had ever heard it. In a way, though, it was still velvety and inviting like she remembered, though impacting her slightly less than the inhuman way it used to . . .
“I kind of have been . . . but sure. Can I do something first, though?” Bella asked, walking closer to the new old version of her soul mate.
Smiling and recovering from her obvious surprise, she grabbed Edward’s hand, the rubbery skin covering his boney fingers much warmer than her own skin, and brought it to her cold lips. Bella was still not used to being so quick with her every motion, and she tried to be slow. That way, Edward would have no reason to be frightened. Even so, he couldn’t die . . .
After kissing the wrinkled, warm back of Edward’s hand, she laced her fingers with his. “I’m sorry,” she apologized, “I don’t think I can handle smelling you . . . in that way . . . yet.”
Edward laughed. “Yes, I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I finally look my age.”
Bella frowned. “No! No, I was serious . . . You know how I used to smell appealing to you?”
“You still do,“ Edward commented, and Bella could hear his heart beating fast. Edward’s green eyes were glinting knowingly as he nodded. “Even in death, I can’t forget your wonderful scent. It‘s just that this time, I don‘t have to worry about it so much.”
His thumb caressed the back of Bella’s marble-esque hand. Her breath stammered at the warmth. “Well, I am pretty sure you’re my brand of heroine, too. And you’re right, that does feel good.” Bella’s eyes shot at their entwined hands, and Edward smiled.
“The truth is revealed,” Edward said, his eyes smiling with him. “You really do love me . . . I don‘t deserve you.”
Bella, again, was befuddled. “Of course I love you . . . Why would you doubt that?” She was hurt but tried not to show it.
Edward shook his head slowly. “I’m sorry. It’s just . . . A part of me always wondered if I could . . . what was the word you used? Dazzle?” Edward chuckled, his frail body vibrating. “I wondered if I could dazzle you still if I was human.”
Bella found this very deep, and she knew how he felt, in a way. “Without a doubt. You would. You do.”
“I didn’t really understand what you meant by the word ‘dazzle’ and how I could make you feel that way.” Edward laughed at Bella’s way of describing her feelings. “But it’s been a while since I was human, so you can hardly blame me. But I think I feel dazzled. By you.”
Bella hesitated and exhaled. “Is that bad? Do you want me to sit over there, on the chair?”
“Actually,” Edward began, “I would prefer it if we didn’t do anything romantic, as much as it hurts to say it, until I’m eighteen. I’ve never been eighteen before . . .”
Bella understood, but her lack of response to this kept Edward explaining.
“Just because I feel kind of bad that you look . . . like that. And I am extremely old. I’ve never felt so weak in my life, and I don’t think I like it.”
“I appreciate that.“ Bella smiled knowingly. “I know that feeling. But now . . . It’s the opposite for me. I‘ve never felt stronger. Does that make you anxious?” Bella threw the question into her reply in accordance to Edward’s change in his heartbeat.
“Oh, how the tables have turned,” he quoted, knowing that Bella could hear his heart. “I’m sorry you have to deal with these feelings. I can’t even fabricate how incredibly undeserving you are of this fate in Sequel . . . Here, people come the way they always wanted to be when they were alive.”
By now, they were sitting very close to each other. “You wanted to look your age? What if you were four hundred years old?”
“Age hasn’t a thing to do with it,” Edward enlightened. “In Sequel, anyone can change their age while they’re here, and that’s forever. I wanted to be human . . .”
Bella was happy to know this. “Oh,” she said. “That explains my grandmother being . . . Well, being . . . Would it be strange if I called my Grandma a bombshell?” Bella laughed at her lack for a better word.
“It takes practice and a very small amount of training to perfect age transformations.” Edward disregarded the question and further explained everything. “Don’t worry, Bella. I won’t look like a raisin forever. I’m a quick learner. In a day or two, I’ll be eighteen.”
“I’m not worried,” Bella reassured him quickly. “About that, anyway . . . I’m more concerned about my diet, actually.”
Edward’s face tilted upward slightly and slowly fell back into place. “Yes,” he said softly, “That could be a predicament.”
Bella scowled, but she wasn’t angry at Edward. It was a scowl meant to fight away her confusion and frustration. “A ‘predicament’? Edward, I can’t drink here! Everyone is dead! They would all turn into vampires, wouldn’t they? Since they wouldn’t die . . . Right?”
“I haven’t been dead any longer than you have,” Edward said. “I’ve just been aware for a couple more days than you. I don‘t know how these things work, Bella. “
Bella was getting frustrated again. She needed to stop thinking about her thirst. “Have you slept yet?”
Edward was taken by surprise. “What?”
Bella tried to smile. “Remember? You haven’t slept for nearly one hundred years. Didn’t you . . . I mean, weren’t you excited to sleep?”
Edward nodded, understanding now. “Yes, I slept. And I even dreamt. I dreamed of you and me.”
“What happened? What were we doing?”
“Just talking, holding hands . . . Sort of like our first time together in our meadow.”
Bella smiled. “That sounds nice.”