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Revolutionizing Bella

Summary:
Set during/after Ch. 12 Eclipse. Newborns are terrorizing Seattle. The vampires of the Olympic Peninsula are worried that the Volturi will become involved, so they call their closest friends and allies. But when the Denali clan shun Carlisle's request due to Laurent's death, an old friend unexpectedly answers his plea. Will his presence shake up their rock solid foundation? B&G


Notes:


6. Chapter 6-Good Girls Hate Graduation Parties

Rating 5/5   Word Count 8756   Review this Chapter

This is not E/B fiction. Characters are slightly OOC

All dialog in italics have been borrowed from Eclipse for the sole purpose of staying as close to the original story line as possible.

(Hints about Bella's gift are briefly mentioned in this chapter, which if you were wondering, are never cannon in my stories. Speculations are welcome

*Twilight is the sole property of SM and her publishing company.*

Chapter 6-

Good Girls Hate Graduation Parties

Garrett

Isabella fell into a peaceful sleep tucked against my chest. I knew the moment I wrapped my arms around her, that my little lady had been predestined to spend eternity in my arms. Her rhythmic breathing and delectable perfume lulled me into half unconsciousness, drawing me toward a far away place where the ocean touched the horizon. The sweet smell of lavender and sunlight permeated my nostrils, unwillingly unearthing long repressed memories that I had fought tooth-and-nail to erase from my ever conscious mind. The chronicles of my human life rarely clawed themselves so violently into the forefront of my psyche, but my darling mate smelled like home, and I was powerless to stop them as it filtered behind my lids.

Flashback

My father, Richard Dennison, was a wealthy lawyer. We had a large, sprawling estate right outside of Boston, and he showered us with bobbles and niceties, spending well outside of our means in an attempt to make up for his grievous behavior. Yet, the only thing I had ever wanted was his love, but he was far too busy squandering his fortune and meticulously planning my future. From infancy, he had wanted me to take my place at his side. I was to become a lawyer, as he had done, marry well, and collect a large dowry. My intended was the governor's fair-haired daughter; Evangeline. The two of us were to unite our households, and hopefully by accumulating her wealth, I would relieve my father of his debts. The debts that he had whored, drank, and gambled away

Richard was an angry, drunken fool and often took his frustrations out on my mother and small sister, Margaret. I had stayed at home far longer then most boys my age that went off to school or to war, wishing instead to protect my family from my father's wrath. After my sister's untimely death, I left home and finished my schooling, and while there, my mother had became despondent with melancholia, keeping her bound to her bed for days at a time. Only upon my return from boarding school had she awoken from her episode, though, to my dismay, she had never truly returned to me.

When I chose to go to war instead of accepting my betrothal, my father was quite aggrieved, forever shunning me from his household. Most fathers would've been proud of their son's patriotic exuberance. Yet, my father's only concerns were monetary. Instead he had chosen to remain neutral on any political issues at hand. (My desires and dreams be damned.) Perhaps, had the portly man spent more time sober and less time between the legs of slatterns, he might've noticed the atrocities that were transpiring around him. His indifference to our precarious situation had spurned me to action. It wasn't my father's place to decide my destiny. I was no one's partner or husband. I was an advocate for justice. A patriot. Rolling over like a dog, while others fought in my stead, defending our separation from British rule, was not in my nature. This was my country, and if need be, I intended to defend her with my dying breath.

Donning my jacket and hat, I purposely strode toward the door. Mother grasped me by the arm, attempting to reason with me, as I scooped up my musket and swung the strap over my shoulder. "Garrett, darling, please do not leave me. Your father does not mean what he says. He'll not shun you. I'll not stand for it. Stay. Marry Evangeline and issue me some grandchildren. Let the younger men go to war."

I spun around and looked at my mother, who had tears brimming in her eyes. Her sorrow cut through me like a knife. Ruth Ann Dennison was a short and slender woman with beautiful long, blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. Her hair was her greatest beauty, and her overabundant curls were swept up on her head, tendrils refusing to be tamed. My mother had never been considered a remarkably lovely woman, but her kind and gentle heart made her the loveliest creature in Boston. It pained me to leave her behind. Being her only living child, I knew how my decisions would affect her fragile state of mind. I knew if I didn't not return, this astonishingly compassionate woman would fall to pieces, and there wouldn't be anyone to set her to rights. Yet, even then, I could not stay.

My mother was correct. I was considerably older than most men who were trudging off toward our cause. At thirty-three I should have already established a career, amassed a large estate, and married a lovely, young wife to issue me enough children to further my lineage. Yet, I had never been the domesticated type. I didn't desire companionship, nor had I yearned for material possessions. My father's greed negated any want for such a standard of living. If it were socially acceptable, I would've chosen a nomadic lifestyle over my father's predestined path. Regardless of the ramifications of my decisions, the cause had compelled me to my country's side, goading me to take up my sword and fight the oppression.

"Mother, hear me, please. I know father is opposed to war, but I must join the cause. I cannot live the rest of my life under Britain's rule. We are in America and should be free from their oppression. Otherwise, we should board the ships and return to England's shores."

I grabbed my mother and pulled her into my arms, rubbing small circles in her back. "Oh, my sweet boy," she lamented, fat tears brimming in her eyes. "I shall grieve your absence—curse your free spirit and righteous indignation. But even aggrieved, I am proud. Kill as many of those English bastards as you're able. After all, they are taking my boy from me. I'm certain we'll meet again, whether in this life or the next, my love. Margaret is awaiting us in heaven."

And with that, I disentangled myself from my mother's arms, kissed her on the top of her head, and marched toward my destiny. I took a deep breath and inhaled the heady combination of lavender and clover as I left the grounds, imprinting that fragrance into my conscious and unconscious mind.

My journey seemed as though it were never ending. We fought valiantly and many men lost their lives. I survived the war, in a matter of speaking, but I would never be a whole man. A moral person. Blood of the innocent stained my hands. Accepting my damned existence, I followed death around on its coattails for two centuries without a clear destination in mind, participating in war after war, killing both the innocent and the corrupt. But no matter the time or method, I was never able to quell the yearning that throbbed in my chest.

That night brought another promise of war, my only proficient skill. As I stepped onto the battlefield, standing in the shadows of millions of soldiers who had given their lives for this great country, I realized that there was no battle to be won. My life was empty like this battle field. Yet, I knew somehow that this meadow was the hole in my chest. I found myself pulled toward the shadows.

As I trudged off to my destination, a familiar heady fragrance enveloped me like a mist, obscuring my vision with a heavy, purple haze. When the haze had dissipated and my sight returned, I gasped loudly. What I saw was truly not possible. After learning of my mother's suicide, I had returned to my childhood home and burned to the ground. I locked my father inside the burning building, penance for my mother's agony, and laughed as he screamed for his life. Nevertheless, there was no mistaking what loomed in the distance. It was my father's sprawling estate, circumvented by an elaborately manicured courtyard with a large labyrinth prominently in its center. Two hundred years had passed, yet the majesty of the three-story, columned manor still remained.

I slowly slogged across the grounds, expecting everything around me to dissipate as quickly as it had appeared. Each step brought me closer to my past, and I shuddered at the setting. The sights, sounds, and smells were unmistakable. This was seventeenth century Boston. I was home.

Standing on the steps of our manor was my auburn-haired siren, Isabella. She was dressed in a soft pink off-the-shoulder, corseted dress—that showcased her ample bosom—with golden brocaded flowers stitched along the bodice and hemline. She beckoned me animatedly with an embroidered handkerchief clutched in her tiny fingers. I knew I had found my purpose. It was as though my mother had led me out of the darkness and laid the trail, waiting for her lovely spirit to awake the sliver of humanity that remained in my unbeating heart.

I swiftly closed the distance between us, sprinting toward her like a parched man in the desert. I swept her into my arms and swung her around in a circle, burying my face in her hair.

"Oh, Garrett, darling. Please, put me down. You will make me quite ill should you continue," she cooed lightly. I did as I was asked and placed her gently on the ground, gazing into her with wide, chocolate eyes. She looked exquisite donned in the pastel floor-length gown; hair hung loose around her waist in elaborate curls. I dipped my head against hers, inhaling the intoxicating perfume of her hair. My eyes rolled into the back of my head. There was a God and he was merciful. I didn't deserve such a gift.

The tiny woman-child pulled her body away from mine at arm's length and eyed my clothing speculatively. I lamented our contact immediately, wanting to pull her tightly against my chest. "Your uniform is quite spoiled, Mr. Dennison. It would behoove you to cleanse yourself before you enter the parlor. Your mother and father have planned a ball in honor of your return and our impending marriage."

I was truly perplexed. Garrett Dennison had perished on the battlefield. Mother had no body to bury or mourn, for I had never returned to our New England home alive, nor had I agreed to marry anyone. Everyone from my human life had been deceased for centuries. Yet, here we both stood, hundreds of years before her birth, embracing on the lawns of my father's estate.

What manner of magic is this?

"My love, you are a sight for sore eyes. Your beauty is refreshing." I cupped her tiny face between my large palms and crushed my lips to hers with fervor, running my tongue across her bottom lip. It was inappropriate—ungentlemanly, but the tedious formalities of proper behavior had been lost amongst the horrors and brutality of war and across the passage of time. Seeing her face was the only thing that calmed my soul.

Isabella softly clutched her bottom lip between her teeth and blushed a lovely shade of pink. The color lightly spread across her cheeks and dipped into the soft folds of her bosom. I raised a tentative hand and pulled her plump flesh from between her teeth.

"Darling, please do not clench your lips between your teeth. While utterly adorable, I fear you will mar that lovely flesh." I ran my fingers lightly across her bottom lip and trailed it down her jaw, tipping her chin upward. "This is the only flesh I can taste and still call myself a gentleman. Someday very soon, I will have all of you."

"Oh, Garrett…" Her beautiful, bell-like voice trailed off, leaving me in a state of flux.

Bella

There was a full on war raging inside my inside of my body. I felt as though my heart couldn't handle the strain. Life with Edward hadn't always been peaches and cream, but I believed we could overcome all obstacles. Our lives were just about as perfect as they could've ever been, minus his refusal to make us equal in all things. Then along came Garrett and everything went to hell in a hand basket. Finding out the person you loved irrevocably and pined over during your six month separation, horrified me. He was merely infatuated with my blood and not my heart. It was a difficult pill to swallow. Even though I loved Edward, and Lord knew it was hard not to love him, I just couldn't forgive him for his lies. To tip the scales, I wasn't even his mate. In fact, I was someone else's supernatural match, and by some act of God we found each other.

After a good night's sleep, things didn't look nearly as dire, yet I couldn't say everything was hunky-dory either. Last night's disclosure still weighed heavily on my mind. The most prevalent revelation regarded the events in Phoenix. It was unspoken, yet in my mind it was as clear as the ocean waters. That night had been the most poignant of all our interactions, and I was too overwhelmed to see the truth. I loved him and refused to believe that he would harm me.

My god-like Adonis had rushed into that ballet studio like my night-in-shining armor. I felt blessed that he cared so deeply for me—enough to risk his life for mine. Yet, my vampire hadn't ridden in a white horse to save me out of love. Edward saved me from James because, like an addict, he was afraid of losing everything he coveted—his drug of choice. He felt as though my blood was his property, and by keeping me safe and my blood untainted, he retained ownership of the coveted crimson liquid.

Life had been tumultuous up to that point, though the new developments had tipped the scales, causing everything to go up in flames. If I hadn't had enough on plate already, well I had more than my fair share now. This Labyrinth that had held me prisoner seemed to have become larger in scope and more complex. With every turn, I seemed to fall farther into the abyss, and I feared my escape would be obscured by the darkness.

~~RB~~

For the first time in nearly a year, I achieved a decent night sleep. Even taking into account that I spent the twilight hours in the arms of virtual stranger, my tranquility was a welcome change. Somehow, in the deep recesses of my mind, I knew as long as I was in his arms that nothing or no one would hurt me. That fact alone was a foreign concept. Even while I was in Edward's care, I felt a small amount of trepidation whenever I closed my eyes. Now that I had found my mate, I knew why my subconscious had been screaming at me.

My dreams were unencumbered by nightmares but they had taken a startling turn. I was transported into the past, standing on the steps of a magnificent old house, dressed in a pale pink, satin gown, gazing out toward the fog that encircled the border of the estate. In my dream, I had been expecting my betrothed's return from war. A courier had alerted us to his arrival that day, and I had spent the morning and the majority of the afternoon perched on that very spot, awaiting the first glimpse of his sandy hair and blue eyes.

I saw his clothing before I saw his handsome, rugged features. When he caught sight of me, I raised my arm and beckoned him to my side, waving my white handkerchief in the air. Once before me, the golden-haired man swung me up into his arms and twirled us around in a dizzying spin. The two of us spoke in a cadence long since discarded, and then, he kissed me. It was tender at first and then it morphed into an almost obscene fervor, with him running his tongue across my bottom lip.

…and I awoke with my heart thrumming wildly in my chest.

What a strange dream, I thought.

Rolling over to my side, I looked at my Garrett and smiled. The dream was beautiful, but it hadn't done him justice. Through the open window, warm, yellow rays of sunlight streamed through the air, illuminating the crescent-shaped scars on his skin. I reached over and traced the latticed pattern, fascinated as the light caressed his imperfection and refracted the diamond patterned formation across the surrounding walls. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Somehow these physical flaws made him seem real to me—far more obtainable than his unmarred counterparts. His outward scars mirrored my internal ones. Perhaps that was why we were created—with the other in mind. Fate worked in mysterious ways. I only wished it would give me a heads-up once in a while.

Garrett had his eyes closed, looking years younger than he had the night before. His face was peaceful and content, almost childlike. I felt as though our souls were intertwined, fitting together perfectly. Looking into his garnet eyes was like coming home. I reached up and softly traced the plains of his face, across his lips, and ran my fingers through his sandy hair. It was just as I'd hoped—shiny and smooth and slid easily through my fingers like corn silk.

I pulled myself up to a seated position and nudged him, expecting him to pull an 'Emmett prank' and scare the shit out of me, but after several moments, he hadn't fluttered an eyelash. I started to panic a little and nudged him again. Still nothing. I brought myself to my knees and straddled his torso, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him.

"Garrett, this isn't funny, goddamn it! Wake up before I kick your ass from here to kingdom come!" That garnered me a tiny smirk. I slapped his chest. "You're an asshole, mister. I thought something had happened to you, and for some unfathomable reason, I panicked. I hate that you made me care!"

His eyes flew open, and I was graced with a heartbreaking smile. "Good morning, Isabella. You're quite forward this morning. If you wanted sex, you could've at least asked me before you straddled me. Who knows? Perhaps I had a headache."

I couldn't help the smile that pulled at my lips. "Ugh." I made a disgusted sound in the back of my throat and rolled my eyes. "Garrett, you're a dick!"

He grabbed me by the waist and shifted me several inches down until I was straddling the bulge in his pants, but he didn't remove his hands, instead he rolled my hips back and forth, brushing my heated center across his pelvic bone. It made exquisite friction between my legs. My eyes rolled into the back of my head and an involuntary moan escaped my lips.

"As you can feel, I have a fairly substantial member, and if you're a very good girl, I might let you take it for a test drive."

I drew in a heavy breath and let it out, my mouth agape, blushing tomato red. Damn him and his sexual prowess!

"For future reference, vampires don't get headaches. I'm at your disposal twenty-four hours a day."

Closing my eyes, I took another deep breath and filled my cheeks, blowing it out in exasperation. (In an attempt to calm my lust filled thoughts and lady bits.) I propped myself up by the heels of my hands and made to swing myself off the offending body part, but before I could move, he deftly rolled me over to the bed and tucked himself between my thighs, his erection pressing heavily into my core. The feel of his cool body against mine set me ablaze, burning hotter than the sun in the middle of the Phoenix desert.

I giggled in attempt not to moan with pleasure. "You do realize that old men shouldn't try to seduce young women. Your ministrations are unfair. Dry humping me isn't the best way into my heart. I'm not even sure I like you."

"Young ladies should be far more careful with their attire. Tempting a man with" —Garrett pulled lightly at the hem of my silk, sleep shorts and smirked, dropping his head until he was mere inches from my lips.— "barely any clothing on is a sin. And you young lady, seduced me. I wasn't the one who was half dressed and straddling you. I think you should repent immediately."

My eyes grew wide, and I roared with laughter. "And who should I repent to? Carlisle is the only person who is even remotely qualified to receive such penance, and he isn't even Catholic. How do you bring that up in a civilized conversation? –'Forgive me Father for I have sinned. A vampire has ensnared me into his web and would like nothing more then to repeatedly ravage my naked body with every inch of his sordid flesh, because of my slutty bedroom attire and brazen actions. What is my penance, Father Carlisle?'— Lord, that's just begging for Emmett's witticism."

And if on cue, Emmett's loud guffaws became his own retort. His boyish enthusiasm filled the house with a crescendo of mirth, lightening the sexual tension in the room. "Father Carlisle! Is Eddie the altar boy?"

Both of us snorted under our breath. I placed my hand over my mouth, stifling another round of side splitting hysterics. Then, for some reason, I conjured up a vision of Edward in altar robs, and I was unable to hold it in, breaking into fits of giggles.

I turned toward Garrett and smiled, grabbing the front of his shirt and pulling him mere centimeters from my face. "You've soiled my soul, good sir. I will be unable to show my face in civilized society. I think I at least deserve a kiss for your egregious behavior."

He raised his eyebrows and smirked, shifting his weight to one elbow. Then, he slid his free hand under the back of my neck and twisted his fingers securely in my hair. Using his new leverage to his advantage, he bent my head to the side and nuzzled the throbbing artery in my neck. My heart began to race wildly in my chest, thrumming like a jet engine. He kept still for several minutes until my pulse slowed. Then he ran his cool tongue across the blue vein and dipped it into the hollow of my throat, laving every inch of my exposed skin he could find. Color me surprised, but his animalistic fondling was damned erotic and my panties felt like they'd been fished out of the washer. It was down right scandalous, and he hadn't even kissed me yet!

I swear I'm going to come and then have a fucking heart attack. Then if I'm lucky enough to survive, I'll definitely come again.

Garrett turned my head and gazed into my eyes; a wry smile pulling at his lips. He looked at me for several seconds, gauging my reaction. Then he resigned himself and crushed his lips to mine. I felt like a burning inferno; our combined flesh moving in strange and wonderful ways. His lips were as cool as a mountain stream, and at the same time, they scorched me from within. A myriad of sensations were coiled up into those two exceptionally sensitive segments of my body, and I felt as though I would fly apart at the seams. I parted my lips and inhaled his sweet scent, instantly becoming drunk and drowning in the sensation.

He broke our contact momentarily, languidly running his tongue over my bottom lip as I gasped for breath, my chest heaving from loss of oxygen. Even though I tried to fight my body's response, I couldn't quell the moan that escaped my lips. For God's sakes I didn't even know this beautiful creature, but my body hungered after his touch and moisture pooled between my folds. My mate took a deep breath and growled softly, bucking his pelvis into my throbbing core and crushing his lips more urgently to mine.

My mind and body were in a dizzying spin, and I clung to him like as though I were drowning. I wrapped my legs around the back of his thighs and raised my pelvis to meet his, yearning for the friction that would release the energy that was coiled in my lower abdomen. He happily obliged and languidly rubbed the bulge against that tight bundle of nerves at my center. His lips disengaged from mine, and he brushed them lightly against my cheek. "Let go, Isabella. Come for me."

I shuddered at his deep, baritone command and obeyed, throwing my head back against the pillow and exploding into a million tiny pieces. His hand flew up to my mouth and I bit his fingers, attempting to stifle the loud cry that slipped from my lips. As the fiery waves of pleasure died down, I opened my eyes shyly and looked up into Garrett's handsome face. God, a person could get lost in those fiery depths.

Reaching up with his fingers, he traced his forefinger across my jaw. "Ecstasy looks beautiful on you. I'm ecstatic that no man will ever see you like that. And should he try, I will rip him apart."

Possessive Garrett is fucking sexy!

"Well I hate to say it, but I have to get ready to go to school, and since we didn't have sex—" Emmett whistled loudly and yelled something from the outside, promptly cutting me off and garnering a growl from Garrett.

Damn vampires and their super hearing!

Garrett reached around and pulled my legs from around his thighs, sliding off the bed and walking over to the window. He gazed out into the horizon as though nothing had happened between us. I whimpered at our lost contact. He smirked.

God! When had I become a slut?

I jumped off the bed and threw open the French doors, leaning out over the side. Emmett skirted the house and stood underneath me. "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…EMMETT! Our unconsummated bond hinders me. But you already knew that." He looked up into my eyes and winked.

I glanced at Garrett from the corner of my eye and smiled wryly. My mate couldn't stay attached to my side twenty-four hours a day-someone would question his motive. His outward age would make him seem a sexual predator. Yet, I had to test my theory. I needed to stretch the boundaries. I knew he wouldn't willing allow me to risk my life, but I had to try. So before he could object, I called to Emmett to catch me and dove out the window, landing in a pair of rock, solid arms.

He kissed me on the top of the head. "While I love women throwin' themselves at me, what on earth are we doing?"

I ignored Emmett's question and looked up at Garrett, smiling sheepishly. "The two of us need figure out a radius pronto or I'll have you as a permanent tick on my ass. I was able to get half way up the drive before the pain began. We should test our boundaries."

Garrett scowled at me. "Isabella, that's not a chance I'm willing to take. Carlisle said if you have another episode, it'll kill you."

"You be a good boy and stay right where you are, regardless of what you hear. Got it?" He nodded reluctantly. I turned toward Emmett and whispered in his ear. "Run!"

In one swift movement, Emmett swung me around his back and took off toward the trees. I wrapped my arms and legs around his massive form like a boa constrictor and tucked my face into his back as he ghosted through the abundant landscape, darting through the tightly packed trees with precision.

The big man galloped though the forest like a giant gazelle, easily circumventing the fallen trees and bounding across the ravines. He jumped into a wide stream, obviously too wide to jump across, and trudged through the frigid water, soaking my silk, sleep shorts in the process. Emmett gracefully climbed out of the water and began sprinting again.

"Stop!" I screamed, convulsing with pain. He came to a complete stop, and I slid off his back, curling into a ball and shivering from the cold. "That's as far as we can go, Em. How far are we from the house?"

Emmett knelt by my head and stroked my hair as I clutched my chest, sobbing like a baby. "Probably three miles… four at most. Our driveway is five, and while you made it to the highway alive, it nearly killed you. You know Garrett is gonna kill me when he sees you like this, right?"

"Emmy, I'll save your ass," I declared through my chattering teeth.

"Come on, Belly bear," he said with a chuckle, sweeping my sopping form up into his arms and trotting back toward the house. "Oh, sweetheart, I'm sorry. You're as cold as a well digger's ass in January!"

"Ha! Ha! Says the dead man," I playfully retorted.

Emmett harrumphed and continued, un-phased by my jibe. "So, things between you and Gar got a little heated, huh? At first, it was hotter than two rabbits screwin' in a wool sack. I was waiting anxiously for you two to roast the broomstick… and then nothing. What man does that to themselves?"

"A gentleman," a rich baritone voice retorted from just beyond the trees. My heart skipped a beat and sped up, thrumming wildly under my breast bone. "You big oaf, give Isabella back to me before I pummel you and wash your nasty mouth out with soap."

"Hey," I whined, teeth chattering, "Emmy was only doing what I asked him to do. I told him I would defend his actions. Be nice!"

Garrett chuckled and held his arms out to me. I jumped into his arms and wrapped my limbs around his torso, soaking his shirt with my wet clothing. He nuzzled my hair and purred. What the fuck? "Garrett, are you purring?"

"Real men don't purr," he scoffed.

Emmett snorted. "Bella, don't let Gar shit with you! Of course he's purring. Males purr to comfort their mates. After Rosie sucks my dick, I purr like a kitten suckin' on its momma's tit. If you're wondering, she screams my name when I reciprocate. I find that extremely comforting."

"Jesus, Em! TMI!"

The giant man-child smiled widely and wagged his eyebrows.

"There are ladies present, Emmett. Let us not be crude. Although, if you took vulgarity out of your vocabulary, I'm unsure if you could still verbally communicate," Garrett mused.

He laid his head on mine and began running his fingers through my hair, purring despite his adamant denial. "My little mate, that was a very dangerous stunt you pulled. I'm saddened that you would take such liberties with your health. I'm not angry. You are your own woman. Nevertheless, I was sick with worry, especially when I felt your pain. Please, tell me you will never do it again."

"I won't. I promise."

~~RB~~

After we determined we had a several mile radius, Garrett ended up camped outside in the trees that bordered the school. I felt uncomfortable all morning. It felt as though half of my soul was missing, pulling me in two. Everything about my new bond was overly intense. I was constantly on the verge of tears, yearning for someone I knew almost nothing about. I felt as though I would implode. He came out of nowhere and deconstructed my reality in a matter of minutes. Walls that had taken months to repair were obliterated. People that I believed to be infallible were deemed imperfect. Verdicts were unwisely renounced. It was enough to make me go insane. Essentially everything that I had held dear to my heart was nothing but smoke, mirrors, and lies.

When lunch time arrived, I was physically and mentally spent. If I hadn't have had have finals, I would've sprinted out the double doors and jumped into Garrett's arms, quelling the intense ache in my chest. I trudged into the lunch line and grabbed a tray, tossing various unknown items on the red tray. I was so engrossed that I failed to see Alice and Edward until they were right on my heels.

"Guess what, Bella?" Alice trilled, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet.

I rolled my eyes, so not interested in whatever ticked her fancy. It could've been fashion shows or new shoes, for all I knew. But still out of politeness, I took the bait.

"No, I can't guess."

I twisted the lid off my lemonade and chugged half of it, not having realized that I was so thirsty.

"I'm throwing a graduation party at our house! Isn't it exciting?" Alice trilled.

I spit the remaining lemonade out on Edward's pants. He looked at me with distain and shook his head, grabbing a dozen napkins and dabbing at the liquid.

"You can't be serious," I said. "You've completely lost your mind!"

"Say whatever you like about me," Alice answered. "The party is still on."

I grabbed my tray and practically tossed it on the table, my food spilling over the side. I slumped down in the chair and huffed, chugging the remaining liquid and tossing the container on my plate. The little pixie was fucking insane. The last thing I wanted to do was go to another one of the Cullens' parties. We all knew how that turned out.

Edward sat next to Alice and looked at me cautiously, attempting to gauge my mood and receptiveness. I hoped that he would keep his tongue in check. If he wished to speak with me, the school was hardly the place to hold such a conversation. My obvious iciness toward him was clearly written across my face, apparent to everyone who knew me. I didn't think it was wise to add a public confrontation to the list of reasons to strangle him. It definitely wouldn't be in his best interest.

"Oh, calm down, Bella! There's no reason not to go through with it. Besides, the invitations are already sent."

Mother Hell! What an infuriatingly stupid idea!

"Alice," I began. I pinched the bridge of my nose and continued, lowering my voice. "Parties aren't exactly on my list of things I want to do before I die. We've got the whole Edward thing, my mating bond and sexual liaison, a newborn army destroying the population of Seattle, and—oh, yeah—Victoria."

"That's all the more reason to have a party, Bella. After the fiasco last night, we need something positive to lighten the mood," she sang, bouncing in her seat like a five-year old. "… A party is so appropriate it's almost passé."

"But…the…you…I…insane!" I spluttered.

"You don't have to do anything but show up."

We had several hours left in this hell-hole and sitting here debating this issue with Alice was giving me a massive headache, coupled with the ache in my chest, which was becoming increasingly difficult to bear, my issues made me bitchier than Rosalie. Although, at the moment, I rather preferred the blonde supermodel to the overly energetic sprite before me and I might just do anything to shut her up—minus the party. The three of us: parties, Alice, and I were getting a divorce. She was receiving the papers via courier tomorrow.

"Oh," Alice said, and a blank look crossed her face. Then her expression became surly. "I hate last-minute cancellations. So that puts the party attendance list down to sixty-five…"

"Sixty-five!" I squealed, covering my mouth when my outburst garnered me a little too much attention. I lowered my voice and leaned across the table. "Alice you have gone off the deep end. You ain't got the good sense God gave a goose. If one human at a party causes World War three, add sixty-five others and we might as well invite the Volturi—make it a fucking blood-bath."

"Who cancelled," Edward wondered, ignoring *my outburst.

"Renée"

"What?" I gasped.

"She was going to surprise you for your graduation, but something went wrong. You'll have a message when you get home."

I slumped in my chair and sighed heavily. "Thank God, she's not coming. I didn't realize she was going to surprise me. I'm certainly glad something had prevented that surprise visit. I wouldn't want her in Seattle anyway. At least, I don't have to worry about her being murdered while she's here!"

Edward's eyes grew wide. "Bella, you're acting so strangely. I've never seen you so short-tempered and morose. It's unlike you to act in such a way. What's gotten into you?"

I stared right back at him, not blinking, voice low. "Oh, I don't know, Edward. Maybe I've always had these tendencies. I was a fairly happy and content person before I moved to Forks. Deception does that to a person, causing them to circumvent their own nature. Please, if you loved me at all, keep your distance. It would be a shame for you to enrage Garrett. I don't really wish to see you hurt, regardless of our situation. He's already on edge."

I jumped up and slid my chair back, grabbing my tray and fighting the urge to dump the cold mashed potatoes in his lap. I didn't, though, even though my inner child was goading me. It was petty and cruel of me to take it out on him. But I was so damned fucking close to losing the battle.

~~RB~~

The next two days were spent in a similar fashion. Nights and early mornings belonged to Garrett, not that I minded in the slightest; the two of us had a great deal in common. The interim was spent at school avoiding Alice, who was badgering me about the party, and Edward, who was desperate to convince me that Garrett was deceiving me. It felt a little strange to be caged like an animal in a building with my ex. I tried my best to keep a safe distance between us. Honestly, I didn't hate him in any way, but his unhealthy obsession with my blood kept me on edge. But my attempts were futile.

Garrett and I hadn't returned to the Cullen house after that first night. Edward had a hard time not provoking my mate. Everyone seemed to be supportive of that decision. Although, I knew that it bothered all of them greatly. I had grown to love each and every one of them, even Rosalie. But, my exclusion troubled Emmett the most. Since my return, he had become the big brother I had always dreamed about. Even though I seemed to be the more adult of the two of us, eighteen to his ninety, it didn't stop us from enjoying each others company.

After our epic make out session, I decided that things had progressed a little to quickly for me because of the whole Edward debacle. It seemed almost like a rebound sort of thing. My blond vampire agreed, but I thought it was only to please me that he refrained. After all he wasn't Edward, and because of our connection, wouldn't push me away. No, myGarrett was a true gentleman, in that respect, and he wouldn't ever force me if I weren't ready. That's what I enjoyed about his character. He put my needs and desires above his own, never feeling the need to scold me or decide what was best for me. Although, according to Emmett, who called me every night to check on the status of our sexual relationship (or lack thereof), he informed me my mate was equally as horny and would take the next step if I asked it of him. I knew my new best friend was correct in his assumption, because the man was always afflicted with said issue when I awoke every morning. According to big lug, the self proclaimed sex guru, it was a painful state for men to be in. Emmett was the Dr. Ruth of the male, vampire persuasion. He probably had the Kama Sutra memorized. He and Rosalie must have sexual prowess in spades.

Before I knew it, time had slipped threw my fingers. It was Graduation day. My dad was both distant and tongue tied—not a new character trait for him— but he was as proud as any papa of what his baby girl had accomplished. He was even more ecstatic that Edward and I had broken up due to our differences. Unbenounced to Charlie, our issues were in fact irrepressible obsessions.


Charlie embarrassed the hell out of me by insisting that I ride to the ceremony in the Police cruiser. I obliged him out of courtesy, intending to spend as much time with my father as possible. I wasn't exactly sure exactly when the sand would run out and didn't want to lose a minute. The end was quickly approaching. The Volturi's leniency would only last so long. Eventually they would grow restless and check. My silent mind had been an enigma for the raven-haired leader, and I believed, at some point in time, he would attempt to obtain me and test his theory. If I were still human, I would give him cause to do so. If it proved to be worthless, I would most certainly die a painful death.

Due to the overly sunny day, Garrett had a difficult time shielding himself from view. He couldn't be more that a few miles away, lest I would have a forced visit to the emergency room and baffled doctors. I wondered how Dr. Cullen would pull that explanation out of his ass. It would be entertaining to watch.

The ceremony seemed never-ending, especially Jessica's Valedictorian speech, which was enjoyable, in its own way. I wasn't surprised that I saw hide-nor-hair of the Cullens. It was far too sunny for any of them to venture outdoors. If the vampires allowed themselves to sparkle like disco balls and distract the humans, it would piss off the Volturi and force a visit, which would undoubtedly result in someone's demise. I couldn't be bothered with Edward and Alice's absences, though, because the tightening in my chest was becoming extraordinarily painful. Garrett's distance was stretching the boundaries of our bond.

When it was my turn to cross the stage and receive my diploma, I clutched my middle, attempting to remain upright during my discomfort. To outsiders it might've looked as though I were nauseous, perhaps due to nerves. When the Principal placed the roll of paper in my hands, the silence exploded into a crescendo of hoots and hollers that emanated from the crowd. I tripped down the stage when I realized who was creating the disturbance. Ugh. Jacob was out in the audience. While I was ecstatic to see my best friend, and tempted to wrap my arms around his chest, his presence placed me in a very precarious situation. Having an unconsummated relationship with Garrett was complicated enough, but couple that with the proximity of a werewolf, and things were likely to become dicey fast.

When I found my seat, I quickly scanned the crowd, and when I didn't see Garrett in the trees, I whipped out my phone and texted him. I hoped that he was competently versed in technology, able to both read and respond to text, because I was desperate for him to accept my plea and remain calm.

Garrett, please trust me to handle the situation. I know that your instincts must be goading you to protect me, but I personally know the werewolves, and I assure you I'm safe. Running in here like my personal savior would get you killed. The Cullens have a treaty with their tribe, because of their choice of diet, but because your diet …well, let's just say you're not listed on the treaty and they will kill you on the spot. ~B

It's already been difficult to remain apart from you. I'm stretching the limits of our boundaries and I'm uncomfortable. God only knows how painful it is for you. Be careful. I trust your judgment, just please don't toy with your life. I love you and would die without you. ~G

I practically dropped my phone at his declaration and threw my hand up to my mouth after a small shriek. All eyes were on me for a moment, but I quickly pocketed the device and kept my eyes on the students as they received their diplomas, clapping when necessary—not really paying attention. I was far more preoccupied with Garrett's words. They were entirely unexpected, but somehow I knew how he felt about me. His eyes spoke volumes about his heart, and a tear streamed out of the corner of mine.


When Zack Williams, the last of our graduating class, crossed the stage and the round of clapping ceased, the Principal congratulated us on our outstanding accomplishments. The crowd exploded into shrieks and cheers as we tossed our caps in the air in a celebratory way. As I pushed myself out of the crowds of happy families and overly excited classmates, garnering a hug here and there, I finally found Charlie. But before I could hug him, I was swept up into and crushed against the large chest of my best friend, Jake.

"Bells!" he crowed, kissing me on the cheek. "I'm so happy to see you! Congratulations on finishing high school. If anyone deserves praise, it's you. It's been too long, and now that you and Cullen broke up, I expect to see you in La Push pronto. We have so much to catch up on."

I motioned him close and cupped my hand around his ear. "There's a party at the Cullens tonight. It's imperative that you come, because I physically can't come to La Push. Plus, I need a huge crowd of people to buffer your rage when you hear what I have to say."

Jake looked at me with wide eyes and started to shake when the realization of vampire involvement finally hit him. Charlie looked slightly scared and glanced from him to me in quick succession. I grabbed his bicep with one hand and intertwined our finger with the other, stroking the back of his hand with my thumb and humming a soft melody that only he could hear.

Billy piped in quickly and congratulated me, as well, effectually distracting Charlie. When Jake's quivering had ceased, I dropped my arms and bent to give him a hug, thanking him for coming. Soon after our embrace, Billy made the excuse that his blood sugar was low and goaded Jake into leaving. Charlie suggested that we all go to the diner and grab a bite to eat, but I told him that my stomach was a mess. I insisted he go ahead with the Blacks' to dinner, wanting nothing more than to find my mate. I felt guilty not spending time with my father, but honestly, I didn't want to be stuck in a room with Jacob until I could devise a plan.

Charlie was worried about my sudden illness, but I assured him that I would be alright and reminded him about the party at the Cullens'. I didn't want him to worry when he returned home to an empty house. He nodded and grabbed the handles of Billy's chair, rolling him across the uneven ground. Jake turned to me and raised his eyebrows, still slightly furious and perplexed by my earlier words. I mouthed later and disappeared into the crowd, eager to leave the throngs of humans and embrace my vampire.

As I stepped into the parking lot, I realized that I had no mode of transportation, as I had come to the ceremony with my dad. This was going to suck. "Damn it!" I grumbled under my breath and began the long trek towards the cover of the trees, keeping watch that no one saw me.

When I stepped off the pavement and on to the gravel, a cool hand snaked out and towed me into the shadows. I squeaked as stumbled across the snarled brush and upraised roots, falling into his arms. When I glanced up, I was rewarded with a breathtakingly beautiful smile. His garnet eyes sparked with excitement. I returned the grin just as exuberantly, feeling an almost euphoric release of pressure in my chest. I stepped back slightly and he grabbed me around my waist and swung me around in a circle, nuzzling my hair as he did so.

For some odd reason, my mind was assaulted by the strange dream from three nights prior, and the words slipped out of my mouth almost unconsciously. "Oh, Garrett, darling. Please, put me down. You will make me quite ill should you continue."

He quickly placed me on the ground and cocked his head to the side, eying me serendipitously. "What did you say?"

My hand flew up to my mouth and I gasped. "I hadn't meant to say those words aloud. They seemed to tumble out of my mouth almost involuntarily."

"But where did you hear those words, Isabella?"

"I dreamt that I was back in the seventeen hundreds, dressed the part of a debutant in a pink dress. I was standing on the porch of a grand manor, waiting for you to return from war. It was a strange but lovely dream. I enjoyed the fantasy and wished that you could be there with me. And then you magically appeared. It's kind of embarrassing, really. Honestly, I think I read too much Jane Austin," I said, laughing softly under my breath. "Funny, huh?"

Garrett grasped my face between his large palms and stared into my eyes, mesmerized by my words. "Strangely, I had the same dream. Somehow we must've been together. Three nights ago I wasn't entirely lucid. My recollections are always so clear and precise. They never deviate, so I was surprised that I was able to conjure up such a fantasy.

"My little magnolia, you amaze me! Vampires don't sleep, as you well know. Yet, for the first time in two centuries, I slipped into a dream-like state, inadvertently pulled your dream." Garrett grabbed me gently by the arm and swung me deftly over his shoulder. "Hold on tight, little one. We need to talk to Carlisle right away. Hopefully he can shed some light on this phenomenon."

For the second time in a week, I was slung over the back of a vampire, practically flying though the trees as though they were nothing but swatches of color on a canvas. I tightened my arms and legs around his body, but instead of averting my eyes, I watched the scenery pass by me in awe. I didn't feel a tinge of fear as Garrett ghosted across the treacherous forest floor.

I laughed like a silly school girl when my mate grasped my wrist and brought it to his lips. He stopped abruptly and pulled me around to face him, quickly and gently pushing me against a tree. Brazenly, I grasped his face between my palms and brought his lips to mine, hungrily assaulting him mouth with my own, kissing him with such fervor that he immediately stiffened against me. Like a dying woman, I clung to him tightly, never wanting to let him go. I moaned loudly against his lips, mewling like a whore in the back seat of a car, and continued my ministrations until dark spots flashed behind my lids from lack of oxygen. I pulled back slightly, panting like a dog on a hot day. I laid my forehead against his and lovingly stroked his face, running my nails against the stubble on his chin. He growled softly under his breath.

Garrett tipped my head to the side and nibbled my neck. I couldn't help but respond, but I grasped his face gently and pulled him away. "As much as I'm enjoying making out with you against the trunk of this tree, I refuse to lose my virginity out in the open."