Chapter 1: Bella's Contemplation

Companion Song: C'mon C'mon by The Von Bondies

As I make my way c'mon c'mon

Through these battered nights that seem too long

Now we grieve 'cause now it's gone

Things were good when we were young

(Lyrics are copyright of The Von Bondies)

(Characters are copyright of Stephenie Meyer)

No permission is implied from their use and belongs to the respective copyright owners.

Bella was alone and wandering aimlessly around the beach at LaPush. She knew she probably wasn't supposed to be there. After all, she was a vampire walking round the reservation. Even though Jacob had given his permission for Edward to turn her into one, it wasn't a decision Jacob was okay with. He gave his consent only out of desperation upon seeing the girl he was in love with dying in front of his very eyes. He had once said it would be better to see her dead than turned into a vampire. Jacob said that in desperation, too, but of course he didn't really mean it. He was angry at the thought of the beautiful friend he was in love with so easily willing away the rest of her life to an ugly and unnatural existence. He didn't want her dead, and as much as he didn't want her to be a vampire either, he couldn't bear the idea of never seeing her again. Seeing her heart stop shattered him into a million pieces that day. And so, the splintered shards of what was left of Jacob told Edward to do it.

No one thought things would get this far, at least that's how Jacob felt. He had always held out the belief that something would happen and things would go differently. Bella would realize how much she really loved him…somehow. Even after she admitted it to herself up on the mountain that day with the battle of newborns raging on, it's like she could never get away from him. Edward Cullen was like a drug that Bella refused to quit. She knew it was bad for her and yet she couldn't help herself. She really couldn't help herself. Jacob knew Edward smelled like a terrible and sickeningly sweet syrup to him, but he also knew that isn't what Bella smelled. Bella was a human, and she fell prey just like any other human would to such an alluringly beautiful person with a smell so enticing you couldn't resist it. Everything about him lured her in and she had been around him long enough that she couldn't even see what he was doing to her.

And now it was too late. Much too late.

Bella gazed at the bracelet on her wrist. She contemplated the clear, shimmering crystal. That's what she was now, see-thru just like the bauble. Easy to see through for what she really was – a predator. She frowned and let it sink in for a few silent minutes. She was lost in her thoughts for awhile before she realized her fingers were wrapped around something else. It was the wolf charm Jacob had made for her. It was a stark contrast from the crystal that wouldn't bend, just as she wouldn't bend now. The wolf charm was made from wood, it was dark and smelled vaguely like pine and the outdoors. She could crash her car into the tree it was carved from and the car and branches would be warped and unrecognizable while she stayed perfectly intact. It defied nature. That is what aggravated her the most – SHE had defied nature by doing this to herself, in a way. SHE had let things get this far. This is what she thought she wanted. Now that she was this way, she had the space to think. That was the gift that came with immortality, especially new immortality. You get endless time to think about all of the things that were and all of the things that could have been. You haven't had enough time just yet to get used to the idea and so your mind races on.

Bella lifted up her wrist to her face and inhaled the scent coming off of the charm that instantly brought up memories of the woods, both in Forks and around La Push. It made her think about the woods flying by her while she tested out the motorcycles with Jake for the first time. She thought about how the trees in La Push surrounded her and Jake during some of the most intense moments in their lives. And she thought about the intense moments in the woods of Forks where Edward had abandoned her. Edward may have left a note for Charlie, he may not have told her to go wandering into the forest alone – BUT – what else did he expect to happen? He dropped a bomb on Bella that she would never recover from. She was lost after hearing the decree telling her he didn't want her to go with him and his family, lost before she even lifted up a foot to move from that spot.

And here she was now, wandering through the trees on the reservation. For what purpose, she did not know. She had come to do this many times recently and hadn't given it up. She came here to lose herself in the endless time she now had. It was a place that once held such happy memories for her and much like the Edward she couldn't quit, she couldn't quit her subconscious pull to spend time in the same location where the memories lived on. Perhaps she was looking for Jacob, even though she knew he wouldn't be here. Jacob had left and run out of the room, right after Bella died and he gave Edward his permission to begin the transformation. He ran and didn't look back. He couldn't bear to live with any of the outcomes of his decision. Either Bella was dead, or she was an unrecognizable creature made to be his natural enemy. Whichever outcome, it was too devastating to live with.

He never stayed around to see the creature that I did become… Bella thought to herself, disgusted. She was disgusted with everything about her right at that very moment, and the sadness came crashing in. Like the waves crashing in on the shore of La Push, the utter despair overtook her and she felt as if she was drowning. Even though Bella no longer needed to breathe, she gasped for air as it took hold of her. She had come to sit on that familiar log where she had talked to Jake so many times, and now she rolled off of it clutching her sides and landing face down in the sand. She continued to clutch her sides, sure she felt physical pain just like she had when Edward had disappeared from her life. She couldn't physically cry anymore either, and yet she came as close as possible to it. Overwhelming sobs racked her body and escaped her lips.

Bella had never really thought of herself as womanly. Of course she was your average girl, before the change, that is. But being cold and hard made her actually remember those things; what it was like to be a woman. Soft skin, shiny hair, the way she smelled like flowers and the cinnamon tea she was always drinking. And the way she blushed when she was embarrassed or angry. She remembered feeling emotions and letting them out – whether it was yelling at Jake or Edward, laughing at the antics of the wolf pack, or the fear of being chased by Victoria. It didn't really matter whether they were good or bad emotions, just that it was her right to feel them and do whatever she wanted with them. Now it was different. She still felt the sadness, but couldn't let it out in the same way. And now it threatened to obliterate her. She no longer felt like the same Bella or the same woman she used to be. She was a stone, and the anger of it forced her to crush the crystal charm between her fingers into sparkly dust that fell to the sand.

Still sobbing and shaking, she rolled over and looked at the sky. And that's when she realized she was not alone.