Hello, darlings. As you know, Full moon was part of the Red Moon compilation of short stories. But this one had too much potential to just leave it like that. So, I'll be uploading the three chapters that were up there, plus a new one. I don't have a publishing schedule because of work, but I'll try to make a bit of time during the week or weekends.
Tell me what you think :)
FULL MOON. PART 1.
Life has a way of bringing matters to an end.
Usually, it does so unexpectedly, with the consequence of some hope for learning something out of the experience. Likewise, as unexpected as the closing of matters is, as unsteady the person is left afterward, palming around blindly as if a light had suddenly been turned off after it had shone for days. The new reality brings about many challenges and shortcomings, that are of course, hard to overcome but not impossible.
With the unexpectedness, many roads open ahead, taunting you to choose one over the others. You don't know what lies ahead of you, but you only know that it's the only way now.
This time it was no different. In the short course of a week, everything changed drastically forever. He left on a new moon, forcing her to wander blindly through the woods, yelling his name in agony, wearing her heart on her sleeve like never before. It seemed fit that life brought her full circle on a full moon.
What was the saying for hard times? If life gives lemons, make lemonade? But what if her lemons were dry, with no juice to squirt out of them? What if her lemons forced her out of the place she was finally starting to call home, even embracing the good and the heartbreaking memories it held.
As she felt into the darkness, the last thing she saw was the brightness of the full moon on a clear night.
Bella entered her house and immediately noticed there was something amiss. She knew it wasn't Charlie because he had just texted her telling her that he was staying late at work and to not wait for him awake.
She grabbed the bat that Charlie had in the coat closet, and after checking the kitchen, she climbed the stairs as silently as she could, considering that the damn steps creaked with the weight of a fly.
There was no one in Charlie's room or the bathroom, so it only left her bedroom. She took a deep breath, feeling her heart beat so fast with fear and adrenaline that it was almost deafening. She opened her door slowly, wanting to delay as much as possible the reveal of the intruder.
There was definitely someone standing in the dark in a corner of her room. Her mind immediately went to him. But she quickly dismissed it. He had said he would never come back. And it would be as if he had never existed. There was no reason for him to be back and in this way.
She turned on the light and let out a small yell when she saw a vampire standing quietly in her room.
She felt as if she was going to faint. She let the bat drop and fall to the floor with an uncomfortable metal sound. The bat had nothing on the vampire.
Bella stood there, dumbfounded, unsure how to proceed next. Did she hug him? Did she say hello? What is the protocol for this kind of situation? It was so weird seeing him alone, in her bedroom, a place he had never been. He looked so out of his element. In all his glory. What was he doing there? Did he bring news from his brother? On behalf of his brother? Was there something she was missing?
Her mind was going a mile a second, and she couldn't keep up with all the thoughts. Her brain shut down for a few minutes, allowing her the sweet escape of her fainting spell.
When she came back to it, he was still there. His features were troubled. He looked concerned. She was in her bed, tucked in her covers. So he moved her from the floor. Or he must have caught her before she hit the floor and hurt herself.
She opened her mouth to speak, to ask the question that was burning in her mind, but she only managed to say "What?"
His lips turned upwards in a soft smile. His concern did not overpower his amusement.
"I came to apologize. It is long overdue."
She frowned. Apologized? Why?
Eloquently she repeated the same question as before.
The vampire sighed sadly but remained standing. "I attacked you at your birthday party and set in motion a series of events. I'm so sorry for my part." He looked so contrite, so guilty.
Bella had never thought of Jasper as the guilty party in her messed-up life. Yes, he had tried to attack her, which was not ok. But the rest that came after his slip was not his fault. It was Edward who decided to leave and to tell her so in the woods. He was the one who was guilty of causing her pain. Unbelievable pain.
She shook her head. It was painful still thinking his name. But it was a therapy that she had forced herself into. Say his name, think about him, the good and the bad, make peace with the fact that he is no longer here.
"Jasper. I understand that you feel guilty for attacking me, and I appreciate you going out of your way to apologize. And I accept your apology. But the events that unfolded after the party are in no way your responsibility. He made a choice."
Jasper knew that what she was saying was true. But he couldn't help feeling responsible for how things had unfolded after he attacked her. He had put those actions in motion. Even if Edward made the choice on his own, he had attacked her in the first place.
Bella sighed; Jasper could feel her frustration. Was she frustrated at him?
"You're not gonna stop blaming yourself no matter what I say, are you?" He arched an eyebrow. "I'm not going to pretend to understand whatever happened to you that day because even if you explain, I can only get a glimpse of it. You came here to ask for my forgiveness. You are honest about your words, and I forgive you, but you still carry a lot of guilt. I can see it."
Edward had always warned him to stay away, never trusting him fully around Bella, so he didn't know much about her despite the bits he could see whenever he was allowed to be around her. However, he saw now that she was very observant. But he already knew that.
He tilted his head sideways and observed her silently. She moved naturally around the house. She was confident with herself. She held her head high and her shoulders straight. He knew she was carrying a sadness that he hadn't experienced, and he admired her for the strength she was showing. But it made him wonder if she was doing it to put up a front with him or because she felt better with herself by acting that way. Whatever it was, he was not in the position to ask.
"You have to take responsibility for your actions. You are not responsible for what the rest of them do." Bella spoke again. He had gotten distracted.
"I take full responsibility for my actions." He said defensively.
"But you're also trying to take responsibility for what Edward did." She said back. "You are not responsible for other people's choices."
He opened his mouth to tell her what he was thinking, but she held up a hand, stopping him. "Do you blame a mother for her son's mistakes?"
"No." He answered immediately.
"Exactly. Because they are two different people, you cannot say that she is responsible for her son's mistakes just because she gave birth to him. She raised him, taught him values, the value of right and wrong. But what he does with that information is his choice, not his mother's."
She was also brilliant.
"You're right." He conceded.
And just like that, he started thinking about it. He had attacked her, yes. He had immediately regretted it. He had never had that strong a reaction to blood before. It was absurd what had happened. He went to high school, where people get hurt every second. Paper cuts, scraped knees, bloody noses, and things alike happened every time around him, and he had never tried to attack any of them. Bella's blood was not enticing to him, not in the way Edward found it. Her blood didn't call to him any stronger than their schoolmates' did.
He didn't have the excuse of feeling everyone's lust plus his because no one had time to take in the fact that she had been hurt. It was ridiculous, actually. What had happened, then? Why had he lost it that way?
Emmett had been speechless when he dragged him outside. Rose was with him. Alice stayed behind until the blood was too much for her to handle. When she met him outside, he could feel her disappointment, and it was too much. Too hard for him to handle. He had loved her very much, but lately, he had a feeling that she was slipping away from him. And that night had been the final straw.
He went hunting with Emmett and Rose, but he didn't return to the house. Instead, he called Peter and Charlotte and met them. He had been with them since then.
Peter and Charlotte never judged him, never considered that if Jasper attacked a human, he was weak. Only Edward, and lately, Alice, thought that he was weak. He was not weak. He was constantly fighting with his instincts.
"I know I'm right." She said smugly and sent him a slight smile. He smiled back amusedly.
She was also interesting.
What could she have seen in a moody person such as Edward? She was smart, funny, observant, and her emotions were very calm, despite the sadness he could feel in the background. In comparison, Edward was a constant fight with self-loathing.
Jasper had business to attend to in Seattle but promised this was not the last she'd see of him. He would be back, and they could talk some more. He wasn't sure why he wanted to keep talking to her. He should have said his piece and left her alone. But he couldn't bring himself to say goodbye permanently. He settled, then, for a see you soon.
That was the last time she saw him as a human, for the next time they crossed paths, it was in one of those unexpected ways that life has of bringing matters to an end.
She knew as soon as the fire-like sensation started spreading through her body that she had been bitten by a vampire, and it was not hard to guess who. She had burned similarly when James had bitten her at the ballet studio almost a year ago. She understood enough of the process, thanks to Alice's slipping, that it would take approximately seventy-two hours for the change to be conclusive.
Seventy-two hours in which she managed, though she still didn't know how, to remain quiet, to suppress her agony in low whispers and groans.
Bella had no choice but to tell her dad everything. If Edward couldn't read her mind, that must mean something. She couldn't simply leave Charlie wondering forever what had happened to his teenage daughter. It was cruel and unnecessary. She could tell him to keep it a secret. It was doubtful that someone would ask anything about her. They debated what to do.
"I'm too different to go back to school and pretend everything's the same." She said flatly when her father suggested she go back to school. For him, save the change in skin color and eyes, she was mostly the same.
But he had to admit that those were significant changes, and they would not go unnoticed.
"What about saying you transferred to a boarding school in Seattle? Or somewhere more remote?" She pondered this idea. It wasn't a bad one, but it still left too many questions unanswered and would create a cloud of gossip that would be hard to shake. Charlie sighed, frustrated. Those were his two only ideas. Going back to Renee was obviously out of the question, so he didn't even suggest it, and neither did she.
"I guess the easiest way to drown any gossip and any question is to say I died."
Charlie's eyes widened. For the first time, Bella saw her dad completely trapped by fear. His eyes watered, and a traitorous tear ran down his cheek, getting lost in the thickness of his mustache.
"How?" He whispered.
"I was sick." She decided quickly on the spot. "You can't say I committed suicide because I would have never ended my life for a boy. And it would hurt mom too deeply."
This plan was too unrealistic for Charlie. How could he be planning to lie to everyone with a straight face? It was tough to plan someone's death. Every option that crossed his mind was dismissed with the obvious solution. For instance, in most cases, breast cancer was detected through tact, and women were very cautious about their health. Someone as smart as Bella would not have left her health decline in such a way that she would never check for any anomalies in her body. Aside from the fact that they would need a doctor's autopsy to reveal the cause of death, forging a signature was out of the question. And not requesting an autopsy would not fit well with Renee.
Next came the thought of a stroke. It could happen, but he wasn't sure it was entirely true the belief he had that someone that had been under a lot of stress was more susceptible to one. How stressed could Bella have been to provoke a stroke of such proportions that she died? What about calling an ambulance as soon as he noticed anything abnormal in her behavior. He was the police chief, and he was trained in first aids, and one of the things they taught him was to recognize the signs of a stroke before it happened. This option raised more questions than the first one. Why didn't he attend to her? What about calling an ambulance or driving her himself to the hospital using the police cruiser?
"It's too complicated, Bella. We'll have to say that you went to visit some distant relative in Europe. You wanted a change in scenery, which is understandable after how hard it was for you to be abandoned the way you were." Charlie would never forgive Edward for how he treated his daughter. He had been a coward, and he hated cowards.
"You're right. That works better." But there was still the question of her mother. "What should we tell mom?"
Charlie smiled. "She's your mother, and I never spoke ill of her to you, but you must as well know it now. She never paid attention to my family's history. She knew my parents and that I was an only child. For all she knows, I could have distant cousins in Europe."
Bella smiled, shaking her head. Charlie hadn't said anything badly of her, at least, nothing that she hadn't noticed already. Their marriage had been short, only brought upon by strict parents who didn't want a grandchild to be born out of wedlock. Charlie had tried to make it work, but she simply couldn't stand being in Forks. She didn't see what Charlie saw. And she would never understand why Bella had decided to move there.
Bella had once said to Edward that her mom changed religions and she changed hats, and that was true, but what she didn't share at the moment was that Renee was never a motherly mother. She preferred to behave as Bella's friend than as her mother. Bella had never been comfortable with that. Due to Renee's unmotherly role, Bella had to learn many things by herself, including, sadly, about puberty and her first menstruation. Renee's unmotherly nature was not an indictment of her love for Bella, but it was an indictment of her free spirit-like personality. Additionally, she had never been one to pay much attention to things, which was now playing in Bella's favor.
"But you'll have to leave the area, right?" Charlie asked sadly.
Bella took her father's hand in hers; her hands were cold but not unfamiliar. His heart shrugged at the loss of warmth from her daughter's body. "Yes. I think I'll go south instead of north. I'll see what I can do. There must be some acquaintance of the Cullens that I can find." She couldn't remember if Edward ever told her who the visitors were that were staying at the Cullen house when the two of them started dating. Many things were a blur, while others struck out with outstanding clarity. For instance, that memory with Edward was blurred, while her last interaction with Jasper was as clear as if she had just had it. Was it the time frame for the two events that made the difference? She didn't know, and it was unlikely that she would find out sitting in Charlie's kitchen.
"What will you do money wise?" He didn't have a great fortune; being the chief in a small town had a similar size paycheck.
"I don't need food or sleep, so I think my savings from working at the Newtons will last a bit. I will manage somehow, don't worry. I'll always have my phone charged, and I'll keep in touch." It was heartbreaking for both of them to be saying goodbye indefinitely.
In reality, the prospect of a nomad life was of no appeal to Bella, but the circumstances were forcing her to be, at least for the time being.
She stood up from her chair to hug her dad. For some reason, Charlie didn't smell like food. He smelled like woods and leather, but not food. It was a smell she'd store as home. When Charlie was no longer on this earth, the only thing she'd have to remember him by would be her memories of him and this smell.
"I love you, dad." She whispered when they broke apart.
Charlie framed her face in between his big hands. She could feel the callouses of a lifetime handling guns. His smile was sweet if a little sad. His eyes were wet with unshed tears. "You'll always be my little girl." Bella smiled and nodded.
It was time to leave. The longer she stayed here, the harder it was to say goodbye.
Once in her car, her dad helped her store her suitcases in the trunk of the car, trying to have as much time with her as possible before parting ways.
When there were no more things to put in the car, Bella turned around and faced her dad one more time.
"This will always be your home." Were Charlie's last words to her that day.
Her truck was surprisingly sturdy. It was being extremely loyal, and she was grateful for it. But as loyal as it was, it needed rest from time to time. At least, her beast was the only one that needed rest, so a few hours each stop helped her get to her destination with good time.
Now, she needed an inconspicuous enough spot near the forest to leave her truck and hunt. It had been hours since the last time she hunted, and she was starting to feel the effects. She was still newly converted; at least, she suspected that was the reason behind her constant thirst and her constant hunts. It was hard to alleviate it. She had avoided humans for fear of attacking and killing an innocent. She wouldn't be able to live with herself if she did that.
When she finished with her meal, she decided to stay in the forest and spend the night there, away from civilization and the dangers that she now presented to them. It was lonely, and she missed being home, she missed her dad, and surprisingly, she missed school and the few friends that still spoke to her.
She missed Edward, Alice, and the rest of the Cullens. She wondered if she would ever see them again. She thought of Jasper and his sweet apologies the week before, with his promise to come back. Her heart had sung at that promise, and now it sunk at the thought of never seeing him again. Although, now that she had endless time, never was an alliteration. So instead of thinking of never seeing him again, she wondered when she would see him next?
She had so many questions for him. Where was Alice? Why hadn't she come with him? Where had they been? Was he with Edward? Did he know anything about him?
She couldn't shed tears, but that didn't mean she couldn't cry. She sobbed dryly for hours. It was not the Cullens' fault that VIctoria was batshit crazy and had decided to change her to fill her revenge for the Cullens killing James. It was not her fault that James had lost his mind and had tried to kill her for sport. She was the victim in the twisted encounter with the nomads. What about Laurent? Where was he?
It was hard to come to terms with everything. Her emotions ran high, and her nerves were close to the surface. She thought of her mother and cried harder because even if she could speak with her, Renee wouldn't listen to her. Renee was not a good listener.
Once again, she felt the loneliness of her situation and craved for someone to find her and help her. She needed someone to talk to, who could guide her in this life.
She knew of one person who could do that, but it was not fair of her to ask him that. He said he had business in Seattle, so he must be there with Alice, who she missed, but did not want to see, at least, not yet.
She didn't know any other vampires, and she refused to ask Rosalie or Emmett for help. It was her stubbornness that made her decide that. Emmett had always been very sweet to her, despite his wife's coldness towards her. She wondered if now that she was no longer human, Rosalie would still behave like Bella had stroked her across the face.
As the night turned into day, she listened to the sounds of the forest. The animals making their way to their daytime routine. The birds chirping happily, chicks learning to fly on the tree next to the one she was perched on.
With a sigh, she hopped down and strolled to her truck. It didn't do her any good to be hiding. Didn't they say that the best way to face your fears is to face them?
Well, let's hope that by facing her fear of being close to humans didn't end in her killing them.