I figure the disclaimer can take a hike this far into it… if you don't already know who owns the series, you haven't been reading this. lol.
Alaska was so cold. Not that she felt it in her body much, but she felt it in her heart. When she thought about how she would not get to go home again mostly.
She paced silently through the woods, making a large oval path. She was amused a moment when she wondered if any humans would ever accidentally take this circle path through the wilderness, hoping maybe to find a way out of the forest and really just walking around uselessly.
Edward was worried, she could feel it. She didn't think it was one of her powers, just a kind of awareness of where he was and his general feelings at all times. He was worried about her.
She had been having trouble adjusting to her new lifestyle. Once the passion from being with Edward wore off a little, the thirst had hit her. Badly. She had doubled over as her eyes turned nearly all black, a crimson band around the edge. She truly looked like a monster in her reflection. Not that Edward would ever know she felt that way.
"Why are my eyes red? Shouldn't they be your color? I haven't…" she trailed off, slightly horrified at what may have happened during the times she didn't remember.
"They're reacting to your human blood, not anything you took in," Edward had explained patiently. "Does it bother you?"
Her pause had been enough to give him his answer. He was helping a lot in her coping with the transformation, and yet… not at all. He was wary around her sometimes, cautious not to upset her. Even though the decision was final and she could never go back….
Bella smelled Alice before she saw her. Downwind, she could sense pretty accurately from what direction Alice was coming. Though there were many skills the Cullens were teaching her, about hunting and being a vampire in general, she had somehow retained her aversion to the smell of blood. Now, it was like the scent of alcohol to someone with both a mild allergy and an addiction. She hadn't realized before now how accurately the drug analogy had described it. The "withdrawal" was terrible. The hunger. Always blood. She could feel warm bodies around her in the woods, just waiting to be ripped open. She shuddered quietly at the thought and sat down. But the heightened senses weren't always a drawback. She liked it that no one could really sneak up on her anymore.
"Hey Bella," Alice called out quietly when she was close enough to be heard, but not yet visible. "Why are you out here by yourself?"
"He sent you?" she asked with a smile as her sister peeked from around a tree. The spiky black hair stood out against the white of the Alaskan forest.
"Well, yes, but I was concerned. You've been awfully quiet recently you know." She plopped down into the snow next to Bella. "Are you okay?"
"It's this place. I guess it's getting to me. We're out in the middle of nowhere and the sun is shining but it holds no warmth. Everything is so cold and lifeless here. It's not a happy place for me." She turned away so Alice's concerned eyes were no longer in her peripheral vision.
"You miss home? Charlie?" she guessed.
"Too green," she remembered with a smile. "Yeah, I really do miss Forks. I know… I know Edward really wanted a wedding. Soon…" Bella caught the slight pout on Alice's lips. She had insisted, using dirty tactics to get her way, on being the wedding planner, but without the location, there was only so much she could do. She hadn't been able to foresee at the beginning of this whether Bella would be a vampire yet or not, since Edward had been fairly wishy-washy on the subject. "But I just… can't do it here. There is no life in this place."
Alice leaned her forehead on Bella's shoulder. "I know you're eager." She thought about that for a moment. "Do you want to go near a human and see?" Bella sat and thought about it, and in the span it took her to consider, Edward was there. She looked up slowly.
He looked very serious, but managed a quick smile. "I'm going too," he said shortly, glancing at Alice as Bella apparently made her decision and the short premonition flashed through Alice's mind.
The girls both got up from the hard, dead earth and with Alice leading, they ran off into the woods. Bella was so surprised when she found she was stronger than her new family members, but Edward, always the fastest, still came out on top and kept pace with her. The running was incredible, more exhilarating than she could have imagined. She felt the way the earth flowed around her, and though she was somewhat conscious of moving, it was like her body took over to help her fly through the sleeping forest.
Alice knew exactly where the hunter was, miles away from Tanya's coven, off in the woods. They slowed as Bella caught the blood scent and it rocked her back in her tracks. She snorted a moment as a dog might when catching an unpleasant scent and covered her nose, breathing through her mouth. That was worse; she could taste the man. This had not been her first encounter with the human smell, but it seemed just as repulsive and irresistible as the first time. It never seemed to be getting better, and as long as it didn't, she couldn't go home to explain to Charlie her absence this time, so much longer than the others. She had written a letter before she left, telling him she was getting married and therefore hiding because she was afraid of his reaction to the news. And though she had said she was going to college, she neglected to mention where, in case Police Chief Swan decided to come storming to whatever state she had decided to stay in. She desperately wanted to go back, but this smell!
"Blech. It still smells rusty."
Edward chuckled a little. "A little metallic, I suppose." He held her close, restraining. "Are you good to move closer?" he searched her eyes with a gentle smile.
"Yeah, how close can we get?" she asked with more bravado than she felt, still wrinkling her nose slightly but otherwise composed. Edward laughed a little at her expression, but led the way around the woods to the back of the house, not 20 ft from the man's back. She peered from around the tree and sniffed experimentally. She had to grip the tree to keep from moving closer, drawn in by his beating heart. Edward placed his arms around her waist and leaned against her shoulder, all of them utterly silent. He twitched and looked around at Alice a moment before shifting them around the tree slightly to be hidden from the door to the house as well. A little boy burst forth excitedly, towing along his artwork to show his father, coming within inches of the tree. Bella had flinched slightly, but leaned away when the boy came near, rather than straining towards him as she had done the first few times she had encountered humans in this new form, as she had done with the father. But she had been practicing, with the animals in the forest and her reaction to this surprise was the biggest breakthrough she could have hoped for. She looked over her shoulder, grinning, to Edward who mirrored her excitement. He kissed her cheek silently, pressing his lips to her skin as the sun caught it through the trees. Alice wasn't smiling though. She wasn't anywhere in sight actually. The sun sparkling off Bella's skin had caught the attention of the hunter, and when Edward caught up with her thoughts, he bolted too, dragging Bella along with him. She could hear the loud, awkward human tromp over to the edge of the woods and silence his son, but soon they were out of range, as fast as they were running. That was certainly one thing she didn't miss, needing to be so loud, slow and clumsy. When they finally reached Alice, both Edward and Bella started giggling sheepishly.
"Well I'm glad you had fun," Alice said as she rolled her eyes. "So what do you think?"
"I moved away!" Bella exclaimed happily. "The little boy came out and I didn't try to move forward, I moved away! Maybe I can make it so I only smell the gross part and then I won't eat people," she laughed excitedly, ignoring the look Edward gave her at the childish outlook she had on 'eating'.
"Are you okay?" he asked when her sparkling eyes appeared much darker than normal.
"Well… yeah I guess now that I think about it I am a bit hungry now, but still! That makes it even cooler. That I moved away."
Edward laughed again and gave her a big, warm hug. As she looked into his smiling face, she thought this had to be the best part; Edward not being careful about touching her anymore.
"Hey—" Bella started to ask, turning to Alice, but she nodded before Bella could finish asking.
"Let's go running and we'll grab dinner on the way," she laughed musically, completing her thought for her. "Catch me if you can!" she called over her shoulder as she took off again into the woods. Though Alice knew the terrain better, Bella kept pace only 100 ft. or so behind her, dodging suddenly when Alice took a turn around trees and jumping over brambles with ease. The chase was perfect, not even marred by the feeding, when she lashed out suddenly at a large animal nearby that turned out to be a bobcat. Even the play times were always teaching times for her as the Cullens gently coached her to live as they did. Edward had slipped off earlier when Bella got too into the chase to notice, but stood waiting on the porch of the little house built just for them when she returned, eyes wild and a strange orange color as some of her lingering human blood was diluted with the animals she had been taking in over the past five months. And somehow, the woods weren't dead anymore, the place not quite so cold. There was hope again, here with her family, with her love, and before long, she might be able to meet her parents again after such a long separation.
She threw herself into Edward's arms and he caught her with ease, spinning her around and kissing her happily.
Yeah okay so this is mostly filler stuff, I realize, but I can't put down the wedding just yet. And I've taken way too long to not have another installment ready.. But! I hope to have the story done… no, I will have the story done by the end of the year. So I have a deadline Maybe I'll be motivated to do more writing now. Lol
Hope you're all getting Eclipse! Happy reading!