"Happiness is not a reward; it is a consequence
Suffering is not a punishment; it is a result."
-- Robert Green Ingersoll
x x x
He found her just outside her old house, curled up in a tree as she stared through the window, rocking back and forth. She'd been missing for nearly three days now and the moment he laid his eyes on her, the overwhelming relief at seeing her alive and well came hand in hand with the anger. He wanted to scream bloody murder at her for making him worry so much…for being found in an area that she knew very well she shouldn't be in. If anyone recognized her, there would be trouble. She was newly turned and he'd been agonizing over how she was controlling herself when she was out and alone with so many humans about. But more importantly, there was a moment in his frantic search that he thought she must have been dead. She did, after all, have an uncanny ability to attract anything even remotely dangerous within a ten mile radius…and what if that trait had been enhanced upon her change?
She'd be killed. Murdered. Slaughtered. Gone. And no matter how inhumanly strong he may be, there would be nothing he could to stop it from happening.
He banished the thought just as quickly as it had come but the possibility was still there, along with the accompanying knowledge that if that was indeed the case, there was no way he was living without her. There would be problems with his contingency plans this time round, he realized. He knew that his family would predict his taking off to Italy and do everything in their power to stop him from taking his own life…
To be put simply, it had just been the worst forty-eight hours, twenty-six minutes and forty-two seconds of his life, and he had every intention of letting her know just how bad it had been.
He started climbing, a growl of pure fury already building in his throat. Absently, he thought it a little strange that she hadn't noticed him yet. She gave no indication that she had any idea he was only a few feet below her. Lightening crackled in the distance, the wind blowing strong and cold on his face—the sure signs of a storm.
He reached her…but the frustration was swept away the instant he saw the expression on her face.
"Bella?" He called softly, his voice sounding uncharacteristically loud in the thick air.
She didn't move; didn't even flinch. She stopped rocking, though—her eyes just as glassy and cold as the window she was staring through. He put his hands on her arms, trying to drag her away but she wouldn't budge.
"Bella? Sweetheart, what's wrong?" the apprehension in his voice rose dramatically as he firmly placed both hands on each side of her head and turned it, forcing her to look at him.
A small spark of recognition shone in the dark, ruby depths of her eyes. "Edward?"
"Yes, it's me," he said, allowing himself a small smile of triumph as he drew her limp body into his arms. He pressed his lips to the exposed skin of his shoulders as he anxiously smoothed her hair. "What have you been doing? Why are you here? Do you have any idea how worried I've been?"
She was silent for a moment and he waited patiently for her to find her words. He was only mildly surprised when she completely broke down, her whole body shaking with tearless sobs as she clawed at his shirt. "He just won't stop!" she cried. "Why is he blaming himself? Why won't he stop crying? It's my fault he's suffering! That my mom's suffering. Oh, God, Edward! He had to tell her! He had to tell Renee I was dead and you should have seen his face! It's all my fault…it's always my fault! Charlie…he—"
"Shhh…" Edward soothed, bringing her in tightly against his chest, glad that for once she didn't seem to notice what he knew would be the absolute horror on his face. He sprang lightly from the braches without another word, landing with an almost inaudible thump on the other side of the fence.
"Don't think about it," he whispered gently against her skin when she'd quieted down. He started to hum her lullaby and he watched as her face began to gradually relax. The rain started to come down heavily around them, but he paid the weather no mind. She closed her eyes as she snuggled closer in his arms, a ghost of a smile appearing on her lips.
"Don't think about it…" she repeated; the words already easing her sadness as her thoughts drifted towards the beautiful archangel's voice at her ear.
"Yes, the pain will fade with time. Just forget."
x x x
There were very few occasions when someone would find me reading a newspaper. It had even gotten to the point where we didn't watch much television anymore either. The world was constantly changing around us and yet, we always stayed the same. It is for that reason perhaps, that my kind subconsciously isolates themselves from the rest of reality.
We are hardly what someone would call real, after all.
With skin as hard as granite and as smooth as marble, it is almost impossible for us to injure or kill ourselves. Our keen senses of sight and smell are five thousand times more sensitive then that of an ordinary human. We can break the sound barrier with our speed when running without actually expending any kind of effort. We hunt whatever animals cross our paths for their blood…and then of course through it all, we never age.
I am a mythical creature and it is for this reason alone that I suspect I wrap myself up in a fantasy world that does not entail any sort of negativity. Where the sun dances off my skin like diamonds while I lay in Edward's arms, watching the wildflowers dance about my face as he whispers 'I love you' into the crook of my neck. Where I can laugh and dance and sing with my sisters as we shop for hours, never growing tired of running from store to store. Where I can wrestle and joke and play with my brothers all day, racing them half-way across the countryside in a matter of minutes…and where I have the loveliest parents in the world—the most compassionate people I've ever known.
But something you don't seem to realize is how fragile that perfect universe is until its shattered.
Who would have thought that reading a newspaper could destroy all that?
Carlisle had left in on the dinning room table in his haste to get to work this morning and so I had started flicking through, momentarily bored as I waited for the rest of my family to get ready for our latest hunting trip. I saw his name in a small article towards the back, and if my eyes weren't so sharp, I probably would have missed it. His death had been a small affair; he'd simply gone to sleep one night and never woke up in the morning. The doctors who performed the autopsy said he had a massive stroke. Quick and painless—he didn't suffer. Apparently, the entire town was devastated at losing such a good police chief…and it had been a peaceful end to a rather tragic life for him as well, according to what the article said. It seems he never recovered from losing his only nineteen year-old daughter all those years ago…
I waited for the sadness…for the guilt and shock…for any emotion at all to come crashing down on top of me like a lead weight, but I felt nothing. I hadn't seen my father in over forty years and if it wasn't for the photograph the journalist had supplied, I probably wouldn't have remembered his face. I tried to remember something…anything in the hopes that it might provoke the emotions I knew I was supposed to feel. In the end, I just felt…empty.
'Don't think about it.'
I felt like there was something there but it was just out of my reach; teetering on the brink of a threshold—hazy, unclear, and from what my gut was telling me, extremely dangerous. I shook my head, suddenly furious with myself for being so ridiculous.
That photo was nothing but a face to me now, lost in the fog of a past I didn't want to…no, I couldn't recall. I scrunched the paper up angrily and tossed it in the fire, watching it blacken and curl before it finally exploded into ashes. His name had been the only thing I still remembered; two words locked away in an insignificant corner of my mind, left undisturbed for decades to collect dust.
Unfortunately, I hadn't missed the information about the dates for his funeral. It was scheduled for the next day.
I didn't go.
Because Charlie Swan was just a name and nothing more. He may have been important once, but my mind couldn't tell me when. He may have been family, but what did it matter? It was all lost in a haze that I had no desire to explore. Besides, I had family now and they meant more to me then anyone else I knew or had known. If I really wanted to remember my human years, I would. Just like my sister, Rosalie. All I knew is that I wanted that name to stay buried in my fuzzy memories from now on.
Of course, it never did. It stayed there, nagging away at me to do something but I didn't know exactly what.
When my family came barreling downstairs, I told them I wasn't hungry. It was only later that I realized how problematic that lie actually was—I knew that the amber was already starting to drain from my eyes. I hadn't eaten in about a week, which is why I knew Edward didn't believe me, but for some strange reason he didn't press the issue like I thought he would. Instead, he kissed my forehead and disappeared from sight with everyone else, promising he would talk with me when he returned. I heard Emmett's Jeep roar to life in barn several hectares away, and watched my family leave as I happily waved goodbye.
I wouldn't be here when they returned.
x x x
The first few days were the worst.
He had brought her home to his family…their family now, her diamond-hard body unnaturally limp in his arms. If he hadn't known any better, he probably would have thought her to be dead. Her beautiful crimson eyes had faded; dull in all of their emptiness. She would just lie there and stare at the ceiling, not even blinking. She never moved, spoke or ate unless absolutely necessary. Edward could never bring himself to leave her—he was too afraid that she would disappear again, but at the same time, it was difficult to remain close by. Her sadness and guilt was starting to overwhelm him—for all intensive purposes, she was catatonic; his usually large room suddenly felt suffocating and incredibly claustrophobic, like he couldn't breathe…
It was all his fault.
He shouldn't have given in to her demands. He shouldn't have given in to his demands. Right and wrong had stopped meaning anything a long time ago. Now, the only thing he cared about was what he wanted and what he didn't want. He wanted her. All of her…and he didn't want to face the possibility of an existence that she wasn't a part of.
The only thing she seemed insanely determined for was his company. He was beginning to think that if she held his hand any tighter she would surely snap off. She showed no other sign of interest and Edward was starting to wonder just how much more he could take of having nothing to do all day but stare at her frozen body. Something had to be wrong. She should have recovered by now. Carlisle refused to do anything—said she had to learn to shoulder her own problems.
Edward felt like smashing something.
So he did. The lamp had been a prime target. He threw it hard against the wall; half in anger, half in the hopes that Bella might actually notice.
And as he fell to his knees, hopeless. He was beginning to think she would never react to anything ever again.
He brushed his lips gently against her hand, leaning his forehead against her limp, cool arm. "Please, Bella," he begged softly. "Just forget."
x x x
I couldn't honestly say how long I'd been standing there, just staring. The ground beneath my feet had only been recently disturbed. I'd put some white orchids Esme had been growing down next to the marble tablet that had been erected in the damp earth. I gently ran my fingers over the golden inlay. It was still warm…but that wasn't what really held my attention. What had me so distracted was the gravestone next to his.
It was mine.
I almost laughed. How ironic.
I walked over slowly, a wry smile growing on my lips. I still remembered my 'death.' Alice had staged the whole thing after I was turned. Once again she'd had a little too much fun fabricating evidence, and had made it look like I'd lost control of my truck when coming around a bend and consequently driven straight off a cliff. Funny, but now that I thought about it, I didn't remember much else about my first days as a vampire. Edward probably had a lot to do with that though, I thought bitterly.
"So I belong here, do I?" I called out to know one in particular, lying down against the smooth stone used to cover my grave. I rolled over onto my back, looking up at the sky. It was starting to get dark, the stars only just now starting to become visible. I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath of fresh air; more out of habit than necessity. The sharp, cool air felt good in my lungs. A small corner of my brain told me that I should probably get home. No doubt my family was already wondering where I was. Something else told me that Edward already knew I was here and was on his way.
"Yes, you really do belong in that hole after what you've become. Would you like me to dig it out for you?" an angry voice suddenly retorted, breaking the comfortable silence. My eyes snapped open, the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end as I shot up into a crouching position. "I'm sure if we open that coffin, it'll be empty." The smell came after the shock; a musty, bitter smell that made my nose visibly wrinkle in disgust.
"Yeah, well you don't smell so hot yourself!" the person growled again. "Of all the spineless things you could've done! Showing up here the day after the funeral! And here I hoped that there was still something human left in you after you willingly turned into such a monster!"
I roared out at his last comment, my chest heaving with the effort. A small flock of crows dispersed into the air at the sudden disturbance but I could already tell from the scent that it was a werewolf, and I already had a pretty good idea of which one.
"I'm not breaking any treaty being here, dog!" I snarled, drawing back against "my" headstone.
"You may not be breaking any rules of the treaty," he snapped, finally stepping out from behind the tree he was hiding behind, his entire body quivering with rage. I knew it. "But you're sure as hell breaking the rules of common decency! How could you not turn up to your own father's funeral, Bella?"
"That's Isabella to you, you mangy pooch!" I sneered at him, baring my teeth in hopes that he would back off. "And as for my 'father', Jacob, I don't even remember anything about him! I don't remember anything about anyone from when I was human, and I don't want to! If any of my human life was worth anything to me at all, then I would remember. It doesn't matter, anyway. It's worth nothing to me now!" Why was I even explaining myself to him? My screeching voice seemed to have the intimidating effect I'd been going for, though. His eyes flashed at my words, but it was quickly buried over by anger for an instant, before his face was strangely hopeless.
"What have they done to you? I knew this would happen. You really aren't that wonderful girl I knew all those years ago…you're nothing more than a shell, now."
"You don't even know me!" I accused, hating the nostalgic ring of agony in his husky voice, and the way it made me feel in just as much pain. I hunched over into a protective stance. "And they haven't done anything! I love my family more than anything else in this world, and that has absolutely nothing to do with you!" Suddenly I felt like I wanted to burst into tears. I just wanted to get as far away from here as possible. I couldn't stand being around him. I was about to lose it completely.
My knuckles scraped hard through the dirt. It was all Jacob's fault. Stupid dog.
"You can't cry, even if you want to which, even then I would find hard to believe. After all, being the stony little alien that you are, you wouldn't know what emotion is anymore, would you?" His voice was a slap, even as he echoed my thoughts. I growled in warning as he approached, trying futilely to fight the tearless sobs building my throat. I was so mad at him! Why wouldn't he just leave me alone? I wished the stupid mongrels never existed.
"Nobody can run from pain, Bella," he said, voice suddenly soft. He stopped just a few feet away from me, kneeling down on his knees. The disgusting smell rolling of his dirty, rusty skin was making my stomach churn with the unfamiliar feeling of nausea, so I stopped breathing altogether. "These are the consequences of your actions…"—he gestured to Charlie's grave—"…and you have to learn how to deal with them."
The rage building in me boiled over then, and I launched myself at him; teeth bared and ready to bite. "I hate you!" I screamed childishly, but he was ready for my pathetic emotional outburst and defended himself easily; grabbing me by the wrists and effortlessly dodging whenever I tried to take a chuck out of his face. He threw me up against something hard and flat, pinning me there by my wrists. I kicked and struggled as hard as I could against him, my jaws aching bite.
"Bella, stop. It's pointless," he urged, but I kept fighting, completely ignoring him.
"I told you, it's Isabella!" I hissed, glaring at him with baleful eyes.
He only sighed, irritated. "Okay, whatever…but I'm not letting you go until you calm down." An amused smirk flitted across his lips, and I felt my eyes narrow in absolute hatred. The nerve of this stupid mutt! "You dare even try and hurt me and I swear scream bloody murder so loud…"
"There's no one around here for miles," he pointed out. "Go right ahead."
I shot him a dirty look. "You'll be breaking your precious treaty if you kill me. It'll start a war and then you'll be sorry."
He scoffed, but he turned to face me directly. His eyes were furious. "I don't need to kill you. You've done that much yourself already," he spat, jaw straining as he tried to control his temper.
I struggled against his hold, so aggravated that I couldn't stay still. "Let me go, you bastard!" I yelled, managing to catch him off guard with a well-placed kick in the ribs. I'd hurt him, even though it wasn't enough to make him let me go, I'd hurt him. I was happy with that much for now. He was fuming when his eyes returned to me. I could've sworn I saw smoke bursting from his ears.
"Do you even know what your father went through when you 'died'? He always blamed himself. Said he should've have made sure you didn't drive home of a night time. That he should have come and picked you up from Port Angeles that night. 'If I did…if I was a better father, Bella would still be alive,' he would always say…and I had to sit there and listen to years of him torturing himself when I knew the truth all along—that you'd simply abandoned everyone you "apparently" loved so you could become a monster!"
"You're the monster!" I replied angrily, snarling as his grip around my wrists tightened exponentially.
He ignored me, continuing as if I hadn't spoken at all, "…And it was even worse when he was the one who had to call your mother and tell her the news. You've probably forgotten what your mother was like because you're such a coward, but she naturally blamed him for everything. In his mind, that really only confirmed it was all his fault."
"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" I yelled, but he kept going.
"So while you were off being all lovey-dovey and playing happily ever after with your bloodsuckers, your parents wasted away under the grief of losing their only daughter…"
x x x
It was exactly 9 days, 6 hours, 37 minutes and 44 seconds (45, 46, 47, 48) later that she finally spoke, and he almost fell to pieces at the sound; his relief drowning out everything else.
"Do you think I'm selfish, Edward?" she spoke without inflection or emotion, her face as blank and cold as a canvas without any color. He was so distracted by distracted by the sound of her voice—it felt like an eternity since he'd heard it—that at first, her question didn't actually sink in.
"What? Selfish?" he laughed—genuinely laughed as he gathered her into his arms, absolutely delighted that she seemed to have recovered, even if it was only slightly. "Why would you, of all the most beautiful creatures on this planet, be selfish?" he asked with genuine curiosity as he kissed the hollow at the base of her ear.
"For not being able to live without you," she confirmed, again speaking in a monotone. "For choosing you over my own parents…the people who raised me and for the better part of my life, were the closest thing to friends I had; for disappearing on my best friend who'll hate me now for the rest of his existence. I'm so pathetic. Needy. Stupid. Cruel. A monstrosity. How can you love someone like that?"
He brushed his fingers gently down her cheeks and across her jaw-line until they came to rest just underneath her chin, holding it fast so she couldn't look away. She needed to understand she couldn't torture herself like this… that this was the way it had always been. No matter what she did, it was always going to be a lose/lose situation.
"I would have done exactly the same thing," he whispered headedly, looking directly at her as he spoke, hoping that the words would sink in. "If for some completely illogical reason I had to leave my family to be with you…I wouldn't even hesitate for a second. I can't physically function if you aren't with me, Bella. I need you. If anything I'm the selfish one—I'm the one that turned you into the monstrosity you are."
She showed no sign of actually hearing what he'd just said. "But I love them all so much…and they'll never know."
"Yes," he said, voice grim.
She broke down then, her chest heaving with heavy, dry sobs. He tried to calm her down, but the tighter he held her, the more hysterical she seemed to become. "It burns…it hurts so much…" she mumbled into the crook of his neck, pulling him closer.
"It will fade, Bella. I promise."
Or at least, he genuinely hoped it did. It was for his sake just as much for hers. He knew she wouldn't be able to live like this. He sure couldn't.
Somewhere off in the distance, a lullaby started to play and soon afterwards, she relaxed in his arms. "Just forget."
x x x
I looked up to see Jacob's face hovering over mine, looking both confused and irritated that I hadn't been paying attention to his rant. It took me a moment to realize where I was and, using his apparent distraction as an advantage, I managed to wrench my right arm out of his vice-grip, allowing me to drop a few inches and I didn't hesitate to sprint away as fast as I could the instant my feet touched the ground, successfully ripping myself free in seconds. I ran as fast as I could into the forest, dodging the trees effortlessly, already weaving a familiar path in-between their silver trunks. I was about four hundred yards in when I heard his voice again. The sound made me stop dead in my tracks.
"Fine. Run away—you're pretty bloody good at it from what I've seen! I didn't know that in exchange for immortality, you had to trade your soul and your spine."
I silently seethed where I stood amongst the damp leaf litter. Did he honestly believe that just because there was a treaty in place it meant I couldn't tear the foul smelling little mongrel apart? I wasn't allowed to kill him. The contract between our species said nothing about hurting them really badly.
Despite the fact that I knew he was trying to force a reaction out of me with that little snide comment of his, I just couldn't bear to leave it that way. I was a far cry from a coward as he'd so blatantly accused…hardly anything like the helpless, clumsy human I was all those years ago. He may have known me then, but he had no idea what I could do now. My anger flared.
"Don't you dare stand there and crucify me for my choices," I screamed out, my voice echoing angrily off the treetops. Storming back out into the cemetery, I stared him down, fighting with everything I had to control my temper, to simply not leap on him and rip his throat out. "What the hell would you know, anyway? You have no idea what it feels like to love someone with every fiber of your being…to realize you can't live without them. I did what I had to. Nothing more!"
He was absolutely livid, shaking so much that even my eyes had trouble focusing on his face. "No. You did what you wanted to!"
"I couldn't live without him!"
"Well, you know what, Charlie couldn't live without you. You were his only family. You were all he had left. And you left him for a murderer."
"Edward most certainly is not a murderer," I bit back defiantly. "He punished real murderers. People who deserved it. He's never killed an innocent person in his life!"
"Who is he to judge if someone lives or dies?! I don't eat people either, Bella, does that make me a fucking saint?"
I glared at him, my mouth twitching as I fought off a sadistic smile. "No, but you can certainly be a martyr if you're that desperate," I said dryly. "That's no where near as good as a saint, but I'm afraid it's the best I can do."
It was silent for awhile after that as our tempers simmered down, both of us so angry that we were momentarily deprived of our ability to speak. I watched Jacob's face as it relaxed; the lines in his forehead smoothing out as his eyes softened slightly.
I, on the hand, could barely even look at him anymore. "What do you want from me?" I sneered, purposefully flashing my venom-covered teeth in the dying light. It worked; he took a small step back, intimidated. When he didn't answer I sighed, rolling my eyes. I'd had enough.
"Look, just leave me alone," I warned. "You've ruined my day and I'm sure you're happy with that, but if you ever come looking for me again, there'll be trouble."
I turned back towards the forest without another word, walking cautiously towards the safety of the trees. I listened carefully for any signs that he was following, and when I heard his feet crunch in the grass, I almost lost it. "I said don't follow me!"
I whipped around and sure enough, he was standing not ten feet from where I stood. The bitter, damp smell that wafted from his skin was really starting to scratch away at my rationality. There was only so much more I could take before I slipped over the edge. It was still as if I'd said nothing, and I clenched my teeth together so hard I thought for sure that they would shatter under the pressure.
"Go away," I said slowly, evenly through my teeth. "I will hurt you if that's what it takes to get the message through that thick skull of yours, seeing as your ears don't appear to be working today…or anything other day for that matter."
"Are you sure you're not in there anywhere?" he asked, watching with me a pathetic, hopeless look. Jacob seemed to genuinely want an answer and I couldn't help but wonder what he wanted me to say. "I mean, are you really gone?"
"If you're referring to the ditzy human named Isabella Swan then, yes, she's dead." I smirked at him, pointing a finger over my shoulder. "Didn't you see it? I was sure that you did. Her grave is right over there, next to her father's."
His face scrunched in pain and I cleared my throat to rid myself of the uncomfortable feeling in my chest. I felt as if someone had just stabbed me. "Now if you'll excuse me," I said quickly, "I really should be leaving."
I couldn't get away from there fast enough. I flitted through the trees, pushing my body to the limit; faster and faster and faster…don't think about it, don't think about it…don't think about it. The burning pain was spreading through my chest, burning my lungs. All I felt like doing was breaking down and crying. I just had to get away, just had to leave. Why had I even come here, anyway? How stupid could I have been?
I was such an idiot! Stupid, stupid Bella…
I almost jumped out of my skin when a burning arm latched onto my shoulder. "Wait," Jacob called, and the sound of his voice made my blood boil furiously beneath my skin. I was hardly in any kind of rational mood; overwhelmed by emotions that even I couldn't comprehend. That's why when that horrible musty scent of his caught up with my predatory instincts, I didn't have the energy or even the will to swallow them…to control them.
And so I did something I thought I would never do, despite how much I hated werewolves.
I bit him.
Not even he was expecting it, (that much was obvious) and it wasn't until the incredibly foul taste of his blood started to ooze down my throat that I even realized what I'd done. My teeth had sliced clean through his hand, the blood trickling down his forearm. I withdrew immediately, watching as he fell to his knees, holding his arm in obvious pain. I watched him writhe in the grass, completely aware that he was in nothing short of agony and yet, I couldn't bring myself to feel sorry for what I'd done. My instincts kicked in, assessing the situation and doing quick calculations in my head. Despite how many I tried, I could only ever come to a one-worded conclusion:
Inwardly, I grinned at the thought.
"You won't die," I told him, slightly alarmed at how eerily calm my voice was. "You're lucky that your kind is immune. Of course, that doesn't mean it won't hurt." This was going to have implications on the treaty, I knew…and winced. Edward wouldn't be happy…nobody probably would be, now that I thought about it. Carlisle especially, I was sure.
Still, at that moment, I was finding it extremely difficult to care.
"Do you feel that fire, Jacob?"
He didn't answer—only glared at me—obviously pissed off. Right. Stupid question. I continued anyway.
"Maybe now you'll finally understand," I told him. "Multiply that to the depths of eternity and you'll probably have a very rough idea of what it's like to be a vampire. Of what it's like to be me. I have to pay for the people I've hurt until the end of time. I don't know about you, but don't you think I'm suffering enough? Charlie's dead. He's stopped suffering now…and so will you, eventually.
"Have a nice life, Jacob Black. Let's hope we never meet again, for your sake."
I left him there in the woods without another word.
And this time, he didn't follow.
x x x
She was lucky that when she was human she'd always been good at blocking unpleasant experiences from her mind. It made everything else so much easier, and in her first weeks as a vampire she'd been so busy trying to control her urges, learn how to hunt and spend time with Edward that luckily, her parents never really crossed her mind.
Only three months later and she'd forgotten about them almost completely. Five years later and she'd forgotten she ever had brown eyes. Ten years later and it was almost as if she'd never been human at all—she had her vampire family and that was all that mattered. She loved them and Edward…and that was all. He was all Bella needed to survive and she was content with that knowledge. She didn't need pain or memories or humanity or regret, only family and Edward. Her life was so simple now and she was extremely grateful. Her human life could have only been complicated with the trivial worries of mortality; the ones Edward guarded with an unyielding ferocity that she'd never been able to truly understand. Not even he himself could apparently ever really explain it. Not when she'd asked him, anyway.
Edward had quizzed her on her whereabouts when she arrived home the next day and in her quest to remain truthful to Edward, she told him half the truth—that she'd found the article about her father in the paper and went to pay her respects. She decided not to mention Jacob at all, even though he could see that she was hiding something. She could see he was about to ask her about it, and so she leaned in and pecked his cheek as a distraction.
As Edward leaned in—taking the bait, no less—to kiss her sweetly on the lips, she could only come to one conclusion: whatever she had been before didn't matter anymore. Ultimately, she didn't care about Jacob. She was glad she was drinking blood and running fast and lifting trees with one arm and kissing Edward—really kissing him…really touching him. She was glad she wasn't clumsy or blushing or cooking or worrying when to pay that stupid bill.
Honestly, she was glad that Bella was dead. Edward couldn't have been more wrong.
Being a monster wasn't horrible at all.
On the contrary; it was so much fun.
A/N: This is another, (long - sorry. You guys should know by now I don't do short!) concept I'm exploring; if human memories fade when you're turned, you consequently lose - over a long period of time - whatever humanity you once had, right? Inhumanly graceful posture replaces the quirks in your step, and the things you experienced in your life that made you who you were, have disappeared, vanished. You don't recall any of them. I'm using Stephenie's information from the Lexicon here - she said that if a newly turned vampire doesn't focus on their human memories within the first few weeks, they fade quite quickly. My story's based on a combination of that, and what Jacob is so afraid of what will happen to Bella when she's turned; he's afraid she'd become an alien, a dead shell of what she once was.
So, what's left when you've lost all of that…when you've become that? Something? Nothing? Anything? What?
If that still doesn't put it into perspective, the way I put it was like this: imagine Bella as the female version of Edward; no recollection of her human parents or friends, extremely arrogant with the belief that she's untouchable, completely dependent on her soulmate and/or vampire family for socializing, and with a very strong hate for werewolves, especially one Jacob Black. What do you have then?
Well, this is what I think is left of Bella. Is Jacob right? Is Bella's subsequent guilt at losing her parents enougth to justify her self-induced, (or Edward-induced, depending on your opinion) amnesia? Perhaps to an extent, but to what length depends on how you perceive it, I suppose. ;D
Any comments and/or criticism you have to offer is heartedly welcomed.
Till next time.