It's funny, all your life you hear about people who claim to have had near death experiences or who have been clinically dead but came back. They always talk about seeing a light at the end of a tunnel or angels or loved ones either greeting them or telling them it's not time.
When I heard Edward's voice and opened my eyes I wasn't thinking about dying. I wasn't even conscious of Victoria's teeth in my neck. All I knew was that my angel had come for me. I didn't care if I was dying, dead or whatever as long as Edward was there. I closed my eyes and let the darkness take me.
"Carlisle! Help me!" I heard his voice calling out, dragging me back to him through the darkness. "Carlisle, help her! Please!"
As I looked up into his eyes I felt his arms around me, holding me, rocking me and I was so happy. But, he wasn't. His eyes were full of pain and anguish. Why was he so sad? Wasn't he happy to see me? Hadn't he come back for me? Before my mind could comprehend all that was being said around me, he leaned down to kiss me. I closed my eyes and I was in heaven as I felt his cold, marble lips on mine. Then, his sweet voice whispered in my ear, "I love you. Please forgive me."
He loved me! He didn't need to ask for forgiveness. I'd forgiven him for leaving me long before he came back. He loved me! My heart swelled in my chest, whole at last. He loved me! His cool lips were now tickling below my ear as I realized once again; he loved me. I lay there in his arms, blissfully unaware of all that was taking place around me but serenely happy that my Edward was here, biting me. Biting me?
Edward was biting me! Buy, why? Why would he bite me now? Is he killing me? No, even in my half dead, half alive stupor I knew better. He was changing me. I thought he didn't want to change me. I thought he didn't want me. But he does want me. He came back because he loves me. Is that why he's changing me? So we can finally be together? Did I want him to change me? Of course I did. Now we would be together forever. But, why now? I still didn't understand and as a different sort of dark veil passed over me I realized it didn't matter, none of it.
Over the next three days, I spent every second by Bella's side. After biting her in the woods, I carried her back to our house in Forks. Emmett and Jasper moved a bed from one of the other rooms into my bedroom so Bella would be more comfortable.
She had lost consciousness when I bit her and had remained that way. The pain from the transformation should have had her writhing and screaming in agony, the way we had all done when we'd gone through the change. But, Bella never made a sound. She never even twitched a finger. It was unnerving to say the least. Carlisle couldn't explain it and said he'd never heard of anything like this happening before. Periodically he'd check her heart rate and her breathing, assuring me that she was okay. All we could do was wait and it was more torture than if I'd endured the transformation myself all over again.
Carlisle had covered Bella's disappearance by calling Charlie and telling him that she'd shown up in Los Angeles to find me. He said that Bella and I had then run off together but that he'd convinced us to come back and that as soon as we did he would bring Bella back home to Forks. Naturally, Charlie's first reaction was to come and get Bella himself. Esme, in her soothing way, explained to Charlie that we were on our way back and that it was best if they brought Bella home. She was then able to convince him not to do anything that may spook Bella and cause her to run away again. The story bought us time to decide our next move, which would mostly be determined by Bella's condition after she woke up. And her wishes.
I wasn't entirely convinced that she would be okay with how things were turning out. My heart knew that Bella loved me and always had, but I also felt the pain I had caused her. My mind told me that logically she would hate me. Hate me for leaving her and hurting her and now for turning her into a lost soul.
Jacob Black had insisted on coming back to the house with us. He stayed long enough for Carlisle to brief him on what Bella would be going through, how the transformation worked and long enough to make himself a nervous wreck in a house full of vampires. Then he left.
A meeting was scheduled between Carlisle and Sam Uley, the leader of the La Push wolf pack. According to the treaty, not only were we not to kill any humans, we were forbidden to bite them as well. Even though I did it to save her, my biting Bella had broken the treaty. If we couldn't convince the wolves that it was necessary to bite her, and better than letting her die, they would declare war. They didn't consider what I did as saving her. To them, it was worse than if she were dead. She'll be a vampire and their mortal enemy.
The meeting was still two days away. Jacob, being the youngest of the pack, probably wouldn't have much pull in the way of their decision. But, he was all we had to go on. He said he'd do his best to convince Sam to make a consideration, being as that it is Bella. I wasn't so sure however that the daughter of the Chief of Police would be reason for them to make an exception. On the contrary, she seemed the worst possible candidate to become a vampire in their eyes. And so, we waited. And waited. And waited.
Time usually has very little relevance in the existence of a vampire. What years were to humans were more like months to us. However, watching Bella in a coma-like state, every minute that passed was like an hour.
After the sun had set on the third day, Bella was still unconscious. It was more than I could bear. Overcome with grief, I curled up beside her on the bed and held her in my arms the way I used to hold her as she slept each night. I tried to make myself believe that this was just like those other nights and that she was only sleeping. My efforts were in vain and I cried invisible tears into her hair as I clutched her to me, humming her lullaby in hopes it would help bring her out of this unending slumber.
This is all my fault. What have I done? I never should have left her. I knew Victoria was out there somewhere. I never should have left Bella alone. How could I have doubted her love for me? Oh, Bella. My angel, please wake up. I need you. I need you now more than ever. I have to know if you'll forgive me. And if you don't, I'll spend eternity on my knees begging and they'll be the best years of my existence. Just let me get that chance, please…
"Edward?" Jasper peeked his head inside the door. Alice was behind him.
"Come in," I sighed. I knew why they were here.
"Edward, you've got to stop. Please don't do this to yourself. She'll be okay. Despite her lack of grace, she's a strong girl. She's just different. We all know that. We shouldn't even be surprised that she's going through the transformation unlike any of us. That's Bella. Besides, the angst coming off of you right now is almost enough to make me run of to Los Angeles."
He had a point. And with that, he sent waves of calm and serenity over me and I couldn't help but feel a little more at peace.
"Alice, what happened in the woods? What did you see?"
Oh god, it just came over me so fast. "I saw Victoria bite Bella's neck and I heard you scream. But then everything went…blank. I couldn't see what…the outcome. I don't understand it. I couldn't see Jacob anywhere. "The next thing I knew, I was watching you bite her and then we were on our way back here."
"Alice, please tell me that she'll be okay. Just something, any little thing you see. I can't stand this waiting."
"I wish I could. I don't think I'll be able to see anything until she wakes up." If she wakes up.
"Oh, Edward! I didn't mean that! I'm so sorry! Of course she'll wake up. It was just one of those…thoughts. I couldn't help it. Edward, I'm sorry."
One look into her big, round eyes and I couldn't be angry with her for her thoughts. If I was being honest, we'd all harbored the same thought at some point over the past three days. Even Carlisle, despite all his reassurances.
"It's okay, Alice. I understand."
"We'll leave you alone with her now, Edward." Jasper led Alice out of the room and left me alone to my thoughts.
I tried to repress a sob as I lay down once again and held onto my angel even tighter. I closed my eyes and imagined a time not so long ago; the first time we went to the meadow. Our meadow. It seemed like yesterday.
We were both so sure, yet unsure. Sure that we were hopelessly in love with the other and yet unsure of how it happened or what to do about it. I remembered how afraid I had been to step out into the sunlight and reveal, fully reveal without any doubts, what I truly was. It was terrifying for me to feel so vulnerable and yet, it was an all-together exhilarating sensation at the same time. I'd never been vulnerable to anyone before, especially a human, a girl. Looking at Bella's face, I was met with a reassuring expression that enveloped me and made me feel safe and enabled me to take that first step.
Lying in the grass beside her, her touch felt like heaven as she traced her fingers slowly over every inch of my own fingers and hand, up and down my arm. I'd never been touched that way by a human or by anyone really. It awakened something within me that I had never been aware of before. Bella awakened the part of me that I needed and craved to share with another. In that moment I wanted to give her everything I had, including all the love in my cold, dead heart. Love that I thought would never exist for me. She also awakened something else. The man inside me was suddenly very aware of this exquisite creature beside me and with every single touch I found it more difficult for the gentleman within to remain in control of these new desires.
She never took her eyes off of me; completely in awe of the way the sun's rays shimmered off my granite skin. We stared at each other in awe, both wondering if the other were real. Even now, I am amazed when I think of Bella and how accepting she was of me. The real me. She was never afraid, even though she should have been. The way her blood called to me like a need that couldn't be denied. For someone who was alive it would be like trying to deny their heart to beat or their lungs to breathe. But her faith in me and in my love for her overpowered any fear that she may have had. Why didn't I have the same faith in her love? The same faith in myself?
If I'd had just one ounce of Bella's faith, we wouldn't be in this predicament now. Bella would be alive and awake and human. She'd be finishing school, go on to graduation and then off to a normal human life in a couple of months. Now she was caught somewhere between life and death, between being human and being a vampire. Would she ever wake up?
Before my thoughts could once again become torturous, Carlisle came in.
"Edward? Would it help if I checked all her vitals again? Maybe there's been some change."
"Sure, Carlisle. Please, go ahead."
I'd completed medical school twice myself and could easily check her vitals. But, I couldn't deny Carlisle the gesture. The doctor inside him always took over in situations like this. Besides, it couldn't hurt and it did ease my mind a little watching Carlisle care for Bella.
I moved off of the bed to give Carlisle some room and walked over to the window. Staring across the yard and into the trees behind our house, I noticed a small deer roaming cautiously near the edge of the woods. Under normal circumstances, that deer would have made a nice afternoon snack. But, my thirst didn't even twitch at the site of the animal. Bella's sweet blood still flowed through my veins, leading me to wonder if I'd ever thirst again.
She was a part of me now more than ever. And I was a part of her, my venom alive in her veins and poisoning her soul. We were forever connected this way. If only she'd wake up, we could begin forever together. That is, if she'd forgive me for what I'd done to her, stealing her life away. My thoughts were again interrupted when Carlisle made a relieving discovery.
"Edward, have you seen this? Her wounds, they're almost completely healed and her skin is hardening."
Instantly, I was sitting on the side of the bed next to Bella examining her neck and arms where Victoria's bite marks had been. Even the bite I had inflicted on her was almost gone.
"I…I didn't even notice. I've just been so worried about the fact that she wasn't waking up. Maybe you should check her eyes."
Gently, Carlisle slid one of Bella's eyelids open and peered into her eye. Crimson.
"I'd say she's pretty near the end of her transformation, Edward. Lucky for her she's slept through the entire process."
"But, will she wake up at all?"
"I'm sure there's no need to worry about that. Bella is just going through this in her own way. Remember, she's as stubborn as you are when it comes to doing things her way."
I laid my head against her chest, listening to her heart. I could have heard it from downstairs, but it was nicer this way, to actually feel her heart beating, causing my venom to pulse throughout her body.
"It's beating, but very slowly. It'll probably stop later today and then she'll be…"
'Edward, don't. She'll be fine. Better than you would expect I'm guessing.'
He gave me a reassuring smile and left.
Resuming my spot next to her on the bed, I held onto my angel and hummed her lullaby. In my mind I said goodbye to all of her human traits I would miss. Her clumsiness and how I'd never again need to catch her as she fell. Her blush and the way it would warm her cheeks, further tempting my desires. Her dark, chocolate eyes full of innocence and life. And if I were being honest, I would miss the sound her blood made as it flowed thick and hot through her veins. I was addicted to every fiber of her being. No matter how difficult resistance became, I would miss the way my love for Bella would overpower and win against the monster that wanted to drink from her. I said my goodbyes to all of these things and waited for her last heartbeat.
Sam had finally let me go home to rest. I'd been under almost constant interrogation over the past three days. The pack was not happy with me, to say the least.
At first, Sam was angry that I'd been spying on Bella. Especially since I was assuming that Edward had been with her. It could have gotten ugly had there been a confrontation and it would have risked exposure for all of us. He also believed that had I not been fueling my own jealousy I would have been alert enough to detect the difference in vampire's scents. I was still kicking myself over that one.
I'd been stupid and foolish and it almost got Bella killed. As far as Sam and the rest of the pack were concerned, she was dead anyway. They would not acknowledge her as a vampire. She wouldn't be Bella, just and enemy, no better than Victoria in their eyes. But I couldn't believe that. I wouldn't believe that. She would still be Bella. And she may not be alive in the technical sense, but she'd be here. That's all that mattered to me.
Watching her lying on the ground with Edward, bleeding, dying, it felt like Victoria had ripped me apart instead of the other way around. I knew she would die if something weren't done. And I don't care how gifted of a doctor Carlisle Cullen was, she was beyond even his repair. No, the only shot she had was for Edward to bite her. I couldn't even speak the words, but he heard me anyway, his eyes questioning me in disbelief and looking even more unsure than I was. He leaned in to bite her and I let her go. It was the only thing I could do.
It was definite now. There'd no longer be any chance for Bella and I to be together. She'd live happily ever after with Cullen. I'd find a way to live with that, I'd have to. I was also determined that I would see her again, despite Sam's warnings.
Sam was to meet with Dr. Cullen this evening to discuss the breach in the treaty. No human was to be killed or bitten. Despite the fact that it was done in an effort to save Bella, Edward broke the treaty when he bit her. That's the only way Sam would see it unless I could change his mind.
If only I had more time. According to the doctor, the transformation took three days. The time for Bella to complete the transformation and become a vampire had ended sometime through the night. And three days was not enough time for Sam and the pack to cool down and listen to reason.
To my astonishment, my dad was on my side. He believed that if it had been him looking down at Bella as she lay dying, with his attachment to Charlie he wouldn't have been able to let her slip away either. He was worried over Charlie's state of mind as it was, with Charlie believing Bella had run off to Los Angeles in order to find Edward. It was the best possible explanation for her disappearance at this point, but I wondered how long it would hold Charlie at bay. Would he ever see her again? Would I?
Too many questions right now and not enough answers. I needed to get some sleep. Tonight, Sam would be meeting with Dr. Cullen and I intended to be there.
Suddenly, I became aware of it all. Of everything that had happened and of everything that was still happening. Victoria had grabbed me at school. She bit me and dragged me off into the woods to kill me. But then Edward came to save me. Edward and Jacob. Jacob had been there too. He did care. And the Cullens were there. Victoria bit me again and Edward screamed. That's when I saw him. And I heard the wolf. It was Jacob coming up from behind. Carlisle and Jasper were there pulling me away as Jacob carried Victoria off into the trees. Emmett and Rosalie went with him.
And then Edward was there, holding me. He was sad because I was dying. But I wasn't afraid…because Edward was there. And then he bit me…to save me? He was saving me.
My heart was soaring. Everything I had dreamed for had come true. Edward came back for me, he loved me and I was going to be with him for eternity. Nothing else mattered. And then I thought about the pain. There was no pain. There was no burning. But there was darkness. Everything had faded like I was asleep and dreaming. I could sense people moving around me and I could hear them talking. I could hear Alice and Jasper. Esme was there also. And Carlisle, I could hear him talking to Edward, telling him I was okay and that I'd wake up soon. Soon. I would wake up and be with Edward and we could begin the rest of our lives, our existence.
I cannot offer enough thanks to Stupid Shiny Volvo Driver, who has now agreed to beta for me. Thank you for all that you've taught me, for sharing my love and obsession with this series and for being a friend.
Also, thanks to all of my readers, old and new. I appreciate your patience inbetween posts and I love your reviews! Please keep them coming!!
Finally, as old readers know, I've been going back a little at a time and rewriting my earlier chapters. I feel that I've improved so much in my writing and have expanded a little on the previous chapters, adding more detail and stuff. Please go back and re-read when you have a chance. Chapter 6 is being re-posted today!