Note: Thank you all so much for all the reviews : ) I love reading them. Here is chapter 4. I won't be able to update regurlarly over the next week or so because I have exams and I really should get down to some revision. Enjoy this chapter - please read and review!
Disclaimer : see chapter 1.
I stood in front of the house, drinking in every detail of it, trying to savour the moment. I didn't know when I'd next come back here or if I even would. But I did know that I couldn't stay here - any fantasies of Charlie welcoming his newly-turned vampire daughter with open arms had long since vanished. But I wanted to see him, just one last time.
Before I knew it, I had scurried up the tree outside my bedroom, and launched myself at the window, somehow managing to open it and leap effortlessly through, in one swift movement. It was unbelievable just how easy it was – I had complete control over every muscle in my body. For the first time in my life, I was graceful. At that thought I laughed grimly to myself – graceful was never something I had imagined that I would be. Clumsiness and Bella Swan had gone hand in hand – you didn't get one without the other. Until now.
The first thing I noticed when I entered the room was the intoxicating scent of human blood. In the enclosed space of the house the scent was so intense that I felt my body instinctively go into predator mode – my muscles tightened, ready to spring, and fresh venom flowed to my mouth. My throat suddenly became agonisingly dry - it was as if I had never even touched those two deer, and the ache seemed to spread down to my stomach, making me almost bend double with the burning sensation. The scent, thick and enthralling, seemed to swirl around my head – I could barely think through it.
I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes, trying to force the violent images from my mind. Everything in me was screaming out for me to go straight across the hall and drink the human who lay there dry. My body wanted to do it. No, more than that – it needed it. It was what I was made for – I was a predator and humans were my prey.
I snapped open my eyes at the voice in my head. No…not Charlie. I wouldn't.
I staggered up, my inhuman grace almost leaving me completely as I made for the bed. I gripped at my stomach, curling up against my quilt, trying to silence the voice in my head that was telling me to kill and to think nothing of it. How did the Cullens go through life like this? It would be so easy just to give in…give into our nature…
But that wouldn't make it right.
So I stopped breathing. Somewhere from deep down in my mind – maybe the part of me that was still at least partially human – a voice whispered the advice that would maybe save Charlie's life – don't breath.
Immediately the intensity of the scent decreased and the thick haze in my brain began to disintegrate…I could resist. The thirst was still there, but I could resist it. I was not a complete monster.
I sat up and finally had a chance to look around me. Just for an instant I completely forgot about my thirst – all I could think about was the throbbing sense of regret that was spreading through my body. No matter how many bad memories were attached to this place, no matter how many sleepless nights had been endured in this room…it had still become my home. And now I was being forced to leave it. I was going to be leaving behind everything that was attached to my human life – just looking at the rocking chair in the corner sent a wave of anguish through my body. I had lost my human life, but I hadn't gained the new life that I had expected – I was dead to everyone.
I knew that I'd drive myself insane if I stayed here much longer so I focused on the practicalities, grabbing my duffel bag from the bottom of my closet and stuffing it full of some, but not many, of my clothes. Charlie wouldn't notice a few missing items, but he would certainly become suspicious if he found my cupboards empty. Part of me wanted to take sentimental things – photos, a cuddly toy or two – but I knew that I had to leave it all behind. It would hurt more to keep it and I just had to keep telling myself that.
As I was opening my underwear drawer, I caught sight of my reflection for the first time since the change. I looked wild. My face was streaked with dirt and blood…my clothes were torn and sullied…my hair was tangled and littered with leaves and twigs. I looked like Victoria – feral and animalistic – nothing like a human anymore.
I leant in closer, studying my face, as if I had never seen it before – I never had seen this face before. My eyes were as black as pitch, but I had been expecting that. No, what startled me the most was my skin. I had been pale before but this was unnatural – none of the Cullens had been this pale. It was almost translucent, much like when I was human, but now there was no flush of colour beneath the surface – it was just white. It reminded me of bone china tea cups – the kind that were so thin, you thought that you'd break them just by holding them. Except my skin didn't look breakable – it seemed as if nothing could mar it. I had been lucky to have avoided teenage blemishes for the most part, but now my skin was flawless. I could have been a marble statue. Furthermore, it seemed to take on an ethereal glow in the darkness, something I had never noticed about the others. Maybe they hadn't been as pale, as humans, as I had been.
The only things that broke the sheer whiteness of my complexion were the familiar dark circles beneath my eyes. I definitely hadn't eaten enough.
I picked up the brush from my dresser and began to run it through my matted hair. It untangled a lot more easily than it used to. Within less than a minute it was perfectly tidy and I could finally see what it looked like without the addition of half a forest. It was…nice…if that was possible. There was a glossy sheen to it that had never been there before and it seemed to fall naturally around my shoulders in elegant waves. Again, I would have never put the words 'elegant' and 'Bella Swan' together in a sentence before tonight. Everything had changed so much.
I straightened up and swung my bag over my shoulder. It was time to leave.
I stepped out of my room, for probably the last time, and slowly made my way across the landing to Charlie's room. I still wasn't breathing – a sensation that was oddly uncomfortable, but it was the only thing that was keeping the predator in me at bay. But even so, as I approached his door, my throat began to burn once more and I had to focus all my energy on simply remembering that it was my father that was lying on the other side of the door.
I knew he was asleep – I could hear his deep and regular breathing. But he wasn't sleeping soundly. Even a human would have been able to hear him tossing about in his bed, muttering incomprehensible murmurs – I had been able to hear it from outside. I carefully pushed the door open, even though I knew that he would never be able to detect my presence. He was sprawled out, still clothed, on top of his bed. He had aged almost twenty years in just three days. His face was haggard and grey – none of than boyishness that he had managed to retain into middle age…this was destroying him.
I couldn't look anymore. I turned and fled down the stairs, barely noticing that Billy was fast asleep on the couch. I could only imagine how he would have reacted to seeing me this way, but I knew that it wouldn't have been pleasant. I wondered if he knew that the Jacob was a…a werewolf. He probably did. If Billy believed in vampires then it would make sense for him to believe in werewolves too and it didn't seem like something that Jacob would have been able to disguise for long.
I went into the kitchen, making sure not to glance at the school photos that Charlie had insisted on keeping up, and picked up the phone to dial Jacob's number. I had to sort this out.
I was glad that Billy was here – there was no way that I would have been able to speak to Jacob is he had picked up. I would have had to hang up straight away.
The phone seemed to ring for a life time before someone picked up and all the while I could feel my insides gnawing away at themselves. The scary thing was that I didn't know whether it was through hunger or grief.
"Hello?" Jacob's gruff voice brought me a mixture of relief and fear.
I took a deep breath, for the first time since I had been in my bedroom. The haze began to envelope my mind again, but I somehow I was managing to fight off the full force of it. "Jacob."
He knew who it was immediately. "Bella? Are you ok? Where are you? I've been-"
He stopped short, obviously remembering what I was and what that meant in regards to what he was.
"None of that matters, Jake. I know I have no right to ask this, but I need your help." I didn't know who else might even consider hearing me out.
"What?" There was a coldness behind his voice that hurt more than I had thought possible.
"It's about Charlie…not knowing what has happened to me is tearing him apart." I was hoping that Jacob would be sympathetic to this – he had always liked Charlie. "If he thinks I've run away, he'll always be looking for me. The only thing that's left is for him to think – no, to know – that I'm dead."
Jacob didn't reply. But it was obvious what he was thinking – telling Charlie that I was dead would be the truth.
"Most people think that it was the bear, so that's the logical thing to go with." I had no idea how I was even thinking at this point, let alone logically. "I'm going back up to the meadow – I'm going to leave some shreds of my clothing among the blood…it will pass off as a bear attack."
Jacob finally replied, but not with what I was hoping for. "And why are you telling me about this?"
I sighed. This wasn't going to be easy. "I want you to be the one who discovers it. Charlie knows nothing about the meadow and there's no way for me to let him know that he should look there…"
Jacob was silent for almost an eternity. I hated having to ask this of him, but I didn't know what else to do.
I was almost surprised when he replied – I had expected the silence to go on forever. "You want me to be the one to discover you…dead?"
"Yes – well, no. There won't be a…a body obviously, but the…uh…the evidence will speak for itself, as they say." Was I trying to be funny at a time like this? Maybe I hadn't lost all of my human traits – stupidity was still there in full force.
Again, he took longer than I would have liked to reply. I honestly had no idea what he would say.
"Please, Jake. If not for me, then do it for Charlie…and for what we once had, before all this…"
I could hear him sigh. "Ok. I'll do it. Tomorrow."
That was it. By tomorrow I would be officially dead.
"Thank you," I whispered. "Please look after him, Jacob. Help him see that he has to let me go." I wasn't just talking about Charlie.
The line went dead. But I could imagine his reaction. The roar would have been deafening.
I reached the meadow just as the sky was beginning to grow pale – the night was nearly over. Had it only been one night since I had awoken? Surely it was a lifetime? Just one night…and I had an eternity of nights to get through.
This place held only horror for me now – it wasn't the same place that I had experienced so much love…it was a place of death now.
Laurent's remains had been removed – only a charred circle of grass gave any clue to what had happened here.
But they hadn't been able to remove the blood. And I knew, with sickening realisation, that it was my blood. There was so much of it. It stained the grass – grass that I had once lain upon, revelling in the beauty of the boy who lay besides me – making the whole place look like a scene out of a horror movie.
If only it had only been a movie.
I took off my sweater and proceeded to rip strips of it off and scatter them across the scene. They were already covered in blood – Laurent had given me that much, I thought bitterly.
There was nothing left in this place for me. In just a few hours Jacob would raise the alarm and I would just become a name in a tragic story – young girl, daughter of small town police chief, mauled to death by bear.
I'd be missed, but the mystery would end tomorrow. I'd just disappear.
I ran my hands through the soft, waist-high ferns, as I walked slowly towards the house. The early morning light was unable to filter through the canopies of the six enormous cedars that shaded most of the clearing - not that it would have made much difference, what with the dark rain clouds over head. The forest had taken over even more so than it had when I had last visited, nearly two months ago. It made the whole place suitably wild and creepy – fitting for its last inhabitants. And the new one for that matter.
I didn't want to be here, but it was the only place in the area that I could stay. Well, the only place that even partially resembled a human abode, as opposed to slumming it in the woods, like an animal. It was ironic that I was coming to this place, of all places, in search of something human, I noted grimly
The house itself had changed little, something I had noticed the last time I had ventured out here. It seemed to be able to withstand the effects of time – the paint hadn't begun to peel, there were no broken windows or cracked timbers…it was as if the house itself was trying to hold onto memories of a happier time, a time when it didn't seem so lonely. But that was all that was left of the place – memories. Apart from that it was utterly empty of life, completely devoid of any sense of their presence…
It will be as if I'd never existed…
I tried to ignore his words echoing through my mind, as I made my way slowly up the porch stairs, not know what to expect when I pushed open the door. I hadn't gotten this far the last time – I had known then that if I had entered the house I would have been back in my catatonic state before I had crossed the threshold. It would have been too much. But now I had nothing to lose. And anyway, a catatonic state would have been more than welcome.
I carefully pushed open the door, noticing a creak that hadn't been there before. Maybe the house wasn't so immune to the battering of time. As soon as I saw the interior of the house, a sob caught in my throat and grief racked my body...it was exactly the same.
They hadn't taken anything. All the furniture stood exactly where it had been when I had last been here – my birthday, when everything had gone wrong. The only noticeable difference was that every surface was covered in a thick layer of dust, made even more obvious by the fact that almost everything in this large room was white. I heard the floorboards groan beneath my feet, as I crossed the room to the huge window, careful not to look to my left, knowing what would be still there. The sound made the place even more eerie – it was definitely like something out of a ghost story.
You should feel right at home then, a bitter voice called out in my mind. My death would be announced anytime now, after all.
I stood in front of the south facing wall, which had been entirely replaced by a window, and looked out over the lawn, which was now no less than a wilderness. I could see the river, snaking its way through the woods, at the end of the clearing and then onto the never-ending forest beyond. Weak rays of sunlight were desperately trying to break their way through the ominous clouds that filled the sky, but they were failing, leaving the entire room dim and bleak – so different to how it used to seem.
I turned away from the window, so I could obverse the room in its entirety. There was no sense of there having been a last minute panic or a rush to pack things away – they had simply got up and left. Nothing had tied them down to this place. Least of all me.
I finally let my gaze fall on the grand piano, which lay to my right, and immediately the well known melody flooded my brain. It was if he was in the room playing the lullaby for me, just as he had the first time I came here.
Anguish made me run across the room and up the sweeping staircase – I had to get away from that piano…that sound…
When I reached the top of the stairs I stood at the end of the panelled hallway. What now? Did I want to go any further?
The rational part in me realised that these rooms wouldn't be so unchanged – they would have taken things like clothes and books maybe. My suspicions were confirmed, when I looked to the end of the hall and saw that Carlisle's cross was missing. It made the house seem even emptier – it was a sure sign that they really were gone.
Without realising it, I had started walking down the hall, passing rooms that probably would have been more sensible options than the one to which I was heading. I passed Carlisle's office, feeling no inclination to check what was left inside – that one probably would have been the emptiest. He would have accumulated things over his three and a half centuries of life that he probably wanted to keep hold of – other things he, and the others, would have happily left behind.
I finally reached the end of the hall and stood in front of the closed door. I knew I shouldn't go in there, but some part of me – an extremely masochistic part – made me raise my hand and gently push the door open.
I had not expected the scene which lay before me.
The heavy golden fabric, which hung on the walls, was shredded and torn…the vast CD collection covered the floor, cases smashed, disks broken…even the leather sofa had been slashed at, leaving the stuffing pouring out, like blood from a wound. It looked like a tornado had passed through the place. Or an angry vampire.
He had taken nothing, but he had left nothing behind intact.
Why had he done this? What had driven him to this fit of rage? Surely not me…he had told me he didn't want me.
Of course he didn't want me. He probably just felt guilty that's all. He could get new things where ever he went so why worry about smashing up a few CD's?
Now that I was here, I could no longer ignore the thoughts that had been trying to invade my mind since I had woken up the night before. Even if he didn't want me, I still wanted him…I wanted Edward with everything in me and more.
I allowed myself to say his name now – what did I have to lose? Here I was – a vampire, alone and unwanted, standing in the bedroom of the man who had broken my heart. More like removed my heart completely and taken it with him, just to prolong the agony.
I curled up on the tattered leather sofa, drawing my knees in against my body, trying beyond reason to think of a way to fill the gaping whole in my chest. The wound was throbbing with such intensity that it made me dizzy. I knew that this pain wasn't through hunger – I had hunted before I had come here, gorging myself on blood until I thought I would burst. I wanted to stay here as long as possible, not leaving until it was absolutely necessary. But even if I hadn't hunted, I would have still known that this pain wasn't due to my thirst. That pain was nothing compared to the agony I was feeling now, my cheek pressed against the cold leather, my senses trying desperately to pick up any lingering scent that might have been left behind.
But there was nothing. He was lost to me.
I lay there for hours, desperately trying to squeeze out just a few tears to express my grief. But none came – I would never be able to cry again. There was no reason for me to move – what was left for me to do except sit here? I felt no urge to go and hunt down Victoria and satisfy my earlier desire to rip her to shreds. What was the point? She'd find me eventually and would her getting her wish be such a bad thing? There was nothing left in me to claim that it was.
Pale sunlight slowly trickled through the glass wall, creating a dappled effect across the floor, causing the shattered CDs and their cases to glitter like feeble jewels. Slowly, as the day drew on, the sunlight began to creep across the room, towards where I sat. I wanted it to stop. I wanted the rain clouds to come back. The sun wasn't strong, but I still didn't want to see what it did to my skin. I didn't want to think about what was happening.
I buried my face against the sofa, longing for the ability to sleep. Even if I dreamt, unconsciousness would still be better than this. And I still had an eternity to get through.
Despite my distracted state of mind, my senses were still able to pick up the alien scent which had suddenly invaded the room. I sat up immediately, my muscles coiled, instinctively ready to fight if needs be. It would only be a fight, not a hunt. The scent wasn't human – it was vampire.
I carefully stood up, careful not to make a sound. But I quickly realised that that was useless – the vampire would have picked up my scent just as quickly as I had picked its up.
From what I could tell, it was still outside the house, but it was definitely making its way towards it. I didn't recognise the smell, but then again, I had never actually smelt another vampire with my new, heightened senses so it could have been anyone.
But who else would it be apart from Victoria? She had finally found me.
I quickly left the room, and ran smoothly to the end of the hall, and into Rosalie and Emmett's old room. I didn't bother to look to see what state it was in, that was the last thing on my mind at the moment. I knew that I couldn't take Victoria by surprise, but at least I could use the advantage of attacking her at the top of the stairs. If I managed to push her down them, it would give me a few moments, if only briefly, to launch myself upon her when she was slightly stunned.
I stood just inside the room, leaving the door open. I knew that she had entered the house now, but she was moving a lot more slowly than I would have thought. She had seemed like the type for a quick and forceful offensive, but she seemed just as cautious as I was.
Finally I could smell her climbing the stairs. This was it. Time to fight or die, Bella. Any thoughts of letting her just kill me had vanished – once again I was a predator and it was in my nature to try to survive.
I could feel the anger building up inside of me and, for some reason, it seemed to be centred in my forehead. It felt like something thudding against my skull, trying to escape. It was almost painful, and for just a moment I was nearly thrown off guard. Before I could try to comprehend what was happening, my senses picked up the fact that the vampire had reached the top of the stairs.
I flew out of the room and, without me being able to even register who stood before me, the pulsing anger in my skull had built up to such an intensity that it somehow managed to burst out, the unknown power flinging the vampire down the stairs and making me grasp my head in agony. It felt as if my skull had been cleaved in two as the energy had sought to escape, leaving me to try and hold it together.
But the pain quickly faded, leaving me dazed and not knowing what the Hell had just happened. I slowly stood up, steadying myself against the banister. My first thoughts were to wonder why I wasn't covered in blood, after my head had been sliced open, but once I had realised that I was still in one piece, my thoughts turned to the figure who lay sprawled out at the bottom of the stairs.
She was slowly getting up too, obviously stunned by the attack of unknown origins. It took me a moment to comprehend what I was seeing.
It wasn't Victoria.
The figure raised her head – a head of dark hair, cropped short and pointing in every direction – and she stared up at me.
I froze. I think my heart stopped beating.
Hope you enjoyed it. Please review it - constructive criticism is always welcome too!
Here, I have hinted at Bella's power - it might seem a bit random at the moment, but I will explain it in the next chapter or so. : )