Thank you all for your reviews!! Hope you all enjoy this next chapter. I had a difficult time writing it. Writer's block has been terrible lately, so I've been doing everything from listening to music, reading various books, watching movies, etc. all to get some ideas on how to continue and finish up this story. Yeah, I've had quite a bit of time on my hands lately. lol
I ran into the dark woods, tears to the wind-- the salt water didn't even have a chance to hit my cheeks. I ran, ran from him when it's the last thing I'd wanted to do. But what else could I do? Sitting still would give me too much of a chance to break down again. It would be like giving up, and I couldn't let that happen. I couldn't let him win. Miles and miles passed me by and all I could see was more trees, more darkness. I didn't even know where I was, but I couldn't care less. All that was on my mind at that moment was getting my thoughts off of him and his words. I want you to leave. It echoed in my mind over and over again.
"Pull it together, Bella," I whispered to myself as I fought back more tears, the lump in my throat beginning to grow again. It was only then that I first realized the burning sensation that accompanied that lump-- I hadn't fed in days. In all this distress, I had forgotten that. Paying more attention to my surroundings now, I slowed my speed to a quick human pace. The smells filled my senses-- the earthy scent of dirt, the blowing wind, pine and wood from the hundreds of trees surrounding me, the cool water of a nearby brook, the bland-scented blood of little animals scurrying away. As a gentle gust from the east blew my way, I smelled deer-- a doe and her fawn. I began off in that direction until I heard lapping sounds; the fawn must be nursing. 'No...' I thought. 'I couldn't possibly.' I may be a mythical monster, but I still have morals. I took another whiff of the air. A strong scent came into my nostrils, one that I was very familiar with-- mountain lion. Multiple mountain lions that is, scattered throughout the wood. No, I couldn't hunt that either. That creature reminded me too much of another that I was trying to forget. I sighed. Small woodland creatures it is then.
I didn't have to go far before I had a white jackrabbit by the neck, squirming for it's life. I didn't even snap it's neck first to lessen it's suffering-- I just dug my teeth in and drank. It cried out as my venom entered its system, but in my state of anger, this only pressed me on further. I've come to realize that, being a monster like I am, it's all about the fight; we get a sick satisfaction from it. It's all about the fact that something weaker than you is trying to get away in self-preservation, but can't because of your strength, because you have such a power over it. It's about the fact that you could very well kill it without the prey feeling anything, but the power trip is what makes hunting so exciting, so enthralling. But now... right now it was just making me sick thinking about it. That damn power. That damn hunger.
I bit down hard, feeling the cracking of its spine in my mouth. It lay limp in my hands instantly, put out of it's misery. It was only then that I drained the body dry. After I was done, I sat down on the ground, and a strange sense of empathy for this small, defenseless, dead animal took over. I laid it on my lap gently petting at the matted fur as it's lifeless eyes stared into space... and I began sobbing for it. This very well could have been me at the hands of Edward all those months ago; It nearly was. But there wasn't anyone to pull me back from this rabbit, so here it is laying dead. This would have been my fate and I knew it.
I began digging with my hands with all my might into the earth. For some reason, I couldn't just leave the hare bare to the elements, kicked to the side. I set the rabbit into the shallow hole and pushed dirt back over it, packing it down and hoping that no scavenger or insects could get to it and make a carcass of it. Picking up a flat rock, I used another sharp stone to carve two letters into it-- "B+E". A tombstone of some sort, in more than one way. I mashed it into the dirt of the grave, and proceeded to get up.
As I stared down at the gravestone, I heard a howl in the distance. A wolf... God, why now? Of course, I thought of my Jacob. I miss him so much. Especially now when things are so messed up. My sunshine. Now more than ever, I wanted some light in my life. Some hope. I wanted to see him. Though I'm sure Jacob wouldn't appreciate me visiting him for this reason-- Because Edward hurt me again. Maybe he wouldn't mind though... maybe it would be alright. I put things more into perspective to get my answer... How would that look, me running to him only when I'm hurting? It would be using him, and he's worth more than that to me. I'm also sure he wouldn't want to see me as a vampire. It would be like bringing back someone from the dead. And then when I left again for good, it would be like realizing that it was all just a dream. That would be unbearable for both of us. I've hurt him so much and I couldn't hurt him further. And more than that, if I were to visit him now, he could follow my scent back to Oregon. He would know where we were located, and we would either have to move or stay and fight. I wouldn't subject everyone to another war just because of my selfishness. I'll just have to suffer. Alone...
"It's not over, you know."
I jumped nearly tripping over a branch in the process, gasping before a shrill scream escaped my lips. I looked down at the person in the shadows who had spoken. Though I couldn't quite see their face, I knew instantly who it was.
"Oh my God, Alice! Oh, Alice!" I yelled running to her, crashing into her petite body in an unbreakable hug. She groaned as this pushed her back into a tree, knocking the wind out of her. Quickly, I let go of her.
"Alice, I'm- I'm sorry. You just have no idea how much I've needed you, needed my best friend! I haven't seen you in what seems like so long. So much has happened and I- I haven't been able to speak about it until now and- and today Edward, he made me le- le- leave! And...and..."
"Bella! Bella, calm down." She gently clutched me to her once more, consoling me in my near hysterics. "I know, I know, sweetie. I saw everything. Shhh, stop crying." Oh. She was right-- I was crying again. Ugh. Who would have thought one person could produce so many tears? My tear ducts must hate me.
I groaned wiping my face with my hands. "God, I must look terrible."
Alice laughed. Oh, how I missed that sound. So melodic. "Yeah, actually you do. Especially since you just wiped dirt all over your face. Here..." She handed me a perfectly folded white kerchief from her pocket. I wondered for a moment why she would need to carry one of those around, and then it hit me-- Of course she would have seen this little outburst. Stupid future-seeing powers. "What the heck have you been doing anyway? Making mud pies?"
I groaned again at her joke, soiling the white cloth as I wiped my face. "Alice, I'm sure you know very well what I was doing."
Her playfulness dwindled. "...You're right." She looked down at the rock with the B+E engravings. "And it's not over and dead, Bella. Far from it. Don't put it to rest." She seemed truly sympathetic.
I nodded my head, looking her seriously in the eyes. "I know. I love him far too much to really leave, no matter what he says."
"And he loves you too much to let you leave. He just... doesn't know how to deal with everything right now. But you two are meant to be together. He wouldn't have fallen in love with you, his singer, if you weren't. I know that you'll always love each other, and you can't stop it. So don't fight it." Alice pleaded, sincerity written all over her face. What she said just made me more upset though.
"Maybe you should go tell Edward that. He's the one that's fighting it! Has been for the past half-year!! So why? Why did he ask me to leave? Why exactly was he so distant for so long? He never did give me a straight answer. You obviously know, Alice, so tell me." I hissed, annoyance behind every word. I hated to talk to Alice this way, but I've gone for so long without knowing; now, I could see the answers right in front of my face and I was desperate to attain them.
Her face scrunched in emotional pain. She was having difficulty talking to me about this, I could tell. "So many reasons." Her eyes flickered around the dark forest, looking everywhere but into my eyes. She was taking her time, choosing her words carefully. "Part of it is your scent." She finally whispered, speaking slowly. "Your scent, it's... it's so much stronger than when you were human, Bella."
She nodded her head. "He's never talked to any of us about why he's been acting the way he has. But I'm sure part of it is your scent. Judging from your smell, it's almost like you're still human, Bella. But that scent is just a thousand times more intense." I was having difficulty understanding this. How was this even possible? I was a vampire now, that scent should be gone. Was it still a possibility that Edward hungered for me?
"So this is it? This is why Edward wanted to kill me today?" I asked. She nodded.
"Partially, I'm sure. I know that he has to still be struggling with it, but I can't be for certain if that's all of it. He never talks to any of us anymore about... well, anything. He hasn't only detached from you, Bella... he's detached from all of us. If we didn't physically see him every day, it'd almost be like when we thought he had left us for good..." I know she wasn't meaning to hurt me, but her words were scratching at that hole in my chest again. I clung to my heart with my hands trying to hold it together in one piece. My throat felt as if it were closing up, and I began gasping for breath that I didn't need.
"No...No, Bella. I'm sorry." she said as she embraced me again. I began sobbing dryly onto her designer shirt. My tears had run dry after so much crying in one day. "It was wrong of me to bring that up. But it is true. I can see it in his eyes, the struggle. If my visions are anywhere near correct, it can't be just your scent. It's just... everything. The pain he brought you through the changing process.. what changing you brought out in him." Her tone became darker. "You haven't seen the things I have. You haven't seen the things he's thought about, fantasized that he wished he could do."
I sat there in her arms for a moment, taking it all in. "So what he told me.. about nearly killing me, breaking my bones, you all having to drag him out of the room... this is all true?"
"Yes." She replied simply. I had to know more.
"What happened those three days after, Alice?" I know that he hadn't told anyone about it, but maybe she saw it...
"I don't know if Edward would appreciate me talking about that, Bella."
"Please, Alice. I need to know. You have no idea what I've been going through!"
"Heh... actually, I have. I've seen what has to be most everything that's gone on with you two lately. You two seem to be all that make up my visions anymore. Including your little drinking binges." Her expression became hard. "And why would you do that? You know it won't do any--"
"God, you sound just like Edward!" I yelled, pushing her away from me. "And don't try to change the point! What was he doing, Alice?!" Our eyes were locked in a dark stare before she broke it, looking to the ground.
"...He was away."
"Many places." Oh, yeah, like that told me a lot.
"Alice, please don't be vague with me. I need to know. Please."
Her eyes were flickering again, looking everywhere but into my eyes. "Please, Alice. If I have to beg on my hands and knees, I will."
"He was hunting." She finally said. That's it? I'm sure the question was showing on my face. She shut her eyes tightly preparing herself to tell me what she so obviously didn't want to.
"He was hunting... humans, Bella."
I gasped. No. No he couldn't possibly. My heart dropped into my stomach, and my head started spinning. I sat down immediately so I wouldn't fall over, putting my head in my hands and hoping I wouldn't pass out.
"No, no, no." I kept saying that over and over. "Are you sure?"
"Yes. I saw it in my visions multiple times. He went all over the west coast on a binge-- thieves, murderers, rapists... but most were innocents." The shakiness in Alice's voice was evident. "It's like he wasn't himself. Like he had lost all morality."
"Is that it?" I asked. 'Please say yes, please say yes.' I thought. If it was, I could deal with this... he had slipped up, made a huge mistake. But I still loved him. We could get through it.
"No." Alice said. My God.
"What else?" I whispered, eyes tightly shut. I knew this would be bad. I was tempted to cover my ears; I didn't want to hear it.
"... He went to the Volturi." A gasp escaped my lips. My head shot up to look at her, horror plastered on my face.
"No, no, Bella, he wasn't going to kill himself. No matter how guilty he feels, he wouldn't. He loves you far too much to be so selfish." She explained.
"Then why?" I whispered hoarsely.She began slowly. "The Volturi... they know everything that happens in the vampire world. They're extremely powerful. And they have answers to things that we normal vampires could never know."
"And so he went to get answers... to why he reacted the way he did when he changed me? To what changed in him? To what changed in me?"
"Precisely." She replied. This was it... everything I had been questioning felt like it was falling into place now.
"And what did he find out?" I was eager now. I had to know. I had to put these final puzzle pieces in place so I could get back to my life. So Edward and I could be together again.
Her reply was the last thing I wanted to hear. "... That's where it goes blank. I don't know." She said. She looked defeated, like she had let me down. I'm sure my expression didn't stray far from her own. But I was still determined.
"Then I'm going to find out for myself." I said, getting up.
"You- you WHAT?" She nearly screamed, getting up and grabbing onto my arm before I could leave.
"I'm going to the Volturi, Alice." I tried to pull my arm from her grasp, but she wouldn't let go.
"No, no you are NOT going to Italy, Bella. Do you have any idea what the Volturi are capable of?!" She seemed so desperate, in near sobs.
"Of course I do. I've met them twice before, remember? I know what they can do to me, but I don't care right now. I need those answers, Alice!"
"Then please. Ask Edward. He can--"
"I HAVE!' I screamed, now livid. "He had his chance and what did he do with it?! He told me to leave!! So I am!" My words sounded so childish, I knew.
"But he didn't mean permanently! He--"
"I don't care anymore, Alice. I'm going to find my answers. And don't come after me." And with that, I once again ran. Ran away from Alice, leaving her alone in the dark forest. Ran away from Edward. Ran away from everything I knew of as home and love. I looked back once more knowing that I may never see home again. And for a split second there, I thought I saw two figures running in the opposite direction. I shook my head before looking back again to see that no one was there but Alice.
It couldn't have been more than a hallucination.
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