It was like a burning rush that ran from the back of my tongue to the pit of my stomach. My eyes were covered in a film of red and my skin, granite hard, suddenly felt soft, as it were cotton. It was as if I had stepped into a chili-fest of spice. I inadvertently swallowed and the fire spread. I closed my eyes, inhaling as if I'd inhaled a sweet new brew from my brother's old shine still.
I took a step and then hit the ground. I growled, furious, not myself any longer. It was all consuming, this deed to go forward and kill. Not kill as in murder, but the instinctive kill to feed.
"Emmett! Get a hold of yourself!" Edward's voice did nothing but aggravate me. I threw him off, turning towards the whiff of heavenly wine. I was soon cuddly with a tree as my brother drove his shoulder into my side. The crack was enormous, and my fury only rose.
Edward's icy hands came around my shoulder, and using his speed and momentum; he tossed me farther into the woods. Several cracks later, and I was covered with four of the oaks. My snarl frightened away the deer we'd been hunting and I was soon covered in branches and leaves. Edward planted himself onto my chest, his iron-firm hands locking my wrists into place.
"Gerroff!" I shouted, struggling frantically, however, the pine and resin of the trees were beginning to mask the smell, and as it faded, my lust did as well. I threw him off, but he seemed to sense that I was out of the danger zone now and didn't attempt another attack. I stood, keeping my back to him. I brushed myself off and grunted my fists clenched.
I took in several deep breaths of pine-filled air and let out the burn with each exhale.
"I'm sorry..." I grunted, embarrassed by my show. I rubbed a hand over reddened eyes and brushed the leaves out of my hair. Edward came back to my side, and shrugged nonchalantly, as if he saved his brother-in-law's honor every day.
"You have to recover is all." I nodded, grim. After a minute I sighed. After the honeymoon in Europe, I'd told Edward of what had happened, of my lack of control. He seemed to understand the feeling very well, and had volunteered to take me away for a while to build up my stamina again. I hadn't been willing, but then Edward suggested that my lack of eagerness was from the knowledge that he would beat me and then...well, let's just say that when put that way, it was a challenge that I knew I could never back down from.
"Rose would be proud," he broke out, patting some of the pine splinters off my back. I rubbed my face as he mentioned her name. Things between us had become strained lately. She was so concerned about my control that it was beginning to chafe. I had been used to a life of my own will, and with Rose now, I was adjusting to thinking of more than myself. It wasn't that I didn't love her; because I loved her more than my own existence...it was just that sometimes she...
"Pries worse than Esme?" Edward suggested helpfully. I grinned and then clapped him on the back, all fury forgotten in the lull of self-control.
"She means well, you know," I said, unable to let the quip go by without some sort of defense.
"I know," Edward confirmed simply. "However it doesn't help you learn your limits if you are constantly worried about her reaction to all that you do. She's pushy. Its why we love her."
I grinned, thinking of how pushy could be so very good. Especially…
"Emmett! Mind your thoughts, please," Edward groused, hitting my arm. I laughed, rubbing the limb as we left our site of confrontation. Edward cocked his head as we walked, obviously listening for anymore humans in the area.
"Wanna hunt?" he asked as we crossed a stream. I shook my head, ridding my hair of the last traces of sawdust.
"Na. I want to see where my limits are!" I cried. I glared at him. "I can do this you know." I insisted, leaping onto a rock and stepping onto the ground. "You said you were timing me." I insisted.
Edward hid a smile and then nodded. "So I did. Well, it's been two days, if you were curious." I nodded, feeling the burn. Rose never had insisted that I abstain before. She was too eager to feed me and take care of that which had been dropped into her lap.
Ok, so she said something like gift instead of drop, but I still consider the entire encounter to have been dumb luck.
Anyway, before the honeymoon, we'd kept our hunting up to a daily thing. Rose was different from the rest of us in that she clung so fiercely to her own humanity that stealing the lives of other never appealed to her., so neither of us dreamed I would. I didn't know how swee---
Sharp pain blossomed in my shin. I scowled. "What?!" I cried, glaring. Edward rolled his eyes.
"Thinking about it doesn't help it Emmett." I rubbed my leg and glared some more. He was so nosy.
"That's why you want me here," he reminded dryly. I sighed and then looked away, walking deeper away from civilization. Edward followed silently behind me. My own little mind-reading ghost.
"Hey now. I am hardly a specter," he interjected rudely. I looked over my shoulder at the man.
"I dunno...pale skin, pretty features." I ducked the swing this time, grabbing his arm and holding him still in a wrestler's move my older brother had taught me. I squashed his face purposely into the dirt and leaves that covered the forest floor, laughing. "Though ghosts aren't as much fun to throw!" I told him, rubbing his face into the ground. Despite his experience, I was still stronger than he was, and despite his mind reading, I was also less premeditated than he was.
I let him go though, ducking any oncoming blow. It didn't come and I glanced up. Edward was wiping the dirt from his face and chuckling, shaking his head as he did. "You know, Carlisle never randomly sat on me like you do Emmett," he confessed. I grinned, my mind fully away from the thought of blood.
"Thank you," I said, a big smile breaking. Smiles had been pretty rare at home lately, and the idea that I was doing something right helped keep it there.
"Welcome. Sure you don't want to do some hunting?" he asked, brushing himself off again. "Because there is a bear about three miles to the west." I chuckled, shaking my head.
"Edward, I haven't see a bear since the one that tried to end me." Edward grinned, his eyes flashing with anticipation.
"What's wrong? Afraid it'll get you? Mess up your pretty face so that Rose won't want you any more?" he asked, his tone goading. I bristled, my hand turning into a fist.
Edward continued on, stepping backward, his voice taunting again. "Or maybe, maybe you're just...afraid," he hissed. I growled and took off after him as he ran.
I might have been stronger than my brother-in-law, but he was definitely faster than I was. We made the three miles in a matter of seconds, and Edward launched himself forward as we entered a clearing. There he was. Big, brown, ugly and mean, the first bear I'd ever laid eyes upon since my fateful change.
I didn't freeze, but I didn't exactly attack either. Edward seemed to sense my hesitation though, and didn't strike to kill. Instead, with a brutality that I'd begun to realize was instinctive to what I'd become, he knocked the bear flat, and zoomed backwards, letting it see me.
I took a step back at its roar of anger and pain. I hadn't been human for almost three years, yet old human prejudices die hard. I smelled the blood then, the blood that flowed from where Edward had injured it. The venom began to flow in response, hot and poisonous in my mouth.
I launched forward and began the wrestling match of my life. The fight with the animal was primal, more than that...it was instinctive. I roared and let loose, feeling its heartbeat as I fought, smelling the fear and anger that rolled off its dirty fur. The body had strength, much more than the man did. This prey resisted; it didn't want to die, and it tried to let me know that. The match was exhilarating.
I knew it was mine when I felt the bones crack. I crushed harder and smelled the blood that resulted from the internal bleeding. Unable to stand the smell of food any longer, I ripped its fragile skin open and began to feed, holding my prey into submission.
With each gulp, the frantic wildness in my heart began to calm. The worry and fear that I wouldn't be able to resist a mortal's blood began to ease. The guilt of doing what had come natural dissipated, and by the time that there was nothing but carcass left, I was stable again.
I dropped the body and turned towards Edward. He was leaning against a tree with his arms crossed. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. "Why didn't you join in?" I asked, cocking my head as the taste began to fade from my mouth.
"Because, you needed that," he answered, satisfied. I nodded slowly, accepting that perhaps, Edward had known some things that I didn't.
"And besides," he continued, walking on. "That bear was a little small for my tastes." I coughed, and caught up to him.
"Small!? Alright Mr. Hotshot. New Competition. We see who can catch the biggest Grizzly bear."
Edward looked at me sideways and grinned. "You'll lose," he stated, his nose flaring as he began to scout for more of the same kind. I scowled.
"You wish!" I looked myself. Edward grinned.
"First one to bag three wins?" he asked, ready to get started. I nodded, the anticipation building for me as well.
"First one to bag three before sunrise," I countered.
He grinned. "Deal."
I nodded, and we shook. "Deal."