AN: I thought this was a really interesting moment – when Bella decides to put her mortality to a vote. All the Cullens are there, and they mostly gave one word answers, but I always figured they had to be thinking more than that. Voila! Another story! Each chapter is one member of the Cullen family, and their thoughts/impressions as they decide whether or not Bella is to be turned.

I did want to make a few things clear… the views the characters express are purely for literary purposes – when religion is mentioned at all, it isn't anything except what the character happens to be thinking (in my imagination).

Disclaimer: All quotes from New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer


"Please let me finish. You know what I want – and I'm sure you know what Edward thinks, too. I think the only fair way to decide is for everyone to have a vote. If you decide you don't want me, then… I guess I'll go back to Italy alone. I can't have them coming here." My forehead creased as I considered that.

There was the faint rumble of a growl in Edward's chest. I ignored him.

"Taking into account, then, that I won't put any of you in danger either way, I want you to vote yes or no on the issue of me becoming a vampire."

I looked towards Edward this time; it would be better to get his opinion out of the way. "Do you want me to join your family?"

Chapter 24: Vote, New Moon, Stephenie Meyer


Don't think I didn't realize how that question was worded – a loaded question, humans called it. No answer that could give real satisfaction to anyone.

Did I want her to join my family? Was she insane? I wanted her – much, much more than she could ever understand. I wanted nothing more than to turn her then and there, to hold her hand as she woke from the change, and to kiss her without reservation or fear that I would hurt her. I wanted to marry her, to make her mine in every possible sense of the word.

Oh, yes. I wanted her for the rest of time – the rest of my miserable existence. If I had my way, I would hold onto her with everything I had and never let her go.

But that wasn't really what was being asked here. She wanted something I refused to give her - to lose her soul, to be condemned to an existence of preying on animals, barely satisfying her thirst, and never knowing if she'll slip up. And one day, when she does make a mistake, to live with the agony of knowing that she took a human life. To sit back and watch her family and friends die, knowing that she can never follow them. I felt a snarl on my lips, and choked back the growl that rose up at the thought of Bella – pure, innocent Bella – living every day with the torture that was our reality.

We had been through this before. Me wanting to sacrifice my happiness for her own good. I had tried it, thinking she would be better off and move on without me. And a small part of my mind argued that that was evidence enough – after all, look how that had turned out – and that perhaps I didn't know what was best for her.

She didn't - couldn't – realize what she was speaking of giving up so casually. What she was planning to give up. Because I knew already what my family would say – it was the curse of my gift; I knew I was already outvoted, and indeed, had lost the moment she set foot in this house, not caring that we drank blood, only seeing the last vestiges of goodness in our eyes. Alice had seen her changing from the start. They loved her.

If she wasn't turned, she would die. I remembered her harsh words in the hospital after she was attacked by James – that one day she would pass, whether from sickness or age or an accident, as she was so prone to. I would have to stand by and watch her casket lowered into the ground, knowing that her soul was beyond me. And I knew that my reaction would be no different than it was this time – I never planned to outlive her by long.

But things had changed, somehow. We had tried separation – neither of us could live with it. Why couldn't she see that I would be with her until the end of her days, whether or not she was immortal? That the only reason I denied her was because I loved her too much.

Maybe she did know. Maybe she was doing the same thing I was – putting someone else first. Maybe the reason she wanted to be turned was so that I wouldn't destroy myself after she died, and wouldn't suffer. But could I live with myself, knowing that I was the reason she had made the ultimate sacrifice?

I had asked myself this same question, sitting in a small attic room, having heard of her "death," just days ago.

The answer was still no.

My eyes were hard and angry, though I knew it wouldn't perturb her. "Not in that way. You're staying human."

Maybe if I kept telling myself that, I'd eventually believe it.

But I doubted it.