Two updates in two days! Took me long enough to get on the ball.
Of course, the song at the beginning is I'll Follow You into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie. If you haven't heard it, go listen. It's linked on my profile…and its beautiful! It really went with the last chapter better but…meh…its my story and I wanted to save it for the end.
Ok, I'm going to shut up and give my sappy speech at the end.
Chapter 18: When your soul embarks…
Love of mine
Someday you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark
No blinding light
Or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
Have you ever wondered how many people will attend your funeral?
There were seven at mine.
Or who will adorn their one black dress or five-year-old suit that hangs in the back of the closet for an occasion such as this one? How many will endure mindless chit chat and tiny puff pastries because they know if they weren't in attendance they would be the subject whispered among a sea of black. Their names intertwining with the fragrance of Ralph Lauren Romance, fresh cut Carnations, and polished cedar.
Luckily, it was nothing like that.
No black dresses.
No itchy suits.
No tedious conversations. In fact, it was absolute silence.
While most would have been disappointed at the turn out or the lack of phrases like, "She was a great young lady" or "Heaven just earned themselves another angel," I couldn't think of a single person missing I wished would have been there, or a cliché statement I wanted uttered.
Standing in the room with me were my best friends, my councilors, my partners in crime, my shoulders to cry on, my constant entertainment, love, and affection.
Alice's eyes, although the same shade of honeysuckle, seemed heavy and almost aged with sadness. Her tiny body was being cradled and comforted by the shell of a Jasper.
Emmett was pacing around the room constantly tugging on the hem of his shirt and repeatedly putting his hands in his pockets and pulling them out like a game of hide and seek.
Rosalie was leaning against the wall behind Emmett, her caramel eyes following him, while every few seconds they would scan the dark wooden floor beneath her. I imagine if she could cry, they would all be swimming.
Esme was sitting in a chair, her hands folded perfectly in her lap, watching her children begin to crumple all around her. Carlisle was standing next to her, his hand on her shoulder not only trying to comfort her but bring peace and stability to his own trembling form. They were trying desperately hard to look strong, but failing miserably.
In the corner, sitting quietly, was Edward. His back was hunched over with his elbows on his knees while his hands, clasped tightly and fingers interlaced, dangled loosely between his legs. His head hung low, almost seeming disconnected from his neck and shoulders. Although I couldn't see his mouth, I could hear the faint whisper escape his lips like a comforting breath. It took me a moment to register what he was saying. His words sounded similar to those spoken by Gladys when she would read to me from her Vulgate. He wasn't speaking English but Latin, and he wasn't just talking but praying. Praying for my soul.
"…Anima ejus, et ánimæ ómnium fidélium defunctórum, per misericórdiam Dei requiéscant in pace."
Edward lifted his head and rubbed his face between his palms. His eyes were dark and shallow like the shore on a moonless night. Just like the ocean, I couldn't tell what thoughts or creatures were swimming behind his obscure orbs.
How I wished I could.
How I wished I could tell them I was fine. I was happy; therefore they needed to be happy. But I couldn't.
I was lying just as still as they were on a small white cot under a large window completely covered in dark curtains. My skin was pale but I could see a slight flush on my cheeks.
Either Alice attacked me with her make-up, or my blush followed me to my afterlife.
My hair was wavy and resting lightly atop my shoulders. The clothes were not mine, of course. Like Rose or Alice would allow me to go out in my pink and gray KangaROOS and Kook's t-shirt.
Guess you have to be part of Make-A-Wish to make something like that happen.
It wasn't that bad. I had on a pair of khaki pants and fitted navy blue polo. I looked like I fell asleep after a long day of working at the bank.
I watched everyone in the room for a long time. Memorizing their faces. I didn't know when I was going to have to leave for those pearly gates in the sky. People tell you to be a good person and you will go to heaven, but no one really gives you directions.
As much as I would have liked the British lady to tell me to take a right at the Big Dipper, I didn't know how effectively my Tom Tom was going to be. So, I guess I'd just wait it out.
While I was learning the placement of every mole, scar, and freckle that I could see on Emmett's body, I heard a small noise.
It was faint, weak, and very unnecessary. It was a breath. And it came from me.
As my eyes began to slowly open, I could see through them. I was no longer sitting Indian style by the door watching everything go down. I was lying in a bed staring at the ceiling.
And I took a breath.
It didn't sting my lungs like that last time, but calmed me, even though I didn't know I was tense.
I wanted to sit up, but I couldn't. My mind was screaming "MOVE!" but my body was just waving the middle finger right back.
I took another breath. Sweet Jesus, that felt good.
Thank you God, Yahweh, those red bracelet wearing Kabbalah junkies, Tom Cruise and his cult of loonies, and whoever else just made my lungs work. I salute you.
Before I got the chance to thank Oprah, the whole family had surrounded me.
"Wow. Either Heaven looks just like our spare bedroom or I was kicked out of mine so Alice could make it an extra closet," I said looking at all their faces.
Edward was standing at the end of the bed. His face betrayed the pain he was trying to hide and his eyes flashed to Carlisle in anger.
Ok, Heaven Edward is an asshole. Way to welcome me to my eternal home!
Esme sighed my name. "Honey, you are fine. You are alive."
"Don't lie to her," Edward snapped.
"Edward…" Rosalie started before Emmett pulled her into his chest.
"Bella, you're not alive," Edward spoke.
"Then I guess God and Esme have very similar decorating styles."
I didn't know why I wasn't freaking out. I should've beeen scared shitless. I was dead, but all I could think was that if I was going to spend the rest of…actually I don't know how this Heaven thing works…the rest of infinity, at least my Heaven involved my family.
Edward broke me out of my religious pondering. "You aren't in Heaven either."
Really? This is Hell? Huh.
"It's a lot less red than I expected. Did I have to come here cause I stole that kid's glue? I tried to apologize, but he put gum in my hair and told the teacher that I…"
"Bella, stop," Emmett interrupted. "What I think Subtleward here is trying to say is that you're like one of us now." He firmly grabbed my hand within his. "Sweetheart, you're a vampire."
Undead older brother say what?
"Uh, I'm sorry. Come again?"
Carlisle mimicked Emmett by taking my other hand. "Do you remember anything that happened over the last couple of days, weeks, months?"
I thought about it and thought about it some more before shaking my head.
"Many of your human memories disappear during the change. I suspect that you remember us because we have been in your life for so long. Insignificant memories or ones from farther in your past are harder to recover."
"We don't know for certain. The brain goes through at lot…"
"No," I stated. "Why…why was I changed?"
I heard Edwards intake of breath as clear as day. Everything was just so much…easier. Easier to see. Easier to hear. It was like I got a hearing aid and fresh pair of glasses.
My audience turned to look at Edward just as I did.
"Will everyone excuse us? I would like to talk to her alone please." His voice was still annoyed but his face had softened some. The room emptied out.
"Please tell me what is going on. I swear I'm not mad or anything. I'm just a little confused." I was pleading with him.
He walked to the head of the bed and pulled the chair Esme was sitting in closer to me. "You were taken to Volterra five days ago. Felix and Tanya came for you while you were alone at the supermarket. By the time I had found out, you were already on the plane to Italy. Luckily I was able to get there before anything happened to you." He stopped and I watched his black eyes dart all over my face. "I went straight to Aro. I told him I would do whatever he wanted if he agreed to let you go and never look for you again."
I gasped. Bits and pieces of that memory were coming back to me. Stone rooms. Silent Edward. Flames. My death.
Edward continued. "I could tell by the look on your face that you thought they were going to kill me, but Aro just asked me to join his ranks. I wanted so badly to tell you that everything was going to be ok. To go to our family and some day I would find my way back. I was afraid if I gave any hint, or spoke at all that Aro would take it out on you."
He stopped to judge my face. It was so much information but I needed to know everything.
"I don't know what was going through your head to make you decided to light everything on fire, but as soon as Matthew reached the room and told everyone, they scattered. I assumed he had gotten you out until I overheard him telling Marcus that you started the fire and he found you dead in it."
He scratched his scalp with his long fingers and rubbed his eyes with the heel of his palm.
"You. You were what I was thinking," I said softly. "I didn't think they were going to kill you, I knew they were. It wasn't your life to give up. I knew the fire would make them run and thought you might be able to get away and back to Seattle before they realized you were gone."
"You never intended to get out, " he said, more as a statement then a question.
"No," I said shaking my head. "You were supposed to live not me."
"I didn't know if the change was going to work." He was brushing my hair behind my ears. "When I found you, you were barely breathing. I had two choices, to let you die or change you." He dropped his head. "I'd like to say I made the choice out of reason or logic, but it was pure selfishness. I couldn't return home without you.
"I knew your breaths were limited, so I didn't think I would have enough time to take you away before I did…it. So, I bit you on both sides of your neck and wrists. I figured the more venom the better. By the time I got you free from the building, you stopped breathing.
"Alice and Jasper had rented a private plane and flown down when she saw the vision of me, so we were able to get you back as soon as possible. Since then, it's been a waiting game."
"Didn't Alice see if I was going to make it or not?"
"It kept changing. It was 'no' when you first got there, then 'yes' when I arrived. Back to 'no' when you started the fire, and 'yes' again when I found you. She said after that it would get hazy. Sometimes our venom can be really unpredictable depending on how the person was changed. Since I didn't really know what I was doing, your outcome was not as promising."
"Oh." I hated to here the sadness in his voice. "So what now? Someone had to have seen us get away. They are going to come looking."
"Marcus saw me go back towards the holding rooms looking for you, and when I finally got us out, there was no one around. Alice will be watching for them if they decide to investigate, but I imagine that they believe we are among the ash of what is left of their home. They have bigger problems to deal with then us right now."
He looked at me intently. "Bella, I'm so sorry. I can't believe I did this to you. I killed you. I went to Italy to save you, and I…I killed you." He buried his head in the nook of my neck.
"Please don't say that. You saved me. Had you not come, everyone would be putting flowers on my coffin right now. I always knew this was how I was meant to die. Esme and Carlisle wanted me to have a normal life, which I did without complaint, because I knew that one day I would run out of human experiences and I would be ready for my new life to begin."
"Stop," I interrupted. "I'm here and I'm happy, and that's all that matters."
He nodded reluctantly and kissed where my pulse use to beat on my neck.
Being a vampire…sucked, literally. It really wasn't bad; it was just going to take a lot of getting used to.
I was never really around many humans before so that wasn't a difficult adjustment, but steering clear of Tofu was torture. He slept in the bed with Emmett and Rose, which I'm sure she loved, until I felt more comfortable around him. I think he sensed something was up as well because he never came looking for me.
Jasper was the most understanding, and surprising the most protective. He was there every time I went hunting and told me stories of his past struggles.
Emmett, on the other hand, was itching for us to tag team a Grizzly. I'm pretty sure if he could have had one waiting the closet for when I woke up, he would.
A few days after I awoke, I swear to God two bra sizes bigger and four inches smaller, I asked Carlisle about being able to watch everyone in the family during my last day of the transition. He had never heard of that before, so we toyed around with a few ideas. It wasn't until Alice yapped on for forty-five minutes about the new car she wanted that I did it again.
I didn't even know I was doing anything special. I closed my eyes and chanted to myself about how I wished I was anywhere but here, and before I knew it, I was in the woods watching a rabbit scratch his back with his paw. I closed my eyes again, and I was back at the kitchen bar.
Very Twilight Zone, yet very cool.
I had discovered my power. I could put myself in a meditative state where I could leave my body. Carlisle says it is because I had a powerful and observant mind as a human.
I think it was because I was nosy.
After a little bit of practice it started to become easier, like most vampire abilities. Although, this was really handy during Halo marathons and Bella Beauty nights.
Besides the speed, improved hearing, body jumping, and all blood diet, things weren't much different then before.
Longer nights meant more time with Edward and his slinky doo, and of course, we practiced with that a lot as well.
Things finally felt right. The bits of my past that I remembered were just a distant memory, and I began to feel like I was at that point were I could start to move forward in my life.
Just me and my family of vampires.
So, some of y'all might be mad because I didn't go into more mushy gushy details with Edward and Bella, but to me this story was more about her relationship with the family then it was about her relationship with him. Sorry if I disappointed anyone.
I wanted to give a huge group huge to Birdee, my beta, Steph and Erica. If it weren't for y'all, this story would never have been completed. I can't express in words how much gratitude and adoration I have for you.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO IS READING THIS. Whether you just started yesterday or you've been here since the beginning, thanks. Every time I got a review that said I made you laugh or brought you out of the funk of a day you were having, my heart got all warm, and made it well worth every hour I put into this story.
Your story's done…what are you going to do now?
I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD! Seriously, I am. I leave tomorrow. So, if you don't get a review reply, sorry I left you hanging. I'll do it as soon as I get back.