Okay, bad news... I took a long time to update again and I'm SOO sorry about that. Also, next year I start school as an official International Baccalaureate student and I'll be taking six college level classes... and my only highschool level class is French III... all of that translates into not a lot of time left for writing. But I REFUSE to let school suck everything I love out of my schedule! I'll still be around, I swear.
On the slightly weird news, I now understand what people mean about characters taking on a life of their own. I had planned on a little bit of Bella being difficult and then to go straight into a heart-breaking scene where she forgives everyone in desperation to have their help piecing herself back together, but then Uncontrolable-Newborn-Bella kept threatening to kill me in the back of my mind for making her look like such a weakling. I tried to fight with her for like three days before I finally just sat back and let her do what she wanted to do... this is what came out, basically. I hope you all like it ^_^ (if not, it's Bella's fault, not mine)
Chapter 8 :Awakening:
There's not much that I care to remember about Bella's last moments.
As a vampire she would be unique, perhaps almost one of a kind. She had lived for years in the land of myths and nightmares. She had been presented with a choice. She knew the consequences. No matter how her choice was regarded (or disregarded) she will be one of the few who knew from the beginning.
Her passing, however, was not unlike the rest of ours. Her heart fluttered faster than a hummingbird's, fighting desperately until the last. She clawed at her chest, where the pain would be the most intense. The last of her flowing blood stained her tears pink. She called out for her mother.
Once her heart stuttered to a stop, she lay motionless. We were content to wait until she was ready. It is, after all, a disorienting, frightening experience to suddenly be thrust into a world of so much more sensation after your universe has been narrowed only to agony and darkness. I expected it to be an entire minute before she would "awaken". I wish I could have more time, but I had already been gifted with an extra day in her transformation. It was time to face her. As an equal. No one expected to be easy.
It was a bitter winter midnight in 1918 when I awoke from my change. I broke away from Carlisle quickly (he had been younger, with less experience with newborns) and slaughtered a cow. Rosalie was about the same, and Emmett tried his hardest to slaughter me as he demanded that I return the "angel" to him. Jasper's head was full of memories and his body covered with scars, all attesting to the unpredictability, the violence of newborn vampires. Something about the change stripped them of anything but their basest instincts. According to Jasper's memories, after half an hour and a stomach full of blood, newborns were capable of calm reason and could speak without blatant hostility. It sounded about right. It had taken Rosalie a lot longer.
It was with this in mind that our family gathered to witness Bella's rebirth. Esme, Alice, and Rosalie had been directed toward the back of the room, where they stood without protest. Emmett and Jasper stood in front of them, already half-crouched and worrying at the fact that Alice's visions were hazy at best. Finally, I stood with Carlisle right next to her bedside. No one moved, nor twitched, not even a breath was drawn. I didn't need my gift to know that they were just as afraid as I was. Some of them were, at least.
Emmett, Jasper, and Esme were worried. For their mates, for their family, for Bella, and for me. Especially for Bella and I. Their consciences, however, were clean. Rosalie was outraged. Carlisle was conflicted. He had spent hours during Bella's change, alone in his office, dreading, planning, and always, always analyzing. He searched with a frenzy for an alternative he could have taken, and then justification of what he had already done. He'd tried to find that forgiveness in Bella, but pain and rage had been all she could offer. Alice joined me as I burned. The three of us hoped that she would bring forgiveness when she awakened.
I knew, of course, the mind games she'd played that had ended in this. And Alice knew that I knew. She made no attempt to shield her deceit and conniving. She wanted me to be angry with her. Like Carlisle, she sought penance and like Carlisle, she would not get what she wanted. I didn't have anything for her. I'd spent the first two days of Bella's transformation in a rage, storming through the darkest, most deserted areas of the Olympic Range. Once I was ready to rejoin my family, I was already preparing myself to focus all of my energies on Bella. She would need me just as much as before, though this time her physical needs were much less. There would be time to deal with Alice in a few years. We had time now. All of us had all of the time in eternity
Bella, though, apparently did not want an eternity with us.
I had not noticed how her hair had grown over the four days. It fanned about her as she lunged forward and slammed her open palm into my chest. Bella never knew how to fight, but the strength, the surprise of the blow was enough. She was past me, then Carlisle, then Emmett before my feet could find ground again. I heard Emmett and Carlisle both, shouting for the girls and Esme to get out of the way. They all obeyed, except for Rosalie, who hesitated. She doubted that Bella was an actual threat. She received a crushing blow for her trouble and crumpled.
"No, no, no!" I growled as I sprang to my feet and shot off, quickly at her heels. "Isabella, stop!" She was fast, but she couldn't match me. I still held that edge. She didn't pause to open the door, but tumbled through it with a ripping crash and I cursed. I had been counting on a distraction, I wasn't sure if I could catch her before she hit the trees, where I would no longer be able to see her so easily and her scent would mix and blend with that of the forest. With a snarl I lunged and managed to snag her around her waist. I threw her bodily back toward the house, wincing, where Emmett caught her, his massive arms pinning her arms to her side and holding her off of the ground. There didn't seem to be a need anymore, though. Bella had frozen into an ice sculpture once more.
Carlisle stepped forward, frowning his uniquely nonjudgmental frown. He seemed sad, agelessly sad. Without hesitation, he reached out to place a restraining hand on Bella's shoulder, ignoring the incredulous looks around him (mine included). Bella could easily take his arm from this angle.
She didn't. She managed to thaw slightly only to flinch away from his touch. Gently, Carlisle reached forward to tilt Bella's face up toward him (Though he moved slowly— the way one moved when faced with someone dangerous and irrational.) and we got our first look at the changed Isabella Cullen.
I had come to her sparingly during her transformation, usually only when she was the most delirious with pain, and so I was not accustomed to her new body. Her skin positively shone, milky and pure, especially where her hair lay against it. It had lengthened and the color had deepened and intensified. It fanned fell just past her shoulders now, just as pin straight as the day I laid eyes on her. Her face and body were still thin from her months of starvation, but the change had taken her from skinny to waif-like, though I knew the crushing power that was concealed by the vulnerable façade.
Her eyes were in complete conflict with her body, which called to be protected. Her eyes— which were a shade of crimson no darker, no more menacing than any other of our kind— were alight with loathing. Her eyes were bitter, frozen and uncompromising and furious and they were not of my Bella.
"Why did you run?" Carlisle asked her quietly. Bella sneered back at him.
"You won't let me go?" she asked in a matching tone, but there was an audible undercurrent of something much more sinister in Bella's voice. Rosalie shifted forward, practically hanging off of the front porch, while Esme begged Carlisle silently to step out of Bella's range.
"You aren't thinking rationally, Bella. Try to remember—"
"I remember everything," Bella snapped. "Answer my question."
Carlisle did not flinch, did not step away. I could hear the indecision in his mind. He was dealing with a hostile vampire, a newborn at that, who was to be dealt with firmly and with a strong will. But he was also dealing with Bella, whom he had done wrong and surely needed an understanding father figure. Finally, he hardened the slightest bit and retorted, "Answer mine."
I held my breath again while Emmett braced himself for Bella's rage. Carlisle was pushing more than he had ever pushed with any of us as newborns. My family couldn't understand it, but I could. It was because Bella was different. As newborns, the rest of us had been disoriented, new, afraid, and our fear bound us to Carlisle, at least until we were under control. Bella, on the other hand, knew this world and did not fear it. She would leave before she was ready and she would regret it. And we would regret it.
How had it all become so complicated?
But, the raging did not come. I couldn't understand it… instead, Bella and Carlisle stared at each other for another long moment, before Bella narrowed her eyes. "I knew you wouldn't let me go." She leaned to the side almost imperceptibly, a test, to which Carlisle shadowed her movement even more subtly than she. Emmett didn't even notice the exchange. "And I want to go. Will you try and stop me? You are, after all, my creator. Not my owner. My father. Not my jailor," she sneered. Carlisle's frown etched its way deeper and he stepped away, letting his hand fall.
"When you are older and thinking like yourself once more, I will explain it to you. For now—"
"You know, I've actually had enough of arrogant, self-important vampires who tell me when I am or am not thinking like myself." She lurched forward, pulling Emmett along as if he were nothing. Carlisle finally took a swift step backward while Emmett swore and strained to pull her back again. "There is nothing here that I want to be a part of, understand? So, Let. Me. Go!"
And there, here, was my greatest fear. I watched, stricken, as the monster, my monster, reared up in her eyes, snarled with her mouth. I saw the darkest, most vile, disgusting part of myself in my Bella. I saw the rage, and hatred, and this was not how she was ever meant to be!
And she did. Every muscle went rigid, stone-like and suddenly immovable. Four gazes turned to me, shocked, but not hers. Her eyes were locked on Carlisle still. Why, suddenly, did she avoid my gaze? I ignored the anger and that came along with the hurt. "Stop it, Bella," I said. I took a step, hesitating all the way. "You know what is happening to you. You're stronger—"
"You don't know anything about me, Edward Cullen."
Clean. Expressionless. It was the tone of some other girl, stunningly beautiful, but whose heart was as hard and cold as my skin. "What?"
She moved then. She threw Emmett off of her as if he were nothing, maybe an irksome fly. Rosalie hissed and moved as if she would intervene, but Esme held her back. Finally, she turned to look at me.
And there was nothing there. When I looked into Bella's eyes, my Bella, there was everything. I felt hot and cold. I saw the sun, the stars, waves breaking on the horizon. I saw the life I had lived, the life I could have lived without her, and I saw the life she could— she would— give me. Everything that was pure and changing, sweet and red, warm and brown, I saw it in Bella's eyes.
I used to.
"I said, you don't know anything about me. I mean really, how long did we know each other? Not even an entire year. That's not very much when you compare it to a hundred or even just seventeen. So, we need to stop talking as if we're all childhood pals. You don't know me, Edward Cullen, and I don't know you." She took two steps toward me, quick and challenging, though her face was still smooth. Deliberately smooth. "A phase, right, Edward? Or was it a distraction?"
I think I paled even more in that moment. Slowly, the emptiness in her expression began to fill. It started with the set of her jaw, and then her lips pulled back in the slightest of snarls. Flames made purely of ice and fury danced in her eyes. And as her hatred bled through the cracks in the wall, the others' thoughts began to question, to pull at my concentration. I'd never told them the story. I'd never told them the lies I'd told her. They were confused, and concerned by the intensity of Bella's anger.
"Stop it, Bella," I told her. Bella snarled loudly.
"You weren't just some fucking phase to me, though. I gave you everything. I gave you my— my thoughts! I gave you my feelings! I gave you Bella— the real Bella. I gave you my tears, Edward Cullen! Can you even… can you even grasp what I gave you?
"And don't you dare try to cheapen that." Eyes narrow, chin raised. "Do you know how many men would have loved me? Would have fought to have me? Do you know how many men chased me once you were out of the way?" She leaned forward. "Do you know what I could have given you? I gave you everything I had, and still I had an eternity's worth more. And I gave it to you because you promised me."
Closer and closer she drifted while my family allowed it, too stunned to stop her. I thought that when she touched me (her palm flat against my chest) that it would feel exactly like her stare. Either I would feel cold and hated or nothing at all. But her touch… damn me, her touch still ignited me the way it had in the past. I yearned for someone that I feared no longer existed.
"You're disgusting," she hissed as she leaned even closer, her lips brushing against the skin of my neck as she spoke. Pleasure at such long-missed contact and pain melded in my mind until I felt weak. "Did you like the look on my face when you left me in the forest? Do my tears smell as good as my blood? Did you like it when I begged? You sadistic son-of-a-bitch, I was good! I was beautiful and happy and loving and innocent and good and you broke me, just so you could take you mind off of the fact that you're a goddamned monster.
"Then, years after you ruin my life, your demented family decides that you're a bit too depressed, so they'll deliver your favorite toy, immortal, indestructible, and scotch-guarded to boot? Fuck you!"
Suddenly, Rosalie broke from the group, her form blurring in her rage. Before I could draw breath to warn her away she had inserted herself between Bella and me. I blinked and heard the sharp smack of two rocks colliding and suddenly there was a new picture frozen in time. Bella stumbled back, Rosalie leaned forward.
"We saved your worthless, human life. Twice," Rosalie growled.
"You fucking ruined my life!"
"You think you're such a martyr, Bella, when my brother has been—"
"You pompous bitch! I'm not his toy!"
Oddly enough, Rosalie broke first. It was hard to notice, the way Bella's snarls echoed the way they did and her teeth bared the way they were, but Rosalie definitely lunged first, her own delicate-looking lips pulled back over her teeth. They sounded like a pair of tigers, snarling, growling, hissing, with the crack of smashing boulders and some profanity intermingled. And it all happened in half the time it took to blink.
"Damn it, Emmett, grab Rosalie!"
Jasper came out of no where and snatched Bella from the twisting bundle (almost like the fight clouds on those old cartoons. It wasn't funny at all in person.), but Rosalie was just as much of a problem as Bella at that point. She slipped through Emmett's arms and grabbed a handful of Bella's hair. Jasper was an expert in combat, but there was no way he could handle the extreme strength of a newborn and the experience of a mature vampire. I dove in with Emmett and Carlisle, all of us just fighting to separate the two.
It ended just as suddenly as it started, as things often worked in my family. Emmett and Carlisle had managed to drag Rosalie all the way back to the edge of the porch and Esme had stepped into her line of vision to separate her more fully from Bella. At the edge of the forest, Jasper had Bella pinned to a tree, his own razor sharp teeth inches from her throat. He kept up a barely audible growl in her ear, a warning. In his mind, it was the only kind of reason a newborn like her could fully understand. Threats and danger.
Jasper was annoyed. Alice hadn't seen this happening, not until seconds before it finally occurred. He was beginning to doubt how well her vision could track a newborn, impulsive as they were. Without taking his eyes off of Bella he reached backward into the forest to take Alice's hand. She came to his side.
"If you leave this clearing, Sara Grey will die. She's a high school student in Healy. You'll kill her in seven hours and fourteen minutes if you leave this clearing."
Alice's voice was high, clear, and afraid, and she watched Bella with wide eyes. She was badly shaken by what she had seen and by what she had not. Bella and Rosalie paid no attention though, mouthing soundlessly at one another.
"There'll be no way to reign in the bloodlust once it's loose and you're among humans. You'll decimate the entire city if no one is there to stop you, if we aren't there to stop you. Is that what you want, Bella?"
Suddenly, Bella focused on Alice. "Are you telling the truth this time?" she answered. To her credit, Alice did not flinch.
"There are no lies or secrets within our family," she said.
"You mean your family."
Alice smiled a sad, tiny smile and tapped the side of her head. "Our family, Bella."
Jasper twitched ever so slightly while in his mind he strained against the strength of Bella's emotion and the energy it took to neutralize it. The growling got louder.
"I'm leaving," Bella said through her teeth. Jasper just shook his head grimly. His patience was unusually short.
"So, you're willing to use another human being's life to buy your freedom? You've become selfish. We won't let you pay that price. No," he cut across her as she opened her mouth to retort. "I don't care what you think of me for "controlling" you like that. That's what friends do. They keep you from making stupid decisions."
She was restless, her eyes bounced from one vampire to another, but Jasper's prescense and power kept her pinned in place. For one perverse moment, I wanted to laugh. I could practically see the thoughts running around in her head.
"Fine… fine. How long until I can control it the way you all can?"
Alice laughed dryly to herself. "A year, Bella. Barely a day now that you're one of us. And then you can go, if you still want. Not even Edward will try to stop you."
That made her stop. She stared at Alice and then turned, the full force of her attention, on me. It was unnerving.
"Is that true?" Behind Bella's back, Alice nodded slightly.
'The answer is yes, Edward. The full truth will get you nothing but a tantrum,' she thought. I understood. In a year's time, if Bella wanted to leave, I wouldn't stop her. I would follow her for the rest of my life, strive to prove myself for eternity. But I wouldn't stop her.
"It is. I give you my word." I wasn't lying to her, not really. Like Alice said, the truth would upset her for no reason.
Bella smiled and again I found nothing familiar in it. "Your word doesn't mean much to me, Edward. It doesn't mean anything at all, actually. Just know, if you do try to stop me, I'll kill you."
I suddenly registered the pain blooming from my forearm. I glanced down and found a delicate line of the crescent scars that criss-crossed all along Jasper's body. Absently, I flexed my hands, looking at Rosalie and Bella both from the corners of my eyes. There was no way to tell which one of them had done it, but Bella's smile looked especially satisfied. Surprised and satisfied. Surprised and satisfied and an ounce of unease.
Right then, I finally understood what was happening. I had exactly one year to pull Bella back from the edge. If I failed she would destroy herself.
And she would probably take me with her.