Okay! I figured that there was no real way I could post Mad Season without posting it's sequel, Waiting For Now. So here it is! This story has been a little tricky for me to write given how I start it out. Mad Season was entirely from Houston's point of view and after a long talk with my best friend, who was the first to read this, she helped me decide to try my hand at Edward's point of view. His is going to be slightly OOC because, quite honestly, no one can capture him the way Stephenie Meyer can. After all, he's her creation. So! With all this out of the way, I give you Waiting For Now. Enjoy and please, please don't be shy in reviewing! I crave feedback and honestly, it really helps me keep writing. Be sure to read Mad Season first though or you will be completely lost!
Stephenie Meyer owns the original Cullens, I own the original characters.
Every great love story has a beginning, a euphoric middle, then a tragic end. Nevermind how quick that end comes, it always appears at the most impossible of times. There are unfortunate souls who never see that end coming. They become completely blindsided by the tragic twist and are later left broken and wondering how to put the pieces of their life back together. For me? I guess one could say that I was lucky. I knew the end was coming before I ever let myself enter into the beginning. But that doesn't make the pain any less real, it didn't prepare me in the slightest for what I was going to have to face.
For about ninety years, I'd been alone. The odd man out among three sets of perfectly matched lovers. Lovers that consisted of my family. There was my mother and father, in all of the ways that truly counted to me; Carlisle and Esme. Carlisle was the head of our family and had expanded it to envelope my eventual brothers and sisters in the compassion that always shined with his love. Rosalie and Emmett were the most obvious lovers in our family, their entanglement physical and on display for the entire world to see. Then there was Alice and Jasper, the only two members of my immortal family that had not been created by Carlisle. Alice had forseen her life with Jasper, as well as our family, and joined us without a second's hesitation. We were vampires to the very core, but we were very different from our eternal peers. We didn't feed on humans to sustain ourselves and withhold our immense strength. It had been Carlisle that placed the inside joke on our way of life. We were vegetarians; feeding only on animals so that we could co-exist with unsuspecting humans. And as I'd reached the hundred and eighth year of my life, it had been a human that changed everything I knew and thought of my life.
When Houston Morgan first walked into my Senior Physics class, she had been a demon. My own personal demon sent straight from the fiery pits of hell to tempt me into destroying the lives of myself and my family. She'd had no idea, as she sat down beside me in that first, fateful class; how I ached for her blood. She'd had no knowledge of the venom pooling in my mouth, the internal dialog created between my sensible voice and the voice of my monster. She hadn't even really noticed or knew that my muscles reacted of their own accord, coiling to spring and drain her from the life that sustained her. Even though I had left that classroom with her cast as the demon in my own personal story, she didn't stay in that role for very long. She had sparked a change that no other human or vampire had been able to. Alice had been the first one to see me fall in love with this mortal girl. A human girl with blood more intoxicating and potent to my dangerous nature than any other before her.
Houston Morgan had, had her own dark secret when she first walked into my endless life. We were alike in so many ways that initially, it had intriqued me. There was also the curious aggitation I felt when I realized that I couldn't read her thoughts. That was something that had never snared me before. Everyone, in both forms of life, were like an open book to my immortal gift. Alice could see a person's future as it shaped to their choices and decisions. I could see the thoughts and worries as they crossed a person's mind. Everyone but Houston. I'd met her shortly after the beginning of my Senior year at Forks High School, and it was in the summer after that year, just three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, that she became my wife. My perfectly matched lover. I was no longer the odd man out in my family. I'd found that eternal bond with an orphaned girl that had lost her mother to cancer, and never knew her father. But time was now against me, taking the place of endless days stretched out before me in a monotonous string created by the human facade I'd so perfectly cultivated. All thanks to Carlisle, my immortal and patient father.
Now she was Houston Cullen and the cancer that had taken her mother's life was taking her own life. A choice had been presented to me when I was finally let in on her damaging secret. I could stand by and watch her weaken and eventually die. With her death, our love would also die. I would never again get to see her cheeks warm with blood, I would never again get to hear the infectious harmony of her laughter. The thing that had cut me the most was I would never again get to feel her warm body gently resting against my hard and cold frame. If I kept with that original course, I would have to stand by and watch as her foster mother, Margie Banks, buried her. It was something that I couldn't stand. Her hold on my unbeating heart was that powerful.
There had been a second option granted to us. Houston hadn't been frightened or scared when she learned of the monster that rivaled me on an hourly basis. She had already believed in the fantasy of my kind, conjured by a human writer named Anne Rice. She had even dreamed of a life similiar to the one I lived. Houston's daydreams had always consisted of a vampire sweeping in to save her from her untimely death. And that was exactly what had happened. Even though I sometimes detested the way I lived, loathed the firey burn forever coating my throat in thirst, and missed the gaping hole I thought should house my soul; I'd come to the decision to offer her my way of life. The most selfish thing I could have ever asked of this human girl. She accepted readily to my course of action. She had agreed to become my wife in a trite, human ceremony that Emmett and Rosalie partook in every few years. Her final days as a human would be spent as Mrs. Edward Cullen before I stepped in and made her my immortal lover.
I had always hoped for more time. I hoped that she would be able to see her eighteenth birthday and join us in celebrating this milestone in her life. It had been sheer luck that she was granted a graduation from high school. Even though she had physcially been unable to partake in the actual ritual of walking across the stage to recieve her diploma; the achievement was still hers. The diploma had been framed by Esme and later hung in the bedroom that had transitioned from mine, to ours; right next to the latest diploma to be embossed with the name Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. My full name. My human and immortal name combined into one title.
We were back in our bedroom now, only it looked vastly different than it had the night before she became Mrs. Cullen. I'd never given much thought to putting an actual bed in my room. After all, I was a vampire and my kind had no need for slumber. There was a bed in Alice and Jasper's room, but that had been their choice. When we moved to the rainy, small town of Forks, Washington; I'd selected a large, wide leather couch to act as my unneeded relaxation.
It was still there in the room, along with the wall of shelves that housed my music collection. My beloved stereo had been pushed underneath it, cramping the space beside my bedroom door to make room for the hospital bed that Carlisle had secured for Houston. The couch wasn't comfortable or secure enough to cushion her skeletal body any longer. She had impacted my room even more now, leaving a clear picture that her clothes, books, and CDs mixed with mine hadn't created.
I sat on the long couch and watched as she slept, the monitor hooked to her heart beeping quietly to give me that peace of mind that she was still alive. Her body was still working and pulsing blood through her veins. But we were running out of time. It had been in her hometown of Houston, Texas; a place she had asked to visit before the end of her human life, where things took a dangerous turn for her.
The infection had come out of nowhere and no amount of drugs or antibiotics were loosening its hold. Her kidneys were no longer functioning, her liver and intestines so eat up with tumors that their function had ceased as well. The infection was crippling her in the ways she'd never known before. My wife had been strong enough to go through her daily life in a body that was riddled with cancerous tumors spilling poison into her perfect frame.
Houston was still the same woman to me, even after the final wall of her defenses had crumbled down in Texas. It had been sheer luck that I was able to catch her before she fell while trying to take a shower. I'd dutifully dressed and laid her down to rest, not really paying attention to her nakedness as I waited anxiously for her to regain consciousness. But the fever had begun to ravage her before I could see her eyes open. The sweat that coated her body was relentless and eventually, I just left her naked on the bed in our hotel room. The airconditioner had been turned on to it's full force, but I kept a blanket around her just in case. I wasn't quite sure of how to break her fever, but when she awoke to the fiery pain raging within her, she had begged for relief that my artic body temperature could only bring. Our first intimate act as husband and wife wasn't what had been written in countless romance novels, or acted out in various stage and film productions. While I had let myself get carried away long enough to appreciate the way she looked and marvel at how it felt to hold her against my own naked body, it had gone no further. I couldn't make love to my wife with the odds so stacked against us. Even if cancer wasn't eating away at her insides and strength, it would've still been virtually impossible with my ability to crush her if I wasn't careful. I had never been able to 'live in the moment', as Houston had always wanted for us.
Movement rang in my ears dimly and I turned my head instinctively to await the arrival of Alice. She had been keeping vigil over Houston almost as religously as I had been since bringing her back to Forks. I could hear it in her thoughts that she planned to relieve me so that I could go hunt. My eyes, which I had seen reflected in the feverish gaze of my true love during a moment of hazy alertness, were black. Houston always feared that color in my eyes, knowing as well as I did that my desire for her blood would become even more unbareable. Now didn't seem to be the case though, I welcomed the floral scent that wafted off her. It was my way of knowing that she was still with me, even as she slept. And I no longer had the overwhelming desire to feed from her, as I once had during the early part of our relationship. I'd been cured of that when I learned of her secret.
"Edward." Alice was quicker than I often gave her credit for. She was at my side sooner than I had anticipated, laying a deceptively dainty hand on my shoulder as she gazed at Houston's still form. "You need to feed. You have to if you're to give her what she wants."
"I know." I sighed heavily and paused long enough to kiss my sister's hand before I was on my feet and across the room in my blindingly fast speed. I forced myself to be careful as I picked up Houston's frail hand. I was already beginning to miss the warmth of her skin, knowing that the iciness was a direct result of her dying. "Love," I whispered and moved my other hand to gently push stray hair off her sweaty forehead. A loud sigh hitched and broke within her chest as she opened her eyes and stared up at me weakly. We were still unable to break her fever and bring her at least a little comfort. I could feel the pathetic hints of a smile on my lips as I leaned forward and kissed her clammy cheek. "I have to go hunt, but Alice is going to stay with you."
"Okay." She sighed with a small incline of her head. She could barely move without screaming in agony, so now she spent her days drifting in and out of consciousness constantly hooked to an IV tube that pushed morphine through her system. It was all we could do now, Carlisle had explained. She was fading so fast that it would have broken my heart if it still beat in my chest. "I'll be here."
"You better." I grinned down at her and breathed a silent sigh of relief when I found the familiar sparkle in her green eyes. Eyes that I had once seen through Carlisle's memories. Her eyes now looked as mine had when I lay on my death bed in 1918. Forcing myself not to think or dwell on what little memories I had of my human death, I kissed her lips lightly then bent over her immobile body to kiss the engagement and wedding bands that now looked too big for her slender fingers. I would have to have them resized. Maybe it was something I could do while we waited for her transformation to be complete. Providing I would be able to force myself from the house as she writhed in even more agony. "I love you." I whispered into her hand, smiling briefly when she tightened her grip against my fingers, then strode out of the room as fast as my legs could carry me. I had to be strong, I couldn't let my resolve waver. Houston needed me now more than she ever had before and I was determined not to let her down. I couldn't lose her, I refused to.