Perk #13 An Overly Developed Desire for Revenge

Your dad is not food, I repeated over and over again.

I was sitting in Charlie's living room. It was a bit messier and full of news articles and notes regarding my disappearance. A wave of emotion threatened to overwhelm me, but thankfully, I had more desire to eat Charlie than give him a hug and embarrass myself. The last hug we had nearly turned him into lunch three minutes ago when he first laid eyes on me when he opened the backdoor.

"Would you like something to eat?" he asked, nodding his head in the direction of the kitchen.

I choked on some venom as I forced down a laugh. "No, I'm not…hungry," for human food, that is. Plain human would be nice. Particularly some nicely done Swan – keep it in the family and all that. I scolded myself silently at my vile ponderings. Why did my father have to smell so tasty?

"Bella, since you're in charge of these…sanctions you put up on what I am and am not allowed to know, why don't you tell me what you can?" My father asked, jumping right to business.

I hesitated. I had worked out with the Cullens, right before I left, what could be mentioned to Charlie without bringing in the elusive Volturi from Italy to Forks. It didn't sit well with me that I had to lie to my father, but I wanted to tell him as much as I could. I owed him that for being such a good father to me throughout my life. I would love to tell Renee, too, but I worried that her delicate sensibilities would be unable to handle it. That left just Charlie.

"It's…a long, complicated story – and that's with the editing," I finally settled on saying.

Charlie opened up a cold beer, getting comfortable on the couch, well across the room from me. Originally, he tried to sit next to me, but my look of panic made him choose a farther distance. He didn't question my motives of placement in the living room. He nodded at me to continue.

"Dad…the world you live in, isn't what you think it is," I began awkwardly. "The night of the car accident brought Edward and me into its…awareness."

My father opened his mouth to speak, I held up a hand to stop him. "No questions. I'm telling you what I'm allowed to, remember?"

"Fine," Charlie said grudgingly.

I sighed, working on acting as human as possible. I scratched at my nose unnecessarily.

"The evidence you have from the car crash gives you a lot of clues as to what happened. You only need a bit more information to have the whole story. Edward and I were both very close to death after the accident. I'm sure you know exactly how much blood was found at the scene. We were left with fatal injuries…How you see me now is the only way I lived through it." Heavy editing there, leaving out the vampire attack, the werewolf rescue, my time in La Push… "I can't function in normal society easily, dad. That's why it's taken me so long to come to you. It's…dangerous for me to be around…people." Each word I said was clear that I was shielding him from the truth.

"I see," my dad murmured. His wrinkles were even more defined in my vampire sight and I felt sad for him. He was never going to hook up with Sue Clearwater if she had my kind of vision. When did my dad get so old?

"Lately, I've been in Alaska, living with the Cullens. They've been taking care of me." Jacob's involvement was also cut out of the story. I wanted to give credit where credit was due, but I knew that Charlie would be livid at Jacob for hiding me from him. Plus, that would lead to unwanted questions about why Jacob was able to be around me, but Charlie wasn't.

I noticed that he was scowling – did he not like that the Cullens had been in on it? "The Cullens weren't involved, dad. When I found out that they…were like me, I sought them out for help. There have been a lot of changes I had to deal with." I was purposefully leaving out that Edward had been abducted from the accident by them. I wanted my father to think that I had been with Edward these past couple months or so. I needed the Cullens to come out unscathed in my father's eyes.

I went on in my story as well as I could without giving away the whole vampire thing. I told him that there was a more treacherous type of being than myself that I was concerned about. I stressed several times that guns would not be helpful, that he needed to stay out of the woods and warn as many folks as he could to do the same.

He didn't seem to be enjoying my explanations, yet he still took them better than I expected him to. By the end of my story, he only had a few pertinent questions.

"What is your relationship with Edward Masen?"

I swallowed another mouthful of venom, always fighting my constant thirst.

"Edward is…my boyfriend," I said carefully. My father automatically grimaced, which he unsuccessfully endeavored to hide.

"Where is he now?"

"In Alaska, back with the Cullens."

My father's features arranged into disapproval. "He let you travel alone?"

"Well, no, not exactly." I was with Jacob, I added silently.

Charlie raised a distrustful eyebrow. "Did one of the Cullens accompany you?"

I replied honestly, "No."

"I take it this is another one of those things I'm not 'allowed to know'."

I nodded, grateful that he understood. "For his protection, more than your own," I muttered at vampire speed under my breath.

Charlie yawned and I realized we had been talking for hours. He'd grabbed something to eat – a casserole sent from Sue Clearwater – sometime during our conversation. I bit my lip, wondering why Jacob hadn't showed up by now. However, I didn't want to alert Charlie to anything, so I kept my nervousness to myself.

"You should go to bed, dad," I said finally.

"What about you kiddo? Your bed's ready…unless you have…somewhere to go?" he trailed off uncertainly.

I smiled up at him. "I think I'll stay down here for a bit, maybe watch some TV before going to sleep."

"Will you be here in the morning?"

I deliberated with myself for a moment before answering, "Yes. I can stay for awhile."

Charlie stood up, stretching. I could hear every bone creaking in his body, gurgling sounds of a working human body, and, most temptingly, his human heart. I felt like a creep, hungrily eyeing the blood pumping in my father's veins.

"I'm glad you came back," Charlie said. I could tell he was working hard to convey his feelings to me. Between the two of us, emotional performances just weren't our things.

I made a show of fiddling with the remote control, like I would turn on the TV after he left. "Me too," I said, not looking at him. It was quiet for several moments and he still hadn't left, so I did look at him. He was eyeing me with deep scrutiny. Not suspiciously, but like he was seeing the pyramids of Egypt for the first time and couldn't believe they were real. I shrunk in on myself, embarrassed.

"G'night, dad," I said, encouraging him to go to bed.

He sighed deeply. "Goodnight, Bells," and he finally left the living room.

After our lingering goodnight, my father clunked up the stairs. I turned on the television, keeping up appearances. I was antsy, waiting for him to fall asleep. I heard him shuffling about in his room, the equivalent of an elephant loose in a china shop, to my gracefulness as a vampire.

As soon as I heard his snores, I rushed to the kitchen and called up Billy Black for information on Jacob.

There was no answer.

My anxiety was worsening. Could the pack still be battling with the vampires? Had they…lost? Were the nomads on there way to find me even now? I didn't like waiting to find out. It was worse than waiting for your final grade in a class you were borderline in a letter grade for. Worse than believing Edward Masen had a girlfriend. Okay, maybe not worse than that. That had sucked great, big, hairy monkey balls.

I left the kitchen and was out the backdoor, standing watch. I inhaled the clean air, glad it wasn't contaminated with the scent of human blood. While I was clearing out my lungs, I listened intently for noises from the woods, and, discontent, waited.

It was pushing four in the morning when I finally heard a crunch that wasn't accompanied by the fluttering heartbeat of a small animal. It had to be a vampire. I sniffed the air, my instincts kicking in, checking out the scent. It was the same, wild scent that had come from the nomads. It was like my worst fears were coming true – a surviving vampire must mean that Jacob was…

I rerouted my thinking and a random thought followed my horrific realization. Only one vampire had survived. Charlie could still have a chance if I figured out how to kill the nomad before it killed me.

I made my decision.

I crouched into a predatory position and jetted off directly toward where the vampire was. I wasn't going to let them come to me. I was hunting them. I wanted to cackle maniacally, except I was preoccupied by my impending battle. A battle, I knew, was going to end in the severing of vital limbs from my body. I wondered if that would hurt much, seeing as I was already technically dead.

Unpracticed in the different scents of the world, it took me longer than a mature vampire to identify that the vampire I was barreling toward was Levi. A thrill of fear nearly tripped me, but I charged forward. I had to do this – for Charlie, Jacob, and the pack.

The trees rushed past me as I ran, approaching Levi at top speed. His pale, luminescent skin glowed brightly to my enhanced eyes. An angry hiss escaped me as I reached him, crouching to pounce. It was just like earlier that day, the two of us mirroring one another's actions. His teeth were bared menacingly at me, venom dripping off them.

It was surreal as I stared him down, his red eyes clashing with my murkier ones, reflecting our differing choice of diet. Was I really about to battle it out with this full grown, male vampire? I guess I was.

"Interested in a fight, young one?" Levi snarled, neither of us moving from our crouches.

"You've given me no other choice," I replied through clenched teeth.

I couldn't let Jacob's death go by without being avenged. It was similar to how I felt when I believed Edward was killed by a vampire. Something within me cried out for justice – I wondered if it was a vampire thing. It certainly wasn't healthy.

"I would have to say likewise," Levi said angrily. "My mate's death was your fault."

I scoffed, reckless. "Hardly. I was helplessly human - injured. Now look at me, nearly unbreakable because she couldn't fight off a pack of dogs."

Apparently, that was the incorrect thing to say, because a millisecond later, Levi had smashed into me. Our bodies clanged together like thunder as I used my hands to block off the attack from his venomous teeth. I had seen Jasper's scars and knew what venom could do to a vampire. I was too pretty now to be marred by such blemishes.

Mustering all my newborn strength, I shoved him away from me. He looked at me in shock, like he couldn't believe I had managed to do it. Then, he went at me again. I braced myself, pushing him away once more. While I had made up my mind to kill him, now that I was in this perilous situation, I was struggling to fight back.

It reminded me of Mortal Kombat, probably the most violent video game I ever played as a kid. I was always Sonya Blade, because originally she was the only female character. She could give the kiss of death, which, when I was little, was the coolest thing in the world.

What I wouldn't give to be able to blow a kiss that took care of Levi for me right now.

We continued to dance around each other, swiping and growling. Finally, I managed to take a bite out of his shoulder, ripping a large chunk of it off. I would have crowed in triumph, if it weren't for the mouthful of vampire I was stuffed with. I spat out the chunks of stone as Levi roared in agony.

Okay, it was proven. Vampires can feel pain.

I scurried away from his anger, always watching him carefully as I did so. Through his lividness, I also saw his confusion. Had he underestimated me so thoroughly that he could not believe I had gotten in a bite?

"You'll pay dearly for that, little one," Levi threatened.

I reevaluated the situation. So far, Levi wasn't as supreme a fighter as I had expected. Surely I had a chance...

My thoughts were interrupted as Levi leapt at me again, I reverted back to my tried and true blocking defense, but Levi anticipated that and decided to rid me of that precise method of defense. I screamed as pain erupted from my left forearm. Using my right arm, I ripped off his ear, distracting him from what he was doing to my forearm. We both howled in pain over our injuries. I glanced down at my forearm, comprehending that my wrist and hand were barely hanging onto my body. He'd bitten a good portion of my arm away.

I dropped his ear in fright, when I realized I was still holding it.

Levi was coming at me for more, probably wanting his left ear back. I tried to plan out my next move, but it looked hopeless. I was crippled now, with greater injuries than Levi had with his missing ear and the part of his shoulder gone. Without my left arm, I was nearly defenseless.

With regret, I came to the conclusion that, while it had been honorable to want to avenge Jacob's death, protect my father, and rid the world of another bloodsucking leech, it had also been very, very stupid.

I knew, without a doubt in the world, that I was going to die.


Author's Note: Yes, I know, short chapter. That's just how I roll. Be happy it came faster than the last chapter! I didn't even make you guys reach the designated amount of reviews – because I was impatient. It is curious how many people have it on alert, but how few reviews I get. Very curious.

Next chapter, we find out some answers to all the questions that have been developing. Also, our favorite hot vampire will return!