A heartbroken Bella suffers a type of amnesia after the cliff-diving incident. But instead of erasing her memories, her illness brings to light a power she never knew she possessed.
I do not own Twilight. It belongs to the woman who ruined my life (Stephenie Meyer) by introducing me to the man I could never have (Edward Cullen).
There are certain themes in this story that heavily reflect the film Hancock. I don't own that either, sadly enough.
A/N: Hi people. Notes at the bottom. Read on.
Chapter 14: Walk
It was entirely too quiet and I didn't like it at all. The quiet did nothing to assuage the pain I felt in my right arm. It was a tingling pain, irritating and randomly stabbing. The quiet should have brought some peace to my mind, but it only made me angry.
I fought to open my eyes. Where was I that the only sound was my own breath? And that hardly counted, it was so shallow.
Unexpectedly, cold hands touched the pain. The wound. I remembered that the wound was from Leah. Two long gashes…Leah was a werewolf.
The cold helped, but it was still quiet. I took a deep breath, and my ears popped.
Sound assaulted me from every side. People were talking, loud and soft, and the cold pressure on my arm backed off a little bit.
"Can you hear me? Wake up, dear, wake up."
I opened my eyes, startled. I found myself lying on my back, propped up slightly by pillows that were almost too soft to be real. I was surrounded by concerned eyes; eyes that probed and worried and sort of scared me. A quick glance around the room confirmed that I was reclined on Esme and Carlisle's bed, and that everyone was in there with me.
Except for Edward.
His absence cut me, and I almost gasped aloud from the pain.
Carlisle put his hand on my forehead, and silenced the others with a look. "Bella, how do you feel?"
"How did I get here?" I asked, ignoring his question.
Who found me? Edward? What went through his mind, seeing me collapsed on the forest floor, oozing blood like the pitiful human I am? Some powers. A lot of good they did me. I can't even stand up to a werewolf.
"How do you feel?" he insisted.
My jaw tensed. Where was Edward?
I looked at my siblings. They stared back. Alice linked eyes with me. "Where is he?" I asked.
"In his room. But he's really messed up, Bella. He—"
"Bella, you need to tell me how you feel," Carlisle interrupted, his voice firm and full of warning. "I don't know how your changed body will react to a werewolf-inflicted abrasion."
I sighed. "I feel okay, I guess. But how did I get back to the house?"
"Jacob Black found you. It's a good thing he brought you back to us, otherwise this might have gotten infected." Carlisle probed the wound on my arm, and I looked at it for the first time since waking up. It was obvious Carlisle had worked on it—neat stitches held my delicate skin together. He must have given me a shot right before waking up, because my arm was starting to feel numb.
"Jacob brought me?" my voice sounded remarkable small and meek. I felt like a fool. How many times had he saved my life now?
"Yes. Your friend is quite interesting," Apollo said. I looked at him again. He stood awkwardly at the foot of the bed, Artemis poised lightly by his side.
"Who hurt you?" Esme asked, her voice fiercer than was normal for her sweet demeanor.
"Leah. Leah's a werewolf," it sounded sillier aloud than in my mind.
"Leah Clearwater? But I wasn't aware that there were any female werewolves," Carlisle handed me a few pills that looked like Tylenol, and a glass of water.
I shrugged, and took the pills. My swallowing sounded ridiculously loud in the quiet that followed. I blushed, and tugged lightly on a strand of my long hair.
"Well, one good thing has come of your werewolf interlude, at any rate," Artemis smiled at me, and I was dazzled by her beauty.
"What's that, oh mighty goddess?" Rosalie snarled from the back of the room. "The last thing we need is problems with the wolves. Jacob Black should never have trespassed on our property."
Artemis didn't turn around, but I saw some amusement in her eyes as she sat on the end of the bed. She was so light that it hardly dipped with her weight. "It enforces what I said about you and Edward being soul-mates."
I barked out a harsh laugh, my insides churning unhappily. "I don't know about that. He's not even in the room." I said it, even though I knew that he could hear me from where he was in his room. I ached to go find him, but I let the acid seep into my voice anyway.
"That's not what I mean, Aurora. If he weren't your soul-mate, you wouldn't have been injured by the werewolf. You would have withstood the attack without a scratch. This shows that your powers are slowly fading."
I studied the baby blue coverlet beneath my knees. "So you're saying that my proximity to Edward is making my powers disappear?"
"Yes. It will happen very slowly, but as you can see, you were injured. One of us would not have been," she gestured to herself and to Apollo.
"What does that make me then?" I asked angrily. "You guys just told me that I'm one of you. And now you're saying I'm not? I'm tired of this merry-go-round."
I hadn't even realized it until the words came out of my mouth. But there it was. Even though I'd initially felt more confident knowing about my past, the incident with the flying and the woods and the werewolf had shown me that I still didn't know who I was. I was Aurora and Bella. Two people with two distinct personalities trapped in one body. The constant change was dizzying, and I wasn't comfortable with it.
Either I'm a goddess, or I'm a human.
"That makes you a demi-god, for the time being. You're neither goddess nor human. You're in transition, although technically you're probably more goddess than human right now. A human would have been torn to shreds," Alice piped up again.
The conflicting emotions warred inside me, and I couldn't decide if I was angry or not. There was no burning in my eyes, or desire for a thunderstorm, so I figured that I probably wasn't. Sighing, I slipped off of the bed.
"Where are you going?" Jasper asked, probably dying to leave the room himself. My recent wound, coupled with my crazy emotions was most likely making his head hurt again.
"To speak with Edward," I answered calmly. I said it more for Edward's benefit than for anyone else's. I wanted him to know that I was coming.
"Bella, I'm not sure that's the best idea," Alice offered helpfully. "He's not—"
"I don't care, Alice," I snapped, eyes narrowing as everyone else's widened. "I need to talk to him. Excuse me."
I stormed out of the room, my tangled hair brushing against my bare back with every step. I tugged at the high collar, wishing that I'd just worn a normal shirt instead of this ridiculous pink contraption.
My sensitive ears picked up on the sounds of some bad 80s music coming from his room. It was playing very softly, and once again I marveled at my new ability to pick up on it. As I neared the room, I could tell that he knew I was there. He said nothing, and neither did I. I stood awkwardly outside the door, my hand poised to knock.
I lowered my hand, waited a few heartbeats, then whispered. "Edward."
"Come in, Bella," he whispered in return.
I opened the door slowly, slid in, and closed it behind me. My eyes were trained on the carpet, but the intensity of his gaze forced me to look at him. "Hey," I greeted lamely, assessing the damage, so to speak, as my eyes roved over his body. He was sitting on the edge of his couch, his hair spiked up from obvious gripping and running-through of fingers. His expression was pained and concerned, and above all, intensely guilty.
I worried my lower lip, making it hurt, increasing the pain so that I couldn't feel the irritating and growing numbness of my injury. I cleared my throat, and had to remind myself that this was Edward. Edward who'd left to protect me, who had returned to save me, and whom I'd forgiven a little hastily; but in some convoluted way that I didn't really understand, it was all okay...because we were soul-mates.
"Hi," he answered, his own eyes moving over me at vampire speed. He stared at my arm. "Oh, Bella," his voice softened. "Does it hurt?"
"It's starting to get a little numb," I answered. In the split second that it took me to blink, he was suddenly in front of me, cradling my arm, inspecting it with doctor's eyes. The cold felt marvelous, but I tried not to jump. Even with my powers, his swift movements were startling if I wasn't prepared with my pointer finger on my mental slow-mo remote.
"Bella," he began, just as I started with "I wanted to—"
We laughed lightly together at our awkwardness, and it helped to break the ice a little bit. He still held on to my arm, and I looked up into his strained, sad face. "You first," he invited, not bothering to put on a mask of indifference, as he had so many time in our past. It was a step forward, in my opinion, even if Alice thought that he was messed up.
"Okay...um," I licked my lips, thinking. "I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry for storming off like that...and I think that we need to have a long talk."
"I agree," he said immediately. "Why don't we take a walk?"
I glanced out the huge window, and nodded. Forks was its usual dreary self. No rainbows and sunshine today. "Sure. Just let me grab a sweater or something, okay?"
"Of course. I'll meet you in the back yard..." Edward replied slowly, obviously not wanting to let go of my arm. He did, though, when I stepped backwards, nearly colliding with the door. He moved swiftly, opening it for me, and I managed a tight smile. My soul-mate would apparently never stop being a gentleman, even in the middle of a fight...if that's what this was.
I walked out into the hall, and Edward passed me, sending a shy and somewhat sad look my way as he went down the stairs, giving me the moment I'd asked for. I started back towards Carlisle's and Esme's room, unsure as to whether I had any clothes here. I didn't need to wonder much longer, though, because Alice appeared out of nowhere, holding up a light jacket and an umbrella.
"You'll need this," she said with an unconcealed grin, obviously in a good mood even though I'd practically yelled at her not five minutes before. "Trust me." She wrapped me in the jacket, taking care of my arm, and thrust the umbrella into my hand. "Have fun," she winked, and flitted down the corridor to her and Jasper's room. At that very moment, I suddenly felt calm and happy. I tried to frown, turning away.
I walked down to the back door slowly, hating the fact that Jasper was soothing me, and he wasn't even in the room. I could unmistakably feel his influence as I opened the door from the kitchen, and was enswathed in the cold, but somehow sticky, air of the evening. His empathy even made the tingling numbness of my wound less noticeable. I took a deep breath, my eyes finding Edward at the edge of the river that coursed past. He was as still as a statue, frozen in the dusky pink light. I concentrated for a moment, and pressed my mental fast-forward button. I found myself moving swiftly to his side, and I could tell by the look on his face that I'd succeeded in moving much more quickly than he was used to.
He cleared his throat, and proposed, "Shall we walk along the river?"
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak as I went over my thoughts. I didn't need to be afraid of talking with him, I knew that. More than one source now confirmed that we were meant to be together. That knowledge helped, but I still felt the angry buzzing bees in my stomach that tend to accompany any kind of confrontation.
We moved in near silence; the only noise was the crunch of my shoes against the grass and the early-evening crickets. The water rushed past us, too, it's swishing, undulating voice a strange kind of backdrop.
Once the house had disappeared from view, I gave myself a mental what-the-hell slap, and turned my head towards Edward. "This is silly," I said.
He gave a sigh of agreement, a tired smile gracing his serious, handsome face. "It is," he nodded. "I've been meaning to say for the last five minutes that I want to apologize for not being there when you awoke...there was no good reason for me to go hide in my room like a child."
"Edward. Can I go first?" I asked, suddenly realizing that I was bursting with concerns and that if I didn't voice them immediately, I might never get the chance to. With his vampire memory, Edward would have no trouble saying his bit five or ten minutes from now, but with my luck, I'd forget the perfect wording I'd worked out during the awkward silence.
"Certainly," he acquiesced, obviously understanding why I needed my time to speak first. Under normal circumstances this might have made me giddy, to know that he knew me, could read me, so well. Today, it merely conjured a weak smile.
"Knowing who I am…or who I was, anyway, should have made things clearer. And it did, for a moment," I watched the current as I spoke. "But now I think that it's only complicated everything. I feel like I'm battling for dominance against my other half. Against Aurora. It didn't seem like it at first, but the more I think about it, the more I feel it. There's Bella, the human…and how can she compare with Aurora the goddess?"
I chanced a glance at him. His eyes were trained on my face, serious and calm. I chewed on my bottom lip for a moment before continuing. "I guess that doesn't make much sense, because I'm only supposed to be one person, but I sort of wish I didn't know about my past. I wish I'd never jumped off that cliff, because then I probably never would have found out. I wouldn't know about Artemis or Apollo, or any of them. I wouldn't know about Ares."
My eyes found Edward's, and I saw pain there. I kept talking, on a roll now. "And that's something else that's been bothering me, especially since this morning. I was already self-conscious enough about that silly flashback in the meadow. I was terrified about having to tell everyone about the sex and the orgasm, and then it goes and gets broadcast by Eleazar and my…family. I hate that you're so jealous about something that happened centuries ago!"
His mouth opened, automatically wanting to defend himself, but I held up a hand. "I'm not done. We just fixed ourselves, Edward. You just got back and I just forgave you. Doesn't it seem a little irrational for you to be so envious of a mere memory? Ares is dead, now. You don't have anything to worry about. And that's something else! You already knew about Ares, because you had already figured out which goddess I was. Why didn't you and Alice tell me? Why did I have to go through all the suspense and the agony, when all I want is for us to be normal? I don't want Apollo and Artemis here with us. I don't want Eleazar and Carmen to visit anymore. I want them all to leave so that you and I can be alone and just…be."
I felt tears start to form, but I held them back with all my willpower. My hair blew around me as the breeze picked up, and Edward's eyes were soft, dark, and intense, and I stared.
He took a deep breath. "Bella, I'm so sorry." His fingers twitched, and I knew that he wanted to reach out and touch me. The softness turned to a tortured look. "If I'd known that this was how you felt…I guess you and I have never been good with real communication, have we?"
I shook my head. "No," I whispered.
The twitching fingers became a fist, and my eyes locked onto his pale, strong hand. He followed my gaze, and the fist relaxed. He started walking a little more quickly, and I tried to keep pace. My arm quivered with the strange numbness, and my other hand gripped the umbrella. "Bella, I don't know what to say. I don't even deserve the right to explain myself to you."
I resisted rolling my eyes at his predictable self-deprecation. "Try," my tone was more encouraging than I was myself.
He sighed before launching into what I know he'd been thinking about since this morning. "I'm worried that Apollo and Artemis are going to try to take you away from me. Bella, we've barely been reunited, and I don't think that I could survive being separated from you again. It nearly killed both of us the last time…what if it happens again?"
Before I could respond to his anguished voice, he continued. "I know it wasn't rational of me to be jealous of what happened all those years ago with Ares. I suppose I'm not really jealous, but I couldn't help my reaction, love. Aurora has a certain nature…and you took me back so quickly, too quickly to be true, and I think that it's because the Aurora-side of you has emerged. What if I'm just one man on your long list of lovers? What's going to happen when you leave me? Even though the ideas of being able to hear your thoughts and you living forever without being a vampire were wonderful, I couldn't bring myself to share with you what I knew, because I was afraid that saying it aloud would make it real."
My mouth fell open in shock and I halted where I stood. "How could you think that? Edward, I would never leave you! Yeah, the goddess stuff is cool, but…you're the only thing I want." My eyes filled with tears, and before I knew what was happening, they were spilling down my face. Edward turned to me, his hands cupping my face, trying to wipe the signs of my distress away.
"You have me."
"I know," I wailed as a gentle shower began to fall, the weather still mimicking me.
"Then why are you crying?" his face was sweet and beautiful and the best thing I'd ever seen, and the tears wouldn't stop.
"I'm scared, Edward," I managed to say. "I don't want them to take me away. I don't want to have two people inside of me. I don't want those memories of Ares and the other men. I just want memories of you. You're the only one—it's only ever been you."
The rain was chilling and soaking. His hands left my face for a millisecond, and the umbrella opened over our heads. He put the handle back into my limp grip softly. "Oh, Bella. I won't let anyone take you away from me. You're the only one for me, too."
And then his mouth covered mine as the rain fell around us. It was a tender, temperate kiss, but full of emotion and longing. It was perfect, just like the man that held me in his arms, his embrace cradling my body just right. My heart was static, pounding loudly, and I thought it might explode from the sentiments running rampant through it. He pulled back from the kiss slightly, and smiled against my lips.
"Your heart…it anchors me."
We were soul-mates. We didn't even have to say it. No more discussion was needed.
Our hearts—his silent one and my erratic one—were connected.
A/N: Hugs and tackleglomps to my beta, Misty. Virtual kisses to all my lovely readers. I know I haven't been around that much lately, but your constant support is very encouraging. I suffered the death of a friend in November and just couldn't find the inspiration to write, but I think our vampire goddess Bella is going to get the rest of her story now. There is no set timeline, but my hope is that I'll be able to update at least once or twice a week. No promises—just hope.
I know that I used to respond to every review, but I've gotten so many lately that I kind of got behind. But please know that I do read them, and I'll try to get back into the habit of responding again. They always make my day.
Siobhan, could you email me at the_eglantine_author(at)yahoo(dot)com? I have a question I need to ask you!
A few people have mentioned The Glove Awards to me, saying I was nominated…however, VG isn't listed yet. Help me out and nominate this story for the Best OOC Award! www(dot)thegloveawards(dot)webs(dot)com/nominate(dot)htm. The deadline for nominations is July 31st.