"The most difficult phase of your life is not when no one understands you… it's when you don't understand yourself."
Time when measured by days or even hours by an immortal, was unimportant and insignificant. When you had the rest of eternity sitting in the palm of your hands to do whatever you pleased, then each passing day would eventually become inconsequential. To the likes of Carlisle who had become accustomed to living both day and night awake, this was natural, this was a fact. But as I was new to this life, I found that I was more aware of each passing day than when I was human— more amazed at how fast certain days would pass and how slow other days would crawl by. Sometimes, I would feel as if hours had passed by when in truth, only minutes had been spent in doing some meager task.
Another thing I learned about being an immortal was that there was no such thing as privacy. Well, maybe there is but with the defined and sharp senses that vampires had, every move, every carelessly said, even whispered, word could be heard by the whole household. The thing is, I had to learn this little piece of information the hard way.
The first night of my stay at the Cullen house, I witnessed, no, heard something that seemed inhuman at the time… but looking back, seemed laughable for me to panic over. Who would have known that I could hear all the things going on in a room that was a floor beneath me and thickly walled over? I certainly didn't. After that incident, I took to taking nighttime strolls a few meters away from the mansion. It wasn't a few days after that I noticed how Edward disappeared just as night fell. It didn't take a genius to figure out why, after what I heard. It would've been immensely harder for him with his mind-reading abilities. God knows what else he could've heard if he stayed.
And with that, a routine between the two of us was somehow established. The moment the first few stars appeared on the night sky, Edward would disappear from my senses. I was curious to where he went, but I never tried to follow him. I didn't want him to think that I was stalking him or to give him a reason to revert to his old scowling self— at least, not when I found that we could co-exist peacefully in the same roof. When Edward left the house at night, though, I would also take that as my cue to take a stroll outside. I didn't dare go back inside unless it was already morning.
The night sky was filled with magnificent diamonds twinkling brightly when I saw it. The cool breeze brought the smell of different wild flowers along with the scent of dewy grass. But what caused it to be tantalizing was the mixture of the scent of honey and lilac, Edward's scent. I don't know why my feet moved without my consent, I don't know why my senses followed his scent, but it did and as I entered a circular meadow, my eyes was blessed by such a colorful array of flowers, dimly lit by the moonlight. I felt oddly at peace.
"Look what the wind brought in," a soft murmur came from a few feet upfront, "Are you stalking me or something?"
I smiled, surprisingly, upon hearing the humor in his voice. It slightly relieved me that we were on good enough terms— that we weren't only being civil… we were actually somewhat getting along.
"Careful, your head might explode if it gets any bigger," I sank down next to where he was lying, hidden from the light of the moon.
His eyes were brooding, as always, as they flickered to my face, then back to the canopy of stars. "You don't have anything better to do, do you?"
"I do. But everything that may be worthwhile doing is back at the house."
"Then why don't you go back?"
I frowned. "You know why I can't."
His eyes narrowed as he murmured something too soft, even for vampiric hearing. I brushed it off. The evening was so beautiful that I didn't want to ruin it by starting a disagreement.
"How did you stand it?" I whispered.
He shrugged. He knew what I was talking about. "I grew used to it."
"You make it sound so simple."
"If it was me in your place," I embraced my legs and rested my cheek against a knee, "I would be feeling extremely lonely."
I looked at him then, and I saw how his eyes slightly tightened. Oh.
"You feel lonely, don't you?" A slip of the tongue. I apologized, "You don't have to answer that."
He silent for a long time, his jaw slightly tightened from time to time. "To a certain extent, yes," he finally murmured, his eyes averted as if embarrassed by this proclamation, "But I never really had any desire to find a mate."
He sighed. "Carlisle and Esme think otherwise."
My eyes lingered on his face, silently probing.
He sat up and shrugged. "They think that me being alone for so long… it's a bad thing. They try to cover up their thoughts, but time and again they would slip— thinking that I'm terribly lonely."
His eyes flickered to mine and I felt a faint echo of blood rushing to my cheeks as he sought deeper into my eyes— like he was trying to solve a convoluted riddle.
"That's one of the reasons that Carlisle changed you," he murmured, eyes never leaving my face.
I blinked, surprised at his words. It took a minute before I could form a coherent sentence. "I thought it was because I was dying."
"Yes, but he needed other reasons for changing you. He doesn't make it a habit to bite random dying people, you know." I couldn't decipher whether he was being sarcastic right now or not.
"He told you all this?"
"He's been trying to keep it from me, as a matter of fact."
I raised my eyebrows, inquisitively.
He tapped his forehead lightly. "Mind-reader, remember?"
"He… me… with you?" I spluttered my words, embarrassingly.
"Well, he was playing with the idea of finding someone for me, yes… Esme welcomed this idea, of course and she also wanted a daughter of her own. But Carlisle couldn't change someone just for the sake of doing it. He would never be able to live with himself if he took away someone's future in possibly the cruelest method. But then he found you on that night and everything fell into place." His lips twitched, a smile almost breaking through. "Almost everything."
I couldn't hold in the giggle that erupted from my lips. Us. Together. Ha. The mere thought of that was implausible. We were barely getting along, though we were working on it. A thread of friendship at this stage was already difficult to manage, what more a relationship of such a high caliber? Maybe Carlisle was expecting shooting stars, fireworks or so many other things that was the root of so many romance novels. But with how Edward and I were getting along, his mere touch of my hand was a something that could have been granted from a wish on a shooting star.
He smiled slightly, catching me off guard. "What are you thinking?"
I shook my head. "I guess I'm still not used to this vampire stuff."
"You're adapting much better than I did as a newborn, for what it's worth."
"Yes, you—" Edward's words were cut off, his eyes suddenly becoming more alert. I could his body tensing, his eyes darting to me.
He stood and pulled me up with him. "Let's go."
"Just do as I say," he said urgently, tugging at my hand, "Trust me."
My trail of thought was lost as a sudden breeze made its way to the meadow and a faint scent assaulted my senses. Edward's grasp on my hand tightened, his other hand flew to my shoulders as restraint, as my head snapped to the direction of the scent.
The scent was luscious. It wasn't the dull flavor of a deer or a lion. It smelled extraordinarily mouth-watering. I hadn't fed in days and this scent, as faint as it was, seared through me, overriding my surprised senses, engulfing my burning throat in an inescapable embrace.
"Isabella. Bella snap out of it." There was a distant melody of warning as every fiber of my being prepared to attack.
My muscles coiled, a snarl rising up from my chest. Instinct had overridden my system and all that was of importance to me was capturing the source of the scent, satiating the burning thirst.
The pressure on my shoulders was annoying. I flailed my arms to get rid of the infuriating baggage and there was a cracking sound as the thing hit a tree. I was free. I ran.
The succulent scent of the blood called to me, making my mouth water, my eyes become covered with a red haze. I could almost taste the rich liquid as the dryness of my throat ached like hot pins and needles were pricking it. I needed to slake this excruciating thirst.
But the sound of footsteps behind me made my steps falter. I growled, two instincts fighting for dominance. This slight moment of indecision was going to cost me my prey.
The other predator caught up to me and self-preservation became my priority. I turned around, but I found that I wasn't fast enough. A growl erupted from my chest as my competition lunged at me and toppled me to the ground.
My hands were suddenly at my side, an iron grasp securing them. I twisted and turned and flailed and kicked, but to no avail. His position gave him the advantage.
"— calm down."
This vampire was murmuring some words and the scent of my prey was becoming fainter by the second. I growled in frustration.
Who was this interfering vampire that was helping my prey get away?
He kept on saying things but I was too infuriated to pay attention, still trying to get him off of me. But as I swiveled my head, a flash of gold caught my eye.
This creature's eyes were enthralling. I immediately stopped kicking as I stared in awe at his eyes of molten gold.
As I became more mesmerized, the redness around my eyes dimmed and I heard his voice. It was an amazing melody, soothing my nerves.
Bella. Who was Bella?
He cuffed both of my hands in one of his and his free hand cupped my cheek. I felt a trill of electricity at his touch.
"Bella, can you hear me?"
He kept repeating that name. Was that… my name?
"Come back," he whispered, sending his scent to me— another mouth-watering scent, but of a different sense— honey and lilac, and faint traces of different flora, tickling my senses into calmness.
Everything finally clicked as my eyes saw every detail of the form on top of me. Striking bronze hair with shiny, silken locks, full, pink lips, flawless, straight nose, angular face, smoldering, golden eyes… Faint memories echoed through my mind.
The moonlight glinted off of his smooth, pale skin making it glow like a creamy river under the moon's fluorescence. The wind caressed his bronze hair, making the strands dance along with the soft current of air… Even with only the moonlight, I could see the different colors of his hair— ranging from light brown, to copper and some almost red. Each strand different but created an intricate mosaic of beauty to achieve the bronze color…
"I don't hate you, Bella."
The walls around my senses shattered and I was instantly aware of my surroundings again. But what I was most aware of was Edward's body, pressed against mine, some of his bronze hair falling over his brow as he bent over me, his eyes intense and deeply concerned.
My eyes widened. My heart could have been racing, thumping blatantly against my chest; blood would have been racing to my cheeks had I been still alive. This proximity, it was all new to me.
Edward, seeing that I was back to my proper state of mind, pulled us up but left his hands on my shoulders. "Are you well now?"
I nodded, my voice lost together with my wit and senses.
"Your eyes are still getting darker," He murmured as he peered down on me.
I looked away, suddenly feeling so vulnerable, so… human under his scrutinizing gaze. "I'm fine. You can let go now."
He didn't let go.
I could still feel his gaze on me but I didn't dare look back. Embarrassment and guilt was now surfacing, adding to the earlier alien feeling, choking me with the thought that I almost killed an innocent human.
"If you're positive…"
"Then, it would be best if we head back home. It's already becoming light."
He started walking and pulled me along, his grasp never loosening.
"I'll tell Carlisle that we should hunt later. I shouldn't have let you go for days without blood," he murmured the latter more to himself.
I still felt surges of electricity, what with his hand still holding mine. I didn't know if it should bother me, but then again, I should be bothered by letting him hold on to me for this long. My face could have been bright red if I were still human. I was embarrassed by what happened in the forest. Our night at the meadow suddenly felt like just a dream because of it.
"Edward," I started hesitantly, tugging at his hand slightly.
He stopped at his tracks and slowly turned to face me. I could see a faint trace of surprise on his face, the first rays of light illuminating his glorious face. Then it suddenly dawned on me that this was the first time I said his name to his face. The way his named rolled off my tongue felt nice… and it caused me to be all the more embarrassed, thinking this.
My head was bent. I was fully convinced that my face was shining like a bright red star, even though in the deepest part of my mind, I knew that my ability to blush was gone.
"Please don't tell Carlisle about what happened."
He studied my face for a second. His eyes were silently probing. "I won't," he said, finally, resuming walking.
My eyes could see the clearing of the trees that would lead to the now familiar path to the house, when he turned around to face me as he spoke again.
"Can you promise me something, though, in return?"
I nodded. It was only fair… as long as he wouldn't tell Carlisle about this embarrassing incident.
My eyes widened as he stepped forward and brought his finger to my lips. The gold was melting in his eyes as he whispered, his voice as smooth as silk, his tone as gentle as the breeze. And although his voice was as quiet as the wind, his words echoed through my ears and somehow, a small smile found its way to my lips, embarrassment and shame and guilt, strewn away.
"Don't tell anyone about the meadow."
It's been more than a year, I think, since my last update, and I am terribly sorry. College is slowly killing me and squeezing in time to write amidst all the requirements and exams and drama… well, it's like trying to squeeze a full-grown elephant into a cereal box. Yeah, impossible. But since the semester's almost done, I think I can add a few chapters to my stories. Not making any promises though. But you know what can stimulate me to write more? REVIEWS! So click that button and review, people.:D
With much love, Zandra