I was so excited! I was going to see my best friend Carlisle again. I couldn't wait. I hadn't seen Carlisle in about a century. It was about time to see each other and catch up again. I'd been putting it off for too long.
I had already been thinking about tracking down Carlisle to see him again but he beat me to it. He called me and told me that the Volturi gave him my cell number.
He said he wanted me to come to his new house in Forks, Washington to meet the rest of his coven and to catch up. I immediately agreed and hopped on a plane to Forks.
I was currently riding my motorcycle to the small town of Forks. I was actually getting a little nervous, so I was driving a little faster than usual. I was going 180 on the highway.
I was nervous because I didn't know how Carlisle's coven was going to react to me. What if they didn't like me? Of course, when I'd told Carlisle my worries, he said they would love me. I'd also asked him if I knew any of his coven members and he hesitated before saying, "You'll see."
That had just made me more nervous. I had to ease up on the gas, I told myself. During my thoughts, I had reached 200 mph. I let up on the gas and slowed down a bit.
With my crazy driving, I made it to Forks in twenty minutes when it should have taken me about an hour and a half. I followed the directions that Carlisle had given me earlier. Sooner than I could pull myself together, I was in front of a big, beautiful house.
I was starting to hyperventilate which was hilarious because I didn't need to breathe. After a few minutes of mental prep talking, I hit myself on the forehead and just told myself to get off the damn motorcycle.
I took a deep breath before stepping off my motorcycle. My hair was definitely windblown. I tried to smooth it down but it didn't work. I mentally sighed.
Then, I steeled myself and walked to the front door. Before I could knock, the door was thrown open and Carlisle was there, smiling at me.
"Jeez, Bella, it took you long enough to get to the front door," he joked.
I squealed and then threw myself at him. He caught me and wrapped his arms around my waist as I wrapped mine around his neck. He squeezed me tightly and swung me around in a circle while I squeezed back.
"Good God, Carlie," I said when he let me down, "It's so great to see you."
"You too," he answered, sounding as excited and happy as I did, "You look great, and please don't call me Carlie."
"You look great too, Carlie!" I said, emphasizing his nickname, and then we hugged again.
"Wait a minute… Hold on. What's this?" he asked, pointing to a few new bite scars I had on my neck and my shoulder.
I laughed nervously and gave him an innocent smile.
"Bella," he said, scolding, "What did you do this time?"
"I might have gotten into a tiny bit of trouble with the… uh… Volturi?" I answered, making it sound like a question.
"What?!" Carlisle exploded.
"Carlisle, dear," a new voice said, "Before we get into story telling, how about we introduce the rest of the family?"
That's when I noticed that there were three other vampire women in the room. A coven of all women? I looked at Carlisle, eyebrows raised. He seemed to understand the unspoken question.
"The boys are out hunting. They'll be back soon," he said.
I nodded in approval and turned to the girls. One had caramel colored hair and looked around Carlisle's age.
"I'm Esme," the vampire I had been studying said.
She held her hand out to me and I shook it. Her eyes flicked to Carlisle and they shared an adoration-filled smile.
"No," I said disbelieving, looking at Carlisle.
He turned to me and smiled a, get this, eat-shit grin. I gasped and smacked his shoulder playfully.
"Good for you!" I exclaimed.
He'd finally found a mate. I was so happy for him. He looked at Esme and I saw the love he held for her in his eyes. I felt a pang in my chest as I remembered what had happened to the only man I loved and the only man I'd ever love.
Carlisle must have seen my face because he opened his mouth to say something. But the other two vampire girls beat him to it.
"I'm Alice," one of the girls said.
Alice was very petite. She had spiky black hair and seemed distinctly pixie-like. She was giving me this huge smile. I looked at the other girl in the room. She immediately made my self-confidence dwindle.
She was tall and blonde, with a great body and obviously knew it. She had an air of arrogance but she gave me a genuine smile. I smiled back.
"I'm Rosalie," she said, "But call my Rose."
Suddenly, Alice's eyes glazed over for a few seconds. She was quiet but then started clapping her hands.
"The boys will be here any minute now," she said.
I looked at her in confusion.
"I can see the future," she said.
Interesting. I raised my eyebrows but then decided not to talk about it. That's when Carlisle turned to me.
"So," he said, "Have you found a mate yet?"
"Carlisle," I said, sounding tired, "You know the answer to that question."
"Yes, but it was so long ago and besides, he isn't even d-" Carlisle tried to say but I silenced him with a pleading look.
"Can we not talk about what happened back then?" I asked.
Carlisle muttered something under his breath, too low for even me, or any of the other vampires in the room, for that matter, to hear. I was going to ask him what he said, when I heard the backdoor open.
I heard quiet footsteps as three vampires walked to the living room. The first vampire I saw had honey-blonde hair and was tall and lanky but his muscles were still obvious. My jaw dropped. Then, I smiled and crossed my arms over my chest.
"Well, well," I said, using the southern drawl I had picked up and dropped so many years ago, "Look at what we have here. None other than Jasper Whitlock."
Jasper looked up at me and I practically saw the instant when he recognized me.
"Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, what the hell are you doing here Isabella Marie Swan?" he asked piling on his southern drawl too.
I ran to him and threw my arms around his neck too. He laughed into my hair, hugging me back.
"I missed that southern accent of yours," I said, dropping the accent.
"It has been just too long, dear Bella," he said, "How have you been?"
"Ugh," I said, rolling my eyes, "You wouldn't believe what trouble I got into when I was in Volterra. I-"
A throat clearing cut me off. I turned to see a jealous Alice glaring at me, my arms still around Jasper's neck.
"Not you too," I said, joking.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"You found a mate just like Carlisle has," I answered, pouting.
"You knew Carlisle beforehand?" he asked.
"Yes, why?" I asked.
Jasper was about to say something when someone else cleared their throat. But this time, it was from behind Jasper. I let go and stepped away from Jasper, trying to peer around him. That's when I heard him.
"Isabella Swan," a booming voice said, "Is that really you?"
"Oh. My. God," I said, a smile breaking across my face, "Emmet McCarty. No freaking way!"
I squealed when the muscled giant I used to call my best friend, too stepped from behind Jasper. I threw my arms around him and he caught me in a bone-crushing hug.
"Can't… breathe," I gasped.
"You don't need to, silly," Emmet said.
"Fine…" I wheezed, "But you're… gonna… make my… ribs crack."
He set me down and I leaned against the sofa.
"You haven't changed at all since the last time I saw you," I said.
"Neither have you," he answered.
I hugged him again and I heard growling from behind me. I turned around to see a very, very angry Rosalie, baring her teeth at me.
"Not you too, Emmet," I complained.
"What?" he said, sounding lost.
"You have a mate too," I said.
"Yeah, he does," Rose snapped, "So stay away from my husband."
I laughed and so did Emmet. She seriously thought I was interested in Emmet as a mate? I started laughing harder and Emmet did too. We couldn't stop. When our laughter finally died down, I turned to a very furious Rose.
"Oh, Rosalie," I sighed, shaking my head and chuckling, "Me and Emmet? Are you kidding?"
I turned to Alice and it was Jasper's and my turn to burst into laughter. She still looked a little jealous.
"And you, Alice," I said, "You can't be serious."
I started laughing again. And that's when I smelled it. The scent of the human man I had fallen in love with. My laughter died suddenly, and I gulped. I turned to Carlisle. He must have sensed my unspoken question because he nodded his head slowly.
I inspected the smell. It seemed changed, different somehow. I took a deep breath and turned around, looking for the third vampire I had heard but had forgotten about. And there he stood.
I felt my legs give out from underneath me. I vaguely registered that I was sitting down on the floor. I looked back up to face the guy I had loved with all my heart. He was no longer human, which was obvious.
But he looked the same. He had the same bronze, untidy hair, the same chiseled mouth and nose. His eyes were no longer green, though, they were now golden butterscotch. My dead heart seemed to splutter inside me.
"Edward Anthony Masen," I whispered.
"How do you know my name?" he asked.
His voice was smoother than velvet. I shook my head and smiled sadly.
"You don't remember me, do you?" I asked.
He shook his head and I sighed.
"Bella," Jasper asked, "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, Jazz," I answered.
"Are you sure?" he asked, "Your emotions are all… ouch."
"I'm fine," I sighed again.
"Bellsy," Emmet said, "I can tell when you're upset. What's bothering you?"
"Nothing, Em," I answered, "I'm fine."
"Okay, okay, okay! That's it! I need some explanations from this bitch," Rosalie said, pointing to me.
"Rose," Emmet said, looking at her sadly.
"What? She just comes dancing in here, hugging all of our husbands, claiming she knows them and clinging to them. Alice, Esme, and I need an explanation," Rose said.
"I'm sorry," I said, my voice deadened a bit, now, "I should explain shouldn't I?"
"Yes," Rose snapped.
"Forgive me," I said, feeling guilty now, "It seems that I've forgotten my manners."
Jasper tried to make me feel calm but I didn't let him. I gave him a look and he stopped.
"I suppose I should begin with how I met Carlisle, so nobody gets confused," I said.
We all moved into the living room, where I sat down on the floor in the center of the room. Everyone watched me. I avoided looking at Edward. I sighed and looked at Carlisle.
"Do you want to tell it?" I asked.
"No," he answered, "You tell it. I'll just jump in when I feel like it."
I glared at him and he smiled at me. I shook my head at him before I began.
"Carlisle and I were changed on the same night," I said and everyone gasped.
"Ew," Emmet said, "You never told me you were old."
I shot him a dry look and he apologized.
"I told Jasper how old I was," I said with a smile.
"What?" Alice asked.
"I'll get to that later," I said, "Now back to Carlisle and me. Carlisle and I were neighbors. My parents were very good friends with his parents. Carlisle was around 9 years older than me. When I was a baby, he liked to take care of me. Same thing when I was growing up. We were always there for each other, despite the age difference. Especially when my parents died. His family took me in."
"My parents wanted me to marry Bella but I didn't want to because Bella was like a little sister to me," Carlisle clarified.
I smiled before continuing, "I helped Carlisle through the time when his parents died too. By then, though, he was old enough to inherit his family's estate. I went with him on that vampire hunt. I was 17 and he was already 26. I saw Carlisle get bitten. I threw my torch at the vampire but I missed. That same vampire went after me and bit me too. But another townsperson got to it. The vampire ran off and left Carlisle and me to die."
"I noticed Bella after a while," Carlisle said, "And we both crawled into the forest, hand in hand, knowing that we had to hide ourselves."
"For three days," I continued, "Carlisle and I endured the pain without a single scream. We couldn't risk being found. We, or at least I, took comfort in his presence. Through the Change, we held hands and when the pain got too unbearable we'd squeeze each other's hands."
"When we woke up on the third day," Carlisle said, "We figured what we'd become so we stayed in the forests, away from civilization. One day, though, we figured something out. A few hikers were in the woods. I smelled them first and began tracking them. Bella followed but I barely registered it. I was almost to the hikers. Bella seemed to figure out what was happening and she caught me and restrained me. I even took a few snaps at her."
I laughed and added, "He didn't miss on some of those snaps too." I showed them a scar I had on my right shoulder. Esme seemed to want to scold Carlisle.
"It wasn't his fault though," I defended him, "It was instinct."
"Why didn't you react the way Carlisle did?" Esme asked.
"To be honest? I wasn't all that attracted to the humans. I mean, it made my throat burn more than usual but it didn't really smell appetizing at all," I said, "I dragged Carlisle away from the humans, far enough for him to get his head back. He thanked me and we ran deeper into the forest. We starved ourselves for months, not drinking blood. It got to a point when our throats hurt almost as much as our bodies did during the Change."
"Until one day," Carlisle said, "We came across a herd of deer and we attacked without a second thought. We found a new way to live. From then on, I continued to study medicine and Bella left me."
"I wanted to travel," I clarified, "I wanted to see the world and its people."
"And so you did," he said.
I smiled at him.
"For a long time, I just traveled, meeting humans, talking to them, finding out about them. I loved talking to different humans, but I noticed that a lot of them were selfish… or fake or incredibly negative. Only a handful seemed truly nice. I sought to find truly nice people, to keep my faith in humanity alive. But after a hundred years or so, I'd find Carlisle and stay with him for a while."
"One of those times was when I was in Chicago in 19-" Carlisle tried to say but I cut him off.
"They don't want to know about that, Carlisle," I said, my voice warning.
I flinched as the pain of leaving him at that time caught up with me. Jasper gave me a concerned look and I quickly plastered a smile on my face and buried my emotions before continuing.
"Now, I bet Rosalie is dying to know how I met Emmet," I said, giving her a joking smile. She smiled tightly in response and I sighed, but continued, "I knew Emmet when he was a human. He was one of those few nice people that I'd met. He was still as he is today, big and not the smartest person around, but he had one of the purest hearts I had ever seen."
"Yeah," Emmet said, "And I thought the same about Bella."
"I stayed in the town he lived in for about a two years, but then I figured I should move on, and so I did," I said.
"Without a word," Emmet said, pouting, "I was worried about you."
"Sorry," I said, smiling at him.
"Oh," Rose said, "As long as you didn't make any moves on him."
"Oh," I said with a chuckle, "I didn't, but he tried."
Emmet glared at me and tried to comfort Rose. After a minute, I decided to help him.
"It's not his fault," I said, "I was inhumanly beautiful to him then."
Rose calmed down after that and she and Emmet shared a passionate kiss.
"How did you get to know Jasper?" Alice asked, no jealousy evident in her voice, just curiosity.
"I actually met Jasper after he was turned," I answered, my southern drawl fading in and out through my speech, "I was passing by the southern area when the wars were going on. I was trying my best to empty and evacuate nearby towns. Though, not a lot of the residents would listen to me, I tried my best. One day, I came across a town that was presently being attacked.
"There was a child of about 6 or 7 years of age, running. I ran to her and picked her up. She screamed and fought, but I kept telling her that I wasn't going to hurt her. I hid her behind a tree and watched over her. Eventually, I heard a vampire from behind us. I took up a protective stance and there was Jasper in all of his newborn glory."
"So, from my point of view, I was following the scent of a human and when I stepped out of the trees, I saw Bella. She looked determined to save the child. She lunged at me and it was instinctual for me to step back. She did that a few times before I figured it out. She was moving me farther and farther away from the child," Jasper said, "She was smart. The next time she lunged for me, I lunged back and bit her a few times."
I lifted up a part of my shirt to show them the two scars I got from Jasper.
"But, in all fairness," I said, "I gave him a few scars too."
It was Jasper's turn to lift his shirt and point out three sets of scars. I smiled apologetically at Alice and she just shook her head at me, smiling.
"Well, after we fought," I continued the story, "We saw that the kid had disappeared. We ended up just talking about his lifestyle and mine. After about two days of wandering around aimlessly with him and talking, I took off."
"She was one of the people who convinced me to leave Maria," Jasper announced proudly.
"I hadn't seen Em or Jazz since then, until today," I said.
"Well, what about you, Bella?" Emmet asked, "Have you found a mate?"
I flinched and it didn't go unnoticed. I gave everyone a tight smile and, not trusting my voice, I just shook my head.
"Bella," Jazz said, "You're lying, at least partly."
"Well," I said, "I fell in love around a century ago."
Emmet gave a girly gasp and asked, "With who?"
I smiled at him.
"With a human," I answered.
"Are you kidding?" Jazz asked incredulously.
"No," I responded, sighing.
I shot a look at Carlisle, silently telling him not to say anything in this story.
"It was a very long time ago. I was visiting Carlisle," I said, "I was walking aimlessly around a park near the hospital where he was working. I sat down on a bench and stared at the sky. Eventually, a human sat next to me. The human was quiet, and didn't stare too much, but I still felt his gaze on me every once in a while. I eventually opened my eyes to look at the human. It was a boy, or well, back then I guess you could call him a man, of about 16 years of age."
"Was he hot?" Alice asked.
I laughed and answered, "Yes. Yes, he was. Anyways, the next time he looked at me, his eyes met mine. He was surprised. I could tell from the way his heart spluttered. He blushed, too. It was absolutely adorable. We exchanged names and we started talking. He told me that he wanted to go fight in the war. When he told me, I started laughing. He glared at me and I sighed. 'War isn't all what you think it is,' I told him.
"He laughed. 'How would you know?' he asked me. 'I know more than you do,' I answered, 'War isn't glorious as most young men think it is.' He seemed angry after that, so I decided to leave him alone. I stood up and walked away from him. He ran up to me and apologized. When I asked him what for, he said that it was because he was being rude. He was such a gentleman. He convinced me to stop walking away and talk to him, and so I did."
I sighed, feeling my throat constrict a tiny bit.
"We ended up talking, about anything and everything, for about three or four hours, I think. He didn't want to leave by the time we finished talking and neither did I. We promised to meet up the next day to talk again. We did and it became a routine for us for the next two months. Carlisle said he noticed a change in me one day, after I talked to the guy I fell in love with. He said I looked happier and I was. I was thinking about why I was so happy, and I had trouble figuring out why. When I told Carlisle about talking to the human, he said I was in love," I said sounding wistful.
"And I was. I found myself falling deeper and deeper. I knew that I wouldn't be able to leave him anymore. Then, one day, he asked me out on a date, an official one. We went out and had more fun by just being us. The rest of the falling in love part is boring, actually. We kept going on dates and we eventually started holding hands in public and everything. He didn't seem repulsed by the fact that I was cold. Then, one day, I decided to tell him about what I was. I told Carlisle and he approved. I told the man I loved what I truly was and he accepted me," I said, smiling wistfully at the last part.
My throat was getting tighter as I got closer to the end of my tale.
"He courted me for about a year and a half. His mother got sick when an epidemic spread through the town and my man was supposed to go to war soon. I was worried, naturally. He would tell me everything would be alright, though, and I tried to believe him. But then, one day, he got sick too, with what his mother was sick with. He was admitted into the hospital and I stayed with him, almost never leaving his side. One day, when he was feeling particularly feverish, he proposed to me and said he loved me, but I didn't know if he was delirious or not, so I didn't reply," I said.
"I regret not giving him an answer and not telling him that I loved him one last time," I continued, "Because the next day after I went hunting and got back to the hospital, Carlisle told me he wasn't going to make it. His mother had died and he was probably going to follow right after. I was heartbroken, to say the least. After Carlisle told me that he was very most likely going to die, I just ran. I couldn't stand… not living without him. He was everything to me."
I sighed and ran a hand through my hair. I closed my eyes and I refused to cry, or do what the equivalent of crying for vampires was.
"How did you live without him?" Alice asked, intrigued, "By the way you talked about him, you obviously loved him very, very much."
"Obviously," I said with a lopsided smile, "Well, the first two decades or so were the hardest. I was constantly thinking about him and I was constantly feeling guilty about him. Eventually, I began to get a little reckless. But, I got better and continued traveling where I then met Emmett and Jasper."
It was quiet for a few moments in the house while everyone pondered what I said. I made sure that I still didn't meet Edward's eyes. Of course, my story was about him but he didn't remember any of it. My heart was breaking all over again.
I'm pretty sure Jasper read my emotions because he was looking at me worriedly. I gave him a reassuring smile but I'm sure it didn't reach my eyes.
"Now," Carlisle said, interrupting my internal babble, "What happened with the Volturi?"
I chuckled nervously, remembering how Carlisle got over-protective at times. I thought about lying but quickly discarded that idea.
"Okay," I said sighing, "So, I was in Volterra, visiting because Aro requested it. I saw some of the Guard ushering in a crowd of people for… dinner… and I noticed a four-year-old girl and a baby. And before you say anything, yes, I know I'm a sucker for children. So, I ran at full vampire speed and grabbed the kids before running away and placing them on the doorstep at an orphanage. But I was followed by Jane, Felix, and Demetri. They took me back to Volterra where I kind of said Aro was an insensitive donkey, among other things, who didn't deserve to rule the vampire world, to put it in nicer terms."
Everyone was looking at me incredulously.
"Well, anyways," I said in a bored tone, "Aro was actually really amused, but Jane, the female dog, took it personally and lunged at me. Of course, I fought back and well, all hell broke loose. Guards were coming at me from all sides but, thankfully, Demetri and Felix tried to keep everyone off me, one because they knew Jane overreacted and two because both of them have a crush on me. Then Aro told everyone to stop and everybody froze. Caius said that if I ever did something like that again he'll kill me and blah, blah, blah. And that's why the Volturi have my cell phone number, to check in on me and stuff."
I finished and that's when Emmet, Jasper, and Carlisle blew up.
"You did what now?!" Carlisle yelled.
"Are you stupid?!" Jasper yelled.
"Seriously, Bella, what the hell?!" Emmet shouted, too.
"I knew I shouldn't have told you," I muttered, "It wasn't that big a deal. I survived, didn't I?"
Carlisle, Emmet, and Jasper were about to argue when Esme quieted them. She had a question in her eyes and she looked as if she were debating whether she should ask it or not.
"What's up, Esme?" I asked.
"It's just… well… you seemed to know Edward when you first saw him and I wanted to ask how, but I remembered how you reacted and thought better of it," she said.
"Oh," I said.
Shit. I was going to have to tell them sooner or later, even if Edward remembered or not. I sighed and put my head in my hands. It took me a few moments to finally find my voice, but I managed.
"I should have said this earlier, but I knew him," I said, but had to clear my throat, "I knew him when he was a human. He was the one I fell in love with."
Silence. Silence. And more silence. I turned to Carlisle who was looking pointedly at Edward. I looked at Edward and my heart clenched. He was staring at me, but he looked confused.
My throat clenched as I studied him and my dead heart lurched, almost painfully. I closed my eyes. I suddenly stood up and walked to the door.
"Bella!" Carlisle protested, "Please, don't leave. You've been here barely three hours. Please, stay."
I hated seeing Carlisle beg. But, I was uncomfortable here. I'm pretty sure I didn't give a good impression on the girls and Edward. Oh, Edward. My heart lurched painfully again and I closed my eyes and breathed deeply.
"I don't think so, Carlisle," I said quietly, "Sorry."
"Why not? Come on, Bells. We haven't caught up in such a long time," Carlisle continued to say.
"I think the majority of your coven would be uncomfortable with me staying here," I said.
I looked at his coven. Rosalie didn't like me that much, though she was trying to hide it. Alice looked indifferent, but she seemed a little tense. Jazz and Em looked torn between their mates and me. Edward still looked like he was confused about something and Esme looked as if she wanted me to stay too.
"I say," Carlisle said, "That we should let the family vote."
Family? I shot Carlisle a questioning look and he returned one that said, "I'll explain later." His coven walked into the dining room and sat at the table. I leaned against the wall.
"Let's get straight to the point. Who wants Bella to stay?" Carlisle asked.
Right away, Jasper, Emmet, Esme, and Carlisle raised their hands. Everyone waited a few seconds but then two arms were hesitantly raised and I stared incredulously at Alice and Rose's faces. They shot me shy smiles and I smiled back at them.
But then I realized that one hand wasn't up, the one hand that meant almost everything to me, and my heart lurched painfully again. Come on, Bella, I told myself, Get a hold of yourself.
A few more seconds passed and Edward still didn't raise his hand. My heart was breaking all over again.
"I sort of… remember you," Edward said, out of the blue.
My face whipped towards him and I saw that he was looking at me.
"You… do?" I asked.
"Sort of," he answered, "I remember feeling heartbroken when Carlisle told me 'Bella left.'"
He sounded bitter and his tone cut my heart deep. I nodded, looking down at the floor.
"How could you leave?!" he yelled, making everyone cringe.
"I… I thought you we-" I said.
"I don't want your excuses. I want to know how you could leave. You told me you loved me more than anything in the world!" he shouted.
"I did!" I shouted back, "God knows, I still do!"
"Then, how could you leave?!" he roared, "I spent the last few hours of my human life heartbroken because you left."
"I couldn't stand living without you!" I admitted, yelling back, "Carlisle never told me he was going to change you!" My voice turned bitter as I said, "Well, of course, I never gave Carlisle the chance to tell me. I ran away as soon as he said you were probably going to die that day. I couldn't take it. I was weak. I left because I felt like the world had been turned upside down without you. I left because when I found out that you were going to die, my chest felt really empty for the first time in my existence and it hurt so much."
I turned around and punched the wall; fortunately no permanent damage was done. I cursed under my breath. I shook my head at the floor before looking up at the ceiling.
"Carlisle," I said, "Screw coven majority. I'm leaving."
"Please, Bella, don't!" he pleaded and everyone but Edward did the same.
Emmet even grabbed me in a bear hug and refused to let me go. After ten very long minutes of everyone begging, I snapped.
"Enough!" I barked.
"Damn persistent vampires," I muttered lowly under my breath, too low for even vampires to hear.
"Fine," I said, "I'll stay for a few days but can I please get out of the house to hunt?"
Em let go of me and gave me room, and in a flash, I was out of the room, out of the backdoor, and running through the forest. No longer holding back the sobs racking my chest, I cried tearlessly, not stopping.
God, when had things gotten so messed up? When I finally stopped running, I found myself in a small, secluded meadow.
I collapsed onto the ground and cried into the grass. Then, I looked at the sky, which actually cleared for a few minutes to let the sun shine down on me.
"Why?" I whispered to the sun.
I lay on my back, watching the sky, letting out my sobs when they forced their way out of my chest, unintentionally humming Edward's lullaby. Edward had played the piano when he was human, and he'd created a piece for me. I always hummed it to him, though, to help him go to sleep.
I went over my memories with him, letting myself relive all of my moments with him. While I did so, I fingered the ring that hung from a delicate silver chain around my neck. It was the ring Edward had proposed to me with.
It had a yellow gold band, and small diamonds were set into it. The main diamond was oval-shaped (Pic on profile). It had belonged to Edward's grandmother. I remember the day he proposed to me so well.
His fever had spiked and he'd been in pain. He'd held my hand to his burning cheek. I'd thought that he was asleep, but he opened his eyes and looked straight into mine. I had smiled at him and he smiled crookedly back.
Then he'd fumbled in his pocket for something and brought out a dark blue velvet box. I had been confused at first, but then he'd started talking.
"If I could," he'd said in a hoarse voice, "I'd be down on one knee. But since I can't, I'll just lay here and make my speech.
I'd just stared at him in confusion.
"Isabella Marie Swan," Edward had said, "Since the moment I saw you, I knew I'd wanted to be with you for forever. You are incredibly beautiful and bright. You are extremely caring and put everyone above yourself. You light up my whole life. I love you with all my heart and soul. And that's what made up my mind. Though, it still shocks me that you would have picked someone like me. But, when I'm all better, and I get back from the war, will you marry me and be mine forever?"
I'd been shocked into silence, but before I could say anything, he'd fallen back asleep.
Though, I do recall thinking, I've always been yours and always will be. Of course, Edward doesn't remember that at all though. New sobs raked through me, and the force of them made me shake from head to toe.
Suddenly, I heard rustling from the other side of the meadow. I was on my feet in a second, but what caused the rustling emerged from the trees at the same time. I growled as I took in the sight before me.
"Aw," James said, "Look what we have here, a lonely heartbroken damsel in distress."
I snarled loudly at him and his two companions. James and I had a history that went all the way back to when Edward and I had been together. James had wanted Edward's blood, but I'd taken him and his mate, Victoria, apart to save Edward.
I hadn't killed them permanently, hoping that it would give them the clear message. I'm guessing that the message hadn't been interpreted as well as I'd hoped, because here they were, James and Victoria, along with another vampire who I didn't know. All three of them looked pissed.
"Damsel in distress?" Victoria asked sarcastically, "More like bipolar bitch."
The three of them chuckled and I growled warningly.
"James and Victoria," I said scolding, "Don't you remember what happened the last time you fought against me?"
"That is exactly why we are going to kill you permanently, right now," James said.
"Try me," I hissed and then sank into a low crouch.
The three nomadic vampires quickly followed suit. Victoria immediately jumped straight at me. I plucked her out of the air and slammed her against my knee. I heard a few cracks and guessed that I broke a few of her ribs. Whoops. My bad.
James snarled and launched himself at me, just as the other one did. I roundhouse kicked James in the nose before spinning and performing a back-kick that hit Laurent in the chest. Both vampires flew backwards. I'd heard satisfying crunches from both vampires, so I guessed I'd broken a few more bones.
I brought myself into a fighting stance and dared them to come at me again with my eyes. They accepted the dare and all three came at me at once. I grabbed Victoria and held her in front of me. I held her in place as I did a 360 kick and made James and the other vampire fly backwards a few yards.
Then I punched Victoria in the face and ripped her head off of her shoulders. The metallic ripping almost made me shudder but I fought the urge. I threw her to the edge of the clearing.
"That's going to happen to you, James, and your friend over there," I said, "Why don't you just go peacefully? Oh, and bring your girlfriend who's resting in pieces for the moment."
"You know, Isabella," James said, "Once I destroy you, I'm going to go to the coven whose scents are all over you, and I'll kill them too."
"You stay away from them," I snarled.
"I'm sure they'll appreciate what you just set upon them," he went on.
"I said, stay away from them," I growled.
"I'll enjoy hearing their screams and their accusations that you are their murderer," he said.
I was so angry that I was literally seeing red. I lunged at him but arms wrapped around me from behind and I cursed. While James had kept me busy, the other vampire had snuck around me to restrain me. Damn it!
The vampire behind me bit my neck and I cried out. James surged forwards, grabbed the arm that I favored punching with, and pulled. The pain flared as the metallic screeching filled the air. James cackled and I narrowed my eyes at him. He hadn't pulled my arm completely off but it was halfway unattached.
I used the vampire behind me to throw my weight back. He didn't step back but he bent back a little. It gave me the leverage to roll and twist out of his grip while simultaneously kicking James in the face.
As soon as my feet touched the ground, I immediately lunged forwards and ripped apart the vampire whose name I didn't know. Then, I crouched as James got up.
"You're certainly still quite a fighter," he said, "But I learned a few tricks of my own."
James ran at me at his full speed and then punched me in the jaw hard enough to make me stagger. Then he kicked me in the gut and one of my ribs cracked before I flew backwards into a tree.
I slid down but before I hit the ground, James was in front of me again. He grabbed my neck and lifted me from the ground.
"I'm going to enjoy killing you," he said.
"And I'm going to enjoy this," I retorted and then pulled my right leg back before putting my full strength into it and aiming it where the sun don't shine.
As soon as my foot connected with his most sensitive spot, he let me go and I dropped to the ground. I stood and then grabbed James's head before pulling it down on my knee. I kicked James in the gut and then grabbed him by his long, blonde ponytail.
"Now, listen to me, James," I said, "I'm not going to burn you or your little friends, but I swear I will if you ever even think of tracking me down again. You may hold grudges, and maybe I haven't before, but right now, I'm going to hold this grudge for as long as I exist. Now, get out of here."
He scrambled to his feet and then grabbed his friends' bodies' parts.
"Oh and James?" I called.
He turned around, glaring at me.
"If you ever so much as threaten the Cullen family," I said, "Believe me. I will do so much, much worse than just burn your bodies."
He turned back around and ran. I "hmph"ed before the pain settled in again. I drew in a sharp breath before I collapsed on the grass.
"Shit, shit, shit," I chanted, my neck, arm, and ribs burning.
Just then, there was more rustling and I groaned before getting up and crouching.
"James," I growled, "Dammit, I told you what I'd do if you ever. Came. Back. Here!"
"Bella?" Carlisle gasped.
"Bella!" Emmett yelled.
"Oh, Bella," Jasper sighed.
"Okay," I said, "It's just you guys. That's good."
I fell back to the ground and the Cullens immediately rushed towards me.
"Bella?" Carlisle asked, "Are you okay?"
"It stings like nobody's business," I answered sarcastically, "but other than that, I guess I'm pretty cool."
"Broken bones?" Emmett asked.
"Yeah," I said, "Ribs, I think."
I winced as Carlisle put pressure on it. And then I hissed as Carlisle moved my arm. He moved it again and I cursed. I immediately reached up to hold my ring to calm myself down.
I saw Edward looking at the ring and sighed. It rightfully belonged to him. I tore the chain off my neck and then held the ring out to him. He just stared at it.
"Edward?" I asked quietly.
He didn't respond, his eyes were far away.
"Edward?" I said gently, "I'd like to give you your ring back."
Suddenly, he gasped and his eyes met mine.
"I remember," he said so quietly I almost missed what he said.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
"I remember," he said, "I remember everything. The first day we met, our first real date, the day I proposed. I remember everything."
"Oh," I said quietly.
I looked down and then suddenly I was being tackled to the ground. I was shocked and so was everybody else but I didn't have time to react because Edward started to kiss me. At first I was unresponsive but then I kissed back, pouring all my feelings from the day I thought I lost him.
Edward reciprocated and I could feel his anger and then his denial, but then it faded into what I remembered from when he was human. I threw my arms around his neck, even though it hurt like hell, and held onto him for dear life. He held me to him too, and when we finally parted, we were gasping for unneeded air.
"You have no idea how much I missed you," I sobbed.
"I missed you so much too," he said.
We kissed softly this time, sweetly.
"As uncomfortable as it is to watch my son make out with my little sister," Carlisle said, "I still need to stitch Bella's arm up so it heals properly."
I hid my face in Edward's chest at Carlisle's words.
"Jasper," Emmett said, "I think it's time to talk to Edward."
I rolled my eyes because I knew he was talking about the "hurt her and I'll kill you" speech.
"Oh, shut up," I said.
"Ooh, Bella! Edward!" Alice squealed.
"We're so happy for you!" Esme said.
"Yeah," Rosalie added, "We're glad that you two finally found each other."
"Yeah," I said, "I'm glad too."
"So am I," Edward said.
"I love you, Edward," I said.
"I love you too, my Bella," Edward said.
We continued on in our blessedly happy piece of forever, and lord knows we deserved it. After all, it's definitely been a long time coming.
This was my first try at a one-shot.
Please tell me how I did.
Thank you for reading and please check out my other fics.
I love you, my readers!