AN: I am, once again, overwhelmed by the number of reviews I received for last chapter. I am thrilled that I have so many readers still with me. Thank you. And the reviews I received made me want to cry with joy. I was speechless and I liked that feeling. And so, thank you.


"I don't have to sleep anymore so… What do I do?"

"Whatever you want."

"I want you to stay," I whispered. He studied me for a minute. His eyes lingered on my hair, then my lips, and finally my eyes. He replied, "Then I will." My heart leaped, maybe, if it still could. I could feel it shutting down slowly. Yes, tomorrow I would be different, and I needed Edward to help me through it.

"Promise me?"

"Bella, as long as you want me, I will be here."

16. Changed Forever

In the years to come, I would never believe how quickly that night went by. Edward and I talked. And we got to know each other, telling the other about the person deep down in each of us. A relationship was built. It seemed fitting that we be together, then, because, yes, later in the years, we would be together, still. Fitting, also, because that night was when I changed. It was the type of change that would make my life like Edward's- in the lifestyle perspective, anyway.

Edward told me of Carlisle's history. Of his own. Those of his siblings: Emmett, Jasper, Alice, and Rosalie. And he told me about Esme. Because, of course, in a never-ending night, there is plenty of time to talk. And, as I changed that night, I listened to the stories of those I would be with forever.

Forever. It was a difficult concept for me to grasp, at first, because it was not expected, this change. I had had no clue three years previous that I would become a vampire. The change wasn't the way it was supposed to be. Mine took three years, and Edward's took three days. Mine was not painful, and Edward's was the most horrible memory in his 100 odd years. Mine began with a bloodlust, and Edward's was initiated into it.

Most importantly, I had only to wait seventeen years for love, and Edward had to wait a decade.

When I felt the last flutter of my heart- it had been beating slower and slower for some time- Edward was holding my hand. His hand had been a little cool, at first, but as my life neared its true end, the fingers holding mine became warm, smooth, supporting. It was what I needed; he was what I needed. I would make it through this. I would, and I wouldn't be alone.

The burning intensified deep in my throat. This would now be permanent, often intruding on me if I didn't give it what it needed- blood. My skin became smoother, paler, flawless. My sight, which had been clearer that day, became clearer still, and a new color was added to the color spectrum. My hearing, which had intensified in tone already, was intensified to a point I could hear Charlie's heartbeat even yards away from the house when he left for work that morning.

A nose is an important thing, I realized. As a human, you take for granted the smells which intrude you, but as a vampire it is an asset that, without it, you might go mad. With this new sense of smell, I could detect the whiff of our neighbor's rotten tomatoes, fresh apples, and once-delectable strawberries. This food, which became repulsive, would go unnoticed by those in the same room until some time later.

I was aware of Edward watching me. My heart, long since dead, might have fluttered. My face, long since stopped blushing, might have flushed. My eyes, once dim, now took in every perfection on my love's face. The golden eyes, long lashes, and dark circles under the eyes, the bronze mess of perfect hair, and the full, crookedly smiling lips belonged to Edward Anthony Mason Cullen.

"Well, it's gonna take some getting used to," I whispered. My voice, once holding a normal jingle, now rang like bells.

"You'll manage, love." He had started calling me that. The moment my heart ceased, I had known Edward. I had known his life, his death, and the beginnings of his eternity. And I had become a part of it. With the last thud of my life, Edward had told me he loved me. Elation and wonder greeted me, then, and I professed my love for him.

We had discussed school. I could not go back. The burning sensation had been barely tolerable, before, and now, Edward had to hold me back, using all of his strength, to prevent me from going after my father in his police cruiser, to drink his blood, to kill him.

This was what I had become.

I would have been able to do that to my father if Edward hadn't been there to keep me in my place. My body was powerful now. There was no denying the strength. My legs would move faster than any vehicle. I was invincible.

To describe such a feeling to a human is impossible.

And to describe the guilt you feel for wanting to end your father's life could only be told to few living beings, many of which had died inside already, and many of which wouldn't understand the grief because remorse is an appalling word.

But, simply put, being a vampire is to be free to all but the ache in your throat. The world is yours, but you must take what sustains a life to "live" your own. But you are never free from that pain. Anything else can be yours if you want it, take it.

"I won't be able to see him again, will I?"

"No. Humans will not be in your future for many years," Edward told me sadly. I had expected such, but it hurt to hear it. "We will have to fake your death, love. Or we could play it that you were taken."

"I think it would be better for Charlie to think I am dead than to imagine all the things that a 'capture' would be doing to me," I said.

"I'm sorry about this," he confided, "I'm sorry that you have to leave the life you have in school- but I can't bring myself to wish you weren't like me now."

"I would rather be like you, forever, as a vampire than to be with you, human, and eventually die," I said. "And a regular lifetime wouldn't be long enough to be together."

"I agree."

In the night, hard as it is to believe through everything we talked about and everything that happened to me, Edward and I hadn't kissed. But now, he was drowning me with his golden pools, filling up my vision as he leaned his head to mine. Lightly, almost teasingly, he touched my lips to his. First it was a light caress, barely touching, and then it became more demanding. My fingers knotted in his messy hair, and his arms wound around my back, pulling me closer to his hard chest. Sensations I had never felt before were crashing into me. We didn't need to breathe, I realized, and we sat there for minutes holding each other, sending the message of how much we loved each other with our lips.

It was Edward who pulled away first.

"I think I should get you to the house," he said, his unnecessary breathing was labored.

"Okay," was all I said.

Before we left for the Cullen house, I put on some jeans and a blue v-neck. Edward had informed me that he liked that color on me, to which I had smiled sheepishly.

When I tried to pack clothing, Edward had warned me against it saying that, "Alice will just throw it all away. She plans to go shopping for you; though, I don't know where you will be going any time soon. Alice knows that you won't be able to go out in public".

Running with Edward was amazing. And the sights! I was shocked, again, with the new colors around me. Edward had said that I would be easily distracted after I was changed, and he had been correct.

"Are you all right?"

"Race you," I whispered, evading the question. I didn't know how I was; I wondered if vampires could go into shock.

Edward, of course, won the race. I was glad that he didn't let me win. If he had, I would have been very angry.

"Bella!" I heard Alice squeak. I had a moment to see the pointy, black spikes of her hair before her body attacked mine. "Oh, you're gorgeous!"

"Hi, Alice," Edward greeted his favorite sister.

"Ah, Bella; Edward informed us that you may be coming here today," Carlisle said with a hug. "And I see that you are-"


"Hey, Em-" But my greeting for my new brother was cut short because of the monstrous bear hug he was giving me. I understood the bear story from his human life, then.

For the next ten minutes, we greeted.

The Cullens that I had evaded and had tried so hard to stay away from greeted me into their family.

"Welcome home, Bella."

AN: This was an interesting chapter to write. Tell me what you think. Sorry that it isn't long. At least the wait this time wasn't as long as it has been the last few months! 8-)

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