Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight; Edward, my heart.
The Other Side of the Moon
The sun finally chased me out. I had no choice but to leave or be trapped in that little café for hours; and put up a show I was in no condition to perform. I hunted.
I didn´t know how Victoria was getting to New Orleans but I wanted to get there soon. Why on earth would she go there? Not knowing a thing of her life didn´t facilitate my quest. Her motives were obscured so I could not predict the duration of her visits to any place, my grasping smoke in Duluth made that much apparent.
By midnight I was in New Orleans. I could remain the rest of my existence without stepping into an airport ever again. This time, I had no idea where she could be. I checked into a hotel.
New Orleans was, despite its recent tragedy, very beautiful, very warm and humid, and so alive, magical almost. Bella would have loved it. I set to walk around the city, searching for any clue of Victoria´s whereabouts, listening to the minds of everybody who cross my path, sifting through the myriads of scents that surrounded me. Nothing, no Victoria, no vampires at all, maybe it was only in books that vampires found this place ideal.
The sun found me searching the swamps; their scent was very strong and totally indescribable, and it only got more pronounced as the heat of the day intensified slightly. It was not unpleasant. I was drenched, had I had any sense of humor left, I would have chuckled just imagining Alice´s disapproving face at my effectively ruined clothes, as it was though, my capacity to find amusement in ridiculously tiny things was left in Forks, with Bella, allowing me nothing but the minor discomfort of feeling the green scummy water against my skin.
For hours, I explored. The dim scent of humans became fainter as I interned myself in this humid, savage Eden. Nothing. I took a different way to get back. The fleeting thought of returning to the hotel in my current state almost brought the ghost of a smile to my mind. It was more the realization that this should be funny, than finding any actual comedy in the situation. Strange.
Soon I was having a hard time moving, this was formidably useless, purposeless. What was I doing? I should be in Forks, with Bella. No! But what if Alice was right? –When had she ever been wrong?- What if Bella really needed me? What if she never got over me? Vain! How presumptuous of me to even consider that, this was just my despair talking, seeking for excuses to return to her. Selfish, selfish… Only one glance, go see she is doing fine, get the strength to leave from her wellbeing. No! NO! Excuses. I´d never make myself leave again had I been within the range of her scent, I´d never get my eyes to detach from her face, or keep my arms from holding her.
Suddenly, I picked up the scent of a vampire and it was not Victoria, it was no one I knew.
My instinct demanded caution, but my self-loathing side pushed me forward towards the scent. Within seconds I was standing mere yards from a Vampire who was crouched in a defensive stance.
He was tall and lean, he´s big slanting eyes were almost black, but undeniably red, the nose was a little broad and his lips were full, the hair was short and curly. His pale skin had a hint of olive tint.
"My name is Edward Cullen, and I mean no quarrel with you. I will not hunt in you turf, I´m just looking for somebody." I said unemotionally. His was assessing my appearance, not my clothes but my eyes.
"Who are you looking for?" He asked with a French accent. This struck me as an odd question, it almost sounded like there were many "somebodies" I could be looking for, I had been convinced there weren´t many vampires around.
"Have you seen any other vampires around?" His mind was incredulous, he didn´t understand I could be asking that, it was very obvious for him there were others somewhere near. He suspected me for my seeming ignorance.
"Haven´t you?" He asked narrowing his eyes a little further.
"No. I came here after a female named Victoria. You are the first vampire I´ve encountered. I only landed yesterday. Are there many of us here?"
"Victoria? Why are you looking for her?" He didn´t answer my question, his thought were plagued of her image. She seemed unbalanced, that´s never a good thing for someone intent on destroying you.
"Where is she?" I tried to make my voce gentle, persuasive. "Please."
"I haven´t seen her in more than sixty years."
"I was born in 1828, in Martinique, the son of a rich plantation master and his slave. I was never a happy child. I knew my white brothers and sisters and felt I deserved the same things they had. My Mother hated my father´s wife –imagine that-." He said sarcastically but with no hint of bitterness. "That didn´t help my happiness, she fed my resentment constantly.
"I was in love with a beautiful girl and intended on marrying her, I had a small business – though not in the way I wanted, my father had seen to my future - and I made a good living. Those were very uncertain times, slavery abolition was all around us, but didn´t yet touch us. I was free, but my mother wasn´t. I could not understand my father would keep my mother a slave while promising his love to her.
"One night I was on my way to my father´s plantation when a strange man approached me. He terrified me from the second my eyes set on his, they were red." He chuckled without humor. "I was convinced he was a demon or someone possessed by an evil spirit. I was aware of voodooism, though I had never seen anyone practice it, my mother had told me horrifying stories, and she was very much convinced they were true – she might have been right for all I´ve seen in my days- and in that moment even if I was nineteen years old, I knew my life was over.
"Of course, it was. So were the lives of my entire family."
"You went after your family?" I asked, stunned.
"I went looking for their help, I was not sure what was happening to me. The senses, the thirst. My maker, explained what I was, told me I could not go back to them, but I didn´t know better, I thought that I would never hurt them, I loved them didn´t I?" he sounded completely detached.
"I´m so sorry, Adrien." I said truthfully.
"Eh bien! It´s our nature, I only wish I had listened to Laurent, and never get near them again."
Up till that moment, he had been thinking of nothing but the words he had pronounced, but now his mind drifted to Laurent, his maker.
"Laurent is your maker?" I asked finally understanding the connection between him and Victoria.
"Yes. We came to America in 1851. I did not like his coven. They endlessly mock my pain; they could not see that killing my mother, father, siblings, fiancée and her entire family was anything to be upset about.
"We roamed the whole country, hunting humans was fairly easier here than on an island. I was more at ease here, than anywhere else, it reminded me of home, I supposed. But Laurent grew wary, there was a coven already settled here and he felt threatened. Nothing attached us, really, even today I have no idea why he turned me. He was not lonely, he was not in love with me, his coven didn´t need me, they were four of them and that was already excessive. Like I said, I don´t know his motives.
"Finally, in 1879, Laurent left me. I fell into a very comfortable pattern and have been living the same way ever since. Many vampires have been to these lands, lots of them remained for some time, others just drifted by. My life stayed the same. I have plenty of unsuspecting food around – you wouldn´t believe the number of people who come by my path- the only constant coven that has been here is the same there was when I first set foot in New Orleans. Julien´s coven, they are three, Anne, Veronique and Julien, of course. They are really zealous of their hunting grounds.
"To continue with the story, in 1943, Laurent returned. He belonged to another coven now. James and Victoria were his companions and he seemed to feel fine with them. They only passed through, but remained enough time for me to understand they were not too different from Amélie, Pierre and Jonathan, our coven from Martinique, that is.
"Now you come here, with those odd eyes, asking for Victoria. Why?"
"How do you know it´s the same Victoria?"
"Red hair, cupid lips, fiery eyes?" He chuckled.
"Yes…?" I said cautiously, suspiciously
"I had a hunch." He shrugged. He waited for me to answer his original question.
"I´m hunting her." I confessed.
"Good luck with that! James is, as far as I know, a very skilled tracker and he´s a little fond of Victoria, or rather of her own abilities. Laurent I don´t think would be a problem, he hardly ever let´s himself into troubles."
"James is dead. My family and I killed him." I said. I felt my face contort in rage and grief as I thought of the reason of his demise.
"Interesting. And why, may I ask, did you kill him?"
"He attempted to kill the one I love." I choked.
"Humph… love, family… those are rare words for vampires, don´t you think? Are you going to explain your eyes?"
"If you insist." I sighed.
"I don't hunt humans, I feed only on animals" I said.
He gazed at me, obviously thinking I was joking, but eventually he realized I was serious, and came to the conclusion he had been mistaken.
"I´m sorry, I was under the misconception you were a vampire. You do look, smell, speak and move like one… What are you?" He asked openly curious and candid.
"You were not mistaken, I am a vampire, it´s just that we follow a different diet, by choice, not nature."
"Are you saying you are not the only one who does that?" he asked utterly dumfounded.
"No, I´m not"
"With years of discipline and self-control. As to why, well, we deeply respect human life."
"So this diet results in that eye color. Does it have any other side effects?"
"Yes, but they are more… emotional that physical."
"Ah! Hence the family reference."
"I don´t see a reason for Victoria to come here, but if she came, should I say you stopped by?
"Yes, tell her I haven´t forgotten about her."
Back at the hotel, I took a bath and thought of Bella –what else is there for me to do? - I could call, just to hear her voice… Do one selfless thing by her, Edward! ONE! Stay away from her… The place where my heart had been quiet for so long felt like a black hole, ingesting all the light, joy, life, air, beauty and warmth from where I was. It left nothing but enough conscience for me to feel my agony.
God! How am I supposed to do this? Thinking only of her happiness, obviously. Yes… her happiness.
I wish – again- to take this opportunity to recommend some stories that I´m reading and consider very beautiful:
"Light of Day", "The Newborn" and "My Yes, My No"
You can find them among my favorite stories – of course- in my profile.
I´ll go as far as promising that if you review you will dream of Edward coming through your window to watch you sleep ;D …