A/N: (September 2012) I started writing this story a few years ago. My writing ability and style has changed a great deal since I started on this journey. I don't have the time to go back and rewrite my stories, so I apologize in advance for the mistakes in the early chapters. As you read on, I think you'll notice a change in my writing. For a sample of the way I write today, you might want to take a look at the latest chapter of this story. I admit to cringing when I read some of what I wrote in the past, but I've made the decision to leave my early work up on my profile untouched. For those willing to go on this journey with me, I thank you.
Could I possibly do it? Could I drain her quickly without anyone seeing or realizing? She'd lost a lot of blood already...perhaps her death would be chalked up to blood loss due to her injuries. Nobody ever need know about this. I only hesitated because I didn't want to put Carlisle and the rest of the family at risk—but the blood! How her blood sang to me. In a century, I had never smelled anything so sweet, so tempting. I'd heard legends but never experienced it until now. The only thing holding me back was concern for my family—our cover being blown—but just barely.
I stood outside the doors to the room watching. The nurse attending to her had just been called away. It wasn't usual for there to be a shortage of staff at the hospital, but there had been a ten car pile up on the highway. It was the middle of the night, and additional staff was being called in but hadn't yet arrived.
With my gift, I would know immediately if someone were coming. If I timed it just right, I could do this. I could do this—I had to do this! The venom dripped copiously off my teeth and flowed down my throat. I swallowed reflexively and the burning! I couldn't wait any longer.
I scanned the area with my mind. There was so much happening—people were scattering everywhere. As luck had it, the girl was in a room at the end of a hall that was rarely used. It was like I was being given a gift, the opportunity to indulge in the sweet nectar which was already flowing.
Decided, I entered the room. The lighting was dim, and she lay upon the gurney, broken and bloody. They had stopped the bleeding, but it wouldn't be a stretch to think she'd lost more blood than they originally thought. No one would ever suspect. "So why are you trying to talk yourself into this? Just do it already! Do you want to get caught?" the beast within snapped at me.
Being in the room, the smell of her hit me like a freight train. If her blood sang to me out in the hall, it SCREAMED to me in here. I was over to her in three quick strides. I scanned the area again to be sure I was alone, and my luck was holding. I didn't look at her, didn't want to even acknowledge that she was a person who might have loved ones, friends, plans. Right now, she was a drug, and I needed a fix. I lifted her upper body gently—reverently—up off the gurney. Even though I was about to end her life, I was grateful that I had finally come across something that invaded my senses, that moved me to action after I had been numb for so long—even if that action was a deplorable act of violence. I would hate myself later when I had the luxury of time.
As I lifted her, I saw that her neck was already mangled. Nobody would be able to tell I drank from her—there would be no teeth marks to puzzle over, no clues that this was anything but a natural death from her injuries. I wanted to savor this moment even though I knew I had to hurry. I leaned down and sniffed her neck. I darted my tongue out, licking at the blood on her pale skin, and it was the single sweetest balm that ever caressed my tongue. My only regret was that this would probably be a one time occurrence since, in a century, I had never come across anything half as potent.
The dripping from my teeth increased exponentially, and I leaned in to drink.
"Edward..." she mumbled. "Please, Edward...don't. You don't understand..."
I drew back in horror, my hunger overridden. How could she know my name? I looked down upon her face, certain I had never seen this beautiful creature before. Surely I would have remembered the translucent, delicate skin, the blue of her veins visible just beneath the surface. If not her face, I surely would have been called by the deadly ambrosia of her blood. My brow furrowed in concentration.
"Edward, please..." she mumbled a bit louder. Her eyes remained closed, but they scrunched in what appeared to be pain.
I leaned down to her ear and whispered, "How do you know my name?"
"Oh, God, Edward...it's not supposed to happen like this!" She was becoming agitated and began thrashing her head back and forth, trying to raise her arms up.
"How do you know my name?" I hissed. I realized that Edward was not necessarily an unusual name, and perhaps I was wasting precious time. My cell phone vibrated in my pocket at that moment, but I could not stop to answer now.
I licked at her blood again, bringing myself back to the hunger and savagery, venom flowing as my throat burned like it never had before. I bared my teeth and leaned into her neck. I scraped my teeth along her carotid artery, preparing to latch on.
"Edward, stop! Alice—you need to answer her call!" she cried out in anguish as a single tear escaped from one of her eyes and rolled slowly down her cheek. I barely noticed my phone buzz once again in my pocket.
I drew back in shock. Edward could be a coincidence but Edward and Alice? I licked the small amount of her sweet nectar that was upon my lips, closing my eyes in ecstasy. The blood lust was unbearable, but I had to think of my family. If she knew who we were somehow, there might be others as well.
Then I received the second biggest shock of my century long life...her mind was silent! I couldn't hear anything coming from her...just a cavernous void. I had never come across anyone—vampire or human—whose mind was closed to me. This presented a problem because I couldn't just scan her to see if anyone else knew about us. Not only could I not drink from her, but I had to make sure she lived!
I stood up, about to back away, when she grabbed my shirt. "Edward, don't go...please don't leave me! You have to know..." her voice was desperate but carried a hint of something else. Pain—but not because I was going to end her life—there was emotional pain of some kind behind her words. Her hand fell away and her head lolled to the side as she lost consciousness.
I took the opportunity to flee the room. It was imperative that nobody see me here, especially until we were able to ascertain what she knew about us. I scanned the area and hid just in time as a nurse came through the swinging doors. Using my ability to move faster than the human eye can see, I slipped through the doors as they flapped and into the supply room across the hall. I monitored the area, mapping an escape route. The fewer people who saw me here, the better.
I could hear the girl mumbling, becoming agitated again. The nurse said, "What's wrong, dear? Are you in pain?"
"He left me...how could he leave me?" her voice was bereft, filled with loneliness. "He was finally here, and he left. He doesn't know..."
"You need to calm down, Miss Swan! Please stop struggling and quiet down. You have some serious injuries. I'm going to ask the doctor about giving you something to calm you."
"Where did he go? He was the dark angel tonight; he almost ruined everything..."
My forehead creased in confusion. Was she speaking of me?
"Who left you, hon? Was there someone else with you in the accident?" the nurse sounded confused. "Is there someone I can get for you?"
"No, no. Nobody else can know—they wouldn't understand—they would try to hurt him." She sounded concerned.
"What's his name? I'll see if I can find him for you," the nurse cooed at her. I could read in the nurse's mind that she wanted nothing more than to calm the girl down. There wasn't enough staff to go around for all the injuries they were dealing with, and she needed to check on another patient.
"I can't tell you, nobody would understand. He can't be found unless he wants to anyway..." she sighed, defeated. Then she abruptly ceased struggling, and her breathing evened out.
The nurse left the room. Someone else was in the room next door, but after they left, I figured I should be able to make my escape.
"Edward...are you still there? Can you hear me? Ask Alice; you have to talk to Alice. I miss you..." she whispered, and I could tell from her voice that she was in tears. Missed me? She didn't even know me.
My opportunity came, and I slipped out of the hospital into the foggy night air. If I had a heart, it would have been raging in my chest. My phone buzzed again, and I pulled it out, seeing it was Alice.
"Alice," I bit out.
"We have a problem, Edward! Don't go near the hospital..." she began urgently.
"Too late," I snapped back.
"Oh, my God, Edward! Please tell me you didn't..." Alice sounded pained.
"Do you know about her, Alice?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes," she sighed, "Everything is reeling right now; I can't see clearly. Just tell me you didn't succumb to..." she stopped, unable to finish.
"What—that I didn't fail as a vegetarian? That I didn't drain her dry? Every last delicious drop?" I was being mean, but I felt angry. If Alice knew about her, then why hadn't she told me? The girl knew both of our names! What was Alice thinking?
"Edward, you have to tell me what happened in there! Please tell me that Bella is still alive!" she implored.
Bella. That must be the name of the girl. The name twisted inside me, sparking something that I couldn't name.
"Who is she, Alice?" I demanded angrily. I wanted to reach through the phone and wrap my large hands around her delicate little pixie neck.
"Everything. If she's dead...all is lost. Tell me. Is she..." Alice choked out.
"No, she's still alive. I almost...I never..." I floundered. "She knew my name, Alice, and yours! She grabbed my shirt and begged me not to leave her. She knew I could hear her when I was outside the room! Who. Is. She. Why does she know about us? How could you?" I spat out.
"Edward, no! I've never met her!" She tried to get me to listen. "You need to get Carlisle right now! Make sure she doesn't die, Edward, or it's all over."
I sighed. I had been on my way to see Carlisle when this all started...when I smelled the blood of my singer wafting out through the ER. "I'll get him right now. But, Alice? When I get back you're going to tell me everything," I stated with finality.
"Yes, Edward, yes. But even after I tell you all I know, it will still be a mystery to all of us. Only she might be able to provide more of the answers."
"I'll see you at home later," I replied tersely as I snapped the phone shut with a loud crack.
I hurried into the hospital, heading for Carlisle's office, but ran into him heading toward the ER. "Carlisle! We have to talk," I said grimly.
"Not now, Edward; I have an emergency surgery to do!" Carlisle spoke quickly as he hurried past me at a speed that was just a little too fast to pass for human. I grabbed his arm, and he turned to stare into my eyes. What he saw stopped him in his tracks.
"Carlisle, there's a girl named Bella in the ER, and you must make sure she lives. It's vital to us all—I just got off the phone with Alice."
"As it happens, Edward, Bella Swan is my emergency surgery. Apparently she was in an accident, and they thought she was stabilized until her carotid artery sprung a sudden leak. If I don't get to her immediately, there will be nothing to discuss—other than funeral arrangements," he said softly.
I let go of his arm as though burned. Carotid artery...sprung a leak? If I hadn't...this was my fault! I hung my head. "Go, Carlisle. Please save her. Alice said it was imperative," I said hoarsely.
Carlisle nodded his head in understanding, and sped off. I slid down the wall into a sitting position with my head in my hands. What had I done?