Wow. Well, clearly, I can't apologize enough for the delay. I obviously wanted to finish this and post it months ago, but school is a bitch. But I've finally graduated with a degree in English and Creative Writing, so try not to hate me too much and be a little proud of me that I didn't throw my reading list of 35 books per semester AT my teachers.
The best way to apologize for the delay is to let you read. Obviously, it is a little hurried at the end, but I really wanted to get this to you, so that I am inspired to finish the rest of the story. Now that I actually have time to! Please leave me reviews! So I can apologize once more, personally, to each of you! I'm sorry for any inconsistencies, I have not edited it, and may have forgotten parts or accidentally changed them.
I put down the cell phone carefully, going back out into the main room, where I knew she was watching me. This ethereal immortal I'd never seen before. But I knew it was one of the Volturi. How could it not be? Edward and I were playing with fire, and we knew the burn was coming. How long did he think he could put this off?
The pale woman had not moved from her spot, twenty or so feet from the house. I wondered how far Edward was from me, and how long it would take him to return. But for some reason, I wasn't too worried. If the woman had come to kill me, she would have done it already. She wouldn't have given me a single out. She could hear my heartbeat and know that I was aware of her presence, and probably even hear that I had called Edward. I had been left exposed all night, of course it would be too easy to sweep down on me and exterminate my life like a breath to a candle.
I took a deep breath and walked towards the front door, slowly opening it. Slowly, trembling at my sides, I walked onto the patio towards her, just a little. She cocked her head a little, but didn't make any other movements.
"Are you going to hurt me?" I asked softly, knowing she could hear me from that far away.
I saw her smile, or rather, I saw the moonlight sparkle off of her teeth. "That wasn't my original intention, no." Her voice was soft and feathery. I wished I could see her better, and see if I could recognize her from the halls of Volterra. "But if you run I'd be forced to chase you and restrain you."
"Aro and Caius sent you, didn't they?" I asked calmly, trying to control my trembling. I was thinking about how easy it would be for her to 'restrain' me. I remembered James' violent grip all too well, I couldn't imagine a Volturi trained vampire's power.
The woman hesitated for a few moments, before nodding slowly. We stood in tremulous silence for a few minutes before the woman asked in her strange voice, "Aren't you scared of me?" Her eyes were bright in the moon's glow, and I could tell they were piercing and slightly skeptical.
The question gave me pause. I frowned, thinking of all the horrible things the Volturi could do to me. But then, I was still alive. If they wanted to do horrible things to me, they would have. They'd had their chances. Even with Edward's pleading, they could have killed us both. Like I had thought before, if this vampire had wanted to rip my throat out and drink from me, she would have. It was almost like they were saving me for something.
"No." I stated. "Not really."
The woman smiled and edged closer. It felt like some strange violation, but I opened the door to Edward's and my love nest and gestured that she could enter. She looked at me like I was crazy, but walked slowly through the doorway. I took a few deep breaths before following her inside.
The vampire was tall and leggy, with long blonde hair that reached almost to her backside. She was long and lean, and didn't resemble any of the fighters I had seen in Volterra. "What's your name?" I asked hesitantly, wondering if she would be friendly enough to talk. Though the more I thought about it, though, I didn't know why it mattered.
The vampire turned to look at my slowly, almost in disbelief, like she couldn't imagine I'd be asking such a thing. Eventually, she whispered "Janelle." She lifted her nose to the air and sniffed a few times. "It smells strange in here… like…" She looked at me curiously. "Like sex." She finished critically.
I blushed and looked at the floor, closing the front door behind me. "Nothing's impossible." I breathed, and as I looked up into her face, I saw that she was… torn. Torn between fascination and disgust.
"That's disgustingly unnatural." She finally spat.
I shrugged. "So is walking around without a heartbeat, but you all seem to pull that one off flawlessly." I was shocked by my own nerve.
Janelle seemed to tense and I heard a small growl from her throat, but she did not make any move to harm me. She watched me with sharp eyes as I crossed the room hesitantly. I sat down on the couch and hugged my knees to my chest. "How did you find us?" I asked softly, and she relaxed a bit. "Are you a tracker?"
"Not exactly." She explained, and it was then I could see she wasn't a cruel creature like Jane. She sat down on the couch with me and faced me with a curious expression on her face. "It works similarly though. I don't follow a scent, I follow a line of a person's essence. Aro imprinted Edward's essence in me in order for me to follow it ."
I nodded slowly. "And… are you going to change me?"
Janelle looked at me carefully, no doubt listening to my heartbeat.
"No." She said after a time, her eyes dark and piercing. "I'm here to make sure Edward does."
I had never run so fast in my life. I broke through tree branches and divided streams like the red sea with my pace, reckless and desperate. I didn't care if anyone saw me. All the Volturi could take from me now was Bella, and they already had her. How could I be so stupid to go so far away?
I was covering ground fast, and I hadn't heard any more from Alice. This was either a very good or very bad thing. She could be trying to stop me from agonizing and getting mad if someone had hurt Bella, or it meant that no one had touched her yet. I prayed for the latter.
I had no idea how much time had elapsed. I prayed I would get there soon, before something happened, or before I went crazy. I focused on my trail, hoping that when I got in range, I could hear her heartbeat calling me home. Please. Please let me have one more moment with her. Let me kiss her one last time. Let me hold her in my arms until the very end.
It took me maybe 20 minutes to get near the house. I focused all my attention on the house, and sure enough, heard a steady heartbeat within… too steady, almost. I sped on, smelling the other vampire strongly now. I narrowed my eyes as I detected the scent of dolphin I had smelled earlier, realizing the vampire had probably killed it, and that is why the smell of blood had hit me so strongly then.
As I sped towards the house, I heard the vampire's thoughts. She sensed me, she had a thread on me similar to a tracker, but unlike a tracker, it held no malicious intent. She just was supposed to locate and keep near to her subject, like she was keeping them on a leash. She knew I was close, and her thoughts were hurried and businesslike. She had a job to do, that was all. She didn't care one way or another, she just had to finish her task. I wondered if there was any way to bribe her, but quickly discarded the idea. Aro had sent her, and he meant to do business.
I slowed down once I reached the yard, not wanting to startle Bella or the enemy. As I entered the house, I heard Bella's heart jump, and heard her pattering feet as she ran towards me, dressed in ratty pajamas and a relieved look. I collected her in my arms and lifted her to me tightly, holding her head in the crook of my neck and breathing in her perfect scent.
"It's okay…" She murmured, comforting me, when I should be doing the same for her. I felt a scratchiness in my throat that had nothing to do with thirst and everything to do with the girl in my arms. She was just a girl… she had hardly lived, and now… "She's really quite nice." Bella explained, and I chuckled wetly into her hair, disbelieving of this wonderful creature.
"She didn't try to hurt you?" I breathed, my throat paining me to speak, not releasing my grasp on her. She would let me know if I she was in discomfort. She appeared to be unharmed, and her steady heartbeat was remarkably soothing, even in the tense situation. "Nothing?"
Bella shook her head, pressing a quick kiss to my neck and resting her ear on my shoulder. I'm sure at this moment we probably looked more like father and child than husband and wife, but at the moment, I felt so scared of what was to come that I had to keep her as close to me as possible. Her soft breath fanned my neck and I pressed kisses to her hair. "No, we've just been talking."
After a few moments, there was a less than polite clearing of the throat heard from within the house. I wanted to ignore it, but Bella began to shift, lowering herself to the floor as I reluctantly complied with her wishes. I still held Bella close, tucking her against my chest as we turned to face the vampire in the living room.
"Hello Edward." The vampire asked nicely. "My name is Janelle, as you probably already know, and you also probably know…" She paused, looking down at her fingernails. "why I have to be here."
I swallowed, clutching Bella to me tightly, before nodding hesitantly. "I know. I have been greedy with my time."
"So it would seem." Janelle said in a bored voice. "Now, I have baby-sat your wife for the past hour, watched her eat and prepare herself for the change, and now it seems, all that is left to do is to bite." She continued on, and I growled.
"Edward." Bella protested, turning in my arms to look at me. "Edward, enough. I'm ready."
"That's not what I mean." I amended. "I understand that this must happen tonight. I can't say I haven't been expecting something like this sooner rather than later. Just…" I felt my throat tighten again. "Please grant me just one more wish, and then I will do the task."
Janelle's eyes narrowed in suspicion, and Bella looked at me curiously too.
I continued. "You have your thread on us, so I can promise you that we won't try to run." I stated, and the other vampire nodded. "Let me just have one more night with her." I breathed, my voice cracking. "Let us be together for just a bit longer, just as we are."
I could smell the salt of Bella's tears and see the tremble in her lip as she buried her head in my chest. Janelle's eyes bored into mine as she searched for a trick.
"Am I just supposed to sit out here and listen to you fuck like rabbits then?" She stated blandly, and I shook my head.
"Not at all." I corrected. "Just go for a swim, or to the nearby town. We will not run." I looked down at Bella's sniffling form. "I am done running." I stated. Bella's warm brown eyes—god, how I would miss those— met mine, and she smiled softly. "You have my word."
Janelle did not seem impressed, but as she looked away from me and down to Bella, her eyes softened. Her thoughts were filled with pity for the girl who had gotten herself involved in so much. Friendly little thing. Not scared at all… Doesn't look upon us as though we are evil… just like we are any other humans… that is the truest love, accepting all faults…
"Fine." Janelle stated, her voice soft. "But I cannot give you more than two hours before I would begin to expect more of my kind will arrive. She must be bitten before that time is up."
I nodded, squeezing my girl closer to me. Keeping her in my arms, I guided her deeper into the house, my mind focused on Janelle to make sure there were no tricks planned. There didn't seem to be, as she watched us go and then darted from the house.
I brought Bella to the bedroom and sat her down on the bed, focusing all my attention on her beauty. She was watching me with careful eyes, and I could feel that my own eyes were intense and shocked.
"I don't like that face." Bella murmured, gesturing for me to join her. When I found I couldn't move, she came to me, climbing into my arms and holding me tight. "It's okay, Edward." She whispered. "It's really okay."
I shook my head, burying my face in her hair. "No it's not. God, no…"
Bella reached up to press her lips to mine, drawing me in. "It's alright." She said. "I'm not scared. I'm ready."
Suddenly, Edward's hands were all over me, lifting me and laying me flat on the bed, his touch reverent and delicate. His lips caressed my neck, and I wondered if he was memorizing my scent for later use. I dug my hands into his hair, unable to take my eyes off of him. These last few hours would be my last time seeing through these eyes, smelling the same scents, feeling, though I hoped not, these same urges ripping through my body.
Edward drew back, looking at me carefully, memorizing me. "How are you not scared?" He whispered, his voice broken and defeated. He was done running, and all that was left was to make the time the best we could. I ran my thumbs over his ears and he shivered delightfully.
I shrugged. "I'm just ready. I've always been ready for you." I answered, my voice strong and steady. I hoped. Edward's mouth tipped up into a sad smile, and he pressed his mouth soundly to my own.
I quickly divested him of his clothing, but he removed mine so slowly I could scream with frustration. He moved the simple white top inch by inch, kissing every centimeter of my skin with his beautiful, tickling mouth, making me giggle and moan with every new touch. There was a silent, slow desperation to his method, and I knew not to rush him. He knew the time better than I did, he would know when it was up for both of us. And I knew not to expect another chance, or even that they would change me.
If I wasn't bitten at the end of who hours, we'd both be dead in another.
When Edward finally got to my breasts, I breathed a sigh of relief, a sigh that was quickly hitched by pleasure. His mouth worked steadily on them, flicking his tongue over the nubs in quick flicking motions and drawing quiet moans from me, gentle sounds that slipped from my lips almost accidentally. Edward responded with small noises of approval from deep within his chest, which made me smile contentedly.
"Edward." I sighed, rocking my hips against him, thanking him, loving him, reassuring him. His head rested in the crook of my neck, and I heard him inhale deeply.
He drew back to look at me, slowly, his golden sad eyes focusing on mine. He leaned in close and pressed a kiss to each eyelid, breathing his sweet breath onto my face. I heard him swallow thickly and felt a sting in my eyes. He was saying goodbye to every part of me he loved.
"Keep your eyes open." He murmured, his lips dipping down to my own. "I want to see them for as long as I can." His voice was scratchy, so unlike what I was used to that I jumped a little. But I nodded and kissed him back lovingly, taking his stone lip between my own and suckling it gently. He smiled sadly. "Soon you'll be able to do that with just as much force as me, by beautiful girl."
I smiled. "I look forward to it." Part of me was glad that nothing about him would be changing, except that maybe I'd be able to see him a little better. The way he was focusing on every single detail of my face gave me the chills, and I knew there was so much that I would want to remember about him. But he wouldn't change much, so that was alright. It was me that was going to be different, so the study was all on his part. I could just sit back and enjoy him, everything about him.
I was divested of my bottoms as slowly as my top, and my body began to tremble as his mouth teased the sensitive flesh of my hips and lower abdomen. I couldn't help but whimper as he gently sucked on the area just south of my belly button, I'm sure leaving a small mark. Too bad it wouldn't stay.
"Did you eat?" He asked suddenly, his eyes watching mine closely. I nodded slowly. "What was your last meal?" I smiled at the question, despite its sadness.
"Bacon and eggs, the way Charlie used to cook it." I said, surprising myself as my voice caught on my father's name. Edward's grip on me tightened, and I smiled.
"It's okay, Edward." I said, cupping his cheek in my hand. "It's all okay."
Our movements were unhurried and practiced, drawing slow, hot pleasure from our very cores. His tongue dragged around my navel, my nipples, my neck, jumping as I swallowed heavily, pulling his head to mine for long, slow kisses that left us both gasping.
When he finally slipped inside me, I couldn't help but arch in completion. He filled me so perfectly, I'd never forget that. Even if he killed me now, I would happily have that be my last thought: how perfectly Edward completed me in every way. Where he was confident, I stuttered. Where he was graceful, I fell. Where he was hesitant, I wasn't afraid to touch. Where he was reserved, I broke him out of that empty shell.
I needed him. He needed me. That was our legacy.
I didn't know how much time had passed, and I tried not to think about it at all as his silky soft finger pads traced the pores of my mortal skin. He drew loose hairs from my head and tickled them across my flesh. I shivered at his decadent touch and gripped his silken hair, memorizing the feel of it, of everything, every detail about this moment.
As he gently moved inside of me, slow, so very slow, his breath began to quicken and he swallowed compulsively. I frowned, realizing that my rock, my hero, was crying. I wrapped my arms tighter around his neck and lifted myself onto my elbows.
"Edward." I breathed, touching his chin so that he would look at me. "Edward, my love." His gleaming yellow eyes focused on my face, and I could see they were shining with tears that couldn't be shed. There was a sharp desperation to his gaze that unsettled me, but also a ferocity that I wasn't familiar with. The current circumstances seemed to be taking him to a new level of possessiveness, because he was so close to losing the human me for good.
"Edward, don't cry." I whispered, palming his cheek. His movements stilled and he hung his head. "Please don't cry. I want this." I pleaded. "We both want this, you know that? You're not selfish, you're not coveting me, I want this with you." I grabbed a hank of his hair and tugged, hoping he'd get the message.
Edward smiled sadly and pressed his forehead to my chest. "I don't think you can possibly know…" He said in a raspy voice so different from his normal one, "How much I love hearing your heart beat. How much I love those beautiful brown eyes." He looked at me, leaning down and kissing my forehead. "I know this is what we both want, I'm just sad that some things have to go to make it happen."
I smiled sadly, pressing my lips softly to his and breathing through my nose. I knew this, of course I knew this. I was just as scared as he was. I was terrified, but I knew just how much I wanted all of this, wanted eternity with him. I squeezed him tighter inside me, begging him to keep moving. We had only so long, and dammit, I was going to enjoy every moment of being human, no matter how desperate the times were. It was going to happen, one way or another, and I would rather have it done by Edward than…
My heart thumped nervously, belying my confidence in the situation. But I knew I was okay, that this was a good thing. It's a good thing…
Bella's heart was thumping so loudly, crying out to me, declaring her love for me as long as it could, and it was this, more than anything, that made me aware of how dire the situation was. For so long, this had seemed like such a distant thing, something so far from us, even though we knew it was happening.
But the enemy was on their way, and Bella wasn't going to run. And as much as I wanted to control everything, make the moment perfect and precise, like I had wanted with our first time making love, I had to realize that it couldn't all match the image in my mind. And that no matter what, at the end of this two hours, Bella would be on her way to becoming like me.
And that was terrifying.
And not simply because the Bella I knew would be in pain, and on her way to being different, but because I had to be the one to do it. Alone. I'd always imagined that Carlisle would at least be nearby to help me, especially if something went amiss. I was scared, not only because of what was happening, but because I could easily, so easily, kill her in this final moment.
If it hadn't been for Carlisle, I would have probably drank all of her blood when James' had attacked. And yes, I was stronger, so much stronger. But it wasn't like I could just pretend her blood didn't have taste anymore. Because it still thrummed, and I would always be able to remember just how sweet it was in my mouth, flowing down my throat.
It called to me now, most especially, as her heart thrummed in anticipation and nervousness.
Bella squeezed around me, reminding me that I was still entwined within her. How could I have forgotten? I really was so much stronger. I shifted, lifting her buttocks up higher and resting them on my thighs so that I could thrust deeper within her. As I did, the air in her throat caught, and her eyes bugged. This reaction was even stronger than before. I still had so much to learn…
And if you do this, you'll have an eternity to learn everything. My mind argued with my heart. Just do this, it will all work out.
Part of me wondered if Aro even cared whether or not I changed Bella. It could be the moment he showed up, he would come after me, then destroy Bella as she lay, writhing and helpless under the effect of my venom. But at least then we would die together, right? Could I be satisfied with that?
Either way, this ended with the death of Bella as we all knew her.
I kissed my wife sweetly, moving inside her perfectly tight body and feeling her warmth radiate into me, heating my very skin. Soon she would be chill like me. But surprisingly, that didn't upset me. It was mostly the heartbeat and the eyes that I would miss the most. The rest…
The rest would just be history.
We moved together in perfect harmony, one we had steadily been practicing and building towards the whole span of our relationship. We had started out as such strangers, not even from the same world, it seemed, and now we could read each other's every expression, every fear, and love each other without any risk. Soon, there would be even fewer barriers between us.
I felt a sudden rush of exhilaration that caught me off guard, knowing that our time was running out and all we had were these last few moments. I felt Bella thrash beneath me, signaling her pleasure, and the inevitable clench and shudder that came with her release. Clearly, she had felt the rush too. My body pulsed with hers, and I threw my head back, gasping into the air.
"Edward." She gasped, her eyes meeting mine. They were pleading with me. How could she be so sure? Her trembling form looked so vulnerable beneath me, so fragile, and yet, in a way it was more enticing than ever.
I pressed my forehead to hers, meeting her eyes. "Bella... are you..."
"Edward!" She repeated, her body still rocking with aftershocks. "...Love you, please..."
I drew back, kissing her forehead slowly, before lowering my mouth to her neck. "I love you."
When the first taste of blood filled my mouth, my mind screamed. The barrier I had built in my brain in order to protect her cracked and disintegrated, like sugar in water. The first impulse I had was to retch, despite the fact that I had longed for this taste in my mouth for so long. Only after the first swallow of heat was I able to reassure myself that this was what she really wanted.
Bella had gone still beneath me. Her heart was beating a mile a minute and she her entire body was rigid, arched against the point where my mouth met her flesh. She didn't make a noise, and that worried me. What I was doing was undoubtably unbelievably painful for her. I couldn't see her face to check on her. But I was too far gone now to stop my actions, and I reached to the bedside drawer to find the needle I had filled with my venom earlier that month in preparation for this very moment.
I unlatched my teeth from her jugular, my tongue absently licking at the drops that trailed down my chin. I drew back to look at my beloved's face, and finally heard her take a rattling breath. Her eyes met mine, and she couldn't disguise the shock on her face when she took in my features, her own blood staining my naked body. Her shaking hand reached for mine, and I tried to push the fog from my mind so that I wouldn't hurt her any more than necessary, while I twined my fingers with hers.
I held the needle above her heart, knowing the force of which I pushed it in would need to be very exact: If I didn't use enough force, it wouldn't enter her heart, but if I used too much, I could easily explode the delicate organ. She nodded at me, urging me on, her chest heaving and her body starting to go into shock, twitching and nearly seizing beneath me. Her blood stained the sheets below us, and somewhere in a distant part of my brain, I heard Janelle leave the building to keep away from the smell.
I cupped Bella's face with my hand as I lowered the needle into her chest, feeling her body jerk violently at the intrusion. As I pressed the plunger, I pressed my face to hers, feeling her shake beneath me, the venom starting to take it's deadly effect. I threw away the used needle and lowered my mouth back to the wound I had made, drinking a few more succulent gulps before forcing myself to lick the wound closed. I continued to press kisses to her neck and chest, licking the last of her blood from her body,. I felt her heart seize and fight beneath me, and my eyes burned with unspeakable pain.
Once I was sure she was no longer bleeding, I wrapped her up in the sheets and nestled her against my body, feeling her convulse and shake, while still managing to remain mostly silent save for a few pained whimpers. "Love..." I breathed in her ear. "I'm so sorry, but it will end soon enough." I cried, my eyes hot and itchy. "Our family will be here soon, and it will all be alright." Bella squeezed my hand and gasped, and I couldn't tell if she was just shaking, or if she had nodded at me. "I love you, and I will stay here with you, as long as it takes. Forever, my love."
Oh my GOD why was that so hard to write? Made me a little teary. Please leave reviews, honestly, it is your constant encouragement that has kept me writing this as long as I have. I'm really so appreciative of you all, and I hope to really finish this story for good. Thanks to all of you, once again!