Here's the FIFTEENTH installment!
"Hey, Bella," Mike said in a slightly friendlier way than usual. It was already dismissal time. Edward had quickly gone to check with his siblings in the lot. I told him I was going to be fine so he left me alone—well, I wasn't since Mike was here—for awhile. "Do you want to hang out with us later? We scored free tickets to a live show."
"Thanks, but," I said, biting my lip. "I have something to do tonight." I knew Edward was going to stick to me like glue from now on. And I was aware that the Cullens scared Mike and the others. So I was doing them a huge favor—although they didn't have to know I was doing so.
Like the time in the cafeteria, I suddenly felt weird and heavy. I could also feel myself pale. What was wrong with me today? Was this happening because of the attack? Before I knew it, I found myself breathing jaggedly—as if I had just gotten out from drowning in the sea and I was begging for air.
Mike looked at me with concern, his hands propped in front of me—as if ready to catch me when I faint. "Bella, you okay?" he asked. "You look… pale. Actually, you look paler than usual."
I gasped then mustered a phrase. "I'm fine," I said hoarsely then hurriedly staggered through the halls. In a matter of seconds, Edward was hugging me to his chest to keep me vertical. It was a good idea because my knees suddenly felt weak. I felt limp.
"Bella," Edward whispered anxiously. "Bella, love, what's wrong?"
I weakly put my hands on his chest and tried to look up. When I managed it, I smiled at his perfect face. "I'm fine. Really, I…" before I could finish reassuring him, my neck seared with pain and I found myself screaming in agony.
I twitched in Edward's cold, marble arms, mentally begging for the pain to disappear. "Ed-ward! E-Edward! I-it… hurts!!" I screamed. I felt beads of sweat fall down my face. Even tears trickled down.
"Bella, Bella, calm down," he said as he gently dragged me out of the school building and toward the parking lot where his Volvo sat idly. Alice and the others were inside.
As soon as they saw me, rigid in pain, they swooshed out of the car and came to my aid. Emmett carried me bridal style and slid me into the backseat. Alice, Jasper, and Rosalie went in with me while Edward sat on the driver's seat and Emmett on the front passenger seat.
"What's wrong with her?" Edward asked furiously as he drove us out of the lot in an incredible speed professional car racers wouldn't even dare match up to. "What's happening?"
"Maybe it's the venom!" Alice guessed.
"Why is it working only now if it's that reason?" Rosalie asked.
"Her eyes," Jasper interjected.
"What the hell's with her eyes?" Edward demanded.
"They keep changing color—from brown to red," Jasper answered. "It's as if the venom is flickering inside her—unsure whether to turn her or not."
"Make… it… s-stop!!!" I writhed. I swear I could've heard myself growl in pain.
"Carlisle and Esme are home," Emmett pointed out.
Seconds later, we were in front of their house. Emmett carried me once again. Carlisle, as if he expected us, opened the door and immediately followed behind. "Place her on the sofa," he commanded calmly.
Alice and Rosalie pinned down my arms to keep me from rolling off the sofa. I was fidgeting too much. "Can you help her?" Edward asked. I screamed an earsplitting scream.
Carlisle expertly tended to me, his cold hands touching my sweaty forehead. "Her eyes," he trailed off. After a second, he added, "interesting…"
"Carlisle, we don't have time to marvel about her situation!" Edward snapped. I looked at him and began to beg.
"p-please," I gasped. "I…"
Then I blacked out.
"Carlisle," I said when I noticed that Bella's eyes instantly closed.
Edward gripped Bella's arms and dangerously glared at our father figure. "Fix this," he said. "I can't… lose her."
"I'm afraid I had not encountered this kind of situation to know what to do," Carlisle announced gravely. "The only thing we should do is to wait for her to wake up."
"Wait for what?" Alice asked. "Wait for her to turn into like us?"
"You told me that she was bitten yesterday, correct?" Carlisle asked and we all nodded. "The venom must have completely circulated her body by then. We cannot extract it from her blood anymore."
"But she wasn't bitten by a run-of-the-mill vampire," I said calmly. "Bella got bitten by something more powerful than us—than the Volturi!"
"What was the creature's name?" Carlisle asked.
"Riley," Edward said. "He entered Forks High—apparently, he had his sights set on Bella from the time she arrived here."
"What's done is done," Carlisle said. When he caught the look Edward was giving him, he added calmly, "Bella cannot be returned to normal. I will watch her with Esme. You five will have to search for this Riley fellow."
"I'm going to kill him," it surprised me that Edward had the ability to sound harsh and reckless. He was always the calm one—now I wasn't sure.
"And I may know where to find him," Alice interjected. All of us looked at her. She appeared to be having a vision because her eyes were glazed and she looked like she was looking at something from afar.
A moment later, she told us that Riley and a female vampire were somewhere near the mountains.
As expected, Edward was the first one to zoom out of the house. We all followed suit.
For the first time, I realized how important Bella was to Edward. He loved her—he truly did. With this thought, I mentally told him, she's going to be fine, Edward.
He looked at me over his shoulder and nodded curtly. He was so rigid now.
I knew that if something happened to Bella, he might become more hostile and more distrusting to the world. And this scared me. And I knew this scared the others.
I sighed then added, Edward, no matter what happens, you are NOT going to the Volturi. When a vampire no longer sees the reason to live, it will decide to anger the royals—the Volturi. This results into it being killed by them.
"You know me well," he said.
"Please don't," I whispered. I knew Alice and the rest were looking at us blankly.
There was a pregnant pause. I could hear nothing but our swift feet hitting the ground— nothing but the sounds of breaking leaves and snapping twigs.
"I can't live without her," he said. Even though he wouldn't see me do it, I nodded in understanding.