Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed my little story here, and I apologize for not being able to respond to every review the way they should be. I promise that anyone who reviews this chapter will get a PM from me, where I will promptly profess my love for each and every one of you!
This is the long awaited showdown between Melissa and Bella, so strap in folks, it's going to get bumpy.
SM owns Twilight.
I own an atomic clock/calender that is counting days way too slowly.
The Cullen mansion is fucking ridiculous.
Even I, with my penchant for overdoing things, believed that the house was insane. Made up completely of glass windows and bright colors, it truly was the one place we didn't have to hide our true nature.
I knew Bella had never been to our particular haven, so I figured courtesy was the better part of valour.
She sat in the passenger seat of my little Volvo, wringing her hands and grinding her teeth. You'd think she was going to be walking into a house of murderers, the way she acted...
At least she had calmed slightly by the time we actually pulled up the long drive to the house proper. Her hands were dormant and she was humming along with the music. Tchaichovsky's Twelth Sonata in B Minor. Who knew we'd even be able to enjoy classical music together?
It was insane, the ridiculous amount of general bullshit we had in common. From our taste in cars, to music, to sexual positions. It seemed like she really was the female version of the human me.
That, and the cutest blush raged across her features when I brought up the subject of sexual positions.
It had taken us less time then it should have to reach the mansion, due to my characteristic lack of concern for speed limits and road rules, and soon enough I was opening the passenger side door to the car. I watched Bella's eyes bug out of her head as she took in the endless expanse of the house, and tried to explain as simply as I could.
"The Cullens have always been wealthy. When Alice joined our 'family', she was able to predict certain trends in the stock market, so we were able to increase our wealth exponentially, and quickly. Carlisle himself has an estimated net worth of over six-hundred fifty million dollars, not including assets. We have enough money to live a luxurious lifestyle, and we enjoy doing so. This is the one place where we don't have to hide what we are. We can truly be ourselves here."
She simply nodded, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. She was nervous.
And she had every right to be.
Thankfully, the front door opening broke me out of my self-induced semi-brooding, and Alice bounded out and crushed Bella into a hug. She certainly took it like a champ, though, leaning into the hug and responding to Alice as though she were a long lost friend.
"Oh Bella, it so great to see you again! Come on, you have to meet the rest of the family!"
Alice took her by the hand and led her through the portal, as I followed closely behind. Alice's thoughts made their way to me in the meantime, and I couldnt help but chuckle dryly.
Don't worry Edward. I don't foresee any violence from Jasper, Emmet, Rose, Carlisle, or Esme. Melissa's intentions are...clouded.
Like I was worried about Em, Jazz, Carlisle, or Esme. Rose was...Rose. I had an inkling that they wouldn't get along, but I highly doubted Rose would do anything to harm Bella. I just didn't see that type of animosity coming from her.
Melz was another story.
I had avoided Melissa since the incident, and had been mostly successful. We had one run-in a few days ago were she called me an overbearing, self-righteous prick, but other than that, it had been relatively quiet between us. Now that i was about to literally flaunt the human that I had chosen over her in her face, I somehow doubted that this situation could turn out pretty.
Luckily, Melz was out hunting, and I wouldn't have to worry about that particular confrontation until a little later in the day.
Alice led Bella into our sitting room, a large, open area filled with priceless Van Gogh's and Picasso's, and sat with her on one of our overly large couches. My family filed in slowly after.
I could hear Emmet's thoughts from two rooms away, they were so loud. I couldn't help but smile as I heard just what he thought about the human sitting nervously on our couch.
Hell yes! Finally got someone that can take Ed out of his self-induced moping! She's gotta be hot... he's never had a thing for plain Janes...
Esme and Alice both had that holy-hell-it's-about-time thought process going, so I didn't have to actually hear the words in their heads. Rose was studiosly transliterating the owner's manual of a 1969 Camaro Z28 T-Top into French, so I really had no idea what she was thinking, though she couldn't hide the scowl on her face as she took in Bella's appearance.
Jasper's thoughts were...unnerving.
Edward, do you know what you're doing? We've never had someone who felt...hopeful...around us before, and that's the only emotion I'm getting from her. She seems nervous about meeting us, but it's like she's hoping for something to happen.
That was something I hadn't expected. What could Bella possibly be hoping for in a situation like this? Other than the obvious I-hope-they-don't-kill-me thing.
I didn't want to think what Bella might be hopeful for. Certain things I would not allow myself to think.
But then again, a month ago I wouldn't have allowed myself to feel anything for Bella.
Carlisle came in last, and it was his acceptance, his blessing I wanted more than anything else. His thoughts left me dazed.
Edward, you know I love you as my son. This Bella, she's good for you. You're happier than I've seen you in decades, and you actually look forward to daylight now. Even if it is just to see her again. She brings light to your world of darkness, son, and I love her already, if for that and nothing else. She is your soul mate, your other half, the one who makes your existence worthwhile. She is the reason you've waited a hundred years to fall in love. I can feel nothing but pride for you, Edward. Don't fuck this up.
I was glowing. There was no other way to describe the feeling of elation at his thoughts. He was proud of me! Fat, cherub-faced angels could have been playing a chorus of Hallelujah for how truly happy I was in that moment.
I should have known it wouldn't last.
I should have heard her coming, should have been listening for her thoughts. A hundred million "should-have's" ran through my mind the second I heard the words come from the doorway.
"So, this is the Bella that has our Edward all a-twitter."
My unbeating heart was in my throat as I watched Melissa stalk across the room to stand directly in front of my Bella. If looks could kill, Bella would be pushing up daisies right about now.
Melz spoke directly to Bella, as if no one was in the room but the two of them.
"Listen to me. I understand how much you mean to him, and I understand that you love him. If you ever give me a reason, or if you ever cause him to hurt in any way, I swear to God I will rip the bones from your joints one by one until you are nothing more then a pile of pieces on the ground. Are we clear?"
Bella's slap resounded across the room with a deafening roar.
"Now you listen here. Edward and I will have our problems, just as any in-love couple will. The point is that we will work through it. I'm not perfect, and I don't pretend to be, but I know that this, us, is real. I will do whatever I can to make sure that he's happy, and whatever tough times we come across, we'll deal with. As long as we love each other, everything else will eventually fall into place. And we have the rest of our lives to make it work."
Melz had inched slightly closer, with Hellfire in her eyes from the slap, and I felt myself flying.
My body moved of its own accord, landing me directly between Bella and Melissa. My arm shot out, landing on Melissa's shoulder, and I spoke softly, knowing only the undead in this room would hear. My voice was near a growl, and my lips pulled back into a snarl.
"Listen up, because I'll only say this once. I'll not apologize for what happened between us, nor will I claim that it was right of me to do it. But you need to understand, I love this human, with every fiber of my being. If you so much as harm a single chestnut strand of her hair, I swear to God that I will tear you limb from limb and burn the pieces. Are we clear?"
I watched as her whoe body tensed, and I was worried that I might actually have to come through on my threat. I knew I could, even would, if it meant Bella would be safe.
But I didn't want to.
Melissa was still my best friend. She was still someone that I had spent countless hours with doing nothing, and everything. I just wanted her to see that I was happy, and for her to be happy for me. Was that too much to ask?
Really, don't answer that.
Her tense, coiled stance visibly relaxed, and she slumped her shoulders, as if in defeat. My eyes followed her as she walked slowly from the room, and I could hear the back door open, and close behind her. I knew I had to make this right.
"Carlisle, Em, Jazz, could you entertain Bella for a bit? Get to know her? I need to take care of something, and I'll be back in just a few moments."
It took me less than six seconds to be out the back door and heading for the forest before I heard it, coming from the left of me, on the back porch.
Melz was crying.
Or at least, the vampire version of crying. She was sitting with her arms wrapped around her legs, which were pulled up to her chest, and she was rocking back and forth. This was one thing that I was absolutely no good at. Consoling a hurt woman was not a 'pro' on my resume.
But I had to try.
Inching forward, almost painfully slow, I sat next to her. Unsure of myself, I did the only thing I knew to do. I did that same thing for her that she did for me; I wrapped my arms around her and held her, whispering soothing words to her and I let her continue to rock.
We might have sat there for minutes, or hours. My internal clock had stopped, and I was only concentrating on the woman in my arms, and the carefully recontructed walls I had placed between us. After the longest time, she spoke.
"You don't understand what you mean to me, Edward. You're the goodness that I still see in myself. The light that I had buried so many years ago. You were all of the self-sacrificing, protecting, decent things I never thought I'd have again. And you don't want me."
That hurt. More than I'd care to admit.
"Melz, listen. Nothing has changed between us. I'll still be your knight in shining armor, I'll still be protective over you. But you need to realize that all those things you saw in me, you projected there. I am not self-sacrificing, and I am not good. The light you see, that's you. That'll always be you. You have that purity of soul that I have longed for for a century. I finally found my soul, and it lies with the human girl sitting inside right now. I'm sorry I can't be what you want me to be. I love Bella. I've loved Bella since before she was born. I've been waiting my whole life for her, and now that I've found her, I can't... I won't let her go."
God, I didn't even want to know how much that hurt her, because it hurt me to say it. I could only imagine what that felt like from the other side.
She took off running into the woods, and I knew I needed to give her time. If I chased after her now, I was likely to lose them both. I needed to focus on the beautiful woman I had sitting inside waiting for me. I'd kept her waiting long enough.
The sigh of relief that left my body as I heard Bella's laughter from the living room was extraordinary. Apparently Em was regaling her of one of his bear hunting stories, and I could only chuckle as I remembered the incident.
Sitting myself close to Bella, I swept her hand in mine and brought it to my lips, eliciting a delicious blush and shudder from her.
"Have my family been keeping you company. my love?"
I spoke in that liquid sex tone, all velvet and promises, and watched as her eyes glossed over.
"Ye...yes. Your family is great! I can't believe Em wrestles bears!"
She laughed, that adorable giggle, and I couldn't help but beam at my family. They had really taken to her. They knew that I had fallen in love with a human, and not only had they accepted it, they embraced it!
I was the luckiest son of a bitch in the history of lucky sons of bitches.
Until Bella said something that threw me for a loop.
"I still think that I could take him in arm wrestling if I were one of you!"
I think she said it jokingly. I hoped she was joking.
Then it clicked.
I knew now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, just what she was hopeful for. She wanted to become a Vampire. The monster in me reared his head for the first time tonight, and for once, the rational side of my brain aggreed with him.
If she were on of us, you wouldn't have to worry about killing her, or drinking her dry, or the Volturi...
I had forgotten about the Volturi. And Bella had no idea about them. She needed to know.
"Bella, I need to warn you about something, and it's something I know a few of my family members have already thought of. I need to tell you about the Volturi."
We spent the next two hours, my family and Bella, discussing what we knew of the Volturi. We talked about their ranks, what abilities they employed, and the actions they were to take if they were to find out about a human knowing our secret.
"One thing the Volturi punish above all else, is exposure. We can't let them find out. It will mean the end of us all."
Or...you could grant her wish, and then we wouldn't have to worry about it...
"Alice, no. We can talk about this later, but for right now my answer is a resounding, no."
Bella looked at me quizzically, no doubt wondering about the silent conversation Alice and I were having. It wouldn't do to turn her. I couldn't do it. She was too precious, to innocent, and I knew that it would kill a small part of me to commit such a heinous act.
Yet there was another part of me, the part I kept locked away; the monster in me, that was up in arms.
Why not? She would stop being so fragile, you wouldn't have to worry about hurting her, or killing her...there's no reason you have NOT to do it!
Give me one good reason why not.
I honestly couldn't come up with an answer that sounded legitimate enough.
I could argue that it would be stealing her soul, but that would imply that neither myself nor anyone in my family had one, and I knew that couldn't be true. I could argue that I would be stealing her innocence, and depriving her the wonders of a natural life, but she would be gaining immortality in the process. Thinking about it logically, and in an emotionally detached sort of way, I could see myself doing it.
I figured, fuck it. I needed to know whether or not it was even a thought in Bella's mind. And if it was something she wanted...
"Bella, I need to ask you a serious question. Please think long and hard before you answer this, because this is something that would not only have an impact on you, but my entire family as well. I'm not going to ask for a decision today, but I need to know how you feel about this.
How would you feel about becoming one of us?"
Bella sputtered a bit, and blushed that beautiful blush, and spoke very quietely.
"Well, I actually had that idea when I saw how loving your family was. You all seem so...close, and I'll never be able to have that, simply because I won't have the physical time to spend with anyone to develop that type of relationship. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was scared of it, but at the same time, I'd really have to think about it. I'd be leaving Charlie, Renee, and the wolves...but I stand to gain so much more."
Her voice had dropped to almost a whisper as she spoke the next sentence.
"I'd be able to spend the rest of eternity with you."
I couldn't help the smile that broke across my face. I fucking beamed at her. She wanted to spend the rest of time with me. She wanted me.
Visions of laying in her arms, kissing those beautiful lips, and laying in the sun while our skin sparkeled like diamonds flooded my mind's eye. I was happier than I had been in ages, and it took me a full minute to realize I wasn't just daydreaming.
"You know I can't help it Edward, it's not a switch I can turn on and off. Some is still cloudy, but you saw what I saw."
Looking pointedly at Bella, Alice giggled.
"You two will be very happy together, Bella."
The utter amazement I felt at Alice's visions was suddenly clouded with more. I could see us alone in my bedroom, the unmistakable sounds of passion drifting through the hazy scene, and my eyes literally darkened. To hell with waiting. I knew I could control myself, I knew I wouldn't hurt her. I had kept us both waiting long enough. The feral desire made four words stand out in my head above all else.
Tonight, Bella was MINE.
I had originally intended the big ExB lemon to go in this chapter, but I felt like making you ladies wait with soaking panties for chapter 8. =)
I know, I'm a dick, I'm a bastard, but you love me anyways.
Ladies and Gents, we are now up to 59 reviews. I'll strike a deal with ya'll... If we can make it to 100 reviews before I leave on the morning of the 27th, I will personally give every single person a full paragraph of Chapter 8 a full week before I post it. Is that enough incentive to click the little green button? I hope so...
IN OTHER NEWS!
If you haven't read Breakin Trinity by my lovely VvDeadRosesvV (The real life Melz 3) You really need to...like...right now.
Laid Bare by Brits23, oh my god with the snarling and the sexing and the hawtness!
Reviews are better than Edward entertaining turning you for an eternity of sexy vampirism!!