So, this is the chapter that took me so long to write/update. If it sucks I'm sorry, I think I did the best I could w/o a beta or whatever. I'm hoping I didn't repeat moments in here... Enjoy?
Bella took a seat while waiting and Alice milled around the lobby, scrutinizing the photography displayed on the walls. Bella studied the pictures from her chair, admiring them.
The receptionist returned to her desk while another woman that had followed stepped forward. She proffered her hand to Alice and Bella in greeting.
"Hello Ms. Cullen," and turned to Bella. "Congratulations Mrs. Masen, it's nice to meet you." She gave her a small wink and a grin, and introduced herself, "I'm Lacey."
"Thank you. It's nice to meet you too," Bella replied, a blush creeping over her cheeks.
"If you're ready I do have your order available," Lacey addressed to Alice, leading them into an area away from the lobby. She reached into a set of cubbies and pulled out a package.
In turn, Alice nodded her head and eagerly reached for the package. "Thank you so much for doing this, especially in such a short amount of time! You have really done an amazing thing for our family," Alice gushed at Lacey, who just gave her a wide smile. "And you will be compensated accordingly, I assure you."
After settling up and bidding their farewell to the photographer, Bella and Alice left. As they exited the building Bella's stomach promptly growled in hunger. This made them both start giggling and they decided to get something for Bella to eat. They stopped at a little deli where she ordered a turkey club sandwich, a side salad, and water with lemon. They sat at a small table set by large a window. Alice noticed the portion size of Bella's meal in slight confusion. Their time at the eatery was mostly quiet so that Bella could enjoy her food. Alice was more shocked when she saw Bella finished her entire sandwich and salad in the short time they had been sitting down so she could eat.
"Bella," Alice got her attention, "you just wolfed down -no pun intended- your food in like, ten minutes," she pointed out.
Bella looked down at her plate, as if she was just realizing how quickly she ate. She also realized that some of the aspects of her "human" status are not quite as they were before the Cullens left were not exactly public knowledge yet, not since she had reunited with the family. The past few days in Vegas did not really leave any thought to bring them up with all the activities going on around her.
"A lot has changed since you all have been gone," Bella told Alice quietly. "I'm not exactly what I used to be."
"I know that Bella, we already saw your powers," Alice replied, puzzled. It took her a moment to cautiously voice another notion, "That's not all, is it?"
Bella shook her head and looked at her in the eye, "Not even close," she replied seriously.
Alice sat up a little straighter in her seat. She tried to look ahead in the future to see what she was about to hear but she saw nothing. It would seem that Bella had not made up her mind on what or how she was going to tell her story.
"Spill," Alice demanded.
Bella looked at her and started her differences to that she was prior.
"What happened in the woods, when we went to get Edward, was a small taste of what has changed in me. The control of natural things is what you saw, but it's not necessarily me, " Bella started. "Something takes over my body and I'm not in control, I'm not me."
Bella seemed to become hesitant to explain further but Alice encouraged her to keep going with a nod of her head and a gentle squeeze to her hand.
"There's something else that happened, another change I guess, when I get hurt in whatever way," Bella continued.
"What do you mean?" Alice asked.
"If I get a cut or something like that, I discovered that I could heal it by touching a blade of grass or bush or something else, depending on the size of the wound. It wilts when I touch it as if I'm taking the life out of it," said Bella. "It's not something I did consciously."
Bella was looking down at her hands by the time she finished her sentence.
"Bella?" Alice asked in order for her to look up at her again. When her eyes met Alice's they were filled with guilt and seemed to be a little bit lost.
"Is there more?" Alice inquired again.
Bella bit her lip and nodded her head, saying a silent 'ok.'
"I went to Seattle one afternoon looking to get a few books. I stopped to get a coffee before I went back to my truck to go back to Forks. That was the plan anyway, but it didn't necessarily go according to plan," Bella said.
"I was unexpectedly grabbed by the arm and thrown into an alley by some guy. That's the second time that has happened to me so maybe I should take that as a hint to stay away from alleys, huh?" Bella chuckled humorously. "Anyway, this guy roughed me up pretty good but I looked him in the eye for just a moment and something just clicked inside me. At that same moment I somehow clamped down on his arm with my hand and didn't let go. My eyes made contact with his again and it's like something was flowing through me, something powerful, taking the pain away and healing my body. As this was happening I noticed with some part of brain that the color seemed to drain out of him. I was standing by this point and when I let go of his arm he just dropped like a rock, straight down with a thump as his body made contact with the pavement," Bella stopped for a moment.
"Oh Bella," Alice breathed. "What did you-" Bella interrupted her, continuing the confession.
"The second time it happened was different," she conveyed.
"Second time?" Alice sputtered out, "Different how?" She was in shock of what she was hearing, especially from Bella.
"Whatever it is that takes over, the shift of my mind, is impossible for me to control, as for right now anyways," Bella said. "This time there was nothing-" Bella had a difficult time trying to explain it to Alice. After a minute she became determined. "I was not injured or hurt," she said, hoping Alice would understand what she meant.
"Oh," Alice replied as she did indeed understand what Bella was saying, her eyes wide. "What happened that time?" she asked Bella.
"Walking down one of the trails with my friend Seth, when we came upon a hiker; he was not from around these parts," Bella said the cliché. "Anyway, we were just talking with him for a minute when I start zoning out and whatever takes over grabs the hiker's arm. It's like I could feel his heartbeat –his pulse- through the grip I had on him. Both Seth and the hiker looked at me and asked at the same time, "What are you doing?" but I didn't offer up any justification for my actions. My grip on him only became harder," Bella paused for a moment.
"What?" Alice asked.
"I did not have to look at him, like I did last time. It's like I could feel his heartbeat- his pulse- through the grip I had on. Both Seth and the hiker looked at me and asked at the same time, "What are you doing?" but I didn't offer any justification for my actions. My grip on him just became harder," Bella paused for a moment.
"What?" Alice asked.
"I did not have to look, I just did it," Bella said. "I have a greater question: is this something that's always been inside me, waiting for some kind of trigger to 'set it free' so-to-speak?"
"I don't know, Bella; I can't answer that. Or at least nothing has come to me yet," said Alice. "In the mean time, what did you do about the hiker after you um…finished him off?" she asked, trying to word that last part gently as she could.
Bella came out of her stupor, not sure of what had just occurred. All she could do at the moment was stare at the limp form of the hiker they were just talking to.
"What was that?! What did you do?!" Seth asked of her.
"I don't know," she replied. She did not know something like that could have happened again.
Seth looked at her; though wary he still held no malice or judgment in his eyes. That was just the kind of person he was. As hard as it was to do they had to come up with some sort of plan, something to hide the body.
They decided to take the hiker's body further into the forest, away from the path they have been on. Seth, in wolf form, would carry him further out, take to some of the hiker's close and shred them as they were still on his body. He also scratched at the hiker's skin in different places, making it look as if he was the victim of a vicious animal attack.
Once that was done Seth met up with Bella again, in human form, and they both just soaked up what had just happened. Seth did not know what to think or to feel, especially about Bella. What he knew for sure was that Bella was a genuine person, who actually looked at a person, for who they were and not what they were. In his eyes, Bella was a good friend all around.
Seth knew that the others of the pack could not know about this incident. She would not be safe if they knew about it.
Bella knew as much so she asked how he'd keep it from the others and just said however he could.
"Seth's a wolf?" Alice asks. Bella nods. "And was there when it happened?" Bella nods again. "And he did not kill you then?" Bella looked at her and her expression clearly said 'duh!'
"I mean he didn't get all 'grrr' and have rippling skin?"
"He was actually in shock for the most part," Bella replied, "but Seth's different, not like the other wolves."
"How so?" Alice asked, curiosity seeping into her question.
"He doesn't feel the same way towards other 'beings' and regular humans. He's been a very kind and good friend to me," Bella explained. "It is quite incredible, really, that he has been able to keep this thing to himself, without anybody. It is especially so since the pack becomes one mind, as in they can read each other's thoughts –no secrets," Bella was still in wonder of that fact.
"Then how could he keep it to himself" Alice asked her.
"No clue," Bella replied, while shaking her head.
They both just took a quiet moment to ponder that.
I hope you like it, sorry if you didn't like it but I'm just glad this one's finished! The chapter I mean, haha! I'll get a move on as far as chapter 19 considering I actually cut off at where this chapter ends. It seemed an ok place to leave off... Let me know what you guys think, please.