Chapter 19 – Just the beginning
"Bella, I'm going to ask you one more time, the last time; and I promise I'll do whatever you ask of me."
I just smile at him. I already know his question, yet I understand why he needs to hear me to say it again.
He gently pulls my body down by the waist so that I'm lying against the pillows, and he's hovering over me. His golden eyes are glowing, the amber in them flowing like liquid fire, with just a slight hint of red. He's mesmerizing, and I'm completely spellbound.
"Bella Swan, will you grant me the great honor of being my mate for eternity?" He asks solemnly, his eyes full of hope and burning with anticipation.
"Yes," I whisper simply as he crushes his lips to mine.
He kisses me for a long moment, tenderly, then pulls away to look at me with a serious expression on his face.
"We have to talk about this," he says before taking a deep breath and sighing loudly.
"What? Again?" I exclaim loudly. "What is there left to talk about?" I'm ready to jump from the bed and start yelling at him for rendering this complicated again, but he doesn't give me time to move a finger before he speaks again.
"Bella," he admonishes in an exasperated growl. "Calm down, get dressed and meet me in the kitchen," he adds before stepping out of bed, getting dressed, throwing clothes in my direction and walking out of the bedroom so fast I can't say anything. I don't even bother trying to call him back, since he seems to have something in his mind that he really needs to discuss with me; and I'm rather curious to know what this important subject might be. I get out of bed as fast as I can, although not remotely as fast as him. I put on the boxers and t-shirt he threw at me, and a smug smile forms on my lips as I remember how all my clothes had been torn apart during last night's events.
I walk in the kitchen to see him pouring milk in a bowl of cereal, obviously for me. He notices the questioning look that must be evident on my face and explains to me without waiting for me to ask the question.
"I bought a few things for you, just in case. Even though we stayed at Carlisle's, I figured it was possible that you would wake up here again, for any reason," he explains, pausing for a second and looking at me from head to toe. "I should have thought of buying clothes, too," he adds teasingly, the same smug smile I was wearing a minute ago forming on his lips, too.
"Thanks," I answer impatiently, waiting for him to say what's on his mind.
"Sit down," he offers, motioning for me to take the bar stool while he leans against the counter, just like the first time I woke up here. I sit in front of him and start eating my bowl of cereal, because I know he won't talk until I have breakfast.
"To answer your previous question," he continues sweetly, looking at me tenderly, "there's only one thing left to talk about: when, where and how?" he asks, eying me cautiously, almost as if he was waiting for me to get scared and change my mind. But it won't happen.
"Ok," I reply confidently, looking him straight in the eye. "I was ready last night, so whenever you want. I haven't actually thought about all the logistics of it, but maybe at your family's house would be a good idea, that way Carlisle and Jasper would be there, just in case… As for the 'how', you're the one who's supposed to know that!" I exclaim playfully, showing him just how much I'm not going to backpedal. A small smile lifts the corners of his mouth as he answers.
"Bella, I'm going to be honest with you, I've waited for this moment for so long, I don't want to wait another minute," he declares sincerely, and I can see the impatience and eagerness in his eyes.
"Can I finish my breakfast, first?" I joke, and he bursts out laughing, the most melodic laugh I've ever heard.
"If you're ready," he answers more seriously, "I'd like to do this today," he asks. I just nod in response, ad he continues. "And, since I've been really selfish since I met you, I'd rather do it here, only you and me. Carlisle won't be far away, and I'm sure Alice will see if something might go wrong. I can warn them about what we decided, and they'll be ready to help if needed be," he explains his point of view very sweetly; I know this is important to him. And I trust him; I am deeply convinced that he will take care of me and of everything in the best way possible, given the circumstances.
"I agree with you, just you and me," I nod again and he takes a deep breath and exhales loudly in front of me, his expression turning very serious, almost pained and worried.
"Bella, when I said 'how', I meant that you need to know exactly how this is going to happen, you need to mentally prepare yourself," he warns in a grave tone.
I stop eating and look at him in the eye, ready to listen, steeling myself for the brutal explanation I'm not sure I want to hear. He doesn't wait for me to answer, he keeps talking without ever breaking eye contact, evidently trying to convey the gravity of the process, as well as his support and love for me.
"You need to know that it'll be extremely painful," he says softly, as if his tone of voice could soften the meaning of the words. "This will be the most horrible experience you'll ever go through; it will hurt even more than your mind can comprehend right now," he nearly whispers, waiting for my reaction; and visibly expecting me to panic. But I don't, I knew this wouldn't be easy, I knew it would hurt. As painful as it will be, it's worth it. I won't panic, now. I won't back down. So I just keep looking at him without saying a word.
"And," he continues, "you won't be yourself for some time, months. It'll take time for you to adjust to your new self. You'll want blood, human blood, and it'll be really hard to restrain from killing. Are you sure you're ready for that?"
"I am, Edward. I'm ready, for everything," I answer solemnly, desperately trying to reassure him.
Just as he's about to answer, we're startled by a soft knock on the door.
"It's Alice," he simply says as he walks towards the door, planting a small kiss on my forehead on his way.
"Hi Bella," she chimes as they both walk back in the kitchen. Edward's smile is back on his beautiful face, I think he's relieved that she's here, because she would tell him if this was too risky, if it wasn't the time, yet. But she doesn't seem worried at all.
She puts the suitcase she was holding on the floor, against the wall, and turns to me, giving me a hug. She pulls back, holding by the shoulders and studying my face carefully, and then my neck where Edward bit me.
"Are you ok?" She asks casually.
"Yes, I'm fine," I answer instantly as I run my finger along the bite mark without thinking.
"I knew you would be," she exclaims, her face suddenly lighting up. "I hope you don't mind, I took the liberty of going back to your place to take a few thing I thought you might need," she explains, pointing to the suitcase on the floor, "since you won't be able to go back there in a while...apparently," she continues, throwing a mock death glare at Edward, and it only makes him smile wider. "Oh! And I brought this, too," she says taking out two envelopes of her jacket pocket and handing them to me. "I thought you'd want to keep those," she finishes in a sweet smile.
It's the letters Edward wrote to me, the ones in which he confessed the intensity of his love for me, and begging for me to understand him. I remember how I stormed out of his apartment, and believed he'd never change his entire lifestyle just for me. I was so mistaken. None of it matters anymore, but thinking it all occurred only a few weeks ago is something I still can't get my head around to.
"Thank you Alice, so much. It's really nice of you," I answer earnestly.
"Oh, please!" she waves her hand dismissively, "Apart from clothes and toiletries, the rest of the suitcase is packed with blood bags, that way you won't need to get out in the world right away."
"Is it human blood? Did Carlisle give you this?" Edward asks in disbelief, and I don't quite understand the cause of his surprise. We talked about how the change would feel, but Alice arrived before we could talk about the next step. I don't know how I'm supposed to feed once I'm turned.
Edward knows that I would never agree to hunt humans, no matter the situation; we fought enough about this subject, it almost kept us apart forever. I don't know if I'll be ready and capable of hunting wild animals immediately. I guess the blood bags make sense, even if it's human blood, nobody had to die for me to feed.
I don't have time to say a word before Alice answers the question.
"No, it isn't human blood. Carlisle thought that it would be easier for her to start with animal blood right away, like he did for Emmett," she starts, and Edward interrupts her.
"I agree, I don't want her anywhere near human blood. It'll be better if she never tastes it," he states firmly. I know he's acting in my interest; he knows I'd never surmount the guilt of killing a human being, and keeping me away from human blood lowers the risk of me craving it so much that I wouldn't resist.
"We thought so, too," Alice adds, "but since she probably won't have the same instinct for the hunt as Emmett, Carlisle thought it'd be easier for her to have the blood ready. Jasper and Emmett spent the night hunting and Carlisle helped them bleed the animals and retrieve the blood in small bags. I don't know the specifics of how they did that, but it's all there."
"Wow," I exclaim in astonishment, "I don't know what to say. Thank you," I add sincerely. Even after everything that happened in the past weeks, I'm still astounded and truly moved by what they're willing to do for me.
"You're welcome," she says dismissively again, as if all of their attentions were nothing. "We actually thought you would need it for today," she adds, pointing at the scar on my neck.
"She'll need it for tomorrow," Edward corrects, smiling at me tenderly, and I can't help but smile back.
"Yes!" Alice yells, clapping her hands. "So I'll leave you two to do what you have to do," she just about sings.
"You don't seem surprised, or worried…" Edward says, making it sound like a question.
"Surprised, no, I've known this would happen for years! You guys are so slow," she jokes. "And I know everything will be fine, so no need to worry. We will all be waiting for you at home, and we'll be there if you need us, which I already know you won't," she explains, trying to reassure Edward.
"Thank you, Alice. For everything," he says solemnly to his sister, and we all know he isn't referring to the suitcase or the blood. He's thanking her for everything she's done for him, for never giving up on him, and for bringing us together. We can never thank her enough for that, but we'll have the eternity to try.
"You're welcome, brother," she answers with a huge grin on her pretty face, her eyes sparkling. She's about to turn around and leave when Edward grabs her wrists to hold her back.
"Alice, what did you see?"
"I saw you happy, Edward," she answers in a sigh, finally getting off her chest the words she'd been holding back for decades. "Happy, with a beautiful brunette girl with golden-brown eyes. You were smiling and laughing and so obviously in love with her," she continues and turns her gaze to me. "I saw it long before I ended up in the same classroom as her in College," she chuckles before looking back at Edward. "I was a little taken aback when I realize that the woman who would make you so happy was still human, that's why I waited for things to happen naturally. But years passed, and…" she trails off, looking at the floor, and a memory of Alice the first night she talked to me in the restaurant flashes through my mind. I remember the pain and suffering I witnessed in her eyes that night, and I understand why she couldn't wait any longer.
Edward releases her wrist only to grab her and encircle her completely with his arms. He whispers "Thank you, Alice" before letting go of her tiny body. She smiles at us and takes me in her arms before exiting the room, and the apartment.
We stare at each other for a moment, smiling, conveying in our stare all the love we feel for each other. Suddenly he chuckles and drops his eyes to the floor.
"What?" I ask curiously, and laugh quietly because it's so rare to see Edward uncomfortable, he looks adorable right now.
"It's a little odd to plan this, I should have turned you last night," he answers jokingly. "How do you feel?"
"I feel good, I feel safe," I assure him, walking towards him until I'm in his arms. "I can't wait for the next part of my existence, with you. I never thought I would be so sure of this, but I am. There is no doubt in my mind that I want to be with you for the rest of eternity. This may be an end, but in fact it's only the beginning," I confess softly.
"I love you, so much," he whispers against my lips as he bends down to kiss me.
"I love you, too."
He leaves another tender kiss on my lips before he turns away and grabs the suitcase that Alice left on the floor. He lifts it and puts it on the table in front of us, looking at me cautiously from the corner of his eye before opening it. We both stare at the contents without saying a word; the suitcase is filled with blood, with only a few clothes. After a few seconds of silence, Edward finally turns his stare in my direction, eyeing me hesitantly.
"If there's anything that you're not comfortable with, please tell me," he offers, and I still have the odd impression that he expects me to back down. All I can do to reassure him, is tell him the truth.
"Honestly, this is disgusting," I concede, "but I know I'll need it tomorrow, so…I'm fine."
He just nods, and I can tell he's relieved that this isn't enough to change my mind. Nothing would be. He kisses me affectionately again, and then swiftly takes all the blood bags and puts them in the fridge. I take the yoga pants and a t–shirt Alice brought and walk to the bathroom to change. As I look at myself in the mirror, I suddenly realize that I don't need to prepare myself for this, I don't need to steel myself for the pain. I have no more questions about what will the change feel like, or how will my life be afterwards. I just know this is the path I was meant to follow, by his side; and deep down I've known since the first time I saw him.
I walk back to the living room and he's there, waiting for me.
I've lived for more than a century, but the last twenty-four hours of my existence were the most intense I've ever lived. Being forced to leave Bella again, even though it was only to hunt, was heartbreaking. I know I left her under the protection of my family, and Rosalie isn't one to be messed with, but I still feared for her safety. The look on Bella's face as she watched me leave made me feel incredibly guilty. I know I made her so sad, even if involuntarily, like all those moments when she wanted to get closer to me, to be in my arms, and I had to push her away, to reject her. An angel like her should never have to experience rejection.
I tried to clear my head from that thought as I was hunting. I attempted to focus on the reason I had to leave her side, so that I could return sated and hold her in my arms, kiss her without any risk of losing control. But it instantly all rushed back to my mind as I saw her walk inside the house with Alice, silent. I thought for sure that this situation was too much to bear for her, that it wasn't worth the pain; that I wasn't worth it. Especially compared to the quiet life she would have with her father. I truly thought I had lost her when we got back to my apartment, but I didn't.
She surrendered to me, offered herself to me, body and soul, and made me the happiest creature that ever lived. That much happiness and relief was almost too much to stand, so much that I lost control, finally. I know I didn't take her; I just let her take me, release me of any restrain I had struggled so hard to maintain. I gave her exactly what she asked of me, what she wanted; everything.
Holding her naked body in my arms, so close to me, being inside of her and drinking her blood was such a powerful feeling, unrealistic, indescribable. And I even had the chance to see her wake up in my arms afterwards, sighting contentedly and smiling. I never thought I would be strong enough not to hurt her, but I was, and I know it's all because of her, because of her trust in me. She's the most wonderful creature that exists, and she's mine. How I could have ever deserved someone like her, I wonder.
She's so determined, none of the horrible events that occurred in the past weeks made her walk away from me. She's stronger than anybody I know; enough to make that decision, enough to say goodbye to her father, to her human life. For me.
She talks about being turned as if it was just a detail when she knows exactly the pain and suffering she'll have to endure. She didn't flinch when she looked at the blood bags Alice brought for her. She's planning this as if it was the most natural thing for us to go through.
Now she's in the bathroom getting dressed, and I wait for her in the living room, trying hard not to pace like a beast in a cage. In a minute, maybe even less, she'll come back, ready to be mine for the rest of her existence. I'm already hers, I've been since the first time I saw a flash of her face in my mind.
I can never thank Alice enough for what she did that night.
I hear her tiny footsteps approaching, and I freeze. This is it, this is happening. I kept thinking that at some point she would change her mind. I fought so hard to win her over, but I never truly believed that I would succeed. But now she's here, in front of me, and she's about to commit to me in the most extreme way possible.
She's standing a few feet away from me, waiting for me to go to her. Our eyes lock and nothing else in the world exists anymore but her. She smiles at me sweetly and opens her mouth to talk, hesitating for a split second, and closes it. There's nothing left to say; we both know what we want, where we are, and what's left to do. No need to discuss any of it anymore, no need to wait any longer. There's only her and I, for eternity.
I slowly walk to her, my eyes never leaving hers, and stop in front of her. My body is mere inches from hers. I savor the sound of her breathing and her heart beating, the warmth of her body next to mine. Tomorrow it will all be gone, but I'll have all eternity to appreciate her smooth porcelain skin, the rich golden color of her eyes, and the sweet taste of her lips without any fear of hurting her.
His body is so close to mine, his stare boring into mine. He's towering over me, and I can feel the electricity running between us. I let myself drown in the golden color of his deep gaze and the magnetic pull brings me even closer to him. There's nothing else in the world but him, nothing exists anymore. I don't remember whether it's day or night anymore, and I don't care. I can only see him, his eyes, everything seems dark around us. We're alone in our bubble, just like the first time he approached me on the street. I don't think this feeling will ever fade, not even in a hundred years.
He brings his hands to mine and grazes his fingertips along my arms, up to my shoulders, and then my neck. He softly strokes my jaw with his thumb, and bends down to leave a tender kiss on my lips. I melt in his arms, once again surrendering completely to the feeling of his lips on mine, of his smell surrounding me. I'm more than ever intoxicated by him, I'm lost in him.
He pulls back slightly, locking his eyes on mine again. As if our bodies were one, I move back just when he walks closer to me, effectively forcing me to walk backwards to the bedroom. His eyes never leave mine as he slides his hands down to my hips and keeps leading me until I'm standing next to the bed. He pushes me gently, slowly onto the bed so that I'm lying on my back and he's on top of me.
I'm completely spellbound by the intensity of his stare, the love and veneration I see so clearly in them. I'm about to die, yet I've never felt so safe and protected in my entire life.
I don't move, I let him set the pace. I trust him. I surrender completely to him, giving myself to him, literally.
There's no hint of interrogation in his eyes, no doubt; and in mine either. Our entire bodies, our souls are connected; we just know on instinct how to proceed.
I smile at him tenderly, invitingly, and he flashes his crooked smile at me, his eyes suddenly teasing and playfully hungry. I chuckle softly and his crashes his lips to mine into a passionate kiss. I slide my hands to his hair and tangle my fingers in his locks as he brings his hand to my hair, resting the other on my hip. He grabs a fistful of my brown curls, not to forcefully, and breaks the kiss. My heart starts racing as his traces small kisses along my cheek to my ear, and then down my neck. I'm already panting, not from fear, but from anticipation, and a small growl rumbles in his throat.
I feel my vein pulsing under his lips, the blood racing so fast, and I can't take it anymore, I want him to take me. He parts his lips slightly and I can feel his breath on my warm skin.
"I love you, Bella," he whispers before sinking his teeth slowly into my skin.
I gasp as his hands grip my hip and my hair tightly, his tongue lapping at the blood pouring out of my vein, sucking at my neck. My heart is galloping, my nails scratching his scalp, bringing him even closer, pushing his mouth to my throat.
After only a few seconds of pure, unadulterated bliss, I feel my limbs start to go numb and my heart is ready to explode. In a last sharp intake of breath, I screw my eyes shut and grab onto his hair as hard as I can.
"I love you, Edward," is all I can scream before the ecstasy overcomes me and it all goes black.
I was made for him, and I belong to him, for eternity.
A/N: Thank you so much to all of you for not giving up on me and this story, even if it took me a while to finish it ...promised you I would ;)
It's been a bliss sharing this you, your support and your reviews really means a lot to me.
Huge thanks to my faithful beta theotherbella, I learned a lot thanks to her, and she was always there for me when I needed her. I could've never done this without her support!
This story is finished, but I'll keep writing. I hope you'll all be there to share a new story with me! I'm going back to the other story I started: "His apartment"... Hope to see you there ;)
Thank you, thank you, thank you so much...and please tell me what you think!