I don't own Twilight, Stephenie Meyers does. Sniff, sniff...
"The window?" Bella asked with uncertainty. Silly Bella, she still didn't know her strength yet.
"It's the most convenient exit. If you're frightened I can carry you." I knew she wouldn't want to be carried; remembering that day so long ago when I first learned she fainted at the smell of blood.
"We have all eternity, and you're worried about the time it would take to walk out to the back door?"
No, the reason was our daughter was by the back door and I didn't want her to attack her. I frowned at her, "Renesmee and Jacob are downstairs," and I don't need you killing him for imprinting before you've hunted, it would kill our daughter. She already loves him, too. I shuddered, but stopped before Bella caught that, her clear observance would definitely carry over to her new existence.
"Oh," she said with realization. "Is Renesmee...okay...with Jacob there?" she whispered at me. She had no idea how safe our daughter was with him.
"Trust me, she is perfectly safe. I know exactly what Jacob is thinking," I hated being in his mind. And I would be in there a lot now. Oh, the irony of it all. It wasn't so bad now, but I was already thinking of when she was older. Being in his head was going to be so much worse than being in Emmetts. This was my daughter not my sister.
"Of course," Bella said quietly as she looked to the ground. The first jump is always the most unnerving. Well, the first everything is the most unnerving, this was a day of firsts and I was glad to be able to share it with her. I was elated.
"Stalling?" I kidded with her.
"A little. I don't know how..." her voice trailed as she looked out the window, to the ground then to her tightly fitted ice-blue silk dress. I argued with Alice that that wasn't the best of choices, but Alice will be Alice.
"Watch me," I encouraged. I took a step out the window like I was taking a step. I landed perfectly on the balls of my feet. I looked up to see if Bella was going to follow. She nodded her head, took her first step and gracefully, more gracefully than I'd ever seen her do anything, land on the balls of her feet in those crazy stilettos Alice put her in. I was thoroughly impressed. She still continued to amaze me.
"Right. Easy," Bella said once she realized she'd made it.
"That was quite graceful-even for a vampire."
Aw, man, the klutziness is gone! What am I gonna joke around with her about now?
Emmett was as impressed as I was.
"Thank you," Bella responded; she may have been just as impressed. Then she took her shoes off and lobbed them right at Alice who gracefully caught them before they could pierce through the back wall. Again, the best I've ever seen her throw.
Dude! She is so pitching for us at our next baseball game! Emmett thought, also impressed with all of Bella's transformations so far.
"Her fashion sense hasn't improved as much as her balance. Does she not realize that she can run in those? Alice thought, she was disgruntled.
I took her hand; I couldn't stop being impressed with her improvements. I was questioning all of my disagreements with her about her being transformed, so far, everything was better than I had imagined. We ran together to the river. Alice's vision had finally come true, what she had shown Aro in Volterra. We would be together, running in the forest, hand in hand.
We stopped at the river to cross.
"Are we swimming?" she asked with a little panic in her voice.
"And ruin your pretty dress? No. We're jumping," I couldn't wait for her to react to this. And I couldn't have Alice kill me for getting that dress wet. Stupid silk.
Bella stood there with her lips pursed. "You first," she finally said.
I took one more look at her; I knew she could do this. I just had to show her first. I touched her cheek, stepped back with two steps, though I was exaggerating, I really didn't need any steps to jump across that small distance. I sailed through the air and landed softly again on the opposite riverbank.
"Show off," Bella muttered. This made me laugh; she was going to be able to show off for us as well. I couldn't wait.
Bella took five steps back. Her human memories were getting the best of her. Then she took a deep breath and stopped. I watched her scan the trees, then she took her first step, with it came a small ripping sound of fabric. More specifically, that stupid silk. She bent down and scowled at her dress then ripped the seams to match on either side. Alice was going to hate her for that, but she deserved it. I knew that dress was not a good idea. Hmmm...but I did like the improvements, I shook my head to focus. I heard the rest of the family laughing at the absurdity of it all. I also heard Jacob, but I ignored him as I laughed with the rest of them
Ugh! No fashion sense! Alice thought, her teeth too tightly clenched together to say anything out loud.
What was taking Bella so long, I wondered. "Bella? Do you want to watch again?" Was she ever going to cross?
I heard her take a deep breath, ran for the river and sailed further than I did. I lost her as she cleared past me and landed in a tree like a gymnast, laughing like I'd never heard her laugh before. She was happy. I found her as she swung nimbly from limb to limb to land quietly on her feet. Show off, I muttered to myself. She was showing me up. This was a strange, yet exhilarating, role reversal. I rather liked it. She was better than me at something.
"Was that good?" she had to ask?
"Very good," I tried controlling my excitement for her, but I failed, miserably.
"Can we do it again?" she asked.
This sobered me up. What was going through that head of hers? "Focus, Bella—we're on a hunting trip."
"Oh, right. Hunting," she nodded with understanding, but she seemed to be sad that she couldn't go swinging through the trees again.
Well, if she wanted a challenge, she can have one. I grinned at her mischievously, "Follow me, if you can." I took off running at top speed; soon she overtook and blew past me. I couldn't keep up. I thought of Emmett and how, when we would play baseball, she would be faster than the ball he would hit. She would catch it better than I. Well for now, we'll see how strong she would be in a year. I kept an eye on her as she ran freer than I knew she ever had. We were almost out of Washington, I stopped, hoping she would too. "Bella..."
She sighed and turned around to race back to me.
"Did you want to stay in the country or were you planning to continue on to Canada this afternoon?" I asked with a smirk on my face. Running with her was better than running with her on my back, and I would have run to Canada with her if she so chose.
"This is fine, what are we hunting?"
"Elk. I thought something easy for your first time..." her eyes narrowed at me. Why? Elk were easy. Bears and lions were mean; she needed something tame to start out on.
"Where?" she asked impatiently, pulling me from my reverie. Finally she was feeling the pain of the thirst, she had waited too long to hunt.
"Now close your eyes," I told her. She was beautiful with her eyes closed. I stroked her cheek with out thinking about it. Her breathing sped up at my touch, hmm, interesting. If her heart were still beating it probably would have sped up, too. I would miss that, especially the blush that wouldn't come anymore with her speeding heartbeat. I had to focus myself away from Bella's beauty, the tempting silk dress... "Listen, what do you hear?"
She paused for a moment letting her senses take over. "By the creek, to the northeast?"
"Yes," finally, her sense of direction had kicked in. I smiled at this thought. "Now...wait for the breeze again and...what do you smell?" I smelled five, but I needed her to smell them.
Her nose wrinkled, I knew she caught scent of the herbivores. This is where the vegetarian part of our diet came in. I laughed at her expression. "I know—it takes some getting used to."
"Three?" she asked me. She was good at this, but she needed to be aware of all her options.
"Five. There are two more in the trees behind them."
"What do I do now?" she asked.
I smiled, "What do you feel like doing?" She was thinking about it, she needed to stop thinking; she needed her senses to completely take over. I coached her, "Don't think about it, just follow your instincts." My hand reluctantly left her face, I stepped back to let her hunt her first meal.
I watched as she opened her eyes, bounding towards her prey, then the wind shifted. She took off away from the Elk, towards...Damn! There were humans. I should have been more careful, I should have sniffed out to make sure there weren't any. I didn't think there would be any out this far. We were pretty remote from the rest of the world. Serious backpackers, no doubt. I had to follow her, she needed to be stopped. I couldn't have her take down humans. She would hate herself for that. I bounded after her hoping to cut her off before she got too close.
She suddenly stopped. She spun around and growled at me, the most gut wrenching guttural sound I couldn't ever imagine coming from her beautiful body. She crouched down as if to attack me. I raised my arms to embrace her as best I could to stop her before she fed on a human. The wind shifted again.
"I have to get away from here!" she spat at me, clearly holding her breath.
"Can you leave?" I was shocked, utterly and completely shocked. She had stopped herself and held her breath. This was her first hunt and she was restraining herself.
She didn't answer me as she fled as fast as ever from this hunt. She took off from the hunt? How was she doing that? She stopped herself from hunting...humans? What kind of newborn had we created? Carlisle would be most impressed. I ran after her to make sure she was okay. What was she thinking? I hated not reading her mind. Did she hate herself? Did she hate me? I struggled to keep up with her strength and stride, but I needed to check on her. She stopped again, so suddenly that I flew right past her. I spun around to meet up with her.
"How did you do that?" I knew that came out more demanding than I intended, but I couldn't stop myself.
"You let me beat you before, didn't you?" What? I was talking about the hunt and she thought I wanted to know how she beat me in running? I shrugged and shook my head as she opened her mouth to taste the air.
"Bella, how did you do it?" She was showing more restraint in the few hours she was alive than I had in several decades. I couldn't fathom this.
"Run away? I held my breath," she responded, almost nonchalantly, like we were discussing a bad smell rather than human blood that she was craving.
"But how did you stop hunting?"
"When you came up behind me...I'm so sorry about that," she apologized. She was apologizing for almost attacking me. She would never cease to amaze me.
"Why are you apologizing to me? I'm the one who was horribly careless. I assumed no one would be so far from the trails, but I should have checked first. Such a stupid mistake! You have nothing to apologize for," in this instance, she was diabolical.
"But I growled at you!" She exclaimed, like she was horrified for this reaction.
"Of course you did. That's only natural. But I can't understand how you ran away," and I couldn't. I needed her to help me understand her thinking. I was at a total loss at her thought process. I didn't even have that kind of restraint and I was decades old.
"What else could I do? It might have been someone I know!"
She stated this like this was logic lost on me. And it was. My thoughts were incoherent. I did the only thing I could do. I laughed. This was the only thing I could do that made sense in my head.
"Why are you laughing at me?" She sounded hurt. This sobered me up again. She was about to snap, her needs still weren't taken care of, I needed her to hunt and soon. And I needed to assure her I wasn't laughing at her.
"I'm not laughing at you, Bella. I'm laughing because I am in shock. And I am in shock because I am completely amazed."
"Why?" she asked, calmly again.
"You shouldn't be able to do any of this. You shouldn't be so...so rational. You shouldn't be able to stand here discussing this with me calmly and coolly. And, much more than any of that, you should not have been able to break off mid-hunt with the scent of human blood in the air. Even mature vampires have difficulty with that—we're always very careful of where we hunt so as not to put ourselves in the path of temptation. Bella, you're behaving like you're decades old, rather than hours old," I explained to her as much as to myself.
"Oh," she stated with a little shock.
I put my hands on her face again, I still wasn't over my shock and wonderment of my wonderful wife's control. "What I wouldn't give to be able to see into your mind for just this one moment." I probed her mind again, only meeting that same unpenatrable wall I'd always hit. So frustrating. I really, really wanted to know her thoughts this very moment.
As I stared into her ruby eyes trying to probe her mind one of our first conversations resurface.
"How old are you Bella?"
"You don't seem seventeen."
"My mom always says I was born thirty five years old and that I get more middle aged every year." She laughed again. "Well, someone has to be the adult." Maybe that was something else she had brought to this life. A decades old newborn when she was only hours old. Carlisle might like that theory. Well, might was an understatement. I continued on this thought, unable to break from her gaze as she ran her fingers down my face and then they stayed on my lips. Now what was on her mind?
"I thought I wouldn't feel this way for a long time? "But I still want you."
My thoughts were incoherent again. I could not get my brain to wrap around what she was saying. She was a newborn, thirsty and she wanted...sex? I blinked trying to gain some coherency. "How can you even concentrate on that? Aren't you unbearably thirsty?"
She didn't answer me instead she swallowed, sighed and closed her eyes as she regained her focus. I dropped my hands to let her concentrate. Yes, I wanted what she wanted, but I needed her to satiate her thirst. I watched as she ever so slightly moved her head to the east, she smelled something. Her eyes popped open. Then she ran to her first prey. I followed closely behind. She was hunting a mountain lion. I was eager to see this. Evidently she liked what I liked. I smiled at the thought of shared mountain lion hunts. I watched as she gracefully climbed the boughs of the tall tree. She completely let her senses take over. I quietly watched from a safe distance as she stalked prey while the large cat stalked his. As she jumped down on the large beast my breath caught. They fell to the forest floor. After protecting fragile Bella for two years watching her wrestle a mountain lion was well, almost excruciating. I leaned against a tree to keep my balance and I had to keep reminding myself that she was durable; she would win. I watched with horror as the beast raked his paws across her dress. Oh, Alice was NOT going to like that. Bella didn't flinch; she wrestled the big cat and sunk her new teeth into the neck. She threw him off of her like a rag once he was drained. She turned to me wiping her face on the back of her hand. She looked like Emmett after he's fought a grizzly.
"Hmm," was all I could say as I wrapped my head around what I just bore witness to.
"I guess I could have done better," she replied as she looked over herself and tried to run her fingers through her knotted hair.
"You did perfectly fine," I could finally tell her once I settled down my nerves.
She raised her eyebrows at me looking for an explanation.
"It goes against the grain, letting you wrestle with lions. I was having an anxiety attack the whole time," I admitted to her.
"I know. Old habits die hard." I let my eyes rove over her now ripped and soiled dress. "I like the improvements to your dress, though." And I did.
Bella looked at me with questioning eyes. "Why am I still thirsty?"
"Because you're young."
She sighed. "And I don't suppose there are any other mountain lions nearby."
I felt the same way once I caught the scent of deer. "Plenty of deer, though."
Bella grimaced, "They don't smell as good."
No, I agree, they don't, but that's because they're "Herbivores. The meat eaters smell more like humans," I explained. Very little.
"Not that much like humans," she agreed with my internal thought.
"We could go back," I teased with her. "Whoever it was out there, if they were men, they probably wouldn't even mind death if you were the one delivering it," I said as I roamed over her barely clothed body. I knew I wouldn't have minded being attacked by this angel. Does she know how beautiful she is? Focus, Edward! You're hunting. "In fact, they would think they were already dead and gone to heaven the moment they saw you."
She rolled her eyes and snorted at me, "Let's go hunt some stinking herbivores."
We followed the scent of the deer; I had caught and drained two of the stinking herbivores as she drained a large buck, not being any neater in this endeavor as in her first. I felt her eyes on me as I went for my third deer. As I sucked it dry I wondered what she was looking at. Why her facial expression was that of...tenderness?...Love? What was she thinking? I would never get that answer questioned. I wanted to hear her thoughts. I ached to hear them.
"No longer thirsty?" I asked her as I threw my deer from me.
She shrugged at me, "You distracted me. You're much better at it than I am."
"Centuries of practice," I said with a smile. I looked at her again; I couldn't believe she was mine.
"Just one," she corrected me.
Yes, she was right, just one. I laughed at this correction. "Are you done for today? Or did you want to continue?" I wanted to make sure she was as well satiated as could be for the meeting of our daughter. Both of their needs now came first for me.
Bella thought over this for a few seconds before answering, "Done, I think." Her face reflected more thoughts then she said, "I want to see Renesmee."
I was ready for her to meet Renesmee. I held out my hand so we could go into our new world together. She turned towards me, stared into my eyes and started stroking my cheek, my face; then she wrapped her arms around me. I wanted to hold her, too. But it wasn't enough. Now that we were alone and her thirst was taken care of I wanted to return to that kiss we started back at the house. And since we were alone I could really share a kiss without any barriers. Just like before her fingers knotted into my hair, I resisted the urge to push her away, I didn't have to anymore. The trees, the deer, the smells, they all fell away. Bella was my only focus at the moment. I wanted her, urgently I pressed harder into her, and I felt her reciprocate into me. I was vaguely aware of the sensation of falling onto the ground. She landed on top of me. I didn't care.
"Oops, I didn't mean to tackle you like that."
I laughed. I was completely intoxicated by her. It was like our first kiss after we visited the meadow all over again. She had tackled me there, too, but this time I could allow her to. Restraint was no longer necessary.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
Of course I was okay. "Slightly better than okay," I told her. I let her lay on top of me; I reached to stroke her face again. The electricity still hummed between us, I reveled in her beauty and my luck of having a wife and a daughter. This broke me from my reverie. "Renesmee?" I spoke her name as a question. I knew Bella would only need to hear her name to remind her of her request of seeing her.
She remained on my chest as her expressions played out what she wanted to do and what she needed to do. I was voting for staying here and letting her finish what she wanted to do. I wanted it too, but I was leaving it up to her choice. As always it was her choice. Stay, Bella, stay reverberated in my head. But now that she didn't need to sleep I knew we had all night to show our love for each other. I rubbed her back in small circles as she contemplated her choice.
"Renesmee," she finally decided as she jumped onto her feet, pulling me with her. She impressed me with her strength again.