A/N thanks for all the kind and encouraging comments for the last chapter. It's been a while since the last update, I know and I'm sorry, but I'm glad that you are still with me.

Well … finally what you've all been waiting for … it's time for the human to wake up. I wonder what she has to say …


Chapter 9

Jasper POV

The drive back from town to Peter's and Charlotte's house was uneventful, and short. Only half an hour later I pulled up in their driveway, parking in the exact same spot as before, cutting off the engine.

I was glad to be back here. Well, sort of. At the very least I was relieved, because around here I didn't have to hide what I was, despite the fact that there was a human sleeping in one of the rooms on the upper level. But this human was an exception to the rule. She already knew, or so I assumed, what I was, even before I'd exposed myself by biting her.

Since I was free to move as fast as inhumanly possible, I took full advantage of it. In a blink of an eye I was out of my car and had the trunk popped up. I frowned at the numerous bags, waiting to be unloaded. Even with my vampire strength it would have taken me perhaps three times to get everything into the house. Driven by my sheer stubbornness, my unwillingness to do this alone, I called out for help, loud enough to be heard by a vampire, but still too quiet for a human ear to pick up.

"Can someone lend me a hand?" I all but growled.

I could hear and feel Peter's amusement before he emerged from somewhere behind the house. He brushed dirt from his clothes as he leisurely walked over to me.

"The mighty Mayor asking for help … I'm shocked. Are you sick?" He reached out, as if to feel my forehead. I simply dodged, instead of slapping his hand away, although I was tempted to swipe the mocking look of his face.

"Just shut up and grab the rest, will you?" I snapped at him, walking over to the house with my arms full of human food supplies.

At first I didn't pay any attention to the interior when I entered the house, impatient to find to kitchen. But it was rather easy to find, since the entire downstairs was practically one big room, with a joining kitchen. I walked straight over to the counter separating the spacious living room from the tiny kitchen area, unloading the goods. Then I took a curious glance around. Of course there were lots and lots of bookshelves, filled with books and DVD's, but no knick knacks. A large flat screen was installed against the east wall, above the fireplace, and the large couch and the big matching loveseat were looking rather inviting.

Despite its roominess the living area looked rather cozy. Maybe it was all the wood, and the dark colors. I've never had any desire to settle down, but I had to admit this place had some appeal.

"You like it?" Peter asked with a smirk in his voice, placing his load next to mine.

"It's okay." I shrugged, trying to sound indifferently, but according to Peter's emotions I wasn't very convincing. I started to unpack the goods, using it as a distraction. "I think we should put away the frozen stuff, before it's going to melt." I suggested. I didn't care about the waste of money, but I had no desire to go back to that awful place to replace those items, at least not any time soon.

"Yeah, you're right." Peter agreed. In the matter of second the fridge was stocked with everything that needed to be kept cooled or frozen. The rest of the things we put into the empty cupboard above the sink, and the vegetables and fruits landed in a big bowl. We left a couple of the water bottles on the bar, not knowing if the human preferred her beverage cooled or room temperature.

I leaned casually against the counter, feeling utterly pleased with myself. As far as I was concerned by providing and (correctly) storing sustenance for the human, I've served my sentence. But knowing Peter's mate she wouldn't agree with me on that.

Peter stood a few feet away from me, reading the perception manual of the painkillers I'd picked up. His brows were furrowed slightly. I almost laughed at his concentrated look, but I didn't. Instead I took the opportunity to take a closer look at him, noticing that the dirt on his clothes was in fact a fine layer of sawdust. "What the hell have you been doing in the backyard?"

Peter glanced down at his clothes, and huffed in annoyance. He desperately tried to clean himself further, but to no avail. Finally realizing that at this point there was nothing he could do to rectify the state of his clothes, he gave up. He shrugged his shoulders, and then he looked up, at me. "I've been chopping wood, what else? For the fireplace upstairs and down here … now that we have a human among us, we have to keep the house heated, don't we?" He answered my question.

It did make sense. The cold didn't bother us vampires, but I guessed that the nights around here could get quite cold and therefore uncomfortable for a fragile human.

Still, I frowned. What else were they going to do for her?

"She is still out cold." Peter said, stating the obvious. Even from down here I was able to ascertain that the human was still deep in slumber land. Her breathing was steady and regular, and so was her heartbeat. It was strange, but I was relieved, glad even, that she was recovering that quickly.

Her strong heartbeat was a little distracting though, calling out to me … and HIM … like a homing beacon. Thankfully, the monster seemed to be at peace … for now.

Just stay close to her … that's all I need … for now … My monster chimed in. In making a demand like that he was acting like he was actually in charge of me.

Am I not? He challenged.

I don't think so. I snapped. But the truth was, he had more influence over my actions and decisions that I was willing to admit, out loud. But unfortunately I wasn't able to hide my thoughts from HIM. He sniggered in response, but remained silent. I exhaled loudly.

Completely misinterpreting my reaction, Peter hurried to reassure me. "But I'm sure she'll wake up soon." Playing along, I simply nodded.

"You are right about that assessment, honey." Charlotte agreed, appearing out of nowhere. She walked over to Peter, and kissed him soundly on the cheek, before turning around, and opening the fridge. "Hmm … I have to say you did a fine job." She said, examining the contents.

A huge grin spread across my face. Char's head snapped up, and she glared at me. "You have no right to feel smug. This was hardly a hard task to accomplish." She scolded me. Apparently I've been projecting my feelings again. "And don't think you are off the hook … oh, no, not by a long shot." She added, reaching for one of the water bottles and the pain medicine. I scowled, but didn't dare to oppose her. Without another word Char left the kitchen to go upstairs again.

Peter had his lips pressed together, very tightly, like he was trying, very hard, to keep himself from laughing or commenting. I didn't care which urge was stronger.

"Not. A. Word." I warned him through clenched teeth. Knowing it wouldn't end well for him to disrespect me, he complied … grudgingly though. I might allow his wife to walk all over me, without retribution, but that didn't mean that he had the same privileges.

My monster didn't like to be reprimand by a submissive (his words not mine) either, that much I could tell, but he never commented in words or forced me into action, not against Charlotte. I had no idea why, though.

Isn't that obvious? I like feisty women … HE answered my question.

Weirdo! I replied with an eye roll.

Look who's talking … er thinking … remember I am a part of you … you know what that means … He trailed off.

No, I don't. I denied vehemently.

Well, that's too bad … but maybe it's time you figure it out … He said mysteriously, retreating once again, thus leaving me hanging with more questions. Knowing I wouldn't get any useful answers out of him, I dropped the subject … for the time being.

A few minutes later, Peter and I went to join Charlotte on the upper level.

There were four doors, but only one was open. Peter went inside the room, while I remained in the hallway. I could tell that Charlotte didn't want me in the room, but otherwise she didn't seem to mind my presence up here. To my surprise, she felt actually glad that I was close by. She was probably hoping that my gift would come in handy, when the girl would wake up. Too bad, that it didn't seem to have any effect on the human. I'd mentioned it to Peter, but maybe he hadn't shared this vital piece of information with his mate. I surely didn't want to point it out now. I wanted to be there when the girl would regain consciousness. And who knew, perhaps it would work this time. Maybe I'd just have to try harder.

Not knowing what else to do, I sat down on the floor, making myself comfortable by leaning casually against the wall. Even from this position I still had a perfect view inside the room.

I could see the girl lying on the big bed, dressed in a fresh set of clothes. She looked rather peaceful … and truly enticing with her long, dark hair fanned out like that. God, I should stop thinking about her like that, even it was the truth.

Charlotte sat next to her on the bed. I could tell that she was restraining herself from touching the girl. Though, I didn't know why she would want to do that. Sure the warmth of the human skin was a very pleasant experience for us vampires. But I doubted very much that Char's intentions had anything to do with mine. My guess was she just wanted to hold her hand or caress her cheek, anything to show her sympathy, because as a vampire we didn't need physical contact to check for vital signs.

Peter sat in one of the armchairs near the window, watching his mate with interest. But whereas I was astounded by Char's open display of affection he was simply smiled. He didn't feel the same way about the human as his mate. That much was obvious. But something told me that he would do everything in his power to protect this human, because that's what Charlotte wanted.

I wondered how the human would feel about this. Would she be glad to have two vampires guarding her? Or would she freak out … at last?

Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long to get my answer. A couple of minutes later, the human girl began to stir.

Human Girl aka Bella POV

I could feel something tugging at my mind. The sensation felt oddly familiar. It felt like waking up … from a very weird, very vivid dream.

But that couldn't be right. I should be dead … and in heaven by now (since I've done nothing to deserve to go to the other place). But this certainly didn't feel like cloud nine, not that I knew what it would actually feel like. But wasn't heaven supposed to be a place of eternal peace and happiness? I certainly didn't feel peaceful or happy, quite the opposite actually.

And on top of that, I hurt, all over.

It wasn't the burning sensation Jimmy had told me about. Every muscle in my body was aching, like I had a really tough physical workout without warm-up … for hours. And I was thirsty … craving water, not blood.

So, I haven't gone through the change. I wasn't dead and I wasn't a vampire. I was still me, little human Bella.

But what the hell has happened then?

Without making any conscious effort, my memories came rushing back … the last moments before I'd blacked out …

I was sitting in that motel diner, sipping on a bad cup of coffee. God, I missed Starbucks. I tried to read, but mostly I was wondering how I would get to the next town. I hated hitch-hiking, and sleeping in those cheap, crappy motels. But what other choice did I have? I needed to safe my money, having only a couple hundred left. Maybe I should try and find a job in the next town. But having no ID would make things more difficult. Well, I could probably get a temporary one, poorly paid, but at least it would help me get by somehow.

More than once I've considered disregarding Jimmy's warning, and go and find my father. But I couldn't. It was too dangerous.

So far, I've been lucky. The guys, and occasionally women, that had offered me a ride had been nice. But I knew my luck would run out eventually … and it did … when HE came into the diner.

He took a seat at the bar, ordering only something to drink.

Jimmy had warned me to keep a low profile, and try not to call any attention towards myself. But I couldn't help myself, I simply had to look.

I knew at once what he was. A vampire. Just like Jimmy, he was blond, though his hair was longer and slightly curled. I wanted to run my fingers through it. He was tall, and muscular, probably around twenty years old (physically speaking). He was dressed casually, with jeans and shirt … and cowboy boots. Fuck, even with this slightly annoyed look on his handsome face, he was drop dead gorgeous (no pun intended). He seemed to be upset about something. Somehow, I got the impression he didn't want to be here, but was stuck for some unknown reason.

The whole time I tried to be careful, sneaky, observing him from under my eyelashes, making it look like I was still engrossed into my reading material, when in truth he had my full attention from the very first moment he'd entered this fine establishment. Damn those vampires and their alluring power.

And then our eyes met. I couldn't look away. I felt trapped in his gaze, like I was under some sort of spell. His red eyes didn't frighten me. Jimmy's eyes had the same color and I wasn't scared of him either … at least not anymore. I trusted Jimmy with my life, especially after … I stopped that thought right in its tracks. This was neither the time nor the place to have a mental breakdown.

The strange vampire let his eyes wander unabashedly over my body. I felt utterly exposed under his intense scrutiny. I was torn between feeling embarrassed and thrilled.

Jimmy had told me, that vampires were very sexual beings, with incredible stamina. For a split second I imagined myself with this blonde godlike creature in my motel room, on the bed, our limps entangled, his lips kissing and caressing every inch of my body, and then his cock thrusting into me, hard, again and again … until …

Damn hormones, I cursed silently, quickly dropping my gaze. I knew I was blushing furiously. It actually felt like my whole head was on fire. I shouldn't be fantasizing about a stranger like that, but especially not about him. Who knew if he was out to get me like the others?

I needed to leave, and fast. I searched my pocket for some coins, placing them on the table next to the half empty cup of coffee. Then I stood and left the diner, trying to act normal, probably failing completely.

I could feel his eyes on me the whole time. It rattled me. Would he follow me? But what if he did? I was no match for him. He was a thousand times stronger, and faster.

Deciding there was nothing I could do to prevent him from coming after me I went straight into my room, not bothering to lock the door. It wasn't like I was trying to make it easier for him to get to me, far from it. But seriously … if he wanted to get in, he would find a way. I changed into my sleeping attire and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth.

This was where he found me. Since I've sort of anticipated his arrival, I didn't show any surprise or resistance, merely accepting the inevitable. I would die. He didn't need to use any force, when he pulled me closer. I went willingly, actually leaning into his embrace.

"Do it." That was the last thing I said, before his teeth cut into my neck. With each pull I felt my strength weakening, until the darkness took me completely …

He bit me. I could clearly remember that. And yet, I was still alive. How was this possible? Did he stop? But why? And how? Jimmy had told me that once a vampire started sucking blood, it was nearly impossible to stop, because the bloodlust took precedence. And what about the venom? Didn't he inject some of it into my system? Apparently not. My mind was reeling from all the unanswered questions. And as a result my head started to hurt even more.

Sure, I wanted answers to all of my questions, but first and foremost I needed to know where I was.

Of course, I could just open my eyes to check, but I was afraid to do so. Instead I used my other senses to gather some information.

My sense of smell told me that I was definitely not in the motel room any longer. I was glad about that. I've always hated that the weird, moldy stench that came along with those cheap motel rooms. I took in a deep breath. The air was clean and crisp, but slightly tinted with sweetness. The smell seemed familiar, yet foreign. Odd …

Due to what my sense of touch was telling me, I assumed I was lying on a bed. It was very, very comfortable bed, and the sheets were so soft, like silk. That was even more proof that I wasn't in that motel anymore. The sheets in those establishments always made me itch. If it were up to me, I would stay in this bed and never get up. But I knew I had to face reality eventually.

I couldn't hear anything … well that wasn't true. There were birds singing, and I could hear leaves rustling in the trees nearby, but other than that it was quiet. Was I in the woods somewhere? Did HE bring me here, wherever here was? And for what purpose?

There was this weird humming noise, like a swarm of bees. It sounded very close, and like the sweet smell, it seemed oddly familiar. Think Bella … And suddenly, it clicked. I knew that sound, and that perfume, for the lack of a better term. There were at least two vampires in the room with me, maybe more.

My eyes snapped open. I could barely make out anything. It was dark, probably nighttime. I sensed someone moving. A second later a soft light brightened the room considerably.

"Welcome back to the land of the living, sweetie."

A/N So, Bella is finally awake. What is going to happen now? And who is this Jimmy character she is referring to? So many questions … well stay tuned, some of them will be answered in the next chapter. But until then I'd like to hear your theories.