Five years after the battle with Victoria and her newborn army, Edward Cullen is set to honour his vow to Turn Bella, turning multiple worlds upside down...
JUST A GIRL
"Why are you here?"
The voice cut deep, its tone steeped in disdain more forceful than the waves crashing against the very shore she stood on. She knew that voice better than she knew herself. Though there had been no tell-tale signs to herald his arrival, she was not surprised by his presence. She was expecting him. In fact, he had waited longer than expected to confront her.
He was Jacob Black.
Barefoot, bare-chested and far taller than was normal, he was no longer a boy. Rather, he was the man whom had haunted her dreams for far longer than she cared to admit.
A lifetime ago, he had been something more than just her best friend, her own personal sun. But now, five years and one wedding later, they were here, standing on opposite sides of a line that life and love and choice– or rather the lack of one – had forced them to draw.
Bella Cullen took a deep, bracing breath of cold Pacific Ocean air, as if the brine that saturated it was courage that she could graft onto the very marrow of her bones. She, perhaps unwisely, chose to ignore him, keeping her back to him. She knew him well enough even after all this time to know without even looking, that his hands were tight fists at his side.
"Are we going to have this conversation again? How many times are you going to make me repeat myself, Cullen?" he all but growled.
Bella's jaw clenched painfully at his staunch refusal to call her by her name. "I heard you the first fifty times you told me, Alpha," she bit out in return.
"And, yet, here we are. Again," behind her, Jacob spread his hands in biting mockery.
She said nothing in reply and for a seemingly infinitesimal stretch of time, the only sound that could be heard was that of the waves as they crashed against the sands of First Beach. Bella's eyes never strayed from the distant horizon, watching as heavy grey clouds rolled inland, pregnant with the rains that kept the Olympic Peninsula so lush and verdant with life. She shivered in the cold maritime breeze, drawing the folds of her insulated raincoat closer around her slender body.
She didn't see as Jacob stepped closer to her, as if drawn by some invisible force, to wrap her in the warm strength of his embrace, to shield her as he'd done so often in the past. He scowled darkly and forced his traitorous body to remain still. Bella could not see him, but she could feel the waves of preternatural heat radiating against her back. She ached to reverse time, just for the privilege to step into his arms and know that all would be right in the world if Jacob would just smile that smile, her smile, and hold on just a little tighter, just a little longer.
But, even in this supernatural world filled with the magic of sparkling Vampires and Shape-shifters, time travel was impossible, and her privilege to be held safe and warm in Jacob Black's arms had been forfeited long ago along with their friendship and her promise to live.
She turned to face him, not realising that tears were tracking down her face. "I just wanted to see First Beach," and you, Bella added silently, "one last time," she whispered at long last.
Though not truly welcome, as long as she remained human, she was free to walk the ancestral lands of the People. And, even in the face of his Pack's hostility, despite her marriage to the mind-reading bloodsucker and her new 'family's' quiet disapproval, she had continued to do just that.
So her words could mean only one thing. Cullen was finally going to honour his promise and Turn Bella.
He had known that this day would come, had resigned himself to it, and thought that he had made some semblance of peace with it. Yet, that was clearly not the case. He did not expect it to hurt quite so badly, a merciless vice that clamped around his heart. Jacob clenched his eyes shut, desperately willing back the tears that threatened to escape. He released a shaky breath he hadn't even realised he was holding and whirled away from her.
"Wait, Jake, please!" she cried, grabbing his arm to stop him.
Bella flinched, less from the scalding heat of the smooth copper skin beneath her palm, and more from gut-wrenching despair as he shrank away from her cool touch.
"Jacob… say something," she begged.
His collected mask of contempt slipped. "Say something?" he asked incredulously. "Say something?" his fists were clenched, tighter than before. "Like what?" he demanded.
"There's nothing to say!" he lashed out bitterly. "There's been nothing to say for the past five years! You've made your choice, you made it five years ago, and there's nothing to do or say about it now! Nothing I want to do or say about it!"
"Jake," her voice cracked, "I needed to say goodbye. We needed to say goodbye," she whispered sadly.
Dark eyes narrowed, he speared a look at her over his shoulder. "I don't need you to tell me goodbye. I already said goodbye to the person that mattered. Bella Swan. You're just a girl with her face."
Bella gasped at the cruelty that laced his words. "Jake –"
He halted her appeal with an imperial glare. "Go home, Cullen. You're not welcome here."
"The Volturi grow ever more nervous after Balgair crossed from the Ciúnas and rent the Balance, Highness. The Witch Twins, Jane and Alec, were dispatched to remind the Cullens of Aro's edict. The mind-reader will honour his promise. The coven leaves Forks for Denali on the morrow. The Shield Maiden will be Turned by week's end."
Outside, the sky charged to an electric purple as thunder rolled and swift moving tempestuous clouds cast an ominous shadow over the formerly tranquil white sand beaches of Grian. Inside the Imperial Palace, the Shadow Prince's vassal quaked with fear at his Master's show of temper.
"Darkness continues to grow ever bolder." The voice from the shadows said what they were all thinking.
From her throne, High Queen Danu laid a soothing hand on her consort's heavily muscled forearm. A wave of calm cooled the savage fire of his temper, and outside the clouds dissipated as quickly as they appeared. "My brother goes too far. We cannot allow this to happen," she decreed.
Grimm, the Shadow Prince, nodded in agreement, his blood-red eyes trained on the golden perfection of her face. "The Vampire must be stopped."
Balgair: The Rogue
Ciúnas: The Silence
Grian: The Light
A/N: I know this seems abrupt, but I didn't have it in me to continue and I have been sitting on this for so long that I just had to post it. If there is anyone out there who wants to continue, just drop me a note and let me know.
I hope you enjoyed. Let me know your thoughts.