A/N: This is the sequel to Cullen's Pride (Please see my profile page to read this fic first.)
Stephanie Meyer owns all things twilight, I am just lucky enough to get to mess with them.
Thank you for reading, I hope you find something of interest in my story.
At the end of Cullen's Pride Jacob Black hurt Bella Swan, her Father, Charlie Swan watched it happen. She was taken inside the Cullen house and changed by Carlisle Cullen. This story picks up after Edward Cullen destroyed Jacob Black, infront of his passive wolf pack.
Chapter 1 - Black
Chapter 1 - Black
Several things happened at the same time as I threw the carcass off myself and onto the grass.
One – Jacob Blacks body returned to its human form as his heart took it's last beat.
Two – An almighty howl rent the air around my home as six massive wolves stood at their full height and gave voice to my victory.
Three – Charlie Swan screamed my name then feinted.
And four – Bella began her change.
I could do nothing for Charlie that Esme and the others wouldn't already be doing and while I desperately wanted to be with Bella now, I looked around the makeshift circle and stood to face the wolves.
I wiped what was left of Jacob Black off my lips and straightened my shirt. I had tufts of fur clinging to my jeans and mud and grass stuck to my boots but not a drop of blood on me anywhere. Clean kill Cullen, I thought proudly.
I turned to each of the wolves and lowered my head as a measure of respect, never forgetting that they had just lost a brother, a leader and a tribe member. It may have been the answer to their problem, but it was still a loss they would suffer as a pack.
I located Sam and moved to stand before him. "I wish to convey the Cullen clans deepest sympathies for the loss you have suffered today, at my hand. I may understand your wish to remove him as Alpha but, I also understand your loss." I bowed my head as he dipped his towards his gigantic paws on the gravel driveway.
"Thank you Edward Cullen. We will remove ourselves to the forest now. We will return to this place as humans, soon, to collect our dead and take him home. Do I have your word we will be safe to do so?" Sam asked.
"You have my word. We have never wished you harm." I nodded as he turned and led his pack into the forest.
"And Seth will be safe here until we return for him?" Sam stared into my eyes over his shoulder as I nodded, "Go Edward Cullen. Be with your woman now." Then Sam gave me one last as he hit the trees running.
I spared no thought or look for the body of the boy as I turned on my heel and went into my house to survey the damage today had done to us all.
My first priority was always going to be Bella. I needed to see her, feel her to make sure she was still with me, at least in some form. I repressed all the mental voices in the house as best I could and avoided the looks of sympathy and pity from my family and our two guests and stalked through the living room into the dining room.
My beautiful Bella was now dressed in a plain white smock dress and lying full out on the dining room table. Carlisle sat beside her with her hand in his. He had his head bowed onto the table beside her and he was quietly chanting his prayers.
I put my hand on his shoulder and he whispered how sorry he was to me as I sat in the chair beside him.
"We'll talk about it later Carlisle. What's done is done. I'd have done the same and I wouldn't have cared what you wanted either. Thank you for saving her, for me." I made particular care to emphasize the 'for me' and Carlisle lifted his head from the table and stared into my eyes.
"Thank you Edward." He thought as he rose from the chair and left me with her.
"Will you come back in a few minutes please Carlisle? I can't stay here right now, I have much to do, especially for Charlie, but I don't want her left alone." I said, my head bowed onto her arm. It was still warm.
"Of course, we won't leave her alone. I'll be back." He left the room and I heard him fall into Esme's arms in the kitchen a few seconds later.
I traced my finger up Bella's arm and down to her wrist, I took a long hard pull at the last vestiges of her human scent. It was clouded by the morphine and the acidic hint of venom now and I knew her potent essence was lost to me forever. Another would replace it, a less striking scent, that I would grow to love, but I silently mourned the loss of the only human scent I'd ever truly loved.
She lay perfectly still with her eyes closed. I hoped that she wasn't in any pain but knew that it would come, soon, nonetheless. Her breathing was already shallow though how much of that could be attributed to the venom now fighting with her blood, or the paralysis, I couldn't be sure.
I stood over her and spent a few quiet moments watching her breath peacefully. I bent my head and kissed her plump lips and murmured how much I loved her.
I took her left hand in mine and removed the brace and threw it to the floor, she wouldn't need that again. She'd quite obviously broken her hand again before I had arrived today but the bones were already healing under my fingers, so I kissed her palm and turned her engagement ring in my fingers.
"Edward, I'll sit with her, you need to go to Charlie now. He's awake and very distressed. I won't leave her, I promise." Carlisle put his hand on my shoulder and I passed her hand from mine to his. I took one last glance at her and went to find Charlie.
I woke up in a huge bed in a room I didn't recognize. I rubbed my eyes and rubbed the back of my neck and winced as the headache came to my forehead.
Where the fuck was I now?
I remembered screaming for Edward to do something for Bella but then everything had gone black. Now I was here, on my own by the looks of things.
I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed. I looked around the room and took it all in. The full-length windows that overlooked the river. The gold carpet, the matching bedclothes. A desk with a computer and a cell phone sitting on it. A lock box with its lid flipped open and its keys beside it. There was a wall completely taken up with stereo equipment and Cd's, hundreds, probably thousands of them. A fireplace with the remnants of a recent fire. Two closet doors stood open and row after row of suits and shirts hung there. This was a mans room.
I looked at the bedside table and the clock said it was 3pm. I'd been out of it for probably an hour. Huh.
Beside the clock was a small silver photo frame, in it was a picture of Edward and Bella the night of the dance. This was Edward's room. As I looked around again I could see that it was. His shoes sat on the floor at the foot of the bed with hers beside them, lined up, like they belonged there. Her book bag was lying on the sofa by the windows with his. Her cell phone sat beside it, the light flicking on and off, she had a message. A pile of her clothes was neatly folded beside her bag and my heart clenched. My little girl stayed here, in this room, with Edward. I had denied it many times in my head but now I was faced with the truth of it. When she was here, with the Cullen's, Bella lived here, with Edward. Together.
I always thought that would cause me pain, real physical pain and that I'd want to kill the bastard who took her from me. But it didn't. It might have yesterday, but not today.
This is what Bella wanted, he's who she wanted. I couldn't be angry at that. He was a good kid. I knew he loved her too. But he wasn't a kid. I didn't know what he was exactly but he wasn't a kid. I didn't want to see the images in my head again yet. Not yet.
I went through the open door into the bathroom and washed my face in the sink. I stood for a moment and took in my surroundings. Huge shower stall and a marble topped vanity. They had money, real money. He'd take care of her. She'd never want for anything, not things money could buy anyway. That made me feel good too. I could smell her shampoo and looked into the stall and saw a bottle of it on its end on the shelf there. My gut clenched thinking about her here in his shower but I let out a breath and calmed myself as best I could. She wasn't a kid anymore either. I was about to marry her mother at the same age and she was about to marry Edward. If she survived this would he still want to marry her? She'd be a cripple, I knew it the instant I heard her neck snap.
Oh god. My Bella. I let the tears come and I choked out a sob into a hand towel. Then I washed my face and went back into the bedroom.
I chanced a glance at the lock box on the desk. She'd been proud that she'd collected this box, Edward had called her brave for having it with her. It was obviously important to them both. I saw passports and birth certificates in it. One of which was Bella's. What the fuck? I had Bella's birth certificate. I knew Renee had a copy, but nobody should have this but us, surely?
I tipped the contents of the box out onto the desk and rummaged through it.
Four passports. Isabella Marie Cullen. Edward Anthony Cullen. Edward Anthony Masen. Bella Marie Masen. What the fuck was this?
The birth certificates looked real. They had seals and signatures and they were identical in everyway to each other except there were four of them all in the same names as the passports. There was a fifth one but it looked old, really old and really fragile. I opened it out carefully onto the table and smoothed out the creases. Edward Anthony Masen, Chicago 1901.
The mother listed was Elizabeth Masen, Chicago. The father Edward Anthony, Chicago. Same date registered, 1901.
It didn't make any sense.
I pushed the passports and birth certificates aside and picked up a roll of papers held with a rubber band. I flicked the band off and unrolled the papers. Deeds, title deeds to houses and commercial properties, all in Bella's name.
I threw them down and took an envelope off the desk and tipped it out. The jangle of keys and bankcards sounded against the timber of the desktop.
Car keys, Aston Martin key ring, Volvo key ring, Mercedes key ring. A set of keys with a tag named 'Denali'. And credit cards. Maybe ten of them. In various versions of Bella and Edward's names. All platinum. Under the stack of papers and cards was a small black satin pouch.
It tinkled when I shook it and I knew it had jewellery in it. I undid the satin band and tipped it all out into the palm of my hand.
Two plain gold wedding bands, one thick one thin. A large heart shaped diamond, on its own, not set. Several thick rope chains, a brooch with a pearl set in the centre and a pair of sapphire earrings.
"They were my mothers. They'll all be Bella's after we're married." I said it quietly, I didn't want to frighten him.
To his credit he didn't show his shock. He stood still and flipped the jewellery in his hand a few times before asking, "Is she alive?"
"Yes." I replied. It was true. For now she was alive as he knew it.
"Will you still marry her, even after…" his voice broke on the last syllable and I drew in a breath at the depth of his pain.
"Definitely. No question." I wanted him to know, even though he didn't know yet that she would be perfectly fine at some point, that it didn't matter to me that she had been paralyzed.
He didn't say anything, he just nodded to himself and I saw his shoulders relax. To him, right now, this was good news.
"Are you ok Chief Swan, is there anything I can do for you?" I asked.
"I think we can dispense with the Chief Swan now, don't you? Charlie, I'm just Charlie." He let the jewellery fall back into the box and he turned towards me. He walked to where I was standing in the doorway to my room and held out his hand as if to shake mine. "I'm Charlie Swan. Who the fuck are you?"
I nodded my head in understanding and reached forward and took his trembling hand in mine. For the first time ever his brain registered the coldness of my skin. "Hello Charlie Swan. I am Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. And I'm a vampire."
Jasper was right, heart of a lion. To his credit his flinch was minimal. He kept hold of my hand as we shook them and then let his hand fall back to his side as he stood in front of me.
"Right." Like daughter like father it seemed.
"I am sure you have questions Charlie, and I am here to answer them, I gave you my word that I would. I didn't ever consider it would be this soon that I would be talking to you about this, and we do have a few days if you wish to rest first." I wanted to give him all the same options Bella had had when I'd first told her.
"Did you kill Jacob Black out there, just now?" He pointed out the door.
"Yes." I wondered if the policeman in him was about to rise to the fore.
"Good." His mental thoughts were cursing Jacob right now and I could identify with his residual anger. My shame was yet to find me regarding what I'd just done, I knew it would, but as yet I could not bring myself to rationalize it any other way than it being in defense of this mans daughter.
"I'm so sorry Charlie." I hung my head low and thought about how I'd failed her so miserably.
He closed the space between us and put his hand on my shoulder. It was I who tried now, tried desperately hard, not to flinch at his touch. It was such a human thing to do, for him to comfort me.
"What are you sorry for, son?" He asked in a soft voice.
"I failed her, you. I promised you both I'd protect her." I choked it out between my fast closing throat.
"Look, son. I have no fucking idea what any of what I just saw means, but I'm pretty sure I'd have had no chance to do what you just did. I've been in a shit load of hostage situations and I've seen a lot of bad shit happen. I know there was no way to prevent what he did to her. She's alive, we have to be grateful for that now. You didn't fail her at all." He squeezed his hand tighter on my shoulder and I heard his breath hitch as he cried.
"Charlie, if I told you there was something we could do for Bella, to make her whole again, a chance to live a long…life…but that that something came at a price, would you still want me to do it?" I chose my words very carefully. I knew he had no idea what I meant, I could see it in his head that he still hadn't fully grasped what I was. As yet the idea that I could make Bella like me hadn't come to him. I knew it would, and I wanted to put the suggestion subtly into his brain so the shock of what Carlisle had done wouldn't cause him too much pain.
I stepped back from him and moved towards the sofa under the windows. I moved Bella's bag and clothes and put them on my bed. I put her cell phone in my pocket and patted it lovingly. Charlie watched me do it and he thought how sweet it was that I'd want to keep it near me. I motioned towards the sofa and he walked to it and sat on the edge. I pulled the chair out from under my desk and pulled it over to face the sofa, then sat in it.
He was still considering what I'd said but had come to no conclusion as yet. So I waited.
"Will it make her able to protect herself better, from now on, this thing you could do?" He asked gingerly. He was starting to comprehend where I was leading him and panic and sadness were going to soon overtake his brain.
"Yes. She will be strong Charlie. Very strong. Strong like me. Like Alice and Esme and Rose." His eyes flew open and he looked me straight in the eye.
"You could do that for her? Make her like you? So things, those things out there, couldn't hurt her again?" He pleaded.
"Why haven't you done it then? Go now, do it now. Make her strong, like you. Go. Don't sit here, go." He screeched at me. He stood and it was obvious he wanted to go downstairs right now and make me do it. I sat very still, kept my human posture as best I could, my face impassive against his rising panic and fury.
"It's done Charlie." I whispered into his red face.
I knew he didn't understand most of it, he didn't know the price she'd have to pay. The price we'd all have to pay. He didn't know what we'd condemned her to. What we'd just taken from her. All he knew was that she'd be here, at least, and she'd be strong. For now that's all he needed to know.
I was sorry I'd lost my temper just then. He had to be hurting too. He loved her and he'd had to watch her break in front of his eyes too. But I couldn't help being angry that he was sitting here shooting shit with me when he could be downstairs making her whole again. I had no fucking idea how it was to be done and right now I didn't fucking care. I'd give anything, anything he cared to ask for, if he did it for her.
When he said it was already done I closed my eyes. Thank god. Thank god he'd had the good sense to help her first, then come to me.
"Can I see her now?" I wanted to see her, make sure she was alright.
"Of course. There is nothing to see yet though Charlie. She just looks like she is asleep. But that will change as the morphine wears off." He said it really quietly and I knew there was bad news attached to the statement.
"Why does she need morphine?"
"Charlie, let me take you to her. You can sit with her for a bit, hold her hand, she'd like that. Just be with her for a bit. The wolv…the native boys will be back in a few minutes to collect Jacob's body and to take Seth home. I need to speak with them. I give you my word we will speak more about what all this means for Bella, and for you, when that is done."
"The wolves are coming back here?" I could fee the bile rising in my throat again at the thought.
"Yes Charlie. Though they will return in their human form this time. They are no threat to us now. They never were really, only Jacob. They have a right to collect their dead Charlie. And Seth belongs there with them, for now."
"Right. Yeah. Of course. I'd like to see her, thanks." He stood and I followed him to the door. "Edward. Can I ask you something first?"
He stopped and turned to me and nodded like he knew what was coming.
"Does she know everything about you? All this I mean?" I swept my hand towards the desk and the papers there.
"Yes Charlie, I have no secrets from her. You can ask her yourself in a few days, but you need to know this is what she wanted." He said solemnly. For some reason I knew he meant it but at the same time I thought he might be sorry he did.
I let him led me out of the room and down a long corridor until we were standing on a high landing. As I went down the stairs I looked over the railing and I could see right down the centre of the house and into the living room and kitchen. Esme was washing dishes at the sink. A huge dark haired boy sat on a stool at the counter talking with a blonde haired boy. The one who had bought me inside? My Bella practically lived here and I didn't even know half their names.
Seth Clearwater was sitting on the end of a long white sofa with his head in his hands while Alice and the blonde girl patted his back. I didn't see Carlisle anywhere and I knew instinctively that he would be with my Bell's. He was a doctor, a good one by all accounts, he'd helped her.
As we came to the second floor landing I looked over the railing again. This time I saw them a little closer. They were all perfectly still. Apart from Alice who was rubbing Seth's back, they were all perfectly still, like marble statues.
I stumbled at the last step and Edward turned to put his hand on my arm to steady me.
"It's ok Charlie. Nobody here will harm you, ever. You're family." He whispered into my ear as he put me on my feet again.
"They're all, you're all…"I couldn't finish the sentence.
"Yes Charlie. We're all vampires." I winced, as he said what I couldn't. I kept my eyes on them as we went down the last flight of stairs and into the living room.
"Right, of course, sorry." I didn't mean to be rude or stupid about it. I just never twigged and now I felt stupid for some reason.
"Don't apologize, please. I've hated keeping it from you, Bella did too." He said as he ushered me past the piano and into the dining room.
Carlisle stood as soon as I went in and my eyes flew to the table. She looked so beautiful. For a moment I let myself believe that she was fine. That this hadn't happened. She was still, but breathing. So it was easy to let my mind deceive me into thinking it had all been an elaborate joke. Staged for my benefit.
The look on Carlisle's face told me different. He was in agony, real pain, because my daughter was hurt. They all hurt for it. They loved her too. Wow. I'd missed so much by not wanting to see.
I winced as Charlie berated himself in his mind. He was being so very brave, like Bella had been, and I hated that he had to learn all this this way. I hadn't lied when I'd said I hated having kept it from him. I meant it.
"I'm so sorry Charlie." Carlisle reached out his hand and Charlie shook it, as he had done before when meeting Carlisle. Nothing had really changed for Charlie, he still respected and admired Carlisle as a man and a doctor. Nothing else registered for Charlie in that moment.
"Which one of you did it?" He asked. I looked to Carlisle and nodded that he should tell him the truth.
"I gave her my word a few days ago Charlie, that should something ever happen to her that I would do this for her, for them both. We all hoped it would never come to that. I'm sorry Charlie." He said it again and I waited while Charlie replayed what Carlisle had said in his mind. He seemed to understand that his was what Bella had asked for, what she wanted, what I wanted if the choice had to be made.
"Thank you for doing whatever it was you did. Can I sit with her? Can she hear me?" He asked Carlisle.
"Of course." Carlisle stepped aside and Charlie took her hand and looked at her engagement ring, then up at me, and then back to Bella. "She can hear you Charlie. Talk to her, it will help her. She's in no pain for now." He put his hand on Charlie's shoulder and then left the room.
I could hear the car arriving in the driveway so I reminded Charlie that I had to step outside for a moment but that I'd be back as soon as my business was concluded outside. He nodded but kept his thoughts for Bella.
"Oh honey, I'm so sorry I couldn't do anything. So sorry. It's ok now. You'll be strong soon they say. Edward won't let anything hurt you." I heard him tell her as I went into the yard to greet the now human wolves.
Sam, Jared, Paul and the one I knew to be Quill exited the battered station wagon and came to stand in front of me at the stairs. They had all changed into black jeans and each had a black shirt on, they were different but still very solemn.
Sam stepped forward and shook my hand. "We will take him now." He said and the three boys scooped up Jacob and put him in the back of the wagon. Jared got in with the body and cradled it in his lap. The other two boys got into the back seat and closed the doors.
"I am very sorry for your loss Sam." I said truthfully even though I knew it was at my hand that they had suffered it.
"Thank you Edward. He was a brother and up until a few months ago an honorable man." He hung his head low and I picked the sincerity of his thoughts from his mind. "I would like to speak with Seth for a moment please?" He asked.
"Yes of course." I went into the foyer and asked for Seth to please come outside. He walked towards me, still trembling. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him how proud of him I was that he protected Bella for me today. I told him that no matter what, he was welcome here and that if he ever needed anything to come straight to me. He nodded and went to stand beside Sam.
"Sam, I know it is none of my business but I would like to know what will become of Seth?" I was worried that he'd be subjected to the exile he was so deathly afraid of.
"He will be hailed a hero by the tribe and is to become my wingman as soon as the fever takes him over. Shouldn't be too much longer eh Seth, not with all that vampire stink on you!" He nudged Seth in the ribs and Seth whipped his head up and stared wide eyes and slack jawed at Sam. Sam nodded and Seth smiled.
"Thank you again Seth. I will look forward to watching your progression through the ranks." I said with real affection. He was a sweet boy and as brave as they came.
"Join the others please Seth" Sam asked. When the door to the wagon closed Sam continued, "I have relayed the outcome of today's events to the tribunal. The pack has agreed that you acted in self defense, despite our lack of involvement we have decided to stand united and not disclose what happened here other than to relay the death of the Alpha to the tribunal and the tribe. We'll be in touch soon with regard to what comes of it."
"Thank you Sam." I shook his hand and he drove off with his Alpha.
I could hear Charlie speaking softly to Bella still. Telling her how proud of her she was, how much he loved her. How he'd try to be brave and learn what all this meant so she'd never have to feel pain at hiding it ever again. My heart went out to him. He'd fade soon, from the shock and the pain and all the trauma he'd seen. We'd take care of him though. He was family.
Now I had to go and comfort my own family. I ran my hand through my hair and went back inside.
Everything in my mind was black. The sounds I could hear, the quiet crying beside me, the crunch of gravel in the driveway, the howling of the wolves, all registered in my brain as black. The smell of this room was black, as was the tea Esme would make for my dad, the flowers in the vase that Carlisle had swept aside to lay me here, the ink of my tattoo, the timber of the table, it all smelled black. The ice cold fingers that held mine felt black. The locket around my neck and the rings on my fingers were black. My fingers felt black. The taste of the injection Carlisle had given me, the spit in my mouth, the fear I felt on my tongue, it was all black.
My new world was going to be black.
Jacob took my colours.