Bella finally realized how cold she was. She wasn't sure how long she had been sitting there, sitting over Alice's body, staring at nothing. Jasper sat equally still, holding Alice's limp body in his arms. When Bella id feel the cold, it came to her as a surprise. She looked down at her naked body, and for some reason it suddenly devastated her with humiliation. She pulled her legs against her chest and wrapped her arms tightly around herself for that meager protection.
Finally she cried. Small, helpless tears into her arms, almost silent. She longed for Edward, buried under the ground. She realized all she had to do was wait, wait for night. The sun was high and unrelenting in the sky. It was still early morning; the day would be long.
When Bella noticed the movement from the pile of dead vampires, she screamed. Jasper was suddenly in a crouching position, placing himself between her and the carnage, but nothing happened.
Bella crawled closer to the bloody corpses, but was careful to stay behind Jasper. The small movement happened again. It was the stranger, the third vampire.
Jane's head was lying a few feet away from her body, her face so burnt it was unrecognizable, but her blonde hair still intact. Alec was also burned beyond recognition, but the other one, the man, he was still alive.
Bella had been avoiding looking at the horrific sight, so she hadn't noticed that the third man wasn't burning with the rest of them. His milky white skin appeared black in most places, but that was just because he was covered in dirt and blood. The hours of sun hadn't turned him into a crispy ash, the way it had Alec's and Jane's. He was in much better condition, though he was missing both his legs.
Jasper growled bloodlust.
"Wait," Bella stopped him before he could kill the helpless vampire. "He was working with Edward. He's an ally."
Bella hadn't been able to see the hours of fighting, though she could hear the endless screams and growls and hits. Toward the end, though, when the sun started to rise, there were snippets of words. Bella hadn't even comprehended them at the time, but now she played them back to herself. Alec had been trying to reason with this other man, to join with them instead of Edward.
Bella went over to him. He looked up at her with clear, black eyes, his expression unreadable.
"Just let me die" he said, turning away from her.
Jasper went to his side as well. "Who are you?"
"Oh God, what's happening to me?" he cried out, "My legs." The man grabbed at his stumps where his legs were bitten and torn from his body during the fight. "Why aren't I dead?"
"Were you fighting with Edward?" Jasper asked.
"Who's Edward? Who are you?"
Bella looked to Jasper for some sort of explanation, but he looked just as confused as her.
"I'd rather die than live without my legs," the man was moaning.
"They will reattach," Jasper told him, and went to find his legs. He laid them down at the wound, pressing the torn flesh together. The man growled out in pain.
"What's happening to me?" he begged for answers.
"What's your name?" Jasper asked.
"You're a vampire now, Emmett McCarty."
Emmett seemed to think about this for a minute. He was poking and prodding at the rend in legs, but Jasper knocked his hands away. He laid his head back on the ground and looked up at the sky. "You're from the castle. Cullen. The vampire."
"Edward Cullen is who you were with last night." Jasper told him.
No one spoke for a while, the newborn appeared stunned as he lay unmoving. They were all waiting now. Waiting for night. Waiting for Edward. Jasper kept looking over his shoulder at Alice, checking on her, but she hadn't moved.
"I'm so hungry," Emmett moaned after a while. Jasper knew what he meant. He could feel the hunger building in his own stomach, but he knew what it was, knew to expect it. He had given a lot of blood to Alice, and he was feeling weak, hungry, the newborn had lost much blood in his fight, so must be feeling it as well.
Jasper looked down at the large man, to see him staring hungrily at Bella. Bella was whimpering and covering her nakedness as best she could with her arms. Jasper was startled to see this, and wondered how long he had been daydreaming.
He slipped off his shirt. His were the only clothes that weren't half destroyed out of the lot of them. He handed it to Bella, and she pulled it over her head gratefully.
"I'm going to go find food," Jasper said, knowing that neither he nor the other man would likely make it through the day without doing so. He didn't want to think what he might do to Bella if he let his hunger get too out of control. Because she smelled good. He turned to her and murmured quietly. "Stay out of his reach, over here," he directed Bella, "Until I get back." He stared into her eyes until he knew she understood and nodded yes.
Jasper found a deer almost right away. Catching it was surprisingly easy, and he drained the whole thing. Then he caught a fawn and drug it back for the other man. The vampire's drank the blood, as Bella sat with her head pressed to her knees, refusing to look.
Edward woke and knew in his bones that it was finally night. He could hear Bella's heartbeat, and had never been more relieved in his decades of life than he was at that moment. It only took him a minute to tear his way to the surface from his shallow grave.
He was barely out of the dirt, still covered in it, than he felt Bella's body pressed against him. She was sobbing into his chest, but he still felt like the luckiest man alive. She was okay, and relatively unharmed.
"Bella, Bella," he moaned into her hair, stroking her, holding her.
"Jasper," Edward breathed out when he saw the bright blonde hair of the man he knew to be dead. But he wasn't. He was a vampire, and he was sitting right there, in this meadow of death and horror.
He didn't loosen his hold on Bella by a millimeter as he approached Jasper. "You're alive."
Bella was shaking and crying in his arms. Jasper grasped his upper arm for a moment, and Edward looked at him in a way that he hoped would make him understand all his feelings.
Then Alice shuddered and opened her eyes.
The group that walked up to the Cullen castle were like soldiers come home after years of battle. Jasper carried Alice. Though it had taken all day, her abused body had managed to make the change. She was still too weak to move, though. Jasper feared that there was something wrong. The three vampires changed that day were unlike any he or Edward had ever met. He didn't know what to expect.
Emmett's legs were reattached, and he could move them, but he needed to balance against Edward to keep from falling. He hobbled along behind Edward, holding his shoulder. Edward kept his arm around his waist to support the much larger man's weight, even as he did the same to Bella on his other side. He was unwilling to let her go.
Bella sighed and rested her head on Edward's shoulder. He grinned and kissed her cheek. The night was snowy and cold outside their carriage, but those inside weren't affected at all.
"Happy my love?" Edward whispered into his fiancee's ear.
"More than I could ever have dreamed," she smiled up at him.
Jasper rolled his eyes. "Could you two be any more sickening?" he asked from the opposite seat.
"Stop it you. It's sweet." Alice scolding playfully and slapped him in the chest. She was sitting on his lap so there was enough room in the carriage for Emmett as well. The large vampire took up the space of two Alice's.
Jasper sighed and leaned his head back against the seat. There carriage plodded through the small town, finally stopping at their destination.
Bella hopped out of the carriage easily, with the newfound grace of a vampire. Edward followed her grinning. "We shouldn't be long," he told the other three before shutting the door.
Bella found it was hard to stop smiling as her love put his arm around her waist and led her to the door she knew all too well, from what felt like a lifetime ago.
The elderly woman who opened the door looked so startled to see the handsome, wealthy couple that it was almost comical. She managed to reign in her surprise enough to remember her manners. "How can I help yous, Sir, Madame?"
Bella smiled. "Mrs. Henderson."
Now Mrs. Henderson really looked surprised. She took a moment to stare at the well dressed woman in front of her, wondering how on earth this lady knew her name. Her brown hair was tied back elegantly and fashionably, yet simple and sweet. She wore a very luxurious looking fur coat, and her face held a calm, serene quality of one who didn't have a worry in the world.
"Well, my lord," Mrs. Henderson grasped a hand against her ample bosom. "Is that ye, wee Bella Swan?"
Bella laughed. "Yes, it's me."
"Soon to Bella Cullen," Edward added.
Mrs. Henderson's attention turned to the devastatingly handsome man with his arm wrapped around their long lost orphan. "Well I'll be."
"May we come in, Mrs. Henderson?" Bella asked politely.
"Of course. Of course." the woman ushered the young couple in the door. "My God. I can barely believe it's you, our little Bella."
"What is going on here? It's much too late for visitors." Bella looked up at the sound of the Mother Anne's voice. "I really must insist that you come back another time."
Mother Anne stopped and finally looked at the beautiful young couple in the doorway and faltered in her steps.
"Can you believe it, Mother?" Mrs. Henderson said, "It's our Bella, and she's to be married."
Mother Anne's mouth fell open in shock. Bella wasn't sure how she would react to seeing this woman again. She thought she might be angry, after all, this was the woman who had sold her. She couldn't help but feel a touch of betrayal, but overall, she was too happy to hold a grudge.
"We've come to adopt," Bella smiled and addressed Mrs. Henderson, "We'd like to take Rosie home with us."
"Oh my," Mrs. Henderson smiled with tears in her eyes and pressed a hand to her mouth, "She'll be so happy to see you."
"Is she still in our old room?"
Mother Anne discretely avoided Bella's eyes as she walked past, which was just as well. Edward followed her up the stairs to the small rooms. Though both vampires could see perfectly well in the dark, Bella lit a candle upon entering the sleeping girl's room, so that she would be able to see.
"Rosie," Bella whispered. The small blonde girl opened her shockingly blue eyes. It took her a moment to get her bearings, then she sat up.
"Bella!" The two girls wrapped their arms gleefully around each other. Rose started to cry. "I thought you were dead. You're alive!" She sobbed heavily into Bella's shoulder.
"I'm here. It's okay."
Finally Rose managed to calm down and pulled back slightly. "How did you escape?" she asked, wiping at her wet cheeks. Bella let out a breathless laugh, wiping at her own tears.
"There is so much to tell you," Bella said, running an affectionate hand over the girl's soft hair. "And there is someone I want you to meet."
Bella gestured to Edward, who stepped forward. "This is Edward. He and I are getting married."
Rose stared. "Married?. . . but you can't" her eyes flashed wildly from the stranger to Bella.
"Oh sweetie. Edward is a good man, you'll see."
"But I don't want you to leave again," Rose wailed, attaching her skinny arms tightly around Bella's neck.
"Rosie. We want you to come with us."
The younger girl pulled back again and stared at Bella, then Edward, then Bella. "You do?"
Bella smiled. "Yes. If that's what you want, we want you to come and live with us."
"I want to."
"Good. We're going to leave tonight. Now. I'll help you pack while Edward signs some papers. Okay?"
"Yes!" Rose jumped out of bed excitedly and started furiously pulling out items from underneath it. Edward chuckled and left the girls to it while he followed Mrs. Henderson to the office.
Less than an hour later, Rose, bundled in her thickest jacket, which was shabby and not nearly warm enough for her, followed Bella and Edward to their waiting carriage and her new life.