Swan Lodge

Chapter Sixteen—Heart


Prompt: November 5, 2012 –Groom and November 6, 2012—"I need a few more minutes."


Breathless, Edward watched as Bella lay perfectly still, hours after they'd come together a dozen times during the night. The statue-like quality of her stillness unmanned him as he waited for her racing heart to stop beating.

Soon, she had told him.

Her eyes had closed then, whispering to Edward how much she loved him. "I need a few more minutes, love," she said, her thoughts opened to him once again, but only briefly. She would not show him her pain, but he still felt it with every shuddering breath she took.

Edward acknowledged her words with simple brush of his fingers over her soft cheek. He felt numb after hours of pleasure to now having to watch her pain. She kept her body as still as possible, but the occasional twitch of her jaw was enough to know she suffered.

Carlisle stood near the stairs as instructed, far enough away for Bella's death and subsequent rebirth not to hurt him. He was there to provide Edward guidance in case he wouldn't be able to start her heart again.

As her body fought against the venom in her system, her heart beat faster, harder. It was enough to rattle her rib cage gently, for what felt like hours to Edward, but was only minutes. Suddenly her heart started to slow, softer until it came to complete stop.

The last of her breath escaped her in whisper of his name, "Edward."

His own breath caught in his lungs as he scrambled to act. He closed his mouth over hers, breathing for her. Eyes stung as he found her sternum and started to pump her heart.

He'd never seen anything like it. Her death was so unlike any other. He could literally see the life leave her body. Her skin started to slowly turn to ash grey, hair turned to dirty blonde and finally to silvery white.

"Come on, Bella," he breathed. Bending down again, he breathed more life inside her. "Come on, Bella!"

"The defibrillator, Edward," Carlisle said from where he stood, desperate to help. However, Bella had told them it was too dangerous to be near her when she returned.

Edward picked up the paddles, and took all the necessary steps to charge the machine. He pressed the paddles on her bare chest and watched her body arch before it settled again. Once more, he pressed them to her chest, crying out when it still didn't work.

He dropped the useless instruments and continued mouth to mouth, pumping her chest seconds after. "Bella! You said you wouldn't leave me. Please, please. Please!"

At the next brush of his lips on hers, a quiet whisper intruded his thoughts, "Now."

Edward turned toward the door and roared, "Run, Carlisle!"

Carlisle flew down the stairs, turning back in time to see the light emitting from beneath Bella and Edward's room door. He felt the tremendous force it unleashed, rattling paintings, cracks forming on the walls and ceiling on their floor.

How she contained it in her small body, he had no idea but the power was incredible.

Edward turned back to Bella, as she rose, screaming out for him. He banded his arms around her body, growling at the strength that it took to remain holding her. His eyes shut tightly closed, but it wasn't enough to keep the bright light that her body emitted.

Under his hands, her skin felt as if it was on fire. Hot and moist to the touch, he wanted to check but the light was too bright, his eyes unable to handle the spectrum. Colors he'd never seen before flashed even through his eyelids.

It felt like an eternity that he held her, waiting for the end. He desperately needed to hear her say his name again, to kiss and hold her, to ensure himself that she was alive and well.

Even as the light started to diminish, he kept his eyes closed, too frightened to see the outcome. His ears however, betrayed him, listening for the telltale beat of her heart, a rhythm he had memorized from the moment he heard it.

There it is. She is alive.

Small, delicate fingers touched his brow, skimmed the angle of his jaw before Edward was brave enough to look upon her. His breath hitched, as his eyes fell on her iridescent ones.

His hand reached up to touch her face, mesmerized by the swirls of color within depths of her eyes. Her hair had returned to her normal color, but glossier and even more beautiful than ever.

"Bella," he whispered, his voice hoarse from the fear that still gripped him.

Her lips twitched, lifting at each corner into a breathtaking smile. "I'm all right, my love."

"You are remarkable," he whispered, pressing his lips to hers. He found peace, even though it was temporary in the softness and warmth of her mouth. Her body pressed closer to his, her arms clinging around his back. "I love you, so much."

"I love you, too." She laughed at the thoughts that she read in his mind.

"You are never doing anything like that again," he murmured against the crook of her neck. "Ever."

"I don't think I'll have to," she replied after a few minutes of comforting silence. "It quickened my final transformation."

"What does that mean?"

"It means I have more control in hiding my powers from outside sources, at least simpler things."

"The council will find you," he said softly, shaking his head. "It's still dangerous."

"It would depend on what I do, yes. I won't have to use magic and take a person's pain or death now to heal them. I should be able to do it with only a thought, as long as they're alive. Something that takes more power to do will certainly get attention."

"Like what?" he asked, brushing some hair from her face, cupping her sweet face in his hands.

"I certainly can't test much since that would be dangerous, too. However, from my mother's memory she had the ability to teleport."

Edward shook his head again. "That sounds as if it would require a significant amount of power. Remember you are trying not to be noticed." He tried to be stern, but he could see the curiosity in her eyes. "Bella, please, you agreed that it could be dangerous."

She bit her lip, nodding. "I might not be able to help it."

Unable to resist her any longer, Edward distracted her with a kiss that heated her blood quickly, and sending desire through every cell in their bodies. As they both gave into the need for a deeper connection, he hoped she would be able to resist another temptation.

~oOo~

Hours later, in a charmed conference room, and feeling better, Bella sat at the head of the table, awaiting the rest of the Edward's family. Esme had returned to normal only minutes earlier, smiling at Carlisle, who seemed happy that she was herself again.

Edward was perched on the same chair as Bella, who sat on his lap, watching the others carefully. A lot was about to happen and they were about to learn about Bella and why it was important that they helped her.

With the ability to kill at the blink of an eye, he knew that most of them would be even more wary of her. He wouldn't judge if any of them chose to walk away. It was their choice and as much as he wanted his family's help, he would do his best not to influence their decision.

Emmett's eyebrows shot up as he entered the room, Rosalie right behind him. "Eddie. I knew you had in you." Shaking his head, he laughed. "It's always the quiet ones, plus the sexual tension had been building up close to a hundred years."

Bella ignored him and flicked her hand, so that the door they entered through closed behind them. Emmett's eyes widened and again, he shook his ahead. "You'd make bank in Vegas."

Bella smiled at his words, squirming on Edward's lap to find a comfortable spot. He restrained her body with a gentle hand on her hip. "What is it?" he asked, his chin propped on his shoulder. He ignored all the thoughts of his family; an easy feat with Bella sitting so close to him.

"You're family is worried," she said within her mind, opening it long enough for him to hear her answer.

"They have never seen me act as I am now," he said, smiling at her, tipping her chin down enough for him to kiss her.

"How's that?" Her question was nearly breathless as his nose slid along her jawline and neck.

"Happy."

"More like horny," Emmett snickered and earned a smack on the back his head from his wife. "Damn it! Stop hitting me woman."

Bella shifted enough on Edward's lap to face his family. "I called you all here today to give you a choice."

"Choice?" Carlisle repeated. He had watched for the last few minutes how Bella and Edward interacted and realized he had never seen two people more attuned to each other. It was fascinating to watch. The way they accommodated the other, if one shifted even slightly the other would follow suit. They also seemed to need constant contact, and it was refreshing to see his first companion, his son, happy.

"Yes, before I tell you about making any kind of decision, I'd like to clear up a few things."

"We're listening," Jasper said as he leaned against a wall, watching Bella.

"As you've all figured out, I am not entirely human. I was born on Earth, my father was a human as you all used to be, but my mother was not."

"Uh, are you telling us you're a fucking alien?" Emmett asked.

"Emmett! Language," Esme hissed.

"Oh, sorry."

"We're not sure exactly what we are," Bella indicated. "Our history dates back eons, to the very beginning of time in this universe. Yet, we may merely have those memories because we traveled back in time. We can't be sure. There are several theories amongst my mother's people, everything from humans that reached a level of enlightenment, to aliens to inter-dimensional beings, even gods."

At the narrowed eyed glare from Rosalie, Bella added, "That's never been proved or denied. Yet, my people have no idea how we came to be, that tells me we're not all knowing deities."

"You sound like a freaking Q, from that Star Trek show Jasper denies ever watching," Emmett said, ignoring Jasper's denial. Bella read his thoughts, not too knowledgeable on television series. She smiled at him.

"In a way, I guess that's pretty close," she said, though she found the character a distasteful and arrogant, it did remind her of some of the council members she'd seen in her mother's memories.

"All right," Rosalie stated, sitting back against her chair. "Prove it."

"That's uncalled for," Edward growled and sat up straighter. "And she can't."

"That sounds convenient."

Bella simply smiled at Rosalie and Emmett disappeared from the chair beside her. In seconds, Rosalie she was in front of Bella, her hand poised to wrap around her throat before Edward stood protectively in front of his mate, capturing Rosalie's hand.

"Don't even think about it," he hissed, his obsidian-jade eyes grew darker.

"Bring him back!" Rosalie screamed a millisecond before Emmett appeared, hovering over the table before he feet touched the surface of it, as if he'd been weightless.

"That was fucking amazing!" he said, turning toward Bella with wide, excited eyes. "Any chance you can send me back up there and so I can like skydive all the way back down?"

Bella smiled sweetly at him, shaking her head. "You'd burn the atmosphere, Emmett."

"That was still so cool," he said, jumping off the table. "Rosalie?" His wife leveled him a glare and pulled him by the front of his t-shirt for a deep kiss. She turned back to Bella with a snarl.

"You sent him to outer space!"

"I kinda asked her to," Emmett said and he rubbed his hands together. "Can I go again sometime?"

"No," Edward stated, straightening up when Rosalie did. "There's a reason she should not use her powers, like teleporting a vampire into space." At those words, he sent Bella a glare. It was obvious she was unable to resist her using her gifts. She blushed under his gaze, averting her eyes. "It would bring some unwanted attention from others like her mother since she has not completed her transformation." He looked at Bella and cocked an eyebrow. "Anything?"

"If they haven't responded by now to that much power, then it should be all right. I'll try to keep the level of power at that maximum."

Confused by the bizarre thing he'd just witnessed, Jasper approached Bella with caution. "Why is it different now? What is this choice you're referring to?"

"The closer I become to what they are, the more I'll be able to do it without their detection. However, that's only a theory. They haven't found me yet, and it seems that they have no clue of my existence in this universe. Perhaps due to my being only part human, they are unable to pinpoint me, I have no idea. I feel that once my transformation is complete, I may be able to use my gifts without their knowledge. Again, it's just a theory. It might make me more noticeable. I won't know for sure until it happens."

Bella shook her head, starting to pace, Edward watching her warily.

"My mother's kind is not allowed to have children. The last of their kind born was over ten millennia ago. From what I've seen of my mother's memory, I am the first and only hybrid."

"What do they call themselves?" Jasper asked.

Bella seemed clueless as she answered, "I've searched the memories Mother allowed me to see before she left me, and never found an actual name. It was always 'We,' and 'The Council" in her mind."

"How old were you when she gave these memories and left you?" Rosalie asked, still pissed but curious.

"I was only hours old," Bella said softly, shrugging as if it didn't bother her. "She had no choice. If she had not left, The Council would have eventually found us. She unfortunately is not undetectable."

"All right," Carlisle said, gesturing for everyone to return to the seats. "I think it would be best if you start from the beginning. Who and what is the council? Why would she have to leave you behind?"

They sat around the table, and as Edward held her close, Bella told them her story. The past she had horrified them, yet was too compelling not to listen to more. She had endured so much, lost family, friends, and carried a loneliness within her that never darkened her spirit. Her only thoughts centered on helping in some way. Giving her purpose and direction, she protected others, knowing that a brighter future lay ahead.

She had to believe that or she would have been lost to the corners of her own mind, where she filed the darkness before it consumed her. Edward was her light, a part of her, her soul mate, even if he didn't believe himself capable of having one.

"The council is the main reason I seek your help with the trouble that will arise with James and his companions, and in a few months, The Volturi Advance Guard will pay a visit."

"You have the ability to put a stop to everything with a snap of your fingers," Jasper said, shaking his head when she gravely nodded. "But you can't do it because it would basically point The Council to where you are."

"And when they come?" Carlisle said, rubbing a hand over his blond hair, worried.

"The Council will likely destroy me and the entire planet."

"They have this ability?" Esme asked.

Bella nodded, shuddering. "I've seen it in my mother's memories. Absolutely terrible, so much life extinguished in seconds." Edward rubbed the back of her neck, soothing her with his touch.

Emmett exhaled sharply. "Damn, what a mind fuck."

"I'll say," Jasper said, shaking his head. "We learned today that we are not alone in the universe."

Emmett rolled his eyes, waving a hand toward Bella and Edward. "Not that. I'm still tripping on the fact that Edward's been banging…well, whatever she is."

"Emmett!" Rosalie screeched.

As Bella broke out in laughter, she realized she was grateful for Edward's family. Before she had even told them all of her story, had found out the consequences if she had to use her powers, they had all agreed within their minds that they would stand beside her and Edward.

Taking his hand in hers, she smiled at him. "Are you going to tell them or should I?"

"There's more!" Emmett cried out.

Smiling at Bella, Edward's eyes still on hers, he said, "She agreed to be my bride."

"And he my groom."

Alice perked right up, a wide smile on her face. "A wedding?"

Edward rolled his eyes as countless preparations already started in her mind. "We're getting married tonight."

His family surrounded them, giving them hard hugs and jubilant congratulations. Even Rosalie joined them, feeling a little better now that she knew that Bella would remain human…well human enough.

As Alice tried to reason with Edward, Bella tried to keep her features composed, for James had made the decision to attack the following evening.