Notes: For Bella and Edward, this takes place after Twilight, but before New Moon.
I looked up from my book at the sound of the window opening. I tossed the weathered paperback onto my desk, not bothering to bookmark where I had left off.
"Hi," I smiled, genuinely pleased to see him.
"I didn't interrupt, did I?" he asked, glancing over at my book.
"Not at all. I've read it before," I pointed out.
I shifted into a kneeling position and patted the empty space beside me. His answer to my silent request was a crooked smile, and in a blink, he was there. I exhaled loudly, knowing that I needed to broach the subject tonight.
"What is it, love?" he asked, gently.
I stared down at my bedding, fiddling with the covers.
"I want you to change me."
The abrupt stiffening of his posture was hardly surprising, though some part of me did marvel at the fact that he could become anymore stoic. Even when he was relaxed there was a stillness about him.
I looked up at him, noting the hardening of his gaze. I hated to watch the ease that had been present when he entered disappear, but avoidance was no longer an option.
"So, that's it? You say no—end of story?" I asked, allowing my frustration to slip through.
"End of story," he agreed, retreating from the bed.
"You can't just decide that. It's my life too," I pointed out, watching him.
With his arm propped on the window, he leaned forward to stare outside. Although his attention seemed entirely focused on the view, I knew he was watching me. It was a distinct feeling I had noticed even before discovering what he was...and what he was capable of.
"Exactly," he ground out, keeping his gaze averted. "It's your life. And I won't have a part in ending it."
"But you won't be ending it!" I argued, moving closer. "You'll be saving it. If I become like you, then I won't die—"
"And at what cost?" he demanded, suddenly standing in front of me, leaning into my personal space. "I'll be damning you to an eternity of blood and pain. You'll be forced to watch everyone you know grow old and move on, while you remain the same. You'll watch everyone you ever cared about die."
"How is staying a human any different? Even if you don't turn me, I'll eventually have to watch them die," I pointed out, refusing to allow his close proximity to distract me.
"It's different," he said quietly.
His hand moved to my face and I resisted the urge to close my eyes as he stroked my cheek.
"If I turned you, I'd be risking your immortal soul," he spoke as if in confession, the fear in his words momentarily overshadowing the anger that had been present during the argument.
"If you don't turn me, you'll be risking my life," I whispered.
I stared into his eyes, willing him to understand what I was trying to tell him.
I watched the fear quickly become overshadowed by exasperation, and recognized that moment as my window of opportunity being closed.
"You risk your life every time you take a step outside," he grinned, easily slipping into a joking mood.
The exasperation was still there, but he was always good at deflecting. I stared at him a beat longer, my gaze desperate and pleading, even if I knew the effort was pointless now.
"Come on," he smiled, urging me to lie down. "It's late, and you haven't been sleeping well."
I allowed him to coerce me into a reclined position, bunching up the blankets in my hands when he tucked me in. I nudged myself further back to bring our bodies flush, using his cold body as a balm to keep my composure intact.
"Sweet dreams, Bella," he whispered softly, placing a kiss on my hair.
I kept my tears in, knowing that I could cry freely once the nightmares began.
I slammed the door shut, quickly locking the door.
The grocery bag tumbled out of my hands from my own clumsy fumbling and I cursed, trying to quickly gather all of the fallen containers. When I finally had them all back in the bag, I ripped one open and began dumping a generous amount in front of the door and windows in a solid white line.
I noted Charlie's empty gun rack with relief, remembering that he had business in Seattle and would be gone all weekend. I grabbed the remaining containers and ran up the stairs, darting in and out of rooms as I quickly salted every entrance I could find.
With that finished, I moved into my room, taking extra care in the lines I salted there. After the window was covered, I shut the door and placed the final line in front of it, locking myself in. I used the remaining salt to pour a circle around my bed, creating one last barrier.
Once I finished, I sat in the middle of my bed, glancing around my room anxiously. I only had to wait now, obsessively glancing over at the clock as the countdown ticked away.
I looked out the window, noting the sunny sky with relief. Although I hated the idea of being alone during this, I was extremely grateful that Edward had opted to go hunting with his family. I couldn't bear the thought of him watching when this went down.
Still, I couldn't help but wish for one last moment, one last desperate plea for the life he could've given me. He thought he was protecting my future, but all he was doing was ensuring its end. The thought of how close I had been to an eternity of love and companionship made my eyes fill with tears. I let them slip closed in defeat.
My eyes snapped open, my gaze darting to the source of his voice. I blinked slowly, astonished to find him standing there. He was supposed to be hunting with his family.
He wasn't supposed to be here.
"Bella, are you okay?" he asked, concern lacing his tone.
He began to move toward me and that's when I noticed the beginnings of a crack in one of the salt lines, likely caused from a breeze when he opened the window.
"What are you doing here?" I demanded, suddenly darting into action.
I quickly pushed the salt back into place, paying no attention to Edward as I moved back onto the bed.
"You're supposed to be hunting!" I accused.
Edward wasn't looking at me though, too preoccupied surveying the room.
"What's going on?" he asked, pointing to one of the salt lines. "What is this?"
I opened my mouth to respond, but lost the ability to speak at the distant sound of howling.
"You need to leave," I gasped, noticing the time on the clock.
"Bella, what's..." he trailed off, darting in front of me. "Your heart is racing."
"You need to leave," I repeated, gritting my teeth.
I flinched at the next bout of howling, seeming far closer than the first.
"I'm fine," I lied.
"I can smell the fear on you," he pointed out, grasping my arms. "Tell me what's wrong."
His words were desperate and his gaze seemed almost a mirror of my own—wide and frightened.
Another howl made me whimper and I folded my arms around my midsection, trying to restrain myself from holding onto him.
"Bella," he pleaded, "Please tell me."
"Can't you hear them?" I asked in a small voice, certain that they were at the very least, outside the house now.
He was cut off by the sound of pounding on the door, the force of it seeming to shake the whole house. I stared at the door to my room, watching the salt line steadily. It was temporary at best, and it would only be a matter of time until they forced their way in.
He cupped my cheeks, forcing me to focus on him.
"There's no one here."
He stared into my eyes, willing me to believe him.
The door slammed open before I could reply, and despite the sudden stillness, I could feel them...their foul breath running down my neck. I'm not sure what will happen now, but I know that it won't be pretty.
"Please...leave," I tried one last time, pulling his hands from my face.
"What's happening?" he demanded, ignoring my request.
Tears welled in my eyes at the easy dismissal. As much as I loved him, it really hurt that he never truly listened. Not when it was important, anyway.
I shut my eyes when a chorus of vicious growls broke the silence.
"You really can't hear them? I asked, quietly.
"Hear what?" he pled, frustrated.
"That's funny," I snorted, opening my eyes to offer him a watery smile. "I'm surprised you can't."
My gaze darted to the salt ring around my bed, and I watched as their joint breath shifted the grains.
Impulsively, I pulled his head down and quickly pressed my lips to his. I didn't bother going slow or worrying about his control. Instead, I poured every ounce of desperation, anger, and sadness into that kiss. If this was going to be the last one we shared, I wanted him to know how much I loved him.
"I love you," I gasped the moment we separated, forcefully pushing myself away from his embrace.
The first hound began tearing at my flesh before I heard his reply.
The rest was drowned out with my screams.
Although this was intended as a one-shot, with the right motivation, I might continue this in the future.