In her Twilight series, Stephenie Meyer created a world unlike any other. She owns this world, and I love playing in it.

I want to thank reader/reviewer extraordinaire NatalieLynn for her suggestion for dealing with the tabloids, which I used in a previous chapter. And thanks to my wonderful beta, EdwardsMate4Ever, for encouraging me through the rough spots in the story…and making this chapter readable. I was really struggling with this one, and she really came through.

And to everyone who read, reviewed, and marked the story with an Alert or Favorite, thank you so much. You guys kept me posting.

This story was originally inspired by a spooky little nightmare I had.

My Spooky Nightmare - A Second Chance at Life

Chapter 16 – Waking Up

Eventually the fire seemed to have burnt out of my arms and legs. They felt numb, like there were no longer attached to my body. Had they been severed or simply burnt off by the fire? The flames began to travel upwards, focusing on the center of my chest. But instead of decreasing, it intensified. Although I believed I had experienced the worst pain possible, I was wrong. It actually amplified, as if my body was melting. I could feel my heart pounding, and then it was struggling to beat. Finally it ceased.

And so did the fire. One minute it was there; the next it was gone.

I opened my eyes.

The light was dazzling. I felt that I was inside a kaleidoscope, with colored prisms sliding everywhere. I only realized I could move my hands again when they appeared in front of me. At least, I thought they were my hands. They were scattering brilliant rays of light in every direction.

Then I heard a sound. It took a second for me to realize it was a voice, and then to recognize who it belonged to, before I could process the word being spoken.

Someone had said, "Bella." But the voice was a cross between a gentle wind and an angel's song. Was this heaven?

As I sat up I saw a group of beings across from me. Instantly I threw myself backwards, seeking a wall or other shelter. I heard a loud crash and felt dust and small chunks of something falling around me.

When I recovered from the initial shock, I realized one of the beings across from me was Jasper, though he had never looked like this before.

He stepped forward cautiously, saying my name again.

I started to move toward him but paused for a moment, hearing another voice speaking to me. I shot my head in the direction, making a low rumbling sound inside without realizing it. The sound came from somewhere deep in my body and was strange to my ears. I realized I had growled. One of the others had spoken, saying, "Careful, Jasper. Don't startle her."

I had noticed the scents before, but only now did I start to focus on them. One scent called to me so strongly that I closed my eyes to shut out all other distractions, and I launched myself in its direction. It drew me strongly, smelling of cinnamon, leather, and the dusky hot air of a summer afternoon . I realized I had knocked the barely recognizable Jasper to the ground and I was sprawled on top of him, clutching him tight. This was the source of the scent?

He lay very still on the floor, letting me smell him. It was so confusing, as I wanted to devour him, hug him, rub him…

"Easy, darling'," I heard him chuckle. "I do understand, though. I feel the same way."

I got off of him, feeling like blushing.

I heard a soft laugh behind me and whirled. How had I let them get behind me? I snarled and launched myself at the giggling, dark-haired girl.

Instantly two males were on me, and I felt another set of arms grasp me from behind. I fought the ones in front, but began to relax into the arms behind me. "Easy, easy, I'm right here. That's just Alice, honey. She didn't mean to startle you."

"We should go," I heard another female voice saying. I whipped my head around and looked at the group again. The light was still dazzling, and perspective was off, but there was another female there. She had caramel-brown hair. Esme, something in the back of my head was saying.

I felt Jasper stroking my hair. "You recognize her, don't you?" he said quietly. I nodded, watching as they nodded to Jasper and quietly left the room.

I turned back to him and grabbed him tight, pulling his lips to mine. That was the last sentence that was spoken for a long time. I couldn't let go of him. I wouldn't let go of him. The clothing that separated us was torn off quickly, and we began exploring one another feverishly, hungrily. Time seemed to stop as we touched and explored one another, moaning and gasping at each new sensation.

Day passed into night, and I saw from the corner of my eye shadows crossing the room, looking as different as the sunlight had appeared earlier. I quickly lost interest in the changing light and returned all my attention to Jasper with renewed vigor. Soon light began to enter the room again, and the particles of dust seemed to dance in the sunlight as I lazed on Jasper's chest, nuzzling for a brief moment.

Suddenly I became distracted by another kind of hunger hit when I heard a kind of a squelching, rhythmic sound. It was very appealing somehow.

Jasper seemed to figure out what I was thinking.

"We need to get you something to eat."

"What is that?" I asked. I began to notice some very enticing smells. They were different from Jasper, but smelled very appetizing. They smelled like sustenance, and my throat began to burn. I started to move in the direction of the appealing scent, but Jasper caught me in his arms.

"Carlisle," he called. "I'm taking her out with me." There was a quiet voice in the hall, and the door opened. Someone handed clothes in to him, which Jasper took with a laugh. "Yes, we'll need these if we go out. Although, I'll be very sorry to lose my view…" I leapt at him, but he wrestled me to the floor and pulled a top over my head and slacks over my legs.

After releasing me and dressing himself, he held out his hand, saying, "Come. I'll explain on the way."

As we left the room I noticed a lot of holes in the walls and shattered furniture. I vaguely remembered having heard noises around us as we were reacquainting ourselves, but I had been more interested in Jasper than in my surroundings.

The outside was dazzling too. Initially it almost looked white, but then I realized the white was reflecting a full rainbow of color. "Snow," said Jasper. "There's a herd of caribou over this way."

"What was the smell?" I asked.

"Leilu insisted on coming with us. We told her it wasn't a good idea, but she had to know you were safe. We couldn't risk her trying to find us on her own, so we let her come."

"I heard someone crying on the plane," I commented.

"You remember that?" he asked, sounding surprised.

"I remember everything," I said grimly.

"I'm sorry," he replied quietly. He sped off, and I took off like a shot after him.

We quickly found the herd of caribou, and I took down three in quick succession, sucking the blood from their necks quickly. I was startled by how easy it was. My new speed amazed me, as the large animals almost seemed to be standing still when I caught up to them. I had always wondered how the Cullens hunted, but I had never been allowed to watch. Looking down at the mess I made, I moaned. There was fur and blood everywhere.

"Don't worry, these parkas are waterproof," Jasper replied. "We planned for you to destroy a few. Sit with me?"

I plopped down on a nearby rock, Jasper leaning on his forearm at my side while we watched the sunset playing across the clouds. With my new vision, the view was astonishing. So many colors, changing so quickly as the sun sank behind the mountains.

Finally breaking the silence, I asked, "What happened back there?"

"Carlisle couldn't fix the damage to your body. Demetri had broken your neck and shattered your skull when he dashed you onto the rocks," Jasper explained. "I had to change you." He looked at me quickly, as if trying to gauge my reaction.

I smiled as I snuggled against him. "I can't say I enjoyed the experience, but seeing you now… with eyes like this…I can't get over how wonderful you are. I can only be glad we're together."

Then, remembering what the circumstances that brought me to this new condition, I asked: "And Demetri?"

Jasper grinned. "That's where Edward's ability came in. We couldn't figure out how he got so close. We could only guess that he focused on keeping his mind very blank, just looking at the scenery. With all the other thoughts swirling around from the encantados and ourselves, Edward missed him.

But Demetri had a few flashes of thought that he couldn't hid from Edward. During his first visit, Demetri had been thinking about how he had been on a mission for the Volturi, spying on the Romanians, who are sworn enemies of their leader, Aro. It occurred to Edward to give the remaining Romanians, Stefan and Vladimir, a call. They were very interested to hear about the situation, even the vague details Edward was able to share. Edward had managed to get more information out of Demetri by asking him questions that would spark memories, even if Demetri wouldn't answer him directly. The Romanians were so excited that they even offered to pick him up from us. Naturally, we declined. We sent his dismembered body on a chartered flight instead. Now they have him and apparently have been able to question him further. They've contacted Aro and advised him that they have Demetri." I gasped, shocked.

Jasper laughed. "They'll never turn him over to the Volturi, of course. Carlisle explained that, as he had personally assisted in dismembering Demetri, he would prefer that Aro not be in a position to find that out. Stefan readily agreed."

"Oh," was all I could think to say.

After watching the colors of the sunset fade into darkness, we went back home. I was stunned at the sight of the house.

It was beautiful. And had probably been much more beautiful at one time. There were huge, gaping holes in the side of the house now.

Emmett came outside with a grin, and I quickly tried to hide my shock at what I'd done. "I saw your face, Bella," he sang. "Yep, while you two lovebirds were out, I took the opportunity to catalogue the mess you made. Let's see, you guys trashed two bedrooms….in fact, all of the furniture on the second floor including three bathtubs and four sinks…"

I would have blushed, but I was fighting not to attack him.

"Cut it out, Emmett," hissed Jasper. "She's trying to keep from dismembering you, and if you don't stop, I might not try so hard to prevent her."

"Dude, when we get back, you and I are SO going to be in a contest to see who can do the most damage in the shortest time."

"I heard that," yelled Esme, coming out of the house. "Sorry, Bella. The boys can be so out of control. But Emmett WILL be a gentleman, now, correct?" A chagrined Emmett nodded. "So, how was your first hunt?"

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A few days later, they thought it was safe enough for me to meet Leilu. Both covens, the Cullens and the Denalis, chose to stand between us for the sake of her security. I understood, as I was still reacting faster than I could process thoughts.

Tomas decided to provide his own security. When I finally saw Leilu, he had assumed his serpent form. His head was well over five feet off the ground, and he was between us.

"Leilu?" I waved, and she waved back. We exchanged smiles, then I touched my nose, winced, and gestured I was going to leave. She laughed, an engaging, musical tinkle, and nodded her understanding.

"Carlisle tells me that they want to leave soon," Jasper said quietly. "She only feels comfortable eating in her dolphin form, and the swimming pool we have for her doesn't really give her enough room to chase her dinner. We worked hard to clean out all of the chlorine, and although she isn't complaining, it can't possibly smell or taste as nice as the Amazon River or the Rio Negro did."

My head swam, thinking that over. "Okay," I said.

So Leilu and Tomas left the next day. My last glimpse of the couple was Leilu in her parka, with Tomas in his anaconda form, slithering along behind her protectively as they left the estate. I smiled, recalling our initial meeting in the jungle, and how deftly she had managed to avoid the vampire's keen eyes for weeks.

I turned back to Jasper and gently clasped his hand in mine. His fingers threaded through mine reflexively. I would get past this newborn phase, and then we would be able to go rejoin our friends in South America, or anywhere else we chose to live.

We had an eternity to work everything out.

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My thanks to everyone who reviewed, or marked my story with a Favorite or an Alert along the way. You guys kept me posting!