Weeks have passed without word from Alice. I find myself sitting in her room for hours and hours just looking at her things and smelling her clothes.
She's my best friend, and I feel as though she's died. I call her cell phone every day, but it's off. The sound of her voice comforts me for a moment before the awful beep rings out and I'm forced back into a reality without her.
At nights I scour the woods, trying to pick up a trace of her anywhere, but it's no use. She isn't there...here...anywhere.
Edward has called and tried to reach me quite a few times throughout the weeks, but I leave messages with Esme and Rosalie to tell him I'll call him when I can.
I finally decide to enlist Carlisle's help in my search for Alice. I know that he's worried about her, and I also know that he'll give me my space without asking too many questions.
We decide to move our search closer to town, thinking that maybe instead of leaving Forks entirely – like we initially assumed – that maybe she could be hiding out in an abandoned or vacant house.
We catch a trail downtown that spreads through the shopping district and trails right to the Forks Diner.
When we get there, however, we realize that Alice's smell is quite faint, and is masked by a stronger, earthier smell. It doesn't take long to realize that there is another vampire running loose in Forks. Except this time, it's a Nomad.
I immediately panic. I want to run to Edward's house and pack his human ass up and get him the hell out of Dodge, but I know I can't.
Upon closer inspection of the Diner, we realize that the Nomad is actually inside with a couple of other people. It's fairly late, but the Diner stays open twenty-four hours a day to feed the guys at the Mill coming off of second and third shift. So there's usually always at least three to four people in there.
I'm so busy praying that this vile creature hasn't caught up to Alice or hurt her in any way, that I don't realize Edward is inside the Diner until it's too late. From outside, I seem him wander out of the restroom and clumsily plop down in a booth across from the dangerous demon like it's second nature. They could be old friends for all anyone else knows, but I know different.
I can hear the gush of venom the Nomad rapidly swallows as Edward enters the booth and sits across from him. I can see his crimson eyes that are currently trained on Edward's pulse point in his neck.
I can feel the tension radiating off of him in waves, ready to coil and strike like a deadly snake at anytime.
What does surprise me is the manners of this Nomad, overall, he seems polite and kind to Edward, not so much treating him like a snack – but like an actual person.
For a second, I'm excited to officially meet him.
Until one tiny moment changes everything.
Edward, who has been trying – unsuccessfully – for the past five minutes to get this Nomad to contact me for him, reaches down into his backpack to retrieve some type of book, ends up forcefully knocking his glass over. It must hit a weak spot in the glass, because it shatters across the table, spilling cold water and ice all over Edward's lap and mid-section.
Edward, without thinking, reaches forward to catch the mess, and slices himself open on the shards and chunks of glass that litter the table.
A few things happen in quick succession.
Everyone in the Diner – except Edward and the Nomad – slump in their seats, seemingly falling into a deep sleep.
The Nomad launches himself over the table; he crashes into Edward and bites down harshly on his neck.
Momentarily frozen by fear, I suddenly hear Alice screaming from somewhere near by to get inside and get Edward out immediately.
Carlisle and I take off in a dead run. I reach the building before Carlisle does, and I jump through the pane glass window closest to Edward and the rogue vampire, causing it to shatter and glass rains down everywhere.
The Nomad realizes he's outnumbered; he drops Edward's slumped body to the floor and looks for a proper means to escape. Alice is here now, and she's trying to calm down the rogue while Carlisle tends to Edward's seemingly lifeless body.
Carlisle's sad eyes look up into mine and he shakes his head. "I'm sorry, Bella, but there are only two options. I can either take his life or let him change."
An all-consuming, fiery rage sears through me, and I launch myself at the Nomad.
"You son-of-a-bitch! It should have been his choice! You have no right to bite people, to take lives, and condemn people to a world like ours! How dare you?" I scream and assault him with my hands and fists.
Suddenly, Emmett appears out of nowhere and drags me out of the Diner, kicking and screaming.
He holds me until I stop fighting him, and he tells me that Carlisle has brought Edward's body back to our house so he can complete his transformation.
He also tells me that Alice and the Nomad, who I learn is named Jasper, is at the house. Emmett makes me promise to hear everyone out, and not to attempt to kill Jasper when I go back to the house.
When we finally arrive home, I'm tempted to go back on my word and make a bon fire out of Jasper.
I step into the den to see Edward laying on a make-shift futon, writhing in pain and damp with sweat as his body burns from the inside out with the venom.
My anger bubbles just under the surface, and I only keep my temper in check because I don't want to leave Edward's side to kill Jasper.
A few hours later, Alice walks in. In true Alice fashion, she begins chirping my ear off about how she knows this was how everything was always meant to be, and while the situation isn't ideal, she can't bring herself to regret anything that has brought us here.
She tells me that Jasper is her mate, and that if I'm uncomfortable she will leave with him and only come back when I allow it.
I can't bear to send her away.
I know deep down she's right, and that it's stupid to bet against her – but I still can't help but feel immense sorrow at the life that was lost today.
But there's no denying my life has been irrevocably changed today, and in a way it's all come full circle. It always comes down to the three main things.
Vita. I lost my life, and I gained an immortal life.
Amore. I found a love in Alice that led me to discover my true love and mate in Edward.
Destino. No matter how hard I fight it, or how fast I try to run from it – destiny will always catch up to me. I just need to decide whether or not I'm willing to embrace it.
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