Chapter 7 – Friend or Foe?
Is it too late
Nothing to salvage
You look away
Clear all the damage
The meaning to
All words of love
We used to love one another
Give to each other
Lie under covers so,
Are you friend or foe
The moonlight glowed luminescent in the sky as the winds picked up, carrying the ever swirling snows with them. Tall pine trees stood stoically in the winter night, catching the white powder in it's almost spine like leaves, letting it coat their branches with its virgin display.
Dilated chocolate brown eyes caught and examined every flake as it fell, watching almost hypnotically at the beautiful dance of nature's silent mosaic. This would be her third night as a vampire, her first spent unconscious and her second spent running away, analyzing her thoughts and wants. She still wondered if she would ever see her family again. Wondered if Sheila was adjusting well without her. The lovable pup had captured her heart from the minute it had opened its amber brown eyes and wiggled her small little bum back and forth.
A sudden smell invaded her thoughts and she swirled around, relaxing when Tanya's form was revealed. Wearing a pair of tight jeans and a simple red v neck she looked as beautiful as ever. The brunette couldn't help but compare her to Edward, even though she knew she shouldn't. They weren't together, no matter how much her heart jumped at the concept. Yet…all of the Denali's seemed so…laid back. Yes that was the word! They dressed simply, finding no need for designer clothes and shoes and Gucci purses. Bella knew they owned them, Kate being all too excited about showing her the closet in her room before she had a chance to escape the large mansion. It seemed they had all come together and each donated a few outfits for the currently clothes less newborn and mixed in the pile of shirts, skirts and jeans were more than a few outfits which probably cost more than most people made in a year. Yet, they didn't flaunt their wealth, finding no need to dress up in the face of family. Hell…Bella had left Kate in a pair of red striped pajama shorts and a worn t shirt.
Lost in her thoughts as she was, Bella didn't even realize Tanya was still there until she spoke.
"You okay?" Tanya examined the brunette in front of her, wondering what was wrong. Her beautiful heart shaped face seemed to be closed in on itself.
'She must be worried about talking to Eleazar' She thought and quickly went to rectify the situation "Carmen and Eleazar are both in the city; they probably won't be back until morning time at least."
Her mate was definitely thinking about something but Tanya couldn't figure out what. Turns out she didn't have to wait long.
"How long do you think I have before I can see my family?" Brown eyes scrutinized her every move and the strawberry blonde could tell she was hanging on to her every word.
"It's hard to say" Tanya confessed taking a step closer "Given your unique ability; it could be in three weeks to three months." Seeing Bella deflate Tanya took a next step forward and grasped her hand "As soon as you're ready I'll personally take you home, I promise"
Bella hid a gasp as a string of electricity shot up her hand and settled deep in her chest. She felt warm again and almost purred when Tanya sat down and subtly swung her arm over her head, forcing her to snuggle into the crook of her arm. Not that the brunette struggled in the least.
"How about school?" Bella asked next, smiling a bit as Tanya leaned against her, resting her head on top of hers. The smell of lavender grew stronger and Bella inhaled as much of it as she dared. She still didn't know what kept drawing her in to the beautiful strawberry blonde but as of right now, she couldn't care less.
"It's the summer term right?" Tanya asked and after receiving a small nod she smiled "You should be okay then" Though she sounded happy Tanya was a little distressed, not wanting to give up her time with her mate in so short a time. Four months wasn't a lot of time.
Bella didn't know how long they sat there in peaceful silence, with only the howling wind keeping them company. She knew from a distance they looked like a couple yet… they weren't. She didn't know what to make of the vampire she was currently cuddled up next to. Tanya couldn't care for her – a lost misguided newborn with nowhere to go. Her life was confusing as it was, did she really want to add love interest to that list? Yet in her heart she knew that Tanya was familiar even though she hadn't met the vampire a day in her life. There was a connection there, one heart reaching out to another.
Then there was the issue of them knowing the Cullen's. Bella had finally remembered Carlisle mentioning some cousins they had in Alaska. Would they return to visit their sworn family members and discover her by default? She didn't want to see them, not for her own emotions but for the Denali's. The way her emotions were as of yet she know she would attack them and she didn't want to see Tanya's disappointed and horrified eyes staring back at her when she did.
"Can you teach me how to control my strength" Pitching up Bella was already walking to the surrounding trees, not wanting to see Tanya's confused gaze. She knew it was random but she didn't want to think, just act, and try to improve something about herself.
"Sure" Dusting off the snowflakes that had gathered on her jeans, Tanya sighed and followed her auburn haired beauty. Confusing as she was, the strawberry blonde still couldn't help the wary smile that graced her face. She knew a challenge when she saw one and charming Bella into being her mate would be her greatest one.
The rest of the night was filled with huffs and falling trees as the newborn learnt to control her strength. Questions were asked back and forth and it was under the full moon of the glistening sky did Tanya Denali move just a little closer in understanding the full extent to of Bella's heart.
Both were disappointed when the moon slowly disappeared from the sky to be replaced by a dull grey morning.
Speeding back towards home, the pair traded secret smiles along the way.
Bella stared intently at the broken branch of an unfortunate tree sitting in front of her. She was sure when Tanya had said twig she hadn't meant it to be quite this large. Of course she was quickly discovering that Kate had a weird sense of humor. The thing had to be at least ten feet tall!
Furrowing her forehead, brown eyes tried to will the thing on fire. It refused to combust. Thinking back to the conversation with Eleazar Bella sighed in frustration.
Flashback to an hour ago
"So I can control fire?" Bella asked confusedly. The dark haired vampire had been muttering about balances and forces for the better part of fifteen minutes and examining the other confused faces surrounding her, Bella was sure she wasn't the only one who didn't get it.
"No" Sighing Eleazar searched for ways to explain this more simply. Fortunately Carmen stepped in. The petite vampire had been watching Bella for the better part of ten minutes and it was beginning to creep the brunette out. She had seemed nice enough, giving her a warm hug and gigantic smile but her eyes wouldn't stop darting between Tanya and herself. Once again, very creepy.
"What my dare mate is trying to say" Carmen began, giving Eleazar a warm squeeze "Is that you are constantly absorbing energy. The process of converting this energy produces a sort of waste. It just so happens by pure coincidence that this waste is essentially fire. This fire is what gives you a higher than normal temperature" Carmen continued, holding up the thermometer that read a hundred and twelve degrees Fahrenheit.
"Wait" Tanya said, scratching the back of her head in a confused human gesture "I thought it was her blood that kept her temperature constant."
"Yeah, and besides why did this so called 'fire waste' leave her body when it did?" Irina asked.
Everyone's eyes instinctively looked towards the empty space where the couch should have been and Bella crossed her legs subconsciously.
Shifting on the love seat Carmen sighed "To answer both of your questions. Yes it is her blood that gives her a temperature. But human blood runs at a temperature of a little over 98 degrees. Her inner fire raises the degrees a few more." Turning to Irina, Carmen continued, sounding very professional "The reason the fire released when it did was because of the food Bella had ingested. Food is packed with chemical energy which released a lot of waste when it was being converted into metabolic energy. I believe that the thermal energy from her hot bath also had some play in it." Carmen finished.
Everyone stared and sat in silence, the only sound echoing the large living room was the ticking of a nearby clock.
Surprisingly Bella was the first to break the impasse.
"So, how do I get rid of this 'wasteful fire'?" Bella asked, bending her fingers at the words 'wasteful fire'.
"Well, since it came out so easily the first time, perhaps just concentrating will do the trick" Eleazar said, nodding his head to himself "Perhaps using your other gifts may help."
So here Bella was, trying against hope to expel at least a bit of smoke. But it was a no go.
"Any luck?" A voice called from behind her and Bella was surprised to see Kate walking towards her dressed in a pair of old shorts and a tank top. For some reason she was hoping Tanya would have come find her.
Looking back at the unburned piece of bark Bella rolled her eyes "Nope"
Kate tsked tsked for a minute, before looking up with shining eyes. "Well how about I give it a shot and you can copy me?"
"You can control fire too?" Bella asked, excited on not being the only one with the strange ability. Even though she couldn't 'technically' control fire according to Eleazar, being able to expel hot flames through her mouth was good enough for her.
"Fire? Nope, electricity is way cooler." Kate said proudly before holding up both her arms like Houdini. Rolling her eyes Bella watched with an arched eyebrow as Kate chanted and hollered like she was hosting a pagan ritual before grasping the branch with both her hands.
Brown eyes grew round as the branch sizzled for a while, turning a black ashy color before it spontaneously caught on fire.
"Impressed?" Kate grinned, seeing the awed look on the newborn's face. Looking down at her work, Kate kicked a foot pile of snow over the flaming branch.
"That was amazing!" More determined now, brown eyes examined the next branch and concentrated. She tried to envision the fire, a clear picture of the once burning branch in her mind.
Kate was struggling not to laugh as Bella opened her mouth wide and clenched her back, looking for all things considered, constipated. This was why she was so surprised when a small trail of smoke actually escaped the brunette's mouth. It was as thin as a blade of grass and just as long but it was something.
"That's good" Kate smiled as she congratulated the shocked newborn, high fiving her motionless hands.
"I can actually spit fire?" Bella asked in disbelief, truly believing that the couch incident had been nothing more than a fluke in the grand scheme of things. She didn't know whether to dance up and down or be sad. On one hand it was a pretty cool ability to have, yet on the other it just destroyed a little bit more of the human image she still clang too. For a vampire she didn't look that different. Even though thinly surrounded by an almost invisible line of red, her eyes were still brown. Her hair was its normal, mid back length. She still blushed, still felt the steady thump of her heart, still cried, still had the ability if not inclination to sleep. If it wasn't for the whole fire, fangs, blood thirst, and supernatural abilities Bella would have felt almost human.
That reminded her.
Kate took one look at the newborn's increasingly red eyes and went in search of Tanya.
The grey and pink clouds of the Alaskan sunrise were quickly turning into a clear white color as the day wore on. Today would mark Bella's fourth day as a vampire and though surrounded by cheery faces and encouraging smiles the brunette was increasingly becoming homesick. It had been four months since she had seen her dad and she had been looking forward to returning home. Sheila had never been without her for more than three hours at a time and Bella wondered how the little pup was holding up and then subsequently wondering if she would ever see her again.
Shaking the forlorn thoughts from her head Bella resumed her morning katas.
Tanya watched from the porch swing as her mate kicked and pounded against the giant pine trees surrounding their house. She was impressed to say the least and felt an inner swelling of pride. Bella hadn't even been a newborn for a week and already she was exuding some measure of control. She used just enough force to shake the leaves on the trees. Of course this had taken practice, which Bella had been doing for hours the previous night. The result was a new little clearing on the east side of their home. The strawberry blonde was sure that the surrounding beaver populations would be thankful for the fallen logs. But the most important thing was that Bella had somewhat gotten it.
Now watching as her mate synchronized her knees into the Kosa Dachi (Hooked leg) stance Tanya felt the first few strings of arousal. The danger was over, her mate was well feed and contented for the moment and her inner instincts urged her to take her. To mark her as her own. Yet she knew she couldn't. Perhaps it was her old age upbringing but Tanya wanted to charm, flirt, and genuinely get to know her mate before they were sexually intimate. And they would be – if Bella's reaction a few nights ago was any indication. The mature vampire still remembered dilated brown eyes infused with arousal, the sweet salty taste of lust in the air.
"You better tone that down Tanya" Irina warned as she stepped outside, immediately smelling the faint traces of arousal surrounding her eldest sister "You don't want to scare the poor girl"
Sighing Tanya spared her sister a glance, taking note of her smurf boxer shorts and jelly smeared black tee shirt.
"I'm not even going to ask"
"I'll answer anyway" Irina grinned, her amber eyes tracing the jelly stains marring her favorite shirt "Kate's experimenting with things to feed Bella."
Thinking back to the numerous cookbooks and grocery bags that had been lining their kitchen floor, Tanya shook her head in mock pity. Inside she was thrilled that her family was readily accepting of her mate's unique disposition.
"Only Kate?" Two pairs of amber eyes looked to where the aforementioned newborn was kicking up a bunch of snow as she did a sort of spin kick, launching herself in the air with determined eyes.
"She is very good" Irina noted, looking at the newborn's perfect form. Even though she didn't really participate in it herself, Irina had watched a few karate matches during her trip around Japan.
"She's a black belt" Tanya smiled, pride coating her voice. Remembering the conversation last night as the brunette attempted to control her power. They had talked for hours, Tanya offering advice on how to stem the very constant brutal force in her punches. Tanya still smiled at the color Bella had gone when she admitted that she was indeed homosexual. The newborn had blushed, stuttered and squeaked before replying with a quiet 'me too'.
Of course the strawberry blonde had slept with both sexes numerous time during her early years but she had always lent more towards the fairer sex.
"So when are you planning on teaching her how to hunt?" Irina asked, knowing that they only had two blood bags left. The brunette had just drained three of them earlier this morning.
"As soon as she's ready" Tanya responded, thinking back to her mate's drinking habits "She'll probably need the rest of them four days from now."
"Her appetite is supposed to decrease right?" Irina said, fearing that the Volturi would surely notice mass slaughter in Denali – criminals or not.
"Don't worry" Tanya tried to soothe her sister, hearing the concern in her voice "I'll take her further away from here, probably in a next state if need be. And besides Eleazar said that her appetite will decrease as she goes through the newborn faze."
Glancing back at the controlled newborn, Irina smiled and then smirked "With the way she's going it probably won't be that long"
Tanya was just about to respond when a pungent odor invaded her nostrils. Instinctively snarling she pitched up from her perch on the swing and sniffed the air deeply.
Bella by now, sensing an almost nervous tension in the air immediately stopped mid swing and sped back towards the porch.
"What is it?" She asked, her pupils now dilated as they scanned every inch of the front yard. It was then did a faint breeze blow in the mildly disturbing smell. Bella didn't know what to make of it – it smelt like a mixture of diluted dog musk and week old gym socks rolled in to one. Yet it didn't smell as bad as Tanya was making it out to be.
"Shifter" She whispered, nodding as both Eleazar and Carmen suddenly appeared, followed by a very flour covered yet serious looking Kate. She didn't seem to notice that wet dough was stuck to her blonde hair in white patches or that her khakis looked more white than red.
An evading memory made Bella stop and think. Something was familiar about that word…just what?
"Okay, everyone form a v formation; let's go see what they're doing on our territory!" Tanya's strong voice carried on the winds, the true coven leader showing well and pure. Her amber eyes turned to Bella "Will you please stay behind me?"
Nodding Bella secretly smiled on the inside. She was happy that Tanya had shown the courtesy to at least ask her cooperation instead of her demanding her to do something. The brunette was also secretly impressed with how the strawberry blonde had taken charge if not a little turned on by it. Bella was still adding up stars when Tanya gave the move out signal with a wave of her hand.
The six vampires suddenly sped off towards the disturbing smell, going so fast that the only sign of their passing was slurred footsteps. All while they were running Bella couldn't stop the nagging feeling that tugged at her mind. This smell was familiar, from where she didn't know.
Turning off to a sharp left Bella couldn't help but admire the unity of the Denali's. Each had determination written on their faces as they ran together.
Soon enough the scent continued to grow stronger and stronger and each of the Denalis now had a thoroughly disgusted look on their face. While the odor wasn't pleasant Bella couldn't really see why each of them seemed to be holding their breath. Chalking it up to her unique 'half-ness' the brunette looked back in front of her.
Then suddenly as if out of nowhere two forms were revealed. Squinting Bella could barely make out their image as they lopped over the knolling hillside. They looked like truck size dogs, complete with tongue lolling and drool. Yet these animals screamed inner intelligence, the way their brown eyes seemed to analyze each of their adversaries, coming to rest on her.
They seemed to bristle with some form of emotion and she shifted nervously before stepping a little closer to Tanya.
"Wolf shifters" She heard Kate whisper from in back and Bella cocked her head to the side, the world 'wolf' rolling around and around in her head. She knew she was missing something….just what?
"They're stopping" Irina pointed out, her amber eyes almost locked with those of the wolves.
"Let's go see what they want then" Tanya said, and Bella watched as the strawberry blonde's posture relaxed, her shoulders slumping backwards.
Threading carefully, hesitant, the newborn surveyed her surroundings looking for possible escape routes. Instincts made her wary of these huge beasts, their smell causing her nose to twitch and her inner alarm system to go off. Barely suppressing the urge to flee Bella put her thrust and protection in Tanya and hoped for the best.
She was just making a next check of her surroundings when the russet colored wolf lifted its head and locked eyes with her. Those warm orbs carried an inner sorrow and a familiar connection.
Clutching her head the brunette hissed as past memories made themselves known.
I watched almost as a third person as my life was laid before my eyes. A young boy, no more than three years staring up at me with black hopeful eyes. I had reverted back to seven maybe eight. My pre -teen self-seemed to be pouting, staring at the little boy with exasperation. Looking around I tried to remember where I had seen the white washed house before – its small presence leaving an impression.
'La Push' – the words appeared out of nowhere, dominating the blankness that had consumed me. Then gnawing pain laced through me as the boy grew bigger and bigger in a series of one way snap shots. His eyes stayed the same though…that same heartfelt black obsidian. The same obsidian that now looked down at me worry and concern gracing his furry features.
"Jacob?" I whispered and the ground rushed up, the snow blanketing my fall. My head felt like it was pounding, pictures and stories zooming by, barely registering as I tried to make sense of them.
"Bella!" A familiar screech sounded and I groaned, trying to block out the noise. I could feel that familiar warmness seeping into me and I closed my eyes. I could feel Tanya kneeling down next to be, whispering assuring words in my ears and I breathed in her scent, letting the comforting aroma soothe the pain lacing my head.
I jerked my head up as a raspy roar echoed on the winds. The sound howled in my already numb head I peered through the lace of my pain.
That's when everything turned red. Jacob was running, racing towards me, his lips curled in a vicious snarl. I wasn't concerned for my life however. No his black gaze was riveted towards Tanya, charging her carelessly, rooting up lumps of snow as the winds played in his fur.
I didn't care that the rest of the Denali's had already surrounded us in a protective circle. No- all I saw was the russet colored wolf charging at my wonderful, beautiful amber eyed savior. MINE!
"Bella no!" I distantly felt Tanya restraining me as I pitched up, her words ringing in my head. But anger had already consumed me and I charged, a snarl leaving my lips as I met the wolf head on.
He seemed surprised when he saw me coming for him and reared up, doubling his size as he stood awkwardly on two legs. My eyes zeroed in on his unprotected chest and I pounced, my hands already curled into outreaching claws. I never saw the other grey wolf and by the time I did it was too late. Her black eyes held a sad and wary look as she slammed into me, rendering me dizzy for a moment as I was tossed in the air. From my view I could see Tanya's panicked gaze as she looked at me. Strangely enough the emotions were reflected in the russet colored eyes as well. Flinging out my arms in a protective gesture I tried to position my body to land on my feet. It was only when the feeling of ground meeting skin never came did I gasp out loud.
Tanya's amber gaze widened in disbelief as her mate stood awkward, the almost invisible silver of the transparent bubble waddling slightly to the left. Her red eyes had turned back to that beautiful chocolate brown in the shock of the moment and the strawberry blonde leaved a sigh of relief.
"That's amazing!" Eleazar suddenly praised, rushing up to Bella and completely forgetting the situation. He cautious prodded at the translucent orb, smiling again in amazement when he touched the solid barrier, prohibiting him from reaching the still stunned newborn any further.
Looking into her eyes Eleazar frowned "Bella are you alright?" She had the sort of dazed look in her eyes and her body was currently rocking from side to side.
Recognizing the look for what it was, Tanya barely managed to catch Bella as she slumped unconsciously, her invisible barrier breaking at the same time.
A/N – That had to be the coolest chapter I ever wrote! And I want to thank everyone for the reviews – loved them. Sorry for the late chapter – university has started again and the classes are much harder than my first year so I can't promise this type of thing won't happen again. I was also distracted with my Pokemon fiction that I'm debating whether to post or not. Anyway I hope you enjoyed this chapter and please review.