*I in no way shape or form, own these characters, or any rights to the unbelievable fortune that Stephenie Meyer is surely raking in due to the invention of these characters.
*Thanks to all of the very kind reviews and critical, that I have received. I love them all, for the encouragement, as well as the teaching. I love you all!
Esme sat in the sand on Isle Esme with a heavy heart. For three days she had sat and thought about the events that had played out in her life, changing it gradually, yet permanently. She counted off the ways that she could have changed the outcome. She could have been open with Carlisle about her attraction to Edward, after all, she had been fairly sure for some time that she was never Carlisle's mate to begin with, nor he hers. Now the events had started as a storm and ended up a hurricane. She wept with shame that she had given away information to Victoria that would eventually lead to Bella's death.
Esme couldn't imagine what she had been thinking at the time, but she was sure that it was simply a blind, selfish rage that drove her. At one time, Bella had called her Mom. Esme put her head in her hands. How could she have done this? She knew at once that there was only one thing to do. There would be no undoing what damage that she had already caused, but she owed a life debt to Bella. Esme stood and walked into the water. Swimming for the mainland, it was no time at all that she was in the Brazillian rainforest. Moving as fast as her strength would allow her, she began heading north. God help her, she would not allow Victoria to follow through with her ghastly plan, come hell or high water. Esme would stand between Bella and death itself.
Carlisle had sat all night watching Bella sleep. As the sun came peeking over the horizon, he began feeling a sense of anxiety. Just then, he heard a change in Bella's breathing and knew that she would awaken soon. Pulling her in close to him, she mumbled a bit, clutched his shirt and relaxed once more. She stayed that way for another half of an hour before her eyes opened, full of sleep, but with a blissful smile at the sight of her mate. "Good morning." Bella greeted him. Carlisle smiled down at her, picked her up and hugged her to him. How could he explain to her what must be done. "Carlisle? Is everything okay?" Bella sat up suddenly, sensing that something wasn't quite right.
"Everything is okay, my love. However, I need for you to take your human moments and meet me downstairs. There is a matter that the family must discuss and I'm afraid that it does concern you." Bella's forehead wrinkled a bit, but decided not to push it any further for the moment. Seeing the inner turmoil that Carlisle seemed to be in, she hurried to see to her morning ablutions.
As Bella disappeared into the bathroom Carlisle rose and headed downstairs. He stood in the dining room, near the Mission style dining room table. "Kids, we need to talk." He need not yell, but only talk at a normal level. They could hear him just fine from wherever he was in the house. Gradually, Rosalie and Emmet came in from the garage, both in jumpsuits and covered in grease, just as Alice and Jasper were walking hand in hand down the stairs. Seeing the look on Carlisle's face, they knew that it was about to be time for a family meeting.
Carlisle smiled his most reassuring smile at the concerned faces of his children. "As I'm sure that you're aware, we need to have a meeting, but Rose and Emmet, why don't you go and change. This concerns Bella and she will be down shortly. Alice sat down hard as she went into a trance like state. Her eyes darted quickly from right to left as if she were reading at high speed.
"Oh, dear. Okay." Was all that she had to say at the moment as she took her place at the table. Jasper felt a wave of anxiety rush off of her and sat down next to Alice, placing his arm, reassuringly around her shoulders. She snuggled into him.
Carlisle took his place at the head of the table and patted Alice's hand. "You did well, Alice, in advising me to bring the medications that you suggested. I must admit, that I had no idea why I would be brining such medications when we were leaving to come here. I feared that Bella would be badly injured, and that I had them to do a major surgery on her, but I am as thankful as ever for your foresight." Alice smiled back at Carlisle, although her eyes held the same worry that seemed to cause her smile to not quite reach her eyes.
Emmet and Rosalie came down the stairs, clean and in a fresh pair of clothes and joined the family at the table. Rosalie was concerned about such an impromptu family meeting. "Okay, Dad. We're all here. What's going on?"
"Ah, but Rosalie, we are not all here. Bella will be down in a moment and this concerns her more than it does any of us. Patience, Rose." Carlisle's tone was gentle as usual, but touched with worry. Just then he smelled the lovely smell of strawberries as Bella exited their bedroom door and made her way to the stairs. She hadn't bothered to dry her hair and Carlisle couldn't help but think of how lovely she looked with her smooth, long hair, wet and swinging behind her. She smiled at the family and walked toward the chair next to Carlisle.
"Let's begin, then." Carlisle stood and pulled Bella's chair out for her. As soon as she was seated, he began to address the family. "I will not mince words here, as I'm afraid that time is of the essence. I spoke to Eleazar last night and it seems that Esme has gone somewhat mad. She was asked to leave the Denali clan due to an attack on Tanya at discovering that Edward and Tanya have discovered mates in one another." There was a collective gasp around the table. Bella had to admit that she felt a touch of sadness for Esme, who even due to her own actions, had lost so much. Carlisle continued. "I'm sure that you all remember Laurent, from that fateful day at the baseball field?" With a nod from everyone around the table and a slight cringe from Bella, he continued. "Well it seems that Laurent has chosen to become a part of the Denali clan and to discipline himself to our way of life."
"That's wonderful!" Rosalie seemed happy that Laurent had quit hanging around with the likes of James and Victoria and settled on a more peaceful lifestyle.
"Well, yes it is wonderful, Rose, but it was only a few days ago that Laurent was sought out by none other than Victoria." Bella froze in her seat.
"What does she want?" Bella felt a tingle down her spine. Carlisle withheld nothing.
"She wants you, Bella. She wants revenge for James' death and seems to blame you for that. Apparently she wants revenge on Edward as well, but he is currently surrounded by the Denali's." Suddenly Bella's breath quickened as did her heart. This did not go unnoticed by Carlisle. "Rest easy now, dear heart. I have a plan."
Suddenly Bella stood up from her chair and laid her hands on the table. "Change me." The entire table was silent. Carlisle suddenly felt a sense of pride in his mate.
"That is exactly what I was going to suggest, my courageous one. However, I believe that I have contrived a plan that will make it less painful or not even painful at all. You see, Alice had seen that I would need a certain drug here. I didn't understand it at the time, but she implored me to bring a drug called Propofal, here with us." Carlisle looked around the table to make sure that everyone was with him. Seeing that they were hanging on to every word, Bella remained standing, her eyes trusting him. How he loved her. "Propofal is used to in medically induced comas. I have had some experience with this drug in the case of life threatening injuries, requiring surgeries that had to be done in stages. When the patient must absolutely not move, due to the fact that their bodies remain open between surgeries, it is used to sedate them, like a constant global anesthesia. Bella I would like to try this on you. Bella dear," Carlisle took her hands in his, emotion written all over his face, "I see no other way to keep you safe, but to change you. If Victoria finds us here, I fear for your life." Bella nodded and sat down at the table.
"Then let's do it. I'm not afraid, Carlisle. I came up here with you for this very reason. Now, I won't pretend that I expected it to happen on my second day here, but, well, today is a good day to die." Bella had a serene smile on her face. "I trust you implicitly, Carlisle and I am ready." Carlisle gathered her into his arms and kissed her soundly, blinking around venomous tears.
"Very well, my love. I will begin making the preparations." Carlisle kissed her once more and headed up to his study. Bella suddenly let out a deep breath and looked around the table, uncertainly. Immediately, Alice and Rosalie held her hands, reassuringly.
"I've already seen it, Bella. You are beautiful!" Alice gushed. "I will dress you while you are going through the change and see to it that when you wake up, that you'll be able to make the most of that rockin' body that you'll be sporting."
Bella's rockin' body was the last thing on her mind right now. She was peaceful on the outside but nervous and a bit fearful on the inside. Finally, with a smile at each of her adoptive siblings, she climbed the stairs to Carlisle's study. Knocking on the partially open door, she let herself in and gasped. It was a beautiful room. The walls were floor to ceiling mahogany bookshelves, loaded with leather bound tomes. Bella could imagine herself spending many hours in this peaceful room with the corner fireplace crackling merrily. Carlisle stood silently near his exam table, preparing an I.V. Even he couldn't bring himself to smile at this moment. Bella approached him and laid a hand on his arm. Meeting his gaze, she smiled brightly. "Today, I began my journey of forever with you, Carlisle. Don't be afraid. I love you." Carlisle paused and then suddenly grabbed Bella to him, sobbing into her shoulder.
"My dearest, dearest, love. I don't want you to feel the pain. I wish there was another way. I pray that this works." He held her tightly against him. She rubbed her hands up and down his back in comfort.
"I'm ready, Carlisle." Her gaze was even and unflinching. Nodding his head, he finished hooking up the I.V.
"Very well, Bella. You must take off your clothes so that I may clean the blood off of you where I have to bite. I will then cover you with a sheet and if all goes well, you will sleep through the pain. I will never leave your side, Bella. I promise you that." Bella nodded her understanding as Carlisle closed his study door as Bella began to disrobe. Shaking slightly, with a rush of adrenaline, she laid back on his exam table and shut her eyes as he placed the central line into her hand. He covered her with a sheet and hooked fluids into the central line. "This will help the medication to regulate itself, so long as you have a blood stream." Bella nodded, nervously. "Soon, my love, I will inject the sedative into the I.V. and all that you have to do is close your eyes. The rest will take care of itself." Bella nodded her understanding, a quick tear rolling down the side of her face, betraying her façade of confidence. Carlisle wiped the tear away and brushed the hair from her face, kissing her tenderly. "Hang on to these memories, my love. It may take you a while after the change to remember certain things, but please, watch my face as you go under, for I want it to be the first thing that you remember when you awaken." Bella reached out a hand and caressed his face.
"Okay. I'm ready, Carlisle." Carlisle measured carefully the medication into a syringe and connected it to her central line. With one last kiss, he stood over Bella and began to slowly inject it into her system. Bella stared at his face all the while as he saw her fade, quickly into unconsciousness. As soon as he knew that her heartbeat was regulated and doing well under the anesthesia, he spoke aloud. "Hunt, children. I am going to begin the change and I would prefer to be alone." He heard the back door open and close and knew that the others had respected his wishes. Walking over to Bella, once more, he kissed her slack lips and then, with a deep breath, he kissed his way down her arm, then sank his teeth into her right wrist, pushing as much venom as he could into the wound. With tears in his eyes, he bit the back of her knees, ankles and the other wrist and sat back, his hand over his mouth, breathing heavily through his mouth. In all of his existence, there had never been such a tempting creature as the woman that lay on the table before him. As he regained control of himself. He pulled up a chair and sat down near her head. Taking her hand in his, he began to speak to her, though she couldn't hear him, he began at the beginning of his changing and told her everything that he could possibly remember.
Filling a basin with warm water from the bathroom, he took a rag and began bathing the extra blood from her body, caused by the bite wounds. Being able to do nothing more, he laid her hands by her side. Several hours later, Alice knocked on his study door and entered, carrying fresh clothes for Bella. With a solemn questioning look at an agonizing Carlisle, she began to dress Bella, just as Bella would have wanted. She chose a pair of designer jeans and a deep emerald green wide turtle neck sweater that hugged Bella's figure. As an act of love, she placed socks on Bella's feet and slipped on her turquoise Converse, then sat with Carlisle for a while, listening to the still steady rhythm of Bella's heartbeat.
Carlisle sat for three days by her side. The final day was agonizing as her heartbeat began to slow significantly. Suddenly, it ceased altogether and everyone in the house, rushed to Carlisle's study to see the new Bella.
Bella closed her eyes, focusing on the face of her beloved Carlisle. It seemed as she awoke moments later with a slight burning sensation. A sense of panic overwhelmed her as she realized that the rhythm of her heart was unbearably slow. She knew that she was dying, but she couldn't seem to open her eyes. She wanted to scream, to call out for help, but as she tried to, the pain increased and her heart rhythm decreased and then in a second, her heart stopped beating altogether, just as the burning sensation died down. It felt as if it took all of her strength for a moment, but just as fast, she opened her eyes and was startled by the light. Everything looked slightly skewed. If she stared hard enough, she could see the different spectrums of color in the light that poured in through the window. Suddenly, she realized that the window looked familiar. A million thoughts were swimming in her head, just as she sat up, suddenly. It took no effort, whatsoever and what stared back at her caught her off guard. There were five people in the room with her that seemed remotely familiar.
Her mind was reeling with the barrage of senses that seemed so new to her and she crouched low, protectively as she tried to make sense of it all, until she noticed one face that brought pleasant feelings to her mind and body. The face spoke to her.
"Bella? Dear heart? It's Carlisle. We are not going to hurt you. I know that you are very confused right now, but everything is going to be okay." The voice soothed her as memories came flooding back. Laying in his arms, feeling safe. Touching him, feeling him. Pleasure at his touch and then it all came rushing back to her in a flood of incredibly clear memories.
"Carlisle?" Her voice sounded slightly foreign to her ears. It seemed to ring with a pleasant sound.
"Yes, Bella. It's me." He opened his arms to her and she bolted forward and was in his arms, faster than she had ever dreamed that she could move. Sighing, she melted into Carlisle's arms and peered cautiously at the other four standing in the room with her. They all stood back, giving her space. Suddenly, memories of them began to flood back as well. In that strange, new, beautiful voice, she named them each by name.
"Emmet, Rosalie, Jasper and Alice. You're my family." Bella felt herself smile. She felt no more fear of them as they all gathered around her hugging her. Alice chatted very quickly, but Bella hung on to every word. Carlisle intervened at this moment.
"Okay, let's give her some space. Bella, darling, you are so very beautiful. Do you want to see yourself?" Bella nodded up at him, remembering that her body might alter slightly after what she had just been through. Carlisle cradled her protectively in his arms as he eased her from the room and into the sanctuary of their own. "Now remember that your eye color is going to be startling." Carlisle was taking his time with Bella, but was caught completely off guard by how in control that she was so soon after just waking. He chose to follow her lead and choose her own comfort level.
"Okay, I think that I'm ready." Bella walked hand in hand with Carlisle into the bathroom. She had never felt so alert, so aware of every detail of her surroundings. It was almost as if she could now sense what was around her without seeing it. Suddenly, standing in the bathroom in front of the mirror, she saw for the first time, the new Bella. The Bella who's heart no longer beat. She stared at her reflection. For a moment she was startled by the eyes that stared back at her. They were as red as blood. "Blood," thought Bella to herself and was keenly aware of the first time that her throat burned with a thirst. Running her hands over her body she was very aware of her fuller breasts, her tiny toned waist and the muscular, yet graceful swell of hips that ended in long, sinuous legs." Carlisle stood back, his hand over his mouth, watching her with a gleam in his eye.
"Do you like what you see?" She asked him.
"Bella, you were always more beautiful than any other to me, but now, you will have the Denali sisters green with envy. But I do not stare with amazement at your outer beauty. It is with awe at the state that you woke up in." Bella looked confused.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that you are in complete control of your faculties. You remembered almost immediately each member of your family. You remembered me." With this statement, Carlisle's voice cracked with emotion. "I have never seen anything like it. You are remarkable, dear one. Here I am going on about how amazing your control is and you must be parched. Do you feel a thirst, Bella?"
Bella shyly nodded her head.
"Come, my love and hunt with me." Carlisle held out his hand to her.
"But I don't know how to." Bella eyes were wide.
"You will know what to do when the time comes. Just listen to your instincts." Bella nodded and followed Carlisle down the stairs at an amazing speed, realizing that she didn't trip, or even feel unsteady. Together they headed out the door into the mountain wilderness.