A/N: Hello, everyone! Soooo sorry it's been over a year since I updated...wow...I have excuses, but they're personal and probably wouldn't interest you anyway ;) If you like what you read, write a review telling me what you think, what questions you have, and feel free to share any ideas for where you want this to go! Constructive criticism is always welcome!

CHAPTER 5

Bella shrieked and clawed against her captor, desperate to reach her prey. She wants to take it from me, but it's mine! My kill! Bella managed to bite the red-headed female, causing her to hiss and loosen her grasp. Taking advantage of the situation, Bella kicked the girl away and rushed to tackle the cowering figure beneath the tree.

Moments later, Bella collapsed backwards, sighing in ecstasy. The red juice dripped down her chin and onto her clothes as the feral monster within subsided, allowing Bella to regain control of her mind and actions.

"Again?! Charlotte, when I say to watch her, you need to watch her!" scolded Peter, appearing in the clearing with an unconscious human in his arms. The smell was intoxicating, but Bella had only killed moments ago and had just enough presence of mind to not attack.

"Don't you think I tried, Peter? The child is too strong, her newborn instincts and abilities are still too great for me to handle alone!"

Sighing, Peter dropped the meal next to his wife, allowing her to feed. "I know, Char, I know. It's just that the more we let her instinct thrive, the harder it will be for Jasper to reign her in. I want this to be as painless as possible – for all of us."

During this conversation, Bella became overpowered with remorse. She had killed. Again. Necessary though it was, the fact that she couldn't control herself was too much to bear. Bella turned her gaze upon her victim and began dry sobbing. This one was such a small human – a child. The epitome of innocence, and she had slaughtered it without a second thought. Why did this have to happen to her? Why couldn't she control it?

Her preoccupation with remorse finally got Peter's attention, who rushed over and caressed her, turning her gaze away from the gruesome sight she had created. "It's alright, Bells," he crooned, "We've all been there. I told you before, these first few months are the hardest. You'll gain more control. It will get better…"

"I…killed him…who was he, Peter? Did he have a family? What have I done? I'm a monster –"

"No, Bella, you are not a monster. The vampire side of you is vicious, but you can fight it. Don't lose yourself to it, Bells. It's not your fault…it's not your fault…"

Bella had been with Peter and Charlotte for two weeks now. After taking a few days to answer her questions and acclimate her to the new lifestyle, the Whitlocks decided to take her to meet their friends the Cullens. They explained to her that the Cullens led a "vegetarian" lifestyle, drinking blood from animals rather than humans. This concept did little to ease Bella's dismay – merfolk were true vegetarians. Being part-fish themselves, they saw other sea creatures as their kin and only ate seaweed and other plant life to survive. Those who rejected this notion were called "mer-sharks," for they chose a vicious lifestyle akin to the ocean's predators.

Despite these hesitations, Peter and Charlotte seemed to have high respect for the control and lifestyle choice the Cullen coven had made, even though they didn't practice it themselves. "If we were able to settle down, it might be easier," explained Peter, "We could join the Cullens and train to resist human blood more from a fixed location. But we just aren't like that. The nomad style suits us more, and with all the new people and places we visit, there's no firm grounding from which to build resistance. It just doesn't work for vampires like us."

Bella understood the draw to the nomadic life, but even her own travels never tempted her away from the diet supported by most merfolk. She would never have considered harming another living creature, not to mention eating them…that is, until now, when it seemed she had little choice in the matter.

A/N: Fret not, the next chapter will finally bring Bella and the Cullens together! What perspective do you want? Jasper or Bella? Let me know in the comments! 3