It's hard to end this story. I feel as though I've been writing it for so long…it took me to Australia and back! I graduated from college while writing it, and went through a few jobs, including the one I'm about to start. So I truly hope you like how I've ended it.
One person complained about all the drama in my stories. Yes there is drama. Without conflict, how can you have a story and a plot? This is what I love writing, and I hope you guys like to read it. Enjoy the chapter. There will probably be an epilogue.
"And? Then what happened?" I laughed when Peter leaned forward in his chair, his hand clasped as he waited for Emmett to continue. Suddenly, I heard the front door shut, and the two in question appeared in the living room with huge smiles.
"I forgot everything and I'm still trying to remember who exactly you people are." I laughed, jumping up and grabbing Bella in a tight hug, whining a little when her grip was a bit too tight.
"Bella!" Peter pulled her away from me, gripping her tightly, and then groaned a bit when she squeezed him back. It was so good to see her…of course, she probably hadn't realized how much we'd come to care for her, especially since the last time we'd seen her, she had been human and we'd been getting thirsty, but we were both excited to see Bella again, especially considering how much easier it was to be around her.
"Oh…sorry." Her sheepish smile was sort of canceled out by the crimson red eyes, but I waved her off, smirking.
"It's fine. I think I hurt you when we first met. Now we're even." She grinned at me as Edward came in behind her. When we'd arrived, Carlisle had informed us that they were out hunting. It had only been a month since her change, and she still had to hunt pretty often. I remembered those days, how my throat would ache and burn until I found something to drink or a distraction…mostly in the form of Peter.
"You ruined the story!" Emmett reached up to ruffle her hair from his spot on the sofa, but she flashed away, sticking her tongue out. Obviously ready to play, he jumped up as well, but Esme appeared then from around the corner where she'd been working on putting things away in the kitchen, giving them a stern look. I had a feeling that, with Emmett and a newborn in the house, that look got a lot of use. He sat back down, and Bella put her hands behind her back, looking both mischievous and chastised. It suited her.
"Good. Now you can finish the story. We were at the part where you woke up…" Peter told her, sitting back down on the sofa and draping an arm around me.
"Let Emmett tell it," Bella told my mate dismissively, waving her hand a bit. "He's the better storyteller."
"Exactly!" Our old friend chuckled from where he and Alice sat beside us in the room filled with boxes that hadn't yet been unpacked. Apparently this was their first night in the new place, which I didn't understand if Bella had been changed for a month now. But when we'd showed up an hour ago, Emmett had insisted on telling the story, starting when we'd left, so we'd been happy to oblige. Carlisle had smiled indulgently from his spot by a large bookcase where he continued to put the large books away one by one at human speed, apparently taking great care with them. I made a note to ask about them later. While we'd been given a tour of their old house the first time we'd visited, I hadn't paid much attention to his office and hadn't seen these books in the library. Then again, I hadn't looked too closely. I didn't really read much these days. Jasper and Alice, who had greeted us enthusiastically at the door right as we'd arrived, sat on the same sofa that we'd been led to, and we'd barely had time to catch up and ask a question about the human before Emmett was into his tale.
She looked good. She'd been beautiful as a human, and the change suited her well. She was pale with red eyes of course, but her face was beautiful, with just enough differences to make her look like a different person to human eyes. To us, of course, she looked very similar to her old self with better skin. She sat beside Edward, her body tucked against his, his hand stroking her hair. It was a habit he'd had when she had been human too. They both had an air of contentment about them, and utter happiness that I was sure rubbed off on Jasper. I wondered if this had anything to do with Edward finally mating with her. More than her physical change, she had an air of happiness about her. I was sure that, too had something to do with Edward and their activities in the forest. Still, it was more. She belonged in this family, and with Edward, and, apparently, as a vampire. She seemed to have finally found a place for herself after her father's death. I was happy for her.
Edward gave me a look when I thought of the two of them in the forest, definitely not just hunting, and I suppressed a smile. I hadn't meant to embarrass or upset him. It was just obvious…the way they moved together was more in tune. She sat comfortably with her hand on his knee, not to mention the fact that the back of her dress had a rip, and I knew that wasn't from hunting. Edward had been in a hurry. He narrowed his eyes a bit, and I grinned at him. It was fun to keep the mind reader on his toes. Peter, noticing my game, squeezed me to his side, kissing my temple with an amused smile.
"Where was I?" Emmett asked rhetorically. I rolled my eyes, glancing at Rosalie who sat with Emmett and had done the same. Emmett's usually cool and distant mate also appeared a bit different. Before, she'd seemed…okay with Bella. Protective, even, but maybe not overly fond of a human in the home. Now, with that obstacle out of the way, she was much happier than we'd usually seen her. She'd even hugged me.
'The ice queen is thawing a little after all.' I thought with a smile.
"Okay, so Bella wakes up, and Edward goes, 'What do you remember?" Edward rolled his eyes at Emmett's impersonation. "And Bella says, 'I was with Leah on the reservation and something happened?'" Bella lifted an eyebrow at the falsetto voice but didn't comment. I had a feeling that this story was going to take a while if Emmett insisted on doing voices.
"I didn't remember exactly what had happened." Bella cut in. "I still don't really…. but Edward explained what had transpired with the wolves. I had to stay in bed for a week, and Carlisle barely let me sleep for all the MRI's he gave me." The doctor smiled sheepishly.
"It's true." He put in; all thoughts of letting Emmett continue the story apparently gone. "I was very worried. I did the surgery at the house, and I was afraid something would go wrong. I had Alice watching her future around the clock, Edward never left her side, we woke her every few hours for at least three days, and the MRI got a lot of use." Bella smiled fondly at him.
"I was probably a little grumpier than I should have been. But I appreciate it." He chuckled softly, inclining his head.
"I might have gone a bit overboard." He was ready to admit.
"Anyway, Edward explained about the wolves, and what had happened with Sam. I spoke to him, and since Jacob is the alpha of their pack, he agreed to let Carlisle change me. They were able to change the treaty a little. So I graduated and then Carlisle changed me. We stayed in Forks for a while. Edward taught me to hunt, and we hunted a few times in the area after that, but we really just stuck around because…well, there were some eyes on Carlisle."
Edward broke in then. "He took Bella home from the hospital and…well they didn't know anything about the brain bleed. To them, it appeared as though she just hadn't woken up yet, and we pulled some strings to get her home. But as far as the hospital knows, as soon as she went home with us, she woke up. Then she graduates, and, shortly thereafter, 'dies.' We actually held a closed casket funeral for her. So we stuck around for a while. Made it look like we were grieving." Edward told us, still stroking his mate's arm. I wondered how hard that must have been, especially with Billy nearby, knowing what they'd done. Had Jacob spoken to his father…sworn him to secrecy? Edward caught my eye and nodded a bit, a grim look on his face for just a moment.
"And you, like your family, follow the 'vegetarian' diet?" Peter asked rhetorically, giving Carlisle a sideways glance when he said the word. He still thought it was funny. I found it less so every time we visited.
"Yes. I hunt animals like them."
"You've never even been tempted?" I asked, making my tone gentle. I didn't want to pry…I was just genuinely curious. Did a vampire who had, since their change, only drank from animals find it any easier than the rest of us? I knew that, until getting close to Bella, Jasper had found it quite difficult.
"It's hard." Bella admitted, looking down, and Edward held her more closely. "There was one close call…"
Edward picked up the story then, squeezing her hand and kissing her hair. "We were on our second hunting trip. I didn't check the area as well as I should have." I lowered my eyes, feeling a pang of sympathy for her. Although I hunted humans, I didn't necessarily enjoy hurting them if I thought about it. They just tasted good. More and more, I tried not to think too much about where my food came from. "We were out up the mountains, racing to the top of one. But there were some hikers." She clenched her jaw, dropping her head, and he paused to hug her again. "She caught their scent and started hunting them. I caught her in time but…she managed to bite me." He shrugged, obviously not overly bothered, but Bella looked as though she might cry at the reminder.
I felt an even deeper sympathy for her now. It must have caused her unbelievable grief to hurt her mate. "It barely hurt, and the scar is tiny. It could have happened to anyone." I could feel the soothing calm Jasper was pushing at the distraught young vampire, and I smiled at her gently.
"He's right Bella. It really could have. If Peter were to try and stop me in the middle of hunting, I'd probably take one of his arms off." I teased, making her smile just a bit. "So why Vermont?"
"We're looking at going to Dartmouth when Bella's ready…with new names of course." Edward told us. "We were all accepted, but we'll have to apply again with new transcripts and names, considering Bella Swan is dead. I'm thinking…Bella Masen." Bella did smile then.
"Who said I would take your name? Maybe you can be Edward Swan. " He grinned, shrugging.
"Doesn't matter to me, love." He murmured, his forehead coming to rest against hers. Of course it didn't matter. What was a name to him when he had the love of his existence with him forever now?
"I wasn't sure at first…it's very expensive." Bella said, turning to us. "I didn't want to spend so much money…so much of Edward's money. But I've been looking into the school…it has a lot of good programs." I shrugged.
"I wouldn't know. I never even finished high school." There was no bitterness in my tone. "Back in my day, girls didn't have to."
"Wow…really? Did you want to?" She wondered, sitting forward. I shrugged again.
"I can't really remember. I don't think I cared much. I probably had other stuff to worry about. The Civil War was just ending." She seemed intrigued, and I wished I remembered more. Peter had a few more human memories for whatever reason. I only had bits and pieces. Of course, the change and everything after were still in sharp focus. I didn't have to ask her about her change…every vampire, with the exception of Alice, remembered that in sharp focus. I glanced up, seeing Edward nod. Surprisingly, he answered my silent, unasked question.
"Yes. We intended to use morphine to help with the change, but it didn't work." Bella shuddered a bit as she and the rest of the room caught on to our conversation, and Peter looked at her, head tilted in a silent question.
"I couldn't move." She told him quietly. "The morphine just paralyzed me. I couldn't scream or anything…not until it was almost over. I wasn't going to tell them but…I couldn't lie to Carlisle." Carlisle gave her an almost reproving look.
"It certainly didn't stop her from trying. She didn't want us to know that she'd been suffering. To us, it looked as though she were sleeping, but Jasper could feel her emotions." There was a note of sadness in his voice, and once more I tried to inject some cheer into the conversation once more.
"So, has Alice taken you shopping yet?" Bella did laugh then, as did Alice, and Bella shook her head.
"No. I can't be around so many humans yet. But Alice has brought the shopping to me. My closet is already full of new clothes Alice keeps bugging me to try on."
"She acts like it's such a terrible punishment! I just want you to look nice." Alice whined, happy to play along.
"I think she looks beautiful." Bella inclined her head toward Edward, a smug grin on her face as she stuck her tongue out at Alice who laughed, rolling her eyes.
"I agree," Peter said, rubbing a thumb on my back where his arm was thrown over my shoulder. "You look lovely Bella." She laughed outright at that, smiling kindly at him, and I managed to get my hand up just as Alice threw the pillow at him, catching it midair.
"Maybe the two of us can go look at your closet, Bella." I suggested, standing. I hadn't really gotten to speak to her much yet, and my time alone with her had been restricted when she was human. Edward kissed her temple, murmuring that he loved her, and together we headed upstairs as the others began speaking with Peter about what we'd been up to. Of course, I had the feeling that if Bella even mentioned his name he would be upstairs in a flash.
Bella and Edward's room was on the third floor of the house, tucked into a back corner beside a library. The room had thick double doors that she pushed open, revealing a lovely white room with modern furniture. A huge, sleek bed sat against one wall, perfectly made-up with white sheets and a white comforter…so much white. "What is it with you people and white?" I asked, making Bella snort as she shut the door behind us.
"Alice picked out the bedding. We still have to put everything away…and get some new furniture. I think Alice wants to pick that out too, but Edward and I have been looking online…I might insist on some actual colors, even if it does look nice." She led me over to the closet, and I reached out, catching her hand.
"Bella?" She sighed, giving me a more genuine smile. "It's hard. I know. It's okay." She laughed a little.
"Yeah…sorry." She ran a hand through her hair, the crossed her arms, dropping down onto the bed. "It's hard sometimes…and when I bit Edward…"
"I'm sure he doesn't blame you." I sat beside her, leaning back on my arms.
"No. He doesn't. That's the worst part. He didn't even get angry…he just held me. He should have been mad."
"I'm not sure that Edward can get mad at you. It's the same with Peter. They love us so much, and we love them. It's more intense than the love that human's feel." She nodded.
"I didn't believe him before. I thought he was exaggerating when he said that he loved me so much more than I loved him."
I snorted. "He said that? To a woman?"
"Yeah." She laughed. "But he was right. I couldn't feel as strongly as him. But now I can. I can feel everything." I felt a pang of sympathy for the newborn vampire born into such a strange family, but honestly, they all seemed happy. I'd always been a bit confused by the Cullens. Carlisle seemed to be both father and friend, although not always leader, of this strange group of vampires, and Esme, both the mother and second in command…but they were ultimately a family, not a coven, and they all loved each other very much. The men were like brothers and the girl sisters, despite the fact that they were all predators. Peter and I had tried grouping up with other vampires, but it always ended with us splitting off…or with a fight. One in particular had ended with Peter decapitating a male that had taken a snap at me.
I thought of the first time we'd visited Jasper, and how surprised Peter had been to see Jasper, Emmett, and Edward all playing together while we spoke to Rosalie and Alice…they hadn't been at all concerned about protecting their mates, because Jasper had said that we were safe…not to mention Carlisle and Esme were nearby. I'd never seen Carlisle fight, but I had a feeling he would be fierce, especially when protecting the family he'd worked so hard to keep safe and together.
"You love them."
"I've always loved them. Emmett was the one who saved me, you know. I mean, Edward found me and Carlisle was the doctor at the scene, but Emmett sat with me. I remember thinking how kind he was…and he's always been kind to me. But so have the rest of them. I've loved them from the time I was invited to join their family."
"Even Rosalie?" She laughed, and I heard Rosalie laugh from downstairs. There was virtually no privacy in this house, but Bella didn't seem to mind.
"Yes. Even Rosalie. At first, it was hard. She wasn't too happy to have a human around, but she warmed up to me…I hope." Rosalie laughed again from downstairs.
"And what about your human friends? Was Leah okay? And Jacob?"
"Well, we amended the treaty…or rather, Carlisle did. Edward didn't want me around the wolves until I was changed. I did get to see Leah again…until she changed as well."
"Leah's a wolf too?" I cried, surprised. I had been under the impression that only the males shifted. Then again, I knew almost nothing about the shapeshifters. Peter and I had never encountered werewolves.
"Yes. She and Sam don't really speak anymore, even though they're in the same pack. She's still angry with him. But we did get to say goodbye before we moved. She was a little tense…considering what I am, but it went pretty well, all things considered. We just…sat down and talked. It was nice. And Jacob is cool with it." Bella laughed suddenly at my expression. "Okay, maybe not cool with it, but he was okay. I think, deep down, he might have suspected that something was strange about the Cullens, and his transformation just confirmed it. He was very open with Carlisle, and he asked a lot of questions about what my transformation would mean. He was kind to me from the first. I hope I'll see him again soon."
"I'm sure you will. Maybe you can go back for a visit."
"I hope so." Bella stood then, gesturing toward her closet. "Alright. Enough of this. Ready to see what Alice has bought for me? You can have whatever you like." I giggled when Alice hissed irritably downstairs. "Consider it your own personal shopping mall. Maybe it will convince her that I don't need any of this stuff."
I smiled at her, knowing exactly what she was really saying. I didn't need it either, nor did Alice. We'd found people, all of us, who made us happy in this life. This curse, or whatever it was, was made not only bearable but wonderful by the people who shared it. For Bella, it was the Cullens, who had rescued her first from a car wreck, and then from a lonely existence as a human with no real family. For me, it was Peter, who had saved me from Maria, convincing Jasper to spare my life…and now, the Cullens. I even had secret hopes that, someday soon, Peter would consider trying this strange diet with me. Maybe we too could live like the Cullens someday. We could be the Carlisle and Esme of a new family…a family of vampires that tried to do good instead of evil. If they could do it, surely we could too.
Throwing open the closet doors, I had to laugh at the small department store held there, all in Bella's size of course. Alice was nothing if not passionate. Smiling back at Bella, I gestured for her to follow me. "Come on. Let's try some of this on." She rolled her eyes.
"That'll take all day."
"If there's anything we have plenty of, Bella, it's time." She had to smile at that, the involuntary expression tugging at her lips as she stepped forward, and together we began pulling dresses off the hangers.
This probably wasn't what you were expecting for the ending. I have to say, I really did like how it came out. There may be an epilogue, or maybe a sequel with Bella as a vampire and more of Peter and Charlotte. But they'll probably be a while. There was originally a sequel planned, but the way this ended was different from how I thought it would end a year ago and that sequel wouldn't make sense anymore. I might still publish that as an independent story once I get it rewritten. Anyway, I have so many more story ideas, so there will be more from me. Thank you all so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it, and that you forgive the spelling/grammar errors because I'm so tired... It's been great.