Disclaimer: Nope, not mine
A/N – I wish I could take credit for the initial idea that inspired this story, but, alas, I cannot. That juicy little titbit goes to SadieGirl18 and her (him? them? Probably her) story, Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Go read her story, review and maybe it'll convince her to finish it! :D
Edited as of 09/28/2013
Isabella Swan was, slowly but surely, killing herself.
The young vampire, of course, did not see it this way. Her true purpose was to somehow prove to the one who meant all to her that she wasn't what he said she was. She wasn't a monster. She could be more human. Be normal. She could resist the pull of the one thing that sustained every vampire, whether it be human or animal.
She could resist the temptation of blood.
She hadn't fed in six weeks now, and she thought she was doing pretty well. Sure, her once shiny dark hair had become brittle and lifeless, snapping off if anyone so much as touched it. Yes, her skin was flaking and translucent, turning into a fine powder and marking wherever her body lay. And true, her eyes were no longer a deep golden amber colour, instead settling somewhere between milk white and dirty grey. But she didn't care. All that mattered was that she was succeeding in her goal.
She wasn't drinking blood. That was all that mattered.
Her usually unnaturally still chest disobeyed her commands as she lay in the tiny bed, rising and falling as if she really did need to breathe. She didn't know why it was doing that, or why she was so cold all the time. She shouldn't have been cold, she was a vampire and had been for 75 years. Vampires didn't get cold, yet here she was, shivering in her cot. Her eyelids felt heavy, as if they were doing their best to close so she could sleep. Another thing she knew was impossible, as her kind didn't sleep. But kept closing they did, over and over again.
Bella took all of these things as a good sign. These were normal, human things, things she remembered doing before she'd been turned. That had to be progress. If her body was imitating humanity, it must mean she was getting somewhere.
To be human again was an impossible dream, but at least she may be able to become a human equivalent. Maybe then, she'd be good enough for him.
Maybe then, he wouldn't hate her.
The door of her shack slammed open and Bella jumped, her skin making the grinding sound stone makes when it crumbles, white dust floating in her wake. She opened her heavy eyelids and smiled a weak smile at the closest thing to a brother she had.
A small frown appeared on her brow when Edward Cullen didn't smile back. He sent her a glare instead, and because Bella knew him so well, she also caught the intense worry in his thoroughly irritated gaze.
"Okay, Bells, I've about had enough of this."
"Had enough of what?" Bella croaked. The older vampire sat down beside her bed and took her hand. Bella flinched at how cold his skin felt.
"This!" Edward growled, jerking her hand and making her body flop feebly. "I shouldn't be able to move you like that! You need to feed and you need to do it now!"
"No I don't. I'm fine," she answered automatically. "It's working."
"Working? Working? You're dying, Bella!"
"You and I both know that there's only one way to kill a vampire. I don't see anyone taking me apart and burning the pieces, do you?" Bella whispered.
Edward groaned and laid his forehead on the bed beside her. "Why do you have to be so unbearably stubborn?" he muttered.
"Rosalie was a good teacher."
Edward chuckled in despair at the rasp from the bed, his head coming up to stare into the ravaged face. He sighed as his gaze ran over her. She'd been so beautiful once, a stunning specimen of a vampire. Now… now she was a shadow of that, a living skeleton that was slowly decomposing before his very eyes.
"Please, Bella," he pleaded as his long-dead heart twisted painfully in his chest. "Please, don't do this. He isn't worth it."
"He's worth everything," Bella whispered, her voice cracking around the words. Edward's eyes slowly closed and he reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose. His sister frowned.
"Why don't you go home?" she suggested gently. "You must miss her something desperate. I know the pain of being separated from one's mate."
"Angela knows where I am, why I'm here, and she supports me completely. I'm not going anywhere," Edward muttered before looking at her with narrowed golden eyes. "Not unless you come with me."
"You are well aware of what will happen if I leave this place. We've already stood up to the Volturi once, a killing spree in Forks will only give them another reason to visit," Bella joked, or at least tried to.
Edward didn't see the funny side.
"There wouldn't be a killing spree, nor would you have to hole yourself up in this godforsaken shack in Arctic Alaska, if you just fed!"
He leaned down and got right in her face.
"Don't make me force you."
Bella met his angry gaze steadily. Yes, he could force her, make her drink, but the instant he left her alone, she'd just retreat back to where she was now. He knew that, so forcing would be pointless in the end.
He groaned as he read her gaze and she closed her eyes, listening to the shuffle of material as he moved even closer. She flinched again as his breath blew across her cheek.
"Are you deliberately trying to torture me? Do you enjoy being responsible for the pain you're making me, your best friend, feel?"
Her eyes sprang open and she sent him a weak glare. Oh, that was a low blow. Bella hated causing anyone pain.
"Not fair!" she hissed. "You know why I'm doing this! It's for one reason and one reason only!"
"You will never be human again, Bells, and if he can't accept that, then screw him!"
"He's my mate!" Bella growled. "That's not exactly something you can say screw you to! You should be more aware of that than anyone else!"
Edward winced and Bella immediately regretted her outburst. Though she hadn't yet joined the Cullen Family when Edward Cullen and Angela Weber had just been starting, she'd heard the story more than once. Trying to deny the bond between them, Edward had tried everything short of attacking the human girl to frighten her off. In the end, all it had done was hurt them both and surprisingly made Angela more determined, something Bella wouldn't have thought the human had in her. She liked the teenager, quite a lot, but on first impressions, she wouldn't have picked her as a pursuer. She seemed too sweet and shy for that.
Angela had proved her, proved everyone, wrong. Edward had given in once he'd seen how much he was hurting the girl, and the two were now blissfully happy. Bella was very happy for them. She loved her adoptive family, had almost from the second Alice had ambushed her and dragged her into their fold, but she was closer with Edward than anyone else. She suspected that if Edward hadn't already been mated when she'd shown up, something more than a strong friendship may have developed between them. But he had been and Bella really hadn't minded, content to sit and watch, waiting patiently for her own happiness to walk through the door.
Then the Volturi had marched into the picture, afraid of the support and backing the Cullens were getting without even trying. They'd been desperately searching for an excuse to annihilate the coven, finding one in the resident wolf pack that was popping up at the La Push reservation near by. To have a truce with the wolves was unheard of and dangerous in Aro, Caius and Marcus's blood-red eyes, the two covens and the shifters finally having a 'discussion' about it. The Volturi had left eventually, as no matter how hard they searched, they couldn't find an actual reason to take down the Pack and the Cullens. All of the vampires were relieved they hadn't found out about Angela, Edward very determined that they never would. Both him and the teenager had agreed that she would stay human if at all possible, the girl joking that she rather liked the idea of 'cougaring it' as she called it, when the time came.
The newest Cullen thought it would be interesting to see if she still had the same opinion in a few years time.
It had been as Bella was turning away to celebrate with her new family that it had happened. Four wolves had run off into the trees, emerging a few minutes later, their Alpha, Jacob, in front. For some reason Bella had been compelled to look over at them as they stood there, Jacob talking to Carlisle, her eyes clashing with a resentful dark chocolate gaze. Her destiny, her lifeline, the absolute certainty that he was the man she was meant to be with, had hit her like a ton of bricks. Her one and only, her everything, her mate was standing right in front of her, an extremely horrified look on his handsome face.
That had been the beginning of where she was now. She sighed again and closed her eyes, not wanting to think of the events that had led to her hiding in this icy, all but no-mans-land. To say her mate hadn't been pleased with who his mate had ended up being would have been an understatement.
She'd lost count of how many times over the last six weeks, she'd wished that she didn't have the legendary memory all vampires possessed. Words hurt, and to never be able to forget them…
Edwards frustrated growl broke into her depressing, slowly-getting-hazy thoughts.
"God! There's only one way you're going to listen, isn't there? Well, it just has to be done and I'll relish the fight if he resists," he muttered, standing up and pacing from one end of the shack to the other. Bella frowned at him.
"You're not making any sense," she whispered. Edward stopped and turned to stare at her with anguished gold eyes, holding her gaze for so long that the younger vampire would have squirmed uncomfortably if she'd been able to move.
"What?" she croaked in concern.
"I'll be back," Edward said abruptly before turning and flying out the door.
Bella sighed and settled her heavy head back onto the pillow. Hopefully he was going home, and even more hopefully, he wouldn'tbe back. He needed Angela, leaving her for too long had adverse effects, so maybe he was giving up.
Maybe he was finally going to leave her alone to do what she had to do in peace.
Bella wasn't aware of how much time was passing, another thing that should have been a warning sign, but she was instead welcoming. She lay in her bed and continued to fight the overpowering crashing waves the unmistakable urge had turned into, positive that if she fought it for long enough, she'd eventually be able to return to Forks without needing the debilitating crutch that was blood. She could return home the person he wished she was.
She would return home as close to human as possible.
Her cloudy mind sharpened for a brief moment, pushing her supernatural memory into action. She gasped as before her eyes, he appeared.
You?! YOU?! Why would I ever want to have anything to do with a disgusting leech like you? The very thought is nauseating! The imprint is WRONG! We will NEVER be anything but enemies! I'd kill myself before I got within five feet of a monster like you!
She moaned low in her throat and closed her eyes once again. God. It hurt so much. The words had been like barbs, impaling her straight through the heart. Even the memory of them was horrific.
But closing her eyes didn't stop her vision, or his voice.
Look at you! Everything about you is designed to kill! You are a true monster who preys on the weak! On HUMANS! The very thing I'm made to protect! You're horrifying, a creature of darkness! How many times have you bathed in human blood?! How many times have you taken human life?!
Only twice, her mind whispered, saying it along with the memory of her saying the words aloud. I've only done it twice.
Oh, yes, ONLY twice! Twice too many! Two innocent human lives you've taken! How many will you take in the future?! How long till you can't resist the temptation of human blood, and you take two more human lives?! Five more?! Twenty?! A fucking thousand!
Stop, stop, please stop, she moaned now and at the time.
I will never stop until the repulsive stink of vampire has been scorned from the earth! I hate you, will always hate you, and I will deny this imprint with everything inside me! Now get out of my sight and go drink from an animal, to try to hide the monster you will always be!
Bella moaned again, the sound coming out in a gurgled whimper as she tried to twist herself away from the memories. But her body was no longer under her control. Giving in to that horrible call would be the only thing that would get her moving now. Unable to escape, his words repeated in her head over and over, until they ran together to form three simple words.
Bella. Monster. Blood. Bella. Monster. Blood.
Bella, monster, blood. Bella, monster, blood. Bella, monster, blood.
Her eyes shot open and she cringed back against the cot, a low keening whine escaping her throat. Her head began to pound as she focused her splintering eyes on Edward, and…
He stood there, in front of the bed, a look of horror filling his eyes as they ran over her.
"Jesus Christ! What happened?! What have you done to her?!"
His rumbled snarl washed over the dying vampire, settling on her skin like a fine silk scarf. She closed her eyes again, a small smile on her lips. It seems her brain had taken pity on her and decided to produce a hallucination that wasn't torturous. She sighed happily and drew in his sweet, masculine scent as the figment of her imagination crouched down beside the cot, his hand rising up to hover over her upper arm.
"What did you do?" he snarled again, glaring back over his shoulder at her brother. Edward glared back.
"I didn't do a single thing, mutt! This is all you!"
"Edward… manners!" she managed to huff out, chuckling faintly as she realized she was scolding a hallucination. "Lord… I am out of it," she continued to mumble, trying to shuffle closer to the heat pumping off her hallucination in waves.
"What do you mean, this is all me?!" the figment growled. "I haven't spoken to her in over a month!"
"It's what you said the last time you spoke to her that did the damage you see now!" Edward hissed. "And you better fix it, mutt, or so help me, I'll end your life so quickly, you won't even see it coming!"
"No," Bella hissed, her body desperately trying to throw itself at the danger threatening her mate. "You will not hurt him."
"Shh, Bella, it's okay, he's fine," Edward murmured, rushing to her side and taking her hand. He stilled and slowly turned to look at the figment in disbelief when a low growl vibrated in his chest, those dark eyes on Edward's hand surrounding hers.
"Now? Now you decide to live up to your end of the bargain? Now that it may be too late?"
"Too late?" the hallucination snapped. "What the fuck are you talking about? Tell me what the hell is going on here before I tear you into the tiniest pieces possible!"
"You are what's going on here!" Edward roared, springing back up. "You called her a fucking monster and now she hasn't fed in six weeks, determined to not be the thing you see her as!"
Wow, she thought dazedly, Edwards pissed. He never swears.
The figment's jaw dropped.
"What?" he whispered.
"You heard me," Edward growled. "You better fix this! I'm going to go hunt for her, and she better take the blood when I get back, or I will destroy you!"
With that, he turned and stormed out the door, into the icy cold. Bella's body was tense as she watched him go. If he so much as laid a finger on her mate, hallucination or not, he would live to regret it.
The figment sighed and dropped his hand to the bed, muttering something that sounded a lot like "damn leeches," but Bella couldn't be sure. She didn't care either. All she cared about was enjoying her mental break while she could.
The figment looked back at her and something flowed through his eyes, something a lot like regret. He opened his mouth, held it open for a second and then closed it again, frowning. Bella snorted out a small laugh, the sound hurting her throat.
"What's so funny?" the figment asked, his eyes locking on hers.
"A hallucination who doesn't know… what to say," she gasped. The figment's frown deepened and his mouth – hmm, very sexy mouth – twisted.
"I'm not a hallucination, Bella," he said quietly.
"Yes you are," she argued in a rasp, humour still swimming through her. "You have to be. The real Paul hates… me and would never crouch at my… bedside."
"The real Paul is a fucking idiot who has hurt the best thing that has ever happen to him," the figment muttered, looking down. Bella frowned again and, using all her strength, inched her hand forward. She didn't expect to make contact but wanted to try to comfort anyway.
She gasped aloud when she touched hot flesh.
Her eyes flew to his and they widened as he wrapped his fingers around hers and squeezed.
"Paul," she groaned, electricity shooting from his touch and into her mind, clearing it of all fog. "You're really here."
"Yes," he said. For a long moment, they simply stared at each other, eyes clinging. Bella broke contact finally and lowered her fragile lids.
"Why are you here," she murmured, as if trying to figure it out for herself. The shifter sighed again.
"Edward said you were hurting," he muttered. "I had to come."
"No you didn't," she whispered. "Not now. I'm not ready yet."
"Not ready yet," Paul repeated slowly. "What exactly are you trying to do, Bella?"
"Make it so you don't see a monster anymore," she answered, her brain having no control over her mouth. Normally there'd have been no way she'd tell him that.
Paul's fingers tightened around hers and he huffed out a sharp breath.
"Fuck, I really am an idiot," he muttered.
He leaned down further until his chin was resting on the blanket and his fierce chocolate eyes were boring into her blistering ones.
"You listen to me, Isabella Swan, and you listen good. You. Are. Not. A. Monster."
If she had have been able to, Bella would have frantically shook her head in denial.
"Yes I am. I'm-"
"No. You are not! What you do is completely natural. It's the only way you're able to survive. For me to suggest, to tell you that you are… that was absolutely unforgivable."
"But you were right," Bella breathed.
"How, Bee? How exactly was I right?"
Bee. A jolt shot through her, followed quickly by a surge of unfamiliar warmth. He'd called her by a personal nickname.
As if he cared about her.
"I've killed people," she whispered, ignoring the foreign feelings.
"Yes, you have. But they deserved to die, didn't they?"
What was left of Bella's brows drew together. "How…?"
"The tiny leec- ah, the pixie told me," Paul said. "She said that you didn't touch a single drop of human blood until after you were through the newborn phase – without anyone helping you manage it either – and then you only let yourself… indulge with people who deserved to die. Rapists and murderers. And only two at that."
His eyes burned into hers. "75 years as a vampire and you only drunk from a human twice? And the people you f-fe… shit." He took a deep breath. "The people you took from deserved everything they got. That's not a monster, Bee. That's a hero."
Bella's snort came out as a cough. "I'm no hero."
"Okay, maybe not, but you're not a monster either."
"You said I was," she stated softly. "You believed I was."
"Well, I've always been an asshole. Ask anyone," he joked. When his imprint didn't smile, he sobered again.
"I have… issues, Bella," he said, looking down and picking at a thread unravelling from the blanket. "Mainly ones to do with my cocksucker of an old man. He doesn't like what I am, see."
He looked back up again and sent her a wry smile. "He thinks I'm unnatural. He's a drunk and a bully anyway, knocked me around all the time when I was a kid-"
He paused and smirked when the vampire in the bed hissed in anger.
"Don't worry, that doesn't happen anymore. Not since I became big enough to fight back. I'm living with Sam and Emily now, perfectly safe."
"But anyway," he continued, "I had to tell him what I was; he's a member of the Council so I didn't have a choice. The day I said what I did to you…"
He trailed off and glared down at the bed again.
"Let's just say that we had a major shouting match and he said some things that really got my goat. Things about my mother that he better not say again, or I'll fucking rip his throat out and feed the words back to him!"
He took another deep breath and met his imprints eyes, shoulders dropping slightly when he didn't find any judgement there.
"I know it's no excuse, but with the way I feel about your coven-"
"Family," Bella whispered.
"Your family," he corrected with a nod. "With the way most of us feel about them and what they brought out in us, plus those ruling leeches that showed up, well mix that in with my awesome sperm donor and you turning up out of the blue to try and bond-"
He sneered the word and Bella closed her eyes, pain lancing through her. She only opened them again when Paul squeezed her hand.
"I'm just telling you what I was feeling at the time, Bee," he whispered. "Not what I feel now. Back then, you showing up on top of everything else was just too much. So I blew. You just happened to be the closest person in the vicinity when the bomb went off."
"What… are you saying?" Bella asked. Paul scowled.
"I'm saying that I didn't mean a single thing I said to you. You are not a monster. Just because you survive off animal blood, doesn't mean you're a creature of darkness. If that were true, I'd be one as well. God knows how many times me or the other Pack members fed as wolves when we had to."
He sat back up and surrounded her hand in both of his, shaking it slightly. The heat of his skin seeped into her and spread through her system.
"Now will you please feed? I hate seeing you like this, and I'm pretty positive that Dickward will throw a hissy fit like the pussy that he is, if he gets back and you're still refusing blood."
"You still haven't… explained why you're here," Bella whispered.
He frowned. "Yes I have. I told you-"
"Paul," she said, shutting him up instantly. "You don't like vampires. You call… us leeches."
"We all do!" he protested. When she didn't say anything, only stared at him with those horrible, sick-looking eyes, he sighed.
"Okay," he said. "There's two reasons' actually. The first is the main one and the most obvious."
"The imprint," Bella murmured.
"Yeah," Paul answered with a wary nod. "You're my… well, soulmate I guess, and it hurts to be away from you for too long. I knew you'd gone the instant you left, because it was like a large boulder was suddenly sitting on my chest, crushing my lungs and constricting my breathing. I'd been feeling pretty horrible anyway, the imprints punishment for what I'd said to you, but that got worse the second you ran. A lot worse."
He stood up and began to pace, much as Edward had not long before. Bella followed him with her eyes, trying to hide her disappointment. Did he only come because the imprint made him?
"Jacob and Sam reckon the one way I was able to say those things to you in the first place was because my, ah, extreme emotional upheaval I suppose you could say, overpowered the bond for a moment. I regretted saying those things the instant I said them. I was going to take them back, but you darted away, quick as a bullet. I figured I give you a little time to calm down – shit, I was the one who needed the time – and then I'd go after you."
He stopped and turned to glare at her.
"I didn't expect you to pack up shop and run a week later."
"So you came because you… felt guilty," Bella muttered, ignoring that last part.
He winced. "God, it sounds bad when you say it like that, but honestly? Yes."
Bella closed her eyes again, wishing he'd go away. She didn't want his pity. She just wanted to be left alone to deal with the fact that her mate didn't want her.
She felt the bed dip slightly and froze as a warm finger drifted down her cheek.
"I said that there were two reasons, didn't I?" Paul murmured. "The first was the imprint and the false feelings it makes its victims feel. The second… the second has to do with how I really feel."
Bella's eyes slowly opened to find him as close as he could get without actually being in the bed with her. She stared into his dark chocolate eyes and willed him to say what she wanted him to say. The shifter took a deep breath, his thumb following the path his finger had just travelled.
"I-I… I think – no, I know – I… fuck, this is hard. Okay, Paul, you wanker, suck it up. Right. I- I like you, Isabella Swan."
The vampire frowned, firmly pushing away her elation. "You don't know me," she whispered.
"You know, I think I do a little," Paul mused. "Though the imprint didn't happen till I looked at you with human eyes, I remember plenty of times coming across you at the border in wolf form. You'd always be laughing and having fun, or helping someone. Or I'd listen to you having an intelligent conversation with one of the others. And every time that happened, my respect and admiration for you – reluctant, I'll admit, but still there – would grow. It got to the point that I was wishing my head wasn't so fucked-up, because you were just the type of girl I would have wanted to get to know. Then I'd be horrified at myself for having such numbskull-like thoughts and indulge in a massively over-the-top rant about vampires for the next couple of days."
His thumb drifted across her cheek again. Bella didn't move an inch, afraid that if she did, the spell would break.
"But then you left to try and accomplish this crazy-ass scheme of yours, and the pixie told me what you'd done – or more importantly, hadn't done – before you came to them, and I realized what a complete and utter moron I was. I should have trusted what I was feeling, not let the imprint make me believe it wasn't giving me a choice. Dickward had already left to go after you, so I caught his scent and followed. I would have been here round the same time he was, but I actually need to breathe, so can't travel through water like you guys can. Dickward found me at Barrow, shouted at me, and then told me to wait. He came back two days ago and we came here."
Bella stared at him. He'd probably just spoken more at once in the last ten minutes, than he had in his entire lifetime. Paul Lahote wasn't the most talkative person. But he was certainly talking now. A little desperately at that, as if he was trying with everything he had to convince her of his sincerity.
"So you didn't just come… here because you… felt guilty?" she asked, just to clarify. Paul shook his head.
"No. I came here to take you home and hopefully, umm, start."
"Start?" Bella echoed, bewildered.
"Us. Start us. I mean, only if you want to. I really like you and I'm willing to give it a try if you are. Please say you are."
She continued to stare at him, searching is eyes. She knew what she was going to say, but she had one more question before she could give her answer.
"What I'm doing isn't working," she murmured, finally acknowledging the truth.
"I know it's not, it's clearly not," Paul said.
"I'm always going to be a vampire, will always… need blood."
"Yes, you will," he agreed readily.
"Does that… bother you?" she whispered.
"No," he said and Bella blinked at the finality and confidence in his voice. "It never did, Bee. I just used it as ammunition. I have a horrible temper, ask anyone. You have no idea how sorry I am for that. I'm sorry for everything I said. You aren't a monster, and I shouldn't have said you were."
"Well, eureka, a breakthrough, and about damn time too," a voice muttered from the door. Paul shot a glare over his shoulder as Edward walked in, his sleeves rolled up.
"Shut up, Jerkwad," he growled. Edward rolled his eyes and then folded his arms expectantly.
"Is she going to feed?"
The shifter turned back to his imprint, his eyes locking on hers. "Are you?"
Bella jerked slightly as the scent of the animals her brother had caught hit her full in the face. She let out a low moan, finally, finally, able to let herself be who she was. Be what she was.
She wasn't a monster, and with Paul's acceptance, she could let herself believe it.
"Yes," she hissed, her body already trying to lean as close to the tantalizing scent as she could. Paul sighed in relief and within an instant, had her scooped up in his arms.
"Well, let's go get the vampire fed then, shall we?" he said, striding to the doorway.
It wasn't pretty. Far from it. Edward had managed to subdue and knock out three massive bears, and the moment she got close to them, her instincts took over. She threw herself towards her prey, hitting the icy ground hard, taking Paul with her. He scooped her up again and ran towards the first bear as she hissed, snarled and growled in his arms.
He dropped to the ground beside the bear and Bella shoved herself towards its neck, biting firmly through the hair, skin and muscle to get to the live-giving blood inside. She rumbled in appreciation as the hot, metallic liquid hit her tongue and flowed down her throat.
It was like she was a newborn again. She finished the bear within a minute, half the blood coating her clothing and the snow surrounding her in her eagerness. She lurched up and headed for the second bear, collapsing down beside it after a few swaying steps. That one didn't last much longer, or look any prettier, then her first one had.
Her steps were surer as she headed for the last bear and sunk to her knees beside it. She absently registered a flitting sound, but paid it no mind as she focused her attention on her third meal. This one took longer, but she drained it still, before standing up and looking around for more.
Her eyes hesitated on her mate for a moment, as he sat in the snow, watching her with a shocked and awed expression in his eyes. After quarter of a second, she shook her head and moved on. She'd worry about him and his reaction to her uncontrolled gluttony later. Now, she had prey to find.
Her gaze narrowed at a spot in the distance and she shot towards it, hearing Paul swear viciously and follow her as she flew. Her eyes locked on Edward as the other vampire herded four caribou towards her. That must have been what the flitting was. He'd gone to get her more. He stopped when he saw her, standing still and smirking
"Thought you might want to actually hunt this time," he murmured and Bella grinned wildly. She nodded her thanks and let out a loud snarl, sending Santa's reindeer scattering.
It wasn't much of a hunt, but she was able to run and catch, pouncing on the first one very quickly. By the time she'd drained it, she was thinking clearly enough that she deliberately let the others run as far as possible. She loved to hunt and this game was so much fun.
Soon, all four caribou had bitten the dust. She stood up to find she was over thirty miles from her shack, Edward was nowhere to be seen, and she actually full. The wind shifted and she caught another scent, spinning around quickly to see a huge silvery/grey wolf standing before her. She met his gaze and sucked in a sharp, unneeded breath.
"Paul," she breathed. The wolf looked at her and suddenly he was human again.
A very naked human.
Her now buttery eyes ran over his firm, smooth, darkly tanned skin as he slowly stalked towards her. They widened as they moved up to meet his.
His eyes were burning.
"W-what are you doing, you idiot? You'll freeze to death!" she scolded with a nervous little laugh. Paul didn't say anything, only stopping his movements once he was all but skin to skin with his imprint. He ran his hot gaze over her slowly, leisurely, before leaning down and grabbing roughly her by the hips.
"I want you."
The deep, throaty rumble made Bella freeze. After that? After seeing her like that?
"You… want me?" she whispered.
"So fucking much."
Then his mouth was on hers and Isabella Swan – vampire and willing imprint to Paul Lahote, werewolf – went up in flames.