Grief is Not Forever: In the End
Bella breathes into my neck, and I wrap my arms around her waist, burying my face in her neck. Her curls tickle my nose, and I grunt a bit as her grip tightens. She's suddenly off of me, standing a few feet away from me, a sheepish look on her face. "I'm sorry," She whispers.
I tilt my head at her, wondering how she was so calm. She doesn't even know what she is, and she's seconds old, talking coherently. "It's fine, how do you feel?" I question, looking her over. Maria dressed her in a pair of her clothes which fit almost to a tee. Bella stares at me for a long moment, almost a minute exactly before she speaks again. "Different," She murmurs, looking down at her hands. I look over to Jasper who looks just as perplexed. "Are you keeping her calm?" I ask, and he shakes his head, "No. I can't feel her at all," Bella's too engrossed in her new skin to pay us any mind, and I can't help but feel a bit of trepidation. She might think it's cool now, but would she really enjoy this life knowing what it entailed?
"Peter?" Her once human voice was now smooth, my name rolling off her tongue with precise pronunciation. Not that it was necessary, just her vampire brain and mouth trying to work together. She clamped a hand over her mouth, her red eyes wide as she stared back at me. "Relax Bella. Can you do that?" She slowly nods, eyeing Jasper and Maria. "Why don't you guys step out for a moment?" Jasper smiles, taking Maria's hand, the two disappearing in a blink of an eye. Bella watches their spot, growing curiosity in her eyes. I hold out my hand for her to take, and she eyes my hand, and most likely the scars that had since healed.
She's in front of me, taking my hand in hers. She looks up at me, her eyes wider than before. "As you can tell you're not the same. You were dying, do you remember that? You told me that forever wasn't real, and I told you that I could make the pain go away. Do you remember?" Her brows crinkle in thought, before she's nodding, tilting her head at me. "I died," She responds, and I nod. "How?" I gently pull her towards the couch, helping her sit slowly, taking my place next to her. "You're not human anymore. You're a vampire, a specific species called a Cold One. You don't eat food, you don't sleep, you're stronger than the average human, you're fast. Everything within your genetic makeup has now changed. Your skin is like marble, shines like diamonds when in the sun. You will forever look like this. Your hair won't grow, and if you cut it off, believe me, it'll be that way forever. All of your imperfections have been perfected. Except one thing…but I wouldn't call it an imperfection," I lower my voice.
I trace the scar over her eye that grazed the very top of her eyebrow, and ended just beneath her eye with my finger. "Your burning was so severe that it's followed you into the afterlife," Bella raises her hand to mine, following my finger with her own. "So, I…drink blood….like from people?" My brows crinkled in confusion, and she mirrored my expression. "I don't understand how you're able to sit next to me, and hold a conversation," She tilts her head, and I flick a chestnut brown curl. "You're what we call a newborn. A newly turned vampire. Right now, you should be anything but this. You should be thirsty, wanting to feed….are you thirsty Bella?" Her eyes suddenly darken, and her hand goes to her throat.
Finally. A normal reaction.
I take Bella's hand, stopping her on the edge of the city. She purses her lips, trying to suppress the growl that ripped through her chest at being held away from her meal. "Easy. This is really important Bella, and I need you to listen. Jasper, Maria, and I, we don't feed from just anybody. We drink from the lowest of the low. We try to avoid druggies, they taste too sweet, but you may like them. We tend to go after rapists, kidnappers, drug dealers, you know. Each person has a unique scent, and each of the different groups of people have a unique scent. I want you to close your eyes," I speak softly now, keeping a tight grip on her hand. She does as I instruct, and I nod, even though she can't see me. "Hold your breath, just for a few seconds, and I want you let it out slowly. Can you do that?" She nods, and cuts off her breathing, letting it out a few seconds later.
"Good, you're doing really good. Now I want you to let go of everything you may be thinking or feeling. I know it's hard, but forget that I'm here, forget where we are, and I want you to just sense. Take in a deep breath, and let your instincts guide you," Her shoulders move with the action, and her hand squeezes mine tightly, and even though it stung, I didn't let go. She snaps her eyes open, and with my hand in hers, takes off, and I'm worried for a moment I won't be able to reign her in.
"You need to slow down. It's not going anywhere, I promise you," She looks back at me, a mixture of emotions on her face, and I can hear her grind her teeth, but somehow she manages to walk at a fast pace, pulling me along in whatever direction she wanted to go. She was still taking me by surprise as we walked past at least 3 people, her focus somewhere else. I've never known anything like her to exist. She was extraordinary.
We suddenly stop at the entrance of an alley way, and I understood why she wanted to be here. Why she chose this particular scent. A man at the end was beating on two young kids, his back facing us. "Let your instincts guide you," I remind her. A feeling of proudness passed through me as my progeny stalked down the alleyway, looking what I would assume to be beautiful danger. The man didn't even see her coming, her swing at his head sending him flying a few feet away.
The two kids were in such a shock, they barely even registered what was happening. I walk over to them, the man's screams doing nothing but making me even more proud, peering down at the two kids. "Get out of here," I growl, hoping to scare them away, this night would be nothing but a dream. It was then that I could feel Bella, and a glance at her showed to me her face which was covered in blood, her clothes fairing no better, her teeth covered in blood as she eyed the two boys.
I hold my arm out as she slowly stalks forward, eyeing me with the same hostility. She snaps her teeth at me as the boys gained some sense of self-preservation and ran. I prepare myself as she lunges at me, easily pinning her to the wall. I use my arm to pin her across the chest, keeping her still, and with my right hand I grip her face, holding her still. "Look at me," I sooth. Despite knowing that this action was completely normal, I also knew that Bella was different, and I believed that she was capable of understanding me, even in her bloodlust induced haze. It took her a few failed snaps at my hand for her to come back to normal.
We just stare at one another, and I slowly ease up on her, watching her closely. "We don't eat children," I whisper. She slowly nods, her eyes going to her kill, and then she looks at her hands. "How do you feel?" I ask, watching her face closely. "I should be disgusted, but I oddly feel satisfied. Is that normal?" I nod, chuckling. "It's about the most normal thing you've said all day,"
I show her how to get rid of her evidence, and we take to the roofs within the city, her hand clasped in mine until we got into the woods. Once a few miles out, I let her hand go, and she turned to look at me. "Go on. Run, jump...do whatever it is you wish," I can see that excitement in her eyes, and she wars with herself before leaving my side and zipping off into the distance, exploring her newfound life.
Vibrant red eyes stared back at me, her face an expression of wonder and confusion. "We have rules?" I nod, keeping my eyes on her even as Jasper and Maria walk into the room. "A few, but there is one major rule," Jasper finishes, holding his hand out for Bella to shake. She eyes his hand before standing, too fast for human standards of course, and she shakes it. Maria offers her hand, a small smile on her lips. "We mustn't tell a human about us, and shall they find out or we tell, they must be killed or changed. If not, we will be put to death," Maria finishes, shaking Bella's hand, and I cut her a glare as Bella shivers in fright. "You're alright darlin'. We won't let anything happen to you," Jasper murmurs, sending Bella his signature smile. She visibly relaxes. "Why?" She questions, looking over towards me for the answer.
"You're family. We look out for family," I respond, glancing at her perplexed as she places herself next to me, snuggling under my arm.
I try to hold in my chuckle as Bella growls from the other room, another tearing sound filling the air. "Patience Bella," I remind, knowing she was probably scowling at me. Like in her human life, Bella was quiet in her vampire one, choosing to observe. Two weeks in, and she was doing remarkably well. She was like a mix between a newborn and an adult, an odd combination. She had her newborn tendencies, as expected, but sometimes she managed to channel those emotions, and rather got out a lot of her energy by running around in the woods. She likes to…frolic I suppose. She gets distracted by flowers, and often times enough, she'd bring back a few with dirt all over her hands, asking me questions about why they feel the way they do or babbling excitedly about something she noticed.
Her eyes would widen to comical proportions, and we thought it was kind of cute. Yeah, cute. She was like a kitten with the bite of an alligator. As a newborn, I expected her to want to feed almost every day, but she's not like what I expected. I've only taken her out twice since she turned. Once a week seemed to satiate her. It was interesting to say the least.
And as interesting as she was, that also made me worry. Bella was essentially my child. I created her, and she was my responsibility. Even though a familial bond wasn't what I felt towards her, I cared her very deeply, part of which came from our own relationship when she was human. Bella was clearly gifted. Jasper couldn't feel anything from her, nor could he manipulate her feelings. My intuition seemed to be concerned with anything but her. It was like a blockage. There were vampires in our world called collectors. Ones that coveted vampires like us, and Bella was unheard of. I had an assumption that she was a shield, an assumption I wasn't happy with. I've only ever heard of one shield in all existence, and she was currently with the Volturi. The rulers of our world.
While I've never personally met them, they do their job in keeping order in this world. Bella would be sought for if anyone ever gathered what she was, and with her peculiar nature, she was like a sparkling diamond in murky water. It didn't sit well with me. Everything within me wanted to protect her, though I knew she'd have to protect herself. Our relationship in this life was somewhat the same, except we were in each other's presence constantly. This was quite normal for sire and child. I remember being like this when Jasper turned me. I didn't want to be in his space all the time, but I sought him out a lot simply because I needed to.
Bella was the same way, though we assumed that with her being female, it was a bit different. Our dynamic was different. I was her sire and male, so, I bought her a sense of security. When agitated, she'd find me, no matter where I was, and sit next to me, or find some way to be in the same room without being what she calls overbearing. There was an evening that I was in the shower, and I heard her come in of course, and I could practically sense her emotions. It was thundering outside, a new sound for her. She was the first vampire that was scared of thunder and lightning. Combined with the loud sounds that were probably sensitive to her fresh ears, I knew it felt like a sensory overload. I peered around the curtain at her, my wet hair sticking to my forehead. She could easily see me of course, but it didn't bother me really.
I mean that's not to say that nothing was affected, but it was a natural response. She was still a woman, beautiful at that. She just raked her eyes over me with curiosity, before sitting on the toilet, silently asking me if she could stay. I shrug, a small smile on my face as she jumped as loud thunder clapped in the night sky. It was a bond that we developed, and I wasn't afraid to admit that I needed it.
Bella's cry of triumph made me glance in the direction she was in, and I heard Jasper's chuckle. He was sitting at the island, reading a book, Maria out on the porch painting her toes or something I believe. Bella speeds over to Jasper first, bouncing on her feet, showing him her success at unzipping and buttoning a pair of jeans. He smiles fondly at her, surprise in his eyes but he takes it from her, eyeing it to check it over himself. Even though Bella spends the majority of her time with me, she's found her own relationships with Jasper and Maria. They were her family. He was like the older brother and observer. She helped him by telling him how she was feeling knowing that she was blank to him. They shared a love over books, and country western movies. He'd read to her as she couldn't turn a page yet without tearing in out.
Bella then goes outside, showing Maria, who spoke fondly in Spanish. Bella was the little sister she never had, painting Bella's nails and toes, and it was a sight to see Bella sit still for almost an hour to ensure that the paint dries. They bonded easily, and while Maria made most of the conversation, Bella was there to listen. I sat down on the couch, my eyes shooting to her as she stood in front of me with a large smile. "Let me see," I hold out my hand, and she hands the jeans to me gently, as if afraid she'd rip them. I smile in approval. "You're doing great," I encourage, handing them back to her. She folds them neatly, another thing that surprised me. I couldn't even have been bothered with folding anything at her age. It was annoying to me. She apparently had no problems with it.
She disappears from sight, I assume to practice some more.
My fear of Bella being exposed to a collector came sooner than I expected. It was a month into her change, and she was still doing remarkably well. She had mastered the art of changing her clothes, and folding them, turning pages in a magazine. She only had to feed once a week to satiate her thirst. That would change within another month or so. Her emotions were leveling out a bit, temperamental emotions seeming to become less and less an issue. She still could get snappy, or annoyed rather easily, but a run outside did her some good before she was back in the house. She had finally mastered washing without ripping anything or breaking faucet knobs. Maria was helping her for a while until she finally gathered how to monitor her strength.
It was a stormy day today, the wind knocking into the wooden structure of our spacious cabin, thunder booming in the distance, lightning illuminating the sky. Bella was clutching onto my hand, her small body pushed into mine as I coaxed her onto the porch. "It's okay. It can't hurt you," I whisper in her ear, wrapping an arm around her waist to keep her from running. Maria and Jasper stood in the rain, showing her that she had nothing to be afraid of. She planted her feet into the wood, shaking her head, jumping again as a loud clap of thunder roared.
She's never explained to me why she's so fearful of thunder storms, and I figured this stemmed from her human life. She turned her face into my chest, taking in unnecessary deep breaths. I rubbed her back soothingly, helping her pull her feet out. "Sorry," She murmurs, and I shrug. "It's okay,"
"Oh come on Darlin'. I was looking forward to a mud wrestle!" I scoff at Jasper amused as he tried to coax Bella out. Maria and I shared an amused glance. Bella didn't step down from a challenge, and she and Jasper loved to spar. She knew of our upbringing in the vampire wars, each learning our story. Jasper and I were born into it, while Maria was forced, her exceptional fighting skills keeping her alive. We never met the vampire in charge of the wars, but he scared each and every one of us into the life until we one day escaped. Then I met Char a few years later. Bella's response was to kiss a scar on each of our hands, weird in my book, but that was nothing new with her. It was a sweet sentiment. We appreciated her positive energy.
Bella purses her lips, and let's go of my hand, stepping a foot out into the rain, freezing as it touched her skin for the first time. I watch as she slowly inches her way into the rain, jumping every time the thunder hit, flinching at the lightning. I wanted to follow behind her, but she needed to do this on her own. Her steps are slow as she feels the rain, and senses the air with her nose. It took approximately three minutes before she was in Jasper's space, clinging onto his hand. Maria ran a hand through Bella's now wet hair, smiling. "Not so bad after all," He tells her, playfully pushing her. Maria laughs, and she comes to my side, linking her arm through mine.
"They're a pair aren't they?" She asks. I nod with a smile. We watch them spar for a moment, Bella seemed to have relaxed a bit, though I could tell she was still reserved. "Jasper! No fair!" Bella yells out, dodging his quick jabs. Maria goes to join in, and I shake my head. I lean against the porch railing, watching my family have fun, simply enjoying them play around. I was seconds away from joining them myself when I notice Bella go rigid. She stood from her crouched position, her body tensing up, and a growl is rumbling through her chest.
I make my way down, and Bella zips to my side, partially hiding behind me, her nails digging into my flesh. Jasper and Maria flank our sides, and I peer into the darkness, wondering what it is Bella was sensing. "There's someone coming," She hisses out, and I can hear her grinding her teeth, her body pressed against mine again, seeking protection. Jasper lays a hand on her shoulder. True to her statement, a lone figure walked its way up our driveway, stopping a few feet away. There was no surprise that we didn't sense him ourselves. He had no scent. The wind blew nothing in our direction. The thunder obscured his approach. How Bella was able to identify him was interesting.
"Can I help you?" Jasper calls. The vampire takes a step closer, and I growl in warning. The vampire holds his hands up, eyeing us. My irritation grows the longer he stares past me and at Bella. "My name is Alistair. I…can sense certain vampires, and one of you have caught my attention," It didn't take a rocket scientist to know which one, and Jasper hisses. "She's not on the market. I suggest you take your leave. Now," Alistair doesn't move, and his eyes flicker between all of us. "Are you sure? A shield like that is worth a lot. She's the only one in history that has a physical and mental shield," My jaw tenses with this revelation. She was more gifted than I thought. Making this situation that much more serious. No two vampires had the same gift, but for a shield to have both mental and physical abilities….there would never be another like her.
I step forward, my nose twitching. "Get the hell out of our driveway. She stays with us. You'll have to fight me for her, and believe me, you won't win," I threaten. Alistair smiles at me, waving his arms about, and I look up towards the trees. "Four against 10 seem like a good bet to me. Bring me that newborn," Like a hoard of flies, vampires drop from the trees, and I turn back to Bella who has a mixture of emotions on her face, fear being the main one. She's not equipped to fight. She was my responsibility to keep safe, and I wasn't about to fail. Instead of me going to her, it's her who comes to me, flitting to my side, and grabbing onto me. I wasn't sure what was going through her head, and I'm sure she didn't even know how to work any of the abilities Alistair had listed off.
She closes her eyes as we all prepare for this battle that was unexpected. I'm seconds away from telling her to run, but before I can, there's this energy bubble surrounding us, Alistair included. As these 9 vampires charge at us, they only manage to get a few feet in before they seem to reach an invisible barrier. Before our eyes, they disintegrate into nothing but ashes as if ignited by fire.
Alistair's eyes are now wide, and he attempts to back away. I look down at Bella who is taken in by this apparent ability, and I lean down to kiss her temple. "Can you let this down?" I ask, watching as her face pinch into concentration, and like that, the energy bubble is down, leaving Alistair to my mercy.
I've never been known to give it.
Bella's shield was like a match to a flame. Touch it, and you're ashes. At least to those she feels threatened by. She can easily cover any amount of feet, but it takes a lot of energy the longer she holds it. After killing Alistair, I took her hunting. Her eyes were pitch black, and she was even weak in the knees. It was energy consuming for her. Having her shield up, and being surrounded in it, Jasper was able to feel her emotions. I had never seen him smile so hard. Bella's shield could either bring you in or counteract against you.
We've assumed that since she trusts us, her shield doesn't have the same affect it does on others. I was the test dummy, well aware that I could die instantaneously if I touched her shield. Of course I didn't turn into ashes, and the three of us went about helping her control her shield to where she wouldn't be using copious amounts of energy. It was a learning experience for all of us.
"I'm proud of you," I smile down at her, and I was rewarded with her pearly whites. "I've learned from the best," She acknowledges, and I see her fingers twitch. Since she's gotten a bit older, she tries not to touch me so much, and find her own space, and I knew that it was hard for her. Her vampire instincts wanted this, and it was humorous sometimes to watch her fidget which was unheard of for a vampire, before either staying in her space or coming to me. I grab her hand anyway, her small sigh audible to my ears. "Thank you for saving my life Peter. I could never hate you for it," I intertwine my fingers with hers as we watch the sunrise together.
I wish I could say that this was the end, that Bella and I were companions to the end and that life was perfect.
This wouldn't be life without some tragedy.
This was the third time Bella had been out hunting by herself. I was just as nervous as the first time. I knew she could handle herself. She was right on the cusp of ending her newborn phase. It's been about 4 months now, and her progression was normal. Her speed was slowing to that of a normal vampire, although she could outrun the three of us still. She had learned the human concept of walking, jogging, running, and moving. She liked to breathe in the fresh air, and all that jazz. I had to give her independence some time, but there were still times that I accompanied her. Just this time, the third time, I let her go alone. She wanted to, and who was I to deny what she wanted?
I watched the clock. She had been gone for a little over an hour. A little too long, but I was trying to be still. "Will you relax? She'll be home soon," Maria gripes, glaring at me as I paced. I glare back, opting to go wait on the porch. I bounced on the balls of my feet, and soon that hour became two. I wasn't the only one beginning to worry. She knew how far to go, and she was usually back in 45 minutes.
"I don't like this," I murmur, feeling Jasper come behind me. "If she's not back in 5 minutes, we'll go looking," This was like Déjà vu all over again. Just over a year ago I stood like this. Waiting for Charlotte to come back. Those 5 minutes were excruciatingly long and Jasper and I were about to gear up and leave, but I saw Bella's slim figure walking up the drive.
Relief flooded through me, almost bringing Jasper to his knees. He held onto the porch beam for support. My relief instantly deflated as I took in Bella's appearance. There was blood all over her clothing, hair, face, and neck. This wasn't normal. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she did something she shouldn't have. I moved towards her, and when she saw me, it was like she experienced heart break. Her neutral expression crumbled, and venom tears pooled in her eyes as she broke down in front of me. She dropped to her knees in the gravel, wrapping her arms around her stomach, loud, dry heaving sobs leaving her as she tried to explain.
I dropped down in front of her, grasping her chin, forcing her head up. "I did something terrible," She whimpers, holding her head down again, shame written all over her features. "I didn't mean to. I didn't…I wasn't trying to…she was….she smelled so…" Her words were jumbling together, and she had curled in on herself. "Shhh," I pulled her towards me, and she clung onto my shirt, shaking in my hold. "She was pregnant. I-I-I- heard the heart beating, and I couldn't stop….I tried, but I couldn't stop," She cries, and I close my eyes, squeezing her tighter. "I tore her apart," She shudders, and I damn near choke. I eye Jasper and Maria as they go to scope out whatever they could from Bella's accident.
"I'm a monster," She whispers, staring out into the woods, and I knew from the glazed look in her eyes that she was reliving what she had done. "You're not a monster. It's natural. Accidents happen," Bella shakes her head in disagreement. "Not like this Peter. Not like this,"
I sat with her for I don't know how long before I was able to coax her up. I helped her strip of her clothes, and I stripped mine, burning them the moment they were off. I guide her inside, and to my room, well ours as her things were in my drawers and closet. I get her straight in the shower, blasting the water on hot, stepping in behind her. We've showered like this a few times, after she learned to control her strength or when it would be storming outside. None of it was ever sexual, and now was no different. I pushed her gently under the spray, letting the water wash away the blood. She was stiff, unmoving, and I went about washing the blood from her hair, and she closed her eyes every time the suds ran pink.
She didn't say anything, she didn't do anything but stand there, a broken expression on her face.
"I'm sorry I let you down," Her whispered apology was soft, and I almost couldn't hear it as I helped dry her off. "What?" I ask, looking up at her. She looks away from me, and towards the mirror. I follow her eyes to her own reflection. She shuts them, disgust written all over her face. "Bella…" I come to a stand, wrapping my towel around my waist, grabbing her arms. She pulls away, and walks back into the bedroom, bare, and lays down on my bed, turning away from me and the door.
I leave her be after dressing, and make my way toward the living room, Jasper and Maria waiting for me. "How is she?" Jasper asks. At my raised brow, he explains that she cut herself off from him, meaning that she was no longer shielding the house. "Devastated," I respond, looking back towards the room. "How bad was it?" I ask, not sure I wanted to know.
Their grim expressions said everything. "It was really bad Peter…there wasn't anything…left," I close my eyes, swallowing. I feel bad for the woman and unborn that crossed paths with my vampire, and yet I felt even worse that she was beating herself up over what was natural. Sometimes we lose control.
This was our nature.
Bella didn't leave the room for days, and we all laid low while authorities investigated the crime. The attack was so…severe that they could only claim animal attack. It was all that made sense. They thought they had a cannibalistic serial killer on the loose, but Jasper and Maria covered Bella's tracks very well, leaving no hair or anything identifiable behind. They resorted to animal attack.
I couldn't coax Bella out to feed, and none of us could get her to drink bagged blood. She wouldn't take it. She downright refused it. She just laid there, staring out into nothing, all day, unmoving. A month after her slip, we decided that a move would do her some good. We decided that Washington, just a state over, would provide enough cloud coverage and there were more than enough woods for us to stay to ourselves.
Bella managed to help, but she was silent to us all, choosing to be with her own thoughts. When we told her we were moving, I didn't have to be an empath to see how upset she was, and I knew she was upset that we had to move because of what happened. She just didn't understand that it wasn't because of the slip up, but because we wanted to put her in a better situation.
A few days before our move, Jasper was getting the arrangements set up, and getting Bella some new identification. I slipped inside my now bare room to see her laying on the bed. I went to her side, and she looked up at me, and there was a twinge in my dead heart at seeing the once vibrant red eyes now black as coal. I lay down in beside her, wrapping my arm around her waist, pulling her back to my chest. I smooth her hair back from her face, placing a kiss on her temple. "Everything will work itself out. You can't do this for much longer. This will only make you stronger,"
She buries her face into my arm, and if she could shed tears, we'd be drowning in them.
The wildlife of Seattle provided Bella some much needed comfort, and as we settled into our new home, a cabin like back in Oregon, just a bit bigger, she had started to venture out of the bedroom and into the living room with us.
She didn't really interact with anything anymore other than to dress and shower. She'd find Jasper, usually sitting at his feet while he read. She had opened up again, letting him provide her with a cocktail of positive emotions. It was to numb the guilt. Maria would usually sit next to her, flipping through a magazine, and I'd watch her in silence.
I knew she wanted to come to me. I knew she sought me out whether she decided to act on it or not. Jasper had explained to me that she felt like she let me down, and that I was no longer proud of her. I believe that no matter the age we are in vampire years, we seek the approval from our creators. It mattered to us. I of course didn't feel that way about her. I didn't see her as a monster or a bad person. Her reaction told me well enough that she cared for human life.
The good ones anyway.
I wasn't disappointed. I just wish there was something I could do to help. Today though, it was just Bella and I. Jasper and Maria wanted to explore, and with it being a cloudy day, they could. I was on the couch trying to work this phone Jasper had given me. It was one of those iPhones that had the face contraption. It was annoying.
My frustration at the phone is instantly dissipated as Bella walks into the room. I set the phone down, watching her. She walks around the room in a circle, avoiding yet trying not to avoid me. After her walking around the room, I sigh. She pauses at the window, turning around to look at me. "Come here darlin'," I murmur, opening my arms. She hesitates for a moment before walking over to me. I pull her down to sit on may lap, encasing her in my arms, hugging her.
She wraps her arms around my neck, burying her face in my chest. "There is nothing you could ever do that'll make me see you any differently," I reassure, kissing her hair.
Bella's reluctance to feed was solved by her finally giving in to drink bagged blood, but it wasn't enough sometimes. We were running out all night, multiple times to get what she needed. We didn't complain of course, but something had to change.
A month into this new home was where the change happened. Not one I was too fond of though. Bella had ventured out into the woods, and had been gone for a few hours. I wasn't worried, knowing she liked her alone time. It was when she came back that had piqued my interest. The smell of another vampire on her was evident, and I wasn't ashamed to say that some part of me disliked that. A lot.
"I met someone," She bounces on the balls of her feet, and Maria laughs at the scowls on my and Jasper's faces. "Oh that's wonderful! What was he like?" Bella tilts her head at Maria, a laugh bubbling from her chest. I hadn't heard her laugh in a long time. I was kind of envious. "I don't mean like that. His name is Edward and he's very different. He has weird eyes. He says he drinks from animals," We all pause. Animals? That's a thing? "Well….is it something you wish to try?" Bella shrugs, plopping down beside me. "Not sure. He's apparently a mind reader, and for some reason, he can't read my thoughts,"
We're all quiet, and Bella leans against my arm, pulling at a thread on my shirt. "There's a family of them that live in the town called Forks. Can we meet them?" I think the fascination with another feeding source intrigued her. I look to Jasper, and he looks to Maria, and then we all finally look at Bella.
Anything to see her out of her funk.
These vampires….were vegetarians as they called themselves. They were….kind of nice. Weird but whatever. I wasn't sure what to think of them, but Bella was interested, and I noticed that the young one was interested in her. My dislike grew from that alone. She was my companion, and I didn't wish to see her share her affections with someone that wasn't one of us.
She took a strong liking to the coven, and even visited them from time to time. They never came to us. Bella had noticed that too, and it bothered her for a while before we told her that it was normal.
When she decided that she wanted to stay with them for a while, my dead heart ached. None of us wished to see her leave, but she had clearly found something interesting, and maybe it would help her with her issues of feeding. While none of us could really hold her here, I did have one condition. We had to see each other at least once a week. This was going to be new for both of us. We have never been apart for that long since she's been a vampire, and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it.
With a bag packed, phone in hand, she was off with this vegetarian vampire family. Just a few hours away. I hated it instantly. I was used to feeling her around or her walking around a room being indecisive. I was also kind of jealous. Some part of me wanted her affection that was more than what we shared now. She was my vampire, and I've never been the sharing type.
Over the next few weeks, Bella's communication with us was steady. She tried the diet of animals and hated it right away. Her blood orange eyes were unnerving every time I saw her, and I could feel that something was off, but she never spoke to me about it. We could all feel it when she'd call. She always spoke like she was in a rush, and I'd hear one of the females ushering her to come do something fun.
She had told me about Edward's affection, and her dislike of him, and I was a few hours away from beating him with his own arms and legs. She didn't see them being together romantically, and he seemed to pursue her quite heavily. I didn't like it. Not. At. All. But, she still wished to stay.
I looked Bella over like I always did, twirling her around. "Still like it here?" I ask her, and she looks down towards the ground. "Not really," She finally chuckles. I rub my thumb under her eyes. "No offense, but you look like a weirdo," She slaps my hand away, before stepping closer to me. "I thought that I could try something different. I don't really feel like myself anymore. Animal blood is unsatisfying. Every human I walk by makes me crave hunger even more," She frowns, taking my hand.
I let her rub her nose against my knuckles. "I just don't want to slip up again. I..." She sighs out. "Look darlin'," I lift her face, caressing her cheek with my thumb. "You won't be perfect. You can only do what you can. This is what you are now. It was an accident. Don't change on the account of one. I liked you the way you were. I just want you to be happy. As your sire, it is my job to make sure you're well adjusted, and I don't think it requires animal blood and high school,"
She wraps her arms around my waist in a hug, and I pull her close, kissing her temple. I just wanted her to come home now. With me. "Okay. I'm ready to come home now," I smile into her hair, and she pulls back, standing up on the tips of her toes, placing a kiss on the corner of my mouth. She takes my arm as I accompany her back to the large house, eyeing it with disdain. Too big for my taste, but hey. The coven approaches, and I eye Edward whose longing gaze was casted on her petite form.
I wrap an arm around her waist, glaring at him. No matter what we were, in this moment, she was mine. Seeing as she had no feelings towards him, my reaction was warranted. Bella and I were more than sire and child, more than friends, more than companions. It could take days, weeks, months, or years, but the more I spent time with her, the more I saw hope.
Mating was a choice, just as much as it was for humans, and it would be up to us to make that choice. Were we ready for that choice now? Maybe, maybe not. Could I see myself making that choice? Yes. I craved her friendship while she was human, and as a vampire, I craved her presence. I turned her because I craved it that much, so I know that one day, we could be more, and I've got all the time in the world.
"Hello Peter," The matriarch smiles at me, and I tip my head in return. "I really appreciate the hospitality, but I don't think this lifestyle is for me. After I get my things, Peter and I will be on our way," They each looked saddened by her leaving, and the small vampire with the pixie cut bounded over, engulfing Bella into a tight hug. Bella chuckles, hugging her back. "Goodbye Alice,"
Bella made her goodbye rounds, and she shakes Edward's hand, and I follow her inside. I don't pay much attention to the inside, and I keep close with her as she grabs an already packed bag. "Alice..." She murmurs lightly, turning to me. I hold out my hand, and she takes it in a heartbeat, nosing my shirt.
"I've missed this," I admit, and Bella smiles up at me. We walk down the stairs, and back outside. I nod at the family. Edward decides to put his two cents in as we walk down the driveway. "Bella, I think you were doing great, and maybe you should consider staying..." I interrupt him, turning around with a smirk on my face. "Look kid, I get it. Unfortunately for you, there is nowhere else she belongs but with me. It really was nice meeting you all, and I appreciate you all for letting Bella stay and all, but I'd rather we not cross paths unless necessary,"
Bella shakes her head at me, waving goodbye, before hopping on my back. "Let's go home," I bring her knuckles to my lips before taking off.
Grief opened me up to the idea of hope, and I firmly believe that I found it.
AN: So this is it. We saw Bella's adjustment, her struggles, and her relationship with Peter. I didn't go all the way here, but from the end one can conclude that they will one day be together. I am working on a pert 2 to Running Into Your Arms. I'll try to have it up this weekend.
I also wanted to let you guys know that I am seeing your reviews, even if they aren't showing up on the site. I think FFN is having some issues. It took me a few tries to even get this posted.