Thanks to my PTB betas: Littlevic and Akai_in_Story
Hopefully you like this chapter. Thanks for reading and reviewing.
I do not own any of these characters, or the original plot to the Twilight Series. Everything publicly recognizable belongs to their owners. I am doing this only for the pleasure I gain from writing, and I am not associated with anyone or anything to do with the Twilight Series. There is no financial benefit, whatsoever, though I may wish there were.
Snap Decision 2 – New Life
I stood there, waiting for Bella to open her eyes, watching as the last breath, that would ever be necessary to her, escaped her lungs. The sound would have been horrific had I not known she would still survive.
For an agonizing period of time that seemed to stretch into infinity, I watched as my entire world lay completely silent and motionless, dead for all intents and purposes. If it were possible, I would have feared a heart attack from the stress, had I been able to focus on anything but Bella's lifeless body. Unable to breathe, unable to budge from my position, I stood with my eyes focused intently on her face.
The longer it took for her to open her eyes, the longer I worried that I had done something wrong. It should have been simple enough, just allowing my venom to spread through her bloodstream. But maybe, just maybe, I'd somehow not done enough. Perhaps she'd lost too much blood. The fear that I'd been too late introducing the venom overcame me. Would she be stuck in a perpetual state of suspended animation? How many ways would I fail her? I should have stayed out of her life from the beginning, should have kept my dark shadow from interfering with her future. Instead I selfishly—
Suddenly, her eyelids fluttered open as she lay motionless; her radiant crimson eyes surveyed her new surroundings. Though I still could not hear her thoughts, I knew what she was experiencing. I remembered my own awakening. The sounds, the sights, the feelings were all familiar and yet also strange and different. To put it bluntly, I was besieged.
The sounds had assaulted me first, everything was so loud. Though Carlisle had kept me away from humans, for obvious reasons, the sounds of nature, of the breeze moving a curtain, of his thoughts, of everything was overwhelming. I knew Bella would be just as overcome as I had been, engulfed in a new world of sensation, but I hoped that Bella would not be inhibited by anything like my talent.
She lay staring at the air above her. It was so strange to see her wonder at her new world, to sense this emotion through Jasper's talent, but not to hear it within my own mind. She seemed intrigued by the particles of dust suspended above her. Or maybe was she analyzing the pattern on the ceiling. My human memories were hazy. However, I was fairly certain that I had never noticed the minute things I now took for granted with my human eyes—they hadn't been strong enough.
As I watched my beauty acquaint herself with her new world, I wanted to reach out to her, to pull her close and hold her. I knew that was not possible for now. Her new instincts coupled with her new body would not make such intimacy possible for some time to come. So even though my body ached to be near hers, I kept my distance. The loss was palpable, but temporary.
Suddenly, Bella gasped, pulling my attention to the present, though a part of my mind never strayed from the site before me. Her eyebrows gathered together as she sniffed—was she confused?
Jasper confirmed my conclusion.
I wasn't sure why she'd feel confused. Again my protective nature flared as I longed to comfort her, but I knew I had to leave her to her own devices for now. Intervening could prove negative for both of us. She hadn't yet noticed that anyone else was in the room, and her reactions were too unpredictable.
She closed her eyes and drew in another controlled breath, a slight smile playing on her perfectly plump lips. I imagined kissing those lips that would now hold their own against mine. The temperature would match, rather than sear. The burning in my throat, the desire to drink from her, to end her life would never return. Lust reared its ugly head as I imagined a day when I'd press my lips to hers, open my mouth slightly and allow my tongue to enter her mouth in our first true kiss.
Calm down, Edward, Jasper thought. That'll have to wait awhile.
Had my thoughts been that out of control? I hadn't even considered touching her bare skin, running my hands up her stomach, higher to her round—
Edward, I can't control you and her. You need to control yourself.
I pulled myself together. Daydreaming about those things could wait. What mattered now was the angel in front of me. I hoped she would acknowledge our presence soon.
Bella uttered a quiet groan and opened her eyes, the red yet again shocking me. Mostly because I found that although I would forever miss the warm, deep brown, the red did not bother me. In fact, something deep within me recognized the red as familiar, a marker of my own kind, our kind. A primal part of me was pleased by this change; it meant I could, and would, have her for eternity—I'd never leave her side, if that was possible.
It wasn't only her eyes that pulled at that primitive, more animalistic part of me, it was also her scent. What had once been bordering on torturous was now attractive in another way. I could smell myself on her, a basic component of my scent marking her as mine. Any other vampire that came across the two of us would know that I had created her; that I had chosen to keep her.
It didn't mark her as my mate— that would happen later—but knowing that others would be able to tell she was mine was invigorating. A feeling of pride, that I had created this vision of perfection before me, coursed through my body, making me almost giddy.
Eventually, she turned her head toward all of us. Her face, so beautiful before, was now stunning, every feature defined faultlessly. I again fought the desire to rush to her, to run my fingers across her cheek, and down the side of her neck to her shoulder. The skin of her shoulder and collarbone looked like satin, and I longed to feel the changes there. I knew she'd be so much more durable and reactive to my touch.
The more I studied the new Bella before me, the more images from our few days together registered in my mind. I remembered sitting on her bed, moving her hair back so I could press my lips to the little dip just behind and below her ear. How did she taste there now? How would she react if I tried something like that?
I knew it would probably be a while before I could attempt intimacy. Newborns were erratic, their moods mercurial. Although this was Bella, and those words would have been rarely used to describe her, I was sure she wouldn't be much different from any other newborn I'd encountered. She hadn't known much, and I hoped her limited knowledge would help rather than hinder her. She seemed placid now, but that would change when she first came in contact with blood, and her new nature was fully revealed.
How long could this calm last?
As if in answer to my question, deep within her chest, a vibration started, a growling.
My girl growled.
Although I found the sound extremely attractive—a reaction I hadn't considered—I had to repress those desires quickly. It wouldn't do to think of this new incarnation as the Bella I'd come to know. Her reactions would be both foreign and familiar. Foreign to Bella, familiar to a newborn. I strained to hear Jasper above the rest of my family. Above Carlisle, he had the most experience with new vampires, and his talent would help to gauge her reactions.
She's confused and… uncertain.
Did she not remember the conversation we'd had during her transformation? Had the fires burned everything from her? I briefly contemplated having to start from scratch with her. Sure I'd love getting to fall in love with her all over again, but it wasn't worth the loss she would suffer. She'd already had so much taken in such a short time.
"Bella," I called, trying to keep my voice calm. "Love? I know it's confusing. Do you know what's happened?"
Her eyes focused on me, boring into me. She narrowed them, no hint of recollection lighting in them and shook her head, all the while her growling never ceased. The pain that flowed through me was nearly unbearable, but I pushed on for her. It needed to be all about her.
I cautiously took a step forward, and she instantly rose from the bed, retreating backwards. Her movements were a little too quick, disconcerting her even more. As she moved, her body curled into a crouch and a feral snarl escaped her mouth.
It was clear to me now, that in my wish to keep her safe, to keep her from joining my world, I'd selfishly kept the information she needed for this new life from her, not giving her enough knowledge to handle the changes she would encounter. Now she was destined to be as confused as each of us had been when we opened our eyes to our new lives.
Back off, Edward. She's wild. There's no reasoning with her.
Poor child. She must be so confused.
She's fast. Bet she'll be fun to challenge.
I wanted to throttle Emmett, but I knew my anger wouldn't help the situation.
Instantly, Bella stopped retreating and stood straight. Her jaw dropped open, her face pleading. For an instant, I saw my human love before me, lost in her new form. Sympathy flowed through me as I realized how frightened she must be; thrust into a world that was completely different than anything she'd known. I understood—the same had happened to me.
She's calmed herself down! I don't believe it.
I was amazed and proud. Underneath though, I knew she should not have had to deal with this. I should have been strong enough to let her go.
Stop with the guilt; it helps nothing.
Jasper was right. This was about Bella, not me. I didn't react outwardly to any of my family's thoughts, instead focusing on my girl. Easing her stress was the most important thing.
"Yes, it's overwhelming, isn't it?" She nodded spastically as her eyebrows drew closer together. "I know it is, sweetheart. You'll get used to it." I took another step, and she flinched but made no other movement since she was already backed into the corner. Still, my already dead heart broke at the rejection.
No, this wasn't a rejection, just an innate response to what she perceived as a danger.
"I won't hurt you. No one here will ever hurt you." I took another slow, yet purposeful step toward her. This time she didn't move away, instead she breathed deeply through her nose. Her eyebrows relaxed and she cocked her head to the side. Again she sniffed, then she leaned slightly toward me. Suddenly recognition flickered across her face, but it was quickly replaced by frustration.
"I know you," she said, her voice rivaling a choir of angels. Quickly, her hand covered her mouth as her eyes widened.
Sensing her anxiety, I fought against myself and halted my forward progression, allowing her time to regroup.
After a few seconds, she lowered her hand. "I sound funny."
Funny? I couldn't imagine how she could associate the word funny with the sound of her new voice. It was perfection, lovely and sweet, so much like a child but hinting at a woman. The sound drew me in as much as her blood had prior, and I wanted to hear her speak once more.
"You sound beautiful."
Again her eyes narrowed, and she stared intently, trying to see into my non-existent soul. Doubt was written on her face, but as with so many times before, she surprised me by changing the subject. "Why can't I remember anything?" She looked to the ground. "It's just that… that I know it's…there, but I can't get to it. It's all fuzzy when I try to."
"Don't worry, sweetheart. It will come." My words were more hopeful than anything. I didn't know what she would recover, if anything. I offered a smile, careful to hide my teeth as usual. As a newborn, she might misconstrue a display of teeth as an act of aggression. "Do you mind if I come closer?" I prayed for a positive answer.
Her jerky nod filled me with relief, and I closed the rest of the distance quicker than I should have. I could no longer hold myself back. Even given my lack of control, it seemed she had accepted me fully as she inclined her body toward me, rather than pulling away. After coming back to my senses, I slowly moved my hand to the side of her face, and she closed her eyes at the approach. As I had felt before in the dark of that Biology classroom—had it only been last week?—the electricity pulsed between us. But now it was stronger than before.
Bella shivered—though she couldn't have been cold—and smiled. Could she feel the same charge I had? I briefly wondered if she had felt it before; she hadn't mentioned it, but neither had I. Then her eyes flashed open to meet mine.
"Edward," she sighed. A thrill shot through me as she said my name in recollection.
"Bella?" I was cautious. Maybe she only knew my name.
"Yes." She reached up and held my hand to her cheek, the temperature so attuned to mine. "I love you."
Her soft sigh was music to my ears. She was there, in the beauty before me. I knew that I hadn't lost the only light my existence would ever have—my sun during the darkest of midnights. My world righted itself as I realized that the magic hadn't disappeared.
"As I love you," I replied, the words never truer than in that moment. "How do you feel?"
"Fine," she answered a little too quickly.
"Of course you feel fine, Bella. I meant…are you… " I didn't want to ask this, afraid my question would bring us back to the reality of her new life. I didn't want her in pain. But it was necessary. "Are you thirsty?"
Instantaneously, her hand reached up to cover her throat in an attempt to quell the flames. Clearly she felt the burn that would never fully leave. I had done that to her.
"I—I don't know," she whimpered, my heart broke for her again.
She should hunt, Edward. Carlisle's prodding was unnecessary, but I still nodded a response.
"You need to hunt, sweetheart." I tried to sound forceful, but it was more of a plea. I placed my hand on her arm and tugged gently. "That will help."
"Hunt?" The apprehension was clear on her angelic face.
"Yes, it's easy," I all but chuckled, surprised and amused at her fear for something that was instinctive to our kind. Most newborns couldn't be held back; mine was more frightened than frightening. "It's instinctual. Don't worry, I'll show you."
Still she didn't respond. Possibly humor could alleviate her tension.
"I was under the impression that you'd always wanted to see me hunt."
Again she narrowed her eyes before a giggle burst from her mouth. The sound was alluring, and in that moment, I knew I would spend the rest of my existence trying to elicit her laughter. Her eyes momentarily lost focus in distraction.
She shook her head and returned her focus to me. "Okay."
My family started pleading silently. I'd already decided who was the best to accompany us.
"Emmett, Jasper and Alice will come along. Is that all right with you?"
"Who?" she asked.
She shot me a blank look and shook her head, her dark hair swaying with the movement. I was briefly distracted with the memory of her leaving the Forks High Nurse's office, and I found myself wanting to run my hands through the strands.
She doesn't remember, Alice thought, pulling me from my reverie. Point us out.
I decided it was best to introduce them one at a time.
"Alice, could you please come here?" I asked as I turned to face her.
"No," Jasper interrupted."It's too danger—"
"I'll be fine, Jazz. Trust me." She grabbed his hand in between her two tiny ones. "Trust Bella. She has this."
Trust a newborn? Jasper raised an eyebrow at his wife.
"Trust me," she echoed, moving one hand to the side of his face. "It'll be fine."
Alice flitted to my side, practically dancing in her excitement. "Hi, Bella. Glad to see you're awake. I missed you. Now," she hesitated, "don't attack me." Her thoughts did not betray her in time, so I had no warning to stop her. She shot a huge smile and pounced toward Bella, wrapping her arms around Bella's neck in a hug.
Bella's eyes grew wide, the beginning of a hiss starting. Then she quieted and the corners of her mouth lifted into a grin. "You do smell nice, I never noticed before." Bella's following laughter was like the tinkling of chimes and was quickly joined by most of my family.
"Knew it wouldn't take you long," Alice giggled, pulling away.
Bella bowed her head, a sheepish smile taking over her face. I knew in that moment, she would have been blushing had it been possible. Momentary loss swept through me, only to be tossed aside by the pleasure at what we had gained—we had an eternity to be with each other.
"Come over here, Jazz," Alice said, motioning for him to join.
He approached the two, his thoughts ever vigilant, his stature wary. "Hello, Bella."
She gasped and pulled away, her face frozen in shock. "Where did all those scars come from, Jasper? I never noticed them before."
"Before?" I asked.
"Yes, you know before…" She held out the last syllable of the last word, waving her hand in the air.
"Do you remem…what do you remember about before, Bella?" I asked.
"Everything, I think," she said. "It's hard. Everything's so dim and hazy." She looked around me. "But I remember everyone, and my mom, and my dad." Her eyes became panicked as she looked at me. "What about Renee and Charlie?"
"We have a plan, but we'll talk about that after you've hunted."
She opened her mouth to interrupt me.
"After, you'll be more able to focus. It'll be easier. Trust me." I grabbed her hand, increasing our connection.
"Okay." The defeat in her voice broke me and I pulled her to my chest. "Let's go bag some mountain lions." She tried to sound eager, but I could still hear her trepidation. If only she knew the damage she could do. Her physical strength now matched her internal strength. Delight filled me at this realization.
Emmett chuckled from behind.
"You sound like a bear choking," Bella giggled, looking around me to Emmett. Repeating his words from our ill-fated baseball game. She'd said she remembered everything.
His responding grin was awe-inspiring. "You do remember, lil' sis?"
"Of course," she said. She broke from my grasp, flitted to Emmett's side, and wrapped her deceptively small arms around him "How could I forget you?"
Though the warmth she provided was nothing like the heat of her touch days before, I missed the contact already. I found myself longing for her soft form against mine mere seconds after she had left.
She must have felt the same desire as she didn't linger in Emmett's arms. As soon as was possible to leave without hurting his feelings, she was back, pressing herself to me. I tried to ignore the pain of her bone-crushing hold by focusing on the pure joy I felt, but it was impossible.
I pulled back, and she looked up at me fear and confusion etched on her beautiful face. Did she think I was rejecting her? This was Bella, of course she did.
"Sorry, love. You're just a little stronger than me at the moment. That kind of… hurt."
Her eyes grew wide and she mouthed an apology.
"There's no need for that," I said. "I have no doubt you'll get the hang of it. You're a natural"
She smiled and nuzzled into my chest.
I kissed the top of her head, and she sighed and pulled away.
"Carlisle, Esme, thank you for taking me in." She looked to her new parents—our parents.
"Nonsense, Bella," Esme said.
"You've always been a part of this family, even before we knew it." As usual, Carlisle's words echoed Esme's thoughts.
Bella smiled and rushed over to Esme, pulling her into a hug. She was paying attention as she handled Esme more gingerly than she had me. Next she hugged Carlisle and thanked him again.
The last person, the one who had never accepted Bella, was left. Bella once again rushed to my side, and offered a shy, "Hello, Rosalie."
Rosalie's response was curt, but not unfeeling. "Welcome to the family, Bella." Clearly, she mourned the loss of Bella's humanity and all the possibilities that were now gone, but she would accept the outcome.
"Um, thank you."
I decided to end this tense situation. There was no going back now.
"Is everyone ready?"
They all answered that they were, and I grabbed Bella's hand, pulling her towards the door. I would have loved to have her jump from the second story, and maybe show off a little. It would be fun to watch her learn her new capabilities. But without a good reason, I knew I'd never convince Bella to jump, so the stairs it was.
We ran downstairs, Bella's lithe movements perfect as she descended. I wasn't even sure she noticed how graceful she was. Her giggles, as we raced through the house, were the only sound my ears wanted to hear—she was obviously pleased with her new abilities. When we reached the back door, I looked down into her bright red eyes.
Thanks for reading!
Next up…HUNTING! Oh, dear.