"I always thought vampires are invincible. What happened? Is she okay?" Bella whispered to Alice, trying to make sense of what happened.
Irina smiles after hanging up the phone. Her two sisters will be here soon to help her and Bella get through this. Kate actually cackled at what happened, "Figures fate would be cruel. You spent such a long time trying to find your real mate and she appeared in the form of Eddie's singer and ex-girlfriend."
Tanya had warned her about revealing about vampire bond whilst the human still has feelings for one Edward Cullen. According to Emmett, Edward fled learning that Tanya's infatuation for him could never help him for the crimes he had committed; one of claiming Bella was hers and the other for jeopardising Bella, physically and emotionally. He had tabled the idea for their coven to leave Bella in Forks alone to ensure her safety but the rest of the Cullens had another opinion of the matter. Hence, Edward's decision to breakup with the human and leave the small town.
Although she's still human, Irina observes that their bond is affecting her too. Bella's frowning endlessly after Carlisle explained what happened earlier. Her beautiful brown eyes dart to the door from time-to-time, as if expecting a certain broody vampire's return. A heavy feeling sinks in Irina but she shrugs it off.
Slowly she approaches Bella, now mindful of Tanya's warning, allowing Bella to ready herself and respond appropriately. Seeing no resistance or any signs of wariness, Irina sits down next to her on the couch and silently offers her palm out to her. She can hear the human's heartrate picks up instantly and notices how Bella leans back further into the couch, wary at the vampire's sudden gesture. Those brown eyes flicker to Alice and Rose's and they smile at her in encouragement.
After confirming that she is no danger from her vegatarian friends, Bella's eyes travel from Irina's palm to her eyes and then right back at the open palm. It weirds her out but Bella somehow understands that this is Irina's attempt at calming her. How she understands that gesture wil be a question that needs answering later but something inside of her craves for the contact. There's a little guilt that lingers for a moment as she remembers her ex-boyfriend but her anger takes over and she suddenly feels rebellious. He has no say in her life anymore the moment he walked out on her and she decides to just go with the flow for once.
Bella places her hand on top of Irina's cold palm. Surpringly she finds her worries immediately subsided and her heartrate has returned to normal. It amazes her that Jasper isn't anywhere within the vicinity as the calming wave washes over her.
"I'm alright, dear. But I'm afraid you might not be in the next few days," Irina bit her lips.
All the remaining Cullens sympathise with Bella for the truth that's about to be revealed and Bella knows it. All these while, they've all been looking at her like she's some wounded puppy and it's a suffocating feeling. Bella picks up the tension in the air and decides she's a big girl to take on whatever's coming.
"Look, I don't really know you but the Cullens think that keeping secrets are the best way forward but I disagree. Will you please be honest with me?" she pleaded.
Irina takes both of Bella's hands in her, "No matter what happens, Isabella, I will always be honest with you. Because is the Denali way." The determined look in Irina jolts something in Bella's broken heart. Satisfied enough with the sincere look on Irina's face, she nods.
"My sisters, Tanya and Kate are on their way here from Denali. In order for you to learn the truth, I need them here. Do you think you could wait just a little bit longer?"
Rosalie turns on the tv, understanding their friend might need some background noise to ease up her anxiety. Bella shoots her a grateful look before she turns shyly to Irina. Alice snickers at Bella and the human decides to take some jab at her best friend.
"Well, it's the weekend anyway. Sure, I don't mind," Bella smiled. And then she whispers under her breath, "Plus, waiting is much better than shopping trips with Alice." To which Alice protested and whined and sweet old Jasper kisses his mate's cheek.
"You should know Bella that Irina is as as shopaholic as me!" Alice teased.
At that comment, Bella pales and withdraws her hands away, "Rosalie, wasn't there a new book you wanted to discuss with me for our English class?" Sneakily enough, Bella makes her way and pulls Rosalie by the hand (no resistance there) and up the stairs. Ever since the tragic night at Port Angeles, Rosalie and Bella formed a bond, stronger than hers with Alice. The vampire feels much more protective of Bella and has learned to build a friendship with the human. Before they disappear, Rosalie mouths to Irina, "You'd better come up with a plan to woo her Denali!"
"Now Isabella, I am only interested to do what you want to do! Do you mind if I join you? English is after all my favourite subject," Irina yelled loud enough for the human to hear.
Bella stops right before Rosalie's library and ponders. She turns to the blonde next to her asking for permission, "Do you mind?"
Irina vampire-whisper something to Rosalie and she obliges, "Actually, I did promise Emmett I'd help him fix his car today. So Irina will have to help you instead." Quickly, Rosalie plants a kiss on Bella's cheeks and zooms out to the garage. Irina narrows her eyes at the sign of affection before appearing in front of Bella and wiping the lipstick smudge using her sleeve.
"I'd like to get to know you better, Isabella Swan. Would you let me?" Irina asked after she's done erasing Rosalie's trace on her.
She couldn't help it. Cousins or not, the smell of other vampires on her mate stirs something primal in her.
It's been almost four hours since Bella left the Cullen's house and she's sitting on her chair, in a daze, after everything that's happened. It was getting late and Alice had told her to go home first to rest. So, reluctantly, the meeting with the rest of the Denali sisters had to be postponed and she had to go home. It was late but she couldn't sleep, not after the weird incident at the Cullen's residence earlier. So, Bella opted to try and take her mind off by trying to get some homework done.
Her English homework is sprawled on her bed and she's lying on her stomach, both legs dangle up in the air. She's still stuck on the same page for the last thirty minutes, even after Charlie had called earlier and told her he won't be coming home tonight.
All of a sudden, her chest feels constricted and she is unable to breathe. Her muscles weaken and the pen in her hand falls down on the bed, roling down the floor. She tries to apply pressure on her heart to soothe the pain but it isn't working. Her phone too far away for her to reach as it is charged near her desk and her legs are paralysed somehow.
She calls for Alice's name, hoping the seer is able to foresee this and send help.
Her heartbeat starts to slow down before it erratically pumps faster and another wave of pain hits her. She sees blonde hair whisk in through her window and she feels herself being held in a pair of cold arms. Instantly, her heart calms down and she is able to breathe again. Someone is holding her and she doesn't care who just as long as they keep making her feel better.
Bella has never had a panic attack before, not even when James bit her.
Moments pass by as she regains herself and turns to look at her saviour, "Alice?" Irina nods and confims it, "Yes, she sent me here. The rest was away hunting and keeping Edward away. I was the closest too. I'm sorry. None of us knew you'd feel the pull this strongly so soon."
Two more unknown vampires make their appearance at Bella's open window, "May we come in? It's time we have the talk." It should have scared Bella but it doesn't. Seeing the same golden eyes on the other two makes her trust them. That and also the fact Irina saved her life tonight proves that Bella can trust her. Tanya notices this but doesn't say a word.
They all arrive at the Cullen's house driving Jasper's car, one which Jasper drove to Bella's house after it was agreed that the discussion would have to take place there since the remaining of the vampires are already there. Plus, they can't risk the wolves smelling them. Throughout the ride, Bella learns something the hard way. Everytime Bella tries to pull away from Irina, the pain would reappear and that physical contact with Irina soothes it. It's hard to make sense of it when Bella was convinced she was so in love with Edward before but she never felt this desperate or clingy. She hates it.
Gosh, she hopes she doesn't turn into one of those clingy damsels in distress. That's more of Jessica's move.
Esme greets her with a cup of hot chocolate upon their arrival and Rosalie drapes her with her favourite blanket. Carlisle arrives not one second late and takes a seat next to Tanya. The air is tense again as Bella notice the worried look on the Cullens. Their movements feel too rigid and she wonders what kind of bad news await her. She turns to the three siblings and notices them sporting a different aura. They seem much more relaxed and have this unexplained glow to them. She doesn't really know them but she can tell it's like they're on a particularly good mood, if not amused.
"Was it a heart attack?" Bellas asked the doctor.
"I cannot confirm it as of yet but our best guess is that the mating bond has started to take its effect on you," Carlisle answered but not without looking to Tanya for permission. "Tanya is the Denali's coven leader and as such, it would be best for this to come from her," Carlisle stepped away in respect. They nod in respect as Carlise shifts to stand beside Esme by the stairs. Bella is positioned in between Irina and Rosalie while Alice and Jasper sit right across from them. Tanya occupies Carlisle's former seat and smiles gently at her.
"Isabella, nice to finally meet you although I wished it was under better circumstances," she started. Kate jumps right next to Tanya with a big grin, "I'm Kate, second in command." A wink is thrown Bella's way and a blush makes its way to her cheeks.
Being surrounded by these gorgeous blonde vampires make her a little bix anxious, and a bit intimidated.
"Please, just call me Bella," she insisted. Bella shifts slighly in her seat appearing uncomfortable and insecure. Irina notices this and pulls away her attention. "May I have you permission to address you as Isabella? I find it fitting for someone as beautiful as you."
It's the third time today Irina made her blush. Somehow, the name sounding on Irina's lips does not sound so foreign as to when others say it, "Erm... Sure." Irina swoons and has to stop herself from kissing the human. Rosalie meanwhile grumbles lowly at not given the same privilege as her cousin.
Tanya clears her throat and Irina mutters an apology for interrupting her leader.
"This is a rare occasion, one would say. Normally, I'd order Irina to ease into the transition before having this discussion but it seems that the mating bond is affecting you more than it should. Tell me, what do you know about vampire mates?"
And so Bella tries to convey her understanding of the concept, of what had been explained to her and how confusing it was when Edward claimed to be her mate and then just broke up with her. Irina growls at this but one look from Tanya and she immediately behaves.
"What do you think of our sister, Irina? Look at her in the eyes and tell us," Kate instructed.
Taken aback, Bella does as instructed and looks at the blonde next to her. Her eyes zooms in on one thing only; her golden eyes. They look the same as the Cullens' except when two seconds turn to three, she sees it. It whirls and spins and Bella is instantly sucked into it, feeling her soul leaving her body and enter another realm. She gasps and whips her head to Jasper for confirmation. It was almost the same as what Jasper had told her previously. He smiles and nods at Bella's silent question.
"So you're.. Erm. You're mine? I mean you're my mate?" as usual her nerves got in the way of her speech.
Irina grinned at the word mine but gives her a gentle smile. She leans down to kiss Bella's knuckles, "Yes. I am your mate as you are mine."
Suddenly the feelings she had all along for Edward seems pale in comparison to what she saw and felt when she looked into Irina's eyes. "But that still doesn't explain my episode earlier." Her heart flutters at Irina's confession and she's slightly embarassed all vampires can hear it. Sensing Bella's anxiety, Rosalie softly touches Bella's shoulder to get her attention, "Bella, look at me." She turns to face Rosalie but Irina's firm grip on her hands reminds her that she's still there.
"Do you trust me?"
"Do I say things I don't mean?"
"It will be okay. I've known my cousins for many years and I trust they won't judge or hurt you. They only want what's best for you. And right now what's best for you is Irina."
Rosalie had always been honest about her feelings ever since the beginning, even when she disapproved of Edward and Bella's relationship. She also had helped Bella so much with her trauma in Port Angeles. Bella wants so badly to just trust Irina and this new information but the heartaches caused by Edward continue to hurt her until today.
"And don't worry. If Irina so much as make you cry, I'll throw Emmett's jeep at her," Rosalie joked and Emmett protested a hey at the back, which did the trick and bring Bella back from her turmoil. So she turns back to Irina and gives her full attention.
"The mating bond differs from one vampire to another. For Alice and Jasper, they saw it instantly the moment they saw each other. For Carlisle and Esme, it took them a while to realise it. Do you remember what happened to Irina earlier?" Carlisled asked and Bella nodded.
"It hit me like lightning," Irina added, a pained smile on her face.
"We think that was her vampire realising she had found her mate. And for your episode, we believe somewhere deep inside your soul recognises Irina but due to past events, your heart isn't ready to accept it yet. Think of it as two instincts fighting each other at the same time," Tanya explained.
"That and maybe perhaps you cannot be too long away from Irina," Kate smirked. "I thought only vampire mates would be clingy and gross. Turns out my future sis-in-law would be one too." At the joke, Tanya elbowed Kate hard on her ribs and it earned Bella a chuckle. She understands Kate is the playful one and there's no real insult in her statement. Relieved the human is finally relaxed, the rest of Cullens join in on the humour.
"Oh please, no one's worse than Jasper and Alice!" Emmett chimed while the mentioned couple just looks smug at the insult. They took it as a compliment instead.
"At least we don't break the bed every now and then," Jasper retorted and Bella did all she can to not throw up there, "Seriously? Is that why you have Saatva's mattress membership?"
Rosalie rolls her eyes while Irina perks at Bella's reaction, relief flooding her to see not an ounce of jealousy between Rosalie and Emmett. Kate catches wind at this and smirks. She'd have to sit down with Irina later on to quell her sister's jealousy. Everyone else can see Rosalie's fondness on Bella is merely that; fondness.
When the laughter all die down, Bella poses a heavy question, "So, Edward's never been my mate? What happens now?"
The rest of the Cullens excuse themselves, explaining to Bella that this is a private affairs of the Denalis. Rosalie almost goes to give Bella another kiss goodnight but Alice immediately steps in at the last minute and the kiss landed on her cheek instead. She mumbles the word 'new mates' and Rosalie rolls her eyes but respects and understands it. She and Emmett were no different the first few months of mating.
"Isabella, your happiness and safety is what's most important to me. I know it's confusing given your past with Edward but whatever you decide, I will respect it. But, before you make that big decision, I hope you'd let my family and I to get to know you first," Irina offered while combing her fingers through Bella's hair, calming her down. "Honestly, if it's just friendship you will offer me, I'd happily take it. That mating bond in your chest may be strong but you have a choice here."
Irina managed to talk to her sisters before they came down here. They got into a big argument as Kate insisted on convincing Bella to be turned soon to avoid problems with the Volturi. In the end, Tanya relented and reminded them that it is after all Bella's decision but she made them all promised to do their best to persuade her. It was a good enough comprimise for Kate and Irina. Kate was just too excited to have a new family member than the threats of the Volturi.
Bella chuckled, "Erm... I appreciate the thought but actually, I've asked Edward to turn me many times before. He was the one who refused."
Irina bristled but remains thankful for the fact that that his venom doesn't run through her mate's veins. It would have killed her.
"But I hope you could give me time to process all of this. It's so overwhelming. But, I'm not opposed to the idea to get to know you too, slowly, if you're okay with that?"
Too deep in her bubbles of happiness, Irina lunges forward and kisses her mate on the lips, before realising her mistake and pulling away quickly and apologising profusely. Tanya sighs at her sister's brashness while Kate roars in laughter.
Bella actually felt giddy from that kiss and tries her hardest to cover the grin forming on her lips, unsuccessfully. Irina not noticing this development is actually on the floor, begging for Bella to forgive her.
"I'm so sorry! I was out of control! Please forgive me my dear Isabella!"
Kate stops laughing and nudges Irina to pay closer attention at the blush forming on Bella's face, "Oh." If vampires could blush. Irina would do the same.
Kate thinks the dynamic of the pair would make an interesting addition to the family. There's no doubt in her mind that Bella will fall heads over heels for her sister and she much looks forward to the day of their wedding.