OK OK OK I totally owe you all apologies... I haven't posted in a VERY long time. And I feel terrible... I truly do. But I have a good excuse. I have been fighting the worst illness of my life. I'm finally feeling better, 3 courses of meds and 2 months later. I apologize. And again I apologize because this chapter isnt exactly epic, its kind of a filler. But I promise I'm writing, I have a whole bunch written, but I havent gotten through proofing it all. And let me tell you, writing while you tired, sick, coughing and sneezing, with a fever over 100 and no sleep and your throat is on fire, you can truly relate to the whole vampires throat burning thing, BUT your sentences don't always end up coherent. So here is one chapeter, I'm trying to hurry, bear with me, because I'm also going out of town later this week. I will try really hard to get the base ball game done for your next update. I love you all thank you for the wonderful reviews, they kept me going! Enjoy, and I promise to hurry!
I placed Bella in front of a small wooden square frame that held an ancient oil painting. I could tell she was slightly taken aback by the small canvas. I could only assume she was expecting something on a more grand scale. After all, it's not everyday a vampire family tree begins. The image was devoid of color, done mostly in varying sepia tones, illustrating a miniature city protected by a large river in the foreground, and accessed by a small wooden bridge.
"London in the sixteen-fifties," I pointed out to her. I heard Carlisle rise from his seat and cross the room to observe my retelling. He kept his distance, so not to frighten Bella.
"The London of my youth." Carlisle added. He must have startled Bella, because I felt her jump and her heart race at the sound of his voice. I squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"Will you tell the story?" I asked Carlisle. I felt like a small child asking this of him, but it was his story after all, and no one would recount it as well as he could.
Bella glanced back at him and he met her gaze with a fatherly smile. "I would, but I'm actually running a bit late. The hospital called this morning – Dr. Snow is taking a sick day. Besides, you know the stories as well as I do," he grinned at me. Besides, I think you may need some time alone, He responded in thought. He smiled warmly at Bella one last time. Bring her home again Edward, he thought as he left the room. I looked back to Bella who still had hold of my cold hand; her eyes were back on the painting.
"What happened then?" She asked as she turned to look back at me catching me in the act of staring at her. "When he realized what had happened to him?" I looked back at the wall, to the next painting in Carlisle's history, a dull mountainous piece. This was a dark time in his history.
"When he knew what he had become, he rebelled against it." I answered her solemnly. "He tried to destroy himself. But that's not easily done."
"How?" She asked. I could tell that she regretted asking and a slight shade of pink flooded her cheeks. .
"He jumped from great heights; he tried to drown himself in the ocean…" My voice trailed off. Her eyes were on me now, almost in disbelief of what I was telling her. "But he was young to the new life, and very strong. It is amazing that he was able to resist…" Choose your words carefully, I thought. "…Feeding… while he was so new. The instinct is more powerful then, it takes over everything. But he was so repelled by himself that he had the strength to try and kill himself with starvation."
"Is that possible?" Her voice was faint. I wasn't sure if it was her fear or her fear for me that made her sound so fragile.
"No, there are very few ways we can be killed." I watched as she opened her luscious lips to ask another question, and though I couldn't read her mind, I knew exactly what she was going to ask, so I continued my tale.
"So he grew hungry, and eventually weak. He strayed as far as he could from the human populace, recognizing that his willpower was weakening, too. For months he wandered by night, seeking the loneliest places, loathing himself." I looked into Bella's eyes and they held nothing but sympathy for Carlisle's plight. "One night, a herd of deer passed his hiding place. He was so wild with thirst that he attacked without a thought. His strength returned and he realized there was and alternative to being the vile monster that he feared. Had he not eaten venison in his former life? Over the next months his new philosophy was born. He could exist without becoming a demon. He found himself again." I was beginning to understand how Carlisle felt. I glanced over at Bella's porcelain profile. Her brown eyes were wide with wonder. I too felt like I had found myself again when I looked into her eyes. I continued to regale her with Carlisle's tale.
"He began to make better use of his time. He'd always been intelligent, eager to learn. Now he had unlimited time before him. He studied by night, planned by day. He swam to France and…"
"He swam to France?" Bella interjected with a stunned look upon her face.
"People swim the channel all the time, Bella." I reminded her with a small smirk.
"That's true, I guess. It just sounded funny in that context. Go on." She urged, a pale pink blush of embarrassment washed across her creamy cheeks.
"Swimming is easy for us –"
"Everything is easy for you," she rolled her eyes making me smile. Not everything came that easy, our love would be proof of that alone.
"I won't interrupt again, I promise." She offered as she raised her right hand in the air. I laughed at her attempt to be still.
"Because," I continued. "We don't need to breathe."
"No, no, you promised." I laughed, placing a solitary finger on her warm tender lips. I could see all of the questions stirring in her head. "Do you want to hear the story or not?"
"You can't spring something like that on me, and then expect me not to say anything." She mumbled her soft red lips moving lightly against my finger. I removed my finger from her lips and traced the contours down her face and rested my hand upon her neck, making her heart race.
"You don't have to breathe?" she inquired again.
"No, it's not necessary. Just a habit." I shrugged.
"How long can you go… without breathing?"
"Indefinitely, I suppose; I don't know. It gets a bit uncomfortable – being without a sense of smell." Being the ultimate predator, we relied highly on our sense of smell to find our prey and sensing danger, being without it I could only liken to being blind for a human.
"A bit uncomfortable," Bella echoed softly. I gazed at her for a moment, her face adorned with a look of wonder and astonishment, not fear like a small part of me hoped. She had no sense of self preservation, no fear. The piece of me that longed for humanity and a soul was glad to welcome her reaction to our truth. However the larger piece of me was begging her to run, run far and fast and not to look back. If she would not safeguard her own humanity, I would have to do that for her. I lowered my hands from her neck, my face growing somber, watching her, waiting for reality to strike.
"What is it?" She whispered, placing her blazing fingertips upon my cheek. Her touch ignited the fire within me, I couldn't stop my gaze from softening as I looked into her eyes and witnessed only love and concern. How long would this last, eventually, she would realize I was a monster. Soon she would see the real me, the worlds most perfect predator, and I wanted her blood. Soon she would see the truth and she would leave, taking my heart with her and leaving it in small pieces trailing behind her. I would not survive losing her, I knew this already.
"I keep waiting for it to happen."
"For what to happen?" She looked puzzled.
"I know at some point, something I tell you or something you see is going to be too much. And then you'll run from me, screaming as you go." I stopped, smiling weakly at her before I looked deep into her eyes. "I won't stop you. I want this to happen, because I want you to be safe. And yet, I want to be with you. The two desires are impossible to reconcile…" I waited. I wanted her to run, to save herself from a lifetime of my own personal evils, let her be happy. I was willing to be miserable, to allow her the happiness that intimacy, a husband, and children would bring her.
"I'm not running anywhere," she promised. And looking into her eyes, I believed her.
"We'll see," I answered, smiling at her.