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Fanfiction based on Stephenie Meyers Twilight Series Rated MA for Mature Adult.

By Ooohlalaaa

Summary: After being sent to private school, Bella observes a series of strange events and gets involved in a classmate's supernatural world, discovering a secret that changes her life for good. AU, OOC, B/E

~*~ Prologue First Day

You cant wear those shoes. It was a simple statement that had a complicated effect on my mindset. I stared down at my vintage ballerina flats and grimaced. I didnt want to be here. I didnt want to be around these people. I didnt belong here. It was the first sentence any of the other students had said to me, and I was only two steps inside the front courtyard. To say that I was different than everyone around me would be an exaggerated understatement. I was the polar opposite of these people. I didnt fit in here, walking around the opulent hallways of this academy, brimming with the citys elitists progeny. I wasnt the child of a CEO, or a neurosurgeon, or a celebrity. I wasnt carrying around a $3,000 purse. I wasnt drop dead gorgeous. I didnt pull up in a lavish Mercedes or a limo. I wasnt like them, at all. It was still a mystery how my parents managed to bribe my way into this school, or how they afforded the bribe. We werent rich. We werent powerful. We were pitifully normal, middle class. I found it all too convenient how my mothers new husband suddenly up and sold my childhood home

so that he and my mother, Renee, could travel around the country. Renee claimed I needed more stability, and that stability was going to somehow come in the form of me moving to New York with my police officer father, Charlie, who Id seen a mere three times in the past four years. It all seemed slightly devious to me, but I knew better than to fuss and fight. It wouldve done no good. They had a reason for me being here, and they were going to do whatever was in their power in order to get me here. My survival strategy was to go to school and endure the six hours, keep to myself, try to go unnoticed, and then come home and try to forget how torturous my day was. But two steps inside, and this too tall, too beautiful, too perfect bitch had already ruined my plans. So there I stood, head tilted down at my feet, just hoping to spontaneously combust or dissipate into thin air, or something. I looked up at the girl and her friend that was standing next to her who was also too beautiful, too perfect, and too rich. Just smaller, and she had black hair instead of the ridiculously expensive blonde dye job the other one had. Either way, both of them were breathtakingly beautiful and fucking intimidating. I dont care, I said with a shrug. It was all I could think to say because really, I didnt care. What, was administration going to send me home because my ballerina flats werent up to par? Please, please do. I adjusted my bag on my shoulder, loosened my stifling tie, and headed for my first class without looking back at my first arch-nemesis. Id gotten a tour of the school the week before, and I tried with all my might to memorize the floor plan as best I could, because nothing draws more attention to someone than a map. The hallways were loud and boisterous, but that didnt stop the inevitable stares and whispers. I made a pit stop in the nearest bathroom to compose myself and check my schedule to make sure I was headed toward the right room. 301. Biology. Suddenly, a gaggle of girls walked in, gave me a judgmental glare, and ignored my presence altogether. But did you see her? She was pretty before, but not that pretty. Well, she and Emmett are together so Dr. Cullen must have But what about Jasper? Has anyone seen him? Because if Rosalie is like that, it only makes sense that hed Why does Edward still look the same, then? Eight A.M. was far too early for gossip for me, especially gossip about people I didnt know. I tried to escape from the bathroom without making much noise. It only made sense that a room starting with three would be on the third floor, so I made a beeline to the empty, dimly lit mahogany stairs at the end of the hallway and finally let out a breath that I felt like Id been holding in since I'd walked into the building. I took my time, but the warning bell started going off when I was on the second story landing, so I flew the rest of the way up the stairs because lateness and getting reprimanded was another surefire way to get noticed and embarrassed.

When I reached Biology, I dropped into an empty seat near the back of the classroom. I was pulling out my books and preparing myself for class when I heard the chair next to me scratching against the wood floor. A tall, extraordinarily handsome boy sat down next to me and dropped his stack of books loudly on the desk. He sprawled out in his seat, loosened his tie and undid the top button of his shirt, and slid out of his blazer, throwing it on top of the table. He crossed his arms over his chest and raised an eyebrow at me when he caught me staring- which I hadnt realized Id been doing. Youre new, he said, seemingly uninterested. He looked down and started fiddling with his cufflinks, yanking them off and slipping them in his breast pocket before he rolled his sleeves up. I instantly tensed up and forced out a nod before I turned my head toward the front of the room. It was my bodys natural reaction to these people, but he at least seemed like he was slightly more laid-back than some of the other students Id observed. He didnt seem like he was concerned with my inadequacies at all, and for that I was appreciative. Not talkative? he asked me, sliding his chair forward and resting his forearms on the edge of the desk. With my peripheral vision, I saw him tilt his head to the side so that he was looking at me. Nothing to say, I answered, tapping my fingers nervously on the cover of my notebook. Well, where are you from? Whats your story? He nonchalantly played with his cell phone as he waited for me to answer. I dont really have a story, I told him, honestly. There was no impressive reason as to why I was there. It must be something if youre enrolling somewhere new right in the middle of high school. And here of all places. My mothers husband is a baseball player and theyre traveling around the country. I got sent to live here with my father. Why Im here at this school your guess is as good as mine. I shrugged at him and blinked a couple of times to stop from staring at his deep, green eyes. He glanced at me through his thick eyelashes and one corner of his mouth turned up. Well, Im Edward Cullen. Nice to meet you, Bella Swan. My head instantly snapped up and I gulped. Um how do you know my name? He slid his hand across the desk and tapped his index finger on my notebook twice. Bella Swan was written in the top right corner. Obviously. I let out a laugh and he gave me an odd look. Thankfully, the teacher started his lecture so Edward was forced to stop trying to communicate with me. I thought about his name for a minute and my thoughts started swirling. Something was said in the bathroom about a Dr. Cullen, someone looking pretty, and an Edward, looking the same. I cursed myself in my head for not paying more attention to the gossipers, because the whole thing was somewhat intriguing. Right before class ended, Edward slid a small piece of paper across the desk and slipped it under my hand.

You seem slightly uncomfortable here. Out of place, if you will. So if you need anything, please, use it. I looked at the scrap of paper and nodded slightly. It was his phone number. Uh thank you, I stammered, before sliding the paper into the pocket of my bag. He stood up and shrugged back into his blazer, grabbed his books from the desk, and held his hand out in front of him. After you, he said, following me out of the room. I noticed that the stares only got more intense as Edward silently walked beside me to my next class. It wasnt until we were almost there, that I heard the shrill voice of the girl from the courtyard. Edward, really? What the fuck are you doing? Clearly, she had some sort of a problem with me. Edwards nostrils flared, and he stopped short and turned to the blonde girl, where she was leaning up against a locker, her small friend standing quietly by her side. Rosalie. He took a step toward her and roughly shoved her shoulder so she slammed against the locker with a loud crash. He put his mouth right up to her ear, but almost shouted when he spoke to her. Dont fuck with me. Not today. He wrapped his big, warm hand around my elbow and pulled me away from them. Suddenly he stopped and spun around, his eyes narrowed. Yes, Alice. Maybe you should. Alice, the small girl, nodded and forced a smile at him. Maybe I was taken aback by the confrontation, or maybe I was just too concerned with gawking at Edward, but I dont think that was the case at all. Something had just happened that was very bizarre. Alice hadnt said anything. Nothing at all. In fact, I was almost certain of it. I pushed the observation to the back of my mind and continued the awkward, tension filled walk to class with Edward. He didnt say anything about what had just happened, so I pried. Who is she? Rosalie. My brothers girlfriend - just ignore her. Thats what I do. It didnt look like hed just ignored her to me. Who was the smaller girl? Thats my sister, Alice.

What did she say to you? Edward frowned and stopped in front of my second period classroom. Uh nothing? What do you mean? You said, Yes Alice, you should, or something like that, and I didnt hear her say anything. Edward smirked a little bit and suddenly his eyes widened at someone who was approaching behind me. When I turned my head to look, there was a huge, burly guy walking toward us. He towered over Edward, and initially his size was shocking, but at second glance he had deep dimples and his face appeared to be sort of friendly. He seemed amicable. Bella, this is my brother, Emmett. Edward patted his back for emphasis. Take care of her, he said, before walking away. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, but Im almost sure that I saw Edward furtively nod to Emmett before he walked away. It wasnt until we were seated that I realized Edward had completely avoided my question. My interest in the Cullen family was growing by the second. The three children were the epitome of beauty, and must have been equally as intriguing to the other students if they were already being gossiped about on the first day of school. Apart from their size, Emmett and Alices appearances made it impossible to deny they were related. They had the same dark hair color, the same ivory skin tone, the same brown, almost golden eyes. Although Edward was equally as stunning to me, he didnt look related to them whatsoever. His hair was a brownish, copper tone and his eyes were green and his skin was much more peach toned then the other two. It seemed slightly strange to me. Although I hadnt spoken to Alice, she didnt take part in her friends animosity toward me, opting instead to just stand there in silence. Edward and Emmett were beyond friendly to me. They talked to me, walked me to class, and made me feel comfortable- something I wasnt expecting anyone to do, especially not on my first day. Especially not Emmett, whos girlfriend was evil incarnate. I had the feeling there was more to the whole thing; the hatred and the kindness, but I figured Id remain quiet and neutral and wait for some kind of an explanation. Besides for some frightening glares from Rosalie, the rest of my day passed without incidence. I walked the few blocks to my fathers small, two bedroom apartment, feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. My first day was over with. I wasnt in tears and I wasnt tempted to dive head first into traffic. Id even made a few acquaintances. I planned on going into school the next day with a more optimistic outlook. My father questioned me about my day over dinner. Knowing his contacts and knowledge of people in the city, I decided to bring up the Cullens. I was eager to know anything I could about Edward. Dad? Have you ever heard of a family called the Cullens? Charlies eyes widened and he dropped his fork. He wiped his mouth with his napkin and cleared his throat before answering.

Yes, I have. Why? I shrugged and twirled some spaghetti around my fork. I met a boy in my first period class. Edward is his name. He was really nice to me. Charlie took a sip from his glass and nodded. Dr. Cullen has done a good job raising his children. What kind of a doctor is he? Hes a surgeon, Charlie answered, his mouth full. He took another drink of water. A plastic surgeon? I watched as Charlie choked on his water and shook his head at me. He coughed a couple of times and threw his napkin over his plate. No, why would you ask that? Because, I heard some girls talking in the bathroom, and they said- Dont, Charlie muttered, standing up from his seat. Dont listen to what the other students say. You know better than that. He walked away, leaving me seated at the table alone, completely perplexed. His reaction was far from normal, for him. Charlie was never very expressive. The fact that he got so defensive when I talked about the Cullens only piqued my curiosity. Looking back on that first day, I dont know what kind of conclusions I drew about Edward and his family. Whatever they were, I was completely wrong. At first I thought it was mere coincidence that Id been introduced to the Cullens, but that was the furthest thing from the truth. I thought that maybe people were jealous of them, and thats why they were often the topic of discussion around school. And while jealousy may have been a factor, there was more to itfar more. My naivety was absolutely necessary at the time, because the truth was frightening. The truth was life changing. Earth shattering. Mind blowing. There was an entire world that I was about to be exposed to, that I hadnt known existed. A world that soon, I would be a part of.


Chapter 1 ~ Reading Minds & Telling Futures

The next day at school, things kept getting stranger. Excuse me, Miss? I sighed and stopped walking when I heard someone addressing me. A hall monitor. The warning bell for first period had just rung, and I was far away from the classroom. Plus, I was eager to see Edward and this woman was keeping me from him. Yes? I turned around and took a step towards her. Your name, please? Isabella Swan. The woman scribbled something down on a pad in her hand, then ripped the top sheet off and handed it to me. Those shoes are against dress code, Miss Swan. I looked down at the piece of paper in my hand. Two demerits. I sighed and clenched the paper in my fist as I flew to first period. Edward was already sitting at our desk, today wearing a sweater vest instead of a blazer. He was probably one of the only people Ive ever met that could make a sweater vest look sexy. His sleeves were already rolled up and his tie loosened. When I was done staring, I dropped down into my chair and slapped the demerits on top of my notebook. Whatd you do? He pointed at the piece of paper and cocked an eyebrow. Apparently my shoes are breaking the dress code. Edward looked under the desk and nodded. They need to be brown. Yeah, I dont really care. The teacher still wasnt in the classroom, so I started questioning Edward. Um, yesterday when I was in the bathroom, there were girls talking about you and your family. Edward scratched his head and smiled. Oh yeah? Yeah. Was it her? He pointed at a girl near the front of the classroom with curly black hair. Uh, I cant tell from here- Hey, Jessica! The girl spun around in her chair, and sure enough, she was one of the people who Id crossed paths with in the bathroom. In fact, she was the one who'd given me the spiteful look.

Yeah, she was there. The girls eyes widened when she saw that it was Edward whod summoned her. I watched her face go from a look of shock to straight fear, but she didnt turn away. Edward was glaring right at her. He suddenly dropped his eyes to the table and cleared his throat. Jessica turned back around in her seat without saying a word. I felt a chill go down my spine. Let me guess? He put his elbow on the table and leaned his head against his hand. My father is some kind of a back alley plastic surgeon who does work on his children and their significant others. Am I right? I thought about what they had said the day before, and I nodded. Yeah. Howd you Ive heard it all before. It isnt true, in case you were wondering. Were all just genetically blessed. He laughed, and right then the teacher conveniently started the lesson. That was the second time in two days Id observed something odd happen with Edward. On the way to my second period class, while walking next to him, I got reprimanded again by a different hall monitor about my choice of footwear. He rolled his eyes as I got handed another two demerits and he grabbed my arm. When you get five you get detention. Come on, he said, yanking me down the hallway. I didnt know. I wore them yesterday and no one said anything. Except Rosalie. Yeah, well you were lucky yesterday. My insides clenched up when I saw who he was pulling me towards. That bitch Rosalie was standing at her locker, her back turned toward us, and little Alice was standing next to her. We approached her and without her turning around, or Edward saying anything, I saw Rosalies head cock to the side and heard her sigh. When she turned back around, she had a pair of brown leather flats in her hand. She shoved them into Edwards chest and huffed before walking away. Here, he said, handing them to me. Im not wearing her shoes- Theyre for you. Take them. I squinted and put my hands on my hips. Alice tapped my shoulder and smiled. Hi, Bella. I didnt introduce myself yesterday-

Yeah, you were too busy letting your friend intimidate me, I snapped at her, pulling off my shoes and slipping the new ones on. They fit perfectly. And they were comfortable as hell. The whole thing was just strange and irritating. Im sorry, shes just Im sorry. Alice smiled at me. I felt odd being callous to Edwards sister when he was standing right there, so I gave in. Its alright. Nice to meet you. Edward stuck his hands in his pockets and winked at me. Im gonna go to class. Ill see you later, okay? I nodded, kind of mesmerized, and watched him walk away. Suddenly he stopped, spun around and glanced at Alice, and shook his head before turning back around. So, Alice said, interrupting my observations. How do you like it here so far? How do you guys do that? I asked, not playing stupid anymore. The two of them had some kind of secret language or something that they used, and it was bothering me. Do what? You communicate with each other. Without talking. Im not blind. What do you use, hand signals or something? Alice frowned and shook her head. No just twin intuition. He can read my emotions really well. I didnt believe her. I think he likes you, Alice continued. Its nice to see. Edward doesnt really distract himself with women ever, so What do you mean? He has girls throwing themselves at him all the time. He never takes the bait, though. I frowned at her statement. Id only been at that school for not even two days, but to me their family seemed like social pariahs. Id only ever seen them talking to each other. They made other students visibly uncomfortable. And they got talked about behind their backs. I didnt want to be rude, though, so I played along. So hes never had a girlfriend? Never, Alice said without hesitating. Hes really handsome. Its undeniable. I dont think he knows me well enough to like me, though.

Hes a very good judge of character. Id love to see him with a girl for once. She shrugged as we walked around the corner to my classroom. Emmett was already standing outside with Rosalie, and it looked as though they were arguing. They immediately stopped when they spotted us, and Emmett smiled. Hey, Bella. Hi, I said back to Emmett, before turning toward Rosalie. They fit? She pointed at my shoes. Her tone was still rude, but I forced a smile. Yes thank you. Rosalie nodded and started walking away. Um, Im gonna go with her, Ill see you later, Bella, Alice said, waving as she scurried after her. Alice is a piece of work, isnt she? Emmett asked as we walked into class. I laughed and sat down in my chair. She isnt shy, thats for sure. Since Id already confronted both Edward and Alice about their secret code or whatever it was, I figured I might as well ask Emmett too. Can you and Alice talk to each other the way she and Edward do? Emmett tensed up, and then frowned. It was then that I knew there was something up. If he didnt know what I was talking about, he wouldve just immediately looked confused, not tense. What? What do you mean? Its really weird. I dont expect you to tell me anything, but I just want you to know- and you can tell everyone else, too- that Im not stupid. Its obvious that your family is different. And I dont know why youre all talking to me; maybe its because Im new, and I dont know anything about you like all the other students seem to, and you wanted some kind of an ally, or maybe youre trying to set up your brother who apparently never dates any girls, or maybe youre some kind of a cult or something and youre trying to gain a new member. Whatever it is, I know its something. Im not that obtuse. Emmett held his hand over his mouth and stifled a laugh. He threw his huge arm over the back of my chair and tapped his hand on my back. A cult? Youre funny, Bella. We dont have to be nice to you if you dont want. Go ahead, try and make friends here. Feel free. I couldve walked away. I couldve gone and tried to stay away from these people, and lived a normal existence. But, I didnt, because for some reason, I liked them.

Especially Edward. Besides for the fact that he was one of the most magnificent looking men Id ever laid eyes on in my life, there was something about him that drew me to him. He was smart, and distinguished. He had this inexplicable air about him that made everything he did, from holding a pencil, to walking, to laughing with his friends and family, completely and utterly compelling. He was constantly pleasant toward me, and he seemed to have some kind of a power over people. Barely anyone even spoke to him unless he addressed them first. It wasnt normal, at all, but it was fascinating to me. I couldve walked away, but I didnt. And I dont know what wouldve happened to me if I had. * Edward had invited me over at the end of the week so that we could work on our Biology homework together. I was dreading the weekend, because that meant I wouldnt be able to see him, plus Id be spending the two days alone because Charlie would be working. So although Biology homework wasnt my idea of a typical Friday night, I was more than happy to oblige. The Cullens lived in a breathtaking townhouse on the Upper West Side. It fit their family to a tee. It was elegant, bright, and modern. There was a huge swirling staircase as soon as you walked in, and the rooms were all sprawling and had huge ceilings. Everything was white or tan and the entire place was professionally decorated. Or at least it looked that way. On my first step inside, it was blatantly obvious they werent a cult. I felt ignorant for even thinking it in the first place. Doctor Cullen and his wife Esme were beyond polite and accommodating. I felt at ease in their home, and not at all like I thought I would. I figured they were some uppity socialites that would be rude and barely even acknowledge my presence, but I was wrong. And I shouldve known better, considering how friendly their children had been to me. There was something that caught my eye, though. Dr. Cullen and Esmes eye color. It was the same as Alice and Emmetts. Almost a golden, yellowish brown color. It wasnt exactly common; in fact, Id never seen anyone with the same color before. It would be normal that one of the parents and the children would have the same color, but both of the parents? Were they related or something? Because that would be strange. Or maybe I was just looking too far into it. When we walked up to the third floor, where Edwards bedroom was, I was carelessly observing the family pictures that lined the walls. All of the children had been beautiful their entire lives. From when they were babies, until now. The pictures cleared up any doubt that Id had about Edward and Alice lying about being twins. There was clear evidence right in front of me. I stared in amazement as we walked into Edwards giant room. The dcor matched the rest of the house, as far as the colors and the style of furniture. Everything was neutral toned and wood. There was a huge, black baby grand piano to the left side of the room. A giant sleigh bed was up against the far wall. There were windows open, letting in a gentle breeze that made the curtains billow slightly. The room was immaculately clean and organized, from the trophies and awards that lined the shelves, to the rows of novels in the bookcases. I sat down on his bed and pulled out my Biology book, but Edward quickly walked over and took it from my lap.

We dont have to do homework, he said, holding out his hand to help me off the bed. What do you mean? I just wanted you to come over. I didnt know how to ask He nervously stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at the floor. His bashfulness was endearing. I gently nudged his chin with my finger so that he was looking up, and I smiled at him. You couldve just asked me. I still wouldve come. He shrugged and blinked a few times, still clearly a little uncomfortable. I reached my hand up and loosened his tie for him, and then ran my hand down the line of buttons in the front of his shirt. Just touching Edward over his clothes made my body tingle. I hadnt realized I was standing so close to him until I felt the wind of his breath on my forehead. I gulped and took a step back, and then spun my head around to try and break the apparent sexual tension. You play the piano? Yeah, Edward answered, grabbing the back of his neck and tilting his head to the side. He walked over to the piano and sat down on the bench, patting the space next to him so Id join. Can I ask you something? Sure, he said as he looked down at the keys, pressing his fingers against them randomly. Alice said youve never had a girlfriend. His fingers slammed down on a group of keys, making me jump. No. I havent. Um why? His index and his middle finger kept hitting two adjacent keys anxiously. I never wanted one. And tell Alice to stop gossiping. So have you ever kissed another girl, or anything? Edward laughed and dropped his hands from the piano. Dont you think thats kind of personal? No, I answered, shrugging. Do I ask you about your romantic past? Youve forced me to talk to you about stuff I didnt want to this entire week. Im kind of a reserved person, in case you didnt notice. I noticed. Are you hungry?

I didnt realize I was until Edward had brought it up. We went downstairs, where Esme happily cooked dinner for the two of us. She claimed everyone else had eaten something small while we were up in Edwards room. After dinner, we watched a movie with Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, and her boyfriend Jasper. I must have drifted off during it, because I woke up to Edward shaking me when it was finished. What time is it? I lifted my head from his shoulder and rubbed my eyes. Almost 11, Edward answered. When I looked around, everyone was gone from the room. I stood up and Edward walked me to the door, where I picked up my book bag and slipped my shoes back on. What happened next was one of the strangest things thatd happened thus far, but I didnt realize it at the time. Goodnight, Edward. I had fun tonight. Me too, he said, smirking at me. Let me walk you home. No. I shook my head and stopped him from putting his shoes on. Ill be fine. I walk everywhere. Edward pulled the door open, and suddenly I heard someone yell my name and footsteps scampering down the hallway on the floor above us. All of a sudden, Alice was at the bottom of the spiral stairs. Bella! Youre walking home? Um yes. Why? Take a taxi, she said, before her eyes darted to Edward. Goodnight. She ran back up the stairs and disappeared out of view. I frowned and searched through my bag for my wallet, but it wasnt in there. I left my wallet home really, I can walk, its fine. Here, Edward said, placing a twenty in my hand. I couldn't help but notice the look of extreme worry on his face. There was a murder right down the block, near the park a couple of weeks ago. Alice just worries. He dashed out of the door and down the front stoop to hail a taxi for me, not giving me another option. When I got inside, he crouched down in front of the window to talk to the driver. Drop her off at her door. Not on the corner. He waved goodbye to me and the cab took off. *

What time did you get home last night? Charlie was sitting in front of the TV with a cup of coffee when I walked into the living room. I sat down next to him and yawned. A little after 11. Where were you? I was at Edwards. You were right about his parents. Theyre very nice people. Charlie turned his gaze from the TV to me and then down at his cup. He took a gulp and continued watching the news. Turn this up, I said, tapping him when I saw a shot of the park. Charlies apartment was only ten blocks from Edwards house, and I had to walk by the park to get home, so apparently that was why Alice had been nervous. I watched the news segment in silence. A woman in her early 20s had been mugged and shot near the park, at around 11:00 the night before. My heart sped up when I realized how close I couldve been to getting killed. Another murder near the park? I looked at Charlie and shook my head. Maybe we should move. Bella, what are you talking about? There hasnt been a homicide in this part of town for almost two years. I squinted at him and shook my head. Edward clearly said last night that thered been a murder a couple of weeks earlier. It seemed like too much of a coincidence that hed made it up and then it actually happened that night. Except that when it came to Edward and the rest of the Cullens, nothing was ever just coincidence.

Chapter 2 ~ A Fight, A Slip and Telepathic Powers
I soon realized that I was developing an unhealthy obsession with all things Edward. Biology had quickly gone from being my least favorite subject to my favorite, due to the fact that I was in ecstasy whenever I was around him. In fact, I looked forward to school altogether, which my father immediately noticed was out of character for me. I spent all of my free time thinking about Edward and what he was doing. And I sat by the phone and waited for his call constantly when he wasnt around. I pried into Edward's family and friends for any information about him they would offer me. What I got wasn't anything notable. In a way, he seemed somewhat average. And then at times, just a glance from him gave me that unshakable feeling that he wasn't average at all. It was all very confusing and emotionally draining.

What I had learned about Edward was that he and Alice were born in June, and they'd recently turned 17. He was a piano virtuoso, and he had been since a very young age. He was extremely intelligent and excelled at anything academic. He was athletic, and had always participated in school sports, particularly soccer and baseball, but he decided against playing this year; the exact reason why had never been discussed. Hed always been the introverted, withdrawn child of the three. Alice mentioned that since he'd met me, he'd talked more than he ever had in his life. My initial impression was that Edward seemed naturally outgoing, so that was peculiar. Yet, in a way, it was also slightly flattering. It was during second period one day, when we had gotten sent to the library to do a research project that my suspicions started rising again. Emmett and I had been partnered up for the assignment, which I'd considered to be pretty complex. Emmett finished it for us in maybe... ten minutes. After looking everything over, I was shocked with the quality of his work. It made me realize something. "Emmett, how old are you?" "I just turned 18," he answered as he flipped through Sports Illustrated nonchalantly. "Why?" "You're smart." "Uh... thanks?" He raised an eyebrow, spinning the magazine vertically so he could get a better look at the centerfold. "Why are you a junior? You didn't get left back, I assume." Emmett looked at me curiously and shook his head. "No, I didn't." "So then what?" Without saying a word, he stood up from the table and I followed him to the far corner of the dark, quiet library, away from the rest of the students. He leaned against one of the old mahogany shelves and smirked. "My parents purposely kept me back so I'd be in the same grade as Edward and Alice. They were a little bit socially awkward when we were younger. They didn't really talk to anyone, except each other, and they kind of got bullied around. I was like their bodyguard. But don't ever tell them I told you that." It seemed true, simply because they still only really socialized with each other. There was something about the way Emmett said it though, that drew me in. "Why were the other kids mean to them?" "Just because they were different, I guess," Emmett muttered, shrugging as he blew dust off the top of a book that clearly hadn't been touched in ages. "Different how?"

"You know, curiosity killed the cat, Bella." That was the end of that conversation. A few days later, before first period, I stopped in the bathroom. It had become a sick routine for me. A few times a week, I'd hide in a stall if someone walked in and I'd wait to hear if anything was said about the Cullens again. Pathetic, yes, but I was suspicious and nosy and wanted answers. So, I heard the door open and I flew into a stall. I noticed the first voice as being the girl Jessica, who Edward had assaulted with his eyes... Or whatever youd call the creepy thing he'd done. I didn't recognize any of the other voices. "...I believe it. Lauren swears that they would make out in the balcony of the auditorium all the time, but whenever she'd try to go further, Edward would stop her and leave," Jessica gossiped. "Yeah, because he's gay," a different voice added. "He isn't gay, just picky. He should be, he's fucking hot," a third voice said. "Hot? Who cares. He's creepy and he's a fucking freak, just like the rest of his mutant family." Jessica. That spiteful bitch. Before I knew what I was doing, I slammed the door to the stall open, making a deafening bang echo throughout the bathroom. The four girls jumped and turned, staring in my direction. Jessica's eyes bugged out of her head when she realized it was me, and that she'd been caught talking about the Cullens again. "Edward's not gay. He's just not interested," I spat at her, crossing my arms over my chest and sneering. "You're making a mistake, Isabella. If I were you, I'd get to class and mind my own business." Something about the way Jessica purposely used my whole name just rubbed me the wrong way. "Fuck you. If you're telling lies about my friends, it's my business." She took a step toward me and smiled. "Oh yeah? Theyre your friends, huh?" She let out an earsplitting cackle. "Yeah!" The next couple of minutes were a bit of a blur for me. I got pushed. I hit someone in the face. Someone grabbed my hair. At the same time two other girls pushed me to the ground, making my head bang against the marble floor. And then, when I was sure I was about to get my head stepped on, I heard a shriek and a loud slam.

I was trying to catch my breath and look around, but then there was another scream and the two girls that were holding me down were suddenly gone and- slam, again. I was dizzy, but I heard glass shattering and falling to the ground. The mirror. I think it was the mirror. I tried to compose myself and stand up, but instantly someone was there lifting me to my feet. My mouth fell open in shock as my eyes adjusted to who it was. "Bella, are you alright? What the hell were you thinking, trying to take on four girls?" It was Rosalie. "You just did it," I said, glancing around the bathroom. The three girls were nowhere in sight, and sure enough the mirror was shattered. When I looked back at Rosalie, I realized she didn't have a hair out of place. They were talking about Edward, I justified. The back of my head hurt. I held my hand up to it and winced. "Am I bleeding?" "No. Why were you-" "Bella! Are you okay?!" Alice came running into the bathroom full speed, and headed straight for me. "Yeah, I'm... wait, how'd you guys know I was in here?" They both exchanged looks, and Alice answered first. "I just saw Jessica and her friends outside crying and looking all disheveled, and I heard them say your name so I came in here." I looked at Rosalie. "How'd you know I was in here?" "I was walking by and heard yelling. I didn't know it was you until they had already run out of here," she said, pointing toward the door. It was all lies. Blatant lies. How convenient was it that the two of them just happened to show up and swoop in and save me? I was appreciative, but the lying all the time was fucking irritating. I picked my stuff up from the floor and exited the bathroom, still holding the back of my aching head, without even humoring either of them and pretending like I believed their bullshit. I had Biology to get to. When I walked in, late of course, Edward's eyes widened and I saw him tense in his seat. He stared at me, and I felt dizzy and almost incoherent. It was like my body was frozen, right there in the doorway. His green eyes were blazing into mine; they were the only thing I could comprehend at that moment.

The whole thing felt like it had been minutes, but really it couldn't have been more than three seconds that he was looking at me. The dizziness subsided, and as I walked to my desk I saw Edward's face twist with what looked like... Anguish. He was pressing against his temples with his fingertips as I quietly dropped into my seat next to him. "What happened?" he whispered through clenched teeth. "Um... Are you alright?" "I'm fine, answer me." He didn't seem fine. I glanced up to the front of the room and observed Jessica's empty seat. "Jessica, she was talking bad about you again, saying... Well, it doesn't really matter-" "That I'm gay," Edward said, rolling his eyes. How in the hell? "Yeah, how'd you..." "I told you," he said, shrugging his shoulders while still rubbing his left temple. "I've heard it all before. So you got into a... scuffle?" I nodded. "How-" He pressed his right thumb against my cheek bone, touching skin I hadn't realized was tender. "You're getting a bruise. That and your hair is all..." he trailed off and patted the top of my head, trying to smooth the erratic strands that were sticking up in every direction, I'm sure. Suddenly Edward clenched his eyes shut and I heard his jaw snap. He pushed his chair back and flew out of the classroom without looking back. "Isabella? Is Edward okay?" Mr. Banner looked at me, his face full of concern. "Uh, he isn't feeling well." Class continued and Edward never returned. I spent the entire hour replaying the mornings events in my head. Between the opportune appearance of Rosalie and Alice during the altercation, and Edwards bizarre reaction, I was completely convinced that there was something going on. Something that involved me. About five minutes before the bell rang Mr. Banner called me to the front of the room. "Please gather Edward's books for me and bring them down to Headmaster Aros office." Without asking any questions, I nodded and grabbed Edward's stack of books from our table before retreating into the hallway. It was completely silent except for the light echo of my footsteps. Just as I was about to round the corner before the headmaster's office, I heard Edward's voice down the

hallway. I stealthily leaned against the wall and tried eavesdropping on him and the headmaster, but they were so far away, I wasnt sure if what I heard was right. "I told you, Edward. I can't give you a specific time. No one knows why it happens when it does-" "You have to understand why I'm nervous. When it happens... They're going to find me. They're going to kill me." Kill him? That couldnt be what he said. "We'd never let that happen. You're safe here, with all of us living so close to each other. Plus, if what we believe is true, if worst comes to worst- which it most likely won't- there's always the guard." No. Absolutely not. I want nothing to do with that. Well know in time. It should all work out accordingly. That was the whole reason we- And then I gave myself away by sneezing. Both of them stopped talking and when I turned the corner, they were standing in the middle of the hallway, staring directly at me. I walked down the hallway and met them, holding Edwards books out in front of him. I um Thanks. He grabbed the stack out of my arms and turned toward the headmaster. If you have any other questions, you know where to find me, the headmaster said to Edward, before giving me a nod. Good day. I looked at Edward and squinted as the headmaster walked out of view. Something very mystical is happening, I accused. And I dont know what it is, but I want answers. One of you needs to tell me whats going on. I dont have any idea what youre talking about, Edward said casually before turning and heading down the hallway. I followed close behind him and whispered. I heard what you said. Someones trying to kill you? Edward laughed and shook his head at me. What are you talking about? Edward, I grabbed his arm and planted my feet. You can talk to me. Im not going to tell anyone. Obviously. There isnt anything for you to tell. He yanked his arm from my grasp and continued walking. Clearly, he was going to be stubborn about the whole thing and play stupid with me. Rosalie knew where I was, when I was fighting. How did she know where I was? Shes never in that part of the building. I see her in the courtyard every morning, on the complete opposite side of campus. And Alice knew, too. How-

Why dont you stop being so skeptical about people and just appreciate the fact that Rosalie saved you from getting hurt? I stopped dead in my tracks. And so did Edward. He knew hed slipped. I hadnt told him details about what happened, and somehow he knew. His head dropped to the floor and he sighed. Fine. Tomorrow come by my house when you wake up. Ill try to explain it to you. * Charlie pulled up in front of Edwards house on Saturday morning a little before 11. I climbed out of the passenger seat of his cop car, brimming with anticipation. Edward was standing on his front steps in jeans and a polo, barefoot. It was the most casual Id every seen him look before. He waved to Charlie and followed me into the silent townhouse. Wheres your family? The house, which had been bustling with excitement the last time Id been there was quiet and dark. Theyre all camping upstate for the weekend, he mumbled, climbing up the winding stairs to his room. Alice camps? I asked only because she didnt seem like the camping type. Yes. Why didnt you go? Im not big on camping. We entered his room and Edward headed straight for his piano. I straddled the bench and looked at him, cocking my head to the side. His bronze hair was messier than usual. There was a light dusting of stubble across his jaw and underneath his cheekbones, and his eyes were bloodshot. Like he hadnt slept. Still, he was absolutely striking. You said youd tell me, I told him, raising my eyebrows. I know. He tapped a black key on the piano twice, took a deep breath and said, Before I tell you anything I should warn you. What Im about to say is absolutely confidential. You can never repeat this to another person. Do you understand? I nodded, suddenly feeling very afraid. I clasped my hands around the edge of the bench to keep them from shaking. Its for your own safety. If anyone is to find out, therell be drastic consequences. Okay. Edward leaned toward me and kissed my forehead, and then pressed his lips against mine softly. That scared me even more.

That was just in case you run out of here and never speak to me again. So, he said looking down at the floor. He put his head in his hands and sighed. Think about this morning. When you woke up. Right when you woke up. What did you do? I thought it over in my head. I woke up to my alarm clock at eight. I got out of bed and took a shower. I made breakfast for Charlie. I asked him to drop me off at Edwards before work. That was basically it. Well, I started, First I- No, Edward interrupted. Dont tell me. He stared at me the same way he had the day before, and I suddenly felt dizzy again. I closed my eyes to stop the room from spinning, and when I opened them again everything was back to normal. The walls in your room are purple. Your bedspread is white. Your room is in the middle of the hallway, directly across from the bathroom. You brushed your teeth and took a shower. Then you made Charlie pancakes- do you understand now? My heart was beating out of my chest. I felt a wave of nausea go through my stomach, and I was hyperventilating. Edward went to put his hand on my arm, but I held my palm up and he backed away. It couldnt be possible. Things like telepathy didnt exist in real life. Only in movies, about witches and psychics and superheroes. I was pretty sure Edward was none of those. But there was no other explanation. Tell me tell me everything, I spit out, and he blinked a few times and scooted over on the bench so we werent as close to each other. Emmett, Alice, and I were born with powers, so to speak. We dont know why. Each of ours are different. Obviously, you know, mine is mind reading. So youve been reading my mind? This whole time- No! He stood up from the bench and stared out the window. No. I spend every fucking day of my life trying to block it out. Anyway, for some reason your mind is hard for me to read. Sometimes I try but I cant do it at all. It all depends on your mood, I think. What what do you mean? If its something you want me to know, your mind will kind of push it out. Then its easier for me. Most of the time I cant see anything, though and I have to look really hard and its draining. And even sometimes when I do push, I still cant get through. Things started falling into place. The secret way that Id caught Edward communicating with Alice and Emmett. The way he often knew what was going on before Id informed him. The look that Jessica had on her face when Edward stared at her, it was the same way that I felt when he was inside of my head.

I can feel it, I told him, my voice shaking. When youre in my head, I can feel it. He nodded, as if that werent a surprise to him. So, thats it? Can you do anything else? He smirked and crossed his arms over his chest. Yes. But there are strict rules. There are people who know about this, and I wont get into it, but they strictly enforce I dont use certain aspects of my powers on others. What else can you do? I was starting to calm. Either that, or I was in such a state of shock that I was numb. Regardless, I wanted to know as much as I could, because although I shouldve been scared and running for the door, Edwards admission had made him almost more enticing. The draw that I felt to him suddenly was stronger. Well close your eyes. I did as he said and waited for his instructions. What do you see? Um nothing. I see black. Okay. Ready? Suddenly, an image appeared in front of my eyes. It was me, sitting on the piano bench, my eyes closed and my hands still gripping the edge of the bench. I gasped and my eyes shot open, making Edward laugh. You did that?! Yeah. I can mentally project things into peoples heads. I prefer not to do it ever, though. It scares people. Why are you telling me all this? Edward smiled at me and shrugged. I trust you. Anyway, you wouldve found out sooner or later. Theres a reason for everything, Bella. I accepted what he said because I was starting to believe it. Whats the thing you can do that you arent supposed to? The smiled faded from his face and he shook his head. I cant talk about that right now. Maybe another time. The mention of his dark power seemed to fill him with fear. I didnt want to touch upon it further, so I changed the subject. What do Alice and Emmett do?

Youll see. Ill have them show you when they get back. I took a deep breath and stood up from the bench. Edward I need to go outside and breathe. Maybe take a walk, and just think. He walked me downstairs and I left without a word... Actually, it was more like I floated out the door without a word. There were so many things I wanted to ask. So many questions were spinning around in my head, I had no idea where to start. I walked up and down the quiet, tree lined street, trying to make sense of what my life had become. In the end, I decided there were two paths I could take. The first was to go home, abolish all my ties with Edward and his family, and go on living my life as normal as was possible, now that I knew that the supernatural actually existed. Or option two, I could go back to Edward. There was no justifiable reason for going back. I knew that no good could come of it. But hed trusted me, and let me into his world, and I didnt feel like I had a choice. We were connected, and I cared about him, and the fact that he was different than I was wasnt a good enough reason to turn away from him. So I went back.

Chapter 3 ~ Power Trip
When I walked back to Edwards townhouse, he was sitting on the front steps looking a little distraught. I stood in front of him and took a deep breath to talk, but I suddenly felt woozy. Edward, get out of my head. I stuck my hand out and leaned against the railing while he chuckled. Sorry. So, what? You think Im a freak and you dont want to be around me anymore? I sat down next to him on the step and shook my head. No. I mean, yeah, I think youre a freak, kind of, but Im not going anywhere. I want to know everything I can about this. Tell me. Edward rolled his eyes and me and waved at a guy who was passing by with a dog. The little dog started barking at Edward, and I saw him squint at it. Instantly the dog retreated and let out a whine before getting dragged away. You can animals? No. I just hate that dog. He cleared his throat and put his elbows on the step behind him, leaning backward. What do you want to know? Youve always been able to do this?

Uh I think so? Im not sure. My first memory of it was when I was maybe four or five. You can imagine what thats like for a child. School was hell. If my parents hadnt known that we were different from the beginning, I wouldve been in an institution by now. His voice trailed off at the end and he tilted his head back to look at the gray sky. But you arent. Why not? Well, like I told you, were not the only people like this. There are others. And there are people who are experienced when it comes to this, and Ive had practice controlling it- blocking it out, basically. The problem is that everyone is different, and my gifts seem to be one of a kind. No one elses are as strong or advanced as mine. Not even Alice or Emmett. Telepathy and mental projection didnt seem to be extremely powerful skills to me. I realized there was much more than what hed told me, and I was curious to know what it was he was holding back. Whyd you talk to me that first day? Alice said you never talk to anyone, and you dont really have friends outside of your circle, and youve never had girlfriends so why me? He shrugged and smiled at me. When I sat next to you that first day, it was quiet. For the first time, I didnt have to work on blocking someone out. Usually when someones sitting next to me, if Im not blocking them, its all I can hear in my head. But you you were different. You are different. Something drew me to you, and I dont know exactly what, but I just feel like, theres a link between us or something. Does that sound stupid? No, I answered honestly. I feel the same way. Edward and I spent the rest of the day together. We took a walk in the park, and he told me all about his life, not mentioning anything that had to do with his powers. It was like he had forced them to the back of his mind. I asked him again about Alice and Emmett, but he told me hed have to discuss it with them first before he told me anything. We went back to his house and for the first time, he actually played something for me on the piano. To say that he was talented would be putting it very, very lightly. Afterwards, he made us dinner, and then we sat in his living room and continued talking. So, can I ask you something personal? I slid closer to him on the white leather couch as he cocked an eyebrow in my direction. What? Youre not gay? He laughed and draped his arm around me. I moved closer to him and leaned my head on his shoulder as he spoke. No, Im not gay. Stop listening to what you hear. Well, I mean, youre 17 and your siblings claim you show no interest in girls even though they throw themselves at you, and-

Alice is the one who said that. I keep my personal business personal for a reason. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, filling my lungs with the Edwards delectable scent. It took a lot of strength for me not to make a move on him, but at that point I was more interested in talking then making out. And that meant a lot. So then you have been with other girls? Youre nosy, he stuttered, laughing a little bit. Yeah, Bella. Im a 17 year old guy. Ive kissed other girls, Ive Im not gay. Dont even ask it again. Just because my business isnt spread around the academy like wildfire doesnt mean anything. Good, I said, extremely jealous but trying not to let it show. Why are you so concerned? Do you like me? I nodded timidly and shrugged. Yeah, I do. I barely knew him; but, in a way, I knew him well. I was beyond attracted to him, and more importantly, I was intrigued. Good, he murmured, smirking at me. Not exactly an admission that he liked me back, but some things dont always need to be said. * After class on Monday, Edward found me and asked me if I wanted to go to his house. We met Alice and Emmett in the front entrance of the building, where we walked to a silver Volvo C70; Edwards car. The last time Id gone home with them, wed taken Emmetts car- a huge, pretentious Hummer. Both of their cars fit them to a tee. I climbed into the back with Alice, where she wasted no time telling me what this little gathering was going to entail. Edward said he told you about us. Or that you figured it out, kind of. And Im glad one less person that we have to hide from is a little bit of a relief. Dont be nervous. You arent scared, are you? Were not bad, I promise. No, I know. Im not nervous, I told her honestly. When we got to their house, I figured out that hed also told his parents that I knew. Alice sat me in a chair in their dining room and sat next to me. She dropped her new, posh designer bag on the table, which she and Rosalie had been raving about all day, and folded her hands on her lap. Edward sat on my other side, and Carlisle, Esme, and Emmett stood at the table and watched. So, my main power is precognition. I cant really show it to you, but the reason why I knew you were in the bathroom that day was because I saw it. I wouldve been there earlier, but you made a snap decision and it changed the course of what I saw for you.

So, the day the girl got murdered in the park, I said, remembering the events of that day. You saw me? Yes. I told you, were not bad, Bella. You dont have to be afraid. Anytime we involve you in our powers, its only for your own good, or to protect you. Well, except for Edward. Hes just nosy. I took a deep breath and nodded. There was no proof that what she was saying was fact, but I found no other way of explaining some of the things shed done. So do you have more than one power? Like Edward? Alice nodded and held her palm out to me. Yes um, hand me your book bag. I picked my bag up from the floor and set it on the table, where Alice proceeded to touch it, her eyes closed. She was silent for a couple of seconds, and then her eyes shot open and she smiled. You got this when you were with your mother you wanted a blue one, but she insisted gray was the smarter choice, since it matched better. You got it at a store in a mall, I think. It came out to $47.93. And your mother paid for it with her Visa. My mouth dropped open and I looked at Edward, who shrugged. How what Psychometrics. I can touch anything inanimate and see anything about it, she said, grinning. I blinked a few times and turned my head toward Emmett. What do you do? Im very strong, Emmett said, chuckling. Obviously, I muttered. Thats a power? Edward stood up from his chair and turned toward the other room, while Emmett laughed hysterically. Edward, dont go. Emmett, dont demonstrate on him, Carlisle said, shaking his head. Alice was giggling in her seat next to me. What? I looked at Edward, who was nervously raking his fingers through his hair. Alice and I have internal powers Emmetts are more external, he said, squinting in Emmetts direction. I want to see, I said, standing up. You can demonstrate on me. No! Edward stepped in front of me, blocking Emmett from my view. No. Just no.

I stood on my tiptoes and peeked over Edwards shoulder at Emmett. Just show me. Emmett isnt supposed to use his powers at all, Edward explained, turning his head toward me. His only do damage. Yeah, if youre a pussy, Emmett quipped, getting a shove from Esme. Emmett, dont call him that, she reprimanded, frowning. Alice stood up from her chair and sighed. Okay. Do it to me. But not hard. Alice clenched her eyes shut, and a second later, I heard a deafening slam and Alice was pinned up against the wall, wincing. No one had moved from where they were positioned before. Her body was pushed into the wall and there was a crack going from the floor near her feet, up to the ceiling. Emmett, look at the wall! Esme put her hand on her forehead and shook her head. Okay, stop! Let me go! Alice was squirming, but seemingly held up against the wall. I stared in shock as Emmett released her and started cracking up. Alice was tiny. The speed that shed gotten forced into the wall shouldve done her serious damage. And why theyd let Emmett demonstrate on her and not Edward was a mystery to me. You did that? I managed to choke out, completely flabbergasted. Emmett nodded and held his hand up to his chest as he laughed. Edward still stood there, stoic, not finding any humor in what had just happened. Yeah, I I can convert my physical strength and mentally blast people with it. You know, as a defense mechanism. My power is the coolest, by far. Well, except for- Emmett. Carlisle cut him off and gave him a look. Emmett had started pointing at Edward, but dropped his hand. So, thats all you can do? Bella, dont push him, Edward said, grabbing my hand. I think youve seen enough for today, lets go- Edward started dragging me out of the room, when suddenly I heard a painful grunt escape from his mouth and he crouched down to the ground, holding his head. Emmett, stop! Esme ran over to Edward and helped him off the ground. Edwards face was all red, and his eyes were teary. His fists were clenched and he was gasping for air. See what I mean about him being a pussy? Emmett said, looking at me. Fuck you, Edward muttered through his clenched teeth, rubbing his eyes. What did you do? I asked.

Its kind of the same thing I did to Alice. Just in his head, Emmett answered, shrugging. No big deal. Oh thanks for sharing. But please dont ever do that to me, I begged, my face full of anxiety, I was sure. Everyone except Edward laughed. Are you okay? Im fine, Edward said, pulling me away from them. I understand if you want to leave. This has to be really strange for you. Its strange, but Im okay. I feel like Im kind of dreaming, actually. Yeah, well, youre not. This is one nightmare youre not gonna wake up from. Nightmare? It didnt seem all that bad to me. Sure, it was a hassle for them to have to hide what they could do, but I almost felt jealous I didnt have my own creepy power. So, what do you want to do? Edward asked, leaning against the handrail at the bottom of the stairs. I think I need another walk, I told him. He laughed and opened the door, letting me walk ahead of him before he followed me outside. Edward brought me down the street to get dinner and to keep me away from his family for a little while. He seemed slightly embarrassed, and I wasnt sure why, because even though it was kind of scary, it was also really awesome. Plus, he said there were other people that were like him. That meant there was an entire other world that I had no idea existed. Who know what else was really out there? Ghosts, goblins, witches, werewolves, vampires? They could all be real, because Edward, Alice, and Emmetts gifts were supernatural. That meant the line between my reality and my imagination was now blurred. The possibilities of what actually existed in this world were endless. There was one thing that still concerned me: the conversation that Edward had with the headmaster. Hed brushed it off when Id asked him about it originally, but now things were totally different, so I attempted to talk to him about it again. Edward? What did you mean, in the hallway when you said they were going to find you and kill you? Who were you talking about? Edward sighed and put his hand on the small of my back, making me quiver. It would do you good to stop being so inquisitive now. If somethings of any concern to you, itll find its way to you. Theres no need to go looking for trouble. Good to know. That doesnt answer my question, though, I retorted, not giving up. I told you already my powers are really advanced for some reason. There are people out there whod like to use them to their advantage, so Im constantly being watched. I just get paranoid sometimes. Thats all. Edward seemed like he was trying to downplay it, but the nervousness in his voice was apparent. It made me feel immediately scared for him.

When we got back to the house, Edward and I went up to his room to work on our homework. I lay on my stomach across his bed and he sat against his headboard, concentrating hard on his work. I got distracted and stared every few minutes, admiring everything about him. The way he pursed his lips slightly when he was thinking about something. The way he squinted through his thick eyelashes when he read from his textbooks. The way hed bite down and hold his pen between his perfect teeth every time he turned a page Studying was useless with him around. Hey, Edward? I was thinking about something. Huh, he asked, not looking up from his book. You said that depending what kind of a mood Im in I can block you out. Or let you in. Right? He looked up at me, seemingly interested and nodded. So, I was thinking, maybe I can control it. You know? Like, can we practice? He sighed and smirked at me before placing his book on his nightstand and clearing the spot next to him for me. I crawled up the bed and sat Indian style facing him. I dont really know why I was interested in trying to control his powers at all. I think it had something to do with the fact that if we did that together, it was a secret, or a bond that the two of us had. I had visions of me talking to him in my head when we were sitting next to each other like he and Alice did. For some reason, I found his ability to read my mind appealing. So I dont know if this is going to work, because I think its subconsciously controlled Im not really sure, Edward said, shrugging. Okay, well just try and listen. I looked around the room for something random I could think about. There was a pigeon sitting on his windowsill. And the light above his bed was reflecting right off of his hair. His copper hair. So I combined those two and repeated it over and over in my head. Copper pigeons, copper pigeons, copper pigeons I stared into Edwards eyes and tried to push my thoughts toward him. How, I had no idea how to explain it, but within a couple of seconds he started hysterically laughing, breaking my concentration. What? I asked him, perplexed. What the hell are copper pigeons? Why were you thinking that? He shook his head at me and kept laughing for a little while. It was just a random thought. Your hair is copper and there was a pigeon outside. I dont fucking know! But it worked. And I didnt even feel it that time.

Yeah, I told you, Edward said, catching his breath. Its only when your mind is closed and Im forcing my way in that you can feel it. I got onto my knees and slapped my hands against my legs. Okay. Now let me try blocking you out. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes and thought about the first thing that came to mind that I wouldnt want Edward to know about. Him in the balcony. Making out with that blonde girl Lauren, that was friends with Jessica. Her putting her hands on him. His tongue and his lips moving along hers. HisBella? Huh. I opened my eyes and Edward was blushing. Uh, its not working I can hear it. Fuck. I slapped my hand to my forehead and winced. And just so you know, that never happened. I was beyond mortified, but that was good because it gave me more motivation to try harder. I closed my eyes again, and stepped it up a bit, this time picturing myself instead of that Lauren girl. It seemed like it worked because I felt an ache in my temple, but I blocked it out. And then I kept thinking of Edward kissing me, and his hands on me. And I thought of his tongue and his lips and hisYeah, I still hear it, he interrupted, chuckling a little bit. But if you want to do that instead, we can- Hmm okay. Wait, no, I want to get this. Why cant I do it? I dont know. I told you, maybe you cant control it. You can open your mind but not close it all the way. I clenched my eyes shut and covered my ears with my palms to try and focus harder. I felt the pain in my head, and the wooziness, but I kept pulling my thoughts in, trying to block out the pain and the dizziness. Because I didnt want Edward to see what I was thinking at all. The only thing that could possibly be more humiliating than Edward catching me thinking about making out with him was Edward catching me thinking about sleeping with him. And thats what I was thinking of. He didnt say anything to me, and the pain kept getting deeper, and then the spinning started going faster, and I kept trying harder and harder to block him out, and suddenly I couldnt open my eyes because I was too weak, and all I saw were stars and then the pain was gone and everything went black. Bella!

I opened my eyes and Edward was nervously shaking me. My head was drooped down in front of me and there was a ringing noise in my ears. I rubbed my eyes and then shielded them from the bright light above us. What just happened? I dont know. I think you passed out. Were not doing that anymore, Edward said, scooting back a few inches. His face was white and his breathing was erratic. But, did you hear- No. I didnt hear anything. He grabbed his textbook and placed it back in his lap. Im fine, Edward. Lets just try the other thing again. Tell me what Im thinking, I said, closing my eyes and smiling. No. His voice was cold. Just listen. Stop, I dont want to do it anymore. Edward, just- No, Bella! He put his hand on my arm as I tried pushing my thoughts forward, and instantly I froze. She doesnt know. Youre going to hurt her. Did you say something? I was staring right at him, and I hadnt seen his mouth move. Edwards face grew full of panic and he shook his head. No, why- Edward, I heard you. You said, She doesnt know. Youre going to hurt her. I stood up from the bed, completely freaking out, and Edward followed. How did you how do you know When you touched me. I heard you! If I thought Edwards face was pale before, now it was even worse. He started putting my books in my bag and shoved it into my chest when he was finished. You have to go home, he said. You have to leave here. His voice was shaky and his hands were trembling. Edward, are you okay? I reached my hand out to touch his face but he jumped backward.

Im fine! His chin was quivering and he started shoving me toward the door. Just go. I had no idea what had just happened, but Edward didnt seem to be okay. I felt afraid leaving him there alone, having a nervous breakdown, but he didnt want me to stay. And it seemed like he was getting angry. As soon as I left the room I heard the door slam behind me and a loud bang come from his room. I ran down the stairs and out the door before anyone could stop me.

Chapter 4 ~ La Tua Cantante
I was only a few steps from Edwards house when I heard Alices panicked voice. I stopped dead in my tracks and sighed. Bella, wait! What happened? I spun around to her and frowned. Didnt you see? No! She held her hand up to her chest and shook her head. I wasnt watching. The two of you were alone and I didnt want to intrude. I rolled my eyes and shrugged. I dont know what happened. We were just messing around with his powers, or whatever the hell you call them, and he flipped out. Is he alright? I heard a bang- Hes fine. Jaspers with him, calming him down. Come back upstairs, we have to figure out what happened. I shook my head, but Alice grabbed my hand and started pulling me back toward the house. Her hands were freezing, and I instantly felt bad for making her come outside to run after me in the cold. When we got back to Edwards room, she pushed the door open and I stood in the hallway, not wanting to impose. Its alright, Bella. Come in, Jasper said from inside. Timidly, I took a few steps into Edwards room and gulped. He was sitting at the foot of his bed, his head in his hands, breathing heavily. The expression on his face was still panic-stricken. Jasper was sitting next to him, and Alice had kneeled down in front of him and wasnt saying anything, but every few seconds Edward would nod or shake his head. Dont do that in front of me. Just talk. If youre saying something about me, I want to know, I muttered, gaining odd looks from the three of them. Alice stood up and blinked a few times. Im going to go get Carlisle, she said before taking off into the hallway. Jasper stood up from the bed and offered me his spot. Sit, Bella. Its okay.

I debated it for a minute, because in all honesty Edward didnt seem like he wanted me around, but after a few seconds I gave in and positioned myself next to him. He raked his fingers through his hair nervously for a minute before he took a deep breath and turned his head toward me. Im sorry. Im not mad at you, I just- What happened? I asked, cutting him off. I dont know. Suddenly, Emmett bounded into the room, followed by Carlisle, and Edward stood up from the bed. Why arent I ever around when you use it? Emmett asked. I had no idea what he was referring to. I didnt use it, Edward mumbled, glaring at Carlisle. I mean, I didnt mean to. I didnt know I could even do that. Do you think- Show me what happened exactly, Carlisle said, walking up to Edward. Emmett, go downstairs. Youll distract him. No way," Emmett said. "I want to see this, He dropped onto Edwards bed and almost made me bounce off the mattress. I sighed and walked up to Edward. Come on, I said. Ill do the same thing I was doing when it happened. Wait, Carlisle interrupted, leaning toward Edward. He whispered something in his ear and then took a step back, joining Alice. Jasper and Emmett stood on our other side, seemingly intrigued. Hold on, I said, spinning my head toward Jasper. You know about their powers, too? Does Rosalie know? Yes, Jasper answered. Well talk about that later, Alice added. Just go ahead. Okay. I took a deep breath and did the same thing Id done earlier. I tried pushing my thoughts toward Edward, and he was staring right at me and I didnt feel dizzy or anything. He winced a little bit before he grabbed my hand and I heard his voice again. Volterra. Say it out loud if you hear me. I glanced at Carlisle and frowned. WhatsVolterra? His mouth dropped and he turned to Edward, his eyes wide. Its true, he muttered, completely stunned. What is it? I asked again. And whats true? What-

Volterra is a city in Italy, where Carlisle grew up, Alice answered. Edward, try and do it to me. Alice stood in front of him and he shook his head. I wasnt doing anything. Just try, she said. They stood there in silence for a few seconds, and Edward put his hand around her wrist. I saw her frown, and Edward raised an eyebrow. I told you, he said. Everyone in the room turned their heads toward me and said nothing. I felt extremely nervous. What? Why are you looking at me? Its true, Emmett said quietly. Fuck. I really was hoping wed get to see Edward do something crazy- Emmett, enough, Carlisle scolded. Okay. I have work to do in my office. Edward, if you want to talk later, come down. Goodnight, Bella. I was tired and confused. I had so many questions, but I was sick of prodding and being so curious. Whatever had happened had something to do with me, and somehow everyone seemed surprised, but in a way not surprised, if that even made sense. It was all too much for me to handle. I decided to sleep on it and think things through, and Id talk to them all when the weekend was over. * So I heard some freaky stuff went down the other day, Rosalie said to me as we walked through the hallway. We rarely spoke to each other, but Alice, Edward, and Emmett hadnt gotten to school yet, so we kind of didnt have a choice. Yeah. I have no idea whats going on, I answered, shrugging. I dont think anyone does. How did you find out about everything? I mean, did you know before you and Emmett started dating, or did you figure it out on your own like I did, or- Emmett told me," Rosalie said, squinting her eyes at me. "After we were together already. They only tell people they know they can trust. I think she found pleasure in intimidating people. Or maybe just me. When I got to Biology, I was disappointed to see Edward wasnt there. He never showed up, and I was hoping hed calmed down a little and was ready to tell me what he thought had happened. I knew it had something to do with his powers, but I didnt know how it involved me. For some reason, when I opened my mind and he touched me, I could read his mind, but no one else could. I was beginning to understand more and more what he meant about the connection we had.

Emmett showed up to second period, but I didnt ask him about Edward. He seemed to be acting the same as usual, but that wasnt out of the ordinary for Emmett. He always seemed to be amused by me for some reason. I was on my way to meet Alice and Rosalie for lunch when I heard my name being called. Bella! I spun around to see Edward standing at the bottom of the staircase, leaning against the banister. My stomach did a flip and I forced a smile at him before I started walking over. Hey, I said bashfully, looking down at my feet. Come on," he said, tilting his head up at the ceiling. "I want to show you something. He gestured for me to follow him up the stairs, so I did, not even caring about where we were going. Even after what had happened the other day, as long as I was with Edward, I wasnt concerned with anything else. I was still a little shaken and felt slightly ill at ease, but my attraction to Edward overpowered any other feelings I had. Where were you this morning? I asked, my voice echoing up the empty stairwell. I slept in, he answered, spinning around to me and smirking. It was weird how his demeanor toward me had changed so much since the last time Id seen him. Still, his little half smile made me heart beat faster. We reached the third floor, and then the fourth, and we kept going. I hadnt ever been to the top floor of the academy, and when Edward finally stopped, I realized why. There was nothing up there, except a dusty door that looked like it hadnt been opened in years. Are we allowed- Shhh, Edward said, interrupting me. He reached into his pocket and I heard a jingling noise. When he pulled out his hand, there were keys in it. He stuck one into the doorknob and pushed, revealing a pitch black room. Hold on, he said, disappearing through the door. A few seconds later, a dim light flickered on, and I realized what was on the fifth floor. I walked to the doorway hesitantly and looked around. Come in, Edward told me, waving with his arm. I want to talk to you. I stepped inside the room and pulled the door shut behind me. Im guessing we dont have a swim team, I joked, pointing at the huge, empty pool. It was being used as some sort of a storage room, and instead of water, the pool was full of old chairs and desks. Not anymore, he answered. Bella, listen. Im sorry for how I acted the other day.

Dont apologize, I said, shrugging it off. Just explain things to me. Im so confused about what happened. I thought that Id used my power I wasnt supposed to use. But that wasnt it at all. We dont really know what happened. What exactly is this dark power of yours? I don't understand anything that's going on Youll figure it out in time, Edward said, taking a few steps toward me. It was the first time wed been alone together since the whole debacle, or even spoken to each other for that matter. My bodys first reaction was to take a step away from him. My back hit the wall and I let out a nervous shudder. Edward rolled his eyes and took another step forward. Why are you so nervous? Im not, I lied. So now youre scared of me or something? He cocked an eyebrow and took another step in my direction. He was so close right then, I could smell him. With another breath, I managed to calm down enough to regain my composure. Im not scared. I shakily lifted my arm and broke the space between us, placing my hand softly on the side of his face. Edward smiled and sighed a little bit, closing his eyes for a second and pressing his cheek harder into my hand. With his next step forward, he got so close to me that when I breathed, my chest grazed against his. I tilted my head backward a little and Edward smiled again as I slid my hand from around his face, under his ear, and around to the back of his neck. He lifted his arm and pressed his palm against the wall near my head and leaned forward slightly, slanting his head downward. I knew it was coming, but still, I wanted him to know that I wanted it. That I wanted him. So I let my eyes flutter shut and I started pushing my thoughts out to him, hoping that he was listening. Stop forcing your thoughts out. I dont want you hearing me right now. I laughed, but before I could even open my eyes again, I sensed Edwards head moving toward mine slowly, his sweet, warm breath hitting my face. He hesitated for a second, and then his lips brushed against mine, so softly I barely felt it. I pressed my fingers into the back of his neck, and I sighed a little bit, just wanting him to keep going. Gently, I slid my fingers up his neck and into his soft, disarrayed hair. And without giving him any other option, I pushed on the back of his head and forced his lips against mine. He let out a faint moan and he starting moving his mouth with mine, urgent and passionate. Edward moved his body forward and continued kissing me, my body pinned between him and the wall. I felt his fingers graze across my thigh, near the hem of my skirt, and then his hand was at my waist, gripping firmly.

Slowly, his mouth parted and I felt the tip of his tongue skim across my bottom lip. I tilted my head to the side and pressed my tongue against his, his taste making me temporarily loose my breath. Gradually, I moved my hand from where it was tangled in his hair, down past his neck, and onto his back, where I pushed him forward so that he was forcing me up against the wall. He moaned into my mouth, and I sighed again as I felt the arousal building up inside of me. With my free hand, I grabbed Edwards wrist and led his hand to the middle of my shirt, where he started undoing my buttons. He pushed his hips forward into me while he worked on them, making my entire body quiver. I lifted my leg up and wrapped it around him and he pushed forward again, harder this time, and I let out an uncontrolled groan against his lips. He undid the buttons on my shirt down to my stomach and slid his hand inside the opening, sticking it underneath my bra in one motion and tenderly squeezing. I motioned for him to move forward again by pressing my heel into the back of his leg, and he thrusted forward. I pulled away from kissing him and bit on my bottom lip to stop myself from moaning with pleasure. Again. Without even realizing it, Id been pushing all my thoughts forward. I didnt notice it until I saw Edward smile at me, his eyes concerned. Bella have you ever even done that before? I pushed back the initial embarrassment that I felt when I grasped the fact that Edward had heard me fantasizing about sleeping with him, and I shook my head. No. He smirked and moved his head to the side, pressing his lips against my neck. Me neither. I was shocked. You? Youre a why? Why is this surprising? Youve never done it. Yeah, but youre a boy. He chuckled and shook his head. So what? Ive been waiting for someone that I wanted to do it with. I nodded and looked down at his hand that was still moving against my chest. Dont tell anyone that, though. You seem like you know what youre doing, I mumbled. I dont. Well I like it. I want more. He laughed as I un-tucked his shirt from his pants and reached for his button, but before I could open it he weaved his fingers through mine with his free hand and held my arm against the wall. Not now, not here. I pouted and squinted at him. Are you denying me?

No! He kissed me again and shook his head. Of course not. You should think about this. We both should. Fine, I murmured, sighing. Keep kissing me. So, that became our new routine. For the rest of the week, Edward and I snuck up to the pool at lunch every day and made out for the hour. Alice and Rosalie never mentioned my lack of attendance at lunch; Im sure they knew where I was. More importantly, though, Edward and I had crossed a physical line with each other. We became closer then we had been before, without even speaking about it to each other. Our feelings werent forced or insincere like they had been with other guys Id dated. Everything just seemed so natural. Despite the lack of experience Id had with other men, I knew that the feelings Edward and I shared were pure and genuine. * The next week, I was in my bedroom late one night when my curiosity and boredom got the better of me, so I did the most logical thing I could think of. I started Googling stuff about mind reading and the Cullens other powers, but basically I found nothing. I searched everywhere for some kind of article, or something to prove to myself that I wasnt completely crazy or delusional and just imagining the whole thing. All I could find were mythological websites about superheroes and witches and demons and other creatures. There was nothing remotely close to truth or fact. I decided instead to just type in Cullen to see what came up. That was pointless also. Apparently its a pretty popular name, because millions or pages popped up and Ill be damned if I was going to look through all of those. Then, I remembered the name of the city that Id heard in Edwards head. Volterra. I was grasping at straws, but I typed it up anyway and waited. My mouth dropped open when I saw the results. Vampires. There were pages upon pages about vampires. Supposedly Volterra was a popular tourist area, because legend had it that the largest, most powerful coven of vampires in the world lived there. Naturally, I started Googling vampires, but nothing even came close to matching up with Edwards family. I felt ridiculous for even looking into it. I slammed my laptop shut and laughed at myself. Vampires? How stupid. Suddenly, I heard the fire escape outside my window rattle and I jumped. There was a light rapping on the glass and my chest swelled with excitement when I saw that it was only Edward. You know, its illegal to climb someones fire escape," I said to Edward as he climbed into my room. "Especially a cops. He smirked and cupped my face in his hands roughly before planting a kiss on my lips. Then, he sat down on my bed, his eyes wandering around my room. I know, I said. Its no Taj Mahal like your house or anything. I like it, Edward told me, shrugging.

Um thanks. So what are you doing here? Edward was still in his uniform. Today his variation was a grey cardigan instead of the blazer, but my god. If I thought hed made the sweater vest look sexy, there werent words for how hed looked right then. I swore that I couldve just stared at him for hours on end without getting bored. I was taking a walk," he said sheepishly, his ears turning a little red. "And I wanted to see you, Oh. Well, good. I was thinking about you too. I sat down on the bed next to him and grabbed his hand, pulling it toward my face and kissing his palm. Edward sighed a little bit and ran his thumb up my cheek, leaving a trail of warmth wherever he touched. Can we try today? I begged him, even though wed already discussed it more than once. Edward chuckled and shook his head. Bella, we already talked about this. What did I say? Think about it for two weeks, I muttered. I dont need to think about it, though! Its almost been two weeks and I know what I want. He rolled his eyes and laughed again before pressing his lips against the side of my neck. I just want you to be completely sure, he said, his voice vibrating against my skin. I lifted my hand and pressed it flat against his heart and waited until I felt the steady thumping under my palm. Im completely sure about you. I just feel it. Dont you? Yes, he said into my neck. I heard him murmur something in another language. Whatd you say? La tua cantante, he repeated, smirking. What does that mean? Singer in Italian. My father grew up in Italy. A singer is something you feel an instant attraction to. Or, more then that. Like an unexplainable pull toward them that you cant control, as if theyre singing only to you. I felt him take a deep breath through his nose, into the skin near my shoulder. Like he was smelling me. I didnt mind; I loved the way he smelled and I did the same thing often. Id never smelled anything like him before in my life. So thats me? Im your singer? Edward nodded and kissed my wrist. Huh. Well, youre mine, too, I agreed.

Edward stayed for a little while longer, only kissing me and not letting us move further like I wanted, despite how much I begged. I kept trying to listen to his thoughts to see what he was feeling, but he knew what I was doing and he kept breaking the physical contact with me so I couldnt hear. In a way, I respected the fact that he wasnt trying to pressure me into anything. But then again, our relationship, or whatever it was, was far from conventional. There was something between us, beyond our control. Something undeniable, that everyone recognized and was more powerful than us. That was why I had no qualms about sleeping with him and felt completely ready. Despite how strange it may sound, I felt like I needed to. As soon as Edward left, I got back on my computer and typed in La Tua Cantante, to see what came up. After looking around for a few minutes, I found something that caught my interest. La Tua Cantante - In vampire mythology, a human whos blood smells stronger to a particular vampire than any other human. Directly translates to your singer because the humans blood sings to the vampire. It was a strange coincidence between what Id discovered earlier, but I figured that was what happened when you went looking for trouble. It found you. I had enough of Google and Italy and vampires and singers for one day, so I slammed my laptop closed and jumped into bed.

Chapter 5 ~ Dependence
If Id thought that I was obsessive before when it came to Edward, I was mistaken. It had only been two weeks since that first day Id kissed him at school, but slowly I was growing neurotically dependant on him. We had started to make a habit of talking to each other through our minds when other people were around. Edward waited outside of every classroom for me and spent as much time with me as he could during the day. After school, wed go to either his house or mine. Surprisingly, my father adored him and hadn't intimidated him at all, like Id expected. And there werent any notable, strange occurrences since the day Edward had freaked out. It was a Friday night when it finally happened. Edward had come over after school and stayed for dinner, but he left soon after to say goodbye to his family, since they were going hiking for the weekend. Id come to realize that Edward was often left alone on the weekends while his family went away and took part in activities he didnt enjoy. Id taken a shower and was already in bed when my cell phone started ringing. Hello? Hey, do you want to come stay over?" Edward asked, chuckling. "No ones at my house and Im lonely." Charlie will hear me leaving, I told him.

Just climb down the fire escape. Hold on. I crawled out of bed and walked over to the window to see if Id be able to do it. When I looked down, Edward was standing on the sidewalk under me, laughing. I threw my jacket and my shoes on and tried to climb outside as quietly as I could so that I wouldnt wake Charlie. I had to jump an uncomfortable distance to get down from the fire escape, but Edward caught me. As we drove back to his house, he noticed me yawning. Whats wrong? Nothing. Just tired, I told him. Well, Edward said. We can go to sleep. I just wanted to be with you. I smiled and nodded, because the prospect of being in Edwards bed all night in his empty house had me bursting with anticipation. When we got to his house, I followed Edward up the quiet, dark staircase to his room. The only light on was a lamp next to his bed, which cast a dim, glowing sphere onto the ceiling. I took off my jacket and my shoes and climbed into his bed, underneath the blankets. He joined me a little while later and laid on his side, smirking at me. How was the rest of your night? Fine, I answered, shivering. Im cold. His smile faded and he moved his body toward mine, until we were only a few inches apart. I turned onto my back and he leaned up on his elbow so that he was balanced above me. Edward? Huh? Do you think its strange? This relationship we have with each other? I mean, Alice and Emmett are in relationships. Was it this way for them? I dont know, he answered hesitantly. Do you think its strange? Yes, I answered honestly. I dont think its normal. But, I dont care. Im not going anywhere. I cant. He smiled and shrugged. I know that. We were silent for a few minutes, except for the steady sound of our breathing and the quiet whooshing of the breeze outside. I studied every little detail of Edwards face; the shadows that his eyelashes cast onto his cheeks, the delicate freckles that lined the bridge of his nose, the distinct,

square angle of his jaw. I pinched a lock of his silky, bronze hair that hung over his forehead between my fingertips before smoothing it back and running my hand across the top of his head, down the back of his neck. He rested his thumb in the middle of my top lip and gradually skimmed downward, over the part in my mouth, and then to my bottom lip, making them separate before pressing his lips to mine and repeating the action with his mouth. I felt the tip of his tongue graze against mine, and I let out a yearning whimper, making him pull back and return to his original position. Ive never had feelings like this before for anyone," I told him honestly, hoping hed catch the double implication in my words. "Its all new to me. I knew what was coming, and Id never had any man touch me before, and I didnt know how experienced Edward was so my mind was brimming with anxiety. Neither have I, he responded, absentmindedly running his fingers up and down my arm, from my wrist to my elbow. Edwards other hand skimmed along the waistband of my pajamas and I felt the warm tingle of his touch on the slither of my skin that was exposed. I let out a shiver as he stuck the tips of his fingers underneath the hem of my shirt and slowly, his hand shifted upward, until his palm was flat against my stomach. It was as if he left a trail of sparks everywhere his skin touched mine. My breathing started to pick up and he slid his hand over to my ribs and squeezed gently. I let his hands roam all over my body, rubbing and grasping and exploring everything under my shirt. Are you okay? he asked, his voice gritty but full of concern. I didnt think Id be able to speak, out of apprehension, so I nodded twice and shifted a little bit, pushing my body harder into his touch to reiterate my point. I knew he could hear my thoughts; they probably sounded like screams to him, but I wasnt intentionally trying to force them out, it was just natural, so I couldnt hear him. In a way I wanted to, but in a way I was anxious about what I would learn. Edward removed his hand from my torso and peeled his shirt off his back before tossing it onto the floor. I was momentarily stunned by his beautiful body. It was beyond what Id fantasized about it looking like; it couldnt have been more perfect if someone had carved him out of stone. Beyond my control, my hips lifted and met his, and he closed his eyes and took a deep breath before leaning forward and pressing his lips against my neck. I wanted to feel his mouth all over my body, so I pushed his shoulders and sat up before Edward practically ripped the shirt off me. I sat there, panting, the strands of hair that had fallen into my face moving with every breath. Edward slid his fingers down my neck, over my sternum, and rested them at the clasp of my bra in the middle of my chest. I heard a click, and the straps slid down my shoulders, and Edwards warm breath hit my suddenly exposed chest, making me quiver. Dont be nervous, he whispered, his eyes blazing into mine. Arent you? I asked, moving forward so my mouth was near his ear, my voice cracking.

Not really," he said, planting a kiss on my forehead. "You calm me. If youre not ready, we dont have to- No, I interrupted, shaking my head. Please. I want this I want you. I would say that what we were about to do was justified because I was in love with Edward. But Im not sure that what I was feeling was love. It was different. Almost beyond love. It was bizarre. I felt like taking this step was absolutely necessary. Like we needed it. For some reason, I felt like everything that had ever happened to me somehow led up to this point in my life. Moving to New York, going to the academy, meeting Edward and his family. I had no reasons to back it up, except for my gut instincts, but it seemed like this moment was too right, too perfect, to have not been premeditated by the gods. Edwards melodic laugh broke me from my thoughts. He leaned into my neck again and took a deep breath in through his nose, and I felt him sigh. The blood instantly rushed to my cheeks as I laid back down on his pillow. My hands found their way to Edwards shoulders again, and then they glided down the planes of his chest, down to his stomach, stopping over the fly of his jeans, where I could feel him, eager and waiting for me. I moaned lightly and moved my hands to his broad, muscular back, putting pressure on his shoulder blades so hed move closer and I could feel his skin against mine. My body was practically burning with eagerness. Edward smirked at me and undid the button on his fly, and then pulled the zipper down, but that was all. I pressed the back of my head into the pillow and stared at the dim circle of light on the ceiling, trying to distract myself momentarily, because I felt like I was about to burst into flames. Edwards body had some kind of an effect on me that wasnt ordinary at all. I was writhing, yearning for him, and he had barely even touched me. Please, Edward, I begged, taking things into my own hands and lowering my pants to my thighs. I couldnt wait any longer. He pressed his fingers against his temple and frowned. Try and calm down a little, he said, hooking his fingers around the elastic of my underwear and pulling, removing them and my pants and adding them to the small heap of clothing on the floor. Your thoughts are really loud and its overwhelming. I cant help it, I groaned. Frustrated, I grabbed a handful of the fabric on Edwards boxers and yanked hard. He smirked at me and shook his head before he moved my hand and finished undressing himself. All I could do was lay there and stare at him, because Id never seen a man naked before, and Im sure if I had they wouldnt have even come close to comparing with Edward. He recoiled a little and an awkward look overtook his face as I stared at him, my eyes wide and curious. I wanted to know what he was thinking, so I started pushing my thoughts and I put my hand on his cheek. Why are you looking at me like that?

Youre so amazing its breathtaking, I told him out loud, feeling embarrassed as soon as the words left my mouth. He lifted one corner of his mouth and his cheeks flushed. Stop pushing you thoughts. I have to concentrate. I started to giggle, but all of a sudden I felt Edwards hand on the inside of my thigh and my laugh turned into a gasp. He withdrew his hand, but I grabbed his wrist and replaced his fingers to where theyd just been. He cocked an eyebrow at me, and his lips pouted slightly as he shifted his body between my legs, planting kisses down my stomach and across my hip. He raised his head and stared between my legs, biting his bottom lip. I suddenly felt self conscious and my muscles all tensed up, but Edward continued moving his hand upward and slipped a finger inside me, making my back arch. Bella, he said, putting his other hand on my stomach and pushing it against the bed. Relax I closed my eyes for a second and exhaled loudly as he moved his finger back and forth, in and out of me. My muscles involuntarily clenched with every movement, and Edward groaned and furrowed his brow in concentration. Every single cell in my body was ablaze, aching for him. Please, I moaned between my shallow breaths. Now, Edward. I dont want to hurt you- I dont care, I growled. Just do it. Now. He shrugged and disappeared from on top of me, an empty pain feeling suddenly filling my chest. I closed my eyes and waited for him to return to my side, forcing back the fretfulness that had taken over me. I heard a quiet rip, and within a few seconds, he was back in his original position, hovering over me, his eyes full of desire. Youll tell me if you want me to stop, right? I craned my neck forward and kissed him. Yes, I whispered into his mouth. I felt him smile and chuckle lightly. No, you wont. But Ill be able to tell if Im hurting you. Dont, I pleaded. Please, dont listen to me. Ill try, he said, gulping nervously. I felt his hips shift forward, the tip of him pressing against me. He pushed with more force, and I felt a light sting, but nothing even close to painful enough to ask him to stop. He leaned his forehead against mine and pressed himself further into me, the stinging becoming slightly more intense. I gripped the sheets, digging my nails into the mattress, and Edward lifted his head. Are you sure youre okay?

Im fine, I choked out. Dont ask me again. Are you almost all the way? I asked shyly. Edward tilted his head so his chin touched his chest, glaring down. No. Just do it. Quickly. I dont think- Edward. He stared blankly at me for a second, grabbed the top of his headboard and thrust his hips forward, making me take a sharp breath in. I felt a pulsing in my ears, and he just stayed there, stationary. He ran his thumb up the side of my cheek and gulped again. It hurt- Im sorry. Shut up, I told him through my clenched teeth. I took a few breaths in and out as he waited. Then, my inquisitiveness got the better of me and I pushed my thoughts out quickly so I could catch him off guard and hear what he was thinking. Just tell her. Bella- I asked you not to listen, he said, pulling himself back a tiny bit and pushing forward again, trying to distract me. How can you tell Im doing it? Can we talk about this later? He pulled back further the next time and shoved into me with more force. The pain was slowly subsiding, and I felt the yearning once again taking over my entire body, from the tips of my toes, all the way up my spine. I wrapped my one leg around him and pushed him forward with my heel, showing him how much I could take. Within a minute, he was moving steadily and he started kissing my neck, my shoulder, my collarbone. Then his tongue was circling my mouth, and then he was on my other shoulder, his hand palming my chest soothingly, his lips nipping and sucking at my skin. I felt his fingers rubbing and making circles against me, in sync with his rhythm, pushing me over the edge. All at once something happened. I felt Edward start to speed up, his face focusing. His breathing quickened considerably, until it matched mine, and I lifted my back from the mattress, frantically forcing my body against his with every thrust. His body tensed, and I saw white, and then I heard him groan and suddenly flashes started filling my head, of images that made no sense to me. It happened so quickly that I only remembered a few of the things I saw. A deer running through the woods; a glass full of some red liquid; a set of eyes that were so dark, the iris and the pupil blended

into one; a wooden door that was shaking, as if it was locked and someone was trying to get through. Edward collapsed on top of me and took a few deep breaths before he rolled over, his body shaking. Edward I said his name nervously and he covered his face with his hands, shaking his head. What just happened? I wouldnt have even mentioned it, except for the fact that it was nearly impossible to keep secrets from him. Hold on, he muttered through his hands. He moved his one hand to rake his fingers through his hair, and he turned his head to me. As soon as his eyes met mine, his expression changed to downright panic, and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it. I dont know what that was. I think I just I dont know. What did you see? A bunch of things, I said, pulling the blanket up to my chest and sitting up. A deer and a cup of something and a door. And other things, I dont know. Whyd that happen? I have no idea, he said, trying to hide a shiver. You said before just tell her. Tell me what? There were so many questions running through my mind about what had just happened. Most peoples first time having sex is awkward. Mine skipped that and went straight to bizarre. But I guess that was what happened when the supernatural was involved. I dont know what youre talking about, he said exasperatedly, waving a hand in my direction. Edward. How do you know when I can hear you? He sat up and kissed my shoulder before sighing and leaning his head against the headboard. Okay I havent been completely honest with you. Obviously. Please, do, I said, gripping his hand tighter. I leaned my head on his shoulder and he kissed the top of my head before he cleared his throat. So after that day that you first heard me, I went and talked to my father. He told me that there are people out there that can block out our powers. Ive never met anyone who could do it before, ever, so I had no idea it was true. I always only thought it was a rumor. I frowned and looked up at him, willing him to continue.

My dad says people like you are called shields, or guards. Because you can defend yourself from the powers. So Im one of those people? Yeah. I mean, its not a big deal. It isnt a power or anything, its just like a natural instinct, that youre born with. So you know how you say youre pushing your thoughts or whatever? Youre not pushing your thoughts. Youre just lowering the shield. Its like your mind has a door. And you can open or close it. I dont know why, but when your mind is open, my power reflects off of you. Its not anything you do specifically, its me. I let everything that he said sink in. Oddly enough, for the first time, I felt like some of my questions were actually being answered. Okay, so let me see if I understand this. That day, when I blacked out or whatever- It was because your door was closed. And you were holding it closed, and my powers were fighting against it, and I guess our strength was equal or something. I felt dizzy too, but I stopped trying before I passed out like you did. Edwards body shivered and he pulled me closer to him. Are you okay? I asked. Yeah. I havent been feeling well. I think I have a fever. I put the back of my hand on his forehead, but he didnt feel warm, just clammy. Edward? Huh? Was I bad? He laughed and kissed me, still chuckling. Isabella Swan, you were amazing. Sorry I ruined it at the end there. You didnt ruin anything. Im just confused. Me too, he said, yawning. Please dont ask your father about this, I said, cringing. He laughed again and shook his head. I wont. Lets go to sleep. Overnight, Edward had gotten progressively worse. He was restless all night, shivering and sweating, tossing and turning. We got up early, before the sun even came up, so he could sneak me back into my room. I told him to go home and rest, and that I would see him at school. My heart

dropped, and my body suddenly overflowed with the all too familiar separation anxiety, but I kept quiet, not wanting to seem like I was creepily obsessed with him. I didnt hear from him at all for the rest of the day, so I called him the next morning because I was becoming frantic, but Alice answered his phone and said that he was still sleeping, and that he still had a fever, but that he was okay. Those two days away from Edward had been absolute torture. As soon as Edward walked into class on Monday, I realized something was very wrong with him. He got there late, something hed never done before. His hair was more disheveled then usual, and his shirt was un-tucked and wrinkled. Id never seen him with so much as a hair out of place when we were at school. Edward, whats wrong? Are you still sick? I glared at him as he plopped down next to me. He clenched his jaw and nodded. His tie was uneven, so I reached over to his neck to try and fix it but he swatted my hands away. Stop, he growled, sounding irritated. I dont feel good, just leave me alone. His eyes were red and there were dark circles under them. There was a sheen of sweat on his forehead, and his cheeks were void of any color. You should go home, I suggested. He shook his head. I suddenly grasped that he wasnt going to talk to me, so I rested my hand on top of his and opened my mind up. His body tensed and I heard his voice in my head. I told you, leave me the fuck alone. I have a headache. I felt a pulsing fear run through my body, so I lifted my hand off of his and placed it on my side of the table. Throughout the rest of class, Edward kept getting increasingly worse. At one point, I felt the floor vibrating, but it turned out to be Edward, shivering violently in the seat next to me. It almost seemed as if was in extreme pain. I watched in horror as he clenched the edge of the table so tightly, his knuckles went white. As soon as the bell rang, Edward shot up from his chair and stormed out of the room without waiting for me. I scurried behind him, wanting to make sure he was alright, but keeping a safe distance behind him so he didnt know I was following him. It was easy, since the hallways were so crowded. For some reason, he went in a different direction than the one we usually took. It looked as though he was heading to the headmasters office. Before he reached it, I saw a girl with strawberry blonde hair grab his arm and pull him to the side of the hallway. Id never seen her before, but unsurprisingly, she was tall and beautiful. I watched as she felt Edwards forehead and looked at him, her eyes worried. She said nothing to him, but I saw his mouth moving every once in awhile. She knew about him. I felt jealous and angry and completely bewildered, and suddenly, she caught me staring, and she squinted at me and said something to him. Edward turned to look at me, and he spoke to her, then stalked in my direction. Go to class, he said, his teeth grinding together.

Who is she? Why wont you tell me whats going on- Later. Just go. But, Edward I I know, he said, nodding and kissing me quickly. And then he went back to the girl and left me standing there in the hallway, feeling stupid. I walked to class and barely made it there in time. I slid into my seat next to Emmett and the teacher started immediately, not allowing me to ask him any questions. About ten minutes into class, there was a knock on the door. My heart dropped, because I knew it had something to do with Edward. Headmaster Aro stuck his head through the door and frowned at Emmett. Mr. Cullen, I need to see you in my office. Bring your stuff. Emmett raised an eyebrow at me, but didnt seem surprised in the least. After class, I realized that Edward, Emmett, Alice, Rosalie, and Jasper had all left school. Something was going on. I figured I would wait until I got out of school to get answers. It was the first day in weeks that I left school and went straight home, alone. I called everyones phones, but no one answered. Edwards phone wasnt even on anymore. I called Charlie and told him about what had happened, and asked him to stop at the Cullens house to make sure everything was okay, but he refused and said he was sure everything was fine, that he wouldve heard if something serious was wrong with Edward. No one was in school the next day. Or the day after that. I was angry, and I was in physical pain because of how much I missed Edward, and I was worrying myself sick. That afternoon, I made up my mind. I was going to go over there and force them to give me answers. I needed to know everything was alright. If it wasnt, I needed to be there with him. I discovered that afternoon that something with utmost significance had happened to Edward. Something that would change the rest of my life.


Chapter 6 ~ Changed
My hands were shaking the entire cab ride to the Cullens house. As the driver pulled up, I paid him and smoothed my skirt before opening the door. My heart thumped violently as I looked up at the dark townhouse, which had always seemed welcoming in the past. At that point it just seemed eerie. All of the windows were closed, the curtains down, and there werent any visible lights on. I walked up the short staircase and prepared to ring the bell, but before I could the door creaked open and Alices head shot out. Bella, what are you doing here? Her eyes were full of worry, and her face alarmed. Where is he? The rude tone that escaped with my words caught me off guard, but I didnt apologize. I was tired of being left in the dark and not told the entire truth. You shouldnt be here- I stuck my hand out and tried to push the door open, but it didnt budge. I looked inside over Alices head, but it was pitch dark behind her. Alice, where is he? Tell me whats going on! Is he alright? My chest swelled with panic and adrenaline pumped through my veins. I needed to know that he was okay. I clenched my fists in aggravation and I felt my ears burning. Hes sick, Bella. Hell be fine, but you need to leave. You cant be here right now. Im not going anywhere, I shouted, kicking the door. Let me inside! Is he in there? A middle aged man walking by with a child cleared his throat and I spun around. Is everything alright here? he asked, concerned. No, its not fucking alright! I kicked the door again and Alice cringed. Bella, stop- Let me in! The man took a few steps toward us and frowned. Miss, do you need me to call someone? Alice shook her head and stepped back inside the house, opening the door a little bit more to let me in. I stormed inside and looked around the dark foyer. Jasper! She shouted his name up the stairs, and a few seconds later Jasper and Rosalie descended, their faces distorted with worry.

Bella, you need to calm down, Alice said, sitting down on the bottom stair. Jasper walked by her and stood next to me, and suddenly an unnatural wave of relaxation washed over me, my anger slowly fading away. Why is she here? Rosalie asked Alice, as if I hadnt been standing right there. Why am I here? Why the hell, are you here? He doesnt even like you! They all cringed as I screamed, and that was when I heard the noise. An unusual, deep throated, animalistic growl echoed down the stairs. The three of them looked up at the ceiling as I gasped. What... was that? I asked, quivering. We have to get her out of here, Jasper said to Rosalie and Alice. A deafening bang came from the floor above us, and then the distinct sound of footsteps running down the hallway. I heard Esme and Carlisles voices, followed by another bang that made the picture frames on the wall next to me shake, and then the growling noise could be heard again. I leapt toward the stairs but Alice grabbed me around my waist and started dragging me toward the front door. There was more commotion upstairs, and then Rosalie ran up without a word. Someone tell me what the hell is going on, or I swear to God, Ill call the police right now! Bella, look at me. Alice spun me around so I was facing her and she spoke sternly. Youll find out everything soon, I promise you. Right now, you need to leave. If you dont, youre going to die. My eyes widened and I shook my head. I dont care. I want to see him, I argued. Remember what happened that day at the park? I saw you dying, and I stopped it. If you dont leave right now, youre going to die today. I promise you that. Jasper opened the door and I stepped outside, in a daze. I had no idea what was going on inside the house, but I knew it was something that had to do with Edward, and my heart hurt. I walked down to the sidewalk, and the calm feeling that was keeping me together inside the house was gone, causing me to start sobbing uncontrollably. I pulled my phone out of my bag and dialed Charlie to come and pick me up. I could barely speak I was crying so hard, but somehow he understood me and within minutes he picked me up down the block. What happened? he asked calmly. A little bit too calmly. He- Edward hes sick I- they wont let me see him I tried to form complete sentences but I was gasping for air. I couldnt tell Charlie everything because there was no way he would've understood without thinking I was completely mental.

Bella try and relax for a minute and then tell me what happened. I wiped my face and took a few deep breaths. Charlie still hadnt started driving yet, and he just sat there and waited for me. Edward wasnt feeling well over the weekend. He came into school really sick on Monday and he left, and Emmett and Alice and Rosalie and Jasper all left too, and none of them have been back yet, so I went there to see if he was alright, and I think somethings really wrong. Charlie rubbed his chin and sighed. Bella, you cant just show up to peoples houses uninvited. I stared at him expressionlessly. Really? Thats all you have to say? Youre a police officer. Cant you go there, and- No. Ill call Dr. Cullen later and see if Edward is alright. Were right here, I said, pointing at the house. Why dont you just go there right now and talk to him? Charlie shook his head and started driving. Clearly this is a family matter, and- Rosalie and Jasper are not family. Why is it okay for them to be there and not me? I cant answer that, Charlie said, shrugging. It was right then that I had a small epiphany: Charlie knew something that he wasnt telling me. On more then one occasion, hed had an odd reaction to the Cullens, and the more it happened, the more suspicious I became. First, he'd reprimanded me for assuming negative things about them. Then, he was excessively friendly and welcoming to Edward. And his reaction to what had just happened made it blatantly obvious that they were cooperating with each other for some unknown reason. We rode the rest of the way in silence, because I felt like there was no one on my side. I was clearly needed in order to help their family with something, and Charlie knew about it. I was being lied to and having information withheld from me left and right, and it was completely ridiculous. Id thought that I had some kind of connection with Edward, but at that point, I wasnt entirely sure that he had fabricated the whole thing and taken advantage of me being so nave and trusting to get what he needed out of me. I was hurt and angry and completely turned off by everyone. I wanted nothing to do with Edward anymore, or any of the Cullens for that matter, including Jasper and Rosalie. If they couldnt be honest with me, they werent people I needed in my life, regardless of how much I liked them. I wouldve rather been alone and had no friends then be some pawn in their skeptical, twisted arrangement. No one returned to school on Thursday, but Friday everyone attended, except for Edward. I gave them all the silent treatment, although none of them really went out of their way to try and talk to me.

I didnt attempt to contact Edward, but over the weekend I heard Charlie speaking to Carlisle in the other room when he thought I was asleep. When I woke in the morning, there was a note taped to my door which read: BellaI spoke with Dr. Cullen last night. Edward is fine. Hell be back at school tomorrow. Dad I had a mouthful for Edward, so I got to Biology early and sat at our table, tapping my pen against my notebook frantically. But, he never showed up. When we started working on the lab, Mr. Banner walked over to me and smiled. Isabella, theres an odd number of students, but you can work with Mike and Tyler from now on, he said, pointing to the two boys sitting at the table behind me. But, Edwards my partner- Edward isnt in this class anymore. His schedule was changed. I spent the rest of the class pretending to pay attention to the lab, when really I was just trying to straighten out the course of events that had led me to that moment. He changed out of the class because of me. There was no other explanation. I tried to remember if Id done something to offend him, but the last time Id seen him he kissed me goodbye, so I was perplexed as to what had changed between then and now. I spent the break between first and second hour in the bathroom, in tears. As I approached my second period classroom, I spotted his noticeable, sloppy, bronze hair. His back was turned to me and he was at the end of the hall, walking away. His blazer was tucked under his one arm, his books in the other, and the hallway was jarringly quiet. The students on either side of the corridor had their heads all turned toward him, some of them whispering to each other. I tried to make a run for it to catch him, but the bell suddenly rang, and Emmett grabbed my elbow as everyone scattered. Get off me, I spat at him as he dragged me into the room, pulling my arm out of his grasp. I need to talk to him. Not now, Emmett muttered as he sat in his seat. I stood there, arms crossed, and squinted at him. What did I do? Whyd he switch out of my class last period? Its for your own good, Bella, he whispered. To keep you safe. From what? I asked, infuriated.

Himself. The way Emmett said the words sent a chill through my body. I sat down in my seat and put my head in my hands, clueless as to what my next move was going to be. I took a different route to my next class, in hopes of running into Edward, but instead I was cornered by Alice and Rosalie. Bella, talk to us, please, Alice begged. I have nothing to say to you. To any of you. Just leave me alone. I tried to shove through them, but Rosalie blocked me. Edward feels horrible about whats happening- What is happening?! I asked, cutting Alice off. The two of them stared at me vacantly. Exactly. Im switching out of this academy. I dont want to see any of you ever again. I had no desire to stay at school anymore, so I exited through the courtyard and started walking down the sidewalk. It had started pouring when I was inside, and I didnt have an umbrella, but I didnt care. I was going to go home and call my mother, and tell her I wanted out of this whole thing. My entire life was made of lies and Id reached my breaking point. The rain streamed down my face, blending in with my tears. I pushed a strand of my sopping wet hair behind my ear and carelessly stepped off the curb into the street, so distracted that I didnt hear the horns until it was too late to do anything. I was in the middle of the crosswalk, and cars were coming from both directions. To my right, there was an impending bus, which was only a few feet away from me. My eyes met the drivers frantic gaze, but my body was frozen. There was no way he was going to be able to stop. I knew I was going to die. I closed my eyes so I wouldnt see the source of my imminent death, and I heard the sound of crunching metal as I was knocked to the ground. My head hit the pavement, making my vision go black for a minute, and my body felt like there was an ice cold sheath wrapped around it. I assumed it was what happened right before you died. Immediately after the first smash, there was another loud crash, and the sound of shattering glass, which I assumed was the car on the opposite side of the street hitting something nearby. Everything was hazy, but I tried with all of my strength to move a little bit, to let someone around know I wasnt dead yet. I was still able to move my fingers, so I tried to lift my head and sit up, but it was like there was a weight on my chest. Bella! I heard a distinct voice in my ear, and suddenly my brain seemed to break through the haze, as my vision cleared and I saw Edward hovering above me. Can you hear me? I nodded and my body started shaking violently. Im cold-

Dont try and move, he ordered me. You hit your head. My eyes shot from side to side, but I realized I was in the middle of the bus and two other cars. There was screaming and commotion coming from every direction and people trying to talk to us. Edward spoke calmly to the people trying to help, telling them to call an ambulance, and that we were okay, the bus had stopped before it hit us, and to check on the people in the other cars. I shouldve been dead. Half my body was underneath the front of the bus, and I knew for a fact that before either of the cars had collided with it, it had hit something else first. It had hit Edward first. Yes, I was slightly out of it and my mind was lacking clarity, but that was only after Id hit my head. I knew for a fact what I had heard and felt before that, and there was nothing anyone was going to say that was going to make me question what I was absolutely sure of. I sat on the hospital bed as Charlie spoke to Carlisle quietly on the other side of the curtain. I hadnt seen Edward since Id gotten into the ambulance, which angered me. Suddenly, Charlie appeared from the opposite side of the curtain and he put his hand on my shoulder. You feel alright? Yes, I answered. Im fine. Can we go? Carlisle said I had a mild concussion, but I honestly felt nothing except for a slight throbbing in the back of my head. I jumped off the bed and Charlie picked my bag up for me, slinging it over his shoulder. I have to fill out some paperwork, he said as we walked toward the exit. You want to wait in the cruiser? I nodded and he handed me the keys to his car which, knowing him, was most likely parked right outside the door. The rain had dwindled off to a light drizzle, but the sky was still black and chilling. I spotted Charlies car on the corner, so I headed toward it, but stopped in my tracks when I saw Carlisle and Edward standing under the awning of the employee entrance, whispering frantically to each other. As I approached slowly, they both stopped talking and turned their heads in my direction. Dr. Cullen, I said timidly. Can I speak to Edward alone for a minute? Carlisle turned toward Edward, who nodded at him after a few seconds. He took a few steps inside, then stopped and nodded again without looking back. Dont worry Edward, he said, and then walked out of view.

I stood in front of Edward and looked at his face clearly for the first time since before hed gotten sick, realizing why everyone at school had been looking at him. He was different. The same, but changed somehow. I dont know if it was because it had been so long since I stared at him for that long, or what, but he seemed so much more beautiful then Id remembered. My memory did him no justice. His cheekbones seemed higher and more distinct, his jaw even more defined. His skin was pale, which Id assumed was from being sick, but then again, it seemed to match Emmett and Alices now. And his eyes, which Id remembered as being a deep, jade color seemed lighter, almost like a lime, hazel color. But it was him. It was so strange. You look different, I noted, reaching up to touch the side of his face. His nostrils flared and he took a step back out of my reach, swallowing heavily. Howd you know where I was? Alice, he murmured. She saw it I was following you. Even his voice seemed different; melodic, almost. And if it was possible, his natural fragrance was stronger. So strong, I could smell him even with the distance between us- except it was sweeter than Id remembered. I want to know everything. I want to know whats going on. I know you need me for something, and if you dont tell me what this is- I said, pointing at his face, Im leaving. Ill run away, and you wont be able to find me, and then- Bella. Thatll do you more harm than good. Trust me. He scowled and shoved his hands in the pockets of his khakis, looking down at the floor. Trust you? Oh, you mean like I trusted you last weekend? You slept with me, you took advantage of me and you disappeared! You made me feel like a fool! Why the hell would I ever trust you again?! That was a mistake, he said, shaking his head. It was bad timing- I didnt plan on what happened, I didnt know. I meant everything I ever said to you. The way that I said I felt you should know that was real. He pulled his tie loose and nervously fiddled with the hem of his shirt, which had come untucked in the shuffle of the accident. I wanted to believe him. The strong, undeniable feelings that I felt for him were still there, raging inside of me, but the fact that he was withholding so many things from me was causing me an internal battle. I wanted to hug him, and tell him how much I missed him and how I never wanted to leave his side again. But I wasnt going to be defeated; I was going to stand my ground, and stay distant until he was willing to give me the answers I wanted. The bus hit you, I stated. The dents in the front werent only from the car. One of them was from your body. He laughed and shook his head. I pushed you down on the ground so youd be underneath it. Thats all.

Im not an idiot, Edward. You look completely different. Youre changed. You wont come close to me, or let me touch you. I dont want you to get sick- You were never sick! I threw my hands in the air with exasperation, fuming. Im leaving. Today. I dont care what happens to me, if these supernatural people you know come and find me, and kill me because I know your secrets- I dont care. I have no one. Even my own parents are lying to me. And I trusted you, Edward. I had confidence in what I felt for you. In what we had. But, I guess I was mistaken, so goodbye. I stormed past him and headed toward the cruiser. * When I got home, I decided to try my hand at researching Edwards condition. I made the realization that Google was completely useless when I found nothing for two hours, so I headed to the library before it closed. I knew that my best bet would be to keep researching Volterra, but all that kept showing up were things leading back to vampires. Since I was becoming desperate and bored, I started reading about all the legends and folklore, and slowly the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. There were tons and tons of books about vampire mythology, so I started going through them to see if anything made sense. I seriously contemplated checking myself into some kind of psychiatric facility when I thought about what I was doing. Just as I was about to give up, I opened up the only book I hadnt gone through and I gasped at the first page. I flipped through it, completely flabbergasted, my hands shaking uncontrollably. When I was absolutely positive about what Id read, I slammed the book shut and walked up to the counter to check it out, the librarian giving me a strange glance. And then I ran outside and got in a cab, the book under my arm, giving the driver the Cullens address.

Chapter 7 ~ A Surprise Visit
I knocked on the Cullens front door, the heavy book under my arm, and looked up at the sky. It was unusually dark, the stars still not visible because of the storm earlier. I tried calming myself enough to form cohesive thoughts. There was a mixture of emotions going through my body; fear, because of what I was now sure the Cullens were, confusion, because I wasnt sure how I fit into their lives, and a little bit of relief, because I was finally starting to get the answers Id been craving.

Esme answered the door, furrowing her brow. Bella, I heard what happened earlier. Im glad youre alright hows your head? Did you need something? Edward, I answered. I need to see him. Esme pulled the door open and I stepped inside. Edward was standing in the foyer, looking somewhat apprehensive. Can I speak to you alone? I asked. He looked at Esme, who nodded. Well be near. Just say if you need us. He dashed up the stairs and I followed behind him as quickly as I could. When I walked through the door, he was opening all the windows, causing the chilly night air to gust through the room. I closed the door and wasted no time opening the book and spinning it around to him, pointing at the first page. This is your father, I stated. It says his name is Stregone Benefice. That he was part of this vampire government in Italy, or whatever the hell you want to call it. Edward cocked an eyebrow and nodded. Okay, and- Edward this drawing of these men is supposed to be from the 1800s. I dropped the book down on his bed and he pressed his finger firmly against the page. It says 1796, actually, he corrected. Whatever. What the hell is this? Edward flipped through the book, a crooked smile on his face, and shrugged. Its a book on vampire mythology. That for some reason interests you because it has a picture in it of someone who looks like my father from over 200 years ago. I crossed my arms over my chest and snatched the book off the bed, turning each page until I found the one I was looking for. It says here that its rumored these vampires in Europe were capable of reproducing with humans. The children would be born and seem as though they were entirely human, except for the fact that a majority of them were being born with these superior, highly developed powers. When their bodies reached adulthood, theyd physically change- Edward let out a low, gravely growl and ripped the book from my hand. Its not a book on vampire mythology, Edward. Well, not entirely. Its about these hybrid, vampirehumans, or whatever the proper term is, and- theyre all supposed to be dead. He stared at me fiercely, his eyes dark and his lips pursed. I pulled at the ends of my hair nervously and waited for him to answer me. I know its what you are. Youre a vampire. Just tell me.

I couldnt believe the words that had come out of my mouth, or the fact that I actually believed that this 17 year old boy standing in front of me was a vampire. If I hadnt seen the powers that Edward and his siblings had in front of my own eyes, I wouldve never have believed it could be possible. The fact that my life had turned upside down in the past couple of months made an impact on everything Id ever thought to be true. Edward gulped and nodded his head once. Dont be afraid- Im not afraid, I lied. I took a step closer to him and tried to put my hand on his arm, but he backed away. Edward. Stop. No, I you shouldnt come that close to me. He took another step back and held his hands up in front of him. Why not? Because I was right. About you being my singer. I your smell. It burns, he explained, putting one hand around his throat to emphasize his point. I planted my feet and stood there in shock, my heart pounding. You you want to kill me? You want to eat me? He nodded, his eyes full of fear. I dont want to kill you. I dont have to, I mean- I could drink from any other human without killing them, Im sure, but you- Stop. I put my hands over my ears and shut my eyes as the room started spinning. Everything hit me at once and my mind and my body were so overwhelmed, it was like I was going into shock. My knees started buckling, but before I could even process it, I felt something cold wrap around my stomach and then I was sitting at the foot of the bed, Edward still a safe distance from me. Hed managed to carry me over to the bed and step a few feet away from me before I could even blink. It wasnt possible. Howd you The bright room was still spinning, so I put my head between my knees until I felt Id recovered enough to keep trying to force information out of him. When I looked up, he was standing near the door, his fists clenched at his sides, just watching me. Say something, I begged. And just come sit by me. You wont hurt me. I know you wont. Do you even know what youre saying? He suddenly shouted, spinning around and slamming his hands against his dresser. I jumped a little bit at the noise, but Edward ducked his head down and his shoulders slumped, and all I could do in that moment was feel sympathy for him. For some reason that I was unaware of. Last week, when you came here I smelled you from upstairs. I broke through the door, and Emmett and both of my parents couldnt control me. Im stronger then all of them. Emmett was even using his powers, trying to hold me back, but all it did was slow me down for a second. Im not human anymore, and my mind I was like an animal. All I could think of was killing you. The fact that I was so close to death shouldve been what scared me, but unexplainably, the only thing I was afraid of was that Id never be able to be close to Edward again.

But, youre around me now, I said softly, eager for clarification. Thats because my parents have been practically drowning me in human blood- He noticed the startled look on my face and shook his head. No, no they havent killed anyone, Carlisle has ways to get it. Anyway, its only because Im newborn, just to ease me into my regular diet. Just come here Edward, I said, patting the blanket next to me. Please, just sit here and talk to me. Tell me everything. I need to know. He closed his eyes and I heard a breath shoot through his nose as he slowly walked toward the bed. He sat down next to me, his body rigid. Your parents- are they vampires? Yes, he answered. My father hes been one for almost 300 years. He doesnt remember his life as a human. My mother was changed by him after she gave birth to me and Alice. I looked at him, my eyes narrowed slightly. So your father was a part of this whole royal vampire coven in Italy? Edward nodded and ran his fingers through his hair. Yes. Was it true? They killed all the vampires that were like you? He nodded again. Ill let him tell you the whole story. I dont know everything. I sighed and spun my body toward his. Im just supposed to believe that youre a vampire? I mean this is insane. I want proof, so I know Im not completely mental. He got up from the bed and stood in front of me, bending over slightly. I could sense his discomfort and fear from being so close to me, but I looked into his eyes and waited. Turn your head, he instructed. I looked to my left and he put his ice cold hand on the back of my head and pushed it forward gently, so my ear was flush against his chest, right over his heart. Or at least where his heart used to be. I listened intently for what felt like minutes, and heard nothing. Not a single thump. Do you still want to eat me? I asked, trying to break the tension. He dropped his hand from my head and let out a nervous laugh. We dont kill humans, he informed me. My family eats animals only. Just like you. I winced and shook my head. You can live off animal blood? He nodded at me. But it is possible to drink from a human and not kill them? He cracked a smile. Ask Emmett and Alice. My eyes widened and scooted away from him. They Rosalie and Jasper? Edward kept the crooked smile on his face, but said nothing. So, are they vampires too now?

Yeah. They were changed for their own safety, he said through clenched teeth. For their safety? If it wasnt safe for them to be around Edwards family what did that mean for me? What about me? I asked out loud. Youre safe, dont worry. So how do humans get changed? I mean, if you can drink them, it has to be more then biting, right? Its the venom. Like a needle, you know? When you drink youre sucking the blood out when you change someone, you push the venom in. I took a deep breath and rubbed my eyes. There was too much information going through my mind that I couldnt process. Edward was a vampire. All of his family were vampires. He was dead, and he wanted to kill me. It was more than I could take in. I need a minute, I told him, as I stood up and started pacing back and forth across the room. His eyes followed me as I stomped from one wall to the other, trying to figure out my next steps. My brain and any semblance of logic I had left told me to run. My heart, unsurprinsingly, told me to stay with Edward. I stopped halfway across the room and tapped my chin. So, human-vampire relationships are a big faux pas in the vampire world. Correct? Yes, Edward clarified. So where does that leave me? Are we supposed to stay away from each other from now on? Because, I dont know that I can do that, and- Bella, he interrupted, standing up. I dont want to do it. Believe me. But the best thing for you right now is to stay away from me. Just for the time being. I felt my heart sink and I sighed. Why? Theres a lot of us around here. Children, with powers that were born human. Theres a reason the Volturi wanted everyone like us dead. Theyre coming again, we just dont know when. My heart filled with fear at the fact that Edward was unsafe. I stepped forward and grabbed his hand, squeezing it as tightly as I could. No. Im not going anywhere. Im staying with you, always and if they come get you, they can take me, too. Edward laughed and looked down at our linked hands. Bella, have you absolutely lost your mind? Let me show you something.

He broke out of my grasp and walked back over to his dresser, where he opened the top drawer and pulled out a little, retractable knife. Open it, he ordered, handing it to me. I flipped the blade up and held it out in front of me. Edward placed his forearm flat against the dresser and cocked his head in my direction. Okay. As hard as you can. Stick it through my arm. I gasped and took a step back. No! No way. Just do it. Hard. Do it or Ill bite you. He laughed at his own joke as I stood there with a scowl. Fine, I sighed, lifting the knife so it was behind my ear. And then, with as much force as I could muster up, my arm shot down and I clenched my eyes shut and heard a sharp sound, like a metal clang. Bella, Edward managed to choke out through his laughter. Open your eyes. Hesitantly, I let my eyes flutter open and my mouth dropped when I saw the knife in my hand. The blade was completely bent in half, and there wasnt a dot on Edwards arm. I threw it onto the floor and stepped away, kind of shell shocked. Yeah, my point was it isnt easy to kill us. You, on the other hand, dont stand a chance. So silver doesnt kill you. Im guessing garlic wont either. I pointed at the small gold crucifix around his neck and frowned. Or crosses can you go out in sunlight? He tilted his head back and laughed. Yes. None of that bullshit is true. "Do you sleep in a coffin?" "No," he answered, still laughing. "I don't sleep period." I dont see how all this is funny. I put my hands on my hips and pouted as I waited for him to let it all out. I we I thought we had something between us, something special, with the powers and me shielding them and everything, and now youre telling me we have to be apart? That you don't want to be around me? Bella, I told you. I dont want to do this. But, your safety is my first priority, always. If they come, Id feel horrible forever if they hurt you. Im not even completely sure that I wont kill you the next time Im around you. I just drank before you got here, and Alice is watching to make sure nothing happens. I knew our time was coming to a close soon, so I tried to get any other information out of him that I could.How long does it take to change? Two days, he answered, his body stiffening. Two days of the most horrific, violent, burning pain youve ever felt in your life. Followed by two more days of the most awful, fiery feeling in your throat that cant be satisfied. You came here during one of those days." I shivered at the memory of that day. "And then, once you get through that and you keep drinking, the burning starts to subside and you start to get used to how you feel. But the pain is indescribable at first. I wouldnt wish it on anyone.

All I wanted was to jump into Edwards arms, and hug him and kiss him and feel him holding me, but I fought the urge, knowing forcing myself on him and pushing him would probably be the end of my life. Instead, I reached forward and grabbed his cold hand and kissed the tips of his fingers gently. He closed his eyes and hummed quietly. Youre so warm, he whispered, grabbing my hand and pressing it into his face. I shivered involuntarily, because his face and his hands were absolutely freezing. Edward you said before that people were after you. Are these people after you? I asked, holding up the book. The Volturi? He nodded and swallowed heavily. Dont worry about me. They cant get to me. Everything will be fine. You were talking to the headmaster, about something. The guard, being able to help. And then, you said that I was a guard, so cant I help? Edwards nostrils flared and he shook his head. No. Absolutely not. Youre a human, they they can kill you. Easily. I cant let that happen. It isnt worth the risk. It is to me. Ill stay here with you, and your family can teach me what to do- Ill protect you. Edward laughed nervously and cupped my face in his cold hands. Bella, youre the most important thing in my life right now. I cant ever let anything bad happen to you. Everythings going to work out, okay? Youll see. For now, just listen to me. Just listen to what I tell you to do. I stared into his unfamiliar eyes and nodded slightly. Okay. I just I want to be with you. Always. I feel like Im dreaming right now. Like if I wake up, you wont be there. Like you arent real "I'm not going anywhere," he murmured, running his thumb up my cheek. I looked down at the floor and gulped before Edward released his hands and I headed for the door. He walked me downstairs and waited for me to get into a taxi before he closed the front door. I gave the driver my address and slumped in my seat, going through everything in my mind. Vampires actually existed, and Edward was a fucking vampire. All of his family were vampires. His skin was freezing cold and rock solid. He didn't sleep. His family didn't feed off humans, but his body thirsted for my blood. He was in danger. It was possible I could help him, but he refused to take the risk. I went on and on like that for a good ten minutes. Suddenly, I realized Id been in the cab far too long, and I tapped on the Plexiglas to get the drivers attention. Um, youre going the wrong way- I said Park, I told him, pointing behind me. My body suddenly filled with fear as we turned into a dark alleyway and he stopped the car. What are you doing? My father is a cop- bring me home! I tried opening the door, but it seemed to have some kind of safety lock on it. The driver spun around and at once I noticed his golden eyes. We have business to attend to first, Isabella.


Chapter 8 ~ Ulterior Motives

"Headmaster Aro...?" I froze in my seat and my mouth dropped open when I realized it was him. "I'm sorry if I frightened you, Miss Swan. It was the only way." I had no idea what was going on, or what he was talking about. Although I was slightly panicked, I wasn't afraid. I knew I wasn't in danger, otherwise Alice would've intervened. Unless... "How did they not see you?" I asked. "Edward... He was right there." "They're coming," Aro said, ignoring my question. "Edward is in danger- we're all in danger. We need as much help as we can get." He got out of the cab and pulled my door open, offering me an ice cold hand to help me out. "I can help?" "Yes," he answered, heading down the dark alley. I followed hesitantly, trying to hide my unease. I didn't know this man. I didn't know if he was good or bad or if I was safe with him. The only reason I followed was because for some reason, I knew Edward trusted him. He pushed open a heavy door and we walked down a dim hallway covered in graffiti. At the end of the hall was a thick, rusted door, which he stuck a key in and held open for me. I took a few steps into the pitch black room and waited. Aro turned a light on, revealing a surprisingly beautiful sitting room. Clearly, this place was some kind of hideout. He motioned for me to take a seat on one of the plush, maroon sofas and I obliged. "Isabella, I assume you're aware of how much value a shield is to our kind, correct?" He sat on the edge of the coffee table in front of me as I shrugged. "Vaguely, I answered. I know it's important, but Edward keeps saying that because I'm a human they can hurt me." "I know about everything that happened today. I'm also a shield," he said, tapping his temple. "A very powerful one, at that. Edward is being overprotective, if you will. He doesn't want to put your life in danger. So, I'm going to train you, in case the time comes and we need your assistance. Do you understand?" I sighed heavily. "Yes." "This is going against Edward's wishes, so it'll be in your best interest not to speak of anything to the Cullens." "Fine," I agreed. If being trained was going to give me the ability to help Edward, I was willing to do whatever I had to. "Good. Tanya!" He raised his voice slightly and within seconds a tall, blonde girl appeared in the room. I'd recognized her from school; she was the one comforting Edward in the hallway the day hed started to change.

"Hi, Bella," she said, nodding her head at me. I wasn't sure how she knew my name, but I smiled and gave her a weak wave. "Tonight, I just want to see what you're capable of, so I can plan accordingly. If you don't mind?" Aro stood up and waited for my response. "Um... Sure." Tanya smirked at me and pointed a finger in my direction. "Ready?" I dont know? Is this going to hurt me? I rested my palms on my shaking knees and gulped heavily. It may, she said, wincing. Ill start out light. Ready? "Okay go. They both watched intently as I sat there, waiting for Tanya to use her power on me. After a couple seconds I raised an eyebrow and stood up. "Are you doing it?" I asked. Her face dropped a little and she nodded. "Yeah- you don't feel anything?" "No. It's kind of hot in here, though," I said, fanning my face. Aro muttered something to her too fast and quiet for me to make out. "I was being gentle," Tanya said to me. "Just yell if this hurts." I saw both her hands shoot forward, and before I knew what'd happened, I was screaming in pain and I'd fallen back onto the sofa. "My arms," I choked out. "Stop!" There was a blazing, excruciating heat running from my fingertips up to my shoulders. Tanya dropped her hands and instantly the hurt subsided, replaced by a chilling sensation. "Sorry," she said, giving me a look of sympathy. "Is that better?" I nodded and clenched and unclenched my fists a few times, trying to will my arms to feel normal again. The room was silent, and the awkwardness I felt from being so weak in their eyes was making me feel uncomfortable. In order to break the tension, I spoke about the first thing I observed. "Your eyes are gold," I stated, pointing at Aro. "And yours are light blue. Why?" "I just changed not too long ago," Tanya answered. "Just like Edward. I'm still feeding on human blood." "Gold is only if you eat animals?" They both nodded in succession. "Oh. Well... Does it make a difference?"

Aro gazed at me and let his eyes flutter shut for a moment. "Yes. It's one of our biggest concerns," he explained, frustration clear in his face. "We start newborns on human blood, to ease them out of the initial thirst they feel. But they can't continue it for long. After awhile, they'd crave it and we'd be unable to coexist with humans. Our fight with the Volturi is based on our humanity. You do know about all that, don't you?" I shook my head. "I just discovered what little I do know tonight. Edward said he'd rather Carlisle explain it to me than him." Aro agreed. "As would I. All in all, the only reason the Volturi and their army even stand a chance is because they feed on humans. Their strength dominates ours. But they have no compassion, and behave like animals. It's why we chose to separate from them in the first place." I looked at Tanya and swallowed heavily. To be quite honest, after feeling her power, she scared the shit out of me. "I want you to try again," I said, taking a deep breath. She looked at Aro, who nodded, and then turned back to me, her hands held out in front of her again. "Tell me when you're ready." I closed my eyes and tried using the same concept as when I blocked Edward from reading my mind. I concentrated as hard as I could, only lifting a finger to let her know I was ready. And then I felt it. A sharp twinge in my temple, and then a light, warm prickle on my arms. I tried blocking harder, and the feeling faded. "Keep going," I muttered, trying not to break my concentration. The pain in my head increased, and the tingling returned. "More?" Tanya asked. I nodded and clenched my teeth together as the aching in my head eventually became almost intolerable. "Okay, stop!" I was starting to feel lightheaded, like I had the day I'd fainted when I was practicing with Edward. When I opened my eyes they were both staring at me, seemingly in shock. "Was that... Okay?" "That was great, Bella. Amazing," Tanya said, grabbing Aro's arm. "It's true." "What?" I asked, fed up. "What is true? Why the hell does everyone keep saying that?" "There were rumors," Aro responded, hesitating. "About powerful human guards resurfacing. Theyre so scarce, we were starting to believe they didnt exist anymore. But it seems to be true." I didn't believe him, but I didn't pry any further. He was already giving me more answers than any of the Cullens ever had. "Edward is very important to me," Tanya said, a slight look of resentment on her face. "To all of us, actually. You have no idea how important what you're doing is. You need to be completely dedicated to this, if youre serious about helping.

"Tanya, enough." Aro glared at her, causing her to take an immediate step back. "Why is he so important?" Aro furrowed his brow and moved closer to me. "Edward has a gift that we believe makes him more power than any vampire in the world right now. He was born to be a leader." The statement sent a chill down my spine. Edward a leader? Of the vampires? He was only seventeen, and he seemed far from confident in his new form. If their species was going to depend on him I could only imagine things were going to end up very, very badly. I was terrified for him. For all of them. What is it? The power? Im not at liberty to speak of it. I do know hes always been forced to suppress it, so its erratic and uncontrolled right now. Which can be dangerous to others. His gift is considered to be a dark power, and in our world, its against the rules to use it freely. I made a mental note of everything Aro had said and indicated my understanding by nodding once. Alice she has a dark power too, right? Do you know what hers is? Yes, Tanya said. Memory manipulation. She can erase anyones memories. Wow, I whispered, putting my head in my hands. Theyd just overloaded me with far too much information and Id had enough for the time being. Um, are we done here? Ive kind of had a long day. Between almost getting hit by a bus, finding out my theoretical soulmate is a vampire, and nearly being burned alive Im ready for bed. Yes, Aro said, nodding. Tanya will take you home. Well meet again tomorrow. Okay. I followed Tanya to the door and turned back to him before I left. Um thank you. For helping me, to help Edward. Youre welcome, Isabella, he said, cracking a smile for the first time that night. It was the last thing I saw as the heavy door slammed shut. * Edward stuck to his word, making it a point to avoid me for the rest of the week. I didnt want to go to school at all, knowing he was there and I couldnt be with him. The closest connection I had to him were our friends and his family, and that was the only thing that kept me going back day after day. At the end of that first week, Id started to miss Edward so much that I was almost in hysterics. Emmett, I said to him as we sat in class, waiting for the teacher to begin. How much longer? I dont know, Bella. He looked at me, pity radiating from his expression. I miss him. I need to talk to him about something important- please, Emmett. Please talk to him for me. You dont understand how stubborn Edward is, Emmett whispered, shaking his head. Youre a human. He doesnt want you being in danger its only because he cares so much about you.

I tapped the end of my pencil on my desk frantically, trying to ease my frustration. Then change me. One of you- No, he said, cutting me off. His voice was cold and his eyes seemed to darken suddenly. But, Rosalie and Jasper Bella, this conversation is over. You have no idea what youre talking about. Since I was getting nowhere with Emmett, I decided to go to Alice, mostly so that I could beg her into telling me if she saw Edward with me sometime in the future. For once, it was the right idea. I approached her before lunch, when she was waiting for Rosalie near her locker. She smirked when she saw me and sighed. I knew you were coming, she said, slamming her locker shut. I dont see anything right now. Im sorry. Alice. I grabbed her hand and gulped. Tell him I need to see him. Please, I begged, squeezing her hand as hard as I could. I know that he wants to see you. Hes been miserable. But hes so scared he doesnt want you to get hurt. He doesnt want to hurt you himself. I adjusted my bag on my shoulder, trying to think of something to say that she could relate back to Edward. Just tell him that I know he wont hurt me. And that I love him. No, she said, shaking her head. I cant do that youve never told him before. She mustve seen the pained look on my face because she tried recovering quickly. Dont worry about it, Ill try and talk to him. Id returned to Aros secret training room every night that week so we could try stretching my ability as far as we could. It was beyond tiring for me. I only went for an hour or so every night, because I was far too exhausted to stay any longer than that, and there hadnt been any noticeable change in what I was able to do. The training was starting to cause me physical pain, so on the fifth day I asked Aro for a break. Stop, I said, holding up my hand to the vampire that was assisting us. His name was Garrett, and he had the ability to make people go blind. I hated it. I couldnt block it out, because it wasnt like his power had different levels- you either saw black, or you didnt. I wasnt really paying attention since my mood was so foul, and after I kept failing over and over my frustration grew so much I just gave up. Whats wrong? Aro asked as I rubbed my eyes, the colors all starting to reappear slowly. I need sleep. My head hurts, I just want to go home, I answered. Id worked with Tanya the first day, but Aro was worried that if she spoke with Edward, he might read it in her mind that shed been helping me. Her older sister, Kate, had graduated two years before, so there was less of a chance of her running into Edward. I worked with her for the next three days.

Kates power was similar to Tanyas. Instead of making someone feel like they were on fire, Kate made people feel like they were being electrocuted. Both of them, like Emmett, werent supposed to use their powers, so they didnt have much control over them. The inconsistency ended up not working out in my favor. It made things that much more painful. I refused to work with Kate again after she electrocuted me so hard, I hit the wall and banged my head. Tanya was hunting for the weekend, so Garrett, Kates husband, offered to help. I agreed, only because I thought it would be less painful on my body. Which it was- my head just wasnt in it, so there wasnt any purpose of us trying anymore that day. Okay, Aro said, his voice disappointed. Go. Let me know when youre ready to start again. Thank you, I told him, collecting my belongings from the sofa. Before I left, an idea popped into my head. I turned and looked at Aro, then at Garrett. Can I see something really quickly? Sure, Garrett said. Aro took a few steps closer to us curiously. Okay. Um, go ahead and use your power, I instructed, standing uncomfortably close to him. I closed my eyes for a second, and when I opened them again my vision was gone. Aro had talked to me about my ability to push my shield out, which was what Id been doing with Edward whenever I read his mind, so I attempted to try it on Garrett. Dont stop doing it, I said, sticking my hand out and grabbing what I think was his forearm. All of a sudden I heard a gasp, so I pulled my hand back and my eyesight retuned again. Garrett was staring at me, wide eyed, his mouth hung open in shock. What? Aro grabbed his shoulders and shook him frantically. What did she do? She reflected, he murmured, still not blinking. Its true. Yeah, I discovered it with Edward. I thought maybe it was just him that I could do it with, but I guess not. Sorry if I scared you. Aro looked at me and pointed toward the door. You need rest, Bella. Goodnight. Did I do something wrong? I asked timidly, confused by their reaction to me. Absolutely not. I need to discuss some things with Garrett, if you dont mind. Ill be in touch. * It was only around seven when I got home. Charlie was working until later that night, so the apartment was absolutely silent. I was still in my dreadful uniform, therefore making my first priority taking a shower and changing into my pajamas. My body was in desperate need of rest, so I climbed into bed to take a quick nap before I made dinner for Charlie. I was just drifting off to sleep when I felt the chill on the back of my neck from the breeze blowing through my damp hair. I sat up, startled, and saw Edward standing up against the wall, absolutely still. Edward! I jumped out of bed and headed toward him eagerly, but he held up his hand and growled a little before I could get too close.

Give me a minute, he said, his voice gritty. I saw him turn his head to the open window and take a deep breath before he nodded. Come. I took each agonizing, slow step toward him, my insides bursting with impatience. It had been almost a week since Id even caught a glimpse of him, and the fact that he was right there, in my room, was almost overwhelming. As soon I was close enough to him that I could smell him, I stopped, knowing he could smell me too. Standing there, my hands clenched at my sides, I waited for him to make the next move. He let out the breath hed been holding in the whole time, and took one long stride forward, breaking the rest of the space between us. I reached my hand up hesitantly and pressed my palm against his cheek. Edward, I said, grabbing the other side of his face. Please stay with me. He closed his eyes and pressed his cheek into my hand, turning his head to the side and breathing in. It was then that I realized his nose was right near my wrist, and that he was smelling me. I cant stay away from you, he whispered, opening his eyes again. They were even lighter this time, but still not gold like the rest of his family. Im too selfish. Does it hurt? I asked him as he pressed his lips against my wrist. To be around me? Yes. But being without you hurts more. It was that exact moment when a tactical plan started churning in my head. I knew what I was planning was selfish, for both of us, but I felt it was something we needed to do. Can I ask you something? Before Edward could answer, my phone started ringing on my nightstand. I recognized the ringer as Alice. Obviously shed seen what Id planned. Its just Alice, I said, waving my hand. Okay you said it is possible to drink from humans and not kill them, right? Yes, but- I heard a buzzing noise and Edward pulled his phone from his pocket. Alice, he said. She probably wants to talk to you. Ill call her later. This is important, I said, putting my hand on his shoulder. I licked my lips and looked into his eyes. Drink from me. I want you to. He took a step back and shook his head, his eyes frantic. No! Bella, Ill drain you. Ill kill you! No, you wont. Your body is craving my blood maybe after you drink some of it, itll be easier for you to be around me. You wont want it as much. I believed what I was telling him, but my motives were ulterior. I wanted Edward drinking my blood so hed be stronger. If what Aro was saying about him was true, that he was more powerful than any of the other vampires, and that the only thing they had against him was the fact that they were stronger because of their diet, than that meant if Edward was drinking from me hed be just as strong as they were. I figured it was worth a shot.

Edward started backing toward the window, his face full of worry. I cant, he stuttered. Im not supposed to. Im willing to do anything for you, Edward. Arent you willing to do anything for me? He stopped walking and looked down at the floor. Yes. Then just try this. For me. I sat at the foot of my bed and pulled off my long-sleeved shirt before throwing my hair up and nodding at him. Edward sighed and walked over to me, kneeling between my legs. This is wrong, he said, wrapping his cold hands around my bare waist, squeezing gently. I slid forward and clenched his body between my knees. My hands slid up his arms, over his shoulders, and rested behind his neck. Its not. Where do you want to do it? Somewhere no one will see the mark. He pushed his lips against my sternum and my body was instantly covered in goosebumps. I kissed the top of his head as his nose grazed the skin near my heart, then my collarbone, then the side of my neck. I felt the vibration of his groan against my skin, and then his lips were moving up, kissing the hollow behind my ear. He slid them over my jaw and stopped right near the side of my mouth. It burns, he whispered. Being this close to you. It burns so much. You cant go, I said, my heart pounding quickly. I knew he could feel it, and hear it, but obviously my bodys natural reaction was to be scared. He could kill me at any second if he wanted to. Im not, he assured me. He moved his lips slowly, grazing them against mine before pressing forward gently. His kiss felt the same, just colder. The taste that I loved so much was stronger, and sweeter. I let the tip of my tongue glide against the crease between Edwards lips before moaning against his mouth and sighing. So sweet, I said, kissing him again. You taste so sweet. Its the venom, he murmured, chuckling lightly and pulling away. He grabbed my left hand and kissed my wrist again, before staring down at it as if he was contemplating what to do. Do it, Edward. I know you wont kill me. I trust you. I ran my thumb underneath the dark circles forming under his eyes and I kissed his forehead. Edward, were both in love with each other. Id never do anything to harm you. I know youd never harm me either. His eyes flickered and he involuntarily squeezed my hand, hard, smirking lazily at me. Oww, I whispered, staring down at our intertwined hands. He broke out of his daze and let go, sliding his hands all the way up my arms before cupping my face in his hands. Im sorry, he said, sounding embarrassed. Youre right. I am in love with you. Suddenly, his face was nuzzled in my neck, his lips flush against my skin, absolutely still. I felt his tongue slide across my neck, and then a slight sting as his teeth broke through the skin, but it wasnt anything unbearable. The venom mustve numbed it significantly. My breaths became quick and

shallow as I felt Edwards lips suction against and start swallowing my blood. I could hear him moaning in delight as his hands rose up to the back of my head, pushing my neck closer to him. Its so good, Bella. I need more. I nodded, even though I wasnt sure how much more I could take. His grip became uncomfortably tight, and his swallowing frenzied. It had only been about a minute, but I realized I was feeling lightheaded, so I swallowed heavily and forced myself to say something. Edward, stop. I felt my breathing starting to slow, and my body weakening, going limp in his hands. I heard a deep growl echo from his chest, and he removed his lips, licking the wound again and pressing his finger against it. He laid me down and balanced above me, his green eyes already changing color. Im so sorry. It was so good I couldnt stop. Im fine, I said, yawning. Just tired. How do you feel now? He kissed me, hard, leaving the irony taste of my own blood in my mouth. I feel better. You were right. I smiled and shivered, shimmying up the bed to get under the covers. Come on, Edward. Youre not leaving me. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and slid in behind me, pulling my back against his chest. Of course Im not leaving you, he murmured into my ear. Thank you for that. My phone rang again, causing me to groan. I reached over and grabbed it, flipped it open, and held it to my ear. What, Alice? You shouldve answered earlier when I called, she said, her voice flat. You both just made a terrible mistake.

Chapter 9 ~ Aggression
What do you mean, I asked Alice, turning my head back to glance at Edward. I put the phone on speaker and rested it on my pillow. He cant drink from you again, Alice answered, her impassive voice echoing throughout my room. I cant see whats happening with either of you. It keeps changing. Everything was clear, and then I saw him drinking from you, and all of a sudden everything was flashing.

How do you even know its from that? Edward didnt seem concerned, at all. Edward. Please dont question me. Her voice was bordering on irritated, and it worried me a little. Id never seen Alice in anything but a positive mood, and the fact that Edward was taking it all so lightly seemed ominous. If anything bad was going to happen, youd see it. If we were going to die, youd see black. It isnt anything crucial, Alice. Our paths are just changing. Edward! Alice was shouting now, her mouth so close to the phone that the speaker was crackling. I know how you feel right now. But you should be reasonable about this! Edward looked at me and smiled, unaffected by Alices apprehension. Everythings flashing because I came over here, on a whim, and both our paths changed because of it. Just calm down. Its over now, and nothing is changed. I heard Alice growl lightly into the phone and I jumped. Fine. Its hurting my head trying to watch you both, anyway. With that the line went dead, and Edward raised an eyebrow. Do you feel okay? I nodded and lay back down on my pillow. I feel fine. I felt his arm wrap around my stomach and he pulled my back into his chest, pressing his lips against my shoulder. Good, he said against my skin, kissing a little path up to my neck every few seconds. Your blood it was indescribable. I realized at that moment why hed been so terse with Alice. He enjoyed drinking from me so much, it was clouding his logic. The fact that he was there, right then, happy and satisfied and able to be around me without issue, almost made me completely disregard the sinking feeling I had in my stomach. Edward. I rolled over so that I was facing him and I put my hand on his cheek. Show me your other power. No, he said, shutting his eyes. He turned his head slightly and kissed my palm. Why do you want to see it so much? I want to see if I can block it. You cant, he said, laughing nervously. No one can. Just do it. For me. The last thing I remembered was Edwards eyes gazing into mine and the familiar ache in my temple. It was the strangest thing thatd happened to me yet. One second we were together on my bed. When I regained consciousness I was standing on the other side of my room, Edward sitting at the edge of my mattress.

What just happened? I asked him quietly, my head feeling cloudy. He shrugged before standing up and walking over to my window. What did you do? Your fathers home. I have to go. Without another word, he hopped out of my window, into the dark night. I stood there, trying to comprehend whatd just happened. I ran over to my phone to check the time and I stared at it, confused. The last thing I remembered before Id asked Edward to use his power was talking to Alice. But when I looked at the time on the phone, it said that Id talked to her 15 minutes earlier. How was that possible? If that was right, it meant 15 minutes of my life had just gone by, and I had no recollection of it. Id moved from my bed, but I had no memory of getting up and walking across the room. What the hell had we done, traveled through time or something? It was bizarre. Unexplainable. Nothing made any sense. I heard my father walking around in the other room, and the distraction was welcome. I shut my phone off, too in denial to face what went on, and I threw a sweatshirt on and left my room. * Monday morning was dull and dreary. I sat at my usual desk in Biology, still alone, because Edward wasnt returning to the class, and I watched the rain cascade down the windows, the erratic patterns making me sleepy. I fiddled with the sleeves of my cardigan with my fingertips and waited anxiously for class to finish. When the bell finally rang, breaking me out of my daze, I threw my bag over my shoulder and bolted out the door, heading straight to where I knew Edward would be. Id strategized the entire weekend so that I could run into him, since I knew hed still be avoiding me. I was only a couple steps down the hallway when I felt an ice cold hand wrap around my arm. Bella, Edward said, pulling me into a deserted stairwell. Why arent you going to class? I was looking for you, I confessed, touching the dark circles that were forming under his eyes. Whats the matter? Why do you look so tired? Not tired. Thirsty, he said, his voice deep and gravelly. He took a step closer to me and tilted his head down, leaning into my ear. I had a long weekend, he whispered, pressing his lips against my neck. I shivered and turned my head to the side so I could kiss his cheek. Me too. I missed you. Edward cupped my face in his hands and his lips met mine for a second. He let his hands fall and grabbed my hand, pulling me toward the stairs. Come on, he said, climbing the stairs too quickly for me. I was out of breath by the time we got to the top, but Edward didnt seem to notice. He unlocked the door to the pool and pulled me inside without even turning the light on. He shut the door behind me, and in an instant, my feet were off the floor. Edward had picked me up and pinned me against the wall. I couldnt see anything; I could only hear the hoarse groans and uneven breaths coming from his chest. I felt his icy lips on my neck, my collarbone, behind my ear.

His hands were wrapped around my waist, and I linked my legs together behind his back to hold myself up. I felt his fingertips glide up my torso and fiddle with the buttons on my shirt anxiously. I heard one pop off and bounce against the cement floor as Edward pushed his mouth against mine eagerly, gently taking my bottom lip between his teeth. I shivered at the feeling, and suddenly I realized his agenda behind this little meeting. This wasnt about us making out, like we used to during lunch when he was still human. This was desperate and impatient, and although I didnt doubt his physical attraction to me, this was something more. He wanted me. He was thirsty. Hed brought me there, to that pitch dark place, so that Alice couldnt see what we were doing or where we were. My willpower was diminished whenever I was around him, which I didnt see as a weakness. I worshiped Edward, to the point where I was willing to give my own life to him. As stupid as it seemed, my main purpose had somehow become him; making him happy, and keeping him healthy and safe. I knew that he was adjusting, and confused, and overwhelmed by the gifts he held. So, instead of heading Alices warning, I gave in. Just drink, I told him, pulling open my shirt the rest of the way. Where do you want to? Here, he mumbled, running his tongue along the skin underneath my collarbone, right above my heart. I took a deep breath as his teeth sunk into my skin, and within seconds, he was noticeably calmer, his grip on my body more relaxed, and his overall demeanor more tranquil. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the wall, listening to his enthusiastic suckling and waiting as long as I could. After a couple minutes, I felt a woozy feeling rush through my head, so I cleared my throat and tapped his shoulder. Okay, stop, I said nervously. Instantly, Edwards tongue grazed over the wound and I felt his chilly hand pushing against my chest to stop the bleeding. Thank you, he murmured, kissing my forehead. He unlinked my legs and set me down on the floor, where I needed to hold onto the wall for support. Just wait here with me for a minute, I whispered, feeling weak. Im not going anywhere. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me close to him, holding my head against his chest. Why didnt you go this weekend? With your family? I did, he answered quietly. I cant eat animals. Not after Ive tasted you. A chill went through my body at his words, but instead of taking action against what he said, I gulped and tried to stay calm. Is that a bad thing? I dont know, he said, pressing his lips against my temple.

I felt his cold fingers run up the back of my neck and into my hair, and I leaned my head back into his palm, the icy feeling cooling my body down immensely. Bella, can I ask you something? I nodded, and his hand flitted down my neck. I cant hear you. At all. Its strange. Do you know why that is? I swallowed heavily and hesitated before answering. I dont know, I murmured. It was a lie. Clearly, all the practice Id had with Aro had strengthened my shield considerably, and it had advanced enough that I was completely blocking Edward out without even trying. * That afternoon, I went back to Edwards house after school. I was lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, listening to him absentmindedly play the piano. It had started to get noticeably colder outside, so I was still wearing Edwards blazer which hed taken off and given me when we walked out of school. Edward? Hmm? Do Rose and Jaspers parents know that theyve changed? Edward sighed and continued pressing down erratically on the keys without answering me. Yes, he said finally. I heard the bench slide against the floor and within a second he was standing by the bed, staring down at me. He had loosened his tie, which he usually did when he left school, and the top three buttons of his shirt were open, revealing a little bit of his chest that I was aching to touch. It freaks me out when you move that fast. Sorry, he muttered, kneeling down on the floor. I turned my head to the side so that I could look at him, and I let my fingers inattentively glide across his cheek. You should speak to my father soon. Where is he? Working, Edward said, tapping his hands anxiously on the edge of the bed. Maybe later on. I turned my head back to the ceiling and left my fingertips on Edwards face. Suddenly, I felt his ice cold fingers grazing up my thigh, near the hem of my skirt, and I gasped. Edward? My voice shook as his fingers crept up slowly, leaving a trail of goose bumps in their wake. What, Bella? If we were to do it right now. Would there be a chance I could have a vampire baby? Edward stared at me for a few seconds blankly before a smile broke out across his face. I have no idea, he said, chuckling a little bit. If a vampire and a human can have a baby, then can a half-vampire and a human have a baby, too?

I dont know. His fingertips traced the edge of my underwear, near the inside of my thigh, and I quivered a little bit. What? Cold, I whispered, my thumb pressing against his bottom lip. So, are Rosalie and Emmett like together forever now? And Alice and Jasper? Edward nodded and climbed onto the bed. Yeah. What about us? What are we? He rolled over so quickly all I saw was a blur, and when I looked up he was hovered above me, his mouth turned up slightly on the right side. Your mine, he said, kissing my lips gently. And Im yours. So, then why was it okay for your family to change Rosalie and Jasper, but you wont change me? I felt Edwards cool breath hitting my face as he sighed exasperatedly. Without warning, he hooked his fingers around the elastic of my underwear and pulled them down my leg. Its not necessary right now, he said into my lips, sliding his tongue across the crease of my mouth. I grabbed the back of his head and forced his face harder into mine, as I groaned, overwhelmed with my passion for him. We should calm down. He pulled back, his strength no match for mine, and I pouted to show my displeasure. I cant sleep with you, he said, swallowing hard. Its dangerous. I dont know that Ill be able to control myself, and if I hurt you- I cant hurt you. I ignored him, instead opting to undo the rest of his buttons. When I was done, I pulled his tie over his head without undoing it and let his shirt slide off his shoulders, revealing his flawless, fair chest. I placed my palm flat against where his heart used to be and let it skim downward across his skin, until I got to the waistband of his pants, where he swatted my hand away. Dont ignore me, he said, kissing my forehead and smiling. Im only thinking of you. I dont care. I sat up, pushing Edwards shoulders with my hands so hed move with me. Edward, I dont think you really understand. I want to be with you, forever. I would rather die than be away from you again. Im keeping my mouth shut about the fact that youre refusing to change me, because Im hoping that youll change your mind about that. But until then, you are not going to deprive me of your body. Hurt me. I dont care. He frowned and stared at me for a couple seconds, his lips pursed slightly. You just said a lot. I know. Theres a lot running through my mind. I wouldnt know, he mumbled. You block me out all the time now. His face looked slightly offended, so I squinted at him and closed my eyes, lowering my shield like Id been practicing. I let Edward listen to all of the inappropriate, perverse thoughts about him that were running through my mind, and suddenly his lips were on mine, so I stopped. Youre letting your hormones rule your thinking, he said, laughing at me. There are other things more important than sex.

I agree. But its important to me. The way I feel about you. The pull dont you think it means something? Yes. He licked his lips quickly and nodded once. Our physicality only makes our bond stronger. Dont you think? From that day at school, near the pool, to when we slept together, to when you drank from me it all makes the draw I feel toward you significantly stronger. Does it do the same thing for you? He nodded again. I grabbed his hand and kissed the center of his palm before he rolled his eyes and turned his head toward the door. As if right on cue, there was a frantic knocking. I hoped it wasnt Esme, as I looked down and realized my position straddling Edward, as he sat there shirtless, was far from appropriate. The door opened and Alice stormed in, her eyes shooting from Edwards to mine. Stop pushing him, Bella. Edward, dont do it. Then, she walked over and grabbed my collar and yanked it to the side, revealing the two purple scabs from where Edward had bitten me earlier in the day. I dont understand why you dont listen to me, she said, sneering at him. He squinted and growled a little, before roughly lifting me off him and standing up confrontationally. Alice just stood there, arms crossed over her chest, her expression unchanged. I know how you feel, Edward, Ive done it before. But you need to stop this- A gritty snarl escaped from Edwards chest, making me jump. Edward, stop- I reached out to touch his arm but he recoiled, keeping his eyes on Alice. Its none of your business, he said to her, scowling. She said nothing, but he answered again, clearly reading her mind. No. Im fine. Alice looked at me and shook her head. Look at how aggressive hes becoming. This is what I was afraid of. Edward growled again and leapt at her, but she was across the room, unphased, in a split second. She closed her eyes and slammed the door to his room, and I sat there on the bed, taken aback by how hed acted. What are you doing? Why are you being so hostile? Shes a hypocrite. She thinks she knows everything its irritating. He started toward me, realizing how uncomfortable I was feeling, and visibly softened. Im sorry. I didnt mean to scare you. I put my hands on either side of his neck and narrowed my eyes on him. Edward, try and keep your head rational. If Alice is this worried maybe we should listen to her. He looked down at the ground and I stepped forward, kissing underneath his chin and then stepping on my tiptoes so that I could kiss his lips. His body relaxed considerably, so I wrapped my arms around his neck and hugged him. He lifted me up with ease and sat back down on his bed,

where he continued kissing me the way he had before Alice had come in. I let him, and didnt push further, because as much as I desired him, my anxiety suddenly dominated. When it started to get late and Carlisle still hadnt returned home from work, I asked Edward to bring me home. I knew Charlie would be calling soon, and I was becoming sleepy. When we walked downstairs, a thought suddenly popped into my head that Id nearly forgotten about, and I grabbed Edwards hand. I forgot to ask you, I said, stopping dead in my tracks. He raised an eyebrow at me and waited. The other day. In my room. You used your power on me? He nodded and pulled me, forcing me to continue walking. Yes. I dont remember what you did. I was just there, on the other side of my room, and 15 minutes had gone by. He nodded again and said nothing. So what was it? I dont understand. Its odd, he said, shaking his head. I havent intentionally used it for a long time. But now that Ive changed I have more control over it. Almost complete control. Now I understand why they dont want me using it- the Volturi. Theyre scared. I sighed and squeezed his hand. What did you do? He smiled wide, and looked up the stairs. Ill show you.

Chapter 10 ~ Leader
Usually, seeing Edward smile made me inexplicably giddy. For some reason, this time, it gave me a chill. Hed started to grow impatient with my lack of speed, so instead of dragging me up the stairs, he just lifted me by the waist with one arm and flew up to the next level, where Alices room was, and dropped me in front of her door. I stood there, my hand on my chest, trying to let my measly human brain catch up with Edwards vampiric reflexes. It was all just a little overwhelming. Hold on, Edward said, smirking. Emmett will want to see this. He flew to the next staircase and back so fast I barely comprehended it. Within seconds, Emmett was standing behind me. Edward shoved open the door to Alices room, where she was standing there, frozen, her eyes fixed on him. What are you going to do? I cant see anything, Edward! Stop it! I heard Emmetts loud guffawing behind me, and my eyes shot from Alices frantic face to Edward, who was squinting at her. Edward, shes scared. Why is she so scared? I walked over to Alice and put my hand on her shoulder. She was backing toward the wall, her eyes blank and still fixated on Edward.

Bella, block him or something! I know that youve been practicing. My mouth dropped open and I felt my face flush. Something in the tone of her voice revealed that shed seen what Id been doing with Aro, which made me extremely uncomfortable. I wondered how long she'd known and why she hadn't told anyone yet. How how do you- Lets just say your trainer slipped and dropped his shield, she spat, cutting me off. What is she talking about? Edward asked me before looking intently at her, probably trying to pick the image out of Alices head. She knew what he was doing, and thought of something else, or whatever it was that she did when she didnt want Edward to read her mind. He growled, his fists balled up at his sides, making Emmett laugh again. The look on Edwards face was frightening. He was already frustrated with Alice and aggressive from the thought of not being able to drink from me. As if that wasn't enough, he thought Id betrayed him and was going behind his back, in cahoots with someone else. Which I sort of was, but it was strictly for his benefit, otherwise I wouldve had no part in lying to him. Or omitting information, which was how I justified it with my conscience. All of a sudden, I felt Alices shoulder go lax. I looked at her and noticed her face was completely vacant of any emotion, and she wasnt breathing or blinking. I knew it wasnt necessary for them to do either, but Id come to notice that they did it out of habit, to seem human. When I looked at Edward, his eyes were closed tightly and his hands were flat over his ears. Move away from her, Emmett said to me. Scared, I glanced at Alice, whos head turned toward me slowly. She smiled and blinked once before responding. Its okay, she said softly, her voice almost detached. I wont hurt you. I jumped back and Emmett and Alice both laughed, Edward still frozen in the same position. What the hell is going on? I asked, running across the room to hide behind Edward. Emmett grabbed my arm and pulled me so that I couldnt touch him. Just watch, Emmett said excitedly, not at all phased by the fact that Alice had suddenly turned into a zombie or something. Hes going to do something funny. Its always funny. What do you mean hes going to do something funny? Edward. Just shut up and watch, Bella. You ask too many questions. I took a deep breath and stood there, just observing Alice, since Edward was doing absolutely nothing and I found no entertainment in staring at his stiff, unmoving form. Well, I mean, usually I did, but at the moment it wasnt my priority. I was interested in seeing his power in action. Alice looked around the room a couple times, her eyes shooting from wall to wall. Suddenly, she spotted something, and she flew across the room in a split second to it. Her purse. The amazing, luxurious, designer bag that she and Rosalie had been in awe of for days when Alice had finally received it from the waiting list shed put herself on months before. As far as I knew, it was Alices favorite possession besides her car. And she had a lot of belongings.

I heard a chuckle escape from her throat and in one motion, she grabbed both sides of her bag and ripped it into two pieces, the contents of it scattering all over the ground. Emmett started laughing hysterically, and I swear if they were physically able to cry, he wouldve been at that moment. Oh, God, he said, bending over and holding his stomach. This is too much. Just stop, Edward. Dads going to get angry. I dont care, Alice answered. It was right then that I realized what Edwards power was. Alice wouldve never ripped her bag in half. Edward was in her head. Controlling her. Oh, my God! Edward, this is what you did to me?! What did I do for 15 minutes while you were in my head? My brain was going a mile a minute, and I started feeling dizzy. I put my hand on my forehead and started taking deep breaths. I bet I know what he did, Emmett said between his chuckling. Alice tilted her head back and started giggling loudly. Thats disgusting, I said to Emmett. How would that even work? Im so confused right now. I didnt do anything like that, Alice said, waving her hand in my direction casually. Dont pay attention to him. Get out of her head, I said, stomping toward the door, simultaneously trying not to step on any of Alices things that were sprinkled across her floor. This is so fucking weird. Im going to the hospital to talk to Carlisle. No! Alice exclaimed, holding her palms up in front of her. Hold on. After a brief moment, Edward spun around to me, smirking, and Alice started blinking again, before she spotted her purse on the ground, ripped in half. She screamed and sprinted at Edward, tackling him onto the ground. He was laughing and not really fighting back, but that didn't stop Alice from hitting him in the face repeatedly with her tiny fists, a loud thump and vibration coming from every blow. Emmett watched in amusement for a few seconds before pulling her off of him and holding her long enough for Edward to get off the floor and run to the door. Mind your business next time, he said to her, before grabbing my hand and dragging me down the hall. Youre going to get us all killed! Every single one of us! Her too, Alice screamed after him. Then everything that theyve worked so hard on will have been for nothing! I hope to God that it isnt true, Edward! If all of us are depending on you to keep us safe, then were all dead! All of us! Youre no leader! He stopped in his tracks, cocked his head to the side, and then kept walking to the staircase, brushing her off. Edward? I asked quietly, my voice shaking. Dont listen to her, he said, already knowing what I was going to say. Shes just angry.

We stopped in the foyer and I spun toward him, my eyes pleading. I want to talk to Carlisle. I want to talk to him now. Its late, Bella. I dont know when hes going to be home. I could ask Alice, but for some reason I dont think she wants to speak to me right now. He smirked again and let out a quiet chuckle. "I dont care, I told him, not finding the comedy in everything. Ill wait. I refuse to leave this house night after night, confused and worried for both of our lives. This all has something to do with me! I need to know. I have the right to know, Edward!" Edward sighed and shrugged. Okay. Call your father. I called Charlie to let him know I was at the Cullens and I wouldn't be home for a while, which he unsurprisingly had no problem with. Afterward, I met Edward in the living room, where he was sitting on the sofa reading a biography on Frdric Chopin. He set the book down on his lap when I walked in and patted the spot on the sofa next to him. Youve been training, he stated, obviously still bothered by what Alice had said earlier. Yes, I answered timidly. For you. I want to be able to protect you. Edward laughed and ran his hand through his hair anxiously. Bella, you know how I feel about this. My main priority is keeping you safe. Dont worry about me right now. Nothing is going to happen. I beg to differ. I ran my thumb up the side of his cold, hard cheek and gulped. Edward, if something happened to you, I would die. Really, I dont know what would happen to me. Youre all that matters to me anymore. He blinked a few times, but his eyes softened and the corner of his mouth turned up slightly on one side. I feel the same way. I know, I stated strongly to him. So you shouldnt question what Im doing. Because I know youd do the same for me if you could. Right? He looked away from me and nodded. We sat together in silence for a couple minutes, both of us just taking in all that had happened between us lately. Typically, I had a hard time reading Edward's emotions, but right then, I felt like the two of us were on the same page. How important we were to each other was undeniable. So are we ever going to be able to you know? I tried to break the slence by being funny, but I was still curious. He laughed and grazed his fingers across my thigh, leaning his head in to kiss the side of my neck. Soon, I hope. Soon like now? No. Tomorrow? Bella, he reprimanded. Please. Be quiet. Ive had a long day. You can control peoples minds, I said, sneaking in the subject change. Right?

He nodded and pressed on his left temple with his fingertips. Its strange. Before I changed I would do it on accident, and when I would do it, I had absolutely no control over it. I tried, but it was almost like I dont know how to explain it to you. It was like I was underwater. I couldnt hear well, or move fast, and I saw everything blurry. So it would be strange. Very strange. That was why Emmett enjoyed watching it so much. But, now that Ive changed everything is so much clearer. I see why they didnt want me using it. I mean, I can do anything I want. No one has any chance of defending themselves against me. That scares them. Why is your family so threatened by these other vampires? I mean, wasn't your father a part of their group at one time? Why would they hurt his family? Did he do something wrong to them? Yes, Edward said, looking down at the ground. He blatantly disobeyed their rules. No one ever stands up to them. I cleared my throat and sat there in silence, tapping my finger against my chin, deep in thought. Edward suddenly shifted and grabbed both of my hands before taking a deep breath. What do you know about your father? Before you were born? My father? I asked, confused. Yes. Well I know he grew up in Arizona. He met my mother there. They went to high school together- No, after that, Edward said, cutting me off. I tried to think about anything I knew about my father, but the knowledge I had of his life was bleak. He and my mother had separated when I was very young, and that was when he moved to New York. I saw him pretty infrequently throughout my life. He wasnt often a topic of discussion between my mother and I. All I really knew about him were things that were mentioned in passing. When he graduated from high school, he went backpacking through Europe- wait! As soon as the sentence escaped from my mouth, I realized the connection. Your parents! Did he meet them there? Is that how he knows them? Edward smiled and raised an eyebrow, before pointing at the doorway. I turned my head and within a few seconds, Carlisle walked into the room. Oh hello Bella. I didnt expect to see you here. He dropped his jacket over the back of a chair and smiled. Just tell her, Edward said, sighing. Tell her everything. She needs to know. Carlisle stared at Edward, the expression on his face one of surprise. I saw Edward nod slightly, and I shoved him in the shoulder. Stop it, I said to him. Talk out loud, please. They both ignored me, but after a couple moments of Edward reading his mind, he exhaled loudly and stood up from the sofa. No, he exclaimed. Absolutely not!

It was just an idea, Carlisle said out loud. Come on, Bella. Well go talk in my office. Edward and I followed Carlisle into his office. It wasnt anything out of the ordinary; there were pictures of his family around, diplomas dotting the mahogany walls, bookshelves circling the edge of the room, a huge desk with a computer on it and two large, leather armchairs across from it. Edward and I each took a seat in one as Carlisle sat across from us at his desk. I scooted my chair as close to Edwards as I could and laced my fingers with his. Inexplicably, there was a raging physical desire growing inside my body to be as close to him as I could at all times. Well, Bella, I dont really know where youd like me to start? I shrugged and said the first thing that came to mind. You were born human? Yes. I was changed by another vampire. He looked at me and sighed. I think I can answer some questions for you. Its a lot of information so Ill make it as simple as possible. Okay, I said. Edward squeezed my hand. Go ahead. I was part of the Volturi, which Edward has explained to me you know something about. They are basically vampire royalty. Leaders of all vampires in the world. They have these sets of laws and rules that all are supposed to abide by, in order to avoid exposure to the outside world. The problem is that they are power hungry, vicious, and uncompassionate. They see no problem in murdering innocent people, for example, just as long as it is for their benefit. Their entire existence has suddenly turned into a fight to keep the corrupt power theyve always possessed. And they consider me the person to blame for it. Why? I asked. What did you do? Carlisle gave Edward a glance, but I didnt see him nod, or shake his head, or any of the other things he often did when reading peoples minds. Ive always been empathetic, of vampires and humans alike. I have this belief that we can co-exist peacefully. Theres no reason why we couldnt. Not only is it possible for us to survive on animal blood, but it also mitigates our aggressive nature and makes it easier to resist the scent of human blood. Edward tensed a little bit, and I gulped, realizing that my grand idea of making Edward stronger was only backfiring in our faces and obscuring his judgment. But, I kept quiet, not wanting to interrupt Carlisles lecture. We can live normal lives, all of us. It doesnt have to be separate, as they prefer it to be. So, the fact that I migrated here, with some allies of mine that held the same beliefs as I did, didnt fare well with them. Wait, I said, holding up my hand. Why did you come here? I wanted to have a life with Esme, he explained, smiling at the mention of her name. I met Esme while she was studying in Italy. She was human, though. And relationships like ours were strictly forbidden. Not just because of the risk of exposure, but because of the fear of reproducing. Because of their powers? The children? Carlisle nodded at me. We dont know exactly why hybrids are born with such strong powers. But, regardless, their strengths are an undeniable threat to the Volturi. Years before I was changed,

there was a genocide, and all of the hybrids were killed, along with their makers. It was extremely taboo for anyone to communicate with humans after that. So, I had to keep my relationship with Esme a secret. I knew that if we were to get caught, they would kill the both of us. But, one night, I stumbled upon something that changed our lives. I dont think we should tell her, Edward blurted out, ripping his hand from my grasp. This is personal. He should tell her. Weve talked about this before, Edward. Charlie would rather not discuss it. It pains him. Charlie would rather not discuss what?! What are you talking about? I shot up out of the chair and looked back and forth between them, waiting for someone to spill. I had a friend her same was Sasha. She was part of the Volturi before me. We had bonded immediately, and she was my closest friend. I considered her to be my sister. When I first started seeing Esme, I had snuck out one night to visit her. I was walking back home, very late, and I caught Sasha socializing with a human your father. I dropped into my chair, my mouth open, trying to comprehend what exactly it was that Carlisle was telling me. My father had a relationship with a vampire, before hed reconnected with my mother and had me. I was completely blown away. My father? What happened? Sasha revealed to me that she knew of multiple vampires that were sneaking around with humans. So the two of us started planning. It wasnt a revolution; we didnt want their power. We just wanted to start our own coven, somewhere else, and be left alone in peace. We gathered a unit of almost 100 vampires and humans that were willing to go along with us. Some of them wanted to live together, some were humans that believed we were equals and shouldve been treated as such. It was all extremely well thought out, and intricately planned. Unfortunately, though, things didnt work out as smoothly as wed hoped. When I turned my head, Edward was watching me, his face almost sympathetic. I didnt understand what reason he had for looking at me that way, but I didnt ask. I was too overcome with emotion, learning about my father, to do anything but sit there and listen. We needed to leave Italy, before any of the Volturi became aware of what we were doing. The migration was rushed, and regrettably, a majority of people stayed behind to complete to work we had yet to finish in Europe. A mistake was made, and some information was revealed, and within a few years, our whole plan was exposed. To teach us a lesson, and warn us against trying to compete with their rule, the Volturi found your father and Sasha, and they killed her. He gave up at that point, returned home, and that was when he reconnected with your mother. I made a quick attempt at trying to add up dates to try and make sense of things in my head, but my attempts were in vein. Id been given too much information to wrap my head around, and I was far too emotional at that moment to be logical. I want to hear about Edward, I said softly. About him being this leader, or whatever. Carlisle raised both of his eyebrows and sighed. While doing research, we learned that the main reasoning behind the killings was that an invincible hybrid existed that they believed to be a major

threat to them. It was almost as if he was destined to protect his kind. There was no one whose power even came close to competing with his. He was a danger to the Volturi because he was levelheaded and fair, and he had a legion of followers. Their authority was slipping day by day, so of course, that was their solution. Kill everyone. Anyway, the moral of this is, that it was rumored that if hybrids started existing again, the same thing would happen. There would be one vampire that would have an unparalleled, offensive power, to fend off predators and protect his kind. We were almost certain as soon as he was born that it was Edward. I swallowed heavily and wrapped my arm around Edwards, pulling him as close to me as I could. Carlisle laughed at my nervous gesture and shook his head. Dont be afraid, Bella. Edward is uncomfortable with his position right now, but he is strong and this is all new to him. More importantly, though, he has something that the other leader never had. Really? I asked, feeling slightly relieved. Carlisle nodded. Yes. He has you.

Chapter 11 ~ Passion And Hunger
I stared blankly at Carlisle, my heart suddenly thumping inexplicably loud. What? I asked. Me? How Carlisles eyes suddenly shot to Edwards, and they had a silent conversation, Edward just shaking his head, nodding, or shrugging every few seconds. I watched them for a moment, too overwhelmed to yell at Edward for dishonoring my request to speak to people out loud when I was around. Bella, he finally said, running his finger up and down my forearm. Everywhere he touched me tingled, even after the contact broke. Remember what I said, about there being guards that were human? I gulped and nodded once, briefly recalling one of many revealing conversations wed had in the short time wed known each other. Im sure you know by now, but it wasnt an accident that youre here. We brought you here. I held my hand up to my chest and glared at him, confused. You brought me here? I thought you said you wanted me having no part- Yeah, well, it wasnt me exactly. I didnt know of everyones plans until right before you arrived here. And when I got to know you, the last thing I wanted was to put you in danger. But, the thing is, if you werent here with us they wouldve found you. I looked across the desk at Carlisle, who was clearly feeding what to say into Edwards head. Why arent you saying anything? I asked.

I just feel like it might be more comfortable for you to hear these things from Edward, he answered quietly, standing up from his chair. Its getting late, I think we should discuss this further at another time. Ill be upstairs if you need me, Edward. When Carlisle was gone, Edward grabbed my hand and pulled, setting me in his lap and wrapping his arms around my stomach. Are you scared of me now? He whispered in my ear, chuckling a little bit. No. Why would I be scared of you? Because Im destined to be some big vampire king and protect all of my kind and I have these ridiculous powers I can barely control. Edward. I spun my body around and straddled his lap so that I was facing him. If anything, this makes me want to be with you more. Just like you dont want anything happening to me I told you. Id die if anything happened to you. He tucked a piece of hair behind my ear and let out a low, quiet breath. I should take you home, he muttered, looking down into my lap. "Can't I just sleep here, in your room?" I asked Edward quietly, pressing my lips against his ear as I spoke. I have things I want to know about all this, still- "No. Your father thinks you're going home." His voice was steady and unwavering. It discouraged me a little, not to mention, made me question my sexual prowess. I ran my thumb across the hollow beneath his eye, where a purple mark was clearly forming. "Are you still hungry?" I asked, feeling responsible. "I'm fine," Edward whispered. He grabbed my hand and moved in from his face, setting it down on my leg. "Your eyes look dark." "Yeah, my food supply is limited," he said with a chuckle. He slanted his head and breathed into my neck, causing my body to shiver. "My only source is a frail, feeble little human." "I'm not frail," I choked out. "And you need to start eating like the rest of your family. Don't think I didn't hear what your father said about the aggression. You're already getting mean. And he's going to notice your eyes, Edward. They're still not gold." "Fine, Bella," he said exasperatedly. "Ill start the next time we make a trip. I promise." "Okay." I pulled the shirttails out of his pants and slid my hand underneath it, letting my fingers glide along his cold, hard skin. His muscles tightened, probably because of the contrasting temperatures. Or, it may have been the fact that suddenly it seemed Edward was only interested in my nutritional significance and nothing else. What does it feel like? When youre thirsty? It hurts, Edward said, gently scratching his throat. Its bearable, but its uncomfortable. I dont want you to hurt. Im fine right now, he assured me, smiling slightly.

Then why are your eyes turning purple? I asked, not believing him. I didnt drink that much from you before, he said with a sigh. Come on, lets go. He lifted me of his lap effortlessly and placed me on my feet before exiting Carlisles office. I followed him into the foyer, where my shoes were, and I looked down at them with contempt. I want to stay here, Edward, I begged, squeezing his hand. Please. If youre worried about Charlie, Ill go home before he wakes up, and he wont even know. I dont want to leave you right now. Edward noticed the desperation in my voice, and he let out an exasperated grunt. Fine, he said with a nod, giving up. Stay. I grinned and started flying up the stairs toward his room. I didnt even hear him approach behind me, but he threw me over his shoulder with one arm and within two seconds hed dropped me onto his bed with a chuckle. Dont do that, I told him, rubbing my eyes to try and stop the dizziness that had filled my head. Or at least warn me. Its funnier my way, he said, lying down on his back and putting his hands behind his head. I crawled up the bed and kneeled next to him, placing my palms on either side of his chest. Edward? Yes? I need something to sleep in. I grabbed a handful of the fabric of my skirt and scrunched my nose. This isnt comfortable. Go ask Alice, he offered, rejecting my advances, again. His lips parted, and I was temporarily hypnotized by the sight of him sliding his tongue along his bottom lip. Before he could say anything, my body instinctually pounced on top of him, and I pressed my lips against the tip of his tongue, gently. Edward seemed to be frozen, the only noticeable reaction being a muffled snarl, which vibrated against my mouth. You cant just do that, he said finally, grabbing my waist and flipping me over. One second I was on top of him, the next I had blinked and was looking up at his faultless, smiling face. You need to be more careful. I can kill you. Remember? I smirked and craned my neck up to kiss him again, but he recoiled. You have more control than that, Edward, I muttered, rolling my eyes. Stop being so paranoid. Fine. Hope it doesnt hurt when you ambush my mouth without warning one day and I drain you. I laughed at him and starting pulling at little tuffs of his hair, but he wasnt amused. It really isnt funny. We shouldnt be joking about it. Okay, Im sorry, I said, closing my eyes for a second. I know how hard this is for you. But I just want you. No, need you. I need you. Please just kiss me. Edward rubbed his face with his one hand, and grabbed both of my wrists with his other. Okay, he sighed.

He leaned over, so slowly it felt like it took forever, and he let his lips brush against mine , just barely. I whimpered and tried to push my mouth against his, but he put his hand on my shoulder and pulled away. Bella. Edward. Stop, he said. Teasingly, he tilted his head down and ran his tongue along the crease of my lips, and when he got to the middle, I opened my mouth and let the tip of my tongue graze against his. You taste so good, I whispered. Like honey. He laughed once and slipped his tongue further into my mouth, pressing it against mine more fervently. No, its like syrup. Why do you taste so strong right now? Its the venom, he answered, pulling away from me. Because of me? Because Im so close to you. I nodded and pursed my lips so hed kiss me again, and he did. I hummed into his mouth before biting down gently on his bottom lip and moaning. Is it going to hurt me? No, he answered, smirking mischievously. Youre not going to change from swallowing it, if thats what youre thinking. The taste and the scent is just to seduce prey. And Im starting to think its an aphrodisiac to you. I giggled against Edwards skin as I started planting kisses up the line of his jaw, stopping near his ear and moving down his neck. I wrapped my legs around his torso and felt my skirt ride up. Edward let go of my wrists and instantly I felt his icy hands sliding up my thighs, squeezing gently along the way. Why are you doing this to me? he asked, grumbling into my shoulder. I could feel his self control slipping away with each second that passed. I cant control the way I feel when Im around you. I dont do it on purpose. Well, try to control yourself, he begged. He reached over me, to his headboard, and snapped a decorative ball off the top of one of the iron bed posts. Look. I watched in awe as he clenched his fist closed with ease. When he opened it again, his palm had a pile of black dust in it, which he threw over his shoulder onto the floor. Its so easy for me to hurt you. Try and understand. I exhaled through my teeth, despairingly, and wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling his body close to mine. I could feel the coldness, even with the layers of clothes between us, and it sent a shiver through me. I understand, I assured him, whispering into his ear. If I could tell you right now how obsessively in love with you I am, I would, but the word love doesnt justify my feelings at all. So just know its only because my feelings are so overpowering that I crave you the way I do.

I feel the same way, he said, seemingly unsettled. Edward rolled off of me and started undoing the buttons on his shirt. I was mesmerized by the way his fingers moved, quickly and nimbly down the front of it, never faltering. I stared, unblinking, until his chest was visible. Breaking out of my daze, I reached out to touch him, but before I could blink, he was already across the room, rummaging through his dresser. I wish you wouldnt do that when I was around, I said snidely, standing up from the bed. Its kind of rude. Yeah, well, it takes too much effort for me to move as slowly as you do. He didnt look up from whatever he was doing, so I started undressing, assuming Id lost the battle for the night. Whatever, I sighed, pulling my shirt over my head. I unbuttoned my skirt and let it fall to my feet before sitting on the edge of the bed and removing my knee socks. When I looked up, Edward was staring at me, his mouth slightly open. What? I asked, rolling my eyes. Give me something to wear, please. I need to sleep. He stepped toward me slowly, while removing his shirt. When he was still a few feet away, he tossed it onto my lap and squinted. Just put that on, he mumbled, looking down at the floor. You can look at me, Edward. I stood up and stuck my arms into the sleeves of his shirt, stopping to hold the collar up to my nose before I got it the whole way on because it smelled so good. He gulped and glanced up at me, and that was when he lost all control. The first thing I registered was his taste in my mouth, and then I realized that hed tossed me back onto the bed, so roughly that I actually felt a pain shoot up my back. I didnt care, though. I was taking full advantage of his moment of weakness, because I felt as if I didnt have the physical contact with him that I was yearning for, I was going to combust. My raging desire was emotionally, physically, and mentally draining. Id be lying if I said that I hadn't noticed the effects that drinking my blood was having on Edward. He got hungrier more quickly. When he was satisfied, he managed to remain calm and rational while he was around me. But, satisfied or not, his aggression toward everyone else was growing dramatically. The thought of him losing control while we were in school, because he was craving human blood, filled me with fear, because I knew exactly what would happen. He and the rest of his family would be violently killed by the Volturi, due to the exposure. And although I had good intentions, in the back of my mind I knew I was making things worse. It seemed like it that afternoon had actually been days earlier, because of all that had gone on in the past couple of hours. When Id been with Edward in his room earlier, he seemed to be in far greater control of his emotions. As the night went on, the circles under his eyes darkened rapidly. I assumed that utilizing his stronger power caused him to waste a lot of energy. The hungrier he became, the more he desired my blood and the harder it was for him to control himself. Therefore, he knew there was a chance he would be more physically aggressive with me. I felt his ice cold lips above my bellybutton, and then they were on my mouth again, biting, licking, sucking. I watched him reach down and undo his fly, but all he did was slide his pants down a little bit, leaving his boxers on. His one hand roamed up into my hair, and instantly I hear a stifled grunt

near my ear, where Edwards mouth had moved to. He forced my legs apart and thrust himself against me, rubbing urgently and desperately. I tried gripping the back of his shoulders with my nails, but his skin was impenetrable, so instead I pushed down with my fingertips and let out a groan at the sensation. He pushed his hips into me repeatedly, and I felt the cold through his boxers, a feeling unlike anything Id ever experienced before. Inexplicably, the icy temperature of his body was complementary to the warm heat that was radiating off of me. I tugged at his hair- the only thing I could wrap my fingers around- and he hissed into my ear as his movements became more forceful and dominating. I shouldve been scared at how much he was letting go, knowing that he could do bodily harm to me with the tiniest slip, but my longing and need to satisfy him overpowered any ill feelings. Instead, I used all my willpower to communicate with him, to let him know I was okay and that he could keep going. Edward, I moaned, wrapping my lips around his earlobe. Are you okay? He managed to choke out a gritty Yeah, but he didnt let himself get distracted. The animalistic sounds coming from his chest shouldve been a warning to me that we needed to slow down, but selfishly, my only concern was the way my entire body was tingling from the feeling of Edward grinding himself against me. My breathing became shallow as the feeling took over, spreading from between my legs, across every single cell of my body. I felt him flowing through my veins, on my skin, from the tips of my toes to the back of my neck- he was everywhere. Somehow, in the throes of my orgasm, if you could even call it that, I shoved his body as hard as I could, and forced Edward onto his knees, where I jumped onto his lap and continued pushing myself against him, knowing by the ferocity of his grip on my hips that he was close. From past experiences, I shouldve known that Edward drinking from me was somehow tied to sex in his mind. Each time hed bitten me, it had been sensual and passionate, and that was part of the reason why I encouraged it. I enjoyed it. Edward crushed himself into me, and with a final push and a comforted sigh, I felt a cool, wet rush on the inside of my leg. Without warning, Edwards teeth sank deep into the side of my neck, and his body went lax as he sucked and swallowed desperately. For the first time, it hurt, but the pain was welcome. I let him drink for longer than I had before, and even when I felt dizzy, and so weak that my head started to sag, I didnt ask him to stop. He finished on his own, and he pressed his two fingers against my neck as he covered my face in soft, feathery kisses. Are you okay? he asked, cupping my face with both of his hands. I nodded weakly and fought to keep my eyes open. Tired, I said softly, letting my head slump against his hand. His eyes widened and he lifted me into his arms before flying down the stairs, which didnt help as far as suppressing my dizziness was concerned. Edward brought me into the kitchen and placed me on the counter, and within a second, he was holding a glass of orange juice up to my lips, tilting it into my mouth. I grabbed his wrist and swatted him away with my other hand, rolling my eyes. Im okay, I assured him taking a gulp from the glass. I liked it.

Jesus Christ. He pinched the bridge of his nose and started fiddling with the crucifix around his neck with his other hand. Im sorry, he said. I shouldve warned you. He started buttoning up my shirt as I sipped at the glass, muttering stuff under his breath too fast and too quiet for me to hear. Whatd you say? I asked, setting the empty glass down on the counter. I said Im going to kill you one day. And its going to be because you encouraged me to do it. You have to change me into a vampire, I joked, tapping my finger on his chin. I dont think well ever have any kind of normal sexual experiences unless you do. It was weird when we were both human too, he reminded me. What did it feel like, when you were human? He frowned at me and lifted me off the counter. What sex? No! Just being human. I mean, because youre a hybrid did you feel different than a normal human would? Well, besides for your powers, obviously. I dont know, Edward said with a shrug. I felt the same way you do, I guess? Oh. He tried lifting me up, to run with me back up the stairs, but I started kicked my legs and whining. Stop! Put me down, I can walk. Im not a lap dog you can just carry everywhere. Edward laughed and dropped me onto the first step, against his will. He made frustrated little grunts and groans as I took my time ascending to the third floor, but eventually we made it back to his room. Okay, I have another question, I said to him as I climbed into bed. My good friend Tanya made this comment that kind of stuck with me. Which was? Edward asked, slightly uninterested. Well, it wasnt really what she said, it was how she said it. She said something about me not knowing how important you are, blah blah, but it almost seemed like she was a little I dont know, resentful? Protective, maybe? Edward stared at me blankly for a minute before pointing over his shoulder and frowning. I dont know. Im gonna go clean up His voice trailed off and he strategically grabbed something out of his dresser before hurrying off to the bathroom. I heard water running for a minute, and when he returned, all he had on was a pair of black pajama pants. What the hell was that? I asked as he climbed into bed next to me. What? You avoided my question. You know I dont like talking about things that are personal-

No. I cut him off and slid underneath the blankets. Obviously its something you dont want me knowing. If you dont tell me I can just get it out of you myself. I closed my eyes and pretended to concentrate on lowering my shield, but Edward yanked his arm away when I grabbed it. Our parents are close. We grew up together. Thats all. Did you date her? I told you, I never had a girlfriend before you, he said unenthusiastically, wrapping his arm around my body and pulling me close to him. Anything else? Have you kissed her? He nodded apprehensively and squeezed me tighter. Have you done other stuff with her? I dont see how thats relevant, he grumbled, refusing to answer. You have! I gasped a little and shoved him in the chest. You made me think you were so innocent. I am innocent. Well, I was, before you came along. Trust me, it was nothing. The real story is, she liked me, I kind of liked her back for awhile, stuff happened, but we both knew it wasnt going to work. I hated the turn the conversation had taken, but since it was my fault for starting it, I planned on sticking through to the end. Why not? Because. The attraction wasnt strong enough. Anyway, she has an offensive power. Its not like its a rule that everyone has to end up with someone whos their opposite, but me I have to. I took a deep breath and nodded, not wanting to even think about the prospect of Edward being with someone who wasnt me. The thought made me sick. Im not a vampire, I said quietly. Or a hybrid. That rules me out completely. No, Edward side, kissing my temple. Youre mine. And Im yours. Dont worry about that. So say you ended up with Tanya. Ugh. Youre both half breeds. Can two half breed vampires have babies? I think youve asked me this before, Edward said, shaking his head. And I have no idea. Thats something youd have to ask my father. Look it up in your library book or something. He laughed at his own joke and started rubbing my head. Go to sleep. Today was a long day. I yawned into his chest and closed my eyes, drifting off in a matter of minutes. Little did I know, my days werent going to be getting any easier.


Chapter 12 ~ A Love Lost

Edward brought me home the next morning before the sun was even up, to avoid any issues with Charlie. Its okay, he whispered into my ear as we stood outside the door. Hes still asleep. I dont hear anything. Ill be back in a little while, okay? Once I snuck inside, I took a shower and got ready for school, because I needed as much time as I could to talk to Charlie. When he finally got himself dressed and came into the kitchen, I was sitting at the table chewing on a piece of toast. I already had breakfast and his typical, black morning coffee laid out for him. What are you doing up so early? he asked, yawning and furrowing his brow. Well, I had an eventful day yesterday. I sighed and waited for him to sit down before I continued my speech. Charlie, I know everything. I know all about the Cullens- well, I mean, Ive known about them for awhile. But I know about you, and Italy, and the Volturi, and Sasha. What else are you keeping from me? Why wouldnt you just tell me all of this yourself? Charlies eyes widened and he looked down at his plate, swallowing heavily. I refuse to talk about this right now. So when is a good time for you? Because Im tired of being left in the dark. I need to know things like this, especially considering what Im supposed to be doing for their family. This is insane! I slapped my hands against the table, making him jump, and he shook his head at me. Bella, calm yourself. Theres reasoning beyond everything Ive been doing. Just- what is that? He reached across the table quickly and poked the side of my neck with his fingers. Then, he stood up, furious, and started toward the phone. Stop! I ran forward and jumped in front of him, grabbing the phone off the wall and hiding it behind my back. Let me explain. Theres nothing to explain! Do you know what this is going to do to him? The Volturi- theyre going to come here, and no one is ready yet! You two are going to ruin everything that everyones worked so hard for! Charlies reaction to my bite mark only reinforced the fact that what I was doing was completely wrong. I already knew it, but I was starting to lose control of everything. The last time Edward had bitten me, he hadnt even asked. It worried me, because even though he said he would stop, my blood seemed to have more power over him than he cared to admit. It was a mistake. It wont happen again, I swear. Please dont tell Carlisle. Charlie squinted at me, but he started backing toward his chair, so I knew Id distracted him for the time being. You need to cover that up before you go to school. Someone will see it, and theyll know. No one can see that.

I know, I agreed, holding my palm up to the bite mark to shield his eyes from it. Ill cover it. Tell me about this other woman does Renee know about her? Charlie nodded and took a gulp of his coffee. Renee knows everything. So she knew exactly why I was brought here? That was why she had no qualms about me leaving? I mean, no offense, but she never even talked about you. And then all of a sudden, shes picking up and moving and sending me to be with you? I knew something was strange, but- We wanted to make sure that you were safe. I thought youd be safe elsewhere, away from all of this, but it was only a matter of time before they found you. I couldnt leave you there alone, unprotected. I took in what Charlie had said, and we sat there in silence for a few seconds before I started my next round of questions. Why would they have come looking for me? How did they know that I could do all of this, with the shield and the reflecting? I dont understand. Because I was able to do it, so they're assuming my traits were passed down to you. Then why the hell arent you helping?! Why am I left with all this on my shoulders? Charlie let out a tired, jagged breath and shook his head. Sasha is dead because of me. I want no part in this world. Carlisle was our friend, and hes done a lot for me, so Im willing to help him out with whatever I can, but thats as far as it will go. Im a weak human. I couldnt protect her, so I wouldnt be able to protect anyone else. Im not fighting in any more battles with the Volturi. He took a bite of his toast and looked down into his lap, defeated. I cant keep you safe all on my own. Youre better off with Edward. You belong with him. I know, I whispered, scooting forward in my chair. I leaned across the table slightly and smiled at Charlie. What was she like? His eyes filled with wistfulness as he chuckled lightly to himself. She was beautiful. She was only 19 when she was turned, but she was so smart, and so compassionate. You remind me of her often. Really? He nodded and tilted his head back to look up at the ceiling as he yawned. Id never experienced feelings before like I had when I was around her. It was indescribable, the pull I had to her. Our relationship was so intense, I wouldve done anything in my power for her. I just wanted to be with her. Of course, I was young, and I had no attachments, so I was nave and unprepared for the pain when they found her. For awhile, all I cared about was avenging her death. Carlisle helped me though, and made me prioritize and see the bigger picture. He helped me get my life back on track. I think about her every day, though. I dont think Ill ever stop missing her. Hearing Charlie talk about her almost made me cry. It was exactly the way that I felt about Edward. Everything about it was eerily similar to me and Edward, actually. I felt an ache in my stomach when I thought about what my life would be like if something happened to him. I pictured myself being exactly like Charlie; alone, unwilling to love anyone else, and avoiding the world that had taken her from him. I wish you had pictures of her, I said quietly. I want to know what she looks like.

Charlie smirked and reached into his pocket before he flipped open his wallet and set it down on the table. He slid it toward me and cleared his throat as I picked it up. The only thing I saw was a picture of me and Renee when I was much younger, in the backyard of our house in Arizona. Charlie was already gone by then, so Renee must have sent it to him. Its behind that, he offered. I slid the faded picture of myself out of his wallet and my eyes widened at the picture of Sasha. Oh, my god, I whispered, covering my mouth. Shes beautiful. In a way, I understood why Charlie said I reminded him of her. Her hair was the same color as mine, and it flowed down past her shoulders. That was where the resemblance stopped for me, though. She looked like all the other vampires Id come in contact with; breathtakingly gorgeous, light eyes, pale skin. But she was laughing in the picture, and she seemed so relaxed and cheerful. She seemed like the kind of person that exuded happiness constantly. The fact that she was dead, because of the same people that were after Edward, crushed me. Quickly, I shoved the picture of myself and Renee back into Charlies wallet and handed it back to him. I stood up from my chair and swallowed heavily before walking around to Charlie and hugging him. I have to go cover this and get to school, I told him, referring to my bite mark. Ill see you later tonight, okay? * Lunch was always the most awkward time of day for me. The constant stares and whispers from other students didn't go unnoticed by any of us. Even thought I knew the criticism from others was more out of jealousy and curiosity than malice, it still made me uncomfortable. Not to mention, I was the only person at the table who ever ate. That made things exceedingly awkward. Edward had informed me that there were other vampires like his family that attended the academy. There was a girl in Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper's grade named Irina, who wasn't directly related, but lived with Tanya's family. I didnt know her back story. There were also two siblings, Peter and Charlotte, whom I'd detected myself because of their eye color. I wasn't sure how many others there were, but I sensed that the Cullens and the randoms I knew about weren't the only ones walking around. I went back to training with Aro, against Edward's wishes. He'd explained to me that it wasn't that he didn't want me learning as much as I could; he just feared it because he was in denial about me ever having to utilize my skills. I'd come to learn that he was petrified of his power and his future responsibilities. It was understandable, though. He was looking over his shoulder constantly, knowing that there were others after him, who wanted him dead. Even though he was some all powerful, future leader, he was still just a scared 17 year old boy inside. "Alice, can I try it on you?" I asked, referring to the newest skill I'd learned from Aro. She looked at me sympathetically and shook her head. "I can't control my visions. They just happen randomly. And no offense, but even if I could, I wouldn't let you practice on me. All your reflecting stuff creeps me out." I rolled my eyes and turned toward Edward with a smirk.

"Edward?" "No." He picked a piece of bread apart on my tray and shook his head. "Why not?" "I don't want you reading my mind all the time," he answered, causing everyone else at the table to laugh. "Yeah, imagine how annoying that would be," Rosalie mumbled. Edward flung a piece of bread into her hair, causing her to growl. "I hate listening to all of you. It's annoying. I try not to-" He stopped talking and looked over his shoulder at a girl who was walking by. Then, he turned back around to Emmett and laughed. "They're fake," Edward told him nonchalantly. Rosalie huffed and punched Emmett in the arm, making the entire table vibrate. "Stop, you guys," Alice whispered. "People are watching us. Jasper, calm them down." Instantly, I felt a wave of relaxation wash over me. "I wasn't even doing anything," I said to Jasper. He shrugged his shoulders and chuckled. "It's quicker if I just do it to everyone around at once." Edward sighed and tapped my arm to get my attention. "Go ahead," he muttered. "I'm bored." I clapped my hands together excitedly and took a deep breath. Aro had been trying to teach me how to reflect without having to touch the person I was doing it to. It was nearly impossible for me, but I'd managed to do it twice, and for a couple of seconds each time. "Okay. Jasper, stop fucking with my head. I need to focus. I closed my eyes and lowered my shield as I grabbed Edward's hand. Instantly, his voice filled my head. He was reciting the Declaration of Independence, probably to keep me from hearing whatever he was really thinking about. "Stop," I said quietly, trying not to break my concentration. "You're cheating." He laughed a little, but the words stopped suddenly. Hurry up, he thought. Lunch is almost over. Slowly, I released my grasp from his hand, and once the contact was broken I heard complete silence. I tried blocking out the jumbled blur of voices around the cafeteria to see if I could hear him, but there was still nothing. And then I heard it. Eat your apple. I gasped and looked down at the uneaten apple on my tray, then at Edward, who's eyes were wide. "You heard that?"

I nodded and drummed my hands against the edge of the table repeatedly. "This is so cool, Edward! I can keep practicing, and once I'm better at it we don't even have to talk to each other, we can just read each others minds and-" "Okay, enough." He laughed and draped his arm around my shoulder before kissing my temple quickly. "Good job, though. I'm impressed. You should practice on Emmett later, so he can see how much his power hurts." "Uh, no thanks." Emmett stood up from his seat and eyed me suspiciously. "I'm leaving before the guard gets any ideas." "Me too," Rosalie added. "Besides, Jessica keeps looking over here. I don't want to have to hurt her again. I might snap her neck this time." After the two of them left, Alice slid across from Edward and glared at him. "We can skip school tomorrow and leave tonight, if you want to hunt." Edward shook his head and smiled. "I'm okay. I can wait." "You're hungry," she stated, reaching her hand across the table. "No." Edward recoiled and looked down into his lap. "I'm fine." "I'm scared, Edward." The tone in Alice's voice caught my attention, causing me to frown. "What happened?" I asked. Edward shot Alice a look, but she ignored him and answered me anyway. "I had a vision this morning, of Edward... Biting someone. Here. It was a girl, I couldn't tell who, or where exactly. But I saw a clock that said 12:41. And I heard the screaming." He sighed again loudly and started spinning the top of my water bottle on the table. "I'm fine, I swear. Nothing is going to happen." My eyes shot from Edward's, to Alice's, and then Jasper's as my chest filled with panic. "I'm scared, too," I said quietly. "If you bite someone, and you expose yourselves... They'll come, won't they? Isn't that the entire reason they were against you blending in and living with humans? They'll kill you-" "No." Edward's voice was steady and indifferent, as if he didn't even care about Alice's visions. Either that or he was trying to act like he didn't care. "Let's go, I'll walk you to class." Edward pulled me away from the table, and when his back was turned I spun around to Alice and frowned. She shrugged and waved to me as we headed out of the cafeteria quickly, getting suspicious glances from students at every table. I understood why they stared us; Edward was shockingly handsome, and mysterious and... Sort of creepy. It probably didn't make sense to them that out of all the genetically blessed, rich girls at school, he'd chosen to be with me. "Who cares what they think?" Edward said, causing me to jump. "Stop listening to me."

"Stop letting me," he mumbled, rolling his eyes at me. "I think I subconsciously let my shield down when I'm with you. I don't even realize I do it." Edward stuck his hand out and pinched my index finger quickly. "Good. I like that." We approached my locker and I looked around, relieved to find the hallway was empty. Edward leaned on the locker next to mine, but I got so distracted looking at him that I almost forgot what I was doing. One of my textbooks fell to the ground with a loud thump, causing him to chuckle lightly. "I'll get it," he said, squatting down. He grabbed the book with one hand and the back of my leg with the other, sliding it slowly upward as he stood up. I let out a shiver as his hand slid under my skirt and ghosted over the back of my thigh. Frustrated, I grabbed Edward's tie and tugged on it gently, letting out a quiet whine. "How do you manage to come up with so many different ways to wear your uniform?" I asked quietly, standing up on my tiptoes and giggling into his ear. "I don't know. My mom buys us every option in the catalog. I just mix them up." "Interesting. Now, get your hand out of my skirt. I'm tired of you teasing me." "Whatever, Bella. How do I tease you?" He raised an eyebrow and waited for my response as I felt my cheeks flush. "Please. You're always touching me and giving me looks and wearing your uniform all cute and-" "Sorry." He cut me off and slammed my locker shut. "I won't look at you or touch you. The uniform I can't do anything about." I huffed exasperatedly and crossed my arms over my chest. "I don't get why we can't just... Do it again." "Because I don't want to snap your spine into five pieces," Edward answered, his voice flat. "You grinded yourself all over me and didn't break my spine." Edward's mouth dropped open and he laughed. "That's different and you know it. Stop talking about this, please." "I'm telling your father you keep drinking from me unless we do it." Edward kept laughing as pulled his cardigan off and flung it over his shoulder, barely paying any attention to me. "That's really mature, Bella." "I'm bordering on desperation." The bell suddenly rang and students flooded the hallway, causing me to pout. I hated having to be away from Edward, even if it was only for a 40 minute class. The only thing that got me through them was the anticipation of the ten minutes I got with him during the break before my next class. He noticed my somber expression and intertwined his fingers with mine, letting out a sigh of defeat.

"Let me think about things, okay?" "You're not going to kill me, Edward," I assured him, making sure my voice sounded confident even though I wasn't sure of what I was saying. "It's been done before. I mean, obviously, or you wouldn't be here." "Stop comparing us to other people." He yanked my arm toward the doorway of my classroom and I followed grudgingly. "It's different for us. I told you, let me think about it. We can talk about this later." I nodded and smoothed my hands along the front of Edward's striped Oxford as I reveled in the feeling of his chest under my fingers. He pressed his lips against my forehead and almost instantly, I felt a deep, stabbing pain shoot through my head. "Oww!" I took a step away from him and frowned as I held my hand against the wall to steady myself. Stop it! Whatever youre doing it hurts! I clenched my eyes shut as the pain traveled through my brain and down my spine until it reached my tailbone, where it finally subsided. As I opened my eyes again, Edward shook my shoulder nervously and put his finger under my chin. Are you okay? he asked, tilting my head up. Yeah what the hell was that? What happened? My head it hurt so badly. It went all the way down my back. Its so weird. Thats never happened before. I took a few deep breaths and moved my hand from the wall to see if I could stand up on my own. Edward put his hands around my waist to balance me and released them slowly. I wasnt doing anything, he said quietly, his face twisting with uneasiness. Hey, lets go home. Lets just skip the rest of the day its just two classes and a study hall. I think all this shield practice is stressing you out. I nodded, because Id never felt anything so painful before in my life and I was still dizzy. Plus, I was afraid if it happened again and Edward wasnt there to calm me down, Id panic. Yes, I told him, wrapping my arm around his elbow as he started walking down the hallway. Lets go.

Chapter 13 ~ With Contentment Comes Change
I turned my head to look at Edward, who was leaning against his headboard, drumming his hands gently against the edges of the textbook in his lap as he read. Hed unbuttoned his sleeves and they were rolled up to his elbows, and every time he moved his hands his forearms flexed and made my heart thump harder.

"I'm sorry you're so bored," I apologized, giving him a sympathetic look. I sat up and took the warm washcloth off my forehead before tossing it onto his nightstand with a sigh. Esme had offered it to me when Edward and I walked inside their house three hours before school was over and he told her I wasn't feeling well. "Maybe you feel sick due to lack of iron," Alice had said to me snidely before we left school, referring to Edward's "diet." I pushed her comment to the back of my mind as Edward pursed his lips and tapped his pencil against his chin. "I'm not bored." "You're doing my homework." "I'm just trying to be helpful. I know how long it takes you to do it, and who knows if you're really getting sick or-" He held up his finger and stopped talking immediately, and within seconds there was a tapping on his door. "Come in," he mumbled, rolling his eyes as Esme walked in, carrying a tray. I got on my knees and smiled as Esme placed the tray down at the foot of the bed and walked over to touch my forehead. "How are you feeling?" she asked, ignoring Edward's discourteous glances. "I'm fine right now," I answered honestly, picking up a spoon. I started mixing the soup inattentively before looking back up at her. "Thank you, though. This smells really good." "Mom, she's fine, she just got a migraine. You can go." Edward pointed at the door and Esme shook her head as she walked toward it. "I don't know where these ill manners are coming from, Edward, but they need to stop." "I agree," I said to the both of them. Esme shut the door behind her and I started sipping on the soup as Edward watched me curiously, his nose crinkling every few seconds. "It's weird," he said, looking down at my tray. "I thought I'd really miss human food. But, I don't. I have no desire to eat it at all." "Are you serious?" He shrugged and started sniffing the steam coming up from the bowl, but he cringed and moved his nose away from it quickly. "Food is what I'd miss most about being a human, I think." "I mean, you probably have no desire to drink blood when you're thirsty, right?" "Right, I answered. I guess it works both ways. Well, could you eat food if you wanted to?" Edward nodded, so I shoved a piece of bread in his direction. "Eat it," I offered. "I hate always being the only one who eats." "I don't want to," he said sheepishly, looking at me through his eyelashes.

"I want to see what happens, though." "Nothing happens." He rolled his eyes again and pulled the bread from my fingers before taking a bite and tossing it back onto my tray. "Happy?" "That wasn't as fun as I thought it was going to be," I told him, giggling. "You can watch me go throw it up if you want to." "Oh. You have to throw it up?" Edward nodded and laughed a little. "Gross." After I finished my food, Edward grabbed my empty tray and flew downstairs. When he came back up, he closed and locked his door before walking toward me slowly and loosening his tie. "I want to kiss you," he said quietly, his expression seemingly desperate. "But I don't want to hurt you." "I don't think it was you that did that to me." I stroked his lips with the tip of my finger once before climbing onto his lap and doing the same thing with my mouth. He let out a frustrated sigh, and his cold, sweet breath swathed my face and made me tremble. "Are you sure you're okay? You're shaking." "Because you're cold," I stated, wrapping my arms around his neck. He pulled my chest against his and held me against his body for a little while. I noticed his uneasy breathing and I pulled my head back to look at his face. "Edward? Is something wrong?" He shook his head but his eyes avoided mine, so I got the feeling something was amiss. "I just don't like seeing you sick. You're not shaking because of me. I can hear you." I groaned at the fact that I'd been lazily dropping my shield around Edward without even realizing it. Quickly, I raised it and tried remembering what I'd been thinking of the last couple minutes. Mostly, I remembered thinking that I was cold, that Esme was a good cook, and that I wanted to take a shower and beg Edward to sleep with me again. His melodic laughter broke me from my thoughts, so I pouted as I glanced at him. "What?" I asked. "You're so beautiful when you're thinking hard." I laughed against his lips as he kissed me again, before looking over his shoulder at his bathroom door, his eyebrow raised. Why do you want to shower? I dont know. I scratched my head and looked down into his lap. I still feel a little weird. My head feels kind of heavy. Maybe Im just getting sick. Edward shrugged and lifted me off his lap. Shower if you want to. Theres towels in there, in the closet. Call me if you need anything. It was when I was in the shower, rinsing the shampoo from my hair, that I got another round of pain in my back. I gasped and lowered myself to the shower floor, as the pain spread from the back of my

neck, down my spine, and to my ankles. It was more intense than the first time Id felt it, but I just assumed that was because it spread across a bigger area. It was making me nervous. I presumed that it was coming from how hard Id been working with Aro, and that my body was tired from everything Id been forcing it to do. I got out of the shower quickly, afraid that the next round of pain was going to be worse. Quickly, I brushed my teeth using a toothbrush Edward had gotten me, since I was there so often, and I walked back out into his room with a white, fluffy towel wrapped around me. Edward was sitting at his piano, playing some intricate, classical piece that I didnt recognize. He looked up and smiled at me when he saw me, but it didnt disrupt the fluid melody. I sat next to him on the bench with a shiver and watched intently as he played with little effort, looking up at me and smirking every few seconds. His fingers moved gracefully over the keys, and the music entranced me, almost making me forget everything that had happened that day. When he was done, he wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pulled my body flush against his, kissing the top of my head softly. Feeling better? he inquired. Not really. I shook my head and reached my arm behind my back to press my fingers against my sore muscles. It happened again when I was in the shower. Do you think we can talk to your dad later? Edwards face filled with apprehension. He moved one leg to the other side of the bench so he was straddling it and scooted toward me, tucking a waft of damp hair behind my ear. Sure, he said, his voice shaking slightly. Ill call him if youd like. Dont. Hes probably busy at the hospital. I can wait until he gets home. I stood up from the bench in fear that I was unnecessarily worrying Edward and placed my hands on the keys of this piano. I pressed down on a few of them randomly before going into my amateurish rendition of Fur Elise, the only thing I remembered how to play from the piano lessons Renee forced me to take when I was in elementary school. Suddenly, I felt Edwards fingers wrap around my wrists as he pressed his body into my back delicately. Youre doing it wrong, he whispered into my ear, sliding my hands over to the right. Now try it. I gulped and started over from the beginning, but lost my focus when I felt his icy lips brush against my neck and a subdued grumble escape from his chest. I spun around quickly to face him and I laughed as my lower back hit the keys and the loud, erratic notes filled the room. Edward took a step forward and pushed his body into mine as I slid my hands up his chest, around the back of his neck, and I weaved my fingers into his hair. He shoved his hips into mine with fervor, and there was more noise, but neither of us laughed or paid any attention to it. The desire that was brimming inside of me was overpowering and clouding my head. Please dont bite me, I begged him. I started clawing at the buttons on his shirt, and when I got to the bottom one I was so anxious I just pulled both sides of his shirt and let it fall to the ground. He cupped my face in his hands and shook his head. Im not going to. Im sorry about last time. Im so sorry.

Dont say sorry. I let you do it. No, I asked you to do it. I just dont feel well right now, and Charlie and Alice are making me nervous and- Shhh. He kissed me tenderly to keep me from talking, and I was temporarily distracted. I attempted to undo his fly, expecting for him to stop me, but he gazed down and watched my hands without removing his own from my waist. I let his pants fall to a heap at his ankles, and the both of us stood there, breathing heavily, neither of us sure what to do next. Edward? Bella? He tilted his head down toward the floor and looked up at me bashfully. Are you only doing this for me? Doing what? I pointed over his shoulder and narrowed my eyes. You locked the door. I know, he said, shrugging. I thought about it, and dont get mad, but I talked to my father. My mouth fell to the floor and I wrapped the towel tighter around my body, suddenly feeling embarrassed. What? Who cares? They assumed we were doing it anyway. Plus, after I decided I wanted to try again, Alice told me Oh, my god. I felt my cheeks flush as he laughed, the awkward tension completely dissipating. She saw us? I can never look at her again. This is ridiculous. I hate her gift. Please tell her not to watch me anymore. Id rather die. Edward kept laughing as he stepped out of his pants and kicked them to the side with his feet. I dont think she saw anything. But, hey- look on the bright side. She didnt see me killing you. Just like I said you wouldnt, I told him. He smiled and slid his one hand upward, until he reached my collarbone, where he let his fingers flit across it quickly. Slowly, his hand crept down, until it reached the edge of my towel. Im sorry Ive been so demanding about this. If you feel uncomfortable, we dont have to- What? Are you nervous now? I shook my head as he stepped toward me again, breaking the space between us and crushing himself against me. No well, yes, kind of. But, I just feel like this is one sided. I crave you, so much it hurts me sometimes and you dont seem to feel it as much as I do. He kissed my forehead and one corner of his mouth turned up nervously as he looked into my eyes. Bella, I spend every single second of my day thinking about you. If I give into the desire that I feel when Im with you you know what would happen. Dont ever doubt the way I feel about you. He grabbed my hand and placed it over his heart- or where his heart used to be- and took a slow, deep breath. Listen to me, he pleaded. I want you to hear me.

I closed my eyes and dropped my shield, and almost instantly, my mind was filled with images of myself through Edwards eyes. It wasnt just the images, though. It was his thoughts that when along with them, which were so passionate and intense, it was almost as if I could feel the way he felt about me. It was hard to take in. So hard, in fact, that I had to drop my hand and open my eyes, because his feelings were so powerful they were exhausting. Edward I dont know what to say. He tilted his head down and brushed his lips across mine slowly. Dont say anything. Just tell me if I hurt you. I swallowed heavily and nodded once before sliding my hand down his stomach and letting it slip below the elastic of his boxers, where I wrapped my finger around him and took him in my hand. He was freezing, but still so smooth and supple under my grasp. Quicker than I could comprehend, he lowered the fall and lifted me up so I was sitting on top of it. Urgently, he placed his hands on my knees and spread my legs apart, placing his body between them. I felt his fingers skim the top of my legs and slip underneath the bottom of my towel, causing me to quiver. My mind was racing, and my breathing was shallow, the anticipation of the moment radiating through my body. I placed my free hand on the small of his back and pushed him closer to me, willing him to come nearer. My eyes focused on the delicate crucifix that rested on his chest, because I feared that if I looked at his face, the lust that was dominating me was going to swell out of control. When I felt the tip of him press against me, I gasped and my body tightened at the strange sensation, and Edward chuckled. Are you ready? he asked, his quiet voice deep and raspy. I couldnt speak, so I nodded and pushed my mouth against his shoulder as I felt his hips shift. Instantly, he filled me, and the sensation was so shocking I had to pull on a fistful of his hair to get his attention. He stayed stationary and placed his palms flat against the piano as I leaned back so I could see him. Youre so warm, he moaned, tilting his head back and clenching his jaw shut. I tried catching my breath and composing myself as quickly as I could, knowing he was holding himself back. Okay, I breathed. Im okay. He stared at me for a second before wrapping his arms around my waist and forcing me against his deep, relentless thrusts. I wrapped my legs around him and squeezed his body as tightly as I could, even though I knew I had no control of anything. My body was in his hands, and he was completely dominating. In the back of my mind, I knew he had the power to harm me, but strangely enough, I wasnt afraid. Id never seen him be as animalistic as he was in that moment, but even still, the Edward that I adored was there, planting gentle kisses against my skin every so often and whispering endearing things to me. My body was fulfilled and my heart was brimming with so much emotion, I felt like my chest was going to explode. I was absolutely content and inexplicably blissful. After a few minutes, I heard an urgent growl fly through Edwards lips, and he became slightly rougher and more forceful, causing the piano to shake and scratch against the wood floor. The noise could undoubtedly be heard from anywhere in the house, but I pushed my mortification to the side for the time being, since I was so wrapped up in him that nothing else could penetrate my thoughts.

Then, suddenly, he stopped and I watched him release himself into me, his stomach tightening with each spasm, the muscles flexing beneath his hard, ivory flesh. He sighed resignedly when he was done and a look of relief washed over him, causing his shoulders to slump. I love you, he whispered into my ear before kissing the corner of my mouth. Youre okay, right? Say something. Im fine, I choked out, running my thumb along the line of his jaw. I told you it would be fine. My poor piano. He shook his head and laughed a little bit as he grabbed my towel, which had fallen off it the process, and wrapped me back up in it. Was that okay? I dont know what Im doing, so- No. It was perfect. I cut him off and smiled so he knew I was being sincere. Well I dont know what Im doing either, so maybe Im biased. I dont know? Can we do it all the time now? He laughed and nodded, lifting me off the piano and carrying me over to the bed. Sure. If you want. As soon as he released me and I laid down against his pillow, I felt a rush in my head and my vision became blurry. Before I could say anything to him, I gasped at the pain that overtook my head, causing me to clench my eyes shut and yank at my hair. My head, Edward, I screeched, not knowing what to do. The aching was so unbearable, I felt tears running down my cheeks. I felt one of his hands on the side of my face, and one on the back of my neck. The cold soothed me momentarily, but as soon as the pain had come, it stopped, and I was left there on the bed, gasping for air and crying. Edward got off the bed and grabbed his shirt from the ground. He started dressing me without a word, buttoning a couple of the buttons at the top and leaving the rest undone. My bag, I groaned, pointing at the ground. Theres clothes He nodded and flew from the bed, returning a few seconds later and slipping my underwear on and nothing else. I didnt care, and apparently he was too shaken to care either. I was still dizzy and my vision wasnt back to normal yet. Even though the initial pain in my head was gone, the aftermath of it was resonating throughout my body. Edward put his hand on my forehead and kissed my lips softly, trying to calm me. The episode had caused me to sweat, and my fear was making me quiver. Youre okay, he said, lying down next to me. In one movement, he lifted me enough to pull the blankets down so he could cover me with them. Something is wrong, I cried. I patted my cheeks with the sleeve of his shirt and tried talking to him between my sniveling. What if Im dying? This has something to do with you all. I know it does. Why am I shaking? Edwards face was filled with anguish. He pinched the bridge of his nose and pulled the blankets higher up my body, trying to envelope me in them. I dont know what to do, he said, his voice distressed. Im just going to make you colder if I touch you- I dont care. I cut him off and lifted the blanket so he could come underneath with me. He joined hesitantly and held my head against his chest as I cried some more. I was afraid at what was happening, and completely confused at what I was supposed to do.

Please, dont cry. Its okay. Im here; Ill take care of you. I promise. I looked up at him through the blur of tears that filled my eyes and I frowned. Do you know what this is? He winced and looked away to avoid my glance. Edward! What the hell is going on? Tell me! He tugged at his hair nervously as his eyes shot around the room, clearly trying to figure out what to say to me. Okay, he finally grumbled, closing his eyes and pressing his fingertips against his temple. Youre not sick. Youre changing.

Chapter 14 ~ Stronger
-EdwardThe look on Bellas face was absolutely indescribable. It was everything Id been dreading for months, and all I wanted to do was apologize profusely for keeping it a secret from her and explain to her why it was necessary that we did what we did. What what did you say? She was gasping, seemingly terrified, and clutching at her chest. What are you talking about, Edward? The pain- its what happens before you change. Youre one of us- She gasped again and let out a sob. Im sorry Im so, so sorry, Bella. How am I like you?! It doesnt make any sense! My parents are human! I shook my head and tried to calm her by placing my hand on her face, but she growled and slapped me away. Renee isnt your mother, I explained. She clenched her eyes shut and breathed in and out a few times before shooting up out of my bed and looking around my room frantically. Youre lying, she accused. Her jaw snapped shut as she let out a heavy breath and tried to hide a shiver. I hate this. I hate you- I hate all of you! How could you lie to me? Her words were strong, but I knew she didnt mean them. She was understandably confused and her mind and her body were in pain. I felt the same way when it was happening to me. Id even snapped on her once unintentionally. It was to protect you, I said calmly, trying to clear things up. Stop trying to protect me! I dont need you. Youre the one who needs me! This is all about you, isnt it? Keeping you alive is everyones first priority, so youre all willing to do whatever you have to in order to do that! Youre just using me- youve always just been using me!

She started crying hysterically as she attempted to collect her belongings. She couldnt leave; if I needed to do it, I wouldve forced her to stay by using my power. It pained me to have to do that, though. Bella, just listen to me. Theyve been looking for you your entire life. They never knew for sure that you existed, because they didnt have proof; it was only a rumor. But if what they knew really was true, that meant that you were the only hybrid they knew of who wasnt living here, with another coven. It isnt just about me. She sniffled and shook her head at me, her face disgusted. I dont believe you. I dont believe a single god damn word that you say. Youre a liar; youre all just liars! Stay and Ill explain everything I know, I offered, trying to compromise. She was silent for a second, her nostrils flaring as she thought about it. No. I want nothing to do with you or your kind. You claim that the Volturi are inhumane- how are you any better? Youre all selfish, and conniving and willing to hurt people- Were not hurting you! You dont understand whats going on. Let me explain to you whats happening. No. She was steadfast in her decision as she stomped across my room toward the door. She grabbed the doorknob, and that was when I spoke again. If you try and leave, Ill go in your head and force you to stay. You can stay on your own, and let me explain, or I can force you against your will with no explanation. Please, please dont make me do that. She spun around quickly, and took a few steps toward me, clearly livid. I dont have a choice either way, now do I? I blinked repeatedly and shook my head. No. Then do whatever the hell you have to do to me. I dont care about your explanation. All that matters to you is that Im here to protect you, because even though youre supposed to be a leader, youre weak, scared, and vulnerable. Youre shameful. Everyones depending on you, and little do they know, theyre all going to die. I knew she didnt mean what she was saying. Still, fear rippled through my body, because what she said was everything Id been terrified of. Bella, youre only so angry right now because youre changing and- Stop it! Her piercing scream echoed through my room. Stop saying that! It isnt true! She collapsed into a heap on the floor and I stayed sitting on my bed for a few seconds, just watching her cry hysterically and pound her fists against the floor. My chest was aching, watching her break down. I didnt know what I was supposed to do. I flew over to her and crouched down on the ground, staying a respectable distance from her. Not many people knew you existed. Your parents were very secretive about everything. The only reason my father knew was because he delivered you.

When your mother was killed, the first thing Charlie did was run to Arizona and contact Renee. She was the closest person to him, and he trusted her. She looked up at me curiously, her eyes beet red, tears streaming down her cheeks. So Renee always knew? Yes. I dont know the entire story; this is just what Ive been told by my father. She whimpered a little bit as she sat up, and I reached forward to brush a strand of hair off her cheek. He stayed for a little while, Bella whispered. Why did he leave? He tried making things work with Renee. He loved her but he couldnt get over whatd happened to your mother and it was breaking him down. I can sympathize. I mean, if something happened to you I wouldnt want to be alive anymore. Bella shook her head and laughed derisively. Sure, Edward. I swear. I wiped a tear off her chin with my thumb and sighed before I continued. So, Charlie ran off and came back here, and left you with Renee because he thought it would be best to keep you as far away as possible. Plus, he was afraid that once the Volturi knew he was back, they were going to come after him. And they did, but luckily my parents and others of our kind intervened. It was a huge threat to them- that you couldve been out living amongst humans alone- and they didnt kill Charlie since they thought he was the only one who knew the truth. She took in what I was saying, nodding every few seconds or covering her mouth with her hand when something shocked her. I drummed my fingers against the ground repeatedly as I tried to come up with a way to explain to her why wed been so secretive about everything. Eventually, other things took precedence; like me, for example, and searching for someone they werent even sure existed wasnt a priority anymore. But once you got older, and they knew if you were alive, youd be changing they started searching for you again. Somehow, they got knowledge of Renee, and once Charlie found that out, he contacted my father and brought you back here so that we could watch you. He didnt want anyone knowing you were one of us not even you. It wouldve made it easier to find you, and he didnt want that. Not until you changed and were stronger, at least. If theyre watching you, though, then theyve had to have seen me with your family all of the time. They had to have known it was me. I shook my head and tugged agitatedly at my hair, despising the fact that I was forced to provide an explanation for everyone elses wrongdoings. We interact with many humans. We always have. Besides, Rosalie and Jasper were around all the time when they were human it isnt unlikely for us to be around others our age. They dont know about you yet. I know that for a fact. Bella took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. Her tears had stopped, and her anger seemed to have dissipated. She got up onto her knees and threw her body into mine, wrapping her arms around my neck and putting her lips near my ear. Im scared, Edward. Whats going to happen to me? Its long, and its painful, but youll be okay. Ill be by your side the whole time.

She let go of me and slid backward, causing her scent to waft up my nose. I tried breathing through my mouth, but it was too late. The fire overtook my throat and I felt the venom pooling in my mouth, against my will. It had been so long since I fed, but once Alice had told me of her vision of Bella changing, I refused to be apart from her for long. I remembered the agony and torture Id gone through when I was changing, and I refused to let her go through it without being there with her. Some things took priority, and feeding wasnt one of them at the moment. Your eyes are dark, she observed, pressing her fingertips against the hollow underneath my right eye. I know youre hungry. Im fine. Dont worry about me. Her shoulders slouched and I saw her shiver again as she winced and put her hand on her forehead. I dont feel well, she mumbled, her voice shaky. Why is this all happening so fast? Was it like this for you? No. I shook my head and lifted her into my arms before running her over to the bed and dropping her gently, her head against the pillow. Its different for everyone. For Alice it all happened suddenly, too. I covered her with the blankets when I heard her teeth chattering. The color had drained from her face, and her lips were almost blue. Wheres Charlie? Can you call him? Will he know She trailed off and I nodded as I knelt down next to the bed and clutched her hand. Charlie will know everything, I assured her. But he wont be here, for his own safety. Do you remember what happened when you came here while I was changing? I nearly killed you. The room went silent besides for Bellas tense breaths and her teeth clicking together. I heard voices downstairs; the other four had gotten home from school and were discussing what was happening with Esme. She warned them to stay away until I asked for assistance. I could hear in her thoughts that she was frightened by my demeanor lately. It made me anxious that my own mother felt uncomfortable around me, but I wasnt concerned. Things would be different once Bella was changed. It seemed impossible to become settled in my new form with all the chaos that surrounded me constantly. At least without having to worry about her, I could be slightly more rested. Will I remember everything from when I was human? she asked me suddenly. For awhile, yes. And then Ill forget? As time goes on, youll start to forget more and more, until you dont remember anything about it, I said regretfully. Her face twisted at my words. At least thats what Ive heard. But when I change, Ill remember everything from then on, wont I? I nodded and forced a smile at her. Okay. So, can I tell you things? Just in case I forget about them later? Sure.

She went on to tell me little bits and pieces about her life that wed never discussed before. Some of the things seemed trivial, some of them I could understand her sentiment. She mentioned the sun setting over the mountains in Arizona more than once. She described her old bedroom to me in detail. She mentioned the fact that shed cook breakfast with her mother every Sunday morning, and it was one of the things that she missed most about home. She talked to me for hours, until she got too tired, and then she requested I talk to her, to distract her from the pain. I started telling her stories of when I was younger, but every story I told seemed depressing to me. My powers had always been a burden and caused me to be an outcast. It wasnt until Id met her that I actually started to feel some semblance of contentment. It was dark outside when Bella finally fell into an uneasy sleep. She was at the point where she was almost hallucinating because of the pain. I called Carlisle into my room and he looked down at the bed, where Bella was sprawled out and murmuring restlessly in her sleep, looking more and more like a corpse with every passing moment. Lets bring her into the other room, Carlisle thought. I nodded and pulled the blanket down, and he shook his head at her attire; all that she had on was my shirt, held shut by two buttons, and her underwear. Id been too distracted to remember to dress her, but it didnt really matter at that point. She was sweating profusely and we had to get her strapped down as quickly as possible. I lifted her as gently as I could, but she was too weak to even attempt to wrap her arms around me. Her eyes opened for a second as I flew down the hallway to the exam room, but they rolled back in her head and she coughed once before trying to take a deep breath, unsuccessfully. Carlisle was shooting back and forth across the room, preparing everything for the next couple of days, and Esme, Alice, and Emmett watched quietly from the doorway as I placed Bella on the vinyl cot in the middle of the room. Edward, she groaned with her eyes closed, reaching her arm out for me. I moved forward and grabbed her wrist, pressing her hand into my cheek so she knew I was there. Im going to die. I heard her voice in her mind and I shut my eyes, hoping that she could hear me back. Yes. A frightened sob escaped from her lips, but her hand pushed harder into my cheek. When am I going to wake up again? Im not sure, I admitted. Its always different. A day or two. Ill be here the entire time. Dont be afraid... I love you. Everything went silent, so I dropped her wrist and sat down in the chair Carlisle had pushed to the side of the cot for me. Id never seen anyone change before, so I was completely terrified. Id tried not to let it show in front of Bella, knowing she was already worried enough as it was, but in reality, I had no idea what to expect while watching. When Alice and Emmett had changed, I had stayed with Tanyas family. But there I was, petrified, sitting next to Bella, watching her die and knowing there was nothing I could do.

Carlisle put his hand on my shoulder and pointed at the merciless restraints attached to the cot. You should put them on now, while she isnt fighting back. No, I spat out loud, shaking my head. Im not tying her down. I cant. I can control her, she doesnt need them. You dont know what youre talking about, Edward, Emmett said timidly, taking a few steps into the room. Ive seen it before- shes going to be stronger than you. Faster than you. It may seem cruel, but No, I said again, refusing to discuss it. Were all here. She doesnt need them. Eventually, everyone exited the room, leaving me alone with her. She was peaceful for a few hours, and I kept the image of her sleeping serenely filed in my mind, knowing it was something Id never witness again. I gripped her hand, which still retained some of her warmth, even though she was slowly turning gray. As time went on, the heat faded almost completely, and I held her hand up to my lips to feel her warm skin one last time. I heard her heart beat erratically a couple of times before there was one last loud thump, and the room went silent. I couldnt look at her. Despairingly, I placed my head on my forearms, which Id rested on the edge of the cot, and looked down at my feet, unable to find the courage to look at her corpse. It was unbearable. I dont know how long I sat there like that with her, waiting for something to happen. Carlisle came in a couple of times to check up, but said nothing to me each time. I was too numb to even attempt to listen to his thoughts. Alice walked in once at some point the next day and rubbed the back of my head sympathetically. You need to drink, Edward, she whispered. I shook my head without looking up, and she didnt push me any further. If you decide you cant wait any longer, I can sit here with her. Its going to be days. With that, she walked out and left me alone again. At some point in the middle of the night, the screaming began. I sat up and covered my ears with my palms for a second, the earsplitting noise paining me inexplicably. She was paralyzed still, but the burning she mustve felt running through her was vicious. When it had happened to me, it was the most evil, violent sensation Id ever experienced, much worse than anything I couldve anticipated. After the sound of the first scream, Jasper appeared in the room, where he remained for the rest of the time. He took a seat on the other side of the bed without a word, and I could hear him concentrating hard, trying to soothe her. It was draining for him, and I knew hed be exhausted soon, but I was appreciative. She stopped shrieking after a few moments, instead only groaning and sobbing every once in awhile. Shes in much more pain than you were, Jasper informed me. It isnt my business, but maybe you should listen to Carlisle and use the restraints. No, I said again, growing wearisome of everyones unsolicited advice. We didnt speak to each other again.

Word of Bella coming to spread around the house, and slowly everyone crept into the room. To my relief, they remained quiet, even in their thoughts. Alice, Rosalie, Esme, and Emmett were mostly bored; Jasper was fatigued from trying to keep her as calm as possible; Carlisle was full of concern. And I was still numb and unresponsive, just sitting and watching her transformation, feeling her skin slowly harden, her features altering gradually. Her color changed from the dead, lifeless grayish-blue to a more rousing alabaster. Early morning the third day, Bellas eyes shot open and flickered back and forth around the room, taking in her surroundings. She sat up quickly and stared at me while snarling viciously, her black eyes hollow and void of any emotion. It burns, she complained, attempting to dig her nails into the impenetrable skin near her jugular. Help me. She continued growling, with each breath she let out as I spun around to Carlisle, who already had a glass filled with blood at his disposal. I held it up to her lips, but she snatched it out of my hand with a sneer and chugged it recklessly, a stream of blood leaking down one side of her lips, over her chin, and onto my white shirt she was wearing. She threw the glass to the ground when it was empty, causing it to shatter all over the place. In the corner of my eye I saw Esme jump slightly, but no one moved from where they were seated. I need more, she ordered, pointing at me. You- She shook her head and stared at me with contempt before lying back down on the cot, gripping the edges. I need more. My throat its on fire. Help me! I didnt need to look at Carlisle again to hear his thoughts. Not right now. Just give her a minute. I can smell them, Bella said, referring to the humans that were outside. I only knew because Id felt the exact same way. I can smell everything. She laughed maliciously and shot up off the cot, moving faster than any vampire Id ever seen so far. Emmett jumped in front of the door, but she shoved him to the side effortlessly and attempted to open it by slamming her body against it. I flew forward and grabbed both of her arms, pinning them behind her back so that she couldnt move. Youre weak, she said, laughing again. Angrily, I shoved her toward the bed, where Carlisle and Jasper were standing, just staring in shock. Dont touch me. I want to leave here. She refused to get back onto the bed, instead attempting to go for the door again. This time, Emmett, Alice, and Rosalie all stood in front of the door, and Alice pushed Emmett forward. Use your power, Alice ordered. Itll only hurt her for a second- long enough for them to tie her down. Shes too strong right now and shes delirious. Bella stood stationary, her fist clenched at her sides, as Emmett struggled to blast her. I was torn, because I didnt want to see her hurt, but if she managed to get by us, shed be gone, and the results would be devastating. I cant it isnt working on her, he muttered, his voice full of shame. Bella threw her head back and cackled loudly before glaring at Emmett, her eyes narrowed.

You cant hurt me. None of you can. She ran for the door again, but Esme went for her wrist, and although it didnt do much, it was enough of a diversion to allow me to grab her. I lost my patience and struggled as she fought me, carrying her back to the cot and throwing her down roughly, causing the metal to make a screeching noise. I climbed on top of her and held her wrists down against the vinyl, moving my face close to hers as she thrashed and struggled to get out of my grasp. Stop fighting me, I yelled, turning my head to Jasper. Bella screamed as he clicked the metal restraint closed and ran to the other side of the bed to work on the other one. If you keep trying to fight us, youre going to get killed, I said sternly. I know youre in pain, but youre stronger than this. So, stop. She let out a loud, animalistic growl and snapped at me, but Carlisle had locked her ankles in the chains and there was nothing she could do. I climbed off of her and waited until she calmed down a little bit before spinning my head around the room and pointing at the door. Everyone just leave, I ordered. Well be fine now. Dad, you stay. I sat back down and put my elbows on my knees and yanked at my hair as I cursed under my breath. I know this is hard, Edward. I shook my head without looking at my father and continued to stare at the ground, trying to drown out Bellas cries and furious screaming. I heard him go into the refrigerator in the corner of the room again, and when he returned he had another cup of blood in his hands. She has to slow down, he said out loud. Otherwise it wont be good for her. I nodded and grabbed the glass from him before standing up and staring down at Bella. Do you want this? She squinted at me, her nostrils flared, and refused to speak. You have me chained up like a fucking dog. I hate you. Let me out of these things. Even her thoughts were malicious and impolite. Id heard her tell me she hated me more times than I ever wanted to hear in the past couple of days, and it was damaging me emotionally. I shook my head and tried to grab her arm so that she could hear me, but she shifted and shrieked again so I wouldnt touch her. Dont fucking touch me. I can hear you fine. You can? I asked out loud. She nodded, and I saw her eyeing the glass in my head. Drink this and calm yourself. I dont want you tied up, either. But I dont want you to run out of here and get yourself killed. So, calm down, and Ill let you out. Fine! she exclaimed, opening her mouth slightly to allow me to pour the contents of the cup into it. She gulped the glass down desperately, lying back down when she was done. Her mind went quiet and I sat back down with a sigh, suddenly feeling extremely guilty knowing that Id done the same thing to my family when I had changed. Except that Id actually escaped and almost killed Bella. The thought filled me with shame.

It was hours before I heard anything from her again. Edward? She choked my name out, her voice indicating that she was still in excruciating pain. What? I asked jadedly, too drained to put any enthusiasm into my voice. I dont hate you. Im sorry. Its okay, I answered out loud. I know you didnt mean it. Lay next to me. Please. It hurts. Carlisle looked at us, most likely trying to fill in the gaps of our private conversation. Without a word, I undid the restraints on one side of her body and climbed onto the cot, embracing her comfortingly. She grabbed my hand and placed it on the side of her face before closing her eyes and exhaling with relief. Youre not cold anymore. I laughed tiredly and shrugged, finally feeling calmed for the first time in three long days. Yes, I am. I told her. But now, you are too.

Chapter 15 ~ Theyre Coming
-BellaMy eyes were shut but I couldn't sleep. I couldn't think. I couldn't move. All I could do was feel. The pain in my blood and my throat was so powerful, so severe, that I wanted to die. I was praying to die. It was like the feeling you get when you touch something hot and you realize you're burning yourself- your reflexes tell you to jerk away. Once you aren't touching whatever it is that was burning you anymore, you start to feel relief. This was as if something ablaze was touching every single square inch of my body, but I couldn't pull away. I longed for the cool feeling of Edward's skin on mine- but he was there, lying next to me, and he wasn't cold anymore. He wasn't warm, either. He just was. The fire in my throat was the worst. I longed for something to satiate the thirst. I could smell everything; the weak scents that were coming outside pulled me to their hosts, and they were everywhere. I didn't care who or what it was, I just needed it, so much so that I was going out of my mind. Kill, kill, kill. Drink, drink, drink.

Those were the only thoughts running through my head. I couldn't comprehend how all the vampires I knew lived among humans they way they did, acting civil and decent and normal. They were animals with one tracked minds. It fades, I heard Edward say in his mind. The fact that I was able to hear his thoughts so easily was startling to me. I kept forgetting that he could hear my thoughts as well. It'll get easier very soon, he continued. I know it doesn't feel like it ever will, but trust me. I wondered if it was easier for him to hear me too, now. Yes, he answered. But I think you can control that. We'll see soon enough. I reached up and clasped my hand around my throat, uninterested in continuing our silent conversation. I was thirsty, and that was all I was. His voice in my head was just adding to the madness. I'm sorry, he said. I can't just turn it off now you know how I feel every day. Stop it! I exclaimed out loud. I opened my eyes and saw Carlisle jump up from his seat. Just shut up. Just stop thinking. I couldn't get used to the way things were when my eyes were open. I could see everything. Every tiny little grain, every particle of dust I saw all of it. I saw details on Edward's face that I'd never noticed before. A tiny, pinpoint of a freckle in the middle of his left cheek. The rainbow of colors that existed in the hair of his sideburns. A dark hunter spec in the iris of his light, light green eyes. I let my eyes roll back in my head and I closed them again. You can sit down, Carlisle. I'm not going to try and run. The feeble amounts of blood they were giving me did absolutely nothing. It made the thirst slightly manageable for a couple of minutes, and then it was back, and I would crave the scent outside and try to stand, and Edward and Carlisle would hold me down again. I could've fought them if I wanted to, and I probably would've won, but I couldn't do that to them. She doesn't like hearing me, Edward explained quietly. Well, it takes some getting used to, Edward, Carlisle said, his voice full of understanding. Don't take it personally. At least she only has to hear me and not every single person- Okay, talking out loud isn't working either, I interrupted. I'm in pain and my head is about to explode. Please, just be quiet. Do you want more to drink? Edward asked- in his mind, of course. I was beginning to think he found pleasure in the fact that I could hear his every thought. I nodded, my eyes still closed, and I reached for his arm, his hand, anything of his that I could grab onto. I heard him groan a little and I felt the weight of his arm on my stomach, and I wrapped myself around it. She needs more, he said to Carlisle.

It was at that point that I realized that along with being able to smell every human's blood that was in the vicinity, I could smell everything inside a million times better- including Edward. I turned my head and rolled to my side and I buried my nose in his neck. For the first time in days, a wave of relaxation surged through me. I tilted my chin up and kissed the skin at the base of his neck, and the smell was almost overwhelming. It was sweet and cool and fresh and mouthwatering. I stuck the tip of my tongue out, to see if he tasted the same way he smelled, and he did. He moaned lightly and rolled me onto my back. My dad, he thought. I can hear your thoughts and my dad is right there. You can't do that to me. I whined a little bit and hooked my finger around the waistband of his khakis that he'd been wearing for three days, I think, because he hadn't left my side for a second. Somehow they were still pressed and unwrinkled and perfect. It was the only thing that was strong enough to distract me from the thirst. Him. Passion. I was elated that my ridiculously strong attraction to him hadn't faded in the transition. At that point, more than ever, I was completely convinced that we were meant to be together by some higher power. I slid my hand lower down his pants and pressed my fingertips against his flesh. He wasn't cold or hard anymore. He felt like he had to me in the beginning. Like we were the same again. Bella, come on, he grumbled, and he laughed lightly and moved my hand. Carlisle cleared his throat uncomfortably, clearly not blind to what I was trying to do to his son. He was at the bed instantly with the cup full of blood, which he gave to Edward instead of handing to me. I think everything's okay in here, Carlisle noted. I'm going to be in my office. Bella, how do you feel? Terrible, I answered. Edward, I think she should get up and walk around. Maybe take a shower? You can move her to your room if you'd like. I can hold my own cup, I said snidely. I tried snatching it out of Edward's hand, shocked at how fast I was able to move, but he was faster and moved it out of my reach. No you can't, he said to me, his voice tired. I'll be fine, Dad. I'll let you know if I need anything. Thank you for everything. Carlisle looked at him for a second, and Edward's expression changed, so I could tell he was saying something to him that he didn't want me hearing. I tried listening to Edward's mind, but it was silent. It was only his voice I was able to hear in my head. No one else's. No, Edward said out loud, shaking his head. Absolutely not. I don't need to. Edward, it's been awhile.

I'm not leaving her. She's going to need to go back to school, before anyone gets suspicious, and it's going to be hard for you- I'm fine! Edward shouted. Carlisle shook his head and fled from the room, and I heard the door click shut behind him. Give me the glass, I ordered, not interested in whatever it was they were discussing. Kill, kill, kill. Drink, drink, drink. The scent of the blood was right there, so pungent, and it was all that was going through my mind. Open your mouth, he said softly, patiently. He tipped the cup against my lips and it filled my mouth and spilled down my throat, thick, soothing, numbing, satisfying. I chugged it without a word, gulp after gulp, so fast that some of it spilled from the corner of my lips, over my chin, and trickled down my neck. I put my fingertips on the bottom of the glass to tilt it higher up, and the blood flowed faster for a few seconds, until the cup was dry, and empty, and Edward pulled it away. He dropped it in his lap and leaned into my neck, his tongue trailing up the side of it to lap up the excess blood that had spilled. He moved up to my chin, and then licked my bottom lip, and I could taste the sweetness and irony tang in his kiss. Take me to your room, I begged. I hate this room. I hate this bed. There's blood on my shirt- does my voice sound different to you? Or is it just my ears? There's lots of things that are different, Edward chuckled. I wrapped my arms around his neck and he stood up and lifted me up by holding the back of my legs and he ran to his room, except this time it wasn't scary and it didn't make me dizzy because I could see everything, and it didn't seem so fast. He dropped me on my feet and spun me around by my shoulders, and my mouth dropped open in shock at my reflection. It was me, but it wasn't me. This person was gorgeous, with flawless, ivory skin and big, shimmering hair and huge eyes with irises that were so brown they were almost black. I had to raise my hand and touch my cheek to be completely sure it was me. Edward laughed and only then did I remember that he was standing there, watching me. I spun around to him, faster than I intended to, and it took a second for my eyes to catch up and process my movement. It's so strange, I whispered. I know. It takes some getting used to. Why can I hear in your head so easily now? I asked him. I don't even have to touch you. Because all of your senses are stronger. That's all your gift is- a sixth sense. I swallowed again and felt the scalding, excruciating ache slowly returning. I'm thirsty again, I told him. Can I have a new shirt?

He nodded and fled to the corner of his room. I pulled his shirt over my head and stood there, my arms crossed over my bare chest, the bloody, wrinkled and torn fabric in a heap at my feet. My skin felt alien beneath my fingers. It was smoother and silkier and more firm. It wasn't mine. I looked down at my feet, and when I looked back up, Edward was standing in front of me, a pile of clothes tucked under his arm. Uh here. He held the clothes out to me, but I shook my head and refused to move my arms. I smelled something outside- and I heard a strange noise. My head cocked to the side and Edward stepped forward and grabbed my arm for good measure. What animal is that? I asked him, the overpowering aroma almost making me heave. It's horse, he informed me. You probably don't want to eat that. I made a disgusted face and he laughed quietly. He released my arm and let out a sigh. Get dressed. Against my will, he uncrossed my arms and helped me put my shirt on, and then a pair of pajama shorts. They were mine, so I assumed Alice had gone to Charlie's apartment and gotten them for me. Charlie. My dad, I said suddenly. Have you spoken to him? Does he know I'm okay? When can I see him? I need to ask him about my real mother. We've talked to him. He knows you're okay, don't worry. You can see him soon. For right now, I think you should just lay down. I grabbed his hand and weaved his fingers through mine. Stay with me, I begged, because I was confused and lost and uncomfortable and in pain, and he was the only thing I was sure of right then. Of course, Bella, he muttered, kissing my forehead. Where else would I go? You're where I belong. * I had to go back to school. Edward was right; the burning subsided slowly, and within a couple of days, the urge was manageable when I drank. The day before I had to go back to school, he took me for a walk outside, to see if I could handle myself around humans, and I could. I could smell them. I wanted them, every single one, but I had enough willpower to control myself. It was a constant discomfort that plagued me, but I knew I'd get used to it, and keeping myself isolated in Edward's bedroom was only going to do more harm than good. I was scared. I begged and pleaded for more time before I had to be left alone, but they assured me everything would be fine. I can see you, Alice said. You're fine. I see nothing wrong happening.

I was wary as to why they were all pushing me to return to society so soon after. I knew that Edward had been out of school longer than I had, and I didn't understand why it was different with me. No one would give me a straight answer. They don't want to worry you, Edward said in his mind that morning before we left. He was knotting his tie in the mirror, quick and precise and only half paying attention. We have reason to believe there's someone keeping a close eye on us. The longer you stay out of school, the more suspicious it gets. That's all. It's not a reason to panic. Why don't you share these things with me? I asked him out loud. I have to learn to deal with problems on my own. It's all going to be my responsibility soon. Just let me do what I think is right. Even his thoughts were tired and dreary. I worried for him, more than myself. He hadn't drank from me or gone hunting in a long time. His face was sallow, the circles under his eyes darkening day by day. I knew he had less energy than usual, and it was getting harder for him to hide his vulnerability. Even when he'd taken me out walking the night before, it seemed like he was struggling to be around people himself. His jaw tightened and his nostrils flared on more than one occasion, and if I didn't think it would've angered him and just made him less confident than he already was, I would've asked that he left my side and go hunting instead of taking the risk. But, no. He'd already said to Alice, Emmett, and Carlisle that there was no way he was leaving me alone in school without being somewhere close. So, that was that. I got a bad feeling as soon as I walked into the building. I'm not sure if it was my own nervousness, or if I was nervous because of Edward, or if it was just some instinct that I'd acquired with my change, but regardless, something just felt off. It was eerie. After third period, Alice met me in the bathroom and gave me a thermos of blood. She said she'd brought it just to be safe, and she watched me drink the entire thing. I would've saved it and given it to Edward, but there was no way I could think to get away with it. I felt guilty and blameworthy, because if it wasn't for me, he would've been fine. So I stayed quiet, and I went through the motions of the day, and I hoped and prayed that we would get through the it all in one piece, without any colossal mishaps. I was supposed to meet Edward at my locker before lunch. We always met by my locker before going up to the pool, without question. I waited until the bell rang, and he never showed. I was on edge because of the stares that people were giving me, and the dreadful feeling in my gut refused to go away, and he wasn't there. I looked across the hallway to a clock hanging high on the wall. 12:40 PM. And then, I saw Alice turn the corner and stalk toward me, her face frantic, and I froze. He would drink from me when I would meet him during lunch. He was used to drinking at that time. "I had a vision this morning, of Edward Alice's voice filled my mind, and I remembered her talking about a vision she'd been fearing before I'd changed. About Edward.

Biting someone. Here. It was a girl, I couldn't tell who, or where exactly Oh, my God, I said out loud, and I covered my hand with my mouth. If I could've been sick at that moment, I would've. Everything was moving in slow motion. Alice started running toward me, her arms stretched out in front of her. But I saw a clock that said 12:41. And I heard the screaming" Bella! We have to find him! She slammed into me, and I looked at the clock again. 12:41. The piercing shriek echoed down the stairwell. Edward! I screamed, and Alice pulled me toward the sound. My legs moved on their own, up the four flights of stairs, and I saw nothing, just a blur, as everything whizzed by me. We reached the top platform and I gasped when I saw the scene in front of me. Edward was kneeling over a girl who was on the ground, her wrist pouring out blood. There was a puddle on the floor and it was all over her clothes, and Edward's mouth andShe was alive. Her eyes were open, and she was staring right at him, and she knew. She knew everything, and she took a deep breath, and she screamed again. Alice and I pulled him away, and she held him against the wall. I took my sweater off and wrapped it around the girl's wrist, and I sat her up. She was in shock, and I knew we had to do something before someone found us. Someone else was sure to have heard the screaming. What do we do?! I asked frantically. Alice clutched at her hair, and she was crying, but there were no tears. He'd exposed himself. We were all in trouble. We were all dead. I know what to do, Alice said quietly between her sobs, regret clear in her voice. I have to do it. Come over here and calm him down. I stood up and traded places with her, and I wiped the blood from Edward's face with my sleeve. Hey, I said, placing my hand on his cheek. Talk to me. Are you alright? What happened? I didn't I I don't know what happened He was clearly in shock and famished and lacking common sense. I wanted to be angry at him, but I couldn't. I knew it was going to happen. I felt it in my bones. It was my fault it'd happened. That didn't change the fact that he'd just done irrevocable damage.

I turned around and pressed my back into Edward's chest so that I could watch Alice. She grabbed both sides of the girl's face, and suddenly, her eyes closed and her body went lax. What are you doing?! I asked. Her memory I'm just taking her memory away of the last couple minutes. Alice's dark power. She was using it, and she didn't want to because if she did they were going to come. Because there was someone watching them, and waiting for them to make a mistake. "We'll say that we heard her screaming and we ran up here to see what happened," Alice continued. "That she'd cut herself on the glass-" She pointed at the window. "I'll break it. And that she fainted from all of the blood. We have to hurry and get her down to the nurse so they can take her to the hospital." "Okay," I agreed. "Edward? Did you hear me?" "Yes," he said to Alice, his voice gravely. I felt hopeless, and scared, and I held onto Edward as if he could save me, even though he was the one who'd gotten us into the whole mess in the first place. They're going to come now, Edward, Alice whispered, her tone ominous. They're coming. They're coming for us.

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