I cursed under my breath as I stormed my way to the Volvo where my family was waiting for me. I had never had a worse day at school, and it didn’t look like it was going to get any better.
It had been absolute hell on earth sitting next to that girl in Biology class. Who did she think she was, coming into my life and driving me half out of my mind with desire for her blood? How dare she try to ruin what my family had made for ourselves here. It just wasn’t fair! Didn’t we deserve at least a little peace?
I cursed again, frustrated that she could demolish all of my carefully crafted walls in just a few moments. She was a danger to our way of life and a danger to herself, though she might not have realized it yet. Damn her.
“Edward,” Alice, my sister, called out to me when she saw me coming towards them. There was a look of panic, worry and fear etched into her face as she looked at me. I knew instantly that she had had a vision involving me, and it terrified her. I tried to block her out and give her privacy most of the time, but when one of her visions involved me I couldn’t help but peek into her mind.
I saw myself covered in blood, a look of horror on my face as I looked down at my prey, Bella Swan.
For a moment I wondered if she was asking me about what had happened in Biology class, showing me a vision of what my future would have been if I had given into my baser instincts. Then I realized she wasn’t showing me a past memory; it was a vision she was having now. A vision of what my future was going to be.
But wait, that couldn’t be right! I had been in her presence twice today and I had walked away both times, controlling the urge to sink my teeth into the lovely pink flesh of her neck, to taste the blood that had been distracting me all day… I gritted my teeth and forced myself not to think of it. I would drive myself crazy if I thought of her again. I had never been so attracted to the scent of blood before hers. I could even smell it now, the heady floral aroma.
I shook my head to clear it of the scent, but it wouldn’t go away. I looked up and saw Bella walking toward me from across the parking lot, a determined look on her face. I stood shock still, unable to believe that my prey was coming to me willingly, practically offering herself up on a platter. Suddenly I understood Alice’s bloody vision, and I knew that it was going to come true. I craved her blood like I had never craved anything before. I was too far gone to think of the repercussions. All I knew was that the closer she got to me, the more delicious her blood smelled. I had to get her on her own and soon. I wasn’t going to last much longer with her scent surrounding me.
“Edward, it’s time to go home, Esme will be upset if we are late!” Alice called, trying to hide the note of desperation that was filling her voice. I ignored her; she already knew what was going to happen. “She is Chief Swan’s only child!” she screamed in her mind, begging me not to do this.
I turned toward her and tossed the car keys to Rosalie, who caught them easily and gave me a disapproving glare. Even though she didn’t agree with my choice, I knew she wouldn’t interrupt either. “I’ll walk home,” I called to them, “I need to take care of something first.”
Alice’s voice was loud and clear in my mind: “What will Carlisle think?”
I hesitated for a moment as Carlisle’s disappointed face drifted through my minds eye. I would have turned around then, I really would have, but the wind blew Bella’s scent toward me, effectively blocking out any other rational thought in my mind.
I turned from Alice, back to Bella and saw that she was only a few feet away from me, her eyes still filled with determination to say whatever it was that she thought needed to be said.
“What in the hell is wrong with you?” she asked, standing only two feet away from me. She was braver than she looked. I bit back a laugh at her bravado; not many people would come face to face with a vampire and ask them what their problem was. Unfortunately for her, it wasn’t going to save her life.
“It’s Bella, right?” I asked and she nodded. “I was wondering if you would like to take a walk with me.” I gestured toward the forest and saw her hesitate for a moment before looking into my eyes. What she saw there must not have worried her because she strode into the forest without another word from me.
I hid my surprise with a delighted smile. I had never caught my prey with such ease before. It was a nice change.
I followed after her, forcing myself to relax for just a moment. I was going to taste her blood soon; I could force some cordiality before that, couldn’t I? It turned out that I couldn’t.
The moment we were far enough into the forest that I knew none of the students couldn’t see or hear us, I felt the desire for her blood overtake me, just as it had in the classroom earlier. I grabbed her arm and barely heard her gasp in protest before I picked her up, slung her on my back and took off deeper into the forest. I didn’t want anyone to accidentally come across us; there didn’t need to be more bloodshed today.
The biggest problem was that with her so close to me I couldn’t wait any longer to taste her blood. I stopped with one swift, fluid movement and Bella fell to the ground behind me with a loud thump. I turned toward her quickly, my mouth already filling with venom at the scent of her blood. It was such a thick, mouthwatering scent that I couldn’t stop myself from inhaling it again, and then cursing the fiery ache that raced down my throat like a match to gasoline.
I snarled at the pain of the fire on my parched throat. It had really been too long since I had hunted last. Perhaps I wouldn’t be in this predicament if I had recently fed, but part of me doubted that. Even if I had hunted earlier in the day I would be here. The call of her blood was too strong for me to resist.
I heard a shuffling noise to my right and I snapped toward the sound. Bella wasn’t fleeing as I had thought; she was merely standing up and brushing the dirt of her clothes. The look she gave me wasn’t what I had expected. She wasn’t afraid of me; she was only surprised at the events that had taken place in the past few moments. Any normal human being should have been terrified, but this girl obviously had no sense of self-preservation at all… strange.
A small gust of wind made its way through the forest, blowing her hair around her face and making my throat flare again. I crouched down, unable to wait any longer. “I’m sorry about this,” I managed before I launched myself at her, knocking her to the ground.
I only half heard her soft whimper of protest when I bit into the soft flesh of her neck. The blood tasted sweeter than I had ever imagined. It was pure ambrosia. I drunk deep, lapping at the wound I had made. No blood had ever compared to this; it was the sweetest, most perfect taste.
I pulled back for a moment, wiping the blood from my lips. The moment I did, I realized that I was living Alice’s vision. I was covered in blood and staring down at Bella Swan. In that instant, I snapped out of whatever hold her blood had for me.
My scream of horror and anguish rang through the stillness of the forest.
I had left Bella in the woods and rushed to the hospital, hoping to find my father. He would know what to do; he would know if my mistake could be fixed. I was standing in the middle of the Emergency Room and knew I must have looked half crazed, but I couldn’t calm down. I had put all of us in danger and I needed Carlisle to help me fix it.
He left the patient he had been attending and walked toward me. He knew that I never would have interrupted him at work unless it was an emergency. “Edward, what have you done?” his voiced echoed in my head as he noticed my red rimmed irises.
“I need you to come with me, I need to see if she can be saved,” I whispered as quietly as I could. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep the anguish out of my voice. I had never felt so guilty before in my life.
Carlisle didn’t hesitate, he turned to the nearest doctor and said urgently, “I need to get home; there has been a family emergency.”
The doctor gave me a startled look. “It must be something pretty bad, so I’ll talk to the Administrator for you.”
“Thank you,” Carlisle said graciously, “Come on, Edward.”
“Run or drive?” he asked me silently.
“Run,” I muttered under my breath.
There was silence between us as we walked out of the hospital and made our way slowly into the woods. The moment we were out of view we took off into the forest, running as fast as we possibly could. “What happened?” Carlisle asked me.
“Her blood… I have never smelled anything like it before. I couldn’t stop myself. I am so sorry, Carlisle,” my voice was laced with regret and pain. “I can’t let her die.”
He said nothing, but I could tell he was pushing himself harder, hoping to reach Bella in enough time to make a difference. “How much of her blood did you drink?”
“Not much. When I realized what was happening I left her and came to find you.”
It didn’t take us long to find her. Less than thirty seconds from when we entered the woods we reached her. I watched as Carlisle knelt at her side and bent over her to take her pulse. “Her heart is still beating, but she has already started the change. We need to get her to the house so I can keep her stable.”
I let out a breath that I hadn’t realized I had been holding. I felt relief tinged with incredible guilt. I knew Carlisle hadn’t ever wanted to change anyone again, but because of my mistake, we were going to have another addition to the family. Carlisle picked her up in his arms and she cried out in pain.
Remorse lanced through me at the pain in her voice. “I will take responsibility for her,” I told him as we started running toward home.
I think that surprised him; he looked over at me, trying to hide the shock he felt. “Are you sure? I know Alice would help her without us even asking her to.”
“It’s my fault she is going to be one of us, I need to do this,” I told him with determination.
“I think we need to head back to Alaska for a while. Forks isn’t safe for us anymore. The family needs to know what has happened.”
I looked at the girl in his arms, who was whimpering in pain with every step Carlisle took. If I lived for a thousand years, I don’t think it would be possible to forget the look on her face and the guilt I felt at that moment. I promised myself I would do whatever it took to take care of Bella and ease her into our way of life. Somehow I would fix this, even if it took the rest of my existence to do.