That Edward was not happy with me would have been a severe understatement. He had never truly understood my desire to join him in a life of immortality, even if it did mean that I would have to overcome my aversion to blood.
To be fair, I never understood his desire to keep me human. I was weak, clumsy, and most importantly, dying. We are soul mates, even if he doesn’t believe that he has a soul. We are meant to be together. He should rejoice in the fact that I am willing to embrace his existence instead of shunning me for it. I will never understand how he could possibly be happier existing with me for a brief time only to have me die later and then continue to exist for an eternity in mourning.
That was the main reason that I called the meeting with his family. I wanted a vote on my mortality, because they were his family and would become mine as well. I didn’t understand it, but Edward’s decision was his own and he would just have to accept me in whatever form I took. His family, however, did not have to accept me. They were not bound to me in the way that the love Edward and I shared bound us together.
Alice, of course, was beyond thrilled that I wanted to become a vampire. Even Jasper agreed with me. Although, I suspect his decision was more to eliminate the fact that I was a temptation than it was to appease his wife. Esme and Carlisle were both supportive as well. Edward, obviously, was strongly opposed, as was Rosalie. Rosalie thought that I was acting rashly and was jealous of my mortality. How someone so beautiful could be jealous of me I would never understand. Emmett was almost as excited as Alice was at the prospect of me being changed.
Emmett’s reaction was what set off the chain of events that led to where I am now. Rosalie was angry with me but even angrier that Emmett had taken my side. Great, as if I needed another reason for her to hate me. Shortly after the vote, she stormed out of the house exclaiming that she could not live around the family if they were willing to just bring in new members at a whim after she had never been asked to be a part of this life. Edward agreed with her.
“You don’t know what you are asking for, Bella,” he told me. His voice was patronizing.
“I am asking for an eternity with you, nothing more, nothing less,” I replied.
“It’s still going to happen, Edward,” Alice chimed in.
“Never!” he cried. “I’m leaving. You can’t want this anymore, Bella, you just can’t. I’m leaving so that you don’t have the choice to give up your life. I love you. I’ll always love you. But I can not allow you to throw away your life for me.”
With those words he disappeared into the night. Rosalie had already left. She had told Emmett that so long as he chose a human over his wife he could stay behind, no matter how hard he pleaded with her not to go.
Jasper had decided that he needed to leave to hunt in order to avoid a repeat of my birthday. Alice had agreed to join him. Esme was visibly distraught over her two eldest children leaving, so she and Carlisle took off to look for them.
That left me alone in the house with Emmett.
I looked over at Emmett. He was always so easy going and smiling. Now, he was slumped over and looked defeated. This was all my fault. I had to make this better, if not for me, then for Emmett.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered to him.
He looked up at me with drooping eyes. “Don’t worry about it, Bella. This was bound to happen eventually.”
“Your wife left you because of me,” I argued.
I flopped back into the couch next to him and wrapped my tiny arms around his large frame in a comforting embrace. He peeked at me from the corner of his eye. A small grin reappeared on his face as he placed his own arm over my shoulders.
“You always were a strange human,” he teased. “Why would a human try to comfort a vampire?”
“Please! I’m trying to comfort a man with a broken heart who just so happens to be a vampire.”
“I don’t have a heart,” he countered.
“You have a heart, it just doesn’t beat anymore,” I replied while rolling my eyes.
He chuckled, finally. “You know, if Eddie believed that then we wouldn’t be in half of this mess right now.”
I sighed. “Yeah, I know.”
We settled back into a comfortable silence for a few minutes. Neither of us knew exactly what to say to one another. How do you tell someone ‘I’m sorry that your soul mate left you because you are friends with a human’? Or, ‘I’m sorry the love of your life doesn’t love you enough to spend eternity with you’? There aren’t words for those types of situations. Too bad, Hallmark could make a fortune right now if they knew how.
“Do you still want to become a vampire?” Emmett finally asked.
“Of course,” I answered him without hesitation. “I love Edward. I want to spend my entire existence with him. And I love the family, too. I want to be with all of you as well.”
My answer seemed to spark something within him. His eyes began to twinkle again in that mischievous way that made me nervous.
“I could always bite you right now,” he offered with a smirk. I could tell he was teasing, but the thought sent my heart into overdrive.
“Oh sure,” I snickered and rolled my eyes. “I heard what happened to the last human you bit.”
His laughter roared through the house. “I wasn’t trying to change the last person I bit. They were just a snack to pass the time.”
I grasped my neck in mock horror. “How do I know that you aren’t getting a little thirsty now?”
“You’re right,” he said, suddenly very serious.
His eyes began to darken as he eyed my neck. My heart rate sped up exponentially, giving away my fear. My breathing became heavy and irregular. I pressed myself farther back into the couch as if it would help me to escape him. Finally, I shut my eyes and prepared myself for the worst. After all, if I had to continue to live without Edward, I might as well die now.
Emmett’s low chuckle from across the room finally caused me to open my eyes. He was doubled over and pounding his knees in a fit of laughter on the opposite end of the room. His eyes were back to a sparkling amber color.
I narrowed my eyes at him. “That was not funny!” I scolded. His laughter was his only response. “I am not amused,” I whispered, mostly to myself. I huffed and crossed my arms over my chest.
In an instant, Emmett was standing over me prying my arms apart. “I’m sorry, Bella,” he apologized. His eyes were still playful. “I didn’t mean to scare you…”
“Yes, you did!”
“Alright, maybe I did,” he admitted. His eyes were still twinkling with his good humor. “I couldn’t resist. All this time, you never found a reason to be afraid of Edward. I finally made you afraid of vampires!” He sounded quite proud of himself.
“You didn’t make me afraid of vampires,” I replied indignantly. “I was just afraid to tell you that your breath stinks.”
He laughed loudly again. “Ever the odd human,” he remarked.
Alice breezed into the house, then. She scooped me up and carried me off to her bedroom before I ever had the chance to protest. I faintly heard Emmett tell me good-bye before she shut the door and looked me over frantically.
“Alice!” I protested. “I’m perfectly fine. Emmett and I were just joking around.”
She narrowed her eyes at me and took a step back. Her eyes glazed over as she lost herself briefly in a vision. When she focused back on me, a small smirk appeared.
“You’re more than alright,” she giggled.
I loved Alice dearly. She was my best friend and the sister that I never had, but her mysterious behavior and cryptic words always confused me and frustrated me to no end. This was no exception.
“Can you not be so mysterious?” I asked her irritably.
Her musical laughter filled the room. She skipped over to her bed and landed lightly in the middle with her legs tucked underneath her. She tapped her finger to her chin thoughtfully with one hand and beckoned me forward with her other. I hesitantly joined her on the bed, already suspicious of an ambush.
“Bella, Bella, Bella,” she hummed. “At least you aren’t falling apart this time.”
“That is what this is about?” I asked her incredulously.
“Of course,” she replied. She looked over at me then. “Why aren’t you falling apart this time?”
“Because the rest of the family is still here. He has to come back eventually,” I answered honestly.
To be honest, I should be more upset over this. Edward and I had barely reunited for forty-eight hours and already he was running off and deserting me again. To be honest, it still didn’t feel real that he had returned with me. Even less that the rest of the Cullens were here as well. Yet, the fact that all of the Cullens were here meant that they were coming home. Edward could not stay away from them forever, they were his family. They were as much a part of his life as I intended to be. He would return to them eventually, and in so doing, return to me. It was the last shred of hope that I had and I would cling to it with my entire being to avoid the empty desperation I had felt the first time he left.
“What if he doesn’t come back?” Alice asked.
“Is that what you saw?” I asked her.
“No,” she replied bluntly without bothering to elaborate.
“He will be back,” I whispered. “He has to come back.”
“What if it isn’t soon enough, Bella?”
I looked up at her. Her expression was soft and concerned. Almost as if she were trying to tell me without words that my hope was, indeed, lost.
“What did you see, Alice?” I asked. My voice quivered as I spoke.
“I saw you,” she answered. I raised my eyebrow, encouraging her to continue. “You were happy,” she added. I rolled my eyes at her. “You were happy with… someone else,” she finally admitted.
My heart paused mid-beat. “Happy?” I reiterated. She nodded. “With someone else?” She nodded again. “As in, not with Edward?” Again, she nodded her head slowly in confirmation. “Who?”
Before she had a chance to answer, a strong wave of calm swept over me and Jasper rushed into the room. He looked over his wife and then me. Alice smiled lovingly at him. His expression softened and he looked over at me apologetically.
“Sorry, ladies. The emotions up here were runnin’ wild, and I just wanted to be sure that everyone was gettin’ along alright.” With that, he turned and left as another small wave of calm rushed over me.
“Sorry, Jasper!” I called after him. I hadn’t realized that my emotions were so out of control until his disruption.
“It was my fault,” Alice announced. “I’ve been going between love, excitement, fear, anxiety…”
“Don’t forget anger,” Jasper voice sounded from below.
Alice giggled again. “Sorry,” she mouthed to me.
“Alright,” I sighed. “So what has you so worked up, Alice?”
She glanced at me nervously and shook her head no. “We should take you home. You need some sleep now.”
I stood to protest but already Emmett’s large hands had pulled me back into him as he carried me out of the room. As he ran past the door, he grabbed a jacket and threw it over me he ran out into the night with me in his arms. I closed my eyes and buried my face into his chest while he ran. He chuckled softly, giving off gentle vibrations.
The wind rushing past me stopped suddenly and the bitter cold of the night was replaced by warmth. I opened my eyes to find that I was already in bed and tucked under the blankets. Emmett was grinning at me from the rocking chair.
“Sleep, Bella,” he commanded gently.
I nodded my head and lay back down, surprisingly exhausted after the nights’ events.
That night, I dreamt of Edward. He was standing in our meadow, smiling up at the sun. His skin sparkled like thousands of tiny diamonds. He opened his eyes to see me and extended his hand as an invitation for me to join him. As I stepped out of the shadows, my skin matched his and sparkled brilliantly. He was immediately repulsed and ran swiftly into the forest. No matter how hard I tried to chase after him, my feet were locked in place. I tried to call after him but was unable to produce a sound. I was alone, I was paralyzed, and I was exposed.
I shot up in bed screaming at the top of my lungs when I finally awoke. A cool hand brushed across my forehead soothingly. I leaned into in and inhaled deeply. The scent that I was met with was not the familiar one I was expecting. I looked over to find Emmett watching me worriedly.
“Are you alright?” he asked me. The panic in his voice did not escape me.
“It was just a dream,” I assured him with a nod of my head.
“That was not just a dream,” he pressed. His hand continued to sweep across my forehead. My heart rate had finally calmed back down to a normal pace and my labored breathing had evened out. The coolness of his hand was a great comfort as well. His touch was as gentle as Emmett could be but still less controlled than Edward’s had ever been. I leaned into his palm.
“Bella,” he warned.
“Sorry,” I quickly apologized and pulled away from him.
My deep blush gave me away even as I hid under the blankets. He chuckled softly and pulled them back to look at me. His eyes held tenderness, even if they were too dark. I was all too aware that he needed to hunt and my blush was not helping the situation.
“You should hunt,” I whispered.
He shook his head no in response. “Another day won’t hurt me.”
“But it might hurt me,” I teased.
He chuckled again. “Told you that you were afraid of me.”
“I’m not afraid of you,” I assured him. Emmett stood up and walked to the rocking chair again. “I’m not afraid of you,” I repeated.
“Edward was right,” he said to himself. “You really have no sense of self-preservation.”
My heart began to ache at the mention of his name. Alice had hinted at the fact that Edward might not come back to me. She had told me that I would be happy; that I would be happy with someone else. I couldn’t believe her. He had to come back, he had to come back to me, for me.
Emmett glanced over at me apologetically. “You’re still hurting,” he said.
“So are you,” I replied.
“That’s why I said one day of hunting won’t hurt me. There are worse pains to endure.”
His sullen expression was enough to make me forget my own pain. Emmett was never this depressed. I would give anything to see him in his normal jovial mood again. He radiated happiness to everyone around him. His goofy personality and dazzling dimples made it impossible for anyone to be upset around him. Well, anyone but Edward.
Emmett reminded me of Jake in that sense. They were big balls of sunshine in my cloudy existence. Now Emmett was hurting. I needed to find a way to make this better for him. Jake had been my sun, now I needed to return the favor for Emmett. Perhaps, then, I could find my own happiness in life.
“Do you mind if I just hang out with you for the day?” Emmett asked.
I nodded my head enthusiastically. Spending the day with Emmett was the perfect way to try and cheer him up. “What would you like to do?” I asked.
“Well, it's supposed to be sunny according to the know-it-all so something indoors,” he answered. He grinned devilishly, flashing me his bright white teeth. “We could redecorate Edward’s room.”
I laughed with him. “As much fun as that would be, I don’t think I could.”
“Yeah, I know. Too soon to go there,” he said in response.
“I could teach you to cook,” I offered.
“Why would I need to know how to cook?” Emmett asked warily.
“Well, it seems that I am going to remain a human for a while longer so someone needs to know how to make a decent meal for me when I’m too lazy to do it for myself.”
He grinned lazily at me. “Sounds good to me. What’s first on the lesson plan?”
Two hours later and we were in the Cullen kitchen while Emmett attempted to make scrambled eggs. Apparently, they are harder to make than one would anticipate. He repeatedly scorched the eggs by forgetting to grease the pan or turning the heat up too high to cook them quicker. Each time he muttered something about human food needing to quick at vampire speeds.
One hour and two dozen eggs later, I finally had an edible scrambled egg, even if it was a little saltier than I like to eat them. I congratulated Emmett on his success. He insisted that we give the kitchen a break before he ruined any more food in one day. After watching him get frustrated with the eggs, I was all too eager to agree with him.
We plopped down on the couch to watch a movie. Emmett had chosen Gone in 60 Seconds because he was in love with the cars. I fought the urge to roll my eyes at him. I still didn’t understand the obsession that vampires held with fast cars. They made me nervous but perhaps that was because I was still breakable and they weren’t.
Eventually, I began to drift off to sleep. Emmett placed a pillow on his lap and laid my head down on top of it and covered me with a blanket. I was in a near dream state when I felt his hands stroking my hair. My heart raced at the contact and he briefly paused before continuing. Just before I fell asleep I felt a soft, cool kiss on my forehead.