"Are you ready, Love?" I asked Bella as she lay on the bed, her hands loose by her body. I stared into her brown eyes for the final time, before they turned red, and then finally butterscotch gold. Venom was beginning to well in my mouth and I swallowed it down reflexively.
"I'm ready when you are." She smiled and her angelic face made me realise that I was doing the right thing for us.
Leaning down, I bit her neck, wrists, ankles, and chest. The monster within me begged me to drink, to drain her body dry. But when I looked at her face, I realized the feelings I had for her. Killing her would provide more pain than pleasure to me. Licking her wounds to seal my venom in, she lay there, prostrate in pain.
It had been three hours and she was still quiet. Knowing the immense pain that she would be going through, I began to whisper into her ear.
"Bella, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. The pain will be over soon." My heart was breaking as I watched my wife lying on the bed, her arms tensing suddenly as another wave of pain hit her.
"Bella, I can't understand why you can choose me when there's so many others you could have picked. Newton, even Tyler Crowley, would have been better for you than me, but you still chose me. I can't understand it at all. The moment you're changed, I have a present to show you. Alice organised part of it - you can probably understand which part - but I did the rest of it. I can't wait to show it to you. It's just for us, nobody else can enter it. You and me, Love, together, forever."
I drew in an unneeded breath as I watched her, her fists tightening minutely every time that a wave of pain washed over her prostrate body. My selfish needs had taken precedent over what I should have done for her, but I still didn't feel like I should be angry. Being the selfish creature I was, I had molded her to my wishes, had made her think that my wishes were her own. No eighteen year old girl would ever choose to become one of the living dead.
"Edward." A moan escaped her lips, and I reached closer. Though unnecessary, it comforted her to have my ice cold skin close to her.
"I'm here, sweetheart. I'm here for you." I whispered, reaching to hold her close to me. I didn't know if my icy skin was helping her combat the burning that I knew was in her veins, or if it was causing more pain. From the way she held me closer, I thought that it was the former.
"Bella, when you wake up, I promise. You'll be my princess; I'll be your prince. Your every wish will be catered to, I swear. No matter what, I'll always be there for you. Never forget that. The months we spent apart were so difficult; I've no desire at all to replicate them. I want to spend eternity with you, living our sham lives at day, and spending the night with each other, taking each other in. There's nothing I'd prefer than to spend it all with you. Every moment will be with you."
We stayed there for another day, as I whispered sweet nothings into Bella's ears, trying to lessen the pain. Her scent was subtly changing, it was becoming less and less each time I sniffed. She didn't smell like food anymore, but her scent was still the same. It just didn't appeal to me as a food, it was plainly inedible. One third of her body was now vampiric, and the rest would soon follow. Why had I chosen to allow her to do this? The thoughts went around and around my head, until I didn't know anything at all. What could I do? I should have left Forks when I saw her, my demon and my queen, wrapped into one. But I was selfish and had left her to become one of us.
"But she wanted to," my inner voice said. Did she really, though, or was that merely a ploy to try to force me to change her? My cynicism was different to how I usually was, but my darker side was waiting for its chance to speak, to tell me how wrong I was.
"Edward!" she shouted, and then once again grew silent. Her silence was more unnerving than her actual shouts. At least with the shouts I knew that the venom was working, that it was succeeding in its goal of transforming her into one of us. The silence meant that I didn't know what was happening to her, I didn't know if her body was reacting badly to the venom, or if she wasn't strong enough for the change.
"Carlisle, I need you." Although my voice was low, he could hear me from across the house, and came over to me almost immediately. His comforting presence was just what I needed. He had seen this transformation happen four times before. First with me, then Esme, then Rosalie, and most recently, Emmett. He knew what was normal, and what was abnormal, and his knowledge was superb. I could trust him here.
"She's so quiet. She's only shouted out once. I can hear her heartbeat, but I'm not sure if it's enough. I have no idea what's going on, I wasn't around when you changed Esme or Rose, and Emmett was in far worse condition than Bella is. How do I know what's happening?" My voice broke on the last few words. I couldn't even read her mind. I couldn't tell if she was in pain, or if she was dying - not in the vampiric sense. The fact that I didn't know what was going on with her was the worst part. With anyone else in the world, absolutely anyone else, I would be able to tell what was going on, how they were feeling, and if there was anything that I could do. But Bella's mind had always been a blank to me, even more clouded than her mothers, which I had to strain to make out.
"Edward." Carlisle's voice immediately began to soothe me. He was more compassionate than anyone I had ever heard of. He had never raised his voice, nor seen reason to get angry with us, even when he by rights should. Even Esme raised her voice from time to time, but never Carlisle.
"She'll be fine. Her heart is beating as it should. How long is this, the half way mark?" I nodded "Her heart will begin to sound sluggish in another ten hours or so, it's the venom solidifying the blood. That won't finish until the transformation stops; it'll take a good while. The main thing to listen for is for her heart beginning to speed up. That signals that she's almost finished. When you hear that, call me back over and I'll watch with you, unless you want me to stay here." His thoughts were torn, he wanted to stay here with Bella and me, but he knew that he should give us some privacy.
"Carlisle, if you want to stay here, stay. But I need to say something, thank you. Thank you for treating me the way you have, and for loving me like your son. I've never realised just how much I appreciate it, and how lucky I am, until what happened with Bella's mother. Thank you." Carlisle had helped me and he had even brought me Bella. I was truly blessed to be able to call him my ‘father'.
He patted my back and left the room, leaving me in there with Bella.
The next twenty four hours were so difficult. I hated seeing her writhe in agony. She wasn't strong enough to keep the screams in and kept letting them out. Jasper had taken Alice out of the house, it was agonising for her to hear Bella in such pain. Emmett and Rosalie had left after our wedding; Rose still hadn't come around to the idea of Bella as a vampire, much as I had tried to convince her otherwise.
Laying there, my head on Bella's chest, I suddenly heard her heart speeding up. I had spent the last few hours telling her how much I love her, how much I need her to be whole.
"Carlisle, it's ending," I called out, and almost immediately he was there. Bella's heart began pumping faster and faster, as if it was an electric fan. The beats merged in together, and seemed like they were just one continuous beat, like the whirr of helicopter blades. Without warning, it stopped. The tension faded from her muscles, and she was sprawled on the bed.
"Bella...Bella. It's Edward." Her eyes shot open and darted frantically from my face to Carlisle's, and back again.
"Who are you?" she asked, nervously. She didn't remember me? How? Why?
"Bella...do you not remember me? Do you not remember us? Our wedding?"
"Edward, do you REALLY think I couldn't remember that?!" And with that, she jumped into my arms, and I realised just how Blessed I truly was.