Monday, January 16, 2017 | By: Drotuno

Even In Death Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Everything I Needed
From the moment I saw you
It was the look that you had in your eyes
You were everything I needed
From that time for the rest of my life
And I'm counting all the days down
til I can see you and I know somehow
if you need me the way that I need you

Cause I don't want anybody else but you.
I know what to say but I don't know how
I don't want to go through the rest of my life
without you my baby, no
Cause I don't want anybody else but you
I don't want to wait till my time runs out
I just want to tell you how much that you mean to me
You're the only one I see
“Anyone Else” by Orianthi
My car was completely silent for the first twenty minutes of the almost-hour drive I now knew to expect. The grip I had on the steering wheel as I navigated the highway behind Carlisle’s Mercedes was almost painful. The anger, however, hadn’t dissipated. Not even a little. I was mad at Jacob, Carlisle, myself, the circumstances, and maybe even a little bit at Bella for some of it, even though I knew most of it, if not all, was out of her control.

Jacob sat in the passenger seat, fidgeting occasionally, but he stayed quiet. My nostrils flared at the fact that he’d known all this time and lied continuously to me.
“Does Charlie get the same courtesy clues?” I asked harshly.
“No.” He shook his head, his eyes trained out the side window. “No. He can’t, Edward. There are reasons you get to know, but that’s up to Bella to tell you. Charlie, though, will live out the rest of his life with the notion that his little girl is gone. It’s for his protection and Bella’s, man. Carlisle isn’t kidding about those creepy fuckers who rule them. They will kill anyone who breaks the rule – human or vamp. They don’t care. In fact, they’ve sent scouts already, due to that Victoria bitch. She’s on a killing spree in Seattle.”
Wincing at that, I nodded in acceptance. There was a small, selfish part of me that silently rejoiced for whatever reasons gave me back the chance to see my Bella again. And I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, about secrets and lies that had already been told or would be spilled again in the future…if it meant I got to keep Bella.
“Why didn’t she just come to me?” I asked him softly, still a bit hurt that this shit had gone on this long. Two months of hell thinking the love of my life was dead had been torture.
Jake chuckled humorlessly to himself, still keeping his eyes out the window. “Oh, my damn, Edward… You have no idea. From the get-go, she was crying for you. Seriously. From the second she was changing, to the moment she opened her eyes three days later – you were her first word, thought, need. Not blood, not reassurance, definitely not me or the Cullens. You.”
He turned a bit in his seat to look my way. “It was why I asked them to stay in the area. It was why she begged them not to move her. They wanted to take her someplace remote so she could learn, but she lost her mind. I really did want to tell you, but I was bound by the treaty, my pack, and by Bella. She… She’s really scared as to what you’ll think or do now that she’s…she’s…a…”
I rolled my eyes his way, waiting for his biased opinion of vampires, but he smirked and shrugged.
“I can’t help it. It’s instinct for me to hate them, but she’s…different.”
“Or maybe it’s because you knew her before, Jake.”
“No… Well, yeah, probably, but Carlisle’s right. She may have some sort of talent, because she’s only two months old and she’s way calmer than I – or any of them, really – expected. Carlisle thinks she can shield herself from the scent of blood, which is what makes them crazy. She’s never really had that frenzy they’ve all been expecting.”
“Yeah, I guess some of them wake up with extra…stuff. Alice can see the future, and her mate, Jasper, can fiddle around with feelings and emotions. Emmett…that fucker is strong as all hell.” He shook his head. “And those creepy guys from Italy? They’ve got all sorts of talented blood-suckers.”
I flinched at the derogatory tone and name he had for them, but I stayed quiet.
“I will tell you this,” he continued after a minute or two. “It’s hard to keep up with her.” When I spun my head his way, he snorted. “And I don’t mean because she’s fast as shit now, but her mind, her emotions, they’re a rollercoaster. One second she’s sad, the next she’s mad, and she tries to bury it all by reading, but…I’ll find her just staring out a window. And she’ll suddenly need to check on you.”
Nodding, I sighed, focusing back on the road as Carlisle finally exited the highway. We wound through small-town streets of North Bend, working our way toward the edge of the woods. There were three preserves that merged into one big forest, and Carlisle’s home was somewhere just north of where the Mt. Ranier section began.
The houses grew in size and farther apart, and we finally ended on one street with a home that made my jaw drop. It was a stunning display of wealth and size, with a cabin-like feel to it. It was spread out, using the backdrop of the woods to its advantage – stone paths, tall trees, sprawling green lawns. And even from the front drive, I could see the back had some sort of stone deck, a natural wood table, and a small pond with a decorative bridge.
“And you thought you had money,” Jake said through a chuckle at my awed face. “Imagine centuries of interest stacking up, not to mention a future seer who can predict the stock market; it beats a castle with dungeons and moats.”
Rolling my eyes his way, I came to a stop behind Carlisle in the long, curved driveway. “I don’t give a fuck about any of this shit, Jake; I just want to see Bella.”
“Well, you’ll get your chance…” He smirked, jerking his chin toward the front door.
I honestly wasn’t prepared for the feelings that washed over me at seeing my wife as I stood up out of the car. So many things ran through my mind all at once – loss, relief, sadness, anger, curiosity, and jealousy. The anger and jealousy went hand in hand at these people, this family coming to stand on the front step at her side. Jealousy that they had been the ones to help her, not me. Anger that they lied and hid her from me, that I’d gone well over two months thinking the only person I had left on this planet was taken from me.
However, none of it mattered when she stepped forward, because in spite of the changes that were glaringly obvious, I’d recognize my nervous girl anywhere. Physically, she was stunning, like an angel or some sort of ethereal being. She’d always had smooth, pale skin, but this was more. Her hair was thicker, darker, with hints of red in it that usually only shone in the sunlight but now highlighted the waves. When I got to her eyes, my heart broke a little. Where the warm, chocolate brown used to give me peace, they were now some sort of reddish, burnt umber color, and I realized that the warm brown was gone forever. Something about that was too much to think about, so I focused on her fidgeting, her nervous shifting, and her downcast gaze to my feet, not my face.
But above all of that, above the inane changes, the small, strange crowd around us, and the quiet of the woods, the sight of Bella’s face when she finally lifted her gaze to mine told me I’d never love anyone as much as I loved her.
“B-Bella,” I sighed in relief and need and hope.
I didn’t see her move, but suddenly she was hugging me with a force I wasn’t expecting. She was way stronger than I’d anticipated, and a grunt escaped me.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” she chanted over and over, loosening her hold but not letting go.
Wrapping my arms all the way around her, I buried my face in her neck. All the new things registered instantly. She was hard, slightly cooler, but my God, she smelled exactly the same. It was the scent I’d grieved for when I thought I’d lost her. It was fruit and flowers, it was calm and home and peace. It was all the things that had been missing in the empty hole of my chest.
Tears burned my eyes. “God, I missed you, sweetheart,” I mumbled into her neck.
“Edward, I’m sorry. I was…and they…and this…and…” She suddenly pulled away, which caused me to stumble forward a bit. Her fingers were at her throat, and she was swallowing repeatedly. “I’m okay!” she snapped to the small group behind her. “I would never hurt him!” Her eyes switched to black fire as she glared at two tall men – one eyeing me with a grin, the other with an assessing glare.
Jacob chuckled. “Told you. Rollercoaster.” He gestured to the group. “Edward Masen, meet the Cullens…or at least the ones you don’t know. The big guy is Emmett. The other one is Jasper. The Barbie doll back there is Rosalie. She’s my new BFF,” he taunted, grinning her way, and the beautiful blonde rolled her eyes.
“I still have a muzzle, pup.”
“I still have a lighter, leech.”
“Hush, all of you.” Esme stepped forward, her gaze just as warm and kind as the first time I’d met her at the hospital. “Edward, it’s good to see you again. I’m so sorry about the circumstances, and please understand that we had no choice but to keep some things secret.”
I shook her hand again, nodding once, but noticed Alice stepping forward, saying, “She doesn’t need us. They’ll be sitting out back.”
It was Bella’s turn to roll her eyes, but Carlisle stepped forward. What was interesting was his immediate calming of the entire group. Everyone looked to him with what seemed like respect and anticipation, including Jacob and Bella.
“I’m sure you two have a lot to discuss, but I’d like to sit down as a family when you’re ready. These circumstances are not unheard of, but they need to be handled carefully. Bella, if you feel uncomfortable in any way, just say the word. Edward, please keep in mind that Bella has new senses, more enhanced ones, so her reactions may frighten you.”
Bella huffed, and I’d recognize that pout anywhere, but she stepped away from the others, offering me her hand, and I slipped my fingers alongside hers, noting the difference from before but also feeling like I’d come home. When Bella glanced down at our entwined fingers and back up to my face with a slight look of shock, I knew she’d felt it, too. She shook her head slightly but tugged my hand gently to lead me to the back of the house. We crossed over the small bridge to the stone deck, and she sat down at the rough wooden table.
I pulled the chair out beside hers, sitting slowly, but I could barely take my eyes off her. There was so much I’d missed, things I’d forgotten, or things that were new, but I couldn’t quite decide where to keep my eyes.
“Edward, I’m so sorry,” she whispered, glancing up from her wringing hands to my face. “I know how hurt you must be. I…”
I huffed a humorless laugh. “You’re alive, Bella. I honestly wasn’t sure I was making it day to day without you. I am hurt, but I’m not sure with all they’ve told me that you should be making that apology.”
She grimaced but nodded a little, shooting a glance to the house behind me. “They’ve been good to me. They’ve made this…” She gestured to herself in a way that seemed disgusted and self-deprecating. It was a little bit of the Bella I’d first met, the one who didn’t see herself as beautiful as I always did. “They’ve made all this a bit easier, because I was so scared. And then when they said I needed to cut all ties, to leave you…” She looked to me, her chin trembling. “I didn’t know how, Edward! I don’t know… I thought… The mere concept of leaving you to think I was dead just…broke me. But…things aren’t the same as before, and I’m so sorry about the notes and the calls and the clues. I just thought…I just needed you, to hear your voice. I thought maybe if you figured it out that we could at least get here. That we could…”
Smiling sadly, I offered her my hand, letting her choose to touch me. I couldn’t be mad at her for needing me, needing to hear my voice. That most certainly was understandable.
“It’s okay, sweetheart.” I brought her hand to my lips and kissed her fingers. It was such a normal habit that I barely even registered the temperature of her skin. And really, I was simply grateful to have her in front of me.
“No, it was cruel and selfish, and I scared you.”
“Okay, maybe a little, but I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done the same thing, baby,” I soothed her. “So now… I’m here, I’ve figured it out – along with a bit of Jake’s pushing and your clues – and I know about Victoria, so…”
The sound that escaped her was feral, and I recognized it instantly from that very morning. It was slightly feline in tone, and while it was alien to me, it was still Bella, and I was surprised to find that I liked it. Very much.
“That crazy bitch…” she sneered, trailing off and shaking her head. “Her mate, James, caused all this, but she blames me for getting him killed.”
She stood up from the table quickly, and she was practically a blur in movements. While I tried not to be startled, I jumped a bit.
“I’m sorry. I moved too fast. I can hear your heartbeat.” She was standing in front of me, and I pulled her back down to the chair in front of me. “I’m so sorry.”
“That’s the last apology to me, Isabella,” I chided as gently as I could. “None of this is your fault.”
She smirked at my use of her full name but nodded again. “Everything’s different. Everything feels too much. It’s overwhelming, Edward. I can hear everything: bugs crawling on leaves, the hum of the electric wires, the sound of your blood rushing through your veins. All of it. It’s loud. And smells… I smell everything. It’s so much.” When she looked back down at our entwined fingers, she spoke softly and slowly. “I was so scared. My tire blew just after leaving Dad’s house. I called you and then him. I was waiting for him to come, but suddenly, there was all this noise from the woods. Next thing I know, I’m grabbed up in hands so strong that they broke my collarbone.” She trailed her fingers lightly around her neck. “He broke my necklace.”
“I have it, Bella.”
Her gaze snapped to mine. “Really?”
“Yes, at home. It’s broken, but I have it. It’s yours whenever you want it. Charlie found it by the car.”
“Hmm,” she hummed in acceptance. “We were surrounded by Jake’s pack and Carlisle’s family. The two people with James were telling him to put me down, to run, but he said…he said he couldn’t. That my blood was calling him.” She looked up at me. “When he bit me, the pain was excruciating…and it never seemed to end. All I wanted was to go home to you and Steve.”
I kissed her fingers again at the mention of home…and Steve. “He misses you.”
“He’s seen me.” She wrinkled her nose. “He wasn’t sure what was different, but whenever I’ve stepped into the house, he’s been there chatting away at me.”
Grinning, I shook my head. “No wonder he’s been acting funny, the little traitor.”
Her giggle was beautiful, musical, and it made me smile, but it didn’t last long. Her smile fell quickly as she went on with her story.
“I burned for three days, calling for you. When I woke up, I was surrounded by the Cullens…and Jake. I knew Alice, Jasper, Rose, and Emmett from high school. They were…different. We weren’t friends, and I didn’t know what they were. Alice was in a few of my classes, but they kept to themselves mostly. They…they go to school as students in order to stay in one place for longer periods of time.”
She stood up again, this time slower, more deliberate. “When they explained what I was, what happened to me, I was a mess! They said I had to leave Washington, had to forget you, my parents, my job…my home. They said I had to be dead to you, but…but… You know what I told them?” she asked, and I shook my head. “I told them that it was cruel, that you’ve lost everyone in your life, and to lose me too would destroy you, and Jake agreed with me, saying that he’d vouch for you. I was mad when they didn’t believe me. I was mad when I told them that I loved you and I couldn’t leave you. They said you needed to move on, that you’d live your life – your human life – out just fine without me. They also told me that I couldn’t be around you without wanting to kill you, but I don’t know what they’re talking about, because the burn isn’t that bad. I just…”
She paced back and forth in front of me as she trailed off again. Jacob was right about the rollercoaster of emotions that seemed to flow from her, because her next statement was completely out of left field.
“I’m not human anymore, Edward. I’m not normal. I’m some sort of…of…twisted nightmare. I don’t sleep anymore. I don’t eat food. I have to hunt animals in order to live, to think straight. I’m something out of a fucking fictional book!” she yelled, squeezing her eyes closed to get herself under control. “The more I thought about it, the more I thought they were right. I couldn’t be good for you. And all of that…was within a week of my change.” She huffed a laugh that bordered on hysterics, but she shook as she calmed herself again. “I started to do what they said, to…pull away from you. I’m sorry about the phone, but I wanted to keep my number. I don’t know… It made sense at the time, but I couldn’t let you go. I just couldn’t.”
“Hey, c’mere, sweetheart,” I whispered, and I pulled her between my legs. “Please calm down. Look at me, Bella,” I pleaded when she glared down between us. When those strange-colored eyes looked back to me, I couldn’t help but reach up slowly to touch her face, caress her cheek. She leaned into my hand, her eyes closing a little. “I’m pretty sure I vowed to you that I was yours through sickness and through health, not to mention through good times and bad.”
“I can’t have children anymore,” she whispered. “You…you wanted a family, Edward, and now I can’t give you that.”
“I wanted my wife!” I countered, raising an eyebrow up at her. “I believe that came first. That won’t change, Bella.”
“I know,” she whimpered, reaching up slowly to take my face into her hands. She held me so lightly, I could barely feel it. “I know. I thought I loved you before, but the first time I got a glimpse of you after… Oh my God, Edward… You need to know.”
“Know what?”
“Vampires mate for life.” Her statement hung there for a moment as she continued to touch my face. “And they are immortal. Well, they can live forever, anyway. Immortal is the incorrect term. They…We can be killed.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that the second I saw you after my change, I knew you were my mate. It had nothing to do with my love for you, our marriage, or even the six years of history together. We… You are my mate, Edward. I’ll never love anyone else as long as I live.”
Nodding, I stood up in front of her. I let that sink in, because I knew what she was saying. As much as it gave me joy to know that she still loved me, it also meant that I would grow old while she stayed exactly the same.
“You have a choice, baby,” she whispered behind me as I stepped away a bit. “I can…leave you be.”
Smirking, I rounded on her. “Seriously, Bella?” I reached for her left hand, lifting her wedding rings. “Could you leave?” I asked her, holding her gaze with my own.
She started shaking her head, her lip and chin trembling again. “No. I just…” She sagged a little, looking up at me and blinking rapidly. “Edward…”
I pulled her to me, wrapping her up in my arms. I smiled when she practically lifted herself and wrapped her legs around me. Sitting down in the chair, I breathed deeply into her neck.
“I’d rather figure it out…together, Bella.”
“Me, too.”
“I’d rather help you with this, not think you were dead.”
“Me, too.”
“I’ve missed you so fucking much, sweetheart, so I’ll take whatever I can get to have you, to keep you. You’re my wife, my Bella. If I’m your mate, don’t you think it stands to reason that you’re mine?”
She gasped, pulling back enough to look me in the face, but she stayed planted on my lap, completely wrapped around me.
“I kind of like the thought that we were always meant to be,” I told her softly, shrugging a shoulder. “Anything other than that, we’ll figure out.”
“We have so much shit to deal with, Edward,” she countered, not as an argument but merely stating facts. “I can’t let Victoria hurt you. I can’t let the Volturi know my human husband knows about vampires…or that I kinda, sorta let him in on it.” She smirked at my chuckle, but she sobered up quickly again. “And I have to stay dead to everyone but you.”
“Damn,” I sighed, shaking my head. “Charlie.”
She nodded, blinking rapidly, and I realized that she was crying when her voice cracked, saying, “And my mom.”
“Aw, hell, sweetheart, I’m sorry,” I groaned, pulling her back to my chest as she clung to me tightly. “We will figure it out, Bella.”
When she clung a bit tighter, I grunted, gasping when she was up and off my lap in a blink. “And shit, I’ve got to figure out how to touch you again without breaking you.”
“We will,” I vowed, nodding a little. “That is something we’ll definitely be working on, Isabella.” I grinned when a small growl escaped her and her eyes darkened. “God, I missed you. Don’t ever leave me again, sweetheart. I can’t…live without you. It’s not living. I was merely going through the motions.”
I sat forward, leaning my elbows on my knees and sinking my hands into my hair. The relief of seeing my wife again, of talking to her, was practically making me dizzy. The reality – no matter how strange – of what we now had to face was daunting. But damn, I’d face anything in order to keep her.
The familiarity of small fingers raking through my hair brought tears to my eyes. Until today, I had thought I’d never feel it again.
“I’m sorry about the calls.”
My head snapped up to see her contrite expression. “I said no more apologies.”
Her smile was soft and sweet. “I know, but that one… I need to say that one. I heard your last message back, and I told Jake to go to you. I knew you knew when you called the cell phone company.”
Nodding in agreement, I pulled her closer. “Yeah, all the puzzle pieces sort of fell into place.”
We were quiet for a moment as she stood between my legs again, and I just couldn’t stop looking at her.
Her smile curled up her sweet mouth. “God, I missed the way you’d look at me. The only time I got to see you was when you were asleep or from far away. I wasn’t sure you’d figure it out, or if you’d even want to deal with this, but I had to watch over you. I couldn’t function without it. I couldn’t think or relax or even hunt without worrying about you.”
“Deal with this,” I repeated, narrowing my eyes on her. “Bella, I’m in.” I shrugged a shoulder. “I don’t know what will happen, but you were it for me when I first saw you in the UW library, and you’re it for me now. I just want to know what you need from me. How can I help you? How can we stay together? How do we move on? These are the questions I have. Your…Your physical changes mean nothing to me. This,” I sighed deeply, holding up her wedding rings. “This means everything to me. It always did. When I said ‘Til death do us part,’ did you think this situation qualified?” I teased her, but I shook my head when she did. “No, not a chance in hell, sweetheart.”
“I’m a vampire,” she whispered, grimacing at the word.
“You were my wife first, my Bella,” I countered gently. “I would’ve gone on, you know, but I would’ve never loved anyone else the way that I love you. And that’s the truth. It would’ve been unfair, and…and half-assed at best. I would’ve died alone. Now…we have options, and we have struggles, but I’m not going anywhere without you. Despite what Dr. Cullen may think.”
Her nose wrinkled. “They can hear you.”
“I don’t care. I’m still a little pissed that you were kept from me.” I held up my hand. “I get it; there were secrets and treaties and all sorts of shit that needed to be kept quiet. They have their family and Jake has his pack. But Bella, you were all I had, and the loss of you nearly broke me.”
Her eyes blinked rapidly again as she cupped my face so softly. “I love you.”
“Love you, too, sweetheart. We’ll figure us out together. We’ll deal with this like we’ve done with everything else in our lives. Together. Always.”
“Always?” she whispered, her face hopeful and scared at the same time, and I knew what she meant.
“Bella, I would walk through hell to get to you, and I can’t see myself anywhere else but with you, so we can make that decision whenever you’re ready. Right now, I’m here, and I’m willing to help you in any way. Okay?”
She nodded vehemently. “Okay.” She winced, placing her hands flat on either side of my face. “Be so still, Edward. Please. Don’t move.”
“Okay,” I barely breathed aloud.
Bella leaned forward, closing her eyes and pressing her lips to my forehead. The feeling was so comforting, I closed my eyes to revel in it. In spite of the cooler feel of her lips, there was still the electric feel of her kiss. Swallowing thickly, I pulled back to look her in the eye, but she merely pressed her forehead to mine.
“I have to do this slowly, Edward. I could really hurt you.”
“Whatever you need, Bella,” I said, but the draw to press my lips to hers was almost making me shake.
I heard the door of the house open behind us, and the sound of Alice’s voice made me pull away from Bella.
“She’s not ready, Edward,” she stated. “Her thirst is under control, but her strength isn’t. If you want to come in, we can tell you about it.” She walked slowly to us, and Bella sighed in frustration. “Bella, I’ve seen him like us, and I’ve seen you both gone. We can help you. Both of you. You just have to trust us.”
I snorted at the word trust, but one look at Bella’s face told me I really didn’t have a choice. They’d taken her in, saved her life, and helped her when I couldn’t.
“Fine,” I stated harshly, standing up in front of my wife but turning to Alice. “Lead the way.”


trbuie said...

If I was Edward, I would hold the fucking grudge of a lifetime against the Cullens, Jake, James and now Victoria. I would not be civil to anyone but Bella. And you can sure bet as an adult husband with an adult wife, I wouldn't be living in a group home and pretending to be a teen EVER.

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