Chapter 8: Edward
Bella and I swam to the bank of the river. We made our way to a large rock and sat in silence. There were so many things I wanted to say, so many questions I wanted to ask her. I was taken back by the peaceful silence between us. As much as I longed to hear her thoughts at this moment, I found the quiet soothing. It was so rare for me to experience silence with someone sitting next to me. I almost forgot what it feels like. I looked up to the moon, which was rapidly setting. Morning was upon us. Alice's voice entered my head. Reminding me that I would need to head home soon, for school. I looked to Bella. She had laid down with her back against the rock and her eyes were closed, wet hair clinging to her neck. I could see the small scar where she had been bitten. I couldn't help but think of what an amazing creature she was. She was beautiful, she was thoughtful, yet still a mystery to me. She opened her eyes, staring up at the sky.
"Is the silence uncomfortable for you?" she asked.
"Quite the opposite." I replied smirking.
She propped herself up onto her elbows. "Really? I was under the impression that you couldn't stand it."
I grinned at her. "It's true that it makes me anxious, but I'm trying to appreciate the silence. I have never experienced this kind of quiet. It is still quite odd for me."
I paused meeting her eyes, still black, still shrouded in hunger. "I need to get back soon. School..." I stood up and held out my hand for her.
She rolled her eyes but took my hand, standing next to me. We ran together, slowing as we approached the house and I opened the door for her and she smiled in response.
"Thank you. I guess I'll see you after school," she said then ran toward her room.
I raked my hand through my hair, having no interest in our tedious school routine. I got myself ready then told Emmett he could drive today. He was surprised, as I always drove, but today I wanted to sit in the back and think, to revel in the memory of my kiss, to recall her lips on my skin. Unfortunately, Emmett's questioning thoughts were distracting me. He wanted details.
Come on Bro! You gotta give up some details. It must have been good, you have been smiling all morning.
Eddie and Bella sitting in a tree...
I reached over and smacked him in the head.
Jasper didn't say anything or think it either, but he was relieved to finally have some "good vibes" coming from me.
Rosalie just kept thinking, It's about damn time. Maybe now, he'll lighten up a bit.
Alice was the only one who didn't pry. She was proud of herself. I could see now that her little game of tag had been a set up. For now, she was concentrating on Jasper. She wanted to make sure that he would be able to maintain at school.
My day had dragged on without end. I sat in each class and didn't even pretend to pay attention. My mind was consumed with Bella. She was able to hear my thoughts. Was it just last night? Had she heard my thoughts before? During our piano lesson? I began to race through my memory. What had I been thinking about? I felt so confused and self-conscious. I was a hypocrite for feeling this way, when I could hear everyone else's thoughts. I gave no one privacy, except for Bella and it wasn't by choice. Lord knows I would have been reading her thoughts if I could have.
She let me in, gave me her inner most musings willingly. There had been four occasions where she had opened herself up for me. She gave me a taste of her mind and it made me hungry for more, starving for more.
I couldn't stop thinking about her, her hands under mine as we played music, her need to be close to me, her lips, her kiss... I was counting the seconds before I could return home to see her again. I was contemplating running home right now, but I was torn. Did she feel the same way about me? Was she thinking of me at all? Could my feelings be unrequited? I began to feel apprehensive. What would I say to her? I felt my phone buzz in my jacket pocket. It was a text from Alice.
Blood typing in Bio. Meet you at the car.
Yes! They were testing each student's blood type in Biology, my last class of the day. None of us would go to Biology today. Too much of a risk. I wasn't going to stick around and wait at the car. I was going to run home. I hit reply.
Meet you at home
I had retreated to my room after we got home, staying hidden there until everyone had left for school. I had a feeling that everyone knew what had happened between Edward and I last night. Alice had told me that this family had kept no secrets from each other. It was damned near impossible with Alice and Edward around.
I looked to the bare walls of my room. I would have to paint those soon. I left my room to find Esme. She and Carlisle were in the living room, watching the news.
"Good morning Esme, Carlisle." I glided across the room and put myself down on the love seat.
Esme smiled. "Good morning dear."
"I was wondering if you had any ideas for my bedroom walls?"
"I hadn't thought about it. I was hoping you would decide."
"No, I haven't decided yet. So many possibilities... I'm sure something will come to me. No work today Carlisle?"
"Night shift later on this evening. Actually, I was hoping we could use this time to talk." He turned off the television and sat up in his chair.
"Sure, was there something you wanted to discuss?" I asked nervously, hoping he wasn't going to pry about what happened in the river last night.
"I wanted to ask you about when you were turned." He paused taking Esme's hand. "You mentioned the appearance of some rather large wolves. Could you tell me about them?"
I swallowed trying to think back. "I heard them before I saw them, when I looked up, I thought it was a bear because of it's sheer size, but after a few seconds I realized that it was a wolf. More of them started to quietly emerge from the trees. Four or five of them, I think
The vampire froze when he saw them, taking deep breathes and he looked as though we was going to be sick, like he was terrified. The wolves had started to surround us and the vampire made a run for it. It was as if the wolves didn't even see me. All of their focus was on him... As soon as he ran, the wolves followed. It was surreal. I don't really remember too much after that, besides the burning."
Carlisle said nothing. He looked concerned, yet he did not speak.
"Carlisle, knowing now what I am and what we are capable of... I am puzzled why a vampire would run from wolves. Surely, these creatures are no match for us. The one who turned me, he just stopped drinking from me and ran. I have never seen one of us break from away from feeding like that. It doesn't make any sense." I had never given that much thought to it before. I could take down a bear if I chose, with no fear of being injured. Carlisle's sudden tension made me feel uneasy.
"I believe they may have been werewolves," he said.
"Werewolves? They actually exist?" I asked my mouth hanging open. I sat back questioning. We are vampires, I suppose I had no place to question the existence of mythical creatures.
"I am afraid so. As long as there has been vampires, there has been werewolves. They are our natural enemies. I am glad to say that most of them were killed off by the Volturi a very long time ago. One of the Volturi guards feared them and made it his mission to destroy them all. Where did this happen?"
"Right outside Portland, Oregon. Did you say The Volturi?" I asked.
"Yes, do you know of them?" He seemed surprised.
"I've heard stories, rumors really. I chalked it up to a fable. I didn't think they actually existed either..."
"Bella, I know that you had no guidance when you were changed and I feel it is my duty to tell you some things of grave importance. First, werewolves are a definite threat to vampires. They attack in packs and can over power us. You must tell me at once, if you ever encounter one. You will know if it is truly a werewolf for its smell will sicken you. They smell like rotting garbage to me. Second, I need to give you a little history of our family. This is not the first time we have lived in Forks. We lived here a very long time ago and we encountered werewolves on the Quilluette Reservation. We were hunting when we came across them and they were in there human form. Their chief was very open minded when I explained about our diet. He was exceedingly trustworthy and valued our honesty and our way of life. We signed a treaty together. As part of that treaty, we must never tread on Quiluette land. They will attack if we do. I will show you the boundary line. You need to stay away from there at all costs.
The Volturi. I know of the stories that have been told about them. Here is what you need to know. You will never have to worry about them as long as you follow two rules. Number one, never reveal yourself as a vampire to anyone. Our secrecy is very important to The Volturi. They will go to great lengths to protect to our way of life. Second, they will not tolerate the creation of an immortal child. Please understand Bella, The Volturi are not evil, as they are sometimes portrayed, but if one of these rules are broken, they will react. They will punish first and ask questions later."
"What kind of punishment?" I asked.
"There is only one punishment. Death." Carlisle said.
"Death? For an immortal. How?"
"There is only one way. To be ripped apart and burned." He sighed then leaned back in his chair.
Esme looked to me. "Do you feel like a run? She could show you where the boundary line is. It's not very far. We should have showed it to you sooner. You need to know."
"Yes, please. I need to know where it is. I wouldn't want to hunt on there land accidentally." I said and then we all rose from our seats and went to the door. Carlisle led Esme and I through the woods. We ran about thirty miles west. I was shown the boundary lines that we are never to cross.
Our run home was at a slower pace. I had asked Carlisle about my eyes, wondering why they are still black. He explained that starvation can not kill a vampire, but it could bring on physical side effects. They could cause our physical appearances to change in various forms. He did not believe that I withheld long enough to do any permanent damage, but it would just be a matter of time before my eyes would turn to a golden hue, like the rest of the Cullen family. There was also my skin; it was paler than it should be, almost white. Again, Carlisle theorized that it would return to a more natural pale color after more time had gone by. He had thought it was a good idea for me to hunt as often as possible for now, claimed it would quicken the healing process. We decided to hunt before headed home. We ran north for quite a while, almost to Canada before we stopped. Esme explained that sometimes we must go far to hunt, as not to encroach on the animal population close to home.
We fed on moose, before heading back. We ran most of the way. A few miles from home, I slowed down. I had a few more questions for Carlisle.
"I was wondering if you could tell me more about your friend who shares my gift."
"Ah yes, I was sure that you would ask sooner or later." He smiled and took Esme's hand as we walked.
"Unfortunately, I don't have too much information to give you. The man I knew was one who valued his privacy. He had worked for The Volturi for a number of years as a guard. The coven leader, Aro believed that a Shield is a very powerful gift. I'm sorry, but I do not know much about the mechanics of it. I will try and find out as much as I can."
"How would you study such a thing?" I asked.
"I have roamed this earth for more than 300 hundred years. I have met many of our kind and I have made many friends. The information could be out there and now that you are part of our family, I am very curious myself. What can you tell me?" he inquired.
"Honestly, I didn't even realize that I had a gift. I wandered most of the time, crossed paths with a coven of three vampires in southern California. Two of them were somewhat welcoming but the third refused to speak to me. He would stare into my eyes and then become defensive and angry. He called me a shield and insisted that I leave immediately. I did as he asked. Before leaving, his mate pulled me aside and told me that he possessed the gift of mind manipulation. He could make others do things, see things and feel things by merely looking into there eyes. He tried many times on me, but I was unaffected, always. She told me that shields can be pushed away and used to protect others but that I should always protect myself first and foremost."
Carlisle sighed. "You should ask Edward to help you test it. It is good to know what you are capable of and I think he would appreciate the chance to get inside of your head," he laughed.
The thought of Edward made me smile. Esme came to my side. "Don't worry about Edward. It's going to take some time for him to warm up to you. He's very protective of our family. He is cautious of you, because he can't read you."
"I'm not worried about Edward. We had a bit of a break through. I pushed my shield over him and let him listen to my thoughts. I am hoping that he will grow to appreciate the silence."
Esme and Carlisle looked at each other.
"I never thought of it that way," Esme said.
The house was in sight. We ran to the front yard and my smile widened. Edward's Volvo was parked out front.