Bella’s happily ever after lasted two days. This is Bella’s own account of what happened after Breaking Dawn, her growing understanding of her powers, her battle to remain with the man she loves, finding her place in her new family, and the ever-present threat of the Volturi.
New posting Chapter 55 - Postscript
Cold Gray Light
Please view the new trailer by Jesse Desplat it is brilliant.
Thank you so much Jesse!
This fantastic trailer was made for me by Marisa Wilson
Please view it is spine chillingly good
Thank you so much Marisia!!!
From the moment I walked through the door I could feel his eyes on me. Boring into me, owning me, watching even the minutest move I made.
I thought that I’d lose this intuition when I became a vampire. But in reality it had just got stronger along with everything else.
I thought for a moment about the one big change that my transformation had made, my thirst. Although I was still young, and the thirst for blood should be overwhelming, I had been able to handle it from the first moment I awoke in my new life. No one knew why that was. I could cope with human scents even up close, when I should have wanted to drink them dry. The scent caused me physical pain, an intense burning from my nostrils all down my throat, and feeling my throat squeezing tight with the dryness. But it was bearable. This was unusual for a new born. My kind usual manage this much control after a few years. But even with my self control the thirst was still there, the longing for something to put out the dryness.
My mind churned again. My mind could think of so many things at once. The dryness was always one of my thoughts, sometimes near the surface, then moving back into the background. I could keep all the thoughts in my mind -- juggling two, five, ten thoughts in parallel -- but never mixing them. Like watching ten TV channels at once. Another vampire trait.
Maybe I was just being paranoid. Maybe there was no one looking at me. I still hated attention just as I’d done as a human, I still shied away from it. I was just letting my imagination run away with me again. No one was looking at me. But I could hear his heartbeat six feet to my left, slightly behind where I was standing. He was sitting on a chair next to the loveseat. He was close enough to feel the warmth of his skin in the cool of the morning air. I could smell the strong scent of the skin pouch he wore round his neck. A smell that forced out every lesser smell from that part of the room, like a car headlamp blinding out a flashlight. It was not just the animal fur with its heavy notes that I could smell, but what was inside it. The herbs and berries that it contained, each type giving a new harmony to the smell. Some sharp, some sweet. Some I knew -- citrus, juniper, cinnamon -- some I had no words for.
Maybe he was just looking at Nessie like everyone else in the room. My four month old daughter was reciting a poem for her audience in her beautiful childish voice, complete with dramatic pauses and carefully characterized accents for the speeches. She was a very advanced four month old. She looked more like a small four year old, but she would have been counted as a genius in any preschool. This was because she was half vampire and half human, and of course could never be allowed in preschool. Her brown hair, with a tinge of bronze that came from Edward, fell down her back in beautiful curls. Her eyes were a warm milk chocolate color that had been mine when I was human, and were now excited by the attention she was receiving. Her complexion was pale with a healthy pink glow of excitement. We knew now that her rate of growth and progress would slow and she would be fully mature in another 6 and half years, and then live forever. We’d learned this from Nahuel only two days before. My dark worries of losing Nessie had vanished. We’d thought we would have to watch our daughter grow old and die in fifteen short years, and we would mourn her for ever.
I didn’t look to check if I was right about Nahuel and his staring. I had caught his eye only once that morning, when we came in and gave the usual greeting to our family and their two remaining guests.
I still didn’t understand why these guest were still here. Yes, I was grateful to them, especially him. So grateful it hurt. He had saved us all: my daughter, my husband, my vampire family, my wolf friends, and me. And he put himself and his father and his sisters in danger. How could I not be grateful to him. We all were.
I’d asked Edward twice why they had not left with the other guests after the standoff with the Volturi. The first time was after the celebrations when all the other guests had left and we had taken Nessie back to our cottage to sleep in her own bed. This was the first day that we’d met them, the first day of the stares. Edward had given his answer, saying Nahuel was so glad to know that a family like ours could exist. A family with a half vampire child, the only one Nahuel knew of that was not related to him, and a surviving mother. Nahuel’s mother died in child birth and so did the mothers of his half sisters.
It is rare to find a vampire who would want a physical relationship with a human woman, even rarer to find a women who survived such an encounter. Her life could end at any moment if he did not concentrate fully on keeping her alive. And what about the outcome of such an encounter? Mortals are not compatible with half vampire babies, the babies are so much stronger than the women. I had only survived thanks to the care given to me by my vampire family and because Edward changed me into a vampire as soon as the baby was out. The memories of this violent birth were now dimming for me. The vampire venom had mended the terrible damage and left me whole, strong, and beautiful.
According to Edward, Nahuel had spent his long life, over 150 years, thinking he must be evil to the core to have killed his mother. But seeing me set him free from his guilt. He now blamed his father for not caring for his mother as Edward had for me, and for not changing her when Nahuel ripped his way out of her.
The second time I’d asked Edward why Nahuel and his aunt (a full vampire) were still with us, Edward said that they wanted to learn more about our vegetarian lifestyle. This was how we liked to describe our abnormal hunting habits in the Cullen family. Unlike other vampires we only hunted animals, not humans. This gave us distinctive golden eyes which intrigued the normal red-eyed vampires. When I asked this second time, it was not what Edward had said that set me thinking but the way he said it. If I wasn’t his wife and didn’t know him so well I would not have noticed the slight tightening of his straight shoulders under his tan colored jumper, and that he was holding his perfect jaw a eighth of an inch higher than normal. He was lying to me.
Edward lied a lot. He had to. When you can read the minds of everyone in a mile radius then you have to lie to appear normal. You have to learn to ignore the thoughts most of the time. You have to answer only the questions people say out loud and not all the far-reaching ones they think in their heads but don’t dare ask. Edward also felt he must not betray confidences of those around him. It was not as though he could stop hearing thoughts if he wanted to, and not as if people could stop thinking when he was around, so he just didn’t pass these thoughts on. I was a shield which meant that he could not read my mind, not even when I was only human. Now that I was a vampire I had learned to remove my shield if I wanted, but I could only do so for a few moments at a time and even then it was exhausting work.
But why would he lie to me about why Nahuel and Huilen were still here? We had just made it through the worst danger imaginable: the whole of the Volturi forces lined up against us, the judges, jury and executioners of the vampire world. We had survived that, so what now? What was he covering up? Surely we had to have a break from peril sometime.
Maybe bad luck was something that I’d brought with me into this life. Since I met Edward as a human I had always had bad luck. My life before Edward, before my return to Forks to live with my Dad, Charlie, was a quiet life in the big city of Phoenix with my Mom, Renée. The memory of this former life was becoming hazy, almost a pre life to my human life, as if I was now in my third life, not my second. I’d had too much on my mind to sit down and think about it, though that was the only way my family said that I would remember it for the future. As I remembered it now, it was a happy but lonely time of looking after my hair-brained mother and being the adult in the relationship even though I was the child. She didn’t need to be looked after in a physical way but in an emotional one, helping her to organize and control her life. I was the one who made sure we went to the store when we needed groceries and that we went to the bank when the bills needed to be paid. In many ways you could say I was her keeper rather than her daughter. This role was taken by Phil, her husband of nearly three years.
I argued with myself that I had already brought my shield through to my vampire life along with my strange ability for self control. I was sure that I could not have brought anything else. I had left my clumsiness behind, which was a truly good thing. I now moved so fast and was so strong that if I was clumsy lots of things would get broken. Not just inanimate objects, but living things. Even people.
I looked over at Edward, to keep my eye from straying to Nahuel. His beauty never failed to amaze me. He was stunning. His eyes were a warm amber color. But this morning more like stone than liquid. Something was bugging him. No doubt he was hearing things he didn’t like. His face muscles twitched slightly and his teeth locked together noiselessly. His smile remained, a facade to keep the others away from his upset within. I had no idea what he had heard or who it was that was having these thoughts, but my mind turned to Nahuel again, though I didn’t let my eyes follow. Edward would tell me when it was right and certainly not in the middle of this gathering.
Edward applauded when Nessie came to the end of her poem, pride now on his face. I felt a jolt of joy at his pride. I was proud of her, naturally, and applauded loudly too. But to have him so in awe of her gave me such a feeling of belonging. I had, in the end, been able to give him something so worthwhile. A daughter, our miracle. It made up for the lack of balance in our relationship. He had given me everything: his love, his life, my new life, money, possessions, a home, a car, a family. But the one thing that that he had never imagined, that none of our vampire family had thought possible, came from me. She was a delight to them all, and especially Edward.
It was only as I turned away from Nessie’s performance that I noticed Alice was staring into thin air, her eyes out of focus, completely still. I knew she was seeing something. My sister’s ability to see into the future was enviable. It had made her top of the Volturi’s list for acquisitions. It was this ability that had saved the family and herself many times over. The future she saw was only one of the possible outcomes. If decisions that had been made were changed then what she saw would change.
“Demetri is coming,” she said simply in a clear chiming voice, not altering her stance at all. “Aro has decided. He will follow Carlisle to us.”
Carlisle was at her side in an instant. “But why?” he whispered. “Why now?”.
The image of the the Volturi tracker was instantly in my mind. It was not possible for anyone normal to run from Demetri. He had a gift for finding them. But this gift needed access to someone’s mind, and it was something I could block with my shield. As well as being a tracker, Demetri was a warrior, with centuries of experience working with the Volturi.
“But why, Alice?” he asked again.
Alice had gone back into her trance. This time it took her over a minute to come round. “He comes only to observe,” she said with a little relief in her voice. “Aro will order him to stay with us and just observe. He is to watch Nessie grow for Aro and to find out more about the wolves for Caius. He is to cause us no trouble. He will be ordered to hunt like us. Aro wants to see how this will change his character. He is report back regularly by letter. This order will be made at full council the day after tomorrow. He will arrive three days after that.”
She looked around the stunned room.
“Please look for more,” Carlisle urged her.
“Demetri will bring a note with him from Aro but they know that I can see what it says so you will be forewarned. Aro is staring at it so that I can read it...
My Dearest Friend Carlisle,
I am sending my dear one Demetri to visit you as an emissary. I feel that our last meeting left a rift between us which I want to close. I have asked Demetri to learn about your life style and your beloved granddaughter so that we may better understand each other in future.
I ask you to take Demetri into your hearts and your home, and to this end I will ask him to make himself useful to you and cause you no trouble. Please use him as a son.
Yours in friendship,
Carlisle looked aghast. “Is there more?” he said, shaking his head.
Her face returned to the distant mask, but seconds later disgust was clear on it. She came back to the present again shaking her head. “Uh, that is so gross”.
“I saw part of the inner council meeting that was only the family, no guard. It is so gross.” she said, hardly able to speak for revulsion. “Aro says he wishes to watch a half vampire child develop first hand. He says that he will order Demetri to try to father a child when he has returned from his visit. He laughs and says that he may have learned some restraint from us. The mother is to be the only human they trust, their administrator Gina. They will promise her immortality if she successfully gives birth, but she has no choice. If she says no, she’s lunch. He says it will be a great honor for Demetri to father a child to be brought up and studied in Volterra. Caius is against the idea, the decision will be put off until a later date... I can’t see further than that, I’m not attuned to them, I can’t see so far ahead into their futures, I can’t see if she will become pregnant or if they will kill her, it is many months away, it may change.”
There was stunned silence.
All the joy after the last successful encounter with the Volturi was gone.
Then the speculation started. Alice could see the event but not the motivation behind it. It boiled down to three simple questions: why this? why now? and why Demetri? A dozen answers to each question came from the gathered family. The most likely answer was that they wanted to catch us doing something against the rules as soon as possible, and Demetri can stand up for himself.
The others gave little thought to the planned baby. It was beyond the immediate worry and didn’t affect us personally. But my mind was on Gina and how I could help her. I had only just survived my own pregnancy and I had had good medical care and love from all my family. I felt cold, cold to the heart.
Had I started some new vampire fashion? Would lots of vampire males want to father children? And what of the vampire females, would they want to become stepmothers? I thought of the loss of human life. I thought of Gina.
I found myself a spot on the floor and sat there still, shocked, horrified.
The discussion went on for nearly an hour, until Carlisle looked at the clock and said that he had to go for his shift at the hospital.
He turned to our guests, “Nahuel, Huilen. It may be best if you were not here when Demetri comes to call. I do not wish to ask you to leave but for your own safety I must ask you to think about what you want to do. You know you have our thanks for what you have done for us, and I owe you for the safety of all my family. You are welcome here at any normal time.”
It was Huilen who spoke this time. She spoke simply in her heavy accent. “We will leave before he arrives.”
Carlisle smiled warmly at her. “That is for the best. We can visit you before long, and maybe meet Nahuel’s sisters if that is possible.”
The others continued to speculate after Carlisle had gone, Emmett debating with Jasper the possibility of beating Demetri in a fight. Jasper thought that if there were several of us it may be possible, but it would only bring the rest of the guard down on us, a battle which we would not win this time.
Alice touched me lightly on the arm, tutting at my pants and jumper combination. My favorite sister was never happy with my lack of fashion sense. But she could see the future, and would have known the day before about this particular lapse of mine. I thought to myself that I would suggest to her that she warns me in advance next time, so that I don’t disappoint her again.
“You know, I thought you would have learned a little by now Bella,” she chided quietly. “I will just have to take you back to your cottage and show you how to match up those pants myself. I didn’t spend weeks putting together your wardrobe for you to use it like this.”
That morning I must have really gotten under her skin. How could she care so much about fashion when she’d just given us the news about Demetri? Really. It made no sense.
I looked down at my outfit. It didn’t look that bad to me. I’d made sure that some of the threads in the jumper were exactly the same tone as the pants, but if it made her happy we could be home and back in a very short time. A few minutes out of the house would do me some good.
“Edward,” she chimed. “I’m taking Bella back to your cottage, can you look after Nessie by yourself?” The look on her face one of great effort.
He smiled warmly at her. “By myself? I don’t think that I will ever be allowed to look after Nessie by myself. She has too many fans for that.” He looked quizzically at her while he made his answer, as if they were having another inaudible conversation but failing to understand each other.
It was true. Most of the room were watching Nessie again, just waiting to see what she would do next, fascinated by her. Her Aunt Rose and Grandma Esme sat on the floor with her.
“We’ll see you soon,” Alice chimed again, wincing with effort, like a small child trying to remember a really difficult times table sum.
As soon as she said this I looked around the gathering to smile a normal goodbye. Then I saw him, Nahuel. He was staring at me. Staring at me with total adoration in his eyes as if I were the only thing he could see in the world. The only thing he had ever seen. Like a blind man seeing the sun for the first time.
Oh no... no please no, I screamed inside my head. My face turned from a smile to sheer dread, his calm face turning from adoration to puzzlement at my expression.
Edward stiffened beside me, but said nothing.
Alice tugged my sleeve and we were off through the patio doors at the rear of the house, running back to my cottage hand in hand. I was only too glad to go, and Alice's excuse was perfect.
As soon as we were over the river she said in a very hushed voice, “Shield me, stop him reading my mind.”
New posting Chapter 55 - Postscript
Glad you liked the chapters, I was worried that there was far too much dialog. I have fallen into the trap of blow by blow accounts of conversations - OK when it's a big scene but I have to get more of a balance in the next chapter.
I'm glad you and the others noticed the tension - I was hoping that readers might notice and enjoy that.
Some answers and lots more questions in this chapter.
Did it come across OK that Cuculus means cuckoo or was that a bit too hidden?
Thanks for commenting.
Didn't notice the Cuculus = cuckoo, but I wondered about the derivation of the word.
I should have guessed from your writing that you like the subtle and should have looked more into the meaning of cuculus. So, having done so:
The cuckoo is the only 'brood parasite' to breed in Britain. Individual females prefer certain foster birds, and lay eggs that closely mimic those of the foster species. A female will establish a territory encompassing a number of potential foster nests, and carefully observe activity, waiting until the nests are at the right stage. She then swiftly takes her chance, swooping down, ejecting an egg and laying one of her own. The unsuspecting host bird then incubates and feeds the impostor, who removes other eggs and young from the nest and often grows much larger than its foster parent.
So, now I am left with trying to figure out what facet of the cuckoo's makeup is going to be part of Bella's makeup. Very interesting. Is she carefully observing the relationships with others to "swoop" in and take over? Apparently, that is not what she is intending. Does she want to be the dominant female? Looks like that is not her intention. Is she going to try to promote Renesmee above all others? I don't see that yet. Waiting for the reveal.
Hi there MM,
very impressed at the 'homework'!
Do you have cuckoo's where you live? We have them in Britain but their numbers are declining. Their call (a very distinctive 'cuc-koo') was always said to be the first sign of spring.
I can't tell you much about Bella's cuckooness it would spoil the story for you. But I hope that you like it!
I also liked the thought that it is also used as a mild insult for someone who is thought to be mad. I also though that it may be mixed up with cuckold - to have an unfaithful wife. Of course Bella is neither mad or unfaithful.
Please note this is only the term that Jasper knows the green eyed by, there are others that will come out as the story unfolds.
Thank you for taking time to look this up, I'm glad it interested you.
This sounds very interesting! Can't wait to see what else there are to "the green eyed"!
Are cuckoos native in your part of the world?
I believe that they are widely spread although quite a few don't show the nest parasite instinct that the ones in Northen Europe do.
But yes, we needn't get hung up on the term Cuculus, the term 'green eyed' is just as good and more descriptive for the time being.
But who are they, what are they that will have to wait for the story.
We do have cuckoos here and a lot of crazies -- and a lot of cuckolds.
The Yellow-billed Cuckoo, also called Rain-Crow, is a common summer resident of Louisiana. It is brown on the back and white underneath, with reddish-brown wings, a dark tail with white tips, and yellow on the lower mandible. The nest is very poorly constructed, made of rough sticks and placed 4-8 feet from the ground. The eggs are destroyed often by rolling out or falling through the nest. [This leads me to believe it is either a lazy or inept bird, should such be capable of existence.] The cuckoo is very helpful to the farmer, since much of its food consists of harmful caterpillars. Most birds do not touch the caterpillar because of painful injury. The Cuckoo does not seem to mind.
We got so distracted by cuckoos I forgot to ask what you thought about chapter 43.
The sort of cuckoo you describe would certainly fall into the 'foolish' or slightly mad catagory from where the insult may arise.
I always think that the ones in Britain are just evil, evil from birth - not that Bella is evil don't get me wrong.
I liked 43 very much, because I like the way you write. However, I am still trying to mesh the facets of the personalities with their original TWI counterparts and wondering where they will all end up. I like everything tied up in neat packages, so I keep trying to tie the threads. Since I cannot get into your brain, it is a futile exercise. I must wait for the finale. I particularly have trouble with Jasper. I also did not like when Edward and Bella were distant. Glad they are back on track. I think Bella is a bit melodramatic, but the whole TWI thing is, after all, a grand soap opera. I would like to "see" more of Carlisle and the other original vampires. I like their family loyalty and family unit. Thanks again for sharing your talent.
Hi there MM,
My justification for painting Jasper as a complex character with a less loyal edge was partly that his character was not fully formed in the original TWI series. The things that we did know about him I believe could be added together to make him the person I have as my Jasper.
He is still in love with Alice although in love with Bella as well. He still has upmost respect for Carlisle and Esme, he still has to fight the demons of temptation - not just human blood now but he desire for a woman he should not have. He is still the most able fighter and strategizer of the Cullens when a battle is at hand.
I hope the bits of Jasper that have come forward in this story don't upset Jasper fans too much. He is a survivor of the Southern wars, to do this he must have been careful and calculating. Don't forget at one point he was considering killing Maria, who he was in love with at the time, as he thought that she had turned against him. He isn't a cuddly Cullen at all! He is also great to write about.
The plot is very Bella centric and not many other get a look in. Emmett and Rose are a little dull and I couldn’t say too much that wasn’t very predictable about them. Sure Rose would be very jealous of a talent to make men fall in love and Emmett would just like to pick Bella up and run off with her but that’s not as much fun as Jasper.
I will get Carlisle into the next chapter, I like his curiosity about things and he’s ability to see past some of the more immediate issues to try to see root causes. He’s not seen this before!
Great chatting about the characters. Thank you for making such a thoughtful comment. I hope you don’t feel I’ve done them too much of a disservice.
ps. Don't judge Bella's meladramitic tendances too hard just yet.
I know I haven't commented far too long but I do read all of your updates!
But I just had to comment to this chapter!
I am so glad I finally know her shadow! But Nahuel.. I think he just needs to leave her alone!
And I hope to find out soon why her mother keeps popping up.. or does Nahuel have a connection with Renee?
It's weird that Demetri sensed Renee while Nahuel was there.. or is it coincedence?
I hope Bella learns to control her gifts now that she knows what she is..