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
Thank you for your detailed comment, I do appeciate it.
Bella does have a bit of a history of having dreams that in someway fore tell the future. First in new moon and then in Breaking Dawn the night before her wedding. She has never really thought of it as any kind of skill as I guess she probably forgot or tried hard to forget her bad dreams. Even now she is likely to think that she is only picking up on Alice's vision rather than seeing things for herself.
Alice was one of the ones Eleazar metioned - can't say why, but you might like to have a think about who he mentioned it's important to the plot. And Bella isn't thinking about that bit yet.
I'm just about to publish the next chapter so I hope that you enjoy...
It was mid morning by the time we got back to the Cullen family home. They were all there waiting for us, eager for an account of the whole time we were away - the sickness, the fight, and the talk with Fred. Of course the ‘all’ included both Emmett and Nahuel. I made sure that I looked at them as little as possible and stood well away from them, but Emmett came over and gave me a high five when I’d described the fight to them all. I saw Edward's face flicker with rage then return to a smooth mask when Emmett walked away. And then I noticed Jasper, as always at the back of a happy crowd, not only hearing the tale but feeling the emotions that it created in all of us. His expression changed to slight surprise as Emmett walked away from me. His eyes darted to Edward, then to Emmett, then back to me. He looked at me with what may have been a slightly quizzical gaze, then obviously finding only worry in my emotions looked back at Emmett, definitely exasperated. He knew what was in Emmett’s emotions just as Edward knew what was in his mind. He knew as I did that Emmett's thoughts were not entirely platonic towards me. He felt my stress and Edward’s rage and he knew this situation could not continue for much longer.
I was sure that Jasper would have read Nahuel’s emotions too. Jasper was almost addicted to positive emotions. If normal love was a positive emotion, what would imprinting be? Total adoration must be heady to share.
I looked over at Jacob with Nessie on his lap, her hand on his face. He looked so at peace and so in love with her and so certain of his future that I was transfixed for a while watching them. I guessed that now I had returned, Nahuel had the same serene contentment as Jacob. But I wasn’t going to look at Nahuel to find out.
Then it hit me. How much of the emotion in this room was my fault? Jasper could feel it but was I the source of it? What had I done without even knowing? Why me? Why always me?
After as short a time as I could politely get away with, I announced that I needed to get our luggage sorted out. Alice came back to the cottage with me, carrying two of the bags.
She sat on our bed while I unpacked. I was taking longer than necessary just for the sake of something to do with my hands. Sometimes housework is therapeutic, but it wasn’t working that day.
Her eyes glazed over again and she sat silent and still.
When she came back to the present she chimed, “Well, that was the Volturi council meeting just as I said it would be. He will be here in five days. There will be a delay due to the air traffic controllers' strike in Italy. They haven’t voted yet but they will walk out before the votes are even counted. Esme is going to have to get on with the conversion. Even with the delay it might be tight.”
“Oh, of course, you wouldn’t know. Esme is converting the attic to give another couple of bedrooms so that we can accommodate guests more easily. We’ve all been working on it while you were away. We hope that Aro would be pleased that we were taking pains to be hospitable to Demetri. We want to mend as many little bridges as we can, don’t we? And of course I hope that Demetri will be more comfortable with a room to call his own, and it might get him out from under our feet some of the time.”
Alice continued, “We were thinking that we might make the other room suitable for non-vampires so Jacob or one of his pack could sleep in a bed rather than on a sofa, any time that they need to stay with us. We think that if we put in special ventilation and generally keep out of there the room shouldn’t smell too bad for them.”
“Well let’s just hope Demetri doesn’t get too comfortable. Do you have any time scale for when we might be rid of him?” I asked.
“Now, Bella, he isn’t even here yet and you’re wanting him gone. It could have been so much worse. Just think if we’d had to put up with Felix, or even Jane.” Alice gave a delicate shiver and pulled a sour lemon face.
It was probably a full minute later that Alice interrupted my thoughts. “And just what are we going to do with you then? I don’t know how it is that one women could be at the center of so much trouble. Well maybe we are getting closer to the explanation for that now. Thought viruses?”
“Yeah, right, I’ve been putting out trouble find me all my life.” I made pretend quotation marks in the air around the thought. She gave a short high trilling laugh.
I sat down on the bed next to her. “Do you think that Eleazar is right? Can you feel anything?”
“I’m sure Eleazar is right. But the question is more what can we do about it and can we undo some of the trouble that it has already caused?”
“But what about Edward? If I turn these thoughts off will he stop loving me and go? He’ll know that I tricked him into loving me,” I wailed, all my worries coming back again, and I crumpled into her arms and sobbed tearlessly.
“Bella, it’s OK, really it’s OK. Edward loves you so completely, you have changed him so much, he wouldn’t stop loving you no matter what.” She stroked my head. “Shh, it’s OK.”
She let me sob for a few minutes then she asked me, “Why did you fall in love with Edward?”
“Does that matter? He isn’t the one doing mind tricks.”
“Just answer me please. Try to remember the first time you saw him.”
I thought back to my first day at Forks High School. I remembered him sitting in the cafeteria. “He just looked so amazing, like an angel. I just wanted to talk to him and to be near him.”
“And how much of that was because he was a vampire? Why him and not any of the other boys at school? Weren’t you drawn in by his looks, his scent, his voice?”
“Yes, of course.”
“So he tricked you into loving him by being a vampire.”
“No, no he didn’t. It wasn’t just that. That was only a very small part of it at the beginning. I loved him because he was Edward, not just a vampire.”
“And you couldn’t have tricked him into loving you by using thought viruses. That would only ever have been a small part of why he loved you. After all you were human at the time. Any thought viruses wouldn’t have been very strong. Maybe strong enough to cause an initial interest, but it was you, Bella, that Edward fell in love with. The whole of you, your mind, your personality and your body.”
I just looked at her. Could she have a point?
“But what if all of that was influenced by my thought viruses? What if I was making him have thoughts to love all of me, totally, warts and all?”
“I just don’t think that Edward's love is as weak as that Bella.”
“What are you, some incurable romantic?” I asked weakly.
“Maybe,” she laughed again, this time lower and softer.
“But then again being married to Jasper I know how much emotions are not just based in the brain, if they were his talent wouldn’t affect you. Emotions are much more of the soul or heart I guess.” She was silent for a moment. “At least I know that you won’t be stealing my man. He wouldn’t fall for any mind trick about love. I don’t suppose he wouldn’t even notice that you were trying…”
“Alice, I’m not trying to do…” I spat, but she cut me off.
“I know, I know, the wrong choice of word … Jasper just is such a man of feelings that thoughts aren’t really anything to do with his judgments of a person.”
After another couple of minutes silence she said, “I’m going to go back to the main house now before someone notices that we are missing. I’ll say that you’ve got your head in a book and carry out my promise to help Esme. But after lunch I’m going to bring Nessie back and we can start on your training.”
“Yes, your training. You’ve got to get your shield sorted out before Fred comes to visit and I’m not sure that doing training when Demetri is here will be easy to explain. Talking of shields,” a sudden light in her eyes, “what if you could manipulate you shield to cover yourself both ways, to stop things getting in and things getting out? It would stop you worrying about influencing people until we can get a handle on the thought viruses. I think training those may take some time and it will be very difficult to find easy ways to practice. I can’t see the old parlor trick of What shape am I thinking of working too well. So relax for now and soon we work. I’ll get Jasper to give you daily fight training too. He seemed to take that punch as a personal slight, as if he should have taught you before.”
End of Chapter 16 - Talk
I'm glad Alice could talk some sense into Bella and help her in practical ways. I hope everything works out!
Wow Chris once again an awesome chapter. Please keep witing I love reading your story. I look forward to more.
thank you for the update...Bella.........what are we going to do with her......until you post again
Thanks for reading and for the comment.
And what are all the men wanting to do with her! - LOL
thank you for you comment.
I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. I really wouldn't want to be in Bella's shoes right now so much stress.
I'll give you a clue for all Alice's talents, she isn't always right about everything. But she always gives Bella a sense of hope.
There is trouble ahead, isn't there always when Bella is around.
The stress on Bella is emormous - it is not long since the Voturi were there in Forks and now she has so much more to contend with - it's not surprising that she is having a hard time of it.
Thank for the comment.
This was a cute chapter, I really liked Alice and Bella's conversation. Alice brought up a really good point about BxE love and the mind viruses... It's making me think. I like what you're doing with this book, I only wish that Stephanie could have thought of something this amazing and applied it to the saga!
thank you very much that is praise indeed!
I do hope you find many aspects of the plot get you thinking - that is what I am hoping for, it's how I hope the story pans out. I am hoping to answer some of the questions left by the saga and then make people think about some of the big 'life' questions along the way.
Why do you fall in love being one of them.
One of the questions I was left with was Edward and Tanya- Perhaps I flat out missed something that everyone else got, but from what I read, there was something else there that Stephenie never finished. In Eclipse, she brought up Edward and Tanya as if there was going to be something, but that never happened. I always wondered from the way that Edward acted if something really happened or if something would eventually happen.... But everything else Stephenie left unfinished, you are continuing perfectly. =)
Awesome!!! I hope Bella can figure out what's going on in her head lol!!! Please update soon!!!