dark moon

a twilight fanfiction.

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3. Chapter 1: The Beginning of the End:

Being an immortal, time was rarely an issue for me.
It was an insignificant factor in my life; something that passed as others grew and my family and I remained unchanged.
Frozen.
Stranded.
Now that Bella was in my life, time was an important commodity.
Bella, the human who aged while I was left trapped as a teenager.
When I was with Bella, time seemed to soar by and there was nothing I could do to prevent it.
She would continue to get older, leaving me behind.
Would she eventually outgrow me?
Aging meant getting closer to the end of life.
I would happily spend the rest of her life with her, and when the time came I would find a way to follow her and leave this world too.

Today was a special occasion; it was Bella’s eighteenth birthday.
However, Bella was adamant that she did not want to celebrate.
Several weeks previously, Bella had stated categorically that no effort should be made to mark the day. She had forbidden me and especially Alice from purchasing gifts or making any preparations to celebrate the event. We weren’t even allowed to wish her a happy birthday.
Alice had, of course, disobeyed all of Bella’s rules and demands. This morning in the parking lot at school she issued a loud and cheerful birthday greeting to Bella and announced that a family party was being held this evening in Bella’s honour.
Although I hadn’t impeded Alice’s plans, I hadn’t assisted either, not that Alice would ever let me or anyone else interfere with her project.
You would expect a person to be happy on the anniversary day of their birth.
Bella was not pleased in the slightest.
I was certain she would refuse to go.

My family were thrilled to commemorate someone’s birthday. For us it was something sacred; it represented the growth and transformation that was no longer part of our existence.
Emmett was the last one of us to celebrate a birthday, but that was over 60 years ago. It didn’t seem appropriate to congratulate ourselves for not aging by celebrating our vampire birthdays, so we just ignored them.
Emmett had insisted that he and Rosalie should be present and they had returned from their travels to be a part of the celebrations.
Alice loved any excuse to immerse herself in preparations for any event. There was no hope that Bella’s birthday would go unnoticed with Alice around. It was wishful thinking on Bella’s part, and I’m surprised Bella didn’t account for that.

I hadn’t voiced my concerns about the issue of time and not having enough of it to Bella. I knew the subject was tormenting her too. She was aging; getting older every day while I remained unchanged, frozen in my seventeen year old body for eternity. Bella’s concern over her aging was the reason she wanted to disregard her birthday, but pretence and ignorance could only work for so long. Ultimately reality would break through the façade. Ignoring Bella’s birthday would not prevent precious time from ticking away. Although, technically I could not reach the physical age of eighteen, I didn’t agree that Bella should dismiss her birthday.

The rain was drizzling down from the clouds that overshadowed the small town of Forks.
Bella and I had just finished our school day and were walking to the parking lot. We were heading to her house as she wanted to watch Romeo and Juliet; it was an excuse not to go to the party. When we reached Bella’s truck, I opened the passenger side door for her, as a polite gesture and to save her the hassle of having to drive her decrepit truck on her birthday. Bella folded her arms across her chest whilst an expression of annoyance crossed her face demonstrating her stubbornness and sour mood.
“It’s my birthday, don’t I get to drive?”
“I’m pretending it’s not your birthday, just as you wished.” I replied.
“If it’s not my birthday, then I don’t have to go to your house tonight...”
I knew Bella would be difficult about the get-together, but I wasn’t going to yield to her tonight. Normally I would consent to anything she wanted...within reason.
There was one specific thing that I was absolutely adamant Bella would never have.
Immortality.

I had to agree with Alice on this occasion. Bella should not overlook such a significant date in her life. Honestly, I felt like I should persuade Bella to celebrate, mostly because I felt guilty. If I didn’t exist Bella wouldn’t be worrying about something natural that occurs in human lives.
My kind shouldn’t exist.
I shouldn’t exist.
I was preventing Bella from living a normal human life, and I didn’t want to do that. But my love for her was too overpowering and I wasn’t strong enough to be apart from her. Therefore, I would proceed with Alice’s plans, and try to re-introduce the normality into Bella’s life.

“All right.” I said, before shutting the passenger door and walking round to the driver’s side. “Happy Birthday.” I declared as I opened the door for her.
“Shh.” She chastised me as she climbed dismally into her truck.
She was quiet on the journey to her house; the only sound was the grumbling engine of Bella’s outdated and rusty truck. It wasn’t a reliable or sensible vehicle for anyone, let alone Bella, a magnet for danger. I would have loved to buy her a new car for her birthday.

I decided to fill the silence between us, and hopefully distract her from her gloomy mood.
“Your radio has horrible reception.” I observed.
Bella frowned. “You want a nice stereo? Drive your own car.”
I suppressed a smile.
It would soon become clear to Bella why I was complaining about her radio.

It seemed that everyone had ignored Bella’s request for no presents at all. She had received the ones from her mother and father this morning. Although, Alice and I had been forbidden from purchasing her any birthday gifts, my other family members had not. It was most likely that Bella had not considered that they would have any interest in her birthday.
She was wrong.

My parents had purchased Bella a pair of airline tickets to visit Renee; a suggestion from Alice. Emmett, Rosalie and Jasper had bought her a top of the range stereo for her truck.
Alice and I having discovered a loophole in Bella’s no buying gifts rule, had also got her a present.
The home made kind.
Not a penny spent and I had a distinct feeling that she would appreciate it.

As soon as Bella had parked her truck outside her house, I leaned over towards her and gently took her face in my hands, delicately tracing her facial features attempting to soothe her obvious anxiety.
Her heart pumped a little quicker in reaction to my touch.
“You should be in a good mood, today of all days.” I breathed.
“And if I don’t want to be in a good mood?” she replied, her breath ragged.
“Too bad.” I said as I leaned in closer to touch her lips to mine.
Bella threw her arms around my neck and pressed her lips harder against mine, increasing the intensity and passion of our kiss.
The softness of her lips.
The movements of her mouth.
The taste.
The overwhelming aroma of her blood as it raced through her veins.
All of this was more than enough to push me beyond the limits of my self control.

As the emotions threatened to overtake my body, I immediately but grudgingly released Bella’s face and unwound her arms from my neck.
“Be good, please.” I whispered against her cheek, before pressing my lips to hers for a final time; a swift kiss that set my throat on fire.
Bella had often articulated her disgruntled opinions on my rapid withdrawals from the physical element of our relationship; however it would not sway my decision not to take the risk and let my threshold be breached.
Her safety was at stake.
There was no doubt in my mind that I would kill her if I lost control.
Truth be told, I was taking a huge risk with what I actually allowed; exerting even the smallest expression of affection was a risk. On the other hand, it was not fair of me to deny Bella all of the physical delights of being in a loving relationship.
Selfishly, I wanted more, but Bella’s safety was considerably more important to me than my own happiness.

“Do you think I’ll ever get better at this? Will my heart ever stop trying to jump out of my chest whenever you touch me?” Bella asked, almost breathless.
Her heart pumped furiously, thrusting the sweet blood that I craved so desperately through her veins.
“I really hope not.” I replied, somewhat pleased with the effect I had on her. Although, it would be easier and safer for her if she didn’t react in such a way or even reciprocate my feelings towards her.
She rolled her eyes. “Let’s go and watch the Capulet’s and the Montague’s hack each other up, all right?”
“Your wish is my command.”
I exited the truck in a flash and sprinted round to the driver’s side before Bella could even open the door. We walked quietly hand in hand to her house. The silence was not uncomfortable, but I was. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach; a familiar and unwelcome portent of unexpected and perilous events that were yet to occur.
But, it was not an unusual feeling; the potential for disaster was huge.
What could possibly be harmless about a vampire sharing a relationship with a fragile human? It was a startling sentiment, yet I was comforted by the fact that we were fortunate to have survived this long.

I lounged on the sofa as Bella started the movie. I did not care for the story of woe; Juliet and her Romeo. After studying it many times, the more preposterous it seemed. Their commitment was born out of love, but Romeo was foolish and had no honour in protecting his love. The star-crossed lovers died for nothing. Their relationship wasn’t dangerous; no deviant creatures stalked their lives.

Bella came to sit on the edge of the sofa, in front of me; I wrapped my arms around her pulling her gently backwards until we lay side by side. She shivered once, ever so slightly as the cold touch of my body registered against her warmth. There was a blanket hung over the back of the sofa; I pulled it to wrap around her.
I had experienced how vampire skin felt to humans – bitterly cold.
I vaguely recall how Carlisle’s skin felt, when I was human and barely alive.
It couldn’t be pleasant for Bella to be touching and feeling a block of ice, even if she wanted to but I thanked my lucky stars that she did.
Humans had to maintain a warm body temperature to be healthy.
Embracing my ice-cold form was not healthy.

“You know, I’ve never had much patience with Romeo.” I said.
“What’s wrong with Romeo?” Bella scoffed in exasperation.
“Well, first of all, he’s in love with this Rosaline – don’t you think it makes him seem a little fickle? And then, a few minutes after their wedding, he kills Juliet’s cousin. That’s not very brilliant. Mistake after mistake; could he have destroyed his own happiness any more thoroughly?”
Bella let out a sigh, clearly indicating that she did not concur with my judgment.
“Do you want me to watch this alone?”
“No, I’ll mostly be watching you, anyway. Will you cry?” As I spoke, I delicately stroked her smooth skin, relishing the feeling of warmth on my fingertips.
“Probably, if I’m paying attention.”
“I won’t distract you then.” I replied, before lightly kissing her hair.

I could view the movie in my mind, even though I wasn’t actually watching it on the screen. The majority of my attention was focused on Bella, always touching her and occasionally kissing her neck, hands, and hair. At the same time as I watched her reactions to the movie I whispered Romeo’s lines into her ear.

Bella cringed at the violence, and wept at the star-crossed lover’s suicide towards the end.
I chuckled lightly at her emotion.
She was so unequivocally human.
It was only a story.
Fiction.

“I’ll admit I do sort of envy him here.” I said, as I dried the tears from her cheeks.
“She’s very pretty.” Bella sniffed.
I jeered, hurt and incensed at the fact that Bella thought I was referring to Juliet’s appearance. As far as I was concerned there was no comparison, no-one could hold a candle to my Bella and her beauty.
“I don’t envy him the girl – just the ease of suicide.”
Bella’s mouth popped open in a gasp. “What?”
“It’s something I had to think about once, and I knew from Carlisle’s experience that it wouldn’t be simple. I’m not even sure how many times Carlisle tried to kill himself in the beginning...after he realised what he’d become...And he’s clearly still in excellent health.”
Suicide is apparently impossible for a vampire.
I wasn’t quite sure why I was sharing this with Bella...probably to scare her, and make her realise that my family and I did not want to be what we are. We did not desire the existence that had been forced on us. Being with each other as a coven was the only thing we appreciated...we were a family.
We desperately held on to what humanity we had left.
We wanted to be human.
My family didn’t want this life, I didn’t want this life and now that I had something to live for, I yearned to retain my humanity more than ever.
I had my Bella.

Bella squirmed in my arms uncomfortably and turned to face me.
“What are you talking about? What do you mean; this is something you had to think about once?”
The memory surfaced automatically in my mind. It took no conscious effort on my part to generate the mental images or the feelings that accompanied the pictures.
It was a vivid memory that took me back six months; back to the spring, the season of new beginnings and new life.
I was racing to find a missing Bella.
She had gone to a merciless vampire to sacrifice herself.
I was frantic, profoundly concerned for Bella’s safety; how could she be so careless?
No one would take her away from me.
I suppressed a growl of anger at the memory, before forcing myself out of my horrible reverie
It was extremely difficult to think about.
It was even harder to talk about.

“Last spring, when you were...nearly killed. Of course I was trying to focus on finding you alive, but part of my mind was making contingency plans. Like I said, it’s not easy for me as it is for a human.”
Confusion and fear washed over Bella.
She shook her head as if to moderate her own dark visions.
Bella’s fingers touched the scar on her hand...where James had almost...very nearly...killed her or condemned her to a fate worse than death.

“Contingency plans?” Bella repeated my own words as a question.
I was surprised she didn’t automatically comprehend – there was nothing for me if Bella did not exist.
“Well, I wasn’t going to live without you...But I wasn’t sure how to do it – I knew Emmett and Jasper would never help... so I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi.”
Death would be peaceful compared to living in a world without my Bella.
“What is the Volturi?” Bella asked, her raised voice, edged with anger.
“The Volturi are a family; a very old, very powerful vampire family of our kind. They are the closest thing our world has to royalty I suppose. Carlisle lived with them briefly in his early years, in Italy before he settled in America.” I explained.
I had once given Bella a concise version of Carlisle’s history, and shown her pictures; one in particular was of Carlisle with Aro, Caius and Marcus – The impenetrable and indestructible Volturi leaders.
“Do you remember the story?” I asked Bella.
“Of course I remember.”
“Anyway, you don’t irritate the Volturi, not unless you want to die – or whatever it is we do.”
Bella grabbed my face between her hands. I stared into her horrified expression.
“You must never, never, ever think of doing anything like that again! No matter what might happen to me, you are not allowed to hurt yourself!” Bella demanded her voice was intense and filled with emotion.
“I’ll never put you in danger again, so it’s moot point.”
Bella’s voice grew louder with anger. “Put me in danger! I thought we established that all the bad luck is my fault?”
“What would you do, if the situation were reserved?” I challenged.
“That’s not the same.”
I let out a humourless laugh.
Bella was oblivious to my situation and the depth of my feelings for her.
She would never understand how much anguish just the thought of Bella meeting her death caused me.
“What if something did happen to you? Bella continued. “Would you want me to go off myself?”
Bella’s question caught me off guard.
The thought was beyond painful.
Of course I wouldn’t want Bella to do that.
I didn’t consider that Bella’s feelings matched mine in the least.
However, it was different for me – I didn’t have the humanity to die.
I didn’t know if death could come to my kind, or even if our existence ended at all.

“I guess I see your point...a little.” I admitted. “But what would I do without you?”
“Whatever you were doing before I came along and complicated your existence.”
“You make it sound so easy.” I sighed.
“It should be. I’m not really that interesting.” Bella replied.
I opened my mouth to dispute Bella’s silly statement, but I was interrupted by the sound of Bella’s father’s police cruiser driving down the street. Moreover, it was futile to argue the matter with Bella. She would undoubtedly remain difficult and uncompromising.
“Moot point.” Was all I said bringing the subject to a close.
I gently pulled Bella up to sit in a more respectable position on the sofa.
“Charlie?” Bella presumed.
I smiled at her comprehension of my actions.

Bella and I stayed at her house for dinner, even though I didn’t eat.
Charlie was rarely suspicious at my obvious lack of appetite. My hunger, or rather my thirst, was for the fluid that flowed temptingly through human veins, especially those beneath the balmy porcelain skin of his sweet daughter.
The reason for Charlie’s lack of suspicions was because he had seen the physical size of my brother Emmett, and thought our parents obviously fed us more than a satisfactory amount. I had found that particular thought quite amusing.

Although I knew he would agree without hesitation; as a courtesy I sought Charlie’s permission to take Bella to my house for the evening. I read only relief in his thoughts, he was quite glad he wouldn’t have to worry about entertaining Bella on her birthday.

This time Bella did not refuse as I opened the passenger side door of the truck. On the journey to my house, I groaned inwardly several times at the restricted speed and mechanical groans coming from the ancient truck. I wished I’d brought my own car, it was a pleasure to drive compared to this rusty relic.
“Take it easy.” Bella cautioned me as I attempted to accelerate again.
“You know what you would love? A nice little Audi coupe, very quiet, lots of power...”
“There’s nothing wrong with my truck.” Bella interceded. “And speaking of expensive nonessentials, if you know what’s good for you, you didn’t spend any money on birthday presents.”
“Not a dime.” I replied honestly.
I hadn’t even bought the blank CD; Jasper had hundreds.
“Good.”
“Can you do me a favour?” I asked, sensing Bella’s lack of enthusiasm.
“That depends on what it is.”
I sighed at her obstinacy. “Bella, the last real birthday any of us had was Emmett in 1935. Cut us a little slack, and don’t be difficult tonight. They’re all very excited.”
“Fine, I’ll behave.”
“I probably should warn you...” I started.
Bella wouldn’t appreciate any surprises.
“Please do.”
“When I say they’re all excited...I do mean all of them.”
“Everyone?” Bella choked out, startled. “I thought Emmett and Rosalie were in Africa.”
“Emmett wanted to be here.”
“But...Rosalie? Bella replied hesitantly.
“I know, Bella. Don’t worry; she’ll be on her best behaviour.”
It was true that my sister had shown significant hostility and aversion towards Bella, mainly due to envy. It had altered our sibling relationship substantially.

I decided a topic change was required as the thought of Rosalie made Bella feel anxious.
“So, if you won’t let me get you the Audi, isn’t there anything that you would like for your birthday?”
“You know what I want.” Bella whispered.
I grimaced.
Bella would not receive vampirism ever, and certainly not as a gift.
It was not a present.
It was an abomination.
Bella had voiced her opinions on the subject many times. She was willing to sacrifice her life to become like me.
A vampire.
“Not tonight, Bella. Please.”
“Well, maybe Alice will give me what I want.”
I growled deeply, infuriated by the thought.
Alice would never change Bella, nor would any other member of my family.
I would never ever allow it to happen.
“This isn’t going to be your last birthday, Bella.”
“That’s not fair!” Bella squeaked.
I clamped my teeth together to prevent an argument which would be inevitable if I replied.

Bella groaned as we arrived at the house and noticed the decorations.
Alice had been rather too extravagant with the party preparations and décor; especially for someone who had no intention of celebrating their birthday.
“This is a party. Try and be a good sport.” I prompted.
“Sure.”

I exited the truck and sped round the other side to help Bella out.
“I have a question.” She said as I opened the door.
I waited with apprehension for her to continue.
“If I develop this film, will you show up in the picture?” Bella asked warily, as she stared at the camera she had received from Charlie for her birthday.
I burst out laughing, and my trepidation disintegrated.
She had taken a photograph of me before we had left her house.
Although we were technically dead, my kind still physically existed. We could still have an impact on this human world.
I suppose the details of my very existence made Bella curious because until a few months ago, as far as Bella knew, vampires were mythological creatures confined to bad horror movies and Victorian novels.

I was still chuckling as we walked into the house.
My family greeted Bella in unison with a harmonious ‘Happy Birthday.’
Her mouth fell open in shock as she took in her surroundings of the extravagant party decorations.
A party in a house full of vampires must have been rather overwhelming.
I kissed her head and put my arm around her waist in a comforting gesture.
She could at least look a little pleased. Alice told me in her mind.
I shot her a quick glare, which went unnoticed by Bella because Esme had come forward to gently hug her.
“Sorry about this, Bella. We couldn’t rein Alice in.” Carlisle said as he put his arm round Bella’s shoulders he chuckled lightly in his mind.
There was no force strong enough to rein Alice in.
Alice was in an exuberant mood, desperately wanting to completely smother Bella in birthday related festivities, but she was fleetingly interrupted by Emmett.
“You haven’t changed at all.”
“Thanks a lot, Emmett.” Bella blushed.
Same old Bella. Emmett thought, before speaking aloud. “I have to step out for a second. Don’t do anything funny while I’m gone.” He said to Bella, as he winked at Alice.
My brother and sister had contrived a plan to overcome Bella’s resistance to accepting gifts.
“I’ll try.” Bella replied.
Alice saw her chance and bounded forward.
“Time to open presents.” She chimed.
“Alice, I know I told you I didn’t want anything -” Bella moaned.
“But I didn’t listen.” My sister giggled. “Open it.” She urged as she thrust the gift into Bella’s hands.
Reluctantly Bella tore off the lavish wrapping while the rest of us watched.
A mask of confusion cloaked her face when she opened the box to find it empty.
“Um...thanks.” Bella mumbled.
There was a murmur of laughter, and Jasper explained.
“It’s a stereo for your truck. Emmett is installing it right now so that you can’t return it.”
“Thanks, Jasper, Rosalie.” Bella smiled sweetly. “Thanks, Emmett.” She called in a louder voice, aware that he would be able to hear her from outside.
Emmett’s deep laugh entered the room, which made Bella chuckle too. She seemed to be slightly more relaxed now; maybe she would enjoy her birthday after all.

“Open mine and Edward’s next.” Alice said excitedly, as everyone gathered around us.
Bella turned swiftly to look at me with an accusing glare in her eyes.
“You promised.”
“Just in time.” Emmett beamed as he sped back into the room.
“I didn’t spend a dime.” I assured Bella as I stroked a piece of hair from her face.
She turned back to Alice, and took a deep breath.
“Give it to me.” She demanded.
I chuckled silently along with Jasper; Emmett laughed aloud.
My sister smiled brightly as she gave the gift to a reluctant Bella.

I heard Bella’s finger scrape beneath the paper and the gentle hiss as it sliced into her delicate skin.
The luscious scent hit me with the impact of a boulder.
In an instant everything changed completely, the light atmosphere of the party evaporated and was replaced by a dark and deadly presence.
There were now lethal predators in the room.
And I was one of them.

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