After Peter left, I tried to go about my usual routine around the house in hopes that Bella would come to me but she stayed nearly immobile on the sofa. The little movement she made was with her breathing and watching my movement as I swept and vacuumed.
“You know, if you want to look around the house, you’re more than welcome to explore. No room is off limits. Peter and I don’t want to keep any secrets from you so any questions you have, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll answer – at least the best we can,” I said softly
Her head canted to the side only slightly and I hoped that it was a positive response to my invitation. Turning back to my chores, I almost didn’t her her over the sound of the vacuum. “How do you know them?” she whispered.
Turning the device off, I wiped my hands on my shirt out of habit as I contemplated my answer without giving too much away. Coming around the sofa, I took a seat in the loveseat opposite her so that she wouldn’t feel threatened of my proximity. “One of our closest friends lived with them for some time. I don’t know if he’s still with them or what. Peter and I haven’t heard from him in a long time,” I explained sadly.
“Who?” She asked so innocently. I studied her for a moment and wondered just how much of that family she remembered.
“His name is Jasper.” I chose my words carefully as I watched for a reaction, recognition. Something. I was actually surprised to not see any reaction from her at all which made me concerned. “Do you know him?”
She looked off, somewhere that didn’t seem to be where we were. Maybe searching her fleeting memories. “I don’t know. Maybe. I’m not sure. I remember Carlisle. He treated me at the hospital I think. I know I saw him at the house when I hurt myself a few times, but nothing concrete.”
Nodding, I smiled. “Yes. He’s their leader I guess. He likes acting like the father figure and he does have impressive control over his bloodlust. For him being as different as he is with his choice diet, it is still admired by many of our kind. Do you remember anything else? It doesn’t have to be about them. Tell me something about you.”
Bella hesitated as she looked around the room. I don’t know what she was looking for, but she shook her head. “I’m nothing that’s worth hearing about.”
“I don’t think so. You know, it’s been so long that it’s just Peter and I. I really actually love the idea of another girl in the mix. We outnumber Peter so maybe I can get my way more often,” I winked. “I’ll tell you something about myself if you’d like?” She shrugged noncommittally but I could see the spark of curiosity in her. “Peter changed me during the Southern Wars. I don’t know if they told you about that period of time in vampire history. It was a dark and rather bloody period. It darkens even the best of men’s histories to this day,” I trailed off as I thought about our friend.
“You fought in the war?” Bella asked.
“Hun, many of us were created just for war. You know that as a newborn, we are much stronger than older vampires because of the blood in our bodies, right?” When she nodded, I continued. “Well, there was one sadistic vampire that was hell bent on getting as much territory as possible. After the newborn year was up and our usefulness was diminished, we were expected to be destroyed.”
This was where I was hesitant to continue because it truly wasn’t my story entirely to tell, but that of her mate when the time came. “The one that was responsible for disposing of the newborns had developed a soft spot for Peter over time. He convinced the leader to spare him, which was good because Peter really is a very skilled fighter. More so than many of the others. But then Peter had found and created me. Now mated pairs weren’t looked too fondly upon then because it was considered a weakness in battle. We hid ourselves well. Even from his friend. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hide forever. My time was coming up and then Peter defended me. Saved me. We were allowed to run, escape, but it did come at a great cost. I won’t tell you what that was because it’s not my place. I’m sure you will hear it one day, but it won’t be from me.”
She eyed me as she considered my words. I was nothing but honest with her as I had already said too much in my opinion. Evidently she found what she was looking for because she smiled and looked away in that daze again. I studied her as she seemed to be looking at the same area each time. Following her gaze, I tried to understand what she was seeing but it was the ceiling under the landing to the second floor. When it finally clicked, I managed to hide my smile.
“I remember running. I don’t know where, but there were two with me. Like us now. It’s not clear but the words are there. That I was worth it. It sounds so much like an echo in my thoughts but I’m not. I’m not worth it. I want those words to be true so much but I cannot see it. If I was worth it, then why would they have left me the way they did? I don’t understand,” she whispered brokenly. If I could cry, I know the venom that came to my eyes would fall as I could almost feel the desolation that was clear on her face.
“I don’t know what happened Bella, but whoever told you that you were worth it was right. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but know, to Peter and I, you are worth it. You are with us now. We don’t let go easily and you are our family now. I say it’s the Cullens’ loss and our gain,” I grinned. “Besides, you have no idea how fun it was watching you go off on Peter in the short time that you’ve been awake that you did. I definitely won’t let you go simply for the entertainment value you bring out in him.”
“Glad to be of service as a fucking pet,” she spat out at me, causing me to jump back in my seat in shock and slight fear because the animosity in it came out of nowhere.
I looked out the window and prayed that Peter would come back soon with answers because if she really wanted to, I’m sure she could over power me. I decided to come back with just as much emotion. A gamble yes, with a newborn, but she needed to realize she wasn’t alone anymore. “Bella, you are in no way a pet for us. If we wanted a pet, we’d get a fucking fish considering just about every other mammal on this planet would be terrified of us. Shit, when Jasper was with us, he and I would team up just to get a rise out of Peter. You’re able to do that without blinking. You can’t blame me for being fucking excited to have you with us!”
The glare she held me in immediately softened before turning apologetic. “I’m sorry, really! I know! I know you’re only trying to help me in this new life! I don’t know what’s wrong with me!” Bella cried as she wrapped her arms around herself as her body shook with tearless sobs.
I flitted over to her side and squeezed in behind her and wrapped her up in my arms as I hugged her to me, trying to sooth her. Running my fingers through her hair, I whispered reassurances repeatedly before I began singing softly some songs that I remembered from my own mother when I was a child.
We were still in that position when Peter came through the door, concern filling his face as he saw us. I shook my head slightly in warning as he looked at me gravely before glancing down to Bella before meeting my eyes again. I knew then that what he learned was nothing good because he came over and took up the space on the other side of the damaged girl and wrapped his arms around her as well. The three of us remained that way until Bella finally settled down nearly two days later when she asked us to take her hunting…our way.