I don’t know how long I was there on my knees, hiding in the outskirts of Houston in the back alley of the decrepit bar. I had my first human kill, and my god did it satiate the burn unlike the animals I had days prior. Out of the corner of my eye, I knew Peter and Charlotte were lingering nearby, concerned over my reaction. I know I don’t really like the idea of taking a human’s life but at the same time the guy was more than willing to rape me before I turned on him in his surprise.
What my problem was in that moment that shocked the hell out of me was that I fucking liked it. The power and control over someone believing you to be so helpless. I liked that feeling. I liked not being the weak one. I liked not feeling fragile. It made me want to chase that feeling all the more.
“Um, Cupcake? I know you’re still processing but you’re worrying the fuck out of us and we need to clean up and get the hell out of dodge soon,” Peter whispered frantically from the other end of the alley. I nodded slowly and stood, eying my mess. It wasn’t nearly as bad as my first hunt, as my dinner didn’t try to fight back as much. But it seemed that I needed to get the hang of getting my mouth sealed around my bite. I was studying the blood on my hands with fascination, distracted again from what was going on around me when Peter piped up. “Let’s get you home. Char will take care of this in the meanwhile. When you get more control, we’ll show you how to cover your tracks. Deal?”
Nodding absently, I got up without a word and followed him closely. Once we were safely away from any danger of myself attacking random humans in my new thirst for their blood, we slowed down to a comfortable pace. Not quiet a human stroll, but slower than vampire speed.
“How can they choose animals over human blood? The taste, it’s drastically different,” I questioned, confused about my feelings on the Cullens’ diet now.
“Personal choice I guess,” Peter answered with a sigh. “For some I guess, it’s more than just a choice based on their previous lives. Char told you some about Jasper?”
I looked over at him and nodded, curious as to the subject of the man. The way they spoke of him, he was an enigma wrapped up in a cloak of secrecy that something in me begged to uncover. I said nothing of these feelings as they scared the fuck out of me. “You fought together in the wars?”
“Well, it’s particularly hard for him to feed on humans. He – well, he’s an empath so imagine feeling the fear and pain of your meal each and every time. Then factor in the wars and savageness needed to survive them. For him, it’s a necessity. I get his desire for the different diet, not that I completely agree, but I understand. Of course it doesn’t stop me from ragging on him,” he grinned as he thought back mischievously.
Feeling defensive for this man I hoped to one day meet, I growled at him. “That’s utterly tasteless of you as a so called friend. You obviously are aware of his problem and you just compound on it more when you should offer your support!” The anger in me flared again as I gave him a dismissing glance before taking off ahead of him for the house.
I returned to my regular position curled up on the couch as soon as I threw the door open. Knowing Peter wasn’t far behind me, I just sat there and waited. He looked so lost as he tried to find something to say, but unable to find the words. How was it that I rendered the most obstinate and stubborn of vampires speechless?
“Hey Cupcake? I doubt that you want to spend all of your time there on the couch. You need your own space too,” he said softly as he stepped closer. His words confused me and evidently it was clear on my face causing him to laugh. “A bedroom of your own? I know we don’t sleep, but having a space to call your own is still nice, right?”
Shrugging my shoulders, I sighed. “I guess. Sorry – again.”
“Don’t worry about it. You’re just defending the man that’s not here to defend himself. No harm in that. I actually think he’d be rather humbled by your – impassioned words,” he continued with something of a knowing smirk on his face that was starting to piss me off. I said nothing about it though as he beckoned me to follow him up the stairs. “Okay Cupcake, the room at the end of the hall there is Char and mine. You’re welcome in there, except when we’re – uh… when we’re…”
“Bumping uglies?” I offered him his escape with a raised eyebrow. If a vampire could blush I’d say he’d be about as red as I got as a human. “Fornicating? Conjugating? Doing the nasty? Having sex? I may have died a human virgin but I wasn’t naïve Peaches. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. I only ask that you try to give me warning to get the hell out of the house when you two get frisky.”
Peter seemed to stumble over his words for a moment before getting himself together. “Well now that we’ve got that cleared up,” he cleared his throat needlessly. “You can have your pick of any of the other rooms.”
I eyed him speculatively before dismissing the unease the crept into my mind. I hadn’t actually been on the second floor yet. Hell I’ve been awake in this world now only four days, nearly five now. Slowly I made my way down the hall, studying the art work that Charlotte had lovingly decorated the home with before I hesitantly started opening doors after Peter’s renewed encouragement.
The first room was a simple bath, nothing of note other than the pretty blue hues that it was themed around. The second door revealed a warm guest room, picturesque for a magazine. It reminded me of Esme in a way causing me to stop short. It was the first time I actually thought of one of the Cullen names and recognized it as such. While the images and memories was indeed fuzzy, I could still feel the gentleness of a cold hug that comforted me so much in the absence of my mother. Closing the door quickly, I all but ran from that room and memory.
I could feel Peter’s eyes on me, watching closely, and I knew that he saw what that room had done to me but I was grateful that he didn’t bring it up as I continued to look on. Door number three was similar as it had a more masculine feel, but cold and empty. There was only the essential furniture in there and it felt as impersonal as a motel room.
Door number four, I don’t know why, but it felt different. I stared at the handle for much longer than I had the others before reaching out to open it. It was another masculine room, but it was lived in at one point. There were still some personal items on the dresser and shelves. Small tokens of one’s life drawing me closer. I stepped in, feeling almost as if I was invading this man’s personal space but it was a comforting one to me. The blue and gray walls might have seemed cold but with the wooden accents in the ceiling and windows, it was warmth embodied.
“He won’t mind if you want this room. I don’t see him coming back anytime soon and if he does, well, he’ll just have to take the other room,” Peter voiced from the door as he had that odd look on his face again. Almost like he was trying to tell me something without saying the words. Probably for fear of how I’d react considering that my mood swung worse than a pregnant woman with raging hormones.
“It would be wrong…”
“Nonsense. Please Bella, trust me that I know my friend and he would be more than okay if you wanted this room. I can even call him to get the okay if that would satisfy you,” he insisted, even going as far as pulling his cellphone out and scrolled through his contact list.
“No. It’s alright. I trust you. I believe you. I do like this room. I feel safe here,” I admitted, wanting to curse myself for opening myself up to him. I remember swearing when I left Forks that I would trust no one again and here I was putting myself out there for the next pair of vampires I come across.
What a stupid lamb. That thought caused me to freeze still as a statue as I swallowed the venom down my throat. I could hear Peter calling to me, questioning me. Asking me what was wrong, but I wasn’t there. Not mentally. I was in the middle of the woods, a beautiful creature glittering in the sunlight in front of me, pressing me to the tree as we stared at one another. Then the pain flared exponentially with the same creature walking away, leaving me in a broken mess of tears alone in the danger of the woods.
“Edward…” I thought in my head but the name slipped from my lips in a snarl that left Peter on his phone scrambling, screaming, trying to get someone on the phone. The white hot rage that was absent from my human self for months was inside my dead heart now and the thirst to cause damage blinded me.