Chapter 1: Addicted to you
I was here again. I couldn't get enough. Would I ever be the same again? That question only had one answer. Everything would end when he died. And who knew how long would be? Years? Decades? How long did the average human live? Seventy years? Eighty years? I never wanted him to die. He kept me alive with his warm, sweet, head-spinning blood.
I watched him for a few endless minutes, until the thirst won again and I approached his bed. I took his wrist and punctured it with my sharp thumbnail. He shifted a little in his sleep and gave a soft throaty moan. This was arousing for humans; for awake humans, not slumbering ones. He was different.
As the red trickles of blood appeared on the surface of his white skin, I leaned and pouted my lips so as not harm him with my sharp teeth. As soon as his sweet nectar hit my throat, I knew that the battle had started. I had to keep him alive. I had to stop. His blood warmed my cold body; I felt it in the tip of my fingers, in every part of me. He was inside me, making me whole again.
He moaned softly, and I saw his hips rubbing against the blanket that covered him. I wrenched my mouth from his wrist and licked the wound clean, sealing the cut. I wanted to know so badly what he was dreaming about, what he was thinking in the morning as he wobbled downstairs, feeling drained. Little did he know that I was draining him, literally. I touched his forehead softly, and moved his messy bangs from his closed eyes. I watched him for a few minutes before I decided to head back to my small house. The pull to stay so close to him was much stronger than my rational thoughts, so I stayed outside his house.
At exactly five in the morning, the kitchen light switched on, and a beautiful middle-aged woman started the coffee then worked on baking muffins. A surge of self-loathing hit me. She loved him so much and woke up so early just for him, to cook the blasted muffins that he ate as if his life depended on them. I was too selfish to look past my thirst. I should have never crossed the invisible barrier that kept me on the line. I should have never followed him home that day, waited then tasted his tantalizing blood. Never.
The redheaded woman caught my attention again as she started whistling along with a happy tune on the radio. I had to smile at the mundane thing. An hour later, the kitchen's door opened and her black haired mate – or husband, as humans like to call their supposes – entered the kitchen and sniffed loudly.
"Ah, raspberry muffins!" he exclaimed, startling his wife.
"Oh, you! Make some noise!" she chided him, but went to him and kissed him sweetly on the lips.
I felt a tug at my dead, frozen heart. Was it normal for something like me to want that type of connection? I wanted to do the same to the boy upstairs. I needed that and sometimes, that need was more powerful than the need for his blood, which scared the daylight out of me.
"You know, he won't say no to yesterday's muffins, right?" the man wondered, keeping his wife in his arms and nuzzling her neck.
"They're better warm," she whispered. "Do you want some? There's plenty."
"Plenty in a normal human's amounts or in Edward's amounts?" he teased, making her huff.
"He'll eat only these and he'll live a happy life. When he finds himself a girl, I will teach her how to make these muffins."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Liz. The boy doesn't look past his books' rims."
"He will someday, and I can't wait to see him happy."
I know how to make the muffins just like you, I thought heavy-heartedly. Will you consider a dead, eternal creature worthy for your son? The thought saddened me immensely. That would never happen, and she made me realize that he would not be mine forever. If he found a girlfriend or wife – the thought made me insanely angry. No one was allowed to touch him like that. I would never be able to be near him, to taste his blood if such a complication happened.
A soft groan got my attention, and before I realized what I did, I was on the branch in front of his window. That was very reckless. He could see me, but suddenly, I couldn't give a damn. I had exceeded the limit last night. I watched his pale form rising from the floor where he probably had fallen. I had to smile at how clumsy he could be. He yawned loudly and scratched his neck before combing his messy hair with his fingers. I saw him wince and look at his left wrist in confusion. If my heart was beating, it would have been slamming in my chest just as his was doing right now. Did he know? Did he sense that something much stronger and dangerous than anything else lurked in the corners? Or outside his window, in my case?
He sighed softly and stroked his wrist, looking to his right and shaking his head. What was there? I watched as he put his socks on his feet and then left the room. Curiosity killed the cat. I made sure he was not coming back from the bathroom and jumped into his room looking for what could have gotten his attention.
On his nightstand, stood a book, like always. However, this time it was something that made me stop dead in my tracks. He knew, or at least, he had a theory that brought him to this book. Ah, why did they have to allow such books? Some authors got really close to the truth and put our kind in danger. The slam of the bathroom door alerted me that he could be coming back for a few more minutes of sleep. I glowered at the book, leaving his room for my spot outside the house. I peeked into the kitchen just in time to see him entering it.
"Good morning!" his mother chirped, and went to kiss him on both cheeks. They flamed and he shook out of her embrace. Ah teenagers, you have to love them! I thought, amused.
He forgot about being embarrassed when he saw the muffins. His eyes lit up, and a huge grin broke on his lips. "Oh, Mom!" he said in a hoarse voice, thick with sleep. He grabbed a muffin and moaned loudly. "Mmm, yummy!"
She laughed, and I couldn't help but laugh along. He always did that, but he was extra appreciative when she made him raspberry muffins.
"Do you want some milk to go with them?" she asked, stroking his hair.
"Mhm," he hummed, sitting on a chair next to his father, who read the morning paper while eating his own muffin. "How many did you have?" Edward asked, accusatorily.
"Just three. There are plenty, Edward," his father answered with a roll of his eyes.
"Three?" No one saw or heard him, but I saw him mouthing the word in horror as if his father had committed a crime.
"Here, honey. I'll pack some for school," his mother said, lovingly. Edward nodded enthusiastically and started munching on his second muffin, sipping from the cup of milk. His obsession with muffins was adorable. I decided to go to my own house and prepare for school.
I lived in a small wooden house; some ranger probably lived here decades ago. I was grateful when I stumbled upon it. I had been living on my own, the only relative I had was supposed to be dead. As far as the authorities knew, I could take care of myself and there was supposedly someone that was helping with money, facilities and was checking on me from time to time. This was a tedious job - to lie to people. Of course, there was no one that checked on me.
I changed my clothes and went to my never-ending stack of contacts. I had chosen brown, as my eyes were when I was human. The brown over my now red eyes turned them a nice auburn - unreal color. No one questioned it. I pulled the front bangs of my hair and caught them at the back of my head with a band. I checked myself again in the mirror to make sure there was nothing to give me away, grabbed my schoolbag, and went to my car. The idea of blending in and attending high school had come to me a few decades ago. It was boring, but it gave me something to do. It happened once every few decades, to have a bright idea that saved me and gave me new strength to carry on with the dark life I was doomed to live.
The first bright idea had been to just drink and never kill.
The second had been to blend in.
The third had to do with the second one.
I started to attend high school; I was too young for a proper, respectable job. Not like that stopped me from writing and becoming famous under different nicknames. It brought me the money I had now, and I was glad for that idea, too.
I felt like I needed another bright idea to keep Edward around, but what could I do? Tell him what I was? Take his soul away? But then I wouldn't taste his blood anymore. I was at an impasse.
I needed a normal, everyday car so I chose a Volvo C30 T5. It was little, and I was in love with it. I wanted it to be black, not the flamed orange it came in, but the man that sold it to me – convinced I was twenty-one – showed me some metallic colors, and I fell in love with the blue one. I needed it so I brought the blue one.
I threw my bag in the backseat and started the car. It purred to life, and I maneuvered it out of the forest, cringing every time I caught something under my wheels. I really had to clean the road. There was an ancient path in the dirt but it needed to be cleared off twigs and leaves to make it a proper road again. I had other things to do at night, better things than cleaning the forest. I smiled fondly, thinking of my favorite human.
We arrived at the same time, and he parked next to me, glancing fleetingly at my car before grabbing his bag and stepping out of the car. I took a big unnecessary breath and opened my door. I was glad he had a safe car; I didn't need my Volvo for its safety. He drove a silver C70. He had the 8'' x 18''diamond cut alloy wheels. They were superb.
I realized I was staring at his car's wheels. And felt like a dork. I looked around and saw that thankfully, the lot was empty and no one was aware of my nerdy love for cars. I started walking to the school. Somehow, I managed to still be sorting through my things in the locker when the last bell rang. Being meticulous had its costs, like being late for class. Even though I possessed a blinding speed, I had an appearance to keep so I grabbed my English textbook, shut the locker's door, and scurried away down the empty hallway. I suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, I was sure of it. I hated if something wasn't in order or my locker was a mess.
I slammed into someone, engulfed in my thoughts. I felt every fiber of me reacting to the person in front of me. My throat erupted in flames, my muscles coiled, and I felt prepared to spring. Edward was on the floor in front of me, looking around, disorientated. Shit. It was easier when he was sleeping.
His green eyes met mine and widened. He scrambled up and looked at me, worried. Did he think I was hurt? I was more afraid for him. That was quite the fall he had taken.
"You okay?" he whispered. I nodded, unable to talk. My eyes were glued to his pulse point as it beat rapidly against the thin skin of his neck. He glanced down, his ears turning red. "Which are yours?"
I looked down, too, and saw our books and papers scattered around the hallway. Crap. I knew which were mine of course, so I picked them up as quickly as humanly possible then stacked his and handed them to him.
"Thanks," he said softly. I nodded again and tried to smile. Rushing to my next class, I gave a lame excuse to my teacher then sat at the back table.
It had been excruciating to be near him. I was used to holding my breath in the classes I had with him, but that encounter had been spontaneous. I didn't have time to adjust to his scent; it just assaulted me, paralyzing me. If he only knew how close to danger, he was… But maybe he did know since he was reading Dracula. What had made him go to that book?
I thought back to the first time I gave in to temptation. It was a week after school started, and he passed me on his way to the car. I heard him telling someone he would be alone for the weekend. My opportunity was there and I took it, like a greedy, starving person.
I had followed him home and waited around until he went to bed. Climbing into his room, I took the time required to become accustomed to his scent. I had approached his bed and slowly raised his left wrist to my nose, inhaling deeply. The promising blood flew under his skin, and I didn't think much before running my nail over the soft skin. He had such potent blood; I just couldn't stop myself once I tasted it. His soft moan and the scent of arousal that hit my nostrils had made me freeze mid-feeding. The cloud rose from my brain, and I licked his wound shut before rushing out of the house. I hadn't gone to school for a week after that.
When I had gathered my will and finally gone back to school, it took me the whole lunch break, Biology and Gym to get the monster under control. She knew how he tasted, and she wanted more. What had scared me was the fact that he hadn't been in school until Wednesday. I had drunk too much! He had been too weak to come to school. I hated myself for harming him. And promised myself to never go back to his room or near him. When I had to feed again, I went to Seattle and stumbled over a drunken man outside a club. He followed me to a dark alley where I let him do what he wanted. Little did he know, sex was nothing comparing to the alcohol in his blood. But I couldn't drink. I had cut his neck just as he was reaching his peak, I lowered my lips to the cut but couldn't drink. There was a much more potent blood waiting for me at home. I had thrown him off me and run. I hadn't fed for another two weeks when it became next to impossible to go to school. It was as like walking into a slaughterhouse and watching steaks of meat rolling around. I was hallucinating; if a vampire could hallucinate. That's when I decided to visit my little human. I knew how much to drink but his soft moan stopped me again. For almost three months, I had drunk from him without him noticing. For over a year, I had attended this high school, and no one knew they were in immediate danger with me around.
The first four classes of the day passed with me thinking of what I had done and trying to come up with the fourth bright plan of my existence. There was only one way – to kidnap the kid and chain him in my room, drinking when I wanted. That thought made me sick. It would be treating him like some kind of pet. No. I wouldn't do that to him.
I went to the cafeteria and met with Angela, the sweetest human ever, in the line for food. She sensed that there was something odd, but she never asked questions. I was glad for that.
"Hey, Bella," she greeted and stepped aside, waiting for me. I bought my omnipresent apple and let her lead the way. I had hoped we would stay alone, but she decided to sit with her boyfriend, Ben, who was friends with Edward.
"Don't you want to sit alone, Angela?" I asked, glancing at Edward who was now watching my every move. Shit, that book gave him ideas.
"Oh, if you want," she said in a wavering voice.
She wanted to be there so I sighed and sat down next to Edward, but as far as possible. Angela threw me a grateful smile and sat next to Ben, nearly sitting on his lap. After he kissed her cheek, he turned to Edward continuing their previous conversation.
"I think I'll come with you. I have to shop for Christmas too."
"Great!" Edward answered, happily. "After school is okay?"
"Yeah, my folks aren't home until eight at night," he said.
"Where are you going?" Angela asked, frowning.
"Port Angeles. You aren't allowed to come. My present will be a surprise."
"That's so nice of you," she said softly, blushing lightly. It was clear they were in their own little world. That left an awkward silence between Edward and me.
He cleared his throat and turned to me. "About this morning," he started.
"It's okay," I promised him. "It was my fault."
He smiled, a heart-stopping smile. Should I be glad that my heart couldn't stop? He glanced at Ben then back at me since his friend was busy giving Angela gooey eyes.
"Erhm… what are you… how will you spend the Christmas?"
He had never talked with me outside Biology. Never.
"Home," I answered vaguely.
"Yeah, me too." He had a dreamy smile on his face, probably imagining the amount of muffins his mother will bake. "Is your guardian going to drop by?"
"Probably," I said, not meeting his eyes. He didn't look pleased with my one word answers. I watched as the skin between his eyebrows puckled as he frowned. His green eyes were watching me carefully then he focused on his unwrapped lunch.
I looked at Angela, desperate to say something else, find an excuse to get out of there, when I realized they were missing. They had left to go somewhere for couple time. Perfect. I peeked at Edward as I spun the apple on the table. He turned to look at me at the same time, and his cheeks flamed making me swallow a mouthful of venom. For a second, I panicked, thinking that I had forgotten to change the contacts. But I had put them in before coming to the cafeteria. Why was he looking like that at me? He swallowed thickly and moved his chair closer. Was he insane? Would it look weird if I didn't breathe? Probably, since he watched my every movement.
"Do you want some?" he asked in a tense, embarrassed voice as if wanting to offer and not give. Give me what? His nectar? Yes, please.
"Sorry?" I managed to get out.
"They're amazing." He gestured to the muffins in his lunch box. Holy crow! He wanted to share his prized food with me!
I had to say yes, I knew that. But I shook my head and showed him my apple. He smiled and shrugged as if thinking, "more for me."
I watched the pleasure on his face as he ate the muffin. It almost rivaled the feeling I had when I had drunk from him a few hours ago. I always had to be extra aware of him, to make sure he was okay before feeding and after. I never wanted to do what I had done that first time.
When Angela returned with a big smile on her face, I was glad. I pushed my apple to her and she took it gratefully. This didn't escape Edward's attention. Did anything?
As the bell rang, we got up, and to my utter dismay, he swayed and caught himself on the back of the chair. I watched the movement, unnoticed by the others, and he caught my eye, shaking his head. Was it my fault?
He grabbed a bottle of water on the way out and drained it by the time we reached Biology. Unfortunately, our teacher had made us lab partners at the beginning of the year. We took our seats, and I couldn't help but watch him worried.
"Are you okay?" I asked, before I could keep the question locked inside.
Edward glanced at me and frowned, unconsciously rubbing his left wrist. Shit, I had hurt him. "I guess I didn't sleep well."
"It's okay. I'll sleep when I get home."
"And drink more water," I supplied.
Yeah, nice one, Bella. Suck him dry then advise him to drink some water.
"Yeah, I will. I feel like after some blood tests or donation, you know when they draw blood."
I wonder why. "You're probably just tired," I said, trying to distract him from the topic. I didn't need my meal talking about blood. Did I just call him my meal? Urgh, I was such a hypocrite.
"I stayed up quite late last night. I read a book," he told me, his voice dropping as the teacher entered the classroom. I knew that. How long he had stayed awake nearly took my mind off feeding. I shouldn't have fed. He had slept only a few hours and I took quite a bit of blood from him.
"I know how it is to read until late in the night." I wanted him to admit reading Dracula and tell me why.
"I haven't read this one in some time and I just… thought it will be nice to go back to it." Why was he blushing? It was infuriating not knowing what was behind those wonderful eyes.
"What are you reading?"
"Dracula," he answered smoothly, watching me warily. Did he expect me to be frightened? In all honesty, I was a little scared, but I knew that a book couldn't convince him.
"It's one of my favorites."
He smiled and turned to the teacher, leaning his head on his palm. We didn't talk until our next class together ends. Gym was the worst invention ever. I didn't remember if I hated it while I was human, but now surely, it gave me headaches. I had to be extra careful with everything. My movements, the balls, the humans around, the walls…
I happened to leave for the parking lot with Edward. Today had been a rare day – we talked. Sometimes, there were weeks without any words between us. I knew we'd go back to no talking again. It was for the best.
"Well, I'll go. See you," he said, scratching the back of his head. Ben was waiting near his car.
I had a sudden urge to follow them to Port Angeles since I knew Edward wasn't well. I jumped in my car and made sure I was at a safe distance from his. They went to a small shop and stayed in there for almost half an hour. I was just around the corner and tried to keep an ear on them. I heard bits of their conversation through the buzzing people in the shop and on the street. They talked about Christmas plans, what presents they wanted and what to buy for their families. When they exited the shop, they went to the library across the street. It was much quieter there so I could hear them better.
"So what's with you and Bella?"
My eyes widened, and I gaped at my steering wheel.
"W-wh-what?" I heard Edward sputter. I had to hear this better so I got out of the car and went close to the library, but not going, inside.
"Oh, come on, we left you alone for a few minutes and you were flushed when we came back."
"I don't think you saw well," Edward muttered embarrassed. "She won't even talk with me. It's like… she's keeping a distance." So perceptive.
"Well, break it. I know you want to." Did I want to hear where this was heading? I couldn't have Edward start feeling things for me.
"Man, she won't talk. Besides, there's something… doesn't matter."
"What?" Ben asked curiously.
"I don't know. I'm trying to figure it out. Let's head back. I'm knackered."
I flew to my car and drove slowly behind them. The boy could speed! I was constantly anxious of him wrapping the car around a tree.
I had so many questions now that I knew Edward presumed something. I had never encountered such a situation. What should I do if he realizes what I am? I went home and chose to do something productive, to take my mind off the matter. I cleaned the road. Then I cleaned the already spotless house. Then I did my homework. It was already three AM when I finally settled down and sat on the windowsill. I knew what I wanted, what my body yearned for, but I couldn't do it. I didn't want him to figure this out.
Today was the last day of school before the Christmas break. I parked in my usual spot and to my surprise, Edward's car was next to mine. He was leaning against the back of his car, watching my car intensely.
What did he want? There was no one else around. That was a bad sign. We were alone.
"Come on, you can do it," he muttered under his breath. I had to stifle my giggle as I stepped out of the car. I tried to pass him nonchalantly, not even aware of him as if that was possible. My throat erupted in flames the second I was out of the car.
"Um, hey, wait," he said softly and started walking next to me.
"Yeah?" I asked, not turning my gaze on him.
"Look, I was thinking…" He ran a hand through his messy hair and exhaled down his nose. "Do you want… maybe… will you sit with me at lunch?" he blurted out, his whole face red.
Play it cool, I told myself. I turned to him and saw his green eyes glazing over.
"We sat together yesterday, too."
"Ah, no!" he nearly shouted, making me smile. "I mean…alone." His eyes were trying to tell me something that he didn't have the courage to get out.
Could I do it? Could I stay there? I wanted to know him better and hear more about his life. He was more than my food.
"Okay," I agreed.
I couldn't settle down during my first period. What had I just agreed to do? Alone? Was I insane?
As I made my way to the cafeteria, I made a plan to ditch him but couldn't do it. I entered the room; he was in the corner table at the far end. He had a death wish.
I went to him, without bothering to buy my pretense lunch. I sat opposite to him and put my hands on the table.
"Hi," I greeted.
His head snapped up, and he gazed at me for a full minute before talking. "I didn't think you'd come."
"I'm glad you came."
"What- Why did you want…?" I couldn't even form a sentence. That was unusual.
"I wanted… you know… to talk?" he said, uncertain.
"Why the sudden interest?" I sounded like a jerk.
His green eyes grew twice in size and his pulse quickened. That wasn't helping me. "Umm, you see…"
Actually, I don't. What had Ben told him? Why was he suddenly talking to me? He busied himself by taking out his lunch. I watched as his cheeks colored visibly.
"What do you do outside the school?"
I frowned and leaned back on my chair. From where did that come from? He was uncomfortable at best because he was squirming in his seat.
"I read." And visit you at night.
"Oh. What do you like to read?"
This was something I wasn't used to. I never shared such things with anyone. But I wanted him to know everything about me and to know everything about him in return.
"I like the classics."
I saw the ghost of a smirk forming on his beautiful face. Was he reading through this? Really?
"Like Shakespeare and Jane Austen?" Edward asked, biting on his muffin.
"Yes. There's something about that period…" I was giving myself away.
"I know, I would have liked to live then," he mused, a far away look appearing on his face.
"It would have been nice," I agreed. "What do you like to read?"
"Classics, too, and fantasy." His green eyes were glued on mine.
"What exactly?" I pressed. I had my answer, and he was going to explain himself.
"Oh, you know… the usual. Myths."
"Like wizards?" I asked in my best-confused voice.
"Like vampires." The word sounded so simple coming from his mouth, like breathing.
"Oh. Do you read a lot about them?"
"Yes. Actually, I read too much since I'm seeing things."
We were heading into dangerous territories. "What do you see?"
"Stuff," he answered vaguely and returned to his muffins. The boy was infuriating. Was he playing with me? I watched him eating his food and couldn't help but smile at how cute he was.
"What?" he asked self-conscious, glancing at me sheepishly.
"Do you like muffins?" That was a stupid question.
"Oh, yes! I absolutely love them. Don't you? It was a shock when you turned me down yesterday."
I smiled again. "I'm not a great fan of them."
"Don't you want to try? Maybe you'll change your opinion. Mom makes some mean ones."
Oh, I know that. I smirked and shook my head. He shrugged like yesterday and returned to his beloved baked cookie.
"What's your favorite book?"
I thought he wasn't going to talk again. I turned my eyes on him again and thought of an answer. "I really don't know. I could go on for hours about several books I love. It would be a crime to choose just one," I decided to answer. "The same goes for music."
"You're right!" He nodded and took a few gulps of his water. "Let's say… what's the last book you read?"
YES! I fought the urge to jump up and down. We were getting somewhere. "I always seem to go back to Wuthering Heights," I told him softly. I was right in my presumptions. He was fun and smart. I truly should stay away from him, but now it seemed next to impossible to do that. "What about you?"
"A few nights ago, I finished White Fang. You know, we have it for English class?" I nodded. "It was a great book, but I went back to my little obsession and started re-reading Dracula."
"Yeah, I love White Fang," I agreed, urging him with my eyes to tell me more about the other book.
The bell rang, and I cursed it in my mind. His heart took off as if he was panicking. Was he scared or was he disappointed our time was up?
"Umm, Bella?" I felt my dead heart jump at the word.
"Can we walk together to class?" His cheeks turned pink.
Something told me that wasn't the question he wanted to ask. I wanted to tell him that we could see each other over the holiday, but that would have been very reckless of me.