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Immortal Beloved

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Edward was silent on the drive back into town, and he had the steering wheel in a vice-like grip. I could feel the tension, anger, and confusion come off him in waves that just about affected me in similar ways. I didn't say anything, both because I had nothing to say and because I did not know what I could say to calm Edward's torrential feelings. There was no doubt that he was furious with me for following him, but I couldn't be sure how close to the front of his mind such thoughts were.

He dropped me off at my house. Without a word, he simply slowed the car to a stop in front of my driveway and waited for me to get out. His narrowed gaze never left the view outside of the windshield in front of him.

“Are you okay, Edward?” I asked. He didn’t answer, but I saw his jaw clench. Suddenly I sensed there was a great chasm between us; that tender connection had been severed. “I'll see you later, then,” I said quietly, opening the door.

“Whether I want you to or not, of course,” he muttered as I slid out of the car. I turned back to him with a small glare of my own.

“I heard that,” I told him, but he didn't respond. “Look, I only—”

“Good night, Bella,” he interrupted, his tone curt. I swallowed a swell of anger and closed the car door, resisting the urge to slam it through the frame. Edward sped off as I made my way up the driveway, the wheels of his car squealing on the wet pavement.

I slammed the door closed as I walked inside, then dashed up to my room to sulk. I laid on my futon, taking in a breath to smell Edward's scent that still lingered there. If my eyes could still produce tears, I'm certain one or two angry ones would have spilled over at that point.

Ana appeared in my doorway, looking at me with concern. “Belle, why did Vin Diesel take you home?”

I looked up at her with confusion. “Who is Vin Diesel?” I asked, thinking him to be one of her vampire friends. She had many friends with odd names.

She shook her head. “Never mind,” she said, walking over to sit next to me on my futon. “What's up? You sure aren't.”

Letting out a very long sigh, I sat up and turned to Ana. “Edward's angry with me,” I told her. Ana didn't say anything, so I offered an explanation: “Edward decided to go to Christo Rey to see Jacob this morning, and I thought he might not be fit to drive those twisting cliff-side roads, and he wouldn't let me come with him, so I followed him instead.”

Ana's eyebrow rose. “By car or on foot?”

“On foot,” I said. “I didn't mean for him to know I was following him. I just wanted to make sure he got to Jacob's house okay, so I followed his car and kept out of sight. He didn't even know I was there until—until Jacob sniffed me out!” I let out a disgusted noise, which turned the corners of Ana’s lips up.

“Has he transformed?” she asked as if I were telling her an entertaining fairy tale.

I glared at her. “He must have. He looked quite different.”

“Let me guess: Mr. Big-and-Tall?” she asked. I nodded. “Damn. I was hoping I’d have gotten James out of here in time before the werewolves sensed what was going on. Did he try to hurt you?”

I shook my head. “He definitely wanted to. I wanted to run, but I got the feeling that he would chase me down. So I instead decided to face him. Maybe that was stupid. I almost attacked him myself. If Edward wasn’t there, I don’t know if I would have come home today.”

Ana nodded soberly. “Werewolves tend to have that effect on us,” she said.

I sighed. “Edward wasn't exactly thrilled to see me there. He's the one who took me home.”

“Naturally,” Ana said, leaning back against the cushion and kicking her feet out in front of her. “Humans really don't take well to the whole vampire-stalk thing.”

I bit down on my lip, wanting to kick myself. “And to think Edward had taken so well to my being a vampire,” I said, burying my head in my hands. “I’ll have to tell you about that, but…not now.” Ana leaned forward and affectionately nipped my ear.

“Give him some time to calm down, Belle,” Ana said, running her nails down my back lightly. “His girlfriend is a vampire and his best friend is a werewolf. No matter how accepting he seemed, he’s gonna have a trial dealing with that. And you’ll be there when he needs someone.”

I managed to crack a smile at her words and I sat up, brushing my hair out of my face. “You’re right,” I said. I would give Edward space over the weekend, and come Monday, I would apologize for my breach of his boundaries and trust. From there, I would have to leave up to him.

-

That opportunity never happened for me, however, because I spent the better part of Monday in bed, recovering from one of the most terrifying attacks I've ever experienced.

That Sunday evening, Ana drove me out to where I had parked my car so I could fetch it. The moment I stepped out of her car and took in the inviting scent of the forest, I decided that I could do with a carefree run around between the trees. Ana told me she had some business to take care of in Port Angeles, so she left me to my own devices.

I'd spent the whole day thinking over how I'd apologize to Edward. I knew sometimes humans gave each other gifts or performed some small, meaningful action in addition to verbal communication. I pondered over what to do, or if I should even do anything. I wasn't entirely sure what was appropriate, given the circumstances.

Running through the woods cleared my mind and helped me to relax. I grinned as I jumped from branch to swaying branch and dashed between fallen logs and mounds of mossy rock. I bounded over a creek ten feet wide, the water sailing below me in a flash, and I landed on the balls of my feet on the other side, a small laugh escaping my lips.

I dashed out to the cliffs, halting to a stop mere inches from the drop-off. I took in the salty sea air, feeling the cold wind whip my hair about my shoulders. There really was nothing better than getting out and getting away, in a place where no one could find me.

Or so I thought, but at that moment, I heard a deep, chilling growl right behind me. My senses going on alert, I turned around, batting away my hair that the wind at my back blew into my vision. I peered into the thick foliage of the forest and tried to sniff out where the growl had come from – it didn't sound like any normal animal I'd found in these woods. I was upwind from the creature, however, and couldn't smell much but salty sea.

I made a move to run away, but I saw movement in the dark distance. My muscles began to tense and my fangs slid from behind my canines. I could not see the creature, but deep within me, I knew what it was.

There was a long moment where nothing moved, and then all I could see was a dark blur bolt towards me. I made for the ground to the left, dodging out of the way of the attack, and the creature halted just before the cliff drop-off like I had only minutes before.

Standing still, I took in the sight of the creature: a great black wolf, bigger than a horse. It bared white, sharp fangs and let out another deep bone-chilling growl which shook the trees and the stones beneath my feet. Its deadly was intent clear.

Knowing when best to fight and when to flee, I turned tail and dashed off into the forest, only to hear the monster behind me give chase. I leaped into the branches at first opportunity to attempt to lose the creature, but it stayed right on my trail, knocking down full, living trees as if they were mere fence posts. At times, I thought I had finally given it the slip, only to catch a glimpse of the dark beast jump over a boulder or duck under a log. We kept on like this for several minutes as I tried to get a sense of direction and gain some rationality over my growing panic.

I dove for a high branch and caught on to it, only to have it break under my weight. I plummeted to the ground, righting myself to land on my feet the way a cat does. Though I fell probably fifty feet, I landed on the ground with no pain and shot off before the monster could snap its powerful jaws around my leg as it had moved to do.

I heard its teeth gnash and shuddered, but continued to run. I came up against the creek again and jumped the over the flowing water as easily as I had previously. Before I could register that my pursuant hadn't made the same jump, a second creature leaped out of the bushes to my right. This one was smaller than the first, and lighter in color. Taken off guard, I stumbled over a collection of boulders and found myself on the ground.

Two more of these massive wolves were on me, then, and I was too troubled in attempting—and failing—to find an escape to even catch the color of fur that blurred in front of my vision. I felt the first gnashing of teeth against my hard skin that caused a jolt of sharp pain to shoot up my arm; another shot through my side, and I screamed.

I snarled and slashed blindly with my sharp nails, catching fur and flesh in them. I heard one creature yelp out, then another as I clawed into their thick skin. I felt hot blood on my fingers and smelled it in the air even as another set of jaws cracked through the flesh on my calf. I saw a black limb flash through my vision and bit into it, crunching bone as if it were a twig.

I was losing this battle, however, and I knew it; I felt myself growing weaker by the second. Raising my arms to slash became a chore, and I started to feel myself slip into darkness. Pain was the only thing keeping from unconsciousness, and I held onto it as long as I could.

From my right, I think, I heard a yelp – this one louder and more pronounced. I then saw a brown blur before my eyes as one monster was thrown into another. I heard a snarl not unlike my own, and then a second, and before I knew it, the beasts were retreating.

I caught a glimpse of Ana in my peripheral vision and I tried to focus on her. Her eyes were blazing, her long fangs bared, as she barked words to someone I couldn't see. I felt myself being gathered into someone's arms, and as this person began to carry me through the woods, darkness clouded my vision and I blacked out.