A/N: This chapter gives answers to some of the questions so far but there isnât a lot of action, sorry.
Chapter Four: Questions
I sat in the living room an hour later, Nessie holding my hand on one side and Esme holding my hand on the other. Emmett and Jasper had taken Edward hunting again, Alice had made the decision that keeping Edward and I apart for the moment was probably the best course of action.
âMom, this isnât your fault,â Renesmee said and smoothed my hair back. I turned to her and Iâm sure the agony I felt was present in my eyes.
âDid you see him when he left? Did you see his eyes?â I couldnât cry, but I wished I could.
âWe arenât going to do anything or blame anyone until Carlisle gets home,â Alice said. She was looking out the front window, waiting to announce the boyâs return home. âYou canât blame yourself, Bella. Just because this hasnât happened before doesnât mean itâs your fault.â
âAlice, I told you something was wrong with me,â I said brokenly. âI told you that today at school I felt different and Edward tried to jump me in the forest. You saw what he looked like before he left, he didnât want to go. He wanted me even then, when he looked as if he would crumble if someone breathed on him.â
I shook off Esme and Nessie and buried my face in my hands. The guilt tore at me, even when deep down I knew it wasnât my fault. I couldnât control my emotions right now; I finally knew what it felt like to be a newborn. It wasnât bloodlust that was destroying me now; it was another appetite, stronger and more powerful than anything I had ever felt before. The problem was that it wasnât only affecting me; it was affecting the person I loved more than anything in my life. I could still feel the hunger coursing through my body, aching for the one person I couldnât have right now.
I was killing him.
That realization hit me like a crushing blow. I knew I couldnât really hurt him, no matter what I did he wouldnât actually die, but somehow I was hurting him. The agony in his eyes was proof that this wasnât normal. The drastic deterioration of his energy wasnât normal either. We had spent days on end making love before and never had he needed to hunt more than necessary. I, on the other hand, was better than fine. My body surged with adrenaline, much more than I knew I had gotten from the hunt with Edward earlier.
I wished Carlisle was here, I needed someone I trusted to tell me what was going on. I needed him to tell me everything was going to work out and things would go back to normal. I hated feeling this helpless.
âBella, everything is going to be okay,â Jacob told me. He was sitting on the arm of the couch, one arm slung around my daughterâs shoulders. He hadnât said much since Edward had been dragged away by his brothers and I was grateful for that. It was funny, Jacob had always thought Edward would hurt me, but it turned out to be the other way around. It was funny how ironic life was.
âTheyâre back,â Alice said softly, not taking her eyes off the window.
Terror gripped me even as I longed to see Edwardâs face. What if he walked in the door and I threw myself at him again? Would I keep hurting him? âNessie, Esme, donât let me up unless Alice tells you its okay,â I demanded. Neither of them argued with me, instead they each took my hands again and moved just a little closer to me.
âYou arenât going to do anything,â Alice told me, âYour fear has a tight grip on you, it wonât let any other emotion through.â I knew I could trust her, but I didnât let go of Nessie or Esme. I needed them for support just as much as I needed them for restraint.
The front door opened and Emmett, Jasper and Edward filed into the living room. One look at Edward told me that he was okayâŠ for now. His eyes met mine and he shot me a grin. âIâm okay,â he promised, knowing instinctively that I had been waiting to hear those exact words.
âYou can let her up, she wonât do anything stupid,â Alice said softly. I felt the pressure on my hands release and in a second I was at Edwardâs side, gazing up into his beloved face. In that moment everyone around us was no longer important. They could have been standing around us in a circle and scrutinizing our every word and move but I wouldnât have noticed them. In that moment it was just us.
âIâm so sorry,â I whispered, not daring to touch him. I was still afraid that if I felt his skin against mine I would lose the fragile hold I had on my self control. Edward didnât have the same reservations that I did. He snatched me up in a tight hug, crushing me against his chest and pressing a kiss to my forehead.
âThis isnât your fault, Bella. Carlisle will be home soon and Iâm sure he will tell us itâs nothing to worry about,â he whispered into my hair. I wasnât that sure, I couldnât agree with him that this wasnât something to worry about. He had been forced to hunt three times in the past two days in order to deal with my new found ardor.
âWhat if this doesnât go away? What if I canât touch you anymore without hurting you?â I asked him. This fear was so real to me it was almost paralyzing. Edward was the only thing I had, the only thing I had that was mine and mine alone. I had Renesmee but she belonged to Jacob more than anyone else. Edward was mineâŠ and I was terrified to lose any part of our relationship, especially the part that made me feel closer to him than anything else.
He took my face between his hands and touched his forehead to mine. âWhatever happens we will work through it. Nothing is going to take you away from me,â he vowed. I felt the stinging sensation in my eyes that meant I was trying to cry, but I had no tears. A choked sob came from my throat and I wrapped my arms around my husband.
âCarlisle will be home in five minutes,â Alice predicted, pulling Edward and I away from our whispered discussion. âIâm sure everything is going to be okay. I see all of us going to school tomorrow.â
I instantly felt better knowing that whatever was wrong wouldnât keep us from going about our daily lives. Alice wouldnât lie to me about something this important, so I knew without a doubt that either Carlisle would have some answers, or this burning need inside me would settle down a bit. Either way I relaxed in Edwardâs arms, truly feeling them for the first time since they arrived back from the hunting trip. Surprisingly the touch didnât bring on the intense need that had been triggered all day just by a brush of his hand against mine. Maybe it was because this touch was purely comforting and not sexual at all. Whatever it was, I was glad to just have him in my arms for the moment.
We heard Carlisleâs Mercedes coming up the drive and every head turned toward the garage door where he would be coming through any moment. The only sound in the room were Jacob and Renesmeeâs beating hearts and though they were steady and calm I couldnât convince myself to be. The moment the garage door opened I felt the insane urge to run to Carlisle and throw myself into his arms and sob, just like I would have done with my own father. I fought the urge and clung to Edward even tighter.
When Carlisle walked inside and saw everyoneâs tense faces he raised an eyebrow. âI take it we didnât have a good day at school.â
In unison everyone turned to look at Edward and I and the expressions on their faces ranged from sympathy, to confusion and in Emmettâs case humor. Jasper turned a disapproving glare on Emmett and my biggest brother just shrugged. âYou have to admit itâs kind of funny,â he laughed, âBella must be a total freak in the sackâŠâ
Emmett didnât get to finish that thought because snarls erupted around the room. I was shocked to see that Renesmee and Alice were just as furious as Edward and I at the way Emmett was treating our situation. It wasnât humorous at all. âYou are such a bastard,â Alice snapped at him. Emmett rolled his eyes and turned to Rosalie, but he wasnât getting any sympathy from her either.
âDonât look at me, I donât find this funny at all,â she said snippily and walked across the room to sit next to Nessie and Jacob.
âWho is in the dog house now?â Alice asked with a satisfied smile. Emmett growled at her and Carlisle stepped in between them.
âWhat is going on here? I donât understand,â he turned to Edward and me, âI assume this has to do with the two of you.â
I hung my head guiltily, I felt like I was being reprimanded even though I knew Carlisle wouldnât do that. Edward pressed a kiss to my forehead before turning to talk to our family patriarch. âBella and I have had an interesting day,â he said and I snorted.
âInteresting isnât the right word,â I corrected and looked up at Carlisle. He was gazing at Edward and me, concern evident in his eyes. âIt started at schoolâŠâ
I had to give it to Carlisle; he didnât even bat an eye as I explained everything that had happened starting from the moment in the lunch room where Alice had practically thrown Edward and me outside. I didnât skip over the fact that my control gradually weakened through the remainder of the day and by the time school let out I was a complete wreck. I described our run through the woods and how after we had stopped to spend some time alone together Edward seemed exhausted. When I mentioned the fact that Edward had to hunt again Carlisle finally interrupted me.
âWhat do you mean he had to hunt again? We all hunted yesterday,â he was confused, that wasnât a good sign for me.
âIt was like his energy just drained out,â my voice sounded small and scared. I didnât like it at all.
âBella, did you have the same problem?â Carlisle asked in what I had come to call his doctor voice. He was analyzing and I was grateful.
âNo, I actually felt more alive than I have in years. The problem was when I tried to get Edward to hunt he didnât want to. He was stillâŠâ I paused, looking for a word that didnât sound crude.
âA horny little vampire,â Emmett said with a self satisfied smile on his face. I snarled at him, baring my teeth. He chuckled but didnât respond to my anger.
âAnyway,â I went on, gritting my teeth so as not to hit my favorite brother, âHe more or less attacked me, he seemed out of his mind. I got him to hunt and he seemed to be in a much better mood when we headed back home. Once we were back insideâŠ well, the same thing happened again. I felt incredible, almost as though my heart was going to start beating again. Edward on the other hand had to go hunting again. The guys just got back before you did.â
âBella, Iâm going to ask you and Edward some very important questions, but they may be embarrassing in front of the others, would you like everyone to step out?â Carlisle spoke only to me, but I knew everyone else was hanging on my answer. I knew they were all worried about us.
âIf Emmett says a single word Iâm throwing him out of the house myself,â I grumbled. The tension in the room dropped as soon as I agreed they could all stay. Renesmee smiled at me and Jacob made a face.
âNo offense, Bells, but I would prefer not to hear about your love life. If what I heard earlier is any indication of where this conversation is going, I think Iâll head out now,â Jacob said. He looked uncomfortable and I couldnât blame him. I didnât think I would want to sit in a room while he dissected his sex life either.
âWait for me, I donât think mom and dad would be comfortable talking about sex with me in the room,â she winked at me and I smiled back at her. She took Jacobâs hand and they left the room, much to my (and most likely Edwardâs) relief.
Edward and I sat on the couch, holding each others hands and trying not to look at the room still full of family around us. Carlisle sat on the loveseat with Esme across from us, attempting to smile, but it didnât make me relax. I was still worried that something was really wrong, even with Aliceâs assurances that we were all going to school tomorrow.
âBella, I need you to tell me the exact moment you started noticing that something was wrong,â Carlisle prompted.
I took a deep breath, more to relax myself than anything. âWhen Edward told me we couldnât touch each other like normal,â I shot a glance at Emmett and corrected myself before he could make a joke, âHe said we shouldnât walk around holding hands or any of the small things we did unconsciously throughout our normal days.â
âThat frustrated you?â Carlisle asked.
âAt first it just worried me, but as the morning progressed it got worse and worse. Iâm not used to not touching him. Ever since we were first together we were always touching each other in small ways. He would play with my hair or touch my face, hold my hand. It was as natural for us as breathing is, like a habit we couldnât control,â I explained.
âSo when you couldnât touch him at all you began to grow upset?â
I nodded. âAs the day wore on I couldnât think about anything else, like my desire kind of took control of my head. By the time lunch rolled around I was out of my mind.â
Edward pressed a kiss to the top of my head and squeezed me into his side. âItâs okay, love, I wasnât in any better condition,â he reminded me.
âEdward, Iâll ask you the same question. When did you first notice something wrong?â Carlisle asked him and I could tell his curiosity was growing with each word we spoke.
âI noticed Bellaâs irritation at lunch, before then I didnât feel any different than usual,â he replied and then smiled at me. âOf course, Iâm always eager to be with Bella.â
âBut at lunch, this was something different than normal?â Carlisle asked. Edward gazed at me thoughtfully before answering; I figured he was trying to understand it himself.
âIt was different. This wasnât a desire any longer, it was a compulsion. We were standing in the lunch line and Alice was thinking about Bella, worrying that something was wrong with her. I turned to look at her myself and the instant our eyes locked and I just about lost any control I had. There was something in her eyes, Carlisle. It changed my desire into something wild and almost uncontrollable,â Edward said softly. He was stroking my arm, a gentle brush of his fingers along my skin. I waited for that overwhelming urge to cripple me again, but nothing came. Was it just a product of stress like Edward had thought?
âSo, until you had made eye contact with Bella everything was fine?â Carlisle questioned.
âThatâs right,â Edward confirmed.
âThen what happened, Bella?â
âWe made our way back to the lunch table quickly. We had decided to spend at least part of the lunch hour alone so we were going to pretend to eat our lunch and then leave, but then another wave hit me. If Alice hadnât told me to leave the cafeteria, I probably would have ruined everything.â I felt awful, knowing that my pitiful self control could destroy our new life here in a second. I dropped my head onto Edwardâs chest and he kissed the top of my head again.
This was the sort of touching I had missed all day, the simple things like being able to have his arm around me, a brief touch of skin, of lips. I lifted my head and looked into his eyes, trying to gauge what I saw in them. A small burst of lust washed through me, but it was normal, the gentle pull I always felt when looking into his eyes.
âBefore Alice came over to you and you had your second âwaveâ as you call it, what brought that on?â Carlisle asked curiously.
I would have blushed if I could have. âI let my shield down so Edward could hear my thoughts. When we locked eyes again thatâs when it hit. It was so powerful it was almost crippling.â
Something seemed to click in Carlisleâs head, a light of understanding lit up his eyes and he flicked his eyes to Edward. His jaw clenched and his arm tightened around me, obviously he didnât like what Carlisle was thinking. âAre you sure?â he demanded his voice hard and tinged with fear.
âSure of what? What is he thinking, Edward?â I asked desperately. If he or Carlisle had an idea of what was going on I wanted to know. I wasnât some frail little human anymore who had to stand idly by while her vampire family fixed everything for her. I was a member of this family now; I was as strong and capable as any of them. âEdward, tell me.â
Edward was staring at Carlisle, waiting for an answer to his question. He never ignored me unless there was something more important going on, but this time it pissed me off. âCarlisle, are you sure?â he asked again, but this time with more desperation.
âI canât be sure of anything, but she is exhibiting all of the signs, surely you see that,â Carlisle explained patiently.
âAll I know is what youâve told me and what Iâve seen in your memories,â Edward said in frustration.
âWhat are you talking about?â I cried in frustration. No one looked at me; they were too focused on the conversation taking place between Edward and Carlisle. I felt like I was invisible in a room full of people who were dissecting me, it was uncomfortable and infuriating.
âIâm not going to say one way or the other, only time will tell. In the meantime, Iâd like you to try something,â Carlisle smiled at both of us.
âIâll do anything you ask. I donât want Bella to suffer,â Edward said eagerly.
âRight, because she is the one that had to hunt twice today because you stole every bit of energy she had,â Emmett said scornfully. Everyone turned to stare at him in disbelief, was he really that much of an idiot? Hadnât he already been snapped at by the entire family for being a complete jerk all day?
âEmmett, I hope you arenât entertaining the thought that you are invited in our room tonight,â Rosalie said acidly.
âAh, Rose, donât be like that, baby,â he moaned and tried to wrap his arm around her, but she pushed him off.
âDonât forget youâve been a complete idiot all day, first with Alice and Jasper and now with Edward and Bella. If you canât respect other peopleâs relationships you canât enjoy ours,â she said delicately and turned her attention back to Carlisle. Emmett swore.
âCarlisle?â Edward prompted him.
âTomorrow at school I want you to act normal around each other. Hold her hand in the hallway; play with her hair, whatever it is that the two of you do. Iâd like to see if that helps anything. Also, if you need to spend lunchâŠâ he paused as though trying to find the right word, âif you want to spend lunch alone together I would suggest you make those plans before it becomes a necessity.â
âSo, you want us to be public about our relationship?â Edward asked in confusion.
âYou donât have to shout it from the rooftops,â Carlisle said with a soft smile. âI just think Bella might have better control of herself if she knew she could touch you. That would be one less worry in her day.â
âIf that works, does it prove or disprove your theory?â Edward asked with a calculating look in his eyes.
âHonestly Iâm not sure. Iâm just hoping to get you both through another day while I think about the possibilities,â he admitted. âIf this is what I think it is, Bella, not to mention the rest of the family will be facing a lot of new changes.â
âWhat are you guys talking about?â I stood up, throwing Edwardâs hands off me. âIâm sick of you guys talking about me like Iâm not here!â
Edwardâs face fell, his eyes full of worry and fear. He didnât look like he could answer my question so I turned to Carlisle. His eyes were also filled with worry but he had a smile for me. âBella, I think you might be a succubus.â