Chapter 1: Addicted to you
Bella found herself yet again lured into the boy’s room. She couldn’t help herself. Edward Masen was the most alluring human Bella had been around in decades.
Would I ever be the same again? That question only had one answer. Everything would end when he died. And who could know how long would be? Years? Decades? How long did the average human live? Seventy years? Eighty years?
Bella never wanted him to die. He kept her alive with his warm, sweet, head-spinning blood.
She watched him for a few endless minutes, until the thirst won again and she approached his bed. She took his wrist and punctured it with her 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, Bella leaned and pouted her lips so as not to harm him with the sharp teeth. As soon as his sweet nectar hit her throat, the battle started.
She had to keep him alive.
She had to stop.
His blood warmed her cold body – she could feel it in the tip of her fingers, in every part of her. He was inside her, making her whole again.
The boy moaned softly, his hips rubbing against the blanket that covered him. Bella wrenched her mouth from his wrist and licked the wound clean, sealing the cut.
She 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 she was draining him, literally. She touched his forehead softly, and moved his messy bangs from his closed eyes.
Bella allowed herself to watch him for a few minutes before heading back to her small house. The pull to stay so close to him was much stronger than her rational thoughts, so she didn’t go too far. She stayed outside his house until dawn.
At exactly five in the morning, the kitchen light was switched on, and the beautiful middle-aged woman started the coffee then worked on baking muffins. A surge of self-loathing hit Bella in that moment.
The boy’s mother loved him so much that she woke up so early just for him, to cook the blasted muffins that he ate as if his life depended on them.
But Bella was too selfish to look past her thirst. She should have never crossed the invisible barrier. She should have never followed him home that fateful day, waited in the shadows, before sampling his tantalizing blood. Never.
The redheaded woman caught her attention again as she started whistling along with a happy tune on the radio. Bella stifled a 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.
Bella felt a tug at her dead, frozen heart.
Is it normal for something like me to want that type of connection? Bella wanted to do the same to the boy upstairs. She needed that closeness and sometimes, that need was more powerful than the desire for his blood, which scared the daylight out of her.
“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 bake 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, Bella thought with a heavy heart. Will you consider a dead, eternal creature worthy for your son? The thought saddened her immensely. That would never happen, and the boy’s mother’s words made her realize that he would not be hers forever.
If he found a girlfriend or wife – the thought made Bella insanely angry. No one was allowed to touch him like that. She wouldn’t be able to be near him, to taste his blood if such a complication happened.
A soft groan grabbed her attention, and before she could rationalize her actions, she was on the branch in front of his window. That was very reckless. He could see her, but suddenly, she couldn’t give a damn.
She had exceeded the limit last night. Bella watched his pale form rising from the floor where he had probably fallen. She had to smile at how clumsy he could be. He yawned loudly and scratched at the back of his neck before combing his messy hair with his fingers. She saw him wince and look at his left wrist in confusion.
If her heart was beating, it would have been slamming in her 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 that case?
He sighed softly and stroked his wrist, looking to his right and shaking his head. What was there? Did he have some theory about his unusual pains?
Bella watched as he put his socks on his feet and then left the room. Curiosity killed the cat. She 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 her stop dead in the 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 her kind in danger. The slam of the bathroom door alerted Bella that he could be coming back for a few more minutes of sleep.
With one last glowering look at the book, she left his room for the spot outside the house. She 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! Bella 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. “Mhmm, yummy!”
She laughed, and Bella 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?” His mother asked, stroking his hair.
“Mhmm,” he hummed, sitting on a chair next to his father, who was reading the morning paper while eating his own muffin. “How many did you have?” Edward asked, accusatory.
“Just three. There are plenty, Edward,” his father answered with a roll of his eyes.
“Three?” His parents didn’t see or hear him, but Bella 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. She deposited a glass of milk next to his plate.
Edward nodded enthusiastically and started munching on his second muffin, sipping his milk. His obsession with muffins was adorable.
Bella chose to head to her own house and prepare for school.
She lived in a small wooden cottage; some ranger probably lived here decades ago. She was grateful when she had stumbled upon it. She lived on her own, the only relative she had was supposed to be dead. As far as the authorities knew, she could take care of herself and there was supposedly someone that was helping with money, facilities and was checking on her from time to time. This was a tedious job – to lie to people. Of course, there was no one that checked on her.
Bella changed her clothes and went to the never-ending stack of contacts. She had chosen brown for an eye-color, as that had been the color of her eyes had been when she was human. The brown over her red eyes turned them a nice auburn - unreal color. No one questioned it. She pulled the front bangs of her hair and caught them at the back of her head with a scrunchy. She checked herself again in the mirror to make sure there was nothing to give her away, grabbed the schoolbag, and went to her car.
The idea of blending in and attending high school had come to Bella several decades ago. It was boring, but it gave her something to do. It happened once every few decades, to have a bright idea that saved her and gave her new strength to carry on with the dark life she 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.
Bella started attending high school. She was too young for a proper, respectable job. Not like that stopped her from writing and becoming famous under different nicknames. It brought her the money she had now, and she was glad for that idea, too.
She felt like another bright idea was needed to keep Edward around, but what could she do? Tell him what she was? Take his soul away? But then she wouldn’t taste his blood anymore. She was at an impasse.
Bella needed a normal, everyday car so she had chosen a Volvo C30 T5. It was small, and she was in love with it. She had wanted it to be black, not the flaming orange it came in, but the man that sold it – convinced she was above twenty-one – showed her some metallic colors, and she agreed on the blue one.
She threw her bag in the backseat and started the car. It purred to life, and she maneuvered it out of the forest, cringing every time she caught something under the tires.
There was an ancient path in the forest’s ground but it needed to be cleared off twigs and leaves to make it a proper road again. Bella had other things to do at night, better things than cleaning the forest. She smiled fondly, thinking of her favorite human.
They arrived at the same time, and he parked next to her, glancing fleetingly her way before grabbing his bag and stepping out of the car. Bella took a big unnecessary breath and opened her door. She was glad he had a safe car. She didn’t need the Volvo for its safety. He drove a silver C70. He had the 8’’ x 18’’diamond cut alloy wheels. They were superb.
She realized she was staring at his car’s wheels, and felt like a dork. She looked around and saw that thankfully, the lot was empty and no one was aware of her nerdy love for cars.
Bella started walking toward the school. Somehow, she managed to still be sorting through her things in the locker when the last bell rang. Being meticulous had its costs, like being late for class. Even though she possessed a blinding speed, she had an appearance to keep so she grabbed her English textbook, shut the locker’s door, and scurried away down the empty hallway. She was positive she was suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Her locker had to be in order, but it usually was a mess.
She slammed into someone, engulfed in her thoughts. Every fiber of her reacted to the person in front of her. Bella’s throat erupted in flames, her muscles coiled, and she felt prepared to spring. Edward was on the floor in front of her, looking around, disorientated. Shit. It was easier when he was sleeping.
His green eyes met hers and widened. He scrambled up, looking worried. Did he think I was hurt? She was more afraid for him. That was quite the fall he had taken.
“You okay?” he whispered. Bella only managed to nod, unable to talk. Her 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?”
She looked down, too, and saw their books and papers scattered around the hallway. Crap. She knew which were hers of course, so she picked them up as quickly as humanly possible then stacked his and handed them to him.
“Thanks,” he said softly.
Bella nodded again and tried to smile. Rushing to her class, she gave a lame excuse to her teacher then sat at the last desk in the back of the room.
It had been excruciating to be near him. She was used to holding her breath or preparing for his scent with small, measure breaths in the classes they shared, but that encounter had been spontaneous. She didn’t have time to adjust to his scent; it just assaulted her, paralyzing her. If only he 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?
Bella thought back to the first time she had given in to temptation. It was a week after school started, and he passed her on his way to the car. She heard him telling someone he would be alone for the weekend. The opportunity was there and she took it, like a greedy, starving person.
She had followed him home and waited around until he went to bed. Climbing into his room, she took the time required to become accustomed to his scent. She had approached his bed and slowly raised his left wrist to her nose, inhaling deeply. The promising blood flew under his skin, and she didn’t think much before running her nail over the soft skin. He had such potent blood. Bella couldn’t stop herself once she first tasted it. His soft moan and the scent of arousal that hit her nostrils had made her freeze mid-feeding. The bloodlust cloud lifted from her brainand she licked his wound shut before rushing out of the house. She hadn’t gone to school for a week after that.
When Bella had gathered her will and finally gone back to school, it took her the whole lunch break, Biology and Gym to get the monster within her under control. The monster knew how he tasted, and she wanted more. What had scared Bella was the fact that he hadn’t been in school until Wednesday, of what she’d heard the others talk.
She had drunk too much! He had been too weak to come to school. She hated herself for harming him. Bella made a silent promise to herself to never go back to his room or near him. When she had to feed again, she went to Seattle and stumbled over a drunken man outside a club. He followed her to a dark alley where she let him do what he wanted. Little did he know, sex was nothing comparing to the alcohol in his blood. But she found herself unable to drink from him. She had cut his neck just as he was reaching his peak, she lowered her lips to the cut but couldn’t drink. There was a much more potent blood waiting for her at home. Bella had thrown him off in rage, and ran. She hadn’t fed for another two weeks when it became next to impossible to go to school. It was like walking into a slaughterhouse and watching steaks of meat rolling around. She was hallucinating; if a vampire could hallucinate. That’s when she decided to visit her little human. She knew how much to drink and his soft moan stopped her again.
For almost three months, she had drunk from him without him noticing.
For over a year, she had attended this high schooland no one knew they were in immediate danger with her around.
The first four classes of the day passed with her thinking of what she had done and trying to come up with the fourth bright plan of her existence. There was only one way – to kidnap the kid and chain him in her room, drinking when she wanted. That thought made Bella sick. It would be like treating him like some kind of pet. No. She wouldn’t do that to him.
She went to the cafeteria and met with Angela, the sweetest human ever, in the line for food. Her friend sensed that there was something odd with Bella, but she never asked questions. Bella was grateful for that.
“Hey, Bella,” she greeted and stepped asidewaiting.
Bella bought her omnipresent apple and let Angela lead the way. She had hoped they would sit alone, but Angela decided to join with her boyfriend, Ben, who was friends with Edward.
“Don’t you want to sit alone, Angela?” Bella asked, glancing at Edward who was now watching her every move. Shit, that book gave him ideas.
“Oh, if you want,” she said in a wavering voice.
She wanted to be there so Bella sighed and sat down next to Edward, but as far as possible. Angela threw her 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,” Ben 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 her.
He cleared his throat and turned to Bella. “About this morning,” he started.
“It’s okay,” she promised. “It was my fault.”
He smiled a heart-stopping smile. Should she be glad that her heart couldn’t stop? He glanced at Ben then back at Bella since his friend was busy giving Angela gooey eyes.
“Erhm… what are you… how will you spend Christmas?”
He had never talked with her outside Biology. Never.
“Home,” she answered vaguely.
“Yeah, me too.” He had a dreamy smile on his face, probably imagining the amount of muffins his mother would bake. “Is your guardian going to drop by?”
“Probably,” she said, not meeting his eyes. He didn’t look pleased with her one-word answers. She watched as the skin between his eyebrows puckered as he frowned. His green eyes were watching her carefully then he focused on his unwrapped lunch.
Bella looked at Angela, desperate to say something else, find an excuse to get out of there, when she realized her friend and Ben were missing. They had left to go somewhere for couple time. Perfect.
Bella peeked at Edward as she spun the apple on the table. He turned to look at her at the same time, and his cheeks flamed making her swallow a mouthful of venom. For a second, she panicked, thinking that she had forgotten to change the contacts, but she had put new ones in before coming to the cafeteria.
Why was he looking at her that way? He swallowed thickly and moved his chair closer. Was he insane? Would it look weird if she didn’t breathe? Probably, since he watched her every movement.
“Do you want some?” he asked in a tense, embarrassed voice as if wanting to offer and not give. Give her what? His nectar? Yes, please.
“Sorry?” Bella managed to get out.
“They’re amazing.” He gestured to the muffins in his lunch box. Holy cow! He wanted to share his prized food with her!
Bella had to say yes, she knew that. But she shook her head and showed him the apple. He smiled and shrugged as if thinking, “more for me.”
She watched the pleasure on his face as he ate the muffin. It almost rivaled the feeling she had when she had drunk from him some hours ago. She always had to be extra aware of him, to make sure he was okay before and after feeding. She never wanted to do what she had done that first time.
When Angela returned with a big smile on her face, Bella was glad. She pushed her apple to her and she took it gratefully. This didn’t escape Edward’s attention. Did anything?
As the bell rang, they got up, and to Bella’s utter dismay, he swayed and caught himself on the back of the chair. She watched the movement, unnoticed by the others, and he caught her eye, shaking his head. Was it her fault?
He grabbed a bottle of water on the way out and drained it by the time they reached Biology. Unfortunately, their teacher had made them lab partners at the beginning of the year. They took their seats, and she couldn’t help but watch him worried.
“Are you okay?” Bella asked, before she could keep the question locked inside.
Edward glanced at her and frowned, unconsciously rubbing his left wrist. Shit, she had hurt him. “I guess I didn’t sleep well.”
“It’s okay. I’ll sleep when I get home.”
“And drink more water,” she 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,” she said, trying to distract him from the topic. She didn’t need her meal talking about blood. Did I just call him my meal? Urgh, she was such a hypocrite.
“I stayed up quite late last night. I read a book,” he said, his voice dropping as the teacher entered the classroom. She already knew that. How long he had stayed awake nearly took her mind off feeding. She shouldn’t have fed. He had slept only a few hours and she took quite a bit of blood from him.
“I know how it is to read until late in the night.” She wanted him to admit reading Dracula and tell her 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 her warily. Did he expect her to be frightened? In all honesty, she was a little scared, but she knew that a book couldn’t convince him. Not one that didn’t have the facts quite right.
“It’s one of my favorites.”
He smiled and turned to the teacher, leaning his head on his palm. They didn’t talk until the next class they had together ended. Gym was the worst invention ever.
Bella couldn’t remember if she hated it while human, but now surely, it gave her headaches. She had to be extra careful with everything: her movements, the speed, the balls, the humans around, the walls…
She happened to leave for the parking lot with Edward. Today had been a rare day – they had talked. Sometimes, there were weeks without any words between them. She knew they’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.
Bella had a sudden urge to follow them to Port Angeles since she knew Edward wasn’t feeling well. She jumped in her car and made sure she was at a safe distance from his.
The boys went to a small shop and stayed in there for almost half an hour. She was just around the corner and tried to keep an ear on them. She heard bits of their conversation through the buzzing people in the shop and on the street. They talked about Christmas plans, what presents they wished to get 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 she could hear them better.
“So what’s with you and Bella?”
Bella’s eyes widened, and she gaped at the steering wheel.
“W-wh-what?” She heard Edward sputter. She had to hear this better so she 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? She couldn’t have Edward start feeling things for her.
“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 tired.”
Bella flew to her car and drove slowly behind them. The boy could speed! She was constantly anxious of him wrapping the car around a tree.
She had so many questions now that she knew Edward presumed something. She had never encountered such a situation.
What should she do if he realized what she was?
Bella went home and chose to do something productive, to take her mind off the matter. She cleaned the road. Then she cleaned the already spotless house. Then she did the homework. It was already three AM when she finally settled down and sat on the windowsill. She knew what she wanted, what her body yearned for, but she couldn’t do it. She didn’t want him to figure this out.
It was the last day of school before the Christmas break. She parked in her usual spot and to her surprise, Edward’s car was next to hers. He was leaning against the back of his car, watching her car intensely.
What did he want? There was no one else around. That was a bad sign. They were alone.
“Come on, you can do it,” he muttered under his breath.
She had to stifle a giggle as she stepped out of the car. Bella tried to pass him nonchalantly, not even aware of him, as if that was possible. Her throat erupted in flames the second she was out of the car.
“Um, hey, wait,” he said softly and started walking closer.
“Yeah?” She asked, not turning her 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, she told myself. She turned to him and saw his green eyes glazing over.
“We sat together yesterday, too.”
“Ah no!” He nearly shouted, making her smile. “I mean…alone.” His eyes were trying to tell her something that he didn’t have the courage to get out.
Could she do it? Could she stay there? Should she? She wanted to know him better and hear more about his life. He was more than food.
“Okay,” she agreed.
Bella couldn’t settle down during the first classes of the day. What had she just agreed to do? Alone, with Edward? Was she insane?
As Bella made her way to the cafeteria, she made a plan to ditch him but couldn’t do it. When she entered the room, she saw him sitting at the corner table at the far end. He had a death wish.
She went to him, without bothering to buy the pretense lunch. She sat opposite him and put her hands on the table.
“Hi,” Bella greeted.
His head snapped up, and he gazed at her for a full minute before talking. “I didn’t think you’d come.”
“I’m glad you came.”
“What- Why did you want…?” She couldn’t even form a sentence. That was unusual.
“I wanted… you know… to talk?” he said, uncertain.
“Why the sudden interest?” She sounded like a jerk.
His green eyes grew twice in size and his pulse quickened. That wasn’t helping. “Umm, you see…”
Actually, I don’t. What had Ben told him? Why was he suddenly talking to her? He busied himself by taking out his lunch. She watched as his cheeks colored visibly.
“What do you do outside the school?”
She frowned and leaned back in the chair. Where did that question 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 she wasn’t used to. Bella never shared such things with anyone. But she wanted him to know everything about her and to know everything about him in return.
“I like the classics.”
The ghost of a smirk formed on his beautiful face. Was he reading in that innocent statement? Really?
“Like Shakespeare and Jane Austen?” Edward asked, biting on his muffin.
“Yes. There’s something about that period…” She was giving herself 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,” she agreed. Those times had been much simpler and her life hadn’t been as complicated as it was now. “What do you like to read?”
“Classics, too, and fantasy.” His green eyes were glued on hers.
“What exactly?” she pressed. She had her answer, and he was going to explain himself.
“Oh, you know… the usual. Myths.”
“Like wizards and dragons?” Bella asked in her 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.”
They 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 her? She watched him eating his food and couldn’t help but smile at how cute he was.
“What?” he asked self-conscious, glancing at her 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.”
She 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. She smirked and shook her head. He shrugged like yesterday and returned to his beloved baked cookie.
“What’s your favorite book?”
She thought he wasn’t going to talk again, so his question came as a surprise. Bella turned her 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,” she chose 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! She fought the urge to jump up and down. They were getting somewhere. “I always seem to go back to Wuthering Heights,” she told him softly. She was right in her presumptions. He was fun and smart. She 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?” Bella nodded in acknowledgment. “It was a great book, but I went back to my little obsession and started re-reading Dracula.”
“Yeah, I love White Fang,” she agreed, urging him with her eyes to tell her more about the other book.
The bell rang, and she cursed it in her mind. His heart took off as if he was panicking. Was he scared, or was he disappointed their time alone was up?
“Umm, Bella?” She felt her dead heart jump at her name coming from his lips.
“Can we walk together to class?” His cheeks turned pink.
Something told her that wasn’t the question he wanted to ask. She wanted to tell him that they could see each other over the holiday, but that would have been very reckless.