April 13, 2009
Although I knew it wasn’t possible, I still had to remind myself that vampires don’t sleep. I couldn’t be dreaming. The porcelain-skinned, red-eyed, beautiful man that stood before me was real. By now you would think nothing could shock me, but this… this was different. Everything I had been fighting to avoid was standing right in front of me. Charlie was really standing there.
He was really a vampire.
At first I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I tried, but they wouldn’t move. I was momentarily unaware of everything else around me. I forgot I was in the middle of a vicious battle. It didn’t matter, either. It was clear that the battle was over. Charlie was one of us now. He was no longer a threat.
Aro hesitantly raised one translucent hand and began to speak. His voice startled me out of my haze. “I can see there is no longer an issue, then. We will go in peace. In the future Bella, remember there are rules and consequences for not adhering to those rules.”
He waved to Caius, Baylor and Demetri then they were all gone before I had a chance to respond. They knew they didn’t stand a chance now anyway. Charlie’s strength, as a newborn, would be too much for them. A newborn vampire can be vicious, malicious and extremely dangerous. They are controlled by their thirst. As a newborn, the only thing you care about is extinguishing the burning flame in your throat.
The wolves had all darted into the forest as soon as Baylor unlocked his lethal gaze. Charlie saved them, too. He saved all of us. I never expected this kind of sacrifice from Charlie. I still can’t put into words how completely culpable I feel. If I would have just kept what I am from Charlie, none of this would have happened. Edward still firmly believes something would have happened either way. He believes the Volturi are trying to take the Cullen’s down – leaving only the gifted ones – assuming that once we become too weak, the gifted ones will join their coven and make them stronger. If they had my shield, Alice’s visions and Edward’s mind reading ability, they would be more powerful than ever. I know Edward is probably right, but I’m not scared. I know we’re too strong to take down.
After Edward placed his celestial hand on my waist, I felt almost instantly calmer. As I approached Charlie, I could feel a whirlwind of emotions encapsulating me. He was so beautiful. Before I had a chance to say anything, Carlisle spoke, his soft voice answering some of my most burning questions. “Charlie and I went to Vancouver, initially to keep him from the Volturi. Once we were there hiding out, I explained our story to him. We had some time to kill, after all. When he asked if you would be okay, Bella, I didn’t have an answer for him. I couldn’t guarantee your safety. Charlie couldn’t continue to live knowing something could happen to any of you while trying to protect him. He made the decision to be turned after realizing you can become one of us and not be a monster. He did this to protect you. Please know that I only let the change happen because he was certain. He wanted to be one of us.”
Charlie reinforced Carlisle’s words, his face certain, his bright red eyes somewhat disturbing. “I chose this life, Bells. Please don’t be mad. After your Mother and I got divorced, I was never the same. You know that. I felt dead anyway. I figured this life seemed… well, more interesting. Other than the fire that seems to be viciously spreading in my throat, I’m handling it just fine. I couldn’t let anything happen to you, Bells.” Charlie looked emotional, yet still hard and cold as stone.
I could tell that beneath everything, he was still the same Charlie. He didn’t seem to regret his decision, either. Edward was still holding onto me tightly, unsure of what I was thinking. Jasper’s ability to calm seemed to suddenly begin working. I felt fine.
I no longer had to worry. This was the second time Charlie’s life was put in danger because of me. First with the tracker, James. And this time, with the Volturi. Now, I no longer have to worry. Charlie is one of us. He has the same secret as the rest of us now. To be honest, I think I prefer it this way.
Once we got back to the Cullen house, Charlie explained how painful his change was. He had a difficult time, to say the least. He went into great detail about the three days. It brought back memories of my change, memories I’d rather forget. Once he was turned, like me, he adjusted more quickly than normal. Though his throat burns with the same flames that ignited in my throat, he has control. Of course, Charlie can’t go out in public for a while, or be near any humans for that matter. I plan to bring Nessie to see him, just not right away. Though Charlie seems to have control, it’s too soon to guarantee that the temptation wont become too much for him.
It’s taking him some time to get used to the color of his eyes. The crimson shade is deeper than anything I’ve ever seen. His eyes are certainly brighter than mine were. Otherwise, he looks like Charlie, just an inhumanly beautiful version of his former self. He’s adapting to the “vegetarian” lifestyle fine, too. He caught the scent of some hikers while hunting yesterday… luckily he had already fed on a deer, so the temptation wasn’t as intense.
The odd thing about Charlie, though, is that he continues to go on fishing trips, he just does it differently now. He enjoys the blood of sharks, and because they come closer to shore in the middle of the night when the surfers are gone, he doesn’t have to swim out too far to catch one. Not that it would be a problem for Charlie. As vampires, we have the innate ability to swim strong, and fast. Of course, we don’t need air, either. Like I said, he’s the same Charlie, just immortal now.