Well, I hope this answers some questions you may have for this story!
Tell me what you think, and I hope you enjoy!
Bella blinked her eyes open, she looked around to see she was in a hospital room. She looked down at herself and saw that she was plugged into several machines and was being given large amounts of blood. She reached over and caused the bed to move up so she was in a sitting position. Her eyes darted towards the door as it opened and a woman entered a too happy smile on her face.
“Oh good! You’re awake! I’m so happy to see you’re doing better. The doctor will be in an a few hours to check on you.” She walked over to check Bella’s vital. “You’re doing well, so you should be okay. You’re not allowed to have any food just yet, it might upset your stomach if we let you eat so soon. Just go ahead and press that nurse button if you need anything.”
Bella nodded she felt something was off with the nurse, but she didn’t really question it. She leaned back as she was curious how long she had been in the hospital but in her shock she hadn’t thought to ask the nurse.
“It’s been a couple of days.” A male voice said from the corner of the room.
Bella looked up immediately recognizing the voice instantly. “You’re here.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t be?” James responded as he crossed his arms over his chest and watched her.
Bella shrugged and looked at him curiously, he didn’t look anything like she remembered him from the ballet studio. Instead of the old battered jacket she remembered him wearing, he was in a new black one that fit him perfectly. And instead of going bare underneath like she had seen him do before he was wearing a fitted white shirt. His pants were also crisp and clean and the perfect shade of black for him. “You’re wearing a shirt.” Bella said puzzled as she looked him over. She felt her face flush as the words that came out of her mouth.
James laughed, “Well, I can’t exactly enter a hospital partially naked, now can I? Especially seeing as half the Seattle reporters are camping outside waiting to get any glimpse of you.”
Bella tilted her head surprised by the idea that there were people waiting to see her. “Why?”
“It’s all over the news, a crazed serial killer kills three others and gravely injures a fourth only to have this young girl set his lair on fire and escape alive. You’re Seattle’s new hero.” James replied as he looked out the window being able to pick up the noise that was coming from below.
Bella shook her head not being able to grasp everything. Her head shot up to look at James as she caught something he said. “Injured a fourth, not killed. Al’s alive?”
James nodded, “Recovering, 6th floor. He’s wheeled down here once a day to visit with you. You just haven’t been awake for these visits with him.”
Bella nodded a small smiled made it to her face. “He’s okay. He’s alive.” Bella went to rip out the needle in her arm. “I have to go see him.”
James blurred forward and stilled her hand. “Hold on, little Dove, you need this. You lost a large amount of blood and if you take this out you’ll faint before you even reach the door.”
Bella nodded she was struck silent by his hand on her arm. “You wanted me dead.” She whispered as she looked down where his cold skin touched her.
James chuckled, “That’s what you remember, but that’s not entirely true. Granted I did bite you, but it was only my instincts taking over and the large need to change you that I was having at the time. I never actually hurt you.”
“You broke my leg.” Bella said gesturing to her leg.
James smirked, “I never broke your leg.”
“You broke it.” Bella assured with shake of her head. “I was there when it happened.”
“Little Dove, do you want to know a secret?” James said as he smirked. “I think you’ll find it’ll answer a bit of your questions.”
“Really? I think this secret will only raise more questions.” Bella replied she out stretched her hands in surrender. “Go ahead, tell me.”
“My gift is not tracking, I am exceptionally good at it, but it’s not my special ability.” James admitted as he took a seat at the edge of her bed. “I can place a memory into your head replacing your current memory. You’d never know it had happened to you unless I told you.”
Bella sighed, “What you’re stating is that you didn’t really break my leg, you just made me think you did?”
James nodded, “What had happened was I did lure you to the ballet studio, I just didn’t hurt you. You being, well yourself, tripped over one of the stairs on your way in, breaking your leg. You then made it aggressively worst when you fell once again over a stray pair of pointe shoes.”
“What does it say about me that this sounds exactly like something that could happen to me?” Bella said with a shake of her head. “Okay, so let’s say this is true. Is that how you made everyone believe you were dead?”
James nodded with a proud smirk. “I would have just let them believe that you were dead, but that was more work. It’s easier to manipulate something believable than something a person wouldn’t want to believe. As much as I detest the Cullen Coven none of them wanted you dead. My gift on them would’ve taken too much effort to work on so many people. It wouldn’t have worked out well in the end. It was easier for them to believe that I was dead than for them to believe that you were dead.”
Bella took in a deep breath trying to let her mind soak everything in. Her eyes widened and she looked to James. “So that ballet studio, it was burnt down on a lie?”
James chuckled and nodded. “There wasn’t anybody burning inside, no.”
“Why did you never do anything sooner?” Bella questioned. “Why now?”
“I’ve been watching you since before I saw you in that field. I knew when I was in that field that you were in love with Edward, so I challenged him. That’s why everything started.” James responded his mind drifting back to that day for a moment.
Bella’s jaw fell to the floor. “It was a challenge. He didn’t say it was a challenge.”
James sighed. “In vampire terms Edward claimed you as his. I couldn’t rightfully take what was his, it would go against vampire rules. You were Edward’s, not mine. I challenged Edward because you weren’t his and he knew it. You were his toy and there was no way he would let you go, especially after knowing about me. The challenge was that if I managed to change you he would be forced to let you go.”
“I…” Bella shook her head. “What the hell is this? I’m some sort of challenge to you? A prize to be fucking won?”
James shook his head. “Everything he has told you has been a lie, little Dove. You weren’t his mate. You’re my mate that is why I challenged Edward. I wouldn’t allow him to continue to feed you these lies and use you as his personal pet.”
“But why challenge him? Why not just tell me the truth? Why did you have to treat me as some sort of game?” Bella questioned getting angrier as the moments passed.
“You’re human and don’t have a say in the world of vampires. If I were to just take you, Edward and the Cullen’s could have gone to the Volturi and you would be hunted as well as me. My gift is strong, but not strong enough to alter the entire Volturi coven. I wouldn’t risk your safety, so I did what the law asked for, a challenge.” James replied as he watched her calm a bit.
“Why did he lie?” Bella said as she couldn’t see how Edward could so something like this.
“Because the Cullen’s are domesticated vampires, little dove. Had they known the truth they would’ve allowed you to choose and would have ignored Edward’s wishes. Edward wanted you because you were silent to him, he wouldn’t risk losing that silence for anything. That day in the field I knew if I announced that you were my mate, Edward would have killed you. If he couldn’t have you no one could. I challenged him and he agreed with a slight nod of his head. He told his family I wanted you dead, which really wasn’t a complete lie. He needed them to fight with him because he knew with my experience he wouldn’t be able to win.” James responded.
Bella shook her head she still couldn’t believe what she was being told. “What about Victoria? Jasper and Edward said she was your mate.”
James laughed, “They’re idiots. Their gifts are strong, but the animal diet has weakened them. Victoria believed she was my mate. What they were feeling and hearing was her, not me. Victoria was a companion of mine, she was never nothing more. I never marked. My marking of you is what drove her off the edge and caused her to have a vendetta against you.”
Bella froze her eyes widening. “You marked me?”
James stepped forward and gently grabbed her wrist. He showed her the mark she had there. “I knew he wouldn’t let you turn, so I didn’t inject much venom in your system. I didn’t want you to be filled with pain when he removed it. This right here is my mark on you, I couldn’t turn you, but there was nothing Edward could do to remove this from you.”
Bella ran her fingers over the mark. “Why now?”
“You’ve finally let him go.” James replied sincerely. “I could sense that in you.”
Bella looked to James as his hand was still wrapped around her wrist. “I haven’t been in love with Edward for so long…”
James smirked, “I wasn’t referring to love, little dove. You were still holding onto the anger and betrayal he caused. You would have never been able to trust me if you still held onto him. I’m nothing like him and the last thing I would want was for you to believe so. I waited, you losing your necklace was my perfect opportunity to reach out to you.”
Bella shook her head her head felt close to exploding with all the new information. “I want to go to sleep.”
James nodded, he released her hand. “Of course, I’ll return if you wish when you wake up.”
Bella sighed she didn’t want to talk to him, but she did want him to stay with her. “Can you stay? I don’t exactly feel safe by myself right now. If you don’t mind staying that is.”
James smiled, “I don’t mind at all, little dove.” He gently helped Bella lay down comfortably on the bed. He kissed her head as she closed her eyes. “Rest, little dove I’ll be here for you.”
Bella nodded, “J.” Bella said as she took in a deep breath in an attempt not to yawn. “What would happen if Edward comes back?”
James tensed for a moment, before simply brushing Bella’s hair back. “We’ll talk about this later.”
“You’re being stubborn!” James argued as he wanted Bella to stay in bed.
Bella sighed in annoyance. “It’s a wheelchair! I’m sure I can make it into the elevator by myself!”
“You could hurt yourself.” James replied as he stepped closer wanting to get her to stay in bed.
Bella rolled her eyes, “Sure, like you would really let me hurt myself. Look, Al just got out of hip surgery, he’s been down here every day to see me, I just want to go see him for a change. I’ll even let you push me in the wheelchair if you want.”
James chuckled, “You’re not letting me push you in the wheelchair, you know as well as I do you have no idea how to use a wheelchair properly. You would end up running yourself into a wall.”
Bella rolled her eyes she looked at James and squinted her eyes to notice that his eyes were a deep black. “You should go find blood. You’re starting to look a bit demonic than usual.”
James paused. “You know that when I feed, I don’t feed from animals.”
“Yes, I’m well aware of it. You haven’t exactly hidden your red eyes from anyone.” Bella replied with a smile. “Honestly, I’ve spent the last week with you in the hospital and I keep trying to convince myself that feeding off of humans is bad, but it’s not working. I think I’m becoming too apathetic to almost everything, especially others. Would you say that’s a bad thing?”
James chuckled, “I’d be a hypocrite to say it were wrong.”
“Tell me, how many people have you killed, J?” Bella questioned as she managed to get herself into the wheelchair and not rip out her IV by accident.
“Too many to count.” James responded. “Most killers keep track, but I find that counting can be a bit tedious and it really just takes away from the kill itself.”
“But what does it say about you that you can’t keep track?” Bella replied she smiled as James handed her the IV pole and he began to push her out of the room. “Then again you’re not human so I really wouldn’t expect you to remember every person you’ve ever killed. As much as I want to hate the fact that you kill humans, I really can’t bring myself to care at all.”
James smirked, “That’s not a bad trait to have at all, little dove.”
“I think most other humans would have to disagree.” Bella responded, “But I’m remotely pleased to know you don’t think it’s so bad.”
James led Bella into the elevator and settled her in. “Have you eaten today?” He questioned curiously as he hadn’t seen her eat and he hoped that maybe the few moments he had left the room she had eaten something.
“No.” Bella said crossing her arms. “They won’t give me anything worth eating. It’s all disgusting, I want to rip out my own stomach if I have to eat something else that comes from the cafeteria.”
James sighed, “You’re going to starve yourself, little dove.”
“I’ll eat once the food isn’t so disgusting to eat.” Bella replied with a shrug.
“I’ll sneak you in some Italian food while you’re with the old man.” James said as the elevator stopped.
“YES!” Bella said with a sigh of relief. “And his name is Alan not old man.”
“The point was that you knew who I was talking about.” James replied he wheeled Bella into the room and put the brakes on the chair. “I’ll return in a bit, little dove. Try not to hurt yourself.”
“I make no promises I can’t keep.” Bella responded with a smile. “You should probably get something to eat too.”
“We’ll see. I’ll be back in an hour at the most.” James said he leaned down and kissed the top of her head.
“Bye, J.” Bella said as she watched him leave. She looked at Alan as he was still sleeping, she was never more grateful that he was still alive then at this moment. The very last thing she wanted was to know that Alan was dead or hurt in anyway.
Bella smiled at the mushroom pasta in front of her. “This smells amazing, thank you.”
James nodded his shining red eyes pleased to see her smile at him. “You should eat before the nurses do their rounds and enter the room.”
“Right.” Bella said knowing that they would most likely take it away from her. “Can I ask you something?”
“Ask whatever you please.” James replied as he leaned back in the chair at the side of her bed.
“In the vampire world, if Edward were to return would he still have a claim on me?” Bella questioned curiously as this was something that had been on her mind for some time now.
James sighed, “Yes.” He replied in distaste. “Just because he left doesn’t mean anything has changed on his claim. My assumption is that he’s using my mark on your wrist to keep other vampires away. If he were to return this very moment then he would have full claim over you. Whether you wanted him or not.”
Bella nodded her head. She didn’t speak just ate her food letting her thoughts run free in her mind. “Okay.” She said with a nod of her head. “This challenge, it was basically if you bit me and I turned you would have won claim over me. If you never managed to turn me, he would still have claim.”
“Yes, the challenge was your turning.” James replied watching her curiously knowing she was finally coming to the conclusion he had been waiting for.
“But the challenge didn’t really end.” Bella stated as she set aside her plate. “You didn’t die, therefore the challenge never came to an end like Edward had thought. Edward hasn’t rightfully won claim over me completely because the challenge is still in place.”
James simply nodded his head. “That’s correct, little dove.”
Bella’s eyes widened. “The only way Edward would lose claim over me would be if you won the challenge and turned me.” She leaned back in the bed. “I’m right, aren’t I?”
“Yes,” James said sitting up in his chair. “If Edward were to go to the Volturi claiming you were his, his claim would be dismissed if you were turned by me. Aro would see it in Edward’s memories that he accepted my challenge. I wouldn’t have broken any rules and Edward would be forced to back down.”
Bella nodded, “But if I don’t turn Edward could go to the Volturi and tell them you’ve broken a rule by wrongfully claiming me. You could be put to death and my life would be in Edward’s control.”
“You’re human and your opinion doesn’t matter to the Volturi. Edward is above you, and because he claimed you all those years ago you are rightfully his in the eyes of the kings. They will kill me for staking a claim on you, especially if by chance Edward does return my mating instincts will take over and I will have to attack him.” James replied.
“Don’t mates trump claims?” Bella questioned.
“You would think, but no. The mating ritual isn’t sealed until both mates are marked, therefore the mates can still live on without each other. They won’t ever be able to find another mate, but they can have companions. Because I’ve already marked you, I’ve essentially claimed you as mine. Without fulfilling the challenge.” James replied honestly.
Bella leaned back and looked at the ceiling. “Why didn’t you change me? You didn’t have to bring me to the hospital, you could have just changed me.”
“I could have and it was very hard not to, but I told you before I would turn you if you were going to die. At the moment when I got to you I knew that you could stay alive if I brought you to a hospital. I wasn’t going to go back on my word, little dove.” James replied.
Bella nodded, “Will you turn me?”
“If that’s what you really want.” He responded. “This is something you really have to think about, little dove.”
“I have been thinking about it.” Bella replied she laughed lightly. “I’ve been dreaming about it, really. I could stay human and grow old and just watch you stay the same or I could stay the same with you. If I change I have to leave Alan behind, but his brothers are flying in from Florida. He’ll be leaving to Florida as soon as he’s well enough to go. There’s nothing left for me here, James. I don’t want to stay human when there’s nothing for me to stay human for, but there’s you and I want to turn if I get to be with you.”
James smirked, “I won’t turn you yet, you have to get out of the hospital first.”
Bella groaned. “I knew you were going to say that. No one will notice if I go missing from the hospital!”
“There are still reporters that want interviews with you. People will notice if you suddenly go missing, more importantly if you go missing your name will be all over the news and I don’t doubt that the Cullen Coven will be listening in. Do you really want to risk having them come looking for you?”
Bella sighed, “I really hate when you’re right sometimes.”
James reached over and pulled Bella’s plate closer to her. “Eat. We can talk about this at another time.”
Bella rolled her eyes. “You do know you’re kind of bossy, right?”
“If you’re talking it means you’re not eating.” James responded with a smirk.