We had been spending weeks in the house. Weeks on top of weeks on top of weeks. Nothing exciting really happened. Every day James and I would take a long swim in the ocean, we would return and chat on the sand until it eventually got dark enough that the sand was no longer warm from the sun. We would go inside and do our separate things. James had long ago fixed the wall and would spend much of his time in his bedroom, playing his guitar.
Within the first week, James and sent me with an excessive amount of money to go shopping for new clothes. When I'd opened my mouth to argue, he'd stared down at me with those fiery green eyes and set his jaw and crossed his arms and I had shut my mouth and left. Because he owned me like that. It wasn't like I had anything better to do, really, but I did hate shopping. I came home with the most ludicrous number of bags I possibly could, hoping to sway him from ever sending me out again. Who really wants a girl to return home with four hundred and seven bags of expensive clothes, honestly?
James did. He had been thrilled I'd found so much that I liked and had ushered me into the bedroom where he revealed his closet to me. It was much too large, in my opinion, and I didn't know how it fit into the small house. He had even helped hang things up and put things in the drawers. I pouted the entire time.
I found out later he did not care at all how much I had spent and he'd known my clever plan to over spend and so he'd turned the tables.
Sneaky bastard that can read my facial expressions. Not even Edward had been this good. Hell, if I was being honest, not even Alice could have predicted my brilliant scheme. Only James.
After everything had been hung up, he grabbed my hand and grinned widely at me, tugging me outside and to a basement door that hadn't been there before. He threw it open and pushed me down inside. If I had a heartbeat, it would have stopped.
In the time I was spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on clothes that I would never wear (even in the hundreds of years I would be alive), James had been adding a basement to the house. How one does this, I've no idea. But one thing I've learned about James is that he simply knows everything. I've never seen him pick up an educational book and yet he seems to have limitless knowledge.
The basement itself was enormous. The floors were thick glass, and upon further inspection, they could be lifted up in sections by finger holes. And beneath the glass? Bookshelves. The walls were covered with bookshelves, the floors were bookshelves. And not only bookshelves, but filled bookshelves. It was as if he had ordered every known book ever printed and had managed to get them all into this basement on his own while building it. There were heavy cherry wood tables set up carefully around the room and I momentarily wondered how he'd gotten the monstrosities through the door. Knowing James, he didn't need to. He'd probably built them himself. There was a monster of a computer sitting atop one of the tables, the newest model I think I'd ever seen, and a stereo interrupting a small section of books on one of the shelves.
That was where I went when we separated for our own activities.
Every night, I would come down here and research the things James would tell me about on the beach. The most interesting of those things, to me at least, was his description of ancient venom. Of course, the internet hardly offered me anything about vampire venom, but I could look up some of the terms he used and try to understand what he was saying.
Ancient venom was a form of DNA. A very powerful form of DNA, one that could alter the DNA of a human completely. Of course, as far as that is concerned, vampire venom in general is like that. The differences between ancient venom and average venom? Execution of the change, the power of the venom itself, and the extra chemicals. Execution of the change, as James said, was the easiest to start with. It was the biggest difference, but it was the easiest to understand. Average venom changes the human to a vampire by coursing through the human's veins. It starts by changing the blood and it relies on the blood running it's course in order to change the organs and muscles, the tissue, the bones and then, last, the DNA. Ancient venom, on the other hand, went straight for the DNA and worked it's way out. James had said that by the time the human even feels the burning in his or her veins, the DNA has already been altered to the point where there is simply no going back. Average venom can be sucked from the veins, similar to what Edward had done with me, but ancient venom was a different beast entirely.
There was no getting it out of one's DNA.
James went on to explain that average venom, getting to the DNA last, only happened upon powers. Upon natural gifts the human had. By the time it got to the DNA, the venom was, in essence, tired. It was losing it's power and it's intensity and with the last of it's energy, it would change the DNA and stop the heart. This usually left most vampires without those extra gifts. Ancient venom was nothing like that. Every single vampire that has ever been changed by an ancient has powers. Amazing powers. Ones that are, without any effort, stronger than the average vampire. Simply because the ancient venom attacks the DNA right away, it modifies it and takes the strongest aspects of the person and absorbs them into the vampire DNA. It searches out the gifts, the extra sections of DNA that are not the same from human to human, and it enhances them. It makes them stronger yet and ties them into the venom's DNA. This was what he had meant when he said the power of the venom itself.
The part of this entire thing that had me confused was when James said there are five chemicals in the ancient venom that are nowhere to be found in average venom. They are additional things that are not the causes for the change at all. He said that these five chemicals represent other things, things that only affect certain types of DNA. And not only that, but each separate chemical is dormant except for when it reacts to a single certain DNA strand.
To make it even more complex, if a vampire has a strand of DNA that will react with one of the chemicals, that chemical will not react with another vampire. Even if the second vampire has the same exact strand of DNA. That chemical is completely dormant again until the first vampire is dead.
And then, if a third vampire comes along with that same exact strand of DNA the chemical will react to him. Completely skipping the second vampire.
James refused to tell me what "affects" these five chemicals have on a vampire, simply stating that they create another power. One that has nothing to do with the gifts the human had before turning. And that he has only ever seen four of the chemicals react, one of them has never reacted to a single vampire.
As you can imagine, I pester him about these powers every day. He never wavers. He says there's no point telling me because of how rarely they react, and because my powers aren't developed yet. He doesn't want me to focus on a power I may not have. He said he's seen vampires who could simply will things into existence and he doesn't want to screw things up if I have such a power. No matter how much I pout, he just smiles at me and kisses my forehead.
The other thing I found the most interesting is that, despite the fact that I've been a vampire for five weeks, I have not fed again. James left the house once to feed, returning a mere hour later and looking no different at all.
What kind of sick vampire hybrids are we? Really, now. The Cullens had to feed all the time, especially as newborns. I have not touched an ounce of blood since I fed from James in the hospital forthirty seconds.
And I was even around humans. James and I would go shopping for groceries, because even though we didn't drink blood frequently, we ate at least one meal together a day. Groceries were simply part of our lives. So was sunblock. Any time it was sunny outside and we were leaving the property, James would yank me into the bathroom and rub sunblock on every inch of my skin that might possibly show. The small of my back, my back, my shoulders, my arms, my neck, my face, my legs, my feet.
But I never sparkled in front of a human. Who would have thought sunblock could do that? James said it was a perk of being an ancient. I still wondered if the Cullens had ever tried it.
It was Friday night. I was bored stiff of wandering the property for the zillionth time. James was strumming his guitar idly on the back porch. I opened the sliding glass door and leaned against it, crossing my arms and waiting for him to notice me.
"Something you need, Bella?"
"I'm bored, James."
"Ah. That is the life of a vampire, lovely."
"I want to go do something tonight. It's Friday night, why not?" He looked up at me from his guitar as I walked to take a seat in the empty chair beside him. Studying my face, he smirked at nodded.
"All right. It's been a while since you've fed though, perhaps we should do that."
It was the first time he'd said anything like that, so I didn't argue. He stood up and went inside, setting his guitar in it's stand just inside the door, and waited for me. I followed and he slid the door shut, pulling the curtains closed behind me. Placing his hands on the sides of my face, he smiled at me and kissed my lips lightly. Then his lips traveled down my chin until they met my neck. He stepped closer, pressing our bodies together firmly until my face was resting against the crook of his neck.
And then I smelled his blood and without even a thought, I bit down into his neck. He didn't flinch, he didn't freeze, he simply kissed my neck and shoulder while his heavy blood filled my mouth and I gulped it down hungrily.
I hadn't even thought I was thirsty.
I grabbed him tightly with my arms, wrapping my legs around his waist as he held me up with his hands, my mouth firmly against the base of his neck. The taste of him was exquisite, filling my stomach with a thick warmth and pushing outwards until it filled every inch of my body. I felt him in my fingertips, pushing against my skin. I pulled my mouth back, gasping, and let my head rest on his shoulder as I tried to control my breathing. He stopped kissing my neck and turned to look at me, that stupid smile back on his face. Smug bastard.
"Go get dressed if you still want to go out."