I swung the door closed and made my way to the silver Volvo. Edward sat waiting, his eyes a rich golden brown.
“Good morning”, his velvet voice sang. His turned to face me and I had to remember to keep breathing. I had to do everything thing in my will just to reply.
“Hi” I stuttered. Jeez, well done Bella
He chuckled softly and brushed his marble fingertip along my jaw.
I felt my cheeks burn instantly. Why did I always have to do that?
He faced forward again, but I didn’t. Funny, even after knowing Edward for so long now, I couldn’t help but feel so insignificant in his presence. My eyes travelled from his bronze coloured hair to his silk smooth forward, continuing to his eyes. I felt at home whenever I looked into them. The liquid topaz was so familiar, so comforting.
We got to school pretty early, so we sat together in the car. “You left early this morning” I murmured, hoping he’d hear the upset in my voice. “I’m sorry. I had to hunt. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve gone, and Emmett has been tormenting me.” His flashed his crooked grin, but his eyes bore into me with apology.
I looked away quickly, before he dazzled me and I lost my train of thought. “Oh, no it’s fine. I missed you though.” I grabbed my bag and reached for the car door. He caught my arm before I was any way close. “Not even close to the agony I felt.” His eyes melted before me, rendering me speechless. He gave me a quick peck on my lips, leaving me thankful for the seat supporting my buckling legs. Already he was holding the car door for me, chuckling at my flustering.
We walked to the door of the school.
“Gym” I groaned. “I’ll see you at lunch” I called, heading off in the direction of my own personal hell, and I could hear his throaty laugh echo across the halls.
The cafeteria was bustling when I got there. I stepped into the lunch line. I’d be forever waiting to get some food. Stupid Gym
,I thought angrily.
Just then I looked toward the table Edward and I shared. There Edward sat with a table full of food, and beckoned me over with tilt of his head, making his hair dance in the light. I smiled appreciatively and made my way towards the table.
“Thank you.” I said as I sat opposite him. Our daily lives had become a routine, and I loved every minute of it. “No problem, do you want to go to my house after school? Alice has been moaning that she hasn’t seen you in ages.” I looked up and thought about it. I’d give anything to go, but Charlie was still a stranger in the kitchen. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to Bella.” He assured me.
I looked up, baffled. Did he honestly think I didn’t want to spend a minute without him? I lived for him.
“Of course I want to! Its just I told Charlie I’d have the dinner ready when he came home...”
He relaxed his creased eyebrows, seemingly pleased with my assurance, and smiled, “Change of plans. He’s thinking of stopping by the Blacks to watch the game with Billy. Checked his thoughts when I picked you up.” He tossed an apple in my direction.
“You don’t forget anything, do you?” I teased as I bit into the apple. I looked towards the table where Angela, Mike, Eric, Ben, Lauren and Jessica sat. Angela met my gaze and smiled warmly. I gave a small wave to her just as Lauren shot me a cold stare, then she said in a stage-whisper, “Oh, so we’re good enough for her again are we?”
The table felt silent. They all knew that comment wasn’t directed at them. I looked down before they could see the hurt in my eyes. Did they really think I thought I was better than them? Did they honestly think that that was the reason I didn’t speak to them as much anymore? Edward was the reason. And it wasn’t his fault. I chose him because only he could make me feel wanted, appreciated, loved.
Edward shot a piercing look at Lauren, a low growl rumbling deep in his chest.
“Why do you let her treat you like that Bella?” I looked down, avoiding his gaze.
“Its just Lauren, I try not to let it get to me.” I fiddled with the lid of my water bottle. “Anyways, I heard her parents are about to separate, so she’s bound to be cranky. It’s fine, seriously.”
Suddenly a cool hand propped my chin up. “Always thinking of others, you now that?” He smiled lazily and took my hand as we walked together to Biology. He turned again as we exited, and stared at Lauren. She blinked, terrified and looked nervously down in her lap. Despite myself, I laughed quietly and couldn’t shake off the smug smile. You picked the wrong guy to mess with Lauren.
“What’s so funny?” Edward asked curiously as we walked slowly through the halls, oblivious to the stares. People still found it hard to believe that Edward and I were together. Before I came to the school, most people hadn’t even heard him speak. “Nothing, just thinking.”
“What I wouldn’t give to hear what you’re thinking.” He chuckled. We took our sits in Biology and feigned interest as our hands stayed connected in a tight embrace under the table.
The rain lashed forcefully against the glass as we drove the winding road to the Cullens home. Edward propped an umbrella for me was we raced inside. I hung my coat and followed him into the living room. I was greeted instantly by a huge hug from Alice. “Bella, finally! I was beginning to think you’d disappeared.”
She let go and I felt a gentle hand squeeze mine.
“Bella, how are you? Are you hungry? You know we do have food in that kitchen. It would only take a min-”
“No, I’m fine Esme, honestly” Esme smiled acceptingly and walked gracefully back to finish her painting.
here. I’m going to hunt. Are you coming Emmett?” Rosalie ignored me as she walked towards the door.
“Sorry hon, went this morning with Edward. Maybe Carlisle will go?” Emmett shrugged apologetically.
“Fine. No I’ll go by myself. I’ll be gone a while. It takes hours for her stench
to leave the house anyway.” She slammed the door shut and we were left in an awkward silence.
“Sorry about Rosalie, she’s still finding it hard to accept the change” Edwards minty breath tickled my ear.
“No, I seem to have a negative affect on everyone today, don’t worry about it.” He squeezed my hand reassuringly and guided us both toward the grand piano in the hall. He sat me down as he played my lullaby, and I rested my head on his shoulder.
“When did you make this?” I asked curiously.
“Soon after we met. I hadn’t played in a very long time until then. You bring out the best in me Bella.” As he said this the melody still echoed across the hallway with ease. He gently kissed my head as the lullaby picked up pace, Edward hands flying across the keys.
“You too” I murmured. He looked up and we stared deep into each other’s eyes, oblivious to the world around us, except for the faint ending of my lullaby in the distance.
We were interrupted by Carlisle, who patted Edward on the back and Edward broke my gaze reluctantly.
“What is it Carlisle?” He asked, slightly irritated.
“The Denalis should be arriving soon. I think its best that you brought Bella home, for her own sake.” He gave me a warm small, showing me there was no offence meant. I understood him well. Not many had the restraint of the Cullen family.
I said my goodbyes and sat back in the Volvo. Edward started up the car and we raced home, the lights flashing by us in a blur. We stopped too soon outside my house.
“Don’t go” I pleaded, and I reached for his hand.
“I’ll be back as soon as Charlie’s snoring. Like always. Don’t worry Bella.” His ice cold lips kissed my hand, but I didn’t flinch.
“Bella, Charlie’s worrying. I’m sorry. I didn’t realise the time. You better go inside”
I got out of the car and waved, he flashed his crooked grin and then he was gone.
When I got inside Charlie rose from the couch in a flash. “Where were you? I was worried Bella. You’re usually home when I’m back from Billy’s” He looked at me for an answer. “Sorry Ch-.. Dad. I went to the Cullens for a while. I didn’t realise how late it was.” I muttered while I fiddled with my bracelet.
“You’re spending an awful lot of time with that Cullen boy Bella. I don’t know, I don’t trust him.” He said worriedly. “Dad, seriously don’t worry. You can trust Edward.”
“I know. I just don’t want you getting hurt is all.”
“I know Dad. I’m gonna go do my homework and I think I’ll go straight to bed then. Night Dad” I gave him a quick hug before going upstairs, racing through my homework, while wishing Charlie would hurry up and go to bed already.
I went for a quick shower, and when I returned waited as long as I could before my sleep deprived body won the battle with my mind.
A cold embrace enveloped me as I drifted out of unconsciousness. “Sorry I’m late. Rosalie made me wait for Tanya and her clan to show up” He kissed me for a brief moment, before I broke away,
“Why does she hate me so much? She hates you being with me. I don’t know what I did wrong.” I looked into his eyes for an answer.
“Bella, you did nothing wrong. It’s just Rosalie. She doesn’t like change.”
“Am I really that bad? Am I rude, loud, boring? There’s got to be a reason. Just tell me Edward, and I’ll fix it.” I shook my head in frustration, then averted his gaze and pretended to look out the window.
Suddenly I felt a cold hand cup my chin and pull my face upwards. “You are the Bella I first met, the Bella I first loved, and the Bella I will always love. You don’t have do change for anyone, not me, not my family, no one. Do you understand that Bella?” His eyes searched mine for an answer. “I guess…” I sighed and leaned into the crook of his neck. I involuntarily let out a yawn.
“You’re tired Bella, you should go to sleep.” But by then his voice was already a distant sound, my body beyond fighting consciousness.
“You’re not wanted.” The voice spit out the words with venom. I looked around for the person speaking but my mind was confused. I tried to get up and walk but I stayed glued to the floor. I surveyed my surroundings. I was on the La Push beach, the waves crashing angrily as a storm brewed overhead.
“Leave Edward and my family alone.” What? It was one of the Cullens speaking, but I couldn’t place it instantly, my whole body felt weak, tortured, exhausted.
The voice was feminine, that I was sure of. But who? I couldn’t imagine Alice speaking to me like this, or Esme.
Suddenly it clicked. Rosalie
Suddenly she stood above me, laughing at my pain. She knelt down to me, until her face was inches from mine. Her breath was like ice, making me shiver.
“I’m warning you. Come near us again and I’ll kill you. Do you understand that Bella?” she whispered into my ear.
Do you understand that Bella
. The exact words Edward had spoken to me earlier, the same words, but with completely different intentions.
“I don’t…Why are you-” I stuttered, but was interrupted by Rosalie.
“Ah ah ah, hurry up Bella, time is running out. I need an answer.”
Suddenly she pulled a gleaming knife from her jacket. I looked to my left and saw Edward standing beside her, smirking.
“Answer her Bella.” He said. Suddenly I found strength that I didn’t know I possessed.
My scream echoed across the water and cliffs. A shadow suddenly appeared in the corner of my eye. The thing bolted through the air, visibly shaking all over. It suddenly flew up in the air, and torn bits of clothing drifted to the ground. Then it came into view. I’d know that shaggy, rusty brown hair from anywhere. Jacob. He ran like the wind, his eyes focused, filled with rage. Was he coming to hurt me? Like Edward and Rosalie? What did I do? I was surprised to see huge hot tears spilling over and falling into the sand.
Jake sprinted in our direction, getting closer and closer to me. I closed my eyes in anticipation now for what was to come, any second now. I heard a separate struggle and opened my eyes. Edward and Jacob were locked in battle. Jacob kicked Edward to the ground in a swift blow, but Edward jumped up instantly and started choking Jacob. He was laughing at my tears. “NO!”
I rose up in my bed, sweating profusely. It took me awhile to remember where I was. My bedroom. A cold hand gripped my shoulder.
“Bella are you-” I jumped up away from Edward.
“Stop! Keep away from me. Why’d you hurt Jake?”
Edward sat up confused. “Bella, the last time I saw the do-, I mean Jacob, was he last time you saw him. Bella I think you had a bad dream.”
Just a bad dream, just a bad dream. I tried to tell myself that but I couldn’t shake the image of Edward laughing cruelly as he choked Jacob from my mind. I actually couldn’t look at Edward. What was wrong with me? It was Edward
“I…I need a human minute.” I raced out the door to the bathroom. I showered quickly and came back into the bedroom. Edward was gone. The window was left open, letting in a frosty breeze. Something caught me eye on the bed. A note had been left.
I thought you need some time. I’ll pick you up soon.
I crumpled the note and got dressed. After breakfast Edward retuned, and we made our way to school, in what I think was our first ever awkward silence.
I was walking down the hallway when I heard my name being called from behind me.
“Rosalie! Come here hon.” The voice called me and I turned around instantly. Emmett.
He sprinted and gripped me in a bear hug, before planting a kiss on my lips.
“What was that for?” I asked smirking as he released me and I landed gracefully and silently to the floor.
“Just saying good morning Rose.” He winked and yelled across the house, “Edward, where are you man?” His voice echoed through the hall.
After a brief silence and a blurry image of a person running up the stairs, Edward appeared, leaning against the door frame to Carlisle’s study.
“What is it?” Edward questioned, smiling warmly at his brother.
“Are you coming with us this morning?”
“You know I’m not, I’ve got to pick up Bella.”
I rolled my eyes and muttered,” Last time I checked that human wasn’t incapable of driving. I don’t see why it makes you pick it up every morning.” I suddenly heard a snarl escape Edwards’s lips.
“First of all, her name
is Bella, not it
. And secondly it is my
choice to pick her up, because I
want to. Thirdly Rosalie, you should keep your nose out of other peoples business before I make you.”
I felt Emmett hover defensively between us.
“Hey man, she’s only messing with you. Aren’t you babe?” He turned around with a cold but pleading stare.
I nodded weakly.
“There’s no need to get so defensive, alright? Just…chill
? She has no right to speak about Be-” Edwards voice boomed with anger.
“Seriously, calm down man, you’ll freak Tanya out; She’s in the next room.” Emmett interrupted Edwards’s outburst.
“Did I hear my name?” I turned around, along with Edward and Emmett to find Tanya staring at us, holding back a smile.
“You’re not the only clan who doesn’t get along, you know. I stopped talking to Irina for a month
, just because she attacked the bear I had been stalking through the woods.” She laughed to herself. “We may not be humans anymore, but we’re just as petty, childish, and melodramatic as them. Hell, we’d give them a run for their money.”
We all looked at her in silence, then all of a sudden, a shriek of laughter escaped my lips. Everyone looked at me for a moment in bewilderment, before I saw Edwards mouth twitch into a smile and began deep throaty laugh. Soon I hear Emmett’s low chuckle beside me. I thought to myself, what exactly are we laughing about? Soon after I thought that I realised I didn’t care. We were laughing, because we were laughing at nothing. That was the only way to describe it. I felt a hot tear roll down my cheek.
As our harmonious laughter continued, I heard one suddenly stop. Edward looked around and said. “I better go get Bella so…” As soon as our laughter began, it ended. Edwards’s statement cut the atmosphere like a knife.
A comment was about to escape my lips, but someone beat me to it.
“Bella? As in the human
Bella?But I thought you wanted to kil-” Tanya asked, unsuccessfully hiding the shock in her voice.
“Things have changed Tanya, I can control my wants now.”
“They’re not wants
Edward, they’re needs
. It’s in our basic set up to thirst for humans. Don’t you think it’s unfair that you could be risking your clan’s life in Forks for some insignificant human you’ve taken a liking to?” She shook her head incredulously.
I smirked. We had gotten used to the fact that Edward was close to a human, some more than others. I still shuddered slightly whenever Esme or Alice hugged Bella when she entered our house, like she wasn’t different. It sickened me to see how Edward looked at Bella, his eyes filled wit warmth. How could someone possibly love a human? They were weak, stupid and defenceless. But on the other hand that was just her opinion, and Carlisle made the rules around here, and if he thought it was ok, then I thought it was ok. Also, I could see Emmett warming to Bella, when he joked around with her and teased her, and she’d never want to hurt Emmett, no matter what the reason. Carlisle may be understanding, but how would the Denali’s react?
We all waited for Edwards response. I look up at him. His jaw was clenched and I looked down to see his hands in tight fists.
“I don’t have to justify myself to anyone, I love Bella, and nothing you can do will change that.” With that he raced down the staircase. Within seconds he was revving his engine to life.
“Love?” Tanya choked out the word with horror. “He’s gone mad
“Tell me about it.” I muttered and raced out to my car, deciding school was the best thing for all of us right now.
I sat at the kitchen table, tapping a speedy rhythm absentmindedly, my mind was elsewhere.
Where is Edward?
I couldn’t help it. I was nervous. Edward was never late, not once since he began picking me up, and all of a sudden he’s fifteen minutes late?
I laughed nervously to myself. I was scared for my vampire boyfriend. The man who could sprint huge distances in a blink of an eye, and crush a car with little effort. I knew I was being ridiculous, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being on edge.
I wanted to whoop in joy when I heard the familiar beep from the Volvo, waiting for me right outside. I grabbed my bag and sprinted to the car. I yanked open the door, and went to turn to smile. My smile stopped short when I saw the expression on his face. I knew something was wrong.
Edward was staring straight at the steering wheel, his eyebrows crumpled together in an expression I couldn’t read. His hands gripped the steering wheel with such force I worried he would leave dents in it. His eyes were cold and hard, staring into nothing, away in another world.
I reached out with trembling fingers to grasp his hand. When my hand reached his marble palm he jerked, as if he hadn’t notice my presence before I made it known. He looked up, dazed. His steel eyes suddenly melted before me, and he looked up from my hands up to my face, as if truly taking me in for the first time. He reached out his hand and ran it through my hair, took one last look at me, before turning to the wheel.
We had reached the end of the road when my curiosity overpowered me.
“Is everything okay?” I blurted out, and immediately regretted it. As if he needed me interrogating him at this moment.
He looked at me for a long time before speaking again.
“It doesn’t matter, just my family being a complete nightmare.” I just nodded and looked forward again, but I knew he was holding back, hording a vital piece of information that held the key to this complex puzzle.
When we were parking in our usual space I decided to leave it until a better time. We got out of the car and made our way towards class. On the way we passed Emmett, Alice Rosalie and Jasper exiting their vehicle. Alice linked arms with me, Emmett gave me a playful baby punch on the arm (If he didn’t I would be halfway to hospital by now) and Jasper and I exchanged a courteous nod. Rosalie scrunched up her face in disgust. But something was different. It wasn’t me who a look was aimed at, but Edward. Why would Rosalie be mad at Edward? It must have been pretty serious to make Edward act like this.
I was shaken out of my thoughts by the sound of hurried footsteps, as the bell rang noisily. Suddenly Edward, Alice, Jasper and Emmett were halfway to class, their long strides making them walk at the double the pace of the other students.
I was surprised when a figure blocked me path. I looked up and saw Rosalie’s face inches from my own. Her eyes were cold and emotionless, and her lips were in a tight angry line.
“Do you see what you’ve done to us?” She talked to me in such a patronizing way that I felt about 5 years old again.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Rosalie.”
“Like you don’t know what I mean. Edward won’t look me in the eye because of you
. Esme doesn’t see her darling little boy half as much anymore because he’s always with you
. Alice doesn’t have Edward by her side to help Jasper when he’s losing the battle with his thirst, because he’s with you
. Carlisle and Emmett are restless and drawn because they’re waiting for Edward to go on a hunt with them, but oh no! He never gets time because he’s, as always
, with you
! You think they all love, the newest member to the Cullen family, but you’re so in denial its beyond humorous, it’s pathetic
I didn’t know what to say. Did they really hate me like Rosalie said? Everyone always seemed so welcoming and caring. Or was it all a charade? Did they talk about me the minute I left their presence? Did they spend all the time I was with them willing for me to go? Did they really resent me for being with Edward?
I was shaken out of my internal debate by a cruel, humourless laugh. Rosalie finished by looking me up and down before striding confidently off to class. I walked slowly to class fighting back tears. When I finally reached the door I avoided everyone’s eyes and went straight to my seat. Throughout the class, if anyone looked at me they would have thought I was a diligent student, never taking my eyes off my work. But the truth was I was staring into nothing, my mind was searching for hidden meanings in the words of the people I previously called my friends.
“What would Edward do without you?”
“Edward’s a whole new person with you.”
“You’re unlike any other human I’ve met”
I felt sick to my stomach. I raised my hand and asked to be excused to the nurse’s office. Once I left the classroom I headed straight past the nurses office and made my way towards the exit. I knew what had to be done.
I waited by the Volvo, a bitter wind whipping across the school grounds, but I hardly noticed the cold. I was uneasy and worried. I hadn’t seen Bella since the first class that morning. We didn’t have any other classes together that day, but we always, no matter what, ate lunch together at our table. But today, Bella was a no-show. I went over to Jessica and asked her had she seen Bella. She looked at me as if I had gotten down on one knee and proposed. But no, she hadn’t seen Bella either. I then checked the library and the nurse’s office. I got so worried I even checked the gym, and of course Bella wasn’t there. I don’t know what it is, but without Bella I’m not myself. She’s like my missing piece to a jigsaw, my other half. Without Bella, I’m nothing.
So where was she? She had no other way home; I had picked her up that morning. All of a sudden a rage took over me. What if someone had taken her? What if Bella was hurt? It was my fault. I promised
her I’d protect her. If someone took Bella from my life, I wouldn’t be able to live. I had already made the mistake of trying to do what was best for Bella, but in the end I broke her heart. I was never going to hurt Bella again.
I was jolted out of my thoughts by a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to find Alice staring at me, her eyes full of concern.
“Edward? Are you alright?” She asked.
“Have you seen Bella? Have you?” I answered, with more accusation in my voice than I intended. She looked taken aback.
“No, not since this morning. Why? Is she okay?” Her face showed genuine fear. Alice cared about Bella just as much as she cared for Rosalie or me. Bella was family to her.
“I can’t find her anywhere Alice. What am I going to do?” I fought to control the emotion in my voice.
I heard footsteps approaching us. I looked up and Rosalie, Jasper and Emmett had joined us, with confused expressions.
“What’s going on bro?” Emmett asked me, evidently curious. We must have looked upset.
“Edward can’t find Bella anywhere. Any of you seen here?” Alice looked around the group.
I scanned there faces as they gave there answers. Emmett shook his head, looking worried, along with Jasper. Rosalie said a quiet no, before looking to the ground. I was about to look away when I saw a glimmer of a smile break out, before it vanished. I pretended not to see.
“Well, I’m going to drive to Charlie’s and see if she’s been home. I’ll call you if…when I find her.”
“And I’ll see if she came to our house, ok?”
Alice gave me a strong hug, “We’ll find her, don’t worry.” I could hear her voice thick with despair, but she stopped herself before heading to the car. Jasper and Emmett gave me a quick nod, worry evident on their faces. Rosalie was about to do the same, but I embraced her in a strong hug. I whispered quietly so the others couldn’t hear.
“You are no sister of mine. Any connection we had before this is gone. I know you had something to do with this. When I find Bella and have made sure she’s safe, I’ll deal with you.” I breathed into her ear. I felt her shiver, before I broke our embrace. I was facing Jasper and Emmett, so I smiled my most convincing smile and said, “See you soon.” Rosalie’s expression was a mixture of fear and confusion. I turned around, unlocked the car and sat in. The car started immediately, and I left the school on my way to the Swan house.
As I was pulling up I noticed Charlie’s police car parked on the driveway, along with Bella’s red Chevrolet. I felt a mixture of relief and terror run through me. Was that a good or a bad sign? I turned off the engine and made my way up to the house. I was near the door, standing on the porch when I heard voices. They could have been at the very back of the house, but they spoke as clear as day to me. They sounded agitated, strained.
“Dad, you’re not listening, we have to, there’s no other way.”
“Bella, I don’t understand." That was Charlie.
“What’s there to understand? I told you that this is the best thing for me.” My heart beat like a hummingbird, Bella was here!
“I thought you were happy.” Charlie’s voice was thick with confusion.
“No, I’m not. I’m miserable
. And if I do this I’ll be happy, happier than I’ve been in months.” What was going on?
“What about the Cullen boy? I thought you were fond of him?”
“Who? Edward? No, not really. It’s not going to work, he’s a bit too…different
for my taste.” I didn’t think it was possible to hear your heart breaking, but mine seemed to ring in my ears and echo for enternity.
“Diff-? Wha-? Bella you need to tell me your reason for all of this.”
Bella didn’t answer for a long time. When she did her voice was but a whisper, and the hard and emotionless tone had vanished. She sounded close to tears.
“Because it’s the only way.”
I couldn’t listen to anymore. I sprinted back to the car, sat inside and drove even faster than normal. Once I got home I sat in the car for over an hour, staring into space. How could I be in such denial? Did I really think that Bella felt the same way with me as I felt about her? It was stupid of me to even contemplate her wasting her life with me. I got out and made my way up to the house, wondering if my broken heart was as visible as it felt.