The Twilight Saga

 

This is my fan fiction I wrote in 2009 - Dark Moon [Edward's New Moon], and I am re-posting it finally all together and in the right order. 

 

The fan fiction is named Dark Moon to express the darkness and empty Edward's life was after he left Bella.

 

Thank you for reading my fan fic, and for the lovely comments.

 

Since finishing Dark Moon, the story has been translated into Russian and Portuguese, and has it's own website Here where it can be translated by Google into many languages.

 

PDF file has been attached below.

 

Also, there are some minor errors within the text that have yet to be corrected.

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Quick Thanks:

 

I am eternally grateful to my editors; Nina Oxley-Pegg, Liandel Wouters and Jasmine Patterson, who gave up their own time to read and edit my work. Thank you so much girls!

 

A special thanks to Sandy Meirelles and Nisia Andrade Silva for translating the entire story into Portuguese.

And another special thanks to Yulia Alex Rogacheva for translating the entire story into Russian.

 

To all my readers and the fans of Dark Moon from all the fan fiction websites – Thank you for loving my words, waiting anxiously for each chapter and for the endless pages of lovely comments, especially Tami and Alias

 

Most importantly, a HUGE thank you to Stephanie Meyer for creating the Twilight Saga. Twilight has opened up a whole new fantasy in my life which changed my life and encouraged me to purse my aspirations, so Stephanie, I thank you immensely.

 

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A Note about the Story

 

 

The Twilight Saga’s: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer is written in the character Bella’s perspective.

 

Dark Moon [Edward’s New Moon] is a fan fiction story written by myself (Sophie Kellett-Beament) is my interpretation of New Moon from Edward’s Perspective.

 


Disclaimer: All the Characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. I am not Stephanie Meyer, and I do not own any of The Twilight Saga’s characters or plotlines. I have used some of Stephanie’s dialogue and storyline from New Moon; however the rest of the story is my own from Edward’s perspective.

 

 

 

 

Also, please note that the writing in italics are thoughts.

 

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Synopsis:

'Dark Moon [Edward's New Moon]' is an intimate glimpse into the mind of Edward Cullen during the darkest days of his existence.It is as inspiring as it is haunting and takes us on a journey of pain and sacrifice; made only more poignant as the reader understands the futility of his efforts. It is an insightful and poetic creation that plunges us into the depths of the love Edward Cullen feels for Isabella Swan. And the depravity he thrusts upon himself in his misguided effort to protect her from the dangers his world has created for her; not realizing that he was in fact the protection she needed from such dangers, not the cause.Synopsis written by Tami Flournoy.

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DARK MOON 

[Edward's New Moon]

 

 

Preface



I had to leave.

I loved her too deeply to put her in such danger any longer; the consequences were too appalling to consider.

 

Even as I fled my dead heart screamed at me to return.

If I had listened, would I have been able to prevent the terrible tragedy?

How could an act meant to save her cause so much anguish and suffering?

 

The image in my mind was astoundingly beautiful; filled with a perfect all consuming love.

A love I had lost forever.

I had to decide, should I endure a hellish life of torment and remorse or trust in the cold and final embrace of death.

I needed to be with her.

Forever.

To live or to die?

I chose death.


Tags: Bella, Dark, Edward, Moon, New

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Chapter 1
The Beginning of the End


Being an immortal, time was rarely an issue for me.
It was an insignificant factor in my life; something that passed as others grew and my family and I remained unchanged.
Frozen.
Stranded.
Now that Bella was in my life, time was an important commodity.
Bella, the human who aged while I was left trapped as a teenager.
When I was with Bella, time seemed to soar by and there was nothing I could do to prevent it.
She would continue to get older, leaving me behind.
Would she eventually outgrow me?
Aging meant getting closer to the end of life.
I would happily spend the rest of her life with her, and when the time came I would find a way to follow her and leave this world too.

Today was a special occasion; it was Bella’s eighteenth birthday.
However, Bella was adamant that she did not want to celebrate.
Several weeks previously, Bella had stated categorically that no effort should be made to mark the day. She had forbidden me and especially Alice from purchasing gifts or making any preparations to celebrate the event. We weren’t even allowed to wish her a happy birthday.
Alice had, of course, disobeyed all of Bella’s rules and demands. This morning in the parking lot at school she issued a loud and cheerful birthday greeting to Bella and announced that a family party was being held this evening in Bella’s honour.
Although I hadn’t impeded Alice’s plans, I hadn’t assisted either, not that Alice would ever let me or anyone else interfere with her project.
You would expect a person to be happy on the anniversary day of their birth.
Bella was not pleased in the slightest.
I was certain she would refuse to go.

My family were thrilled to commemorate someone’s birthday. For us it was something sacred; it represented the growth and transformation that was no longer part of our existence.
Emmett was the last one of us to celebrate a birthday, but that was over 60 years ago. It didn’t seem appropriate to congratulate ourselves for not aging by celebrating our vampire birthdays, so we just ignored them.
Emmett had insisted that he and Rosalie should be present and they had returned from their travels to be a part of the celebrations.
Alice loved any excuse to immerse herself in preparations for any event. There was no hope that Bella’s birthday would go unnoticed with Alice around. It was wishful thinking on Bella’s part, and I’m surprised Bella didn’t account for that.

I hadn’t voiced my concerns about the issue of time and not having enough of it to Bella. I knew the subject was tormenting her too. She was aging; getting older every day while I remained unchanged, frozen in my seventeen year old body for eternity. Bella’s concern over her aging was the reason she wanted to disregard her birthday, but pretence and ignorance could only work for so long. Ultimately reality would break through the façade. Ignoring Bella’s birthday would not prevent precious time from ticking away. Although, technically I could not reach the physical age of eighteen, I didn’t agree that Bella should dismiss her birthday.

The rain was drizzling down from the clouds that overshadowed the small town of Forks.
Bella and I had just finished our school day and were walking to the parking lot. We were heading to her house as she wanted to watch Romeo and Juliet; it was an excuse not to go to the party. When we reached Bella’s truck, I opened the passenger side door for her, as a polite gesture and to save her the hassle of having to drive her decrepit truck on her birthday. Bella folded her arms across her chest whilst an expression of annoyance crossed her face demonstrating her stubbornness and sour mood.
“It’s my birthday, don’t I get to drive?”
“I’m pretending it’s not your birthday, just as you wished.” I replied.
“If it’s not my birthday, then I don’t have to go to your house tonight...”
I knew Bella would be difficult about the get-together, but I wasn’t going to yield to her tonight. Normally I would consent to anything she wanted...within reason.
There was one specific thing that I was absolutely adamant Bella would never have.
Immortality.

I had to agree with Alice on this occasion. Bella should not overlook such a significant date in her life. Honestly, I felt like I should persuade Bella to celebrate, mostly because I felt guilty. If I didn’t exist Bella wouldn’t be worrying about something natural that occurs in human lives.
My kind shouldn’t exist.
I shouldn’t exist.
I was preventing Bella from living a normal human life, and I didn’t want to do that. But my love for her was too overpowering and I wasn’t strong enough to be apart from her. Therefore, I would proceed with Alice’s plans, and try to re-introduce the normality into Bella’s life.

“All right.” I said, before shutting the passenger door and walking round to the driver’s side. “Happy Birthday.” I declared as I opened the door for her.
“Shh.” She chastised me as she climbed dismally into her truck.
She was quiet on the journey to her house; the only sound was the grumbling engine of Bella’s outdated and rusty truck. It wasn’t a reliable or sensible vehicle for anyone, let alone Bella, a magnet for danger. I would have loved to buy her a new car for her birthday.

I decided to fill the silence between us, and hopefully distract her from her gloomy mood.
“Your radio has horrible reception.” I observed.
Bella frowned. “You want a nice stereo? Drive your own car.”
I suppressed a smile.
It would soon become clear to Bella why I was complaining about her radio.

It seemed that everyone had ignored Bella’s request for no presents at all. She had received the ones from her mother and father this morning. Although, Alice and I had been forbidden from purchasing her any birthday gifts, my other family members had not. It was most likely that Bella had not considered that they would have any interest in her birthday.
She was wrong.

My parents had purchased Bella a pair of airline tickets to visit Renee; a suggestion from Alice. Emmett, Rosalie and Jasper had bought her a top of the range stereo for her truck.
Alice and I having discovered a loophole in Bella’s no buying gifts rule, had also got her a present.
The home made kind.
Not a penny spent and I had a distinct feeling that she would appreciate it.

As soon as Bella had parked her truck outside her house, I leaned over towards her and gently took her face in my hands, delicately tracing her facial features attempting to soothe her obvious anxiety.
Her heart pumped a little quicker in reaction to my touch.
“You should be in a good mood, today of all days.” I breathed.
“And if I don’t want to be in a good mood?” she replied, her breath ragged.
“Too bad.” I said as I leaned in closer to touch her lips to mine.
Bella threw her arms around my neck and pressed her lips harder against mine, increasing the intensity and passion of our kiss.
The softness of her lips.
The movements of her mouth.
The taste.
The overwhelming aroma of her blood as it raced through her veins.
All of this was more than enough to push me beyond the limits of my self control.

As the emotions threatened to overtake my body, I immediately but grudgingly released Bella’s face and unwound her arms from my neck.
“Be good, please.” I whispered against her cheek, before pressing my lips to hers for a final time; a swift kiss that set my throat on fire.
Bella had often articulated her disgruntled opinions on my rapid withdrawals from the physical element of our relationship; however it would not sway my decision not to take the risk and let my threshold be breached.
Her safety was at stake.
There was no doubt in my mind that I would kill her if I lost control.
Truth be told, I was taking a huge risk with what I actually allowed; exerting even the smallest expression of affection was a risk. On the other hand, it was not fair of me to deny Bella all of the physical delights of being in a loving relationship.
Selfishly, I wanted more, but Bella’s safety was considerably more important to me than my own happiness.

“Do you think I’ll ever get better at this? Will my heart ever stop trying to jump out of my chest whenever you touch me?” Bella asked, almost breathless.
Her heart pumped furiously, thrusting the sweet blood that I craved so desperately through her veins.
“I really hope not.” I replied, somewhat pleased with the effect I had on her. Although, it would be easier and safer for her if she didn’t react in such a way or even reciprocate my feelings towards her.
She rolled her eyes. “Let’s go and watch the Capulet’s and the Montague’s hack each other up, all right?”
“Your wish is my command.”
I exited the truck in a flash and sprinted round to the driver’s side before Bella could even open the door. We walked quietly hand in hand to her house. The silence was not uncomfortable, but I was. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach; a familiar and unwelcome portent of unexpected and perilous events that were yet to occur.
But, it was not an unusual feeling; the potential for disaster was huge.
What could possibly be harmless about a vampire sharing a relationship with a fragile human? It was a startling sentiment, yet I was comforted by the fact that we were fortunate to have survived this long.

I lounged on the sofa as Bella started the movie. I did not care for the story of woe; Juliet and her Romeo. After studying it many times, the more preposterous it seemed. Their commitment was born out of love, but Romeo was foolish and had no honour in protecting his love. The star-crossed lovers died for nothing. Their relationship wasn’t dangerous; no deviant creatures stalked their lives.

Bella came to sit on the edge of the sofa, in front of me; I wrapped my arms around her pulling her gently backwards until we lay side by side. She shivered once, ever so slightly as the cold touch of my body registered against her warmth. There was a blanket hung over the back of the sofa; I pulled it to wrap around her.
I had experienced how vampire skin felt to humans – bitterly cold.
I vaguely recall how Carlisle’s skin felt, when I was human and barely alive.
It couldn’t be pleasant for Bella to be touching and feeling a block of ice, even if she wanted to but I thanked my lucky stars that she did.
Humans had to maintain a warm body temperature to be healthy.
Embracing my ice-cold form was not healthy.

“You know, I’ve never had much patience with Romeo.” I said.
“What’s wrong with Romeo?” Bella scoffed in exasperation.
“Well, first of all, he’s in love with this Rosaline – don’t you think it makes him seem a little fickle? And then, a few minutes after their wedding, he kills Juliet’s cousin. That’s not very brilliant. Mistake after mistake; could he have destroyed his own happiness any more thoroughly?”
Bella let out a sigh, clearly indicating that she did not concur with my judgment.
“Do you want me to watch this alone?”
“No, I’ll mostly be watching you, anyway. Will you cry?” As I spoke, I delicately stroked her smooth skin, relishing the feeling of warmth on my fingertips.
“Probably, if I’m paying attention.”
“I won’t distract you then.” I replied, before lightly kissing her hair.

I could view the movie in my mind, even though I wasn’t actually watching it on the screen. The majority of my attention was focused on Bella, always touching her and occasionally kissing her neck, hands, and hair. At the same time as I watched her reactions to the movie I whispered Romeo’s lines into her ear.

Bella cringed at the violence, and wept at the star-crossed lover’s suicide towards the end.
I chuckled lightly at her emotion.
She was so unequivocally human.
It was only a story.
Fiction.

“I’ll admit I do sort of envy him here.” I said, as I dried the tears from her cheeks.
“She’s very pretty.” Bella sniffed.
I jeered, hurt and incensed at the fact that Bella thought I was referring to Juliet’s appearance. As far as I was concerned there was no comparison, no-one could hold a candle to my Bella and her beauty.
“I don’t envy him the girl – just the ease of suicide.”
Bella’s mouth popped open in a gasp. “What?”
“It’s something I had to think about once, and I knew from Carlisle’s experience that it wouldn’t be simple. I’m not even sure how many times Carlisle tried to kill himself in the beginning...after he realised what he’d become...And he’s clearly still in excellent health.”
Suicide is apparently impossible for a vampire.
I wasn’t quite sure why I was sharing this with Bella...probably to scare her, and make her realise that my family and I did not want to be what we are. We did not desire the existence that had been forced on us. Being with each other as a coven was the only thing we appreciated...we were a family.
We desperately held on to what humanity we had left.
We wanted to be human.
My family didn’t want this life, I didn’t want this life and now that I had something to live for, I yearned to retain my humanity more than ever.
I had my Bella.

Bella squirmed in my arms uncomfortably and turned to face me.
“What are you talking about? What do you mean; this is something you had to think about once?”
The memory surfaced automatically in my mind. It took no conscious effort on my part to generate the mental images or the feelings that accompanied the pictures.
It was a vivid memory that took me back six months; back to the spring, the season of new beginnings and new life.
I was racing to find a missing Bella.
She had gone to a merciless vampire to sacrifice herself.
I was frantic, profoundly concerned for Bella’s safety; how could she be so careless?
No one would take her away from me.
I suppressed a growl of anger at the memory, before forcing myself out of my horrible reverie
It was extremely difficult to think about.
It was even harder to talk about.

“Last spring, when you were...nearly killed. Of course I was trying to focus on finding you alive, but part of my mind was making contingency plans. Like I said, it’s not easy for me as it is for a human.”
Confusion and fear washed over Bella.
She shook her head as if to moderate her own dark visions.
Bella’s fingers touched the scar on her hand...where James had almost...very nearly...killed her or condemned her to a fate worse than death.

“Contingency plans?” Bella repeated my own words as a question.
I was surprised she didn’t automatically comprehend – there was nothing for me if Bella did not exist.
“Well, I wasn’t going to live without you...But I wasn’t sure how to do it – I knew Emmett and Jasper would never help... so I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi.”
Death would be peaceful compared to living in a world without my Bella.
“What is the Volturi?” Bella asked, her raised voice, edged with anger.
“The Volturi are a family; a very old, very powerful vampire family of our kind. They are the closest thing our world has to royalty I suppose. Carlisle lived with them briefly in his early years, in Italy before he settled in America.” I explained.
I had once given Bella a concise version of Carlisle’s history, and shown her pictures; one in particular was of Carlisle with Aro, Caius and Marcus – The impenetrable and indestructible Volturi leaders.
“Do you remember the story?” I asked Bella.
“Of course I remember.”
“Anyway, you don’t irritate the Volturi, not unless you want to die – or whatever it is we do.”
Bella grabbed my face between her hands. I stared into her horrified expression.
“You must never, never, ever think of doing anything like that again! No matter what might happen to me, you are not allowed to hurt yourself!” Bella demanded her voice was intense and filled with emotion.
“I’ll never put you in danger again, so it’s moot point.”
Bella’s voice grew louder with anger. “Put me in danger! I thought we established that all the bad luck is my fault?”
“What would you do, if the situation were reserved?” I challenged.
“That’s not the same.”
I let out a humourless laugh.
Bella was oblivious to my situation and the depth of my feelings for her.
She would never understand how much anguish just the thought of Bella meeting her death caused me.
“What if something did happen to you? Bella continued. “Would you want me to go off myself?”
Bella’s question caught me off guard.
The thought was beyond painful.
Of course I wouldn’t want Bella to do that.
I didn’t consider that Bella’s feelings matched mine in the least.
However, it was different for me – I didn’t have the humanity to die.
I didn’t know if death could come to my kind, or even if our existence ended at all.

“I guess I see your point...a little.” I admitted. “But what would I do without you?”
“Whatever you were doing before I came along and complicated your existence.”
“You make it sound so easy.” I sighed.
“It should be. I’m not really that interesting.” Bella replied.
I opened my mouth to dispute Bella’s silly statement, but I was interrupted by the sound of Bella’s father’s police cruiser driving down the street. Moreover, it was futile to argue the matter with Bella. She would undoubtedly remain difficult and uncompromising.
“Moot point.” Was all I said bringing the subject to a close.
I gently pulled Bella up to sit in a more respectable position on the sofa.
“Charlie?” Bella presumed.
I smiled at her comprehension of my actions.

Bella and I stayed at her house for dinner, even though I didn’t eat.
Charlie was rarely suspicious at my obvious lack of appetite. My hunger, or rather my thirst, was for the fluid that flowed temptingly through human veins, especially those beneath the balmy porcelain skin of his sweet daughter.
The reason for Charlie’s lack of suspicions was because he had seen the physical size of my brother Emmett, and thought our parents obviously fed us more than a satisfactory amount. I had found that particular thought quite amusing.

Although I knew he would agree without hesitation; as a courtesy I sought Charlie’s permission to take Bella to my house for the evening. I read only relief in his thoughts, he was quite glad he wouldn’t have to worry about entertaining Bella on her birthday.

This time Bella did not refuse as I opened the passenger side door of the truck. On the journey to my house, I groaned inwardly several times at the restricted speed and mechanical groans coming from the ancient truck. I wished I’d brought my own car, it was a pleasure to drive compared to this rusty relic.
“Take it easy.” Bella cautioned me as I attempted to accelerate again.
“You know what you would love? A nice little Audi coupe, very quiet, lots of power...”
“There’s nothing wrong with my truck.” Bella interceded. “And speaking of expensive nonessentials, if you know what’s good for you, you didn’t spend any money on birthday presents.”
“Not a dime.” I replied honestly.
I hadn’t even bought the blank CD; Jasper had hundreds.
“Good.”
“Can you do me a favour?” I asked, sensing Bella’s lack of enthusiasm.
“That depends on what it is.”
I sighed at her obstinacy. “Bella, the last real birthday any of us had was Emmett in 1935. Cut us a little slack, and don’t be difficult tonight. They’re all very excited.”
“Fine, I’ll behave.”
“I probably should warn you...” I started.
Bella wouldn’t appreciate any surprises.
“Please do.”
“When I say they’re all excited...I do mean all of them.”
“Everyone?” Bella choked out, startled. “I thought Emmett and Rosalie were in Africa.”
“Emmett wanted to be here.”
“But...Rosalie? Bella replied hesitantly.
“I know, Bella. Don’t worry; she’ll be on her best behaviour.”
It was true that my sister had shown significant hostility and aversion towards Bella, mainly due to envy. It had altered our sibling relationship substantially.

I decided a topic change was required as the thought of Rosalie made Bella feel anxious.
“So, if you won’t let me get you the Audi, isn’t there anything that you would like for your birthday?”
“You know what I want.” Bella whispered.
I grimaced.
Bella would not receive vampirism ever, and certainly not as a gift.
It was not a present.
It was an abomination.
Bella had voiced her opinions on the subject many times. She was willing to sacrifice her life to become like me.
A vampire.
“Not tonight, Bella. Please.”
“Well, maybe Alice will give me what I want.”
I growled deeply, infuriated by the thought.
Alice would never change Bella, nor would any other member of my family.
I would never ever allow it to happen.
“This isn’t going to be your last birthday, Bella.”
“That’s not fair!” Bella squeaked.
I clamped my teeth together to prevent an argument which would be inevitable if I replied.

Bella groaned as we arrived at the house and noticed the decorations.
Alice had been rather too extravagant with the party preparations and décor; especially for someone who had no intention of celebrating their birthday.
“This is a party. Try and be a good sport.” I prompted.
“Sure.”

I exited the truck and sped round the other side to help Bella out.
“I have a question.” She said as I opened the door.
I waited with apprehension for her to continue.
“If I develop this film, will you show up in the picture?” Bella asked warily, as she stared at the camera she had received from Charlie for her birthday.
I burst out laughing, and my trepidation disintegrated.
She had taken a photograph of me before we had left her house.
Although we were technically dead, my kind still physically existed. We could still have an impact on this human world.
I suppose the details of my very existence made Bella curious because until a few months ago, as far as Bella knew, vampires were mythological creatures confined to bad horror movies and Victorian novels.

I was still chuckling as we walked into the house.
My family greeted Bella in unison with a harmonious ‘Happy Birthday.’
Her mouth fell open in shock as she took in her surroundings of the extravagant party decorations.
A party in a house full of vampires must have been rather overwhelming.
I kissed her head and put my arm around her waist in a comforting gesture.
She could at least look a little pleased. Alice told me in her mind.
I shot her a quick glare, which went unnoticed by Bella because Esme had come forward to gently hug her.
“Sorry about this, Bella. We couldn’t rein Alice in.” Carlisle said as he put his arm round Bella’s shoulders he chuckled lightly in his mind.
There was no force strong enough to rein Alice in.
Alice was in an exuberant mood, desperately wanting to completely smother Bella in birthday related festivities, but she was fleetingly interrupted by Emmett.
“You haven’t changed at all.”
“Thanks a lot, Emmett.” Bella blushed.
Same old Bella. Emmett thought, before speaking aloud. “I have to step out for a second. Don’t do anything funny while I’m gone.” He said to Bella, as he winked at Alice.
My brother and sister had contrived a plan to overcome Bella’s resistance to accepting gifts.
“I’ll try.” Bella replied.
Alice saw her chance and bounded forward.
“Time to open presents.” She chimed.
“Alice, I know I told you I didn’t want anything -” Bella moaned.
“But I didn’t listen.” My sister giggled. “Open it.” She urged as she thrust the gift into Bella’s hands.
Reluctantly Bella tore off the lavish wrapping while the rest of us watched.
A mask of confusion cloaked her face when she opened the box to find it empty.
“Um...thanks.” Bella mumbled.
There was a murmur of laughter, and Jasper explained.
“It’s a stereo for your truck. Emmett is installing it right now so that you can’t return it.”
“Thanks, Jasper, Rosalie.” Bella smiled sweetly. “Thanks, Emmett.” She called in a louder voice, aware that he would be able to hear her from outside.
Emmett’s deep laugh entered the room, which made Bella chuckle too. She seemed to be slightly more relaxed now; maybe she would enjoy her birthday after all.

“Open mine and Edward’s next.” Alice said excitedly, as everyone gathered around us.
Bella turned swiftly to look at me with an accusing glare in her eyes.
“You promised.”
“Just in time.” Emmett beamed as he sped back into the room.
“I didn’t spend a dime.” I assured Bella as I stroked a piece of hair from her face.
She turned back to Alice, and took a deep breath.
“Give it to me.” She demanded.
I chuckled silently along with Jasper; Emmett laughed aloud.
My sister smiled brightly as she gave the gift to a reluctant Bella.

I heard Bella’s finger scrape beneath the paper and the gentle hiss as it sliced into her delicate skin.
The luscious scent hit me with the impact of a boulder.
In an instant everything changed completely, the light atmosphere of the party evaporated and was replaced by a dark and deadly presence.
There were now lethal predators in the room.
And I was one of them.

Chapter 2

Blood Lust



A blood thirsty monster awoke within me as the intoxicating scent of blood threatened to overpower me.

An unquenchable thirst blazed in my throat.

The overwhelming desire to devour soared through my body.

A precious drop of the sweetest blood I would ever taste fell to the floor; a profoundly coveted treasure outrageously gone to waste.

I had tasted it before. My memory rekindled the remarkable flavour, and it was even more delectable than I remembered.

I immediately stopped breathing, unable to concentrate.

The blood.

Bella’s blood.

The aroma of Bella’s sweet, fresh, nectar had me hypnotised. 

 

Not even half a second had passed when my attention was diverted.

Jasper’s fragile resistance had shattered as his demeanour transformed; he became a lethal hunter.

I saw his predatory thoughts as he lunged for Bella.

“No!” I roared as I flew towards Bella, grabbing her before jumping across the room; over the table, smashing through the cake and vases.

The glass fractured and dispersed explosively in all directions, scratching at my granite skin with no effect.

I landed with Bella amidst the rubble of scattered glass and birthday decorations just as Jasper thundered into me with an impact so huge that it made me stumble slightly.

My body was automatically in a protective stance blocking Jasper’s access to my Bella.

In his hunter’s crouch vicious growls escaped my brother’s venom filled mouth; his teeth snapping ferociously as he attempted to get around me.

I could sense a large quantity of blood but I daren’t take my eyes off Jasper to look at Bella.

I couldn’t allow myself to be distracted.

But I was frantically worried about her, hoping she was okay and I hadn’t damaged her too much.

 

In the next moment, Emmett appeared behind Jasper, locking his grip on him.

Jasper struggled furiously against Emmett’s hold; desperate to get to Bella.

His thoughts had no words, just ravaging senses and intense bloodlust instructing him to attack.

I kept my focus on Jasper as I swiftly scanned my other family member’s minds. Their thoughts were all disarray.

Frantic.

All of them were fighting against their natural instincts to attack and devour.

They all stared at my Bella with hunger.

All except one.

The one who would take control.

“Emmett, Rose, get Jasper outside.” Carlisle instructed.

Right, okay, get away from the blood. Emmett thought.

He hurled Jasper back.

“Come on Jasper.” He said, as Jasper snarled and thrashed in his grasp.

Need her! Jasper’s thoughts screamed.

I growled automatically, needlessly vicious in response and switched my stance to ensure Bella was completely protected.

But how could she be when she was surrounded by blood thirsty vampires?

Myself being her protector, included.

 

Esme hurried to open the door to let Emmett and Rosalie out with Jasper.

“I’m so sorry, Bella.” She sobbed before disappearing after them.

I kept my eyes on the door, and my ears alert as a precautionary measure, expecting Jasper to come hurtling back in for Bella.

 

“Let me by, Edward.” My father instructed as he tried to get round me to check on Bella.

I hesitated, not wanting to break my defence.

Edward! I need to check Bella’s injuries. There is a lot of blood. He said forcefully in his mind.

I nodded and then resentfully moved out of the way.

Carlisle assessed Bella, assisted by Alice, whilst I stood motionless with my thoughts.

The aroma of Bella’s fresh blood was heavily intoxicating the air; I could feel it, and I daren’t breathe.

I didn’t want to lose control like Jasper.

The danger!

The risk!

How could I have been so irresponsible?

The repercussions of my actions over the past nine months began to play themselves out in my head.

From seeing Bella for the first time to the present I had subjected her to the worst possible dangers.

Tonight had put things into perspective.

My overwhelming shock was unbearable.

I was utterly horrified at the event that had just occurred.

If I was human and alive like Bella; it could have been described as a ‘living nightmare.’

 

“Bella, do you want me to drive you to the hospital, or would you like me to take care of you here?” Carlisle said in his soothing voice, but I could sense the urgency in his mind.

“Here, please.” Bella whispered.

“I’ll get your bag.” Alice said, before dashing upstairs to my father’s office.

“Let’s take her to the kitchen table.” Carlisle told me.

I bent down and delicately lifted Bella into my arms, desperately hoping it didn’t cause her any more pain than she must have been already suffering.

Carlisle proceeded to maintain pressure on Bella’s arm to stop the bleeding as we walked into the kitchen.

“How are you doing, Bella?” he asked, as I carefully sat Bella in a chair.

“I’m fine.” She replied, confidently.

I was not convinced. 

Alice was already there, waiting with Carlisle’s medical bag.

Without hesitation my father began his ministrations and started to treat Bella’s injuries.

 

I stood there.

Frozen.

Breathless.

Terrified to move.

I envied my father’s self control and how thoroughly easy it was for him to be comfortable around the blood.

It hardly bothered him, whilst my thirst raged within me.

The temptation was disgustingly taunting.

Even Alice was handling it better than me; she remained composed but inside her mind she was concentrating on Jasper as a distraction, wondering if he was alright.

Bella’s blood was more potent to me than anyone else.

My mouth was watering with venom.

The restraint I forced myself to maintain was physical agony.

 

“Just go, Edward.”  Bella sighed, disturbing my thoughts.

“I can handle it.” I said through gritted teeth.

“You don’t need to be a hero. Carlisle can fix me up without your help. Get some fresh air.”

I agreed that the fresh air would help; hopefully it would clear my senses. It wasn’t safe for me to be around Bella, especially with my barely controlled thirst.

I was just about to retreat and leave when Bella winced in pain as Carlisle began removing shards of glass from her wound.

I couldn’t leave her in any pain.

Seeing her in pain was much worse than my own agony.

“I’ll stay.” I said.

“Why are you so masochistic?” Bella muttered.

“Edward, you may as well go and find Jasper before he gets too far. I’m sure he’s upset with himself, and I doubt he’ll listen to anyone but you right now.” My father interceded.

“Yes, go find Jasper.” Bella agreed eagerly.

“You might as well do something useful.” Alice urged.

I did not appreciate their efforts to force me to leave, but I decided not to argue, so I nodded and grudgingly left Carlisle to continue treating Bella’s injuries.

My eyes lingered on Bella briefly before I sprinted out the door.

 

As soon as I was outside, with a significant distance between me and the house I allowed myself to inhale deeply.

The fresh air I breathed in was unpolluted by the scent of Bella’s blood.

It felt like a wave of relief as it helped clear my predatory senses.

I paced slowly, giving myself a few minutes to organize my thoughts. I forced myself to remain calm as I went to find and talk to Jasper.

Two seconds later Alice dashed past me; obviously she wanted to find Jasper too. After another minute, I followed her into the trees to locate my brother who had just attacked the most important person in my world...my Bella.

 

I found him deep in the forest sitting on the mossy ground; his head in his hands, Alice and Emmett were sitting either side of him. I could hear his tormented thoughts; he was utterly sickened with disgust and guilt for almost killing the one his brother loved beyond belief, the one who was also his wife’s best friend.

 

At my approach Alice and Emmett turned to glance up at me, both their expressions were unreadable but I could see in their minds, they were both in shock. Jasper kept his head in his hands but he knew of my presence and spoke to me in his head

I’m so sorry, Edward.

I could see he was replaying the attack over and over again, his mind wouldn’t allow him to forget any more than mine would.  As I saw the attack through Jasper’s mind, I witnessed how he’d targeted Bella as his senses took over. His sole intention at that moment was to destroy her for the sake of the drop of red juice oozing from her finger. My hands curled up into fists at my side and it took all my willpower to not shift into a crouch. Jasper felt the sudden change in the emotions radiating from me, and in one swift movement jumped up onto his feet and sprinted into the trees leaving behind a silent Sorry.

“Jasper!” Alice called out worriedly, as she prepared to set off after him.

“Leave him, Alice. He’ll be fine. Let him have some solace from all the emotions expressed here.” I said quietly.

Jasper would be fine, eventually. He needed time to deal with his actions.

We all did.

 

Emmett sprinted off to find Rosalie to go hunting in order to sedate his thirst, while Alice and I sauntered silently back to the house.

 

I maintained my distance from Bella.

I could hardly bear to look at her with all the guilt I felt, but I kept my eyes steadily on her, watching her every movement and expression carefully.

Her arm was bandaged covering the wounds I had caused, although they were minor compared to what Jasper would have done.

I was still blameworthy.

Remorse flooded through me.

I had exposed her to blood thirsty vampires.

 

Alice got Bella a change of clothes that weren’t blood stained, and gave her the unopened presents before I took her home in her truck.

 

Neither of us spoke.

The silence was uncomfortably strained.

“Say something.” Bella pleaded after a few minutes.

“What do you want me to say?”

“Tell me you forgive me.”

It felt as if my gut was being twisted in shock and anger.

“Forgive you? For what?”

“If I’d been more careful, nothing would have happened.”

“Bella, you gave yourself a paper cut – that hardly deserves the death penalty.”

“It’s still my fault.”

I snapped. “Your fault? If you’d cut yourself at Mike Newton’s house, with Jessica there and Angela and your other normal friends, the worst that could possibly have happened would be what? Maybe they couldn’t find you a bandage? If you’d tripped and knocked over a pile of glass plates on your own – without someone throwing you into them – even then, what’s the worst? You’d get blood on the seats when they drove you to the emergency room? Mike Newton could have held your hand while they stitched you up – and he wouldn’t be fighting the urge to kill you the whole time he was there. Don’t try to take any of this on yourself, Bella. It will only make me more disgusted with myself.”

“How the hell did Mike Newton end up in this conversation?” Bella demanded.

“Mike Newton ended up in this conversation because Mike Newton would be a hell of a lot healthier for you to be with!” I snarled, making myself angrier.

I would rather be exterminated than see Bella with vile Mike Newton.

But my statement was true.

My devastation besieged me.

 

“I’d rather die than be with Mike Newton. I’d rather die than be with anyone else but you.”

“Don’t be melodramatic, please.” I replied frigidly, although her feelings mimicked mine exactly.

“Well then, don’t you be so ridiculous.” She replied.

We plunged into silence once again, until we arrived at Bella’s house and she asked me to spend the night.

“I should go home.” I answered.

It pained me to be away from Bella; I struggled with the anxiety of not being in her presence, but tonight things had changed irrevocably.

Not my feelings for her - no, they would never change.

It was something else; something my mind could not yet determine, but I felt the difference.

“For my birthday?” She implored.

I groaned mentally. “You can’t have it both ways – either you want people to ignore your birthday or you don’t. One or the other.”

She sighed. “Okay. I’ve decided that I don’t want you to ignore my birthday. I’ll see you upstairs.” She said as she grabbed her presents and got out of the vehicle.

“You don’t have to take those.”

“I want them.”

“No, you don’t. Carlisle and Esme spent money on you.”

“I’ll live.” She said before slamming the door shut.

I exited the truck, and in a flash I was stood next to her.

“Let me carry them, at least. I’ll be in your room.”

“Thanks.” Bella smiled, warming my frozen heart.

“Happy Birthday.” I breathed, before giving her a quick kiss and disappearing up the wall to her room with her gifts.

I sat on Bella’s bed to wait.

 

It wasn’t long before Bella appeared, climbing into my lap stating she wanted to open her presents.

I unwrapped them for her, ignoring the sarcastic remark from her.

I was being cautious in every way possible from now on.

I was pleased with Bella’s reactions to the plane tickets to see her mother, and the CD I created for her, which she immediately put into her CD player.

Emotion overwhelmed her as the melody filled the room.

At first I thought she was in pain.

“No, it’s not my arm. It’s beautiful, Edward. You couldn’t have given me anything I would love more.”

“I didn’t think you would let me get a piano so I could play for you here.”

“You’re right.” She replied.

I had to ensure that she was not in any kind of pain.

“How does your arm feel?”

“Just fine.” Bella retorted automatically.

I didn’t believe her for one moment.

“I’ll get you some Tylenol.”

“I don’t need anything.” Bella said stubbornly.

I disregarded her protests and carefully moved her off my lap.

“Charlie.” Bella warned.

“He won’t catch me.” I assured her, before swiftly and silently sprinting to the bathroom to obtain the medication, and then returning to Bella’s room.

She took the pills without hesitation, proving to me that her arm was indeed bothering her.

“It’s late.” I informed her, hoping she would rest.

“Thanks again.”

“You’re welcome.”

 

It was silent for awhile whilst we listened to the music I had composed for my mother, but I knew Bella wasn’t asleep.

I could not concentrate on the sounds; instead my mind was racing with countless thoughts.

I knew I couldn’t change the events of this evening, even though I would trade anything to do so.

I wished I could.

I needed to find a way to rectify my thoughtless mistakes.

My relationship with Bella was wrong.

Unnatural.

The balance between my desire for her, and the need I had for her safety was unnervingly difficult to establish.

Maybe it was impossible to compromise between the two.

I couldn’t change that either.

How could I make things right?

 

“What are you thinking about?” Bella whispered curiously.

“I was thinking about right and wrong actually.” I responded tentatively.

I watched her eyes widen slightly.

“Remember how I decided that I wanted you to not ignore my birthday?” she said in a rushed voice, obviously attempting to distract me from my thoughts.

“Yes?”

“Well, I was thinking, since it’s my birthday, that I’d like you to kiss me again.”

That would be a distraction.

A bad one.

“You’re greedy tonight.” I stated.

“Yes, I am – but please, don’t do anything you don’t want to.” Bella replied in a fractious voice.

I laughed nervously.

My mind was spinning furiously; I couldn’t form cohesive thoughts.

I wanted Bella.

I wanted to be with her.

But I didn’t want Bella to be with me.

I wanted her to be safe.

 

I gave in to my desire.

“Heaven forbid that I should do anything I don’t want to do.”

 

My physical attraction to Bella suddenly and dramatically intensified the moment our lips touched.

I tried to control it...but I couldn’t.

The desperation of passion and desire overpowered me, and crossed the strict relationship boundaries I had issued.

I let them.

I did not stop the kiss...nor did I want to stop.

I just allowed the immense pleasure to gratify me.

I could feel myself losing control swiftly as I weaved my fingers through Bella’s hair.

Our lips were ravenous for each others.

But I still did not stop.

 

Bella’s heart was racing furiously.

I heard the blood pumping through her veins and I immediately pushed her away.

The blood was a disturbing, yet significant distraction and reminder of the risk I was taking.

 

Breathless, Bella laid back on her bed.

My breath was ragged too.

I had gone too far.

“Sorry, that was out of line.” I breathed.

“I don’t mind.”

“Try to sleep, Bella.” I frowned at her lack of value for her own safety.

“No, I want you to kiss me again.”

“You’re overestimating my self control.”

“Which is tempting you more, my blood or my body?”

I smiled gently. “It’s a tie. Now why don’t you stop pushing your luck and go to sleep?”

“Fine.” Bella replied scornfully.

She moved herself closer to me, snuggling into my frozen form and closed her eyes.

Eventually she drifted to sleep, leaving me alone with the distressing memories of the evening.

Chapter 3

Withdrawal

The sun finally began to rise behind the thick grey clouds that cast over Forks. I felt as if I had endured one of the longest and most painful nights of my existence. I had spent the entire night fighting the urge to wrap my arms protectively around Bella in a cast iron embrace that would surely crush her to death.

How could I have ever hoped to protect her?

My family and I were so very dangerous, and for Bella the danger had never been as real as it was last night.

No - I didn’t want to think of last night, of Bella’s birthday party at my home.

I refused to think about it, but being a vampire, several things could occupy my mind at the same time. Whilst I tried my hardest to force the memory of last night to the back of my mind, it was like it was screaming at me, not allowing me to forget, and not permitting me to think of anything else.

It was torture.

I felt cold; being the monster I am, I was used to feeling cold to others beside my family, but I had never before felt cold myself and I didn’t like it. I was freezing in my already icy form. I could feel a new expression shaping my features, one I had never experienced before. It had been fixed onto my face ever since Rosalie and Emmett had dragged Jasper away and carried him outside yesterday evening. Although I couldn’t see this new expression, I could feel it.  My face remained unchanged; a fusion of shock, guilt and pure agony. It had been this way throughout the night and as I considered my options. I doubted it would ever change.

 

The only interruptions to the screaming memory in my head occurred when Bella stirred in her sleep, which was often. I couldn’t help but be thankful for her stirrings because the screaming stopped for an instant. The dominant part of my mind which only recognised Bella, wondered if she was alright, having a nightmare, or even worse – if she was in pain. As I thought of her being in pain, I couldn’t help but cringe away from her because I knew that if Bella was in fact in pain, it would be my fault.

Despite her stirring, Bella slept with serenity about her. She mumbled my name several times, but I couldn’t be pleased as I usually was, because I was positive that I was part of the nightmare I was sure she was having.

 

As the morning slowly grew lighter, a different light dawned on me. I knew what I had to do to protect my Bella. Only she wouldn’t be my Bella anymore after this. A potent feeling of determination was suddenly added to the guilt and pain that I felt so strongly. I thought quickly because I knew Bella would soon be awake.

Bella.

Oh, how I desired to stay with her forever.

Holding her gently in my arms.

Drowning in the divine scent of the crimson nectar that flowed in her veins.

Forever.

But Bella wouldn’t have forever; she was only a fragile human, and her human life was being jeopardised by my very existence. Every second she spent in the presence of me and my family her life was under threat.

 

Bella suddenly opened her eyes; she blinked a few times and then stared right at me. I gazed into her sleepy eyes for a split second and then forced myself to look away. Every time I looked into the beautiful chocolate brown hue of her eyes I was sure I could see her soul, and it took my breath away.

Her restless night was apparent in her drowsy features as she stiffed a yawn and jerked her body forward to sit up. I could not remove the rigid expression from my face as I quickly and wordlessly placed a kiss upon Bella’s forehead and sprang out of her bedroom window, landing lightly with a soft thud on the moist grass below.

 

I dashed into the trees and ran silently through to forest towards my home; as I raced away from Bella I let my thoughts ravage my mind.

I was positive that Alice had foreseen my plan and notified the rest of my family, unless she was otherwise occupied looking at other futures, like Jasper’s for example. But I felt sure she would have been watching mine too – looking for me to mount a delayed furious attack of some sort. I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t desperately want to carry out such an attack, as I would on any person who even thought of hurting Bella. I wouldn’t attack Jasper though. He was my brother as far as I was concerned and I knew he would be suffering enough right now. As the newest addition to our vampire family, I knew it was much harder for him to control his thirst for human blood.

 

As I contemplated my plan, I began to hear the flow of the river beside my house, and I knew that I would be home in a few seconds. The surrounding trees began to thin as I ran past at lightning speed. I could hear the thoughts of my family as I approached, but I blocked them out – I had to concentrate on my plan. I had to convince my family that this was the right thing to do and I didn’t have long to do it. I would have to meet Bella outside school in a little less than an hour, and I would have to be composed and try my hardest to act normal so she wouldn’t suspect anything.

 

I heard Alice speak from within the house.

 “Edward is almost here”.

At that same moment I entered the meadow beside my house. I leapt onto the porch steps and hurried through the front door.

 

My family were there waiting for me as I expected. Alice was sitting on the bottom step of the staircase with her head leaning against the wall feeling distressed, this proved to me that she had seen my plan and was not happy about it in the slightest. Esme, Carlisle and Emmett were sitting on the white sofa in the middle of the room, while Rosalie stood at the back window staring out into the forest. Jasper was standing with his back to the wall underneath the staircase, staring at the marble floor. He was still guilt-stricken. It must have been unbelievably gruelling for him, having to endure the power of his own emotions as well as everyone else’s around him; everyone was in deep shock and very anxious about the consequences of his actions.

 

Alice rose immediately and spoke aloud, “We’re not leaving, Edward.”

We’re leaving?

Every other member of my family, except Jasper, asked the question silently in their own heads. Alice obviously hadn’t explained what I planned to do, as I hoped she would have.

“Yes,” I answered their silent questions. “We are leaving.”

“Edward,” my adopted father spoke carefully, “It was an accident, and we do not have to leave. We will distance ourselves from Bella if needs be,” I know how much pain it will cause both you and her if we just disappear. He finished his sentence in his head.

I don’t want to leave. Rosalie thought although she didn’t turn to face the room, she just continued to stare out of the window.

“This isn’t just about what happened,” I glanced at Jasper who was still silent and staring at the floor. “Every second I or any one of us spends around Bella, we are endangering her life. I love her too much to subject her to that. I want to protect her, and the only way I can do that is if I leave Forks and ask all of you to leave with me. We will have to leave in a few years anyway to stop suspicions being aroused. We can just leave now. Is it too much to ask, just so I can keep Bella, the reason for my existence alive?”

Everyone was silent for a moment, pondering the enormity of the request I had made.

 

Carlisle was considering our situation and thinking of places we could go, so I knew that he was willing to leave with me.

Willing to leave the job he loved and a town where he felt truly comfortable - just for me.

I felt nothing but gratitude towards the man who created me. He was completely selfless.

Why couldn’t I be like that?

He was concerned about the rest of the family’s views on leaving and thinking of how he could help me convince them that it was the right thing to do for our family.

 

Esme was also willing to leave for me. Her only concern was keeping her family together. She loved us all and didn’t want us to be apart. Her thoughts also went to Bella whom she already considered a part of our family. Esme loved Bella and adored seeing us together, and me happier than I had ever been but she would readily leave, if it was what I wanted. It wasn’t what I wanted at all; it was what I needed to do because I couldn’t have what I wanted.

 

Edward. Alice called in her head. Please?

“No, Alice” I said.

She was thinking of Bella and how their friendship had developed over the past months. She too, loved Bella and already thought of her as a sister.

“Alice, it is the only way to keep Bella safe.” Every time I spoke Bella’s name, a sharp stab of pain flashed through my motionless heart. This was the only way to ensure her safety. She shouldn’t be around such creatures as us.

There is another way. Emmett thought.

“There is no other way!” I roared.

What was he thinking?

In his head I could see a vision of Bella with pale white skin and inhuman characteristics, an immortal Bella. I had seen a similar vision in Alice’s head many months ago, not long after Bella first arrived in Forks.

“You want to subject Bella to a life of eternal damnation, Emmett? Just so we can stay here for a couple more years?”

“Edward –“Esme started, but Emmett interrupted her.

“Chill, Edward. Bella wants to become one of us; Alice has seen her becoming a vampire eventually. You wouldn’t lose her and we wouldn’t have to leave. Just think about it.” He then proceeded to continue talking to me in his head. I know you don’t want to leave her Edward, none of us want you to be hurting when you do. This way you can stay with her forever.

“No,” I whispered.

 

If I was being honest with myself, that was exactly what I wanted. I wanted that more than I knew how to say; I wanted Bella to be changed.

Then I could be with her without being under constant restraint.

I could really be with her, like a proper couple, like Carlisle and Esme, Alice and Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett.

We would finally be equals.

But I couldn’t stay with her forever - that was selfish in the extreme.

No. Bella deserved better than that, she deserved to have a normal human life; to grow up and have human experiences. How could I be so self-centred and deny her that? How could I take away her life?

I couldn’t.

I wouldn’t.

“No” I repeated louder. “That is not an option. I won’t take her life away, and I won’t allow anyone else to either.”

 

Jasper had not moved or said a word during our discussion and I knew it was because he agreed with me. He was willing to help me in any way possible in order to make up for some of the anguish his actions had caused. I could see in his mind, that he was taking in all the emotions that flowed around the room; pain, sadness, concern, anxiety – yet he made no motion to relax anyone’s feelings with his talent.  Alice had moved to stand beside him; they were staring into each other’s eyes, communicating in their own way. I didn’t even begin to understand it, but I could see that he was trying to persuade her that we had to leave. I had known Alice would have been the hardest one to convince and Jasper was the only person she would leave for. I let the feeling of gratitude wash over me, as Jasper felt it, he bowed his head slightly, and thought it’s the least I can do.

 

Rosalie was sitting on the floor now, leaning against the back glass wall of the house. She was thinking about Forks.                        I like this town. It is hardly ever sunny here. I like being able to go out in the daytime without the sun trapping me away from people. More to the point, I like the way people look at us here, like we are beautiful and important god-like creatures. But ever since Bella arrived, things have changed. I don’t want to leave but if it gets her out of our lives, I will.

I wasn’t really listening to Rose, but as I heard Bella’s name in her head, I turned my attention towards her. She must have felt this because she immediately tried to block me out and directed her thoughts by concentrating on the mechanics of tuning her BMW M3.

 

Still I listened, waiting for a break in her focus – and then I saw it and at once I was furious. Rosalie was thinking that this was all Bella’s fault that she was a menace to our family, a trouble maker and if it wasn’t for her we wouldn’t have to leave.

How could this be Bella’s fault?

Bella is not a trouble maker or a menace; she is a small, innocent, clumsy, beautiful human who got involved with a bunch of vampires, because of me. Rosalie was exceptionally jealous of Bella. She didn’t like other people getting attention instead of her, and Bella captivated the hearts and minds of those around her and Rosalie hated it. How could she be so callous?

 

My hands balled into fists at my side and leant swiftly forward into a crouch, a vicious growl left my throat while my eyes stayed fixed on Rosalie.

Just as I was about to lunge at Rosalie.

Alice shouted “NO, Edward!”

The rest of my family understood the meaning of my posture. Emmett ran to stand in front of Rosalie, whilst Alice and Carlisle both put their hands on my shoulders to try and pull me up.

She is not worth it, Edward. Alice thought.

I didn’t want to hurt Rosalie, I just want to give her a shake and make her understand how much Bella meant to me. She was meant to be my sister; aren’t sisters supposed to want their brother’s to be happy?

I straightened up out of my crouch, still glaring at Rose.

“It is not her fault,” I snarled at her.

 

Alice pulled me over to the white sofa. I sat between her and Esme, while they both lovingly put their arms around me. Alice rested her head on my shoulder and thought, Okay, Edward. I will go if it means that much to you.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

It was silent for a moment, and then I decided that I needed conformation from all my family members that they would definitely leave with me.

“So, are you all willing to leave Forks? But not just that, I need each of you to promise never to intrude Bella’s life again.” I asked my family.

Yes, my son. Carlisle thought.

Of course, Edward. I would do anything for you. Esme responded in her thoughts.

Still under the staircase, Jasper merely nodded.

Fine. Rosalie thought.

“Okay,” Emmett spoke aloud.

Alice didn’t speak, but I knew her answer.

 

That was it. My family would leave with me, to protect Bella. I didn’t want to think of leaving Bella; it pained me so deeply to do so. Instead it thought about how we were going to do it, to just pack up and leave? Suddenly the word ‘leave’ had a dreadful implication. It meant I would never see my reason for existence ever again. I couldn’t allow myself to think of that right now. I forced myself to concentrate, I had little time left and the details had to be finalised before I went to school to meet Bella. I would think about the consequences later.

 

Esme echoed my thought aloud, “How are we going to do this? When will we leave?”

Carlisle was the one to answer, “We can leave whenever Edward wants. Rosalie, Emmett and Jasper aren’t attending school now anyway. I will just need to inform Forks High about Edward and Alice. I can tell the hospital that I have been offered another job, and then people will think we have relocated.”

“As soon as possible,” I said.

“It doesn’t have to be straight away, Edward,” Esme said.

The sooner the better, thought Rosalie. I ignored her and spoke to Esme.

“Yes, it does,” I replied. “There is no point wasting time. The sooner we leave, the sooner Bella can get on with her life. I don’t want to tell Bella until the last possible moment, otherwise she will try to stop us, and I don’t want her to suspect anything either, for the same reason.”

Bella is very observant, Edward. She will understand that something is wrong. Do you expect us all to lie to her until the moment you decide to tell her? Do you expect Alice to hurt her best friend’s feelings by not giving her an explanation of our odd behaviour? Carlisle thought.

He was right. I knew Bella was very perceptive; she had managed to see the flaws in my pretence of human life. I needed an approach that would hurt Bella in the least possible way, and where my family didn’t need to be subjected to Bella’s pleas for them to stay. It wasn’t fair to ask them to lie to Bella. I needed to cut Bella off from the vampire world, completely and without delay.

 

Alice jumped to a stand, and I knew she had seen my plan of action, and I could see in her head that they would do it.

“No, Edward,” Alice whispered. She looked down at me with so much sadness in her eyes that I had to look away.

Jasper noticed her grief and called from under the staircase “What’s wrong Alice?”

Alice ignored him. She was still staring at me. “You’re not going to let me say goodbye to Bella?” She asked.

Even though she knew the answer to her own question, she still wanted a response from me. I didn’t speak; I just looked down at my hands placed in my lap.

“Please, Alice” I whispered.

NO! Alice’s reply was louder in her head than as if she had screamed it into my ear. She kneeled in front of me pleading with her mind. I refused to look at her.

Jasper sprinted across the room, swung Alice up into his arms and cradled her to his chest.

“Don’t be sad Alice, please” He said.

 

I had to explain myself, not just to Alice but to the rest of my family too. They were all wondering why I wouldn’t allow them to say goodbye to Bella. All except Rosalie.

I stood up, and walked across the room so that they could all see me. My audience waited patiently for me to begin. I started to pace as I spoke.

“I’m sorry but I don’t want any of you to see Bella again. I want it to be as if our family never existed to Bella. I have the hardest job – I have to convince her that I don’t love her anymore and I don’t want to be with her. If she thinks that I still love her, I know she will beg me to stay and I can’t watch her do that. Can you, Alice?”

Alice was no longer in Jasper’s arms; she was sitting on the sofa staring at me with narrow eyes. I didn’t give her the chance to answer my question as I carried on talking. “If you want her to be happy and live her life as a normal human would, without the presence of vampires, then you will do this for her.”

 

Esme and jasper both wrapped their arms around Alice as she started to sob tearlessly. I held my hand towards her and she took it warily. I pulled my favourite sister into an embrace and hugged her tightly.

I spoke gently into her ear, and I knew the rest of my family could hear.

“It has to be this way, Alice. A clean break with no attachments left behind. I’m sorry.”

Alice started playing memories in her head of her and Bella. I didn’t want to watch so I released her from my embrace and pushed her softly into Jasper’s waiting arms.

 

I turned my attention to the thoughts of my family, looking for any disputes to my decision.

Carlisle was formulating a plan and making mental preparations for our swift departure. He was going to share his intentions with the rest of the family in a couple of minutes.

Esme’s thoughts were with Bella. I don’t know how the poor dear will handle this. I hope we are doing the right thing. I will miss her.

Rosalie was planning the essentials to pack for a quick exit from Forks, while Jasper was worrying about Alice, and using his talent to relax her emotions.

Emmett had stepped out of the back door, but I could still hear his thoughts. I hope Edward is going to be okay. I will miss clumsy Bella and making her blush. He laughed to himself.

 

After a few minutes, Carlisle cleared his throat out of habit and also to notify Emmett to come back inside. Emmett’s bear-like form came through the back door and he walked over to Rose and sat down beside her against the back glass wall.

Carlisle began to speak as I sat back down on the sofa next to Esme. “I agree with Edward, and think it is best if we leave as soon as possible. I will inform the hospital that I received a job offer this morning which starts immediately and that I wish to take it. I think the earliest we can possibly leave is tomorrow,” I grimaced at Carlisle’s last sentence. He noticed my expression and then spoke directly to me. “Edward, we need time to get things sorted here, and find somewhere to go. We can’t just disappear.”

 

“Alice and I can leave today and go and get things set up at the house in Ithaca for now,” Jasper spoke to the group for the first time.

Alice shook her head.

“It will be less painful the sooner we go, Alice, there’s no point in delaying the inevitable.” Jasper said gently. Alice sighed and leant into Jasper’s chest, but didn’t argue.

“Emmett and I can go with them,” said Rosalie.

“Okay,” replied Carlisle. “You and Emmett will have to go in a separate car though. Edward?” He turned to me. “You can tell Bella that Alice has taken Jasper away for awhile, to Alaska maybe. Esme and I will travel with you tomorrow, once you have told Bella that we are leaving.”

 

I cringed at the thought of lying to Bella. I was grateful that Carlisle was planning our departure, because I could only think of the reason behind it.

Bella.

I would have to leave my Bella.

At least I would see her a few more times before I would leave her forever; I got some comfort out of that thought, but not much.

 

It was all planned. I would see Bella at school today and convince her that everything was okay. And then tomorrow after school I would break the news to her. As I got showered and changed from yesterday’s clothes I wondered what she would say when I told her, how would she react? I was sure that she wouldn’t believe me straight away and I would have to lie through my venom coated teeth for some considerable time before I could even plant a seed of doubt in her mind. I would have to hurt her terribly just to make her believe that I didn’t want her anymore?

How would I ever be able to walk away?

 

I swiftly descended the staircase. My family were gathered downstairs making preparations for Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett’s imminent departure. They would be gone when I returned from school.

I didn’t want to say goodbye.

The goodbye I had to encounter tomorrow would be hard enough and parting with some of my family members just reinforced that sad fact. I didn’t want to be rude though, Esme would be disappointed in me and I owed her and the rest of my family a significant amount for what they were sacrificing for me.

 

One by one, my brothers and sisters walked towards where I waited at the foot of the staircase. Emmett held out his hand in a fist and I graciously made a fist with my own hand and touched it to his. He then proceeded to thump me on the back as a sign of affection. I smiled weakly at him. Rosalie smiled at me half-heartedly and briefly touched my arm. Jasper warily put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a one armed hug, which I returned with one of my own. Even though there was a high possibility that none of us would be leaving Forks if it wasn’t for Jasper’s uncontrollable thirst, I was still grateful to him. He showed me exactly how dangerous we were to Bella and that something had to be done to protect her.

 

“Alice.” I started. “I know I have asked too much from you already; from all of you.” I glanced around the room to my other family members before turning my attention back to Alice. “But I need you to do one more thing, please?”

What, Edward? Alice replied in her head.

“From now on, I don’t want you to look at Bella’s future. We can’t intrude her life like that, anymore. I need you to do this for me, Alice please?” I asked. She simply nodded her response. I smiled at her as softly as I could manage.

Alice walked towards me gracefully but slowly. I could see she was still truly upset. I would have known that even if I couldn’t read her mind, because she would normally be bounding towards me. She pulled me into her arms and hugged me for a whole minute.

Before she released me she spoke to me in her head, I will miss you, Edward. I love you, you know, even if you are making me leave my best friend. Please let Bella know I love her too. She pressed her lips lightly to my cheek and dashed away from me, up the stairs. I walked to the front door and as I placed my pale hand on the handle I paused and turned to look at my family. They stood there, minus Alice, looking intently at me, I bowed my head nodding a farewell and whispered “Thank you,” as I sprinted through the door.

 

I jumped straight in to my Volvo, sped out of the garage and down the driveway. I wasn’t particularly paying attention to the road. My senses guided me to the place I needed to be - school; where I would finally see Bella. It felt like weeks since I had last seen her, even though it was only just over an hour ago. I pulled into the parking lot and waited for her to arrive. I could hear her rusty red Chevy truck chugging down the highway about a mile away, which meant I had a few minutes to compose myself and try to act as I normally would. My face still held the same guilt-ridden, pained expression but now with a hint of sheer determination; I couldn’t seem to remove it. I would just have to hope that Bella wouldn’t notice. 

Who was I kidding?

Bella noticed everything.

 

I walked up to Bella’s truck as she pulled into the lot. When she cut the engine I opened the driver’s side door for her.

“How do you feel?” I asked her.

“Perfect,” Bella replied. I could tell she was lying because she answered too quickly.

Bella was a terrible liar.

I slammed the door of her truck shut and she winced at the sound. We walked silently and at a human pace into school. As we walked I could still feel the electric current that sparked between us, it was like a magnetic force field pulling us together. Soon I was going to break that force field.

I know I had inhuman strength, a thousand times stronger than the average human, but was I strong enough to break the force that held me and Bella together?

I had no choice, I had to be.

 

As I had the majority of my lessons with Bella, I couldn’t escape her watchful eyes throughout the day. I didn’t need to be able to read her mind to know she was scrutinising my every move.

We didn’t speak often, but occasionally I asked how her injured arm was feeling, and she always replied with the same remark, “fine.” She hadn’t asked me about my family or how they were handling the events of the previous night. I assumed that she didn’t want to remind me about the incident to hurt my feelings and was probably feeling guilty; as if any of this mess was her fault.

A debate started in my own head. 

It was partially her fault, if she didn’t have the most tantalizing blood I had ever encountered, I would never have noticed her, and if she wasn’t so mesmerizingly fascinating, I would never have fallen in love with her. No, I chastised myself, it’s not her fault at all; she cannot help being the most captivating, sweet smelling creature that ever existed.

 

The morning passed quickly. I wanted to prolong every second I had left with Bella but the clock didn’t want to cooperate. It was lunchtime now; lunchtime for the humans, not for me. We were in the cafeteria and I was picking at the food on my tray that I would not eat.

Bella’s eyes were scanning the room, most likely waiting for Alice to arrive. She would probably have questions for her, questions that she didn’t want to ask me in case they made me angry. I watched her cautiously as her eyes fell upon some students she recognised from Alice’s fourth hour class. I didn’t know their names, nor did I care. I had never paid close attention to humans, before I met Bella.

 

Confusion swept across Bella’s face as she realised that Alice hadn’t attended school today.

“Where’s Alice?” She asked anxiously.

I looked down at my hands on the table, where I was destroying a foul smelling human food bar with my fingers.

“She’s with Jasper.” I replied.

“Is he okay?”

No, he is not okay. I thought. He feels very guilty for almost killing you. I couldn’t say that to Bella though, it would make her feel even more culpable.

So instead I said “He’s gone away for a while,” deliberately avoiding her question so I didn’t have to lie to her.

“What? Where?”

I shrugged my shoulders to give her the impression that I didn’t know and answered, “Nowhere in particular.”

“And, Alice too?” she said, her voice suddenly going quiet.

“Yes. She’ll be gone for awhile. She was trying to convince him to go to Denali.” I took Carlisle’s advice and suggested they were going to the vampire coven in Alaska. It wasn’t exactly the truth, but it wasn’t completely a lie either.

 

Bella shifted uneasily in her seat making me wonder if her arm was bothering her. I didn’t want her to be in pain, and as a glitch in her brain prevented me from accessing her thoughts I had to ask.

“Is your arm bothering you?”

“Who cares about my stupid arm?” She muttered.

I do, I thought, but I didn’t say it aloud.

Bella laid her head on the table and sighed deeply. I longed to reach out and pull her chin up with my fingers and stroke her face, but I refrained.

It would just make things harder.

We fell into a silence that lasted for the rest of the school day. I didn’t even bother to ask her about her arm again.

 

School ended and the silent apprehension between Bella and I had become unbearable but I was not going to break it. Bella was already aware of my odd behaviour, and the newly developed strain in my voice would surely raise her suspicions further, but the biting pain that was searing through my body made it impossible to speak in my normal smooth voice.

 

“You’ll come over later tonight?” Bella spoke eventually.

Surprise flickered across my face as she said the word ‘later’. This was one of the times where I wished I was able to read her mind. Why didn’t she want me to come over now? Where was she going? I would have to ask her, but I didn’t want to sound too curious.

“Later?”

“I have to work. I had to trade with Mrs Newton to get yesterday off.”

“Oh.” I murmured

I felt slightly frustrated with Mike Newton’s mother for depriving me from spending precious time with Bella.

“So you will come over when I’m home thought, right?” Bella asked guardedly.

“If you want me to.” I replied.

“I will always want you.” She said the tone of her voice rising slightly to emphasize the words and I felt my cold, dead heart sting.

“All right then.” I said casually as I opened the truck door for her. I leaned in and placed a soft kiss to her forehead, before I shut the rusty door of the cab. I turned without a second glance to Bella and walked swiftly to my Volvo, feeling my heart sting for a second time. I was in my car and speeding away before Bella had even started her engine.

 

I had a few hours before Bella finished work at Newton’s, and I didn’t particularly want to go to the place that would no longer be my home tomorrow. Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett would be gone by now, and the house would feel empty.

 

I couldn’t stand being away from Bella at all. Not while she was at work, or while I left her house only to return later through her bedroom window when her father was asleep. Ever since Bella made her grand appearance in my life, I had been so entirely altered that I knew I wouldn’t be able to live without her. She was a part of me; she was my other half. My chest felt hollow when I wasn’t with her because I left my heart with her always. How was I going to handle being away from her? I needed to try and plan how I could possibly survive without her, but it was just too upsetting. No, I thought to myself, I would only think about that afterwards when I had no choice.

 

I made the decision to hunt. I didn’t ever underestimate my self-control while I was around Bella, it was too dangerous. It was obvious that she was frustrated with my recent behaviour. Maybe if I quenched my thirst, Bella would think I had relaxed and follow suit.

 

Driving at full speed, I was home in minutes. Bella was scared of my driving. She thought I was reckless so I slowed down as much as I could manage whenever she was in the car, just to sooth her mind a little. Not that I would never crash, or be in an accident whilst driving, my vampire reflexes were so advanced that I was well equipped to avoid such a catastrophe. I should drive slower when Bella was in the car thought, for safety. Even if a collision occurred, I would be able to walk away unscathed, but Bella would never survive. She was so fragile, so breakable. Normally, driving fast gave me a feeling of ecstasy, but not today.

Today everything was different.

My aspirations were in ruins and that had altered me acutely.

 

I always tried my upmost to be extremely careful with Bella. I could easily crush her mandible into splinters of bone, just by stroking her cheek.

Bella believed I had a superpower of self control, but she was mistaken. My carefulness with her was extraordinarily difficult to maintain. My throat burned like the fiery pits of hell whenever her scent registered with me. It was very uncomfortable, but bearable due to the fact that my desire for Bella as my soul mate was stronger than my craving for her blood.

Bella’s human hormones often pushed me to the very edge of my threshold, resulting in me shoving her away as gently as I could while I channelled my excesses. I wished that my self control was as easy to master as my actual vampire talent of mind-reading.

 

I found the power to read minds very convenient and awfully interesting. It allowed me to access people’s thoughts, which could be considered as an invasion of privacy, but it wasn’t like I could stop it. Often I found myself answering people’s thoughts when they weren’t even communicating with me and that was irritating. Mind-reading wasn’t always good; sometimes it was difficult to hear certain things going through other’s minds and I was left feeling embarrassed or like some sleazy voyeur. I couldn’t access Bella’s thoughts, but she preferred it that way, so I didn’t complain. What I wouldn’t give though, to decipher her mind and see how it worked. It would be an honour to enter such an amazing place.

 

I didn’t park my car in the garage. As soon as I had finished hunting I would be going to the Swan Residence, therefore I parked directly in front of the big white house. I could have left my car anywhere in town, or even at Bella’s, but that may look slightly suspicious when I returned from the forest with gold eyes and non-existent purple bags under my eyes. I had to maintain the human pretence that my family and I had been striving to maintain for so long. After all being a Cullen was about being responsible and trying to fit in.

 

I exited my car and set off into the trees searching with my nose for the most appealing scent of the ‘vegetarian’ diet that I lived on. Allowing instinct to dominate my body and mind, I scanned the surrounding forest for any signs of danger or prey. About two miles north-east I heard the thump of animal feet against the soggy ground. Without conscious thought I raced in that direction. I saw the herd of deer when I was about half a mile away. They did not hear my approach, and as I drew nearer I pounced on the largest deer tackling it to the ground and forcing my razor-sharp teeth into its neck. It was doomed before it even registered my presence.

 

After I finished with the deer, I located and drained two elk roaming near the clearing where my family and I enjoyed playing baseball whenever a thunderstorm was roaring over Forks. Last time we had played was in the spring, and Bella had come along to watch. I put her in grave danger then too. She wasn’t just a potential victim of the vampires in my family. To other vampires that passed through the area she was prey.  One of the passing vampires that we encountered in the ball field last spring was a tracker and he wanted her…badly.  My defensive reaction to James’s intended attack had played a large part in that. Killing the fragile human girl that was protected by a large coven was an exciting challenge for him; he would never give up until his quarry was slain. He would have killed my Bella in the ballet studio in Phoenix if I had arrived a minute later.

Bella spent so much time with my family that her scent was around us, if a vampire who lived on our natural diet of human blood crossed her scent, she would instantly become their prey.

 

My thirst was satisfied, so I made my way back to my house to pick up my car and go to Bella’s. Her father, Charlie would be suspicious if I arrived without it. I raced through town, and arrived at Bella’s early. She would only just be finishing work now. To avoid being alone with her and enduring the unnerving silence, I decided to go and wait inside with Charlie even though he was clearly uncomfortable in my presence. He was still annoyed with me after thinking that I was responsible for Bella’s sudden departure to Phoenix in the spring. In reality he was quite correct; however Charlie didn’t know the terrifying truth that prompted her abrupt exit from Forks. He only let me in the house because he was eternally grateful to both Carlisle and Alice for helping his daughter when she was gravely injured after the ‘accident’ and didn’t want to offend them, and also I guess, because it made Bella happy. Bella was the most important person in his life and he loved her dearly. He was an introverted man and didn’t express much emotion around her, but I could see it in his mind.

 

 

 


“Hello Edward.” Charlie greeted me as he opened the front door.

“Good evening, Charlie. I’m a little early; could I come in and wait?” I asked courteously.

“Sure.”

I went into the living room and took a seat in the arm chair – a very human thing to do, while Charlie ambled into the kitchen. The television was on, flickering with commercials.

“Do you want some pizza, Edward?” He asked as he walked into the living room and held a pizza box out towards me. The vile stench of the cold human food made my nose wrinkle is disgust.

“No, Thank you, Charlie. I had a meal with my family earlier.” I lied. Well I had sedated my hunger, or rather my thirst before I arrived at Bella’s and that could be considered as a meal. Charlie just nodded, pulled his arm back and strolled back into the kitchen. The pizza not only smelt bad, it looked disgusting.

The game should be starting in a minute. Charlie was thinking about the baseball game he was planning to watch. He came back into the living room and sprawled across the sofa.

 

Outside, in the distance I could hear Bella’s Chevy chugging down the road. Charlie was too absorbed in the baseball game to speak, which didn’t bother me, I was concentrating on Bella’s arrival. I listened as her old truck heaved onto the driveway, the engine died as she pulled her keys out of the ignition.

Was that what it would be like for me?

When I would disconnect myself from Bella, would I become lifeless?

It certainly felt that way, when I thought about it.

 

The front door opened and at the same time I caught Bella’s scent. She was finally here.

“Dad? Edward?” She called.

“In here.” Charlie replied.

I fixed my eyes on the television as Bella entered the room, not looking up to greet her.

“Hi.” Bella said weakly.

I didn’t respond.

“Hey, Bella.” Charlie said without looking up. “We had cold pizza. I think it’s still on the table.”

“Okay.”

Bella stood in the doorway, obviously waiting for some kind of response from me. I turned to look at her. She looked breathtakingly beautiful standing there, her hair and face glistening with raindrops. I had never seen Bella wear makeup, except on one special occasion, the prom, when Alice had made Bella suffer the ordeal of one of her makeovers. Bella didn’t need to wear makeup though; she had a natural beauty that radiated from her.

 

I gave her a weak smile; it was all that I could manage. “I’ll be right behind you” I said encouraging her to go ahead and get some food from the kitchen. Her eyes widened in shock as I turned my attention back to the television. Usually, I would have gone straight with her, but I wasn’t doing anything normal today. It must have been very confusing for Bella, seeing such a dramatic change in me. Maybe I should have gone with her to ease the bewilderment I was sure she was feeling; it may have also reduced her speculative scrutiny of my recent behaviour. Honestly I couldn’t bear to look at her, knowing what I would do tomorrow, but I conversely I couldn’t bear to be away from her either.

 

I decided to initiate a conversation with Charlie about the game and we both started commenting on the players from each team. Bella was too quiet in the kitchen, I knew she would be listening and I heard a small giggle. It finished as soon as it had begun, but it was enough to make me float out of my own mind for a moment. It sounded so sweet and light-hearted. It could only be Bella’s laugh. I longed to know what she was thinking about.

 

Bella descended the stairs slowly. She has been using her birthday present from Charlie upstairs in her room, most likely to fill the new scrapbook she had been given by her mother, Renee.  Alice had suggested this on the morning of her birthday. Was that only yesterday?

Yesterday felt like a lifetime ago.

 

Bella leaned around the corner of the doorway to the living room with the camera in her hand and snapped a picture. I looked at her, pretending that I hadn’t noticed her presence.

“What are you doing, Bella?” Charlie grunted.

“Oh, come on.” She moved her lips as she tried to smile and continued, “You know Mom will be calling soon to ask if I’m using my presents. I have to get to work before she can get her feelings hurt.”

Yeah right. Charlie thought. And then spoke aloud, “Why are you taking pictures of me, though?”

“Because you are so handsome; and because, you bought the camera, you’re obligated to be one of my subjects.”

“For God’s sake. Do I have to?” Charlie muttered under his breath so quietly that Bella couldn’t hear him with her human ears.

“Hey, Edward.” She said without looking at me. “Take one of me and my dad together.”

She threw the camera in my direction as she went to sit on the floor, beside her father who was sitting on the sofa.

Charlie sighed.

Bella stared at the camera with a blank expression. I wanted to see her smile.

“You need to smile, Bella.” I told her. She turned up the corners of her mouth into a weak smile, as I took the photograph. Bella’s attempt at a smile wasn’t her usual dazzling grin, but it was enough to warm my chilled, aching heart for just a moment.

“Let me take one of you kids.” Charlie said. Then maybe I won’t have to pose for any more of these stupid pictures. He finished in his head.

I gently threw the camera to him as Bella got up and came to stand next me. I placed my arm lightly around her shoulders, barely touching her. She embraced me tightly even for a human. Her arms linked firmly around my waist as if she didn’t’ want to let me go. A warm feeling crept up my spine at her touch. I didn’t want to let her go either.

 

“Enough pictures for tonight.” Charlie declared. “You don’t have to use the whole roll now.”

I dropped my arm from Bella’s shoulder turning to break out of her grasp and sat back down in the armchair. She hesitated and then went to sit on the sofa next to Charlie.

When the game finished, I rose out of the chair to indicate my departure.

“I’d better get home.”

“See ya.” Charlie replied aloud whilst thinking, finally he is going.

 

Bella followed me outside to my car and I knew she was going to ask if I would stay. I always stayed with Bella at night. But not tonight; I was distancing myself from her purposely. She needed to know that something was very wrong in our relationship. Hopefully it would go some small way to preparing her for what was coming tomorrow; maybe it would make it easier for her to believe.

“Not tonight.” I said gravely. She wouldn’t know that I planned on coming back when she was asleep. It surprised me when Bella’s face remained composed as I told her I wouldn’t be staying with her tonight. Had she been expecting that I wouldn’t?

 

I got into my Volvo and sped away leaving Bella standing in the rain without a parting word. I felt insanely guilty for my recent behaviour; it was unfair to treat her this way, but I was convinced it would be easier in the long term. If I could somehow destabilize the devotion that held us together, it would ruin the confidence that Bella held in our relationship. It would make impending departure less painful for her; at least I hoped it would.  I wondered what Bella thought of the way I had been conducting myself, or what conclusion had she come to about it. She probably thought it was just a reaction to Jasper’s thirsty attack, and that I was still angry. I wished that was the case.

 

As I drove through Forks, I let my thoughts wander to what I might do when I left town; when I left Bella. Since I’d met her, the purpose of my existence was to keep Bella from harm – it was a full time occupation. I hadn’t realised that the one danger I should have been protecting her from, was in fact me. I had shielded her from the dangers that threatened the humans of this world, when I should have been shielding her from myself. What if it had been me, instead of Jasper? No. I couldn’t bear to think of that.

 

What would I do after tomorrow, when I would no longer be around to keep Bella safe from harm? I would be staying away from her – to keep her safe.

Should I matriculate again, or should I immerse myself into a new hobby?

I would definitely need an activity of some sort to distract myself from thinking of Bella constantly. Although I knew without a doubt that I would always see her face, hear her voice and smell her exquisite scent every day, in my memory; for the rest of eternity.

 

When I arrived back at my family’s house, I wanted nothing more than to be alone and count the seconds until I could see Bella again. I could hear Carlisle and Esme inside the house, they were packing up belongings to take with us tomorrow; I decided to go and help, rather than be even more selfish. I owed my family; I needed to show them the depth of my gratitude for their understanding and cooperation. My family really liked the town of Forks in Washington State. After dwelling here for over two years; it was a place where they felt truly comfortable. Of all the countless times we had relocated – Forks felt most like home, to all of us.

 

Maybe Forks felt like home to me because Bella was here. She was my home. I felt as if she was the very reason I existed, like she was a part of me. As a vampire I wasn’t convinced that I had a soul, but if I did have one it would be intertwined with Bella’s.

I felt uncomfortable asking my family to leave the place they thought of as home, but I had done it for all of them many times and now it was their turn to do it for me. As a man in love, leaving the love of his life, or rather existence, wasn’t I allowed to be a little selfish in order to protect my love?

Chapter 4

The End

 

 

The house was too quiet, eerie even without my absent siblings. Ithaca was a three day drive for humans driving at the speed limit. It would only take Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett one day, driving at almost twice the speed limit without having to stop for the human requirements of food and rest. They would only have to stop to re-fuel. It was quite impressive that we could drive straight from one side of the United States to the other in that amount of time. I would be making that the same journey tomorrow.

I loved the thrill of driving fast, feeling the purr of the engine beneath me, but tomorrow’s journey was not going to be enjoyable. The only reason I would be driving so fast is to make sure I was far enough away from Bella to keep to keep her from getting hurt even more.

 

I hadn’t decided what I was going to do in Ithaca yet. I didn’t relish the thought of spending time with the loving couples that constituted my family. I would of course be the exception; I would be alone. Maybe I should take a different trip; go somewhere uninhabited and wallow in my wretched misery in isolation.

 

Carlisle and Esme were waiting for me when I walked into the house. They were surrounded by cardboard boxes of items they didn’t want to leave behind. After all, we wouldn’t be coming back here. Not for many years or even decades.

I would never come back to Forks. Ever. It would always be a painful reminder of Bella and our time together.

 

Edward. Carlisle greeted me with a polite smile. Esme walked towards me, her arms outstretched. When she reached me, she caught me in a gentle embrace.

“How was your day, dear?” She asked as she pulled away to look at me.

Concern crossed her face. Oh. Not good by the look of it. I’ve never seen Edward look so emotionally drained. It must be really hurting him, to leave Bella.

“I’m fine, Esme.” I lied.

Her eyebrows pulled together creating worry lines on her forehead.

“Really.” I said to ease her worry. I didn’t want her to worry about me.  “I’m just going to miss her.”

Are you sure you are okay, Edward? You know I worry about you.

“Yes.” I replied, trying to compose my voice, so she would believe me. I don’t think she did. Esme had been waiting decades for me to find someone who meant as much to me, as Carlisle meant to her; my other half, my soul mate, my reason for existing. She was overjoyed when Bella came into my life because she saw the marked change in me. I was no longer an empty creature that existed with no real purpose, I was a loving man who made plans and enjoyed each day. It would crush her to be away from Carlisle, and she knew I would feel just as broken when I left Bella. But she also understood the reasoning behind my decision and didn’t dispute it.

 

“Have you hunted today, Edward?” Carlisle asked. Esme and I are going in an hour or so if you would like to join us? He continued in his head.

“Yes, I have. You and Esme go; I’ll go and pack the belongings I wish to take.”

I turned to Esme and asked, “Would you like me do anything else?”

“No, thank you, dear. We are almost finished now.” She replied her eyes filled with compassion.

 

I was just about to seize an empty cardboard box to take up to my room, when I remembered something I wanted to ask Carlisle.

“Carlisle, what did you tell the hospital about your sudden resignation?”

“I informed the director of the hospital board that I had been offered a position with a generous relocation package that I couldn’t afford to turn down. I notified them that the employment started next week and apologised for the sudden departure. I additionally requested that they didn’t tell anyone until after we had left, not wanting to make a big deal out of it.”

“Where?” I asked.

I picked the thought out of his mind. Los Angeles?

I gave him a puzzled look, indicating he needed to explain.

“Well, mainly to remain hidden from Bella. I didn’t think you would want her to know where we are really going, just in case.”

“In case of what exactly?” I asked, trying to understand.

“In case, Bella decides to come and look for us once we leave.” Carlisle said softly.

I froze, I hadn’t considered that Bella might try to come and find us.

Carlisle continued speaking aloud even though I could read the words in his head. It was like I was listening to the conversation being echoed in my mind.

“Bella is an adult who is certainly capable of taking care of herself.” I was about to dispute his statement, because it was obvious that trouble followed Bella around like a magnet. Carlisle noticed the start of my protest and quickly interrupted.

“I don’t mean in dangerous situations, Edward. I simply meant she is able to accommodate her human needs such as eating, sleeping etc. And when I foresaw the possibility that Bella could quite easily get on a plane and come to look for us, I thought it would be best if we were to be untruthful about our actual whereabouts. Therefore I proceeded to inform the hospital of a location where the sun shines. Because, firstly my colleagues will spread the word throughout town about our departure and secondly Bella knows we would never go to such a place. She will know we lied.”

I finally understood.

Bella knew we would never go to a place where the sun shone constantly. Being vampires, we couldn’t go out in public on bright days. Our skin, when exposed the sunlight sparkles like a million diamonds and would make our difference very obvious. Bella would never follow us if she had no clue where to find us. LA was the perfect location to pretend to be.

“Thank you, Carlisle. I hadn’t even considered that.”

 

After I packed up my room, I headed back downstairs. Carlisle and Esme were still out hunting, and the house felt truly empty – like my chest.

I didn’t drive to Bella’s. It was much more convenient to run, to avoid waking Bella or Charlie with the sound of the car. I darted up the wall of their house, through the open window, and there she was. My Bella.

I sat silently in the rocking chair to watch her sleep; I loved to watch her sleep. Sometimes it was like I was watching her dreams with her. 

I didn’t take my eyes off her all night.

 

At the break of dawn, I ducked out of Bella’s window and sprinted home. As I ran I reflected on the previous night. I had sat in the rocking chair all night unmoving; never diverting my eyes from Bella’s sleeping form. This was going to be the last night I could see her sleep; I didn’t want to miss a single moment. She had another restless night, constantly tossing and turning, but never waking up. I wondered what her dream was about. Was she dreaming of me? Did she know something bad was coming?

 

I was careful not to disturb Carlisle and Esme when I returned to the house. I wanted to avoid them so I didn’t have to explain my actions of sneaking into Bella’s bedroom to watch her sleep. Luckily, they were both distracted, preparing to leave as soon as I had told Bella, which would be after school today.

Today was the day I had been dreading. It had come too fast.

I was truly grateful for my few months of happiness with Bella – it was more than I deserved, and it felt like it would kill me to say goodbye to her.

I needed more time. How could I ever slow time? It was not possible

 

I did not rush to get to school, I drove within the speed limit, trying to prolong every second that I could stay in Forks, just to be near Bella.

I arrived a couple of minutes before Bella and waited for her outside my car. Yesterday’s anxious silence returned as we walked into school. Bella knew something was wrong and it was clear by the distressed look on her face that it was bothering her deeply. It also affected her concentration in class. The English teacher, Mr Betty asked her a question about Romeo and Juliet – the book we were studying, three times before she realised he was speaking to her. She just looked at him with a bewildered expression, as if he was speaking a foreign language. I whispered the correct answer to her, too low for the other humans around us to hear, before lapsing back into silence.

 

Time seemed to pass more rapidly when no dialogue was exchanged between Bella and me. What was I doing?

Shouldn’t I be making the most of my time left with her?

I should be talking to her, just to hear her voice reply back to me. I should be making her smile, to see her beautiful eyes light up her face. I should be embracing her to feel the warmth of her skin against mine.

I wanted to so badly; but I couldn’t. It was too late to start doing those things now. I couldn’t just reverse my recent outlandish behaviour. If I did, it would just get Bella’s hopes up, just before I crushed them completely. The burning pain in my stomach intensified as I realised there were only a few precious hours left. I wanted the pain to engulf me to atone for the suffering I would soon bestow upon her.

 

It was lunchtime by now, and Bella and I sat at our normal table with some of her friends. They hadn’t seemed to notice the awkwardness between us; they were preoccupied snapping pictures of each other with Bella’s camera. I assumed Bella had immersed herself into the project of documenting her life here in Forks to distract herself from worrying about my newly found aberrant attitude. Or maybe she was waiting for me to return to my normal compassionate self.

 

I spent the rest of the school day fretting about what I was going to say to Bella.

I wasn’t ready.

I hadn’t prepared.

I didn’t know what to say.

I was utterly forlorn and full of remorse.

 

After school, I walked Bella to her truck, where she reminded me that she had to work. I didn’t want to walk away from her but I gave her a weak parting smile as I shut the door. As I walked to my Volvo, I started to panic, time was slipping away and I made a reckless decision. I was going to be selfish once more; just one more egotistic action to add to the list.

 

I wasn’t planning on telling Carlisle and Esme. They would just try and talk me out of it. But when I arrived, Carlisle was standing on the porch step waiting for me.

“Alice called.” He said simply as I exited the car.

Alice. I’d forgotten that she would be watching my future. She would have seen what I was going to do, as soon as I had made the decision.

It’s not a good idea, Edward. Carlisle interrupted my own thoughts. If you can’t walk away now, you will never be able to.

He was wrong. I would be able to. I had waited over a century to find Bella. I hadn’t had enough time with her. I just needed one more day, one more day to appreciate her; even if that day had to be spent in purgatory of high school. I would gladly spend every day of my existence there, if it meant I could see Bella.

“Just one more day, Carlisle. Please?” I begged.

His thoughts were full of concern for me.

He looks rather desperate. He thought.

I was desperate, and not afraid to admit it.

“I am.” I stated.

Yes! I thought. My spirits lifted. Carlisle was going to let me because he knew that he wouldn’t be able to physically stop me if he disagreed. Only one more day I thought. If I didn’t tell Bella tomorrow, he intended to.

We will stay with you.

“No. It’s okay Carlisle. You and Esme set off today as originally planned. I will be fine. Honestly, I would prefer to be alone anyway, to prepare to say goodbye to Bel -” I almost choked out her name.

Goodbye.

I never wanted to say goodbye to Bella.

But I would have to.

Tomorrow; for her benefit. I was willing to do anything to ensure she would be safe.

 

I had managed to convince both Carlisle and Esme to leave for Ithaca, after promising I would leave tomorrow. I was sincere as I gave them my word, they relaxed slightly and agreed. They both put too much faith in me.

I wouldn’t let them down this time.

I wouldn’t let Bella down either.

She needed saving.

 

The house was truly empty now. Everyone had gone. My siblings would be arriving in Ithaca soon and I had just waved my adoptive parents off, promising them once more that I would depart Forks tomorrow. I didn’t tell them that there was a chance that I might not be joining them on the east side of the country. I hadn’t decided yet, but Alice would surely notify them when I made a decision.

 

I did not go to see Bella after she finished work. I had put her through enough anguish with my silence over the past couple of days. I hated seeing her distressed, especially when I couldn’t explain and ease her anxiety.

Instead I went alone to our meadow.

 

The meadow was glistening beautifully from the latest rainfall. It reminded me of how Bella sparkled in the rain. Each blade of grass had its own drop of precipitation suspended from its tip. Despite the damp, I lay down on the grass and gazed up at the sky. The purple clouds were blending into the approaching darkness, while others were disappearing altogether, making way for the stars.

As I lay there, I reminisced and thought about the first time I’d brought Bella here. It was where we declared our feelings towards each other. I had kissed her that day; I was positive that I felt my frozen heart beat once at the moment her sweet soft lips touched mine. I had behaved badly that day, too, scaring her. But she had quickly forgiven me for my rude behaviour.  Would she forgive me tomorrow? It didn’t matter if she did – I would never see her again.

Coming here was a painful reminder of what would remain in my past.

My Bella and all of my memories of her.

 

The next day at school, the silence still shrouded us but I wasn’t too bothered by it, I was distracted. My mind was preoccupied, memorising Bella’s features.

Last night, after I left the meadow, I went back to Bella’s bedroom when I was sure she would be asleep. While I watched her sleep, I realised that I needed a vivid mental image of Bella to keep in my mind for the rest of time, in order to survive the long years that lay ahead without her. This really would be the last night I would spend with her. I had to immerse myself deeply in the moment.

So that is what I did, all night and all day during class time. Memorising; her beautiful heart shaped face that held her plump soft lips, her captivating chocolate brown eyes, and the shining long hair which hung loose and wavy around her shoulders. The drum of her heart as it pumped the sweet blood beneath her delicate skin, and the luxurious scent that surrounded her.

 

By the time the last bell rang, signalling school had ended for the day, I knew every cell in her body and I was suddenly terrified. Time was up and I had a terrible task to carry out.

 

“Do you mind if I come over today?” I asked Bella as I walked her to her truck.

“Of course not.”

“Now?” I asked, hoping her answer would be no, because she had a shift at Newton’s or other plans.

“Sure, I was just going to drop a letter for Renee in the mailbox on the way. I’ll meet you there.”

I glanced into the cab of her truck and saw a thick envelope on the passenger seat. It was probably full of the pictures she had been taking of everything and anything; including me. I quickly reached in and took it.

“I’ll do it. And I’ll still beat you there.” I said, forcing a smile onto my face.

 

I raced through town at high speed towards Bella’s, stopping to mail her letter on the way, but only after I removed any pictures of myself. I had to arrive at her house a couple of minutes before her because there was something I needed to do.

I parked up and ran towards her house, grabbing the key from under the eave, I let myself in. I dashed upstairs to Bella’s room and located the presents that my family and I had given her for her birthday and any pictures of me in her scrapbook. I yanked a loose looking floorboard up in the corner of her room and shoved the tickets, photos and CD inside before replacing it. It seemed cruel to take away items that belonged to Bella, but they would just remind her of my family and I wanted her to move on quickly, as if we never existed.

 

I darted back downstairs into the kitchen, ripped a piece of paper off the notepad next to the phone and wrote a note to Charlie, from Bella. Just in case, he came home before she did. I didn’t particularly want to think about what Bella would do directly after I departed, leaving her alone.

I suppose it was no longer my concern.

I winced as my heart constricted in pain.

 

 I heard Bella’s truck turning onto her street, so I promptly exited the house, leaving the letter on the kitchen table, and replacing the key as I left.

 

I sat in the car for a minute until Bella arrived.  When she parked, I got back out of my car and went to greet her. I reached to take her school bag from her and put it on the seat in her truck before shutting the door.

“Come for a walk with me.” I asked her as I took her hand. The cold touch of my skin against hers raised goosebumps on hers. Her skin felt like velvet beneath mine. She didn’t answer so I proceeded to pull her towards the forest adjacent to her house. I stopped at the first few trees, dropping her hand and leaning my back against a large birch.

“Okay, let’s talk.” Bella said.

 

I wished for another option, anything; but I knew there was no alternative to what I was about to do. It felt like this would kill me and the pain in my stomach reached a crescendo.

I filled my lungs with air and spoke.

“Bella, we’re leaving.”

Bella took a deep breath; however it shocked me that her face remained composed and free of emotion. I had expected her to be irrational and pleading with me to stay.

“Why now? Another year -?” Bella started to say.

“Bella, it’s time. How much longer could we stay in Forks, after all? Carlisle can barely pass for thirty, and he’s claiming thirty-three now. We’d have to leave soon regardless.” I replied. I did not want to give her to truthful reason for our departure; it would make her feel responsible. She would insist that she didn’t need saving. Confusion crossed her face as she stared at me unblinking.

“When you say we –. “ She whispered. Was she thinking that I meant me and her? I would love nothing more than to run away with Bella, just me and her together – but that was impossible. I had to be clear, to make her understand.

“I mean my family and myself.” I said each word distinctly, while wishing with every syllable that she was a part of my family.

She shook her head back and forth several times as if to say no.

 

Bella was silent, while she gathered her thoughts. It frustrated me that I couldn’t see what she was thinking as the seconds ticked by slowly. I waited patiently for her to speak again, for the anger to come. I stared at her face – it captivated me. Whenever I looked at Bella, I saw my love, my life, the very reason for my existence. But soon we would both be alone. I would always be alone. Bella would age and find someone new – who could take care of her, protect her – things I couldn’t do. As well as love her and make her happy. I swallowed back the growl the threatened to erupt at the thought of someone else getting to do those things – things I wished so much that I could do. I envied the person who would get my Bella. I wanted Bella to preserve her remarkable soul by living a happy life, and to just be happy. As long as that was possible I would be able to walk away.

 

After what felt like hours, Bella finally opened her mouth to speak. I braced myself for the oncoming fury.

“Okay. I’ll come with you.”

What, hadn’t I been explicit? She wanted to come with me, of course, but hadn’t I specifically told her that just my family and I were leaving, and she was not included?

“You can’t, Bella.” I told her. Her face fell slightly but still no anger tainted her expression. Had I got it wrong? Did she not really care for me as much as she had claimed to?

Was she not troubled at all?

“Where we’re going…It’s not the right place for you.”

“Where you are is the right place for me.” She replied.

Ah, she did care. I was just over thinking the situation. I assumed that she was going to try and convince me to either stay or to let her come with me, in a calm manner before she got angry.

“I’m no good for you, Bella.” I told her truthfully.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Her voice turned tense as she spoke. “You are the very best part of my life.”

I was the most dangerous part of her life, but the best part of her life was in her future, somewhere I wouldn’t exist.

“My world is not for you.” I said dismally.

 

“What happened with Jasper – that was nothing, Edward! Nothing!”

How could she think that? He had almost killed her! I grimaced at the memory. Did she not value her life at all?

“You’re right; it was exactly what was to be expected.”

Her eyes flickered with a remembrance.

“You promised! In Phoenix, you promised that you would stay – “

I quickly interrupted her, “As long as that was best for you.” I mentally cursed myself for not promising I would stay with her forever. No, I argued with myself – I would have had to break that promise.

 

“No! This is about my soul, isn’t it?” Bella exploded. Here was the anger I had anticipated – I expected it to get much worse. I stared at the ground and clenched my teeth together as she continued to shout.

“Carlisle told me about that, and I don’t care, Edward.” A shudder ran up my spine as she spoke my name, maybe for the last time.  “I don’t care! You can have my soul. I don’t want it without you – it’s yours already.”

I continued to stare at the ground for a moment. I needed to compose myself. I did not want Bella to hear the sadness in my voice, or see the bleak look in my eyes. I took a deep breath – Bella’s irresistible scent set my throat on fire, and unclenched my teeth before turning my head to look at her.

“Bella, I don’t want you to come with me.”

Her face drained of colour as rejection washed over her.

My heart pinched.

It was so hard to say those words.

It was the blackest kind of blasphemy.

 

Bella had to believe that I didn’t want her anymore, and that I was moving on with my life. She stood there motionless. Her silence made me catch my breath.

“You…don’t…want…me?” She finally spoke in a whispered tone.

The aching pain in my stomach rose higher and higher until it covered every inch of my body.

I wanted to shout, yes! I do want you! I will always want you!

 

Bella’s heart was beating furiously, and with each beat felt like my frozen heart was being stabbed.

“No.” I replied.

Her face crumpled in pain. She stared into my eyes, searching for something. What she found – I don’t know.

 I stared back at her incredulously.

She believed me.

I could see it in her eyes.

No! I wanted to scream at her. Don’t believe me!

How could all the times I had told her I loved her mean nothing?

Did she not realise how much she meant to me?

Had I not been candid enough when explaining my feelings to her in the past?

I craved to reach out and touch her; to melt under her touch and forget the excruciating pain that ran through me.

 

Bella might be hurting now – but that would fade.

Time would heal the wounds I had created within her.

I however would not heal.

The stabbing pain I was feeling would not leave physical scars, but it would be part of me for the rest of time, engraving guilt and wretchedness into my very being. Bella had significantly altered me for all eternity. I wished there was some way of making her know how much I truly loved her, how I would always love her.

 

“Well that changes things.” Bella spoke in a calm voice.

I gazed into the forest, wishing I could run away – but I owed Bella an explanation. I couldn’t just leave things unsaid, it would cause her more pain and I didn’t want to do that. It was killing me inside already.

“Of course, I’ll always love you…in a way. But what happened the other night-” I scowled at the memory. “- Made me realise that it’s time for a change. Because I’m…tired of pretending to be something I’m not Bella. I am not human.” I turned my gaze back to look at her, so she could see the inhuman qualities that possessed me. “I’ve let this go on much too long, and I’m sorry for that.”

I was truly sorry.

I was sorry that I was not worthy of her, I would trade anything to be human, but even then I would still not be worthy of Bella, but at least we would both be equal creatures, and I wouldn’t have to leave.

 

“Don’t” She whispered. Her face was utterly heartbreaking to look at. Her pained expressions made my body tense up and tingle as if it was preparing to cry. I longed to take her in my arms and sooth the hurt away.

“Don’t do this.” She pleaded in a soft voice full of emotion.

I watch her intently.

Where had the rage gone?

How could she believe me so effortlessly?

Oh, how I craved to be able to read her mind.

I was desperate to know the thoughts that must have been rushing through her mind.

 

Being a vampire, I was able to experience emotions similarly to a human, but it was easier to disregard them – but Bella’s acceptance of my deceit caused a jolt in my body that made me want to fall to my knees and cry out in agony.

I forced myself to remain calm as I said, “You’re not good for me, Bella.” – reversing the words I had said to her previously. She opened her mouth to reply, but no words came out. I didn’t need to breathe – but I didn’t know how long I had been holding my breath until Bella eventually spoke.

“If…that’s what you want.”

I bowed my head giving her a nod.

My chest throbbed as my dead heart splintered.

No, that’s not what I wanted at all.

 

Why wasn’t she screaming and begging me not to leave?

Her acceptance was unbearable. This was the most agonising experience I had ever encountered. I couldn’t imagine anything in my existence being any worse.

 

I took a quick breath – Bella’s scent burned my throat again as the air entered my lungs.

“I would like to ask one favour, though, if that’s not too much.” A shiver of worry crept up my spine. Who would protect Bella when I left? Who would catch her when she tripped? Who would take her to the emergency room? The thought of Bella being hurt, triggered my instinct to embrace and shield her. I held myself back with all my strength.

“Anything.” She promised.

“Don’t do anything reckless or stupid. Do you understand what I am saying?”

She nodded as a response.

“I’m thinking of Charlie, of course. He needs you. Take care of yourself – for him.” And for me, I added silently in my head.

“I will.” She whispered, nodding again.

I felt myself relax slightly.

As long as she lived and breathed – I could survive.

 

“And I’ll make you a promise in return. I promise that this will be the last time you’ll see me. I won’t come back. I won’t put you through anything like this again. You can go on with your life without anymore interference from me. It will be as if I never existed.”

Bella started to shake, and her heart rate accelerated echoing through the quiet forest. I smiled weakly at her, in a futile attempt at easing her wretchedness.

“Don’t worry. You’re human – your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all wounds for your kind.”

“And your memories?”

“Well –. “ I paused. There was no chance of me ever forgetting. The memories that I held of Bella were permanently etched in my mind. “I won’t forget. But my kind…we’re very easily distracted.” I stepped away from the tree I had been leaning on, moving myself away from Bella. “That’s everything, I suppose. We won’t bother you again.”

Her eyes widened as she realised what I had not yet told her.

“Alice isn’t coming back.” She whispered in a chocked voice.

I shook my head mechanically.

Bella’s heart skipped a beat. Not only was I taking myself away from Bella, I had also taken her best friend. I really was a heartless, cold skinned monster!

“No. They’re all gone. I stayed behind to tell you goodbye.”

“Alice is gone?” She asked in disbelief

“She wanted to say goodbye, but I convinced her that a clean break would be better for you.”

Bella looked disorientated. I had to leave now. This was it – The end. No more lies; no more us. Love lost forever.

“Goodbye, Bella.”

 

“Wait!” She cried. Her legs wobbled as she tried to reach for me. I gently grabbed her wrists and pinned them to her sides, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to let her go if I embraced her now. The touch of her skin against mine sent waves of warmth throughout my body. She closed her eyes as I leant down and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, breathing in her scent one last time.

“Take care of yourself.” I breathed.

I turned swiftly and ran. I sprinted into the forest at inhuman speed. I ran through the trees faster than I thought possible, with a hollow chest and a spirit that would always be burdened with guilt.

 

I ran almost a whole circle as I doubled back to Bella’s house. She had wandered into the trees and didn’t see or hear me jump into my car and speed away. My empty chest throbbed as I drove out of the town limits leaving my broken heart behind.

 

Goodbye may seem like forever; but in my heart were the precious, cherished memories, and it was there that Bella would always stay.

Chapter 5

Oblivion


The end had not been what I had expected.

It was over too quickly and it was much more agonising.

I longed to still be in Forks, watching over her, breathing in her luxurious scent. Not alone in abject misery reliving our last conversation; a conversation in which I had succeeded in convincing Bella that I no longer wanted her. It was the most evil and malevolent lie I had ever told. I knew I was a good liar, but I never thought that Bella would believe me so quickly. Her willingness to accept my deceit had only served to enhance my guilt. Was it better this way? It wasn’t for me. But I had to believe that it was for Bella.

My chest was hollow; where my frozen heart had been, there was now an agonizing ache that ravaged every inch of my body, and I knew I was dying inside; again. The agony of my transformation had been transient, but the pain that wracked me now was eternal, of that I was positive.

 

I had no idea where I was, or where I was going. I was only vaguely aware that I was in my car with my foot on the accelerator and pressed flat to the floor.

I couldn’t think properly.

I couldn’t concentrate.

All I could see was Bella’s face as it crumpled in pain over and over in my head. I couldn’t turn my attention away from that image even though it was crucifying me. I knew that if I took a deep breath I would be able to clear my head slightly. But I didn’t want to exhale the last exquisite scent I had breathed in. I wanted it to stay within my body forever.

 

Normally, I never paid close attention to the roads whilst driving. A part of my vampire brain took over instinctively, so driving became a reflex action. But as the pain slowly engulfed me – my disturbed mind shut down completely and I was forced to pull over. With my brain not working properly, I couldn’t allow myself to drive – a car wreck would be inevitable. Although I would be able to walk away from a crash unscathed, there was no point in causing myself more hassle; the awkward explanations and the destruction of my vehicle, not to mention the reckless endangerment other road users. I could not care less about my car or myself, but it made the situation less dangerous if I just stopped.

What was wrong with me?

Why wouldn’t my brain function?

 

I leant my head back against the seat’s head rest. My hands were tightly gripping the steering wheel; I couldn’t seem to move them. I stared out the windscreen seeing nothing but Bella’s despairing face.

I tried closing my eyes but the image of Bella was even larger in my head – How was that even possible?

The image spoke, Bella’s whispered words echoing like a horrible mantra.

‘Don’t do this.’

‘You…don’t…want…me?’

As each word repeated itself in my mind, it cut a new wound within me. The pain was excruciating.

It was torture.

Bella’s voice in my head eventually died away when every inch of my body had been slashed. It was then that question’s started entering my mind.

How long had my eyes been shut?

How long had I been sat in my car?

Where was I?

 

As I was able to last an infinite amount of time without moving or breathing, I had no Idea how long I had been there – wherever there was. It could have been hours, days or even weeks as far as I knew. My mind hadn’t been tracking the time. I wasn’t even sure what day it was.

 

I opened my eyes. Light filled the car, surrounding me. It was dawn and the sun was beginning to appear partially through the clouds.

The light of a new day brought to mind something that I had temporarily forgotten – She was safe.

Despite my dark depression, I couldn’t stay where I was. I wanted solitude to privately mourn the bereavement of the only one I would ever love. I needed to compose myself, reign in my feelings and let my brain function – just for a short period of time until I was somewhere alone and remote.

 

I was almost at my first destination, I had not decided on my second, as yet.

I discovered that when I had left Forks, I had driven into Canada, and found myself in the town of Weyburn, where I had stayed stationary in my vehicle for several days. Eventually I had forced myself to channel all thoughts of Bella and feelings of pain, to the back of my mind, until I was ready to release and deal with them. I was able to concentrate better, but my mind still yearned to think of Bella. I drove at high speed straight to Ithaca, stopping only to re-fuel my car. It was there, where my family had re-located. They would most certainly be waiting for me, and I was confident Alice would have informed them of my arrival.

 

Driving along, I began to notice things that would usually never catch my attention but today I couldn’t help but watch. Couples – some, holding hands, others in gentle loving embraces. How I envied them – They had their entire lives’ to enjoy each other, with their futures laid out in front of them. I would never be able to be with my love like that.

I had no future.

I only had endless years of emptiness ahead of me.

 

A familiar property came into view through the surrounding trees. The house was similar to the one we had inhabited in Washington State’s Forks, except it was a dark brown colour and had a porch wrapped round the entire building. On the porch, was where my family stood waiting for me – their faces free from any expression.

 

I was not particularly looking forward to seeing my family, primarily because I didn’t want to hear their thoughts of pity and sympathy, but more specifically, I dreaded seeing the devotion between the couples in my family. I was afraid the affection they show each other, would push me over the edge of the cliff on which I was precariously balanced.

 

The atmosphere was tense as I stepped out of my car and made my way towards them. Suddenly, and without me even noticing her movement – Alice was in my arms, embracing me tightly, as if she was trying to absorb some of my hurt.

Oh Edward. She whispered in her head.

She pulled back, grabbing my hand as she led me towards the house.

Chapter 6

Breathless


The interior of the house was light and comforting, similar to the house in Forks. Esme enjoys renovating, and always decorated the interiors of each Cullen house in a way that we, as vampires, could enjoy the brightness without being in direct sunlight.

 

Alice still gripped my hand as we turned to face our family who had followed us in. Their eyes were fixed upon me intently, watching me carefully. I could hear in each of their thoughts that they were unsure what to say, if anything at all. The tension mounted as the silence wore on.

Finally, after several long minutes, Carlisle called me in his head.

Edward?

I didn’t want to reply. Vampires didn’t need to breathe; we just did it out of habit and to appear more human. But we did need breath in order to talk, and I couldn’t bear to release Bella’s scent that was contained in my body. I had inhaled my last breath in Bella’s presence - when I had breathed in her scent one final time. I wasn’t letting it go. It was the only thing I had left of her that wasn’t a memory.

 

Edward? Esme spoke to me in her head. Are you alright, dear?

I responded by bowing my head in a curt nod.

Her eyebrows pulled together forming worry lines on her forehead. She hurried to stand next to Carlisle and reached up to whisper into his ear.

“What’s wrong with Edward? He looks so overwrought and unwell.” I didn’t understand why she made the effort to whisper, because she was well aware that I as well as the other members of my family would be able to hear her perfectly.

“He’s not breathing.” Jasper spoke aloud answering her question.

I wanted to turn and growl menacingly at him. Why did he have to feel what I was feeling? – The pressure to breathe but the desperation to keep the only connection that related to Bella I had left. I couldn’t even make the effort to glare at him.

Sorry, Edward. He thought, as he felt my exasperation.

I should have expected that Jasper would be monitoring my emotions – probably to update my family on how I was coping without Bella. They were all worried because they all knew how much Bella meant to me, even Rosalie.

 

“What do you mean, he’s not breathing?” grumbled Emmett in confusion

“You know I don’t know the reason why, Emmett.” Jasper answered quietly. “I can only identify the feelings and emotions.”

Edward? Esme called again.

Why couldn’t the rest of my family have the ability to read minds like I could? It would be so much more convenient if I could answer them in my own head.

“Edward, you should breathe. It’s not healthy for you to hold it all in.” Carlisle said softly.

Thankfully, they didn’t know why I wasn’t breathing or realise how precious the air inside my lungs was to me–if they did, they would without a doubt think I was insane.

“Edward, please? Talk to us” Esme spoke in a gentle voice.

“Edward, come on, bro.” Emmett said encouragingly.

Alice suddenly tensed at my side and her eyelids fluttered closed. Jasper flashed to her side, as he always did when she had a vision. Everyone else just remained perfectly still. I watched Alice’s vision unfold in her head with her. I was shocked to see myself gasping a breath out. I shook my head manically.

No. I shouted in my head.

Alice opened her eyes and smiled weakly at me.

“Give him a minute.” She said.

All eyes flickered to my face.

 

The pressure of their watchful gazes upon me suddenly became too much. My throat constricted and the tension built in my lungs. It felt like I was going to explode. I was being forced to exhale. I clamped my mouth shut tightly, biting down on the insides of my lips. I couldn’t allow Bella’s scent to leave me – I wasn’t ready to let it go yet.

My lungs started to deflate as the air made its way up through my windpipe. I was going to exhale; it was inevitable. I was going to lose what I had spent days trying to save.

 

It happened exactly as I had seen it in Alice’s head. The air entered my mouth and I choked and spluttered before gasping in fresh de-bella-ised air.

Alice gripped my hand tighter, with enough strength to stop me from collapsing to the floor. I began hyperventilating, taking in deep frenzied breaths.

Esme appeared at my side.

“Carlisle!” She shouted. “What is wrong with him?”

I hardly even noticed my sister and mother dragging me to the leather sofa in the middle of the room. I was alarmed at myself.

Why was I acting this way?

Was this what being apart from Bella was doing to me?

 

“Jasper!” Carlisle instructed.

Instantly, a sense of calm washed over me and I felt oddly at ease. It was soothing, which I was grateful for. I buried my face in my hands feeling embarrassed by my episode. Esme stroked my arm softly, comforting me.

“I’m sorry.” I whispered. I felt stupid; humiliation roared through me like a flame. Reluctantly I inhaled deeply and took in the smells around me. It smelt wrong – there was no scent in the house that I could familiarise myself with, apart from the obvious ones exuded by my family. I had been here many times before but still it felt strange to me – It wasn’t home.

I wanted to scream out in distress.

 

Edward?

I raised my head to look at Carlisle’s concerned face.

“Please excuse my behaviour. It was idiotic.”

“Edward, where have you been for the past four days?” Carlisle questioned me gently.

“Alice didn’t tell you?” I asked puzzled, turning to look at her.

She shook her head.

“I knew you had departed Forks, because you had your mind set on leaving. I had a vision of you driving north, but then everything went blank. I couldn’t see anything. It made me so anxious. You didn’t make any decisions for me to see, except for coming here today.” I don’t like being blind, you had me worried, Edward. Alice continued in her head.

“So you didn’t foresee that I would crash?” I asked still confused.

Crash? Carlisle and Esme echoed the same thought in their minds.

Alice shook her head again.

“You crashed? But your Volvo –“Carlisle asked thinking about my intact car parked outside.

“No.” I interrupted his thoughts. “But I would of have, If I hadn’t of pulled over.”

“Whoa. Seriously?” Emmett asked in a surprised tone. “Your head must have been pretty messed up.”

“Emmett!” Rosalie hissed, warning him.

“What?” He shrugged.

She didn’t answer; instead she just glared at him with her topaz eyes. Normally, the exchange would make me chuckle – but not today.

 

There was no use in being untruthful with my family – they were all aware that something was incredibly wrong.

“Yes, Emmett. My head is extremely disorderly.”

“But you’re not staying with us are you?” Alice asked accusingly. “I have seen that much.”

I didn’t reply.

“What about Bella, Edward? Don’t do anything stupid for her sake. We need to all be together now. Just because we’ve left doesn’t mean she has forgotten us. Do you expect us to forget about her? What is she does something stupid?”

Hearing Bella’s name aloud made me internally wince at our separation.

“Alice!” Esme cautioned.

“Bella promised.” I forced myself to say. “And, don’t be looking for her future, either. We’ve done enough damage. Please, Alice. This is the right thing to do.”

 

“If you are leaving, where are you going?” Carlisle enquired, changing the course of the conversation.

“I really have no idea.” I replied truthfully. “I just need to be alone for awhile.”

I want you to stay. Alice spoke in her head.

“How long is a while?” Jasper enquired.

“I don’t know. “ I said again.

“Okay, Edward, if that’s what you feel you need to do. But please, come back to us soon, dear.” Esme said sweetly. She understood that I wasn’t ready to be around couples and needed time to heal, even though I knew I never would. The wounds that had been gouged so deeply when I left Bella would never heal.

 

“Don’t go, Edward.” Emmett demanded.

“Let him go.” Rosalie spoke. “He will come back when he is over her.”

An inherent snarl escaped my lips.

Emmett instinctively moved in front of Rosalie, prepared to defend her if I attacked.

“Chill, Edward. You know Rose didn’t mean it.” He turned his head to look at her. “Did you, babe?”

Rosalie ignored him and pushed him aside, out of his protective stance. He then proceeded to wrap his arms around her torso. The affectionate gesture made me want to growl again, but I held it back. Seeing that was exactly what I wanted to avoid. I wanted to escape the questions, concerned looks, and any signs of affection. I would refrain from getting angry whilst I remained here, but none of them knew of the torture I felt. Rosalie was wrong – I would never get over Bella.

 

Once I had changed into fresh clothes, I bid farewell to my family. I left my car – I didn’t need it. I wanted to run. I set off into the trees and began the longest and darkest night of my existence.

Chapter 7

Darkest Night


I had run away, again.

But this time it was from the confinements of my own family. There was no pain for them – just awkwardness and embarrassment.

Now I was away from Jasper’s calming influences my emotions flooded back to me. It took an enormous effort, and I almost succeeded in restraining them whilst I ran, but now they were slowly and steadily seeping back into my mind and I was powerless to stop them.

 

I pushed myself to move faster, I could still hear vehicles on a highway a few miles away and I wanted and needed silence and seclusion. My muscles started to ache and my pace slowed involuntary. Was it possible that I was beginning to get tired? I had never before experienced the need to stop running. I couldn’t get tired. I urged my body forward but it didn’t respond. I felt utterly drained. I came to the conclusion that I was debilitated by grief, and slowed to a halt after another minute. There was no point carrying on. I could only hear the night breeze delicately whistling through the trees now.

 

My resistance was now so weak and futile that nothing I did could stop me from feeling.

I simply held my arms out wide and let my mind succumb to itself.

I waited for the pain to engulf me; when it did it hit me like the stab of a thousand knifes. I cried out in agony and collapsed to the ground as the pain overwhelmed me.

 

Bella.

My Bella.

The memories swarmed back relentlessly.

The first day I’d noticed Bella – she was just another human. It was like she reeled me in; I was perplexed because I was unable to read her mind, but I was also extremely frustrated. I had never before encountered a human or otherwise whose mind I could not read. I thought of the science lab when I first caught her intoxicating scent that drove me so wild. I had very nearly obliterated an entire classroom of students, just to taste the girl who was radiating the sweet freesia scent. I had to leave town just to stop myself from killing her.

 

I should have stayed away then. I never should have returned to Forks. But the truth was, Bella fascinated me and I didn’t want to be forced to leave town by an insignificant human. Could I have been more stupid? I should have taken myself out of Bella’s life in the beginning – that way she would never have fallen in love with me and got so acutely entwined in the dangerous mythical world in which I reside.

So many things I should have done – but I didn’t, and all because I was a profoundly selfish creature. I truly despised myself for hurting Bella and putting her in constant danger. It was the cruellest act I had ever committed. Nothing I had ever done had made me feel such guilt and remorse – not even murder.

 

My eyes ached with the need for tears that couldn’t fall. My frozen body shuddered violently as the tearless sobs began and I drowned in my own emptiness.  I’d left behind far more than I anticipated when I left Forks; I had abandoned the part of me that Bella still held – my heart.

My empty chest resonated with solitude.

Bella made me feel human. I felt my frozen heart flutter when her skin met mine for the first time. I melted under her touch as her warm skin sent a thrill of ecstasy through me. I trembled with pleasure at the thought of touching her.  She was so warm and loving – not caring that it was a monster she embraced. Oh, how I longed to return to the arms of my beloved.

I still felt human now, even though Bella was no longer with me. I was experiencing all of the emotions that had resurfaced from the long dead human buried within my vampire self. Emotions that Bella had released.

 

I wondered what Bella was doing right now.

Was she thinking of me, as I was thinking of her? 

Would she still be hurting in the aftermath of my departure? 

Bella’s agonised face appeared in my head as the memory of my sudden departure replayed in my mind. I watched her as she so easily believed that I no longer wanted her – as if such a thing was possible!

I watched myself run away like a coward, leaving my fragile Bella alone on the edge of a forest.

Leaving her there had been a mistake – another mistake.

What if something happened to her?

I had heard her take a few steps further into the trees.

What if she had tried to follow me?

Would she have done that?

She could have got lost, gravely injured, or worse – and I just left her there. I couldn’t bear to think of the consequences.

No. Bella had promised – nothing reckless or stupid.

I had asked her not to wander into the woods on her own before, she would know that I considered that reckless.

I had no reason to worry – Bella had promised.

 

I dug my fingers into the earth beneath me, trying to grip on to something to stop myself from falling apart. It didn’t help – the dirt just crumbled into dust.

I was broken.

I had been ripped into a hundred pieces.

I would never be reassembled.

Only my Bella could make me whole again.

 

I kept telling myself that I had done the right thing by Bella, for the first time.

Keeping her safe was all that mattered,

Leaving Bella was a magnanimous act; I’d done it to save her, it was the right thing to do, I had to believe that. I just hoped that one day soon she would realise it too and her pain would then diminish. I clung to that hope as I curled up into a ball and let misery take me. I was sure the amount of pain I was feeling, was slowly torturing me to death but I welcomed it sincerely because I knew I deserved to suffer.

 

I don’t know how long I had lain in a foetal position – nor did I care.  My mind was clouded with thoughts of Bella.

Her impenetrable mind that I longed to read.

Her silky brown hair draping round her shoulders.

Her delicious scent that set my throat on fire.

Her inviting chocolate brown eyes that showed me the way to her soul.

She epitomised perfection.

 

At some point during the long night I realised that I had replayed all my thoughts of Bella and relived every second I had spent in her presence.

I missed her terribly.

I wondered if she missed me.

How long would it take her to forget me?

Hopefully I had made that process quicker by eliminating all her possessions that had some connection to me.

I wish I had something – anything of Bella’s to keep hold of…like a photograph or piece of her clothing that still held her scent.  I cursed myself for putting the pictures I had removed from Bella’s letter to her mother in the trash.

 

Suddenly my mind clicked as I remembered something.

I did have something that had belonged to Bella.

My hand reached into the pocket of my trousers and pulled out something that would seem so insignificant to any other person – but for me, it was the sole connection I had to Bella. It was a bottle cap; and now it meant everything to me

 

I had saved it from the lemonade bottle Bella had been drinking from the first day I sat with her at lunch. I couldn’t bring myself to stay away from her then; I was weak. I just gave in to my craving. This time, I wouldn’t be so feeble or so selfish – I would stay away.

 

I pulled myself up into a sitting position to examine the object in my hand. It was such an inconsequential thing to hold on to – but it had belonged to Bella. She had been playing with on the table, that day at lunch. She was the only other person who had touched it, and that was important to me. I clasped the bottle top in my hand gently – so not to damage it, and lay back on the ground to gaze up to the sky.

 

The sky was empty and dark, like me. 

Where was the moon? The stars? 

I couldn't see clearly, missing Bella was clouding my sight, and now the sky was black. 

Why was this happening?  I knew I had done what I had to do, and I knew it would be hard, but I had never imagined this. 

Then it hit me. 

I realized now that Bella had been my moon and stars. 

She was gone, and so were they.

Chapter 8

Distraction


Time passed exceptionally slowly. The pain didn’t fade, but I had just about learnt to live with it. I had accepted the fact that I would always ache for Bella.

 

The past two months of my life had been spent running and feeding. I had largely been running to different places, spending every night looking for the stars and moon. Maybe the when I saw them again my life would have reason and the soft lunar glow would appear and signify a place where in time I might find a morsel of peace.

 

I didn’t hunt often – only when it was necessary. The burning in my throat no longer bothered me. It just felt like an annoying itch that I was able to disregard easily. It was nothing compared to the pain of losing my Bella. I only forced myself to engage in hunting in case I ever was in an environment where I might catch the scent of a human. I didn’t want to be so thirsty that my predatory senses took over automatically. It had almost happened several weeks ago.

I cringed as I evoked the memory.

I hadn’t hunted since I had left Forks, which was a considerable amount of time to go without feeding. I saw no reason to hunt. I had nothing left to maintain my life for.  As a result, I felt significantly weaker at each passing day.

I was walking a steady human pace – in no hurry to get anywhere. Suddenly I came across a mouth-watering scent. It wasn’t the most delicious scent I had ever smelt but it was still irresistible and it made my throat burn intensely – the scent could only be human.

 

My instincts overpowered me and before I knew what I was doing, I was following the source of appetizing odour with the sole purpose of quenching my deadly thirst.  The scent led me to a small remote parking lot in a national park. I saw my target packing up her vehicle. One small fragile human – so easily dealt with. I ran round the perimeter of the lot to get closer in order to initiate my attack.

I fell back into my hunting crouch. I was just about to pounce when the human turned around.

 

I froze. She was a young woman – with chocolate brown eyes that resembled Bella’s. They weren’t as beautiful as Bella’s but they were enough to make me stop for a moment; just long enough to make me realise what I was doing.

What the hell was I thinking?

I couldn’t devour her.

She was human.

I didn’t hunt humans.

I couldn’t take someone’s life that way.

This innocent woman didn’t deserve that.

And what if this woman meant to someone what Bella meant to me?

What if she was someone’s Bella?

 

The thought of some creature killing my Bella made me growl menacingly. Any circumstance that meant Bella would no longer exist would be the worst thing that could ever happen.

I couldn’t live in a world that didn’t include Bella.

I forced myself to stand straight out of my stance, and turned to sprint further into the trees screaming profanities in my head.

I was a cruel heartless monster.

 

I quickly ignored my thoughts of Bella’s demise, not wanting to dwell on such horrors.  I was positive that Alice would have foreseen my attempted attack, but there was no way for her to warn me – my cell phone battery was dead, and there was no way for me to charge it while I was living out in the wilderness.

 

Occasionally, when I was near a town that was overshadowed by clouds, I would buy myself some new clothes and check into a hotel to freshen myself up. I never turned the television on when I was there, so I had no idea what was happening in the current affairs. I tried to avoid everything and anything that would remind me of Bella, even though she was in every thought that possessed my mind.

 

I spent my days wandering from place to place – never going anywhere in particular. I strived to think of activities I could participate in, in order to occupy my mind, but I never came up with any ideas.  All the while, my empty chest urged me to go and retrieve my heart. The only thing that stopped me from sprinting back to Forks – to my Bella, was the thought of her being safe and never being hurt by my kind again.

 

At night, I lay down and gazed up into the heavens searching for the moon and stars, hoping that they would magically appear and help me to bring reason and light into my life again. They never did.

 

I had never felt isolation like this before. Over the past week, I had been contemplating returning to the relative comfort of my family for a visit. I missed my parents and my siblings. Maybe the company would raise my spirits slightly. I doubted it, but still I hoped.

 

I hadn’t had any communication with them at all. They would certainly be worried about me and I was being selfish and inconsiderate of their feelings with my lack of contact. I immediately changed my direction and headed North-East.

It took me four days to reach Ithaca, as I still spent every night gazing at the sky, waiting for my symbol of hope to materialize.

 

I decided to hunt before I went to greet my family. I located a herd of elk in a small clearing enclosed by thick trees. I allowed my predator senses to take over before I swiftly pounced on the two largest, snapping their necks instantly. I drained the first and let the creature drop from my stone cold hands. I was just about to consume the second when I heard a familiar sound.

 

It was a light gentle sound of feet running at inhuman speed, only audible to a vampire that filled my ears. My eyes instinctively scanned the surrounding forest for signs of danger. It was then I heard their thoughts.

It’s only us, Edward. Jasper spoke in his head.

I stood up straight out of my hunting crouch. A second later Alice skipped into the clearing, followed closely by my brother. She bounded over to me gracefully with a sparkling smile upon her elfin face. She was overjoyed to see me.

Although she was happy, she had a shallow look in her eyes. I could see from her thoughts that she missed her best friend acutely. Jasper remained distant – still feeling very guilty.

 

I was speechless for a minute. I was quite shocked to see them. I hadn’t been around others for awhile and it seemed I had lost my ability to speak. Alice’s smile faltered as she processed my astonished and dazed expression.

I cleared my throat and eventually found my voice.

“Well hello, Alice.”

Her smile lit up again.

“Edward!” She squealed.

She wrapped her arms around me, and I picked her and span her around. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed my favourite sister.

“I’m so glad you’re back.” She said as I set her back on her feet.

I began to protest by telling her that this was only a short visit.

“I know, I know.” She interrupted me. “You aren’t staying long.”

I gave her the best attempt at a grin that I could manage and turned to my brother.

“Hey Jazz.” He smiled at me.

“Sorry we surprised you. Carlisle told Alice to wait for you to arrive at the house, but she was so excited that you were coming, that we couldn’t stop her.”

Alice stuck her tongue out at him.

“No, it’s okay.” I replied. “It’s good to see you both.”

Alice took my hand and led me over to Jasper. She grabbed one of his hands and together we set of running in the direction of the rest of our family, leaving the un-drained elk behind.

 

My family greeted me with open arms, even Rosalie gleamed at me as she appeared at the top of the stairs when Jasper, Alice and I walked in the house.

 

We all sat in the living room for hours.

I told my family that I had been wandering around the country and they didn’t press me for further details, and I was grateful for that.

I didn’t talk much – I mainly listened as each member of my family told me what they had been doing while I had been gone.

Carlisle had been tutoring part time at Cornell University as well as working nights at a hospital.

 

Jasper was also at Cornell, but he was studying Philosophy and really enjoying it.

 

Esme had immersed herself in a new renovation project on a seventeenth century house she had located in the North of the city.

 

In a few days, Rosalie and Emmett were off on a second honeymoon to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their fifth wedding. They were going to Europe. Emmett was excited for the hunting possibilities.

 

Alice had been trying to research her human life and where she had come from. She had managed to locate the asylum where she had been held captive but hadn’t visited the place yet. She had also discovered her real name – Mary Alice Brandon. Somehow I didn’t think it suited her.  All this had been made possible from what information James had provided in a videotape he made to entice me last spring.  I winced at the memory of the ballet studio where James had almost killed my Bella – where I had also nearly taken her life myself.

I was thankful that Bella was no longer in the midst of our evil kind.

 

I found it difficult to learn that my family had all moved on with their lives whilst I was stuck in the darkness alone. I let my thoughts wander as I went to my room.

Everyone else had things to do, where as I had nothing. I spent my days wandering round like a ghost. I needed a hobby or activity to focus on.    

 

Thinking of the sadistic vampire luring Bella to that ballet studio had given me an idea. James had been a tracker. I had always found the concept of tracking truly interesting – maybe I should make it my new endeavour, to occupy my mind and prevent myself from sinking in thoughts of Bella.

 

What or who should I track? I had no idea where to begin exactly, what the process involved – I would need some sort of guidance, possibly from an experienced tracker. Perhaps Carlisle had an acquaintance who could point me in the right direction?

 

James had been a highly skilled – his hunt was his obsession. Victoria, the woman who was in his coven, was his accomplice. I had been preoccupied reading James’s mind in the baseball clearing that day, so I hadn’t taken much notice of Victoria. I didn’t see her as a danger but Victoria had aided James in his mission to take Bella from me, and for that she too deserved to die.

I realised that she was still out there somewhere and still a potential risk.

My main purpose flashed in my mind – Keep Bella safe.

I then knew what I had to do.

I was going to track Victoria.

Chapter 9

Annihilation


I had made my decision. I was going to track Victoria. Two seconds later I heard footstep outside my door.

“Come in.” I spoke before my father had the chance to knock.

The door swung open slowly and Carlisle walked in.

“Edward.” He spoke with an authority in his tone. “I have come to try and persuade you to reverse your most recent decision.” Generally, Alice would consult me first before she informed my family about my immediate future, but if her vision worried her she would tell them immediately. They were all still very apprehensive about my state of mind but there was no need to be.

“It is just something I have to do, Carlisle.”

“You made us all promise not to interfere in Bella’s life anymore, but by tracking Victoria you are doing just that. You yourself are intruding.”

“This isn’t about Bella.” I lied.

Carlisle raised his eyebrows at me questionably.

Is it not? He thought.

“I am going to correct a past event. Victoria must be dealt with. It is possible that she could also endanger our lives. We did, after all destroy her mate and I will keep my promise to not endanger Bella’s life again with my presence.”

I would never haunt her life for a second time.

 

“Edward, you don’t have to do this. You cannot protect Bella from everything, especially when you are no longer with her.”

My chest throbbed at the harshness of his words.

Being away from Bella was unbearable – but knowing that I would never physically see her again – sent aches around my body.

I knew I couldn’t protect Bella from human accidents – things that fate had in store for her and I had to unwillingly accept that. But I could eliminate the depraved creature that had played a big part in her capture.

 

“I know that, but it doesn’t mean I cannot right the wrong.” I told Carlisle.

“You can’t hunt down every non-vegetarian vampire that may pass through Washington Edward. It is not rational or even practical.”

I recoiled at the thought of another monster being near my Bella.

Other thoughts wandered my mind – Bella was a magnet for danger. She required protection – a defender.

What if another vampire came across her scent? It would be just her luck.

If her scent was even remotely as appealing to anyone one else as it was to me - she didn't stand a chance at making it out alive.

Maybe I could return. Not to Bella. But back to Forks – to watch her, protect her.

I could see her everyday and breathe in her scent, secretly.

I would be helping to preserve her life – watching her grow older and leave me behind forever.

 

No. I forbade myself. That would be interfering and selfish, as well as being truly painful.

I had promised.

 

Carlisle’s effort to dissuade me was unsuccessful. The rest of my family did not support my decision either, except for Emmett. He was desperate to come with me, and practically begged Rose to postpone their honeymoon. I hid my delight when she flat out refused.

Emmett could not come.

No one could.

This was something I had to do on my own.

 

“Edward. Please don’t do this.” Alice pleaded softly. ”If you want to look out for Bella…Well I can do that for you.”

“No! Alice I don’t want you looking at her future. Please. You promised.” I reminded her.

“But that way is safer, Edward. “ Esme tried to reason.

“I want to obliterate anyone or anything that ever thinks of hurting Bella.” I said in a calm voice.

Alice gasped as all my family’s eyes flashed to Jasper.

He bowed his head in shame as his guilt intensified.

“I apologise, I didn’t mean you, Jazz. “ I said truthfully. “I promise.”

Everyone seemed to relax slightly, even Jasper. He shot me a weak smile.

 

As it happens, Carlisle did have an acquaintance who was a skilled tracker. However this was vampire ability – he felt a pull towards his target. Therefore he wouldn’t be able to give me the information I needed because his skill came naturally to him, and it wasn’t something he could explain.

The only other tracker Carlisle was aware of was Demetri – one of the Volturi guard in Volterra. I didn’t want to travel to Italy to obtain information on tracking – it would only postpone my mission. Also, it would widen the distance between me and Bella, and as my nerves were this strained whilst I was still on the same continent, I wasn’t sure I’d cope if I increase the distance that far.

 

Tracking wasn’t a skill you could learn through study, you needed experience, which I didn’t have. Although they didn’t want me to go ahead with my plan, Carlisle and Jasper told me as much information as they knew about it in an effort to make it easier for me. It seemed quite simple.

 

“You must be attuned to the scent as much as physically possible. Keep it fresh in your mind. Remember it. It is important that you do, Edward, otherwise you will lose your track.” Jasper told me.

 

“You will have to somehow retrieve Victoria’s scent from a place where it is well-defined; you don’t want to confuse it with another scent and follow the wrong route.” Carlisle informed me. 

 

Where would Victoria’s scent be the strongest?

The only place I knew she had definitely been was Forks.

I couldn’t be positive if she had journeyed to Phoenix with James because he had been alone in the ballet studio.

 

I would have to go back to Washington. To Forks.

Forks only meant one thing to me – Bella.

I was suddenly excited – I could check on Bella.

I could see her beautiful face and smell her luxurious scent –

Edward? Jasper interrupted my excited thoughts with his own; he had felt my drastic my mood change. His questioning tone brought me back to reality with a jolt.

I couldn’t go back to Forks.

I had promised not to intrude Bella’s life.

My hopes plummeted and my excitement evaporated as quickly as it appeared.

 

I required concentration to enable me to focus on my hunt. I would go back to Washington; just not to Forks - I would stay away from there.

I would somehow locate Victoria’s scent and begin my pursuit.

I only had a vague idea of her scent, but I was sure I would be able to recognise it when I came across it.

 

I set off a few days later, alone.

Running back in the direction of Washington, of Forks, of Bella, was effortless. It was like a steel wire was pulling me swiftly back, making me run faster and faster. I wasn’t going back to the place where I longed to be – by Bella’s side.

I was going back to fulfil a newly found purpose - Annihilation.

 

While I ran, my thoughts returned to Bella.

How easy it would be to go and see her. To see where her life had taken her now I was no longer a part of it. Surely I would be a distant memory for Bella now.

My unhealed wounds pulsated.

I detested not being involved in Bella’s life.

I wondered what occupied her time, now that the vampires had left.

 

I ran straight towards Forks without even stopping at night to search for the moon.  As I crossed the border into Washington State, the light of day began to fade bringing the expected darkness to my life once again. The heavens opened and rain poured down, soaking me.

 

I started to get nervous.

I could feel that Bella was within my reach.

Did I have enough strength to stay away, now I was so close?

I failed to stay away the last time.

When I had escaped to Alaska to get away from Bella, I soon found myself running back to her. I had given in so easily.

This time is was significantly more difficult but I couldn’t allow myself to surrender.

 

I strained to channel the agonising pain that still radiated from me and I took all my thoughts of Bella and placed them safely in back of my mind, in order to focus.

I just had to locate the scent, familiarise myself with it and then I could get away from here.

The pain intensified at the thought of leaving…again.

The only thing that would make me depart again was being aware that Victoria was still out there, somewhere.

I wanted revenge.

I wanted retribution for the damage that had been inflicted on Bella.

 

I inhaled deeply and closed my eyes exploring the scents around me. All I could smell was aroma from the bark of different trees, and various animals. I walked forward slowly, carefully taking in every scent and processing them in my mind.

I carried on walking for countless miles, when abruptly two new scents registered in my head. They were conspicuously different to the others around me. Both were the unmistakeable odours of vampires. I recognised them immediately – Victoria accompanied by James. Their scents were old, but still present here. The other member of their coven, Laurent had not been with them. I could only guess that this was the place where Victoria and James had met to plan their strategy, after Laurent had fled to Denali. I swallowed back a growl along with memories, and tried to regain my focus.

 

I opened my eyes and recognized my surroundings. I was a few miles outside the town of Forks – not too far from my previous home.

 

My empty chest constricted now I knew where I was.

I was too close.

I couldn’t handle this.

All my hopes and desires were within touching distance; such desperate hopes, urging me to satisfy them. I could achieve that satisfaction by catching just one small glimpse of Bella.

 

I had hunted before I left Ithaca and several times on my journey, to make myself as strong as possible. I used every ounce of that strength to resist against the pull of Bella.

 

I closed my eyes once again, forcing myself to concentrate. I breathed in Victoria’s scent, making it potent and allowing it to fill my mind.

 

I walked forwards slowly; following the scent away from the direction of Forks. It became stronger and stronger until James’s odour was no longer present beside it. Her scent went in a south-west direction. I picked up my pace to a run, still tracing the scent carefully as I left behind my heart again and began my first hunt.

Chapter 10

Focus


Tracking was intensely tedious.

It irritated me to follow a scent with no clue to the final destination.

I loathed to be kept in the darkness.

Where was Victoria going?

What was she planning to do?

Why was she travelling so far?

I would do anything just to hear her thoughts, so I would know what her intensions were.

I was even starting to reconsider my tracking skills.

I truly wasn’t any good at it.

Was I really tracking Victoria’s sent?

What if Victoria never left Washington and was really close to Bella right at this moment and no one was protecting her.

NO. I couldn’t think about that possibility.

 I had to keep believing I was on the right track or my composure and most likely my mind would be lost.

It would be worthwhile in the end – when I found Victoria.

She wouldn’t know what was coming for her.

Or what I was planning to do with her for being a threat to my beloved Bella.

 

I had tracked her scent south.

I stayed hidden in the trees and countryside as much as possible, trekking up and down mountainous and more rugged areas of America. I was trying to avoid as many people as I could because I wasn’t able to hunt as often as I should. It was essential for me to stay focused to ensure I didn’t lose the scent I tried so hard to keep fresh in my mind.

 

I had been on following Victoria’s trail for over a week so far, and I was nearing the state of Texas.

I did not hasten myself in my quest – I took my time, following the scent carefully, keeping it strong in my mind.

I would catch up to her eventually – I had all eternity.

 

Whilst tracking it was a strain to keep a constant focus on my objective, and not allow myself to be distracted by thoughts of Bella. It was extremely challenging, especially since tracking was mind-numbingly monotonous. As a result of being jaded, I frequently had momentary lapses in my concentration.

I found myself wondering what was happening in Bella’s world. Where was her life taking her? And the most important thing – was she happy?

I was desperate to know every single detail.

 

I desired to smell her overwhelming scent again. I wouldn’t have any problem tracking my Bella. I would be able to track her scent everywhere without the slightest difficulty.

I had been so close to her – to going to see her astonishingly beautiful face. It would have been so straightforward to remain a part of her life from the shadows; hiding in the trees, like I did when the sunlight kept me from the public eye.

 

I didn’t want to be deceitful and break the last ounce of trust that Bella had in me, the last promise I made – never to come back.

As if I never existed, I remembered.

I asked Alice not to look at Bella’s future.

I had made her promise.

I just longed to be in the know.

I could live as long as Bella did.

Well if you could call what I was doing, living.

Living means making the most of life and having something to live for.

I knew I had things important to me – my family and of course my Bella.

But if I couldn’t be with Bella, then I didn’t see that what I had could qualify as a life. I merely existed, wasting away slowly but surely….suffering greatly in the process.

 

I was ready to admit defeat.

I wanted to give up tracking and return to the solitude of my misery.

But my intention was to keep Bella safe. The magnitude of this task filled my mind, reminding me that I had to get rid of the volatile creature I was stalking.

 

As I entered the state of Texas, Victoria’s sent got significantly stronger – was it possible she was still here? Was I nearing the end of my quest?

My determination intensified.

She was near.

I could feel it.

Long awaited revenge would soon be mine.

 

My speed quickened – I was desperate to finish this. I dodge the surrounding trees swiftly, still staying inconspicuous and out of the bright sunlight that shone through the sky.

 

Suddenly, I skidded to a halt. Victoria’s scent split into two directions – one further south and the other in an east direction. I thought this was strange, unless she had been at this exact location more than once recently? That was the only possible conclusion I could come to.

In effort to help me decide which scent to follow, I wanted to call Alice and ask if she could see Victoria’s current and future destinations.

Would Alice be able to see visions of Victoria?

I doubted it – Alice probably couldn’t help me anyway, she was not attuned to Victoria and asking for her help defaced the whole point of tracking.

Alice would have told me if she could see visions of Victoria – to stop me from coming on this tracking expedition unless she was hoping I would fail.

I would not fail. I couldn’t fail

I would succeed, to keep my Bella safe.

 

One scent was distinctly stronger than the other, therefore I concluded that this strong scent was the more recent and it would be logical to follow it.

I inhaled deeply taking in the scents around me to ensure I had not been mistaken. The scent heading in a southerly direction was definitely the more apparent one whereas the scent heading east was rather faded and smelt old; as far as my new developed tracking skills could envisage anyhow.

 

I sprinted further south eager to find my target. The trail seemed endless and I ran for hours continuously following the unchanging scent. I began to worry that I was following the wrong trail. But I couldn’t have made a mistake – I was positive.

Victoria was faster than I had anticipated.

Soon enough, I found myself crossing the border into South America.

 

The sun began to fade slightly, and I was getting increasingly agitated.

Was I imagining things?

It was not possible. I hadn’t stopped running at full speed for days – not even to hunt. I was getting desperate now.

When and where would the trail end?

My question was answered the next day.

 

A hot, sunny and green destination awaited me.

Brazil.

The scent trail ended abruptly and I knew I had failed.

I hailed deeply numerous times taking in every odour around me. All I could detect was the nearby wildlife and surrounding trees.

There was no other trace of Victoria.

I screamed out a snarl in disgust.

 

The trail I had followed to Brazil was false.

How could I have been so blind and idiotic?

 

It never really occurred to me that I might fail.

I detested myself for being so naïve.

Why couldn’t I have the skill of tracking instead of the ability to read minds? My own vampire talent seemed so insignificant because the one mind I desired to read was unreachable to me. Why couldn’t I have a skill that was able to protect Bella?

I fell to the floor and rested my head on my knees.

 

My head was spinning

I was so confused.

How could I have been so wrong?

More importantly, what should I do now?

I ran through my options in my head.

I could go back to Texas and follow the other scent.

Or I could go back to Washington and begin the hunt again.

NO. My empty chest screamed at me.

I wouldn’t be strong enough to stay away from Bella again, if I went back.

All I wanted was Bella to take me in her arms and lovingly soothe away my pain and foolishness.

I was ready to surrender.

I was ready to go back.

Back to Forks.

Back to my Bella.

 

I wandered around Rio for eight days, arguing with myself – contemplating my choices and concentrating on making my decision.

I felt like the two different sides of my brain were in a constant dispute. One side arguing to stay away, to remain on my own in desolation and surrounded by nothingness; whilst the other side screamed at me to go back to the over cast town of Forks.

I was literally being torn apart.

I had to face up to reality – I couldn’t track and I couldn’t protect my Bella.

Chapter 11

The Call


The writing that is in italics in this chapter I have written myself and added to Stephanie Meyer’s "extra" on her website that she wrote about Rosalie telling Edward about Bella's death. It was too good to rewrite, so instead I took SM's version and put my own interpretation in and took some of the original writing...modifying it.

If you would like to read SM's original chapter you can find it here 
http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/pdf/nm_extras_rosalie.pdf 

 

 

Once again I found myself in a futile place unable to formulate a plan of action for my life.

The pull of the small town of Forks was stronger than ever.

I had left Rio six weeks ago and found myself wandering in that direction. At some point I could not carry on. The pain and disappointment was too overwhelming and I found myself a new enclosure.

I was spending my days in an old worn down warehouse, out of the sunlight that shone constantly in the sky wherever I was. The humid air swirled round me slightly warming my ice-cold skin.

 

I felt movement in the pocket of my trousers. It was my phone; I had turned it on for the first time in months for emergencies - just in case my family needed to contact me. However I didn’t have any motivation to answer it when it rang often.

 

The phone vibrated again. It was the twenty-fifth in twenty four hours. I thought about opening the phone, at least to see who was trying to contact me.

Perhaps it was important, maybe it was Carlisle.

I still didn’t move.

 

I had been motionless for several days as I had drifted back into my forlorn agonizing darkness.

Meaningless.

All of it was meaningless.

My very existence was meaningless.

The whole world was meaningless.

Empty.

 

My forehead was pressed against my knees as I lay in a foetal position. I wondered how much longer I would be able to stand this.

How much more time would pass before I gave up completely?

Maybe it was hopeless.

Maybe, if my attempt was doomed to failure anyway, like my attempt at tracking was – Should I stop torturing myself and go back?

The idea was so powerful that it almost soothed my aching wounds.

 

I could leave now.

I could go back.

Bella’s face – always in my mind, smiled at me.

It was a welcoming smile of forgiveness that warmed my insides. But seeing her face etched into my mind continuously for the past months had only reminded me how truly special she was.

Consequently, of course I couldn’t go back

 

After all, what was my pain in comparison to her happiness?

Compared to her safety?

She should be able to smile and be happy.

She should be free from fear and danger.

Free from a soulless future.

When Bella left this world, she would go to a place that was forever barred to me, no matter how I conducted myself there. The idea of a final separation that I could not control was so much more intense than the pain I had already encountered. When Bella went to that place where she belonged and I never could – heaven. I would not linger on earth without her.

There must be oblivion.

There must be some kind of relief for me.

 

My body shook with fear at the thought of that time.

Even when I was ash, would I somehow still feel torture of her loss? Or would I find my own heaven?

I shuddered again.

 

I’d promised her that I wouldn’t haunt her life again.

I wasn’t going back on my word.

I would not break my promise.

Couldn’t I do anything right by her?

Anything at all?

Just once?

 

The idea of returning to the cloudy little town that would always be my true home snaked through my thoughts again.

Just to check.

Just to see that she is safe and happy.

Not to interfere.

She would never know I was there.

I would remain in the shadows.

Damn it, NO.

I cursed myself.

I had been so close before, and I had managed to stay away. I could do it again.

 

My phone vibrated again.

“Damn it” I growled.

I could use the distraction, I supposed.

Not that it would do the job.

I flipped open the phone and recognised the numbers straight away.

Rosalie.

Why would Rosalie be calling me?

She was probably the only member of my family enjoying my absence.

I remembered the last thoughts I heard from her about my Bella, I had no desire to talk to her.

On the other hand, there must be something wrong if she needed to talk to me. I was abruptly worried for my family and answered the phone.

 

“What?” I asked tensely.

“Oh, wow. Edward actually answered the phone to me. I feel so honoured.”

As soon as I heard my sister’s tone, I knew my family was fine. She must just be bored. It was difficult to interpret her motives without her thoughts as a guide. Rosalie had never made much sense to me. Her impulses usually foundered on the most convoluted kinds of logic – typically herself.

 

I snapped the phone shut, hanging up on her.

“Leave me alone.” I whispered to the emptiness around me, letting my eyes drift shut again.

The phone vibrated again at once.

Would she keep calling until she had passed along whatever message she was planning to annoy me with?

Probably.

It would take months for her to grow tired of her game.

I toyed with the idea of letting her hit redial for the next six months.

I sighed and answered the phone again.

 

“Get on with it! What do you want Rosalie?”

Rosalie rushed through her words. “I thought you would want to know that Alice is in Forks.”

My eyes flew open in shock.

What was my other sister doing in Forks? I furiously thought.

“What?” I asked in a flat, emotionless voice, hoping I had misheard.

“You know how Alice is – thinks she knows everything. Like you.” Rosalie chuckled humourlessly. Her voice had a nervous edge, like she was suddenly unsure about what she was doing. But my rage made it hard to care about what Rosalie’s problem was.

Alice had sworn to me that she would follow my leads in regards to Bella, although she did not agree with my decision.

She promised me she would let Bella alone for as long as I did.

She promised that she would not interfere and not look at her future.

Clearly she thought that I would eventually fold to the pain. Maybe she was right about that.

But I hadn’t completely given up yet. I hadn’t gone back.

So what was she doing in Forks?

I wanted to wring her skinny neck, not that Jasper would let me get that close to her once he caught a whiff of the fury blowing out of me.

 

“Are you still there, Edward?” Rosalie’s voice coming out of the speaker of my phone brought me out of my thoughts.

I didn’t answer.

I pinched the bridge of my nose with my fingertips, wondering if it was possible for a vampire to get a migraine.

Although…if Alice had already gone back, maybe I could too?

NO.

I’d made my promise.

For the love of all things holy – I was going to keep it!

Bella deserved a life.

 

I shook my head metaphorically, trying to clear it of the seductive image of Bella’s dark window.

The doorway to my only sanctuary.

The entrance to my home.

 

There was no doubt that I would have to grovel, if I were to return – to beg Bella’s forgiveness.

I welcomed that because I knew I deserved it.

I would happily spend the next decade on my knees as long as I was with her.

 

“Edward? Don’t you even want to know why Alice is there?”

“Not particularly.” I answered, but honestly I was desperate to know.

Rosalie’s voice turned a trifle smug; pleased no doubt, that she had forced a response from me.

“Well, of course, she’s not exactly breaking the rules. I mean you only warned us to stay away from Bella, right? The rest of Forks doesn’t matter.”

I blinked my eyes slowly.

Bella had left?

My thoughts circled around the unexpected idea.

She hadn’t graduated yet, so she must have returned to Renee - her mother.

That was good.

She should live in sunshine.

She loved the warmth and brightness of the sun.

It was good that she’d been able to put the shadows behind her, including me.

It instantly dawned on me – Bella had moved on.

She’d left me in her past like I had intended her to.

My empty chest throbbed painful – my heart was forever lost.

I tried to swallow, and I couldn’t.

 

“So you don’t have to be angry with Alice.” Rosalie trilled a laugh.

“Then why did you call me, Rosalie, if not to get Alice in trouble? Why are you bothering me?”

“Wait!” She cried, sensing rightly that I was going to hang up on her again. “That’s not why I called.”

“Then why? Tell me quickly, and then leave me alone!”

“Well…” She hesitated.

“Spit it out, Rosalie. You have ten seconds.”

“I think you should come home,” Rosalie said in a rush. “I’m tired of Esme grieving and Carlisle never laughing. You should feel ashamed at what you’ve done to them. Emmett misses you all the time and it’s getting on my nerves. Not to mention Alice, she has been a wreck. You have a family Edward. Grow up and think of someone else besides yourself.”

“Interesting advice Rosalie, maybe you should take your own guidance?”

“I am thinking about them, unlike you. Don’t you care how much you have hurt Esme, if no one else? She loves you more than the rest of us, and you know that. Come home.”

I didn’t answer.

I knew I was being very selfish; however I wanted to revel in my loneliness. I didn’t want my family members to witness my depressive state.

 

“I thought once this whole Forks thing was finished, you would get over it.”

“Forks was never the problem, Rosalie. “ I said, try to explain patiently. What she has said about Carlisle, Esme and the other members of my family had struck a chord, so I tried to make an effort.  “Just because Bella – “I paused. Saying her name out loud was difficult. I managed to choke it out before continuing. “…has moved to Florida, it doesn’t mean that I’m able…Look, Rosalie. I’m really sorry, but trust me; it wouldn’t make anyone happier if I were there.”

“Umm.”

There it was – the hesitation again.

“What is it that you’re not telling me, Rosalie? Is Esme alright? Is Carlisle –“

“They’re fine.” She interrupted me. “It’s just… well I didn’t say that Bella had moved.”

What?

Yes she did, didn’t she?

I ran over our conversation in my head.

She never actually said that Bella had relocated.

So Bella wasn’t in Forks?

What did she mean?

Where was Bella if she hadn’t moved?

 

“They didn’t want to tell you, but I think that’s stupid. The quicker you get over this; the sooner things can get back to normal. Why let you mope in the dark corners of the world when there is no need for it? You can come home now. We can be a family again. It’s over.” Rosalie rushed through her words again, but saying them in an almost angry tone.

My mind seemed to be broken.

It wasn’t functioning once again.

I couldn’t make sense of her words.

It was like there was something really obvious that she was telling me, but I had no idea what it was. My brain played with the information, trying to decipher it.

 

“Edward?”

“I don’t understand what you are saying, Rosalie.”

There was a long pause, the length of several human heartbeats.

“She’s dead, Edward.”

My world stopped.

Rosalie was speaking but I barely heard a word she was saying.

“I’m…sorry. You have a right to know, though I think. Bella…threw herself off a cliff two days ago. Alice saw it, but it was too late to do anything. I think she would have helped though, broken her word, if there had been time. She went back to do what she could for Charlie. You know how she’s always cared for him –“

The phone went dead.

It took me a few seconds to realise that I had shut the power off as it drop from my hand and clattered to the floor.

 

I sat in the dusty darkness.

It was like time had stopped.

Like the universe had stopped.

It couldn’t be true. It was Rosalie playing a cruel trick on me – hoping that it would make me rejoin my family.

But I had to check, just in case.

 

Slowly, I reached around searching for my phone. I switched it back on and dialled the number I’d promise myself I would never call again.

If it was my love – I would hang up.

If it was Charlie – I would get the information I needed through subterfuge.

I would prove Rosalie’s sick joke wrong, and then return to my nothingness.

 

The phone rang for several seconds while I had my breath waiting for it to answer.

“Swan Residence.” Answered a voice. It was a man’s husky voice, deep but youthful.  It sounded familiar but I could not place it; my mind was otherwise occupied.

I didn’t pause to think of the implications of that.

“This is Dr. Carlisle Cullen.” I said, imitating my father’s voice perfectly. “May I please speak to Charlie?”

“He’s not here.” The voice spoke with anger, which simply surprised me. But that wasn’t important.

“Well, where is he then? I demanded, getting impatient.

There was a short pause and if the stranger wanted to hold information from me.

“He’s at the funeral.” The boy finally answered.

The phone died again as I crushed in my hand.

I died.

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