A/N… This is for Jenny (JenRar) for her birthday, which was yesterday, but I was running behind with it.
WARNING: This is completely un-beta'd and only half pre-read. LOL So all mistakes, comma drama, and general tense fuck-ups are mine. And I apologize in advance. If Jenny feels the OCD need to go in and clean up, then she's welcome to do so. ;) Love you, Jenny. I hope you had a fantastic birthday.
This started out as one thing, but slowly, it morphed into another thing, and finally, Edward just took over and wrote it himself. It started as a one-shot, but it took on a life of its own. It really was just a plot bunny I'd been toying with, and I'd considered contests and such, but really…this is fanfic at its best, which is the re-imagining of a fictional situation. ;) I love canon vamp, so I couldn't resist playing with NM again.
**This isn't Angelward or even Masen Manorward…it's not even Fate Interrupted Edward. This is all on its own. I just wanted to let you know.**
SUMMARY: Something is different about Edward, something that started in Italy, and he can't seem to get it under control. Canon, New Moon, AU, Edward POV, Rated M. For JenRar for her birthday
There are 5 short chapters, and 2 will post today, 2 tomorrow, and the last one will go up Wednesday. This is the only A/N I'll write until the last chapter goes up.
Please! Please! Kill me, kill me! Not him.
You know nothing about his soul…
These words echoed repeatedly in my head as we left Aro, Marcus, and Caius behind in the throne room. Of all the things I'd witnessed in my long years, those words carried more weight, more emotion than any I'd ever heard. For Bella to so selflessly offer herself up to the Volturi to save me was stupid and brave and everything I loved about her all rolled into one act. I wanted to shake her, but I wanted to kiss her until she could barely breathe. I wanted to inhale the scent of her – all the scents that swirled together to make up Bella as a whole; it was her blood, her skin, her hair. All of it was so much more potent after having been away from it for months.
Gone was the monster that wished to drain her. He no longer existed. Only the monster that had mated with her remained.
I'd heard the word in Aro's thoughts. I'd seen our unbreakable connection through Marcus's mind. I'd never wanted to admit it, but now that I had, I couldn't turn it off. I couldn't be bothered to worry about the impropriety that came with it all. I wanted her. She'd been mine, and I needed to make her mine again. I just didn't know if she'd let me.
"Do not leave until dark."
I nodded once to Demetri, trying my damnedest to ignore Alice's silent seething, but he'd already spun away to join the massacre going on in the throne room. It was the frantic and erratic heartbeat that I couldn't ignore if I'd tried. The presence of its sputtering meant Bella wasn't dead, that she was alive, breathing, and slowly shaking apart beneath my light touch to her shoulder.
Guiding Bella to the chair farthest away from the human, Gianna, who was manning the front desk, I carefully cupped Bella's face after pulling her gently to my lap.
"Shh, Bella. Deep breaths."
Where once I'd been able to see love and happiness, her brown eyes now held skepticism and pain. Tears welled up, and I quickly captured them, because to let them fall, would break me right there in the lobby of that godforsaken building.
"You look so tired, love," I sighed, shaking my head as guilt descended over me, but her tentative touch trailing lightly beneath my eyes, made my skin flare into a roaring flame. When she mentioned I was thirsty, I shook my head, feeling more guilt for another lie, but my thirst was inconsequential.
"You are an idiot," Alice hissed low enough that Bella and the receptionist couldn't hear with human ears. "She doesn't believe a damn word you say right now."
My head snapped around to face her, a growl building low, but I could see flashes of visions that she'd been withholding from me. My growl stopped as quickly as it had started, and my brow furrowed at the future Bella's silent decisions were causing Alice to see.
"She's letting you go this time, you ass!" Alice's hands balled up into fists as Bella curled closer to me, her grip harsh and frantic. "She's allowing you to leave again. I should… You need… I can't with you right now…"
I'd have laughed at Alice's inability to articulate if the subject matter had been anything other than my Bella, but it wasn't. More visions filtered through, despite Alice trying to cover them up with other thoughts. Bella's tear-stained face as she turned from me to find another way home from Sea-Tac; Bella's slow, meticulous, empty-eyed movements through Forks High School all alone; Bella telling me she simply needed to show she was alive, that I was free to do whatever I wished.
My gasp was soft, but I glanced between my sister and the only person on this entire planet that kept me alive.
"You lied to her!?" Alice continued, just barely audible in the large lobby. "You took every fear she had and threw it in her face. She should let you go. I hope to God she makes you work for it. You're a lot of things, Edward Cullen, but that…that was low."
She gazed around the lobby for a moment, and I held Bella closer on my lap, reveling in the heat of her breath on the skin of my neck. She was awake, just barely, but she was completely oblivious to the almost inaudible ranting of my sister.
"Edward, I've told you repeatedly that things would work out between you and Bella, and Jasper owes you his own apologies for that night, but I'm telling you… Using a teenage girl's fears against her just might be the lowest thing I've ever heard." Her nostrils flared as she faced me again. "Who does that to someone they love!?"
My sister shook with her rage. "You could've gotten all of us killed with this stunt you pulled, though I'll be having a long, loud talk with Rosalie when we get home for telling you the way that she did. And you're lucky Bella came with me. Had she not, you wouldn't be here." She pointed a deadly, shaking finger my way. "You'd better figure out how to fix it. She's my sister, she's the key to our family, and she's the reason you're still alive. I'm not leaving her again, and I'm pretty s ure you aren't either. But brother, she's lost more than just faith while you were gone."
"How?" I asked, unable to stop myself from touching Bella's hair, the skin of her arms, the fingers clinging to the wretched red robe the Volturi had given me to cover up my bare torso. And suddenly, I felt utterly naked, in spite of the robe, because my actions had been embarrassing and asinine. "How do I fix it, Alice?"
My question caught her off guard, and again, her visions were so vivid that they could have been my own colorful fantasies. They were wants and needs that I'd never allowed outside of my own bedroom or alone hunting. They were the deepest desires of a vampire for his mate, a man for a woman, and a husband for his wife. I wanted them all. I'd always wanted them, but I'd never trusted myself to give in, to articulate them, to even test them. Now the sight of them, the mere possibility that they could be the future made me feel like an animal in heat.
"She deserves better, Alice," I breathed into the top of Bella's head.
"Look at her," she growled through gritted teeth. "Does she look better off to you?" She shook her head slowly. "You both look like hell warmed over. I'd say this didn't exactly work the way you had wanted it to work, and now, you're not the only one after her heart."
The face of Jacob Black entered her thoughts, his canine stench, his smiling face, and his protectiveness of Bella that Alice had witnessed firsthand. The descendant of Ephraim Black was now a volatile wolf. The growl I let loose couldn't be stopped if I tried, and Bella sat up quickly, looking around with wide, scared eyes.
"I'm sorry, sweetheart," I soothed her, brushing her hair from her face as it took all I had to calm my instinct to claim her, mark her as mine, due to the mere idea of that dog. "I didn't mean to frighten you."
"Wh-What's wrong, Edward?" she whispered, glancing up as Gianna made her way to us.
"You may leave the castle now," she stated.
Gently, I set Bella on her feet, but her eyes stayed on Gianna for a moment before we turned to exit out of the Volturi's building.
"She knows," Bella muttered, glancing up at me when Alice slipped quickly and silently away to get us a means of transportation.
"Is that what she wants?" she asked, her brow furrowing
"It is, love. She's hoping they decide to keep her."
A short, light humorless laugh huffed out of Bella, but she merely nodded. She said nothing more on the subject. Actually, Bella remained eerily quiet throughout the entire journey out of Volterra and into Florence, where Alice stopped to get me some acceptable clothes and Bella changed into something fresher.
It was at the airport when I finally heard her voice again. Alice was browsing through a magazine stand across the way, warning me I needed to brace myself for questions. Bella's knees were pulled up, with her arms wrapped around them, and she turned to face me, resting her cheek on top.
"Why are you getting on the plane with us?" she asked.
I knew every expression my Bella had. I knew the sounds of her heart with every emotion. That question was posed with complete and total confusion.
Taking a deep breath, I glanced around the waiting area at the gate. We were, for the most part, alone in a corner by the window. I wasn't sure I wanted to have this conversation in such a public place, but I'd give her anything. I owed her everything.
Turning in my seat, I reached up to trail my fingers lightly down the side of her beautiful face. She was too thin, exhausted, and her heart was beating too fast for my liking. The latter was most likely due to the large cup of coffee she'd been sipping since we'd checked in at the gate.
"Bella, I…" I shook my head slowly. "I owe you the biggest of apologies. I owe you more than that. I owe you my life. As if it didn't already belong to you…" I muttered the last part, but she heard me.
"I don't… I'm confused, Edward. You said—"
"Everything I said to you was a lie, Bella," I interrupted, picking up her hand and kissing her fingers. "Every word I uttered in the woods that day was a black, blasphemous lie. I thought I could give you a chance to live. Really live, love. I thought if I removed my family and all the danger that surrounded you because of us, then you could—"
"Could what? Move on? Seriously?!"
"I thought you would. I didn't…" I sighed deeply, begging her with my eyes to understand my love for her was endless, boundless, and if need be, selfless. "I didn't know, Bella. I didn't understand all of this. I'm not perfect. I never was, and I never will be."
She narrowed her eyes at me, shaking her head slowly. "I trusted you with my life, my heart, but you've had one foot out the damn door since Phoenix."
"No, Bella, I swear…"
"Stop lying to me!" she hissed, her eyes blazing with the fire I'd missed so damned badly. "Just stop it! Everything about you changed after the ballet studio, and you know it. So what's different now? I'm alive, Edward. No more guilt. I didn't jump off a cliff to kill myself, I promise." She dropped her feet to the floor, turning to face me. "Let explain something. You were the one person I could trust. When you left, it didn't keep me safe."
"I'm well aware of Jacob Black, Bella."
She huffed an incredulous laugh, but my girl was mad. "I'm sure you are, with your all-knowing sister, but did you know about Laurent?"
My eyes widened, and I shook my head.
"Right, I ran into him in our meadow, Edward. The one place I thought I could find peace, where I thought I could breathe. He's now tainted that perfectly beautiful place, because he was there on Victoria's order to kill me. How's that for removing the threats, hmm? No, the only thing you did by leaving – by lying, so you say – is proving that when things get hard, Edward Cullen runs for the hills."
I was on my knees in front of her before she could spin away from me. "No, Bella. Please." When she turned her face away, I tilted it back with my fingers beneath her chin. "Please, let me earn your trust back. I'll… I've… Something's different." I tapped my chest, my brow furrowing at the change I could feel coursing through me. "I'll never lie to you again. I want you. I always have; I just didn't think I deserved you."
"Edward, I'll never be perfectly safe. It's never gonna happen, so if you're just going to bolt the next paper cut or the next time some foul beast comes after me, then pick a different plane. I can't do it. I was willing to figure us out together. You thought you knew better."
"I don't. I don't know anything other than I love you. Outside of that, I'm lost, love. We're meant to be together, you and me. And I'll spend the rest of my life proving it to you, erasing the lies I spewed that day, and earning your trust back."
"You hurt me."
"I know, and I'm sorry."
"I missed you so much," she said, her voice cracking on the last word, and I gathered her into my arms and kept her on my lap as I took my seat back.
When she buried her face into my neck, I told her everything. "I don't have words for how much I missed you, Bella. I had to kill a part of myself to let you go. I'll never do it again. I'll never lie to you again, either. Anything you ask of me is yours." I dropped kiss after kiss to the top of her head, and each one was like flames licking at my lips. "I can't pick a different plane, sweetheart. I was making my way back to you when I heard…when I thought you were…" I swallowed thickly against the pain that threatened to consume me. "Where you go, I go. Until you send me away, love."
"Please don't promise, Edward."
I smiled sadly against her forehead, savoring the feel of her body pressed against mine – something I'd never allowed before, but things had changed. I was different, and I'd been thoroughly proven wrong. I thought Bella would move on, but seeing Alice's visions, seeing the connection through Marcus, and hearing the word mate… All of it had changed me. I'd thought she was dead, but I could feel her heartbeat thump heavily against my chest as if it were my own.
"Time. I'll prove it over time, Bella," I whispered against her skin, and she clung to me a bit tighter. Her forgiveness and love and trust meant more to me than anything else.
"She still doesn't believe you," Alice spoke low as she took a seat across from us. "You can't go back to the way it was."
"No, I don't think you do, Edward," she hissed, barely controlling her anger toward me. "You can't be human, and she doesn't want you to be. You need to see that she accepts you for who and what you are. You also can't control it all this time around. And you need to do this without me. I let you see too much already. You have to do this alone." She shook her head slowly as her mind flicked through every magazine she'd just read at the stand just a few minutes ago. A small, slightly evil smile curled up the corners of her mouth. "Though, I have faith in you."
I snorted into a light laugh. "Thanks."
"Mmhm," she hummed lightly. "However, brace yourself for Charlie. He may shoot you."