Title: The Chasm
Summary: Edward watches Bella as she sleeps – for the "stay" challenge
Spoilers: Quote taken from p. 303
AN: Not mine at all. They all belong to Ms. Meyer.
"That was the first night I came here. I wrestled all night, while watching you sleep, with the chasm between what I knew was right, moral, ethical, and what I wanted."
"…and then, as you were sleeping, you said my name…"
Twilight p. 303
The moonlight spilling onto the floor provided the only source of light in the dark room, but then he didn't need much light to be able to see her with his inhuman eyes. Her features were etched into his mind with such detail he could close his eyes and still see her. The whiteness of her skin…with a slight blush on her cheeks. That blush served as a constant reminder of her humanity, and the chasm that would always separate her from him.
He watched her chest rise and fall in a steady rhythm, the sound of her breathing so loud against the stillness of the room. He found himself taking breaths in time with hers, wanting to match her, be equal to her on some basic level. It was an impossibility, of course, for her mortality made her far superior to him. It was a quality he had never envied in another being…
All these years, he had struggled against the beast inside of him, not so much hating what he was, but what it required to maintain his existence. Had it not been for the change, he would be long dead and he would have never been granted the opportunity to lay eyes on the amazing creature sleeping in front of him – never hear the lilt to her voice – never smell the fragrance of her skin. It was worth a century of blood to stand in her presence.
But now that he knew such a human, he was tempted far beyond what he had ever been tempted before. Her scent was so powerful, a simple wave of her hand effected him in undreamed of ways. In his imagination, he speculated on what it would be to taste her blood. She would most certainly be so potent his thirst would easily be satisfied with a few drops, but then he knew that once he would taste, he wouldn't be able to stop.
And yet, if he did partake of her blood, if he drained her of every drop of the crimson, life-giving liquid he so desperately craved, she would cease to exist. Her body would be limp, no more color to her cheeks, no more beating of that glorious heart.
There in was the trouble.
He wanted her alive and mortal…and yet he knew he couldn't have her in that way. He was too selfish a creature to only take a little and deny himself the whole prize. To be with her, to have her in his life would mean sacrificing the very essence of what drew him to her. He wanted her to be human, but he wanted her as a companion…like Esme to Carlisle. What's the old human saying? Have your cake and eat it, too?
She shifted in her sleep, tilting her head back and revealing to him the soft skin of her slender neck. His eyes were instantly drawn to the blood pulsing through the thick vein on the side. Oh, how easy it would be to drink from her. How he would savor the taste of her. He bent forward and inhaled her sweet fragrance. If he took what he wanted, he would lose her forever. And he wanted her for forever.
There was no way to win.
He stood up, never making a sound, and glanced down at her for what he assumed would be the last time. He would leave Forks tomorrow for some place far enough away that he would be free from this temptation. He closed his eyes and once more breathed in the smell of her, hoping it would last him for the rest of his tortured life.
And then she spoke his name.
He froze, wide-eyed and curious, like an animal caught in the headlights of an on-coming vehicle. He thought for a moment that his movement had somehow woken her up, but she was so still, deeply asleep. Had he imagined the sound of her voice? His eyes never left her face as he watched her mouth form his name once more.
The movement of her eyes behind her lids told him she was dreaming. More so, she was dreaming of him. He let the thought swim in his brain as he stood rooted to the spot, uncertain of how to precede.
And then he heard Esme's voice in his head. "No one should be alone." How many times had the others asked him to find a companion? She was the one. She was sent to him for this very reason. He knew it all the way to the bottom of his still, cold heart. It would be the most difficult challenge of his life, but she was worth it.
He smiled down at her and made his choice.