Chapter 2

Author's notes: Thanks to the appreciation I got for the oneshot. Thanks to you all, my ficlet has become the start of something wonderful. Just a warning—there is very brief language in this chapter. I apologize to those who may be offended, but I feel it is necessary to the character's dialogue, especially in this kind of desperate situation…

The chapter name comes, yet again, from the marvelous Emily Dickinson.

Without any further prattle—ladies and gents, the continuation of "No Life but This"!

--Bella's POV--

"You know, Rose, I think you're overreacting a bit—''

"What?" She shrieked back at distraught Emmett. Tossing her perfect blonde hair back over her shoulder in a furious way, the fire in her gold eyes intensified. Rosalie was angrier than I had ever seen her. Presently her gaze flickered to me. I shrank back next to Alice.

"You do realize you have no reason to be angry at Bella?" Alice snarled through gritted teeth. "This is her choice."

Rosalie's head snapped back from Emmett to Alice, and if possible she looked even more livid than before.

"Bella? You think I'm angry with Bella!"

Alice's face softened a little. "…You're… not?"

"Of course not!"

I breathed out deeply, feeling the heartbeat in my chest slow down from its race. Rosalie eyes returned to me. As if making an effort to calm, she closed her eyes—and when they opened, I could see some strange emotion that hadn't been there before, directed to me.

"Bella," she began in a soft, firm tone, "I'm not objecting to this because I wouldn't want you and Edward to be together. But this—'' and she gestured around her, to Emmett, Alice, and herself, "Is nothing you'd ever want. You don't understand what it means, to become one of us."

"She understands enough, Rosalie," retorted Alice, although most of the anger in her face was gone. "What she doesn't understand now, she will. And you have to consider the alternative… Do you really want Edward…?" she trailed off.

The end of her sentence caught my attention.

"What?" I asked, my voice coming out high and quiet. "What about Edward?"

Three pale faces all glanced at me with grave and sympathetic eyes. My curiosity peaked.

"What would happen to Edward if I hadn't made this choice?"

Alice turned her eyes back to Rosalie in a glare, as if blaming her for what she had said. I suppose she hadn't meant to say it in front of me.

"He loves you, you know," she began gently, "So what would you do in his place? If he had died, and you had to live for the rest of eternity without him?"

My mind sifted through this, and in a moment I recognized what she was saying.

"You mean he would've hurt himself!" I was shouting, suddenly angry. "Tried to kill himself!"

All three traded uneasy glances with each other.

"I can't believe that! He was willing to leave me human! When he knew I'd be without him, and he would've killed himself!"

I was still fuming by the time I reached the bottom of the stairs, all of them trailing behind me. Carlisle looked up from his book at the table in the huge dining room, touching Esme's arm in a warning gesture. She was already standing up.

"Bella, darling, where are you going?" She sounded so motherly and sincere then. I almost felt bad for alarming them all with my anger.

I turned around to speak to all of them, breathing to calm myself.

"I'm going home to think for a while. When they get back, please tell Edward I need to see him."

By 'they' I meant Edward and Jasper. They had gone for a 24-hour hunt down the coastline. Carlisle nodded.

"Be careful, Bella." He said quietly.

"I will. I'm sorry."

They all seemed to understand, and the silence followed me as I walked out their door to my truck.

He would consider it? He would actually consider hurting himself? Over me?

I climbed into the car feeling satisfied when the door of the truck slammed and a few flecks of rusty red paint chipped from the edge. The seatbelt snapped into place, and I was off with the groan of the old engine humming to life. The roads were wet, as usual. I had to pull myself from black thoughts a few times when the wheels of the truck slid over the pavement too easily for comfort. Luckily, our house wasn't too far from the Cullen place.

Charlie was there to greet me when I returned. His face was curious, seeing my angry expression. I tried to shake it off and climb up the stairs to my room. Charlie was not letting go so easily.

"How did shopping with Alice go?"

I shrugged.

"What's wrong, Bells?"

I could not do this. Ignoring Charlie's curiosity had consequences, especially since the brunt of his suspicion would fall on the Cullens.

"Just something Alice said about Edward…"


"Nevermind. It doesn't matter. I'll ask him about it tomorrow." Tomorrow meaning tonight.

Charlie looked uneasy. Poor man—my dad had probably never imagined a daughter would mean mood swings and obsession over boys… well—one "boy" in particular. Each time he saw me I had something to say or do that involved Edward. "Well," he said in an unsettled mumble, "If you need me I'll be down here."

I threw him a small, sincere smile. "Thanks, Dad."

He didn't hide his surprise. I hadn't yet called him 'Dad' since I decided to stay in Forks. He beamed at me.

"Goodnight, Pumpkin Head."

I wrinkled my nose in distaste at his hideous nickname for me. I certainly hadn't been called that since I was nine years old. But I kept the smile as I walked up the stairs.

My mood returned when I stepped into my room and closed the door behind me. How could he even have considered leaving me human when he knew the results otherwise? How could he have thought it wouldn't matter to me? Behind the anger I could feel a growing sense of fear. Oh, God. What if he changed his mind about changing me? Would he actually do it? I shuddered.

"You're looking cross." I think my heart stopped for a moment at the voice suddenly coming from the window. As silently as he had come, Edward was latching it shut.

I glared. His eyebrows shot up, disappearing beneath the curtain of perfect bronze hair arrayed across his forehead.

"I think I should know why you're angry with me. Especially since you seemed to be only after coming home from a visit with my family."

"Alice didn't tell you? Well, that's too bad. Maybe you should just go and off yourself in case the shock is too much."

The words came out much sharper than I intended. Edward winced.

"That? You're angry with me because of that?"

His tone was so…blasé. I felt a surge of strong rage well up, and almost couldn't speak. I wanted to shout. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. He was my Edward—someone I loved more than life itself. I would have gladly given all the life I had to keep him from harm or hurt. And nothing in the world was worth his pain. Not even me. Especially not me.

"I can't believe you'd even…" I couldn't trust my voice anymore. It trailed off as my voice cracked on the last word, the only outward messenger of my anguish. My love—my Edward—dead. It was more than I ever wanted to imagine.

He looked at me with alarm. In a stride he crossed the room to me and put his cool hands on my shoulders.

"I will never leave your side, Bella. Listen to me. I will never leave you so long as there is hope for you. Do you understand?"

I could not even nod my head. My vision swam before me, tears of anger and hurt and love mingled with a slowly declining panic—all threatening to send me into an emotional uproar. I did not notice before, but the day's realization had built a stream of steady terror in me. Edward could one day not be there. The anger—that was just the shallow framework of my fear.

Edward held me while I forced back the tears. My throat ached and my breath came out in shuddering gasps, but I refused to cry. There would be no loss, no reason for anger or pain. He was with me. I would not ever see a day when Edward Cullen drew his last breath. I swore this to myself.

When I finally regained some control, Edward led me to sit on the bed. He took my hands, kneeling down on the floor in front of me.

"Isabella Marie Swan. I will never leave you." His face was fierce, beautiful. I couldn't look away. "I will always love you, always be with you, no matter what."

"Promise me, then!" My tone was quiet, weak even to my ears. But we both heard the streak of steel behind the words. "Promise me you'll never in a thousand years harm yourself, even if something happens…" He let out a hiss of breath quietly, as if in pain. I went on. "Even if I go in the next five minutes or get hit by a bus tomorrow, or even fucking die a shriveled old lady in eighty years!—you won't ever even consider it!"

He hesitated for a moment.

"I don't ever want to have to feel like this, Edward," I said, finally regaining a little calm. "Not ever again."

"Alright. I promise, Bella."

I breathed again.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Well, there you have it. Chapter two. Hopefully my muse, Edward (original, I know) will keep this going for a nice fat story. I appreciate any comments; critical, praise or otherwise. My love for flames has limits, though. (winks). Until next chapter!