AN-GASP! I've returned from the dead. No, seriously, I am really sorry that it's taken so long for me to update. Now, this chapter is deceivingly short, (No, really. Hahaha) but trust me, it is extremely vital. It encompasses a major choice that Edward has to make, and the outcome could change the entire plot of the story, so enjoy! Be sure to read it slowly, it seems a little more significant that way.

Thanks to my incredible betas Aine and Alcyone for helping me –finally—put words onto paper here.

I put this chapter through a slight revamp—I wasn't completely satisfied—so I hope you like the changes!

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I told myself

I won't go away,

I let you believe

I was here to stay.

I heard you speak

This is the greatest day.

I watched you weep

Now I want to pray.

Lord make it go away.

I can't deal with me today.

What am I supposed to say?

Damn I want to pray.

Damn I want to pray.

-Ethan Christ

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Doubt.

What a strange, powerful emotion that can leave your insides writhing in absolute disgust, your stomach churning, a tightening of your throat, a sudden itch suffusing your hands.

Edward absently touched his abdomen with a cold hand, utterly hating himself.

He had a choice to make.

It wasn't one that usually fell to the lot of mortals. It shouldn't fall to anyone, now that he thought about it. No, the choice he had to make was somewhere between the selfish need to survive and the overwhelming desire to do what is right.

He cursed the nature of his being, once again. The demon that he was. He felt he was to blame, for her memories, for her confusion, for everything. Of course, this time, it wasn't actually his fault. Those blasted dogs may have thought he was in the car, not Bella, but that was beside the point. What happened was atrocious enough.

And it was his fault he wasn't there in time.

This is my chance, he thought bleakly.

This is my chance to walk away. Bella will never know who I am. She won't ever miss me; she won't go through any of this ever again. I'll stick around long enough to eradicate Victoria, and then I'll go. Disappear from her life—forever. I can do it this time.

It'll be as if I never existed.

When faced with his own words once more, Edward cringed. The fatal, flawed words seemed so excruciating when faced with the fact they very well could be true. For with painful clarity, Edward remembered Brazil. And he remembered his suffering—the pain was so potent that it was as if he lived it all over again.

Curled into a tight ball, his face was buried under the crook of his arm, shielded from the faint ray of light peeking through a crevice in the wall and diffusing the repulsive scent wafting from the refuse heap nearby. This creature did not even stir, not to blink nor to breathe.

His agony was time-tested. It was the weight of a thousand years of suffering resting directly on his shoulders, and only one image of pure light dulled his torture.

He replayed images of his lost love in his mind at a frantic speed. Sometimes, he would try to let go, and let his mind get lost in them. The only light in his life existed in his memories.

His pleasant thoughts came at a cost, though. With these memories came the haunted visions of her pain, and the pulsing ache of his self-loathing. He was addicted to his memories of love, but they were only memories—they only ebbed at the agony that suffocated him.

"Keeping her human is more important than anything else in the world."

His mantra played in reverb again and again, but it couldn't extinguish the acidic fire burning his blackened heart.

And indeed it is black, he decided, as indecision morphed into something concrete. For I already know what I'm going to do. I knew it all along, didn't I? I'm too weak to choose what's best for her. No, forced between self-survival and the deepest love—the right choice!—I am the lowest of cowards, aren't I? So quick to choose my own needs above all others. I can't let her go.

How terribly selfish.

No, he could not do it. He could not make the choice his mind screamed at him to make. He felt the burning of his resignation engulf him, and the demonic monster within him cackled with glee—for it had won. Not just the battle, but the war itself.

Because Edward did not choose what he knew was right. He chose wrong, and he loathed himself for it.

How could a choice be right when it is impossible to make? Carlisle had quoted a passage for him once, " God does not give you to temptation what you do not have the power to resist. He always leaves a back door."

Indeed, Edward was powerless. He was powerless to resist the draw of the only happiness he had ever known. In that definitive moment, he knew what he had to do.

He could not leave; he was too despicably weak. So he had to find another way.

He'd have to help her remember somehow. Their entire life together—those perfect moments in time—was hidden behind a wall blocking her memories. He'd break it down.

And if he couldn't, he'd make her fall in love with him all over again.