Righto, loyal readers. this one is a rewrite of the scene where Edward almost kills Bella when they are walking back from Jacob's place. I dont really know what possessed me to write it, but it sort of took me over, and honestly, I think this is the best one yet. I tried not to just be a dialouge repeat too much, but some of it could not be helped, so bear with me through those parts and enjoy the rest, okay?
enjoy, oh you lovely readers, you :p
"Edward, I am more than capable of locating something I dropped," she asserted. I had to smile. Even though her human eyes were so much less attuned than mine, her steps slower, her reflexes and dexterity not as sharp as mine she always insisted on doing things for herself. That was perhaps one of the things that amazed me most about Bella, my own personal seraph. Because she was mine, as I had come to discover, mine to love and soon mine to have for eternity as my wife, my confidant, my best friend, perhaps my lover.
And oh how I loved her in those moments, watching her walk slowly, weaving her steps in a serpentine pattern to locate her lost key. If I hadn't been so focused on watching her I surely could have located it, even from where I was. But I was content to watch her walk with that concentrated expression on her perfect face, her lower lip between her teeth in her most telltale of expressions.
With her back to me I heard small gasp and almost her mental 'aha!' as she bent down to retrieve a precious trinket that she would have been devastated to lose, especially so soon after recieving it. She turned to me and held it up in childlike triumph, clearly pleased with herself. It was all the strength in me not to go and run to her right then, sweep her feet out from under her, catch her in my arms and kiss her breathless. She slid the brass key in her left pocket, the one sans hole, and then began her slow and purposeful trek toward me. In some other moments I would have grown impatient with her seemingly mocking slowness, but with Bella it only gave me more time to admire her as she took each and every careful step in my direction.
Until I saw—too late of course, for it seems the most important moments are always caught too late, are they not?—her tiny foot catch in a tree root. It snagged her toes and brought her to the ground. I was too far away to catch her, even though it would have been possible for me to be at her side I could not cross that distance in time to catch her fall completely, as would have been necessary. And she could not regain her balance fast enough to keep from toppling over. I knew she was clumsy, a danger magnet if there ever was one, but I hadn't predicted this moment, as idiotic as that seemed.
And as soon as her hands, perfect and fragile and pale, scraped across the rough ground I felt my body literally tear in two. I ruptured, I cracked and crumbled and burned and ached and screamed inside. There was blood on the ground, blood in the air, blood filling my nose and mouth, starving me, maddening me even though I wasn't breathing. I had taken one, surprised, unknowing breath and with that had come the smell of her blood and the temptation therein. I stood my ground, balling my hands into fists, straining every muscle in my body. Everything in me, every single last fiber of my being was vying to attack her and I, the man, the conscience, the one who loved Bella…I was fighting. Somewhere in my rational mind I was still processing the situation. I saw as she wiped her hands on her dress and then looked down at her hands in confusion and fear. She said my name. I heard it somewhere, filtering through the air, into my ears, ringing with some distant sound that was like familiarity.
"Edward, please, its Bella," she said quietly, knowing full well I could hear her. I knew who it was. That was the worst part, never in my mind had I forgotten who she was, what her lovely face did to my still heart. But I wanted to kill her more than I wanted to kiss her. So I did the only thing I cold manage to do.
I told her to run.
But she paused. She waited, hesitated, as though unsure of what I had said. I didn't have time for her to cautious or questioning. I just needed her to go.
"RUN!" I shouted, as loud as I could, almost being able to see the echo of my voice as it rang through the air and touched her perfect face. She looked as though I had shocked her, and then finally, mercifully, she did as I asked, and ran.
What I hadn't realized was that her running away only made the instincts dig deeper into me and take hold with a firmer grasp. It was the instinct of the hunt and now my prey was running and my body was begging for a chase.
"No…no I can't…its Bella, Bella, your fiancée, you love her…" I reasoned with myself. But in the end the answer was always the same.
She was food, first and foremost. She was prey, blood, a meal and she was getting away.
And so, slowly, with pain unlike anything I had ever experienced, I began walking in her direction, the scent of her blood so much stronger as I followed her path. She was still bleeding, drops making her trail so evident I could almost see it leading me to her.
"STOP!" I commanded in a fervent whisper. I couldn't kill her, couldn't take her precious life, couldn't take her light and snuff it out forever. But the thirst, oh the thirst was eating up my insides, tearing me apart, ripping me to shreds and still begging, pleading, shouting, screaming for me to hunt her down and kill her, drain her tiny body of every drop of blood it housed and slake the hunger that twisted into every crevice in my body and made me burn. And so for every moment I stopped—countless times, so many hundreds of thousands when I thought I had the strength—I was propelled forward with the promise of blood and a meal well earned. Fighting my urges, my instincts, my very being only made me thirst more, made it harder to resist.
As I got closer I could hear her panted breath, smell her stronger, hear the sounds her feet made on the ground as she found her footing and continued to run. When I heard her stop, my heart dropped to my feet. No, Bella, please keep going…if you stop now I will catch you…
I didn't know how long I had been following her, how far the distance was, if she was tired, or exhausted, or she simply couldn't go on. Was the monster I was forcing her to the point of collapse?
And then I saw her.
For a moment seeing her body, frail and precious, heaving with every gasping breath, grasping that stupid key that had caused this trouble in one shaking hand, face blank of emotion but still wide and wondering, made me pause. I was strong enough. I could keep from killing her. The scent was strong, sure, and it made me ache in ways I had never known a person could ache in all my days and weeks and months and years. But she was Bella, my Bella, my love. I could keep it together.
But I couldn't. The monster in me roared up unexpectedly and took me over. I took a step forward and in a moment of uncharacteristic noise, broke a twig beneath my feet. She instantly turned. For a moment relief crossed her face, and immediately following it came understanding. For that single moment she had thought I was her Edward, the loving, careful, in control Edward she loved so much. But then she realized I wasn't, I was a monster, a beast, undeserving of anything she cold give me, even the blood my own body called for so strongly.
"Bella," I whispered, trying to tell her I was sorry, trying to tell her I never meant to hurt her, trying to tell her that I loved her one more time before I lost control completely. It was coming soon, I could feel it. I was shaking, utterly trembling all over as the scent of her so close, the sight of the blood dripping slowly from her hand made me burn and tremble and die inside.
"Yes, Edward, it's Bella. I love you, Edward, and you love me, remember that. Please remember that," she said quietly. And how I tried. Oh how I tried to fight with every inch of my control every day's worth of restraint I had acquired and even days beyond what I had lived I mustered in that moment. But it wasn't enough.
Neither was the fear. There was so much of it in her eyes. She was shaking now too, only her quaking out of fear, mine out of thirst. She was afraid of me, terrified even, of what I was going to do, what I was capable of. It killed me to know I was frightening her.
"I'm so sorry," I managed to say. I didn't know what part of my mind had retained sanity in the wake of such an aching need, but whatever it was had managed to speak. I opened and closed my hands, loosing and retightening them in succession.
"Edward―" she began. But in that time I lost it. There was nothing left for either of us to do. I was going to kill her, it was as simple as that. She was as good as dead because I was a monster and I couldn't control myself. But even those thoughts were secondary as the idea of her blood, luscious, hot, sweet and delicious flowed through her mind like it soon would through my mouth and down my throat. There would be no satisfaction like the taste of her blood in my mouth.
"So sorry," I murmured. That fear flashed through her eyes again and it ripped different pain through me, but it wasn't enough. My love, she just wasn't enough. Nothing was. Not the sounds being made my something in the forest, the fear in her eyes, my own pleadings, or her profession of love in what she must have assumed to be her last moments. I took a step toward her.
And then motion exploded. Alice snatched her away from me, my perfect little prey, my Bella, my love, my meal, and Emmett held me back, with a struggle, to keep me from going after her. I wanted to chase her down and drink her dry, and at the same time, the sane part of me was practically rejoicing that someone had stopped me. Without them I would have killed her.
Once she was gone, really gone, with Alice too fair away from me to even think about her scent or her blood or her body or how much I had wanted to kill her, the guilt began to set in. Emmet must have felt it in my body and he let me go, his arms slackening around me and letting me find my own feet and walk. As soon as I hit the ground I felt like dying. I could think clearly now and I could see the look in her eyes—she had been afraid of me. She had been scared stiff, had run to the point of exhaustion, had accepted death and still professed love of all things to me when she was sure I was going to murder her. What a beast I was, a monster, a murderer. I was unworthy of her love, her time, anything and everything she was.
"I was going to kill her, Emmett. I was going to take her life, I was going to. There was nothing stopping me―not her fear, not her love, nothing. She was going to de by my hand because of my thirst, because of what I was. I…she must hate me right now. She must hate me," I muttered, so very sure of the validity of that statement. And then on top of the grief and guilt, the ponderous heavy, weighted feeling that sat on my chest because of what I had done, came the anger. Although anger wasn't really the word for it; it was rage.
I flew into a frenzy of movement, angry, terrible movement. I knocked down trees, ripping them from the ground by their very roots, threw boulders across the woods, cutting straight through other trees, breaking their trunks in half with the weight and solidity and force behind it. I could hear Emmett trying to catch my attention but there was nothing in my mind but the memory of her telling me she loved me.
"Yes, Edward, it's Bella. I love you, Edward, and you love me, remember that. Please, remember that."
Just the thought of her voice in my mind, my unworthy ears and my startlingly disgusting being, made me furious. Who was I to claim this angel as mine when I had been so ready to kill her? What a beast I was, a selfish beast at that, to lay claim to such a creature when I was going to destroy her. I had told her she was the only thing that made this life worthwhile, made this existence worth going through, and yet there I had been, on the edge of crouching and springing into action, taking her down and forcing her life, her precious, sacred human life, from her gorgeous body.
And in the midst of my anger and guilt Alice appeared.
She shouted for me and I stopped finally, her high pitched voice bringing my motion to a halt. Emmett wondered briefly what it was about her voice that made me stop that he couldn't manage, but then decided he didn't care, it only mattered that it had.
"I'm so sorry, Alice, so sorry. God, she must hate me. She hates me…oh Bella, I'm sorry…" I whimpered.
"She doesn't hate you," Alice assured me. I opened my moth to protest and then I heard her thoughts. The single phrase, innocuous in its intensions, not meant to spur action did just that.
Carlisle is probably in the middle of changing her as we speak, anyway.
I didn't mean to, but I snarled. He couldn't change her, he just couldn't. Not after this, not before I had a chance to apologize and make her see I was not good enough for her, that she was better than me, that she should just go before I hurt her for real. I could see Alice understood what was happening, but before either she or Emmett had the chance to change my mind or make me stop, I ran. I was faster than either of them and with a speed I had never before mustered I was in my house. What I saw in my kitchen turned my stomach and instantly made me more furious than I had been before.
Bella's hands were bandaged and they were resting lightly in her lap as my father's lips neared her perfect, graceful neck intent on biting her. He was going to kill her, change her, make her a woman not my Bella because I was stupid and selfish and weak. Who was I to rob the world of her light? And who was Carlisle to be the vessel of my selfishness?
He heard my entrance because he had a moment to snap open his eyes and look at me questioningly before I crossed the room and slammed him against the wall my he throat. Obviously I was not hurting him, I could have if I so wished but I didn't want to hurt him.
Edward…relax, please, she is okay…
"What the hell do you think you are doing to her?" I demanded, without answering his thought.
"Only what she asked me to, Edward," he replied.
Talk to her, my son. She isn't angry—anything but.
"Edward, listen to me. We both knew this was coming. We both knew it was going to happen. You told her you wanted her to be with you forever, how else was she supposed to achieve such a thing?"
I snarled at him and wordless shoved him back against the wall again hard enough to shake the house to its foundations.
"Edward!" Bella practically screamed. When I didn't answer, too afraid to look at the woman I had wronged in such a sinful, way she said my name again. This time I couldn't ignore her. I turned the slightest bit. She slid down from the counter and looked at me, asking me to look at her. When I looked at her fully she seemed calm, and involuntarily I let my father go. In my peripheral vision I saw him go, but my focus was on my Bella. I smelled the salt in the air of tears welling in her eyes as she informed me of something I already knew.
"He is not the one you're mad at."
She always surprised me with how well she knew me. I felt something inside me break, so like when I had first smelled her blood, only this time it was a different part of me. Whatever was left of my soul had just died, slipped away and was lying on the floor between us. I didn't know what it felt like to cry, but if there was any experience comparable as a vampire, this was it. I was holding back the sobs that threatened to tear their way out of my chest and into the air through my mouth. I didn't want to do that in front of her, but when she took that one, fateful step in my direction and held her arms out to me, bandaged hands and an offer of comfort and forgiveness, telling me she didn't hate me like I was so convinced she did, I couldn't help it. After a moment of shock I stepped toward her and fell into her embrace. I sobbed shamelessly. I let it shake me and her, let it break me down, let the shame, guilt, sadness, fear and self-loathing come out with those wracking, painful cries.
Eventually I was able to pull myself together in some way and look at her. The tears had fallen from her eyes and had dried on her cheeks, leaving a streak of red and salt down her pale face. She was so lovely even then. And I was monstrous.
"I am so sorry, Bella. There is nothing I could ever do to make this better, I know. And I know that I can't ask you for forgiveness, because there is no excuse for the way I behaved. I epitomized the dark side of my nature and I put you in danger and for that I will never be able to forgive myself but―" I said, but she cut me off, with three words I didn't think it would have been possible to utter at that moment.
"Edward, it's okay."
With that I released myself from her embrace, no matter how much it pained me to do so and stared at her unabashedly, in shock and awe and complete disbelief.
"I tried to kill you, Bella. What part of that did you miss? I wanted to murder you and the only reason I didn't is because Alice and Emmett managed to get to us in time and save you. I wasn't going to change you or hurt you; I was going to kill you. What about that is okay?" I argued. But to my surprise, and Bella's too it seemed, she argued right back.
"Are you forgetting that you fought it? That you battled the monster within you to let me get away? It's impossible, what you did. Carlisle could do it, Esme, Emmett, Alice, Rosalie, maybe even Jasper if he got away fast enough, but you? You're barely three years old and you resisted. Not blood of a woman walking by, not my blood as we stood next to each other, but blood that had spilled from my hands, out in the air. I watched you; I saw it. You fought. And even though you caught up with me in the forest, I don't think you would have killed me. I don't think you had it in you. You're better than the beast you make yourself out to be, Edward."
But she didn't understand. She thought she had seen the good in me win the ultimate battle. What she had been witnessing in reality was the good in me watching as the beast took over and prepared to commit the ultimate sin. If I hadn't been damned before, killing Bella would have done it as surely as the sun rose. And so I fought with her, tried to make her see, make her understand I was no good for her. But she was having none of it. She wouldn't hear a word I was saying, bringing up our love, the one thing I couldn't refute. I couldn't lie to her and tell her I didn't love her it just wasn't possible. And so she used that against me, even as I argued, even as I told her that love wasn't going to keep her safe. She reminded me of a promise I had made her earlier, not to ever leave her for her own good. I had made her recount her days without me after I had been changed to remind myself why I couldn't possibly leave her. But I hadn't factored this into the equation when I made that promise.
"Bella, listen―" I tried to argue. But she stopped me with more of her forceful words.
No you listen, Edward. I don't know if Alice showed you or not, but there were times, several times, more than once a day in fact, that I thought about killing myself when you were gone. I would have gone through with it, but I didn't, because there was some semblance of a chance that you would come back for me, and remember who I was and love me still. I lived for you. If you leave me now, I'm as good as dead."
And with that statement she had successfully eradicated any defense I had for my argument. Any point I had for our debate was obliterated with those words. There were times, several times, more than once a day in fact, that I thought about killing myself when you were gone.
I understood why Alice would never have shown me those visions, in the interest of preserving my little sanity in those months, but knowing this now…she had wanted to kill herself? If there was any doubt of the truth of those words it was destroyed when I looked in her eyes, in which I saw a shadow of that pain and the resolve. She had wanted to end her life. If Alice had visions of it, it meant that she had gone so far as deciding it a few times.
And her last words. If you leave me now, I am as good as dead. If she was trying to blackmail me into staying with her it was working. The idea of her dead, anywhere, ever, by my hand, hers or anyone else's made me sick to my stomach.
"Do not ever say such a thing again," I warned her. She was not to even think such ludicrous things.
"Then don't ever talk about leaving me again, for my own good, because of your insane logic or reasoning. I don't want to hear it. I don't want to know if you think I'm better off without you, I'm not. The best place—the only place for me—is right here with you," she told me. She drove a hard bargain, that woman of mine. But even though I was afraid of her future, her safety, my inadequacy as her fiancée and future husband and what I could give her and what she deserved—so much more than me of course—there was a part of me that rejoiced that she wasn't willing to give up so easily. She was not going to let me go. She had told me once that I had been so stubborn when she had tried to leave me in the same manner. Perhaps our mutual obstinacy was a sign that some things just couldn't be changed.
"Oh Bella, Bella, whatever am I going to do with you?" I asked rhetorically, but she grinned.
"Hmm, well…you could always love me forever," she suggested. I smiled back at her.
"You think so, do you?" I asked innocently. She nodded in vigorous agreement.
"Oh yes. It seems the only viable option left."
There was a pause in our humor in which I asked for forgiveness. She gave it without pause, or even a second thought. She made sure to tell me that apologizing for what I was. I in turn managed to tell her, in the face of such a stunning display of kindness and forgiveness, that she astounded me, though that did not even begin to cover what she did to me. Without words I cupped her delicate cheeks in my hands and stared into her eyes. I could feel the frown on my face as I looked, feel the way my heart dropped down to my feet and then rose into my throat in succession. She had no idea what she did to me.
"I love you," I told her, making sure she understood that I meant it more now than I had ever meant it before. I couldn't remember my human life and what I had felt then, but I knew this emotion, the love that seeped and leaked through every cell in my being was more than anyone had ever felt for another person ever in the history of humanity or vampires or any other creature on the planet. And when she told me she loved me back, the ultimate forgiveness, the ultimate redemption, the ultimate gift a man could ever receive I kissed her gently, not sure of my control and reveled in the feeling of her kiss.
Oh how I loved her.
I would gladly do so forever.