Title: Resurfacing (2/2)
Summary: Another wish-fulfillment New Moon AU. Edward comes back just in time to witness Bella's cliff-jumping incident.
Disclaimer: The whole Twilight universe rightfully belongs to its creator, Stephanie Meyer, and her publishers and whoever owns the rights to the story now.
I woke feeling warm, and safe, and happy for the first time since…
My mind shied away from that thought. He'd been in my dreams the night before, humming my lullaby, touching my face. Even now I could catch his scent on the air. As if he'd really been here.
I peered into the darkness, wondering why my bed felt so strange. My eyes landed on a splash of white – a person's back, I realized, a male person…someone with dark hair…he pulled a shirt over his head and turned around.
Oh. Not a dream, then – he was really here. And he had saved me yesterday, and he'd told me he still loved me. My heart settled back into a normal rhythm.
"Feeling better?" he asked, at my side in an instant.
"Yes," I said, though I could barely remember any moment before this one. I realized I was in his room, which was completely unchanged since I'd last been here, down to the blanket that covered me and the CDs in disarray on top of his stereo. That was such a strange thing about him – the way he'd leave his music strewn about when he got into one of his kicks. Something I'd pushed far to the back of my mind in my haste to repress the pain.
"Bella," he started in that gentle, coaxing voice he used when he wanted to know something I didn't want to tell him, "I need to know. Why did you do it? Why? Why would you choose to end your life?"
"I didn't – I wasn't trying to kill myself," I blurted out in my haste to correct the misconception. Then I realized what I would have to confess, should I explain – that I'd been hearing his voice in my head, and that I'd been taking unnecessary risks just to feel happy again…
"Then why, Bella?" he asked. His eyes, a deep brown from lack of feeding, begged an answer.
"You're going to think I'm crazy," I said, stalling.
"I've always thought you were crazy," he pointed out with a teasing but gentle smile. "Please, I want to know."
I sighed and turned my eyes away from him. It would be too hard to explain while looking into his eyes.
"After you left, I was basically going through my life in a trance. Until something happened in February. Charlie threatened to ship me off to Jacksonville if I didn't change, and I couldn't bear to go."
"Why not?" he interrupted softly. "Surely that would have been better for you, to get away from this place."
"Maybe, but being here was the only evidence I had that it had all happened…that you had really existed…I couldn't let go. If I had left, it would have been like the most meaningful part of my life had never happened, and I needed it to have happened because otherwise I would have had no reason to exist."
Edward touched my arm. "Is that why…?"
"No," I shook my head. "I told you, I wasn't trying to kill myself. I was afraid Charlie would send me away, though, so to prove that I was a functioning teenager I went to the movies with Jessica one night in Port Angeles. After the movie we were walking down a dark street, and there were four men across it, outside a bar. It – it looked so familiar that I found myself crossing the street. I still don't know why. I think I was subconsciously expecting you to show up and save me again."
"Bella," his low, sharp voice interjected. "Tell me you didn't – that they didn't –"
"No," I said again. "No, nothing happened. Because when I stepped out in the street, I heard your voice in my head telling me not to, and it was so…so clear, and when I heard it like that, it wasn't as painful as remembering was. It was like you were there with me again. So I did what your voice told me – I walked away, and Jessica has been convinced I'm insane ever since. And I started looking for ways to make it happen again.
"I wasn't sure why it had happened. I thought maybe it was because the scene had reminded me of you, so I came here, to see if it would trigger something, but all that did was emphasize the fact that no one was here anymore. And then one day I was driving home from work, trying to kill time, and I saw two motorcycles for sale."
"Motorcycles?" Edward said, his voice tight, restraining his anger. I winced.
"Yes. I…well, I was angry. I felt the need to rebel somehow, and I decided it wasn't fair, that I was keeping the promise I'd made to you to stay safe when you'd broken your promises. So I bought them both and I took them to Jacob Black because I knew he worked on cars."
I could feel the tension radiating from him as I spoke Jacob's name. I wondered what he was thinking.
"So you've been spending a lot of time with werewolves, have you?" Edward said, causing me to look up in surprise.
"How did you -?"
Edward glared. "The entire reservation reeked of werewolf. And Jacob, being a descendant of the last chief of the werewolves, has become one now, hasn't he?"
I sighed. "Yes, he has. But what are you so angry for? I know you're natural enemies and all, but you can't say it's all right for me to spend time with a vampire and not a werewolf –"
"Yes, I can, Bella. They are two very different things. And I don't particularly like you spending time with vampires to begin with."
I glared. "Jacob would never hurt me."
Edward stared hard at the opposite end of the couch. "What is your relationship with him?"
In the rigidity of his shoulders and the set of his jaw, I saw his insecurity, and something else, too – jealousy. I hated to cause him pain, but the sight still made me happy – proof that he still wanted me.
"We're only friends," I said, unable to prolong his anxiety. "He rebuilt the motorcycles and then he taught me how to ride one. He's wanted more all along, I think, but I couldn't give that to him."
Edward didn't comment on that, but returned to the other issue – the one I would have rather avoided. "You've been riding motorcycles?" His tone was deeply disapproving.
"Yes," I said, trying to be defiant. "And it worked – I heard your voice again, many times…until I learned to ride well enough that I was secure on the bike. And then it stopped working, and I knew then that it happened whenever I did something reckless or dangerous. So when I saw some boys cliff-diving, I decided I wanted to try it…and yesterday, I was alone. The pack had gone to hunt Victoria –"
"Victoria?" Edward hissed. "She's here?"
I didn't understand the dismayed look on his face. "She's after me, for what happened to James. Laurent told me."
"Laurent?" His voice was strained again.
"Er – yeah. I sort of ran into him when I went to the meadow…he was working with Victoria. But the werewolves showed up and…took care of him, I guess."
Edward dropped his head into his hands and muttered a curse.
"What is it?" I asked, worried. Had he decided that I really was insane and he didn't feel like putting up with me anymore?
"While I was away I was hunting Victoria. Christ, I was in South America and she was here…I should have never left. I should have known you would never be safe…"
"Edward," I said, a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, "It's not your duty to make sure I'm safe."
He looked up at me, shaking his head. "Bella, I don't try to keep you safe because I feel obligated to do so. I do it because I have to – because your pain is my pain, because I can't live in a world where you don't exist. …And I left you here jumping off cliffs just to hear my voice. Although at least that explains it."
"Explains what?" His distant gaze confused me.
"Why you didn't react when I spoke to you on the cliff. You thought it was in your head, didn't you?"
"You were there," I breathed, the idea not having occurred to me before. "And when I saw you in the water, it was actually you. I'm sorry," I added. "I should have realized…"
Edward shook his head, putting a finger to my lips. "You have nothing to apologize for. I caused all of this, and I only hope you can forgive me."
I sighed. "Don't be silly. I already have."
He sighed, too, with relief, and his cool, sweet breath drifted across my face, healing all the wounds that had been open since he'd left.
"Will you lie with me?" I asked, tugging fruitlessly on his arm in an attempt to get him onto the couch. He smiled at my unsuccessful attempt and humored me, stretching out along side me. He tucked the blanket securely around me, and then his arm came around my waist, as hard and cold and inhumanly perfect as ever. I leaned into him, taking in his scent, concentrating on the feel of his hand on my back and his lips on my hair, and for the first time since he'd left, I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be.