Nothing about the house had changed- to human eyes that was. No human could have noticed the subtle changes; the ivy that was just that bit longer, the more weathered old windowsill, but I had spent so long crouching outside her window every detail had been etched into my brain. It was those memories, and others, that had kept me alive, well, existing, all that time. It had killed me of course, every time I even thought her name, my chest tore open yet again, so painfully I could have sworn my heart was still beating, and being ripped out over and over again. But it was worth it, just to see those memories of Bella in my mind. Bella, my only love… but I had left to keep her safe. Being with me was so dangerous, it was sure to kill her some day, either because of the dangers I constantly exposed her to, or Jasper would lose control again, or… the thought was so terrible, but… it could be me, me that lost control one day around her horribly delicious blood. All those reasons to stay away, to keep her safe. So why was I crouching outside her window right now, only six months later, albeit six months that had seemed like sixty years. Dammit! How could I be so selfish? Why couldn't I think of something apart from myself and my own heartache for once? I deserved nothing, especially not Bella, not I, the monster who had killed so many I had stopped counting their numbers. No, Bella belonged to someone who had a right to such an angel.
But she chose you a voice in my head whispered. She had the whole world to choose from, and she chose the monster. It killed her when you left. Go back to her.
I frowned, pinching the bridge of my nose. Every cell in my body screamed at me to go back to Bella, to climb through her window like I had a thousand times before, and lie with her, hearing her mumble my name in her sleep, kissing every inch of her beautiful face. I remembered something I had once said to her, when I had been explaining why I wasn't going to kill her. Mind over matter, I had said. Mind over matter. I was strong enough to keep myself away from Bella.
Oh, who was I kidding? The mere fact that I was here at all instead of hundreds of miles away, tracking Victoria, proved I was too weak to stay away, selfish creature that I was.
Suddenly I stiffened, as a scream rent the night. A scream I knew, from a thousand near-death experiences, not of them mine of course. Bella's scream. Her heartbeat was rocketing, sending that delicious blood rattling round her veins, but I wasn't even thinking about her blood. All I knew was that Bella, my Bella, for all the lies I had told her as I left, was screaming in fear.
I didn't even think after that. I was in though the window, landing gracefully on the floor, and beside her in an instant. Beside my Bella again. Even though her sleeping face was still contorted in pain, I felt more at peace than I had for months. Suddenly, I was back where I belonged. My heart suddenly seamed to burst back into existence, my eyes opened again. Gently, I stroked her face, willing her back to peaceful sleep. I did not want her too wake just yet, wake and scream at me to get out, to leave her alone. I knew she could never forgive me for the pain I had caused her, and rightly so. But just now, just for a little while, I could lie with her, stroking her cheek with my cold fingers and gently humming her lullaby. Even after all this time, it came easily. Maybe it had always been on the tip of my tongue, part of me, just as she was. Her familiar heartbeat soothed me. I remembered how I used to be able to pick it out from a room full of strangers, how it used to jump erratically whenever I touched her.
Bella's breathing calmed, her heart beat slowed. It felt as if nothing had changed, as if this was just another night as I watched her sleep.
"Edward" she murmured, "I love you"