A collection of scenes from Edward's perspective that picks up where chapter one of Midnight Sun leaves off
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. All rights reserved.
Author's Note: This story is exactly what the summary says: a collection of scenes from Edward's perspective. In no way is this "Twilight From Edward's POV" because is no way is this a complete story. Much of the time I will not bother to put in backstory, but merely pick up where I feel like picking up. Some sections will be a dozen pages, some will be two pages, some might be only a paragraph. Some might be filled in at a later time. Fair warning. :-)Cause and Cure
"Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Can you page him, please?"
The human behind the massive, gleaming desk looked up. She had small eyes, which widened when they focused on his face. It was a reaction Edward was used to, but it was a reaction that triggered a pause he could not afford. He struggled to keep his neutral expression, to keep the polite smile in place, and he did so with the sort of conviction a serial killer might have when approaching his next victim. Or a vampire setting eyes upon a human. He must stay calm, he must keep himself in check, he must not do anything to tip her off. Unlike the hypothetical serial killer, he did not intend for this hospital desk clerk to be his prey.
That slot was reserved for someone else at the moment.
Five painful seconds ticked by and he realized that the receptionist's thoughts were trimmed with a sharp edge – like a blade. Something rendered this hospital receptionist speechless a split second too long, something that was too vague to be put into coherent thought inside the woman's head.
This happened often enough. At times, humans didn't fully realize exactly what to think around the Cullens, couldn't put into actual words or images the certain… vibe they exuded. The unnerving doubt that they inevitably brought about in the delicate minds of humans was always distinguishable to Edward, although this time, the thread of doubt was closer to fear, and far more defined than most.
He hastened to control his outward appearance, so difficult when a war had been waged inside of him today. He didn't want to realize that, like Mrs. Cope back at the school's office, this hospital receptionist may have spotted a hint of black fire in the windows of his eyes or something not quite right in the tightness of his smile. He didn't want to think that it was possible for this woman to sense that during what had probably been just another insignificant hour of her life, the boy who stood before her had come close to committing an act that would horrify this small town like nothing it or she could possibly imagine.
Who are you? She demanded in her head, but what she said was,
"Um - is there - who should I say - ?"
"Edward Cullen. His son."
Edward's voice tightened on the last word due in part to the crack he felt somewhere in the region of his chest when he uttered the word.
Bella Swan was dead. Sweet, hot, beyond delicious, her blood pulsed down his throat, tightened his muscles, and satisfied every corner of scorching thirst and blinding desire that existed because of it – both the cause and the cure.
A crashing sound caused him to jerk, alert. Hastily, the receptionist lifted the phone from where she'd dropped it and placed it to her ear, dialing a number into the pad and gathering the pens that had spilled out of the cup. Her hands trembled slightly. She glanced up at him, only to regret the action and look away.
He turned abruptly and shoved the glorious, hideous images that were assaulting him out of his head to painstakingly replace them with the one that Alice had provided. He was driving down a dark highway, away from this place.
Edward commanded himself to breathe the clean, hospital air, to let go of any leftover need. The fact that Bella Swan was alive – that all of fifth period Biology was alive - stood to reason that he had some level of control over his actions. But even as he let that comfort him more than he should, Edward knew the truth. This should have passed. This need for her blood should have passed in the miles between them, in the countless breaths he'd taken of clean, non-tainted air. One fact wouldn't let this thirst die, wouldn't let the memory of her blood leave his system.
Bella Swan was home alone right now. Easy as breathing, he could have her.
But he wouldn't. He had decided already, hadn't he? He'd sat in the car, listening to the gentle chords of Debussy, and decided that he was better than the monstrous urges that were inherent to his kind. He could think for himself and he could make a choice. That is what cast him aside from others like him.
How easy it was to think about that now! It was a Herculean effort, of course, not to think about Bella Swan and what she might be doing at this very moment. To instead replace the most natural, murderous thoughts with ones that he'd been trained to think and believe since the moment he'd been born to this life. But it was a thousand times easier than it had been in that classroom - or in that office - when her scent assaulted the air that he breathed.
Suddenly, Carlisle's voice was in his head – or rather, in the receptionist's head – and it stopped his thoughts.
Tell him to wait, please. I'll be down in five minutes.
Edward didn't hear the woman as she repeated the message, he only heard Carlisle. A brilliant white light filled his head now. He felt his body react to it, his muscles slowly easing out of their tensed state. For the first time in the past three hours, Edward felt a sense of protection. Carlisle would prevent him from doing something he shouldn't. Carlisle would protect him from this, from himself. How many times had he done so in the past, how many times had Edward quaked with the ache for human blood during those horrible first years, and again, much later, when he returned to him in shame? How many times had Carlisle's soft, controlled voice pulled him from the temptations that were so natural for their kind, but a merciless cross to bear for the life they had chosen?
Edward turned only to find a large waiting area, and at once, his insides recoiled at the mistake. A tearful child favoring an unnaturally twisted arm, sat to one side, his parents' faces wrought with worry; two young ladies occupied another row of chairs and one was doubled over in pain; and last, but certainly not least, an elderly man trembled while a middle-aged woman held a blood-soaked rag to a gash on his forehead.
The roaring in Edward's head blocked the irony that, in his haste to get inside, he had entered the blasted hospital through the doors that any vampire with a half a brain would avoid at all costs: the ER.
Edward heard him before he saw him, and whirled around at the sound of distant footsteps. There he was. His bright light walking towards him. No human would be able to see him coming down the hallway, too far for ordinary eyes, but Edward saw. And he saw every flickering thought in his father's mind.
Like the receptionist, they weren't coherent thoughts. These were threads, some sharp, some soft; they were colors, bright, dim, or blinding; they were sounds, a delicate hum, a screeching violin, a blaring bell. They were the kind of thoughts that were brought about by emotions that came too fast to enter the brain comprehensibly.
Carlisle's flashed swiftly, like the blurry, flickering lines of a fuzzy channel on the television. First it was vague surprise that Edward was there; the family rarely visited his place of work, for obvious reasons. There was a sudden glimmer of shock, perhaps from the look on Edward's face. Alarm was there, a ringing siren, but it turned into the dull hum of caution. Finally, a hard resolve in the coldest of black pushed away anything else and caused him to empty his mind at once.
He would wait to hear it from Edward before guessing, before reacting. A humorless smile touched Edward's lips. The idea of it was ridiculous. Carlisle was different. Carlisle knew him best. Carlisle didn't need Alice's visions to recognize what he looked like when he thirsted for human blood. Edward knew that. They both knew that. It had been nearly nine decades since Carlisle had seen Edward look like this, but it appeared those nine decades could evaporate for him as easily as they had for Edward a few short hours ago.
He jerked his head and Edward sprang, following him as he turned a corner down a long corridor. The 'wait' in the receptionist's mind never made it to her lips, and changed to flickered confusion at the speed of his departure.
"Isabella Swan," Edward said tightly, swinging into a room stacked from the floor to ceiling with medical supplies.
Police Chief Swan flashed in Carlisle's head and Edward nodded curtly.
Carlisle's eyes seared into Edward's, took in the black thirst.
His relief was fierce, his concern distinct, but underneath it all, a quiet pride where there shouldn't be swirled through the threads of his mind. The shame overwhelmed Edward. As though to prove to his father how wrong he was, his mind went where it hadn't strayed in less than a minute.
The soft, paper skin at her neck tore under his desiccated mouth—
Edward growled, low and horrible, the sound of an animal in pain. A sound he knew well. He doubled over.
"I have to have her."
No. The calm, patient voice, void of judgment or disappointment, caused him to realize he had said the words out loud. You don't.
He gripped the countertop. There was a cracking sound and the Formica trembled. He let go abruptly. He should have known there was nothing that could support him, nothing strong enough to help keep this in check.
"What is this?" He bit out. "I caught her scent and I nearly took her right there, in front of a room full of children. It's never been this strong, I have never smelled anything like it, her blood, it was as though I had no choice—"
But you did have a choice. The words were sharp in Carlisle's mind.
"Barely," Edward growled. "I barely made it out of there before - I was going to kill them all, every one of them, just for her. Why? Why her? What is this?"
Something gripped his upper arm and he instinctively turned his hand to grasp Carlisle's forearm with a force that would have broken the walls of the hospital. Nothing was broken. He was steadied. Apparently there was something on this earth that was strong enough for him to hold onto.
"The Italians have a phrase for it," Carlisle was saying quietly. "It's as though the scent of her blood sings to you like no other human's." That was all he said on the matter, and abruptly changed the subject. You need to hunt, Edward. Now. Where are the others?
"No," he panted, pulling more and more hospital air into his lungs. "I can't be here. I have to go. I have to leave."
He couldn't meet his father's eyes; he didn't want to see the disappointment that he would hear soon enough in his head. Edward waited for it, bracing against it… but there was nothing. The threads of Carlisle's mind were nothing more than keen understanding, and even stronger, a blinding white light. Years of reading the strings of emotions in people's heads had taught Edward exactly what that light was. Love. The kind that was unconditional, the kind that cast aside sin. The kind that stopped for nothing.
The shame was paralyzing.
Do what you have to do, Edward. You won't give in to this, I know you. You will not allow yourself to kill a child.
Child. Wide brown eyes, curious, deep, stared at him from across the cafeteria as Jessica Stanley's harsh words echoed in his head.
She's really not even pretty.
Again, that absurd and irrational bout of protectiveness sprang inside of him. But even as he thought how absurd it was to want to protect the girl from mere adolescent cruelty, Edward knew the satirical truth. The red-eyed monster stalked her from the shadows. There was only one being on this earth with the power to stand guard for Isabella Swan and that was himself.
The cause and the cure.
"What can I do?" Carlisle asked quietly.
Edward took a deep breath, and felt resolve course through him. Carlisle trusted him. He could trust himself. He would trust himself.
"Tell Esme I'm sorry. And Alice." When Edward thought of his sister, her visions of his own precarious future flashed behind his eyes, and he was suddenly reading her thoughts, vague though they were from such a distance away. The gas light in his Volvo flashed bright red. The young girl at the gas station had large brown eyes, and long, mahogany-brown hair. The scent of her blood wasn't one-tenth as appetizing as Bella Swan's, but Edward watched his own eyes darken with thirst and the helpless girl's eyes widen in fear.
"There's one more thing." Edward's voice was barely audible.
Shame licked at Edward's insides. He was weak. So weak, he couldn't stop for anything. "Do you have a full tank?"
Carlisle nodded slowly. There was no judgment. No reserve. Just blinding white light.
"I'll get my keys."