Disclaimer: The Twilight universe is the brilliant creation of Ms. Stephanie Meyer. I am just twisting her vision a bit for my own amusement.
Edward's Point of View
I spent the flight from South America to Los Angeles planning to get on another plane to some place, any place, where Bella wouldn't be. Before I left, I had given in to the intense need to see her … just to see her. I had no intentions of talking to her or letting her know in any other way that I was there. But on the plane, my guilt got the better of me. How on God's earth was I going to hear her voice or see her face and NOT hold her in my arms? No, I had made a promise to never haunt her life again and I would keep it. This had been a close call but I wouldn't fail her again. Upon arrival in Los Angeles, I headed for the ticket counter to change my next flight to some destination other than Seattle. I had to pass by the gate for that flight to Seattle. I tried to pass by the gate for my Seattle flight. My feet stopped walking of their own volition and I sat to wait through the short layover, hating myself the entire time.
I arrived in Seattle in the very early morning. The weather was overcast so there would be no need to wait out the day in the airport. I sighed. I had really missed this place and the freedom it afforded my kind. I rented a car and headed for Forks. For an average driver, it would take more than three hours. For me, it would be much less. I used the time to decide how I would proceed, since it seemed impossible to prevent myself from this madness.
I would leave this car at the house on the river, my home, and then go on foot to Bella's. I would get close enough to hear Charlie's thoughts, still not close enough to catch Bella's scent, and then I would wait. Charlie always thought of Bella, worried about Bella. He was a good and loving father to her. I could imagine that he would not be thrilled that I was back. I also imagined that he would hold me responsible for a very painful event in Bella's life. He would be right, of course, but it wouldn't matter. He would never know I was here.
I would make up my mind what to do next after that. I just had to keep my head. No matter how strong the temptation, I would not allow her to catch sight of me. I would see that she was well. I would see that she was happy. I would see that she had adjusted well to my absence and then I would go. I never allowed myself to consider that she might not be well or happy or adjusted. It was too unlikely. She was so young and she was human. She would have been terribly hurt when I left but I knew she would have gotten over me by now. That thought brought a painful squeeze to my long dormant heart.
I followed my plan. I came just close enough and then I sat to wait. A fallen log was near and it provided a perfect resting place. I concentrated on breathing while I waited. I was so close to her now. She was within miles. Whether she was at home or not, she was within running distance from me. I could be with her in moments. I slammed THAT door in my head closed immediately.
Someone was near to the house, I saw it his mind. It wasn't Charlie. It was a mind I had seen before, though. Jacob Black. He was with her. Bella was right there in the truck with him. I saw her hand in his. My mind was too focused on the possibility of seeing her face to comprehend what their joined hands could mean. "Look at her face!" I was shouting in my mind.
He turned his head to his right and there she was. Bella. My beautiful Bella. My breath caught painfully in my chest. She did not look well. She looked tired and drawn. Her face was too pale. The skin around her eyes was much too dark. She had lost weight.
Jacob parked the truck.
I could hear his thoughts. He was demanding patience from himself. Be patient. She will come around. She will love me. She will heal. A little longer and she will forget him. He was demanding patience but he wasn't listening to himself. He was going to kiss her. He was already kissing her.
I was on my feet and moving towards them before I could stop myself. I couldn't think clearly through the fury.
Then I heard her voice in his head. "Jake …"
He stopped her mouth again with his.
I was still moving towards them but more slowly now. Bella's voice in my mind. Another man's name but still her voice. A voice I had not heard in six tortured months.
She tried again. "Jacob … stop! I don't want this. I can't. I'm sorry!" There were tears in her voice. Pain radiated from her eyes.
I stopped walking and listened. I was close enough now to hear for myself. Car doors opened and closed. I heard her retreat towards the house. He was following her. In his mind, he was cursing himself for impatience. "Bella, I'm sorry. I couldn't stop myself … you have to know how I feel."
"I wish I could make you happy, Jake. I really do. You deserve to have what you want. I owe you that much … but I can't. There isn't anything left inside of me, Jake. H..he took it all with him." She wept as she spoke. "You deserve more than I have to give. You deserve more than what's left of me."
My emotions were a confusing jumble of despair and elation. She was in obvious agony … but she still mourned me. She had not gotten over me. I could end her pain. I could put her back together. I was the only one who could do that. But I was the one who had broken her in the first place.
Jacob's thoughts interrupted my confusion. He felt hatred for me. Pure furious hate. He couldn't believe that she could still love someone who had hurt her so badly. He was disgusted that she could love a filthy bloodsucker. I saw images then … images that brought me to my knees. Bella, the day I had left her, lying on the floor of the dark forest, curled into a ball, unresponsive. Bella, thin and gaunt, black circles under her empty eyes trying to pretend to smile. Bella with her arms wrapped around herself trying to keep herself from breaking apart. Bella's scream as she leapt from a cliff into the roiling sea below. I heard him remember his anguish at that … his panic. I saw his memory of pulling her from the surf. I saw his belief that he had been too late … that she was dead. I saw … very nearly felt … his anger at me for driving her to it.
I realized that this last image was recent. This memory was from today … only hours ago. Had Bella tried to take her own life today because of me? I silently cursed myself for feeling any satisfaction because she had not forgotten me.
My fault. All of her pain, all of her suffering, was my fault. She had been in agony and I had abandoned her to it.
I heard Jacob's voice then, "You don't owe me anything, Bells. You never promised me anything. I just need you to know how I feel … I need you to know that it's not going to change. I will still be here when you're ready. And I promise that I'll try to be more patient. But I nearly lost you today … I just lost my perspective for a minute." He was mentally cursing himself for pushing her. He was afraid he would push her away.
"I don't know, Jake. I can't see myself ever being ready for that. There are parts of me that are just gone. Pieces that aren't going to heal or grow back. I'm sorry," she whispered.
A breeze passed over them and, after a moment, touched me. Bella's scent filled my head. Freesia. It did not affect me as I expected it would. Thirst did not slam into me. There was no desire to kill, no desire to feed … calm settled into me instead. The feeling that I had come home. I breathed it in and savored it. I sighed with pleasure.
Then the scent of the other drifted to me. Jacob's scent was strong and unmistakable.
I was on my feet again and running this time. Bella was in danger. Bella was in close proximity to a werewolf and that werewolf was upset.
I suddenly feared that he would catch my scent and immediately transform but nature seemed to be on my side … I was downwind from them. I was in sight of the house when I heard his voice again.
"It's okay, Bells. It really is. Don't torture yourself. I just don't want to close the door yet. Okay?" he pleaded with her. His thoughts were a tangle of things he wanted to say to her but couldn't put into words.
Then his thoughts became suddenly clear. A single word flew into the forefront of his mind.
"Crap, Bella. Get back in the car!" he roared at her.
"What is it, Jake?" she said.
"There's a vampire. I smell it!" he hissed.
I could see them now. Jake was practically vibrating, he was shaking so violently. Bella's back was to me. I walked towards them slowly. It was too late to rethink this. I had to get her away from him. I had to make sure she would not be hurt.
Jake saw me and froze. He looked at Bella's face for a moment before moving his eyes back to me. His shock quickly became rage. He backed away from Bella as his body began to shift.
"Jake, are you okay?" she said as she took a step towards him.
"Bella, no!" I heard my own voice speaking to her.
She froze but she did not turn around. I expected her to look at me. I expected to see her eyes accuse me of every crime I had committed against her. But she didn't turn. She didn't acknowledge my voice at all.
"Jake," she said, "Calm down. You can't ride with me if you're gonna get all wolfy. You won't fit in the truck."
Jake was breathing in great lung fulls of air as he glared at me. His trembling had lessoned. His thoughts were clear. He was thinking of Bella's safety. He was also thinking of my death but he had decided that Bella's safety was more important.
"Bella," I called again softly.
This time she did turn. She seemed to be following the line of Jake's glaring eyes – trying to determine if the danger was already here. It still seemed to me that she had not heard my voice.
Then she saw me. For a moment her face lit up like the sun. Every cell in my body was warmed by her glow. She smiled serenely for a moment and sighed. Then she took a deep breath and turned back to Jacob.
"Okay, Jake. Do you hear anything? Is the scent … fresh? I guess it doesn't matter. We should go. Will you come back with Sam? You won't come alone?" she said as she moved toward Jacob. Her voice was calmer than before but the fear in it was evident.
Jacob looked her for a moment in confusion and then he grinned at me mockingly. He thought she was ignoring me, rejecting me. He thought she was choosing him over me. He obviously had not seen the expression of love on her face when she turned to me. While I knew she wasn't ignoring me, I could not imagine why she was acting this way now.
Jacob took her hand and led her towards the car. "It's okay. We'll go back to La Push and I'll stay with you," he said. "He won't cross the boundary line. You won't have to see him again."
"See who, Jake?" she asked. Her voice was confused. I couldn't fathom what she must be thinking.
I began to approach them slowly, carefully. I could not let him take her away. Even though he seemed in control of himself he was still dangerous to her. Other reasons were there swirling in my brain. Other reasons that I couldn't express without some shame. I could not allow him to take her from me. From ME. She was mine and it had been too long since I had seen her face … heard her voice. Selfish as it was, I would not allow her absence from my life to continue for another moment.
They were halfway back to the car from the house when Bella stopped. "Who, Jacob? Who won't I have to see again?" she asked.
Jacob saw me moving forward and tugged on Bella's arm, trying to move her forward and away from me. I felt rage course through me. Jacob began to tremble, his body yearning for its other form.
"Jacob," I said. "Calm yourself. You would hurt her before you could touch me."
"I won't hurt her," Jacob hissed. "That's your department."
Bella gasped. She turned to me again, her eyes wide with disbelief. Then her face contorted into a mask of confusion and pain. She squeezed her eyes shut against the sight of me and turned her head slightly towards her shoulder. After a seemingly endless moment, her eyelids lifted slowly and her eyes slid back to me reluctantly. Her eyes were filled with tears.
"EEE … Edward?" she gasped, her voice barely a whisper. Her face went whiter than her normal pale and I knew what would happen next. I moved towards her more quickly now, intending to catch her before she hit the ground. Her eyes rolled slightly and her body began to crumple.
There was a ripping sound and then the wolf that had been Jacob Black suddenly stood with his head over Bella. She was lying on the ground and I caught the scent of her blood. My eyes went over her still form anxiously. I saw streaks of blood running down her hand, the hand that a moment ago had been firmly within Jacob's grasp.
Jacob stepped carefully over Bella's inert body so that he stood directly over her, his intent clearly to keep me at bay. I heard the snarl emanating from my chest before I realized that I was making the sound. Jacob's answering growl was just as fierce. I moved to circle him and he moved away from Bella but continued to shield her from me with his body. He did not want her near the coming brawl any more than I did. This should have calmed me but it did not. He was standing between me and Bella. There was no calm for me while knowing that.
"Move away from her, Jacob," I growled. "You have injured her. I will not allow you to injure her further."
Jacob looked back at Bella for a moment. He saw the blood and inwardly cringed. He looked back at me with the clear thought, "Still not as badly as you did, Bloodsucker."
"I had my reasons for leaving, none of them your concern. Leave now so that I can see to her wounds." I kept my voice as calm as I could manage.
Jacob swore in his head and then thought, "You can't really believe that I would leave her with a filthy bloodsucker while she has an open wound. Get serious. You leave. And don't come back. You've caused her enough pain."
My answer was a snarl.
Jacob thought, "Have it your way. Suits me JUST fine." Through Jacob I began to hear other voices at that point … other wolves. They were telling him to wait. The treaty would be broken. Telling him that I had never hurt Bella before, why would I do so now? Only two of his pack brothers were in wolf form and they were under orders to stay on the reservation until the leader returned. They would not be joining us.
"Listen to your pack, Jacob," I whispered. "You won't win this."
Jacob lunged at me, his sharp teeth snapping. I narrowly avoided his assault. He had not thought before he leapt at me, he had only reacted to my words. He fell back for a moment before stalking towards me again. He was thinking ahead now and that was all I needed.
Every move he made, I countered. I was never the aggressor. I didn't have to be. Jacob came to me. I could have hurt him. I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to kill him but the reminder of the treaty was fresh in my mind. His death would not just condemn me but also my family. They would never be able to return to this beloved place.
Jacob stopped his assault and stared at me. "Why don't you fight?" he thought.
"I won't break the treaty unless absolutely necessary. And I won't hurt Bella by hurting you." Bella's words to him earlier … "You deserve to have what you want. I owe you that much" … echoed in my mind. He meant something to her. She didn't want him hurt.
I heard a moan. Bella was waking up. Jacob pleaded with me in his mind, "Leave now, before she wakes up. She won't recover from this. She won't recover from you. She's just starting to heal. Don't rip her up again."
"No. I will never leaver her again."
Jacob lunged at me again. I was barely fast enough that time, his teeth missed by a fraction of a second.
Then I heard Bella's garbled cry. "Jacob! Stop!"
She was scrambling towards us. Still not steady on her feet, she fell to the ground but continued towards us in a crawl.
"Please. Please. Please. Don't hurt each other!" she begged.
In his shock, Jacob let her pass by him. She was trying to stand between us but she was near enough for me to grab her arm. In a flash, I had her behind me.
Jacob's mind was filled with a string of profanities. He took a step towards us.
"Think about it, Jake. She's awake now and not likely to stay out of it." I reasoned with him.
"Jake, Stop." Bella said as she tried to move around me towards him. I held her firmly behind me.
"Let her go, leech!" Jake's thoughts were a snarl.
"I will not let her pass. I will not allow you to touch her again. You have injured her already. It will not happen again."
"Edward," Bella murmured to me, "He won't hurt me. My hand was an accident."
"Accidents happen without plan, Bella. You don't know that it won't happen again and neither do I." I had no intention of finding out for certain.
Jacob watched us intently while to trying to work out a plan of action. He saw that I was right, Bella would put herself in danger to prevent a fight. He saw that the only sane thing to do was for one of us, him or me, to leave.
"It won't be me," I stated simply. "Never again."
"Never again, what?" Bella asked. "It won't be you to do what? What is Jake thinking? Why are you here, Edward?" I heard tears beginning to saturate her voice.
I wished I could turn to her. I needed to see her face but with Jacob so close I dared not take my eyes from him. He had a penchant for acting without thinking first. I could not risk it. "Bella, I need to speak with you alone. I will explain everything but it is not a conversation that I wish to have with an audience."
"If I leave, will you be here when I get back." There was stark fear in her voice.
"If you were to leave, I would wait here for you or I would follow you. That, however, is a moot point. You are not leaving. Not with Jacob, in any case."
She was silent for a moment. "Edward, the only accident that might happen is if Jake changes and I'm too close. He's already changed and I am not too close. Please, let me talk to him alone. He won't be reasonable with you here. You should understand that … you aren't being reasonable with him here, either."
I smiled begrudgingly, though she couldn't see it.
"I'm sure that you are right, love, but I can't risk it. I simply cannot." I heard a little sigh from behind me and I felt her hands come to rest on my back. A thrill raced through me at her casual touch. I wanted very much to turn and take her into my arms, only to hold her, but I could not with the wolf glaring at me only a few feet away. I glared back at him defiantly.
"All right, then," she said, "let me around you. You'll still be close enough should there be a need. I'll be right there in front of you. You know that Jake won't try anything if there's a danger to me. Please Edward, listen to me this once."
I thought for a moment. There were few other options and none of them seemed worthy of attempt. Even if I snatched her up and ran, Jacob could follow our scent. He would find us wherever I took her.
I loosened my hold on her. "Do not try to move farther away than the extent of my reach, love. I won't allow that."
Bella patted my back and walked slowly around me. She stopped and stood with her back to my chest. Still close enough that I could have pressed my face into her hair, something I very much wanted to do.
"Jake," Bella began, "I really need to talk to him alone. He won't hurt me," she pleaded softly.
Jacob shook his head from side to side. He was thinking of the pain that she had been through in the last six months. Remembering more than I could bear to see. Remembering months of silence from her before she came to see him. Remembering motorcycles, wandering in the woods looking for a meadow, Laurent's much deserved death in that meadow, Victoria stalking Bella, jumping off cliffs … I snarled under my breath. Victoria.
"What?" Bella looked back at me curiously.
"Jacob just has a very good memory, Bella. It's all right."
She continued to watch me suspiciously for a moment before turning back to Jacob.
"Please Jake. I need this. You know I won't be able let him go again unless I know why he came. You know I won't. It won't take long and then he'll leave me alone." Her voice cracked on those last words.
My heart broke for her. I met the wolf's eyes. Even if she believed that I would leave, Jacob knew differently.
She continued to reason with Jacob, "Maybe you can prevent it today, Jake, but not tomorrow or the day after. You know I won't let you stop me. You know I need him."
The wolf groaned. He looked at her for a moment, silently acknowledging her stubbornness. He was suddenly angry at her. Anger and hurt blazed through him. She had chosen me after all.
I wrapped my arm around Bella's waist, ready to pull her behind me again, but there was no need. Jacob bolted for the trees. His thoughts clear to me as he left, "Tell her I'm sorry." He was sorry for leaving. Sorry that she loved me. Sorry that she wanted me more than she cared for him. Sorry he was going to break his promise.
Then he was gone.
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