Who had I been kidding? I wasn't able to stay away from Bella. I'd failed miserably when she was minutes away from me, sleeping in her bedroom right here in Forks. Of course I would be unable to stay away from her when she was so many miles away from me. My heart no longer belonged to me; a piece of me was missing. I'd left it with Bella that day in the woods. My chest ached as I thought of Bella and the mess that I had created in leaving her. We were two parts of a whole that I had broken apart in a vain attempt to reassure myself that it was all for the best. I'd told her that it would be a clean break and mentally reassured myself that it would be for the best.
It'd had been so hard that day, not to run back to her and tell her that I'd lied and created the blackest and most blasphemous story, but I deluded myself with the thoughts that it would be better for her in the long run and that Bella's well being was all that mattered. I had told myself I was done being selfish, that I had no claim to her and that safe human boys like Mike Newton would be the best alternative. Yes it had been hard to make the initial break, but now felt so much worse, like I was constantly pouring salt on a wound that was trying to heal with the bone still protruding through my skin.
The ache that was constantly in my chest was a never ceasing reminder of what I had done. I'd since given up on making it through a single week or day without Bella, but rather focussed on getting through each hour. This last hour had been the worst; I'd walked by a woman whose thoughts had identified her as a Bella. She was worried about her father, who she was on her way to visit in hospital. This innocent woman who was unlucky enough to share the same name as my beloved had forced me to choose. To choose between this self-imposed exile from everyone I knew and cared about and the chance to simply see Bella again.
Before I had consciously decided to return to see her, to check that she wasn't as messed up as I was, my feet had been carrying me across the boundary lines that separated the US from South America. I was running faster than I ever had before, my entire being rejoicing at the prospect of seeing Bella again. I had known that it would only be a matter of time before I gave in, just to check on her and see that she was not destroyed as I was. But I had also known that if I were to find her happy then I would never allow myself to return. I would've endured the rest of my existence in painful solitude knowing that Bella was living a life that made her happy. A life that was safe for her. But it was too late now, I could not stop myself, even if I had wanted to, my chest soared, elated at the thought of seeing her deep brown eyes and the flush of blood that constantly haunted her cheeks. My body moved at a velocity I did not know I was capable of; I was like a magnet being drawn back to my pole. I knew it would be several hours before Alice caught up with me, my spontaneous decision to see Bella unseen by Alice's visions.
I did not know how long I'd been running when I recognised the grey shroud that always hung over the Olympic Peninsula. The return to such a familiar environment only crushed any will to turn around. I knew Bella was in this rain; the same clouds were over her. I could almost smell her in the raindrops as they pelted to my skin. And I felt happy. Not as happy as I knew I could feel in Bella's presence but happier than I had felt in months. I practically danced through the forests surrounding Forks as I drew closer to her. I was an unstoppable force of nature; nothing would prevent me from returning to Bella. I slowed until I was outside her house, her scent still so enticing even from this distance. Charlie's police cruiser was not parked out the front, and I knew it would be so easy to walk inside and pull her into my arms, but I could not allow myself such an indulgence. I was checking up on her, ensuring myself that she was not harmed, that she had in fact moved on as I'd intended for her to. My palms would've sweated if they'd been able to. Unease and butterflies began to dig away at my stomach. What if she had moved on? What if I was nothing more than a high school boyfriend to her? What if she didn't think of me anymore? I knew such thoughts were no good for my newfound resolved, but not knowing was worse. I climbed the tree outside her bedroom to stare though her open window.
I didn't need to be able to read Bella's mind to know what was going on inside what she thought was the solitude of her own mind. I heard sniffing and sobbing as Bella lay on her bed, her arms coiled around her torso.
"Edward," she choked.
Pain lashed at me as her sobs cut wounds through my chest. Her muffled cries of pain sent me over the edge and I growled at myself for causing her such heartache. She had not moved on as I'd intended but was instead further detached than ever before. I couldn't stand it, I needed to hold her close and soothe her. Her pain was my pain and as much as the small part of my logic told me to stay away, I silenced it, and lowered myself from the tree.
"Bella," I whispered to myself and ran to the front door. Slowly I raised my hand to the wood and tapped three times. Estimating that it would take Bella two minutes to calm herself enough to answer the door I too mentally prepared myself for any pain she may send my way. She was hurting and I no longer had her. I no longer knew that she loved me. Unease washed through me again and I realised how much this could set me back. But knowing this, I could not bring myself to run away. I couldn't make myself leave her doorstep. Her footsteps padded softly across the floorboards of her living room and her hand was on the handle. I heard her breathe and then turn the handle, allowing me access to her life once more.
"Bella," I breathed once more. Her bloodshot eyes widened and shock flittered across her face. Nothing could've prepared me for what happened next. Her wide eyes rolled back into her head and I only just caught her before her head hit the ground.