my apologies for getting this chapter out so late. the reviews for the last chapter were awesome and i hope you guys keep it up. i'm really glad you are all enjoying this story and i promise that questions will be answered gradually. this is an all human story.

disclaimer- twilight, new moon, eclipse and breaking dawn belong to stephenie meyer and so do the characters

warning- this chapter is highly confusing and i've already been told that but it is necessary for this story. so read this with an open mind

"Edward, how wonderful to finally see you again!" Aro exclaimed though Edward would call this abrupt meeting far from wonderful. The smile on Aro's face sickened him.

"What are you doing here?" Edward bit out in a cold voice and his fingers tightened even further around the revolver. He could hear the force behind his words but his palm was sweating from his nerves.

Why here? Why now? Why Carlisle? He hadn't done anything wrong. He hadn't made a twisted pact with these sickening men. If they couldn't see Edward's nervous tension then they must've been a lot more thickheaded than he had originally thought.

Caius, who had been curiously examining the door behind Edward, turned to him. "Why do you think we've come to Carlisle's hospital all the way from Italy?"

Noticing Caius's glance at the door, Edward, in the most casual way possible, leaned against it, hoping that Bella would stay hidden and not hear a single word that was being uttered. He didn't want to be the cause of another accident for her. Feeling anger and hostility and anxious right now was satisfactory but guilt and self hatred due to Bella was already too tiring.

"Well, since I told you three to keep your distance from the continental US, I thought you might have mistaken this place for Antarctica," Edward stated.

"You're real funny, Edward," Caius answered dryly. "In fact, you're so funny that I can't even stop laughing."

Edward resisted the urge to roll his eyes and slam one of the brothers into a wall. "The deal is off if you keep this up. Working up the courage to even talk to Carlisle is hard enough."

He could remember back to the day he had signed the contract in Italy when he was first sent there to deal with some business. He had no idea that the task they had laid out for him was going to be so difficult. Carlisle was just like the rest of the mafia maybe even worse but there was decency in him that Edward had not expected and he couldn't kill a good man. He knew, however, that he had to do it whether it tortured him or not. He was tired of living the life he was subjected to. He sure hadn't chosen it and he was not going to continue on with it for the rest of his forsaken existence.

"Look, we've been waiting a long time for this." Caius was seething but Aro put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "You promised us four weeks and now it's been two months. Just admit that you can't do it and we'll finish this task on our own right here, right now."

Edward wanted to scream, to yell, to do anything that would catch Carlisle's attention and get him out of the building immediately but he couldn't do any of that because he was at fault.

"Give me one more month and I'll have him out of your way." Saying those words made everything sound so final and revolting. Edward could taste the bitterness those words brought.

"Just one more month before we intervene again," Aro said in a calm voice. "Oh, and make sure to tell Emmett to get the dope to us as soon as possible. We've got a few angry costumers with the Cullen boys missing the mark."

Edward couldn't help but make a disgusted face. Nonetheless, he nodded his head and had they not been in a hospital, he would've killed them.

"Remember, Edward. You don't work for Carlisle anymore. You work for us," Marcus stated in a bored voice.

The anger was in full force now. Who were they to treat him like some common scum? "I don't work for anyone except myself. The contract isn't legitimate until I say so, so I suggest you keep those kinds of comments to yourself because perhaps you might not get what you want."

For the first time, Caius didn't have a scowl on his face. He was sniggering and Edward wanted to punch it right off of him. "You have to realize that this task is fairly easy and can wholly be done without your help. You're only a beginner and who cares about a measly scrap of paper?"

"That sheet of paper dictates everything and I can clearly protect Carlisle from your waning efforts if need be. I may be a beginner but I have the smarts that you three will always lack."

The atmosphere was rigid and the brothers' faces were stone cold. They didn't say anything to the smug Edward in front of them. Then, without another word, they walked away. As they passed the door to Carlisle's office, Edward held his breath and could have sworn their pace had slowed down. He followed after them, making sure they weren't planning on doing something only Italian mafias would do.

When they were out of the building and their car had driven off, Edward breathed out a sigh of relief he didn't know he had been holding. As he walked back to aid Bella, he watched Carlisle approaching him with a tense smile on his face. The guilt burnt Edward like blue flames.

"Where are they?" Carlisle questioned. "They said they were in the building."

"I drove them off with mindless banter and humorous threats," Edward lied. "They won't be bothering us for a while."

"Did they say as to why they were here?"

"Yes. They wanted to make sure Emmett had their drugs ready." At least that was truthful.

Carlisle chuckled. "They came all this way just for that? Haven't they heard of phone calls and emails?"

Edward couldn't help but grin in return. These were the father and son moments Edward had yearned for with his own biological dad. "Apparently, they were bored with Italian life and wanted to do some sightseeing."

Carlisle grinned again. "Well, son. I'll see you later. I've got a patient waiting for me. Oh, and we'll discuss your medical program in more detail at home." He comfortingly patted Edward on the shoulder and walked away.

Running a hand through his hair, Edward walked out into the cool night, acutely aware of the fact that Bella was still inside waiting for him. He needed, right now, the opportunity to clear his head.

There were so many things going on in his life, so many things that were wrong in his life. He wished he were still Elizabeth's eight year old boy, holding her hand as they walked to the school where Edward was the rare child who was eager to learn.

He thought back to all the times where he would sit alone on a swing as he held up a tattered book copy during recess and all the kids would taunt him for being such a nerd. He could remember the countless number of times he ran crying home into his mother's arms that had always been his sanctuary. Every time he needed comfort, she was there for him and every time she needed his care, he would go up to her and wrap his small hands around hers and tell her everything would be all right even if he knew as a young boy that Elizabeth wouldn't be with him forever, that his time with her was limited.

And that was the life Edward Masen had led, a life Edward Cullen desperately wanted back.

--

Bella sat on the uncomfortable chair, glancing through the aged magazines. It was the second time this week she was in a hospital, a new record. Somehow though, she didn't feel the urge to congratulate herself.

She could no longer hear Edward's voice and idly wondered whether or not he had forgotten about her. That wouldn't have been much of a surprise.

The thought made Bella halt in her tracks. She chanted to herself that she was going to give him another chance because she knew he deserved it.

She didn't notice when the door creaked open and Edward stood in front of her, still clad in his designer clothes. He had a gentle smile plastered on his face and was staring directly into her eyes. The intensity in them was unnerving to her.

"I apologize for taking up so much of your time." His words sounded formal, far from the tone he had taken earlier. "I had to go out for a bit."

Bella wanted to glare at him. She wanted to tell him that her time did not revolve around his desires. She didn't do any of that, though because she was attempting to give him another opportunity.

"That's all right," she replied, putting away the magazine.

Edward pulled up a chair and sat in front of her. "Let's get this started, shall we?"

With care, he lifted her injured hand and examined it. Bella expected to feel pain but there was a startling electricity that tracked through the both of them.

Apparently, Edward had felt it as well for he stared at their adjoined hands for a few sluggish seconds in awe before he murmured "I'm sorry" to her.

He handled her as if she were made of thin ice or porcelain china. As he pulled on a pair of latex gloves, Bella marveled at how simple and natural this seemed to him. He placed her hand back in both of his and unwrapped the bloodied gauze. Bella squeezed her eyes shut and Edward couldn't stop the entertained twitch that was threatening to break free from the corner of his mouth.

"You're not very fond of hospital procedures, are you?" he guessed.

Bella shook her head and furrowed her eyebrows, still keeping her eyes closed. "I'm not into things like medical drugs, needles or blood."

"Ah," Edward answered. "You can try to quash your fear if you want. Just watch me and you'll realize how easy this is." He then stood and walked over to a small cupboard, pulling out items that brought bile up into Bella's throat.

"That's difficult for me. I was raised to hate hospitals," Bella said in a defensive tone.

The seriousness behind her comical words bemused Edward. "Why is that?"

"Because the doctor's office was my worst best friend during my childhood and…"

"…So you've been scarred for life," Edward finished, a small chuckle escaping.

There was something about the way he talked that forced her to forget everything that had happened in the last few days. Bella saw a real smile on his face, one that she found to be quite amiable. Had he not lived the lifestyle she loathed then maybe they could have been friends.

When he was back in front of her again, he washed her fingers delicately and dried them with a towel. Her knuckles were a brighter red than before.

Edward laughed. "Well, it looks like you gave them quite a punishment. What were you doing when this happened?"

She could only hesitate. The question was an easy one to answer but she didn't want him to feel uncomfortable. For the first time, they were getting along and she didn't want the mood to change. So she lied like earlier. "I fell earlier when I was walking and my hand hit concrete."

"You're a horrible liar," he said. "But I know it's not my place to ask."

From a kit, Edward pulled out something shiny that looked oddly like a needle. Bella tried to snatch her hand away but Edward's grip held firm. "Hold still, Bella."

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"I was planning on giving you a surgical suture but it seems that the stitches won't stay in place." He sighed. "So I guess it's back to the gauze. Which won't actually help you much."

"Have you ever done this before?" she asked in a cautious tone as he wrapped the gauze around her fingers far more times than he needed to. "You act like you know your way around a hospital."

Edward looked up from her pale skin and smiled at her. "I was a medical student before I began my current…lifestyle, if you will. I'm resuming my studies soon enough."

"So you're going to be a doctor?" she probed.

"Hopefully." He flashed her a brilliant grin. "And when I graduate from med school, you can call me Dr. Masen."

"Edward Masen," Bella sounded out. Somehow, his last name didn't fit. Edward didn't seem like he was a Masen at all.

"If you don't mind me asking, could you tell me why you moved to Manhattan?" he asked conversationally, smiling at how his name sounded through Bella. "You don't seem like a woman who grew up here or even enjoys being in New York for that matter."

Bella looked at the expression on his face, watching for any signs that would give away a facet of the curiosity behind Edward's words. She wanted to see some type of diabolical motive but as she continued observing him, the only emotion she could see was genuine interest.

She didn't want to tell him a single word of her tragic life story. In the end, with a surreptitious groan, she complied, telling herself that it didn't matter anymore. Her whole life was messed up anyway and at least having someone know about it would probably ease some of her pent up tension.

"My life has been difficult," she started, biting her bottom lip. "I moved here to give myself another chance, to start afresh. I was born in the Northwest but moved to the Valley of the Sun after a few years with my mother. My dad stayed in Washington."

Washington. Edward felt his teeth snap together.

A gunfire in the rain…sirens calling…the two dead bodies…a young boy crying…blood…so much blood…orphaned…

He willed his tight eyes to stay open. The traitorous tears wouldn't dare fall in front of her because she was exactly who he was searching for. The one person he was justified to do what he had originally planned, he could hardly even touch. It angered him so bad. His teeth mashed together were hard enough to cut through steel.

Edward could see Carlisle only minutes earlier, saying her name. Bella Swan. That was it.

"My mom was a great woman but she was never the kind of person I could be in sync with. Whenever my teachers asked me who my role model was, I couldn't say my parents like the rest of them. I was honest and told them that I didn't have one," she recalled bitterly, oblivious to Edward's dilemma.

"And then my mom started to become strangely distant with me. When I asked her what was wrong, she sent me back to my dad, who didn't have any time allotted for me. He was working on a drug bust that had to do with a small family living just outside of Forks-that was the town where we lived."

Small family, Edward thought. My small family.

And he'd had enough. He quickly cut off the extra gauze and tied it together around Bella's hand in a forceful way. Ignoring her anguished and shocked expression, he was out the door, running through the halls, uncaring as to who was watching him and what they were thinking of him. The fun was about to start.

How he could have ever thought of Bella Swan as his kindred spirit, he would never know.

--

The night was teeming with life. Clubs in every corner were shaking with the heavy bass of the music. Everywhere, people were standing in the streets, some talking to friends, others on their cell phones. It was freezing and yet people couldn't seem to care at all.

Edward could only just remember his dull teenage years, most of which he had spent in the public library after every dinner when his dad decided to throw him out of the house. That was the only time he would permit himself to cry.

None of that mattered anymore. There was no one he could tell that would listen about his late night excursions where he punched the wall and cried. For his mother, his father and mostly for himself. No one who wouldn't call him a wimp.

Edward saw a drunken woman almost get run over by a car. When the driver stopped in time, the man ran out and asked the woman in horror if she was okay. All she could do was laugh and say, "Never better."

He grinned at the sight. Bloody perfect. Everything wrong in the world was right again.

He stood in the alleyway going unnoticed. Inane thoughts whizzed through his mind at an alarming rate but none of it mattered. No one cared what Edward thought and he snickered, waiting for the perfect opportunity. Sooner or later one of them would walk by to satisfy him.

After a few minutes of glancing at his watch, a horde of people walked out onto the road. His eyes targeted someone. Just barely, he could make out the silhouette of a young woman with long mahogany hair. She was wearing jeans, high pumps and a small jacket over her unnoticeable shirt. He could almost feel her hair brush his face; she was strutting dangerously close to him. There was a small grin on her tan face and when she saw him, her smile widened but there was definitely a hint of a blush.

"Hey," he whispered, wrapping his arm around her slim waist and pulling her to him.

Her eyes were glistening with excitement and lust. She replied, "Hi. I'm Heidi and you're gorgeous."

Resisting the urge to laugh at her lame pick up line, he answered in a low voice, "Edward Cullen."

Heidi lifted her perfect hand and sifted it through his hair. She couldn't hide the comfort that routed its way through her veins when her mind registered the softness and fluidity she felt.

"What are you doing alone when there're so many places to go?" she asked, pressing her lips to his ear. "Like back to my place or to yours."

Edward groaned into her slender neck and tightened his grip around her. "Where do you prefer we go?" he whispered.

She didn't answer and tried to press her lips to his throat but he pulled his head away, the smell of alcohol nauseating him. Instead, he allowed his hands to roam through her hair, ghosting over her neck and down her arms.

"You're trying to play it safe, aren't you?" She laughed.

"Maybe," he stated coyly. "But maybe you're nothing but a toy to me."

"I wouldn't mind that," she answered, shameless.

He chuckled and pushed her roughly against the brick wall. Heidi hissed in gratitude. Edward pressed their foreheads together and closed his eyes. Heidi couldn't ignore how handsome he was and the lust flowed through her freely.

"Are you new in town? I haven't seen you around."

Edward chortled at the idiocy of her question. This was Manhattan. No one knew anybody else. "Well, I've seen you." He brushed a strand of hair away from her face. "It wasn't easy to choose someone so hot."

She didn't question his intention and that made things all the better for him.

A group of teenagers whooped, forcing the two of them to pull away from each other, ruining the mood for them.

"Do you want to go back to my apartment?" Heidi asked.

"Lead the way." Edward motioned for her to walk in front of him.

There was a smug smirk pulling at the end of her lips. "You like the view from back there?" she called.

Feeling tired of the repetitive flirtation, Edward turned his head away, willing for the wind to fall against his face. The phone vibrated in his pocket for the fifteenth time. He overlooked it again. Who cared if Esme or Alice was looking for him?

I'm doing them a favor by not being home, he thought. They wouldn't want me to go home like this. I would embarrass them.

"Edward?"

"Not particularly. No. It's nothing I haven't seen before."

"What?" She turned her head with a playful look. "You definitely know how to fuel a woman up."

"I'm not attracted to you, Heidi. As I said earlier, you're only my plaything."

She didn't understand the truth behind his words, acting fake like so many others. There was something so pathetic and obnoxious about her that Edward couldn't help but think that maybe he was drunk when he had chosen her.

They walked farther away from the crowded streets until Heidi led them into a small, clean neighborhood where identical houses were lined with perfect lawns. It was silent except for the tapping of their feet and a recurring scratch from one of the houses.

Edward thought nothing of the sound at first.

Heidi stopped all of a sudden and Edward wrapped his arm around her shoulder.

"What's wrong?" he whispered in a husky voice into her ear. "You're ready for this, aren't you?"

She giggled like a schoolgirl and then her breath hitched when she felt Edward's face pressed into her hair. Their pace quickened towards Heidi's house until Edward heard the irritating scratch again. His teeth snapped together while his free hand dug into his jeans pocket to circle around the revolver.

He swiveled his head until he could see the only house with its front porch light on with a young woman sitting on a swing, reading a book.

All the memories came rushing back. Edward, as he sat on the tattered swing, reading a book while the other students pointed and laughed. Edward, as he ran into Elizabeth's arms, his weak body wracking with heavy sobs. Edward, letting Elizabeth whisper her endearment and affection into his ears. Then there was her body, being carried away after the trigger had been pulled accidentally by the officer. He had promised the safety on the gun was latched but it all a lie. The chief's eyes were only filled with half remorse.

How he hated that man, that despicable Chief of Police. Charlie Swan.

Bella Swan. Bella Swan. BELLA Swan.

Edward pulled the revolver roughly out of his pocket and aimed it right at Heidi.

Her scream was muffled by his hand. The rest of the neighborhood stayed eerily quiet.

"Stop it, Edward!" a chiming voice thundered from behind him. "You're going to hurt someone!"

Twisting his head in the direction of Alice's voice, he sneered, "Can you believe it, Alice?"

"Believe what, Edward?" she asked cautiously. "If you put the gun down, you can tell me."

The laugh that resonated from him was menacing and tortured. "Honestly, Alice. I don't see why you have to treat me like an insolent child. Because I am very aware of what I'm about to do."

"And what are you about to do, Edward?" Emmett called. "Take the life of this innocent woman?"

"Innocent," Edward scoffed. "She's no more innocent than I am a criminal."

There was a vigorous tug on Edward's jacket that sent him sprawling towards the ground. Emmett had shoved him as hard as he could. However, that didn't stop Edward. He caught his fall and righted himself. When he looked back at where Heidi's dark hair had been blowing, all he could see was a faint leaf falling in a precarious way.

He stood, then, his face sneering at Alice and Emmett's bewildered appearances. His face was florid from his rage.

"What's gotten into you?" A small tear escaped from the corner of Alice's eye from the worry of her brother's wellbeing. "What's wrong?"

Edward took brisk steps up to her and violently shook her shoulders. "What do you think is wrong with me, Alice?"

Even as he said the words in his hateful tone, he could feel his walls crumbling, his world spiraling out of control. That side of him he thought, no hoped, had existed, was only a figment of his imagination. No matter how much he tried to think about morality and no matter how many times he tried to associate goodness with himself, he couldn't do it because lies couldn't ever be morphed into truths.

Edward wasn't good and that was an aspect of himself he wouldn't ever be able to hide or change and he knew he wasn't ready to accept that as a fact.

He was too far gone, too addicted to being the man he was now. That new Edward he had been excited to become would always be at arm's length, never close enough to reach. The memory of Edward Masen would eventually fade.

That thought saddened him. He was trying so hard to be good and none of it would matter in the end and it was all Bella Swan's fault even if she had no idea of it.

"Edward?"

His gaze roamed over to Emmett who recoiled at the wicked malice glinting in Edward's green eyes.

"What's wrong with you?" Alice asked. "Why are you being so bitter?"

"Haven't I always been bitter? My life's so deranged and it's all because of that girl and I didn't even know she existed."

Alice huffed in frustration. "Stop being so cryptic. What on earth are you talking about? Who is this girl?"

Emmett's eyes narrowed in concentration and then widened. "Wait a second. Are you talking about that woman from two nights ago?"

"What about her, Edward?" Alice's voice took on such a calming melody that the rage spewed out of him. When he didn't answer, Alice asked again. "What does she have to do with you?"

"She's part of the reason why the last twenty years of my life have been Hell." His tone was quiet and low, taking a deadly turn. "The other part of the reason was her stupid father but I can't kill him like I want to! Like he deserves! Because he's gone forever and it just hurts so badly."

His knees gave out and he fell to the ground, bowing his head forward in shame. His eyes closed. He barely mouthed his words. "She ruined my life and doesn't even know it and I can't do anything because she's good. She's so good."

Hearing himself say that, Carlisle's words ran through him. Those who commit crimes do not deserve their lives if they don't understand how valuable life actually is.

Edward laughed dryly. Bella Swan definitely knew the value of life. She had enough respect for it to stay away from Edward.

"I live like this because her father killed my mother. My innocent and perfect mother. Can you believe it?" he hissed acidly. "All because he wanted reputation in a suffocating town.

"And now every day, I go around trying to find lowlifes like him, when all I have to do is kill Bella to get rid of all the Swans.

"I'm going to kill her one day when I have the will. The day right and wrong cease to exist for me, I'll end her life."

Then his eyes rolled back and he could see no more but there was a moment when he heard Alice scream and saw Elizabeth's face smiling back at him.

leave a review and let me know what you think. if you want an explanation for the events of this chapter, let me know in your review. i promise that many things will be cleared up in upcoming chapters. also, i hope you realize the peculiar difference between Edward Cullen and Edward Masen