OLD VERSION OF ATR – PLEASE READ CHAPTER ONE NOTES FOR THE EXPLANATION ON WHY.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, they belong to Stephenie Meyer. I am simply borrowing them for my own enjoyment.
A/N:This chapter is a continuation of the story All That Remains. Words can say so much and so little.
All That Remains
Chapter Seven – No Words
My body released a huge sigh when Bella took a deep breath and her eyes opened for the first time. I didn't realize my body was so tense until that breath left me. My insides were hurting from the taught muscle strings releasing so quickly, whip lashing indiscriminately as it surrendered control. This pain was also pleasure. I would take this pain over watching Bella lay there so lifeless. I had half expected her to react to my presence when I sighed but there wasn't any sign of acknowledgement I was right next to her.
I watched Bella closely waiting for her to move or make a sound. She remained so still. The only movement I could detect was her breathing. I could feel the tension tightening my muscles once more. Muscles complained as they recoiled on themselves again, pulling and tightening, knots forming in my stomach. I felt nauseated. There was no expression on Bella's face for me to decipher any feelings she was experiencing. I would take anything right now, disgust or horror even anger, anything to give me an insight to her feelings.
Alice replayed the vision in her mind of Bella running from me. Somehow I must have scared Bella for her to run like that. Her face was twisted with pain, or was it something else, could it be fear? Her features had changed during the transformation, Bella's face was more angelic than before, I didn't know that could be possible but she was still Bella. As angelic as her beautiful face is, it gave away nothing to her feelings at all. The apprehension this was generating in me didn't do anything to ease my anxiety.
My instincts told me to hold Bella, to show her how much I wanted and needed her. My mind groaned as I pictured her in my arms, how her lips would hold their own against mine now we were equal strength as I pressed hard into her mouth. My arms wrapped around her waist pulling her close to me. We fit together like pieces in a puzzle, matching and perfect in every way. My head shook the image from my mind begrudgingly as another thought came to me. What if. . ., I hesitated, it was more than a pause, it was shear trembling agony of fear ripping me in two. Oh God, I can't, I can't do this, Bella... What if she is pushing me away, how do I...
Jasper had picked up on my distress and immediately shrouded me with his ability to calm everything down. "Calm down Edward, she will be fine. We are all here to help her." Jasper reassured me in his mind.
I had to pull myself together, for Bella's sake. Whatever the reason is for her to feel the need to run, I would set it right. I couldn't do that if I let my fears overtake me.
"Cover all the exit points she can take." I said in a gentle tone. I didn't want to alarm her but I had to make sure she wouldn't escape.
I positioned myself so I could sit on the bed and look directly into her eyes. I kept her hand in mine. She gasped as soon as our eyes met. I felt my half grin spread across my face. It was hard to concentrate looking into her yes directly; her dangerously breathtaking beauty would lure any human without question so it was not surprising how captivating and irresistible I found her. My head leaned to one side as I tried to find the questions I should be asking. Especially concerning her impending departure from my side.
"Bella?" my voice was barely audible. "Are you okay Bella?"
Her eyes were still examining me, taking in every detail. I had to take this as a good sign, or at least a reasonable distraction.
"Bella love, tell me why you think you have to run away from me." I prodded.
Her expression immediately changed as she realised her plan had been discovered.
"Alice" she said. Bella's first word spoken with her new vampire voice unhinged me. It was seductively melodious. In one word I was lost to her siren call.
"Finally" My voice was filled with the depth of my emotions. My eyes closed as I leaned into her pressing my lips on the forehead. I remained there taking in her scent as my anguish spilled out.
"Do you know how worried I have been about you? No, worried doesn't even begin to cover it." Another heavy sigh escaped my lips. I pulled back to look into her eyes.
"Bella, please tell me why you were planning to run off. I won't let you of course but I need to know why." I begged.
Bella pushed herself upright. I moved back to give her some room but kept her hand in mine. Her eyes fell away from mine and into her lap. I wanted desperately to pull her chin up so I could see her face again.
"Why are you here Edward?" she asked. Her voice was low and resigned.
Typical, Bella always avoided my questions with asking one of her own. But I would not be distracted this time. It was too important to know her answer.
"You first Bella" I replied
"I cannot answer you until you tell me why you came back." I could hear the pain in her words. My mind was frantic. Any word I said now could be the catalyst to send her running from me. I could feel my breathing becoming rapid.
"I don't understand Bella." I stalled for time
"It was a simple question Edward. Why did you come back?"
"Alice saw Victoria... We came back to..." the memories Bella being tortured were still too raw. I couldn't complete one sentence about what happened to her.
"There is your answer Edward." she said flatly.
"What do you mean?" I was so confused, where was my answer?
"Please let me go Edward" Bella's request was choked up.
"Not a chance!" I snapped back
"You may have thwarted my plans to leave immediately, but I will not stay with you." Her bottom lips quivered slightly before she stuck out her chin in defiance.
"Don't you love me anymore?" I cringed not really wanting to know the answer but it was too late, it was out there now. My breath held as I braced myself for the final blow that would destroy me inside. Destroy... Obliterate would be closer to the truth.
"What sort of ridiculous question is that?" she spat back at me.
"Yes or no?" I wouldn't let her off so easily, I had to know.
"Ugh!" she spun away from me frustrated.
"Am I to take that as no then, considering you want to leave me?" I offered an answer for her.
"You are unbelievable! I am not the one who left Edward." The hurt in her voice cut through me.
"Please Bella, just tell me. Am I too late? Can you not love me once more?" I wasn't sure how long I could keep this up. My legs felt hollow and ready to give way.
Bella's head fell into her hands. This was draining her as well. If only she would just answer me, tell me if she loved me or not.
"How I feel is irrelevant. It doesn't change anything, don't you see that." She whispered into her hands.
"For pity sake Edward, she loves you! Anyone can see that." Alice blurted out frustrated at me and the whole situation. Bella glared at Alice for betraying her feelings.
"I won't believe it till it comes from Bella herself" I retorted.
"Well then. I hope you enjoy disappointment." Bella had a small grin repeating my words back at me from so long ago.
"That's my line Bella" But she only shrugged her shoulders at me then looked away. This was going nowhere. We were at an impasse. I took a deep breath and tried a different tactic.
"For the sake of this argument, I will say that you do love me." She looked back at me and rolled her eyes exasperated. "So you love me but you are leaving me, how does that work exactly?" I asked softly.
"Why can you not just accept my decision Edward instead of drawing this out? It just makes it harder... for everyone." Bella's commitment to leaving me was not abating. It echoed in her voice.
"If you are going to leave me Bella, I want you to do so for the right reasons." My breath caught "I can't see any reason for you doing this; I can't see why we need to be parted for another second." My arm was wrapping around her waist without my consent. I had to have her in my arms; my body ached for her to be where she belonged.
"Don't. Please don't" she tried to pull away from me.
"I can't let you go Bella, I just can't." I tried to keep my voice steady.
Bella leant into me surrendering. It was the best feeling in the world. Then her body went rigid.
"No!" she pulled away from me again but this time so hard that I had to drop my hold on her.
"Why?" my voice was thick
"I won't let you do something out of guilt." She finally confessed. Not that I understood but it was progress at least. I knew there would be tears running down her cheeks if she could cry. They would be flowing from me as well as I reached in my mind for answers to explain what she meant by guilt.
"Please Bella. I can't make sense of what you are saying. You are not making me do anything out of guilt." I pulled her into me again. "And I will not let you go, I can't." I said in earnest.
"You have to." She pulled away from me. As she did, I felt a piece of me die inside. She was rejecting me but did I deserve anything less after what I have put her through. Her eyes full of grief looked eyed my family.
"Ugh!" she cried as she pulled her knees up to her, as her head sunk into them. Seeing her coil into herself like that released the inner voice screaming inside my mind. It pelted abuse viciously, ripping like cats eyes on the end of a whip. I caused this pain for Bella. I am the only one who is responsible for this pain. I had to make it right, if it took me for the rest of time to do so I would make this right.
I controlled the muscles on my face so they could not betray the anguish and abuse running so rampantly within me.
Bella released a sob as she explained further. "The reasons you came back Edward was not out of love for me." Another sob escaped her. She lifted her face to me. There was no hiding how deep this hurt her. "You only came back because I was in trouble." Her face fell back into the coverage of her knees.
I froze as her words sunk in.
"I will not stay with you Edward. I will not be with you when you do not love me. I couldn't endure that. You should have let me die." Her words were muffled but the impact was anything but. I felt the anger rise in me, anger for leaving her, anger for the pain I have put her through, anger that she could think for one moment that I didn't love her.
"You're wrong Bella," I almost yelled. "I do love you. I love you so much it's been killing me." My body was shaking as the emotions wreaked havoc inside me.
Her head snapped up "Don't lie to me Edward, don't you dare say that. Not now, not after everything..." she bit her lip "Don't do that to me." she wailed.
I felt as exposed as she did. This was not a subject I wanted to discuss in front of my family but I had no option. I couldn't risk her running; Bella had to be made to see reason, to see that I loved her so totally and unequivocally.
What Bella said was true though. She was in trouble, and it was the reason why I had returned. What she didn't know was that I was coming back to her anyway. Being parted from her was more than I could endure, I could not exist unless she was with me. I was heading back to her and I was going to beg Bella to take me back. I would beg now happily if that is what she wanted.
"I will not lie to you Bella, what Victoria did to you was the catalyst to bring me here. But, I was already coming back to you. It was just a matter of time and not much of it before you were going to find me at your window begging you to take me back. I can't live without you. I tried and it nearly killed me." I hoped my words would impact on Bella enough for her to understand that I loved her.
She snorted her reply.
"Why can you not believe me Bella?"
"You made yourself perfectly clear when you left me Edward." Her annoyance came through clearly. "I believe your words were 'I don't want you anymore Bella' what more proof do I need?"
"Edward!" Esme gasped in disbelief that I would say that to Bella.
"I only said that to give Bella a chance of moving on." I explained I didn't take my eyes off Bella but Esme knew I was explaining my actions to her.
"I had to hurt you so you would let me go Bella. I had to, don't you understand. I did it out of love for you."
I could see doubt in her resolve cross her face. That is all I needed, a seed of doubt for Bella to begin the process of accepting the truth in my words now. She stood up and moved away from me. Not quite reaction I was hoping for but I rose with her. She chewed her bottom lip as her mind warred with itself.
"Bella, please believe me I did it out of love for you." I took her in my arms whispering my words.
"No!" Bella pushed me away so hard with all her strength that I was flying across the room. I smashed through the glass window and slammed into the large fir tree next to the house. I heard the crack as it buckled under the force of the impact. The snapping got louder and I looked up to see the top half of the tree falling towards me.
Emmett leapt out of the broken window and caught the falling tree log before it landed on me and the house.
I heard Bella gasp "Edward" she shrilled. She was out of the window and holding me tightly in her arms in an eighth of a time it took to blink.
"Bella, if you want to do extreme renovations to the house, you might want to ask Esme first." He laughed holding the broken log easily in his hands.
"I'm so sorry Edward, are you hurt? Please tell me you are okay" panic flooded her. The rest of my family had joined us outside.
I stood up and stretched out. I was not injured from hitting the tree. "I am fine, don't worry." I said reassuring her.
"I could smack Edward around a bit if you like Bella, could make you feel better." He swung the log around like it was a baseball bat.
"Emmett!" Bella protested.
Rosalie burst out laughing.
Emmett had a brainwave "Would you like to do it Baby? It would look more impressive if you did it." He pretended to hand the log to Rosalie.
My family laughed.
"Don't tempt me!" her eyebrow raised as she laughed.
"Give it a rest" I interjected. I had no interest in the light hearted banter. My only concern was keeping Bella with me.
"There is nothing to forgive Bella, I am fine honestly, you are just a bit stronger than me and you were holding me a bit too tightly." I assured her.
"Oh" she sighed understanding fully. Bella put her arms around me again, this time gently. I took her in my arms and kissed her forehead reassuring her that I was fine. I looked at Jasper.
"What happened back there Jasper, did you lose control?" I asked as I rolled my head from side to side emphasising the stiffness I felt.
"Not for one moment, so you can imagine what would have happened if I wasn't keeping her calm." He looked concerned.
"A little heads up would have been nice Alice" I jokingly chastised her.
"Not from where I was standing Edward. You deserved that little shove and more for what you have put Bella through." She threw back at me.
"Alice!" Bella snapped
"Take it easy Bella, Edward needs a good smack around every now and then and seen you are sticking around now you had better get use to the idea."
"You're staying?" I asked unable to contain my relief in my voice.
"No!" She denied and released me abruptly.
"This has gone on long enough Bella, I can't take any more." My muscles felt like they were locking into place as I made myself clear one final time.
"Bella, I can no sooner stop you from leaving as you can stop me from following you."
"Yes I will and I can run faster than you. Just keep that in mind as you plot your escape"
"I don't know Edward. I don't think this can work."
"We have tried being apart, is that what you want again because I sure don't. Eternity is an awful long time to have your heart broken Bella. Is that what you want us to go through because you are confused?"
"How do I know you won't leave me again? I won't go through that again, I won't survive it."
"What you are suggesting is impossible for me to do Bella. I am so completely and devotedly tethered to you in ways that are not of this world. Loving you, being with you, it is all that matters to me. You are my very reason for living. So don't take that away from me."
I didn't let Bella have a choice. I took her lips in mine as I pulled her hard into me. She did not fight me. The fire burned in me as I pressed down taking in the taste of her mouth in mine. I felt her arms tighten around my neck, as her body arched into mine. My right hand moved to the small of her back pressing her in to me. Bella let out a groan of pleasure fuelling my own. I gasped "Stay with me Bella, I need you I want you." I kissed her throat eagerly.
"You fight dirty" she mockingly replied
"You don't seem to be fighting" as my lips took hers again. Her body melted into me when I heard a very annoying interruption.
Emmett forced out a pretend cough and I heard the low chuckles from the family behind me. I realised the way Bella and I were wrapped around each other was not for public viewing. Bella was embarrassed, she moved instantly away from me. I laughed and was by her side in the same instant. I wrapped my arm around her waist.
"You can't get away from me that easily Bella" I said chuckling.
"Who's trying" she cooed
"So it's settled. There is to be no more talk of you leaving." I said in a stern but gentle tone.
"I am not sure how long I would have survived anyway." Bella said surrendering.
"You will never have to know. I will always be by your side Bella and if I have my way you will never leave my arms."
"I guess I can live with that." She got onto the balls of her feet and kissed my lips softly.
"Oh get a room already" Emmett laughed
Who was listening, my lips certainly weren't. My arms tightened around Bella.