Author's Note: I had honestly not expected to be writing so soon after "This Love Thing" but I wanted to rush this one out for the LJ part_of_him challenge and so here it is.
Many thanks to snitchster for the BETA work.
Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. I make no money from this. Wuthering Heights is property of Emily Bronte.
God bears with the wicked, but not forever.
- Miguel de Cervantes
"You know I love you…" She whispered, her breath lingering in the space between us as I pulled away from her. She cradled the side of my jaw with her palm as her lips curved into a small smile.
"I do…" I closed my eyes and sighed.
"Then don't be afraid." She encouraged. We were seated on our bed, a wedding gift from Emmett and Rosalie. She was seated cross-legged while I knelt in front of her. "After all, the worst is over." She made a joke.
I frowned and I took her hand from my face and held it in mine. "That's not funny. Our wedding night was nothing short of disastrous."
To be perfectly honest, I truly feel that way. Bella had already fulfilled her end of the bargain and so it had been my turn to live up to my word. I did say we would try.
Bella ended up with multiple bruises and the hotel bed was almost shredded to pieces. I was so very ashamed with myself. I couldn't even give my wife one single night of pleasure without the risk of killing her. I was a monster, a fiend.
"Well, I had the most wonderful night in my life." She shrugged, a rosy pink coloring her cheeks. I would miss that, her blush. I would miss being able to embarrass her and have her face show it.
"Would tonight be…" I struggled to find the right words. "Would it be as memorable?"
"Yes." She nodded but did not meet my eyes. I knew why; she was afraid it would upset me. Of course it will but I had come to terms with it. If this was what Bella wants…if it was what I want too, no matter how minimally but desperately…
"You will not downplay anything." I reminded her. "Carlisle is already in the next room. He'll help us. The whole family is downstairs. Don't stop yourself from screaming because of my…feelings. We will need to know these things."
"Okay." She said softly and for the first time, I detected a hint of fear in her voice. I think it must be because of the certainty that she was finally going to get what she wanted all along, that I was surrendering.
"Are you ready?" I leaned in closer to her as I gently pushed her to lie on the bed. I tried to make it as comfortable as I could; it helped with the guilt somehow. I knew it would be futile anyway, within half an hour from now, Bella would be in so much pain; she wasn't going to care if there were enough pillows.
"Yes." She sounded brave now. I supposed this was to be expected; almost like, say, someone who has accepted his fate with the gallows.
I continued puffing up more pillows for her when she placed a hand on my arm. I focused my attention on her. "I want this." She assured me once more. "Please don't feel bad or guilty or anything like that…"
I kissed her forehead instead of replying. I did not trust myself to answer her objectively. On one hand, I was appalled that I would be committing such a sin. I would be condemning her to an eternity of darkness, evil. It would be a living nightmare, an eternity that I myself wasn't so sure if I wanted even. But on the other hand, I wanted this as well. Selfish, inconsiderate, greedy, greedy lowlife that I was, I wanted this for Bella. I wanted to keep her with me, to have her forever.
I released the breath I was not aware I had been holding and looked Bella in the eye. Everything was ready; she was ready. She nodded once more and I placed my hands on both sides of her head, leaning in. I could hear her heart picking up the pace, the blood rushing under her thin skin. Her breathing was becoming shallower but her heart pounded on relentless. I leaned in, my lips to her neck.
"I love you. Please don't struggle." I murmured before sinking my teeth into her soft, delicate flesh.
That was two nights ago.
I kept a constant vigil at Bella's side, refusing to leave the room at all. She was in pain, she was in so much pain and it was all because of me. Her change was not going well.
After my first bite two nights ago, I had called out to Carlisle and when he arrived in the bedroom, I asked if there was enough venom in her system and Carlisle had said no after checking on Bella. I was forced to bite her two more times, once on the inside of her right wrist and another time just left of the breastbone. It took all of my willpower to stop.
Bella winced even more and thrashed about on the bed and yet she did not scream. I would never forget it, her face contorting in pain as she willed herself not to scream.
The first night was most excruciating. She groaned and grimaced and when I tried to take her hand in mine, trying to even hold her for a second, she flinched away. I knew I shouldn't be taking it personally, the coldness of my hand was torture for her fiery skin but I did take it personally.
I had brought this upon her. My wicked and selfish act had done this.
The second night was better…and worse. Bella had finally succumbed to the pain and she screamed the entire night. She begged for the fire to stop, begged for me to save her and finally, when no respite from the fires came, she begged for someone to kill her. Anyone would do.
Her screams were nothing I had ever heard before. It was not like Esme's change or Rosalie's or even Emmett's. I was sure that her screams would frighten the devil himself and that was what I was: the devil.
I had done this to her. I had killed her myself. After all those years of being the over-protective oaf, justifying every action as a precaution for her safety, I killed her.
"It is easier, he says, if the blood is weak." I remembered telling Bella once about Carlisle and him changing us. Carlisle and Alice came into the room on the second night, he needed to check on Bella and she needed to change Bella out of her sweat-drenched clothes yet again. Carlisle told me. "Edward, her blood was not weak at her change. This is not going to be easy."
And now, here I was, the third night of her change and there seemed to be no end in sight for Bella's suffering. Certainly, her heartbeat was slowing down, lower than a human's already but not low enough to signal that her transition was coming to an end.
There was less thrashing about and she was becoming slightly more lucid. Her voice was hoarse from all the screaming but she could string coherent words together now though nothing longer than a sentence at a time. Her brown eyes were already slowing turning into a shade of burgundy and she was becoming paler than usual.
I read to her a lot during her change. For fear that she would hurt herself, I would, no matter how much she screamed not to, grab one of her wrists and pinned her to the bed. It was heart wrenching to see her try and struggle against my grip but I kept telling myself it was for her own good.
"Don't talk as if she were a child!"
I would recite her favorite lines from Wuthering Heights and her other favorites from Shakespeare. Alice gave me fashion magazines to read to Bella. I suppose it was her attempt at making a joke, something to soothe my frazzled nerves. Esme passed me Carlisle's bible, hoping that His words would help. What would the Lord say about my wickedness, I wondered but then, I already knew the answer.
When the fourth night came, Bella simply closed her eyes and lay perfectly still on the bed. I was extremely worried and called out to Carlisle. "I think it's happening. Her change is almost complete." He told me with a reassuring hand on my shoulder. Her heartbeat was almost nonexistent and her skin was as hard as mine was. But why would she not wake?
"Patience, Edward." Carlisle stressed. "You mustn't rush it. Esme herself didn't wake until several hours after her change. Rosalie or Emmett didn't wake up immediately either."
18 hours and Bella was still not waking up. I tried to hold on to Carlisle's words like a lifeline, tightly and unwaveringly but the fear in me was overpowering. I was slowly losing my mind. I was afraid; so afraid that Bella had not survived the change.
Don't! Don't think like that!
I gripped Bella's hand tighter as I brought it closer to me. I could not lose her. She was my life, my everything. If I were to lose her…
"Come back to me." I pleaded. "Please…"
And in that moment, I prayed. For the first time, I truly believed what Bella has said about my soul; that I did in fact have one and that perhaps I would be given a place in Heaven someday. I prayed that if he gave Bella back to me, he could damn me to Hell. I did not want a Heaven without Bella in it.
I prayed as hard as I could and for half an hour, I kept my hands clasped around hers as I kept on praying. Suddenly, a gush of wind blew in from an opened window and Bella's tattered copy of Wuthering Heights fell to the ground.
I bent to retrieve it and when I sat up again, I found myself staring into a pair of brilliantly red eyes.