A/N: Hey guys. Thanks to everyone that read my Bella x Jasper one shot, "To Dream". I was pretty overwhelmed by all of the positive feedback, and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that favorited my story and me. Here's a little something I've been working on. It's a bit more angsty than anything I've really attempted, and I hope the emotion I'm trying to convey comes across correctly. Also, I don't want any crap for what happens to Edward. :P It's very important to the story. This will be Bella x Jasper eventually. Please give it a read and let me know what you think. Thanks!
Twilight, Bella and the gang are the intellectual properties of their respective copywriters. I don't own anything but the unrecognizable parts of plot. No money is made. Etc, etc.
Did My Heart Love Til Now
I stared mutely out the window, watching the scenery race by. Quite literally. Foreign buildings, sky and trees had begun to blur together, forming a single, colorful entity. That was alright. I wouldn't have seen any of it even if we were driving anywhere near the speed limit. I glanced unnecessarily at the car's speedometer. We weren't. We careened wildly around a corner, and I uttered a terrified gasp as the door of a parked car just ahead of us flew open and a man stepped out. Oh my God! We were going to hit him. I cringed back into my seat, but Alice maneuvered us as easily around the road block as if it hadn't existed. I could hear the young man's angry shouts only momentarily as we sped further into the city.
A pang of guilt struck me. Guilt that I hadn't warned Alice to slow down, or cautioned her not to hit the man. Guilt that the only concern that plagued me at the thought of running him over, possibly killing him, was whether or not our stolen car would come out of the mess unscathed. Would we have been able to continue on our desperate course if the small automobile had taken the man out? I briefly envisioned a large, human sized dent in the hood and a cracked windshield before shaking myself free of the grizzly images. It didn't matter. I had a vampire chauffer, a vampire chauffer who could see the future. Despite the speed with which we were tearing down these unknown streets, I had probably never been safer.
"Alright there, Bella?" The soft, melodious voice cut through the thick tension of the small space. I nodded jerkily, not trusting my voice to verbalize the lie. Alice saw right through me, as she usually did and reached over to touch my knee lightly with her icy hand, her lips drawn back in a tight, forced smile. "It'll be alright."
I looked at her, my expression one of desperate supplication. Had she seen something? I warned myself against the fierce hope that suddenly gripped me. Her second sight was only accurate so long as the subject continued on a set course. It could change at any moment. The reminder did little to calm my sudden buoyancy. "Are you certain?" My tone was heavy with a single implied question. Had she seen a vision of the future guaranteeing our success?
Her small, stone hand withdrew and she clutched the steering wheel convulsively, her normally cheerful countenance drawn tight with agonized uncertainty. A succinct shake of her head was all the answer I needed. The visions were changing, as she'd been telling me they had been since our plane landed. My stomach lurched, sinking straight into my toes, and I raked my hand viciously through my already mussed hair. I returned to my sight seeing and troubled thoughts.
Edward. My Edward was somewhere in this city, taking the necessary steps to ensure the end of his life. Like some nightmarish Shakespearean tragedy come to life, my Romeo, believing me dead, was so tortured by the thought of a world without my presence that he couldn't imagine his continued existence in it.
The very idea caused me such pain that I felt as though I were being torn in two. I wrapped my arms protectively around myself, trying to hold it together. The helplessness, the anxiety were enough that I couldn't add any more emotion to the mix lest I overwhelm my dwindling sanity. The pain would have to wait. I was certain that it would consume me when I finally laid eyes upon my love.
Did he truly think that I would end my life over his betrayal? I chuckled humorlessly. Alright, so I'd seriously considered it. And my reasons for backing down were far from noble. It wasn't in respect for my family, or the love that they harbored for me. No. Nor was it fear that I would burn in Hell for the sin. Nor for the pain I knew I would leave in those I left behind. Imagine every after school special you've ever seen on suicide, take the moral of the story, and not a single one would be the reason for staying my hand.
I knew that so long as I lived and breathed, there was a chance I might see Edward again. God, I was pathetic.
I wanted to hate him for this thoroughly selfish, utterly hypocritical act. Hadn't he intentionally done almost this very thing to me? He left me. Allowed himself to become my reason for living and then cut himself free, leaving an impossible, gaping wound. He left me completely alone, bereft of the love that I had come to so wholly depend on. Left me broken beyond repair. Left me with nothing more than my own agonizing, torturous memories. His tousled auburn hair, those soft gold eyes, that crooked smile. I gasped softly as his beautiful face tore through the walls I'd erected around his memory and swam through my mind. Agony ripped through me so terrifically that I felt as though I might be sick all over the stolen car's dash.
My heart slowed as I tucked the painful memories away. The thoughts were foolish, anyway. I couldn't hate Edward even if I'd wanted to. There wasn't a single, atrocious act in this world that he could commit that would turn me against him. Certainly he could, and had, upset and angered me. But when it came to Edward nothing was unforgivable. I needed him as surely as I needed the air that pushed through the tightness in my chest to enter my lungs. He was my everything. It didn't matter that he'd hurt me, that'd he taken the very world with him when he'd gone away. Saving him was all that mattered, now.
The irony of it struck me, terrified me. I was a human. A mortal. Weak, slow, clumsy even by human standards. How did I possibly stand any chance of swaying Edward's actions once they'd begun? His strength and speed were beyond comprehension. I could feel my pulse spike, blood pounding furiously through my veins as a single thought struck irrevocably home. If I failed in this, Edward would die. He would be dead. Gone. Forever.
My brain shut down, completely ceased to function as I tried to envision my life without any possibility of Edward. I began to hyperventilate, my fingers fisting into the edge of my seat.
"Bella?" Alice's voice held such concern that I knew I should say something, offer her some words of comfort, tell her that I was alright, but in that moment, I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to voice such an immense untruth. I simply shook my head, wide-eyed with my terror. "Bella!" It was a clear command, and I glanced at the ethereally beautiful young woman who was, for all intents and purposes, Edward's little sister. "Bella, I need you to pull yourself together, we're nearly there."
Oh, God. Please. Please, just give me this. I will never ask for anything again. Please, please, please.
"Bella!" Her pleading tone mirrored my thoughts and I tried to knit the frayed edges of my nerves back together. "Please, you have to keep a level head. I need you. Edward needs you."
It was the first time, in a long time, that someone had actually said his name aloud within the vicinity of my hearing and the shock of it sliced clean through me. Edward. Edward needed me. He may not want me, but in this moment, he needed me. I nodded slowly, reigning in my wayward physiological responses. Breathe, Bella, you can do this.
"We haven't much time. When we get there, do anything, anything you can think of to make him see you. His path is very clear, and unless we intervene he has no intention of turning back."
I nodded my understanding. "How swiftly will the Volturi act once he steps into the sun?" I was trying, futilely, to remove my overwhelming, debilitating emotion from the situation. If it were a plan, a logical, singular strategy, perhaps I would be able to function.
Alice shook her head slowly, staring at me as if I'd just said something extremely foolish. "Bella, if Edward sets so much as a fingertip into the sunlight, he will die. There is no time, no room for error. You must reach him before he takes a single step."
Try as I might to resist it, the fear washed over me in cold, unyielding waves. I could feel my fingers trembling as I knotted them in my lap. "Alice, Edward is…fast." An integral understatement. There was no way…no way…
"Bella, listen to me. You can do this. I know you can. I've seen it." I refused to remind her that she'd also seen Edward's death. And mine. And her own. "You must gain his attention before the clock strikes noon."
I could only nod, lost in a brief, silent motivational speech.
Come on, Bella, you can do this. This is to save Edward. Your Edward. Could you truly live with yourself if he were to die because you tripped over your own feet? If you don't believe in yourself, Edward doesn't stand a chance.
I was jerked out of the inner monologue as I realized the car was slowing. Oh, Oh God, we're here. I have to…I can't, please. I couldn't make sense of the thoughts anymore. There was no room for coherency, there was only terrified anxiety.
The clock tower struck the first chime of noon as we rolled to a stop.
My hands shook violently as I desperately scrambled for the door handle. I couldn't…Why the hell wasn't it opening?!
"Alice!" A single word had never sounded more like a plea.
She was leaning over me, a flash of inhuman speed, and she had the door open and my seatbelt off before I could so much as blink.
The second stroke of noon.
I tripped my way out of the car, eyes watering at the sudden near-blinding sun. Where? Where was Edward?
"Straight ahead Bella, just run!"
The throng of people seemed impossibly thick as I lurched forward, sliding on the dew dampened grass. I pushed my way through, rudely shoving people aside. It didn't matter. What were manners when Edward was about to die?
A ringing toll sounded around the busy square and I shuddered. How many was that? Six, Seven?
I tripped over someone's foot and flailed wildly to the ground, my palms stinging with the impact. A hand on my shoulder, helping me to my feet. I shrugged it off, sprinting onward. My legs ached as I demanded every ounce of speed I could get from them, my lungs burning with the effort.
The bell sounded for what I was sure was the tenth time.
And then, he was there. The crowd thinned, parted, and he was revealed to me. My beloved, my immortal, my vampire. My Edward. My heart stopped in my chest, and I skidded to a halt, desperately drinking him in. How could one person, one being, be so utterly beautiful? From his tousled auburn locks to his dazzling pale countenance, right down to his shoes, he was exactly as I remembered him. Completely perfect.
Did my heart love til now? Foreswear its sight, for I never saw true beauty til this night. How apropos.
Nothing, nothing had ever looked so good to me as Edward did now. He was alive. Alive…Oh god. I needed to get to him!
The eleventh chime resonated throughout and I leapt forward. It felt as though I were moving through mud, as though the bottoms of my shoes were coated in glue. Why couldn't I move faster? I sobbed, cursing my weakness.
My lips parted on a scream that was his name as I neared the shadowed alcove in which he stood. I summoned all of the strength in my belabored lungs and screamed his name, pouring all of my anger, fear, and anxiety into that single word.
The clock struck noon.
His unmoving form, statuesque, suddenly came to life. No, no, no! No! I screamed his name again, and again, the word lost in the din of the crowd. I was almost there, just a few more steps.
But he moved. Stepped forward as he turned, his eyes flashing with recognition, just as the sun came to slant faintly across his face. He stumbled back almost immediately. He saw me, oh thank God, he saw me. As he stared at me, disbelief shining in his brilliant golden gaze, the hooded figures descended. It was too late.
Pain crossed his beautiful features, and I could only stare, horrified by the events that unfolded. He went still, utterly still, and his gaze was torn from mine. I followed his eyes to the silver blade that was protruding from his chest. Oh. Oh God, please, no. Anything. I'll do anything! Please! I took a single step back, my hands rising to cover my mouth, holding in the screams of anguish that threatened to tear me apart.
Edward's gaze rose, meeting mine, and a small smile crossed his lips. He reached a hand out to me, and I could almost feel the cold, smooth texture of his fingertips on my face. It was too much. I slumped to my knees, the uncontrollable sobs tearing their way out of my chest as Edward's lifeless form fell to the ground.
"Is there anything I can get for you, Miss?"
I jerked free of the prison of my thoughts, glancing up at the source of the intrusive voice.
"I'm sorry, what?" My voice was hoarse, and I cleared my throat lightly. I could only imagine how I must look to this woman. My red-rimmed, empty eyes, and my rumpled clothing. I didn't care. I didn't care about anything, anymore.
"Do you need anything? A drink, perhaps, or a pillow?"
I didn't understand. My entire world had shattered into a million irretrievable pieces and she wanted to know if I wanted a fucking pillow? I had an overwhelming urge to scream at her. Unleash the furious, all-consuming grief that was eating at me. I stared at her blankly for several seconds, before giving her a curt shake of my head. It wasn't her fault, after all. The only blame to be placed was on me, and me alone.
I cringed, huddling in on myself as the guilt began to gnaw away at me. It took turns with agony, breaking me a little at a time. My old friend numbness was conspicuously absent.
It was my fault. Edward was…Edward was dead and it was entirely my fault. I had stopped. God, why had I stopped? If I could have been just a little faster, a little stronger. I pressed my lips together, fighting tears. Once they'd begun, I knew they wouldn't cease. I just had to make it a few more hours, I just had to get home, inform the Cullens, and then I could collapse into my bed and never move again.
Edward's way out had never looked more appealing.
They were waiting for me, of course. All five of them. Their golden eyes an unbearable reminder of my Edward as they pointedly watched the exit behind me, fully expecting to see him just behind. But I had failed. My lungs began to burn as I tried to breathe past the sudden lump in my throat. How was I supposed to tell them that I had let Edward die? How could I possibly tell Esme, Edward's beautiful, loving mother that I had allowed them to kill her son? I couldn't do this.
I turned, suddenly, intending to flee, unable to bear their accusations, suffer their anger at my short-comings. A cold hand on my shoulder stopped me short, spun me to face them. Jasper.
"Bella, what…?" His eyes searched my face and he gasped, jerking his hand away as though he'd been burned. The tears began. There was no more holding them at bay. I was drowning. Drowning in a grief that would no longer be denied. I pressed my clenched fists to my eyes, trembling with the effort to stay upright beneath the weight of my guilt.
I could feel them, their cool, unwavering presences as they surrounded me. Someone drew me close, held me tightly enough to hurt. Esme's soft voice murmured,
"Oh Bella, I'm so sorry."
She was sorry? I had killed her son and she was sorry? Hysterical laughter bubbled from my lips. "I killed him."
Rosalie gasped, and the arms around me tightened to a painful degree. I winced but didn't withdraw. Perhaps Esme would kill me, accidentally, and I would be free of this.
Carlisle's steady hands pulled me from his wife's embrace. His face was drawn with his grief, and just when I thought there was nothing left of my heart to be broken, I was proven wrong. That expression dug deep gouges into the already mortally wounded organ, and I broke down.
"I saw him, Carlisle. I couldn't…I wasn't fast enough! The Volturi. If I just could have reached him. He saw me. Oh, God, he looked right at me, but it was too late." He seemed to understand the sobbing, broken English well enough, and he drew me closer, wrapping his arms around me.
"It's not your fault, Bella."
I choked on my scoff, fisting my hands in his shirt. "I'm weak, pathetic. Any of you would've…"
Big hands spun me, and I was faced with Emmett, the normally playful light in his eyes extinguished. The realization that I had done that struck me. I had ruined this family. "That's enough of that, little sister. None of us would've been able to save Edward, not out in the sun. He made his choice."
Didn't he understand?! I had the chance to save him, and I hadn't been able to!
A wave of unrest washed over me, the emotion intruding on my grief. I was positive that it was not mine. There was only one person… I turned slowly, already knowing who would be standing there. Dread shuddered up my spine.
Jasper was staring at me oddly, his head tipped to one side, his face dangerously expressionless.
"Bella? Where's Alice?"