Disclaimer: I do not own any part of this story. It all belongs to the wonderful Stephenie Meyer. Thank you for inspiring me!
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who was so kind to take the time to review. I really, really appreciate and I must say, it encouraged and made my muse so happy things just kept flowing =) It has also given me ideas for more stories that I can't wait to try out.
I just want to mention two authors, Subtlynice and BlueSea14, whose beautiful stories helped inspire me. Especially for this chapter. Check out their stories-they are amazing! Thank you to both of you…
I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as the other!
I got to Bella's house in record time. Even for a vampire. I needed to convince Edward he was out of his mind to think leaving her again would make anything better. I knew he wouldn't appreciate my interrupting his time with Bella. But I had to talk to him before Bella woke up and he said something stupid to her.
I scaled the wall and sat on the windowsill.
He was lying on the bed with Bella, an arm protectively cradling her to his chest. She, in turn was, even in unconsciousness, lying as close to him as possible, clinging to him, as if she was afraid he would leave her again. Her thoughts were not that far off, I thought wryly.
He was gazing at her face with an intensity that made my still heart ache. It was as if he was trying to memorize every small detail of her face. I didn't have the heart to speak.
Edward knew I was there. He would have heard my thoughts long before he heard the sounds of my footsteps and the sound of my climbing the wall. But he gave no sign that he had seen nor heard me. His gaze never left Bella's face.
I looked at her carefully. The last few days' tension was visible on her face. The dark circles on her face were prominent. I knew these were not just from her lack of sleep while in Italy and on the way back. To our sharp eyes, signs of depression were still clear. It may have fooled human eyes but I knew she was a mess.
I knew he could hear what I was thinking. See the images I could see. Under normal circumstances I'd refrain from thinking about such things in his presence. But I felt he needed to see this. And the images I was subjecting him to at the moment were mild…
"Alice!" he hissed, too low for human ears. "Would you not?"
I ignored that comment.
We need to talk I thought to him.
"Not now." His voice was a growl.
I sighed. I know you want to spend every second with her. And I understand, I really do. But-
"Then leave, Alice!" he cut me off. "I want to be with her alone. It's been so long…" his voice, laced with longing, trailed off as he softly ran his fingers over her face.
Only to leave her again….?
"You know." It was a statement. Not a question.
I gave an exasperated sigh, "Of course I know," And I think you're completely out of your mind.
His face remained blank. Only his eyes blazed with a thousand emotions. He still didn't look up from Bella's face.
"I haven't decided anything." He said softly, nearly a whisper.
And that's why I'm here. To make sure you don't make the wrong decision.
Edward was silent. At times like this I wished I had his ability instead of him. He thought way too much for his own good. Thoughts that we didn't know.
Edward please….what's going on in that head of yours?
He finally raised his head and met my eyes.
It was a good thing I had seen this conversation in my mind before. If not, the utter desperation of his conflicted emotions might have knocked the breath out of me. Not that I needed it.
He seemed at a loss for words.
"I-I don't want to leave Alice…" he said brokenly. My heart ached at his obvious pain. "I can't be without her. It hurts too much. Never in all my hundred years have I felt this kind of pain. An ache that can never be assuaged. Except by her…"
Then don't leave.
"But I must. I should."
That was the crux of the matter. A battle between what he should do and what he wanted to do. This was Edward. Always placing the needs of others above his own. So much so, he never considered that he himself was among those that some people needed.
Like Bella, like our whole family…
Explain that to me Edward…
He glared. "What do I need to explain? You know as well as I do that I'm not good for her. My life, our lifestyle, she is too good to be in it. Too pure. She's better off without me."
Really? I thought sarcastically. You could've fooled me. And I unleashed my thoughts on him. It was cruel really. But I could think of no other way to make him understand what his absence had done to her.
I saw him freeze and his face twist in anguish as image after image of Bella as soon as I met her when I returned to Forks, flashed through my mind, interwoven with the conversation I had with Charlie. Her eyes, rimmed with circles, "throwing around words like catatonic", the image of her flinging herself off the cliff, with an expression of one who has let go of all, "she was….empty. Her eyes were dead", her hysterical joy at seeing me, which showed how much she had missed us, the dead look in her eyes looking even more dead if that were possible, "she flinched at the littlest things", when even hints and insinuations of Edward arose in our conversation, Bella losing consciousness at merely a horrified whisper of Edward's name, "I still hear her screaming in her sleep…."
"Alice please….!" My brother's strangled whisper broke through my thoughts. His eyes were closed as if it would shield him from my onslaught.
I'd apologize later.
Better off is she, Edward?
He was silent.
"When are you going to realize, Edward that she needs you too? You saw what a mess she was. Us leaving, you leaving did nothing to help her. You both need each other." I said fiercely. "Stop believing you are not good for anybody. You are. You think you are damned. How can anyone with your selflessness be damned? You tore yourself away from her because you believed it was best for her. The only thing wrong with that is that you never thought you are what she needs. So if you really want to be selfless then don't you dare move from her side. Ever!"
He looked mildly surprised at my outburst.
"And while you're thinking about selflessness, you might want to take the rest of your family into consideration. Do have any idea what Carlisle and Esme went through? Emmet, Jazz, even Rose"
And me? Did you consider me? I couldn't bear to speak this out. I couldn't even think coherent thoughts. For the first time I surrendered myself to the collage of emotions that had flooded through me ever since I had that horrifying vision not far from here. Hand in hand with the intense fear was the intense grief.
I wanted him to feel the pain that I felt.
I could not remember my human family. When I joined Carlisle and his family it hadn't been difficult for me to see them as, father, mother, brothers and sisters. And out of all my siblings I was closest to Edward. Perhaps because he was the only one, until now, who didn't have a partner. Perhaps it was because we both had abilities that made it possible to have the intimate, private conversations that I cherished. Perhaps because those same abilities revealed so much about us to each other that others never knew. I had a bond with him, a special bond, one that I was fiercely protective of.
Too bad that if I wanted to punish the cause for nearly severing that bond, I would wind up severing it myself.
I let the hurt wash over me as I tentatively raised my eyes to meet his. If I could cry my eyes would have been swimming now.
Don't you love me?
"Alice I…" Edward rose from the bed. He looked as if it hurt him physically to be away from Bella, but for one selfish moment I was glad he did. He came towards me and raised my chin to look me in the eye.
"I'm sorry," he said simply. I heard all he didn't say. Sincerity rang in every syllable. He was sorry that he had put us through all the agony. But in his eyes I also saw a plea for understanding.
I know why you did it Edward, we all do. I thought. We just don't think you needed to put yourself in that position in the first place.
His hand dropped and I saw an echo of the conflicted emotions rise in his black eyes again as he looked back at Bella's sleeping form.
"You should hunt" I said, veering away from the topic at hand for a moment. Not that I wanted to but the last thing we needed was any bloodlust to complicate his already mixed up feelings.
"I'm fine," he answered shortly.
My eyes narrowed.
He looked at me again and smiled sadly, "Really, Alice, I don't need to hunt. The last thing I would even instinctively do is harm her. It seems I now reflexively repel my more primitive instincts."
I understood. He couldn't hurt her.
Unknowingly this placed my argument in a better place.
And you still think you aren't good enough for her? I queried.
I could see the answer in his eyes.
She needs you Edward… She wants you.
"How can you be sure?" he asked, sounding agonized again. "After all I did, how can she want me still? And even if she does how can it be that she wants just me? We are able to attract our prey." He nearly spat out the last sentence.
I clenched my teeth.
Edward, give her some credit! I snapped. Her feelings for you have not resulted from our abilities to attract a meal. She loves you for you! I know you don't think much of yourself but she does! Your mind, your thoughts, your ideas, your values, everything.
I could tell he didn't quite believe me. "And you would know this how?" he inquired.
"Woman's intuition," I shot back.
He couldn't resist smiling a little. I realized how much I missed it. We all needed a lot more smiling and a lot less moping, in my opinion.
"Really Edward, Bella and I used to talk too you know," I said, smiling alittle myself. "It wasn't all shopping."
The smile grew slightly bigger.
"That's what she tells me too… And," he eyes had a feverish desperation, "I want to believe it. I do! But…" he broke off unable to find the words.
"She's willing to give up the life she knows for you, Edward," I said quietly, "You know what I've seen. What does that tell you?"
His eyes hardened as the image of Bella, beautiful, pale, with amber eyes swam into my mind.
"I'm merely trying to illustrate the extent of her feelings. She loves you." I said simply. "Don't put yourself down so much. You're worth caring about."
"I won't allow it!" he growled.
Another picture flashed through my head.
Well you'll get to hear what she thinks soon enough. I told him. She'll be up in a few minutes.
He suddenly looked wary.
"One last thing Edward," I said, "I know you don't believe in anything more for our kind, that we are forever doomed to the pits of hell but think about this. If we, if you are so damned as you think, then how in the world did you end up with someone, who is not only an incredibly wonderful person but who also made you so happy?"
It was the argument I knew he couldn't argue with. And from his rather stunned expression I could tell I had hit the bull's eye.
"Make the right decision, Edward, please," I said softly. "I love you and Bella too much to lose either of you" Don't deny me both my sister and my brother…
Something stirred in his black eyes.
She needs us. All of us. You know she needs protection…
His face tightened. He didn't need to hear my thoughts to remember Victoria or the wolves Bella kept company with. Trust her to walk right into what was most dangerous.
I'll see you later I thought and turned back to the window.
"Alice," he called.
I turned, smiling slightly. Of course I knew what he was going to say.
He stared at me intently, holding my shoulders, "I do love you," he said softly, answering my earlier question, "Very, very much."
And he leaned towards me and gently kissed me on the forehead.
"Never again…" I whispered.
"Never," he confirmed.
I smiled at him and pushed him gently towards Bella's bed again. "Go to her. I'll talk to you at home."
"Thank you, Alice. For…..everything".
Anytime I thought as I leaped out the window, landing soundlessly on the damp ground and started running towards home.
The pictures in my mind cleared suddenly…
Edward holding Bella's face in his hands, his lips on hers, kissing her as if trying to convey all the love he had for her in that one kiss, Bella responding with equal fervor, their hands caressing each other's face, as if trying to remember the details they had lived without for so long….
And finally, Edward breaking away only to lay his head against her heart and say, "By the way, I'm not leaving you…"
I heaved a sigh of relief.
A/N: So what's the verdict? Is it ok? Please review. I'm addicted to them…
I've been playing around with ideas to do this from Jasper and/or Edward's POV. What do you think? And if its from Edward's POV to continue into "The Truth" chapter in the book? Would love to hear your suggestions….