A/N: Hi everyone! After months of oneshots, allow me to present my first multi-chaptered Twilight fic! Since Breaking Dawn is my least favorite of the 4 books, I decided to try and write an alternative for it, using "the road not taken" as the poem goes. My story picks up right where chapter 6 in Breaking Dawn leaves off. It's gonna be alternate POVs, so odd chapters are Edward, and even chapters are Bella. Please remember it's my first long fic, so any suggestion or criticism is more than welcome. Also, I want to say a huge thankyou to Mizra and flyingtooclose, who helped me so much with ideas to make this story work. Thanks, you guys, I owe you one.
Disclaimer: Edward, Bella and any other character you recognize, as well as plotline references, are the eternal property of Stephenie Meyer - I'm merely playing! I borrowed the title from the musical Spring Awakening.
A hint of a smile pulled at his lips. "We're going to Dartmouth? Really?"
"I'll probably fail out in one semester."
"I'll tutor you." The smile was wide now. "You're going to love college."
~ Breaking Dawn, chapter 6.
It had been hours since the decision was made, and still I could not stop smiling to myself in the darkness. I stole a glance at her, sleeping soundly in my arms. She was wearing one of the items my sister had picked for her, although thankfully a less distracting one. I ran a finger along her arm and felt her shiver. A tiny smile curled on her lips as she slept on. My own smile widened an inch. I couldn't believe how easy this was. Where was her fiery resistance, the one I had learned to embrace myself against?
Of course, I knew exactly what brought up the change. I didn't need to read her mind to figure that much out. I was already well-familiar with her human hormones. Now, when our relationship had taken a new turn, she was determined to make the best out of it. It was as if she had finally found something it was worth to remain human for. And for her human eyes, I guess it was. As it served my interests well – we wouldn't have to discuss her transformation for a while – I didn't delve into it. I didn't question her decision; I was embracing it.
College… It felt as if it'd been ages. Nothing I would study there was going to be new, but it was going to be a nice change from the monotony of high-school life. And Bella would love it, I was certain, despite her ongoing resentment. I threaded my fingers in her hair. She sighed in her sleep and pressed herself closer against my chest. I closed my eyes against the sudden ache down my throat. It caught me by surprise. I didn't realize how much time had passed since the last time I'd fed. It meant I would have to leave her soon to hunt. It would be for a little while, but the thought of any sort of separation – no matter how short – was painful. In the past couple of weeks we had spent every waking hour together, a well-deserved alone-time, away from Charlie's resentful thoughts and Emmett's impudent ones. Just me and her and the island.
To say I wasn't scared out of my wits over this alone-time before we had gotten here would be a cruel lie. I knew what she wanted, I had known it for a while now, and obviously I wanted it too. But it didn't worth the risk of hurting her, really hurting her, if things went wrong. But she kept her side of the deal – she married me although I kept expecting her to pull out on the last minute – and so I had to keep mine. The first time made me even more terrified because just as I feared, I had hurt her; the evidence was just too much to endure. But apparently, resisting her was not much of an option, either. As I had once told her, I might not be human, but I was still a man, and she was too desirable for her own good. Tiny swimsuits by day and flimsy lingerie by night were bound to break me at some point. And she was my wife. It was a lame excuse, I knew, but at the time I was holding on to any sort of justification; I was that sick of myself, seeking excuses and justifications.
And then, at some point, it just got easier and easier. The sense of victory was familiar now, something I was proud of, in spite of myself. I would never admit it to her, but it turned out she was right all along. Practice did make perfect.
And I was still smiling to myself like a fool. It was ridiculous, the affect she had on me, even while she was sleeping. It dawned on me I had never felt as carefree as I did in the past two weeks. For the first time in decades, I was just… happy with what I had, with who I was. I felt no pangs of conscience for what I was. It was a peculiar feeling. I never wanted it to end.
I reached over to the bedside without disrupting her, feeling the surface of the nightstand for my cell-phone. Once I found it, I turned it on. Not a moment later, it vibrated in my hand. A new text message. I smirked. I guessed as much. She could still see things, but for me, in this distance, it was the only way to communicate with her.
Dartmouth, huh? Congrats. Shall I tell Carlisle to sort it all out? xx
I shook my head, smiling for whole different reasons now. Alice was unbelievable. I used my free hand to text her back, keeping the phone low so the light from the screen wouldn't wake Bella. No rush. We will be staying here a few more weeks.
She was fast in replying, of course. You can probably put that laptop for good use now. And I meant to. Now that Dartmouth was a certainty, I was wondering what I would study this time. I was curious what Bella would want to study. I meant to reply to Alice's message, when a second message was suddenly received. Emmett wants to know if the house is still intact.
I held back a snort, thinking of the hopeless mess that was the white room. If only he knew. Good night, Alice, I typed, and turned my phone off again.
Bella stirred in her sleep as I placed the phone back on the nightstand. The scent from her hair was like a punch to my stomach. My nostrils flared. I held my breath, trying to resist the familiar ache, but it didn't cease. I glanced at her, then at the glass door, and sighed wistfully. I probably had a few hours before she woke. If I hurried, I could be back even before that. I slipped out of bed carefully, gently placing her against the mattress. I got dressed in the dark and stepped into the main room, searching for something to write on. Once I found a notepad, I scribbled a quick note for her and placed it on the pillow next to her. Hopefully, she wouldn't even be up to find it.
When I was back in the main room, my gaze fell on the black leather bag next to the TV set. I almost forgot. I pulled out the laptop and placed it on the dining table, quickly plugging in the necessary cables and turning it on. Luckily it didn't take much time, so I logged into Dartmouth's homepage. I would have a look at their selection of courses when I was back, I told myself. A part of me was hesitant as for leaving her alone in the house, but I tried to brush off that hesitation as I picked up the pace of my running as I went farther away from the house, and deeper into the woods. As it were, I was the most dangerous thing on the island. And she could hardly get herself into trouble while she was asleep.
Or at least, I hoped so.
I ate more than necessary, thinking it would stall my next hunting round for at least two more weeks. I hated the thought of having to leave her behind again. It was only when I lifted my head from my last prey and caught sight of the sky that I realized it was getting late. The sun was almost in the middle of the sky. I scorned myself for keeping her waiting, but then remembered my note. Perhaps she was still sleeping. I hoped she was. I made the necessary arrangements to leave, and headed back towards the house.
I slid the glass door of the bedroom slowly, so I wouldn't wake her, but the bed was empty and hastily made. The room still carried the sweet scent I had come to associate with her shampoo, so I assumed she'd been up for a while. I changed quickly, thinking that after her shower, she wouldn't appreciate the jungle dirt that stuck to my clothes. Then I traced her scent down the hall and into the main room, and sure enough, there she was, sitting by the dining table with her back to me, looking distractingly beautiful in white shorts and a pink top I assumed were Alice's ideas. I made a mental note to get my sister a nice gift for her choice of wardrobe for my wife. I only just noticed how tanned her skin became. Her hair – dry by now – had reddish tints in it, also from the sun. I sighed inwardly. I was taking so much from her, too much, even small, trivial things such as the sun.
I wouldn't think about it this way, I decided. She was willing to give me more time. I was going to give her as many human experiences as I possibly could before…
I shook the bitter thought away. I wouldn't ponder over it; there was still time. It might not be for years now, with the Dartmouth plan in our near future. I kept watching her, hoping it would work as a distraction. She was having toasts and jam for breakfast. I assumed she got tired of eggs, and who could blame her, really. The steaming mug on her side had an unfamiliar aroma. I thought it was coffee, but I didn't know she was fond of that dark, strange liquid. I had never seen her drink coffee before.
It only just occurred to me how watching her had become a second nature to me. Asleep or awake, it became my guilty pleasure. I could never get enough of it, of learning more about her, about things she liked, things that made her happy, things that made her eyes glimmer or her forehead wrinkle. She thought I was being ridiculous. She couldn't understand just how fascinating she was to me.
The sound of her soft laughter cut through my reverie, even more distracting than her choice of outfit. "I wonder what could possibly be funny."
I didn't realize I had said it aloud until she turned to face me with a start.