All characters are property of Stephenie Meyer.
Was I still breathing? Was this what death felt like? I honestly couldn't tell. There were four of them… no, better not to think about that. They had… I couldn't stop shaking. I knew I should move, get to safety somehow. I couldn't do anything except lay there, feeling as battered inside as I knew I was outside. All the times I had been hurt, nothing compared to what I felt now. It was as if my soul had been torn to pieces by those men. I would never feel clean again. How could I, when the very core of me was tainted, damaged.
"Bella?" I heard his voice. NO! Not him! He couldn't find me here…. Not like this. I felt him try to touch me and I cringed away from him. I knew he wouldn't hurt me but still, I couldn't stand to have anyone touch me. Never again.
I retreated into the only safe place I had left. My own mind. No one could touch me there.
I was too late. I was shaking with the rage that threatened to consume me. I wanted to go after those…animals that had done this to her. The monster inside of me screamed for their blood. But I couldn't leave her alone like this. She was curled up in the street, her clothes shredded around her. I could smell blood. They had hurt her. I had to suppress the hatred all over again. Strangely, I had no trouble keeping my thirst in check. I only wanted her to be safe.
I moved to touch her, to let her know I was there. To my horror, she shrank away from me. I didn't know what to do. I fell back onto my knees beside her. My poor angel. The love that I had never deserved and would never be worthy of. I had failed her. I shuddered, tearless sobs wrenching from my body. The vibrations of my cell phone interrupted me. I knew who would be on the other line.
"Alice, I was too late." The grief in my voice shocked me. "I couldn't save her." Agony swept over me, along with the guilt I knew was only just beginning. It was my fault she was here, broken on the pavement, afraid of my touch.
"Edward, you need to pull it together and get her help. I know you couldn't save her, but you are no good to her now if you fall apart or go after them. She needs to get to a hospital," Alice said gently but firmly. She was trying to bring me out of the darkness I felt closing in. "She needs you now."
"She won't let me touch her," I murmured. I didn't know what to do to help.
"She will now. She's not really there at the moment. I called Carlisle. He's waiting for you at the hospital."
"Thanks, Alice." I closed the phone slowly. Bella hadn't moved at all. She was still curled on the pavement. I wasn't as sure as Alice seemed to be that she would let me touch her. I wished, for what seemed like the millionth time, that I could hear her thoughts.
I moved slowly and took off my jacket. She needed to be covered. She wouldn't want to be exposed as she was. They had torn at her clothes. Already I could see bruises blooming under her fragile skin. She would be black and blue by morning. As gently as I could I laid my jacket over her. She didn't move at all so I slowly placed my hands under her and picked her up. Alice was right, she didn't respond to my touch in any way. It was like she was just gone.
As I carried her towards my car, my fury turned inwards, to myself. Some protector I turned out to be! I was sitting in this car, daydreaming about this girl, while she was being raped. I didn't save her. It was my fault. I should have been paying closer attention. I carried Bella as though she were made of spun glass, and placed her gently in the passenger seat. She stared straight ahead, her eyes completely vacant. It was physically painful to see. It was as if there was nothing left of the girl I loved but had never had the chance to know. The girl I watched sleep, waited, hoping to hear my name from her in her dreams, was gone. All that was left was a vacant shell.
I buckled her seat belt and walked slowly to my side of the car and got behind the wheel. I felt like I had frozen, turned colder than ice. Everything in me seemed to be suffocating. I drove as quickly as possible, pushing the car past one hundred miles per hour, trying to get her to Carlisle. I knew he could help. He had to save her, since I didn't.
A/N- This is my first fanfic so play nice! I have a whole story mapped out in my mind so more will be coming.