Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters, I just borrow them on occasion.
It's always been said that Bella is a selfless creature. That was one of the aspects of her personality that Edward found fascinating, because humans are such innately selfish beings, yet there's Bella who moved to a place she despises just to keep her parents both happy. Well in New Moon Bella takes a turn towards being a selfish person, she hurts, I understand that, but she wallows in her own pain so much that she ignores the outside world and how her behavior affects those around her (like Charlie). This is a 'what-if' fic with the 'what-if' being: what if Bella was really so selfless that she kept on smiling even when she was dying inside with the loss of Edward?
(Page 68, New Moon, Bold being quotes)
"When you say we-," I whispered.
"I mean my family and myself." Each word separate and distinct.
I felt something breaking inside me. I don't know what it was but I think it was the last bit of naivety I had allowed myself, because I suddenly understood what Edward was trying to tell me. Something that just five minutes ago I would have been too innocent - too naïve - to understand.
He was done with whatever game this had been. He didn't want me anymore.
And with that understanding I also knew exactly what I had to do. For Charlie, for everyone that would stare at school, and even for Edward. Because even if he didn't want me anymore, he was too much of a gentleman to not feel something – guilt, I hoped - about leaving a lady in such distress.
I had to grit my teeth and bare it.
I had to smile.
And so I did. A mask quickly moved in place of the very real look of utter heartbreak that was on my face, blanking the expression. I had never been a very good actress but I think that my decision to let no one know the pain I was going through may have shattered that block as well.
A look of sincere understanding spread across my face. And it was effortless, to give him what I knew he needed to leave without guilt.
"You're leaving?" I kept the pain away from my voice, only a gentle curiosity could be heard.
Edward stared at me for a long moment, obviously shocked at the rapid change, yet unwilling to show the emotion on his face. His eyes searched me, my face, my body language, my eyes. I stayed firmly within the façade.
"Yes." He spoke slowly, as thought he wasn't quite sure whether I was truly understanding him or not. "Everyone's already left. I only stayed behind to say goodbye."
He was watching my expression closely, undoubtedly seeing the way it fell slightly. I wondered vaguely if he was intentionally twisting the knife, or if he really just didn't care. Another something was breaking inside me, but I ignored the pain, even as I changed my expression to show sad understanding.
"Oh. I see." The family I had recently come to think of as, if not my own, then at least being close to, had left without a single word of goodbye. Was this a game to all of them, or did vampires just not feel and understand human emotions any longer. It would be an interesting topic to discuss with Jasper.
"I thought it would be better. A clean break." And just like that, with the pain there was also anger. Anger at the Cullens for becoming an important part of my life; anger at Alice for not seeing this and warning me; but most of all, anger at Edward, for his God-like attitude, his deciding what's best for me and others without a single doubt of his actions. But I refused to let any of that show. Even if I was mad at him, I refused to show him my pain. I still loved him.
"Of course, I'll always love you . . . in a way. But what happened the other night made me realize that it's time for a change. Because I'm . . . tired of pretending to be something I'm not, Bella. I am not human." Everything about him at this moment seemed inhuman, from the icy planes of his perfect face, to the complete lack of emotion in his voice. He was not human, and I finally understood that. "I've let this go on much too long, and I'm sorry for that."
I nodded thoughtfully, in silence, allowing myself a moment or two to make sure my voice would be steady. "Alright. That's alright." I shook my head absently at the repetition. "So I guess this is good bye, huh?"
Edward, once again, stared at me blankly. He seemed – dare I say it? – disturbed by my lack of reaction. Or maybe it was disappointed.
I cut off that line of thought before it got too dangerous.
"Yes, I guess it is. I would like to ask one favor, though, if that's not too much," he said.
I resisted the urge to scream, and nodded at him silently.
"Don't do anything reckless or stupid," he ordered, no longer detached. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"
I looked at him blankly for a moment, my mind going back to all of my more recent near-death experiences, before smiling in amusement. "I won't go looking for trouble. Of course, that doesn't mean it won't come looking for me."
Edward paused, something flickering in his eyes, before it was gone once again.
I decided to end this. The longer I stayed, the more things he said to hurt me. So, when he opened his mouth once again, I cut him off.
"Goodbye, Edward." I smiled at him once more, his mouth shut with an audible click, and spun on my heel, walking back to my house.
I didn't hear anything behind me, but I refused to turn around. He could have been shocked into a stupor by my reaction, or he could have already left. I don't know and I didn't want to find out. Whichever it was, was likely to simply hurt me more.
I don't know exactly how I made it to my room, but I do know that I had a small smile on my face the entire time.
For those that cared about me, for those that would worry about me and for those that would use this against me, I had to smile and bare it. I had to reveal none of the pain I was feeling inside.
A/N: This could continue in several different ways. Edward could stay in Forks, watching Bella, because of his lack of reaction. Bella could continue on through high school before moving away and continueing life, or killing herself. Victoria could get to Bella (especially since Bella wouldn't become friends with Jake and therefore the rest of the werewolf pack) and kill her or change her. Etc. :)