Chapter 1: Edward's POV: Forgive me

I was about to encounter the most painful moment in all my 118 years of life.

I was about to throw away the most significant thing in my world. The love of my life, the true reason for my existence…the person who makes me feel truly human. To her, I am no monster. To her, I am utter perfection. However, I knew such a thing could never exist. Especially in a form such as myself.

I led her into the woods, already regretting what I was about to do.

She turned toward me when I abruptly stopped. "Okay, let's talk." She said.

leaving."

Oh Bella…please forgive me.

I took a deep breath, "Bella, we're leaving."

"Why now? Another year—"she said, her eyebrows coming together.

A warm breeze rustled through the wood, fanning her sweet scent across my face. I could taste it on my tongue. So sweet, like freesia I had told her once. So sweet, so beautiful…

"Bella, it's time. How much longer could we stay in Forks after all? Carlisle can barely pass for thirty, and he's claiming thirty-three now. We'd have to start over soon regardless"

I stared at her trying to decipher her expression for any significant change of emotion. All I saw was confusion. She didn't understand…and then…recognition.

Her heartbeat sped up as she began to comprehend exactly what I was saying. Oh, how I would miss that…

"When you say we—", she said in just a barely audible whisper.

I spoke slowly, and clearly so that I could be sure she'd understood. "I mean my family and myself."

Oh Bella. I'm so sorry, love. Bella, I love you, I always will. I need you. Just forgive me…I'm so sorry…"

It took her a long time to clear her head. She shook her head back in forth, mechanically. Trying to clear her head. As if she didn't believe what I was saying. Why would she? After the thousands of times I've told her how much I loved her, why would she believe anything I'm telling her right now? She was absolutely right.

"Okay, I'll come with you." She told me. Ironically enough, I wanted that exact same thing.

"You can't, Bella. Where we're going…It's not the right place for you."

"Where you are is the right place for me." Why couldn't she just let go. That's what she needed. A life without me, a normal life.

"I'm no good for you, Bella." I concluded. These simple words hurt the most. They were ever so true. I was lying to myself when I said them. I was lying to the both of us.

"Don't be ridiculous, you're the best part of my life." I didn't see any anger in these words. Only pain and pleading. I wished I could reach out and comfort her like always, but there was no way. Not now.

"My world is not for you." I told her grimly.

"What happened with Jasper—that was nothing Edward! Nothing! She shouted, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"You're right; it was exactly what was to be expected." My voice got stronger with every word, as if I did believe this all myself.

"You promised! In Phoenix, you promised you would stay—" she countered, shouting at me.

"As long as that was what was best for you." I corrected her, coldly.

"No! This is about my soul, isn't it? Carlisle told me about that and I don't care Edward! I don't care! You can have my soul! I don't want it without you! It's yours already!"

I saw it in her eyes that she wasn't going to let go. She'd keep contradicting herself that I still loved her, which of course was true, but that's how I needed it to be, so that she'd believe I never loved her.

And that was just it. A thought entered my head that I wished I'd never even thought about. A thought so vile, so disgusting, something that could never be believed.

I'd have to convince her that I never did, and never will love her. How could I do it? Why should I do it? Nonsense. Love is something that cannot be tampered with, she'd never believe it. Not after how many times I've told her I loved her. Impossible…but it must be done.

Bella.

So sweet, so warm, so fragile. Such a sensitive little creature, how beautiful. How incredibly remarkable. How could I ever do this? I didn't want to be strong enough anymore. I didn't want to do this to her or myself…

I looked at her, making my face completely empty once again. Her chocolate brown eyes sodden. Why must I do this? Forgive me love.

"Bella, I don't want you to come with me." Lies pulsing through my empty veins.

"You…don't…want me?" she struggled with her words.

"No." I said bluntly. There was nothing else to say. Nothing that I could say to ease her pain.

"She deserves better than you Edward!" I cried out to myself. I had to make myself believe that or I'd never be able to leave.

"Well, that changes things." She said becoming calmer. You monster.

"Of course I'll always love you…in a way." Another lie. "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. I am not human... I've let this go on for far too long and I'm sorry for that."

"Don't…Don't do this." Too late.

Lie more, Edward. You have to make her believe that you don't want her anymore. That you don't care for her. It's for her good. Do it.

"You're not good for me, Bella." She would always deign herself like that. I'd never let her believe it because it wasn't true. She was perfect for me.

She opened her mouth to argue with me again, but closed it again.

I didn't move nor did I speak. I had trained my face to show no sign of emotion. No trace of what I had just done…even though it killed me inside. Bella.

Bella. Bella…my beautiful Bella.

"If…that's what you want." I nodded, even though I didn't mean it.

"I would like to ask one favor, though, if that's not too much," I requested.

Her head tilted upward, and her eyes widened as if she believed I was about to take back every word, every lie, I just told her. That I'd tell her that I was sorry, and I still loved her, it was all lies. That was exactly what I wanted to tell her.

"Anything." She said faintly stronger.

I smiled a bit, remembering all the sorts of trouble Bella could get into.

"Don't do anything reckless, or stupid." I ordered. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

She nodded, her eyes still glistening with fresh tears.

I readjusted the careful mask I had put on for so long, no longer looking like I was truly concerned for her safety; at least for my sake that is. "I'm thinking of Charlie, of course," I defended "He needs you. Take care of yourself for him."

"I will," she vowed.

I relaxed, but only a little bit.

"And I'll make you a promise in return," I pledged. "I promise that this will be the last time you'll see me. I won't come back. I won't put you through anything like this again. You can go on with your life without any more interference from me. It will be as if I'd never existed."

Why? How could I? What have I done?

Her legs started to shake and I could hear the rigid pounding of her heart.

"Don't worry, you're human. Your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all wounds for your kind." A small smile escaped my lips. I couldn't hold it back.

I took a step back. Look what you did Edward," I screamed at myself. "Look at the pain you've caused her, the pain that will never go away. Lie all you want, it won't change the way either of you feel. You idiot. You fake, you monster. Killer."

I tried to memorize her beautiful face. The face that I loved to watch, so interesting…so gorgeous. I traced her face with my eyes, the shape of her nose, her chocolate brown eyes, so warm…her pink soft lips. One last touch, one last kiss was all I wanted.

"Alice isn't coming back…" she said quietly, I don't think it was meant for me, but I answered anyway, coming back to the present.

"She wanted to say goodbye," I started, my mind coming back the present. "But I convinced her that a clean break would be better for you."

Phoenix. "You can see it's a clean break. That's good. It will heal more easily, more quickly." The doctor told her last spring.

"Goodbye, Bella." I told her quietly. I wasn't strong enough anymore. Wish granted.

Bella. Bella. Bella…

It felt like the whole world came crashing down at this very instant, this very moment I said

The dreaded words I so very often thought were necessary for Bella's survival. My world was gone…it was my fault.

"Wait!" She choked out the word, reaching for me.

In that instant I only wanted one thing. Her. I wanted to apologize, to beg and grovel on my

knees until she took me back. I wanted to kiss her, kiss more passionately than I'd ever kissed her, than I ever would kiss her. I wanted her to take me back and accept me for who I was, no matter how terrible that may be.

I approached her again, going to reach out and take her arms and wrap them around myself, just so I could feel her touch. Just so I could apologize. But she was better off without me, without a monster.

I pinned her tiny, warm, wrists to the sides of her torso, and I slowly leaned down, and pressed my stone hard lips very lightly to her forehead for the briefest moment. I watched as her eyes closed and I wished I could close mine too.

"Take care of yourself." I breathed onto her warm skin. Taking one last breath, lungful of her perfect smell, and I was gone.

I yearned to be the perfect man for Bella. To give her all her heart's desires. A house, a family, everything she wanted. But I wasn't even good enough for her. I was merely a monster, nothing but a killer. Who wanted a killer? Nobody. She'll find someone who is perfect for her in any way. Someone who doesn't have to worry about every touch, someone who loves her as much as I do, maybe even more if it were possible.

I ran as fast as I could.

I'd miss the sound of your voice, I'd miss the rush of your skin, and I'd miss the still of the silence of our breathing. The speed of her heartbeat.

There was nothing to live for anymore. Nothing but nothing. Nothing for the sake of living, I couldn't anymore. I didn't want to anymore.

My family's voices came into my head.

Edward, dude. You don't have to do this you know. Go back, its okay.

Edward, let me say goodbye, please, she was my friend. Edward…

I'm sorry brother; I never meant to hurt her. I'll be more careful, please, just stay.

Sweetheart it's not fair for you to be alone again, she loves you. Go back to her.

It's about time you left her, she was no good anyway. Too plain for you. Just an inconvenience to the rest of us.

Edward, my son, you deserve to be happy. You don't have to be so noble all the time.

The voices nagged at me, and finally I sat down on the wet ground, and let my sobs fly. I could never let anyone know that I did this, that I wasn't strong enough to leave, that I had to resort to curling up into a ball, like a small child who was afraid of the dark. Except, I was afraid of myself, of my decisions…

That's right, my decisions. It was my choice to leave, it was my fault. I couldn't put the blame on Jasper, it was as much as it was a wake- up call from him.

I couldn't return to my family. Alice and Emmett would never forgive me for leaving, Jasper would drown me in apologies which would never be accepted, Rosalie would cling to me, telling me I made the right decision, Esme would be too nice about it, when she knew herself the decision was a horrible one, and Carlisle, Carlisle is who I feared most. He would be behind me all the way, going along with all my decisions, but lucky for me, I knew exactly what he would think the entire time.

I couldn't tell whether I was too weak or too strong, but judging from the sobs and the awkward noises coming from deep inside my throat, I was weak.

I couldn't go back. Everything was gone. My life is empty just as it had been a year ago, just as cold, and meaningless. Like driving on a dark road in the middle of winter at two in the morning, just driving for the sake of driving; just living for the sake of living.

Two miles back, was the love of my life, just standing there, emotionless. Without a doubt, this was the hardest thing I'd ever endure in all my years. For as long as I lived, I'd never forgive myself for this…act of utter selfishness and malignance to her and her self esteem. But she's better off, she deserves a family, and a home, and everything that I could never give her. I was depriving her of everything, and I could never live with myself if she could never have anything. Someone will love her at least close to as much as I do, and that is all that matters.

But now, as I'm running, I'm thinking about what I have to live for. She was everything I wanted and everything that I would ever need, and now I'm back where I began. Back in square one. There was nothing for me anymore, nothing…