A/N This story is a companion to "The TA" The TA is written from Bella's POV and this is the same story from Edward's POV. I started The TA first so the story is much further along in that one. The chapter numbers will coincide between the two stories even though this makes for some very long Edward chapters over here!
All characters belong to Stephanie Meyer, with the exception of a couple that I invented
Evanescence: My Immortal
Dido: Here with me
It had been four years since I had painfully removed my own heart in the woods outside of Bella's house. My chest still ached every day. She had died several months later. I was hurting and I had no one to blame but myself. Jasper of course didn't make matters any better by continuously blaming himself as well. It was hard enough being in my own head but his was nearly as brutal. Today, I would start college as a freshman again, something that Bella would never get to do. Just thinking her name ached deeply within me. Jasper glanced at me from the passenger seat and grimaced.
I know, it's hard on me too bro. She'd be a senior this year with you and Alice at Dartmouth.
We started over after that day in her room; Dartmouth was out of the question. I had fantasized about her attending school there with me too much. Instead, we all went back to high school. Carlisle found us yet another college to attend. Rosalie and Emmett had already been living here for a year. She loved it. The campus was entirely wooded so even on sunny days we could attend class. Sometimes it took a bit longer to find a path from one class to another but there was always a way. It was almost like being normal though. Although, there was no normal for me. I truly pitied Jasper for having to put up with me, and all of the depression and self-loathing that must have exuded from me.
I was pulled from my reverie with a sudden jolt. As I pulled into the last parking space in the wooded lot, a motorcycle shot in front of me. Had I been so deep in thought that I hadn't heard the driver? The car lurched to a stop just barely missing the small figure on a red motorcycle. I clutched the steering wheel in frustration and felt calm ease through me.
What was that?
Are you loosing it Edward, you almost hit her!.... Why didn't I see that coming? Huh...
Wow, just wow... check that out! Bad girl! She is sexy! She can handle that bike too. How did you miss her Edward, you can't tell me you didn't see or hear that coming? Not even you could be that depressed.
That is so hot! I love a chick in leather and she can handle that bike... I wonder if Rose would ... I quickly blocked Emmett's thoughts before they became X-rated.
"I'm sorry, I honestly didn't hear her." We were still sitting halfway in the space staring at this creature. Her back was still toward us as she removed her helmet and a cascade of wavy chestnut hair flowed from it and settled swooshing down her slim back. She ran a hand through her hair and something struck me as familiar. I stopped breathing. I noticed immediately that there was something a bit off about the way she stood, an injury? Something about the skin on her side looked off too as her shirt and jacket exposed bare skin when she lifted her arms, but I couldn't see clearly through the glass. I couldn't help but think that she was also slimmer than she should be... how would I know that?
Are we going to go to class or are you going to ogle the near road pizza all day? Rosalie's agitation was growing.
I held up a hand to my now anxious siblings and then I noticed hers. The hand she ran through her hair shimmered slightly in a tiny ray of sunlight that came through the trees. I gasped. This could not be real I needed to go home. Then, Alice caught sight of it.
"Is that?" She tapped Jasper on the shoulder.
"That's definitely from a vampire bite." Jasper leaned forward.
"Isn't that the same...?" Emmett's voice trailed off as she turned her profile to us.
It can't be. Rosalie looked up just in time.
There is no way! Emmett's mental tone was purely elated, he was positive of what he saw.
She's not dead. Jasper was suddenly relieved, he relaxed in a way that he hadn't in four years.
Bella's alive Edward! Bella is right there in front of us! Alice sobbed.
The angel turned to us and yelled gesturing wildly, but I couldn't hear her. I sat frozen in my seat. It was Bella! It was really Bella! She was alive and she was here. I was immobile. Should I get out and talk to her?
"Well, now we know why you didn't hear her coming. But how and why is she here?" Rosalie didn't seem nearly as pleased as the rest of us.
What was she doing riding a motorcycle? Those things were death traps and she knew it! I knew that she promised Charlie never to ride one. She had promised me that she would take care of herself. What was she thinking? She looked up angrily shoving her jacket into a bag.
There was no coherent thought in the car.
I studied what I could of her beautiful face as she collected her things. I should have gotten out of the car or pulled off to find another spot but I sat mesmerized. I could feel a tingling where my heart should be; it swelled from inside of me. For the first time in four years I felt hope.
A wry smile came to her lips as she turned back to us and tucked her helmet under her arm. She stalked up to my window with authority.
"If you're waiting for me to move, I hope you enjoy disappointment." Her face broke into an amazing smile after that and she laughed a little to herself. Had she recognized the car? I thought that unlikely.
"Don't go after her!" Alice shouted as I placed my hand on the door handle. She was walking away from me. I had grieved for her for four years and she was walking away!
"I have to!"
Alice's vision came in images:
Bella curled up on a sidewalk under the trees rocking back and forth, bags and helmet splayed around her as if they'd been dropped. Bella is refusing to look at me, not responding to my voice.
'You're not real. Why can I see you?'
Bella with tears streaming down her face calling home for someone to get her, 'I'm having a nervous breakdown.'
Bella screaming as Alice touches her. 'VAMPIRES!'
"Not that way Edward." Alice shook her head.
I pulled away as soon as she was gone and drove to a little shop close to campus where Alice had already spent enough money that the owner knew her and wouldn't mind if we took up a space all day. Emmett quickly plotted out a tree-covered course to campus in his head. I set out on it without delay. The five of us moved at slightly faster than human speed.
"So, I suppose this means I'm off suicide watch this afternoon." Rosalie smiled.
As much as I had been elated to see Bella, I was also upset. She had most certainly not been taking care of herself. A motorcycle! She was driving a motorcycle and recklessly at that. She was also too thin, almost sick looking, and had been injured – most likely on that horrid bike. I needed to take care of her. No, she needed me to take care of her.
"Those are some pretty conflicting emotions." Jasper stated falling in to step with me. Over the past three years we had cemented an even tighter bond.
"I was thinking about the motorcycle." I grimaced
"Oh no, not even you can have a problem with that?!" Emmett boomed as he caught up to us.
"She could be killed! Any moment on that thing someone could hit her and she could die!" I shrieked at him.
Man you scream like a girl.
I scowled at my brother.
"Oh but Edward, you can't tell me you weren't even the slightest aroused when she pulled into that space and got off of the bike, before you knew it was her. It was really hot!" Emmett pleaded his case for the bike. "Back me up here Jasper."
An image of Bella's rear end as she got off the bike flowed from him, followed by her hair gently flowing out of the helmet as she removed it... then Bella morphed into Alice and I had to stop watching because she was removing clothing.
"Jasper please!" I glanced at him, dumbfounded.
"Sorry but if I can convince Alice to ride one...." Jasper sighed and entertained thoughts about my sister in various states of undress on a Harley Davidson that I would rather not hear.
"Edward, it's like a girl who can drive a stick shift, this is a good thing. It's beyond sexy." He raised his eyebrows and nodded, this time he was thinking about Rose in the BMW.
I heard Rosalie huff indignantly from behind me, I had blocked out her thoughts as usual.
"It's okay Rose, he's thinking about you driving the BMW." I called back to her. This seemed to placate her for the moment.
"That bike has to stay." Emmett reiterated.
"Did you see how she pulled in?" Jasper piped up, his fantasies about Alice were fortunately smothered for the moment but they remained lurking under the surface. "She knows what she's doing. I've tried that move as a vampire and it wasn't easy, but it was perfect, seamless. Her balance on the ground may not be ideal but she has that bike figured out." He replayed the controlled skid she slid into followed by the abrupt stop on a dime.
"This is Bella we're talking about. Remember, Bella! Bella the danger magnet?" I crossed my arms feeling my backpack shift slightly. "That bike must go!"
"Edward..." Alice piped up from behind me.
The image she was seeing was clear.
Bella obviously perturbed, riding away from me in the parking lot as I crumple to the ground.
"Bad idea, because she's not coming back if that happens." She squeezed between Jasper and me.
We reached campus and split off for class. Alice and I made our way to the Literature building. I caught a glimpse of Bella walking down the sidewalk in our direction drinking something from a small can and struggling to carry two bags, a helmet, and an apple as we made our way inside. Alice ushered me into a throng of students next to the lecture hall for our first class. I caught the scent of freesias just before she pulled me around the corner.
Bella rocking and crying in the hallway while a large blond haired man threatens me.
I didn't want to wait, I wanted to run to her and beg forgiveness. I wanted to hold her, to touch her, to kiss her... Whatever was necessary to win her back, I would do it. It took all of my self control to hold myself steady.
Alice's eyes clouded over I saw the events in her head but also in the mind of a male graduate student who was walking with Bella there was a second's lapse between the two:
'I'll take A through L' she smiled.
I missed what her coworker said because I noticed the smile on her face turn to horror as she looked at the list. He caught it too; she stopped, what was wrong? His thought echoed my own.
'Bella!' He head snapped up like it had been forced. Her coworker was suddenly concerned and shocked, he thought of her as a little sister; she looked a bit like his real sister actually. This was why he and his wife were both fond of her.
'Do you know a couple of guys named Quil and Embry?' Perhaps she wasn't shocked about our names on the roster. She looked angry though. She's ticked about something. Andrew caught that, he was a good man, caring, observant...
'Why? Are they on your list?' He took the list and started to scan it, our names were there but no Quil or Embry. What has her so freaked out?
'No but I think someone's trying to be funny.' she ripped the list back and continued to interrogate him.
Just then they came very close and I could smell her. Her scent intensified, the burn branding me as hers once again. I got too close and Alice pulled me back. Bella wavered on her feet, not quite tripping but almost falling. Andrew caught her before I got too close. He took no pleasure in touching her, she was a sister, I attempted to reign in my jealousy at him being able to touch her when it was all I wanted to do.
She looks even more tired than she did last week at orientation. Does she ever sleep? Andrew thought of the energy drinks and coffee that he had seen her drink during their orientation meeting and the staff social that night. She and his wife had been the only ones not drinking alcohol. Bella held a cup of coffee the entire time. Andrew witnessed her refilling it often; she drank it black and often made a face when she pulled a sip. That can't be healthy. I agreed with him. Bella had a low tolerance for caffeine years ago and if she was drinking that much to keep going, then something was wrong.
Then, my angel's voice broke through the bustling noise of eager students. They were all buzzing around like bees; this was the first class of most of their college careers.
"Attention! If your last name starts with one of the letters between A and L alphabetically, then you will enter through this door and sit on this side of the hall. M thru Z will go through those doors and sit on that side!" She was authoritative and in complete control of the situation. The students hushed to listen to her. Her confidence was marvelous but it didn't help my resolve to not grab her and run away as fast as I could to keep her all to myself, it actually spurred it on.
She smacked a sign stating "A-L" on the door nearest to us. The smack had been hard and I wondered if she had hurt her hand. I moved to get closer and Alice grabbed me again. This time Bella was screaming at me in front of a classroom full of college students, her face red with mortification. I stopped, for Bella.
You need to take this slow brother. Did you just see her? She's quite different now, the same person is underneath but I doubt she's going to welcome you with open arms.
I nodded. Slow... I had to take this slow, for Bella. I would let her yell at me until her heart was content if it meant that I could touch her again, that I could eventually get her to say 'yes' to me again.