Stephenie Meyer Owns Twilight

This is a companion piece to The Path We Chose--read that first or this won't make sense...

The Path We Chose

Chapter 15.5 Edward's POV: Truth's Reflection

Bella. A minute ago, a second ago, she was in my arms--all of her. Her body, her hair, her lips, her scent…and now she was gone. All I had left in my arms was air and I couldn't even fucking breathe. And the door was closed. And she was gone. I covered my face with the hands attached to the person who had screwed up everything that was anything to him. I grabbed my keys, and stalked into the evening, rot with rain, toward my car. I wanted to follow her. I could. I could follow her. Keep a distance. She'd never have to know I was there. I just wanted to know--had to know--how she was feeling. She'd given me no answer when I asked if she was coming back tonight. And if she didn't come back tonight, how long before she would return? My chest ached, my eyes burned. It didn't matter that I had my windshield wipers on, I couldn't see through my own eyes. The road was too steep and windy for this so I pulled over, wiped at my fucked up tears and rethought what I was doing. I couldn't follow her. I respected her too much. She wanted to get away from me and how could I blame her?

I kept driving, though. I drove to Emmett's.

I didn't knock on the huge front door, I walked in--didn't give a shit that Rosalie was right there with Emmett on the leather sofa, or if his parents heard me.

"Emmett!! What the fuck did you do? Why the fuck did you do that?"

"Why did you do it, Edward?" He shot up from the couch like ammo from a shotgun, startling Rosalie. "How could I have known you didn't tell her? You two spend every waking minute together. And when was the last time you talked to me about Stanford? No-fucking-vember?"

I sat down hard on the couch, put my face in my hands, my elbows on my knees. "Fuck Stanford. She's gone."

Rosalie's hand was on my back. "What do you mean she's gone?"

I turned my head, she was sitting next to me, giving me those eyes, as if she felt bad for me. "Rosalie, why do you even care? You treated her like shit for the first couple of months we were together and you hardly ever give her a glance now."

"I care, Edward. I care about you. You know that."

"Well, Rose, with just one omission, I may have screwed everything up. How can she trust me anymore? And if she doesn't trust me…"

"Edward, look, man," Emmett said, "I'm sorry. I lost it earlier. But everything had been building for so long and that--today, it was just such a shock. I mean, pregnant? That was the last fucking thing I expected. I mean, the last."

"Yeah, well, no one expected it." I leaned back against the couch, my arms falling between my legs--defeated. Whatever would happen tonight was out of my hands. Bella staying away, Bella coming back, I had no control over that.

I remembered the last time I felt like this. It was after the first announcement--Renee was going to take Bella away. The announcement. There would be an ice-blizzard in hell before I ever made this announcement again.

That night. The night that may have been her last night in Forks, my mind was spinning, a corkscrew, a spiral, and that was before I knew they were taking her away. Earlier we'd been outside, just us, as it should be. We'd made our decision and I was trying to get her back to the house, but she wanted to stay in the forest. How could I blame her? She'd even picked up a tree stem and blew her nose with it just so we could remain outside. And that was Bella, one of the very reasons why I loved her so damn much. It made me want to take her away from everything--Alaska maybe? But I knew I didn't have the means for that, so we had no choice but to return to the house only to find out they'd already decided to take her away.

I'd spent the majority of that night talking things over with my dad. As soon as it had been obvious Bella was asleep on the other end of the phone, I found my dad in his study. He had his arms folded, staring out the dark window.

"I was standing here thinking, Edward," he'd said, "how this could have happened when you are so familiar with your mother and my situation. But, the fact of the matter is, it did happen. Dwelling on the how's or why's or should-haves isn't going to help anybody."

"They're going to take her away, Dad. They're leaving tomorrow." I'd sat behind his desk--swiveled in the chair. I couldn't be still. I brought my phone to my ear, listened for Bella's breathing, made sure she was still asleep then peered up at my dad. His back was against the window now. "She doesn't want to go--she's falling apart and doesn't know what to do, and neither do I."

"I'd offer to go over and talk to Renee and Charlie, but from what I witnessed tonight, it won't do any good. They need time."

"There isn't time. Didn't you hear me? Renee's taking her tomorrow. She can't leave!"

"Son, I don't see how that is our decision."

I stood up--walked over to him. "Dad, I love her. She's having my baby and we want to be together. We should be together." I lifted my phone toward him, a hand over the mouth piece. "See this?" I whispered. "Bella's sleeping on the other end because she doesn't want me to hang up. She doesn't even want me to hang up the phone and Renee's taking her across the country. How is that going to work? Her heart is being ripped to shreds and so is mine. What if it was Mom? What would you do to keep Mom with you?"

That was when he really looked at me. Before that his eyes hadn't really been focused, but now they were. He saw me. "We have an extra room," he'd said. "what if she moved in here? It could be permanent or temporary--once her parents cool down, get used to the idea."

We were up until three talking about how Bella would move in, emancipation being an option if her parents still refused, and then about my college plans--Stanford, gone.

I'd spent the rest of the night, until morning light crept through my windows, just listening to Bella's breathing through the phone. Her breathing. That was all I cared about in that moment. I wanted to hear it for the rest of my life--feel it on my skin.

"Edward?" she'd said and my heart jumped. My heart had jumped at the simple sound of my name on her voice.

"Yes?" I'd said. Nothing else followed but slow, steady breaths. She'd said my name a few more times and each time my heart jumped again.

But that night was worse, I told myself now. What happened today was different--a mistake, a misunderstanding. We could get through this. She'd come back, maybe not tonight, but she'd come back eventually and I'd get a chance to explain everything to her.

"Your lip, Edward." Rosalie said. "You need some ice."

"No, I have to get back." I stood up. "If she comes home, I have to be there." If she comes home. I couldn't believe I had just said "if" in regards to Bella. I looked at Rosalie. "Do you ever wish you could go back in time and change something, Rosalie?"

"All the time."

"Well, I never have. Not until now." She hugged me--put her arms around my neck. I didn't return the hug. My arms were limp at my sides. I didn't deserve comfort. She let go. "Emmett, this isn't your fault," I said. "I'm sorry I let you down. I handled this whole situation wrong."

He hit my shoulder--hard--knocked me forward a few steps.

"Edward, it will be a while before I forgive you, seriously, but I will...eventually." He gave a sideways smile.


The drive home was easier. Less rain, less tears. Entering my home wasn't any easier.

"Edward! What is going on in my house? Where's my table?" A hand flew to my mom's chest when she saw me. "What happened to you?"

She grabbed my arm, pulled me to the kitchen, reached into the freezer, bagged some ice and brought it to my lips.

"Ow!" I pulled back.

"Stop it. Hold it on there." I did what she said. She was my mom and she was angry. I sat at the table holding the ice to my mouth while my mom brought me some dinner. Steak…potatoes…broccoli. I didn't want any of it. I tried a few bites of steak but it hurt to chew.

"Explain to me what went on here." She was eating. I pushed my food around on my plate while I explained the events that led to Bella leaving; that led to more fucking tears burning my eyes.

"As soon as you get a job, you're paying for a new table," she said. Then she put her hand on my face, her expression softening--she was herself again. "So, where's Bella, now?" .

"She's at Charlie's and I don't know when she's coming back." I stood up, dropped my plate off at the sink and took off toward the stairs, retreating to my room.

"You and Bella…you'll be fine," my mom called after me.

I picked a book off my shelf--didn't even look at the title. Tried to read, but all I could think about was how Bella's lips felt on my skin, how her waist-long hair felt against my bare chest. I took off my shirt. She liked that. If she came home, she would like it. I could see her smile, small at first, then wider, her teeth. I'd licked those teeth. I'd do it again. Next time I saw her, I'd kiss her neck right where her collarbone meets her throat. She was so soft right there. She was soft everywhere, but right there…almost nothing was as soft as that--except for her thigh, the inside of her thigh; I'd kiss her there, too. Next time I saw her, I'd kiss her stomach, right where our baby was growing. Next time I saw her, I'd touch her face--replace the pain I'd caused with love. Erase the fucking hurt. Next time I saw her, I'd pull her against me, close enough to feel the breath from her nose on my neck.

I turned the page. Page five. I'd gone through four pages and had no idea what I'd read. I stared at page five, waiting for Bella to come home. Or not.

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