Summary: E/B. AU New Moon. "I should leave you alone. I've broken my promise to stay away from you." Edward's eyes flashed, anger mixed with longing. "But only because you broke your promise to me first."
Rated: M for sexual content.
From Twilight Lexicon: March 4th (Sat) –Bella goes looking for the meadow on her own where she sees Laurent – Laurent explains that Victoria sent him to find Bella and that he intends to kill her – Five huge wolves appear and chase Laurent away from Bella. (NM10)
Author's Notes: This story takes place after the canon scene described above and goes AU from there. According to the Lexicon, this is about two weeks before the New Moon cliff-diving incident and a week before Bella discovers Jacob is a werewolf.
"Wait for love. You know it can happen." – Pain on Pain, by Feeder
Pain on Pain
Written by Coquette
My dreams were strangely vivid that night.
His familiar scent was all around me, flirting on the edge of my senses like an old friend, lost but never forgotten. It felt as though he was in the room with me. Impossible, but there it was all the same.
On the dim borders of my dreamscape, a shadow moved.
Like a fool, I imagined it was him – leaning over my sleeping form and brushing my hair aside so he could see my face. I stirred in my sleep, discomfited by the memory of him, but I was too tired to open my eyes. Besides, if I did that, the dream would slip away before it had barely begun.
I pretended his hand was on my brow, the coolness of his thumb smoothing away the tension, his other hand lost somewhere in my hair.
I sighed happily. Unhappily.
What a cruel imagination I had.
It wasn't really him, of course. Even caught somewhere in the middle of waking and sleeping, I knew I was only experiencing some sort of self-indulgent dream. He wasn't coming back, and I had accepted that fact. I wasn't okay with it, but I had accepted it. Still, I wasn't prepared for how much something as simple as a dream hurt me. The idea of him actually in my bedroom – the place where I had always been the most vulnerable with him – it was painful.
I loved and missed him too much, and the wounds were still too fresh. I needed to push the memory of him aside before it ripped the gaping hole he'd left in my chest even wider.
The lump in my throat was difficult to swallow, but I managed. "Please," I whispered. I don't know if I said it out loud, or if I just imagined myself speaking. Not that it mattered one way or another. I was addressing a figment of my imagination.
The hand stilled on my forehead, uncertain.
"Please," I whispered to the dream. "Just stop. Hurts."
The hand lingered a moment longer – then disappeared.
Seconds ticked by on the clock beside my bed, each one slightly louder than the last, bringing me back to reality little by little. Fully awake now, I exhaled a long sigh and opened my eyes, ready to dispel the last shreds of the dream.
My bedroom was empty, of course. Curtains swaying gently in the night breeze. A stale glass of water on the nightstand. The clock's steady cadence was out of time with my heartbeat.
It was exactly what I expected to see. Nothing out of place. Nothing strange at all.
Well. Almost nothing.
I sat up, brow creased in confusion as I pushed the covers away. I ran my fingers through my sleep-tangled hair, trying my best not to imagine a different set of fingers doing the same thing. I sniffed the air speculatively and wondered if maybe I was still dreaming. Because I could swear I recognized that scent...
I pushed the thought away before it developed any further. If I let my mind travel down that rocky path, only pain on top of pain awaited me, and I'd had enough of that. I laid back down and pressed my face into the pillow, eyes closed tight, shutting everything out.
I tried to sleep, but the ghostly memory of his scent and touch had done its job. I felt haunted. Lonely. Torn to ribbons.
Hours slipped away before I finally found some semblance of rest.
I wasn't aware I was late to school until I reached the campus parking lot. It was completely full, and I had to search nearly ten minutes before I found a spot for my truck. When I hopped out, my feet landed right in a freezing puddle, soaking my shoes, socks, and the cuffs of my jeans. Teeth chattering, I slammed the door and dropped the keys into my pocket.
It was going to be one of those days.
The school grounds were deserted, the hallways quiet except for murmurs behind closed doors. That meant the bell had already rung, and class was in session. Shouldering my backpack, I marched to my first classroom, wet sneakers squeaking on the linoleum. I felt like I had blinders on my eyes. I saw where I was going, but I wasn't looking at my surroundings.
Everything had faded into a blur of color, a smear of sound.
My senses were numb. All except one.
I'd heard it said before that scent memory is the strongest, the most vivid. Mine was obviously faulty because I smelled him everywhere. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the non-Rowling manifestation.
When I woke that morning, I noticed his scent lingering in my bedroom. In my hair, on my skin, though I had taken a shower right before bed. Even the school hallways smelled of him. Obviously another delusion my brain had conjured up, similar to the way I heard his voice whenever I did something particularly reckless.
Perhaps it was the fact that Jacob and I hadn't talked in days. Maybe I was just lonely or scared from the incident in the meadow with Laurent and the wolves. Maybe my subconscious was trying to comfort me with memories of...
I shook my head, still unable to think his name.
Either way, I was convinced I was crazy. That wasn't news, so it didn't bother me much. The trick would be hiding it from everyone else.
"Get a grip, Swan," I muttered as I yanked open the door to my first period classroom.
The entire class turned to look in my direction.
I felt the stares – which were particularly exaggerated, as if everyone was waiting for me to trip or cry or something – but I made a point of looking elsewhere. My teacher wasn't pleased by my tardiness, and he marked the role-sheet with a red pen. Not missing a beat in his lecture, he waved me to my seat.
Well, good. I wasn't going to be made an example of today.
I didn't make eye contact with anyone as I maneuvered my way to my desk, but I did notice that everyone shifted in their seats as I passed. That was strange. For some reason, I was the center of attention.
They all followed me with their eyes, leaning over to whisper to their friends behind the shield of their cupped hands. As I passed Angela's desk, she cleared her throat in a way that was meant to catch my attention, but I pretended I didn't hear her. We could talk after class, and then maybe she could tell me why everyone was acting so bizarre. So I was late. What was the big deal?
I looked up then -- and finally understood.
Edward Cullen was sitting in his old desk.
Just sitting there as if he hadn't been missing for months. Hair mussed, shirt wrinkled, heavy shadows smudged beneath eyes that wouldn't look at me.
My bag slipped unnoticed from my shoulder. "Oh," I gasped.
Then I tripped and fell, completely caught off-guard by the sudden appearance of my ex-boyfriend. On the way down toward the cold linoleum, my cheek caught the edge of a desk, but I barely noticed the resulting pain. It was nothing compared to what was going on inside of me. The sight of him was simultaneously like a knife in the stomach and a drink of cool water.
After my klutz-attack, everyone in the vicinity leapt to their feet or at least feigned concern. But all of their faces seemed very far away to me, blurred into the background. Only one face remained in focus. I stared at him in disbelief, pulse faltering when his eyes finally met mine.
The second our eyes locked, I knew it was really him and that this was no delusion. My imperfect memories of him had never done him justice. He was too beautiful.
He got to his feet when everyone else did, all lean lines beneath uncharacteristically wrinkled clothing, but he didn't move toward me. His fists were clenched. His face was smooth, difficult to read, but his eyes seemed to shine and waver -- like they were filled with fire. It frightened me a little. I thought perhaps he was ... angry with me. A firestorm brewed behind his amber gaze, one I didn't begin to understand.
Mike Newton was the one who helped me to my feet. It might have been my imagination, but Edward's gaze appeared to darken a shade. Angela was there, too, and she pressed a handful of tissues to my cheek. I winced, the pain in my cheek finally snapping me out of my trance.
"You're bleeding," she whispered. "Are you okay?"
I nodded, unable to speak. Was I okay? I honestly didn't know. I was too stunned.
The teacher rapped on his desk in order to bring the class to attention. "Angela, if you be so kind as to escort Bella to the nurse?"
"I'll take her," said Edward.
I shivered involuntarily at the familiar sound of his voice. It felt like silk slipping all over my body, and like glass rubbing into a wound.
The class shifted toward the teacher, eyes wide with the joy of scandal, waiting to see what he would say.
The teacher made a disapproving sound in his throat. "Don't you think you've missed quite enough, Mr. Cullen?"
He was referring to Edward missing months of class, of course, but I heard my teacher's words in a different way. Judging from the class's reaction, I think most of them did, too. Chuckles swelled amid a churning sea of whispers.
The class shifted as a single body to look at Edward again -- a few of them glaring, a few of them grinning, all of them waiting to see if he would challenge the teacher's authority. It was like watching a tennis match. But Edward fell silent, wavering eyes still fixed on me. The calm before a storm.
His expression confused me, alarmed me. What on earth had I done to make him that angry? Was my scent causing him to react like that? I was bleeding, after all.
I didn't have the opportunity to find out. My teacher dove back into the lesson before the class could start gossiping again. Angela tugged on my elbow and guided me toward the door.
My eyes stayed locked with Edward's until the very last second, when the door closed between us.
To be continued.
Author's Note: A bit more angst than I usually write, but don't worry. I love me some happy endings, so there will eventually be fluff. I have quite a bit of this story already written, so I should be able to get chapters up frequently. I hate waiting, too.
I don't read much fic, but I'm sure this type of storyline has been written before. Thing is, I have a hang-up with New Moon – namely, with the way Bella and Edward reunited so effortlessly. I need to write about it, so I can get it out of my system. Hope you don't mind the rehash.
Drop me a comment if you have a sec. I've missed writing for you guys. See you soon!