But A Whisper on His Lips

Full Summary: It has been six long years since the Cullen family walked out of Bella's life. After having more heartbreak then one person should in a lifetime, Bella moves to a place she never thought any type of mythical world would be. Will she spiral into the darkness again when she runs in a blond from her past? Or will she stand her ground and not let the ghosts from her past knock her down?

Disclaimer: I own Nothing of SM's Twilight Saga or any other references to other books/movies that are mentioned in this story.

Warning: This story is rated M for Mature Content. There will be lemons. There will also be strong language and violence. If you are under 18 or just don't like these things in a story; stop reading now.


Prologue

He got out of his car when I stepped out of the truck, and came to meet me. He reached to take my

book bag from me. That was normal. But he shoved it back onto the seat. That was not normal.

"Come for a walk with me," he suggested in an unemotional voice, taking my hand.

I didn't answer. I couldn't think of a way to protest, but I instantly knew that I wanted to. I didn't like

this. This is bad, this is very bad, the voice in my head repeated again and again.

But he didn't wait for an answer. He pulled me along toward the east side of the yard, where the forest

encroached. I followed unwillingly, trying to think through the panic. It was what I wanted, I reminded

myself. The chance to talk it all through. So why was the panic choking me?

We'd gone only a few steps into the trees when he stopped. We were barely on the trail—I could still

see the house. Some walk.

Edward leaned against a tree and stared at me, his expression unreadable.

"Okay, let's talk," I said. It sounded braver than it felt.

He took a deep breath.

"Bella, we're leaving."

I took a deep breath, too. This was an acceptable option. I thought I was prepared. But I still had to ask.

"Why now? Another year—"

"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."

His answer confused me. I thought the point of leaving was to let his family live in peace. Why did we

have to leave if they were going? I stared at him, trying to understand what he meant.

He stared back coldly.

With a roll of nausea, I realized I'd misunderstood.

"When you say we—," I whispered.

"I mean my family and myself." Each word separate and distinct.

I shook my head back and forth mechanically, trying to clear it. He waited without any sign of

impatience. It took a few minutes before I could speak.

"Okay," I said. "I'll come with you."

"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."

"I'm no good for you, Bella."

"Don't be ridiculous." I wanted to sound angry, but it just sounded like I was begging. "You're the very

best part of my life."

"My world is not for you," he said grimly.

"What happened with Jasper—that was nothing, Edward! Nothing!"

"You're right," he agreed. "It was exactly what was to be expected."

"You promised! In Phoenix, you promised that you would stay—"

"As long as that was best for you," he interrupted to correct me.

"No! This is about my soul, isn't it?" I shouted, furious, the words exploding out of me—somehow it still sounded like a plea. "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!"

He took a deep breath and stared, unseeingly, at the ground for a long moment. His mouth twisted the

tiniest bit. When he finally looked up, his eyes were different, harder—like the liquid gold had frozen

solid.

"Bella, I don't want you to come with me." He spoke the words slowly and precisely, his cold eyes on

my face, watching as I absorbed what he was really saying.

There was a pause as I repeated the words in my head a few times, sifting through them for their real

intent.

"You… don't… want me?" I tried out the words, confused by the way they sounded, placed in that

order.

"No."

I stared, uncomprehending, into his eyes. He stared back without apology. His eyes were like

topaz—hard and clear and very deep. I felt like I could see into them for miles and miles, yet nowhere in their bottomless depths could I see a contradiction to the word he'd spoken.

"Well, that changes things." I was surprised by how calm and reasonable my voice sounded. It must be

because I was so numb. I couldn't realize what he was telling me. It still didn't make any sense.

He looked away into the trees as he spoke again. "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." He looked back, and the icy planes of his perfect face

were not human. "I've let this go on much too long, and I'm sorry for that."

"Don't." My voice was just a whisper now; awareness was beginning to seep through me, trickling like

acid through my veins. "Don't do this."

He just stared at me, and I could see from his eyes that my words were far too late. He already had.

"You're not good for me, Bella." He turned his earlier words around, and so I had no argument. How

well I knew that I wasn't good enough for him.

I opened my mouth to say something, and then closed it again. He waited patiently, his face wiped clean of all emotion. I tried again.

"If… that's what you want."

He nodded once.

My whole body went numb. I couldn't feel anything below the neck.

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

I wonder what he saw on my face, because something flickered across his own face in response. But,

before I could identify it, he'd composed his features into the same serene mask.

"Anything," I vowed, my voice faintly stronger.

As I watched, his frozen eyes melted. The gold became liquid again, molten, burning down into mine with an intensity that was overwhelming.

"Don't do anything reckless or stupid," he ordered, no longer detached. "Do you understand what I'm

saying?"

I nodded helplessly.

His eyes cooled, the distance returned. "I'm thinking of Charlie, of course. He needs you. Take care of

yourself—for him."

I nodded again. "I will," I whispered.

He seemed to relax just a little.

"And I'll make you a promise in return," he said. "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."

My knees must have started to shake, because the trees were suddenly wobbling. I could hear the blood

pounding faster than normal behind my ears. His voice sounded farther away.

He smiled gently. "Don't worry. You're human—your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all

wounds for your kind."

"And your memories?" I asked. It sounded like there was something stuck in my throat, like I was

choking.

"Well"—he hesitated for a short second—"I won't forget. But my kind… we're very easily distracted."

He smiled; the smile was tranquil and it did not touch his eyes.

He took a step away from me. "That's everything, I suppose. We won't bother you again."

The plural caught my attention. That surprised me; I would have thought I was beyond noticing anything.

"Alice isn't coming back," I realized. I don't know how he heard me—the words made no sound—but he seemed to understand.

He shook his head slowly, always watching my face.

"No. They're all gone. I staved behind to tell you goodbye."

"Alice is gone?" My voice was blank with disbelief.

"She wanted to say goodbye, but I convinced her that a clean break would be better for you."

I was dizzy; it was hard to concentrate. His words swirled around in my head, and I heard the doctor at

the hospital in Phoenix, last spring, as he showed me the X-rays. You can see it's a clean break, his

finger traced along the picture of my severed bone. That's good. It will heal more easily, more quickly.

I tried to breathe normally. I needed to concentrate, to find a way out of this nightmare.

"Goodbye, Bella," he said in the same quiet, peaceful voice.

"Wait!" I choked out the word, reaching for him, willing my deadened legs to carry me forward.

I thought he was reaching for me, too. But his cold hands locked around my wrists and pinned them to

my sides. He leaned down, and pressed his lips very lightly to my forehead for the briefest instant. My

eyes closed.

"Take care of yourself," he breathed, cool against my skin.

There was a light, unnatural breeze. My eyes flashed open. The leaves on a small vine maple shuddered

with the gentle wind of his passage.

He was gone.

With shaky legs, ignoring the fact that my action was useless, I followed him into the forest. The evidence of his path had disappeared instantly. There were no footprints, the leaves were still again, but I walked forward without thinking. I could not do anything else. I had to keep moving. If I stopped looking for him, it was over.

Love, life, meaning… over.

I walked and walked. Time made no sense as I pushed slowly through the thick undergrowth. It was

hours passing, but also only seconds. Maybe it felt like time had frozen because the forest looked the

same no matter how far I went. I started to worry that I was traveling in a circle, a very small circle at

that, but I kept going. I stumbled often, and, as it grew darker and darker, I fell often, too.

Finally, I tripped over something—it was black now, I had no idea what caught my foot—and I stayed

down. I rolled onto my side, so that I could breathe, and curled up on the wet bracken.

As I lay there, I had a feeling that more time was passing than I realized. I couldn't remember how long it had been since nightfall. Was it always so dark here at night? Surely, as a rule, some little bit of moonlight would filter down through the clouds, through the chinks in the canopy of trees, and find the ground.

Not tonight. Tonight the sky was utterly black. Perhaps there was no moon tonight—a lunar eclipse, a

new moon.

A new moon. I shivered, though I wasn't cold.

It was black for a long time before I heard them calling.

Someone was shouting my name. It was muted, muffled by the wet growth that surrounded me, but it

was definitely my name. I didn't recognize the voice. I thought about answering, but I was dazed, and it

took a long time to come to the conclusion that I should answer. By then, the calling had stopped.

Sometime later, the rain woke me up. I don't think I'd really fallen asleep; I was just lost in an unthinking stupor, holding with all my strength to the numbness that kept me from realizing what I didn't want to

know.

The rain bothered me a little. It was cold. I unwrapped my arms from around my legs to cover my face.

It was then that I heard the calling again. It was farther away this time, and sometimes it sounded like

several voices were calling at once. I tried to breathe deeply. I remembered that I should answer, but I

didn't think they would be able to hear me. Would I be able to shout loud enough?

Suddenly, there was another sound, startlingly close. A kind of snuffling, an animal sound. It sounded big.

I wondered if I should feel afraid. I didn't—just numb. It didn't matter. The snuffling went away.

The rain continued, and I could feel the water pooling up against my cheek. I was trying to gather the

strength to turn my head when I saw the light.

At first it was just a dim glow reflecting off the bushes in the distance. It grew brighter and brighter,

illuminating a large space unlike the focused beam of a flashlight. The light broke through the closest

brush, and I could see that it was a propane lantern, but that was all I could see—the brightness blinded

me for a moment.

"Bella."

The voice was deep and unfamiliar, but full of recognition. He wasn't calling my name to search, he was acknowledging that I was found.

I stared up—impossibly high it seemed—at the dark face that I could now see above me. I was vaguely

aware that the stranger probably only looked so tall because my head was still on the ground.

"Have you been hurt?"

I knew the words meant something, but I could only stare, bewildered. How could the meaning matter at this point?

"Bella, my name is Sam Uley."

There was nothing familiar about his name.

"Charlie sent me to look for you."

Charlie? That struck a chord, and I tried to pay more attention to what he was saying. Charlie mattered,

if nothing else did.

The tall man held out a hand. I gazed at it, not sure what I was supposed to do.

His black eyes appraised me for a second, and then he shrugged. In a quick and supple notion, he pulled me up from the ground and into his arms.

I hung there, limp, as he loped swiftly through the wet forest. Some part of me knew this should upset

me—being carried away by a stranger. But there was nothing left in me to upset.

It didn't seem like too much time passed before there were lights and the deep babble of many male

voices. Sam Uley slowed as he approached the commotion.

"I've got her!" he called in a booming voice.

The babble ceased, and then picked up again with more intensity. A confusing swirl of faces moved over me. Sam's voice was the only one that made sense in the chaos, perhaps because my ear was against his

chest.

"No, I don't think she's hurt," he told someone. "She just keeps saying 'He's gone.' "

Was I saying that out loud? I bit down on my lip.

"Bella, honey, are you all right?"

That was one voice I would know anywhere—even distorted, as it was now, with worry.

"Charlie?" My voice sounded strange and small.

"I'm right here, baby."

There was a shifting under me, followed by the leathery smell of my dad's sheriff jacket. Charlie

staggered under my weight.

"Maybe I should hold on to her," Sam Uley suggested.

"I've got her," Charlie said, a little breathless.

He walked slowly, struggling. I wished I could tell him to put me down and let me walk, but I couldn't

find my voice.

There were lights everywhere, held by the crowd walking with him. It felt like a parade. Or a funeral

procession. I closed my eyes.

"We're almost home now, honey," Charlie mumbled now and then.

I opened my eyes again when I heard the door unlock. We were on the porch of our house, and the tall

dark man named Sam was holding the door for Charlie, one arm extended toward us, as if he was

preparing to catch me when Charlie's arms failed.

But Charlie managed to get me through the door and to the couch in the living room.

"Dad, I'm all wet," I objected feebly.

"That doesn't matter." His voice was gruff. And then he was talking to someone else. "Blankets are in the cupboard at the top of the stairs."

"Bella?" a new voice asked. I looked at the gray-haired man leaning over me, and recognition came after a few slow seconds.

"Dr. Gerandy?" I mumbled.

"That's right, dear," he said. "Are you hurt, Bella?"

It took me a minute to think that through. I was confused by the memory of Sam Uley's similar question in the woods. Only Sam had asked something else: Have you been hurt? he'd said. The difference seemed significant somehow. Dr. Gerandy was waiting. One grizzled eyebrow rose, and the wrinkles on his forehead deepened.

"I'm not hurt," I lied. The words, were true enough for what he'd asked.

His warm hand touched my forehead, and his fingers pressed against the inside of my wrist. I watched his lips as he counted to himself, his eyes on his watch.

"What happened to you?" he asked casually.

I froze under his hand, tasting panic in the back of my throat.

"Did you get lost in the woods?" he prodded. I was aware of several other people listening. Three tall

men with dark faces—from La Push, the Quileute Indian reservation down on the coastline, I

guessed—Sam Uley among them, were standing very close together and staring at me. Mr. Newton was

there with Mike and Mr. Weber, Angela's father; they all were watching me more surreptitiously than the strangers. Other deep voices rumbled from the kitchen and outside the front door. Half the town must

have been looking for me.

Charlie was the closest. He leaned in to hear my answer.

"Yes," I whispered. "I got lost."

The doctor nodded, thoughtful, his fingers probing gently against the glands under my jaw. Charlie's face hardened.

"Do you feel tired?" Dr. Gerandy asked.

I nodded and closed my eyes obediently.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with her," I heard the doctor mutter to Charlie after a moment.

"Just exhaustion. Let her sleep it off, and I'll come check on her tomorrow," he paused. He must have looked

at his watch, because he added, "Well, later today actually."

There was a creaking sound as they both pushed off from the couch to get to their feet.

"Is it true?" Charlie whispered. Their voices were farther away now. I strained to hear. "Did they leave?"

"Dr. Cullen asked us not to say anything," Dr. Gerandy answered. "The offer was very sudden; they had

to choose immediately. Carlisle didn't want to make a big production out of leaving."

"A little warning might have been nice," Charlie grumbled. Dr. Gerandy sounded uncomfortable when he replied. "Yes, well, in this situation, some warning might have been called for."

I didn't want to listen anymore. I felt around for the edge of the quilt someone had laid on top of me, and pulled it over my ear.

I drifted in and out of alertness. I heard Charlie whisper thanks to the volunteers as, one by one, they left.

I felt his fingers on my forehead, and then the weight of another blanket. The phone rang a few times, and he hurried to catch it before it could wake me. He muttered reassurances in a low voice to the callers.

"Yeah, we found her. She's okay. She got lost. She's fine now," he said again and again.

I heard the springs in the armchair groan when he settled himself in for the night.

A few minutes later, the phone rang again.

Charlie moaned as he struggled to his feet, and then he rushed, stumbling, to the kitchen I pulled my head deeper under the blankets, not wanting to listen to the same conversation again.

"Yeah," Charlie said, and yawned.

His voice changed, it was much more alert when he spoke again. "Where?'" There was a pause. "You're

sure it's outside the reservation?" Another short pause. "But what could be burning out there?" He

sounded both worried and mystified. "Look, I'll call down there and check it out."

I listened with more interest as he punched in a number.

"Hey, Billy, it's Charlie—sorry I'm calling so early… no, she's fine. She's sleeping… Thanks, but that's

not why I called. I just got a call from Mrs. Stanley, and she says that from her second-story window she can see fires out on the sea cliffs, but I didn't really… Oh!" Suddenly there was an edge in his

voice—irritation… or anger. "And why are they doing that? Uh huh. Really?" He said it sarcastically.

"Well, don't apologize to me. Yeah, yeah. Just make sure the flames don't spread… I know, I know, I'm

surprised they got them lit at all in this weather."

Charlie hesitated, and then added grudgingly. "Thanks for sending Sam and the other boys up. You were right—they do know the forest better than we do. It was Sam who found her, so I owe you one… Yeah, I'll talk to you later," he agreed, still sour, before hanging up. Charlie muttered something incoherent as he shuffled back to the living room.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

He hurried to my side.

"I'm sorry I woke you, honey."

"Is something burning?"

"It's nothing," he assured me. "Just some bonfires out on the cliffs."

"Bonfires?" I asked. My voice didn't sound curious. It sounded dead.

Charlie frowned. "Some of the kids from the reservation being rowdy," he explained.

"Why?" I wondered dully.

I could tell he didn't want to answer. He looked at the floor under his knees. "They're celebrating the

news." His tone was bitter.

There was only one piece of news I could think of, try as I might not to. And then the pieces snapped

together. "Because the Cullens left," I whispered. "They don't like the Cullens in La Push—I'd forgotten about that."

The Quileutes had their superstitions about the "cold ones," the blood-drinkers that were enemies to their tribe, just like they had their legends of the great flood and wolf-men ancestors. Just stories, folklore, to most of them. Then there were the few that believed. Charlie's good friend Billy Black believed, though even Jacob, his own son, thought he was full of stupid superstitions. Billy had warned me to stay away from the Cullens…

The name stirred something inside me, something that began to claw its way toward the surface,

something I knew I didn't want to face.

"It's ridiculous," Charlie spluttered.

We sat in silence for a moment. The sky was no longer black outside the window. Somewhere behind

the rain, the sun was beginning to rise.

"Bella?" Charlie asked.

I looked at him uneasily.

"He left you alone in the woods?" Charlie guessed.

I deflected his question. "How did you know where to find me?" My mind shied away from the inevitable awareness that was coming, coming quickly now.

"Your note," Charlie answered. surprised. He reached into the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out a

much-abused piece of paper. It was dirty and damp, with multiple creases from being opened and

refolded many times. He unfolded it again, and held it up as evidence. The messy handwriting was remarkably close to my own.

Going for a walk with Edward, up the path, it said. Back soon, B.

"When you didn't come back, I called the Cullens, and no one answered," Charlie said in a low voice.

"Then I called the hospital, and Dr. Gerandy told me that Carlisle was gone."

"Where did they go?" I mumbled.

He stared at me. "Didn't Edward tell you?"

I shook my head, recoiling. The sound of his name unleashed the thing that was clawing inside of me – a pain that knocked me breathless, astonished me with its force.

Charlie eyed me doubtfully as he answered. "Carlisle took a job with a big hospital in Los Angeles. I

guess they threw a lot of money at him."

Sunny L.A. The last place they would really go. I remembered my nightmare with the mirror… the bright sunlight shimmering off of his skin—

Agony ripped through me with the memory of his face.

"I want to know if Edward left you alone out there in the middle of the woods," Charlie insisted.

His name sent another wave of torture through me. I shook my head, frantic, desperate to escape the

pain. "It was my fault. He left me right here on the trail, in sight of the house… but I tried to follow him."

Charlie started to say something; childishly, I covered my ears. "I can't talk about this anymore, Dad. I

want to go to my room."

Before he could answer, I scrambled up from the couch and lurched my way up the stairs.

Someone had been in the house to leave a note for Charlie, a note that would lead him to find me. From

the minute that I'd realized this, a horrible suspicion began to grow in my head. I rushed to my room,

shutting and locking the door behind me before I ran to the CD player by my bed.

Everything looked exactly the same as I'd left it. I pressed down on the top of the CD player. The latch

unhooked, and the lid slowly swung open.

It was empty.

The album Renee had given me sat on the floor beside the bed, just where I'd put it last. I lifted the cover with a shaking hand.

I didn't have to flip any farther than the first page. The little metal corners no longer held a picture in

place. The page was blank except for my own handwriting scrawled across the bottom: Edward Cullen,

Charlie's kitchen, Sept. 13th.

I stopped there. I was sure that he would have been very thorough.

It will be as if I'd never existed, he'd promised me.

I felt the smooth wooden floor beneath my knees, and then the palms of my hands, and then it was

pressed against the skin of my cheek. I hoped that I was fainting, but, to my disappointment, I didn't lose consciousness. The waves of pain that had only lapped at me before now reared high up and washed over my head, pulling me under.

I did not resurface.

If I would had been told that years from this moment I would ever see one of the Cullen family again, I would have laughed in the person's face.

Oh but how wrong I would be.


AN: Yes, I know that all of this chapter, except for the end bit, is from New Moon, I just wanted everyone to be fresh on what happened because I know it has been awhile since most people have read the books(unless you are like me and have read them multiple times and still do on days that you just need your Twilight fix... anyways) so just a refresher and a tiny bit to kick off the story.

Also, I know I haven't updated The Fire Burning yet. I will update it soon, I promise. My laptop decided it wanted to crash so I lost everything.

Anyways. I am posting Chapter One right after this because I know there isn't anything to this chapter.