Edward turned onto the interstate, tires screeching, and put the gas pedal to the floor. He was stricken with despair, racing with inhuman speed towards his own destruction.
Thoughts thundered through his head like the bulls at the Pamplona Run, causing the pressure to build behind his eyes.
Bella was dead.
Wave after wave of torment washed over him, and he wished he could drown in them.
Alice's vision was inarguable -set in stone. Bella was trembling, yet trying to appear brave to her attacker, but she practically reeked of fear and Edward wasn't even witnessing it firsthand. By now her body was cold and drained of blood while Laurent's appetite was satiated from her sweet ambrosia.
A flash of jealousy caused Edward to cringe, and he warned the monster within to back off; there was no longer anything to covet.
How could he have been so stupid? He left Bella unprotected, and as Laurent had so aptly stated in Alice's vision, Victoria was out for revenge. Edward knew how fiercely a vampire reacts when their mate is destroyed, yet he had not anticipated it. Additionally, he had demanded that Alice stop looking out for Bella.
I am an ignorant, prideful, self-absorbed bastard, Edward berated himself internally. How he ever thought that leaving a headstrong, independent, human girl alone in a world of monsters would be beneficial he would never know. It all seemed so foolish, that he screamed aloud, making the car's interior vibrate.
He deprived himself of her company, and now he deprived her of the human life he had attempted so valiantly to maintain. His seemingly grand gesture was an act of extreme stupidity, and he could clearly see that.
Edward was sincerely grateful that he had been visiting his family when Alice had her vision. He deserved to see the broken girl he'd left behind mirrored in Alice's thoughts. Hearing this kind of news over the phone, where it would be softened by thousands of miles, would have been a comfort Edward did not feel he deserved. Bella's fear and anguish were now catalysts driving him to his end.
The scenery outside the window of the small car was flying by. Edward's car was a blur as he blew past every stop sign or traffic light in his frantic journey to the airport. Once arriving, he stopped his car as close to the entrance as possible, threw open the door without bothering to turn off the engine, and ran inside. He fully intended to never return so his vehicle was no longer a necessity.
Throwing open the terminal doors, Edward forced himself to maintain a human pace as he approached the nearest ticket counter. He must have looked rather frightening because the agent's thoughts were nervous. He attempted to calm himself by taking cleansing breaths through his nose. He smiled tentatively and the agent relaxed.
"I require a one way ticket to Florence, Italy, please," Edward stated, in a pleasant, but somewhat staccato, tone.
The female agent smiled prettily at him and replied, "Of course, sir. Will you be paying cash or credit?"
"Credit," he said, handing over his black card. The agent's thoughts became flirtatious as she completed the transaction, and Edward shuffled his feet uncomfortably, hoping she would not try to speak to him in anything other than a professional manner.
"So, it's one way, Mr. Cullen?" she breathed out, in what Edward imagined was an attempt to let him know her interest.
"Yes," he replied tersely, using his tone to convey that he was in a hurry, and by no means wanting to socialize.
"We have a flight leaving in thirty minutes. Is that too soon?" she asked, while looking around Edward for luggage. Her curiosity annoyed Edward, and he took two steps back looking anywhere but at her face.
Not soon enough, Edward thought, but said, "That would be perfect, thank you."
"Here you are sir, first class seats. Please enjoy your flight." Her professionalism had returned and Edward was relieved.
"Thanks, again," Edward finished, as he walked away.
Edward had always hated airports. So many people coming and going with thoughts that screamed at him. He needed to think, and he could not do that with the assault of inner monologues going off in his brain like gunfire.
He wondered if he would be able to think without interruptions after he had been destroyed. Would it just be blackness? Would he find Bella? Was there really a hell? All he was certain of was that no hell or black pit could be as bad as a reality where Bella did not exist; especially when it was his fault she was dead.
Edward momentarily stopped his pacing for a few moments and witnessed the reunion of two lovers that, he gathered from their thoughts, had been separated for months. The unsurpassed joy on their faces caused Edward's useless stomach to roil, and he wanted to vomit. He hoped he would be granted such a greeting in the afterlife by his love.
He tried to get that mental image of Bella, frightened and alone, out of his mind. He tried to concentrate on her flushed cheeks and her beautiful floral aroma as he had kissed her for the first time. He could recall it with perfect clarity. The rush of her blood and the warmth of her lips against his were so vividly ingrained in his psyche that it seemed he could turn around and find her there. Edward knew, however, she was now no more than a ghost.
Edward heard the call to board his flight, and the bright lights and flow of others thoughts snapped him ferociously back to stark reality.
He boarded his flight, took his seat, and waited impatiently for the plane to take off.
Within the next twenty-four hours he had every intention of no longer existing.