Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A huge thank you to my wonderful beta, Terri, beans827, for making this story look good and to my new pre-reader, the lovely DaniaMCullen for helping to make sure the plot stays on track - as things are going to be a little bit twisty from here on in….
Chapter 14 - Repercussions
To you these lines for the consoling grace
Of your great eyes wherein a soft dream shines,
For your pure soul, all-kind!-to you these lines
From the black deeps of mine unmatched distress.
'Tis that the hideous dream that doth oppress
My soul, alas! its sad prey ne'er resigns,
But like a pack of wolves down mad inclines
Goes gathering heat upon my reddened trace!
I suffer, oh, I suffer cruelly!
So that the first man's cry at Eden lost
Was but an eclogue surely to my cry!
And that the sorrows, Dear, that may have crossed
Your life, are but as swallows light that fly
-Dear!-in a golden warm September sky.
(Paul Verlaine, A Woman, translation of A Une Femme)
From Chapter 13-
The next few minutes were a blur. I remember Edward suddenly jerking his head around towards Alice on the other side of the car and glaring at her. They both just as quickly jerked back towards me and Edward yelled something out to me but a noisy engine and a squeal of tires drowned out his words.
Edward's arm shot out pointing at something behind me and as if in slow motion, I wheeled around and saw a large blue van careening across the ice straight towards me. Unlike my truck, my feet were not well equipped to deal with an icy surface and as I moved to get out of the way, they failed me. I started sliding and then scrabbling in fear for my life, making me desperate. Out of nowhere, something slammed into my left side and I hit the ground hard, my skull bouncing on the icy cold surface and then there was just nothing but blissful blackness.
I think I must have been dreaming but I could swear there was a faint scent of pine trees, strong arms gently holding me, cold lips caressing my forehead and a whispered litany of words over and over "Not again…please God…not again."
When Carlisle, Emmett and I had left Bella's bedroom just before dawn this morning, I'd finally decided what my plan of action today at school would be. Firstly, I needed to assure Bella that I had fully recovered so that she wouldn't worry needlessly. Secondly, I thought it best to arrange a time to meet outside of school to tell her what I'd eventually worked out was the best answer about where we had met and thirdly, spend as much time with her as I possibly could, for her to get to know me a little better, before I dropped any major bombshells. That was the plan.
I thought it was a good plan and it would give me some more time to work out exactly how detailed Bella's dreams were and how much of our lives she could handle knowing. There was no way on earth I could handle her finding out the truth about me too soon, before she got to know me, revulsion showing on her face for what I am. It would kill me. Life would surely not be that cruel to me after all this time. To make me wait and suffer for so long, with hope and love just out of my grasp only to then rip it away so brutally when my dreams are so close.
Emmett snapped me out of my morose thoughts by slapping me on the back and giving me a bear hug just before I got into the Volvo. "You will be fine today, little bro! We've got your back!"
Why had I never noticed before how much Emmett looks out for me and for the rest of the family? His eternal optimism is actually quite uplifting and I resolved to start the day as I meant for it to continue – confident in my ability to pull this off. I hugged Emmett back and noted his surprise at the feel of my arms around him, squeezing him a little more than was comfortable.
I grinned and slipped into my seat, Alice and Jasper already buckled in and ready to go. Alice knew something but was taking my request to heart. At the moment, instead of giving me a sneak peak of my day, she was naming every variation of the color blue. I chuckled at her choice, remembering Bella's silky blue panties, hidden inside my own underwear drawer, the analogy not lost on me at all.
Once Emmett and Rosalie were ready to go in the Jeep parked alongside, I turned the key in the ignition and jumped at the music blaring out of my car speakers. Alice! Muse's Feeling Good assaulted my eardrums and I outright laughed. Both Alice and Jasper did a double take at the happy sound and smiled almost as wide as I was. As I drove towards school, all of us hummed along until the chorus and then we burst into song at the sheer joy we were feeling…it was addictive!
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
And I'm feeling good
Alice and I tapped the drum beats out on the dash and Jasper on the back of my seat as we pulled into the school parking lot moments after Bella in her truck. I sat there for a moment to collect myself, taking a deep breath I didn't need before stepping out of the Volvo and turning towards Bella.
She was standing there at the door of her truck, her backpack slung over her shoulders and her hands full with gloves and her iPod. She acknowledged me with a smile and I was transfixed at the sight of her standing there watching me. I could feel my lips curve upwards of their own volition in response to her avid perusal. It wasn't a conscious action.
Despite the fact that I was by her side only hours ago, I was instantly drawn to her, instinctively needing to be by her side, to keep her safe and free from harm. I knew it was irrational – I mean really, what harm could befall her in a school parking lot surrounded by a ton of students on a day like every other day? But I couldn't help feeling this way though; it's not as if fate had been kind to me in the matter of love and my soul mate. Time and again, the love of my life had been ripped from my life and I was paranoid that it would happen again.
I was about to take a step towards her when a vision hit Alice out of the blue and with such force, she cringed. I wrenched my head around to Alice on the other side of my car in disbelief, our eyes widened with fear almost simultaneously as we saw Bella crushed and dying pinned against her truck by a huge blue van. All the breath in my body was sucked out and I felt like Emmett had taken a running leap and punched me hard in the diaphragm.
Noooo! This couldn't happen. Alice's visions could range from a minute ahead to years ahead so I didn't immediately know when this was meant to take place but my question was answered as soon as it left my mind by the sound of a van speeding into the parking lot. I spun back around to face Bella. I needed to make her move. Now!
"Bella! The van…look out! Move out of the way. Bellaaaa!"
Why the fuck isn't she moving? She's now frowning at me but still not moving.
By this time, the squeal of the tires and the revving of the engine drowned out the screams of the students it passed.
I gestured frantically at her, pointing to the van and this time, finally, she turned to the right and saw the blue monstrosity bearing down upon her. Is the seriousness of the situation dawn on her face and then her mad scramble to move out of the way. Her feet, clad in useless chucks with no grip, slipped on the icy ground.
Every instinct in me screamed to run to her, to scoop her up and get her the hell away from the danger. But my innate survival instincts warned me that the parking lot was crowded and my position near the steps was so open that I knew that I would be seen if I tried to save her. I was torn between my responsibility to my family and the one rule that governs all vampires: to remain under the radar of humans, and the overwhelming love I hold for this woman.
Why the fuck am I just standing here doing nothing? Everyone's eyes were now focussed on the squealing van and not me. I made my decision. Fuck it. I'll deal with any consequences later. "Not her." I whispered and within a split second I was across the parking lot, but not as quickly as my brother who must have moved when he realized she was going to slip on the ice.
"Eddie, I'll nudge the back of Bella's truck for the van to hit. You get to Bella, okay?" Emmett called out in his mind to me as he neared the scene. I nodded. "I told you, I've got your back, bro!"
Emmett reached the van moments before I did, and gently shoved the back of it a little forward to catch the worst of the impact and then darted back to his truck. I reached out for Bella.
I watched horrified as the movement of the truck caused the not quite closed door of the truck to fly back out and catch Bella in her side, slamming her even faster to the ground. Just as I reached her, but too late to stop it, her head slammed into the sharp gravel of the parking lot, knocking her unconscious. Seconds later the side of the van hit the back of the truck and I put my arm out to stop it ricocheting back into Bella.
I wanted to lift her into my arms and spirit her away to Carlisle immediately but reconsidered when I remembered how many of the students had seen her in front of her truck. Instead I dropped to my haunches and gently scooped Bella into my arms and off the icy ground. My lips found purchase on the cold skin of her forehead and I whispered to her, pleaded with her, "Elizabeth…don't leave me…please don't leave me. Not again…please God…not again."
From long experience, I automatically assumed the worst, but the slow stuttering beat of her heart jerked me back to my senses. When my stunned mind thought to check Bella's vital signs, I could feel her thready pulse and noticed her breathing seemed a little laboured. I examined her quickly and determined that she had several broken ribs from being hit with the door and a nasty gash on her forehead which was now dripping blood.
If I'd been alone with Bella, I would've screamed to the heavens, demanding to know why He kept punishing me, testing my resolve and now, putting me in the way of the ultimate temptation. I would sneer back that He wouldn't win. This time Elizabeth was staying and she would be my love eternal.
The draw of her blood was powerful but my love for her was even more so.
I could resist temptation. I would resist.
I would not be the harbinger of death to my love. HE can wait for eternity for her. I needed her now. It was my time with her…not his.
It felt like forever since the van screeched into the parking lot but it was, in fact, mere minutes. The shock of what they were seeing had worn off and the students were converging on the van. Tyler had smashed his head on something as he hit Bella's truck and there was blood dripping down his face now too. Not enough. He was looking at Bella and me and apologizing over and over again. I wanted to choke the life out of him for what he had done. With one act of reckless stupidity, he'd almost taken the fount of my life from me. He needed to be taught a lesson; it's my place to do so.
Bella shivered in my arms and my thoughts of revenge were shelved for the moment. I tore my jacket off, ripped the shoulder out of one arm and after wrapping her shoulders to keep her warm; I pressed the remnant of the sleeve against her temple to stem the flow of blood. By this time, a ring of anxious faces surrounded us, but for once I could barely hear their voices, let alone their inner thoughts, as I concentrated only on Bella and willing her to be okay.
As I whispered to her of my love and my vow to keep her safe forever more, I contemplated what the hell I would do if she started to deteriorate before I could get her to Carlisle. I was kidding myself though that there was any consideration to be made. I already knew what I would do; I was just trying to work out a viable excuse to justify the decision to my family. She would not die, at least, not unless she is reborn as a vampire. There was absolutely no alternative at all in my mind.
I was chafing with the knowledge that I could have carried her to the hospital and Carlisle in mere minutes, faster than they could drive even at their top speed. I was almost at the end of my tether and contemplated doing something stupid when Alice's mental voice finally cut through the fog I seem to be enveloped in. "Edward, don't! The paramedics are almost here with Bella's father following hot on their tail."
Before she finished speaking, I could hear the wail of the sirens and within a minute, the ambulance screeched into the parking lot. I felt a hand clamp down onto my shoulder as one of the paramedics ran up to me, warily eyeing the scowl I was sending his way and the protective way I drew Bella closer to me. Emmett leaned down and whispered in my ear. "They will take good care of Bella, Edward. You need to let go."
Let go! Is he mad?
I can't let go! Not now… not ever again!
"Sir, I need you to let go of the girl so I can check her injuries…Sir?"
I knew I needed to hand her over, but didn't this guy understand what he was asking me to do? He asked me to trust him with Bella. He asked me to trust him with my life. I honestly didn't know if I could.
I heard Emmett call out to Jasper to come and help, low enough for vampire hearing to catch but not the humans scattered around. Jasper was torn. He could feel my indecision and obstinacy from where he was, anchored to the car; his fingers clutching and depressing the metal of the Volvo. He was stalwartly holding his breath with two bleeding head injuries in close vicinity, but still managed to blanket the area with a calmness I desperately needed.
Emmett leaned down again and talked me through the last of my terror. "Edward, you need to trust this man. The paramedic can look after Bella. He knows what he is doing and you can ride in the ambulance with Bella, okay?" He is rubbed my back which surprisingly actually helped, the tension was slowly leaking away as I reluctantly loosened my hold on Bella. The paramedic, Steve, let out a breath gratefully, still a little unsure why he was feeling so much fear due to a punk school kid.
Steve gauged correctly that I was not ready to completely let Bella go and checked her over while she was still cradled loosely within my arms. As he pressed a little too firmly on her temple, Bella briefly groaned and her eyes fluttered open for mere seconds before closing again just as quickly. Steve was lucky that he had elicited such a positive response from Bella through his actions, otherwise those fingers he so carelessly pressed into her head would be history right about now. As it was, the blackness of my eyes caused him some concerns and he backed away quickly to confer with the other paramedic who had been tending Tyler.
The whole school pretty well turned as one to follow the screeching progression of a police car as it turned into the parking lot and came to a rolling stop at the side of the ambulance. To his credit, the only thing on Charlie Swan's mind right then was Bella's safety as he spotted her in my arms. It wasn't until he is almost upon us that he seemed perplexed as to why the doctors' son was holding his precious daughter so tenderly in his arms.
Steve came running back over to us, as Charlie reached our sides and at a barked request, promptly filled Bella's father in with Bella's vitals. The stretcher was brought over and both paramedics moved Bella to it. I couldn't bear to let her go completely and held her hand in mine as I followed the stretcher to the back of the ambulance. Now that Charlie was here, he was expecting to go with Bella and his thoughts turned a little bit feral at the sight of me clinging to her hand.
Alice thankfully made an appearance then and explained to Charlie that I was close to Bella when it happened and was shaken by the accident and worried about her. I didn't pay much attention to the words she used but Charlie calmed down and when she asked if it would be alright for me to wait at the hospital, he grudgingly gave his approval.
As I moved towards the ambulance, Alice pulled me back…hissing into my mind, "Don't even think about it, Buster…you have been too close to blowing our real natures too many times in the last few minutes. The transfer into the ambulance will have opened Bella's head wound and the close confines of the ambulance are too dangerous for you to be anywhere near Bella right now."
I growled at the vision I could see taking place in Alice's mind and sighed knowing she was perfectly right. I had skated too close to the wind already this morning and I could not tempt fate and assume that I was completely immune to Bella's blood now that the adrenaline, or what passes for it in a vampire, had settled.
"Will you take me to the hospital, Alice?" I whispered, feeling completely broken by the events of this morning.
"Of course, Edward." She assured me and settled me into the passenger seat, then slid into the back seat behind Jasper who was already behind the wheel with the engine running. He took a moment to grip my bicep and I felt a modicum of peace settle over me.
"Jasper, please. I just need to get to the hospital." He nodded once and reversed the car, following the ambulance to the hospital. I almost felt like I was functioning through a thick fog… my mind unable to focus on anything but the girl on the stretcher within the ambulance in front of me. Steve was tending to both her and Tyler, the fucker, while the other guy was up front driving. I could see the evidence of the re-opened temple wound gushed down the side of Bella's face and felt grateful that Alice was able to get through to me in time.
If her visions were any indication, then being in a confined space surrounded by Bella's blood would have turned into a bloodbath of Stephen King proportions. According to the very distinct, unwavering vision, I snapped and drained Bella when her blood eventually broke through my restraints, then snapped Charlie's neck with one hand as he tried to force me away from Bella and finally ripped the paramedic's head clean off as he screamed at all he had seen. While still in a red haze, I had ripped open the door of the ambulance and then sent it and the driver down a ravine to hide the evidence.
And then I tried to kill myself the only way I knew how. I went to Volterra and did the one thing we vampires can never do – exposed myself - within seconds I had been pulled into a million pieces and fed into a blazing fire by Aro himself.
I'd thought of killing myself more than once before and even tried it numerous times without success. I was so close the day I'd lost Elizabeth but the lure of revenge won out that day and changed the course of my life forever.
During the years I had tried to find her murderer, I had let my despair dictate my actions on more than one occasion. Back then, I didn't fully realize exactly how indestructible we are.
Just before I returned to Chicago in 1931, I hit a brick wall and decided then to end it all. My life had no meaning without Elizabeth in it and I had lost all signs of a trail from him long ago. I was in New York at the time and had just decided that I could never survive a fall from the newly built Empire State Building at 102 stories high. Yes, I already knew we were pretty much invincible. I'd already tried the usual things people do to end their lives – standing in front of a freight train, jumping off the cliff face into a ravine, gun to the head, drinking poison.
But vampires aren't the usual and it was like that movie Groundhog Day – I'd try something and then I'd wake up and I was whole again. The incident with the freight train ended up with a crumpled train and spilled goods and the smallest little indent in my body which healed within minutes. Same with the ravine. My legs were a broken mess when I landed but within moments had straightened and I had nary a scratch. The gun was interesting. Tried it in a few places but only ended up with angry neighbors because of the noise and a bucketful of squished bullets. I thought the poison was actually working because about ten minutes after I swallowed it, my insides were twisting and convulsing but it was simply working its way back up my throat and came speeding back out. I got the same reaction from a cherry cola I had swallowed once when trying to blend in as a human.
I had high hopes for the Empire State building though. This was much higher than anything I had ever attempted and surely something would give. I had scaled the side of the building at midnight and as I reached the top, I scanned the horizon once and without further ado, I jumped. I'm not going to lie, this time it really hurt but within about ten minutes I was up and walking again. That was when I decided to return to Chicago just to be close to Elizabeth in her resting place.
I straightened in my seat as we pulled up at the hospital, behind the ambulance and finally realized that Emmett and Rosalie had followed as well in the jeep. For the first time, I realized how much I needed my family and their support. Even knowing that Bella's injuries were minor thanks to Emmett's actions in the parking lot, I was not coping well.
All five of us trudged through the main doors of the hospital, after being denied admittance through the Emergency entrance assigned to the ambulance drivers. I quickly scanned the hospital for Carlisle, knowing he was on shift today and after locating him in his office, asked Rose and Emmett to let him know what happened so that he could treat Bella rather than somebody else.
Alice, Jasper and I made our way straight to the Emergency Room and requested to see Bella. Frustratingly, we were denied admittance and Jasper had to use all his calming powers to keep me in place instead of slamming into the ER and locating Bella myself. Alice simply reminded me about her bleeding wound and I calmed down enough to avoid doing anything stupid.
Thankfully Carlisle strode through the outer doors at that point, with Rose and Emmett hot on his heels. He came straight towards me and enveloped me in a hug which I gratefully accepted. Without spoken word, he conveyed that he knew what had happened and that he would take the best care of Bella, but also that I had to remain calm. I nodded acceptance and he pushed through the doors.
It was increasingly difficult to remain still while Carlisle greeted Tyler cheerily and then Charlie as he rounded Bella's bed. Bella was still not awake and I was becoming very concerned that she had suffered a far more serious head injury than I'd thought. Alice grabbed my arm just in time or I would have been bursting through those doors. "Wait for Carlisle." She insisted. I grudgingly acquiesced.
Carlisle began blocking his thoughts from me the longer he examined Bella which freaked me the fuck out. I began pacing the perimeter of the waiting room floor, waiting for him to return and tell me she was okay. Any alternative was not acceptable. As he finished up his exam, I could hear him as he told Charlie what I already knew to be true. Bella had sustained two broken ribs, her wrist was broken as well as the graze on her temple. None of these was life threatening in any way and would heal shortly. He was very concerned that Bella had remained unconscious from striking her head on the ground and wanted to run some scans to determine if there was any damage besides the swelling.
Now he unblocked his thoughts and his message to me was to stay calm, that it was more than likely just the swelling to the brain and her body's way of coping with it. Yeah right. Stay calm. I leaned on the window frame and contemplated ways to get in to see Bella now. She needed me.
Then my planning came to naught anyway as Bella was immediately wheeled out and taken to have a C-T scan leaving her father standing next to me wringing his hands with worry. And then he started pacing…where moments before I had paced. I worried that he was going to start grilling me about who I was and why I had Bella in my arms but he just kept pacing and worrying, glancing at the clock. What seemed like hours later but was probably less than an hour, Charlie was given the news that Bella had been moved to a room.
Finally he turned to me.
"Thank you, son, for looking after my girl. I could see you took right good care of her before the ambulance got there. It looks like Bella's here overnight. Maybe you could come back in the morning when I'm on shift and sit with her for me?"
In his mind, Charlie was wondering if I was her boyfriend and was sad that Bella was still not all that comfortable with him enough to talk to him about her life. He thought about asking me to come with him to Bella's room but changed his mind. Damn it.
My mind was such a mess with worry, I am surprised that I didn't just blurt out all that I was to his darling girl.
Before I could do something stupid, Carlisle walked into the waiting room and after smiling gently at me, strode over to Charlie.
"Charlie, the scans looked good. There is some swelling but we couldn't see any signs of other damage. I would expect that the swelling will start to come down in the next day and Bella should be fine."
Charlie slumped in relief and hugged Carlisle spontaneously which was an unusual action for both of them. Charlie jumped back surprised from a combination of the coolness emanating from Carlisle's body and embarrassment at his loss of control. He gruffly thanked Carlisle and left the room before popping his head back through the door and reminding me about sitting with Bella in the morning while he was at work. I almost snorted; as if I would forget that, and anyway, as soon as he left tonight, I was going through the window into Bella's room.
As soon as Charlie left, Carlisle asked the rest of us to follow him to his office.
No sooner had he closed his office door behind us, he asked me what had happened this morning in more detail. I explained about arriving at the school, seeing Alice's vision of Bella's accident and making the decision to save her as I was worried that I would become uncontrollable when her blood was spilled as seen in the vision.
Rosalie snorted and spat out. "You endangered us all today, Edward. If you were that worried, you could have run in the other direction until you were far away from temptation. Now I'm sure half the school suspects something suspicious since one minute you were at your car and the next cuddling little Swan like she was the most precious thing. We will have to move."
"And another thing! Why did you call her Elizabeth and beg her not to die…again?"
I have a blog that I put teasers and pictures up, so if you'd like to check it out – www(dot)edwardsisobel(dot)blogspot(dot)com
Chapter 15: hmmmm…someone heard that after all! What will Edward do now – will he tell all?
Just a little note to bring to people's attention something that the fandom has done for my home state - Queensland, Australia - which was affected by the devastating floods recently:
Fandoms Fight the Floodshas been established by a group of eight dedicated and hard working Aussies, some of whom are directly affected in the crisis. Their aim is to support the Queensland Premier's Flood Appeal, and to co-ordinate a fundraising effort to raise as much money as possible from the incredible and generous world of Fanfiction.
The aim is to put together a compilation of stories from Fanfiction authors across the different fandoms'. The compilation will be made available to readers who donate a minimum of $5 to either the Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Fund (www . qld . gov . au / floods) or the St Vincent De Paul Society (www . vinnies . org . au / home-qld)
You can help in a number of ways:
If you write, you can contribute a one-shot or out-take for the compilation;
If you beta/pre-read, you can offer your services to a writer contributing a fic;
If you are a reader, then a small donation of $5 will earn you the compilation
Please take a moment to visit the blogspot: http : / / fandomsfightthefloods . blogspot . com
Specific information is available on that site for authors who would like to contribute, a list of authors currently contributing and details of how to donate to obtain a copy of the compilation.
If you have further questions, you may contact them by email: fandomsfightthefloods (at) gmail . com
Information can also be accessed via their Facebook page (Fandoms Fight the Floods) and by fandoms4floods on twitter.
Please help the victims of this natural disaster.