The End Is Only The Beginning: A New Moon Contest

Title: This Is Not the End

Penname: animal8

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Summary: What if Bella had her epiphany while standing in the forest with Edward? What if she had fought with Edward to make him understand? This is my view on what could have happened.

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, it belongs to Stephanie Meyer.

"Come for a walk with me, Bella," Edward said. His face was emotionless and it scared me. He had been distant ever since the incident at my birthday party. I knew that he had been brooding, but nothing I had said or done could bring him out of it.

Hesitantly, I followed him as he led the way towards the forest path behind my house. The dread continued to build as I wondered what he wanted to say that was so important that he had to take me out here. I wished I could have spoken with Alice, but she left with Jasper for a while.

Edward stopped only a few feet onto the path and turned to face me. For a moment, he didn't say anything, he just watched me with his blank expression and it felt like he was memorising my face for the last time.

Eventually, I had to break the silence. "What do you want to talk about, Edward?" I asked fearfully. His golden eyes bore into me and I was afraid of what he was bracing himself to say.

"Bella, we're leaving," he said, his voice dead.

I stared at him in shock, not quite understanding what he was saying to me. The Cullens had only been here a few years, was it really time for them to move on? "Okay," I whispered, "I'll come with you."

He sighed harshly. "You can't come with us, Bella," he objected. His face was stone as he waited for the words to sink in and cast their effect on me.

"Alice and Jasper are gone," I mumbled in sudden realisation, "And the rest…"

"Yes," Edward confirmed, "They've moved on already. I only stayed behind to tell you. Alice wanted to say goodbye, but I said it wasn't a good idea, it's better for you that way; it will be a clean break."

I was angry that he had made that decision, both for Alice and for me. If he thought that was better for me then he was wrong. "Surely you don't have to leave yet," I persisted, "Just a few more years."

Edward shook his head. "We can't, Bella," he refused. "It's too dangerous for us here; people will start to get suspicious about why we never age. We have to leave."

"But can't you take me with you?" I pleaded desperately. I didn't care that I would have to give up Charlie or Renee. I already knew that I wanted to stay with Edward, no matter what, and I was prepared to let go of my human life to do it, even though I knew it would hurt.

But Edward wasn't giving in. "You have a life here, Bella. You need to stay with Charlie, think about him and you mother, what would she say if you disappeared?" He argued.

"I don't care about that," I lied, "All I want is to be with you."

"I'm bad for you, Bella," he said. "It's better all around if my family removes itself from this town. We can settle down somewhere else and start again, just like we always do."

"You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, Edward," I fought back, "How can you say otherwise? And will it really be that simple? Can you just let go that easily, as if I was nothing?"

A flicker of an emotion flashed across his features and I sensed he was close to letting his walls fall, but then he steeled himself and it was back in place. "Our minds work differently to humans," he explained, "We wouldn't forget, but…we could move past it."

"What about me?" I demanded, "Do you really expect me just to forget everything we have?"

"Human memories fade," he spoke patiently. I could tell he really expected me to believe what he was saying. "You would forget eventually, and you would move on with your life."

"What if I don't? What if I can't forget?" I pressed. "You're my life, Edward, I can't live without you."

I witnessed as Edward's jaw clenched slightly. He was getting impatient, but if I could keep him here I while longer, I thought I could talk him around. "You're not good for me, Bella," he said tightly, "I don't want you to come with me."

His words stung my heart and tears started to well in my eyes before I pushed them down. He had turned my argument around on me; it wasn't my place to say what was good and bad for him. I sought desperately for something that I could use, I couldn't lose him.

I came up blank. The words he had spoken were the only thing that I was able to register and they resounded inside my head, and I came out with the only response I could formulate. "You…don't…want…me?"

"No." His voice was hard as he spat the word, nothing in his face giving away his true feelings.

A cold hand constricted around my heart as I struggled to breathe properly. It took all of my self-control to keep the tears from streaming down my cheeks. I remembered all of the times he had said he loved me, that I was his life as well. I remembered our time in our meadow, how we lay beside each other, our hands clasped together. I remembered the electricity that flowed between us.

Edward was silent as my mind filtered through the past year that I had shared with him. He watched me with caution as I started shaking my head. "No, I don't believe that," I murmured.

Surprise covered him for a second before he regained himself. "What do you mean?" He asked, frowning in frustration.

"I don't believe that you don't want me," I said louder, more confidently. "After all the times that you said you love me, how can you honestly expect me to believe that you suddenly don't want me?"

I had clearly caught him off guard, as if he wasn't prepared for me to fight back. He stepped back and dropped his façade, revealing the pain and sadness that he was hiding.

"It's too dangerous for me to be around you, Bella," he stated, "I need to leave so that I can't hurt you anymore."

"Hurt me?" I repeated incredulously. "Since when have you hurt me? If it wasn't for you I would be dead multiple times over. I told you this when I was in the hospital. You saved me, Edward," I argued defiantly.

His expression darkened. "If it wasn't for me, you wouldn't have been in that hospital in the first place," he snapped.

"No," I agreed, "I would have been six feet under instead." He blanched at the thought and immediately, I knew that he still loved me; he was just scared.

"James wouldn't have been interested in you if I had left you alone," he reminded me.

I knew how to respond to that, exactly the same way I had back in Phoenix. "If it wasn't James, it would have been Tyler's van or those men in Port Angeles or some other accident that I managed to attract," I said, more calmly than I felt on the inside.

Edward swallowed. "I'm putting your life at risk every moment I spend with you," he said, attempting to justify his actions.

I was getting frustrated with him. He was so stubborn, and he thwarted my responses, always coming back to the fact that he was a vampire and I was a human. "My life is forfeit without you," I yelled angrily.

He paled slightly, but didn't back down. "You don't know what you're talking about," he whispered.

"When I realised that I loved you, Edward, I also realised that I couldn't live without you, no matter how much you refuse to believe that it will always be true," I begged, managing to reign in my anger.

Edward shook his head, backing away deeper into the trees. "I-I have to go," he mumbled, turning to walk off.

"No, wait!" I called, panicked, "You can't just leave me. I love you, Edward."

He didn't turn around to face me and his next words were barely loud enough for me to hear them, but hear them I did. "You could never love me as much as I love you," he said distraughtly.

I froze, too in shock to reply straight away. He thought I didn't love him like he does me? He told me once that vampires felt things more strongly than humans, was that why he believed this, because I was human?

"Is this because I'm human?" I finally asked once I found my voice. He nodded curtly. "That's ridiculous, Edward," I exclaimed, "I told you I love you more than anything. Isn't that enough?"

"It's not the same, Bella," he sighed, shaking his head.

My fists tightened at my sides and I longed to hit something so much that I was surprised at myself. "For God's sake, Edward," I burst out furiously.

Edward spun to face me, startled by my language. "What?" He questioned.

"You're so damned stubborn," I continued ranting, my arms waving frantically "What can I do to make you see how much I love you? Just because I'm human doesn't mean I can't love as strongly as you. Isn't that what makes us human? Love, Edward."

"I don't understand what you mean," he said, confused. He walked a step closer to me, as if drawn instinctively, but stopped himself from moving again.

"What I mean, Edward," I began impatiently, "Is that is what makes humanity so great, the one truly good thing about it is the ability to love purely and deeply. I love you, Edward, more than anything." Unbidden by me, the tears began to stream down my face, drenching my cheeks and forming damp patches on my top.

I stared at the vampire frozen in front of me, beseeching him to understand. I felt my eyes pleading with him as he debated with himself, but he never removed his gaze from me.

A sob escaped my mouth and suddenly he was in front of me, his arms encasing my body and hugging me close to him. "I could never bear to hurt you, Bella," I heard him whisper into my hair.

"Then why would you try to leave me?" I asked. "Don't you know that that would destroy me?"

"I thought I was doing what was best," he said, agonised, "I guess Alice was right."

I laughed a brief, hoarse sound. "Alice is always right," I mumbled into his wet shirt before releasing another sob as the emotions of the last few minutes finally caught up to me.

"I'm so sorry, Bella," Edward murmured over and over. He was rocking me gently, the movement soothing. "I need you to listen. I love you, Bella, but this is so dangerous," he started, "I have to leave to keep you safe."

"No!" I interrupted him, pulling away enough to stare at him in horror. I though he understood! He met my glare, but I could see the intense pain he was harbouring; I knew he didn't want to leave me and I just had to convince him that it was best to stay. "I am only safe with you, Edward. You're the one who catches me all the thousands of times I fall. One of these times, I might manage to kill myself if you weren't there to save me."

Edward winced, his brow furrowing as he looked down on me. "Please, Bella let me go," he murmured quietly.

"I will never let you go," I lashed determinedly, tightening my useless grip on his shirt. "I told you, I can't live without you, and I know you can't live without me either."

He paused and tilted his head. "How would you know?"

"I know your kind mate for life," I stated, "And Alice explained to me how different you were before you found me. She said you're actually alive now. If you feel the same way I do, or more, you wouldn't be able to go on without me."

"I do feel the same, Bella," he assured, "You're right, I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have you by my side." He lifted his hand to lightly stroke my hair, and I rested my head on his shoulder.

We stayed that way, enjoying the embrace, but I had to know. "Does this mean you'll stay?" I asked hesitantly.

He didn't answer me and nervousness compelled me to continue speaking. "Because, I know Alice wouldn't be happy about leaving me either and I bet that Carlisle and Esme are really upset. Jasper won't be happy because Alice isn't and I know Rosalie doesn't want to leave, even if she doesn't like me," I rambled.

Thankfully, he pressed two fingers to my lips softly, effectively silencing my anxious babbling. "Shh, Bella," he soothed. He sighed. "I don't think I have much of a choice, and I can't bring myself to regret staying with you."

My heart sped up and I relaxed. He was going to stay. I couldn't help the relieved smile that lit up my face and he chuckled. I sighed contentedly and snuggled deeper into the material covering his shoulder.

He hummed my lullaby faintly as his fingers tenderly traced patterns on my back to comfort me. "We should get you back to the house," Edward breathed quietly.

I nodded minutely and he lifted me into his arms. The feel of his cold, hard skin against mine calmed me and my eyes began to droop. I didn't realise how late it was now and the stress and highly strung emotions were taking their toll and exhausting me.

Charlie wasn't home yet and Edward waltzed into the house and took me directly to my room. He placed me gently on the bed and lay next to me, resuming his soothing actions as he stroked my hair back from my face. "You need to sleep, Bella," he murmured, staring at me with his bright, topaz eyes.

I shook my head frantically, afraid that if I closed my eyes he would try to disappear again.

Edward guessed what I was thinking and hastily reassured me. "I'm not going anywhere," he promised. "You look so tired," he traced the dark circles under my eyes. I knew it was because I struggled to sleep while knowing there was something going on with Edward, but refused to say so.

I moved closer to his cool body, tucking my head under his chin. He moved his head to cup my cheek and stroked it carefully with the pad of his thumb. "I love you, Bella," he whispered, placing a light kiss on my forehead. I closed my eyes, revelling in the sensation.

"I love you too," I responded, pouring all of my love into those four words.

His finger hooked beneath my chin and pulled my mouth up to meet his as he planted a tender kiss on my lips. I breathed his scent in happily, opening my eyes to stare up at him. "Promise me you won't ever take my love for granted just because I'm human," I pleaded, "And never underestimate it."

He placed his hand on my neck and gazed at me seriously. "I have never taken your love for granted," he breathed fervently. "But I promise never to underestimate your love again. I'm sorry that I ever did, Bella."

"Thank you," I sighed, my eyes falling shut once more.

I heard Edward's breathy laugh as he bent to press his lips to mine briefly. "Sleep, my Bella," he cooed, "I'll be here when you wake up."

My lullaby carried me as I gave myself over to sleep, unable to resist my body's need any longer.

(EPOV)

I held Bella tightly in my arms as she slept, convinced that I could never let her go again. I couldn't believe I was so foolish as to try and leave her, abandon everything in my life that was worth living for. My love for her was strong and I couldn't deny the selfish side of me that craved her warmth pressed around me.

She was so determined to hold onto me, refusing to let me go and give up the argument like I was begging her to do. For once, I was very thankful for her stubborn side; it was a trait I found endearing, but often frustrating.

I loved her so much. I didn't want to let her go, but I thought it was what was right, that I shouldn't be taking her life from her. But I understand now, that she loves me as much as I love her and my leaving would only bring her the same heartache I knew it brought me.

It was an evil thing to bring that hurt to my Bella, and I had refused to ever hurt her again. Now that I decided I was going to stay, I doubted that I would ever be able to leave at all, and I was glad. Nothing in the world would make me want to leave her side.

She was safe in my arms and I wouldn't have to force her away. The relief this brought was exquisite. If only I could trust myself to be with her, to not want to kill her all the time.

Perhaps, with time, I would be able to resist it better. Even now, thought her scent permeated everywhere, the burn in my throat was subdued; the thought of killing her was painful enough that the monster shied away from the torment.

I looked down into her peaceful face. She was so beautiful, especially when she was all fired up with her kitten rage and trying to fight against me. I thought about her words. Her argument had left me speechless; my mind couldn't find a response to what she said.

She told me it was love that made us human. Us, she said. She meant to include me into that. I believed that vampires were soulless creatures and that only creatures with souls could love. But I loved Bella. Did that mean I had a soul also? And my love for her, did that give me humanity?

It was a logical point and I could start to believe that I did have a soul. Certainly, I knew that my love for her and my family gave me my last shreds of the humanity I thought I lost with the change.

Maybe she was right. It made sense her argument, though how those few words could suddenly have me questioning everything I thought I knew about my life, I had no idea. She was one of a kind. Perhaps, it was okay to trust that I was as human as I could be because of my love.

Perhaps...but I was interrupted before I could compete that thought.

Edward Anthony Cullen!! You get your sorry ass down here this instant, or I'm coming up there to drag you out!

Alice's thoughts screeched inside my head and I winced with their intensity. I knew better than to test her for she would have no reservations of physically dragging me out. I was glad that Charlie wasn't home yet, so he wouldn't have to witness that.

Carefully, I slid myself out from under Bella. She stirred as I moved and whimpered in her sleep. I froze as her tiny hands clenched at my shirt, trying to pull me closer. "It's okay, Bella," I murmured to her, "I just have to go and talk to Alice."

She peered up at me, still half asleep, and I saw the fear in her eyes. A few tears ran out and trailed down her soft cheeks. My heart broke looking at her. "Oh, Bella, I'm so sorry," I mumbled regretfully.

I leaned down to kiss her forehead and lovingly wiped away her tears. "I promise, I'll be back shortly," I whispered in her ear as she drifted back to sleep.

Swiftly and silently, I leapt out of her window and landed nimbly on in front of her house. Alice was waiting impatiently for me, foot tapping irritatingly. I raised an eyebrow at her as I waited to hear what she had to say.

Finally, she sighed and stood still. "You are an idiot, Edward," she stated.

I nodded in agreement. "I know that, Alice. It was a stupid thing to do and I understand that now," I told her.

She eyed me severely for a moment before nodding. "She really gave you a talking to, huh?" She smiled lightly. That's my Bella.

"Yeah, she did," I chuckled shortly. I looked back at her seriously. "So, did you just come here to brand my hide?"

Alice shrugged, someone has to do it. "Besides telling you that you're an idiot, which you seem to have realised, I thought I'd let you know the family is moving back. I saw you decision to stay and since you are, there's no point in anyone else moving."

I smiled at her. "Thanks, Alice," I said genuinely.

Why are you thanking me for? It's not like you listened to me, she thought. Aloud, she said, "Do you have any idea what it would have done is you had left?"

She didn't wait for me to answer before she was showing me the visions she had had thanks to my recklessness. I saw Bella lying catatonic on her bed for days on end, I saw her as practically a zombie as she worked robotically through a set routine every day, lifelessly wandering around with no interest in anything. It was painful to see her like that and I flinched from the image.

Alice quickly moved onto the next one. It was of me, lying on my bed much as Bella had done, unmoving and staring blankly at the wall. Sometimes, I appeared with a photo of Bella clasped in my hand as I memorised every detail. Eventually, I would find it too much and I would have left them, tearing the family further apart.

Jasper wouldn't be able to cope with the emotions and he and Alice would have moved away. Rosalie wouldn't have been able to cope with the guilt of trying to drive away the one thing that was keeping our family together and she and Emmett would further separate our clan.

I gulped as the scenes reverberated in my mind. Would I really have destroyed everything with one stupid decision? I was so selfish. I hadn't even considered how much damage this would do to everyone else, I had only been thinking that it was best for Bella, when really it wasn't it was only my fears that had driven me.

You see now? She asked quietly. I nodded mutely. "Don't do that to us again," she scolded.

"I won't," I promised. I meant it as much as I meant it when I said it to Bella; I wasn't going to try and leave again.

"I think you should know that Rose is furious," she added, "She's happy that we don't have to move, but she's annoyed that we had to change plan because, and I quote 'some stupid human got in the way'."

I growled under my breath. "I'll deal with Rosalie," I grumbled.

"How's Bella?" Alice asked worriedly.

"She's fine," I sighed, "Tired, she's sleeping now, I think." I rubbed at my brow with one hand and frowned in thought. "She's worried that I'll leave," I admitted.

Alice nodded understandingly. "I'm not surprised after you pulled a stunt like that," she glared at me again.

I'm sure I looked repentant, as she decided to let up on me. "I'll be seeing her tomorrow, whether you agree to it or not. I need to spend some time with my best friend to catch up," she insisted.

I grimaced as I remembered that I had taken away her friend with my selfishness. "Of course, Alice," I smirked slightly, "I wouldn't expect anything less." I cast a longing glance back up to Bella's bedroom window that Alice was not oblivious to.

"Go back to her," she smiled cheekily.

I nodded and turned to jump back to the window, but before I did, I looked back over my shoulder. "Thank you, Alice," I said gratefully before running up and sneaking through Bella's window back into her room.

Quietly, I closed the window behind me, preparing to return to Bella. I paused when I faced her, ashamed when I registered the fresh tear tracks and the tight foetal position she had adopted.

"Bella," I murmured sorrowfully as I approached her side. She looked up at me, relief and hope shining through. For all her strength in the forest, I could see that my leaving would haunt her as her worst fear. "I'm sorry, Bella," I apologised.

I gathered her into my arms as soon as I lay on the bed again, on my back so that I could cradle both arms around her slim body and hold her on my chest. She nuzzled into me, her head on my arm while her hand rested lightly on my chest.

She sniffled quietly and I rubbed her arm, hoping to offer some comfort. "I'm sorry," she mumbled.

I looked down in surprise. "What are sorry for?" I asked gently.

"I know you said you wouldn't be gone long, and that you'd be back, but," she stopped briefly and then continued, "I must have dozed after you left and when I woke and you weren't there, I thought-."

She didn't have to finish, I already knew what she was going to say. She thought I'd left. "You don't have to be sorry, Bella," I comforted her, "I'll earn your trust back."

I picked up some of her hair and began twirling it in my fingers, admiring the softness and the texture between my fingertips. Bella was slipping back towards sleep, but she roused herself enough to ask one final thing.

"Don't ever leave me," she pleaded.

I could never deny her anything, especially something that I wanted myself. I lowered my head to her level, capturing her gaze as I whispered intensely.

"Never," I swore.

She looked at me, her perceptive mind seeking any hint of weakness, but there was none. Bella smiled contentedly and closed her eyes. I smiled, feeling as though I had found my place, and closed my own eyes, allowing my senses to be flooded be her heat and the feel of her soft body in my arms where it belonged.

And I would never let her go again.


Author's Note: Hi!! Yes, I know, my disctractability levels are very high as I have taken the time to write this, but have yet to actually update any of my other existing stories, however, I can assure you that I have at least sent the second chapter for Gentle Touches to my beta and I am just waiting on that. Hopefully, I should have an update ready to send to her for Not Enough as well, so fingers crossed. For nw, Im goin to say that my one-shot Can't Take My Eyes Off You is going to stay that way so I can focus on my other stories (in theory that's how it will work anyway). Also, I have the beta'd version of The Innocence of Love ready to post if anyone is interested in reading that. It's a short but insightful look into how Edward interprets life before he met Bella and how his thinking changed when he allowed himself to believe that there could be love for him as well. If you do read it, please review me and tell me what you think about it.

Anyway, for this story. This was written for 'The End Is Only The Beginning' contest by IdreamofEddy. If you like this please check out the website and vote for your favourite story. Voting is between March 12th and March 17th, only for 18+ though. So please vote for me!!

Website is: www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/u/2245547/The_End_Is_Only_The_Beginning

R~E~V~I~E~W~P~L~E~A~S~E

animal8 xx