A/N Because nice people wanted Edward's POV. Thank you RichInLaughter and Coxie for the pre-read!


Mind-Reader

Quiet.

For once in my life I had peace and fucking quiet.

After seventeen years of constant chatter in my first life, I found it hard to decipher my thoughts and wishes from the verbal onslaught of those around me. My mother was always going on about whom she wanted me to marry—some society girl named Helen who always smelled like day old bread. My father was pushing me toward the university, hoping I would become the businessman that he was. And even my peers talked non-stop about the war, and how they planned to come back heroes from the service.

So before I knew it, I had decided I would go to war, I would be the hero, and goddamn it I would marry Helen—bathe her in rose petals every night so that I could stand to be around her—and protect her the same way I would my country.

All of those things would occur after I graduated from the university, of course.

Yet, in the end, none of what I wanted, or what I thought I wanted, mattered. I was dead and buried before I could enlist with the troops, and what should've been my death bed became the place of my rebirth.

Birth into vampirism.

I couldn't say that I immediately hated the idea when my new father—Carlisle—told me what I had become. If anything, I was enamored with the possibilities: I could go to war, I couldn't die, and I would most definitely be the champion and distinguished gentleman I had—mostly, sort of, I think—wanted to be.

Carlisle had gently told me that it wasn't a possibility, that there were rules and secrets that had to be kept. I scoffed at his words, deciding I would still fulfill those dreams that were mostly, sort of, I think, mine.

This foolish ideology kept me company and somewhat grounded as I worked to control my new vampiric urges. While I worked to resist the smell of humans passing the secluded cabin Carlisle had brought me to. While I worked on applying just the right amount of pressure to keep eggs from being shattered and doors intact. While I worked diligently to prolong my masturbatory sessions.

I didn't care that I could get another erection within a minute. I wanted the feeling of being fully sated to last more than the few seconds it took me to bring myself to orgasm.

My father didn't further discourage my plight. He remained as patient as ever, telling me I would understand the situation better when I passed my newborn stage. Naturally, he was right, but not in the way that either of us expected.

My first trip to the city—amongst humans—proved that I would definitely not be going to the war. Hell, I didn't even want to leave our cabin again when I discovered that I could hear them. Every man, woman, child… every last fucking one of them I heard loud and clear. And God help me, they were shouting at me.

In my head!

I freaked right the fuck out and quickly withdrew into myself as Carlisle led me away from the city and moved us to a more rural environment. The mindreading was yet another aspect of my new life that I had to work on controlling, and I was tired of working on things.

So damn tired.

The next few years I spent travelling, killing, and brooding as Carlisle acquired new family members. More voices and personalities I had to work to ignore.

Reprieve came years later in the form of Alice and Jasper. I didn't mind reading Alice's thoughts for it reminded me of looking through a viewfinder—I couldn't wait to see what was next. She also took some of the workload off of me.

Now, she could look to see if our secret had been compromised. She could calm Rosalie down when her moods swung out of control. She could cheer me up when I needed a break from the banality that was my existence.

And Jasper…He was the brother I never knew I wanted. Besides having someone that understood the setbacks of my capabilities, his own gift of controlling emotions was a godsend. Whenever the task—of blocking thoughts and making it through another endless day—became too much to deal with, Jasper would give me a dose of his own version of heroin.

Back in the 1960's, when free love (sex) and world peace (drugs) were at the forefront of everyone's minds, Jasper would befriend the overindulgent humans who partook in these vices. Once they were as high as a kite, he would absorb the numbing effect their emotions provided, pretending that it was he who was 'love stoned,' as he called it.

When he felt that I was at my wits' end, he would assault me with all of those remembered euphoric feelings, helping me to escape it all for a just a little while.

As the time passed, I found his sessions weren't enough to keep me from being the asexual-gloomy-asshat that Rosalie—my sister and first intended mate—proclaimed me to be, and I was ready to end it all. I thought several times of asking my father to end my half-life, to burn me and spread my ashes far and wide. The idea became more than a passing thought, it became my obsession.

I really just wanted to fucking die.

At first, it was difficult trying to come up with a way to ask him without having Alice find out. But just as Alice knew how to thwart my gift, I found a way to block hers. I thought of everything and nothing, never settling on a decision in order to keep her from seeing anything.

When I was finally ready to ask Carlisle to do it, she arrived.

She smelt just like the roses I wanted to bathe Helen in, and it was wonderful for the first 1.6 seconds that I was able to shamelessly breathe her in. The next minutes, however, were agonizing. Her flowery scent morphed into the equivalent of smelling a juicy steak, and I wanted to devour her. That's when I knew that Carlisle had to kill me soon.

She was creating more work for me and I hated her for it.

I could no longer think clearly since my thoughts swirled around her, and I was failing miserably at keeping Alice from seeing my plan. So, I decided right then that I would go to Alaska and think of a new way to ask Carlisle to read me my last rites. Alice had seen my original decision, when the girl's scent had caught me off-guard, and I had no other choice but to start scheming from scratch.

Once I was able to concoct a plan without any intervention, I went back to Forks and waited for a good time to approach Carlisle. I'd force him into making a decision if I had to. I'd been playing with his guilt for years, letting him know in subtle ways that I hated the life he had given me. I had no doubt that he would go along with whatever I asked as long as I was convincing enough.

I followed my normal routine of classes, sulking, and hunting. Keeping my plans and anxiety deeply buried from the Emotive and Diviner until I had a chance to talk to my father. Worried about my control, I held my breath when I came in contact with her again. Knowing that leaving a murder to cover-up with my request was unreasonable. While I held my breath for what seemed like the millionth time, I noticed it.

She was silent.

I don't mean that she was silent in the way that she didn't say anything, because she did. Her eyes would flutter and these incoherent mumblings would leave her pretty pink lips. My vampire hearing easily caught these sounds, and I introduced myself, wanting to make sure I wasn't imagining things. Thankfully, I wasn't delusional. Her mind was completely silent.

Breathing in slowly, I tested the air around me, seeing if her scent would make her mutism worth the effort I was considering pouring into her. My throat burned, but nothing like that first day. The rose scent overpowered the eat-me-now smell…

Suddenly, death didn't look like my only option.

I wanted to protect this girl. Shield her weak body and protect this goldmine I had discovered.

Gold-mind.

And that's what I did. I spent the next year protecting Bella's—her name—frail body that smelled like my Helen's would have if I ever had a chance to run that bath. And I protected her mind that was my healing balm, not letting her think too hard or make too many decisions because…I didn't want her to break the silence. And I protected her virtue, because she was hornier than the male population of Forks, and I couldn't risk accidentally killing her.

I couldn't risk reading her thoughts when we both reached our peaks. I couldn't risk her finding out that I hadn't yet mastered that coming in less than five seconds thing. No, I could do nothing to risk the goldmine.

Gold-mind.

Every day was wonderful. Except for that time the nomadic guy tried to steal, and then kill my goldmine. I didn't have to do much in that battle because Jasper and Alice took care of James, but I did feel bad that gold…I mean, Bella had to go through that at all. Although, I got over it rather quickly, chalking it up to her human stupidity and the fact that Alice should have seen it coming.

The hardest part about that day was keeping my bloodlust in check while Bella writhed in pain from James's vicious bite.

"You have to decide," Carlisle said. "Change her, or suck out the venom."

And I was annoyed at all the work gold…Bella, was creating for me because she wasn't supposed to be work. She was supposed to be quiet, and obedient, and mine.

"No way am I changing her. It will break her mind, her silence," I thought, but instead said. "I won't let her live like this."

I immediately knew that I'd made the right decision.

As her succulent blood coated my throat, I could hear her. Bella's lips weren't moving, but her thoughts were in my head! She was begging me to change her, telling me she loved me…

I sucked harder to get the venom out.

Carlisle confused this with a loss of control, and tried to will me away from her. But I didn't move until her silence had fully returned.

Soon enough, things went back to normal, and I took care of my human with the beautiful silent mind because I loved it. And my days continued to be work-free because everyone thought I deserved a break after a hundred years of solitude.

Life for the undead was good.

There were times when Bella would make me work… Work to keep Rosalie happy because she hated having her around. Work to keep Jasper from attacking her because the lure of her blood was tempting, and work to keep myself from saying 'I love you, too,' because as love goes, I didn't really love her.

So, I told her she would never understand what it was to love as a vampire did, and she took that to mean that I loved her back. Not bothering to correct her because it wasn't a complete lie, and I didn't feel like making the effort, I went with it. Because I did love being her hero, I did love that she smelled like Helen's roses, I did love protecting her the way I wanted to protect my country.

Well, I did mostly, sort of, I think…

When she became more work than I thought necessary, I would say there was a hunting trip we'd planned and avoid her. Or sometimes, I would decide to date Angela Weber so that Alice's visions of Angela and I together could entertain me. Her visions would remind me that if Bella ever became too much, there were still other options.

Angela's mental voice was quiet and usually in line with my own thoughts, so it wouldn't be horrible. Her looks were comparable to Bella's, but her breasts were fuller and she walked with confidence—attributes I admired. As always, I would push the thoughts away for that very reason. Angela was confident, and as sexy as it could be, I knew it could lead to her being bossy or demanding and I didn't want that. One Rosalie in the house was enough!

As I stood at Bella's side, watching her blush as Alice presented a slew of birthday presents to her, I couldn't help but smile. After a century of managing my control, and being forced by my talent to be alone, things had finally changed. I was finally going to get the break that I needed.

However, the vibe in the room felt off.

I dove outside of Bella's quiet fortress just long enough to feel a staggering sense of pure hatred before it swiftly vanished. Jasper didn't hide it fast enough though, and I saw that his pitch black eyes were trained on my goldmine.

Golden and Mine.

There was no way in hell I was going to let him take her from me. I'd worked too hard to get to this moment in time. I wasn't stupid; I knew he hated her, that he couldn't stand her selfishness. But I was selfish too, because I didn't care how she made anyone else feel.

She made me feel good.

Maybe the real Edward Masen—who wasn't really sure what he wanted—would've hesitated, but Edward Cullen…Edward Cullen would fight. He would fight to protect this girl with everything within him because she was Helen's roses, she was marriage, and she was another trip to another university.

More importantly, she was my mute, and I, her hero. So, as I forcefully pushed her away, and dropped to a low crouch in front of her bleeding body, I prepared to fight my favorite brother because I loved Bella.

Mostly, sort of, I think.