How could I forgive myself for what I did? I lost everything. I let everything slip through my fingers; her warmth, her unconditional love… Just…her. I missed Bella - that was an understatement. I felt dead without her. My heart might be dead no matter what, but with Bella, it was like it was almost beating again. She made me feel more alive than I had ever felt. I probably felt more alive with her than when I actually was alive.
Everyone was worrying about me, but I'd lost my sanity. I didn't care anymore. It had been almost a year since I'd last seen her beautiful face, heard her lively heart beating, felt her warmth against my icy skin…
Edward… Alice sighed.
I pushed her thoughts away, beating them with so much force that she was basically gone…for the moment. Once I let my guard down, and started letting my mind wander, she'd get back in.
These days since I left Bella, I didn't want to think. Thinking meant letting the gruesome hole in my chest grow. Whenever a thought or memory of Bella came to me, the hole would flare up, tearing at my chest with such excruciating pain that the only way for it to be fixed was to just lay, numb and unmoving.
That's what I have been doing for the past months; laying on the floor, wallowing in self-pity.
I could remember the day I broke her heart with perfect clarity. Her face was just…. I didn't even what to think of it. Her eyes were broken, as if the swirling chocolate had just stopped - hardened. It was as if she was trying - unsuccessfully - to hide the pain. I knew it hurt her. It hurt me, too. I could even remember her heartbreaking call for my name as I ran from her.
"Edward!" she had called.
I could feel the tightening in my throat, the sick feeling that vampires got when they wanted to cry. I didn't though of course. I couldn't. That just proved even more of how much of a monster I was.
"Edward, Edward!" She continued calling me, and I could hear the sound of her clumsy feet moving closer - even though she was miles behind me. She was trying to follow me. I had stopped, my eyes wide as I imagined her getting lost in the woods and a vampire finding her. I turned slightly, staring at the unmoving green behind me, wishing I could just be a normal man so I didn't have to leave her.
I contemplated going back to her, and then leaving once I got her back home. However, I was far too selfish. I couldn't put myself back through saying goodbye again. I just didn't have the strength for that. I could hear her cries, her tortured sobs, and eventually, I fell to my knees, miles from her. I lay in the grass, staring at the strange looking moon hovering in the sky above. I could make every pattern the stars made look like Bella.
I savored it.
EDWARD!!! Alice's internal voice screamed before busting through my bedroom door that had been locked, but now hung off the hinges, slowly moving back and forth.
I scanned through her thoughts, watching the vision as it played out in my head…
Bella looks at herself in the mirror, poking at her bandage on her forehead. She looks like a zombie - like she has just given up on life. Her breaths are slow, too slow to be good. She walks out of the bathroom holding a laundry basket full of her and Charlie's dirty clothing. She walks to the top of the stairs. She isn't paying attention. She can't see her feet, as she always looks at her feet when going down the stairs with her klutziness, and messes her footing.
My eyes widened in horror as I continued watching.
Her foot falls through the air, and she goes down too. A cascade of clothing flies around her, making it looks unreal. Patches of white is all Bella sees as she tumbles down the steps. Her stitches on her forehead untie, and blood dribbles out. New bruises are added - bones are broken. The last step she crashes on sends her flying into the banister. Her neck slams against it. She is immobile, choking. Charlie isn't home - he's fishing. She dies.
"NO!!!" I screamed, growls erupting from within my chest. I grabbed Alice's tiny shoulders, shaking her slightly. "Alice, what do we do?! Did it happen?! Is it too late?!" I yelled in her face.
Her eyes went blank as she searched through the future, trying with difficulty to see.
"No!" she said with slight hope. "Edward, there's time! An hour!"
As soon as the words left her mouth, I was gone. I raced through the trees, heading North to Forks. Everything around me was a blur of green around me - like a watercolor painting. Nothing mattered. Charlie didn't, my family didn't, what I said didn't. All that mattered was me getting there on time to save her, to catch her before she fell like I always did.
"Are you sure you're okay, Bells?" Jacob asked for the millionth time.
I was tired of people asking if I was okay. Obviously I wasn't. Why make me have to dwell on that fact even more than was absolutely necessary?
I took a deep breath.
It wasn't Jacob's fault; he was just concerned.
Today we had been trying out the bikes. Since I flew off it, I got a cut on my head, needing stupid stitches. It was so embarrassing, having Jacob hold my hand as the doctors stitched me up. I told him to leave, but he wouldn't.
He was such a good friend, and I was treating him like dirt.
I smiled as best as I could. "Jake, go home. I'm fine - promise."
"Promise?" he checked, grinning to assure he was just trying to annoy me.
I rolled my eyes, a weak smile playing at my lips. It was hard to truly smile ever since he had left.
"See you tomorrow, Jake," I called as I walked up the walkway to Charlie's house.
I grabbed the key from under the rock, then unlocked the door. I felt the sadness grip the hole in my chest as soon as I entered. With Jake, it was numbed. However, once I was alone, it was back with a vengeance. And I was almost always alone. I hated it, but Jake needed a break from me sometime. I didn't want to suffocate him. Who knew how much he could take of my zombie-like behavior?
Once I was changed into a comfy pair of sweats, I cleaned the house. I needed anything to keep my mind off him. If my mind went there, then I'd be back on the floor, curled in a helpless ball of despair - just like when he left.
I winced as the hole in my chest burned with the thought of his words.
No! I wouldn't think them. I couldn't let myself. It wouldn't do me any good. I cleaned the living room, the kitchen, my room, and then the bathroom. I even got all of the laundry. I needed something to do, even though Charlie protested that I did too much. That was the point. I looked up at myself in the mirror, examining the bandage on my head from the bike accident, and my dead, tired face.
Everyone was right. I looked horrible. I sighed, grabbing the laundry basket and started towards the stairs to get to the laundry room to put the new load in. I let my mind go blank, hiding images of Edward from me, but they came anyway. There was nothing else to think about.
"Bella, I don't want you to come with me," he had said.
I shut my eyes as the words made my stomach drop. I felt myself fall, and I realized in horror that my stomach was actually dropping from the fall I was taking down the stairs. My eyes went wide as each part of my body smacked into the stairs. I shut my eyes - a reflex reaction. I crashed into one more thing, but it seemed too quick for the fall to be over already. What I was laying on was cold, but it was too cold to be the bottom of Charlie's stairs. It was smooth, smoother than a wooden floor.
"Bella?" a voice like melting honey whispered urgently.
Ah, I sighed. I guess I died. Wow, what a lame way to die.
I could just see my tombstone now: Isabella Swan, age 18. Died from falling down the stairs.
"Bella!" he said again, but in a much more anxiety filled voice. "No! No, please!"
I didn't want the angel voice to be sad. I wanted it to be happy. So, I let an unintelligible, "a…mm…" come out.
It was silent after my words - eh, sort of - came out.
"Please, Bella," he whispered in his intense voice. "Just…open your eyes."
I did what the angel said; I would always do what he wanted.
I peeked open my eyes, and then they opened widely the rest of the way on their own in shock.
Gorgeous, god-like Edward. He was here. He was standing in the middle of my stairs, holding me like I was a baby in his strong arms. I just stared at his beautiful face like an idiot, realizing my memories of him hadn't done him justice at all. I would never be able to manipulate such perfection.
"Bella," he sighed in total relief.
My brow furrowed.
"Thank God!" He peppered my face with kisses, and I was totally…confused. "You're alive," he exulted. "You're alive!"
I just stared at him as if he had three heads.
"Bella," he murmured. He was about to kiss me, I could tell, but I had to stop this.
"Edward," I said strongly.
He pulled back.
"I…don't understand. What are you doing here?"
His brow furrowed.
Suddenly we were in my room, him setting me gently onto my purple bed as if I was glass.
"Alice had a vision," he murmured suddenly from the rocking chair.
I turned to see him sitting there, staring intently at the floor. It felt strange and new to me the way he moved so swiftly. I couldn't allow myself to get used to it, though. It would just hurt me later.
"She saw you fall," he said in an unemotional drone. He clenched his fist, a growl being suppressed in his chest. "If I didn't come, your blood would have been splayed across the living room floor," he said through clenched teeth. He looked back up at me. "You would have died."
I was suddenly angry now. At him.
"Well don't feel guilty, Edward! I'm glad you came. I hope it wasn't too much of an inconvenience for you!" I stood from the bed, pissed off beyond repair. "You're not my night in shining armor anymore. I thought you were. But you're not. So just leave."
He shook his head, now suddenly in front of me.
I backed away.
"You don't understand, Bella. I came here because-"
"No!" I interrupted. "I know why you came here! It's because you felt guilty, and that it was your job to protect me." I held back the tears of anger that stung my eyes. Stupid tears. "It's not," I said through a tear-filled throat. "So just go. You're not putting me through this again." I pushed his cold chest. He didn't budge at all.
And then I burst out into tears, falling to the wooden floor. I cried at his feet. How appropriate that I would be crying at this God's feet. That was how it was supposed to be.
I felt his stone arms slide under me, picking me up and pulling me to his stone chest.
"Oh, Bella," he murmured into my hair. He took a deep breath of my scent. "I am most definitely going to Hell."
I continued crying. I was waiting for the heart break, the punch in the gut of his words. I wasn't sure if I could take it again.
"I'm such a stupid person," he continued, staring at me with an intensity that made me want to cry harder. "Bella, I love you - I have always loved you, and I probably will for the rest of my existence."
My eyebrows scrunched together.
"That makes no sense, Edward. You said you didn't want me anymore."
"I lied," he growled. "And you believed me so easily." He shook his head. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "Leaving was the stupidest thing I could have ever done." He kissed my forehead. My eyes shut, taking in the feel of his cool lips pressed against my warm skin. It was turning burning hot from his touch.
Wait, Bella. He broke your heart. Are you going to just let him come back in just because he realized he was stupid?
I pushed him away.
"No," I whispered.
He looked so hurt it made me almost change my mind.
"What?" he asked, confusion plastered all over your face.
"Do you think you can just walk back into my life, Edward?" I took a deep breath. "You broke my heart."
"I know, and I'm-"
"No, you don't know." I glared at him.
"So what does this mean?" he asked.
I looked at the floor. "It means I'm not going to forgive you that easily."
"Well I'm not going to give up; I have all the time in the world." He pulled my face to meet his gently. "I'll do anything, for the rest of my existence to win your heart back. I know it will take a long time, but I'm willing. I will never give up."
"Good," I breathed, the smell of him making my thoughts hazy. "Because I don't want you to."