Foreword: This is my first attempt at creative writing, so please review to tell me what you think. All criticism is welcome.
The current plan is to do 5 chapters each of Bella PoV and Edward PoV, before combining to finish the story in however many more it takes.

As always, all recognizable characters are property of Stephanie Meyer, as are a few select lines of dialogue. Hope you enjoy it!

Book One - Bella

Chapter 1 – The End

My scream reverberated off the mirrored walls with an intensity that I didn't realize I was capable of. It was alien to me, as if I was merely an onlooker, completely detached from the terror that permeated my mind. But even the sudden shock of my own harrowing cry couldn't mask the wave of pain that surged up my leg.

"Would you like to rethink your last request?" he asked mockingly, in his deceptively smooth voice. I felt his cold fingers wrap around the soft lump that should have been my tibia, and I couldn't help but cry out in pain. "Wouldn't you rather have Edward try to find me?"

"No!" I whimpered. "No, Edward, don't―"I turned to face him. James' dark eyes were appraising me, a mixture of sadistic amusement and barely-controlled frenzy smouldering within the crimson orbs. I could see the conflict inside him, the battle between savouring his prey and the uncontrollable bloodlust brought on by his thirst.

I closed my eyes firmly. Please, end it quickly, I thought to myself. I tried to put my mind elsewhere, to focus on the people I was protecting by bringing myself to this place, the ballet studio that was to be my crypt. I thought of my loving, albeit frequently unstable, mother; it had been my job to protect her, usually from herself, but I wasn't about to make an exception for murderous vampires. I meant what I had told James; I was glad that Renėe didn't have to be part of this, that she was nearly two thousand miles away, safely away from harm.

I thought of Charlie, my stoic father, who had been always uncomfortable expressing his love; he and I both knew he never really needed to. I was fairly sure that a gradual death by malnutrition in my absence was favourable to being torn apart by the hunter crouched menacingly above me. Then again, his version of cooking was pretty deadly...

I thought of the Cullens, my family in every sense of the word, each one willing to give their lives in order to protect mine, despite my clear objections to such devotion. Lying here, bracing myself for death, I realized that I felt the exact same way about them. Most importantly, I thought about...

I was instantly and violently ripped from my pleasant sanctuary by the searing pain in my arm. My eyes flew open to see James' cruel eyes staring back at me, his razor sharp teeth buried in the flesh of my forearm. Evidently, he had allowed the thirst to overtake his sadistic sense of pride. I felt my eyes begin to lose focus; a blanket of shadow was being pulled over my body. I tried feebly to remind myself that this was worth it, and that my loved ones were safe, but it became increasingly difficult as the agonizing sensation worked its way up my arm.

"Edward," I whispered to myself, "please forgive me. I love you."

As if answering the last words I would ever speak, there was a deafening crash, like the sound of two pickup trucks colliding at top speed. It might have hurt my ears if I hadn't already been saturated with as much pain as my body could understand. Some part of my brain registered the sudden absence of the sharp pain in my wrist, but it seemed insignificant in comparison to the torturous heat building in the rest of my arm.

I forced my eyes to open, but it was difficult to see in the dark haze that had settled over my senses. I couldn't even feel the floor beneath me, as if I were floating...

Wait, was I floating?

I narrowed my eyes in an attempt to make sense of my surroundings. My head lolled raggedly behind me, giving me an upside-down perspective of what appeared to be the ballet studio. I realized that I was being carried.

"Bella, can you hear me? Bella?!" The voice cut through the haze like a lightning bolt. It was the only voice I ever wanted to hear. I gathered enough strength to lift my head, to see the only face I ever wanted to see.

Even through the fading light of my consciousness, his perfect features were as clear to me as they had ever been before. I let a meagre smile grow across my lips. Finally, I thought to myself, it's over. I can be with my angel where he belongs. Now if only this pain would be over with, I could... The pain. It was an unsubtle reminder of where I was; an anchor keeping me away from Heaven, from Edward.

"Bella, please, please say something," Edward begged, "let me know I wasn't too late."

He set me down gently on cold tiles, not the wooden panelling of the dance floor. I thought it must be the adjoining washroom.

"Ow." I said weakly, with all the effort I could muster.

"Stay here, Bella," he whispered to me, "He won't hurt you anymore. I won't let him." His eyes burned with anguish and fury as he gazed into mine. "You'll be safe here, I promise. I'll make you safe." His very presence was all the promise I needed. There were a million things I wanted to say to him, that I needed to tell him, not the least of which was Sorry, but my broken body just wouldn't cooperate. I could only hope that he could read the apology in my eyes.

It was clear that it took every ounce of his willpower to push open the door and leave me, if only for a moment, in order to fulfill his promise. The instant he left my sight, I was acutely aware of the burning agony that had been quietly spreading to my shoulder and chest, silenced momentarily by the tranquility of his face. The fire seemed to be making up for lost time, doubling in intensity, demanding my attention.

The noise that ensued from the adjacent dance floor was a flurry of crashes and roars, as if a second bull had entered the china shop looking for a fight. The sounds were far too rapid to make any sense of, and even through the crack at the bottom of the washroom door, I could only make out blurs of feet and piles of broken mirror.

The pain was relentless. It made my teeth clench, my fists tighten, and my entire body contort, further compounding the torture of my undoubtedly broken leg. I lay in the darkness, writhing in agony, trying desperately to focus on what was happening outside.

Abruptly, the sound of the melee stopped, signalled by a deep thud from the other room. I forced myself to turn my head, to look through the narrow opening at the base of the door. What I saw made my breath, my heart, my entire being freeze in an instant. There were no words to describe this kind of emptiness.

His amber eyes stared back at me from the floor of the studio, his expression vacant. His body lay unmoving, almost peaceful if not for the fact that his neck was wrenched at a terrifying angle.

No words to describe this.

I wanted to do everything and nothing at once, to melt away into the cold floor, which seemed warm compared to my frozen remains. The fiery pain that had moments ago threatened to consume me now seemed insignificant. My senses numbed into nothingness, and my consciousness drifted aimlessly.

I had no sense of how much time had passed. Hours, days, years, it didn't matter anymore. I was adrift in my very own tailor-made purgatory, only marginally aware of the voices emanating from the other room, yet I heard them with startling clarity.

"God damn, what in the hell happened here?" It was a deep tenor, an older man. "What kind of vandals go around trashing ballet studios?" He asked out loud.

"Oh man, this'll cost a fortune to fix. How did they tear up the floorboards so badly?" A young man's voice replied, high pitched, still an adolescent, "Think we'll get in trouble for this?"

"Hell, I'm not the night watchman, I just clean the place," answered the first, with clear indifference in his tone. "I'm gonna go see if anything else is busted up or missing. You'd better call the cops, and then the ballet mistress." He snickered audibly at the latter.

Footsteps echoed faintly nearby, but I didn't bother to call out for help. If the inferno that had now engulfed my entire body wasn't enough to overcome my apathy, then surely nothing would. I lay still, utterly disinterested in the sound of his approach.

The door swung open, followed by the flick of a light switch, flooding the washroom with fluorescent light. There was a loud gasp, and a string of profanity that might have shocked me on any other day.

"Alex, you got the cops on the line? You tell them we need an ambulance, kid. Right goddamn now!" he shouted gruffly, clearly panicked. My outwards appearance must have matched how wretched I felt inside. I couldn't really be bothered to summon any enthusiasm for a potential rescue, anyway.

In another fit of lethargy, I squeezed my eyelids shut, hoping against hope that I would die before the paramedics got to me. Is that really too much to ask, for the rest of me to disappear, along with my heart?