A/N: The following one-shot is a complete work of fiction; all character names and personality traits have been modified from those created by, and copy to, Stephenie Meyer.
Some notes: the 1894 'birth' of cinema is in reference to the invention of Edison's Kinetoscope, this piece takes place in 1971, and Edward has gone rogue multiple times since the initial three-year period mentioned in canon and is thus extremely out-of-character. (Remember, I'm writing AU.)
Also (most importantly) this piece explicitly deals with a scene of non-consensual sex via rape. The victim (an original character) is objectified because the piece is in Edward's limited third-person point of view and he objectifies her. If you believe this will be, in any way, offensive or act as a trigger, I highly suggest that you not read any further. Comments, however, are appreciated.
This was beta'd by Project Team Beta and pre-read by chicklette and duskwatcher2153; the title is from a quote by Catherine Waldby: "Erotic pleasure arguably requires a kind of momentary annihilation or suspension of what normally counts as "identity," the conscious, masterful, self-identical self, lost in the "little death" of orgasm. These momentary suspensions, when linked together in the context of a particular relationship, work towards a more profound kind of ego destruction… Each lover is refigured by the other, made to bear the mark of the other upon the self…[and] such transformation involves the breaking down of resistance, of violence to an existing order of the ego."
It was only seven years his senior, but still, cinema intrigued him. The whirl of sixteen millimeter film as it unraveled and then wound back up; the warm buzz he felt folding himself into red velvet upholstered seats; the magic of celluloid, then sound, then color as images danced before his eyes. He always liked to wonder about what his life could have been if he wasn't immortal and seventeen – if he could simply (blissfully) age and grow and die. But such behavior was always stalled with a propensity to dwell in the self-deprecating, morose moods he was stuck within.
He seemed to resent them, the un-chosen family with which he sometimes did not want to feel so aligned. Perhaps unfairly or even a bit pretentiously, but, without failure, accompanied by a deep-seated vindictiveness in which he had failed to find fault. They had each other and he had himself. He hated himself as he was. He hated the feel, hated the smell, hated the way his body had yet to fail (even when he had always desperately hoped it would – or at least could). He was at a point in his existence where the triviality and regret of human life was quite simply astounding. Only a very slim portion of the genus had any idea of their very imminent demise; the rest simply ignored this unwelcome fact, believing that the invariable existence called time would simply fix everything by constantly ticking forward.
It was a very disconcerting fact to him that they would choose to waste the short years they were allowed life on Earth. How could they hold grudges, keep wishes secret, bite tongues, and play nice when they only had one chance to get things right? It was baffling, confusing, frustrating, and yet completely and utterly fascinating. Edward's insistence on all but bathing in their strange customs and manipulative behavior had driven their tiny immortal coven apart at the seams. Except the others called it an obsession, a crippling weakness, a fruitless desire for mortality – all in whispered words he could still hear without them even having to speak out loud.
Desperate pleas from the ever-maternal Esme went unheeded (both spoken and not), while patriarch Carlisle – whose seed had made three-fourths of them on purpose – could only stand back and let him seethe in self-righteous anger. Rosalie was like him in selfish behavior, but her vanity had found purchase in ethereal beauty where his moral compass was left to grasp and drown; she would not follow him towards dead end supplication for a second chance at life. She had accepted her lot, enacted her revenge, and settled with one who knew that the best chance at survival was simply going along for the ride. Brother Emmett – the backwoods jovial being from Appalachia – was the only member to clap him on the back and wink, knowing (even without an extra supernatural gift) that he would be unable to fight his instinctual urge. That one day he would show up – again, perhaps also in shameful understanding of his true vampiric nature in the face of Carlisle's effortless patience and leanings towards all things good and moral – and have to accept what he was and to whom he belonged.
But Emmett's general ambiance and undeserved smiles were not enough to keep Edward away. That persistent drive to prove he could stay away (that he could even enjoy emotional self-flagellation) was thanks to the silent disappointment he could read in Alice's thoughts, how a piling body count rose higher and higher the more resolute his decision became. Jasper's wince of emotional pain and virtual disgust was merely icing on top of a very large, very unpleasant cake. He should have been thankful that Alice changed no part of her routine and spoke no word of his leaving. He knew she knew by the very fact that he had made a decision days prior to the hunting trip he would request to take alone, a hunting trip that would only fulfill its promise hundreds of miles away from the wooden structure he called "home" only because of the bodies held within.
Alice knew and did not tell any of them. He did not say goodbye, did not pack away or box up; he simply left the house and kept running until he knew no one would follow. He now felt some modicum of distaste on a daily basis, b, b,ut still could not force himself to return (wherever that was five years after he had so cowardly left in the first place). It was beyond a simple want to go back and resume the practices of his family (practices which ironically gave him much greater access into the human lives for which he had so desperately run away). It was even removed from the simple act of deciding to stop his insane and zealous quest towards metaphysical redemption. It was now a question of whether any of them could even accept him back, could ever forgive his body's use of human blood, could begin to understand that maybe he would never get over a desire that was not even fulfilled when he immersed himself completely.
Could each one of them do that – could they see his face and immediately think 'Edward' as if they had needed him home and were unwilling to survive another day without him?
He never thought so, couldn't even imagine such a reunion. And so he stayed outside the three family pairs and wished, above all, that if he put himself through such punishment he would prove his worthiness and then, one day, would he wake up on the other side of death instead of stuck frozen in the middle.
Edward did not know why he put himself through these late-night dates with single females, enclosing himself in the dark while their heart rates slowed to a steady thump of blood as it swished and chugged through their veins. They were not aware anything abnormal was happening while they frantically clutched the frayed arm rests and projected their own desires up on screen. This was their "me" time, the few solitary hours they were allowed outside of the home they were supposed to want to keep.
He had already seen the movie all fifteen people currently occupying the same theater as him were watching. Surprisingly, only two had no prior experience with the Bram Stoker classic playing out on-screen. Part of Edward's concentration was thus reserved for one of the individuals in question, a young lady who sat so engrossed in Béla Lugosi's performance that she remained wholly unaware of her male company's ulterior intentions (and was, in consequence, not going to receive the first kiss she had been waiting for); Lugosi was just too interesting put up against the acne-ridden male she was using (just as much as she was being used). The second person, a fidgety male in the last row, was simply biding his time until young girls high on cocaine would come rushing out of the dance club across the street and be too under the influence to properly say no. Edward wasn't particularly enthralled with the man to pay him much mind, but was certainly tracking his movements even as his eyes flicked through the rest of the audience – if he was feeling particularly bored, he might try the man's patience instead of just killing him outright.
It didn't help that he was so thirsty the black rings around his irises were creeping toward the pupil. It was a struggle to sit down and appear human when all he had thought about doing since entering the theater was grabbing one of the pliable necks offered to him via strategic buttoning and breathable fabric. Edward wasn't in the mood to play nice, to woo and be quiet as he took his next victim. The rage boiling against vile self-hatred and a demanding insistence to continue wreaking any chance at happiness was slowly causing Edward to go mad, each rustle and twitch trying his already thin patience.
But he also wanted to suffer. And so he waited and tried not to laugh out loud at the irony that the vampire on screen was as close as humans believed they would ever come to the real thing.
When the restless man sitting twelve rows behind him got up, Edward didn't make any indication that he had heard the movement. It was just past one o'clock, almost to the point of the film's cinematic climax, when he first noticed the smell of her blood. It wasn't a foreign sensation to someone who sometimes fed on it several times per week, even though said feeding habits were grossly excessive at such frequency. But the smell as it pooled and heated feminine skin with a blush peaked Edward's pheromones and he was almost drooling with the excess venom. With quick work, the object in question was found, and he finally gave up pretending he was actually paying attention to the movie – because the girl was, quite simply, fascinating.
Because she was a girl – couldn't be more than eighteen or nineteen – and the thought that he could be her grandfather almost sickened Edward to revulsion. Even though he looked seventeen – and would always look seventeen – Edward had never felt as indecisive as his age suggested. At least not the way a human would. He often found his predicament ironic, having all the time in the goddamn world and feeling out of place because of that fact – but never, from what he could remember, feeling that way as a mortal. He'd always been so sure of himself, so set on plans that he would then do whatever was needed to arrive at that point. But now that he had the resources, the skill, the fucking time, he could never come up with a useful way to spend any of it.
And it was at moments such as this, trying to hide what he was amidst the seedy crowds of Chelsea, that he felt most alone, felt most his age (all seventy fucking years of it), felt something akin to depression as he sat three rows behind someone he could have born through the simple passing of genes. As if the sudden realization of lost progeny were so staggering that any and all accomplishment Edward felt in his dreary existence was wiped away.
But more than the ease at which such revulsion transitioned into mental flagellation, Edward was most disgusted with his inability to stop: stop staring, stop reading, stop wanting. Her skin looked pallid in the flickering light of the film, causing deep shadows to bloom against the thin skin of her neck. Even still, it wasn't just her flower-trimmed blouse hiding a full cleavage, round and pert due to what Edward desperately hoped was a white cotton bra, or even the soft waves of her blonde hair, cut shoulder length and swaying as her head moved slowly back and forth – it was the fact that the blush that had caught his attention was steady from her growing erotic desire.
She was turned on by a vampire.
Edward could tolerate the smell of her blood from six feet away, politely ignore the almost stultifying perfume as it sped up in the girl's veins and covered her skin in a warm flush. He was used to blood and, most importantly, used to abstaining from it when a killing was neither warranted nor particularly needed. But this blood was positively humming, caressing Edward's tongue as much as it whooshed through the girl and gave her a ruddy glow no one else could see. And that taste, just on the tip of his tongue, was quickly sending Edward into some sort of frenzy.
Her back was arched towards the screen and her breaths came in quick, shallow pants as she clasped her hands in front of her breasts and mouthed the words being spoken. He was fascinated by the girl's reactions, sucking in the scent of her blood as it mixed with and then submitted to the more heady scent of her sexual desire. Edward was not unaware of the women – and small number of men, depending on which establishments he frequented – who jutted out their chests, fluttered their eyelashes, and licked their lips in such a way that the unmistakable meaning screamed I want to suck your cock. But they had never affected him so viscerally, and Edward merely viewed their fruitless efforts as vulgar. If they didn't catch him, they would simply pounce on something else, and so he never felt bad at flashing them a sneer and then trying to track some decent or worthy meal.
But this girl, this wisp of a person pulsing with life, she was absolutely sure that she wanted to be bitten. She could almost crave it, could practically envision it, felt a wanting so desperately that she believed it would be easy to just give herself up willingly to the vampire on-screen. Edward had to thus grip both armrests to stop himself from jumping over three rows of seats and taking her right there.
Because he could. He could bite her and get away with it.
For twenty minutes, Edward focused on nothing but the insistent thought that every moral judgment he had ever made seemed to hinge on this one incidental moment. Even with the ability to compartmentalize, his thoughts strayed and crawled back toward the girl's. The increasing drama onscreen, the tick of someone's Swatch fourteen seats away, the sexual moans he had vaguely detected from the very back of the auditorium three minutes prior – all were allowed to simply exist without interference. While Edward knew he was one squeeze away from simply snapping the cloth-covered metal armrest in two – potentially (and quite obviously) exposing his very presence in the one place he could hide – he needed the physical release such pressure offered, and so moved his hands towards his legs in order to grip flesh and bone that wouldn't break underneath his fingertips.
He needed to leave, needed to get away from the delicious smell of the girl as much as the potential kill she would offer, but Edward had already moved into a space where such rational thought was limited, if not all together impossible. He stayed rigid, eyebrows knit together as he tried to reverse his telepathy and simply will the girl toward safety. He tried to warn her, tried to make her understand that she was going to die if she didn't stop tempting the most base side of his immortal nature – even as he registered the act as completely futile.
The snap of lights brought Edward out of his concentrated stare and alerted him to the end of the movie. Still, only the intrusion of the girl's body as she stood up and stretched brought home the fact he had yet to actually make a choice. He wanted her – dear god how he wanted her. He wanted to ghost his fingers across her collarbones and hear her heart speed up in response; he was excited by the way her naked breasts would feel as he lightly gripped them so that his cold, smooth skin on virginal flesh made her pant, pant, pant for more; he could already taste her sweat as he kneeled before her and licked his way down towards a clitoris much darker than the rest of her flesh, so aroused it appeared dark and swollen.
Edward knew she would be relatively powerless to his advances if he decided to approach and then use her want against her, but he still tried to fashion another reason for his fascination. He wasn't sure if he necessarily wanted to erase the girl's existence, but he was also unclear about any kind of alternative should he decide to take her fully. Could he really stop himself when faced with an overwhelmingly concentrated smell of both blood and desire? Could he honestly abstain when, even now, he could smell, over and above the mix of sweat and stale popcorn, the wet fabric that clung to the most sacred part of her body? Could he choose to ignore a steadily growing want to explore a place she touched in the middle of the night but kept safe from prying fingers?
As he quickly followed her up the aisle, however, he couldn't seem to stop a decision that was already being formed. He allowed himself a small smile as she thought of what she'd always wanted to do with those same insistent boys – of what she wanted them to do to her. If only she hadn't been brought up to think more highly of herself. If only she didn't want to be so bad.
The thoughts merely gave Edward more of a reason to fulfill his own selfish desires, and so he stalled beside the empty ticket booth as the girl clutched her pocketbook and then hurried across the street. Then he watched as she smiled at the club's doorman and unlocked a door five feet away. He found her living arrangements unsettling for such a young female, but knew that at this point, his opinion was unwarranted and rather unnecessary. He didn't want to tease her like he would have done to the vile old man looking to score with half-coherent women, and he didn't relish the idea of stalking her long enough to know her schedule, her preferences, or her habits and dislikes – just so he could use that knowledge against her. He just wanted a taste, and maybe to show her that being bad could feel good. But instead of rationalizing a reason to not (not follow, not stalk, not commandeer), he simply walked towards the shadows and waited, easily blocking out an incoherent homeless man and a growing crowd of drunks around the corner.
It took four minutes for her bedroom light to turn on and then eleven before it shut off.
It took twelve minutes for her to achieve a self-induced orgasm and then sixteen more before she fell asleep.
And it took an additional ten minutes before Edward decided she was asleep enough to not be given a chance to stop him.
In total, he sat crouched in the alleyway for seventy-six minutes before he finally jumped toward the broken fire escape and climbed in her open bedroom window.
"Amanda," Edward whispered. He was so close to her that the exhalation of breath was felt against her lips a,, and they parted without her telling them to. "Amanda," he repeated, speaking softly against her neck.
"Just… give me… more minutes," she mumbled, curling up against his forearm and slightly shivering with the cold.
He mirrored her position and then dragged his index finger against her face before placing a few errant strands of hair behind her ear. "I want to kiss you, Amanda." Edward waited and then cupped the back of her neck. "Can I kiss you?" She mumbled something incoherent and he still waited, slowly rubbing the pad of his thumb back and forth against the blush of her cheek. "Beautiful, beautiful Amanda," he breathed, the words swallowed up by their lips connecting and Edward's tongue reaching out to explore the soft plumpness of her lips.
When her eyelids started to flicker open, Edward casually pressed them with his fingertips and continued to whisper against her mouth. "You're dreaming," he murmured amid kisses to her cheeks, nose, and lips. "You're just dreaming." As her body relaxed and her breathing slowed, Edward skimmed his nose against the pulse in her neck and then followed it toward her heart. He didn't take her t-shirt off (subconsciously knowing a ripped t-shirt spelled some kind of finality he still wasn't willing to admit) and, instead, pushed it toward her shoulders in order to t toexpose white skin that was supple for twenty-two and seemed to glow like his. Her hand strayed beyond her stomach and then slowly started to rub, her hips lifting in response. Edward quickly shed his pants and started his own tantalizing rhythm, fascinated by the sounds she was making as she subconsciously pleasured herself. But he was still aware that he ultimately wanted to come inside a white heat that would squeeze him as it reached its own apex, not alone and from his own hand.
A second passed and then he was crawling up her body, stilling her movements at the same time his mouth was licking skin and his breath was chilling sweat as it appeared and got caught in fine blonde hair. Edward caressed her face with one hand while he bruised her lips, giving into his body's need to continually kiss her, touch her, taste her. He liked the taste of her tongue as it found his own, enjoyed the feel of her breath as it escaped in quick puffs. He gripped himself and then pushed inside of her, moving to hold her hips as she bucked upward with the increase in pressure. Edward acknowledged the sharp intake of breath and a change in heartbeat at the same time he ignored them. This moment was for him, and it felt so good to be like this, carefully moving in such a repetitive motion that he could feel the pressure as it traveled up his thighs and settled into the pit of his stomach. Her eyelids struggling to open, her chest constricting with his settled weight, her heartbeat rushing towards anxious awareness – all simply fluttered without notice.
And then nothing, and everything: a simultaneous moment of both complete existence and momentary absence. Her eyes finally flew open and she sucked in one last breath just as he gave into his compulsion and bit down against her jugular. Edward gave her no time to scream, thought of nothing besides the feel of her blood as it slid down the back of his throat. In that moment, he would have done everything again just to have her, knew that only the cooling of her skin would bring understanding.
Still, he drank.