Author's Note: (Sorry this is so long...but I did want to explain a few things.) I started writing this story purely for myself, with no intention of ever sharing it with anyone. It was originally meant to be just a short vignette dealing with Edward's thoughts as he waited to die under the clock tower...but I kept getting drawn further in. The Volturi were too hard to resist...and Alice too. And so, it mushroomed into the behemoth it is now. I apologize in advance.
I should let you all know that overall, New Moon was my least favorite of the four to read. What can I say? Edward is my favorite character, and he was AWOL for over two thirds of it. I missed all of the Cullens, in fact. (I am definitely more of a vampire girl than a wolf girl.)
But that is not to say that I don't appreciate the importance of what takes place in NM, in particular the lessons learned by Edward over the course of the story. Ultimately, I believe his relationship with Bella is strengthened by these events...even if there is a lot of pain (and Jacob) along the way. And needless to say, the last quarter or so of NM makes up for all the Edward-deprivation in the rest of it. This section remains one of my favorite parts of any of the Twilight books, and is one of those places where Edward's perspective just about begs to be explored.
So here is my take on Edward's thoughts (and the thoughts of others, naturally), from the clock tower onward. I should give fair warning: by necessity, the first half of this chapter contains a certain amount of wallowing.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns this, not me. I write with love and gratitude toward her, and I intend no infringement; I'm not making a dime off of any of this, and all direct quotes are used with respect. I will, however, be stealing a little from Shakespeare.
Further note: (I swear this is the last one) If you have not done so already, I highly recommend reading the short extra Rosalie's News' on SM's website. It is EPOV of the phone calls, and it kind of gives you a setup for all of this...
Beyond the Horizon
Chapter 1: Finis
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
The time of my end was near.
I knew this without having to look, without even having to count the ticks of the enormous clock which towered above me. When the clock struck noon, it would be time. It would be over.
It could not come fast enough.
I was impatient for it...I needed it to come faster. I didn't know how much longer I could stand the pain, the untold agony as the hollow place in my chest ached and throbbed. I could step out into the sunlight right now, but I forced myself to hold back. Stick to the plan, Edward. At least go out with something to be remembered. I half-smiled. Or perhaps it was more of a grimace. Of course it was a grimace; I didn't smile anymore.
All was ready. My executioners were already in place in the alley behind me, waiting. I vaguely wondered what would become of any unfortunate humans who might bear witness to my final act. Would they be swept away, eliminated as well to keep the secret safely intact? I was vaguely disappointed that I could not bring myself to care.
Because it was over already. I could feel that, had felt it ever since that second phone call, the one which had confirmed the end of meaning, the end of my existence.
The end of everything.
With a fluid motion I shed my shirt, letting it fall to the cobblestones beside me. I knew that even in the shadows of the alley, the pale skin of my chest would gleam dully...but they would not stop me for that. They had their orders. They would wait until I had actually broken the law—until I had taken that final step into the light.
The clock ticked slowly closer to my end, and it took all of my patience to will myself to wait. Random thoughts flickered through my mind—my own thoughts, not those of the humans nearby, which were nothing more than a meaningless hum. I saw my home, the forests where I had loved to run, the prey I had hunted. I saw my family. Carlisle, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper...Alice...Esme. They would all be disappointed in me. My pain grew stronger for a moment as I thought of Esme, my mother. This would hurt her the most. It would hurt them all. Yes, even Rose—despite all the nefarious motives I had attributed to her, I knew she had not anticipated this. She had expected me to come home. To get over it.
I almost chuckled when I thought of how little she understood me, even after so many years. Almost, but not quite.
All of this I passed through my mind in a matter of seconds. Because none of it was really important. None of it mattered. Behind the lids of my closed eyes, I could see her. Her face was alive, a smile hovering about her lips. An illusion. The cruelest of illusions. Every part of my body ached when I thought of her now, silent and cold, by now entombed beneath the heavy earth of her grave. Gone. Gone. Gone forever...
Had I been capable of it, I would have shed tears. No, had I been capable of it, I would surely be out of tears by now. I wondered if such a thing were physically possible, or if it was just another of those silly human clichés. Could someone ever run out of tears?
Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered now. My body was as still as a statue as I waited, as my life ticked inevitably toward its doom.
No, that was the wrong word to use. End. Conclusion. Relief.
Carlisle had always hoped that there would be more, that our kind could go to the same heaven as the humans...but I had never believed that. Aside from the fact that I had no soul, I was a murderer many times over, though I had not taken a human life in many years.
Until a few days ago.
Agony ripped through me as the guilt tore at the hollow place in my chest where my heart had once been, and I could have sworn that I was already burning. She had jumped—instinctively, I knew it had been because of me. I had overestimated her ability to get over me. I had left her alone and vulnerable, heartbroken. I had destroyed her happiness, wretch that I was. I had told the most blasphemous lie anyone had ever told—carving my own heart from my chest as I'd done so—and it had destroyed her. I had as good as taken her life.
The pain that crashed over me at that thought was as powerful as it had been back in Rio, when I had first learned of her...death. I had realized then, as I did now, that I'd been wrong, utterly wrong. Wrong to leave her, wrong to think that my absence would solve anything, wrong to resist my own need to be with her. I had taken myself away from her to protect her, to give her a chance to live the the safe, normal, happy life she deserved...and I had accomplished the opposite.
Had I been watching this unfold from a safe distance, the irony of it might have been enough to make me laugh out loud; as it was, it only made it all the more unbearable. She had been right when she had told me, a full year ago now, that it was too late. I had thought she'd be able to move on, to forget me. True, I'd never believed her to be as fickle as many other humans—those who seemed happy to change partners as easily as they changed cell phones or cars—but still, I'd given her too little credit. I should have known that in this, as in so many other ways, she was different from most of her kind. Having failed to keep myself away from her in the first place, I should never have left.
If only I had been stronger in the beginning! To have kept the pain to myself rather than selfishly involving Bella! If only I had never met her, had never come to Forks...if only I had never existed! I should not exist. I should have died in 1918. Another wave of self-loathing crashed over me; I had never hated myself more than in that moment.
I had destroyed that beautiful, precious creature...as surely as if I had succumbed to the draw of her blood on that very first day. Even if my world had not ceased to have meaning without her, even if the pain had not been too much to bear, I would still have deserved to die for this, the most of heinous of crimes...
I almost crumpled, almost gave in early to the need to end it, to destroy myself before the pain could rip me apart any more. I thought of all the conversations I'd had with Carlisle about morals, about right and wrong. He had thought of me as a good man, and I knew myself to be the most wretched, most vile, most miserable excuse for a man that had ever existed. It took every ounce of my strength to hold back, to wait, as I had decided. It would not be long, after all, and I knew how I wanted to spend the last moments of my life.
I heard the large hand on the clock creak closer to its zenith. There was only a minute left, now. The hum of the crowd was louder, excited. I had timed this well; the festival would ensure that there would be plenty of human witnesses to my little exhibition—no chance that it would go unnoticed.
Once again, I tried and failed to care what might happen to them. They were nothing to me, just as the whole world was nothing; the best that could be said of the way I felt about these people was that it was not the hatred I felt for myself. By heaven, I love thee better than myself; for I come hither arm'd against myself. Stay not, be gone; live, and hereafter say, a madman's mercy bade thee run away.
Perhaps my executioners would want to act before anyone saw; perhaps it would be so quick that human eyes would see nothing. Perhaps those in the square would continue in their revels, oblivious to the violence taking place so close at hand.
My time was short, and I welcomed that. But I also knew how to spend it. I allowed myself to drift back into my memories, just as I had done so many times over the last day.
I spent the last minute of my existence with Bella Swan.
I saw her that first day in the cafeteria, when she had seemed such a mystery to me...and that first Biology class together, when the vile monster inside of me had wanted to drink her blood. I watched as the curiosity grew in her eyes, even as her mind remained ever unfathomable to me. I remembered touching her warm, soft skin...the first time I had held her in my arms, the first time my lips had touched hers. I remembered all the arguments, all the nights spent in the haven of her room, all the smiles, all the words spoken between us...
Behind my closed eyelids, she was there. Always there...and so close. She smiled—a dazzling, beautiful, heartbreaking smile which made the hollow place in my chest seer with fresh pain. She raised her hand as if to beckon to me. Her lips parted, and she spoke my name.
A soft whisper on the breeze, a sweet lullaby...her voice. My lips twitched, the closest thing to a smile that had crossed my face in months.
High above, the first bell of the clock tower tolled.
In the square before me, the excitement grew.
I willed myself to remain in place, to remain with her for those few seconds I had left. I could see her as clearly as if she were standing before me, every detail of her perfect face, every soft curve of her beautiful body. She was wearing my favorite blue blouse, the one she had worn that memorable night in Port Angeles; it complimented the cream and roses of her skin perfectly. Her brow puckered as she regarded me, and I wondered if she would have disapproved of what I was about to do. No, I did not wonder, I knew that she would have disapproved—she had said as much, all those months ago. It would have hurt her, to know that I was doing this. But I could not stand the pain. I was forever barred from the place she had gone, but I could still end it...I had to end it. I could not live in a world where she did not exist. Bella, my love, my life...forgive me. I have no choice. Forgive me.
The bell continued to toll as I asked for forgiveness...as I said my final farewells to my one and true love.
Her voice came to me again, another echo from my thoughts, calling my name. She sounded distant, and yet at the same time so close, as if her voice had come somehow from the jumble of voices in the crowded square. Behind my closed eyelids, her frown deepened. No, she did not approve. She would not have approved, I corrected myself. I knew it was only my subconscious telling me what I already knew, that she would never have wanted this. But I could not allow that to stop me. She had gone first, she taken her own life; she could not expect me to linger here behind. There must be an end. I felt strangely peaceful as I allowed myself to remember the feel of her warm body cradled in my arms, one last time. Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace! And, lips, O you the doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss a dateless bargain to engrossing death!
As the ninth bell tolled, I took a step forward.
No! Edward, look at me!
I half-smiled; the movement of my lips seemed odd, unfamiliar, for it had surely been centuries since I'd really smiled. It had been almost real, that voice. I had perfect recall, of course...but had I not known it to be impossible I could have sworn that she was there, running toward me, a faint echo amidst the endless babbling of voices. I could even imagine that I could hear her heartbeat—accelerated but still unmistakable. Beautiful. A fitting sound to accompany me as I put an end to my existence. I lifted my foot to take the final step, the step which would end in oblivion.
Something crashed into me.
I caught it reflexively, before I'd even had the chance to register that it was something warm...something soft...something I knew as well as anything in this world...
Slowly...very slowly, I opened my eyes. I only distantly registered the tenth tolling of the clock tower...and surely it was growing more distant with every moment, for I could not still be in Volterra. I was somewhere else entirely. There was no other explanation for what I saw when my eyes looked down on the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.
Her eyes...deep pools of liquid brown. I could have stared into them for the rest of eternity and never desired to look away. Her cheeks, flushed my favorite shade of delicate rose. The pale, translucent skin, just as I remembered it. The hair, a cascade of rich mahogany which felt like silk when I trailed it over my fingers. The warmth...the beautiful, perfect warmth. It was her, in every perfect detail. Bella in my arms, just as I'd imagined. But I was no longer imagining. It must have happened, they must have done it. So quick it must have been—swifter than any apothecary's drug! I'd felt nothing, but I knew I had fulfilled my purpose: I had passed from the world. But I had not expected to find anything beyond. Certainly not this.
"Amazing," I breathed; I could hear the wonder and amusement in my voice. "Carlisle was right."
All those years I had believed that he was wrong, all of the debates I'd had with him, and he had been right all along. There was something after. I must still have a soul. What else could explain the angel I now held in my arms? I wanted to laugh out loud, but I could not bring myself to break the spell of the moment.
Her lips moved—how exquisite they were! She was trying to speak, but no sound issued from her mouth, as if her voice had been stolen. Her breaths came in gasps, and her eyes were strangely anxious—frantic, even. I wanted to smooth away her worry and concern. I lifted my hand to brush it softly across her cheek; her warmth flamed beneath my fingers, just as I remembered. Yes, she was real! How wonderful it was to touch her again, to feel her angel's skin beneath my fingers—no memory could truly compare! Distantly—very distantly, as if the sound came from another world—I heard the bell toll again.
There was nothing in my sight but her, nothing else to hold my gaze. We were together, and I did not care to question how or why. We were together, and for the first time in six long, excruciating months, I felt whole. The hollow in my chest was filled again; my dead heart sang in triumph—it was as though it had never been gone at all. The burden had lifted from my shoulders, and the pain had vanished. I was truly at peace.
"I can't believe how quick it was," I told her, my voice soft, gentle. "I didn't feel a thing—they're very good." I closed my eyes again as I pressed my lips to her hair. "Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath, hath had no power yet upon thy beauty," I quoted in a murmur. In all my years of studying Shakespeare, I had never understood those words as profoundly as I did now. Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, and death's pale flag is not advanced there.
The distant clock tolled again—in the back of my mind, I knew it was the twelfth and final time. I inhaled deeply, my face still buried in her hair, and her sweet scent burned my dry throat, the same as ever. But the monster was gone; there was no part of me left which thirsted for her blood, no part of me which would ever be able to hurt her again. "You smell just exactly the same as always," I said as I pulled back to look again into her eyes, "So maybe this is hell. I don't care. I'll take it." And I meant it. Any hell which contained her could surely never deserve the name.
"I'm not dead," she said, her voice breathless, "and neither are you!" Her voice washed over me like a tonic, and I almost felt that I would swoon. But it contained that same frantic note that had been in her eyes, and part of me wondered what could be the reason for it. Her words made no sense—not dead? Of course we were both dead! I tried to reach out, to hear her mind, but it was as much a mystery to me as it had been in life...I supposed I could not have expected anything else. I listened, bemused, as she continued. "Please Edward, we have to move. They can't be far away!"
She struggled in my arms, as if trying to get away, and for the first time since she'd crashed into my arms, I felt true confusion. What did she mean, they can't be far away? We were alone, utterly alone. Gloriously alone. And together. Why move anywhere, when right here was perfect?
"What was that?" I asked her, wanting to understand the reason for her strange anxiety.
"We're not dead," she almost growled, "not yet! But we have to get out of here before the Volturi—"
As she spoke, two things hit me: one, the meaning of her words finally came together—in a strange, impossible way—and two, I heard something shift very quietly behind me. In the alley. The alley beside the clock tower. In Volterra.
Almost before I realized what I was doing, I had spun with Bella so that her back was against the alley wall. I released her and whirled, spreading out my arms in a protective shield as I faced the two shadows which peeled casually away from the opposite wall.
Bella was not dead. Alice had been wrong. Bella was not dead.
The truth coursed through me as I stared at the two cloaked figures before me, and I tried desperately to understand what had happened—how I had got it so wrong.
The funeral the boy had mentioned must have been for someone else. Waves of understanding crashed over me, mixing exquisite relief with deepest horror as the world reoriented itself around me, and I realized the depth of my mistake. Bella was alive...and somehow, she had found out that I was here, and what I was about to do. Alice. Alice must have seen it...of course Alice would have seen it. And she would have tried to stop me herself, whether Bella had lived or not. But Bella had lived...and Alice had been in Forks—with her—when I'd made my decision. Bella had come here to stop me. She had succeeded.
And now she was in mortal danger.
I had to save her. Somehow, I had to save her.
"Greetings, gentlemen." It took a great deal of effort to keep my voice calm and cordial. They could neither hear nor see the desperation which seethed within me. "I don't think I'll be requiring your services today. I would appreciate it very much, however, if you would send my thanks to your masters."
I could hear their thoughts, now that I was looking for them—confusion, curiosity, amusement...and something more from Felix as he looked past me to Bella, something which sent the hate surging through me and made me want to rip him to pieces. As it was, I fought to hold back my snarl; I had to stay calm, or there was no hope. I could hear Bella's rapid heartbeat behind me, and through their thoughts, I could see the frightened expression on her face as she peeked below my arm.
I had brought her into this. I would get her out.
"Shall we take this conversation to a more appropriate venue?" Felix whispered; his smooth voice was full of menace. The girl has a deliciously sweet scent to her...and she is quite...pretty. I don't suppose they would begrudge me a little fun...she's not from Volterra, after all...
"I don't believe that will be necessary," I said, glaring at him as I fought to control my anger. "I know your instructions, Felix. I haven't broken any rules."
Not quite true, is it? came Demetri's thoughts. She seems to know something about us, after all... Aloud he said, "Felix merely meant to point out the proximity of the sun." His voice was soothing; he didn't want the situation to get out of hand. "Let us seek better cover." Just get them out of here, away from prying eyes...
"I'll be right behind you," I said dryly. "Bella, why don't you go back to the square and enjoy the festival?" For once, please do as I say, I begged her silently. Please don't worry about me...you have to get yourself away from here!
"No, bring the girl," Felix whispered silkily. I could see the images in his mind—lewd, twisted fantasies that made the hatred surge within me once more. Once again, I fought to control myself, remembering the odds I was up against.
"I don't think so." My voice had gone cold; I was past trying to be civil. We all knew what was coming now. Somehow, I had to protect Bella. I shifted my weight every so slightly as I prepared for the worst. If I could somehow take these two down fast enough, maybe I would have a chance to get Bella away from here.
"No," I heard Bella breathe behind me. She could see where this was headed.
"Shh," I murmured, just for her. I didn't dare take my eyes away from the others. I had to hope that their restraint would keep them from simply attacking with so many humans close by—it was obvious to them that I would fight back, now. But my hopes weren't high; Felix was obviously itching for a fight. I surveyed his massive bulk—he was nearly as large as Emmett, and almost certainly a more skilled fighter. I had an advantage that he did not, in that I could see his moves as he planned them...but I knew I was physically weakened—it had been so long since I'd fed. Could I win a fight against him, let alone both of them?
If we could just get away...I might be able to outrun most of the guard, even with Bella on my back. But they would come after us, and we would never have peace...
"Felix," Demetri murmured, shooting a warning glance at his eager companion. "Not here." His thoughts flickered nervously to the nearby square, where more than one pair of eyes had turned in our direction. He did not want a scene here, so close to so many humans. Maybe a fight could be avoided after all. "Aro would simply like to speak with you again," he told me, "if you have decided not to force our hand after all."
Oh, I knew that. Despite what Felix's baser instincts might desire, their instructions were clear. But I had no intention of bringing Bella anywhere near Aro—even if I could have trusted Felix to keep his lecherous intentions in check.
"Certainly," I agreed. "But the girl goes free."
"I'm afraid that's not possible," Demetri said with an rueful smile. "We do have rules to obey." And clearly she knows too much. Aro would never brook letting her go—it endangers everything.
All the more reason to keep Bella as far away from Aro as possible.
"Then I'm afraid that I'll be unable to accept Aro's invitation, Demetri."
"That's just fine," Felix purred. I'll enjoy taking you down...and then I'll enjoy spending a little time alone with the girl. No need to kill her immediately...
"Aro will be disappointed," Demetri sighed, oblivious to Felix's thoughts. He really didn't want us to kill him...
"I'm sure he'll survive the letdown," I replied dryly, struggling to keep ahold of myself. Stay calm. Stay calm. You might be able to win if it comes to a fight, if you just stay calm. I didn't really believe my own assurances. Even if I could somehow defeat these two while keeping Bella unharmed (and really, the odds of that were pretty steep), how long would I have before the rest of them descended upon us? I stretched out with my mind, searching for others. The city was a babble of human voices; I tried to find the few among them that belonged to our kind...
Behind me, I heard Bella's breath catch, her heartbeat quickening as Felix and Demetri spread out before us, moving closer to the mouth of the alley. Demetri was almost into the light—protected by his long gray cloak, he was safe from detection. They were trying to force us deeper into the alley, away from the watching humans.
I stayed where I was. I would not play this game. If they wanted a fight, they'd just have to take me right—
Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes! Now don't do anything rash, I'm almost there!
I looked abruptly down the winding alley, from which a most familiar voice had just sounded in my thoughts. Demetri and Felix did likewise, reacting to the light sound of approaching footsteps.
"Let's behave ourselves, shall we?" a lilting voice suggested. "There are ladies present."
In all the years I had known Alice, I had never been so glad to hear her voice.
She came into view a moment later, her little arms swinging like a child's, deceptively fragile. Her demeanor was quite casual as she tripped lightly to my side.
Miss me? she asked lightly, her eyes fixed on our adversaries.
You have no idea, I wanted to say back. But I held my silence, watching Felix and Demetri. They had both straightened from their crouches, upset by this turn of events. Felix scowled, his eyes darting from Alice to me.
Damn! Where did this one come from? This is going to be more complicated than I thought! Oh well, she's a tiny thing...shouldn't slow us up too much...
Not good, Demetri thought, his mouth set into a hard line as his eyes flickered between the three of us and the direction of the square. We really need to avoid a scene here. Aro would be furious if we ended up disturbing the peace.
"We're not alone," Alice said quietly, as if she too could read Demetri's thoughts.
Demetri risked a longer glance over his shoulder. I knew what he would see, for I could hear their thoughts as well. A few yards into the square, a little family was watching us—a mother, a father, and two little girls. My ears had no difficulty in making out what the woman was saying to her husband, the Italian words spilling from her in her urgency.
"I don't like this. Something is clearly wrong," she whispered, glancing once more toward Bella and me. "Those men in cloaks...I think they are threatening the girl, and the young man and woman are trying to protect her. I think we should tell someone..." She broke off and looked away when she noticed Demetri's eyes on her. I saw her give a slight shudder. What a creepy pair of men! And the boy! So handsome, and yet so...odd—as pale as if he has been living in a cave. I still do not understand...the girl ran toward him in such a frenzy, as if she were trying to save him. I saw brief, confused images in her mind of Bella shoving past the bystanders, careening frantically toward me, shouting my name...
Maybe she's right. The husband frowned as he looked in our direction. It is most likely an overreaction, but it would surely be better to err on the side of caution. With one eye still on the five of us, he walked over to get the attention of one of the many policemen who were scattered throughout the plaza. The mother hugged the two girls closer as she edged away from us.
Demetri shook his head as he turned back to us. Not good, not good... "Please, Edward, let's be reasonable," he said, a hint of pleading in his voice. This could get very messy indeed...Aro will be furious... He winced internally as he imagined the torment in store for him if he botched his assignment...
"Let's," I agreed. "And we'll leave quietly now, with no one the wiser."
Demetri let out a frustrated sigh which was almost a growl. There must be a way out of this! "At least let us discuss this more privately."
Privately. Right. Where he and Felix could be free to deal with us away from prying eyes. Even with Alice beside me, I did not like our chances—suppose they were able to call more of them to their side? And how would I protect Bella?
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the husband had brought back six policemen, all dressed in red to match the rest of the revelers. They stood a dozen yards away from the alley entrance, watching us anxiously.
This does look suspicious...
What would be the best course, I wonder?
They haven't done anything wrong...yet.
Probably a drug deal gone wrong.
The girl looks terrified, and the boy is clearly protecting her. But if they feel so threatened, why not just move into the square? It is only a few meters away. This makes no sense.
Why me? Why does this have to happen on my watch?
I hope they can do something, the mother thought, her worried eyes fixed on Bella's pale face. She looks so frightened... I stared at Bella through her thoughts, even as my eyes remained firmly on Demetri and Felix. She did look frightened, her wide eyes darting from the cloaked figures to Alice to me, and back again. Then the woman's gaze shifted momentarily, back to her own family—her husband, her two children...
Witnesses. Well, it seemed unlikely that any confrontation would go unnoticed now. I found that I was suddenly able to care, again, what might happen to these people. It was as if Bella had reawakened all of my better instincts with her presence, with the knowledge that she was alive. These innocents should not die because of us. Was there a way to save them as well? I wanted to shout for them to run, but knew that would only doom them faster—not to mention us as well.
Beside me, Alice was as still as a statue. I could see images flashing like lightning through her mind as she tried to see all of the possible outcomes. I almost shuddered as her thoughts centered more and more on dark passageways...on a circular room...on a pair of dull red, milky eyes, full of barely disguised greed...
My teeth came together as I glared openly at Demetri. "No."
Felix smiled. And now you die.
I felt a jolt of panic shoot through me at the sound of the high, reedy voice. No. No, no, no! Not her—anyone but her!
But of course, it was her. I could hear her thoughts, now that I focused on them, and I fought hard to resist the urge to yank Bella away. But I knew it was hopeless. There was no escape now. I glared as she approached—a slight little thing, no bigger than Alice, yet just as deceptive in her power. No, more so. A stranger might have looked upon her face and seen an angel, but I could see the demon behind it. I wanted to snarl.
Ah. It seems there is more here than I expected. Hmm. Two unknown females, one immortal, the other human. Human. Hmm. And Edward stands as her guardian—could it be that Isabella Swan is alive after all? Intriguing. And now I have them all. Aro will be pleased with me. It shouldn't be a problem to get them to cooperate. Edward, at least, knows what I can do.
Yes, I did know what she could do. I had seen it all too clearly in their memories when I had first gone to see the Volturi—to ask them to kill me. Aro had few scruples when it came to putting everyone in their rightful place, including members of his own guard...and Jane's power was a useful tool for doing just that. The very thought of it made me feel sick, if a vampire could truly feel such a thing. Her dull crimson eyes flickered momentarily to Bella. She would enjoy testing her power, if given the excuse. I knew there was nothing I could do but obey her. In my peripheral vision I saw Felix and Demetri retreat to the shadows of the wall, their faces smug. They knew they had won.
My arms dropped to my side; there was no point in fighting now. Any slim chance we might have had against them had vanished with Jane's appearance.
"Jane," I sighed in resignation.
Beside me, Alice folded her arms across her chest. So, this is the famous Jane. Somehow I thought she'd be...smaller. In her head, I could see the visions stabilizing, solidifying, as the decisions became clear.
"Follow me," Jane said in a monotone. She turned her back on us and drifted back down the alley, her footsteps a bare whisper. Aro will be so pleased...
Felix smirked as he gestured in the same direction. After you, honored guests...I wonder if they'd notice if I slipped away with the girl...nah, better not risk it.
Alice shot him a dark glance as she started after Jane. Come on, let's get this over with. I think...if we play our cards right, this might work out...
I kept my eyes on Felix as I wrapped my arm around Bella's waist and pulled her along, keeping her between myself and Alice. I could only hope that my sister's optimism was warranted, and that there was some way out of this nightmare that I had brought down upon us all.
A/N: So did anyone like that? Please take the time to review! This story will continue all the way through to the epilogue. All the chapters are written already, I just have some editing to do before they're in their final form. I will most likely have the second chapter up in a few days.
Now, a couple of explanations. First, there's a bit of a sticky situation with the exact number of months Edward was gone. You may have noticed that he says 'six' in this story, whereas Bella says 'seven' in the book. I'm going on the assumption that Saint Marcus Day is on March 19th, which would make it a little over six months since he left in mid-September, and I will continue to use this date as a reference. If I'm wrong, and Forks High School actually has their spring break in April...then I apologize. I'm only human.
Second, if anyone's wondering about the title of this story, it comes from one of Edward's lines in The Truth , where he describes what Bella meant to him and what it felt like when he left her. He uses the metaphor of a meteor which shoots across his sky then falls over the horizon, leaving everything in darkness. Thus, 'beyond the horizon' is where they find each other again.