A/N: This story veers off from Eclipse after Alice kidnaps Bella. I was in a mood last night and decided to take out my frustration on one of my pet peeves in the series. So here it is. The argument I thought should have happened.
I don't own Twilight. I wish I did, but I didn't.
Thanks to my beta for this fic, 1MrsECullen.
It All Begins With A Choice
When I woke up I rolled over, surprised when I didn't fall over the edge of Edward's sofa. Opening one eye slowly, I was met with gold fabric.
The new, completely unnecessary bed that Edward had bought for the room, just for my benefit. Alice must have moved me over as I slept.
I turned my head sharply towards the sound of his voice, nearly giving myself whiplash. He was back. The crack in my heart which slowly began to form every time I was away from him sealed up again.
I smiled at him as I stretched upwards. "You're back." My anger from last night was fleeting – gone before I had slid into unconsciousness. I knew that he considered the werewolves dangerous and was trying to protect me the only way he knew how.
He just went about it the wrong way.
I just wished I could show him that Jacob wasn't a threat to me, although I was fairly sure that I had burned that bridge yesterday evening.
"I'm back." He didn't smile in return, didn't make a move to come over to me. He never stayed that far away from me, not unless he thought I wanted him too. Maybe he had taken my threat on his voicemail too seriously.
I held out a hand. "Will you lie down with me?"
His face remained perfectly blank. He didn't move.
My smile left my lips and I sat up. "Edward? What's wrong?"
"I had a phone call last night, from Alice."
I winced, knowing where this was going.
"She told me that you skipped work today and ran away from her to the reservation where she couldn't see you and couldn't come and get you."
He sounded like he was recounting a story, completely impersonal, voice devoid of any emotion.
"Naturally, I was concerned so I came back as fast as possible."
"Edward, why won't you come over here?" I didn't like the distance he was keeping, didn't like his cold tone, didn't like the lump of dread rising in my throat.
"Because I don't know if it's really me you want over there or if you'd rather it were Jacob." His facade finally cracked, pain and defeat painted over his features.
I was stunned by his accusation. I was with him, wasn't I? And Jacob was just a friend, although he had been pushing for more than that lately.
I opened my mouth to speak, but Edward beat me to it.
"I know you say he's just a friend, and I'm glad that you had him to support you when I was... gone." He swallowed hard. "But that's not how he thinks of you and I'm beginning to wonder if you're really thinking that yourself anymore.
"Every opportunity you have you run off to Jacob. He does something to upset you and two minutes later, you've forgiven him. The things he says... and you just laugh and shrug it off, like it doesn't even matter. And I saw you, before, I called him a dog and you flinched. You sit there, listen to him calling me and my family every name under the sun and just accept it. You accept his taunts and spiteful remarks like it's acceptable. Do you think I want to hear him calling Alice or Esme or Carlisle leeches? Especially when none of them would ever think to be so cruel towards the wolves."
"So what are you saying?" I was shocked by his words, but even as he spoke them I recognised their truth. "I can't help what Jacob says or does or thinks."
"But you can. Every time you stay quiet or forgive him, you give him encouragement and hope. He thinks you will come around eventually and end up with him. He thinks you'll give in to him eventually..." he paused. "I think you will too."
I climbed off the bed and stood in front of him, hands on my hips, face flushed red in anger. I couldn't believe. He was doubting me. After everything he was doubting me.
"So what, you think that Jacob will just push and all of a sudden I'll realise what I was missing and run off with him?"
His answer was quiet, yet unmistakable. "Yes."
I stared at him incredulously. He looked up at me calmly. His elbows were rested on his knees, his hands clasped.
I blew out a deep breath, biting my lip and pulling at my hair. "So what, Edward? What do you want me to do?"
I was completely thrown. I knew Edward resented Jake, but this had seemingly come out of nowhere.
Edward shook his head, a bitter smile twisting his face. He pushed up off the sofa and stalked past me, pacing around the room, his hands mirroring mine as they twisted the strands of his hair.
"I'm just not sure I'm what you want anymore."
"So what?" I repeated, my voice rapidly getting louder. "What do you want, Edward? What do you want?" I clearly enunciated each word. "I mean...do you want me to choose between the two of you?"
"Yes!" he shouted, throwing his hands down to his sides and clenching his fists. He was truly beautiful in his fury, but terrifying to look at as well. "Yes, I want you to make a choice! Yes, I want you to choose me! Yes, I want you to let go of Jacob! Yes Bella, I want you to choose."
I spluttered at him.
He was seriously doing this. He was going to make me choose between him and my best friend. How dare he?
I pointed at him accusingly. "You don't get to do that, Edward. You don't get to demand that. You left me. You left me and I fell apart and Jake was the one who held me together. You can't take that away from me."
Edward rubbed his hand over his face. "I'm not taking anything away from you, Bella. And I know I left you. I know you suffered...but you weren't the only one. I did what I thought was right."
"Well, you weren't..."
"I know I wasn't," he roared. "Don't you think I know that? Believe me, Bella, I get it, I really do. But I'm trying. I am trying."
I felt the dampness on my cheeks as tears began to slide down them.
"But it's difficult to try and win back your trust when you've brought someone else into the relationship. Might I remind you, Bella, you were perfectly free to have a normal human life, with or without Jake, but you stood in this house and you made my family vote on your life. I'm trying to accept that you want to die, but you cannot be a vampire and be friends with everyone over at the reservation. We might be willing to try, but they sure as hell aren't. If you choose to become one of us, you're going to have to let him go anyway. Make that decision now."
I was practically choking on my sobs now.
"You can't make me choose," I said again.
"Why not? You're the one who wants to be a vampire, but you don't seem to understand what that means for the future. You say you want to be with me forever, but you won't commit to me."
"Is this about the marriage thing?"
"Yes, this is about the marriage thing. It is the only thing I've asked of you and you refused. So it makes me wonder if you really want to be with me or if you just like the idea of being a vampire."
I jerked back as if he had slapped me.
"Is that what you think that I think?"
"How am I supposed to know, Bella? I can't read your mind. Maybe you won't marry me because you don't want to be with me; maybe you're in love with someone else."
"Someone like Jacob?" My breath hitched as I inwardly seethed. "We're just friends."
"But neither of you act like you're friends. You both act like you're in a relationship."
Incensed, I hit below the belt. "What would you know about relationships, Edward? You've been alone for nearly a hundred years. How would you know what you're talking about?"
I wasn't expecting his hurt reply. "Just because I've never been in a relationship before you, doesn't mean that there haven't been offers. You're not the only one with 'friends', Bella."
This time I didn't just flinch. My whole body staggered back as the weight of his words hit me. I hit the wall opposite him and slid down it slowly. Edward's whole body twitched, as if he was fighting the urge to come over to me and make sure I was alright.
Friends. Edward had friends.
I thought about the way Jake and I treated each other, laughing, hugging, touching, very-nearly-kissing... Then I thought about Edward behaving in the same way with one of his 'friends'.
Jealousy pricked along my skin.
He was mine. I'd be damned if I let some skanky vampire girl steal him from me.
And this was how he was feeling all the times when I was with Jacob - this jealousy, this insecurity, this need to possess.
I blinked as Edward suddenly appeared in front of me. He crouched down, but didn't touch me. The anger had faded now from his face and he was now left with a profound sense of weariness hanging over him.
"Look." He reached a hand out towards me before thinking better of it. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. It was petty and unfair, but I just don't know how to make you see."
"Make me see what?"
"You know Jake has feelings for you and you know that you have some feelings for him. And I know that you don't want to flaunt our relationship in his face..."
"No, that would be cruel. Especially because he... loves me. He's been such a good friend to me, Edward."
His lips thinned in disapproval.
"Here's the thing, you spend so much time trying not to hurt his feelings, that you... you seem to forget... You hurt mine."
I stared at him in shock.
"Every time you walk away from me straight into his arms, it cuts deep into me, and you don't even realise it's happening. You do everything he asks you to, you allow him to manipulate you and you do it all happily... And Jake sits there happy in the knowledge that if he calls you, you'll come running because you don't want to lose that friendship.
Yes, I'm probably jealous, but wouldn't you be? I stand here and I tolerate it because I know not to would make you unhappy. If the situation was reversed, could you say that Jacob would do the same?"
I mutely shook my head. He wouldn't. I knew he wouldn't. Edward knew he wouldn't. The prejudice was just too ingrained.
"I have to make you choose, Bella." He stood up. "I have to know."
Again I resorted to head movements rather than speech, nodding at him.
Edward stared down sadly at me. "You vastly overestimate my tolerance and control, Bella. You always have."
I watched as he crossed the room to the door, leaving me slumped still.
"I came back early so I didn't get a chance to hunt. I'll have Alice drive you back home when it gets a bit later. You're not under house arrest anymore after all."
He attempted a smile, but it fell flat. I closed my eyes so I didn't have to see him walk away.
I sat quietly – unable to move, unable to speak. My eyes felt like they had been swollen shut from all the crying.
How did it get to this? I mean, I knew how it got like this, but there didn't appear to be any way for it not to happen. Why couldn't Edward just be Edward, my love, and Jake just be Jake, my friend?
The choice reverberated through my head. Choose Edward. Choose Jacob. Choose Edward. Choose Jacob.
Soft footsteps brought me out of my reverie and I opened my eyes slowly.
I had never seen her look so disappointed in me.
"Alice, please," I begged.
"I'm sorry, Bella." She shrugged. "I can't make this decision for you."