Okay, I know I'm probably beating a dead horse here…
Actually, that's a really violent expression. Let me rephrase.
I just couldn't let the sleeping baby lie.
Yeah, that's not much better. You should always let sleeping babies get their needed rest.
Okay, I have problems. There. Simple. Precise. To the point.
This is chapter eight of this fic (Two Weeks), but from Edward's POV. Why? I don't know. It hit me, so I ran with it. My muse hates it when she throws something at me and I don't catch it and run with it. I don't like pissing her off.
And, to be honest, I had considered writing this fic from start to finish from Edward's POV, but wasn't sure if people would want to read that. Had a title picked out and everything… (Fourteen Days, in case you were wondering)… but I figured it might get boring in spots – repetitious and all that – so I decided not to do it… at least for the time being. But my muse would not leave me alone about chapter eight. So, here it is.
I literally, seriously, absolutely and without question, wrote this for my own amusement. It's rough, probably OOC, and, really, it pretty much sucks. The only reason I'm posting it, is because when I told my beta that this was how I had wasted my day in its entirety yesterday, she said: "You should post it as an 'outtake' – people love that stuff."
Yes, well, you don't have to love it – I would be surprised if you did, to be honest – but here it is, anyway. No flames please about how much it sucks… I'm aware that it does. It would be like telling someone who's on fire: "Hey, you're on fire."
Thanks for putting up with me, and MTLBYAKY
Chapter Eight – Edward's POV (point of view)
I could hear her on the stairs. I knew the exact moment she entered my room. The bed creaked beneath her light weight as she settled herself onto it. The keys on her laptop clicked as she typed.
Soon. Very soon, according to Alice's vision. Bella had already found the answer, she had simply dismissed it as impossible. Today, she would open her mind to the possibility. That small opening would allow the truth – the frightening truth – to finally sink in.
I was beyond apprehensive, but Alice assured me that Bella would be fine. That she could handle the truth of what I am. With Bella's tenacious spirit, I was inclined to believe her. The problem was, I wasn't as certain that I could handle it.
An exasperated sigh.
A gasp of surprise.
Her heart started racing.
Soon. Very, very soon.
Too fast. Much too fast. She was going to hyperventilate if she didn't slow it down.
I almost went to her, but then I heard her take several long, deep breaths, followed by her weight shifting off the bed. Once she stood, she started to pace.
She knew. She knew and she was panicking. Alice had been wrong.
I saw her clearly as she approached the glass, but she did not see me. Not at first. It wasn't until she was about to turn away that she did. When our eyes locked, her body reacted.
She was no longer hyperventilating, but instead was gasping air sporadically, like she had forgotten how to breathe. Her heart was not just racing, but was skipping beats and straining to find any form of rhythm. Her sense of balance seemed unstable.
Contradicting all of those things, however, were her eyes. They stared back determinedly.
Had Alice been wrong? Maybe she hadn't been after all.
I held Bella's gaze as I pushed off the tree, and then for a few moments longer before turning and heading for the forest. I glanced back at her once, hoping to convey that I was inviting her to follow me. If she wasn't scared, if she was ready to talk, she would.
I didn't go far. I remained nearby, waiting. Listening. Hoping. Dreading.
And then I hid myself when I heard her run down the stairs and fly out of the house.
I watched as she got her bearings and entered the forest, but stayed ahead of her and out of sight, leading her further in. If she couldn't find her way back without my help, maybe she wouldn't run away from me.
Her steps became hesitant. Our depth into the woods and my silence were unsettling her. I didn't want that. I didn't want her to be frightened.
"Are you afraid?"
When I called out to her, she spun around several times, trying to locate me, but still I hid from her. If she was afraid, I would not scare her further by showing myself.
"Of you? No. If you were going to kill me, I'd be dead already."
Kill her? If I had doubts before, I didn't then. She knew. She knew and she wasn't running away from me.
I launched myself into the tree that was a few yards away and then dropped out of it, right in front of her. I instantly regretted doing so. Her heart pounded wildly in her chest and her breathing turned shaky.
"You're ready to talk." I said this in a soothing voice, hoping it would calm her. It didn't seem to. She stuttered her reply.
"I – I think so. I have a question first, though."
First? Before admitting what she knew? Like the calm before the storm? I raised one eyebrow at her, and for reasons I didn't understand, her tension eased marginally.
"If something was thought to be myth, could some of the facts be wrong?"
Most myths were far from factual. Most were ludicrous ramblings from superstitious storytellers and, in more recent centuries, fiction horror novelists. "Yes."
"Okay. What happens now?"
I have no idea. "What do you want to happen now?"
"I want to understand better, for starters."
No, Bella, you don't. You only think you do. "Before that can happen, I need to know what you've learned."
Say it, Bella. Out loud. I can't confirm it until you say it.
"You're a vampire."
Nothing could have prepared me. It was like hearing the purest of angels shout an obscenity. I would have wept, had I been able to. Instead, I froze. It wasn't like I had to keep up the human charade anymore. She knew. But knowing wasn't the end of this nightmare. She was looking for me to confirm it.
I couldn't. Cowardly, I skirted it. "Ask your questions."
"How old are you really?"
Body or mind? "Seventeen."
"Okay, but, for how long have you been seventeen?"
Mind. But the answer might worry her. Sure, I looked seventeen, but I was, in actuality, so much older than that. I was older than her father. Older than any of her grandparents, were any still living.
She would come to the realization eventually, but until then… "A while."
"Myth." For the most part.
"Yes. But not in the way you think." Not anymore.
"You don't kill people."
Not anymore. "No. We survive off the blood of animals."
"No." I wish it was. "My family is different from others of our kind."
"So, there are other vampires out there who kill people?"
Many, many others. The numbers were frightening, really. "Yes."
"How did you become one?"
I kept it vague. The less she knew of the actual cause and effect, the better. "Carlisle. My mother had just died of Spanish Influenza, and I was dying of it. He thought he was saving me."
"You don't want to be one?"
No. I had never wanted to be one. Not ever. But never, ever since being one, had I ever been so desperate for a way back to humanity. "No. But that doesn't matter. I am one."
"Why? Why don't you want to be one?"
Wasn't it obvious? "I don't want to be a monster."
"You're not a monster."
I shifted my gaze to the ground. Her trusting eyes felt like a punishment I knew I deserved but couldn't bear. She had no idea. Because of her innate goodness, she thought she could see something decent in me.
I wanted to correct her… No, I knew I should correct her, but before I could, I saw her take a step toward me. Panicked, I jumped into the nearest tree, the movement too fast for her to discern.
She looked this way and that before meekly calling my name. "Edward?"
Her eyes grew wider as she stared. Wondering. In awe.
"Did I upset you?" she asked.
"No." You perplex me, but you did not upset me.
"Then why are you up in a tree?"
"You were coming to me." And I panicked.
"Well, yeah. Is that not okay?"
Completely perplexing. For all her frailties, she really was brave. Amazingly, ridiculously brave. "Why aren't you scared?"
"Should I be?"
Any sane person would be. "Yes."
In so many ways, I could not even begin to explain. "Terrified."
"You don't need to be," she said.
And yet I was.
"Please, come down?"
She made a simple request, and I found myself obeying like she ruled my universe. I stepped off the branch and landed in front of her. She gasped as I did so, surprised I assumed, but she recovered quickly and asked her next question.
"Why do you think I should be scared?"
I don't think you should be scared. You should be scared. "I could potentially end your life."
She shrugged, like this was of no consequence to her. "So could my dad. He owns a gun, what with him being the police chief and all. I'm not scared of him."
What a laughable argument. "He's not a wild monster, driven by instincts."
"So, your instincts are telling you to kill me?"
"Yes." Please, if nothing else, grasp that one fact.
"But you fight against them," she said. "It's not about potential, Edward. It's about actions. You won't hurt me."
She truly believed that. She trusted me. She shouldn't, but she did. I should have felt ashamed for encouraging that trust. I didn't deserve it. But I wanted it.
She took another step toward me. I tensed and fought back the panic.
"Why can't I come near you? We've been near each other lots of times."
Yes, amazingly near. Her warmth… Her scent… Focus. "That was before you knew what I am."
"I don't care what you are. I mean, I do, but not in the way you think."
I forced a laugh from leaving my throat. What did she know of my thoughts? "And what do I think?"
"You think you're a monster. You think I should think that, too. But I don't. I care because you seem so tortured, and it saddens me that you are."
No, please, Bella, don't be sad for me. I am not worth a moment of worry. Not worth a single tear. She took yet another careful step toward me, and I steadied myself.
"Alice said I should ask you what you can do."
Yes, and she would die later for that. I had hoped to avoid telling Bella that for now. Since I couldn't read her mind, maybe she didn't have to know that I was a freak among freaks.
But she had asked, and I would not lie to her. "I can read minds."
Her heart began to race. It hadn't completely stabilized from before, and now it was worse, pounding so harshly it caused me concern. That concern escalated when she stopped breathing as well.
Why was her body trying to kill her? Why did she suddenly look embarrassed?
Oh. "Breathe, Bella. I can't read your mind."
She took in a deep breath and blinked heavily. "You can't?" she asked.
"No. You are the exception. The only exception."
She seemed affronted. With how embarrassed she was seconds before, I assumed she would have been grateful to learn this.
Would I ever understand this confusing woman?
"Is there something wrong with me?"
How on earth had she come to that conclusion? I tried not to laugh, but the idea of it was just too humorous. "You're standing here, conversing with a vampire who can read minds, and you think there is something wrong with you?"
She shrugged. "Was just wondering why that was."
So was I. "I don't honestly know. It's very frustrating."
"You wish you could read my mind?"
"Yes. Every day, since the first day I met you. I could hear you inside your house, while your parents spoke with you and you with them, but I couldn't read your thoughts. I could read your parents', Renee's better than Charlie's, but then, with you… nothing. I thought I might be able to with a closer proximity to you, not that I have ever needed that before, but I still couldn't. For the entire drive to my house, I tried."
With her father, I could only make out the tenor, the tone of his thoughts. At the time, I attributed that to his grief, but perhaps I should not have dismissed it so quickly.
"Does anyone else in your family have… special talents?"
"Jasper can control moods." I paid little attention to my words when answering her. My mind was still on her father, and how heredity might have played a role in why I could not read Bella's thoughts.
"Like, if someone's upset, he can make them… not be?"
Simplistic explanation, but accurate enough. "Yes."
"He seems to be afraid of me."
Not afraid of you. Afraid of what he might do to you. "Jasper is the newest member of our family," I carefully explained. "A new vegetarian. It's difficult for him to be around humans."
Not in the way that you are. "That's what we call ourselves."
"Are there very many others like you?"
"No." Just the opposite, in fact. "It's a very difficult lifestyle to maintain."
"It is?" she asked, and I nodded. "Why?"
Don't scare her. Just be point blank honest. "Instincts."
She seemed to process that for a moment.
"So, Jasper's killed people before?"
Here it comes. Brace yourself. "Yes."
Yes, Bella, because I am a monster. How had she ever considered I might be an angel? I was the farthest thing from.
"You don't have to answer that."
Yes, I did. "Yes. But never innocents."
"I think I get what you mean…"
Think? "I can read minds, Bella. My victims were always violent criminals."
"So, in a way, you were doing the world a favor."
Please, no, don't rationalize it. Don't justify it. "No, Bella. No. I had no right to do what I did. I had no right to play God, deciding who should live and who should die."
She didn't respond, only staring back at me for the longest time. Her deep brown eyes mesmerized me as a million thoughts I couldn't decipher flashed in them. "What are you thinking?"
"I think you're too hard on yourself. But I think you feel you need to be. You hold onto your guilt and self-hatred as a self-inflicted punishment."
Every part of her was simplistically perfect. Her beauty, her intelligence, her awareness, her compassion. Drawn to her, I took a step before realizing I should not.
"Why does Rosalie hate me?"
Hate? Hate was too strong a word. "She doesn't." Her expression changed. She didn't believe me. "You're not wrong, but it's not hate. One of the reasons has more to do with me than you," and was laughable, really, "and neither reason is mine to share with you."
"Is she and Emmett a couple?"
"Yes, as are Alice and Jasper."
"So, you're the only one who's alone?"
Utterly and painfully alone, for my entire existence, until three days ago. "Yes."
Why? Because Rosalie was not the match for me that Carlisle had hoped for. And then she found Emmett. Because Tanya, while beautiful, was little more than a succubus. Because… "I hadn't met you yet."
Suddenly, she looked completely unstable on her feet. She swayed a little, and I darted to her side, gathering her to me to steady her.
She looked up at me, her expressive eyes and a twitch of her lips telling me she had something she wanted to say, but nothing verbal followed. Her entire body trembled. Mine would have, too, were it capable.
"You don't know for how long I've waited for you."
That simple truth sent Bella's frail human body into some form of collapse. Her heart sounded dangerously close to arresting. She stopped breathing. It was instinctual for humans to breathe. Why was it not for her?
She tried to, but she couldn't retain any sort of lasting pattern. And her heart rate refused to slow and regulate.
I broke Bella! This beautiful, fragile creature trusted me, and I had nearly killed her. I had nearly overwhelmed her to death.
I needed to fix her before her body failed her. I lifted her into my arms effortlessly, cradling her close to me in a protective and comforting manner.
"Hold on, and close your eyes."
She was unnerved enough. If she saw what was about to happen…
As soon as her eyes fluttered shut, I ran to my room. She needed to be somewhere warm and comfortable so that she could calm down. Taking her into the forest had been a bad idea.
"You can open your eyes now."
When she did, she startled noticeably. She hadn't expected to be in my room. I held her tighter, glad that I had requested she not watch. The rush of it might have caused her to go into psychogenic shock. She was on the verge of that as it was. Her heart continued to pound as if it was trying to escape her chest. The sound of it was almost deafening.
"Do you have super hearing, too?"
I contained my laugh as I set her down on my bed. I could not read her thoughts, but sometimes, it seemed as if she could read mine. While I knew she couldn't, the idea of it amused me.
If she was planning to ask me more questions, I needed to get her body calmed down first. The littlest things seemed to set it off, though not the logical things I assumed would have.
When she learned that I could potentially kill her, her heart rate barely elevated and her breathing became only a little shaky. But when I simply mentioned my long wait for her, she almost died. Her reactions, like her instincts, were backwards. Flipped.
I considered that in the second it took me to power on my stereo and return to her. Then, cautiously, as one of her favorite compositions of mine filled the room, I joined her on the bed.
After settling into a position similar to the one we had been in the night previous, I began a relaxed pattern of breathing. Humans often followed when led by example. For once, Bella actually did what other humans would have done. Her vitals seemed to improve a little with every passing moment.
"You don't need to breathe, do you?"
I smiled. Always curious. Only now, I could answer her questions. She knew. She knew and she wasn't running. "No."
"Where did your family go?"
Was she unnerved that we were alone? No, she didn't appear to be. Her heart rate was almost back to normal now and each breath was even and natural. "Out. They are allowing us some privacy."
"Who is it that might harm me because I know this? Is it other vampires?"
Harm. Harm Bella. I would singlehandedly destroy anyone who tried.
Pain and rage tangled and warred inside my mind. "Yes," I answered, but then said nothing further. I would not have been able to explain beyond that without frightening her.
I wasn't sure if she was intending to press for a more definitive response, but if she was, before she could, we were interrupted.
So, yeah. Like I said. Sucks. I warned you! Did you read the note at the top? 'Cause that's where I warned everyone!
Anyway… back to writing chapter three of Harvest Moon. If my muse will let me! She keeps throwing random projects at me!