Chapter 15; Pressure in New Moon (by SM) :
"Fight!" he yelled. "Damn it, Bella, keep fighting!
I didn't want to fight anymore. And it wasn't the lightheadedness, or the cold, or the failure of my arms as the muscles gave out in exhaustion, that made me content to stay where I was. I was almost happy that it was over. This was an easier death then others I'd faced. Oddly peaceful.
I thought briefly of the clichés, about how you were suppose to see your life flash before your eyes. I was so much luckier. Who wanted to see a rerun, anyway?
I saw him, and I had no will to fight. It was so clear, so much more defined than any memory. My subconscious had stored Edward away in flawless detail, saving him for this final moment. I could see his perfect face as if he were really there; the exact shade of his icy skin, the shape of his lips, the line of his jaw, the gold glinting in his furious eyes. He was angry, naturally, that I was giving up. His teeth were clenched and his nostrils flared with rage.
"No! Bella, no!"
My ears were flooded with freezing water, but his voice was clearer than ever. I ignored his words and concentrated on the sound of his voice. Why would I fight when I was so happy where I was? Even as my lungs burned for more air and my legs cramped in the icy cold, I was content. I'd forgotten what real happiness felt like.
Happiness. It made the whole dying thing pretty bearable.
The current won at that moment, shoving me abruptly against something hard, a rock invisible in the gloom. It hit me solidly across the chest, slamming into me like an iron bar, and the breath whooshed out of my lungs, escaping in a thick cloud of silver bubbles. Water flooded down my throat, choking and burning. The iron bar seemed to be dragging me, pulling me away from Edward, deeper into the dark, to the ocean floor.
Goodbye, I love you, was my last thought.
Chapter 16; Together Again (by me)
Just seconds ago I had been sinking—or so I thought. I was now on my hands and knees on the beach of La Push, coughing and sputtering as my lungs desperately worked to extract the salty sea water from my body. The hand of my saviour pounded my back harshly yet somehow at the same time with care, but I was too out of it to realize that the palm wasn't soft like a normal human hand would be, but hard like a rock.
Finally, after a couple agonizing minutes of hacking coughs, I could breathe, however, my throat stung with each breath and screamed for clean water to wash the salt away. I collapsed on the sand and rolled over onto my back with closed, heavily lids. I felt as though I, well, almost died. In truth, I had.
I could still feel the presence of my hero, but I wasn't quite ready to face reality yet.
Suddenly I could feel a shadow over me. A tiny bead of cold, salty water dropped onto my bottom lip and stung my dry skin. Against my will, I opened my eyes slowly and gasped as I stared into the most beautiful things in the world. I was drowning again—only this time in the liquid gold of…Edward's eyes.
He was kneeling over me; his legs on either side of mine, and his hands on either side of my head. His perfect, full lips were slightly parted, and each time he exhaled, his sweet aroma washed over me. I studied his straight nose, his strong cheekbones, and the shape of his eyebrows. His beautiful copper hair was drenched with water and I deduced that the droplet had fallen from his perfect locks. My hand involuntarily reached up and stroked his marble forehead and his stone chin, followed by his soaking wet hair.
He felt exactly as I remembered.
I dropped my hand and fresh tears stung my eyes. Edward wasn't here with me. He couldn't be. He promised to never come back, and I knew he would stand by his declaration until I died.
I tried to think of an explanation that would explain this sudden heartbreaking yet beautiful hallucination. The little blood that was in my face drained. Just minutes ago I believed I was sinking. I must have been correct. Which meant…
I was dead.
I felt myself slipping away from consciousness, and I blacked out.
When my eyes opened, I was no longer at the beach in La Push. There was a warm, gold quilt draped over me, and I was in a pair of lacy blue silk pyjamas. My hair was dry and had been put into two braids. It seemed that I was lying on a sofa—yes, a large black leather sofa. I turned my head to the right, and found myself looking out at the forest, through a wall made entirely of glass.
Slowly, my brain put together the pieces, and I knew where I was. The Cullen's house.
Wasn't I dead? It felt like I was still in Forks. Was this heaven? I sure hoped not. An eternity in the house of my lost love filled with bittersweet memories, that were, for the most part bitter, seemed a lot like hell. What had I done to deserve this? Oh God, I had left Charlie. That was it. Poor Charlie, once again all alone. How could I have been so selfish?
Unless I really was still alive. I placed my middle finger against my neck, to feel if I had a pulse. Yes, I most certainly did. Was it truly possible that I had been saved? Then maybe I was dreaming. I pinched the skin on the side of my wrist. "Ouch." Yep, I was definitely awake as well.
I heard someone chuckle beside me. No, not someone. I would know the source of that chuckle anywhere. My head slowly turned, and my eyes took in the appearance of the angel before me.
He sat right beside the sofa, cross-legged, with his hands folded on his lap. My eyes widened, and tears filled them to the brim. He was here. He was really and truly here.
I flung myself off the sofa and into his arms, unable to control myself any longer. "Oh, Edward!"
Those were the only words I could get out before I began to sob uncontrollably. I was sure he would push me away, but he didn't. He hugged me closer to him than I thought possible.
Over the volume of my sobs, I could hear Edward sobbing, too. I didn't understand why he would feel the need to cry, but in that moment, I didn't care. I was just so happy to have him next to me, to be able to see him. Even if it was only for a little while. Because right now, I could pretend that he still loved me and that I was still allowed to love him.
I ran through the thick forest, warring with myself. I had never hated myself as much as I did at this moment. Here I was, on my way to Forks, because I was so selfishly weak that I couldn't even stay away from her for a few months, let alone the rest of her life. A strong man would stand by his promise. He would put his love's needs before his own.
Even so, no one could ever say that I didn't try. Damn, I'd tried so hard. Every time I closed my eyes, I was haunted by her face and the look in her eyes when she believed that I no longer loved her. Then I wondered how it had been possible for me to be so heartless and deeply hurt the woman I loved. My brain had been turned on autopilot throughout the entire conversation. I hadn't allowed myself to think or feel until I was far away from her.
Each day without her felt worse than vampire venom spreading through a human body. Each second was sheer agony. My mind would replay each moment of our time together in perfect clarity and those memories were what kept me from returning, in the beginning. But as more time passed, the memories became a reminder of everything I lost and would never again have. My subconscious mind began to insist that it didn't have to be this way. I could be with her again.
And yesterday, I had finally cracked.
I was a monster. I was weak, selfish, and needy. I knew I would beg for Bella's forgiveness for decades. There was a possibility that she would tell me to leave her alone, tell me that she had moved on…
One part of me hoped I was right and the other screamed in pain.
I ran up the side of a large hill and smelt something foul. I stopped briefly, wrinkling my nose and searching for some recognition of the offending stench in my mind. I jumped far away from it when I realized I was standing only a foot away from the treaty line. It seemed there were once again werewolves in Washington. Shaking my head, I worried about Bella. Her father spent a lot of time in La Push and she probably accompanied him for time to time.
As I thought about this, a blood curdling scream rang out. It sounded oddly familiar and I ran to the top of the hill just in time to see my Bella plummeting toward the raging waters and disappear into the sea.
I didn't think. I just ran. Ran faster than I had in my entire vampire life, except for maybe the time with James. I flung myself into the water and found her instantly. She was not struggling like I imagined she should be, but her eyes were partly closed and her lips were curved into a delighted smile. I grabbed into her from behind and dragged her to the surface. Her head lolled back onto my shoulder and I pulled her onto the beach. Her heart was still beating so I flipped her over and started to pat her back with the least amount of pressure I could exert. She seemed to come back to life as the muscles in her body went from limp to tense. I let go of her now that she could hold herself up but continued my ministrations on her back.
Water trickled from the corners of her lips and spurted slightly with every cough. My body was tense with worry and fear that I might be doing something wrong and was hurting her rather than helping. But before I could freak out too much, she feel onto her back and sighed, her chest rising and falling with each heavy breath. Her eyes were closed, and I suddenly realized that I was with my Bella again.
Without consciously choosing to do so, I crawled toward her at a slow human speed until I was right over her, my legs on each side of her hips. I leaned down to examine her more closely, supporting myself by placing my hands in the rocky sand on either side of her head and hair.
Her hair was longer than before. I could tell she had not cut it since I'd been…away. Her face seemed slimmer, too. It was almost too slim. I worried that she had not been eating enough. There were deep hollows beneath her eyes and her lips were purple. I took in her beautiful long, thick lashes and wished she would open her lids so I could see her deep brown eyes.
As if reading my thoughts, her eyes fluttered open and she gasped, the surprise in them evident. I couldn't look away. She blinked quickly several times and I heard her heart beat speed up for almost tens seconds before it stuttered twice. Her eyes rolled back into her head as her lids closed and I began to panic. Her heart was still beating, but what had happened to her?
My phone vibrated in my pocket, and I pulled it out quickly, reading Alice's flashing name on the screen. I was surprised that it still worked after jumping into the water with it, but I flipped it open and pressed it to my ear.
"She fainted, Edward. I saw everything and I am so glad you were there. Now pick her up and for God's sake, get back across the treaty line! I'll meet you at the house in an hour."
She hung up and I stuffed my phone back in my pocket before reaching down and cradling Bella in my arms. I ran in the direction of the house, making sure none of the leaves or branches brushed against her in the process. I flew up the stairs toward my room and pulled off all the dusty sheets, throwing them into the hall. I set her down gingerly on the sofa and removed her wet jeans, shoes and sweater so she wouldn't get hypothermia.
When she lay before me in nothing but a set of blue underwear and a bra I had so clench my hands together and keep from touching her. They were oddly fancy, and I had to wonder if maybe Alice had bought them for her last year. Either way, they looked…beautiful on her, and it felt wrong to think of her that way in the state she was currently in. I leaned against the wall and watched her sleep until Alice arrived.
She smiled and her thoughts were bursting with excitement. "She looks like hell," Alice observed. I glared at her. Bella looked as beautiful as ever, but I had to agree that she looked slightly ill and worn out.
I'm going to put her into a nice comfortable pair of pyjamas, Alice thought to me. I shrugged and turned to leave the room.
No peeking in my head! She insisted as I walked from the room. I rolled my eyes but smiled a little. After pulling the sheets off everything else in the house, I called Carlisle. He picked up on the first ring.
"Edward? Something wrong?" he asked immediately.
"No, nothing like that." Even I could hear the difference of tone in my voice from the last time I called.
"What is it then?" he wondered, curiosity and hope evident in his words.
"I'm in Forks."
A three second silence.
"You've returned to her?" There was no need for him to explain who 'she' was.
A smile played around the corners my lips. "Yes."
"If she wishes, yes."
There was a quick whisper and then suddenly Esme was on the phone.
"Oh, Edward!" she gushed. "I'm so happy. You're happy now, aren't you? And we'll all be together again, is that right?"
"Yes, Esme," I assured her.
We spoke for a couple minutes longer until Alice told me Bella would be waking any minute. I said goodbye and began my ascent up the stairs. I tried to calm the nerves and prayed that she would allow me back into her life. If she didn't want me, well...I didn't know how it would be possible for me to stay away this time.