Plot Bunny #1: What would have happened in Twilight if Bella's mind wasn't closed to Edward. What if he could read her mind? How would it have changed things?

Story Name:A Simple Twist of Fate
Word Count (not including header/author's note):6035
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This was written for the Plot Bunny Contest on FFnet. I hope that whoever requested it is pleased with the outcome.

Thanks to all those who gave me advice on this: AddictedToEdward, Kimmydonn, nowforruin and refolin! LOVE you guys. I hope that you like the finished product. I know it wouldn't be anywhere near good enough to post without you guys.

Thank you to my LOVELY betas from PTB: izzzyy and icul8er (much love). Izzzyy has betad one of my other OSs and I 3 her for it. She truly is the fandom cheerleader!

I don't really feel comfortable writing from a male POV, but that seemed the best way to go given the prompt. Plus it forces me to work outside my comfort zone. I hope everyone who reads it enjoys. :D Everything recognizable is from either Twilight or Midnight Sun. I took a little from both and added some of me! I placed in an oven for a few days—we've been having a heat wave—and, viola, instant Chicken Marsala. Okay, maybe just a little cooked plot bunny a la Fatal Attraction.

I do not own any of these characters, or the original plot to the Twilight Series. Everything publicly recognizable belongs to their owners. I am doing this only for the pleasure I gain from writing, and I am not associated with anyone or anything to do with the Twilight Series. There is no financial benefit, whatsoever, though I may wish there were.

Thanks for reading.

And Fade out...

Edward Cullen.

I turned my head reflexively at the sound of my name, even though it was thought, not spoken. Immediately I recognized the 'voice,' Jessica Stanley. It had been a while since I'd been bombarded by her trite thoughts…and ludicrous fantasies.

Jessica's pedestrian views on love and sex were obnoxious and annoying. The fact that her imagination was exceptionally vivid whenever I was in her line of sight was even more disturbing. It had been nearly impossible to ignore her. It had taken years, but I was grateful when she'd given up on me in lieu of Mike Newton.

The Newton boy was as generic as they came, so I could easily disregard her thoughts about him. Mike's lifeless blue eyes staring longingly back at me were so much easier to ignore than the common shade of brown Jessica had attributed to mine—brown eyes were so flat in their darkness. The standard confessions of love and adoration for Jessica were much more acceptable flowing from his lips than leaving mine, especially in the tone that was a far cry from my own.

My talent was often helpful given our situation, but knowing the mundane thoughts and desires of others, especially the teenage humans we chose to surround ourselves with, was monotonous to say the slightest. Tiresome, endless days filled with repetition left me drowning in an unbearable boredom. If there were any way to atone for my sins, this ought to count toward the tally in some measure.

I briefly glanced at Jessica before my eyes slipped to the human child next to her, the new girl. I'd seen her face in the minds of almost every one of the children today.

She was pale—though not chalky-skinned like my family and me—with long dark hair and dark eyes. I could clearly see the strain spending time with a table full of people put on her. The way she held her fragile frame, as if she wished to disappear, hinted at her shyness. I wanted to protect her, especially from the barbed thoughts her new friend, Jessica,was aiming in her direction.

I briefly contemplated the strange desire as I looked away. I knew my role; I would have to keep an eye on this new one until she became bored enough to pay us no mind. Wanting to take my mind off the odd compulsion I felt, I turned to my brother, Emmett.

"Jessica Stanley is giving the new Swan girl all the dirty laundry on the Cullen clan," I whispered.

He laughed quietly. I hope she's making it good.

"Rather unimaginative, actually; just the barest hint of scandal. Not an ounce of horror. I'm a little disappointed." The humans never made our story interesting enough, though I hadn't expected anything different from the sheep-like Jessica. She rarely had a thought of her own, instead repeating those she heard around her. Strangely, I still felt that strange anger toward her for her treatment of Isabella Swan.

And the new girl? Is she disappointed in the gossip as well?

I searched through the sea of voices, attempting to pinpoint the girl's thoughts. Though I hadn't heard her speak with my own ears, I was sure I could recognize her internal voice. I'd heard her speak enough to the children around campus, one advantage of my extra hearing.

Strange, unpopular names, her unfamiliar voice echoed. The kinds of names grandparents have.

She then contemplated the differences between small towns and her familiar city environment. At that moment, I knew I would have to keep close tabs on this Isabella—Bella, she'd reminded everyone she'd spoken to today. She was perceptive, possibly too much so. If she guessed at our circumstances, she might prove to be trouble.

"They are… very nice-looking," Bella said, her voice timid.

As was expected, she found us attractive. We were beautiful to them, our intended prey. Oddly enough, I found I liked the fact that this girl was drawn to me, but I pushed that thought from my mind.

Well, duh… came Jessica's brilliant and silent retort. Again the desire to remove the Swan girl from Stanley's proximity flared.

Jessica then went on to explain our living arrangements. The new girl seemed more intuitive than most of the teenage children we'd encountered, noting how my siblings and I didn't share underlying features, but also noting the similarities. When she picked up on Jessica's jealousy, I wanted to laugh out loud. Jessica was not as subversive as she thought, though she wouldn't know Bella had picked up on it. Bella never voiced her opinion to the other girl.

Guess I'm not the only one who's an outsider. Bella's thoughts had a hint of pity in them. Sure, they're unbelievably beautiful, but they're also clearly not accepted. Really, that's kind of strange.

If only she knew that was our decision. We'd been approached for friendship and more, on many occasions, but it was safer to keep our distance from the humans. Still, her pity for us struck me; she was more empathetic than most.

Her next thought that she was not the only newcomer, and her pleasure at that fact, confirmed my suspicion of her timidity. But when she thought herself uninteresting, an unexplainable anger spread through me. If she had only known the thoughts of every human boy today, she would have known her allure; she'd been distracting, like a shiny new toy, to them.

"Which one is the boy with the reddish-brown hair?" Bella asked.

I listened more intently. She had glanced my way numerous times during her conversation with Jessica, but this was the first time she'd singled me out. Automatically, I looked over and smiled.

Whoa! He smiled…at me? She sounded flabbergasted.

Why was I leading her on like that? There was no chance of having anything with this girl, not even friendship. I was saddened by this fact, though I wasn't sure why. I'd never been able to have a relationship with any other human before, and it had never bothered me. Why was this child any different?

What happened? Jasper thought.

I ignored him, too eager to hear Bella's reaction to what Jessica had to say. I focused my complete attention back to their conversation.

"... Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him." Jessica was still babbling so it didn't appear I had missed much.

A clear case of sour grapes, Bella pinpointed Jessica's problem right away, displaying how perceptive she was yet again. He must have turned her down at some point.

She was wrong about me having denied a request from Jessica. I'd never "turned her down." Of course that was because I'd never given her the opportunity to even speak to me, let alone inquire about a date.

I turned away, unable to hide my smile. Bella was closer to the truth than she could know. Beneath the transient humor, I felt a coiling in the pit of my stomach, a want. In Bella's thoughts, I noticed a sardonic quality, a wit similar to my own. I found that was one more thing to like about her. There seemed to be many positive aspects.

I wanted to get to know this interesting girl.

No, I could not afford to find Bella Swan interesting. Or rather, she could not afford that. How lucky were the others that no one in particular had appealed to me. Now that one did, I wondered how to handle it. What should I do?

I knew the correct answer, what was right, but I still shied away from it.

We need to talk, Edward. Alice must have seen something I missed.

I looked slowly to the ceiling and then toward the ground. She would understand that as an agreement—we were especially good at these silent exchanges.

Desire and fear for the girl accompanied confusion as my thoughts warred in my head.

What is with your volatile emotions today, Edward? Jasper asked. It's like being on a roller coaster with you.

I shrugged my shoulders, not wishing to discuss the chaos rushing through me.

I briefly searched my other siblings' minds to see if they'd noticed anything. As usual, Rosalie was thinking of herself, and Emmett was thinking about challenging Jasper to another wrestling match. No one else seemed to have noticed anything.

"Shall we?" Rosalie asked.

I was both annoyed with and glad for her interruption. In some ways, I wanted to spend every second I could sitting in the cafeteria learning about Bella from her thoughts and reactions. In other ways, my interest frustrated me as I didn't understand it, and nothing could come of it.

"Yes, let's," I said, looking back to the table.

Alice sat staring at me with a wry smile on her lips.

"What, Alice?" There had definitely been a vision I'd missed in my obsession with the Swan girl? How much else had I failed to notice?

"Interesting, isn't she?"

"Who?" I asked, hoping I hadn't been so evident that even Alice had noticed.

"Who?" she laughed. "I think we both know. Bella Swan."

"Bella Swan?" I wondered if I sounded as stupid as I thought echoing her words, but Alice never mentioned it.

"Of course, silly." How do I say this? "She's meant to be, you know."

Her matter-of-fact yet cryptic statement caught me off guard. Had it not been for the image of a red-eyed, pale-skinned Bella playing in her mind, I wouldn't have been sure what she meant.

"No," I said, more a moan than anything. "The girl doesn't deserve that."

Currently, I don't see any other future. Her words pierced me. How could she be so glib about the girl's humanity?

"No. We must change that." I couldn't allow such a travesty. The girl deserved more than being stuck in this fate. Everyone deserved more than that.

"I don't see how. Nothing I've tried changes anything." And I've tried, Edward. Trust me; I've tried. I can't even delay it. She flitted through multiple scenarios, but nothing changed. It seemed like this was set to occur soon.

"When do you see this happening?" My emotional rollercoaster began again as desperation overtook my mind.

"Soon, but I'm not exactly sure when," she said. Something hasn't been decided yet.

"We'll find the answer," I said. There wasn't anything we could do but wait for the final decision. "We have to. We'll talk about it tonight. She should be fine for today, right?"

"I don't know." It's still so fuzzy. Alice closed her eyes, and I saw Bella lying on the ground, writhing.


"I know, Edward. It pains me too… I think we're okay today, though. It's so hard to tell."

I loathed when Alice's visions were uncertain on timing, especially when they were so important.

"I guess I'll see you later," she said. "You need to get to class."

"We'll solve this tonight."

She searched the future again. Unfortunately, our decision changed nothing.

I left the cafeteria and made my way to my next class, junior level biology. I had repeated the class numerous times, so there was nothing more to be learned, leaving me time to reflect on the vision Alice had seen.

I could not allow that future for Bella Swan. I would not allow that future for Bella Swan.

The girl didn't deserve to lose everything she had ever known. None of us had deserved it either. I constantly ran through how to prevent it. If it became necessary, I would stalk the girl, going so far as to follow her home and keep anything dangerous away. I would make her safe.

Bella seems just as shy as me. I'll bet today is just as hard for her. I wish I could say something… but it would probably just sound stupid…

Angela Weber's thoughts, always kind, interrupted my own, but were then overshadowed by Mike Newton's internal excitement as Bella entered our class.

The tables are familiar, Bella thought. Of course, Angela already has a neighbor. Hmmm. Looks like all tables are filled but one.

I saw the back of my head through her eyes.

Edward Cullen.

She was right; the only seat available to her was the one next to me. Though the humans found us attractive, there was something in our nature that was unnerving to them, and they naturally kept their distance, which was certainly safer. I felt sorry that Bella would have to share the desk with me for the rest of the school year; that would surely prove to be uncomfortable for her.

Suddenly, as she was passing to greet the teacher, a breeze blew by, surrounding me in the scent of the most enticing blood I'd ever encountered in my nearly ninety years as a vampire. All thought about her intuition, her humor, her future flew from my mind. They didn't matter; it wasn't like she'd have much a future past the next few seconds.

All that mattered was getting to the fluid pulsing quickly through her veins just beneath the thin, nearly translucent membrane.

I had to have it, right then and there.

Nothing else was of consequence.

I almost jumped from my seat and pounced on her, barely keeping myself seated by holding onto the desk. The wood splintered in my grip, leaving a hole in the shape of my hand, which I quickly demolished. The distraction provided was temporary, as I breathed in again. My throat burst into flame, and I looked to the desirable girl.

Whoa! He looks so strange. Maybe furious or hostile? I couldn't have done anything to upset him, could I?

Red flooded her cheeks, and I looked down, trying to rid myself of the image. As if sensing the danger, she lost her footing and stumbled into one of the girls on the other side of the aisle.

She was weak. That would make it easier.

I looked to the girl again.

His eyes are black. Coal black.

As I stared at my reflection in her dark eyes, Carlisle's face floated before me. How could I do this to him? To Esme? To the rest of my family?

Through thinking about them, I was able to control myself long enough to watch her hand the slip to the teacher. Then he pointed in my direction.

Good. The girl would be reached even easier when she came back.

He led her to the seat and plopped her book on the table, sending a burst of fresh air toward me. I greedily breathed in the untainted air, hoping for slight relief. Instantly, a semblance of reason returned, along with the image of a red-eyed carbon copy of the girl now sitting next to me. Alice's vision assaulted me as I was stunned to realize that I was the one meant to do this to the girl. I was going to condemn her to my fate.

No, no, no!

Do I smell bad? She sniffed. Strawberries. The scent of my favorite shampoo. Innocent enough.

If only she knew. The overly chemical scent of her shampoo that she enjoyed did not attract me in the slightest.

I'll just hide behind this.

She fanned out her hair, blowing more of her scent toward me. I could almost taste her, the aroma was so thick. Each breath was torturous.

At that moment, I had my answer. I just wouldn't breathe. It wasn't like it was necessary. For the rest of the class, I held my breath. Plotting and planning my next move with the girl. I knew that if I sat there figuring out how to get to her blood, I could delay the inevitable. Hopefully I could do so long enough to get out of the classroom without harming any of these children.

While the seconds ticked by, each more agonizing than the last, I struggled to keep my grip on reality. My thoughts began running in circles. I didn't want to murder the innocents trapped in this too small room, I just wanted the child's blood…which would result in the loss of all these lives if I were to take her here.

Collateral damage, I argued with myself.

Every human life is precious, contested the voice of my father.

No, I wouldn't do this!

Carlisle was right. I would not steal her life. She was precious.

Ugh! Cellular anatomy. Her thoughts sounded disgusted. Too bad I've done this before.

I could kill the rest by snapping their necks. The girl would have very little time to be frightened before I—

It's difficult, but our choices make us who we are, not our species.

No, I wouldn't do this!

Carlisle was right. I would make the decision to rise above. Mind over matter.

Perhaps Jessica wasn't as bitter as I'd thought. He seems so unfriendly.

Maybe I could lure her out after the class was over. Offer to walk her to her next class, say I'd forgotten something outside, and—

You won't be breathing much at first. It's easier that way.

No, I wouldn't do this!

Carlisle was right. I would not breathe. Her scent would not drive me to madness.

This class is taking forever. Bella again. Is it because school is almost over or because he won't relax?

Momentarily, I saw myself through Bella's thoughts. My eyes were black and wild and full of revulsion. All trace of humanity was gone as she looked into the eyes of a monster, a fiend I didn't want to be. She cringed slightly, clearly frightened, though her thoughts didn't fully register that fact. I would fight against my nature, not only to save the girl but also to stop myself from being controlled by the monster inside. I was stronger.

If looks could kill, Bella, you'd be long dead…

She had no idea how close to the truth she was. I was fighting to keep the deadly thoughts from my head, instead going over tactics to reach my destination. Once again, I was shocked by how sharp she was. The look might not be able to kill, but the man behind it definitely could; in fact, he had.

My eyes had seen adequate carnage to last eternity. I'd been that monster for long enough, done despicable things that I could never take back. I couldn't tack this girl's death onto the end of that long list. I would wrestle that demon until I was destroyed. The monster would not take over now as he had decades ago, especially not with one who had such a clean soul.

She blushed again, and I was nearly undone.

Finally, the bell rang. I sprang up, grabbed my books and fled from the room. I would not be attending Spanish this afternoon. From the stress of my last hour, all of my willpower was shredded.

Once I left the confines of the building, and the fresh air cleared out my head, I was able to think clearly. How could I have thought of harming that poor, innocent girl?

I wondered why Alice hadn't come to stop me. Maybe it hadn't been as bad as I'd thought. I decided to check in on her.

Her thoughts were filled with Jasper? She knew the hurdles we were approaching. She knew the terrible future looming over Bella Swan. Why wasn't she watching over her? Did she not care? Yes, he'd struggled at lunch, but he was perfectly calm now, his course sure and steady. It was mine that was so shaky.

Anger at my own weakness filled me as I walked to my Volvo. It was best for me to spend time away from temptation.

Abruptly, Alice's thoughts switched back to Bella. She still saw the same image, a newborn vampire with dark, flowing hair. This time it was clearer than before, so much more certain. How could that be? She'd survived the class.

I sat for the next hour making decisions and changing them according to the future seen in Alice's head. No matter how I tried, nothing changed for Bella. All that would change was when it would happen.

I briefly entertained the notion of giving in. Emmett and Jasper had their fair share of slips. Why not me? When Emmett had met that woman hanging up the wash, he'd not given a second chance to attacking her. Of course, he had been much younger back then. And he had never been blessed with my control. Control that Carlisle had always been proud of, even when I was still a newborn. It had allowed us to move near humanity earlier than he'd expected, leading him to Esme.

If I drained the girl now, he'd never judge me, not even in his own thoughts. I knew, however, that the disappointment I'd see in his eyes and hear in his tone would crush me. I didn't want to be the monster I knew I was. I had to fight this, had to find a means to stay away from Bella Swan.

Out of nowhere the solution struck me. I would remove myself from the equation. I would switch from that section of biology.

Elation hit me as I knew this was the correct way to go. I looked to Alice for confirmation, but she was no longer searching for Bella, having gone back to Jasper.

No matter. I didn't need her to tell me this was the path to stop that vile future. Avoidance wasn't just the best course of action; it was the only course of action. I rushed to the office, where Mrs. Cope sat. I tried to convince her to let me switch classes, but that seemed impossible. She was intent on not allowing me into another section. I even offered not to take the class at all, to make it up the following year. Still she refused.

Just have to get this stupid slip in, then I can go back to Charlie's house. The wind howled. It's so cold in this god forsaken place. At least Renee's happy with Phil. That's why I did this in the first place. Plus Charlie seems pretty pleased. So… two birds, one stone. It's just until college, anyway, Bella. Then you're done and you can go someplace warm and sunny.

I was trapped. There was no way I could leave without some inhuman display of speed. I readied myself for her presence, hoping to scrape together the remains of my willpower. It was a lost cause. There was no way I'd have enough time as she was closer than I'd thought.

The door opened, and a rush of Bella Swan scented air hit me like a wrecking ball.

In that instant, I was not able to deny her lure. I breathed deeply knowing that soon, her blood would be mine. There was no other decision. Wherever I went, she seemed to follow. And I knew I'd never forget the luscious scent of her. How could I deny myself the flavor?

Oh no! He's here. Please just ignore me. Please.

"Thank you for your help. I see that it's impossible. I'll stay in biology." My voice was strained as I forced the words.

I could tell from Shelly Cope's reaction that I'd frightened her, and I knew I needed to calm myself before I turned to the Swan girl. It wouldn't do to scare her away now, not when I was so close.

He was trying to get out of our class? This can't be about me. He doesn't know me from Eve.

I forced a smile on my face, squared my shoulders and turned to Bella. Nodding my head, I walked to the door.

"Hello," I said as I passed.

That was kind of… weird. He looked more normal this time, still gorgeous. She sounded more gloomy than impressed, like most girls. He's definitely more beautiful than that blonde girl.

She was clearly charmed, which was helpful. It would make my task much easier than if she hadn't found me attractive. I would be able to use this to my advantage.

Once outside, I waited for her to leave. I wouldn't decide exactly how I would take her—that way Alice wouldn't foil my plans. Maybe I'd do it when she left the office. Maybe I'd wait until she was home.

One thing was certain, I would have her. That was the one sure way around the future Alice had seen. If I drained her, how would she possibly become like me. Though killing her made me no less a monster, it saved her from eternal damnation.

I listened to the inane conversation between Bella and the unnaturally red-headed school receptionist for what seemed like hours, though it was nothing more than a few rushed phrases. It was clear that neither party truly was interested in the other.

"How was did your first day go, dear?"

Horrible. "Fine."

She's clearly lying. The girl's disdain was so apparent that even the usually oblivious woman picked up on it.

"Have a nice day."

"Thank you."

The door opened, and her scent hit me yet again, the battering ram that would prove to be her undoing.

"Hello," I said. "I'm Edward Cullen. Sorry about the way I acted in class today. I wasn't myself." I smiled slightly. "Would you like to come for a walk with me?"

Her eyes filled with confusion.

Is he talking to me?

"I apologize for my rudeness before."

He seems nice enough now.

"I wanted to give you a better impression of me." I shrugged.

"It's okay."Maybe I was wrong before. He's so confusing.

"I'd had a horrible argument with my sister before class. So I was… out of sorts."

That makes sense. He wasn't upset with me. I knew it couldn't be me. "Oh." Wait! Out of sorts? Who still says that?

I'd clearly slipped up by using a phrase that was no longer part of the teenage vernacular. This girl missed nothing. Hopefully I could just glance over that gaffe.

"So…do you want to go for a walk?" I asked in my most convincing voice, my mind set to do take her now. Her heart rate and breathing picked up.

What is it with the boys here? The boys in Phoenix never paid me any attention. I'm not sure if I didn't like that better. She sighed, her eyes far away as she analyzed the difference. Maybe it's because I'm a novelty here, a freak. The daughter of the chief's batty wife come home. I'm surprised they haven't brought out the sacrificial lamb.

Freak? The word bothered me more than it should. She was destined to become my next meal of sorts; I shouldn't bother about her self esteem.

"So what do you think?" I asked sweetly.

Oops! Over thinking again. "Um…" Does he reallywant me to go, or is he just being nice? Guys like him and girls like me are from two different spheres that don't even touch. "I don't know."

I needed to get her away soon, if I was to have a chance getting to her blood before Alice saw. I smiled kindly and raised my eye brows, trying to prod her silently.

He could get anything he wanted with that smile. Talk about dazzling.

Dazzling was good, but still clearly not enough. If only she would answer my question and follow me.

"Just to get to know each other," I urged.

"I'm not sure…" I really shouldn't. Charlie would kill me.

This Charlie might not, but I was ready to.

"Just a few minutes." Would she never say yes?

He's really eager. "I-I guess so."

I struggled to make my voice sound cheery. "Great!"

Could he actually be interested? In me? Yeah, right, Bella. Stop day dreaming.

I had to hurry this up. Alice would see the vision of me killing her soon, if she hadn't already. I decided to use the sudden gust of wind to my advantage. The woods weren't too far off. If only I could edge her closer. No one was watching. I just needed to get her near the tree line. I easily launched the papers I'd been holding into the passing air.

"Oops!" I sounded contrived, but I didn't care. My goal was so close.

Oh no!

"I'll go get them," I said.

"Let me help."

Perfect! I inched her closer to the edge. When we were close enough, I grabbed her and whipped her inside the sanctuary of the trees.

What the—what the heck is going on?

Once we were alone, I pulled her hair aside, brushing it away from her neck. I didn't take any time to acquiesce to the monster within. I didn't even spend a second thought on not hurting or frightening the girl. There was no need. She was here. She was alone. She was mine. And I was getting what I wanted. The monster rejoiced.

No, stop. Please.

I ignored her appeals and the soft blows coming from her fists, allowing the worst part of me to take over as I bit. My teeth easily cut through the soft flesh, her blood pulsing from the wound and into my burning throat.

Ow! What's happening?

As I reveled in the delicious flavor running down the back of my throat, soothing the fire for the first time in too many years, I listened as her thoughts began to fade. Her pain was beginning to take over. While she suffered, I drowned in the cooling sensation of her heavenly flavor.

Out of nowhere, I was pinned to the ground, twisting and struggling to break free as my meal was torn from my arms. I looked up into the black eyes of my captor, my brother, the traitor. I'd never stopped him when he'd made a mistake.

"Emmett. Let me go." My voice was raw with need.

You can't, Edward. He shook his head as if I was a small child he was reprimanding.

"I need her. I need it."

I tried to buck him off, but he ensured that wasn't going to happen.

No, she's gone anyway.

"How could you?" Rosalie's voice called from behind Emmett. "We're going to have to move now. We'll have to travel quickly." And with a newborn.

"No!" My scream echoed.

"Stop," Emmett growled.

I tried to free myself again, but Emmett's weight was too much.

"No, you can't." I now sounded like I was pleading. "You don't understand. You can't let that happen to her."

"Alice already has." Rosalie was impassive. You should have thought about that before you attacked her.

"No, no," I begged. How could they do this to her? How could I have let this happen? "Please no."

It's too late, bro.

"How can it be too late, Emmett? I'm sure the venom hasn't reached her heart yet."

"Alice has taken her to the house. Carlisle is on his way. He knows, so it's done." Rosalie was condescending. He won't let her be a loss. You know how he is about that.

Rosalie pictured me holding the fragile girl. Then Emmett pulled me to the ground, forcing my arms apart. How he did so without hurting the girl, I'll never know. In an instant, Alice held her breath and pulled Bella from my arms. Alixe's face went blank and she ran her tongue over the girl's wounds.

"No! You must stop them, Rose." I tried to look at her, but I wasn't successful. "Please. You know what this means."

No. It's too late. "You made the decision. I'm going to go offer what help I can," Rosalie said. "I'm sure she'll already have started by the time I get there." Poor girl. I can't believe he did this. The last clear thought was an image of Alice rushing along the same trail she was now taking.

"No! You have to stop this." I was pleading, almost sobbing.

You'd better stop saying that, Edward. "Alice has already seen it." Like Rose said, it was your decision, man.

"Why are you doing this to her? She doesn't deserve this." I lay still, knowing this was the quickest way to get Emmett to release me. "Please let me go."

"Are you calm?" I could tell he wanted to free me. I'd be able to end this… if I could just get to the house.

"Yes." I was calm. I knew it was my only way to free Bella from her intended fate—a destiny worse than death.

"I don't think you are." His brows furrowed. "How do I know you're not just going to hurt the girl more?" His tone was protective. Did he already think of her as a sister?

"I am." I was never happier to be a good liar than in that moment.

"You're not lying are you?" I've got all the time in the world to wait.

He wasn't exaggerating. He would hold me until he felt I was composed.

I sighed. "No, I'm not lying."

"Okay, I guess." He didn't sound too trusting, but I'd never lied to him about something like this before, so he let me stand up.

I raced toward the home we would soon be leaving. "I'm going to stop this," I called back to him.

"Hey, wait up." He sounded hurt. You said you were calm.

"I am calm. Stopping this is the only answer."

I pulled away from him quickly, his size hindering him. Being the quickest had its advantages. The trees almost blurred as I rushed along at my full speed.

When I ran up to the house, I could clearly hear the girl screaming inside. Though my body still craved her blood, my heart ached for her, drawing me to her. In moments I found myself kneeling beside the couch, dry-sobbing over her writhing body. It was amazing how I could ignore her scent when I was distracted.

"I'm so sorry. So, so sorry."

Though I thought I would be more noble, destroying her before the venom could claim her soul and her salvation, my weaker side triumphed. As I stared at her agonized face, I realized that I was unable to end her. The transformation had started, and I would not do anything to stop it. I had already taken so much from her, but still I allowed more to be stolen—I cursed my cowardice.

Could I be so selfish and lonely to wish this life on another in the hopes of easing my boredom? My actions outside the school earlier today had been deplorable but at least that had been blind instinct. By my inaction at this moment, I was making the most disgusting choice ever. But I wouldn't change my mind.

"He won't hurt her," Alice whispered, to who I didn't know. I hadn't even noticed that she was in the room when I had sprinted in.

From their faint thoughts, I could tell that my family gathered around, then slowly drifted away. They returned from time to time, but I never paid attention to their exact words; nothing mattered but the tormented child before me. I was sure they tried to get me to leave her side numerous times.

Still I waited, watching the color seep from her skin, tasting the air that grew sweeter with each breath, memorizing the limited beats of her struggling heart. I mourned as time seemed to both drag and move too quickly. I wanted her suffering over, but I also wanted to extend her humanity as long as possible. How could the second hand become such an enemy to someone with unlimited time?

I vowed to take care of this girl for the rest of eternity. She was my responsibility now. I would school her in our ways, and hopefully, she would decide to follow our diet. If she didn't, every one of her kills would be more blood on my already filthy hands.

After all, I'd done this to her.

Time passed, and I knelt before her, unmoving, a man begging for absolution, while I watched the girl I'd doomed slowly become a slave to the thirst that would forever define her existence.

End Notes:

Me again. Not much to say, my intro above was long enough.

Thanks for reading.