Author's note: My apologies to all for the abhorrent adjournment. For those who have moved on, I wish you all the best… for those who have remained, I adore you.
Sweet Bella breathed out deeply, her body ragged with relief for she did not feel traitorous while folding her clothing into neat squares. It was a fact that her entire being rejoiced at her absurd plan to reunite with someone who may very well not want her anymore.
But he would always want her…
Why was it always so easy, so alluring to submit? Why did she relish in pleasure of knowing that he smiled only for her, cared deeply only for her… and still… he hurt her the most. Did the extremes between the love and pain please the deepest, darkest places in her? Or was it that love and pain were synonymous… what a sadistic relationship that the pain they could inflict was reflective of the intense love that violently stormed between them.
These weeks she spent trying to focus on the trauma of losing her family had been beneficial to her healing and grieving process for her parents. Still… time had been detrimental to her psyche, which was focused on Edward. She couldn't concentrate on her homeschooling; she loathed waking up knowing that he was miles away in Forks… without her…
She tightened the straps of her backpack as her luggage rolled silently on the plush rug that covered every floor in Elizabeth Platt's home. She even stood watching as Elizabeth's shadow could be seen from underneath her study door… pacing as her muffled voice indicated that she was having an intense phone conversation.
Bella was not concerned as she opened the door… she didn't even look back as she loudly wheeled the luggage down the steps of the place that housed her for three weeks.
Her goal was to go back to Forks; there was nothing anyone could do to prevent her from returning.
The air was cool as she walked down the narrow sidewalk with her belongings and she tightened her jacket as the intersection neared. Her movements were relaxed and agile; her body recognizing that it was getting what it wanted... Edward.
The approaching darkness of night veiled her movements as the surrounding houses lit up with laughter and family interactions… she had never belonged here.
A horn startled her as a cab paused next her; the older man looked at her with a slight crease between his brows, "need a cab Miss?"
"Yeah" Bella smiled, grateful that she didn't have to reach the intersection before hailing a cab. The driver exited and deftly placed her luggage inside his trunk. His eyes strayed from the expensive luggage to the worn backpack she carried... this girl was a walking dichotomy but he's had stranger passengers than a teenage girl.
Bella was unperturbed by this man's obvious staring as she entered the cab and fluidly shut the door.
"You're not running away from home are you?"
"No Sir, I'm actually running towards home." Bella smiled at the driver, her body elated at the inherent rightness of that statement. He only frowned as his confusion deepened.
The cab ride was a blur of lights as the city came alive. She couldn't remember the lively conversation she had with the driver, he was kind and talkative but she was on another dimension... unconcerned about her reception when she got home, focused on simply being there again…
She talked her way into paying an obscene amount of money for the next available flight to Washington and had a somewhat restful sleep in the first class seat that she managed to procure.
Her body was a pendulum brutally rocking from wired intensity to blissful relief at the prospect of seeing Edward again… no matter the consequences… was something wrong with her?
Her journey was nearing its end as she sat in the back of a Washington cab that drove towards the Cullen mansion. It was desperately dark but the night was charged with whispered secrets. Nature herself knew Bella's return was setting something greater in motion. A warning carried in the wind from swaying tree to swaying tree as the cab took a sharp turn onto the lengthy driveway.
"Here's fine." Bella stopped the cab before if fully pulled up to the driveway.
"Are you sure Miss? It's dark." This cab driver looked at the looming mansion.
"Yeah… can you just help me with my bag?"
"Ok, if you're sure." He parked the cab and retrieved her luggage, handing it to her… still feeling uneasy about not taking his young passenger directly to her front door. He was surprised when she handed him more cash than necessary but before he could even thank her, she was slowly walking towards the mansion.
The cab's headlights briefly illuminated the long driveway to her home while a celestial atmosphere accompanied her on her walk towards the mansion, ushering home its prodigal daughter.
Three weeks of disturbing dreams… three weeks of planning what to do with Bella when she came back… three weeks of missing… three weeks of hating… three weeks of loving…
Sweat droplets coalesced on Edward's skin as Morpheus, the winged god of dreams, heralded the nightmares this night. The reoccurring dreams that afflicted him were always of Bella and left him with physical thirst and bodily stain. Ensnared in nightmares and unable to awake until Eos, goddess of sunrise, battled Morpheus away from his psyche was the norm for Edward.
Tonight was peculiar though because his dreams began to diffuse into reality… warmth had slithered its way up his body…shaking him gently as it gained victory over his unconsciousness.
Eyes wide open… Edward woke up abruptly detaching a small warm feminine frame from his body causing him to fall out of bed.
There, right before him, still kneeling on his bed was the creature that had maimed him and left for three weeks… the creature he was chasing in his dreams. And even in this relative darkness, where the clouds playfully hid and revealed the moon intermittently, her beauty vanquished him.
A sardonic smile gently touched across his face as he wondered if certainty was a thing of the past and madness was his lot.
"Hi." Ahhhh her voice… sweet nectar, a dark pungent elixir… a balm to his wound…
His eyes reflexively closed allowing Bella's voice to smother him.
"You're not real."
Bella didn't know what to expect but knowing that he would think he was dreaming had crossed her mind. "Edward, look at me"
Green eyes brimming with accusatory fury, "You are not fucking real because you fucking left me." Deathly delivered to assassinate the specter before him for Edward was positive that this Bella was a figment of his imagination.
Calmly, she climbed down from his bed; leaning towards him … studying the dark shadows under his eyes as she slowly lifted her hands towards him. She cradled his face trapping it between her palms… tangling her eyes within his soul… until
"You fucking left me." Harshly whispered words that did little to mask the timbre of pain as a dry sob broke from Edward.
"I had to." Her eyes not pleading but viciously drinking the sight of her Edward… How could she have justified trying to heal without him when they could only heal together?
Her words had taken physical form and slithered through his ears onto his tongue, bitterly staining his taste buds. A sound of disgust emanated from the back of his throat to dislodge the abhorrent taste that lingered after those words, "forgiveness for this stunt you pulled will come at a dire price."
Defensive animosity to cover the hurt…
She smiled, the natural red hues of her lips brightened against her gleaming teeth. She cared nothing for his forgiveness; Bella had survived enough brutal emotional acts of at the hands Edward to know how it worked.
She tangled her hands in his wild hair, gripping until his follicles were painfully tugged, "I missed you."
The sound that escaped his lips seemed more suited for a wild creature, yet it did not disturb Bella.
His smile was twisted with secret knowledge of her, wicked little ideas of how to get her to remain with him… beyond time… to leave their mark even after they both freed themselves of the confines of the earth…
A minute tingle within her spine was the first indication that he must have entertained an absurd idea of how to keep them together and it was probably within the realm of psychosis he'd been familiar with throughout his life.
Edward pulled her closer and breathed in the scent of her skin… his breath tickling her neck as he bent down to kiss her neck and just as abruptly bit down harshly. A hiss of pain escaped her lips as he laughed darkly.
"You are real…"