What if Bella chose action over catatonia to deal with her pain from the breakup with Edward, like a 'normal' teenager? The Center for Disease Control reports that of all high school students, 60% consider suicide, 15% make a plan for committing suicide, while 9% actually attempt it. Breaking up with one's boyfriend or girlfriend is one of the major reasons for considering it. Having access to a gun greatly increases the teen's chance of successfully killing himself or herself. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Americans ages 15-24. So it's actually a more likely response than becoming catatonic.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight.
I felt his cold lips ghost across my forehead and opened my eyes, reaching for him instinctively to cling to him and never let go. My fingers touched only air, for in that split second it took for my brain to process what he was doing and send the command to my muscles to respond, he had disappeared without a sound. Not even a trembling leaf indicated his direction, and my eyes darted around frantically, hoping against hope to catch sight of him, just one glimpse to let me know which way to go to follow. My heart shattered into millions of tiny pieces as it slowly dawned on me that he really was gone. He really left me. The whole family left me. My whole future abandoned me. Unloved. Unwanted. Unwilling. Unappreciated. Unnecessary. A huge pain ripped through my chest, leaving me aching and hollow. I couldn't live with this pain. I would never be able to function. I wrapped my arms around my midriff, as if that would hold me together somehow. Life . . . love . . . meaning . . . over.
There was nothing left to hold me here. Renee had Phil now – she no longer needed me to take care of her. That was his job now. Charlie loved me, but he had lived his whole life without me and would have been losing me after graduation anyway. He had good friends and a healthy support system. In fact, the whole town would support him through any difficult time, just as they had in the past. Angela was my only real human friend, and I had already distanced myself from her, knowing she couldn't be a part of the future I intended to have. I lost everything.
Carlisle and Esme had been more affectionate and parental toward me than my biological parents ever had. Emmett was the protective older brother I always wanted. Alice was the best friend I'd ever had, and I loved her as a sister. I didn't know Jasper very well, but I had a deep respect for him, and he had made me feel better about myself than anyone else ever had. Ever since he told me I was worth it, worth risking his life, his mate, his family for, I had felt connected to him. Frankly, I was in awe of him. I sincerely hoped he'd gotten the message that I had forgiven him and didn't blame him at all for what happened.
I had seen how he had resisted the bloodlust, how he had gone limp in Emmett's arms and allowed himself to be dragged away as his eyes swam with guilt, torment, and resolution. I could see how hard he was struggling to come back to himself. I also hadn't missed the thirst in everybody's eyes. I had seen the whole thing in slow motion, just like with the van accident – how Edward had panicked, how his eyes had turned black, how he had pushed me away from himself, how Jasper had already stopped breathing, how his eyes were still golden until Edward's turned black, how Edward had turned desperately toward Jasper as he pushed me away, how Edward had regained control just as Jasper lost it. I hadn't even felt the pain in my arm as I saw everyone's eyes turn solid black, saw Jasper flinch and snap, saw him lunge toward me, his eyes reflecting his inner turmoil, his sadness, helplessness, fear, and remorse. The promise in his eyes to minimize the damage, the knowledge he would bite and drink, but would be as gentle as possible about it, the certainty his family would stop him if he couldn't stop himself before he drained me, the full intention of instituting the change, the acknowledgment of my acceptance of this lifestyle and forgiveness for him being the one to initiate the change, which Edward had been foolishly denying me. It was all there. All shared between the two of us without words.
Now I desperately wished Emmett had been too slow to stop him, that Jasper had tried just a little bit harder to reach me. But no, I must have been mistaken in what I saw. They all left without even saying goodbye. They didn't love me after all. It was all a fairy tale, but the Brother's Grimm kind that didn't have a happily ever after, unlike all the Disney versions. Curse Disney for giving us false expectations of Prince Charming. This was a tear jerker, like Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows. This was a Shakespearean tragedy, where the heroine dies and everybody cries, and the hero rides off into the sunset to pursue his distractions without a backward glance.
Why DID he bother to save me from that van anyway? For the first time since learning all his secrets, I contemplated this question. Suddenly, it hit me. My blood. If my blood had been spilled in the accident, he surely would have flown into a frenzy and done something far worse to expose the family, killing any innocents who got in his way or interfered in his goal of drinking from me. He had even admitted as much in the meadow. That's why he really saved me - to avoid exposure. This whole time he's been pretending to keep me close, just to keep me from sharing my knowledge with anyone, and finally, he got tired of pretending. It's always been about avoiding exposure - our whole relationship. It all makes so much more sense now.
'Promise you won't do anything stupid or reckless. For Charlie's sake . . .'
Of course! I could finally see the true meaning behind his words. 'Don't do anything stupid or reckless – like reveal our secret to the world. 'For Charlie's sake' – we'll kill him if we have to, to keep you quiet.
He was threatening me, afraid I would retaliate against him if he broke up with me, the way a normal girl would be tempted to do. It had all been a sham. His love, Alice's bonding, Emmett's protectiveness, Carlisle's and Esme's tender ministrations. Rose hadn't lied or pretended she liked me. My respect for her increased tenfold. What about Jasper? Looking back on my memory of our brief time together, I wondered now if Jasper hadn't been trying to warn me last spring.
'You are worrying about the wrong things' – Can't you see it's a sham? That you're a toy, a possession. That Edward is only playing with you. That he won't let James kill you, because he wants your blood for himself. 'You are worth it' – Your blood belongs to Edward. Edward is happy playing with you, which makes the rest of us happy too. We are enjoying the excitement of fighting another coven. It eases the boredom of repetition.
If only my translator had been working before now, I could have saved myself so much heartache. I should have known when he sucked out all the venom, rather than let me change. He got to taste my blood without getting in trouble for it, and he didn't have to keep me around forever. I should have seen the writing on the wall when he encouraged me to move to Jacksonville with my mom. I should have known he didn't want me way back then. He tried to get rid of me, but I wouldn't listen. So to shut me up, he agreed to stay, but only 'as long as it was best' – only until I can get away from you without risking exposure.
'It'll be as if I never existed.' What utter bullshit! As if I could ever forget him or the rest of the family. As if I don't have a cold, glittery scar on my wrist forever reminding me of what happened in the ballet studio. I can never forget. I will bear the pain of his, of their betrayal for the rest of my life. The pain was so overwhelming I could barely breathe, barely think, barely move. I couldn't carry this burden, this pain, this shame any longer than absolutely necessary.
In that moment I knew what I had to do. I had to stop the pain. I picked myself up off the ground and stumbled back to the house. I let myself into the back door and was startled to see a note on the kitchen counter. I picked it up and was confused to see it was in my handwriting. I didn't write a note! It took my brain several times to make sense of the note. 'Dad, Edward and I went for a walk in the woods. Be back soon. Love, Bella' WTF? What was the purpose of this note? I knew Edward must have written it, since I obviously didn't. But why? Why incriminate himself? Or maybe he didn't write it. Maybe one of the other Cullens wrote it. But which one? No, none of them would write it. It would cause nothing but problems for them. It clearly marks Edward as the last person to see me alive.
My first instinct was to destroy the note, but the woman scorned inside of me finally made herself known. Fine, let him face the interrogation. Let all of them face Charlie's wrath. It's the least they deserve. I won't reveal their secret, but I won't make their leaving easy either. Let them be discomforted for breaking my heart, killing my soul. Let them feel one iota of the pain they caused me and let them know my blood is on their hands forever.
I left the note on the counter and stumbled over to Charlie's gun safe. Charlie was so predictable, so constant, it was easy to figure out the combination to the safe. I opened it up and grabbed the Colt 45 and two bullets, just in case. I loaded the ammo into the chambers and closed the gun safe with steady fingers. I knew how to handle a gun. It was one of the things Charlie had insisted I know and had taught me himself. I was actually a pretty good shot, which was rather ironic, all things considered. I knew well that this gun would do the job thoroughly. I thought about just doing the deed now, but realized how devastating it would be for Charlie to find me here. How will he be able to live here in this house if it is always haunted by the memory of my bloody body crumpled on the carpet? No, I owe Charlie more than that. I won't be stupid or reckless about my suicide. For Charlie's sake, I'll do it somewhere else, somewhere less traumatic for him. My brain rapidly considered and rejected multiple options, before finally deciding on the perfect place, my final resting place, a place of peace and beauty.
I stomped clumsily out the front door, carefully locking it behind me. Why, I wasn't sure. For Charlie's sake, I supposed. I climbed back in my truck and drove off to the south, taking the road along the coast. I picked up the scenic bypass that traveled along the cliffs' edge and pulled up to my favorite scenic view. I had brought Edward to this spot before, wanting to share my special place with him as he had shared his meadow with me. We had watched the sunset here together on more than one occasion.
I pulled my notebook and pen out of my backpack, that Edward had so thoughtfully taken from me and left in my truck. Had he known what I would do? Had he known I would come here and need the supplies to write my suicide notes? What am I thinking? Of course he knew. Alice would have told him.
My insides felt cold, the ache numbing at the realization that Edward deliberately drove me to suicide, that Alice had seen it and encouraged it, that not a single member of my adopted vampire family cared in the slightest. I knew then I had made the right choice. Death is the right choice for me.