Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. The Twilight Saga and it's characters are the property of Stephenie Meyer.


It was dark, so very dark. There was something cold, a touch perhaps, very lightly across my jaw. Red eyes, the purest crimson tinted by a milky hue. Cold breath across my face as a deep melodic voice whispered my name, extending the syllables in a soft accent.

My hand was enclosed in ice. No, not ice; a hand, a very cold hand, one which seemed to be trying to offer comfort in apology for its imprisonment. A sleek black head was bowed over my trapped hand; I could feel chilled fingers lightly caressing my wrist. My pulse point.

White eyelids flickered and opened as crimson eyes again held mine, before suddenly they lunged, white teeth flashed before me, I squeezed my eyes shut in terror.

I jumped awake, my eyes frantically searching the darkness of my room, lit only by the moonlight filtering through my window. The pounding of my heartbeat was loud, even to my own ears as I gulped down large amounts of air. I felt the touch of icy fingers against my own and I jumped again, the dream returning to me as I looked up; expecting to see crimson eyes and raven black hair. I blinked as instead my eyes met Edward's golden brown.

"You're here." It was more a statement than a question; my eyes searched his face as the familiar feeling of his betrayal still sent a painful throb through my chest.

"You can sleep. I'll still be here when you wake up."

I let out a disbelieving breath, almost a scoff as I averted my eyes from him, my chest still aching even though he was sat right beside me.

"Bella, the only reason I left was because I thought I was protecting you. I needed you to have a chance at a normal, happy life."

I swallowed the bitter taste in my mouth as I looked at him, my heart twisting painfully as I remembered. "It was so easy for you to leave."

I watched as he shook his head, a frown marring his perfect face. "Leaving you was the hardest thing I've done in a hundred years. I swear, I'll never fail you again. I'm so sorry."

He reached out and rested his hand upon my jaw, the cold of his fingertips reminding me of my dream, of the phantom fingers gliding across my jaw, of my name being whispered almost lovingly. Before I could dwell on my thoughts Edward's quick whisper alerted me just before I heard a creak and Charlie opened my bedroom door, his form lit from behind by the yellow artificial light in the hall.

"Hey. You okay?"

"I'm fine."

My hands tangled in the blanket laid over me as I watched him sigh and lean against the door frame, the look on his face telling me he didn't believe me.

"Dad, you don't have to worry."

"Yeah, last time you said that you took off, I didn't see you for three days."

"I'm really sorry Dad."

"Bella. Do not ever do that to me again, ever. And you're grounded for the rest of your life."

"Ok." I agreed, knowing this was Charlie's way of playing parent and showing he had been worried, that he cared.

As he closed the door Edward appeared again, and suddenly the bitter taste of resentment was back in my mouth as I tried to swallow it down and ignore the burning in my chest. It amazed me that just looking at his face made me angry, made me want to make him feel the pain I had felt when he left me.

"I'm not technically breaking any of his rules. He did say I couldn't take a step inside the door, I came in through the window."

I watched as he knelt down beside my bed, his eyes full of apology and remorse.

"He's not going to forgive me easily."

"I know."

"Can you?"

I remained silent, not being able to answer him over the lump in my throat and the voice screaming inside my head that he'd left me, that I'd risked my life just to see an image of him for months, that nothing would have changed had he not thought me dead.

"I hope you can, 'cause I honestly don't know how I'm going to live without you."

As he spoke rather than melt into his gaze as I would have done previously, I merely sighed and rolled over, my eyes closing tightly as I mumbled into my pillow.

"I'm tired."

I heard the rustle of his clothing as he stood, felt the bed dip as he sat beside me.

"I'll be here when you wake up."

I frowned and swallowed, my mouth was suddenly dry as I inched away from him.

"No, it doesn't matter. I've gotten used to sleeping without you here. You should go."

I was glad I had turned away and had my eyes shut, imagining the hurt look on his face almost broke me, seeing it would have thrown my anger out the window, I would have become lost within him as I had so often before. I had to be stronger.

"If that's what you want..." His voice sounded strained before I felt a rush of wind and knew he had left. I jumped from my bed and reached for the window, slamming it down and latching it closed. I returned to the protection of my warm bed and covers, squeezing my eyes shut as I forced tears back. I had saved him; I knew he was alive and safe. But I didn't know that I could forgive him, Laurent's words echoed in my head as I clutched my pillow.

'After all, how much could you mean to him if he left you here, unprotected?'

I sobbed into the comfort of my bedding, my shoulders shaking as I vowed to myself that this would be the last time I cried for Edward Cullen.