Disclaimer: Everything Twilight-related belongs to the Queen of Forks, Stephenie Meyer. I am just an enamored writer who wanted to play with her sparkly toys. No copyright infringement intended.
Welcome to "Serenity's Prayer," my AU New Moon story. I hope you enjoy it!
Chapter 1: The End?
(Note: Underlined passages are quoted from New Moon, pgs 67-71)
"Come for a walk with me," he suggested in an unemotional voice, taking my hand.
I did as he asked, instantly soothed by the coolness of his skin against mine. Yet as we walked, as if my heart suspected something I did not, the relief his touch provided was eclipsed by clammy discomfort. For the first time I could remember in my blissful history of touching him, I wanted to snatch my hand away, to break the connection between us because I felt something was wrong.
I focused on the scenery. It was an overcast day in Forks, not that that was unusual, but the forest seemed alive with promise. Birds sang cheery songs above us as the trees swayed with the beauty of the afternoon. Had his mood been different, I might have thought Edward was taking me on a romantic hike or showing me another secret hideaways.
But he was quiet and distant, despite the proximity of our bodies, and I felt as if I should brace myself. For what, I wasn't sure.
As we reached a flat spot on the path, Edward released my hand. I rubbed my palm against my jeans to erase the unpleasantness and watched him continue a few paces beyond me. As much as I appreciated the view from behind, I wanted him to turn around. I yearned to replace our recent awkwardness with something sweeter, something more like us, and I couldn't do that if he didn't turn around.
I hadn't counted the seconds consciously, but after a half-minute, the fact that he wouldn't – or couldn't – turn around kept me on guard. I opened my mouth to ask him what was wrong but closed it again, somehow knowing he would soon tell me.
As if on cue, he turned to me, his face perfect in its smoothness, and took a deep breath.
"Bella, we're leaving."
Although I half-expected something this serious based on his recent attitude and the distance Alice kept from me in school, I was shocked enough to ask, "Why now? Another year—"
"Bella, it's time. How much longer could we stay in Forks after all? Carlisle can barely pass for thirty, and he's claiming thirty-three now. We'd have to start over soon regardless."
His answer made me frown, as I was actually enjoying my second year at Forks High. Edward and I had nearly all the same classes, so every day was a never-ending date. Though the timing of our pending departure sucked, the logic made sense enough. We wouldn't be able to stay in Forks forever, and with all that happened with James, maybe a fresh start somewhere else wouldn't be such a bad thing.
I mulled this over, wondering how in the world I would leave Charlie again so soon or if I could see Renee before disappearing to parts unknown, while my mind replayed his words. This time, I noticed something. He spoke with no warmth or excitement but something akin to irritation. And that was odd. Edward had no connections to Forks besides the Cullens and me, so why would he react so negatively to leaving?
I replayed his words a third time.
"We'd have to start over soon regardless."
The word plagued me. Though tacked on at the end, I felt the meaning of the entire sentence hinged upon it.
"We'd have to start over soon regardless."
Regardless of what?
I looked at Edward's face. The cool beauty of his features remained, but the fire, that blazing fire that consumed me the first time his gaze arrested me in the lunchroom, was gone, leaving an arctic emptiness in its wake.
I then realized what they were leaving regardless of.
Or should I say whom.
"When you say we –," I whispered.
"I mean my family and myself." Each word separate and distinct.
I hugged myself, seeking warmth against his frosty words. He was leaving. Edward, the one who'd saved and loved me in so many ways, stood in front of me announcing he was leaving. After all we created and survived in the past few months, he was actually leaving.
I could not comprehend it.
"How could you … What did I … We …" I took a deep breath. "Why?"
He sighed. "As I explained, Carlisle is …"
I shook my head. "Don't give me some crap about Carlisle's age." I couldn't keep the tremble out of my voice. "Not with this. Tell me the truth. You owe me that."
I thought I saw him flinch, but I must have imagined it because the marble mask never seemed to alter.
"My world is not for you," he said grimly.
"That's always been true, and we've always dealt with it together. What could have changed to make you think you need to leave me?"
His eyes narrowed, and though he remained silent, I imagined scenes from my party reflected in their depths.
"Because of what happened on my birthday, you're leaving?"
He caught my eyes then looked away. "We are leaving."
"You're making everyone leave Forks because of this?"
"We don't force our choices on each other," he said to the wind. "But yes, my family supports my decision and they are coming with me."
This time I saw his upper lip twitch as if to stop a grimace, but he didn't answer.
"Where are you going?"
"That doesn't matter. The point is we are leaving and will not come back."
I pinched my side, hoping I was dreaming, but the brief pain confirmed the opposite.
"But you …" I closed my eyes, trying to force my mouth to form the words. "In Phoenix, you promised that you would stay –"
"As long as that was best for you," he interrupted to correct me. "What happened on your birthday, although unfortunate, merely cemented a decision I have been contemplating for a long time. It is not safe for you in my world, Bella, nor can I comfortably exist in yours. This is the best thing for me, and it's good for you as well. I'm sure you'll eventually see it that way. In time, it will be as if I'd never existed."
With my eyes closed, I held myself together tight enough to hear his words without falling completely apart. But the idea of Edward abandoning began stealing my breath, and I feared I would soon start hyperventilating.
But as his closing argument reached my brain, something vital snapped within me. The impact broke the icy spell his goodbye casted, dissipating the chill, and the next thing I knew I was angry.
Blindingly, blazingly angry.
I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to control myself. I'd never felt so wild, as if someone doused my soul with gasoline and set it on fire. I'd never felt so intensely venomous toward anyone, except maybe Tyler when he told everyone he was taking me to prom. Even then, I didn't want to him to die; I just wanted him to go pine after someone else.
But as the echo of Edward's words burned a fiery trail of fury through me, the prospect of physically attacking him, even if it resulted in my death, began to hold a certain appeal.
I could not believe I was having such a violent reaction to Edward, to this beautiful boy who, only a few months ago, I thought I'd die without. As I hid in that hotel with Alice and Jasper, praying for James' reign of terror to end, all I could think about was my Edward and how very much I wanted to hold him, touch him, kiss him.
Now I wanted to kill him.
As I struggled to get myself together, I wondered if this feeling was what my natural scent unearthed in Edward, if this all-consuming, raging urge to devour and destroy me assailed him every time I was in his presence. If it was, if he felt anything close to this rage yet somehow didn't act on it, he had more self-control than I ever gave him credit for. And maybe if I could empathize with that part of him long enough, it might save him from my wrath.
It wasn't until he spoke my name that I remembered his presence and that I hadn't spoken in a while. I clamped my lips shut, trying to recover before I totally lost it. Taking on a vampire, even the ridiculous one I loved, was tempting in theory, but as my sanity caught up with me, I realized I valued my human life enough not to risk it... at least not like this. I would have to speak to Edward and preferred doing so without a slew of profanity. But I needed time. And after the heaping bowl of malarkey he just fed me, he owed me at least that.
He didn't seem to understand, and I couldn't break my silence to tell him yet. I was collecting myself–my thoughts, my composure, my resolve not to pick up the nearest branch and whack him over the head with it–and his interruptions were complicating things. I was almost at the point where I could speak with some measure of calm. I just needed a few moments before my wall of forced serenity completely collapsed.
"Bella." His tone was sharp. "Stop this right now."
I opened my eyes and glared at him. He should have kept his beautiful mouth shut.