A/N: Hey everyone! It has been a very, very, very long time since I have written anything here, and for that I apologize. Life distracted me, as well as lack of intrinsic motivation. Anyway, this is a scene that has tugged at my consciousness for a while, but it was only as I started studying for my AP Psych final that the words started to come together (fancy that). This scene starts at the beginning of Chapter 2 of New Moon, where Bella has started bleeding and Edward pushed her into the glass.
Characters, setting, and plot all belong to Stephenie Meyer.
My entire being went cold. If I had been human, my body would be flooded with adrenaline. As it were, my every sense was on red alert. I could hear Jasper as he was led away, his footsteps picking up as he went from being forced against his will to running away under his own power. I felt, though I kept my distance, the air that Bella gasped between her teeth as she struggled with the pain.
Pain that I put her through.
Fury lashed through me. Fury at myself, at my nature, at every molecule that made me who I am. I detested my very existence. How could I have allowed myself to cause her this? I truly am a monster.
I could see the details coming together. I was crouched defensively over her body, a reaction so instinctive I hadn't even realized it at first. Carlisle, calm as ever, was taking charge, ordering around. Esme and Alice, fighting their thirst as I fought mine. And yet, not like me.
Even after months in her company, the smell of Bella's blood nearly drove me mad. I didn't want to hurt her. I couldn't hurt her. And yet, there it was; red, warm, blooming. My eyes, dark after so long without hunting, narrowed. I had long stopped the movement of my lungs, cutting off the scent. But our memories are so clear. Too clear. Ridding it of my lungs made little different to the burning in my throat.
A low growl, warning the others, slid between my clenched teeth. They would stay away, or so help me… I would not put her in any more danger. She should never have to be in peril because of me… This never should have happened.
Esme, sweet, loving Esme, had to leave. What kind of a family is it when the injury of one we love forces us to run? I did not blame her, of course not. My mother could not be expected to withstand such an onslaught as this. She was not the one to push Bella into the glass…
Carlisle stood before me, waiting to clean up my mess.
"Let me by, Edward."
For a brief moment, I wanted to stop him. It was irrational, it was stupid, but I didn't want to release Bella to anyone but me. And yet, with her blood calling to me, I was the worst danger in the room. Jasper may have lashed out, but when blood is released so suddenly to the air, what else is to be expected? I did not blame my brother for this. No, the blame lay entirely upon my shoulders.
Barely a second had passed, but I had made my decision. Nodding slowly, I relaxed so Carlisle could help. My eyes went to Bella's face, and the shock there was apparent. Of course she was shocked. Her trusting nature, never expecting anything like this to happen. She had trusted us, trusted us completely, and I had let her down. I felt sick.
Carlisle and Alice were working on her, creating a tourniquet, making a decision about the hospital. I ignored the words, focusing on my Bella's face. Her wide, warm brown eyes. She was looking away from us all, trying to ignore the blood. She hated blood as much as the creatures within us desired it. The irony struck me again, but I felt no humor in this. I felt nothing but the burning rage at myself, the knowledge that I had almost destroyed everything in this world worth living for.
"Let's take her to the kitchen table," Carlisle addressed me, and in response I lifted Bella gently from the ground. I could feel the rest of her blood pulsing beneath my arms, pulling at me. I ignored that and instead looked to Carlisle's hand, which kept the pressure on Bella's arm.
"How are you doing, Bella?" Carlisle asked as we walked.
"I'm fine," she replied. My face felt frozen, like ice. Fine. Covered in gore, nearly attacked by a blood-thirsty vampire, in need of stitches… She was the furthest thing from fine. Trust her to try to make this seem small, to try to take away the horror of what I had allowed.
I set her down carefully in a chair and stood over her protectively, fighting the memory of the taste of that blood, looking at her face, focusing on the rage… anything to forget the – no, I won't even think it.
"Just go, Edward," Bella sighed. She was doing this for me, I knew, to save me the pain, but I didn't care for myself just then. I would do right by her. It was about time for me to start doing right by her. I stayed where I was, fighting the thirst, trying to lose myself in her eyes, ignore the pulsing blood…
"You don't need to be a hero," she insisted. "Carlisle can fix me up without your help. Get some fresh air."
As if I would leave her like this! I didn't doubt my father's prowess in medicine – no, of course not. But my love was more powerful than my thirst. I had proven this. I would be with her, just like any other boyfriend should be able to stay with the one they love when she gets hurt.
She winced as Carlisle prodded her arm, and my determination to stay intensified.
"I'll stay." I said.
Bella's eyes fell from mine. "Why are you so masochistic?" she mumbled, though of course we heard her clearly.
I heard the decision being made in Carlisle's mind, and as I opened my mouth to argue, he spoke.
"Edward, you may as well go find Jasper before he gets too far. I'm sure he's upset with himself, and I doubt he'll listen to anyone but you right now."
I also heard what he didn't put to words.
Please, don't make her see you in pain. She hates it.
Like I could argue with that.
"Yes," Bella agreed, her words pushing me away. "Go find Jasper."
Alice's thoughts then cut in; You're hurting more than helping now, Edward. She continued out loud, "You might as well do something useful."
I narrowed my eyes at all of them, frustrated now with their unified front. Didn't I know what I was doing? Wasn't I in the right, being here for her? And yet none of them would agree, and I couldn't speak to defend my position for need of drawing another breath.
This decided it for me. If I couldn't stay and breathe, then I shouldn't stay. Nodding once, I turned and sprinted out the kitchen front door. They were right, at least on one part – if I didn't stay there, I might as well find Jasper and rid him of his unwarranted guilt.
It didn't take long to find him. He was sitting on a boulder, head in his hands, tangles of emotion so complicated rolling off him I didn't even try to separate them. Emmett and Rosalie stood near, watching carefully but giving him space. They were close enough to catch him if he made a dash back to the house, but they didn't find it likely.
Poor Jasper… Emmett thought, understanding the struggle our brother was facing. And poor Edward… But everything is going to be fine now. Bella's fine; we'll just keep her away from presents from now on. Perhaps her aversion was indicative. Perhaps we should have listened… Emmett's thoughts, unusually insightful, continued, but I couldn't bear the path they were taking. My mind flicked away from his and landed on Rosalie's. I needed a little more time before I could face Jasper.
Look at what she's brought to this family! Rosalie's thoughts were harsh, and though I didn't agree with them in theory, they led her to valid points. We were getting along fine, and now she goes and throws what we've worked for out the window! Jasper shouldn't have to deal with this. It's not safe, not for her, not for us. Why didn't we leave when we had the chance?
Esme was there, too, a little farther off. I took a couple steps closer to Jasper, ignoring the open hostility that was now stopping our mother from comforting him.
Oh, my son… She thought sorrowfully, a lament for both Jasper and I. Her thoughts were less of words and more impressions as she worried for our fates. The two of us, tied together in her thoughts. Not that Jasper was to blame. He acted the way he should. I was the one who forced it. I put her in danger's way, simply by existing. Jasper was merely a reminder of that.
"Jasper," I said lowly, getting his attention. He hunched his shoulders further, blocking me out, trying to block the world, but he could not hide his thoughts.
How could I do such a thing? I am so sorry, Edward. I am horrible, and weak, and I know you hate me…
He obviously had felt the hate I had for myself and misinterpreted it.
"I don't hate you." I said slowly.
I could hear his confusion. He felt the atmosphere, felt the fury rolling off me, and was unsure.
"I hate myself." I explained, knowing I could only convince him with the truth.
But… Jasper hesitated. But you didn't do anything.
"You're wrong." My voice was still soft, still controlled, but there was a burning in my words. Emmett, Rosalie, and Esme had moved farther off, giving us privacy. I knew they could still hear every word we said. I realized, belatedly, that Alice had joined them. Alice had left Bella to avoid any more temptation.
Alice. Even Bella's best friend had had to run from her…
My anger for myself intensified, and Jasper flinched.
"I do it every day. Every second I am with her I put her in danger. Every time she comes to our house, I thrust her into it. My existence is going to kill her." I growled at the end, then clenched my teeth and turned away. Behind me, I heard Jasper take a couple of deep breaths to regain his composure. My anger wasn't helping as it influenced him, but at the moment I couldn't do anything about it.
You love her. It wasn't a question. Obviously I loved her. And obviously I was selfish about it, caring more for my happiness than for her well-being. That had to change. I had to change.
I nodded my head anyway, knowing Jasper was waiting for a response.
Edward… Jasper's thoughts turned to Alice. Edward, if she's your Alice, then there is nothing I can do or say to impress upon you my remorse for my actions. My weakness should not be an excuse, but it is the only one I have. Regardless the circumstances, I would never intentionally harm you that way. I know how you feel. He laughed suddenly, a hard, broken laugh, devoid of humor. Of course I do. I don't understand how a human can have that kind of hold, that kind of desire, but it was inexcusable for me to –
"Stop." I commanded. I didn't want him to think it. I could feel his remorse, clear as day, as well as his unhappiness with himself, but that only angered me further. He shouldn't be wasting his apologies on me. He shouldn't be apologizing at all.
"Listen to me now. I will say this once. It is not your fault. None of this is your fault…" I considered what I planned to do. "Stay here. Stay with Alice. She won't be very happy with me." I could feel the decision rising within me, but I cut stopped before the pain could incapacitate me. It was the right thing. It had to be. "She won't be happy at all, but this is my decision. I expect all of you," I raised my voice here, though I knew they had been listening already "to leave this to me."
All of their confusion at my words tumbled into me, but I ignored them and stepped back toward the house.
"No!" Alice's cry rose above the internal chatter. "Edward, how dare you! This is not okay! This will not solve – "
"Alice," I looked at her coldly. I heard her continued protests, unspoken, but I focused on her eyes. "This is not about you."
"The hell it – " But she broke off once again, her eyes locking to a place we had yet to experience. Jasper was immediately at her side.
I turned and ran before I could see it. I didn't need her visions to know I was doing what was right.
Once I reached the house, I hid in the shadows of the dining room, listening to Carlisle finish telling Bella my story. My resolve strengthened as I waited, and I knew I had to keep this from Bella. What she wanted and what was right were not the same thing, and if she knew what I was thinking then she would do everything she could to dissuade me. I couldn't give her that chance, couldn't allow her that hold. I had to do something right by her. I had to give her a chance at safety and happiness, regardless of what it would do to me.
"I suppose I should take you home now." Carlisle said to Bella. I took this as my cue. Keeping my face smooth, hiding my torturous decision, I entered the kitchen.
"I'll do that."
A/N: I hope you enjoyed that! New Moon may be my least favorite of the series, but I had to get this scene out of my head. If you want me to write more, it would be very helpful if you could review. I think I need some encouragement to keep it up, because obviously if I wait for personal inspiration it may take a few years for another story to emerge! But either way, I appreciate you taking your time to read this!