IMPORTANT! This story is a One Shot outtake from my story 'Cullen Hall'. This story contains serious spoilers for 'Cullen Hall' so I'd suggest reading that first.
The Last Night at Cullen Hall
I lay on my little bed, the hard frame doing little to relieve my aching body. I closed my eyes, wishing that sleep would come for me, but my mind was too restless.
My hand ran across my stomach and my heart ached. I could feel the growth within it, the stirring life within me. My belly was already growing and I couldn't hide it much longer.
My child was growing.
Tears pricked at my eyes but I didn't lift my hand to wipe them away. I mustn't weep, I mustn't… Edward had promised…
He had promised. His words sang in my soul.
"I'll take us away from here. We will leave and we will be together, my love."
I smiled faintly, opening my eyes to stare at the dark rafters above me. Edward… oh, how I loved him. The sight of him made my stomach curl and throb with adoration. He was so handsome and kind and he loved me. It was a ridiculous notion, so impossible and yet true. He loved me.
He would give up everything to be with me. He would give up his heritage, his home, his fortune…
Yet when I had seen him at dinner, his eyes had been heavy with sadness, unable to share in the joy of his brother, Master Marcus and his bride-to-be, Miss Didyme. She had been most kind to me, when she had spoken in passing. She had no idea of how close we were to being family…
I believed in Edward. He would keep me safe.
His plan was so simple. To take me with him when he went to London tomorrow with Master Marcus and Miss Didyme. To follow them to America with as much of his fortune as he could amass in so short a time and to start a new life together, leaving behind Cullen Hall forever.
I don't know if I believed in such a plan, but I believed in Edward without a doubt. How could I not? I was not a foolish girl, one to be taken in with false promises of love. I truly believed in everything that Edward offered.
He had been summoned by his uncle, Master Aro, after dinner and I believed that this was what had filled him with such sadness. He had confided in me how his uncle believed in the sanctity of his heritage and nothing more.
Master Aro would send me from the hall if he had any idea of what Edward and I had shared together.
I heard a door slam below my window and my heart beat faster. I crossed to the tiny glass pane and looked out.
Edward was marching from the house, towards the lake. His hand was tight in his hair and I could sense his anguish.
I must go to him.
Quickly I removed my cap and apron and reached for a coat. The other servants would be sleeping by now, we had only a few hours before we would all have to arise and start preparing the house for a new day.
I slipped out through the kitchen door, the embers fading in the hearth. The night was warm and I walked quickly, hoping no one was watching from the house.
The path by the side of the lake was dark but enough light shone from the moon for me to see my way. I stepped cautiously, searching all the time for Edward.
I came to a stop as I saw him, crouched by the lake's edge. His breathing was heavy and harsh and I didn't speak, not wishing to alarm him, but he must have sensed my presence for he glanced over his shoulder and my heart ached at the sight of him. I had never seen such anguish on his face and it made me want to weep.
"Edward?" I whispered his name and he straightened, still turned away from me.
"I have failed you, Marie." His voice was harsh and his words made my blood turn to ice.
"I don't understand…"
"It's all over. What can we do now?" The despair made my cry out and I stepped forward, throwing my arms around him, pressing my face to his back.
"Edward, please… please, tell me what has happened." I begged and he turned, taking me in his arms.
"I've failed you both." He bowed his head, his breath warm against my cheek and I put my arms around his neck, clinging to him. My love for him swelled within me.
"I do not understand." I repeated and he shook his head, kissing my mouth. His lips were warm and desperate and he pulled me so close that I feared my skin would bruise.
"Aro… the money, it's gone, he's hidden it…" The explanation was interrupted by his frantic kisses and I gasped into his frantic embrace, "What am I to do, Marie? How can I provide for us?"
"We will find a way. My love, I know that we will come through this." I breathed but Edward fell still, his forehead resting against mine.
We were silent and I closed my eyes as I felt Edward's hand against my stomach, stroking through my dress.
"I love you, Marie. I love you." He spoke as though he was trying to convince me, desperate in case I should not believe him.
I would have believed anything that he said.
His eyes opened and he straightened quickly, frowning a little. Then his eyes widened and his fingers dug into my shoulders. I gasped in pain but he did not notice.
"Run away, Marie! Run and stay safe, both of you!" Edward's voice was strangled and I would normally have questioned such a demand but he pushed me in the direction of the trees, not towards the house. I stumbled over my feet, running for the treeline but as I reached them and fell into the shadows, I realised that Edward was not behind me.
I turned, searching for him and realised that he was still by the edge of the lake.
He was not alone.
My heart pounded fearfully in my breast as I saw Aro walking towards Edward.
"This is the end of it, Edward," Aro's voice was full of anger and I almost stepped forward but Edward's words were still in my mind.
"This is enough. You have besmirched the Cullen name. You have dragged our heritage into the dirt and I will allow no more." Aro spoke again and Edward remained silent, his head turned away so that I could not see his expression. I wrapped my hand around the branch of a tree, watching through the leaves.
"Aro, I have no wish to discuss this further. You have made the situation perfectly clear. I will have no access to my fortune until I take my place as the master of Cullen Hall." Edward's voice was clear and I tightened my hand, finally understanding his distress. The bark of the tree was rough against my skin but I did not release my grip as I watched the two men.
Aro gave a harsh laugh, stepping closer to Edward, who did not flinch.
"Did you think that I didn't know? About that servant bitch? She'll be next, I promise you that and unlike you, Edward, I keep my promises!" He snarled and I gasped softly.
I wrapped my free arm around my waist, around our child as Edward's jaw tightened. He stepped towards Aro as though to strike him but Aro's hand flew forward and I saw him lunge at Edward's belly. Not a hard strike but Edward doubled over and fell to the ground. I almost cried out, the bark of the tree tearing at my hand as I fought to stay silent.
And then I saw the blood.
I saw the knife glinting in the moonlight and a tear dripped down my cheek as I clamped my hand over my mouth, choking back a scream.
I heard Edward's strangled cry as Aro's hands wrapped around his throat.
Oh god in heaven…
I sobbed into my hand, too frightened to move, too desperate to help and remembering his final words to me.
Run and stay safe, both of you.
I had to protect our child and I fell to my knees, tears streaming down my face and my chest torn apart as I watched Aro choke the life out of my love. Edward struggled weakly but he had no air and the blood flowed too freely from his chest. His grunts and cries gave way to choking silence.
I turned away as Aro rolled his still struggling body into the lake.
I wept as he washed his hands, kicking Edward's form into the water.
I crouched low, crawling along the dark treeline as Aro carried on his evil work. I had only one thought left in my mind.
Keep our child safe.
Fortune was with me, for I was able to enter the house without any notice and I climbed the stairs desperately. There was only one person I could go to now and I knocked hard on the door to Miss Didyme's room. It was almost midnight and the house was quiet and I feared anyone else coming across me in this state.
The door opened and I saw Miss Didyme, wrapping a robe around herself as she held a candle. Her lovely face formed a frown at the sight of me.
"Is there some kind of alarm?" She asked, her accented voice soft in the quiet of the night but she asked no further questions as she noticed my tears, the blood on my hand, the dirt on my dress and the desperation in my stance.
She stepped back and I fell into the room. She lowered the candle to a table and turned to me as I sobbed heavily.
"What is your name?"
"M-Marie, Miss," I gasped, "I am in desperate need of your assistance! Oh good God, I need your help!"
Her arms wrapped around me, guiding me to a chair beside the fireplace. My hands were trembling and she reached for a cloth, wiping the blood from my hand. Her eyes searched mine and she touched my cheek.
"What has happened, Marie?"
I couldn't speak, my sorrow to great. I cried aloud, burying my face in my hands and she soothed me gently.
"Please… oh, please… I must speak with Master Marcus." I managed to gasp out and she turned at once, leaving me alone in the room.
Where was Aro now, I wondered? Had he finished his evil business beside the lake? Was he sleeping now, no shame at all in his actions?
A few minutes later, Didyme returned with Master Marcus in tow, looking sleepy and bemused.
"Didyme, what on earth are you asking of me at this late hour?" He asked in amusement before his eyes fell on me. He frowned, taking in the sight of my distress.
"She cannot tell me what has happened but she said that she must speak with you." Didyme advised.
Marcus came and sat in the chair opposite mine. His face was clean shaven and he shared Edward's dark eyes, but his face was narrower and his chin more pointed. He possessed a friendly countenance and although he did not resemble Edward closely, I knew that I could place my trust in him, as Edward had.
"Would you care to tell me what has brought you to this state of anguish?" He asked kindly and I swallowed, using the back of my hand to wipe away my tears. Would he believe me? Would he turn me out? Report me as insane?
"Master… I beg of you to listen to my tale. I cannot… you must believe me…" The tears renewed themselves and Marcus offered me a handkerchief that was tucked into the pocket of his robe. I took it, cleaning my eyes with the fine cloth.
Didyme came and stood beside her fiancé as they waited for me to start.
As I told my story, Didyme's hand tightened on Marcus's shoulder. He stared at me, his own face filling with pain until it must have reflected my own. I told them everything, of the love between myself and Edward, of the plans we had made to leave Cullen Hall and of the brutal murder that I had witnessed.
Marcus stood as I told him what I had seen and made for the door, in a rage that made me believe that he would kill Aro where he stood. Only Didyme had the sense to stop him, throwing herself after him so that he could not move, pushing herself between his frame and the door.
"Marcus, stop and consider your actions!" She pleaded, "Think of Edward."
"I am, Didyme, and I shall not rest until Aro has paid for his wickedness! I shall see him burn in the depths of hell!" He spat and Didyme clung to his arm.
"And leave us defenceless if he suspects your coming? Aro has proved that he is not above murder, and Marie and I would be here with no protection. Think, Marcus… Edward's child is in this room and it is surely our duty to protect it, and it's mother." She pleaded.
Marcus looked back at me. I sat, unable to move and he came to me, kneeling by my chair as his eyes rested on my stomach. After taking a deep breath, he rose again and bent to kiss my forehead with such affection that I felt the tears prick at my eyes once more.
"Do you have any belongings of value?"
My mind went to the little silver locket, my only possession of value until I remembered it's whereabouts… in Edward's pocket. Where was it now? I couldn't bear to think of it.
I shook my head and Marcus nodded.
"Assist Didyme in her packing. I will summon Mr Newton to prepare the carriage." He said, "We will depart before dawn. Aro will not know of our leaving until we are in London."
"Cullen Hall is your rightful home, Marcus." Didyme whispered and he caressed her cheek gently.
"It is meaningless without you, my darling. Our home shall be of our making, of the family we create." His eyes went to me once more and I swallowed the lump in my throat.
And so it was that in the dead of night, I found myself tucked into a carriage, a blanket around my shoulders as I lay with my head in Didyme's lap as she soothed me like a child. The lights of Cullen Hall had long since faded into the distance and I would never return there.
I would never see Edward Cullen, the only man that I would ever love, again.
A/N: I had brief musings about a series of drabbles for Marie and Edward's story, but time is something that I seem to have very little of these days! There may be more to follow but for now, this is all I have of their story.