Chapter 45 – What happened?
Before I could even finish writing the message to Nickodemus, he appeared in Bella's office. "How is it that every single time Bella is in need, you appear without me sending a message?" I asked.
"I have ways of knowing when I am needed. Now, tell me what has happened." Nickodemus queried, looking over at Edward and Bella.
"She had another vision," Alice said, drawing Nickodemus' attention back to all gathered.
"She mentioned something about a baseball field that I still don't understand," I said.
"More importantly," Edward turned to the group, "she mumbled something about more visions to come, not being left alone, and about a warning."
I shook my head. "Even I don't understand what she was rambling on about there."
We all fell silent, pondering what she had possibly meant.
"Well, it seems to me that Isabella requires some detection mechanism, of such, to notify her before a vision hits so she won't injure herself. She must believe there's no such mechanism. That could explain why she doesn't want to be alone and wants to be with someone who knows what is happening," Nickodemus said at length.
"So there is a way she can be warned?" Edward asked.
"Certainly. She would know this if she hadn't stopped her studies with me." Before turning to face Malcolm and me, Nickodemus looked at Edward over the rims of his glasses. "I think it would be best if one of us elaborates on the reason she stopped."
"She won't like it," Malcolm rebuked.
"But to leave others in the dark," Nickodemus said with a flourish of his hand indicating everyone in the room.
"Can I hazard a guess?" Jasper asked.
Nickodemus looked over at him, pondering a moment, before nodding.
"She stopped because she was afraid—afraid that she was going to hurt someone or herself because her powers were growing."
Nickodemus, Malcolm, and I shared an awed look with one another, though there was more to it than what Jasper had said. "Yes, in part," Nickodemus said. "But that is not the full reason."
"She stopped because of me," Edward stated rather than asked.
"Not at all," Malcolm said. "She stopped her wizardry studies long before she met you and your family."
"I don't understand," Rosalie said. "Why would she do that?"
"She was suffering from the loss of her guardians, Matthew and Danielle, and then Annabella passed away a month later. It was too much for her to handle, and she decided not to study any magic that summer," Nickodemus answered.
"Was it not magic that brought her here that summer?" Esme asked.
"I don't know for sure what had happened back then. All I do know is that Bella disappeared for three days. If magic had something to do with it …" I trailed off. It hit me then that her magic had brought her to the one place where she would find an everlasting love.
"She hasn't spoken of why she vanished. I'm sure she doesn't even know," Malcolm said.
"I tried to talk her out of her decision, but she was firmly set on not studying, and she never came back," Nickodemus recalled.
I gazed down at Bella. She looked so peaceful. "I can't help but wonder why she never returned to her studies," I said, my eyes never leaving her face.
"She told me she planned to pick up her studies again," Nickodemus said, placing a hand on my shoulder. "The day has yet to come."
"It's not too late, is it?" Alice asked what I was thinking.
"No," Nickodemus answered. "Not if she is ready. She has always picked up on magical spells with ease. She demonstrated that quite well when she not only froze Edward but bound his tongue—which tells me that she was working alone on those skills."
"I think it is safe to move her to the bedroom," Carlisle whispered. "We can decide nothing on her behalf." He effectively ended the conversation.
I looked again at Bella and watched as tears were slowly made their way down her face. "Jazz?" I questioned.
"All I can tell is that she is dreaming, and it's making her sad," he replied.
"No, Edward," Alice shouted, in a low tone, at me before showing me what would transpire if I picked Bella up.
I wasn't sure exactly what I was seeing, but it was enough to halt my movements.
Gentle, sweet music floated up from the ballroom as my maids pulled a blue, white, silver, and gold gown over my head.
I was unsure how the clan would react when I came down without an escort. They knew how I loved Edward—especially after the song I sang two years ago. Why did I have to run the way I did in June? Not even Grandfather knew I ended things with Edward.
It was for selfish reasons, and I knew it—knew it the moment I locked myself in the library and the tears started. Why didn't he come after me?
"Lass," Grandfather said, coming into my chambers and sitting on the couch. "I thought Edward would be here by now."
"He's not coming," I admitted.
"You did remind him?" he inquired of me.
I bit my lip, not able to meet his questioning gaze. "He's not coming, Grandfather, because we broke up."
He was silent for a few moments. "Is that why you locked yourself in the library this past summer?" I nodded. "Did he break your heart?"
"No," I said quietly. "I broke my own heart when I left him."
"Isabella," he said, patting the cushion next to him. He waited until I was seated next to him. "I'm not going to ask what happened to make you end things." He held up his hand when I made to respond. "But, lass, you haven't been yourself. I noticed it this summer, and you are more unlike yourself now." I hung my head, knowing he was right. "You have not smiled once since being here, and this has always been your favorite time of year."
"I know, and you're right. I'm miserable."
"It's not too late to call or go to him and tell him you were wrong."
"Yes, it is," I whispered. "I made a decision, and I'm going to stick with it."
"And at what cost to yourself, Isabella?" he asked, getting up. "We don't have to let the clan know anything, just that he could not make it this year."
"You mean lie."
"It is not lying. He could not make it because of how things are between the two of you. He'll one day return."
I thought over what Grandfather had said and implied. I shook my head. There was no way I was ever going to admit I was wrong and get back together with Edward.
"Even if it means the death of many of your friends, including Edward?"Grandmother's disembodied voice asked.
I slowly opened my eyes to find that I was on the sofa in a study. I felt as if I was alone, completely alone. When had I come up to my rooms? I made to sit up only to find that I didn't have the strength. What had happened? I couldn't remember.
"Rebecca," I whispered hoarsely, hoping my maid was near. I could barely keep my eyes open.
"Bella," Edward said, squeezing my hand.
I smiled, not saying anything for a moment. "What happened?"
A/N: Happy holidays, readers. This is the last chapter for this story until next year.
Thanks to kitchmill and jennej for their assistance in editing this chapter.