Otherside

EPOV

Pain has been the only constant in the past 24 hours. It's not even been the sort of pain that you can file away into the back of your head, saving it for later. I have been in agony for a full day, red hot pain that has seared through my veins and branded me broken with each lick of fire.

Before the phone call, I had been living a half-life. Without her, I knew I could never be myself again, but she deserved better. I had been useless around anyone, sucking the light out of every person whom I had contacted. Even my family couldn't break down the protective walls around me. I'd hidden in an imaginary cocoon to protect everyone else from my misery. It hadn't worked.

Then I tried removing myself from their world entirely, travelling to Rio where the buzz of Spanish voices and lively evenings had created a haze in my head. The haze numbed the pain, like novocaine, but I was still aware of it, the ever present elephant in the room which I tried to forget. I curled into a ball and tried futilely to stay put, to stay away from her. To stay away from the window to my only haven, my only refuge, my Bella.

Her name burns my mind, and it tries to repress the thought of her, still and white. Frozen features that would still be beautiful, no matter what invade my mind, blocking out all conscious thoughts. I thought I'd miss her when we were no longer next to each other and miss her I had. But the dull emptiness of missing her had nothing on this all-encompassing agony of knowing without a shadow of doubt that I would never see her again. I would never again see her beautiful smile encapture her features, turning her into the perfect angel that even heaven couldn't deserve. The realisation that she had ceased to exist is such a foreign concept to my brain, such an incomprehensible idea, that my brain locks down. Sending a ripple of pure pain down into the hollow in my chest, the thoughts sting my mind, each one a persistent bee intent on causing as much pain as possible.

Even now, with my plan in place and no doubt that I won't see tomorrow, I feel nervous. The feeling is my new novocaine. Since arriving in Italy, I haven't found relief from my unhappiness. The very fact that the world still spins after she departed is enough to drive me even more insane. I can't comprehend how these people can be going about their lives so casually even though the brightest angel is no longer here. I used to be comfortable with the idea of oblivion, never mattering enough to anyone to leave a scar when the world ends. But I don't understand how the world hasn't imploded after Bella killed herself.

I feel a stinging in my eyes, where some venom has tried unsuccessfully to pool into teardrops. The lack of tears makes me want to cry. It serves as an ugly reminder of why Bella is no longer alive. She died because I wasn't strong enough to be human. She died because I broke her irreparably. She died and it's all my fault. The guilt is almost worse than the never-ending pain. Almost.

I'd asked the Volturi to end this misery. I had looked deep into Aro's chalky red eyes, seeing into his mind as he saw my purpose in my jet black orbs.

"No," was his answer; cold, hard and final. No pleading, no compromise, just a no. This no was only another nail in my coffin, each rejection sending me closer to where I'd inevitably been headed, to join Bella in oblivion.

After the 'no,' I had walked out, refusing to cooperate, just wanting an end.

I am a true coward, through and through. I wasn't strong enough for Bella and I'm not strong enough to convince the Volturi to kill me. I'm weak, tired from trying to be something I'm not. I just want to give up, to join Bella wherever she is now. The only slight hope I hold is that Bella will meet me after I end my short existence to commence our forever elsewhere. I'll probably have to beg on my hands and knees for hours to gain her forgiveness but it'll be worth it, if she's there. I've missed her so much, I can't breathe and I have a hollow where my heart used to be.

I have no desire to be extravagant, so I find myself at 11:59, standing in an alleyway under the clock tower. There are only 120 seconds until my demise. It's an oddly comforting thought, only two minutes until I can see my angel again. Since I'm about to die, I permit myself to spend a short amount of time with Bella, my photographic memory replaying her in perfect definition. I can almost feel her warmth, so everywhere that I think I've already stepped into the sun and I'm burning already.

Nevertheless, time passes and I soon hear the first toll of the death clock. It signals my cue, the time I shall take my first step towards the light. I am unbuttoning my shirt when I hear the voice of an angel over the enthusiastic and oddly cheerful backdrop of the crowd's chatter. She's saying my name, shouting the word at the top of her lungs, and it's the single most delicious sound in the world.

"Edward, Edward no," her voice is oddly desperate, as of she's struggling to shout louder. I realise with a stab of pain that I must have forced her into hell. Although, I'm with her so this must be heaven. I walk towards the sound, slowly and gracefully. I sense that I'm near the alleyway entrance, although my eyes are closed, images of Bella dancing behind them. They are playing repeats of the first day in the meadow, our first kiss, when she first woke up after James, how beautiful she looked on Prom Night and her smile on her fateful birthday.

"No," she screams, desperate now, "Edward, look at me!" If only she knew, I'd spent the last two minutes and fourteen seconds looking at her, the image in my mind far better than any left on this earth. I smile as she dances with me at prom, although the smile is only small, my face having been so carefully crafted into a mask of indifference before seeing Aro. I hadn't wanted him to see the weakness, the vulnerability I've possessed since losing Bella.

I almost forget that I'm supposed to carry on walking until I feel a touch, soft as a butterfly's wing but much stronger, forceful on my chest as I take the step that would put me into the path of the sunlight. A smell so beautiful that it steals what little breath I have left invades my nose, the strawberries and freesias and lavender evidence of the best part of my life.

I open my eyes, focusing on the perfection in my arms. "Amazing," I muse, "Carlisle was right." My father had been correct all of these years. My soul was not sold on the day I'd become this monster. Unusually, this made me more of a monster as I'd killed Bella when I may not have condemned her to a soulless existence after all, she may have been happy with me after all.

"Edward," she mouths, no louder than a whisper. "You've got to get back into the shadows. You have to move!" she must be trying to send me back from the fires of hell down to the shadows of oblivion. Even after all I'd done to her, she still accepts me for what I am and tries to protect me. How ironic. I will never deserve her even of I live for a million years in the afterlife.

"I can't believe how quick it was. I didn't feel a thing- they're very good." I close my eyes, pressing my lips to the soft line where her hair meets her forehead. She still looks beautiful, death has had no impact upon her radiance. I am reminded of the film I watched with her shortly before the worst decision of my life.

"Death that hath sucked the honey of thy breath, hath had no power yet upon thy beauty," I murmur, echoing Romeo's speech in the tomb, more to myself than anything. The last chime of the clock booms over the courtyard, sinister in its finality. I speak directly to the angel in my arms, "You smell just exactly the same as always. So maybe this is hell." I say, not understanding how pure, innocent Bella had reached hell. I realise with a twinge of guilt that this is my fault too. Not only have I ruined her life, I've endangered her afterlife too with my selfish ways. At least I'm with her. I take a deep breath, basking in the feeling of whole lungs. "I don't care. I'll take it," I continue, just glad to be holding her again.

"I'm not dead," the beauty says, hasty and uncharacteristically panicked. "And neither are you! Please Edward, we have to move. They can't be far away."

A tickling sensation is reaching the edge of my consciousness, as if someone is trying to burrow into my head. A second later, I hear Alice. It takes a few nanoseconds to tune and focus, as it does connecting to a radio station.

'She's alive, she's alive, she's alive' she thinks, almost shouting in her thoughts. I feel another stab of guilt as I realise that she must have died whilst on her way to stop my suicide. I don't deserve any of the family I have, not least Bella. I reply to her request with a question, not having focused clearly on what she was saying.

"What was that?" I enquire, a flat even tone that does not suit my voice.

"We're not dead, not yet! But we have to get out of here before the Volturi-" My heart soars, the black depression lifting slightly. Finally I understand, Bella never died, and neither did I. I take a deep breath, fully appreciating her scent. The venom pools in my mouth but, considering how long it's been since I hunted, it's surprisingly easy to resist. I couldn't cause myself that pain again, no matter how tempting her blood is, it is no longer associated with food. I hold her tighter in my arms, relishing in the way she fits so perfectly there. I have missed her so much. I finally feel nearly human again, I can't believe what an affect she has on me.

I stare into her face, memorising every line and shape I find. She has changed since I last saw her. Her eyes, still the beautiful deep brown, seem to have lost the stunning gleam that they used to possess, they seem dead. She has great hollows under her beautifully dead orbs and her whole face is slightly sunken and haggard. I've put her through hell yet she is still far more beautiful than any angel in this world or any other. I smile, remembering back to when I used to stare at her for solid hours, just appreciating the beauty in her face.

My stomach drops to my toes, filling with a cold, heavy dread as my mind understands the danger of the situation. The Volturi are still nearby, and Bella is still human. I hear footsteps and mind-murmurs to the right and pull Bella in a fast whirl to he wall, where I stand in front of her, forming a protective enclosure with my arms. I see every cobble in perfect definition in my periphery. The greater part of my senses is focused on the warm weight in my arms. I want to kiss her and apologise but now is not the time, not with so many sensitive ears around. I settle for turning and placing a chaste kiss on the top of her hair. It leaves me wanting more but I gather some self-control and stand protectively as two Volturi members appear at the end of the alley.

"Greetings gentlemen," I say, strengthening the protective enclosure around Bella with my arms. I would get her out of this mess. I would explain to her, explain my mistakes and my necessary lies. I would give her my heart, if she would take it. I don't know what I'd do if she didn't.

All characters and dialogue belongs to Stephenie Meyer, I just thought it would be interesting to get inside Edward's head, enjoy. Laura xxx :D