Apologies for the delay in this chapter. I sincerely hope you feel it's worth the wait.
Thanks to my Beta, Kyra Renee, who took time from finals to work on this chapter.
I do not own anything related to Twilight. I do own a new house and a buttload of debt.
I can't read any further as the reality of exactly how lost Edward is dawns on me. Frankly, it body checked me into submission. How can I not have realized he was sliding down this downward spiral so quickly?
I look around the room as I pause from reading and see that my sense of helplessness is mirrored back to me. I don't trust myself to speak for the emotions I am feeling… I may roar and I may fall apart and I'm not sure which one would win. What caught my attention was how distraught Rosalie was. I couldn't look away from her and hoped she would speak up.
"I had no idea," she whispered. She was shaking her head softly from side to side. Emmett was rubbing her back trying to comfort her but looking like he might want to smash a few things as well.
Those words were enough to set me off in a tailspin of anger. "No, you were too busy worrying about how his happiness might affect YOU! Too busy complaining that you can't behave like a Human to even try being humane to your brother's feelings. You've been too busy being negative and wallowing in what you've lost instead of seeing what you've gained. You exasperate me! If Edward makes it out of this, you'd best get over yourself and accept Bella in his life and this family. God help you if he doesn't –"
"Carlisle!" Esme cut me off mid-rant. "Stop it before you say something you'll truly regret. Rose and Edward have always had a different dynamic in their relationship. Now, please just stop. We're all hurting and worried and this pointing fingers and blaming each other won't help anything."
I looked over to Rosalie who had buried her head in Emmett's chest as she tearlessly sobbed. She turned to me with sad eyes after a moment or two, "I'm so sorry. I only wanted to stay put for a few years and I honestly thought life would be so much easier if Edward just mated with Tanya already. I had no idea he was serious about Bella. I know I didn't give her a chance, but she's Human! How else was this going to play out? I didn't want him to love her so that when she dies we wouldn't lose him. Unless she's changed that's what will happen and we all know it. I was just trying to protect us from this, and all I've managed to do is hurt you both and Alice and Jasper and to some degree Emmett. I never thought he'd be this lost. If they don't make it back, Carlisle, I don't know how I'll live with my guilt. I'm sorry."
A very pregnant silence descended on the room. The weight of all our emotions the only thing holding us in place as Emmett cleared his throat and asked for the diary. He flipped through it for a moment before speaking: "This reads like a Police Report for the better part of a month. See here:
November 24 18:46
Subject has just entered her home with another red headed human female.
November 24 20:36
Subject has just fed on human female after sexual tryst.
November 24 23:11
Subject is on foot. I'm maintaining a 100 foot distance but can still hear Subject thoughts. They are inane and offensive.
November 25 00:26
Subject is on telephone with a Vampire I have not met named Soheila. Plans are being made to meet in Paris, Texas, next week.
It just goes on and on like this, Carlisle. For weeks and weeks." Emmett pauses as he flips through some more pages before stopping and closing the diary while keeping his place with his right index finger. "Most of December is blank. January is left blank. February is left blank and then he has only three entries in March and the last two are within hours of each other."
"What was the last entry in December? That's the last time we heard from Edward, what does he write?" I didn't think I could read this out loud which is why I asked Emmett to continue with the reading instead.
I shall stop trying to follow Victoria in this manner as it is not yielding results. I made my presence known to Megan and told her to relay a message for me. I said to her: "Tell your precious Victoria that I wait for her in Rio. I am alone and will be waiting for as long as it takes. She is to come to me alone. This is between her and I and she would do well to remember that."
I am so grateful my cellphone battery has lost its charge weeks ago or else Alice would be jumping up and down trying to stop me. I'm surprised that little pixie isn't in my face yelling at me for the risk I'm taking. I'll charge my phone to call Carlisle and let him know I'm going to Rio. Telling them myself might buy me some time.
I have nowhere else to go now but the tenements of Rio. Nothing else to do but wait.
"Did Alice not see this? I remember she told us he was flying to Rio and then he called to tell us himself but…" Esme asked us all. In truth Alice had seen this, but she never saw Victoria meet Edward so we decided to keep the information to ourselves. I can't believe I've been so arrogant in my beliefs about knowing how best to handle Edward and his grief. I feel so guilty I can't speak and can only shake my head as my shame washes over me.
I feel Esme's arms wrap around me as she comforts me. "What time is it in Italy? Surely Alice and Bella have landed by now," Esme asks softly.
Emmett is the first to answer her: "It's just about noon there now. Hey, isn't it Saint Marcus day over there? Isn't it on the same day as Saint Patrick's day here?"
I could only nod. I hope that the holiday means Aro is feeling generous and worry that my dramatic son may do something stupid to attract attention to him.
"Waiting is worse than not knowing," Esme said as she walked to the back window wall while hugging herself. She was no doubt worrying about Jasper's whereabouts.
I turned to Emmett and took a deep breath. I needed to know. "What does he write in March?"
"Dude. It's not pretty. Here goes:
I sit here and wait. I am the bat in the belfry and I wait for night. I stare out the window and wait. So many people around make the noise from their thoughts a numbing buzz. The smells make me thirst and feel like the first moment I met Her. My Angel, my salvation, my destruction, my pleasure, my pain.
And I'm waiting.
Gaining my freedom from Her, or rather its illusion, was easy but I know I will not survive it.
And I'm waiting.
I will give in to my need for Her name. I shall repeat it like a melody. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella. Bella.
I'm still waiting.
Was it all a mistake? Should I go back and find sweet relief? How She must hate me! I promised her my love and I took it away. I hate me!
I play all of our times together over and over like a song. Our last moment fills me with such self-revulsion I want to carve out my tongue that spoke such blasphemy.
With my fevered mind I sit and wait for my end.
I saw a girl with brown hair. I saw her only from behind. She seemed the right height and build and followed her through the teeming streets of Rio. I stayed in the shadows covered in Lucien's cream and I followed her all the while begging her not to turn around and ruin the illusion.
I don't know how I ever thought I could do this alone. I want to go back to Forks and beg forgiveness and I want to stay gone from Her life so that she may have one. Every hour my resolve to stay away weakens. I need Her to exist or else nothing makes sense.
I could call Carlisle, but he'd insist on coming to get me.
I could call Alice, but she'd know and tell everyone before I finished dialing.
I could call Jasper, but I'm too ashamed to.
I could call Emmett and ask him to make me laugh, but his bravado would be overwhelming.
I could call Esme, but she'd be hurt by my wanting solitude.
I could call Rosalie. She'll tell me I'm right to stay away.
I made her PROMISE me she wouldn't do anything reckless. I made her PROMISE not to hurt herself.
She's dead and I killed her.
Oh Bella, my Bella. Why? Did you not see I can't exist without you? How could you believe my lies?
All of this pain was for NOTHING! I killed my girl.
I know what I must do.
We are all shaken by these last entries of Edward's diary. I can hear Jasper not too far from the house choking on his feelings. Guilt perhaps? It's misplaced because it is not his fault he reacted to Bella's blood. I resumed my pleading with God, however he may manifest, to let all three of them be ok.
Hours passed in silence as all of us dealt with this new reality and the role we have played in its unfolding.
I was staring out the window facing the river and noticed a gust of wind blowing through the trees. Suddenly, Jasper ran in the house.
With a beaming smile and energy that filled us all with glee he shouted: "They're on their way home. They made it. Bella saved them all."
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What happened to Lucien & Dante? We find out in the next Chapter.
Until next time (2 weeks hopefully)