Remember: This is a woulda, shoulda, coulda version of events at the end New Moon, and a complete rewrite of Eclipse. This is AU. I will be going canon where I can, but I won't be stupid about it. Things are going to change to what they could have BEEN.
**Disclaimer: I Do NOT own Twilight, or its characters. That honor belongs to SM.**
The couple have just returned from the Cullen house. The vote for Bella's change has just been cast. Bella and Edward are out in the woods near Bella's home. Edward is now trying to persuade Bella to remain human a little while longer, till he feels certain that the change is what she wants for herself and no one else.
*Warning: Angst ahead. But I, like you, hate Angst. So if you survive this chapter, then half the battle is won.*
CHAPTER 1: Marry Me
"Bella, if you could have anything in the world, anything at all, what would it be?" Edward asked looking hopeful.
My eyes filled with skepticism immediately.
"You Edward, only you."
He smiled, then leaned in and kissed me softly, giving me his wordless thank you for my affection.
I internally smiled at his effort.
Pulling away from my mouth and still smiling himself, he shook his head as if I missed the point to his original question.
"I meant, something you don't already have love." He amended.
I smiled wider.
I needed to hear that. The topic had cooled a bit, but it was still lava. We hadn't spoken about his leaving in much detail because I knew it is too painful of a subject for either of us to really touch upon. But hearing him say that I 'have him' as if I already owned him…That made me feel good, really good.
But, as for his question. I wasn't sure where he was trying to lead me, but I knew I was being led. So I thought carefully before I answered. I came up with something that was both true, and probably impossible.
"I wouldn't want Carlisle to be the one to do it, I would want my mate to do it. I would want you to find the courage, and belief in yourself and do what needs to be done and just change me. But beyond all of that... What I really want is for you to want to change me. To...keep me. To want me so much that nothing else matters just so long as you have me. I want you to want me like I want you. That's what I want, Edward"
Insecurity had turned my voice to a whisper near the end. I was unable to look upon his face desperate to to avoid any signs of disdain or instant rejection at my words.
He didn't like what I had to say. I knew that before I spoke. But he asked. To me, being a vampire was one thing, but having Edward want me, truly want me, was something else entirely. That meant more than anything. That was everything.
He held me close, but said nothing for what seemed like a long time. I couldn't get a read on him looking at the forest floor like I was, so as curiosity and doubt over-rid my fears, I slowly pulled away to look upon him.
Finding the courage, I bit lip and watched for his reaction warily. I was expecting more of the fury I'd seen at his house. I was surprised that his expression didn't change. It was still looked calculating from a moment ago, but now it has a dash of pain, and thoughtfulness to it.
"Bella- those aren't desires I need to obtain. I'm sorry to say but they are desires I already have and had for a very long time, just not in the sense you mean. Because those feelings...they are the very same desires that caused me to leave in the first place."
My heart picked up quickly then.
"...Bella, it was that very need to 'keep you' and behave as 'nothing else mattered' that made my decision. Because when I thought of 'keeping you' my thoughts were more protective. I was trying to protect you from becoming this...thing that I am. This thing that had launched Jasper over the six of us to get to you, and do something he wouldn't have ever done on his own if 'it' allowed him to keep his mind. This thing that tempted almost all other members of my family to forget their humanity for an instant and think of you as means to end their maddening thirst. And once I saw that, 'nothing else mattered'. I had to leave, we all did. No matter how much I loved you, no matter how much it hurt my family, I was not going to allow them or myself to stay and wait for another accidental cut or scrap that would cause me or them to lose our minds to the demon within, and you, your life. So I did exactly what you are requesting of me now. I left to 'keep you'. Keep you alive, keep you human, keep you as the wonderful person I knew you to be; and most importantly keep you away from our demons and any chance of it finding its way into you. Because to me, when it comes to you, 'nothing else matters', as long as you were alive."
My heart calmed, but my mind picked up where it left off.
I had mix feelings about what I was just told. Part of me wanted to kiss him deeply for loving, no...cherishing me like he did, but another part of me that understood some of the reasons on why he was so hesitant for me to get closer to that side of him, resented that he didn't trust himself or his family more and see the situation for what it was, a simple accident. One that everyone would've tried to avoid in the future if simply given the chance. But worse still, was how that reasoning was going to carry over and effect this situation, now that my earnest request had been turned into a mandate, and a choice between life or death.
"But...what about now?" I asked guardedly "Things have changed. You may not want that 'urge' inside of me, but now the only choices left to us are our deaths or my change."
"Bella I..." He started quickly but caught himself in his frustration, then began again. "Bella, I...I don't know. None of this make me happy. I...I don't like the fact that my only choices are to turn a person who wouldn't have harmed a single life, into a monster who needs to take lives almost weekly to survive. Or worse, do nothing and let the only life that I cherish more than any other be snuffed out as I am made to look on." He paused a moment looking up into the canopy above us, just shaking his head.
After a moment he, found my eyes again, and rubbed my cheek tenderly, showing my his distress and love at the same time.
I simply nodded thoughtfully into his touch. I wasn't going to dismiss his concerns, but I saw the need to remind him of the whole picture; and do so all the while keeping in mind that this was a topic he always loathed to discuss, mandate or not.
"As it stands right now, Carlisle will have to be the one to change you." I gasped sadly as he continued on, "Bella, this is not a reflection of my love for you, at least not in the way you think. It just that right now...I ...I just can't seem to bring myself to 'demonize' you. I don't want to be the one who takes your light away. So if it is to be done, then let it be done by someone who has never taken a human life. Not a monster like me. I think that will give you best chance at protecting as much as your humanity as possible." He said,
"And if I just want you?" I left hanging
He paused seeming to take a moment to think, then gave me a shy smile causing me to feel a little more hopeful.
"Okay then, if you would still want me to change you despite my actions in the past, what would you be willing to trade for that?" he asked shiftily
But I couldn't believe my ears all the same. I gawked at his composed face like a fool and blurted out the answer before I could think about it.
"Anything." I said firmly with conviction, even as knew I was going into this deal with the faith of a sleepwalker.
We were bargaining. I was getting to get what I wanted, and that was all I cared about.
His smiled faded intentionally as he pursed his lips.
"Then I ask for time. Give me time to come to terms with this sacrifice, can you do that?"
The request was small but at the same time, carried the weight of a mountain on my heart. I was instantly suspicious once again, and found my mind going back to a conversation we had once about vampire's perception of time.
"How much time?"
He seemed to pick up my nerves, and from the change and hesitation in his features, I could tell he was nervous now as well.
With two words all the joy that I was feeling a moment ago died. I almost wanted to cry.
He still wasn't taking me or us seriously.
He said I always never respected the danger I was in, but after coming back from Italy I can honestly say that I do now. But it looks like we changed places. Now it is him now that holds safety at arms-length.
Because a lot can happen in 5 years. Just look at what happened in the past eigthteen months alone.
Tyler's Van, Port Angles, Nomads, Phoenix, Abandonment, Loneliness, Laurent, Werewolves, Victoria and Italy.
The memories alone caused me face to twist into an expression somewhere between chagrin and horror.
"You said anything, I just need time." he pleaded.
"Yes, but five years?! Edward, with the Volturi actively looking for my change, we'll all be dead in two. Furthermore, Victoria is still out there looking for me... for us," I quickly amended. ''It's just too dangerous to be human—for me at least. If she were to walk out of the woods right now, I would be nothing but a victim or liability to you as I am; so please, anything but that." I pleaded back, rubbing his cheek gently with my palm. He frowned.
"Three years, then? And don't worry about Victoria, she is alone and she can't touch you, not by herself."
"Edward, no'', I said. ''Still too long, still too much to risk"
"Isn't my position on your change worth anything to you at all?"
I grabbed his face with both of my hands then.
"Edward, it's worth everything to me", I stated firmly ''You wanting me to share eternity with you, Edward that means absolutely everything to me; please know that.''
I took a breath, then I made my counteroffer.
"Six months Edward, six months after graduation."
I think my poor luck can hold out that long.
He rolled his eyes. "Not good enough. Bella, not even close."
Argh, Is he is trying to test faith?
I really, really didn't want to go this far.
"One year after graduation then, that's my limit. And please remember it is not just me in danger from the Volturi, but your family and yourself as well. So I'll give you one year to risk all our lives on this 'quest' of yours too keep me human!'' I said a little too harshly almost regretting my tone as soon as I heard myself.
"At least give me two years, and know that I'm not on any quest." He said still trying to bargain, ignoring my belligerent tone.
"Uh uh. No way," I said quickly. ''One year is already pushing it too close to the line Edward. We don't know how much time we really have. The Volturi can send someone to look into things; they could drop by next month for all we know."
He looked into my eyes searchingly. "You seem to be really concerned about the Volturi. How much of their impression is influencing your decision?"
I looked at him, completely stupefied by his words.
What, is he kidding me? Of course I'm concerned. They can have everyone I know killed, and over what? The simple fact that I didn't change in a 'timely enough manner'?
No, I am not going to let that happen, especially if the solution was already in our hands. What about that didn't he get?
''Edward! Of course it has an influence on my decision to change. Your family and my father is in danger if we don't. You are in danger if we don't. You think I didn't use that knowledge when I was weighing my options? You think I'm that selfish to risk us all that way?'' I asked incredulously.
Was he for real?
He thought for a minute.
"All right, forget about time limits then. I only wanted to use it to build back your level of trust in me. The one I surely lost with my foolish actions."
"Did you really think it would've taken 5 years Edward?" I asked in slight disbelief
"I hurt you Bella. I practically destroyed the most precious thing to me with my blasphemous lies and arrogance. So I didn't want you to become a vampire while you may have been carrying around such a low opinion of me. Because once you've changed, there would be no erasing how you felt about me prior."
WHAT?! Could that really happen?
"You mean...are you telling me that even our emotions are frozen?" I said slightly stunned at this revelation
"Yes love, I am. The only time we change is when we find our mates. We've have already done that, so whatever happens now, there would be no going back. If you...secretly hate me...or have any animosity towards me, even a little; then that is how you will be for all of eternity" Edward sadly explained.
Oh my god! This was much more serious than I thought. Because the truth was there was still a few harsh questions that I had for Edward, and until those questions were answered properly, I knew I really couldn't forgive him all the way.
Christ! And to think I practically begged Carlisle to change on a few moments ago. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I was running headlong into an eternity of hidden animosity towards Edward and I didn't even know it.
"Edward, I really, really wished you explained that sooner. I just begged Carlisle to change me… and if… if he did it? Jesus Edward. Could you imagine what would've happen?"
"I wouldn't have let it happen."
That statement seemed to have the opposite effect he was going for, because it pissed me off even more.
"You wouldn't have to worry about stopping anything, if you would just 'talk to me' about these things." I said heatedly, "You don't tell me anything. You keep all this shit to yourself, feeding me only what you 'think' I can handle. Which leads me straight into another issue, and source to most of our problems. Our communication is shit Edward. No, not ours, yours!" I corrected. "What you 'decide' to communicate with me is shit. But that too is an easy fix." I said not willing to allow myself to be sidetrack. "Because no matter what our issues are Edward, I don't think I will need five years to forgive you for any of it. For god sakes, I don't even think I will need till graduation to do it. I love you Edward, and although I don't entirely agree with your reasons and the unilateral decisions you make for the both of us, I know I will be able to 'wholeheartedly' forgive you for it all one day soon. Okay?"
He nodded solemnly at my statement.
I knew I just confirm for him that I didn't forgive him entirely for what he has done, but to his credit, at least he wasn't expecting it to be easy. And he was right to do so. The pain of past seven months was not just going to disappear. We needed time to heal. Just not that much.
"I fervently hope so love." He said in a small voice.
"No need to hope Edward, it will happen." I promised easily.
"Okay love, I believe you."
"Good" I said and leaned to give him a kiss of affirmation.
"I guess that still leaves the topic open for who is going to be changing you love."
"What? I thought we settled that." I said letting my new frustration show
"Bella that was only to buy time to earn back your love, trust and respect once more. I still want you to have as many human experiences as possible. If you want me to be the one—then you'll just have to..."
"To what? Jesus Christ Edward, what would I have to do to?"
"Marry me, Bella. You would have to marry me." Edward said cutting me off.
I gasped. To say that was unexpected would be the understatement of the century. And to say that was one of the most awkwardly timed proposals of all time was also a serious underestimation.
"Edward...I." I didn't know what to say. Years of mothers experience with marriage flooded to my mind as well as images of Charlie struggling with life as a bachelor . Not to mention all the problems Edward and I haven't even solved yet.
What is this? We were just working on trust issues, why now?
I realize I have been leaving him without reply, his expression growing more hurt by the second. I needed to say something.
"Why... why are you pressing this now? Do you feel obligated or was this just something to say?" I asked in confusedly.
I hope this buys me some sand for my hourglass. I really needed to think about this.
What is he thinking asking me this? We just got back from escaping deaths pale translucent grip in Italy. We haven't even really talked about his abandonment of me.
Ouch! And there it was. Never too far from the surface. That hurt, that pain that I had to deal with for the past several months. Just the thought of it brought back the pain of those days.
I must remember that my Edward is here, with me, right now and asking me to marry him of all things. I should be happy, shouldn't I? But why am I so confused?
"Is the idea of marrying me such a farfetched and painful concept?" He said staring at me with hurt filled eyes. Clearly misunderstanding the look of pain in my expression.
"No, no, no. Edward... it's just". I paused.
Breathe Bella breathe. Focus your words. Say the wrong thing now and it would be disastrous.
"It's just there are so many things we need to discuss first..." I began, but was interrupted once more
"Bella, you mean to tell me that you are 'ready' to discuss your change, and make the permanent commitment of being a vampire, but when I asked you about marrying me you are telling me you have to think on it?" He said struggling to hide his own frustration and hurt.
Ugh, When looking at it that way, I kinda came up short. How foolish must I look to him, to anyone who heard it phrased like that. But that wasn't the case. We had priorities right now. And asking me like this seems so... wrong.
"How can you make one choice but not the other? How can say you love 'me', and want to be with 'me' forever but won't accept my love in all its forms?'' He asked with a hurt penetrating gaze that, leaving me feeling guilt and shame.
How can I? He's right. I knew it and so did he. How could I accept one and not the other.
But then, I thought back to Renee, then my argument fell into place.
"I can because one is not the other." I replied with some small measure of confidence.
"What?, how can you say that? How can..."
I cut him off.
"Because it's not, Edward. Please let me explain" I said. He was about to interrupt me, but I held my hand up to allow further explanation. "Take a look at my family Edward. Where Is Charlie?" I asked
"Charlie?...in his home, asleep" He replied. confused to where I might be going with this.
"And where is Renee?'' I asked.
"Jacksonville". He stated softly with realization in his tone.
"Do you see?, Charlie sleeps in Forks, and Renee sleeps in Jacksonville. They too were married Edward, and look how that turned out". I paused to let that sink in. "I don't want my Parents' marriage Edward; I want your Parents' marriage. I want eternal love, not the fragile human commitments that my parents made. Those mean nothing to me, and even less to them now. I want to commit myself to you and I want you commit yourself to me, eternally. Don't you see? we want the same thing."
He took a moment to think about what I said, but at least the hurt look was gone; and for that I was glad. He realizes the spontaneous that he may have wished for, but didn't get was not meant to intentionally hurt him, but instead allowed me a moment to justify my own response.
"Bella, love" Edward started. "I get it. But you have to understand I want the marriage that my parents had, my human parents. In my time, marriage was the pinnacle expression of commitment between two people. Marriage means something to me!"
"Edward, I see that, I do. But I grew up with divorced parents. I was shipped back and forth every summer and most extended holidays between mother and father. Marriage isn't held in high regards to me. Edward, they make TV shows now that romanticized the idea of getting divorce, and all the benefits you can get if you had the foresight to marry wealthy, and what happens if doesn't work out. The 'sacred' idea of matrimony has been boiled down to a 20 x 20 chapel in Vegas, and an costume impersonator of a dead music artist for a minister. Even in your time, most marriage where not made for love. Most were prearranged for the mutual financial benefit of the parents and family as a whole. Where was the 'love' in any of that Edward?"
"Bella none of that means anything to 'us'. And the fact that you bring it up at all just means you don't want to get married to me. Because that is all I'm hearing from you." He stated flatly, leaving me feeling guilty all over again.
"No, Edward I don't. Not yet anyway." I said honestly looking at him with laser focus. I know I hurt him. I know his eyes would be tearing if they could, but it had to be said; but so did this. "Edward, it's not enough. I want more. I want more for us than that."
The hurt in his features cleared up slightly, but the confusion remained.
"Bella, it's just like I said, you and I are Edward and Bella; no one else," He said looking deeply in my eyes. "We do what works for us Bella, for no one else, but us''.
Us... for us...
The whole world almost disappeared when he said that. His words momentarily crossed out every concern about anyone else from my mind.
From the way he was looking at me with so much love, to the words he said, I could almost believe it was just the two of us left. Almost.
I shook my head at him, coming back to my senses, not allowing myself to be dazzled into defeat. I was ready begin again, and to point out a few things.
"Edward..."I began, but was cutoff
"So, you want to be changed first?" He quickly assessed when he saw that I was still putting up a fight.
"Yes for starters, Edward". I replied.
"You rank being changed over the gift of my affections when I asked you to marry me, why?" He asked
NO I AM NOT! That was out of line.
Being changed and his love was the same to me, how dare he confuse the two! And of all the things, what does he mean tell him why, doesn't he know by now?
"Why? what do you mean why?'' I asked rhetorically. ''Our lives for one thing!"
"Our lives? He asked incredulously "Bella we can always run if the Volturi ever decide to come looking, I will make you safe"
"Edward! I don't want to spend my life running!" I stated angrily. "The answer to every one of your problems shouldn't be to run Edward. To find a dark hole in the world and throw yourself in and hope your problems go away. You made that mistake already remember? It was foolish then, just as much as it is foolish now. You need to wake up already, and stop being difficult about this, there are other people to consider."
That hurt him badly, and I was instantly sorry. But I wasn't backing down from this; too much was at stake. Plus the look of determination on his face showed that he was just going to press on regardless, so I readied myself as well.
"Bella, I will make you safe..." he insisted, but I cut him off.
"We won't be safe Edward, we won't ever be safe! It's not within your power to make us safe from them. Jane's torture should have told you that. You're lying to yourself and you're lying to me! We are all going to die if you don't stop thinking this way." I yelled, and then took a moment to calm down. "Edward please, the way out isn't that hard to find. We already have our hands on the knob. We just need to turn it. I need to be changed for us Edward, for us."
"For the family you mean? " He asked, hurt once again.
Seriously, where does his mind go to find all this hurt and misery to bury itself in?
"Of course for the family!" I stated bluntly "and for..."
But I was cut off, again
"If you're not ready for marriage, then what make you think you're ready to make decisions on more permanent commitments!" Edward stated. Looking hurt, once again.
What? Where is this coming from?. I'm getting a feeling that something got lost somewhere.
"Edward, we can always get married, we don't have to do this right out of high school, it can be done anytime down the line. As long as we have time, Edward." I said slowly and lowly, trying to simmer down the mood before it all boiled over.
"That is what I want for us Bella , but it is clearly, it's not what you want". He said sharply.
Still lost I see.
"Edward...please, listen to me". I pleaded, waiting till I felt I had his attention. "Edward, marriage is something what I want too. Having your name attached to mine, or anything of yours, attached to me in any way, makes me happy Edward, please know that. But it's not something we need to do right now. We have priorities. "
I hope that clears up some to the fog
"Marriage means something to me Bella. It has value in my eyes. I don't care what the times say. It is something precious that I want to be a part of, but only with you, and only when you find it in yourself to fully trust me again.''
''But I want you to want it for yourself; I won't force it on you. And I won't force you into this life Bella. I don't want you changing and demonizing yourself because you 'feel' the need to save our lives. You are selfless and loving, and that is one of the main reasons I find you absolutely beautiful, but I won't let other see that and use it to condemn you to this life. You're right… I can't protect you from everything, but if you still want me to change you, then at least I protect you from that much"
There was the problem right there. He was still the same Edward that left. Still making decisions for the both of us, and doing so at great unnecessary cost.
"Edward I will marry you one day that's a given. But not now. I want it to be for the right reasons. I won't go through with it as 'quid pro quo' for my change. Because that is exactly what it will be if I accept your proposal now; it would be for all the wrong reasons. But beyond that, can't you see that you're doing it again? You're making arrogant decisions and your not listening to anyone's opinion but your own. But more than that, Edward I really want you to understand that the reason for my wanting to change, and for marriage, are not the same, there is a difference. If you and I don't get married now...nothing happens, we would still have the opportunity to do it later. But If I don't get changed soon, your whole family dies, everyone dies! See the difference?! What about that you do not understand?!" I said harshly. Frustrated with his stubbornness
"Fine, if you don't want marriage, that is your choice, and I won't take that from you. But my choices are my own as well." Edward coolly replied, leaving me to fill in the enormous blank.
I felt stunned, hurt, rejected. He was reverting back to his old self once more. The Edward that doesn't listen.
"What?..why are you doing this?"
"Because it's not your choice, Bella!'' Edward snapped. "Do you even hear yourself? Change me or I die."
"Wrong, I said, change me or your family dies!'' I snapped back."Your family Edward! You remember them don't you? Alice, Carlisle, Esmé, Emmett, Jasper, and Rose... they will die! Edward Am I worth that? Is my soul worth that?!"I shouted back
"YES!" Edward roared, leaving us in both wide eyed silence.
After mindlessly taking two steps back, I watched as he fell to his knees.
He had the look of shame over his admission, but also a look of determination to finish his reply.
"Yes, you are worth that. To me you are worth it all."
He was arrogant, stubborn, controlling, overprotective and infuriating; but in one word, he proved yet again, that he loved me more than anything.
Stunned to tears at that realization, I fell to my knees beside him.
Slowly reaching up and gently placing my hands on the side of his face, I caressed his pained expression. I watched as it very slowly evaporates to one of contentment. And then I said the only thing that I could think of.
''I love you too."
A/N: This chapter was re-written on 01/09/2014. Stick around everything gets better. Even the writing. lol.
TAKE THE CHALLENGE: If you don't like this story by chapter 5, then you have my permission to stop. But I doubt that will be the case.
Questions, comments, thoughts and reflections can be posted below. Like I said. I'm doing a complete rewrite of the twilight series beginning at the end of New Moon, and continuing till the end of Eclipse. I have no aspirations to continue beyond that at the present moment in time. But I'm sure the inspiration to continue will come towards the end. We'll see.
[UPDATE: I AM IN FACT WRITING A SEQUEL CALLED 'HORIZON'. I AM 8 CHAPTERS DEEP ALRDY, SO YEAH!]
My reasoning behind my motives are simple ones. I have read and read and read fanfics. They all have something I like, but not one had the complete package. A story by Jmolly came the closest, but even that failed to deliver in the end. It was also Jmolly that told me that if I want the perfect story...then write it myself. I shat a couple of bricks [nerves] then said eff it!
So, that is why you have NEW ECLIPSE. [I'm not one to back down from a challenge]
So please comment. I won't be changing anything. Because like Jmolly told me, If you want your perfect story, write it!