Back to the Beginning
Edward reflects on Bella's conversion and what occured both before and afterward.
Beta was the very fabulous Jess (jandjsalmon at livejournal).
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3018 Review this Chapter
Back to when he first met her and her heroin blood drove the animal in him wild. He wanted to be able to look into her perfect chocolate brown eyes again, filled with innocence and love. Now he was only able to stare into the familiar gold of a person condemned.
She had spent 50 years as a vampire by his side, yet he wished she would have mourned her real life, her human life, properly. Readily and without much thought, she had given up her family, her friends, her mortality to be with him. She had made him fulfill his part of the agreement with her after their wedding. Her family had been at the wedding – he was glad that it had been one thing that she could share with them. One of the many milestones in a life that her family wasn’t aware of now, not that she had her family anymore.
She had heard yesterday from Carlisle that her parents were both dead. They had died over ten years ago when she had been roaming South America with him, trying to enjoy her new state. The pained look in her eyes at the news had nearly killed him. She had looked so beaten, so young even with her beautiful vampire form.
She was still the girl he had fallen in love with. Just because her ivory skin had paled further and her eyes had changed colors her heart hadn’t changed. She was still Bella. Perfect to him. Her blood had long since left her body; it was replaced with the animal blood she now consumed thanks to his weakness. Her smell now wasn’t as intoxicating as it used to be, but it was still strong and powerful in his memory.
Looking into her golden eyes he wished he could go back to the beginning and never allow himself to give into the desire to be with her. He should have run, left town when she came. She would have been safe then. She would be mortal now.
He had been so selfish to love her… She had been unselfish with her desire to be changed so she could be with him. Him… someone so unworthy. He wasn’t even human! And now, she wasn’t either. He had stole her mortality from her with the venom he had poisoned her with, snatching away her very soul. He had condemned her. Condemned her to a half-life, if someone would call a vampire’s existence a life at all.
It was hard for him to accept that he could never take back his grievous sin. He could see her clearly in his mind as she used to be. Human, beautiful, heroin for his addiction.
She was still beautiful, painfully so. Her heroin blood was no longer present, no longer tempting. It surprised him how it wasn’t just her blood that had been addicting to him, that had given him his high. It was her, who she was and what she stood for. Her heart, her soul, her mind, her body. Her blood had just been what drew him to her, not what kept him there.
Her soul. The words echoed in his mind sometimes, taunting him with their mocking laughter. He had stolen her soul. There were days he could barely live with himself with the inhuman mistake he had committed.
Love is supposed to know no bounds, so why did the status of vampire and human seem so important to them then? It wasn’t. Bella was Bella; he was Edward. The loved each other. Even 50 years later it didn’t seem as easy as that.
She tilted her head as she looked at him, giving him a questioning look. “Edward, what’s wrong?”
He shook his head, wishing that their time together hadn’t just improved her ability to read him so clearly.
She sighed heavily. Reaching up, she touched the side of his face with one of her cold hard hands. The touch should have been tender, but it only emphasized what he had done to her.
The days of her soft warm skin setting his cold hard skin on fire when they touched had long since faded. It was replaced by days they shared the same skin, cold and granite, the opposite at one she had been. For a moment he saw her as a human, brown eyes shining and imperfections that were so perfect to him glaring at him, her skin soft and warm, human. Then she was back with her golden stare and radiating beauty. Perfection.
How hard was it to love someone perfect? It wasn’t. Loving someone with their imperfections showed how truly strong the love was. It should have been that easy, but even with his over hundred year lifespan, he had failed to see the truth and made an unthinkable error because of it.
Alice had given him no choice there. She was easy to blame for Bella’s current state.
“I’ll change her! You know Carlisle will tell me how, and he can’t stop me,” his pixie sister had threatened when he had told his family now that he was married to her he didn’t have to change her.
“Edward,” Esme had said in a quiet and kind voice, “Lying to her won’t make this work. You can’t lie to someone you love and expect to believe you again.”
Carlisle had been silent, but his golden eyes shone his displeasure.
“Edward, change her. You said you would,” Emmett had told him in a hard tone.
“I’ll change her,” Alice repeated, her voice unbending and angry. She was normally so sweet-tempered he sometimes forgot she had a fiery temper when ignited.
He stood his head. “Bella won’t let you.”
“I won’t let her what?” Bella’s voice had come from the door behind him. He had been so deeply involved in the conversation and his own views that he hadn’t been paying attention and missed her entrance.
Alice grinned; she had obliviously heard Bella’s approach or seen it… Either way, she had known and played him to wake Bella’s curiosity.
The silence was deafening. The words he had wanted to say caught in his throat. He didn’t want to lie, and he sure as hell didn’t want to tell her the truth. The truth would shatter her trust in him. Being what he was, they hadn’t consummated the marriage and he was afraid she’d doing something rash like get an annulment. He didn’t want to loose her now that he had her. She was his.
Her brown eyes were soft as she watched him, so innocent and trusting. Her ivory skin was soft and smooth, enticing his touch. He could smell her blood from here, a few feet away. She was his drug, his love, his addiction.
Bella glanced around the room when he responded with silence. His family’s expressions gave nothing away. They could have been talking about the weather for all the emotion on display.
“Edward, I won’t let her do what?” Bella’s soft voice prompted again. Her eyes were wide with both fear and curiosity.
“You won’t let Alice turn you,” Jasper’s voice answered for him. Anger surged through him at the betrayal of Jasper’s interference.
Bella smiled, though. She was completely trusting as she said, “I won’t have to let Alice turn me. Edward promised…” Her voice trailed off as if she just realized what it meant. The trust evaporated from her eyes as she turned back to him. “Edward, you promised!”
“I know I did,” he admitted, his voice changing somewhat in his distress. He didn’t know how to word this so she’d understand. She couldn’t understand.
“Then why would Alice fulfilling your promise be the subject of discussion?” she demanded, quiet anger and confusion evident in her voice.
“It’s not,” he denied simply. He flashed Alice a dark look. “Because she wouldn’t dare.”
Alice scoffed. “I’ll do it if you won’t, Edward. Bella will let me won’t you?”
Bella didn’t answer her at first. Her brown eyes were filled with tears as if she understood his intention now. “Yes,” she whispered in a soft hurt voice, “I would let you.”
He felt angry. Alice stood up straighter, as if validated had given her more confidence in the topic.
“Edward, you turning her or am I?” Alice glared at him.
She cut him off and grinned. “Looks like I am!”
“Alice, no!” he burst out. Anger shook his body. He couldn’t believe that Alice would do this, betray him in this way.
Alice looked at him, her eyes flashing with anger. Then, as if having an epiphany, her expression changed drastically. “If you love her—“
“If?” he questioned angrily.
“If you love her,” Alice continued, ignoring him, “you won’t lie to her. Change her. You promised. It’s her choice, anyway, not yours.” Alice’s eyes were pleading and sad. “Don’t make her have to live her life without you.”
The last sentence might as well have been a slap in the face, it stung so hard. “Bella will never be without me.”
“I was,” Bella interjected angrily. She was obviously unhappy at being discussed like she wasn’t there. “For a year. I survived, though. I seem to recall you were the one that tried to commit suicide.”
The memory, as clear as if it had been yesterday, of the phone call flashed through his mind. The fear and dread of thinking Bella was dead, gone, squeezed his heart again even though she was standing right in front of him.
This time the silence was too great for Rosalie. “Do we have to talk about this tonight? You two just got married. We should be celebrating, not arguing!” Emmett reached out and placed a comforting hand on Rosalie’s shoulder.
“It was the deal,” Alice said in a calm voice. “She married you; you changed her.”
“We may be married, but it’s not like we have consummated this thing,” Bella threatened. “I can easily—“
“Don’t finish that sentence,” Jasper suddenly spoke up, “you’re regret it if you do.”
Bella glared, but didn’t continue.
“Marriage is a binding contract,” Edward reminded her. Part of him hated that he knew her so well that his fear of her getting an annulment wasn’t ill-founded.
Her eyebrows shot up with interest. “It’s just a contract. I see…”
“Not just a contract,” he tried to tell her.
“Then what else is it?” She was daring him to say something that would incriminate himself.
“It’s an agreement. For life.”
“Bella,” he said her name in a pained voice. He was acutely aware that his family was witnessing this and wished they weren’t present. “We should talk about this by ourselves.”
“No,” Bella said, “You started the discussion here and we will finish it here. Now.”
“We should be celebrating,” Rosalie repeated.
“Rose,” Emmett said in a low, comforting voice, “don’t interfere.”
Edward could feel a sweeping sense of calm spread over him suddenly, and he turned and glared at Jasper. “Don’t even.” The feeling vanished as quickly as it happened.
“He was just trying to help,” Alice defended Jasper, giving him a grateful smile.
“I don’t like having my feelings toyed with,” he said. His eyes must have portrayed the double meaning to his words, because she glared in return.
“If you want to be technical, you were the one toying with my feelings,” she accused.
“How so?” he demanded.
“You promised! You got my hopes up and never had any intention of following through!” In a fury of tears and anger, she ripped off the wedding band he had placed on her fingers only hours prior and threw it on the floor. “Forget this marriage, Edward. I’m ending it tomorrow.”
She swung around to leave the room, but he was faster than light itself. A second didn’t pass before he had his arms tightly around her, crushing her slightly with his strength. It was hard to be in control when he was this angry, this hurt, this scared. He relaxed his grip when he felt that she was having trouble breathing through his embrace, but not enough that she could even think of escaping.
She was facing him, glaring at him furiously. “Let me go,” she hissed.
“Bella, listen to me.” Despite his anger, his voice was pleading. “I love you too much to make you give up your life, your whole life, for me.” She glared at him, her expression unchanging. “I’m not worth it,” he added.
Her face changed instantly. Her anger morphed into love and she wrapped her arms around him, no longer fighting his embrace. Resting the side of her face on his granite chest, she whispered, “Edward, you are worth it. To me, you’re worth anything. My life would be nothing without you in it. I love you.”
“But don’t you see Bella? You don’t have to become one of us to be with me. We can control ourselves around you. We won’t hurt you, and it will save you.”
“How can I explain the fact you never age to my parents? Are you telling me you’ll watch me grow old, wrinkly, and ugly?” She laughed lightly, but he knew she was completely serious and partially bitter.
“You don’t have to explain anything to your parents. You can visit them on your own. As for the other part… watching you grow old would bring my joy, and you could never be ugly, not to me.” He lightly brushed his lips against hers, trying to not to tempt her into launching herself at him to deepen the contact.
Her eyes were full of tears, but she had too much determination to give in to the urge to cry. “Edward, I want to share my life with you, not just have you watch me live mine own.”
“I can’t let you make that decision, Bella, you’ve never experience a timeless existence like I have. Like I am.” He wished she looked as though she was starting to understand his view, but her eyes were hard, telling him she didn’t. “Please, don’t ask me to take away your life.”
“You are my life.”
He felt sick to his stomach, the intoxicating smell of her blood, and the strong emotion that filled her voice were almost too much for him. He could see how determined she was; her choice was made.
“Put your ring back on, please,” he requested. She didn’t move when he dropped her arms. “I know it will be three days until we can consummate our marriage, but until then please keep your ring on.”
Her brown eyes lit up when she realized what his words meant. “Really? You promise?”
“No,” he told her, his voice even. “I already promised. I’m going to keep my promise.”
She flung herself at him, grunting as her body collided with his stone one. “Thank you.”
Alice walked up beside them, holding out the ring to Bella. She took it happily, and then held it out to him. “Aren’t you going to put it on?”
“You took it off,” he muttered, but he grabbed the ring anyway. Being careful with her fragile hand, he slid the ring declaring their marriage back on her finger. “Please don’t take it off again.” He kissed her forehead, her hot gentle skin a contrast to his solid lips.
“Tonight?” she whispered, her eyes expectant.
He nodded reluctantly. “Tonight then, but can we celebrate first?”
She nodded cheerfully.
“Finally,” Rosalie breathed from behind them. Emmett chuckled.
“Well, only Bella can enjoy this but we bought wine for the celebration,” Esme said with a smile. She produced a bottle of wine and one glass. “Sorry,” she muttered when she realized how solitary it all looked. One glass, yet there was eight people in the room.
Bella smiled however. “I’m not old enough to drink, though; won’t it get you two in trouble?”
Carlisle laughed. “Normally I enforce the laws of the land, but this is your wedding day. I think it would be okay if you had a glass.” He poured her a small glass and handed it to her.
She raised the wine up in toast before pouring it down her throat in one gulp. He felt pride and love when he stared at her. She was so full of life, so happy. In the back of his mind there was a nagging worry about the conversion. He had to change her; she couldn’t, no, she wouldn’t be with him otherwise. Love was supposed to be blind, but all she could see is time.
The turning took three longs days of agony. He stayed by her side the entire time, not having to sleep, and watched. He waited for the signs of her pain to ebb, but it seemed to take forever. Her screams and cries of pain tore at his heart, making him wish he could just suck the venom out, like he did before, but he couldn’t. He knew she’d never forgive him if he did something to jeopardize her change.
“She wanted this,” Alice whispered through the screams.
“I should have said no,” he insisted.
“She wouldn’t let you. She’s stubborn, you know,” she reminded him, her voice full of affection.
He sighed heavy and took Bella’s hand in his. It was cold, but still soft. The conversation wasn’t over, wasn’t complete – there was still time.
“Don’t even think about it,” Alice whispered suddenly, as if reading his mind.
He didn’t look at her. With a sigh, Alice exited the room.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered in the midst of her pain, knowing Alice was right. “I do love you.”
It had been 50 years. Their “golden” wedding anniversary had been two days before, and they had celebrated together. Like they always did. Bella couldn’t remember her human life well anymore; it was a blurred mess, tainted with time and space. He wished he could give her life back, her beginning, and a promise of an end. This was unending, and the regret he felt weighed on his each day that passed.
She was his reason for staying, for not giving up and finding a way to kill himself. The Volturi would be more than willing to do him that favor these days. It would be so easy to become a suicidal vampire again with his sins weighing on his heart and his soul gone. Alice feared for him, he could see it in her eyes when she looked at him. She was so perceptive… She saw the future, but this time she refused to tell them why she was so worried.