After changing Bella, Edward grows more and more distant. She cannot understand why it is so, and hangs onto the hope that everything will change soon. But what happens when one day she is unable to bear with it any longer and decides to leave? Written for Twilight Tables .
1. Chapter 1
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She did not want to lie to herself any longer. She did not want to deceive herself, to make excuses for him. It was too painful.
Since he had changed her, he had been… distant, to say the least. No doubt he was there with her, physically; but mentally, he was far, far away. And she could not bear it any longer.
He looked at her, but he did not see her. He heard her, but he never listened. Every time he looked at her, she would find herself flinching unconsciously, afraid of what she saw in his eyes. It was a strange emotion, one she could not quite place. Not hate, no anger, but perhaps a strange mixture of love, desire and… guilt…?
Everyone else sensed it as well, but they kept quiet, knowing that intervention would only make matters worse. Bella went to Alice for advice once and brokenhearted, asked if Edward had stopped loving her after all. As always, Alice had kind words for her, but told her it was something only Bella herself could settle. Seeing Bella’s distraught face, she then added that if things went according to what she saw, it would be over soon. She told Bella that much, but she refused to give any other detail.
That gave Bella hope and she clung onto it relentlessly, knowing that if she let the doubt get the better of her, things would inevitably take a turn for the worse, and she might find herself going to the Volturi this time. She had thought that phase he was going through would pass and they could be happy again.
But now, she was on the verge of giving up. The anguish deep in her heart was killing her, slowly, but surely. Did he not love her like he once did? If so, she was content to leave, for anything would be better than seeing him look at her distantly, with that look in his eyes. They had taken to avoiding each other nowadays and she highly doubted he would notice if she left.
Years before, she had read somewhere that love could fade – but she had not believed a word of it, scoffing at the author for being such a cynic. Perhaps the author was right, after all…
It was five months since Edward had changed her. Five months of enduring the hurt and agony inside her. It had to stop. If he did not want her anymore, she would leave to make him happy, even though the mere thought sent a spear driving though her heart – she would leave because she loved him.
Bella made a snap decision and coincidentally, Alice had gone some place far to hunt with Jasper. She knew they wanted to escape the somber atmosphere in the house and she did not blame them one bit. At least, after today they would return to a more cheerful house. Even if Alice saw her leaving and wanted to stop her, it would be far too late for that.
With her mind made up, she went in search of Edward. It did not take very long to find him, and she found him sitting on the porch, eyeing the gathering clouds. She stopped directly behind him, suddenly unsure of what to say.
“I’m leaving,” she blurted, with her throat closing up.
She knew he had heard her, but he made no move at all. Tension was in the air, and if she were alive, her heart would be beating unsteadily, her heart thudding faster and faster with the realisation of the magnitude of her actions. There was complete silence.
A single leaf crackled in the wind.
Then, “All right.” Edward nodded stiffly, not facing her. “If you wish it.”
He did not love her anymore then; Alice, with all her vehement protests when Bella asked for her advice, was wrong. Alice was never wrong – but she was now.
An eerie calm settled over her and the raindrops started pattering onto the ground. She did not know what she expected from him by going there. Everything felt oddly surreal, as if she were underwater. A moment passed and she forced the stillness out of her legs, turning on her heel and making her way to their room, his room.
She was in the midst of throwing her jeans into the back when an elusive whisper, brought by the edges of the wind, tickled at her hearing.
“I am sorry, Bella. Know that I will always love you.”
As swiftly as the wind had carried it to her, the wind blew it away, but it was enough, she knew what she had heard.
Tossing the jeans aside, she was leaping out of the window in an instant, landing quickly enough to see the barest hint of the blurriness dashing into the fringe of the woods under the steadily pouring rain.
She was completely drenched, but she paid it no heed. Darting towards the woods as well, she had a clear idea of Edward’s destination: the meadow. The rain was of little hindrance to her, for she still could see as clearly as usual. Thanking the heavens for letting her find the shortcut to the meadow just a few weeks ago, she leapt across the river of water without hesitating. She could not, she would not, let this chance slip through her fingers. Forcing the bewildered thoughts out of her head, she focused on one thing: to get to the meadow before he did.
She darted across the rocks lying on the ground and dodged past the trees. Bella could not remember ever running this fast before. With every step she took, she imagined different ghastly scenarios in which she was too late. The fear rose up in her and threatened to consume her; and in those few precious minutes, she tasted madness.
And then, she reached the edge of the meadow.
He had just arrived as well, standing at the edge opposite her, looking at her while the sheets of rain separated them. He was so close to her, and yet so far. Various emotions flickered across his face before she caught a glimpse of confusion. As he stared at her, a hard mask replaced it.
“I thought you were leaving?” His words were evenly spaced out and held an edge to it that frightened her.
She thought carefully before she spoke, as she knew any mistakes now would have him disappearing from her forever.
“I was leaving because I thought you didn’t love me anymore,” she said quietly, slowly inching a step forward.
He let out a hollow laugh. “I always loved you, Bella. And I will continue to do so for the rest of eternity.”
The air was thick – with unspoken words.
She opened her mouth to say something, but Edward cut her across. “If you are going to leave, you had better do it before Alice gets back.”
Hope was such a terrible thing, Bella realised. It could give someone the strength of living, but turned around, it could crush a person in its grip just as easily. She was determined not to get her hopes up, but unbeknownst to her, she had already let herself hope.
“Do you want me to leave?” Her voice wavered unsteadily.
The mask on his face broke, and confusion took its place once more. “Aren’t you leaving because you hate me?”
Bella stared, rooted to the ground. “I was leaving because I wanted you to be happy.”
He shook his head slowly. “I could never be happy without you.”
“I thought you hated me for what I did to you – for changing you. You cannot possibly understand how I felt when I had to listen to your heart stop beating slowly, to see the warmth drained from you… And then when you awoke, you looked at me and I realised the horror of what I had done – I could not understand how I had let the selfishness get the better of me, how I could be cruel enough to change you into the monster that I am–”
“I wanted you to change me, Edward! And how many times must I tell you that you are not a monster? You were always so distant, I thought, I thought you didn’t love me anymore.”
Edward shook his head furiously, tortured. “I love you, Bella. I kept my distance from you because I could not bear the thought of you hating me even though I rightfully deserve it–”
“I never hated you, Edward!” Bella cried, desperate. “I love you, Edward! With all my heart.”
There was a long pause.
And he blinked slowly, stared at her, and then blinked again. “You… love… me…? Even after what I did to you?”
“You did not do anything I did not want, Edward,” she said fiercely. “And yes, I love you – how can you be so obtuse?”
He was at her side in an instant then, pulling her into his arms and kissing her forehead, eyes, cheeks…
“You are my life, Isabella Cullen,” he breathed.
They were silent for a long while.
And then he asked hesitatingly, “Are you still leaving?”
She glared at him. “Of course not!” She said indignantly.
“Good. Or else I’d have to pack and go with you.”
Bella laughed, relishing the feel of him. Now she knew Alice was indeed right. She snuggled into his wet shirt and breathed in deeply. They held each other tightly, never letting go; all in the midst of the falling rain.