With A Rebel Yell
AU. Chicago, 1928. Edward Cullen is living his life of rebellion, feeding only off criminals. Then, he stumbles across someone seemingly innocent who appeals to him in ways that could force him to reveal his secret and scare away the girl he's grown to love.
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Two Years Later – Chicago, 1931.
America, as a country, was not lacking in intelligence. Following the massacre that had taken place on that fateful day two years prior, the nation had realised how out of control the gang-ridden cities had gotten and started the changes that were currently taking place.
The Wall Street Crash, as well as the Depression that followed, were both events that I’d only read about in the newspaper – I couldn’t be around people.
Of course, the country was still suffering the effects of the crash and not a day went by where I didn’t think of Bella and wonder how she was dealing with the turn that the world had taken.
Not a day went by in which I stopped loving her.
Even now, two years and thousands of miles apart, I still loved her – still hungered for her.
And not knowing if she was alive, or even all right, was excruciating.
I was going to find out soon, however. After seven hundred and thirty three days exactly – February seventeenth, nineteen thirty-one – I was going back. Back to Chicago. Back to Bella. I was going back home.
In spite of the time I’d spent away, Chicago seemed reasonably untouched by the Depression that had spread across the continent.
My fear for Bella’s safety diminished minutely.
I remembered walking down the streets on which I walked now, scanning the minds of every person I passed, praying for their thoughts to betray the crimes they had committed, if only so I could … eat.
The very thought filled me with shame – it was no wonder that Bella pushed me away, after she found out the truth.
Now, I was still scanning minds, but only for the possibility of seeing Bella’s face.
Meaning of course that, when I turned a corner, Bella was standing right in front of me. Her brown eyes still sat widely on her perfect face, but her hair had grown out longer and the girl of fifteen that I had loved and wanted had suddenly grown into a young woman of seventeen who radiated beauty.
Suddenly, Bella became a lot more desirous to me … just as she was a temptation to every man that passed her on the street where we stood. The sight of so many people looking at her – my Bella! – forced a growl to rumble in my throat.
“Edward?” Bella, it seemed, had her emotions more in control than I did. She, at least, still maintained the ability to talk. “Is that you?”
Nodding slowly, I never took my eyes from her.
“I thought I told you that …” Her voice was cold but I didn’t need my vampire hearing to hear the waver in it. “You’re a murderer.”
My head drooped.
“I am.” I spoke quietly, monotonously.
“You’re a thousand times worse than any mobster.” She repeated.
I only agreed, yet again.
“So, why are you here?” The beginning of tears built up in her eyes as she clenched her fists behind her back. “Why are you back to hurt me?”
“No, Bella,” I told her as I took a step forward and her temptingly delicious scent hit me a thousand times worse than it ever had done before. It was practically crippling. “Never! I would never hurt you – not intentionally – ever again.”
“So why are you here?” She repeated.
“Bella, darling,” I took a deep breath and regretted it instantly. “I love you.”
She froze, tears silently sliding down her cheek.
“I love you, Bella,” I repeated. “I did then and I do now – I always will. I came back, because, well … I changed.”
Her tone was one of extreme disbelief.
“I know it sounds stupid,” I persisted. “But it’s true, all the same. I … I haven’t killed anyone since I left Chicago.”
“So, what do you eat?” Bella asked, a frown on her pretty face. “And, wait a minute, you left Chicago?”
“I went to Washington,” I stated. “To hunt mountain lions – I eat animals.”
Running a shaky hand through my hair, I continued.
“Really, Bella, I just wanted to tell you again: I love you.”
Risking everything, I walked forward and placed a soft, quick kiss on her lips – it took everything I had in me to resist the bouquet of her blood.
“I love you too.”
Her words were barely audible, due to her tears and the sobs that silently wracked her small body.
“Bella?” I asked, alarmed. “What’s wrong?”
“I love you Edward, so much.” She continued, ignoring my frantic cries. “Even knowing what you are – it didn’t stop me.”
In spite of myself, I grinned.
“So, what’s the problem?” I sobered. “Why are you crying?”
Slowly, she brought her hands from behind her back and the glint of sunlight that escaped from the clouds that littered the sky sparkled on the ring that now decorated her ring finger on her left hand.
I blanched, dropping my hands as I took a step backwards even whilst a growl and a need to hunt down the man who’d dared try to possess the beautiful Isabella Swan built up in my chest.
“You’re engaged?” I confirmed in disbelief.
Never saying a word, but with tears running down her cheeks, she nodded, shakily.
“I don’t want to be!” She cried. “But you left and … you left, Edward!”
I opened my mouth to object only to be cut off by the woman I loved.
“And, I know, okay? I know that it was partly my fault.” She shut her eyes and turned her face away from me. “But you were gone for two years.”
There was nothing to say to that – it was as long as I needed to perfect my resistance to human blood. At least, as much as I could stand before seeing her again.
“After the first six months, I went to find my father again.” Bella’s eyes snapped open and locked with mine. “It was his idea. A year had gone and I still couldn’t …”“Bella, I’m –”
Shutting my mouth, I nodded sadly.
My worst fear had been realised – Bella had moved on. Someone else had seen her for the treasure she was, and took the opportunity I had missed.
And, whilst I couldn’t blame the lucky man, I envied him greatly.
“I’m sorry for returning, Bella.” I muttered. “Sorry for causing you this pain.”
“Don’t be.” She smiled a watery smile. “Just, can you kiss me?”
And, though I felt guilty for kissing somebody who rightfully belonged to another man, I did.