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With A Rebel Yell

Summary:
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.


Notes:


8. SECRETS

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1022   Review this Chapter

SECRETS

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

We were by Lake Michigan, lying on the embankment as the sun sparkled off the rippling surface and glinted off my cool skin.

It was the first time I’d allowed Bella to see me in the daylight.

“I thought you wouldn’t accept me.”

My response to her question was muted, my discomfort evident.

Her hand came to trace my closed eyelids and I inhaled sharply, fighting down the urge that never left.

“Edward, I love you.” Came her soft response. “I wouldn’t have cared, much – not as much as I hated you lying to me.”

I sighed.

“I know that, now.” I opened my eyes quickly. “I made a mistake. There hasn’t been a day that I didn’t regret it.”

She bit her lip, nervously.

Gently, I pushed her away from me and put the distance between us, refusing to watch the hurt pool in her wide, expressive eyes.

“You’re engaged,” I reminded her. “That’s as good as married, I shouldn’t be doing this.”

“Edward, I told you.” She insisted, kneeling and tilting her head towards me. “Charlie made me – a condition of me moving back into the house.” She mumbled something before speaking audibly again, “To make an honest woman out of me.”

I crushed her carefully to my chest at the very implication that Bella was anything but … honest.

“So, break up with him.”

“I … can’t.”

Her stuttered reply gained my immediate concern.

“And why is that?”

She pushed on my chest, needing the space between us. Regretfully, I let her go, but I refused to let go of her hand. I needed that, at least.

“Listen, Edward, a lot happened after you left.” She looked around at the star-speckled lake. “The Gangsters kicked me out I became such a miserable …” She sighed. “I spent a month or two living on the streets. Occasionally, someone would recognise me and take pity, and throw me some money. Eventually, I went back to my parents.

“Charlie would only let me return if I agreed to marry his friend’s son. Said son was trying to shake the gangster lifestyle he had already built up. He saw the best way of doing it as marrying someone – me.”

My grip on her hand grew steadily tighter until I heard her soft whimper of pain that informed me of Bella’s distress.

Letting go, I stood up and paced nervously on the spot.

How could her father subject her to that? Better yet, how could she agree to that?

It was hopeless, I realised as I sank down next to Bella once again. What was done is done, and a broken engagement just wasn’t heard of.

“You’ve been engaged how long?”

“About eighteen months.”

“So the wedding is …?”

Her voice was quite.

“In two weeks time.”

Two weeks. I had only fourteen days with which I could spend with Bella. After that, she was lost to me forever.

Hand in hand, Bella and I walked through the now crime-free streets of Chicago.

It was amazing, really, how much could change in two years.

However, it was also shocking to learn that someone you love could change just as much within the same time period.

When we turned the corner onto Bella’s street, she snatched her hand away from mine and crossed her arms nervously over her chest.

“Bella, what…?”

“My father.”

She gestured towards the window where I caught the glimpse of a curtain falling shut. It wasn’t long before the front door opened, and another man who bore no resemblance to Bella stood there.

Bella, however, recognised him and the name fell from her lips.

“James.”

James? Recognition dawned on me.

Her fiancé.

He was an unattractive man, not good enough for Bella, but his eyes held the glint of danger and the possessiveness for my girl.

“Bella,” he greeted coldly. “Who’s your friend?”

“Um, this is Edward Cullen.”

“Edward Cullen, you say?” His eyebrow shot up. “I knew an Edward Masen once.”

I felt the faint stirring of recognition from the back of my mind.

“Sad story though, he died in the Spanish flu epidemic… oh, about twelve years ago now.”

I swallowed loudly. I remembered him now. We went to school together. I should be his age. I should be too old for Bella, like he is.

“You kind of look like him.”

I ducked my head, refusing to show my face.

“Well, thank you for returning my bride to me,” he continued. “She’ll need her rest for the wedding night.”

I growled and kept my arm around Bella’s wrist.

“Take that back.” My voice remained strained.

“Hey, how about that.” His jovial tone had the hint of malice underneath. “You even sound like him too.”

I flashed my fangs at him, alerting him to just what I was and, consequentially, revealing that I was the same man he was going on about. The same ‘man’.

“Bella.” He ordered. “Come here. That man is a monster.”

Bella, stubborn angel that she is, stayed by my side.

“I know.” She linked her arm with mine and barely flinched at the coolness of my skin. “I love him.”

James’ glare hardened at Bella as he flashed his pocket and the glint of a knife was deathly noticeable.

“Come here.” He repeated.

Bella merely shook her head.

James shook his head and pulled out the knife threateningly. But not at Bella. Thankfully, he was threatening me. And, of course, a knife couldn’t kill me.

So, when he lunged at me, I stood still, expecting the knife to pierce me, and sting, but not hurt. Then, whilst James was frozen in shock, I would attack and feel no qualms about doing so – considering he was threatening and aggressive towards Bella.

It was unexpected, and completely unnecessary, for Bella to push me out of the way in fear like she did. It only succeeded in its intention, thanks to her catching me unaware.

The sound of the knife entering Bella’s body was a sound that would stay with me forever.

But the sight of the blood spreading slowly across her white fabric-covered stomach would haunt me for eternity.

James ran at the sight, knife still protruding from Bella’s stomach.

Pulling it out, I chucked it to the side as I took Bella into my arms as I pushed my hands against the wound.

I was left with two choices: To turn her or to let her die.

And I didn’t know which one to choose.