Begins in an AU of New Moon after Edward leaves; Jasper does not leave with the rest of the Cullens. He is wrecked by the guilt of what he has done, so he stays behind to watch after Bella.
5. Chapter 4
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I ran into the house before I did anything I would regret. I sat in the chair beside the bed and watched as Bella went through the agony of the change. She would never forgive me for leaving her, for allowing this to happen to her. I would never forgive myself for that either. She was so beautiful – so exquisite – even as she lay in torment. It was all I could do to not touch her, to not pull her into my arms. I wanted to, more than anything else, but she allowed no one to touch her. If anyone came close – and some had, Alice especially followed closely by Esme – she thrashed about and cried louder. My poor Bella.
The images I saw in Jasper’s mind of Bella made me shudder, but I could not erase them from my mind. Bella lying on the forest floor – where I’d left her – for hours, Bella – thin, pale, empty-eyed – crying day after day, night after night, Bella screaming herself awake, Bella throwing out her books, her CDs, everything that could somehow remind her of me. I felt sick – to my very core. How could I have done that to her – to my Bella, the girl I loved? Jasper was right; the words I said were needlessly cruel. If only I’d listened to Alice and never left in the first place! I’d broken her; left her, but Jasper… he stayed. He’d fought the same bloodlust I had fought over and over again. I could see in his memories how hard he’d tried to help her through the pain – pain that I caused.
I did appreciate how he helped her, but I was filled with rage as the images of him touching her – my Bella – and kissing her went through my mind again. I wanted to kill him – truly I did. I wanted to become the monster that I was. How dare he touch her? She was mine. Only she wasn’t. I left her, and this… situation – for lack of a better word – was nothing more than what I allowed to happen! I had practically thrown them together. Being here seems pointless, I should leave now before she wakes up.
Don’t you even think about that Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, or I will hunt you down even if I have to go to the ends of the earth to find you. Alice thought.
I groaned inwardly, but how could I stay? I came home with the delusional idea that perhaps Bella could love me again, would take me back, but how could she?
I’m serious. Don’t you dare leave, or I’ll get Rosalie to take both your cars apart. You’ll be able to fit them into a cardboard box when she’s finished. I held my head; even in her thoughts Alice’s voice was shrill and annoying.
It didn’t matter. I could never really leave. I was not strong enough to live again without her. Even if she did not want me any longer, I would stay. It would kill me to do so, but it was no one’s fault but my own.
Time went by at a torturously slow pace as if to punish me for my part in the damning of an angel. Each scream cut through me like a knife piercing my heart, but her calling out for Jasper was worse. Esme tried to comfort me, but there was nothing she could say. I thought the last six months had been my own personal hell, but I was wrong. This was my personal hell.
Everyone else steered clear of the room. Alice came in and out, but I knew she was hurting. The visions she had were changing so rapidly, their frantic pace leaving me nearly dizzy; I knew she must be as well. Rosalie and Emmett went hunting – Rosalie couldn’t bear to be near when anyone was changing. It brought up too many memories of her unfortunate birth into this life. Carlisle was doing damage control. He already made plans for us to return to Denali as soon as possible. With a police chief as her father, her disappearance would not go unnoticed for long. No doubt people were already searching for her at this very moment. The less time we spend here in Forks, the better.
Bella’s screams had died down, and she now lay in relative silence. Every few minutes a whimper or moan would escape her lips, but she kept her eyes tightly shut. Her pain seemed more manageable, and I suppose we had Jasper to thank for that. He lingered outside the door, not daring to come in. The transformation was half-way complete when I first heard it.
The volume of the thought stunned me. It was as if this person was screaming at me, screaming my name, yet the voice was soft and melodic – beautiful yet completely alien in my head. I quickly accounted for every person in the house. They were all where they should be. No new person – vampire or other – was in the house.
Edward. Edward. Edward. Edward.
The word repeated itself like a mantra in my head. Its familiarity was apparent, but the identity of the errant thought eluded me. It was right on the tip of my tongue. I looked down at the beautiful girl beside me and realized it was her! I could hear Bella’s thoughts! Perhaps the change made her thoughts accessible to me? I wasn’t sure. I did not have time to ponder the possibilities because they were gone now. It was as if they were nothing more than smoke, gone so quickly I was sure I’d imagined them.
Then the images of her and Jasper were back.
“Jasper,” I growled. “I know you are out there, but could you please refrain from thinking about that?”
He peered into the doorway, a look of confusion on his face. “I’m not thinking about anything. Other than the usual.”
The images continued, however, but they were different than the memories I’d seen in Jasper’s mind earlier, I realized. This wasn’t a memory, this was a dream. Bella’s dream. Bella was sitting on her bed crying when Jasper jumped into the room. I tried to block the thoughts before it got any worse, but I couldn’t. They were so loud, like the dream was on surround-sound in my head.
“Is everything all right?” Jasper asked.
I shook my head. “I don’t think so. It’s Bella. I can hear her thoughts, or rather see her dreams, I’m not sure.”
“I’ll go get Carlisle,” he offered and hurried down the hall.
In my head, the dream continued. I was forced to watch the scene I’d seen replayed many times in the last day and a half or so, yet this time was quantifiably worse. Everything was in slow motion. Bella was obviously surprised that he was there. I suppose I could find comfort in that at least; she wasn’t privy to his nightly visits. After nearly a century of hearing thoughts and dreams, I never paid attention to the vivid realism dreams possessed. I could hear Bella’s heartbeat accelerate, pounding rapidly in the dream as she spoke to Jasper; could hear it become frenzied when he kissed her; could nearly smell her scent.
“Edward? Jasper said you needed me?” Carlisle asked.
“It’s Bella. I can hear her thoughts.”
Carlisle rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “That is unexpected,” he murmured to himself. “I would think her protection from your power would only be enhanced.”
“Her thoughts are different. They are so loud,” I said. “And I can’t block them.”
Carlisle studied Bella a moment before answering. “You can’t block them?”
“No,” I answered. “Though I wish I could.” I added as the dream suddenly changed.
Bella was in the woods; a heart-breaking look on her face. She was talking to someone, but I could not make out their face. I closed my eyes, hoping that it would somehow cause the figure standing in the shadows to move where I could see. Their identity did not remain a mystery though as the dream played out, and I was able to hear their conversation.
“Bella, I don’t want you to come with me,” the dream me said.
Bella’s face dropped, and I shook my head trying to clear the image out.
“Edward?” Carlisle asked, he sounded extremely concerned.
“You… don’t… want… me?” she whispered. I could see her attempt to hold in the tears.
“She’s dreaming, and I can’t stop it. I can’t not watch it,” I whispered.
I watched as the dream me, with a face of complete indifference uttered the one word that broke my heart. “No.” I couldn’t believe how cold it sounded. When I said that, I thought I would break down. It was all I could do to get the word out.
“I could stay with her; if you need a break, that is.” Jasper said.
Bella’s face changed. It went from complete devastation to understanding. “Well, that changes things.”
“No,” I growled. “I’m not leaving her side. You can leave though. Sorry to have bothered you, Carlisle.”
I shook my head in a desperate attempt to once again block the thoughts. I knew what was coming. I was about to utter the words that would break my heart – break her heart. Living through it once was bad enough. I couldn’t possibly bear to hear them again.
“Of course, I’ll always love you… in a way. But what happened the other night made me realize that it’s time for a change. Because I’m … tired of pretending to be something I’m not, Bella. I am not human I’ve let this go on for far too long, and I’m sorry for that.”
“I’ll go check my study. You can come with me, Jasper, if you want. Perhaps we can find some answers.”
”Don’t. Don’t do this,” she whispered, tears pooling in her eyes.
“Edward? Are you alright?” Jasper asked.
“You’re not good for me, Bella.”
I shook my head. “The dream, it won’t stop.” It was horrendous; having to watch the blackest moment of my life again.
“If…. That’s what you want,” she whispered.
Jasper sighed. “I can make the dream stop. She’s only sleeping because of my influence. I could…”
The growl tore out of my chest. “No!” I roared. “I’d rather go through this a thousand times than cause her anymore pain. How could you even think I would want to do that?”
The images in my head shifted as I watched myself kiss her on the forehead and walk away. It had taken every ounce of self-control I had to walk away that afternoon, yet it had all been for naught. I broke her – and myself – for nothing!
“I don’t want her to hurt either,” Jasper murmured softly as he exited the room.
I managed to subdue the growl forming, but no doubt, he would feel my anger. I left to protect her! Not because I didn’t love her! And for this to happen anyways, I felt wretched. I climbed in bed next to her, careful not to touch her. Her heartbeat was getting slower every minute. I closed my eyes and tried to block out the visions of her wandering in the woods calling for me.
“I’m here, Bella,” I whispered.
It was strange how much comfort just lying here with her brought me. It was so reminiscent of the not-so distant past when we were both in love and happy. Perhaps one day she would love me again. I could only hope so. To think otherwise was simply too unbearable. As her voice in my head began to shout my name incessantly; I hoped that my name was as imprinted in her heart as it seemed to be in her thoughts.