The darkest hour of two lives. Is it harder to be the heartbreaker? Trust me, both are heartbroken. Edward/Bella banner by the exceptional iris!
This will be my submission to the official site... so please, PLEASE, review. i need constructive criticism!
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2552 Review this Chapter
“Come for a walk with me,” I whisper. It is hard already to speak to her, and the pain of the day has barely begun. But I must. I must do this. I must force out these cursed words.
I take her hand, reminding myself to be gentle, delicate, not to hurt her precious self… her hand is so warm and soft. I want nothing more than to keep it here in my hand forever, to keep her near me forever.
How can this be so wrong? It is the only thing that’s ever felt right.
I stop walking. We have barely pierced the deep forest, but I can barely walk. I can’t be trusted to guide her steps, so pained is every movement.
Her eyes dart between my face and the forest floor. “Okay, let’s talk.” Her voice is so brave it sounds almost relieved. She must know my accursed plan. Maybe she won’t be hurt. That will lessen the pain just a modicum. But it cannot make these words, heavy as lead, any lighter on my burdened heart. I take a deep breath.
“Bella, we’re leaving.” Leaving, leaving me alone… I cannot allow the agony to collapse my empty chest.
She takes a breath too. Hers is more necessary than mine. I am certain she does not feel the pain I do… she cannot be as full of love for a monster as I am of an angel. “Why now? Another year-”
Another year? Three hundred and sixty-five dangerous days, all that time in which I might kill her. I might lose control. I do not allow myself to envision the brightness of that time with her, of a mere year in her beloved, blessed, presence… no, I don’t. I can’t let that happen. Instead, I ward off that painful chance with the thought, still more agonizing, of what could very well happen during the year that can never be. I could- would- kill her. End her life, send that dear soul to the heaven I’ve sacrificed so much not to forbid it.
I disguise my pain with an excuse. “Bella, it’s time. How much longer can me stay in Forks, after all? Carlisle can barely pass for thirty, and he’s claiming thirty-three now. We’d have to start over soon regardless.”
I keep my eyes cold as the warm windows into her soul peer into them. It can’t be that hard. After all, her soul is full, and mine doesn’t even exist. Suddenly, the warmth leaves them… she becomes as cold as me. “When you say we…”
“I mean my family and myself.” I keep the syllables distinct, seeking to keep them just that, merely meaningless sounds, not the horrid truth behind them, the terrible implication. Because I cannot bear to face the reality… I am leaving her, and I will never see her again, and I don’t know how I’ll survive it.
She stares at me for some minutes. I use the time to memorize her perfect face. It may not be sculpted in marble as mine is, but perfection isn’t perfect… the warmth and soul behind her features are what craft her beauty, not the unnatural face I wear to hide the monstrosity within.
Her voice is tiny as she answers. “Okay, I’ll come with you.”
Yes. Yes, come with me, Bella. Please. Never leave me. Never make me be alone. I need you with me, Bella. “You can’t, Bella. Where we’re going… it’s not the right place for you.” That, at least is the truth. She is an angel, borne from the highest vaunted cloud of heaven itself, while I am a demon, casting my habitat in the dark shades of the hell I deserve.
“Where you are is the right place for me!” she protests.
Sweet, silly darling. She is deluded by my face, by the love I have given her. She doesn’t know how much more she deserves. “I’m no good for you, Bella.”
Her response is infuriated. She doubts herself, but not me… when I am the cause of every error. “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re the very best part of my life!”
But I will take that life. I can’t allow that. “My world is not for you.” I cannot make you one of its dark denizens.
“What happened with Jasper… that was nothing, nothing, Edward!”
“You’re right. It was exactly what was to be expected.” What more could you ask of one who had nothing within? No, my brother could not be blamed. It was my own fault, for dragging brightness into the dark.
“In Phoenix, you promised that you would stay…”
I will always be with you. Even when my body is no longer possessed of the honor of your presence, my spirit will guard and adore you. I cannot be torn from our twined hearts, love. “As long as that’s what’s for you.” And it could not be worse.
“This is about my soul, isn’t it! Carlisle told me about that, and I don’t care, Edward. I don’t care! You can have my soul. I don’t want it without you. It’s yours already!”
No, Bella. Please don’t say that. It’s too late… the words have left her lips, sent the agony coursing through me, torturing me, tormenting me, an eternal stain. I have let it go too far, too fast… she is damning herself by binding herself to one damned as I am. Her soul is not something that can be given. Please, please don’t say that you’ve bound it to me. I would not have you lose it by tying it to such an empty hole. I am a black hole. I cannot give you any gift in return for your adoration. I can only suck away at your brightness until you become dark as I am.
And I refuse to allow that to happen. I shall not take her soul. I do not accept that too-precious token. No, there is no way around it. I must say this. I must lie. “I don’t want you to come with me.”
I focus on the seed of truth within. I don’t want her bound to me in danger and dark. I don’t want her hurt, trapped, stuck in nothingness. No, I didn’t want her to come with me into the abyss of pain that awaited me at this conversation’s end. I wanted her to stay safe and happy here.
“You… don’t… want… me?”
I want you! When did I ever say that… I am almost injured by the implication my truest of loves was always a lie. I want her more than anything in this world, but I must remember it is in more than one way. I do not merely desire her love, want her presence… I lust for her blood, for the taking of her sweet life. And I cannot allow that to happen. Not now and not ever.
My lying response is biting, swift, the evil consuming the word. She must see through it. She must. “No.”
I pretend I am saying yes.
That will work. Through this horrid conversation, I will pretend I am telling the truth. I will lie to myself as I lie to her.
“Well. That changes things.”
No, it doesn’t change a thing… because it’s a goddamn lie. It isn’t anything in the shape of the truth, Bella! It will never change a thing. The things we share can never be changed. That is no more than simplest fact… how can she believe this! “Of course I’ll always love you…” This is the truth. “In a way.” In every way that matters. I love you. I love you. I love you. “But what happened the other night made me realize it’s time for a change.” I can’t change myself. I won’t change you. What is there to change but these accursed circumstances? “Because I’m tired of pretending to be something I’m not. I am not human. I’ve let this go on much too long, and I’m sorry for that.” I am not pretending. But I was not lying when I said I am not human. I cannot become human for you. I will not allow you to become immortal for me. I never should have hurt you. Never should have allowed you to be hurt.
I’m so sorry.
“Don’t,” she whispers. “Don’t do this.”
Okay. I won’t. You want me? I’m here. Forever and ever. I promise. Don’t worry. I love you. Did you really believe me? I’m not going to. I won’t leave you.
I tell a lie so ridiculous she must surely see through it. I don’t have the strength to do this, to convince her subtly of heinous crimes, so I lie obviously. She will call me out on it, laughing, be angry for a while… I will beg her pardon. I will not have to leave her. Yes, this is what I will do. “You’re not good for me, Bella.”
Now would I surely see those sweet eyes widen, her delectable mouth open in a chuckle, her beloved voice cackle at me. Edward, that’s really not funny.
That response did not come. Something else answered me. “If… that’s what you want.”
Her voice is as empty as my soul. I do not have the strength to crush her spirit any further. I cannot hurt her more. I nod. I can’t speak it. My heart implores, ask me, Bella. Ask me. Tell me you don’t care, tell me you need me like I need you! Ask me to stay and I will be powerless to go… it is all I can do to pretend a halting attempt at that travesty.
What if she is hurt? Is she safer with me than without me?
Ridiculous. I am the world’s greatest monster. She cannot love me. But I see in her eyes such heartbreak… it is not unreasonable that Bella, who after all is just a child, might be caught up in her foolish desire for me, might do herself some harm. I must keep her safe. “I would like to ask one favor, though, if it’s not too much.” I have taken too much. I have no right, love, no right. I should never ask anything of you when you have given me so much. And yet I mush.
“Anything,” she says, strong, sure.
I could hear the love… yet I convince myself it is merely my own reflected into its object. She can live without me. And she will. “Don’t do anything reckless or stupid. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
She had to live. Not only is she precious, but she when she died, I would. I want to forestall that… I can’t do that to my family. I want to keep the angel enthroned forever.
“I’m thinking of Charlie, of course.” And Carlisle and Esme- the bereaved-to-be parents, and my siblings, and my dead-hearted self. “Take care of yourself, for him.”
“I will.” Her voice sounds as though from miles away, far atop the mountains that fringe the trees, not here with me… as she no longer will be, after the end of this moment.
The anticipated pain, though I am still in her healing presence, threatens to consume me. I have to prove to myself I can do this. I must take one final step or I will move instead in the wrong direction- to throw my penitent self in her arms.
“And I’ll make you a promise in return. I promise that this will be the last time you’ll see me. I won’t come back. I won’t put you through anything like this again. You can live your life without any more interference than me. It will be as if I’d never existed.”
Yes, that was good, that was right. Scrub out the darkness in the life of light. Erase it. Pretend I had never tainted sacred ground with sinner’s feet.
I had to believe this promise was a true one- and I had to make the promise. I knew it would be torture. I had no redeeming life ahead, only an endless agony. I had to promise her this, know she would not be hurt by me again, or I would simply have never left.
“Don’t worry. You’re human- your memory is no more than a sieve.” It is agonizing to know she will forget me, but how much the more to imagine her trapped to my unforgivable memory?
“And your memories?” she asked.
I will remember you every instant, sweet Bella. You will be my every thought. I will never forget an instant we spent together, not one of the dear, dear moments. “Well, I won’t forget. But my kind- we’re very easily distracted.” Like anything could distract me from my love. That at least is true and pure within me.
I keep waiting for her to tell me she doesn’t believe, to laugh at my ludicrous lies, to ask me to stay, anything. Instead, she accepts all with a complacency that shatters my vestigial heart.
“That’s everything, I suppose. We won’t bother you again.”
My siblings are not pleased that they didn’t get a chance to say good-bye.
“Alice isn’t coming back.”
“No, they’re all gone. I stayed behind to tell you goodbye.” Because heartbreak would be incomplete without this, wouldn’t it, love. Because it wouldn’t be fair for me to simply have to live without you, without having to carry this memory around forever. The pain on your face, the way you whisper, the way you would plead… but do not, because you love me so much.
You love me too much.
Bella, Bella, I want the best. Only the best for you, Bella. What I want doesn’t matter… only you.
“Alice is gone?”
She seems more hurt by her friend’s disappearance than my lying betrayal. I try to tell myself this is a relief.
“She wanted to say goodbye, but I convinced her that a clean break would be better.”
I can’t do this. I will regret not spending the extra moment here till the end of my lonely days, but I can’t bear to see this. “Goodbye.”
I turn to run, alone, alone.
“Wait,” she whispers, strangled.
At last I see what pain I’ve caused… and her agony redoubles my own. I have broken us both. We are one! I have torn twin souls twain, breaking both into shattered pieces time cannot mend. I have hurt her.
I didn’t want her to suffer. Cannot my agony alone buy hers from above? Cannot I excuse her from pain with my own?
“Take care of yourself,” I whisper to her, pressing marble monster’s lips against her soft, warm skin…
For the last time.
The green branches are blinding, whipping into my face, a deserved pain as I run alone…