Bella has finally realized she is terrified to become a vampire. She is leaving to think over what she really wants her life with Edward to be. Bella does go away, but she finds out a secret about Edward that takes her far from Forks. Can Bella solve the mystery about his past and take away Edward's demons? If so, they could really be truly happy. The first chapter is a bit slow - stick with it - it gets better - I promise! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THIS IS OFFICIALLY THE LAST CHAPTER. I HAVE ALSO WRITTEN AN EPILOGUE HOW WILL EDWARD REACT WHEN BELLA TELLS HIM ABOUT HER DREAM AND SEEING ELISABETH? THANK YOU TO ALL WHO READ MY STORY - THANK YOU ESPECIALLY FOR YOUR REVIEWS!
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Graduation came and went without too much fanfare. Charlie and Renee acted very proud and there were a lot of pictures taken.
The Cullens seemed to take it all in stride. After all, how many graduations can you attend for the same child over and over again and still act excited?
Renee hadn't seen Edward since the hospital in Phoenix more than a year ago. Subtle changes had taken place in my face and frame, but Edward had not changed in the slightest. I wondered if she noticed, but she seemed to be more preoccupied with how close Edward and I were. I had tried to pass him off as a crush back then. It was definitely past that now.
In two days I was flying back to Florida with Renee. I knew I would get an earful about how I shouldn't settle down so young in life. That was, after all, what she had done with Charlie and looked how that turned out? Lucky me that I had the whole plane ride, not to mention being in the same house with her to hear her views on commitment and marrying young.
As I looked around me that day, I remember thinking how far removed I was from what was happening with all these other graduates. Their futures were uncertain to be sure, but in a far different way than mine. Many were going to schools in the Northwest. A few had chosen the military. Some were staying close and taking jobs.
I wondered what I would be thinking on this day if I had never looked over to that lunch table and seen a fantastically beautiful boy staring at me. I would probably be over with Jessica and Mike laughing, crying and hugging. Promising to keep in touch. Perhaps already talking about our 10 year High School Reunion.
If I became a vampire I would never be able to see any of these people again.
Charlie and Renee were planning my future already.
I was torn in so many different directions. It was like I was standing on a road with so many paths it seemed impossible to choose the right one. Each path meant another not taken. And if I chose the vampire path, I would never be able to step off of it, not ever.
I didn't realize that I had moved away from the group. I also didn't realize that Edward had been watching me. When I met his gaze it seemed to say, "I always knew this day would come." He looked so sad.
I put on a smile and walked towards him. When I reached him he put out a hand to stop me and said, "Just promise me that if you decide on another life, that you will come back and give me the chance to say good-bye."
I stared at him with a shocked look on my face. "I love you with all my heart," I said.
"I never said you didn't," he said back to me.
We stared at each other for a long moment. It started to rain. Then I heard Renee say "Just one more picture honey, you and Edward turn this way and smile."
The gang had planned a big bonfire up on the Flatts. Kind of a hangout for the all teenagers in town. I had never been there. Edward and I rode in his jeep. Alice and Jasper decided that on a mountain in the dark with a bunch of rowdy kids was not the best place for Jasper to be.
We kept the conversation light. When we got there, we made the rounds. It didn't take long. Edward never really talked to anybody at school and I talked to Jessica and Andrea only a little and saw Mike only at work.
After a few minutes Edward said, "Come with me."
He grabbed my hand and we walked off a ways by ourselves. He then turned off the trail and helped me climb up a large rock face. At the top there was a place for just two people to sit. I had no idea how high we actually were until I looked around and saw we were on the highest peak for miles around. The stars were actually out and they seemed so close I could reach out and touch them.
Edward was looking out over the view. He said, "I found this place shortly after we moved to Forks," he then turned to look at me. "Before you came here."
"It's beautiful" I said, still short of breath from our climb. Edward sat down and motioned for me to come and sit by him.
For a time we were both silent looking at the view, but I could tell he was trying to say something. Finally he started with his most gentle velvet voice.
"Bella, I need you to know that when I introduced myself to you that day in Biology. . . I never planned for things to go this far. I never dreamed that you would or even could feel anything for me. I was so intrigued by you . . . you were so different from all the rest. The more I knew about you the more I loved you and, (he covered his face in his hands) I couldn't stay away." He turned to look at me as he said, "You have been a true gift to me and I'll never forget all you have taught me."
This sounded a lot like he was trying to say good-bye. I panicked. I started to stand up but I was afraid I would go tumbling down the mountain so I sat back down and in a high, pinched voice I said, "You promised me you were never going to leave me ever again!"
In a quiet voice he said, "I'm not going anywhere."
I grabbed his arm and said in a desperate kind of voice, "I am going to be gone for a few weeks! Just a few weeks Edward! You seemed okay about this when we talked before!" I turned him around to face me. His face was a mask but his eyes seemed so vulnerable, so resigned to his new fate.
"Why did you just give me what sounded like a good-bye speech?" I asked.
"Because," he said, "Today I made you promise to come back so I could tell you good-bye, and I basically, in a much shorter version, just told you what I would have said, so now I won't hold you to that promise. You don't have to come back."
Did he really think I could ever leave him? I put my arms around his neck as tightly as I could. I could feel tears coming down my cheeks. The breeze was blowing his scent in swirls all around me. I felt him hesitantly bring his arms up to hold me, and then they enveloped me as he buried his face in my neck.
"Edward" I whispered. I was never the one to initiate any kind of affection with him. Not ever sure of his limits, and what urges he could stand, I always let him be our guide, but not now.
I began by kissing his neck in the breathless way I had always wanted to. Every time I kissed him I would whisper "I love you." My hands moved to his chest and I kissed the front of his neck, the other side of his neck and then my hands found his face and I kissed his forehead and his cheeks. His eyes were closed and he was gripping my arms just below my shoulders.
Then I kissed him the way I had always dreamed of kissing him. I pushed my lips hard against his and I could feel tears staining my cheeks again. My hands went to his hair. This is where he always stopped me but instead he let go of my arms and drew me closer. He had never let me kiss him this long. I had to pull away for air and I whispered with all the force I could manage, "I am yours forever." Then I was kissing him again.
My head was spinning and I could feel his shoulders start to shake but neither one of us were able to pull away. Then I heard a growl from deep in his chest. He opened his mouth and I could feel his sweet breath in my face.
Instinct told me it was time to stop. Edward needed my help. I pulled away just enough to look into his eyes. They were wild and crazed and his breath was coming out in small shaky gasps. He was gripping my arms again, only much tighter than before, but I did not wince. I just held his gaze and calmed my face to let him know I was all right and that I wasn't afraid.
"I'm . . . so. . . sorry. . ." He said through clenched teeth. After a time his grip began to loosen and his breath slowed. His eyes were the last thing to come back.
"That was really stupid and out of line," He said. "I am sorry." He said it with so much self loathing that I tried to make the situation seem less serious than it really was.
Still looking right into his face I said, "If you think that's the last time I'm kissing you like that, you're wrong. I am definitely coming back for more of that." He shook his head and whispered something about a death wish and leaned his forehead into mine. "Besides, I said, I am the one who started kissing you."
I made my voice serious again as I said, "Edward, I'm leaving because I want to do this right. You are the most important person I will ever have in my life. I just can't mess this up."
In a very quiet voice Edward said, "Today at the ceremony, I did not have to read your mind to know what you were thinking. Do not be in too big of a hurry to give up a great life."
Every conversation I'd ever had with him about the future always ended this way. I was so exasperated by his defeatist attitude.
I pulled away from him and blurted out, "Why won't you fight for me? Why won't you just grab me and say "I'm yours and I‘m never letting you go"? From our first conversation all I wanted was you, and you just keep trying to push me away."
Edward looked at me with anguish on his twisted face. He spat out the words and it seemed like there was venom on each syllable. "Because. . .I. . am . . . a . . .VAMPIRE!"
He stood up and looked down pointing his long perfect finger at me. "I am a monster without a soul and I can count at least 5 times since you met me, one more, just 30 seconds ago, that I had to fight off a strong urge to kill you. I am not even talking about the small urges that come every day, Bella. You want me to beg you to stay with me? I'll never do it."
"Every night while you're asleep do you know what I do? I spend half my time berating myself for not being able to stay away from you and the other half wishing I was a human boy. ."
He pulled his hands up into his hair and knotted his fingers there. He sat back down with his arms covering his face and rested his elbows on his knees. Tearless sobs came out as he finished. . . "I would have fallen in love with you no matter what. I imagine myself as a human trying to convince you to go out with me. That I could play on the football team and have you wait for me after the game, that I could put a bandage on your knees when you inevitably fell down and not be crazed at the scent of your blood, that I could eat pizza with you while we watched a movie, that you could come to my house for dinner and meet my parents and maybe my grandparents, that I. . . that I could kiss you and not have to stop."
My heart ached for him. Why did he want all of that? I never felt one bit cheated out of anything to be with him. I always felt that I was the lucky one. Edward Cullen loved me. . .me! I didn't care about any of that. But he did.
I didn't know what to say, so I said, "I could've had Mike, or Tyler or Eric but I didn't. I only wanted you. You are the only one I'll ever want." It was a meager attempt at making him feel better, but it was the best I could do.
He still sat there with his head in his lap.
Finally, I moved over and knelt in front of him. I took hold of his arms that were still covering his face as I said, "I'm glad you told me all this. I sort of knew you felt that way but I just didn't realize how much. But Edward, while I'm gone I want you to do me a favor. Every time you begin to think that way I want you to stop yourself and imagine our life together from here on. Think about places you want to take me to see. Think about plays I haven't seen that we can experience. Think about books you can read to me. Think about the proposal you gave me. Think about the future. That's what I'll be doing."
He looked up at me then. His face was a little calmer, but I wouldn't say it was peaceful. He grabbed my hands in both of his and kissed them. "I'll do it." He said. Then he stood up and stared at me. He brushed my hair away from my face as he said, "I absolutely love you. I will count the seconds until you're back in my arms again. And Bella, when you come back and you decide for sure that you want to be with me, I will fight for you. I'll do everything in my power to keep you by my side." It made me burn inside to hear him talk like that.
All I could say was, "That's all I needed to hear."
We knelt there holding each other for a long time. It started to get colder and he felt me shiver. He took my hand and we started back down the rock face. It was much harder coming down than up, but as always, he patiently and safely got me back to the trail.
The night before I left was very sweet. Edward came to my room with a new cd of songs. Each one seemed more beautiful than the last. He was a little down, but then so was I.
I started to ask him about places he wanted me to see. I told him how much I wanted to go to Alaska and see the Northern Lights and that he could take me there and I could meet Tanya and her family. I wanted him to be in the right frame of mind when I left.
He started tracing my collarbone with his nose. I could feel him breathing in my scent. Then he was behind my ear. "If you keep doing that I'll never be able to leave." I murmured.
"In that case", he said, and his cold lips were on mine. He kissed me in a loving but desperate way. I was completely in heaven and kept thinking I was crazy to leave. So crazy. . . I was careful to keep my arms down so that he wouldn't have to stop kissing me. He stopped for a few seconds to calm down and then he was kissing me again.
This time I brought my hands up to his face. No one else could ever make me feel this way. He whispered my name and kissed me hard one more time and then he reluctantly broke away and laid his head on my chest listening to my heart beat out a hard pounding rhythm.
I ran my fingers through this hair, thinking about what Carlisle had said about his mother having the same bronze color hair that he had when Edward turned his head up to me. "I want you to know something," he said.
"Your image of me is the person I hope one day to be. I am trying to be positive that you'll be coming back." He paused while I shook my head and rolled my eyes, then he continued. "If you decide to stay with me I promise I will make everyday for you a happy one. I will love you like no one else ever will and I will always take care of you. You are now, and forever will be the most important part of me."
How could I ever wish for anything more?
"You have already been doing all those things." I replied. "Do you know when I first started to fall in love with you? That day you came back from Alaska and introduced yourself to me." I was staring at the ceiling remembering when he first spoke my name. I looked down at him and said, "Then the day you sat by yourself in the lunchroom and motioned for me to come sit by you. . . when you winked at me I thought I would come undone." I touched his hair and finished, "That's when I knew that there would never be anyone else for me." Then I whispered, "You could be doing so much less than you are and I would still be hopelessly in love with you."
I got my crooked smile. "Oh great, now you tell me!" he laughed. I laughed too.
He laid his head back down on my chest and closed his eyes. I wished he could sleep. I wished he could have that moment of peace.
"It's late," he finally said, "And Renee will be here early to get you."
"Goodnight my love", I whispered. He hummed me my lullaby and I forced my eyes to stay open to look at his face a little longer, then I drifted off.
The next morning when I awoke Edward was gone. He showed up as we were finishing breakfast. He helped me get my bags into Renee's rental car and asked, "Is your graduation present in there?"
"Yes." I grinned.
Edward had given me a laptop for graduation. He asked if I would e-mail him every night while away so that he would know I was safe. When I protested saying I did not have a present for him, he stared at me and said, "Just come back."
I turned to watch him as we drove away. He was just looking at me with one hand raised to wave good-bye. Just before I turned the corner, he touched two fingers to his lips and then sent the kiss out to me.
Five miles down the road I wanted to scream, "Go back!"
But I was determined to make this the turning point for good in our lives.