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The Fires of Jealousy

Summary:
Someone likes Bella a little too much for Edward's taste.


Notes:
This is my first story from Edward's POV. It centers mostly around the emotion of jealousy, like the title suggests. Advice and constructive criticism are always welcome!


2. Don't leave me alone with my thoughts, dear

Rating 4/5   Word Count 2019   Review this Chapter

I knew my reaction was ridiculous.

Someone admired Bella. What did it matter? Plenty of boys and young men drooled after her; I saw their rather unsettling fantasies every day. Now someone had summoned up the courage to make a first step. A harmless, teenage boy with overoptimistic dreams was behind the gift, and I should only laugh at his hopeless expectance.

So I hid my jealousy from Bella as I lay next to her in bed. She was half-asleep, her eye lids gradually surrendering to the fatigue as she rested her delicate body against mine. With every breath, my thoughts became more fanatical. I swallowed them back by reminding myself about the expression on Bella’s face once she had found out the gift wasn’t from me.

I was being irrational.

“Edward, what are you thinking?” Bella mumbled drowsily, amazing me once again with her talent for reading my feelings so well. My carefully built façade did not fool her, even after a century of practice. I noticed my current tense posture, the frozen arms that were still locked around Bella’s shoulders. Loosening my grip, I mustered up my most convincing voice.

“Nothing, love. Sleep.” Burdening Bella with my absurd possessiveness would be unforgivable.

“It’s not nothing. Is this about the card?” This was followed by a yawn.

I chuckled at her struggles in staying awake, and used her human disadvantages for my advantage. “No, silly. I’m fine. Fall asleep, now. I’ll be here in the morning, like always.”

Bella’s brows furrowed slightly, but in the end she had to admit defeat, and drifted to sleep.

The rest was good for her. In the morning she would be bright and cheerful, once again ready to tackle every bit of Alice’s enthusiasm.

But with her unconsciousness, my own control lapsed, and my thoughts started venturing to topics I had forbidden myself from entering.

I welcomed the honest thoughts, though simultaneously cursed them for causing me unjust insecurity. My mutilated brain was in different places all at once, making it extremely difficult to arrange my true feelings.

Why had I not gotten Bella a flower? She had obviously been delighted when she'd first thought it was from me. I would have to make up for it later. I could buy her a rose of my own, a gorgeous flower that would put the one on her desk to shame. There it still stood, the source of my bother, neatly placed in its black vase that cast a long shadow over the back wall. Bella had not known what to do with it, not wanting to throw it away in case it hurt the sender’s feelings. My secret preference was to rip it to shreds, but I had controlled my unreasonable anger with the thought of Bella’s shocked face if she saw my true colors.

The rose had been a meaningless gift. I was being preposterous and jumping to the wrong conclusions. The queue behind me had always been breathing down my neck, and now someone had presented my angel with a gift. It was pure luck that he had succeeded in making her happy for those few seconds. Besides, she had thought it was from me - didn’t that mean the present had failed in its intentions?

But if I got her a flower, too… would she really appreciate it? It would make my own intentions quite clear. Bella’s perceptive mind would immediately sense my jealousy. And what good was a present if its idea was stolen from someone else? How unoriginal of me! I was sure I could come up with something far more extravagant.

However, extravagant gifts did not please my Bella. I would be digging my own grave, leaving my opponent with new advantages.

The other voices in my head were screaming at my idiocy. Bella would hardly value any present in the world if it was only an effect of somebody else’s deeds. And she would know.

And neither did I have an opponent. Bella was mine to keep.

Yet it irritated me greatly to think that someone else was on her trail. I didn't doubt Bella’s fidelity, not the slightest. I knew I was her only love, the only one she could survive with. While the endless battle raged in my mind, I relished the concept of being Bella’s husband. Then I would officially be her protector, her supporter in the world. And she would officially be mine.

My opponent didn't have his ring on her finger.

There is no rival!

A joke. The whole issue was simply a joke, designed by the ruthless forces of fate. The timing was too perfect to be randomly chosen - the last few weeks had been the closest thing to heaven I would ever experience. Cloud nine was such a pleasant place to inhabit. This stranger had broken my temporary dreamland with the most harmless, silliest of things - a rose! Heaven did not break down at such feeble blows.

But I knew it was not the rose that was ruining my happiness. It was my jealousy alone.

My own reasoning did little to calm my uncomfortable musings. It was silly and immature - I knew exactly how flawed my own character was showing itself at this very moment, knew perfectly what the right reaction should be. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to stop. I had never felt this pubescent before, not even after my first encounter with Bella.

I was behaving like a foolish, teenage kid, very much like the 'admirateur', as he called himself. My century on this planet should have taught me my lessons, made me learn my own personality. But now I just threw the years down the drain myself, and continued my foolish thinking.

Another thing that bothered me immensely was the card. It wasn’t the card itself - the little piece of paper shouldn’t be enough to disturb anyone - but its contents. The words written in it, so tasteless and merely ludicrous, had complimented Bella with such ferocity it nearly made me nauseous to think about. Of course the words held true for the beauty and compassion my Bella glowed out, but the idealized manner in which they presented themselves was simply inelegant. Even I, a hopeless romantic from every point of view, would never sink that low. Bella deserved a mature man who could show his love more sophisticatedly, in a way that wasn’t adapted from romance novels. I would convince Bella with my class, not my fancy words and exaggerated passion.

My passion for Bella was true, pure. We weren’t playing Romeo and Juliet - we were Romeo and Juliet. We both loved each other with no effort whatsoever; our bond was natural and needed little maintenance. We didn’t need to speak with sugar and honey dripping words.

We just did, anyway.

The card pestered me, nevertheless. The man was intruding on my property.

Be sensible! the voice in the back of my head shouted at me. Bella was not under my possession. She was a free woman; I had no right to keep her locked up in my life. As long as she chose to stay, I would joyfully let her. I would not waste another thought on this mysterious man, not until Bella wished me to remove him from her life. So far, his ridiculous attempts to win over her affection did not disturb her, and thus should not disturb me.

Bella stirred in her sleep, mumbling my name for the first time that night. I was surprisingly relieved to hear she was dreaming of me - had I started to believe that another man would illustrate her dreams? How foolish. Bella loved me.

Now her floral fragrance was intensified by the sudden blow of air in my face. The monster inside me roared with lust, but I suppressed the feeling with ease. But it reminded me of the creature I was, the way I wanted to kill my biggest treasure every minute of every day. She didn’t deserve something like me, a bloodthirsty monster that threatened to take over constantly.

It still amazed me how I could so peacefully inhale my singer’s scent while laying next to her. The way I could now enjoy her smell was incredible, an impossibility, something that was often featured in Jasper’s thoughts. He felt my emotions in Bella’s presence, and therefore sensed my delight for her every aspect - her character, her body, even her mouthwatering scent… He didn’t believe such restraint was achievable. I didn't wonder at his confusion, as I barely grasped it myself. The beginning had been rocky, but, against all odds, we were both still laying here. I had not taken Bella’s life, though I so often nearly had. Now I could stand as her protector, as her shield from all the other evil creatures on the planet. I had brought her in danger so many times, yet we had both survived the twists and turns of fate, which had only strengthened our love even more, if possible.

Bella and I had been through a lot - this man had never even spoken to her.

Or had he? Was he someone we both already knew? The scent was not one I recognized. Maybe it was an old school friend from Phoenix? Bella had never mentioned anyone with that type of interest in her, denying ever to have had a relationship with anyone but me. I believed her, but had this man wanted a relationship while she had still been a free woman? Did he not know about me?

No, that couldn't be true. If he had not known about me, he would have confronted her in person, rather than with a silly, little card. The man was avoiding me.

Isn’t that thought a little selfish? my mature side argued in my head again. It was true - it was incredibly selfish of me to imagine I somehow played a role in his games. 'Admirateur' was obsessed with Bella, not me. I highly doubted he ever spent so much as a thought on me.

I could understand the feelings this man had for Bella only too well. She was irresistible - how could anyone not love her? She was perfect. Beautiful. Caring. Witty.

I loved her.

And she loved me.

“Edward…” I smiled once again at her sleep-talking. Though I loved the days I could spend with her while she was awake, I still loved the nights, too. Her thoughts that were otherwise hidden from me were now flowing out of her mouth freely. A dreamy smile lit up her face, and caused my dead heart to swell with joy.

She was dreaming about me. Nobody else. Only me.

'Admirateur' didn’t stand a chance.

And so I concentrated fully on my angel’s beautiful face, tracing her cheek bones with my eyes. I wished I could touch her, but was afraid my contact would destroy her serenity. She looked so much younger when she slept; the young woman was suddenly a little girl, with no worries or fears to ruin her peace. And whenever I watched my Bella sleep, I was a little boy. My years didn't mean anything; only the moment existed. I couldn't sleep, but that didn't prevent me from dreaming with her.

She dreamed about me. I daydreamed about her.

Why was I wasting this precious time with ridiculous thoughts? Soon, all too soon, Bella would join the world of the undead, leaving her sleep and dreams behind for good. I had to enjoy every night I still had.

Tonight was no different from any other nights. The little event earlier that evening had been unpleasant, but it was over now. 'Admirateur' would be only a bad memory once morning arrived. Why not speed up the process?

My many trains of thought kept pondering, but I focused on the only one that mattered.

Bella.

So I watched my angel sleep, and locked away my jealousy in the same cage with the monster. There they should both stay forever.