The Fires of Jealousy
Someone likes Bella a little too much for Edward's taste.
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!
4. My imagination isn't always flawless
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I was out of the house before Alice’s vision ended.
I knew I’d left Bella confused and that she’d scold me later for what I was about to do. I hadn’t told her about my intentions, or the watch Alice was keeping over her mysterious friend. Bella didn’t need to know how concerned I truly was.
That’s what I kept telling myself as I raced against the traffic, trying to get to Bella's house on time. I was doing all this because I was worried that the man might want to harm her.
In truth, I knew exactly what force was making me break the speed limit threefold.
Jealousy knew no speed limits or explanations.
I expelled that thought out of my mind before it had time to plant itself in me. I was almost at my destination; why start regretting now? My decision was made.
Thanks to my reckless driving, I made it to Bella's house with plenty of time to spare before my opponent arrived. I figured it was as much of an advantage as an inconvenience – though I was now sure that I would be there when the Admirateur appeared, I also knew where the minutes of waiting would cause my mind to wander. At the very moment, I had no desire to see my own over-protectiveness. I would be hearing enough from my family and – wince – Bella.
Deep down, I was aware of how childish my behavior was. No vampire who had lived for over a century should be acting this way; I was a disgrace to my whole family, now that I had let my emotions gain this immense control over me. Immature games were no good when it came to love.
But it wasn’t about love, was it? This man didn’t love Bella. He was just hopelessly obsessed.
I loved Bella. I was here to protect her.
And while those thoughts bloomed in my head, another inner voice simultaneously screamed at me.
Cursing my ability to think about many things at once, I shook my head in a vain attempt to escape the contemplation.
A minute was never much for a man who could live for an eternity filled with them, but the painful slowness of the seconds changing to the next had never quite lost the torture it brought to me. For the first time ever, I regretted driving so fast; even slow driving was better than waiting with nothing to do but to think.
Bella would be furious when I got home, I was sure. Of course it wouldn’t take me long to pacify her, but I wouldn’t be able to escape the fact that she was absolutely justified in her anger.
I was also pretty sure that Alice had enlightened her already. If my notion was correct – and it usually was – Bella already knew about my desperate attempt to soothe the jealous creature inside of me. I compared this impending meeting to hunting – this, too, was about satiating my thirst so I wouldn’t be a danger to my greatest love. This time, however, the danger wasn’t physical.
I couldn’t tyrannize Bella with my possessiveness. She didn’t deserve to see my worry about the claim I had over her.
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of light footsteps coming from right behind the corner of the road.
L’admirateur had arrived.
Admirateur. The word spit itself out of my mouth as I formed the name of the man tormenting me. French had never quite charmed me; the international language of love was used too many times by all sorts of inexperienced human actors that it had finally lost its shine. It was most unoriginal, and by using that specific language, my mysterious rival had only multiplied the hate I felt for every cell of his being.
Yes, I was behaving childishly. I was nothing more than a jealous, teenage boy at that very moment. I had never been as unworthy of Bella's love as I was now, and my insides twisted at the thought of the rage that would be awaiting me back home. No, it would be worse than rage – Bella would be disappointed. She’d forgive me; I knew enough about her mind to know she couldn’t hold a grudge for any longer than a few days. But this time, her anger could go deeper than a grudge. She could actually be upset about my behavior.
But I wasn’t going to lie to myself like I usually did. This time, I would let the answer color my brain completely, and I could worry about the consequences of the necessary confession later. Maybe if I admitted the truth to myself, it would stop stinging my chest with each breath I took.
I hated this man. My loathing for this anonymous creature couldn’t match up with anything I had ever felt before for any other being on earth.
James, Victoria, the Volturi… I had hated them, too, but this was different. I abhorred Admirateur because he was crossing the boundaries, because he was trying to steal the core of my existence. This time, no fear for my fragile Bella weakened the hatred – no, I knew this man wouldn’t want to hurt her. He couldn’t, not with me around.
No, Admirateur’s intent was to hurt me.
The intensity of my revulsion – and my juvenile thoughts – surprised me, and I cursed the man once again for breaking my peace. If it weren’t for him, I would be with my Bella the very moment, enjoying every second passing by rather than being tortured by them.
My fingernails dug into my frozen skin as my hands formed fists, tightly clenching a non-existent throat caught in the grasp. If I didn’t watch out, this man might end up more dead than me.
The footsteps edged closer. I could almost hear the sound waves echoing through the forest – a simple product of my imagination fueled by hate, no doubt – and the uneven breathing of the human man. His weak lungs couldn’t suck in enough air to support his trembling body, I noticed in amusement. He was afraid of something – getting caught, perhaps? Well, he was going to get caught. By someone much worse than Charlie.
My mind purred in satisfaction as he finally came into view.
The purring stopped as soon as I laid my eyes on him.
In fact, every movement and noise within me stopped the second I saw the young boy approaching the house. Yes, it was a boy – his greasy hair and dirty fingernails revealed that much. His acne colored his whole face red, and the flush only intensified when he saw who was waiting for him in front of the house.
If I could have blushed, my whole body would have radiated the heat. My ghost tormentor, my torturer, my rival was a teenage kid.
In my frenzy, I had imagined a handsome, dark Frenchman who walked around in a black suit and a tie. I had imagined him strong – for a human, at least – and fearless, as someone who was ready for battle if necessary.
But seeing the teenager in front of me, I could only laugh at my own fears.
My chest heaved from the small chuckle that escaped me. Slowly but surely, the gnawing anxiety and hatred vanished, and were replaced by amusement. What did Alice always say? “You’re so overprotective, Edward. Get a grip.”
I should know better than to argue with Alice. Like always, she had been absolutely right.
I relaxed my arms from the tight fold they were creating over my chest, and took a step forward from the car I was leaning against. The boy jumped from my sudden movement, and clutched the little card he was carrying in his hands tighter against his side. He looked too stunned to move or talk.
“Hello,” I said in a pleasant voice, mocking both of us with my tone “I’m Edward Cullen. Who are you?”
The boy didn’t answer, but mouthed my name silently.
“Can I help you? Are you here to visit the Swans? They’re not home, I’m afraid. Would you like to leave them a message?” I took another step towards him, hoping to snap him out of his shock.
The boy jumped two feet back when I advanced, and started stuttering. “N-no, that’s not n-necessary, thanks. I-I’ll leave, sorry.”
“No, wait,” I called to the running boy, not quite having forgiven him for the fright he’d triggered in me “You didn’t introduce yourself.”
He slowed down and turned to face me again, quivering like a leaf. “I-I’m Andy.”
I raised one corner of my mouth up. “L’admirateur?”
He sensed he didn’t need to give me an answer.
Shaking my head in utter hilarity, I approached him until I was standing just a few inches from the tiny, shaking boy. He had caused me enough trouble today; he had earned himself a little lesson.
Towering him in my most menacing stance, I still managed to smile while half-glaring at him from under my eyelashes. “What is that you have there? A card?”
Andy shook his head furiously.
“Ah, it’s for Bella. I see. Leave it with me; I can hand it to her when she gets back.” I reached out for his hand, and tugged slightly at the envelope hidden there. The boy let out a high-pitched squeak and retreated, landing on his behind during the process. I let the smile on my face spread over my cheeks, while simultaneously intensifying the cold in my eyes.
Straightening my back for one last time – all along aware that my behavior now wasn’t any better than the previous hatred – I let my voice drop to almost a whisper and made my threat sink in, “I’m sorry, but Bella will be reserved for today. And for tomorrow, too. Actually – and you can ask the other boys in town if you need confirmation – Bella will be reserved for every day for the rest of eternity. Have a nice afternoon.”
Leaving the poor kid shaking on the wet street, I turned my back on him and returned to my Volvo. I was slightly worried about Emmett’s reaction once he’d find out about my foolish exploit later on, but knew I would be able to laugh at my own irrationality. After all, I deserved every bit of the mocking I would have to endure in the next few decades.
But the laughing was for later. For now, I just had to make sure Bella wouldn’t be mad at me for more than a few hours. I wasn’t sure I could handle a few days worth of silent sulking.
I revved the engine of my car, fearing what was waiting for me at home more than ever before.
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