Expulsion from Oz
A trip to a carnival has Bella pondering her life in a post-Eclipse world.
1. Chapter 1
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The carousel spins effortlessly. Bella sits on the metallic horse and watches as the world (her world) whirls past her. This is what her life has become. Except in her world, she’s continuously standing still while everything is in constant motion around her. (a dizzying combination of friends and lovers, La Push and Forks, werewolves and vampires, obligations and desires)
She doesn’t even notice when the screams begin (why should she? her screams come as naturally as the breaths she still needs to live, to exist.) No one hears them, but him (how funny it is to be surrounded by those that claim to love you and still feel utterly alone!), and she wonders why it is that the one person forbidden to her (forbidden is a relative term to the girl who is constantly negotiating treaties between mythical creatures) is the one person there to comfort her.
She’s not surprised when she meets butterscotch eyes when she finally exits the ride (she marvels at the simplicity of the action; her life as of late has been anything but simple, and it leaves her wondering if it would be this easy to exit that as well), everyone around her lately seems to think she is incapable of doing anything alone.
Her approach causes him to grimace before his lips finally settle into a tight smile. She’s forgotten the carousel that she brings with her (a never-ending cycle of emotions whirling by at an alarming speed). The apology falls freely from her lips (it seems all she does these days is apologize) for inconveniencing him (with her emotions or the overwhelming call of her blood, she isn’t sure which)
Honey drips from his voice as he murmurs to her, “It’s not your fault; don’t blame yourself. This is my burden to bear.” (She’s surprised by how angry this makes her feel – why will no one allow her to take the blame for the wrong she does?)
She follows him silently back to where a car is waiting. There is no need for words between them, and she is surprised – and somewhat relieved – when he leaves her emotions as they are. It’s been a long time since she hasn’t had to keep her emotions hidden and it’s surprisingly nice to be able to feel without repercussions (he is the empath, but sometimes she would be willing to swear that Edward knows every emotion and every thought that runs through her head so she spends most her time burying her emotions and thoughts of sunlight deep within her)
He drives the speed limit back to the three-storied house where their family awaits, but Bella is sure he is speeding (or is it just that she dreads going back to the reality she’s chosen for herself?). They are waiting for her when she arrives, and she is swept away from him in the tidal wave of wedding planning and life planning (she’s so tired of planning, if she makes it through this ordeal alive, she’ll never make another plan for her entire existence)
She nods and murmurs her approval in what she hopes is all the right places, but she’s screaming in her mind (was it her imagination or did she see Edward just flinch?) and she’s repeating the phrase everything in the right order in her head (when did she stop taking herself into consideration when she made a decision?) In a world where fantasy has become reality (who knew that monsters and magic would become commonplace to little Isabella Swan?), Bella wonders why the simple act of marriage seems nearly impossible.
She is tired (oh so tired) of trying to please everyone in her life (but her) and she knows (without a doubt) that some of them will be unhappy with the decisions she has made (how can she possibly please two sets of people who want such conflicting things?), but she’s reconciled herself to her fate (in more ways than one) and she knows who it is she can live without in the end (is it such a bad thing that it’s herself?).
The desire (overwhelming need) to be anywhere but where she is now (her own personal heaven or hell, she doesn’t know which) has gotten out of control. She stands suddenly causing the fabric samples she had been holding to fall haphazardly to the floor and walks away without saying a word to the two vampires sitting next to her (she doesn’t have to tell them where she’s going, her heartbeat is pounding loudly in her chest insuring that she can always be found by any of the vampires in her life).
A storm is brewing overhead (and in her heart). The wind and rain whirl around her, and she finds herself spinning with her arms out, not even caring that the water is soaking her to the bone (completely reckless, Edward would say, but hasn’t it always been her way to be reckless? She does run with werewolves and vampires after all). Her tears mingle with the rain and before she knows it, a pair of cold arms wrap around her waist. Shocked, she spins around to find him looking back at her.
She’s not sure what makes her do it (her sense of self-preservation has never been her strongest feature). Maybe it’s the way his eyes follow her around whenever they are in the same room together which isn’t altogether too often (Edward is afraid of a repeat of September, but little does he know that there is greater danger ahead than a paper cut and a single drop of blood). Or maybe it’s because he’s her brand of heroin (forbidden fruit never tasted so sweet) She pushes her thoughts out of her mind (she’s so tired of thinking) and crashes her lips against his.
His lips are liquid nitrogen (so cold they burn), and she expects him to pull away immediately (her mind is already forming the apology) but to her surprise he pulls her closer and moves his lips against hers with a force not far from violence (she doesn’t mind, see although Edward is the resident masochist in their relationship, Bella yearns for the pain as well).
This is not like any kiss she’s ever had before. It’s not chaste, careful, or forced. It’s at once both passionate and predatory; as if he’s attempting to claim her as his with this one kiss (wasn’t that what happened in September?) He’s the serpent in her Garden of Eden when his tongue traces her bottom lip demanding (not asking) entrance. He’s offering her the most forbidden of fruit (and she’s already established her feelings on that)
She has a moment of indecision before he deepens their kiss (a tiny voice in the back of her head wonders why it is safe for them but not them). She has nothing more to lose; she figures (someone once told her if you’re going to hell you might as well do so thoroughly) and allows their tongues to dance together. She sighs against his lips as his taste overwhelms her, ensnares her. (It’s decadent, it’s rich, it’s sin personified).
She is the first to pull away (damn her human need for breathing) and although he doesn’t need to breathe; they are both panting heavily once separated. Her eyes flutter open and she gasps in shock. She’s Dorothy landing in Oz where everything is so much more brilliant, so much more colorful, so much more.
They both study one another, neither of them knowing what to say (only what they want to do). Finally after several (hours, weeks, months, years?) minutes, he runs a hand through his honey-hued hair. “We should get back,” he murmurs.
She simply nods because she doesn’t dare speak and they walk back to the house discernibly the same yet forever changed. She crosses the threshold and is startled when the world becomes black and white once again (How Dorothy ever gave up the brilliance of Oz for Kansas, Bella will never understand)
She hears herself in her head answering her own unasked question. Your eyes will adjust, she hears herself say, but the thing is that she doesn’t want them to.