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Shooting Stars

Summary:
My personal take on the Midnight Sun idea. Edward's POV throughout the Twilight chapters. Edwards struggles with his conscience over his base urges while finding himself the unwilling hero for a hapless but intruiging Bella Swan, the last girl who he should be interested in helping.


Notes:


2. Phenomenon

Rating 5/5   Word Count 5020   Review this Chapter

There are certain natural phenomena in life that I hope will never cease to amaze me. I stood at the full window of my bedroom, watching the rain from the day freeze around the blades of grass and individual twigs and branches on every tree. It coated the scene with a crystalline shell resembling cooled glass. In the morning if there was sun the scene would glitter and blind human eyes in a similar manner as my skin. But there would not be sun, as Alice had assured us.

Edward? I heard Carlisle approach in the hall. May I come in?

I moved quickly across the room, glad to be at home where I could move like myself without terrifying a crowd of children. I opened the door and greeted my mentor with a sincere smile.

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” I asked him, pleased to see him and knowing already the answer.

Jasper and Alice have expressed worry for you. Jasper said he could feel you were conflicted over something and Alice was disturbed by the decisions you’ve been mulling over.

“I haven’t strictly decided anything yet,” I confessed.

Are you thinking about leaving again? This is about the girl isn’t it? It took me a moment to sort between the two questions since in his head he asked them both at the same time.

“I don’t want to leave,” I assured him, and then amended at his troubled expression, “I don’t think I’ll need to leave.”

You still crave her then, Carlisle remarked, setting himself down on my long couch.

“Most alarmingly,” I sighed.

“But there’s something else,” he said out loud, echoing his thoughts.

“I had a conversation with her today. An interesting conversation about nothing I needed to be interested in, about herself,” I tried to explain. “I had an intelligent conversation with a seventeen year old human girl who I fantasize about killing.”

Quite a dilemma, I could sense his humor without having to look at his smirk. You give humans too little credit, Edward. There is no reason why this girl, who you may or may not desire as prey, should not still hold complex and fascinating thoughts. Humanity does not guarantee stupidity despite it’s natural naivety.

“Complex and fascinating thoughts that I have no access to,” I reminded him sourly. “I wonder if that is part of the attraction.”

Is it an attraction? Carlisle thought suddenly with surprise. The idea jolted me, the horror of the thought of being in some way attached to someone who I so wanted to destroy was too paradoxical to be healthy.

“Not how I meant the word,” I assured him quickly and I could hear a faint voice of his in the back of my head wondering how the word should have been intended instead.

I think you’re handling this well, Edward, Carlisle offered as reassurance. Imagine if it had been Jasper or even Emmett who she affected this way? Let yourself establish some acquaintance with her. I don’t believe you could be capable of destroying a human you knew, no matter the temptation.

I wanted to tell him then that he had too much faith in my morality but resisted leaving the conversation with that note of doubt. Carlisle set his hand briefly on my shoulder before leaving me to the night and my thoughts. I considered going out to speak to Emmett or even Alice but the house was quiet and I was afraid to disturb the peace. I listened for a moment, Alice and Jasper were having a quiet conversation about his control and Emmett was in the garage with Rosalie toying with the cars that they could never find the excuses to drive through Forks. Carlisle was soon back with Esme and I pulled myself away before encroaching on their privacy.

I understood the flare of excitement that Carlisle felt at the idea that there might have been some connection between Bella Swan and I. I was the only member of our family who seemed content to be alone for eternity. But surely Carlisle could understand, he had waited centuries to find Esme and there was no reason why I might not have to wait just as long. Esme was impatient for me, I knew. She saw us as her children and could only compare my loneliness to how quickly Rosalie and Alice were able to find Emmett and Jasper, respectively. There were the moments where we were together as a family when I could hear her pain for me, her hopes that whoever I was waiting for would find her way to us soon. And there were the moments when I wondered whether I was waiting for anything at all, or if this was just who I was.

I understood why she held onto the hope though, eternity was taxing and I had seen first hand how much easier Carlisle had felt after he had found Esme. I did not believe that time passed any faster for me as a vampire that it did for the students I attended classes with, I only faced more of it ahead of me. If anything, I suspected that time passed more slowly for me. Those children had gossip and friendships and fresh moments that they would only experience once to occupy their thoughts while they watched the clocks tick closer to the end of the day. I had only the thought of repeating the day over again after a night spent idly passing the time. There was so much repetition in my existence, so many experiences that had to be lived over again every few years. But I was not certain that I would find passing the time any less dull with a companion that I did now. I could feel the difference between my own exhaustion and my family’s ease, but I was not convinced that this was a result of my solitary habits. I put on a record to pass the hour, a jazz band I had met in Paris during the forties, and watched dawn bloom behind the Forks wall of clouds.

Edward, Alice thought after a time, catching my attention. Stop moping and get ready.

With a growl I hoped she heard, I moved to change into a new set of clothes. I wondered if she had guessed at my thoughts or if Jasper had sensed my mood and told her. The pair of them were terrible gossips, always peeking into our futures and emotions. I, at least, did my very best to stay out of everyone’s thoughts.

I met the others downstairs as we waited for Rosalie with our usual good humor. I could never decide if I wanted to snap at her for her vanity or laugh at her for thinking that they extra few minutes she spent getting ready would make any difference in the already awed eyes of the humans. Our beauty was effortless, she knew that perfectly well but insisted on attempting to outshine herself everyday. She joined us finally, pretending as though she hadn’t heard our teasing, and we went to the garage. Emmett and Rosalie made their usual complaints about the size and style (or lack there of) my Volvo, and even Jasper chimed in mentioning he would mind not being crammed in the back with the girls. I ignored them and set myself in the driver’s seat of the only sensible car owned in the family and after a moment they followed me, all knowing perfectly well why it was my car we drove through Forks and never the Mercedes or Jeep.

I handled the icy curves effortlessly, trying not to laugh as I saw other drivers occasionally skidding or fishtailing. I looked up to the rearview mirror to see Alice frowning and tuned in to catch a few short glimpses of cars in the school parking lot sliding and bumping into one another.

“What’s wrong?” Jasper asked her, seeing her glazed expression.

She shrugged off the frown, “Just trying to find Edward a parking spot where it’s least likely someone will hit the car.”

“Because it’d be such a shame if we had to drive a car I could actually fit in,” Emmett grumbled from the passenger seat.

I pulled into the school, finding a safe spot at Alice’s advice and got out of the car just in time to hear the mechanical roar of ancient red truck pulling in behind us.

Emmett started laughing at the sight of the heap. “I love that thing,” he snickered under his breath, thinking to himself, And she looks hilarious in it.

Bella Swan, tiny and particularly fragile looking behind the wheel, pulled hesitatingly into a spot four cars away from ours. I felt an amused relief to see that someone had the good sense to put snow chains on her tires, likely sparing so many other cars from being crushed if it skidded on the road. I watched, unable to fight my curiosity in the girl even after a whole night trying to deny myself the fascination, as Bella jumped down from her driver’s seat and seemed to go inspect the snow chains herself as if she hadn’t realized they were there. Suddenly there were flashes running through my mind of a dark blue van skidding through the lot before swerving towards the back corner of Bella Swan’s truck, crushing her sickeningly between the two. Alice’s foresight may not have caught so gruesome an image earlier this morning but as I heard the squeal of the tires approaching I knew then that Bella was about to be killed. She stood up from her bent position at the back of her truck and for the briefest moment met my horrified expression with one of equal terror and confusion, obviously understanding the events that she would never have the ability to stop.

Not her, I thought without understanding the pain the image’s from Alice’s vision has caused.

I acted without making any conscious resolution to do so. Bella may not have had the speed or strength or quick will to save herself but I did. I did not consider the consequences or risks, and I am not quite certain that I understood what I was doing even as I rushed through the crowd too fast for anyone but my siblings to see it. Too fast, certainly, for even them to stop me. I slammed into Bella, perhaps too forcefully for a human I considered as we fell, and quickly wrapped my arm around her to break some of the fall. Her head smacked unnervingly loud against the pavement but I was overcome but the sudden animal hunger that exploded inside of me like a flame to gasoline in response to my sudden closeness to her scent, her very veins. I could feel her heart being wildly against my empty chest and for a moment I doubted that she would live through the experience despite my rash thoughts of trying to save her. I stopped myself, stopped breathing and focused on the extremity of the events taking place, keeping Carlisle in the back of my mind, his incredible example of resistance in the face of a hospital room. The matter of saving Bella, not only from myself, was not settled. The van had not stopped moving, instead curving around the corner of the truck and redirecting itself once again to roll directly over where I had Bella trapped against my side. The tires of the van would crush her legs easily.

I cursed under my breath and braced myself strongly against a tan car behind me, holding out my hands to stop the van’s movement and denting it’s side. Quickly I lifted the body of the van from beneath it’s frame with one arm, and swung Bella’s legs out of harms way and against the tan’s car’s tires with my free hand. I dropped the van and it hit the asphalt with force. I leaned back, settling Bella back against the ground, but not letting her loose from my side despite the way the closeness made mouth scorch with the taste of venom. I blocked the screams and shock of the children outside the circle of cars, as well as the harsh thoughts of my family, out of my mind.

“Bella?” I looked down to see that her eyes were half opened but unfocused. Perhaps I had thrown her out of the way and she had hit her head too hard. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” she answered quickly, her eyes losing some of their confusion. Her voice was thick and muffled against the fabric of my jacket.

“Be careful,” I warned her as she tried to sit up from my grasp on her. “I think you hit your head pretty hard.”

She was quiet for a moment as if assessing the damage before she let out a low, “Ow.”

I laughed nervously, humans never seemed aware of their own fragility, never recognized it till they were forced to. “That’s what I thought,” I teased.

“How in the…” She looked up and met my eyes and I was struck by how easily, with strength even, she could meet the eyes of a monster. “How did you get over here so fast?”

I could not mask my disappoint then that despite the obvious shock and confusion she had not forgotten seeing me before the crash when I was standing cars away from her. But it should not have been difficult to convince her otherwise, force her into believing that she had confused herself in panic.

“I was standing right next to you, Bella.” I told her sternly, trying to overpower her stubborn gaze with my own.

Her eyes narrowed slightly but she didn’t immediately argue, only tried to move from my arms again. The sensation of her struggle, so similar to that of prey, and the scent it stirred back into my dry mouth was too much and I released her, moving as far away from the temptation as I could. I had risked too much in the past minute, could possibly have ruined the secrecy my family worked hard to maintain, to waste the effort of saving Bella only to kill her myself moments afterwards. I held onto her eyes, still trying to beat down her determined memory.

The voices around us grew closer, directing one another in fearful tones in how best to help, but I felt somehow secluded from the panic with her here. Bella’s eyes darted away from mine, as if to look to see who was coming and she attempted to sit up. I reached out quickly and gently pushed at her shoulder.

“Just stay put for now,” I suggested, still amused by her desire to prove that she was unharmed. I didn’t know enough from Carlisle to know if I had given her a concussion, but I certainly wasn’t about to let her do more damage to herself.

“But it’s cold,” she objected half-heartedly.

I laughed under my breath, she was obviously a little crazy, it was the only explanation for why she was not sobbing with relief or terror at the moment.

“You were over there,” she said suddenly and I tensed. “You were by your car.”

“No I wasn’t.” She couldn’t possibly understand how much trouble she would inevitably cause by refusing to back down. Didn’t realize that while she might believe I had commited some ultimate act of heroics, drawing attention to the truth would only create trouble. Vampires did not only value secrecy, it was absolutely necessary to our safety. Any suspicion, any rumors, could cause worlds of problems for my family.

“I saw you,” she shot back fiercely, not backing down an inch.

I looked at her, mentally begging her to drop the subject. “Bella, I was standing with you, and I pulled you out of the way.” How could I impress upon her how incredibly necessary it was that she let the matter be. My family’s furious outrage was growing, if they knew that Bella might have suspected anything then saving her would still have been a waste. We would have to leave, but not necessarily without killing her first if they thought she posed too much of a risk.

“No.” Her face was set, her chin raised and her large brown eyes meeting mine fully. She was brave, I noted, but completely obstinate and totally uncooperative.

“Please, Bella,” I begged softly. I was willing to give her anything if she could simply forget what she saw. I fumbled blindly against the blank force where I wanted her thoughts to be.

“Why?” she demanded.

My patience frayed slightly even if I did understand her desire to know the truth. I would have responded in kind if I had been in the situation. But that did not help me know and I found no pleasure in knowing that she was unnaturally strong-minded for a young girl.

“Trust me,” I tried as a last attempt. I was running out of time know with the sounds of sirens fast approaching.

“Will you promise to explain everything to me later?”

“Fine,” I conceded finally, sharp because I knew that it could never be the case. I could only hope that after a trip to the hospital and a healthy dose of relief she might forget her insistence.

“Fine,” she snapped back.

---

That night I could not keep still. Even from an optimistic view things had not gone well at the hospital. Bella had only been more insistent on knowing the truth. She was a petulant little girl, I knew, too young and foolish to understand that some things were better left untouched. And yet, even though I could not hear her frustration, I could commiserate. There was a part of me that wanted to share with her what had really taken place, give her the honest consequences if she chose to give away the secret. Instead I rebuffed her as coldly as possible, as if to over compensate for my own sympathies towards her.

Carlisle, upon understand the entire situation, had been incredibly generous to me.

“After all,” he had reasoned, “If you let the van hit, her blood would have been every where. The effect that might have had on you would certainly have raised more alarm.”

“I would not have been able to resist the scent,” I agreed instantly, thankful for the excuse he had provided me, although he left me with the feeling that he had suggested it for just this purpose.

However when I returned to school after my argument with Bella my siblings were clearly not as forgiving. I repeated the same logic Carlisle had provided me for protecting the girl, but it seemed to smooth their anger over very little. Alice was obviously aware of the argument held in the hospital hallway and Jasper was too in-tuned to my emotions to believe that I felt assured that we were safe from her telling everyone what she had seen.

“I hate it when we have to leave early,” Rosalie snapped me as we walked to the car after classes.

“Why should we leave?” Emmett asked, a little too loudly for my comfort. “Edward can just kill her tonight like he wants to, and that will be the end of it.”

I snarled quietly at my brother but kept my mouth shut.

“He doesn’t want to kill her,” Jasper mused to himself before adding, “And the Quiletes will chase us out of Forks if we beak the treaty.”

“Let them try,” Emmett answered. “I’m bored here. It’s about time there was a little excitement. Just like Edward to know when to shake things up.” He punctuated the remark with an enthusiastic slap to my shoulder.

Edward, Alice intruded gently as we got into the car, Calm down. You’re future keeps changing, I can’t keep up. She won’t tell anyone, not yet. I’ll know if she changes her mind. I forced myself to relax after that. If Alice promised that we were safe for now, there was no reason to question that.

At home again the others treated me like the sudden leper of the family. I knew that in the case of Carlisle and Esme they were simply trying to give me space to think. When I checked on Alice her entire focus was on trying to see what decisions I was making. It was sometimes gratifying to be able to watch the manifestations of my ideas into actions but at this moment the random flashes of violence to indifference only made me more uncertain of myself. Jasper was trying to understand through my emotions what might have possessed me to want to save Bella from the crash. I knew he respected me as a figure of control in the occasional absence of his own but even then he couldn’t imagine holding out so stubbornly against a thirst that affected me so strongly. I didn’t even try and touch the corner of the house where Rosalie and Emmett were, I didn’t need to. Their disapproval radiated without their thoughts.

I paced through my room impatiently, waiting for a solution or even an option to occur to me. Even under her pretenses of supporting Alice still thought it might be time I let myself slip up to the temptation.

I thought for the umpteenth time that night of going to the Swan’s house, although I had not yet found a way to justify the curiosity.

I’ve been watching, Alice suddenly interrupted me and I knew she must have sensed the change in my thoughts, They keep their key under the eave.

Yes, Alice most certainly thought I ought to let myself slip up.

I wouldn’t, I knew I couldn’t The disappointment it would cause Carlisle, the drastic rush out of Forks and change in our home would hurt everyone no matter how fast we ran. I still clung to the irrational contradiction it would have been to save Bella only to give in so soon afterwards. I would not kill her, I decided as if it were a promise I could commit to keeping at such a distance from the actual cause of the problem. I could go to the house, maybe not go inside, but go. I go and discover whether or not Bella had told Charlie Swan any of the truth about what happened.

Edward, it was Carlisle, possibly calling me back as I stepped out of our home. Whatever happens, please be careful. I knew that was as close as he would come to asking me to stop, to reconsider. And I did stop, for a moment, just to assure myself that tonight, no matter what, I would not kill Bella. A part of me knew I was crazy even to attempt it, that in the darkness without any witnesses there was no guarantee that I would be able to convince myself to leave her. I would have a harder time than ever fighting the urge to finally taste the blood that had been haunting me for a week straight.

I realized that my resolve was weakening before I had even left our grounds and then took off at a run. I would not kill no matter the overpowering desire to, I ordered myself. I would not let Carlisle down and I would prove the others wrong. If, at any point, I felt my resolve to let her live weaken I would force myself to leave immediately. I had been so close to her only that morning and through the panic of events had been able to control myself. I had been closer to her for that short minute than I had been to any human in decades, and she was the only human to ever affect me in such a way. A way beyond description. I had resisted then and I would again.

I stopped finally at her truck in the yard, catching a hint of her scent, a hair trapped in the door frame. Even from so little I could feel a pang of hunger. But it was tolerable, I determined. I waited outside in the quiet night sounds and listened into the house.

That’s what you get Charlie Swan. I heard the sheriff thinking to himself, probably in bed. Passing on your accident prone bad luck to your own daughter so you have to constantly worry. Good thing that boy could think quick under the pressure. Should thank him at some point.

She had kept her word I realized with a fair amount of surprise. Even to her father. Even in the after shock of the events, she had stuck with the lie I had force-fed her. Leave now, a part of me told myself. I had gotten the most important information for the moment. Bella had kept her word to me and now I needed to keep my word to myself and leave the girl in peace for the night. Go in, insisted an innocent voice in my head, go to her room, learn more about her. Find some clue to satisfy that curiosity. Since mind reading somehow seemed to fail in her case.

With that reminder I moved quickly and stealthily towards the eave. I listened at the door but already Charlie’s thoughts were growing muddled and slow with sleep. The house was dark from the windows. I found the key and slipped into the house with mute steps. Her smell saturated the kitchen as I walked in and it shocked me into the dangerous over-confidence I had exhibited in deciding to come. I rushed through the room and into the living room where the scent dimmed. I took a moment to breathe in the cleaner air and to shake off the animal that had grown up from inside of me in the kitchen.

I hesitated in front of the steps. The intoxicating aroma that hovered in front of me felt as though it had hooked me by the gut and was reeling me in, begging me sweetly to find it’s source and enjoy myself. I wanted to leave then, knowing already that the challenge that would face me in her bedroom would e too much for my already fast fading willpower. But my feet moved me up the stairs against my will, I was crouching slightly as if ready to pounce and my mouth was parted, watering venom with the thirst. It was too late to hold my breath, her smell was flooding into me, saturating my brain through my pores. She would stand no chance, I knew already. I could resist all I wanted, but what waited for me beyond the door I now stood in front of was inevitable. I would have taken her eventually, no matter what. We might have left, the family and I, but I would never have forgotten about the desire I felt at her scent and one day I would have come back for her, for that blessed taste.

I opened the door and entered the room, hating myself as my will crumpled just as I did to my knees. She was everywhere in this room and I was blind from the smell, incapacitated almost beyond strength. I looked to the bed where she lay, folded in upon herself, and took the opportunity to savor the moment, she was completely mine. What sat before me was too good, too beautiful, to really believe it might exist. I felt as though I had gone a year without feeding. She whimpered slightly in her sleep and turned on her side facing me, stirring my hunger to that fatal point.

“Edward,” she breathed.

I froze. Had she stirred? Could she see me? The incredible want suddenly went to the back of my mind and I realized then what evil I was so ready and willing to commit upon entering the room. I quietly staggered back against the farthest wall from her. Her eyes were closed, her breath still slow. Had my conscience imagine her speaking my name as a warning or punishment? Or in her sleep did she have some sixth sense, knowing the danger I presented, warning her uselessly of my intent. I braced myself against the wall, trembling slightly from the effort it took not to attack right then.

“Edward,” she whispered, pleading.

It was not an utterance of fear, I realized, listening to the subtle tremor in her voice. It was a request, a call. She was asking for me, pleading for me. My name had never before been spoken in such hesitant tenderness, such gentle worship. The animal inside had stilled and waited with me. Once more, we thought, say it again.

“Edward,” she begged, sounding sad and desperate.

Bite her, the animal whined at me quietly, let me have her. Touch her, a more insistent gentle voice directed, she looks so warm. Terrified by the affect that one word had over me when spoken by her lips, my own name from the creature I so desperately wanted to destroy, I ran from the room. I rushed from the house, only just careful enough to maintain the quiet and not slam the door. I ran as fast as I could back home, afraid to pause, thinking I might turn back. Just to take her, or to touch her.

The run did not ease me but left me entering the house looking as unsettled and shaken as when I left the Swan’s house. I felt no different and could not hide it. Carlisle and Alice waited for me in the entry, both looking troubled and confuse. Alice’s eyes were wide from some hidden confidence, having probably seen some version of the events in the house, and I wondered what she was able to tell Carlisle.

“Edward,” Carlisle greeted with obvious surprise at my appearance. Is everything alright? Is the girl?

“I didn’t touch her,” I assured him, too distraught to hide my breathlessness. “I didn’t touch her.”

I’ve seen the strangest possibilities, Alice thought to me.

I shook my head, I didn’t want to see any of the things she might have found tonight. I hurried away to my room and wished desperately that I might be able to sleep away some of the shock. And no matter how many times the scene replayed in my head that night, and many nights after, I could not decide what voice was stronger. The animals wanting to devour Bella, or my own wanting to hold her.