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Dusk Descending

New Moon from Edward's POV. So far I'm up to the end of Chapter 2 - Stitches.


1. Chapter 1

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Dusk Descending

New Moon from Edward’s Point of View

Chapter 1 - Party

September thirteenth. I sighed as I watched the glowing digits on my alarm clock flick past midnight. Today was not going to be easy - Bella didn’t exactly relish the idea of turning eighteen. Last night had not exactly been a piece of cake either. Bella had begged me to stay with her through the night, like most nights, but Alice had commanded me to aid her in preparations for Bella’s birthday party. It was not wise to go against Alice’s wishes - she had a strange tendency to get what she wanted in the end. I heard gentle feet nimbly dancing up the stairs and bubbly, excited thoughts spilled over into my mind.

Absolutely perfect! Alice exclaimed. She’ll just adore these roses! I, for one, knew exactly how much Bella was not going to enjoy the mountains of pink roses that awaited her, resembling hostile cotton candy threatening to take over the living room.

Oh well. I would have plenty of time to deal with the ensuing battle later. For now, I closed my sleepless eyes and slipped into a quiet reverie. I thought of Bella, my Bella. My beautiful, darling, seductive, albeit accident-prone, Bella. I smiled quietly to myself at the memory of her clumsiness. If only she wasn’t quite so…breakable. The painful recollection of her lying in a hospital bed in Phoenix threatened to shatter my serenity. I returned to more pleasant thoughts.

After what seemed like an impossibly short time, my mind caught wind of Alice’s thoughts and my eyes flickered open. Lost in visions of Bella, I hadn’t noticed the dark night sky slip into a familiar, cloudy gray. Almost time for school - almost time for Bella. Downstairs, after wading through the sea of pink and into the garage, I opened the door of my silver Volvo and slipped inside. Alice, naturally, was already seated in the passenger side, her eyes bright with excitement.

“I can’t wait for this afternoon! Oh, she’s going to love her gifts, even though she said she didn’t want any. I made her a gorgeous cake…I hope she likes pink….Wow, this is the first birthday we’ve celebrated in decades, Edward! Aren’t you excited?” Alice babbled, tripping over her words as her mouth worked furiously to keep up with the torrent of thoughts in her mind. As I pushed the car ever closer to ninety on the slick and winding roads, I had to admit that I was happily anticipating giving Bella her present and wishing her a happy birthday. Or not. Whatever made her happy. I expertly tuned out Alice’s gleeful chattering and turned my focus to getting to Forks High School on time.

Shortly, I slid the Volvo into its usual spot and I settled against the car to wait for Bella. She pulled up loudly in her ancient Chevy, which squeaked and grunted as she eased it into an open space. Why on earth wouldn’t she let me replace that rusty death trap? I never would fully understand her logic on that one. She climbed out of the cab and grimaced as she caught sight of Alice, probably due to the small, shiny package she was clutching as she scampered forward to greet Bella.

“Happy birthday, Bella!” called Alice merrily.

“Shh!” hissed Bella angrily, trying pointlessly to hush Alice.

Alice paid absolutely no attention to Bella’s icy glare. “Do you want to open your presents now or later?” Alice demanded as they carefully walked to where I stood, Bella trying her best not to slip on the damp ground.

“No presents,” Bella muttered in weak protest. Alice looked slightly crestfallen but she quickly changed tactics in another attempt at birthday merriment.

“Okay…later, then. Did you like the scrapbook your mom sent you? And the camera from Charlie?” I sighed in tandem with Bella’s exasperated expression. When was Alice ever going to give up? From her animated thoughts, it looked like she wasn’t about to give up anytime soon - at least not without eliciting some kind of response first. Apparently Bella realized her only choice was surrender. She decided it was better to just play along.

“Yeah. They’re great,” she replied dutifully. Alice picked up on the unenthusiastic tone of her voice.

I think it’s a nice idea. You’re only a senior once. Might as well document the experience,” she huffed.

“How many times have you been a senior?”

“That’s different.”

The two of them, still bickering, finally reached the car. I held out my hand to Bella’s and she took it, the soft warmth of her palm a welcome contrast to my icy skin. I gave her hand a gentle squeeze, taking care not to crush the overly delicate bones in her fragile fingers. Her warm, brown eyes gazed intensely into mine, searching for reassurance of my love in my pallid face. As if I would ever even entertain the thought of leaving her. I shuddered at the thought, a spasm of horror running through my mind. Although - and it pained me to think it - I knew deep in my soul (if I even had one left) that Bella‘s life would be far better off if I had never entered her world. I smiled gently as Bella’s heart stammered erratically in response to my touch. Just one of the many things I adored about her. All thoughts of leaving her quickly fled my brain. I traced her moist, luscious lips with my cool finger, marveling at the velvety warmth of her skin.

“So, as discussed, I am not allowed to wish you a happy birthday, is that correct?” I asked teasingly, hoping that maybe, for once, she would indulge Alice in her ridiculous fantasies.

“Yes. That is correct.” she replied, her voice overly formal for some odd reason.

“Just checking.” I clarified, in case I had hurt her feelings. “You might have changed your mind. Some people seem to enjoy things like birthdays and gifts.” I said lightly.

Alice laughed her musical laugh. “Of course you’ll enjoy it. Everyone is supposed to be nice to you today and give you your way, Bella. What’s the worst that could happen?” she chimed, unthinkingly.

“Getting older.” Bella answered sullenly, her voice quavering slightly. My smile vanished. Leave it to Bella to turn a special occasion into a guilt trip. Didn’t she know how much I wanted to change this unalterable fact? But I was not, under any circumstances, going to risk her soul. She had a choice - and I was not going let her choose the wrong path.

“Eighteen isn’t very old. Don’t women usually wait till they’re twenty-nine to get upset over birthdays?” Alice asked, trying to lighten the mood.

“It’s older than Edward,” Bella murmured under her breath. I sighed in exasperation. She refused to let the subject go.

“Technically,” Alice said, trying her best to appease Bella. “Just by one little year, though.” She glanced at me, hoping for something that would distract Bella from her sulk. I knew nothing would. Bella would get what she wanted eventually, but until then I was going to do everything in my power to prevent it…regardless of the begging I knew I would have to endure. How I hated to refuse my dear Bella anything. We were at an impasse - and had been at one for the last eighteen months. I was not a good enough reason to give up being human, why couldn’t she see that?

“What time will you be at the house?” Alice interjected nonchalantly. The look in Bella’s eyes turned from stubborn irritation to horrified dread as she realized what Alice had planned for her this afternoon.

“I didn’t know I had plans to be there,” Bella answered carefully, obviously attempting to buy a moment of time while she frantically ransacked her brain for an excuse that Alice wouldn’t have been able to see with her convenient talent. Sadly for Bella, Alice overlooking anything was highly unlikely, especially if it was related to a party (or shopping).

“Oh, be fair, Bella! You aren’t going to ruin all our fun like that, are you?” complained Alice bitterly.

“I thought my birthday was about what I want,” Bella whined right back.

I ignored her although she turned to me with pleading eyes. “I’ll get her from Charlie’s right after school,” I told Alice.

“I have to work,” Bella countered.

Ha! I’ve already got it covered, thought Alice smugly. “You don’t actually. I already spoke to Mrs. Newton about it,” she retorted, smirking. “She’s trading you shifts. She said to tell you ‘Happy Birthday.’”

“I-I still can’t come over,” Bella stuttered. “I, well, I haven’t watched Romeo and Juliet yet for English.”

Alice snorted loudly. The phrase ‘grasping at straws’ came to mind.

“You have Romeo and Juliet memorized,” Alice rebuked, with a tone that was perhaps slightly harsher than was really necessary.

“But Mr. Berty said we needed to see it performed to fully appreciate it - that’s how Shakespeare intended it to be presented,” Bella protested fervently. I rolled my eyes in disbelief. Apparently, she was quite desperate.

“You’ve already seen the movie,” Alice said accusingly.

“But not the nineteen-sixties version. Mr. Berty said it was the best.”

Alice lost it. She was going to have this party whether Bella wanted to go or whether Alice had to tie her to a chair and drag her there personally. Angry plans flashed across her mind. I struggled to hide my bemused expression. Glaring fiercely at Bella, Alice threatened, “This can be easy or this can be hard, Bella, but one way or the other -”