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Dusk Descending

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


3. Chapter 3

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Chapter 1 - Part 3.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Previous Chapter: “Be good, please,” I pleaded. I leaned down and put my mouth to hers again, but more tenderly than before. Pulling back, I folded her stubborn arms across her chest, attempting to draw a gentle but firm line.

Bella’s heartbeat thudded noisily between her ribs like an anxious drumbeat. She placed her hand over her chest and listened quietly to its vigorous palpitations. “Do you think I’ll ever get better at this?” she pondered. “That my heart might someday stop trying to jump out of my chest whenever you touch me?”

“I hope not,” I replied, pleased. It was one of the things I loved most about her. That I could initiate such a human reaction within her was a delightful indication that I might be doing something right.

Bella rolled her eyes at me, still recovering from the physical exertion of our kiss. “Let’s go watch the Capulets and Montagues hack each other up, all right?” she declared.

“Your wish, my command,” I said obediently. I followed her into the house and lounged on the couch as she started the movie, fast-forwarding through the opening credits. She settled on the edge of the battered couch, and leaned forward to watch the movie. From my sprawling position, I enclosed my stony arms around Bella’s waist, and drew her closer to my cool, rigid chest. I could tell from the way she shifted to try to find a comfortable position that my body wasn’t exactly as soft as a pillow, but I longed to hold her warm figure tightly to my cold one. Noticing Bella’s discomfort, I plucked the tattered afghan from the back of the sofa and arranged it carefully over her, attempting to ease the chill that emanated from my body and threatened to permeate her light attire.

“You know, I’ve never had much patience with Romeo,” I remarked as the title screen rolled by.

“What’s wrong with Romeo?” she asked, sounding a little hurt. I had forgotten that he was one of her favorite literary characters. I didn’t understand what she saw in him.

“Well, first of all, he’s in love with this Rosaline - don’t you think it makes him seem a little fickle? And then, a few minutes after their wedding, he kills Juliet’s cousin. That’s not very brilliant.” I struggled to explain my reasoning to her. In a way, I was almost jealous of Romeo - Bella was enamored by him. “Mistake after mistake. Could he have destroyed his own happiness any more thoroughly?” I pointlessly attempted to sway her opinion.

“Do you want me to watch this alone?” she sighed. Perhaps I should stop condemning her fictional love.

“No, I’ll mostly be watching you, anyway. Will you cry?” I said, hoping to change the subject. I gently stroked her arm, intrigued by the way her skin prickled in response to my cold touch.

“Probably, if I’m paying attention,” Bella confessed. I always marveled at her tears for such foolish characters. And I loved it, for I could not cry. Not even for my darling Bella.

“I won’t distract you then,” I breathed, burying my face in her dark hair. It wasn’t an entirely true statement. I fully intended to distract her whenever I could. I kissed her soft hair and the timeless love tale began to play out on the elderly television. I whispered Romeo’s amorous words in Bella’s ear as the movie played. I was going to prove to her that I was much better for her than that asinine Romeo.

As she had promised, Bella began to cry when Juliet awoke in the tomb to find her Romeo dead. While her tears were somewhat amusing, I couldn’t stand for her to be unhappy - especially over something as trivial as a dreadful, outdated film. I took a lock of her chocolate colored hair and gently brushed the tears from her wet cheek.

“I’ll admit, I do sort of envy him here,” I said, trying to distract Bella.

“She’s very pretty,” Bella conceded, her voice still shaky from crying.

I snorted, quite revolted by the thought. “I don’t envy him the girl - just the ease of the suicide,” I explained lightly. “You humans have it so easy! All you have to do is throw down one tiny vial of plant extracts…”

Her horrified gaze interrupted my sentence. “What?” she sputtered. Oh dear, I really hadn’t meant to upset her. I hurried to rectify my mistake.

“It’s something I had to think about once, and I knew from Carlisle’s experience that it wouldn’t be simple,” I attempted to explain. “I’m not even sure how many ways Carlisle tried to kill himself at the beginning…after he realized what he’d become…” I managed to keep my voice light. “And he’s clearly still in excellent health,” I finished, hoping that would be the end of that.

Bella wriggled around in my grip, turning to gaze at my face with large, anxious eyes. “What are you talking about? What do you mean, this something you had to think about once?” She was almost yelling now.

“Last spring, when you were…nearly killed…” I inhaled deeply, searching for something to say that would lighten the mood of this gloomy conversation. I found there was nothing to say but the truth. “Of course I was focusing on finding you alive, but part of my mind was making contingency plans. Like I said, it’s not as easy for me as it is for a human.”

I carefully watched her reaction to my words. She looked almost…puzzled. She shook her head briefly. I guessed she was thinking of that dance studio in Phoenix. A place where her life had nearly been ended by the sadistic James. But he was…gone now.

“Contingency plans?” she asked again, when her head had been sufficiently cleared.

I rolled my eyes. Did she really not understand what I was saying? “Well, I wasn’t going to live without you. But I wasn’t sure how to do it - I knew Emmett and Jasper would never help…so I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi.” I could feel her furious gaze on my face, but I was too caught up in visions of my demise to give her my full attention.

“What is a Volturi?” she demanded heatedly. A Volturi. As if there was just one of them. Only in my sleepless dreams.

“The Volturi are a family. A very old, very powerful family of our kind. They are the closest thing our world has to a royal family, I suppose.” More like tyrants in my opinion, but I suppose they did keep the peace quite effectively. “Carlisle lived with them briefly in his early years, in Italy, before he settled in America - do you remember the story?”

“Of course I remember.” And how could she not? That flagrant painting was impossible to forget. Aro, Marcus, and Caius - ancient and yet frozen in an eternal state of perfection. Two with jet-black hair, and one with a startling contrast of snowy white. And of course, Carlisle beside them, as youthful as he appeared to be today. Although the painting was meant to show the Volturi protecting the world below them from chaos, I couldn’t help but feel a shudder of revulsion every time I gazed upon the image of the three ancient vampires.

“Anyway, you don’t irritate the Volturi,” I continued. “Not unless you want to die - or whatever it is we do.” I tried to keep my voice steady, but I’ll admit the prospect did not appeal to me.

Bella’s furious expression rapidly turned to shocked horror. She tightly clasped my face between her hands, as if somehow, she could keep me here forever. “You must never, never, never think of anything like that again,” she exclaimed vehemently. “No matter what might ever happen to me, you are not allowed to hurt yourself!” The pleading in her eyes was so intense, I could not help but attempt to assuage her fears.

“I’ll never put you in danger again, so it’s a moot point.” I wanted to soothe her worry, but I had to avoid making promises. I would not - could not - live without her.

Put me in danger! I thought we’d established that all the bad luck is my fault? How dare you even think like that?” Apparently, my plan to ease her anxiety was not working.

“What would you do, if the situation was reversed?” I asked as calmly as possible.

“That’s not the same thing,” she protested angrily. Except that it was. I chuckled quietly at her hopeless objections. “What if something did happen to you? Would you want me to go off myself?” A jagged pain punctured my insides at the first phrase, only to double in intensity at the second point she made. I tried not to reveal the wound she had inflicted, but I knew that flickers of pain passed like shadows across my face, impossible to halt.

“I guess I see your point…a little,” I finally permitted. “But what would I do without you?” All I could see in that circumstance was a black, empty nothingness.