New Moon from Edward's POV. So far I'm up to the end of Chapter 2 - Stitches.
6. Chapter 6
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I didn’t take my eyes off Jasper. I didn’t dare. Carlisle was the only person who managed to retain any sense of composure, although his thoughts revealed his unease.
“Emmett, Rose, get Jasper outside,” he directed. Just when Jasper was doing so well. I truly thought…. Rage welled up within me. Bella was lying in a growing pool of blood, and all Carlisle could think of was Jasper.
“Come on, Jasper,” Emmett said, as he struggled furiously within Emmett’s arms. Jasper writhed around, reaching for Emmett with empty, senseless eyes. I saw the strength with which the hungry monster inside of him fought, and I dropped into a protective crouch over Bella. Silently, I calculated thousands of ways in which Jasper could escape Emmett’s grasp and quickly prepared myself for all of them. A deep growl escaped, unbidden, from between my lips.
The scent of the vibrant blood pulsating from Bella’s arm was torturously overwhelming. I stopped breathing quickly, although it did little to prevent the tantalizing aroma from reaching me.
Rosalie, seemingly unperturbed by the turn of events that the festivities had taken, carefully moved between Jasper and me. She aided Emmett in wrestling him through the open door, keeping one hand over her nose and mouth to block the heady scent of human blood that pervaded the room.
I knew this would happen, Rosalie fumed beneath her calm exterior. And now he’s gone and put Emmett in danger - all of us in danger! How dare he disrupt our lives for the sake of one stupid, human girl! The truth hurt. My selfishness was endangering my entire family as well as my beloved Bella. And I wasn’t doing a proficient job at protecting either parties.
“I’m so sorry, Bella,” Esme cried, ashamed, as she followed the other three outside. But it wasn’t her fault - it was mine. I should never have even contemplated putting the ones I loved most in such a volatile position.
“Let me by, Edward,” Carlisle murmured. I did not relax. His earlier thoughts had alerted me to the fact that Jasper was currently of more importance to him than Bella, even though she was the one who was lying bleeding on the floor.
Edward, I am not going to hurt Bella. Let me pass. I will take good care of her but she needs medical attention as soon as possible, Edward. He was right. Bella - she was the most important thing right now. I nodded and stood aside to let Carlisle examine her.
Carlisle knelt by Bella’s side, stooping to scrutinize her wound more closely. Bella’s stunned expression quickly tried to assemble itself into something slightly calmer, but her features were at a loss of what to do.
“Here, Carlisle,” Alice said, offering him an old towel from upstairs.
“Too much glass in the wound,” Carlisle muttered, shaking his head. He tore a long, thin ribbon of fabric from the bottom of the bloodstained tablecloth. Tying it as tightly as he could without hurting Bella, he formed a tourniquet above her elbow in an attempt to halt the profuse bleeding. I still would not allow myself to breathe. I didn’t know how Carlisle could stand it. I was having difficulty coping with the muted fragrance from a few feet away, while he freely touched and inhaled the stench of her blood, barely seeming to notice the presence of the sticky, red liquid.
“Bella,” Carlisle queried gently. “Do you want me to drive you to the hospital, or would you like me to take care of it here?”
“Here, please,” she mumbled, and I noted the faint trace of anxiety in her voice. It would be problematical if she had to fabricate yet another reason for a not uncommon hospital visit. I supposed that ‘I was attacked by a hungry vampire, and was severely injured after my boyfriend attempted to save me from said hungry vampire’ was not a reason likely to hold well with Charlie.
“I’ll get your bag,” Alice said, exiting the room. Her thoughts explained to me that she needed a respite from the overpowering scent of blood that lingered in the air. I didn’t blame her - it was taking every modicum of self-restraint I possessed to ignore the fire that was slowly building in my throat. I swallowed hard, trying to wash away the intense craving that rose, uninvited, within me.
“Let’s take her to the kitchen table,” Carlisle instructed. I lifted her cautiously, gently scooping her up in my arms, while Carlisle held the tourniquet steady. A few stray drops of blood landed on my arms, and a wave of longing coursed through my body. I could feel myself wavering on the precipice of indulgence. Surely just a minute taste wouldn’t hurt….
“How are you doing, Bella?” Carlisle asked, pulling me back from certain damnation just in time.
“I’m fine,” she responded fervently, endeavoring to convince me that she received major wounds like this every day…which was almost true to some extent. Except that this was much worse than anything that had happened to her - accidentally at least - in a long time.
I arranged my features into an emotionless slab of marble, concealing the raging torrent of emotions that roared inside of me. They clawed at my insides until I was nothing but an empty shell. I had been ripped into a million pieces of discordance, torn in two by my love and my lust…separate and yet so closely intertwined that I doubted I could ever begin to unravel the complex web of heady love and primal desire that seethed inside my empty body.
We entered the kitchen to find Alice already there. Carlisle’s black bag was on the table and a lamp that I recognized as mine was plugged into the nearest outlet. I gently placed Bella in one of the rustic - and exceptionally expensive - wooden chairs. Carlisle pulled up another chair and set to work on Bella’s arm. I stood over Bella, every muscle tensed in the struggle to defy my yearning need.
“Just go, Edward,” Bella said, heaving a sigh.
“I can handle it,” I maintained, doing my best not to inhale. I would stay with her - I was not weak. I had resisted the silky taste of her sweet elixir last spring. Surely I could withstand the tormenting fragrance that now plagued my nostrils.
“You don’t need to be a hero. Carlisle can fix me up without your help. Get some fresh air,” she insisted, grimacing as Carlisle removed a particularly large shard of crystal from her arm. As if I would actually leave her alone with him. No, I would stay and watch over her. I was personally responsible for her safety and I was going to make sure that no harm befell her - never again.
“Why are you so masochistic?” she grumbled. Masochistic was not a word that applied to me. Extraordinarily selfish - that was a more suitable term.
“Edward, you may as well go find Jasper before he gets too far,” Carlisle advised. “I’m sure he’s upset with himself, and I doubt he’ll listen to anyone but you right now.”
“Yes,” Bella said, latching onto the suggestion enthusiastically. “Go find Jasper.”
“You might as well do something useful,” Alice interjected. The poignant anguish swirling in Alice’s mind was difficult to ignore.
Bella is in good hands. Find Jasper…for me…please. I…I need to know that he’s safe, Edward. My eyes narrowed. I didn’t want to leave, but I must admit the over-powering smell of Bella’s blood was beginning to penetrate my carefully constructed defenses. Finally, I nodded once, and hastened through the back door before I could change my mind.