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Small Smiles and Lies

Summary:
“I love you,” murmured Tanya’s mind, gaze and lips as she slowly leant forward. When Edward told Bella that Tanya had shown "an interest" in him in Denali, what exactly did he mean? Did it go further than Bella could have percieved? Edward battles once more with his concience before the wedding day. When he has so much to lose, can he decide whether hurting her is better than lying to her?


Notes:
Hey, I haven't written a story with chapters for a while... so bear with me! I should have the rest of chapter three up within a few days. I only intend to write four, but it all depends on how I end the next two... So enjoy!


1. Concience and Contemplation

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Small Smiles and Lies

“Do you really think hurting her is better than protecting her?” - Edward, Eclipse

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“Edward.”

Her voice was clear as a bell in the darkness. The strange boy, who sat silently watching with an attentive gaze, heard the word-sigh. If he had been distracted, he would have looked up at the sound of his name. If this had been the first time he studied her every move, whilst she wasted the rapidly dwindling hours they had together before her soul froze over, his expression may have changed. But it wasn’t- the rocking chair where he was now huddled felt like an old friend. Edward had had too many epiphanies, fought too many arguments, and spent too long soul searching (he smiled at the phrase, because what had he to search?) in this seat to be surprised by anything that came out of Bella’s unconscious lips.

The moonlight strained to touch the boy’s perfect features, as it threw itself recklessly through the rain splattered window. Still, only half his face was bathed in its cool light. To human eyes, his expression was thoughtful, but it was changing at an impossible rate. It contorted from throes of aching love whilst he stared at the mumbling, sleeping figure on the bed, to desperate confusion as he tried to sort through his muddled thoughts. He loved these precious hours, when his true love, his beautiful Bella didn’t edit her thoughts before speaking them aloud. Still, in another way he loathed them- he was alone again, like he had been for too many decades already. He could hardly begrudge her sleep, but he didn’t like this time without her crimson blush and bewildering notions. She wasn’t there to stop him either, when his thoughts led him down a path he would rather not tread. When Edward felt like harming anyone who dared to cause this confusing, dazzling, fantastic girl that was somehow his, pain (even supposedly harmless werewolves…), his Bella wasn’t there to erase such thoughts with a word and a subtle caress. The wind speed picked up and rattled the brittle glass in the window pane, as if demanding to be heard. Instead, the storm faded further into the background as Edward’s thoughts stalked moodily down the darkest passageways of his mind.

He was thinking of a worse time. A time when his life had seemed full, but only because he hadn’t found what he was looking for. A time when he was headstrong and full of himself, so sure that his music and looks would get him anywhere and everywhere he wanted in life. If he had possessed any of the blood Bella had, Edward would have blushed for such embarrassing ideals. How could he have been so self-centred? He was older, and hopefully wiser, now. Nothing could lead him into making the same mistakes he had before, he was sure of it.

“Edward… where’s Jacob?” The sleeping girl innocently asked, throwing him completely off course. Bella then let out a snort of disbelief, presumably at the answer his dream-self had given, and turned over. Her face cleared of all emotion as the dream pulled her back into its thrall. Good- for her to wake up now and ask what he was thinking could be disastrous. If he tried to distract her, she would see through his pretences at once. For such a terrible liar, Bella was extremely adept at spotting others partaking in the dirty deed.

Yet… Just thinking of his past was not a lie- it was not telling her of the mistake that was involved with this part of his past. Bella was inhumanly forgiving, for sins so unthinkable that many times he had tried to block them from his picture-perfect memory. By now, Edward had accepted that he could not change or ignore the things that he had done. He could only try to atone- for leaving Bella, for the lives he had taken, for the lies he had told…

But this was better kept to himself. Perhaps that was the only person that he was thinking of by doing so but, truthfully, how many more times could he tell Bella his many flaws and expect her to forgive him? She apotheosized him, deified him in a way he most definitely did not deserve… But he loved her adoration, in the same way he thought she loved the way he loved her- if that made sense. They both loved that their relationship was one of passion, and respect- understanding and excitement- there were no awkward pauses or stony silences when they were together. He scorned the idea, mocking it in his head. Their relationship was too strong to depend on such things.

Yet the way things had been lately- how Bella had cried when she had realised she loved the werewolf, Jacob Black, but could not be with him. When Edward had become obsessive in his desire to protect her from everything, anything, and had stopped her from doing things she wanted to do- it made the sleepless boy think. Over time, would she come to look at these things more objectively? With an eternity ahead of her, stretching endlessly ahead but forever tied with Edward’s, would her hopes change? Would she start to see him in a different light? He wasn’t idiotic enough to doubt her feelings for him- at the moment. But in a hundred years, a thousand… who knew what she might look back on and regret?

It was so hard, not to wake her now. To shake her from her werewolf dreams and speak the words that lay on his tongue, liquid and silvery with anticipation. He flew across the room, and knelt next to the bed so that their faces were inches apart. Innumerable seconds ticked by. The world came to a stop, and the only sound that filled his ears was the countdown of her heartbeat. That muscle, oblivious of the fact that in a matter of days it would be silenced forever, kept pulsating with the steady rise-and-fall that was the girl’s breathing. That muscle had no idea that he would be the one to stop it, and how soon its impending doom would become realised.

It was that thought that did it. He would lie, and then he would kill her. Was that to be the way? That would make him no better James. Jacob taunts filled his ears- “Better hurt that lied to.” He had replied, and Bella had agreed. She would not want this from him.

So he took a back seat. He allowed his mind to think of a time before Bella, and therefore before life with reason. Edward closed his eyes, and let his conscience do all the work.

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