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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!


3. Learning to Breathe Again

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Learning to Breathe Again

It burned.

There was no other way to describe the sensation. Every cell at the surface of my skin itched until it touched some part of Edward. The cells that weren’t lucky enough to brush against the pale hair on his arms or trace the sharp angle of his jaw fought to bubble to the tips of my fingers and get the chance. I pressed myself tighter against him and as his eyes finally closed, my heart sang as I knew he was thinking of me. This couldn’t be happening, not to me- but every passing second, my body helped me realise that this was real. My bones were fire, then ice, and then fire again as his tongue danced passionately against mine. My every prayer was answered when his perfect fingers brushed against the glassy marble of my cheek.

Someone up there liked me.

He leant back for a second, to talk himself out of it, I’m sure. So I gave it everything I had. I pulled him back with every ounce of strength I possessed and screamed my thoughts to him. He had no choice but to listen. I dug deep into the icy chest I was rubbing hands across and pulled out the word I could feel trapped there. Lonely. I told him that I understood- I was the same. Yet there was no need to be. We made the best of this life we had been given, and we didn’t need to be punished for that. In fact, we should be rewarded. And we could reward each other… I tried not to let my thoughts get too far ahead of me but I couldn’t help it. I saw us, happy and together. I saw us in a dimly lit room, ending our loneliness in ways I had dreamed of every night since the first time I had met him. I saw the pale, frozen landscape that I loved so much stretching away from me. We would stay here in Denali, in this house on the snow. We would be just as longstanding and unchanging as the country that was part of me. Perhaps Irina and the others would move, so Edward and I could-

“Edward and I, Edward and I…” My thoughts sang in a similar tune to that Edward had been playing minutes before- or was it hours? As our lips moulded softly together time seemed to pass around us. I was loathe to let him go, to go back to the real world. To explain how surely now I could never live without him. Yet, we would have all the time in the world to talk. And to do more of this… my hands cupped his flawless face and my thoughts moved once more to what we could do on the mattress stood so conveniently behind him.

Now that he’d said yes…

When he pulled away from me this time, it was more distinctive- like he was drawing a line down the piano stool that couldn’t be crossed. Edward started to stand, so I slid to my feet in one fluid movement and waited for the declarations.

I wore my heart on my sleeves like a fool, and read love in his eyes where there was none.

“Tanya, I… I can’t say…” Edward began feebly. Immediately, I could sense something was wrong. Even when he was hunting, or in his worst moods, he stayed flawlessly articulate. Still, I didn’t see the truth. I didn’t sense the danger.

“I love you.” I breathed quickly, trying to finish his sentence in a way that didn’t work. It was like trying to force two incongruous puzzle pieces together- literally when I tried to twist once more into his angelic embrace. He took a step back, shaking his head. With a mischievous smile I couldn’t hold back, I followed him. My thoughts still chattered inanely on- what he would look like on our wedding day, whether we would take time to travel before living together, whether I would join his family in Washington. For a second, my life meandered along the path that was really his. Still, it was only for a second, because that’s how long it took for him to tell me. That’s how long it took for him to break my heart.

He took both my hands in his, shook them desperately and then turned the full power of his gaze upon me.

“I’m not… meant for you, Tanya.” Edward said gently, as he read my thoughts to see if I understood.

I was too far gone when the flood of realisation hit me. The clouds I had been dancing on disappeared. The dreams that had waltzed so carelessly around my mind turned to poisonous serpents, plunging their fangs into what was left of my shattered heart. I stopped breathing, but there was no heartbeat to sputter at his words. All the life drained out of my smile, and the floor seemed suddenly closer-

“Tanya!” His divine voice hollered, as I hurtled towards the iron bedstead. There was no hope of me fainting, sadly. There was no drunken stupor I could drift into later tonight to forget this night- my body could burn up blood but not alcohol. No tears I could cry whilst listening to some pathetic human pop singer. No chocolate chip ice cream to glue together what was left of my loveless existence. Even death would be complicated. Edward shifted me onto the bed, and I noticed his expression shift as my thoughts adopted a more macabre tone.

“Tanya please listen,” He implored, lifting my chin like one of a sulky child so I had to look at him. The pain was so plain to see in my eyes that he almost flinched. I mentally kicked myself for being so easy to read, for getting so ahead of myself, for having hope… Edward tried to pull me from my thoughts by fixing me with his amber glare.

“I am terribly flattered… No, really.” He spoke with a firm tone, but it switched to almost pleading when I regretfully tore my face from his grasp. “You are a lovely woman whom I have really enjoyed living with.” With the last line, he began to see that blasted hope accumulating in my eyes again and so switched swiftly back to the point.

“I’m just not ready for anything on the scale you imagine.” Edward told me straight. “I haven’t felt anything between us, and it would be wrong for me to lead you on in any sense of the word.” His composure was back now, along with his articulation. I gritted my teeth. The memory of his lips against mine branded the word ‘fool’ around the inside of my chest cavity. How could I have ever have been so stupid as to think that this enigmatic, thoughtful, musical genius could ever settle for me? I covered the thoughts quickly with embarrassment. Edward picked that up, and quickly reassured me.

“I won’t tell anyone about this if you don’t want me too.” He promised slowly, enunciating every syllable as if this would somehow make me trust him more.

“Alice will have seen it anyway,” I whispered in reply, my voice breaking as I spoke her name. By now, they would all know. Stupid Tanya, always using her heart and not her head- always so easy to read and so hard to deter. What was left of my insides shrivelled up in sickening embarrassment. Was this how he had always seen me? No wonder he had said no. I was disgusting; I should never have thought to inflict my company upon him- let alone my love. I stood up to go.

“Alice hasn’t said anything, and isn’t planning to,” Edw- He reassured me quickly. My breath came in short gasps, as the sound of his name picked at the raw wounds. I looked away, glad he had been to busy poking through Alice’s mind to listen in on mine. Or so I thought.

“It’s not you Tanya, really,” The stunning effigy of an angel told me quietly, his sombre gaze speaking volumes. “I’ve never felt like you feel for me about anyone. I’m beginning to think that Esme was right.”

I was suddenly to full of incandescent rage to care what Esme had said or thought. Another member of his stupid family who thought I was pathetic as he obviously did. Any remnants of love and humiliation left my cool, amber eyes. I took a step away from him towards the door. My expression twisted in rage to spit my last retort in to his unfathomable, butterscotch eyes.

“Screw your pity,” I almost screamed. “This was all an …an idiotic mistake!”

No tears ran down my face as I threw open the cheap pine door, splintering the wood across the room so it bounced off his expectant face. He could hear every thought of hatred, regret and anger but he didn’t say a word. They weren’t his words to say, they weren’t his thoughts to think. All he could do was sit there in front of his damn piano, which would always mean more to him than I ever would. He was struggling to find words that would calm me, help me. I was past all help now. The anger churned through my veins like a poison that wouldn’t stop until every part of me was burning, torn or broken. It was hard to keep still, not to tear at those perfect features I have caressed just minutes before. I wanted to break him like he had broken me, but I knew he would not stop me. He knew he deserved every second of pain that I could make him feel.

With a final shout, some strange mix between a dry sob and a scream of rage I sprinted along the hallway and straight out of the front door. I didn’t look back. I wouldn’t, couldn’t, let myself go back to that room where the loathing he felt for himself radiated from every part of him.

I dug my heels into the hardened snow and ran. I was thankful for the night, then. It didn’t watch me as I broke every promise I ever made.

A heart for a heart, I thought without a smile as I tore the still beating muscle from the screaming man in a car I crashed a few miles away. I cast my eyes to the sky, with one word on my mind and warm blood still dripping from my lips.

“Edward.”