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Angel

Summary:
Edward Cullen is a human. Bella Swan is a vampire. This is their story. It's only my second fan fiction, people. Please feel free to criticize it.


Notes:
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this... I think it'll be long, though.


15. The Pain of Great Expectations

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2723   Review this Chapter

Angel – Chapter Fifteen

EPOV

Once I admitted to myself that I liked Bella Swan, the rest of my life went completely downhill. My relationship with my siblings, my patience with Mike Newton, my tolerance of school, and my social life? Pft. Gone. Like that.

Gone, like Bella.

The next four weeks and two days were absolute hell.

They were hell because Alice was on to me. She didn’t say anything, but I knew she noticed a change in my behavior. Alice noticed absolutely everything. Jasper continued to ask me not-so-subtly about my theories on Bella’s whereabouts. Emmett teased me mercilessly – God knows who told the bumbling, unobservant Emmett – and I kept finding condoms among my personal belongings. And Rosalie just wasn’t talking to me. At all. Ever.

The days were hell because Mike Newton terrorized me with stories about how Bella wasn’t at home, wouldn’t answer her cell phone, and didn’t reply to emails. He frustrated to no end. Thankfully – or not –, he took my frustration as frustration for her apparent lack of interest in him, and not as my frustration at the fact that he had her contact information. I wouldn’t have minded him not knowing; not asking me awkward questions about my relationship with her, except for that he’d decided that I was his personal relationship counselor now. Every other word that came out his mouth was “Bella.” If it hadn’t made me think of her, I would have considered murdering him.

The days were hell because I couldn’t bring myself to raise my voice in protest. My conscience wouldn’t let me. I knew I should defend myself against my siblings, but in reality, I knew I had nothing to deny.

I supposed I could have tried talking to them – to Alice, at least, who was still trying to be there for me as a friend and not as a tormentor – but that felt like a violation of Bella’s privacy. I knew things about her that I shouldn’t.

That night still lived on in my nightmares. I woke up four nights out of five with vivid, violent images flashing through my mind. Blood. So much blood. The screaming, the snarling, and the terrified sobs. Bella was a murderer. I’d watched her kill a man. Bella was bad.

But at the same time, it warmed my heart to know that she did it for me. It was an overreaction, to be sure, but it was, of course, the thought that really counted, no? I hated how irrational I was. I hated that I couldn’t report Bella, that I made up excuses for her actions. But love was irrational.

I found myself going to school each day with great expectations. I would talk to Bella. I would demand that she explain herself. I would figure her out.

I found myself at school each day disappointed, when I found that the seat between Mike and Eric was empty again, or when I sat alone at my lab table again.

And it made me worry. Bella couldn’t have gotten herself into trouble, could she? It was unlikely that the law caught up with her so quickly. And we would have heard about it; she was the daughter of the Police Chief.

I found out quickly that I wasn’t the only one who worried.

It was a Wednesday – a week and a half after the alleyway incident. I had decided that enough was enough – that I couldn’t let Bella consume my very existence. I had to talk to someone. To anyone. Preferably, before I exploded, but I wasn’t going to be too picky.

I quickly ruled out my brothers, in fear that they would find something else in my questions that they could use against me to make my life even more hellish. Rosalie wasn’t even an option , and Alice would undoubtedly go psycho on me. Esme was out at her book club, which left me only one option.

I went to see Carlisle in his study that evening. The house was otherwise empty, and his study was oddly quiet. Oddly nervous, I knocked twice.

“Edward?”

“Carlisle, can I come in?”

The door swung open and Carlisle smiled at me strainedly. “Yes, Edward. Please, sit.”

I sat, uncertain.

“What can I do for you?” Carlisle’s face was abnormally pale. His eyes flitted around the room, far away, not really focusing on me, or on anything. He looked anxious.

“I… um. Are you alright?”

“Yes, fine.” He smiled again. “Did you come to speak with me?”

I stared down at my hands, folded in my lap. “Yes. I did. I…” How to explain? I wondered what I’d been thinking when I came here. As much as I trusted Carlisle, I couldn’t trust him to lie for me, for I. He was too good for that. I’d thought I was too good for that, too. A long time ago.

I didn’t want to betray her trust. Because I was sure that she must trust me with something. Or was that why she left? So that I wouldn’t be able to tell?

“Edward?” My father’s commanding tone demanded my attention. “You seem almost as distracted as I do. What is the matter?”

Possibly, for the first time ever, I lied to Carlisle. “Nothing. I just wanted to see how you’re doing. You haven’t quite been yourself lately.” It wasn’t a complete lie. He’d been staying later at work, hiding in his study at home. His light was on under the door in the wee hours of the mornings, and I believed Esme to have been sleeping alone for the past few nights. “You and Esme aren’t arguing, are you?”

He laughed. “No, of course not.” Then his eyes narrowed. “Edward, is this about Bella again?”

The question caught me by surprise. I’d been good. I hadn’t mentioned her since that day. “Why would you think that?” I asked, my heart racing.

Even more surprising was his reaction. He sank down into his desk chair and buried his face in his hands, looking drained. “I can’t stop thinking about her, Edward.”

I would have been outraged if he hadn’t sounded so tortured. “But you just said you and Esme…?”

“Not like that.” He looked at me with utter disgust. I supposed I deserved it. I shouldn’t have been thinking like that. It was irrational of me to believe that everyone was as infatuated with her as I was. “Just about her stay with us in Port Angeles.” His hand clenched into a fist on the surface of his desk. I thought for a moment he was about to punch something.

“What about it?” I couldn’t stop thinking about it, either, but I had a feeling that his reasons were far different than mine.

“Have you ever…” Carlisle stared at his fist, as if willing it to punch his desk in half. “Have you ever had such intense déjà-vu that you go absolutely mad? It lasts for days, weeks, even. You’re sure that you’ve lived all of this before. But you just can’t remember.” He sounded desperate, pleading for me to understand.

Mutely, I shook my head.

“I hadn’t either.” Slowly, he unclenched his fist and folded his hands together. “Until now.” Like he was willing his voice to stay calm, he continued. “I don’t know what it is, Edward. It’s not just because I’m afraid of Bella hurting you that I feel uneasy about all this. I can’t explain it, even to myself. But something about Bella Swan is not right.”

No, Carlisle. She’s perfectly normal. A perfectly normal serial killer. I shrugged, unwilling to trust my voice to stay even.

“You disagree.”

“She’s not quite normal,” I agreed carefully, afraid that he would become suspicious of me. “But I don’t think she’s anything to be afraid of.” Blood. Screaming. She did it defensively, though. My mantra would never end.

“I’m not afraid of her.” He stared out the window broodingly. “Did we ever hear if she made it home safely? I’m assuming you have seen her at school, of course.”

I was shaking. “No, she hasn’t been there. She’s on an extended absence. No one quite knows why.”

He went sheet-white. I thought he might pass out. “I want to remember, Edward!”

I’d never seen my foster father look so confused, so helpless, so desperate. All my problems melted momentarily. I could imagine perfectly the jumble his thoughts would be – mirroring mine to a slightly less insane degree, I was sure. I could almost visualize his confusion, his frustration. I saw him standing alone, so terribly alone, in a confusing place full of nightmares and bad dreams. The Angel would come, he was sure of it. But she wasn’t here yet.

And now she wasn’t here at all.

I gasped. “Carlisle, this has happened to you before!”

He looked up at me, unsurprised. At times, our minds almost… connected. If I had a very close bond with someone, it was very easy for me to read their thoughts, their emotions. It wasn’t like I read minds. It was just a feeling. Most of the time. Sometimes, like now, the thoughts were frighteningly clear.

“I know it has.”

“Who is she? The Angel?”

“That’s what I don’t know. I don’t know how Bella is related to this. I don’t know what the danger was. I just know there was danger. And I didn’t have to be afraid.”

Ordinarily, that would have sounded incredibly corny, especially coming out of Carlisle’s mouth. But I saw the truth of his words. And they created an echo in my own mind – an experience I could share. Danger. An Angel. How many times had I thought of Bella as a sort of Destroying, Fallen Angel?

“It’s not possible she’s the Angel, is it?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Edward.” Carlisle rubbed his temples. “I promise you, I will drive myself mad if I spend another moment thinking about this. What did you come here to talk about?”

“I –” I was going to come and tell him I was worried about Bella. That something didn’t seem right. That there was trouble, confusion. But he’d covered all that. There only remained one thing. The scariest thing. “Carlisle, I think I’m in love. With an Angel.”

His eyes were dark. “Let’s hope she’s one of the good kind,” he said, without a trace of mockery.

I smiled awkwardly and left the room as quickly as I could, not feeling a bit better.

***

I almost expected Carlisle to tell Esme about our little discussion. But he didn’t. It stayed between us – not really an awkward boundary that we couldn’t cross, but a terrifying connection we didn’t dare mention. Our little secret. Personally, I would have preferred it if it were a better secret to share.

Still, being moderately candid with someone turned out to be surprisingly refreshing. Even though the rest of the world still pestered me, at least I knew that Carlisle was just as confused, just as frustrated as I was. That helped, actually. It genuinely made things better.

Sort of.

I got into a sort of monotone routine. I got up. I dressed. I made my way through the school day mechanically, blatantly ignoring the empty seats that Bella should have filled. I came home, did my homework. I avoided my siblings. I went to bed, had nightmares. It was rote, and it was repetitious. It was oddly comforting.

I almost got to the point where I enjoyed the bleakness of these days – an alternative to thinking too much – when three things happened in quick succession. The first happened on the Sunday afternoon of the fourth week.

The phone rang at two o’clock, and I heard Alice get it. Her voice trilled distantly somewhere in the house, and then she shrieked. After hanging up the phone, she called, “Someone, turn on the TV. News, please. It’s important.” Then she ran upstairs and started banging on doors. “That was Carlisle. Something big is happening. There’s been a disappearance. Come on. We have to see this.”

I dragged myself out of bed and opened the door to look at her questioningly. Her face lit up. “There you are, Edward. You’ve been hiding from us for a while. I need to talk to you. But now isn’t the time. God, you have to come. Rose! Get your ass out of the bathroom. Come on!”

Chattering nonstop, Alice dragged me downstairs, to where Emmett already had the TV on to our local news. Charlie Panzica, the obnoxious intern who covered the early afternoon shift – when all the higher-ups were at lunch – sat behind the news desk smugly, reading off the teleprompter with a certain glee that seemed not at all fitting for the news he reported.

“We’re getting reports from the Forks Police Station of a missing man. The man is forty-five, balding, oh!” He seemed shocked. “We’re getting reports that Deputy Police Chief Charlie Swan has not been seen in the past forty-eight hours. He failed to show up at work yesterday, and his house appears to be vacant. The Police Department is scrambling to start an investigation without their Chief of Police.

“Investigators say that there are no signs of foul play in Chief Swan’s disappearance. His house does not seem to have been broken into, and there has been no ransom note. To disprove this theory, though, his car is still in his driveway and no personal items seem to have been taken from his house.

“Anyone with information regarding the Chief’s whereabouts should contact…”

But I’d stopped listening when he said Charlie Swan. Bella’s dad. Bella’s dad was missing. My siblings sat on the couch, watching the news intently, but all I could do was stand there, frozen, thinking about the implications.

I meant to talk to Carlisle about it when he got home, but the second thing had to go happen. He had other news for me. “Edward,” he said, his voice low and urgent, almost as soon as he set foot in the house. “I remembered. A little bit. There were people there who were looking for something. I think, Edward, that they were looking for me. They wanted me for something. I don’t know what.”

I nodded woodenly. “I suppose you’ve heard about Charlie Swan.”

Carlisle nodded gravely. “Yes. Everyone is panicking. If we don’t have him here to keep us safe, what will?”

The Angel, I wanted to scream. “When you were there, with the people. Were you there voluntarily?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

But then Esme crowded herself into our hallway and swept Carlisle away, leaving me wondering. If Carlisle had been taken, and the Angel had come for him, then maybe she would come for Charlie now.

Dear god. I wasn’t making any sense to myself. The Angel couldn’t be Bella. I knew Bella. Sort of. She wasn’t old enough to have been there for Carlisle, as young as he may have been. But she was all I could think about. And there was this strange nagging in the back of my mind, begging me to think about it more. I couldn’t make myself do it. I couldn’t. I was afraid to.

The one who held the answer to all my questions appeared at school the next day. I didn’t have to get out of my car in the parking lot to know that Bella was back. I could feel it. It helped that half the boys I saw walking past had sickening, glazed-over looks in their eyes. But I knew she was there.

Sure enough, I saw her sitting across the cafeteria, wedged awkwardly in between Mike and Eric. Alice squealed and nudged me with her bony elbow.

“Ow, dammit.” I rubbed my ribcage. “Alice, you should know better than that. You’re going to bruise me.”

“Vicious, isn’t she?” Jasper grinned.

“Bella’s here, Edward. Bella’s back.” Alice seemed to be convinced she was bringing me the best of news.

“I saw.”

“Bella’s here. And she’s looking at you.”

Not really wanting to, but also unable to resist, I glanced up. Bella’s eyes were fixed directly on our table – on me. They were black, probing, and intense. I shivered. “That she is.”

And then, very deliberately, Bella whispered something in Mike’s ear, clapped Eric on the shoulder, and stood with her lunch tray. She crossed the room to where the trash can was, and dumped her uneaten lunch. Then she came up to our table – I wouldn’t have noticed at all if Alice hadn’t been pinching me so hard under the table – and leaned over me.

“Edward.” Her breath was sweet and intoxicating, her face dizzyingly close. “I need to talk to you. Now.”