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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.


16. Idiot

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2250   Review this Chapter

Angel – Chapter Sixteen

BPOV

After a few weeks of pursuing, of chasing, I grew bored. I knew I should have been more engaged. I was doing good work. I was doing what I had to do to keep people safe – even if it was people I didn’t especially like.

After a few weeks of chasing, though, I started to get the feeling that something was terribly wrong. The subject of my hunt wandered too aimlessly, set a pace that was too steady. We crisscrossed the country east to west, north to south. I couldn’t tell why, though. My quarry seemed to have no set destination, which couldn’t be right. I knew her well. She had to have some goal.

After a few weeks of pursuing, I realized that I was a total idiot. No matter what side of the country we were on, we never came close to Forks. We didn’t even cross the Washington border. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out that I’d been chasing after a red herring this whole time.

The more I thought about it, the more idiotic I felt. I had left so quickly, so sure of a fast chase, that I’d left forks unprotected. Charlie, Carlisle, the Cullens… Edward. All very vulnerable to attack while I was out on a wild goose chase, selfishly enjoying running free and letting a bit of my strength loose.

I had failed. Again.

As soon as this realization hit me, I turned around and shot out of California, desperate to get home and assess the damage I’d left behind. God! How could I have been so stupid? If I blew it this time, if I made the same mistake that had gotten me into such trouble before… I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. There was too much at stake this time. Even more than there had been before.

I had plenty of time to think about the irony of my reactions as I ran. I’d murdered an innocent, drunk human when I thought he’d meant harm to one of the Cullens. Fine, when I’d thought he meant harm to Edward. And when the real monsters came to Forks – possibly – I was nowhere to be found.

Edward’s name haunted me as Sacramento flew by under my feet. Out of all the Cullens, he was the one who made me the most anxious. It wasn’t Carlisle anymore. Especially because I was the only one with memories of that year, Carlisle’s problems seem3ed very far away, long forgotten among my new worries for his whole family.

Even though that problem and this one were, essentially, one in the same.

I worried about all of them, of course. That was my whole reason for being here. But Edward, especially, and I couldn’t put my finger on any particular reason. He wasn’t any different from the others, his scent aside. He was the quietest, the most reserved. By definition, I should have been least worried about him, because his low profile made him less of a target.

Somehow, though, that made everything worse. He was a loner, unlike the others. As he had classily proved to me that night, he was easy to get alone. He didn’t have a partner who stuck with him.

And then he went and smelled so damn tasty, too.

It didn’t help me, either, that the most vulnerable of the Cullens was also the most observant. I could see why he would be wanted – he showed much potential. So they were more likely to go after him. And it didn’t work in my favor, either. He knew things about me that weren’t bad, per se, but didn’t put me in such a favorable light. It would have been better if he had not seen that, if I had been able to control myself. But he had seen, and I had just barely had the strength to stay away once the blood started flowing.

Even the memory of it had my muscles tight, my throat burning, and the venom flowing in my mouth.

I couldn’t bring myself to make Edward forget, either. I could have. I should have. It would have been easy, and would be the best thing for all of us. Somehow, though, I just couldn’t. In part, my attentions were already stretched to a near breaking point. The strain of holding things in place was too much. I was sure I would start slipping soon, if I hadn’t already. I didn’t need to add Edward to my list.

And there was a selfish part of me that wanted him to remember, wanted him to know what I was. He’d said my name in his dreams. He thought about me. Even if it was in nightmares. That shouldn’t have mattered to me, but it did – hugely. A part of me urged my more sensible side to drop the pretenses, with Edward at least. He’d seen enough by that point that the whole truth probably wouldn’t have shocked him much.

But for the love of God, he was just Edward Cullen. No need to spill my secrets to the human boy who gave me such an inordinate amount of trouble.

Whatever I did, I had to do something soon. My time was running out.

This was, of course, assuming that I had time to do something. I couldn’t be sure that, when I returned, Forks wouldn’t be in shambles.

I hit Forks’ boundaries at half past six on a Monday morning. Just in time to change into a decent set of clothes and to make up a cover story for when I went to school.

The hallways of Forks High School were buzzing with a low, electric chatter. The atmosphere was tense; everyone seemed to be on edge. So something had happened. Fabulous.

I walked into my first hour English class and all eyes turned to me. The room went deadly silent. My head down, my confusion growing, I slipped into my seat at the front of the room. Everyone continued to stare.

“Any news about your dad, Bella?” Eric Yorkie asked finally, his eyes glowing like he expected something of dire importance to come out of my mouth.

I was promptly confused. My dad? But then I heard some of the whispers that rippled through the room. Oh, right. Charlie. “What do you mean?” I asked uneasily.

“Are there any leads on his whereabouts?” asked a boy named Conner.

I felt cold. “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“Geeze, Bella,” Eric said, looking simultaneously shocked at my cluelessness and smug that I was talking to him. “Where have you been? Haven’t you heard?”

Panic clouded my thoughts. Not Charlie! But I forced myself to keep functioning, to stay calm for the sake of a classroom full of humans. “I’ve been away, visiting my mom. What happened, Eric?”

He flinched, like my intensity frightened him. I struggled to take deep, calming breaths.

“Your dad went missing a few days ago. It’s all over the news.”

“Missing?” I repeated dully. My mind raced through possible scenarios. None of them was pretty.

“Missing.” Eric looked at me like he was trying to decide if I was lacking intelligence. “Did you really not hear about it?”

I scrambled for another quick lie. “I thought he just wasn’t answering his phone. I did leave him a lot of messages.”

His face grew sympathetic and he patted my hand, like that could solve all my problems. His skin was burning hot against mine, and I was very aware of the eyes of the whole class focused on us.

Eric seemed to be enjoying the spotlight. I smiled tightly and him and pulled my hand away, just as Mrs. Payne walked into the class.

I paid very little attention for the next three and a half hours. I was too busy worrying about Charlie. There was only one person who really knew how strong the bond between Charlie and I was. I truly had failed. I’d spent the last thirty years making sure that Charlie would stay safe. Thirty years of work down the drain.

I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed in me. Little Alice Cullen, who had fourth hour with me, surprised me by confronting me as soon as I sat down.

“Back from your little trip, are you, Bella?” she asked coldly.

“Hi Alice. Yes.” Her angry face made me mildly uneasy. I hadn’t done anything to her directly, and I prayed that Edward hadn’t said anything to her about me.

“I hope you enjoyed yourself.” She scowled and slammed her binder shut.

“Actually, no. I had a stressful month. And I just came home to find that my dad is missing. Is there something wrong?”

She kept her eyes down on her desk. “You were gone for an awful long time.”

“I was. What’s the matter?”

Finally, Alice looked up at me. Her eyes burned. “Bella. What were you thinking? What did you do to my brother?”

I stared at her blankly, having absolutely no clue what she was talking about.

“He’s been going crazy this whole time. He won’t tell us what’s wrong. He barely talks to us anymore. And I think it’s because he’s thinking about you. Or something you did. Or something you said. He gets really defensive whenever your name comes up in conversation. What did you do to Edward?”

I tried to laugh easily. Tried and failed. “Nothing, Alice. I don’t know what might have happened. He really hasn’t said anything to you?” I tried not to think about how Edward might have been worrying about me. It shouldn’t have mattered.

“No. And that’s the problem. Edward tells me everything, Bella. What happened between you two?”

Maybe I should have tampered with Edward’s memories. It would have made my life one hell of a lot easier. “Nothing happened between us that he didn’t tell you, I’m sure. Should we just drop this, please, Alice? If it makes you feel better I’ll talk to him about it today.”

A bit of her anger dissipated. “You’d better. If I have to take another week of him moping around like this… Well, I know for sure that Jasper won’t be able to take it.” She frowned, her eyes far away. “It’s really getting to him, you know, to have Edward so mopey. I don’t think he’ll be able to last any longer. Edward needs you here, Bella. I don’t think it’s right for him, but he needs to have a real talk with you.”

I was surprised again. If she didn’t approve of me, she shouldn’t have wanted me around Edward. And she had every right not to approve of me.

“You’re confused,” she said. Not a question. A fact.

“I am. I feel like you have conflicting ideas about me.”

“I do.” Alice’s eyes turned warm. “But I’ll do anything for Edward, you know? He is my brother. I can deal with you if it helps him.”

Hardly complimentary. “I still don’t think I understand why he needs me so much. But I’ll talk to him.”

“Thank you.” She smiled at me awkwardly, and I looked away, grinning. If she didn’t hate me, I was sure that I could have liked Alice Cullen a lot.

Lunch was next. I dragged my feet into my normal seat at the preppy table. Mike Newton beamed at me indecently, and Jessica Stanley scowled. Interesting. I’d have to have a few words with Mike about her. It was an easy solution to one of my problems, at least. If I could get him to stop drooling…

Eric slipped into the seat on my right and put his arm casually around the back of my chair. “I’m sorry for upsetting you in English, today, Bella. I assumed that you knew.”

My smile grew forced. “No, I didn’t’ know. My parents aren’t exactly on speaking terms, so my mom wasn’t in contact with him at all.”

Mike turned to me, concerned. “You didn’t know about your dad? Geeze, Bella, do you need a place to go home to tonight? You could come over to my place.”

I shuddered when I imagined some of the thoughts that could be going through his head. Across the table, Jessica sighed long-sufferingly.

“No, Mike. Thanks, though. I have my own place.” I clenched my teeth and closed my eyes as soon as I said that. I knew I shouldn’t have. Bad Bella. It would just attract more attention. I did not want attention right now.

“Whoa! Cool.” Eric shifted his arm so that his hand was on my shoulder. “We should have a party at your place sometime.”

I nodded. A shrill little voice across the room caught my attention.

Bella’s here, Edward. Bella’s back.” Alice Cullen, pulling through for me. I turned to see how Edward would react, assessing the damage.

I saw.” He sounded like he was choking. I had to do something.

I leaned over to Mike, and said, “Keep an eye on things, will you? I have a few things to go take care of before Biology. I’ll see you then.” I ignored the increase in Mike’s heart rate and shoved Eric’s shoulder gently so that I could scoot my chair back. “I’ll see all you guys later.”

Quickly, I crossed the room to dump my tray of uneaten food, and went to find Edward. Alice looked up at me, her eyes shining with excitement. Edward’s face paled. “Edward, I need to talk to you. Now.”

The big one, Emmett, started laughing giddily, and Rosalie, the blonde smacked him in the face. I suppressed a smile. Alice laced her fingers through Jasper’s and smiled at me with relief. Edward stood awkwardly, and I tried to smile.

“Alone, please.” I set off, assuming, correctly, that he would follow.