“Shes putting you back together, Edward. We can all see it happening right in front of us. Shes like the stitches closing up your wounds.”-Esme Bella isn't the first girl to fall head-over-heels for Edward, nor is she the first to believe that Edward loves her too. Dillon Saunders once believed that she and Edward would be together forever, but he broke her heart. Now all she has to get her through is the theater and a series of self destructive relationships. Both she and Edward need recovery, and that is exactly what they find, in the places that they least expected it.
3. Chapter 3: Prodigal Son
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Chapter 3: Prodigal Son
The Alaskan sky was filled with stars. I was certain that there was no place on earth where the sky was as clear and as reachable as it was here. One could never see the stars in the city. The bright lights overwhelmed the celestial scene, making it impossible to become lost in the maze overhead. Even in Forks, where there weren't many lights to distract from the stars, clouds always covered the sky. Only in Alaska could I look at the night sky unhindered.
Tonight it seemed clearer than it normally did. Perhaps it was because my view of my life was becoming clearer. I felt wretched for leaving my family. They had all put up with my depression for the past four years, and for even longer than that before I had met Dillon. Now I left them without a word. Carlisle had said he would explain to them, but I knew that they did not understand. Hell, I had a dozen angry phone messages from Rosalie to confirm that fact. I just hadn't felt ready to face my family. I had not been ready to admit to them that I had jeopardized our entire existence because I was thirsty. I could not forgive myself for my weakness. The idea that I had almost killed that girl sent shivers up and down my spine. I felt like a fool; one look in her eyes and I couldn't stand the thought of her dying.
The sky grew lighter overhead. I mourned the loss of the night, but I knew that today I was going home. The night before, I had told Tanya and the rest of her coven that I would be returning to Forks today. I knew that if I did not return to them soon, the fallout with my family would be worse than it ever had before. Carlisle and Esme would always welcome me back with open arms, of course, but my brothers and sisters tended to be less forgiving when I ran away like this. Rosalie, especially, could hold a grudge. She never would buy my prodigal son act.
School promised to be a challenge for me, but I was sure that I would be able to control my reactions around the new girl. I had already gone through the shock of encountering her and both of us had come out the other side unscathed. Surely the pull of her blood would become easier to resist. I realized I did not even know her name. Something like Becca, I thought, but I knew that wasn't quite right.
I decided to wait for the sun to rise fully before I went to speak with Tanya. Even though she had no need for sleep, Tanya had brought a “friend” home last night, and I had no wish to walk in on something I knew I would regret seeing. Eventually, the light was to bright to ignore and I stood to face the day. My body was covered in snow from laying in a snowbank all night. That was one advantage of being a vampire. Snow made a wonderful bed, but it was not exactly the most comfortable place for a human who could still feel the effects of the temperature.
As I neared Tanya's home, I searched for the thoughts of her companion. I did not find him, so I assumed that he had already headed back to wherever she found him. Tanya was pacing inside the door, and, from what I could tell, was running through her plan to make me stay. Sometimes I wished that she could read my mind so she would know how I really felt about her. I took a deep breath then pushed on the heavy oak door. The moment she heard the scrape of the wood against the granite floor, Tanya stopped pacing and collected her frantic thoughts.
“Edward,” she said with an almost imperceptible shake in her voice, “I didn't hear you coming.” Was I actually making her nervous?
“I wasn't sure if your friend was still here, and I didn't want to wake him.” My voice dripped with sarcasm, but Tanya, as usual, didn't seem to notice.
“You don't really have to go back, do you Edward?” She flipped her strawberry-blond bob in a way that she apparently thought was seductive. She took a step towards me and I instinctively slid as far away from her as I could. “Edward,” she purred, “just stay a little longer.” She stepped forward again. I fought the urge to bolt past her, knowing that it would do more harm than good. Her thoughts, which I had succeeded in blocking out until this point, came at me then with alarming force. She didn't speak any of them aloud, knowing that we were not the only ones in the house with fantastic hearing, but she did assault me with her mind. I growled loudly when they filled my mind. “Yes, Edward, you know you want to,” she said mistaking my response.
“Listen, Tanya, I-” I tried to stammer out a response, but was horribly distracted by the thoughts she was practically throwing my way. She stepped forward again, leaving only a few feet between us. I gathered my courage. “Tanya, I can't,” I told her. Her progress in my direction abruptly halted. A confused look came over her face, and her eyes searched mine for answers as to why I had refused her. No man, human or vampire, ever refused Tanya. Her stunning allure was beyond uncanny; Carlisle said it was the “gift” she carried with her from her human life. Most men literally went weak in the knees for her. I was the only exception to her power.
“Is it that girl?” she asked, venomous hatred now staining her silky voice.
“What? No!” How could she think that the new girl had anything to do with my refusal of her? “That... child has nothing to do with this. I've only met her once.”
“Not her, Edward,” she replied, her voice still icy. “The one you left behind.” I automatically stiffened at her words. Tanya saw my reaction and her face twisted in rage. I didn't have to be Jasper to feel the anger rolling off her in waves. I was privy to her short internal debate about whether or not to slap me before she turned on her heel and stormed away. The moment she disappeared, I ran through the halls of the lodge to my room, pausing only to grab the keys to Carlisle's Mercedes before I sprinted outside.
The crisp air cleared my head. I started the car and rolled down all the windows. Soft rock echoed from the speakers, calming me down. Tanya's sad attempts at seduction were getting to be too much for me. I seemed to have timed my departure perfectly. Her mention of Dillon was unsettling. I knew that she and her sisters had been in contact with my family during my stay here, but I now wondered how much they had told her. Tanya and I had never discussed what brought us from Maine to Alaska, and I knew that my family had never broached the subject with her.
The twenty hour drive afforded me plenty of time to think. Despite being covered in ice, the road demanded little of my attention, and my mind once more started to wander. I tried to turn up the music, but even through the roar, my thoughts were all over the map. The week in Denali had convinced me that I could control myself around her. The initial shock of encountering her had worn off now. I had survived an hour in the same room as her and we had both survived; how hard could it possibly be to repeat the feat? The smell of her blood lingered in my mind like a distant dream. I could no longer be sure that it was real. I shuddered to think that I had been so consumed by bloodlust that I had almost killed a room full of innocents. Like fire, her blood had consumed me; it made me forget all else.
I came into Forks sometime around 5 in the morning. The entire town was still silent. The only sound was that of my tires splashing through puddles in the street. I knew that I should return home before Alice had a fit, but instead I directed the car towards Chief Swan's house. I knew I was torturing myself being close to her, but I decided to tempt fate anyway. I figured I deserved a healthy dose of torture for almost killing someone and then running away from my family. I pulled into her drive, right behind Charlie's cruiser, and cut the engine. Moisture hung in the air, but never actually fell to the ground. I wished it would do more, if only to fill the silence. Silence, obviously, was not good for me. Every time I let silence take reign, my thoughts got out of control.
Memories near and distant threatened to control me. Until a week ago, I had been happy to let the memories take over, but now I found then unbearable. They were filled with so much guilt, so much remorse that I could no longer stand them. I could bear no more unhappiness. My sad excuse for a life could not continue as it had for so many years. I needed respite from my pain. I had held onto Dillon for so long with so little understanding of why I did it. When I drove away from our Maine home for the last time, her sharp, anguished cry had penetrated me so deeply; I knew then exactly what I had done to her. I had destroyed her; murdered her essentially. Perhaps not physically, but in every other way. I had never done something so utterly evil to a person before, and it killed me. I knew there was no way to atone for my sin.
A light tap came from the passenger side window. I unlocked the door and Emmett sat down next to me. “Its going to snow later,” I told him, even though he too could feel the change in the air.
“Do you know how hard it was to stop Rose from trying to kill you?” He asked me abruptly, with an antagonistic edge to his voice that I had rarely heard from him.
“No,” I replied. “What did you have to do, Emmett?”
“A hell of a lot more than you'd like to hear about, I'm sure,” he told me with a smile. He was silent for a minute; I hummed a quiet tune in an attempt to avoid the play by play going on in my brother's head. The sex lives of my siblings were the last things I wanted in my head.
“I'm sorry Em, but unless you have felt this way yourself, you have no idea what she does to me,” I said when he finally seemed to be finished mentally undressing my sister.
“I know perfectly well what she does to you.”
I did not have to inquire as to his meaning; his thoughts told me everything I needed to know. The image of his “singer” became clear as crystal in my mind's eye. She was just a child; maybe 14 years old, 15 at the most. She had long, fiery red hair that hung in lovely layers around her face. I could see inside Emmett's head as he replayed the moments leading to her death in his mind. She was a student at the high school we had been attending at the time. He had met her on night coming out of the gym after a basketball game. I watched with horror as her alabaster skin became even paler as her life was drawn from her.
“It took me all of three seconds to kill her.” I shuddered and the pale, lifeless face drifted from my mind. I remembered now when Emmett and Rosalie had left us for a few months because Emmett had felt so ashamed. “None of us are blameless, Edward. Not even you.”
I glanced at the house again. When the image of Emmett's singer had entered my mind, her features had quickly transformed into those of the new girl. I realized I still had not learned her name, and asked Emmett.
Bella. I liked the way it sounded in my head. It fit her; it was an innocent name. It was pure.
A light came on in the house. I heard clearly Chief Swan thinking about the Laker's game that would be on tonight. My watch told me it was just after 5, and I knew that Alice was probably having spasms waiting for me. The engine purred to life under my fingertips. For the first time in two years, I was excited to go to school.
- Anna Kate Cullen
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