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The Inevitable

Summary:
-Eclipse in Edward's Point if View- ~*~"It's more Inevitable than the sun rising in the East." -Alice Cullen Midnight Sun~*~


Notes:


24. Getting Heathcliff Part 2

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Chapter 23

Getting Heathcliff Part 2

“No man understands a deep book until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents.” -- Ezra Pound

I opened the door and locked it carefully behind me, not wanting to risk waking Bella by using the window. I listened closely but Charlie’s snores continued without a break as I silently made my way up the stairs, Bella nestled securely in my arms.

When I made it to the bedroom I carefully maneuvered her into one arm so I could use my free hand to remove her shoes. Then with the same hand I pulled the old quilt back and eased her onto he sheets.

Through all of this, and through the whole run home, Bella hadn’t move so much as an inch, but when I began to move my arms out from underneath her she suddenly gasped, clutching herself closer to me. At the same time I heard a very quiet, but urgent “No” escape her lips.

I froze, my body leaning over the bed because my arms were still around her. “What is it?” I asked softly, waiting for her eyes to open. But they didn’t, she was still asleep.

I looked down to see my shirt clenched tightly in her hands and was suddenly reminded of the night when we returned from Italy. Taking in a slow breath I swallowed back the sickening De ja vu and gently pried her warm fingers loose. I took extra care with her right, though it seemed the brace did little to weaken her hold.

As soon as the contact was gone Bella’s eyes flew open and one of her hands gripped mine before I could move it away.

“Stay,” she whispered, and though her eyes were half closed and clouded over with sleep the word was very strong. My brow furrowed. She hadn’t acted like this for a while now. It had been weeks.

“I’m right here” I murmured quietly. Leaning down I kissed the side of her face as I slid my one remaining arm out from behind her so I could pull the quilt up around her shoulders. When I pulled back her eyes had already closed again, but she hadn’t released my hand.

Kicking off my shoes as quietly as possible I slid gently onto the bed. Almost instantly Bella let go of my fingers and wiggled halfway out of her quilt. Before I even knew what was happening, she was pressed tightly against me, her warm arm like a soft but tight vice around my waist. In the next second I felt the back of my shirt being crunched up in her fist.

“Bella?” I asked hesitantly. I tried to look down but all I could see was the top of her head, her face was pressed completely into my chest. Wondering how she could possibly breathe I tried to slide back an inch or so. Then as if she could feel the sudden tense of my body as I planned to move her arm tightened and her soft fist pressed fiercely into my back.

“Please don’t go.”

My breath caught. It wasn’t the first time I had heard those words. After my return I heard them nearly every night, and it was always followed by a scream….a scream that more times than not included my name. But it had been so long since I heard her say those words, and in that moment I realized I had been hanging on to the hope that her trust in me had, if not returned, strengthened.

“….please….”

It was a long fall back to the bottom.

I wrapped my arm more securely around her shoulders and pulled her closer, closing the non-existent space between us. It was clear that despite her whispered words and strong hold, Bella was barely conscious. And the hot moist air seeping through the front my shirt and hitting my skin proved that she was having no trouble breathing, regardless of the position of her face.

I sighed and moving my hand up into her hair I ran my fingers through it gently, hoping it would relax the tension I could feel in her arms and back. I didn’t understand why she was acting this way, not after it had been so long. Then again she was exhausted. It had been over twenty four hours since she last slept and even longer since she had a full night’s sleep.

Hopefully with the wolves help we could draw all this waiting and worry to an end.

As the hours passed, Bella only seemed to grow more restless, mumbled words escaped her mouth as she tossed and turned. More than once I heard the ‘thirdwife’ slip out between her lips again. My name was also mixed into the jumble, but instead of it being spoken with a soft sigh and a small smile, her voice was panicked and pleading. I was shocked further when I heard Jasper’s name slip out in an urgent whisper.

After that it seemed Bella was constantly moving. She would flip onto her back, then her side with her back to me, then flop onto her stomach only to turn back to me and start all over again.

Afraid that leaving the bed would only make it worse I slid over and tried to keep my body from her movements. All the while the half garbled speech continued. I had never seen her so restless before, and I was surprised that she was still able to sleep.

There were a few times when she said my name more clearly….not like she was worried or scared, but as if she were conscious and merely questioning my whereabouts in the room. Each time I would move back and wrap my arms around her again, reassuring her that I was still there. However I doubted whether she ever woke up fully, because after a few moments the wiggling would began again.

It wasn’t until the bluish grey light of pre dawn began to filter into the room that I finally gave up and slipped off the bed, not liking the sound her hand had just made when it hit my shoulder a little too hard during one of her quick movements.

Pushing the chair back into the shadows on the other side of the window I sat down and watched as Bella spread her full body out on the small twin mattress. She had rolled onto her stomach, each leg and arm stretched as far as they would go, all angled in the opposite direction of the other.

I felt my lip quirk up as I watched her head flip over on the pillow, her sleeping face now facing me. With her tangled hair clinging to her relaxed face, and her mouth hanging slightly open, it was all very reminiscent of the first night I had stayed in this room. However then I had been forced from the bed for an entirely different reason.

The sun was rising now, washing away the early gray light and casting a warm orange across the wooden floor. My eyes stayed on the bed, watching as the soft glow moved from the corner of the mattress and slowly across the white pillow, turning the tangled brown hair there into a shining almost gold before it slowly crept onto to Bella’s sleeping face.

Her eyes flinched slightly and she stretched again, her arms moving above her head under the pillow. I straighten up slightly wondering if she was actually going to wake this early. But she merely turned her head back towards the wall, away from the light, and burrowed her face into the sheets. With an incoherent grumble she finally stilled, the last movement of her body being her little foot slipping out of the quilt and dangling over the side of the bed.

Stifling my chuckle I stood up and made my way back to the bed. As I reached down my hand caught the morning light, making it reflect and shimmer across her soft skin as I gently placed her foot back under the blanket.

Though I wanted to, climbing back in beside her seemed pointless. She had pretty much dominated the mattress and actually seemed to be sleeping more peacefully now. Not wanting to disturb that I merely turned back to the rocking chair.

From my peripheral vision I saw the same tattered book lying on the nightstand. Realizing it was going to be a long morning I picked it up and sat back into the shadows. With a quick glance up at my still sleeping angel I opened the worn cover and turned back to the last page I had read.

The next few hours were spent with me once again reading the twisted story Bella and many others claimed to be a love story. Just like the last time I re-read these pages I began picking out the similarities, or better the understanding I had of the things the fictional humans were saying. I had now reached the place in the story where Heathcliff and Cathy have their last moment together and something in Heathcliff’s desperate words hit home.

‘Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it you have broken mine. So much the more for me, that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you—oh, God! Would you like to live with your soul in the grave?’

I continued to read, taking in the emotions from the words and processing them for what they truly were….For I had felt it once too: pure and utter despair.

“I must go, Cathy,” said Heathcliff, seeking to extricate himself from his companion’s arms. “But, if I live, I’ll see you again before you are asleep. I won’t stray five yards from your window.”

“You must not go!” she answered, holding him as firmly as her strength allowed. “You shall not I tell you!”

“For one hour,” he pleaded, earnestly.

“Not for one minute,” she replied.

I was pulled momentarily from the words as the symmetry of what I was reading tugged a memory to the front of my mind.

‘I was standing in the familiar hallway, holding the precious being I had deprived myself of for over eight months. Charlie stood in front of me, his eyes bright with fury and his nostrils flared against his heavy breathing.

“Just let me get her upstairs,” I pleaded quietly. “Then I’ll leave.”

“No!” A desperate shriek came from my arms and I looked down into wide red rimmed eyes.

I leaned down and whispered so only she could hear. “I won’t be far.”

Shaking my head of the memory I went back to the words on the page.

“Not for one minute,” She replied.

“I must—Linton will be up immediately.”

He would have risen, and unfixed her fingers by the act—she clung fast, gasping: there was a mad resolution in her face.

“No!” she shrieked. “oh, don’t, don’t go. It is the last time! Edgar will not hurt us. Heathcliff, I shall die! I shall die!”

“Damn the fool! There he is,” cried Heathcliff, sinking back into his seat. “Hush my darling! Hush, hush, Catherine! I’ll stay. If he shot me so, I’d expire with a blessing on my lips.”

Instead of distracting my mind from the memories I was trying to push back the words only seem to draw upon another.

“Charlie’s getting up I’d better leave,” I mumbled, trying not to choke on the last word. I could hear Charlie’s sluggish steps reaching the stairs now.

The color drained from Bella’s face, her red cheeks turning a sickly white. I stared into her wide brown eyes, hating the panic I saw there…but also understanding it. I was feeling it too.

“Would it be childish of me to hide in your closet, then?” I whispered quickly.

“No!” she whispered back, her eyes still wide. “Stay. Please.”

And I did.

My eyes had strayed from the book and now rested on Bella’s sleeping form. I was slowly coming to the realization that perhaps her obsession with this book wasn’t so odd after all.

I went back to reading and it wasn’t until I reached a certain point that I had enough….I knew it was coming, I had read this book once before and though it was decades ago I still remembered.

However this time around the read was an entirely different experience.

“How did she die?” he resumed,(Heathcliff) trembling in spite of himself, to his very finger ends.

“Quietly as a lamb” I answered aloud. (Nelly) “She drew a sigh, and stretched herself, like a child reviving, and sinking again to sleep; and five minutes after I felt one little pulse at her heart, and nothing more.”

After those words I only seemed to be picking up a few lines of Heathcliff’s crazed rant, too much of my mind was remembering and trying to cut off remembering at the same time.

“….And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you—haunt me then! The murdered do haunt their murders. I believe—I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable!...”

“…I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”

The book snapped closed in my hands and made a soft ‘plop’ as I tossed it back onto the night stand.

That was definitely enough of that.

I refused to let those last words drag me into the one memory I could not relive. Refused to let it drag me to that attic where my phone was vibrating and Rosalie’s voice was answering.

With a heavy breath I leaned back into the chair and closed my eyes. I put every ounce of my concentration into Bella’s steady breaths and strong heart beat. Breathing in deeply I let her life saturate my senses and hold my mind forcibly in the present….to the here and now.

I’m not sure how long I sat like that, timing my unnecessary breaths to Bella’s vital ones, before the sound of sheets rustling reached my ears. As Bella hadn’t moved since the sun rose my eyes automatically drew towards the bed. She had rolled onto her back and was stretching her arms above her head. Her eyes looked like they were part way open.

As soon as her arm came back down her fingers began searching the empty bed beside her, her brow furrowing when it came up empty. “Edward?”

I quickly moved back to the bed and caught her warm fingers in mine. “Are you really awake this time?” I asked softly.

“Mmm,” She blinked blearily and then finally the sleepy brown eyes focused on me. “Have there been a lot of false alarms?” she ask groggily.

I hesitated. For some reason it didn’t surprise me that she had no recollection of last night….or morning rather. “You’ve been very restless…” I finally said. “Talking all day.”

Her eyes widened, “All day?”

I nodded as her eyes flickered to the window. When she saw the evening light shining through she frowned.

“You had a long night,” I murmured. “You’d earned a day in bed.”

With a sigh she sat up, running a hand through her tangled hair. “Wow.”

I smiled as I pushed back a few wild strands she had missed, “Hungry?” I asked, already knowing the answer. Even if she couldn’t hear the sounds coming from her stomach I could. “Do you want breakfast in bed?”

She shook her head, stretching her arms above her head again. “I’ll get it…” she said through a thick yawn. “I need to get up and move around.”

It was with sluggish movements that we made our way down stairs. I held Bella’s hand firmly in mine own, not trusting her own sleepy balance on the stairs. I also found myself watching her face closely. Her eyes were still swollen with sleep and her features were drawn. Despite the long hours she still looked exhausted.

But that wasn’t what had me on edge. I examined her every movement almost like I was expecting something….waiting.

After everything that happened last night and then the very long restless morning I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was coming.