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The Inevitable

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


26. A Change of Plans

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Chapter 25

A change of Plans



“In each Family a story is playing itself out, and each family’s story embodies its hope and despair.”


Bella didn’t move from my arms for a long while. She stayed pressed against me, her face buried in my shirt, and her soft arms wrapped tightly around my waist. It was nearly the same as last night, only now her hold didn’t seem as desperate and I was thankful for that at least.

As I held her, Bella’s actions last night slowly began to fall into place now. Her panicked voice and anxious hold. My name being called urgently and the constant restlessness. She feared me leaving. Feared me leaving her. Again. And sometime during the night, or morning rather, she had contrived a plan to find me. A plan that –despite my own planning for her safety—would have worked.

Even the moment when she had called out to Jasper made sense to me now.

However there was one piece that didn’t seem to fit in with the others.

My brow furrowed when I realized there was still something missing….

“Who’s the third wife?” I asked softly, breaking our long silence. It wasn’t the first time I heard those words while Bella was sleeping, and no matter how I looked at it I couldn’t make any sense out of it.

Instead of giving me an answer Bella stiffened in my arms and quickly tried to cover it up.

“Huh?” the sound came out muffled by the fabric of my shirt, but there was no missing the nervousness in it.

I pulled my head back slightly to look down at her, but all l could see was brown hair. “You were mumbling something about ‘the third wife’ last night.” I clarified. “The rest made a little sense but you lost me there.”

Her shoulders tensed a bit more under my hands as I waited.

“Oh. Um, yeah.” Bella’s voice was tight and had a slight edge to it. Guilt? Embarrassment maybe?

“That’s just one of the stories I heard at the bonfire the other night.” She shrugged her tense shoulders, empathizing the forced casualness that was clear in her voice. “I guess it stuck with me,” she added, her voice changing.

I leaned further back, gently holding her in place so I could see her face. When I met her eyes her heart picked up and she quickly looked down.

At that moment Alice was in the room, “You’re going to miss all the fun.” She complained as she danced into the kitchen. I was still trying to read Bella’s face but hearing Alice’s voice she ducked even further making her hair cover the red that had stained her cheeks again.

“Hello, Alice,” I mumbled distractedly. I placed a finger under Bella’s chin and lifted her face up to mine. The uncomfortable edge was gone from her features, replaced once again with guilt. I sighed, I would have to get my answers another time then. “I’ll be back later tonight,” I whispered, kissing her lips softly. “I’ll go work this out with the others, rearrange things.” I added as I gently lifted her from my lap and stood. I placed her back on the chair and kissed the top of her head once.

“Okay,” she barley whispered.

Alice sighed. ‘She’s being ridiculous, everything will…’.

I glared up at Alice, warning her. She rolled her eyes. “There’s not much to arrange. I already told them.” Then she smirked. “Emmett is pleased.”

“Of course he is.” I grumbled, knowing now I was out of the bet Jasper, Emmett, and I had made on who killed the most newborns. I would never here the end of it. And worse still I had forever to look forward to.

“Be nice,” I said lowly as I brushed past my sister. I walked swiftly down the small hall but paused outside the door when I heard another apology come from Bella’s lips.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, and I could see the look on her face from Alice’s mind. I couldn’t see the look on my sister’s face, but it must have been less friendly than it should have been to make Bella look sick with guilt again.

“Do you think this will make things more dangerous for you?” Bella asked, the blush completely gone from her cheeks.

I growled lowly, but Alice heard. “Enough Alice,” I said so only she could hear. “She feels bad enough; she doesn’t need you criticizing her.”

‘I wasn’t going to, thank you very much’ she thought back. ‘Now go talk to the others and leave my head alone’

“You worry too much Bella,” she said out loud. “You’re going to go prematurely gray.”

I groaned and walked to my car. I hated leaving Bella to face my sister alone, but I had to talk to my family.

My mind was far from the wet road beneath my tires as I drove down the familiar drive, and I let my hands move automatically, taking the winding turns on instinctual memory alone. Alice had said there wasn’t much to arrange; that she had already informed Jasper and the rest of the family about my new plans. But I needed reassurance from Jasper. I knew my family would be okay without me. However I wasn’t ignorant to the large advantage I was taking away from them.

I knew my ability would help immensely, that I could pin point something in the middle of battle and throw a warning to whoever needed it. Mainly Alice and Carlisle. I was counting on watching over them both in ways the others couldn’t. I could keep track of the pack for Alice. Make sure their paths didn’t cross and leave her blind.

And Carlisle. I could have made sure his priorities and mind stayed on track, made sure there was no hesitation in his thoughts….no chance of a slip up because…..

A groan of protest reached my ears, ripping me from my thoughts and I realized my hands had tightened on the steering wheel. The feeble plastic and leather giving way beneath my iron grip.

This kind of thinking was pointless. There was nothing that would change my mind. Not now. Bella’s expression of raw need as she begged me to stay with her was burned into my mind and nothing short of Jasper saying the family trulyneeded me would change my course.

So when I pulled up in front of the house I willed myself to relax, willed the oxygen that was now compacted in my chest to escape.

Everyone was inside waiting for me of course. Already informed as Alice had said.

They knew.

Regardless I needed to explain. Somehow let them know, not what I was doing, but why I was doing it.

I could already hear the mindset Rosalie was on and though I was expecting her to view things this way it still hurt. Sure I had chosen, but it wasn’t like that. I wasn’t choosing Bella over my family.

Was I?

With an aggravated growl I threw my door open and headed up the front steps. It was best just to get this over with.

And yet….

I was pausing at the door.

This was utterly ridiculous, they all knew I was here…. hesitating to enter my own home.

It was hard. Harder than I thought it would be. I hadn’t felt this kind of hesitation to walk into the place I called home since I returned from my rebellion years.

When I finally willed myself to open the door and walk in I went straight to the dinning room, where I knew everyone was waiting. I sat across from Carlisle, my eyes focused on anything but his face.

Edward’ At the silent request I looked up automatically to meet my father’s eyes. But I couldn’t hold his understanding and compassionate gaze and looked away….only to see the same understanding mixed with worry on Esme’s.

I sighed heavily and leaned my elbows on the wooden table top, laying my forehead in my palms.

Wood grain. I could handle that.

“Jasper,” I whispered quietly to the table top. It wasn’t quite a question nor was it a statement. However thankfully Jasper, being who he is, knew my meaning.

‘It’s alright,’ he answered and I was glad he was answering with his thoughts; it was hard to lie and or hide anything in one’s mind.

‘Even being one man down we are still at an advantage.’ He continued ‘Preparation and surprise are our main allies.’

I nodded.

‘And with the wolves alliance, whatever their personal intention, we have gained more muscle than we ever expected.’

I nodded again, I knew all of this. If I hadn’t I don’t know what I would have done when Bella asked me to stand out. Nevertheless I needed to hear it from him. Jasper would be straight and hold nothing back for my benefit. Not when the whole family was at stake…not when Alice…

Jasper’s next thought had me shutting my eyes as I forced away an automatic cringe.

He wasn’t speaking to me this time, it was merely a thought. It just happened to be one of the same I had thought of more than once in the last hour: The risk of Alice and the wolves, and how without me being there the risk of their paths crossing increased.

Seeing and feeling my reaction Jasper spoke aloud. “You know as well I do we plan to keep the two fights separate in order to prevent that from happening. But I won’t lie you, even if I could. It makes things riskier.” ‘For her at least.’

I ran a hand through my hair but could only manage another nod.

‘…and Carlisle, I’m not sure if he could…’

My teeth clenched together and Jasper cut his thoughts off to speak aloud again.

“I’m still very confident Edward,” he straightened and moved toward the table. “You know I wouldn’t hesitate if I thought you were making a mistake.”

I felt the tension release slightly from my shoulders as his words hit me.

I knew I wasn’t making a mistake. Choosing Bella in any form could never be a mistake. She was my world, she was everything. Therefore there really wasn’t a choice. And if there was nothing to choose from than there was no mistake to be made. My place was with her. Always.

‘Edward, look at me please.’

The silent request came from Carlisle again and I wondered how long I had been silent.

I obeyed, raising my head to meet his eyes.

“No one blames you,” he said quietly with a small smile. “And no one in this room holds any judgment against you.”

Rosalie shifted lightly in her chair, leaning back and crossing her arms. Carlisle glanced at her but I closed my eyes, pushing away her thoughts.

“It’s not like that,” I murmured.

“Really?” ‘So you’re not leaving your family to fight alone so you can sit on the sidelines to comfort the one person who won’t be in any immediate danger?’

My head jerked up in Rosalie’s direction, “What?” I asked more incredulous than angry. “Did you forget why the army is coming into town in the first place?”

She rolled her eyes. “Of course not,” she scoffed. ‘How could I when it was her that brought this down on us in the first place.’

I knew she hadn’t meant for me to her last thought, knew that it wasn’t aimed at me as an answer. She knew it too and quickly tried to cover it up. “We all know Bella will be far from the…”

It was too late though. I had already risen from my chair, a growl rising up my chest.

“Don’t even go there,” I warned her darkly.

“I didn’t mean…”

“Yes you did,” I cut her off. “What would you do in my place Rosalie? If Emmet was…”

‘Emmett would never make choose between…’

I slammed my hands down on the table, effectively cutting her off again. “That’s not what Bella asked. If you had the decency to get your mind off yourself for five seconds you would be able to see that Bella doesn’t hold a single selfish bone in her body!”

Rosalie’s thoughts automatically contradicted my statement. And once more they weren’t directed at me, they were merely her personal thoughts. I was just the unlucky bastard that had to hear it all. And though I had no right to get angry, because they weren’t spiteful thoughts nor were they personally aimed at me to be hurtful, just her opinion, I was suddenly furious. More furious than if anyone else in this room thought that Bella asking me to stand out and stay with her was selfish.

“Stop!” I all but shouted at her. “Just stop!”

“If you don’t like what you hear than stay out of my head,” she snapped back.

“I wish I could!” I growled turning and pacing from the table only to turn and glare back at her. “You of all people should know how self sacrificing Bella is. Especially when it comes to me.” I said fiercely. I could feel Jasper trying to rein in my anger and frustration but it wasn’t quite reaching me. Taking in a steadying breath I placed my fists on the table, ducking my head and glaring at my white knuckles.

“Bella didn’t ask me not to fight with my family Rosalie.” I said slowly empathizing the words. Despite my attempt to calm down my voice was steadily rising. “….she asked me not leave her. She was willing to be there….be there in the clearing with us….she…”

Rosalie scoffed, ‘what good would that do? Just get you killed trying to protect her.’

I looked up at my sister from beneath my hair. “Don’t you getit….Bella was willing stand in the middle of the fight as long as I was with her. As long as we were together.”

‘So that’s how she persuaded you to…’

I laughed darkly cutting off her thoughts. My words had done nothing to change her mind set. As far as Rosalie was concerned Bella and I were still selfish. Especially me for choosing to sit with a human instead of fighting with my family, instead of being there to help protect them all in a way only I could.

I leaned back up and nodded, “Yes. Fine, Rosalie.” I said wearily. “If it makes you feel better to think that Bella more or less blackmailed me into staying out of the fight, than by all means do so.”

She growled lowly, the extent of the anger I could hear in her mind finally showing. ‘How can you do this? Your just leaving us behind….leaving us to fight alone…what about Alice….if Emmett gets….’

I groaned loudly, raising my hands up in defeat. “I’m sorry….” I growled through my teeth, hating to hear my own doubts echoed in her mind.

“….you can think my decision is selfish all you want Rosalie, hell maybe it is…. but nothing you say right now or think will change my mind. I can’t let Bella stand in that clearing with me anymore than she could bear for me to leave her again....You may have forgotten what happened the last time I left her but I sure as hell haven’t!”

Rosalie flinched back from my harsh words and the unconcealed accusation they held.

“Edward,” Esme said, sounding more shocked than reproachful.

At the same time I heard Emmett growl lowly. “Enough.

Immediately I felt Jasper’s wave of calm thicken and wash through me. My shoulders loosened and I sighed heavily closing my eyes and pinching the bridge of my nose between my fingers. The pain in Rosalie’s eyes flared back at me behind my lids and as I heard her quick nearly soundless retreat from the room the anger was quickly replaced by guilt.

I had forgiven Rosalie for her selfish misled phone call to me last summer, knowing the effect her mistake had made on her. She had been altered as much if not more than the rest of the family when I had willing walked into death.

But to have Rosalie, of all people, judge Bella on the one request she had ever asked of me was too much added onto everything else. Still, I knew that didn’t justify my words.

I sighed and looked back up. “Sorry,” I mumbled my eyes on Emmett.

‘I’m not the one you need to apologize to.’

I nodded.

“Dude, I get that Rosalie doesn’t understand what you’re doing and why, because I don’t fully understand…But did you really have to bring that up again? You know how sorry she is, she doesn’t even like to mention it herself and to have you throw it her face like that…”

“Alright,” I said raising my hands. “I know…” Sighing I slid back into my chair and leaned back. Waiting.

The only thing that was keeping Emmett from running straight after Rosalie was to get the chance to dig into me before I left. And I didn’t have to wait long.

“I’m curious though…” Emmett said, crossing his arms and leaning into the door-jam. “Was it really Bella who changed your mind or were you just afraid of losing the bet?” He grinned showing his stupid wide teeth and dimples.

Any other time I would have a snide remark to shoot back at him, and if for some impossible reason I didn’t I would have just pounced him and proven I’d be the one winning the bet. But as I stared silently at the wall behind Emmett’s large head, all I could see was desperate, frighten brown eyes… begging me in what could only be described as self defense.

Emmett nodded; his face turning serious again as he correctly read my silence. “Right. Bella of course. So what did she…?”

“It wasn’t what she said.” I sighed, answering more than Emmett’s unfinished question. Every mind in the room was curious as to what Bella had said to me that would make me stand out on something like this.

I was like a protector of the family. Whether it was reading the thoughts of an enemy or potential danger, or simply keeping in tune with the human minds around us. I had made it my responsibility over the years to keep our lifestyle safe.

I took that responsibility very seriously and everyone knew it, and not just because of the threat of exposure or of outside dangers, but because for a long time that’s all I really had. Carlisle had Esme, Jasper had Alice, Rose had Emmett, and I….I had my family.

Despite Jasper’s reassurance, and Carlisle and Esme’s compassion, they were all just as curious as Emmett. Curious as to what could have possibly been said that would draw me away from my family when they were faced with this magnitude of danger.

But things had changed and in this moment I was once again hit by how drastically and irreversibly the world had altered through my eyes. Because for the life of me I couldn’t think of the danger I was leaving them all with to face alone…. all I could see was Bella’s face as she said the words that would forever be burned in my mind.

‘I can’t bear it if you leave me again.’

But it wasn’t even those words that had tore me away from my family, it was the reflection I saw when I looked into her eyes. I saw her own need for self preservation for the first time, and it echoed back right through me. Because my own need for survival was tied to her own.

“She didn’t have to say anything,” I finally murmured quietly. “It was the look on her face.”