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Edward's Eclipse

Summary:
For True Edward Fans. An in-depth, accurate portrayal of the heart,
mind, and soul of the beloved Edward Cullen as he deals with the complex
themes and events taking place during Eclipse. Canon. Rated T for intimacy. Eddie's and Bellie's Twilight Fiction Award winner for "Canon that's better than Canon", TwiFic Indie Award Nominee for "Best Indie Story by and Established Author We Know and Love".


Notes:
Eclipse: Edward's Story I do not own Twilight, nor do I own any of Twilight's characters. All characters and themes referenced in Eclipse: Edward's Story belong to Stephenie Meyer. Any quotations from Eclipse are purely for reference and are in no way an attempt at any copyright infringement. For me, Edward Cullen is one of the most fascinating fictional characters in postmodern literature. In my imagination, Edward's existence is a constant existential crisis. The elements of conflict, duality, and desperation embodied by his character are all so fascinating. I hope I've done him justice. Feedback is appreciated. I love critics. Enjoy.


7. Theme from Chapter 6 - Switzerland - Part One

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3358   Review this Chapter

There was provocation behind my choice; I would not give in so easily this time. Disturbed and anxious, I sat as quietly as possible in my car, completely aware that my left tires sat exactly one eight of an inch from the boundary. I was in no mood for diplomacy.

I could have waited anywhere, really. In the trees, on the road; anywhere. But I didn’t want to wait anywhere but right here. Right on the line. Besides, more than anything, I wanted him to bring her to the edge of the reservation so that I could look into his eyes, so that I could warn him. If I was honest with myself, I wanted her to see me too. This need, this desire, to show them both that I would not be fooled was overwhelming and irrational. This was the cost of being too thirsty. The cost of leaving the hunt. The cost of Bella’s rash and confusing decision. My fists clenched and my breath quickened, but I gained control...

I was aware of how strong my impulses were, but I was unable to take any decisive course of action to prevent them from having the strength they now possessed. The only exception to their complete and absolute dominance of my will was my desire for Bella’s safe return. So, I’d promised myself that at all costs, no matter what happened, I would do my best to remain in my car, which would serve as the solitary boundary between myself and Jacob Black, yet again. I told myself that once I had her secured, I could then decide my next course of action.

Plans and strategies had no place in this situation. I refused to think of what I would, or could do to him if he were responsible for this, if he'd hurt her, or lured her away somehow. Until I knew the circumstances of the situation, I resolved to plan nothing. To do so would be irresponsible and very dangerous.

But, I was still uncertain. I’d never pushed my boundaries this far before. And, I didn’t enjoy the physical and emotional unease which came along with this dreadful uncertainty. I wasn’t sure that any forced calming, rationalization, or logic could dissuade my raging instincts. Instead, I could only hope to keep them at bay.

And, I was very close to losing control. I could find no worthy distractions, only the images of Bella’s face from Alice’s mind could seem to breakthrough and they did more harm than good. I remembered them again, as Alice had seen them and flinched at the reminder of why I was here, waiting, furious and anxious, with my tires a fourth of an inch from the boundary line. A fourth of an inch from violating a treaty that would surely mean death and destruction.

But, had I really ever had a choice?

I’d left the park after Alice called to inform me that she’d had the vision of Bella, speeding down a slick highway, eyes alight with something Alice could not decipher. Of course, Alice was concerned because the vision was so brief. Shortly after it began, Bella disappeared. So, the only conclusion that Alice could draw then was that Bella had gone to La Push urgently, as if she were reacting to an emergency, or a last minute call for help. Alice was alone with Esme and could not act on her own to travel to the reservation. Besides, even if I’d sent Carlisle, the circumstances were unknown. We had no way to contact them. The werewolves would surely see their arrival without warning as a threat. This would not have mattered to me, but I could not risk Bella, Esme, Rosalie, or Alice.

Within seconds, I’d taken off without explaining anything to Jasper or Emmett. Alice would call.

I had run for sixty miles, across the mountains until I was out of the national forest. I’d stolen the first car available, setting immediately off for La Push, intent on finding her. Treaty be damned. As I drove, I had convinced myself that Bella was in danger. Why else would she leave the way that she had? I had just known that Jacob had manipulated her, again. Using their friendship for his gain. The intensity of my fear for her was magnified by my alert instincts, which were pulled from their forced slumber by my starved state. I'd not hunted in nearly three weeks, but at this point it didn't matter. I didn't have time for that now. Bella was in danger. I had sped down the highway at nearly one hundred and seventy miles per hour.

As I’d left California, my strategy was planned, my mind set, my course decided. I would find her and I would destroy him. And, Alice. I knew she would call when my decision was set, and she did no disappoint. I ignored her first dozen calls, but eventually answered. We had argued until she finally began to beg. She wanted me to come home first before making any more decisions. She wanted me to see the vision for myself. I had told her that I trusted her instincts, that I couldn't afford the time, that I didn't need to come there for something we already knew had happened. And then, she disclosed the real reason.

Alice then explained that after she had reviewed the vision repeatedly she was convinced that it wasn’t fear in Bella’s eyes. It was excitement. She’d hesitated to tell me that final detail; she knew me too well. I’d let out a roar of anger then, crumpling the left side of the stolen car’s steering column in frustration, and thereby rendering the car virtually un-navigable. I’d had no choice then, I had to go home first. I had to see the vision for myself. I had to get my own car; my refuge, my boundary.

A half hour later, the car was completely unmanageable. It was slowing me down. So, I ran for the remaining miles, arriving at the house quicker than I had expected. Alice met me in the drive, handed me my keys to my car, and shared the image with me. She’d been right. It was partial excitement, for sure. But, I understood Alice’s confusion then; there was something else in Bella’s eyes that I’d never seen before. It was almost a mischievous look. That was my theory then, but even now I still was not sure. Bitterly, I’d considered that that look was in response to her successful departure from the safety of Forks, her departure from the protection of my family, and her impending arrival into the company of Jacob Black. The image was all I had needed. I’d taken off in a fury, arriving quickly at the boundary. And now, I was waiting.

And - now - once again, I was in limbo; agonized by my own worries, completely helpless to resolve them. Worse, I had no distractions powerful enough to divert my attention. My mind and body were equally consumed with concerns for Bella, resentments for Jacob Black, and the understanding that I was starving. To make matters worse, I was becoming more aware than ever of the monster within.

I struggled for distractions worthy of diversion. But, the image of Bella’s eyes taunted me, provoked me, and stirred my emotions and concerns into a whirlwind of chaotic, erratic, and uncontrollable impulses.

I growled to myself impatiently as this image of Bella came forward again with vigor. My heightened senses allowed me to see every detail of the image; I could practically smell her. I seethed, hissed and struggled to gain control of the image, of the emotions it stirred, and of my physical reactions.

Then, for a brief moment, my anger subsided a little, but only a minuscule amount, as it had done the last few times the image had bombarded me. I wasn’t sure how I’d managed it. Was it possible for one to frighten themselves? Anything was possible. It just seemed so convenient that I should receive brief reprieves from my sources of irritation, just enough to manage myself. Nevertheless, I was grateful. I sighed in relief as the image receded.

My revelry was short lived.

With the distraction of the image gone, the reality that was my uncontrollable thirst became more overwhelmingly powerful.

With this, I was helpless. I could not push it away. I was starving. The thirst was more powerful than I’d ever remembered or known with one exception; the first time I’d smelled Bella’s blood. And that had been out of desire, not need. This was different. In all of my years, I’d never had such a strong urge to hunt from absolute necessity. Repeatedly, I caught my body as it attempted to slip into hunting mode. I could not let that happen. That transition might doom the last of my ability to hold my instincts back. I succeeded, but, I was sure that if I were standing, my muscles would force my form into a crouch. Another reason for staying within the confines of my car.

Oh, and the venom; the catalyst that was chipping away at my sanity and my control. Stronger, sweeter, more potent than I'd ever thought possible.

Each time it began to pool in my mouth, I would try to discard it down the back of my throat quickly, as I’d done so many times before. The difference now was that my Vampiric instincts were seizing control, dictating everything I was feeling, and rebelling against my attempts at subjugation. Each time I had tried to wash it down, the venom rebelled by inspiring excruciatingly painful and erratic reactions throughout my entire being. That pain was only the beginning.

As soon as the venom seared my scorched throat, a new wave of torturous, scalding fire would accompany the venom, leaving a second wave of blistering pain in its wake. As if it were following some established pattern of destruction, the fire would then spread to my core sending my stomach clenching into waves of gnarled stabs. In concert, the muscles in my back, my chest, my arms, and my legs would respond to the call for survival by sending my sinew into flexed, tightly contracted positions, pushing my hard veins into agonizing, unnatural expansion. My body was screaming for blood and survival. It was mind-numbingly painful.

And, I was frightened by my lack of dominance over these urges. I could do nothing to control them but to breathe, search for distractions, and try to restrain myself from acting on any impulses. I’d never pushed myself this far before. I wondered how long I could actually go without succumbing completely to the animalistic need. Was it safe to be around Bella?

I told myself that I could never lose control around her and that to do so would challenge the warring instincts that served as the contradictory foundation for my survival; Bella’s life vs. Bella’s blood. Being around her might be much more difficult than usual. And surely it would be hard to concentrate on controlling myself when every part of me screamed and raged against the self-inflicted injustice I now attempted to impose. I knew from Carlisle that my instincts would eventually act of their own volition, overruling my rational mind in an attempt to prevent starvation. At all costs, my body would survive.

And, that is what it truly boiled down to; that survival instinct was so powerful on its own when just faced with the prospect of mere starvation. But, for me, other circumstances were at play; circumstances such as Jacob Black. My instincts understood more clearly than my mind that the threat of starvation was nothing compared to the threat that Jacob Black posed. I could rationalize, argue, and convince my mind of anything, but my body knew that in order to survive I would need to eventually, in one way or another, eradicate the threat of Jacob Black. For this reason, the waiting, the watching, and the hoping I was engaged in now was just as against my nature as resisting blood.

My only consolation was that I’d proven that my mind could overrule my instincts in relation to my love for Bella. She was my only hope and I clung to the fact that her life was a reminder that my ability to defeat the darkest parts of my will and desire had truly made me better and complete. I should have never left her. I hissed to myself as a mixture of anger, regret, sorrow, and frustration nagged at my sanity, having their way with me. It was selfish to travel so far away when she needed me. I didn’t need to hunt mountain lion, why did I leave like this when she was so vulnerable...I drove her to the company of Jacob Black. It was my fault…

The anger, regret, and sorrow were strong with me. Of course, they weren’t strong enough to distract me for too long from my thirst, but they did offer a reference point for my sanity, which was all I could realistically ask for.

So, I forced myself to wait. And, then wait some more.

To avoid the silence, the haunting images, and the thirst, I busied my mind with reciting the facts: I wasn’t sure what she was doing, but I knew she would leave eventually. She would not stay the night, of course. She knew that Alice would see her eventually and worry. Bella usually had more concern for the cares of others than for her own safety, this example included, so she would not keep Alice waiting too long, surely. And, once she was with me, I could keep her safe. I just needed her back.

If he indeed lured her there, I would challenge him, ending this situation once and for all. It would be the only honorable course of action. I would win, he would lose, and I could finally have peace. No more Jacob Black.

I smiled ruefully at the prospect. Jacob Black…Those two words sent fresh currents of revulsion and anger through me and I smiled at them too. I was now riding senselessly on pure emotions; wild and willful. I found myself struggling to rationalize again what had driven her to see him. Surely it wasn’t company! She had Alice, Angela, and Charlie. What was it then? It had to be something. Something I was missing. I searched the vision for clues for the hundredth time, but I could see nothing that I hadn’t already seen before in vivid clarity.

Just Bella - jumping into her messier than usual truck, starting her engine, and trying to speed toward the highway, driving almost recklessly with…anticipation? Mischievous Delight? What was it on her face that I couldn’t pinpoint? What had she been thinking? Had he told her something was wrong? That he needed her help?

I could find no answer in the silence of my car, in the loud screams of my thoughts, or in the darkness of the road before me. The uncertainty was impossible. The emotions were too much with me. I was going to explode.

--

Too many minutes later, I saw her truck pull from the reservation road. And she was alone. I stared at her for a moment. Where was Jacob Black? Perhaps I’d misread or misinterpreted something? She did not seem to be in distress. In fact, the expression on her face was... peaceful. Peaceful!

Almost…happy! What?

Shock pervaded, but retreated to make way for confusion. I watched her take a right, entering the highway at a relaxed speed. Confusion retreated wildly as the anger sprang forth, forcing me to question things I didn't want to question. I couldn't ignore my feelings, though. My body and my mind screamed at this new image of happy Bella. I’d sat for hours in torment while she looked dazed with peace. Did she not wonder what my family must have thought? What Alice must have thought? If there was no danger, what brought her here? Did she even care for her safety at all? She hadn’t even seen me, she didn’t even look! Ah! She wasn’t expecting me. I struggled to grasp these new realizations, but I could make sense of none of it.

I was still too confused and angry to move as I watched her drive down the highway. It would be best to wait for a moment. I would surely snap my steering wheel. Two in one day would be disastrous. Naturally, the venom started its process. I bunched over at the pain, but after a moment I bit it back. I tried to clear my mind, but it was no use, I could think of nothing but that peaceful look, that look that was in such stark contrast what my own face must look like. I wanted to look in the mirror, but I resisted. I would surely not be pleased.

Distracted by my frustrations, I acted on impulse, whipping off the hidden path, and stepping on the gas before I even processed the mechanics of my actions. I slid on the wet pavement slightly as I left the grove, angling sharp and rough on the road. But, I was right behind her in a matter of seconds. I watched her eyes, her peaceful, carefree gaze and instead of feeling a bit of peace myself, as I normally would at the sight of her exquisite face, I felt even angrier.

I knew it was my heightened instincts creating the stronger reaction, and I knew that if I were not starving I would be calmer, but again, my mind was unable to control my physical and emotional urges. I had no choice but to let them fester. Perhaps I would grow desensitized? That was foolish. It was only when I had the irrational, dangerous impulse to jettison myself from my car, run to her door, and pull it off its hinges in an attempt to force her to answer my questions, that I was finally able to reel in my deranged instincts.

So, I would just follow her until she saw me and pulled over. Then, I would speak with her in a calm, rational manner. It was Bella. She would have an explanation that made sense. Once I heard it and knew she was safe, all would be well. I could escort her safely home. I would hunt immediately, satiate my hunger, and then return to her.

And, I would set boundaries. This could not happen again.

I narrowed my eyes to her rear-view mirror, watching her, but she still did not see me. It wasn’t surprising, I thought sarcastically, she was frequently oblivious to threats to her existence. Nevertheless, she would have to look eventually. And, just as I thought that, her eyes flashed to her rear-view mirror, but they did not meet mine. Her human vision only saw my car.

“Aw, crap,” she muttered.

Aw, crap’ doesn’t cover it, Bella.

I slowed, preparing for her to stop. But, she kept driving. She did not veer, nor pull over, nor did she look back again. Instead, she looked forward diligently, willing herself to not look back into the mirror. Was she going to pretend that she didn’t see me? I watched her expression then change from peaceful to nervous as she processed her situation, our situation, or what she knew of it. Her beautiful eyes then adjusted from crinkled joy to painful anxiety.

It hurt to watch this transition, knowing it was due to my presence. Particularly since the dog had obviously been the primary force behind her seemingly jovial disposition. This realization unleashed a slew of doubts that I pushed away immediately. The sadness seeped through a little anyway, but it was no match for my angst. I growled it away quickly. My petulance was too ripe.

As she continued to drive, I watched her, but she didn’t change her expression. We came to the road that she should have chosen to get home, but instead she drove straight. Was she going to avoid me forever? She couldn’t. She would run out of gas eventually. Then, she took a left turn and I realized she had no intention of seeing me and no intention of going home.

Bella was going to Angela’s house.