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Of Thoughts and Dreams

Summary:
Edward's musings and thoughts. The story picks up the night before he returns to school. He's trying to put the "Bella buisness" behind him, but wonders if he really wants to.


Notes:
It would belong quite early in the book, around the middle of chapter two of "Twilight".


2. 2: Sound And Perfume Swirl In The Evening Air

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4003   Review this Chapter

It was the early hours of the morning that most would have considered to still be 'night'. Water droplets were still dripping from the leaves and needles of the trees as Edward raced through the forest. He felt euphoric because he was headed in this direction, toward her.

He had always loved the thrill of running with his excessive speed, but no goal had ever made him so focused as the one that was asleep in her room tonight. His breathing raced as he neared the outside of her house. Edward smiled as he admired his forethought; He had prepared for his visit by easing the window on the far side of her bedroom the previous afternoon, when no one had been home.

Edward was so confused about this human that seemed to haunt every thought and action. So often, he'd found himself reflecting on the few things that he knew about Bella. What he did know was not enough. It seemed that the more he knew about her, the more his curiosity grew. He'd even selected his clothing more carefully the previous day, giving close attention to how the garments looked on him. Even though, for Edward, clothing was one thing he had never really concerned himself with.

He had saved her life more than once. The latest effort, to his own chagrin, caused Edward and his family great concern. He hadn't even been sure why he had done it. In the milliseconds prior to her latest imminent peril, his entire world had narrowed to the size of the expanse of space between Bella and the out-of-control vehicle. There had been no time for reasoning. His only thought had been "Not her." He hadn't even been sure that he would be fast enough to save her life. He had known that he had to try to protect her, no matter what the outcome would be.

He'd had a moral responsibility, he'd repeated to himself until he nearly believed it. He'd even used that argument in his defense against his family's concerns. He had been morally obligated to help her. He couldn't be expected to just stand there while it happened right before his eyes. Carlisle and Alice had sided with him, the others just stared back in disbelief. Edward felt annoyed that he'd had to explain his actions at all. There wasn't anyone who was any more confused about his feelings for Bella than he was.

The fact that he couldn't read her mind made things all the more difficult for him. She was a walking enigma. To his extra sense, when she was near, it were as though she wasn't there at all. Meanwhile all of his other senses warned that she was near. This made it especially difficult when he tried to speak to her. He would grow annoyed with himself, and with the fact he couldn't hear her thoughts so he would know how to react or respond as decorum would demand.

He thought back to the day after he'd shielded her from danger. Bella had looked directly at him, and she had cheerfully said "Good morning". As if that wasn't enough for his thirst to set his throat ablaze, this was followed by something far less expected, she had said his name. Edward was sure that he'd imagined it, until he blinked, and realized she was waiting for his polite reply. There was a loud thundering in his head, and he nearly had to leave the classroom. Bella had never been more appealing than she had been in that moment. He had never heard his name sound so beautiful.

Edward wasn't used to actually wanting to have a conversation with a human. So little about humans interested him anymore. Hitherto, he had thought he'd become immune to their charms entirely. His 'immunity' had come to an end as soon as she walked into the classroom and took the seat next to his the first time.

A slow smile crept over Edward's face, trailed closely by a look of annoyance. He could see through the glass of her bedroom window, but stooping to that level made him feel like such a peeping tom. What if Emmet or Rosalie had followed him? The teasing would never end. Their older, yet younger brother had a little crush on a human.

Edward shook his head furiously as he thought of the meaning of that word: crush. It was a demeaning word that implied that Bella were only a "phase" that he would go through, and he would eventually leave her behind when she no longer held his fascination. He wished, most earnestly for her sake, that he were able to leave her behind.

Bella was so much more than a passing interest. There was something different about her, and at the moment, he was searching for answers. Edward not only wanted, he also needed to know what it was that lured him to her side. What was it, other than the scent of what pulsated through her veins, causing him to thirst as he never had before? He needed to know what had caused him to put himself and his family at risk, just to protect her.

When he realized that the window had been left unlocked by the occupant above, he breathed sharply for a moment and rolled his eyes. Anyone could be out here, beneath her bedroom window. Didn't she ever stop to think of that? She behaved as though there were a never-ending fire sale on the things that she took for granted. Things like life, health, and well-being.

Edward could think of at least three young men that he wouldn't be surprised to find outside her window on any given night. It would be most inconvenient, as they wouldn't be heard from again if he ever caught them out here. His feeling the need to kill them for their unmade trespasses was irrational, and Edward knew it. Specifically when he, himself would soon be guilty of those same charges. In fact, as he planned to enter through the window, he could hear a small voice in the back of his mind.

The voice sounded eerily like Carlisle's, and it reminded him he was about to break more than human civil laws. Edward shrugged as he realized he simply didn't care. The rules changed when it came to the subject of her.

The wind picked up and more droplets of rain fell from the tree above him and landed in his hair. Edward had always loved it when it rained, even when he had been a human child. Everything smelled so fresh and new..and intoxicating. That word made him close his eyes, and breathe in so deeply he could feel her scent swirl within himself and awaken every nerve in his body. Could he truly be blamed, if he did lose control, drinking of that intoxicating elixir?

He felt a low, and primal growl within his chest. Edward disgusted himself. He ran his hands through his hair as he struggled to remember the many reasons he must not allow himself to lose control.

For one, if he drank of what he craved now, he knew he wouldn't likely ever find it again. For him to have tasted of something so sweet, only to never find it again would haunt him for the rest of his unnaturally long life. His breathing slowed, as he felt reason winning another battle that was being fought within himself.

Secondly, the human girl on the other side of the window was an innocent. As such, she deserved to live a long, and joy-filled life. She deserved to have all of the things Edward could never give her.

The voice of morality screamed at him louder than his own guilty conscience. In the very least, she deserved her existence to not be more complicated than what came natural for her. Complications, it seemed to Edward, surrounded Bella Swan like a security blanket that was filled with moth holes.

He leapt up, and lifted the window without a hint of noise. It was silent even to his sensitive hearing. It wouldn't have to be that way, he continued the argument with himself. He could be satisfied by being with her in moments like this, without her knowledge.

Her scent both tempted and comforted him. He was surprised to discover the latter. What could ever be comforting about an incredibly accident-prone human girl? Edward closed his eyes as he grasped inwardly for the scrap of a memory that had previously been beyond his reach. The memory was of long ago, before the time he had become the monster he now saw in the mirror every time he dared to look.

After he caught the memory by the strong and relentless fingertips of his mind, if he hadn't caught himself, he would have gasped. It was a blurry human memory of when he was a young boy. Edward had thought all such memories had been long forgotten. Yet here it was, waving like a flag. He could almost hear the voice of his birth mother humming a strange, yet familiar melody. He began to concentrate even harder, anything to pull the memory closer to his senses. His 'fingertips' caught it again, so he stood entirely still, not even daring to breathe.

He had been ill, and it was raining outside his window. The young Edward in the memory had begged and pleaded with his mother to let him go outdoors. He had been so sure that the raindrops would cool his fever. His mother just held him even more tightly as she wiped his forehead with a cool, wet cloth. He could go outside as soon as he was well, she promised him. Then, she linked her fingers with his as she begged him to rest so his fever would break.

In her efforts to lull him to sleep, his mother had hummed a melody that was unlike any other that he could remember having heard. He closed his eyes, and just as he was about to drift into the feverish dreams that would follow his losing touch with the world that surrounded him; a strong wind had carried in the scents of the world from outside his window. Those scents had mingled with the scents within the nursery by the time that they reached his nose...

As Edward lost his grip on the retrieved memory, he felt raw emotions showing on his face, and he stared at his hands that had become clenched. It seemed impossible that her sweet essence would be very similar, yet so different from what his mother's had been. Edward was stunned. It wasn't only her blood that called out to him, and tormented his sleepless nights.

Breathing became easier as he acknowledged that his memory could have simply been something that his subconscious had sprung on him in a form of deja vu. The memory would have taken place on a night very much like this one, and there was something about Bella that comforted him much in the same way that his mother's presence had. Perhaps because he was so near Bella's scent, his memory had associated it with his mother as well.

Still arguing with himself, Edward mused that though their sense of smell surely wasn't as that of his own kind, humans could recognize certain scents. For instance, though humans become used to the scent of their own home, visitors can smell it is different from their own. What if the scents from his blurry childhood memory were fully intact? Perhaps his mind was saying something else. It could be that to him, Bella smelled like home.

The thought of Bella having become his 'sanctuary' of sorts made him uncomfortable. It would mean she held a greater power over him. A greater power than Edward would have thought possible, for him to have known her for such a short time. This power that she held over him caused her to be in constant danger. Conclusion: Bella was a danger magnet, though he wasn't entirely sure he minded the danger she caused him..

Edward became aware that he was standing directly above Bella's bed, and that he was wasting his time here. His head snapped up as a gentle wind carried her scent around the room in what he could only describe as Heaven being found in the very deepest part of Hell.

The wind had caused some of the droplets that had been in his own hair to fall onto Bella's sleeping form. He inhaled deeply, and knew his mind had to have been confusing the past with the present. Still, there were similarities between the two of them that Edward had never considered. His mother had been an endearingly innocent woman. Edward remembered always wanting to protect his mother, she had always seemed so delicate to him. Her innocence had been part of why Carlisle had not been capable of refusing her request that he keep her son alive. Surely she hadn't known what it would take for her doctor to save her only son, but Carlisle had been unable to refuse her just the same.

Edward tilted his head from one side to the other, and he leaned in closer toward Bella. He could hear her even breathing, and she looked so angelic. He ached to feel her heart beat, so he would not be tormented with only hearing it pounding in his head. But he didn't dare to touch her sleeping form. It was then that the darker part of his best self pointed a finger at him.

He was sure if he left her alone, she would eventually be happy with either Mike, or Eric, or someone just like them. She belonged with someone just like them-someone human. The thought made his eyes turn to slits. He caught himself just before he let out a growl that would surely awaken Bella. That was her name; Bella. So often, he'd tried to simply think of Bella as "her", as if he thought he could trick his own senses.

The very sound of her name made him want to both sing, and scream curses. He twirled a strand of her hair around his finger, and then he breathed in deeply of its bouquet. It happened so suddenly, he released the strand of her hair at once, nearly leaping back out of her window.

"Edward.." His first inclination was amazement that she had both awakened, and recognized him in the same instant. The second part of that thought stopped his breathing again. He began to smile the expression that betrayed him when he was feeling most exhilarated. So that was what it felt like to hear her say his name when she was not confused or angry with him. Somehow, it had sounded more natural than the time he'd been so rude as to not answer her morning greeting.

His presence of mind was quickly trying to formulate a lie that would be enough reason for her to warrant his intrusion. Her facial expression tensed, as if she were reaching out to someone very far away, yet knew her arms wouldn't reach. Then she shivered delicately, and rolled over. She was now facing away from both the open window and away from him.

Edward exhaled very slowly. He remembered her complaint just after he'd saved her from Tyler's van, and he had told her to stay put. "But it's cold." Edward caught the edges of her quilt, using his Victorian gentility as he tucked her in tighter. He realized that she must not be sleeping very soundly, and he didn't want to scare her. He was about to turn and leave when she did it again.

"Edward." Only, this time, it was followed by the gentlest of sighs. The facts were surrounding him as flowers surround a casket at a funeral, and with the same finality. Bella was asleep. Her subconscious let random thoughts come out in the form of sleep talking. Bella Swan was dreaming about him.

Instantaneously, a being that he'd unknowingly kept hidden deep inside himself for a longer time than he dared to contemplate stirred as it began to awaken. Edward closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger as he tried to focus on hearing the sound of the droplets of rain landing on the ground as they were beginning to fall from the sky again.

Once he had returned to the world outside her window, he began inwardly lashing out at himself. Oh, this was going to complicate things. What troubled Edward the most was that he didn't know if he even cared about any rules anymore.

Though it may ultimately lead to his destruction, everything had changed in the moment Bella had said his name in such a wistful way. He was less concerned with speed on his way home. If Emmet had caught him, he never would have been able to hear the end of it; because Edward danced for nearly the entirety of the way. He hummed an old familiar tune as his body did moves that would have left Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly in a state shock and disbelief.

The forest was quivering from his movements as he gracefully moved. With a gentle, immense force he leaned and curved himself around the trees, never missing a beat from the song in his head. There were no words. No words, that is, other than the two names that were now intertwined in his own mind. One of which was his own, said with Bella's unashamed and beautiful voice.

Edward laughed, when he suddenly realized what he was doing. Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, nearly a hundred years old, was dancing in the rain. It was as if he'd awakened from a long feverish nightmare, and he was alive again.

He knew he would start cursing himself as soon as he began to think clearly again. He knew it was wrong for him to make the selfish choice that he was making. It was quite obvious to him that she didn't seem capable of making what was essentially the best choice for herself. For the moment, nothing seemed impossible.

His impromptu performance ended as his mood shifted again. His jubilant heart gave way to his thoughtful mind. Edward looked around. He was just outside his own window. He leapt back into his own room, as his mind became intoxicated again with thoughts of Bella. Maybe Carlisle was right about the hereafter. Maybe he wasn't, but Edward didn't want to think about that possibility right now.

What if the only "Heaven" that Edward would ever know was to simply embrace "the greater plan" of someone or something far beyond himself? What if, in some magical or mystical way, his heart had been frozen in time, until it would awaken to the sound of her voice? That was what had happened, so what if it had always been meant to happen?

The picture of himself being wrapped up as a gift, with a label reading "For Bella Swan only" flashed before his mind's eye. Edward growled in disgust with himself. In what world, or time would a creator or master planner have unleashed a monster on the rarest form of human perfection?

He sat, absentmindedly, back in his leather chair. If he believed in creation, what if his kind hadn't actually been created at the beginning of the world? What if something had gone horribly wrong with what had? What if he had been born into the wrong time, and this was the plan that Edward was meant to have lived out, had he lived a natural human life? What if Carlisle hadn't been there, and he had actually died that night? What if, he cringed at the thought, he had been meant for Bella, and this was the only way?

He groaned, and looked at his hands as he realized just how much he wanted to believe the more hopeful things about his own existence. He could smell her scent on his clothes, and he breathed in so deeply, that it likely emptied his entire room of oxygen before more came in through the open window.

Edward decided while he couldn't really speak for Bella, he could, and needed to make decisions about himself. The thought of a world without her in it was so painful that it made him feel empty in the very moment he'd pictured it. Bella would not have to love him back, in fact, it would be best if she didn't. Now he knew, there was no going back. There would never be another Bella for him. Somehow, no matter what he believed, he was sure of that. He, nearly ninety lonely years her senior, was irrevocably in love with Bella Swan.

He loved her with such an intensity that he knew he only wanted the best for her, even if it ultimately meant he would have to let her go one day. Even if their relationship may have to end, Edward knew he would always wait, in the shadows, no matter where she went.

It didn't matter if she married, or if she had children with one of her own kind. It didn't matter if she moved to a place where he would be forced to live in the shadows of the night for fear of being discovered in the daylight. Edward knew he would watch for her, care for her, and protect her. He was a monster by a curse of nature, but there were no rules that said he couldn't also be a guardian. Perhaps he couldn't be an angel. He rolled his eyes even at the thought of that word describing himself. He could be a guardian, just the same.

"Until tomorrow", his un-beating heart whispered to the clouds overhead outside his window. Edward tried to think of the perfect words to use at his first chance, and the perfect way to say them. How could he make her trust him? What reasons could he give her to want to be with him? In the back of his mind, a cruel voice rasped out in anger.

"Why would she even want to be with you? Why would she choose to spend time with a monster that craves the nectar that keeps her alive?" His eyes closed, and he lowered his head as he pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and his forefinger for the second time that night. Edward recoiled as though he had been burned. The cruel voice addressed him once more, but in a softer tone. "Bella is too good for you. You are going to hurt her. This can only end badly."

It didn't matter. Edward's mind, and heart were resolved. He wouldn't be surprised if Alice had just had a vision about it, he thought with a slight grin. He would give Bella the choice. If she chose that she wanted to be with him even a fraction of how badly he craved to be with her, nothing else would matter. Edward had saved her life and now it was time for him to find out whether she would save his.