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Tourniquet

Summary:
Bella ran into Victoria when Edward left her, and fifty years later she is back in Forks with her family. They've formed a band; Tourniquet. An ironic name, to be sure, seeing as they're all vampires...


Notes:


8. Still In Love

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2159   Review this Chapter

Bella’s POV

I was sitting in my room, editing the song I had written down so long ago – when I heard it on the radio – when Emma came in. I looked up, and she smiled.

“Can I see?” she asked, motioning to the sheets of paper. I hesitated, then nodded and let her take a look. Her facial expression didn’t change, and when she gave them back she smiled.

“It's beautiful, Bella. I love it. Should we play it?” I sighed.

“I don’t know. I heard this soon after Victoria bit me and I changed Andre, and wrote it down. I…I don’t know why. I must be a masochist.” She smiled and shook her head.

“I don’t think you are. Do you want to play it?” I would have blushed if I could.

“Not while he’s here,” I whispered. She grinned.

“Understandable. After all, I don’t think he’s ever heard it. What if he thinks you wrote it?” I shrugged.

“That's his problem,” I muttered. Then I looked up at Emma and smiled. “Thank you, Em. For everything you've done for me.” She smiled back and hugged me.

“I'm just glad to see a smile on your face today,” she whispered. “You've been so brave. I'm proud of you.”

“Thanks,” I whispered back. She released me and headed for the door. She paused there and looked back at me for a moment.

“We've been invited over to the Cullens’ house tomorrow after school…do you want to go? If not, we'll stay here.” I smiled.

“How will you find the way without me? I'll come.” ‘Despite what it does to my heart,’ I added silently. I wouldn’t abandon my family.

The next day passed quicker than I would have liked. It was lunchtime far too quickly, and Andre made sure I crossed the cafeteria with him to sit me in between Alice and – much to my chagrin and inner pain – Edward. He didn’t try to speak to me apart from to politely ask how I was feeling – I lied, of course – and to add to something Alice said. I was fine with that. I didn’t want his words to rip me open any further.

Of course, I was also accosted by fans – male and female – who had seen the video of the performance on Sunday night. The only thing keeping the boys from getting too close was Edward so close to me. I could tell he was glaring at them, and I was grateful. I really didn’t need to be assaulted by screaming teenagers.

By the time it was half-way through lunch, I was feeling like I had a headache, although I knew vampires couldn’t get headaches. I cast a pleading glance at Emma, who nodded and lifted a hand. Everything around us froze, and I let out a sigh of relief, resting my fingers against my temples as I leaned forward onto the table and closed my eyes.

“Thanks, Em,” I whispered. The Cullens were looking around with amazed expressions, for this was the first time they had seen Emma’s gift in action. I could hear life continuing as normal outside, but knew that the clocks would keep going in Emma’s time-field. I stood, careful not to knock over any humans, and made my way over to Andre’s side.

“Could you…?” I asked. He nodded, rolling his eyes as he stood and went around to all of the humans, touching their foreheads and closing his eyes briefly before moving onto the next one. “Thanks, Dre,” I sighed in relief. “I know we can’t get headaches, but seriously…” Michelle giggled as Lee laughed loudly.

“I know what you mean,” Michelle assured me. “It gets like that around you sometimes…oh. Sorry, Bells,” she added, grimacing. I shook my head.

“Never mind, Michelle,” I whispered. “I know. I'm sorry about that.”

“You can’t help it,” she replied with a shrug. “I understand.” I sighed, and then Michelle, Lee and Emma started to help me and Andre rearranging the humans. We could move them without hurting them when they were like this, something I was glad for.

“Hey, Cullens,” Emma said suddenly. “Give us a little help, will you? We need to get them set up as if we weren’t here. Andre’s removed all their memory of lunch so far and replaced it with them just sitting down eating.” Alice leapt to her feet, and the rest of the Cullens followed as we moved about. I tried to ignore the fact Edward stayed close to me.

When we had finished arranging all the humans in believable places and poses – we had to stop Emmett fooling around a few times – we slipped out of the cafeteria and Emma unfroze all of them. She was grinning, and I thanked her again for helping me out. I was stressing as it was, something Jasper must have sensed for he was trying to calm me down. I glanced at him with a frown, however, and he desisted. I couldn’t let my stress disappear; it would only give way to the pain always waiting to take over.

“Bella, we’ve got to go to our next class before everyone gets out. You know how popular you are here,” Michelle pointed out. I sighed.

“The only reason I’m more popular than you is because I’m single,” I reminded her, wincing internally. Michelle’s face changed, and then her arms were around me. I peeled her off me, not particularly wanting to make a scene in front of the Cullens. I patted her on the shoulder and then adjusted my schoolbag on my shoulder automatically.

“See you all later,” I murmured, then walked swiftly down the hallway towards Biology. I was sitting at my desk, my textbook and notebooks piled in front of me, when I heard a familiar voice.

“So you were my missing partner yesterday,” Edward murmured, sliding into the chair next to me. I froze.

“Yes. I skipped the last two classes yesterday,” I muttered as others – humans – settled into their seats around us at their own benches. I was aware of many jealous mutters among them; boys jealous and wanting to be where Edward was sitting, girls jealous and wishing they could trade places with me. It was a lose-lose situation. Edward chuckled softly, too quietly for the others to hear.

“Sorry about that,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean to scare you away. I didn’t even know why we were back here.” I sighed.

“You didn’t scare me away,” I admitted. “I was just really surprised, and shocked. I didn’t want to face you.” He sighed too as the teacher wheeled a now-old television into the room. Oh, great. A movie day. Any other time I would have been fine with it, but with Edward sitting beside me…I wasn’t sure what I thought about it today.

“I’m sorry. For leaving in the first place, not just for coming back and ruining things for you here,” he murmured. I shrugged so slightly none of the humans noticed.

“Not your idea. Alice saw the concert. I can only guess she was the one behind the lot of you moving back. I just don’t know why,” I sighed. Edward sighed again too. It was like a competition. I smiled wryly internally.

“I know why. She confessed in her thoughts last night. She said she thought I should tell you the truth.” I froze. I’d already heard the truth. He didn’t love me. He didn’t want me. But…perhaps now I was a vampire he would see me differently. “Bella, can I speak to you privately after school? I need to speak to you.” I nodded, the movement minuscule, and then pretended to watch the film as I tried to ignore Edward’s arm only ten inches away from mine.

Edward’s POV

I was actually hopeful, for a change. Bella agreed to let me speak to her, to try and explain myself. I hoped she would believe me; she could be so stubborn. How could she have believed me so easily fifty years ago when I told her – lied to her – that I didn’t love her? How could she believe that so quickly? I fought against the urge to hold her close to me now and made my hand stay still on the desk, only ten inches from hers.

Bella’s POV

At the end of Biology, I slipped out of the classroom as fast as I could without appearing suspicious. Edward was close behind me, but I ignored him as I made my way to my car. We always left before the last class finished – we were all timetabled for gym, and we hadn’t yet figured out how to play sport without giving ourselves away. My family was all there already, so as soon as all our props – books and suchlike – were in the trunk, we slid into the car and I took the wheel, backing out of the space easily. I waited for the Cullens – with Edward driving, of course – to pull out and then followed them out of the school grounds. When we got to the open road, however, I stepped on the gas. It was a race.

I pulled in first, of course, with my modified car. It didn’t look like much, but it was capable of more than the average Volvo, even one of Edward’s. I was smiling when I got out, and Michelle laughed as she gave me a high-five. Alice was just as happy, and I couldn’t help but smile at her. I didn’t dare look at Edward. I wasn’t quite ready to punish myself by thinking of what we had once shared…oops. Too late. I controlled the pain as best I could before Michelle could try and help, and then made my smile stay on my face. I couldn’t let the past haunt me much longer. I would put it all behind me and live for the now…and Tourniquet. That was my new distraction.

When we got inside, Esme and Carlisle were there, the former hugging me and all my family in greeting. It may have been just me, but she hugged me the longest.

“It’s so good to see you, dear,” she whispered before releasing me and smiling at my family. “Welcome, my dears. I’m sure we have many stories to share.” I would have followed, but Emma shook her head at me and nudged me backwards. Oh, right. I had promised Edward I would let him speak to me in private. Taking a deep, imperceptible breath, I turned to face him and made my face stay neutral, casual.

“You wanted to speak to me?” He nodded, and led me silently from the house. I had no idea where he was taking me, but as we ran through the woods I couldn’t help but think how attractive he was. Even with my improved vampire sight, he was the most attractive guy I had ever seen.

It was only when he halted that I stopped, and when I realised where we were my breathing stopped. The hole in my chest rippled, waves of pain radiating out from my chest. I gasped for breath, and then collapsed to my knees as the pain washed over me. We were in the meadow…

I wrapped my arms around my chest, struggling to stop the sobs. It was even worse now that Edward could see what he had done to me, rather than just what my family had said. I closed my eyes and crouched over, struggling to keep the pain from ripping me in two like Victoria had tried and failed to do. Then I became aware of his arms around me, holding me close to him as he whispered in my ear, audible over the sound of my sobs.

“I love you, Bella,” he whispered. “I never wanted to hurt you. You’re everything to me, Bella. I love you,” he said again, over and over in little more than a mumble. I sniffed unnecessarily, and looked up at Edward’s concerned, loving face.

“You…love me?” I asked, unable to comprehend it. He smiled.

“With all my dead heart, I do,” he whispered, and hugged me tightly. “Oh, Bella, I’m sorry I lied to you the day I left.” I hugged him back, not wanting to ever have to let go.

“I've forgiven you long before now,” I whispered.

“Bella…” I looked up, and then closed my eyes as he kissed me.

When we got back to the Cullens’ house, I paused at the edge of the trees. Edward stopped too, and faced me with confusion written all over his features.

“What is it, Bella?” I sighed.

“Dre won't be too happy with you, or me,” I murmured, before smiling and kissing him lightly. “But he'll have to deal with it. I love you,” I added softer, and Edward smiled at me, touching his lips to mine lingeringly. It took all my restraint to not wrap my arms around him and hold him there. I pulled away with a sigh, then took Edward’s hand and started to move towards the house.