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NM Alternate Ending

Summary:
It's page 449 of the hard-back version of New Moon. Bella is running across the plaza in Italy. She has to get to Edward before the clock chimes. Before the Volturi do. His life depends on it. This time Bella stumbles and doesn't get there in time. What will happen to Edward now? Will Alice make it out of Volterra and keep her promise to Jasper? Will Bella be able to survive, thinking she's failed... alone in Volterra?


Notes:
So, you remember of course, in New Moon, Bella is running for her (and his) life toward the place where Alice saw Edward would be. It’s a race against time and she’s fighting the crowd…


10. Chapter 10

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1269   Review this Chapter

My body decided not to grant me the relief of unconsciousness. My hallucination forced me back into awareness and I obeyed the command, I opened my eyes.

His perfect face was there, inches from mine. My subconscious apparently had even memorized his scent with perfect clarity. I breathed him in and tried not to worry about the fact that my mind had snapped. I didn’t think about how much this would hurt when it faded away. I didn’t wonder what the Volturi were going to do with me. For this moment I didn’t feel alone in the terrifying blackness, so I lost myself in the dark topaz eyes that were searching mine. I let the cold hands stroke my face and watched an expression of relief wash over my delusion’s face.

“Oh Bella,” he breathed. I absorbed the exquisite sound of his voice. “I’m so sorry.” His eyes were devastatingly sad.

“No,” I whispered, not stopping to worry about the fact that I was speaking to a hallucination. I only wanted the look of ancient sadness to be gone from his expression. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.” Tears were beginning to fall. I hated the moisture for clouding my vision. I didn’t know how long this would last, I needed to see his face clearly.

“You shouldn’t have had to try, Bella, I should never have left you,” He wiped away my tears with his thumb and pressed his cold lips to my forehead, “It should not have come to this. I‘m so sorry.”

“Edward,” another voice I recognized spoke from the darkness. I frowned, I had thought my delusions were reserved for Edward alone. I had never had one of any of the other Cullen’s before, so Carlisle’s voice surprised me. “Edward, we have to take her to Aro.”

“No!” It was a choked reply, somewhere between a growl and a plea.

“It’s the only way, son, let me take her. I promise I won’t let her out of my sight.”

“Wait,” my voice cracked. This was becoming too real. “Wait.” I repeated struggling to sit up. Edward helped me and Carlisle knelt down on my other side.

“What is it Bella?” Carlisle pressed his fingers against my wrist and looked me in the face. “Do you feel faint?”

I blinked, bewildered, but my eyes never left Edward’s face. I noted his defiant expression, his torn, dirty, clothes, his dark eyes. The Edward’s from my hallucinations were always perfectly put together and never thirsty. My mind was battling. The part of me that knew Edward was gone was warring against the part of me that wanted to believe he was right here beside me. His eyes anxiously searched my face. He gently touched my cheek, “What is it Bella?” He repeated Carlisle’s question, and my heart skipped a beat as I watched his lips shape my name.

“You’re… you’re real?” The words came out in a shaky whisper.

“Yes,” he answered slowly, a confused crease formed between his eyes.

Without giving it permission to, my hand was reaching for his face. “You’re here?”

His hand rose up to grasp mine over his cheek. “Yes Bella, I’m here.”

I rose to my knees and facing him, my other hand reached for the other side of his face. “You-” relieved sobs were beginning to form in my chest, I tried to speak around them, daring myself to believe, “You’re alive?” My voice broke over the words.

“Yes love,” He pushed a strand of hair back from my face and his hand cupped my cheek, “I’m alive.”

Those two words healed me. Somehow, miraculously, Edward had survived. He was here before me. I could feel him with my own hands, see him with my own eyes. I collapsed into his lap and let the relieved sobs have me. He gathered me in his arms and held me against him, rubbing my back he said over and over, “It’s alright love, it’s alright, I’m here.”

“How touching.” The horrifying girlish voice of a familiar hooded figure sliced through our short reunion and reminded me of where I was and what I was facing. It was infinitely less terrifying now. Against all odds I felt safe, whole, restored.

“I’m afraid Aro doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” She walked toward Carlisle who had already rose to his feet, “He requires Bella’s presence, in his chamber, immediately.”

I felt Edward’s arms tighten around me. “No.” He said again, “I’ll meet their demands. Leave her out of this.”

“Oh Edward,” I felt her approach us. Edward’s hand was holding my head against his chest, so I couldn’t turn to see her. It didn’t matter, I was oblivious to what was going on around me. As long as I was here, with him, I was content. I didn’t care about anything else.

“You know it’s not up to me.” She continued, “You’re lucky he has agreed to see her at all. You’re lucky he didn’t just send Demetri after her like he wanted to in the first place.”

“Edward understands what has to happen.” Carlisle said quickly. “Edward please, cooperate. It’s the only way, Alice has seen it.”

“Ha!” Edward quickly rose to his feet, cradling me in his arms. “Do you think that reassures me?”

“There’s no other way son, I won’t argue with you about this,” I had never heard Carlisle use this hard tone before.

“And neither will I.” A second after she spoke I was out of Edward’s arms, sprawled across the damp stone floor. Edward was next to me writhing in pain, wearing a tortured expression.

“Stop Jane!” Carlisle’s voice echoed around us in the small chamber, “That isn’t necessary!”

Instantly Edward was still. His eyes cleared and he anxiously searched my face. “Are you alright?” He asked me.

I wasn’t alright, but it was out of concern for him. My heart was racing in my chest, screams of terror were threatening to escape me. I had never seen him hurt before, and I never wanted to see it again. I suddenly realized what Jane had been trying to do to me earlier when she’d said she didn’t have any effect on me. I shivered and wasn’t given a chance to answer.

“Felix, grab her.” Jane’s order rang out and before Edward could act, I was being scooped up and carried out of the chamber by the giant vampire. Edward was on his feet in an instant and came toward us. I reached for him, but Jane placed a restraining hand on his chest accompanied by a warning look. “Aro wants her alone, but he will allow Carlisle to see her safely to his room. You will stay here until called for.”

I realized that we were really going to be separated and something inside of me snapped. “Edward!” I screeched, twisting in the stone arms that were holding me. “Edward, no!”

His expression was pained and for one terrifying moment I thought that Jane was hurting him again. “Bella!”

“NO!” I screamed louder and tried in vain to fight off the arms that restrained me. I couldn‘t be away from him now. I was sure it would kill me.

“Bella it will be alright.” Carlisle came to my side and placed his hand on my arm. “Give her to me Felix, I’ll take her to Aro.”

Jane nodded and Felix released me to Carlisle. As I was changing hands I tried to twist out of their grasp and run back to Edward who was alone now in the dark room. Jane closed the heavy door and it clanked into place with ringing finality before I could get there. The last thing I saw was Edward’s broken expression. The last thing I heard was the tortured whisper of my name.