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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…


13. Chapter 13

Rating 0/5   Word Count 1776   Review this Chapter

Carlisle set me on my feet before a heavy wooden door.

“It will be alright Bella,” He pushed my damp hair from my clammy forehead. “Everything is going to be alright.”

“Edward.” My mind seemed disconnected from my body. His name was echoing over and over in my head. I had just felt him, touched his face, heard his voice, I had smelled him… only to be torn away from him again. In those brief moments it had even felt as though he needed me too, as much as I needed him. Maybe it was my mind telling me what I wanted to hear, maybe he was only anxious for my safety. But when I touched him, I felt the same burn go through my fingertips as the first time our hands had made contact in biology so long ago. And it didn’t feel one sided, it felt like an electrical current passing back and forth between us. I didn’t dwell on it long, I couldn’t focus on anything but the knowledge that he was alive and we weren’t together.

“Edward will be fine. Everything will be fine. Just tell Aro the truth. That’s all you have to do. Don’t be afraid. I’ll be right outside the door.”

I nodded silently, his words barely registered. They meant nothing to me.

“As will I.” A shiver ran up my spine when I recognized this voice. She seemed to float to stand beside Carlisle with almost as much grace as Alice possessed. I wondered fleetingly where Alice was now.

“Jane.” Carlisle acknowledged her.

“Your son is very willful.” She observed while pulling down the sleeves of her dark robe. “I don’t seem to be getting through to him. How do you manage to keep him under control?”

“I don’t try to control the members of my family.” Carlisle replied shortly.

“Perhaps you should consider it.” Jane smiled sweetly, “Perhaps then you wouldn’t find yourself in these situations.”

Carlisle ignored her comment and continued to be polite. “Would you like to tell Aro Bella is here or shall I?”

“I will.” She stated while she opened the door and gave us both an awful angelic smile. “I love to give Aro good news.”

She disappeared behind the door and left it open a crack.

“Good! Very good! Send her in then, my dear. Send her in alone… and find Alec, won’t you Jane? It’s his turn isn’t it… Yes, I envy him.” The voice was whispery. It was alarming, and made me wonder what would be waiting for me behind the door.

The door was pushed wide again a few moments later and Jane reappeared. She gave Carlisle a short nod before heading down the dimly lit hallway.

Carlisle grasped my shoulders, and before he guided me toward the towering door, he said one more thing. “It will all be over soon.”

“Wait!” A pixie’s voice that I would’ve known anywhere echoed through the hall. “Carlisle wait!” And then she was there, right next to us. Alice’s eyes were wide and her black hair looked even more wild than normal. She looked, if it were possible, like she needed to sleep, like she was exhausted.

“What is it Alice?” Carlisle asked anxiously. “Aro is waiting.”

Alice glanced at the door and then met my eyes. The sight of my friend made my body snap into action without my permission. Without meaning to, without thinking about what I was doing, I was throwing my arms around her and sobbing. “I’m so sorry Alice. I failed, I wasn’t fast enough. Thank you for saving him. Thank you for saving Edward.”

“Shhh. Bella.” Her tiny stony arms patted my back briefly before pushing me gently away. “It’s not your fault.”

I looked down at my hands and opened my mouth to contradict her. Of course it was my fault, I wished they would stop denying it.

“Bella look at me.” The tone of her voice, it’s authority, surprised me. I quickly obeyed.

Alice grasped both of my hands, and looked as though, if it were possible, she would be crying as she spoke. “You’re going to survive this.”

I didn’t know what to say. Her tone, her expression, frightened me.

“It’s going to be difficult, but it’s necessary… to protect your friends.” She emphasized the last word, as though she were trying to communicate something. I didn’t understand her.

I waited for more, but it seemed that was all.

What I assumed was Aro’s voice wafted into the hallway “I‘m waiting, Bella.”

Alice embraced me one more time.

“I love you Bella. We all love you.”

The lump in my throat prevented me from answering.

~>*<~

The painting in Carlisle’s office had come to life. I was standing before one of it’s occupants. When he held still, as he was now, he looked like a fragile sculpture. He looked harmless and ancient. When he moved and when he spoke, as he had when I first entered this strange, circular room, he looked like a nightmare.

“Bella, Bella, Bella.” Only his eyes moved as they rested on mine, and I couldn’t look away from his mesmerizing milky red gaze. I couldn’t find my voice to answer. I wasn’t even sure he wanted me to.

“What do they find so fascinating about you?” When he finally moved it was as though he was transformed from granite to molten rock, magma, sliding seamlessly to his feet and drifting in a circle around me as he spoke. This time I wasn’t reminded of James in the ballet studio. He wasn’t behaving menacingly. Instead of prey, I felt more like a piece of fine art being studied by an avid collector who couldn‘t understand the interest in the piece. “Why do they trust you with our secret?” It was as though he was talking to himself. As if I couldn’t hear him, as if I wasn‘t expected to answer. “ And most importantly…” He stopped in front of me and moved forward until his face was only inches from my own. His expression held only mild curiosity. “Where have you been hiding?”

His breath was hard to describe. It was pleasant and unpleasant at once as it blew across my face with his words. He smelled old, like the inside of a deep ancient cave, but one that was filled with roses. This time I felt he expected an answer. My mind scrambled. ‘Protect your friends…”

“I thought you knew where I was.” I avoided the question. My voice sounded steadier than I expected, than I felt.

Aro smiled and a shiver ran up my spine. “Our tracker had trouble locating you. You seem to be immune to many of our abilities. Why is that?” He had taken a few seem-less steps back and was now sitting again in his throne-like chair.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, that’s one of the things I intend to find out. But first you will tell me where you’ve been.”

I didn’t speak. I just let Alice’s words repeat over and over in my head. “Protect your friends, protect your friends…”

I would protect Lazzaro. After everything he did for me… no matter what happened, I wouldn’t tell them about Lazzaro.

Aro waited a moment and then frowned as he realized I didn’t intend to answer. “Take my hand, Bella.”

I couldn’t find my feet to move myself forward.

“Resistance is futile, my dear. One way or another I will find out who helped you and I will destroy them. And then I will destroy you… and I will make Edward watch.” He smiled distantly as this thought occurred to him and then his eyes returned to mine. “Take my hand Bella, this is the last time I will ask you.”

“No.” The word slipped between my lips and I braced myself for the consequences.

Aro was before me in an instant, my hand was being squeezed painfully hard by icy fingers. I let out a sharp shriek before regaining enough control of myself to take the pain silently. I wasn’t looking at his face, so I didn’t know what his expression was. I was too busy watching my fingers twisting out beneath his grasp at odd angles, and listening to the crackling of bones being broken. I was too busy fighting back the screams of pain that were hovering in the back of my throat, waiting for me to give them permission to break free. It was over a moment later.

“Interesting.” His whispery voice hinted disappointment, but I still didn’t look up. I was staring looking at my now mangled hand. The pain I experienced didn’t quite match up to the horrific image before me. I must have been going into shock, there was an unpleasant numbness tingling between my wrist and my fingertips. I didn’t feel like the fingers I was gaping at belonged to me, I felt separate from my body.

“I can’t read your thoughts Bella, so I will ask you again…” I finally forced myself to look up. I knew the question, and I knew the answer. I would protect Lazzaro. I braced myself for more pain. He could kill me if he had to, but I would protect my friends.

“Who hid you from us?”

I should’ve been shaking on the ground. I should’ve been sobbing and begging, but my voice answered steadily. More steadily than should’ve been possible. “I wasn’t hiding.”

“Answer the question. Tell me where you were. This is your last chance.”

I could only shake my head.

At that moment, the heavy door creaked open and revealed the return of Jane, and another that could easily have been her twin. He was only slightly taller than she, with the same angelic face.

“There you are!” Aro smiled at the pair.

They entered the room holding hands. I saw Jane look at me, take-in my expression, my deformed hand, and smile.

“Bella refuses to cooperate.” Aro shook his head, almost sadly. “So Alec, when Elizabeth and I are finished with her, she‘ll serve to sustain you.”

Alec smiled sweetly and turned to me. He reached for my un-injured hand and lifted it to his face, as if to kiss it. Instead, he turned it over and raised my wrist to his nose. I watched him smile at my scent. “Thank you, Master.”

Jane seemed confused. “Elizabeth?”

“Yes, Jane, in addition to her extreme sense for danger, she has a certain way with humans. Bella’s mind seems to be protected, but I think Elizabeth’s ability will prove to be effective. You’ll fetch her for me, won’t you dear?”

Jane nodded and exited to room. Alec stepped back, into the shadows, content to wait. I thought of Edward. The pain of our separation rivaled that of my broken hand.

I stood alone in the middle of the room and repeated Alice’s words in my head yet again. “You will survive this… protect your friends.”