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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…


4. Chapter 4

Rating 0/5   Word Count 1811   Review this Chapter

I didn’t fall asleep. Sometime around one in the morning the tears found me again and the force of them was staggering. I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure if it was because I didn‘t want to, or if I really couldn’t but either way I was suffocating and nobody cared. Especially not me.

Lazzaro heard me and came in. He scooped me up so there was room for him to sit and then he seated me next to him on the sofa. He gently pushed my head down between my knees and soothingly rubbed my back. “Breath Bella,” he ordered in a soft voice, “It‘s alright, just breath.” Those words brought a new force to my tears. Forcing memories on me that I thought should’ve killed me from the reliving of them.

I couldn’t go on without Edward. I had tried. I was tired of trying. The only thing that had gotten me through the last six months was knowing he was still out there somewhere, knowing that he existed. It felt as if even the knowledge that he was gone should’ve stilled my heart, should’ve ended me.

I had broken the only promise I had ever made him. I had been reckless and stupid. The consequences were more than I could bear. I remembered a conversation we had in the hospital after James where I had told him that one reason I needed to be like him was so that we could be equal, so we could save each other equally. Here had been my chance and I had failed him. I wanted to die. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t do that to Charlie. Besides, it would be too easy. Carrying this with me would be the worst punishment I would find. Bearing this guilt would be unbearable. Unbearable and just.

When I was only gasping in tearless sobs Lazzaro pulled my shoulders back up to sitting position and put his arm around me, pulling me in so I was supported by his shoulder. When the sobs quieted to hiccups hours later he finally spoke.

“I am so sorry.”

I didn’t answer.

Early morning light filtered through the curtains when Lazzaro finally moved beside me. He unwrapped his arm from around my shoulder and eased to his feet. I stayed seated with my arms wrapped around my knees, trying desperately not to think. He silently walked into the kitchen and began making the sounds of cooking breakfast.

For the first time since I got there I noticed my surroundings. Lazzaro’s apartment seemed small. The living area was a small square room with three tall skinning windows along one wall. There was an old wooden chair with shabby cushions in one corner next to a bookshelf full of thickish books. There was a small television sitting on top of what seemed to have once been a desk. The coffee table in front of the sofa I’d been using had a couple of pictures on it. One of a chubby little girl with bright blue eyes sitting on a tire swing laughing. The other was a family picture. Lazzaro, looking a little younger, sitting beside a pretty woman with long brown hair. Sitting next to the woman was the same little girl of the first picture, older, but still sort of chubby. It looked like a happy family. I wondered what happened to the woman and the little girl. There was no evidence of them living here now.

I needed to find the bathroom so I rose and walked toward the only hallway I could see. There were three doors in the narrow hallway. The first seemed to be Lazzaro’s room, there was a twin bed pushed against one wall under a window. It was cluttered with clothes and books, reminding me of my own room. I didn’t hover long in the doorway. I moved on to look behind the next door, not wanting to get caught looking nosy. I found what was behind the next door more interesting. The walls were painted a light lavender. There was another twin bed in this room, but this one was centered against one wall, the bed neatly made, with a dark purple bedspread. The furniture was all painted white. There were lots of little knick-knacks on shelves and on the desk that looked like they would belong to a little girl of 10 or 12. The neatness of the room was a sharp contrast to the dim clutter of the rest of the house.

“My daughter Alessa’s room,” Lazzaro’s voice was close behind me. I jumped.

“Sorry to startle you.” His smile was kind as he surveyed the room, “She is twelve and lives with her mother in France. She comes here for her summers.”

“I saw her- her picture in the living room. She’s beautiful.”

“Yes, she gets that from her mother.”

“I, um, I didn’t mean to be nosy, I was looking for the, uh, the restroom?”

“Right through the this door here.” He smiled and pointed to the last door in the hallway. “And there will be breakfast waiting in the kitchen.”

“Thank you.” I hurried into the bathroom. When I was done washing my hands I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was ratted in tangled nests all over my head. My eyes were swollen and my clothes were dirty from crawling across the stone… I didn’t finish the recollection, it was too painful. I looked down at my ripped jeans to wear the small cut was bandaged. It didn’t hurt, or maybe it did, but there were other things that hurt infinitely worse. Things that couldn’t be seen from the outside. I didn’t bother to try to fix my appearance, it didn’t matter.

I walked into the kitchen and sat down before a plate of eggs. I didn’t feel hungry, but after all of Lazzaro’s kindness, I didn’t want to offend him. He sat across from me, watching me carefully, but pretending not to. He seemed to be waiting for me to say something.

“Thank you.” I looked down at my plate, “For breakfast, for everything. I’m, I’m sorry about last night.”

“Don’t apologize Bella,” I couldn’t look him in the eye. “I’m so sorry for what you are going through, I am glad to help you.”

We ate in silence and I returned to the living room.

My eyes opened to a knock on the door and I realized in the sudden light that I had fallen asleep on the sofa. I heard quiet footsteps go thorough the kitchen to the door. I heard the door-latch release and a man’s voice giving Lazzaro an Italian greeting. He returned the greeting and there was a ruffle of papers. Lazzaro spoke again and closed the door. There was a moment of silence and then the footsteps returned through the kitchen, into the living room, then he was kneeling beside me.

“Bella.” He patted my shoulder and I focused on his face. He was so kind. “This came for you.” He put a heavy parchment envelope in my hand. I sat up and rubbed my neck. I felt sore everywhere, especially my eyes that were trying to blink away the sleep. No, especially my heart…

Alice? Of course she must’ve seen me here. The fact that she wanted to talk to me despite what I’d done brought new tears to my eyes. I tried to open the envelope with shaking hands. The parchment was thick and hard to tear. Lazzaro gently took it out of my hand, opened it and handed me the letter inside. It was hand-written on the same parchment the envelope was made of. Looking at the hand-writing I instantly knew it wasn’t from Alice. I’d seen her writing many times, on birthday cards and school papers. I’d never seen this writing before. My eyes quickly searched the bottom on the page for a signature, my heart thumping unevenly in my chest. The letter was signed;

My deepest apologies,

Carlisle

Carlisle? Apologies? My eyes returned to the top of the note and I read it as quickly as my eyes and mind would allow.

Dearest Bella,

How I wish I could spare you this. I would do anything for my family, for my children, and I place you in that category, but it is out of my hands. If there were any other way to save us, Bella believe me, I would find it. Alice has searched the possibilities and this is the only way.

The Volturi know of you. They have many talents and mind-reading, I’m afraid, is one of them. They have seen Alice’s visions and they know where you are, they’ve seen into each of our minds and they know how much you know about our world. Such knowledge for a human is against their laws and they had ruled to destroy you immediately. Alice did her best, but could not sway them. I arrived, with Jasper and I asked them as a favor for me, for my years of friendship with them, to let us see you first. We think that we can come to an understanding. They uphold their laws fiercely, but at the core they are peaceful creatures. They will see that you are not a danger to them, how you have honorably kept our secret for so long. They are forbidding, but not uncompromising.

Alice is confident of our success, but there are still many small decisions that could obstruct our path. It is dangerous for us all, but for you Bella, it is perilous.

To spare your new human friend, it would be best that the Volturi not come for you at his home. They will give you a chance to wait for them tomorrow at 7am in the shadow of the clock-tower. They have threatened that if you are not there, they will come after you and will not show mercy. If it were possible for you to run and hide, I would hide you, but it is not possible. They have trackers more deadly than James. This is the only way, you must be there. I will be there too Bella, I will go with them to meet you. I know how terribly frightening this must be, I wish you could be spared from this, but it is the only chance to save you, to save my family.

I called Charlie on the way here. I told him there was a family emergency and you insisted on accompanying Alice home. You didn’t want her traveling alone. If you call him, please use that excuse, I don’t want Charlie to get mixed up in this mess. The Volturi are very thorough, if they suspect he knows anything at all they will go after him as well.

Bella, when you faced James, you showed a bravery beyond anything I have ever seen. Your courage will help you now and you will not be alone. I’m sorry you have to go through this, Bella, more sorry than you’ll ever know.

My deepest apologies,

Carlisle