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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…


5. Chapter 5

Rating 0/5   Word Count 1786   Review this Chapter

Lazzaro was kneeling before me and couldn’t see the words in the letter. I was sure he’d been watching my face. I wished I would have been aware of my expression. It was crucial not to alarm him. I focused on arranging my face while I pretended to still be reading. My hands should’ve been shaking harder than before, but for some reason I felt more in control. Of course I would go to meet the Volturi. If it was the last thing I could do for his family I would do it without hesitation. If I died… to die now would be a relief.

I arranged my mouth into something of a smile. I was glad Lazzaro hadn’t known me very long and had never seen me smile. Maybe he wouldn’t see the strain behind it, perhaps he wouldn’t see it wasn’t real. Holding the expression carefully in place, I folded the letter and finally looked up to meet his eyes.

“Good news?” He seemed to believe my face.

I sighed with relief and my smile became a little bit more genuine, “Yes.” I smiled down at the letter and slipped it carefully into my pocket as I spoke. “My friend Alice, E-dward’s sister, is still here and wants me to meet her tomorrow so we can go home.” The lie rolled surprisingly easily off of my tongue, except when I had to say his name, and the place where my heart used to be faltered, along with my voice.

“How did she know where to find you?” He questioned not suspiciously, but with genuine curiosity. I had to remind myself that he knew something about what they were.

He smiled when I didn’t answer right away. “Perhaps I’d rather not know?” He concluded.

I nodded. Vowing not to give him any information, however insignificant it may seem. I felt chagrin at telling him we were meeting tomorrow. I wished I’d told him we were meeting right away. I could’ve slept on a bench in the plaza, as if I were going to be able to sleep at all. The sooner I got out of Lazzaro’s house, the better for him.

“What time is it?” I asked. The light coming in through the narrow windows had an orangey, afternoon glow. I must have been asleep for a while.

“Nearly six.” Lazzaro rose to his feet. “I’m glad your friend got in touch with you. I would’ve been happy to accompany you home, but I was worried about how long it was going to take me to get a pass-port.”

“I’m glad she did too,” I also stood. As terrified as I should have felt at the prospect of soon being in the custody of the Volturi, I felt a strange relief instead. Soon I would be reunited with a large piece of my vampire family. I would be able to mourn with them. Maybe even die for them. I didn’t fear the Volturi, the worst thing that could ever happen in my life had already happened. There was nothing they could do to me.

“Are you hungry?” Lazzaro began to walk towards the kitchen.

I was surprised to find that I was. I nodded.

“Would you allow me to take you to my favorite little restaurant here?” I realized he hadn’t been walking toward the kitchen, but toward the front door on the other end of the kitchen.

I bit my lip. Surely it would be bad for me to leave Lazzaro’s apartment with him. I didn’t know how carefully the Volturi watched their city, but I was sure we couldn’t be seen together. For his own safety. I looked down at my torn and dirty clothes. I shouldn’t go out in public like this anyway.

“Oh, of course, I’m sorry.” Lazzaro was also looking at my appearance. “Forgive me Bella, for being a bad host. I’m sure you would be more comfortable after a shower. You are very small for your age, and my daughter is very tall for hers. I’m sure we can find you something of hers to wear, though I’m afraid the only clothes she leaves here are her warm weather ones.” He turned around and began walking towards his daughter’s room. I followed, trying to think of another reason to prevent us from going out together.

He dug through a couple of drawers and handed me a gray tee-shirt and a pair of black running pants. “These are the only long pants I could find.” He said as he led the way to the restroom. “The towels are under the sink. I will go and get us something to eat while you clean up. You like pasta?” Something about my “smile” had cheered him up immensely, or perhaps it was relief that he wasn’t responsible for my safe passage back to the states anymore.

“Yes.” I answered his question. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me Bella.” He shut the door for me, and his footsteps retreated down the hall.

The tub was an old claw-foot one with brass fittings. I undressed, and unsure of what to do with my dirty clothes, I balled them up in the corner so that my underwear was buried out of sight. Lazzaro, trying to be discreet, had stuffed a pair of his daughters clean ones between the folded pieces of clothes that he handed me. I stepped into the steam and pulled the shower curtain around me. The water was almost too hot and the water pressure was intense. I didn’t adjust anything, I just let the water beat at me. I focused on the little pinpricks of pain, and not on other thoughts, stronger pains. I washed slowly, focusing on each individual task. I did not allow my mind to wander.

I came out of the bathroom to discover that Lazzaro hadn‘t returned. I ventured into Alessa’s room and found some clean socks. They, like the rest of her clothes that I borrowed, fit perfectly. I wandered out of her room and into the living area. I walked over to the bookcase and began reading the titles. There were a lot of books on mythology and some science fiction. The book that particularly caught my eye was Bram Strokers, Dracula. There were post-it notes sticking out of the top to mark several pages. I pulled it out and opened it to one of the marked ones. Then I flipped forward to the next. Every page that had a description of Dracula, or of vampires in general, had been marked. Some post-its had question marks on them. I came to one page that described how vampires slept during the day and only came out at night. On that page the post-it simply said, “no”. I decided that Lazzaro must know that his “people of stone” were vampires. He already suspected too much. The Volturi knew I was with him. I hoped their mind-reading skills worked the same as Edward‘s, so that they would have no effect on me. I didn’t want them to know what Lazzaro knew. I hoped, after everything he had done for me, that I would be able to protect him. I put the book back and walked over to the sofa.

I hoped Lazzaro would be back soon. I didn’t want this quiet alone time. I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. There was face behind my eyelids. A perfect face holding a pair of liquid topaz eyes. I resisted the urge to snap my eyes open and escape the vision. I just let them fill with tears and I stared at the flawless memory. There was no escape from this, I didn’t want to escape. As much as it hurt, I knew it was only a matter of time before the memory would blur and then be lost in my feeble human mind. I didn’t know how I would survive that. I was already tired of surviving.

The front door squeaked open and the smell of garlic wafted into the apartment.

“Bella?”

I opened my eyes and wiped away the tears. I again tried to arrange my expression into something more pleasant. It didn’t feel like I had it at all right. I focused on my voice before I spoke, willing it to be light, “I’m coming.”

I stood and walked into the kitchen. Again I concentrated on my voice, “It smells wonderful.”

“Yes, a good friend of mine owns the restaurant. It is the best fettuccini in the country.”

He carried our plates over to the table and sat down across from me. I didn’t taste the pasta as I placed bite and bite in my mouth and swallowed. Ignoring the future and feigning pleasantness was taking up all of my concentration.

“Where are you meeting your friend?” Lazzaro asked after a moment.

“In front of the clock-tower at 7am.” I replied, trying to keep my voice even.

“Would you like me to accompany you-”

“NO!” The word jumped out of my mouth before I could stop it. I tried to recover, “No, I don’t think that’s necessary. I’ll be alright.”

Lazzaro eyed me carefully and opened his mouth as if to say something. I met his blue eyes evenly. Silently willing him not to ask questions. After all, it was he who had been so careful in the beginning not to hear anything about the Volturi.

He seemed to understand my expression and closed his mouth, but continued to look at me. I forced a smile onto my face and pretended to focus on my dinner.

Another long moment passed and the only sounds were the clanking of silverware as I ate.

“Are you sure?” Lazzaro broke the silence.

“I’m sorry?” My voice broke over the words.

“Are you sure you’re going to be alright?”

I took a deep breath and answered carefully, “I’m sure Alice will take care of me.”

Lazzaro nodded, but his eyes were full of unanswerable questions. Unanswerable because he refused to ask them, knowing there was danger in the knowledge he sought.

“Could I ask a favor?” I decided to change the subject.

Lazzaro looked surprised, but nodded.

“Could you help me call home? I want to tell Charlie, um, my dad, that I’m coming home soon.” My voice broke slightly over the last part. I wondered if I would ever see Forks again. I wanted to talk to Charlie, maybe for the last time.

“Of course,” Lazzaro’s smile was slightly strained, “Long distance can be difficult business.”

“Thank you.” I met his eyes, “For everything.”

Lazzaro nodded and stood up with his empty plate. He looked at the clock on the wall. “If we wait an hour or two, it will not be so early in the morning there.”

I had forgotten about the time difference. “Alright.” I agreed.

“In the mean-time,” he turned from the kitchen sink to face me, “perhaps you will let me tell you a story…”