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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…


7. Chapter 7

Rating 0/5   Word Count 1704   Review this Chapter

The phone was finally ringing against my ear. My heart was beating erratically. My hands felt cold and numb. When I heard the voice on the other end finally answer, it was all I could do not to cry.

After Lazzaro helped me navigate through the complicated process of calling home, he left to give me some privacy. He said he needed to check on his shop, he’d left it in the hands of his staff for the last couple of days.

“Hello?” Charlie’s voice cut through my heart, and I had to swallow a couple of times before I could answer.

“Hello?” He said again, less patiently. I could a hear a game playing in the background.

“Hi? Dad?”

“Bella? Is that you?”

“Yeah Dad, hi.”

“Hey Bells, I’ve been worried about you.”

“I know, I’m so sorry.” I tried desperately to keep the tears from showing in my voice.

“It’s alright honey, you were just being a good friend.”

“But not a very good daughter.”

“Don’t beat yourself up, I’m alright. I’ve been over at Sue’s quite a bit, and Billy and Jacob fed me last night.”

Jacob. My heart died a little more.

“Carlisle told me about Alice’s grandfather, he said they were pretty close. Tell her I‘m sorry, and Esme, I know it‘s hard to lose your father.”

I forced the words around the lump in my throat. “Yeah, she’s pretty upset.”

“Your note said that Edward was in trouble.” Charlie said slowly, his voice turning sour around Edward’s name, he would never forgive him for leaving. He didn‘t know there was no one left to forgive. He sounded confused, “What was that all about?”

“Oh!” I paused to get the volume of my voice under control and thought quickly. “Yeah, Rosalie was the one to call Alice. She was crying and the cell phone was cutting in and out. Alice thought Rosalie had said there was bad news about, about E-Edward, and then the phone died. Their grandfather’s name was Willard, she just misunderstood.” I hoped Carlisle hadn’t given Charlie very much information. I didn’t want to get caught in the lie.

“Oh.” Charlie was quick to believe my story Then his tone changed into the one I was had gotten used to hearing in the months after Edward left. The careful tone, the one that was afraid to hurt me. “So, is… is the whole family there?”

“Not quite,” I answered, knowing he was asking about Edward. I focused on each individual word, refusing to understand the meaning of them. “Edward is in South America,” I remembered overhearing Alice tell Charlie that in my kitchen the other morning when they thought I was still asleep. Had it really only been days ago? “He can’t make it home for the funeral.”

“I see, that’s too bad.” He sounded relieved and hurried to change the subject. “So how do you like North Carolina?”

“It’s nice, I-I’ve never been this far east before.” I imagined what he would say if he knew how far east I really was.

“Maybe you should head down to Florida before you come home, spend a couple of days with your mom. You’re only a couple of states away and I’m sure she’d love to see you.”

“Yeah.” I didn’t know how I was surviving this conversation, “I’d love to see her too, but I don’t know…”

“Well think about it, I’m fine here.” I heard the front door slam in the background, and then a voice that I would know anywhere. A voice that tore through my chest that was already empty. Charlie paused and then said, “Hold on Bells, Jacob’s here for lunch. He’s been here everyday since you left, checking to see if you called.” No, Charlie, I thought, checking on you, because I asked him to. Tears were running silently down my cheeks. I could do this, I had to do this. There was a muffling as Charlie pulled the phone away from his ear. I heard him say, “Yeah, it’s her, she just called…” Jake’s reply was muffled, but Charlie replied. “I don’t know when she’s coming back… Yeah, sure, hold on.” Charlie’s voice was clear again as he put the phone back to his ear, “Jacob wants to talk to you Bella. Call again soon okay honey? Let me know when you’re coming home.”

“Sure thing,” I tried not to think of this as goodbye, if I did, the next words would never make it past my lips, “I love you Dad.”

“You too, Bells. Here’s Jake.”

I steeled myself and tried to hold the sobs back. I listened to the phone change hands and then Jacob’s voice was closer, but not quite clear. “Yeah, could you give us a minute?… Sure, sure, pizza would be great, maybe you could pick Billy up on your way back… Alright, mushrooms too… Thanks Charlie.”

Then his voice was in my ear, tearing me to pieces.

“Hey Bella.” It was low and sober. In an instant I was far away from this terrifying place, drinking soda from a brown paper bag, holding an impossibly warm hand. In an instant I was broken again. Merely broken.

“Jake.” Was all I could choke out, the sobs would not be confined.

“Oh Bella, are you alright?” He sounded so worried.

If I would have known I would’ve been faced with this conversation, I‘m sure I would have vowed to tell Jacob I was fine. I would’ve promised myself I wouldn’t worry him. I’m sure I would have planned to be like Alice who promised Jasper she would come home safely. I would’ve made this promise to myself and the instant that I heard that familiar husky voice I would have broken it. I could not lie to Jacob.

“No.” I answered around a sob, “No, Jake, I’m not okay. Not even a little.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I was too late.” I whispered. “I-I didn’t save him.” I gasped around another sob. “Jacob, he’s gone.”

There was a long silence while he processed the information. “Bella I’m so sorry.” His voice held a million different emotions, the first of which was sympathy. The second; relief. There was no sign of sorrow, but I couldn’t blame him.

I didn’t answer. The lump in my throat left no room for words.

“Are you…” He hesitated, as if trying to decide if this was the next appropriate thing to say. He went on, “Are you coming home now?”

I swallowed, and tried to speak. The words never made it above a shaky whisper, “I can’t yet.”

“Why not?” His voice was suddenly harsh, anxious.

“The, the Volturi know I’m here. I have to go talk to them-”

“No you don’t Bella.” He interrupted me quickly, “They’re dangerous. You have to come home. Right now.”

“I can’t. They want to kill me because I know too much about them. Alice and Carlisle say my only chance is to go and talk to them, Alice thinks they’ll let me go.”

“Give her the phone,” Jacob was angry now, “I want to talk to her.”

“She’s not here, we got separated I-I’m going to meet them tomorrow.”

“No, Bella, no, just come home, please. You can hide, I’ll keep you safe.”

“You can’t.” I didn’t know how anyone could have this many tears. “They have trackers, I can’t hide. Alice told Carlisle that this is the only chance.”

“Carlisle doesn’t know about the pack.” Jacob growled, “We can help you Bella, you don’t have to do this. Please don’t do this.” He was pleading now.

“I have to, it’s not just me in trouble. It’s all of the Cullen’s. If I don’t do this they’ll kill me, and they might kill the rest of his family.”

“I don’t care about the Cullen’s,” venom saturated his voice. “I only care about you, Bella I’m begging, come home.”

It took me a moment to find my resolve. I wanted so badly to feel Jacob’s strong warm hand around mine. I wanted to watch Charlie enjoying one more dinner I made for us. I wanted to listen to one more of Renee’s spontaneous plans. I wanted so badly to go home.

But then I remembered a pair of topaz eyes, a crooked smile, a cool embrace Things I would never see or feel again because I had failed. I thought of a dark-haired pixie kissing my cheek. A kind, carefree giant ruffling my hair. I thought of a mourning mother and father. Mourning the son I couldn’t save and I found my resolve. I would do whatever they ask of me. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t at least try. And there was always the chance I would survive.

“Jacob,” my voice was stronger with my new-found determination, “I have to do this. Carlisle is here, and Jasper and Alice, they’ll take care of me. I’ll see you in a couple of days.” I hoped I was telling the truth. Desperately.

“No, Bella, please.” I detected tears in his voice which made my own impossible to control.

“I’ll be okay, Jacob, either way, I’ll be okay.”

“What do you mean, either way?” His voice whipped around the words, I knew he already understood.

“How?” I choked back a sob, “How do I live in a world where he doesn’t exist?”

“No Bella,” he choked on a sob of his own. “I know you’re hurting, but don’t do this. Think of Charlie. Think of me. The way you feel right now is the way I’ll feel if you don’t come home. It’s not your job to fix this, I can protect you, you don’t have to do this. You can’t do this. I can’t live in a world without you, Bella please, please.” Each sentence ended in a sob, each ragged breath he took sent a knife through me. I tried to find my voice, the words that would comfort him, the will to follow through…

“I’m sorry.” I clutched the phone like it was his hand, like he could feel me. “I’m so sorry, but I have to do this. I love you Jacob, I-” I couldn’t finish.

“Bella, please. I can save you, let me save you, please.” But there was a sense of defeat in his voice, he realized there was nothing he could say to change my mind.

“Oh Jacob,” I whispered Memories of the last few months were running through my head. I remembered the way he had put me back together, carefully, lovingly;

“You already did.”