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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…


8. Chapter 8

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By the time Lazzaro came back from his book-shop it was late, but I’d had enough time to put myself back together. Talking to Jacob had added a new weight to my shoulders, it was a miracle I wasn’t stooping from the pressure. It was a miracle I could still stand at all.

I heard footsteps approach the front door and I arranged my face, as I’d already done so many times that day, into something of a smile. I had been sitting on the sofa with my knees pulled into my chest, but when I heard the front latch release I straightened up and rested my feet on the floor.

Lazzaro walked into the room with a plastic bag in his hand. He handed it to me and turned to hang his coat up. Inside I found my own clothes, freshly washed. His kindness never ceased.

“Thank you.” I told him.

“You’re very welcome, sorry it took so long. There’s a laundry next to my store, but I had to convince Maria to let me in, she was already closed.”

“I’m sorry for the trouble.”

“It was no trouble, she likes to find things about me to complain about.” He winked at me, “I will not ask her out, you see, no matter how bluntly she hints.”

I smiled, for real this time and set the bag by my feet.

“How is your father?” Lazzaro settled into his chair.

“Very well. Thank you for letting me call him.” It suddenly occurred to me that the call was probably expensive and my roll of money was still in the duffle-bag I had left behind. “I, um, I can pay you for the long-distance. If you give me your address, I can send you some money. And for the laundry, and the food…” And then I realized that during that sentence I had believed I was going to make it home. My subconscious was apparently optimistic.

“Please Bella,” he waved his hand dismissively, “don’t worry, the pleasure of your company has been repayment enough.”

Apparently he expected very little of his company. I thought of all the tears I had shed in his presence, and the fact that I had slept through most of today. I would hardly have described my company as pleasant, but I was grateful for his kindness and understanding.

“So you meet your friend tomorrow?”

“Yes, early in the morning in front of the clock-tower.”

“Palazzo dei Priori?”

I remembered chanting those words in the car right before I had ruined everything only days ago. Those had been Edwards last moments… I left those thoughts quickly, forcing my vocal-chords into action. “Yes, is it near?”

“Very near, I live only two streets to the east of the plaza, you can see the tower from Alessa’s bedroom window.”

Good, I thought. I wanted to go alone. I didn’t want to have to ask for directions for fear that Lazzaro would insist on showing me the way himself.

“If you are meeting her early, perhaps you are wanting to go to bed? It is getting late.”

I knew there was no hope for sleeping, I’d already slept away most of the afternoon. Besides my mind was reeling. But I was tired in different ways; tired of trying to be normal for Lazzaro, tired of focusing on my expression, of faking smiles and keeping my voice light. I was ready to be alone with my despair so I nodded.

“Alright.” Lazzaro stood and walked towards his bedroom. “How early are you meeting your friend?”

“Six,” I lied, “I know it’s very early, I’ll sneak out and try not to wake you.”

“So this is goodbye then is it?” Lazzaro walked forward with his hand out.

I stood up and without thinking about what I was doing I ignored his hand and threw my arms around his neck. I realized in that moment that Lazzaro had probably saved my life on top of all the other things he had done for me. I was also aware of the possibility that he could be the last human in the world that I would ever talk to.

“Goodbye Lazzaro,” I couldn’t keep the endless tears from filling my eyes, “Thank you for everything.”

“Dear Bella,” he patted my back, “I was happy to help you, I’m sorry for your troubles.”

I stepped back and wiped my eyes, suddenly embarrassed. Lazzaro patted my shoulder once more and pulled a piece of paper out of his front shirt pocket. “I wrote this down for you in case you need anything.” I unfolded the paper to find his name and phone number along with some Italian money.

“Thank you.” I whispered, not trusting my voice not to break.

“Be careful, my young friend.”

I nodded, but I couldn’t meet his eyes.