the blackest sort of blasphemy must be repealed chapter 23 of new moon, edward's pov
right. seena lot of epov for chapter 3, but never this before. thought i'd try it.
1. The Truth
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2777 Review this Chapter
Her pale eyelids flutter open. How I have missed that delicate violet color! The sweet scent of the blood those slender veins carry is meaningless. All I find compelling is the beauty I’ve so missed.
She squeezes them back shut, tightly, and I wince. I need to see her eyes. Once more, before I leave her side again, for the rest of my cursed eternity. I brush my fingers against her forehead, so softly, yet she only closes her eyes tighter. Why not? If I were an angel, I would not wish to look on a devil like myself either.
She will never forgive me. Surely, she no longer loves me. But yet it is so damnedly meaningless.
I wrap my arms around her, gently, pulling her upright. Her body is limp in my careful embrace. My Bella. No, not so. My Bella no longer- I am the fool who had this beautiful gift and willingly sacrificed it to my eternal idiocy.
Finally, her eyes open, the richness of the brown color shocking. I thought I had it memorized perfectly, but I was so wrong. I have been totally unable to picture this idealest of beauties. “Oh!” she gasps, and covers her eyes.
In a brief second, though, she lowers her fists, and looks at me. I can hear the tenseness in my voice as I ask, “Did I frighten you?”
I see her chocolate-colored lashes flutter twice against her milky skin, as though she’s trying to remember something.
“Oh, crap,” she hisses. I panic.
“What’s wrong, Bella?” Oh, that beautiful name! Ironic, that it literally means that which it so completely encompasses. How overwhelming to speak it, with no pain, now! Wonderful.
“I’m dead, right?” I frown. “I did drown. Crap, crap, crap! This is gonna kill Charlie.”
“You’re not dead.” Why would she imagine herself in hell, to be inflicted with the presence of a monster like myself? What have I turned my sweet Bella into?
“Then why am I not waking up?” She raises her eyebrows, challenging me.
“You are awake, Bella,” I whisper. Nightmare. Well, that’s better than a devil, I suppose. A little. Either way, truly deserved.
“Sure, sure. That’s what you want me to think. And then it will be worse when I do wake up. If I wake up, which I won’t, because I’m dead. This is awful. Poor Charlie. And Renee, and Jake…”
Jake? Who’s that?
A boyfriend, most likely. She has moved on. Well, at least it isn’t the vile Mike Newton. “I can see where you might confuse me with a nightmare.” I flash her a short, tight smile. “But I can’t imagine what you could have done to wind up in hell. Did you commit many murders while I was away?”
“Obviously not. If I was in hell, you wouldn’t be with me.”
I sigh to stifle the rising hope.
She looks away, to the window.
I smell her blush, and then I see it, beautiful, brilliant red spreading across her cheeks. How I’ve missed that!
“Did all of that really happen, then”
“That depends.” My smile is no warmer. “If you’re referring to us nearly being massacred in Italy, then, yes.” I almost led to her death! Could I be worse?
“How strange. I really went to Italy. Did you know I’d never been further east than Albuquerque?”
My angel’s sweet voice sings a nonsensical tune. “Maybe you should go back to sleep. You’re not coherent.”
“I’m not tired anymore. What time is it? How long have I been sleeping?”
“It’s just after one in the morning. So, about fourteen hours.” Fourteen blissful hours, to watch her still and silent and beautiful, before I must exile myself once again.
I frown. “Sleeping. You should probably know that I’m breaking the rules right now. Well, not technically, since he said I was never to walk through his door again, and I came in the window… but still, the intent was clear.”
She looks furious. I can’t comprehend why… presumably because I’ve defied her father’s rules simply to all but stalk her. “Charlie banned you from the house?”
“Did you expect anything else?”
She changes the subject. “What’s the story?”
“What do you mean?”
“What am I telling Charlie? What’s my excuse for disappearing for… how long was I gone, anyway?”
I can see her try to count in her head. “Just three days.” The smile comes a little easier with each time I do so in her presence. “Actually, I was hoping you might have a good explanation. I’ve got nothing.”
“Fabulous,” she groans.
I try to comfort her, no doubt failing miserably. “Well, maybe Alice will come up with something.”
“So,” she begins. “What have you been doing, up until three days ago?”
I guard my expression. I don’t want her to feel any obligation to me, not because I’m protecting her from Victoria. “Nothing terribly exciting.”
“Of course not.” She wears a miserable expression. It breaks my dead heart.
“Why are you making that face?”
“Well… if you were, after all, just a dream, that’s exactly the kind of thing you would say. My imagination must be used up,” she explains.
I sigh softly. “If I tell you, will you finally believe you’re not having a nightmare?”
“Nightmare!” she says, quite forcefully. I can’t comprehend the meaning behind the repetition, so I merely wait for more of a response. “Maybe, if you tell me.”
“I was… hunting,” I try.
“Is that the best you can do? That definitely doesn’t prove I’m awake.”
I want to laugh aloud and then scoop her into my arms. I want to protect her from this. But I cannot. She deserves to know. I choose my words carefully. “I wasn’t hunting for food… I was actually trying my hand at… tracking. I’m not very good at it.”
“What were you tracking?”
“Nothing of consequence,” I reply. I have lost my skills at lying, apparently. Even my gullible love is not taken in.
“I don’t understand.”
I hesitate, and then take a deep breath. “I… I owe you an apology.” And then the words I’ve repressed so long are there, tumbling out, and I speak them all. “No, of course I owe you much, much more than that. But you have to know…” and the words are just pouring out now, one after another, a floodgate opened, “that I had no idea. I didn’t realize the mess I was leaving behind. I thought it was safe for you here. So safe. I had no idea that… Victoria,” I spit the name, “would come back. I’ll admit, when I saw her that one time, I was paying much more attention to James’ thoughts. But I just didn’t see that she had this kind of response in her. That she even had such a tie to him. I think I realize why now—she was so sure of him, the thought of him failing never occurred to her. It was her overconfidence that clouded her feelings about him—that kept me from seeing the depth of them, the bond there. Not that there’s any excuse for what I left you to face. When I heard what you told Alice—what she saw herself—when I realized that you had to put your life in the hands of werewolves, immature, volatile, the worst thing out there besides Victoria herself…” I can’t repress a shudder. Their reek is still lingering downstairs. It would be so very easy, for one of them to have… “Please know that I had no idea of any of this. I feel sick, sick to my core, even now, when I can see and feel you safe in my arms. I am the most miserable excuse for-“
“Stop,” she whispers. I wait for it. She knows now, that I comprehend my guilt. It is time for me to be sentenced, to get what I so richly deserve. Time for my angel to abandon me to loneliness forever. “Edward,” she continues. “This has to stop now. You can’t think about things this way. You can’t let this… this guilt… rule your life. You can’t take responsibility for the things that happen to me here. None of it is your fault. It’s just part of how life is for me. So if I trip in front of a bus or whatever it is next time, you have to realize that it’s not your job to take the blame. You can’t just go running off to Italy because you feel bad you didn’t save me. Even if I had jumped off that cliff to die, that would have been my choice, and not your fault. I know it’s your nature to shoulder the blame for everything, but you really can’t let that make you go to such extremes. It’s very irresponsible—think of Esme and Carlisle and…”
She stops suddenly, drawing a deep shaky breath. I grit my teeth.
Guilt. She honestly believes that she could die and my biggest problem would be the guilt? “Isabella Marie Swan,” I hiss, “Do you honestly believe that I asked the Volturi to kill me because I felt guilty?”
“Didn’t you?” she asks.
“Feel guilty? Intensely so. More than you can comprehend.” So much that it still bites and aches at me now, that I feel the burn forever.
“Then… what are you saying? I don’t understand.”
“Bella, I went to the Volturi because I thought you were dead.” I mute my voice, but I can’t stop the raging fire in my eyes. “Even if I’d had no hand in your death, even if it wasn’t my fault, I would have gone to Italy. Obviously, I should have been more careful—I should have spoken to Alice directly, rather then accepting it secondhand from Rosalie. But really, what was I supposed to think when the boy said Charlie was at the funeral? What are the odds… the odds. The odds are always stacked against us. Mistake after mistake. I’ll never criticize Romeo again.” After all, he could scarcely be more abhorrent than myself.
“But I still don’t understand. That’s my whole point. So what?”
“Excuse me?” I ask politely, bewildered.
“So what if I was dead?”
I freeze for a second, and then ask, “Don’t you remember anything I told you before?”
“I remember everything that you told me.”
I brush my finger against her lower lip, shuddering at the perfect warmth. “Bella, you seem to be under a misapprehension. I thought I’d explained it clearly before. Bella, I can’t live in a world where you don’t exist.” It feels so natural, to have this, to be vowing my truest of loves again.
“I am… confused.”
“I’m a good liar, Bella, I have to be.”
She freezes. I can see the agony in her gaze. I shake her shoulder—carefully, always carefully. “Let me finish! I’m a good liar, but still, for you to believe me so quickly. That was… excruciating.” And the idea that I could even feel pain from it, so selfish. “When we were in the forest, when I was telling you goodbye—you weren’t going to let go. I could see that. I didn’t want to do it. It felt like it would kill me to do it. But I know that if I couldn’t convince you that I didn’t love you anymore-“ Blasphemy! My heart rebelled against the concept then, and does so again now- “it would just take you that much longer to get on with your life. I hoped that, if you thought I’d moved on, so would you.”
“A clean break,” she whispers. Has she clung so to those cruel words?
“Exactly. But I never imagined it would be so easy to do! I thought it would be next to impossible, that you would be so sure of the truth I would have to lie through my teeth for hours to even plant the seed of doubt in your head. I lied, and I’m sorry—sorry because I hurt you, sorry because it was a worthless effort. Sorry that I couldn’t protect you from what I am. I lied to save you, and it didn’t work. I’m sorry.”
My heart feels so much lighter, empty as it is without her love, with those heavy apologies at last spoken.
“But how could you believe me? After all the thousand times I’ve told you I love you, how could you let one word break your faith in me? I could see it in your eyes, that you honestly believed I didn’t want you anymore. The most absurd, ridiculous concept—as if there were any way that I could exist without needing you!”
She still doesn’t answer. I shake her shoulder again, and sigh, “Bella, really. What were you thinking?”
She starts to cry. I wince at the tears, wrenching my arm from her shoulder… have I hurt her? But her words do not confirm that. “I knew it. I knew I was dreaming.”
“You’re impossible.” I laugh bitterly. “How can I put this so that you’ll believe me? You’re not asleep, and you’re not dead. I’m here, and I love you. I have always loved you, and I will always love you. I was thinking of you, seeing your face in my mind, every second that I was away. When I told you that I didn’t want you, it was the very blackest sort of blasphemy.”
She shakes her head, and despair lands heavy in my gut.
“You don’t believe me, do you? Why can you believe the lie, but not the truth?”
“It never made sense for you to love me,” she whispers, her voice breaking. “I always knew that.”
I grit my teeth. What have I done to her? How could it be possible that my Bella would believe such a thing? “I’ll prove you’re awake,” I whisper, catching her face between my hands. The soft warmth of her skin, her full cheeks, her gentle heartbeat, overwhelms me. For so long I’ve missed this!
She tries to turn away, but I cannot allow her to take this chance to prove myself away.
“Please don’t, she whispers.”
“Why not?” I ask. If she does not want me, understandable. More than that. I won’t force her into anything. I will disappear the moment she orders me away. In fact, I wait for that command.
“When I wake up…” I start to protest, so she edits. “Okay, forget that one, when you leave again, it’s going to be hard enough without this too.”
I pull back an inch. Jacob Black. The dog who answered the phone. Her boyfriend. That’s it, isn’t it? She doesn’t want to have to explain this to him. She has a new love, new loyalties. Her heart is changeable. “Yesterday, when I would touch you, you were so… hesitant. So careful. And yet… still the same.” Still my beloved Bella, even if you are another’s now. “Is it because I’m too late? Because I’ve hurt you too much? Because you have moved on, as I meant for you to? That would be… quite fair.” Precisely what I deserve. “I won’t contest your decision. So don’t try to spare my feelings, please—just tell me now whether or not you can still love me, after everything I’ve done to you. Can you?”
My voice is a whisper by the end. I gaze into her eyes, my heart shattering as I wait.
“What kind of an idiotic question is that?”
Of course. I was a fool, to wish for her to move on and yet come back expecting her still to be mine! “Just answer it. Please.”
“The way I feel about you will never change.”
There’s no hope, then.
“Of course I love you—and there’s nothing you can do about it!” she exclaims.
My heart heals in that instant. I would swear it starts to beat again. Joyfully, I touch my lips to hers, losing myself a little too much in the motion I’ve so missed.
Never will I leave her again. I do not have the strength.