Running Into Midnight
Bella had been in danger because of what I did. Because of what we were. The night’s events had awakened me to reality, and reality was that she deserved life and I didn’t. I didn’t deserve her. Edward's decision in New Moon to leave Bella from his point of view. What was he thinking? How could he have left Bella?
1. Chapter 1
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Bella slowly became more and more still, until I knew she was in a deep sleep. The talking would come later—for now I had to hurry. I untangled myself from her arms carefully, tucking the covers around her to keep her warm. Suddenly everything had made sense, and the next path for me to choose had revealed itself. I couldn’t waste another second. The jump from her window to the ground was effortless.
I was running through the night, so fast that no human eyes could see me.
Bella had been in danger because of what I did. Because of what we were. And now I knew that could never happen again. If I truly did love her then I wouldn’t still be here. Why hadn’t I listened to myself all last fall when we had first met? Hadn’t I told myself over and over that I had to leave? The best thing I could do for her now, the only thing I could give her was this. The night’s events had awakened me to reality, and reality was that she deserved life and I didn’t. I didn’t deserve her.
I slowed before reaching the front porch, but didn’t stop to gather myself before entering what was sure to turn into a fight. Hesitation would only give Alice a chance to see what I was doing, and I wasn’t interested in listening to her arguments. Carlisle would accept my decision, but I still didn’t want to draw out the pain of what I was about to do. I flung open the door to my family sitting in the living room, waiting for me as I knew they were.
“Edward!” Esme stood up and hugged me, relieved to see me. She had been worried, after seeing me look so distraught. I couldn’t bring myself to hug her properly. She was only worrying, the idea of me asking us to leave not even entering her thoughts. If only I didn’t have to hurt her.
Jasper still hadn’t returned, but was lingering behind the house, hiding in shame. He was trying not to throw apologies at me, as he could sense how upset I was. But he was never good at concealing his thoughts from me, and I could hear a constant murmuring string of Edward… I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. He wasn’t the one to be sorry, of course. No, this was all my fault, for not taking action to protect Bella. She was back in her bed right now, alone, her arm cut up and damaged…
“Edward… Don’t do this.” Alice had raced inside moments before I did, as she already had Seen. Her eyes were blazing, her eyebrows pointed down in a dangerous mixture of fury and pain that was begging me to change my decision.
Emmett and Carlisle stood up, while Rosalie remained on the couch looking bored. Carlisle walked to the dining room table.
“I believe a meeting is in order.”
We all sat down at the table. Jasper slid inconspicuously into the room, leaning against the wall, his head down. Carlisle assumed his position at the head of the table.
“Edward? What is Alice talking about? No Alice,” he insisted as she opened her mouth to object, “Edward goes first. This is his burden, not yours.”
My family turned their eyes towards me. The words caught in my throat slightly, but I forced them out, having already made my decision no matter how painful.
“What happened tonight… What happened tonight is my fault. No, Jasper, you cannot deny what you are, and neither can I. I am not able to—no, I refuse—to continue to put Bella in danger. We are all in the same situation, and Jasper’s actions tonight could very well have been my actions, had I been thirsty.”
Alice leapt up, furious. Can’t let him finish…
“Edward, Bella is my best friend. We all love her, and none of us are ready to say goodbye to her, especially not you. Are you really going to do this to us? To her? Do you really think she can just go on with her life now like nothing’s happened?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Do you think she can go on with her life like this? Constantly being put in danger? Always been around monsters who want to kill her? Isolating herself from her family, her friends, people who she should be interacting with but isn’t! Never being able to live a human life, giving up something we all desperately want just because she doesn’t understand the value of being human! Bella doesn’t know what’s good for her, and if I don’t do this then I’ll be sentencing her to a life of solitude, or death, because I wouldn’t take care of her like she can’t take care of herself!”
“Edward, don’t you love her?”
I slid forward into a crouch, and a furious roar arose from the deepest corners of my heart that were insulted to the point of uncontrollable anger. How could she, for one second, suggest that I did not love Bella with every fiber of my being? How could she imply that I would not die a thousand times and then some for her? I wanted to die for her!
“Edward, stop. Sit down. You too, Alice.” Carlisle ordered us. My heart’s angry cry subsided, but I did not sit down. Instead I bore my eyes into Alice and received an equally heated glare. Tonight we were not brother and sister; tonight she was trying to send Bella to an existence of crystallized death. Tonight she was my enemy.
Carlisle stood up. He looked at us, his mind working so quickly that I could barely catch the thoughts as they flew by.
“This is Edward’s decision.”
“NO!” Alice was trying to hurl herself at me, only being restrained by Jasper. The table had been smashed into pieces by her delicate fist. How peculiar… usually only Rosalie broke the furniture. She stopped struggling against Jasper’s iron grip and calming powers, only locking eyes with me and letting the angry façade disintegrate.
Edward… Please. I’m begging you. Don’t do this. You can’t do this to her! She tried to shove images at me, visions… and I pushed them away. I didn’t want to see whatever she had to show me. Edward, please, you love her! I love her Edward! Don’t do this! It didn’t matter. I had made my decision.
She gave me one last look—don’t expect me to speak to you ever again— and then walked upright through the mangled and destroyed table and out the door. Jasper gave me one last regretful glance followed her.
Emmett was the first to break the silence. He let out a long sigh.
“So Edward wants us to leave? Without Bella?”
Rosalie assured him that that was what I intended. She couldn’t have looked happier. She of all people understood why I wouldn’t do this to Bella. It was sickening, agreeing with her twisted logic.
Emmett frowned and leaned back in his chair. “Dude, are you sure you wanna do that?”
I couldn’t deal with this anymore. I turned to Carlisle and addressed him.
“It’s my wishes that we leave town as soon as possible, permanently. I do not want any of our family contacting Bella ever again in any way for the rest of her human life. None of them must ever see or speak to her again. Alice may not search her future or keep tabs on her in any ways. This is all I ask.”
I knew Carlisle understood. The room was getting hazy around me; I couldn’t stay there anymore. They would all be gone by morning—I would stay behind to say goodbye. My decision had been made.
I left the house and headed towards town, knowing Alice and Jasper had charged off in the opposite direction. I couldn’t think about them now. A giant tree with sprawling branches appeared on my right, and I easily sprung up into the topmost branches to lie beneath the stars.
Something was blazing through the inside of my chest, creating giant slashes through my dead heart. If only I couldn’t feel—if only I could do the right thing and leave her without destroying any hope I ever had of being happy. Of existing. My choice to leave had been made so decidedly with full knowledge of how it would destroy me. It was sick, twisted, obscene, what I was about to do to myself, yet nothing compared to what I would do to her by staying.
The stars were shielded from my view by explanatory visions. First I saw Bella, dressed in layers upon layers of white. She shined, her cheeks blushing slightly as my fingers reached forward to stroke her cheek… Her eyes sparkled with life, thoughts swimming in her tender light brown eyes.... She reached towards me as well, her small white teeth parting to speak…
And I realized she was not reaching towards me at all, but to a man standing beside me. I did not turn to look at him, instead watching Bella walk by me, her eyes sliding past to divulge her secrets to another. She would kiss him, and let him hold her, and she would never think of me again. The branches around me tore like skin and bone from the tree and shattered into infinitively small pieces by the power of my index finger.
Powdery remains settled on my chest. I reached forward to brush them off of me, catching sight of my disgustingly waxy hand. A second vision cast the powdery substance out of my mind. Bella, her hand reaching forward and taking mine, identically pale and cold. No blush rising to her cheeks when I stared into her eyes, eyes that no longer held a broth of her warm instinct, her intelligence. Red hunger, followed by hatred for the one who could have saved her. But before I could explain, before I could even begin to beg for the forgiveness I did not deserve, Bella was swallowed by flames, her skin once again warm but being burned away, and she was being dragged away into hell. I tried to throw her back to the branch I had been perched on, not even caring that I was being dragged down with her. The walls of my stomach yawned in towards each other, and I was leaning over the street far below, trying to forcibly remove the disgusting image from my body. A string of venom dropped from my lips.
I was a monster. I deserved to go to hell. What I wanted more than anything was hell. Hell would take me and punish me for what I had become, and more importantly, would keep the monster I was away from Bella. Yes, the first vision had been painful, but it was nothing compared to the second one. I leapt down and sprinted across the landscape. All I could see ahead was darkness, and I was running towards it faster than I had ever run before, if only to keep it from penetrating the pure, perfect form that was Bella.