Many of you may have already seen Stephenie Meyer’s website and seen her blog concerning Midnight Sun. She wrote a first draft on this book, basically Twilight from Edward’s point of view, and somehow it was leaked onto the internet. It’s a horrible thing when something that important is stolen from you. Being the amazing person she is, instead of condemning the curious readers who have read it, she posted the draft on her website. It is not a finished story but you must read it before continuing with my story because this is my feeble attempt to finish Midnight Sun. I hope you enjoy it.
2. Chapter 12. Balancing
Rating 5/5 Word Count 5103 Review this Chapter
Alice assaulted me before I even finished pulling into the drive.
Edward, did you tell her about me? About our friendship?
“No, Alice,” I declared as I shut off the ignition and bound up the stairs all within a mere second. Her pouting face greeted me as I opened the front door. With her arms crossed over her chest she glowered at me. I answered her question before she even formed the thought, knowing her so well, “Because I want to know more about her. Let’s get that started before I introduce you into the mix.”
She shrugged her shoulders noncommittally. It’s only a matter of time.
“Is it?” I asked cautiously.
“I told you before Edward, I see two possible outcomes,” she saw the pain registered in my face and cut me off right away, “but the second is becoming stronger every day.” What she didn’t realize was neither of her visions gave me solace. Two choices; either kill Bella or turn her into the same soulless creature that I was. No, I would never let either of those things happen. She was too important, too perfect to suffer either ill fate.
Dejected I ruffled Alice’s hair and walked past her to the living room where my family was gathered.
Carlisle looked up from his book with a strained smile on his face. We need to talk…as a family. I noticed the rest of my family discreetly glancing between us both, with the exception of Rosalie, who glared at me with resentment and fury that would turn the devil himself cold. I ignored it.
“We’ve already discussed this, I’m not ending it,” I stared straight into Rose’s piercing eyes.
What do you mean, end it? Emmett thought.
A lower guttural growl came from my throat, “I will not hurt her,” I said, almost convincing myself of that fact, “and I will not leave her. I love her.”
Esme and Alice were the only beaming faces in the room. Carlisle just looked uncomfortably accepting, while Jasper and Emmett shrugged. Rosalie made her disgust known by flying from the room straight into the woods.
Emmett clapped his great hand on my back, “Good luck bro, you’re gonna need it,” before turning to follow her.
I walked to my piano and began playing the tune that I wrote for Bella, each note felt as though it came directly from inside me. Composing, for me at least, was always a deliberate and thought out process. I had always paid careful attention to the feeling of each key; the grandiose nature of the major chords to the dim sadness of the minor. I corrected each stanza until I felt it was perfect. To my ears, vampire or not, music was as close to perfection as possible. But Bella’s lullaby, the song that seemed to calm her as I hummed it during her restless nights, was no composition. It was nothing more than pure love flowing through my fingertips and making its way through the piano to fall on the ears and hearts of anyone listening.
I took no notice of Esme’s eyes, had she been human there would be tears falling from them. Mere hours had passed but it felt like days since I had seen Bella. I bowed my head and retreated from the room. No one questioned me as I walked out the front door. My family didn’t need my gift to know where I was going, it was as inevitable as the sunrise.
As I watched Bella sleep that night I actually felt nervous. It had been a long time since I had felt the emotion so strongly. What if I hurt her. I couldn’t bear the thought of it as I gazed at her sleeping form. Her dreams had been restless lately and she tossed and turned in her bed. At first she called out her mother’s name, then she began crying, “I don’t want to dance, please don’t make me go.” I chuckled as I slid over towards her bed and gently breathed upon her face. Her body visibly relaxed and I heard her murmur my name. I will admit that my ego roared at the fact that I could cause such a reaction from her. Bella was like no one I’d ever encountered before. Not only because her thoughts were foreign to me but because she never ceased to surprise me. After ninety years of studying human behavior I found it difficult to believe that I could still be surprised.
Alice met me by the stairs as I walked into the house. “Take a walk with me Edward.”
I eyed her warily; there was a time when I wouldn’t have thought twice about her intentions but I was afraid this had something to do with Bella. “Not tonight Alice,” I answered as I tried to slip by her.
Her hand shot out in a millisecond blocking my escape, “Edward, I miss our time together,” Alice sighed as she dropped her hand, resigned to let me make my own decision. I shook my hand at her well played guilt trip and turned around, walking down the front steps.
When she didn’t follow I murmured, “Well, aren’t you coming?” Even my heightened hearing could barely make out the sound of her footsteps as she bounded towards me. We strolled around to the backyard, well strolling for vampires is quite different than a human walk.
Wanna race? I laughed and saw her smirk out of the corner of my eye.
“You know who will win don’t you?” I asked shrewdly.
“Of course,” she answered in her sing song voice, “but that doesn’t mean we still can’t have fun.” With that we were off, bounding over the creek and darting in and out of trees with the greatest of ease. It felt brilliant to let myself go; not to have to contain myself was wonderful. Every moment I spent with Bella, although superb, was very tiring. I was constantly on my guard so as to keep myself from hurting her in any way.
We only slowed when we reached that old run down cottage deep in the forest. I had always had a special feeling about that place and tonight was no different. Alice eyed it surreptitiously. Her thoughts were hazy so I asked, “What is it Alice?”
“It’s too soon to tell but I think this place may look a lot different soon?” she put the thought from her mind and turned to me, “you look like you needed that run.”
“Yes,” I admitted, “I’m tired of talking about it, there’s nothing that anyone can do to stop me so I don’t know why they bother trying.”
They are only concerned for you, for Bella.
“For themselves,” I retorted.
Alice threw her hands to her hips with such force that she took me off guard for a moment, “Edward Cullen, that is NOT true and you know it!” I eyed her skeptically and she laughed, “Okay, maybe it’s true for Rose but not the rest of us.”
“I’m afraid to be alone with her,” I admitted.
It doesn’t help that you haven’t hunted in a week. Alice thought judiciously.
“Come with me tomorrow?” I asked pleadingly.
She nodded, “Can we go early? Maybe after lunch? Jazz and I kind of have plans after school.”
I shrugged, “Sure, and thanks Alice for…understanding.”
She gave me a devilish grin, “Anyway I took you running to get your mind off of everything and you still haven’t beaten me yet.” With that she took off. I waited a moment to give her a bit of a head start and followed in close pursuit, we both new that there was no way I would lose this race.
I pulled up to Bella’s house moments after Charlie had left. Just seeing her walking towards my car was kindred to feeling my heart beat again. As she settled herself into the passenger seat I couldn’t help but smile. She smelled amazing, sensual and mouthwatering all at once, if it was possible. I let the burn in my throat disappear into the back of my mind. “How did you sleep?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Fine. How was your night?” She didn’t realize exactly what she was asking, my night was magnificent because I spent most of it listening to her call my name in her dreams.
“Pleasant,” I answered, trying not to give myself away.
“Can I ask what you did?” She asked.
“No,” I laughed, “today is still mine.” I questioned her endlessly about her mother, her grandmother and her friends from Phoenix. The question that was really burning inside of me, the one that shook me to the core was about her past boyfriends. I was shocked when she told me that she had never had many boyfriends. “So you never met anyone you wanted?” I knew that she was easily blind to the intentions of the boys around her. The jealous monster roared inside of me as I thought about anyoe touching her. Mike Newton’s face popped into my head and it took all of my concentration to maintain a calm façade.
“Not in Phoenix,” she answered me.
That worried me more than anything. I was elated, the man in me smiled with delight but the beast within purred in hunger. I silently rebuked the monster and attempted to quell his evil thoughts.
Lunch was our usual affair as we sat at our own table, Bella ate while I questioned her about her life before me. My heart ached at the thought of leaving her after lunch, even if it was only for a little while. “I should have let you drive yourself today,” I told her even though I knew I wouldn’t have been able to bear not seeing her this morning.
“Why?” she demanded after swallowing a bite of her pizza.
I sighed, “I’m leaving with Alice after lunch.”
She looked slightly downtrodden, “Oh. That’s okay, it’s not that far of a walk.”
Walk? As if I’d let her walk, it may not be the nineteenth century anymore but a gentleman still had certain duties. It puzzled me that she would think I could be so unthinking. “I’m not going to make you walk home. We’ll go get your truck and leave it here for you.”
“I don’t have my key with me,” she answered, “I really don’t mind walking.”
“Your truck will be here, and the key will be in the ignition – unless you’re afraid someone might steal it.” I laughed, now that would be less likely that my making her walk home.
“Alright,” she answered skeptically. Little did she realize that it would take me moments to climb into her window and retrieve her key; I had made my way stealthily through her house while she was in the very room sleeping. She actually thought I would have a problem while no one was there, the thought was laughable.
“So where are you going?” She asked.
I tried to be as casual as possible about my answer, “Hunting. If I’m going to be alone with you tomorrow, I’m going to take whatever precautions I can. You can always cancel, you know.” It was a dangerous game I was playing, part of me yearned for a yes, knowing that the further she was from me, the safer she was. On the other hand my heart yearned for her affections, for her to scoff at the idea of spending a minute without me.
“No, I can’t.” She answered.
Torn between the two extremes, I agreed with her, “Perhaps you’re right.” I resolved to myself that I would do everything in my power to keep her frail body from harm, this too included her soul.
“What time will I see you tomorrow/” She asked, visibly trying to steer the conversation away from the uncomfortable.
“That depends…it’s a Saturday, don’t you want to sleep in?
“No,” she answered quickly. I heard her heart skip a beat and I grinned with pleasure.
“The same time as usual, then,” I offered. “Will Charlie be there?” I hoped that she would tell him, not only because it would be a good idea for her own safety but because I wanted her to introduce me as her boyfriend. I never had much experience with courting but it seemed immoral and wrong to be so intimately connected with a woman without, at least, her father’s knowledge.
“No, he’s fishing tomorrow.” She answered, seemingly proud of how well she managed to keep Charlie out of the loop.
I fought to keep myself calm, no one knew that she would be with me, this was not good. “And if you don’t come home, what will he think?” I was annoyed and Bella picked up on it.
“I have no idea. He knows I’ve been meaning to do the laundry. Maybe he’ll think I fell in the washer,” she answered with a smirk. I glowered at her remark and she stared right back at me doing her best to be menacing. It was like a kitten challenging a tiger. I couldn’t help but love her all the more for her naïve bravery.
“What are you hunting tonight?” She asked in an attempt to change the mood.
I chuckled, “Whatever we find in the park. We aren’t going far.”
She cocked her head to one side, “Why are you going with Alice?”
So she picked up on the fact that I usually hunted with Emmett or Jasper, “Alice is the most…supportive,” I answered, having trouble finding the right word for my family’s apprehension about our relationship.
She glanced over at my old table and sighed, “They don’t like me.”
That was an understatement if I ever heard one but I couldn’t let her know that. “That’s not it; they don’t understand why I can’t leave you alone. Neither do I, for that matter.”
Her face became contorted into a hurtful frown. I just rolled my eyes at her. I didn’t need to read her mind to realize that she mistook my concern for indifference. “I told you – you don’t see yourself clearly at all. You’re not like anyone I’ve ever known. You fascinate me.” Her unbelieving stare caused me to continue, “Having the advantages I do,” I said, tapping my forehead. “I have a better than average grasp of human nature. People are predictable. But you…you never do what I expect. You always take me by surprise.” Like the fact that she was sitting there having a conversation about “hunting” when she should have been running away, screaming MONSTER at the top of her lungs.
She looked embarrassed by what I was telling her and I didn’t want her to feel that way at all. There was so much more to her appeal than merely her veiled thoughts. I continued, eager to have her realize how truly special she was, “That part is easy enough to explain, but there’s more…and it’s not so easy to put into words—” How could I tell this 17 year old girl that I had been waiting for a century to have her come into my life, it was unthinkable.
Just at that moment Rosalie’s thoughts rang out in the room, clear as a bell. I could kill her for what she has done to me. That insignificant, UGLY… The growl in my throat longed to become a roar, but I knew Rosalie could hear the warning and her thoughts cut off immediately. She turned her stare to the other side of the room and sent me a warning of her own. If you ruin this for me I will kill you Edward. For ruining her chance at a practically human life, I had no doubt that she would rip out my throat with her own teeth.
Bella’s face had considerably paled and my remorse was instantaneous. “I’m sorry about that. She’s just worried. You see…it’s dangerous for more than just me if, after spending so much time with you so publically…” I couldn’t bring myself to finish my thought.
“If?” She asked.
“If this ends…badly.” My anguish at voicing my own fears out loud was considerable and I dropped my head into my heads, fearful of looking into her trusting eyes. Did I deserve that trust? I wasn’t as sure as Carlisle.
We held that silence for an immeasurable moment and I was grateful that she allowed me to collect myself before asking, “And you have to leave now?”
“Yes,” I answered, suddenly thinking about the movie in Biology class and the way it felt to be next to her in that darkened room. “It’s probably for the best. We still have fifteen minutes of that wretched movie left to endure in Biology – I don’t think I could take anymore.”
I heard Alice’s thoughts screaming for an introduction. For a vampire, one would think that she would have a modicum of patience. I greeted her without stealing my glance from Bella’s face. “Alice.”
“Edward,” she answered, keeping her thoughts only between she and I. Well are you going to introduce me NOW?
“Hello, Bella. It’s nice to finally meet you.” Bella’s frail human ears couldn’t make out the emphasis Alice placed on the word finally but mine certainly did.
Bella greeting her shyly, “Hi, Alice.”
And so it begins. Alice thought. “Are you ready?”
I shrugged, “Nearly, I’ll meet you at the car.” When I heard her retreat toward the school parking lot I turned my full attention back to Bella, who was looking wistfully after Alice.
“Should I say ‘have fun’ or is that the wrong sentiment?” She asked.
I laughed at her obvious attempt to normalize this situation, “No, ‘have fun’ works as well as anything.”
She answered with a sigh, “Have fun, then.” I could tell that she didn’t want me to leave and she was not alone in that opinion.
“I’ll try,” I answered, thinking of her as my walking disaster area. “And you try to be safe, please.”
“Safe in Forks – what a challenge.” She replied.
“For you it is a challenge. Promise.”
“I promise to try to be safe,” she answered. “I’ll do the laundry tonight – that ought to be fraught with peril.”
“Don’t fall in,” I laughed.
“I’ll do my best,” she answered mockingly.
I could see the disappointment in her eyes as we both got to our feet, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said glumly.
“It seems like a long time to you, doesn’t it?” She nodded at me and all I wanted to do was reach out and brush her face, “I’ll be there in the morning.”
Alice was waiting by my car as I made my way out into the parking lot.
She’s smitten with you
I rolled my eyes at her as I opened the car and we both got in. “We have to bring Bella her truck so that she can get home after school.”
“Sure,” Alice answered.
I laughed quietly, thinking about Bella’s skepticism concerning my ability to get her truck to school.
“What are chuckling about?” Alice asked, bemused by my attitude.
“Bella…she seemed to doubt my ability to find her car keys and get her truck back to school,” I answered.
Alice’s bell-like laughter filled the car as we pulled up in front of Bella’s house. “She doesn’t understand you very well yet, does she?” But that will change
“Will it?” I asked her. I didn’t wait for her answer as I got out of the car and quickly ran around to the back of the house and jumped through her window. I could smell the metal from her key and reached for a pair of jeans; the mix of her own scent with the key metal was intoxicating. I found myself debating on whether or not to take a small keepsake. I tried convincing myself that someone with her scent on it would desensitize me for our day tomorrow. But I shook my head, I couldn’t do that, I had crossed many lines lately but that was one that I was unwilling to even dance around.Alice had already slipped into the driver’s seat of my Volvo. I hated the thought of having to drive Bella’s truck but I knew that it was for her, and when I left it back in the school lot I left her a short note. Just a little something that I hoped would make her realize how much I cared: Be Safe.
A full night of hunting did little to easy my qualms about the days plan. Alice knocked on my door with every intention of critiquing my wardrobe. “Edward, you must wear that tan sweater I bought you last week. Now that you’ve hunted it will set off your eyes very nicely.”
I groaned as I took the sweater from my wardrobe, “She won’t care what I’m wearing Alice.”
She tsked me as she danced from my room. I had learned the hard way that it could be difficult to win against Alice and most of the time it was easier to just give in before she got started. The run to Bella’s house would have taken a human over an hour but in a short fifteen minutes I was standing on her front porch, conflicted in my emotions about spending the day alone with her. With much trepidation I knocked lightly on her door, Chief Swan’s cruiser was already gone so there was no chance of him answering my knock. I heard Bella fumbling with the locks before opening the door.
Of course she was a vision. I wondered how I ever thought that she was average. Her upper lip was five millimeters larger than her lower lip and her nose curved two millimeters to the left but it only enhanced her beauty. It wasn’t until I noticed what she was wearing that s smile broke across my face, “Good morning.”
“What’s wrong?” she asked, seeming terribly insecure.
Alice I shook my head as I thought about her obvious plan to break the ice. “We match,” I answered. We laughed together as she locked the door behind her. Very ungraciously I rounded her truck to get into the passenger seat.
She took in my reluctance and chastised me lightly, “We made a deal.”
I was instantly nervous, this car, if you could call it that, looked about ready to fall apart. And Bella, well Bella could barely keep from falling over her own feet, now she was controlling a ton of scrap metal. It was a bit unnerving.
“Where to?” she asked.
“Put your seat belt on – I’m nervous already.”
She rolled her eyes as she buckled her belt, “Where to?”
“Take the one-oh-one north,” I instructed. I watched as she carefully navigated the sleepy town. The insanity of everything was driving me insane. Her mouth-watering scent, her beauty, her incredibly slow driving; I couldn’t take me eyes off of her. “Were you planning to make it out of Forks before nightfall?” I teased.
She gave me a fining look, “This truck is old enough to be your car’s grandfather – have some respect.”
I navigated her onto the one-ten and to the end of the pavement, all the while staring at her face. I loved how she bit on her lower lip slightly when she was trying to concentrate or when she was particularly nervous. I wondered which emotion was causing her to unconsciously to it now, probably both.
“And what’s there, at the pavement’s end?” she asked, breaking my reverie.
“A trail,” I answered. I know I misled her a bit but I didn’t want her to turn back, well most of me didn’t. I was still in fear of hurting her, or almost as bad, being rejected by her once she saw what I had to show her.
“We’re hiking?” she asked, a slight note of hysteria in her voice.
“Is that a problem?” Part of me hoped that she would say yes and turn the truck around, but I longed so much to show her all of me. I was complete torn in two.
“No,” she lied.
“Don’t worry, it’s only five miles or so, and we’re in no hurry,” I answered. I knew that if it took every once of strength in my body I would maintain patience with the slow progress we were sure to make. It unnerved me that I couldn’t hear her thoughts. I stared at her lovely face for an immeasurable moment and wondered, “What are you thinking?”
She smiled at me shyly, “Just wondering where we’re going.”
I thought of the small meadow and smiled, “It’s a place I like to go when the weather is nice.”
She looked up at the sky; there weren’t many days when the sun won in Forks, but today was certainly one of them. “Charlie said it would be warm today,” she murmured absentmindedly.
I raised my eyebrow but didn’t turn to look at her, I already knew the answer to my question but I asked it anyway, “And did you tell Charlie what you were up to?”
“Nope,” she replied happily.
But Jessica Stanley was my saving grace; I would have never believed that to be true but her knowledge of our outing was a blessing. “But Jessica thinks we’re going to Seattle together?”
“No, I told her you cancelled on me – which is true.”
Damn it Bella! “No one knows you’re with me?” I asked, perhaps a little too crossly.
“That depends…I assume you told Alice?”
She was not helping at all. “That’s very helpful, Bella.” She didn’t even answer, she just continued down the road, possibly to her death. How could she be so nonchalant about traipsing off into the forest with a deadly vampire? Her reckless abandon for her own life was infuriating. “Are you so depressed by Forks that it’s made you suicidal?” I asked harshly.
“You said it might cause trouble for you…us being together publicly,” she answered, using my own words against me.
I restrained myself from gnashing my teeth together and quickly retorted, “So you’re worried about the trouble it might cause me -- if you don’t come home?”
She nodded, not daring to look me in the eyes.
“You have a death wish,” I murmured slightly. I stayed silent until we reached our destination. I knew that I could not trust myself to talk her out of going. Hell, I couldn’t even talk myself out of going and for that I was angry. No, anger was not the right emotion, I was furious at myself. Why couldn’t I just stay away from her?
I pulled my sweater off over my head after dismounting the death trap she called a vehicle and turned to face her, “This way.” I began walking into the forest, trying to control my anger.
“The trail?” she asked in a panic-stricken voice.
“I said there was a trail at the end of the road, not that we were taking it.” I had misled her and for that I felt awful, but part of me thought she would have turned back if I had told her, and despite all my wishes to keep her safe I needed her with me. I needed to smell her sweet scent and stare upon her lovely face. More than anything in this world I needed her to see me for what I was; to be myself completely around her and this was the only way I could think of.
“No trail?” she murmured looking as if she wanted to run away.
“Do you want to go home?” I asked, no longer hiding my disappointment.
“No,” she answered firmly and marched decisively to where I stood.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, knowing that she must be frightened for her life.
“I’m not a good hiker, you’ll have to be very patient,” she answered.
Bella never ceased to surprise me, she was worried about slowing me down, “I can be patient – if I make a great effort,” I said jokingly, trying to lighten the mood.
Her smile was like the sun, but it made me feel safe, as if I could be myself as I only could at night. Bella was my midnight sun. I knew now that I wouldn’t hurt her. “I’ll take you home,” I promised, wanting nothing more than to reach out and brush her cheek.
“If you want me to hack five miles through the jungle before sundown, you’d better start leading the way.”
I couldn’t understand why she seemed so annoyed, I tried to see what she could possibly be thinking but it was to no avail. Her mind, as per usual, was blocked from my gift.
Our pace was glacial but I truly didn’t mind, I spent the time asked Bella more questions about her life before we’d met. She had the amazing ability to be self-deprecating without sounding pathetic and I found myself becoming even more relaxed in her presence. Emmett would have been even more entertained than I was, listening to her stories. He found great amusement in human frailty. Each time she slipped I shot my hand out to catch her but she always right herself on her own and the only time we touched was when I would help her over a fallen tree trunk. The pounding of her heart surprised me so much that for a moment I thought it was my own, impossible but if my heart still had the ability it would have leapt from my chest.
I could see the light from the meadow just as she asked, “Are we there yet?”
“Nearly, do you see the brightness ahead?” I pointed towards the thinning trees.
“Um, should I?” she asked.
“Maybe it’s too soon for your eyes.”
“Time to visit the optometrist,” she quipped.
I laughed, noticing her excitement growing and we got closer to the edge of the meadow. With every step she became more energized and I became more apprehensive. I allowed her to enter the clearing alone, taking in the magic of the place without alarming her. She gazed around in wonder and then suddenly she turned, her eyes searching for me. She reached out her and took a step forward. I stopped her, holding up my own hand, indicating that she should wait.
It’s now or never Edward, there’s no turning back. I closed my eyes and steeled myself for her inevitable shock. Would she scream and run? Images of her screams invaded my mind as I almost lost my nerve. I knew that I couldn’t live without her and I couldn’t expect anything from her unless I showed her fully what I truly was. I closed my eyes and took that first step into the meadow and oblivion.