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Existence

Summary:
What would have happened had the Volturi decided to grant Edward his wish and kill him? Would Bella have been able to get to him in time? Would the Volturi show mercy on them still? Bella races to save Edward's life, though one thing has changed...Edward will be killed.


Notes:


7. Chapter 7: Proposal

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I had completely forgotten how beautiful and perfect our meadow was with Edward here with me. I was lying in Edward’s arms amongst the grass, my arms wrapped around his waist and my head was laying against his bare chest.

I trailed the bridge of my nose up the side of his neck, and then over to the other side down the column of his throat, pressing my lips into the hollow of his throat. I slowly trailed my lips and nose down the line of symmetry in his chest, bringing my hands up and resting them on his pecs.

I sniffed in as deeply as I could to really enjoy his indescribably beautiful scent. God, never before had I ever felt so amazing…so complete. Any minute now I would wake up; I was sure of it. But, while I was in this paradise, I would not waste a single second with him.

I buried my face almost reminiscently into his chest, remembering how I had so longed to do this. I caressed his pecs with my cheek and then my parted lips, before pressing my lips into the skin in between his pecs and trailing my hands down to his stomach, tracing the distinctions of his six-pack, enjoying the feel of my fingertips against his beautiful skin.

I whimpered softly as I nestled even further into him, nuzzling his neck and mumbling his name deliriously.

After awhile, he said, with a smile, “If you don’t mind, I’d much rather you didn’t hide your face. I’ve lived without it for as long as I can stand. Now…tell me something.”

“Hm?” I murmured, against his skin, trailing my lips across the skin of his neck.

“I just…I’m confused…or appalled. Yeah, appalled is a much better word. You see, I…I just can’t…under--understand why after…everything I did to you…how could you--Bella, will you stop? I’m trying to talk to you here.”

I had been sucking on his collarbone, and smiled against his skin, as I murmured, “Sorry.” I pulled away and shifted up so that my face was mere inches from his. “You have my attention.”

“I wish I could say the same,” he whispered, pushing me away slightly, “Bella, I’m serious. Please. I have to know why.”

“Why what?” I asked, as he propped himself up on his elbow and stared off into space, struggling to put his thoughts into words.

“Why did you save me? After all I did to you, how could you come after me, risking your life for me thinking that I didn’t love you? I’m just…trying to understand…why. I gave you no reason to come after me…I literally destroyed you, but…you still came. You saved me. Please tell me why.”

I placed my hand on his cheek and lowered my head slightly to look him in the eyes. “Because none of that mattered. You might not have loved me, but I still loved you. I always would. I could never let you die--even if you never did love me. Especially not for me. I know that you meant for me to stop loving you and move on, but I had no where to move on to. I was totally and completely lost without you. If you had…”

I couldn’t say the words; it was too excruciating to even think the words. “I would not have been able to go on living. I would’ve begged the Volturi to make me their midnight snack or something--” He stiffened up, “--Sorry.”

I grimaced apologetically, “It’s…one thing to live without being yours…but…” I shook my head, “I can’t…imagine living without you…alive, I mean. If you had died, I wouldn’t be able to survive it; I would’ve been physically incapable.”

He hung his head and closed his eyes, ashamed, “I’m…so sorry.” He murmured.

“For what?” I asked, softly, confused.

“For everything. This is all my fault. If I had never left, none of this would’ve ever happened--”

“AH!” I interrupted him, “Edward, please stop this. I mean it. If I hear you say those words one more time, I might have to hurt you. No one is to blame here. You made a mistake; so what? Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. I don’t blame you for anything. You only did what you thought was best. Could you have done things differently; absolutely. But, that was your choice to make and I respect that. Just like it was my choice to come after you and save you.”

He narrowed his eyes, “Don’t even expect me to respect that choice.”

I shrugged, “Do what you will. Hardly seems fair, but that’s not up to me.”

He simply stared at me for a moment, before shaking his head, “You’re unbelievable.”

“I’m taking that as a compliment.” I said, trying to sound insulted, but negating it with a smile.

“Take it as you will.” He said, with a smirk.

I rolled my eyes and sighed, “Look, I’m sorry; I know I was reckless and had roles been reversed, I would’ve been beyond furious had you put yourself in danger to save me, but it’s not like I had a choice in the matter. I mean, hello, it’s you. Plus…you know, combined with that damn adrenaline rush you told me so much about, I just kinda lost it.” I said, smiling at my reference to his sarcasm, turning it around on him.

He simply stared at me, clearly not amused. “You think that’s funny?”

“I don’t know; you seemed to think it was funny. You tell me.” He scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Okay, so I answered yours;” I continued, “now you tell me something.”

“What?” He said, clearly still irritated, though he tried to make it as light as possible.

“Well, considering how stubborn you used to be, assuming of course that hasn’t changed, I take it that you weren’t exactly thrilled with the whole concept of my turning into a vampire.”

“You’re correct.” He said, tonelessly.

“But, you still let it happen?”

“I didn’t have a choice. The venom had entered your heart already…once it reaches the heart, there is no chance to undo it. It was done.” He slid his hand down to lower my shirt to caress the scar from his bite on my breast, lightly tracing it with his fingertips. He hesitated before replacing his fingers with his parted lips, kissing it softly, and whispering, “I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have done this to you, my love. I’m so sorry.”

Instead of getting into a whole other argument about my actual wanting this, I decided to change the subject, struggling to concentrate with his lips on the skin of my breasts. “But, you’re not mad?” Oh, God, I should just shut up and let it go.

He trailed his lips up to mere centimeters from mine and considered it, before kissing me softly, and saying, “No.” He now pulled back, his face serious. Damn. Why couldn’t I just shut up--this could wait until later. “I was. I was…so angry. I forced Alice to leave--I couldn’t be around her…if she hadn’t left, I very well might have tried to kill her. She had let this happen to you. How…could I forgive her for damning you to this…hell? How could she do that to you? You’re an angel…an angel doesn’t belong in hell. You don’t deserve this…you don’t.”

He sounded so miserable. “My life without you is my hell. I am no where near the vicinity of hell. If I was in hell, you wouldn’t be with me. Quite the contrary, this is my very own…Utopia…my heaven, my paradise. You want me to have heaven; well, I’ve got it. You might not like the heaven I chose, but it’s the only one I will ever want or need. You can’t make me give it up. I won’t.”

“And, never again will I ask you to.” He assured me, caressing my face, “But, you don’t understand…Alice knew what was going to happen. In her premonition…she saw you save me and she saw me change you. That was why she sent you alone…so that she’d have her way in this.” He clenched his teeth angrily and glared into space, shaking his head, mumbling incoherent threats to Alice.

“It wasn’t just her way.” I reminded him, “I have wanted this for so long.”

He looked to me, “We’ll see if you still want it in a few decades.”

“Will you still be with me?” I challenged.

“Yes,” he said, in an obvious-tone, “I’ve already told you. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Then, I will. Edward, you don’t get it. I don’t care what we are. We could be toilet brushes for all I care. Just so long as I have you by my side and you love and want me, then I’m good. Nothing can be bad when it’s with you.”

He shook his head, fiercely, “No, Bella, it’s you that doesn’t get it. Think about what you gave up: Charlie, Renee…Jacob.” He stiffened up as he said Jake’s name.

I rolled my eyes, “He’s a big boy; he’ll get over it. Besides, compared to you, Jake is hardly a sacrifice. It sucks, but it is definitely a sacrifice I am more than willing to make to be yours. If he can’t deal with what I am now, then he can just…pretend I don’t exist. Or he can hate me, whatever; I don’t really give a damn what he thinks. I didn’t do this for him--I did it for me.”

Hate you? You really think Jacob is just going to ‘hate’ you? Oh, Bella, if it were only that easy! I’ve broken the treaty, Bella. I turned you into a vampire, and now, we either need to leave or fight.”

I shrugged, carelessly, “Then, we’ll leave.”

“They could follow us.”

“Okay, so we’ll fight.”

He was incredulous. “Carlisle will never allow it. I won’t allow it. No way am I letting those good-for-nothing werewolves anywhere near the vicinity of you.”

“Then, we’ll deal!” I said, “Edward, it is not the end of the world. Will you stop being so dramatic?”

“I doubt Charlie and Renee will see it as ‘dramatic’.”

“They never have to know.” I told him. “I’m not planning on telling them.”

“Uh-huh, and you think that the werewolves will keep quiet?” He asked, sarcastically, “Billy Black is Charlie’s best friend; Jacob is your best friend--I doubt that they will simply let this go and keep it to themselves. And, Charlie won’t exactly be thrilled with the idea of his only daughter being turned into a vampire and being with a vampire.”

“We’ll figure it out--”

“There’s nothing to figure out, Bella. They know we really are and they’re going to come after us for it.”

“I don’t care!” I told him, frantically, “I will not let them scare me away and you can’t make me feel guilty about this.”

“I’m hardly playing the guilt card here, Bella. More like the: ‘your life is over and we’re ruined’ card. This is not just about you anymore. And, it’s not about me. It’s about the people who will be hurt by this.”

“It’ll be fine. We’ll…fabricate some story and sell it to Charlie and Renee and if Jake threatens to tell them, I’ll talk to him.”

“Well, they won’t buy and Jacob will hardly back down with a mere talking to.”

I rolled my eyes, “Edward, will you please just let me deal with this? This is my problem; please…stop…trying to make it yours.”

“But, it is, Bella. It’s our problem.”

“Can’t we please just deal with it later? Edward, I just don’t want to deal with another problem right now--I need a break from stress. Can’t I just…enjoy some time with you? Just a day or two of simply…you. No stress, no problems, just…us?”

He simply stared at me for a moment, before saying, “Yeah…us. Us…you and me.”

“That would be the definition of ‘us’, yes.” I said, hugging him close and nestling into him, closing my eyes to take in the beauty and perfection of this moment.

“You…” he whispered, but there was something else. I could sense it in his tone. I furrowed my eyebrows and looked up at him. “Edward?”

He locked eyes with mine and caressed my face lightly as he said: “ ‘You my soul, you my heart, you my joy, oh you my pain, you my world in which I live, My heaven you, in which I soar Oh you, my grave into which downward I for--eternity my grief gave! You are rest, you are peace, you are the heaven to-me granted. That you me love makes me to-myself worthy; your gaze has me before myself transfigured. You raise me lovingly above myself, My good spirit, my better I!’ ”

I smile and said, “What’s that? It’s beautiful.”

“Widmung,” he said, softly, his German devastatingly perfect, “It means ‘Dedication’. It was originally written in German by Robert Schumann. He wrote it for his wife, Clara…presented it to her the night before their wedding. As a wedding present.”

I caught the tone in his voice as he said the word ‘wedding’ and repeated it, dryly, “Wedding?” It sounded fake. Like it wasn’t really coming from my lips. I didn’t like where he was going with this.

He nodded, “Yeah. Wedding. Here, come here.” He stood me up, lifting me by my waist, and then got to one knee and said, with a slightly nervous smile, “Isabella Swan…” he paused to kiss my hands, which he was holding, “I love you. And, I never want to be without you again. I have to spend my eternity with you. Will you marry me?”

My breath caught in my throat and I simply stared at him, terrified. I lost the ability to speak. Oh, God, please tell me this wasn’t happening. “Please tell me you’re joking.” I finally managed to choke out.

A look of utter devastation crossed his features as he chuckled nervously and rose to his feet. “Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Oh, God!” I gasped, “You’re serious. Are you serious; you’re serious!”

“Pretty serious.” he said, confused, “Why…would I ask if I wasn’t serious?”

“Oh, no.” Ironic as it was, I felt actual nausea. Like I would really vomit.

“Oh, no?” He took a step back--almost staggering--”Is that--a no? Are you rejecting me?”

“No, not exactly. I’m…rather…hoping you’ll take it back?” I said, hoping to avoid the word: rejection.

“Well, I’m not taking it back.” He said, firmly.

“Okay…then, now would be a perfect time for me to wake up.”

“Ouch!” He said, appalled, “Gee, thanks, Bella, nice to know you think so much of me.”

“No! That’s not--I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just--well, marriage? Me? Ugh.” I shuddered, “I can’t exactly picture walking down the aisle wearing a dress that Alice has specially made for me by the world’s best designers.” I said the last part as dramatically as I knew she would say to me.

He smiled slightly at my imitation of Alice as I continued, “It’s hard to…explain. Look, it’s not you; I just never want to get married.”

“Why not?” He said, exasperated.

I shrugged, “I don’t know; just don’t.”

“No, no, no, no; a reaction like that is not just a careless ‘just don’t’; spill.”

“Oh, will you just drop it! What is the big deal; no body gets married nowadays. Welcome to the 21st century, Edward.”

“Bella!” He said, crossly.

“What?” I said, irritably.

“I’m sorry; I just have a hard time believing you just don’t want to get married. There’s something more. Is it me? Am I not ‘marriage material’?”

“No, I’m not!” I argued.

“I want to marry you.” He said, stepping closer to me.

“Ah,” I groaned, “Edward, you don’t want to marry me; I’d be a terrible wife. I wouldn’t even know how to be a wife.”

“Yes, I do want to marry you--I believe it was you who said no to my proposal. And, it is impossible for you to be a terrible wife.”

“Right…okay…but, I don’t want a husband. I want you; I just don’t want ‘I…do’?” That didn’t make any sense.

“Bella--”

“No!”

“Will you please just give me one good reason?”

“Aside from the fact that I don’t want to? Whatever happened to my happiness?”

He rolled his eyes and pleaded, “Bella, please. Come on, I--I turned you into a vampire, damn it. I did it for you. I gave you everything you wanted. Can’t you please do this for me?”

I simply stared at him. He was right. I had no logical reason to say no. It was just…weird to me. I couldn’t say yes…he deserved better than that. What was I going to do? “Can’t I please think about it?” I asked, softly, avoiding his eyes, “Please?”

He stopped breathing and forced a nod. “Yeah…okay. Just please know that…I love you…and I have to spend my forever with you or not at all.”

I nodded, robotically, “I know…I’m sorry, Edward. I am. I just can’t say yes. It wouldn’t be right. Not now, anyway.”

“What’s ‘not right’ about it? I love you, you love me, we’re spending forever together; what is so wrong with just making it official?”

I shook my head, “You’re not helping.”

“I never said I would help you. I’m on my side in this. Hello! I’m right and you’re wrong; why would I help you?” When I scowled at him, he smiled and dodged my hit.

“You’re so frustrating.” I said, irritably, as it began pouring down rain. I glared at the sky. “You’re frustrating too. Ugh! All right, let’s go. Stupid…” I broke off mumbling random non-words of irritation.

I made to walk away when he grabbed my wrist to stop me, “Wait a minute. Have you never danced in the rain? Oh, wait, wait--you don’t dance.” He smirked, teasingly.

“That’s not funny.”

“You’re right; I’m sorry. Actually, no, I’m not.” He pulled me in closer to him and began dancing.

“Edward!” I protested, irritably.

“Come on,” he said, “At least give me this. It’s bad enough that you stepped on my pride; you owe me.”

I groaned but allowed him to continue nonetheless. “By the way,” he purred in my ear, “I always get what I want. Just, you know--F…Y…I…” He kissed the edge of my jawbone, pulling me in closer.

“Not always,” I reminded him, smugly, smiling, because I had gotten my way in this one thing.

“This…is an exception. This is not over. I don’t care what it takes; I will win this one.”

“I’d like to take you up on that.” I said, stifling a snort.

“Oh, so would I.” He said, with a smirk. “Oh, and Bella…” he spun us around and dipped me suddenly, “I did win.” He said, cockily, kissing me softly before raising me again and continuing on, ignoring my pleas to explain what he meant by that to me.

After awhile, Edward stopped moving and simply held me as we got drenched in rain, resting his forehead against mine and closing his eyes, smiling slightly. I simply allowed him to do this for awhile, before saying, softly, “What is it?”

“Hm…you hear that?”

I studied his expression for a moment. “Hear what?”

He took one of my hands and placed it on his chest, over his heart, holding it there. “My heart…singing….It can’t beat anymore…but…it can sing…for you.” He opened his eyes and looked deep into my eyes, seeing something there that I could never know, “It sings of my love for you.”

“I don’t hear anything,” I said, jokingly with a smirk.

He began humming my lullaby, “You don’t hear that?” He continued, “How could you not hear it?” He continued again, “God, I can’t not hear it now.” He hummed a little louder, “It’s so beautiful…” he smiled as he continued on, “You made me beautiful.”

I snorted. “You never needed me for that. I have nothing to do with your extraordinary beauty. I have no hand in it whatsoever.”

“My physical beauty is just the immortality; I am somewhat beautiful on the inside because of you…and everything you make me. I’m nothing without you, love.”

I rolled my eyes, “Stop exaggerating; it’s just not funny anymore.”

“I was never going for funny.” He said, with a smile.

“Oh, so what, then? Stupid? Ridiculous?”

“How about honest?” He suggested.

“How about no.” I said, irritated, “Seriously…what is wrong with you? You say I don’t see myself clearly--you’re one to talk. You will never see how beautiful you truly are.”

“It’s hard to see something that’s not there,” he said, as if talking to a child.

I scoffed, “What are you, 12 today?”

He smiled, “No.”

“Then, act like it.” I scolded.

He smiled again and pulled me in closer, holding me against him, trailing his hands up and down my arms and around to my back. He rested one hand on the small of my back and brought the other up to cup my face in it and then he lowered his lips to mine for a kiss.

We simply kissed and held each other in the rain for awhile. I moved my hands to his shoulder blades and pulled him in closer and closer to me with each kiss.

After a moment, Edward pulled away, looking scared, as he looked at me. “What is it?” I managed to gasp.

“Oh, God…it’s Alice.”

“Alice? What; what happened?”

He shook his head, fiercely, “We don’t--we can’t--” Without any further explanation, we were running through the forest towards his house. What was going on? What was wrong? Alice? What happened to Alice? My anxiety drove me even faster, urging me to continue on.