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Written before the publication of Breaking Dawn...MY ENDING TO THE TWILIGHT SAGA ----- "Edward, what's going on?" He didn't respond. His golden eyes were far away, like he wasn't seeing me. But then something flashed across his face. An expression of anger... "Matt...ew..." Edward managed to get out through clenched teeth, as if he were fighting something internally. "Or maybe he just takes control of your body. That might be it." Jacob had guessed. "Edward!" I reached out a hand to touch his cold skin, but I stopped--my hand hovering in the air between us. The cold distant look had consumed his face. He then spoke in a voice that had pain and fear shooting through me. "Goodbye, Bella," he hissed as he advanced towards me.
20. Chapter 19 - Persuasion
Word Count 1760
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CHAPTER 19: Persuasion
We ran for what seemed like forever.
And when you ran as fast as Edward did, that basically means we covered a lot of ground.
Finally we stopped in a clearing in the trees, and Edward helped me as I slid gracelessly to the forest floor. It was night now, and the moonlight filtered down through the trees in glittering dots.
“Where are we?” I asked, looking around. The dark forest scene reminded me too much of the night Edward had left. The night I’d ran blindly through the dark searching for the only thing left in my world. I shuddered, turning back to Edward.
“Almost to the Washington border,” he answered softly. Alice and Jasper didn’t speak.
But I was surprised.
Of all the Cullens, Alice and Jasper were the least flamboyant about their relationship. So to see them, gripping each other tightly, their arms around each other surprised me.
I think my jaw dropped a bit when Alice leaned up on her tip toes to press her lips to Jasper’s.
“Don’t ever scare me like that again,” I think I heard Alice whisper.
Edward was staring away into the trees.
“What’s going on?”
“This is more serious than I thought,” he murmured, and I couldn’t tell if he was talking to himself or me. “They weren’t able to hold them off for very long before one almost got Tessa.” My eyes widened. “She’s fine, Bella,” he assured. I sighed in relief.
Relief—no one was hurt.
Horror—they were coming for us.
“They’re on their way,” I stated. Edward only stared off into the trees. “How close?” I asked.
“They’re almost here.”
I hadn’t realized I’d stopped breathing until Alice spoke.
“Breathe, Bella.” I took a complying lungful of air.
Everything was suddenly very clear.
Speaking from experience, I could guess it was from the adrenaline rush. The cold night had left a remnant of mist drifting across the ground and swirling through the gaps in the trees. Edward’s eyes locked on a spot in the mist.
Had my heart beaten twice?
It hammered erratically in my chest.
And out of the churning mist, emerged ten figures—all cloaked in black.
“Jane…” the way Edward hissed the name, it sounded like a curse. Jane smirked.
“Did you really think without some collateral damage your little coven could defeat us?” Edward did not respond. I could feel the tension rolling off of him in waves from where he stood beside me. Alice on his one side, and Jasper on my other. All of them were crouched; tensed—prepared to fight.
Jane sighed heavily.
“We might as well get on with it then.” Turning to Edward, she began to smile again. “Ah, Edward…” she flicked a hand towards Anastasia who stood next to me. Suddenly, she drew my hair back, away from my neck, and I felt a prick against it. A nail? I couldn’t move.
I was frozen with fear.
Edward growled low in his chest, his eyes narrowing into predatory slits.
Cold iron shackles formed around my wrists, squeezing so hard it made me yell out in pain.
“Edward!” I cried.
“What are you doing this for?!” He shouted at Jane. She continued to smile. “What do you want from us?”
“We want a bargain, Edward. This goes for you too, Alice.” Suddenly, Jane was looking intensely at Jasper. The corner of her mouth quirked up into a smile. “Elizabeth?” She drawled.
Suddenly, the girl my age had Jaspers arms pinned behind his back. He struggled, but it did no good—Elizabeth held him firmly. The assumption that she must be a newborn drifted vaguely through the back of my consciousness.
“What is the bargain?” Alice asked through clenched teeth. Her eyes flickered back and forth between Jane and Jasper.
“I want you to join us,” she said simply.
“Perhaps he wanted to bargain.” Jasper had predicted. “He gets your service, you get her alive.” Funny it was Jasper, not Alice who had made the most correct prediction.
The hands around my wrists constricted.
It hurt so badly.
“Edward…” I whimpered. “Don’t—”
“Silence, mortal,” Anastasia hissed in my ear.
More pressure. More pain.
I felt one of the bones starting to bend under the pressure. I couldn’t help it.
“Stop it!” Edward commanded, rushing towards me. But the man with black hair and the tall blonde one caught him by the arms, restraining him. “Stop it, stop it! She’s got nothing to do with this!” Jane over to stand in front of Edward and reached out a hand. With her middle finger, she traced a line from his temple to the corner of his jaw.
Edward cringed away from the touch as if it had burned him.
“Edward, she has been involved since the moment she met you.” Her eyes stared back into his, a smile in her voice. “You were the one to bring her into our way of life. You were the one to share our secrets. If she is in any pain now, it is because of you.”
A flash of pain flickered across his face.
“Don’t listen to her, Edward,” Alice hissed, “she’s playing mind games.”
“But she’s right.” Edward’s voice was so low I barely caught it. He hung his head.
“No!” I croaked. I bit my lip harder to keep from crying out at the answering contraction of Anastasia’s hands.
“Join us, Edward, and we won’t hurt Bella. We won’t even force you to change her.” Her voice was seductive; alluring. “Lend us your power, Edward.”
“You’re not giving me much of a choice,” he spat through clenched teeth. Jane shrugged. “This doesn’t seem much like Aro…or any of the rest of them for that matter. Blackmail isn’t their style.”
“This isn’t blackmail,” Jane contradicted cheerfully, side-stepping the minefield. “It’s…” she considered for a moment, “persuasion.”
Suddenly, Jasper screamed, writhing against Elizabeth’s arms, agony splashed across his inhumanly beautiful features.
“Jasper!” Alice cried, rushing towards him. A shape hurried out of the shadows— restraining arms catching her. “No! Jasper! Let him go! Don’t hurt him!” She was screaming.
I’d never seen Alice like this.
Her legs flew up off the ground, using the new guard’s arms to hold her up as she attempted to kick him.
“Calm yourself, Alice Cullen,” Jane ordered as Jasper’s screams ceased. “Thank you for your impeccable timing, Eli,” Jane said to the teenager who was restraining Alice. He only nodded back.
“Jasper?” Alice asked in a whisper, “Jasper, are you all right?”
“I’m fine, Alice,” he rasped. He lifted his head to meet her gaze.
“The same offer is open to you, Alice.” Jane spoke again. “We will not harm Jasper if you agree to join the guard.” Alice didn’t speak—only pressed her lips into a thin line. Anastasia relaxed her grip on my wrists a bit.
“Don’t do it, Alice, please—”
Jasper screamed again.
“Please, stop!” Alice shrieked, struggling against the arms that held her back.
“Stop it, Jane,” Edward’s voice was commanding, “This is not the way the Volturi do things.” Jasper’s cries of agony died away and she turned to face my glorious immortal love.
“We’ve made a few changes,” Jane sneered.
“Like what? Using Matthew to take control of the others. So you could be in charge?” Edward threw out Jacob’s theory. Something in Jane’s eyes flickered as she gave Edward a sidelong glance.
“You’re a troublesome one, aren’t you?” Edward didn’t respond. “Well?” She asked, an impatient tone suddenly glaringly clear in her voice. She turned to Alice.
“Will you join us, Alice?” Alice didn’t respond at first, her eyes flicking to Jasper and away.
“Don’t Alice,” Jasper warned.
“Jasper…” her voice was pleading.
“No matter what they do to me, don’t join them. There’s something going on.” Alice chewed on her lip. Jane shrugged.
“I’ll let you think.” She turned to Edward. “How about you, Edward? Are you going to join us or not?”
“Never,” Edward hissed through clenched teeth. “You can do whatever you want to me, but let Bella go.”
“I’m sorry, but that wasn’t the bargain, now was it? I gave you two choices, Edward. You join us, or don’t join us. They each had their corresponding consequences.” She used a tone as if talking to a young child. “It was your choice.
The first resulted in Bella’s guaranteed safety; the second resulted in her dying. We only gave you the choice, Edward. You were the one that picked wrong.” Edward struggled against the two pairs of arms restraining him.
“So what are we going to do, Jane?” Gabriel asked. She sighed heavily.
“Well, obviously, Edward has no need of her, so I suppose we should get rid of her.” My eyes widened, was she talking about me? “Dispose of her, will you, Anastasia.”
“No! Jane, wait!” She turned back to Edward, her breathtaking eyes wide and innocent.
“Do you promise—?”
“No, Edward!” Alice hissed. Edward ignored her.
“Do you promise not to hurt Bella?”
“You promise that you will never harm her.” Edward was staring at Jane with an amazing intensity. It felt as if there was something I was supposed to understand—but my mind wasn’t working. It was barely moving; barely taking in everything.
“Never. None of us will ever harm Bella in any way, shape, or form,” she spread her hand at the surrounding members of the guard.
“No, Edward!” I screamed, but Anastasia’s hand clamped over my mouth. He gazed at me, his eyes pained and apologetic.
“I’m sorry, Bella. But I must. I cannot…” he hesitated, “I will not lose you again.”
“Edward, please…” I begged. He turned to Jane. She smiled.
“So, what do you say, Edward? Will you join us?” Edward looked back at me. I stared at him, my eyes wide and full of panic. His golden eyes turned cold and numb. He nodded.
“You already know my answer.”
A cloth was pressed over my mouth. My eyes widened as I detected the scent of some drug I didn’t know the name of. I thrashed helplessly as my vision started to blur.
And everything went black.