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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.
21. Chapter 20 - Events
Word Count 3080
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CHAPTER 20: Events
When I woke, I couldn’t see.
I mean, I knew I was awake, but I couldn’t see anything. It was so dark.
“Edward? Edward!” I called.
“He’s not here, Bella,” a low voice informed me.
“Jasper?” A shadow moved in the darkness.
“Yes, it’s me.” The panic slowly receded, replacing itself with a serene calmness that I couldn’t trust. Jasper’s unusual talent may not work on the Volturi guard, but it still defiantly worked on me.
“What’s going on, Jasper? Where are we?” His next words sent a thrill of fear shooting through me, despite Jasper’s firm, calm hold on my aura.
I paused for a minute.
“Where’s Alice?” I questioned.
“With Edward I would assume.” On the surface, Jasper’s voice was calm, but I could hear some deep emotion burning just beyond the surface. Edward’s name sent a wave of pain crashing over me.
“What happened?” I asked weakly.
“After you went unconscious, you mean?”
“Yah,” I replied in a flat tone.
“Basically, they tied you up, and restrained me. Then they shipped us onto a private jet like luggage and after an impossibly long plane ride, we got here.” My eyes were beginning to adjust to the darkness, and I could now see his outline as he shrugged. “They hauled us into an underground tunnel, and now we’re in this cell.” I took moment to digest this information.
“You’re incredibly strong,” I joked, “couldn’t you just break through the bars?” His laugh sounded empty as it echoed eerily off the walls I couldn’t see.
“I don’t think it would quite work that way, Bella. Have you ever heard the expression: Out of the frying pan, into the fire?” I nodded in agreement.
“Edward stayed by your side the entire plane ride, you know,” Jasper admitted after a minute of hesitation. I didn’t respond directly to that.
“How dare he join them,” I hissed through clenched teeth.
“He thought it was the only way to get us all out safely—especially you.”
“That idiot! At least Alice didn’t join.” Jasper didn’t speak, and in the darkness, I couldn’t see if he was looking at me, or away. “Alice agreed?!” I almost shrieked.
“Shh,” Jasper cautioned.
“There had to have been some other way!” I reiterated in an urgent whisper.
“I agree, although I admit I didn’t contribute much. Allowing myself to be used like that!” Now we were both talking, but not to each other.
“Jasper, I was used too, all right? Not your fault.”
“But now Alice—“
“You would have acted the exact same way if the Alice had been in your place,” I pointed out. I thought I saw the shadow nod. I felt my expression soften. “You really love her, don’t you?”
“More than life itself,” he confirmed, “…or whatever it is we call living.”
“I refuse to believe that,” I protested.
“That you lose your soul after you are turned,” I explained.
“Edward believes that.”
“I know. That’s why he absolutely did not want to change me in the beginning. He was worried about protecting my soul.” I snorted.
“If you believed the way Edward does, would you be willing to risk his soul?” Carlisle had made this point at my eighteenth birthday party while stitching my sliced up arm. The night that had been the catalyst to the worst five months of my life.
It’s not the same, I wanted to say. His soul was so much more important than mine. His soul was worth so much more. Of course I would never risk anything concerning Edward—any part of him.
I would happily spend eternity in Hell, as long as I knew Edward was happy.
“Of course not,” I muttered. “I guess you can’t sympathize, though. You never had to worry about anything like this with Alice.”
“No,” Jasper said in an amused tone. “If we do have souls, we’re both undoubtedly going to Hell, or wherever sinners’ souls go—but we’ll be there together. And even our souls are lost, they’re both lost. Does that make sense?” I nodded in the darkness.
“I think I understand…more than you could know,” I answered and sighed. “I can’t stand it when I’m not with him.” It was strangely easy to open up to Jasper now. I couldn’t tell if it was that I was alone with him for once, or if it was the adrenaline making me spill my guts. But whatever it was, if felt good to get some of this off my chest.
“I can tell what you’re feeling. It’s the same when I’m away from Alice, though…I’m surprised by the intensity you’re feeling. It’s a stronger magnitude. And it’s colored with a ting of fear—panic. And even a little bit of pain I think.”
I debated for a brief second whether to tell the truth.
What the heck, I decided. I was probably going to die soon anyway.
“It brings back those four months,” I explained in a low whisper. Jasper’s almost inaudible gasp made me think he’d known what Edward had been feeling. Edward had said it was only bearable because he thought I would get over him.
What a silly thing to think…that I would ever—could ever get over him.
“It just hurt so much when he left.” The vague scar left by the hole he’d torn in my chest that always started to ache when he left throbbed. “I thought I could shatter into pieces any second. It was months before I could even think his name and still breathe right…no wait, I never got to that point. That came after he came back. When he’s gone, it just reminds me of that.”
“But that’s behind me now. He’s here, and by some miracle, he loves me too. That’s all that matters.”
There was a long silence in which neither of us spoke.
“Do you think you have a soul? Or a chance at an afterlife?” Jasper considered the question as seriously as I’d meant it.
“I’m not quite sure,” he admitted, his tone thoughtful, “I think it’s hard to accept that someone can just exist one minute, and then the next they are just a pile of ashes, and their consciousness, their spirit or soul, or even their essence has disappeared from the universe forever. Even after all my years on this planet—living both as a mortal and immortal— I find it hard to accept that someone can just not exist with the snap of one’s fingers.” I nodded in agreement. “But I don’t think we’re going to Heaven, or paradise, or whatever it is you choose to call it.”
“So you think you have a soul, but you don’t deserve anything good in the afterlife?”
“I think after all you’ve done, you deserve anything there is good.”
“That’s absurd.” For a moment, he sounded almost exactly like Edward. I unconsciously froze where I was, but then regained control.
“I mean, honesty, you’ve more than redeemed yourselves. Despite all the horrible things that have happened to all of you—despite what you are, you’ve dedicated your entire existence to protecting human lives. That’s got to count for something, doesn’t it?”
In the darkness, I saw a quick flash that I guessed was Jasper’s swift smile.
“I’d like to think so.”
“What do you think they’re doing?” I asked after a long pause.
“Edward and Alice?” I clarified.
“Probably getting the instatement ceremony.” My eyes widened, and with his inhumanly sharp eyes, he probably saw that.
“Don’t worry; I doubt it’s anything that will endanger them.”
“Yup,” I agreed sarcastically, “they just throw a black robe at them and tell them where their cubical is.” Jasper chuckled flatly. “And what about the others? Carlisle, Esme, Rosalie, and Emmett? And what about Tessa and Erin?”
“I’m sure they’re fine,” he assured, another wave of calm sweeping over me. “Most likely trying to track us down and rescue us.”
“I hope they don’t,” I said in a horse voice.
“They can take care of themselves,” Jasper assured.
I’d been told that one before.
“Yah, okay,” I replied uncertainly.
Light footsteps sounded on the floor.
“It’s one of them,” Jasper hissed almost inaudibly. The footfalls stopped suddenly right beside us. “Jane?”
“I’m glad to see you’re still alive,” she said, a clear note of mockery in her voice.
“Thank you for the lovely accommodations, Jane.” Jasper’s voice mirrored her own.
“You’re welcome,” she sneered. Her voice took on an ominous tone. “It’s time.” I heard the creak of a metal door. “Don’t do anything rash or someone will get hurt.” Judging by her voice, she was clearly enjoying the idea.
I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry.
Cold hands grabbed my upper arms and yanked me up from where I knelt on the cold stone floor and pulled me roughly in the direction of Jane’s voice. Without another word, I was pulled in another direction until we were let though a door into a hallway which was flooded with light from buzzing florescent bulbs. The intense light hurt my eyes after spending so long in the dark.
I saw that Jasper was being led by the same dark haired young girl that had restrained him in the woods—Elizabeth— behind me. Anastasia, I realized, had my arms again. Jane was gliding along in front of us like a shadow as we hurried down the long, white washed hallway.
We were let though hallway after hallway until we reached a large room that resembled a lobby and had my mind screaming: deja vu! I’d been here before.
On the day when I had stopped Edward from getting himself killed.
On the day when I had gotten my life, my love (they were one in the same) back.
On the day when I’d met the dark shadows that had so often starred in my nightmares for the first time.
The human named Ginna no longer occupied the desk to one side. There now sat a shy looking girl with bright red hair and freckles dusted across her face.
And there was that same pair of huge double doors. Just as the first time, Alec was standing beside them, his face slightly annoyed.
“Oh, stop sulking,” Jane complained as she reached him. “So what if the wolf got away?”
Jake had gotten away!
Some of the dark cloud that had been raining on my head cleared away. But only a small part. I knew the worst part of the storm was yet to come. The thunder and lightning hadn’t even started yet.
She took Alec’s hand and led us through the doors into the enormous room where I had met with the leaders of the Volturi.
It was just like last time. My mind was reeling with memories better left untouched.
But unlike last time, Edward wasn’t solidly beside me. This time, as I walked through the huge doors, I spotted him standing across the long room against the wall.
He was wearing a black cloak.
My nightmares in the flesh.
His eyes flickered towards me and stayed there. From that distance it looked like he was glaring, but I couldn’t why.
“You’ve arrived,” Gabriel confirmed as we crossed the long room.
“It took longer than usual,” Jane explained causally, flicking her head at me, “the human is so slow.” I didn’t say anything.
A deep rumble started behind us, and I supposed it was Jasper growling.
“Where’s Alice?” He demanded in a steely voice.
“I’m here, Jasper,” a cold, dead voice that sounded eerily reminiscent of Jane’s drifted from the end of the line of shadows.
“Oh, Alice,” he sighed in relief. I couldn’t see Alice’ eyes—they were hidden beneath the fabric of her dark hood.
“You have our service, Jane,” Edward spoke for the first time, his tone as dead and hard as Alice’s had been. “Now let them go.”
“Not so fast, Edward Cullen,” an icy voice objected. As I looked up, a figure in a black cloak drifted down from the opposite wall from the one we had entered through.
“Aro,” Jasper hissed. Aro’s enthusiasm—which I’d noted last time I’d been here—was not swayed by Jasper’s hostility.
“Indeed.” His eyes flickered to Jasper. “I don’t believe we’ve met. You must be one of Carlisle’s sons.” He paused. “Ah, you’re the newest… Jasper, am I correct?” Jasper half nodded. Aro’s smile widened. “You’re the one with the power to control the emotions of those around you.”
“Which—handy for you—doesn’t work with your little puppet Anthony around,” Jasper growled.
“Lucky us,” Jane sneered. Aro put a chalky white hand on Jane’s shoulder.
“Now, now, Jane we mustn’t be rude to our guests.” Jane’s lips were pressed into a hard line.
“Guests,” Jasper spat.
“What more do you want with them, Aro?” Edward demanded his voice harsh. “We’ve completed our end of the bargain.”
“Ooh, why so rude? I thought we were friends?” Edward shrunk back against the wall, his pale hands lifting his hood up to cover his face. Even from where I stood, I could tell his hands were shaking with anger.
“Were being the objective word.”
“Regardless,” Aro said, waving his hand as if to rid himself of the subject, “I’m so glad you decided to join us Edward. And of course little Alice.” His eyes lit up at the mention of her name. Edward’s eyes flicked from Aro to Jane and then back. The figures across the room sitting on the wooden throne-like chairs did not move. I wondered why Caius and Marcus, or even Heidi, did not rise to meet us as Aro did.
Did Aro know of Jane’s blackmail and torture that had forced the hands of the two members of the Cullen family that were closest to me? Was she, as Jacob had theorized, controlling Aro and his fellow members of the Volturi family with her newest guard member Matthew? Then why was Aro acting exactly the same? Surely, if he were being controlled, there would be some sign…
So they didn’t suspect the Cullens were planning to overthrow them. They wanted Edward and Alice to join. But Aro had been worried about upsetting Carlisle. There was some missing piece that wasn’t fitting—something that once I had it, would put everything in perfect order so it would make sense.
Aro sighed heavily.
“I suppose it’s time then.” Jane’s eyes brightened with excitement. A thrill of fear ran through me. “Elizabeth? Would you be a dear and kindly escort Jasper out of the room?” Across the room, Alice grew very still. “Don’t worry, dear one,” Aro assured her, having caught the reaction out of the corner of his milky red eyes, I assumed, “You may accompany him Alice.” She seemed to relax at that.
“What about the rest of us?” Jane asked pleasantly.
“You may go find some way to amuse yourselves while events take their course.” Elizabeth towed Japer out of the room, Alice hurrying to stay by his side, whispering to him in a rushed voice as they exited. Anastasia released my arms, but I stayed put—I knew better than to run. The rest of the black shadows followed, save one—the shadow that stood beside Caius, Heidi, and Marcus. One by one the rest of them filed out until only the last remained. Edward paused as he brushed by me, his expression agonized. Cold fingers brushed my cheek; my lips.
“Oh, Edward,” Jane called, and he spun to look at her.
“You’re staying here,” Aro clarified. Edward was immediately at my side, his hand hung hesitantly between us.
“Matthew?” Jane crooned. The figure shrouded in black moved from his place beside the chairs. After an antagonizing long minute, he reached us. Jane extended an elegant pale hand to stroke his cheek.
“It’s time dear.”
“Yes,” he murmured in a voice that reminded me of curling smoke. From beneath the dark hood, Matthew smiled.
“Come.” As he spoke, the three figures in the chairs rose and crossed the room with human speed until the five members of the Volturi family were congregated before me and Edward. It did not take my by surprise when his cold hand closed around mine. I’m here beside you until the end it seemed to say.
And despite the hostile vampires in front of us…despite the inevitable demise…despite the almost zero percent chance of escape…I felt safe.
I felt happy.
I was with Edward.
That was the way it would always be. Forever. No matter what connotation the word held.
To my surprise, the black shadows exited the room.
It was just me, and Edward, and Matthew. Matthew leaned up against the wall. I was confused. What was the point of leaving us alone?
“Edward?” I asked, turning to read his expression.
His eyes were cold and distant. From the wall, Matthew smiled again from beneath his hood.
“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…
“Matth…ew…” Edward managed to get out through clenched teeth.
“Or maybe he just takes control of your body. That might be it.” Jacob had said.
“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 dead voice that sent fear and pain shooting through me. He voice did not sound even close to the musical murmur Edward’s was.
“Goodbye, Bella,” he hissed as he advanced towards me.