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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.
22. Chapter 21 - Core
Word Count 2153
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CHAPTER 21: Core
Since the day—since the moment I had first seen Edward, I didn’t even have a chance. Sine the moment I set eyes on him, my fate was sealed.
Edward had tried to alter that fate (whether by force or accident) by saving my life numerous times, and also by trying to compel me to move on from him. But all his attempts had been in vain. I knew I was in love with him. I had always been in love with him. That fact would never—could never change. I knew I was in love with him. And in the back of my mind, I had also always known that that fact would get me killed in one way or another.
I didn’t know in what way, but I knew, someday, Edward would not be there at the exact moment and place. Someday, Edward wouldn’t be there to save me, and I would die.
Vengeful vampires…I’d dealt with them.
Furious werewolves…I’d survived it.
I’d run, and they’d been fought.
But now the enemy I faced was not someone I could hate, or hurt. The monster I faced was not one that occupied my nightmares and woke me screaming in the middle of the night.
The monster trying to kill me now was the one thing I held most dear in the universe. Without him…my world would not exist.
But now, as he sauntered forward with cold, malicious eyes…I could not feel fear.
I could see it in my head—Edward crouching to spring and shooting forward like a bullet from a gun, as wild and glorious as a young god.
And yet, I felt no fear.
I knew what was coming. I knew there would be pain. I knew death would come eventually. I’d seen Edward fight too many times to think there was any chance of survival. But I could do nothing about it. Because if I was going to die because of the world I’d entered by loving Edward, I would die. If I was going to die because I loved him too much for my own good, I would die.
If a vampire was going to kill me, it would be Edward.
I couldn’t move.
I couldn’t breathe.
The strange, sadistic grin I’d seen on Matthew’s face only a moment ago, which now played across Edward’s angelic features seemed strangely out of place.
Matthew still leaned against the wall across the room as Edward reached me. His cold hand reached out to stroke my cheek, although his eyes were distant and cloudy.
“You know I love you, Bella,” he whispered in that dead, icy voice. His smile—cruel and mocking—did not belong to Edward. “I will always love you.” The words, in that malicious, sardonic tone seemed strangely threatening.
“Edward, please. I know it isn’t you doing this.” The words escaped my lips hoarsely.
“Of course it is. Forever remember? I promised you.”
“What are you saying?” I didn’t even know what I was saying.
“I’m sparing you from them, Bella, my only love. They would have hurt you. I don’t want you to go through that. They will not have you.” His voice was still dead, devoid of emotion, and his face was still mocking.
“No, Edward, stop. Wake up!”
“I’m not asleep, Bella.” His hand grabbed my upper arms and squeezed.
“Edward, you’re hurting me. Stop, please!” My voice was high, begging, a hint of hysteria touching it on the last word. He seemed unaware that I had said anything this time.
His smile was mocking.
“My Bella,” he whispered, his voice suddenly not detached, but reminded me oddly of James’ voice as he’d spoken to me of how he was leaving Edward his video almost two years ago in the dance studio in Phoenix.
“Edward…” His hand was still around my right arm, and the grip he had on it was almost painful. Despite the fact that I knew he was going to hurt me, and hurt me badly, I did not feel a desire to pull away from his tight grasp, but lean in closer to him.
I knew I was going to die, and I knew he was going to kill me.
Yet I wanted nothing more than to be in his arms.
His hands contracted around my arms, as if to get a better grip. He smiled again—the same pleasant, yet mocking smile. And then, with his right hand wrenched my left arm around, and pulled. I heard the sickening crunch-snap echoing loudly in the high ceiling room before I felt it.
I screamed as the nerves caught up to where my ears were. The icy fire of searing pain shot along my arm. Edward’s expression stayed the same, his hand still freezing and granite hard around my injured arm.
“What’s wrong?” The emotionless voice asked. He squeezed the tiniest bit around where the bone had fractured, and heard a deafening scream. I realized a second too late that it was mine. “Are you hurt, Bella?” Edward asked.
Some thing impossibly hard—his foot?—collided with my chest and I went soaring across the room like a rag-doll and smacked into the adjacent wall, the pain in my broken arm flaring almost unbearably as I slid down the wall to the floor.
I lay, trying to keep breathing. The pain was real enough—not just in my arm now, but in the back of my head where it had smashed into the hard stone and along my back where it had followed shortly after. The pain was there, but it was only pain. Even as I was facing inescapable death, I still did not feel a shred of fear.
Edward strolled casually over to where I lay.
“Are you all right, Bella?”
“Edward…” I managed to breathe, “please…”
“Please what?” He asked innocently, as if there was nothing wrong with me. I could respond, because at that moment, he lifted his foot and nudged the broken bone in the upper part of my arm.
“Ahhh!” I screamed in agony, but his hand was over my mouth, cold as snow.
“Shh,” he hushed, and withdrew his hand and straightened up.
Suddenly, four sharp pins—nails, teeth? He was moving too fast for me to see—ripped across my torso. I screamed again.
Bright crimson blood poured from the wounds, and Edward’s distant eyes flashed with intense hunger.
There was another time when a different vampire had been torturing me in another long hallway. As when I’d bled the last time, I was grateful. The blood seeping through my shirt guaranteed that no matter what Matthew—or Jane or Aro for that matter—had planned, they could not keep Edward away from his bleeding la tua cantante—his singer for much longer.
Just as that other time, the vampire in front of me put his foot gently on top of my leg. Edward smiled down at me pleasantly. Deja vu was a strange feeling. But that disappeared completely when Edward stomped down hard on my leg.
“AHHHH!” I screamed as I felt the bone shatter. Pain shot down my leg so intensely that I screamed again when the pain did not lessen after the first few seconds.
Edward crouched down to my level, balancing on the balls of his feet. He leaned over to me, his lips at my ear.
“I love you,” he whispered in my ear. And his hand slammed into my shoulder, sending me flying sideways along the wall. My arm and leg were burning, almost numb with the scorching agony.
I went still, barely conscious, the blood loss and pain all over was sucking away all of my energy. Through barely lidded eyes, I watched him amble to where I lay. His eyes were still bright with hunger He crouched down as before, leaning in closer to me. Only this time, he took my face between his hands. Through the pain…through all the unbearable, searing pain, I could still appreciate that he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
Edward was here with me while I was dying. What more could I ask for?
And suddenly the pain didn’t matter.
Suddenly, the incredibly strong Volturi and their guard waiting somewhere outside didn’t matter.
None of it mattered, because Edward was here with me.
It didn’t matter that I’d never gotten my wedding night with him.
It didn’t matter that I’d never gotten to become immortal with him.
For the incredibly short time we had, I was immeasurably grateful. That I had even had the good fortune to meet him—to lay eyes on him, I was unimaginably grateful.
And despite all of the circumstances facing me, despite all the pain…I was happy. In that moment, I was completely content.
Edward was with me.
I didn’t care that he was the one killing me. I didn’t care that I was dying.
He was here with me as I was dying.
I couldn’t ask for anything more.
“Edward,” I gasped, my face still between his hands. “Edward…”
“Are you going to tell me to stop? To leave you alone?” His voice changed. I wondered vaguely if Matthew were tying to make me say something that would hurt Edward. I wondered if somewhere beyond what Matthew was making him do and say, he was still in there—hearing and seeing.
“No,” I gasped honestly, trying to regulate my breathing. “Don’t leave me.” I couldn’t imagine him leaving me all alone. If I were to die like this…I could take it, even welcome it—as long as Edward was here with me. Across the room Matthew stiffened. “I don’t want to die without you here.” His hands did not move from either side of my face, only loosened enough so I could move.
With whatever strength I had left, I leaned forward to press my lips to his icy cold granite that would always be my sanctuary.
I leaned back and rested my head against the stone wall that was almost as cold as his skin.
I knew death was coming, and I was almost glad.
If I died, I hoped Edward would be happy until something happened and he would be able to join me. I was selfish enough to wish something would so I would be able to see him again—whether in Heaven or in Hell. It made no difference, as long as we were together.
I was almost glad things had turned out this way. At least I had gotten to spend my last moments on Earth with Edward, and I didn’t want anything more.
“I’m glad for everything,” I managed to whisper.
I was convinced miracles didn’t exist until Edward had entered my life. I was lucky to have had as much time with him as I did. Anything more would have just thrown the universe more out of balance.
Even as I lay here, my body broken and burning with pain, I was happy.
I was so completely happy I thought I would burst with it.
“Don’t blame yourself, all right?” I could now feel hot tears leaking down my cheeks, and my vision blurred. I used my good arm to wipe the away, determined to take in as much of his perfection as I could before I died. “All I want—“ I had to take in a shuddering breath and wipe my eyes again, “all I want is for you to be happy.”
The next words I whispered were ones that I knew were true. Even if my life was over…even if these were my last moments…even if I would never see his perfect face again, these words were true. No force in the world, or universe would be able to alter the utter perfect honesty of these words. For the last two years, I had eaten, slept, and breathed these words.
They were a part of me.
So deep a part, in fact, that they had destroyed me once. They were latched onto—no; they had sunken into my soul. These next words I murmured were what my soul was now made of.
They were my essence—the very core of my being.
I closed my eyes, feeling the tears trapped in my eyelashes collide into my cheek. When I closed them I was surrounded by darkness.
Most people say that when they are about to die, they see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I was so much luckier.
I saw Edward.
“I love you,” I whispered and slipped into the welcoming darkness.