What would have happened if Jasper had gotten a hold of Bella at her birthday party? **Note: This is co-written with 'sweetishbubble.'
2. Chapter 2
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Desperation - Chapter 2
The morning came quickly. Edward was just as bad today as he was yesterday, and I had a feeling that wouldn't change anytime soon. Growls still came from deep in his chest, and he still struggled to break free from us. I didn't know what else to do but to hold him as best as I could.
Alice locked herself in her room with Jasper, and every now and then a delicate howl would come from behind her door. I knew she was in pain when I noticed that no new charges had appeared on any of her credit cards. Jasper couldn't look at any of us. It would only be a matter of time before something happens between him and Edward; if anything did, it wouldn't be pretty. It had also occurred to me that Jasper may just leave - all of us could feel the relentless complex emotions coming from him - he was very tormented. I desperately wanted to keep my family together, but I simply didn't know what to do.
On the morning news, it was announced that Bella had been found by a passing motorist. The report was that Bella was driving home, swerved to miss a deer, or some sort of animal, and went off the side of the road. When her truck hit the embankment, she was thrown and landed in the river, where she must have hit her head, killing her instantly. Between the current and the heavy rain overnight, they assumed the blood from her wounds had washed away.
Late that afternoon, Esme and I left the house. Neither of us wanted to, but we needed to pay our respects to Charlie, keep up the pretenses. How was I supposed to face this man, when it was my own son that ultimately murdered his one and only daughter? Regardless, it was necessary. Emmett and Jasper had strict instructions to call me if Edward got worse. Emmett still had to stay with him, in his room, to keep him from leaving.
When we pulled up in front of Charlie's house, there were people everywhere. Students were standing all across the lawn embracing each other, family members were standing on the porch, with blank looks on their faces. Once inside, I found Charlie, Renee and Phil. Renee and Phil must have caught the very first flight out this morning - they looked exhausted. Charlie stood, and slowly approached me.
"Charlie, my deepest sympathies," I said, my voice full of remorse. The look on his face was nearly enough to make me flee; the grief and shock had almost rendered him unrecognizable.
"Carlisle..." he began, but quickly gave up, lowering his gaze to the floor.
He was at a loss for words. His face was that of someone who had his world ripped from him. He motioned for us to follow, as he walked to the backyard. Even in this current state, he was trying not to further upset Renee. He obviously still cared greatly for her. Esme chose to stay with Renee, who was now sobbing uncontrollably.
"How are Edward and Alice?" Charlie asked quietly.
"Not well, I'm afraid. More importantly, how are you?" I replied, turning the focus back to him, away from my family.
"I just keep thinking this is just a horrible, horrible dream. But then one of her friends shows up and I realize it's all true. It's not fair, Carlisle," Charlie replied, burying his head in his hands.
"No....it’s not. I am truly sorry, Charlie," I said quietly. He had no idea just how sorry I was... "If there is anything we can do for your family, please don't hesitate to ask."
After discovering the possibility to exist without feeding from humans, there had been few times in my lifetime when I truly felt like a monster - now was one of them, as I stood in front of Bella's father, lying through my teeth. He wouldn't be in this position if it weren't for my family, and yet here I stood, playing the concerned town doctor. I've never felt such guilt.
Charlie just nodded his head, lost in his grief.
"Part of me just wants everyone to leave so I can deal with this the only way I know how - alone, but it's comforting to see everyone as well. I didn't realize how many people loved her," Charlie said softly.
"It was hard not to. Bella was an amazing young woman. Who knows what she would have become..." I drifted off, wondering what would have become of the extraordinary girl if things had gone differently...most of my family had truly hoped one day she would become one of us, joining us in immortality. I was one of those that had hoped just that. In the time that we had known her, she had transformed our son from the brooding, loathing person he was, into a happy, brilliantly in love man. I could only imagine what would happen to him now...
"I wonder...would it be possible to talk to Alice, and maybe Edward?" Charlie asked hesitantly, interrupting my morbid thoughts.
"I'm sure I can arrange something," I answered reassuringly. Although it may offer Charlie some sort of peace, that would be much more difficult than I led on...my family was currently falling apart, and was in no condition to speak to Bella's father - especially Edward or Alice.
"I just need to talk to the last people who saw her alive. I need to know that she was happy," Charlie whispered.
"She was, Charlie, I can assure you that. Although I'm sure she didn't like the fact that Alice went overboard for her birthday, she did enjoy herself," I responded truthfully, hoping to somehow console him.
Charlie shook his head again, clearly fighting back the emotions that were trying to push through.
"I just...I just wish I knew if she felt any pain. That's the worst part of it," he said, almost to himself.
I sighed internally, not sure how much longer I could handle this - it was torture, almost like re-living it. "I don't think she felt any pain, Charlie. It sounds like it happened so fast - I'm sure she didn't have any time to think. From reading the coroner’s report, I believe I can be fairly certain when I assure you that she didn’t even realize what was happening," I murmured.
Lies, more lies, each of them ripping part of my soul away from me. I knew that she had indeed felt pain, and a lot of it - the fear of it had sent her into cardiac arrest. How could I ever get past this? How could my family? If Charlie only knew the truth; if only he knew what really happened. I shuddered at the thought - of course this way was better for him, for everyone. We would just have to find a way to deal with the pain and the guilt that came with it...somehow. It was far better for all of us to suffer, than to let this innocent man, or Bella's mother, suffer more than they already had to.
Charlie interrupted my thoughts. "Everyone keeps asking about the funeral. I can't get Renee to talk about anything, she's so distraught. Even Phil can't get her to talk about it. Bella would probably hate the fact that we're making such a fuss over her. It's just so complicated..."
"Possibly, but I'm also sure she would appreciate all the thought and effort. I wouldn't worry too much about Renee, her reaction to the situation is fairly normal; she'll come around soon. Like I said, if you need anything, we're always here, Charlie," I replied softly.
"Thank you. I know Bella must have meant a lot to your family as well. You were all so good to her - she's never had such close friends all her life," Charlie said sincerely.
That hurt. She'd never been closer to anyone, yet what good did that end up doing? The very people she was closest too, the people she trusted implicitly, ended up killing her. This part of being what we are, having to keep up such a facade when something went wrong, had never hurt quite like it did this time.
"Bella touched each of our lives, and we're all feeling a heavy loss. Nothing compared to yours, though." I wasn't sure that was necessarily true, as one of my sons was currently fighting his sibling in order to get to Bella's corpse just so he could be near her again, and one of my daughter's had locked herself away in her room.
A little while later, we rejoined Esme and Renee inside. I expressed that it was time for us to leave, but to contact us if they needed anything. As Esme and I were walking to our car, a few classmates of Bella's stopped us.
"Doctor Cullen, Mrs. Cullen, we're sorry, but could you please give these to Edward and Alice?" a young girl asked, handing us two cards.
"Certainly," Esme said, taking them.
"Would you let them know that everyone's going to the site of the accident tonight, for a candle light vigil?" another one asked.
"Of course, although I'm not sure they'll attend," I said.
Esme and I got into the car. Esme was quiet in the car, staring blankly out of the window. She had enjoyed feeling like a second mother to Bella, and she was carrying a heavy loss as well.
What was killing me through all of this was the fact that there was nothing I could do to ease anyone's pain. As a doctor, it's my priority to ease the pain of my patients, to heal them. However, this...this was so much worse. No drug could heal their wounds, no words could calm their pain. It was beyond hell. Every time I looked into the eyes of my family, a new piece of me was torn apart. I wasn't sure how much longer I would be able to carry everyone's burden before I snapped as well.
There was nothing left for me - I had no desire to exist. After they took Bella’s body from me, I did everything I could to try to get back to her. Wrought with unimaginable pain, all I could think of was her lifeless body, floating in the creek I knew Rosalie had left her in. I wanted nothing more than to curl up beside her in that creek bed - forget the water, forget everything. My Bella was all alone now, as was I. Everyone was trying to soothe me - it was completely pointless. Nothing could offer me comfort now; I was missing my soul.
My family’s thoughts told me when Bella’s body was discovered - someone had come across it on their way to work, very early in the morning. I surmised that they took her to the hospital, to the morgue. I couldn’t help but be completely fixated by where her body was going to be...I just wanted to be near her; it seemed natural to me, to think of where she was from minute to minute. I was dreading the point that I knew would come - hearing that her body was at rest, underground, where I would never be able to see her again.
I needed to calm myself. Bella wouldn't be happy with my actions, but how could I not be this way? She was my life. She was my everything, and now she was gone. The spark that was once inside me had died, the meteor that had lit my world on fire had been extinguished. I felt more of a monster now then I did before I met my sweet Bella - I felt entirely empty.
How in the world could I have done this? And to my brother of all people? Why couldn't I control my need? Worst of all, how could I take my loving wife's best friend? I had been feeling each member of my family’s emotions relentlessly, and combined with the horrid guilt I felt, it was beginning to break me.
Alice’s pain hurt the most - my sweet, loving Alice is lost in her mourning, because of me...and there's nothing I can do about it, except maybe leave. I’m not sure I can trust myself to be around her or my family now. Feeling their pain has made me realize most of them, if not all, will most likely never be able to forgive me, and I do not blame them. I'm sure Alice will beg me to stay if I were to decide to go, tell me it was just an accident and that she forgives me, but I can't forgive myself. Maybe I'll leave after the funeral, when everyone's focus is on Edward. Maybe I'll head south and find a coven down there. Perhaps my punishment will be to forever hate myself - to see only Bella's face, full of fear, every time I close my eyes, to feel only Edward's pain every waking moment. I suppose it would also be fitting if I forced myself to stay, and feel their hatred and pain relentlessly. As is was, feeling the depth of Edward’s pain now had me escaping the confines of the house, with the excuse of hunting, as much as possible.
Alice, I'm sure, would blame herself if I left. She's my reason for living, and is the only thing keeping me here at the moment. I love her with everything I am, and it would kill me to leave her, but didn’t I deserve to be miserable? My love for her was really the only thing keeping me from forming a solid decision. The turmoil of emotions constantly swirling around me, and in turn coming off of me, was only making everyone’s lives so much more difficult. I wanted to console my wife, but instead, I was only making it harder for her.
Really, I am no longer deserving of her love or compassion. I don't deserve her or this family anymore; I never have. I've always been the one they've had to look out for, and now I've gone and ruined everything Carlisle's worked so hard for.
When we returned home, the house was quiet. Too quiet. We found Alice with Edward. The two of them were seated next to each other, completely silent. I assumed they were having their own private conversation. Emmett was still there, as were Rosalie and Jasper. Something was bothering me about Rose, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Esme placed the cards we received before Edward and Alice.
"Tonight is a candle light vigil at the site where Bella was found. I think it would do all of us some good to go," I said.
Rosalie rolled her eyes and let out a quiet grunt.
"I don't see why," she said quietly.
Alice's eyes flew open in a rage. "What is the matter with you, Rosalie?!"
"I just don't see why some of us have to go. It's not like she was my friend or anything," Rosalie replied bitterly.
"ROSALIE HALE!" Alice shouted as she stood. "All Bella ever wanted was for you to like her, and now, even in death, you can't grant her that!"
"She wasn't important to me; I mean really, she's been wanting Edward to kill her since the whole James thing. Why are we mourning when she would have gotten her wish in time?" Rosalie retorted callously.
"Because this is not how it was supposed to happen - she wasn't supposed to be killed at the hands of my husband!! She was supposed to,-"
"Die at the hands of Edward? How is this any different?" Rosalie interrupted Alice.
"Bella wanted Edward to change her, not kill her. There's a difference, obviously." Alice hissed, her pixie figure oddly menacing.
"Sure there is," Rosalie replied, rolling her eyes.
"Girls," I spoke sternly. "this will not solve anything. What happened was a tragedy; an accident. Yes, Bella wanted to become one of us, but to say her death is not important, Rosalie, is shameful. Bella meant a great deal to everyone in this family and I will not have you tarnish her name."
"I'm not, Carlisle, I'm just raising the point that you are putting way too much into this. And I, for one, refuse to act like it's some huge loss," she said looking out the window. "She was just a klutzy girl with no style."
Before any of us could think, Edward was across the room, hissing menacingly in Rosalie’s face.
"She was my life! She was my everything! How dare you treat her memory this way!" he growled, consumed with anger, his whole frame trembling.
Rosalie was stunned and horrified at the force behind Edward's words. Emmett, angry not only at his wife but at Edward as well, glared at Edward, as silent communication passed between them. Emmett reached and pulled Rosalie into his arms, as she stood there, staring at the floor. Maybe now she realized what a loss this actually was, but I doubted it. I knew she never approved of Bella, but there had to be a way for her to understand the magnitude of all of this. I couldn't understand why she wouldn't at least keep her opinions to herself, if only for Alice's sake.
At nightfall, I gathered my family together. Edward and Alice declined, as they were not ready to face everyone. Jasper stayed behind to not only watch over Edward, but to comfort his wife too. He didn't voice it, but I was sure his guilt kept him away as well, as it was painful to just be around him. It was only a short walk from the house to the crash location. By the time we got there, the majority of the student body had already arrived. On the ground were pictures of Bella, surrounded by candles and flowers. There were a few notes as well. I spotted Charlie and Renee, and joined them. You could see the exhaustion on Charlie's face. Rene was clutching onto Phil with all of her might; I didn't know what to say to her.
Many of the students came up to Esme and I, asking about Alice and Edward, wondering where they were. We weren't there long before a scene unfolded before us. Angela, a shy girl, who was considered Bella's best friend outside of our family, arrived with her parents, and instantly broke down. Her boyfriend, Ben, was already there with his family, and did his best to comfort her, gently leading her away from the creek.
We stayed at the vigil for a couple of hours, speaking with various friends and family of Bella's during that time. Finally, as it came to an end, I felt relief in knowing that we could return home, even though it would be just as difficult there. At least we wouldn’t have to keep up the charade when we were out of the public eye - it was hard to hide our guilt.
As I glanced around at this crowd of people, trying to console one another as they returned to their cars, I looked over at my wife. Although our grief was immense, my very thoughts were reflected back at me in her eyes. Never, in all our time on this earth, had we felt like bigger frauds than we did at this moment.
A/N: Thanks to all of your reviews, please send us more! There's more to come, so stay tuned!