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Times Have Changed

Summary:
Edward is completely miserable. He’s alone, he hates himself, and he’s frustrated. Just when it seems a miracle has saved him, it turns his world upside down. An AU.


Notes:
Enjoy!


1. Edward will be Edward

Rating 0/5   Word Count 2669   Review this Chapter

All my other thoughts escaping me, my mind now strayed back, almost pathetically, to thoughts and memories long past, all filled with her: her scent, her touch, her kiss, her laugh. The memories seemed to suddenly wash over my whole body, leaving me almost breathless and reminiscent of all those years ago, thoughts I should have pushed out of my brain entirely when I’d had the chance, like when I had been angry at myself for leaving her, instead of depressed. But now, as I lay there on my expansive leather sofa, thinking only about her, I wondered how in the world I could have mustered up the strength to leave her, because judging by these memories, nothing had gone wrong. But then I remembered:

“Bella!” I had screamed without restraint then; she had been dying that night. Emmett had fought to keep me back as the scent of her tantalizing blood had filled the white interiors of our home, battling with my mind to win over my body.

Carlisle had tended to her, but still she had screamed. “Ed-Edward!” I had hated hearing her cry out like that, especially when it was me she called for, yet I couldn’t go. I couldn’t comfort her, or keep her safe. I had failed. I had allowed Emmett to drag me out the kitchen door, disgusted at my monstrous instincts.

She had only tripped while carrying a glass bowl of salad and fallen into one of Esme’s flower arrangements! The fall had caused there to be a cut into one of her main arteries, the one on her wrist. She had been dying, and all from a silly little fall… A fall that had turned me and my siblings into terrible fiends, even Esme! If Alice hadn’t been able to drag Jasper away… Or if Emmett hadn’t been able to drag both himself and me away… Carlisle had stopped the bleeding, I knew, but she had had to go to the hospital to be given a little bit of a blood transfusion regardless. While she had been in the hospital, I’d gone to visit her, to tell her goodbye.

“Bella?” I had whispered as I had taken a seat beside her on the hospital bed the next morning. Her eyes had fluttered open, startled by the sudden noise.

“Edward,” she’d breathed, relief flooding her voice as she’d struggled to sit up. She’d sprained her ankle and cracked a rib as well, not to mention the numerous cuts and bruises all over her body aside from the large incision. She’d reached up to touch my perfect marble face, but I’d grabbed her hands and took them in my own.

“Bella, we’re leaving,” I’d told her, and tears had instantly found their way into her eyes. “We can’t – I can’t – it’s not safe for us to be around you Bella. You almost died. All because of such a silly little trip! If Jasper hadn’t been run out by Alice, if I hadn’t been able to control myself for even a second, you would be dead.” I had rubbed the back of her hand with my thumb, but she’d pulled herself out of my grip.

“Edward,” she’d said my name sternly, and I’d glanced up into her eyes in surprise. “You can ‘if’ yourself to death, but nothing happened. And now that we know that, next time you guys can handle yourselves, right?”

Her attempt at reason had been funny to me at the time, but now I just found it sickeningly ironic. “Bella, Bella, Bella, if nothing happened this time, what about the next? What if it’s not just nothing? Bella, I cannot risk your life again. I want you to live your life, unburdened by having to watch what you do, just so my family doesn’t attack you. You deserve so much better than having to constantly watch your back your whole life. You deserve better, than me… I’m a monster Bella, will you ever see that?” I had sighed loudly then, and her heart had stuttered, causing the machine registering its beats to skip a few. “I can’t wait around and wait for you to realize that maybe I am something to avoid. I know I am, so I have to leave. It’s what’s best for you; I love you too much to have to endure watching you suffer because of my own family.”

Tears had rolled down her cheeks then, and she’d whispered fervently, “No. No, no, no, no. Edward, I need you. I would die without you, not with you. You have it backwards… Please don’t go…” She’d choked on her words then, and I’d taken that as the opportunity to say my last goodbye.

“Goodbye Bella Swan,” I’d taken her sweating, tear-streaked face in my icy cold palm, and whispered, “I will always love you” before pressing my marble hard lips to her forehead, turning on my heel and vanishing out the door. Carlisle had made sure no one was in the same room as her, and so I’d been able to depart at vampire speed. I’d left her there in the hospital, fragile, broken and alone.

Still, it had been over a hundred years ago. She was probably dead now. Hopefully she’d lived a long and happy life, without any danger from vampires. I’d checked on her from time to time, when the pain had been too much to stand. She’d seemed happy enough. Her relationship with that Jacob Black child had seemed to be progressing well, as much as I disliked that fact. I had sworn to leave her alone, and that I did. That was what I had promised her, and I’d stuck to it. She was gone now, and there was no point in reopening old, dead wounds. It would only make me feel even more dejected than I already was.

I sighed with fervency before pushing myself up off the couch. I walked down our stairway with deliberate human slowness, feeling my own emotions bouncing back at me through Jasper. The whole family was feeling a little down because of the public outlet. In truth, we’d been a little down for over a century now.

Edward you’re making me cry. Emmett sat on the living room couch with his arms crossed, as if he were trying to hold his infallible frame together, Rosalie huddled beside him. She’d been sympathetic to the loss of…her as well, even though she’d been unbelievably jealous when she’d still been around.

“Very funny Emmett,” I muttered as I took a seat at my piano, even though I knew he was being sincere.

I began playing the most depressing song I knew, one I’d written after I’d left her, causing Esme to begin dry-sobbing while upstairs doing the laundry.

We truly were the living dead now. She had brought so much life o this family, made us see so many things we’d never thought of before, made us remember why we revered human life. And what she’d made me feel… Never in my entire existence did a person evoke such emotions in me. Yet I’d let her go willingly, and now here I sat, a mourning mess, even all these years later. And I thought it had been a good idea at the time…

I broke off the slow, sad song abruptly and ran out the back door. I needed to hit something.

I ran through the cruel December night of the Arctic, looking for any prey I could sink my teeth into. I found a pack of wolves in Denali National Park, far away from any sort of civilization at this time of the year. As I drained five before running on, I couldn’t help but think how appropriate this barren land was for us vampires to live. Cold, cruel, dark and heartless, just like us. Not like her…her warm, blushing cheeks and soft fragile skin…so human; so alive.

I ran my way up Mt. McKinley, reaching the highest peak in America in little more than seconds. As I stood there surveying the snow ridden wasteland, seeing not a thing but for the frost and cold, I screamed. I screamed until all the air in my lungs had expelled, but it didn’t help my head. I could still see her in my mind’s eye: her long, straight, luscious mahogany hair; her vibrant, intense chocolate brown eyes; her pale, flawless cheeks with just the hint of a blush. I missed seeing her angry, I missed seeing her happy; I missed kissing her, having my lips move in sync with hers, feeling the soft warmness of those lips mold to the stony harshness of my own. I threw myself backwards into the snow and sighed.

Suddenly I heard someone approaching, but their thoughts were well blocked. The barrier soon went down and they thought, Feeling a teeny bit angry, Edward? Perhaps I can help brighten the mood… Of course, it had to be Tanya. I doubted anything she had to offer would ‘brighten my mood.’

“You look so sad dear, are you okay?” A mass of strawberry blonde hair lay down beside me, and she placed her left hand on my chest and stroked it slowly.

“Don’t ask,” I retorted before thinking of something. I grabbed her far shoulder and pulled her on top of me, demanding, “Distract me, please.”

She understood, grinned, and quickly complied. One might call it an insult to Bella’s memory for me to be kissing Tanya, of all people, but I’d already hurt Bella once before, and now she was dead. It couldn’t affect her. Nothing except time could do that now, as it had every second of her life, her whole life. Just like I had wanted…

“Tanya, distract me more please,” I growled as I undid my leather belt. I was still thinking about Bella. Perhaps because I’d kissed Bella before… Therefore I needed something she’d never done to me… Tanya took the hint of the undone belt and sidled down to my waist as she undid the rest of my pants.

“Edward…?” She asked hesitantly as she froze at my boxers, but the look in her eyes was triumphant. I sighed in defeat and pure apathy.

“Just do it, Tanya, please.” You know you want to. I nearly smirked but stopped myself, instead choosing to stroke her cheek with one finger before letting her tear the front of my boxers open with her teeth.

Despite my inner turmoil over what Tanya was about to do, apparently my body still reacted like it was supposed to. Tanya did what she was supposed to as well, and I threw my head back into the cold, wet snow as I growled in satisfaction. I had shed my gentlemanly nature when I’d left her, and it had never returned…

“God damn it,” I swore as my thoughts went back to exactly where I hadn’t wanted them to go. Maybe it was because I needed to distract myself with something... Tanya was only wearing a skirt… No. That was going too far. I would become too involved. It would only get awkward later…

Edward! Oh Edward, wait till you hear this… Alice’s mental voice was jubilant, but she sounded angry when she spoke aloud. “Tanya! Stop doing that right now! Shock soon replaced her anger as she took in my glare.

“Oh, I’m sorry, am I interrupting something?” She raised an eyebrow skeptically as Tanya redid my pants and stood up.

“Its fine Alice,” I shrugged as I rose.

“Well… see ya later Edward,” Tanya winked at me before running away from us.

As soon as she was gone, Alice elbowed me in the ribs. “Edward, you shouldn’t lead her on like that…”

“Oh, like she doesn’t do the exact same thing to all those men!” I retorted, turning away from my sister. “And why do you care?”

“Because…” she bounced around me until she stood facing me once more, “I had a vision!”

“You have those incessantly-,”

“A vision of Bella!” She clapped her hands and grinned widely while replaying it for me in her head: just Bella, smiling, her eyes closed. Then, just as she opened them, the vision ended.

“Alice, you’re lying,” I growled, hating myself for what I’d just done with Tanya, and not wanting to get my hopes up. She could have used one of her old memories of Bella to fool me…to get me to stop fooling around with Tanya. “Bella is dead. Now stop trying to interfere in my life!” I shouted at her. Alice. My little pixie sister, the other freak in the family. “Look, just get over her, okay?”

“I-Edward, I’m…sorry,” she whispered, her eyes full of hurt as she lowered her gaze to stare at the snow.

“I need to be alone right now,” I muttered, and took off, not being able to take it. Thank God Jasper was nowhere nearby. I ran for miles, not really caring where I ended up. I should be burning in Hell for all I had done. Instead I ran through forests, across tundra, and skirted through the outskirts of towns. I ran for hours, and ended up stopping somewhere outside Juneau.

I fell backwards against the damp snow and huffed, wishing – not for the first time – that my memory could be erased. Or that I had died like I had been supposed to in Chicago, all those years ago. Then I wouldn’t be causing anyone harm right now.

Like Tanya. I really shouldn’t have let her do that. I had no romantic feelings for her whatsoever. I had just needed a distraction. It was wrong to lead her on, but at least she’d gotten some of her repressed feelings out. It was as much as I would ever allow, so in a sense she was lucky to have even had the chance. I was still disgusted at myself for allowing it to happen though. It was wrong and I knew it. I’d have to apologize, and let her know that our relationship had to remain platonic. I sighed. If I could get headaches, that would mean a migraine right there.

I’d also hurt Alice tonight. I knew I’d upset her, and I regretted it now. She just wanted me to be happy again. Well I couldn’t do that. I’d abolished my own happiness a long time ago. She really had meant well, but I just couldn’t see how what she’d shown me could be possible… I brought the image up into my head again, deciding to give my sister’s vision a chance.

There Bella was, smiling, her eyes closed in perfect contentedness, until the vision faded to black, just as her eyes began to open… So, for curiosity’s sake I’d say she did see Bella, but where had she seen her? I looked at the vision again, this time scrutinizing the background instead of Bella’s captivating face. It was dark, and…snowing. It was snowing in the vision. As if by magic, snow began falling around my spread-eagled body.

Suddenly I smelled freesia dancing through the breeze and I sighed. As if I needed any more reminders of her when I could see her face so clearly in my head regardless…

Then I heard it: the soft crunch of boots on snow, walking towards where I lay. I hastened to get into a sitting position. The scent of freesia seemed to get stronger as the crunching got closer, but it didn’t make my throat burn as it had before. I whipped my head around, curious, as I couldn’t hear the person’s thoughts…Which made me remember Alice’s vision. It just couldn’t be possible though.

I stood as I turned, and found myself facing a purely beautiful vampire with thirsty black eyes, ringed by sunken purple shadows. Even with these bruise-like marks she was stunning: her hair was a brilliant, lustrous mahogany, and her heart-shaped face was pale as the moon which hung over us now. She had a hint of a smile playing on her lips as she looked me over, and then she spoke.

“Well, well, hello there Edward.” She flipped her waist long hair over her shoulder and I caught the smell of strawberries.

“Bella?” I asked in disbelief, my mouth staying open in shock.