Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

Choices

Summary:
Choices Banner This story takes place in Eclipse when Riley goes to Bella’s room to gather her belongings for Victoria. This is what could have happened if Bella had arrived while he was still there, and the events following. Written pre-Breaking Dawn, so that book will be disregarded here. This will include my idea of how the series would have ended.


Notes:
Choices Banner *Written before Breaking Dawn was released, so that book will be ignored with this story.


18. Insecurities

Rating 4/5   Word Count 1474   Review this Chapter

Chapter 18: Insecurities

EPOV

We had been reading for hours. I knew a little too well how overwhelming having to listen to everyone was, so I was glad this seemed to be working. It was difficult, but I forced myself to concentrate on my own reading, so as not to bother Bella with my thoughts. She definitely needed some alone time, at least in her mind. She was silently curled up in a corner of my couch with her book, looking more relaxed than she had for some time; that was a relief. When we’d first settled in on the couch, I’d checked her mind once, just to make sure she was truly alright. After that, I’d made it a point to stay out of her mind - she had already thought to herself earlier today what an invasion of privacy it felt like to have everyone be able to listen to her thoughts, and I wouldn’t add to that. She deserved to feel secure within herself.

I tried to continue to concentrate on my reading, but my mind was starting to fight me, drifting back to today’s earlier events. Perhaps I needed time to think as well. Quietly, I stood from my corner of the couch, and leaned over to kiss Bella on her forehead. "I’m just going to run downstairs for a moment, I’ll be right back, Bella." My anxiety was steadily increasing, and I didn’t want to cause her stress by ‘hearing’ me.

"Ok, I’ll be here," she murmured; she was so engrossed in her book, she didn’t even glance up. I had been right - she must be enjoying her privacy, which made me grateful that I’d kept out of her mind.

Once downstairs, I proceeded outside. Sitting on the front steps, I leaned back onto my elbows. I suppose if I was being honest with myself, I was feeling slightly...insignificant. It was ridiculously egotistical, but I couldn’t help it. That’s exactly why I didn’t want Bella to hear these thoughts - it would make her feel more self-conscious, which would only further upset her. Honestly, though, what did she need me for now? She was faster, stronger, able to communicate with everyone without words, and even able to control their actions. She didn’t need me to protect her anymore; I felt as though she didn’t need me for anything.

It would be unacceptable for me let her know I felt this way...even if it was true. I would wait until she let me know; until she told me herself that she didn’t need me anymore. She had been through far too much, and I would stay by her side, supporting her, until she told me to do otherwise. There was no way I would be the cause of undue hurt or stress; after all, I still loved her more than anything - I always would, no matter how she felt.

Enough time for self-loathing - I didn’t want to leave her alone too long, in case she needed something. After all, I probably only had so much time left with her...

Back inside, there was no one else was around. Everyone was off in their own rooms or offices, trying to fathom what had taken place today. Sighing, I headed up the stairs.

When I reached our room, I paused outside the door for a moment.

"Edward, it’s fine, come in," Bella called out to me. Of course she’d heard me coming; I wasn’t used to her being able to hear my movements so clearly.

As I passed through the doorframe, I kept my gaze low. In my peripheral vision, I noticed that she was still focused on her book. In an effort to subtly check on her without entirely disrupting her reading, I simply thought, "Still alright, love?"

She didn’t respond. Surely the book couldn’t distract her that much. I thought again, "Bella, are you alright? Do you need anything?" She still didn’t respond.

It was like she was outrightly ignoring me. Instantly, I became nervous - was she upset with me? Had she already realized just how insignificant I was? Maybe I shouldn’t have left her alone. Maybe in my absence things had become more clear to her. I cursed myself as I realized I could have had those last twenty minutes with her. Trying one more time, I silently called out to her, "Bella...please just let me know you’re alright, and I’ll leave you alone."

She said nothing. I found myself standing there, pinching the bridge of my nose, not knowing what to do. Should I leave her alone? I didn’t want to, but clearly, she did not wish to speak to me. It suddenly occurred to me that I was only further making a fool of myself - she could still hear what I was thinking. Sighing heavily, I turned back towards the door.

"Edward? Are you alright?" Bella asked softly. Was she kidding me?

"Where are you going?" she continued; she sounded confused.

"I was just going to give you your privacy, Bella," I replied quietly, my hand on the door.

Suddenly, she was next to me, her hand on my shoulder. "Will you stay with me? I don’t need any more privacy right now, thank you," she said softly.

I turned to her, questions flying through my mind. As my gaze met hers, I froze.

"What’s wrong?" she asked, alarmed, most likely due to my expression.

"Bella, your eyes are changing back to gold again," I explained; they were indeed a rich, dark topaz.

"Well, your eyes change all the time, what’s the big deal?" she retorted, slightly irritated now.

I paused, thinking to myself. I’d been purposefully keeping out of her mind to grant her privacy, but what if it that wasn’t the only reason I hadn’t heard her? What if there was an altogether different reason? Aloud, I asked, "Bella, can you hear me anymore - in your mind, I mean?"

She gazed steadily back at me, her expression one of uncertainty. "No...not if you’re thinking something right now," she said, seemingly perplexed.

"When was the last time you heard any thoughts?" I continued.

"Um, I don’t know...a while ago? I stopped noticing - I just assumed it was because I was focusing on reading," she said. "Why?"

"I’m not sure yet - come with me." My hand grasped hers as I gently pulled her down to Alice’s room, looking for Jasper.

"Jasper, try to share your ‘gift’ with Bella, as you did before, please," I requested.

Jasper glanced up at me, curious. He looked at Bella, and a wave of calm coming from him swept through the room. That was all that happened though - they didn’t seem to have the intense connection from before.

"It’s just like...normal - like how it used to be," Bella murmured.

"Yeah, there wasn’t that insane level of intensity...what’s happened?" Jasper asked.

"I’m not sure. It seems like our ‘gifts’ aren’t affecting her anymore, and if you’ll notice, her eyes have gone back to gold - they're even lighter now than they were five minutes ago. There must be some kind of association to her feeding and connecting to us, or our ‘gifts.’ Let’s go see Carlisle, Bella." Our hands met again as we headed for the stairs, Jasper and Alice following behind.

When we reached Carlisle’s study we explained the new situation. He shook his head again, in further disbelief, and chuckled. He told us he’d like to speak to everyone shortly, and requested that we all meet in the living room in an hour. We agreed.

After the hour had passed, we all gathered in the living room, waiting. As Carlisle entered the room, we looked to him expectantly.

Carlisle turned to Bella, and smiled. "I’m sure you, more than any of us, have been very curious as to what is happening to you," he began. "I’m not sure I have the correct answers, as there is no way to really prove all of it, but I have come up with my own theory. Some of these things we will be able to test, some we have already started to figure out, and others will be merely speculation. When you and Edward recently told me about the latest ‘developments,’ it only added to my conclusion. I have seen a lot of things in all my years, Bella, but you are a first. I’ve grown accustomed to accepting the impossible, as we all have - we are mythical creatures, after all," he paused, then smiled again. "That said, I’ve been pulling my resources, thinking this through...would you like to hear my theory?" he inquired, seeming to speak only to Bella.

"Yes, please," Bella answered quietly, almost in a whisper. She appeared to be nervous, as well as embarrassed. My hand gently squeezed hers, and I pulled her closer, trying to offer reassurance. She leaned into me, seeking comfort. No matter how she felt about what Carlisle had to say, I would be here for her.