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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.


20. Doubt

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1646   Review this Chapter

Chapter 20: Doubt

BPOV

I had been fairly quiet since hearing Carlisle’s theory about me. Not that I was upset - quite the opposite. I was amazed, but I was also feeling guilty. Why should this be so easy for me, while all the others had suffered so? I was thankful for the breakthrough Rosalie and I had earlier. If not for that, she would have hated me even more for this. I shuddered at the thought.

Truthfully, everything Carlisle had said made sense - it fit. As he had explained his thoughts, my brain had followed along as if it already knew what he was going to say, easily accepting it. Of course consciously, I’d had no idea, but my body seemed to automatically reassure me that this was the case, that he was correct. It was unnerving.

One particular thing he had discussed was especially at the front of my mind. Would I be able to hold on to my memories of my parents and human life forever? Would they stay as clear as they were now? I hoped so. I also felt mass relief at the realization that I was slowly releasing the burden of loss from my system. I had already started to realize this on my own, but hearing Carlisle talk about it tonight refreshed my mind of just how true that was. It still hurt, and was still horribly upsetting, but I knew it would get better - I could feel it. I had been starting to feel less of the horrible pain. This stunned me, as I knew that if I’d still been human, it would have been very different. Time was different now, less relevant. Of all things, I was most grateful for this - that pain had been crippling. Without this ability, I knew moving on would have been incredibly difficult. I still loved my parents, and always would, but I was quickly moving towards closure, due only to my new found state of being.

As dawn broke and I lay in bed contemplating all of these things, I felt Edward move beside me. Obviously, I couldn't sleep anymore, but it was still comforting to curl up in bed next to him. We had been laying here, listening to music, lost in our thoughts. Or at least I had been. Edward was probably becoming irritated at my prolonged silence. Seconds later, I was proven to be correct.

"Bella," Edward began. "What are you thinking? You’ve been quiet for a while."

"Just reflecting on Carlisle’s amazing insight mostly. I have decided something else, though," I said. "I think today would be a good day to visit Charlie’s grave."

Edward rolled over to look at me, reaching up to rest his hand on my cheek, causing me to catch my breath. "Are you sure you’re ready for that?" he asked uncertainly, concerned.

"Yes, I think so. It’s time. What your father said was right. My mind is healing itself much faster than expected, thankfully. I may still have some bad moments, but they will lessen. I know the strength and depth of the love I shared with my parents, and I will always miss them, but the sense of despair has lessened...considerably. I know they loved me, and I know what happened to them was wrong - no, much more than wrong. While I am starting to be able to move past the grief, I will not move past the anger, at least, not until I correct the situation," I paused. I knew he didn’t want to deal with Victoria yet, and I didn’t want to upset him by pushing it, again.

"Of all things, I’m glad that your mind is healing at an expedited rate. I was most concerned of that, considering all you’ve been through. I'm grateful that you have been given this ability, as none of what happened was your fault. It would have been unjust for you to feel that kind of pain relentlessly, no matter for how long. It's wonderful that you're losing the sense of grief at an even faster rate than what is normal for our kind," Edward said softly, as he gazed into my eyes. He leaned over and softly kissed both of my eyelids.

I snuggled into him, just wanting to stay here, alone with him a bit longer before facing the day. The whole not sleeping thing was one thing I wasn’t used to; time seemed so different now. Being awake all the time, everything felt like it was blurring together. It had only been two full days that had passed since I’d completed the change, but it felt like at least a week had gone by. It must be something you get used to eventually. Edward’s lips touched the top of my head, and I knew he was wondering what I was thinking again. That reminded me of something.

"Edward?" I began. "Can I ask you something?"

"Of course, anything," he replied.

"Last night, before we went to speak to Carlisle, when we were still here, in this room...was there something wrong? You seemed... frustrated. Why did you think I wanted ‘my privacy?’ Did I do something to upset you?" I asked.

Edward hesitated. He looked embarrassed, although why, I had no idea. "It was nothing, Bella. Everything is fine," he said unconvincingly.

"Edward, I can tell you’re keeping something from me, now tell me what it is," I said more seriously, worrying.

He could tell I was getting upset. "Bella, calm down. Don’t get upset, I will tell you what was bothering me." He leaned back, staring at the ceiling, and reluctantly began to explain to me that he realized that I may want to eventually move on. He was saying something ridiculous about not being enough for me, about me not needing him anymore. I was dumbfounded, and just sat staring back at him as he continued on with his personal attack on himself. When he started with the list of all the things I was now better at than him, I made myself snap out of it and interrupt him.

"Edward Cullen. Are you actually saying that you think I won’t want to be with you anymore?" I asked incredulously.

He looked at me, wary. "Yes, Bella, that is what I’m saying. Of course I’ll understand -"

I sat up, cutting him off. I pulled him up so he was sitting right in front of me, and I stared directly into his eyes. "There is no way, in this or any other universe, that would ever happen. I’m almost mad at you for thinking it would even be possible. Edward, you are everything to me. No matter what gifts I have, or whatever else you come up with as reasons to make yourself miserable, I am always going to be right here, next to you. And believe it or not, I do need you. I need you more now that I ever have. Besides, if it’s really my gifts that are making you feel so insecure, then you shouldn’t worry, as I’ll hardly ever have them."

He looked at me, confused. "What?"

I rolled my eyes. "I really don’t plan on hunting much. So you can plan on being the strong, hero vampire about ninety percent of our lives, and me just about ten percent...if that," I said, wrinkling my nose at the thought of hunting again. "Does that work for you?"

He smiled wryly. "Bella, please don’t misunderstand me. I am elated that you have so many gifts at your disposal, that your abilities are so amazing...I am very, very happy for you, as well as proud. You should use your gifts as often as you want. I simply felt a bit undeserving, not to mention insecure. I am used to protecting you, after all," he sheepishly lowered his gaze.

"Edward, it is our love that keeps us together, not your willingness to jump in front of a van, or whatever else may be coming at me. I love you for who you are, not what you can offer me." I reached out and grabbed his hand, holding it securely in mine, before continuing.

"Well, now that you know that you have no reason to feel that way, are you feeling better?" I asked softly.

"Yes, thank you," he replied. There was still some tiny amount of doubt etched across his face. I was determined to remove it. I crept closer to him, and crawled up into his lap.

"Edward Cullen, I love you. I want nothing but you. I'll always be right here, at your side. We're in this together, for eternity. You are my existence...without you, I have nothing." I leaned forward, gently pressing my lips to his. He reacted immediately, answering my kiss with an apparent urgency. He pulled me as close to him as he could, kissing me intensely.

Eventually, I leaned back slightly, trying to clear my head. Becoming a vampire had definitely not affected his ability to dazzle me. Looking into his eyes, I took a deep breath, trying to steady myself. "Do we understand each other?" I questioned him.

He was gazing back at me intently, which made me catch my breath again. "Absolutely. I will never doubt the strength of your love again."

I smiled. "Good." I moved to get up, but he reached out and caught my hand.

"Where do you think you’re going?" he asked, his voice low and serious.

"I was going to take a shower..." I lost my train of thought as I looked back into his eyes.

"Well, I was thinking, maybe I need a bit more convincing after all," he said mischievously, his eyes burning. He pulled me back towards him.

Holding me tightly, he whispered seductively in my ear. "As always Bella, your preference is my confidence." His lips swept the length of my jaw before meeting mine, his kiss sending electric shocks through my entire body.

Yes, the shower could definitely wait, I thought to myself.