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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.


4. Harsh Reality

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1713   Review this Chapter

Chapter 4: Harsh Reality

EPOV

There was no possible fate worse than this. I sat here, next to my existence, watching her die. Without her, I had nothing. Of course I loved my family, but having known this kind of love, everything else more than paled in existence. Bella had my soul. She was my soul. Hearing her utter her last words, "Edward, we both know that I’m dying," had rocked a huge force of resistance through me. This would not happen, I would not let it happen - forget the consequences. Having known what she really wanted, it gave me hope as I reached across, pulled her in, and whispered, "Please forgive me Bella."

There was no hesitation as I bit her, first over the heart, then at both of her ankles and wrists. This would hopefully create a massive override of venom into her system, reaching her heart in time. Instead of becoming too weak, too fast due to lack of blood and not enough venom, her heart would essentially stop beating from the venom before she let go, initializing the changing process. If this was successful, I knew that she would still need somewhere around three days to fully complete the change, as her skin and organs made the transition. It would also likely cause her pain to be more intense, due to the drastic change. Utterly deplorable, but I was left with no other choice - her heart would have never lasted long enough.

After making all the necessary bites, I sat and stared at Bella. She looked so broken, covered in bruises and blood, many of her bones shattered. She had become very quiet when I bit her, almost like she had lost consciousness, which frightened me immensely. The pain is so intense during the change that I would find it impossible for anyone to be still or quiet. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for... I knew I had to listen for her heart to stop. It would stop either way, whether because of the venom, or due to death. Since she had become so still, the only way to tell if I had been successful after that would be to listen for her breath. If she continued to breathe without a heartbeat, then I would know I had saved her. Normally it would be quite obvious, since the person bit would be frantically thrashing around.

I didn’t have to wait long; a few minutes later, her heart abruptly stopped. As I held my breath, I waited. Reaching out, I grasped her face between my hands, begging, "Please Bella, please don’t die." Silence burned in my ears, tormenting me. Lowering my face to hers, I pleaded with her to stay with me. I gently pressed my lips to hers, unwilling to think that I’d lost her.

Suddenly she took a great breath of air in, gasping. She never opened her eyes, and soon her breaths became more regular and she was quiet again, as if in a deep sleep, but she was breathing, and that meant that my world still existed. Holding her close to me, I told her I loved her. She was light in my arms as I carried her back towards my car - I had to get her to our house, where I could discuss things with Carlisle.

As I came upon Bella’s house, I noticed Charlie’s body was gone, but there was still a great deal of blood. My family had surely taken care the details - they would fill me in when I returned home, after they knew how Bella was doing. Alice must have updated them for the most part - I knew she would have seen my decision to bite Bella. As I reached my car, I gently placed Bella in the backseat. Throughout the drive home, I kept my eyes on her for the entire time.

Wondering if Jasper and Emmett had caught up to Victoria, I forced myself to accept the realization that they may not have been able to catch her. She clearly has a very sharp instinct to evade - she was even able to manipulate a way around Alice’s visions. Desperately, I wanted to go after Victoria myself, but Bella had to come first - there was no question in that. My emotions were unbearable as I thought of what Victoria had done to Charlie, assuming that Bella had witnessed it all. If Jasper and Emmett had caught her, I hoped they made it excruciatingly painful for her, making her beg for death. A low growl escaped me as I thought about what I would have done...

Before long, I was home. There was a great deal of confusion coming from the house - everyone’s thoughts were all over the place. I froze for an instant when I came across Alice’s mind; it was the loudest. All that I could hear was, "No, no, no, no..." over and over again.

Quickly pulling Bella from the backseat, I carried her up the stairs of the porch to the front door. Carlisle opened it before I could.

"How is she Edward? She’s breathing...I can hear her. Bring her to the couch. I need to examine her to see what we should do next." Carlisle instantly stopped. "Wait. Edward...I don’t hear her heartbeat. Has she...began changing? She was so weak when Alice saw her - I’m not sure I understand."

Steadily, I looked into my father’s eyes. "Yes, she is changing. There was absolutely no way that I was going to lose her again. She was so close to death, it was my only choice. I overrode her system with venom, that’s why her heart has already stopped - it was quite abrupt. I can only hope that she will forgive me."

"She’s so still though - I’ve never seen anyone so quiet when bitten. Has she been this way the whole time?" Carlisle questioned.

"She was very weak when I got to her. I would assess that when she was first bit she did experience the burning we all remember, but I believe that since she was so low on blood, her body had started to let go by the time I reached her. She may have still felt the burning from the venom then, but she must have been only half aware of it. Her body was just too weak to react to the pain that she was feeling. She could barely move. As far as her being so still since I bit her, I have no idea...I’ve been trying to understand that myself. I’m just glad that she’s still breathing." Panic suddenly gripped me again. "Carlisle, it’s not possible that she’s lapsed into some sort of coma, is it?"

"That’s highly unlikely Edward, but I won’t rule anything out, as this is all new to me," he replied uncertainly.

Watching as Carlisle closed his eyes, trying to take this all in, I noticed Esme move toward the couch to be near Bella. I looked around the room, trying to focus.

"How did you dispose of Charlie’s body? What are we to do now?" I quietly asked.

Carlisle sighed. He was visibly deeply upset. "There was a lot of blood, from both Bella and Charlie. It’s all through the yard and forest. Charlie’s was especially concentrated in the yard from when he was shot. We set it up so that it looks like Bella went for a hike, and was attacked by a bear near the house. We made it look as though Charlie went outside looking for her, and was also attacked. The police will find bear tracks in the yard and forest, and small amounts of bear fur, which will make them think that’s why Charlie’s gun was fired - that he tried to shoot the bear. We also tore off his pant leg that had all the blood on it and left it near the edge of the woods. They will assume that the bear dragged the bodies back through the woods, hence all the blood. We left the gun there, and we went through the house, replacing the note Charlie had left Bella with a new one from Bella explaining her hiking plans. I cleaned up any traces of blood in Bella’s room as well. Being the Chief of Police, they won’t wait long to look into things when he doesn’t show up for work." My father looked as though he was going to be sick, if that were possible. "You’ll have to call Jacob at some point, Edward. They will know something is wrong with this story, and I think it’s best if we try to keep things as peaceful as we can with them. It wasn’t one of us who initially bit her, but we don’t know that they will consider that - you did end up biting her as well," he added.

The very thought of making that phone call made me grimace. "What about his body?"

Carlisle rubbed his face with his hands. "I did the only thing I could think of. I buried him in the woods, about a quarter of a mile from here. Now that we know Bella didn’t die, Esme plans on clearing the area out a bit more and putting a flower garden around it, so that she will have somewhere to go to properly mourn. For now, we’ve marked it with a wooden cross, with no details. Years from now, when it’s been long enough, we will be able to properly mark his grave."

"Where is everyone else?" I asked, sighing heavily.

Carlisle spoke softly. "Rosalie is upstairs with Alice. She’s not well, Edward. She won’t talk to anyone. None of us know what to do...she ran upstairs when we heard you arrive. I think she was afraid to see Bella..." He shook his head sadly.

"I will try to talk with her. I think I might be able to reach her. What about Jasper and Emmett? All that I can hear of their thoughts now is growling..."

Carlisle’s head snapped up. "Oh. Yes. They have something for you in the backyard. You might want to go out there now." For a moment, a fierceness that I had never seen cross my father’s face took over his features, before he focused his attention back onto Bella. "Go Edward, we will watch Bella."