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Moonlight's Shackles

Summary:
There are consequences to a love as deep as Edwards and Bella’s and they will not be ignored. Is there such a thing as love, or is all love inherently a triumph of imagination over intelligence, emotion over the deepest most profound truth. Is love freedom or only our acceptence of Moonlight’s Shackles. [Set in AU New Moon with no Jacob.]


Notes:
Disclaimer: I don't anything from Twilight, never have never will. Note to Reviewers: If you review you get a teaser for the next chapter, so if you read and think to yourself oh I would like some more post and you'll get it. ;]
Authors Note:
What if there was no Jacob when Edward had left, assuming that Bella somehow persevered I’d assume she’d come out of the whole situation a lot differently. I liked Twilight and even New Moon, but after that it just got a little too nice for me. Everyone except for the villains was just too kind. The mystery was gone. This fic is trying to get it back. Enjoy. However I am trying my best to keep Bella from going batshit crazy either; I think it’s a progression. People are complicated.


2. Chapter One: Oblivion

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1381   Review this Chapter

She couldn’t remember the first half of her senior year; she couldn’t remember anything about it. The thought made her sick.

Over the summer break, Bella had laid in bed for days. Charlie had tried to get her out of the house few times, but it hadn’t worked. Slowly, as Bella woke up, she got better. Heartbreak had been like a very physical disease, and now she was recovered. Not cured, but recovered. Her body had won and now could create the antibodies to the germ that was love – could sense them and destroy it.

Her body was more efficient than she gave it credit for: all those years of falling down, all those previous scars it had healed. The virus had been hard to fight, but it was wiped it out completely now.

But, she realized, one day that it changed her in other ways. When she looked at Charlie, she saw a man, a man she could admire, one like her in many ways, but that was all he was. The term father seemed remote and abstract.

She stopped emailing Renee other than terse messages. Renee stopped emailing back. She didn’t laugh, or listen to music.

The best, or the worst – depending on who was asked – part, was that whenever mentioned the Cullen’s she felt nothing. Not a waft of nostalgia she might have had, were it any other break up, nor yearning. Like her junior year, it was as if the Cullens had only been a dream to her.

One time, during the summer, near the beginning of her senior year, she had tried to pick at the scar, tried to search her memory for them. The moment she did, his velvet voice perilously easy whispered, “Bella, I don’t want you to come with me.” Her heart ached at his voice, but the words were branded too deep.

After that encounter, she couldn’t look at mirrors – couldn’t look at her own wretched face.

After Charlie had threatened to get her an appointment with a therapist in Port Angeles, Bella had decided that she couldn’t afford to lose anything more.

And yet, the first day she had almost wandered over to the table where the Cullen’s had sat. Despite the risk of losing herself to the void, Bella debated sitting down, just so that she could hear that velvet voice once again, even if it only offered rebukes.

Her eyes swept the table looking for even a syllable, but there was nothing, and a part was glad her foolishness had not been rewarded. God, what if she had fallen over and started rocking back and forth in the middle of the cafeteria? She had few friends... well, none, if she was being honest, but at least she still could go to a normal school. She engrossed in the absence of her voice she didn’t notice the figure that was sitting alone at her table.

“Well, hello there.” The voice was slick but somehow still natural like sap under the thick, gnarled bark. It was thin, but that only meant it could slip through conversations where other voices, large with bravado, couldn’t.

Bella’s lips flared open. Not only was someone sitting at her table—she refused to relinquish the pronoun—but it was someone she had never met before. She looked around surreptitiously. Maybe it was another hallucination, but this was someone she hadn’t even seen before.

Eyes, like ants – wriggling and unsteady, tar black, on top of a hooked nose and pinched lips: a face that would always look old no matter how young the body was. But the most startling part of the girl’s aspect was her hair. Coarse and black it exploded from her skull like a mushroom cloud, like the residue of bomb frozen in time. Bella blinked.

“Hello,” Bella responded uneasily, checking around briefly to see if anyone was acknowledging their conversation. A few people, Jessica included, were turned slightly in their seats watching. Good, so they thought this was as weird as she did. Even though she hadn’t talked to them in months, Bella felt a faint echo of belonging. She didn’t miss them though, being with them always felt stale and part of her was glad she was done with them. But she was also very glad she wasn’t completely insane.

“I’m Erin.” The girl extended a hand that was unusually still and cloaked in a leather glove

“Bella.” She responded, taking the girl’s hand. “I’m sorry if we’ve met before and I didn’t say anything.”

Erin’s lips twitched and Bella got the faint impression that she was smiling, although it was odd and very small. “It’s fine. I understand.”

No, you don't, Bella wanted to say. You can’t possibly understand. But she didn’t she literally bit her tongue so it couldn’t move, bit until she drew blood. She had to make a change, was the thought she tried to project, but secretly she wondered. What if she knows where Ed- where he is, I have to be patient. Bella unscrewed the top of her milk and downed half of it.

“But I do have to talk to you.”

Bella hadn’t noticed it before, but Erin’s voice was piercing her little shroud of oblivion she had so carefully contracted. Ugh, it was painful. Just let me stay here where it is somewhat warm, she wanted to moan. This was not a velvet voice, this was not her Edward’s. Erin, however, had little sympathy. “About Edward Cullen.”

“Excuse me.” Bella stopped her bitter thoughts from rampaging. She searched for her temper and found it wouldn’t come; instead a sallow coolness ran through her. She began searching for an angle from which she could destroy this newcomer, cold words, angry glance, and pursed lips. But she didn’t know anything about her, other than her eyes and hands moved too quickly.

“Let’s sit down,” Erin continued, herding Bella to the Cullen’s table.

Bella wanted to protest but there was very little to protest to. Instead, she just stared beyond Erin’s shoulder to the cafeteria beyond, and said something unforgivable. “I don’t want to know.” A little voice in her head shouted in alarm, what if he’s hurt, don’t you care, you cold, selfish little… But she knew that any word from him couldn’t be good, and she couldn’t afford to die again, to lose anything else. It was self-preservation, better to die slowly.

Erin tapped her fingers against the cafeteria table and looked away, almost as if she was embarrassed. As if she was looking back on a part of herself she had seen long ago, like Bella was her own personal home movie. “You’re not ready.”

Bella’s self–pity turned to anger. She wanted to know, damn it all, she had to know. Oh, God, just thinking of knowing it was like pain that cleared the mind, like spicy food in the wintertime, like a burn in order to heat the flesh. “What does that mean?” Bella threw an incredulous glance that almost succeeded in looking disdainful, but the pain in her eyes was still too much.

“For now just stay safe.” Erin whispered.

People had learned to stop being kind to her by now. Erin would learn, this little wanna-be, Bella thought maliciously. But then her words registered. That had been what Edward said. She knew Edward. And then she realized her mistake, she had thought his name. Quickly, but slowly enough, she realized it and oblivion descended. The rest of her lunchtime disappeared.

The next morning, Bella awoke by rolling out of her bed and hitting her head on the floor. The physical pain was enough to disjoint the mental.

She would have to be more careful. Maybe next time she wouldn’t wake up. As much as she wanted to dive into her memories, whenever she did they simply stopped. Bella remembered the poem where the side walk ends, and imagined her brain spiraling off into oblivion like that lonely sidewalk. In the abstract it seemed almost funny.

Her next thought was of the girl with the hooked nose and uncanny eyes. Erin, she had said her name was.

They weren’t perceptive, or even haughty, but knowing. She had to avoid those eyes.