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Moonlight's Shackles

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.]

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.

4. Chapter Three: Pine Needle Paradise

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Chapter Three: Pine Needle Paradise

That night, Bella did her homework and went to sleep without incident. After yesterday’s events, she yearned for the oblivion that she had been so determined to avoid before. Her toes curled around the edges of the blanket... it felt so good to be warm. Bella hadn’t been warm in so long. The feeling creeped into her consciousness and pressed at her amygdala. It pressed and grew like a tumor until just as she was falling into a dream she whispered his name. “Edward.”

Oblivion was coming anyways, she thought with a mental yawn, why bother. Like sliding into hot water, or licking the last bit of frosting, her brain succumbed to the delicious warmness, and thus managed to dodge oblivion. Instead, her mind ended up just on the frayed, comfortable, warm edges of her own personal black hole: her heart, and where Edward Cullen lived.

They were sitting in the car, his car. She remembered the feel of the leather seat against her jeans: so much friction. The windows were rolled down. It was hot, the middle summer or spring. He was sparkling she noticed, just enough so that his eyes seemed dull in comparison to his skin, but not enough to alert people.

The wilderness stretched out before them like an empty sheet of paper, and they were together. This was one of her favorite memories, not at the top of the list, it was no meadow, but it was just one little moment that she cherished. She could smell pine, but the trees stretched up to far to the ceiling of the world for her to be able to tell exactly what kind of tree they were. “Edward,” she choked out. “What are you?”

“Bella,” he turned around perplexed and annoyed. “What exactly do you mean?”

“I mean, I know you’re a vampire, but... what are you?” She took in a deep breath, feeling his presence pressing on the edges of her peripheral nervous system. He was such a stimulant. “Why are you so beautiful?” She bit her lip, “Why, whenever you’re around, do I feel so safe?”

“Do you wish it wasn’t that way?” He responded with expected despondency, slinking away from her.

“No, of course not Edward,” Bella smiled slightly and then mockingly continued, “Silly Edward.” Her lips even effected his sophisticated drawl, the old fashioned–ness that had never been pounded out of him. “I love you, but I worry sometimes.”

“Finally something healthy from your lips Bella, I was getting worried.” He didn’t sound upset though, just tired. He hadn’t slept in a century.

Bella almost regretted saying anything, but she knew she had to. She brought one finger up to his face and stroked it in wonder. He shuddered and then purred. Even in his ecstasy he was so composed.

“I just wonder,” she whispered, her hot strawberry scented breath flowing over his skin like a tropical breeze, “Edward, if you were to leave, or die, or go away.”

“Bella,” he said firmly moving away from her hand. “Are you quite sane? If you don’t recall, I’m sparkling right now; like granite, Bella. I am decidedly non-fragile.” He smiled, and his skin was forgotten.

“That is not a fair conversational tactic,” Bella said and then continued when he offered a confused expression, “Dazzling me. But it’s possible, and Edward.” She moved close to him again, her lips brushing slightly over his, “I think I’m addicted to you.” She brought her hands to tousle themselves in his sunset colored hair watching his neck searching for a pulse that she knew didn’t exist. For just once, she wanted his heart to skip a beat.

He pulled away. “If only you could have picked something less dangerous.” He forcefully moved her hands away and looked out to the far away coastline that she couldn’t see, listening to distant bird song that she couldn’t hear. “But knowing you if it wasn’t me it would have been werewolves.”

Her eyes widened. “There’re werewolves?” He nodded sagely and she narrowed her eyes, “You’re kidding me.”

“That was not an invitation to go out in search of them.” Despite how grave his words seemed he was smiling, against her cheek. “Anyways, I might start to think that you weren’t satisfied with your garden variety predator.” She spotted his trademark crooked grin in-between the glare of the sun on the rearview mirror and on his skin.

“What about Witches?” Bella continued excitedly.

“Other than Lauren Mallory?” he said snidely, his tone light, but he moved to roll down the window a little. Then, second guessing himself, he rolled it back up again and moved the car into drive.

“It’s not four o’clock yet,” Bella muttered. “Where are we going?”

“You,” he said affectionately, “my sweet little human are going home.”

Abruptly she put her hand across his, stopping him from shifting from park to drive. Well not really stopping him, more like suggesting physically. He acquiesced. “I don’t want to go,” she whispered breathlessly.

“And I don’t either, but I am still testing my control.” His gaze darkened, “I will not put you in more danger.”

“Edward, I love you.” and she paused, “I know this is so hard for you and I am so grateful that you have kept me alive and everything. I know that this is a stupid silly thing to worry about.” She shifted in her seat looking at the place where his hair brushed against the curve of his neck. “But it’s scary sometimes, Edward, when you’re gone it’s hard to breath, everything seems dim and forgettable when you’re not here. I die when you’re not with me.” She quickly looked down to her seat what a selfish thing to say. Here Edward was, struggling against his very nature to be with her and she was making it even harder for him, being one of those needy girls.

“I love you, Bella. I won’t leave you.” He smiled at her, but his eyes were hooded, serious, and still tired. He stroked her face, and then slowly, so slowly, like she was a sand castle and he a wave, brought his lips to her own.

He tasted like forever, like forgetting, like dust settled over monuments that will never fall down, like space, like time, like—

A knock on the car door. Wait, not the car door, her bedroom door. Bella turned wildly in her bed. Oh, no, was oblivion about to come? Had she just screwed herself over? She struggled not to remember the dream because as much as she wanted to return to that pine-shaded heaven, she knew that that it there was no Edward at the bottom of the well she was staring into. Inadvertently, her mind fell back to the memory the cool feeling of his skin on her lips. Like the first taste of ice-cream. She waited for oblivion to come but it didn’t. Instead, a voice, familiar rang out threw her room.

“Really Bella, two days in a row? I’m not your babysitter.”

“Erin,” Bella mumbled against her sheets cracking open an eye. “What—“

“You’re worrying Charlie, Bella – sleeping the entire day away. He was about ready to call the hospital! You can’t just do this.” Without asking, Erin began to rifle through Bella’s things, searching for only God knew what.

Bella opened one eye, secretly hoping that she would still be in the car, but no such luck. Instead, she was greeted with a clock, 6:45 PM. She rolled back over, and this clock was new. How was it broken already? Where was her pine forest?

“Bella, are you listening to me?” Erin suddenly asked. Bella happily ignored her, reaching out for the forest with her mind until her cloak of warmness disappeared.

“My blanket,” she whined. Well now that simply wasn’t fair. She looked at the clock but it hadn’t changed. Wait... she wasn’t that tired, had she really just slept through the entire day?

Too quickly, Erin had a sweatshirt and jeans in her hands. If Bella wasn’t sure that would be insane, she would have said that it was as if room had changed. Bella stopped tossing in the bed, and sat up quickly backing up to the wall. Erin’s skin wasn’t pale, and her eyes were brown, right? Bella reassessed the situation but came up only more confused. There was a small cut on Erin’s arm, right above those leather gloves she always wore. She clearly wasn’t a vampire, so how had she gotten her clothes so quickly?

Erin grimaced and frowned. “Bella, I promise I will explain everything to you, but you have to promise not to do this.” One of Erin’s hands was outstretched offering the sweat shirt and jeans.

Bella looked at them warily. “Not to do what, Erin? I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”

“And here I thought oblivion would be enough to deter you. You know, sometimes I worry about whether or not you have a death wish.” Erin’s voice was tired and angry, like a lion that didn’t want to be woken up. Bella caught Erin’s expression in the glass. “How can we help you if you don’t help yourself?” Bella’s expression clouded over, if help meant taking her away from dream-Edward than she didn’t want help. Erin hummed quietly almost managing to make it sound embarrassed. “You can’t help us if your catatonic, Bella.”

“Help you? I don’t understand.” Bella finally sat up all the way and looked out the window listlessly. It was dark.

Erin sighed, throwing back her mane of black hair which had been sort of tamed into curls instead of just an explosion. Her small lips were pursed in exasperation and her eyes glinted dangerously. It was such human expression; her lips pinched recklessly and her eyes so expressive. It was such a pure expression of annoyance not tempered by grace, beauty, or most importantly, hunger. “Bella I really don’t have time for this.”

“Erin,” Bella said drawing the blankets up to her chest, “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on.” Bella’s hands shook. “First how did you get up into my room?”

Erin rolled her eyes and ran a hand through a lock of hair right behind her ear. The gesture was unnervingly human. In fact, now that Bella realized it she was the most human... human that she had ever met. Whereas with the vampires, with Edward (she gave a small jump for joy that saying his name did not elicit the feeling of blankness, just an illicit hum), it was humanity stripped of its faults, with Erin it was the opposite. Erin was all of humanity magnified. Looking at her was like looking at skin under a magnifying glass, so detailed you could see the inner working of each cell.

Erin’s face flattened in annoyance, her lips twitching. “If I answer, it’s going to open the whole can of worms. You’re going to find out eventually, but do you really want to upset yourself right this instant with Charlie downstairs?” When she saw that Bella was sticking resolutely under the covers, Erin sighed, sat down, and pursed her lips. “Bella, I suck at this anyways, I would probably sound completely unintelligible.”

“That’s still not answering my question,” Bella prompted quietly, her eyes fixed unnervingly on Erin’s small black ones.

“Bella I got into your room by asking Charlie. I told him I helped you jumpstart your car the other day,” Erin replied flippantly.

Bella frowned slightly pulling the covers tighter around herself. “That’s not all, you’re not telling me something. Charlie wouldn’t just believe anyone.”

Erin threw her hands up in the air. “I can be very persuasive when I need to be.”

Bella’s eyes widened and she backed toward the corner of her bed. “You didn’t threaten him did you?” Though the possibility of this average looking, ripped jean wearing girl threatening a police chief seemed implausible Bella, just had this feeling about her.

“I’m done with this. Come with me or ruin your life. I really don’t care at this point.” Erin smoothed down silk blouse with those black leather gloves that she never took off. But her eyes were desperate: pleading. She obviously did care, but it wasn’t clear why. Bella’s eyes narrowed.

“Why should I trust you?” Bella asked, very tempted to stick her tongue out at the shorter girl. What if she was being petulant? She was so tired of all the secrecy and the ominous warnings and knowing eyes. Her bed was still warm and maybe her pine-heaven was still reachable.

“Because,” Erin enunciated slowly and clearly, as if talking to a small child. Bella frowned. “If you don’t listen to me, you’re going to end up killing yourself.”