A Dark Congregation
As Carlisle, Edward and Emmett race across the country to get to Seattle so Edward can catch the first flight out, Edward worries about Bella. What will happen if he doesn't get to her in time? What if he can't suck the venom out? In his mind's eye, he sees her funeral, a dark congregation gathered around a glass casket, a red rose upon the soft snow. Fanfiction No 2 in the "Like Vines" series.
1. A Dark Congregation
Rating 4/5 Word Count 1570 Review this Chapter
A Dark Congregation
Fanfiction Two Of the Like Vines Series
“Alice, I know,” I said, running my fingers through my hair nervously.
“She’s really fine, Edward,” she repeated. “Sleeping.”
“What is she saying?”
Alice paused. I had been dying to know if Bella was sleeping and if she was strong enough to speak. “She’s murmuring that she should die.”
Even over the phones, I could see the imagery in Alice’s head.
“Sorry Edward,” she whispered.
“It’s okay,” I replied, though my teeth were clenched. “I’ll call you again when we reach Seattle.”
“We love you and Bella. We aren’t going to let anything happen to her, no matter what you think.”
“Bye, Edward.” Alice hung up.
I recommenced staring out the window, rubbing my eyes for a few seconds. But the images of Bella half dead, bleeding on a damp floor, apologizing to me wasn’t exactly something that could be blanched from my memory.
Damn, if I don’t meet the end of the year ticket quota, Sheriff Peskowitz is going to-
“Carlisle, there’s a police officer around the bend,” I said boredly, glancing at the speedometer of the Mercedes, which read 120 mph.
“Thanks,” he murmured, pressing on the breaks with ease, lowering to the human speed of 70.
“What did Alice say that made you so mad?” asked Emmett.
“Bella’s been talking about how much she wants to die in her sleep. Alice imagined it in her head.”
“Oh.” Emmett sank into the backseat. He knew it was going to be about Bella, yet he still asked out of courtesy. That was Emmett.
“You can’t think about her death,” said Carlisle softly, tightening his grip on the wheel in anticipation of my response.
“What else is there to think about?” I asked somewhat coldly.
Carlisle sighed. “I’m sorry. But I know constantly thinking about someone dying isn’t good for anyone, vampire or human. Maybe if you get out what you’re thinking, you’ll feel better.”
“I didn’t know you had a degree in psychology,” I muttered.
“He didn’t tell you?” asked Emmett. “Who the hell do you think has been Rosalie’s shrink all these years? I wasn’t ever much help in that department.”
I rolled my eyes.
“But really, what do you see in your mind, son?”
I took a deep breath. “I don’t know where exactly this takes place. It’s snowing. We are all standing around her; she’s in a glass casket. It seems like the cold has kept her perfectly preserved. She’s as gorgeous as ever. A red rose fell from my hands, onto the blanket of snow. You were praying, Carlisle. Esme looked like she was crying. Alice’s eyes wouldn’t move from Bella’s face.”
“And you?” he asked.
“Drowning in guilt even Jasper couldn’t alleviate.”
“Was it just our family?”
I nodded. A gripping cold was overwhelming my gut. “It was, I’m sure, less than zero degrees. The cold literally froze our breath in the air. It was like I knew she was gone, but part of me believed she could wake up if I kissed her…like from a scene in a fairytale.” I shook my head. “That’s ridiculous.”
“No, it isn’t,” said Carlisle. “All of us are used to being superheroes. When it comes to humans, we can’t always hold their lives in our hands. It was something I struggled with in the very early days of my practice. I wanted to save everyone, but it was physically impossible.”
“Bella isn’t everyone,” I said firmly.
“I know,” he answered immediately, the words before the thoughts. “I was just trying to make a point.”
“And what point was that?”
“Look, Edward, you know how I feel about this. If worse comes to worse, you have two options. One, change her, or two, watch her die.”
“Carlisle, that’s not-”
“It’s reality. I cannot tell you anymore that everything will work out perfectly, simply because I do not know what will and what won’t. I’m sorry. You have to be prepared for all the scenarios that could transpire.”
I nodded. Throughout the entire journey, I had undeniably resisted the fact that I may never see a blush on Bella’s cheeks again. Now that Carlisle was making me face what was becoming inevitable, the fantasy about Bella’s funeral in my head was scarier than before. “I know I’m not going to be able to suck the venom out,” I murmured.
“Don’t dare to limit yourself. You might be the only one who can do it.”
“But couldn’t you-”
“If Bella is bleeding elsewhere or has any broken bones, I’m going to have to dress the wounds and stop the bleeding. If that happens, it would be impossible for me to suck the venom out.”
“No excuses, Edward,” he replied. “I know you can do this.”
“You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for,” said Emmett. “There’s only one other person who’s been attracted to a human before, and he’s driving.”
Carlisle grinned. “Even with Esme, I wasn’t preoccupied with keeping her alive. I was selfish.”
“No, you weren’t. It was either that or death.”
“So instead of allowing an angel to go to heaven, I damned her,” he sighed.
“But you’ve given her eternal happiness,” I protested.
“Would you not do the same if you changed Bella?”
“No, that’s different,” I said, clenching my teeth again. “Bella is healthy; she shouldn’t have to give up her life for me.”
“If you keep putting her in danger, she won’t always be,” replied Emmett.
I sent him a venomous look.
He raised his eyebrows, and put his hands up in partial defeat. “Sorry, but it’s true, bro.”
“What would you do if the situation were reversed; if Rosalie was the human?”
“I’d kick your ass for dating her.”
I sighed. “No, I mean, if you were the predator, and Rosalie was the human?”
“Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have had enough restraint to keep from killing her in the first place. And if I did, I would have changed her already.”
“She loves you, Edward. That’s extremely clear. Somehow, I think she’d rather be damned than grow old.”
“I know, she told me,” I said softly. “But what makes you think I want to grant her wish?”
“You seriously have overprotective, pain control issues,” said Emmett. “Things would be a lot easier if you were both vampires.”
“How can I know that she won’t get tired of me after fifty years?”
Carlisle took his eyes off the road to look at me. “Can’t you see it in her smile, in the brown of her irises?”
I looked out the window again, hand on my forehead.
“We’ve all seen it,” murmured Emmett. “Everyone but you is sure.”
“Even Alice’s visions have remained unchanged for weeks-”
“Would everyone stop talking about Alice and her damn visions?” I demanded, bellowing. Carlisle swerved a little on the road. “They always change!”
“The premonitions have been extremely helpful to us thus far, Edward,” whispered Carlisle.
“It’s the opposite of helpful! All she ever does is confuse me! And Bella dying or becoming one of us in Alice’s head, so I can’t-”
“Don’t you dare pull that with us. I don’t want to hear that you can’t tune her out, because I know you can! You’ve done it before!” replied Carlisle sternly.
“Bella is my life! I can’t possibly ignore what people think about her!”
“But the thoughts have got to be softer because she’s so far away,” suggested Emmett.
“Every second, they get louder and louder – they scream above everything else.”
“Tune them out,” commanded Carlisle. “There are hundreds of humans on the road. Follow their thoughts.”
I stared at him with raised eyebrows. “You want me to eavesdrop?”
“I know it’s against what I stand for, but it is certainly better than watching your masochistic tendencies.”
I allowed some time to pass, for my temper to cool, before I spoke again. “I just don’t want to see her, white and cold and pure as the snow on the ground in death. I refuse to watch the dark congregation gather around the glass casket, or watch a red rose slip from my hand to the ground. If she ended up dying, I would be slaughtered by the guilt. I know I would spend days and weeks in front of the casket, my subconscious waiting for her to say something in response to what I had done.”
“Time won’t erase you, Edward,” said Carlisle.
“No, but it will erase her. In fifty years, it will be as though she never existed. I’ll be the only pitiful one to visit her grave on her death day. And I will be alone.”
“Then don’t let it happen. If worse comes to worse, let her change,” commented Emmett.
Conversation ceased. I had to face what could and would happen. But if the time came for her to die today, I wouldn’t let it happen through James’ malice and venom. If she was going to change, it would have to be my own venom, so that she knew she was changing because someone loved her, not because someone wanted her dead. If Bella was going to be damned, it was going to be because of me.
We would see. Or rather, Alice would.