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Eternal Midnight

I was never very fond of Edward Cullen. He always seemed smug and superior to me. I wanted a way for Bella to find happiness with Jacob without compromising the characters or the story. Sometimes one small decision can significantly change the outcome of a series of events. In this story Edward decides to leave Rio on Easter Sunday in order to join his family in Denali. His ulterior motive lies in his desire to see Bella again and perhaps rejoin her life. These Characters are the creation of Stephanie Meyers


1. Chapter 1

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Easter in Rio de Janeiro bears little resemblance to how it is celebrated in the north. Looking in the faces of the people you believe that this is the day their souls were saved from eternal damnation. I only wish that my soul could be saved so easily. I feel like I’ve spent the last six months crucifying myself with nothing to show for it.

This final trip proved to be a wild goose chase. I followed Victoria to Texas thinking that I could protect Bella from the remaining member of James’ coven. She must have known I was there because she laid a false trail and I fell for it. I may be the world’s worst tracker. But what else can I do? Without Bella my existence has lost all purpose. When I am not hunting Victoria I curl up into a ball and lie there, sometimes for weeks on end.

I may as well head north. The entire family will be in Denali this week and maybe I can spend some time with them without being a complete lump. It would be good to hunt with Emmett and Jasper again, maybe being with them would bring back some of the thrill. I haven't hunted with Jasper since the party; we were both too miserable about the whole affair to be in each other’s company. It's time we started acting like brothers again.

If I had no ulterior motives I would have taken the first flight that would get me to Alaska. I pretended that my decision to drive was based solely on needing the change of scenery. I sped along the Amazon and through Central America thinking about how good it would be to see everyone again. Alice would make sure that everyone would be there the day I arrived and maybe they could distract me from my misery. Emmett can always be counted on for a laugh. Esme would worry over me like a mother hen. Alice would be her delightfully annoying self. I miss them all, but Carlisle most of all. I can barely remember my biological father. I cannot imagine him being a better man or loving me more than Carlisle.

Carlisle would have some new and interesting piece of research from the university. New England is a great place for us to be. The concentration of top notch research universities and hospitals gives us an opportunity to keep abreast of the latest research. It is hard to be intellectually challenged when you’ve lived hundreds of years and read extensively on many subjects. Thoughts of returning to the Northeast with my family got me through Mexico and most of the states. I’d already studied biology, chemistry and medicine too many times. History was fun once but there’s nothing I can get in a classroom that isn’t better in books and original sources. Perhaps a dual major in philosophy and theoretical physics would be fun, deep thinking that is completely unrelated to my life. I’ve never considered studying English literature…

That thought would strike me as I was arriving in the Pacific Northwest. Bella, of course, wouldn’t consider studying anything other than English literature. There is no sense in fooling myself any longer; I drove so I could peek in at Bella along the way. The only reason I enjoyed this trip so much is because part of me knew that Bella, not my family, was at the end of it.

I left my car at the old house so I could run the rest of the way to see Bella. I noticed in passing that Alice’s scent was fresh at the house but I was too preoccupied with Bella to pay attention. I’m just going to see how she’s doing. All I want is to know that she is happy. True enough, though honestly I want her to be happy with me. If she’s miserable now then I can justify returning to her life. Do I have the strength to walk away if I find her happy? I wonder.

Running through the woods I heard Alice calling to me with her thoughts. Alice! I told her to leave Bella alone. Now she has put her foot into something I don't understand. She was in the woods across from Charlie's house.

"Why are you here, Alice?" I hissed. She raised an eyebrow, unsurprised to see me but still accusatory. I briefly thought she had come to prevent me from interfering in Bella's life.

She showed me the vision of Bella jumping off the cliff. "I thought I could help Charlie but it turns out that Bella is fine. She's been into extreme sports lately."

How many times can a non-existent heart break? I made her promise that she wouldn't do anything stupid. I can't bear existing in a world without her.

"How did she survive the fall?"

"It turns out that Bella has been running around with adolescent werewolves. Jacob Black saved her. Apparently I cannot see them. It might be for the best, they saved her from becoming Laurent’s lunch. Edward, Victoria is back and she is after Bella. The werewolves have managed to keep her at bay but they haven't caught her."

Young werewolves! What could Bella be thinking? I thought the Quileute werewolf gene had died out. Of course, they have done what I could not if Victoria is here and has not gotten to her yet. I was wasting my time chasing Victoria in Rio and she was here chasing Bella. How low have I fallen not being able to protect her as well as a pack of juvenile wolves. It seems that my leaving had put her into even more trouble than she was in when I was around. Trouble she wouldn't be in if I had not brought her into contact with James and his coven to begin with.

My horror, relief and self-loathing were combined with an unexpected emotion, jealousy. Jacob cares for Bella more than any of her many admirers at school. Worse, she is fond of him, too. His cutting in on us at prom did not seem to bother her as it had when Mike or any of the other boys tried to get her attention. All of a sudden my private hopes that Bella would be miserable and waiting for me to return were dashed against the rocks of Jacob Black.

"Where is she now and why are you hiding out in the woods?"

I was waiting for you idiot. Did you want to have this conversation on her front porch? She is inside with Jacob and I thought it would be best for everyone if he and I didn't meet.

In Alice's thoughts all I could see was a functioning but miserable Bella. She had done so much better than I had but it seemed she had not really lived since I left. And now she has a fascination with extreme sports! How I wished I could get inside her head. I would have to settle for the next best thing. I listened for Jacob's thoughts.

Jacob's head was full of Bella's face. She looked so sad and so resigned to whatever conversation had just past. She is heartbreakingly beautiful. We thought it at the same time.

What a time for my phone to ring. It was from Rose and whatever she had to say would just have to wait. Even after all this time it seems she still attempts to destroy what little time I can have with Bella.

If this was a normal world with no vampires or werewolves Bella wouldn't have to be sad. In that world we would be soul mates.

Damn you Jacob, a soul is the only thing I can't give her. Why do you have to do this to me?

I love you Bella. I can't live without you. Before I knew you I was happy but you are more than my best friend and now my happiness depends on you.He didn't say these words. He just started stroking her face. From the panic that appeared in her eyes I think she heard him anyway.

Jacob leaned in and kissed Bella once, gently. If I had a heart it would be beating 100 miles an hour as I waited for him to see her reaction. It was obviously the first time he kissed her and she didn't look like she was prepared for it.

"I'm so sorry, Bella." Tears were streaming down her face and I was exultant. I never thought that seeing Bella cry would bring me joy but if she couldn't be happy without me then I would have to return. I never meant to leave her with a life of misery.

“I can’t love you Jacob,” she said, adding in a whisper, “I wish I could.”

It was excruciating to see how miserable Bella looked. Her pain was my fault. It took every bit of strength in my body to keep from running in there and trying to make it better. I restrained myself for two reasons. First, as the one who caused her such pain, I was not certain that my presence would make anything better. And second, Jacob was a young werewolf. He might not be able to control himself if I walked in. Not just because I am a vampire. He has every reason to hate me for hurting Bella if he cares about her as much as he thinks he does. Bella shouldn’t see me and her friend try to kill each other.

Oddly, Jacob’s take on the situation was very different.

She wishes she could love me! She doesn’t want to hurt anymore. Bella wants to be happy. She spent so many months holding on to the pain that leech caused her.

Jacob’s thought flashed to how Bella looked when she first brought him the motorcycles… MOTORCYCLES?!? She looked like an empty shell, barely alive. Why did she clutch at her chest like that? Compared to the Bella in Jacob’s memory, at least today she looked alive.

I have no explanation for what happened next. Jacob thought of me and was not angry, which surprised him. Seconds ago when I thought Jacob hated me I was right. The way I hurt Bella was unforgivable and would haunt me for eternity. Jacob could let go though. In the moment that he knew that one day Bella would heal he let go of his months-long desire to hunt me down and kill me.

Love and hate are powerful emotions. Loving Bella changed my entire life, allowed me to be excited by a world which had long since become tedious. Loosing her made the tedium of life unbearable. Hating me had kept Jacob from being able to truly see how much he loved Bella. The moment he forgave me he was literally beside himself with joy. It was as if he were floating off of the planet with only her to hold him in place. So this is imprinting, I wonder why it didn't happen before? I didn't understand the words he thought but I did understand that Jacob was as in love with Bella as it was possible for a human to be. He was going to dedicate the rest of his life to making her happy.

Jacob held Bella tightly and kissed the top of her head. "I'll never leave you again Bella no matter who you love."

I had promised her that it would be as if I never existed. I could see now that I lied. It was a promise that I never should have made because I had no way of keeping it. What was left was a sad empty shell of my Bella. I was walking around with her heart and there was no way I could return it without destroying what little peace she found without me. My entire existence as a vampire was spent trying not to be a monster. Even when I fed on humans I hunted the monsters hoping that I could bring just a little bit of good into the world through my presence. Now I have destroyed the most beautiful person in the world and left someone else to pick up the pieces.

As I turned my back on Bella and her new chance at life, an idea started to form. I saw it in Alice's head before I knew it myself. "We go to kill Victoria," she said.

I nodded once. It would be my final act of love for Bella before I left her forever and entered into my own eternal midnight.