Edward must save Bella from the dangers around her and also from himself as Victoria and a desire for blood threaten their fragile world.
This is the Edward POV of my original fic 'Suspicions'.
1. Instinct vs. Civility
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2831 Review this Chapter
The rain poured down around me as I stalked around the house. There were too many people here, just lurking, and it was making me uneasy. I sought out their thoughts, trying to gain an insight into what they might be doing here.
Stupid snarling bloodsucker of a glorified leech.
Jacob. I could tell that line of thought anywhere – the pure hostility was enough to identify him as one of the bloody werewolves from La Push but the twinge of jealousy that tinged his thoughts immediately confirmed Jacob’s presence. He’d never been too happy about Bella’s and my relationship. His constant roving of Bella’s property irritated me to no end but I knew that with him in such close proximity to the house, I wouldn’t have to worry about anything else getting too close.
The ‘anything else’ was out there too. She’d gotten braver lately, coming closer and closer to the house all the time. She was getting impatient but I would die before letting her come near Bella.
Snorting lightly at the thought of ‘dying,’ I sought out Victoria’s thoughts but got nothing. She was either completely devoid of thoughts tonight, or she was too far away for me to pick anything up. This was satisfactory enough to turn in for the night.
I jumped quickly up to Bella’s window, smiling to myself at the thoughts running through Jacob’s head as I silently opened the window and slid in. I looked towards the bed and saw Bella sleeping. I frowned as I saw that she was restless, obviously in the midst of a nightmare, and cursed the fact that I couldn’t see into her thoughts.
Contemplating whether or not to wake her from her disturbed sleep, Bella surprised me as she suddenly screamed out my name into her pillow. I listened intently, trying to hear if Charlie stirred at all in his sleep, but only heard the racing of Bella’s heart as it pulsed rapidly through her panic.
I carefully placed my hands on either side of her face as she sat up and turned her face towards me, taking care to be gentle and slow in each movement. I ignored the racing pulse that constantly taunted me when I was in her presence. She stared at me with wide, panic-stricken eyes and I carefully brushed away the tears that streamed down her face.
“Bella, Bella, hush, it’s okay. I’m here now. I’m here,” I said softly, trying to calm her and reassure her.
“You’re here,” she said, breathless and full of relief. I could sense her pulse slowing, returning back to normal, but her shallow gasps still concerned me. I smoothed her hair as she calmed down and almost absent-mindedly traced her collar-bone with my thumb, enjoying the warmth that radiated from her body.
“I waited,” she murmured, blushing as she noticed the intimacy of my touch, “I was worried when you didn’t come. I thought that something might have happened to you.”
I looked into her eyes and debated telling her the truth - letting her know that Victoria and Jacob were always hovering on the brink of discovery just beyond the window pane but decided against it. As long as I was here she would never be in harm – from them at least. I could promise her that much.
“I’m fine. I just got side-tracked by Alice and Jasper,” I lied easily, feigning a carefree smile, “I’ve been spending so much time with you that they’re beginning to forget what I look like.”
Bella looked at me, considering what I had just said, and then looked away at the floor. I couldn’t tell if she had bought what I had said but was fairly certain she hadn’t. I would give anything to read her thoughts. I would give up everything, anything, for the ability to know what she was thinking. This confusing inability to read her mind was endlessly frustrating. Of all the minds of all the people of the world, why was hers the only one that denied me?
“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” she said softly, looking back up into my eyes, meeting my gaze, “I can tell when something’s wrong. I may not be able to read minds but I can tell things all the same.”
As frustrating as my inability to read her mind was, her ability to read me intuitively was also a cause for concern. I was a good liar and I knew it but she somehow could see through me, as though I was transparent and all my concerns were penned somewhere only she could read. I debated again whether or not I should tell her of the danger just beyond the window, but remembering the panic and the gasping breath from her nightmare I decided that she needn’t know everything just yet.
I clenched my jaw, physically reflecting the solidity of my decision. I would not tell her a thing until it was absolutely necessary she knew. I could protect her another night.
“I really hate it when you do that,” she grumbled, looking sourly at me. She knew I was hiding something but could also tell when to fight the battle or just move on. She pouted her bottom lip when she was frustrated, a fierce look in her eyes. She could be so beautiful and she didn’t even know it. I chuckled a bit at the fierceness and frustration that had flared in her eyes.
“I love it when you pout,” I said, gazing intently at her, wishing I could kiss that perfect pout. I could see the frustration in her eyes melt as she returned my gaze, a far away look replacing their previous glare.
I heard the creak of a floorboard in the distanced and realized that Charlie had stirred. In my concentration on Bella I had pushed away all of Charlie’s thoughts. If I’d been paying attention I would have realized that the usual broken fragments of thoughts that constituted dreams had stopped just after Bella had screamed and that Charlie had been debating whether or not he should check on his daughter for the past few minutes. I ran quickly over to the closet and hid in the darkest corner, feeling juvenile at the thought of hiding in my girlfriend’s closet like some hormonal, human teenage boy.
Looking back towards the bed, Bella seemed shocked at my sudden absence. I could hear Charlie’s footsteps coming down the hall towards the bedroom door.
“Get back into bed,” I hissed at her.
She didn’t question me and quickly got under the covers, pretending to sleep. I listened to the sound of Charlie’s footsteps come towards the door, his thoughts were fragments of worry, wondering what had caused his daughter to scream out in the night. Bella tensed and I knew she had finally heard the footsteps too.
The door creaked open slowly and light from the hallway spilled into Bella’s room.
“Bella? Bella, are you awake?” Charlie whispered as he strained to see Bella across the dark room. There was an anxious undertone to his voice but his thoughts were calmed at the sight of her safe in her bed.
“Charlie?” Bella murmured, attempting to sound as if she’d just woken from a deep sleep – a quiet snicker escaped my lips, “What’s wrong?”
“I thought I heard you scream and there’s been something very…” Charlie hesitated, as if debating whether or not to tell her.
“Something’s been very what Dad?” she asked, maybe a bit too impatiently judging by the slightly surprised look on Charlie’s face.
“There’s been something very strange going on lately,” Charlie sighed as he gave in and admitted the truth, “It’s like there’s someone creeping around the house lately. Like someone’s watching. I just wanted to make sure you were all right. I want you to be careful Bella. Something’s not right around here and I want you to stay safe until I can be sure things are… secure.”
I felt my body tense at this. I hoped it was only my own presence that he had sensed even though my ego told me I was too silent and trained for him to have noticed my presence. He didn’t even notice me now as I hid childishly in the corner of Bella’s closet.
No, it wasn’t me he had sensed. It had been the others – Victoria and the La Push gang. They tended to stay further back from the house when I was around and Charlie’s unsettled feelings only confirmed my suspicions that they had been lingering around the house much more often lately, even coming around when Bella was not home.
“I promise Dad, I’ll stay safe. I’m sure that there’s nothing wrong and that you’re probably just a bit anxious because of everything that’s happened,” Bella said softly, reassuring her father. I blocked out Charlie’s thoughts at Bella’s reminder of ‘everything that’s happened’. The pain and fear that he’d experienced in those few days when Bella was missing always remained in his thoughts, tormenting him – tormenting me for knowing I’d caused it. The residual pain was so fresh in his mind that it nearly tore me apart. It was yet another reminder why I should have never gotten involved in a human’s life. If the thoughts weren’t enough, I knew he’d had nightmares about the ordeal as I’d picked up on them while I watched over his daughter as the house slept through the dark of night.
Charlie nodded and then reluctantly left the room. The instant the door clicked shut I moved back towards the bed, returning to my position sitting beside Bella.
“Do you think it’s you he’s sensing?” Bella whispered as she shifted so she could lean against my chest. I hoped my light sweater was enough insulation to keep her from becoming chilled by my body.
I was about to answer her when a flicker, almost like a flame, flashed by the window. It was too fast for Bella to see, to even comprehend.
I see you.
I had been so busy blocking out Charlie’s thoughts that I hadn’t noticed her coming closer to the house. My body tensed as I prepared myself for battle, my mind racing as I tried to figure out how to keep Bella safe and assess the possibilities of Victoria making her move.
Quickly leaping over to the window, I looked around rapidly and strained my abilities to pick up thoughts. Her thoughts were fainter; she’d back off a little but not enough to relax. Jacob was no longer in the woods near the house and for once I was disappointed by this detail. He was supposed to be like an alarm to alert me when she’d come close.
You’ll pay. I will get you, vampire or no vampire. You’re mine little girl.
Victoria’s thoughts were filled with fury and revenge but they were simple, primal almost. She was nothing more than a hunter and she’d locked on to her prey. I was infuriated by her lack of civility, that she would treat Bella, the reason I would even want to exist, as if she were no more than a quarry on a hunting trip. A low growl began to build in my chest as I let a small portion of my instincts take over. I had to be always careful, always so painfully, cautiously restrained when it came to my instincts. They must never be allowed to take over completely. The demon within me must never surface.
Panic-stricken, Bella began to react to the situation unfolding around her. I could hear her breath become shallow gasps, her pulse speeding rapidly through her, her heart straining as adrenaline flooded her senses.
“Bella. Stay calm,” I said coolly and calmly, just loudly enough for Bella’s ears to hear, “I want you to listen to me carefully and do exactly what I say. Do you understand?”
“Y-y-yes” Bella stammered, shivering at the harsh tone of my voice. I regretted using such an icy tone but at the same time I knew it was necessary. There was no time for questions, for hesitation. We would have to act and we would have to act quickly.
I scanned outside again. I couldn’t pick up any of Victoria’s thoughts anymore and I couldn’t see her but I could feel it in my gut that she was still there, just on the outskirts of my perceptions, waiting to strike.
“I want you to pack your bag, put in a few days worth of clothes and get dressed. Take a piece of paper from your desk and write a quick note to Charlie saying that Alice and I had decided to go fishing early this morning and that you are going to come,” I said, turning back towards a wide-eyed and very pale Bella, “Write that you’re sorry that you didn’t tell him but you didn’t want to wake him and that you will call him later in the morning.”
There was no way that I was going to let Bella stay here. It was too dangerous. She needed to be somewhere safe, somewhere Victoria wasn’t so familiar with. She would have to come home with me.
If someone would have told me a year ago that bringing a human into a house full of vampires – a very appealingly scented human at that – and that that would be the best decision and the safest course of action, I wouldn’t have even paid any notice because the idea was so utterly absurd. And yet, here I was now, contemplating that exact idea.
I watched her shakily get out of her bed and then turned back towards the window, constantly watching, semi-crouched in a stance of protection and wariness that seemed to come instinctively. I realized that there was still a low growl rumbling through my chest but I decided to leave that be. If Victoria could hear it she would know that Bella would not come to her easily.
“I’m done,” she said a few minutes later, barely sounding the words through her fear.
“Bella, I want you to put the bag on securely and then quickly walk over to me,” I said slowly and evenly, the tension of the moment evident in my voice, “stand behind me and try to stay hidden behind me. I’m going to call Carlisle.”
I got out my phone and quickly dialed Carlisle’s phone. He answered almost immediately.
“Hello?” he asked, concern noticeable in his tone. It was very uncharacteristic of me to phone like this.
“We need to get Bella out now. She’s here.”
“We’ll be there soon,” he said, needing no details or answers. I hung up the phone and turned back towards Bella. She was still really shaken and confused but she seemed to be doing better now. I smiled to myself at her bravery and felt relieved that she truly did seem to have some sense of danger and self-preservation. I had begun to be worried.
“Carlisle, Emmett, Jasper, and Alice are coming this way. They will be here quickly Bella. I am going to put you on my back now and you’re going to have to hold on tightly. This is going to be very quick and I’m going to take you back to my house. We’ll decide what to do from there.”
I turned back towards the window, not waiting to see her response. I carefully but swiftly lifted her up onto my back, waiting for her to lock herself onto me with her arms and legs. It was almost maddening to feel her heart pounding against my back, to smell her inebriating scent. I cursed myself for letting my guard down to the point that I was drawn to her blood so strongly. I had let my instincts go too far for comfort. I would need to withdraw back into civility now even if that meant losing the edge that it would give me against Victoria.
“Close your eyes Bella,” I instructed.
In one fluid motion I opened the window and jumped down to the ground below, all my senses at their highest, seeking out Victoria, preparing for an ambush. When I determined she wasn’t in the immediate area I gently but forcefully released Bella’s grip and placed her on the ground and looked into her eyes, a spark of anger replacing the fear within their depths.
“Are you going to tell me what is going on yet!?” she demanded as she glared at me, letting me know that she would not relent until she got an answer.