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'.
Rating 3.5/5 Word Count 3161 Review this Chapter
Glancing warily towards Bella I saw the panic hit as her eyes widened and the colour drained from her face. I reached towards her, not really knowing what to expect from her. Would she run screaming, would she keep it in check, would she freeze? I guessed freeze as soon as I realized she wasn’t breathing. I raised an eyebrow in concern as I studied her every move, subconsciously keeping tabs on her vitals. At the same time Bella took in a gasping breath. Relieved that she was in control enough to remember to breathe I quickly scanned the area seeking out any tell tale signs that Victoria was nearby but was quickly jolted out of my search.
“Edward! We have to go back! Charlie’s still there, Charlie’s still in the house! I can’t leave him there Edward, not again!” Bella screamed, hysterical, unable to control the panic that had flooded her senses. It took all my will power not to reach out and cover her mouth to keep her silent and out of Victoria’s immediate knowledge. That said, I was assuming that Victoria had retreated far enough away she hadn’t yet realized Bella was outside the protective atmosphere of the house. Scanning again quickly, I turned towards Bella, reaching out to hold her shoulders, making sure my grip was steady but not harsh or forceful. She struggled against my grip forcing me to tighten it slightly, silently indicating for her to calm down and trust me.
“Bella, we can’t do anything. We are to stay here right now.” I said firmly. I looked into her eyes and though she was no longer hysterical, the fear she felt was obvious in her eyes. I only hoped the urgency I felt was masked on my own face. This situation was stressful enough on it’s own without letting Bella know that I was afraid too.
“Alice and Carlisle have gone to get Charlie out and Emmett and Jasper are out searching for her now. You need to stay here with Esme and Rosalie. Victoria is searching for both of us Bella. I can’t let anything happen to you, not again. I can not lose you again.”
I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I knew my carefully sculpted façade had cracked. The idea of losing Bella sent an aching, hollow feel through my body. It was as though part of me had crumbled away into dust, never to be reclaimed, to never be made whole again. I was like a Greek marble statue. I had eroded. Parts of me had broken and no matter how carefully the pieces were replaced, the cracks remained. I had felt the hollowness, the desolate feeling of being absolutely alone, sorrow so deep that even death could not ease the pain. When I lost Bella I had ceased to exist. I couldn’t carry on, I couldn’t focus. Nothing mattered. The hollow numbness I prayed for would never come. I had scoffed bitterly at my own foolish weakness at praying. To what God? I was damned, never to be allowed peace, never to be allowed rest. But Bella had been a light, a hope. An unattainable dream had seemed almost possible when she lay in my arms. Her heart beat for both of us; her soul was so pure that it seemed as if it could almost be redemption for my own. To lose that was unbearable. To lose all hope, all dreams, all her innocence. To lose Bella would be to lose everything.
I struggled to pull myself out of my shattered state, my thoughts only distracting me from the very real danger I faced now. If I didn’t pull through now I would lose Bella and it would be all my fault. I looked towards the woods and scanned them carefully, wondering if the flame-haired demon had followed us to my house. I couldn’t wait here on the outside any longer. I could no longer sit idly while the predator sized up my girlfriend as if she were no more than a deer in the crosshairs of a hunter’s sights.
“I’m not letting you go out there alone,” She said, startling me from my thoughts, “the only reason she’s a problem to your family at all is because of me. Because of me Edward. If you think I’m just going to sit here and wait while you and your family are in danger than you are seriously mistaken.”
Her voice was shaky and uncertain but my temper flared up regardless. My jaw and fists clenched and I narrowed my eyes as I glared at Bella who glared back stubbornly. Knowing Bella she would do just what she said. She always seemed to end up in the fray rather than the sidelines where I intended for her to remain – safe, unharmed, and protected almost seemed impossible around her. Then again, she was dating a vampire… I frowned as I brought to mind that all the danger she had faced this past year was my fault.
I was definitely going to hell.
“Esme, can you please take Bella to my room and sit with her there?” I asked my adopted mother, looking towards the staircase where she stood silently. “I’m going out to find Emmett and Jasper so we can take care of this once and for all.”
Bella whirled around suddenly, nearly stumbling in her surprise at Esme’s sudden presence among us. I held out a steadying hand before Bella had even realized she was falling.
Clumsy thing isn’t she? I don’t know what he sees in her.
I shot a quick glare at Rosalie who stood behind Esme. She feigned an innocent look briefly and then took on a more appropriate look of concern. Rosalie was an excellent actress. While I’m sure Bella and Esme would interpret her look as being one of true concern, I knew that in truth, concern had been bested by irritation at the situation and impatience that Emmett would risk his life for a human that I fancied for reasons beyond her comprehension. I knew that Rosalie wasn’t as harsh towards Bella as she wanted to be, her innermost thoughts let me know that, but she certainly wasn’t going to give in to the idea as easily as the others had.
“Go on Bella,” I said as I gently nudged me towards the stairs, “go with Esme and Rosalie. Don’t leave my room. Just stay safe and listen to some music. And don’t worry about us. We can handle this okay?”
Bella’s eyes softened as I spoke towards her and the affection we felt for each other was evident in her eyes; an emotion I was positive my own gaze reflected.
I heard cars outside and realized that Carlisle had returned. I smiled as I read Charlie’s thoughts out of curiosity. Carlisle had lured Charlie here with a tale of stolen paintings in the middle of the night. I had to stop myself from laughing as I heard Jasper entering the study through the window to ‘burglarize’ Carlisle’s office before Charlie got there. Charlie was visibly shocked and dismayed to see Bella in our house as he walked through the door.
“Bella!? What are you doing here? Do you know what time it is? You’re supposed to be in your room sleeping.”
“Edward ran to get Bella when he heard about the robberies, Charlie,” Dr. Cullen said soothingly and convincingly towards Charlie, “He was concerned that she might get hurt or scared and thought it best if she stay here with all of us. He just didn’t know if he should alarm you at this time of the night as you are sure to have a busy day coming up after all this crime.”
Charlie glanced at me warily and I tried my best to look innocent.
I don’t trust that kid at all. Bad influence on Bella.
Nope, he was not going to fall for the innocent act easily this time.
“This way Chief Swan,” Carlisle directed, sensing the tension and slight edge of hostility Charlie felt towards me, “the paintings that have gone missing were in my study on the second floor…”
“See, everything’s taken care of,” I reassured Bella as I gently urged her towards the foot of the stairs where Esme and Rosalie were now standing, “head upstairs with them. Stay in my room. I’ll phone you when it is over.” I quickly turned and ran out the door before Bella had time to protest or follow.
I got back to the Swan’s house quickly and saw Jasper waiting for me in the front yard.
“They’ve gone into the woods to track her,” he said softly, in his own quiet manner, “Alice is having a hard time keeping track of her though. She’s wild and runs almost purely on instinct.”
I nodded, taking in this new information. It was going to be much more difficult for Alice to ‘see’ where she would turn next. Alice’s visions were based on the decisions people made in life. If a person ran on instinct there were only split second decisions without any long-term planning involved. She would only be able to track Victoria where she was at that exact moment, not where she was going to be.
Jasper shuffled anxiously, constantly shifting his feet and I could tell he was worried about Alice. Though she was fierce and just as able as the rest of us, Alice’s small stature made her much more vulnerable to attack than a larger vampire like Emmett.
“What are we waiting for,” I said as I narrowed my eyes towards the dark woods and breaking into a sprint slightly slower than my normal pace so Jasper could keep up. I sought out Victoria’s thoughts but it was Alice and Emmett’s that I picked up on. They had looked around the perimeter but hadn’t gotten far as they were waiting for Jasper and I to catch up and join the hunt.
“Well?” I asked, looking to Alice, then to Emmett. They both shrugged, obviously unsuccessful in the immediate stages of their search.
“There’s no trace and she’s not tracking well,” Alice said, tapping at her forehead to indicate that her visions were of no use now.
I sighed and rolled my eyes as I recognized the malice that characterized the thoughts of the La Push gang when in our presence.
“The dogs have been trailing us since we got to Bella’s house,” Emmett explained, sneering at the dark shapes that rustled through the brush.
Jacob Black stepped into the small clearing we were standing in. He was bare-chested and wearing only a ripped pair of jeans. He was obviously trying to look cool and collected but his eyes were wild and he was shaking uncontrollably. His fists clenched and unclenched at his sides, the knuckles white with strain as he struggled to control himself.
“Getting close to our turf Cullen,” he said coldly, his hatred evident in his voice, “remember, you break the agreement and all bets are off.”
He trembled wildly for an instant, his hostility almost getting the best of him. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Emmett begin to crouch – poised to strike. Emmett preparing for a fight is a truly terrifying sight and the sneer on his face would cause even the hardest killers to tremble in their boots. Alice was just behind Emmett and was bracing herself for combat, attempting to look ready but not menacing.
“We’re not hunting,” I said curtly, “there was a threat and we’re dealing with it.”
Jacob narrowed his eyes further, a flash of rage in them belying the coolness he was attempting to portray.
“We can handle this territory. Now run along home before you have a new threat to deal with,” he said menacingly. The wolves that had lingered in the bushes out of sight crept closer to the clearing now, teeth bared and flashing in the moonlight, preparing for battle.
Not tonight Edward. We need to back off. She’s not here anymore. -Alice
“You’re right. You can handle this territory,” I said to Jacob, hearing the smugness in my voice, “I’ll go back to Bella and protect my territory.”
Jacob snarled from the depths of his chest as he could control himself no longer. His jeans shredded as he dropped to all fours, fur seeming to explode from his skin and his size more than tripled as he became a huge reddish wolf.
Cool it! Remember the agreement. If you break it I will not hesitate to take you out vampire or no vampire.
I heard one of the wolves from the pack warn Jacob and heard a low growl coming from the largest wolf.
I smiled cockily, knowing I’d won this battle.
“Let’s go back,” I yelled to the others and ran back to the house without looking back.
I raced back to the house, Alice and Emmett barely keeping up with me, and flew up the stairs to my room, nearly knocking down Bella as I entered.
“What happened?” she demanded. Her eyebrows were knit together with concern and I noticed she was still pale from fright and worry.
“Your friend and his gang of puppies showed up as soon as we were about to close in on Victoria. She fled back into the forest and we decided it would be best to come back here rather than chase her and have to worry about them too.”
“Jacob is my friend Edward,” she said sternly, “he is just trying to get rid of Victoria because she’s a threat.”
“They’re too young Bella,” I replied, “they haven’t got their rage and instincts under control yet. As soon as Victoria fled several of them turned towards us. They only see vampires. They don’t make any distinctions. Luckily I don’t think any of them can act against us until the treaty is broken but I still don’t think we can trust them.”
The hurt was obvious as Bella took in this information. I scolded myself for being so careless with my words. Despite what Jacob Black was Bella still saw him as her best friend. I couldn’t ignore the jealousy that raged through me when I thought of him consoling her in my absence. I felt sick at the thought of him touching her, laughing with her, being with her. I was disgusted with myself for giving him the chance to get near her. Ashamed at my hostile words and thoughts I quickly cast my eyes to the floor.
“I’m sorry Bella,” I said softly, genuinely, “but if it comes down to a fight, I’m going to have to defend myself. I can’t be held responsible for what happens if it comes to that. You know that right?”
She nodded slowly and stepped closer to me but I could see tears forming in the corners of her eyes. She wrapped her arms around my waist, holding tight, and rested her head on my chest. I wrapped my own arms around her shoulders, pulling her close. Her heartbeat was strong and its pulse pumped against my chest making me feel as though we shared a heart and hers was beating for both of us then.
I lifted her chin so I could see into her eyes. Hesitating a second to prepare myself for the overwhelming desire I would soon feel, I lowered my lips to her soft pout and kissed her lightly. Her heart raced and she gasped lightly and I couldn’t help but love the effect I had on her. I was certain that if I had a heart it would race in her presence. She tried to wrap her arms around me and draw me closer, pulling me in to her alluring, intoxicating body, but I held her arms firmly in place having anticipated this very reaction.
Foiled, I thought, laughing on the inside, trying not to smile. Bella was always trying to break my rules. She sighed in disappointment but gave in and enjoyed the kiss I could offer her. I thought I’d won but then Bella, in her usual stubbornness, refused to behave one hundred percent, and parted her lips, enticing me to go further into a deeper more passionate embrace.
I grew still and unresponsive, no longer breathing as I gently but firmly pulled away from her kiss. Then I gasped slightly, surprised at the breathless feeling I felt. To be a creature who doesn’t need to breathe and to feel breathless was a truly unusual and completely absurd feeling. Bella looked unhappy at the abrupt ending for my kiss and I felt guilty I couldn’t offer her more. It’s not that I didn’t want to kiss her, to do more. If I could, I don’t think we would be able to control ourselves at all. We’d only be consumed by the passion that tore at us now, building stronger every day like an electrical spark waiting to strike. Each kiss was harder to end, each touch lingering longer, craving more.
My need to distance myself from her had nothing to do with lack of desire. Unfortunately, that was part of the problem. A vampire is ultimately a creature of desire, and a vampire was exactly what I could not be.
I looked into Bella’s eyes, wishing she could understand my reservations. She knew what might happen but I don’t think she truly understood the full extent of the problem. As she looked up at me her gaze quickly shifted in character.
“So, I was thinking,” she said, looking up to me with her warm, chocolate coloured eyes, a look much more seductive and entrancing than I’d ever seen her use before, “it seems like such a pain, everyone always worrying to keep me safe and me not being able to do anything about it…”
I sighed, exasperated as I knew what she was hedging towards. My desire fading quickly as her suggestion brought up feelings of pain, sadness, and irritation she refused to understand. I closed my eyes as I calmed my anger towards her question but could not help the faint twitch of a smile at the corners of my mouth. Her persistence was definitely part of her charm.
“Not tonight, please, no more talk of this tonight.”
“But I’m tired of always being the damsel in distress,” she insisted, refusing to back down so easily, “I want to be able to help, to save you even.”
“I gave you an option Bella,” I said smugly as I sprawled out onto the couch, trying to appear exhausted even though we both knew better.
“You know I can’t do that yet Edward.”
I rested my head back on the couch, eyes remaining closed. I reached for Bella and pulled her towards me so that she was resting against me on the couch.
“Then we wait.” I said with a smile.