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'.
7. Life and Death
Rating 4.1/5 Word Count 1963 Review this Chapter
I knew exactly what she was asking of me and there was no way in hell that I would ever do that to her. I glared at her but she was stubborn and stood up from her chair showing she was not going to back down easily.
“All this caution, all these worries and guarded moments – end it all now. I’m tired of being a porcelain doll, treated like I could break at any moment…” she continued.
“Watch it Bella,” I snarled in a low, menacing voice. Bella shivered at my words but didn’t stop.
“Change me Edward. Make me a vampire, make me like you. I’m tired of the caution tape and fears. I want to be able to hold my own around here,” she said strongly, forcefully. “I can’t always be the damsel in distress!” she cried.
She then calmed herself down a bit, panting slightly from the exertion of her emotions. She looked down at the floor now and mumbled.
“What if you’re the one who needs to be saved? What if you’re not there to save me? What then?”
She finished in a whisper but I could not be angry at her anymore. What she said did have a ring of truth to it. I highly doubted that I would ever be the one who would need saving. I was young and strong for a vampire and I definitely knew how to handle myself. But what if I couldn’t be there to save her?
I felt cold and hollow at my next thought. What if I was the one she would need saving from?
I felt the tension drain from my expression as I calmed myself. This was not exactly an easy feat as I must admit that I do have a bit of a temper, but I couldn’t hide from the truth of Bella’s words. I felt the furrow in my brow disappear, my frown press into a straight line, my jaw unclench. I became a statue, still and emotionless.
Bella was staring at my sudden change of expression with her mouth agape and quickly closed it when she realized. I flashed her a tiny hint of a smile.
“You want to be my prince charming?” I asked lightly.
Bella opened her mouth to speak but couldn’t find the words right away. The lightness of my question had obviously thrown her off guard as she had probably just expected another argument.
“Well, yeah, figuratively speaking,” She stammered.
“And you want me to change you right now, this very instant?”
Her eyes grew wary of me then. She looked both shocked and suspicious at the same time. I didn’t blame her. Usually when this topic came up I was down right hostile.
“All right then, shall we start?” I asked, smiling crookedly.
Bella fell back into the chair, her face had paled and I could see she was overwhelmed with the situation. I wish I could look into her thoughts now, see what she was really thinking. Her mouth started to move but no words came. Giving up on trying to talk, Bella just closed her mouth and nodded instead.
“So you’ve agreed to my proposal?” I hedged.
Bella narrowed her eyes at that, her anger obvious in her glare but she quickly recovered, not wanting me to see her hesitation and frustration with my proposal.
“And if I have?” she asked warily, unwilling to give up easily.
“Well then a celebration is in order,” I said, grinning widely.
She sighed and resigned from her bluff. I felt relief flood my body that she was not yet so desperate to become a vampire that she would resort to fulfilling my request of marriage. I must admit that I found it confusing that she would be so willing to damn herself of all eternity to be with me; to willing condemn her soul to hell, and yet, it was the proposal that had thrown her off. Regardless, I was happy to have found this important chink in her armor. I don’t know what I would have done if she had agreed when I initially proposed.
“Edward, we can’t get married. What would I say to Renee? She’d be crushed,” she said, exasperated, almost desperately. “I can’t do that to her. You know that.”
“But she’s okay with the eternal damnation of your soul? I find that hard to believe,” I retorted, raising an eyebrow at her, my eyes challenging her.
“You don’t understand,” she grumbled. She cast her large brown eyes to the floor then, lowering her head. Her long brown hair cascaded off her shoulder until it fanned out in front of her face.
“No Bella,” I said sullenly, and she looked back up at me, “you are the one who doesn’t understand. You don’t know what it really means to do this, to go through with this change.”
She opened her mouth to protest but I pressed a cold, pale finger to her red pout, silencing her with my touch.
“Please, Bella, let me speak,” I said softly and she nodded, closing her mouth again.
“You are so young, and so beautiful. You have so many options, so many things available to you right now. Things you don’t even know exist. I can’t live with myself if I ever take these things away from you Bella. I can’t take away these experiences from you. I won’t take your life. I haven’t worked this hard to keep you alive thus far only to make it all in vain by killing you now. I won’t damn your soul.”
“But Edward, you aren’t damning my soul! I’m choosing this. I’ve thought it through and I know what my decision means. I know it won’t be a clean break and that sacrifices will have to be made but I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to give up everything I have because I can’t exist without you. You are everything to me Edward Cullen. You’re my air. Without you I can’t breathe, I can’t function, I can’t exist. If I stay human I’ll lose you. You see this as life and death but I see this as life in death.”
I lowered my head then, unable to look at her. She would never understand what she was giving up until she’d already lost it. She didn’t know what she really had now. How could I make her understand?
I turned away from her and looked at the collection of paintings on Carlisle’s wall. His whole life, and life after death, was represented there on those paintings. I felt like I had shattered inside. Bella wouldn’t, possibly couldn’t see that life was so important. She was fragile but there was such a beauty and such an essence of power in her fragility that she needed. She didn’t realize that I would trade it all to be human with her now, to walk in the sunlight, in life, to have her for all my life and grow old together; to be able to grow and change...
“I assure you, I feel the same about you. I’ve lived this life in the shadows, always in the dark thinking the light of the moon and stars were enough, were all I needed. Then you came into my life and it was like dawn. The sky was alight with fire, new possibilities, new colours - everything was fresh and bright again. My life broke through to the first light of day and I knew I could never go back to the dim, pale light of the moon. Not after the brilliance of the sun lit up my world, everything ablaze with life,” I said quietly.
“That’s why you need to change me Edward!” she cried passionately, getting out of her chair and running to me. She placed her hands on my shoulders and met my gaze with her own, “If you don’t change me, if I don’t become like you, I’ll die. I’ll get old and you’ll lose interest in me. It will be too late and then I’ll die.”
“But you don’t see the whole picture Bella,” I said gently, almost a whisper, my eyes gazing straight back into hers with a piercing intensity, “you won’t live, you’ll never experience anything. You’ll be trapped; held prisoner in an eighteen year old body for all eternity. I know that doesn’t sound so bad at first, and it’s not, until time passes. It will pass quickly for you. You have no time limits, no boundaries to bind you to this earth. But to your friends, your closest friends and family, time will pass normally. They’ll get old Bella, they’ll die. You will have to leave them long before that though because they’ll notice that you never change. You never grow older, your appearance never changes. Nothing about you ever changes. You’re just frozen in time, for eternity. You won’t get to enjoy the time with your family while they’re still here, you’ll never get to truly be a part of something bigger than yourself. You can never get close to anyone for fear they will find out who you are.”
I paused and looked away, struggling to deal with the emotion that flooded me now.
“Bella,” I continued in the same low, melodic voice, “you’ll never have a family of your own. You’ll never have a child, to watch as they learn, smile, laugh, cry, grow… You’ll never be able to see their achievements - to share your soul with them.”
She stood silent and motionless, waiting for me to continue and I wondered if I had finally gotten through to her.
“In the end, you will never feel peace. Your soul will never rest. Bella, I could never let you feel what it’s like to crave the blood of another being. The thirst can be overwhelming, it can be torture. I can’t do that to you. Do you understand yet why I can’t change you?”
Her tears fell freely from her cheeks but she still stood motionless in front of me.
I felt an edge of bitterness towards myself for causing her this pain. No human should have to decide between life and death, not like this. How could one decide in times like this? The line between life and death was so blurred it was hard to tell which side was really life and which side was truly death.
She buried her head into my cold hard chest and wept, her shoulders shaking as she sobbed, and I knew that she finally understood a fraction of what she would lose to become like me. I felt guilty for telling her the truth and couldn’t bring myself to tell her further about the murderous desires and the lust for blood she would also have to struggle with. I didn’t want to change her for a large part because of shame of what I was. For her to know how I craved her blood… the thought was unbearable. She must not ever know. I was a selfish creature and I desperately wanted to keep her, this beautiful, fragile human, but she must not lose everything to be with me. I couldn’t allow it, not ever,
She cried for a long time, until her tears ran dry and she could cry no more. When she pulled away my white button-down was stained with her tears.
We both knew we could not continue like this forever. Eventually someone would have to give. Life and death would stake their claim on the situation. The decision could not be made yet though. I don’t think either of us could yet bear a change in the situation.