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'.
8. Chapter 8
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I stared at Bella but she refused to look at me right now. I could hardly blame her. I think she finally understood the unnecessary sacrifice she would make to be with me. Maybe she even saw the monster she would become when she looked at me. I know I should feel relief the day she came to that realization, but the small, selfish part of me who wanted to keep her was fearful of that very event.
She looked at the wall of all Carlisle’s paintings but her eyes were glassy with tears, swelling her eyes until they could hold back the sadness no more as they spilt over the edge and ran down her pale cheeks.
“I’m sorry Bella, I had to make you understand.” I gave a small crooked smile, full of sadness and apology, but an edge of concern tinged the tone of my voice. She was unravelling before me. Never before have I loathed what I was and what I’d done more than how I felt then, the pain I caused her was like causing pain to myself.
“I…” She choked out, struggling to speak through the tears, “I just need some time to think things through…”
I stepped slowly towards Bella and when she didn’t back away I put my arms around her and pulled her in close to my chest. I had done enough damage today. She had obvious doubts now and that was all I could ask from her for now. She welcomed my embrace and wrapped her arms around my waist. I stiffened as her scent washed over me as I forced myself to forget about the terrible, burning thirst that scorched my throat. The venom in my mouth was suddenly more noticeable, fuelling the fire within rather than quelling it.
Bella backed up, her alarm painted clearly upon her face. I could almost see last night’s events playing through her eyes as she looked into mine. She studied my face and concern and surprise flickered across her face. I smiled apologetically and looked sheepishly at the floor. She had seen the darkness of my eyes and knew that it had been a while since I’d hunted. By neglecting my own needs I had put her in danger.
“I need to hunt this afternoon, sorry. It’s okay now though, I’m under control.”
We resumed our embrace but every move was now calculated and cautious. Bella held back no longer carefree with her touch. I rest my head gently against hers, my lips by her ear. I nuzzled her gently and kissed her on top of her head, one hand tracing her jaw line, memorizing every curve and the feel of her jaw. The strange but not unpleasant electricity that happened when we touched seemed to spark to life again as I drew haphazard patterns across her skin. Her heart stuttered and skipped as I slid my finger down her throat and I chuckled lightly at the effect I had on her as my hand continued down towards her collarbone. Tilting my head slightly I lowered my lips to her neck and almost immediately regretted it. Her heart raced with panic now, not excitement and I could see her pale out of my peripheral vision. Pretending I didn’t notice her body’s betrayal of trust, a well-deserved betrayal, I slid my lips quickly up her neck to place a chaste kiss upon her jawbone. I didn’t back away but I could see she was blushing furiously obviously ashamed of the fear she had just felt. I felt a sharp pain and a sinking feeling in my stomach, hating myself for being near her and endangering her, causing her this constant fear and threat of her life. Still, I wanted to prove to her that I could control myself.
My lips made their way across her jaw until they hovered above her own. I smiled slightly as I could sense the blood almost boiling beneath her full pout; her lips were the most delicious shade of red I had ever seen. I did not kiss her just yet though. The building anticipation was enthralling and the electricity between us increased, seemingly sparking and arcing between our bodies. I ached to kiss her, to take her now, but I resisted and forced myself to wait. My pale, cold hands cupped the sides of her face and were warmed by the heat of life beneath their icy touch. Bella shivered slightly as I moved my hands down the sides of her neck to her shoulders, then further still down her arms until her fingers entwined with my own. My mind lingered on the contrast of our bodies, her warmth and the life that pulsed through her veins in harmony with my icy coolness, still and vacant of true life for eternity. Only now did I kiss her, the anticipation of the moment thickening the air and overwhelming the senses. She tried to wrap her arms around me but I held her hands firmly in my own down by our sides. I could feel her pout, even as she kissed me, and fought to keep from smiling as the corners of my mouth twitched threateningly.
I pulled away slowly and gently, once again resting my cool cheek against her own flushed face and whispered softly into her ear.
She gasped, not realizing the she had been depriving herself of oxygen in favour of the kiss and I grinned at her, laughing softly.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with you. I can’t even kiss you properly!” I half-joked.
She frowned at this comment, unsatisfied with her own difficulty functioning when under the influence of my kiss. This only caused me to laugh harder and she returned the light-hearted feeling and smiled at me as coyly and seductively as she could.
“Then kiss me again,” she said, her voice soft, low and smooth.
I made a show of contemplating her request then looked up at her through my long, dark lashes, a crooked smile on my face.
“Don’t tempt me,” I growled seductively, making my eyes smoulder, drawing her in. Her heart raced and she gasped for breath. I winked at her and pulled away smiling.
“Alice, would you mind taking Bella back to school for me? I’m going to go hunting with Emmett and Jasper this afternoon instead of going back to school,” I said, looking past Bella at the door.
Bella whirled around in surprise at Alice’s presence, almost throwing herself off balance. I steadied her quickly by placing a firm hand at the small of her back. Bella’s face turned a shade of crimson and I contemplated whether she was blushing because she had been caught in my embrace, she had almost fallen, or a combination of the above.
Alice had a huge grin on her face and winked at me quickly, too quickly for Bella to see.
I’m glad you patched things up Edward. You can be so dull when you’re moping.
I raised an eyebrow of warning at her but nothing could stop the sunshine powerhouse that was Alice. Not today anyways.
“Come along Bella,” she called in her silvery, sing-song voice as she grabbed Bella’s hand and pulled her out the door and down the stairs. She waved goodbye as she was practically dragged down the stairs. I laughed, as the look on Bella’s face was clear that she didn’t know whether or not to be frightened now.
As the black Mercedes raced away, I turned back into the house. I had been hoping to go hunting with Emmett and Jasper but they weren’t around now. I frowned at this inconvenience but decided to go hunting on my own instead of waiting around the house all day. I needed to get out and run, to feel the wind whip across my face. I needed to quench my undeniable and eternal thirst. Frowning at my bloodlust, I set out quickly.
Leaving my car behind in favour of a run, I set out for a forest up in British Columbia, Canada. It would be far enough to occupy a large part of my day and maybe even use up enough energy to release and exhaust some of my frustration. Also, BC was the best place to get a good mountain lion and right now I craved the challenge.
The distance to the alpine forest was not the most time consuming part of the trip, in fact it was the easiest. Now came the challenging part. Mountain lions were fast, rivalling any animal in the kingdom in agility and stealth. Once I’d met and ultimately defeated my worthy and admiral adversary, I sat for a while in the sun, enjoying the feel of it against my skin, slowly warming it as it sparkled like diamonds. Hunting, as horrifying as it may be, was truly the only place I could fully be myself, vampire powers and all. I could let my instincts guide me and unleash my strength and speed and become a super being, a truly enjoyable part of being a vampire – that is if it were not for the sobering eternal guilt that my craving for blood fuels the hunt.
Looking at the sun’s position in the sky I realized it was almost late afternoon and most likely time for me to head back home to Forks. I ran swiftly back to my house, but switched plans at the last minute and ran to Bella’s house instead. Leaping effortlessly up to her second floor bedroom window and silently slipping into the room I heard her and Charlie eating pizza on the floor below in the living room. Listening a little more carefully it would seem Charlie was eating in the living room while watching a game on TV and Bella was cleaning up in the kitchen. She yelled to Charlie she was going to bed, a bit early as it was only 8:30 according to her alarm clock, but Charlie only vaguely registered her voice as he was currently outraged at a lousy call by the referee.
I remained sprawled out on the bed, trying to seem as nonchalant and carefree as possible as she dashed into the room without even attempting to mask her excitement. I could sense her studying my face and my eyes, their colour specifically, as she neared me but her concern quickly vanished as she had decided that I’d passed her little test. She gave me a quick kiss on the lips and ran out of the room again towards the washroom where I could hear her get ready for bed and change into her pyjamas. As she returned to her room I basked in the glow of her wide grin, pleased that I could make her so happy by simply existing with her, and felt myself grin as I saw that she had changed into her newer, fancier and more mature pyjamas that she had bought soon after she had found out that I often frequented her room to watch over her as she slept.
She climbed into the bed next to me and I noticed how carefully she walked and lay down, trying to be as graceful as possible. She was pulling out all the stops to impress me tonight. She snuggled up to my chest, a warm blanket creating an insulating layer so she didn’t catch a chill from my icy stone-like body, and she seemed content as she slept.
As she slept I lay there beside her, gently stroking her cheek and arm as softly as possible so as not to wake her. Her sleep seemed more peaceful than usual tonight. She didn’t even murmur as she rested, a look of blissful peace on her face.
As the sun rose outside I decided it was time to make my leave. Bella had a few neighbours that were early risers and I was pretty sure an elderly lady from down the street had seen me exiting the window one morning while she walked her two small dogs. I ran away quickly enough that she had shaken her head and most certainly had blamed it on her eyesight, but I noticed that she always watched carefully as she passed now.
I wrote a quick note to Bella before leaving;
Gone out to get ready for tonight. Alice will arrive this afternoon to help you get ready.
I smiled at the frown I could picture on Bella’s face as she would read this. At first she would just be disappointed that she was alone and then her brow would furrow further as she realized the reason behind Alice’s arrival this afternoon and why she would need help ‘getting ready’.
I didn’t need to buy a new tux as I already had an entire closet full to choose from that I had accumulated over the years. Instead I took this time to sit in the living room at the piano. There had been a melody in my head for a few days right now. Nothing whole, just a few fragments here and there. The notes seemed to come effortlessly as my fingertips fluttered across the keyboard. The melody was haunting, more so than any other I’d composed before. Part of that was the sharper key I had chosen and the rest was due to the rapid passage of notes that seemed to glide by transparently like ghosts of memories past.
Oh Edward, it’s lovely! Such a beautiful piece.
I turned slightly towards Esme and smiled as she walked into the room. The others appreciated my playing but none of the others really truly enjoyed my music the way Esme did.
“What were you thinking about when you wrote it Edward? It’s both beautiful and mournful.”
I didn’t answer and my fingers stopped moving, they hovered expectantly above the keys but did not continue their strange dance across the instrument. I didn’t look at Esme.
I nodded slightly, barely moving my head but it was perceptible to Esme. I hadn’t even realized that that was what I was thinking of as the melody flowed through my fingers, but now that it had been brought to my attention the powerful emotions that swelled through the music – my release – had caught and now struggled through me, unable to escape.
“Does she know how you feel?” Esme asked softly and gently, trying not to push me. I sat still like a statue, unwilling to move afraid that any actions would give away my every thought and secret. I vaguely wondered if Esme had mind-reading powers she’d never told anyone about.
Edward, she needs to know how much it hurts you to be around her. Does she know how much you fear her death, or growing old and drifting away from you? Does she know how much more you fear the idea that she might be like us?
Instead of answering I resumed playing the piece and Esme sat next to me on the bench, listening for hidden clues within the music. The piece didn’t start out so haunting. It was light and airy, almost cheerful, but as it progressed it became darker, the notes more graceful but increasingly rapid and complex. The piece ended on a melancholy air as if all hope was lost.
What’s it going to be called? It’s so sad.
“Ophelia” I muttered softly.
Esme gave me a meaningful look and rested a reassuring hand on my shoulder. Thoughts of worry for both Bella and I flashed through her mind but she was being cautious around me, making sure none of her thoughts gave away what she was really thinking to me.
“It will all work out the way it is meant to in the end Edward.” She said calmly and smoothly, “All we can do is just enjoy and appreciate what time we are given.”
With that she stood up and gave me a kiss on top of my unruly bronze hair and exited the room. I stared at the piano for a while, not really sure of how long I sat there, playing the melody fragments occasionally.Wonder what’s wrong with him now…
I glanced over towards Emmett but he’d already walked past on the way to the room he shared with Rosalie. I got up from the piano and decided that my musical sulking left my deepest thoughts far to clear to my fellow housemates. It was almost time to go to the prom anyways. Rosalie and Alice had already left to pick up Bella to get her ready and I was forbidden to be in the house until it was nearly time to go, as it was entirely possible that the surprise of Bella’s prom attire would be spoiled if the girls thought too hard about what they were doing. Grabbing a few CDs that were currently on my favourites list. I got into my car and drove a short ways out of town. Pulling into a shadowy forest lane I parked the car and sat back, my eyes closed, and listened to the music as I tried to imagine how Bella would look tonight.
Looking at the clock on the dashboard of the car I decided that I had waited a sufficiently long enough time and sped back towards the house. If I were to wait any longer we would end up being a little more than fashionably late for the Prom. Luckily, I had put on my tux beforehand so it wouldn’t be an issue – not that it took me long to change anyways. I walked quickly through the door, making sure I was still going human-pace as vampire pace still seemed to startle Bella, and I saw her sitting on the bench by the piano.
“Aphrodite” I muttered breathlessly as my eyes swept up and down the goddess that stood before me, “You two have outdone yourselves,” I added, acknowledging Rosalie and Alice who beamed at my appreciation. Bella blushed furiously but looked pleased, her eyes twinkling with her delight.
Her hair had been curled into small, loose ringlets all over her head and had almost haphazardly been placed into a loose messy bun that was low, just above her neck. Loose tendrils looking both artfully placed and as if they’d escaped by chance in combination with two thin crystal headbands gave her the look of a Greek goddess. I worried about the implications of such an attractive presentation of her neck and the fine veins that were visible just beneath its surface would have on my willpower. Her makeup was soft and shimmery but did not detract at all from the naturalness of her beauty. It merely enhanced the startling depths her large brown eyes held and the soft pout of her lips.
The dress was a dark, rich blue colour that was my favourite colour on Bella. The golden neckline encircled her throat like a necklace and made her neck look long and elegant while her shoulders looked shapely and delicate. The fabric of the dress’s bodice gathered at the center of the neck and then fanned out to the waist where metallic gold detailing crossed the body and added a defined waistline to the dress. It was just a bit higher than the usual waistline and caused her to look taller and more elegant. She also looked incredibly graceful the way the soft gauzy material draped itself around her body.
I smiled appreciatively at my sisters then swept her up in my arms, taking her outside and placing her in the Aston Martin I saved for ‘special occasions’. I could sense that she wanted to protest but she kept her thoughts to herself. I imagine the dangerous looking gold stilettos on her feet had something to do with that.
We sped off towards prom, Bella constantly insisting that I look at the road instead of her. She didn’t seem to find it humorous that I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and seemed all too relieved when the car stopped. The serenity upon her face quickly disappeared when she realized why we were here in the first place.
We entered the gym and, as expected, the traditional balloons and crepe paper decorations surrounded us as girls twirled around in their gowns. Alice and Jasper arrived soon as well and Alice immediately swept Jasper out onto the dance floor. I escorted a nervous looking Bella to the floor as well but she quickly relaxed as I effortlessly swept her around the room in a simple but elegant waltz. The others around us never seemed to mind my family and I danced such old fashioned dances. That was one of the perks of being unnaturally attractive to their eyes I suppose.
Eventually the night ended and I was surprised to see how reluctant Bella was to leave.
“So how was that?” I asked cheerfully, “You didn’t put up as much of a fight as last year so I’m assuming tonight hasn’t been a complete disaster.”
“It was standable,” she replied, unwilling to give me the satisfaction that she had actually enjoyed herself at a dance. I laughed as she made a dreadful fake sulking expression.
“Well you look ravishing,” I growled seductively, noting that she shivered as I spoke though not from cold. “You really will be the death of me Isabella Swan.”
She blushed and I heard her heartbeat race erratically. She looked startled as she realized we’d already arrived at her house. I got out of the car and quickly swept her out of the passenger side onto the driveway. I then picked her up and carried her over to the door.
“Ravishing,” I said again, my voice low and thick. She tried to resist my charms but I could see she was being drawn into my seduction. I leaned in to kiss her as she parted her lips in anticipation. I was about to kiss her when the hair on my neck prickled but I noticed too late.
The world came crashing down around us. With a flash of red Victoria dove in between us and threw Bella to the ground. I snarled and growled as I ripped her off of Bella who lay unmoving on the porch. I was overwhelmed with anger and fear. I didn’t know if she was still alive, she wasn’t even moving. I bared my teeth and prepared for a fight to the death.