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Storms

Summary:
storms banner We're far away from Forks, now. And what a lovely city Knives is- the perfect place to start afresh, don't you think? Edward is long gone and Jacob loves his wife-to-be. Bella is not happy- but then again, she hasn't been for four years. She's used to it. But mistakes have been made, and a destructive chain of events has been set in motion. Nothing can stop it. The storm is fast approaching- it's too late to get out now. Much too late. The Cullens are back.Char made my banner. She's an awesome person who has good things waiting for her in the afterlife.


Notes:
I'm alone, And more alone with every passing day; The danger is increasing every second that I stay. But the storms are fast approaching, And I cannot get away.


6. Blood That Stains My Fingers

Rating 5/5   Word Count 4363   Review this Chapter

It seemed like I had spent more time up here than I had anywhere else since we had come to Knives.

I enjoyed the height. I liked sitting on the very edge of the rocks and staring down the mountain slope. The sun setting behind me cast my shadow at my feet, and if I positioned my hands just right, I wouldn’t have to watch them glisten. I could sit and pretend. Pretend that I wasn’t who I was, that I was completely and entirely human, and even, sometimes, pretend that I wasn’t alone. Pretend that there was someone sat beside me; leaning on my shoulder, perhaps. Or pretend that I was holding a smaller, softer hand in mine.

The view at my feet wasn’t the best I had seen, by any means. I had sat on the peak of Mount Everest. I had boated down the Nile. I’d been to the moors of Scotland and I’d sat on the top of Victoria Falls. I’d scaled Mount Uluru. I’d lain on a floating ice block off the coast of the Arctic. I’d run through the Amazon and I’d fallen down the sand dunes of the Sahara, only to pick myself up again and surf the oceans.

But still, it wasn’t bad.

The slopes rolled out below me, and I could down at the tops of all the trees I had run through to get up here. Evergreens, mainly, but a few sparse showers of blossom changed the color of the mountainside here and there. I could see the little worn out paths that humans used to ascend, and if I looked hard I could see the trail of litter they left in their wake.

Below the hills were the miles of farmland, with the tractors chugging their way through the fields, and animals lazily grazing, ignorant and carefree. I absently wondered what carelessness felt like. What would I give to live like that, with no regrets and no worries? I would give anything.

Well. Not anything.

Far away, I could see the run-down suburbs of Knives, lying just outside the shining city. A sight no human could discern with any keenness from my vantage point, but one that was clearly visible through my inhuman eyes. The sun was shining orange down on the rising rooftops, reflecting off the bodies of the cars as they snaked their way through the backstreets. I could see two people sat on the top of one of the houses, too far away for me to make out faces. The hair of one of the figures was blowing in the wind; I watched it for a while. It looked almost like Bella’s.

Bella. My eyes lost focus, and I slowly descended into my own world, a fantasy world; a world that I frequented substantially more than the real world. I preferred it. It was brighter.

Every time I closed my eyes, I could see her face on the back of my eyelids. She smiled back at me, giving me her meadow look- a look of brilliant calm and radiant happiness. I longed to reach out and touch- feel her skin give under my fingers, feel its soft surface, run my finger over her lips and feel her breath on my fingertips; I longed to look from eye to eye, longed to calculate the moment, longed to lean in… but this Bella was not real. She lived only in my mind.

My thoughts returned to the couple on the roof. If I had Bella now, I wouldn’t sit her on a rooftop. I wouldn’t even bring her here, because this mountain wasn’t tall enough. I would put her on my back and I would take her to the top of the world. I’d wrap her up tight in my arms and let her see everything. She would see the earth, and she would be above it, above everything, up where she belonged. I would make sure that she was higher than anyone else. I would show her everything that she could possibly wish to see, and then I would show her more and more; until she had gazed at all the world’s wonders, and realized that they were nothing, nothing, when stood next to her.

A bird cawed as it flitted over the horizon, and I was dragged back into existence. I found that my gaze still rested on the far-off figures, and I looked away. My eyes fell on the darkening silhouette of Knives, that small, inconsequential city that was… not my home, nothing was home anymore. Knives was my fleeting abode, before necessity would inevitably dictate my passing from it. I would come and go like a shadow, no-one the wiser as to where I had gone, or if I had ever been.

It held no interest for me. Nothing did, not anymore. Every place I’d been to over the past few years had been the same. I’d been feeling increasingly trapped. I could see no way out of this hole of depression, no descending ladder for me to climb, no light at the end of the tunnel. I was facing an eternity of regret and heartbreak and endless unendurable agony and it just made me so angry.

The rock under my hand cracked as I pressed down on it too hard. I couldn’t stop an aggravated growl escaping my lips- I couldn’t even prevent myself from harming inanimate objects. It was a good thing I stayed out of the way of actual sentient beings, because God only knew what I would be capable of. I removed my hand from the surface, and ran my finger across the crack I had caused. But the sun caught my skin and I had to turn away. I hated how inhuman I was. Hated it.

I couldn’t get her out of my head. Every time I had told myself that I should try and let it go, I had emotionally vomited. Letting go meant never thinking about her again, and that was all I lived for. My thoughts. My fantasies and my dreams.

But it was becoming steadily harder to think about her, when I knew she would shortly be a wife. A wife to someone who was not me. She had been asked to spend her life with another man, and she had said yes. She had said yes. And with this knowledge came a horrible realization - she had obviously moved on. Like she needed to. Like she deserved to. Like I had intended.

Intended, but never wanted. And because I was so selfish, so self-serving and arrogant and cruel, I couldn’t bear the thought of her in someone else’s arms. Couldn’t bear it. The mere thought gnawed at my heart and made my fists ball and my lip curl and my teeth clench-

I dragged my finger along the rock, and sparks flew.

I had heard that dog on that fateful day outside the courtroom. She was his. He wasn’t going to let me get close. The thought of him trying to stop me was a comical one- but Bella wasn’t mine anymore. I had given up all rights to her long ago.

And it hurt. No. Hurt wasn’t a strong enough word. Ineffable heartbreak. Unendurable everlasting overwhelming agony. Half of me had gone. Half of my self had been ripped away and the edges of the tear ached, burned, even now. I knew that as long as we were apart, they always would.

But the pain was old, and I quickly lost interest in dwelling on it. My mind returned to the ever-present angry thoughts that were, at least, an outlet. Of all the men in the world, she picked that wolf? It made absolutely no sense; I had successfully saved her from myself, only for her to run off into the arms of another monster! That disgusting, putrid, foul mouthed, flea ridden, shaggy, low-life werewolf, whose only expression of happiness was a wagging tail, and whose only attractive features were the puppy dog eyes he could pull out to disguise his ignorance and idiocy! What did she see in him? He had evolved from a species that ate its own excrement! I was better for her than him, so much better-

No. No no no no. I’d been through this. It couldn’t be. It never was. No, Edward. No.

There was a huge, resounding snap, and the rock below me broke clean in two. I let out a frustrated yell, jumping up and slamming my fist into the two remaining fragments. Rock splintered everywhere, and I grabbed a piece and hurled it out into the horizon. It made a whooshing sound, as it flew through the air, and flew and flew, spinning and turning round and around- and then fell, dropping into the forests below- and was gone.

I turned back to the view below me; the couple was still on the roof, and one was kissing the other on the head. I looked away. I couldn’t escape this endless omnipresent show of love, no matter where I went. I pressed my fingers so hard around the bridge of my nose that it hurt, but I didn’t stop. At least the physical pain gave me something to feel instead of heartbreak and anger.

Seeing her again had been heaven and hell, rolled together and thrown into my face. Heaven, because… because everything I had ever been told about heaven, was her. She was beauty and joy and laughter and forgiveness and love, love, love. I had looked into her eyes and seen everything I would ever need to see. Screw the seven wonders. Screw waterfalls and mountains and deserts and forests. I could stare forever into her eyes and never want for anything more.

But hell because I had never known how much pain such a tiny circle of metal could cause. That indescribable feeling of loss had paralyzed me, held me incapable of the things I had wanted to do. I had wanted to run down the room and hold her tight against me, hold her in an unyielding embrace and never let go, kiss her, kiss her until the sun died and the stars went out and space collapsed, and the world around us crumbled and was gone and we simultaneously exploded into infinitesimal grains of absolutely nothing.

Something flew past my ear and without thinking my hand snapped up and crushed it. I felt warmth trickling down my wrists, and I wiped the dead animal away without even looking at it.

I looked back at the ground below me. The sun was almost set and darkness was creeping slowly over the land. The tractor was still and parked beside the farmhouse. The animals were no longer in the fields. Knives was flickering with artificial light. The couple on the rooftop had gone; probably settling down to a romantic evening dinner or a movie on the couch.

I picked up a fragment of rock that lay at my feet, and crushed it to powder. Blood still lined my palm, gumming the powder together in a sticky, broken mess.

I held my hand open and let the wind blow it away.

Closing my eyes, I controlled all my wrecked emotions and bottled away my pain and anger.

And then I took off into the night.

*******************

My family was too long accustomed to my regular disappearances to bother to enquire as to where I had been. But as I sat at the table, I could tell, by the behavior of everyone around me, that something was wrong. Alice and Jasper were playing a complicated card game of their own invention, but Alice kept glancing worriedly up at me and Esme kept coming into the room and trying to start awkward conversation. Carlisle was on a night shift so I was, at least, safe from his constant over-fathering. Rosalie and Emmett were out. No guesses why.

I tried to tune in to everyone’s thoughts, but they were all determinedly thinking boring, generic things; Alice was looking into the future to see Jasper’s next moves, and Jasper was concentrating on the game, even though he obviously knew any attempts at beating Alice were entirely futile. Esme was sat in the kitchen, reciting Tennyson.

Eventually, irritation got the better of me, and I banged my book down on the table. Esme rushed into the room, her mind buzzing with the memories of the last few times I had lost my temper. Both Alice and Jasper looked up, Jasper's face darkening as he sensed my mood. I glared at all of them.

“What is going on?”

Esme looked over at Alice, and Jasper looked down at the cards. I waited, and Alice bit her lip.

“Nothing, really-“

“I’m not stupid, Alice,” I snapped. “I can tell that something's wrong- what the hell is it?”

Esme had on that concerned look she always seemed to wear when she was around me. Alice’s face set into an annoyed expression; she didn’t respond well to terseness. She sat up and crossed her arms, and I rolled my eyes. She glared at me.

"If you want information from people it helps to ask politely."

"I don't need a lesson in manners, Alice," I said, not bothering to hide my impatience and irritation. "Just tell me what it is that you're all keeping from me!"

She pursed her lips. “You know, I was feeling sorry for you, but now I’m beginning to see what Rosalie means, Edward.”

I raised my eyebrows. “You’re joining the Hate-Edward bandwagon?”

“I’m joining the Majorly-Pissed-Off-With-This-Moody-Ass-You’ve-Become bandwagon, yes.”

“That’s a lot less catchy. You won’t get as many followers.”

She glared at me for a few more seconds, and then turned back to the game. “I’m not telling you anything. You’ll have to wait until Rosalie gets back.”

“For Heaven’s sake, Alice-“

“Edward,” Esme interrupted me, pleading with her eyes. “Leave it be, please.”

I held Alice's gaze for a few seconds, probing into her mind with a vigor fueled by malice. But then there was a ripping sound, and Jasper threw two halves of a ripped playing card down onto the floor. "Please can you both calm down," he said, glaring at the carpet. "I can't cope with yours and Edward's anger, Alice."

So of course Alice instantly looked away and apologized.

I turned away from then all, my anger not in the least abated. I stared blankly at the pages of my book but took nothing in; I didn’t even know what it was called. I knew that arguing with Alice was pointless, and arguing with Esme would just make me feel guilty. I was left to wonder aimlessly about what could possibly have happened. Rosalie had evidently done something. My firsts involuntarily curled up. Rosalie. If there was one member of my family I could happily do without, it was her. If she told me that Bella was “just a freaking human, Edward,” or told me to “just get over it!” one more time, then I would end her.

Carlisle had left his notepad on the table, and, lacking anything else to do, I began sketching a landscape; but the landscape inevitably turned into Bella’s face, and before I knew it I was staring down into a portrait of her, with the sun glinting out of her eyes and a smile on her face. And long hair, just as I remembered. Not the new, short style that belonged to someone else’s Bella. I ran my fingers along the paper, following her nose, over her lips, around her chin, caressing the smooth paper rendition of the way her hair used to be…

… I don’t care what he does, he can’t control me-

I sat up, as I heard Rosalie’s thoughts, coming closer to the house. I could hear Emmett’s voice, quiet but getting louder as they ran closer.

“Don’t worry about it, I won’t let him touch you.”

“I’m not worried. I haven’t done anything wrong.” Rosalie’s stubborn voice made me doubt the truth of her words.

The voices were coming nearer. I stood up, and Esme also rose, looking anxiously from me to the door. Alice and Jasper stopped their card game and I could see Alice with her eyes shut. Obviously trying to sense what was to come. What the hell had Rosalie done?

“Edward, please don’t get angry, honey, she meant well,” Esme was talking to me, but my mind was too busy running over the possible fiascos Rosalie could have caused to pay any attention. My mind flashed back to the pile of cracked vinyl’s that had been her last temper tantrum- if she touched my record collection again I would snap whatever fingers she used and keep them in a box.

They were getting closer and closer, and then I could hear their feet crossing the gravel drive, and then the door was opening- and I was face-to-face with Rosalie’s obstinate expression. She stared coolly back at me, and Emmett behind her was watching my face very carefully.

Lay a finger on her, Edward... I could sense the real warning behind his tone.

I stared at Rosalie, searching her thoughts, but her mind remained blank. “What have you done?” I asked her, quietly, watching her eyes.

She pursed her lips, and walked further into the room. Emmett shut the door and all was silent. I could feel Esme’s gaze on my shoulder. Alice was standing now, and was watching me through narrowed eyes.

Don’t do anything stupid, Edward, was her warning.

“Rosalie,” I almost growled, blocking out the cautioning thoughts that were now firing at me from all directions.

She glared at me full in the face. She seemed to calculate her words before she spoke them, but when she did she said them with confidence. “It had to be done, Edward. I knew no-one else would brave your temper.”

What did you do?”

She didn’t answer, but images swam into her head, and with unfolding horror I watched as a perfect rendition of Bella entered her memories. I saw Rosalie dragging her along a pathway, watched as Rosalie came to a halt on a jetty and turned to her, watched Bella’s bewildered expression, understood all that had been said-

My mind screamed with sudden, blazing fury. My eyes burned in my face and my entire body quaked with the need to rip Rosalie apart. I couldn’t help myself. I had never been so angry, never, never, not since James. The rage burned through my body, taking hold of every ounce of reason I possessed and devouring it. My mind exploded with pure, unbridled savagery. I couldn’t control the beast inside of me, as it reared up and roared, beating its chest with the same fervor that I would use when I killed her.

I ran at Rosalie, my hands slamming against her chest and throwing her, airborne, across the room. I caught up with her body just as it was about to hit the wall, and I grabbed her and smashed her forward with all my power. The wall cracked against her, and I pinned her against it, my hand clamped tight around her neck. It was so small under my palm, and it would be so easy to just snap. Her large eyes widened in shock, and then in anger. She struggled against my hold, legs kicking and hands scraping at my fist, trying to loosen my grip. But I didn’t release her, merely squeezed tighter. I could barely speak for rage, my breath gushing from my lungs and my teeth bared; but I managed to spit a few words into her perfect, pampered little face-

“I knew you were bitch, Rosalie, but I never thought -“

Get the fuck off her!” And then Emmett’s arm was around my middle and he was pulling me away. I drew back my arm, and managed to get a punch in before he could separate us- there was a huge crack as our skin met. Rosalie’s cry was nothing to Emmett’s- suddenly I was flying through the air, hitting the ceiling and landing on the ground with a crack. Dust rained on my head. Esme was shouting and I could hear Alice’s high pitched voice, but all I could think of was getting to Rosalie and-and-

I got to my feet and ran towards her, but Emmett grabbed my arms and swung me back, one muscled forearm digging in to my stomach. His voiced dripped with rage as he spoke- “I swear to God you will not see another day if you so much as look at her again, Edward-“

“WHY?” I bellowed at Rosalie, but I doubt she heard as she was already yelling at me-

“You asshole, Edward, how dare you-“

“Are you always this much of a cow, or where you just making a special effort today? Do you not think that things are already screwed up enough without your help? You couldn’t resist pulling the noose just that bit tighter, could you?” I struggled against Emmett, but he didn’t release me. Esme was shouting at us, and was probably crying again, but I didn’t care about that, not now-

“What did you think was going to happen, Edward, she was going to run away from her marriage to be with you? Don’t be so fucking stupid, I can’t think of anyone who would voluntarily touch you with a bargepole-“

“I don’t know where this delusion of Queen-of-fucking-everything has come from, but-“

“Oh, Edward, wake up, you didn’t need my help to screw things up! She already hated you, you attacked her fiancé!” Rosalie’s screamed words struck a chord- I hated to admit it, hated hated hated to, but she was right.

“I didn’t know it was him!” I yelled, struggling harder. Emmett’s arm was so tight around me that it almost hurt. “I didn’t know!”

“And if you had known you would have just hit him harder!” Rosalie spat, her eyes bright with anger. Alice was shouting something and I felt a wave of sudden calm crashing over me; but Rosalie was having none of it- "Jasper, if you try anything I swear to God I will make a few additions to those scars-"

“All I asked was for everyone to just leave her alone-“ I pulled harder against Emmett, trying to release myself as he twisted my arms around, “Emmett, let me go!”

“I’m not going to let you kill my wife, you dick-“

“Please, Edward, just calm down…” Esme was definitely sobbing. Again.

Rosalie's voice rang loud and clear around the room- “I just saved that stupid human from possibly making a choice that would ruin her entire life! You should be happy, you always used to go on and on and on about how all you wanted was to protect her-“

“That is all I want!” I yelled.

“Great, well, I’ve protected her from you! You’ve already successfully screwed up this family, so all I did was stop you from screwing up hers as well!”

“I would never hurt her, never-“

“Don’t fucking lie, Edward, you hurt everyone! You make Esme cry every other fucking day! Carlisle worries about you so much that he’s had to keep you under his nose all the time, why do you think he’s got you in the hospital near enough twenty-four seven? You want nothing more than to waltz into Bella’s lovely little home, kill the werewolf and take her for yourself! The only thing that’s stopping you is what little moral power you have left, and I’m sure that that’s going to wane any time soon-”

“SHUT UP!” I yelled- and I wasn’t just shouting at Rosalie, I was shouting at everyone else, because in their minds they were all agreeing with her, agreeing with every word that came out of her pouting, poisoned little mouth- “Just shut up!”

“Really excellent argument there, Edward, but then again you always did have the IQ of a fence post-“

Shut up!”

The smile she shot at me had such a malevolent fervor that it only rightly belonged on the lips of Satan; and I wasn’t entirely sure which of those two entities I hated more at that moment. “You act the emotional martyr, but underneath it all you only care about yourself-“

“Shut up!” I bellowed. Emmett dug his nails into my back in an effort to keep me within his arms. “If you were even capable of love-“

“If you were capable of any emotion besides selfishness, you would be happy with what I did!”

“How can I be happy, you told the woman I love that-“

“Love?" She actually laughed. "You don't love her! If you loved her then you'd be happy with what's best for her, and stop wishing endlessly that you could have what's best for you! This “love” you think you feel for Bella is nothing more than your need to feel wanted by someone! You’ve already alienated every single member of this family! You've got no-one left in this family, so you're just moving on to your next target! Face it, Edward, nobody wants you around anymore. And who can blame them?”

And with that, she had won. I didn’t have a response. I merely stared, my breath heaving through my throat. There were no other sounds. Rosalie's smile widened.

Esme shook her head. “No, no, Rosalie, you don’t mean that, Edward honey, don’t listen, it’s not true-”

It is.

My mind froze. Those two little words came from four separate minds- Alice, Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie all simultaneously agreeing, for, perhaps, the first time. All of them agreeing that none of them wanted me.

Rosalie stared me straight in the eye. “There isn’t a single person in this room who you haven’t shouted at, or thrown something at, or offended in some way. You just attacked me.” I could see the twisted delight in her eyes as she spoke. “And if your own family doesn’t want you, then how could you even dream that Bella would?”

My mind was screaming, and for the first time ever I could feel my soul- it was burning. I needed to get out of here, before I broke down in front of everyone. I hooked my arms under Emmett’s and pushed, and somehow, miraculously, I was freed.

My feet took me from the house before my ears could hear anything else, before another word or thought could worm its way through my barricades and knock me down completely.

I concentrated entirely on running, running far, far away.

The only person who called after me was Esme.