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As Edward and Bella move on from the events in New Moon, Edward struggles to keep his control over Bella's safety. Bella is thrilled that her life is returning to normal, except for the absence of her former best friend, Jacob. Once Bella made the decison to become a vampire like Edward, there was no going back. Even if that meant losing her family and her friends. How will the werewolves react when they find out that the Cullen's plan on breaking the treaty willingly? Will Bella be able to let go of the past and let go of Jacob? Will Edward convince Bella to marry him before she is turned into the enternally damned? ECLIPSE from EDWARDS POV.

Eclipse from Edward's POV.

1. Broken Pieces

Rating 5/5   Word Count 9777   Review this Chapter

Who can say
where the road goes
where the day flows
only time
And who can say
if your love grows
as your heart chose
only time
Who can say
why your heart sighs
as your love flies
only time
And who can say
why your heart cries
when your love lies
only time

Enya-Only Time

I am to blame. I am the reason why Bella will never be one hundred percent whole again. I may have returned her heart, which I savagely ripped out in the first place, but I couldn't mend the large hole in the middle where Jacob Black is. My presence in her life made him absent from it, and although she seemed content enough with just me, I could feel her yearning for her former friend. I felt split in a million pieces when she mentioned his name. I could hear the sadness and the love beneath every word spoken about him. I wanted to be selfless and brave and trusting enough to let her go to La Push, but I couldn't bear to put her in any more danger, it was a pledge I had made to myself that I would never ever let anything happen to her again. I couldn't understand how she could not see the danger in having a wolf for a best friend, it was bad enough she is dating a vampire, did she really want to tempt fate further? I felt a strange twist in my dormant heart when I learned that she was passing notes to Jacob through their fathers. It was unsettling why it bothered me so.

Who was I to care about the company she decided to keep. I was the one who was supposed to give Bella everything she desired, but I could not comply with her one need, as dangerous as I may believe it to be, it is what she wants and it was my job to give her all the satisfaction that life had in store for her. There was no way, though, that I could let that be possible. My mind could conjure up a million and one reasons why she should not see her friend and all of them centered around her safety.

Rosalie maintained that I was jealous of the dog, but that was not the truth. Sure there were things he could provide to Bella that I could not, and he wouldn't have to fight with her on a daily basis about her mortality, but Bella was mine. Body, heart, and soul and I would be damned if I was ever going to let her go again. I made that mistake once and it was something that nearly killed us both. If she were to leave me, on the the other hand, that would be her choice and I would bow out gracefully, but until that day came she was not going to La Push and he was sure as hell not coming to see her. It made me feel grateful and a bit smug that he was honoring the treaty by staying away, far away. I only wished that out of sight meant out of mind, not only for Bella, but for me as well.

I was spending far to much time dwelling on Jacob Black and not enough on what was going on with Bella, my love my life. I almost didn't notice Charlie who was making dinner, something I had never seen him do before, put a jar of tomato sauce in the microwave with the lid on. Even I knew that metal and microwaves did not mix and I had never used one in my life. It was just common knowledge. Part of me wanted to get up from the place I was hiding in the forest outside Bella's home and run inside before a fire broke out, but Bella came running down the stairs just in time to stop the microwave. I couldn't help, but laugh at Charlie's tone as he asked Bella what he did wrong.

I watched through Charlie's quiet mind as Bella removed the lid and poured half of the sauce into a bowl and start the microwave again. Even the little things like this where beautiful to me. The way her clumsy limbs moved, her lips as she spoke, her deep brown eyes that held a mysterious power over me. Everything about my Bella was exquisite and absolutely perfect. I groaned out loud as Charlie turned from watching his daughter and stared out the back window. It was pouring so there wasn't much of a view. Bella pressed him about why he was suddenly fixing dinner, he seemed annoyed as he answered. I had never heard Chief Swan talk to his daughter like that, normally that tone was reserved for me. I picked his brain for reasons why he would be in such an strange mood while he took of his uniform jacket and hung it on one of the pegs.

I realized there was only half an hour before I was to officially be at Bella's house and I would need my car, unless I wanted to explain why I was soaking wet and how I got from my home to hers. Bella would know instantly, but Charlie was be suspicious and that was the last thing I needed. I took my cellular phone from my back pocket and quickly dialed Alice's number. She picked up before the first ring.

“I'll be there with your car in fifteen minutes.” Alice said in way of a greeting.

“Thank you.” I mumbled appreciatively.

“Oh and Edward, make sure you check out the newspaper when you go inside. Somethings happening in Seattle, that I think we should look into. Have fun with Bella!” She chirped then hung up.

I closed the phone and placed it back into my pocket again. I started to listen again to Bella and her fathers conversation just in time to hear Jacob Black's name. Bella's face got hard at the sound of his name. I wanted to storm in to the room and demand that Charlie never speak of him again, it only caused Bella pain and any pain inflicted on my Bella was unacceptable.

What about him. I heard Bella ask, her voice sounded off though.

Easy, Bells. I know you’re still upset that he told on you, but it was the right thing. He was being responsible. Charlie defended him.

I wanted to scream, Jacob was not acting responsibly, he was tormenting me. He only told on Bella so she would be grounded and not at liberty to see me. Jacob Black was far from the honorable man that Charlie believed him to be.

Responsible. Bella echoed, her tone furred. Right. So, what about Jacob?

Don’t get mad at me, okay? Charlie was asking for the inevitable. I knew what he was going to say next and even if I couldn't read Bella's mind, I knew her well enough that what he was going to say would indeed make her mad.

Mad? She asked.

Well, it's about Edward, too.

Bella's eyes automatically narrowed. I held back the laugh that tickled my throat. I could have guessed that, that would be her reaction.

Charlie went on the defensive. I let him in the house, don't I? He asked in a gruff tone.

You do. For brief periods of time. Of course, you might let me out of the house for briefperiods now and then, too, I’ve been pretty good lately.

I knew Bella was only kidding about the last part. She was grounded until the end of the school year and for a teenager she was handling it very well. It seemed like a funny concept to me, that one could be grounded or ungrounded. It was illogical, but then again so was vampires and werewolves.

Well, that’s kind of where I was heading with this. . . . Charlie smiled, a movement that seemed to age him considerably.

Bella's expression was hopeful at first, but it suddenly faded to confusion.

I’m confused, Dad. Are we talking about Jacob, or Edward, or me being grounded? She asked hesitantly.

Charlie smiled again. Sort of all three.

And how do they all relate? Bella was cautious as she asked.

Okay. So I’m thinking maybe you deserve a parole for good behavior. For a teenager, you’re amazingly non-whiney.

It was true. Bella took her punishment with dignity and humility. She was not like other teens who would have annoyed their parents until they finally were released from their punishment.

Seriously? I'm free?

I laughed at Bella's shocked tone. I picked Charlie's mind for any hints that he was kidding or planning on going back on his deal. I found none and smiled in the glory of this exciting news. No more being forced to stay indoors during our set times. We could go to Port Angeles or our meadow. I was dying to be alone with Bella. Completely alone. I wondered why I hadn't noticed this in Charlie's thoughts before, but I was usually preoccupied with his gorgeous daughter and then again he must of just thought about this today.

Conditionally. Charlie stipulated.

Bella's face fell. Fantastic. She groaned. I echoed her sentiment.

Bella, this is more of a request than a demand, okay? You’re free. But I’m hoping you’ll use that freedom . . . judiciously.

My mouth fell as I listened to the thoughts in his head. He wasn't playing fair. How was I supposed to insure Bella's safety when he was granting her the permission to do the one thing I didn't want her to. If only he could realize that the motorcycle, the one he banished from the house, was far better of a choice for Bella then her to be allowed to cavort with unpredictable, unstable werewolf teenagers.

What does that mean? She asked.

Charlie sighed. He didn't want to say what was on his mind, and I didn't blame him. It was not really his choice who she spent her free time with. Nor was it mine, but Charlie was running on the little facts he did know and if he knew the complete truth I'm sure he would have sided with me. That is, until he learned what I was, then Bella would not be allowed with either of us and justice would finally be served for my lack of self control when it came to staying away from Bella.

I know you’re satisfied to spend all of your time with Edward — He started to say, but Bella cut him off.

I spend time with Alice, too. She argued.

As if by fate or maybe coincidence, Alice was at my side, car keys in hand.

“It's about a block down the street. I even cleaned out the inside. You are certainly becoming more messy lately. I did leave you a fresh shirt on the front seat, though.” Alice laughed.

“Shhh.” I hissed. I was trying to listen to the conversation going on inside the Swan house, and Alice was making it exceedingly difficult.

Why where there all those clothes in your car? Alice silently asked me. The question caught me off guard for a moment.

“It's for when I stay at Bella's too long in the morning and have to get changed for school. It was easier to leave them in the car, instead of running all the way home and coming back.” I answered laughing at myself.

You have other friends besides the Cullens, Bella. Or you used to. Charlie was saying when I returned my focus back to the house.

Alice scoffed as she listened. I wanted to tell her it wasn't polite to eavesdrop, but that would just be calling the kettle black.

When's the last time you spoke to Angela Weber? Charlie asked after several minutes of intense staring by both of them.

“Friday at lunch.” Alice whispered.

Friday at lunch. Bella answered quickly.

I laughed.

Things were pretty normal, when we all returned to school. Angela, Ben, and Mike welcomed Bella into their group as if nothing had happened during my absence. Mike still harbored animosity towards me, and at times it was annoying, but I knew that Bella was mine and there was nothing he could do about it. He decided that I was too much of competition and stopped talking to Bella once I was back in the picture. Angela was loyal to a tee and I was proud in my decision to help her and Ben get together. They were a wonderful couple, two sweet deserving people. Jessica and Lauren on the other hand, were ridiculous. Jessica continued to mentally degrade Bella and fantasize about myself and her. Something that would never happen. Lauren was just a malicious and jealous person. I had nothing kind to say about her, so I chose to say nothing at all.

Outside of school? Charlie continued with his quizzing.

I haven’t seen anyone outside of school, Dad. Grounded, remember? And Angela has a boyfriend, too.She’s always with Ben. If I’m really free, maybe we could double.

I frowned as she said this. I didn't want to share my time with Bella with anyone else. It was bad enough that Alice took up my precious seconds with Bella, but that was to be expected they were best friends after all and Alice always got what she wanted, one way or another.

Okay. But then . . . Charlie hesitated. You and Jake used to be joined at the hip, and now —

I snarled involuntarily. Alice squeezed my forearm in warning.

Bella cut him off instantly. Can you get to the point dad? What's your condition —exactly?

I don’t think you should dump all your other friends for your boyfriend, Bella. It’s not nice, and I think your life would be better balanced if you kept some other people in it. What happened last September . . .

Charlie saw Bella flinch as he spoke.

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I felt sick, not in a literal sense, but it felt as if the world was teetering and swiveling all at the same time. I closed my eyes to fight off the images that I was seeing in Charlie's mind. Bella curled in a ball in her bed. The sounds of her screams at night. I swayed as his memories hit me. Alice grabbed my face roughly.

“Edward!” She squealed in panic. I struggled to focus on her face.

“I hurt her so badly.” My voice was barely a whisper.

“She loves you. You didn't mean to. You would never intentionally hurt her. Edward, look at me. It's all right. Shhh... Shhh..” Alice cooed as she stoked the sides of my face.

The world bobbed one last time before straightening out. I felt calm and level headed once more.

“Thank you Alice.” I said sincerely. I returned my focus once again to the confrontation at the Swan residence.

Well, if you had a life outside Edward Cullen, it might not have been like that. Charlie said defensively.

It would have been exactly like that. Bella muttered argumentatively.

Maybe, Maybe not. Charlie was not aware of the out of control obsession that Bella and I felt for each other.

The point? She asked, getting him back on track.

Charlie didn't want to force anything on Bella. He knew she would make the right decision for herself in the end. He put up the white flag in his mind and settled for defeat.

Use your new freedom to see your other friends, too. Keep it balanced.

Bella nodded. Balance is good. Do I have specific time quotas to fill, though?

Charlie stifled a sigh and shook his head. I don’t want to make this complicated. Just don’t forget your friends...

It was quiet for a moment and I considered going to pick up my car, but I heard what Charlie was going to say. I groaned quietly again.

...particularly Jacob. He added.

Jacob might be . . .difficult. Bella answered after a few strained minutes.

The Blacks are practically family, Bella, and Jacob has been a very, very good friend to you.

Charlie wasn't taking no for an answer.

I know that.

The conversation was obviously making Bella sad, and it didn't think it was fair of Charlie to rummage around in Bella's open wound where Jacob was.

Don’t you miss him at all?

Charlie was getting frustrated with Bella.

I shut my eyes tightly against whatever Bella's answer was going to be. In that moment I wished again for just one tiny glimpse into her mind. All I needed was a minute or two, to find out how much she truly cared for Jacob Black. Even if it was more than I assumed I could live with it. As long as Bella was happy and safe.

Bella cleared her throat twice before answering.

Yes, I do miss him, I miss him a lot.

It was irrational, but I suddenly had the urge to cry. It wasn't something I was capable of, but the feelings hit me with such force. She might love him. Whereas I could never love another, Bella was free to feel anything and everything. She loved me, I knew this for certain, but it was possible she may love him as well. The thought made me feel dead...deader than normal.

Then why is it difficult?

Bella didn't answer at first. She knew why it was difficult with out any of the tangled emotions that held us all together. Jacob and I were mortal enemies. She couldn't tell Charlie that, though, so instead she told him the only thing she could.

With Jacob there is a . . . conflict. A conflict about the friendship thing, I mean. Friendship doesn’t always seem to be enough for Jake.

Isn’t Edward up for a little healthy competition? Charlie asked sarcastically.

Alice and I both laughed at that one. I would ruin Jacob's world any time, any place, if it weren't for Bella's devotion to him.

Bella's gaze on her father turned dark. There’s no competition.

I knew it, but I still smiled as I heard her say the words with such conviction.

You’re hurting Jake’s feelings, avoiding him like this. He’d rather be just friends than nothing. Charlie pressed.

“How dare he!” I hissed.

It wasn't Bella who was avoiding Jacob, but the other way around. It was Jacob who failed in their friendship.

“Shh.” Alice said with a chuckle.

I’m pretty sure Jake doesn’t want to be friends at all. Where’d you get that idea, anyway?

The conversation was taking a toll on Bella. I considered asking Alice to run in and stop it, but Charlie would have just brought it back up at a later date.

The subject might have come up today with Billy... Charlie said embarrassed.

Billy Black and himself had spent quiet a few hours discussing their children's “relationship” it seemed.

You and Billy gossip like old women. Bella complained to her father.

Billy’s worried about Jacob. Jake’s having a hard time right now...He’s depressed. Charlie said.

Bella winced again. Charlie knew what he was doing. Playing on Bella's protective side.

And then you were always so happy after spending the day with Jake. Charlie said with a sigh.

Was she really? Was there someway through everything that was going on that Jacob Black was the one to make her happy. I was under the impression that I destroyed her world when I left, but to hear that she was happy some of the time, left me feeling sadder than it should. Of course I wanted Bella to be happy, but I wanted to be the source of that joy. At least a big part of it, even if it made me selfish.

I’m happy now. Bella growled through clenched teeth.

I laughed along with her and Charlie. I always loved it when Bella was frustrated, she was like a ferocious kitten, that was cuter then she was deadly.

Okay, Okay. Balance. Bella agreed with her father.

And Jacob. He pressed again.

I snarled once more. Couldn't he just let the subject die. I was sick of hearing his name.

I'll try.

Bella could try all she liked, but it wasn't going to happen. I wouldn't allow it.

Good. Find that balance, Bella. And, oh, yeah, you’ve got some mail, it’s by the stove. Charlie said changing the subject, and also setting Bella up for his next topic of discussion.

It seemed that Bella received her letter of acceptance from the University of Alaska Southeast, just as I had. I figured that this conversation would be relatively harmless so I grabbed Alice's small waist and hugged her close. She was forever doing things for me, and if nothing else this would be a way to thank my favorite sister. Alice hugged me back.

See you later, Eddy. She said wordlessly and then ran into the woods towards our home.

It took me less than a minute to find where Alice parked my car and drive to Bella's house. I unbuttoned my shirt hastily and tossed in into the backseat grabbing a clean folded one off the seat. I was changed and out of the car a second later.

I bounded up the porch stairs, making no noise. I stood there for a minute trying to ascertain if it was the right time to make my entrance.

Nothing. I was just...Just wondering what...Edward’s plans are for next year? Charlie was asking Bella.

Oh. Was all she said.

She hated the lying and pretenses that were involved with my kinds way of life. I didn't blame her, the truth was always easier than a lie.

Well. Charlie urged.

I knocked three times lightly on the door saving Bella from having to answer. I heard her jump up and chuckled at her uninhibited impatience.

Coming. Bella called to me.

And I will be waiting. I told her silently.

“Go away!” Charlie mumbled.

Bella swung the door open forcefully in her exuberance. She looked me over appreciatively as I did the same to her. Her delicate soft white skin looked so smooth, so fragile. It was hard to resist the urge to take her face in my hands and caress every inch of her delectable skin. I smiled as she looked at my lips. Her's were a thing of beauty as well, slightly unbalanced and full. I remembered the last kiss we shared.

It was late in the night, last night, she was seconds away from going to sleep when she demanded that I kiss her goodnight. I obliged, because there was nothing more in this world I wanted than to make her happy. I had to end the kiss like I did every time, first because I knew if I didn't she would never stop kissing me and while I wanted to spend every night and every day with my lips pressed to hers the second reason for stopping over powered the first. Whenever our lips met my thoughts would become jumbled and incoherent, I needed to focus every second I was with her and that wasn't possible when our bodies where pressed so close together, her sweet breath on my face and hands securely twisted in my hair.

I stared at Bella's face waiting for her to look at me. When she did everything else went out of focus. There was only Bella and I. We stood staring at each other for a minute, I was lost in her shiny brown eyes. She reached out without breaking eye contact and grabbed my hand. The warmth was divine. I never noticed how cold I actually was until I touched Bella. She was like a warm blanket on a freezing day. It was almost as comforting as hearing her heart beat or watching her sleep.

“Hey” She said with a smile.

I raised our linked hands and brushed her cheek with the back on mine. Electricity sizzled and cracked up my hand, through my arm and settled in my silent heart.

“How was your afternoon?” I asked.

It was more than just customary courtesy that made me ask. I wanted to know everything about Bella, no matter how mundane.

“Slow.” She replied.

“For me, as well.” I told her honestly.

When Bella and I weren't together it was like watching sand pour through an hour glass. I felt like I was missing so much, when I was away. Humans changed so quickly and I wanted to be there for every change Bella went through. I lifted her wrist to my face and inhaled deeply. The smell raced through my throat like acid, burning on the way down. It was a burning that I welcomed willingly, it was a burn that meant I was doing my job correctly. As long as I felt that burn it meant Bella was alive. I closed my eyes and let myself bask in the exquisite smell. It was like heaven, sweet and floral, but also tinged with salty smell of pumping, fresh human blood. My throat screamed in protest, begging me for a taste. I denied it, my love for this fragile human girl was much to great be thwarted by something as silly as my lust for her blood.

What's taking them so long? She went to get the door at least five minutes ago. They better not be making out on the porch. Charlie thought suddenly.

I took as many small breaths as I could, trying to get as much of Bella's sent in my system as I heard Charlie walk towards the front door. Like a child Charlie stomped his feet, it was his way of showing me his distaste with out upsetting Bella. I opened my eyes and let Bella and I's hands fall. I had spent too long that day with out her and I would be damned if I was going to let go of her just yet.

“Good Evening, Charlie.” I said politely.

No matter our personal issues with each other he was still Bella's father and I would never disrespect Bella by acting harshly towards him.

Charlie just grunted and crossed his arms.

Sure he's a good looking boy, but it Bella really that shallow that she would chose looks over someone like Jacob who is every bit her type.

There was no point in getting mad over Charlie's comment. He doesn't know that facts and never will, so it didn't matter who's side he was on.

“I brought another set of applications” I announced to Bella. Showing her the manila envelope I had brought out of my car with me.

There was a small part of me that still hoped that she would get excited by the prospect of going to any college she wanted, money was no object as far as I was concerned, and give up on wanted to be the eternally damned.

She groaned. I expected that much from her, she was so eager to be with me forever she didn't mind giving up the most precious gift, life. I studied her face and realized she was wondering how I could get all the applications to places that were supposed to be no longer accepting applications and whose deadlines where long past. Well in this day in age money was far more persuasive than any vampire voodoo, that and if you have all day and night to research each of the schools loopholes in regards to deadlines, then you'll find one or two who are willing to work with you. For a price.

I smiled at Bella, it was amazing how at one point I considered her hard to read.

“There are still a few open deadlines. And a few places will to make exceptions.” I told her.

Bella looked mystified and shocked. I tried not to laugh, but the effort was useless. She was too damn adorable.

“Shall we?” I asked as I dragged her to the table.

Charlie wasn't happy, but what could he say, as he followed behind us. We weren't going out to party or going up to her room to make out. He wanted her to find a good college just as much as I did.

Bella cleaned off the table while I organized the rather large stack of applications I acquired. Bella moved her favorite, for some unfathomable reason, book Wuthering Heights to the counter. I raised my eyebrow at her, she was reading it again. I didn't see her draw to it, to me it was trash not worthy of the paper it was printed on. Charlie started to speak before I could rant to her about my distaste for the book.

“Speaking of college applications, Edward.” Charlie said, not exactly a question, but not quiet a statement. Please tell me you got accepted to the University of Bora Bora and will be gone for an extended period of time. “Bella and I were just talking about next year. Have you decided where you’re going to school?”

I ignored the Bora Bora dig and smiled at him. “Not yet. I’ve received a few acceptance letters, but I’m still weighing my options.” I said as friendly as I could manage.

“Where have you been accepted?” Charlie urged.

“Syracuse...Harvard...Dartmouth...and I just got accepted to the University of Alaska Southeast today.”I turned my face just enough for Bella to see me wink. She had to try not to giggle.

“Harvard? Dartmouth?” Charlie mumbled clearly amazed. Too smart. Bella needs someone more down to earth. “Well that’s pretty . . . that’s something. Yeah, but the University of Alaska . . . you wouldn’t really consider that when you could go Ivy League. I mean, your father would want you to . . .” Dr. Cullen wouldn't want his son to sell himself short, because of a girl. He's a smart man, maybe he will force Edward to attend Harvard or Dartmouth, doesn't matter which as long as it's not where Bella is.

“Carlisle’s always fine with whatever I choose to do.” I said in as calm of a voice as I could muster.

He was getting on my nerves, with his useless wishes for me to be out of his daughters life. That was for her to decide not him.


“Guess what, Edward?” Bella asked in playful voice.

“What, Bella?” I didn't need to read her mind to know what she was going to say. It was hard not to laugh while I waited for her answer.

She pointed to the thick envelope on the kitchen counter.

“I just got my acceptance to the University of Alaska!”

“Congratulations! What a coincidence.” I said with a grin.

No there was no coincidence, any school she got accepted to so would I and vice versa. I would not spend the next four years away from her.

Charlie narrowed his eyes and glared and Bella and I. Coincidence, sure. Edward can get his father to pull any strings he wants. His family seems to be made of money and they don't seem to care who knows how disgustingly rich they are. That blond sister of his driving that BMW all around town. I'm sure their garage is filled with hundred more expensive vehicles. What I wouldn't give to have a BMW , though. “Fine. I'm going to watch the game, Bella. Nine-thirty.” He reminded her.

“Er, dad. Remember the very recent discussion about my freedom...” Bella opposed.

I remembered it with sorrowing detail. She missed Jacob and there was nothing I could do about it.

Charlie sighed. “Right. Okay, ten -thirty. You still have a curfew on school nights.”

I remember that I shouldn't know that she was no longer grounded, so I pretended to innocence.

“Bella's no longer grounded?” I asked excitedly. Saying the words out loud made them more true, and I was suddenly very happy that we could finally have a chance to do something outside this house.

“Conditionally, what's it to you?” Charlie corrected my question. Edward is way to happy about this, maybe I should be padlocking Bella's door at night or putting lojack on her truck to see where they go during the day. No, Bella's responsible. Most of the time.

“It's just good to know. Alice has been itching for a shopping partner, and I'm sure Bella would love to see some city lights.” I said smiling at Bella. I knew she hated shopping, but it was time with Alice that Bella liked so she would suck it up for her friend.

Charlie growled in anger, his face turning purple. “No.” There are monsters ravaging Seattle right now and this boy wants my little girl to go there unprotected with no one, but petite little Alice. He must have lost his mind, If he thinks I would ever let Bella go into such a dangerous city!

“Dad! What's the problem?” Bella asked confused by her father's harsh tone.

Charlie unclenched his teeth enough to speak to his daughter. “I don't want you going to Seattle right now.”

“Huh?” She asked still confused.

I snagged the newspaper off the table and read it quickly. Alice had told me to check it out and with everything going on I almost forgot. As I read through the article, I felt a twisting in the pit of my stomach. There was no guy out there picking out people at random and massacring them. This was a vampire and a young one at that. They are being sloppy and reckless.

“I told you about that story in the paper — there’s some kind of gang on a killing spree in Seattle and I want you to steer clear, okay?” Charlie answered Bella.

She rolled her eyes. “Dad, there’s a better chance that I’ll get struck by lightning than that the one day I’m in Seattle —” Bella started to protest, but I cut her off.

“No, that’s fine, Charlie, I didn’t mean Seattle. I was thinking Portland, actually. I wouldn’t have Bella in Seattle, either. Of course not.”I looked back to the page and reread it. It was definitely a newborn. I wasn't particularly worried that Bella would come to ill-will while in Seattle with Alice or me, but she was a danger magnate and I didn't want her to have to see Alice or I dismember one of our kind.

Maybe the boy does give a rats ass about what happens to my little girl. “Fine.” Charlie said and stalked off to the living room to watch his game.

“What-” Bella started to ask after the TV turned on, but Charlie was still listening to us.

“Hold on.” I told her. I pretended to still read the paper and pushed the Dartmouth application to Bella.“I think you can recycle your essays for this one. Same questions.”

I put the paper down and looked out the window while Bella filled out the required information. If a newborn was terrorizing Seattle then that must mean his or her maker was near. Why wouldn't they take care of it was beyond me. To go through all that trouble of biting a human and resisting the urge to drink them dry only to let them run willie nillie through the street was ludicrous. I heard Bella snort and push the application aside.

“Bella?” Maybe she wasn't feeling well.

“Be serious, Edward. Dartmouth?

I placed the application in front of her again. I didn't want to have this argument again, but this time I knew it would inevitable.

“I think you’d like New Hampshire, there’s a full complement of night courses for me, and the forests are very conveniently located for the avid hiker. Plentiful wildlife.” I smiled at Bella, trying my best to dazzle her.

“I'll let you pay me back, if it makes you happy. If you want I can charge you interest.” I promised her. Bella hated gifts of any kind. She wouldn't even let me upgrade her poor excuse for a vehicle.

“Like I could even get in without some enormous bribe. Or was that part of the loan? The new Cullen wing of the library? Ugh. Why are we having this discussion again?” Bella complained.

“Will you just fill out the application, please, Bella? It won’t hurt you to apply.” I pleaded.

“You know what? I don’t think I will.” She flexed her jaw and I saw something glint in her eyes so I snagged the application away from her, before she had a chance to follow through on that threat, and placed in in my jacket pocket.

“What are you doing?” She demanded when she realized the application was no longer sitting in front of her.

“I sign your name better than you do yourself. You’ve already written the essays.” And even if she hadn't I would have done that for her as well. She was owed the best of the best and I was determined to give it to her.

“You’re going way overboard with this, you know. I really don’t need to apply anywhere else. I’ve been accepted in Alaska. I can almost afford the first semester’s tuition. It’s as good an alibi as any. There’s no need to throw away a bunch of money, no matter whose it is.” Bella whispered.

My chest tightened painfully.. That's right, college was a non issue to her, because she had Carlisle's word on changing her shortly after our high school graduation. The tightening in my chest intensified. She would be in more pain that she could ever imagine and I would have to watch helplessly. I was a monster for ever letting her get the idea in her head that she could be changed.

“Bella-”I started to plead.

“Don’t start. I agree that I need to go through the motions for Charlie’s sake, but we both know I’m not going to be in any condition to go to school next fall. To be anywhere near people.” Bella said cutting me off.

This was happening way to fast. I wasn't ready to give up my soft, warm, breakable Bella just yet. She wasn't ready. She couldn't be. She didn't understand how unbearable it would be for the both of us.

“I thought the timing was still undecided,” I reminded her softly. “You might enjoy a semester or two of college. There are a lot of human experiences you’ve never had.”

Like college parties and rush week and cooking grilled cheese with a iron. These were things that were so insignificant, but if she missed out on them it would be my fault.

“I'll get those afterward.” She argued.

“They won’t be human experiences afterward. You don’t get a second chance at humanity, Bella.” I argued back.

Bella sighed.

“You’ve got to be reasonable about the timing, Edward. It’s just too dangerous to mess around with.”

“There is no danger yet.” I insisted. And no danger ever again if I could help it. Victoria was still out there, but the chances that she would come back were slim to none.

There was no point in arguing with her. I didn't want to any way. She was like Alice or Rosalie, she would always get her way. As much as I was against it, it made me feel pleased that she was willing to trade life for love. I wondered idly if she would do that with Jacob, if it were he who she was in love with.

Bella's face contorted with mental anguish. She was scared. She knew that this was a permanent and scary thing to be doing. She would be giving up her family and friends. Forced to live out a life with only me and my family for all eternity. I hoped it would be enough to keep her satisfied. She must be worried about the Volturi finding out that she was still human before Carlisle had the chance to change her.

“Bella, There’s no hurry. I won’t let anyone hurt you. You can take all the time you need.” I vowed.

“I want to hurry. I want to be a monster, too.” Bella joked weakly.

I clenched my teeth tightly together to keep what I truly wanted to say from coming out. “You have no idea what you’re saying.” I said instead.

I grabbed the newspaper I was reading before and plopped it between Bella and I. To get her attention I pointed to the headline on the page.


“What does that have to do with anything?” Bella asked not comprehending that it was a vampire, not a gang.

“Monsters are not a joke, Bella.” I subtly reminded her.

She read the headline again before looking up at me.

“A...a vampire is doing this?” She whispered.

I smiled humorlessly. There was nothing even remotely funny about the situation.

“You’d be surprised, Bella, at how often my kind are the source behind the horrors in your human news. It’s easy to recognize, when you know what to look for. The information here indicates a newborn vampire is loose in Seattle. Bloodthirsty, wild, out of control. The way we all were.” The way you will be. I added silently.

Bella looked down avoiding my glare. She was thinking what I didn't want to say out loud.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation for a few weeks. All the signs are there — the unlikely disappearances, always in the night, the poorly disposed-of corpses, the lack of other evidence...Yes, someone brand-new. And no one seems to be taking responsibility for the neophyte...Well, it’s not our problem. We wouldn’t even pay attention to the situation if wasn’t going on so close to home. Like I said, this happens all the time. The existence of monsters results in monstrous consequences.” I explained.

“It won’t be the same for me, you won’t let me be like that. We’ll live in Antarctica.” She whispered more to herself then to me.

I snorted. “Penguins. Lovely.” As far as animals went there weren't the tastiest. I'd much rather drink the blood of predators. There blood was much closer to human blood.

Bella's laugh was shaky, it made me concerned, what I wouldn't give to hear her thoughts at this moment. She pushed the paper onto the ground.

“Alaska, then, as planned. Only somewhere much more remote than Juneau — somewhere with grizzlies galore.” Bella offered.

“Better. There are polar bears, too. Very fierce. And the wolves get quite large.” Now those where some animals I wouldn't mind sinking my teeth into. Carnivores were really the best, all things considered.

Bella's mouth dropped open and she exhaled sharply.

“What's wrong?” I asked trying not to let myself panic. Was she ill? Wait. I said wolves. Perfect, we were going to have to discuss Jacob now. “Oh. Never mind the wolves, if the idea is offensive to you.” I apologized. I felt so tense, even thinking out Jacob Black. I wanted to relax and enjoy just being with Bella, but it was like Jacob was a large pink elephant in the room.

“He was my best friend, Edward. Of course the idea offends me.” She muttered, obviously hurt by my words.

I wanted to tell her I wasn't even thinking about Jacob Black when I said it, but it didn't make a difference. She was still heartbroken over the collapse of their friendship and I somehow had made it worse by even using the word.

“Please forgive my thoughtlessness. I shouldn't have suggested that.” I said formally apologizing. It hurt that I hurt her, but it hurt even more that, that she was hurting because she didn't have Jacob.

“Don't worry about it.” She said, but the way she clenched her fists together meant she was still worrying about it.

The room grew silent. I didn't know what to do to make it better for her. I wanted my happy, smiling Bella. I cursed Jacob for making her waste one second feeling sorry for him. He knew what he was doing and if he really cared for Bella he would call her. Not that I wanted him to, but she did and Bella was more important than anything, to me anyway. Hell, it was better if she wasn't important to him, that way she would get over his rejection and we could be whole again.

I reached over and put a finger under her chin, lifting her face up.

“Sorry. Really.” I apologized again. What else could I do?

“I know. I know it’s not the same thing. I shouldn’t have reacted that way. It’s just that...well, I was already thinking about Jacob before you came over.” She hesitated. I couldn't help, but narrow my eyes at her. “Charlie says Jake is having a hard time. He’s hurting right now, and...it’s my fault.” She pleaded.

I was not going to let her blame herself for that dogs lack of compassion. Bella deserved better than him, anyway.

“You've done nothing wrong, Bella.” I contracted.

She took a deep breath. “I need to make it better, Edward. I owe him that. And it’s one of Charlie’s conditions, anyway —”

No, it was not. Not technically. I heard the whole conversation, but I couldn't tell her that without outting myself as a stalker.

“You know it’s out of the question for you to be around a werewolf unprotected, Bella. And it would break the treaty if any of us cross over onto their land. Do you want us to start a war?” I demanded.

“Of course not!”

It was low of me to put that on her shoulders, but it was the truth. I would not allow her on their land without me, and that would be a violation on the treaty. She couldn't have it both ways.

“Then there’s really no point in discussing the matter further.” I was done discussing this.

There was no way she was going to La Push, ever. I released her face and started to search the room for something else to talk about. I noticed her book behind her on the counter. If we were going to fight, I'd much rather prefer that it was about harmless topic, such as her reading choices.

“I’m glad Charlie has decided to let you out — you’re sadly in need of a visit to the bookstore. I can’t believe you’re reading Wuthering Heights again. Don’t you know it by heart yet?”I instigated, hoping she would take the bait and argue with me.

“Not all of us have photographic memories.” Her tone was curt.

I almost laughed, but held it together.

“Photographic memory or not, I don’t understand why you like it. The characters are ghastly people who ruin each others’ lives. I don’t know how Heathcliff and Cathy ended up being ranked with couples like Romeo and Juliet or Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. It isn’t a love story, it’s a hate story.”

Romeo and Juliet were just as bad. Romeo was a fickle and very easily swayed young man and Juliet was silly and love-struck. How could she ever forgive the man who killed her favorite kinsman?

Would Bella forgive me if I killed Jacob? I doubted it.

“You have some serious issues with the classics.” Bella snapped at me.

I smiled, she took the bait, and even if she was mad at me it wasn't because of Jacob Black and she wasn't thinking about him any longer.

“Perhaps it’s because I’m not impressed by antiquity. Honestly, though, why do you read it over and over?” I reached across the table to capture her chin with my hand. “What is it that appeals to you?”I asked seriously.

I didn't understand why she read the same book over and over again. It still had it's charm the third, fourth, fifth, twentieth time she read it. What made her so devoted to this book?

“I’m not sure, I think it’s something about the inevitability. How nothing can keep them apart — not her selfishness, or his evil, or even death, in the end...”

Nothing can keep them apart. Like us. Distance, killer vampires, werewolves nothing could keep Bella and I apart. Ah. I see.

I smiled at her teasingly. “I still think it would be a better story if either of them had one redeeming quality.”

“I think that may be the point, their love is their only redeeming quality.” She disagreed.

“I hope you have better sense than that — to fall in love with someone so . . . malignant.” I countered.

“It’s a bit late for me to worry about who I fall in love with, but even without the warning, I seem to have managed fairly well.”

Sure, if a vampire was in her definition of the ideal partner. That's right, it was.

I laughed at the sheer nonsense of it all. “I'm glad you think so.”

“Well, I hope you’re smart enough to stay away from someone so selfish. Catherine is really the source of all the trouble, not Heathcliff.” She pointed out.

Bella, selfish? Never. That was one of the many, many reasons I was in love with her. It wasn't in her DNA to be selfish.

“I'll be on my guard.” I promised her.

She sighed. I knew it would only be a matter of time, before the Jacob box was opened again.

She placed her hand on top of mine and held it in place.

“I need to see Jacob.” She said.

The tightening in my chest would have certainly been fatal if I were human. Luckily I was not, but it didn't mean the pain wasn't there. I closed my eyes.


“It’s truly not dangerous at all, I used to spend all day in La Push with the whole lot of them, and nothing ever happened.” She said with conviction, until the end.

Her voice stumbled and I knew she was lying. Something did happen, even if it wasn't serious, it was enough that she had been scared. Her heart beat quickened and her hand became clammy on mine as if to spell out the lie for me.

I nodded.

“Werewolves are unstable. Sometimes, the people near them get hurt. Sometimes, they get killed.” I said trying to push my point home.

She remained quiet, lost in her own memories. Which, I was sure, had something to do with someone getting hurt by one of the werewolves.

I grinned at Bella.

I had won the battle, if not the war.

“You don't know them.” She whispered.

But she was wrong. I did indeed know them. Very well in fact.

“I know them better than you think, Bella. I was here the last time.”

“The last time?” She was confused.

“We started crossing paths with the wolves about seventy years ago...We had just settled near Hoquiam. That was before Alice and Jasper were with us. We outnumbered them, but that wouldn’t have stopped it from turning into a fight if not for Carlisle. He managed to convince Ephraim Black that coexisting was possible, and eventually we made the truce.” I explained.

“We thought the line had died out with Ephraim, that the genetic quirk which allowed the transmutation had been lost...”I muttered to myself for the most part.

Then looked at Bella with mock accusation.

“Your bad luck seems to get more potent every day. Do you realize that your insatiable pull for all things deadly was strong enough to recover a pack of mutant canines from extinction? If we could bottle your luck, we’d have a weapon of mass destruction on our hands.”

“But I didn’t bring them back. Don’t you know?” She asked intensely.

No, I didn't know. If not her than what? There was no other reason why they would have came, back except for the fact that Bella was a catastrophe magnet.

“Know what?” I asked.

“My bad luck had nothing to do with it. The werewolves came back because the vampires did.” She said in a matter-of-fact tone.

My body went rigid. Was she right? That was impossible.

“Jacob told me that your family being here set things in motion. I thought you would already know...” She continued.

So Jacob was the one spouting lies about the Cullens. Another reason to snap his neck.

I narrowed my eyes. “Is that what they think?” I asked.

“Edward, look at the facts. Seventy years ago, you came here, and the werewolves showed up. You come back now, and the werewolves show up again. Do you think that’s a coincidence?”

She was right. Of course she was. I blinked and released her from my black glare.

“Carlisle will be interested in that theory.”

“Theory?” She scoffed at me.

I turned away from her and looked out the window. So there was another thing that was my fault. I'm here so he's a wolf, I left Bella so she found comfort in the wolf. Great, but the facts remained the same. He was a vicious out of control animal.

“Interesting, but not exactly relevant, the situation remains the same.” I muttered.

Bella was quiet for a moment, before getting up and walking to my side. I opened my arms for her and she climbed on my lap. I almost shivered with delight, but held it in. There were few things better than Bella's warm body on mine.

“Please just listen for a minute. This is so much more important than some whim to drop in on an old friend. Jacob is in pain. I can’t not try to help him — I can’t give up on him now, when he needs me. Just because he’s not human all the time...Well, he was there for me when I was...not so human myself. You don’t know what it was like...” Bella paused.

The tightening in my chest returned, but with blinding pain causing my arms to lock up. I squeezed my hands into fists to hold back from the emotional outrage I was feeling.

My fault.

My fault.

My fault.

Always my fault.

I closed my eyes tightly. The overwhelming need to cry plunged into my body again.

“If Jacob hadn’t helped me . . . I’m not sure what you would have come home to. I owe him better than this, Edward.” She finished.

“I’ll never forgive myself for leaving you, not if I live a hundred thousand years.” I whispered.

The pain still cutting into me like millions of sharpened knives.

I felt Bella place a warm, soft hand against my cold, hard face. She was waiting for me to acknowledge her.

I couldn't.

Not yet.

The tightening was too strong at this moment. When it subsided infinitesimally, I sighed and opened my eyes.

“You were just trying to do the right thing. And I’m sure it would have worked with anyone less mental than me. Besides, you’re here now. That’s the part that matters.” She said trying to comfort me.

It didn't work. I was trying to do the right thing, but not for her. For myself. If I really had wanted to do the right thing for Bella, then I would have asked her what she wanted, instead of decided for her and making all the wrong choices.

“If I’d never left, you wouldn’t feel the need to go risk your life to comfort a dog.” I reminded her.

She flinched at the last word, I wanted to take it back just to make her happy, but it was truly how I felt.

What would it take for her to understand that I would not allow her to put her self in danger. No matter how safe she thought it was.

“I don’t know how to phrase this properly, it’s going to sound cruel, I suppose. But I’ve come too close to losing you in the past. I know what it feels like to think I have. I am not going to tolerate anything dangerous.” I told her trying to explain in the only way I could, that I could not lose her. In any sense of the word.

“You have to trust me on this. I’ll be fine.” She insisted.

She didn't understand. She didn't think it through. I would trust her with anything, except for her own safety.

“Please Bella...” I whispered.

She locked her eyes with mine. My thoughts started to swirl as I got lost in her eyes.

“Please what?” She asked me.

“Please, for me. Please make a conscious effort to keep yourself safe. I’ll do everything I can, but I would appreciate a little help.” I begged.

“I'll work on it.” She mumbled.

No, I needed more than that. She need to keep herself safe. I couldn't live without her and if she intentionally got her self hurt or killed, I would lose it. Vampires probably can't go insane, but I would.

“Do you really have any idea how important you are to me? Any concept at all of how much I love you?” I asked her, pulling her tighter to my chest. Her head tucked underneath my chin. Her hair was just as warm as the rest of her.

I felt her lips on my neck and almost moaned with satisfaction.

“I know how much I love you.” She answered.

“You compare one small tree to the entire forest.”

“Impossible.” She argued.

I leaned down to kiss her lovely mop of brown hair, then sighed. I was going to have to be blunt to get my point across.

“No werewolves.”

“I’m not going along with that. I have to see Jacob.” She argued again.

“Then I’ll have to stop you.” I informed her.

And I would, if I had to chain her to a tree or fly her across the world. I would not have her running with a pack of dirty dogs who can't control their physical appearance, let alone their tempers.

“We’ll see about that, he’s still my friend.”

Was he really? Did friends do this to there friends? No, they did not. Jacob was nothing more than a dog who was unworthy of the love Bella was trying to bestow upon him. No matter what she said, it didn't change the fact I would never allow her to be near him again. I may be a century old vampire with a blood lust for my girlfriend. Which was nothing compared to a teenage werewolf with anger issues. He could easily kill her accidentally, just by getting mad at the wrong time.

If I were to ever kill Bella it wouldn't be an accident.