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Forget Me Not

Summary:
The Cullens have left Forks, leaving Bella broken hearted and alone until a near-fatal car accident temporarily erases her memories. What happens when the one person she finds comfort with happens to be the brother of the man she can't remember? Will she regain her memories of Edward or will she find a new love with Jasper?


Notes:
This story starts around the beginning of New Moon. Rated NR-17. B/E and B/J. DISCLAIMER: All characters are the sole property of Stephanie Meyers but the story is my own.


16. Out of the Darkness

Rating 4.2/5   Word Count 3813   Review this Chapter

Edward’s POV

Emmet and I got home from our hunt early the next morning. I had made it a point to stay away from the house for the night after hearing Jasper and Bella’s not-so-private rendezvous. It was the worst kind of torture for anyone to have to go through – hearing the voice of the one you love calling the name of another. My IPOD managed to drown out Bella’s moaning, but nothing could keep Jasper’s thoughts out of my head. Having to see her through his lust-filled eyes nearly drove me insane. I could have killed him at that point, but my promise to Bella stopped me. The thought of her leaving with Jasper was far worse than witnessing their relationship on a daily basis. Either way, I was going to suffer. I decided it would hurt less to keep her close while I struggled through the nightmare.

I went up to my room and grabbed a clean change of clothes before heading to the bathroom to take a shower. Despite my many efforts, my thoughts continued to drift back to Bella. I couldn’t be upset with her for being intimate with Jasper – she still had no memory of our once powerful relationship. Even Jasper couldn’t be held responsible for what they had done. I knew first-hand how difficult it was not to fall in love with Bella once she showed even the slightest amount of interest. My heart ached for her.

I lowered my face into the stream of hot water, wishing for the first time in nearly a century that I could feel the comfort of its heat. Hell, I would give anything to be able to shed a single tear. The anguish of losing Bella was overwhelming as it ate away at my mind every hour of every day.

I turned the water off and quickly got dressed. When I got back downstairs, Bella was in the kitchen eating breakfast. Jasper glanced up at me and suddenly blocked his mind. I nodded, grateful for his consideration, though it would have been more helpful last night.

“Esme and I are going to Port Angeles for a little while. Is there anything in particular that you would like for dinner tonight, Bella?” Carlisle asked, passing by the kitchen.

“I’m fine with whatever you want to make. I like being your test subject,” she laughed.

“Excellent! I have plenty of recipes that I have been eager to try my hand at.” Carlisle helped Esme into her coat and followed her out the house.

“I’m going to grab a quick shower and then I’ll be ready to go, Edward.” Bella washed her plate thoroughly and then disappeared into Jasper’s room. I slouched down onto the sofa while Emmet flipped through every channel on the TV at least a dozen times. My heart sank when I caught a glimpse of Romeo and Juliet on one of the channels. I recalled the last time I watched it. I was at Charlie’s house with Bella. The memory was so vivid that, if I didn’t know any better, I could have sworn that is happened only a day or two ago. Bella loved me then. I was the one she looked at with so much love and adoration. I could almost feel her in my arms again.

A sudden image of Bella lying naked in Jasper’s arms flashed into my mind, crushing my precious memory of her. I stared over at Jasper as he sat quietly across the living room.

“Sorry,” he mumbled and focused harder on blocking his mind.

Bella came down a short time later, her hair still damp from the shower. She gave Jasper a quick look and went back to his room with him following close behind.

“We won’t be gone long. You should hunt while I’m out with Edward,” she whispered, forgetting that we could hear even the softest human whisper.

“Okay, but you call me if things get out of hand.”

“I will. Try not to worry.”

“I love you, Darlin’.”

“I love you too.”

After a prolonged amount of silence, which I could only assume was them kissing, Bella returned to the living room. I ignored the fact that she was wearing Jasper’s jacket again and focused on my plans for our time alone.

“I’m ready whenever you are,” she said with a slight hesitation.

“I’m ready.” I got up and grabbed my coat.

‘This is your last chance to keep your friendship with her…don’t screw it up!’ Jasper thought when I walked past him. I chose not to dignify his threat with a response, knowing it would irritate him more than any words that I could throw at him.

We got into my car and drove away from the house in silence. Memories of the many times Bella had claimed the seat beside mine came rushing back to me. I couldn’t come to terms with the idea that she didn’t have even the slightest memory of those happy times we once shared.

It hadn’t occurred to me to be cautious of the speed of my driving until I noticed her heavy breathing as she wrapped her hands tightly around her seatbelt.

“I’m sorry,” I said, slowing the car down to the posted speed limit.

“Thanks,” she sighed with relief. “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere special.”

I pulled the car off the road near a barely noticeable winding trail that stretched far up into the thick of the forest. She glanced at me curiously before climbing out of the car. I joined her at the base of the trail and laughed as she stared up at the rough terrain, shaking her head with wide eyes.

“Have you lost your mind? There is no way I will be able to make it up there without breaking at least a dozen bones.”

“I always carried you.”

She looked at me and then gazed at the path again. I held my hand out to her and waited while she made up her mind as to whether I was trustworthy enough to be given the responsibility of her safety. It took a few minutes but she eventually gave in with a shrug and allowed me to lift her onto my back. I was careful not to run too fast as we scaled the rough trail. She kept her face buried in my neck, tormenting me relentlessly as her breath danced across my skin.

Once we reached the clearing, I stopped and lowered her gently to her feet. She opened her eyes and struggled for her breath at the sight of the meadow that we once claimed as ‘ours’. I dropped down into the grass, watching as she wandered around the clearing, familiarizing herself with every aspect of its natural beauty.

“Edward, this place is amazing!”

“You used to love spending time here.”

She smiled warmly and dropped down beside me, careful not to sit too close.

“I’m sorry that I can’t remember being here before,” she spoke softly, sadness thick in her voice. I wanted to comfort her, like I had done so many times in the past but I knew it would only send her running into Jasper’s arms.

“Lay back and close your eyes,” I said. She raised an eyebrow at my request, but did as I asked. The sun broke through the clouds as I lay beside her in the grass.

“Look at me, Bella,” I whispered, easing my fingers under her chin as I turned her face to mine. She opened her eyes and gasped as the sun glistened off my sparkling skin. Everything was still with the exception of her rapidly beating heart. She reached a shaking hand out to touch my face but hesitated.

“It’s okay,” I assured her, wrapping my hand over hers as I guided her hand over my cheek. It took all the self-restraint I had not to pull her into my arms and kiss her passionately. Her eyes suddenly glossed over in a way I had never seen before.

“The lion and the lamb,” she whispered, almost in a trance.

“What did you say?” I sat up quickly, searching her face for any sign of remembrance.

“Stupid lamb,” she mumbled.

“Sick, masochistic lion,” I added. She shook her head in confusion, forcing the brief glimpse of the Bella I had known and loved back into the darkness of her mind.

“I want to go back to the house,” she whimpered.

“Bella, you almost remembered a piece of our past. I am sure we can figure out a way to bring it back.”

“I don’t want to remember! Please, Edward. Take me back.” She stood up, trembling with fear.

I was too late. She was giving up on us and there was nothing I could do to change her mind. The agony of defeat ripped through my un-beating heart as I rose to my feet with a clenched jaw. I leaned down so she could climb onto my back and slowly started the trek back to the car. I was struggling to accept her decision to stop the memories of our past from returning. I didn’t doubt that her reasoning was based solely on her fear of losing the love she found with Jasper but I was not going to let her give up so easily. The Bella that I loved would not want to forget the passion we shared and there was no way in hell that I was going to let her kill that part of herself.

When we got back to the car I slid her off my back and opened the door for her. She lowered her eyes and got into the car. Once we started the drive back, she snapped.

“Edward, please try to understand…”

“You don’t need to explain anything to me, Bella. I won’t push you anymore,” I sighed.

“Can we still be friends?”

“Yes. It’s going to take some for me to get over you, but I won’t let that come between us.” I felt more confused than ever.

“Do you mean that?”

“I just want you to be happy. If Jasper is what you want…what choice do I have?”

“Thank you.”

I forced a smile to disguise the pain of my loss. As much as I wanted to be the villain that would stop at nothing to get what he wanted, I loved her too much to deceive her.

When I drove up to the house I noticed Jasper waiting on the front step like an attention-starved puppy. I barely stopped the car before Bella offered me a quick smile and jumped out, rushing straight into his open arms. The jealousy I felt as I watched them embrace made my stomach churn. She belonged in my arms, not his. They disappeared into the house and I followed shortly after, dreading another night of seeing their private life through Jasper’s mind.

Alice and Rosalie were sitting on the couch, planning their next shopping spree while Emmet kept his eyes glued to the TV. He offered a random ‘Sounds great, babe’ whenever he heard Rosalie speak his name. I shook my head and went up to my room. I grabbed the folder of music that I had been working on, hoping it would keep my mind off the sickening display of love that I was forced to watch in silence. When I got back downstairs, I noticed Bella sitting curled up on Jasper’s lap. It was like a heavy blow to my stomach – I wanted to scream. Instead, I grit my teeth and went into the side room. I scattered the partially-completed sheets of music across the top of the piano and slumped down onto the bench. My fingers gently brushed over the keys as I closed my eyes, pouring my bleeding heart into each note that I played. Bella’s scent drifted through the room, bringing my attention to the fact that I wasn’t alone. I glanced over my shoulder to find her leaning against the door frame.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you,” I apologized, pulling my hands away from the keys.

“Don’t stop. You play so beautifully.” She moved closer to the piano.

“Have a seat,” I said while patting the empty space on the bench, surprised when she didn’t hesitate.

“You’ve played for me before, haven’t you?” she asked. I nodded silently, saddened by the cruelness of our present situation.

“I wrote you a song back when…” I stopped myself.

“Will you play it for me?”

I knew it would only cause me more pain, but I couldn’t ever deny Bella anything she wanted. I laid my fingers over the smooth, ivory keys and started playing the first few measures. Bella grinned as she watched my fingers dance through the cords. It felt like old times, sitting at my piano, me playing and her watching attentively with loving eyes. Halfway through the song, something changed. The smile on her face faded as her eyes glossed over. I knew that look…she was remembering something. I continued to play, refusing to let her stop it this time.

“Remember me, Bella,” I whispered into her ear, hitting each note harder and more passionately.

“No, Edward! Stop!” Alice screamed from the doorway.

Bella’s POV

“Will you play it for me?”

Edward lowered his eyes to the piano and started to play. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. After the first handful of notes, I felt a sense of familiarity in the music. I tried to ignore the sputtering flashes in my mind and, for a brief moment, I succeeded…but my ultimate failure soon followed. A bright flash of light pulled me away from reality and I suddenly felt like I was falling into a frightening darkness. Once the sensation of falling subsided, I heard Edward’s voice calling to me.

“Remember me, Bella.”

His words echoed through my head as the memories came into focus. I felt like I was watching a movie of my life in fast forward. The images flashed through my mind slow enough to see them clearly but too fast to dwell on each one. I was mentally reliving each moment Edward and I shared. It was beautiful at first; the love we shared, our first confession of our feelings. I felt safe in these moments, but all too soon, they were gone again.

“No, Edward! Stop!” Alice’s screaming pulled me back to reality as the memories kept coming. These ones weren’t as beautiful, in fact…they were painful and frightening. I jumped to my feet, covering my ears with the desperate hope that it would somehow stop the chaos in my head. A shockwave of unimaginable pain slammed into me, forcing me to stumble backwards. The bursts of agony seemed to be in perfect rhythm with the music from the piano. I screamed for Edward to stop playing but couldn’t hear my own voice. Everything was silent…everything except the music. Jasper rushed into the room and lunged for Edward, knocking him off the piano bench with such immense force that they shattered the hardwood floor on impact. One after another, the tidal waves of anguish and pure depression crashed down over me, stealing the strength from my legs. I fell to my knees, screaming through my tears. My body thrashed wildly, as if some unseen force was assaulting me with intense violence. Images of James sinking his teeth into my flesh burned through my mind, followed by Edward’s haunting eyes.

Emmet charged into the room with a ferocious growl and quickly pinned Edward to the ground, planting his knee against Edward’s throat. I could see his lips moving in anger but still heard nothing.

Jasper rushed over to me, pushing Alice out of the way as he fell to his knees. He pulled me against his chest, silently screaming my name. An excruciating swell of emotions pulled through every part of my body, moving painfully towards my chest at a rapid speed.

‘It’ll be as if I never existed.’ The words rang loud in my ears as the agonizing swell burst out of my chest, forcing my body to thrust forward, like a solid iron pipe was being smashed against my back. All of the energy and life spilled out of my body as I fell limp in Jasper’s arms. My eyes slowly closed and finally, the music stopped.

“Bella! Oh, God! No! Don’t you leave me! Fight, Bella. You have to fight,” Jasper cried out, his voice breaking under the strain. My eyes fluttered, revealing the image of Jasper lunging for me on the night of my birthday. I screamed in terror, struggling to push him away.

“No! Why, Jasper? Why?” I sobbed, pounding my fists against his marble chest.

“Bella, please, Darlin’. Don’t do this.” He tried desperately to hold me still as we fell back onto the floor. I continued to scream as the grief tore through my soul.

“What the hell is going on?” Carlisle shouted as he bolted into the room. Esme followed and gasped at the sight of the violence. Carlisle saw the fear in my eyes and quickly snatched Jasper off of me, slamming him against the wall in fury. I rolled onto my stomach as my soul was crushed at the sight of this once peaceful family attacking each other like a pack of wild animals. Emmet fought Edward, Alice restrained a hissing Rosalie, Jasper attacked Carlisle, and Esme…poor Esme was caught in the center of it all, frozen with shock.

“She remembered, Carlisle!” Jasper snapped his jaws like a rabid dog.

“I need you to calm down, Son,” Carlisle shouted, holding Jasper against the wall.

I couldn’t watch anymore. With the last bit of strength that I could gather, I scrambled to my feet and rushed out of the house. I didn’t know what direction I was running in, I just knew that I couldn’t stop.

“Emmet, go find Bella!” Carlisle’s voice echoed across the yard.

I pushed myself to run faster when I heard Emmet call out my name. I was too afraid to trust any of them not to hurt me, even Emmet. He was getting closer by the second, despite my ridiculous efforts to outrun his vampiric speed. My legs started to give out just as I reached the lake.

“Bella!” Emmet called out. I spun around and fell into the water. With no strength left in my exhausted body, I sank to the bottom as the murky water tickled into my lungs. The urge to sleep was too strong to fight. My eyes slowly closed just as a sparkling light crashed through the water, seconds too late.

Jasper’s POV

I tried to break free from Carlisle’s iron-clad grip but it was useless. Once I gave up and stopped struggling, he released his hold on me.

“Don’t you move a muscle,” Carlisle hissed. He darted over to Edward, who was now battling Rosalie. In one swift motion, he slammed Edward into the floor. “Enough!” he shouted.

Rosalie crouched close to them, hissing and growling.

“I said ENOUGH!” Carlisle’s voice boomed through the room like thunder. Everyone froze in fear at this terrifying side of him that we had never been exposed to before. “I want answers, and I want them NOW!” he hissed while loosening his grip on Edward’s throat. His eyes were as black as onyx and his lips were pulled up tightly over his teeth.

“She remembers everything,” I mumbled, too afraid to speak any louder.

“How did it happen?”

“She asked me to play her lullaby,” Edward confessed, rubbing his throat.

The blackness started to fade from Carlisle’s eyes as he rose to his feet. He lowered his head, glancing around the room at the destruction we had caused. The floor was barely recognizable and Edward’s piano lay in a pile of rubble. The walls were buckled with the indentations of our bodies and the window was smashed, leaving a gaping hole in the far wall. A gust of wind blew into the room, carrying Bella’s scent, but something was different, her scent was stale.

“Carlisle!” Emmet cried out as he carried Bella’s limp, wet body into the room. My heart shattered into a thousand pieces as I stared at her dripping, lifeless figure. Her head hung back over Emmet’s trembling arm. Her skin was pale and her lips were an icy blue. Carlisle dashed over the Emmet, pulling Bella into his arms as he let out an agonizing howl.

“She fell…into the lake. Carlisle, I tried…” Emmet stammered frantically.

“No, Bella!” I screamed as I rushed over to her, nearly colliding with Edward. Carlisle dropped to his knees and desperately tried to clear the rubble to open a space to lay Bella in. I placed my shaking hands under her damp head as he lowered her onto the floor. Edward grabbed a hold of her hand, placing it against his cheek as he rocked back and forth. Carlisle tore his jacket off and quickly started pumping her heart.

“Come on, Bella. Don’t you give up on us!” his voice shook as he blew air into her lungs. Alice, Rosalie, and Esme huddled together, holding onto each other while they watched in horror.

“Let me help,” Edward said.

“No, if you push too hard you will crush her ribcage,” Carlisle snapped. My thoughts were scattered as I sat by, watching helplessly. The memory of our last intimate night flooded through my mind and my eyes flashed up to Carlisle.

“Change her,” I whispered aloud.

“What?” Edward hissed.

“She asked me to change her. We were going to wait until she finished school but…”

“No, I won’t let you take her soul. Isn’t it enough that you stole her heart?” Edward growled at me.

“Go to hell, Edward.”

“That’s it!” Carlisle shouted, still pumping Bella’s heart. “Esme, get them out of here.”

“Carlisle, please…” I was cut off.

“Get out!” he ordered furiously. Esme grabbed my arm and pulled me away from Bella while Alice did the same to Edward. I lowered my head and started to leave, pausing long enough to make one final plea.

“Please, Carlisle, don’t let her give up.” I went outside and dropped down onto the front steps. Edward stormed past me and started pacing the driveway. I lowered my face into my trembling hands and closed my eyes. There was nothing left for me to do but sit in shame while Bella’s life hung in the balance. Images of her beautiful face haunted my mind as I thought back to the last time she said ‘I love you’.

“If she dies, I want you to kill me,” Edward said as his pain rippled over me. I glanced up at him briefly and then lowered my head back into my hands.

“Who will kill me?” I whispered.