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Salt Water

Summary:
Set at the end of Eclipse, after Bella visits Jacob. As Bella cries in his arms over Jacob, Edward is left to dwell on his own painful thoughts about the situation...


Notes:
Oneshot, Edward's POV.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1886   Review this Chapter

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Edward and Bella. Oneshot. Set at the end of Eclipse, after Bella goes to see Jacob. From Edward's POV, his feelings and how difficult it is for him as Bella cries in his arms over Jacob. Used a little dialogue from the scene in Eclipse just to set the scene – canon as I'm only filling out this scene more. This is my first fanfic in 2 years or so – I used to write loads of them but stopped when I went to university and things got busy. I apologise if I'm a little rusty, but it's good to get started again at least.

Saltwater

Upstairs, I waited for Bella. Sitting on her bed, I remained still, unblinking as always.

I could sense my love's tears before they came, heard her voice wobble as she spoke to Charlie downstairs and blindly stumbled to her room. Once inside, she tried to undo the clasp on her bracelet, but her fingers shook so violently.

No, I thought. She could not do this. The thought of her trying to erase memories of Jacob for my sake sickened me, when I had driven her into his arms by leaving. I had to allow her to keep him as a part of her.

“No, Bella,” I whispered, capturing her hands in mine. “It's part of who you are.” I pulled her onto the bed, enveloping her in my arms. She immediately broke down into noisy sobs. As the blood rushed to her face, I felt the familiar burn in my throat worsen slightly. But that hardly mattered right now, and I was pleased how easily I was able to ignore my thirst.

“I...I broke him, Edward,” she cried, burying her face in my chest, her tears soaking my shirt. “I led him on, kissed him...just so he wouldn't risk himself.”

The thought of her kissing that dog sent a fresh wave of agony through me, though I would never let her see it. I tried to push those thoughts away. Bella was what mattered. Bella needed me tonight. She needed me more than ever and, by God, I was going to be there for her this time. Jacob had been there when I hadn't been. He had healed the hole that I had made, and left his mark. I would never forgive myself for that, but I would do all I could for Bella never to be hurt again. Now she was hurting more than I had ever seen her. It was not my fault, but I had played my part.

I recalled what I said to her after that moment that Jacob had tricked her into kissing her. “I'm not going to make you choose between us. Just be happy, and you can have whatever part of me you want, or none at all, if that's better.” I had made her believe that I could be noble when all the monster within me wanted at this moment was to tear Jacob limb from limb for hurting her, for making her love him. For making her choose between us. I had fantasised about causing his death so many times, of crushing him like an ant, ripping him apart. And yet he loved her, there was no doubt about that. I was grateful for the protection him and the wolves had given us; particularly little Seth, who, young as he was, had proven his worth in unimaginable ways. But I still hated Jacob.

A new succession of choking sobs from Bella interrupted my thoughts for a moment, and made me hold her tighter.

“Shhhh,” I murmured, stroking her hair tenderly.

She was so beautiful, even in her pain. I contemplated speaking, but thought it was best to hold her and allow her to stain my shirt with salt water as she cried her stream of seemingly-endless tears. I could only hope that her wanting me here meant that she would allow me to remain a part of her. I would never tell her, but without her love I would no longer have need to remain on this Earth. I could see myself so easily going to Aro, Marcus and Caius for the second time, begging to die. For without my Bella, I would have no reason to be. My life would once again be a moonless night, void of meaning.

As I held my beautiful, fragile human lover in my arms, I felt so powerless. I could not help her, could not make her feel better. I could only wait as she cried her heart out. If I could have, I would have taken this pain for her, taken it a hundred times over, for Bella knew that I would do anything for her. Did she wish for a different, warmer pair of arms to be holding her? Was Jacob what she wanted, even as she clung to me? I could not ask, but my body tensed up further at this thought.

Bella sensed this, and even in her extreme emotional state, stopped her crying for a moment to ask

“E- Edward, what's wrong?”

“Nothing, my love,” I lied smoothly, forcing a slight smile on my face and tucking the blanket over Bella before I wrapped my arms around her once more.

I was dismayed when this brought a further spate of sobs that shook her small body so violently that she spasmed.

“I...I promised myself this morning, that I would never let you see me crying over Jacob again. And now I...” her sentence was abruptly cut off when she began to cry so hysterically that her breath began to come in rasps.

This frightened me. Bella was making herself sick she was crying so hard, and I didn't know what to do, how to help her. As a vampire, I was used to not fully understanding all the little nuances of human emotions, but with the rarely-changing temperament of a vampire, I felt emotions all the more deeply. Since I had been with Bella human feelings I had all but forgotten had come to the fore – love, lust, and then, jealousy. I had underestimated how powerful that feeling could be. How much I had wanted to break his jaw for placing his lips upon something which did not belong to him. Bella was mine. Mine. And I hoped that she still was.

“Edward, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry,” she went on, becoming even more hysterical. “I sh-shouldn't have let you be here. But I just need you so mu-”

With that, Bella broke down again, with great heaving sobs that pained me every time I heard them. I listened for Charlie for a moment, sure that he would come in at this, but from what Bella had told me about Charlie's fear of emotional outbursts, I figured we were safe.

I could hardly bear to see Bella in so much pain, but I stayed strong, holding her to my cool marble chest, unmoving as the small, broken part of her cried itself out. Within just a few hours, as the sun began to drift above the horizon, she fell unconscious in my arms, exhausted from her crying. I watched her as she slept. The pain was etched on her soft face, in her puffy eyes and tear-streaked cheeks. She was an angel in my arms, but her wings were broken.

Sometime later, Bella awoke. I had not wanted to leave her so I lay next to her, my arm tucked over her around the blanket so she wouldn't get cold. As her eyes opened I tensed, as I thought that she would break down in tears again. We murmured a greeting to one another and her voice was hoarse from the previous night. When she spoke, her tone was far more resolved than I had expected.

“No, I'm fine,” she promised. “That won't happen again.”

My eyes tightened. I didn't want Bella to suppress her pain merely for my benefit. I wondered what she was about to say. It seemed to me like she had made a decision, and I hoped she would choose me. If I had a heartbeat, my heart would have been racing. But I wanted Bella to be happy above all else, even if my wretched being would still love her, for the rest of her days. If Jacob was her choice, if he was what made her happy, I had to respect that. Even if the thought of her being with anyone but me made me feel dead and numb inside.

Snapping out of my reverie, I turned my attention back to my beautiful Bella. She was staring at me curiously, obviously wondering what my reaction was. I took her face in my hands tenderly, and spoke the words I dreaded:

“Bella...are you sure? Did you make the right choice? I've never seen you in so much pain-”

My voice broke on the last word, and I remembered that while I had not seen her in such pain, she had felt it. After I had left.

She reached out and touched my face gently. “Yes.”

My brown creased. “I don't know...if it hurts you so much, how can it possibly be the right thing for you?”

Then she told me that she knew that I was the one whom she could not live without. That she could never be as self-sacrificing as I (if only she really knew).

“I have to be with you. It's the only way I can live,” she said. My heart wanted to sing, but something stopped me. I wanted to believe her, but still some doubt remained. She had cried so violently over Jacob, I wanted to make sure that she didn't just feel guilty towards me. Like she owed me some debt or something.

But then she read to me from Wuthering Heights, and all that doubt was silenced. For the first time, I realised just how unconditionally Bella loved me. More than I deserved. She would do anything for me, as I would do for her. She truly could not live without me, and suddenly Jacob Black didn't matter any more. I knew that the love she had for him could not surpass the love that she had for me. I could not wait to marry her, to make her part of my life. Never before in my life had I felt as human as I did right then.

I pulled her closer, full of love for my beautiful Bella at this moment, and quoted in her ear, “I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” As Heathcliff had spoken this, so I spoke it to Bella. As a vampire I was a tormented, broken soul just as he was. But I had an angel at my side, so I could only feel whole.

I hope that was okay for my first fic in 2 and a half years. Please review and let me know what you think – thankyou for reading! Also, many thanks to my wonderful beta, Jen, who's helped me fine-tune this story :) xxx