Beneath A Shattered Sky
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Edward and the Cullens left Forks for the second time after the battle with Victoria and the newborns – this is set two years after this. Bella was heartbroken but found solace in her best friend, Jacob Black, and they fell in love. Bella is utterly in love with Jacob, but her past is only waiting to catch up with her...
Bella's POV, some other POVs later. Disclaimer: Twilight and all associated characters and concepts are the property of Stephenie Meyer. I'm just playing with Jacob and Bella :P.
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Chapter 5: Purgatory
I am not sorry for my soul
That it must go unsatisfied,
For it can live a thousand times,
Eternity is deep and wide.
I am not sorry for my soul,
But oh, my body that must go
Back to a little drift of dust
Without the joy it longed to know.
Longing - Sara Teasdale
Ithaca, New York, a few days later - Edward's POV
My room was quiet and still as I lay back on the couch with a sigh. I closed my eyes, and listened carefully, hoping for respite from my own thoughts. I could hear the rest of my family throughout the house. Esme was teasingly arguing with Carlisle about whether she should redecorate the living room, Alice was engrossed in America's Next Top Model while Jasper sat beside her and played with her hair, clearly ignoring what was on the screen. Rosalie and Emmett were...ugh. I wished I hadn't tuned myself into the background noise just then when I heard the loud grunts and moans coming from their room. Great. That's just what I need right now, to listen to that. I grimaced.
Ever since I'd come back, Esme and Carlisle had said nothing but I knew they knew what had happened between Bella and me. Alice had told them all the moment I'd left. Christ, sometimes it was so embarrassing to have a sister who could see the future. I'd wanted to be angry with her when I arrived back, knowing what she'd seen before I left. But I couldn't be. By telling me, she'd given me the chance for the most wonderful gift of my wretched life. All the passion I'd ever had, and still continued to have for Bella, had come out that night. Not that I didn't know it was wrong, and despite wanting to rip his face off, I actually felt bad for Jacob Black. That hadn't mattered one bit, however, as I'd given into my basest desires for Bella. I tried to fight the deluge of memories that threatened to come to the surface, but I was unsuccessful...
My mouth on her soft flesh, teasing her into oblivion. Bella in my arms, moaning my name as I thrust into her. The euphoric feeling as she clenched around me, squeezing my release out of me...
Enough! I almost shouted to myself. I sighed heavily. The rest of my family had tried to be helpful when I'd come back in a dark mood, not speaking to anyone, with varying degrees of success.
..."High-five, man, you finally got some!" Emmett grinned as he held his hand up, ignoring Rosalie's look of horror behind my back as she vehemently shook her head at him. I almost wanted to laugh at my brother's typically irreverent response, but I was afraid if I betrayed any emotion, all my misery would flood out like a tide. I merely glared at him.
"Er, sorry, bro," was his awkward response as his hand fell back to his side. I could tell he and Rosalie were going to have words after that. Despite the fact that we irritated one another, she would be very angry that Emmett had said something to upset me. She was always very loyal to our family, even to her know-it-all, mind-reading brother.
Alice was quietly serene, as she'd known it would happen. I wanted to say something to her, but I'd remained silent. "I knew she still loved you," was all she said, a hint of smugness in her high, clear voice. Jasper had thankfully avoided mentioning it to me, knowing I wanted to be alone in my thoughts right then.
What did surprise me a little was the extreme guilt I was feeling right now. Of course I felt guilty for taking Bella so roughly. You could have killed her! But that wasn't the whole story. I actually felt bad because she was in a relationship with someone else. Jacob, my sworn enemy, no less. It hadn't surprised me that she'd taken up with that dog a while after I'd left, something I'd only learned from Alice before I'd left the other day. He'd been holding a torch for her for a long time, and I knew he wouldn't have wasted any time when my departure finally gave him the opportunity he'd been wishing for.
I could hardly blame him. Bella was an enticing person to be around. She never believed me, but so many men were dazzled after speaking to her, or even by merely looking at her. When we were together I'd had to endure hearing the constant thoughts of would-be suitors imagining what they'd do to her. She was just so utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful. I remembered the first night I stole into her room to watch her sleep. At that point I'd still been fighting with my desire to drain the blood from her body, but I had still recognised the feelings I had for her that weren't blood lust.
Her beauty captivated me. I'd fallen in love with Bella Swan, and at the time I'd known that it would be forever. Change for vampires was a permanent thing, and the one we loved would change us for all eternity. This small, fragile, human girl had altered me completely in that moment I watched her dream for the first time, and I would love her for the rest of my immortal days, even when she was long dead. I winced at that thought, unable to even process the idea of Bella not existing. The memory of her was so alive, so vital. I thought of her creamy skin that would flush where the hollow of her neck met her throat, her sparkling brown eyes, her warm, soft body that I'd fantasised about seeing in full so many times.
The fact that there was a reality to my fantasies now didn't make anything better. It only made it worse. I'd had a taste of physical love with her, and it had only made me miss her even more.
I knew it had been painful for my family these last few months, but I had to stay with them. It would be far worse if I'd been alone completely with my misery, as I'd been in that wretched slum in Rio that I'd called my home for the months I was away from Bella the first time. And I knew it would hurt Esme most of all if I left. I felt a pang at how worried my sweet, kind adoptive mother had been about me these past few months. I knew she appreciated that I stayed with the family, but she knew that I was in hell, perhaps more than the others did, excepting Alice. I remembered the first time she'd really noticed how obsessed I was with Bella's memory...
...Edward's playing Bella's song again, she sighed to herself, pausing on the threshold as she came back from hunting. Such a beautiful tune. If only he could find a way to be with her again, somehow. She made him so happy, so alive...She'd cut off her thoughts abruptly when she remembered I could hear them from the other room where I played...
I shook off the memory, angry with myself for hurting my family with my own pain. It seemed I couldn't win: it pained them, seeing me like this when I was here, but yet, if I had been gone, it would have hurt them even more. My thoughts turned back to Jacob. I remembered how I'd told her I wanted her to be with Jacob Black, that he made her happy. When I'd first entertained the thought, long ago, that she had most likely consummated her relationship with him, if I'd been human, bile would have risen to my throat at that thought. I couldn't bear the idea that that dog had been her first. I wish it had been me. I wish I'd found the strength to control myself while we were together. I hoped, at least, that I'd proven to be a better lover than him. I could hardly think of this, but at the time I'd felt slightly smug at the extreme way Bella's body has responded to me. Even if I had made her feel ways she'd never felt before, that she'd never felt with him, what did I hope to accomplish with this?
Guilt surged through me once more. I'd committed the ultimate selfish act by making love to Bella, giving into my own desires, but awakening hers, and undoubtedly making her feel guilty at being with another man. Well, if I can call myself a man, I thought wryly. I was sure Bella must be feeling terrible right now. She was such a good person, and I'd gotten her to do something so unlike her. Although, it was hardly something that was like me either.
I'd been raised to be proper and gentlemanly in dealing with women. The Edward Masen my real mother, Elizabeth had raised would never have done something like that, but he was gone, and for the past ninety-odd years this monster had taken his place. It was the monster that had won out that night with Bella. Not entirely, of course, for I'd been able to resist her sweet blood more easily than I'd thought. No, it was her sweet arousal that had driven me crazy. I remembered the smell of it and closed my eyes, inhaling deeply. She smelled like heaven, and tasted even better. Oh, the taste of her...I involuntarily moaned as I remembered that.
I couldn't blame her for sending me away the next morning. What had I expected, that she'd forget what I'd done to her, leaving her not once, but twice? I'd reneged on my promise that I would always be there for her, in the worst possible way. She was hardly going to throw her long-term relationship with her werewolf away for me, the one who broke her heart. Oh, but I how I wished she would.
I knew she'd understandably doubted the words I spoke to her just before I left, about how I loved her, that I'd been in hell without her, but never had any truer words been spoken. No, I was in something worse than hell. I burnt in ash and brimstone every second I was away from her, and the fires blazed hotter each time I imagined her with him. He was the one permitted to touch her, hold her, make love to her - not I. I did not deserve those things, the soulless monster that I was.
I could not help but hope that what I said was true though: that she'd never stopped loving me. When I arrived in her bedroom, I'd expected her to scream at me, to tell me to get out. Instead, she'd caught me off guard by running straight into my arms to kiss me. What I did was inexcusable, but that kiss had instantly weakened my resolve not to touch her. Tasting her soft, warm lips had only made me want to play out my other fantasies. It had been perfect, the act itself, as far as I remembered. I knew from my brothers, and numerous books, that foreplay was important to a woman, and so I'd made sure that I'd placed her own pleasure above my own. Making Bella feel good was all I cared about, but I'd felt far more pleasure than I could have even imagined when we got to the main event.
Before I met Bella, being with a woman that way was something I'd given up on ever experiencing. Not that I'd hadn't had chances before. Tanya certainly would have...But I'd never felt strongly enough for anyone before to want to do that. Perhaps it was a product of the time I was brought up in but, for me, love and lust would always keep the same company. I'd drifted in this essentially monk-like state for the entire century, until Bella suddenly woke my human desires up. They were more powerful than I'd ever remembered them being, in my hazy memories of being a human teenage boy.
But, no, I was a selfish monster. I was no better than an incubus, a demon who preyed on beautiful women to satisfy its sexual desires. I could have killed her in the pursuit of my own pleasure; one slip would have been all it took. Thank God I'd taken care to watch myself, and prepared myself for the loss of control that came with my orgasm by biting into a pillow and not her warm, smooth neck. I feared that I'd probably bruised her, but at least it had not been anything worse. I'd held her with the lightest touch I could, but it was difficult when she was urging me on, pulling me closer and closer to her...
I put on a loud, violent CD and placed headphones over my ears, hoping to drown out my thoughts, but it did no good. I carried on torturing myself with thoughts of Bella Swan for the next few hours, lying absolutely still on the couch with my eyes closed as I absorbed myself in her memory. Every so often, one of my family members would come by and pause outside the closed door, wondering if they ought to come in, but each time they thought better of it.
I loved her more than life itself, more than that dog loved her, I was sure of it. A snarl escaped my lips at that thought. But what could I do? Even if she changed her mind and chose me, how could I condemn her to this half-existence dominated by an eternally unquenched thirst? I had never wished more that I had been able to sleep than at that moment, to be free of these consuming thoughts.
I was startled by a knock at the door, so immersed in my own mind that I'd hadn't heard their thoughts or footsteps. It was Emmett.
"Come in," I sighed, resigned to the fact that I had to see people sometimes.
Emmett stepped into the room slowly, clearly not sure what to say to me. He cleared his throat awkwardly.
"Hey, I just thought I'd see if you were okay. Esme asked me to come and check on you."
I half-smiled to myself. Esme would, of course. I knew she'd sent Emmett, because despite his flippant nature, he understood me the best out of my brothers. I beckoned him in, sitting up on the couch as I did. He sat down beside me.
"You know I'm not great at this kind of thing, and I'm probably gonna say something insensitive, so just ignore me when I do." In spite of myself, my face creased into a smile.
"I'd expect nothing less," I said to him.
I saw what he was thinking. Emmett would often talk to me through his thoughts; it was something we did when we didn't want people to hear our full conversation. Unfortunately, his thoughts often included disgusting fantasies about my sister. Being reminded of his and Rosalie's intensely physical relationship was trying at the best of times, but even worse right now. At the moment, though, there were no such thoughts in his head.
Jeez, you've really got it bad for that chick, he thought. It's been so long, and you still love her. Way to go, Edward, dumping her again when you didn't want to.
"Yeah, I know you can hear me," he said, shrugging. Emmett's was the one mind in my family I didn't really feel bad about hearing, as he rarely had private thoughts he wouldn't want me to know.
"I have got it bad," I said quietly. "You have no idea. Was it always like this, for you, Em, with Rosalie? I know it's not the same; you never had to be apart from her, but imagine if you had to be? Would it cause you physical pain?"
He nodded, unable to even comprehend that thought. "I couldn't be without her. She's my life. Even as mad as she makes me sometimes." He grinned to himself, thinking again.
But doesn't it make you want her more, having actually er - screwed her? I know I didn't exactly react in the best way, I just couldn't help being excited at my little bro finally getting some after nearly a century. Props for not ripping her to pieces or biting her, by the way. I wouldn't have shown the same self-control.
His thoughts were hardly tactful, but that didn't surprise me. "Technically, I'm older," I reminded him curtly, ignoring the last part of what he'd said. Everyone did think of me as the baby, as I'd been seventeen when I'd been changed, even though I was the second Carlisle had brought to the family, making me the third oldest after Jasper. Emmett had been twenty when Rosalie had found him half-dead from the bear attack, and so he liked to call me 'little bro' just to wind me up.
"So, was it good?" Emmett said after a moment, clearly fighting with his desire to ask me even more prying questions, and not entirely succeeding.
I chuckled, an unfamiliar sound coming from me. "Emmett, it was...you have no idea. It was what you and Jasper have always said, but it was more than that. It felt like I was expressing my love for her in the most natural way."
What a fag. I caught that particular thought and raised an eyebrow. Er, sorry, it's just funny to hear you say something like that, you being the eternal bachelor in the Cullen household and all. I know what you meant, it's like that when me and Rose do it.
"Well, I'm sure you showed her a good time." He laughed, a deep, booming sound. "Vampires have a reputation for being dynamite in the sack." Okay, I know, not helping. Just trying to lighten the mood here.
"It's okay, I don't mind," I said, and I honestly didn't. Emmett's cheerful banter was a welcome antidote to my unrelenting gloom. "She enjoyed herself, but that makes it even worse. It's like I've seen what it could be like if we were together all the time. It's killing me, and of course, that isn't even my only problem. You know she's with Jacob Black?"
He nodded. Yeah, I knew that. He always seemed to take a shine to her.That stinking werewolf. He wrinkled his nose as he recalled that wet dog smell that characterised the La Push wolf pack. "Look, don't beat yourself up about it. At least you didn't kill her."
My eyes flashed with anger, and he fell silent, thinking. See, I told you, man. That's Emmett, the insensitive jerk, right there.
"I - love her," I choked out, my face falling into my hands. "I don't feel whole without her." Emmett patted my shoulder in an uncharacteristically sympathetic gesture.
"Then maybe she's worth fighting for. You know I think Bella's great, we all do. Er - maybe not Rose, but she's got her reasons, you know that. My point is, you can't give up that easily if she's really what you want." He fell silent then and only spoke to me through his thoughts, not wanting anyone else in the house to hear.
After Rose found me and brought me to Carlisle, we didn't exactly have an easy time of it for the first few years, if you remember. She wouldn't even let me touch her, because of what that sick bastard fiancé of hers and his friends had done to her. But we got through it. I knew she was worth waiting for. And I had eternity to wait, anyway. He smiled.
I knew all this, of course. It was these sorts of things that made me curse my mind-reading abilities, the fact that I heard so much more than the parts my family meant me to hear. I could see Emmett's point, though. Regardless, I knew I would wait for Bella for the rest of her life because that was all I had, and as a human, her life slipped away with each tick of the second hand. And yet I couldn't even think of her as an immortal, like me, taking her human life from her. I'd been selfish enough already.
Emmett's thoughts broke into my mind again. Being with someone who'd give you up in a second if she had the chance to be human again is never exactly easy, you know, as much as Rose loves me. Relationships are hard. You have to learn to take the good with the bad.
I couldn't think of anything to say right then. I knew that Emmett would only let me, out of everyone, know these things. Even he, the perpetually happy-go-lucky one of the household, had his own private fears, and I felt privileged that he allowed me to know them. I smiled at my brother, grateful that he'd spill his own secrets just to make me feel better, and lightly punched him on the shoulder.
"Hey!" he countered, shoving me back with a force that would have knocked me off the couch if I hadn't known it was coming. I grinned weakly.
His thoughts were not finished though, and they filled my head once more. Bro, please, just cut the self-sacrificing bullshit and go after what makes you happy for once! Leaving her twice for these 'noble' reasons of yours - well, the first time, it nearly got you both killed, and the second time, it pushed her into the arms of your enemy. I grimaced at the images I could now see in his head. He was picturing a different Bella to the one I knew, a Bella with pale, granite skin and glowing, red eyes.
She was meant for this life, Edward, for you. You know it.
NO! I thought. Emmett couldn't hear what I was thinking, but the tension in my face betrayed me.
"Anyway, I'm gonna go now, I've said more than I should have" Emmett said after a second, looking reproachful. "I'll leave you to over-analyse in peace."
I gave him a small smile. My brother knew me so well, I thought. I really was the most introspective one of the family, always mulling over every minute detail of my pathetic existence.
"Hey," he added, pausing in the doorway. "Don't forget what I said. You shouldn't give her up so easily. Never mind the dog. I doubt she loves him as much as she loved you. The first time I saw you with Bella, I knew that girl was goddamn crazy about you. Lord knows why." His last words were teasing, despite the seriousness of what else he had said. With that, he left and I heard him head downstairs to the living room, where Esme waited.
"How is he, sweetheart?" she asked tentatively, concern heavy in her voice.
"Holding up," was all Emmett said, and I was grateful for that.
I felt disgusted that Emmett's words had actually given me hope, something I hadn't felt in so long. Hope that Bella still loved me, hope that she might forgive me and take me back. But she would have to hurt Jacob to do that, and it would hurt her. I didn't want her to be hurt again. I couldn't bear it. I sighed, full of hate for what I was: a soulless creature who wanted to destroy the happiness of another for his own gain. My thoughts turned back to her and I pictured her face, ignoring the stab of pain it caused me. My Bella. My dead, frozen heart had not beat in over ninety years, but if it could, it would have beat only for her right then.