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Twelve years ago Edward left Bella thinking she would be safe and happy away from the dangers of his world. She wasn't. How can he make it up to her? Each chapter written from a different POV with some overlap as the same incident is seen from a different perspective. Some new characters of my own imagination.

You know, all the recognisable characters are not mine. They belong to Stephanie Meyer and I hope I've used them in the spirit in which she created them.

13. Edward - Denali

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I wanted to kill Tanya. What did she think she was doing kissing me like that in front of Bella? A glance into Rosalie’s thoughts told me that she had been stirring. “Tanya, you look as lovely as always. Please, I want to introduce you to my Bella” I said as I released myself from Tanya’s hold, and turned to help Bella from the car. By the time Bella was standing next to me we had been joined by the rest of the Denalis and Rosalie and Emmett. “Hi ya Bella. Long time no see. Been fighting any trains lately?” I wanted to smack Emmett across the head for his lack of tact. Luckily Bella found him amusing and laughed. “Not lately, a bunch of high school kids is more than enough for me to handle these days. What about you?” “The odd grizzly, you know how it is?” and they grinned at each other. “I have to thank you both” Bella said to Emmett and Rosalie, “for all the work you did on our house. I think it’s brilliant. The tree turbines are works of art. It is wonderful.” “Hey, you’re welcome” Emmett grinned. “I really missed your brand of entertainment” and, tough guy that he is, he gave Bella the gentlest of hugs. I saw that Emmett’s sincere greeting really touched Bella so I gave her a few seconds to collect herself before introducing everyone. Bella could clearly understand some of the puzzled looks we were receiving as we slowly made our way to the house. “I’ve been sitting in the car too long, my muscles are starting to seize and need some exercising. For the most part Edward carries me everywhere, but I do need to move my muscles” she said. Tanya was unnecessarily snide when she said “I didn’t realise that humans were quite so fragile.” “Hey, Bella is tough” Emmett put in. “Tough enough to still be alive and walking, which is a medical miracle” Carlisle added looking at Tanya with disapproval. “And to survive a vampire bite. I don’t know of any other human who can claim that” Emmett said. And I noticed Bella rubbing a little on the scar left by James’s bite. I wondered if she thought that if only I had let the venom spread she wouldn’t now be in pain all the time. When we were seated there was one of those moments of silence while everyone tried to work out what to say. I chose to answer Eleazar’s silent question. “I didn’t want to risk her soul” I said. “But we don’t actually know that we have no souls, any more than we know that humans do” Eleazar replied. “No, but while there is a chance that we don’t and humans do, I never wanted to risk Bella losing hers.” “But you denied me the right to choose” Bella joined the conversation. “Suppose you have a soul, would you want it to spend eternity without me? That is what you condemned me to.” I don’t think I had ever looked at it quite like that before. But yes, I had condemned Bella’s soul to spend the rest of her human life and eternity without me, judging that she would get over me and love someone else. “I am so sorry Bella. I don’t want to exist on the earth if you don’t. I think I would go mad if I had to face eternity like that.” I heard Tanya silently ask ‘Couldn’t he have known how she felt about him?’ “No, I have never been able to hear Bella’s thoughts. Perhaps if I had I would have been able to appreciate the level of her commitment to me.” Tanya, Kate, Irina and Carmen gasped in surprise. Eleazar just seemed fascinated. “I get no reading from her either” he said. Bella looked at me and raised a questioning brow. “Eleazar reads people’s talents. He cannot tell if you have one or not.” “And, I admit, I have been trying to probe you” Eleazar added. “Mental mute, that’s me” Bella said quite cheerfully seemingly not at all bothered that it wasn’t just me who was shut out of her mind. Then I caught a flash of a thought from Kate. “No!” I shouted, and shoved Kate away, crouching in front of Bella in case Kate tried again. “Damn it Edward, you didn’t have to do that” Kate was angry rather than hurt as she picked herself up and gave herself a shake. “It was only a mild shock. See, she is completely unharmed. I am surprised that you didn’t yelp when you felt it though. You must have a high pain threshold.” “I didn’t feel a thing” Bella said to my surprise and dismay. “Did you feel Kate touch you?” I asked her, not sure what I was hoping to be the answer. “Yes.” “But you didn’t feel any pain or discomfort or anything from where she touched you?” “Nothing at all. Not a tickle or a tingle. Nothing.” Everyone started talking at once. I put my hand on Bella’s heart and started counting the beats. Carlisle had Bella’s heart medication at hand just in case there was a problem. “It sounds normal” I said in relief. “Thank goodness, eh?” Carlisle understated. I explained that Kate could send what was like an electric shock through a person just by touching them. She could even down vampires. But I so wished I hadn’t. Bella’s heart raced for a few seconds, then stopped. She looked at me and the horror I felt was so clearly mirrored in her eye. “Carlisle!” I shouted as I could see Bella begin to slip into unconsciousness. I lay Bella on the floor and Carlisle began to pump her heart; he could clearly hear that it had stopped beating on its own. “Breathe for her!” Carlisle told me as I tried mouth to mouth. “Esme, my bag in the trunk!” I only needed to do a few breaths for her when I could tell she was breathing on her own. I whispered in her ear about how much I loved her and all she had to do was to keep her heart beating. “I will do everything else you need me to do, love, all you have to do is keep your heart beating, Bella. Remember, you promised Alice, and Jacob, you have to stay alive.” Carlisle quickly took vial and syringe from his medical case and injected something straight into Bella’s heart. I wasn’t sure if it was being reminded of her promises that did it, or Carlisle’s treatment but Bella pulled through. “Oh heck that hurts. That really, really hurts. Oh gosh. Pain meds Carlisle, level six.” From the way Carlisle and Bella looked at each other it was clear that there was some Doctor / Patient private communication going on. “Sorry Bella but I’ve broken and dislodged your carbon fibre rib cage and it must be level eight or nine” Carlisle said. “No, level six, that’s all I’m agreeing to, level six.” “Bella, you need ...” “Damn it Carlisle, my back is killing me, give me level six pain meds now! Damn it! Damn it! Crap, crap crap! Breathe Bells, you’ve had worse. Breathe” and Bella stared into the distance, forcing herself to breathe in and out in a regular rhythm. Carlisle had another syringe in his hand. “Bella, are you sure?” “Level six.” Whatever level six meant, Bella was sure. Whatever strength of pain killer that was in the syringe, it was strong enough to almost knock her out, but not enough to take away all her pain. She was groaning through her semi-conscious state. “Carlisle, she should have more morphine, she’s in pain.” “I know Edward, but you heard her. If I give her more its immediate hospitalisation and she won’t do that, you know why.” “But what about her rib cage?” “I will talk to her about that once she’s had chance to rest. Let’s get her a bit more comfortable, Esme, she needs a cushion under her lower back, the back of her knees and her neck. You monitor her to make sure the heart keeps beating and that she can still breathe. Luckily, if that word can apply at all in Bella’s case, she has no lung on the left side so I haven’t got a punctured lung to worry about. Tanya, can we have a blanket please?” Those of us with tasks to do, did as we were bid. There was silence from everyone else. I didn’t even bother trying to hear through the hum of their thoughts. “Does anyone else want to try to kill her?” Carlisle was snide as he raised Bella’s head and put her heart medication and a little water in her mouth. “I’m sorry. I had no idea that she was so weak. But why did she react now rather than when I did it?” Kate was clearly perplexed. “Because she has a badly damaged heart and needs to avoid stress” Esme was the one who explained “and the thought that you wanted to hurt her caused her enough stress that it made her heart stop beating.” “So why don’t you change her now?” Tanya asked what I knew Rosalie and Emmett wondered. “Because her heart can’t take the strain of the transformation” Esme once more explained. I asked Rosalie to monitor Bella’s breathing and heart rate. That way I could talk to her to help with her pain management. “Bella, I’m here, love. You can do this, love. Just think, we move into our new house next week. Think of the fun you can have telling me how to do things the way you want. And we have our new bed to try out.” “Heart sped up a bit there Edward, perhaps you should forget trying out the bed for a while” Rosalie said with a smile. “No don’t” Bella mumbled. “Love bed.” “Of course you do, love. I made it, just for us” “Head boards” “And the spare head boards. All you have to do is get through this pain.” “S’not bad.” “You have never been a good liar, Bella” Carlisle interrupted. “You are still in great pain.” “’Bin worse.” “I’m sure you have, but that is no reason to suffer now. You need to be hospitalised anyway. I broke your rib cage.” “Local, remove broken part. Replace rest. Sew up. Go home.” I was aghast. “Bella, you are insane. You can’t do that!” “Not missing school.” “Bella, please, be sensible. You need to be in hospital. Your heart needs to be monitored. You need a new rib cage” Carlisle said. “End Semester. Not missing school. Creative thinking Carlisle.” “Bella, if I was human, I swear you would drive me to drink. Why are you always so stubborn? Please love, I’ll go in and take your lessons myself!” I offered. I could have sworn that Bella gave a slight chuckle, even though it must have pained her a great deal. “I’d pay to see that. Can I get up now, please?” Bella’s speech was almost normal, and her breathing was steady, if a little fast. I looked at Carlisle and nodded. “Lift her carefully, Edward, do not jar her, recline on the sofa at forty degrees. Bella’s centre of gravity to be to the right side, as little pressure as possible on the spine.” So I half sat, half lay on the sofa with Bella in my arms. Everyone else stood around us looking as if they wished we, or they, were elsewhere. “We came for a reason” Bella reminded us. “No, we can do this another time. You don’t have to put yourself through this, especially not now” I didn’t want Bella to face the strain of explaining what had happened to Laurent. “I’m prepared. I’ll be okay. Besides, it will take my mind off the pain.” “I can think of other things I’d prefer to do for that” I muttered under my breath. Unfortunately, although Bella couldn’t hear, the vampires did. Most had the good taste to keep their questions to themselves. Emmett did not. “Bella, if your heart is so weak that it can’t take much strain, how much use are you and Edward going to get out of that bed of yours? Or is he not doing it right?” he finished sounding oh so sympathetic while everyone else laughed, even Bella tried a half laugh. “Emmett!” I groaned, “please have some sense of decorum.” “Why? I’m interested. I only asked what I bet everyone else was thinking.” I could hear the various thoughts saying that they agreed with Emmett. “Edward has superior self control, Emmett, you should try it sometime. For a seventeen year old he has some very sophisticated moves. Probably from what he’s inadvertently picked up from other’s thoughts. It’s a good job we don’t have to worry about birth control or I don’t think any would be strong enough” Bella’s endorsement earned me looks of surprise and disapproval, but I felt Rosalie’s stab of pain. “Now that Bella appears to have recovered from her little episode” Tanya’s words really annoyed me but made Bella smile wryly, “perhaps you could tell us why you wanted to see us today.” We Cullens looked at each other, all wondering where to start. “It’s about Laurent” Bella said into the silence. “I know what happened to him and I thought that Irina needed to be told.” Suddenly everyone was looking at Bella in surprise. “How could you know what happened to him?” Tanya’s disdain was clear. “He was in Forks on Victoria’s behalf trying to find out if I was still under the protection of the Cullens and of course he discovered that I wasn’t. He was in the forest looking for food and thought we were alone when he came across me. He said that I smelled so mouth watering he was going to feed on me. But we have a pack of giant wolves that protect the people around Forks from vampires. They waited to check that he wasn’t a vegetarian. When it became clear that he was about to kill me, they killed him.” “You mean a pack of wolves killed Laurent because of you?” Irina was livid, “a human?” “That’s enough Irina. Bella came today because she thought you needed to know what happened. She could have left you in ignorance.” Carlisle was a lot more polite than I think I would have been if I had spoken. “No, not just because of me” Bella interrupted, her voice gaining in strength. “He had killed a few hikers around Forks. You had to know that he was killing humans, the blood red eyes would have told you. So it was to protect all his future victims, not just me. The wolves exist to protect humans from vampires. If vampires didn’t kill humans then the wolves would not kill vampires.” “The pack has never harmed a single one of us” Carlisle said. “And even if Laurent hadn’t killed anyone else, the fact that he planned to kill Bella is enough for me. I will never be able to repay the debt I owe the pack for that” I looked at Irina, then Tanya letting them know by my expression that they were now being asked to take a side. Irina shook her head and left the house so quickly that I knew Bella would have no idea where she had gone. Kate tried to follow her. “You’re asking us to choose her over one of us” Tanya spelt it out. “Bella is one of us. She is my mate. Laurent knew that, so did Victoria. Mine.” I was receiving some very odd looks. Confused thoughts were screaming at me, but I couldn’t take the attention to focus on them because it was all focussed on Bella. “You didn’t want to come. I am so sorry that I asked you to. First Kate attacks you, and now this. You are braver, stronger and better than any of us. We should get you home, you need surgery.” “Wait!” It was Carmen who spoke. “It is true that you did not need to tell us what had become of our friend. For that we thank you. It is also true that Kate attacked you. However, she meant only to shock, not harm you. She did not know that you were so physically fragile. Was it the fight with the train that Emmett spoke of?” Bella nodded. “Then your mind must be very strong. You are in great physical pain, but your mind allows you to be in control, it keeps out Edward and Eleazar, and keeps Kate from making it feel more pain. You are very impressive for a human.” “Yes, I was thinking the same thing. It’s a pity that we won’t get to know you as an immortal. I feel sure you would have been quite extraordinary” added Eleazar. “Bella, little food, small drink, bathroom, hospital” Carlisle said quietly. “If she needs an operation, isn’t she supposed have an empty stomach?” Rosalie asked, clearly having not heard, or not understood the implications of Bella’s earlier statement. “Local anaesthetic, don’t need an empty stomach for that” Carlisle replied. “I thought you weren’t serious! How awful!” Rosalie looked at Bella with respect for a change. “Oh, no Bella! Have you told Carlisle about your reaction to blood?” I remembered the biology lesson when the class did blood typing and how it made Bella pass out. “There’s nothing in your file about any problems with blood” Carlisle had naturally memorised it. “It’s the smell, it makes me vomit and pass out.” “The smell of human blood makes you vomit and pass out? And you have local anaesthesia instead of general?” Emmett thought it was hilarious. “Only one lung, remember, can’t breathe enough with general to avoid dying.” Bella explained to my genial, but sometimes dim-witted brother as she sipped and nibbled. “Bella, you’re telling me I have to get creative enough to somehow repair, or deal with your broken rib cage in such a way that you will not need to miss any school, but I also have to make sure that you will not smell the blood?” Carlisle was starting to sound a little frazzled. I wasn’t sure I had heard that tone from him before. Esme looked at him in concern too. “Rosalie’s an engineering genius, aren’t you? Can you help Carlisle work out what to do with my ribcage?” Rosalie looked totally gobsmacked at Bella’s request. I admit I was surprised too. “And I’m sure somebody has the nous to work out what to do about the other problem.” “You just have to breathe though your mouth” Emmett suggested as if it were the simplest thing in the world for a human to do. “Exactly, a nose plug prevents accidents. Problem solved.” Bella was sure that the other problem would be solved equally easily. “Carlisle, exactly how is the rib cage broken?” Carlisle used his finger to draw the shape of Bella’s carbon fibre rib cage in the air and indicated where it was broken. I doubted that Bella would be able to follow it all, but Rosalie and other watching vampires could. I carried Bella to the bathroom. Much to her disgust she needed my assistance with that most basic of human functions. “I liked it better when I could have my human minutes in private” she grumbled. “Bella, I have already touched and kissed every inch of your body. What is the difference?” I tried to sound logical. “The difference is that I’m not enjoying this, unlike those other occasions.” “True. But it could have been worse. I could have asked one of the women to help you.” “It was bad enough when I needed Alice’s help to shower after Phoenix. This is too embarrassing.” I carried Bella back to the room, but kept her in my arms hoping that Carlisle would take the hint so that we could go. “Bella, do you trust me to have the steadiest hand and not to puncture your heart?” Carlisle asked. I could have told him it was a silly question. “Absolutely.” “Then we have a plan. We need to get you back to Carcrix quickly. Edward, let Emmett carry Bella to the car. He can pass her to you so that you can hold her steady at the forty degrees. I will drive fast, so you need to be careful. Esme will ride with Rosalie and Emmett so that there is less weight in our car. I have already alerted the hospital.” I passed Bella to Emmett and set myself up in the back seat of the car so that Bella would have maximum support for the long journey. I heard Bella ask Emmett to pass on her apologies to everyone for the way the visit had ended and to reassure Kate that she didn’t hold her responsible at all. “You would find a way to forgive Hitler for the second world war if you could” was Emmett’s verdict on Bella’s magnanimity. “When we get to the hospital, I will take Bella” Carlisle said, “You will take the car and go home. Go home and wait for me to call” he insisted when he knew I was about to argue. “I need to be there with you Bella” I said fiercely, hoping against hope that I would be able to persuade her. “If you’re going through that while awake, I can be there talking to you, taking your mind off of what’s happening. I promise you, your blood will not affect me.” “Edward, I don’t want to be going through the surgery worried about you. I need you to be at home pretending that I am your mother’s friend. Please, I need you to do that for me.” What could I do when she pleaded with me like that? I had to agree. “You’ll need to go back to her apartment to collect some of her things since she’ll be staying at our house for a few days so we can keep an eye on her and a room will have to be prepared too” Carlisle said. “No arguments Bella, I’m doing this against my better judgement so you will have to make sure you get as much rest as possible, and that means our house. Alice will drive you to and from school. You will not need to walk up any steps. There will be someone within whispering distance at all times and you are going to be watched like a hawk. Is that clear?” For a brief while it seemed like Carlisle was being Bella’s father as well as her doctor. “Carlisle, I know you’ll find this hard to accept, but although I’m an idiot at times, I am not stupid. There’s no need to get all stern and paternalistic.” “Bella, take it easy, breathe slowly and steadily” I could hear her heart starting to speed up, her breathing becoming more laboured. “S’okay, it just hurts a bit. I know you think I’m mad Edward, but I need to prove that I can do this job. That I am more than a crazy cripple and can be useful. I need to do it.” I heard the desperation in her voice. If she did not complete the school year, Bella would never forgive herself. This was about her needing to feel like a useful member of society, not a burden. “It’s alright, love. We’ll do it your way. Until the end of the school year, as far as the rest of the town is concerned, you are Esme’s friend and I am nothing more than your besotted admirer.” Bella snorted, I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t want to ask because I was sure it would reveal my vulnerabilities where she was concerned. I thought a little about what I had heard in Denali, starting to put together what they were all thinking. And I understood. Tanya, Kate and Irina could not accept that my bond to Bella was as strong as it was. They thought that it was only guilt keeping me tied to her now and when I got over that, I would be over Bella. Rosalie half hoped that seeing Bella and Tanya together would make me suddenly appreciate Tanya in a way that I hadn’t before and that my affections might be switched. Emmett was just happy that I was happy, and he was glad to see Bella. But Carmen and Eleazar were the surprise. They wished that I had had the strength to change her before her accident. They consider the fact that I didn’t as a weakness, not really believing that all my decisions were made intending to be for Bella’s benefit. They thought that I had not been sure I wanted to keep her when she was younger, which was why I was able to leave her, and now that I knew that I did want her forever, they thought it was sad that I couldn’t.