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Sunset

Summary:
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.


Notes:
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.


8. Bella - Jumping Straight In

Rating 0/5   Word Count 5375   Review this Chapter

It was just ten past five. I had another fifty minutes before I could take my pain meds but I was in agony. I reached for the massage control and set it for a thirty minute deep massage while I lay in my bed. It was going to be painful, but I was already being tortured and I didn’t see that it could hurt more. I was actually right. The controlled pain took my mind off the uncontrolled and at the end of the programme I was able to make my way to the bathroom with the merest of whimpers. I was on my way to the kitchen to put the kettle on when there was a knock at my door. “Who is it now?” I muttered to myself, not thinking that there were certain people, well vampires, who would be able to hear me. “It’s me, Rosalie. Can I talk to you please Bella?” I was in total shock. Rosalie had never liked me and I couldn’t imagine that she would come to have a pleasant conversation with me. I wasn’t sure that I was up to a sniping match with her any more, not that I ever was really. In fact, although it was Jasper who had actually tried to kill me, Rosalie was the one who frightened me. “Bella, please, I just want to talk to you.” I had clearly been silent for too long. “Fine, if you can pick the lock, come in, if not you’ll just have to wait until I get there.” “I’ll wait.” So I stumbled my way to the door, without my crutch, and let in the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. “Goodness Bella, you do look old!” “Thanks Rosalie, but you know aging is a bad habit that we humans often indulge in.” “I’m sorry. I just didn’t expect to see you changed so much, despite what Alice said.” “Right. So why are you here?” I didn’t want to show any weakness in front of Rosalie so just stood where I was, hoping against hope that I would be able to remain upright until I was able to get to my meds. Perhaps she saw what I was doing and guessed what it would cost me to retain my pride. Rosalie walked into my apartment, picked me up, deposited me on my sofa and had the kettle on before I knew what was happening. “What can I make you to drink?” she asked. “A hot chocolate please” thinking that I may as well take advantage of the service. I didn’t hear any rifling through my cupboards but I knew that Rosalie would have found my hot chocolate mix and my mugs before I’d even finished speaking. Ten minutes before I could take my meds and I was presented with my mug of hot chocolate. I sipped and watched Rosalie and the clock in an annoying rhythm. I wasn’t going to say anything else, not even to note my thanks. “I’m very sorry for everything I said and did that hurt you in the past. Not so much because it hurt you, although I am sorry for that too, but because of how much it hurt Edward.” The half hearted apology for my hurts convinced me that Rosalie was being honest. “Edward loves you so much and I am sorry for my part in keeping you apart.” “I’d no idea that you had played any role in our separation.” “Yes, well, Jasper and I were the only ones in favour of Edward’s decision that we should all leave you as if we had never met in the first place. Alice was totally opposed; Carlisle and Esme were also opposed but not as strongly as Alice. Emmett refused to comment. I should have taken the same stance as Emmett, instead I used every argument I could think of to reinforce Edward’s conviction that it was best that we leave. Carlisle said that Edward was in no fit state to make such a far reaching decision and he should wait, but I said that it would be worse for Edward if he were to one day kill you, which, given how clumsy you were and how much your blood appeals to him, I made it sound like it was inevitable. That is what swayed Carlisle and Esme.” I looked at the clock: three minutes to six. “Since you are here, could you go to the kitchen, bring me some yoghurt from the fridge, a spoon, a drink of cold water and the small blue box from the counter, please?” I needed a little time to digest Rosalie’s words. All too quickly Rosalie returned with the items I requested. I started to eat the yoghurt, slowly, still thinking. I looked at the clock again. I ate more of the yoghurt, slowly. I looked at the clock again. Six o’clock! I opened the blue box and started to take all the tablets and capsules with the water. When it was empty, I ate a little more yoghurt. “Why are you telling me this?” I thought I had tried Rosalie’s patience enough. “Because Edward loves you still and I think you still love Edward.” “And why is that your business?” “Because I love my brother and I want him to be happy. I don’t understand it, but he can’t be happy without you. I’m guessing you can’t be happy without him. So I want you to let him into your life, let him love you, protect you and help you. For twelve years I hadn’t seen Edward smile once. Since Wednesday, I’ve seen him smile three times. He is happier with you, despite all of this” and she waved an arm to indicate my disabilities, “then he is without you. So if it is pride that’s holding you back, please don’t let it. You really will be doing him, and the rest of the family, a huge favour if you could ask for his help fifty thousand times a day, require him to spend lots of money and do untold tasks to make your life even the smallest bit more comfortable. The more you can bring yourself to let him give, the happier he and we will be. “Anyway, I wanted you to know that I will be glad for you and Edward if you do become a member of the family. I’ll be leaving Alaska soon for a while and I didn’t know if I would have the chance to speak to you before I go if I didn’t come and corner you so to speak.” Usually I go back to bed for a couple of hours after I’ve taken my morning meds on the weekends. This Saturday I didn’t. I thought about Rosalie’s words. I just didn’t know what to make of them. All of his family seemed to be in favour of me taking him for a ride. So far, the only one who had not tried to persuade me to their point of view was Emmett. I didn’t expect to see him, though. If Rosalie was leaving town, so would Emmett. I didn’t want to take anyone for a ride. But I didn’t know what I did want exactly. After giving the matter some thought I decided that the main thing I wanted to was to feel safe. Safe from what, I couldn’t really specify but I had the awful feeling that getting involved with him, and the rest of the Cullens again would, or perhaps could, be highly detrimental to my feeling of security. Rosalie had used the word ‘happiness’ a lot. I couldn’t remember what that felt like. Sometimes I had felt a degree of contentment, but I had not felt ‘happiness’ since my eighteenth birthday. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to risk feeling it again when I thought of the cost when it was removed. But then I remembered how I felt wrapped in his arms again: not happiness, but peace. I knew that while we were together, he would protect and look after me. There would be no human woman who would be better cared for. That was when I realised: it all boiled down to trust. I did not trust him to stay with me, through thick and thin, better or worse, sickness and health – not that there would be much health with me. And if he left me, would he take the others with him again? I was still thinking when Alice turned up. “You’re not even dressed! What’s the matter? Are you unwell? Should I call Carlisle?” “No, I’m fine. I was just thinking. Rosalie came to see me this morning. She said she wants me to let him back into my life. It shocked me. Anyway, I’ve worked out what my problem is. I’ll talk to him about it tonight.” “Actually, you won’t see Edward tonight. He and Emmett have gone hunting and expect to be back late tonight or early tomorrow. Edward said he’ll be here tomorrow morning.” I was surprised at how disappointed I felt at the news that I wouldn’t see him tonight. Of course I knew that he had to hunt, but I was surprised that he didn’t tell me himself. I grunted my reaction to the news. “Why don’t you tell me what’s worried you? I might be able to help.” I looked at Alice with great sadness. I didn’t trust Alice to stay either. “I don’t trust you all to stay. This time there is less reason for him to stay with me. Since he couldn’t stay with me before, how can I trust him to stay with me now?” “Edward only left because he thought it was the best way he could protect you. Now he knows you are not safe without him, he cannot leave again.” “Alice, look at me. I am a physical wreck.” “Yeah, I know. I’ve got a confession to make. We all listened when Carlisle told Edward about your injuries.” I closed my eyes and sighed. “I rather thought you all would hear some of it. I didn’t expect you to actually listen. Is that why he’s gone hunting at this time? He didn’t want to see me yet?” “No. Carlisle sent him. He also wants you to miss him tonight so when you see him tomorrow you’ll be more amenable to whatever plan he has for getting you back. And by the way, he was still plotting that very outcome as he left the house with Emmett. Go and get ready. I’ll quickly run the vacuumer over the place and give it a quick once over. When you’re done, I’m taking you to our home. It’s time you saw it and don’t forget you’re supposed to be Esme’s friend, not mine.” I grumbled to myself as I struggled up to do Alice’s bidding. “Let me” Alice said as she gently lifted me and carried me to the bathroom. I carried on grumbling to myself while I completed my ablutions. At least I was getting my housework done. It would have taken me hours. It would take Alice minutes. “Your wardrobe has not improved over the years” Alice shouted though the door. Another thing for me to grumble about. Alice was always trying to ‘improve’ my wardrobe. Well she wouldn’t have any more luck this time round. When I was ready, Alice carried me down the stairs before putting me down. “I can’t have anyone seeing me carry you to the car” Alice said quietly as she tried to support me as much as she could. “I think I should get you a Segwey for your birthday.” “Please don’t. They’re too heavy for me to carry so I can’t transport it anywhere to use it.” “Hmm, good point. I’ll think of something. How about some new clothes?” “I need clothes that I can put on and off by myself, and do not need to be pressed.” “But it must be possible to get more fashionable clothes that fulfil your requirements.” “Alice, you know I don’t care about fashion. As long as my clothes are comfortable I don’t care about anything else.” “You aren’t the one looking at you. Your skin is still excellent. You are looking after it I hope. But the dull colours you wear drain the bloom from your cheeks. We vampires can see how pretty you are, but you can’t expect the rest of the population to be so observant, you have to help them.” I grunted my disbelief at Alice’s words. I had never been pretty, not even when I was seventeen. It had always amazed me that he had seemed to find me attractive. There was no way he would find me attractive now. “We’re going to Denali in two weeks time for the day. Edward plans to ask you to join us.” “Don’t you think that’s not very tactful? I am the reason Laurent is dead. Irina will not exactly be overjoyed to see me.” “Laurent’s dead because he wanted to kill you. You are Edward’s mate which means you are part of the family. In human terms, there is no such thing as divorce. You and Edward are separated but working on a reconciliation. We all should have remembered that fact twelve years ago. Still, you found us again. What do you think?” Alice waved towards the house that we had pulled in front of. It was in the middle of a street set back from the road. “Alice, it just looks like any other house in this town. I could never picture you in a house so ordinary looking. I’m also surprised you live so close to the town and not further out.” “This isn’t a small street. This is one house made to look like a small street. It’s the last street in town and we own all the land for miles behind us so we have plenty of privacy. Come and see, Esme and I have done wonders with the inside.” After a quick look around to check that we were unobserved, Alice lifted me out of the car and carried me to the main door. Before I could blink I was inside the hallway being hugged by Esme. “Welcome, Bella. It is so good to finally see you in our home here.” I couldn’t get my head around the use of the words ‘finally’ and ‘here’ in the context used. It had only been five days since we met up again. Five days! And what a five days it had been. I still didn’t know if I was on my head or my heels, but at least I was living, not just existing. Alice showed me her closet, giving me a parade of her wardrobe. I never did get her fascination with clothes, but some of the items I did admit, under great pressure, would be suitable for me to wear if they were in my size. I should have realised that was a mistake. At one o’clock Alice could see that I had started grimacing and insisted that I get in the Jacuzzi. It did feel good. The pain came later when I went to get dressed again. Alice had taken my clothes. “I’ll return them when they’re dry” she’d said innocently. “In the meantime wear these.” ‘These’ turned out to be a pair of leggings - not too bad if a bit short for the weather, a swirly skirt with an elasticated waist - very feminine and, in my view, too girlie, and a stretchy camisole top that I could get into relatively easily worn with an unfastened cardigan. The top part of the outfit, I liked. “Alice, why’d you put me in a skirt, you know I hate skirts?” I whined. “Because none of my leggings fit you by themselves. If you hate the skirt so much, you could always dump it, my leggings and just wear a pair of Rosalie’s.” I knew they would be far too big for me, but as long as they stayed up, that was preferable. It took Alice about thirty seconds to tighten the waist and I was dressed much more comfortably. “That actually doesn’t look too bad on you. Just because clothes have to be easy to get on, it doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty too.” Esme came into the room carrying a tray of food that looked like it might have come from my kitchen cupboards and my afternoon meds. I felt like I was being spoilt. Alice told me about some of things that the family had been doing over the past twelve years. “Edward is now a computer hacker. He did it so that he can change our dates of birth on official records and have replacement documents sent to us. It was Jasper who thought of that. Every time we move, Edward arranges to make us officially younger so we have all the documentation when we arrive at our new destination. We’re preparing to go to Minnesota next. Esme is looking for some land for us to buy. We did have a home there, but the town spread around it. We’re looking for another town and will buy sufficient land so that can’t happen again. We’re also considering other countries like New Zealand. It might be a nice change.” “He said that he might be going over to see whether it had possibilities.” “Much of the research can be done over the net of course, but it’s not the same as getting a firsthand view. Anyway, Jasper and I are now thinking of going during the summer break.” “Why isn’t he going anymore?” Alice looked at me as if I was stupid for asking what she clearly thought was an easy question. “Because he won’t go without you, and doesn’t think you would be willing to go. In any case, you’ll probably be better off staying in the States until you’ve had all your operations.” “All what operations, Alice?” I asked ominously. “I don’t know. I just see you having lots of operations. But the thing that scares me the most about what I keep seeing is that you’re awake for them, including one that looks like it’s on your heart.” “You see me having an operation on my heart, and I’m awake?” “Yes. Why is that good?” she demanded. “I can’t have a general anaesthetic because of my reduced lung capacity so I have locals.” “That’s barbaric!” I laughed at the outrage on her face. The pain hit me with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. “I haven’t laughed like that in twelve years” I whispered. Alice naturally heard me. She sat beside me and gently wrapped her stone arms around me. Offering comfort without hurting me. I knew then that I had no chance of not letting all the Cullens into my life no matter how much it would hurt me later. But what role was I willing to let him play: brother/son of friends, loving friend, or in vampire terms, mate? I needed to exercise some of this power everyone seemed to think I had over him. Because I hadn’t slept much that morning I decided to leave the Cullens’ reasonably early to catch up. I didn’t tell them that, I used the excuse of the next week’s lessons to prepare for – which also happened to be true. I planned my lessons for Monday and Tuesday then I went for a nap. I made sure I used my massage pad so that I wouldn’t be stiff when I got up again. I should have known it would happen. I dreamed of him, again. This was a dream that I had had before. It was the dream I’d had on my eighteenth birthday – I was my Gran and he was wishing me a happy birthday. This time, however, I stared into his eyes and they were still full of love. I woke up feeling disgruntled. I think I would probably have felt better, more justified in being so wary, if there had been a touch of pity. I ate a snack and tried to decide what my first move with him would be. It was probably mean, testing him, but I needed to know how much he wanted to be with me. My main worry was that he would fail the test and it would devastate me. Perhaps we should try paddling in shallow water rather than jumping straight in at the deep end; but then again perhaps it was better to just find out. I was torn. I planned my lessons for the rest of the week and then felt at a bit of a loose end. I had no housework to do. Alice had done all the cleaning and put the laundry in. The only thing left was changing the bed. That was something that was extremely difficult and painful for me. It was the first task for him when he arrived the next day. It was not even nine o’clock. On a normal evening he would have been with me at that time. His prediction that I would miss him was proving to be annoyingly correct. I grabbed my copy of War and Peace and tried to read. Thankfully that book was never on an examination paper. It wasn’t long before I gave up and picked up something that was on the syllabus – the Harry Potter saga. I hadn’t read those books since I was a child myself. I remembered enjoying them, but I would never have imagined that they would be become classics and part of the GED syllabus in so short a period of time. I would have to read them all again, this time from the perspective of the teacher, dissecting the different aspects in order to get my pupils to appreciate them for being more than just a good children’s story. It wasn’t even five o’clock when I woke the next morning. I crawled to the bathroom where I completed my morning ablutions. Thirty-five minutes later I was looking at my wardrobe thinking that Alice was right. There was no need for all my clothes to be navy, grey or black. I could wear prettier shades of blue, or some red even. I unlocked the door on my way to the kitchen so that he could let himself in when he arrived. I was just finishing breakfast when there was the knock at the door. “Come in” I said so quietly that only a vampire would hear. I smiled as I wondered what I would do if a complete stranger walked in. “I’m just finishing off my breakfast, I won’t be a sec” I said and swallowed two more tablets. As expected, he didn’t take the hint and wait for me, but was besides me in half a second. “What are you doing standing at the counter? You should be sitting down.” I was about to be picked up again so I lifted a hand to halt him and pointed to my medication box. “I need to finish this lot” and I carried on taking the various tablets and drinking my water. “What exactly is all that?” he asked, clearly meaning the medications. “Pain control, thyroid, spleen, insulin substitute, hormone replacement, stress control, blood thinner and various nutritional supplements.” When I had finished, my glass of water was whisked away and I was being carried back to the living room. He sat down with me on his lap. It wasn’t cosy, as I had always felt in the past, but the position was distinctly supportive of my back. “Did you miss me last night?” he asked. I could tell he expected me to answer in the negative, whether it was the truth or not. “Actually, I did. It surprised me considering you’ve only been coming round for a few days. But it did give me the opportunity to think of things I could get you to do for me, which seems to be the least I could do to make you feel better according to Rosalie.” “Rosalie! What did she want?” I understood his surprise. “She came to apologise for everything she had said in the past that might have hurt me and to tell me that she would be happy if I could forgive you and let you back into my life.” “What did you say to her?” “Not a lot. Part of me kept trying to think of an angle that she could be playing, but she admitted she was sorry mainly because her words and actions hurt you too.” “I know Rosalie can be very self centred, but she’s not completely without compassion or empathy. She is normally very willing to help others, admittedly half the time it’s because of the smug self satisfied feeling she gets from doing so, but she is not usually unkind.” I just grunted. After all, I didn’t know Rosalie and it didn’t matter very much except it was nice that I didn’t have to include worry about being the recipient of her malice in my deliberations. “Alice told me that everyone listened in when Carlisle told you about my injuries. I expected that they might hear something, or that Alice might listen in, but not everyone.” “Yes well, everyone wanted to know what was wrong so they would all know what to do to try to make you more comfortable. Anyway, I now know it all and still I’m not running.” “Like you always expected I would when I knew everything about you. Actually I don’t think you do know it all, unless you’ve put things together the way Alice didn’t.” “What do you mean?” “Alice said she saw me having further operations, but I was awake for them, even one that she thought was on my heart.” “Why would you be awake during surgery?” “Lung capacity. I can’t have general anaesthetic. I have locals and know exactly what is going on. Alice said it was barbaric” I finished with a bit of a laugh. “And Alice doesn’t know the whole. Have you managed to get over your aversion, or is there something else that has to be done to overcome the problem?” “You remembered!” I referred to an incident that occurred before we even started dating. “Does Carlisle know?” “I should think it is in my notes. He has until the end of the semester to find a solution.” I realised that he was subtlety moving me and himself. The hold he had on me now was more like a cuddle. It was twenty minutes since I took my meds so he would expect that they had kicked in. I snuggled in a little bit, not too much because I would pay for that when I got up. “So what did you and Alice get up to yesterday?” “Just the usual, she complained about my clothes and tried to talk me into a more fashionable frame of mind, I resisted, and she found an excuse to force some clothes on me anyway.” “What excuse did she come up with?” He was amused. His sister’s attempts to revamp my wardrobe had always amused him. “She got me in the Jacuzzi, which was very good, and while I was in there she nicked what I was wearing and put it in the laundry so I needed something else to wear. Don’t tell Alice, but I was surprised that I actually quite liked what I ended up wearing.” “Hmm. Not all Alice’s ideas are mad ones you know.” “Anyway, now you know about all my injuries, are you still wanting to look into my eyes?” I took the subject back to what was really important between the two of us. Although perhaps I should have got him to change my bedding first, too late now. “Is that why you won’t let me?” He clearly was surprised at the idea. “Actually, not really, but when I thought of it I did find myself feeling a little apprehensive at seeing your disappointment, but it wasn’t and isn’t the main reason.” “Good. If you still don’t want me looking in your eyes, close them so it won’t happen by accident” and he moved our positions slightly again so that his face was close to mine. I did as he suggested and felt his lips tracing the path from my temple to my eye lid, across to my other eye, my temple and then down to my cheek and tracing my jaw line to my throat. I thought I was going to pass out with bliss. “Breath Bella, you still have to breathe” he whispered to my throat as he moved across to the other side to trace my other jaw line back up my face. Then he skirted back down to my mouth. “Tell me if I hurt you” and he kissed me like he had never kissed me before. There was so much passion this time. His hold on me was still gentle, but I could feel the tension in his hands, and his lips were hungry, demanding a response that I couldn’t help but give. Making love with Jacob had not made me feel half as alive as kissing with him. I groaned in pleasure as I dug my fingers in his hair. “I’m hurting you?” “No, don’t stop” I muttered and pulled his mouth back down to mine. It took a half a second to realise that I was no longer sitting in his lap. I was in his arms being carried. He gently laid me on my bed. “Tell me if I do something that hurts you, or you want me to stop. Promise you will tell me!” “Okay” it seemed to be important to him and I allowed my hands to get busy burying under his jumper to trace the path of his hard perfect abdomen and chest. “Bella, you understand that I have to be careful, don’t you? That I can’t let go of my control?” “Stop being so cryptic, spit it out in simple words” I muttered to his lips. He stifled a gentle laugh. “Simple, okay. My pants have to stay on. Everything else is ...” “So get your sweater off” I interrupted trying to lift the hem over his head. His sweater came off whole. My top didn’t. I didn’t mind. In fact I felt relief when I felt it being ripped from my body. “Sorry, but I thought this was the easiest way to get rid of it. I’ll replace everything I damage.” “S’ okay. Kick your shoes off. I want you lying here with me not leaning over the side.” He did what I asked. It was not a wide bed, but somehow there was room for him to lie with me. All my clothes were gone. Even though it was dark I knew he would still be able to see all my imperfections laid bare to his view. I should have felt very self conscious but I just felt hot and needy. I don’t think there was a single inch of the front of my body that he did not kiss, lick or caress. I couldn’t stop my back from arching slightly, my legs from parting, saying without words what I wanted from him now. I completely went to pieces when he obliged. I came to only to realise that he was still worshipping my body with his lips, telling me how much he loved me, how beautiful I was with his words. Now I felt guilty. I had achieved so much pleasure, but there had been no release for him. Did vampires achieve orgasm the way humans did? I was going to have to find out next time. “It’s your turn next time” I said, smug contentment permeating every word. “I don’t know if my self control would allow for that” smug regret permeating his words. “I don’t believe that. I have always trusted your self control. I have always known that you have wanted to not hurt me physically so much that you never could. So next time, my pants stay on and everything of yours comes off.”