To Bella's dismay and Edward's joy, Bella has agreed to attend college with Edward for a single semester. However, their plans are cut short when Edward is forced to prematurely change Bella. Will their relationship be able to survive the strain? Bella watches the sunset of the only life she's ever known, and learn to live in la clair de lune: Moonlight.
(this banner was made by the lovely cantihaveboth) Note: Moonlight is being rewritten, and is no longer on hiatus. First new chapter is up!
Rating 4/5 Word Count 2003 Review this Chapter
“Swan, Isabella.” The normally soothing baritone voice of Mr. Greene made my stomach churn. The sound was muffled and fuzzy in my ears, like I was under water. The students ahead of me were walking quickly down the stairs; all I could do was stare blankly at their gaudy yellow gowns with navy trim. The school colors.
“Congratulations,” he said, handing me my diploma and shaking my other hand. I shuffled across the stage, diploma in one hand and the hem of my gown in the other – the last thing I needed upon graduation from high school was to trip in front of the entire town of Forks, Washington.
It was difficult to sit still in my seat back in the audience, to wait for the rest of the graduates to receive their diplomas and find their seats, and then to wait on the valedictorian’s closing words on the future. I could see Edward a few rows ahead of me, turning around in his seat to look at me and smiling my favorite crooked smile. I wished that he were next to me.
When it was time to throw our awkward square hats into the air, I simply let mine fall from my hand to the ground. Jessica jumped up from her seat, next to me, and screamed as she tossed hers into the air with gusto. “We’re really adults now, Bella!” She hugged me, tears ruining her carefully applied eye makeup, leaving black trails on her cheeks. “I’m going to miss you so much next year!” I patted her back artlessly, and said, “I’m going to miss you too, Jessica.”
Jessica ran and found Mike and Angela, hugging them tightly as she had me. A familiar set of lips gently touched the crown of my head from behind as I watched Jessica’s emotional displays of affection. “It’s really like I’m saying goodbye,” I said softly. Edward’s eyes were dark when I turned around.
“You don’t have to say goodbye anytime soon if you don’t want to, Bella.” He almost sounded angry.
“I know,” I said. I kissed him lightly, to show him I was not afraid. I loved Edward completely, with my entire self, and I wouldn’t hesitate in the near future to give up something he believed to be precious so that I could spend eternity with him. A fair trade, in my opinion.
He sighed; he was unconvinced. “Do you, really? I find it hard to believe you can comprehend what you’re asking me to do to you.” I flinched at his harsh tone, and he backtracked. “Look, Bella. You have only seen half of the world of vampires. My kind wander freely amongst yours, feeding, killing, tormenting… you’re asking me to not only take away your soul, the most precious aspect of your being, but also to submit you to that kind of life. I –“ He was cut off by the sudden appearance of Charlie, with Billy and Jacob Black in tow.
My voice caught in my throat when I saw Jacob; I hadn’t seen or spoken to him outside of a few brief, harsh phone calls since Edward returned. “Hi, Jake,” I said, my voice breaking on the final syllable.
He shuffled forward hesitantly and gave me an awkward one-armed hug. “Congratulations, Bella.” I hugged him back, squeezing him as hard as I could manage – which wasn’t hard at all to him, I imagined.
“Billy and Jake came all the way down from La Push to see you, Bells,” Charlie said. He hugged me. “We’re all so proud of you,” he said gruffly, fighting the emotions in his voice.
“I know,” I said, looking down at my feet. “Thank you both for coming,” I said to Billy and Jake. Billy was seated sedately in his wheelchair, his expression tranquil as always. I was going to miss him.
Through all this Edward stood off to the side, disconnected, a foreign presence in our happy familial gathering; I longed to pull him in, closer to me.
“We’re all going to head out and eat somewhere in town, Bells. Are you coming?” Charlie said, and then glanced at Edward hostilely. “Or do you have plans already?”
I took a veiled glance at Edward too, only to see he was scanning the crowd. To find Alice, I presumed. “Well,” I said, “the Cullens had planned a dinner for Edward, Alice, and I at La Bella Italia in Port Angeles…” I trailed. I wanted to talk to Edward about my plans to join his family as soon as possible, but on the other hand it felt important to spend as much time as possible with Charlie before I had to leave. “I don’t have to go, if you don’t want.”
Charlie wouldn’t hear of that. “Now, if Dr. Carlisle has a nice dinner planned for you all, I won’t stand in the way.” He hugged me again, a little softer this time. “You have a nice time, Bells. I’ll be waiting for you at home when you get back.” I knew this was an outright lie; if anything, Charlie would be passed out on the couch, his snores filling the house. But I let the small fallacy slide.
“Alright, Char – Dad. I’ll see you later.” I took Edward’s hand and headed off in the general direction of the parking lot, not really knowing where I was going.
“And where do you think you’re taking me?” he said, amused.
“To the car, of course. Alice will be meeting us in the parking lot, I’m guessing, to ride with us, since I know Carlisle’s car wouldn’t have fit everyone in it. She must have come here with you. And then we will all be subjected to the horrors of your driving, and then on to whatever scheme Alice has cooked up for our graduation dinner in Port Angeles. All correct?”
He laughed. “Your observational skills are astounding. Aren’t you excited at all for our celebration? You should at least be riled up about whatever presents you’re going to receive.”
I stopped dead in my tracks. “Presents?”
“Yes,” he said, “you know. Gifts? They are typically bestowed at some occasion of celebration, especially at birthdays, some religious holidays…” He smiled crookedly. “And graduations.”
I moaned. “Oh, no. I thought my birthday last September was enough.” Edward’s face tightened at my words. “Not that this celebration could go any worse…” It was a small comfort.
“I do promise you that.” He laughed cynically. “I’ll open your gifts for you, to avoid any possibly life-threatening paper cuts. So, no blood, no foul?” His familiar words took me back to junior year, and the fortuitous car crash that had impacted so deeply what would be our relationship.
“No blood, no foul,” I repeated.
The drive over to Port Angeles was a long one. There was an unseasonably large amount of logging trucks on the road, so Edward was forced to drive slower than he generally would have. At an almost normal pace, in fact.
Carlisle, Esme, Jasper, Emmett, and even Rosalie were waiting for us at La Bella Italia already when we arrived, as they had skipped out on the post – graduation ceremony traffic, with untouched iced teas in front of them. They were sitting in one of two private rooms, the two salads in the center of the table beginning to wilt.
Once we sat down, I hissed to Alice: “I don’t know why you would bother doing something like this. Our ‘dinner’ is essentially going to consist of me eating and everyone else… just watching.”
She smiled, as if she were completely innocent of my meaning. “You’re welcome.” I sighed and rolled my eyes.
She cleared her throat daintily, and said in a louder tone, “Shall we open gifts now, or after we eat?” The way she said ‘after we eat’ made me curious. Surely they wouldn’t…
I shook myself out of my thoughts when the meaning of her words sunk in. “We most certainly won’t be opening gifts now! I’d really rather not open them at all, but if I must, let’s make it later.”
She laughed, and it was like tiny bells chiming. “Don’t be absurd, Bella. All the gifts aren’t for you. This is, after all, a celebration for Edward and I as well.”
“Well then,” I grumbled, my chin resting dejectedly in the palm of my hand, my elbow on the table, “you and Edward can go first.” I tried not to pout.
“Fine!” she said cheerily, her optimism unbroken by my dour mood. Alice was entirely unflappable.
She skipped to a small table in a corner of the room, where a mountainous pile of gifts sat precariously, and immediately pulled out a small cubed box. She tossed it to Edward, who caught it jauntily with the tips of his fingers.
He pulled the paper off in a single smooth motion, flipped the lid open with one finger, and upended the contents of the box into his waiting, open palm, in an almost bored manner. Like he already knew the contents of the box – of course, on second thought, I was sure he did. I looked closer at his palm, and to my mild horror, I could see clearly that he was holding a set of keys.
Alice must have seen my saucer-sized eyes, because she quickly said, “Now, Bella, before you freak out, let me explain.” She sounded very cautious, like she was trying to calm a wild animal.
She began to talk, but Esme interrupted her. “Now, Alice, I believe Carlisle and I should explain. It is, after all, our gift.”
“What exactly are these keys to? Because, as much as I would like one, I’m sure Bella would kill me if I got another car.” He smiled wryly.
“Not at all,” Carlisle said. “It’s much better.”
Esme produced a slim brochure-looking piece of paper from her purse and handed it to me across the table. The title read, ‘Come to the scenic Upper Connecticut River Valley’, and had a photo of a picturesque log cabin next to a winding stream. I thumbed quickly through the brochure, stopping on the words: ‘located ten miles outside of Hanover, New Hampshire, a small college town of ten thousand. Hanover is home to Dartmouth College, a small Ivy League school founded in 1769.’
I paused. “Why would we go to a town near Dartmouth?” I laughed. “It’s not like I could possibly get in, unless Edward bribed the school or something like that…” My light, teasing tone died in my throat when I realized the possibility of my proposition, and when not a single one of the seven pairs of golden eyes sitting around the table met mine. Edward looked especially guilty; that couldn’t bode well.
“You wouldn’t!” I cried.
“I didn’t bribe them at all. I just recycled one of the essays you sent in to the University of Alaska and filled out an application for you. It’s not my fault they accepted you, brilliant student that you are.” He looked at me angelically.
I narrowed my eyes. “I haven’t changed my mind about what I want, Edward.”
His jaw stiffened. “And neither have I. Please, Bella, just do this for me. All I ask of you is a single semester. One! And then not only will I allow you to join my family, I’ll be the one to do it.”
I contemplated refusing his offer just for the sake of being stubborn, but his cursed logic shined through. “Come on, Bella,” he said, smiling, “maybe you’ll like college.”
“Maybe,” I said, “maybe.” With that, Edward kissed me, in front of his family and all. From the way I could feel my cheeks burn, I was sure my face was fire-engine red. It didn’t matter, with Edward’s hand in mine.
I had the mushroom raviolis for dinner.