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A Stolen Life

Summary:
In the process of returning to Forks, Washington, Edward came across a car whose passenger held a familiar, silent mind. Curious by the phenomenon, he followed them and witnessed a horrific accident. Edward soon finds himself immersed in the blood that he'd so desperately tried to shield himself from four years earlier. Overwhelmed by his vampire nature, he allowed the beast within free rein and savored the alluring liquid. Consumed by the shame of drinking her blood, Edward brought the girl home to his father and hoped that Carlisle would be able to save her life, knowing deep in his heart that she was beyond modern medicine. After much deliberation, Edward accepted the inevitable and changed her himself, nearly killing her in the process. With the treaty in shambles and forgiveness hanging in the balance, could Edward forgive himself for imposing such a fate upon a dying girl? Could Bella ever love a vampire who stole everything from her?


Notes:


3. Chapter 3-The Sands of Time

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Chapter Beta-ed by Megan & Raina/RaindropSoup from PTB

"We, as humans, can by no means stop the sands of time. The sand cannot and will not slow; it has a journey to fulfill, trickling one granule at a time out of the hands of God. Either he can choose to open his hand and release the sand all at once, or he can minutely allow the grains to fall. We cannot stomp, yell at the heavens, drag our feet, or refuse to go; our birth and demise are in his hands. For he alone chooses the time and the place. So live and love, as you will, for his hands are almost empty." ~ Jamie S. (me!)

*Twilight is the sole property of SM and her publishing company.*

Chapter 3-The Sands of Time

Edward

Driving proved to be an almost impossible endeavor. We'd only driven two miles before her heart, once again, began to waver. I pulled over to the side of the road and resuscitated her once more. I refused to allow her life to be forfeit, and I was full of apprehension that I would not make it in time. I carefully extracted her from the vehicle, wrapped one arm securely around her upper back and torso and slipped the other underneath her upper thighs, cradling her to my chest. I slipped the hand that embraced her shoulders underneath her arms and rested it above one breast. Using two fingers, I began repeatedly compressing the middle of her chest as you would a child, afraid after my previous resuscitation that I would unquestionably break her ribs.

Soon, if it hadn't already, her body would slip into shock, causing rapid organ failure and possible brain damage. Sadly, in her current state, she would not last more than ten minutes. Luckily, from our present location, I could make the trek to our home in five. Continuing my ministrations, the two of us flew through the trees and took a shortcut down to a small ravine, bounding across several fallen trees and over a tiny creek.

Once inside the final cover of trees, about a mile from the house, I picked up speed. My father was waiting to catch a glimpse of the grievously injured young woman who I had so selfishly kept from heaven. For all intents and purposes, the young woman was dead. I was only prolonging the inevitable, artificially pumping her remaining blood through her heart and vessels. It would be a great tragedy to never again catch her gaze. I could not bear the thought. If she could not be saved by our enhanced abilities and extraordinary gifts, then what was the purpose of this life?

When I finally stepped out of the little grove of trees, I caught my first glimpse of the long, winding driveway that led to our home. It was nearly invisible to the outside world. Our secret abode was perfectly suited for a family of vampires who wished to preserve their anonymity. With acres of neatly tended grass and tall shrubberies, the three-story brick mansion awaited me. The house was adorned with many intricate architectural detailing and encompassed by an exquisite marble courtyard. Featured prominently in its center and heavily laden with small white and pink blossoms, stood a lone cherry tree, the crowning glory of my mother's garden.

As we dashed across the yard and through the courtyard, I was still attempting to keep my precious angel alive. Standing at the bottom of the steps, I glimpsed my father, Carlisle, with his medical bag resting in his capable hands. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. If anyone had the ability to tear the girl back from the jaws of death, it would be him.

Carlisle

I caught my first sight of Edward as he emerged from the trees. I had expected him to arrive by car, but by the look of the situation, driving was not an option. He had the girl wrapped up in his arms and cradled to his upper body, rigorously performing chest compressions. Visually I could see that she was critically injured, but as they drew closer, the condition of her blood told me so much more. This young woman was suffering internally, as well.

Failure seemed imminent. With all of my advanced skills and supernatural abilities, I couldn't perform miracles. For Edward's sake, however, I would attempt the impossible. But if God wished to call her home, then I could not stop him. My only option was to inject her heart with enough venom to keep it circulating throughout her body. Otherwise, she would certainly perish.

Edward detested our unnatural existence and despised his very nature. The heinous violence that the vampire race had inflicted upon humans for the love of carnage and sustenance disgusted him. In his early days, the two of us discussed the meaning of life and the meaning of vampire existence. Just as I had done, Edward had studied every religion, poured over doctrines, and researched the histories, determined to find the truth. In the end, he deduced that vampires would be eternally damned, just as my father had concluded.

I understood these atrocities quite well. My time in Volterra had convinced me of that, and while I had enjoyed the camaraderie of the ancient leaders, their utter disregard for human life was appalling. I chose to continue my search for acceptable companionship elsewhere, only to realize that suitable company might not exist. When Edward's mother beseeched me to save her son at any cost, I conceded to her wish. I would create my own lineage, my own companionship, even if it damned me in the process. I shall never regret creating Edward, Esme, Rosalie, or Emmett. The four of them were my greatest accomplishments in this strange world with its menagerie of abhorable individuals.

When Edward reached me, I leaned over the girl's body and placed my ear next to her chest. I had no need for the stethoscope in my hand. My enhanced hearing told me everything I needed to know. But for appearance sake, I always kept it near.

"Edward! To my study," I commanded, "I have the best light overhanging my desk."

My study was on the third floor, overlooking the courtyard. The two of us made quick work of the stairs, and once we had arrived at our destination, I flicked on the fluorescent light that hung above my mahogany desk. After moving my laptop, I used my forearm to clear the remaining items off onto the floor. The clatter of items echoed throughout the room.

I removed my jacket, unbuttoned the cuffs, and folded the sleeves high on my forearms. Edward, using great care, placed the girl onto the desk. I grabbed the silver letter opener out of the top drawer and used it to open the girl's shirt so I could assess her injuries.

I swiftly began my work, checking her skull, spine, and neck as Edward continued with her chest compressions. She had fractures in all three areas and lacerations on various points of her body. Coupled with the copious blood loss, her injuries were fatal. Laced with the venom and her grievous injuries, I knew her transformation would be excruciating. I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose.

Edward, we must do something right this instant, I beseeched with my thoughts, leaning down and brushing her matted hair from her neck.

"Don't!" he snapped, shoving me away.

Be reasonable, son.For all intents and purposes, she's perished. Let us attempt to salvage what we can.

"What about the hospital? You would have the proper tools you could possibly—"

I held up a hand and shook my head, cutting him off. "She cannot be saved. Please. You have only seconds to consider. Why bring her to me if you only wished to condemn yourself to misery? Bringing a human so mortally wounded into a house full of vampires, unless you planned on changing her, was reckless. You could assess her injuries just as quickly as I could have. You could see that death had her by the hand and would guide her home. But you stopped him. Why?"

"You know how I feel about this."

"I don't have all the answers, Edward. The joy of helping others has fulfilled me. Saving lives that might otherwise be lost gave me purpose. And those unfortunate souls who could not be spared, I rescued a wholly alternative way. The world can be a glorious place, son, even through the eyes of a vampire. You just have to know where to look. I, too, had reservations, with both you and Esme. Let me do this." I half-smiled in his direction. "I can see she means a great deal to you."

"How can I even consider condemning her to a life like this, Carlisle? God! Why is this happening?" He buried his hands into his hair and yanked at it in frustration before dropping them uselessly by his side.

"Maybe that's exactly what she needs, son."

He scoffed and grasped the girl's hand. "God has forsaken us, Carlisle, simply because of what we are. But she's innocent. Why would he let her die?"

"That's life's biggest mystery, Edward. Every being on this earth has asked that very question. Humans die everyday. I wouldn't necessarily assume that all those who perish were forsaken. However, it doesn't diminish the tragedy of it all." I looked at my son and nodded my head, gently running my fingers through her hair. "If I had my choice, Edward, I would bring her over…for you. Just know that her injuries are beyond even me, now. I know you will do the right thing."

"Yes." Edward gazed down at the girl and balled his fists at his side, growling low in his chest. His pain was almost palpable. This was not an easy decision for my son. "Alright, I'll do it, if only to spare me the misery of losing her."

I leaned down quickly and prepared myself for the task at hand, brushing the remainder of her hair away. Edward had prolonged his decision for far too long. I opened my mouth and prepared to deliver my venom, but centimeters from her throat, he grabbed me and shook his head. I whipped my head up at him with wide eyes, completely perplexed by his hesitation.

"If she's damned regardless, then it should be me who delivers the first bite. It should be me, the abhorable creature that I am, the monster who, not one hour ago, considered drinking her blood. Now, it'll be me who drags her down to hell with the rest of us."

Face tight and grim, he leaned in and brushed her wrist across his cheek, inhaling her unique scent.

"Please forgive me for this," he whispered as he sunk his teeth into her wrist.

~And that was when the frenzy began and all hell broke loose.~