New Moon: Edward’s POV I hold no rights.

Based on “New Moon” by Stephanie Meyer

Chapter 2: Stitches I stood there, my arms spread wide, glaring at my family, but mostly at Jasper as he was still trying to get past Emmett to Bella. “Emmett, Rose, get Jasper outside.” I heard Carlisle say. Emmett nodded to Carlisle, realizing the seriousness of the situation, for once, and said, ”Come on, Jasper.” I still stayed focused on Jasper. He was still trying to break Emmett’s hold on him. He was still reaching towards me, baring his teeth. He was still past reason. So I crouched further over Bella and sent him warning growl, just to let him know that I fully intended on doing whatever it takes to protect Bella. Whatever it takes. Rosalie stepped in front of him then and helped Emmett get Jasper through the door. Rosalie’s face was smug as she helped him, ‘ I knew this would happen sooner or later. They didn’t listen. Ha, I told him’ Rosalie thought as she helped him out the door. I didn’t have time to deal with her. I would soon enough thought. Esme held the door for them while they led him out. She held her mouth and her nose to keep from smelling the blood. She felt so ashamed that Jasper had reacted the way he did and also because, no matter how much she loved Bella, she was still a vampire and Bella’s blood smelled too good. She had to leave too. “Let me by, Edward.” Carlisle said, approaching me. I knew he was in total control, but, just for a second, I hesitated. I was on edge and the only thing that mattered was Bella’s safety. ‘I need to take care of her wounds, Edward. She’s still bleeding.’Carlisle thought. I nodded slowly and relaxed my position. He knelt down beside her to examine the damage. I looked at her face. This was the first time I had a chance to look at it since she cut her finger. I couldn’t afford to take my eyes away from Jasper long enough to see how badly I had her. She was still in shock, of course. It was all over her face. If I asked her about it, though, I’m sure she would just deny it. But I could see it.

She was trying her best to compose it, but it was too late. I already saw it. Alice stayed in the room also, but she had kept her distance until she could compose herself. She warned me with her thoughts before she stepped closer, my back was to her, ‘It’s just me Edward, and I’m fine. I just want to hand Carlisle a towel.’ I just nodded. “Here, Carlisle,” Alice said to him, handing him the towel. Carlisle shook his head at her. “Too much glass in the wound.” He made a tourniquet with a torn piece of the table cloth and wrapped it above her elbow. “Bella, do you want me to drive you to the hospital, or would you like me to take care of it here?” Carlisle asked Bella. “Here, please” she whispered. I wished there was something I could do. I wish I could take care of her like that. Carlisle was totally in control. And here I am, thirsting for her blood even more that Jasper was. “I’ll go get your bag” Alice said, pulling me from my self-pity. Carlisle looked at me then, “Let’s take her to the kitchen table.” I lifted her out of the broken glass while Carlisle kept pressure on her arm to stop the bleeding. “How are you doing Bella?” Carlisle asked her. Why haven’t I asked her that yet? Why haven’t I said one word to her since this started? Oh….that’s right. I haven’t taken a breath since it started. Afraid that if I did, I would end up in the same position Jasper was in, and I, unlike him, would probably end up really killing her. What a mess. “I’m fine,” Bella said. Her voice was surprisingly steady. Alice had returned and I sat her gently into a chair while Carlisle pulled up another and went to work on her arm. I still stood over her protectively, still not breathing. Not because I sensed any real danger, but because this was my Bella and we were all still vampires. I was still in shock at what had just transpired. “Just go, Edward,” Bella said to me. I can do this, I can do this. I kept chanting in my head.

“I can handle it,” I responded back to her. I know she could see how rigid my jaw was. I hated being this weak. The girl I love is sitting right here in front of me, hurt, and all I could think of was how sweet her blood smells to me. This is all wrong. This isn’t right. “You don’t need to be a hero,” she continued, “Carlisle can fix me up without your help. Get some fresh air.” She was always worrying about me. Never about herself. Here she was, bloodied and bruised, and she was worrying about how this affected me. Not frightened like she should be. She knew, I told her, how her blood smells to me. How much effort I put into being around her, even when she isn’t bleeding. She knew at any moment it could be too much and I could kill her, but she had too much faith in me as always. She was right though. I’m not doing anything useful here, except not breathing in her scent. I could get some fresh air and be right back. Carlisle continued working on her arm, he put some antiseptic on it to clean the wounds and Bella winced. “I’ll stay,” I said immediately. I hate to see her in any kind of pain. I need to be here for her. “Why are you so masochistic?” she mumbled. Before I could respond, Carlisle interceded, “Edward, you may as well go find Jasper before he gets too far. I’m sure he’s upset with himself, and I doubt he’ll listen to anyone but you right now.” “Yes,” Bella quickly agreed, “Go find Jasper.” “You might as well do something useful,” Alice added. So they were all going to gang up on me were they. ‘She’ll be fine, Edward. I’ll make sure of it. I’ll take care of her. You really need to get some fresh air. You don’t look so good. And it’s not helping Bella to see you like this.’ Carlisle thought. He was right. He would take care of her. He is more than capable to take care of her. I was the one who couldn’t. And I do need some fresh air, I haven’t taken a breath since she cut her finger. I simply nodded and left through the kitchen door. I went out back to the river and took a deep breath. I found the rock that I sat on when I came here to think sometimes. I looked

up at the stars and, with a clear head, started to think. What had just happened in there? Had my brother just tried to kill Bella, my love? And, in turn, had I planned to kill him and anyone else who got within ten feet of her? My family? What a horrible situation. This has gotten out of hand. As much as I hated to even think the words, maybe Rosalie was right. This was inevitable. It was going to happen sooner or later. Especially with as clumsy as she was. What was I thinking? I was so selfish to think that I could be with her. A human. Am I never suppose to have happiness? The kind that Carlisle and Esme thought I deserved? When I thought that I finally found it, the package that it came in was my opposite in every way. Was God laughing at me? Probably. ‘ Edward, I am so, so very sorry. I don’t know what happened. I just smelled her blood and my thirst took over. I’m so sorry. You have no idea.’. Jasper’s thoughts interrupted me. Just then he came around the corner. I turned around with the intentions of glaring at him for his actions earlier, but I couldn’t bring myself to be angry at him. He could sense that and so he walked over and sat beside me. “Edward, you’re not angry.” He concluded, surprised and relieved. “No, I’m not angry. I understand. I know all too well. You should’ve seen me that first day in our biology class when I first got a whiff of her scent. It took everything in my power not to kill her and every other witness in the classroom. As soon as I smelled her, every ounce of self-control had disappeared and I was just a vampire and she was my prey.”, I admitted to him. I don’t think I’ve told anybody that. “But you did control yourself, Edward. I just acted like an animal in there. And poor Bella. She must’ve been terrified. She would never forgive me for this. Nor Alice……..” he paused, shaking his head. “Jasper, we’ve been at this a lot longer than you have. It’s ok. It’s happened to the best of us. Don’t worry about it. No harm done, right?” I said to him. “Right, no harm done. I’m still sorry Edward……”

“Jasper, it’s fine. Go talk to Alice. I’m sure she isn’t upset with you either.” “Ok, Edward. Thank you. I will make it up to you. And I’m sorry again.” He said and walked away. I didn’t have it in me to argue with him now. I was angry, a little, about what had happened. I knew Jasper couldn’t help himself. I saw that in his thoughts, but that was still Bella. Of course I had more words for him, some that I would never speak in front of a lady, but I had more important things to think about now. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I have to figure something out. But for now, I should go in and check on her. I walked back in the house. I heard Carlisle talking to Bella about when he changed me. I caught the end of it though, “I wasn’t sorry, though. I’ve never been sorry that I saved Edward.” He paused. He heard me in the dining room. “I suppose I should take you home now.” I walked through the dining room then, trying to compose my face from the pain that was trying to break free. “ I’ll do that,” I said. “Carlisle can take me,” she said. She looked at her clothes and saw how bad they were, covered in cake frosting and blood. “I’m fine. You’ll need to change anyway. You’d give Charlie a heart attack the way you look. I’ll have Alice get you something.” I told her and walked back out of the kitchen. I have to get it together before I face her again. She will definitely know something was wrong. She always saw through my pretenses. Alice met me at the stairs. “Edward, what’s going on? Your future……Bella’s future…’s…I don’t know, something’s changing.” Alice said. I should’ve known she would see something was wrong. “Could you please get Bella something to wear back home, I don’t want Charlie to see her like that.” I purposely avoided her question. I don’t even know how to answer it. Not yet anyway. “Edward, what are you……” Alice insisted. But I cut her off.

“Alice, I don’t know. Can you just please do as I ask?” I said to her. “Sure…” she said. We walked back to the kitchen through the back doors. I was still having a hard time covering up my grief about what happened. Alice didn’t make it any better. She hurried to Bella to help her find something to wear. “C’mon, I’ll get you something less macabre to wear” Alice said. They headed upstairs to Esme’s room. Carlisle looked at me with a wistful expression. He didn’t say anything. I could hear him trying to control his thoughts. He didn’t want to make anything worse. He was concerned about me. As always. But he knew I would come to him if I wanted to talk. Esme was the only one to speak, “How are you, Edward? You don’t look so good.” “I’ll be fine. I’ve just got a lot on my mind, that’s all. You don’t need to worry,” I assured her, but that was far from the truth. A solution to this problem was occurring to me, but I was trying to find any other way to fix this. Anything but that. I stood by the door waiting for Bella and Alice to return so that I could get Bella home safe and sound. After awhile they came down the stairs. As she got to the bottom, I held the door open for her, without saying anything. I could barely control my facial expressions, I knew my voice would certainly give me away. “Take your things,” Alice told Bella while she handed her her presents and her camera. “You can thank me later, when you’ve opened them.” Esme and Carlisle told her goodnight. They stole glances at me before we walked out of the door. Wondering silently if I would be ok. We walked silently to the car and I held the passenger door open for her. She got in without saying anything. She knew something was wrong. How could she not? Even if she wasn’t as perceptive as she was, it was obvious. She tore the ribbon off of the stereo and kicked it under her seat before I got in on the driver’s side. I didn’t say anything when I got in. I didn’t even look at the stereo. Or her. We rode in silence. I was still thinking of another option besides the one that was looming over my head.

“Say something”, Bella begged. “What do you want me to say?” I knew my voice would give me away. It had no emotion. “Tell me you forgive me,” she said. Just like Bella. Taking the blame for something that was so far from her fault. “Forgive you? For what?” My words came out sharper than I intended them to, but her words had made me angry. She was not going to take the blame for this. Not this. “If I’d been more careful, nothing would have happened.” She said. “Bella, you gave yourself a paper cut- that hardly deserves the death penalty.” “It’s still my fault.” This made me even angrier. How could she blame herself for what happened? If her goal was to get me to say something, it had been accomplished. “Your fault? If you’d cut yourself at Mike Newton’s house, with Jessica there and Angela and your other normal friends, the worst that could possibly have happened would be what? Maybe they couldn’t find you a bandage? If you’d tripped and knocked over a pile of glass plates on your own-without someone throwing you into them-even then, what’s the worst? You’d get blood on the seats when they drove you to the emergency room? Mike Newton could have held your hand while they stitched you up- and he wouldn’t be fighting the urge to kill you the whole time he was there. Don’t try to take any of this on yourself, Bella. It will only make me more disgusted with myself.” “How the hell did Mike Newton end up in this conversation?” She demanded. She was angry now. Could I do nothing right tonight? “Mike Newton ended up in this conversation because Mike Newton would be a hell of a lot healthier for you to be with,” I growled at her. He would be safer for her to be with. She would be happier. I had hurt Bella the worst, tonight. She started out with just a paper cut. I had to throw her into the table and now her arms were

bandaged up in gauze from her scrapes and cuts from the glass that I threw her into. “I’d rather die than be with Mike Newton. I’d rather die than be with anyone but you.” Under normal circumstances, this would have made me happy. To hear that she wanted only me. But tonight, those words only made me angrier. The words she used were right on point. She would get herself killed trying to be with me. Being around me kept her in constant danger. “Don’t be melodramatic, please,” I told her. “Well, then, don’t you be ridiculous.” I didn’t respond back. I just glared out the window. Trying my best to gather my thoughts. I hated being this angry around her. And it was still her birthday. When we made it Charlie’s house. I cut the truck off, but my hands were still clenched to the steering wheel. It felt like they were glued there. “Will you stay tonight?” she asked me. Why would she want me to stay after what happened tonight? “I should go home,” I told her. I needed to think and she needed to rest. Maybe she could salvage what was left of her birthday without me as a reminder of what happened tonight. “For my birthday,” she said. Oh, now she wanted to acknowledge her birthday. “You can’t have it both ways-either you want people to ignore your birthday or you don’t. One or the other.” “Okay, I’ve decided that I don’t want you to ignore my birthday. I’ll see you upstairs.” She said while hopping out of the car and reaching for her presents. I frowned. Those presents were the cause of this whole mess. If we hadn’t gotten her presents, like she asked, then she never would’ve cut her hand. “You don’t have to take those.” I told her. “I want them,” she said. “No, you don’t. Carlisle and Esme spent money on you.”

“I’ll live,” she said, as she tucked the presents under her arm. Her good arm. The arm I hadn’t injured. I flashed to her side to grab her presents. “Let me carry them, at least. I’ll be in your room.” She smiled and thanked me. Her smile encouraged me to try to put these negative thoughts and feelings away until I was alone. She didn’t deserve this. Especially not right now. I would get my emotions in order for her. “Happy birthday,” I sighed and I leaned down to kiss her. She reached up to make the kiss last longer. Getting carried away as always. I pulled away and smiled at her. Nothing ever bothered her. I ran up the side of her house up into her window to wait for her. I positioned myself in the center of her bed and twirled one of the boxes in my hand. Trying to calm myself. Trying to be me, for her. She didn’t converselong with her dad. She was in a hurry to get back to me. She rushed while she was in the bathroom and then she was walking through the door. “Hi” I said. She came to the bed, pushed the box out of my hand, and climbed into my lap. I could be like this with her forever. “Hi,” she said back, snuggling herself into my chest, “Can I open my presents now?” “Where did the enthusiasm come from?” ,I wondered out loud. “You made me curious,” she said. Then she picked up Carlisle and Esme’s gift. “Allow me” I told her. We didn’t need a repeat of what happened. I tore the paper off the gift and handed it back to her. “Are you sure I can handle lifting the lid?” she said, but I ignored her. Carlisle and Esme had bought us two tickets to go see her mom in Jacksonville. It’s been awhile since she’s seen her. And I wouldn’t mind the vacation…….if I were going with her. “We’re going to Jacksonville?” she asked. She was excited about it. Genuinely. “That’s the idea.” I told her, surprised by her sudden excitement. “I can’t believe it. Renee is going to flip! You don’t mind, though, do you? It’s sunny, you’ll have to stay inside all day.” Always worrying about me. I really didn’t deserve her.

“I think I can handle it,” I replied. And then a frown crept onto my face. “If I’d had any idea that you could respond to a gift this appropriately, I would have made you open it in front of Carlisle and Esme. I thought you’d complain.” “Well, of course, it’s too much. But I get to take you with me!” she said. It made me laugh and the laughing felt natural. Even after what all happened tonight, being with her now, it all seems like a distant memory. She always had a way of making all of my worries go away. “Now I wish I’d spent money on your present. I didn’t realize you were capable of being reasonable.” After I said that, she set the tickets down and reached for my gift. I grabbed it before she could and unwrapped like I had the last one. I handed her the CD I made for her. “What is it?” she asked. I didn’t say anything. It would ruin her reaction if I just told her what it was. I simply took the CD from her and put it in her CD player and hit play. We sat there until the music began. As the music filled the room, I waited for her reaction. Would she like it? What was she thinking? As I watched her face closely for any reaction, her eyes started to fill with tears. What was wrong with her? “Does your arm hurt? I asked. “No, it’s not my arm. It’s beautiful Edward. You couldn’t have given me anything I would love more. I can’t believe it.” she said and then became quiet as she absorbed my compositions. Wow, she really loved my gift. I thought she would give me grief for getting her anything. Well, at least I got one thing right tonight. Her lullaby was playing. It was the first song. “I didn’t think you would let me get a piano so I could play for you here,” I explained to her. “You’re right” “How does your arm feel?” I asked her.

“Just fine.” Bella will be Bella. Never wanting to be taken care of. I knew her arm had to be hurting. The medicine would have worn off by now. “I’ll get you some Tylenol.” “I don’t need anything,” she protested, but I ignored her and headed for the door. “Charlie,” she whispered. “He won’t catch me,” I told her slipping out of the door, grabbing the Tylenol from the bathroom cabinet and the glass, and slipping back in her room before the door had time to close. I handed them to her and she took them without any complaints. Surprisingly. “It’s late,” I told her. It was late and she had to be tired from the stress of the evening. And I needed to think. I picked her up with one arm and pulled the cover back with the other arm. I laid her down and tucked the quilt around her, so my temperature would’nt give her chills, and I laid down next to her. She leaned her head against my shoulder and sighed. “Thanks again,” she whispered. “You’re welcome.” The music was still playing in the background. She listened while my mind drifted to more unhappy thoughts. What is the right and wrong thing to do here? I had thought, even given myself excuses, convinced myself, that me staying with her was the right thing to do. She needed protection, I told myself. She needed me. But now, that very excuse, has turned into the wrong thing to do. Staying here with her as proved to be the worst decision I have made since I met her. I wish I knew the right answer. “What are you thinking about?” Bella asked, interrupting me. I hesitated for a second, wondering if I should tell her the truth. That I was thinking about leaving, for her. “I was thinking about right and wrong, actually.” That wasn’t a lie. It just wasn’t the whole truth. She had been through enough. The

truth would just upset her more. I expected her to press the issue, to probe more, but she decided to change the subject. “Remember how I decided that I wanted you to not ignore my birthday?” she asked anxiously. She was trying to distract me. Probably from thinking about right and wrong. That’s why she changed the subject. “Yes.” “Well, I was thinking, since it’s still my birthday, that I’d like you to kiss me again.” “You’re greedy tonight.” “Yes, I am-but please don’t do anything you don’t want to do,” she added. Yeah, like I could ever not want to kiss Bella. “Heaven, forbid that I should do anything I don’t want to do, “ I said as I put my hand under her chin and pulled her face up to mine. While we kissed, her heartbeat started to flutter, as it always did, but something was different. This did something different to me. Made me feel different. Like something inside me knew that, someday soon, I would not be able to hear her heart flutter. Someday soon, I would not be able to feel her soft, gentle lips moving against mine. This feeling brought me back to when I had to leave her last spring to hunt James. That feeling of loss, of desperation, came rushing back and I suddenly had the urge to throw myself into the kiss. As if she could be snatched away at any moment. I didn’t want to let her go. My fingers twisted in her hair and I secured her face to mine as if I wanted to somehow mold them together so that they could never part. Her hands tangled in my hair also and if felt as if she wanted to do the same thing. Mold our faces together so that we could never be apart. This was more than I usually allowed between us, but at the moment, it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but her in my arms. Her body close to mine, her lips moving with mine. She crushed her body to mine eagerly, and as she did that I knew that I had taken this too far. I stopped immediately and pushed her away. She fell back on her pillow, gasping for air. I sometimes forgot to give her time to breath when we were kissing. I didn’t need the extra air. It came as a

surprise to me, and I’m sure to her as well, that I was breathless too. Although oxygen wasn’t a necessity for me, especially when we were kissing, the desperation to be near her, to kiss her made me anxious. “Sorry. That was out of line,” I said to her. “I don’t mind,” she said. I frowned at her. She never minded pushing me over the limit of my self-control. She never took seriously the fact that I could kill her if I got too carried away. “Try to sleep, Bella” , I frowned at her. She has really had a rough night. All because of me. Because I chose to allow her to be a part of my world. What was I thinking? “No, I want you to kiss me again.” She said. “You’re overestimating my self-control”, I said, which was nothing new. She often forgot, or pretended to forget, how her blood tempted me. Let alone how, so very much, her body, being so close to mine, also tempted me in other ways………. “Which is tempting you more, my blood or my body?”, she asked. Is that a trick question?, I thought to myself. “It’s a tie”, I grinned, despite the fact that I was feeling totally and utterly helpless and unworthy of her presence in my life right now. How could I have let this happen?, I thought. All expression left my face as I thought of that and then I was suddenly serious. “Now, why don’t you stop pushing your luck and go to sleep?” “Fine” she agreed, snuggling herself close to me. Her warm body did strange things to me…….But I shouldn’t be thinking about that right now. As she allowed herself to finally try to get some sleep, I felt her place her arm against my shoulder. Maybe the coolness of my skin made her arm feel better. I think she was trying to be sneaky about it. Did she really think I wouldn’t notice? I started to ask her about it, if she was still in pain, but my cold skin seemed to make her feel better and that’s all that mattered. Bella finally fell asleep as I continued to stare at her face as she drifted. She is so beautiful, I thought. How is it that this

magnificent, perfect creature is meant for me. A monster. Far from magnificent. I just continued to stare……. Her face was so smooth with all expression wiped away as she dreamed. I’ll bet every dollar I have that she was dreaming about me. Even after what I have put her through tonight. What I have put her through since we met. She still dreams happy dreams………. of me. Oh, how I don’t deserve her. Then I started to wonder if she felt the urgency of my kiss. Then I shook my head…..More than likely she did. Bella noticed everything. I couldn’t help myself though. I got caught up in the moment. I could kiss her forever…….. Feeling our lips move in synchronization like they were meant only for each other. Feeling her tongue trace across my lips and set every nerve in my body on fire. Hearing her breathing accelerate as I kissed her from her temple, down her jaw, across her throat, and her collarbone…….I can’t go there right now, though. And I ripped the image from my mind. There is a more pressing issue that needs to be taken care of. I have to do something about this impossible situation that I have created. She deserves to live a happy life, free from any danger, free from vampires. Especially vampires. Every since she has become a part of my life, she has been in constant danger from being harmed by our kind. Now, my own brother has endangered her life. As long as we are together, she will always be in danger. I am so weak. I may be strong in strength, but internally, I am weaker than any human. I should have left when she first got to Forks like I wanted to. Before I fell in love with her. I should have been strong enough to leave, instead of being selfish. Even after I realized I loved her, I should have loved her enough to leave her, protect her from what I am. I will love her enough now. I have to leave. I have to leave Bella. Just thinking those words pained my expression. Leave Bella?, I thought and let out a sigh.

Just the sound of those words echoing in my head sent a shrieking pain in my hollow heart. This girl is everything to me. To my existence. She is my soul. But I have to do whatever I can to make sure she is happy and safe, no matter how much pain it causes me. She must be safe. “Edward”, Bella sighed as she dreamed. She is dreaming of me. Well, there goes every dollar I have. It’s amazing how the sound of my name coming from her lips still sends chills through my body. I love her so much. If I could cry, tears would be streaming down my face. What am I going to do without her? How will I survive? And then I corrected that last question. How will I survive ……..if something terrible happened to her? This is the most important question. That question overrules any feelings of indecision I have about leaving. She must exist. I will survive it, the pain, the suffering, the agony, I will make myself survive it all as long as I know she exists. “I Love You, Edward……..” she sighed again and then turned over with a slight smile on her lips. I have to go tell my family about leaving before she continues to speak the words that will compel me to stay. As I got up to leave, she clutched her hands on my shirt. I looked at her thinking that she was awake. The strength that she put behind holding on to me, she had to be awake. But she was still sound asleep. It was as if she knew that I was about to leave. Not just leave to go home, but leave forever. As I pryed her hands from my shirt, I realized that this was going to be extremely hard. It’s going to be nearly impossible for her to let me go. But I must. I leaped out of her window and raced home. When I got there, Alice met me on the porch. By the look on her face, I could tell that she already knew what I was there for. Her expression was mixed between a scowl and pain. I had thought that this would be the easiest part of all of this. Telling my family that we have to leave. But looking at her face, I could see that this was going to be very hard for them to. I am hurting everyone I love the most. I am a terrible person. I should not exist.

As I approached, Alice started to say something, but I interrupted her. “It’s for the best Alice”, I said. “The best for who Edward. It’s not the best for me, it’s not the best for you, and it is most definitely not the best for her. This will devastate her Edward.” “She will get over it eventually. Over me.” As much as I didn’t want her to get over me, as much as I wanted her to love me forever, as I would her, she had to get over me. She had to forget me. “It’s the only way to make sure she is safe, Alice. She deserves to be happy. She deserves to be free from danger. Our presence in her life puts her in danger. Can’t you see that!? If she would not have been in the clearing with us playing baseball last spring, James would never have gotten a whiff of her scent and tried to kill her. If she would not have been at our house, Jasper wouldn’t have tried to attack her. Every time she has been in danger, it has been because of me. She does not deserve this.” My voice broke on that last sentence. Alice would never know how much pain this is causing me to do this. Not now anyway. But I must hold my confidence while explaining this to her. To them. They don’t need to detect any confusion about the decision on my part or they will do whatever they can to try to convince me to stay. “Edward, I think Bella should at least have a part in this decision. This affects her life too you know. This affects all of our lives. You are not the only one who loves her. We all love her, especially me. What about Esme? You know she already considers Bella as a daughter. Have you thought about that? Have you thought about anyone besides yourself? You cannot make this decision for her. You cannot make this decision for all of us!.” Alice practically growled at me. “The decision is made, Alice. I did not come here to discuss this. I came here to let you know that we ARE leaving and that you need to prepare to leave.” I kept my voice at stern as I could under the circumstances.

“Edward, you can’t make me leave. You may leave if you wish. But she is my best friend and I will not hurt her like this. This is stupid! This is insane! I will not go along with it.” She was yelling with a high-pitch now. Her voice always got high when she was angry. If I wasn’t in so much pain from what I was about to do, this would have been hilarious. We stared each other down for what seemed like forever. I was used to doing this with Bella whenever she got angry with me. But I can’t think of that right now. I have to be strong, at least for right now. Then I realized that she was not Bella, a human. She was a vampire. It’s in our nature to be as still as stone. As vampires, we could do this forever, literally. So I decided to speak first. I didn’t have time for this. I needed to get back to Bella. Every moment I had left with her was ticking away and this was taking away from that time. “ I have moved whenever any of you have asked me to without a word or complaint. I haven’t tried to stop anyone when they wanted to move on. I have never asked them to explain their reason for leaving. You owe me this and you know it.” I said very calmly. As the words I said sunk in, her expression changed from anger to defeat. She knew I was right. “Please, Edward” she said with her thoughts. Her golden eyes pleading. As much as I hated to hurt my favorite sister, this is what was best for Bella and she is my first priority. “I’m sorry Alice. I know you love her. Which is why you should see how this is the best thing for her. She needs to be safe. She needs to be happy. That cannot happen as long as we are in her life.” I told her. All seriousness gone from my face before I gave it permission to. I was pleading with her. Pleading for her to understand why this was the best thing for Bella. Pleading for her to understand that this has to happen for Bella to be safe. She breathed out a sigh. A sigh of defeat, “Ok, Edward…………. I will leave with you. I will desert my best friend. I do owe you this. I can’t begrudge you this.” Her words were understanding but her voice and expression were still full of pain.

“Thanks…… Now can we go in and let the others know?” I said. Happy to have gotten past one member of my family unharmed. Five more to go………. “I guess”. She said. As painful as this was about to be, I know that this was just a quarter of the pain that I would have to endure over the next few days. Days…..I thought to myself. Is that really all the time I had left with Bella? Days? Although I had known that we didn’t have much time left together once I made my decision to leave, saying the word made it that much more devastating. And that much more permanent. I had imagined being with Bella forever for so long now. It was hard to rap my head around the concept of only a few more days with her. Alice and I walked in the door together and, as I deciphered my family’s expressions and thoughts, I knew that our conversation outside had not gone unnoticed or unheard. They were all sitting in dining room waiting for us. I walked in the dining room and looked at all of their faces. All of them were experiencing different emotions about what I was about to tell them, but one emotion was consistent throughout all of them. Sadness. I spoke first before their questions started to flood the room. “ So, I’m pretty sure that you all heard the conversation the Alice and I had outside and you all know why I am here.” Before I could continue, Jasper thoughts broke my concentration. “I’m sorry, Edward. This is all my fault. I will leave. Alone. You should not have to deprive yourself of the woman you love because of my actions. What I did was unforgiveable and I should be the one to take responsibility for---“ “No, Jasper.” I said before he could continue. “This is not your fault. I forgive you. What happened happened. You are not going anywhere alone. I do not hold you responsible in any way.” I told him. And as I said it I realized that I did not hold

him responsible for what he did. Yeah, he attacked her and if we all hadn’t been there to get him under control he probably would have killed her- flinch-but I know that he did not want to hurt her. His vampire instincts took over and I know, all too well, that when that happens it is impossible to stop yourself even though your mind is telling you that it is wrong. “ I am not leaving because of what just happened tonight. That has something to do with it but that’s not the only reason. Every since I let Bella interact with our world, she has been in danger. Last spring, because I included her in one of our baseball games, she was pursued by two vampires and almost died at the hands of one of them”. I winced as I recalled the memories that have haunted me since last spring. That will haunt me for the rest of my existence. “Tonight, she was once again put in danger because of me”, I tried my best to word that last statement making very careful not to make Jasper feel worse than he already did. “Our presence in her life is not good for her. I should have left when you told me too Carlisle instead of staying here and pursuing her. I don’t know why I thought this could’ve worked out. It was doomed before it even began. I think the best thing for Bella is if we leave town. This would hurt her, at first, but she will get over it and go on to live a happy, peaceful life. Free from any danger that our world causes her.” Everyone sat there for a minute. Thoughtless, as they processed my words. Carlisle was the first to speak. “Edward, I know you’re thinking of Bella’s safety, but this is going to be very hard on you also. Have you thought this through? Maybe you should give it some time? There has to be another way.” So like Carlisle, always trying to find a bright side. “Carlisle, I don’t see any other way. The only other way is if there was any possible way for me to become human for her, and unless you know that secret, this is the only option.” Oh, how I wish that there was a way. Any possible way at all that I could be human for Bella. I would do it. No matter the price or pain that it entailed, I would suffer it. Anything to deserve her. But there wasn’t.

Esme just looked at me. Pain and sadness in her eyes. I know how much she loves Bella and this was killing her to have to leave her, but the thing that caused her the most pain was the pain that I was going to go through when I was without Bella. She was the one that was the most happiest when she knew I had fallen for Bella. Well, besides Alice. She had worried about my loneliness and unhappiness for eighty years and she was ecstatic that I was finally happy. Whole. “Esme, I will be fine.”, I said as I answered her thoughts.” It’s what’s best for Bella and that’s the most important thing. Don’t worry about me.” I said trying to console her. But she knew just as well as I did that this was a lie. I, honestly, don’t know how I was going to survive this. But I had to put on a brave face. Especially for Esme. “Edward, are you sure? This is not a decision that should be made at the spur of the moment. This is very serious. Please make sure that you have exhausted every possible option. This will have tremendous consequences.” Carlisle said to me. “ Carlisle, do you see any other option?”, I challenged. “No, but-“, he started to say but I interrupted him. “Does anyone else see any other option? Do you see any other way that Bella can be safe when she is confronted with any our kind? You all have smelled her. She smells too good for any vampire, that’s not a vegetarian, to resist her if they get a whiff of her scent. If we’re not here, no vampire would get close enough to catch a whiff. So I don’t see any other option. If you do, please enlighten me because I don’t. “ It was quiet for a moment. Everyone just looked at me. Like they were waiting for me to say that I was just joking or something. They all knew how much Bella had made me happy. How her presence in my life has changed me drastically. They couldn’t believe that I was about to do this. I looked at Rosalie and Emmett. They were the only two that haven’t said anything about the situation. I wanted everyone’s views, although their views were not going to change my decision.

“Do you guys have anything to add? I really do want to hear your opinions.” I looked at both of them, even though I really only cared about Emmett’s. Emmett looked at Rosalie, then turned back to me and spoke first. “Well, Edward, you know I love having Bella around. She has become my little sister.” He said this with no humor in his tone. Rare for Emmett. It surprised me. He usually didn’t speak with so much seriousness in his voice. Even in the most serious situations. “As much as I wish that you would reconsider your decision, because I love her too, I can understand. I would do whatever it took to make sure that Rosalie was safe, if she was as fragile and vulnerable as Bella. I won’t contest your decision. I’m with you with whatever you decide to do..” Wow…..was all I think to myself. I looked around at everyone once I composed my face from the shock of Emmett’s words and they looked just as shocked as I did. Emmett started to laugh. “Come on you guys, I am capable of speaking without making a joke and laughing it off.” He said. Then he snickered and said, “Well sometimes”. “So when do we leave”, Rosalie said. Without an ounce of feeling about the situation. Like she was happy. She hid her thoughts by thinking about all the clothes in her closet and trying to figure out what she was going to wear tomorrow. A growl escaped from somewhere inside my body before my mind had time to register where it came from. Or course she wouldn’t care if Bella wasn’t in our life anymore. In my life anymore. She never liked her anyway. Before I could yell every profanity I knew at her for rejoicing about the situation, Alice interrupted me. “Geesh, Rosalie, can you be any less sympathetic? Your brother is about to lose the love of his life and you don’t even care. Is your hatred toward Bella really more important than the love that you NEED to be showing towards your brother? We all love Bella, we are all hurting because of this and you don’t even care. You couldn’t be happier, could you? I just don’t understand how you can-“ Alice could have continued all night, but I interrupted her once I got a hold of myself. I would get to Rosalie when I had time for that but right now all I wanted to do was get back to Bella.

“It’s ok Alice. I didn’t expect anything else from Rosalie.” That’s all I said. Simple. That alone would tear Rosalie up. I wouldn’t give her the attention that she craved. I would show her how unimportant she was in this decision. “So, it’s settled then, we’re leaving?” I said. As a question, though I wasn’t really asking permission. I was beginning to ache from being away from Bella considering the short time we had left. It was like something………. some kind of force, was pulling me back to her. I didn’t want to fight it. I wasn’t going to fight it. Not now. I would have enough time to fight the magnetic force that pulls me towards her soon enough. There would time for that. Right now I embrace it. I welcome it. Carlisle answered my question. “I guess so. We’ll invite Bella up here tomorrow to tell her goodbye and leave right after.” “No, you can’t say goodbye to her. None of you can.” That did it. They all started yelling at once. “What? What do you mean we can’t say goodbye?, Alice said. “Edward, we can’t just leave……”, Esme pleaded. “No, Edward. I have to, at least, apologize…………” said Jasper. “We have to tell her something………” Carlisle suggested. “I can’t leave without seeing her blush one last time…….” Emmett joked. Bella blushing. Even though Emmett was joking, that was one thing that I don’t know how I was going live without. Seeing Bella blush scarlet. I shyed away from that image to cut them off in their rants…. “If we make a big scene about saying goodbye, it is only going to make things harder for her. She needs a clean break from us.” I told them. The pain in their voices, and their thoughts, as I told them that they could not see Bella again to tell her goodbye was more than I could take. Alice spoke up, “Edward, if you think that I’m going to leave without, at least, saying goodbye you have another thing coming.

You are not the only who loves her. We all love her. What is she going to think if we just leave like that? That’s not fair Edward! It’s not fair!” she screamed. “Alice, it’s the best thing for her. If she has to watch all of us walk away from her, it is just going to cause her more pain than necessary. I’m sure you don’t want that. I’m sure none of you want that.” They had to understand. I had to know that they were not going to try to see her before they left. “But Edward……” Alice started, but I could see that she was beginning to understand me. And so I cut her off. “Alice, you know that’s what she needs. You all do.” They thought about that and agreed, silently. “So what’s the plan? You can’t just leave her without a word Edward, you know that.” Carlisle asked. “Well, you all should leave tonight. Head up to Denali with Tanya’s coven until we figure out where to go next. I’ll stay behind and say goodbye to Bella and meet you up there in a few days.” Carlisle was the last one to speak. Everyone else were sorting out their feelings, but otherwise going along with the plan. They knew they owed me too. “Edward, please make……” “Carlisle, I love her. More than anything. Everyone knows that. She is the single most important thing to me. But if anything happened to her because she is with me, I would never be able to live with myself. I know that it’s going to be really hard to be without her. I’m not denying that. It’s going to hurt much worse that dying a thousand deaths. But I will do what it takes to make her safe. And this will make her safe.” And in that, he didn’t question me further. As I was leaving, I blocked out their thoughts. I couldn’t deal with their pain right now. I had all the time in the world to deal with that. What I didn’t have all the time in the world for was being with Bella. That is what my mind is going to be focused on for the next couple of days.

As I ran back to her house, I thought about what I was going to have to endure for the next couple of days. The pain I was going to suffer to make sure that she was happy and safe. I climbed back into her window and laid down next to her. I felt better already. Relieved. It was like my body felt her absence and her presence put me at ease. As soon as I got back into my position, next to her, she turned over and snuggled up close to me. Like, even in unconsciousness, she knew that I wasn’t there. I begin to think about right and wrong again. My mind was made up already but that didn’t stop me from trying to come up with more ‘rights’ to overshadow the ‘wrongs’. But I couldn’t, so I gave up. In my defeat, I told myself that instead of wallowing in my decision to leave this loving creature, I would just enjoy these moments. These next couple of days I am going to have to be very distant towards her. But I would still enjoy every minute, because she would be there. I would avoid too much touching because every touch of her warm body to mine would only prolong my leaving. I would avoid kisses because every kiss would only convince me that leaving was the wrong thing to do. No smiling, because every smile that we share would only make it that much harder to face being without it. I had a role to play. This thought brought me back to when we first met and I tried to stay away from her and show her that I was a monster. Just like back then, which seemed like another lifetime ago, I had another role to play. She woke that morning and looked very tired. Restless. She must didn’t sleep very well. I shouldn’t have left and stayed as long as I did, but it was necessary. She looked me over and I knew that she was trying to determine my mood. To see if I was still upset from last night. She looked at me with those beautiful chocolate brown eyes and, for a second, I almost changed my mind about leaving. These eyes….these beautiful eyes. If I had a heart, her eyes, staring into mine, would send it hammering against my chest. But not a second had passed before I remembered the role that I had to play and why I was playing it. Her safety. This is for her. I repeated this like a chant in my head. I had to keep a constant reminder of why I was doing this. I knew it would be so easy to

change my mind and stay with her forever. But I couldn’t. So I just kissed her forehead, not her lips, and ducked out her window. Here we go. The pain and the suffering begin now…….

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