A Lifetime of Regrets
Disclaimer: S. Meyer owns Twilight Banner by Lady of Spain/ texture by Minutes of Magic
The invitation sat on the table. It was nothing fancy—simple, elegant, and so Bella-like. He knew this day was coming, but the pain it evoked was still as fresh as the day she chose him to be her mate. He wanted her to be happy, he told himself. His wish had come true, but at what price? His own happiness would forever be beyond his reach now.
Bella Swan would be married to his enemy; what irony! Even marrying Mike Newton would have caused him less grief.
Crying was something that had entered his mind, but he hadn’t been able to do even that for a while. He just felt so empty. He stared at the wedding announcement one more time and carried it to his room.
Those three weeks flew by, and here he was dressed in his Sunday-best, sitting in silence, witnessing the love of his life marrying someone other than himself. Eyes kept glancing in his direction. Did these people actually think him capable of causing a scene? Did they expect him to rush up to the altar and carry her away? Bella made her choice, and sadly it wasn’t him. He’d have to live with her decision.
His heart shattered in a million fragments as the words of the vows were spoken for all to hear.
He could barely hear the thoughts of the others around him as he tried in vain once more to hear hers. One last chance to find out if she had any feelings at all for him in the recesses of her heart.
Nothing. Not a sound coming from her that she wasn’t speaking.
The reception started and everyone around him smiled, danced to the lively band, and spoke highly of the newly wedded couple.
Edward ambled around, unsure of where he belonged since he couldn’t eat the cake, didn’t want to dance with anyone there, and was unwelcome there by Jacob’s friends, whose eyes followed him wherever he went.
All except . . .
“Edward! Hey,” Seth called out to him.
Edward tried to keep a blank expression even though his insides felt like granite being hacked at with an axe.
He couldn’t decide what hurt worse—the way he forced his lips to twist up into a smile, an action they hadn’t felt in weeks, or the way his whole chest ached each time he looked over at a smiling Bella in a flowing white dress.
Seth approached him.
“Hi, Seth,” Edward said, using his friendliest voice possible.
“I’m glad you came. Are you handling this okay?”
Edward pulled him aside where nobody could hear.
“It’s difficult, but I wanted to be here . . . for her,” Edward answered.
The reception was dying down. People were leaving. Seth motioned over to a table and they took a seat.
“Well, what are you gonna do now?” Seth asked. “I mean, without Bella, what’s your plan?”
Edward ran his fingers through his hair and closed his eyes. “I don’t know . . .” he drifted off, deep in thought. “Mostly I can’t stop thinking about all the mistakes I made, how this is all my fault.” His head dropped and shook a little. “If I’d been less over-bearing and protective, maybe she would’ve stayed with me. If I’d let her be with Jacob since he was her best friend, maybe she wouldn’t have resented me.” He looked up to find Seth wearing a look of understanding and compassion. It spurred him to keep going, “What if I hadn’t let Jacob get in the damned sleeping bag with her on that mountain and had found a different way to get her out of there so she would’ve been warm? That kiss wouldn’t have happened. My life would be so different.”
“It’s not anybody’s fault. She had to choose what was best for her.” Seth clapped him on
the shoulder. “Now, go say bye to the bride and let her know you’re here.”
“Yeah, because she hasn’t taken her eyes off Jacob for more than two seconds to realize somebody else here might actually want to see her,” Edward grumbled under his breath.
Seth smiled, stood up, squeezed Edward’s shoulder and left.
It was now or never . . .
Edward’s legs felt like they were filled with lead as he dragged himself over to her. Most of the way, he kept his gaze cast down, but like a magnet, every few seconds, his eyes would lift and seek out hers.
Edward got in the dwindling line, and his hands shook as he wondered if it would be okay to hug her one last time, or touch her in some way.
Bella took his hand, her chocolate eyes searing him where he stood. “You don’t know how much this means to me, that you’re here.”
Jacob nodded in agreement with her, but the burning hatred between the two men was there just the same.
Edward stood rigid, as if at attention, and Jacob leaned forward in almost a crouch, ready to spring at Edward if he tried to do anything crazy—like grab Bella and run.
Edward’s hands were trembling as if he was freezing cold. He was. And even though his touch would be icy to Bella, he’d never felt truly numb until now as he stared in her eyes once more. All he found there was friendship and gratitude—nothing more.
“I hope I didn’t ruin anything by being here, but you sent me an invitation and I—”
Smiling, Jacob interrupted, “It’s fine,” all the while resisting the urge to push him away.
Edward’s jaw clenched. “Am I allowed to hug the bride?” he asked.
No, Edward, you aren’t. These people here don’t have to read minds to see how much you want her and how much this is tearing you up inside.
He sucked his bottom lip in. It wasn’t a choice—his lips were tingling, remembering how her warm soft mouth felt on his. His hands flexed as visions of lying in her bed with her swam through his head. He was holding her and trying to keep himself under control and not give in as she begged him to change her time and again so they could truly be together.
Why hadn’t he listened to her? The opportunity was there so many times but he ignored it.
And now he was begging for one last hug like an emotional cripple.
“It’s up to Bella,” Jacob said, shrugging. But it was obvious he was ready to tear Edward’s head off if he so much as breathed on Bella the wrong way.
“Of course you can,” Bella said and her arms extended toward him.
He moved faster than he should’ve, flinging his arms around her. His grip was tighter than he ever allowed before, but he couldn’t stop himself.
He inhaled deeply, memorizing the scent, and hoping it would permanently embed itself on his granite skin.
“You be careful,” he whispered in her ear.
She pressed on his shoulders, making him release them from the tight hold.
Jacob cleared his throat. “There are a few people waiting in line,” he whispered to Bella.
She smiled at Edward and said, “You too. I don’t want to hear of you breaking your neck saving anymore klutzy teenage girls from careening vans in high school parking lots.”
Yeah, ’cause look how that turned out this time . . .
He forced his lips to smile, but it probably resembled a grimace. “You take care, Bella. Be happy and enjoy your family.” Edward’s shoulders pushed back and he walked away with his head held high.
The further away from her got, the more he shrunk.
Memories of how she’d told him it was over between them slammed mercilessly into his brain . . .
“I’m sorry, Edward . . . We’re just not meant to be . . .” She bit her lip. “I have a family. I can’t abandon them. You didn’t have anybody anymore and you were dying when Carlisle changed you. I’m healthy. I . . .”
“Don’t you love me anymore?” Edward asked, his voice breaking.
“It’s not that . . .” Her left eye twitched and she looked away while her hands fidgeted. Eventually, she shoved them into her pockets.
“Is it Jacob?” He swallowed the venom pooling at the back of his mouth.
“No . . . I mean, yes.” She paused and her head sagged. “I don’t know . . . Maybe?”
“Bella, you know I love you, and if you don’t want to be with me anymore, I’ll respect that, but I have to know the real reason why.” His tone came out harsher than he meant it to be.
She looked up through her long, dark lashes. They seemed to caress her cheeks the way he used to with the backs of his hands.
“I . . . Why is this so hard?” she moaned.
He reached out and tucked a stray piece of hair behind her right ear, and before he could pull his hand away, she grabbed it with her hand and held it. Their clasped hands drifted down between them.
“I love you, I always will, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I can’t trust you—you left me, and I thought you’d never come back.”
“But I’m back now, and I won’t ever do that ag—”
She squeezed his hand and cupped her other hand over theirs. “It doesn’t matter. The damage was done, and even though I’ve forgiven you, I’ll always wonder if you’ll do that to me again.”
“I won’t,” he whimpered.
The heat of her hands was intoxicating but he had this awful sense it would be the last time he’d feel it.
“When have you ever kept any of your promises to me?”
He blinked hard. This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be real. She sounded like somebody else, not his Bella.
“I don’t understand what you mean . . .”
“How long have you told me you’d change me? How many times have you said we can’t be more intimate, yet I’ve heard about the Denali’s and how those vampire women are with human men all the time? If you’d ever trusted me, you never would’ve lied. And if you can’t trust me, then I’m sorry, I can’t return it blindly.” She let go of his hand, but he kept it hovering in that spot.
“Bella, I . . . don’t go,” he whispered. “What will happen to me if you leave?”
Her eyes softened. “You have a good family now. They love you; they’ll watch out for you. Before me, you didn’t seem to need a companion. I think with time, you’ll be content to be that way again.”
Content? How? “How long? Bella, what are we talking about here? A hundred years after you’re dead and gone?” His voice rose. He reached for her. “I can trust you—I do. I’ve changed. Ever since I came back, things are different. We’ll get married and I’ll change y—”
“It’s too late . . .” her eyes shifted to the ground “. . . Jacob’s already proposed to me, and I’ve said yes.”
He stood still as stone, refusing to breathe, swallow or blink. His arms were straight at his sides.
“Goodbye, Edward. I’m sorry it ended like this. I never wanted things to be this way, but you’ve left me little choice . . .” She hugged him but his arms were refusing to budge.
A moment later she was gone, and he stayed that way until Jasper came and found him, right outside Bella’s driveway.
Edward stood off to the side in the shadows. She’d be leaving soon for her honeymoon, and he’d what? Drive home? Move somewhere else and start over in high school? What a bleak future.
The couple drove off amid a shower of birdseed, and cheers, but he just wanted to scream and rent his clothes and run off into the woods. His life would be one endless stream of regrets.
When he was sure nobody was looking, he ran out to his car. Fortunately, he’d parked at the far end, in an empty area.
Few cars remained in the parking lot, and there were no errant thoughts of passersby, so he picked his car up, over his head and grunted as he prepared to throw it as hard as he could.
Car oil dripped in his hair, and he imagined it was the tears he was finally able to shed.
He lifted his head, letting the drops rain down on his face.
Before long, he could hear footsteps approaching.
“. . . and she looked so radiant, don’t you think? Bella’s never looked better,” the familiar voice of Angela said.
Edward set his car down, quickly scrambled inside before he had to face them and sped off.
He drove without thinking about where he was going. As if on autopilot, he wound up at Charlie’s house.
He pulled over a few yards away into the tree line and got out. The faint trace of her smell lingered.
His feet carried him into the dense trees. He ran; ran to find peace, to find solace.
But none came.
So, he flung himself up a tree to look down from a distance at her house.
The lights were all out—like him. Nobody wanted to be there when there were places filled with beating hearts, necessary breaths, and warm hands.
He jumped from tree to tree, carelessly snapping a few branches along the way.
“Ahhhhhh!” he screamed into the night, hoping she’d somehow hear him and come back.
When his ears stopped echoing, he jumped down and snapped the tree off at the base.
It felt so good; he did the same to its neighbor.
When that one fell, he took one, two more in row. Within ten minutes, he’d flattened several yards of forest.
The sound of an approaching car woke him from his rampage. It was Charlie. He knew the sound of the cruiser’s motor and his heartbeat anywhere.
There was some place, somewhere he could deal with this pain and make it stop. There had to be.
He traveled around aimlessly, his head blessedly silent for once; however his own damn thoughts crowded his brain instead, leaving him no peace. He stayed out late, pushing the vehicle faster and farther until the gas gauge was reduced to less than a quarter of a tank. It was time to return home to his waiting family. The silver Volvo slid into its parking spot in the huge garage. Edward went into the house, avoiding everyone who’d already returned from the reception.
Why did he have to fall in love with this girl? Not that he regretted one single minute of being with her, but still ... He should’ve kept his distance, instead of longing to get closer to her for all those months.
Mistake after mistake. He drove her into that boy’s arms. Like he told Seth, he had to be the one in control of the relationship. He thought he knew best. Did he? If he was so damned intelligent, then why was she off with another man, making sweet love with him in the moonlight? The thought was intolerable—his Bella sharing a bed with that monster.
He turned over in his mind what he could have done differently. His first mistake was leaving her alone in the forest after that birthday debacle. He couldn’t in good conscience blame the fiasco on Jasper. It would be the same as chastising a baby for wetting its diaper. Some things are instinctual; Bella’s intoxicating blood was too much of a temptation to his brother. It was a glaring mistake on Edward’s part to have her celebrate amongst a coven of vampires anyway. What was he thinking? It was a disaster that was bound to happen sooner or later.
He might as well have wrapped her up in pretty paper and hand carried her to that dog. He should never have left. It was his undoing. The time he was away from her gave Jacob the chance to cement a bond with her that was not easily broken. And he could see the advantages of Bella spending her life with another human being. Her humanity would remain intact. That fact alone would have been clear to her also. She could give Jacob children, and have a family of her own. He envied them both.
Regrets—there were so many. Why did he possess such a penchant to be grossly over-protective? Jacob would never hurt her; it was no secret that he loved her as much as Edward. He would die before putting her in danger, and yet Edward forbade her to see her best friend—forbade her, like she was a prisoner of his love. He could understand now that if he loved someone he had to let them make their own choices. God’s teeth—one evening, he even had the audacity to remove the distributer of her truck to prevent her from visiting the boy. What a monumental ass he was! How could his own family stand him?
He kicked the leg of the couch in his room.
He stared at the splintering wood at the bottom of the furniture. Who cared? Who was going to sit there anyway? It wasn’t like he needed a place to rest.
He had a knack for doing things wrong, so he sat on that same couch he’d just ruined. If Bella sat here, it would be dangerous. The couch could crumple any second.
He huffed at himself.
He thought of the many times he had put her in danger—the baseball game to name one. She would have been killed in the ballet studio that day if he had not gotten there in time to save her. And yet he was afraid that Jacob Black was dangerous? No, that was not it. He was afraid that the mutt would take her away from him, and that is exactly what happened, but not because of anything that Jacob did. Edward’s controlling ways pushed her into the other man’s willing arms—arms that at this moment were probably wrapped around her form, enclosing her in a cocoon of love.
Staring into the tree line through his window, he envisioned in his mind’s eye the day that he took Bella on a trip to the very top of the tall pines that stood as a giant fringe of dark green beyond his bedroom. That was a day that filled him with gladness. She was in awe of the nature surrounding her and in awe of the man beside her—the man who taught her a different reality existed.
He ran his hands over the window panes Bella had touched that day. If he inhaled deep enough, he could catch a tiny hint of her scent there.
The smell drove him mad, so he stopped breathing. He pulled his hands off the glass. His hands fell to his sides, his fists clenched at the memory; the knuckles cracking from the strain.
She was nearly a part of his world at that time, but what went wrong?
He walked to his dresser, and slid the top drawer open. Sitting on a pile of shirts laid a small box. Peering inside, he gazed at the plastic top from her lemonade bottle. He had kept it as a souvenir of happier times. Picking up the ring lying next to it, he fingered it, sighing as he did so. He’d hoped one day it would find a place on her delicate hand. Oh how he wanted this ring, not Jacob’s on her finger!
He closed his eyes, letting his mind drift again. How? How did this happen? What was the defining moment that dealt the death knell to their relationship—that separated them for the rest of his eternity? Was it the night on the mountain?
Ah, that night ... even with supernatural powers at his disposal, he could not protect her from the elements. His icy presence only added to the chill inside the tent. No—it took that mangy dog to slide into the bedroll with her and let his heat penetrate deep into her shivering body. It was only Jacob that then, enveloped around her, kept her close, kept her warm, kept her from freezing to death. And his Bella clung to that warmth, the mutt’s naturally occurring fire leeching into her bones. Did it seep into her heart as well? Did he instill within her a craving for his heat?
It was a thorn in Edward’s side that Bella always wanted more from him; not material things, she didn’t care for the things of the world. She wanted to be loved, and Edward did love her with every part of his being except one, and that he couldn’t do. It was too risky.
He gripped the back of his neck—the tension thick enough to make fissures appear on the side of it.
She wanted that part of him that could love her in the physical sense. He was a man, and had needs, but to make love to her could do her great harm. He wasn’t willing to expose her to that danger, no matter how she begged him, or how sorely he was tempted. The thought killed him that Jacob entertained no such restraint, and was having his joy of her even now as he stood here brooding about his loss.
And what about the day of the newborn battle, when she begged Jacob to stay? Was it a foreshadowing of love for each other when they shared that earth-shattering kiss atop the mountain peak?
He ground his teeth together and a moan of anguish rose from deep within his chest. That damn kiss!
Sure, Edward had given them some privacy, but in the supernatural world, some things were no longer entirely private. He heard every noise they made. Bella could not disguise the low moans that emanated from the back of her throat—those very sounds that quickened Jacob’s pulse—or the rustle of her clothing as it grazed against his bare chest.
Every inhalation of air rang in his ears, and the quickly accelerating breaths signifying that his Bella was a woman. It was Jacob that had awakened that woman; the panting need of the woman screaming inside of her. Their hearts’ rhythms were synchronized as they began to beat more rapidly, neither one ashamed to unveil the natural passions that were consuming them.
He wanted to stop up his ears from the punishing assault—the sounds of their moist lips as they came together, over and over. Edward had difficulty restraining himself from pouncing on the couple. It was sheer torture, when Jacob pulled her closer, pressing his mouth over hers with more forcefulness. But Bella followed voluntarily. Her moaning became louder and she egged his rival on, her fingers ruffling softly through Jacob’s thick hair, as his hands dug into the exposed flesh beneath the flannel shirt at her waist.
If hearing the unmistakable echoes of love was a blow to his pride, then gleaning the amorous thoughts in Jacob’s head was enough to push Edward over the edge. The thoughts and carnal fantasies were crystal clear and so loud as to give him a headache. There was no doubt in Edward’s mind that Jacob was deliriously in love with the girl. It was also apparent, that if given the opportunity, he would bed her in a heartbeat and make her his own.
Both parties involved were betrayed by their own bodies. The scent of their mutual arousal permeated the air, and Edward winced at the smell of it. And when Jacob broke the kiss and hurried on to meet the enemy at the battle field, Bella couldn’t look Edward in the eye. Her face was an open book, first with the flush of love, and then ... overshadowed by the shameful betrayal of her future husband to be.
If only Jacob had stayed on the mountain, maybe things would have turned out differently. He wouldn’t have gotten injured, and Bella would not have stayed at his side, nursing him to health, and building the bonds of friendship into something more. She fell in love with Jacob, even as she fell out of love with Edward.
It was telling that she removed her engagement ring that day as she ran to see him.
Her ring finger was glaringly naked. “Where is your ring, love? Are you afraid you’ll lose it?”
Bella’s words were halting ... troubling. “No, I ... I just don’t want to cause him any more pain. Hasn’t he suffered enough today?”
Edward couldn’t read her mind, but the crimson enveloping her face was speaking volumes. The absence of that symbol would be a on-verbal announcement to Jacob that her bond with Edward was now broken. Jacob had taken his place in her heart.
He stood in his bed-less room, his stony heart broken beyond repair. His reverie was interrupted by the unspoken words of another. Alice came silently through the open door, suddenly by his side. Her thoughts, he could tell, were of concern for him.
Her face wore a somber expression. “Edward,” she said softly. “Do you want to talk about it?”
She meant well, but he was not ready to accept any advice or to pour out his heart at this time. He turned, unblinking to his little sister. “Thank you, Alice, but there’s nothing more to say. You warned me, but I was too arrogant to listen. If I had been less controlling, and more trusting, I would be with her now, on our honeymoon.”
The diminutive brunette tilted her head up and gazed into his pools of amber. “Bella was my best friend, and I’ll miss her. She made her choice. I’m not happy about this either, but we both have to let it go. She’s happy. Isn’t that all you ever wanted for her?”
“Yes ... I was hoping however, that she would be happy with me ... at my side. She was so beautiful, Alice. She’s the only girl I’ll ever love.”
Alice disagreed, and shook her head. “You don’t know that.”
His tone turned to anguish. “I don’t mean to contradict you, but have you seen my future.”
Alice reached out her hand and rested it on his shoulder. “You know that’s not how it works. But that’s not to say, that love can’t find you again.”
He turned toward the tiny pixie, his golden eyes bereft of tears. “It’s been 109 years; I don’t know if I can exist for that long again, knowing what I’ve lost. I can’t bear the thought of all those years of loneliness. I appreciate what you’re trying to do. Ironically, for right now though, I just prefer to be alone.”
Alice stretched up on tiptoe, kissing him lightly on the cheek. She whispered in his ear, “You know you can always talk to me. I have all the time in the world for my big brother.” Alice slipped out of the room on cat-light feet and left him in solitude.
. . . . .
Emmett stuck his head in the door. “Hey, I’m sorry, man,” he uttered, then sauntered away down the hall.
He overheard Rosalie, say to Emmett, “Leave him alone, Emmett. He doesn’t want to be bothered.”
“I was just sayin’, honeybunch.”
“Don’t call me that! You know I hate it when you call me that.”
“Oh, c’mon, Rosie girl. Don’t start this again.”
“I’m not in the mood,” Rosalie snapped at him.
Edward cringed internally. Were they always this way, or was it just accentuated due to the misery in his own heart? It was bad enough he was privy to their thoughts day in and day out. But listening to this bickering between a couple that should cherish their relationship when his arms were empty, was too much to bear. He crept silently downstairs, and sat on the piano stool, in the hopes that his music would drown out their exasperating remarks to each other.
It’s been said that music could soothe the soul of a beast. And if any monster needed a balm to heal his soul, it was Edward. He looked at the beautiful instrument in anticipation.
Smoothing out the leaves of the sheet music, he began nimbly running his fingers along the ivory keys. The notes rang out, filling the empty atmosphere with a blanket of serenity. When he turned the page, a sheet fell out of the neatly stacked pieces falling to the floor. He leaned down, retrieving the errant composition and righted it on the piano, not paying attention to the notes painstakingly written on the paper.
As the strains of music filled the air, he recognized the melody from a happier time. It hit him full force like an avalanche of emotion. It was the one composed for her. He used to hum it as he lay beside her in the night—it was Bella’s lullaby.
Edward stopped playing abruptly. He was overwhelmed with despair on hearing the once beloved song. He stood up suddenly, sending the bench skidding along the floor. His hands scattered the sheets of music in a fit of unbridled passion. They sailed in the air like tufts of feathers and floated about the room, dotting it here and there with the white and black flakes of musical confetti.
The piano now stood as a reminder of the many hours he played his compositions for her. His fist came down in a powerful blow, and the musical instrument crumbled in a heap of broken ivory bits, twisted wires, and lacquered wood. In his agony, he ripped and splintered the remaining pieces, flinging them across the room, helter-skelter.
As the piano tumbled into a mountain of debris, his family was immediately alerted to the source of the sound, and came running to his side. Esme was the first to witness the scene as he fell to his knees among the rubble, with tearless, wracking sobs. Her arms were instantly surrounding him in a motherly gesture of comfort. She cradled his head in her hands placing it along her neck as she gently stroked his disheveled hair.
“It won’t always hurt this badly,” she reassured him. “With time, the pain will fade, so that she will only be a memory—a memory you can look back on with feelings of nostalgia, maybe even pleasure.”
Rosalie, ever brutally honest, had to get her two cents in. She flicked her long blond hair over one shoulder and crossed her arms at her chest. “Bella’s gone, Edward, and I’m sorry for you, but she made the right choice. She can raise a family, and have a purpose in life now, instead of attending high school forever and a day. Who in their right mind would choose this pitiful excuse for an existence anyway?”
Edward lifted his head peering directly at the statuesque blonde, his eyes full of anger. “I loved her, Rosalie, and that’s something you will never understand in your world of superficiality.”
Emmett frowned. “Hey, don’t you think that was a little harsh?”
Touching his sleeve, Rosalie commented, “It’s okay, you don’t have to defend me. I know he’s distraught over losing her, although I can’t imagine why. What did he see in her, besides a sealed brain and four quarts of appealing red blood? After all, she was just a silly little human, a plain Jane, certainly not worth all this blubbering, not to mention destroying a perfectly good piano.”
All at once, Alice’s head shot up in terror as she shrieked, “Quick–Jasper, grab him.”
It was too late—Edward lunged at Rosalie, slamming her flat against the wall, his fingers like talons encircling her neck in a tight band. Emmett and Jasper were holding onto him, trying to talk him down, with Jasper desperately fanning out a feeling of calm in his direction.
“C’mon, now, Edward. I reckon you got your feathers ruffled a smite. And it is true this whole family would like to see Rosalie act a lil’ bit more cordial, but what’s done is done. So, we would all be much obliged if you would let go of this lil’ filly and go ’bout your business. Whaddya say, can we call a calf rope on this disagreement?”
Jasper’s waves of calming influence worked its magic; Edward’s anger slowly evaporated. His steely digits loosened their grip on Rosalie’s neck, and finally his arms dropped limply to his sides, defeated.
Rosalie’s hands instinctively rubbed at her stricken throat, trying to massage the indentations left by Edward’s unyielding fingers. With eyes narrowed in contempt, Rosalie barked, “I am never speaking to you again. What is wrong with you? I’m gonna have to put makeup on my neck to hide all these cracks.” She reached out and clutching Emmett’s hand, blurted, “C’mon, Emmett. Let’s remove ourselves from this hostile environment.” She turned on her heels, and with a huff, walked toward the stairwell.
Emmett shrugged in obvious embarrassment as Rosalie led him up the stairs.
Esme yelled after Rosalie, “You and I will have a little chat about this later.”
She turned her attention back to her son, apology apparent in her eyes. “I’m so sorry you had to hear that, Edward. I promise you, I will talk to her.”
This whole day had just been too much. His one futile attempt at love had failed miserably, and here he was a bachelor abiding in a house full of loving couples. It was just another reminder of the travesty that was his non-life. He couldn’t endure their association any longer. Seeing their happiness would only emphasize the fact that he was, and would likely forever remain, love-less and alone.
A few minutes later, Esme left the room to get some equipment to clean up the smashed bits and pieces of the piano. The calm feeling that enveloped the living room had all but dissipated, and the heartbroken vampire seized the opportunity to depart speedily. Alice nodded to him as if to say, goodbye, Edward.
She glanced quickly toward Carlisle who stood by silently witnessing the previous altercation.
Carlisle instinctively realized that Edward had already left mentally. “Take care, Son,” he uttered sorrowfully.
Edward jumped in his car and took off, unable to get away from all the pain quick enough
The miles went by in a blur, and he found himself in Denali. But if his intention was to remain alone, he was sadly mistaken. It wasn’t long before Tanya found him sitting on a snow covered log in the middle of nowhere, staring into space. He heard her thoughts way before she appeared in person. Why didn’t he flee from that spot before she arrived?
Edward sighed in acknowledgement of her presence. “What do you want, Tanya?” he asked in a low voice.
Tanya smiled, despite his less than cheerful greeting, and sat beside him. “Same old moody Edward.”
Without turning to look at her, he responded, “Yes, I am in a very dark mood right at this moment, so it would behoove you to get as far away from me as possible.”
“Oh, whatever it is that’s bothering you can’t be that awful,” she chided, nudging him with her shoulder.
Glancing at the creature sitting near him, he noted her beautiful face was alight with the joy of seeing him once again. He was well aware that she housed dreams of the two of them becoming lovers—alas, a dream he didn’t share. Bella was, and always would be his one and only. No one could replace her in his un-beating heart, not even the perfection sitting next to him.
He then looked carefully at Tanya, scrutinizing her features for a moment or two. Her face was that of an angel with rosebud lips, eyes of spun gold, and hair a silvery blonde that was alive as it caught the light. He still felt nothing for her besides friendship. Why couldn’t he love this gorgeous woman? She was like him—durable, beautiful, and with an eternal guarantee. If only Cupid’s arrow had struck him with Tanya in mind.
His eyes averted from her, continuing to peer straight ahead once more. He replied, “I don’t mean to be rude, but I really wish you would leave. I’m not good company for you or anyone right now.”
A head nod accompanied her next remark. “Oh ... I get it. Girl trouble, huh? Is it that Swan girl you’ve been so wrapped up in?”
His head fell into his open palms. “Yes ... There, I said it. Are you satisfied now? Tanya, please ... Go, I’m begging you.”
She ran her hand gently down the back of his head. “I’m sorry, I was only trying—”
Suddenly, jerking up his head, her hand was knocked aside. “I know, but you can’t help me. Don’t you understand? I’m beyond help. It’s a hopeless situation.”
“But ...” she began. He read the unspoken thoughts inside of her. I can make you forget her. I know I can. Why won’t you let me help you?
In an instant, he was gone, leaving Tanya alone on the branch; a rush of air left behind from his rapid flight; her only indication he was actually there.
He was back in his car fleeing once again.
Edward traveled farther north, where the cold and snow were merciless. He had finally reached the remote edges of Alaska. Had he distanced himself from everything that reminded him of Bella? Was there anywhere he could travel on the earth that would be far enough away to make him forget?
Standing as still as a statue, he tried to remember a time when she had not taken over his reason for existing. The wind blew and the sleet descended, covering him in a thick blanket of ice, and still he turned it over and over in his mind. He felt himself gradually losing his hold on sanity.
Weeks went by and the covering of ice expanded further, so that he was completely encased in a block of frozen transparency. And then one day, he heard a sniffing sound, followed by barking, then footsteps. He was found by a hunting dog, and consequently the dog’s master.
“What is it, boy?” he heard the man say, as he crept close to his dog. It was too late to break free of the ice. The thickness of his cold container had masked the scent and muffled the sounds and thoughts. Or was it that he just didn’t care anymore? But, no matter, who would believe the hunter’s tall tale? The public would sooner believe a Bigfoot sighting.
The man crept forward slowly, and practically pressed his face against the icy material, staring in wonder at the view before him. “What have we got here, Caesar? Huh? What in the holy hell ...? Is it an alien? Look at those black eyes, and that skin. I’ve gotta get a picture of this.”
The hunter reached into his pocket, pulled out his camera-phone and took a few photos. He motioned to his dog, “C’mon, boy, let’s go get some help to cart this fella home. I’m not leaving this alien behind for someone else to find. If we get the credit for it, maybe we’ll get some kind of reward. We’ll be celebrated as heroes and be on the TV—talk shows, commercials. I can see it all now ... women ... money ...” His voice trailed off as they started on the trek to their house. The crunch of the snow under the hunter’s boots finally faded from Edward’s earshot.
As soon as the two visitors left, the lonely vampire shrugged and the coat of ice shivered and fell away, releasing its all too willing prisoner. Edward was on the run again. This time he hid in a cave, leaving only to feed occasionally; his thirst no longer utmost on his mind. He wondered if it was possible for a vampire to starve to death ... or to die of a broken heart.
It was splashed all over the news for the next few days. Alien Being Found in the Arctic Wasteland. The hunter, Miles Hilliard, was ridiculed, despite his photographic evidence, when the area where he spotted the alien proved to be nothing more than a pile of shaved ice. The story was commonly ignored as a hoax, except in a little hamlet called Volterra, where it caught the particular attention of a vampire named Aro.
In two days time, three of his Volturi guard were dispatched to the farthest regions of Alaska. Felix Morelli—the brawn, Jane Sauer—the brains, and Demitri Carbone, the tracker, were ghosting over the snow crusted ground in search of Edward Cullen. There was no mistaking the face captured in those photographs. The Cullen boy was becoming careless, and the Volturi’s Chief Law Enforcer would have to put a stop to it. Aro could not afford any more inquisitive hunters to find the previously elusive Edward, and thus uncover their secret—the existence of alternative beings, or vampires.
The trio covered the area thoroughly, Demitri leading the way. There was nothing that could evade Demitri’s prowess in tracking a fleeing ... animal, human, or vampire. They came upon Edward’s cave on the third day, but he was already gone. He heard them coming, and was aware of their signature scent. He plodded on until he came to the sea.
Was escaping the henchmen the answer? Would he have to dodge them for the remainder of his existence? A solution came to him instead. Walking resolutely into the water, he waited for his captors. He was not the least bit concerned about their pursuit any longer. If they found him, so be it. He was tired of running away. His life was worth nothing to him, without his Bella.
He sat on a large rock on the sandy ocean floor, awaiting his inevitable execution. The sea creatures flit in between and around his feet as if he were the centerpiece on the bottom of an aquarium. He didn’t acknowledge their presence.
Demitri was the first to reach him, and was surprised to be met with little resistance. Edward was resigned, and made no endeavor to escape his fate; any attempt would be an exercise in futility. Jane was next to greet him. She glared at the problematic vampire, her thoughts wafting to Edward. Such a waste of a lifetime. Can’t you see there’s a place and a purpose for you in Volterra? Aro would like you to join his guard. We’ll spare you if you come with us.
Edward shook his head slowly, his bronze hair undulating loosely like swaying seaweed in the salt water. Jane nodded to Felix, and he approached his prey. Demitri helped Edward to stand up and face his demise. He looked Felix straight in the eye; the name of his only love repeating in his mind ... Bella.
The gargantuan guard placed his hands on either side of Edward’s head and cleanly snapped it off his shoulders. Demitri took his dismembered head, and followed Felix, who lifted the decapitated body and walked with it toward the shore.
The purple smoke was visible to only a few animals and the Volturi in attendance at the pyre. And so Edward Anthony Mason-Cullen passed away quietly in the Alaskan Wilderness; born of a Vampire’s kiss, destroyed by a Vampire’s turn of the wrist.
In Forks, Alice watched in horror as she saw the vision of Edward accepting his doom. She shared the sorrowful news with her family, but never saw Bella again, keeping the secret of his death safe. Edward always wished his human love to be happy, and imparting that news to her would serve no purpose, and only make the rest of Bella’s remaining days—a lifetime of pain and guilt.
Bella and her Jacob led a full happy life, never knowing that the man who cheated death once, was finally at rest.
But, was his entire existence a waste, as Jane suggested? Could loving someone ever be construed as a waste? It was obvious he had his share of regrets, but loving Bella was not one of them. Love was the only thing that gave true meaning to an everlasting life, even the life of a self-proclaimed monster ... like Edward Cullen.
I know. this is only the second time I've ever gotten a review here. The only reason I posted it here was so that I could add my illustrations. I can't do that on FF,net. Anyway, it is posted there. The other fansites I belong to are all Team Jacob, so you can see my dilemma. Thanks for your awesome review. Made my day!
Ronnie Rodriguez "twihard4ever" said:
Wow, WOW, this is amazing!!!! Its so well written and so beautifully done!!!! It's just such a great read!! I couldnt stop, it's just so good!!! I'd recommend posting it on a fanfictions website you know;) it'd get a lot of responses then this deadbeat website(As a member for almost three years, this place is no longer active, so I recommend it)
You can post it here: http://m.fanfiction.net/
Its safe, and one of the largest fanfiction websites in the world:)
You know it's funny, but I get so much more attention from fff.net, and hardly a peep at some of the other websites (obviously including this one). Anyway, thanks for your tremendous response, and I do hope that FF.net does let us illustrate our chapters soon, but no way am I going to go back and fix them all.I have over 41 stories--yikes!
Ronnie Rodriguez "twihard4ever" said:
You're welcome!! And I understand really I have an account so I can read and review and the Fanfictions dont have images because they can't yet. Hopefully they will soon update it all:) and you're welcome really!! Its well deserved:) its sad that people probably dont notice this.