dark moon

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17. Chapter 15 Reconciliation

The more I deliberated over the details of my situation – the more confident I became about my current plan.

Nobody would get hurt with the exception of me, which is all I cared about.
Why should others suffer for me?
They shouldn’t.
I had already caused pain to enough people.
Bella.
Bella’s family and friends for having had a hand in her death; and now my own family too.
I felt extremely guilty for bringing agony to my family, but I simply could not go on living without Bella.
I would follow Bella wherever she went from now on.
 
The blazing sun was rising up into the sky.
I had made the decision to make my appearance into the sunlight when the sun was at its highest point in the sky – Noon.
That would coincide with the festival taking place in the Palazzo dei Priori – it would be at its busiest and overcrowded – giving me a large audience and creating a substantial disturbance for the Volturi.
 
I would step into the light precisely as the clock tower located on the edge of the square tolled twelve. For now I had to wait.
 
The wait was bearable compared to what I had endured in recent times. But still I felt tremendously impatient. The time until my reunion with Bella seemed like a century away. In comparison, the wait before I had left Forks had flown by, and now I wondered why time seemed to deny us our heart’s desire.
Maybe I was thinking too much.
Time didn’t slow or stop in reality.
It consistently ticked by. 
 
I didn’t want to prolong the remaining seconds of my existence. I sought solace.
I wanted my home; my Bella.
 
I spent my final hours imagining our reunion. When we were reunited, would she forgive me?
Even in death?
 
I watched from the shadows as the square became crowded; it was almost time. The alleyway where I had first encountered Demetri and Felix was located directly under the clock tower at the Palazzo dei Priori. That’s where I would wait out the last few minutes before eventually stepping out to my death.
I could see the clock from my current location. It showed me that I had a quarter of an hour left; fifteen long minutes.
 
I made my way inconspicuously through the cobbled streets of Volterra to the narrow alleyway.
 
The words echoed through my mind.
            ‘I wasn’t going to live without you.’ – My own words.
Spoken to Bella on her previous birthday.
I was infuriated that Bella’s life had ended so soon, but I was more furious about the fact I hadn’t been there to protect her.
I hated the thought of her being alone.
Alone and falling.
Thrashing and drowning.
Deathly cold in the churning sea.
Gasping for air as her last breath ebbed and she was taken prisoner by the water.
Stop it! I ordered myself.
I didn’t want to visualise her death, but my mind would not be controlled. It was determined to remind me of exactly what I had caused.
 
In my final minutes I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on what I would leave behind – my loved ones, my family.
I would miss them all in their own individual ways.
 
Carlisle, my creator, my father. How I admired his strength, courage and compassion. He was such a wonderful being.
 
Esme, my guardian, my mother. The most loving and caring being who ever lived. Oh, how I loved and admired her.
 
Emmett, my brother. His amusing attitude made me laugh and he gave me strength.
 
Jasper, my most recent brother. I felt a huge amount of gratitude towards him for showing me that my love was in need of protection. He was a comfort to me, in more ways than one.
 
Rosalie, a most selfish creature. But she gave me guidance and love like a true sister.
 
Alice, my favourite sister. How could I begin to explain how wonderful she was or how much I loved her? She made me smile and brought me joy. I would miss her tiny, annoying being the most.
 
The most important person was not part of my family, and now never would be.
The most amazing person.
My Bella.
The very reason for my existence.
We would be together again soon.
 
I knew I would hurt my family terribly by carrying out this suicide mission but they were better off without me.
There was no meaning to my life now it was devoid of my Bella. I loved her endlessly and could not possibly live without her.
I was sorry for not being a commendable companion, son, brother.
Sorry for the hurt.
I apologise for the pain.
I’m sorry for not being a worthy enough, not strong enough.
Truly apologetic and full of remorse, I would endure the guilt of my sins – even in death.
 
I rested my head on the stone building behind me waiting for the final seconds to pass.
Death was imminent.
 
The clock tolled for the first time marking the approach of high noon. The echoing sound was soothing and helped calm my anxious state.
I was able to hear the thoughts of the several Volturi guard members nearby waiting to attack instantly, ready for the impending exposure of our kind.
I closed my eyes and ignored the voices in my head and stepped to the edge of the shadows.
I was ready to sparkle for the world to see, so I removed my shirt at dropped it at my feet.
As the clock continued to chime, booming throughout the square, I heard Bella call my name in the distance.
I smiled.
I had craved for so long to hear her voice again.
It rang in my ears, and the sweet sound made me melt.
It sounded extraordinarily real.
I knew I was hallucinating but I welcomed the insanity.
I pictured Bella’s face behind my closed eyelids.
She beamed at me, her smile was brilliant.
            “Edward!” She called me into the light.
Patience my Bella, I thought, not wanting the sound of spoken words to destroy my glorious moment.
            “Edward, look at me.”
Her voice stunned me and I took an involuntary step forward towards the sound.
My terminal moment arrived as the eleventh toll rang I took my step into the light.
My final step.
 
Something collided with me as I made my movement forward. But I felt no pain.
I instinctively held my arms out in front of me – not to attack, just to block or catch whatever it was that had flung itself into me.
I slowly opened my eyes as the twelfth toll rang – doing what Bella had said, and to see where I now found myself.
All I saw was Bella in my arms.
I was astounded.
            “Amazing.” I whispered
I had a soul after all.
It was a general belief that vampires had no soul; I now knew that to be a myth. Because I had one…and it had taken me to heaven.
I was with my love, my Bella.
I was filled with love and wonder.
I could actually feel her in my arms.
My chest was no longer hollow.
My heart had been replaced.
I was whole again.
 
            “Carlisle was right.” I spoke in a voice radiating astonishment.
I lifted my hand to touch Bella’s cheek to ensure she would not disappear as quickly as she has arrived.
She didn’t.
Electric shocks ran through my body.
She was truly real.
It was like the past six months had not occurred and I was finally back where I belonged.
 
            “Edward.” Bella whispered my name again and my dead heart shuddered. This was beyond anything I could ever have imagined.
I inhaled deeply.
Her scent set my throat on fire, but there was a difference. With the burning, there came no desire to eradicate her by indulging her blood; only contentment and joy. Her scent had not changed – the sweet bouquet of freesia smelt more luxurious than ever.
 
I could hear her heart beating furiously in her chest – pumping the warm blood around her body. Her pulse was rapid - like it generally was when we were intimately close.
This was perfect.
 
As I embraced Bella, stroking her hair, I was marvelled.
My death occurred immediately.
The Volturi had acted instantaneously to prevent my exposure.
            “I can’t believe how quick it was.” I told my Bella. “I didn’t feel a thing – they’re very good.”
I gently kissed her hair and closed my eyes.
I experienced another recollection from Bella’s previous birthday where I told her I envied Romeo’s ease of suicide.
That jealously has been misconstrued. 
My own suicide had been simple – all it had taken was a step into the sunlight.
            “Death hath sucked the honey of thy breath, hath no power yet upon thy beauty.” I quoted Shakespeare’s character. “You smell exactly the same as always. So maybe this is hell. I don’t care. I’ll take it”
Although, I could never possibly envisage this being hell.
I was with Bella – and that was all that mattered.
Bella spoke agitatedly interrupting my thoughts.
            “I’m not dead. And neither are you! Please Edward, we have to move. They cannot be far away!”
I felt a struggling movement in my arms.
I was confused by her words and her belligerent movements. We were happy and safe – what was she talking about?
            “What was that?”
            “We’re not dead, yet! But we have to get out of here before the Volturi –“
 
My eyes flashed open as I heard nearby thoughts.
            He has a human with him.
            This will mean death surely…for them both. Maybe the master will allow me to devour the human at Edward’s expense.
 
Comprehension crashed down on me.
I was not dead.
Bella was not deceased either – she was here, in my arms.
Now it was too late.
I screamed profanities at myself as I realised I put Bella in danger…again.
The worst possible danger.
 
Bella may have been on the edge of death before because of my actions.
But now I may very well have killed her.
 Permalink Reply by Vampire Girl*aKa Soph* on November 6, 2011 at 8:28am
Chapter 16
Reason

They were coming to intercept us.
Me and Bella.
My Bella.
Bella was here.
I could hardly believe she was real.
But yet she was here – here in my arms.
I didn’t have time to think about how this had occurred let alone ask for an explanation from her.
We were both in grave danger.
I had almost made another disastrous mistake and left Bella here unprotected, if she had arrived one second later…
 
In one quick motion I pulled her further into the alleyway and pushed her as gently as possible against the wall before putting myself in a protective stance in front of her, spreading my arms wide.
At that very same moment, Felix and Demetri appeared at the end of the alleyway – both in dark cloaks that covered their pale skin, preventing it from sparkling in the sunlight. My chest was still bare and my shirt somewhere at my feet. I didn’t even dare look down to locate it.
I had more important things to attend to – like thinking of how I could get Bella out of this ominous situation.
I needed her to escape.
To stand and fight wasn’t an option; there wasn’t a chance I could take on two skilled vampires as well as protecting Bella.
The consequences would be dire.
 
Courtesy seemed like the best option to begin with. Perhaps if I did not anger them, they would be lenient.
All I wanted was the keep Bella safe.
To save her as she had saved me – once again.
 
            “Greetings gentlemen. I don’t think I will be requiring your services today after all. I would appreciate it very much, however, if you would send my thanks to your masters.” I said in a polite tone without showing any hint of the anger that effervesced in the pit of my stomach.
            “Shall we take this conversation to a more appropriate venue?” Felix suggested.
            “I don’t believe that will be necessary. I know your instructions, Felix. I haven’t broken any rules.” I replied curtly.
I hadn’t actually exposed my true self, but I had attempted to – would that be reason enough for them to exterminate me?
 
             “Felix merely meant to point out the proximity of the sun. Let us seek better cover.” Demetri said calmly.
 
I could see in their minds, they had no intention of allowing us to escape. They had been ordered to bring me back, and since Bella was clearly human – she could not be allowed to leave.
Even so, there was no harm in attempting to change their mind first instead of surrendering right away.
I could not allow Bella to be taken from me and I didn’t want to leave her side, but I would go with them if it meant Bella’s release.
            “I’ll be right behind you. Bella, why don’t you go back to the square and enjoy the festival?”
I couldn’t bear the thought of being apart from Bella after we had only just been reunited – but if it was the only possible solution to keep her free from harm then I had to follow it through.
            Definitely not. Demetri thought.
            “No, bring the girl.” Felix jeered.
            “I don’t think so!” I replied angrily. There was absolutely no way Bella was coming into the Volturi’s den.
 
            Very well. We will force you to come. Felix hissed in this mind.
I rearranged my stance to ensure Bella was fully protected by my form in case of a spontaneous attack.
 
            “No.” Bella mouthed to me noticing what I was doing.
            “Shh.” I hushed her.
Felix was about to initiate his attack which did not go unnoticed by Demetri.
            “Felix.” He cautioned. “Not here.”
Demetri turned his attention back to me once Felix appeared to have backed down.
“Aro would simply like to speak to you again, as you have decided not to force our hand after all.”
            “Certainly.” I agreed. “But the girl goes free.”
I didn’t use Bella’s name in an attempt to suggest she was not significant in the matter at hand, although she was the greatest importance to me.
            “I’m afraid that’s not possible. We do have rules to obey.” Demetri said with regret in his tone.
            “Then I’m afraid that I’ll be unable to accept Aro’s invitation, Demetri.”
            “That’s just fine.” Felix droned. We will still require your presence, along with your little girlfriend’s.
            “Aro will be disappointed.” Demetri sighed.
            “I’m sure he will survive the let down.” I replied.
That is beside the point, Edward. It is time to come, now.
Both Volturi guards moved to surround myself and Bella, determined to overpower us and follow their master’s instructions.
 
            Edward! What were you thinking? How could you be so irresponsible? Thank goodness we arrived on time. Well almost, at least. Alice’s rushed silent words swam through my head. My head whipped round to face the direction her thoughts came from.
Alice was here?
Of course she was. I had completely forgotten that she probably would have seen me come to Volterra in a vision.
It also explained how Bella got here.
I was slightly disgruntled by my sister’s action in bringing Bella here. How could she drag her into this? All the same though I was grateful for Alice’s involvement and presence.
 
Felix and Demetri became wary as they heard the faint approach of pixie feet.
            Who’s there? Felix thought as he and Demetri turned to face the same direction as me.
            “Let’s behave ourselves, shall we? They’re ladies present.” Alice spoke as she skipped to my side. Her manner appeared casual, but it was pretence. I could see the underlying annoyance in her mind.
Both Volturi members straightened up at her arrival.
            Felix’s expression was grim as he thought; we should have dealt with this immediately. Let’s do it now before anymore of their friends come and join them.
They obviously didn’t like not having the upper hand now the numbers were even.
Just as I was about to fall into a defensive crouch in preparation for attack, Alice spoke.
            “We’re not alone.”
I followed her gaze and realised what she was referring to.
I had not noticed the on lookers; a young family peering down the alleyway.
The family of four stood gazing at us intently, particularly at my protective posture in front of Bella.
The thoughts of the parents were of concern, and uncertainty about whether they should call for help or intervene.
I wanted to shout for them to move. They shouldn’t get involved; it could cost them their lives.
Felix was already contemplating what could be done about them.
The father decided it was time to make the human security aware of the situation in case anything happened.
            Demetri shook his head. Edward, you don’t want the innocents implicated do you?
I ignored his silent question.
            “Please, Edward, let’s be reasonable.” He said aloud.
            “Let’s, and we’ll leave quietly now, with no one the wiser.” I replied.
            I can’t let you do that. Demetri sighed in frustration.
He knew my decision could not be influenced when we were even numbered, not including Bella – my fragile human.
            “At least let us discuss this more privately.”
The security guard had called reinforcements and there were now several uniformed men gathered deciding if this was the right moment to intercede.
 
I heard light footstep not audible to human ears, coming deeper into the alleyway.
Jane.
            Edward! Stop this at once.
She had been sent to assist Felix and Demetri in bringing me in. She didn’t look remotely surprised by the company with us.
            “No.” I hissed through my teeth.
Felix smirked as he heard Jane’s approach, and both he and Demetri relaxed as they knew their mission would be completed easily following the arrival of the diminutive Jane.
I hadn’t looked at Bella during the confrontation, but I was certain she wore an anxious expression on her beautiful face.
            “Enough.” Jane said tersely. If you do not proceed with me to Aro, then I will be forced to impose my talent on your dear little friend.
She pictured it in her mind.
She was threatening to hurt my Bella.
How dare she?
I was furious and had the overpowering urge to dismember her on the spot.
I could not refuse her.
I had to go; we all had to.
 
With regret and dejection I dropped my arms in defeat and relaxed my protective posture. 
            “Jane.” I sighed with anger and resignation, but also as a sign of my cooperation.
Alice crossed her arms angrily across her chest but maintained an impassive expression.
            Who does she think she is? Alice snorted in her head.
            “Follow me.” Jane said as she turned and drifted back in the direction she had come.
Alice pranced after Jane whilst Felix gestured for me and Bella to follow. I wound my arm around Bella’s waist and pulled her along gently beside me.
 
As we walked down the familiar alleyway towards the discreet entrance of the Volturi’s lair, I realised this was my opportunity get some explanations.
I needed answers.
I wanted to know the reason why we – meaning myself, Bella and my sister were here.
How did we all end up here?
What caused this?
It was imperative that I understood before we encountered our impending doom.
 
Felix and Demetri were not relishing the fact that we had to walk at human pace due to Bella, but I disregarded their silent complaining and focused on obtaining the information I required from Alice.
Alice’s thoughts were with Jasper – missing him.
I needed to prompt her in someway so she would think specifically about recent events.
            “Well, Alice. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to see you here.”
In an instant I saw her and Bella’s frantic journey from Forks to save me, and her telling my other family members not to follow in case a situation similar to the one we were in now ensued.
            “It was my mistake. It was my job to set it right.” She replied. I’m sorry Edward. I had no idea Rosalie would be so malevolent by telling you right away. I would have told you myself, but I thought I was doing the right thing by checking with Charlie first. She continued in her head.
            “What happened?” I asked casually, hoping she would give me a brief description for the sake of the Volturi vampires within earshot, and then elaborating in her mind for me to observe.
            “It’s a long story.” Alice shot a glance at Bella. As it usually is with our Bella Swan. “In summary, she did jump off a cliff, but she wasn’t trying to kill herself. Bella is all about extreme sports these days.”
 
I didn’t appreciate Alice’s sarcasm; I wanted to scream out in fury at what I saw in her head.
Bella.
Cliff diving.
The company of werewolves. Ferocious creatures.
I didn’t understand. She had promised not to be stupid or reckless, but this went beyond irresponsible.
It got worse.
Other vampires.
Laurent.
Victoria.
Victoria had gone back to Forks – for my Bella.
All because I couldn’t track her.
I should have been better.
I should have prevented Victoria’s attempts to gain access to Bella.
I should have gone back.
My departure was the cause of all these new wildly dangerous activities Bella had been participating in.
I was responsible.
Would I ever stop endangering my love?
 
I detested myself more than I thought possible.
Remembering and feeling that Bella was now in my arms kept me calm. However she wasn’t safe here with me now, although I vowed in my head to never hurt her again.
            “Hm.” I managed to choke out.
 
What had I done?
I had introduced Bella into a dangerous mythical world and left her to encounter it alone.
It seems like the werewolves had been attempting to protect Bella, and one in particular – Jacob Black, had formed quite an intense friendship with Bella in my absence. I couldn’t control the feeling of jealously that crept up my spine.
He was there when I should have been.
Friends with a werewolf?
I retained from snorting out in disgust.
Yes, Bella was truly a magnet for peril.
 
Unwillingly, I brought myself out of Alice’s head and back into reality.
Alice was controlling her thoughts well, but I had an inclination that she was preventing me from seeing something.
What and why?
I didn’t have time to question her but I was glad to understand the details of the recent events a little more clearly.
 
We reached the hole in the street that I had followed Felix and Demetri down the previous day.
Alice disappeared down after Jane.
Bella hesitated cautiously.
I thought about going ahead to catch her, but I didn’t want to leave her side for a second, especially with two blood-thirsty vampires behind us.
            “It’s all right, Bella. Alice will catch you.”
            “Alice?” she whispered to ensure she was there, prepared.
            “I’m right here, Bella.” It’s okay, Edward I will catch her. Drop her down.
Bella crouched down as I removed my arm from around her waist and grabbed her wrists softly and lowered her into the dark underground.
            “Ready?” I asked my sister, hoping she would catch Bella as gently as possible.
            “Drop her.” Alice called to me sensing my reluctance.
I held my breath, released my grip and let Bella fall into the blackness.
I felt my newly refilled chest pinch to lose her touch.
I heard Alice catch her and I jumped down straight after. I was instantly at her side pulling her back into an embrace.
Bella wrapped her arms around me, which sent warmth through my frozen form.
I reached up with my free hand to stroke her face, trying to soothe her as she staggered along.
Occasionally I would softly kiss her hair, breathing in her intoxicating scent and she clutched me tighter.
 
I longed to talk to Bella and soothe her mind.
Her mind must have been racing with endless questions about what was coming and where we going. But the silence was necessary, firstly because of the eavesdropping Volturi guard surrounding us; I didn’t want to show any vulnerability, and secondly because, I didn’t know what was looming ahead of us.
 
The atmosphere was tense and the complaining thoughts of Felix and Demetri at our slow pace was irritating, however I revelled in their annoyance.
 
I realised Bella was wet when she started shivering.
Why was she wet?
Her shaking became more violent – probably from the coldness and fear.
Her teeth started chattering and I realised that the temperature of my glacial skin wasn’t helping her.
I released my embrace; I couldn’t bear to lose our touch completely and I continued to hold her hand.
            “N-n-no.” She stuttered.
I chafed her arm continuously trying to cause some warm from the friction of our skin moving against each others.
 
She didn’t want me to let go?
I felt an overpowering feeling of love.
Did she still love me?
Did she forgive me?
Maybe I would never find out.
I heard the metal gate shut loudly marking the arrival at our final destination.
 
My anger increased with every step.
I clenched my teeth shut to prevent myself from snarling out a malicious growl.
My pathetic attempts at protecting her had almost cost my precious Bella her life before; and now I was walking her into another deadly situation.

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