dark moon

a twilight fanfiction.

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20. Chapter 19 Nightmare


            “Not fast enough.” Alice muttered as we made our exit from the room as quickly as humanly possible.
My sister and I tried to shield Bella as much as we could by tightly surrounding her.
The voices, both spoken and silent were deafening and distinct now, as the ill-fated parade came into view. Voices babbled in the flow of people; it was almost impossible to distinguish between them but I realized that some were curious whilst others were fearful.
Aro was welcoming the unfortunate crowd into the room we had left only moments ago.
It truly disgusted me. I knew I was a monster, I had killed many people in the past, but those people were ghastly humans who had committed terrible acts, still it didn’t make it right - but this charade that the Volturi hosted was barbaric.
I pulled Bella’s face into my chest as we moved to the side to let the crowd pass.
Demetri, who was leading us back to the reception area, greeted Heidi on his way past.
            “Welcome home, Heidi.”
            “Demetri.”
            “Nice fishing.” He complimented her while he also praised her flamboyant appearance in his head.
            “Thanks. Aren’t you coming?”
            “In a minute. Save me a few.”
Heidi nodded, and then glanced curiously at my Bella.
            What is the human girl doing here? She isn’t supposed to be part of my crowd, is she? She wondered silently.
I pulled Bella forward at a more rapid pace, but it wasn’t quick enough before the screaming erupted from the room behind us.
 
Demetri warned us again not to leave before night had fallen, and then left to claim his meal.
Bella was trembling vigorously.
            “Are you all right?” I whispered to her.
She didn’t respond.
Bella wore a horrified expression whilst appearing overawed and in a trance like state.
            “You better make her sit before she falls. She’s going to pieces.” Alice said.
Heart-wrenching sobs escaped Bella’s lips as I gently pulled her to the sofa farthest away from the reception desk, where the receptionist Gianna was standing, curious and startled by Bella’s hysterical condition. 
            “Shh, Bella, shh.” I tried to comfort her with words.
“I think she is having hysterics. Maybe you should slap her?” Alice suggested.
I threw Alice a disgusted look. Slapping Bella would certainly dislocate her head from her body with my vampire strength. I ignored her preposterous idea and focused on trying to calm Bella down.
            Sorry. Alice apologised silently.
I forgave her; after all, I would no longer exist if she hadn’t come to my rescue today.
Bella’s sobs became louder as she collapsed into my arms, surrendering her composure.
            “It’s all right, you’re safe, it’s all right.” I repeated several times, hoping she would listen and calm down slightly.
Although Bella was extremely upset, I couldn’t help but feel joy that she was in my arms, where I could feel the warmth of her smooth skin, and inhale her sweet scent.
My memories hadn’t done them justice.
I understood her anguish. She couldn’t bear to think of my kind, of me being anything but monsters after what she had just seen and heard.
            “All those people.” She cried.
            “I know.”
            “It’s so horrible.”
            “Yes, it is. I wish you hadn’t had to see that.”
Tears escaped her tired eyes and ran smoothly down her soft cheeks. I used the cloak I was now wearing to wipe the salty wetness from her face.
I straightened up slightly when I heard footsteps and concerned thoughts heading our direction.
Gianna.
            “Is there anything I can get for you?” She asked politely.
            “No.” I replied, wanting her to retreat back to her desk.
            Poor girl. Something must have really upset her. She thought.
Was she really that oblivious?
I didn’t waste my time wondering about Gianna’s denial, and turned my attention back to Bella.
 
Bella seemed to calm down gradually, taking in deep breaths.
            “Does she know what is going on here?” She asked me.
            “Yes, she knows everything.”
            “Does she know that they’re going to kill her someday?”
            “She’s hoping they’ll decide to keep her.”
Bella’s face went pale as the lovely colour vanished from her cheeks.
            “She wants to be one of them?” She whispered in confusion.
I nodded and watched her face intently, waiting for the revulsion to cross her expression.
It never came.
Instead her body shuddered forcefully.
            “How can she want that? How can she watch those people file through to that hideous room and want to be a part of that?”
I barely heard her second question as my mind was overpowered by the sudden sentiment of rejection and my heart plummeted in my chest.
She thought of me as a vile creature – like the ones contained here in Volterra.
She no longer wanted me in her life.
She despised vampires.
She was right – how could anybody want this life?
I should be pleased.
I should be happy that Bella didn’t want this life.
But it would also mean she didn’t want me.
She didn’t want to know me, or have anything to do with me.
No…she hadn’t actually said that…yet.
It was obvious that we had things to discuss, but now was neither the time nor the place – we hadn’t entirely escaped the danger yet. But whatever happened, I would do whatever she desired.
 
            “Oh, Edward.” Bella sobbed.
I was suddenly more anxious.
            Was she all right…truly?
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
She didn’t pull away from me when I rubbed her back gently, instead to my surprise, she wrapped her arms around my neck and so I hugged her closely.
            “Is it really sick of me to be happy right now?” Her voice quivered slightly with her words.
She was happy?
I felt happiness, but I knew the justification for that – Bella was here.
But why was Bella happy?
Was it just because we had not been dealt the card of death by the Volturi?
            “I know exactly what you mean.” I replied in a low voice.
Although I was positive Bella and I were both joyful for differing reasons. “But we have lots of reasons to be happy. For one, we’re alive.” I continued.
            “Yes. That’s a good one.”
            “And together.” I added in a sigh.
I was blissfully overjoyed that we were together again, but as Bella merely nodded as a response – I concluded that she didn’t share my happiness for that same reason.  “And, with any luck, we’ll still be alive tomorrow.”
            “Hopefully.” She mumbled. Her dimmed response made my heart sink even lower in my chest. Something felt disturbingly wrong.
            “The outlook is quite good.” Alice informed us. “I’ll see Jasper in less than twenty-four hours.”
All Alice’s anger had faded and her thoughts were entirely with Jasper. She missed him terribly.
I looked at Bella and I was slightly shocked by what I saw. I perceived things that I hadn’t noticed before – perhaps I was too aware of the danger to notice them.
Bella looked sad and wary, as well as extremely tired. The dark circles under her eyes reminded me of my own apparent circles – but mine weren’t due to lack of sleep. Her sadness seemed to go deeper, as if suffering had scarred her very being – something had damaged her soul.
She appeared broken.
I was desperate to know what had occurred to make Bella like this, but I had a gut-wrenching feeling that I was culpable.
 
            “You look tired.” I told her as I stroked the dark circles under her eyes.
            “And you look thirsty.” She replied looking at my black irises and the deep purple smudges under my own eyes.
I was thirsty, but I hadn’t thought about it at all. Now that Bella had reminded me of the vampire within, my craving for blood became more evident, but strangely enough I was in complete control. I had no urge to devour.
            “It’s nothing.” I shrugged, wondering what had revolutionized my system.
            “Are you sure? I could sit with Alice.”
Did she want me to hunt so I wasn’t tempted to kill her? After what she had just seen, it was no surprise that she would be afraid, but there was no possible way I was leaving her now.
            “Don’t be ridiculous. I’ve never been in better control of that side of my nature than right now.” I reassured her.
 
Bella fell silent then. I sensed there was something bubbling in her mind as she wore a very strained expression on her face, which wasn’t due to her tiredness.
She was distant and remote, yet she stared back at me whilst I discussed travelling plans with Alice swiftly and quietly. I’m not certain Bella even understood.
            Where will we be going, Edward? Alice asked in her thoughts.
            “To the airport in Florence.” I replied, not providing her with the answer she wanted.
            You know what I mean. Will we be returning to Forks?
I did not reply because I wasn’t sure where I would be residing now.
            Well, we have to return, even if only to take Bella back to Charlie.
I nodded.
I knew that I never wanted to leave Bella again. I wanted to remain forever by her side. The previous months had proved that I could barely survive without her.
But how did she feel?
Judging by her recent behaviour towards me; the physical closeness but the emotional distance – perhaps she had moved on, like I had originally meant for her to, when I had made the mistake of leaving her.
Whether my family and I would return to Forks depended on Bella, on what she wanted. It did not look promising.
If she wanted my family in her life, I would of course grant her that happily, whether she wanted me as a companion or not.
 
            “We will need transportation to the airport.” Alice said. I hope I can find another Porsche, it was truly amazing.
            “You can locate whichever you want when we leave.” I responded to my sister.
            “As soon as we leave I will collect our belongings from where I hid them, phone the airport to reserve seats on the next flight out and acquire a vehicle.”
            “You should probably call Carlisle and the family to notify them of our arrival. You can do that at the airport, I want to get out of this city as swiftly as possible.”
            “Yes, I will. I’ll call jasper.” I miss him, and want to hear his voice. Alice continued in her head.
            “I know you do. You will see him soon. Oh, and Alice?”
            Yes?
            “Thank you…for everything.”
            You’re welcome, Edward. I would do it again for you.
            “I know.” I smiled warmly.
            I wish we could go back to Forks permanently.
            “We’ll see.”
 
            “What was all that talk about singers?” Alice changed the subject, sensing it was not something I wanted to talk about, especially in front of Bella.
            “La tua cantante.” I recited.
            “Yes, that.” Why did they call Bella a singer?
            I shrugged. “They have a name for someone who smells the way Bella does to me. They call her my singer – because her blood sings to me.”
            I would love to hear Bella sing to you. Alice trilled in her mind.
 
For the remainder of our wait in the Volturi lair, I quizzed Alice on the events and activities of her and my other family members in my absence. Alice mostly replied in her thoughts.
            Not much has happened recently. We have been visiting Tanya, Kate, Eleazar and Carmen in Denali over spring break at Cornell. They were asking about you, wondering how you were. Of course, we didn’t know for sure. You never answered your phone when any of us called. You never contacted us. We knew you needed time and privacy.
            “How are Carlisle, Esme, Emmett and Jasper?” I asked, not including Rosalie. It seemed a lifetime ago since she had made that final call to me. I was justifiably livid with her – she had sent me to my death without a second thought.
            “They are all fine.” Including Rosalie. I know you are going to be angry at her, Edward, but I’m sure she regrets her actions. She was impulsive and selfish, but she misses you, we all do. Things were different without you, somewhat morbid. 
 
I couldn’t help but feel guilty – I had no idea what hardships I had put my family through by not including them in my life for the past six months. I hadn’t appreciated that most of them were upset about leaving Bella. I hadn’t considered their feelings whatsoever, like I hadn’t with Bella either. I had been utterly self-centred and the fact that they had respected my wishes and left me alone to suffer alone in solitude, whilst I had barely thought about any of them, made me feel even guiltier.
It was odd now that my mind seemed to be back to normal. I figured that since I was back in Bella’s presence, my mind was able to think of other things as well as Bella.
I had been wholly restored.
My heart.
My mind.
And it was all because I was here with Bella.
 
Every so often I would place a light kiss on Bella – just to feel her skin and to make sure she was still there, not imaginary.
I could feel her in my arms, but my gestures of affection seemed to have no affect on her whatsoever, not like they used to, and this forced a difficult question into my mind.
What was I doing?
I couldn’t expect to resume my previous position in Bella’s life – Could I?
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of oncoming footsteps. I instinctively tightened my hold on Bella, as if someone was going to snatch her away from me.
 
            “You are free to leave now. We ask that you don’t linger in the city.” Alec told us as he entered the reception area, seemingly fully satisfied from his recent repast.
            “That won’t be a problem.” I replied, anxious to get Bella away from the monstrous place, she still wasn’t completely safe…as she was still in the presence of vampires…of monsters…of me.
Gianna lead us to the exit, which I was already aware of from my previous visit.
            Foolish woman. Alice thought of Gianna, as we proceeded to leave.
We exited into the midst of the festival in high spirits. Alice disappeared momentarily, but not before she informed me where to meet her. I’ll grab our belongings and meet you at the entrance with a car.
I barely interpreted her words as my attention was otherwise distracted.
 
The sky.
It was sparkling; alive with stars.
I had to blink twice to ensure I was not imagining the twinkling spots of light in the black night.
To the North was a bright crescent shaped moon.
Shining dazzlingly, bringing light and hope into my life once again.
It was strikingly beautiful.
I had spent months searching, hoping for them.
They lit up my life just as they illuminated the sky.
My nights were no longer dark.
The light elucidated my love for Bella.
It radiated through me.
How I had yearned for the sparkling stars to appear, but I couldn’t help but wonder – how long would they last?
 
We were surrounded by humans clothed as vampires with cloaks and plastic fangs. I didn’t agree with some of their thoughts that the attire was entertaining. I did not find it remotely humorous. Mythical creatures had become commercialised. They were dangerous beings, not innocuous figures to be thought of only for their comedic value. I thought it was ludicrous for a festival to be held diminishing the menace of such monstrous beasts.
            “Ridiculous.” I muttered to myself.
 
            “Where’s Alice?” Bella whispered warily.
            “She went to retrieve your bags from where she stashed them this morning.”
Bella seemed to relax a little at my reply – maybe she was worried about being alone with me.
            “She’s stealing a car, too, isn’t she?”
            “Not till we’re outside.” I smiled at Bella’s observant nature.
I supported her as we walked to meet Alice.
Bella could hardly walk due to exhaustion. I easily located Alice’s thoughts in a black vehicle that she disapproved of. She was irritated by not having the Porsche to drive back in.
 
I helped Bella into the backseat and slid in next to her, just before Alice drove away at full speed.
            “I’m sorry. There wasn’t much to choose from.” Alice said, as she gestured to the speedometer that didn’t rise to the unlawful speed that she desired to drive at.
            “It’s fine, Alice. They can’t all be 911 Turbos.” I said, amused by her annoyance.
            “I may have to acquire one of those legally. It was fabulous.”
            “I’ll get you one for Christmas.” I promised her. It would be a diminutive gesture, the least I could do to express my gratitude to her.
            Really? She turned to beam at me with a smile that lit up her face. “Yellow.” She stated aloud, reminding me.
 
            “You can sleep now, Bella. It’s over.” I said, wanting her to rest. She looked absolutely worn out.
            “I don’t want to sleep. I’m not tired.”
            “Try.” I breathed across her skin, as I kissed her lightly beneath her ear.
She shook her head.
            “You’re still just as stubborn.” I thought aloud.
            I managed to book us tickets on the next plane out to Rome. When we get there we will have to purchase tickets back to the U.S. Alice told me in her thoughts.
I nodded.
We were really going back, which I was pleased about; but why did I have the sinking feeling that everything was slipping away?
 
When we arrived at the airport, Alice handed me some clothes she had brought for me. She was always prepared – one of her many qualities.
I dumped the cloak I had been given in the trash. It was a good riddance.  Alice took Bella to the bathroom so they could both change and freshen up too. It pained me to be away from Bella for one moment. I ached to hold her in my arms again. We were reunited once more as we boarded our plane to Rome. The flight was quiet and short in duration. We were fortunate enough to get a flight as soon as we arrived in Rome. As we took our next plane to Atlanta, Bella surprised me by ordering a coke from the attendant. She disapproved of caffeine. I could feel the confused expression on my face. Was she that determined to stay awake?
            “Bella?” I said in a questioning tone.
            “I don’t want to sleep. If I close my eyes now, I’ll see things I don’t want to see. I’ll have nightmares.”
Her last statement stopped me from continuing to persuade her to rest.
I didn’t want her to have nightmares.
I would be included in them.
I assumed she would fall asleep on her own accord when her eyes would no longer be able to stay open. They would eventually fall.
We didn’t talk again throughout the duration of the flight. The majority of the other passengers were sleeping, whilst Alice was rapidly talking on the phone to Jasper – informing him of the details of the last few days.
 
The tranquillity gave me time to reflect on my own thoughts. I kept Bella close – always in my arms, kissing her bare skin, and hair, inhaling her scent each time. In the Volturi’s lair – I didn’t have time to think about what the recent events signified – my mind had been preoccupied by the purpose of keeping Bella safe. I was constantly listening and aware of the surrounding thoughts, waiting for an unexpected incident to occur.
Amazingly Bella managed to remain awake, but she stayed silent. It was unfair of me to put her under pressure to answer the one the main question that was spinning in my head and making me very uneasy.
Did she still love me?
 
Numerous other questions raced through my mind;
Why was Bella here?
Did the fact that she had come mean that she still had feelings for me?
How much damage had I really caused her? – Forcing her into the claws of werewolves and cliff diving.
There was one question in particular that pained me to think about – How much had I hurt her?
Bella did not appear to be like her normal self – the Bella I knew and left six months ago, and I could sense that Alice knew something about it which she was determined to hide from me for now.
 
The whole flight my mind searched for answers.
I had none.
All I concluded was that Bella wanted to feel safe and she knew that Alice and I would protect her – which is why she held onto me when I hugged her close and allowed me to kiss her, but emotionally she was keeping her distance because she no longer wanted me.
She had finally comprehended how dangerous I truly was.
She had moved on.

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