dark moon

a twilight fanfiction.

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23. Chapter 22 Reassurance

As I inched my face closer to Bella’s, her heartbeat began to quicken. The sound was familiar and amazingly comforting. I could also feel her body squirming slightly in my embrace as I got nearer, which I assumed was out of excitement. 
            “Please don’t.” She whispered.
            “Why not?” I demanded.
Were her movements actually struggles to free herself from my grasp?
Was it too late for us to be intimate again?
“When I wake up – “
I opened my mouth to dispute, but noticing the initiation of my protest she swiftly interjected before I could speak.
            “- Okay, forget that one – when you leave again, it’s going to be hard enough without this, too.” I pulled back to gaze at her beautiful face, into her stunning eyes – trying to see how much I had damaged her soul.
 
I had been gazing at Bella the majority of the time she had slept, but her appearance never failed to shock me. The changes in her were physical were as well as emotional. Her body was frail with distress, exhibiting weight loss and fatigue – all due to my abandonment.
I had explained how I felt – she now knew of my deceit and betrayal, of the terrible blasphemy and the disrespect I’d shown the love that existed between us. She knew it was all a lie, however she seemed unfazed. Did she not believe what I had told her?
I had been self-centred once more – I hadn’t yet considered Bella’s feelings!
How did she feel?
Did she want me?
Did she still love me?
All these questions ricocheted around my head.
Now was undoubtedly the time for answers.
At first I could not find the words I necessary to express my desperate need for her love, to see if there was even a shimmer of hope.
The fear of her rejection held me back.
How could I ever survive if she abandoned me like I had abandoned her?
 
            “Yesterday, when I touched you, you were so hesitant, so careful, and yet still the same. I need to know why. Is it because I’m too late; because I’ve hurt you too much? Because you have moved on, as I meant for you to? That would be…” Heart shattering, my mind wept silently, at the thought. I could not find the right words to say without making her feel pressurised or without being dishonest, consequently I settled for what was reasonable.  “…quite fair. I won’t contest your decision. So don’t try and spare my feelings, please – just tell me now whether or not you can still love me, after everything I’ve done to you.”
My speech had gradually decreased in volume, and with the remaining bit of air I had left in my lungs I whispered the last two critical words –
             “Can you?”
 
            “What kind of idiotic question is that?”
            “Just answer it… Please.” I practically begged.
Bella stared at me for what felt like an eternity.
My insides cringed, waiting for the words of rejection to hit me.
All the while I was holding my breath and mentally hoping, longing, praying that her answer would be positive and fulfil my desires.
 
            “The way I feel about you will never change. Of course I love you – and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Bella said.
 
Her words….the words I had been yearning to hear sparked an unbreakable force field within me. Her declaration had restored all hope into my life. Suddenly, I needed her more than ever.
I needed her touch.
I had to feel her against me.
I craved to caress her lips with mine.
            “That’s all I needed to hear.” I said, as I thrust my lips onto hers.
 
The kiss was intense, urgent and edged with the immense fervour that was pulsating through my body.
It reminded me of the last time I had kissed Bella – on her ill fated 18th birthday.
It was forceful, untamed and acutely passionate.
However, this time, the urgency wasn’t because of the overpowering obsessive protectiveness I had felt then.
Now it was due to an accumulation of pure lust and longing.
I pushed my body up against hers as she ran her hands over my face delicately touching my granite features.
My body throbbed, aroused with intoxicating pleasure.
Bella enticed me with the movement of her soft lips, making me crave more and more. Her exhilarating scent only increased the pleasure - driving me wild.
I felt myself cross my own boundaries as all the painful, suffering and joyful emotions flooded out of me through my lips.
 
I gently touched her face with my fingertips, feeling the smoothness of her skin.
She tasted irresistibly delicious.
I traced the outline of her mouth with the tip of my tongue, before she parted her lips and her tongue met mine. A thrill of ecstasy ran though my veins igniting my whole body and setting my world on fire.
My threshold was breached, I knew I should stop; but I didn’t.
I refused to allow our lips to part.
Never wanting to lose the feeling.
Never wanting to leave Bella’s side.
Sensing that Bella required air, I pulled away slightly.
Only a minuscule amount so my lips were still lingering on Bella’s. We were both breathless. But that didn’t prevent me from continuing the kiss.
            “Bella.” I breathed her name, before I pushed my lips against her once more and our exquisite embrace intensified as our passion increased.
Just a few more seconds – I told myself.
I could feel myself starting to lose control as I held Bella tighter to me, and moved my lips with more force. With all the effort and strength that I possessed, I managed to break apart our kiss, leaving us both gasping for air.
 
The only thing that was strong enough to overpower my longing to continue our intimate embrace was my desire for Bella’s safety.
I never wanted to cause her pain again.
My insides were still pulsating rapidly as was Bella’s heartbeat.
I was able to speak once I managed to control my irregular breathing, and calm myself slightly.
 
            “By the way, I’m not leaving you.”
Bella didn’t respond, her breathing still ragged from our kiss, composure came more quickly to me than her.
However, she did not seem convinced by my statement.
            “I’m not going anywhere. Not without you. I only left in the first place because I wanted you to have a chance at a normal, happy, human life. I could see what I was doing to you – keeping you constantly on the edge of danger, taking you away from the world you belonged in, risking your life every moment I was with you. So I had to try. I had to do something, and it seemed like leaving was the only way. If I hadn’t thought you were better off, I could have never made myself leave. I’m much too selfish. Only you could be more important than what I wanted…what I needed. What I want and need is to be with you, and I know I’ll never be strong enough to leave again. I have too many excuses to stay – thank heaven for that! It seems you can’t be safe, no matter how many miles I put between us.”
            “Don’t promise me anything.” Bella pleaded in a whisper.
            “You think I’m lying now?”
I was infuriated with myself.
Enraged – because I had destroyed every last ounce of trust Bella once had in me.
All with one scandalous lie.
One wicked lie had annihilated all of her hope and faith.
 One dreadful lie had caused so much pain, that it forced Bella to question my intentions and every word that I had ever spoken.
One nefarious lie that had the power to destroy her spirit and tear us both apart; permanently.
 
Bella had brought the light and joy back into my life, just with her presence, and she had sustained that bliss by loving me.  I realised that the wounds I had created within Bella could not be healed as straightforwardly.
 
            Bella shook her head. “No – not lying. You could mean it…now. But what about tomorrow, when you remember all the reasons why you left in the first place? Or next month, when Jasper takes another snap at me? – “
I flinched at the memory that involuntarily replayed in my head. I had witnessed it countless times since the incident had occurred, but it still never failed to horrify me.
“– It isn’t as if you thought the first decision through, is it? You’ll end up doing what you think is right.”
 
Bella had guaranteed that I would remain in Forks, by the admission of her love. I knew that I did not have the strength to leave again, even if Bella did not return my love. I couldn’t bring myself to think of the consequences, if she had discarded me – it would surely be futile for me to continue to exist.
Now I knew that Bella still loved me, the thought of leaving was agonising and unbearable. As I had previously thought, I would forever remain by her side; forever pleading for forgiveness and trust, if that’s what it took.
It was strangely ironic how it seemed that both mine and Bella’s judgement were clouded by each other – making us both unwilling to believe.
Nevertheless, I was deeply hurt that Bella did not have any faith in what I was saying. It wasn’t as hurtful as her believing my lie in the forest, but now I was telling the absolute truth.
 
            “I’m not as strong as you give me credit for. Right and wrong have ceased to mean much to me; I was coming back anyway. Before Rosalie told me the news, I was already past trying to live through one week at a time, or even one day. I was fighting to make it through a single hour. It was only a matter of time – and not much of it – before I showed up and your window and begged you to take me back. I’d be happy to beg now, if you’d like that.”
            “Be serious, please.” Bella frowned.
I could understand her hesitation and her reluctance to believe, but all the same it was exasperating.
I wanted Bella to comprehend exactly how I felt about her.
How extraordinarily important she was.
Why I craved her so much.
Why I needed her.
 
            “Oh, I am, will you please try and hear what I am telling you? Will you let me attempt to explain what you mean to me?” I stared at Bella intently for several long moments. When she did not respond, I took it as a sign she was listening, so I continued. “Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars – points of lights and reason…And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliance, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t even see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason for anything.”
I think I used a good analogy to try and describe the darkest nights I’d experienced, in our separation.
            “Your eyes will adjust.” Bella mumbled.
            “That’s the problem – they can’t.”
They wouldn’t – I had searched long and hard enough, willing the stars to reappear.
The stars and moon, the light and reason – were only present in my life whenever Bella was. Without any of them my existence was dark and worthless.
 
            “What about your distractions?” Bella asked.
I chucked without humour – as if anything could have diverted my attention from Bella.
If only they could have.
She was in my every thought.
Everything revolved around Bella.
            “Just part of the lie, love. There was no distraction from the…agony. My heart hasn’t beat in almost ninety years, but this was different. It was like my heart was gone – like I was hollow; like I’d left everything that was inside me here with you.” I replied.
            “That’s funny.”
            “Funny?” I questioned, slightly confused.
How was it amusing?
How could she find me expressing my deepest feelings remotely humorous? I thought to myself with a twinge of hurt.
            “I meant strange – I thought it was just me. Lots of pieces of me went missing too. I haven’t been able to really breathe in so long.” She paused to inhale deeply. 
I remembered the feeling of not being able to breathe.
But I hadn’t actually wanted to exhale, too scared to lose my only connection to Bella – her scent.
Too afraid to inhale air that was fresh, unfamiliar and desolate.
            “And my heart. That was definitely lost.” Bella continued.
The waves of guilt kept breaking over me as I closed my eyes and laid my head lightly on her chest to hear the sound of her thumping heart more clearly.
It was there…and beating harmoniously.
 
Maybe now Bella believed me.
Perhaps not.
But Bella loved me.
And I loved her.
She was truly my Bella again.
I was overjoyed by this and would do anything to preserve our love.
I had to protect her.
Protect the love we shared.
Protect it from the impending dangers.
And that meant eradicating certain problems.
Victoria was the main priority.
Now I knew her target, her potential whereabouts – I would find her.
And this time I would not fail.
 
Bella rested her cheek on the top of my head.
            “Tracking wasn’t a distraction then?”
            “No. That was never a distraction. It was an obligation.”
            “What does that mean?”
I faltered, questioning whether to tell Bella the whole truth about my tracking operation therefore confessing another act of deception. When I departed Forks, I had promised her that I wouldn’t interfere with her life again. Although Bella wasn’t involved or even present in the activity, the root cause was to eliminate the callous creature that had threatened Bella’s life.
I decided that I was going to be honest with Bella – she needed to know the truth, even though I was embarrassed by my failure.
            “It means that, even though I never expected any danger from Victoria, I wasn’t going to let her get away with it…Well, like I said, I was horrible at it. I traced her as far as Texas, but then I followed a false trail down to Brazil – and really she came here. I wasn’t even on the right continent. And all the while, worse than my worst fears –“
            “You were hunting, Victoria?” Bella screeched interrupting me. The volume of her voice made Charlie stir in his sleep in the next room. Fortunately, it did not wake him.
            “Not well.” I admitted regretfully. “But I’ll do better this time. She won’t be tainting perfectly good air by breathing in and out for much longer.”
            “That is… out of the question.” Bella said sternly.
I did not understand her anger,
It was obvious that Victoria could not be allowed to continue existing.
The thought of what she could, or rather what she would do if she got the chance, sent a chilling feeling of disgust up my spine.
            “It’s too late for her.  I might have let the other time slide, but now, not after – “
            “Didn’t you just promise that you weren’t going to leave?” Bella interrupted. “That isn’t exactly compatible with an extended tracking expedition, is it?” She asked. I detected the wariness in her tone.
            “I will keep my promise, Bella. But Victoria is going to die. Soon.” I snarled out her name with pure revulsion. My anger rose, building up to a growl at the back of my throat, as I thought of the red headed vampire roaming around with the sole intent of assassinating my Bella.
            “Let’s not be hasty. Maybe she’s not coming back. Jake’s pack probably scared her off. There’s really no reason to go looking for her. Besides, I’ve got bigger problems than Victoria.”
 
I admired Bella attempt at reassurance, but could see the fear beneath her façade, however I was pleasantly surprised that Bella had identified that the werewolves were dangerous. Perhaps it wouldn’t be too difficult to eliminate their presence in Bella’s life, after all.
            “That’s true. The werewolves are a problem.”
            Bella snorted. “I wasn’t talking about Jacob. My problems are a lot worse than a handful of adolescent wolves getting themselves into trouble.”
Obviously, my previous thought had been wrong. I was about to disagree with her, and argue that the wolves were in fact a major problem, but I thought better of it. I didn’t want to upset Bella by speaking unkindly about her vile newfound friends.
 
            “Really? Then what would make Victoria’s returning for you seem like such an inconsequential matter in comparison?”
            “How about the second greatest?”
            “All right.” I agreed slightly apprehensive as to what other dangers loomed that I had not yet been informed of.
            “There are others who are coming to look for me.” Bella whispered.
I sighed in a wave of slight relief, and recognition.
The relief was because there weren’t any additional dangers, and the recognition of the principal hazard; the one that wouldn’t pose as a significant threat for a few years at least.
            “The Volturi are only the second greatest?” I asked, wondering what could possibly be so bad as to constitute her first.
            “You don’t seem very upset about it.”
            “Well, we have plenty of time to think it through. Time means something different to them than it does to you, or even me. They count years the way you count days. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were thirty before you crossed their minds again.”
 
Bella turned pale as the colour drained from her face leaving behind a horrified expression. Her eyes, once again began a build up with moisture before the tears of fear began to spill down her cheeks.
            “You don’t have to be afraid. I won’t let them hurt you.” I reassured her.
            “While you’re here.” She sobbed.
I wished she could believe me; just trust me enough to know I would never have the willpower to leave her side again.
I took her face in my hands and gazed unblinking into her tear-filled eyes.
            “I will never leave you again.”
            “But you said thirty. What? You’re going to stay, but let me get old anyway? Right.”
            “That’s exactly what I’m going to do. What choice do have I? I cannot be without you, but I will not destroy your soul.”
            “Is this really…”
Bella’s voice broke before she finished speaking.
            “Yes?” I prompted.
She hesitated for a moment, and then began speaking again. But I thought she had altered what she was previously going to say.
            “But what about when I get so old that people would think I’m your mother? Your grandmother?”
I could see the sadness in her eyes.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want her to become part of my family.
I wanted that more than anything – to be equal creatures, so we could really be together, like a proper couple.
But I could not destroy her human life.
I refused to change her into the monster she was so desperate to become.
I would not decimate her soul – it was too precious.
 
The tears were flowing down Bella’s cheeks and I leaned in and kissed each one away.
            “That doesn’t mean anything to me. You will always be the most beautiful thing in my world. Of course…” I paused, trying to form the words from the painful thought in my mind – Bella growing older, and wanting more from her human life, meeting another human perhaps and leaving me behind in my frozen form. I winced at the thought, but if that’s what Bella wanted. It would destroy me to do so, but I would let her go.
            “If you outgrew me - if you wanted something more – I would understand that, Bella. I promise I wouldn’t stand in your way if you wanted to leave me.”
            “You do realise that I’ll die eventually, right?”
I did comprehend that we would eventually be parted by her mortality, and I knew wherever and whenever that happened I would join her in death; I would be unable to continue existing without my Bella. My recent trip to Italy proved that.
            “I’ll follow after as soon as I can.”
            “That is seriously…sick.” Bella said in an appalled voice.
            “Bella, it’s the only right way left…” I tried to reason, before she interjected in a clearer voice, edged with anger.
            “Let’s just back up for a minute. You do remember the Volturi, right? I can’t stay human forever. They’ll kill me. Even if they don’t think of me till I’m thirty, do you really think they’ll forget?”
            I shook my head solemnly. “No they won’t forget. But…”
            “But?”
            “I have a few plans.” I smiled, thinking back to the revelation I had whilst Bella was sleeping.
 
Demetri was the one to avoid, and I may have concocted a plan to do just that.
            “And these plans. These plans all centre around me staying human.”
Bella practically hissed the word ‘human’ as if she was sickened by it.
            “Naturally.” I concurred.
Bella glared at me.
Why did she crave to be a monster?
She had me for as long as forever lasted in her human life.
I stared at her, ensuring that my stern expression made her realise that my decision could not be influenced.
Bella inhaled deeply, and I wondered what her thoughts were.
She suddenly surprised me by sitting up, with a determined and firm expression on her face.
 
            “Do you want me to leave?” I asked, trying not to let my hurt show. I couldn’t stand it if she told me to go away.
            “No, I’m leaving.”
            “May I ask where you are going?” I said apprehensively, as I watched her search her room – probably for her shoes, as she was already dressed in the same clothes that she had returned in from Italy.
            “I’m going to your house.”
I grabbed her shoes from the end of her bed, trying not to seem suspicious as to why she was going to my family’s house in the middle of the night. I had a sneaky feeling that her unplanned visit was for her to somehow find a way round my decision to keep her human.
            “Here are your shoes. How do you plan to get there?”
            “My truck.” Bella replied.
            “That will probably wake Charlie.” I informed her, hoping she would reconsider her trip and stay here in my arms. She could see my family tomorrow – in just a few more hours.
            She sighed. “I know. But honestly, I’ll be grounded for weeks as it is. How much more trouble can I really get into?”
            “None. He’ll blame me, not you.”
            “If you have a better idea, I’m all ears.”
            “Stay here.” I urged.
            “No dice. But you go ahead and make yourself at home.” She said as she started towards her bedroom door. I span around in one quick movement, and flashed to the door, blocking her exit.
Bella grimaced at me, and stubbornly turned and headed towards the window instead.
What on earth was she thinking?
She would kill herself!
            I sighed in defeat. “Okay, I will give you a ride.”
            “Either way. But you should probably be there, too.”
            “And why is that?” I questioned.
            “Because you’re extraordinarily opinionated, and I’m sure you’ll want a chance to air your views.”
            “My views on which subject?” I said between gritted teeth, as I realised my inkling was correct.
            “This isn’t just about you anymore. You’re not the centre of the universe, you know. If you’re going to bring the Volturi down on us over something as stupid as leaving me human, then your family ought to have a say.”
            “A say in what?” I said slowly, not necessarily wanting to hear the answer.
            “My mortality. I’m putting it to a vote.”
I gulped, swallowing back a snarl of complete anguish. 

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