dark moon

a twilight fanfiction.


25. Chapter 24 Proposal

I stiffened instantly, it was better than quivering from the anger I held within.
Bella looked at me first.
She already knew my answer, but she still had the courtesy to ask.
            “Do you want me to join your family?”
I was positive that she had deliberately re-worded her question to catch me off guard.
Bella was already part of my family – she was my life.
            “Not in that way. You’re staying human.” I replied resolutely.
She nodded; her face showing no emotion or distinguishable expression, and then turned to Alice.
            “Yes.” Alice replied gleefully.
I turned to look at my newest brother. His face exhibited a stern expression and his thoughts were wary.
            I’m sorry, Edward, but I think this is the best way...to avoid any further incidents. He spoke to me in his head. He was judging the situation on his lack of self control, the easiest option for him, not for Bella.
            “Yes.” He replied to Bella.
The rage in my chest increased, which Jasper felt too, as he was monitoring my emotions.
            Calm down, Edward. This is what Bella wants. He reminded me.
I disregarded his efforts to sooth me with his mood altering talent, and concentrated on Bella as she moved swiftly on to the next member of my family. 
            I am grateful to her, but she is still so naive. Why would she want this life? Rosalie hesitated before responding.
            “No.”  She said to Bella, with some embarrassment.
My sprits lifted slightly at her answer; just to know there was someone on my side was comforting.
Bella stared at her for a moment, probably feeling slightly rejected, but I wasn’t sure; her face remained composed.
            My sister held her hands up as she tried to vindicate her decision. “Let me explain. I don’t mean that I have any aversion to you as a sister. It’s just that ...this is not the life I would have chosen for myself. I wish there has been someone there to vote no for me.”
Bella looked quite stunned; but nodded in recognition before turning to Emmett.
            Just think how much funnier Bella will be when she’s unbreakable. Emmett thought, before casting his vote.
            “Hell, yes! We can find some other way to pick a fight with this Demetri.”
My stomach twisted ferociously, only minutes ago Emmett had agreed with my plan, and now he had decided against it.
I took a deep breath and reminded myself that the vote was not valid, and was only necessary for Bella to comprehend and accept that my family wanted her to be included.
Bella frowned and turned to Esme.
            “Yes, of course, Bella. I already think of you as part of my family.”
I didn’t hear Bella’s reply because I was preoccupied with concentrating on my father’s thoughts. He was speaking to me in his mind.
            I am going to vote yes Edward. You know that I would never willingly take another’s life, human or otherwise. However, Bella wants to become a vampire. This is also the safest option for our family, as you have decided to stay in her life.
I scowled at him seething with the sting of betrayal.
I was relying on Carlisle to be the voice of reason.
            “Edward.” Don’t you see this is the only way?
            “No.” I snarled.
            “It’s the only way that makes sense. You’ve chosen not to live without her, and that doesn’t leave me a choice.”
            Calm down, Edward. Alice instructed in her mind, as she noticed my fuming stance.
I couldn’t bear to look at any of them; their thoughts and glances hitting me like knives, each one a stab of treachery. I dropped Bella’s hand and stalked out of the room, hissing profanities under my breath.
I should never have brought Bella here – everyone was too overwrought, too many conflicting emotions were in play.
My self control was waning, my defences were almost breached. In order to keep my fury in check I needed solitude to organise my thoughts.
I couldn’t expect to take on the rest of my family – all those willing to change my Bella, but I knew I could find the strength to keep Bella’s beautiful soul alive.
I paced around the living room, attempting to subdue my anger with the rhythm of my feet hitting the floor.
            “I guess you know my vote.” I heard Carlisle say in the next room.
White hot rage overpowered me; it streamed through me, blistering every inch of my body. I grabbed the nearest object within reach; the plasma television hanging on the wall, and smashed it to the floor. The echoing crash drowned out the sounds and thoughts from the dining room. I had the uncontrollable urge to recklessly demolish everything in the room, just as I had done when I had been misinformed that Bella was dead. If they in the next room were plotting to destroy the most beautiful thing in the world, then it shouldn’t matter if I destroyed insignificant items.
I wanted to roar with fury and obliterate everything in my path, like I didn’t care.
However, truthfully; I did care.
I had to be rational.
To be in control.
Bella’s voice reminded me of her presence.
“That’s all I needed. Thank you. For wanting to keep me, I feel exactly the way the same way about all of you too.”
There was an emotional edge to her voice.
I blocked out the thoughts of the others in the room, in case they reignited my wrath. Esme went to comfort Bella. “Dearest Bella.” She said as she embraced her gently.
The only piece of information that calmed me down was the fact that Bella was close and in range of my meltdown.
Her astounding soul was still intact and in the other room.
That knowledge was enough to suppress my enraged state.
I already experienced losing Bella – I would not risk ruining the second chance I’d been given.
            “Well, Alice, where do you want to do this?”
My body stopped dead, paralysed for a split second at Bella’s words.
Incensed with fury I sprinted back into the dining room.
            “No! No! NO!” I roared, as I stopped abruptly in front of Bella and bending over to stare directly into her eyes.
What the hell was she doing?
I had promised myself I wouldn’t allow this to happen.
I was counting on having some time to find a loophole...but Bella wanted to do it now?
            “Are you insane? Have you utterly lost your mind?” I screeched
            Edward! Calm down, son. Carlisle demanded firmly in his mind, as Bella covered her ears to ward off the sound of my deafening voice.
            I can’t do it. Alice almost cried in her head. I’m not prepared. This is too soon.
            “Um, Bella, I don’t think I’m ready for that. I’ll need to prepare...” Alice spoke aloud.
Bella turned away from my glaring eyes and looked under my arm at Alice.
            “You promised.” Bella said to her.
            “I know, but...seriously, Bella! I don’t have any idea how not to kill you.”
            “You can do it. I trust you.”
I snarled with disgust as unspeakable anger pulsated violently through my body.
I kept my eyes on Bella willing my anger to diminish.
            I won’t. I can’t. The risk of her dying is too great. Alice mumbled to herself in her head.
            “Carlisle?” Bella asked, with hope in her voice.
            NO! I screamed in my head.
I held a hand up to Carlisle as a warning, whilst I grabbed Bella’s face as gently as I could with my other hand, turning her face and forcing her to look at me.
Forcing her to see the anger in my eyes, desperately trying to get her to see reason. To try and make her understand the anguish in my expression.
Carlisle ignored my gesture and answered Bella.
            “I’m able to do it. You would be in no danger of me losing control.”
            “Sounds good.” Bella replied in a distorted voice due to my grip on her face.
I clenched my teeth to prevent myself from growling.
How could Carlisle agree to take a human life?
He was an exceptional doctor who had worked arduously for many centuries to preserve human lives; yet now he was ready to destroy one so willingly that he offered to do it himself.

            “Hold on, it doesn’t have to be now.” I interceded.
            “There is no reason for it not to be now.” Bella fired back.
            Edward, let go of her face, dear. Esme said in her mind.
I ignored her and focused on Bella.
Why wouldn’t she see sense?
            “I can think of a few.” I informed her.
            “Of course you can. Now let go of me.” Bella demanded.
I released her face and folded my arms across my chest, infuriated beyond belief by Bella’s attitude and desire to die.
Becoming a vampire was a form of death.
Bella hadn’t been thorough enough when considering the consequences of her request.
She had overlooked significant factors...or just not considered them whatsoever.
Her family.
Her friends.
Her human life and everything that life consisted of.
She was ready to give them up for me.
It brought me an immense feeling of love to know that she was willing to sacrifice her life for me; but still I had to prevent it.
I would not allow her to give up her life for me.
The gesture and willingness was enough to prove her love and commitment to me. I had to remind Bella of what she was sacrificing.
            “In about two hours, Charlie will be here looking for you. I wouldn’t put it past him to involve the police.”
            “All three of them.” She grimaced.
Her frown was proof that she hadn’t calculated her father into the equation, which probably meant she hadn’t thought about her mother, or school either.
Ending her life willingly so young was a crime in itself, especially considering the pain it would cause her parents.
            “In the interest of remaining composed I suggest that we put this conversation off at the very least until Bella finishes high school, and moves out of Charlie’s house.” I told my family.
            “That’s a reasonable request, Bella.” Carlisle offered.
For the first time tonight I was grateful for my father’s input. I was hopeful it would lessen Bella’s determination to be changed for a few months.
Bella pursed her lips as she thought.
            “I’ll consider it.” She finally spoke.
My whole body sighed internally with relief.
Before anything more could be discussed I had to get Bella out of there.
I was afraid she would demand to be changed right that moment.
            “I should probably take you home. Just in case Charlie wakes up early.” I urged.
            “After graduation?” Bella asked Carlisle.
            “You have my word.” He replied.
I gulped back a snarl.
Bella exhaled in relief and smiled at my father, and the promise he had just made her.
            “Okay. You can take me home.” Bella told me.
I ushered her out of the house before any other exchanges could take place. I did not even give her chance to bid farewell to my family.
After I glimpsed in to each of their thoughts before departing, I left my family mulling over recent events. None of them seemed remotely bothered by what had been decided.
Rosalie’s resentment towards Bella resurfaced, but she tried to conceal it. She envied Bella’s life, and would exchange anything to become human. I wished Bella could see into Rosalie’s mind – to see the things that should be of value to a human.
Esme was concerned for Bella and her family. She didn’t want Renee and Charlie to lose their daughter after experiencing the pain losing a child of her own.
Emmett was infuriated that I had destroyed the television and was plotting his revenge.
Alice was grateful that she would not have to fulfil her promise to Bella, thanks to Carlisle.
Carlisle and Jasper were both expecting me to calm down and come to terms with what had been decided on my own. Jasper had understood my anger which is why he had only attempted to control it once.
I had relaxed slightly now that Bella and I had left the house, but I wouldn’t come to terms with it...ever.
Bella and I walked silently to the edge of the forest. She climbed up onto my back and I set off running full speed; away from my worst fears, and towards her house.
Neither of us spoke.
The thrill of the speed did nothing to ease my mind; it was still racing with scared and anxious thoughts.
I was furious with my family for plotting my Bella’s death.
Determining her life change.
I needed a contingency plan.
I urgently needed to convince Bella to reverse her decision.
I knew she didn’t want to grow older and leave me frozen at seventeen; she had been worried about since before her last birthday.
Would she eventually outgrow me if she wasn’t changed?
That would devastate me, but I couldn’t be so egotistical as to hold Bella back from human experiences.
And if it meant preserving Bella’s soul, I would surrender my happiness without hesitation.
Bella had brought me more joy over the months we’d been together than I had experienced in all of my 109 years.
I counted myself extremely fortunate for that.
The perplexed state of my mind was clouding my judgement.
Of course I wanted Bella forever, but I had been immensely selfish already.
Should I add shameless greed and self-indulgence to the already sin filled list?
One side of my brain shouted Yes!
Whilst the other side screamed No!
Bella was so much more important than me.
When we reached Bella’s house, I pounced onto the wall without slowing and climbed up through her window. I reached to pull Bella off my back and sit her on the bed.
I was exceedingly thoughtful as I paced the room, eager to have my own epiphany; hoping to discover a way out of this no-win situation.
I didn’t want to deny Bella of anything that she wanted, but at the same time I couldn’t allow her to be become a vampire.
I didn’t want to go up against my family.
How could I avoid this?
There was no alternative. My body sagged as I realised that I had to face up to the inevitable.
Accept it.
The decision had been made.
However, maybe I could convince Bella to prolong her human life somehow.
Just enough to give me time to discover another option, to change her decision, or at least to find a compromise.
Bella interrupted my thoughts.
            “Whatever you’re planning, it’s not going to work.”
            “Shh. I’m thinking.”
            “Ugh.” She moaned and slumped back onto the bed and pulled the quilt over her head.
A chill washed over me at the disappearance of her face.
I didn’t like her concealing her face so I couldn’t see its beauty.
I had spent many months without seeing the real thing, with only the image of a memory in mind.
I wanted to capitalise on every second I spent in Bella’s presence.
Watching her.
Inhaling her scent.
Listening to her sweet voice.
All of the things I had missed out on doing during my self-imposed exile.
I lay silently next to Bella on her bed, and pulled back the cover to see her. I reached up with my hand to brush her hair from her left cheek.
I felt a profound sense of adoration for her as her chocolate brown eyes bore into mine.
The only way I could exist – the only way I could have a life, was if I was with Bella.
I wanted to be the one to hold her.
The one she told her thoughts to.
The one who would love her more than anything.
The one who made her smile.
The one who would give her whatever she desired, and never ask for anything in return.
The one to comfort and understand her.
The one who would be forever by her side.
I had found my purpose – my other half.
The perfect person, who had completed me.
She had changed me.
She had saved me.
Bella was my angel.
I had my made my decision – I wanted to keep Bella for eternity.
It was what she wanted.
It was what I wanted.
It had been promised.
It was inevitable.
I should embrace it.
I would love her unconditionally in this life and the next.
I would do whatever it takes to make her happy.
I didn’t want to lose Bella again.
I didn’t want to lose the beat in my heart.
I had been born into a traditional world, and when a person found love, they embraced it and kept it forever.
I would ask Bella to become my betrothed.
            “If you don’t mind, I’d much rather you didn’t hide your face. I’ve lived without it for as long as I can stand. Now...tell me something.”
            “What?” Bella asked sceptically.
            “If you could have anything in the world, anything at all, what would it be?”
I gazed at Bella uncertainly, waiting for her answer; waiting to hear her heart’s desire so I could use it as a bargaining tool to negotiate a compromise.
            “You.” She replied.
I shook my head, incredulous at her failure to grasp the concept that I would always be hers; she would always hold my heart, but it swelled all the same.
            “Something you don’t already have.” I prompted her further.
            “I would want… Carlisle not to have to do it. I would want you to change me.”
            “What would you be willing to trade for that?” I asked quickly, dismissing the vulgar image of myself plunging my teeth into Bella’s neck and tasting her delicious blood. The reminder of the taste set my throat on fire, but I easily disregarded it.
Astonished by my unwavering composure Bella blurted out.            “Anything.”
I couldn’t help but grin at her lack of contemplation.
I was confident that she wasn’t actually willing to exchange anything; it was just spoken without thought.
            “Five years?” I challenged.
A horrified expression crossed her face.
            “You said anything.” I reminded her.
            “Yes, but...you’ll use the time to find a way out of it. I have to strike while the iron is hot. Besides, it’s just too dangerous to be human – for me at least. So… anything but that.”
            “Three years?”
            “Isn’t it worth anything to you at all?” I questioned.
If Bella truly wanted this, she would have to be more willing to prolong her humanity.
Bella speculated a moment before answering.
I felt uncomfortable discussing the end of Bella’s life.
            “Six months?” She tried to compromise, but failed.
Six months was barely longer than the period of time until graduation.
            “Not good enough.” I said resolutely
            “One year, then. That’s my limit.”
            “At least give me two.”
            “No way. Nineteen I’ll do. But I’m not going anywhere near twenty. If you’re staying in your teens forever, then so am I.”
It was silent for a minute, while I thought to myself.
Imagining what it would be life to spend an eternity with my beloved.
I had never before really allowed myself to think of a future with Bella; not believing it was possible.
However, now, under the circumstances, l let my mind wander...
Living with Bella; sharing a life together.
Sharing a home.
Marrying her – my other half, finally becoming complete; one half of a pair.
The endless years together full of unmapped possibilities.
All my other family members were married.
I had been the solitary wolf.
Now I had found my soul mate, I should treasure that forever.
Why couldn’t I have that special connection the Bella?
The commitment of marriage; making her truly mine...forever.
            “All right. Forget time limits. If you want me to be the one – then you’ll just have to meet one condition.”
            “Condition? What condition?” Bella said dryly.
I inhaled deeply and gazed into her eyes, trying to disguise my apprehension.
I spoke slowly, enunciating each word precisely.
            “Marry me first.” 
Bella’s eyes widened in shock, as she stared at me.
My body was rigid with tension, as I waited for her to respond.
            “Okay. What’s the punch line?” she said hesitantly.
A stab of painful rejection hit me square in the chest.
            “You’re wounding my ego, Bella. I just proposed to you, and you think it’s a joke.” I replied, disgruntled.
            “Edward, please be serious.”
            “I am one hundred percent serious.”
            “Oh, c’mon. I’m only eighteen.” Bella said in a voice edged with panic.
            “Well, I’m nearly a hundred and ten. It’s time I settled down.”
Bella turned away from me and redirected her gaze out of the window at the approaching dawn.
The atmosphere was a combination of dismissal mixed with profound anxiety and grief.
            “Look, marriage isn’t exactly that high on my list of priorities, you know? It was sort of the kiss of death for Renee and Charlie.”
I acknowledged the irony of her words.
            “Interesting choice of words.” I stated.
            “You know what I mean.”
I could feel cracks slowly appearing in my newly restored heart, it was breaking...again.
And this time it was because of Bella’s refusal to commit to me.
My previous thoughts of Bella just being eager for vampirism and the qualities of eternal life were becoming real.
My doubts were being confirmed.
I had the urge to flee to the freedom of isolation to mull over the rejection.
But, I stayed strong – I wouldn’t give up Bella easily.
I knew she loved me.
But the question spiralled in my mind - why wouldn’t she marry me?
Was she frightened to make vows of commitment?
            “Please don’t tell me that you’re afraid of commitment.”
            “That’s not it exactly. I’m...afraid of Renee. She has some really intense opinions on getting married before you’re thirty.”
I was relieved momentarily.
Bella was objecting to marriage based on parental principles, and more overwhelmingly their reactions.
            “Because she’d rather you became one of the eternally damned than get married.” I chaffed
            “You think you’re joking.”
            “Bella, if you compare the level of commitment of marital union as opposed to bartering your soul in exchange for an eternity as a vampire...” I paused, wondering how Bella could be against matrimony, but in favour of becoming a monster. I would never understand the way her mind exerted itself, which made me all the more fascinated by it. There was no mistaking that Bella had an immense amount of courage, however it could be exposed in a different way. Marriage seemed like an inconsequential commitment compared to annihilating her humanity. “If you’re not brave enough to marry me, then –“
            “Well, what if I did? What if I told you to take me to Vegas now? Would I be a vampire in three days?” Bella interjected.
Although I knew she was bluffing, the idea of being able to commit to each other in a lawful ceremony was enticing.
            “Sure. I’ll get the car.” I grinned.
            “Dammit. I’ll give you eighteen months.”
I realised that I had discovered a possible way to extend Bella’s human life.
As she had refused my proposal, she wouldn’t receive what she wanted until she accepted. Judging by the way she was trying to compromise, I assumed it wasn’t likely that she would accept anytime soon.
            “No deal. I like this condition.”
            “Fine. I’ll have Carlisle do it when I graduate.”
I shrugged. “If that’s what you really want.”
I smiled brightly, attempting to dazzle her, as she said only I could.
It was successful.
            “You’re impossible. A monster.” She moaned.
            “Is that why you won’t marry me?”
She grunted.
I leant towards her.
Time seemed to stand still as I gazed into the gateways to her soul.
I yearned after her.
I needed her.
I wanted her to be my wife.
            “Please, Bella?” I whispered.
Her heard skipped a beat.
After a long moment, she shook her head and blinked herself out of her astonishment.
            “Would this have gone better if I’d time to get a ring?”
            “No! No rings!” Bella practically shouted, loud enough to cause her father to awake in the next room.
I heard him groan as he prepared to get up.
Then his mind registered that Bella was safely back home.
            I better go and check on her. He thought.
            “Now you’ve done it.” I mumbled to Bella.
If Charlie was going to come into Bella’s room, it meant I had leave.
My presence in the house was forbidden, and Charlie was likely to try and shoot me if he discovered I was here.
I didn’t want to leave Bella.
It was physically painful just to think about not being with her.
It was torture to actually be away from her, even more so now after recent events.
The months I’d spent longing for her had increased my need for her presence in my life.
            “Charlie’s getting up; I’d better leave.”
I heard Bella’s heart beat stop briefly as panic glistened in her eyes.
Presumably, she was anxious that I might leave and not come back again.
Sadness washed through me; I didn’t want her to be anxious or scared.
I would never leave her again.
I took a swift look around the room for a potential place to conceal myself.
The closet in the corner in the room was a big enough to hide me.
            “Would it be childish of me to hide in your closet, then?”
            “No. Stay. Please.” Bella pleaded
I smiled at her warmly, before moving rapidly to the closet and disappearing inside.
I heard Charlie approach Bella’s bedroom door.
He hesitated before entering.
He was concerned about how my family’s homecoming to Forks would affect Bella. He was certain the effects would not be pleasant.
            I want to know what the hell is going on and why they’re back. Charlie thought.
I listened intently whilst I remained silent and unmoving.
            “Morning, Dad.” Bella greeted her father as he opened the door.
            “Oh, hey, Bella. I didn’t know you were awake.” Charlie replied, slightly humiliated by being caught checking up on her. He knew that Bella was very independent and didn’t like being taken care of by others.
            I thought she’d be asleep. He thought to himself.
            “Yeah. I’ve just been waiting for you to wake up so I could take a shower.”
            “Hold on, let’s talk for a minute first.”
Through the gaps around the closet doors, I saw brightness flood into the room as the light was turned on.
            “You know you’re in trouble.” Charlie said.
            “Yeah I know.” Bella agreed.
            “I just about went crazy these last three days. I come home from Harry’s funeral, and you’re gone. Jacob could only tell me that you’d run off with Alice Cullen, and that he thought you were in trouble. You didn’t leave me a number, and you didn’t call. I didn’t know where you were or when – or if – you were coming back. Do you have any idea...how...how...?” Charlie paused, unable to finish his sentence due to his rising stress levels. He took a deep breath to soothe himself before continuing. “Can you give me one reason why I shouldn’t ship you off to Jacksonville this second?”
            “Because I won’t go.” Bella stated bluntly.
            “Now just one minute, young lady – “
            “Look, Dad.” Bella interrupted. “I accept complete responsibility for my actions, and you have the right to ground me for as long as you want. I will also do all the chores and laundry and dishes until you think I’ve learned my lesson. And I guess you’re within our rights if you want to kick me out too – but that won’t make me go to Florida.”
            Since when did she become so forthright and demanding? It must be his influence. Charlie thought, meaning me but not having the respect to even think my name. 
            “Would you like to explain where you’ve been?”
            “There was...an emergency.” Bella replied with nervousness in her voice. Charlie couldn’t know the truth and we hadn’t discussed an appropriate explanation for Bella’s sudden disappearance from Forks.
            “I don’t know what to tell you, Dad. It was mostly a misunderstanding. He said, she said. It got out of hand.”
Not much of an explanation. Charlie thought suspiciously, as he waiting for Bella to elaborate.
            “See, Alice told Rosalie about me diving off the cliff...”
            WHAT!?! Charlie internally exploded. Cliff...diving! Diving...off...cliffs!
He wasn’t the only one who was furious with Bella’s reckless behaviour; I shared Charlie’s anger.
Charlie’s shock must have been apparent in his facial expression as Bella stammered to explain.
            “I guess I didn’t tell you about that. It was nothing. Just messing around, swimming with Jake. Anyway, Rosalie told Edward, and he was upset. She sort of accidently made it sound like I was trying to kill myself or something. He wouldn’t answer his phone, so Alice dragged me to...LA, to explain in person.”
            “Were you trying to kill yourself?” Charlie asked, alarmed.
            “No, of course not. Just having fun with Jake. Cliff diving. The La Push kids do it all the time. Like is said, nothing.”
He didn’t seem convinced.
Charlie’s anger increased excessively, so much so that his thoughts were in disarray.
            “What’s it to Edward Cullen anyway? All this time, he’s just left you dangling without a word –“
            “Another misunderstanding.” Bella interjected.
            “So is he back then?”
            “I’m not sure what the exact plan is. I think they all are.”
Anger pulsated through him.
I could feel his hatred for me.
But he couldn’t despise me as much as I despised myself.
            He will ruin all her progress. After what he did to her, how could he show his face around here again? Well, I won’t let him destroy her twice. Charlie thought fiercely, as the same image of his broken hearted daughter that I’d seen only hours before, appeared in his head again.
I winced inaudibly at the reminder of what I had done to Bella. I would forever be remorseful.
            “I want you to stay away from him, Bella. I don’t trust him. He’s rotten for you. I won’t let him mess you up like that again.” Charlie said through gritted teeth.
            “Fine.” She replied sternly.
I was as stunned as Charlie at Bella’s answer.
Was she deceiving her father to avoid an argument?
Or was she actually agreeing with him and making a decision not to see me?
My chest constricted in pain, but I ignored the agony and continued to listen.
            “Oh, I thought you were going to be difficult.” Charlie said, surprised.
            “I am. I meant, ‘Fine I’ll move out.’”
Charlie fumed with ferocity, whilst the pain in my chest faded.
            “Dad, I don’t want to move out. I love you. I know you’re worried, but you need to trust me on this. And you’re going to have to ease up on Edward if you want me to stay. Do you want me to live here or not?” Bella said, introducing bribery into the conversation.
            “That’s not fair Bella. You know I want you to stay.”
            “Then be nice to Edward, because he’s going to be where I am.” Bella assured him.
Her words made my heart swell with devotion.
            “Not under my roof.” Charlie fumed. Not a chance in hell. 
            Bella signed. “Look, I’m not going to give you anymore ultimatums tonight – or I guess it’s this morning. Just think about it for a few days, okay? But keep in mind that Edward and I are sort of a package deal.”
            “Bella –“Charlie started.
            “Think it over. And while you’re doing that, could you give me some privacy? I really need a shower.”
Charlie stormed out of the room, mumbling coarse language and insults in his head; the majority of them aimed at me.
I felt dreadful for being the cause of Bella’s dispute with her father. As soon as I heard Charlie descend the staircase, I exited the confines of my hiding place and sat in the rocking chair on the other side of the room. 
Bella chucked her quilt to the end of her bed and got up.
            “Sorry about that.” She whispered, once she saw me.
            “It’s not like I don’t deserve far worse. Don’t start anything with Charlie over me, please.”
            “Don’t worry about it. I will start exactly as much as is necessary, and no more than that. Or are you trying to tell me I have nowhere to go?” Bella asked warily.
            “You’d move in with a house full of vampires?” I asked, stunned by her bravery and obvious faith in my family.
            “That’s probably the safest place for someone like me. Besides, if Charlie kicks me out, then there’s no need for a graduation deadline, is there?” She grinned.
I clenched my teeth together to prevent a growl from escaping my lips.
I would have to work on the marriage thing.
Maybe if she knew what it meant to be committed to someone in that way, well maybe she’d understand how wonderful it would be.
            “So eager for eternal damnation.” I murmured.
            “You know you don’t really believe that.”
            “Oh, don’t I?”  I said with a hint of anger in my voice.
            “No. You don’t.” Bella shot back.
When would she comprehend that vampires were monsters?
Monsters didn’t have souls.
I was just about to explain to Bella that I was a soulless creature, but she quickly interceded.
            “If you really believed that you’d lost your soul, then when I found you in Volterra, you would have realised immediately what was happening, instead of thinking we were both dead together. But, you didn’t – you said ‘Amazing. Carlisle was right.’ – There’s hope in you, after all.”
I was bewildered by Bella’s words.
I’d forgotten that feeling of believing that I had discovered heaven.
That spectacular feeling.
But maybe that was just my subconscious clouding my original judgement.
My mind playing tricks on me.
Now I would never know.
But I still wasn’t convinced that vampires had their souls intact.
            “So let’s both just have faith all right? Not that it matters. If you stay, I don’t need heaven.” Bella said.
I got up and walked to her at human pace.
I placed my hands on either side of her face and gazed lovingly into her eyes.
            “Forever.” I promised.
A promise I would undoubtedly retain.
The path into the future of my never-ending existence appeared bright, hopeful and brilliant like the re-emerging of the stars into my life.

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