dark moon

a twilight fanfiction.

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6. Chapter 4: The End:

The house was too quiet, eerie even without my absent siblings. Ithaca was a three day drive for humans driving at the speed limit. It would only take Alice, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett one day, driving at almost twice the speed limit without having to stop for the human requirements of food and rest. They would only have to stop to re-fuel. It was quite impressive that we could drive straight from one side of the United States to the other in that amount of time. I would be making that the same journey tomorrow.
I loved the thrill of driving fast, feeling the purr of the engine beneath me, but tomorrow’s journey was not going to be enjoyable. The only reason I would be driving so fast is to make sure I was far enough away from Bella to keep to keep her from getting hurt even more.
 
I hadn’t decided what I was going to do in Ithaca yet. I didn’t relish the thought of spending time with the loving couples that constituted my family. I would of course be the exception; I would be alone. Maybe I should take a different trip; go somewhere uninhabited and wallow in my wretched misery in isolation.
 
Carlisle and Esme were waiting for me when I walked into the house. They were surrounded by cardboard boxes of items they didn’t want to leave behind. After all, we wouldn’t be coming back here. Not for many years or even decades.
I would never come back to Forks. Ever. It would always be a painful reminder of Bella and our time together.
 
Edward. Carlisle greeted me with a polite smile. Esme walked towards me, her arms outstretched. When she reached me, she caught me in a gentle embrace.
“How was your day, dear?” She asked as she pulled away to look at me.
Concern crossed her face. Oh. Not good by the look of it. I’ve never seen Edward look so emotionally drained. It must be really hurting him, to leave Bella.
“I’m fine, Esme.” I lied.
Her eyebrows pulled together creating worry lines on her forehead.
“Really.” I said to ease her worry. I didn’t want her to worry about me.  “I’m just going to miss her.”
Are you sure you are okay, Edward? You know I worry about you.
“Yes.” I replied, trying to compose my voice, so she would believe me. I don’t think she did. Esme had been waiting decades for me to find someone who meant as much to me, as Carlisle meant to her; my other half, my soul mate, my reason for existing. She was overjoyed when Bella came into my life because she saw the marked change in me. I was no longer an empty creature that existed with no real purpose, I was a loving man who made plans and enjoyed each day. It would crush her to be away from Carlisle, and she knew I would feel just as broken when I left Bella. But she also understood the reasoning behind my decision and didn’t dispute it.
 
“Have you hunted today, Edward?” Carlisle asked. Esme and I are going in an hour or so if you would like to join us? He continued in his head.
“Yes, I have. You and Esme go; I’ll go and pack the belongings I wish to take.”
I turned to Esme and asked, “Would you like me do anything else?”
“No, thank you, dear. We are almost finished now.” She replied her eyes filled with compassion.
 
I was just about to seize an empty cardboard box to take up to my room, when I remembered something I wanted to ask Carlisle.
“Carlisle, what did you tell the hospital about your sudden resignation?”
“I informed the director of the hospital board that I had been offered a position with a generous relocation package that I couldn’t afford to turn down. I notified them that the employment started next week and apologised for the sudden departure. I additionally requested that they didn’t tell anyone until after we had left, not wanting to make a big deal out of it.”
“Where?” I asked.
I picked the thought out of his mind. Los Angeles?
I gave him a puzzled look, indicating he needed to explain.
“Well, mainly to remain hidden from Bella. I didn’t think you would want her to know where we are really going, just in case.”
“In case of what exactly?” I asked, trying to understand.
“In case, Bella decides to come and look for us once we leave.” Carlisle said softly.
I froze, I hadn’t considered that Bella might try to come and find us.
Carlisle continued speaking aloud even though I could read the words in his head. It was like I was listening to the conversation being echoed in my mind.
“Bella is an adult who is certainly capable of taking care of herself.” I was about to dispute his statement, because it was obvious that trouble followed Bella around like a magnet. Carlisle noticed the start of my protest and quickly interrupted.
“I don’t mean in dangerous situations, Edward. I simply meant she is able to accommodate her human needs such as eating, sleeping etc. And when I foresaw the possibility that Bella could quite easily get on a plane and come to look for us, I thought it would be best if we were to be untruthful about our actual whereabouts. Therefore I proceeded to inform the hospital of a location where the sun shines. Because, firstly my colleagues will spread the word throughout town about our departure and secondly Bella knows we would never go to such a place. She will know we lied.”
I finally understood.
Bella knew we would never go to a place where the sun shone constantly. Being vampires, we couldn’t go out in public on bright days. Our skin, when exposed the sunlight sparkles like a million diamonds and would make our difference very obvious. Bella would never follow us if she had no clue where to find us. LA was the perfect location to pretend to be.
“Thank you, Carlisle. I hadn’t even considered that.”
 
After I packed up my room, I headed back downstairs. Carlisle and Esme were still out hunting, and the house felt truly empty – like my chest.
I didn’t drive to Bella’s. It was much more convenient to run, to avoid waking Bella or Charlie with the sound of the car. I darted up the wall of their house, through the open window, and there she was. My Bella.
I sat silently in the rocking chair to watch her sleep; I loved to watch her sleep. Sometimes it was like I was watching her dreams with her. 
I didn’t take my eyes off her all night.
 
At the break of dawn, I ducked out of Bella’s window and sprinted home. As I ran I reflected on the previous night. I had sat in the rocking chair all night unmoving; never diverting my eyes from Bella’s sleeping form. This was going to be the last night I could see her sleep; I didn’t want to miss a single moment. She had another restless night, constantly tossing and turning, but never waking up. I wondered what her dream was about. Was she dreaming of me? Did she know something bad was coming?
 
I was careful not to disturb Carlisle and Esme when I returned to the house. I wanted to avoid them so I didn’t have to explain my actions of sneaking into Bella’s bedroom to watch her sleep. Luckily, they were both distracted, preparing to leave as soon as I had told Bella, which would be after school today.
Today was the day I had been dreading. It had come too fast.
I was truly grateful for my few months of happiness with Bella – it was more than I deserved, and it felt like it would kill me to say goodbye to her.
I needed more time. How could I ever slow time? It was not possible
 
I did not rush to get to school, I drove within the speed limit, trying to prolong every second that I could stay in Forks, just to be near Bella.
I arrived a couple of minutes before Bella and waited for her outside my car. Yesterday’s anxious silence returned as we walked into school. Bella knew something was wrong and it was clear by the distressed look on her face that it was bothering her deeply. It also affected her concentration in class. The English teacher, Mr Betty asked her a question about Romeo and Juliet – the book we were studying, three times before she realised he was speaking to her. She just looked at him with a bewildered expression, as if he was speaking a foreign language. I whispered the correct answer to her, too low for the other humans around us to hear, before lapsing back into silence.
 
Time seemed to pass more rapidly when no dialogue was exchanged between Bella and me. What was I doing?
Shouldn’t I be making the most of my time left with her?
I should be talking to her, just to hear her voice reply back to me. I should be making her smile, to see her beautiful eyes light up her face. I should be embracing her to feel the warmth of her skin against mine.
I wanted to so badly; but I couldn’t. It was too late to start doing those things now. I couldn’t just reverse my recent outlandish behaviour. If I did, it would just get Bella’s hopes up, just before I crushed them completely. The burning pain in my stomach intensified as I realised there were only a few precious hours left. I wanted the pain to engulf me to atone for the suffering I would soon bestow upon her.
 
It was lunchtime by now, and Bella and I sat at our normal table with some of her friends. They hadn’t seemed to notice the awkwardness between us; they were preoccupied snapping pictures of each other with Bella’s camera. I assumed Bella had immersed herself into the project of documenting her life here in Forks to distract herself from worrying about my newly found aberrant attitude. Or maybe she was waiting for me to return to my normal compassionate self.
 
I spent the rest of the school day fretting about what I was going to say to Bella.
I wasn’t ready.
I hadn’t prepared.
I didn’t know what to say.
I was utterly forlorn and full of remorse.
 
After school, I walked Bella to her truck, where she reminded me that she had to work. I didn’t want to walk away from her but I gave her a weak parting smile as I shut the door. As I walked to my Volvo, I started to panic, time was slipping away and I made a reckless decision. I was going to be selfish once more; just one more egotistic action to add to the list.
 
I wasn’t planning on telling Carlisle and Esme. They would just try and talk me out of it. But when I arrived, Carlisle was standing on the porch step waiting for me.
“Alice called.” He said simply as I exited the car.
Alice. I’d forgotten that she would be watching my future. She would have seen what I was going to do, as soon as I had made the decision.
It’s not a good idea, Edward. Carlisle interrupted my own thoughts. If you can’t walk away now, you will never be able to.
He was wrong. I would be able to. I had waited over a century to find Bella. I hadn’t had enough time with her. I just needed one more day, one more day to appreciate her; even if that day had to be spent in purgatory of high school. I would gladly spend every day of my existence there, if it meant I could see Bella.
“Just one more day, Carlisle. Please?” I begged.
His thoughts were full of concern for me.
He looks rather desperate. He thought.
I was desperate, and not afraid to admit it.
“I am.” I stated.
Yes! I thought. My spirits lifted. Carlisle was going to let me because he knew that he wouldn’t be able to physically stop me if he disagreed. Only one more day I thought. If I didn’t tell Bella tomorrow, he intended to.
We will stay with you.
“No. It’s okay Carlisle. You and Esme set off today as originally planned. I will be fine. Honestly, I would prefer to be alone anyway, to prepare to say goodbye to Bel -” I almost choked out her name.
Goodbye.
I never wanted to say goodbye to Bella.
But I would have to.
Tomorrow; for her benefit. I was willing to do anything to ensure she would be safe.
 
I had managed to convince both Carlisle and Esme to leave for Ithaca, after promising I would leave tomorrow. I was sincere as I gave them my word, they relaxed slightly and agreed. They both put too much faith in me.
I wouldn’t let them down this time.
I wouldn’t let Bella down either.
She needed saving.
 
The house was truly empty now. Everyone had gone. My siblings would be arriving in Ithaca soon and I had just waved my adoptive parents off, promising them once more that I would depart Forks tomorrow. I didn’t tell them that there was a chance that I might not be joining them on the east side of the country. I hadn’t decided yet, but Alice would surely notify them when I made a decision.
 
I did not go to see Bella after she finished work. I had put her through enough anguish with my silence over the past couple of days. I hated seeing her distressed, especially when I couldn’t explain and ease her anxiety.
Instead I went alone to our meadow.
 
The meadow was glistening beautifully from the latest rainfall. It reminded me of how Bella sparkled in the rain. Each blade of grass had its own drop of precipitation suspended from its tip. Despite the damp, I lay down on the grass and gazed up at the sky. The purple clouds were blending into the approaching darkness, while others were disappearing altogether, making way for the stars.
As I lay there, I reminisced and thought about the first time I’d brought Bella here. It was where we declared our feelings towards each other. I had kissed her that day; I was positive that I felt my frozen heart beat once at the moment her sweet soft lips touched mine. I had behaved badly that day, too, scaring her. But she had quickly forgiven me for my rude behaviour.  Would she forgive me tomorrow? It didn’t matter if she did – I would never see her again.
Coming here was a painful reminder of what would remain in my past.
My Bella and all of my memories of her.
 
The next day at school, the silence still shrouded us but I wasn’t too bothered by it, I was distracted. My mind was preoccupied, memorising Bella’s features.
Last night, after I left the meadow, I went back to Bella’s bedroom when I was sure she would be asleep. While I watched her sleep, I realised that I needed a vivid mental image of Bella to keep in my mind for the rest of time, in order to survive the long years that lay ahead without her. This really would be the last night I would spend with her. I had to immerse myself deeply in the moment.
So that is what I did, all night and all day during class time. Memorising; her beautiful heart shaped face that held her plump soft lips, her captivating chocolate brown eyes, and the shining long hair which hung loose and wavy around her shoulders. The drum of her heart as it pumped the sweet blood beneath her delicate skin, and the luxurious scent that surrounded her.
 
By the time the last bell rang, signalling school had ended for the day, I knew every cell in her body and I was suddenly terrified. Time was up and I had a terrible task to carry out.
 
“Do you mind if I come over today?” I asked Bella as I walked her to her truck.
“Of course not.”
“Now?” I asked, hoping her answer would be no, because she had a shift at Newton’s or other plans.
“Sure, I was just going to drop a letter for Renee in the mailbox on the way. I’ll meet you there.”
I glanced into the cab of her truck and saw a thick envelope on the passenger seat. It was probably full of the pictures she had been taking of everything and anything; including me. I quickly reached in and took it.
“I’ll do it. And I’ll still beat you there.” I said, forcing a smile onto my face.
 
I raced through town at high speed towards Bella’s, stopping to mail her letter on the way, but only after I removed any pictures of myself. I had to arrive at her house a couple of minutes before her because there was something I needed to do.
I parked up and ran towards her house, grabbing the key from under the eave, I let myself in. I dashed upstairs to Bella’s room and located the presents that my family and I had given her for her birthday and any pictures of me in her scrapbook. I yanked a loose looking floorboard up in the corner of her room and shoved the tickets, photos and CD inside before replacing it. It seemed cruel to take away items that belonged to Bella, but they would just remind her of my family and I wanted her to move on quickly, as if we never existed.
 
I darted back downstairs into the kitchen, ripped a piece of paper off the notepad next to the phone and wrote a note to Charlie, from Bella. Just in case, he came home before she did. I didn’t particularly want to think about what Bella would do directly after I departed, leaving her alone.
I suppose it was no longer my concern.
I winced as my heart constricted in pain.
 
 I heard Bella’s truck turning onto her street, so I promptly exited the house, leaving the letter on the kitchen table, and replacing the key as I left.
 
I sat in the car for a minute until Bella arrived.  When she parked, I got back out of my car and went to greet her. I reached to take her school bag from her and put it on the seat in her truck before shutting the door.
“Come for a walk with me.” I asked her as I took her hand. The cold touch of my skin against hers raised goosebumps on hers. Her skin felt like velvet beneath mine. She didn’t answer so I proceeded to pull her towards the forest adjacent to her house. I stopped at the first few trees, dropping her hand and leaning my back against a large birch.
“Okay, let’s talk.” Bella said.
 
I wished for another option, anything; but I knew there was no alternative to what I was about to do. It felt like this would kill me and the pain in my stomach reached a crescendo.
I filled my lungs with air and spoke.
“Bella, we’re leaving.”
Bella took a deep breath; however it shocked me that her face remained composed and free of emotion. I had expected her to be irrational and pleading with me to stay.
“Why now? Another year -?” Bella started to say.
“Bella, it’s time. How much longer could we stay in Forks, after all? Carlisle can barely pass for thirty, and he’s claiming thirty-three now. We’d have to leave soon regardless.” I replied. I did not want to give her to truthful reason for our departure; it would make her feel responsible. She would insist that she didn’t need saving. Confusion crossed her face as she stared at me unblinking.
“When you say we –. “ She whispered. Was she thinking that I meant me and her? I would love nothing more than to run away with Bella, just me and her together – but that was impossible. I had to be clear, to make her understand.
“I mean my family and myself.” I said each word distinctly, while wishing with every syllable that she was a part of my family.
She shook her head back and forth several times as if to say no.
 
Bella was silent, while she gathered her thoughts. It frustrated me that I couldn’t see what she was thinking as the seconds ticked by slowly. I waited patiently for her to speak again, for the anger to come. I stared at her face – it captivated me. Whenever I looked at Bella, I saw my love, my life, the very reason for my existence. But soon we would both be alone. I would always be alone. Bella would age and find someone new – who could take care of her, protect her – things I couldn’t do. As well as love her and make her happy. I swallowed back the growl the threatened to erupt at the thought of someone else getting to do those things – things I wished so much that I could do. I envied the person who would get my Bella. I wanted Bella to preserve her remarkable soul by living a happy life, and to just be happy. As long as that was possible I would be able to walk away.
 
After what felt like hours, Bella finally opened her mouth to speak. I braced myself for the oncoming fury.
“Okay. I’ll come with you.”
What, hadn’t I been explicit? She wanted to come with me, of course, but hadn’t I specifically told her that just my family and I were leaving, and she was not included?
“You can’t, Bella.” I told her. Her face fell slightly but still no anger tainted her expression. Had I got it wrong? Did she not really care for me as much as she had claimed to?
Was she not troubled at all?
“Where we’re going…It’s not the right place for you.”
“Where you are is the right place for me.” She replied.
Ah, she did care. I was just over thinking the situation. I assumed that she was going to try and convince me to either stay or to let her come with me, in a calm manner before she got angry.
“I’m no good for you, Bella.” I told her truthfully.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Her voice turned tense as she spoke. “You are the very best part of my life.”
I was the most dangerous part of her life, but the best part of her life was in her future, somewhere I wouldn’t exist.
“My world is not for you.” I said dismally.
 
“What happened with Jasper – that was nothing, Edward! Nothing!”
How could she think that? He had almost killed her! I grimaced at the memory. Did she not value her life at all?
“You’re right; it was exactly what was to be expected.”
Her eyes flickered with a remembrance.
“You promised! In Phoenix, you promised that you would stay – “
I quickly interrupted her, “As long as that was best for you.” I mentally cursed myself for not promising I would stay with her forever. No, I argued with myself – I would have had to break that promise.
 
“No! This is about my soul, isn’t it?” Bella exploded. Here was the anger I had anticipated – I expected it to get much worse. I stared at the ground and clenched my teeth together as she continued to shout.
“Carlisle told me about that, and I don’t care, Edward.” A shudder ran up my spine as she spoke my name, maybe for the last time.  “I don’t care! You can have my soul. I don’t want it without you – it’s yours already.”
I continued to stare at the ground for a moment. I needed to compose myself. I did not want Bella to hear the sadness in my voice, or see the bleak look in my eyes. I took a deep breath – Bella’s irresistible scent set my throat on fire, and unclenched my teeth before turning my head to look at her.
“Bella, I don’t want you to come with me.”
Her face drained of colour as rejection washed over her.
My heart pinched.
It was so hard to say those words.
It was the blackest kind of blasphemy.
 
Bella had to believe that I didn’t want her anymore, and that I was moving on with my life. She stood there motionless. Her silence made me catch my breath.
“You…don’t…want…me?” She finally spoke in a whispered tone.
The aching pain in my stomach rose higher and higher until it covered every inch of my body.
I wanted to shout, yes! I do want you! I will always want you!
 
Bella’s heart was beating furiously, and with each beat felt like my frozen heart was being stabbed.
“No.” I replied.
Her face crumpled in pain. She stared into my eyes, searching for something. What she found – I don’t know.
 I stared back at her incredulously.
She believed me.
I could see it in her eyes.
No! I wanted to scream at her. Don’t believe me!
How could all the times I had told her I loved her mean nothing?
Did she not realise how much she meant to me?
Had I not been candid enough when explaining my feelings to her in the past?
I craved to reach out and touch her; to melt under her touch and forget the excruciating pain that ran through me.
 
Bella might be hurting now – but that would fade.
Time would heal the wounds I had created within her.
I however would not heal.
The stabbing pain I was feeling would not leave physical scars, but it would be part of me for the rest of time, engraving guilt and wretchedness into my very being. Bella had significantly altered me for all eternity. I wished there was some way of making her know how much I truly loved her, how I would always love her.
 
“Well that changes things.” Bella spoke in a calm voice.
I gazed into the forest, wishing I could run away – but I owed Bella an explanation. I couldn’t just leave things unsaid, it would cause her more pain and I didn’t want to do that. It was killing me inside already.
“Of course, I’ll always love you…in a way. But what happened the other night-” I scowled at the memory. “- Made me realise that it’s time for a change. Because I’m…tired of pretending to be something I’m not Bella. I am not human.” I turned my gaze back to look at her, so she could see the inhuman qualities that possessed me. “I’ve let this go on much too long, and I’m sorry for that.”
I was truly sorry.
I was sorry that I was not worthy of her, I would trade anything to be human, but even then I would still not be worthy of Bella, but at least we would both be equal creatures, and I wouldn’t have to leave.
 
“Don’t” She whispered. Her face was utterly heartbreaking to look at. Her pained expressions made my body tense up and tingle as if it was preparing to cry. I longed to take her in my arms and sooth the hurt away.
“Don’t do this.” She pleaded in a soft voice full of emotion.
I watch her intently.
Where had the rage gone?
How could she believe me so effortlessly?
Oh, how I craved to be able to read her mind.
I was desperate to know the thoughts that must have been rushing through her mind.
 
Being a vampire, I was able to experience emotions similarly to a human, but it was easier to disregard them – but Bella’s acceptance of my deceit caused a jolt in my body that made me want to fall to my knees and cry out in agony.
I forced myself to remain calm as I said, “You’re not good for me, Bella.” – reversing the words I had said to her previously. She opened her mouth to reply, but no words came out. I didn’t need to breathe – but I didn’t know how long I had been holding my breath until Bella eventually spoke.
“If…that’s what you want.”
I bowed my head giving her a nod.
My chest throbbed as my dead heart splintered.
No, that’s not what I wanted at all.
 
Why wasn’t she screaming and begging me not to leave?
Her acceptance was unbearable. This was the most agonising experience I had ever encountered. I couldn’t imagine anything in my existence being any worse.
 
I took a quick breath – Bella’s scent burned my throat again as the air entered my lungs.
“I would like to ask one favour, though, if that’s not too much.” A shiver of worry crept up my spine. Who would protect Bella when I left? Who would catch her when she tripped? Who would take her to the emergency room? The thought of Bella being hurt, triggered my instinct to embrace and shield her. I held myself back with all my strength.
“Anything.” She promised.
“Don’t do anything reckless or stupid. Do you understand what I am saying?”
She nodded as a response.
“I’m thinking of Charlie, of course. He needs you. Take care of yourself – for him.” And for me, I added silently in my head.
“I will.” She whispered, nodding again.
I felt myself relax slightly.
As long as she lived and breathed – I could survive.
 
“And I’ll make you a promise in return. I promise that this will be the last time you’ll see me. I won’t come back. I won’t put you through anything like this again. You can go on with your life without anymore interference from me. It will be as if I never existed.”
Bella started to shake, and her heart rate accelerated echoing through the quiet forest. I smiled weakly at her, in a futile attempt at easing her wretchedness.
“Don’t worry. You’re human – your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all wounds for your kind.”
“And your memories?”
“Well –. “ I paused. There was no chance of me ever forgetting. The memories that I held of Bella were permanently etched in my mind. “I won’t forget. But my kind…we’re very easily distracted.” I stepped away from the tree I had been leaning on, moving myself away from Bella. “That’s everything, I suppose. We won’t bother you again.”
Her eyes widened as she realised what I had not yet told her.
“Alice isn’t coming back.” She whispered in a chocked voice.
I shook my head mechanically.
Bella’s heart skipped a beat. Not only was I taking myself away from Bella, I had also taken her best friend. I really was a heartless, cold skinned monster!
“No. They’re all gone. I stayed behind to tell you goodbye.”
“Alice is gone?” She asked in disbelief
“She wanted to say goodbye, but I convinced her that a clean break would be better for you.”
Bella looked disorientated. I had to leave now. This was it – The end. No more lies; no more us. Love lost forever.
“Goodbye, Bella.”
 
“Wait!” She cried. Her legs wobbled as she tried to reach for me. I gently grabbed her wrists and pinned them to her sides, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to let her go if I embraced her now. The touch of her skin against mine sent waves of warmth throughout my body. She closed her eyes as I leant down and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, breathing in her scent one last time.
“Take care of yourself.” I breathed.
I turned swiftly and ran. I sprinted into the forest at inhuman speed. I ran through the trees faster than I thought possible, with a hollow chest and a spirit that would always be burdened with guilt.
 
I ran almost a whole circle as I doubled back to Bella’s house. She had wandered into the trees and didn’t see or hear me jump into my car and speed away. My empty chest throbbed as I drove out of the town limits leaving my broken heart behind.
 
Goodbye may seem like forever; but in my heart were the precious, cherished memories, and it was there that Bella would always stay.

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