August 19, 2010
I ran through the dense forest trees at maximum speed, but for once, I didn’t enjoy it. As if I could find pleasure in an activity like running when my life would soon be meaningless. Aching with pain, every inch of my body was aware of how deep the separation from Bella would hit. Any previous purpose my life held before meeting her has vanished, leaving extra space for the anguish to take over.
Was I really going back on my promise to never leave Bella? Did I have the strength needed to accept that she wouldn’t be mine much longer? As long as it was what was best for her, I had promised to stay, but I was no longer what was best for Bella; I was far from it. I am nothing but a monster, and Bella is nothing but an angel. She belongs in heaven, a place I will never see.
I had always known that this day would eventually come, a day when I would be separated from her, but how can I be prepared for something like this? Every extra second I spend in close proximity to Bella is a second that can bring her closer to death. If the only way left to protect her is to leave her, then so be it.
My family’s thoughts entered my mind as I approached my house. The tenor of their thoughts was to be expected- bitterness, worry, and concern. I knew my family wouldn’t understand my pain. No one would understand my pain, not even Bella. However, they were trying their best to help me through my misery.
I flew over the Calawah River without hesitation and was inside our house soon after. Rosalie was in my face in less than two seconds. “Edward Cullen, I refuse to leave again! How could you do this to us?” she shrieked. Apparently, she had been too preoccupied with herself to even realize we were relocating. This was low, even for Rosalie.
“Calm down, babe,” Emmett soothed as he sauntered into the room. “Everything’s going to be fine.” It was just like Emmett to tell his egotistical wife anything she wanted to hear.
Rosalie’s eyes softened for a fraction of a second before returning her attention on me. “She didn’t even get hurt, Edward. Do something right for a change and stop being so melodramatic.”
“What if she had gotten hurt? I will not allow Bella Swan to be put in harm’s way by our existence ever again!” I shouted. The words reverberated off the walls, sending four other concerned minds down the staircase and into the kitchen.
“Edward, it doesn’t have to be this way,” Carlisle implied. If he thought for one second that I would change Bella, I must not have made myself clear. Changing Bella to relieve my pain would be the most selfish thing I would ever do. She deserves a long and happy life, and if I exiled her this life of darkness, I would never forgive myself.
“There is no other way, Carlisle,” I murmured.
“Yes, there is, Edward!” Rosalie yelled. “Change her!”
“I am not damning Bella to this life that none of us would have chosen!” I bellowed.
“Edward,” Alice said in a concerned voice, “the vision of Bella as a vampire- I had it again.”
I heard five intakes of breath as Alice replayed the vision. Standing there with her around Alice was Bella, her eyes liquid gold and her skin sparkling in the sunlight. I couldn’t fight the invading happiness once I saw the vision again. No, Bella will never be what I am. It had to be wrong. After all, Alice had made mistakes before.
“So what does this mean?” Esme questioned.
“Perhaps we need to rethink our decision?” Carlisle prompted.
“The only way the vision will change is if Edward actually makes up his mind,” Alice stated. ‘You haven’t given her up yet, Edward. That’s the only possible way I’m still seeing it!’ her thoughts defended.
I glanced around the room, meeting six pairs of curious eyes. Were they waiting for a decision? My decision had already been made, made before I had even seen my brother lunge toward Bella with bloodlust in his eyes; it had been made the second I heard Jasper’s thoughts consumed by her blood.
I massaged my temples in attempt to relieve the stress of the conversation. “The decision of my departure has been made, and I will not be going back on my word. The only question left is concerning the rest of you.”
“No!” Rosalie screeched.
Firmly, Carlisle responded,”We are not scattering our family over this matter, Rosalie.”
“We have had to leave because of you before, Rosalie,” Alice hinted. I had to remember to thank Alice later.
“A new city seems like fun. I vote for leaving,” Emmett announced, looking outside to avoid Rosalie’s glare.
“I support your decision, Edward. I will agree to leave so our family can remain intact,” Esme agreed.
“Everything will work out for the best eventually,” voiced Alice. “Leaving seems like the best thing at the moment.”
The family’s thoughts were a mixture of excitement and chagrin, but they all were in agreement of leaving. That is, except for one. Rosalie was shielding her thoughts by reciting the Declaration of Independence. Whatever she was planning, she was making sure I wouldn’t know.
Jasper stepped forward as he spoke for the first time. “I want to apologize for inflicting such a strain on this family, especially Edward. With that said, I will go along with the family’s decision to leave Forks.”
“I believe the plan has been finalized,” Carlisle confirmed. “Our bags have been packed, and the Denalis have been notified of our visit. Edward will say goodbye to Bella after school today while the rest of us clear out the house.”
“Changing her would be easier,” Emmett muttered as he began opening a packing box for Esme.
“This discussion is over, Emmett,” I replied, struggling to hold on to my sanity.
“Fine, Edward,” Rosalie started. “If you won’t change Bella, I will.”
And then she was gone.
Before it’s too late,
— Edward Cullen
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