August 23, 2010
It’s hard to believe things could possibly be worse, and I haven’t even been separated from Bella yet. That, however, will change in only a few short hours…I hope. Knowing that it would take at least several hours to convince Bella that I don’t love her, I had opted to end this romance immediately following school.
As I sit here in my Volvo, waiting for Bella to return home at her lethargic twenty-five miles per hour, my mind keeps wandering back to the happenings of today.
It had only taken one-eighth of a second for me to fly through the closing door as I chased after Rosalie. My legs pushed me faster than I had ever flown before, and within a moment, Rosalie was within my steel grasp. Was she even trying to run fast? Rosalie’s speed in comparison to mine in that moment was like that of a toddler running against an Olympian. Whether she wanted to be stopped or I was extremely motivated, I couldn’t decide.
Her thoughts were jumbled and irrelevant as I all but dragged her back inside the house. Six other bodies flitted to our sides, asking so many questions that even I couldn’t keep up. Rosalie wouldn’t even look up, and her thoughts were consumed with new car parts. She was blocking her mind again.
“Edward, what happened?” Carlisle inquired in a strained voice.
Despite my efforts to control my voice, I growled,”Rosalie completely went against my word and attempted to change Bella herself.”
“I didn’t though, okay?” Rosalie retorted. Her carefully-built mind block slipped, allowing me to search her mind. Right before my eyes, Rosalie’s whole plan was unveiled.
I gasped as images and words invaded my brain. No, Rosalie had not attempted to change Bella; she had tested my will power. It didn’t matter if I had chased after her or not; she wouldn’t have changed Bella in either instance.
In a way, you could say I was relieved. At least I wouldn’t have to watch her every move like a hawk. On the other hand, I was furious. Had it not been clear that I loved Bella more than everything in this world? Changing Bella now would diminish all my attempts to preserve her life, which is how I spent a large portion of the last six months. I would have assumed it was down right impossible to doubt my devotion to Bella. Of course I wouldn’t change her.
What did Rosalie think she was doing? An unnecessary threat- yet another thing to worry about- was just about the last thing I needed. Could my day even hold any more stress? It was hard to believe it could.
Emmett spoke, breaking my reverie. “Can someone explain what is going on? Out loud, maybe?”
Ignoring Emmett’s question, I demanded, “Rosalie, what… were… you… thinking?” My sanity was about to snap at any second; I could feel it coming.
“Settle down, Edward. I wasn’t going to hurt your precious Bella,” Rosalie answered.
“I can see that, but do you honestly think that was really necessary?” I roared, my sanity leaving as the words were delivered.
“I wasn’t going to change her,” Rosalie countered.
“This was all…a test?” Alice assessed. “Well that explains my vision.”
“Damn,” Emmett awed. How he could love Rosalie was beyond me.
“Oh, Rosalie, how could you torment your brother this way?” Esme questioned.
No one needed Alice to predict her response. “For the last time, I didn’t even change her. Can you blame me for doubting Edward’s commitment to his decision?”
“If you ask me, I think Edward is pretty committed,” Alice responded as she observed the murderous glare fixed on my face.
Suddenly, a wave of calmness and guilt washed over me. Using my peripherals, I threw a grateful glance at Jasper, who was obviously tampering with my family’s emotions.
“This is very disappointing, Rosalie,” Carlisle murmured.
Sighing, Rosalie turned towards me. “Edward, I can see what I did was maybe a little over the top-”
“A little?” I interrupted.
“Just let me finish. I shouldn’t have doubted you like I did. We all know that you’re stronger than all of us put together. Would you please accept my apology?”
I carefully read over her thoughts, verifying that her apology was genuine. Knowing that I didn’t need another source of stress today, I accepted.
From behind the clouds, light shown through the wall of glass in the living room, notifying us of the fast-approaching day. My family returned to packing up the house while I prepared myself for the last day I would ever have with Bella.
This had to be the only time I was not looking forward to seeing Bella. One school day, that’s all I had. One day left to memorize the way my touch would make her cheeks blush scarlet and the way her heart would flutter. One day left for me to assume what she was thinking, only to find out I was dead wrong the second she spoke. And finally, I had only one day left in my entire existence that actually held purpose.
Not having enough time to prepare myself for the difficult day ahead, I let Bella drive herself to school. The only expression I could manage to keep on my face without faltering was dead and emotionless, and I could tell it worried Bella. The whole morning, I wrestled with what I wanted and what I knew was right. The only thing that kept me from changing my decision was the knowledge that Bella would soon be safe.
Bella faithfully walked by my side despite my bad attitude. By English class, I knew Bella was just as distracted as me. Could she sense what was going on? Did she know that a separation was coming?
Our goodbye was fast approaching, but I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her. I simply had way too much on my mind. Silence reigned for the rest of the day. If I had a heart beat, it would have been pounding through my chest. My whole body seemed to be slowly shutting down by the time of our last class.
I retreated to the parking lot as I waited for Bella’s last class to end. Mike Newton walked by, his hateful thoughts and all.
‘Why doesn’t Cullen just leave and never come back? Do something good for a change and share Bella with someone else.’
Well, at least someone would be happy through my misery, even if it was Mike Newton. He really was a good kid, but it had been so long since I hadn’t hated him that it took a lot of effort to see him clearly.
Bella emerged from the locker room flanked by Jessica and Angela. They said their goodbyes, and Bella made her way over to my Volvo. Examining her facial expression, I could see relief, but behind that relief was something else. Fear, maybe? How inconvenient it was that I couldn’t read her mind.
Nodding towards Bella’s truck, I motioned for her to follow. Bella squared her shoulders but did walk beside me.
“Do you mind if I come over today?” I asked before she could get the chance to talk.
Bella had been expecting a question like this, that I could tell. “Of course not,” she responded, looking shocked that I’d even have to ask to come over.
“Now?” I urged. Did she notice the underlying pain in my voice as I looked past her into the sheeting rain?
We reached her truck then, and she climbed into the cab after I opened the door.
Watching her face, I saw confusion come and go, turning into concern. “Sure. I was just going to drop a letter in the mail for Renee on the way back. I’ll meet you there.”
The passenger’s seat on Bella’s right displayed a large, thick envelope. Knowing that the pictures Bella had taken on her new camera were enclosed with her letter, I offered to drop off the envelope myself.
If I was leaving her, having reminders of my presence would not be helpful. She would have to forget about me completely- an idea that just about broke my heart- for her to move on and have a normal human life. I couldn’t completely take all of my gifts and pictures away from Bella, but that didn’t mean they had to be visible.
The second I had thought of my plan, I was already in Bella’s bedroom, scanning the room for anything that would remind Bella of my family, or me. I quickly cleared her room of anything that would remind her of my presence. Pulling up a floorboard, I stashed the items underneath. Now, I could still always be with Bella in spirit, just like she would always be in my heart.
Once in the kitchen, I scribbled a note for Charlie in Bella’s messy script. Worst case scenario, Bella would get lost in the woods, and if that happened, I wanted to make sure Charlie knew where to locate her.
It felt so undeniably wrong to know that I wouldn’t be able to protect Bella much longer, but I know that the only thing she’s really in danger of is me. For so long I had been trying to convince myself that I was her protector, that I could keep her safe, but at some point rationality takes over.
I was brought back to the present as Bella’s ancient Chevy roared into her driveway, making my non-beating heart sink further than it ever had before. It’s time to end this, to say goodbye. Now, I will leave my life behind for the sake of hers, because as long as her heart beats, life will go on.