September 24, 2010
We continued our endless drive in silence. It was a rare sight to catch Alice speechless, and as much as I needed a distraction, I decided not to interrupt her thoughts. Maybe that was because all of my attention was focused on my own thoughts. I simply would not allow Alice’s perspective affect my own, even if I didn’t exactly know what my thoughts were.
Although I wasn’t reading Alice’s thoughts, I knew her well enough to know that she was obviously missing Bella…and a lot. Bella was Alice’s best friend. Actually, Bella was Alice’s only friend. Assuming that Alice’s visions always distanced her from others in her human life, she had never experienced what it was like to have a best friend outside of her family.
Closing my eyes in attempt to pinpoint my emotions, I blocked out everything from the outside world, but my thoughts weren’t arranging themselves into coherent sentences regardless. Incoherence is a frequent symptom of my withdrawal from Bella. When there is no more Bella, the drug I need to continue my life normally, I find myself constantly on-edge. The things I knew and the things that were customary in my life have disappeared. I am no longer Edward Cullen, the perfect vampire I had spent eighty plus years struggling to portray myself as; I am a monster with no control over my feelings whatsoever.
Is Bella reacting in the same fashion I am? I’ve been praying that she is not just reacting, simply enduring what life has given her, but that she is responding and making the most of her situation.
Although a very small part of me wanted Bella to be as affected by our separation as I was, I would be much happier in the long run if she could maintain a normal life.
Both Alice and I had witnessed Bella’s episode, but I can’t be sure of what she is truly going through. She constantly surprises me. Bella had always responded to me with an intense love stronger than most humans would, but she wouldn’t be left in such a pain from my absence, would she?
I shook my head back and forth, trying to keep what I knew as the truth and what my emotions were telling me separate. The action cleared my head for the fraction of a second it took to arrange my thoughts.
During that brief time, I reminded myself of a few truths I had forgotten. First, Bella was a human. Human memories, human pain, fade with time. Their weak minds don’t have the capacity to remain in despair for such an extended amount of time; it would ruin them. Second, Bella is a stubborn, independent person. I knew that she would not let this ruin her; she would fight on. Third, I was the first person Bella had fallen in love with. If there was one thing I knew about humans, it was that their emotions change. At least one other man was out there, waiting to capture the heart that has captured mine.
And if I knew she could find happiness while being free from danger- a situation that was down right impossible while I was in the picture- then how could I burden her with my presence? It wasn’t fair, and it certainly wasn’t right. After all, leaving Bella was for her soul and her safety. My well-being had nothing to do with it.
I occupied the large remainder of the car ride by contemplating who will eventually steal Bella’s heart. Surely Bella wouldn’t settle for someone like Mike Newton or Eric Yorkie, right? She deserved far more than that, but the choice is not mine to make.
Thinking of someone else being blessed by Bella’s continuous presence, of someone else breathing in her luxurious scent and holding her in their arms…it infuriates me. However, I know my overwhelming anger is originating from the reality that I’m not good enough for Bella, and not from the fact that she will love someone else. She will follow the natural path her life should have taken all along. Bella deserves to find happiness amidst my mistakes.
I opened my eyes for the first time in what seemed like hours. The scene around me was all very familiar; I’ve seen it countless times before. Judging from the dirt roadways sheeted with ice and the excessive snow drifts bordering the road, we were approximately half an hour southeast of the Denali coven’s house. Spruces and Douglas Firs towered above the roadways, and the sun was still shining regardless of the late hour.
Glancing over at Alice, I noticed that she had added yet another layer to her flashy and unnecessary designer outfit. The woman owned far more coats than necessary for a vampire who isn’t affected in the most frigid weather.
Noticing my disapproving look, Alice simply shrugged. Leave it to Alice to find the utmost importance of dressing like a celebrity in an area where many work as loggers and fisherman.
But I knew Alice had more than one reason for shopping. Don’t get me wrong, she genuinely adores buying a new pair of Christian Louboutin heels – and I only know the name because she raves about this god of hers night and day – but shopping provides distractions from issues she’d rather not think about, issues that she may not even notice herself. Shopping fills voids her subconscious is trying to block, such as the absence of knowing her real life mother, or in this case, the absence of her best friend.
“Alice?” I asked hesitantly.
“Yes?” She replied, sensing my unease.
“Does Tanya…know…what’s going on?” I finally inquired.
“Yes,” Alice sighed. “Well, she knows that things didn’t work out between you and Bella. If you ask me, she seems pretty thrilled. Of course, she wouldn’t tell you so, but she believes this is her chance to finally win you over.”
A memory hit me from the last time I visited Denali. It was January 18th, the first day I had laid my eyes on Bella Swan. To escape her overpowering scent, I fled to Denali. Thinking back on that day, I remember that I was completely unaware that Bella was my soul mate. My thoughts were consumed by her. I didn’t know what I was feeling, but I knew it was completely new. I was oblivious to the undying love for Bella that was growing within me by the day; she was only a demon sent from hell to destroy the life I had made for myself.
Oh, how wrong I was! In reality, Bella was quite the opposite – an angel, sent by God to give my dreary existence meaning, even if it was only temporary.
On the night of the 18th, Tanya and I had shared a conversation that was long needed. Tanya had taken a liking to me many decades past, but I didn’t return those feelings. She attempted to keep her feelings hidden from me, but constantly monitoring one’s thoughts is just about impossible. Apparently, attempting to let Tanya down easy didn’t quite get my message across, and I needed to set some things straight.
The Volvo rolled onto the stone courtyard in front of the Denali house. Kate, Irina, and Tanya flitted onto the wrap-around porch before I could finish sighing.
“You can do this, Edward,” Alice assured me.
I nodded, not because I agreed, but because I couldn’t find the right words to say.
Alice put the car in park and hopped out. She walked to the front of the Volvo, waiting for me to join her. Anyone who hadn’t known her for countless decades would have been oblivious of her fabricated emotions.
‘You’re going through hell, Edward. I understand that. Just try and fake some excitement for Esme and Carlisle’s sake. They hate to see you like this,” she told me through her thoughts.
I looked up at the blazing sun and back down at the stones beneath my moving feet. Alice and I had perfected this way of communication, and our silent conversations had improved since last January.
We reached the porch then and were greeted by the three Denali sisters.
“Ah, Edward, I’m so sorry,” Kate expressed before pulling me into a hug.
“Thank you, Kate,” I replied, making sure to maintain the polite standard I held myself to.
“Welcome, Edward. I, too, am so sorry for what you’ve been going through,” Irina voiced as she looked me in the eye.
“Welcome back, Edward,” Tanya finally spoke as she stepped forward. Her greeting sounded far too close to ‘welcome home’ to find any comfort in her words.
“Well, let’s get you inside! There’s no sense in standing out here,” Kate blurted in attempt to clear the awkward atmosphere.
We walked through the large foyer and into the living room that boasted high ceilings and a marvelous fireplace.
Breaths hitched as I glided into the room. I looked down, avoiding the eight pairs of troubled, golden eyes staring up at me. Their thoughts returned to normal within seconds
“Welcome back, Son,” Esme sang in delight. She glided to my side and placed a hand on my cheek. “Oh, I’ve missed you terribly!”
“We’ve all missed you,” Rosalie responded, looking down at her nails. I was shocked that Rosalie had voiced her actual thoughts. She didn’t know how much it meant to me.
“Yes! My hunting partner has returned,” Emmett smirked with a wicked glint in his eyes.
“Welcome back, Son. It’s good to have you here,” Carlisle said.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed myself for the remainder of the night. I had missed my family more than I would have guessed, and being around so many people provided a distraction. My emotions couldn’t be trusted, though. Jasper was tainting the emotional atmosphere with excitement and happiness, but for that I was grateful. Although the emotions weren’t mine, I would take them gladly over my own.
One day, I will be strong enough to leave my family behind and deal with my emotions, but this is the place I need to be right now, surrounded by family and friends that love me. I knew I had some things I would have to take care of and some people I needed to talk to, and just maybe, if I was lucky, I would even have the chance to smile.
Will write again soon,
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