November 10, 2010
Thursday, September 22nd
I’ve never been so grateful for immortal insomnia to this extent in my entire existence. A decision has been made, and turning back at this point is impossible. This decision may, in a way, destroy my attempts to not interfere with Bella’s life, but if it saves her life, it is by far worth it.
I am not acting out of my own needs, but rather ensuing Bella’s safety. This decision is necessary, vital. It hasn’t been made on an erratic whim, but made with full knowledge of what protecting Bella will entail. But I know that Bella is worth it, because if Bella were to die, I would die, too. The grief would be too much.
It breaks my heart to know that even when I take this challenge and leave Alaska to protect her, I still won’t be able to visit her regardless. I knew such a thing was impossible, but even after that dreaded day one week ago, I still hadn’t banished fantasies of being reunited with her from my mind. Maybe, one day in the future, I will have the restraint necessary to watch her sleep without being the selfish man I am and wake her up, but such restraint will be much harder to obtain than the restraint necessary that kept me from drinking her sweet blood. If I come within visible distance of my angel and hear her heart beat, I know I won’t be able to leave again. And so I wait for the day that I can see her again.
My time in Alaska has only helped me infinitesimally. Yes, I have been distracted by being around my closest family, and yes, Jasper’s empathetic abilities have shielded some of the gut-wrenching agony, but I know the small improvement is due to Jasper. The second I leave, my pain will come back in full force…probably twice as strong as the first time. I shuddered at the thought. But it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make. I knew the possible consequences of leaving Bella; this wasn’t a surprise.
However, this time, I will have a greater distraction, one that will occupy my mind more than listening to Emmett’s enthusiastic guffaws at his own perverted jokes or debating the motives behind the actions of characters in English literature with Carlisle. I’ll be tracking.
In the vampire world my family lives in, it’s not rare to find a sadistic tracker who will track a human out of bloodlust. Our coven handled a situation with a tracker first hand last spring. I, on the other hand, will be doing quite the opposite; I’ll be tracking the mate of James, the red-head, Victoria.
One simple vision changed what was left of my future plans, and it may have protected Bella’s. Last night, after I had my epiphany on the snow-laden roof, one of Alice’s visions shifted my surrounds drastically.
The long, dark hair of Laurent ran through the green, dense forest of Washington. Before not too long, he greeted a vampire with flowing hair the color of fire and dark crimson irises flashed before my eyes. I immediately recognized the face of Victoria. He whispered into her ear, and her eyes darkened in anticipation.
The scene shifted to a different section of the wet forest – the meadow Bella and I had spent many spring and summer days in. There, Victoria crouched down to hover over a body idle with sleep. Digging her teeth into her next victim’s carotid artery, Victoria sucked the life out of the human girl. Then she moved back, revealing the human’s face. My ears started ringing once I caught a glimpse of the girl. Bella. My Bella. My Bella I hadn’t seen in what felt like years.
I took in the appearance of her pallid, lifeless body and buried my head in my hands. My life, no, my reason for existence, was gone. I didn’t even have the chance to tell her the truth, the truth that I loved her more than any man had loved anything in his entire existence. The truth that my all-consuming love for her ultimately brought me to leave her. The truth that her safety was more important than my life, that she meant more to me than my own life. She would never get to know, and I’d never get to see her again.
After the vision played out, I threw my body off of the roof and was standing in the family room less than a second later.
I was expecting the sight I walked into; Jasper rested his hand reassuringly on Alice’s shoulder as she frantically searched the future. The other members of my family and the Denali coven were talking in hushed voices in the southwest corner of the room. Their expressions ranged from fear to fury, and no one even noticed I had entered until I was standing right in front of Carlisle.
Carlisle was leading the discussion as he spoke in a persuasive tone. He seemed calm and collected, but the fear in his eyes wasn’t concealed. This was Carlisle’s role in our family, to offer the reasonable and compassionate decisions we needed. I felt bad for what I was about to do, but I was in dire need of counsel.
I didn’t take the time to meet the concerned faces staring in my direction. Taking Carlisle’s hand in mine, I led us out the wide French doors and ran west. We didn’t stop for miles, but Carlisle didn’t once complain or voice his opinion. Eventually, we came to a stop at the base of Mount McKinley, nearly eighty miles from the Denali house.
Carlisle motioned for me to sit with him on a boulder.
“Tell me what you’re feeling, Edward,” he murmured.
It took several minutes to evaluate my vacillating emotions. I quickly identified grief and loss at the surface, but I needed to dig deeper. It was then that I realized I felt like I had failed, like I had let everyone down. In the last week, I had forced my family to leave the life they had known in Forks, left my soul mate, and nearly destroyed myself in the process. I owed my family better than that; I owed Bella better than that.
Finally, after I had pinpointed those emotions, I answered. “Grief, despair, failure, guilt…the list goes on and on, Carlisle.”
“As much as you’d like to blame this all on yourself, this isn’t your fault, son,” Carlisle consoled.
“But it is, Carlisle! It is! Bella is going to die because of us, because of what we are. I can’t forgive myself for this.”
I buried my face in my hands for the second time that day, only to feel Carlisle’s hand lift up my face. He looked straight into my eyes. “Who says she has to die,” he countered.
“I- I can’t interfere, I can’t get that close to Bella,” I said, my voice filled with doubt.
“I have faith in you. While Esme and I are not your biological parents, we have raised you to handle tough situations. It is in these situations that one’s character is tested, and this is a test that you will have to take. Remember, son, remember last January. Did any one of us believe you could have controlled your thirst enough to be with Bella? Certainly not, but you did. You may just surprise yourself, Edward.”
I thought back to the day Bella arrived and the path that led me to where I am today. It was then that I remembered the first vampire who had attempted to take Bella’s life – James. He was a tracker, the mate of Victoria, who risked everything to satiate his thirst for Bella’s blood.
I had been oblivious to Victoria’s motives until then; she wanted revenge. Her reason for existence had been taken from her, and she was reacting to her situation by trying to take my reason for existence from me.
This knowledge brought the whole situation into a different light; my pain was overshadowed by rage, fury, and retaliation. Any doubt that I had about leaving Alaska had left. The feline killer will not be allowed to kill my Bella while I sit back and watch. I’ll rip her apart limb from limb, if I have enough control to take the time to kill her slow enough. She won’t see another day; I won’t let her. I started sprinting back to Denali as fast as my legs would take me, knowing that Carlisle was a few yards behind.
Once I reach Denali, I’ll gather my things, say goodbye to my family, and start on my mission to find Victoria. I won’t stop until I know my Bella is safe. This vision of Alice’s is one I will gladly risk my life trying to change.