We were driving back home after a hectic day and it was very crowded inside Edward’s car. I let out a deep, calming breath. I didn’t like playing with people’s emotions, especially if the victim of my power was my family – well, most of the time, anyway. It feels like I’m invading their personal space, invading their privacy by being able to read their emotions and change it to suit my needs. But at the moment, I honestly needed to channel all of this anger and irritation away from the two warring women and force calm on everyone before I go all newborn fighter against them.
Not that I would attack Alice, who was my wife, love and mate for eternity. Actually, I would hesitate too in attacking Rosalie. I might have fought in the newborn wars once upon a time, but Rosalie was her own level of formidable.
“Got that right,” muttered Edward lowly, a smirk lifting up one corner of his lips. He shared a look with me; I classified it as amused boredom. He was amused, I suppose, at my internal ramblings (nosy mind reader), but was also bored at the current topic at hand. We were driving home after another day spent around human teenagers and my wife and ‘twin’ sister were arguing – more like ready to rip each other’s heads off – about who else but the ever intriguing Bella Swan?
Bella Swan. Full name: Isabella Marie Swan. I wasn’t quite sure about her middle name (Edward was adamant about not telling us), but that’s what it said on her personal records. Alice had raided the principal’s office during lunch before she approached Bella and asked her to sit with us. Of course, the family was more than happy to allow the girl to keep us company. We did miss her, after all.
Who would’ve though that we would be crossing paths again after seven years? The little girl, after being found behind a dumpster by Edward during his hunting trip, had crawled her way into our hearts that one night that she was with us. It was obvious from the way Edward couldn’t help but think about Bella after she had run off, and the way Esmé was beside herself with worry for the child, fending for herself. Carlisle, Alice and I were wondering why an obviously loved little girl would run away in the first place, a familial sort of curiosity settling upon us.
All of our reactions had taken us by surprise, none more so than Emmett when he realized that Rosalie was already halfway there in loving the girl. Apparently, just because the child had called her “pretty”, she was immediately in her good books.
We had tried to find the girl again. Her scent was still fresh – and would still have been fresh for a few more days, if it had not rained and as a result, the scent was lost forever. The family was devastated after that, though we all hid our feelings with varying degrees of success. Of course, no one could hide their feelings from me, and no one could hide their thoughts from Edward. But we humored them, and they humored us.
And that was the crook of the problem right now: Bella was nearly run over by a van, and she would’ve died if it weren’t for Edward’s quick thinking. He saved her, pulling her out of harm’s way. This action provoked different reactions from different members of the family, mainly Alice and Rosalie, because by the end of the incident, Bella was nearing on discovering the family’s secret.
And that was bad. Very bad.
“No, Alice,” screeched Rosalie, “we are not telling Bella anything! Our vampirism has been a secret from humans in the past and it will remain that way. Bella doesn’t need to know.”
“But Rose!” Alice cried, her head tilting at an awkward angle as she twisted on the front passenger’s seat to look at her sister. “Haven’t you been listening to a word I’ve said? Bella will find out in the end, so why waste time trying to prolong the inevitable? We might as well tell her as soon as possible – i.e. tomorrow – and get it over with.”
“She’ll run,” said Rosalie. There was no room for argument in her tone of voice. “If we tell her that we’re bloodsucking, animated marble statues, then she’ll surely run.”
Her tone of voice also said the thing that she was keeping to herself: she didn’t want Bella to run. In fact, none of us – Alice, Emmett, Edward and I – wanted Bella to run. We had first met her when she was ten, and then she disappeared from our lives for the past seven years. And then to have her waltz back in after all this time? It seemed like fate to me.
We had unknowingly found ourselves fond of the girl, perhaps even going as far as having fallen in love. That was the reason why Rosalie didn’t want to reveal our secret. Because if it was revealed and Bella knew, then she might run, and her running away meant that we wouldn’t be able to be with her, to laugh with her and talk with her. What happened this lunchtime was just a preview of what I hoped would be the next few months.
It was very selfish of us – Bella needed to know the truth – but we craved for her company. She gave us something we all wanted. She gave us life. No one would want to say it out loud, but the greatest testimony was right in front of out eyes: Rosalie had warmed up to a human and Edward was smitten. He was smitten. Esmé would be overjoyed to hear about that.
“She will not run, Rose,” said Alice in the barest hint of a whisper. She met Rosalie’s eyes dead on. “I’ve seen it as a vision. Bella Swan will find out what we truly are and she will not run for the hills screaming. Believe it or not, she will accept us. She’ll be part of our family and we will be a part of hers.”
That last part she directed at Edward, who frowned as he drove. Infinitesimally, the car – his silver Volvo – gained speed.
Rosalie, after seeking comfort from her husband and mate, sighed and asked, “Are you sure about that, Alice? Your visions can change. You know that.”
“But this one won’t.”
Surprisingly, it wasn’t Alice who answered, but Edward. He didn’t say it to persuade Rosalie into believing. He said it as a statement, as a truth.
“I don’t want to sound like a parrot or anything, but…” said Emmett, smiling slightly. “How can you be so sure about that? Like what Rose said, Alice’s visions change. Not that I’m doubting your future-seeing abilities, Alice,” he added hastily. Alice winked at him, telling him without words that she didn’t mind.
“Because,” said Edward, shrugging.
“Because what?” I prompted. I analyzed his emotions and was shocked to find it in turmoil. There was nothing odd about that – Edward was always fighting with himself – but what shocked me was that at the foremost of his emotions was, of all things, love. Affection. Admiration. Lust.
“Oh no,” Rosalie gasped, realization dawning on her. “Oh no, you don’t, Edward Anthony Cullen!”
“Wait, what’s going on?” Emmett asked, lost. I was right behind him, but I was slowly catching on. Alice was filling me in.
“Edward,” Rosalie hissed. “Please do not do this.”
“Do what?” Edward was pretending to be clueless and, may I add, failing at it.
“Edward,” she forced Edward to look at her, but he refused her hold. “No matter how charming and sweet and lovely she is, she’s just a human. You deserve better, someone more durable, someone who can match your mortality.”
“Or lack thereof,” I added, finally catching up. Rosalie nodded frantically in agreement. “Her blood, Edward, remember that. Remember her scent and how it’s exceptionally strong for you. You can’t fall for her when you’ll only put her life in danger.”
It would be cold-hearted of me to say it, but it was for the good of everyone, even Bella herself. It would crush her to have my brother fall in love with her, and her him, when in just a few months’ time we would be moving on to a different location. Or if their love would stand that test, then what would happen when Bella grows old? I’ll be damned before she becomes one of us.
Edward tore his gaze from the road and looked at us, saving Rosalie for last. “I haven’t done anything,” he said, his voice mechanic. “I’m not doing anything and I’m not going to do anything.” He then looked away and slowed his driving to thirty miles per hour, something I haven’t seen him do in all the decades I’ve known him. “She’s a breakable human, I’m not. Opposites may attract, but this is too much. I’m not even going to try.”
My mind was a blur. I had half expected Edward to blow us off and tell us that there was nothing to worry about, that he had no interest in the human. Instead, he told us that he wasn’t going to do anything. He wasn’t even going to try and win the girl’s heart. That meant Edward wanted to, yet he’s stopping himself because it was too dangerous. He was correct in that decision, but why would he give up so easily?
Love – if this silly infatuation that just began mere minutes ago was love, then it should not be easily discarded.
I met Edward’s eyes in the rearview mirror. ‘Fight for this, Edward,’ I said in my mind, knowing that he could hear. ‘If you think this is real, fight for it. Goodness knows you’ve been lonely enough to warrant the love of a mate… even if she is human.’
Edward increased the pressure on the gas pedal, and the car drove faster down the road.
“Wait until Esmé hears about this,” I muttered lowly, keeping my emotions out of it so that it sounded neutral. Jasper thought that I was on his side, and I wouldn’t want to break his spirit by telling him I wasn’t, not anymore. I want Edward to find his love, just as much as Alice (perhaps not as much; Bella, after all, was still breakable).
I intertwined my fingers with Emmett’s and pressed his knuckles to my lips. Edward should have the same thing I have, the same thing everyone else in our family has. His solitude needed to end… now, if he wasn’t so stubborn. Bella, though I was reluctant to say it out loud, would be a nice girl for him. In the back of my mind I can’t still shake off the image of her ten year old self in that brown dress, nevertheless the reality was that Bella had grown. She was a grown woman now, and though I’ve only known this older Bella for less than a day, I knew that she had a good head on her shoulders – not a good pair of feet since she was clumsy as can be, but she had a good head.