Chapter Ten: More Visions

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Chapter Ten: More Visions

Once in my room I stood in the middle of the usually welcoming space, staring out into the forest through my window-wall, watching the afternoon light fade over the woods, over the river, my thoughts roiling again. Being alone wasn't good for me as I berated myself for all the danger I had subjected Bella to. Being in her presence brought me a modicum of peace...yet being with her put her directly in danger from my mere presence. The situation seemed untenable...impossible...on so many levels. I was perfectly still, frozen by the stress, the fear, of my dilemma.

I don't know how long I stood there in front of the magnificent view, my eyes seeing nothing of the beauty spread out before me. But it was well after dark when a gentle knock caused me to turn my head, and I caught Alice's thoughts...Alice's deep concern...outside my door.

"Come in," I said, my voice flat, emotionless. I remained where I had stood for the past few hours as Alice slipped into my room and seated herself on the black leather sofa in front of me. Her face was serious, her brow puckered.

I said nothing, waiting for her to start.

"I know how you're feeling," Alice began, her voice low. Her assumption maddened me, my temper flaring out of control.

"No, Alice! You have NO IDEA how I'm feeling!" I lashed out at her. "NO IDEA!"

Alice's own temper came into play at my heated tone and words. "Is that so?" she questioned sarcastically. "You aren't feeling intensely guilty over the danger you have already put Bella in, especially after she nearly bled to death before your eyes-not to mention your nearly killing her yourself, trying to keep her from changing into what we are? You aren't living in constant terror that something else will happen to her-something you'll do to her, or something one of us will do, or something else outside of your control taking her life? But you also can't stay away from her, either. You can't leave without ruining your life and ruining hers as well. You can't win, no matter what you decide to do. Am I close?" she challenged.

All my immortal strength deserted me; my legs refused to support me, and I dropped to my knees before her, overwhelmed with the truth of her words. "Yes," I moaned quietly, my head buried in my hands yet again.

In an instant, Alice was kneeling next to me, her arms around me. "I know. I know," she crooned softly, over and over, as if to a child. My body shook with tearless sobs, grieving for all the damage I had done to Bella, all the damage I could do to her. I had held my feelings inside for so long that it was a relief to finally allow them to spill over. And Alice truly understood-which was also a relief.

At last my shoulders stopped heaving; my breathing began to normalize. I drew in several deep breaths and loosened the grip on my knees, wrapping my arms around my tiny sister in an affectionate hug. "Thank you," I breathed into her ear.

Alice pulled back, trying to look me in the eye. "This is not an impossible situation, Edward. Really, it isn't."

Her reassurance did little to ease my agony. "Right," I said, irony tinging my reply.

"It's not as hopeless as you think it is. I've been seeing--"

My head snapped up, and at last I met her gaze. "What? What have you been seeing?"

Alice averted her eyes-usually a bad sign. "Well, lots of different possibilities, but--"

"Like what?" I interrupted.

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