Disclaimer: All characters belong to the wonderful Stephanie Meyer. I'm just borrowing them...

The Darkness

I could feel the depression returning. Not the deep depression that echoed through my hollowed chest and resonated viciously in painful vibrations that dragged me into darkness. This wasn't the depression brought about from losing not only the heart and soul of my existence, but my chosen future, my adopted family.

This depression was much more pitiful. Edward was still with me, but for the next 48 hours he was away hunting. So I wallowed.

I understood his need to hunt. Whenever I saw his dark eyes and his tensed shoulders I was reminded of Volterra, of his face as Jane tortured him, as he tried to protect me and so suffered. I hated to see him in pain, and I hated even more that I caused it. So despite his unbearably selfless attempts to stay with me, to prevent me from the depression he knew gripped me whilst he was away, I did everything I could to convince him to leave. And when he did, I felt the darkness return. It was a painful cycle.

So here I was on a Thursday night, a healthy 18 year old with a soul mate who would be back in 2 days, who has both a loving biological and adopted family, and who will be graduating in less than 4 weeks. And what was I doing? I was curled up on my bed trying to hold myself together. Pitiful.

I don't know why the darkness still threatened me. I knew Edward wouldn't, couldn't, leave me again. Alice, Carlisle, Esme and Jasper had gone hunting with him, but I had explicit instructions to phone the rest of his family who could literally be here in seconds if I had any problems. Twice now I had nearly picked up the phone to do so; just to hear Rosalie's beautiful voice or to laugh at Emmett's carefree nature. But no matter how tempted I was, I still retained enough self control not to embarrass myself that much. I knew either of them would come in a second, even Rosalie, if I asked them to, but how unbearably pathetic. No. Two days. I could last two days. I would not be a desperate parasite. I could be independent for two days and then Edward would return.

I glanced at the clock. 7.00. My homework was finished, Charlie had been called into work so I was alone for the night. Not abandoned, just alone. Lots of teenagers would kill to have the house to themselves at night. If Edward wasn't hunting, I would be one of those teenagers. But tonight, the house was too quiet. To dark. I could almost hear the thudding of my blood as it pounded through my sadly still living body. Each beat of my heart, each pulse of blood, tightened the ache on my chest.

Abruptly I stood up. Time to get out, to be spontaneous. It was still early, and even in Forks there must be something to do. Anything to do. I reached over to grab my wallet from my night stand, managing to knock my mobile onto the floor in the process. The ridiculous silver mobile that had appeared via courier as an alleged prize for a competition that I had never entered, which unfortunately Charlie signed for before I could send it back. I grimaced at the memory of Edwards innocent face as he argued that he had no idea how I had somehow won the exact mobile he had tried to give me the week before. And now the offending mobile was lying on the floor with its battery hanging out, and a crack up its side. I bent over to inspect the damage. It was completely busted, and as I tied up my hair into a knot, slung on my jacket, and locked up the house, I found comfort in the fact that there was no way Charlie would fall for me winning a mobile in another competition. 'Try and find away around that one Edward!' I thought grimly as I started up my truck with its usual deafening roar. As I drove I blasted music through my newly installed radio. A replacement to the gift I had ...dismantled... during my black time.

My black time. Its remnants still shadowed me obviously as I became emotionally disturbed when left alone. I sighed. It was embarrassing how pitiful I had become. I had a sneaking suspicion that Edward had Jasper keep an eye on me, that when he went away Jasper stalked my house letting off waves of calm. That was embarrassing in itself though I could never prove it. But as Jasper was away hunting this time as well and my depression had returned with such ferocity without his help, it was obvious that I needed it. It's almost distressing, how emotionally unstable I have become.

I pulled up into the main street of forks. It was empty, a few streetlights partially illuminating the street. Everything was closed. I looked at my watch. 7.10. It was times like this I really missed living in a city. I climbed out of my truck and wandered aimlessly up the empty street, gazing in the windows and trying to avoid the sinking sensation in my stomach of loneliness. I should have rang Angela, or Eric, or even Mike. Why come here. As I stood debating the embarrassment level of arriving unexpectedly at Angela's house as an unexpected social charity case, I caught the sound of voices. Voices, I sighed and felt my chest loosen. Forks was a small town, I pretty much knew everyone and chances are I knew the voices owner. I could engage in conversation that did not leave me looking like a socially pathetic head case.

I moved further down the road, stopping by a dark street where the voices had stopped at the sound of my footsteps. 'Hello' I called, feeling relatively stupid. Had I heard voices? Or was I mentally as well as emotionally disturbed now. Laughter emerged and suddenly four shadowy figures separated from the darkness and started towards me. Four unknown shadowy figures. Four unknown male figures alone with me on a dark street. Edward was wrong, I wasn't a danger magnet, I was a walking neon post that screamed 'all things dangerous welcome'. How stupid, to approach an unknown voice alone at night. Especially when I had a boyfriend who was un-living proof that there are some abnormally dangerous things out there mixed in with the normal dangers. And I managed to find them all.

I started to back away, and one of the figures laughed. 'What's wrong baby? Not who you were expecting? Waiting for a boyfriend? We'll keep ya' company.' His friends joined him in laughter. They circled me, leering. I wasn't surprised when the ghostly apparition of Edward appeared beside me, his face clenched in anger. 'Get ready to run Bella. Just run and don't stop! Now!' I spun and attempted to dart away. In my haste I forgot an important fact. I fall down alot when I run. I fell.

Laughter broke out, and one of the figures bent over me, his stale, alcoholic breath washing over me as he placed his disgusting hands on my legs to inspect the damage. 'Tut, tut Darlin' ' he murmured, leaning in close, 'Yer bleed'n bit... ripped up yer pretty jeans. No worries, ya wont be need'n pants tonight,,' his friends bellowed with more laughter. I attempted to wriggle away, screaming sharply in his ear as I did so, whilst simultaneously aiming a punch to his groin. He dodged drunkenly and rolled on top of me, bruising my arm with one hand, and slapping my face with the other. 'Stupid...' He was cut off as he was suddenly ripped from my body.

I rolled over, spitting blood and dizzyingly trying to clamber to my feet, when an arm wrapped around me and forced me back down. 'Bella! Stay still! Say something! You aren't broken are you? Can you speak! Do you need food! Or a human moment? Please don't be hurt! What do you need? What do I do?' As my head stopped spinning, Emmett's face came into view, his usually cheerful face twisted into a concerned expression. I shook my head slowly. 'Emmett I'm fine... what... where are the... where are they?' Emmett let out a sigh of relief. 'Rose is running them to the police station. She wanted to be the one to ensure they got locked up securely.' He paused, his relieved posture becoming tense again. 'But you are hurt! You're bleeding! Can you stop bleeding? Do you need a hospital? Or one of those nurse or vet people? What do I do?' His face was scrunched up again in panic.

'Emmett go to Bella's house, pick up her clothes and school books for tomorrow. Leave a note for Charlie and meet us at our house.' Rosalie's voice came ringing out of the shadows as she glided forward. 'I'll take her home'. She scooped me up and ran me back to my truck. With a look over her shoulder to ensure Emmett was gone, she sat me on the truck seat and raised her golden eyes to meet my own. 'They didn't?..' I shook my head, no. She sighed closing my door and appearing at the driver's side. 'Do you want to go to...' "NO! No hospitals!" The last thing I needed was Charlie hearing about this. I looked down at my knee. The fabric on my pants was ripped and a small graze was visible. I was mildly impressed that I had escaped so lightly. Usually when I attempted to run I did far more damage.

I looked up and noted Rosalie's tense posture. 'Sorry. I can drive if you want. The smell must be bothering you...' She looked up startled and attempted a smile that didn't meet her eyes. 'I'm fine. Fine.' We sat in silence for a few minutes before she tensed again, this time meeting my eyes with an angry expression. 'What were you thinking? We got a frantic phone call from Alice saying that you had suddenly decided to make a trip down a deserted street and would be attacked! Edward has gone berserk and is racing home. We tried to phone you but your phone is off and... If we hadn't reached you do you realise... they could of... you could have...' She trailed off, her voice breaking. I sat stunned by the amount of emotion she had just demonstrated. She looked at me again. 'Why did you leave your house? Why come here?' I blushed a deep red. 'I...' my voice shook with both shock from my misadventure and embarrassment. 'I needed to get out of the house, to talk to someone, and I just...' I looked away. How much more pitiful would she think me now.

Her voice wobbled slightly as she asked me 'it still hurts? Being alone?' I nodded silently. She glanced at me sympathetically. 'Did you know', she asked abruptly, 'that Emmett once left me?' I stared at her open mouthed. Emmett left Rosalie. Perfect, graceful, beautiful Rosalie. She continued conversationally. 'It was around fifteen years after he became a vampire. We had a fight and I told him that given the choice to be human again, I would leave him and do so.' She glanced at me.' It was a lie. As much as I... struggle... with what we are, I would stay a vampire if only for him.' She sighed. 'I was jealous you see. He had adapted so quickly to what we are. And they liked him, Carlisle, Esme and Edward. I was jealous.' Rosalie shook her head, and looked at me. Her eyes mirrored mine. I saw something in their golden orbs that was painfully familiar. The darkness. She smiled at me sadly.' He was away for nearly three years'. I shivered. I had barely survived one. 'Three full years. He returned. He forgave me. Actually he asked me to forgive him.' She smiled fondly. 'I know how you feel Bella, when Edward leaves. I feel it still. When Emmett isn't with me I feel my heart ache, even though it doesn't beat.' She looked at me. 'Tonight I should have realised and come to stay with you. I know Alice would have. Or Jasper would have been near. But I ignored the obvious. And because of that you almost... Well I know how you felt when those men surrounded you. At least you escaped relatively unscathed.' Her eyes found the cut on my leg as I felt a surge of pity. Rosalie hadn't fared so well when she was attacked. I shivered. How close had I come to a fate similar to hers? We rounded the final bend and Rosalie drove us down the driveway.

As she parked the car she turned to me and met my eyes with her own. 'Bella, I know I have been cruel and frightening to you. I didn't understand you, didn't understand your decision. But in this I think we can understand each other. I know now that you can't let Edward go, just as I can't let Emmett go. And I support you. I want us to be sisters as Alice and you are sisters. Edward will be home in a few hours but please stay with me till then. And the next time you are alone, I will be more than happy to join you. Together we can keep our darkness's away.' She smiled at me, and I found myself smiling hesitantly back. 'Of course Rosalie. Just to have someone who understands...' She nodded at me and jumped out of my truck, appearing instantaneously at my door to help me out.

Inside we found Emmett and what looked like half of the supermarket littering the floor. 'Bella!' he raced over. 'Here I have food. I don't know what you eat so I bought everything. Would you like some flour? Or salsa? And I have plasters. The lady at the counter said you put them on cuts...' He held up a small box, frowning as he pulled out a small wrapped band-aid. Confusion washed over his face as he attempted to hold it to his skin, only for it to fall off. Rosalie laughed her beautiful trilling laugh. 'You have to unwrap it you dolt!' She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek and I thought I could see her chest relax in their reconciled closeness. I met her smile shyly with my own. I finally felt comfortable in understanding Rosalie.

Suddenly Emmett broke off the kiss and darted out of the room. He reappeared suddenly with an armload of boxes which he held out to me. I reached out and grabbed one of them, and scowled at the cover. A shiny silver mobile. Emmett smiled at me cheerfully. 'Edward rang and told me to pick up about fifty of these. He said to tell you that after tonight's incident he wants you to keep at least five of them continually charged and on your person at a time. Oh, and he said if you even think of saying no, then he will get Alice to buy the winning lotto ticket and give it to you in front of Charlie just before they draw the numbers.' Emmett grinned at me, and I felt my face heat up with frustration. I glared down at the box in my hand, before relaxing my grip. Perhaps, after tonight, having a mobile handy wouldn't be such a bad idea.