April 24, 2011
I found my Bella her meadow.
It was all luck, or coincidence, perhaps. I hadn’t intended to find it, of course, but it was great how things worked out.
On Friday, my family and I took a hunting trip with our town’s new coven of vampires, the Chandlers. They’d recently moved in from Europe, looking for a vegetarian vampire coven to live close by. We all went on the trip to get to know them better and to show them where all the great prey lurks, which is usually northwest of Hanover.
To our luck, the prey variety was more diverse than usual that day; we came across a couple of bobcats and a black bear. Christine noted how much more bitter the taste of the animals were here. “A bit tangy,” she’d described. The deer and other animals were also sweeter, I remember, back in Washington, but we’d had the time to adjust.
It was when Joshua asked to see how Bella’s shield worked when I came across a different smell. From some distance away, probably somewhere up the mountain, I could distinctly pick up dry ground, rather than the muddy soil beneath our feet here. And grass, which I could tell was not wet at all from sunlight.
Sunlight. It was foggy out that day.
Joshua had excellent timing. Trying to be surreptitious, I stepped as far from my family and the vampires as possible before taking off. Alice shot me an odd look, but smiled as she foresaw my plan. I knew I could trust Alice to cover for me.
Above the cloudbank, I thought. That was where it would be, this place I sensed. As I ran up the slope, ferns and branches whipping me like the touches of feathers, I prayed that this might just be the meadow I’d been searching for, a meadow for my beloved wife.
Sure enough, I began to see a glimmer of sun shining through the trees ahead of me. I sped up, breaking through the brush, and suddenly screeched to a stop. It was a meadow; an absolutely, stunningly beautiful meadow.
But it wasn’t our meadow.
Sure, there were factors here that were better than our meadow back at home. A stream about a yard wide ran across the perimeter of one side, so clear you could see the minnows shimmering beneath the surface. The grass that grew was like strands of hair, so fine and dense, like a thick green pillow. There was a sort of sweet scent to the air; not like a human’s scent kin- of-sweet, but rather from the maples that surrounded the turf.
But the meadow was missing something, lacking the one feature that would set any other meadow apart from ours.
My previously-delighted mood dissolved from my heart into the moist air around me as I realized my dilemma. I couldn’t present this meadow to my wife when there weren’t flowers growing freely like back at home! I knew what Bella wanted, and that would be to have our meadow restored, so we could enjoy it without running three thousand miles across the country. And this was absolutely the most perfect location.
But it needed wildflowers.
I returned back down the mountain with a change in heart again about the meadow. Just when I’d come so close, I was not close enough. My luck was teasing me.
My family had already returned home by then, and Esme chastised me for taking off so hastily. “You could have at least told Christine and Josh you were leaving,” she said.
“Sorry,” I told her. I didn’t want to risk telling her.
Edward. How did you like it? It was Alice. She didn’t look at me, instead pretending to watch the almost-muted television.
I twitched my mouth into the slightest frown, careful not to give anything away to the rest of my family. Alice, however, could read the smallest seemingly involuntary signals I give to her.
What’s wrong with it? she asked me.
I glanced furtively to the iris in a vase that sat above the fireplace. Alice understood.
You can’t plant them yourself?
I sighed. Most wildflowers required the winter rain and snow to stay dormant before they started growing – in March. It would be too late.
Well, I’m sure there’s some way to get flowers, she told me, her mental tone thoughtful. Ask Esme. She likes to garden. I don’t know much about it but maybe flowers can still grow in the late spring.
So Alice ended up suggesting to Esme they plant some wildflower seeds in our back yard, to get the knowledge I needed about the flowers. Esme thought it was a fabulous idea, and bought packets of seeds to spread in the backyard. “They’ll still grow if you plant them now,” Esme had said when Alice asked. “We get enough rain that our spring would be like another place’s winter. They’ll be beautiful.”
The next day, Alice, Rosalie, and Violet, one of the Chandlers, managed to kidnap Bella and take her shopping. I didn’t know how or if they’d ever manage to get her in the clothes, anyway. I felt like I should be spending more time with the Chandlers, since the rest of my family had liked being with them so much. But this time, with Bella being gone, gave me the time I needed to go back to the meadow and spread the seeds.
Mexican asters, Alice called to me through thought as she started her car to drive to the mall. That was one of the flower types in your meadow in Forks. Heck, just get any blue flower seeds you see. Bella’s going to love this!
I strained to keep from smiling as the feeling of success seeped into me once again. I found our meadow. It isn’t perfected yet, but in time it would be. I would thank Alice later.
There is a florist store in Hanover that sells locally planted flowers and seeds. To my luck, they sold some blue wildflower seeds, which was good considering they were rare in most other places. I knew Bella would be happy with any flowers in the meadow, or even without any flowers at all. Bella was happy with whatever she had, but I wanted to really bring out the essence of our old meadow.
Just as I was checking out my items with the woman at the front desk (who probably thought it was odd to see a man like me in a flower shop) I spotted two pots of flowers next to a vase; yellow freesias and white roses.
A memory came back to me, as vivid as if it had happened yesterday; a room draped with dozens of flower vines, colored with roses and lilacs and orange blossoms and freesias, a crowd of people looking anxiously down the aisle, and then a beautiful woman dressed in white emerging from down the aisle as the rest of the room blurred at the sight of her…
My wedding day. The day I said my vows to my Bella. The happiest day of my life.
An idea struck me. I quickly added the freesias, lilacs, and a few packets of white roses and orange blossoms to my purchase, and darted back to my Volvo faster than I should have. Maybe, just maybe… Maybe I could recreate not only our meadow, but the atmosphere of our wedding day as well.
Why hadn’t I thought of it earlier?
At the meadow, I surveyed the area before deciding on spreading the wildflowers all across the grass. That was what Alice told me to do. Along the west side, near the stream, I dug holes in the soil with my bare hands and planted the other roses and flowers. They wouldn’t grow fast enough for me to drape them up, like in our wedding, but it was good enough.
But just as I finished planting them, my silver phone vibrated in my pocket. It was Alice. “Don’t plant them there,” she told me. “They won’t grow. I can see it. Move them to…” – there was a pause as she scanned the future briefly – “…the north corner on top of the hill. You will be able to see them better that way anyway. It’ll look beautiful, Edward, I promise. Bella is going to love love love it!”
I don’t know what I’d do without Alice.
As soon as I got home, Renesmee asked me to give her another piano lesson. I had taught her piano before, but since her third birthday she’d lost interest, and it had been on-and-off since then. She was skilled, though; already playing Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 with little mistakes.
“I want to learn your lullaby to Mom,” she told me. “I’ve never actually played it before.”
I smiled. Back in Bella’s human days, I had written a lullaby for her with every ounce out of my aching, lifeless heart. She would fall asleep to me humming it every night. And it was appropriate for Renesmee to play, given that it was the love the song represented that had made our daughter.
I sat down next to Renesmee on the piano stool, handing her the sheet music I kept in a music folder, and her hands began moving along the keys at once. The notes and rhythm are fairly easy, but expressing the passion of the music was something no one but I, the writer, could accomplish. Every note was written from the heart, from the spark in my forbidden love to a fragile human, from the risks it took each time to be around her.
I shut my eyes, reminiscing. Things have changed so much since those days – not in a bad way. But I couldn’t help smiling as I absorbed the familiar notes, all my past emotions, that all lead up to this; my amazing family and lovely daughter and beautiful, beautiful wife.
A perfect immortal life.
I was so engrossed that I hadn’t seen the arrival of Alice and Bella back home. Bella came into the room with a look of bliss at the sound of her lullaby. She came by my side and kissed my cheek, watching our daughter in awe. Renesmee concentrated hard on her music.
At last, the lullaby ended, but the chord was a bit choppily released. I showed Renesmee how to make the last note seem more complete, by gradually lifting the sustain foot pedal and releasing the keys and petal at the same time. She tried it again, and the chord seemed to shimmer across the house, leaving me breathless.
“That was amazing,” I told Renesmee. “Not much of a lesson, was it?”
She smiled, her teeth shining like the sun. “Not really. I just wanted to see if I could play it.”
“You did great,” Bella told her. “Absolutely beautiful.”
At that moment, loud footsteps shattered my thoughts as Seth, Jacob, and Leah came through the door. It was always so odd to actually hear footsteps in the Cullen house, given how quiet vampires usually were. Renesmee got up and ran to the front door to say hi. As soon as she rounded the corner into the front room, Bella’s lips attacked mine.
“Whoa,” I said, laughing. “We’re not alone in this house, love.”
Her lips, still touching mine, turned up in a smile. “I know,” she said. “That’s what we have our cottage for.”
“Later tonight,” I promised her, touching her nose. “We have all the time in the world.”
My words sent shivers through her body, and I kissed her one more time before we walked into the main room, hands entwined. The feeling of pure ecstasy, the feeling I only get when I am with Bella, radiated through my stone body as I thought again of the look in my wife’s eyes when I present my meadow to her.
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