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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This week was spring break for the students of New Hampshire. Since the first horrid experience Bella and I had endured her first year in Forks, I don’t think either of us have ever enjoyed ourselves on spring break since.
The first year Bella’d been attacked by a savaging vampire, and the second year she’d jumped off a cliff and almost drowned. Both times, I had been sure she was as good as dead. But my Bella is still here with me, still the same, just less fragile – yet somehow still almost just as clumsy.
When Renee first arrived to our home late on Tuesday night, she was astonished by the sheer mass of our new mansion. Of course, she’d already acknowledged Carlisle’s wealth, but no one was unaware to the fact that our home stood out from other homes – especially in such a small town.
Renee hugged her daughter, then Esme, and Alice; thankfully Bella had reminded all of us to wear long sleeves and gloves to cover our icy, porcelain skin. It was good the weather was still wintry enough for coats.
“You guys haven’t changed one bit!” Renee cried, but the tone of voice seemed more exclamatory and cheery than suspicious. Of course we hadn’t changed at all – that was both the beauty and the misfortune of immortality.
Bella’s mother, on the other hand, has changed much since the wedding when we’d last seen her. Her hair has thinned and started to turn gray, and she has noticeably more wrinkles. Bella tells me that she thinks her and Renee don’t even look alike any longer, like she used to, but I can still see their similarities.
“Where’s Phil, Mom?” Alice had already seen that Phil couldn’t make it to New Hampshire with Renee, but Bella was right to ask.
“Oh, baby, Phil couldn’t come…” Renee sighed. “He gets so busy with baseball. Now, where’s little Nessie?” As if on cue, Renesmee came down the stairs. The feeling of dread swept across my family’s thoughts as we imagined again how old Renesmee must seem to Renee, but our fears were unnecessary.
As anticipated, Renee was shocked, but after a brief explanation about Renesmee’s age and how she looks a lot older than her age, she accepted Nessie as just another unusual member of the Cullen family.
Given that Renee had arrived so late, of course she went to bed almost immediately after her arrival. We hadn’t exactly have a guest room made when we had first moved in, so Alice had insisted on buying a set of furniture to decorate the walls of one of the unused rooms of the house. Knowing that we would had to at least pretend to all be asleep, Bella and I snuck out the door to our cottage to stay overnight.
In the morning, Esme and Carlisle made biscuits and gravy with bacon. While Renee obsessed over how great of cooks they were, the rest of us hastily agreed while nibbling off crumbs and spitting them back into napkins. Human food is revolting to us. Renesmee is the only one in our family who eats human food, but only the few specific things she likes.
Bella had the day to spend with her mother all planned out, and they were going to go browse through town and shop in Hanover to spend some mother-daughter time together.
That was good for Bella, to be with Renee – and good for my family and for the werewolves – so that we could come out of hiding for at least a little while. But, as Bella and her mother drove off to Hanover, the same nagging feeling that Renee would begin to start suspecting something about us loomed in my head.
I knew that we could not put Renee’s life at risk by exposing what we are – that would be breaking the utmost important vampire rule. Nonetheless, if there were no vampire rules or regulations, Bella and I know that not keeping our existence a secret to her family would make things so much easier.
But we wouldn’t do that.
Once Bella and her mother were gone, we didn’t have to hide anymore. It put all of us much more at ease when there wasn’t an outsider in the house; we could talk freely about our abilities and other vampire concepts. Alice, Carlisle, Esme and I went on a short, precautionary hunting trip and caught a few deer and a grizzly.
While the others went home, I stayed in the forest. Bella and I had not yet found a place where we could be all alone, a replacement for the meadow we had to leave behind in Forks.
I was determined to find my Bella her meadow.
No meadow in New Hampshire was even close to being as beautiful as the one in Forks. There just wasn’t any comparison. I was beginning to lose my confidence that I’d ever find a place like it again.
When I returned home, Alice was gone. When I asked Carlisle, he just shook his head and told me she left moments before I arrived. Esme told me that Alice mentioned something about a sale downtown. But her memory of Alice’s expression before she left was disturbed, almost aggravated.
And then, Jacob and Seth burst through the door, looking exhausted and hungry. Ah – Alice must have seen them coming, or rather not have seen anything. But why would she have told Esme about a sale?
And then I read Jacob’s thoughts.
“NO!” I snarled, lunging at Jacob.
He looked surprised that I was here. “What the hell?!”
“Don’t you even THINK about that, dog!”
Comprehension dawned on his face, followed by irritation. “Dammit! I forgot about that!”
“What, forgot that I could read your mind? Every sick thing that passes through it—” I hissed at him again.
“Maybe you should get out of my head, then!”
“She’s my daughter, Jacob!”
“Whoa, you guys!” Seth got between us and held out his arms. “What the hell is going on?”
“I thought he was going to be gone—”
“What, so you could do it behind my back?!”
“Edward,” Carlisle came up to me and put a hand on my shoulder. “Calm down. Explain what happened.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The stench of werewolf filled my nose. “He wanted to k-kiss her. Renesmee. My daughter.”
I glanced up at Jacob. He almost looked arrogant, which made me want to lunge at him all over again.
Carlisle spoke up. “Jacob, you know you’re going to have to wait until she’s mature enough to handle this. Renesmee—” He stopped mid-sentence, glancing up at the stairwell.
“She’s not here,” Esme told him. “She’s out again with her friends from school.”
“Wonderful,” I groaned, sinking down to the couch. “Just wonderful.”
Esme sat next to me and rubbed my arm soothingly. “I know it’s hard on you, Edward. Your daughter’s growing up. You just don’t want to believe it.”
“You’ve gotta let go of her sometime,” Jacob muttered. She’s not a kid anymore, bloodsucker. Lighten up.
I blocked Jacob’s thoughts from my brain. “She’s so young! She’s barely four! How could you put that kind of weight on a four-year-old’s shoulders?”
“Listen.” Jacob crossed his arms. “Mentally, her mind isn’t four. Physically, her body’s not four. Age is just a number.”
“Honey, I know it seems tough… But she’s growing so fast. Eventually, you’ve got to let her go,” Esme told me. “I know it seems so hard now, but Renesmee’s at the point where she can start making her own decisions, like going out with friends at school.”
I gave up, reluctantly. But Jacob and Esme were right.
“But Jacob, I do agree with Carlisle,” my mother continued. “Though Renesmee is getting more mature by the day, I don’t think she is ready for something so huge, like her first kiss. Don’t you think it would be more appropriate to wait?”
“Well, I guess…” Jacob was hesitant to agree, but then again he wanted only what was best for Renesmee.
“Thank you, Jacob,” Carlisle said. “Of course, we realize that she’s your imprint. You’re more than welcome to stay over as often as you’d like—”
“But not right now,” I interceded. “Renee and Bella will be here in a second.” And sure enough, after the wolves left, Bella and her mother came in through the back door…with Alice at their heels. I pulled her outside to speak with her.
“I had to get out!” Alice was sporting a pair of fashion sunglasses, and carrying multiple shopping bags. “I stepped out because I can’t see anything with those damn werewolves in the way. It’s just irritating!”
“And then what? You decided to just go shopping?”
“Well, Bella and Renee were already out… And I guess I didn’t really notice that Nessie’s future was becoming hazy until after I’d already gotten to the mall…”
I raised my eyebrows at her, glowering.
“I’m sorry, Edward! I should have gone to tell you he was planning to do something… But they had the cutest purple cashmere dress at Neiman Marcus, and I just had to get one before they all sold out! I couldn’t just pass up an opportunity like this! The skirt is ruffled and is lined with fishnet lace, and there is this adorable black belt to go with it…”
I chuckled, letting it go. There was no way I could argue with Alice.
During the days that Renee stayed, Bella worked hard to keep her busy talking and not wandering around. Before she left on Friday morning, Bella made sure to spend as much time with her as possible. I am glad they had a chance to be together this week. Bella was very grateful to see her mother so animated and lively, as she always has been.
From what Bella has told me, Renee didn’t question our family as much as we’d all anticipated. Like Charlie, maybe she figured that the less she knew about us, the better off she’d be. The only time Renee had really wondered about us aloud was when she’d accidentally brushed Bella’s arm, but luckily the weather outside was cool enough for Bella to make up an excuse about her cold skin.
Speaking of the weather, spring has finally arrived, and though there is not a sign of sunlight anytime soon, Alice has promised us that the weather will start to become warmer within a few weeks’ time. Though temperature isn’t ever a problem to us vampires, warmer air always feels lighter on our already-frozen skin. I’m sure the residents here will enjoy the coming of spring as much as we do.
I know I should trust Carlisle and Esme’s words about Nessie. Of course I realize how grown-up she is becoming, but in my perspective she will always be my little girl.
I suppose this is what all fathers have to go through sooner or later – but of course, not as early as I have. I do hope that Jacob will see our standpoint of the situation sometime. As I will learn to eventually let my daughter go and to lighten up, Jacob will soon learn that patience is indeed a virtue.
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Renesmee went through the course of her first week of school. She is really enjoying being able to experience a normal teenage life. From what she has told me, she likes to learn in her classes, and the people are friendly and charismatic.
After Renesmee took Carlisle’s IQ test, we discovered just how smart a half-vampire home-schooled teen can be.
Carlisle presumed that starting a year as a freshman in high school would suit her more aptly as far as her education goes, but Bella and I worried that mentally she wasn’t ready for all the personal complications of high school. So Renesmee takes AP classes, but attends Richmond Middle School instead.
Last Monday morning, we reminded Renesmee about trying to blend in and act human – one of many parts of the long lecture by us she’d had to suffer through the night before.
We had all the facts down: Her name was Vanessa, but she went by Nessie. She was fourteen years old; and her parents were overseas on a missionary trip but she lived with her aunts and uncles. I hated making my daughter lie to everyone, but nevertheless she seems excited.
As she stepped out of the car and waved goodbye, I got this feeling from somewhere deep inside me that I could only describe as the feeling a parent would get as their kindergartner went on their first day of school. And it was sort of the same concept.
When we got back, Bella showed me her thoughts. She was recalling our meadow back in Forks, where I’d first shown my true identity to her. Where we’d spent so much time together.
“I want to find another meadow,” she told me.
“It won’t ever be the same, though, love,” I reminded her, wrapping an arm around her waist.
She sighed. “I know that. But…I want a place where we can be together again, all alone in the woods.” She smiled at the thought. “Besides, I’m thirsty.”
It was worth a try. Bella and I took off through the woods, hunting down a few deer and all the while trying to find some place that could replace our meadow. The only place that could compare was a small opening in the forest with a glistening stream and open skies, but it wasn’t high enough to get out of the cloud bank. As we later discovered, the site was too close to a popular hiking trail for any safety. We will search more sometime later.
Nessie has really adapted well to acting normal at school. Though the subjects are complex, her accelerated mind allows her to catch on fairly easily. Her new friends at school, though quite jealous, are not suspicious of anything. She even has some new friends to go on a shopping trip with on Saturday, and of course, Alice looked like she could have burst into tears at the fact that she’d have to miss out.
On Saturday evening when Nessie was out, we received a phone call from Bella’s mother in Jacksonville. Renee, who hadn’t seen Bella since our wedding, wanted to come to New Hampshire and visit. Bella hung up, telling Renee she’d call back once we all discussed it.
“She wants to visit for Spring Break this week,” Bella informed us, though most of us had already heard it through the phone speakers.
“We can’t,” I demanded. “We can’t put your mother’s life at risk. And what about Phil?”
“He wants to come too. Oh, Edward,” Bella sighed. “You’re right. But I really need to see my mom.”
“Alice?” I looked at my sister for help, but she just shook her head plainly.
“I can’t see anything now. You need to make a decision first.”
“Renee is going to see how you haven’t changed, Bella,” Jasper said. “How none of us has. She’s going to wonder about Renesmee and Jake.”
“If Renee and Phil come, they don’t have to know about us werewolves,” Jacob, who was laying flat on the couch flipping through channels, reasoned. “Leah and Seth and I don’t know your mom so much.”
“Yeah,” Seth called from the kitchen. “Leah and Jake and I can just hide out in the forest for a while. We won’t mind.”
“Speak for yourself, loser.” Leah got up from the couch and stormed out, thinking of how disgusting raw rabbit meat was.
Bella started pacing slowly. “Edward, I need to see Renee again. I haven’t seen her since the wedding, and she knows I don’t still have that illness I faked before I had Nessie. Of course she wants to come see us. Besides…” She stopped short and watched me face-on, her golden eyes piercing into mine. “It could be the last chance I’ll ever get to see her again.”
Of course, she was right. Bella needed to see her mother.
So we worked out a plan. The wolves would hide out in the forest or the cabin down the street, so that they wouldn’t get in Renee’s way. Jasper, who still wasn’t sure how he would handle the presence of humans, would be out of town to inspect the astronomy classes at Washington State University.
To decrease suspicion, Rose and Emmett decided on yet another honeymoon, in Asia this time. Once we had a decision set, Alice could see only so much, but it was enough reassurance to us that our secret would not be revealed.
I am hoping that Renee won’t notice how much Renesmee’s grown. Though she has never seen mine and Bella’s daughter and we have kept in very limited contact, Bella has sent her a few of the most mature-looking pictures of Nessie, who posed as our adoptive daughter. Nonetheless, Nessie is only four, but looks much, much older.
Renee will be arriving Tuesday night. Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper are getting set to depart in a few minutes time, so I need to say my farewells to them. I’ll be sure to keep my diary up-to-date on what happens.
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“Be safe, Jacob!” I listened as Bella called from the family room downstairs. I cringed internally. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
“Sure, sure,” another raspy voice mumbled back – Jacob – along with two big thuds from his feet hitting the tile as he strode out the door to leave for patrol; an unnecessary precaution from the wolves, but something I didn’t object to.
Bella sighed again, and I had an overwhelming urge to race down the stairs with my inhuman speed and take her in my arms. But I didn’t; I planted my feet where I was, chastising myself for my own irrationalities.
Bella was mine, my wife, and I knew better than to be jealous, dare I say. Of course Bella loved Jacob, but not more than she loved me. It was my stupid, unforgotten human emotions. I had no logical reason to be jealous, even taking my past history with the dog in consideration. Nevertheless, Jacob had imprinted on Renesmee…
I cringed again at the thought. Why my own daughter? I had yet to get over the fact.
My daughter, whom Bella had given birth to while she was still a fragile human, is growing up more rapidly than ever. At about four years old, she gives the impression of your average thirteen-year-old, except Renesmee is nowhere near average. She has a more superior knowledge capacity than any of us had ever anticipated, even Carlisle. If normal human parents thought their kids were growing up too fast, they should take a good look at Bella and me. Especially now that Renesmee is starting to become of age. Undeniably, the thought of my little girl growing up scared me, and it was coming fast. But despite my worries, I am anxious to see how she’s going to turn out. She is already a beautiful young girl.
Jacob is pretty damn lucky.
My family and I now live in New Hampshire, and, I guess you could say Jacob lives with us, too. He has a cabin a few miles down the street from our mansion with other wolves, Leah and Seth Clearwater, but he visits so habitually on a daily basis that you’d believe he actually did live here. We’ve been here about three months or so, and I am relieved that everyone had gotten the time to get comfortable and at ease in our new house.
As I thought through everything that was happening, Bella appeared right at the doorway, looking as beautiful as ever. I still don’t have an understanding about how I was fortunate enough to have her in my immortal life. She had saved me, one way or another, from my own depression. That was just a few years ago, yet it seems like a lifetime.
She seemed curious. “You all right?” she asked me.
“I’m fine,” I replied, smiling at her. I noticed the light in her now slightly-dazed eyes as I did so. Dazzling her. I was an expert at that.
She snapped her expression back to normal just as she realized what had occurred. If she were still human, she would have been as red as a tomato – but that was back then. Her new body was no longer warm, no longer had blood running in her veins. I laughed, and took her stone body in my arms, kissing her head.
“Brooding as usual?” she teased.
“Not brooding,” I told her, “for I have nothing to agonize over. A more accurate term would be ‘having abstractions.’”
She laughed a little. “Too many minds to read?”
“With one exception,” I said, gesturing to her grandly.
“Somewhat,” she whispered, gripping my hands tightly. Images of me and her together filled my mind. Giving me a piece of her mind – a trick she had learned from Zafrina, during her last visit, and around the time period of our encounter with the Volturi face-on again. She showed me images of every time we had ever kissed, ever – from her foggy human memories that she had dug up, which were still blurry, to the more recent ones, which were crystal clear.
I understood what she was hinting at, and I pulled her face up to mine.
We kissed for a while, and I allowed myself to lose my thoughts in her. I could still see everything she was thinking. Eventually, the rest of my family began to notice.
Huh, someone from downstairs thought. Jasper. At least they’re better than Emmett and Rose.
Aw, though Esme. I’m still so glad Edward found Bella. Love never ages… And then she started thinking about Carlisle and her kissing as well.
Dude, come on, Emmett thought to me directly. Don’t be boring, get some more action!
I smiled at that, my lips were still locked with Bella’s. She felt my lips turn up against hers, and pulled back. “What?” she asked, a slight grin forming on her mouth as well.
“Emmett’s bored with us,” I told her, and heard a faint growl in Emmett’s mind as he heard. I smiled bigger.
“Maybe we should be a bit more entertaining,” she thought, peeking up at me through her lashes.
Alright, alright, I’m out, Emmett thought hastily at that while he jumped off the sofa to find Rose, who was in the garage.
Emmett wasn’t the only one who’d heard. Grumbles from the few unappreciative members of my family, and smiles from the more courteous, like Alice and Esme.
I grinned and held her shoulders back at arms length. “Later tonight, my love,” I told her. “I promise.”
She smirked, and something about her expression through her golden eyes told me that she couldn’t wait.
Suddenly, a loud thought came through to my head. Alice.
Edward, she called to me, knowing I would hear. The tone of her thoughts was strained. Where’s Nessie?
My breath caught, and my eyes widened as I searched through all the thoughts around the house. It wasn’t even fifteen minutes ago Renesmee had told me and Bella that she would be outside. Lately she’d been interested in various sports, and I had gone out to buy her a brand new volleyball for practice last week.
But I couldn’t hear her now.
“Edward?” Bella said, seeing my alarmed expression.
I flew out the door and down the stairs. “Nessie’s gone,” I snarled under my breath as I scanned the back yard. No Renesmee. How could I have missed that? Where was she now, if she was far away enough that I could not read her mind?
Edward! Alice thought again, and her thoughts twisted around a vision of the future she had just had. It was literally nothing; a gray wall she couldn’t see around. And there was only one thing that could cause that…
“Edward! What happened?” Bella cried out, squeezing my arm.
I was infuriated, but I managed to growl out one word.
Quickly, Bella, Alice and I ran down the road that led to Jacob’s cabin; the first place we could think of. Sure enough, the putrid scent of wolf came to our senses as we approached it, and I could just barely start to hear the thoughts of Jacob. There was another person there as well, and I breathed out a sigh of relief as I recognized the thoughts as my daughter’s.
My relief was almost immediately replaced by fury. I bursted through the cabin doors, and Jacob and Renesmee, who were near the back window, jumped at my sudden arrival.
“What’s going on here, Jacob?” I hissed at him. He seemed surprised.
“How do you mean?” he asked. He was holding a white volleyball in one hand and a ball pump in the other.
“I thought you were leaving for patrol, Jake!” Bella exclaimed.
“I was, I was!” Jacob stood up and came nearer to us. “But when I came outside, I saw Renesmee playing volleyball—”
“My ball was flat,” Renesmee cut in.
“And I brought her back here to get my ball pump. What’s the big deal?” He crossed his arms over his chest.
“That would explain why I couldn’t see her,” Alice whispered to herself.
Comprehension dawned on Jacob’s face as he identified the problem. “Oh.”
“You had us worried, Nessie,” I told her, and she looked at me with an apologetic expression.
Jacob rolled his shoulders back. “I’ve got to go now.” He strode out the open door without another word.
“I’m sorry,” Renesmee apologized. “I forgot Alice couldn’t see past Jake.”
“Or that I couldn’t hear you from all the way down here,” I added.
Bella walked up to her, and brushed bronze ringlets from her face. “It’s okay, honey.”
“Daddy?” She gazed at me with big brown eyes. I wondered how much longer I had before she’d stop calling me “daddy”. “Will you help me learn how to serve the volleyball?”
“Of course, Nessie,” I said, smiling at her. And with that, I took her hand and we all raced back to our home.
Other than the brief moment of unwarranted fear for my daughter, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Esme invited the wolves over for dinner, as always, because everyone knew Jacob and Seth couldn’t cook, and Leah didn’t bother with it. They ended up roasting hot dogs over a bonfire in the back yard, and later made s’mores.
I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking when I couldn’t find Nessie. All I knew was that she was with Jacob, and that she was far. It gave me a right to worry.
Jacob isn’t saying anything aloud, but he’s not regretting what he did. Of course he didn’t realize we’d be worried sick because he brought Nessie with him, but lately things have come to a bit of a rivalry between me and Jacob. Since Renesmee’s really starting to grow up, Jacob’s noticing her body’s physical changes now more than ever. His thoughts can be loud.
I hate to seem so domineering over Nessie, but I can’t help it. She’s my only daughter, and I want to keep her preserved and protected for as long as possible. And I know that soon, as she becomes older and older, she’ll start wanting to make her own decisions.
I must end this entry now. I have a promise to fulfill to my Bella tonight.
I am so excited to announce that we have a new –and incredibly talented– writer for Edward’s Diary, Rachel! Rachel is taking over for the previous writer, Sarah, who due to time constraints could no longer write as Edward. [You can see Sarah's note to everyone if you missed it HERE]
♥ You can view the very first New Edward’s Diary entry from Rachel HERE!
Rachel plans to wrap up where Sarah left off and then bring Edward’s story to after Breaking Dawn, like all the other diaries on the site. Rachel also, like the other writers, is in school and plans to write whenever she can squeeze in time, making it more frequent when she is on Summer holidays. [Please remember to be courteous when it comes to other people's free time and don't try to rush writers. They appreciate your patience more than you know.]
You can ‘like’ Edward’s Diary on Facebook HERE & Follow Rachel (Edward’s Diary) on Twitter HERE! Sarah so kindly let our new writer take over the original Twitter & Facebook accounts so the previous fans wouldn’t get confused. (Thank you Sarah ♥ )
Before I go, I want to let you all know that I am getting your emails about the other diaries not being updated and I hope you know that the writers haven’t forgotten about you. Alexandra from Renesmee’s Diary updated her Facebook today with a message to let everyone know she’d be back soon. And Erin (Alice’s Diary) is going through a SUPER busy streak and a case of writers block. I get writers block quite frequently and I can definitely say it is super frustrating, but more-so when you feel under pressure.
Meagan (Jacob’s Diary) updated not too long ago and I am working on my last entry now, too.
Really, you are all the best, most supportive readers we could ask for and you are very courteous of our time. I hope you don’t think I’m saying you aren’t. This is just a small friendly reminder for the more ‘impatient’ ones. Also, I’m trying to let you know we would never forget about you and that even though I can’t get back to each one, I am getting your emails.
Head over to Rachel’s Facebook and Twitter links I posted and send her a BIG WELCOME! She is a huge sweetheart and very friendly!
♥WELCOME TO THE TEAM RACHEL!!♥
Wednesday, March 22
It has been an extensive, complicated couple of days for me.
Nevertheless, I’m finally able to straightforwardly say that I’m alright again.
Everything will be okay this time.
It was only this Saturday that I had last been broken, depressed, lifeless. I was at a hotel in Rio at the time, planning to go hunting after I checked in, when I received a phone call from Rosalie. She quite reluctantly told me that something terrible had happened; Alice saw Bella commit suicide by jumping off a cliff.
I remember when I’d first heard the words through the speakers of my phone, I’d been frozen in place, causing pedestrians to swerve around me and think of me oddly. But I had to be sure. Even though Rose wasn’t lying – I could read her thoughts – I had to be sure.
I dialed the memorized number on my cell, praying and hoping with all my might that it wasn’t true.
“Swan residence,” a deep voice answered on the other line.
Had I been in my right mind, I’d have wondered who it was. “This is Dr. Carlisle Cullen. I need to speak to Charlie Swan.” It had to be Charlie; if Alice and Rose were wrong, and Bella was still alive, I don’t think either of us could bear to talk.
There was a stifling silence on the other end. “He’s not here.” The speaker was almost growling. “He’s at the funeral.”
That was all I needed to know. And then I knew what I had to do.
It would be impossible to live life without Bella, even if I couldn’t be with her. She was my life. I remembered what I had told her earlier this year, before I’d left her, about what I’d do if something had happened to her.
Well, I wasn’t going to live without you. But I wasn’t sure how to do it – I knew Emmett and Jasper would never help… so I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi…
And that was exactly what I was going to do. Without thinking about it, I was on a plane to Italy. Too consumed with anxiety to use my brain – to have to wonder what I would do if I had to live the rest of my wretched life without her – I never stopped to think about how Alice would undoubtedly see my future, or to consider the fact that the Volturi might decide not to take my life away. Or what I was going to do to provoke them, anyway.
Even now, as I’m back from Volterra and safe and happy, I’m having trouble writing about this. It’s all I can do to tear my eyes away from my Bella, who’s asleep on the bed.
My trip to Volterra is a time I’d like to forget for now, I’ll make the rest of this entry short.
The Volturi leaders hastily denied my request of death. Now that I look back in retrospect, it’s simple to see that of course Aro wouldn’t have wished to waste such talent. “I’m afraid your particular gifts are too valuable to destroy,” he’d said. “It would be wasteful.”
The Volturi had still suggested I join them, but I declined. I had my mind made up. And to follow up on my plan, I decided to attempt to break the most-enforced vampire rule there was; revealing my existence.
But thankfully, just before I was able to step out into the sun at the bell tower plaza, Bella managed to get me back inside. I remember thinking that I was dead, that I was in heaven, that I really did have a soul.
That Carlisle was right.
But she was real, and I was still alive. And the entirety of these past days still feels like a dream, if I could dream.
The Volturi let Bella, Alice and I go home in peace. Well, that is an understatement. We left with a haunting warning that Bella knew too much about our existence. My fault.
We had gotten home several hours ago. Bella’s father, of course, was livid at me and my family, continually throwing insulting thoughts at me along with a string of profanities. It wasn’t long before he kicked me out. I’m now not allowed to “take one step through the door.” So I came in through the window.
Bella’s been asleep for a long time, and she needed it. She stayed awake for four days straight. I’m completely fine with watching her as she sleeps, her brown eyes closed, her breath rising and falling in her chest, her wiped clean of the gnawing stress and worry she’d dealt with in my absence. My beautiful Bella. I’ve missed her so much.
When she wakes up, I need to be sure Bella knows I still love her, and that I only left for her benefit. I need to explain everything. But it was so amazing, how she’d believed me before; how could that silly girl actually think I didn’t want her anymore? It was the most ridiculous, absurd concept. I guess I was wrong to try and give her a chance at a normal human life, because Bella is not normal. That’s what I love about her.
As much as I’d love to sit around and be happy everything’s alright, I won’t, because I have the knowledge that it won’t be for long. The Volturi will still be after us. They still want Bella to become one of us, or die. Both thoughts make me shiver. How am I supposed to do that to her – to take away her rightful soul like that?
Victoria, of course, is still out there. But she won’t be much of a threat; there’s seven of us and one of her. She’ll never get her hands on Bella on my watch.
And then there’s the matter of Jacob Black.
But other than that, I’m beyond grateful that nothing worse is in our way. I can’t stress over it enough how exuberant I am to have Bella back, to have my family back, to have my life back. And let’s just hope it can stay that way.
I need to end this entry now. My Bella is waking up.
Will post again soon,
– Edward Cullen
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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.
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Wednesday, September 21
My dread of having to settle things with Tanya was, in fact, not just an unnecessary overreaction on my part. I had never fully believed such a strained relationship could be healed in one conversation, but it was a hope nonetheless.
I can’t recall a time when our relationship wasn’t strained it some way. Whether it was the awkwardness produced when I didn’t return her romantic feelings or the hurt I caused Tanya after falling in love with Bella, the relationship between the two of us was always off in some way.
Our conversation started in the late afternoon. Trying to escape the constant worried looks and thoughts brought by my presence, I had fled to the frozen pond on the edge of the property.
Before my thoughts were interrupted, I was happy. Using my crystal clear memories to my advantage, my mind was transported, completely removed from reality. I was reliving the first time Bella saw the beauty of our meadow.
I watched her dark brown eyes light up as she stepped into the meadow. She turned to face me, and she was alight with wonder and anticipation.
Would this beautiful, perfect girl run once I revealed the complete essence of my being? Would her eyes be opened to this dark creature who wants her blood more than anyone else’s in the entire world?
The idea of our separation utterly petrified me. What would I do with myself if she left me now?
I looked up as she motioned for me to join her, and my will power crumbled. My legs started moving without my consent. The worries hindering my ability to move forward left before my rational mind could remember them.
The heat from the midday sun warmed my cheeks, my nose.
Her breath hitched once my skin reacted to the sunlight. As she observed my skin in wonder, she started to unconsciously shake her head.
Would I ever be immune to the frustration that occurred whenever I couldn’t read her thoughts?
I held out my hand to her and guided her to the center of the meadow. Her eyes didn’t leave my face once.
The next hours were spent in a silent heaven with neither of us feeling the need to speak. We sat side by side, relishing in the others company. I could have lived the rest of eternity by her side and not wanted to change a thing.
As we sat, I hummed her lullaby. I added in slight variations, changing the melody as I found out more about her. She had asked me what I was singing, but I didn’t share share. Surely, she would have ran away if she had seen how strongly I loved her.
My composition halted when her one of her warm fingers started to trace the back of my hand. The heat emanating from her body felt amazing in contrast to my own.
I opened my eyes for the first time in many hours. Her face was calm, peaceful, not at all what I had expected.
“I don’t scare you?” I asked as an excuse to hear her voice.
She didn’t even hesitate before answering, “No more than usual.”
I caught my reflection in the pupils of her eyes, and a smile had unconsciously formed on my lips.
My eyes closed as she glided her fingers across my forearm. I was being spoiled; anything less enjoyable than this would be a disappointment. Her fingers trembled slightly. Was she worried, or rather dazzled?
“Do you mind?” she questioned.
“No,” I assured her. I didn’t mind at all.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” Tanya’s voice sounded.
My eyes snapped open. No. No. I had found relief, a relief that I hadn’t felt for what seemed like centuries, and now it was gone in the blink of an eye.
I scanned my surroundings, taking in the frozen pond, calling birds, and the scent of grizzly in the distance.
“I didn’t mean to startle you there,” Tanya said as an awkward, forced smile spread across her face.
“No harm done,” I lied. She didn’t need to a victim to the hell raging inside me.
“Have…you found your stay accommodating?” Tanya inquired.
‘Pull yourself together, Tanya,’ she thought.
Embarrassment flickered across her face as she remembered I could read her thoughts, and her sheepish smile returned.
“Edward,” she started. “Why exactly are you here?” I didn’t miss the expectation in her eyes.
“I don’t seem to have a choice,” I mumbled. For her sake, I added, “I have always loved it here,” as I looked up at the mountains in the distance.
She smiled a more genuine smile, and her thoughts were in a flurry.
“So…Bella, why’d you leave her?” Tanya wondered aloud.
“To protect her,” I answered, keeping my response matter-of-fact.
“I can’t hurt her, Tanya. My existence puts her in harms way,” I pled for her to understand the situation. “Yes, I need her almost as much as a human needs air, and yes, my life is meaningless without her.”
I looked up to catch Tanya slouch her shoulders. Her eyes darted to the ground as they caught mine.
“You loved her,” she said. It wasn’t a question.
“More than you’ll ever know, Tanya.”
“I, I didn’t…understand…how much you loved her,” she admitted. “I was waiting for you, waiting for the second you would lose interest in her. But I can see now that my patience didn’t change anything.”
“And for that, I’m terribly sorry. I never intended to hurt anyone, but I just can’t seem to stop. It’s my family, you, Bella, myself.”
Tanya forgot all about her own pain, but only for a second. “Now, now, you’re just going through a rough time, Edward.”
“But my actions aren’t inexcusable because of that. I apologize, Tanya. I never wanted to hurt you. Please, accept my apology.
“It’s not your fault; it’s no one’s but my own. It was stupid and childish to think in such a way.”
“You’re just like Bella,” I mused. My heart stuttered at the mention of her name. “Always taking the blame and thinking of others before yourself.”
“No,” she denied, “if I was like Bella, I would have been enough for you.”
In the time it took to glance up from the grass I was studying, Tanya was halfway across the frozen lake.
“Tanya,” I called, but it was no use. She ran without looking back.
After the conversation, at about seven o’clock, I retreated to the roof above the house, and I have been here since. While I want a place without the interruption of the thoughts of those around me, I know for a fact that should I have been far enough away from my family, I would have done something that I would have regretted. I still can’t fully trust my actions.
Only a few hours ago, when I first sat motionless on this frigid roof, my fears of my actions triggered understanding that I hadn’t occurred to me before- changing my actions and denying my feelings are two different things. Changing my actions was necessary, vital, but denying my true feelings would eventually cause more problems.
My actions and my feelings are now in two separate spheres that do not touch. Just knowing what I would be up to if my feelings were once again ruling my actions…it scares me. Would I be running back to Bella as fast as I can? Would I be begging the heartless Volturi to take this life they have sought after for a century and counting?
Up until this epiphany, fighting my genuine feelings was a constant battle. If i was being honest with myself, it didn’t shield an ounce of my pain, anyway. Ending this battle was a partial relief, but on the other hand, it was just the opposite. This truth brought with it the realization that denying my pain was no longer a healthy option.
So, then, would it only get worse from here? The act of shielding my true thoughts and feelings will grow difficult, until the point where it’s almost impossible. The anxiety I felt for Bella’s safety when I was still with her grew to a pain no human has ever experienced after I left her, and now this pain will soon turn into despair, depression, and an all-consuming agony.
It’s not fair, but then again, when is life ever fair? The truth is simply this- a life’s meaning is artificial, temporary; life’s ultimate meaning is defined by the person living it.
And I know my life, if that’s even what you’d call this existence, has no meaning. In some sick, twisted way, God, wherever he is, is out to get me. How could I have chosen this life by free will?
Had my life followed my plan, I would be six feet under the ground and surrounded by dirt, where a plaque would read, ‘In loving memory.’ Maybe it would even say, ‘A life well lived,” if I was lucky.
Three words flew through my head at my last thought- Isabella Marie Swan.
Remembering her face, her selflessness, everything about her…it altered my whole thought process. Bella was the best thing about me; she defined everything I said or did. I know for a fact that Bella’s existence made me a better person than I ever could have been without her.
Those three words changed my previous thoughts. As lonely and painful as my life now is, I can appreciate it. Not for who I am, not for my own accomplishments, but for what I am through Bella. She gives me an identity, even though we are separated. Six months with her outshines six million years without her.
So, I can move forward. I don’t have to life happily, or even live life content, because those six months I spent with her…they’re worth whatever I have faced and whatever I will face.
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We continued our endless drive in silence. It was a rare sight to catch Alice speechless, and as much as I needed a distraction, I decided not to interrupt her thoughts. Maybe that was because all of my attention was focused on my own thoughts. I simply would not allow Alice’s perspective affect my own, even if I didn’t exactly know what my thoughts were.
Although I wasn’t reading Alice’s thoughts, I knew her well enough to know that she was obviously missing Bella…and a lot. Bella was Alice’s best friend. Actually, Bella was Alice’s only friend. Assuming that Alice’s visions always distanced her from others in her human life, she had never experienced what it was like to have a best friend outside of her family.
Closing my eyes in attempt to pinpoint my emotions, I blocked out everything from the outside world, but my thoughts weren’t arranging themselves into coherent sentences regardless. Incoherence is a frequent symptom of my withdrawal from Bella. When there is no more Bella, the drug I need to continue my life normally, I find myself constantly on-edge. The things I knew and the things that were customary in my life have disappeared. I am no longer Edward Cullen, the perfect vampire I had spent eighty plus years struggling to portray myself as; I am a monster with no control over my feelings whatsoever.
Is Bella reacting in the same fashion I am? I’ve been praying that she is not just reacting, simply enduring what life has given her, but that she is responding and making the most of her situation.
Although a very small part of me wanted Bella to be as affected by our separation as I was, I would be much happier in the long run if she could maintain a normal life.
Both Alice and I had witnessed Bella’s episode, but I can’t be sure of what she is truly going through. She constantly surprises me. Bella had always responded to me with an intense love stronger than most humans would, but she wouldn’t be left in such a pain from my absence, would she?
I shook my head back and forth, trying to keep what I knew as the truth and what my emotions were telling me separate. The action cleared my head for the fraction of a second it took to arrange my thoughts.
During that brief time, I reminded myself of a few truths I had forgotten. First, Bella was a human. Human memories, human pain, fade with time. Their weak minds don’t have the capacity to remain in despair for such an extended amount of time; it would ruin them. Second, Bella is a stubborn, independent person. I knew that she would not let this ruin her; she would fight on. Third, I was the first person Bella had fallen in love with. If there was one thing I knew about humans, it was that their emotions change. At least one other man was out there, waiting to capture the heart that has captured mine.
And if I knew she could find happiness while being free from danger- a situation that was down right impossible while I was in the picture- then how could I burden her with my presence? It wasn’t fair, and it certainly wasn’t right. After all, leaving Bella was for her soul and her safety. My well-being had nothing to do with it.
I occupied the large remainder of the car ride by contemplating who will eventually steal Bella’s heart. Surely Bella wouldn’t settle for someone like Mike Newton or Eric Yorkie, right? She deserved far more than that, but the choice is not mine to make.
Thinking of someone else being blessed by Bella’s continuous presence, of someone else breathing in her luxurious scent and holding her in their arms…it infuriates me. However, I know my overwhelming anger is originating from the reality that I’m not good enough for Bella, and not from the fact that she will love someone else. She will follow the natural path her life should have taken all along. Bella deserves to find happiness amidst my mistakes.
I opened my eyes for the first time in what seemed like hours. The scene around me was all very familiar; I’ve seen it countless times before. Judging from the dirt roadways sheeted with ice and the excessive snow drifts bordering the road, we were approximately half an hour southeast of the Denali coven’s house. Spruces and Douglas Firs towered above the roadways, and the sun was still shining regardless of the late hour.
Glancing over at Alice, I noticed that she had added yet another layer to her flashy and unnecessary designer outfit. The woman owned far more coats than necessary for a vampire who isn’t affected in the most frigid weather.
Noticing my disapproving look, Alice simply shrugged. Leave it to Alice to find the utmost importance of dressing like a celebrity in an area where many work as loggers and fisherman.
But I knew Alice had more than one reason for shopping. Don’t get me wrong, she genuinely adores buying a new pair of Christian Louboutin heels – and I only know the name because she raves about this god of hers night and day – but shopping provides distractions from issues she’d rather not think about, issues that she may not even notice herself. Shopping fills voids her subconscious is trying to block, such as the absence of knowing her real life mother, or in this case, the absence of her best friend.
“Alice?” I asked hesitantly.
“Yes?” She replied, sensing my unease.
“Does Tanya…know…what’s going on?” I finally inquired.
“Yes,” Alice sighed. “Well, she knows that things didn’t work out between you and Bella. If you ask me, she seems pretty thrilled. Of course, she wouldn’t tell you so, but she believes this is her chance to finally win you over.”
A memory hit me from the last time I visited Denali. It was January 18th, the first day I had laid my eyes on Bella Swan. To escape her overpowering scent, I fled to Denali. Thinking back on that day, I remember that I was completely unaware that Bella was my soul mate. My thoughts were consumed by her. I didn’t know what I was feeling, but I knew it was completely new. I was oblivious to the undying love for Bella that was growing within me by the day; she was only a demon sent from hell to destroy the life I had made for myself.
Oh, how wrong I was! In reality, Bella was quite the opposite – an angel, sent by God to give my dreary existence meaning, even if it was only temporary.
On the night of the 18th, Tanya and I had shared a conversation that was long needed. Tanya had taken a liking to me many decades past, but I didn’t return those feelings. She attempted to keep her feelings hidden from me, but constantly monitoring one’s thoughts is just about impossible. Apparently, attempting to let Tanya down easy didn’t quite get my message across, and I needed to set some things straight.
The Volvo rolled onto the stone courtyard in front of the Denali house. Kate, Irina, and Tanya flitted onto the wrap-around porch before I could finish sighing.
“You can do this, Edward,” Alice assured me.
I nodded, not because I agreed, but because I couldn’t find the right words to say.
Alice put the car in park and hopped out. She walked to the front of the Volvo, waiting for me to join her. Anyone who hadn’t known her for countless decades would have been oblivious of her fabricated emotions.
‘You’re going through hell, Edward. I understand that. Just try and fake some excitement for Esme and Carlisle’s sake. They hate to see you like this,” she told me through her thoughts.
I looked up at the blazing sun and back down at the stones beneath my moving feet. Alice and I had perfected this way of communication, and our silent conversations had improved since last January.
We reached the porch then and were greeted by the three Denali sisters.
“Ah, Edward, I’m so sorry,” Kate expressed before pulling me into a hug.
“Thank you, Kate,” I replied, making sure to maintain the polite standard I held myself to.
“Welcome, Edward. I, too, am so sorry for what you’ve been going through,” Irina voiced as she looked me in the eye.
“Welcome back, Edward,” Tanya finally spoke as she stepped forward. Her greeting sounded far too close to ‘welcome home’ to find any comfort in her words.
“Well, let’s get you inside! There’s no sense in standing out here,” Kate blurted in attempt to clear the awkward atmosphere.
We walked through the large foyer and into the living room that boasted high ceilings and a marvelous fireplace.
Breaths hitched as I glided into the room. I looked down, avoiding the eight pairs of troubled, golden eyes staring up at me. Their thoughts returned to normal within seconds
“Welcome back, Son,” Esme sang in delight. She glided to my side and placed a hand on my cheek. “Oh, I’ve missed you terribly!”
“We’ve all missed you,” Rosalie responded, looking down at her nails. I was shocked that Rosalie had voiced her actual thoughts. She didn’t know how much it meant to me.
“Yes! My hunting partner has returned,” Emmett smirked with a wicked glint in his eyes.
“Welcome back, Son. It’s good to have you here,” Carlisle said.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed myself for the remainder of the night. I had missed my family more than I would have guessed, and being around so many people provided a distraction. My emotions couldn’t be trusted, though. Jasper was tainting the emotional atmosphere with excitement and happiness, but for that I was grateful. Although the emotions weren’t mine, I would take them gladly over my own.
One day, I will be strong enough to leave my family behind and deal with my emotions, but this is the place I need to be right now, surrounded by family and friends that love me. I knew I had some things I would have to take care of and some people I needed to talk to, and just maybe, if I was lucky, I would even have the chance to smile.
Will write again soon,
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Monday, September 19th
I was brought out of my silent relief by a voice I was very attuned to.
‘Edward,’ Alice thought in her musical tenor, obviously within the three mile radius that surrounded me.
‘Edward, where are you? Don’t worry, I didn’t tell the others,’ she assured me.
In all of my heartache, I had failed to account for one unstoppable force of nature – Alice. Surely a vision had tipped her off to my location, and she had ventured out to check on me. Her visions came without warning, and although I knew she wasn’t trying to search my future, she still saw.
I didn’t want to move; I didn’t even want to speak. Nothing was worth it. So Alice found me, then what? Would I just go back to my family?
As predictable as a world without Bella is, I am constantly surprised by the diversity and new challenges every day brings. My next challenge is simply deciding how to occupy the next twenty-hour hours.
Each new day is like a variation to a piano composition – the main melody remains the same, but each line holds a slightly different tune. Pain is the immutable melody, but every so often, frustration and anger are incorporated, changing the whole composition.
Alice replayed a mental time lapse, similar to a weather camera you would observe on television. Several pictures flooded my brain, one after the other. They all were exactly the same despite the varying hours of day. I sat and watched the vision play out, every inch of my thoughts consumed by the mental images before me. I was the main focus of the pictures as I sat in the Volvo with head resting against the black leather steering wheel; the only visible variation was the amount of light outside as time flew by.
The vision left several questions at the forefront of my mind. How long had I been here- hours, days, weeks, months? I prayed for the latest. Where am I, and where is the rest of my family?
Vampires have the ability to sit still for an immeasurable amount of time, and after adding in the factor that time is no longer relevant, I didn’t have the slightest idea of the date or my location.
“Edward, what are you doing out here?” Alice questioned in her disapproving tone.
Her words startled me. I hadn’t even heard the car door open before she was sitting passenger’s seat. My senses were dulled, weakened…maybe even to a human level.
“Just look at you!” she continued when I didn’t said anything.
“Where are we?” My voice didn’t hold any feeling or curiosity, not even an ounce. I hadn’t been expecting my voice to sound that dead, and it scared me.
I turned my gaze to Alice for the first time, watching as her eyes widened when my dull eyes met hers. She hid her shock before I could comment.
“We’re thirty minutes outside of Port Coquitlam,” she replied, oblivious to my confusion.
“And where would Port Coquitlam-”
“In British Columbia,” Alice quickly added.
She rambled on. “You know, you really couldn’t have picked a harder place to hide, with all the highways looking exactly the same out here and all.”
Had I really driven all the way to Canada? It didn’t seem likely, but then again, I couldn’t trust my observations. They hadn’t been doing well so far.
“What day is it?” I asked as my eyes locked on the blazing sun. It was dawn, and the sun was just starting to fade behind the rolling hills. The colors were magnificent; bold yellows, oranges, and pinks painted the sky. It was a sight I would have appreciated if I wasn’t fighting a paralyzing agony. Bella would have loved it.
“Monday,” she sighed. “You’ve been here for nearly three days. Esme’s been worried sick…we all have.”
I just couldn’t seem to stop hurting people, could I? Every decision I make seems to have a negative outcome on someone else. Maybe I should be quarantined, sent somewhere far away where I can’t hurt anyone else.
“Let’s get you home,” Alice proposed before opening the passenger door. She walked over to my door at human speed, being careful not to expose us to the passing cars. Her gait wasn’t as lively as usual.
After opening my door, she sighed again. “Oh, Edward!” she exclaimed as she pulled me into a hug. Alice was my closest sibling, the one who is always there for me. She understands me on a level many don’t.
We didn’t move for a long time. Finally, after what was close to ten minutes, she pulled back and motioned for me to move into the passenger seat.
Alice started the engine and left me to think in silence.
I thought of what I would say to Bella if I had the chance to write her a letter. It was no more than a fantastical wish that she would one day read it, but I found myself planning out exactly what I would say. I knew, though, to find any form of closure, it was something I would have to do.
Writing one last letter to my soul mate, a letter she would never get to read, seems like it would be pointless, but in reality it’s so much more. Maybe one day, right before she…dies, I would leave the letter for her to read. She has no reason to forgive me for what I put her through, but to show her the truth that I still love her…that will be enough.
We were reaching a small tourist town, very similar to Port Angeles. I kept my thoughts in check by trying to focus on what I was seeing out the window- small shops, kids playing in the fountains, and finally, lots of couples. Seeing these people in love made my heat ache for the one person I could never have.
I had never been jealous of other couples, or even payed attention to them for that matter. With Bella, I had it all. But now that we have two separate lives, I am starting to notice more. The couples were all holding hands, completely in their own world. I knew the feeling; I had been there before.
The glory of a first love, of my only love, had completely swept me off my feet. My existence was centered around Bella, and although I knew it was a dangerous thing to do, put your life in one person, I don’t regret my decisions.
Two things happened at once. My mind was suddenly thrust into a scene that was far different from the road we were driving on, and Alice pulled over to the shoulder.
I was looking at Bella’s room, looking exactly as I had last seen it. Chief Swan, Bella’s Father, was standing at the foot of Bella’s bed, talking to someone who wasn’t in view.
“Your mother’s flight from Jacksonville lands in a few hours, Bells. ‘Better get your things packed,” Charlie suggested.
I gasped as Bella pulled the purple covers off her face. She was pale, sallow. Her eyes were hardened and dull, completely lifeless. She looked more vulnerable than I’d ever seen her.
Without speaking, Bella stumbled out of bed- her clumsiness hadn’t faded- and walked over to her dresser. Charlie analyzed her every move with a pained glint in his eyes.
All of the sudden, Bella snapped. She frantically threw her clothes all over her pale hardwood floors until the ground wasn’t visible. Her breathing grew louder, and her eyes were furious.
“I’m…not…leaving!” she shouted, causing Charlie to jump back a step and fall onto her bed.
“You can’t make me!” Bella yelled, enraged.
“B-Bella,” Charlie stuttered, “Settle down, honey. It’s okay. Settle down,” he soothed.
“I’m not going to settle down!” Bella snapped. “Mom isn’t coming here, and I am not leaving Forks…ever!”
“Bells, let’s talk about this. If you settle down, you, Renee and I can have a discussion. We need to do what’s best for you,” Charlie replied.
“I know what’s best for me, and it’s staying in Forks! You can’t make me leave, Charlie!” she bellowed, although there was a different trace of emotion threatening to overpower.
Charlie’s next words caused my heart to contract. “Bells, he’s not coming back.”
That was it. Bella didn’t even have the strength to reply. She wrapped a feeble arm around her torso, sank to the ground, and began crying.
My vision returned to me a few seconds later. My pain had been at the highest level I thought it could ever be, but it just kept climbing. Bella’s pain, in addition to my own, paralyzed me.
Alice didn’t say a word. She simply flipped on the turn signal, floored the gas pedal, and kept her thoughts focused on the road.
I, on the other hand, was in pure agony.
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