Disclamor- I do not own any of the characters. They belong to Stephenie Meyer.
This was my second visit to Edward's house since we got back from Italy. I would never forget the first visit where my fate as a vampire had been determined. Charlie was finally easing up and starting to trust me again. This was my first outing in weeks.
I was being allowed to go to Edward's house after school today with the understanding that Carlisle or Esme had to be there. Charlie warned that he would be calling to make sure. I was to be home no later than 7 pm. Charlie would be waiting, and I didn't want to find out what he would do if I were late. I couldn't blame him for being so strict with me. Since I had come to live with him I had disappeared twice with little warning. I was just thankful he was allowing me outside of the house again.
I missed seeing Edward's family. The 'older' Cullen's had graduated and so I only really got to spend time with Alice. Even then it was just at school. Charlie wasn't happy with Alice for dragging me away to help Edward, so she kept her distance. Emmett came to my house once during my visiting hours, but Charlie was uncomfortable having him around so he never came back.
The closer we got to the house the more excited I felt. Edward noticed. He gently squeezed my hand and looked down at me with amusement in his eyes. I couldn't seem to whip the stupid smile from my face and the closer we got the wider my smile seemed to stretch.
I was a little surprised when we reached the house to see no one waiting on the porch to meet us. They must all have been busy, I told myself. I would find them later.
"You ready?" Edward asked as he got out of the car and opened my door in less time than should be possible.
I nodded in agreement suddenly feeling a little nervous.
We walked hand in hand to the front door. Edward reached the door before me and held it open. I was suddenly hit with a flood of emotions as I looked around the room. This was really happening. I was going to see everyone today.
As my eyes searched the room further they fell upon Edward's piano. It was just as beautiful as I remembered it being. I was over come with the need to hear him play. It had been so long since I had listened to music of any kind. I missed music, but more than that I missed his music.
I looked up at Edward with pleading eyes, "Will you play for me?"
He smiled down at me, "Any special requests?"
I thought about it for a minute. It really didn't matter to me what he played as long as it was his music. "No. I just want to hear your music."
His answering smile took my breathe away as he led me silently to his piano. As we reached the instrument he let go of my hand and took his seat on the bench. I leaned against the side of the piano watching him as he prepared to play. His eyes flashed up to met mine and we stared into each other's eyes for an extended period of time.
Reluctantly I sighed, "Are you going to play or what?"
He chuckled softly, winking at me, and his hands started to drift gracefully across the keys. I recognized the song the instant it started. It was Esme's favorite. It's funny how much comfort his music brought me.
I tore my eyes away from him and began to scan the room, letting the music rush through me. How I missed him, how I missed this. My life was so empty and I was so lost without him. It wasn't just Edward that I missed though. I missed his entire family…well…with one exception. Soon they would be my family too. This thought caused me to smile slightly. I would finally become a vampire and be with Edward forever.
As I pondered my life with Edward I started to wander around the room. The music was slowly drifting into another familiar melody, my Lullaby. I sank down into one of the white couches lowering my head into my hands. I remembered the first time I heard this song. It was the first night Edward had sung me to sleep. That was one of the best nights of my life. I was suddenly overcome with emotions and started to cry. I felt stupid and embarrassed but I just couldn't stop the flow of tears. These were not tears of sadness but tears of joy and relief to finally have my life back.
Just then I felt someone lightly rest their hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see Alice smiling at me.
"May I join you?"
I simply nodded in agreement scared that my voice would shake and embarrass me further.
She sat gracefully down next to me and lightly rubbed circles on my back. How I loved and had missed her! She was the sister I always wanted in so many real ways.
I slowly re-gained my composure and quietly whispered into my hands, "I've missed music so much."
"We all have dear."
This was not Alice's voice, and I quickly looked up to see Esme standing in front of me with nothing but love in her eyes. It suddenly hit me how hard this whole experience must have been on her. When Edward left me he left his family too. Her family had been torn apart and was finally back together. I nodded in response still not sure if my emotions were under control enough to speak normal again.
"May I?" Esme was motioning with one of her hands to the other side of the couch I was sitting on.
"Of course" I managed to say despite myself. I closed my eyes relaxing against the couch marveling in the happiness I felt. Esme reached over and carefully took one of my hands into hers and held it in her lap. Alice did the same. The three of us sat in silence as Edward's music continued to fill the house. Silent tears trickled down my face as I absorbed every note.
As Edward started a new song I opened my eyes and was a little startled by what I saw. Suddenly there were four pairs of eyes staring at me. I quickly loosened one of my hands so that I could dry my face. I could feel my face redden with embarrassment. How long had they all been watching me?
Emmett started to shake with laughter as he took in my obviously surprised expression. Grinning widely. "You're looking very red today."
My blush deepened but I couldn't make myself get upset with him. I simply smiled back enjoying the sound of his voice.
Sitting next to Emmett on the couch was Rosalie looking as beautiful as ever. I smiled at her not sure what to say. We had never really talked before and I felt awkward and unsure of what to do. I was still trying to get used to the idea that she didn't hate me…well…at least not as much as she used to. Rosalie met my gaze and smiled tenitively at me.
My eyes then drifted to the person sitting on the arm of the coach, with one foot still resting on the floor. I managed to catch Jasper's eye just then. I could see the hesitation and remorse in his face as he looked back at me. He opened his mouth to speak and I quickly raised my hand in protest.
"Please don't. I never blamed you. There is nothing to forgive." I hoped that he could hear the sincerity in my words, at the very least feel that I was not afraid of him. What happened on that faithful night almost a year ago was not his fault. How can you blame someone for doing what comes natural to them? There's no going back in time. Nothing will ever change the past. All you can do is move forward and learn from what went before.
Jasper looked back at me shocked and seemed almost overwhelmed by my words. I barley caught his response as he whispered, "Thank you Bella."
Alice gently squeezed my hand. I looked over at her angelic face to see her smiling hugely. She looked absolutely elated by my unconditional forgiveness and acceptance of Jasper. I never realized how important it was to her until that moment.
"Yes, thank you dear." Esme spoke softly and with feeling. It sounded like if she could cry she would be.
I turned to look at her a little shocked, and blurted out without thinking, "For what?" I couldn't imagine why Esme, of all people, would be thanking me.
"For bringing my family back together, and for bringing joy back to this house."
I hung my head feeling embarrassed, "He would have come home eventually." I spoke so softly most humans would have had a hard time catching what I had said, but I knew they would hear me without trouble.
My eyes focused on the armchair in the corner of the room to see Carlisle smiling warmly at me.
"Esme wasn't just referring to having Edward home."
My forehead creased with confusion. What else could there be? The music had stopped just then and I looked over at Edward still sitting on the piano bench. He was looking at Carlisle. My eyes were wide with uncertainly as I too focused my attention back to the man in the armchair.
"Bella you are an important part of this family. We did not just mourn the loss of Edward when we left Forks. Before you came to this family we were happy enough, but you brought a new level of happiness that we never thought was possible. When you enter a room it lights up. People can't help but smile when you are around. You are such a loving and forgiving person it is infectious to all around."
My mind raced trying to understand and accept what Carlisle was telling me. I was important to them, because of who I was not for what I meant to Edward? I knew what they all meant to me. They were my family and I loved each one dearly. If I were being honest with myself I knew what I meant to Alice too. We had become very close and acted more like sisters when we were together than just friends.
My eyes scanned the room taking in the faces of each person in turn. Everyone was smiling at me and had nothing but love in their eyes for me. I saved Edward for last. As my eyes met his the corners of his mouth turned up into my favorite crooked smile.
Silence filled the room. It was not an uncomfortable silence, but one of peace. Slowly one by one they each left the room until I was left alone sitting on the couch. Edward walked unhurriedly to my side and sat fluidly down next to me wrapping his stone arms around my shoulders. This was my heaven. I don't ever remember feeling more contented.
Edward leaned down pressing his lips to the hollow just behind my ear and whispered, "Come with me."
He lifted me off the couch in one swift movement and raced me up the stairs to his room. I was surprised to see that it hadn't changed at all. Of course I shouldn't have been surprised, nothing in the house had changed.
Edward walked me over to his big black leather couch sitting down with me on his lap. I reached up wrapping my arms tightly around his neck pressing my body as close to his as was possible. I felt his arms gently wrap around me pulling me even closer to him.
I slowly turned my head so that my lips gently pressed against his neck and whispered, "Just hold me." I felt so safe and loved in his arms I never wanted him to let go.
He responded by tightening his arms around me and we sat holding each other for a long time.
"Bella?" I could hear the hesitation in his voice and I wondered what was wrong.
"Yes" I said apprehensively, not sure what to expect.
Edward took a deep breath and continued. "I love you Bella. You are my whole life."
"I know that Edward. I love you too." I was confused. Where was he going with this? I released the hold I had on his neck so that I could look at his face. His eyes were full of love but there was also sadness buried deep within. He smiled down at me and lightly brushed one of his hands across my face.
"I promise to always be there for you no matter what. I will always regret that day in the forest. You mean so much to me. You're my world, my love, and my best friend. You have turned my world upside down and I am so grateful to you for that! You make life worth living, which is saying a lot considering what I am." He winked at me playfully before he continued.
"You once gave me your trust and honesty; I did what I wanted with it, including hurting you in many ways. You gave me your love and I stomped on it. And again you trusted me. I will never be able to explain with words what your love means to me. Thank you for giving me a second chance and for loving me so completely, even when I don't deserve it. I have found my true self in you."
His words were so sincere and heartfelt they took my breath away. I didn't know what to say at first. I could feel the tears that had been building in my eyes gently fall down my face. Edward gently wiped them away leaving his cold hands on either side of my face.
"Edward" I somehow managed to say trying to regain my composure.
"You are my world too. When I am with you, the world and its troubles are nothing to me but a blur. In your arms I feel safe and secure. Just to have you as mine and be with you is more then I could ask for. You are my everything, my whole life. I am nothing without you."
Almost before I could get my last word out Edward leaned down and gently pressed his lips against mine. The electricity that flowed between us was over whelming. I reached up and wrapped my arms tightly around his neck pulling myself closer to him intensify the kiss. For once he let me. His lips moved urgently against mine. He parted his lips slightly allowing me to breath in his sweet scent. Just before I was about to pass out he gently pushed me away.
I rested my head against his chest trying to regain my composure and breathe normally again. I noticed he was trying to do the same. He held me silently in his arms for a few minutes and then got up from the couch, and set me on the floor in front of him.
"It's time we got you home"
"What time is it?" It couldn't be too late. I just got here.
"It's 6:30. Unless you want to be put under house arrest again, I suggest we leave now so you're not late getting home."
Sighing, I reluctantly agreed. "Yeah you're right. Let's go." I didn't want the day to end. It had been such a perfect day.
As we got to Charlie's Edward leaned over and kissed the top of me head.
He smiled impishly down on me. "I'll see you in a few minutes in your room."
I smiled in response quickly getting out of the car. What a wonderful day I had with my future family. I smiled at that last thought. Soon they would be mine forever.
As I entered the house I quickly ate my dinner and made small talk with Charlie. I was impatient to get to my room where I knew Edward was waiting. Life was so good right now I had almost forgotten all the dangers and troubles that lay ahead. One fact I was sure Edward had not forgotten. As I entered my room I smiled hugely staring at my life lying on my bed waiting for me.