Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, or any of the characters in it. Stephenie Meyer, on the other hand, does. The poem "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…" belongs to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the poem 'The red wheelbarrow' belongs to William Carlos Williams, and last, but not least, the poem referenced, 'This be the verse', belongs to Philip Larkin. No copyright infringement has been intended.
Thanks goes to:
- softballgirl1136 (for giving me the idea of this fanfic)
- my beta reader, Nicole AKA chica-chilena, (for helping me with everything I needed to know and more)
- Sarah AKA Incantare (who filled me in on some technical details of year books)
- my English teacher, David (for introducing me to the poems in this fic).
I would not be able to write this if hadn't been for you guys. Thanks!
I was looking through my high school yearbook, remembering the day that had been so long ago. My human memories were fading, slowly, but surely. I was persistent on keeping the memories of the life that had led me to Edward, so I tried to remind myself of it, to make sure the memories didn't leave.
As I was flipping through the pages, I noticed someone missing in the pictures. None of my family members, not even me, were in a single capture. Not even in the portraits.
I hesitated for a minute, then yelled for Edward to tell me why we weren't amongst any of the pictures.
It didn't take him long. He was sitting next to me in a second.
"Yes, Bella?" he asked. "Did you need something?" he murmured in my ear. He then became aware of the book lying in front of me, on the table.
"Oh," he said, as comprehension hit him. He was silent for a moment, grieving the loss of my humanity. He usually became like that every time he was reminded that I once was human, and that Carlisle had taken that away. I had tried to tell him that this was what I wanted, what I had always wanted, but I didn't get through to him.
"So did you find anything interesting?" he asked.
"Oh, right." I said, as I had completely forgotten why I had called for him. "Why are there no pictures of us in this?"
"There aren't?" he flipped through a couple of pages, obviously looking for something specific.
"See? We are in the yearbook." True enough. But it was an overview picture of the cafeteria, that included about three-hundred students, and didn't really count. I sighed.
"Just because we can be photographed, doesn't mean we want to, Bella."
That I could understand. It wasn't as if I wanted to be in the pictures either. But at least I hadn't intended to be absent on photography day. Alice had told me not to go to school that day, to avoid from getting myself injured, so I had faked a stomach flu. I hadn't known until this minute that there had been no 'potential danger in the horizon' for me.
"We have to be careful so people don't recognize us. It's unlikely, but it doesn't hurt to be on the safe side." Edward said, as if he had read my mind. He still couldn't, but he was getting better every day at improvising.
"Besides, you would not believe what certain kids do with the pictures of their high school crushes." He chuckled.
"I didn't want that to happen to you." He said, suddenly serious again. "I would never put you through anything like that. Rose has been through it more than a couple of times, and it wasn't a very pleasant experience for her."
I raised an eyebrow incredulously. "Rosalie has a problem with attention?"
"With that particular kind of attention, yes." I suddenly understood what exact kind of attention he was referring to. If I could, I would blush. He was right, though. I'd prefer life my life without that.
I started flipping towards the back of the book, where my notes from my friends were.
The first note was from Edward. "'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…" it said.
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
"I remember that day very well." Edward teased. Of course he would remember it. Vampires never forget.
I snuggled up to him, expecting him to start telling his version of the signing.
"I remember when I got you your yearbook. You didn't want one, but I … sort of forced one on you." He chuckled.
"You made me sign it first, figuring that would justify my forcing you on a yearbook. I didn't know what to write at first. What could I write that would let you know how much I loved you, but still look innocent enough that other people could read it?"
I sighed, thinking of the 'other people' in question. Renée. Charlie. And all the others I had left behind, who my memories of were getting weaker and weaker every day.
"I was looking for the perfect note, but nothing fit. Finally I decided to settle with that poem." He said, and pointed toward his note in the yearbook.
"It's beautiful, Edward." I said. "It's perfect."
He frowned, but made no further comment on the subject.
"How did you like what Mike signed?" he laughed, turning to the right page.
"Uhm, it was … interesting. I don't think I have seen a signing like that before."
"I remember his thoughts that day. He had read what I had written, and wanted to top it, to impress you." I raised an eyebrow, wondering how Mike could have thought there was ever anything he could do to get me away from Edward.
"So he decided on poetry. 'I wonder if she'll like 'This be the verse'…'" Edward imitated. "'How was that again? Oh, yeah, right'. He then started writing some lines, but as you can see, he crossed it out again. He forgot how it went. 'Wait, hold on a sec. Was it 'Man hands down misery from man to man?' What did it deepen like? Man, I need to memorize some more poems!'" Edward rolled his eyes, finishing the inside peek of what went through Mike's mind the day he signed my yearbook.
"I have no idea what crossed his mind when he decided to write that poem." Edward chuckled.
I raised an eyebrow.
"Okay, I do. But I have no idea what could have possibly put the idea in his head." He laughed.
"As I said, he changed his mind. He figured - correctly, may I add - that it was lame. So he wrote this instead." Edward pointed towards the book, towards the written note that had a short poem in it.
"The red wheelbarrow", it said.
"so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
PS: Call me any time, Bella. You've got my number."
"And what, exactly, made him think this was any better?" I laughed.
"He thought it sounded more 'poetic and deep'." Edward said, chuckling.
"It didn't. At all." I chuckled back.
I then decided to turn to another page. This had my more normal friends' notes on it, Angela's, amongst others.
"Hi Bella." It said.
"I've had a really nice time getting to know you.
I hope we'll stay in touch after graduating, you're such a good person.
Have a great summer!
"She was so nice to me." I reminisced. "Even after I became … distant. What ever happened to her?"
"I'm not sure. The last thing I heard was she had gone to college somewhere far away with that Ben Cheney." Edward replied.
"Oh." I said, puzzled by the fact that she hadn't stayed. She seemed like a person who would have liked settling down in a small town like Forks. But then again, I hadn't really known her. I would have liked to, but she had been too perceptive. I couldn't risk it.
"We can find out if you want to?" He raised his eyebrows suggestively.
"Yeah," I said. "I'd like that. It would be nice to know how she has been doing."
"I will have Alice and Jasper pull some strings and find out. Maybe, while they're on it, they can find some of your other friends, too."
"Like who?" I asked.
"The ones who signed the yearbook, perhaps?" he looked through the pages of it. "How about Tyler Crowley … Jessica Stanley … Lauren Mallory … or Jacob Black." He said, sneering as he spoke the last name.
"Jacob?" I repeated, confused.
"Why has Jacob Black signed your yearbook, Bella?" Edward said with disgust.
"I … I don't know." I stuttered. I hadn't known about this until this minute. When had he signed it? I hadn't seen him that day, nor any other day since Edward's return to Forks.
I tried to clear my mind, but I was a mess. Jacob's name brought back all the memories of him, of the friendship we had once had. I couldn't think straight.
"I guess he might have dropped by on a later occasion." I replied to Edward's earlier question, still as confused.
But then I saw the page his note was on, and I understood. He hadn't dropped by at all. He had passed it to Billy, who had passed it to Charlie, who had glued it into my yearbook. It was just like the second grade, as he had pointed out when I had passed him a note, oh so long ago.
It didn't say much, but the little he had written made me feel endlessly guilty. "Dear Bella." he had written.
"I know we haven't seen each other for a while, and for that I'm sorry. Really. I've been a jerk, I know. But I hope you'll forgive me.
Things still haven't changed, I still can't see you. But I want you to know that I still miss you and think about you. I'm really sorry things turned out the way they did.
PS: Congrats on graduating, Bells."
I could feel his pain in this note just as much as the previous one.
What really made me feel bad, was the fact that I hadn't read this before. This was the first time I had picked up my yearbook for 15 years. Jake must have had gone through all those years thinking I hadn't forgiven him.
And now it was too late. It would be wrong to show up in his life again now. He was sure to have started a brand new life, far away from me and my 'bloodsuckers'. A life of which I should leave untouched. I had caused him so much pain before, I didn't want to give him this burden as well. He deserved better than that. We never had proper closure, but time had healed most wounds. I was sure to rip it all up again if I came back now.
But then again, wouldn't it be better if he knew I had forgiven him? If he did still think about me from time to time, wouldn't it be better if he knew the truth? That I never stopped loving and caring for him, even throughout these years. The werewolves were my mortal enemy, but I could never force myself to hate them. Jake was, of course, the reason for that.
My train of thought was suddenly interrupted by Edward growling loudly and leaving the room. He had always had a temper, one of which was very easily encouraged. Now he was probably off to destroy whatever new piece of technology Emmett had gotten imported. It was funny how little that had changed.
With that in mind, I closed my yearbook. Emmett probably valued his new combined TV and gaming console too much to let Edward get away with ruining it because of a werewolf. I could stroll down memory lane another day, once I had calmed Edward down. Because though werewolves had no part in my life anymore, Edward did. He was my top priority. Always had been, always would be. That was another thing that would never change.