Stephenie Meyer owns all of the rights.
I remembered the first day I'd come to Forks High School—how desperately I'd wished that I could turn gray, fade into the wet concrete of the sidewalk like an oversized chameleon. It seemed I was getting that wish answered, a year late.
– New Moon
A hundred years later found me gently padding through the dense forest in Forks, Washington. The forest that grew wildly offered me a lot of protection from the falling rain; no matter how much everything else in my life had changed, I could always count on Forks to bring the rain.
This was the first time since I had been changed that I had been back in Forks to stay. We had, once again, enrolled in high school here. The Cullen family - I mean. No one remembered the family that had once lived here, one hundred and fifty years prior to this. No one remembered the god-like beauty that everyone in the family, though all adopted, seemed to hold.
The only ones who remembered us were the wolves.
A representative from the pack had come to meet with us on one of our first days back. I remembered having to do a double take of the man; he was the spitting image of my Jacob. Later, when he said his name – William – Will– Black – I felt numb. So that's why he looked so much like Jacob – he was related.
That brought about me several different emotions. First, shame: Jacob had married and loved someone else, but I was sure that he didn't love them half as much as he loved me. Then that slipped into anger – at Victoria; if she hadn't bitten me, I would have been enough for Jake (though, in retrospect, I'm glad to have Edward). Finally, relief: I was happy for Jacob; I had felt guilty for many, many years – much longer than your existence, anyway – that I wasn't able to give him my own love.
It was no surprise, however, that being back in Forks had brought a bunch of long-dead emotions. The sense of loss (the last time I had been here, both my father and Jacob had been alive), confusion (I wondered what ever had happened to Jacob – I hope that he lived a full, happy life) and security (Forks was, after all, where everything had started for me).
I hesitated for a second as I got to the edge of the forest. Out of habit, I took a deep breath into my lungs and closed my eyes. I counted to three before I took another step.
Blinking, I opened my eyes. I knew where I was: The Cemetery.
I closed my eyes again and felt my feet glide underneath me. I wouldn't call this tracking – I had thought about it many times in my own mind. I had known, when I "died", that Charlie owned a small plot of land by his parents for his own burial. I spent many sleepless nights plotting out my "homecoming" of sorts. I needed to say goodbye to my father – irregardless of how many years had passed.
I blinked, my eyes fluttering open once more.
I saw the familiar stone that was Charlie's parents. I had visited this place several times, as a young girl who spent her summers in Forks. Though the memories were faded, much like a photograph fades over time, I had dim memories of this place. Yes, their names were still on the stones, just as memory served itself.
My eyes moved to the next stone. I stared for a second, not believing the name on it.
September 13, 1987 – March 11, 2004
March 11th hadn't been the date that I "died". Not if I remembered correctly. It was just off a bit – perhaps that had been the date when the case had closed and they declared me dead. I knew that as a police man, Charlie knew what my chances were of finding me alive even just three days after I had disappeared. The date on the tombstone was more generous – about two and a half months, if memory served correctly.
Something inside of me told me that someone else had suggested to "bury" me, even without a body. I couldn't see Charlie giving up on me that easily. Something in the back of my mind told me that he had done it because Billy or Jacob or even Renee had wanted him too. I knew, however, deep down that he hadn't given up on me.
My eyes flashed to the tombstone next to that. Charlie's. My heart broke as I read what was written on the granite.
Devoted father and friend
April 21, 1964 – May 16, 2005
He had died young. Perhaps suddenly, even. I knew in the back of my mind that it was my "disappearance" that had done it in for him. I knew that to the core of my being. And, I hated myself for it. If I had only been able to master control sooner... if I had only been able to be brave enough to send one postcard, one letter, one e-mail... one phone call... perhaps he would have lived longer. Not happy, no. But he would have been able to cope and survive.
All my tabs on Charlie, all the resources that I had, had told me that he lived a very full life. But this, on the other hand, told me otherwise. I had been rather naive to believe that he had lived a complete life, but what choice had I? I hadn't seen this grave site before, I hadn't been back in Forks before.
With a heavy heart, I knew that I had one more stop to make in the cemetery before I left for home.
It didn't take long to find it, although the tombstone itself was covered over with ivy by now. I pulled the ivy away, pushing it to the side of the tombstone as it ripped from it's roots easily in my strong grasp. My eyes ached to take the information in.
Beloved Husband and Father
January 10, 1990 – June 31, 2071
I felt a little pull of triumph on my heart. He had lived a long, full life. I was happy about that. He had deserved all the love and happiness and length of a life that he could get. And my eyes brightened again as I read the name that lie next to his.
Beloved Mother and Wife
August 19, 1992 – August 31, 2071
She hadn't been as old as Jake, but she hadn't outlived him by much, either. I always thought it was so romantic when couples grew old together and then died within a year or so of each other. Like one had died from the heartbreak of losing their loved one. It was really sadistic of me, I know... but when you couldn't die, what did it matter to you if you thought something like that was romantic?
Yeah, I guess I was slightly sadistic.
Feeling a little brave, I pressed my cool lips to the granite stone where Jacob's name was. How I missed my best friend. I shot up quickly, though. I heard someone's light footsteps coming towards me, and I knew who it was. I arranged myself so that it looked like I was just kneeling in front of Jacob's headstone. I didn't feel guilty for kissing it, just a little embarrassed.
"Bella?" I heard the velvet tone call out with complete certainty. He needn't ask if it was me, he already knew.
"You found it." I heard Edward say from behind me as I stood up. The tone inhis voice sounded relieved. I think that he had been afraid that I wouldn't have found it. In all certainty, it would have been worse if I hadn't found it. I wouldn't have gotten the closure that I had wanted or needed.
"Yeah," I murmured my agreement. I had found what I was looking for. I turned around to face my husband. He was still brilliantly young and beautiful. I couldn't have loved him more. It still felt amazing that he wanted me – that he still chose me.
"Let's go home," he declared, taking my hand in his.
I hesitated for a second, my eyes glancing back at Jacob's name.
"Bella?" Edward noticed my hesitation, of course.
I turned my attention back to Edward, a smile on my face. "Thank you," I told him. My smile became even larger as I saw him the confusion spelled out on his face.
"For what?" he asked as he pulled me closer to his body. His eyes held mine, and I planted a kiss on his lush lips. My voice was barely a whisper when I finally answered him.