xiv. no endings

It is twilight once again; yet another day is ending. Edward and Bella are lying in the grass in their meadow looking up at the darkening sky, their fingers brushing against each other where their hands rest close together. They do not speak at all, but Edward softly hums her lullaby. It has been a long time since she heard him do that, and it makes her smile as she rests with her eyes closed.

Today would be Bella's eightieth birthday if she were still human. That morning Edward asked her, "Do you regret that you're not near death like you should be?" and she teased, "Not yet."

She has come to understand what Edward meant a long time ago when he talked about this time of day always being a little sad for him. She can't say that she does not miss walking around freely in the sunlight. She can't say she doesn't miss many other things besides, things that are much worse to be without.

But the pain of having to make the decision a long time ago of what she was willing to give up has come to seem to her like a very human thing, something she is long past. Neither choice was the right one or the wrong one; there was only always a right and wrong way to accept whichever fate she chose. Any kind of existence will have its difficulties that are hard to bear, but any existence can also be withstood and have its rewards. Even in the worst kind of circumstances, in death, in hell, in eternal darkness, some kind of light can always be found. Over time, she has stopped feeling like she ever lost the others she loved, for now even after they're all dead, she is still here and carrying on with them in her memory, and in another human lifetime she still will be. She never really had to choose between Edward and Jacob; she couldn't even if she wanted to. She has them both still, always sharing a place in her heart, in a more peaceful an unconflicted way than ever before. Just as Jacob promised he would always be there, always waiting in the wings, always her friend, even when they could no longer see each other, she is still thinking of him and taking care of the part of himself he left behind with her.

I am not giving up on you, she thinks whenever he comes to mind. She promises.

And when Edward sits up and leans over her, surprising her with a quiet kiss when she still hasn't opened her eyes, the sun is going down but the bold, breaking dawn behind her eyelids is blinding. She and everyone who is a part of her, all of them are here now. With their love they are all forever bound, they are illuminated and find each other in the dark again and again, they persist and are always fighting and struggling against dying, against ends. They live.