Sorry for the shortness. But I have to study, with my AS coming up and all.
Edward felt a strange sense of déjà vu as he swiftly dismounted his horse and stared at the view before his eyes. The little, wooden cottage, with its chimney sending out puffs of white snow, still stood amongst the naked trees just as it had almost a year previously. The simple sight of it made Edward's heart beat faster, and he gave a step towards the familiar scene before stopping. After all, he didn't know what would happen now – how he would make things work. Should he knock the door and ask for Bella? Should he peer through the windows until someone saw him? Was it so difficult for him to find the right way to gather once again with his beloved?
He was about to give another step towards Ben and Angela's house when the question was answered for him. The oak door suddenly swung wide, and out walked Isabella Swan, carrying a basket under her arm, dressed in a simple white dress, her auburn hair held messily in a bun over her head. She did not seem to notice Edward standing twenty feet away from her as she closed the door behind her, and tripped with her own feet as she turned towards the thick layer of snow over the frozen ground.
'Shoot,' Edward heard her mutter in an annoyed tone, and couldn't suppress a low chuckle. She was there. His Bella.
But Bella had heard the sound of Edward's laugh, and her eyes had found the place where he stood beside his horse. Her mouth opened slightly, and then closed again, speechless, but those chocolate eyes of hers remained opened wide.
Edward's own lips parted to greet her, but the words wouldn't come. What could he say to her after so many months of absence? After his harsh words during that wedding, long ago?
'You forgot this at my house,' he said, pointing at the package Alice had given him, and immediately felt like a complete idiot.
Bella shook her head. 'That's not mine.'
'Oh.' A complete, utter idiot. 'Esme sends it. You're sure it's not -?'
'Yes, I'm sure,' Bella replied dryly, never looking away from his face.
An awkward silence fell between them, and the only movement came from Edward's horse, who neighed softly and stomped his feet against the snow.
'Bella, I'm –' Edward started to say quickly, but Bella walked closer to him and shook her head.
'It's alright, Edward,' she said, but her voice indicated there was nothing going alright. 'I know what you came to say.'
Edward stared at her. 'You do?'
Bella nodded slowly. 'Yes, Edward. And I'm afraid I have to say no. There's no sense of right in what you've come to do. I don't want it. Take it back with you.'
'Bella,' Edward's expression became grievous as he searched for something in Bella's eyes, but her own expression was dry and cold. Her thin, pink lips, so used to smiling and stretching into a grin a long time before, were now taut in unhappiness, and she seemed to be carrying a heavy weight over her body. 'Bella, I think you should still listen to what I have to say.'
'No, Edward!' she exclaimed in a low voice, walking even closer to him, her gaze becoming sadder by the second. 'I don't need to. I know what's going on – and what you're doing is wrong. Do you think it will make me feel happier? Fulfilled? You're – you're just feeling sorry for me. I can't tolerate that. I'm perfectly well the way I am now –'
'Feel sorry for you?' Edward blurted out, astonished. 'Bella, how could you ever say such a thing -!'
'- and besides, you told me yourself, Edward,' she went on, ignoring his outburst, 'the heart heals with time.'
Edward snapped his mouth shut and stared at Bella. Of course. How couldn't he have expected this? She had moved on. She had gone on with her life, just as he had told her to, in a lame attempt to fool himself. Had he really thought she would still be grieving for him? That she would still love him? He was the only one whose heart could never forget now.
Bella's eyes had glazed with brimming tears, and her lips were pressed together. 'Edward… I would really appreciate it if you went back home.'
Home… With Rosalie? Was that home anymore?
Edward inhaled deeply. 'If… that's what you want,' he said solemnly.
Bella nodded her head quickly, lowering her face to stare at the snow underneath their feet.
Edward's heart had shrunk in pain and grief, but he didn't want his suffering to cause guilt in Bella's mind. He swallowed it all and fought with himself to accept his fate.
'At least keep this,' he whispered, handing her Esme's package.
Bella's white hand reached for it and held it against her lap. 'I'm sorry, Edward.'
'I'm sorry, too,' he replied as he turned his back to her and mounted his horse once again. He was leaving… back to where he had just escaped from in the search of happiness.
'Send my regards to Angela and Ben from me,' Edward said, adjusting himself and avoiding Bella's intent gaze.
'Send mine to your… family,' Bella whispered, choking on the last word. 'And, Edward?'
His deep, green eyes now locked with her own, and a sudden feeling of longing tore at his heart wildly, threatening with driving him crazy.
Bella made her best effort to smile at him. 'I really hope your life with Rosalie is making you happy.'
Edward's eyes widened. 'What?' he asked, bewildered.
'What what?' Bella repeated with a frown.
'Bella… I think you're missing the point of my coming here,' Edward said to her.
'I am?' she asked, confusion settling on her expression.
'I thought you knew why I came here.'
'I thought I did, too,' Bella replied honestly. 'You mean… you're not here because of money?'
Edward blinked. 'Money? Why would I be here because of money?'
Bella bit her lip. 'I thought… you came because you were feeling sorry for me. The homeless, orphan, unmarried girl without a penny for herself, and after that wedding… I thought you felt sorry for my being poor and alone.'
Now it was Bella's turn to be surprised as Edward laughed out loud and grinned at her. 'My God, Bella, you have such a creative, wild imagination. How could you ever even think about something as stupid as that?'
Bella's lips turned slightly at the corners, and she said, 'So… you're not here to try and force a bag of gold into my hands?'
'You were thinking that was what I wanted to do this whole time?' Edward smiled. 'You were rejecting money?'
'What did you think I was talking about?' Bella asked, serious again, a small frown creasing her forehead.
Edward's smile vanished as well. 'I thought you were rejecting me. Telling me… you didn't want me back. That you had moved on with your life, forgotten all about me.'
Bella's eyes widened in pain. 'How could you think such a thing, Edward? Decades may go by, and my heart would never forget you.'
'My Bella,' Edward whispered, and hastily got down to the ground on his two feet and hurried to embrace the girl before him. She locked her arms around his neck and pressed her body against him, hiding her face under his chin, while Edward held her tightly, one hand buried in her hair, the other holding her tightly from the small on her back. And how sweet the reunion was, how sweet the feeling of belonging together once more – he had been more than delusional to think of any path leading away from his Bella as the right path!
'Wait,' Bella said suddenly, looking up at him and pushing against the hand on her back to step back. 'Why did you come? What happened to Rosalie? Why did you -?'
'I left Rosalie,' Edward said, taking Bella's left hand softly. 'For all these months, I haven't been myself at all, Bella. Life just drifted by me, and I didn't even glance at it. I found that I cared about nothing, that I enjoyed nothing, without you by my side. I said terrible things to you, Bella, that have been eating away my mind with guilt. I thought that doing what I thought people expected of me was the right thing to do, Bella, but… I was wrong. The only right for me is right here with you.'
Bella only stared at him, tears running down her cheeks and her lips pressed together.
'I don't know if you can ever forgive me for my mistakes, Bella,' Edward whispered, 'because I never will. But I did not come back here only to apologize for the deeds I've done. The reason why I came is because I needed you to know that my love for you is as strong as it was the last time we were here in Wilmington, and it never quivered or became feeble. For the past months, my heart has longed you day and night, aching in pain because the only way I can be at peace with myself is the one in which you know the truth. The whole truth. And the whole truth is, I love you. I love you, Bella, fervently, passionately, and with my entire being. I lost you once. I don't want to leave this place and lose you again just because you don't know how I feel.'
Bella's wet eyes turned to the floor, and Edward did the same. 'I can understand if you choose to go on like you were before I arrived today. As long as you're happy, Bella -'
'Don't be silly,' Bella finally said, looking up at him. 'The only way I can ever be happy is with you, you and me, me and you. I love you more than anything in this world, Edward, and just so you know, I lost you once as well. I'm not letting you out of my sight a second time.'
Edward's mouth broke into a huge grin, and he whispered, 'Oh, my Bella.'
Without another word, he closed the distance between them with one quick step and embraced her, lifting her up in the air with joy as she laughed between her sobs and tears, and at last, at last, he kissed her.
A long time passed as they embraced and kissed, standing there in the snow, unaware of their surroundings, immersed in their own paradise. For how could he never know it before? The only right in life is where your heart is trying to lead you, and the only place where happiness can ever be found is with the one you love the most.
The clouds in the sky, so dense and obscure, the stormy clouds that had been haunting them for such a long time, seemed to start to crack as a sudden ray of sunlight passed through them. It shone over the loving couple and over that small, blissful patch of the world called Wilmington, and a wolf howled in the distance, as if welcoming it into the lives of everyone once again.
Thank you, thank you so much. You reviewers and readers made this story possible. I'm a bad person who didn't update for months in a row, but I never liked this story much anyway. Now that I'm finished, I am going to focus on something more Potter-y.
I started this story December 3rd, 2007. I'm finally done. It's not my favourite story, and it's not the kind of things I like to read, but I had to try my luck and write something like this. Face your fears and all. So thank you all for helping me face the fear with your awesome reviews :)
I love you all so very, very much, and hope you stay in tune with my future projects. (Like finishing A Breaking Dawn Story.)
Hugs and Kisses,
Me, Falling Twilight, Edwardlicious, or just Vickii :3
And for the record -
And for the record -
Bella kept Esme's blue shawl, because everyone insisted it looked beautiful on her, and, after all, it was a gift.
Rosalie was disappointed by Edward's departure, but deep inside, she was kind of glad to be able to have Emmett all for herself without guilt in the end.
Emmett didn't go to the army due to Rosalie's definite I-won't-budge decision, but he still insisted in enrolling for the Navy.
Alice and Jasper happily moved out of the Cullen house after Esme recovered from her - psychologically-induced - sickness, and were more than happy to visit Edward and Bella as much as the need (Alice's need) required.
Edward and Bella never got married due to Edward's lack of intelligence to realize he needed Bella before actually marrying Rosalie, but a few years later they did have a daughter named... Yes, you guessed. Renesmee.
They also built a small cottage of their own in Wilmington, over the hills, not far from Angela and Ben's place, and they rejoyced in their happiness together. The cottage was as beautiful as Bella could have ever imagined, due to Esme's planning, and was the perfect home for a fairytale.
A red-furred wolf is also making its presence known, every once in a while, by going past the cottage and staying for a few hours.
You know, just checking everything's alright.