PROLOGUE

Green grass coated in dew, and soft, damp mosses covered every flat surface. The sun's warm rays shone down on the clearing from above. The meadow was the same as always.

I sighed, trying to soak up all the rays I could—Forks didn't have many sunny days, one of the reasons I could be here with Edward. Just thinking his name made me sigh again.

I remembered the day I first saw him, my first day in Forks. The cafeteria was filled with people, most I barely knew. I was sitting down beside Jessica, the girl from my Spanish class, when I saw him sitting with the rest of the Cullens and Hales. How could I have ever thought that he'd hated me? He had told me time and time again, that the fury that was caused by me could never be directed towards me.

If only he'd change me! If only he could give me what I truly wanted, an eternity to spend with him. He'd once asked whether I wanted to be a monster like he was. How could he think that? Edward, my Edward, was not a monster... he was anything but! How he could resist the temptation, hold me close to him without breaking my skull, how he could say no to the blood that flowed within my veins. Resisting the wine, while enjoying the bouquet, he'd once said. I may not have a great memory, but every word he'd ever uttered would stay with me forever, that is, if he would let me have forever.

I was snapped out of my reverie by none other that my angel himself. I had come close to falling asleep. He had carried me back to his Volvo without difficulty. He kissed my forehead, making my heart thump wildly, still. You'd think I'd get used to that, but no. As if right on cue, he laughed as the speed of my heart picked up its pace.

"So, what are we going to do, tonight?" he asked me. He seemed to notice that I was still concentrating on the process of breathing in and out, so he continued. "How would you like to spend the evening at my house? I'll make sure Alice doesn't drag you off on another one of her insane shopping sprees, of course. What do you say?"

"Sure," I breathed. Who could say no to Edward?

"Am I dazzling you again?" he chuckled.

"Yes," I answered, then added, "I don't mind." It was true. Who would, anyway?

"No, of course you don't. That's why it's my responsibility to make sure you remember to breathe."

"Hey," I teased, "It's not my fault if my gorgeous vampire boyfriend is, well... gorgeous."

"It's getting a bit too cool out here for you," he said, scooping me up and gently placing me in the passenger seat of his car.

"No it isn't," I said, "It's very warm, actually."

"Bella, I can see you lying through your teeth. And let me tell you, for future reference: when you cannot tell a lie without blushing, try not to do so. It gives you away," he stated the obvious.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," I grumbled. Did I need anything else to point out the fact that I was about as far from perfect as possible?

"I love you, Edward," I chose to say instead.

"I love you, too," was his reply.

I saw the speedometer quickly inch past one hundred miles per hour. I was used to this by now, of course. It wasn't my poor Edward's fault that vampires have a liking to speed. We were quiet for the rest of the drive, as I was concentrating on not looking out the windows.

As we turned up the twisted impossible-to-find-in-the-dark road that lead up to Edward's house, his cell-phone rang. He picked it up, and not even waiting for the person on the other end to speak, whispered, " Alice."

I watched as his expression changed, "Don't worry, Alice," he said, "I can take care of myself… Nothing will happen to me… Of course… They can't possibly be that desperate… Just worry about yourselves, I'll be alright... Hmm... I believe so... You're starting to worry her, Alice; she was perfectly fine until you decided to call... I'll keep an eye on that... Yes... Alright, good bye Alice," He hung up the phone with a slight snap.

I didn't know what my expression looked like, but I knew how I felt. What did he mean nothing would happen to him? Was someone after Edward? The questions in my mind melted into one another until they no longer made sense, something I was grateful for.

"What did she mean?" I whimpered at last, "What did Alice mean by… by you, by something happening to you?" I choked out, "Is something going to happen to you?"

I expected him to reassure me, tell me everything was fine, that there was no reason for me to worry. Instead, his response was, "If I… if I am ever forced to… to leave you Bella, what would you do?"

"But you won't leave me, you promised!" I said. If this was about me, then he stays no question about it. "You said you'd never leave me again!"

"I never said I'd leave you, Bella. Like I told my dear sister, who, by the way, rudely interrupted our conversation, there is no reason at all to worry about a problem that doesn't exist."

" Alice wouldn't make a fuss out of something that doesn't exist," I fought back, and then remembered a fact about my little friend, "Unless it includes shopping, of course."

"Well, there isn't anything we can do now," he muttered, "Not ever, really. Whatever happens will happen. The future will be bound to change any minute anyway, they can't… I…" he seemed to be talking half to himself, half to me.

"Tell me, please, Edward," I said in my best whining voice, knowing he would tell me, "I want to help you. Is it something about… about Jacob?"

His brow creased, as if a whole new subject of worry had just popped up, "No, that dog isn't involved in this, at least, not yet. In fact, it doesn't concern him in any way."

"Is it the Volturi, then?" I asked, anxious to know what was going on.

"No, it isn't the Volturi," he answered patiently, as if speaking to a small child.

"What was that you said about leaving me?" I asked, suddenly remembering.

"That… was nothing. You know I would never leave you, Bella," he said.

"Not willingly," I corrected, knowing him, "That's what you said last time. I want you to promise that you will never, ever leave me, Mr. Edward Anthony Masen Cullen."

"That… may not be a promise I'll be able to keep," he answered, sadly.

"Well, I want you to promise to never leave me about something concerning my so-called safety," I glared at him.

"That I can do," he grinned, his unhappy expression disappearing for a second.

"Alright, then. I want you to swear, that you will never ever, ever leave me if it is something about my wellbeing."

"I, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen," he began dramatically, "Swear that I will never, ever, ever leave you, Isabella Marie Swan, if it is something about your wellbeing," he concluded, copying everything I said, down to my very expression, "I promise you Bella," he added, on a more serious tone.

I was satisfied. I closed my eyes, just as he parked his Volvo beside Alice's recently acquired yellow Porsche. Just like every time I was in his car, he stepped up, and less than in a blink of an eye, was at my side. He opened my door quickly, and then proceeded to carrying me up the stone steps. He set me down gently.

"Edward?" I asked.

"Hmm?" he answered, out of focus.

"Promise me again."

"Bella," he sighed, exasperated, "Fine. I promise I'll never leave you."

"There, how hard was that?" I asked him.

He then opened the door, as it was starting to get chilly, and waited for me to walk in. Being the klutz that I am, I tripped on thin air, and had to be caught by Edward.

"Sometimes, I think you fall just so I can catch you," he murmured.

"Hmm, sometimes I think so, too," I answered, my cheeks starting to feel warm, as I was once again saved by Edward.

Suddenly, Alice appeared out of nowhere. Not that that was unexpected, but it still surprised me that she could move faster than my eye could see. She impatiently tugged on Edward's arm; I could tell that she was saying something to him in her mind.

"Wait a moment, please, Bella," he said, letting go of me.

I heard their voices, whispering something, something that apparently, I wasn't to know. Alice's voice was strangely even more high-pitched that her usual soprano and Edward was unsuccessfully trying to disguise his voice into a more calm tone. I stood staring at the door, waiting for it to open. When it did, Edward had a strange expression on his face.

"What is it?" I asked worriedly.

"It's... nothing," he said, "Really, Bella."

"Oh yeah?" I challenged, "Last time it was nothing, you left me... left me all alone."

I had promised myself that I wouldn't think about those cruel, awful months when he had left me. It had seemed that the whole world was against me, taking away the one most precious thing I cared about. A single tear came to my eye, before I started to sob hysterically.

"Bella, I... promised, remember?" he asked me softly.

"I... I know," I choked out between sobs, "It's... It's just that, what if...? Edward... t-tell me, please... I can't... can't stand not knowing, it's..."

"Well..." he looked undecided, "Maybe there is... something. I don't want to hurt you again, Bella, but this may not be in my control."

"You promised!" I gulped.

"Yes, I know... but... this is not just about me leaving you," he said, then quickly edited, "Not the way that you think, I mean. I would never put you through that again... But Bella... what Alice saw was... concerning my death."

"Oh," I said. This I had not been expecting at all, "Well, that's... alright then, isn't it? I mean, vampires don't die, right?"

"Bella, Bella... Vampires may be hard to kill, but that doesn't make us indestructible."

"Who wants to... to kill you?" I asked. I was shocked that Edward could handle talking about his own death so easily, and even more that he could try to calm me down at the same time. If it wasn't for the fact that Jasper was hunting, he would probably be sitting here sending me waves of serenity.

"That's the problem, she doesn't know," he answered, "I think the werewolves may be involved. She didn't see me dying. It must have to do with those dogs, then... If it were someone else, she would've seen me get ripped to pieces instead of well... you understand. The faraway future is there. Someone must've made the decision."

"I-I don't want you to leave me," I stuttered, as if it were something that was in his ability to control, "I can't have you leave me."

"I know, Bella, I know," he wiped the last tear from the corner of my eye.

Suddenly, a black... thing dashed in front of me, pulling me away from Edward. It moved so fast I couldn't decipher whether it was a werewolf or a vampire. There were at least ten of them. A smaller one was pinning me to a wall, holding my hands behind my back with superhuman strength. I saw Edward's surprised expression turn to one of anger.

Alice appeared out of nowhere, as did Rosalie, Esme, and Carlisle. They began fighting the black hazes, too fast for my eyes to see. However, the... things seemed to be focused on Edward, pulling him farther away from me, and his family.

"Help him!" I shouted, knowing that they could hear me, "Edward!"

I heard him cry out, a strangled sound, before a loud crunch. I heard him cry, 'Bella!' More screams of pain, and then, suddenly, the whole house was set on fire. It began with a spark, and then everything was engulfed in flames.

"Get her out! Keep her safe..." I heard Edward say.

"No, Edward!"

The thing that had been holding me suddenly scooped me up into its... arms? The wind was knocked out of me. It held me carefully, as if knowing I could easily break. Screaming and shouting did not help, and then I heard a husky voice... A voice that I knew. Jacob's voice. I would've recognized it anywhere.

"If I can't have her, neither will you!" he cried, before turning back into a wolf.

"Bella!" Edward cried, "No, Bella!"

"Edward!" I screamed, as loud as my voice could go.

I knew he was defeated, by the evil black thing that had been Jacob Black all along. Edward's last, final cry of pain would haunt me forever, until the end of eternity. "I love you, Bella," he whispered. Then, I heard a sound that could only be the sound of a vampire being ripped apart by a stronger force.

"Edward!" I sobbed.

"She's seen enough," I heard a voice say, before something hit me on the side of the head, hard. And then... everything was black.