Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Author's note: Hello everyone! I am giving you all a bonus chapter that I've been thinking of writing for several weeks now. It comes at a good time, since I just recently found out that "Love Me" has been nominated for Best Romance at La Tua Cantante Awards! This is a great honor for me and I hope that you all vote for this story. The web address is latuacantanteawards . webs . com (without the spaces). I'm not sure when the voting begins, but it will be listed on the website.
I hope you enjoy this extra chapter! I'm so very excited to be nominated for an award and it's all because of you guys. Please review and let me know how you like the extra chapter! Thanks so much! I'll try to let you know when it's time to vote. Enjoy!
What death teaches us
It had been a horrible week for me and Edward hadn't left my side, unless I ordered him to give me some privacy. I had received a phone call that broke my still heart. After two weeks of searching, Jacob had gotten a hold of my cell phone number. Charlie had died. I guess I should have known that it would happen, since death was common for humans and it had been thirty years since I had become a vampire. Edward said it got easier once everyone that you knew was gone, but I didn't want to imagine that yet. It was too raw and painful. Resting my head on his shoulder, I waited patiently for the airplane to land. I begged Edward to let me go see his grave since I had missed the funeral and I couldn't be seen by anyone.
"Are you doing okay?" Edward whispered in my ear for the second time.
"I'm fine," I snapped, turning my face away from him. I didn't want to look in his eyes and see the sympathy or his love at the moment. I just wanted to suffer alone.
"Please Edward, not now."
The rest of the plane ride was quiet. We were currently living in England and attending school there with Emmett and Rosalie. Alice and Jasper were on another honeymoon and I hadn't seen them for a few months, but they had returned when they found out about Charlie. Carlisle was working in a local hospital while Esme attempted to work on becoming a nurse so she could assist her love. It was hard, but she was making great progress in her classes and labs. I had been content living with Edward in our little flat above a bakery, but once the news came, we moved back home. My letters with Jacob had become longer and far between, but I was still in contact with him. I couldn't help but wonder how old his children were now, since he'd had six kids total.
We landed in Port Angeles and Edward rented a car for us to drive to Forks. He held my hand loosely as he drove. His driving didn't scare me anymore and I was glad that we were almost there. The rain falling on the roads reminded me so much of my life here and I felt like I was coming home. I changed into a black dress in the backseat before we arrived at the cemetery. There was a small break in the storm as we got out of the car. Before us was the Forks Cemetery, decorated with various gravestones and blooming flowers. On a recent grave, I saw that a child had placed a teddy bear along with a letter. The stone said "Beloved grandfather, son and husband". The wife was still living, as seen by no death date next to her name. The sight of it made me regret my anger towards Edward for only caring for me.
"I'm sorry Edward," I choked out. "I don't want you to be angry with me."
"Oh Bella, I'm not angry," he murmured, wrapping his arms around me.
We stayed that way for a long moment. I was unable to stop weeping as I thought of saying good-bye to Charlie again. This time there was no going back. Death was where I couldn't follow him anymore. I held tighter to Edward as I imagined the last moments that I had with Charlie, his tears were pouring down as I told him that I loved him. My love for him had never died and never would. I sobbed onto Edward's shoulder, imagining my dad's face in my mind. He was smiling at me and I knew that he never stopped loving me either.
"Edward, I forgot flowers!" I suddenly exclaimed, pulling back slightly. "I want to lay flowers on Charlie's grave."
"No problem. Would you like to wait here and I'll go pick up some? Which flowers would you like?" my love questioned with his eyes full of devotion.
I pondered for a moment, trying to remember if Charlie had a favorite flower. "Daisies; I don't want a huge bouquet but just a few flowers."
Edward kissed my cheek and nuzzled his nose against mine before getting in the rental car and driving to town to pick up the flowers for me. I leaned up against a tree, not ready to find Charlie's grave by myself. I didn't have the strength for that. Slipping to my butt, I pulled my knees to my chest. The scene with Edward and Jacob and Charlie yelling about the motorcycle made me smile as I thought of his purple face that had been filled with anger. There had been another time that Emmett showed up at the house, dressed in a pink dress and hat that had embarrassed my dad to no end. I laughed, feeling a little more comfortable. Maybe it would get easier the longer I wasn't of the living. I almost didn't want that pain to fade as human lives ended. I would feel dead, well more dead if I didn't care about death anymore.
My husband returned quickly, handing me three daises with no paper or babies' breath. Just three flowers to lay as my love offering upon the stone. I clasped Edward's hand and we walked in the direction that Jacob had told us to find the tombstone. We passed many empty places, waiting for the occupant that still drew breath. Other spaces were cluttered and had weeds covering up parts of the names. I didn't even want to think of where my false gravestone was. It was probably near Charlie now.
"Are you going to be alright?" Edward asked, tucking a chunk of my hair behind my ear.
"Eventually I will, but for now… don't ever leave me."
"I love you too much."
"I love you more," I teased, kissing his cheek.
We continued to walk and finally I saw Charlie Swan's final resting place. I froze, quickly realizing that he wasn't alone. There was a man kneeling before the stone and before him lay a bouquet of wild flowers. His long hair was pulled back at the nap of his neck. Even from the distance I could see the lines off age around his eyes and the laugh lines pulling at his lips. But the man was frowning, placing his hand upon the cold stone and mourning privately. Though it had been so many years, that face was so familiar to me and yet so foreign in the way that he had changed. It was Jacob. His heart looked heavy and I couldn't imagine what it was like to lose the only thing that bound his memory to me. He had spoken that Charlie had become like a father to him and now, Jacob had lost two fathers.
I wanted to run to him and embrace my best friend. Edward must have felt my need and he kissed my fingertips before letting go and slipping away from us to give some privacy. The flowers hung down at my side as I walked alone towards Jacob. He didn't see me until I was approximately three feet from him and I spoke softly.
"Did he suffer?" I whispered.
Jacob looked over at me and I saw a flame light in his eyes as he smiled, giving me a once look over to discover that it was really me. He got to his feet. I had forgotten how tall he was before he phased, which he obviously didn't do anymore.
"Bella…" my best friend muttered in shock that I was actually standing before him.
"Was my dad in pain when he died?" I asked as my voice choked up.
"No, he was content, even asking me to remember you and his love for you. His last words to me were 'I'll always love my baby girl'. I can't believe that you're here. Bella, you look the same as I last remember you, but even more beautiful."
Without speaking, I lay the flowers on Charlie's gravestone, running my fingers along the engraved words, pausing at the word father. Jacob was watching me as I kissed my dad's name as my last good-bye to him. Closing my eyes, I felt Charlie was kissing me back.
"I will always love you Dad."
I wrapped my arms around as much stone as I could, hugging my father one more time. I never thought that death could hurt so much. Giving one more kiss to the memory of Charlie, I let go and backed away from the gravestone. Jacob helped me to my feet and tried to smile at me through his tears. Reaching up a hand, I brushed away one of the tears and felt how warm his skin was and I realized how much I missed him. In an instant, Jacob swept me up into his arms, squeezing me as he hugged me and we wept together. We both grieved the man that loved us so much. Jacob sat down on the ground, keeping me on his lap and he waited until my sobs slowed before he attempted to speak to me.
"So, how's the blood-sucker doing? I guess I could call him Edward or your husband, but old habits are hard to break," Jacob half teased.
"He's doing well; the whole family is. The only one struggling right now is me," I attempted to joke, but almost started to cry again.
"Bells, it's okay to miss him. I miss him too and my father."
"I just feel like if I miss him too much, I won't be able to be happy anymore. Why should I be allowed to be happy when Charlie's dead? It's not fair!" I leaned against Jacob's shoulder, weeping again.
He held me tight, kissing my shoulder gingerly. "You have every right to feel happiness. I felt the same way when my mother died and again when my father died. I didn't deserve to smile and laugh as if nothing happened because of the hole in my heart, but death doesn't take that from us. We take joy from ourselves when we don't let go."
"Jacob, how can I go on living without him?"
Jacob placed a callused hand on my cheek and turned me to face him. His eyes told such truth and love in his age. With a gentle nudge, he forced me to look upon a figure standing under the trees not far from us. Edward's eyes were on the ground as he leaned up against a tall oak tree. I couldn't help but love him as I studied his handsome body. He was beautiful, even in the color of black with the depth of mourning. I could go on living because of my husband.
"You have love, eternal love Bells," Jacob whispered.
"So, it's okay to feel pain?"
"The pain of loss is what makes us more human, though neither of us is fully human. If we lose that, we lose ourselves. Bella, you are so strong."
Jacob kissed my forehead and helped me get to my feet, being careful not to drop me in the moist grass. He ran his fingers along my cheeks, smiling at me like he always did. I took his hands in mine as Edward began to walk towards us.
"Jacob, till the day that you stop living, will you love me?" I desired to know.
"I will always love you," he confirmed. "You're my best friend and always will be."
I hugged him again and then broke away from him, giving Charlie's gravestone one last touch with my hand. Edward pulled me into his arms and I felt his love surround me, wrapping me tight. I had nothing to fear about death and the pain of losing those I loved because Edward would love me forever. Edward guided me towards the car, but I couldn't go yet. Turning once, I saw Jacob standing before his father's grave.
"Would you like to have dinner with me?" I asked, giving him a smile. "I promise you can have the whole rabbit."
Jacob laughed. "I'd like that very much. I'm sure that the kids would love to meet you and Leah likes cooking for family. See you at six."
My best friend walked out of sight, surrounded by the markers of human legacy. I learned so much about life in this moment. Death may be peaceful, but life is harder and made for us to enjoy. Without love, we were plunged into unhappiness. All I needed was for Edward to love me.
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