Author's Note: This story is written in a colloquial, first person point of view, so you as a reader can feel like Bella, and hear her thoughts.

Disclaimer: Everything and anything related to the Twilight saga belongs to Stephenie Meyer. This is a work of fiction based on her writings. No harm is meant by it.


Chapter Seventeen:

In This Life


I turn over the next morning expecting to find myself under six feet of dirt or mangled amongst metal car parts, but instead I find myself turning over on my comfortable bed, entangled in my sheets. I end up knocking all of my pillows over as I reach over to swat at the screeching alarm clock on my nightstand. I miss the thing, miserably, and end up rolling off the bed and onto the floor, rolled up like a burrito in my sheets. I cause such a commotion with the plunking sound my bones make on the floor that Charlie comes barging into the room. This day is already starting horribly, I groan to myself. This is just great. Five minutes into the day, and I've already tasted the floor.

"Bella, are you alright?" he asks concerned. I can see that he's just about ready to leave to work. All he has to do is tighten his belt, and he'll be able to leave for the station.

"You can see me?" I mumble against the floor, wondering if perhaps Charlie is seeing me as a ghost, and not as Bella the living, walking accident. Charlie chuckles confirming that I'm still alive, and he walks over to help me up.

"What kind of a question is that?" he asks as I start placing the fallen pillows back on to the bed.

"Nothing. I just had a really weird dream—is all. It felt so real," I comment, and Charlie shakes his head in that way that he always does. It's one of the only things that Charlie does that is remotely paternal.

"You and those dreams, Bella. Last night you were screaming something about someone cutting the brakes of a car," Charlie comments lightheartedly as he walks back toward the door. "I'm heading off to work; I'll see you later. I'll bring some pizza for dinner, so don't worry about cooking, alright?"

"Okay, Dad. Have a good day."

"You too, Sweetheart," he quietly says and walks down the stairs. Our relationship isn't the best is could possibly be; we aren't exactly that close even though my mother's death brought us closer than before, but sometimes Charlie and I share a few precious moments that I treasure. Sometimes he knows exactly what to say.

I flop back down onto my bed and rub at my eyes to wipe the sleep away and the crustiness that has managed to accumulate in the corner of my eyes. I rub the dried up drool around my chin as well, and I remain still on my bed after that. I just stare up at the ceiling wondering if anything that I remember had actually happened in the last few days. Was any of it real? Or was it all just an elaborate dream?

I wonder if I really changed the events of the party, but if I had, I should be dead, and yet here I am lying on my bed. I wonder if Edward is gone forever and suddenly I jump up off my bed, struggling against the mattress shortly, and I call out for Edward, fruitlessly. I walk towards the window to see if he may be outside, but nothing. He doesn't answer and I sink back down onto my bed in sighing in anguish.

Realization hits me hard as the moment.

He's gone.

He is really gone, and I didn't change anything.

In the legend, Kachina wakes up beside her love, but I woke up alone. I had managed to either help Edward pass on, or none of this was ever real.

If it was all real, I had failed, not only his family but myself. I actually believed that I would be able to bring Edward back. I believed that I actually had the ability to change everything and to actually bring him back to the people he loved. Who was I kidding? Why did I ever think that I had that skill?

I roll over in bed as I get up and I begin to sulk toward the bathroom. I'm already dreading the disappointed the looks of his siblings as I walk by them to tell them that Edward has passed on to wherever he was supposed to go the first time and that I had failed in bringing him back, even though in the dream I sacrificed myself.

I step into the shower with a frown on my face and spend most of it just letting the scalding hot water beat against my back as an almost a punishment for failing. The water burns, but not as much as the searing ache in my chest. My heart feels demolished as if someone took a shotgun to it and just let it explode in my chest.

I brush my teeth in such a slow motion that it takes me five minutes before I realize that there's no toothpaste on my brush; the lack of froth around my mouth giving that away. I take an even longer time brushing out the knots in my hair, sighing disgustingly when I see all the hair that has managed to get stuck between the teeth of the hair brush.

When I step back into my bedroom, I'm taken aback by the sense of emptiness that radiates from it. It feels empty without Edward's presence. I can't express it, but in the last two weeks, I became so accustomed to finding Edward sitting at the end of my bed or in the rocking chair in the corner. His presence created such a feeling of content and warmth in my room—in my life. Now, it just felt barren and cold.

As I struggled to find something comfortable to wear and pretty much something I could hide in, I realize that there's only twenty minutes left before first period, and I'm not even dressed yet. I ransack my closet, quickly pulling on a pair of jeans and an old sweatshirt. I trip risibly over my feet as I struggle to put my socks on at the same time as slipping my feet into my shoes. It's not a smart move, but I'm trying to rush through my routine. My clumsiness only manages to sadden me even more because I no longer have Edward there to catch me before I fall.

I tread down the stairs, carefully aware of the fact that no one was waiting at the bottom to catch me if I tumbled down them, and I successfully make it all the way to my truck unscathed; a great feat for me.

When I actually step into the cab of my truck and go to put my key into the ignition, I notice that the radio Edward had installed is no longer there. All that sits there is the original broken stereo system I originally had, and my head sinks down against my chest as I start to notice that things are exactly as they were before. Without Edward, my life has managed to revert back to the dismal existence I once lived.

I drive toward the school as fast as my poor truck can handle, and I make it to the front entrance just as the late bell begins to chime. I sprint down the hallway toward my locker to retrieve my books, bypassing my classroom and heading toward my locker. As I make the final turn to reach it, I trip face first down onto the cold, dirty linoleum floor.

"Ugh," I groan in pain as I pull my face off the linoleum. It's managed to actually stick to the plastic like material of the floor.

"Could this day get any worse?" I mumble as I push myself up off the floor. I rest on my knees as I brush the dirt off the front of my sweatshirt before a voice startles me and causes me to sit down on my calves.

"It could," a velvety voice remarks and I look up to find Edward leaning against my locker with a book back slung on his shoulder and my history textbook in his hand.

"Edward!" I gasp as walks toward me and extend a hand to help me up off the ground, and I notice how warm it feels in my mine.

"You're wa—" I begin to say, but Edward interrupts me.

"Warm. You did it, Bella," he proclaims proudly as he drops his bag and my book to the ground and pulls me into a hug. I relish in the warmth of his body and the softness of his features as he holds me tightly. His chest still feels strong, but no stone like as before.

"I can't believe it worked," I mumble against his chest ,and he chuckles lightly. I feel the rumbling of it against my cheek. I can't help but smile widely at the realization that I had actually succeeded and that I had really managed to bring Edward back. It wasn't all a dream, I chant in my head blissfully.

"What did your family say?" I ask as I pull away and Edward turns to look around the hall before he leans down to pick up the fallen items.

"Nothing. They don't remember anything, Bella. As far as they know, the party was great and nothing else happened except that Victoria and I broke up when I found her making out with that Riley guy."

"Riley? The blond guy?" I ask and he nods his head as he leans back against the lockers.

"Yeah, the guy who cut the brakes. Apparently, he was trying to get rid of James because Victoria was going to leave me for him, and Riley apparently wanted her to leave me for him."

"So he wanted to kill James for Victoria?" I ask incredulously and Edward nods again.

"Apparently, he already knew that Victoria was seeing James behind my back so I posed no threat to him."

"Wait, how did you find all of this out after you vanished?"

"Bella," he smiles down at me. "When you got into that car, you changed everything. I got to relive that entire night after I disappeared, though I didn't have much fun. All I could think about was you in that car," he quietly spoke, shaking his head before letting it fall.

"Hold on!" I gesture with my hands and Edward tilts his face to meet mine. "Are you telling me that after you disappeared from the car, you relived the whole night? Honestly?"

Edward nods his head before explaining. "Yeah. I was back in the kitchen with Victoria asking me to get her things at her house. This time I said no after James denied her. She stalked away with Riley and I followed and found them kissing and scheming to get James to get the bags, seeing as that was their original intention. I called her out on cheating and even managed to warn James about the brakes. I ended up leaving the party with Alice and Jasper in his car, shortly after."

"Wow," was all I manage to say as I lean against the locker next to Edward.

"I know," he breathlessly responds and we stand still for a few moments.

"I can't believe all of this is real."

"Me neither," he responds and turns to face me. "I'm so glad you're here," he whispers as he reaches his hand out to touch my cheek. "When I left the car, all I could think about was you. I relieved that night, but when I woke up it was Monday, and I thought you were gone forever. I was going to drive by your house, but if you were really gone, I didn't want to disturb your father."

"I had to get in that car. You heard Billy. Someone had to die in your place."

"That didn't mean it had to be you, though luckily for everyone, no one got hurt that night."

"It did have to be me. I was your medium, and that was the only way to help you," I explain and Edward shakes his head.

"I suppose," he grumbles. "I'm just so happy that you're here. I've been waiting by your locker for an hour."

"Is it the Monday after the party?" I ask.

"Yeah, we've gone back in time, it seems."

"This is so weird. How is that even possible?" I ask disbelievingly and Edward shrugs his shoulders.

"How was it even possible to see me when I was dead?" he retorts and I chuckle.

"I don't even know what's real anymore," I mumble and Edward nods his head in agreement.

"I told you I saw big foot in the woods that day," he jests and I burst out laughing.

"Shut up," I reply, smacking his arm lightly and Edward grabs a hold of my hand.

"I'm so happy that you're okay."

I nod my head just as the bell rings; first period is now over.

"I should get my stuff so I don't miss second period as well," I mumble and pull myself away from Edward as I watch Alice and Jasper walk toward Edward from their classroom.

"Before you go," he answers, pulling me back. He leans down and kisses me just as everyone begins to flood the hallways; I can feel their eyes on us. I relish in the feeling of his warm lips against mine and I let him pull me up against him as he leans against the lockers. My hands find their way to the hair at the nape of his neck and just as we are about to get carried away, Alice's voice interrupts us.

"Wow, I can't believe you finally told her," she chuckles at Edward pulls away from me, but grabs my hand to hold me close.

"Yeah, I'm just glad she feels the same," he responds and winks at me knowingly.

"I knew she would," Alice comments and for a moment I wonder if she remembers anything that happened, but she disproves by beliefs.

"Hi, I'm Alice and this is Jasper," she introduces and I nod toward both of them.

"It's a pleasure to meet you both."

"Will you be joining us at lunch?" she asks and Edward answers for me.

"Of course she will," he smiles down at me and I smile back up at him.

"See you then, Bella," Alice cheerfully waves as she heads across the hall toward her own locker. Jasper waves goodbye to both of us and follows her.

"Where were you going before?" Edward turns to me and inquires seriously.

"What?"

"Before, when you saw Jazz and Alice walking this way, you were going to leave, right?"

"Yes," I shamefully respond, nodding my head.

"Just because we changed what happened that night, doesn't mean my feelings toward you changed. I love you, Bella," he declares firmly and the sincerity in his eyes that always manages to blow me away is present. I believe him wholeheartedly, my heart fills and bursts and the butterflies in my stomach begin to flutter manically.

"I love you, too," I respond and Edward leans down and kisses me again, ignoring the shocked expressions of our peers who hadn't seen the first kiss.

In another life, Edward and I would have never existed as a couple, the two of us wouldn't even be friends, but in this life we had each other, and for once my existence wasn't so bleak.

=FIN=


A/n: We've reached the end loves. I can't believe it, either. This was my first venture into writing Twilight fanfiction, so this is bittersweet. Thank you to all the people who have followed this story from the beginning and to all of those who caught up, later on.

I hope you all enjoyed it.

Again, thank you all so very much,

~Jen