Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight.
Summary: So this idea came to me at about 2:30 in the morning and I couldn't sleep until I wrote it. Edward died in the September 11th attacks. Bella visits his grave on the one-year anniversary of his death. One-shot. Heartbreaking. Flashbacks in italics.
I slowly made my way up the familiar path in the cemetery, my footsteps on the hard cement sidewalk the only sound. The grass was bright green too long, and wet with raindrops, like it always was in Forks. I took a turn, stepping onto the wet grass, feeling my sneakers sink into the muddy ground. I had been coming here almost everyday for a full year. I could take this trip with my eyes closed if I needed to. The sky was a dark charcoal, thunder rumbling quietly in the distance. The rain wasn't falling yet. It was only midday, but the sky was so dark, it felt like the darkest of midnights. A night without stars.
I was holding a bouquet of bluish, purple freesia in my hands. He always said I smelled like freesias. And he loved that particular shade of blue. He said it made my skin glow, the contrast against my paleness seeming to make it shine. I smiled slightly at the memory. It didn't hurt so much to think about him. I liked to remember the happier times, the better days. Everything before that awful day, that horrible tragedy.
I found myself at the familiar tombstone, rounded and polished, his name, birth date and death date engraved in it. A few meaningless words were scrawled below it. I didn't read them. I didn't need to. No amount of words could describe the way my love had really affected the lives of those around him. I kneeled before it, placing the bouquet at the edge. I smiled at the polished hunk of stone.
"Hello Edward," I said softly. I didn't feel foolish anymore. Talking to inanimate objects. I knew Edward was listening, so I didn't feel so stupid. Plus I was completely alone. It made me feel better to know I was communicating with him somehow. It was the only way I kept my sanity, kept myself strong for my family and friends.
"It's been a year, today…I miss you." My voice broke as I fought to hold back tears. I only cried here. I managed to keep myself in control everywhere else. "I miss the way you used to wrap your arms around my waist and hold me against you, whispering in my ear. I miss the way you would sneak kisses whenever you thought our family wasn't looking, even though they always were. I think you were just trying to show off." A small, teasing smile appeared on my lips.
"Bella." I grinned as I recognized the musical voice. "Come here."
"I've got to bring the dessert out," I told him. It was Thanksgiving Day. Everyone was seated around the dining room table of Edward's parents house. It was our tradition to spend holidays together. Edward and I were standing only a few feet from the doorway. I had a tray of chocolate chip cookies in my hand, ready to bring out for Esme.
"It can wait," he said easily. One of his hands slid between mine and the cookie tray and he snatched it away, sliding it onto the side table next to us. He wrapped his arms around my waist pressed his lips to mine. I giggled. His tongue slid out to meet mine and I fought back a moan. My hands moved up to lace through his hair as I tried to bring him closer then he already was. He pressed me so tight against his body my feet lifted off of the ground and onto his. There wasn't even enough room for air to fit between us.
"PDA much?" I reluctantly pulled away to see Alice, grinning widely at us. I realized we were in full view of the entire family. His parents, his brother and sister had all seen us making out. I blushed and Edward chuckled.
"You did that on purpose," I accused. He just grinned and grabbed the tray of cookies, making his way, unashamed, into the dining room.
"Alice is huge now," I said, pulling out of my reverie and continuing on with my monologue. I always felt the need to update him on what was happening in our lives. "She hates it. But she's pregnant, what can she do? Jasper comes over a lot, to 'help out.'" I used my fingers to make air quotes. "I think he just wants to escape Alice's moods. I can't blame him. She can be a handful. She cut her hair too. It's all short and spiky. It fits her well though, it suits her personality." I placed one hand along the rounded edge of the gravestone, rubbing my fingers along it as I spoke.
"Esme and Carlisle…I don't even know what to say about them. Esme is still shaken up. You're not supposed to outlive your child. She never mentions you. I've…tried to talk to her about it. But she just shuts down and changes the subject. She misses you. She's been throwing herself into her projects, especially since we've reached the year mark. Carlisle has been working harder and harder to save lives at the hospital. Like he thinks he might be able to make up for it or something. Esme cries a lot when she comes over. She almost begs me to let her redecorate. But you loved our house the way it was. I'm not going to change anything."
"Come on! This couch has personality! It's perfect," Edward persisted. We were at the furniture store. My engagement ring sparkled on my finger. We were going to get married that June. We had decided to go to the store to pick out everything for our new home. Edward had walked up to the first black, leather couch he had seen and sank onto it, deciding this was perfect for our living room, not even bothering to look at the price tag. Things like that didn't matter to Edward. He always got what he wanted.
"Edward. It's a black leather couch. It's plain. And it's too expensive. We can get one just like it for a hundred dollars less," I protested.
"Bella come on!" he persisted. "Just sit on it. Sit on it once and you'll want it I swear." I sighed, rolling my eyes. Might as well humor him. I sank onto the couch next to him. I had to admit, it was comfortable. Edward wrapped an arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer to him, his lips at my ear.
"Can you see it Bella? We'll be sitting on this couch when we're married. When you're pregnant with our first child. Can you see the little kids playing at our feet? Jumping on the couch as we held hands and watched them. Can you see our teenagers, begging for the car keys to my Volvo? Which they will never get," he added firmly. I had to giggle. Edward loved that Volvo almost as much as me. "And then one day they'll all move out and get married and have kids of their own. And then our grandkids will be playing on this very couch. We'll be all old and gray and wrinkly, but we won't care since we love each other too much. Our lives will be perfect." His voice was wistful.
"And it all depends on this couch? It can't be any other couch?" I asked him skeptically.
"Nope. It has to be this couch." I grinned and shook my head.
"Fine. We'll take it." Edward cheered triumphantly and pulled me onto his lap so I was straddling him and kissing me fiercely.
"Thanks love," he whispered after a moment.
"Anytime." I grinned and leaned back down to kiss him.
"Excuse me?" I whirled around and saw a disapproving saleswoman standing in front of us, her eyes narrowed. "Could you please refrain from using the couches inappropriately? If you can't follow the rules, I'm afraid you're going to have to leave."
"Sorry ma'am," Edward said instantly as I blushed. "We were just making sure it was comfortable. You know, for all the different reasons." He winked at her and she took a step back in shock. I burst into giggles and buried my head in his shoulder. The couch was at our house the next day.
"You should see little Christopher. Emmett and Rosalie say he's getting to be more and more of a handful everyday. Apparently he likes to find everything breakable and toss it on the floor. Rosalie's already lost a few pieces of her favorite jewelry to the toilet. Chris will be three next month. Can you believe that? He was still a baby when you knew him." I shook my head in disbelief.
"And Ethan. Oh Edward. He looks more and more like you everyday. He's got your bronze hair and you're emerald green eyes. He even has your crooked grin. He'll be six soon, can you believe it? He's been losing teeth left and right. Let's just say he's burning a hole in 'the tooth fairy's' pocket. The other day he…he told me he can't remember your voice." My voice shook. I wiped away a few tears. "He wants to remember, but the memories are fading. For him and me."
I gasped in pain as the doctors surrounded me. Edward was holding my left hand and letting me squeeze the life out of it. He kept up a constant stream of encouraging words, an excited smile never leaving his face. This was his dream, our dream. Our family, our little baby.
"Come on Bella you can do this," the doctor encouraged. "Just one big push. Come on!"
"Come on Bella, love," Edward murmured, just for me to hear. "You can do this. Think about it. That's our baby. Our son or daughter. Don't you want to meet him or her? Come on Bella. Push."
"Ready Bella?" the doctor asked. I nodded, Edward's words giving me the encouragement I needed. "One. Two. Three." I pushed, trying not to scream with the pain that threatened to overcome me. I don't even know how long I pushed, but I was trying so hard. I wanted this baby, my baby, Edward's baby. I wanted to hold him or her, to kiss them. A shrill cry filled the air.
"It's a boy," a nurse announced. They cut the umbilical cord and cleaned him off, wrapping him in a blue blanket before handing him to me.
"He's so beautiful," I breathed, gazing down at my perfect little baby. His eyes were closed, his mouth open as he cried. He had a smattering of bronze hair on his head, just like his daddy's. And when he finally opened his eyes they were a dazzling green. Tears were streaming down my face as I gazed at him, his button nose, his tiny ears, all ten fingers and toes. He was so gorgeous, so perfect.
"He's a miracle. A beautiful, wonderful miracle," Edward whispered from next to me. He was leaning over my shoulder and I lifted my head to look at him. His eyes were focused on the baby, wide and wet with tears. His eyes were filled with wonder and admiration and love. I grinned up at him and his eyes met mine briefly, his love shining through. He grinned crookedly at me and his eyes flitted back to our son.
"Do you want to hold him?" I asked Edward, already knowing his answer. He nodded breathlessly. I lifted the baby and Edward took him tenderly into his arms. His eyes were like stars, smoldering with emotion.
"How can I love him so much already?" he whispered to me. "I barely know him and I love him with my life. How is that possible?" It was clearly a rhetorical question. Tears stung my eyes as he spoke.
"He's your son Edward," I answered him anyway. "He's your life now. Our life now." Edward just smiled in agreement as our baby's cries silenced into sleep.
"I don't want to lose you Edward," I said, voicing my fears to him. "I've already lost you in one way. I don't want to forget you too. I don't want our only child, our little boy, not to remember his own daddy. I was watching our wedding video the other day. It seems like so long ago. But I can still remember every detail. The way you looked as you waited at the alter. I can still remember the way my dress felt on me. And our honeymoon. Oh boy our honeymoon." I smirked at the memory, the wild nights we had. "It was seven years in June. Isn't that crazy?"
I tried to hold down the nerves that were bubbling in my stomach. Charlie was standing next to me in a black tux, holding out his arm. I reluctantly slid mine through his. I prayed to the lord above I wouldn't trip. Charlie led me through the doors into the backyard of the Cullen mansion. I nearly gasped at the sight that awaited me.
All of my friends and family lined the outside, each one sitting in a white folding chair. I could see Alice and Jasper, their hands intertwined, Rosalie and Emmett, both of their eyes watering slightly. I almost laughed at the sight of Emmett tearing up. I could see Carlisle, Esme, Renee and Phil, all of them smiling proudly at me. Angela, Ben, Jacob, Jessica, Mike- all of them were smiling, my friends from Forks. I wasn't as close to them. My true friends, my family, would always be the Cullen's and the Hales.
I saved Edward's face for last. And I suddenly felt like the aisle was miles too long. I wanted to be in his arms, now. He was grinning widely, the crookedness of his smile extremely obvious. His eyes sparkled like diamonds as they memorized every inch of me. I blushed a light pink from his attention. His eyes met mine and everyone else disappeared. Charlie handed me over to Edward and I was at peace the moment his hand rested in mine.
The ceremony was a blur of tears and words from the preacher. I remembered him saying the whole, clichéd, till death due us part thing. I remember thinking that I would love Edward long past death. We said our "I do" and he pressed his lips to mine with a passion and love that I had never felt in another man. Edward was, and is, my life, my love. I never wanted anyone but him.
"I love you so much Isabella Marie Cullen." My new name sent thrills through my spine.
"I love you too Edward Anthony Cullen." He brought my lips back to his and I laughed joyously. I was finally married to the man of my dreams. My life was perfect, just as Edward had predicted it would be.
"I don't think I can ever move on from you Edward. I know it's what you would want- you would want me to be happy. But I can't be happy with anyone but you. Ethan is here for me and our son is all I need. I have our family and our friends. The only thing missing is you. But I know I can't get you back now. You're gone. Forever." My voice broke on the last word. Forever seemed so long, like a never-ending black hole that kept sucking up time until your life was suddenly, abruptly over.
"Why did you have to leave me Edward?" I demanded. Tears flowed freely down my face. "Why couldn't you have come home September 10th or the 12th. Why did you have to go on that day, on that flight? It isn't fair." I took a few deep breaths. I was beyond this, I reminded myself. It wasn't Edward's fault. It was his time to go and I had to accept that, even if I didn't want to.
"I still love you so much. We all do. Ethan and I talk about you all the time. I can tell he doesn't have many memories of you that belong solely to him. He remembers what we remember and he remembers what he sees in videos. But he doesn't have much left of you that's just for him." I sighed. I rubbed my fingers over the flat edge of the stone, letting my fingers dip into the engraving of his name.
"I miss you every single day. I love you just as much as the day I married you. It hurts…not having you here to hold me. Not having you here to tell me that everything will be okay. I don't know if everything will ever be okay. I try Edward. I'm trying so damn hard. But life is hard without you. So hard. Honestly, if it wasn't for Ethan, I would've joined you long ago. But I can't do that to him. He's all that's holding me here still. Do you miss him? Do you miss me?" An angry clap of thunder was my answer. Rain started to fall. The rain mixed with my tears and I couldn't tell the difference between the salt and the fresh water.
"I'll tell him," I promised Edward. "I'll tell Ethan that you miss him. And that you love him. I know he loves you too and he misses you. I would bring him to visit you more often, but I think it only hurt him more. Maybe I'm the only one crazy enough to have conversations with an empty grave." They never did find Edward's body. I could remember the day that I had found out…that I had realized.
It was early morning, nine, maybe nine thirty. Edward was coming home today from a business trip. He was a doctor and was away at a conference. Ethan was still up in bed, fast asleep. I turned on the television at the same moment my phone vibrated. It was a text from Edward. I love you, it read. I'm on American Airlines Flight 11to LA and then I'll drive home. See you soon my love. I smiled as I read it, turning back to the TV. The news was on.
"Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center today. It is said to be a terrorist attack on the nation. The first flight crashed into the north tower at 8:46AM this morning. The flight was American Airlines Flight 11. It was scheduled to go to Las Angeles, but it was hijacked and crashed into the buildings in New York." I froze. The news reporter had it wrong. She had to. I grabbed my cell phone to check the text again. It was the same flight. My whole body started shaking. "There were no survivors on the plane." The last thing I remembered was letting out a scream to rival a banshee before fainting.
I woke up a few hours later in the hospital. My friends and family surrounded me, their eyes red and their cheeks stained with tears. I shook my head in disbelief. It wasn't possible. Edward missed his flight he couldn't have-
"I'm so sorry Bella," Alice sighed. "We called the airlines. He…he was on the flight. They said it was very quick, probably painless. He didn't suffer."
"No!" I yelled, my voice gargled in my throat. "No! No, no, no!"
"I'm so sorry," she repeated. I shook my head.
"No, Alice no. No!"
"He's gone Bella. Edward is dead."
"NO! Stop Alice, stop lying, he's not dead he's not!" I yelled. I ripped the IV from my arm, not even noticing the dizziness the blood caused me.
"Bella sit down," Carlisle said, speaking up for the first time.
"No! I'm going to find him! He's not dead, he's fine, he's okay. He's…he's…" I broke into sobs. I almost fell to the ground but Emmett caught me at the last second, carrying me back to the hospital bed.
"No Emmett," I choked. "Please. Tell me it isn't true."
"I wish I could Bella." Tears were sliding down Emmett's face. They weren't anywhere near comical, like I had thought at our wedding. I grabbed my knees and pulled them up to my chest, my breathing ragged, my sobs the only sound in the room.
"Edward," I moaned. "Edward. Edward. Come back."
Tears continued to slide silently down my cheeks as the rain fell down on me. The wind whipped my hair around my face, tangling and tossing the scent of strawberry into my face. I began to shiver from the cold. I sighed and pressed both of my palms against the gravestone.
"I promised to love you forever Edward. Long past death. And I don't plan on going back on my word. I miss you every single day. And I love you." A flash of lightening lit up the sky behind me and I smiled. "I know you love me too," I whispered. I pressed my lips to the hard, cold stone. I got to my feet, pulling my jacket tighter around me. It didn't matter. I was already soaked to the bone.
"Goodbye Edward," I said lightly. As I walked away, another rumble of thunder shook the ground and lightening lit up the sky. I smile spread across my lips as I made my way to the familiar silver Volvo, my footsteps echoing in the stormy night. The sky was black and the clouds were churning. A night without stars.
A/N: Sad I know. But the thought wouldn't go away. It's about 3:30AM right now, but I'm happy with what I have. REVIEW PLEASE!