This one-shot in dedication to: all the victims of the 9/11 Twin Towers Terrorist bombing, the great men and women fighting out there in Iraq, and to Daddy's Little Cannibal on her 18th birthday! I love this one-shot, it's very emotional and moving to me.

P.S. I tried to get it out on the actual date, but the story kept demanding more and more! sigh I hope I've done this plot justice.

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."


I was a mess.

My hair was in a haphazard half-ponytail and my eyes were puffy from crying all night. All I wore was one of Edward's t-shirts underneath my bath robe. My fuzzy slippers squished against the pavement. I shivered and clutched my arms in the cold morning air of Forks, it being very early. Christmas was tomorrow, and there was only one thing I wanted. Please let there be a letter, please let there be a letter. I thought this as I approached the mailbox by my driveway. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before placing my key in the hole and turning it. The sound was ominous, hollow, ringing through my very core.

I pulled down the top at lightning speed. Better to get it done quickly, like a band aid. There, in the very middle of the mail box, all alone, was a letter. I snatched it up like it might disappear, and ran fast into my living room, plopping on the couch with reluctant hope. I was very careful opening the envelope. As much as I wanted to rip it open and get to the letter, this was precious to me. This was one of those stolen moments when I could just imagine Edward here, with me. Instead of out there. I couldn't remember what it was like to be happy anymore. It was like when he left on that plane, he took everything good in my life with him. All I could feel was the ache, the pain. I couldn't even smile anymore.

I knew I was hurting people. Charlie, Renee, Rose, Alice, Emmet... All of them saw the deadness in my eyes. I had taken out all the mirrors in my house. Correction, our house. Edward and mine. I just couldn't stand to see myself. Every time I looked in the mirror, I would see how pitiful I was, how inadequate I was. I couldn't even keep my husband home. I would always see a shadow of him standing behind me, wrapping his strong arms around me and giving me a kiss on the cheek, whispering "I love you." And then when I turned around, he would be gone. I would cry then, sink down onto the bathroom floor and sob until I fell asleep.

Sometimes I would hear his voice in my head, whenever I wanted to just sleep the whole day through to escape the pain, or when I didn't want to get the groceries because it wasn't worth it anymore. He would appear suddenly, gently urging me awake, keeping me alive.

Honestly if I didn't hear his voice in my head, I probably would've died.

The paper crackled as I unsealed it, a worn piece folded into three sticking out. I grabbed it and opened it quickly.

Bella, my sweet, sweet Bella,

I miss you. I miss you like a caged bird misses the sky. What a fool I am for thinking I could survive without you. How I crave your voice, your face, your smell, your smile. Your smile is the most beautiful sight in the world. I haven't forgotten you baby. I love you. More than ever. How I wish I could hold you in my arms right now.

Did you know I keep a picture of you in my pocket? It's my lucky charm. I take it everywhere I go. When I eat, when I sleep, and, I'm embarrassed to say, when I take a shower. When I'm putting on my helmet and taking my gun out of its holster, all I'm thinking of is you. I'm fighting for you, living for you. I go out there and see all the bloodshed, and I say to myself, they need a person like Bella here.

But I'll never make you go through that. Never. Not for as long as I live, will you ever see the horrors that I've seen.

I told my bunk partner, Jasper, all about you. He said I sounded like a lovesick puppy. And I am. But I'm your lovesick puppy. Always was, always will be.

I haven't forgotten my promise to you. I won't fail you. I'll hold on, no matter what. I owe you that much, for putting you through this. How selfish and stupid I am for putting you through this. I don't deserve to call you my wife. Even if they hack off all my limbs and sew my mouth shut, I'm coming home to you.

Tears started to fall down my face, splattering. I sniffled and returned my eyes to the paper. The words seemed slightly blurry with my tear-stained vision.

Bella, don't cry. It makes me so sad when you cry. I want you to smile. Always. Please Bella, smile for me. I love you with all my heart. I would never ever leave you. I haven't left you. I will always be with you.

I laughed a laugh that sounded like a sob and wiped the tears away with my wrist before smiling a forced smile.

I miss you. I miss you I miss you I miss you. God I miss you. I miss you so much, its like someone ripped a hole in my heart. And... Okay that's it, I have to tell you. I wanted it to be a surprise, but I'm just too excited to keep it to myself.

Bella, I'm coming home.

I repeated the words in my head. I'm coming home. I began to cry again, tears of joy, smiling genuinely this time.

My service ended, and the only thing I want this Christmas is to hold you in my arms. Our caravan will be in Forks by nightfall Christmas Eve. You can yell, scream, cry, even hit me. I don't care. Whatever it takes to make you happy Bella.

"You are so stupid, Edward." I said through my tears.

Mmm, I can just taste your delicious cooking. The mashed potatoes that you make with the little pieces of bacon in them, the succulent honey baked ham that is so juicy and mouth watering in my mouth, and especially, the apple pie that you make from scratch. I love to watch as you make it, humming to yourself. You look like an angel when you do.

Suddenly plans of tomorrow materialized in my head, much brighter than watching Christmas specials and crying and eating Chunky Fudge from the can. I silently thanked Santa Claus for getting me what I wanted this Christmas, even if I looked childish. I would make all of Edward's favorites, just the way he liked them. More happy tears found their way down my cheeks.

I bet the house looks fabulous. Remember last Christmas, when Alice brought that 8-foot tree from Russia and insisted we put it in the living room? I think you might've exploded. And then she got a ladder and decided to decorate it herself, dragging you with her. It was actually rather funny to see you scared of a girl at least half a foot shorter than you. But hey, we're talking about my sister here. She's like the mafia.

I bit my lip nervously and took in my surroundings. I hadn't decorated this year. I had thought there was no need. I wasn't exactly in the celebrating mood. I would have to ask Alice for her services.

But then after, as we sat together on the couch and sipped hot cocoa with the little marshmallows you love so much, you looked so content, I knew that it was worth it.

I'm coming home Bella. And I love you.

Forever yours,


P.S. I got you a present that I'm sure is perfect for you. But it's a surprise. Don't expect me to divulge any details.

I remembered that night. The night before he told me he was leaving me. The night before this ache in my chest.

I sat on Edward's lap, his strong arms encircling me from behind. The fire crackled happily in the background, and I snuggled into the evergreen wool blanket that covered both Edward and I, then took a sip of my hot chocolate, adding to the warmth I was feeling. But I knew the warmth had nothing to do with the temperature. The feeling seemed to spread from my heart to all other parts of my body. And it was all thanks to Edward. He was my light, and ever since I met him, everything seemed to be glowing pleasantly. I saw things I had never seen before, but at the same time, all I saw was him.

Edward had made me a better person. He had made me want to strive, to try harder than ever before. Because I wanted to be everything he deserved. I wanted him to say that I was his wife with pride. Without him, I was nothing. I couldn't see a world without him in it. He was just too kind, too loving, to not exist. He was perfect. And he loved me. Butterflies were set loose in my stomach at that thought.

Edward Cullen loved me.

It should be surprising that after knowing him for so long, just that simple sentence could induce a dream-like state upon me. But it wasn't. For as long as I lived, Edward would always be able to make me smile. He would never grow old. He was like a drug to me. Stronger than heroin, meth, cocaine, and tobacco all wrapped in one. And I just so happened to have an infinite supply of him.

"What are you smiling at?" Edward asked with an amused grin. I shifted in his lap so I was facing him, looked directly into his beautiful green eyes, which were gleaming in the firelight, and gave him a sweet kiss on the nose.


His smile then was so beautiful then I could've cried. His strong arms encircled me in a warm embrace, cradling me like a child. He leaned down and kissed the side of my neck.

"Bella, I love you." He whispered the words against my skin so that only I could hear. I melted into him. The way he spoke like that, made it seem like our little secret. And in a way, it was. There couldn't possibly be another two people on this planet as in love as we were.

That night, Edward and I had made love. It was mind-blowing. He told me he loved me again and again, and I couldn't get enough. And then he told me he was leaving.

I had fought with him over it, of course. I had screamed and cried and thrown priceless heirlooms across the room. I actually slapped him. That was the first time he had ever yelled at me. It was also the first time I was ever truly scared of him.

My heart broke a little more whenever he argued with me. My personality found two polar opposites. Sadness, and Anger. I went into a deep depression. I was a basic zombie when around others, and when I was alone, I cried so loud and hard my throat got sore. I took a break from work because I couldn't concentrate.

Even when Edward was with me it felt like he was already gone. That the bronze-haired man sleeping beside me was nothing more than a figment of my imagination designed to keep me from going insane.

We hadn't made love since Christmas. We barely even touched each other. Sometimes Edward would place a hand comfortingly on mine, but I had no reaction. He was already gone to me.

I had been selfish. I should've been the one to be comforting him. Telling him everything was going to be okay, and that I loved him. I should've been the one giving reassurance to him. Instead he held me while I broke down.

I was crying by the dining room table, clutching a cold mug of coffee in my trembling hands. Sunshine poured down from the kitchen windows like rain, but I did not share the light mood. Salty tears trailed down my cheeks and caused ripples to form in the black liquid I was staring down at.

"Why?" I whispered in a barely perceptible voice. "Why him?" I asked again. My answer was complete silence. The air was tense and heavy. Forebodingly quiet. Like the calm before the storm. Why, why, why, why, why... Why was everything going so wrong? Why was my world falling apart? All the anger and sorrow that I had locked up inside myself exploded suddenly from my chest like a bomb.


I stood up, making the chair I was sitting in fall in the process, and threw the mug against the wall, which shattered with a sharp crack. The heat of anger drained from my body as I watched my coffee stain the cream wall, to be replaced with cold, biting sadness. I fell, my knees giving out from the pressure of my grief. I lay on my side with half my body pressed up against cold tile. Salty tears ran down my face. "Why him?" I moaned.

"Why is he going? Why is he leaving me?" I continued my meaningless rant, my hair slowly growing wet from my tears. "W- why am I not enough to make him stay? Wh- why am I n- not good enough?"

My sentences became incoherent then. Only a few words could be distinguished as English. Between my sobs and gibberish, I was sure I sounded insane.

The sound of foot steps thudding against the floor strummed against my ear, and then I was suddenly caught in the embrace of my dearly beloved. "I- I thought you were at work!" I moaned into his shirt, soaking it with my tears. He gripped me tighter and rubbed soothing patterns into my back.

"I came home early." He spoke quietly, kissing my cheek. There was silence, in which I took deep breaths so he could understand what I had to say. Finally I turned to him. "Do you love me?" I asked.

Lately I had been feeling unsure about his love for me. If it had been me, I wouldn't have the heart to leave him. I would never willingly depart from him unless he wanted me to.

"Yes." He said without a second thought. "Do you love me enough to stay?" He grew tense, and I felt a sadistic sense of satisfaction fill me. He couldn't say yes, and he couldn't say no. "They need me there, Bella. People are dying." I snorted bitterly, the tear lines on my cheeks drying. "You didn't answer my question." I said defiantly. I rose up from his embrace, ignoring the feeling of loss at his touch. I stood up in front of him with my arms crossed and my eyes blazing.

"You don't love me enough to stay. Say it to my face." My voice was deathly calm, a voice I had never used before. "Bella, I-"

"Shut up! Shut up shut up shut up! I don't want your lies! Say it to my face! Be a man, look me in the eyes, and say it!" I hissed out the words. Adrenaline shot through my veins. "It's not like that Bella! I love you! But- but-"

"But what! I am so sick of this! I am so sick of feeling so useless, so helpless, and so not worth it! I am so sick of knowing that I wasn't enough to make you stay with you! And I am so, so sick of thinking you'll never come back! Just tell me Edward! Just get it over with!"

I was screaming by now. Half-hysteric and delirious. "You aren't useless, you aren't helpless, and you most certainly are worth it. You're not enough to make me stay with you, you're enough to make me leave for you. I won't come back, because I'll always be with you. Forever. I love you more than life itself, Isabella. And that's enough to make me do this."

I took in his words. "Promise." I said. He interpreted what I meant. "I promise that I'll stay alive until I get back to you. And I love you Bella. No matter what." With that he took me in his arms and kissed me on the lips for the first time in weeks.

After that he and I came to an understanding. He was leaving. I had no choice but to try and smile and laugh and pretend everything was normal. But it wasn't. Edward noticed that my happiness was forced, and whenever we looked each other in the eyes there was always a glimmer of sadness. This was going to change us. I could just tell. Nothing between us would ever be the same. When Edward came back, he would be a different man. That was, if he even came back at all. I tried to chastise myself for thinking so pessimistically, but couldn't find the heart.

I stared down at the margarita I was drinking, seeing my reflection in it. The happy noise of people chattering on New Year's Eve contrasted with my contemplative and dark mood. Another face appeared next to mine in the martini glass. I put on a smile. For Edward.

"Happy New Year's Bella." He said, but his voice sounded anything but happy. I looked up from my drink. His mouth has in a hard line. I mentally sighed. I tuned my voice so it sounded like a happy chirp. "And a happy New Year's to you Edward!" He didn't seem convinced. "We need to talk." He sounded aggravated.

I played oblivious. "Okay!" I spoke enthusiastically, but my stomach was curling with uneasiness. Why couldn't it be easy anymore? Why couldn't I feel his touch and not be sad? It just wasn't fair. Edward held onto my hand tightly and pushed past our relatives and friends, up to our room.

The noise of the party was barely perceptible from where we were. My smile faltered for a second while Edward wasn't looking and then came back as I turned to face him, sitting with my legs dangling on the bed. "What is it you wanted to talk about?" I attempted to make my voice seem mildly curious and light. Edward paced with his hands running through his hair. He stopped in front of me suddenly, eyes raging.

"You know damn well what I wanted to talk about. Stop doing this."

My smile disappeared to match Edward's face. I took a deep breath before replying.

"I'm just trying to make the best of this situation."

"This is not making the best of this situation."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Laugh, smile, do whatever you feel like doing."

"I can't do all three at the same time."

"You used to."

"Not anymore."


"You left."

"I'm still here."

"No you're not."

"Yes I am."

"You're hurting me."

He moved his arms away from my shoulders. "I'm sorry."

"No, not there."

Edward looked confused.

"You're hurting me, here." I pointed to where my heart should be.

He removed my hand softly and kissed the spot. "I'm sorry, I'll fix it. I promise."

The memory startled me with its clearness. He had kept his promise. He was coming home. My smile was watery. The hole in my chest had all but disappeared. I felt happy for the first time in months. Practically skipping up the stairs with letter in hand, I got ready. Edward would be home tomorrow.


I flipped through the channels too fast to actually comprehend what was on, trying to calm my nerves. I was being ridiculous, and I knew it. I was married to him for Pete's sake! There was no reason for the butterflies in my stomach to exist. Okay, that was a lie. There was plenty of reason for them to exist. Edward was coming home! All night I had dwelled on that fact, but it still seemed surreal.

I stood up and turned off the TV, flitting around to make sure every minor detail was perfect. The dishes were done, the entire house was spotless, the bed fixed, and a deep evergreen tree was lavishly displayed in the corner. I checked over the food.

The ham was cut into perfect slices, not too thick, not too thin, with the tougher outer parts hacked off to leave only the juicy insides. each piece was glazed evenly with just enough honey, and I had emptied the sticky excess liquid that stuck to the plate into the sink.

I had meticulously chopped up the little pieces of bacon into perfect squares and mixed them with the mashed potatoes. Only the ripest apples I could find at the market went into the apple pie, which was still very warm, freshly baked. A large bowl filled with scoops of vanilla ice cream in it was to the side of the pie container.

I turned the forks on each side of the table so they were perfectly straight and made sure there were no wrinkles in the red silk place mats. Again. Then I rearranged the raspberry flavored candles. Again. After that I made sure the wine glasses were spotless and the small bucket of ice holding apple cider hadn't melted. Again.

I sighed. I couldn't think of anything else to do. Then a thought struck me. The letter! I could just go reread the letter. That would hold me over for at least a good fifteen minutes.

I walked deliberately slow in order to take up an extra 30 seconds and then pulled out the now slightly crumpled letter from under my pillow. I had slept with it in my hands last night.


"No, no, no. Not that one. Not that one either. Definitely not that one."

I had completely forgotten about Edward's Christmas present in my excitement at his coming. Now I was scrambling to find something just perfect for him. My fingers strummed along the aisles of stuff toys, glass figurines, and antique paintings, finding nothing worth giving Edward. True, they were all very expensive and beautiful things, but nothing special. I sighed. Of course it wasn't going to be easy finding him the perfect present. They don't just grow on trees.

Giving up on finding his present here, I scrambled out the door, bells clinging behind me.

I wandered the streets with my hands shoved into the pockets of the jacket I'd thrown on over my dress, careful to avoid the Christmas Rush so as not to ruin my hair. I had to look perfect today.

I looked at the sky through the cracks between two buildings. It was a rare cloudless day. The color was still a pure blue, but the sun was already halfway towards sunset. A series of forest covered hills rose up beyond, shining slightly from the sunlight. It looked beautiful. I felt an urge to run over there and explore its vast, unknown terrain. I took a glance at my watch. I would have to hurry if I wanted time to get Edward's present in time. Just a brief look. I told myself.

I sprinted down the alley as fast as I could considering the tight space, spreading my arms out once I was free of the tight walls. The warm air caressed my face, arms, and legs. I rushed across the tall grasses under my feet, quickly making it to a small dirt path in the forest that was barely visible.

I slowed my pace to a leisure walk then. Breathing in the cool forest air and taking in the dappled light. Everything seemed so calm and peaceful, yet vibrant and alive at the same time. I let my mind wander.

There was so much I wanted with Edward. Everything. I wanted to have children with him, make jokes with him, grow old with him, die with him... Anywhere he went was where I wanted to be.

It was a good thing he would be home today. I didn't know if I could survive another hour without him. Knowing he was going to be home soon, that his arms would be around me again and that his lips would be on mine again made me feel suddenly light-hearted.

The sound of a child's bubbly laughing made me pause on my trek through the forest. What would a child be doing here? I thought. They were probably lost and didn't even realize it.

My maternal instincts kicked in to overdrive. That child's parents were probably worried sick. I moved off of the trail and stumbled as quickly as I could along the bushes, trees, and other plants to the sound of the child's voice.

"Hello?" I called out. The child continued to giggle. I quickened my pace, fearful that they might run away. "Hello? Are you okay?" They ignored me. I pushed past the shrubbery to reach a small stream. I looked around. No one.

But the giggling of what I was now unsure was a child continued. I looked down into the stream again. And then began to laugh at my stupidity. The stream!

After a while I calmed down enough to see the beauty of my surroundings. At the bottom of the stream lay many rocks of different colors and sizes. The soil was dark and bursting with green grass and small wild flowers. Trees stood regally on the side lines, all shades of red, gold, orange, and emerald. I should bring Edward here sometime. He'd love it.

I glanced at my watch. 2:16. He wouldn't be home for a while. I kicked off my shoes, dipping my feet in the stream. I folded my jacket up as a makeshift blanket so as not to get my dress dirty. The water was cool and clear, I clenched my toes and swirled my ankles around, feeling the smooth rocks under my feet. I began to hum.

I watched the water shift under my touch, shining in the mid-afternoon light. It was beautiful.

Something glinted under the surface of the water. I reached an arm down to grab it. A pale silver locket shined in the palm of my hand. It was oval and tiny diamonds and sapphires were encrusted into the swirling design of the front. My thumb ran over it, smoothed from time. It hung from a sleek silver thread with one of those old time clasps. The necklace was probably over a hundred years old. I moved my fingers to open the locket, but something stopped me. Let Edward do it.

I decided then that I would give it to Edward. He was always old-fashioned, and I was sure he'd love it. It figured I'd end up finding the perfect gift in a forest after looking for hours in a shopping center. Edward would laugh after I told him that. Smiling at the thought, I dried off my feet as best I could and slipped on my shoes, carefully placing the locket in my jacket pocket.

Surprisingly, I got out of the forest without seriously injuring myself or my clothes. I found my car and went over the speed limit in my hurry to get home. Sheriff's daughter be damned. I giggled as I remembered when Edward and I had just started dating, and Charlie gave him "The Talk" with his uniform still on and his gun clearly at his waist. He'd even leaned over so Edward could get a good look at it, and made a little comment about making sure it was always fully loaded. "Never know when there might be trouble." He'd said.

As I got to the house, the butterflies in the pit of my stomach grew wilder and more anxious. I parked the car quickly in the garage and rushed into the living room.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The clock couldn't move fast enough. I glared at it as I ate my Chunky Fudge ice cream. (The cure for all ailments.) I looked out the window. The sun was aggravatingly still up. Why can't it be night fall already?! The bell rang.

I jumped up eagerly, sprinting to the door. Edward Edward Edward Edward. My feet clicked to the rhythm of my thoughts. "Edward!" I threw open the door and jumped into the arms of the man I loved.

Something was wrong. He didn't smell the same. His arms felt different, foreign, as they held me in an awkward embrace. The aura he eluded wasn't the compassionate, caring, strong one I was used to.

"Uh, ma-am..."

I pulled away, taking a step back. The man before me was a stranger. He had thick blonde hair and blue eyes. Obviously he was from the army, he still had his uniform on. His face was solemn, the face of a man who'd seen many a death.

"Where's Edward?" I asked, anxious. All the possibilities whirled in my head, making me dizzy. He smiled sadly at me. "You must be Bella. I'm Jasper, I was one of Edward's friends back at camp." I didn't like how he said 'was.'

"Where's Edward?" I asked again, more forcefully. His eyes became stone then. His face held no tears, but I could practically feel the pain rolling off of him. "We just got in the peninsula when we were... attacked. I was sitting next to Edward in the jeep, and he pushed me out of the gun fire, getting hit himself. The terrorists were very advanced, they'd created some sort of bullet that... exploded inside the victim. His organs were damaged badly, and he lost a lot of blood. The doctors said his spine may be injured as well."

My face fell. "Is he- Is he alive?" I whispered, afraid of the answer already. "He's a strong man. He'll keep holding on. I wouldn't be surprised if he was alive and well in a couple weeks!"

I ignored Jasper's blatant lie and ran into the house, grabbing my purse. Then I pushed past him out the door. "Let's go." I ordered.

He nodded and unlocked his car, me sitting shot gun.

We pulled out quickly, and my heart was pumping loudly in my ears was the only sound in the car. I looked out the window, seeing the foliage whiz by. "On our first date, I yelled at him for speeding, you know." I broke the silence, my eyes still trained on the outside. "He loved you." was Jasper's response.

I turned my head to him. "He loves me. Present tense." He nodded, eyes still trained on the road. "Don't worry, you two belong together. God wouldn't separate people like you." His voice was reassuring. My frantic heart calmed, if not for a second.

Alice and him would make a good pair. I thought absentmindedly.

ALICE! Oh my god Alice... I would have to call her. As Edward's sister, she deserved to be there just as much as I did. I pulled my phone out of my purse, dialing quickly.

"Hello?" The cheerful chirp of my sister-in-law made me even sadder. I hated to hurt her.

"Hi." I sounded pitiful.

"Bella, what happened?!" She was frantic.

"Alice, It's Edward. he's- he's in the hospital." My voice broke.

"I- Oh my god. I'll be right there." There was the sound of car keys jingling.

The line went dead. Dead...

My eyes became blurry with tears I refused to let fall.

"Bella, we're here." Jasper's voice was soft. I nodded, wiped away my tears, and got out of the car. Jasper squeezed my shoulder reassuringly.

I walked up to the receptionist. "Excuse me, I'm looking for Edward Cullen." I made my voice calm, but an undertone of hysteria showed through. She looked at me sympathetically. "Make a right, go past the elevators, and then turn left. Fifth down the hall."

I nodded, said a quick thanks, then went the directions she told me. Our foot steps echoed hauntingly as we ran.

One... two... three... four... five!

I slammed open the door to see a startled Esme, Carlisle, Rose, and Emmet. Alice wiped her puffy eyes."Took you long enough." She tried to tease, but it came out like a sad murmur. Edward smiled at me.

I cried and ran to him, leaning next to him, attached to countless wires and machines. The hollows under his cheeks and eyes were more pronounced now, and he looked older, not to mention exhausted, but he was the most beautiful thing in the world.

I held him, burying my head in his neck and sobbing. He patted my head softly. "Sshh, it's okay. I came back. It's all gonna be alright now."

I nodded through my tears. "It's all gonna be alright." Even though things were so wrong, it felt so right now, with me in his arms again.

"We'll give you two some time." Carlisle smiled sadly and ushered the rest out of the room. I mouthed thank you to him. I sat down after the door shut. Edward moved his hand towards me, but was restrained by the things in his wrist. "Damn wires." he muttered. I laughed and met him half way.

"I got your Christmas present." I told him, pulling out the locket from my purse and resting it lightly in his palm. He weighed it with his hand. "It's beautiful." he whispered. I smiled. "Open it."

He complied, slightly fumbling in his weak state, finally opening it. He stared at the inside for a while, two tears running down his cheeks. "What is it?" I asked quietly.

Edward simply handed the locket to me. I looked down at it. "Forever..." I whispered. The word was engraved into the middle of a deep blue sapphire. "Yes." Edward said, closing my hand around the locket. "I want you to have it, Bella. My present got lost when..." I nodded silently, needing no more explanation.

I kissed him, feeling his lips once again on mine for the first time in way too long. He tried to lean into me, and then winced. I pulled away. "Does- does it hurt?" I asked quietly, looking down at my hands.

"Just a little." His voice was strained and his smile was forced. There was a knock on the door. "Come in." Edward said. A nurse with a plate of food and a needle on a tray came in, my family trailing behind her. Jasper and Alice gave each other loving looks before they parted. I made a small smile and leaned into Edward, careful not to put any weight on him, and whispered "Don't those two look cute?" He chuckled breathily. "It's about time my little sister found herself a boyfriend."

Alice blushed violently. "I- I- Ugh!" She crossed her arms. Jasper smiled widely.

"Mr. Cullen, Merry Christmas." The nurse said politely, placing the tray on his lap gently. She took the needle and pushed it in his arm quickly, removing it in record time. He smiled at her, and she nodded, leaving the room and shutting it with a click. Edward grabbed a fork and knife,

"I made you a special dinner..." I trailed off disappointedly.

He smiled at me. "It's the thought that counts. But I have to say it would be a lot better than this. Hospital food is awful!" I laughed at his joke.

we made casual talk for a while, no one mentioning the recent events. The sound of Edward yawning made me realize he was probably tired. "You should get some sleep, honey. You've had a long day." I kissed him on the lips one last time before he fell asleep. The room fell silent for a while before a doctor knocked and entered.

"Excuse me, but we have a few matters to discuss."

"What is it Doctor?" Esme asked.

"It's about Edward's... condition. He isn't well. His heart can barely take the strain of pumping blood because its got shrapnel in it. He's under immense pain. We've got him on as much pain medication that is safe, but it's a surprise he's lasted these couple hours. Most would've died by now."

"And?" I said impatiently.

"You might want to... put him to sleep."

My eyes widened in horror. "No! Edward should have a say in this!" I protested.

The doctor remained calm. He must deal with this a lot. "We already talked to him about it. He said he'd hold on for as long as you wanted him to."

"No." I caressed Edward's peaceful face with my hand. "Never."

He nodded. "I understand." and with that he left the room.

Everyone looked at me, their faces clearly showing their grief. "Do you think this is the right choice?" I asked them without looking, continuing to memorize Edward's face. Emmet answered. "It's your choice Bells. We'll stand by you no matter what." My brother patted me on the shoulder and then left with Rosalie; Alice, Jasper, Esme and Carlisle following after like a funeral precession.

I stayed the night with Edward, not getting a wink of sleep. There were alot of things I had to think about.


Edward's eyes blinked open in the morning light. He smiled sleepily when he saw me. "Morning, love." I smiled sadly back. My hand tentatively touched his blanket covered stomach. A small hiss escaped his teeth at my light touch. "Edward, tell me, am I hurting you?"

His eyes widened. "No, no, no, no, no. Of course not Bella. You would never hurt me." I kissed him. "I'm sorry, I'll fix it. I promise." His eyes filled with recognition of the words he'd told me long ago. Tears streamed down his face. He clutched my hands in his.

"You don't have to do this, Bella. I'll hold on. I will. I'll get better. We'll have children, a boy and a girl, and they'll be the most beautiful children in the world. I'll scare away all the teenage boys who go after our daughter, you'll be her shoulder to cry on when it turns out her boyfriend is gay. Our son will join a garage band, and our daughter will be valedictorian. She'll marry a lawyer, he'll marry a vegetarian, they'll both have one child and give them our middle names, then we'll retire and live happily ever after. It will be great."

"Edward, no. We both know it's too late. It was too late the day you left on that plane. I love you so much, and the only reason you're fighting is because of me. I can see how hard it is for you. I don't want to be the reason for your pain."

He saw the resolve in my eyes, and argued no further. "I love you Isabella Marie Cullen."

"And I love you, Edward Anthony Cullen."


The doctor stood in front of me and Edward with a syringe in hand. "Are you sure?" he asked one last time. Don't cry. Edward nodded, and I did nothing but stare at his beautiful face. Don't cry. I kissed him with all the love I had in me, and he responded, his arms wrapping around me and holding me close as the doctor inserted the needle in his arm. Don't cry. Neither of us noticed. "I love you." We both whispered at the same time. Don't cry. I looked at him, smiling brightly as his eyes slowly closed. Don't cry. The heart rate monitor flat lined.

Only then did I cry, holding Edward in my arms.

Author's note: It's past eleven, and I'm so glad I finally finished. Review and tell me if you cried, I know I did. Sorry if there are some errors. and happy belated birthday Daddy's Little Cannibal, sorry I'm a couple days late!