This time, the sun did not come to taunt me. It hid beneath the texture of the thick, gray clouds; it's illumination only visibly dull to searching eyes. The scene in front of me seemed so familiar, as my eyes trained on the black embroidered casket.
A few people that I hadn't ever met sat in the back row, weeping silently as they bowed their heads. The man in the front continued to talk, reciting words from the Bible that sounded strangely like gibberish to my ears at the moment. The atmosphere was dark, dreary and depressing. It was the appropriate environment for today.
I stood, stiff and frozen, away from the small gathering. I could see Alice and Esme huddled together in the front. Their shoulders shook with their tearless sobs. My fingers curled into fists, digging into the hard flesh of my palm. I watched as Jasper draped an arm around Alice, pulling her away from my vampire mother and bringing her head to his chest. She continued to cry while he trained his sad eyes at the casket.
Instead of comforting his distraught wife, Carlisle opted to take a seat next to Uncle Charlie. It was hard to place the emotion on either of them. Their faces were blank, and Uncle Charlie's skin was beginning to rival the paleness of a vampire.
I hated seeing this.
I hated feeling this.
I wanted to mourn. I wanted to shed actual tears. I should be happy that I'm here; that I'm safe, and don't get me wrong- I am. There's still a dominant part of me that feels as if I just lost a large piece of who I am as a person. I can only hope that as the future progresses, it grows back.
The chilly air flew forcefully around my head, blowing my hair around my face. Though I wasn't affected by it's bitter nipping, I still shivered. The breeze danced around my lone body, before moving in a strong gust to the crowd that was gathered in the distance ahead of me.
Alice, who must've caught my scent with the gust of air, lifted her head and met my eyes. We stared at each other for a few silent seconds, before her lips curled up in a small smile. Though I wanted to be sad, her emotions were infectious. I returned the smile, and she dropped her head back into Jasper's body.
I ducked behind the large oak tree, watching the burial service from behind the bark. It was the same as every other funeral I've ever been too, but it was different at the same time.
And ridiculously creepy.
I sucked in a sharp breath when the crowd stood to their feet. A few men with shovels stood respectively off to the side, ready and prepared to lift the heavy coffin into the ground. A woman holding a large colorful assortment of flowers was next to the coffin, handing one out to everybody that got in line.
And then I had to close my eyes.
I still couldn't block out the sounds of the crying. Of the sorrowful goodbyes that were being whispered as their fingernails scratched softly against the casket. I'm pretty sure I could even hear the drop of the flowers as the landed atop the hollow black wood.
Suddenly, I felt warm fingers touch my shaking fists. I immediately recoiled under the touch, and let him link his fingers through mine. I released a breath that I wasn't even aware I was holding, and craned my neck to look up at him. He smiled languidly down at me.
"What'd I miss?"
I snorted sarcastically, and tipped my head toward the mass of sad, weeping people.
"Do you know how disturbing it is to watch your own burial?" I retorted, rejoicing the warmth of his body as he grasped me around the waist and pulled me into his chest. He laughed softly, and shook his head.
"It has to be somewhat comforting as well, don't you think? To know that all of those people cared so deeply for you," he suggested, raising his eyebrows. He had a point, but the thought didn't comfort me at all.
"I feel so guilty. Just .. look at Uncle Charlie. I can't believe I'm doing this to him."
I followed his eyes as they glanced over to my still shocked Uncle. Carlisle now had his arm around his shoulder in a brotherly way, and was speaking in hushed tones into his ear. If I wanted to, I could strain to hear it. But I didn't want to. I didn't want to hear people comfort my uncle on my own death.
"To be honest, Bella, I think he was prepared for this. He's a very smart man. I'm positive that he had suspected something of my family, and though his thoughts are blurry, I'm positive that he knows you're somewhere safe."
I nodded, gulping down my sadness as I nuzzled my head further into Edward's coat.
Apparently, after I put up the shield, I had passed out. Carlisle says that I used entirely too much energy, and it was a harsh symptom of my power. But I was able to keep the shield up long enough for the Cullen's to distinguish the fire.
Though my foot had been scorched, as well as Edward's leg, we had healed perfectly. Carlisle had re-attached Edward's torn leg in some grotesque operation that I wasn't willing to witness, and in just a week or so, we were healthy vampires again.
Felix had been destroyed by his own family- the Volturi. Aro had given Edward his word in Italy that after two months, he had no other choice but to bite me. Felix went against his orders, which were to contact Aro, Caius or Marcus before he acted on anything. Using the very same embers that he had created to kill me, they set him to fire.
A few weeks after that, police found my dead body, laying lifeless on the banks of La Push beach.
"He'll be okay," Edward's voice shook me out of my thoughts, and I focused my eyes on the small tent full of people again. I watched as a suit-clad Jacob pressed his palm against the casket, staring at the flower that he had just deposited.
After a few seconds, his chin raised, and he caught my gaze. I couldn't help but smile, before raising my hand and waggling my fingers at him. I could almost hear his playful smirk as the smile threatened to erupt on his face, and he dropped his head to hide it.
Jacob had helped the cover for my death. He had told the authorities that we had been growing close as friends, and that I had been talking non-stop about my constant desire to cliff-dive. His story helped push the decision to rule my death as an accident.
Edward had never met Charlie, but the gossip in town had begun immediately after my "death". Somebody started the absurd rumor that he had killed me in a fit of passionate rage after a fight, and fled town so he wouldn't be arrested. Carlisle and Esme assured Charlie that Edward was still in Italy at the time, and had the Volturi confirm the cover story as well.
"Jacob," I heard Edward acknowledge. I lifted my eyes, and smiled softly when I saw him stalking slowly towards us, making sure nobody was watching him. When he reached us, I separated myself from Edward and grabbed at his shoulders to pull him into a hug.
"Despite how horrible you smell, I'm going to miss you so much," I whispered into his neck. I felt his body vibrate with laughter.
He gently retracted himself from my grasp. I studied his face, and watched as he opened his mouth to inhale a breath, releasing it with a tense sigh seconds after.
"I wish I could've gotten to know you more," he whispered longingly. I smiled, and nodded.
He grinned, before throwing his head back to look at the tent. The smile dropped from his face as we both witnessed the sheer misery that surrounded Uncle Charlie. I gulped, looking back at Jacob. I reached for his hand.
"Please take care of him," I pleaded. Jacob's smile wasn't as cheerful as before, but it was something. He nodded, and let go of my hand, before extending it to Edward.
"Take care of her," he ordered, throwing his head in my direction. I chuckled loudly, and the two of them laughed loudly, before respectively shaking hands. Jacob stepped back, and nodded in our direction, before taking a few steps back. Out of the cemetery. Out of my life.
Edward engulfed my body with his again, before leaning down to my ear.
"People are going to start noticing us. We have to leave," he whispered, his thumb stroking the skin of my neck. I nodded; suddenly wracked with the unreasonable need to stay here in Forks, with Uncle Charlie.
"Just give me some more time," I whispered back, my voice hoarse and raspy. "Please."
He stared at me for a long moment, before nodding. He leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss to my forehead. "I'll be in the forest. Don't keep me waiting for long."
I heard his heavy footsteps as he ran behind me. Like always, I felt an immediate loss at his presence, but it didn't compare to the loss I felt at myself. My life here was gone, and I had bright, snowy Alaska to look forward to. I would live forever with my family, with the love of my life, and I would live easily as a newborn because I had amazing self-control. But with all these things given to me, I still felt a sense of loss.
I watched from behind the tree as everybody cleared out. I watched as the tent was taken down, and the chairs were removed from the area. I watched as the men with shovels lowered the casket into the ground only a few feet away from where the tent was located. I watched as they worked through the afternoon; filling the remainder of the hole. I watched as they inserted the headstone, and surrounded it with the appropriate flowers that had been ordered.
And when they were done and gone, I watched myself involuntarily approach it.
I kneeled, touching the cool, rough texture of the gravestone. I gulped, and my chest throbbed as I read the words inscribed.
Isabella Marie Swan.
September 13, 1987 - November 21, 2006.
Loving niece, friend, and daughter.
The words were so simple, but they tugged at something inside of me. I sniffled, despite my dry face, and closed my eyes. This was it. I had closure. My human life was over. It was the past, and the future was waiting for me in the forest right this very second. I stood upright, but before I could turn around, a gust of air alerted me of his presence.
He was so quiet. How didn't I hear him?
"Bella .." he gasped out breathlessly. A cold, numbing streak of shock slipped throughout my body and I suddenly couldn't move. I could hear him heaving for air behind me, but it was too late for me to run.
I turned around.
His eyes widened at the sight of me. I watched as he glanced up at the moon, before focusing on me again. I knew that I wasn't sparkling, but I've seen Edward in the moonlight before, and the comparison of the skin color against the milky white light is enough to stun somebody speechless.
"I'm not gone, Uncle Charlie. Far from it," I spoke confidently, and his body stiffened with the sound of my voice. "I wish I could help you understand what you're seeing right now. But I can't."
He opened his mouth to speak, but after a few failed attempts, he sighed.
"Were you ever happy here? Did I do a good job, kid?"
I laughed softly.
"I was more happy here than I was anywhere in my entire life. You're incredible, Uncle Charlie. I'll always miss you."
He gulped, and I watched as his adams apple took a deep plunge. He nodded. We were both silent, but he was fidgety, and I knew what he wanted to do. It was the same thing that I ached to do.
I extended my hand, and he studied it for a few seconds, before grasping it tightly with his own. I took the opportunity to pull him to me. I wrapped my arms around his waist, and he sighed deeply as he rested his chin against my head.
"I'm gonna miss you too, kid."
I pulled away, and leaned up to kiss him gently on the cheek, before smiling.
"I love you. Take care of yourself, okay?" I asked. He grinned, and nodded. My eyelids burned as I watched the tears gather at the corner of his eyes. I wanted to pull him in for another hug, but I could smell Edward in the distance; waiting.
"I have to go," I whispered. He sniffled loudly, and nodded, dropping my hand. "Goodbye."
And with that, I turned on my heel and began to my walk into the forest. I could feel his eyes on me. I knew he was watching as I entered the dark depths of the trees. And when I fell out of eyesight from him, Edward was there.
He grabbed my hand, and held it tightly in mine as we walked at a human pace back to the house. When we got there, we would pack our things, and we'd leave to Alaska to start our new lives.
We had only taken a few steps, hands intertwined, before I heard Uncle Charlie speak one last time. It was two words that sealed everything for me. Two words that lifted my spirits, and put a smile on my face as I continued to step toward future with Edward.
The End! This is officially my first completed fanfiction. I want to thank every single one of you that reviewed. You have no idea how much it means to me that you took the time to read this. I'll now be focusing on my new Twilight fic, Lunacy, so if you find yourself missing my writing (haha) you can go check that out. :D
And before I go- I figure, what's an author note from me if I don't shamelessly advertise something? So here's one last plug. For those of you who read YA novels (which is what the Twilight series is) I've started a review site on blogger. Right now, I've only got one review up- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. But I started it just the other day, so I'm hoping for some progress soon. If you're into the book blogging scene, come follow me! The link is in my profile. :D
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoyed Welcome To Existence. Once again, thanks for all of your reviews, and stayed tuned for future stories by me!