Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight.
Summary: Bella, an old woman, married for over forty years, with children and grandchildren, remembers her first love, the man she knew she would never forget. AU, AH, one-shot. Sort of like the end of Titanic. Italics are flashbacks.
Songs to listen to for added effect: When You're Gone—Avril Lavigne
My Heart Will Go On—Celine Dion
Just a Dream—Carrie Underwood
It Probably Wouldn't Be This Way—Leanne Rhimes
I curled up in my bed, my bones aching in protest. I knew tonight was the night. The night I would leave everything behind—but, oh, I would be gaining so much more. Much, much more. I loved my children, my husband, the life I lived. But it was all empty without him.
Don't get me wrong—I lived a long, wonderful life, just like he wanted. I did it for him. I fell in love, I got married, had children, grandchildren. I did everything he wanted me to do, I published my novel and learned to ballroom dance and I was happy. Mostly.
But how could I ever truly be happy? After knowing happiness and love—true, deep, irreversible love—how can anything else compare? I loved my husband very much. But he could never replace my real love. He would never be my first choice. I hated to admit it, but it was true. He had no idea about my true love. My Edward.
I couldn't believe I had gotten detention. All I had done was point out that our teacher's fly was undone. I mean, I thought I was being helpful. But he got all offended and gave me detention—me! It was ridiculous. I had perfect straight As, never drank or smoked or swore. I never did anything wrong—I was a good girl. This was the first detention I had ever gotten in my life. I was beyond pissed.
I entered the room timidly, and found it nearly empty, except for a teacher and one other boy. He was in plain jeans and a sweatshirt, with the hood pulled up. He had his headphones in his ears and his head down on his desk. Clearly, he was a troublemaker—a bad boy. I handed my detention slip to the teacher and took a seat as far away from the other boy as I could. I sighed, pulling out my favorite book at the time, Romeo and Juliet. After a few minutes, the teacher got up and left to go get or do something, but I didn't look up from my book.
"What are you reading?" I jumped about a mile into the air when I heard the sweet velvet voice from about a foot in front of me. I lowered my book and saw the bad boy, the one other student who had detention with me, was sitting directly in front of me. The back of his chair was facing me and he was sitting with his legs on either side, his face merely inches from mine.
But I noticed all of this after. The only thing I could look at was his face.
His eyes were emerald green and sparkling brightly with curiosity. His hair was messy and a bit too long, but a beautiful shade of bronze that I'd never seen before. His nose was perfectly straight, not too big, not too small. His cheekbones were high and his mouth was pulled into a deliciously crooked smile, white teeth shining through. They were straight too, but you could tell that he'd never had braces. It was just good genes.
"R-Romeo and Juliet," I answered breathlessly. Get a grip, I thought to myself. So he's cute, who cares? He's a troublemaker, a bad boy. Not my type. Not at all.
"You like those kinds of books?" he asked, shock clear in his face. His eyebrows raised, his sparkling emerald eyes widening slightly in surprise. He was still so close, his sweet breath hitting my face. I leaned back a bit, blinking.
"Yes," I answered, and I could tell I was using a bit of a superior tone. But years of perfect grades and behavior had made me a little smug. "Some of us actually like these kinds of books."
"'These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume,'" he quoted flawlessly. My jaw literally dropped open as I stared at this boy in confusion. He smirked at me and I wanted to smack that sexy smirk right off his face. This didn't make sense. Boys like him didn't like school books, or romances. They were just womanizers, players, trouble makers, dancing through life without doing any work.
"You know it?" I asked. My tone was rudely surprised, but he just chuckled.
"It's a classic," he answered with a shrug. As he continued speaking, his voice grew more powerful, more passionate and so much more beautiful. There weren't words for the way he spoke. "Plus, just because I'm in detention doesn't mean I'm some druggie, alcoholic, idiot. And I'm just as surprised to see you like the classics as you are to know I like them. I thought beautiful, popular girls only liked shopping and boys?"
It took me a minute to answer him. At first, I was just really sad that he had stopped talking—I wanted to hear more of his enchanting voice. But then I realized he had insulted me. And wait, did he call me beautiful? Did he really think I was beautiful? It doesn't matter, I reminded myself.
"Just because I'm popular doesn't mean I'm a slutty moron," I snapped back. "I'm actually quite intelligent and I love the classics. And I hate shopping." I shuddered. My best friend Alice loved shopping, but I detested it. I fought tooth and nail whenever she suggested a shopping trip but she somehow always won that argument.
"Well I guess we both have a lot to learn about each other," the boy said thoughtfully, flashing me another one of those breathtaking crooked grins. "I'm Edward Masen." He held his hand out and I took it. The electricity that zipped up my arm froze me for a moment, but I didn't let go of his hand. It was a good feeling.
That was only the beginning. I rarely saw Edward after that, but when we did, it was like the world around us stopped. We'd pass each other in the hall and everyone would disappear. I would freeze for a moment, locked in his eyes. He would sort of smirk, but he never spoke. Whatever friend was with me at the time would nudge me, telling me to keep moving. I would try and smile back, but my face would still be frozen. I would start moving, my eyes locked with his until one of us rounded a corner, or was out of sight. But we never spoke. Never.
"No. Freaking. Way." I folded my arms across my chest, my face in full out pout mode. They couldn't make me do this. No. I flat out refused.
"Bella," Rosalie whined, rolling her eyes. "You need to get out there. Have some fun. And it benefits our school."
"I don't care," I said stubbornly. "I won't do it."
Alice and Rosalie had dragged me to our town's annual carnival—which always sucked because normally it rained and all the rides got shut down—but Alice was sure it wasn't going to rain this year. Plus, since the proceeds were benefiting our high school, we should go. And they had sort of signed me up for a volunteer job.
Little did I know, the volunteer job was at the kissing booth. Letting random strangers shove their tongues down my throat. No. Freaking. Way.
"Bella come on. You know that it's all closed mouth kissing. Plus, maybe you'll find a guy who's a really good kisser and finally get yourself a boyfriend so you're not always playing fifth wheel," Alice said.
"No! I'm not going to kiss random people and that's final. Find someone else. You know if I do that, Mike Newton and Eric Yorkie and all them will want to kiss me and that's just gross!" I complained. My arms were folded over my chest and my lower lip was jutting out.
"Yeah, but Bella, it's all closed mouth, and it's only for an hour. And it's only for about a second and then you can push them off of you. Please Bella? I have a really good feeling about this," Alice said, her eyes sparkling. I sighed, my resolve weakening. Alice's feelings were almost never wrong…
"Bella please? Will you just do this for us?" Rosalie asked, her voice all weak and pathetic, her lip pouting. Alice made the same face next to her and I groaned. They both grinned at the easy defeat.
"Fine. Fine. One hour. And if I get assaulted by any perverted guys then I swear to God I will shred every single piece of clothing in your closet," I threatened. Alice and Rosalie just let out eager squeals, already pushing me towards the kissing booth.
It was worse then I feared.
There was a big, pink sign in front of it that read 'Kissing Booth $1 a Kiss' in bright red writing, with a pair of bright red lips painted next to it. There was just a single black stool behind the small desk area that a blond girl sat on, looking miserable as she puckered up for some greasy looking guy.
"No!" I shouted the moment it came into view, turning around and trying to run backwards. Their arms shot out and stopped me before I could get away.
"You already agreed Bella," Alice said fiercely, grabbing my arm and yanking me towards the booth.
"Don't make us do this the hard way," Rosalie added, grabbing my other arm. I knew they were serious. I sighed, giving up, and stomped over to the booth. The blond girl looked so relieved.
"Have fun," she said, jumping up from the booth and half running in the opposite direction. Oh God. This was going to be hell.
"I hate you both," I growled at my so called friends. They just giggled, pushing down on my shoulders so I sank onto the little stool.
"We love you too. Now have fun, we'll be on the rides, and we'll come by at the end of your hour. And don't try and run, cause I'll know," Alice said, giving me her serious face. I just let out a groan, folding my arms over my chest and sticking out my bottom lip in a serious pout.
"Have fun," Rosalie sang. Both of them danced away, giggling the whole time. I turned to the next guy in line. He was okay looking. He didn't say anything as he handed me a dollar bill and leaned over to place a peck on my lips. He only lingered for about three seconds before pulling away, giving me a shy smile. I smiled back and he walked away.
The next guy was way worse. He smelled like corn dogs and tried to shove his tongue down my throat. I bit his tongue and he pulled away, at least having the decency to look embarrassed as he walked away. The next guy wasn't too bad, but he did "accidentally" brush his hand against my boob. The guy after that was jittery and nervous, and a total geek, so I was probably his first kiss. He bit my bottom lip, causing me to bleed a little bit. He apologized profusely but I just told him to leave.
"Well, well, it must be my lucky day." I looked up in shock to see Edward standing in front of me. "Who would've thought little miss popular would be at the kissing booth." He flashed me another one of those damn sexy crooked grins.
"I was forced against my will," I said, holding my hands up in a sign of innocence. I was surprised at how easy it was to talk to him. We hadn't spoken since that day in detention, nearly a month ago. But now it was easy, like it had only been a day. "My friends told me they had volunteered me for something and this is what it turned out to be."
"How bad is it?" His voice was oddly sympathetic and soothing.
"Really bad. One guy bit my lip, one guy touched my boob and another guy tried to shove his tongue down my throat so I bit it." Edward found that last story particularly amusing and he burst into laughter. I blushed, looking at my hands, which were folded in my lap. I could hear the people in line behind him starting to grumble about speeding it up.
"Well I stood in line all this time," he said, plastering on that sexy smirk. "Do I get a kiss?"
"Only if you have a dollar," I said, pointing at the sign. He chuckled, but pulled out a dollar and handed it to me.
"Anything to help the bright and brilliant at Forks High," he said sarcastically and I snorted. We sort of looked at each other for a moment, our smiles fading. His eyes started smoldering, flickering to my lips and back to my eyes. He moved a bit closer and I found myself leaning in, eager. But then he pulled away.
"You know, I think I'll just leave it as a donation. Thanks anyways though," he said. I had to admit, I was kind of hurt. I thought he liked me but he just completely shot me down.
"Oh," was my genius response. That damn crooked grin flashed on his face again, before he turned and walked away, his stride cocky. I bit my lip, fighting back sudden tears. It shouldn't hurt to be rejected by him. But it did.
The next guy basically shoved his dollar into my hand and I sighed, getting back to the process at hand.
The next girl came an hour after my shift had started and she couldn't have had better timing. Mike Newton was next in line, spraying that breath stuff in his mouth, like you see those guys on TV do. I stood up gratefully, letting the girl take my place. I started stumbling off; trying to find my friends so I could yell at them. Nothing good came of this damn kissing booth.
"Hey Bella!" I turned around and a pair of warm arms were suddenly wrapping themselves around my waist, my body was being spun and a chest was pressed up against mine, warm breath tickling my face. I was staring into the face of Edward Masen.
"What?" I breathed.
"Sorry I didn't kiss you back there," he murmured. "But I wanted our first kiss to be something you actually wanted. Not something I had to pay for." And then he leaned down, lifting one arm to brush my hair out of my face, and kissed me. It was the best kiss I had all day.
His lips were soft and warm and smooth, moving in sync against mine. His hand was so gentle as he caressed my face, the slight roughness of his skin only adding to the appeal. I reached up and locked my arms behind his neck, one reaching up to run through his silky smooth, messy hair. His lower lip slid out and glided against my bottom lip and I opened my mouth, gladly letting him in. I definitely wasn't going to bite his tongue. Our tongues danced together in fiery passion, melting like butter. It was magical, magnificent, perfect, amazing. It was indescribable.
I pulled away gasping for air, leaving my arms wrapped around him as he left one hand cupping my cheek. He grinned—that damn crooked, cocky smirk. He knew he was a good kisser.
"You're lucky I didn't bite your tongue," I grumbled, flushing red.
"You're lucky I decided to kiss you in the first place," he countered. I just rolled my eyes, unable to wipe the blissful smile off my face.
"I told you so." I whirled around and saw Alice dancing in the opposite direction, her hands held up in victory. I didn't get to see where Rosalie was because Edward pulled me in for another mind-blowing kiss.
I closed my eyes, remembering. Edward and I had been inseparable since that day. We spent the day at the carnival together, doing all of the cheesy things couples did, and making fun of ourselves as we did them. He drove me to school the next morning, and every morning after that. People were shocked at first—the popular girl with the bad boy!—but eventually, we were old news, and no one stared when we held hands in the hallway, or snuck kisses in between classes. He helped loosen me up and I helped straighten him out. We were each other's perfect match. It was pure and utter bliss. Until it wasn't.
I opened my eyes and glanced at my nightstand. There were so many pictures. My husband and I on our wedding day. I was in a beautiful white gown and he looked so handsome. But, even on that day, I couldn't help wishing it was a different face I was walking down the aisle towards.
There was another picture of my children and me. I had two boys and a girl, just like I'd always wanted. My oldest son had two children, both girls. My middle child, again a boy, had two children, a boy and a girl, with another on the way. My daughter was pregnant with her first child. So many pictures. So many memories.
But not a single picture of him. Not where he could be seen, at least. Not where I could take one last look at his heart stopping face. I had always kept his story secret from everyone. Only my old friends knew. But they knew better then to speak of it. They knew how much it still hurt. Even now. Even after all these years.
I reached over, my joints screaming in protest, to a photo of my two boys when they were both very young. They were both so adorable—matching grins, matching clothes, their hair styled in the same way. Everyone would always mistake them for twins. There was nothing particularly special about the photograph though, nothing that would make the viewer suspicious. But I knew. I knew.
I flipped the picture frame over in my hand, removing the back. No one knew what I had placed their. Behind the photo of my two sons was the only picture I had of Edward and me. I must have been only seventeen, maybe eighteen. So long ago, but I still remembered with perfect clarity. I wouldn't let go. It still broke my heart to look at his face in this photo—it never stopped hurting. His crooked smile was so familiar, so normal.
The picture was taken the summer of our senior year—we were going to college in the fall, but we didn't like to think about it, knowing we would be further away then we ever had been, and our in between time was spent entirely together. It was at his home, which turned out to be a beautiful little house, well furnished although it was small. We were sitting at his piano.
Edward had his arms wrapped around my waist as we sat at the piano bench. I was sitting on his lap, laughing. His lips were at my ear, probably telling me some secret little joke to get me to smile for the camera. And his eyes were watching me with such adoration, such love, that it crushed me every time I saw it. He had loved me so much—I had loved him so much. It was cruel, unfair to have it taken away from us.
"Bella?" I looked up, having zoned out as I sat in his backyard, deep in thought. I had been thinking about the upcoming school year. He'd be going to Dartmouth while I went to Brown in Rhode Island. It was a long car ride to see each other and I remember hoping so badly it would work. Never once thinking it could end before that.
"Hey," I answered, working to make my voice sound calm. Edward saw through me of course. He always did. He knew me better than I knew myself, most of the time. He knew when something was wrong before I did.
He reached his arms out, and I took each hand, letting him pull me to my feet. He didn't say anything as he led me inside his house, pulling me to his piano. He sat down and pulled me next to him, our legs touching.
"What's wrong?" he murmured.
"I was just…thinking," I sighed.
"College." He sighed this time.
"Don't think about that Bella. We've still got so much time before then. And we won't be so far away. It's only about a six or seven hour trip. We could manage that. I don't care if we were on different continents Bella. I love you and I'll visit you every chance I get. Every weekend if it's possible. Nothing's going to tear us apart. There isn't a distance big enough in the world that can keep me from you," he promised, his lips brushing my neck, making me shiver.
"But we'll be so busy. We won't be able to see each other every weekend and soon enough we'll see each other less and less until…" I trailed off, unable to even compute the possibility. It would be too painful to lose him. Oh the irony.
"Bella." Edward's voice was fierce and passionate. He took my face in his hands, looking deeply into my eyes, making sure I was staring right back into his sparkling emerald orbs so I could see the depth of his sincerity. "I love you. I don't care where we are. I don't care how busy I am, or how far away you are. All I care about is you. Only you. This will work. I know it. I love you. I promise I'll never leave you." I sighed. He was so sure, that I had to trust him. A small smile spread across my lips and Edward grinned in response.
"I love you too," I said, my voice a passionate whisper. "And I know we can work this out. I love you way too much to ever let you go." Edward grinned and leaned forward pressing his lips to mine. I kissed him back with as much enthusiasm as I had in me. When I finally pulled away, gasping for air, he turned to the piano, testing a few keys.
"Can I play you something?" he asked eagerly. I nodded enthusiastically. I loved hearing him play. His fingers began to move across the keys with a speed that barely seemed possible. The melody was sweet and soothing and comforting and familiar. It was him, it was me, it was our love. The sweet sounds filled the room, drawing in his parents from the other room. They were both beaming as they watched us. I think it was his mother who took the picture of us.
Edward finished with a lingering note, pulling me back into his lap. At the time, I hadn't realized he was secretly posing me for the picture. I would've never agreed to it if I had known. I hated getting my picture taken.
"I love you my Bella," he whispered. He whispered a playful joke into my ear, causing me to laugh, and that's when the picture was snapped. Capturing a lifetime of moments, of love and joy, all in that one picture. It captured who we were. It described our love in a way no words ever could.
Tears slowly slid down my face. My life, my love, my Edward. How could he leave me? He was so young and so beautiful. I was so in love, so sure of my life. We would graduate college and get married and have children, beautiful little babies, with Edward's sparkling eyes and bronze hair. We would grow old together, watching our children grow up, watching our grandchildren grow up. We would die together, peacefully in our sleep. But that's not how it happened. Sometimes things happen that you can never prepare for. Sometimes things change.
It was only a few days before we were leaving for school. We had been spending all of our time together, kissing, touching, loving each other. We knew that this was going to be tough. We would be apart for so long—oh how I wish it could've happened like that.
We were going for a walk, our hands linked, our bodies brushing up against each other every other step. We were always connected in some way. It caused physical pain to be apart from each other. I didn't know how I was going to survive school without him. Little did I know, I had a much worse pain to worry about.
We weren't speaking much. Occasionally we'd reminisce about some time in our past, a shared moment, a shared memory. But in the sweet silence, it was nice to revel in our aloneness, our time together. It was nice to just be walking, to be young and in love.
Neither of us noticed the car. We were just walking along on the sidewalk, minding our own business when it barreled down the street. At first, it didn't even register. It was just a car. But we heard the squealing tires, the horn blaring and suddenly, it was right in our face, about to crash into it. Edward's look of horror wasn't towards the car—it was towards me. He was about to get crushed by the SUV, as was I, but he was worried about me.
"Bella!" he yelled in panic. He shoved me then and I went stumbling backwards. The car struck him. I was just out of the way. I could hear the metal whooshing by my ears, could feel the gravel and dirt it kicked up. But it didn't hit me. It only hit him. He had pushed me out of the way and sacrificed himself.
"Edward!" I screeched. The car crashed into a tree then, the sound of metal against wood piercing my eardrums. But I didn't care. All I could think about was Edward. The driver of the car stumbled out of the driver's seat, seemingly unscathed, but stumbling and woozy—drunk. He took off. He didn't once look back to see the boy he had struck. Not once.
"Edward!" I yelled again, crawling over to him, my whole body convulsing in panic. Sobs wracked my body. He was sitting in a puddle of blood, groaning. He looked terrible. "Edward! No, no, Edward! Stay with me, Edward!" My voice was hysterical. I finally made it over to him and I gripped his hand, afraid to touch anything else. He was bleeding so much, and half of his body was just crushed.
"Bella," he groaned. He coughed, and a pool of blood came out of his mouth. I shrieked in fear, still sobbing.
"Edward, oh my God. I need to get help!" I was panicking and I knew it. But what was I supposed to do? Just stand by and watch as my love died beside me? "Help! Somebody help!" I yelled, praying that one of the neighbors would hear.
"Bella," Edward groaned again. He sounded like he was in so much pain.
"Oh Edward, it's okay. I love you Edward. You're going to be fine, you're going to live, I promise," I said, my breathing was bordering on hyperventilation and my eyes were half blinded by the tears.
"I…love…you," he choked, each word sounding painful.
"I love you Edward, I love you so much. Don't leave me now Edward. I love you. Stay with me," I pleaded. I wanted desperately to find help, but I would never leave his side.
"It hurts," he groaned. His eyes were wet with tears and that just made me cry harder. I had never seen him cry before. "So tired."
"I know Edward but don't fall asleep. Stay with me," I begged. "Why did you push me out of the way? If you die, I want to die to. I don't want to live without you." I was suddenly angry. I wish that driver had run me over, backed up and hit me again. I didn't want to live without him. I couldn't.
"Don't…say…that," he gasped, trying so hard.
"Shh, it's okay. I love you, just stay calm and you'll be okay." He shook his head again, groaning in pain. He didn't have my panicked optimism. He knew his fate already.
"Live…for me. Be…happy. Get…married. Have…children…grandchildren. Grow…old. Live." His voice was tired and weak, but the pleading tone was clear. He really wanted this from me. But I couldn't, I wouldn't. Not without him. Never.
"Not without you. I won't. I can't," I said fiercely.
"You…can. Live." His eyes were starting to droop.
"No, Edward, no, stay awake, look at me. Right at me," I half panted, I was so panicked, so worried, I could barely get any breath. His eyes moved too slowly, but they focused on me.
"I…love…you. Always. Live…for me." I could see the light leaving his eyes.
"I love you Edward! Don't you dare leave me, don't you dare! You promised Edward you promised!" But he was already gone. His heart had stopped beating; his eyes were blank, seeing nothing. "Edward. Edward, no, Edward, no! Stay Edward, don't leave me. No, no, no, no!" I burst into sobs, collapsing on top of him. I didn't care that his blood was getting all over me. I barely noticed it. I wanted to be dead. I didn't want to live without him. My life was empty now.
"Oh my God! What happened?" I didn't even look up. I heard the voice, but I didn't want to turn, didn't want to listen. It wasn't real. It couldn't be. It was all just a dream and I would wake up, Edward lying next to me to chase the bad dreams away. It wasn't real. The woman ran back into her house, probably to call 911.
The ambulances came. The policemen, the firemen, everyone. My dad, chief of police, was there of course, and he knew exactly who was smeared on the sidewalk, who was crying over his dead body. So many people came over to me, trying to get me to move. I wouldn't. I couldn't leave him.
"Miss, you need to move. We need to move his—" I cut the person off.
"No!" I shrieked, my voice hysterical. "No, no, no! I won't go, I won't!" My sobs overcame me again, making speech impossible. The person behind me sighed, but didn't try to move me again.
"Bella," Charlie whispered. His voice sounded like he had tears in his eyes as well. But I didn't look up to confirm that. I wouldn't leave him. "Bella, come on."
"No," I whimpered. "No."
"Bella. He's gone."
"No!" I shouted again, my voice hysterical. "No! He's not, he promised!"
"Bella, honey, please," Charlie begged. I could tell he was crying, probably worried about me.
"No Dad! I want to be dead. I want to be with h-him." My body went limp as the realization hit me. He was dead. Gone. Never coming back. Tears poured from my eyes and I thought I would surely die from the pain. No one could survive this. It was too much, too much to bear. I wanted to die. I welcomed death with open arms.
Someone must have lifted me off of him and into an ambulance. I fought them the whole way, kicking and screaming, but the person was strong. Once Edward was out of my sight, I collapsed in the person's arms, sobbing relentlessly. I just wanted the pain to end. I wanted death. Somewhere during the ambulance trip, I fell asleep, or passed out. When I woke up, I had an IV in my hand, my parents, friends, and Edward's parents all around me, all crying.
"Oh Bella," Alice whispered, hugging me in a tight embrace. "I'm so sorry." I could tell she was trying to hide her pain. She knew mine was infinitely worse.
"He can't be gone Alice," I whimpered, my voice cracking. "He can't be."
"I know sweetie. It's so hard to believe," she whispered back.
"He pushed me out of the way," I told her, as if admitting a great weakness. "I wish he hadn't. I wish I had died too."
"Don't say that," Alice snapped, her voice suddenly much sharper. "Edward would never want you to die Bella. You know that. He pushed you out of the way for a reason. Because he wanted you to live. And I think it would be disrespecting his memory by wasting his sacrifice. He wanted you to live your life and damn it Bella, you're going to do it!" I just whimpered against her.
"I don't know how…how to live without him. He is my life."
"It's going to be hard Bella, but you can do it. Edward believed in you. I do too." I just shook with sobs, letting her hold me, not caring about the audience around us. Eventually we broke apart. Edward's parents came over and his mother looked at me, understanding my grief. Of course it was different—a mother's love and a lover's love—but the pain was the same. Crushing. Heart-wrenching. Pain.
I survived. I did what he asked. I sobbed through the funeral, the wake, the months after. I put off going to college for a year and mostly spent that year in mourning. I spent a lot of time with Edward's mother. She had let me stand next to her in the line at the wake, knowing that I cared about Edward just as much as she did. We lost touch after a few years—I stopped coming to Forks, unable to bear the pain. She died, many years ago. I went to her funeral and I was truly sorry to see her go. That was the last time I went to Forks. My father had died before her.
The drunk driver was captured a few hours after the accident. When I went to testify in court, I tried to attack him. I wanted to hurt him like he hurt Edward. The balif had to hold me back and escort me from the room. I was told later that he got a life sentence for drunk driving and homicide with a motor vehicle. It didn't seem like enough to me. I wanted him dead. I wanted him as dead as Edward.
"How could you go?" I whimpered out loud. No one was home. I was completely alone—more alone than I'd ever felt before. "You promised me. You promised you'd never leave me. But you lied. I tried to live, I tried so hard. And I did. I got married and I did everything you asked me to. But I was never happy. Never as happy as I knew I could be. And you left me. How could you l-leave me?" I broke down in sobs, my chest aching with every whimper, every moan of pain. Even after so many years, it still hurt.
Whoever said time heals all wounds has never known true pain. It doesn't get better in time. The pain isn't as consuming—you're able to feel other things, love, anger, happiness—but you're never healed. The pain is always there. Whenever you have a vulnerable moment, it's there, taunting you, haunting you. It never goes away. Even after all these years, it never goes away.
I was walking along the campus, my head down, watching my sneakers carefully. I was a senior this year, soon to be graduating. It would be five years this August. Five years…it all seemed so unbelievable. I didn't date. I didn't go to parties. I barely had friends. I was an empty shell. I got good grades, good sleep. My roommate and I were on okay terms, but she didn't understand why I never wanted to go out or have fun. She told me I acted as if someone had died. She never knew how right she was.
I had my books in my arms, not paying attention to where I was going. It had seemed like I was ghosting through life, on autopilot. I wasn't my whole self, because half of myself was gone forever. I didn't notice in time that I was about to walk into someone. We collided head on, sending me tumbling backwards, my books falling. This person was much bigger than me.
"Oh man, I'm so sorry," he said apologetically, holding out a hand. I took it, sort of confused. It had been so long since anyone had touched me, even in the most innocent of ways. But I just knew this man was to be trusted. He pulled me to my feet and picked up my books, apologizing again. He was tall with dark brown hair, and probably good looking, to someone who hadn't been so biased. No one could live up to my Edward's beauty.
"It's fine," I heard myself say, without consciously making the decision to say it. My voice was flat and dead, and the man looked a little surprised when he heard it.
"I should've paid better attention to where I was going," he said again. "My bad."
"I wasn't looking. I'm sorry," I replied.
"Listen…can I make it up to you? Do you want to go out to dinner sometime?" I knew this man wanted to go out with me. I could tell. The no was on my lips, ready, easy. My automatic reaction. But then I saw something that made me freeze. I nearly dropped my books again.
He was standing, a few feet behind the man who had knocked me over. I could just see him over the man's shoulder. He was standing there, his face expressionless. His beauty knocked me breathless. The world froze. I forgot about the man in front of me. I forgot about classes I had to get to, essays to write and homework to do. Edward was here. He was here, with me.
But how was it possible? A ghost? Or maybe I had finally gone insane. I didn't care. I'd take it any way I could get it. No one else could see him, or at least no one glanced his way. They all looked past him, through him, like he wasn't there. Like he had never been there at all. It was just him and I. My moment. Mine. He hadn't lost any of his beauty. His emerald eyes still sparkled like glittering suns, his hair was still that uniquely beautiful bronze shade.
As I watched him, still frozen, he smiled.
That damn, sexy crooked smile.
And he nodded once. He turned and I wanted to yell out to him. "Don't go!" I wanted to say. "Don't leave me. Not again." But he was already gone.
And time restarted.
"What do you say?" the man asked, clearly nervous. I thought about what had just happened—maybe it was all in my head. Maybe I had made it all up. Or maybe Edward was sending me a sign, telling me this was the man he wanted me to be with. Either way, the next word out of my mouth still surprised me.
We went out. We dated for the rest of our senior year and got an apartment in New York. We married two years later, had our first child a year after our wedding. He was a nice man of course and I loved him dearly. But my love for him was greatly overshadowed by a much stronger, more powerful love. A love that could never be forgotten. That you would never want to forgot.
I never told my husband about Edward. He asked about previous relationships I'd told him I had one and it didn't work out. He didn't question further. He seemed to sense I wouldn't—couldn't—talk about it. I didn't tell my children, or my grandchildren. Edward stayed locked up tight in my heart. Mine. Only mine.
"I never stopped loving you," I promised him. "Never. And I never will."
My husband and I had signed on until death do we part. Edward and I had signed on for forever and more. I was ready—more than ready—to join him again. And I knew now was the time. The moment I had been begging for since that fateful day so many years ago. I could feel the life slowly draining out of me. I wondered if this was how Edward felt. Could he feel the last of the pain slipping away? Could he feel the last edges of life as they slowly drifted away from him? Or was he simply there and then gone? Maybe I would get to ask him someday.
And then suddenly, I wasn't anywhere. I wasn't in my bedroom, but I wasn't exactly in a room either. I tried to recognize my surroundings, but nothing was familiar. It was just…empty. No floors, or walls, or ceilings that I could see. I was just sort of…there.
But I wasn't me. Well I was, but not the me I had been. I was young and beautiful again, dressed in an unfamiliar white sun dress and barefoot. The self I had been with Edward. The happiest time of my life. The…air? Mist?—I'm not sure what to call it—began to shift around me. I was glad that I wasn't in the nothingness anymore. But I didn't exactly recognize the room. But it was so beautiful. Filled with wondrous works of art, beautiful designs on the walls and floors.
"Bella?" I whirled around. I knew it. I knew there was a life beyond life, Heaven, afterlife whatever you wanted to call it. Because there was my Edward. My beautiful, perfect angel.
"Edward," I whispered. His name was strange on my tongue, and yet so familiar. I hadn't said his name in years. Only in my thoughts. Hearing it roll off my tongue was so…comforting.
"Bella," he whispered again, his face breaking into a beautiful smile. I didn't need words then. I launched myself at him. His arms wrapped around me, lifting me feet off the floor and I wrapped my legs around his waist, kissing him with as much passion as I had in me. I could feel him laughing joyously against my lips.
"Edward," I whispered between kisses. My lips moved to his cheeks, his eyelids, his nose, his forehead, his ears, his neck and collarbone. I couldn't get enough of him. "Edward. Edward. Edward."
"Bella. Oh Bella I love you. I love you so much," he answered, sounding just as enthused as I was. I wanted to cry with joy, but no tears would fall. I just laughed, breathless and blissfully happy.
"Edward, I love you. I never, ever stopped loving you and you better never leave me again," I told him, still planting kisses on whatever skin I could reach.
"Never," he promised. "We have forever and ever and ever. Just us. Just me and you. No one else matters."
"No one," I agreed. I knew my husband would be happy, my children and grandchildren. They would find their Heaven. I had found mine. I wouldn't leave for the world, for the Earth or the stars.
"I love you," he repeated. He pulled my face away from his so he could look at me, his eyes drinking me in. I did the same to him, drawing in the familiar features that I had missed so much, the sparkling eyes, the straight nose, high cheekbones and messy bronze hair. Everything was the same, so familiar, and yet to new and different. It was amazing.
"I love you too."
And then he smiled that damn, sexy crooked smile. And I was home.
A/N: So what did you all think? I thought the entire beginning was heart breaking but I thought it had a nice happy ending. REVIEW!!