Author's Note: This is NOT a normal story. It is a monologue. It has always bothered me greatly that Edward was mostly silent during Bella's transformation. They talked to Rosalie during her change, but poor Bella was left to count Edward's breaths rather than be comforted by his voice! Even if he did not know for sure that Bella could hear, I think he still would have talked to her just in case. We humans talk to loved ones in a coma, on the off chance they can understand, and just to help ourselves get through the experience. So here is my version of what Edward might have said at Bella's bedside.

The first seven words are from Breaking Dawn. The rest is all me, based of course on the work of Stephenie Meyer. I'd also like to thank Juliejuliejulie for the great suggestions she made as a beta for this piece.

"Bella, I love you. Bella, I'm sorry," I whispered.

"I don't know if you can hear me, love. This change is so different. I'm afraid it's because I did something wrong. Carlisle thinks it's because of the morphine. I want to believe him. I want to believe that I saved you and that you aren't in pain.

"I'm going to talk to you just in case. I know you like my voice. I hope hearing it might help you. If you can hear me, I want you to know I'm right here. Next to you is the only place I ever want to be. Sitting with you reminds me of the nights I spent in your room watching you sleep. Especially before you knew I was there, before you knew how I felt about you, when I used to sit in your rocking chair instead of lying beside you, holding you in my arms. But you spoke in your sleep. You said my name. You asked me to stay with you. Sweetheart, here I am. You know I foolishly tried to stay away, and I could not do it. You'll always have me.

"Talking to you is helping me. I can't just sit here. So many thoughts and emotions are swirling around inside me. It feels like this is the first quiet, almost peaceful moment I've had in months. So much has happened. So many feelings have coursed through me. I didn't know I could feel so much terror or guilt or agony or joy or love. I'm supposed to be strong, fast, indestructible. Ha! That's only on the outside. The love you inspired in me is so powerful, it can hurt me, it can overwhelm me like nothing else. But your love makes me strong enough to bear anything except losing you.

"You won't mind hearing everything that's on my mind, will you, love? Even the painful things? I feel like I shouldn't share my concerns. I should reassure you. I should tell you that everything is going to be fine. If you can hear me, I don't want you to worry. But I don't want to lie. I don't want to pretend with you. I am worried. I did everything I could think of to do, but you're so still and Alice can't see clearly. I'm afraid you're in agony, and it's my fault again.

"I don't think my concerns will frighten you. You always had more faith in me, more faith in us than I did, from the very beginning. I tried to warn you, to keep you away, but I couldn't scare you away. You always believed in me. You always saw the best part of me. The part that loves you more than there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the beach at Isle Esme.

"Carlisle says that your progress is good. I just hope that you're not hurting. I know you don't blame me. I just wish there was a way I could have helped you and guarded you and loved you without causing you pain. The venom will heal you from everything you suffered bearing our baby, but I'm afraid it's excruciating. I'm going to believe that Carlisle spoke the truth, that everything will work out. Because I can't stand thinking about any other future.

"Our future is forever now. We are parents to a precious daughter. Our family is taking care of Renesmee for us. She is so beautiful. They all fell in love with her. All of them. You'll see.

"She has your eyes, Bella. Isn't that amazing? Your chocolate brown eyes. I've stared into those eyes so often. Whenever I was away from you, I imagined them. I can picture them when you were puzzled by my behavior. I can picture them sparkling with love. Just imagining that makes me feel so happy. I knew when you changed, your eyes would change, to look like mine eventually, not your own anymore. But you found a way for me to keep seeing your eyes. You gave them to our daughter.

"You thought you were having a boy. I hope you're not disappointed. She is perfect. She is the most amazing gift to me, to our whole family. She's a miracle, Bella. When I think back to the day I met you, the day you sat next to me in Biology class, I was so certain that I was nothing but a heartless, soulless killer. I didn't want to be, but it seemed like my identity, my destiny had been fixed decades earlier. I didn't even know you, but I was angry at you because it felt like you brought out the murderer in me. But when I didn't kill you, you brought out something else in me, something I never imagined I could be. Someone who protects and gives life. You made me a father to the most wonderful daughter in the world. Our love created a new life.

"You know, I already knew everything in Mr. Banner's class. But I thought it had nothing to do with me. Biology was like a dead language to me. I knew the textbook by heart, but only so that I could answer any questions he asked. It had no relevance to my life. Then you sat down beside me and changed my whole world. You became my whole world. Your heart, your breath, your bones, your blood became the most important things to me. If those things were disrupted, I could lose you. I almost did lose you, too many times. But now I'll have you forever, and we have a baby. Biology made all of it happen. Maybe I should send Mr. Banner an anonymous gift. He could buy some new equipment.

"Do you want to keep your human memories? I would guess that you do. I can help you. I remember all our time together. I can remind you of every conversation, every moment that we spent together. You know that vampires have a hard time remembering their human days. But I can barely remember my life before you came into it. Knowing you and loving you even for the short time we've had so far puts all the years of my previous existence into shadow. During all those years, it feels like nothing much happened, nothing much mattered. Since I've known you, every day is so precious. Even the days we were apart had meaning, because I had memories of you to think about.

"How did we get here? Everything went right and wrong at the same time. Everything happened so fast. I remember when Victoria was coming for you. It seems like ages ago. I was so afraid of somehow losing you. And in the midst of all that stress, you agreed to marry me. I'll never forget that. Well, you know I can never forget any of it, but I'll never stop thinking back to that night. One of the very best nights of my life. How could I feel so much happiness when I was already feeling so much anxiety? Everything was heightened, intensified, because you matter so much to me.

"Then the wedding and our honeymoon were another roller coaster ride. From the most perfect joy and fulfillment to extreme terror again. Bella, while you were pregnant, I tried to hide how I felt. I tried to behave calmly. But I was an absolute wreck. I knew I was upsetting you because I wasn't happy about the baby. But I was so much more upset than that. I was horrified. It seemed to me that the most monstrous, uncontrollable part of me had taken root inside you. I just hated myself for endangering you yet again. I hated that our love was killing you. I couldn't really see that we'd made a baby. How could I love or even accept something that was hurting you so much? Something that was taking you away from me? I just wanted to eliminate the threat to your life. I'm so sorry, Bella. Part of me wanted to believe you would be strong enough to make it, but I just couldn't stand the thought that once again I'd done something to you that meant you had to be strong.

"It's strange how things worked out. You wanted me to change you. You wanted it so much that you agreed to something I know you would have been happy without. I have a confession to make, love. I wanted it too. I wanted to be the one to change you. I tried to play it cool because it was my only bargaining chip. The only way I could persuade you to marry me. Did I fool you? I told you I'm a good liar. Bella, you're my wife, my love, my everything. I wanted my venom to run through your veins, blend with your blood, enter your heart. I wanted us to be connected that way. That's how we were meant to be. Your blood in my body. My venom, my essence, in yours.

"And I did change you, but not because we made a deal. I was the only one here who could do it. Besides, it was my last chance to taste your blood. You didn't really think I'd let Carlisle or Alice have that opportunity, did you? If you can hear me, you can hear that I'm just teasing you. I didn't even enjoy it, because I was so frightened for you. Well, maybe that's not true. Despite my terror, I couldn't help enjoying it, because it's so fantastically delicious. Your blood was made for me.

"I don't know how much you were aware of. Jacob was here to help me. To help you. Another service I have to thank him for. Despite everything he's put me through, everything he's still putting me through, I'll always be grateful to him. He kept your heart going. I don't know if I could have saved you on my own. So he was here, watching, when I bit you. Can you imagine? I didn't think there would be any witnesses, except maybe Carlisle. But Jacob? My former rival? Watching me take you like that? He was pretty shocked. It's so intimate and violent at the same time. He was afraid I was going to lose control.

"I can hear your strong heart. My favorite sound, and I won't have it for much longer. I don't want to miss a single beat. I loved hearing that sound because it proved that you were alive and well despite all the things that could hurt you. That sound was so important to me because I couldn't hear your thoughts. I could only notice that your heart beat faster when you were near me.

"At first I thought you were afraid of me. The way other people were. The way I thought you should be. Then you told me I dazzled you! I can't describe what that meant to me. I was already completely in love with you. Part of me wanted you to be repelled by me, so that you wouldn't be in danger from me. But another part of me was ecstatic to think that you might feel the same way about me that I did about you. I was fascinated by everything about you, and then you admitted that I had a powerful effect on you. It made me feel so good and so afraid for you and angry at myself at the same time, because I didn't think I was safe.

"For a while I thought the effect might wear off. That's how it happened with other people. They would find us attractive, but then they'd become uneasy. Just instinctively, without ever finding out all the things you found out about me. But it didn't work that way with you, love. Despite every horrible, frightening, painful thing that happened to you because of me or even that I did to you, you still wanted me. And now I've done the last of those awful things. After your change is complete, you'll be fast and strong and unbreakable. But you could never be more beautiful to me than you are already.

"When you wake up, I'll take you hunting. Remember you wanted to see me hunt? You were too vulnerable when you were human. I couldn't have you near wild animals or thirsty vampires poised to feed. I always had to leave you to go hunting. It was scary for me to be away from you. And perhaps you didn't enjoy the separation either. Now we'll never have to be apart.

"Did you ever wonder whether after you're changed and you're like me, I'll be able to hear your mind? I have. I know you're glad I can't hear you. You always thought there were things in your mind that I wouldn't want to hear. Please don't worry about that, love. Nothing in your mind could ever decrease my love or respect for you. I believe that if I could see your thoughts directly instead of just observing your actions, your goodness and intelligence and caring would just be staggering.

"I wish I could know what you're feeling right now. That's not new, is it? I should be used to that. But before now, I could always try to read your face. I felt I could guess sometimes what you were thinking. Your eyes, your expressions revealed so much if I paid attention. Now I don't have that. You remember when I didn't speak to you, didn't acknowledge you at all, after I saved you from Tyler's van? Even though I didn't look at you, I was always watching you. I looked in other people's minds to see your beautiful, fascinating face.

"This time is more like the months that I left you. I didn't have any way to be aware of your thoughts and feelings. That was torture. My own stupid fault, of course. At least now I can see you here before me and hear your heart beating. Then I had no way of knowing the dangers you were facing, dangers I had left you to cope with on your own. What can I say? It made some kind of sense to me at the time, but that just shows how confused I was. Your love is so magical and precious, and I can't explain why I thought it was best to throw it away.

"I was trying to stop the future. I somehow thought I could resist your power over me. I had some idea that you would hate me if you became like me. I couldn't imagine that you could love me the way you do. I thought my love was much bigger than yours. An ocean compared to a puddle. Bella, I hope you can forgive me for not trusting you. For not believing in your love. For trying to refuse the gifts you wanted to give me. Your love, our honeymoon, our baby. All these things I tried to prevent. It's just that I was afraid of hurting you. And I didn't think I could deserve so much. I know I don't deserve it. But you've persuaded me that it's mine anyway.

"Do you know, I finally think that Carlisle might be right? So many wonderful, unbelievable things have happened to me that I could never be worthy of. If I can have you, forever, and our gorgeous daughter, maybe I can have heaven too.

"Are you tired of hearing me spill all my thoughts? I hope it's not too much. After everything that's happened, my heart is so full of love and fear and wonder, I can't help wanting to share it all with you. But I brought something else to help us pass the time when I'd finished pouring out my feelings. Ready, love?

"It is a truth universally acknowleged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife…."

Author's Note: My daughter doesn't care for this piece much because, she says, it's just talking. But I was really compelled to imagine what he might have said. I'd love to hear what you think!

By the way, if you don't recognize what he chooses to read to her, it's one of Bella's favorite authors. Bella spends time reading her books in Twilight.