Authors Note: This is the last chapter. I hope you guys enjoyed this story. All of you reading, I plead for you to leave a review. A lot of you have added this story as a favorite, but haven't submitted a review. But seeing as this is the last update, I encourage you to leave feedback. Writers can't grow unless they know what they're doing well or doing wrong.
Clouds quickly rolled over Chicago, signaling a lake effect snow was on its way. This was my chance. I stalked the bakery all day, waiting for her to be alone. Of all people in this world to understand, this kind soul would. Watching her in the bakery assured me that she had continued to live her life happily and peacefully. She would whistle to herself while she baked and helped customers. It was the same song that one that I would play for her. There were only a few times that I saw her get passive, and it was always when her hands hovered over the chocolate cookies. My name would flash across her mind as she helped her customers to her specialty.
I just needed the chance to explain what had happened. Carlisle had taught me this life of vegetarianism. I didn't need to live off human blood, I could live amongst humans and not be detected as long as I was careful. I could have love and happiness again. I could have her again. But in my few short years as a vampire, I had not yet known temptation.
Once it was dark, she flipped the closed sign, and started to clean up the bakery. The opportunity to talk to her now presented itself. I slipped in, soundlessly, her back was too me. I was not surprised that she still smelled the same to me, the scent of bakers chocolate pulsed from her veins. She was thinking of new recipes to try out, unconscious to my arrival. Goosebumps started to rise on her bare arms as the temperature in the room dropped around my body. A young print shop apprentice was courting her now, and she was planning to try the treats out on him first. Twittering around the bakery in the dark kept her busy and didn't notice me standing by the door.
"Miranda." I said quietly. She didn't turn. My throat was rough with thirst, and did not sound the same as when I was human. I should have hunted before I came here. How could I have taken that chance with the girl that once held my heart so closely.
"We're closed." She turned now, wondering who couldn't read the sign, and gasped. The bowl of eggs in her hands crashed to the floor as she became paralyzed. The shells and yolks were smeared amongst the remains of the ceramic bowl. Her heart raced in fright, making the thick chocolate smell creep across the room, enveloping me in its irresistible embrace.
"Edward?" She choked. She backed away from me, her hands flying up to her mouth. "I..I…I…" she stuttered, but couldn't get any words to form. How can he be standing here? I thought he left with his uncle. Isn't that what the lawyers were saying? He cleaned out the house and vanished. Why is he here?
"I wanted to see you, alone." I explained, answering her unspoken question.
"Where have you been? They told me you were still alive, but you never came to visit, or write." I had thought he forgot about me. It's been how many years? Two? Three? Why did he leave me?
"I didn't want to risk hurting you, I've changed since you've seen me last." I stepped towards her, closer to the light. Carefully taking a breath, to ease myself to the pain her blood was causing me, I let her see me fully. She gasped as she took in my new appearance.
"You don't look the same. You look…be….beautiful. Your eyes. What happened to you?" The words came out harsher than I imagine she intended. He looks unreal. Like something from a story. A still statue. What could do this? Where are those sparkling green eyes? His kind face. This is hard, and… frightening.
"Dr. Cullen saved me. He kept me from dying."
"How? At what expense?" She asked. What kind of medicine turns someone like this? Why can't I look away? Why does he smell so sweet? I didn't know how to answer her. One of the first things Carlisle told me was that I had to keep what we were a secret. But could I tell her? When there was no way I could be with her. Her thoughts continued as a rushing stream of questions.
That thought of not being able to be with her had triggered strong emotions of self hatred. I slammed my fist against the counter, not thinking of my immense strength. I watched in slow motion as the counter went crashing to the floor, mixing with the eggs and shards of ceramic. Pressing her back against the wall, Miranda screamed in fright.
"What are you?" She yelled. Is he a monster? I need to get help. Why is he doing this? Is he going to hurt me?
"I am a monster. I don't know why I'm doing this. I needed to see you Miranda, can't you see that? I haven't hurt you yet."
Her thoughts stopped abruptly, as she stared at me. How did he know what I was thinking?
"Because I can read minds. When I changed, it intensified traits I already had. You remember how I seemed to always know what you were thinking? Now I can hear everything that you think."
You need to leave. You're scaring me. I don't like you this way. What are you?
"Miranda, please understand." Stepping towards her just caused her to cower more in fright. "I still love you. The only thing that has gotten me through the last few years is the belief that you of all people could accept me like this." Could I chance a brief touch of her skin? Would she flinch under my cold, hard skin? I took another step towards her, and held my hand out in front of me.
She still couldn't speak. I'm too scared, Edward. You're not the boy I fell in love with. I don't know what you are. My stone heart felt like it was shattering. I was a monster.
"I understand." I sighed defeated, fighting every urge in my body to take her in my arms. Being that close to her chocolaty blood would be too much for whatever self control I did have. "I'll send money over to replace the counter in the morning."
I ran quickly out of the bakery, and never returned.
But Dad, she was just startled. I don't think she really believed you were a monster.
"Maybe, I'll never know." The first batch of cookies were done, and I pulled them from the oven. I took a deep breath, and the pain of chocolate did not sting now. I had freed myself of those demons. The suffering pain I had caused myself for near a century was finally broken.
"Do I smell cookies?" I looked up at the intruder of this father-daughter moment. Jacob's nose was held high in the air as he entered the house. They smell delicious.
Do you want him to go away? I can make him leave. Nessie thought, looking up at me in concern.
"No, it's fine. I'll leave you two alone. Make sure you don't burn them. Ten minutes only." I pulled the sleeves down on my shirt, and kissed Nessie on the forehead.
"Come on Jacob, you can help me with these cookies." I heard Nessie order, as I walked out of the house.
My wife's sweet aroma overpowered the baking cookies. She was sitting on the ground below the kitchen window, her eyes searching mine. She gracefully stood up and wrapped her arms around me.
"Did you enjoy the story?" I asked her, burying my face in her thick hair.
"Yes, I'm so sorry you had to feel that pain, Edward. I don't know how anyone could not love you. But now I understand a little better about why you wouldn't believe me that you weren't a monster. And all those cryptic messages in the cafeteria."
"Bella, love, you are the only one that I care about anymore. Her love means nothing compared to the happiness you have given me." And I finally knew that Esme was right. Miranda was only in my life to prepare me for Bella, and the life I was destined to have.
"You could have told me before, you know. You didn't need to keep this a secret from me." She scolded me. The little frown on her face sent me into peals of laughter. I kissed her passionately.
"The demons of my past will no longer haunt me. Now, Mrs. Cullen. If my calculations are correct, and if they don't burn the cookies, we should have about twenty minutes of alone time in our cottage." I smiled crookedly. Her face brightened up immediately, and started to pull me back towards our house.