Edward and I were lying side by side on my bed, looking at shapes on my ceiling as we talked. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon. Sunshine and drizzling rain fought for dominance, creating waves of light around my room.
"Do you think you'd have fallen in love with me if my blood didn't smell so good to you?" I posed.
"How could I not?" he replied. "The first time I looked into your eyes, my infatuation began, whether I was ready to admit it to myself then or not. Your eyes are more intriguing than Mona Lisa's; they are so full of warmth, intelligence, and wisdom."
I couldn't stop the cackle that flew from me then. "It's a good thing that you can't read my mind. You'd have heard 'I am Henry the Eighth I am, Henry the Eighth I am, I am,' pop into my head every day during English History last semester. So much for intelligence and wisdom!"
"I think it's charming," he argued, grinning. "Infernally catchy songs aside, it's still better than most of the thoughts I hear."
"So even if I didn't smell as good as freshly baked cookies to you, you'd still have fallen in love with me?" I asked with a smile.
"Bella, cookies are repulsive compared to you. It's not your scent that I am in love with; it is you, your inherent goodness, your way of looking at the world, your heart and soul and mind."
I tensed when he said the word "soul."
"Is that why you don't want to change me?" I asked in a whisper. "Because you think I'll lose my soul, and if that's what you love, then you won't love me anymore, you won't want me anymore."
"Bella," he choked out, "that's not it at all. Your soul is precious, but you would still be you after the change. And nothing could diminish my love for you."
"But…" I was trying to gather my thoughts, to wrap my head around the concept of souls and love and what makes us us.
Edward's palms were digging into his eyes now; he had passed pinching the bridge of his nose. "I just don't know anymore," he whispered.
I'd never heard those words from Edward before. He was always so confident. Now he sounded confused and unsure of himself. I rolled to my side so I could face him.
"You have to understand," he began. Edward's eyes remained shut, though he removed his hands from his face. "I've spent almost a century believing myself to be a a soulless monster that no God could forgive or love. I've taken human lives."
"But you've shown remorse, if God is supposed to be forgiving, then…" I interrupted.
"Please, love, let me finish," Edward requested. I nodded my response.
"For nearly a century, I convinced myself that I am soulless, a monster that is unworthy of compassion or forgiveness. Or love. I thought that was why I remained alone among my family. Even vampires outside of our coven find mates, but I had not. I thought I did not deserve it, and that the emptiness I felt was my lack of a soul. I thought that my judgment had been handed to me, and I knew that I deserved it for what I had done. But then…" He paused and opened his eyes to look at me. The intensity I saw took my breath away. "Then I met you and my world, my long held beliefs, were shaken to the core. What if my beliefs were wrong? Can you understand how difficult that is for me to believe, to accept? I used to be so certain, and now…" his voice faded.
"Now you're in the same spot at the rest of us," I gently replied. "Souls, and faith, can't be proven, Edward. That's kind of the point. Believing what you can't see or know for certain."
"I told you there is intelligence and wisdom in there," he joked with a smile.
"So what do you believe now?" I asked him gently.
"I'm not sure," he admitted. "And honestly, it frightens me. I know that the essence of you won't change when you're turned." My heart soared to hear him say 'when' and not 'if.' "If that essence is your soul, then it will still be there," he quietly admitted. "Still though, even if you don't lose your soul, you'll be losing your family and your friends. Bella, you already have me, as well as my family. You won't gain us by becoming one of us, you won't gain anything. You'll only lose people you love."
"I'll gain time," I argued. "Edward, even if you were human too, one lifetime wouldn't be enough for me. Our love is too big for one human lifetime; I need an eternity with you. Besides, I'll still lose my family and friends eventually. Like you keep reminding me, I'm human. My parents will die, friendships will change. Those things will happen whether I'm a human or a vampire. Being with you always is all that I want. If I have that, I'll have everything I need."
"Oh sweet Bella," he sighed into my neck, "I'll never deserve you."
"I know," I laughed, "but I want you anyway, so you'll just have to deal with it."
"At least I'll have all eternity to do so," he said before he kissed me.