A/N All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer


Forks, Washington - Forty Years Later

Time had passed, as it always does. Each year ticked by like the steadily moving hands of a clock. To most, the passing years are filled with tears of joy and tears of sorrow. For a vampire, there is just time. There are no tears, no joy, no sorrow. No happy little family that tells the world, "Look what I've done. This is what I will leave behind."

For a vampire, we are what is left behind. Mortals come and go, but we remain. Frozen in time, sentenced to watch those we have come to care for wither and become dust in the wind. We must watch as they succumb to incurable human diseases and die. Watch as they are placed in the cold, hard ground. For a vampire, we are sentenced to remember; to chase shadows hoping for a glimpse of the past.

And now, here I stood watching the one person I had loved her whole life succumb to death. Bella had aged beautifully. Her brown hair was gone; it was now a beautiful salt and pepper gray.

I had watched over her and Jacob for the last forty years. I was there the day Isabella Swan became Isabella Black. I had watched from the woods as they exchanged their "I do's" and though it had broken my vampire heart, I refrained from interfering in their lives. She was beautiful with baby's breath woven into her hair.

Then later, as her stomach swelled with Jacob's children, not one, not twice, but three times, I'd been there. I'd silently watched the passages of time. I'd watched as she'd grown older; as Jacob grew older. Their children were beautiful. The girl looked just like Bella. When I'd come back about 5 years ago, she'd walked out of the house, I would have sworn it was Bella.

But now, Bella was dying. Jacob sat by her side, night and day, never leaving. I'd overheard a conversation one afternoon when Sam and Emily had stopped by. She had stage four breast cancer and though they'd operated, she didn't have long to live.

I knocked on the door one afternoon. Bella's daughter answered. She opened the door and stared at me, "Hello," I said, "Is your father home?"

She nodded, "Yes, hold on."

I could hear Jacob speaking to her, "Who's at the door Carly?"

Jacob Black appeared before me, "What do you want?" he said wearily.

"I know it's been a long time, but I'd like a chance to say goodbye," I said sadly.

Jacob stepped aside, "She's awake for now, but she could go back under at any time, so make it quick."

In that moment, all animosity I'd ever felt toward this man disappeared. He did not have to grant me this request, yet he did.

"Thank you, Jacob."

I followed him down a short hallway and into a small bedroom. Bella was lying on the bed. She gasped when she saw me, "Edward Cullen?"

"Hello Bella," I said and sat down next to her bed.

She reached up and touched my face, "Look at you," she sighed, "Forever seventeen. You're still as beautiful as the first time I saw you."

"As are you," I said, pushing a hair out of her face.

In that moment I knew I'd been foolish to leave her. I'd left her for her own good, to keep her from an eternity of nothingness, and look how her life had betrayed her. I bowed my head, "I'm so sorry," I whispered, "Bella, I am so sorry. If only I'd known. If only I could change it, take it all back. I would have given you all that you wanted; I would have made you like me."

Bella smiled, "Don't be sorry Edward. I've had a wonderful life with more love than I could have asked for. I had great friends, beautiful children and the love of a kind and gentle man. There is nothing to be sorry for."

Bella coughed, Jacob appeared by her side with a glass of water and tried to get her to drink. Bella took a sip and sighed heavily. She gazed lovingly at Jacob, "Thank you," she wheezed.

Jacob patted her hand, "I love you," he whispered.

"I love you too," she whispered back shuddered.

Jacob gingerly held her hand. The pain in his eyes was unbearable. I looked from him to Bella, and then I realized she was gone. I stood there awkwardly, not knowing what to do. Jacob leaned over Bella and sobbed. It was the most painful sound I had ever heard, in my years on this earth. Carly rushed into the room, looked at her parents and fell to her knees.

Bella Black died that day. Jacob Black followed three days later. His children said he died of a broken heart. Some of you might find that to be foolish nonsense, but not me.

They had loved each other so deeply and so passionately and even if her life had ended tragically, Isabella Marie Swan Black had lived; and loved well.

I just wanted to say thank you toeveryone who tookthe time to read and review...you guys totally rocked. I'm sorry that this was only 16 chapters..I really wish it could have been longer...but I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope you read some of the other stuff I write...and in case you were wondering...there's going to be a sorta part two..between Carly and Edward in the near future.