I finally got the inspiration to write Edward's reaction to the letter. As usual, I was inspired by a song, this time "Wait till you see my smile" by Alicia Keys. I hope you like it!
I sat in an armchair in front of the fireplace with my wife curled up in my arms. We were quiet, both watching the flames dance, enjoying the calm of the moment. I had guessed she'd wanted to go back to Isle Esme for our fifth wedding anniversary, but I had made different plans – a trip up north, to one of our cabins that she hadn't visited before, but that I knew she would love.
We had driven up in the morning, and since we arrived, we hadn't left the house once. Most of the time had been spent in bed or curled up in front of the fire, enjoying each other and being alone this far away from everything and everyone.
An hour or so earlier, we had placed ourselves in the armchair in front of the fireplace. I think Bella liked having a fire out of old habit, even though she didn't feel the cold anymore, and I could spend hours staring into the flames – it was soothing, somehow. Before placing herself in my arms, my wife had fetched a letter from her bag, and given it to me with the instructions not to say anything, just read it. "But what's in it?" I'd wanted to know. "Everything", was her enigmatic reply. I was a little surprised, and not sure why she'd felt the need to write a letter. Her intentions soon became clear, however, when I started to read. I understood how she'd wanted to give me something to keep, like the letter I had given her on our wedding day, the one she referred to in her own letter. I also understood that she found it easier to explain herself in writing, when she had time to think about her words and get them just right. And that's exactly what they were – just right. She had managed to pour so much love into a simple letter. The letter really said everything.
She had told me these things before, of course: how much she loved me, how she had never been afraid I'd hurt her, how she wanted to share eternity with me. I had always believed her, or at least believed that she meant what she said. I, on the other hand, had had my doubts for a long time. At first there was the fear of hurting her, and then of sentencing her to an eternity as a soulless monster. Slowly, she had made me see sense, and in the end the decision had been taken out of my hands anyway. And even though the details surrounding her change had been awful – after all, for a moment I had been certain I would lose her – it took away some of the blame I would have put on myself for changing her. Of course I had been blaming myself for being so careless as to get her pregnant, but I couldn't feel bad about that after the first time I laid eyes on our beautiful daughter.
I had slowly come to realize that of all the things that had happened, nothing I'd done had harmed my Bella in any permanent way or beyond repair. I knew I had hurt her, but I had come to understand, through her endless repetition, that I had been forgiven, and that she understood my motives and the reasoning behind my actions when I left.
My thoughts went back to our wedding day. I had been standing at the end of the aisle with my father. There had been so many people there, all looking curiously at me. Among the friendly thoughts of our family and friends, I could also hear many who were thinking it was a stupid thing to do, getting married that young. Several people were sure Bella was pregnant, and that that was the only reason for it all. People were speculating on the circumstances leading up to the wedding, either quietly in their head, or in some cases, whispering to the person sitting next to them. But they were talking about things they knew nothing about. I heard some outright mean thoughts and gossip – people saying this would never last. Some seemed happy enough to discuss in low whispers what might go wrong, or how long our marriage would last.
The second Bella stepped into view, however, all criticism – both spoken and quiet – went silent. Everybody was in awe at how amazing my Bella looked. I knew she'd been nervous, but now I saw her smile. She looked beautiful, and strong, and I knew she didn't need these people who were just there to gossip about her, she didn't care what they thought anymore. She was ready – not just for the wedding, but for whatever came after. Her eyes found mine, and at seeing the big smile on my face, her own smile widened, and she started to walk towards me.
I came back from my thoughts and looked down into the golden eyes of my wife. She had been silently taking in my changing expressions. I stared into her eyes, and found everything I needed in them. For the past few years, she had done her utmost to work against my pessimistic nature, and my habit of blaming everything on myself. Slowly, she had managed to get me to come out of my shell, and to realize that I could not be to blame for everything. She had silenced several of my doubts, but I still felt bad about some things in our past, even though I never spoke to her about them. I was sure she had guessed, though, because she seemed to point them all out in her letter. And when I reconsidered her beautiful, loving words, all of which I knew she truly meant, I felt the last of the guilt lift off my shoulders. She had made a choice, and she had always been willing to take the consequences. What did I have to feel guilty about, when all had turned out so well? We had faced misfortunes, and come out at the other end, stronger than before. We had a family, our beautiful daughter, and most importantly, we had each other. I wanted to tell her about the new insights I'd suddenly had, about the feelings and memories her letter had awoken in me, and how very much I loved her. So I did.