She wept silently against my chest for a while until her tears finally ran dry. We sat still now, lost in thought as we stared at Lucian who was cradled in her arms. His father's face will forever haunt Bella. Apart from her eyes and ivory skin, Lucian was a complete replica of Gabriel. How I wish it was my son she held in her arms.
When morning came, we began to prepare ourselves for our trip back home to Washington. She seemed dazed when Emmet and Jasper arrived with the cars that would take us to the airport. She stared at them blankly when they approached us.
"Tickets are in the glove department. Our flight departs at nine" said Jasper.
"Thank you" I said beginning to make my way to the car when I noticed she hadn't moved. I paused, turning back to look at her.
"Bella?" She stared at me with vacant and glassy eyes.
"Where am I going to go?" she asked suddenly. "There's nothing left for me in Forks."
I stared at her for a long moment, lamenting that I wasn't enough reason for her to want to return.
"Bella, that's not true." I murmured.
"It is" she cut in, "Charlie's gone, I can't see my mother or friends anymore, Jake hates me…"
"I'm there in Forks, Bella" I interrupted, "and I'm here with you now. Come home with me."
She stared at me for a long moment, her eyes so distant yet warm. I'd give up my arm to know what she was thinking – hell, I'd give up both.
"Edward," she finally said, "… I can't go back with you. I can't move in with you."
They were the words I didn't want to hear. I frowned and walked back to her.
"Bella … I love you … just as much as I did before all of this. What happened with you and Gabriel happened because it couldn't be helped."
Her face twisted in disagreement. "Yes, it could have, Edward" she said bleakly. "I didn't have to sleep with him."
"But then you wouldn't have had Lucian."
She stared at me still frowning dubiously.
"Can't you see, Bella?" This was already mapped out. Lucian was destined to come. It was suppose to happen. You and Gabriel were supposed to reunite in order for Lucian to happen. It was why you came back after a thousand years, Bella. It was inevitable."
"You don't really believe that" she said shaking her head and on the verge of tears.
"Yes, I do. Call me a fool if you will, but when I learned what Lucian's life meant, the purpose of his existence … I knew then that I'd lose you. I knew you would have him and I knew you would want to try to make it work with Gabriel because he was the father of your son. Did it hurt? Intensely so. I almost gave up the will to live, Bella, because I had lost you again, because I knew I'd never stop loving you … and I still love you."
She lowered her eyes and I lifted her face back to mine with both my hands.
"Bella, I still want you to be my wife and I want to be there for you and Lucian, because after all, he is yours. I don't want to think of the past when all I care about is being a part of your future."
She stared at me, unmoving and shaken as tears rolled down her face. After a long moment, she pulled her face away and smiled a kind but broken smile.
"I can't, Edward" she murmured quietly, shaking her head. "I … can't go back to you." I can see her decision pained her, as it did to me.
"Why?" I asked, taking another step closer.
"Because I do care of what I've done in the past. I've hurt you, Edward, in the cruelest way. I can't go back to you when my son's face will be a constant reminder of my betrayal.
"Bella" I began to protest.
"I need to be alone, Edward. I need to be with Lucian. My life has been tossed around in so many directions these last couple of weeks and now … now that I finally stand on steady ground … I don't want to lose my step."
"Bella, I can help keep you there. For once in my life, I can help you put your life back together. I have nothing against Lucian and I never will. He is your son – a part of you, and I love every part of you. He needs a father, Bella and though I can't replace Gabriel, I can be the support he needs."
She shakes her head with a faint smile and I feel like I'm hanging by the edge, slipping.
"I could never deny him to you or any one from your family. I'd really like for you all to be a part of his life. If it wasn't for you, neither I nor he would be here. But I am not ready to commit myself to a relationship right now, Edward. I am not going to hurt you by convincing myself that I am ready."
Although it pained me that she wouldn't come back to me, I reluctantly accepted her reasoning. She had gone through so much … losing her father, learning of her dark past, being chased by a killer, having a baby and losing Gabriel. I admired her strength, her will to want to move forward.
"I don't want to lose you again, Bella."
Her eyes pooled as she tilted her head slightly to the side, smiling as she bit the corner of her lip. She shook her head once again and this time, I was glad that she did.
"You won't. I promise you won't."
We arrived at SEA late in the evening. While flying here, the Cullens all fought over whose turn it was to carry Lucian, allowing me time to catch some much needed sleep. Edward rarely took his eyes away from me, and though it drove me a little crazy - I was glad that he was there for me, even though I knew I wasn't deserving of his support.
As we made our way through the terminal, I spotted someone standing in the crowd, so abstract by the people around her. My heart stopped and so did my legs. With her ever present blue and anxious eyes, my mother tip-toed over the heads of the people in front of her.
"Bella? Bella, baby!" she called out excitedly, her eyes widening when she saw me. I couldn't move.
"Go ahead" murmured Edward into my ear as he took Lucian from my arms. "She knows."
I glanced quickly at him as he smiled back at me. I turned back to mother's face and swallowed hard before walking and then running to her.
"Oh baby!" she said, pulling me into her arms. I could smell the sun in her hair. She felt so warm, so good to hold again. My tears which were on a roll these days, gushed down my face. She pulled away from me, suddenly worried as she patted my face and pulled back my lips inspecting my teeth. I couldn't help but laugh at the moment.
She paused staring at me with her fantastic blue eyes.
"I know what you are" she mouthed, overemphasizing the formulation of each word and winking at me. I laughed and hugged her once again – and again, my heart froze in place.
Another face stared back at me. He stood in the shadows, his face almost illuminating in the dark. My muscles went slack and I thought for a moment that the jubilance I felt had somehow short circuited something my brain, but then he stepped out of the shadows and looked at me.
He gazed at me with the same wonder I stared at him with.
Rene let me go and this time I didn't run, afraid that if he wasn't real, he'd vanish the minute I reached him. I wanted this vision to last. Slowly I edged forward until I was only a foot away from him. His skin was very pale, no sign of his days of fishing out under the sun. His eyes were a warm honey gold – an impossible color for anyone to have – anyone human.
I couldn't grasp the reality of it.
"But how?" I managed to say.
"I don't know how. I woke up one day, naked and cold in morgue and a man named Gabriel told me that I needed to live and that he had reversed my death, making me what I am today. So … here I am" he said with arms out.
I was paralyzed, completely and utterly. Gabriel had gone back to turn my father? It couldn't be.
"But he's incapable…"
And then I remembered the crystals in his hand as he said 'everything'. All this time I believed him to be non-venomous, he actually was. Even his blood he was able to control.
Charlie stepped closer to me and hugged me, our skin feeling the same. I was so numb that I moved my arms slowly around his back and held him tight. He saved Charlie. And Edward saved my mother. I came undone at that point and cried in sheer happiness.
~ e p i l o g u e ~
Today was the big day – at least for Lucian. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince opened today in theaters, and he managed to outsmart me on a calculus challenge, making me take him to see the movie. Truth be told, I would have taken him anyway.
In only a month, he had grown to a six year old, demonstrating his father's talents and Bella's love and care. He was a brilliant child with a brain of endless storage capacity, memorizing every word of any book. He was excited to see me whenever I came by their house. I hoped that Bella, too, shared the same enthusiasm.
Nothing has really changed between her and me. We see each other every day and talk until the late hours of the night but that's as far as it goes. Just two people attempting to be friends despite all the mixed emotions in the way. Something told me she was still madly in love with me, though she tried to hide it. In time, I hope she will come through and let me back in.
I grabbed the tickets and the new Nintendo DS I had gotten him, knowing that he probably already saw me getting it for him, and I headed down the stairs. I caught the scent before the voices and I knew Carlisle had company – human company.
As I hopped down the stairs, passing the living room entry way and half way towards the door, he called my name.
I sighed impatiently and reluctantly turned back around and walked into the living room.
"Edward, there's someone I want you to meet" he said standing as I approached him. "I believe you both have something in common."
As he stood, so did his visitor. She was a small pretty young woman, with canary yellow hair and a big bright smile, her dress almost matching the color of her hair. There was something rather odd if not intriguing about her, though I couldn't quite make it out.
"Edward, meet my dear friend, Sookie Stackhouse".
This marks the end of this story and the beginning of a new crossover between Twilight and True Blood (also known as the Sookie Stackhouse series). I'm taking a break to catch up on several fanfics I'm dying to read, but I will go back to writing soon. I hope you've enjoyed my fanfic and hope that you share your thoughts about the story no matter when you come across it. A big thanks to all my readers!