Stephenie Meyer Owns Twilight.
When I found him, he was exactly where I thought he'd be. I knew Edward. I knew where he would go.
He had waited until we were gone, and then he came back to the southern mountain, back to the scary place, back to burry Paul.
Relief, overwhelming and intense relief hit me upon seeing him. Of course I knew I would, I never really believed I wouldn't…But seeing him again, knowing he didn't go far was like having a boulder lifted from my heart. I didn't feel angry either. If anything I felt slightly awkward, intrusive…like perhaps I wasn't supposed to find him, perhaps he didn't want me to?
There he was, sitting on a rock with his strong back hunched over his knees and his face hidden in his hands. In front of him lied a perfect mound of rich brown soil, dug and executed with care, with respect.
His white t-shirt was stained in different shades of brown, blood and soil mixing together in a chaotic pattern. His hair was caked in blood and standing in divided tufts along the crown of his head. Tiny chant like whispers were coming from his lips, deliberate and known by heart.
He was praying…
I had found him in a moment where he thought he was alone. He was so still, so reverent, so remarkably beautiful in his quiet prayer.
I just stood there and watched him in total silence, standing awkwardly in my giant white dress and red hoodie, contemplating turning around and leaving him in his thought and in his stillness.
I thought that maybe I wasn't supposed to witness this? Maybe this was something he wanted to do alone…But that wasn't what I had come to do. I had come to rescue him…
So I lifted my chin and pointed my voice in his direction, finding it hard to make a sound. "Edward," I finally called out to him, my voice weak an unsure. I was unsure of what awaited me, fearing the blackness of his eyes, fearing that my presence wasn't wanted.
And then abruptly, upon hearing my words, his chanting prayers stopped, and his back rose and stiffened. His hands left his hair and gripped the rock below him. He was straightening himself out and fixing himself up, like he didn't want me to see him that way…
Suddenly, I wasn't afraid anymore. Suddenly the reality was so clear.
I reached my hand out toward him. "Don't hide," I softly pleaded, "Don't hide baby."
I wanted him to let me see him, to let me help him, to stop denying whatever it was that he was feeling.
And he listened…
Because before I could even reach him, his shoulders collapsed again, and he let his head crash back into his hands. And as I came up behind him, cries, moaning pained cries started just ripping out of him, and roughly shaking his broad shoulders. His cries were deep and coming from somewhere inside of him that I didn't recognize. I had never heard him cry that way…He wasn't just upset, he was grieving, he was mourning…
The sound left me breathless. I didn't know what to do? The roles were reversed, and I was unprepared.
But I couldn't listen to him cry for much longer without touching him. I needed to touch him. I needed for him to feel my presence and know that he wasn't alone. Being lonely, feeling alone, was the worst pain of all for me. And I thought that maybe it was for him too. When he wasn't with me, things were just worse than when he was. I had to believe that he felt the same way.
So I knelt down in front of him, my hands shaking with the reverberating anguish of his cries, and I touched him…
Skin to skin, hand to face, life to life…
Under my hand, all of my insecurity and all of my doubt just dissipated. Dissipated because I knew there was only one person on earth who could help Edward… and that person was me. The energy that passed between us was so real, so electric, so indescribably ours…We belonged together.
My courage revived upon simple contact, I gently, very gently pried his face away from his blood blackened hands, and lifted his heavy shaking head. I gripped my clean fingers into his caked hair and rested my palms on his cheekbones. His eyes were closed as I held his leaden head in my hands. His feathery lashes were coated in dust, his white eyelids the last pure and clean spot on his face.
He was swallowing whimpers, refusing to open his eyes, his face was creased and glowering.
So I just kept touching him…
I moved my fingers slowly, and gently scratched at his hair, letting him feel my hands on him, passing my energy to him. "I'm here baby, open your eyes," I whispered, "Come on Edward, please?"
Then his entire body shook with a vicious shiver, and sweet honeyed air hit me as he exhaled a long held breath. "Bella," he whined on the exhale, like it was a cry of release.
My hands stilled in his hair, elated from hearing him utter my name, but worried by the tone it came out in. There was sorrow in his voice, in his face, in his posture…
So, I kept touching him.
I stroked his cheek. "I'm here," I kept saying, remembering how those two words helped me in similar circumstances. "I'm here baby."
Then I moved closer, gripping my hands on the rock beside his hips, crouching on the balls of my feet, putting my face next to his. I leaned in and placed a kiss below his ear. "Please baby, please open your eyes?" Under my lingering lips, the tension of his jaw lessened minutely. "I'm here Edward. I'm here."
Then I felt my sweatshirt tighten around me, like it was being pulled. I looked down…Edward's right hand was gripping in a white knuckled fist around the soft cotton.
I moved my head from his neck, and gripped his face. "Edward?"
He was still under my hands for a moment…then his eyes slowly pealed open, and he looked at me.
Amber, not black…
He held my gaze for a long beat, sort of like he was expressing to me without words everything he couldn't say. I just stared back and absorbed it, holding his beautiful face in my hands.
Then he spoke…
"I'm sorry," he cried out, the thin wail was fractured and moaning. There was desperation in his piercing golden eyes, an apology in them, repentance.
I didn't want an apology…So I impulsively and instinctively wrapped my body over his. I just covered him. I flung my arms around his back and hitched my legs around his hips and shoved my head between his neck, bracing my feet on the rock below us.
My wedding dress was cocooning us like a shelter, protecting us somehow. "Shh, baby, it's ok," I cooed, as I rocked us gently, stroking my hand across his back, clinging to his shaking body. "Don't be sorry. I'm here my love. I'm here."
"I'm sorry I left you alone," he whined as I felt his left hand dig forcefully into the flesh of my hip, while his right still gripped the sweatshirt, pulling me to him. His mouth was open and pressing into the skin of my neck.
"I'm sorry I lied," I cried back, with the same urgency as his apology. I gripped my arms as tight as I could, like I couldn't get my body close enough.
The hand around the sweatshirt gripped tighter, and his mouth burrowed into my neck, his sputtered breaths hitting my ear. "My parents think I'm dead," was his sobbing reply, his desperate tone affirming Carlisle's astute observation.
"They do," I agreed with a whimper, my lips now open to his neck, puckering into small kisses. I was running my hands over his back in smooth rhythmic patterns, trying to calm him.
But Edward just kept going. "And my mom sounded so sad," he moaned, his voice becoming increasingly urgent, and upset.
I couldn't dispute him. There was nothing I could say to make it any less true or any less real or any less painful. "She is baby, she is sad," I whispered in agreement as I moved my hands to hold his neck, and cradle his head to my chest. "She's very sad."
"And you're going to have to hurt her again," he added with a shuddering groan, his words cracking open the superficially filled hole in my chest, imposing his pain upon me.
But I had closed that door, I had said goodbye to Liz, I had already decided to be happy with my decision. I had decided that even though I knew she would suffer…I didn't regret it. I had Edward. Having him, being with him, was all I ever wanted. I didn't regret it…and he needed to understand that…
I leaned back on my shoulders and pulled my hands to his face, my eyes finding his, my fingers automatically going to work to smooth out his scowling expression. "I don't regret it," I hissed willfully, as my thumb gently crossed over his right brow. "Do you hear me? I don't regret it," I repeated. My words came out through gritted teeth, heated and fervent. I wanted him to know that he was the only choice I had. "I fucking love you so much Edward," I cried.
Then, his blistering eyes snapped shut and another shake erupted from his chest. "But I broke my promise to you!" he screamed, his perfect face contorting under my hands, his voice sending a chilling shiver up my spine. "I left you. I don't deserve you. I'm a monster Bella, I shouldn't even be alive!" He shouted, inches from my face, his sweet breath hitting me in sharp angry blasts.
"I don't care, I love you anyway!" I shouted back, sliding my hands from his face to his hair and closing my hands into fists, grabbing handfuls, willing him to open his eyes…to understand. "And you are alive Edward!" I continued, suddenly enraged by his foolishness. "I didn't let you die!"
Then his eyes opened in an abrupt blaze, my body stilling at once under his startling stare. "How?!" He begged in a desperate cry, "How Bella?!"
"How what?!" I didn't understand what he was asking.
Then the fire in his eyes faded slightly. "How am I alive?" he questioned in a choked whisper, his eyes growing tired and his shoulders suddenly sagging. "It's not…It's impossible."
Immediately, I understood his question. But still, I couldn't explain it. No one could explain it. How do you explain a miracle? How do you explain the existence of Edward? He was supposed to die. He was supposed to be sitting atop his parent's mantle in a jar. He was supposed to be the boy in the newspaper clippings, 1990-2008.
But he wasn't. He was alive. He was shaking and strong and unfathomably gorgeous, and being held in my arms. Carlisle ascertained that Edward was going through denial, and that was clearly the case. Edward had yet to come to terms with the fact that his life was spared, that he was given a second chance, while his parents thought he was dead.
He was looking to me with pleading eyes for the answer. I didn't have one, but I had something...
I loosened my hands from his hair and slid them to his chest. "There's magic in the world Edward, some things just defy explanation," I whispered with a small smile, knowing it wasn't the answer he was looking for, but it was the only answer I could offer. What happened to us was a miracle pure and simple.
Edward nodded, but then his eyes dropped again and the deep furrows between his brow revealed great uncertainty. "But why me?" he asked barely above a whisper, his eyes confused and vulnerable. "Why did I get to live?"
I didn't know. It wasn't something I particularly wanted to question. I was just glad, no eternally indebted to whomever or whatever it was that made it possible. The miracle that was worked so that I could have him back was the most amazing and cherished thing in my life, and I wasn't about to begin asking why. But I understood why Edward would. It was his life that was spared.
So I just shrugged, and slid my hand across his cheek and smiled. "I don't know," I said with an awed laugh. "I'm just so glad you are baby." I couldn't help my joy. I wanted to celebrate his life, not question it. "I love you so much Edward."
Edward's eyes bowed in recognition of my words, and his black hand came toward my face for the first time, pushing back some fallen hair with a gentle finger. "I love you too Bella," he whispered back with an intense stare, his face slowly softening under my touch. "We're vampires," he added with a mystified giggle, his stiff body starting to ease back into mine. "We're fucking vampires…" Then a smile hit his face, and the relief of seeing it was overwhelming. He was coming out of it, the worst was seemingly over. Somewhere in his hysterical fit, he had worked something out.
I smiled at him, and he smiled back, and I knew things were going to be better…for both of us. "We are vampires Edward," I agreed. "But we're still us."
"Yeah," Edward sighed, his palm cupping the back of my head, his fingers sliding through my hair, gently stroking me, putting me at ease. Then he looked at me, his eyes a warm gold, soft and soothing. "And Bella?" he asked, a small half smile pulling from his blackened cheek.
"What baby?" I asked back, my body calmed by the tender touch of his hand, a genuine smile beaming out of me, relieved and thankful.
His hand stilled in my hair. "I don't regret it either," he breathed, assuring me of the truth with the penetrating stare of his eyes. "I love you Bella. None of this…"
"I know," I said, cutting him off, putting a finger to his soft lips. "I know Edward…"
Then we were silent. I slipped my finger away from his mouth and wrapped my arms around his neck and repositioned us, so he was holding me in the cradle of his arms. His eyes went to the sky, and mine closed in relief, and we sat. For a long thoughtful hour…we sat. Still as statues…recovering, thinking, and just letting it all sink in.
We were vampires…we were going to live forever…and we could never go back...And neither one of us regretted it. Not at all.
I didn't want to be the first to move, I could have stayed in Edward's arms all day, but the morning sun was starting to hit his back and intensify the foul smell of his clothing. I realized, we couldn't stay there, we had to leave Paul, leave the scary place, and go home.
As I shifted, Edward's eyes left the sky and went to my dress. "It's our wedding day," he said with this bitter laugh. His voice held an undertone of melancholy and disgust. He took a handful of my dress and scrunched it through his fingers. "I fucked it up," he hissed, "of course I did."
Without even flinching, my finger went to his mouth. "Don't," I whispered. "It's fine."
"It's not important. We're in this forever together anyway, what's a wedding?"
Edward's fingers fumbled more with the fabric. "We can still make it," he said, but I could tell his heart wasn't in it fully. We were tired. Vampires couldn't get physically tired, but they could get mentally tired, and I think we both agreed that we needed rest. I just wanted to get him home, get him in a bath, and rest.
So I shook my head "no" and sat up. "Let's just get you home ok?" I said, stroking his absolutely filthy cheek. "Are you ready?" I asked, nudging my head in the direction of the house.
Edward nodded, and with a defeated sigh let the fabric of my dress go. "Can you give me a minute?" He asked, his eyes moving toward the pile of dirt that covered Paul's body.
I stood, and made way for Edward. He brushed past me, keeping his eyes fixed on the pile. I wasn't sure if he wanted to be left alone, or if I should stay, so I just sat back on the rock and kept still.
Edward walked toward a boulder and with a sharp thwack of his fist, cracked off a large slab. He picked it up and placed it on top of the pile of dirt, and then bent down over it, and with his fingernails began engraving something into the slab.
He was making Paul a gravestone...
When he was finished, he stood up and brushed the dust from his jeans. "Goodbye Paul," he whispered, turning toward me, his head bobbing up and down while his mouth held a hard line. There was a look of acceptance in his expression, a small amount of peace.
When he got to me, he put on a smile, pulled me to him, and dropped his lips on my temple. "Let's go home," he said.
"Let's," I agreed.
"And we are getting married one of these days…"
"Right now, I need a bath."
"So bad…You stink…"
Edward laughed. "I love you Bella."
"I love you too Edward."
"Do I have a choice?"
AN- So, she got him back, and she's bringing him home. That was what I wanted to accomplish this chapter. I had a second part planned, but I figure I can do it better by having it be its own chapter. So stay tuned, some really good stuff is on the way, no more sad, I promise!
So question…Is anyone still reading this? Thanks to those who are, I really appreciate it. To those that I fear I have lost, if you're still around, lemme know?