Edward kept staring, waiting for my decision. My mind frantically scrabbled for an answer. I knew that Edward could be patient to no end, but I wanted an answer. And I could not think of one.

Oh, I had several answers. Several good answers, options that would certainly bring me some joy. But they would hurt other people. They could hurt Jacob, or Charlie, or Edward. Edward. I had already caused him so much pain. How could I bear to hurt him even more? That should make my answer clear, but it didn't. I still felt the need to choose Option B, the nagging urge to take it and apologize to Edward, to just go out and do what I wanted. Did I want it, though? Or was it just the familiarity that I wanted? Perhaps, if you spent enough time in a situation, it became preferable to staying with the most perfect being there ever was. I sighed. I knew what I had to do, because it was what I wanted.

"I love you, Edward," I whispered. "I always have, and I always will." He didn't move.

"But?" he asked, pain in his voice. I shook my head.

"No buts. I want you. I'm staying with you." The pain in his eyes broke, and suddenly they were filled with liquid gold.

"Thank-you," he said quietly, then, with more emotion, "I love you, Bella."

"Edward," I whispered, and I was in his arms. And I knew that I had made the right choice, despite the things I would lose, because I was gaining so much more. Edward kissed me, repeatedly whispering that he loved me into my hair. Happily ever after, finally.