We left her. It was a decade ago but I can feel that she never really recovered, its evidenced enough by the fact she's humming the lullaby Edward wrote her all those years ago. She looks sad and far too pale, even compared to me. I know I shouldn't be watching her like this; just standing on her front lawn watching through the front windows.
She got just a little taller than I remember and at some stage it looks as though she filled out and had those dangerous curves I knew she would. The only problem is that now she looks far too thin, impossibly frailer than she was, even under my gaze on at that horrible birthday. Bella turns around in her kitchen lighting a single candle on top of a muffin. It's her twenty eighth birthday today; I'd hoped that it would be significantly better than the one from my memory. Only now I can feel her pain as a dull ache and her loneliness makes it impossible to not know that she is alone.
I hate that she never got everything that Edward wanted for her; that we left her and she was alone. That she didn't have a husband and kids running around her feet; that she was softly crying as she blew out her candle and that I knew we all wanted to be with her and missed our chance. I sigh quietly and keep moving up her path to the front door.
When I knock I can feel her surprise and her quiet footfalls shuffle over to open the door. Her surprise at seeing me almost knocks me off my feet and despite how she last saw me Bella throws her arms around me. I was right, she is incredibly thin and frail as I gently wrap my arms around her in return. I manage a small breath so that I can speak and her scent almost makes me gag. It is so heavily tainted that it barely smells human.
I feel Bella's delicate body start to shake with tearless sobs against me and I lift her against me supporting her weight as though she were as heavy as a child. I cradled her head against me softly feeling her love and sadness; even after all this time her love still feels as strong as when she was with us last. I can't help but hate that I never got to be the big brother she deserved. I stroked her hair back softly so that it wasn't blocking her airways and ask if I can take her inside. Bella nods into my shoulder and I lift her completely into my arms and carry he inside to sit on the couch.
As Bella settles beside me still clinging to me tightly I quickly look around her small home. I freeze when I see bottles and bottles of medication beside the sink. Painkillers, anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories and a whole mess more. I was never a doctor but I can recognise enough to suddenly understand why Bella's blood is so contaminated, why she looks so sick and frail. At those dosages I know that they are more to make her comfortable than to treat, Bella is dying.
My heart feels like it is being ripped out and I can't help but pull Bella closer into me, my arms tightening around her as though I could protect her from her own body turning against her. I drop my head to her hair and choke in a ragged breath around a sob that I'm struggling to hold in. Our Bella had been through so much and now on top of it all she was doing this alone. As my anger and pain swirled around inside me I feel an oddly calm acceptance float from Bella and she relaxed in my arms and moved to look up at me.
Her beautiful chocolate eyes were so tired and heartbreaking as she watched me. A small smile managed to make its way onto her lips and it was mixed with a small wave of contentment. Before I could say anything Bella winced and her eyes widened almost imperceptibly. I frowned and then Bella opened her mouth gasping for air as though she were choking.
Before my eyes I saw half of Bella's face turn pale as the blood drained from it, the other side darkened as the blood pumped furiously to try to reach the rest of her. She looked up at me and I felt no fear from her as she clutched my hand tightly. I grabbed her hand back just as desperately. Something was wrong with her heart or arteries; there was nothing I could do. There was nothing anyone could do to save her.
I couldn't help the desperation that rushed through me. 'No Bella, please, you can't go yet.'
I knew that it was useless; she could no more fight it than I could. I felt acceptance from Bella and peace but my heart was breaking and I was lost. I was sobbing as I pleaded. 'Please Bella, we love you so much.'
Bella's face was a disturbing mix of white and bright red now as she gasped. I knew that she only had seconds left. She reached out with her frail hand and touched my cheek trying to sooth me and I sobbed brokenly. She gasped in more air. 'I still haven't made… my bir..day wish.' I clung to Bella pulling her completely into my arms rocking us both barely caring that I was holding her too tightly. Bella sucked in as much air as she could though her eyes were dimming. 'I wish… I could re…member th…taste… ofa kiss.'
I whimpered pitifully drawing my knees up closer to me drawing Bella tighter to me. Her head fell back as she gasped for air that barely made it to her failing lungs. She was looking at me with complete acceptance and love. I bent down closing the small gap between us and pressed my lips softly against her deadly pale ones.
For a moment she was still before she gasped vacuously against my lips and then she kissed me back her sweet taste pressing into my lips searing herself onto me and my memory. Then I pulled back looking into her eyes as she clung to me and I her for a long moment before I realised she wasn't breathing.
I sobbed brokenly clinging to Bella's broken body as her emotions burst with love before they faded away into nothingness. She had held on as long as she could for us to come home to her and then it was enough for her.
I clung to Bella's body long after she was cold and I stayed with her until her father dropped by to check on her. I couldn't leave her alone. I found out later that it was an aneurism caused by the inoperable brain tumour that she had struggled with for three times longer than the doctors had given her. Bella was a brave woman and a part of our family. I'm just glad that she knew that before the end. That she wasn't alone; that I could give her that last wish. I knew now that I would never forget the taste of a kiss.
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