Viola Cornuta, darling, you hold my heart in your hands and my soul within your body.

Disclaimer: Although this perhaps should have been, it was not. So SM owns the original, while I stake claim to this.

~~This is my Christmas gift to my lovelies who've allowed me the pleasure of writing. To those of you who've born me aloft with words so much more poetic than mine. To Jenn, Gillian, Ape, Amanda, Diane, Jo, Robin (x2), Kitty, Tosh, Lix and Mister, Char, Kassiah, V, Kari, Mer, Margie, Katie, Claudia, Tracey, Annette, Rae, Kyrene, Christie, my-crooked-smile, LBelle, EdwardsKitten, susay, Tori, readerkitty …this is something I'd never have considered without your limitless love and hugs. This baby won my wee profile poll. Thus, with all my heart and a year full of thanks and gratefulness, Mirror~~

Please, listen to: Be Here Now, Ray LaMontagne: www(DOT)youtube(DOT)com(SLASH)watch?v=Vl3V0dTRDvI


Forks, WA


We'd returned to the one place that was the embodiment of home. Our small cottage in the meadow where I had initially shown Bella my glistening gem-like skin on a day that would either have meant her untimely demise, or the beginning of her understanding of what I really was. The earthly, ethereal pull between us was a force I was too anxious, too starving for her blood, at that point, to recognize as prophetic. Then, I was always one half second away from sticking my incisors in a stippling pattern against her béchamel neck. That I staved off the savage impulse was a testament to our enchantment even in our foundling days when I stumbled over words, wanting to touch, aching to taste. Gauche, juvenile, lethal.

Each time I met her, I died a bit. And was reborn one molecule of graciousness at a time. Sitting too close to her in the field that was an ocean of spring blossoms shifting like capped waves to the waft of air teasing up Bella's flighty Chesapeake hair and smelting out the chaotic scent of her blood that incinerated my insides, I allowed her to touch me. With reverence, not shyness or clumsiness, her hand trembled. The first sweep over my forearm and up to the slightest gap of skin hollowing my throat caused my eyes to close. Better than the brush of the warm sun when I stood alone, unclothed, on sunny days such as this, here in same spot.

The intonation of her capering stroke hushed me with what felt like it could be…love? And filled my mouth with the rush of tangy poison, a taste of what could become murder.

It felt divine. It made me sinister.

She was so right. And all wrong. The duality of us: me wanting to damage and throttle and drink; love, last, protect! Bella, a mixture of bashful and strong, old and wise and an ingénue, closed off from me through her impermeable thoughts yet opening her soul through words she didn't want to speak, and the most soulful brown eyes that played out all of her emotions like writ word to paper.

She gasped, not at the iciness, nor at the flickering luminescence, but at the rightness of it all. And she called me beautiful.

Not scared, undaunted, Bella had no idea how close she was to dying! My hands could caress. Long, tapered talented fingers doubled as weapons and could just as easily slide through her buttery skin to squash her to a pulpy mess of heaving frothy liquid.

I was pulled inside-out. Right-side-in. I tucked there. In, attempting to be right, righteous, wanting her to be my salvation rather than the nail to my revolting coffin.

Pulling back, placing her sun-hewn hands palms down to the ground and away from my flesh that rippled like a human man's beneath her wash, I sat back, crouching on my heels. One step away from predatory stance because it was too fucking good, too much curled up inside me and I could not dissect the need for corporeal affection from the yearning to quash her heart in my fist!

Because her scent drove me wild, her blood the most celestial ambrosia that forged a divining rod of my body, I leaned closer again. Midday sun lengthened the shadow I stole across her wide-open face. Looming closer, I noted her eyes dilating, the scaling up of her breaths, the twitch of her blousy mouth that opened a scant bit. So beautiful. I wanted to bite her.

I wanted to be able to love her.

What warped instinct propelled Bella to thrust herself upon me, to close the gap between our upright bodies, to drape herself like the warmest linen over me while my eyes blackened, my teeth whettened, my neck straining to the side and away from her when all I wanted to do was lunge down and take her, I would never know!

The rosebuds of her lips crept closer, the veins in her milky skin traced faster like highways, a racing torrent. A quick torment. Fingers lifted and I detailed the pale half moons of her nails, every second stopped from the shutter of a camera. Flash. Life? Flash. Death.

A sickening replay of He loves me, he loves me not. Worse: Will he kill me, will he not.

This was no mere child's game!

I never believed Bella did not understand the exact measure of menace she put herself into that day. The proportion of my growing affection she vastly overrated to the lapsed cruel hunger for what I could only describe as the best concoction of heroin to a diehard junkie.

She was never safe, not that day.

A hairsbreadth away from my mouth that had sneered back like a lion's ready to pounce, one fleeting though cosseted Bella: I was alive still because I was meant to meet her.

Not to kill her. Not to eat from her. But to love her.

And she would live, because this crash between us, a hot glacial overlapping thing, was bigger than my appetite. Most of the time.

Brutally intact, I could either slice her to hash or fly away from her. Hell had no pain on this decision that I mulled over, minutely to the human eye. Hands clenched, jaw a thing of distaste, foully wrenching each reaching muscle one at a time away from her succulent pursed mouth that I could as soon kiss as devour, I ran to the treeline. I fucking flew up the mountain, ingested deep breaths of bracingly clean Bella-free air, caught it in my torso, held my breath, and sped back.

Dawdling, delaying, denying another pulse of inhalation, one more close encounter, I teased and cajoled at my most fatal from the perimeter of the wood. I could love you, kill you, eat you, leave you for dead. I could live with you forever, make you mine, treasure you, pleasure you, and still touch you.

I wanted to alarm Bella!

Breathy spatters of scant fright flowed to me, my position shifting so as not to be engulfed by her presence fully. A devious thing, I gallivanted from tree bow to center meadow to the far end and back to the trees.

You should run screaming, shout to the hills! Never to return.

I slowed. Optimistic that she understood her vitality made me virile and villainous all at once, I took in Bella-tainted air in small bits. A little more, the closer I came.

My reasoning was flawed. She did not flinch, her brow didn't even furrow! Holding her hand out in acceptance of the creature I was, Bella welcomed me back!

I fell. Never to be lifted up again.

Flayed open, guts spilling, heart trying to beat, I clasped her hand.

Laid bare, all of my barren waste, I just wanted the simplicity of her chaste embrace.

Her fragrant blood suddenly had nothing on her touch.

I was the lamb to the slaughter.

She could have been no one else's. I was only meant to live, to linger through a century of goring disease and boredom and minutiae, to be Bella's.

Exact and undeniable and true.

We bartered a truce. And it was never easy, in those first years.

On the precipice of death, at my hands or those of my Jasper, once, or my rivals of warring factions and vampire royalty, Bella's life swung from a noose, just this side of suffocation.

Many times I thought I could not save her. Once I left her.

The remembrance of those months was something I would never recount. Scurrilous hate and hurt and agony. Mine and hers. I would never go there again.

I could have killed Bella, a thousand-fold instances in rapacious very detailed ways.

I could have killed her.

But I never did.

I. Never. Did.

I never did.

I wavered but would not capitulate.

I glared death in the eye, and pounded it back.

Bella fueled me. Took away my fear. Replenished me. Made me mightier, more wholesome.

Beget passion in the place of blood lust.

At first she begged. Pleaded, with Alice her cheerleader, for me to make her a soulless monster.

Through most of Bella's twenties, unreal love was swirled up into a hurricane of hurtful emotions at my refusal; tension, anger, full throaty fury fouling up into heated fights.

Within this tempest one tether kept us strong. Our bond to each other had caused me to cross time, to become undead, to make her acquaintance and make her mine in the only way I would.

As my lover.

We married. Simply wed, we made love as if for the first time.

Resplendent ferocity and crush of flesh. Archaically bound to my wife, I adulated Bella with my body as I had with my beat-still-beat-hush heart. Soft and slow, hard and fast, I did not have to overpower instinct, as Bella controlled me blissfully, erotically.

Sensuality, sexually, scintillatingly, we were coiled to each other in one more manner.

That no man, or beast, could sunder.

It felt like Bella's desire alone to become a vampire would hasten her away from me nonetheless.

It pained me most horrifically to deny Bella this thing she was so dead-set on, but my resolve never flagged, not even when I was threatened with the gutting brutal idea that we may never make it beyond this loggerhead.

Thus, Bella's first birthdays as my wife were more like funereal marches with her moping in bereavement for another year passing while the rest of us wanted to celebrate. Inwardly, I rejoiced! A woman, a human, my mate, she would breathe! Outwardly, I demonstrated my bliss, caving to every bone shattering cataclysmic carnal craving; my flesh and hers conjoined as echoes of ecstasy reverberated like chorales.

This fractious idea of me changing Bella instead of her getting older whilst I remained like a statue that not even the elements could bite was a splinter embedded in the soft tissue of her soul. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, that shard worked its way to the surface and flittered away like the downy fluff from a cattail on an autumnal breeze.

By her twentieth annum with me, a strange thing happened. Colliding hotly, my untouched love founds its true match inside of Bella, and she changed. Into a woman. One who was finally complete within her own skin. Revolutions of the sun had wrought our evolving emotion into such a thing, an infinite whorl circling the vast cosmos and finally, we grew together! Learned and loved. Loved and succored each other fruitfully.

And age did not fucking matter.

I would always be older than Bella. And she would be the one of us that changed through the passage of our scribbling lives that became a manifesto to the intensity of our connection. Ultimately that was an eventuality Bella accepted.

I was going nowhere.


This enormous respite, this earth-shattering tongue-tied web laughed at the universe, made an untouchable fine veil around us. Shielding us, just as Bella's mind preternaturally protected her.

Over and over, I thanked the immortals, the higher beings, the ones who had put this profound plan into action.

We moved on. Splendid and luxurious and living. Travel and study and work and through it all, family.

In the end it didn't matter that people stared, talked or whispered. We never pretended to be mother and son or grandmother and grandson. We were each other's first, last, forever. Majestic and powerful, there was appreciation for the masterpiece of the way we moved together from those who truly beheld us.

Blessed by the only good thing Renee had ever bestowed upon Bella, she had flourished from shy and self-aware to stately and elegant and assured. Ever more stunning! I never longed for our early days, as each dawn there was a new slightly altered Bella to watch, caress, listen to. Her body as well as her mind transformed. No longer a titmouse, Bella matured. As she never would have, had I halted her growth with my toxin.

The way her skin changed through her ages, a flawless beauty whose surface aesthetically met the tick tock of years that marked their path in little sprinkles of tiny lines bespeaking of laugh, love, all the hours we spent together.

That was divinity.

And she made me into a man.

Now, settled into our little abode that we had fashioned ourselves, housing our scant worldly goods – we had nearly everything we needed in each other alone – we sat wrapped around each other in our bedroom. This haven was our touchstone. And this was where we would begin again.

Through the years, Alice had systematically excised all her future visions of Bella from playing into her mind. Fully realizing this day would come, we did not want to know when.

Bella sat on the plush peony pink bench before the antique cherry vanity, facing the mottled mirror and smiling at me in reflection as I held her against my body, brushing out her locks that were still full, crackling with static electricity. All wavy and lush and the same but for the sterling white of the strands.

The cadence of her heart, my swelling sanctuary, had begun to slow.

Charlie was gone. Renee, Phil, laid to rest. Our high school friends scattered.

All that was of import was right here in my arms.

The rest of our family, Rosalie and Emmett, Alice and Jasper, Esme and Carlisle, and now Peter and Charlotte were close by. In the same white Victorian house that could only be found if you knew where to look, at the end of a mile-long alley of giant feathery oaks.

They'd said their goodbye's already.

We reminisced. Kissed softly. Stroked devotedly. Had I known then, I would not have squandered time. It slipped by so fast, in comparison to the decades that had bored me….before Bella.

We regretted nothing.

We had succeeded in the unthinkable. We had grown old together.

I may not have aged, on the surface, but I had learned so much more, in my heart.

Within me, within Bella.

Even now, she did not wilt. She blossomed!

Her time was my time. I had met each year with a new creak to my knees, a crick to my neck, as if I were mortal.

The one thing that didn't ebb was our passion.

"I'm dying now, Edward," Bella's lips like full peaches halved over my own to whisper simply.

"I know love," I held her closer, tighter than ever before, tangling my fingers into her tresses, turning my mouth to her neck and feeling the filaments of seconds trespassing. "I am too. I'll be right behind you."

I was ready.


About to begin again.



All our earthly love would now find a home in the hinterlands beyond.




I love you.

I love you.

I am following.

A lamb.

To pasture.

With you, Bella.

~~Happy Holidays~~

There's one more chapter, it is breathless,. I'll post on the end of 2009.