Reminiscence: n. a story told about a past event remembered by the narrator.

Follows "My Sister Rosalie," ch 22 "Compulsion."


I keep seeing her. Everywhere.

Centuries later, I still see her.

I work as an ob/gyn now. It keeps me occupied; it keeps me busy. It keeps me going.

And I get to help women have their babies.

I don't get to keep them, of course, but during delivery, when the mothers-to-be are in labor, and the baby is coming out, and I catch that newborn child and hold her for just one second before I hand her, still attached to the umbilical cord, to her mother, and I see that look of pure joy and happiness, and sometimes — most times — tears ...

And then I get the baby back for another short period and take down the numbers, holding her in my arms ...

Yes, it keeps me occupied.

But not all the time. The practice frowns on the staff pushing themselves, and my protests that I was fine working the extra time was at first ignored.

Then they started monitoring my time.

So I have to play along now. I have to play nice and not draw attention to myself.

So that leaves hours and hours of every day with me trying to find something to do with myself.

So now I'm at a coffee shop. I found out, 'later,' that she liked coffee, so now I go to coffee shops to, you know, be around the things she likes.

Yes. 'Later.'

I come back from a hunt, and I hear no heartbeat in the cabin. So I think to myself that she left again, foolishly, in search of that outhouse almost a stone's throw from the cabin. So easy to find.

Except for her. Everything was easy, except for her, except around her.

So I tracked around the area, but there was no sign of her, no tracks. No scent.

So I returned to the cabin, filled with dread, feeling more and more afraid of ... what? I didn't know.

Until I opened the door ... and saw her.

Her ambient temperature was no longer distinguishable from the cabin temperature, and sheet was wrapped, tightly, around her neck.

There she was lying on the floor, dead.

Dead for hours.

It didn't appear to be a suicide. It appeared she had been writhing in her sheets, and the movement had formed a make-shift noose.

I tried everything. I massaged her heart for hours. I gave her mouth-to-mouth the whole time.

In desperation, I even injected venom into her system.

But venom only changes living tissue.

So here I am, centuries later, in a coffee shop.

And there she is, across the shop, reading a book. It's her. Her petite frame, her chocolate brown hair, the demure air. Something in the book makes her smile, privately, and I see that smile and I ...

I don't approach her. I look at her a few times. Nobody sees me look.

She gets up and leaves. She doesn't even look my way. She doesn't even know I exist.

I watch her go. I let her go, free, into the world, to live her life. At least she gets to do that.

This time.

I met Edward again. For the first time since ... well, since I murdered her. She was in my care, and she died in my care. It was my fault. I've murdered before, and here was one more murder. One more burden that I must bear forever.

God! I hope she's in Heaven. I don't know. I still don't know, even today, centuries later.

Well, that's my burden.

And Edward's, too. I asked him about Carlisle and Esmé, and that when he told me that he had left them to look for her. And he had never returned.

He couldn't burden them with himself anymore, because when she died, he died again, inside.

For Edward loved her, too.

Yes. 'Too.'

Because I found out, when I saw that dead little girl on the floor, that I had loved her.

No, not 'loved' her. Our kind is ever present, ever Now. I don't 'loved' her. I love her.

I love her.

And she's dead. And so am I. That's what I am now, an animated corpse, ever going forward, but now purposeless, directionless, lifeless.

When she was with me, she was such a troublesome little thing, so annoying, so wrong-headed, so sad, so feisty, so hopeful, so ... alive.

And then she wasn't. I was just away for a few hours, and when I came back she was no more. Such a delicate creature, always teetering on the edge of death, and this time she didn't catch herself. This time she didn't regain her balance, and so she fell off that edge of life.

And she was gone.

The remeeting with Edward went very differently than how I had thought it would go. I was sure he would tear me limb from limb as soon as he caught sight of me. Or I hoped he would do that, and end this unrelenting agony of nothing for me.

But this Edward I met had no fight left in him. He saw me. I saw him. He said my name. I said his. We were quiet for a moment, ...

... and then he asked after her. And then I told him.

"Oh," he said, looking away. We regarded the nothingness around us in silence, both lost in our own thoughts. Both probably thinking of her.

That's all I ever do; I can't help it: I love her.

I didn't think Edward could possibly fall in love with her. After all, he had only visited her a few times. After all, he had only seen her over a few days ... it was probably less than two hours total that he had ever been with her.

But that was enough time for him. He changed. He loved her. No: he loves her.

So he was probably thinking of her in that silence, too.

Then he left me. Just like that. He just walked away. A shell. Seeing her everywhere, but seeing her nowhere. Just like me.

For example, that little five year old girl coming into the coffee shop with her mother: that's her. That's her when she was five. Her manner. Her inner joy inextinguishable by her outer seriousness. There she is. Five years old.

Another time, about a century ago, I saw her as a young mother. Not at the clinic, but at another coffee shop, holding a baby in her arms. She was trying to doctor her coffee, but it was proving too hard with the squirming bundle in her arms.

"May I help you?" I asked her in my voice. My dead voice ... the musicality had abandoned the tones for at least one hundred and fifty years by that time.

She regarded me and her lips twitched upward. "I'm afraid nobody can help me." She had that sound that all young overwhelmed mothers have.

I pointed down to the coffee in clarification, but she had already somehow managed to put what she needed into the liquid, gave me a small smile at her own joke and was gone.

When I had had her in my care, I was going to ask her to tell me who she was, what she was and why she was.

But you have plans for now and plans for later. And they all go away when you're dead.

So I never found that out from her. Her of the no name. I told her she lost the privilege of her name when I took her from the world of mortals. It was Bella Swan. She was going to earn a new one, but ... well, the best laid plans, right?

But I do know those answers now.

And I know those answers for myself.

Who am I? What am I? Why am I?

I am Rosalie Lillian Hale. I am an eternal vampire. And I love you.

Now, and forever.

God! I'm so, so sorry. God! I miss you so, so much.

Well, time to go to work.

I guess.