A/N: Thank you so much for the reviews, Adamlena, Fire and Ice 22, cullengirl1994, mareaazul, Kendall94 and all the others who've stayed with me so far! This is going to be the last chapter! I find it somewhat lame myself, but, then, I often do.
I'm thinking about a sequel, though, but I'm still in the waiting-to-be-kissed-by-the-muse stage (meaning I don't have a real idea, yet) so I don't know when I'll actually start writing!
I didn't sleep well that night. I woke twice, shivering, trying to remember what had woken me – nightmares, no doubt, though I'd never had nightmares before – and when I woke again I found I, who'd never been afraid of the dark, was glad the sky was already turning pink. I crawled underneath my blanket and tried not to think about what had happened last night, but I couldn't help myself.
I'd lost it. And I wished I hadn't. I'd meant what I'd said, every single word of it, and I didn't regret saying it, but I wished I'd chosen my words more carefully. Way to talk to someone who's decided to commit suicide, I thought miserably. I pulled the blanket over my head.
The morning air was fresh and cool, but I didn't want to get up. I wasn't even hungry. I didn't have my keepsake, I didn't have the article. I'd found my family and lost them again. They wouldn't talk to me after what I'd done, would they?
I realized I was feeling sorry for myself, the very thing I'd accused him of doing, and pressed my lips together angrily. Great. I couldn't even take my own advice. Seems to run in the family.
Pulling the blanket aside, I glanced up. There he was, perched on the same branch Alice had occupied the night before. His face was sad, his eyes dark, but he was smiling. Or trying to, but it was definitely a smile. A beautiful, crooked smile. I can see why Mother fell in love with him, I thought dazedly, and the smile vanished instantly.
"Sorry," I muttered as I sat up and pulled the blanket around my shoulders, refusing to meet his eyes..
"Don't apologize," he said quietly.
Silence. I tried not to think of anything, which wasn't easy.
"My family's very grateful," he said eventually.
"They are?" I asked dubiously. "For what?"
"Saving my life."
"I yelled at you," I said, looking up again.
"Not many people do," he replied. "For obvious reasons." He flashed a predatory smile.
"They should," I muttered under my breath, and he chuckled again.
"Maybe," he allowed. "It's just…" He sighed. "It's hard. I left because I wanted to protect her. She wasn't safe as long as one of us was around. I loved her, and when she asked me…" He sighed again. "That night… I shouldn't have given in. If I hadn't she'd still be alive."
"I wouldn't exist," I whispered.
His eyes widened, shocked. "Gemma, I'm sorry, I didn't mean…"
I waved him off. "No, it's OK. When I realized I'd killed her…" I shook my head. "But I can't change it. Neither of us can. You know… She knew she'd die. She was trying to be… optimistic, but she knew she'd die. And she was OK with that. But she didn't blame you. Or me, for that matter. She thought she'd have a boy. She always called me Edward." His eyes darkened, but I went on, "She never knew she'd given birth to a daughter… She loved you. I know she did…" I trailed off. The sun had risen, and the thinnest ray of light filtered through the leaves, illuminating his face.
"Thank you for telling me," he said eventually. He leapt down and gently touched my cheek. "You look very much like your mother. The eyes…" He broke off.
"I have your hair." I managed a faint grin.
"You do," he agreed, and then he smiled. "Why don't you come back to the house? I'm sure they'd all like to see you."
"What about you?" I asked.
He smiled. "I'd like to get to know my daughter."