AN: This is it, sweetie pies, the end. Massive note at bottom.

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Epilogue: Sleep

in the middle of the night
head on my pillow
looking like a little ghost
seems like all of the things
that you gave me mother
have all gone up in smoke

in the middle of the night
you don't know what I'm thinking
but still the stars do sparkle and shine
seems like all of the time
our boat was slowly sinking
you didn't even seem to mind

now all I want to do is sleep
now all I want to do is sleep
now all I want to do is sleep

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Bella,

I kept my promise. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, harder than abstaining from your inherent sweetness when every instinct begged me not to, harder than telling you "no" when all I ever wanted was to say "yes", and harder than leaving you in the forest, alone and broken. At times, I wished that I wasn't that strong, that I could justify returning to you, even decades later, whether I would be welcome or not.

It's over now though, all of it. You have no idea how many times I wanted to step in, just for a quick glimpse of your heart-shaped face, but I knew it would have been impossible to ever recover from that. So, I stayed away because I was afraid, afraid of what would happen if I didn't, afraid of finally losing control, afraid of what that would mean for either of us.

I stayed away from everyone else, too. I couldn't stand to see them so perfectly happy when I lost everything I thought that I would never find—nor could I risk seeing you through Alice's eyes, having you burned into my memories was excruciating enough.

Being away from my family was almost as agonizing as being separated from you. I wanted to be with them, but I couldn't, not after everything that had happened. Constantly seeing how they thought I made my biggest mistake yet was as bad as the memories I had of abandoning you. The pity they had for me was why I had to leave. I couldn't watch myself through their eyes any longer.

I know that I am going to be causing them even more pain soon, but I can't help it. This is my fate. This world means nothing to me without you in it. And now that you are gone, I have served my fleeting purpose.

Your letters told me everything. I found them at the house. I'm glad that you gave me the unintended chance to see inside your head. I cannot apologize enough to you for all the misery I put you through, but it was worth it in the end. You found love. You had a family. You got to live.

It appears as if you've never found my missive to you, thank God for that. Leaving that for you was a huge error on my part. I had no right to do that. It was incredibly selfish of me. If you had found it—I don't want to think on it. I am certain that at one point it would have caused you even more terrible hurt, none of which you deserved, ever. I caused enough of that already. I will regret that for that rest of my limited existence.

I returned to Forks for your memorial. It was probably a bad decision on my part, but I couldn't stay away any longer. I knew that I couldn't attend, but I got as close as I could. It's a small comfort, knowing that I got to say farewell to you, from no matter how far. Your soul is in a better place now, with your love. I never could have offered you that.

You said you didn't want any flowers, but I couldn't help it. You deserve everything I could ever give you, even if you resisted so stubbornly. I put them all out to sea, so they could join you. My last gift to you has been well-received, much better than any other present I tried to give you myself. I thought it would make you happy; that's all I ever wanted—for you to be happy.

Can I say how very proud I am of you? I know that I have no right to be, but I am, nonetheless. I read your books, every last one, so often that I've had to replace them when I cracked their spines and the pages began to fall out. They were another gift from you, a glimpse into your life. Whenever I was particularly lonely, I imagined your voice reading them to me, as I held you in our unconsummated bed.

You have such a beautiful family. I caught a glimpse of them from afar as they were leaving the beach. Your daughter is a perfect blend of you, her father, and herself. I could recognize that shade of hair anywhere, definitely yours. You must have been so proud of her. Charlotte is astoundingly lovely, and so clever, much like her grandmother.

I can't believe that you have—had—a granddaughter, an entire family. You must have loved them all so much. If I hadn't stepped away, they would have never existed, and that would have been its own tragedy, to be certain. I'm glad that you got to have that; it was yet another thing that I would have never been able to give to you.

When I was seventeen, I thought I would die in the burning flames of my transformation. Then, I met you and I thought that I would certainly perish from the heat that you set aflame in me. It seems only fitting that now, many years after my body should have left this world, I will let the flames claim me.

All of it was worth it: the pain, the sacrifice, the debilitating loneliness. Your happiness was the reason for my existence. Ever since I met you, I knew that to be true. Now that your have reached you final resting point, I can too. After sixty-two years of loving you, I am free. This is another vow that I'm going to keep.

Edward

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AN: I can't believe that this is finished. It is, truly. Tons and heaps of gratitude to my original cheerleader, Rebecca. I hope you are happy and well, darlink. Mon, I think I might have thrown in the towel long ago if not for you. You are my OTP, bb. H, you are a queen among betas. Thanks for jumping in and keeping me and my comma splices from the general public.

And to my readers, if I haven't scared you all off yet, thank you. I cannot say it enough. Thanks for reading, reviewing, alerting, recommending… I'm going to be taking a bit of a break to recover, but will be back soon-ish with some stories. There is definitely a one-shot coming on 11/01/10, and more after that, methinks.

Love,

Meredith