I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in a chorus, cheek to cheek).


Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).

"I Knew A Woman," Theodore Roethke

Chapter Thirteen — Of Whispers and Wonders


The time passed away slowly, minutes becoming hours as the moon moved across the sky. To my immense surprise, the electric blanket allowed me to hold Bella for a good portion of that time, as did infrequent trips to the shower where I set the water to scalding. It wasn't an uncomfortable feeling, startling, surely, but not uncomfortable. When you are a vampire you still feel cold and heat, but your body doesn't respond to them as it did when you were human. Cold and heat have limits that humans can endure, and for some reason vampires know those limits, but we have a higher range. I can feel cold, but I am not cold. I can feel heat, but I never truly get hot. It is a fascinating dichotomy. And one I was grateful to now because it allowed me to hold Bella and give her the illusion of warmth.

Hours had passed by the time I felt her stir against me. She had slept peacefully, only moving now that she was shaking the yoke of sleep off. It amazed me the trust she had put in me, and yet I understood it too. It was impossible not to trust her, and it seemed as though she reciprocated the feeling.

"Welcome back," I whispered, my voice automatically pitched low and intimately.

Bella blinked solemnly at me, before a smile curled about her lips and she leaned in to kiss me. "Hi," she said.

"Hi," I said, responding in kind. "Peaceful dreams?"

She giggled, "I don't remember. I would assume so, but I was quite tired…"

I grinned, loving the playful way she was looking at me. It amazed me that we could be so easy with each other, now after something so momentous had passed. Briefly, I unconsciously remembered my first night with Esme, and how patient I had had to been due to her horrible history. The afterward, though neither of us could sleep, had been awkward and tentative. I was trying so hard to be considerate of her feelings that I ended up making myself feel wretched. None of that was the same with Bella.


The voice whispered in the back of my mind, though I gave it no attention. The coming days and weeks and months would be hard enough what with Bella's coming change and her newborn year. I couldn't afford to have my attention split. I would tell Bella later. It wasn't as if it changed anything. We were already committed.

This is what I told myself, though I could hardly think the truth, even to myself. The honest and true fact of the matter was that I was scared. What if she didn't feel it? What if that binding was only one-sided, and because Bella was not a vampire she could not reciprocate it? Was I doomed to be mated to one who was not mated to me? Or would she form the bond once she was a vampire? Or had she already done so? A simple inquiry would have settled my mind, but I was not ready for the answer, be it unfavorable. And yet, I knew that our mating was mutual, it simply had to be. But it was in the space between uncertainty and knowledge that I allowed myself to hide.

Much of my reticence had to do with my own way of thinking things through and contemplating changes before they were acted upon. It went against my character to act precipitously, but fear was very real too.

So instead, I deflected. "Quite tired, hmm?" I grinned at her.

She laughed and smacked me lightly on the chest. "Are you just so proud of yourself?"

I nodded, still smirking, causing her to giggle.

"You know," she said, "you are still devastatingly attractive to me, even when you are being ever so cocky."

My smile softened, and I pulled her closer. Her body rasped against the sheets as she settled into my embrace. Tucking a strand of her mahogany hair behind her ear, I kissed her gently and said, "Any cockiness is due to the fact that it was wonderful, and we were wonderful together." Her dark brown eyes softened as I spoke. I continued, "Being with you was like…like nothing I've ever experienced before, but had always hoped for, understand? And let me set your mind at ease and say that it was the highest experience of my life, and nothing I have ever known before can compare."

She looked uneasy for a moment, opening her mouth to speak before closing it again.

"What?" I asked as I traced the divots of her spine. Her skin was like silk under my fingers. "Ask me anything. Let there be no fear between us, Isabella."

"Not even with Esme?" she asked quietly. Her face was apologetic, but there was a great desire for the truth writ plain across it.

"No," I said softly. "Not even with Esme. You have to understand, Bella, she was from a very different time. A time when women were often told that to feel pleasure in the marriage bed was a sin. Her first marriage certainly put paid to any hope she had that the opposite was true. Without betraying any confidences, I can say that all of the most horrible ways that a man could treat a woman, all the ways one could be degraded…that was Esme's experience. Much of Esme's first years as a vampire were…problematic to say the least. She had to unlearn everything that she had learned about what it meant to be in a relationship and how she saw herself.

"In many ways, I regret that I married her so quickly. I believed her when she told me she had loved me since she was a teenager, and that she was ready to marry and leave the past behind her. It was only after we were married and had left Ashland that I realized how much she had been deceiving me—and herself."

"But," Bella began, "I thought she wasn't upset about waking to find herself a vampire?"

"The two have little to do with each other, Bella," I said softly, stroking her back still. "She was happy to be a vampire and join me and Edward because it was a way out of the horrible life she was living. She was a woman—as many women had been in that time—who had always been taken care of. She went from her father's house to her husband's house, and her husband betrayed the trust she put in him horribly. When she became pregnant, it gave her an excuse to flee, but it wasn't something she wanted to do. There was no real desire for independent life. She wanted to be cared for. Much of Esme's outward caring and loving nature has to do with how she wishes to be treated."

I smiled sadly. "I mistook her gratitude and eagerness for a new life for love, as did she. It was only later when she sometimes didn't wish to be intimate, or shied away from my touch that I realized how much she truly had deceived herself. We take much of our human preferences into our new life, and I believe Esme took some much stronger than others. One was a belief that a woman was meant to endure the marriage bed, understand?"

Bella blushed softly. "I guess I always just assumed that because you were vampires…"

"What, that we had a more active sex life that normal people?"

Bella blushed again and nodded.

"I guess that is true to a certain extent," I said softly, thinking of some of the nomads I had come across over the years. Many had made their desires known, despite my lack of interest. "But just as sexual appetite changes from human to human, so it is with vampires." I paused, considering, and then said, "I loved Esme, and she loved me, but I think some problems we had in that area were indicative of a larger problem. I can't help but think that with the right man some of her fears and anxieties would have been eased." Like with Rosalie, I thought. She had been through horrors before her change, and yet she was able to create a strong and loving sexual relationship with Emmett.

"This isn't something that you need to worry about," I told Bella softly. "There was nothing wanting, and could never be anything wanting between us. I love you, and that's an end to it."

She smiled and kissed me. "I love you too." She then got a puckish look in her eye and said lightly, "And you are right, it was satisfactory."

I pulled away and propped myself up on an elbow and gave her a disbelieving look. "Just satisfactory?"

"Well," She teased, "there was no poetry, no fireworks, but everything else worked out fine."

I gave a disbelieving snort. The earth had practically moved. Her efforts at holding back laughter made me feel so young, that I happily played along. "Poetry, hmmm?"

A memory came to me, one that I had almost forgotten about until now.

It was from that summer, that eternal summer, in Forks. Bella had been stopping through my library to return a collection of poetry to me. It had been one of my older ones. The leather of the book's binding squeaked when she had handed it back to me. I had looked at her then, not appreciating the perfection of her form or the symmetry of her face. How little I had known.

"So how did you like the book of sonnets?" I'd asked her, smiling at Bella's enthusiastic face.

"Oh, it was wonderful," Bella had said, blushing. "It is very generous of you to allow me to use your library." She then gestured down at her cast-encased leg. "I think I would go mad otherwise."

"It's no problem; I am glad you are using your summer in such an industrious manner," I had replied. Placing the book back in its proper spot on the bookcase, I'd turned to her and said, "So, which sonnet was your favorite?"

"In that book? Probably Number 42 from Sonnets from the Portuguese." She'd then shaken her head. "But my favorite sonnet was not included in this book."

"What's your favorite?" I had asked, intensely curious about the puzzle that was my son's human girlfriend.

"Shakespeare's Sonnet 130," she then replied, smiling.

I'd searched my mind, then had looked at her in confusion. "Are you talking about the sonnet that is a laundry list of all the ways the woman isn't lovely?"

"I suppose you could look at it like that," Bella had said, "but that is not what I see in it. It is a sonnet about seeing your love for what they really are, knowing all their flaws, embracing all their faults, and loving them anyway. It is about the truest and deepest of loves. Edward likes to recite 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day' but that sonnet is about surface love, not the real kind. I think real love is when you feel just like Sonnet 130. You see everything as it is, your love as they are, and you wouldn't change a thing." Once she was finished speaking, she'd blushed heavily as if she just had realized all that she had confessed to me.

I'd stared at her in shock, unable to speak. There were many hidden depths to Isabella Swan.

Looking down at her now, I smiled in sudden inspiration. Rolling onto my belly, I quickly pinned her under me and placed my lips against hers, kissing her softly. Bella giggled, unsure what I was doing, but happy all the same.

I pressed a kiss against her stomach and looked up at her through my eyelashes. She was watching me with bated breath, and I could do naught but meet her expectations. I kissed my way up her body until I was hovering over her.

Cupping her face in my hands, I began to recite: "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red." I gently dragged my fingers across her lips as I spoke, feeling the softness of them. They were smooth and tempting, making me yearn for a kiss.

So I took one.

Then lowering myself down her body, I gently kissed the curvature of her right breast. "If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun." I gently traced my way around her nipple with my tongue, refusing to take the puckered bud in my mouth. Kissing the hollow between my Isabella's breasts, I smiled up at her. Her eyes met mine for a tender moment, and I knew she understood.

Taking a lock of her long brown hair, I wrapped it around my finger as I stroked her other nipple. "If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head." I drew shapes and swirls on her body with my cool tongue, smiling against her skin when Bella's head began to toss in frustration. It was only then that I sucked her rosebud nipple into my mouth, swirling it around before continuing: "I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks."

I moved slowly downwards, kissing and swirling my tongue against her skin, pausing and maintaining no pattern. "And in some perfumes is there more delight, than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak," Reaching her mound, I parted her curls and spread her legs before giving her a gentle, teasing lick against her most intimate flesh which caused her to scream out. I chucked slightly, whispering, "Yet well I know that music hath a far more pleasing sound."

I followed down her right leg, kissing my way to the instep of her foot. "I grant I never saw a goddess go; my mistress when she walks treads on the ground." I pressed a firm kiss to her right sole before blithely trading for the left. I grinned at her, and Bella gave me an answering one, but then I turned serious.

The grin slipped from my face as I crawled my way back up her body, kissing as I went. I had to make her see; to understand. I tried to give my next words as much meaning as possible. Tenderly, cherishingly, I cupped her face, gazed into her eyes, and whispered, "And yet, by heaven, I think my love as deep…as true…as rare, as any she…belied…with false compare."

Our eyes met in that moment, endlessly holding our gazes. I could not draw away, and I shielded nothing from her. All that I was, all I held dear, this and more, I showed her in that moment.

My fingers strayed again to her lips, gently caressing the tender, pink flesh, running my fingers over them and lightly scraping my knuckles against her teeth.

"I love you," I whispered softly.

"How do I love thee?" She whispered softly, "Let me count the ways."

I grinned because she remembered, and then I kissed her…because her lips had better uses than reciting poetry.


When I woke once more, it was to the sensation of cool lips between my shoulder blades. At sometime while I slept, I had rolled over onto my stomach, and my face was pressed into the pillow. Normally, I return to consciousness slowly, with a long drag time between awake and asleep. But this, this sensation, brought me to instant wakefulness.

Cracking open one eye, I asked, "Did I fall asleep again?"

Laughing gold eyes met mine along with a self-satisfied chuckle. "What can I say? I'm good."

I giggled. "No, don't say that. It's too early, or too late depending on your point of view, to be making me laugh at absurd things."

Carlisle's bottom lip pouted. "What exactly are you trying to say? Am I not hip, am I not with it?" His nimble fingers quickly found the tickle spots on the sides of my torso.

"No, please!" I cried out, laughing hysterically. "Mercy!"

My love chucked again, before ceasing. Lying back on the bed, I looked up into his handsome face and reached up to trace his jaw. He smiled, kissing my fingers. "What have you been doing while I was sleeping? Watching me like a creeper?"

He laughed again. "No, I was just thinking about things."

I laced my fingers through his with both hands and smiled. "Oh, things. I like things; tell me about things."

"Just…" he paused, the contours of his face looking thoughtful in the shadows. "We are going to get to spend the rest of our lives together. It's a lot."

"Too much?" I asked tentatively.

"No," he said softly. "I think it's just enough. Being with you Bella, it is like starting over, indescribably wonderful." He chuckled. "And yet I continually try to find some way to tell you how I feel."

Exerting a little pressure on his arms, I pulled him down to lay beside me. Our bodies seemed to naturally align as we lay together, fitting perfectly.

"Try," I commanded softly.

He was silent for a long time, our breathing the only sound in the room, until finally he spoke, "It is hard to explain the loneliness of being a vampire. If you are without a coven, you feel continually isolated. In truth, I sometimes think that the reason that vampires like James end up the way they do is because of loneliness and time. A person might isolate themselves, and live alone, but when they reach the natural end of their lifecycle, they die. It is not so with a vampire.

"We, we unhappy few, have to continually move on, so humans cannot discover us, and for the human drinkers it is for their protection as well. It is a solitary thing, this life. I have met only a few vampires who do not feel the weight of it. A friend of mine, Alastair, has lived for just over 700 years, and sometimes I think he is as mad as a hatter. He isolates and inoculates himself with paranoia, ever fearful of the Volturi and even other vampires. Another friend of mine, Garrett, can never stay in the same place. He has no interest in my lifestyle, and yet I think he could adapt to it easily, but chooses not to because it would've meant living isolated in a house with three couples and Edward.

"When I was in Volterra," he continued softly, "I arrived just after a vampire had left his newborn stage. He was very resentful of the Volturi at first. Aro chose him because he was considered a seer by his village in Spain. Aro thought as a vampire his gift would manifest like Alice's—I count my blessings daily that he still does not know of her—but truly the newborn's gift was more like knowing things, like strengths and weaknesses of other vampires. His name was Eleazar."

I recognized the name. Carlisle had mentioned him before, and told me that they exchanged letters. I understood that he was a member of Tanya's coven, and lived in Denali, but I had not known he once worked for the Volturi. Even the name sent a shiver down my spine.

"Eleazar was a good friend," Carlisle said softly, "even then. I taught him English and he taught me Castilian and Portuguese. When you are young like that, all the world is an adventure. The things your body can do are amazing. But your mind is equally so. I was able to teach him conversational English within a month. He was like a sponge, and happy to learn. Though I think he had some noble blood in him, education was not a guarantee back then, even among the nobility. He seemed to think I was the answer to all his questions, and happily would spend days with me within the Volterra library. I was learning too, trying to take in as much as I could about the arts and the languages spoken by the Volturi that I had never heard before. It was amazing to be in a center of learning like that, surrounded by ones just like me, and yet, even then, I was terribly lonely."

He turned to look at me, his eyes meeting mine with deep conviction. "I wanted something, someone, even then to ease my loneliness."

I raised an eyebrow, smiling at him. "There was no lady amongst the guard for you?"

He smiled at me. "No, not one. Though I considered it over the years, sex without love or intimacy is an empty thing, something I had no desire for. One vampire, Charmion, can create and sever bonds, and she tried many times to create a bond between us so that I would bed her, but she cannot create love. There was another, Heidi, who has an allure that she uses to draw people to her. She offered once or twice, but when I declined she lost interest. Much of her joy comes being appreciated for her beauty, and she had little use for me after I said no. There were two other single women then, Renata and Corin, but they were so tied to Aro that they thought of little but serving him."

He dragged one finger down my nose, and smiled. "I guess I was just looking for something else. Something special." He rolled our bodies so that he was on top of me.

"And have you found it?" I asked, looking up into his onyx eyes, love filling my own.

"Without question," he replied.

"Kiss me," I demanded.

"Gladly," he replied.

He plundered my lips, settling once again between my thighs. Very quickly desire filled me once more and I wondered at Carlisle's ability to make me want him so completely. What was it that he had over me? Why did I respond to him in a way I had not known myself to be capable of? Here I was, only hours after my first intimate encounter and though I was sore, I still wanted to continue.

When we pulled apart, I was panting softly.

"You are so beautiful," he whispered, gently stroking the pad of his thumb across my cheek bone.

I smiled, and then yawned, unable to fight the exhaustion of my body. Catnaps were only sufficient for so long.

Carlisle chuckled. "Have I been keeping you up?"

I nodded, yawing once more.

"Rest," he said, pulling me gently into his embrace. "This will all be still here when you wake."

"Carlisle, tell me about Volterra," I requested, settling into his embrace and closing my eyes.

"In the heart of Tuscany, lies a city that was founded with the Etruscans…"

His voice lulled me back to sleep, and sent me to my dreams.

I am not as I once was.

The girl I was has been altered somehow, rearranged and put back together differently. She is not what she once was; I am not what I once was.

The forest is thick; full of ancient oaks and soaring pines and leaning palms: trees that cannot go together anywhere but in a dream. I can hear the call of the animals: the parrot sings along with the owl. Beneath my feet the ground is cold and wet, and yet I know that it is not as cold as it might be. Something has changed.

I have changed.

I run.

What was once a blur in another's arms is now distinct and clear. I leap and scale, jumping from branch to branch and trunk to trunk before landing back on the ground and taking off in a new direction. My feet make no impression in the ground or in the mud, as if they are not touching the earth long enough to leave a marker of their existence behind.

There is no sun breaking through, and yet it is not dark. The sky is not visible, hidden by a canopy of tree limbs, but it seems right somehow, like being called home.

I know this place.

Ahead, the endless forest opens into a meadow beneath a clouded sky, yet not one that I have ever seen before. But it is important. I know that. Something is going to happen here; something shall be witnessed.

My running legs take me into the middle of the open field, and I pause.

Light breaks through the cloud bank, streaking across the meadow in shafts. One lands on my arm.

Something is different; something has changed.

I am sparkling.

Crystalline rainbows dance across my skin and I laugh, spinning round and trying to catch the sunlight with my torso. I know this too. I have seen beauty like this before, masculine beauty that belonged to another. But it belongs to me now, and I smile and dance with the light.

Eventually my twirling stops and I realize…I am not alone.

I barely make the decision to turn before it is done.

My eyes see clearly for the first time.

He stands at the edge of my clearing, smiling at me and waiting patiently for me to summon him.

I like that. I like him. He is all that is wonderful and beautiful and magical in the world and he is mine. He is mine and I am his, and this is a truth that even the trees know.

I smile, and he comes.

He stalks into the light, ignoring the moments when the shafts of light hit his skin, determinedly walking towards me.

"Having fun, my love?"

Oh yes, I remember this now. He is my love. My love is mine and I am his.

"I am sparkling in the sunlight," I sing at him. Stretching out a hand, I ask, "Join me?"

He laughs, before joining me in the patches of sunlight that crisscross our bodies. "You are beautiful," he says. "But then, I always knew you would be. I think you were born for this, Bella. You were meant to be a vampire."


Bella, you were meant to be a vampire.


I am Bella.

I remember now, and I want to dance in my joy. I am Bella and he is Carlisle, and we are love.

I giggle and laugh, and Carlisle spins me around to the sounds of my joy.

"Can they join us now, love? They have been waiting patiently."

I don't understand him. There is only us, and yet he beckons to the trees, as if something can see him.

Something does.

From the brush walk out a boy and girl, holding hands as they walk towards us. They look like babies, yet babies don't have that type of expression on their face. They smile at me and my love, as if we know them, and I feel confusion in my frame as I look into their sweet little faces.

The boy is like Carlisle in his features. That much is clear from looking at him, and yet he has chocolate curls on his head. His eyes are bright blue, and I wonder where those came from. His skin is pale, and there is something about it which fills me with familiarity.

The little girl, on the other hand, shares her hair color with Carlisle, and nothing else. Her face reminds me of pictures I once saw, but I can't remember why. I think she is beautiful, a perfect doll. Though her eyes are blue, they tend more towards violet than the clear blue of her brother's.

Her brother's?

Why have I assumed they are related?

But as soon as I question that thought, I can see the resemblance. They share skin color, and the shapes of their faces. Their eyes are the same shape, and their mouths are perfect replicas. They share height, and from looking at them, age as well.

Twins, then.

And then I remember. Twins, yes, now I remember everything. I remember the broken bones and the blood. I remember the pain in my love's eyes, and the fear too. I remember the venom and the screaming.

My screaming as I brought them into this world.

They are mine.

Blood of my blood, and flesh of my flesh. My children and twins who I loved more than my own life.

My loves, my babies. I open my arms and they run forward.


It is the sweetest sound in the world.

"You're awake!" the boy says.

"We waited patiently," the girl adds, jutting out her bottom lip. "I didn't like it."

"Waiting is over, my little ones," I say, kissing their rosy cheeks and basking in the sounds of their fast-beating little hearts.

"Papa said we had to wait and then you would wake," the boy says. He smiled adoringly up at Carlisle, who returns the smile to his son before scooping him up in his arms.

"And he did a wonderful job," Carlisle says, with a laugh. "Isn't that right, my little red-breast?"

The boy nods solemnly.

The girl smiles at me becomingly, lifting her arms in that universal gesture of children wanting to be held. I lift her into my arms and smile when my nostrils are filled with her scent. She smells nothing like food, more like home and the scent of my love.

Something tells me that they are walking and talking too quickly. But in that wonderful meadow I do not worry.

"And you, my sacred rose? Did you wait patiently?"

She lays her curly golden head on my shoulder and looks at me with her violet eyes. "I tried, Momma, but it was hard."

I laugh and kiss her brow.

"We should go back," Carlisle says, smiling. "The others are waiting for us, and I know they want to see you."

I clutch my golden daughter tighter to me, not ready to share her just yet. "Are they?" I ask. "I suppose they have been helping you with the twins."

"Yes," he says softly, glancing at our beautiful cherubs. "But I know they wanted you."

"Put me down, Papa! I want to walk!" the boys says, squirming in his father's arms.

As Carlisle puts him down, I see a bracelet on his wrist with the letters RCC on it. I look down and see that the little girl in my arms has a matching one with the letters ICC on it.

"Put me down too, Momma," my daughter says. "I want to run!"

I do as she asks and soon she and her twin are running ahead of us. My love takes my hand, and I smile at him.

He lifts our joined fingers to his mouth and kisses them, causing the rights on my finger to catch a flash of sunlight.

I turn back to call for the children, and they are no longer there. In their place are preteens, laughing and running ahead.

When did they grow so much? I only turned away for a minute.

"Did they…?"

Carlisle meets my confused eyes and smiles. "You slept and missed so much."

I look forward again and adults stand in the place of my children. I want to cry, but they are so beautiful and the tears won't come.

Vampires can't cry.

The boy is a man now, and he is beautiful. He looks like his father and smiles at me as if he can tell me a secret. The girl is a woman, grown now too, and she looks so familiar. Her face and form match my own, but for her eyes and blond curls.

My son and daughter: named for the fallen solider and the two mothers.

I want to call to them to come back, to stop them from walking so quickly.

Time is slipping away from me…and so are they.

I open my mouth to summon them back, when I choke on a scream.

From out of the dense foliage, emerges a shadow.

The shadow reveals itself to be dark figures, hooded and cloaked. There are three of them, and the one in the middle raises a pale and pointed hand at me in an accusing manner.

The two on the sides seize my grown children by the neck.

I scream and start to run, when bands of steel hold me back. They are my husband's arms.

"No sudden movements," he hisses. "Not when they have our children."

The middle figure removes his hood, and reveals a pale face. A face I can barely remember from a painting I had seen. "Isabella Cullen, you have been found guilty of breaking the laws of our world, the penalty for which is death."

Carlisle is suddenly yanked away from me, and it is only then that I realize our folly. They had come at us from behind as well.

The cloaked figures are everywhere, surrounding us and cutting off our only ways of escape. My husband, my son, and my daughter were all in the hands of these hooded monsters.


I spat the name in my mind. It was a cursed one and I knew it well.

"Kill me then," I say to the silent clearing. "And then let my family go. I alone am guilty of the crime."

"We do not make deals," the raven-haired vampire says. He then grins at me and I feel the venom in my veins turn to ice. "Besides, this is meant to be a punishment. However will you learn if you are dead?"

I can do nothing but scream and watch as my family is ripped to pieces and scattered on the forest floor. Blood and venom run through the tall grass, and the only sounds are my own helpless cries of defeat.

Even the birds have gone silent.

There is a flash of fire, and then all that I love are ashes.

The raven man smiles at me and leers, "Have you learned your lesson, Isabella?"

I sob and shake and fall to the ground.

I wanted nothing more that to go back and stop this from ever happening.

I want to undo whatever mistake brought these monsters to my door.

I want back my loving husband, and my boy, and my girl, and our future.

So I run.

The ground flies away under my feet.

Blood is all that remains, and none of it my own.

I am not as I once was.

And then I woke.

Okay, so I think this chapter answers where this fic is going. I won't be offended if I lose some readers, as I know that many people don't like baby fics. I wanted to try one, however, and I think it will be fun. I am going to stick to canon and try to make it fit seamlessly into my story. I will say, though, that I think I have given ample hints along the way that this was coming. I had always planned to do this, and I have had reviewers asking me from the beginning if they were reading my hints correctly. The writer's block came from events that will come later; believe me when I say you will know when you get there.

In the little dream sequence, I gave away many details and things that will be significant later. Close readers might be able to deduce the baby names, along with the future plot of the story. Was the dream a glimpse of the future, or simply a coincidence? You decide. I wanted to mimic the dream Bella had in Breaking Dawn, but slightly altered.

The Sonnet that Carlisle recites is Shakespeare's 130. The line that Bella recites back is Sonnet 42 from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Fun fact: Charmion is actually Chelsea. According to the illustrated guide, she didn't change her name to Chelsea until the 1950s, so Carlisle would know her by her original name, or whatever pseudonym she was going by at the time. There is also no mention of when Afton comes along, so I chose him coming after Carlisle leaves the Volturi. All the info I used on Eleazar and the Volturi was from the Illustrated Guide, with some expansions and explanations provided by me.

End Part One: Time Present and Time Past

To be continued in Part Two: In My End Is My Beginning