I remember the first summer I spent with Edward. It was one of the best of my life. I was almost eight years old and I was convinced he was an angel sent down to play with me while I was stuck at my dad's for the summer. When I went back five years later and discovered the truth, I felt an even deeper appreciation for the creature who had spent hours playing pretend with me in the woods. I was so sure that I had imagined him and I couldn't wait to find out if he was real or not. The summer before I turned thirteen I begged my mom to let me go back to Forks to spend the summer with my dad again. Edward was all I could think about the whole flight there. It was the first time I had flown alone and I used the alone time to remember all the time spent with Edward and hope that there would be more to come. About halfway to Forks I realized that I didn't know anything about him. I didn't know how old he was, where he lived, who is family was. He could be away at college for all I knew. He could have just been my imagination trying to make up for a lack of friends.
I remember my first night in Forks that second summer – I found myself unable to wait any longer. I made sure that Charlie's snores were deep and rhythmic before climbing out my window and running into the woods. I knew subconsciously that it was a dangerous idea to run into the woods alone at night, but I secretly hoped Edward would be there to meet me. I wasn't disappointed.
I remember that as quickly as he noticed how much I had grown, I noticed how much he had not. He was – literally – the exact same person I left behind. Same hair cut, same build, same bewildered expression. When he told me he was seventeen – and that he continued to be seventeen, I remember that my heart leapt with joy.
I remember that it wasn't until I was fifteen and a half that he finally allowed himself to be close to me. He kissed me after I got home from a date with Mike Newton. I remember him taking me to meet his family, though I don't remember much about that trip aside my conversation with Rosalie. Unfortunately that story is not one easily forgotten.
I remember Edward coming to my house and introducing himself to my father as Anthony Mason. I remember the way I felt when he begged me to marry him on my sixteenth birthday. I remember politely declining and the way his face fell. I remember our compromise. It took him two years to convince me, but three months after I turned eighteen I married Edward Cullen. I felt guilty leaving my father out, but Edward promised me it didn't have to be a production. I remember I tripped on our way out of Town Hall. I remember the way his fingers caressed my cheek before he kissed me softly on the night we were wed. The way he filled me, and, after years of waiting, I finally felt complete.
I remember crying weakly as he asked me one more time if I was sure this was what I wanted. I remember kissing him and holding him tightly as he bit down into my neck, changing me so we could be together forever.
It's been two days, thirteen hours, and seven minutes since Edward bit me. The pain was unbearable at first and I don't want to even think what he went through while I screamed like I'm sure I did. Eventually, though, I fell silent and suffered alone. I thought of Edward and all he was giving me. I thought of the life I could at last start living.
Edward hasn't left my side once. He holds my hand and strokes my cheek and speaks to me as if I could answer. He's told me he loves me seventy-two times. He begs me to squeeze his hand – anything – so he knows I'm still here, but I know if I move that I won't be able to control my reaction to this pain. He tells me it's almost over.
It's been two days, twenty hours, and forty-two minutes since Edward bit me. Opening my eyes, he's the first thing I see. Despite the pain in my throat, despite the jelly feeling throughout my body, despite the extensive amount of information rapidly entering my brain, I could focus only on Edward.
He looks at me with the same bewildered expression I always associated with him. I raise my eyebrow at him with the same intent.
"Bella?" He's hesitant, leaning over me. Before he can say another word, I lean up and capture his lips in my own.
"You're warm," I smile, slightly surprised by my own voice. He smiles back.
"So are you."