Chapter 21: Blake

A/N: I own nothing – I have a house, but the bank actually owns it. Characters are all Stephenie Meyers' creations really. I just enjoy torturing them occasionally. Thanks must go to my ever-supportive (especially in a crisis) fic-wifeys (Gabbysway2 & CorrinaTFF).

And big thank you smooches to BoydBlog for her mad skillz

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Blake Micheals

I understood everything.

I understood why Bella had always been so broken. I realised why she could never allow herself to love me wholly and without fear. I knew now that she was always afraid of being hurt. No matter what I did, she would always think I had one hand on the door. Fight or flight.

I watched as my family gathered around my bedside to say their goodbyes. Everyone suspected it was my time to go, but no one knew it as clearly as I did. My death was a long time coming. It had been twelve months since my Bella had passed, and even longer since she had left me. It caused my death; her pain, my pain and our inability to find common ground. It had eaten away at me like cancer, and had become terminal on her passing.

Death would be a release for me.

It's strange, in the final moments of your life, everything becomes crystal clear. It was in those final few minutes, I knew without a doubt my human life was ending, that everything fell into place. My soul was moving on.

I knew why Bella had placed that final call to me the morning of her death. She had known her time was coming and she had learned the truth. I could still recall the way her voice faltered down as she whispered that she loved me, and that she had always loved me. She asked me to come back to Forks, she told me she needed to tell me something. I hadn't understood her motivation to call me at the time; yet I'd rushed to Forks as quickly as I could. I could still recall every word of the phone call with perfect clarity.

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My PDA vibrated and the ring tone announced that it was Bella calling. I took the call immediately; I could never leave Bella waiting.

It was only a few days ago that she told me she'd legally signed the deed of her house over to Carianne as a gift. It wasn't a huge surprise, she'd indicated for a while that she wanted to do it as a thank you to Cari for putting up with her. I tried to explain countless times that I knew Cari didn't feel that way, none of us did, and yet Bella always thought she was burdening us somehow.

"Hi." Bella's voice was frail and timid. Her tone disconcerted me. It had been a long time since I'd heard that timid tone, the last time she'd asked me for a separation in fact. I tried to push the pain of the memory out of my head.

"What is it?" I hadn't meant to sound so rude or abrupt, but worry had seized me and turned the blood in my veins cold.

"I just need to talk to you," she murmured. "I don't suppose you could come to Forks?"

"Sure." I didn't even have to think about it. I was always willing to run to Bella whenever she called. The only reason I didn't live with her was because she didn't want me to any more.

"I think I'll be able to get there next weekend," I said.

"No. Can you come today?" Her voice was almost a quiet whisper. "I need you now."

"Bella, what is it?" I was more than a little anxious now.

"I need to see you. I need to say I'm sorry. I shouldn't have…I should've realised."

"You should have realised what? Please what is it?"

"I love you."

I frowned. This wasn't news. I knew she loved me, but it was never quite enough.

"I love you too," I responded.

"No, Blake, I love you. I should've seen it earlier. We've missed so much that we should have shared and I know it's my fault. If I had known it could have been different. There were so many things you had in common, if only I'd been open enough to see it."

"You're scaring me."

She laughed nervously. "I'm sorry. It will be easier if I can tell you in person. Can you come today, please?"

I looked at the time on my TV-wall; it was still early morning. I could drive up and see her and still be back in time for work on Monday. Then I noticed the date. I knew I had to go. I couldn't deny her request on such a special day. "Yes, Bella. I'll be there as soon as I can."

"Thank you, Blake. Please hurry, I need to explain everything, I owe it to you." She sounded relieved. Her voice dropped lower and she whispered desperately, "I want you both with me, please." She almost sounded afraid. Carianne must be with her? I realised.

I had a stirring of hope that maybe she was reconsidering my offer. I'd been begging her for months to try once more. I valued our friendship, but I couldn't deny my love for her. I knew fate had led me to meet her all those years ago.

"Of course," I murmured soothingly. "I'll be there soon."

"Thank you." The relief was evident in her voice.

"Oh, and Bella…"

"Yeah."

"Happy birthday."

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I almost arrived too late.

I had knocked on the door for three minutes and tried calling her repeatedly, all to no avail. Eventually, I let myself in with the key. I was greeted with a sombre silence. I searched the house and eventually found her in the kids room.

Her eyes were closed and she looked at peace. I touched her arm and she turned her head toward me. Her breathing was laboured and her eyes could barely focus on me.

"Edward…" she murmured. "You came."

I didn't have the heart to tell her I wasn't Edward. She looked so tired, and so very exhausted. Her skin was pasty and covered with a sheen of sweat.

"I'm going to call the hospital," I whispered comfortingly.

"NO!" she whisper-shouted as she reached out and grabbed my hand with unreasonable strength for how frail she looked. "It's too late. Just stay with me please?"

I nodded, tears welling in my eyes. My Bella was dying.

"I know all about you," she murmured. "Thank you for everything you have done."

I leaned further over her, touching my forehead to hers. "I'll always be here for you, Bella."

Her hand reached up and stroked the side of my face lightly, watching me intently. Her eyes met mine and it felt like she was staring right down into my soul. "I should have known, the eyes should have given you away. They weren't the right colour, but they're your eyes, Edward."

I screwed my eyes tightly shut so that she wouldn't see my pain. It was the second time in our short conversation that she had called me by her old boyfriend's name. I couldn't deny the agony I felt that in her final moments, it was him that she truly wanted. He hadn't been there for her. He had been the cause of her sadness. He hadn't raced around at three in the morning trying to find somewhere that sold the ingredients for Harry Clearwater's fish fry because it was her latest pregnancy craving. He hadn't watched as she nursed our children. Yet I knew he was the one that held her heart.

She shifted slightly beneath me before kissing both of my eyelids.

"Blake, please…look at me."

I opened my eyes to see her smiling.

"I know it doesn't make sense, but even if I had all the time in the world, I couldn't explain it to you. But know that I've always loved you. I will love you for as long as I know you will love me…"

Her voice was soft and she seemed to be struggling to breathe. I wanted to tell her to relax.

Her head rested back on the pillow and she closed her eyes with a smile. "Forever. I'll be waiting."

I pressed my lips softly against hers and inhaled her last breath.

My first instinct was to hold her tightly and tell her that I loved her over and over, but no amount of words would wake her up again.

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In the days, weeks and months following her death, I had tried to work out what she meant in our last cryptic conversation. I knew she had known her time was coming, but I didn't know how.

When I met the unusual pixie-like girl with the short black hair and she had told me who I was and how Bella had known, it hadn't made any sense. Even when I stared into the haunted black eyes that the girl had sworn were once mine—the black eyes which seemed so tortured—I had questioned her sanity.

But in my final moments…I knew.

I wasn't who I thought I was.

My life wasn't my first life.

I could recall everything Bella had told me during two lives that spanned many lifetimes. I could recall the letters she'd left me and everything she'd promised. I remembered my own promise and years spent watching over the children of my children. I knew I was the only one with a silent mind not because of any twist or special power, but because my thoughts were his thoughts. I remembered both longing for a human life with Bella, and how wonderful our life had been.

I am Edward.

I am Blake.

I was Bella's first love.

I was Bella's only love.

I broke her.

I fixed her.

I couldn't offer her a family.

We had three children together.

I loved her completely.

She loved me in return.

I left her for her own good.

I let her drive me away whenever she needed space.

I understood. She was drawn to me just as I was drawn to her. Two souls inextricably bound, tied so tightly we survived and loved despite the pain we caused each other.

I regretted not knowing earlier.

I could have…

I would have…

I wouldn't have changed a thing.

I closed my eyes, knowing that the next time I opened them, I would see her.

She would be waiting for me.

She would always wait for me.

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Blake Henry Michaels

May 1985 - September 2055

His Angel was Waiting

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A/N:- Wow the responses to the last chapter just blew me away! I hope you enjoyed this one just as much and that it answers your questions (or at least the main ones)

I want to take a moment to say a huge thank you to Boydblog who began betaing this for me a few chapters in. I can hands down say that she helped me take this from how it could have been to how it is now. I want to thank her publicly for not being afraid to question me and for pushing where she felt a little more was needed and for taking on this story even though it was heavy angst & didn't have a planned HEA.

And finally about that...I know some people will regard this ending as HEA, others won't, but it is what it is ;)

I hope you have enjoyed this, I know I've loved sharing it with you.