Title: Like You, 1/1

Author: Goddess Evie

Genre: HR, Angst

Summary: What Edward was up to after he learned from Jacob that Bella was dead in New Moon.

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of the related characters (although I would like an Edward of my own ~_^) and I am making no money from this nor seeking to make money from this. Also, the song "Like You" belongs to Evanescence and I make no claim as to ownership.

Author's Notes: This is supposed to fit into the narrative of New Moon. It would start at the point where Jacob says, "He's at the funeral" and ends when Edward opens his eyes to see Bella there with him and utters, "Amazing. Carlisle was right." I would suggest going to Stephenie Meyers website and reading the excerpt she wrote from Edward's point of view when he talks to Rosalie and Jacob and then continuing from there. Also, I've always thought this song was PERFECT for the way Edward was feeling when he thought Bella was dead, so I really couldn't resist using it to write this part of part of New Moon from Edward's point of view. So, I would suggest finding a copy of it, putting it on repeat, and listening to it as you read. This story has been calling to be written since the first time finished the book, and I'm very glad to finally get it down and out. I hope you enjoy!

P.S. Yes, I AM a Twilight fan. I know a lot of you don't like Twilight and you have your reasons, but I DO like Twilight and I have my reasons. Also, an apology for my fellow JQ or X-Men fans who were hoping this was an update for either of those stories. Sometimes you just have to write something else, and this was my something else. Now, back to my other WIPs.

Like You

Stay low, soft, dark and dreamless

Far beneath my weakness and loneliness

I don't know how long I sat in that dark, dirty crawl space with those words echoing through my mind. Really, to be honest, it was just one word, funeral, overlapping Rosalie's revelation. They bounced around as if trying to take purchase, but I was having a hard time gripping the reality of the situation. My own mind was so very kind to me, at first, lying to me. Telling me that it was just a dream, or, worse-but still better than the truth-some sick joke cooked up by Rosalie and her pettiness. It let me believe for a short while that she wasn't really gone...

"Bella's dead."

Thinking it to myself made it suddenly real. I couldn't deny it anymore. No lies would bring her back. No deceits would allow me to touch her soft hair, smell her sweet blood, kiss her warm mouth. She was gone and it was time for me to die, also.

Without a second thought, I turned and crawled out of the grimy hole I'd stuffed myself into for…how long now? I couldn't even remember, but it didn't matter. Nothing did. I had only one thing on my mind. One thing left for me to do. Keep my promise to Bella. She'd been horrified when I'd told her. I remember the expression on her face like the conversation had happened just moments ago, instead of months. That didn't change my resolve, however.

I hate me for breathing without you

I don't want to feel anymore for you

The promise had always been more for me than her. When I fulfilled it, it would already be too late for her to be affected by it. I think now that I probably should never have told her, but I couldn't ever stop myself from telling her everything…

The Rio ghetto was thriving with life even this late into the night, as if mocking me. I deposited my phone into the first garbage can I came across and then moved through the city too quickly to be spotted. The scent of human filth mixed with Latino cooking assaulted my nostrils as I flew through the streets and alleys, cheerful music and laughter blared in my ears, and the garbled Spanish of the natives drifted into my thoughts. I ignored it all and focused merely on getting to the nearest major airport.

As I tried (and failed more often than not) to keep the almost paralyzing thoughts of Bella from the front of my mind, my feet carried me through the city, my mind focused on two things: calculating my location and planning my suicide.

I wasn't kidding when I'd told Bella how envious I was of Romeo, as fickle as he was. The kid didn't know what love really was. He and Juliet barely knew each other, and yet when he thought she was gone, it was so easy for him to take his own life.

"Too easy," came Bella's voice in my mind and I admit that I stumbled, almost fell. It was sheer vampire skill and grace that allowed me to correct myself before I crashed a trench through the middle of the alley I was passing through.

"Bah," I answered, despite my pain screaming at me that it was impossible for Bella to be there to have a conversation with. "Too easy is easy enough."

"And yet if he'd waited just ten more seconds to drink the poison…"

But I didn't have the luxury of hope that Romeo did, even if he had been too foolish to see the signs that Juliet really was alive. Bella was dead. Alice had predicted it, Rosalie had broken the news to me, and one phone call had confirmed it.

Grieving for you, I'm not grieving for you

Nothing real love can't undo

I faltered for real, this time. I dropped to my knees, skidding in a puddle of something or a mix of things that I probably didn't want to know the origin of. If only vampires could cry, but the venom in my body had dried up my tears decades ago. Still, my body reacted in a similar fashion, my shoulders heaving with sobs, my throat contracting as if I couldn't breathe enough of the air that I didn't actually need. My hands closed into fists on my knees as I fought to keep from castrating myself on the pavement with grief and more pain than I'd ever had to bear as a human or vampire…or anything in between.

I pulled myself together with one thought; that I had a promise to keep. A promise I'd made to Bella. And I couldn't break another promise to her. Not after so utterly failing to protect her. I staggered to my feet, forced my body to stop shaking, raised my head, and began running again.

I barely noticed when the night began to fade and the sun peeked over the horizon. I paid attention to my surroundings only enough to avoid human contact. That was all the notice I gave them. Otherwise, my mind tortured me with memories of Bella. They were sweet and so agonizing all at the same time.

I could hear the thoughts of citizens, just waking to a new day in the city, or going to bed after enjoying the Rio de Janeiro nightlife. More importantly, I heard the roar of airplanes overhead, landing and taking off. I was near my destination, and yet still too far away.

And though I may have lost my way

All paths lead straight to you

It was easy to follow the signs that led straight to the airport. I paid no attention to street names or labels, merely followed the arrows. The letters all jumbled up to read only one name, anyways. Bella. Isabella. Isabella Swan. Isabella Cullen…

I willed myself to slow down as I joined the airport foot traffic, fighting the urge to move faster, get to my destination. I knew there was only one way I'd be able to achieve death. Only one way to finally have the eternal rest that I'd cheated so long ago when Carlisle had taken me away from that hospital and bitten me.

The Volturi. Vampire royalty…or the closest thing to it.

I'd never wanted to have anything to do with them before. It was always enough for me to know that they existed but left my family and I alone. Carlisle always spoke fondly of them when he shared stories of his time spent with them, but I'd never needed to experience them myself. Now, I couldn't get to Italy fast enough.

Standing in line waiting on the slow humans to make their transactions, finalize their tickets and settle their luggage made me wish that my powers allowed me to do more than just read minds. I envied Jasper, at that moment, being able to manipulate people with their powers. There had to be a way to make this line move more quickly.

I long to be like you

Lie cold in the ground like you

I knew I must have been slowly going insane when I reached the front of the line and swore that, for a split second, it was Bella looking at me from across the ticket counter and not the airport employee. Especially since, when her face disappeared, I was looking at an older lady with blonde hair and blue eyes. She looked nothing like Bella, but it still took me a moment to recover.

The lady waited patiently, looking worried. Her thoughts were in Spanish, but when I requested a ticket in English, she was able to reply in kind. I made the transaction as brief as possible. Did they have any flights open to Italy? No, nothing directly there. What about to Europe in general? The only two flights were both booked. How about to New York?

I purchased a ticket for the soonest flight, handing over my credit card without having heard the cost. What did it matter? The cost was already too high. What was a few hundred more dollars?

I ignored the risks and moved through the crowded airport with vampire speed. They were inconsequential compared to the ones I'd already taken. If anyone noticed me, they didn't say anything, as far as I knew-not that I cared.

I leaned against the wall in the overcrowded waiting area, and for once welcomed the deluge of thoughts into my head. It was a welcome distraction and as I listened to the clamor of a language I didn't know I closed my eyes. I had to open them again when I pictured Bella's smiling face. She shouldn't have been smiling, like she didn't blame me for anything. She should have been angry, accusing. I didn't deserve her smile.

Gazing around at the other people wasn't an improvement. I saw her face in impossible places. The mother doting on her toddler; the teenage girl listening boredly to the music blaring from her headphones; the little girl playing with her doll. I closed my eyes again to shut out the images and willed the voices in my head louder.

Halo, blinding wall between us

Melt away and leave us alone again

I'd so entrenched myself in the thoughts of other people, incomprehensible as the language was to me, that I almost missed the call for my flight. I hurried up to the counter, flashed my ticket, and headed down the ramp to the plane. My seat was first class, the only seating still available. The plane was small, and first class didn't mean much more besides a separating curtain, a slightly wider, cushier seat and an inch or so more legroom. At least I was alone in my row.

I sat next to the window, far from the aisle and any other passengers. I lowered the shade on the window, shutting out the bright sun. I stopped a stewardess as she was running by and requested a blanket and a pillow. I was probably ruder than I needed to be, but hearing her thoughts (she happened to be a native English speaker) immediately turn to how attractive I was to her and start to make plans to flirt didn't help.

She retrieved the blanket and pillow too quickly, and she wanted to shower attention on me, to wink and smile and give not-so-subtle hints that she was showing me favoritism. I took the items from her without a thank you, placed the pillow at the corner of the seat and wall, spread the blanket over myself, turned my back to her and pretended to fall asleep. The stewardess waited a moment before leaving me be.

I ignored everyone and everything while the rest of the passengers got settled into their seats, emergency procedures were covered and the plane took off.

A humming, haunted somewhere out there

I believe that love can see us through in death

The plane rides were the worst part of it all-from Brazil to the US and then from the US to Italy-left alone for long hours. I couldn't make the other people's thoughts loud enough to drown out my own roiling emotions. Bella's face was everywhere; I could easily pick out her voice among all the voices in my head, even though hers was the only one that wasn't real. She smiled, she laughed, she looked at me with love, adoration, even forgiveness sometimes. I could only hate myself more. I wasn't worthy of such visions of her. Again I couldn't help wondering where her anger was, her hatred. Where were her pointing fingers and condemnation?

The hardest was when she looked at me with longing, her eyes inviting me, her hands reaching out towards me. I think my imagination may have filled in the rest, though if I weren't a vampire I would have thought it a dream. She was surrounded by pearl colored clouds, which faded away to reveal the deep green of a Washington pine forest. Even then I knew that this was heaven.

I had no doubt that Bella was in heaven. Surely any person who could love a vampire, anyone who could find good in a monster like myself, deserved to go to heaven.

And for a moment, I let go of all I knew to be true, and allowed myself the small fantasy that I could and would rejoin her. I mentally gave into Bella's insistence and Carlisle's speculations that I was still eligible for heaven. I imagined her waiting there for me, swooning a little at the sight of me like she always used to do, whether we'd been separated for hours, or mere minutes. I felt her arms go around my waist, locking tightly in place, and her cheek against my chest, and that she was still warm and alive. Then she turned her face up to mine, looking so happy.

"I will be happy…"

I long to be like you; lie cold in the ground like you

There's room inside for two and I'm not grieving for-I'm coming for you

Hearing her voice so distinctly again broke off my daydreaming. I couldn't let myself hold onto a false fantasy, anyway. I knew it could never be. Even if I did have a chance of meeting her in heaven, surely I'd botched that opportunity with all I'd done to her. She should still be alive if not for me. I had asked her to risk too much and all for my selfish desires.

The only desire I had now was to join her in death; to stop existing completely. It was not fair that I would avoid the guilt and pain I deserved to bear by seeking out my own end. A few hours of bearing the knowledge that she was dead because of me was not sufficient punishment. I should have some everlasting price to pay like those Christians were always threatening.

The plane landed in Italy and I stepped out of the airport to a perfect spring day.
Volturi. Volturi. Volturi.
The word was my mantra, forced there to replace her name. If I just focused on them, then she couldn't fool me with her smiles, her laughter; so real, so deceiving. Immediately I slipped into the shadows away from the bright sunlight. I scanned the vehicles lining the pickup zone, then ducked away. Too many people around to steal any of these.

I headed for the long-term parking and zoned in on a car. My hand was on the door handle before I realized how old and rusted it was. It was a car, and not a truck, but I was immediately hit with the feeling of breathlessness. It was ridiculous. I didn't need air, so why did I suddenly feel like I would die if I couldn't take a decent breath?

Slowly I backed away. I shut my eyes tight and pressed the heels of my hands against them. Instantly Bella popped up behind my lids, watching me intensely, as if she were trying to tell me something, but couldn't speak. I opened my eyes wide and stared into the brightest patch of sunlight I could find, burning her face from my vision.

Immediately I moved to the nicest, shiniest, fastest car in the parking garage. Fast was the key criteria. Fast with a low profile. I needed to go fast and I needed to not stand out. It was no problem to get into the driver's seat and start the engine. There were too many shady hobbies a vampire was forced to learn, especially those of us trying to assimilate back into the human world. It was mere moments before I was out on the road, slipping and sliding through airport traffic and into the city, using the thoughts of the people around me to find the best path out of the city.

You're not alone, no matter what they told you.

You're not alone. I'll be right beside you forever more.

The long drive to Volterra wasn't as bad as the plane rides. I had to focus on my driving, although such an act was second nature to me; more natural than breathing. Once I got out of the city, my mind quieted as the thoughts of the people grew fainter. I used to relish these times when I was truly left to my own thoughts, only. Now I longed for the distraction of thousands of other voices in my head. I tried to concentrate on searching out for other thoughts, since those would most likely belong to the policia looking for speed violators like myself. I'd outrun them, in this car, if I was caught, but I'd rather go unnoticed if it could be helped.

These distractions were superficial at best, and nowhere near enough to keep painful thoughts of Bella from my mind. I didn't think I had the right to avoid the accompanying anguish to thoughts of her, but I also didn't have the right to think of her, to cherish the memories I had of her. Of course, if I hadn't been strong enough to stay away from her in life, then I shouldn't be surprised at how weak I was against keeping her out of my mind in death. It took only the most fleeting of thoughts.

Volterra could not come into my sight soon enough, and when I saw the crimson flags and banners I almost felt relief. A day before the famed Saint Marcus Day celebration and the city seemed crowded to bursting. It wasn't so full that they weren't allowing cars within the city limits; the congestion wouldn't get that bad until tomorrow. I managed to drive quite far into Volterra before finally abandoning the car and going it on foot. I slipped into an alley, climbed the craggy wall in seconds and moved through the city on the rooftops.

Mere moments and I was outside the headquarters of the Volturi, or perhaps I should say head offices, since the building I was looking at from the nearest rooftop was an office building. I wasted no time jumping down into a deserted alley and then moving across the street and into the building's front lobby, so spacious and sunny. Luckily, the security desk was in shadow and I approached and requested to see the Volturi themselves.

The guards at the desk seemed perplexed and I imagined they didn't get such a forward request very often. They asked if I had an appointment and I told them no, but when I gave them my name and asked them to convey my desire to meet with the Volturi, one of them got on the phone and spoke quietly, though not quietly enough for vampire ears.

Volturi, Volturi, Volturi.

A very brief amount of time passed before the reply came, as I knew it would. Carlisle had always told me of the Volturi's desire to meet me. Now, they had their chance. I was given the directions to the top floors and debated taking the stairs instead of the elevators. However, I knew I was being watched, and I didn't want to raise an alarm to the wrong people, no matter how agonizingly slow elevators moved.

I found myself in a long hall after switching elevator banks more than once and passing a human secretary, Gianna, who knew exactly who I was and what I was and motioned me through the wooden doors behind her. Two vampires who had been turned at an alarmingly young age were waiting for me and introduced themselves as Alec and Jane. They greeted me with smiles and cordiality, but I didn't miss the way they looked at me before they turned and led me down the ornate hallway.

We stopped halfway to the golden doors at the end of the hall and passed instead through another wooden door, plain and hidden behind a piece of paneling, into the room where Marcus, Aro and Caius were awaiting my arrival.

I long to be like you; lie cold in the ground like you

There's room inside for two and I'm not grieving for you

I barely noticed the room itself; my eyes were only for the three black robed figures standing together. Immediately one of them, the one I recognized from Carlisle's thoughts as Aro, came toward me, grinning as though we were old acquaintances who hadn't seen each other for years.

"Edward, it is such an honor," Aro exclaimed as he approached.

"The honor is mine, of course."

"So modest! And what do my brothers and I owe for bringing you to us?"

"I have a favor to ask."

Aro laughed as if this were a game. I would soon make him see that it was not.

"Well, please, do not make us wait in such suspense. What favor could you have need to ask of us?"

"It bears some explanation…"

"Then, if you do not mind?"

He reached out his hand as I expected him to do, the palm up, his expression inviting. I took it as if to shake on a business deal, letting my entire life wash over him, watching his face change in reaction to the things he saw. Finally, looking more solemn than he had a minute ago, he released my hand and stepped back.

"I see," was all he said for a moment.

I said nothing, only watched him as he pondered my favor. After a minute he turned to Marcus and Caius and conversed quietly with them, and the Volturi knew how to converse so as not to let their words reach the ears of nearby vampires. However, their thoughts were open wide to me, and I knew their offer and their answer before they asked.

"Edward, before we answer, we have an offer-" Aro stopped suddenly and chuckled. "But of course, you already know what it is. How convenient for you! So we only await your response."


It was an easy enough answer. I wanted only one thing; Aro knew that. Behind him, Marcus and Caius' faces told of their disappointment.

"But you have nothing tying you to Carlisle and his family, to your old life at all. And you are so willing to give up your life, why don't you start a new one with us, instead?"

I shook my head. "I am honored by your offer, but my wish is simple and I am merely here to ask that you grant it."

Aro took a moment to gaze over his shoulder at his brothers before he looked back at me. I read his answer in his thoughts before it passed his lips.

"I am sorry. We cannot allow such a thing to happen. It would be such a waste. Surely you see there is a better option. Join us, Edward. You will be a king among vampires."

"I DON'T WANT TO BE A KING!" I stood glaring at Aro, breathing hard and attempting to control my emotions. I clenched my jaw. "I just want to join her."

Aro was shaking his head and clucking at me. "She was just a human, Edward. You cannot be serious about this morbid suicide notion…"

"You saw," I reminded him with a growl. "You know she is not just a human."

"Yes," Aro replied sadly, as if he could grieve as I did. "La Tua Cantante. I've never experienced such a phenomenon myself, but then how many vampires can say they've fallen in love, let alone with a human."

"Please, just give me what I want," I pleaded, almost falling to my knees. I would never have believed myself capable even if Alice had foreseen it in a vision.

"I'm sorry, truly I am Edward, but I cannot condone such actions."

Aro sounded as if he felt this to his very soul, if he had one. It was all I needed to hear. Without further ceremony, I turned on my heel and headed out the door. I could hear Aro calling to me, and then his orders for Jane to follow me, but I ignored it all. If the Volturi would not voluntarily give me what I wanted, then I would force them to.

And as we lay in silent bliss

I know you'll remember me

It was twilight when I flew out of the glass front doors of the Volturi's building and took off down a street, not paying attention to where I was going. Death had escaped me for just a moment. There were other ways accomplish my goal. I was already going over my options as I ghosted through the streets and alleys of Volterra. Pre-Saint Marcus Day celebrations were being held as people geared up for the big ceremony the next day.

It would be the perfect setting to bring about my own demise. It wouldn't take much. A car thrown into a building in view of hundreds of people. The Volturi's guards would be on me in less than a second, tearing me to shreds and finally freeing me of this immortal state.

But did I want to wait that long? Another night of brooding, of trying to avoid thinking of Bella, was not something I looked forward to. I was ready to stop seeing her face every time I closed my eyes; hear her voice among the thoughts in my head. Postponing my end for another few hours was not a welcome thought. I remembered my vision of her among the pine trees, as if she had been trying to convince me once again that I could join her in heaven. It was a lie. If I did still have a soul, I was preparing myself for Hell.

And even if I did find myself by Bella's side in the after life, I'd always have to live with the fact that she was there because of me.

Jane and another vampire of the Volturi's personal retinue had caught up to me; this one's name was Felix. He was a big guy. They didn't get near enough to address me, they merely followed me, keeping their distance, but it didn't bother me. In fact, I was glad of it. At least I knew there was someone nearby to kill me whenever I decided on the stunt that would force them to act.

The car idea wasn't a bad one, but I was beginning to wonder if it would be enough. I didn't want to give Jane and Felix the opportunity to drag me back to the Volturi while my stunt was explained to humans in a satisfactory manor that kept them from discovering the existence of vampires. After all, weren't there fantastical stories of humans lifting automobiles in extreme scenarios?

My eye caught a movement in an alley across the street from where I had paused, Jane and Felix down the block. It was too dark for human eyes to see, but my vampire senses picked up the man with ease, not to mention that his thoughts were screaming at me in Italian. He was watching the street, though he hadn't seen me, and his thoughts were turned to the criminal.

My hunger growled at me. I hadn't eaten in…a while.

A woman left one of the nearby buildings, alone. She passed the alley where the man was standing, waiting for one such as her, unaware of the danger she'd just put herself in. The man lingered enough for the woman to put a little distance in before stepping from the alley and following her. I fell in step behind him, moving noiselessly, letting my natural vampire killing instincts take over.

The man who had terrible ideas having to do with the woman increased his step to catch up with her. He was fairly familiar with this area, and was coming upon an ideal spot to drag her off the main street to a more secluded spot. His thoughts sickened me, and I sped up to keep up with him. Jane and Felix were right behind.

He was pretty stealthy, for a human, though his footsteps were loud in my ears. He reached out to grab the women, aiming one hand to close over her mouth and muffle her screams while the other arm would grab her around her middle, trapping both of her arms to her side. Just as he was about to seize her, I snatched him and pulled him down the very side street he'd been planning on dragging the women. For her part, the woman never even knew she'd been in danger.

The man struggled in vain, trying to make any noise get past my hand, which was like a steel plate over his mouth. It was useless, though he couldn't know that, or at least hadn't figured it out. I was moving fairly quickly, though not so quickly that I left Jane and Felix behind. They were at the mouth of the alley and carefully moving in by the time I had set the man on the ground, holding his wrists against the wall. He whimpered and pleaded with me to let him go, he'd never hurt anyone again. It was a lie.

I snarled at him and he seemed to take it as a sign that I wanted him silent. I leaned in with my perfect teeth to bite his neck and then suddenly jerked back again.

Bella's face had jumped up between mine and the man's. It was the first time that her face was anything but pleased to see me since I'd begun having these visions of her. The disappointment in her beautiful features was enough to stop me cold. She didn't say anything, and she didn't have to. There was no way I could commit an act that I knew she would look down on.

My shadows had frozen when I'd pulled away from the man. Now, when I let him go and simply walked off, the sprang forward to take my place, though whether to eat him themselves or make sure I hadn't revealed to him the existence of vampires, I didn't know. I focused on the thoughts of the other people in the neighborhood in order to block out theirs.

It was a long night, waiting for day to come and the only other option I had left to me.

I long to be like you; lie cold in the ground like you

There's room inside for two and I'm not grieving for-I'm coming for you

The people began arriving before the sun peeped it's first golden ray over the horizon. Vendors who'd had their stalls set up and opened in plenty of time for the crowds to arrive lined every street, awaiting the masses that would afford them their most profitable day of the year. Humans would have traveled from all over the globe to be a part of this famous event. It would be a profitable day for vampires, as well.

The sun climbed slowly that morning, and I wandered the city aimlessly, keeping to the shadows, always followed by Jane and Felix. The crowds thickened slowly at first, then with speed the closer the day grew to noon. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. Perfect.

I smelled the smells of the city, of thousands of people clad in crimson all together in one place; of the red-tinged delicacies they consumed; the variety of flowers, all fittingly bloody in color, that decorated doors and windows and trellises everywhere you looked; the scarlet candles and the incense burned in honor of the day. Everyone was getting excited for the main event, the ceremony at noon that would be held in the central plaza, Palazzo dei Priori. Nobody was anticipating it as much as I was.

The closer the sun arched toward its zenith, the more vampires I had tailing me. They surrounded me, moved with me, like a hurricane with me as the eye. I wondered if Marcus, Aro and Caius had any of their retinue left to guard them. They knew I was up to something. Aro had to have sensed my determination when he'd read my thoughts. They wanted to be ready for anything. I wanted them to be ready to kill me.

I avoided the palazzo until it was nearly noon. I approached from the north side, aware of the vampires around me, and stood in an alley just next to the clock tower. The palazzo was overflowing with humans and deafening noise and the color red. They were packed in so tightly I wondered that any of them could breath. I stepped up to the edge of the shadows, waiting for the bells to strike, ringing out the midday hour. Felix and Demetri were the two closest vampires, their stares boring into me.

I closed my eyes as I prepared myself for what was about to happen. The first chime echoed around the square. I inhaled deeply and began unbuttoning my shirt. I sensed Felix and Demetri's restless anxiety and ignored them.

I paused for a moment when I thought I heard Bella screaming my name, and then smiled. Perhaps she was calling me from the other side. Another chime of the bells. I opened my eyes for one last look at this world I was about to leave behind. The world I had inhabited for more than 80 years. The world that meant nothing to me now that Bella was no longer in it.

The clock tolled a third time. My shirt dropped to the ground at my feet and even I couldn't hear the soft sound of it hitting the stones over the roar of the crowd. I swear I could still hear Bella's voice calling my name. My vision of her in heaven waiting for me came to me again, and this time I didn't fight it. I was about to die, about to fulfill my promise to Bella. I wanted to imagine her happy, wherever she was, as my last thought of this world. She was beautiful and perfectly angelic, as she always had been.

The clock chimed a fourth time, and a fifth and a sixth as my memories of Bella intermingled with my heavenly vision of her. Perhaps I could be allowed one kiss from her before we were separated forever. Was God that merciful? Carlisle had always seemed to think so, and Bella, too. She could put in a good word for me.

The bells tolled three more times before I pulled myself from my reverie enough to remind myself why I was here, why I was considering this fatal stunt. I had barely begun to move into the intense sunlight when something slammed into my chest.

I opened my eyes and looked down and saw the most beautiful sight I could ever lay my eyes upon…