All recognizable characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. I don't own anything.

The Only Way

Edward's Point of View

"He's at the funeral."

I shut the phone again.

I couldn't see. I couldn't feel. I couldn't breathe, even though a creature like me hardly needed to. The same eternally cursed words echoed in my mind, like the replay of an infernal tape.

He's at the funeral…at the funeral…the funeral…funeral…Bella's funeral.

What else could it mean? After everything I had done and been through to protect her, to keep her safe, to keep her safe and happy and human, I'd achieved nothing. The damage I'd done to Bella had been permanent—she'd seen suicide as the only escape from the pain.

She had killed herself. She had jumped off a cliff. It was my fault.

Pain. Pain, ripping through me, tearing me apart, slicing through my heart. Pain, burning my insides, reminding me again and again that, in my delusional intentions of protecting Bella, I'd been the one, eventually, to kill her. Numbness overtook me, but not before the gash in my chest, the reminder of the damage I'd inflincted on my one true love, ripped wide over, leaving me exposed. Raw. Trembling and weak. I couldn't feel anything anymore.

I heard the sounds. They made so sense to me. I saw the wall and dust in front of me. They were meaningless. I felt the air. It was useless. I smelt the pollution in the air. It was nothing. All I could see, all I could hear, all I could sense anymore was a vision hovering above my vision, taunting me, torturing me.

Bella, glorious and beautiful like she'd always been, standing on the edge of a hell-damned cliff, light rain falling around her, her face lifted lightly to the soft drizzle. A small smile graced her breathtaking features, her eyes closed. She was at peace, just before death…

Then she looked directly at me.

The force of her gaze ripped through me. Pain like never before coursed through my insides, eating me out from the inside, staking through the very meaning behind my existence. Stab after stab of remorse and guilt lashed at me, again and again. The numbness peeled away—I was nothing. The only thing I could feel anymore was grief—wave after wave of crushing, destructive grief that lanced through me so many times that nothing was left of me anymore.

This is my fault…my beautiful angel…Bella, my love…Bella…BELLA!

I couldn't think anymore. Nothing meant anything anymore. The only thing that had made my existence worth enduring was a shining, breathtaking beacon of light called Isabella Swan. And I had killed her. I'd made her kill herself. I'd killed her. It was my fault.

Why, Bella, why would you do this? Why did you kill yourself? I love you so much, Bella, why did you remove yourself from the world? What am I going to do now, my love? How can I live without you, my darling? Oh, my heart, how can I live on without you, sweetheart?

There were no answers to the questions that raged in me, that burned like everlasting flames inside of me. The only truth was that, in all the ways that counted, I'd killed my love.

I'd killed my one reason for existing.

I'd destroyed the one being that'd ever showered so much love on my monstrous life. She'd fallen in love with a monster, a repulsive creature of the dark. And what had I given her in return? Only pain and hurt. I'd hurt her, time and time again; I'd put her life in risk so many times I disgusted myself. But she'd never looked at me with accusing eyes. She'd only loved me all the more. And in the end, I'd killed her.

I'd destroyed her…

No…NO! Bella! My love, Bella, please, Bella. Please, please, please! Bella, my darling, Bella, please, my love…

What wouldn't I give to die in her place? I'd give up anything, do anything to stand in her place at that accursed cliff—human—and jump in her stead. But no. She was the one that had jumped, she was the one who had…died.

I couldn't feel my heart anymore. It was gone. It had died over eighty years ago, but now it left me, leaving me the moment her beautiful eyes had closed, the second her fragrant breath had stopped, the minute her loving, gorgeous heart had stopped beating… But she hadn't killed one person with that jump. She had destroyed two. She'd killed herself…and me.

There was nothing attaching me to this world anymore. What was I going to do, now that my beautiful, good, loving, kind Bella was gone forever? What held me to this Earth? Nothing. There was nothing that was worth anything now. Not even my family. She had flooded my life with so much love, so much light, that I was blind now, without her brilliance. I shuddered in sheer agony as another blazing rod of pain coursed through me. I forced my sightless eyes to open. The walls around me were closing in…the sounds were disappearing…my senses were dimming…everything was going blank, fading, fading…the same way her life—her beautiful, pulsing soul—had faded from her body…

Everything seemed so lifeless, so useless, so meaningless…It was like Bella was the one who'd made Earth a beautiful place, and now that she was gone, everything was mundane. Everything was sullied and lifeless and cold and ugly…nothing was vibrant and beautiful anymore. I closed my eyes, unable to look onto the soiled earth anymore.

My imaginary Bella, always hovering behind my closed lids, smiled at me.

"I love you," she told me softly.

Guilt. Remorse. Regret. Grief.

My chest ripped open, wide and welcoming to all the pain and agony in the world. None of them showed me, an already destroyed creature, any mercy. They poured in, scorching and agonizing. Every inch of my being screamed in pain, unable to stand the amount of agony coursing through me.

Pain. So much pain…so much pain…Was there no end to the pain? No end to the agony? To the guilt and the grief? A scene of my darling flared before me. It was recent—we were in Bella's father's living room, watching Romeo and Juliet on television…and I was telling my love how I'd contemplated death while racing across Phoenix City to save her life…

Alarms shot off in my head, like fire bells. I'd found the answer. I'd found the escape route from the hell my existence had become—

Death.

It was a way out. It was a path which could end this pain. It was a road which would remove me from this world. It was a way which might, assuming that Carlisle's ridiculous theories were correct, could bring me to the one Heaven I truly desired. I could end up in Hell, of course. What else could be there on the other side for a despicable creature like me? Hell, of course, nothing less. But I wouldn't have to live on without my love. I wouldn't have to endure this unbearable torture of a life without my Bella.

Death. An end to my existence. Yes. It was a way. It was the only way.