For a full minute, neither Jasper nor I can move. She's still breathing, her heartbeat still humming rapidly. Jasper leaps forward first, bending over Bella, stroking her hair back off her face.
"Bella, can you hear me? Bella?" Her eyes flutter open, and I shove Jasper impatiently to one side. Her eyes are the same deep brown they always were, but her skin has changed.
"Jasper, pull the curtains." He does so, and the sunlight pours in. Where he and I sparkle, she just glows. It's subtle enough for her to go out in the sun and not attract undue attention. She hasn't changed even slightly in appearance, apart from looking much healthier.
"Jasper," she murmurs, and he's back beside her immediately. "Jasper," she says again, smiling.
"I'm here, Bella. I'm here."
"I feel - I feel different."
"How do you feel, Bella?"
"Yes. Do you feel OK?"
"Fine. Better than ever."
"Sit up for me." She does so, and lets me examine her. She's staring at Jasper like she's never really looked at him. "You seem fine."
"So what happened? Why didn't she change?"
"She has. You aren't human any more. I don't know quite what you are, but you aren't human. Your hearing and eyesight seem to have improved."
"So, what am I?"
"Venturing a guess - half vampire and half human. You still have a heartbeat, albeit very quick, but your skin has changed, obviously you're healed. You're a totally new species. I have no idea how you're going to be effected. I think in this case that time will tell."
"She doesn't smell any more. I mean, of the blood. I can't smell that anymore. No, that isn't right. I can smell it - but she smells -"
"Like a vampire would, yes. Well, from my medical point of view - and you aren't getting a doctor with more experience - you're fit to travel."
"Jasper, perhaps you should tell Bella."
"Bella, your parents think you're dead. You were, you were brain dead. And so does everyone in Forks."
"So, we can't go back there."
"Not publicly. If you want to say your goodbyes to your parents - it may be possible."
"Not my mother. She wouldn't be able to handle it. But I'd like some chance to say goodbye to Charlie."
"I don't think I can advise that."
"Not in person. But if I wrote him a letter, could I leave it for him."
"What would you say?"
"Goodbye. That I love him, and that I'm safe, and that he isn't to question it."
"They're getting ready to bury you, Bella. You say your mother couldn't handle it, so why put your father through that pain?"
"Because he's Charlie. Look, I could write the letter as if I wrote it when I first became ill. I could make it seem like I wrote it in case I died. But I need to say goodbye to him."
"And I want you to take it, Jasper."
"I introduced myself as your friend."
"Then you take it to him. Don't post it, give it to him personally."
"I'll give you both some time alone. I'm happy that you're fit to travel and so on. I'll go to Ireland, you can join me there." Jasper follows me out into the corridor.
"What about finding out all the details? What if something goes wrong?"
"Jasper, you can handle this. I believe that she's fine. Half-vampire, but fine, and that she's going to stay that way. Test her eyesight and hearing and so on. And her running. See if she still needs human food and drink, or if she's vampiric in that sense. And then join us in Ireland."
"But what if -"
"What if the sky falls, what if the earth burns, what if you turn human tomorrow? We can 'what if' until next century, Jasper, this is the situation we're in."
"Yes Jasper," Bella says from inside the room. "Listen to Carlisle."
"There, do as you're told. Now, I will see you both when I see you, and make sure you call Alice before she has some kind of nervous breakdown, OK? Take some time, get to know each other, and appreciate that you have her back."
"Thank you, Carlisle. For everything."
I go back in to Bella, and immediately take her into my arms. She snuggles in instantly, and smiles up at me.
"My angel," she murmurs, stroking my face gently. "You saved my life."
"I nearly killed you doing it."
"But you didn't, and I'm alive, and we'll have forever now."
"Bella, how can you be so sure about this? We've barely known each other six months."
"Jasper, how can you be so sure about this? Sometimes you just know, you meet someone, and you know that they'll be the one you're going to spend the rest of your life with. And I think I knew."
"You think you knew?"
"I wasn't sure when I was human. But then you were here when I woke up, and I saw you like I never had before and I just knew. Unlike you, who always knew. I'm sorry I hurt to at the start there."
"That's fine. Baby, look at me. You saw me and Emmett hunting, you found out I was a vampire. I'd've freaked too."
"Did you apologise to Esme for trashing your room?" I grimace, and she smiles.
"Is this going to be eternity?"
"Yes. It's going to be good, Jasper. You and me."
"I like that. You and me."
"So do I. I'm hungry."
"Hungry for human food?"
"Yeah. I could go for some pizza right about now."
"Then I shall order some in, because god knows I can't cook."
"Yes, I choose life."
"You like the meat special without the pepperoni and with barbeque sauce instead of tomato, right?"
"You know me so well."
I order the pizza, make it a small and add chicken wings and a bottle of Coke to the order, and tell them to put a rush on it. She likes to save the chicken wings and eat them cold. I don't understand it myself. I follow the sounds to the bathroom and knock. She calls for me to come in, but I stop short when I do. She's down to her underwear, looking at herself in the mirror.
"Whoa, Bella, I'll come back."
"Don't be such a prude, Jasper. Look." She's running her fingers over a scar on her neck. "It's where you saved me. I'll treasure it forever," she says, quietly. "And I used to have a scar here on my hip. I fell on a rock once, on a holiday to England. We went to Snowdon, and I fell, cut myself. It's gone now."
"That's what the transformation does. Gets rid of everything not caused by our venom. It's left you with something, though."
"You have a little birthmark here, just a roughly circular one." I rest one finger on a spot just left of her spine. "It's still there." I put my arms around her waist and press a kiss into her hair. She rests her hands over mine, rests her head back on my chest. "We look good together like this."
"What, when I'm half naked?"
"You'll get no denial from on that. I meant, however, standing together like this."
"You're warm," she whispers. "Warm and soft."
"Is that so?"
"Yes. And wearing too much."
"Sorry, Bella, I put a rush on the pizza."
"No doubt. I want to do this properly Bella. I want us to date."
"So, what would be acceptable for this date?"
"First base." She turns in my arms, and I shift my hands to her hips. She smiles sweetly at me, and really, who could possibly resist that? I slide one hand into her hair, and use the other to pull her closer to me. I kiss her, and she kisses me back, tangling her hands into my hair and pulling slightly, trying to pull me closer. I let her, deepening our kiss, without worrying that I'm going to hurt her or spill her blood. Her hands are starting to stray when the doorbell rings sharply.
"Damn pizza," she mumbles, stepping away from me. Her hair is a mess, but I don't remember doing that. Mind you, I don't remember unbuttoning my shirt, either. I shake my head at her and slip out to answer the door. I'd say that was an eventful start to dating.