A/N: This is the last chapter of this little story. I hope you liked it, and will leave reviews. Bigg Thanks to my incomparable beta, Mr. Bigg!
All characters and stories belong to Stephenie Meyer.
The images began to pour forth. It was as if a finger had been pulled from the dam, and the flood of vision nearly pulled me under. My body swayed as the visions danced before me.
I watched in horror as Edward crouched, naked, over the nude, lifeless body. His lips brushed against the dead woman's throat, searching for a warmth that wasn't there. He held her in his arms, clutching the cooling corpse to his chest desperately. With reverence, his kiss brushed up her neck and across her slack jaw that pointed to the sky at the wrong angle. "Love?" he whispered to no one.
"Edward," Carlisle murmured, his voice deep and dark with sorrow. "Edward, she's gone. Son, let her go." His hand reached forward tentatively to touch Edward's shoulder.
There was no mistaking the growl that ripped from Edward's throat; it was malicious, predatory, and dangerous. Carlisle jumped in response, but did not back away.
"Edward, please," he started again, his hand still outstretched. "This isn't healthy, son."
Edward's teeth bared and flashed as they snapped an admonishment to Carlisle. "Mine!" snarled forth, a primal warning, growled and shuddered, pushing his father away. Carlisle took a step back, as Edward snatched the body closer, pulling the dead limbs below him and burying Bella's sightless eyes in his chest. Edward glared with crimson eyes at the family standing in the hall, then turned his back, taking the body with him.
"It's no use," Carlisle said, desperate and despairing. "His mind can't accept what's happened."
"He's going to be all right, though, isn't he?" Esme's word were drenched in fear and longing for her son.
"I don't know," Carlisle sighed, turning back to the room. Edward's voice was soft and cooing, whispering nonsense to the woman, waiting for a response. "This may be what happens when a vampire goes mad."
And the mad dance continued.
The blue satin dress rippled in the wind as she ran. Edward trailed slightly behind her, watching her, smiling. His expression was relieved and excited, proud and awestruck all at the same time.
She turned and glanced at his face, her golden eyes full of mischief and delight. Her stride never broke. "Race you," she called mockingly, then jetted forward in burst of speed. Edward smiled, and bolted forward, hot on her heels, reaching to grab her shoulder. He pulled her back into his arms, letting momentum tumble them to the ground.
"It's been ten months, love," he said, kissing her deeply. "Your human blood is almost gone."
"Will you still run with me when I'm slow?" She wiggled herself more deeply into his arms.
"Bella, what a silly question. I will run with you at any speed, always," he breathed, brushing the dirt and leaves from her hair. "We have forever to get where we're going."
"And where is that, Mr. Cullen?" She turned her face up to him and pushed her arms straight to lean above him.
"Anywhere, as long as I'm with you, Mrs. Cullen," his whispered, his hand cupping the back of her hair. "You are my life."
The tempo swung and faded, as another vision filled my sight.
Bella ran through the woods, clothes torn and dirty. She cried and moaned, tripping, falling into the dark bracken lining the forest floor. The night was growing; daylight escaped in quiet huffs as she stamped through the woods.
"Edward?" she called, her voice a mixture of desperation and terror. She stopped for a moment, listening, tense in anticipation of an answering voice that never came.
The images flickered again behind my eyes.
Edward was perched high on the rocky outcropping, watching the frolicking couple on the beach. The line of his mouth was set in a grimace, his body tense with concentration. He did not breathe; only his eyes moved as he surveyed the scene.
The last rays of daylight touched the beach, throwing glints and glare toward his perch. He was unmoved, unaffected. It was apparent he did not care who saw him now.
The big man child lifted the small brunette over his shoulder, threatening to toss her into the oncoming surf. Her squeals of delight rang with a new immediacy. "Truce! Truce!" she cried, and the man set her back on the sand, pulling her close to him with oversized hands.
"Bella, I love you," he said, his deep resonant voice heavy with emotion. His long, black hair hung forward as he leaned down to kiss her gently on the mouth. They held the pose for a few moments, then turned in unison to watch the dying sun, their back to Edward, who slowly closed his eyes in regret.
Standing in the parking lot, I watched Edward with concern as the emotions contorted his face. Smile pulled into grim concentration, puzzlement into amusement, all so quickly it looked as if he were making faces in a mirror.
She danced away from him, her pink dress spinning in the evening air.
"You are extra beautiful tonight, Bella," Edward said, his voice low and calm. He wore a light gray tux, dashing and resplendent. "What's your secret?"
"You are, Edward," she twirled back to him, letting the dress fly. In true Bella form, her feet twisted and tangled, stealing her balance. Edward caught her before she hit the floor. "Gah! I wish I were more coordinated."
Edward held her in a low dip. "I love you just the way you are. Besides, this isn't so bad, is it?"
Bella's heartbeat picked up and stuttered. Her cheeks blushed crimson, and she struggled to bring her face to Edward's. They kissed, and then all too briefly, he righted her, bringing her to her feet.
She looked down, smoothing her dress. The evidence of her desire still pounded in her chest, and Edward could see that she was completely flushed. Her scent shifted to sexual.
"Someday, Edward, you're going to make good on that kiss," she said, still looking down.
"Bella, we've had this discussion too many times. Please, not tonight. Tonight's about Charlie and Sue."
"Okay. But time is running out, Edward."
"Bella, you're only thirty-five. You've hardly lived."
"Edward, I already look like your mother–," she began, but was cut off mid-sentence.
"What are you two waiting for? The party's in here!" Charlie motioned them inside where the reception was in full swing. Edward held out his hand for Bella, and they followed Charlie into the brightly decorated hall, together.
Edward's eyes followed Bella across the lot, as his mind watched mine.
His marble fingertips ran softly down the weathered, wrinkled skin. Her face was serene, peaceful; she finally found rest. The yearning and loss was evident in his expression, though no tears touched his perfect cheek.
"Goodbye, Bella," he whispered. "I will join you soon."
I felt the light flickering, images in rotoscope, dancing…
"Esme, Carlisle!" Bella called as they walked into the living room. Edward smiled, satisfied and happy. The parents appeared almost immediately, buttoning and straightening their clothes.
"Oh! Did we catch you at a bad time?" Bella laughed, her golden eyes dancing.
"No, of course not," Esme replied, leaning forward to embrace her daughter. She whispered into her ear as she held her close. "Not a bad time…"
Edward snickered and Carlisle looked uncomfortably at his feet before he glanced up at his son. "How's Florence?"
"It's beautiful, as always. Bella has been enjoying the restoration work so much it was hard to break away." Edward beamed with pride.
"We didn't want to miss your anniversary, though," Bella added, leaning back from Esme's hug. "We brought you something." She held out her hand; the tiny box seemed to glitter all on its own. "It's not much, but it reminded us of you."
I wanted it to slow, to stop, to let me focus on just one dance…
I clapped my hands in excitement, bouncing on my toes. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Bella sighed, looking to Edward for help. He held up his hands in surrender. His voice was teasing and sarcastic. "Sorry, love, I can't help you here. You're in the hands of a professional now."
"Oh! We're going to have so much fun!" I could barely contain my excitement. "There are a million things to do!"
Bella's chocolate eyes narrowed. "Alice. Nothing big. Promise me. Nothing big." Her vain attempt to reign me in was almost comical. I could tell that she was giving this to me like a present, out of love, and that she knew I would return my love to her in kind.
"Friends and family only," I promised, crossing my heart in a mock vow. I wondered idly if crossing a heart that did not beat counted as a real promise.
"Yes, it does," Edward said, glaring at me. Bella's brow knitted in confusion.
"Alright, all right," I replied, then stuck out my tongue. "We'll have the wedding here, and the reception out back. It's going to be a lovely day and night – no rain!"
Suddenly, the last flash of insight darted across my view.
Skidding van, unaware girl, death, destruction…
"No!" My scream drew his attention.
Edward's lightning reflexes caught my vision and spun his feet. He was at the van in a flash, lifting it away from Bella, moving her, saving her. And each moment he held her, every second he looked into her eyes, brought another vision into diamond focus, flashing before my eyes, one after the other.
The blue satin dress rippled in the wind as she ran… Bella ran through the woods, clothes torn and dirty… Edward crouched, naked, over the nude body… I clapped my hands excitedly, happy she said yes… She danced away from him, her pink dress spinning in the evening air… The stone cottage shone with an interior light… His marble fingertips ran softly down her cheek… Her arm sat at my waist, and my head rested on her shoulder… She beamed as she opened the door to her in-laws home…
I knew in that moment, that Edward's story was intertwined with Bella's, and that my heart would break if that story did not come to pass. The visions of her survival were strongest and the hardest to follow – there were so many decisions that changed their paths. She was the light; she held the key to his future, and mine, too – to all of ours. He darted across the asphalt, immediately at her side, as the paths that had danced before my eyes sunk into the bitumen, and I saw with amazing clarity, the path of light she held.
Edward ran with sleek footfall through the wooded glen, his eyes black and hungry, but his expression satisfied and happy. I didn't understand, until the reason for his joy pulled next to him as he ran: Bella is a torn, ice-blue satin dress, her eyes red, hungry, and completely exhilarated. She smiled and reached for his hand.
As their fingertips touched, an ray of sunlight broke through the trees and arced off their skin.
Finally, I understood. It was Bella; Bella, who would be my friend, my sister-in-law, my sister. Bella would be Carlisle and Esme's daughter, the completed pairing in the coven, the shining element of light that had been unknowingly missing from our lives.
The van had stopped, and children gathered around the twisted metal. I knew she was safe, and I knew Edward had saved her.
It didn't matter. I had so much to tell Edward!
Thanks for reading. Please let me know what you thought with a review!