Edward lived to the age of seventy eight as a human. He watched his son, Masen, finish medical school and become a anesthesiologist then marry the neighbor girl he had a crush on since he was fourteen. They stayed in the Chicago area and we got to visit with our three grandchildren often.
Edward was a mess when he walked Elizabeth down the aisle for her wedding. I had to remind him he married me when I was eighteen and Elizabeth was twenty-two. He still saw his little girl as exactly that….a little girl.
We decided to tell the children about Edwards past life the weekend before the wedding.
Edward really wanted Alice and Jasper to be there and the kids were adults now and refused to accept our feeble attempts to keep them in the dark. Masen thought it was the coolest thing in the world, but Elizabeth was a little freaked out over the whole thing.
I did notice how she managed to steer clear of both Alice and Jasper at the wedding; maybe she was just a nervous bride and I was reading too much into it.
When the wedding march began I had tears streaming down my face. Elizabeth looked so much like her name sake and I was overcome with emotion. Edward was as handsome as ever and I loved the small amount of grey filtering through his hair.
He was holding on to Elizabeth so tightly and I could tell he was fighting tears. When he got halfway down the aisle his entire demeanor changed. He relaxed and a huge smile broke across his face. I instantly sought out Jasper and he winked at me knowingly.
During the reception we gave an honest effort to talk with all our guests but kept finding ourselves back at the table with Carlisle, Esme, Emmett, Rose, Jasper and Alice. It just felt so wonderful to be together again.
When the reception was over we all went back to our house and stayed up all night talking. Edward played the piano but he couldn't compete with Jasper's quick, fluid movements over the keys. When the sun began to rise the humans in the family began to fade and wandered off one by one to sleep.
I headed off to bed leaving Edward and Jasper alone to talk. When I got to the top of the stairs I turned to look back at the two men. Edward looked so happy and I was grateful that his 'other' life included brothers.
That vision was what filled my mind this morning as I awaited Jasper's arrival at the funeral home. Next to Masen and Elizabeth, I knew Edward's death would be hardest on Jasper. The door opened and Alice walked through first. I couldn't help but gasp at her beauty. My older, weak, eyes almost couldn't contain the beauty of both of them.
Jasper walked in looking stoic, standing straight like the military man he was. He came over to hug me and it was then I could feel the trembling of his body. I reached my thin wrinkled hand up to his face and he leaned into my palm and sighed.
"Jasper, you know he loved you with all his heart," I assured him.
"Yes, Darlin, I know that."
I nodded toward the door that held Edward's cold, dead, body and Jasper walked through, closing the door behind him.
"Will he be okay?" I asked Alice.
"I think so," she smiled at me. "I will do everything I can to make sure he is."
I walked over and put my arm around her waist. "It was an aortic aneurysm. There was nothing anybody could do."
She sighed, "Jasper won't see it that way."
I knew she was talking about Edward remaining a vampire and living forever. "It was what Edward wanted. Elizabeth was waiting for him," I told her to ease her mind.
Carlisle and Esme walked in at that point and I could tell they still felt like Edward was their son. It isn't natural for kids to outlive their parents….even if their parents were only a few years older than themselves.
Esme hugged me tightly as she cried on my shoulder. Carlisle hugged Alice and held onto her as if he was afraid to let go. We all walked together into the room to see Edward's body.
Jasper was sitting next to the casket with his arms draped over the side holding Edward in them. He had venom sliding down his cheeks and quickly brushed it away when we entered. Alice went to his side and put her tiny hand on his shoulder.
Jasper looked at me with such pain in his eyes that I didn't think my poor old heart could take it. "It's still here," he whispered.
"What is, Jasper?" I asked.
"The pull, I still feel it."
Tears fell from my eyes in relief. I knew in my heart at that moment that someday Edward and Jasper would be together in heaven. Jasper would make the change and when his tired, worn, body gave out Edward would be there pulling him towards the next life.
We had two funerals, one for family and friends, and one for just us….the family who knew Edward as a vampire and then as a human. Emmett spoke so eloquently about his brother who, as he put it, was always wound a little too tight. He talked about Edward's control and his desire to always do the right thing.
Rosalie brought a smile to our faces when she talked about Edward's rejection of her and how hard she tried to make him miserable in retaliation. Carlisle couldn't make it through his planned talk. Memories of his first son were too painful to share and he only managed to reiterate how much he loved Edward.
Alice shared how difficult it was to have special powers and how well Edward handled himself; always allowing others to have their privacy as best he could. Esme spoke of Edward's change when he met me. As a mother she had worried about him but finally saw him truly happy.
Jasper was the last to speak. He stood quietly for a moment and then looked directly at me. "I can't imagine how you feel, Bella. I am finding this almost unbearable. But, when I look into your eyes I still see Edward. You two were so completely compatible that you merged into one person. I can't imagine Bella without Edward, just as I can't imagine Edward without you. I am sure he is waiting anxiously for you to join him, and most likely driving everyone around him crazy."
We all laughed in agreement and then Jasper let his grief go. He sobbed openly so I went to him and pulled him into my arms.
"We brought down the Volturi together," I whispered in his ear. "Surely we can conquer life without Edward, for just a bit."
Jasper hugged me tightly and whispered back. "I'm sure we can darlin. I'm just not sure I want to."
I pulled back and looked into his eyes. "Maybe it's time you and Alice make the change," I suggested.
He blew out a long breath and said, "I think you're right."
The human Jasper and Alice lived with me in the Masen family home. We told everyone they were my great niece and nephew caring for me in my elderly years. I began to really see them that way. Alice ran a successful clothing line and Jasper wrote biographies of famous heroes, many he knew personally.
I developed pneumonia the year Alice was expecting her first baby. I was lying in my bed under an oxygen tent when she came bounding into the room to tell me it was a girl. Masen was acting as my doctor and I noticed when he pulled Alice aside and spoke to her how much her eyes saddened.
She left the room and returned with Jasper.
"Promise me you won't be sad," I whispered with much difficulty.
"May I name my baby Bella?" Alice said with tears streaming down her cheeks.
"I would love that," I managed through struggled breaths.
Jasper lifted up the oxygen tent and kissed me lightly on the cheek. "You tell Edward we miss him and we will see you both soon. I love you, Darlin."
I managed to hang on long enough for Elizabeth to come and passed quietly surrounded by those I loved most in the world.
I was once again immersed in amazing light. I couldn't open my eyes for very long but I felt a pair of strong arms wrap around me. I didn't need to see who it was. I would know that hug anywhere.
"Edward, I missed you so much," I cried with joy. He held me tightly for what seemed like an eternity but also seemed way to short when he pulled away.
I had adjusted to the light finally and opened my eyes to see Elizabeth Masen standing next to Edward. She looked exactly the same as when I saw her all those years ago, and Edward looked young and healthy, and as beautiful as ever.
I fell into her arms thanking her profusely for leading me to her son. She hugged me back and called me her daughter.
Edward took my hand and said, "Bella, I would like you to meet my father." I had not noticed him standing there before, but suddenly he was right there, next to Edward. I hugged him tightly and felt like I had known him my entire life.
I was amazed at the family we had grown into. We had Edward's parents, our earthly family and our posterity. It seemed like only yesterday Edward and I were alone on Isle Esme trying to figure out our way in the world. Now we had five grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.
I wrapped my arms around Edward, ready to be led away when he turned to me and smiled.
"What?" I asked.
"Go ahead and ask me," he grinned.
"If we can wait for the others."
I giggled and asked him, "Can we wait for the others?"
"Yes, love. They will be here soon."