(Twilight theme by Stephanie Meyer)
This one shot takes place years after Bella decides to leave Edward and Forks behind. She had a secret to keep and if he couldn't share his burden, she could not share hers.
**Italicized passages are memories**
Edward perched himself on a branch high up in the trees overlooking the gray cemetery below. He had been there waiting for the funeral procession to arrive. The sky opened up and a downpour hit the small ceremony. The priest never missed a beat as he said prayers over the casket. Immortality granted Edward many of these ceremonies, one by one all the people he knew or had grown fond of had been lowered into the ground. Some had been left as a pile of ashes, blown into the wind and returned to the earth that way. This ceremony felt like it wore the shell of tradition, but it was more poignant than the rest. Edward's eyes felt the pressure of tears that would never fall from his eyes. The only wetness on his face came from the rain that poured overhead. He was sure that he cried for his parents, but since this life had been inflicted on him he could not even give his tears to those he loved. It was a petty thought, but the feeling of failure was so much stronger when it came to her.
He loved Bella with all his heart and would never be able to forgive himself for denying her only request of him. At the time he thought that denying her the pain and anguish of this life was saving her, but standing above her grave; he knew he had made a mistake. She would have been strong enough to handle this life, better than he had himself.
Edward was not the only supernatural creature mourning her passing. Standing with her family and peppered into the crowd of mourners were shape shifting wolves. They felt as though one of their own had been taken from them. Jacob Black the former Alpha stood next to her father. The tall shifter was so still that he could have been a wax statue, though there isn't any artist that would have wanted to duplicate the pain that his face held. Jacob was not listening to the empty seeming words that the priest was reciting. His mind was lost in the memories of what his life had been.
The key fit into the rusty lock and sensitive ears could hear it struggle to pull the bolt. Finally with what seemed to be a loud thunk the bolt slid home and the door creaked open on its equally rusty hinges. He mentally berated himself for forgetting to oil them before leaving. The large windows that lined one end of their warehouse loft spilled soft moonlight over the floors into rectangular shapes. Despite the exposed brick walls and concrete floor the space was always warm. Perhaps that was due to the feelings that he associated with home rather than anything tangible though. The third block of light fell directly on the bed, and the slight figure that lay there seemed to glow. Her skin was so fair and in her sleep the blush that usually sat under the skin was absent. Her expression was not peaceful; it never was when she slept alone. Her peace was plagued by the nightmares of her past. It took all his control not to wake her; to kiss her until the only thought in her mind were of him. He knew that the second she fell back though, the dreams would be there waiting and he would have stolen an hour of rest she always needed.
He removed his shoes and kicked them towards the wardrobe across the bed. His shirt and jeans soon followed and he sat lightly on the edge of the bed, well as lightly as a seven foot man could sit. He swept his fingers lightly over the strands of hair that had fallen over her face and placed them behind her ear. He slid between the covers and to his relief her face seemed to relax and a small smile pulled at the corners of her lips. She shifted so that her head rested where his neck and shoulders met. Deep restful slumber held the two of them like that until the middle of the next morning.
He awoke to soft fingertips tracing his bottom lip and he could not help but to smile at the intimate gesture. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her so she lay on top of him.
"Hydration is very important for everyone, even for the things that go bump in the night. Your lips are practically chapped." She teased him.
"I can think of a couple ways to remedy that." He replied and raised his head to kiss her. Their lips locked together perfectly and he could feel hers curve into a smile. She always smiled when he kissed her. It was one of the many ways he knew she was happy and that she loved him back.
That was the only intimate memory of the girl that ran through the people huddled under umbrellas. Some people remembered her rare smiles, or her kindness. Angela Weber clung to a memory of Bella standing up for her. The conviction in her eyes when she told the story of hikers seeing that monstrous bear seasons ago. How she looked as though she was her old self instead of the withdrawn girl she had been that winter. Then, as if on cue everyone's focus landed on the casket and it was lowered finally into the ground. No more words were said and people began to leave towards the parking lot.
"What fitting weather, it matches what I feel inside." Charlie grumbled to Jacob. Jacob's head bobbed, but he remained mute. Charlie tried to tug him so he would follow the umbrella that shielded his head, but Jacob did not budge. Charlie tried to hand him the handle, but Jacob just shook his head once. Charlie leaned in close and said, "It will be okay, son. We will get through this." He patted his back and the chief bit his lip to hold back tears on the way to join what remained of their family. The rain picked up and the black suit was sagging. The once crisp white shirt was barely visible, only discernable by the tie that hung like a noose from his neck. Edward had not moved from his perch and his focus was now on Jacob's mind. He saw parts of Bella's life through Jacob's eyes and Despite Jacob's consuming sorrow; he could only remember the good
Bella pulled the covers back to peek at the cloudy sky outside. "Didn't we move away from Forks to get some sun?" Jacob asked in response to her disappointed expression.
She giggled a bit and left the bed to join him by the window. "I am not too disappointed. Want to know why?" She asked playfully.
"Hmm, maybe so there is no risk of a tan ruining your luminescence?" He teased.
"No, it is because you are my own personal sun, Jacob Black." She kissed his cheek quickly and hurried down the hall to get ready for the day.
"Sure, sure" he muttered sarcastically and tried not to smile.
Edward tried to remember if he had any memories of her like this. He racked his brain for a time where her smile matched the one she gave Jacob. She had different smiles for the two of them and only through Jacob's memories did he get to see them.
"Hey! I left the room for 2 minutes-"She was complaining and snatched the bowl of nearly finished popcorn out of his hands.
"You should know better than to take food away from a hungry werewolf…" Jacob growled in a menacing tone. They stared each other down trying to pretend as if the smiles that hid just under their serious glares could not be seen. He sprang forward with inhuman speed and grabbed the bowl from her hands. She jumped trying to snatch it back, but he got to his feet and the bowl was held too far above her reach. She began to tickle him and his body shook uncontrollably.
"You think you're so tough, but you forget. I know all your weaknesses!" She dodged his playful swipes and eventually the bowl fell to the ground spilling the contents all over them. She picked up a couple pieces that fell on his shoulder and ate them with a superior look on her face.
"Oh that's it!" He yelled and tackled her to the floor. She screamed out in between giggles, but he was not letting her up. "You may know my weakness, but I also know yours!" he lifted her shirt up past her belly button and blew a raspberry on her stomach. This caused a fit of giggles and wriggling to get away.
"Not fair!" She gasped and they collapsed amidst the popcorn covered carpet. Her body still wriggling underneath his as their playful rough housing became sweet. He kissed the tip of her nose and she blew out a sigh, "Truce?"
Jacob played that memory over and over each time concentrating on a different aspect of it. The way her heart beat quickly against his chest and how her scent mixed with the popcorn around them were the most valuable to Edward's eavesdropping. Those were sensations that he did not typically allow himself to experience when she had been his. Her blood called to him and touching was not something they did often. He held her as she slept every night, but that had been different. Her heart was steady and slows even during the nightmares. The scent that Jacob remembered was not polluted by the tantalizing scent of her blood like it had been for him. To Jacob it was sweet freesia and strawberries, and that thought caused him even more pain. Edward knew that Jacob had been right, he was better for Bella.
Jacob's expression lay flat and then a hint of pain broke through and brought him to his knees. He landed in the mud and doubled over with a muffled scream. Images rushed through his mind at such speeds that they were not discernible to even a vampire's mind. Bella's voice slowly emerged from the chaos, like a ghost haunting him.
"Jake, just get away from me! I am a mess, broken, not right… why are you the only one who can't see that?" She was screaming at him in the middle of a deserted parking lot. "You've been traveling around with me over a year and you have people that need you. The pack is without their alpha, Billy is alone. I'm a lost cause, just go home…" She yelled and closed the distance between them only to ineffectually push him away.
Jacob was angry at this outburst and started yelling back at her, "You can hit me all you want, but you're only hurting yourself. My feelings towards you have not changed and they never will! I told you before; I am not leaving you alone." He tried to wrap a hand around her arm, but she jumped back and continued with her tantrum.
"I am no good for you, Jake! You were in the room when Dr. Atera told me that I could kill you. It is a matter of time before this catches up with me. I am a ticking time bomb." Her resolve broke before she could finish her pleas and tears pooled in her eyes.
Jake stood his ground and lowered his voice, "That is a risk I have to take Bella. I told you that day in Port Angeles, you are the most important person in my life." His former anger turned to passion and he grabbed her in a rough hug that no doubt left bruises lining her arms. She did not wince or even recoil at this rough touch. She stared defiantly in his eyes and he knew she was searching for any hint of a wavering emotion. They both knew she would not find any though. All she saw was his unconditional love for her, and for the first time he saw the same in her eyes. He bent his head to whisper the words he had longed to say all the years they had been friends, but as his lips parted they were met by hers. She threw her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss. It was the first kiss that they shared, the first kiss that both of them wanted.
Jacob dug his fingers into the soft earth around the pit they opened in front of him. He lifted his fist packed with dirt and tossed its contents over the cherry wood casket. This memory was the most vivid he had. He knew it was the moment that she had stopped chasing Edward and stopped running from him. Jacob knew that she had loved both of them, but until that night she hadn't let herself feel the love she had for him. After that kiss, it was as though there were no walls between them. She gradually became happier and they stopped moving around. A month after that they stumbled upon a small artist community outside of Portland, Oregon. The people were so self absorbed in their own creative process that any odd behavior would go unnoticed and the only residence available was a concrete warehouse loft that was big enough to house a pack of wolves if needed.
Edward winced at this memory because it confirmed what he had feared her last day in Forks. She was still his back then and asking for the one thing he denied her; immortality.
(A/N: This is a once shot i have been thinking about for a story i am writing. I would love to hear what you think, although i am sure the melancholy tone is not popular)