A/N: AHHHHH : O Every time I write another chapter it makes me angrier at myself!
AND welcome to this story the multiple perspective chapter of doom! MUhahah!
I opened my twitching eyes, felt the cold air around me, and was breathless at what I saw.
The Evergreen State
Dale's Honda – The Honda of Port Angeles
Yeah, I was staring up at a license plate, but not one from the time that I'd fallen so much in love with. One from 2005, with the tags to be renewed in 2007, and not to mention it was a fucking silver Honda. "No," I whispered to myself as I looked down at my black covered legs, my Blondie shirt and leather jacket, but also the expensive motorcycle lying next to me on the pavement.
It was like nothing had happened. I never fell over that edge, I never hit that tree, and I never met those green eyes that melted me. My memories betrayed what my mind shouted. My eyes closed when the lights dimmed down into nothing and I saw his face when I told him I loved him. His smile when we were married. The tears in those green orbs when I told him I was going to have our first child.
My hands immediately ran to my stomach and fisted the black cotton. My eyes widened.
…I felt nothing. No bump, no warmth from the life growing there, and no feeling of Edward inside of me anymore. "N-no," I stammered, unable to even produce tears when the owners of the Honda slammed their doors and ran to my aide. "No, it's gone…he's…?" I rocked back and forth, holding the twinges of agony inside of myself. I was mumbling incoherencies to the people surrounding me, the people worried that they'd hit me with their car, but they were so blind. There wasn't a fucking scratch on me made by their stupid car. I gasped when the pain thrashed inside of me like an angry black wave of the ocean.
I lost my little love.
I lost him.
I lost my family.
I was never going to see any of them ever again. Time had taken away the only thing in the world that mattered to me: Edward. The boy with the green eyes that also barely missed hitting me with his car was gone to me forever. "No, please, what year is this?" I begged, touching the man's hand shamelessly, but then I realized that wasn't bad in this time. "Please, no, this can't be fucking happening! Marie told me this wouldn't happen while I felt like this!" I screeched, burying my mascara-stained cheeks into my arms as I sat on the street and sobbed. The cold rushed through my veins, the seeping dread spread to my heart and it thudded lethargically below my breast.
The man scooped me up into his arms when he saw me moving, and set me on my feet. "Oh my God! Kid are you okay?" The big man asked while touching my shoulder as I wailed to myself and clutched the absence in my stomach. My heart was torn to pieces because he wasn't here beside me and neither was the miracle we'd created together. "Damn it! Amy call a fucking ambulance! I think she's hurt."
As if on cue, I stood alone, against the man's wishes and looked at the black forest around me. He had to be there, our home had to be out there. I was hallucinating, dreaming that this was happening because of the stress from seeing him dying in my arms. I had to be dreaming. "Edward!" I shouted, looking for him in the darkness. "Please hear me, Edward!" I begged, finding tears staining my cheeks when I didn't hear his raspy voice calling back to me in the night. He wasn't here…he wasn't…
"Yeah, she's screaming about someone named Edward, he's probably her boyfriend or something. I think we might have hit her, please hurry." The woman clicked away on her iPhone. The man wrapped a blanket around my shoulders and moved my bike beside me against the guardrail. I couldn't think. I couldn't feel. I couldn't speak.
"I'll never see him again," I whispered when the man walked back over to his wife worriedly.
I'd never see Edward again.
I'd never feel his smile on my skin. I'd never kiss his lips and taste heaven across them. I'd never watch our child grow up beside him as we aged and withered into time. I would never feel his love warm my heart when I was thrown into such despair I that saw no way out except for him. I would never hear his smile or see his laugh. I'd never huddle close to him when it was cold at night.
My Edward…was lost to me.
"Gone," I mumbled, touching the scrapes across my hands from falling on the road. My wedding ring wasn't even on my finger anymore. I'd left it on the dresser in our room when he fell ill. I could hear the sirens through the darkness and they pulled me out of my trance, staring at the empty skin on my left hand. "Fuck," I mumbled, rubbing my tears away with my sleeve, but they wouldn't stop coming. My breathing came in pants and I couldn't stand anymore. I fell to my knees, hearing the fabric tear, and I clutched my sides to keep the skin below my fingertips from ripping to shreds.
Red and blue lights flashed over my face and I saw a man working over me, checking everything when I became unresponsive.
My eyes lost focus and I saw him sitting beside me in the meadow, lazily kissing across my neck until I fell below him with a smile on my face. The sun was shining down on us, across that sideways smirk on his face. "Are you okay, my sweet Bella?" he whispered, kissing the place below my ear until I smiled up at him.
I nodded and touched his face, drinking in the way he looked at me with those eyes. "No. I miss you." I could feel the chill from the ground below me and when my eyes opened I was in the rain again, my hand outstretched toward nothingness.
Edward helped me out of my madness. He pulled me out of my own fucking grave. He brought me to life again when I saw nothing. I was alive because of his kindness, because of the love we shared. I'd breathed deeper than I ever had before when I was with him. I was home in his arms. When I slipped he was there to catch me before I fell. When I lied with my back against the ground he lied beside me, holding me and telling me everything was alright because we were together. He found my heart when I thought it was dead and gone and saved it for me. I owed him everything. And now the sweet insanity that had been pushed so far away when he was around pulled me into the darkness with it.
"I love you." The wind whispered as the sunshine kissed my cheeks, his bronze hair glowed in my grasp as I looked up toward the sunlight inside of the meadow. The cherry trees spread blossoms around us that sunk into the ground like the falling rain.
"I love you too," I whispered, blinking when the rain touched my face again and the vision was gone. I was crying to the night, begging it to bring me back to that day.
"Bella!" I turned toward the voice of the tattooed man running toward me. He looked so worried, so foreign that I didn't recognize him until I saw his blue eyes.
I touched his nose. "Frankie," I found a broken smile for my brother when his hand touched the side of my face. "I thought I'd never see you again." I confessed, touching his hand with mine when his brow creased.
"What are you talking about, you've only been gone for an hour at most, Bells. Come on," he grabbed toward my spot on the ground and I shook my head. "We've gotta go to the hospital, Bella. You're hurt."
You can't even imagine how much. "No," I stood up and threw the blankets they wrapped around me off. "I won't let this be the end. I have to find Edward," I whispered, but he'd heard me.
"Who? Bella, wait, Bella!" I shoved him away from me, using strength I didn't know I had and ran toward the black bike beside the guard rail. "What the fuck are you thinking?" He yelled when I picked my bike up, shoving the bastard EMT's off of me. I straddled the monster, shaking my head as he yelled at me to turn it off and get in the ambulance. I wouldn't accept this. This was not the end. It wasn't the end until I saw that he was dead. Carlisle was in my house when I was taken back. He had to have seen everything and followed through with my desires.
Edward has to be alive. I touched my stomach and felt hope when the skin warmed. He has to be.
I gunned the throttle, sending myself racing down the peninsula in the thick sheets of rain. I knew exactly where I needed to go, exactly what I needed to do, and I wasn't going to let time or anything else stop me. I was going back to him in this life or in my death – no matter what it took.
"Why must we go?" I imitated the way she spoke the words, rolling my eyes at her excited smirk. She was always so irritating. "I do not want to go back there." I snarled when her mind spoke to me, showing me the place where our father had found me dying in the forest. I growled when she shrugged and packed my bags anyway.
"Oh shut up," she giggled. "Let's go, we're gonna miss the plane."
I grabbed her tiny wrist, feeling my eyes go black with rage. "I will not go back there."
She rolled her eyes again, pushing me away with her strength. "I didn't ask you to. We're going for the shopping! It's fashion week and the parents both said I could go, so you're coming to hold the bags." There was something more, something she wasn't telling me. I sifted through her mind, finding exactly what it was had been put behind a mental block she created to keep me from knowing. I hated when she did that. She knew of my abilities and over these hundred years had perfected blocking them when she didn't want to be read.
With a snarl in the back of my throat that was cut off by her mate glaring his golden eyes at me, I grabbed the keys to my Volvo and stomped to the garage. She only wanted me to go so I could drive and hold the things she bought. She didn't even consider the fact that going back…there…hurt so much that I couldn't breathe even when I didn't need to. I didn't know why every time I smelled that city the scent of strawberries and spice always dismayed my long forgotten heart. It called to me; the cherry blossoms in the city distorted my vision and showed me one of a goddess lying below me with the most perfect smile across her pink lips in a meadow of flowers and tall sweet grass.
Only I didn't know who the goddess was or why she tempted me only when I was back there. She was so beautiful it actually pained me. I'd found myself curious about women ever since I went back there for the first time. I was always trying to find the feeling she invoked in me, and even in women – killers – like myself I found nothing. Nothing compared to the way she made my heart actually feel like it was beating in my chest.
No. It hadn't beat for many, many years and I knew that it never would again. My hand fell against the wooden beam in the garage when these foreign tears infiltrated my eyes. I shut them, and I was in that meadow, lying above her again.
"Why do you look so sad?"
"I miss you," I whispered, clutching the wood beneath my hand until it cracked. How could I miss something I'd never met before?
"I'm right here." She placed my hand above her heart with a smile that melted my undead skin.
"I love you," I confessed as my closed eyes gave me her smile again.
"Forever." She whispered, and the warmth of the summer's rain that was her touch left me cold. She was gone, and I was left standing in the darkness alone as I had been since the day I was bitten.
I loved the woman of my imagination; she was always there, safely tucked away from the world, and would never leave me due to the decay of time. Time was fluid for everyone on this planet, for all living things, and because of it everything came to end – except me. I finished the words spoken in my head so many times, smiling for the first time in decades at her deep chocolate eyes. "For always."
"Thank you for flying with us, we hope you enjoy your stay!" The overly perky stewardess commented as I grabbed my luggage and headed out of the big plane. I glared at her, cursing her fucking kindness when all I could see was the world turning to shit around me. After I hit Seattle I'd had enough of the rain and dipped into my credit card funds to buy a one-way ticket back to my home. My real home.
Frankie had called me nonstop so finally when I got into the rainy city of Seattle, I dropped my phone into the sound; hoping iPhones didn't get reception underwater.
Now I stood before a town I didn't know. It had changed so much over these hundred years, but I didn't need a map to lead me home. I could feel it calling out to my soul, calling me to its warmth. I was at the airport, which had been an airport all of those years ago too. I needed to get across town. "Maybe the address is still the same," I mumbled, tapping my chin as I contemplated taking the yellow cab in front of me.
I smirked at the bored looking cabby and read off the address of the old Masen house, hoping it hadn't been demolished by the city's expansion. "Ah, the old district. You got family there, kid?" He wondered, eyeing me suspiciously. I was sure I didn't smell very good and my ripped up clothes made me look like I was looking for trouble so I didn't blame him for asking. I was just glad that the place hadn't been torn to the fucking ground yet.
"Something like that," I responded, the familiar coldness of my voice creeping through my farce. I'd become so fucking cold since last night. I could feel ice clouding my dead heart and felt my skin pale in the sunlight of the summer unnaturally. I looked sick. I was sick. I was broken into hundreds of pieces every time I heard his voice call my name in my mind. Every time I saw his smile tears stained my cheeks. Was this all I would be left to remember? Memories of his touch, his love, his smile would haunt me forever?
We left the city skyscrapers for a territory that looked like something from my memories. I gasped at what I saw, feeling my eyes gather even more wetness at the summer sunlight touching the neighborhood. The grass was lush and green, the houses were spaced apart, and when we got to the park in front of restored old houses, he looked at me expectantly. "Here, take it."
I shoved the cash through the window and slammed the door, slinging my backpack over my shoulder as I stared up at the big, white house. It was exactly the same. My eyes flashed and I saw Elizabeth smiling with iced tea from the window swing. She was gone when I blinked and so was the feeling of hope that I was still dreaming all of this. The front porch with the rocking chairs and swing bolted to the roof hadn't changed. The flowers were even the same as they had been back then, beautiful and blossoming in the sunshine. I stepped toward the gate, touching the metal brought memories of all the times I'd touched this fence before we fled to the meadow that brought us solace from the customs of the rest of the world.
"Come on, Bella!" His voice sang as he ran from me. I glared at him, grabbed my guitar and went after him, laughing when we both tripped and fell inside of the meadow, holding each other close. His lips touched mine, his eyes danced in the sun. When we parted he kissed my cheek and ran his hands down my sides, whispering sensual nothings in my ear.
"Excuse me," an old woman asked from the porch when she saw the conflict in my eyes, the memory flashing from just one touch of this place. "Can I help you?"
I blinked a few times, shaking my head with tears in my eyes. "N-no." She certainly wouldn't be able to. She looked like she was a hundred years old. She couldn't have been anyone I knew, that was for sure. "I'm sorry, I'm sure I've got the wrong address."
She gazed at me, squinting her eyes until her lips formed a sweet smile that would warm anyone's soul. "Why don't you come in for tea, dear? You look like you've been through one too many hard days and I don't believe I could live with myself if I let you just walk away now." My eyes widened when she started walking down the steps, and I went right inside of the gate to help her back up the porch.
"Okay, okay, I'll have some tea with you," I smiled as I took her arm and helped her up the steps. Stubborn old woman, she could tell I was gonna walk away so she made me come up here to help her. Cunning old people would be the downfall of the world, I swore it.
I walked into the house and almost collapsed from the weight of the air. It was so warm, so much the same as it had been. The furniture was newer; the photographs were colorful and full of many children and grandchildren's smiles, but they were in the same place my wedding photos once were – above the fireplace. This woman had seen everything. There were pictures of her wearing sunhats in a time that I hadn't lived to see, and holding a child with a burly looking man beside her. "You have a beautiful family." I commented as she hobbled over to the kitchen and grabbed a pitcher of iced tea off the marble countertop.
"Thank you," she smiled kindly and handed me a glass. We sat in the living room I'd sat in so many times and I felt my soul screaming for release from the torture. "Now tell me what's going on in your head." She commanded, sipping at the cool drink. I loved how she asked like she knew me, like she was a friend of mine for many years.
"You wouldn't believe me if I did," I laughed, looking at the familiar wooden floors from this home. This was where Edward's father collapsed. This was where Carlisle examined me for the first time. This was where I fell in love with his mysterious eyes…
She laughed, brining my widened eyes back up to where she sat with her legs folded under herself. She took off her glasses and I watched as her amused blue eyes danced in the afternoon sun. "Try me."
I could feel the longing inside of my chest the moment my feet touched the street at the airport. I could feel her, her little fingers wrapping around my heart, calling to me. "Come to me."
The woman who had dragged me here glared at me, waving her hand in front of my face. "Are you feeling okay?" I shook my head, nodding that it was nothing for her to concern herself with. The sun was so bright, so untouchable with all of the eyes around us: the sun that was so much like her pale skin, gleaming in the light under the blush across her cheeks.
I glared at the short, pixie girl and growled. "Explain to me how are we supposed to go anywhere in this light with all of these humans?"
She smiled at me, handing me something and I couldn't believe my eyes at what I looked down at. "An umbrella? My dear love, you've lost your mind." The man beside her sighed, taking her hand in his while we all stood fearful of the way people eyed us curiously. He took his mates arm and pulled her away from the sun covered doors, but she just rolled her big eyes and strolled away from us.
"No I haven't," she smirked, walking out with the bright yellow umbrella. "Three, two…" And clouds covered us, the sky blackening with a summer storm that brewed beyond the horizon. The umbrellas were not protection from the sun but from the rain we could all smell in the clouds above.
"Mmm," I stopped on the sidewalk, letting my feet falter as she whispered in my ear, playing with my hair and kissing my neck. I could smell her close to me, her warmth sinking into my cold skin, and felt a smile touch my face when she whispered my name.
"Hey," an annoying voice tried to pull me away from the goddess and I watched her eyes close but the smile across her lips hadn't gone. "Hey!"
"What do you want?" I snapped, glaring at the girl I called my sister only to notice I was cracking the side of a building with the strength in my hand. "Oh," I let go, hoping that no human's detected the wane of my charade.
We walked a few blocks down the road when that scent hit me across the face. It was spicy like patchouli, sweet like summer rain across a strawberry field, and fresh. My eyes narrowed, my brow creased, and I felt the need to touch my nose to the cement like a dog to track the smell of my goddess that seemed to be all around me. "I have to go," I mumbled to my siblings. The girl did not question me, but her mate's eyes flashed with wonder. "I'm sorry," I apologized for ruining her trip, but the trail was fresh, a trail of summer tears that belonged to...her smile flashed across my mind blinding me from the cold of the world even if only for a moment.
I touched the warmth below my skin, where my heart should have been and frowned. I could feel it beating yet it made no noise. I made a promise to the warmth where her hand had been, securely over the dead heart I thought I had lost long ago. "I will find you."
She sat with her hands folded across her lap, a smile across her face and looked up at me with saddened eyes. I'd given the old woman the "human" version of my tale – leaving out the fact that Carlisle was a vampire. I explained about my trip back a hundred years from now and she took it with a blink of her eye, like I was telling her that the sun was warm. I gathered the courage to tell her about my Edward, to share his warmth with her and tell her of how much I missed it. I spoke of the illness, making her eyes harden, and explained that he was dying when I was taken back and I didn't even know if he made it out of that bathwater. I didn't know if Carlisle saved him.
"I see," she mumbled and grasped my hand. "I believe there is a light in any darkness of this world, Bella. Whatever rules the universe has a plan for everything, including my old soul and yours. We were fated to meet this day, I could feel it in my heart. I lost my dear husband just last year and I know what it is to be alone as you are. And I know of the boy you speak of. The young Edward Masen, who lived in this house with his family until he was married," She narrowed her withered eyes when I nodded, fear twisting my chest. She knew about me, but did she know I was the one he wed? I was the one that abandoned him as he died all of those years ago?
She pointed down the road beside her house, a road cracked with time grayed and marred with age. "I believe you will find what you seek there," I felt my insides chill at the heavy tone in her sweet voice, "beside the lake."
I stood, unable to understand how my legs found the strength to. "You are welcome here when you've found what you seek to, Bella." She promised as she opened the front door to my tear stained face. I didn't even know I still had tears to cry after all this time being drenched in sadness. I wrapped my arms around my waist and looked toward the road to a place I once called home. The trees were haunting, the road was cracked and broken, the brush from underneath had claimed it once again. I recalled the path, a path made by the wildlife and not humans. Was it still there beyond the sunflower garden?
I pulled back the branches of two large oak trees and found the pathway we walked down on our wedding day as clear as it had been that autumn evening. I smiled as my hands touched the bark of the tree, feeling my sadness seep into it. I wandered down the trail of time, shut my eyes when I smelled the sweet honeysuckle around the bend, and sucked in a short breath at what I saw before me. He carried me into the warm walls, kissing me with everything he had. It was so perfect, my home, our home, the place created from our love.
But standing before me as a requiem of that adoration and love that was falling to the very ground I stood on. The windows were broken and marked by spray paint; the front door wore a condemned sign that was bright yellow like the poppies in the front garden, and the wooden steps that lead into the broken down home were cracked and broken. I jumped up onto the porch, feeling it wobble below my feet and pushed the rotten door open hurriedly. I had to see it, had to see that it had been loved like Elizabeth's home had. My eyes were wide as they drank in everything. I didn't understand how it could come to this. It had been so beautiful, so open and warm. Now, it lay in the dark shadows of the forest like a haunted house from a fictitious story. The furniture hadn't been touched; the china in the kitchen hadn't been used. There was still blood on the stairs from where Alice rushed down them to find water that night.
The pictures on the wall were cracked and peeling with age. The beautiful wall of windows that looked out to the unchanged lake was broken and a cold breeze ran through the empty house. I touched the oak railing of the stairs, tears pouring out of my eyes at the state of our home. It was like looking into a mirror of another life, a life where everything good and wholesome was evil and empty. My head lulled over to look up the steps and I was already halfway up them because of what I saw. More spray painted bullshit, across pictures of us that had peeled away and crusted, there were flowers from that night that wilted and were turned to ash inside of a glass vase. I wandered down the unfamiliar hallway, mourning the loss of the only thing I knew in this extraneous world.
I pushed the heavy door to our room open and found it was in the same state as the rest of our home: untouched, unused, and forgotten with time. This room, however, was untouched by the outside world. My hairbrush from that morning still lay on the floor where I'd dropped it. I picked up the white brush, touching the worn out spokes with my fingers as my eyes graced the rest of the dust-covered room. The bed was still up against the wall, the sheets were still stained with his sweat and brown stained blood splatter. The pool beside it had dried into the wood, creating a stain as old as time that would never come out.
The window was still open and I was almost surprised that it hadn't been broken like the rest of the things I loved. I walked over to the dresser, finding my ring still lying on the heavy wood – untouched, but a little dusty. I slipped the diamond embedded white gold on, seeing his eyes the first time the minister called me his wife. "Bella," he whispered in my ear as I swayed in the unnatural cherry blossom scented wind. "I will always be with you."
"Always and forever," I reminded myself when my fingers touched the worn leather of the journal I left beside the windowsill and the wind stopped. "You promised." I accused him, finding my heart thudding slowly like my blood was made of molasses. I opened the pages, cherishing the fact that my words hadn't been lost to time and turned to the last page.
August 21st, 1918
Life's thrown me some motherfucking curveballs this week, but I can't seem to find it in myself to hate that I came here to be put through this. I can't find it in myself to hate anything that has happened. I'm sad because of the death, I'm sad because I'm uncertain of what will happen to us, but I know one thing will always be true: Edward will always be in my heart and I will always be in his.
And that's all I will ever need.
Those were the last words I wrote that very night. If I hadn't wrote them, would I have stayed beside him as he died? I left the room, finding the action of moving the covers to straighten the bed something that tore the crevasse inside of me even more. I walked to the bathroom, opening the door wide to see what was left. The tub was empty, lined with red and copper from age and I couldn't tell if anyone had been removed from it. I couldn't tell if he'd ever made it out of this tub alive and breathing. There was blood on the tiles, blood on the walls, even blood on the side of the tub that had dried and became part of it over the years. I touched the porcelain fixture and saw him holding me in this tub, kissing my neck and pressing his hard manhood into me. "I love you," he gasped when I turned and sank down on top of him, filling both of us with need.
I shook the memory from my head; even though he was in it I couldn't find the desire in my heart to see our love so pure and raw. I felt nothing but this dreadful cold inside and outside of my chest. I grasped the fabric above my heart and thunder roared across the sky. The sunshine had vanished and rain leaked through the beams and wooden walls easily. Finally, the climate decided to take a turn for the emotion I felt on the inside and mirrored the raging war inside of my heart. I went back to the room, found myself kneeling before the dresser, and pulled out a photo album from the day of our wedding.
I smiled down at the worn photos, touching the black and white of our union into that life. He was holding my waist and I was smiling at him instead of the camera, and so was he. I didn't even know this picture had been taken. We were so happy. "I'll always happy with you," he whispered again, bringing back the warm wind, "my love." I felt his arms circle me and couldn't take the madness from these memories any longer. I slammed the book shut, shoved it into my bag, and ran out of the creaky old house. I ran down the road, taking to the forest. I pushed the branches that slapped across my face out of my way as I fled from the scene I used to call my life with wide, terrified eyes.
Nothing stayed the same. Time consumed all.
I ran across the street, diving into the thick brush beyond the park as I searched for anything that stayed the same over this time. Where was it? Where was he? I gasped as the thicket cut my skin, drawing my blood as I went further toward the clearing ahead of me. Light from the storm flashed across the sky, sending cold ice through my veins. The rain pelted my skin, the wind whipped around my face, stinging it like alcohol on a wound. When I popped out of the forest, shaken and disturbed by the black images of his death before me, I was stuck staring directly at something from my nightmares. I swallowed the thick terror that was caught in my throat and walked away from the gray tree line. I saw death all around me, grabbing at my ankles in the knee high grass. I wandered through the lines, taking in the faded names across each gray, decaying stone sticking out of the earth. This place, which had always been so beautiful and sacred to me, was turned into the final resting place of the dead bodies six feet under my feet.
The only living things were two white and pink cherry blossom trees across the clearing – in a space where the dead hadn't been laid. My meadow was right beside a graveyard, shrouded in the darkness of the rain and lightning around me. I shut my eyes, letting the rainwater drench my front as I turned my head toward the sky and saw something not of this world. I could feel the tree's flower petals kissing my cheeks, I could drink in the sunlight on my tongue and feel his warmth across my skin as he held me close. I saw under the tree, my eyes ever shut to the vision of our happiness, and heard his voice in my ear. "Bella."
He smiled against my cheek, taking my hands in his as I sat between his legs. "Do you ever wonder why these trees are here, in the middle of the forest where no one has ever planted anything from Japan before?" I frowned and looked over at his green eyes, shaking my head.
"I can't say I have, but now that you mention it, it is kind of strange that they would be out here where no one can love them," I remarked, staring up at the haze of pink and white. He pulled me closer to his chest and I was lying across him, staring up at the beauty of nature around us. My memories were cruel, sending me to a time when things seemed so easy.
He smirked and kissed my forehead. "When I asked my mother about these trees, because they're so different, she always told me they were put here by a woman that planted a single tree right here in the middle of the forest. She was looking for her lover, who had died long ago but came to her in her dreams and her mind when she was sad and needed him. He came to her one night, beckoning her from her sleep, and she followed him through the forests and found him standing under the maple, just there." He pointed toward the ancient maple tree behind us. "She ran to him, embracing him, and he told her not to cry anymore, to feel peace and love instead of the sadness. He told her that time was fluid and ever changing, but that love lasted forever, like the love he had her for her inside of his heart."
My chest tightened, even now as I watched us smiling in the summer. The time around us had stopped and it was only fair that it had begun again, though if our love would last even after we died. I thought of my father's death that day, as I did now, and realized it didn't matter how much time had passed since I had seen him because I would always remember his warmth and love toward me and our family. Was that what I was meant to learn from Edward, to love and lose that love from this world but regain it in the next? I looked back up at Edward, begging to know what the woman did. "She promised him that she would not shed another tear for his death, but smile for every day that he lived. She came here the next morning with the small cherry tree and planted it beside the spot they met in the night. She planted it to show that mortality, death, meant nothing to love. Love was only seen by those who weren't blind to time, weren't blind to age and limits, it never died and neither would the tree." He looked up at the sturdy bark of nature and smiled softly to himself.
"And look, the tree has begun a family…just like we are."
He smiled as he poked my nose and kissed away my tears. It had, and now a large, robust tree blossomed beside it in the swaying wind. My eyes reopened and I found the courage to stare my nightmare down. I touched the headstone between the trees with the tips of my fingers, sinking to my knees when I read the letters across it. I'd seen them so many times it should have felt like the rain was customary and I shouldn't have been able to cry anymore. But the rain was colder than it had ever been, the lightning brighter than the sunshine, and my tears flowed out of my eyes.
"It's so warm," I whispered, touching his name that was etched across the stone. And it was just like he was in his life: so warm like the honey sunshine of his scent. He didn't make it after that night. He died and I wasn't even there to say I loved him more than anything. My head bowed at the sight, I couldn't look anymore, I couldn't…
"I wish I could have saved you," I whispered to the ground where he lay for all eternity. "I miss you, Edward. I miss you…" I couldn't find the words. There weren't any. How did you find words to tell the person you loved that you were sorry for letting them die alone? "I'm so sorry," I cried, covering my face as the tremors wracked my broken body and noiseless sobs spilled past my lips.
I could feel his warmth, holding me so close that I almost believed it was real. He was still holding me together. He was still saving me from the world. He was still the summer sunshine in the middle of the winter and the warmth in my heart would always come from him. I shut my eyes and let the sun embrace me, taking me from this place of rain and darkness and back to his arms as I rested against the budding flowers in the memories our forever sunshine.
She was near me, I could feel her. So close to the place I once called my home. I looked up at the warm, white house and saw an old woman I recognized only in memory. She smiled at me from the porch, waving with a glass of iced tea like a woman that I once knew did when I came back here. I frowned and saw the meadow in my mind, the goddess smiling below me again, begging me to come to her. I could taste the rain on her skin: did that mean she was real, that she was here waiting for me?
I followed the fresh trail of her blood that sent my throat flaming, but I had no desire to sink my teeth into her alabaster skin. She was crying, sobbing. Why was my angel crying? I shut my eyes and I could see her lying between my arms, looking at me with so much trust, but never tears. I frowned, following the scent of spice to a boneyard, filled with people from the time of my death. This was the meadow, the beautiful place from my mind, but it was cut in half and blackened by death. Her warmth lingered across the stones, giving them life and purpose when she walked through here.
"I miss you," the voice in my mind was black like the ground around me, not yellow and golden like the vision of the sunshine. The sweet sunshine…
I opened my eyes and stared wildly around me. "I'm here, I'll find you." I swore I would. I started looking toward the forest as the rain nipped at my flesh.
"Please," I froze at the sound of a sweet voice, a sweet voice that wasn't in my mind. My head spun toward the sound and I saw a woman standing before a gravestone, sobbing. "Come back to me," she whimpered toward the cold rock like it would speak back to her.
The stone looked older than I was, how could she feel sadness for someone that wasn't close to her in life? I watched the unnatural wind swaying through the trees when she shut her eyes and felt my soul being pulled to her, telling me to take this tormented woman into my arms. I could taste her sadness; feel her fear in chest like it was my own and I knew what loss was. Her scent drove me mad, like the sweetest flower begging to be picked, and with it I could feel her in my mind, feel her begging me to come back to life as I lied bleeding on a white dress. These memories couldn't have been my own: I died in a hospital beside my mother, not in a home in this woman's arms.
She sank into the ground, sagging as another wave of her tremendous anguish racked us both. I fell from the tree because of the need to grab my heart and rip it out of my chest so I didn't have to feel this anymore. I stumbled, wincing through the pain – pain. I hadn't felt pain in almost a hundred years. It was so foreign to me, so new. My mind didn't listen to reason as I wrapped my arms around her trembling waist that was colder than me. She was so cold, so broken and I could feel everything she felt like the pain and sorrows were my own. "Edward," she whispered, touching the stone again like she couldn't feel me wrapped around her.
She knew my name? She knew me…then this was. My eyes widened at the words on the tombstone and I felt my own heart crack and wither more than it already had.
Edward Anthony Masen
Beloved Husband, Dear Friend, Lost Brother.
1900 – 1918
Beloved…husband? No, that couldn't be, and even if it was the woman I wed in my mortality she would be dead beside me in this earth. I turned the girl in my arms so her back was to the grave and her chest pressed against mine. I gasped to myself when I saw her beautiful face stained in tears and dirt from the gravesite. I knew her warmth, I knew her face. Her brown hair was drenched in the rain, wrapping around her face unnaturally. Her eyes were filled with salt and water as she mourned, repeating 'he's gone' over and over again. She was so lost between this world and the next that she didn't even feel my touch to her ice cold cheek. She didn't know I was here with her, and not lying in the ground underneath us. I begged of the sobbing woman as she clutched my shirt and whimpered my name, I begged for answers from her pink lips because I didn't remember the brown eyes that stared up at me with so much sadness. "Who are you?"
Hot damn :) Found myself crying, hating myself, and then finally satisfied with this chapter's ending. I'll update soon, I promise :D I'm willing myself to finish this one before I work on any of my other Twilight fics. I think there's about…10 more chapters to this.