Published: August 8, 2009
I stared out the cottage window at the perfection before me. The forest that had once enchanted me with its fairy-tale-like charm felt like a prison now, the shadows from the trees reminding me of bars. I could almost hear the jail door shut with a resounding slam.
How long had it been since I was turned? Even I had lost track; all I knew was that it had been a long time, longer than the average human lifespan. The first few years of my life as a vampire were a blur, a rush of ecstasy filled with nothing but Edward. I couldn't have been happier. At least, so I had thought at the time. An eternity with him was better than a dream.
But then one day I woke up to the truth. It was as though I saw my life flash before my eyes.
Mom and Dad had died after what felt like a few years after my rebirth, one week after each other. I wasn't able to attend Mom's funeral--Florida, sun and vampires didn't mix very well--but I was able to find peace in her death. It was Dad's death that still lingered in the back of my mind...or rather, the way I had treated him during his life. I could have treated him better, could have tried to reach out to him more, like I had with Mom, but instead I acted like a spoiled child fuming because things weren't going my way. And still he was there for me. I never got to thank him for that, and now I never could.
And what about Mike, Eric, Jessica, Angela--they were all gone, weren't they? They were the first people to reach out to me when I came to Forks, to invite me into their circle of friends, to do anything and everything possible to make sure that I felt like I belonged, and what did I do? Treat them like they were nothing more than annoyances, obstacles to my goal of Edward Cullen.
Even Reneesme had been taken away from me, though not by the hands of death like all the others. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping to stop the flood of memories that rushed through my mind. Eighteen years would have been much too soon to give up my only child, but to have to do it in six was gut wrenching.
And to my best friend, no less. I couldn't stop thinking about that, no matter how hard I tried. I knew it wasn't Jacob's fault. I knew he couldn't help who he imprinted on. He had as much control over it as I had control over when the sun would rise and set, but I still felt betrayed. A part of that betrayal was him stealing my daughter away from me, but as selfish as it sounds, most of it stemmed from the fact that our relationship felt like a lie. Was the only reason for meeting me, befriending me, loving me so that he could raise my daughter to be his wife?
Most of all, though, I was angry. Not at Jacob, though, or anyone else for that matter. I was mad at myself. I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. When I was still human the word "forever" held such reverence for me, as much as the words "Edward Cullen" had. It was like trying to reach for a star, unattainable, but still I wanted to hold it in my hands and say that I had achieved the impossible.
And so I had. But at what cost?
"Bella, love, what are you doing here?" Edward asked, placing a kiss on my forehead. "You should come to the bedroom."
I pushed myself up from my chair and forced a smile. "All right. Go on ahead. I'll meet you there."
I watched his receding form as he disappeared into the room. I think that was what hurt me the most: the realization that what Edward and I shared was not love, but lust. I didn't want to believe it before. I had convinced myself the feelings I had were special, that no one else had felt something so wonderfully exciting, invigorating. I thought that feeling would last forever...but it didn't. All we were left with were awkward silences that we managed to fill with sex.
This wasn't what I wanted, what I had expected, but it was exactly what I got.
As I followed a few paces behind him, I passed by a mirror and stopped, taking in my appearance. I was still inhumanly beautiful, eternally eighteen, like I was the day I had been turned. But I felt old; I could feel it in my soul, my very being. I was worn and tired, and I just wanted it all to end. I wanted a peace that I would never find.
But I wouldn't complain. I had made this bed of roses, and I would have to lie in it, thorns and all.
Forever and ever and ever...