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Never Waking Slumber

Summary:
What if Edward was never to agree with Bella's transformation? What if he was with her as she grew old, as he had intended?


Notes:


1. Chapter One

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1163   Review this Chapter

The elderly woman delicately placed the last of her sandwich in her mouth and leaned back against the dining room chair. The low, yellowed lighting in the room seemed to make the wrinkles on her face appear deeper than usual; her alabaster skin looked bruised and sallow; the white ringlets of hair piled atop her head made the skin on her face stretch.

“Edward… I’ll need your help now…” the woman managed to say. Her lungs seemed incapable of taking short and small breaths as she did when she was younger. Now, her chest rose and fell at great distances, a physical sign of her extremely deep breathing.

The young man sitting across from her was her complete opposite. He looked ever youthful, time not taking any wrath on his features. His bronze hair, flawless skin, and vibrant appearance hadn’t changed in the slightest ever since 1918.

Edward pushed back his chair gracefully and walked toward the old woman, his fingers leaving a trail of cool moisture on the tabletop. “And you shall have it,” his velvet voice sang. The corner of his mouth quirked into a crooked smile, and the woman’s parched and chapped lips couldn’t help but do the same. Edward placed his hand under her elbow and lifted her up, leaning her body against his. The boy had to be especially careful of his control now that the woman’s bones were so frail. Using his utmost gentle caution, he snaked one arm around her waist; as her hunched and curved body sagged into his, he maneuvered them toward her bedroom.

The walls of the small hallway were impossible to see; every inch was covered in framed photographs. Some of them were recent, only a couple years old, but most were many decades past. Edward’s topaz eyes caught one in particular; he knew it was her favorite. The picture was of him, sitting in the dining room of a house in Forks. By the look on his face, he had been caught off guard – even with his extremely fast reflexes. But there he sat, smiling brightly at the woman behind the camera.

Edward gazed at several choice photographs as he and the woman walked down the hallway. Most were of him smirking and smiling. In a couple, Edward found himself staring intently at the camera, his eyes a deep golden; the photographer told him that she wanted a picture of him “dazzling” the camera, as she put it. Edward had been quite surprised at the outcome. He always knew how to use his eyes for the purpose of persuasion, but he had never quite known what he looked like while he did it. The pictures had helped for years of improved smoldering.

As they reached the end of the passage, Edward opened the old wooden door and situated himself behind the elderly woman; his arms were around her waist and each leg directly behind her own as she stepped unstably into her room. She placed a hand on the corner of the bed and slowly swiveled herself around so she could sit. As her bottom touched the mattress and Edward was sure she wouldn’t fall or stumble, he kneeled in front of her and tenderly took the flats off her swollen feet.

He proceeded to take off her knit sweater; every time his icy hands made contact with her plush and bruised skin, the old woman closed her eyes, seemingly enjoying the feel. Once Edward had finished unbuttoning each small plastic circle, he gently slipped the sweater off of her shoulders and folded it, setting the clothing on her nightstand.

Edward softly pressed his hands against her, pushing her body onto the bed. She curled up onto her side as he pulled the sheets from underneath her and then tucked them around her. He climbed lithely onto the bed and mimicked her posture on top of the blankets, placing one arm around the woman’s waist and holding her snugly to him.

She leaned her head back slightly so she could see him. “Edward,” she rasped, “I feel like… like my time is… I feel like it’s time…” She trailed off, the thickness of her voice making it too difficult to speak.

“I know, dearest,” Edward spoke into her ear. As she sighed into him, he could smell a single tear leak from one of her closed eyes. Lightly wiping the drop from her cheek, he said, “I think I’ve known for a while.”

“Edward,” she choked out, “I want you to know… that I’m so… so grateful for you… and that I… I l-l-l…”

“I love you as well, my dear,” he said in a hushed tone. “And I shall love you always. If I was to have one regret in my existence, it would be that I could not spend more time in your presence. But your life as a human has been a fulfilling one. And I only hope to see you once more – if your theory proves true – in the afterlife.”

He could hear her breathing slow drastically, and he began speaking more quickly, knowing his time was running short. “You have been my sun, my moon, my stars; you were my meteor, remember?” he questioned her, smiling slightly at the distant memory. Her head nodded slowly in response. “You are the only reason I am happy. Even with my family – even with Carlisle, Esme, and all of my siblings – I have never been, and can never be, as happy as I am while with you. And no matter what becomes of me, I want you to remember that you have always been the only person that made me feel totally and completely whole. You have been, and always will be, my life.”

A strangled sob left the mouth of the old woman, but Edward could see the smallest smile light her face.

No more words were spoken as her breaths slowed at an even greater pace; her dying heartbeats filled the silence of the room. And in the last moments of her life, Edward could see every memory of her flash before his eyes.

He saw her annoyed expression during their first conversation in biology; he saw her smile on the first day they kissed; he saw her excitement the first trip to the meadow; he saw her broken state in Italy; he saw her confused face, after they had returned from the Volturi, when she thought she was dreaming of him; and every moment they shared between the first day they met and the moment at present.

Just as her heartbeat drummed one final note, Edward heard his name pass quietly, almost nonexistent, through her lips. Then he heard no more noise.

He leaned forward and pressed his lips to the edge of her jaw; the skin felt papery thin. “My Bella…” he murmured against her.

And he laid there, reveling in the deafening silence, as Bella slept in never-waking slumber.