And then, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by the blinding light. I had to close my eyes as the glare was burning. I couldn’t tell if I was moving anymore, or if I was stationary. It was a scary feeling. Then my feet touched something solid. Before I knew it, I was standing upright, and a voice was saying, “Welcome to Heaven.”
1. The End
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To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.
I waved goodbye to Edward and Alice as I walked out the door, down the porch stairs and into my old red truck. Alice waved back at me enthusiastically, but Edward could not conceal his unhappiness, no matter how hard he tried. I was the one who caused him this pain, but he needed to get over it.
After all, it was only grocery shopping. How dangerous could it be?
I had argued with him for about a week before he’d decided to let me go on my own, and that was with the whole Cullen family on my side. If he could have his way, I’d never leave his sight again.
I sighed as I did up my seat belt and started the truck’s engine. I loved Edward with all my heart and soul, but he really needed to let me have just a little independence.
I pulled slowly out of the Cullen’s drive, watching Edward and Alice in the rear-view mirror. Alice was saying something to Edward, and he was glowering at her. I cringed, desperately hoping I hadn’t gotten her in trouble.
As I drove into Forks, I though of the conversation I’d had with Edward the week before in his bedroom. I was staying there the night, under the pretence that Alice and I were having a girly weekend.
He just didn’t understand that I could go places without him there, and still be safe at the same time.
“Edward?” I ask, the word coming out muffled, as I am crushed into his chest, and my face is just under his chin.
He can hear me anyway. “Yes, love?” he whispers into my ear.
“Um,” I say, knowing this is not going to be easy. “When I was getting my dinner before, I noticed there wasn’t much, you know, human food left.” I pause, not knowing how to continue.
“And?” asks Edward, motioning for me to continue.
I place my hands on his stone cold chest and push myself up into a sitting position. “I was thinking that I should go shopping and get some stuff to keep here?”
“Bella, why would you need to ask that?” Edward asks quietly, nuzzling his nose on my cheek. “Just let me know, and we can go whenever you want. We can go now, if you really want too.”
“Um, Edward. I think you’re misunderstanding me a little bit,” I say, blushing and looking down.
“What do you mean?” he asks, looking at me questioningly, his head tilted slightly to one side.
“I meant that I should go… by myself.”
“What?” he asks, shocked. “Bella, it’s out of the question. I – ”
I interrupt him. “Edward, come on. I know you only want what’s best for me and to keep me safe, but it’s only grocery shopping. How dangerous could it be?”
“Bella, you’re a self confessed danger magnet. Anything could happen to you.” He looks heavenward, searching for ways I could get hurt in a grocery store. “You could get locked in one of those big freezers. Or a display could fall on you. You could run into an aisle of cans. You could lose control of the trolley. You could-”
“Edward, do you have any idea how ridiculous you sounded just then?”
He appears to think about that. Slowly a sheepish grin begins to form on his face. “I’m sorry, Bella, I know I was being stupid just then. It’s just only because I care so much about you,” he adds, suddenly becoming serious. “It hurts me to see you hurt. If you got so much as a scratch on you, Bella, it would cause me physical pain. I just want you to be safe.”
“I know, Edward, and I am so grateful for that. But I need a little freedom. Nothing is going to happen to me. I promise to be extra careful,” I say, trying to appease him.
“Bella-” he starts.
I resort to the only thing that could possibly work. “Please?” I ask, looking at him from under my eyelashes.
I can see his resolve slipping. He shakes his head in one last attempt to deny me.
“Please?” I whisper.
“I’ll think about it,” he finally agrees.
Pleased with that, I curl back into his arms. Now I just need Alice on my side.
Once I had Edward’s almost consent, it had been easy to convince Alice. She was all for my independence, agreeing that shopping was perfectly safe. She even agreed to tell Edward that she thought so, too. He wasn’t very happy about Alice getting involved, but he eventually conceded, helped along by my pleading looks and Alice’s assurances that I would be fine. He even promised not to get mad at her.
I sighed as I pulled into an empty parking space outside Forks shopping centre. Even though he let me go, it didn’t look like he was going to honour his promise regarding Alice.
I parked the car, and stopped the deafening engine. I checked my purse to make sure I had enough cash, then stepped out of the car, slamming the door loudly behind me. I was careful not to slip on the wet asphalt as I made my way into the store.
Inside, I could no longer hear the sound of rain falling. Instead, I heard the mindless chatter of women doing their weekly shop, and the squeak of trolley wheels. It was oddly comforting to realise that such normality still existed in my world.
I grabbed one of the red shopping baskets near the cash register, and began to make my way down the aisles, gathering the things I needed. I was lost in my own little world, when a voice brought me back to reality.
I turned, and saw Angela Weber walking towards me. A smile broke out on my face as I walked quickly to close the gap between us.
“Ang? I haven’t seen you in ages!” I cried, embracing her.
“I know! It’s so good to see you!” she answered, pulling back from the hug to study my face.
“How are you?” I asked earnestly. I had missed Angela’s relaxing company.
“I’m good. I’m heading off to college in the fall. That reminds me. I got your wedding invitation. Congratulations!” she exclaimed, hugging me tightly again.
Only Angela could be genuinely happy for me, and not mention once that I was just eighteen.
“Thanks, Ang. Are you coming?” I asked.
“Of course, Bella. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“Thank you, Angela. You have no idea how much it means to me, that you’ll be there,” I said, tears slightly stinging my eyes.
She smiled softly at me. “Are you okay, Bella?”
I was surprised at her perception. I didn’t think she would have noticed the slight wetness in my eyes, at the though of never seeing her again.
“I’m fine. I’m just so glad to see you,” I said quickly, forcing a smile onto my face. “How’s it going with Ben?”
“Good, I guess,” she answered, looking down.
“Ang?” I asked, worried that I had said something wrong.
“We’re still together, and everything. It’s just, he’s been acting a bit weird lately, and we’ve been having a couple of fights.”
“Oh, Ang. Are you all right?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said. “We’ll work things out.”
“Of course you will.”
“How are Edward and Alice?” Angela asked, trying to change the subject. “I kind of miss them.”
“Yeah, they’re good, I guess,” I said, picturing Edward’s face that morning. “Alice is having a ball organising the wedding.”
“I’m sure she is,” Angela agreed, laughing.
“So, what are you doing at college?” I asked, like Angela, trying to get off the subject.
“I’m going to be a teacher,” she said, her voice full of conviction.
“You’ll be great at that, Angela,” I said, smiling. I could picture Angela as a teacher.
“Thanks. I hope so,” she replied, blushing. “What are you doing? For college, I mean?”
The one question I didn’t want to answer. “I’m going to the University of Juneau, in Alaska,” I said, hating myself for having to lie to her.
Her eyebrows rose ever so slightly. “Alaska? Why so far away?”
“Well, mostly because I can afford the tuition fees myself, but also because Edward got accepted there as well,” I said.
She smiled. “Of course. I completely understand.”
I grinned back at her. She glanced down at her watch, then looked back up at me apologetically. “Sorry, Bella, I’ve got to go. I promised Mum I’d be home to watch my brothers.”
“That’s fine,” I said smiling. “I’ll see you some other time. We should catch up before the wedding.”
“Definitely. I’ll talk you later,” she said, as she waved goodbye.
That didn’t go to badly, I thought to myself as I finished walking up and down the aisles. She seemed to accept my pathetic excuse about choosing a college in Alaska.
I made my way to the checkout, and began unloading the items. The girl at the register smiled dully at me, and greeted me with the standard “How are you today?” in a flat monotone.
“I’m fine,” I said, hurriedly unloading the remaining items from my basket. I wanted to get out of there and back to Edward as quickly as possible.
The girl finished adding up the items and said, “That comes to a total of $33.95,” unsmilingly.
I dug around in my purse for the necessary cash. I handed her two twenties, and waited for my change. I took it off her quickly when she offered it, gathered my shopping bags, and made my way out of the store.
One mile away from the grocery store, little boy opens the door of the refrigerator. Reaching for a slice of cheese on the middle shelf, he accidentally knocks over the milk bottle, sending it crashing to the ground. The bottle breaks, and milk is all over the kitchen floor.
“Max!” his mother yells, seeing the mess on the floor. All the milk had now drained from the bottle. “Now what are we going to use for breakfast tomorrow?”
Max looks up at her guiltily.
His father, overhearing from the next room, intervenes. “Don’t worry, Suze, I’ll go get some now. I was going to go down and pick up the paper anyway.”
Suze nods wearily as she wets a dishcloth and begins to mop up the mess. “Thanks, John.”
John makes his way out to the garage, and steps into a blue Volkswagen.
Alice’s eyes go blank, and her whole body stiffens. Her muscles tense and her jaw clenches. Her fists curl themselves into little balls.
Jasper knows the warning signs. He hurries to her side, and takes her hands in his, squeezing gently. “Edward?” he calls softly. No answer.
Alice starts to shake, her eyes closing on her pale face. This is bad. Jasper begins to panic. “Edward?” he calls again, louder this time. Still no answer.
Alice can’t believe what she’s seeing. Bella, packing groceries into her old red truck. Another car, this one a blue Volkswagen, driving towards her. The car losing traction on the road, slippery from the recent downpour. Bella’s face as she sees the car careening towards her, knowing that it’s too late for her to move. The impact itself. Bella, thrust backwards by the force of the crash, her head cracking on the road. And… blood. Blood, everywhere. Blood on the ground, blood in her hair, blood seeping trough her pale sweater.
Hr eyes shoot open, and she gasps for breath, although she does not need the air. Her eyes lock onto Jasper’s, and he feels her despair.
“Edward!” he shouts.
His brother finally hears, and comes running into the room. He takes one look at Jasper’s panicked expression, and then turns his gaze to Alice. She’s still gasping for air, and it takes a second for her to mouth a single word, her eyes wide.
By this time, Edward has read her mind and is running at full speed to his Volvo. “Someone call Carlisle!” he screams as he jumps into the car and guns the engine.
I unlocked the trunk of the truck, and began packing my shopping into it. I was just about finished when I saw a blue Volkswagen sliding towards me on the wet asphalt. Like the last time this happened, time didn’t slow down, but my mind went into overdrive. I saw the car sliding towards me, and I knew I didn’t have time to move.
Unlike the last time, Edward wasn’t there to save me.
I heard the impact before I felt it. I was pushed backwards by the force of the car. As I fell I heard another car pull up, and an angel’s voice shout, “Bella! No!” Then I hit my head, and fell into blackness.