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Choices

Summary:
Choices Banner This story takes place in Eclipse when Riley goes to Bella’s room to gather her belongings for Victoria. This is what could have happened if Bella had arrived while he was still there, and the events following. Written pre-Breaking Dawn, so that book will be disregarded here. This will include my idea of how the series would have ended.


Notes:
Choices Banner *Written before Breaking Dawn was released, so that book will be ignored with this story.


21. Memories

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1638   Review this Chapter

Chapter 21: Memories

BPOV

Later that afternoon, we were getting ready to go to Charlie’s grave. I was nervous, but I knew that this was important for me. I missed him so much. As thankful as I was for the ‘numbing agent’ that came with being a vampire, I knew this would be very difficult. I asked Esme if I could pick some flowers from the garden before we went so I could leave them at his grave. She had smiled softly, and helped me find the perfect ones.

We were about to leave when something occurred to me. Turning to Edward, I asked, "Do you think Alice would like to go with us?"

He had barely been able return my smile with one of his own before the backdoor flew open, and Alice appeared, looking slightly crazed. "Yes, I think she would," he said, laughing quietly.

Realizing she had probably been silently pleading with him all day, I felt bad for not thinking to ask her sooner.

"Thank you, Bella, I would love to go. I haven’t been there yet, I was waiting so I could go with you," Alice said, her words all rushing together in relief.

Reaching out to take one of her hands, I was touched by how much this meant to her. She grasped my hand, and the three of us headed off into the woods, Alice and I following Edward’s lead. The walk was short, it didn’t take long. I could sense when we got close, because Edward slowed and let me pass him, and Alice let go of my hand so that I could enter the clearing by myself first. I took a deep breath and proceeded forward.

As I stepped into the clearing, the sight before me took my breath away. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I was surrounded by the most beautiful display of flowers I had ever seen. Esme’s garden at the house was wonderful, but it didn’t even begin to compare with this. The clearing had been shaped into a perfect circle, and there were still a few trees intermittently spaced throughout. A multitude of flower beds created islands of color throughout the area. Near the back of the circle, there was a small pool of water, with rocks stacked above it, so that the water was cascading down. It was like a natural mini-waterfall, although I knew better...it hadn’t been ‘naturally’ created.

It truly looked like paradise.

Taking aother deep breath, I made myself focus on the one thing my eyes had been trying to avoid. Slowly, I stepped forward, to the center of the clearing. Once there, I stopped, and slowly looked up. I was standing in front of a beautifully hand carved wooden cross. It was amazing - it stood about five feet tall, and it was a rich cherry wood, varnished to a high gloss. The detail work on it was unbelievable...so intricate. It was covered in small scrolls, mixed with a leaf pattern, and lots of other things I couldn’t quite focus on yet - I was distracted. I looked down, at the freshly disturbed earth. Charlie’s body, my father’s body, was right beneath my feet. It was all too much. The crippling pain took hold, completely overriding the numbing effect. As I dropped to my knees in despair, Edward’s arms caught me just before I hit the ground.

"It’s alright, Bella. It’s alright," he whispered into my ear. I knew by the tone of his voice, if he were able to cry, he would be. This hurt him almost as much as it hurt me - he couldn’t stand to see me in pain. He pulled me with him back from the grave, and lowered himself to the ground, cradling me, holding me close. His fingers ran over my hair comfortingly, and he waited as the sobs rocked through me. I clung to him, desperate for the pain stop. My fingers dug into the back of his neck, as the memories of my father’s voice, smile, love, and devotion tore through my mind.

At some point, I felt Alice sit down quietly beside us. She reached out and placed her hand soothingly on my back, where it stayed, moving in tiny, comforting circles. Reaching out to her with one of my arms, I pulled her closer. We didn’t speak, it wasn’t necessary. We all sat there, encircled in our grief, none of us able to cry. It had to be one of the most disturbing things I have ever witnessed; the three of us, so completely wrought with grief we couldn’t properly express, no matter how much we wanted to, all shaking with sorrow.

Some time later, I slowly began to come back to myself. Looking at the two people who had tried to help me carry the burden of this grief, I silently squeezed both of their hands tightly, conveying my gratitude. I turned, and gradually stood up. Carefully, I stepping forward and to the side slightly, judging my footsteps, not wanting to step in the same direction as I had before...there was something disturbing about standing above my father’s body. As I stood to the side of the freshly dug grave, I looked at the cross, then to the dirt before me, and back again. Sinking down to the earth, crossing my legs tightly before me, I hung my head.

"Charlie, I love you," I murmured. "You have no idea how much. I loved mom too - so much. She was a beautiful person, as I suspect you always knew. I’m sorry that you died the way that you did, it was my fault." I proceeded to talk to my father’s grave, explaining exactly what Edward was, and what I was now, what had happened to him, and why. I knew it wasn’t necessary - he probably already knew everything, but I needed to express it. With one of my fingers, I traced the perimeter of the cross. As my finger traced the outline, my mind regressed. I remembered Charlie as he was in my youth, trying to coach me, guide me.

I remembered swimming lessons, fishing expeditions, and every attempt he’d made to get me to try to play sports. He’d loved me so much more than I’d ever realized.

My expression hardened, as I whispered, "I’m sorry I can’t give your life back to you, dad. I will make this right, though. I will get revenge."

Edward knelt down beside me. "Bella, we couldn’t mark the grave properly. I am sorry for that, but I’m sure you understand why. Carlisle added some things though, just for you. Look closely," he encouraged.

Looking back at the cross, I began to focus on the details. My eyes followed the direction of Edward’s finger, as he pointed out various little symbols that I hadn’t noticed earlier. There were many little things hidden within the design, all which had meant something to Charlie. There was the logo of the Forks police department, there were fishing lures, logos of all of his favorite sports teams, a wedding band, and an image of a father holding a baby, which had the letters ‘IMS’ - my initials, next to it, blended so well with the scroll design you could barely see them. It was everything Charlie had loved in his life. I looked at Edward, speechless.

We stayed for a while, each of us spending time reflecting at the grave, or simply under the trees in the clearing. After some time, I was finally able to calm down, and welcomed the return of the numbing effect. Obviously, I was still upset, but after my initial outburst, I felt more able to handle it.

Eventually, we decided it was time to get back to the house. As we got ready to leave the clearing, I sensed that Alice had turned around. When I glanced back, I saw Alice lightly skip over to Charlie’s grave, lean over and gently place a kiss at the top of the cross. "Goodbye, Charlie," she said softly. She turned, and as she rejoined us, I grabbed her little hand and squeezed it, silently thanking her.

After we had returned to the house, I immediately sought out the two people I wanted to see. I found Carlisle in the living room, and thanked him sincerely for making the cross so special. He gently hugged me, and told me he was glad that I was pleased with it.

I found Esme out in the flower garden. As I approached her, I wasn’t sure how to express my gratitude for what she had done. She turned as she heard me, and I caught her in a loving embrace. "Thank you so much, Esme. The entire place is beautiful. It’s comforting to have," I whispered shakily.

She put her hand on the back of my head, soothing me. "It was the least I could do, Bella. I wish I could have done more, dear," Esme said softly.

We spent the rest of the afternoon quietly. We watched Jasper and Emmett play video games, and I spent some time with Alice in her room, pouring through all her latest design sketches. I even spent some time with Rosalie in the garage. She was working on Emmett’s jeep, and showed me how to change a tire and the oil - although I was quite sure I would never actually have to put my new skills to use - Edward would take care of it before I could even start, being the gentleman that he is.

That evening found me back in our room, with Edward, reflecting on the day’s events. This was quickly becoming one of my favorite times of the day - it was similar to when I’d been human, except I didn’t sleep now. We would listen to music, read, talk, or just hold each other. I couldn’t ever get enough time alone with Edward.