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Death And Where It Leads

DWYER (Renée) Quietly passed away in the loving arms of her family in Florida on 11/4/2039

The late Mrs. Renée Dwyer leaves behind a caring husband and a much-loved daughter.

She will be forever remembered most keenly as our sunshine in the darkest of days.

Rest in peace, Renée. You will be missed.

I wrote about 3000 words to this today and read through it just once, so there may be many typos and such in the text. I first intended the story to be a one-shot, but when I reached the 3000 word mark I realized that I couldn't post all of this at once. I've been trying to write a lot lately, but I've been losing my interest in Twilight fanfiction, for one because of my declining obsession, and secondly because of the lack of attention my stories have been getting. As you can imagine, it's difficult to write without feeling inspired. So, anyway, I wrote this and have no idea if it's any good. Please let me know if it's worth continuing!

2. An Endless Ocean in a Bowl

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1531   Review this Chapter

I was sleeping by the wasteside of tomorrow
But its better than sleeping by the wasteside of today
All the barbershops and funeral-homes were open
And the customers were coming and the business was doing great
-- Regina Spektor, Wasteside


I tentatively made my way to the back row of the small chapel, keeping my head down and my face hidden behind a veil of hair. My arms huddled the black, austere dress I was wearing. Each movement around me caught my eye as I worried over each person in the room – would someone recognize me?

But as I scrutinized the different gloomy faces I noticed that I didn't recognize many of them at all. Was my memory really that faulty, or had Renée's old friends all abandoned her? Another surge of pain and regret washed over me as I realized that my mother might have been more alone than I'd thought.

I couldn't keep my eyes on the others for long. One object acted like a strong magnet, succeeding to attract my attention time after time again.

It was a sleek, black casket that adorned the middle of the altar.

I hated the color. It was too dark, too ominous to be Renée's last bed on this side of the world. I'd requested a white one, but my decision was overruled by a defiant Phil who had controlled my every step during the process of organizing the funeral. Those few days had been frustrating, seeing as I couldn't show myself to anyone and had had to manage everything through the phone; Phil's disenchanted voice still echoed through my head every second of each day:

"Your mother would want you to be there…"

It was almost treachery to be there now that I'd assured him that I would not. My carefully thought-through explanations had been thrust at him through gritted teeth. I was a Cullen, after all. Secrecy went above everything else. Duty came first.

Still, I was breaking every unspoken Cullen rule by appearing at my biological mother's funeral. Even as I sat there, feeling wretched and criminal as I loitered in the back rows trying to appear as inconspicuous as possible, I couldn't help but think of my family at home that had put their trust in me only to be disappointed. They had appeared understanding and compliant, but I knew that more was brewing beneath their veneer. Rosalie at the very least would give me hell once I returned home and finished grieving.

But I couldn't bring myself to regret my decision.

I sat down in the furthest corner of the very last row and eyed the view before me. The black casket was thankfully enveloped by a whole assortment of flowers that granted the desolate view some color. White, amber, cyan, violet… I counted the different colors in my mind, thanking each of their donor's for giving my mother something to rejoice about in her burial.

A priest was already standing in front of the crowd, and I once again bemoaned that I had let Phil have his way on this one. Renée had never been religious. The new church she'd joined just before her death had been nothing more but another of her crazes, and I saw no reason why she should be buried here with all these unfamiliar people.

The middle-aged man coughed when the beginning of the service neared, and instantly the people began filling the few rows of seats that were lined neatly in front of the altar. The black-dressed individuals were alien to me. There were a few bobbing hats that I thought I could label with a name and a couple of frocks that somehow reminded me of long-forgotten days, but that was all. I could only hope these people didn't know each other any more than I did so they wouldn't notice the odd one out – me, of course.

I couldn't keep track of the words that the preacher spoke. They sounded strange to me, and I was sure my mother would have felt the same. Who was he to talk about a God that she had not believed in? How was he tied to Renée to give him the right to express his sorrow? My eyes shifted back and forth from the coffin to the stained glass windows that each represented a story from the bible. Had Renée known these stories?

I began reminiscing about the seventeen years I'd spent with my mother in Phoenix. I recalled the many times she'd patched me up after a fall, the teenage tantrums she'd put a stop to before they'd even began, and the tears she'd wiped away when my pet fishes had passed into the next world.

"Animal Paradise," she'd called it. "An endless ocean in a bowl".

As the ceremony dragged on I began recollecting much less blissful things. The many men she'd brought home and introduced as my new stepfather and whose names had slipped my mind long before my life as a vampire. The creditors I'd had to lie to while Renée cowered underneath her sheets in her bedroom. The novel sports and trends she'd intended to try when our money hardly sufficed for our everyday needs.

Just as I was attempting to tear my mind away from such painful avenues, a soft, deep voice from the row in front of me made me jump out of my skin.


I froze, feeling a pair of inspecting eyes fixed upon my hidden face. I didn't dare to breathe, let alone look up. Who had identified me? My mind raced over my options as I tried to figure out how to snake myself out of this one.

"Is that really you, Bella?" the voice whispered again, this time causing some of the surrounding heads to turn. I flinched inertly; how long would it take for the whole party to take interest in the happenings of the back row?

The growing attention forced me to look up. Two bland, brown eyes that widened in disbelief met my gaze, and I gritted my teeth together when I realized who it was.

An aged Phil Dwyer stared at my face incredulously.

"Oh…," was all he managed to say as he took in my youthful appearance. His heartbeat quickened from one breath to the other.

"Isabella?" someone else asked from beside us, and dejection overwhelmed me as I grasped that my name was well known in my mother's social circles. How many stories had she recited about her only daughter?

How many times had they gossiped about how said daughter wouldn't appear at the funeral?

Before I could find the words to utter, Phil's heart started doing summersaults inside his chest and his breathing went from fast to raggedy when he started examining my features more closely. His gaze lingered on my ocher eyes for quite a while, and I knew that he'd already registered my pale skin. He'd have drawn conclusions by now, I noted fearfully. How long would it take him to combine my new looks with the boyfriend I'd run off with thirty years ago? How long would it take him to start screaming?

But just when I thought all hope was lost, the mention of Edward threw a new plan into my awareness.

"I'm not Bella," I lied, "I'm Renesmee Cullen."

Was I persuasive enough? Phil seemed to think so, I noticed with relief. I thanked my luck that none of my mother's friends knew what my renowned daughter looked like.

I smiled winningly, keeping my sharp, white teeth firmly hidden.

"My goodness, Renesmee…" Phil left his sentence unfinished again, but his heart thankfully calmed down a notch.

"My mother couldn't make it, but I happened to be in town and thought I'd stop by." When disapproval crossed Phil's face again, I hastily added, "But she sends her deepest condolences."

Phil seemed to accept the fact that I resembled Edward enough to be his daughter, and turned back to the preacher, finally resigned.

He couldn't keep his eyes away from me for long however, for he soon turned around again and whispered in a deep tone, "I have something for your mother."

His gray eyebrows furrowed.

Uneasily, I reached out for the envelope that he was presenting me in his wrinkled, worn-out hand. I took care to keep my cold skin far away from his touch.

"Thanks," I murmured, looking to the front again in the hopes of him following my lead. His gaze stayed on my figure for a few prolonged moments, but finally he sighed audibly and turned back to the preacher.

"And so it is important for us all to appreciate the friends that surround us throughout our lives. Cherish the time you have on this earth, my friends! Cherish your comrades! For it shouldn't be our funerals that show us who really cared…"

I pressed the envelope against my static chest. The scent of Renée floated in the air.