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Edward's Choice

Summary:
The title of this came from my son, also a twilight fan. This one shot takes place immediately after Edward hangs up from Jacob.


Notes:


1. Edward's Choice

Rating 5/5   Word Count 6803   Review this Chapter

Gone… Gone to a place where I would forever be barred. My existence was a malignant cancer, destroying whatever I touch. Even if it were somehow possible for monsters like me to cross over, I was sure those in charge of such things would never allow anything as vile as me to enter. After what I had put her through, I didn't deserve even a moment in her presence. I crawled out of my hiding place, or maybe it was my tomb, emerging on the sticky tar covered roof of the filthy tenement I was hiding in. It was no longer necessary to track Victoria. I had lost her anyway. No, there was only one thing left to do… Darkness had followed me out of my hole in the rafters. It was as if my existence was reflected in the sky above. It was midday, but the clouds were heavy, sinister. It seemed the sun had been eradicated. I was doubled over on the edge of the roof, my hands on my knees. I couldn't breathe. I was unable to stand up straight; my empty stone stomach twisted and heaved. Unbalanced, I fell off the roof, landing head first in a crumpled pile on the street four stories below. In the dirty back alley several young boys were playing a game of street ball, oblivious to the approaching storm. Their heads turned, their bodies froze in response to my sudden appearance in their midst. Then a flash of lightning and its accompanying rumble of thunder jolted them to life. They backed themselves against the alley walls, terrified as I dragged myself up off the pavement and passed them by. My phone began to vibrate again in my pocket. I didn't look to see who it was. It didn't matter, not now. I tossed it into a trash barrel still ringing as I turned the corner and headed into the main thoroughfare. Humans in vehicles honked and cussed, others stared at me through shop windows and from under awnings as I appeared to wander aimlessly through the middle of the street. The clouds had broke loose and a hard rain fell from the sky. The unprotected ones on the sidewalks were moving about quickly, trying to escape the deluge. I didn't care. Not about the rain that provided me with cover, not about the staring, not about anything. I was on auto pilot. My feet were taking me to the airport, to my true death. I would go to any length to ease this pain. I would gladly take burning in hell if it could even momentarily distract me from the agony I was in right now. I was so tired. I just wanted to end. The full weight of my transgressions came crashing down around me. What had I done? Rosalie said Alice saw her throw herself from a cliff. Not fell or was pushed; voluntarily jumped. Suicide… Just like Esme. There was a difference though. Carlisle had been there to save her. I wasn't. I knew it was my fault. My mind flashed back to the day I left her. It took me two days to find the strength to do it. I told myself it had to be done. She deserved a real life, one that included her parents, one that included friends that could be in her life longer than a few short years, one that included a husband that could give her children, grow old with her. A life without me, who really did not have life… But it had been hard to escape the feeling that this was the worse crime I had ever committed in my long and violent existence. As I said the cruel lying words, all the joy I had ever known turned to dust. Worse than anything was the fact she believed me so easily. I watched her face as I forced the poison from my venomous mouth. She would get over me I said to myself, fighting the pain that stab at my dead heart. She had to. Her love for me doomed her to a soulless future. It was my love for her that demanded I set her free. But her horrified expression when I told her I didn't want her anymore had haunted me from the moment I turned my back and abandoned her in the woods. Even the foul creature I am, I couldn't bring myself to actually say the words, that I didn't love her. But what I had said had been enough. It had looked as if someone had snuffed the lights out in her eyes. Then I remembered… someone had, me. I staggered, my footsteps faltering at the thought of what I had done. How could I have been so evil… so vile? I should have found another way. I could have stayed hidden, watched from afar. I should have been stronger. I could have stopped this. Demented by my own pain and guilt, I lashed out at her. How could she do this to me? She promised me! She promised to take care of herself, to keep herself safe. How could she have believed that I didn't want her? …that I didn't yearn to see her beautiful face… not crave to touch her warm hand every moment of every day… How could she not know that her every heartbeat, her every breath was the most precious… that the universe would cease to be when she… Sanity returned, if only briefly and I snarled, fury and rage erupting from my chest. People within ear shot of me started, looking for some wild animal, their instinctual fears brought to the surface. I stumbled again, shame and guilt overwhelming me. How dare I be angry at her for anything, let alone something that I instigated? She was gone and I had caused her death as surely as if I crushed her frail body with my own two hands. Her life was over….over because I hadn't the strength to stay away from her in the first place…over because I couldn't figure out a way to make things work for us. Yes, she had broken her promise, but hadn't I as well? I swore to her that I would stay as long as she needed me. I pledged to myself that I would keep her safe. Maybe I should force myself to roam the earth forever. There could be no more worse atonement for my sins that than this agony. But I had to end this pain. I was too weak, too weak and pathetic to endure it. I walked into the airport drenched from head to toe, indifferent to the extra wide berth people were giving me. The girl at the counter did not respond as I requested my tickets to Italy. I looked up wondering why, interested only because her delays extended my time on earth. Then I saw it, what I looked like in her mind, punctuated on her face. Maybe I was already dead, it sure appeared that way. My passport shook in my hand as I repeated my request and I noticed a change in her thoughts. She was no longer afraid. No, it was pity. I wanted to fume at her. I deserved no one's sympathy. I was a murderer. I had annihilated with cruelty and weakness the one I loved. But I accepted the kind look this unknown human girl gave me as she handed me my tickets, taking this molecule of compassion in the vain, useless hope it would bring me just a moment of respite. Gratefully airport security was lighter here than in America. It took little ease their concerns as to why I had no baggage. I hardly had to lie. I said that someone had died and I left for the airport without planning. Convinced primarily by my haggard appearance and the fact that drug mules didn't fly first class, they let me through. Once aboard I collapsed into my seat. I had purchased two tickets. I wanted no one near me, no one to bear witness to my fury, my shame and my grief. As the plane began its long journey the concentration of stale human scent being recycled throughout the cabin burned at my throat. I should have hunted before getting on, for the sake of the humans traveling with me if nothing else, but I didn't. I refused to destroy another living creature, even an animal. This was just a small insignificant added punishment for what I had done. There would be no plea for leniency from me if I was to burn in hell. Though I hoped for and expected nothingness, I deserved anything that awaited me. I sat leaning my head against the plane window, unable to get the vision of her broken body out of my head. My stomach twisted and I fought the urge to wretch once more, praying that relief would come soon. No one came near, not even the stewardess. The trip across the ocean seemed endless. When I finally reached Florence, I stole the first car I walked past. It was a piece of crap Fiat, but all that mattered to me was that it would take me to where I needed to go. I was incapable of running. I was incapable of any task that I enjoyed with her. I climbed in the tiny substandard vehicle and headed toward the center of vampire power in the world, Voltera. I had somehow held my outward composure together until now. But alone in the car my mind wandered… thoughts of her lips on mine… her soft skin… her chocolate eyes… her body lifeless at the bottom of some cliff… My fingers crushed where they held on to the steering wheel. It took my breath away. My entire body shook and I started to sobbed so uncontrollably I had to pull off the road. I could no longer see through my pain. I didn't know how long I was there, it felt like forever, but finally I remembered… relief from this torment could only be had if I kept moving forward. It was night when I reached the walls of the city. I had ditched the car a mile or so away and walked through the stone entrance, feeling like a condemned sinner at the gates of hell. Mercy would not mean my reprieve, it would mean my destruction. I was coming to the devil to ask that he carry out my sentence. There were city workers in overalls setting out large cardboard garbage boxes. Several little elderly Italian women hurried about, putting the finishing touches on their concession stands, wanting to get to bed soon. Tomorrow would be a busy day for them. Police in uniforms were putting up cones and signs for parking. A few boys my age… my age, right… were hanging out on the corner attempting to look cool, amused at the sight of the adults scurrying about, in effort of tomorrow's special event. I caught a few thoughts from them about vandalism, ignorant to the true penalties of committing crime in this town. My curiosity had peak slightly as to what was going on. It took me a second then I remembered the date. Tomorrow was St. Marcus' Day. If I had been capable of laughing at the absurdity of this ridiculous festival I would have. Well, at least tomorrow would indeed mark the eradication of one vampire from the earth. As I made my way through the paved street, I became aware that the others knew of my presence. Several were following me, in defensive positions, trying to blend with the civilians out on the street. They did this for the humans, not for me, assured their scents were all the greeting I needed. They deliberated my intentions, wary of my thirsty appearance. When our kind came here, we usually called ahead. There was a large one, the size of Emmett, sizing me up. Immortality combined with super human strength made his existence often dull. He, Felix was his name, was hoping for a distraction. They observed my less than civilized appearance, trying to determine the threat that I might represent. I hadn't changed clothes in weeks and the look on my face was far from friendly. There thoughts were all similar. Who is he? Why is he here? Is he a problem we need to attend to? I disdained their lifestyle, but I felt no ill will toward any of them. I would not make their job any more difficult than I had to My father's recollections guided me to the facade that held the Volturi castle. It was located right on the square. The Volturi's wealth and power demanded a central location. It was meant to impress mortal and immortal alike. A young girl, maybe 10 or 11 when she was changed greeted me at the door. Jane. I was wrong about the ill will. I could not look at her without disgust. After my father had described her, I thought there was no more evil creature on earth. But I had been wrong. She was not the only monster in this square to have caused pain. I had caused pain. At least this demonic girl's attacks were on people she could care less about. I was far more a monster than she could ever be. I felt Felix behind me to the left. He had pulled in closer, fearing that if there was trouble; Jane would get me before he had his chance. The others, a tracker and a young boy were still across the street. The boy, Alec, was Jane's twin. Carlisle had explained to me about him too. At the time we pondered whether his talent would affect my gift. Carlisle believed probably not. I felt that his thoughts would betray him in a fight, but I certainly would be slowed down. It would be difficult to defend myself relying on someone else's perspective of where my limbs were. I remember us laughing about it at the time. Emmett jokingly pondered how big a bribe it would take to get him to America. It never occurred to any of us that someday I would have Carlisle's theory tested, and certainly not like this. They felt confident that they had me surrounded. I briefly considered testing the idea in the hope they would attack and finish me off immediately. But my thoughts turned to my family. How much did these monsters know about us? It was possible that others we had come across over the years had visited here as well. I needed to make my intentions clear. I didn't want to put my family in any unnecessary danger, so I continued on, toward Jane. "Welcome" she said in Italian. "Is there some way I could be of assistance?" She was already preparing for her attack as she spoke. Her mind showed me this would be one battle I had no chance of winning, even if I wanted to. Jane would put me down to the ground; her twin across the street would silence and immobilize me. The adults would come to my aid and bring me into the castle. Very neat and tidy… "My name is Edward Cullen. My father is Carlisle Cullen. I wish to be granted an audience with your masters. I have a special request for them." She eyed me curiously "If you follow me this way I'll see what I can do." We entered the building and approached a reception area. It had a faint smell of stale blood. The others followed in moments later. With no witnesses they immediately pulled in behind me. Concealed from humans, their thoughts turned more speculative and less defensive. They had total confidence that I could easily be handled if there were a problem now that there were no mortals to observe us. They were probably right. Their minds also started to wander to festival tomorrow. It was feast day for them as well. I tried to hide my revulsion as we walked toward the reception area toward a human woman who was sitting behind a desk. She looked up smiling politely. "Greetings Jane." Geeze, I never saw one that looked this bad. "Is Aro available?" "I believe so. The mayor just left." Jane giggled. "If that idiot only knew..." If this idiot only knew… The receptionist gave a knowing smile and picked up a telephone. "I'll announce your arrival with a guest." She looked once more in my direction. "Your name?" "Edward Cullen. He is the son of an old friend of Aro's" Jane answered for me. "Gianna dear, what is it?" I heard Aro over the phone as well as in Gianna's thoughts. "Master, Jane has brought you a guest. His name is Edward Cullen. He claims to be the son of an acquaintance of yours. He wishes an audience with you" "Cullen you say?" The ancient vampire on the other end of the line sounded thrilled. "It's been ages. Yes, yes bring him to me." "Your request has been granted." As Gianna spoke, Felix's thoughts overlapped. Soon… she smells so good. Aro says I have to wait a few more months. There hasn't been enough time passed since the last one. Oh well, the festival is tomorrow. I hope Heidi brings in some Chinese, I'm getting sick of Italian. He chuckled and winked at the doomed clueless human as he passed her by. She flushed with delight. Aro promised me soon. I'll be just like them, fast, strong and even more beautiful than I already am. I looked at her and shook my head. In spite of her knowing exactly what she wanted to become involved in, I pitied this vain, self absorbed woman. I followed Jane down a long corridor to a set of gold doors, my other escorts behind me. The doors opened to reveal an ornate office and suite. The room was windowless, but extravagantly decorated. The low diffused light created a backdrop for the priceless art and tapestries that hung on the walls. It emphasized the paintings, thus distracting and camouflaging their owner's appearance. It was clearly a room meant to impress the humans that the Volturi needed to interact with. Aro, cloaked in black, sat behind a desk in a chair that looked far more like a throne. At his side was a woman. She was tense, concentrating on me. I realized that she must be some sort of guard. "Greetings my child." Aro rose from his seat as Jane went to him. He gave her an affectionate kiss on the forehead. On the surface it seemed fatherly, yet the undertone was insincere, almost sexual. It reminded me of pedophiles I had on more than one occasion overheard. "So you have brought me a wonderful surprise I see, the son of my good friend Carlisle". I would have never dreamed that Carlisle of all people was creating vampires. I bristled at his smug thoughts, my pain momentarily replaced by anger. He didn't know how or why I was created. "How long has it been?" he mused to himself. "I have lost track of the last time that he was here. He amused me and my brothers to no end. Is he in good health?" "Carlisle is doing well working as a doctor in the United States for many years." I replied stonily. Aro laughed. "A doctor of all things. So like Carlisle... him and his alternative lifestyle." His ruminations continued as he eyed me speculatively. I knew he would waste away, here's the proof. "I assume that you too are a disciple of his eating habits? I hope that he isn't in the same shape as you" He shook his head still chuckling. "You do not look well." "No, Carlisle is quite fine." I assured him a bit indignant that our eating habits would be the cause of my appearance. "Well then my young friend, what can I do for you?" "I have a request." I began. "Before you go any further I have a request of my own." Aro said reaching his hand toward me. I knew this was coming. "I don't know how much your father has told you about me. I have a special talent. It allows me to get to the crux of a problem easily. All I need is to touch you hand." I stepped toward him and held out my hand, knowing that it wasn't a request. There was no way I would be able to leave here without this. In spite of the fact that I had a similar ability, knowing that this monster would soon possess every thought I ever had made me feel dirty, violated. It was a small price to pay though for the relief I so desperately needed. He took my hand in his and began to dissect me. Murky memories from my childhood, things I could no longer even remember flooded out of me and into him. He looked up surprised as I read his reactions to my thoughts. "Interesting… such talent…." He turned to my memories of becoming a vampire, to my few years of rebellion from my father and my return him. Memories of Carlisle…he was incredulous at how we lived. How we not only survived, but thrived. Then he got to my family. Every secret thought of theirs that was in my head was now his. I felt as if I was betraying each and every one of them. I was instantly on edge. In my desolation I had not considered the jeopardy that being here could put them in. He saw all of us, a loving family. Nobody was being control. He could not believe that we could exist together so harmoniously, noting that while Jasper could have used his talent to keep us together, he didn't. I could feel the jealousy start to simmer inside of him. It became a full boil as his thoughts centered on my memories of Alice. Alice and what she could do. Oh God, what had I done? Possibly hurt my family more? I truly was a cancer, a menace. He tried to calm me with his thoughts. Peace my child. I mean them no harm. He quickly moved on to our time in Forks and of Bella. I closed my eyes, concentrating on remaining upright. Even when I was burning during my transformation it wasn't this painful. He paused to study the first day we met. He was as surprised as I was that her mind was silent to me. He latched on to the potency of her scent relived through my mind…it made him thirsty. Her pale heart shaped face …her chocolate eyes… the first time she said she loved me in her sleep… the day I told her I didn't want her anymore… A small cry of pain escaped my lips. He moved on, on to the last six months…to the phone call from Rosalie… to my trip here… When he got to me in the car on my way here I could bear it no more. I pulled my hand from his. My knees started to give way and I reached out to his desk for support. He patted me on the shoulder in some perverted attempt to comfort me. I cringed away from his touch. I didn't have to make my request out loud. He already knew. "What are we to do with you child?" What a find. How did Carlisle manage not just him, but the other two as well? "Please," I begged. "I just can't take the pain anymore" I can't just destroy a find like this. "I need to confer with my brothers on a matter such as this. They are elsewhere in the castle, attending to last minute preparations for our feast tomorrow." He smiled at the expression of disgust on my face at the thought of what that involved. He didn't need his hand on me to know what I was thinking. "Yes, no doubt that you are a son of Carlisle." He laughed amused. "Ah… and here are my brothers" No real point in asking you to step out for a while is there. I shook my head. No, even if I left the castle I wouldn't be able to resist the urge to listen. A small group of vampires entered the room. I knew without Carlisle's memories which had to be the other heads of the Volturi. Their entourage was in street clothes, but Marcus and Caius were in the same black robes as Aro, their stone faces atrophied by their years of immobility, pondering their immortality. "Brothers, I assume you heard we have a guest. He has come to us with a unique and unusual request. He no longer wishes to be immortal." "No longer wishes to be immortal? What do you mean by this Aro?" asked the white haired Caius. "I mean that he wishes us to destroy him." Caius looked at me shocked, Marcus thoughtful. "Why would he want this?" Marcus didn't address me but Aro. "It's something my brother you can somewhat understand. A human woman that he loved has died." There was something off in Aro's thoughts. It seemed to me that he was suppressing something. I concentrated on Marcus. Yes, he had known the same pain as I had. A beautiful wife that died during the European vampire wars, many centuries ago. It sparked a strange reaction though. He seemed almost dead to the subject. Caius on the other hand couldn't believe that it was possible to be in love with "food". I was too drained to even have a reaction to this. I knew they were monsters when I walked through their door. I was depending on it. "Why do you come to us with this?" Caius snarled. We value our immortality above all else. There must be some other reason. "If you wanted to die so badly, surely one in your own coven would have been able to accommodate you." Was there any humanity left in this ancient creature? I seriously doubted it "My family would have never agreed to destroy me. They don't even know that I'm here." Yes, I can see where Carlisle would be against this, him and his ridiculous need to preserve life. All three brothers were thinking the same thing. I couldn't even tell them goodbye. Pain that I thought could get no worse spiked. Esme, Carlisle, Alice, Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie… The faces of my family briefly pushed even hers from view. I knew they would morn my loss, Esme particularly. She had already lost one child. I felt so ashamed to do this to her. But it didn't matter. This all had to end. I took a deep breath to steady myself. "My brothers, before we make a decision on this, we need to discus the possibility of young Edward here joining our little group." Me, join these fiends? Was he insane? "What?" Caius's thoughts were as incredulous as mine. Marcus was barely interested, but the guard on the other hand began to murmur amongst themselves, speculating on what could be so special about me. "Peace, my children. Our new friend Edward here has a skill that would be a great asset to our household. As we speak he is reading the minds of all of us. He does not require touch and can do this over distances of several miles." The room became silent. The vampires in the room became frozen making every effort to not think at all. Caius was so appalled he took a step back from me as if Aro had just announced I had a contagious disease. "My children," Aro attempted to calm the room full of immobilized vampires. "Think of the possibilities, the assistance that this boy could give us in our duties." They were all thinking about it now and none of it was positive. "Aro," I couldn't believe I had to say this out loud. "You know what I am and why I came to you. You know what I think of you, all of you. How could you even entertain the idea that I would ever want to become…part of this?" I was sure my abhorrence of the idea was clear on my face. My disgust began to turn into anger. Why couldn't they just tear me apart and light me up right here and now? How hard should that be for this bunch of savages? "I know that your suffering is immense my son. But as Marcus here can attest, it does lessen as time moves on." We could be great allies. "The Volturi are the enforcers of laws that govern our world. You could be an integral part of that. Your time away from your father after your conversion… you could bring justice to the guilty in a different kind of way" Together there would nothing that would be beyond our reach. Think of the power you could wield here Edward. For someone that now knew my every hope, despair, wish and regret, Aro truly didn't understand me at all. I turned my attention to Caius and knew I had him on my side. It had nothing to do with being benevolent. There was no way he wanted another mind reader in his coven. The little bit of privacy he had would vanish with my arrival. The guard's thoughts seemed in line with his. Only Marcus did not care one way or another and would probably side with Aro. In another life I would have wondered why that was. But as it was, it only mattered in so much as Aro's opinion would be the one that counted. "We don't want to destroy you my son. It would be wrong…wasteful to destroy a talent like yours. Please do not force our hand with something rash" Aro's tone was pleading. "My friendship with Carlisle is a strong one. I do not wish it marred with this matter if I can avoid it." Edward, please consider the contribution you could make. Aro did harbor some doubt I would consider joining them. But his greed and desire for acquisition made him desperate. Marcus appeared unmoved, but fear of losing even more power consumed Caius's thoughts. He wanted me ash. His reply came cautiously. He knew it was only a matter of time before Aro got his true thoughts on me. "Aro, if he does not wish to join us, how can we permit this immortal to leave? I believe his desire for us to destroy himself may drive him to expose us?" "If that is the case, the law will claim him Caius, and we will take the appropriate steps to prevent such a thing from occurring." "If that is the case, he is free to join us or to go." Caius was smiling now. He could tell already how this would end. I was outraged. How could they deny me this? They kill almost indiscriminately, their self control only maintained to prevent exposure. They also had no qualms about destroying their own kind. Fine then, I'll give them a reason to do it if that's what they want. "No, I will never be a part of this." "You are free to leave then. Please, please take time to consider your choices. I believe eventually you could be happy here." There was that sense of Aro hiding something again. What did he do to these people to keep them in line? Be aware that if you do force our hand, there will be no reconsideration. Caius's thoughts were of one line, the sooner I was gone, the better. I looked straight at him and gave one quick nod. "Thank you for your time." My face was stone and my voice flat as I spoke, controlling the fury raging throughout my body. They would pay for this. I turned toward the door and was escorted from the castle. Once outside I left the city and headed for the hills to plan. I could feel them following me, the big one, Felix and another, the tracker. They did not try to be inconspicuous. They knew I would hear their thoughts. I sat down under an olive tree my head on my knees. I could do something right now and I would be gone. Tear into town and kill the mayor and his family, maybe the entire police force. Deliverers of justice… The Volturi were blood thirsty savages in love with their hold on power. I'd destroy this little farce they have so carefully maintained for centuries. I would leave a trail of death and destruction with enough humans preserved to bear witness against us all. But as I calmed down my thoughts returned once again to my family. This news would surely reach them. What would my father think of me? My vicious plans ebbed. No, I could not betray his convictions. They were mine as well. I also thought about Aro. He tried to hide it but it was there, his envy of my father. I could see him using this as an excuse to justify an attack if he was of a mind to. No, I could do nothing dramatic. It would have to be subtle and easy to extinguish. I would not put my family in any more harm than I already had. A plan began to formulate in my head. Simple, but effective… An alleyway near the center of the square… the clock tower on one side, the high walls of the Volturi castle flanking the other... It was perfect. I would stay there until the sun came out. I was sure the clear night sky would stay that way until after sunrise. Then I would walk out of the alley, walk out into sunshine tomorrow. There would be a large crowd gathered in the square, many witnesses. It would be so easy to pull me back in and finish me off. They knew that I would not put up a fight. But when…I thought about the brightest part of the day, high noon… Isn't that how it happened in the movies? The more I thought about it the more it appealed to me. Yes, I would just walk out and face the sun. It would warm my face the way her touch did. And then it would end… Dawn was about an hour away. My plan in place I rose and headed back to the town. My companions were relieved that they didn't need to seek cover as it was clear where I was headed. Several other vampires were positioned throughout the town. It pleased me that the entire guard had been put on alert because of me. They had their chance to make this easy. As I walked, I started to relaxed, secure in the knowledge that it all would soon be over. My mind returned to my family. They would all grieve. I wished I could change that; explain that I had no choice. I thought about Carlisle and his belief that we would continue on after our existence here on earth. I thought of the possibility of seeing her on the other side. I didn't really think it was possible. I believed the fire that consumed our mortal life destroyed our souls in the process. When we were gone from this world, we were gone forever. But it was hard for me to accept though that a benevolent God would bar someone as kind, compassionate and good as Carlisle from heaven, so maybe there was a chance. I knew that future would never exist for me, my transgressions numbering so many. But I wanted it so bad, that I pretended. Just one moment to see her, to touch her face… It was all that I would ask for. As I took up my place in the dark alley, I daydreamed. I envisioned her and myself in our meadow. This was not a reunion. It was as it always should have been. I smiled for the first time since the beginning of the end. In my imagination a light breeze whispered through the surrounding trees of this special place that would forever belong to us. It was a rare sunny day, June perhaps. The wildflowers were at their peak of color. We were lying in the rippling grass, her long dark hair fluttered around us both as we kissed. She was warm, but no more so than I was. My skin didn't shatter the sun's rays. Her scent held none of the pain that I always had to suppress. I inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell of her, of the lilac and freesia that were my memory of her skin, the scent of the strawberry shampoo she used. In my dream I was human. I could hold her tight in my arms with no fear of hurting her. My green eyes gazed into her brown ones. My hands went defenslessly to her body, touching her without fear. My mouth went to hers, it opened and we tasted each other for an eternal moment. It was beautiful. The morning went on. I felt no guilt in my happiness. Even a condemned man deserves a last request. But as the day grew brighter I knew that my time was drawing to a close. I took my beautiful dream and glued it behind my eyelids as I made my way to the front of the alley, leaning casually against the wall, a smile of contentment on my face. From the viewpoint of the humans, I was just one of them, enjoying the festival. I waited for the clock to toll at peace in the midst of my vision. I laughed softly at the thoughts of my companions waiting in anticipation at the other end of the alley. The tracker, Demetri was his name, was patient. He as well as the other one knew what was coming; only the details were left to fill in. His only concern was that he would miss the feast. However, the big one, Felix was anxious to get started. He hoped I would fight. His first assessment of me as I entered Voltera was one of disappointment. I was far from small, but in comparison to him, he figured I would barely be worth the effort. But the information Aro gave him of my "special talent" had started to work on him during the last several hours. Having been around the likes of Jane I would have thought he would have gotten to this sooner. Size didn't necessarily matter in our world. But as the morning wore on he began to pump himself up in expectation of how my abilities might affect my fighting skills, concentrating on how best to come at me. I laughed again loud enough for them both to hear. Felix was going to be greatly disappointed. It was a minute or two until the clock chimed. I pulled myself off the wall and unbuttoned my shirt, letting it fall to the ground. My companions pulled up a bit closer, Felix motion to Demetri, to take me down now. Demetri shook his head. Aro had been very specific. I would not be destroyed until I officially broke the rules. He wanted me very badly. I closed my eyes waiting for the sound of the chimes. My dream had changed. I could see her. She was running toward me, calling my name. It seemed so real. I could hear her heart beat, pounding thunderously as she ran toward me, getting louder with every step she took. I could smell her. The dream was so visceral, just the memory of her scent burned my throat. The clock chimed. "No Edward! No!" she cried as she ran. It's ok Bella, I'll be with you soon. I took one step toward her. The clock chimed again. "No Edward, look at me!" she cried. I smiled in return. Silly girl… all I ever saw was her. She was so close. I lifted my foot to take the last step to meet her, my arms outstretch in anticipation of her arrival. She ran into my embrace and I enveloped myself in her wondrous heat. I knew it was over. I didn't even feel them approach. But I must be gone. I opened my eyes and looked down. She was here, with me. Her soft body clung to me. I inhaled into her thick brown hair surprised that her scent still burned, but unable to feel the pain of it. The only thing I could focus on was her in my arms. "Carlisle was right."