Penname: EmilyDMamaof3
Song Inspiration:
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Title of One-Shot:
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Pairing:
Bella & Edward
POV:
Bella
Rating:
M
Word Count:
6057
Summary or Description:
Sometimes in life, everything just falls into place. Those are the moments we must savor for as long as we can. Sometimes a simple gesture is all it takes to bring you back to the moment and let you live for your future.
This one-shot is being posted in participation with the All You Need is Love contest hosted by Camoozle, Emerald_Rosalie, Lightstardusting and Miztrezboo. Please see the contest profile for full details.

A/N So, hi. Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who read and reviewed my story over on the contest site. And I of course want to thank those of you who happened to vote my story. This just happened to come in 1st place. Thanks most especially to Amy and Jessica for giving me the confidence to submit this in the first place.

Deep breaths, Bella. It'll all be okay. Only a few minutes up there and you'll be back in your seat next to Edward.

There was nothing I couldn't do if I had Edward beside me. We became best friends after a disastrous biology experiment involving blood and nausea that had left me on the floor, with him gripping my hand and telling me to breathe slowly.

"Bella, you're going to be terrific, knock 'em dead and all that." He smiled at me as he whispered in my ear and the tension seemed to melt away.

"But, all those people! You know how I don't like to speak in front of a crowd. I'll turn bright red and forget half of my speech."

While I had worked hard to be Valedictorian of our small high school class, it was because I wanted to get into a good university not because I had dreams of giving a speech at my graduation. Edward believed in me and gave me the words and the strength to get up as my name was announced to go on the stage.

"Bella, just imagine you're talking to me, only me. I can't go up there and hold your hand while you dazzle us with your brilliance, but it'll be okay." He said with a wink and a smile.

"Please Edward, like you'd want to hold my hand anyway."

At that moment, he reached over and lifted my hand to his face, gently brushing his lips over each of my fingers.

"Silly girl, you really don't know? Bella, I always want to hold your hand."

~OOO~

"Dammit, Edward, slow down. I think we've been by this tree a dozen times already."

We had been walking in circles for what felt like hours. Edward was determined to find some waterfall that Jasper had told him about. I was tired and hungry, in desperate need of a shower and even more desperate to get back to study for my last final. We had planned this hike for the day after my exam but, with bad weather forecasted, our journey was pushed up two days.

Edward fell back against the tree and slowly made his way down to the ground. Pulling his knees to his chest, he buried his face in his hands. I stood still, no idea why he was so upset.

"Baby, I don't know what's going on with you today but it's not the end of the world if we can't find the waterfall. We, um, we can always come back another time?"

After he gave me a glare more intense than I'd ever seen from him, I chose to stop talking and sat down on the ground across from him. I could hear the mumbled cursing and feel the frustration. He'd been so tense lately and it was starting to make me nervous. While I initially thought it was the stress of finals and finishing up our studies, I couldn't help but wonder if he was having doubts about a future with me.

We had progressed quickly from best friend mode to coupledom after our high school graduation. While we had interests outside of each other, everyone knew that we were Edward and Bella. We just fit together. Free time was spent with one another or with our small, but close, circle of friends. If we were to break-up now, it would undoubtedly cause quite the schism amongst our group. Sitting in silence, I wondered if he brought me out here to talk, without the ever-present audience of friends, about going our separate ways after graduation. The tears were about to bubble over when he finally began to speak.

"Bella, I'm sorry I'm acting like an ass. Things have been so difficult lately, not really knowing where we're going after this. I mean, at least we have jobs lined up, but nothing else has been defined and I've been nervous and now I'm rambling about things that don't really have anything to do with what I'm trying to say here." He paused for just a moment to collect his thoughts and I met his gaze,

"Shit, Bella, why are you crying?"

I tried to stop the flow of tears, but at that point I had no idea what the hell he was saying other than things were difficult. I waved at him to continue speaking while I considered his words.

Have I been making things difficult?

I didn't have time to ponder that thought any longer as he continued on.

"I've been feeling nervous about the whole idea of growing up and moving on to bigger and better things." He went on to talk about buying houses and throwing dinner parties, but as the dread crept up on me, I only picked up bits and pieces of his remarks.

"And Bella, I've had you by my side for everything important I've ever done so far. You've been my first everything. First best real friend. First girlfriend. First love. First lover."

I tuned back out as he mentioned us being lovers. He was my first "everything" too and I didn't understand where he was going with this train of thought. The possibility of him wanting me to be his first but not his last for those things was making me sick. He rambled on and on about new experiences and the word future was thrown in often.

He mentioned a conversation he overheard Rose and me having about her belief that even though I loved Edward and didn't want to imagine being with anyone else, that maybe I should see what was out there. Apparently, he didn't stick around to listen to my response to her or he wouldn't have doubted my commitment. Then I realized that possibly hearing Rose say those things to me caused him to question his own wants outside of the two of us.

"Bella, are you listening? The idea of the future without you is inconceivable to me but… would you say something? Please?" Hearing my name from his lips shook me from my thoughts, but the panic had taken over. The words came out before I had a chance to truly think about what I wanted to say to him.

"Edward, you don't know? You don't know how I feel about you? How I feel about us? If I want a future with you? IF? Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous." He tried to interrupt, but I would have none of that.

"No, don't say anything right now, it's my turn."

If he was contemplating the next stage of our lives with us no longer together, he was going to know exactly how I felt.

"If you don't want to be with me anymore, please stop with the incessant rambling and get on with it. Yes, we've been each other's firsts, but that's never made me feel as if I was lacking life experience. I thought it would be nice to be able to tell our children that we've been "it" for each other."

I stopped to breathe and try to gather up the courage to continue.

"But if you want to throw away everything we have just to see how things would be with other women, then you're going to be the one to end this. I'm not going to let you off the hook with some mutual break-up bullshit excuse that you can tell our friends and family. I know I love you and am in love with you and will be for the rest of my life."

I wanted to say more but I needed to stop myself before I gave up any more of my heart for him to shatter. The whole day made no sense and I hoped to understand why he was so intent on bringing me to a waterfall to break up with me.

As I looked down at my hands, his fingers circled my wrists, bringing them to his lap. He brought one hand up to tilt my chin so I had no choice but to look into his eyes. He was looking at me with a mix of anger and amusement, completely shocking me.

"Look at me silly girl; have you been listening to a word I said? I don't want anyone else in my future. I want a mortgage and dinner parties and children, yes. But I want them all with you. I'm trying to gather up the courage to ask you to marry me but I just can't seem to do anything right today. We were supposed to find the waterfall and I'd get down on one knee and ask you to spend the rest of your life with me. It was going to be eloquent and perfect."

The laughter bubbled up through my body and I was hopeless to stop it. We kissed and hugged and made love right under that tree. Awhile later after we found our clothes, Edward pulled me up so I was standing in front of him. He got down on one knee and continued on with his perfect proposal, sans waterfall. I answered with an emphatic "Yes, of course." He kissed the ring as he slid it down to its permanent place on my finger. He threaded his fingers between mine, and we began our walk back to the car, holding hands and planning for our future.

"I can't wait to make you my wife, Bella." He brought my hand up to his mouth again to kiss the ring. "And I just know that today was mostly a disaster and not at all what I wanted, but please know that things may not go as planned but I'll always want to hold your hand."

~OOO~

We signed our names and initials over and over. While the one-bedroom apartment we lived in was cozy, the idea of starting a family one day while living there was not feasible. Edward and I married in a small ceremony only a few months after announcing our engagement. I had no desire for a large affair and Edward just wanted to get on with our life together. Six months after our wedding and one unfounded pregnancy scare later, we started house-hunting.

Edward grabbed the keys to our new home and practically dragged me out the office door to his car.

"Do you want to grab some celebratory breakfast before we start moving in?" We had been so busy this morning that neither of us had time to eat before our 9am closing and since we both had the day off I thought it might have been nice to enjoy a morning out together.

"Bella, I want to do some celebrating but definitely not in a restaurant."

Oh.

"Well, then, let's go home."

Edward couldn't get the car onto the highway fast enough as we drove to our family-sized house.

He turned down our new street, slammed the car into park as he turned into our driveway and jumped out. He removed the "SOLD" sign from the yard and placed it on the front porch for our realtor to pick up later.

Standing on the porch, in front of our new entryway, Edward reached back to me as I walked up the steps.

"Aren't you supposed to carry me over the threshold or something? After all, we are still technically newlyweds."

"Bella, we'll be acting like newlyweds in just a few minutes, but I'm not going to carry you over the threshold. We're going to walk in together, side-by-side, even if it is a tight fit, because we are partners in this marriage. And just like on the day I told you I loved you, and the day I asked to marry you, I want to start this the right way with our hands joined together. So just hold my hand as we take this next step."

I reached out to clasp my hand with his because I knew that every step was easier and better with him alongside holding my hand.

"Lock the door, baby, I don't want to be interrupted."

~OOO~

"Baby, we don't have to go through all his stuff right now. Why don't we take a break, maybe come back to it tomorrow morning? It's been a really long day."

"Edward, I really want to get this over with as soon as possible. We can only take so much time off from work right now with the baby on the way. And it's not like we didn't know this was coming."

My dad had announced that his health was declining not long after we moved into our new home. It wasn't one thing specifically, but a combination of lifestyle habits that led to a number of issues. Even though it wasn't a shock when he slipped away, it was hard for me knowing that the child I was carrying would never know his Grandpa Charlie. Since my mother had been out of the picture since I was a little girl, I also felt disheartened knowing that there was no link ahead of me in the family. There would be no connection to the past for my children to hear stories from and no barrier of age between me and death. I would be the oldest link in the chain.

Edward had been sweet and doting these past months especially. After learning we were going to be parents and subsequently finding out we were to have a boy, he focused his free time on taking care of me and Charlie. He knew about my worries of not having family stories to pass down, so he would sit with Charlie on Sundays and dutifully write down little snippets of our family traditions and history. So, as I was worrying about the loss of connection to my past and what that would mean for my children, Edward was ensuring our children would know their relatives the best way he could imagine. Truly, I knew he was going to be a magnificent father.

"Bella," My name startled me from my thoughts, "I know you and Charlie were able to go through just about everything and there's not much left to settle but let's hold off. You haven't really taken any time to deal with the reality."

I was exhausted and while I didn't want to deal with any reality without my father at the moment, it seemed that Edward wasn't going to allow me to continue sorting. But that was when he pulled something out of a box and grief overcame me.

Edward could see that I was falling apart, and all over a silly piece of art from my childhood. I had given it to Charlie for Father's Day the year my mom left. I had traced my hands on construction paper, cut them out as carefully as possible, and glued them on another piece of construction paper. Underneath the cutouts I had written, with an adult's help:

These are the hands you used to hold when I was only 5 years old.

Happy Father's Day

After an indefinite amount of time passing while Edward held me, whispering in my ear and rubbing my growing belly, I was able to calm myself. "Why don't we go curl up on the couch and watch a movie or something. I know things will hit me again at some point and I think right now I just want to be with you."

Edward led me into the hallway and down the stairs, never letting my hand go as he settled me onto the couch. I curled up into his side as he used his thumb to rub circles into my hand, massaging away some of the tension of the day. As a child, Charlie had been there to comfort me. As a woman, Edward was there to see me through.

I drifted off to sleep to the sounds of SportsCenter, Charlie's presence felt in more ways than one.

~OOO~

"Okay Bella, we're not going to have time to get you any meds because your baby girl wants out now. Let me find the doctor."

Only to me, this would only happen to me. I knew a daughter would bring me trouble and here she is, barely let me get out of the car and into the wheelchair and she's already trying to get out.

While Seth had been a routine pregnancy, labor and delivery, it had become apparent that our little Carlie would be anything but normal. I caught Edward's eye as he took his position on the left side of the bed. At least he remembered what to do from the last time.

"Bella, I'm so proud of you. You're going to do great and I'll be right here the whole time. I remember what you need me to do."

A strong contraction had me groaning in agony and then sighing in relief as it passed. At that moment, the doctor strutted in to the room, took one look at me, and announced it was indeed time to get this party started. He started barking orders to the nurses, making sure he had what he deemed necessary for the delivery. It looked like he had enough equipment to fill a tool shed and despite the pain I was feeling, I couldn't help but allow a small giggle to escape. Apparently, that gave Edward the go ahead to start laughing too.

"Doc, I don't know if you remember, but Bella is a very efficient pusher. I'm betting one push and the baby's out."

"Alright, I'll take the bet and I'm going with 30 minutes of pushing, at least."

I loved the confidence my husband had in me, even as it felt like my insides were being ripped out of me.

"Edward, use one hand to hold her knee up to her chest and keep holding her other hand. Count with the nurse."

The lights were bright above me and the room buzzed with activity as I felt the next contraction. I focused on squeezing Edward's hand as hard as I could to deal with the pain as I heard the nurse and Edward counting backwards from 10.

"And 10, push Bella… 9… 8… 7… doing great, 6… 5… the head's almost out, 4…3…2… and stop, hold it." I could feel as the doctor held my daughter's head and secured her while her shoulders slipped through followed by the rest of her tiny body. I heard her cry as the doctor looked her over. The nurse handed my sweet girl over to me to hold for a few minutes before whisking her away to be cleaned up while the doctor finished with me.

Edward stood with the nurses, beaming with pride over his little girl. He turned and smiled at me before looking back at the crying child fussing over being cleaned. They finished up with her impromptu bath and swaddling and Edward brought her to me to nurse. She fussed some more, but eventually Carlie settled. Edward draped his arms over the hospital bed rails, one hand stroking Carlie's hair and the other playing with the fingers on the hand not supporting Carlie.

"Edward, how did you know it'd only take one push?"

"Bella, Seth was out in 4 and given the amount of pressure you were using to squeeze my hand during the contractions, I knew it was game time for you and you were ready. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that you don't mess around when it comes time to deliver."

~OOO~

"Bella, I refuse to discuss the kids any more tonight. It's date night. We love our children, we are attentive parents and we shouldn't feel bad about spending a night just the two of us. And stop looking at your cell phone. You can't use some jedi mind trick to make it ring."

Dinner had been lovely and, while I was looking forward to seeing a movie with Edward, Seth had attended his first middle school dance and I was eager to find out if he had a good time. Carlie was having a girl's night with Aunt Alice and Jasper would bring Seth back to his and Alice's place once the dance ended.

Life was hectic, I had gone back to work full-time a year prior and Edward had moved up within the company over the years. We weren't wealthy enough to retire young, but the kids had college funds and we were able to take family vacations each year. Most importantly, we had realized that work would always be there so we focused on our marriage and on creating a memorable childhood for Seth and Carlie. Tonight was for focusing on our marriage.

"Bella, let's skip the movie and just go over to the park."

"Is everything okay?"

"Yep, it's just a nice night for a change and I'd rather spend time outside before it rains. Again."

Edward pulled into a parking spot and walked around to open my door. He wrapped his arm around my waist and led me to the swings. We sat and talked like we did when we were younger, of all the things we had ahead of us:

His father's upcoming retirement party and how nice it would be when Esme and Carlisle moved back to the area.

Carlie's dance recital and how excited she was to wear a purple costume this year instead of last year's yellow and black one.

Alice and Jasper's wedding, as Alice had finally agreed that they were, in fact, destined for each other.

Edward's promise to Seth that, since we weren't going to give him a little brother, we would at least get him a puppy.

After some time had passed and we moved from the swings to a nearby bench, the conversation turned serious.

"Bella, I talked to Garrett and he's agreed to let me cut down on my hours during the week and work from home on Mondays."

"Why?" I was stunned. "Don't get me wrong, the idea of you being around more is wonderful, but you hadn't mentioned it to me."

He looked down as his fingers tapped his knee. This was one of his nervous habits, which only made my concern grow.

"I've been more tired than usual, Baby, and just haven't been able to concentrate for long periods of time. Maybe pushing myself all those years has caught up with me. Garrett agreed that I should be able to supervise more and actually do less and it's the perfect time while the kids are still young enough to want me around."

His arm wrapped around my shoulders to keep me warm in the cool night air. I looked up, kissed him once, twice, three times for putting his family first and then snuggled back into his side to enjoy the quiet. After some time just sitting and enjoying our thoughts, Edward rose from the bench. Offering me his hand, he escorted me to our car.

We continued to chat about mundane, everyday things as he pulled onto the highway. My cell phone rang and seeing it was from Alice, I put it on speaker so Edward and I could both hear about Seth's night.

"Hey mom, Aunt Alice said I had to call and let you know I was home and had a good time." He didn't sound like he had a good time.

"Seth, did you have fun or are you just telling me what Aunt Alice told you to say?"

"No, Mom, it was fine. I don't really get why I had to go to some dance with people I see everyday and Victoria kept bothering me to dance with her." And at that, Edward couldn't help but chuckle; it seemed our son was going to be awkward with the ladies just as his father had been.

"Son, that probably means she likes you. It's alright to dance with girls." Edward was trying to help our son, but he definitely wasn't an expert. And judging by the look on his face, Edward was feeling a little sick at the thought of trying to give girl advice.

"Whatever, Dad. Hey, is it Jasper or Uncle Jasper now that he and Aunt Alice are getting married?" That boy was an expert at changing the subject.

We finished up the call quickly after that, Edward and I proclaiming our "I love yous" to Carlie and Seth before allowing them to resume their evening of fun. I looked over at Edward to see him rubbing his head.

"Are you feeling alright?"

"Bella, I've been feeling a little off all evening. I probably just need to take some pain medication when we get home, but would you mind driving if I find a place to pull over? This headache is making everything blurry."

"Sure, whatever you…"

And with that the car jerked and spun and my world went black.

I opened my eyes moments, seconds, minutes later and tried to scream as my love's face came into focus. His eyes were closing, I reached over, grabbed his hand and squeezed, trying to get a reaction from him. His mouth opened slightly and I could hear some of what he was trying to tell me but not much.

"Silly, always, hand, waterfall, kids, love, love"

And then his eyes closed.

~OOO~

An aneurysm. An aneurysm combined with the force upon impact and related injuries took him from me, from our children. There would be no Father-Daughter dances or camping trips with just the guys. There would be no father to give Carlie away on her wedding day or talk to Seth about the responsibilities of being a dad. There would be no husband to hold me in the middle of the night, no husband to grow old with. All of our plans for the future had ended on a simple date night.

It was important to me that I remain calm for Carlie and Seth. They had lost one parent and I didn't want them to think they would lose another to grief. I cried alone in our bedroom. I cried when I walked into Edward's home office when I noticed he had been tidying up in an effort to make it more organized, knowing he would soon be using it more. I cried when I realized that I didn't know how to light the grill.

It was getting harder and harder to stay composed as Reverend Webber spoke about Edward in the past tense.

Was a good husband

Was an amazing dad

Was a loyal friend

I didn't want to sit in that pew for a moment longer, but I couldn't just stand up and walk out. So I sat and tuned out the people who eulogized my Edward. There wasn't a story they could tell that I hadn't already heard.

The "most boring bachelor party in the history of mankind" as told to us by Emmett.

The guilt Jasper had felt by telling Edward about a waterfall, only to remember after we'd left that he gave us directions to a place he'd gone to take pictures of trees for a photography class.

How Edward had picked up the slack of a colleague whose wife was pregnant with twins and put on bed rest earlier than anticipated.

There were funny stories and anecdotes, sweet moments and memories to be shared. But all I could think about was how there would be no opportunities to make more with Edward. We had 23 years of memories and I was now going to be expected to carry on living without him. It was inconceivable.

As the panic started to win, I felt small fingers take hold of mine. Just that small gesture brought me back to the harsh but imminent reality. Edward would need me, and want me, to do my best to make sure our hopes and dreams for the future came true.

I heard Seth sniffling next to me, trying to be strong. Still holding onto Carlie's tiny fingers with one hand, I subtly took hold of Seth's. I leaned closer to him so I could talk to him without others hearing, knowing he didn't want anyone to see his mommy consoling him.

"It's really okay to cry Seth."

"But you're not crying Mom. Dad would want me to be strong."

"Your dad wanted a lot of things for you, Seth, but he would be the first to tell you that crying over someone you love is not a weakness, but instead shows the strength and importance of that love."

And with that, my own tears I'd held inside fell.

~OOO~

Days, weeks, and months of grieving led me to one conclusion: my love for Edward was never-ending but I could not allow it to be all-consuming. We were all in some sort of counseling to help us deal with our loss. I had come to accept our reality and insisted that our loved ones continue on with their lives. One year after Edward's death, we brought a new member into our family.

Both Seth and Carlie chattered the entire drive to our local animal shelter. I intended to make good on the promise of a dog for the kids. Edward had been insistent that having a pet would teach them responsibility. I had decided that it was time to bring some joy into our household. We had visited a week prior and fell in love with a 3 year old shepherd-collie mix. Having passed the screening, we were given the date to pick him up. At first, I wanted to reschedule, just a day or two later so that I could have one day to wallow. I didn't want to wallow, not anymore, so picking up our new dog exactly one year to the day that Edward died was going to signify a new beginning for us.

When I thought about how I wanted to remember Edward on the anniversary of his death, I didn't want to think about the scenes that replayed in my nightmares. I wanted to celebrate his life and make the kids happy.

We spent the morning at the local pet store picking up supplies and the recommended food. I met with a trainer who would work with all of us and the dog. The kids sat patiently as we waited in the shelter and completed the necessary forms. When everything was settled, Seth led me down the hall, tugging on my hand because I was apparently not moving fast enough to meet our new companion.

"I want him to sleep in my room, Mom."

"No, he should sleep with me, you still have Mr. Jenks."

"Shut up Carlie, I do not."

"Yes, you do. You keep him under your pillow."

"He's not sleeping with anyone. Well, maybe with me." The idea of a dog to snuggle up with wasn't so bad. "But you two both need to sleep at night and having him in the room with you will only be a distraction."

I couldn't help the smile on my face. My children were behaving like children without a care in the world. I knew Edward would be happy.

~OOO~

There were more anniversaries and milestones I endured alone because it's a fact is that life continues on whether we want it to or not. Everything that I had been unable to imagine doing without Edward by my side came to be. As I sat watching my friends and family celebrating our latest joyous occasion, I reflected upon the how quickly life moves.

Weren't we just arguing yesterday about Carlie wanting to name the dog Copper while Seth preferred Jake? Copper won, in honor of the copper streakswoven through the dog's hair.

Seth's speech as Salutatorian, Victoria's GPA was just barely higher than his and she reveled in teasing him endlessly. She had finally made her move while they were in college, my son as clueless and as prone to rambling as his father had been. At least his proposal had gone better.

Watching Carlie, just hours earlier, prepare to marry the love of her life, I had to hold back the tears. Grateful that she asked me to walk her down the aisle because "Daddy is inside your heart and will be walking with me," it was impossible not to think of yet another event that Edward was missing.

"May I have this dance?" He was such a gentleman and right on time. "Seriously, mom, don't leave me hanging here. Vic is feeding the baby and you look like you need to get up and get out of your head for a bit."

How he knew me so well, I could never understand. I allowed him to continue with the gentleman act as he extended his hand and again asked to share a dance. Seth helped me up out of my seat and we made our way to the dance floor. He was tall, like his father, and dancing with him brought back more memories. Not a day went by that I didn't think of Edward, but sometimes a moment would catch up with me and the shock of him not being with me was raw all over again.

"Mom, hey, what's wrong?" Seth continued to lead me around the floor, but I could tell by his tone that he wasn't just going to let it go.

"Some days are still difficult."

His expression grew more serious and his voice hushed to a whisper.

"I miss him, too, every single day. It kills me that Jake will never know his grandfather."

"It kills me, too. But Seth, I need to tell you some things and I'm going to cry but please don't be upset. Just give me a moment." I let the tears roll down my cheeks but collected myself to speak without drawing attention to us.

"Seth, your father is so proud of you. The night he died we had this amazing conversation about our life together, the things we had experienced and the things we hoped for our future, for yours and Carlie's futures. Your father didn't care about where you went to college or what you decided to do for a living, he just wanted to make sure that you treated others with respect and that you were happy. Are you happy?"

"Mom, I'm a dad, I have a brilliant and funny wife who I love beyond compare and work is busy but it's a good busy. So, yeah, I'm happy."

"Did you know that those were your father's priorities; being a good dad, loving me, and building a solid career. Everything you just told me about what makes you happy is exactly what made your father happy. And because of that, Jake will know his grandfather. Not in the physical sense, but he will know of all the good things about your dad because they are all the good things in you."

A smile crossed his face and I felt him relax. As the song finished he twirled me out and brought me back to him.

"I wouldn't be who I am without you, Mom. So thanks for never giving up even though things didn't go according to plan."

~OOO~

As I drifted in and out, I could hear the machines nearby.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

There were discussions by serious, hushed voices.

"Won't be long now"

"Lived a good life"

"So strong"

"It's time."

Carlie's hand wrapped around mine and I was aware of the tears falling onto the bed. Whispers of love were floating in and swirling around in my mind. I smiled as I saw pictures of my past come and go.

Carlie attempting to cheer me up while driving me to my cancer treatments

Poker nights with Alice and Rose, reminiscing about the good old days

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Grandchildren

Volunteering at the library

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

Beep… Beep... Beep…

The slideshow went faster as the machines slowed.

Births

Weddings

Christmas Cookies

Trips to the dog park

Carlie

Seth

Whoosh. Whoosh.

Beep….. Beep…..

Dancing with Edward

Marrying Edward

Loving Edward

Edward

Edward

Edward

Edward. His hand reaching for me as I reached toward him and took hold.

We were joined and we will be forever. We are Edward and Bella.

And then there was silence.