"Bella, I don't want you to come with me." He spoke the words slowly and precisely, his cold eyes on my face, watching as I absorbed what he was really was a pause as I repeated the words in my head a few times, sifting through them for their real intent.

"You… don't… want me?" I tried out the words, confused by the way they sounded, placed in that order.

"No."

I stared, uncomprehending, into his eyes. He stared back without apology. His eyes were like topaz—hard and clear and very deep. I felt like I could see into them for miles and miles, yet nowhere in their bottomless depths could I see a contradiction to the word he'd spoken.

"Well, that changes things." I was surprised by how calm and reasonable my voice sounded. It must be because I was so numb. I couldn't realize what he was telling me. It still didn't make any sense.

He looked away into the trees as he spoke again. "Of course, I'll always love you… in a way. But what happened the other night made me realize that it's time for a change. Because I'm… tired of pretending to be something I'm not, Bella. I am not human." He looked back, and the icy planes of his perfect face were not human. "I've let this go on much too long, and I'm sorry for that."

"Don't." My voice was just a whisper now; awareness was beginning to seep through me, trickling like acid through my veins. "Don't do this."

He just stared at me, and I could see from his eyes that my words were far too late. He already had.

"You're not good for me, Bella." He turned his earlier words around, and so I had no argument. How well I knew that I wasn't good enough for him.

I opened my mouth to say something, and then closed it again. He waited patiently, his face wiped clean of all emotion. I tried again."If… that's what you want." He nodded once.

My whole body went numb. I couldn't feel anything below the neck.

"I would like to ask one favor, though, if that's not too much," he said.

I wonder what he saw on my face, because something flickered across his own face in response. But, before I could identify it, he'd composed his features into the same serene mask.

"Anything," I vowed, my voice faintly stronger.

As I watched, his frozen eyes melted. The gold became liquid again, molten, burning down into mine with

an intensity that was overwhelming.

"Don't do anything reckless or stupid," he ordered, no longer detached. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

I nodded helplessly.

His eyes cooled, the distance returned. "I'm thinking of Charlie, of course. He needs you. Take care of yourself—for him."

I nodded again. "I will," I whispered. He seemed to relax just a little.

"And I'll make you a promise in return," he said. "I promise that this will be the last time you'll see me. I

won't come back. I won't put you through anything like this again. You can go on with your life without any more interference from me. It will be as if I'd never existed." My knees must have started to shake, because the trees were suddenly wobbling. I could hear the blood pounding faster than normal behind my ears. His voice sounded farther away.

He smiled gently. "Don't worry. You're human—your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all wounds for your kind."

"And your memories?" I asked. It sounded like there was something stuck in my throat, like I was choking.

"Well"—he hesitated for a short second—"I won't forget. But my kind… we're very easily distracted."

He smiled; the smile was tranquil and it did not touch his eyes.

He took a step away from me. "That's everything, I suppose. We won't bother you again."

The plural caught my attention. That surprised me; I would have thought I was beyond noticing anything.

"Alice isn't coming back," I realized. I don't know how he heard me—the words made no sound—but he seemed to understand.

He shook his head slowly, always watching my face.

"No. They're all gone. I staved behind to tell you goodbye."

"Alice is gone?" My voice was blank with disbelief.

"She wanted to say goodbye, but I convinced her that a clean break would be better for you."

I was dizzy; it was hard to concentrate. His words swirled around in my head, and I heard the doctor at the hospital in Phoenix, last spring, as he showed me the X-rays. You can see it's a clean break, his

finger traced along the picture of my severed bone. That's good. It will heal more easily, more quickly.

I tried to breathe normally. I needed to concentrate, to find a way out of this nightmare.

"Goodbye, Bella," he said in the same quiet, peaceful voice.

"Wait!" I choked out the word, reaching for him, willing my deadened legs to carry me forward.

I thought he was reaching for me, too. But his cold hands locked around my wrists and pinned them to my sides. He leaned down, and pressed his lips very lightly to my forehead for the briefest instant. My

eyes closed.

"Take care of yourself," he breathed, cool against my skin.

There was a light, unnatural breeze. My eyes flashed open. The leaves on a small vine maple shuddered with the gentle wind of his passage.

He was gone.

With shaky legs, ignoring the fact that my action was useless, I followed him into the forest. The evidence of his path had disappeared instantly. There were no footprints, the leaves were still again, but I walked

forward without thinking. I could not do anything else. I had to keep moving. If I stopped looking for

him, it was over.

Love, life, meaning… over.

I walked and walked. Time made no sense as I pushed slowly through the thick undergrowth. It was hours passing, but also only seconds. Maybe it felt like time had frozen because the forest looked the same no matter how far I went. I started to worry that I was traveling in a circle, a very small circle at that, but I kept going. I stumbled often, and, as it grew darker and darker, I fell often, too.

Finally, I tripped over something—it was black now, I had no idea what caught my foot—and I stayed down. I rolled onto my side, so that I could breathe, and curled up on the wet bracken.

As I lay there, I had a feeling that more time was passing than I realized. I couldn't remember how long it had been since nightfall. Was it always so dark here at night? Surely, as a rule, some little bit of moonlight

would filter down through the clouds, through the chinks in the canopy of trees, and find the ground. Not tonight. Tonight the sky was utterly black. Perhaps there was no moon tonight—a lunar eclipse, a new moon. A new moon. I shivered, though I wasn't cold. "I just want to die" I whimpered

"maybe your wish will come true" a voice couldnt place even though i rembered, i slowly turtn my head to meet the dark red eyes of a killer. Victoria."wh-what are y-you doing h-here?" i said.

"well, you see your edward.." i winced at his name. "...well, he killed my mate, so i'm going to make him suffer the same.

"too late." i muttered. she tilted her head to the side. "He left, he doesnt love me" I sobbed.

"Why would i believe you" she laughed without humour. I had no answer to that question."Any final words?" I closed my eyes, i felt her cold breath on my neck "edward, i love you" i whispered. Slowy her face got closer. Her teeth peirced my skin causing me to scream out in pain.