Bella turned restlessly in her sleep. The murmured words that escaped her lips were indistinct but I could tell that she was dreaming that I had left again. She groped across her pillow, searching for some reassurance, some anchor to provide security. Gently, I lifted her hand and caressed her palm with my lips. She shivered at my touch but then the tension in her body relaxed as she nestled closer to me.
Absentmindedly, I traced the design Great-Grandma Swan had lovingly stitched into the quilt that now protected Bella from my cold body. The familiar wedding-band pattern seemed fitting. The wedding, our wedding was only a few weeks away. My still heart was filled with anticipation. I wished that Bella could see that by marrying me while she was still human, she was giving herself to me in a way that my biting her would never provide. After I bit her, she would become bonded to me-as I was already irrevocably bonded to her. Over. Done deal. There would be no more choices to be made. At least for now, she was still choosing me of her own free will. I wished she could see there is worth and life in a relationship that you have to work together to keep alive and vibrant. I would be happy spending the span of Bella’s life to keep her love for me alive. The possibility that she could choose to leave made her staying with me so much sweeter.
But no, she wanted to be changed into the kind of being I am. She desired the absolute finality of that. She wanted eternity, and not just a lifetime.
I wondered if she really understood what going through the change would be like. Maybe I had not told her enough about what it had been like for me to struggle-not only through the change itself, but also adjusting to and continuing to live a life of secrecy, to live life in an altered reality.
The small, soft leather volume resting on my lap held whispers about what my life had been like during the months before I had met Carlisle. I did not need to read it to know what the pages held. The graceful writing within was my own-although I did not remember writing it. Still, it was my story and even though every word was memorized, holding the book and reading the words anchored me to the life I had lost and the future that might have been.
It was not that I had kept the journal a secret from Bella, well, maybe I had, but my existence for the last century had demanded secrecy. Perhaps it was time to share more of myself with her. As difficult as it was to talk about what I had endured in my early days as a vampire the time seemed to have come for me to tell her more. Not just the spotty titbits I had been sharing or that Carlisle had related to her but the realities of our world. I needed to reveal my deepest struggles and longings. A wife should know these things about her husband.
While Bella slept, I pondered how to tell her the story of my own change.