7. What We Have Left Undone

The shrill beeping of my pager shattered the stillness of my office. I always enjoyed the silence of a hospital at night, as I frequently found myself taking advantage of the lack of sun to work during these hours. Everything seemed to slow while our patients slept, and the reduction in noise level resulted in a calm atmosphere. It was often that the wee hours of the morning would find me simply wandering the halls of the hospital, taking in the quiet and feeling at peace. In recent weeks, however, I had scarcely left my desk at night, spending most of my shifts here amid stacks of medical journals reading up on myeloid leukemia.

As had become my nightly habit, I’d gone to check on Anthony Mason, Tony as he preferred, an hour earlier at the beginning of my shift. He was residing again at CMC as he began the second round of his chemotherapy. His handsome young face always brightened to see me and this made me happier than I should have allowed it to. We had developed a rapport in the past several weeks—I had been the first doctor to unwaveringly call him by his nickname, and he in turn had begun to address me by my initial.

Tonight he had been propped up in bed playing a new video game called Guitar Hero when I’d entered—which as far as I could tell was his preferred means of spending time when his mother wasn’t around to remind him to do his schoolwork. I had mentioned that I ought to get the game as a Christmas gift for Emmett to add to his immense collection, and Tony had eyed me with the typical confusion.

“You’ve got kids?” he’d asked suspiciously.

“Five.” I answered, receiving the usual puzzled look in response.

“No offense, Dr. C.,” Tony responded, “but you look like you’re like twenty-three or something. I mean, I know you’re not because you’ve been to college and medical school and what not, but you can’t be that old. How do you have five kids?”

Like twenty-three or something. He was more than a little perceptive. “Well, to begin, I’m thirty-one,” I answered carefully, gauging his reaction. He seemed unfazed, so I went on. “And my children are all adopted. Well, our twins are foster children. But you get the idea.”

He looked intrigued. “How old are they?”

Well, the range was from seventy to a hundred forty, I thought wryly, but answered, “My youngest is seventeen and the oldest is twenty. Three boys, two girls.”

Tony nodded. “Yeah, they’d like this then.” He gestured to the plastic guitar that he was using to play the game.

“Yes, I think they probably would. Thank you for the suggestion.” I would order it as soon as I got back to a computer. “If I may act like your doctor for a moment, how are you feeling today?”

“Shitty,” he answered quickly, and I winced at both the word and the state it described. Tony caught my expression. “Sorry. I know, my mom says I shouldn’t say sh-stuff like that.”

His feeling poorly bothered me far more than did his vocabulary. He had no idea how much I wished I could just expel the cancer without causing him pain.

“‘Shitty’ can be a useful diagnostic description,” I told him. “Don’t worry about it. I know the chemo feels awful.”

“I feel sicker than I did when we weren’t treating it,” he muttered, looking away from me. “Kinda wish we didn’t have to fight it.”

I nodded. What he was reporting was not at all unusual. Tony was faring the chemo quite well, considering. He’d lost six pounds since his initial admission, but that was well within the range that was normal. He was also still alert and cheerful every time I came by to see him; usually involved in some video game if he wasn’t doing his schoolwork. We were all trying to keep his spirits and his grades up: two nights ago he had been struggling with some quadratics when I’d come by to check his charts, so I had helped him calculate and draw parabolas for a good hour before I’d done the rest of my rounds. All in all, he was doing remarkably well. But it was his eyes which always betrayed him; they were tired and he had developed circles beneath them, like my own children’s did when they were thirsty. His eyes told me that the treatment was hurting—as I knew it would.

“I understand,” I told him quietly. “Chemotherapy is a nasty treatment. I wish we had a better one, but we don’t. And it’s way too early for other options.” Moreover, “other options” were something I couldn’t even bring myself to think about right now. We were supposed to have in place a plan for palliative care in case we needed to switch into a mode in which we were no longer actively fighting the disease. But not a single physician on his team was willing to put such ideas to paper just yet. Tony was strong. We would battle the disease alongside him as long as we needed to. I gave him a gentle smile and patted his shoulder. “Keep fighting, Tony. We will, too.”

Tony was quiet a moment, studying his guitar. “Dr. C.?” he finally asked without looking up.

“Yes?”

He took a deep breath, and his next words came out in a rush. “If it starts to look bad, will I get to decide if I don’t want to do this anymore?”

I froze. It was as though he were reading my thoughts—a sensation I hadn’t had in several months. Leave it to Tony to ask a difficult and forthright question like that. It caught me off-guard. It seemed to be one of my new patient’s defining characteristics that he preferred to confront things head-on. In this respect he reminded me of Edward, who also had no patience for sugar-coating, although Tony’s responses to the inevitable bad news invariably displayed optimism of which I surmised Edward was probably incapable.

My hesitation did not escape Tony’s notice. Usually, I was very good at answering my patients. I knew better than to lie even if I was feeling optimistic. The only time I ever gave a patient a rosier outlook than the one that really existed was if my patient was very young, and even in those instances I was very upfront with the parents.

“Is that a no?” he asked quietly after a moment.

“You’re a minor; it will be up to your parents,” I answered, looking down at the rails of his bed. American medical law was both wonderful and burdensome—sometimes it protected exactly what I wanted it to protect, other times it incapacitated patients who otherwise should have been calling their own shots. “Nevertheless,” I continued, fixing his blue eyes in my gaze, “we will only cross that bridge when and if we come to it. The statistics are on your side, here, Tony.”

“Forty percent,” he mumbled back, quoting me the percentage of young patients with AML who died within five years of their diagnoses.

Sixty percent is the one you should be thinking about,” I corrected. “That’s more than fifty-fifty.” Not to mention that his medical team included a number of physicians from the oncology staff at Cornell’s high-ranking medical school in Manhattan. “You’ve got the best doctors in the state at bat for you.”

At this a faint smile broke on his face. “Are you bragging?” he teased.

“I never claimed to be one of them,” I answered, but he had struck a nerve. I would be one of the best doctors in the state when it came to this case. I would make myself so. I could not let this boy down. I would not let him die.

“You should probably get some sleep,” I told Tony quietly, but in truth, it was I who needed to leave before I spoke aloud any of the promises I was desperately making myself. “It’s past one AM.”

He nodded. “I’ll finish this and then I will.” He gestured to the game.

“All right. Let me know if you feel worse during the night. Just call your nurse and they will come find me.”

“Okay. See you, Dr. C.” His eyes had quickly become fixated again on the TV mounted to the wall.

“Goodnight, Tony.”

I had exited my patient’s room lost in thought. Growing attached to a patient was dangerous, something which after the incident with the Masens in 1918 I went to great lengths to avoid. Tony’s resemblance to Edward was in truth almost non-existent: his features were dark where Edward’s were light; his nature was to be optimistic and playful where Edward tended towards seriousness and worry; he was two years younger and still behaved very much as a young teenager where Edward had arrived into my care naïve but well into manhood. Had Tony’s name not been so close to my son’s, it might never have occurred to me to draw any comparison between them at all. But it was, and so in Tony I saw my chance to redeem myself for what I had done to the Masens’ son when my own hands failed him nine decades before. I had two hundred fifty years of medical experience at my disposal. Attached or no, I would heal my new patient.

Thus an hour later found me again at my desk, surrounded by the usual stacks of medical literature. At my left hand were Tony’s latest lab results, showing his white cell count still normal. Since his chemotherapy was supposed to be destroying his white cells, the number was more than a little troubling. There was a direct correlation between high white cell counts and likelihood of not beating the cancer. Each day that his labs came back with the count still high, Tony’s chances slowly worsened, and thus I grew more anxious, frantically poring over issues of journal after journal, searching for anything that might help us.

So when my pager went off, I was more than slightly startled to be jerked out of my reading. I instinctively pulled the device to my face, expecting a page to trauma surgery. That was my usual interruption in the dead of night like this. I was very surprised to see instead six very familiar numbers: 030121. St. David’s Day, 1921.

It was Esme.

Why was Esme calling me in the middle of a shift? It wasn’t an emergency; if it had been, she would have preceded her code with “911.” Laying down the journal I was presently reading, I picked up the phone in my office and dialed. It made it through a full two rings before Esme picked it up. Unusual.

“Hello?” She sounded…hurried.

“Hello, love, it’s me.”

“Oh, hi, Carlisle.” It wasn’t an unhappy greeting, by any means, but she seemed as though she was trying to temper something. Very strange. I was immediately uneasy with this phone call.

“Is there something the matter?” I asked carefully.

“No, no, no,” she answered in a rush. “I just wasn’t expecting you to call back so quickly. How’s your shift going?”

“Just fine. Uneventful. It’s quiet here.” I was getting my head in order. “And the night at home?”

“Are you coming home in the morning?”

I sucked in my breath. In all truthfulness, I hadn’t planned on it. My new routine involved leaving straight from the hospital and driving back into town and to the university, where I had access to the full library and its backlog of medical journals. This morning was no different; I would go to the university and bury myself in the stacks until darkness fell again.

Yet my plans for the day aside, there was still some part of me that knew that the correct answer to Esme’s question was, “Of course.” Even though I wasn’t human, even though I could never be asked to sleep on the proverbial couch, even though Esme and I had enjoyed a loving marriage that had now lasted longer than any human’s, somewhere deep I understood that the right response here was to tell her I would be home immediately if that was what she wanted. But instead of doing that, I let a foolish question slip:

“Why do you ask?”

Esme’s breath hissed as she drew it sharply.

“Because I haven’t seen you in three days,” she answered a second later.

Had it been that long? Tonight was Wednesday—yesterday I had gone from the hospital to the university and back, and I had done the same on Monday, as well as earlier today, which meant…that my wife was right. I hadn’t seen her since Monday morning. The guilt washed over me at once.

“Oh, God, Esme, I’m so sorry,” I answered. “I didn’t—days are so short, and I’ve been studying…”

She cut me off. “Rosalie and Emmett are home, too. They got here yesterday.”

I covered the mouthpiece and hissed a word Esme wouldn’t approve of. Rosalie had called from Paris a week before to tell us that she and Emmett would be coming home for at least a month to spend the Christmas holidays with us. I had somehow managed to distract myself so thoroughly that I had pushed their arrival from my mind. No wonder Esme was upset.

“I’m sorry,” I muttered when I finally uncovered the phone.

My wife sighed. “Look, I understand. I do. I know you. I know you’re working hard for your patient. But…could you come home this morning? Please? Just come say hello to Roaslie and Emmett. We’ll be gone the rest of the day. We’re meeting with a realtor to look at houses for them.”

“And Alice and Jasper?” Jasper was the one contact I’d had in the last several days; he and I had run into each other at the Cornell library for all of five minutes the previous afternoon.

“They’re here, too. Jasper said he said he saw you yesterday. I was glad to hear you were still out walking around.”

I could tell it wasn’t quite a joke.

“And Alice is possibly leaving for Mississippi.”

“Mississippi?” Now I was truly confused. “Does this have something to do with her project?”

Esme drew her breath and it took her a moment to respond. “Just come home in the morning. We just want to see you.”

I nodded stupidly, as though she could see me. “I’m off at six.”

“We’ll see you then.”

“I love you,” I added.

“I’m not angry, Carlisle.” She hung up.

Laying the phone back in its cradle, I wandered over to the window and stared out into the blackness. I was failing. Edward was gone, Esme was upset, I’d all but forgotten about two of my children, and a floor above me, my young patient still lay dying. Closing my eyes, I covered my face with my palm and drew a deep breath, raking my hand down my face as I exhaled. When I opened my eyes again, it was to my own reflection in the darkened window.

The man staring back at me was not the man I usually saw, whose youthful vigor I had to fight in order to convince anyone that I was anything close to the ages I claimed. No, this man looked exhausted and sad and old. In my reflection I saw three hundred sixty years of loneliness and concern, brought to bear on me again by a mere three months of agonizing worry. How much longer would this last? At what point was I supposed to give in, call Edward home, force him to pick himself up, and march him back to Forks? Edward hadn’t called in the month and a half he’d been gone, and despite weeks of practice, it took great concentration to refrain from calling him myself. I wanted Edward to understand fully my confidence in him, but I still missed him bitterly. My whole being ached for the days from the summer just passed, when I would come home to his laughter as he and Bella shared some inane joke in his bedroom, or as he cheerfully mocked her protestations over his concern for her safety in the wake of James’s attack. For the summer, Edward had been happy. And so, in turn, had I.

In hindsight, the intensification in Edward’s protective nature should have caught my attention sooner. My son’s actions had been so clearly foreshadowed in his behavior between March and September. The way he traced her every move when I saw them together; the rare moments he’d let her out of his sight—he feared for her safety, and he saw himself the biggest threat to her. It should have been my foregone conclusion that Edward would eventually come to the decision that he needed to remove himself without regard to the torture doing so might cause him. Again I pressed my hands to my face, forcefully drawing my fingertips down my temples. Why hadn’t I seen this coming?

As if in answer, Edward’s beautiful face swam before me, his golden eyes giving me a look of pure regret as the wind on the train platform whipped his hair across his face. Five words that made my still heart leap: “I love you too, Dad.” Even in mere memory, the joy those words brought me was acute to the point of pain. And I had let my pursuit of that joy keep me from what I needed to do in protecting my son.

I had so badly wanted happiness for Edward that I had forgotten that my responsibility to him as a father entailed occasionally telling him “no.” Had I not thought that we should stay in Forks? Hadn’t I already I realized what pain Edward would be in if we left? Yet I had allowed myself to get foolishly caught up in promises I’d made and in my fear of “forcing him” to do something against his will and in doing so, I had forgotten my first and most important promise to him: to protect and care for him. Instead, I had let both our stubborn streaks rule and all but given him permission to drive himself mad with pain.

And now in the wake of his departure, I had let the agony of losing him drive me away from his siblings and from my wife. I couldn’t think of a time when I had accidentally gone this long without laying eyes on Esme. Certainly we had both gone on hunting trips that had taken us away from each other for periods of time, but those had been planned. To have forgotten her—for that was in truth what I had done—it was a monstrous thing to do.

Well, if there was nothing I could do about Edward right now, this other mistake was one for which I could make reparations. Sliding back into my desk chair, I opened the hospital’s scheduling program on my computer. It was just after two AM; there was a second attending in trauma due in at four. My shift technically ended at six, but I could probably take off the extra two hours and go home to surprise Esme. It wouldn’t make up for the last three days—I wasn’t so stupid as to think so—but it would bring a smile to her face. And those were increasingly rare these days.

Sending a text message to Alice asking her not to blow my cover, I left my office to go request the two hours’ leave.

I heard laughter as I approached the house, and as I peered through the windows I saw through that the rest of my family members were sitting in the recently completed kitchen, looking at photos of the trip on Emmett’s new Leica S2. Emmett was animatedly telling a story to go along with one of the photos, and it was this which had elicited the laughter. The window itself also bore witness to my absence: Esme had restored the paint to the windowsills and shutters. A pile of loose bricks at the base of the chimney told me that she had also been working there. I sighed. I’d missed all these latest projects. Although I had my keys, I rapped gently on the kitchen door, hoping that Esme would come be surprised. But it was Rosalie who was closest to the door.

“Well, well, well,” she said darkly when she saw me. “If it isn’t the absentee father.”

“Rose—” Emmett and Esme spoke in unison, rising as a pair. Emmett immediately moved to Rosalie’s side. As though to make clear to Rosalie where she stood on the matter, Esme embraced me at once, kissing my neck.

“You’re home early,” she whispered, delighted. “Thank you.”

I nodded, putting my arms around her as she pressed her back to my chest.

Rosalie simply shook her head, giving Esme a hard look. “Fine, Esme. But if you won’t give him a piece of your mind, I will.”

Emmett shot me an apologetic look before saying gently, “Hey, Rose, why don’t you give Carlisle a moment or two before you take his head off? He hasn’t been home in awhile.”

I knew before the words were quite out of Emmett’s mouth that they would be the wrong thing to say. Rosalie immediately shrugged off her husband’s hand and whirled on me, her eyes aflame. “That’s exactly the point! How could you not be here for three days, Carlisle?! How could you do that to Esme?”

“Trust me, Rosalie, that question has not escaped me.” I gazed down at my wife, who was shaking her head at our daughter as though to affirm that I had been forgiven. This did nothing to calm the fire in Rosalie’s eyes, however. Rosalie saw Esme as akin to herself because of what they had both suffered at the hands of their human partners. My hurting Esme gave Rosalie one more reason to unleash her anger, and perhaps that was why she had chosen to attack. She was trying to protect Esme from me. That she felt the need to do so made my stomach turn.

“You, Carlisle Cullen, are a selfish, prideful, egotistical idiot,” Rosalie hissed slowly, giving progressively more emphasis to each adjective. I found myself momentarily transfixed as she advanced on me, tossing her long hair behind her as she did so. None of us could contest that Rosalie was the most beautiful of our family, and when she was fully enraged she was almost more so, her golden eyes aflame with a mad fury that made her magnificently striking.

Alice and Jasper both drew their breath, and my twinge of apprehension faded immediately. Rosalie smiled at me briefly and added, “It’s really good to see you Carlisle. We missed you in Europe.” Then she whirled on Jasper.

“Okay, I played nice, now please stop what you’re doing,” she said sweetly.

I nodded to Jasper, whose concerned eyes met my own. “It’s okay. There won’t be a battle,” I assured him. “Rosalie should get a chance to say whatever it is she needs to.”

Cocking one eyebrow, Jasper put up his hands. “Okay…but I’m leaving.”

He stood slowly and Alice rose with him. They disappeared from the kitchen, Alice muttering to Jasper, “She’s only going to yell at him. Don’t worry.”

I watched them disappear up the stairwell, and then turned back to my fieriest family member. Every now and then, it became necessary to just relax and allow Rosalie to get off her chest whatever she needed to. She never escalated anything to the level of actual violence, but yelling was a cathartic process for her. And of course, as the source of her change, I was more often than not the recipient of her vitriol. She rightfully blamed me for her not having the peace of death, and as a result she also blamed me for anything and everything that went wrong with her current existence. I knew better than to ask her to calm down.

Closing my eyes briefly, I beckoned to my daughter with my right hand. “I hear that you are upset with me, Rosalie,” I answered carefully. “May I ask why you think that of me?”

“Oh, you can just stop it with that counselor talk,” she snapped. “You know exactly why I’m angry. You and your blind eye for your precious Edward.”

I nodded solemnly and she went on, taking another step closer.

My home,” she said slowly, enunciating both words with care. “You and Edward have taken my home from me. First, you let him leave Forks. That was fine. Getting him away from her is probably the only useful thing you’ve managed to do since September.”

“Her.” Not “Bella.” Even after nearly a year, Rosalie was unwilling to admit to any sympathy or feelings for the girl Edward had chosen.

“But you couldn’t just let him go,” she continued. “No. You had to take us all with him and make everyone else suffer while he just skulked around here being sad about something that was entirely in his control!” Her eyes were narrowed as she fixed them on me, gold upon gold, contempt and guilt meeting at once.

“It’s why we left,” she hissed. “Who wanted to sit around here and deal with the misery of ‘poor, poor Edward’ day in and day out?”

Wincing, I nodded again, the painful image of Edward huddled in the darkness of his bedroom filling my mind. “I’m quite sorry, Rosalie,” I answered.

She glared at me and continued. “And then we come home, and he’s not even here. You just let him leave, without any regard to how that’s going to affect everybody else. And if this was what was going to happen anyway, why did the rest of us have to leave with him? You disrupted our lives and our home for nothing. Nothing. And then” —she paused for a split second to draw more breath— “then you let everything just go to pieces around you. Esme keeps cleaning Edward’s room because she keeps hoping he’ll show up and need it. Alice and Jasper can’t stand to stay here in the house anymore. Emmett already wants him back and we’ve barely been here a day—none of which you have managed to be here for, mind you.”

“And for that I am truly sorry.” She had no idea. My memory was flawless—there was no forgetting in my world, only distraction. And wasn’t I distracting myself on purpose? Because if I focused my attention instead on my family, then the only thing available for me to contemplate was the gnawing pain of not knowing where Edward was. To avoid that pain, I had avoided them. Rosalie was perfectly right—it was beyond selfish of me.

“Save it,” she hissed, her eyes still fixed on mine.

I nodded contritely. “Is there anything else?”

Rosalie closed the distance between us in a millisecond. “Yes,” she said, dropping her voice to a low growl. “I want my home back. I want this—coven—back the way it was. Fix it.” She turned on her heel and stalked out of the room so quickly she created a tiny breeze. Shooting me a repentant glance, Emmett mouthed I’m sorry beforehe disappeared after her. I nodded and waved him on. He was the only one Rosalie listened to when she got in these states. The back door opened and closed with a slam, which was followed a moment later by a second crash as it fell from its hinges to the floor.

Still in my arms, Esme drew a shaking breath. “I’m sorry that happened,” she said quietly, turning in our embrace so that she faced me once more. “She’s been seething ever since she got home. I asked her not to confront you the moment you walked in the door, but you know Rosalie.”

I sighed, shaking my head again. “She has every right to be angry with me. I’m angry with myself.” And her accusations—every single one—had been perfectly sound. But it had been her final words that had truly thrown me. This coven. Rosalie more than any of our children clung to her past with all her superhuman tenacity. And although she would never admit it aloud, I knew the bonds our family shared with one another were desperately important to her sense of humanity. She would never look to me as a father the way Edward and Alice did, and while she was slightly more open to being Esme’s child, she reminded us both with some regularity that it was not us but the Hales who were her parents. But she had never before denied our being a family. The word coven stung. Was that what we had been reduced to? Just another group of mated vampires, together for convenience and only for as long as that convenience was mutual? A low rumble escaped my lips at the thought and Esme’s head jerked up.

“I’m sorry,” I said immediately, rubbing her back. “I’m just—upset.”

It took my wife a second to respond. “Coven?” she asked quietly.

I flinched. “Yes.”

Esme sighed, moving her arms up my body until they were around my neck, her hands entwined in my hair. “She only said that to hurt you,” she answered quietly. “Please don’t take that seriously.”

I didn’t respond right away, instead staring out the window to the lawn and the woods beyond. A thick snow had fallen while I’d been at the hospital, the first since we’d moved into the house. The white blanket over everything gave the view a very serene feeling, quite the opposite of the tempest that had just blown through our kitchen.

Sighing, I looked down again at my wife. “Have I really turned us into a mere coven?”

Esme closed her eyes. I braced myself for an emotional consolation that mirrored my own worry, and as I suspected, she soon began to tremble in my arms. I was completely unprepared, therefore, when my wife threw her head back and laughed so hard she nearly choked.

“What?” I asked, and she smiled at me, simply shaking her head until her laughter subsided to the point that she could speak.

“Oh, Carlisle,” she sighed in exasperation, but she was smiling. “You are a prize idiot. And here I was arguing to Rose that you didn’t suffer from a God complex.” She giggled.

A God complex? If there was one thing I felt certain about, it was that I was not God. I was feeling more helpless now than I’d felt my entire life. And I had put this family together; I was its backbone. If the back broke—how did the rest of the body function?

Esme pressed her cheek to my chest, the gentle vibrations of her laughter penetrating my body as she answered my unspoken question. “Do you really think your actions alone could possibly break this family apart? And that even if they could, that you would do it merely by burying yourself in the library for a few days?”

“But I made this family,” I protested feebly.

Esme laughed even harder. “No, darling, we make this family,” she corrected, bringing her lips to mine again. “The seven of us. And you don’t get to decide when we’re not one any longer. Neither does Rosalie, for that matter.” She removed one hand from my hair and stroked my cheek with her thumb. I closed my eyes and let myself enjoy her touch.

“I’ll tell you what,” she said after a moment, laying her other hand flat against my chest. “Yesterday I finally tore out the bricking that was stopping the flue. Why don’t I go re-hang the back door” —I winced, remembering Rosalie’s tempestuous exit— “and you go get some wood. We’ll sit in front of the fire and catch up.”

“I should go apologize to Rosalie,” I mumbled.

“She’s not going to listen to you right now and you know it,” Esme answered. “And you have to teach this afternoon, so I only have you for a few hours, Dr. Cullen. I plan to make good use of them.” Smirking at me, she tugged on my tie to bring my head to hers.

“Are you sure it’s really the living room you’re after?” I teased as we kissed, and she playfully smacked my cheek.

“I said ‘catch up,’” she repeated, grinning, but the delight in her eyes told me she knew I hadn’t been serious. “That entails only talking.” Shaking her head and still laughing, Esme broke our embrace and headed in the direction of her tools.

I followed my wife with my gaze as she left. Even if for only briefly, it was good to hear the sound of her laugh, and I promised myself to relish the time she wanted to spend together this morning. I appraised the woods from the window and, locating a fallen tree which looked suitably small to be ripped into pieces for firewood, started for the door. I threw one last glance at the emptied kitchen, the abandoned camera on the table standing as reminder of how quickly laughter had once again fallen to anger and despair in our home.

One hand on the doorknob, I paused. I thought of my young patient, his dark eyes ever cheerful, teasing, even as he quietly suffered his disease. I thought of Esme and the worry and fear on her face when I had nearly attacked her two months ago. I thought of Edward, terrifyingly motionless as he lay in my arms. And finally I again recalled Rosalie’s parting shot, and a deep pain rocked me once more as I went out into the frozen dawn.

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