There is a rule, first unwritten and instinctual, then expressed and syndicated, stating that which begins must too end.
This is common knowledge. This is the natural order. This is red, yellow and blue on a color wheel, and the line of the horizon. This is simple.
This is easy to forget.
Each color is perceived using cues in the surrounding environment, such as lighting, adjacent hues, and the shape of the object, and is interpreted by the cone receptor cells in an individual’s retina.
Bella was a serious child.
“If you worry your forehead like that all the time, you’ll get wrinkles before you’re ten,” her mother would fret, hoping pigtails and strawberry ice cream would make her daughter more like a little girl.
She would sit for hours in her closet with a flashlight, scouting the dictionaries for treasures. Looking up words like I and am and frowning, disappointed, when the definitions left her unsatisfied, never quite capturing the elusively of time and self.
This is how she learned that sometimes words fail.
Rosalie was confusedly spoiled, not knowing why she was rewarded with the pleasures she had and unsure why she didn’t have absolutely all the ones she wanted.
“But what if I don’t want a party?” She was on the verge of ten and mean about it, her indignant stomp disturbing a miniature hurricane of dust and ruffling her white eyelet dress. “All those people talk to me like I’m two and have ears too small for their heads.”
The cook stifled a laugh.
She was still too young to recognize the importance of appearances. Of making quiet, polite chatter with wealthy, polite people and acting like you had nothing better to do.
“But Grace baked you a pretty cake, see?”
Her mother was placating.
Rosalie examined the snow white frosting, delicate sugared violets crisply adorning the confection, and promptly turned up her nose.
A worker setting up the table caught her eye, then glanced away with a odd look. Men were always peering over at her like that, like she was an angel-harbinger of God’s word, and she never quite knew why.
Three years later she discovered her own beauty and she stopped asking questions.
Jasper was simple. He spent his childhood tapping fingers against wooden posts, memorizing the way the air smelled just before the rain.
His father’s soul was as calloused as his hands, working the cotton field diligently and with little thought elsewhere. The soil held no secrets.
“You have charisma, boy,” he’d say gruffly, tobacco rolling like a cow’s cud in his left cheek, “But that don’t make you a man.”
He grew as Houston did, watching families and businessmen and bachelors flock by the wagon-full, hoping to manipulate destiny the way one might jerk the bridle of a horse. That was something else his father had always said.
“Everyone has their own lot in life. Best make what you can of it.”
He tried his best not to drop crumbs from his momma’s cornbread on his grey uniform the day his infantry left town, taking the reigns of his own life.
This was before.
A triadic color scheme adopts any three colors approximately equidistant around the hue circle.
They met on a dual-direction wind.
“You don’t want to be here,” Rosalie observed, taking in the tightly strung rope of his muscles, the blood red in his eyes and the cinched noose of his lips. It wasn’t too difficult to tell he was burning.
He regarded her closely.
“Neither do you.”
Of course in her case, by here, she knew he meant on the larger scale. Undead. In existence. Damned.
She bristled immediately, distrustful of those who claimed to know her better than herself, but he could taste the undercurrent of appreciation in her emotions, sweet in the air. Understanding was shared, passed back and forth to be ingested in equal amounts the way one might divvy up wine.
This was why they played the part of siblings in every high school performance. It wasn’t a challenge to pretend to be related to someone who understood all your deep, dark empty places.
The first time Bella saw Rosalie, she thought that wars could be started over her. That bombs could detonate with each swayed hip, tsunamis cascading with a fluttered eyelash, hurricanes and tornadoes and waterspouts raging on inhale and exhale, but that she’d still have a crowd begging for more. That Rosalie would flatter under the attention like a well-watered tulip.
The first time she saw Jasper, however, she imagined that he’d been dropped and broken one too many times, enough to make him crazy and sad and scarred.
She’d never been very good at reading people.
Rosalie swallowed her amusement, her venom, her phantom tears, as she watched this precious human everyone kept raving about taking up space in their living room.
From the way Edward angled his body around her, you’d think the girl had a “careful: contents fragile” sticker slapped on her forehead. And if she weren’t paying attention, she might squint to see it too.
She was no porcelain doll, that much was certain just by the barely-there bruises from her latest fall.
Dolls don’t hurt; they simply break.
She thought Edward didn’t give her enough credit; there was something to be said for the patient, fearless way the human had accepted them; once Rosalie herself got past the incredulity of it she could even see it. But there was an underbelly to the girl’s graciousness, the vice to every virtue.
The human’s lips puckered around the sourness of the unsweetened grapefruit juice Esme had unwittingly handed her (cold and bitter; ironic), but she hid her discomfort in a napkin in an effort, no doubt, to spare her feelings.
Rosalie almost gagged on this bout of sickening goodness. No one should be that understanding.
She’ll pay for it, one day.
“I reckon that’s a mistake.”
Rosalie directed the glare she’d been aiming at the phone towards the man over her shoulder, lips pursed like poison.
“He should know.”
Jasper strolled into the room, head ducked and hands in his pockets. His posture said defense, but she had him learned him well enough to see the fight in his eyes.
“You just want to prove that you were right. About him getting involved with the human,” He paused, breath stuttering. “Bella.”
Rosalie scoffed, chin pointed and defiant. “Not you too. He should have never-“ She clenched her teeth off of his beseeching look. She found the anger in herself surprising. She didn’t expect to care. “This is his fault. She was never meant for this, and now she’s dead. It’s his fault.”
If she was a lesser woman she might falter at Jasper’s grave expression.
“You know he’ll put it all on himself when he finds that Bella’s gone and drowned herself. He doesn’t need your blame for sport.”
Rosalie reached for the phone, and in the next instant Jasper’s fingers were curled around her wrist, not tight enough to hurt but enough to divest her of the phone with a flick if he so chose.
“Think about what you’re doing.”
Jaw locked, eyes stone, Rosalie pulled herself free. He let her.
Jasper studied his brother through the window pane as Edward stared at Bella. The branch he was perched on swayed in time with the shadow of her eyelashes cast against her cheek as her eyes moved beneath the paper-thin skin of her eyelids in unseen, sleeping terrors. She whimpered, almost silently, and he watched the chords in Edward’s neck twitch, tighten.
He slipped through the just-barely-person-sized opening of the propped window, padding over to the bed. The two looked down on the sleeping girl.
"This is your chance to change things. Bella and you… what you had was hardly a relationship." Edward met Jasper’s gaze, but only to glare his irritated confusion. "It was mutual infatuation."
Edward fidgeted. Ordered an expression of indignant anger, then sharp uncertainty, then let both drop. Fidgeted again.
“I love her more than my own life,” he huffed, like that was the tie-breaker, the answer that solved everything.
“Yeah. Reckon you do,” Jasper agreed, standing stiffly and slipping over to the window. “But love without respect or trust is barely anything at all.”
Story time with Bella was a last ditch effort to make her reconsider. She felt ridiculous, like they should be illuminated by a fire and ready to jump at the ghosty parts. But she wanted the girl to think, and being nasty hadn’t gotten her anywhere.
Rosalie didn’t pretend to show her everything. There was some details she squirreled away for herself, things she was proud and ashamed that she could still recall.
The pinch of bobby pins as Royce pressed her head onto the cold concrete; the quick unraveling of her perfect blonde curls.
The burn of shame that she melted beneath a thick film of hatred when she saw the way Edward looked at her. Dirty, his eyes seemed to say. Trash. Whore. (It hurt her more than she’d have liked.)
The sticky slide of Royce’s blood on her hands, the pleasing crunch to his bones. How it satisfied her in a way nothing ever really had again.
The tickle of razor blades at her wrists. How she’d laughed when they broke against her new skin.
The first time Emmett held her hand, how she wanted to cry and run and kiss him all in the same instant.
How it had felt to realize she were never going to have what she wanted, not ever.
And there were some stories that Rosalie never told her, at least not then. Like the time she pushed her little brother into the lake because he broke her favorite doll, and the panic in her gut when the water stopped blooming with bubbles. (She saved him, blue lipped and coughing, but he was fine. Mother fretted over him like she fretted over Rosalie’s lipstick.)
Or when Emmett drained his first human, and she had to pack away all her pretty dresses and fold his shirts and steal away into the night. The way her hands shook.
And when she visited her mother as she lay dying of tuberculosis in a high-class sanatoria, the stench of sick hanging heavy from the drapes and steeped in the carpeting. The way her mother’s mouth had worked around the notes of a silent pitch, too weak to scream about the dead come to life.
But most of all, she didn’t tell her how she’d felt when Alice had that vision of her suicide, how she’d been betrayed and jealous and destroyed and vindicated, like a difficult bridesmaid that trips walking down the aisle.
The first time Bella was alone with Jasper since he almost killed her, she made a point to keep her expression soft and unafraid.
“You can stop that pretending, you know. I can hear your heartbeat, quick as a hummingbird.”
Bella let out a little sigh, happy not to have to pretend. She was grateful that she didn’t need to word the complex tangle of her emotions right then; it seemed like all she did those days was try to phase something inside her she wasn’t even sure had a name.
“Okay,” she breathed, a smile like warming taffy on her lips, “I can do that.”
Later, that same afternoon, Bella would tell him that she didn’t blame him, that it wasn’t his fault. It was his nature. And Jasper would wonder what Edward’s nature was, and what it meant for them both.
They had formed a pretty little family.
Carlisle the proud father; Esme the gracious mother, Edward the prodigal son who could do no wrong; Alice the energetic ray of light and Emmett the comic relief.
And Rosalie and Jasper… they were the worn socks the others kept around because its mate only had one match. They existed without belonging, a cog in a machine only there for aesthetics.
But then there was Bella. And suddenly there was an innocent bystander, a temptress to Edward’s careful self-control, a blushing package of everything she never was. A cute little sister made of marzipan and ginger. And Rosalie hated her for that, for a time at least.
She should have known it was all about to change.
In reality, only imaginary primary colors can mix to form all perceptually possible colors. To do this the colors are defined as lying outside the range of visible colors: they cannot be seen.
Edward turns Bella on their wedding night, in some time zone at least.
It was unplanned and imperfect, (there is some metaphor for honeymoon babies here that Rosalie doesn’t have the stomach to make) and Bella writhes in agony for three days. Three days of Edward worrying himself into the ground with no one but Alice’s tinny voice over a cell phone speaker to talk him down.
Rosalie has never been a very precise reader of the emotion in people’s voices, but even she can hear the tremor in his, as if he were breathing straight into the shell of her ear. It hurts her; Edward is still her brother despite their animosity and Bella is her sister now despite her questionable choices. She can hear Bella’s screams even across a dozen latitudes, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, and she winces at each pitch.
There’s talk of charting boats and renting cargo planes, of getting there in time to see Bella rise, but in the end the family consensus is to let them be. That outside influence would only agitate them both further.
Rosalie can’t say she agrees.
Jasper slides his king across the board, the movement of marble on marble squeaking slightly. He places the piece on one corner, then the other. Opposite him, Bella quirks an eyebrow.
“Seemed like a good enough idea at the time.”
They don’t play chess, nothing so rule-bound and patterned. They make up their own games with checkered boards and odd pieces, inventing guidelines as they’re convenient, consulting imaginary rule books in their minds. One time they used Candyland figures. It’s a challenge for him, the vagueness of it, so used to the regulations of combat.
Bella told him that she finds her new brain too hollow and fuzzy with her human memories fading, like her skull is full of gauze and cotton balls, and she fills her sunrises and sets searching for uses for the extra space. She said that while she loves the sharpness of her thoughts, the way they zoom around synapses with no effort, she finds herself easily bored because of it. He tries to help, brings her a new book from town every day and tells her stories of his life. But he can taste the static of her impatience in her emotions, though she’s even quieter than she was as a human.
He’s just happy he no longer tastes her blood in the air, and her resulting death in Alice’s visions.
Alice hovers like a ghoul just over Bella shoulder, and he too can feel the flicker of the new vampire’s annoyance. He loves his wife, but the poor woman babies Bella far too much. She blames herself for not foretelling her grim change and clings as her penance, waiting for the moment Bella might need something, anything.
But behind the curtain of her anxiety and irritation, Jasper is aware of the hurt that lies there; sometimes he feels as if he’s the only one who sees past her careful indifference, and he probably is. That flair of pain every time Edward avoids her gaze, each time he slips from a silent room to brood on his own.
Jasper watches Edward’s self-imposed exile with keen disapproval, knowing his motivation just as well as the fact that it is a mistake. He believes that by denying himself the pleasure of Bella’s smile, it will satisfy his penance for snatching away her human life.
His brother never realizes that by punishing himself, he’s punishing his young wife too.
Rosalie finds the entire situation ridiculous, and from the glances shared over Edward’s pouting head, she knows Jasper has to agree.
She had never supported the way Bella was so eager to lay herself down on the sacrificial stone for a man stuck in the mud and a love that might not last, but this was insane. The only thing worse than making the choice Bella had was Edward agonizing over it once it had already been made.
Rosalie had always regarded Edward with a kind of passive annoyance, but this she cannot forgive.
Bella’s world becomes a pace on eggshells and hot coals, needing to move but cut once having done so.
Esme tries her best to mother her and Emmett tries his best to make light and Edward doesn’t say anything at all. She doesn’t want any of it.
She politely turns Esme away; she doesn’t need condescension, can’t stand the sticky sweet of it dripping down her neck from every pat on the head. Edward talks to her, when he deems it necessary, like she’s an actual newborn, one that does nothing but cry and sleep and suckle milk. It’s irony at its finest when she realizes that she can do none of those things.
Emmett is chastised with a raised eyebrow when his jokes fall flat. No one particularly feels like laughing.
Edward is exactly how one might expect a grieving widower to act, if he had dropped a bomb into her waiting, willing hands. Sullen and silent, avoiding the eyes of the ghost of the once-wife that haunts his shadow.
Jasper is her saving grace, her one companion that doesn’t hover or avoid. And, surprisingly, Rosalie ranks as well; she doesn’t step softly around her, treating her like victim. Neither of them look upon her with pity, and they are neither shallowly kind nor needlessly blunt.
In a crowded room they gravitate towards each other; Jasper blandly picking at a hem, Rosalie turning her nose skyward, and Bella coolly meeting every eye.
Some believe juxtapositions of complementary colors, or colors lying opposite each other on the color wheel, will produce strong contrast, a sense of visual tension, as well as 'color harmony'. Others believe juxtapositions of analogous colors, or those beside each other in the spectrum, will elicit positive aesthetic response.
The love of vampire mates is fortunate in one way: a bond broken by death is immeasurably painful, true. But once the ties fall loose, for whatever reason, it is absolute. No doubt, no returns, and it is always mutual. A vampire mated to one who falls out of love suddenly finds themselves unable to feel the love that had once coursed through their veins. All at once, they feel nothing.
The Volturri call it il grande separazione, the great parting. Little research has been done on the matter; those with the means were apathetic, not the type to be mated at all, or were disbelieving that such a fate would befall their love, or had suffered such a chasm and needed little more proof than that.
This Carlisle never tells his flock. Worries it will upset them, strain the ties that bind. Years later, after the fall, he’ll wonder if a warning would have kept the creeping cracks at bay, or maybe it would have happened sooner. He’ll never know.
Part 4: The foundations of pre-20th-century color theory were built around “pure” or ideal colors, characterized by sensory experiences rather than attributes of the physical world.
There once was a girl, with hair like mahogany and skin pale as moonlight and breath that tasted faintly of bubblegum.
She was trusting, and beautiful, and naïve.
Bella kills her at the back of an English classroom after school, the lips suctioned to the wound at her neck still shimmery with the young girl’s lip gloss.
It is the first human blood Bella has tasted, but it will not be the last.
This is the beginning of the end. (Although it was truly over before it began.)
A negative afterimage is seen when, after staring at one color for a period of time, it wears out the cone receptors of that shade. Upon looking away, one will see the opposite color.
Blood red eyes. Cemetery dirt packed under her nails. His golden gaze, betrayed and disappointed. He knows. He knows.
Her own indignant glare. This is when he chooses to care.
The blonde pauses, lip bitten in temptation. Not even a taste.
“What’s it like?”
“Like finally being whole again.”
“This isn’t how it was supposed to be. We were all supposed to be happy.”
“Life isn’t some damn dinner party, Alice. Stop meddling and just let the dust settle.”
The slip of silk against polyester; slow, measured steps.
“I can’t do that.”
Bella has spent much of her life looking down. Her words drop and get tangled in her shoes and she trips, falling, gravity laughing. This is why she remembers to watch where she’s walking. It’s a vicious cycle. The world beyond pavement and puddles is like a dream she had once but can’t remember, vibrant impossibilities that by her logic could have never really existed.
She used to think Edward was designed to pick her up when she fell. But she’s starting to think maybe all he does is keep her still.
(This is later.)
Her voice runs away from her and she tries desperately to catch it, but now it’s bouncing off the walls in tiny little echoes, multiplying and replicating to spite her, and she can’t take them back.
“I’m not going to wait for you anymore.”
It scares her how much she doesn’t want to.
“Everything is falling apart.” Alice trembles, shaken.
He doesn’t say that maybe that’s just another way of saying that something else is falling together.
“I’m sorry I changed you.”
Her answering smile is a vivid mark of crimson against the paleness of her cheeks.
Jasper knows something is off kilter the moment he walks into the living room. The air is thin, like stepping off a mountaintop.
Alice is waiting for him on their bed.
“Something has happened.”
Bella pauses as she walks past the tree stump, bending to brush a kiss to Edward’s forehead.
“Try to find some peace,” she murmurs into his hairline, and the wild bronze tangles quiver with her prayer.
Jasper dipped his hands into his pockets, shoulders hunched. This is (not) happening.
“We don’t need each other anymore.”
I don’t need you.
This was always the downside of marrying a prophet; if she foretold the end, it was difficult to argue. He was left running in circles, arguing over whether the future caused the vision or the vision caused the future. It made him tired just thinking about it.
“There is such a thing as vampires outgrowing each other. And Emmett, he-“
His blonde mane shuffles as he shakes his head, hand raised for silence.
“I don’t want to hear about that. I can accept it, but that doesn’t mean I’ll ever understand.”
But even as the words leave his mouth, they’re born into lies like maggots into flies; his chest already feels lighter, his head clearer, his heart scrubbed clean.
The house trembles as if waiting for another blow. But Emmett and Rosalie’s bedroom remains hushed for hours, door shut against the world. They expect shouting and shattering, the shrill sound of Rosalie’s denial; when she emerges a sun’s turn later with her chin raised and her eyes clear no one understands.
(Not no one.)
Bella takes Rosalie’s hand, smoothes over the marble carvings of her palm. She grins.
Hoods pulled low over their faces, feet pointed toward Alaska like racing compasses, the two women leave the Cullen family behind.
Come with us, they’d said, You don’t have to be alone.
Never liked the cold, always preferred sand. Jasper tips an imaginary hat in their direction, grinning. Go on, ya hear?
They are not running away. This is not a retreat.
The forest floor does not snatch at their heels as they trickle further away from a house that was never truly home.
In a suitcase he packs three things:
A collection of button-ups, squirreled away from every hijacked shopping trip.
A vestigial pistol he’s carried with him since the war.
His favorite pair of boots.
He tenses. Eyes the leather-bound bag. Tugs on the boots and throws the rest away.
He’s done pretending.
A pair of complementary colors printed side by side can sometimes cause visual vibration, known as clashing, making them a less than desirable combination. However, separate them on the page with other colors and they can work together.
Bella pulls her legs in tight, ignoring the flurry of snowflakes around her, bunching inside the crevices of her clothes. Beside her, Rosalie laughs, terra cotta eyes dancing, and between them their hands are clasped.
Inside her, something in her chest cracks, then floods. This is what it means to be free.
Houston is different than he remembers; it seems like an obvious statement since he hasn’t stepped foot in the city for more than a century, afraid of being reminded of the magnitude of his inhumanity. Automobiles and women wearing pants and houses clustered like cattle; this is not what he’s referring to. The last time he’d had a boot planted on Texan soil, he was running away, from Maria, from the monster he’d created, from the fear he felt at the evilness he was capable of that he hadn’t wanted to believe existed. He hadn’t known it at the time, but he was also running toward Alice, toward a life that taught him the value of human life, all the while preaching the irrelevance of his own.
You are not a monster, but you must restrain your impulses as if you were one.
Your thoughts will lie.
Your head and your heart must become one.
It turns out that he hadn’t needed penance, a holy water bath of shame, or at least doesn’t require it any longer; instead he must find some medium between Maria’s ruthlessness and Alice’s naivety.
In the daylight, Jasper attends to the plants hanging from his windows, reading philosophy in an old, leather chair, and walking the length of his long, narrow ranch house, isolated by acres of roaming ground. At night, he goes into the city, listening to live music, letting the complexity of human emotion wash over him. He no longer abstains from human blood, not entirely, and he finds that walking amongst the humans of Houston is nearly effortless with his eyes tinted a light orange.
He’s not Edward, doesn’t pretend this is some moral crusade; his victims don’t deserve to die, or not deserve it for that matter. This is life, the life of an immortal, and he can accept that now without taking it for granted.
Rosalie raps her delicate-looking knuckles against the flaking paint of the door, sniffing in distaste. An eternity to spend and he can’t even pick up a damn paintbrush.
The house is neat inside, more due to the simplicity of its contents than a dedication to cleanliness. She spots Jasper by the sliding glass window, hands clasped behind his back like a general surveying the theater of battle.
Some things never change.
“Bella with you?” Rosalie has a flash of previous visits, of Jasper’s blood-slicked lips sliding against her own, Bella’s hands sharply clenched on her hips. She might have blushed if her veins weren’t hollow. This is not one of those visits.
“She stayed back in Denali with the sisters. Something about terrorizing the local village and a spa appointment. I didn’t ask.”
Jasper raises a pale eyebrow. “I’m surprised she detached from your hip long enough for a weekend apart. You sure you won’t die of shock?”
She can read the desire behind his words; she always could.
Rosalie smirks. “Jealous?”
He chuckles. “Maybe.”
The afternoon progresses much the same, the shadows stretching out longer as they settle down for the night, as they bicker and banter, almost like the siblings they once were. Could have been.
They don’t talk about how Jasper met with Alice and Emmett a month prior, though she knows he did. She doesn’t ask how it had felt to see his ex-wife’s tiny body fitting so perfectly against his brother’s hulking form. Maybe because he’s afraid of how much it hurt. Maybe because he didn’t feel anything at all.
They do talk about Carlisle and Esme, the trunk of the Cullen family tree and the only part that remains intact. Since half the children had left decidedly and the other half drifted off, Esme’s home had been cavernous, empty. But with the spring came the thunderous footfalls of a recent addition; a new brother, Lucian. Found beaten and near dead, Carlisle had turned him as he had turned her, and before her Edward, and after her Emmett. Rosalie’s met him once. She was not impressed.
There’s a recession in the swell of their conversation, the sun setting through the curtains. A rattlesnake whips his tail beneath the porch.
“Come back with us.”
Jasper scoffs, dismissive.
“This sounds awful familiar.”
“No, listen,” Rosalie leans forward in her chair, letting her hands fall gracelessly between her knees. She remembers a time when her spine had been as stiff as a steel pole and her expression just as cold. Divorce has changed her; Bella too. “We’re moving out of Denali.”
Off Jasper’s surprised expression, Rosalie angles her shoulders, not quite a shrug. “We don’t belong there anymore. Bella and I… It isn’t home for us. We’ve talked about it, and we want to find someplace that will be, someplace new. Someplace just for us. And we want you to come with us.”
Jasper considers, scratching his chin. His dubious expression clashes with her fierce one.
“This is ridiculous. You’ve proved your point, okay? You’re not a soldier anymore, not fighting anyone’s wars but your own. Move on, Jasper!”
The echo of her piercing words rings through the air like vibrations through the metal of a bell, pressing into his eardrums and rubbing the neurons in his brain together like chicken wire.
“Yeah,” he concludes softly, glaring at Rosalie’s triumphant expression. “Maybe you’re right.”
Ironically it’s immortality that teaches Bella that nothing ever really lasts.
(Her wedding ring leaves no mark because vampire skin doesn’t change and accommodate like that.)
Rosalie is no wife and Jasper is no husband, nothing so commonplace, so identifiable. A caged bird can still sing, but does it fly? She has no interest in clustering words around a set of sensations and emotions just to be able to recite its definition. She said she never wanted that with Edward, but she had being lying to herself; she was chomping at the bit to call him friend, lover, maker. The only one she’d hesitated on was husband.
Bella really does hope that he finds someone to make him happy. Maybe another human, pretty with humility and pride. Someone to whom he can apply all the lessons their failed relationship taught him. That she taught him – chalk poised, pencil ready, apple perched precariously on the edge of a desk – but too late to save them from themselves.
(Or maybe it was from each other.)
She needed to learn that she was enough to be without him. He needed to learn that he was enough to be with her. These two lessons clash, obviously, and she sometimes feels guilty that she’s the one who had her own needs fulfilled at the expense of his. But only for a little while. This is why she inhales every room at the doorway, sniffing her way toward the next her.
(Don’t call it unhealthy. The normal rules don’t apply here. Not acknowledging that fact was part of their problem.)
This is why she loves Rosalie and Jasper. Neither of them look at her like she holds all the answers to the universe between her thighs. Like she’ll unlock her knees and they’ll suddenly be whole again, finding their souls and a meaningless redemption in her white hot center and delicate moans.
As a point of fact she’s no longer warm, no longer human, and maybe that’s the biggest difference. Jasper and Rosalie don’t miss the way she used to be, with her heart like a kick-drum and her thoughts like sand; they don’t regret her change. Not like Edward.
She never had to be the voice on the other side of grate, forgiving them for all their sins. Carlisle and Esme, bless their hearts, would only ever see her as Edward’s mate, or Alice’s best friend, or a daughter to be raised in a perpetual state of adolescence. To Rosalie and Jasper, she was simply Bella.
juxtaposition of complementary colors is able to produce a strong contrast or tension, because they annihilate each other when mixed.
See, here’s the thing.
Eternity is a long time. That might appear at first glance to be an obvious statement, like saying that night is dark and ice is cold. Obviously eternity is long; it lasts for fucking forever. But there’s a true depth to it that only immortals can truly comprehend.
When human lovebirds whisper vows in plain white dresses and penguin suits, pledging forever and a day, there is an expiration date. It’s only until their foreseeable ends make themselves known and the reaper comes to claim. After that, all bets are off.
But to a vampire, it means until oblivion. Until the human race has died out or the sun finally gives a last little click, like the filament in a spent light bulb. It means that they will continue to love each other when midnight is eternal and they must feed from rats. When they can’t even remember what humanity felt like, smelt like, tasted like.
This is why vampires rarely marry: they don’t bother making promises they won’t keep.
Even the most savage are not that cruel.
(Bella had an English teacher once who picked groups in class by pitching twice-folded names into the air and evaluating the patterns in which they landed. Clustered papers were meant to be, he would say, and the room would usually fill with groans as he read them aloud.)
And that’s the thing about spider fractures: they are unpredictable and scattered, separating sections of glass like love-sick rocks on two sides of a canyon.
But when you live long enough, you begin to see that nothing is random. Coincidence is just an explanation humans give to patterns they can’t see, lessons they don’t wish to learn from. What appears as happenstance is merely looking at fate too closely, your nose pressed flush to the little events that make up a moral life time. Immortality is just another way of saying you have enough perspective to take a step back.
Everything means something, and nothing means everything.
The universe is funny that way.