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I'd never given much thought to how I would die — though I'd had reason enough in the last few months— but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

This was nothing like the accident I imagined. Accidentally stepping in front of a car, accidentally swallowing my tongue, accidentally slipping on a bed of ice.

Accidentally hunted by a bloodthirsty, tracker vampire was not on my list of possible ways to die.

I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me.

Before I could blink, his tall frame obscured my view of the studio, blocking the array of floor-to-ceiling mirrors. I would not watch my death.

James leaned in, his curiosity growing as he took a step closer, listening to my heart pumping faster, gushing with the blood he craved. Urging me to press against the mirror behind my back, he breathed in the scent of my neck, taking in a quick breath--a sampling of what was to come.

The danger I felt now was nothing like the fear I felt when I when I met Edward. This danger took the idea of eternity and crushed it with bare hands. Edward, somewhere searching for me, not knowing our forever was ending as he called my name. Forever ending at the will of a rampant feeder, a monster nothing like the clever family on my trail.

I was wrong--I could not save myself, but I could not be saved by anyone else. If Edward's family burst through the double doors, I would beg for a quick death because I knew he would be unstoppable, that James' hunt would come to a close only if my life did. The sacrifice of my life to protect the Cullens would be my last offering to this world.

I focused on my mother’s voice muffled by closed doors, repeating, calling my name for the help I would never give her. Maybe James wasn't lying, maybe he would leave my mother alone, maybe that single generosity wasn't lost to him. I could no longer hope for this happy ending if I wanted to be reasonable. I became weaker at each call, my life minutes closer to ending and my mother's, too.

Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.

But only if she lived. There is nothing noble about a wasted death and everything shameful about two.

I knew that if I'd never gone to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn't bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.

The hunter smiled in a friendly way as he sauntered forward to kill me.