Bella Swan died in the spring, in that clearing full of wildflowers. It was, as promised, a quick death with as little pain as possible.
She’d been a shell since he’d left, what did it matter if she were made into a ghost instead?
Needless to say, Bella was surprised when she woke up after being killed.
And she wasn’t in any place that looked like Heaven or Hell or even Limbo, not in the traditional sense anyway.
She was standing over her own body laid out on a morgue slab. The whole world around her was hazy, like a thick fog had rolled in, and it was cold too. Everything felt far away from her then, but that wasn’t exactly new. She’d been far out since Edward and the Cullens had run away from Forks following the birthday party debacle.
She watched over the entire process her body went through from the time she woke up to the moment her funeral ended and she was left alone to passively haunt her grave.
She saw so many tears during that week leading up to her funeral. She felt bad about Renee’s, but Charlie’s were probably the worst, if only because Charlie was more like her and didn’t have much to distract himself from the grief.
Fittingly enough, it was raining hard on the day of her funeral. The gathered crowd sat through the funeral service in one of the tiny churches that serviced Forks and then had to step out into the miserable weather to deliver her body to its final resting place.
It felt right in a way, that they had to confront the worst of what Forks had to offer in order to start letting her go.
She walked at Charlie’s right while he helped carry her coffin to the grave. He had tears running down his face, though it was impossible to tell. He’d gotten his daughter back only to lose her completely. He was full of some inarticulable grief that Bella could just barely sense through the fog that filled her world. She wished she could take it away from him.
In the end her funeral was appropriately depressing; it was unseasonably cold and wet and after the mourners left to have lunch at the Swan residence, Bella was left alone at her own grave.
For a week or so, Bella watched people come to sit or stand or talk to her grave. She listened to people awkwardly admit that they regretted not knowing her better than they did. (Bella was grateful that Jessica didn’t bother to degrade both of them by putting on that show.)
Charlie came every day. And everyday he left with tears running down his face. He tried talking to her, but the fact that he was unknowingly spilling his guts to the ghost of his daughter didn’t make him any better at emotions than he’d been before Bella died.
Still Bella stood there with Charlie and she listened.
He tried so hard to articulate his regrets and the sorrow they brought. He wanted so badly for her to understand that he was sorry. He’d been so happy to have Bella in Forks, but now, having seen the outcome of that event, wished she’d never come back. And he was sorry that they didn’t do more together while she was alive. And that he couldn’t drag her out of her depression after Edward. He was sorry that she’d been so sad when she died.
It took Bella a month to realize she could be places where her body wasn’t. There was a slight pull that kept her within a certain distance of her body. She’d gone with it as long as she’d been dead, but one day she found herself missing her room.
And for half a second, she was there.
It took time and more error than trial to begin to figure out how that’d happen. But eventually she figured out that, if she concentrated on a place long enough, she could be there for a bit. She took to visiting the Swan house whenever she could to escape the graveyards for the smallest of times.
Then, she found out that she could go to people too.
Of course, she had to find that out when she was fixating on Edward.
Between one second and the next, she was standing in the corner of a new but familiar room looking at Edward Cullen.
She tried to let him go, she really did.
Some nights when she laid upon the earth she was entombed in, she would think of him just enough to hear him playing the piano across the world.
And she wished that was all she did.
Even so, she found herself shuttering into existence at the edge of wherever he was for weeks. She listened to slivers of conversations and measures of piano as she tried to haunt him as quietly as possible.