Chapter Fifty-Five: The End, Part II

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  • Dedicated to All My Readers, With LOVE!!!!

Here we are. “The End, Part II.” I started writing Evening Star on November 27, 2010, so I'm five days shy of the one year anniversary of beginning this journey. Writing Evening Star has altered my life in many ways, mostly in just showing me that I CAN WRITE FICTION—something I've told myself for years that I was incapable of doing—and that fiction writing is FUN! Entering Edward's mind through this story has been a blessed method of stress-release during a very difficult year, and you readers have kept me going!

This final chapter is dedicated to ALL MY READERS, to those who started the journey with me nearly a year ago, to those who are just now catching on, to those who have faithfully commented on almost every chapter, and to those who have been quietly reading all along. I would not have completed this story (this book really, as it's just over 140,000 words) without your encouragement and support!!! You are the reason I kept writing when I was too tired, in too much pain, was too sick. You inspire me!!!!

And, above all, I dedicate this final chapter to ThatNataliaGirl: my steadiest fan, my head cheerleader, and my sounding board. You rock, chica!!! (Read her stories—they're amazing!!) Love you, my friend!!!! :) :) :)

Chapter Fifty-Six: The End, Part II

Bella arrived home after work, calling my name and Charlie's, her voice tight with anxiety. But I remained remote all evening, trying to ignore Bella's panic attack in the kitchen after she noted my emotional distance. Grateful that Jasper wasn't present to tell me what Bella was feeling, I forced myself to remain stoic, steeling myself to disregard Bella's rapid heart rate and near-hyperventilation, then her strange photo safari, snapping pictures of the house, Charlie, and myself.

What was she thinking? That I would take her with me?

Hell, Bella was still hoping.

And I despised myself for what I was going to do to her.

But it was for the best—her best. My absence would mean that she would live a long and happy life, and as much as my dead heart felt pummeled by the mere thought of leaving her, I wanted that long, happy life for her beyond all else.

But I couldn't handle Bella's panic on top of my own searing agony. Charlie, however, remained completely and blissfully clueless.

But that won't last long...not long after I leave, anyway.

Rising to my feet, I spoke quietly, “I'd better get home.” Bella scrambled awkwardly from the floor, her limbs stiff from sitting so long beside the armchair after Charlie had snapped a decidedly awkward photo of us.

As I walked to my Volvo, Bella on my heels, I realized that I would have to remove the film from her camera. I didn't want to leave behind any physical reminders to torture herself over. I needed to fade to merely a bad dream in her weak human memories...and physical remembrances would only slow the process.

As I opened the Volvo's door, Bella caught up with me. “Will you stay?” she asked hopelessly. She seemed to expect my response; at least, she didn't ask for a reason when I replied shortly, “Not tonight.”

Without a kiss goodnight or even a touch, I drove away, cringing as I watched her forlorn figure, drenched in the falling rain, grow smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror as she pensively watched my car disappear around the corner.

Part of me worried that she would get a chill from standing in the rain like that—her white face blank with panic against her dark, soaked hair. And part of me resolved not to feel anything.

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