"Bella!" Edward whispered in shock.

I knew it was working then, so I concentrated even harder, dredging up the specific memories I'd saved for this moment, letting them flood my mind, and hopefully his as well.

Some of the memories were not clear - dim human memories, seen through weak eyes and heard through weak ears: the first time I'd seen his face... the way it felt when he'd held me in the meadow... the sound of his voice through the darkness of my faltering consciousness when he'd saved me from James... his face as he waited under a canopy of flowers to marry me... every precious moment from the island... his cold hands touching our baby through my skin...

And the sharp memories, perfectly recalled: his face when I'd opened my eyes to my new life, to the endless dawn of immortality... that first kiss... that first night...

His lips, suddenly fierce against mine, broke my concentration.

With a gasp, I lost my grip on the struggling weight I was holding away from myself. It snapped back like stressed elastic, protecting my thoughts once again.

"Oops, lost it!" I sighed.

"I heard you," he breathed. "How? How did you do that?"

"Zafrina's idea. We practiced with it a few times."

He was dazed. He blinked twice and shook his head.

"Now you know," I said lightly, and shrugged. "No one's ever loved anyone as much as I love you."

"You're almost right." He smiled, his eyes still a little wider than usual. "I know of just one exception."


He started to kiss me again, but then stopped abruptly.

"Can you do it again?" he wondered.

I grimaced. "It's very difficult."

He waited, his expression eager.

"I can't keep it up if I'm even the slightest bit distracted," I warned him.

"I'll be good," he promised.

I pursed my lips, my eyes narrowing. Then I smiled.

I pressed my hands to his face again, hefted the shield right out of my mind, and then started in where I'd left off - with the crystal-clear memory of the first night of my new life... lingering on the details.

I laughed breathlessly when his urgent kiss interrupted my efforts again.

"Damn it," he growled, kissing hungrily down the edge of my jaw.

"We have plenty of time to work on it," I reminded him.

"Forever and forever and forever," he murmured.

"That sounds exactly right to me."

And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever.

the end