We chose to be married on December 31, 1921. We thought it the best way to end out what, for me, had been a bad year. Edward stood as witness with us at the Justice of the Peace, the JP’s wife as our second. I carried purple orchids and wore a short dress, not quite a flappers dress but in a similar fashion, with lace accents. I wish I could tell you what Carlisle wore, but I was so entranced by the happiness on his face I don’t remember. There were no pictures of him, just one pose of me, as was the style of the time.

 

We stayed in the Ashland area, polite with our neighbors and the people of the town, but we never allowed anyone to get too close. I still had to fight at times with the craving for human blood, the fact I had tasted it once making it harder for me to ignore. Carlisle took pains to watch my eyes and at the first hint of darkening, he would whisk me off for a hunt.  I felt some remorse at killing off these beautiful wild creatures, but knew that it was the lesser of two evils. I spent a lot of time watching the creatures that lived with us in the woods, and learned which ones were younger, and avoided them when we hunted, and the mothers with young at their side, giving them a chance to live and reproduce to make up for those we took.

 

I spent the time Carlisle was working trying to decide what I wanted to do. I wandered around the town, and some of the others nearby, looking at the homes, finding myself fascinated with the structures. Edward got me books on architecture and soon I was completely engrossed in learning everything I could, from the ancient Greeks to the modern architects.

 

With the architecture came an appreciation for interior design and decorating. As I delved further into that, I found a love of antiques and restoring pieces. The time passed so fast when I became engrossed in a project that I didn’t have the time to miss Carlisle. He would be home before I realized it. Carlisle was courteous enough to bathe before he came to find me when he came home, since I could often smell the human blood on him.

 

Our days passed into weeks, months and soon our first anniversary came. Second, third, fourth, and every year was like our first, but also as comfortable as if we had been married forever. As each year passed, the pain for my lost son lessened some. Edward became the surrogate. Carlisle had turned him at 17, so he was just shy of what society considered a man, and yet was older than others. In some ways, he still needed a mother, and I tried to fill that void for him. I could feel him pulling away from us, though, and in 1927, he announced he was going to try to make it on his own. I felt the pain in my heart again, the pain of loss, for Edward had truly become my son. It was a good thing I couldn’t cry, because I don’t know if I would have been able to stop.

 

Carlisle took a short sabbatical from the hospital, and stayed with me. I struggled for the first month. Realizing how selfish I was being, I rallied and pulled myself together, taking on some restoration projects, throwing myself into the work. When I first started to make some money for my labors of love, I found myself excited at having a way to contribute to the house. My work was praised and word of mouth brought me more to do.

Carlisle and I took day trips to find pieces to restore and resell, and to look into the architecture of the region. We attended the opera and symphony when it was available and spent time reading and planning for a trip overseas.  I tried to express an interest to go to Italy, but Carlisle was most vehement in his objection. He preferred to stay out of the presence of the Volturi for the time being. Instead we planned to visit his friend Alistair in the English country side. We left for Alistair’s cottage in June, 1931 and returned home the last week of July. When we returned to our own home, we found a surprise waiting for us.

 

Edward had returned.

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