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Why Do You Sparkle? (A Conversation Between Death & A Vampire)
His angular cheekbones, straight nose, and impeccably chiseled facial features would seem intimidating to any mere mortal. Or maybe they’d just be considered perfect, but I see no reason to fear him, nor become attracted to him. He sits, his back facing me, as he clips the thorns off a bushel of roses. There must be thousands of roses there, and I’m certain I know to whom they will be delivered.
“Isabella is a terrible fool, don’t you agree? Stumbling and flailing about...”
“Death,” he greets me, his back still turned, jaw still set. “And so we meet again.” Because he refuses to face me, I pace the room, trailing my fingers along the dust-free bookshelves.
I smile, my hand stopping at the base of the bed that really shouldn’t be in the room of a man who never sleeps. “Many years I have heard that same line, and I must say, I find it amusing every time.”
“Why do you come to me? Do you not understand that I cannot die?”
“I understand very clearly,” I say, “but I thoroughly enjoy your company.”
He laughs, his voice lacking mirth, “And you expect me to believe this visit is for your sheer enjoyment. So that you might bask in the joy of my company?”
I cluck my tongue. “Tsk, Mr. Cullen. You know better than to pride yourself.”
He throws a thorn over his shoulder and I catch it between my forefinger and thumb, examining it closely.
“For a child with a last name like ‘Swan,’ she is rather ungraceful, don’t you think?” I gaze out the large glass wall at the tall, damp trees. “Funny how she would attract the attention of a vampire.”
“She didn’t attract my attention. I attracted hers,” he says quietly.
“Come now, Mr. Cullen. You and I both know that you are both attracted to each other. Very equally, too. It’s ironic, really, how she and you find each other so appealing, and yet, you could kill her and your family with one bite. That werewolf friend of hers is much less of a threat.”
I watch as his jaw slowly clenches and his eyes become a deeper shade of black.
My knees bend as I take a seat on the floor beside him.
I cast a sideways glance in his direction. “Why do you sparkle?”
“I beg your pardon?” his eyes waver for a second, then drop to the rose in his hands, as he continues his work.
“Surely, it must be common question. I mean, every vampire I have ever known burns in the sunlight. Granted, that’s how they die. They burn up into dust right on the spot. Dead before they can learn from their mistakes. But you,” I pluck the rose from his hand and it wilts into a black, drooping mess at my touch, “you step into the light and sparkle like the brightest of diamonds. You and your whole family.”
“Ah,” he says, quickly getting to his feet, “so this is why you visit me. To mock my family? Or perhaps it is your frustration. Yes, that’s it.” He begins to pace the room, continuing to pluck the roses. “You’ve spent many years trying to recruit our souls, but we just won’t die. We can’t. Unless we’re torn apart and burned, but you can’t force us to die, now can you? We’ve made no mistakes, because the sunlight doesn’t burn us. We’re just too careful for you. Allow me to let you in on a little secret: we have no souls, so why don’t you give up?”
“Is that so? No souls?” I chuckle. “Well, that is deeply upsetting, because I’d like you to know that you do have a soul. You just don’t know it’s there. I can still collect them. Because you have no pulse, you believe you have no life? Nonsense. You go off on a rant about how much you despise your life, and here I am, simply wondering why you sparkle.” I shake my head.
“I’m not quite sure why I sparkle, nor do I care. It is my curse.”
“You feel cursed because you sparkle in the sun? I feel sorry for you. Other vampires must find you such a priss. A vampire afraid to get his hands dirty. Tell me, are you bullied by the other clans? Called weak?”
His hand reaches my throat in a split second, and I am suddenly between the wall and Edward’s cold, irritated face. “Oh, vampire speed and strength,” I laugh. “Very impressive, but I’m afraid you can’t kill Death.”
“Death can’t die,” he says in a singsong voice. “Clever, but not your best.”
I shrug. “I make do with what I have.”
He seems surprised when I dissipate and reappear behind him.
“So, does it bother you that your charm and sparkling abilities attract women like a star? Oh!” I say, seeing the connection. “Sparkling. Star. It’s perfect!”
His eyes darken.
“Is Miss Swan under your spell, or is she attracted to you of her own accord?”
“Leave Bella out of this,” he growls. “I would appreciate it if you would leave.”
“So it does upset you? The fact that your monster side draws women in and affects them the way a heavy drug would, I mean?”
“I am a monster with a curse, and I spend every minute of my life trying to understand why I must live like this, why Carlisle thought that this life would be better than death. It hurts me to know that I’m a threat to the love of my life. It picks away at my insides and tortures me, but I can’t die. And it will never happen.”
“Are you saying you wish to die?”
His eyes squint closed for a moment, and he squeezes the bridge of his nose. “I am saying nothing of the sort. What I am saying is that I would do anything to keep Bella safe and happy.”
“You’re not like most vampires. You sparkle and glisten, while others burn. You love, while others truly have no souls. Garlic, crosses, wooden stakes have no effect on you, and yet they are lethal to others. So why do you find yourself cursed? Why must you worry about the life of your loved one? Don’t you see why I am here? I am here to make you appreciate all that you have, but the more I stand and watch your shaking hands rip apart those bloody roses, the more I realize that you will never learn to truly understand how lucky you are.”
My cloak billows out, the wind catches my hair, and I am gone...or at least, out of his sight for now. He cannot see me, but I sit above him and watch as he continues to pick the roses in loneliness. His hands slip up once or twice, but he never bleeds.
The glistening vampire just sits and plucks in the moonlight, taking that extra time-consuming step to ensure that his lover doesn’t risk harm. He ponders death and life, and every word I said. Perhaps one day he’ll understand it, but for now he remains in the dark. Sitting. Plucking. Waiting.