Author: MandyLeigh87 PM
They say wild horses should run unbridled or the spirit dies. They weren't meant to be contained. Neither was I. Sometimes you have to go back to who you were to find your place. All it took was one summer. And one smile from a boy I used to know. BxERated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 26 - Words: 29,508 - Reviews: 1,315 - Favs: 723 - Follows: 424 - Updated: 01-10-12 - Published: 12-27-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7680652
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Jenna Elizabeth Crandell."
I elbowed my dad sitting in the seat next to me and told him to get his camera ready. "He's next," I whispered. I shot up out of my seat and peered over the crowd in front of me trying to see him.
"Edward Anthony Cullen."
I screamed and clapped my hands as Edward crossed the small stage, the tassel on his hat swinging as he walked.
"Dad! Are you getting it?" I smiled over at Charlie, who was snapping away with his camera.
"Bells, I can only take so many pictures. I went a little overboard at your graduation." He shrugged.
"That was six months ago." I laughed. "Why haven't we gotten those developed yet?"
"I guess we've been a little busy, you know." He raised his eyebrows and sat back down as Edward stepped off stage.
"I guess so." I sat impatiently for the rest of the ceremony, anxious to get to Edward.
"I present to you the Veterinary Science Class of 2012. Congratulations Graduates!" The Dean said.
Charlie and I stood up once again and clapped for them. I glanced over at Nana, who was sitting beside Charlie looking proud as ever. I leaned over and kissed her cheek.
"I wish Pop could have seen this," I whispered.
"Me too honey. Although he probably would have complained about having to sit still for this long." She smiled and glanced back up at Edward, looking like a proud Grandma.
Once the ceremony was finished, we hurried to the front to find Edward. I spotted him and threw myself into his arms.
"Congratulations, honey!" I said.
"Thank you." He kissed me and cleared his throat, looking a little embarrassed that he'd done it in front of Charlie and Nana. I always make fun of him for his modesty. It's not like they don't know we kiss.
"Congratulations, Edward." Charlie shook Edward's hand. "It'll be nice to have a real, certified vet on the ranch."
"Aw thanks, Charlie." Edward smiled as I grabbed his hand. He was a vet. And I was a veterinary assistant. Life couldn't have been more perfect.
Back when I decided to take a break and step away from the idea of college, I had no idea it would end up this way. When I finally started considering going back, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to do what I did every day on the ranch. I wanted to work with the horses. I wanted to work with Edward.
The day my acceptance letter arrived, I was surprised to find two large envelopes in the mailbox. One addressed to me and one to Edward. When I asked him about it, he was almost speechless, muttering something about applying on a whim. He didn't think he was going to get in. And now here he was, graduating at the top of his class.
We had a plan, you see. We'd stay on the ranch mostly; probably take over when Charlie retires. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. With anyone else.
In the mean time, we'd travel around the area as a team. Looking after and training horses. It was our passion. Our life. And now we got to share it with the world.
We decided to have a small party back at the ranch to celebrate Edward's graduation. Nana made some delicious food and Charlie was more than happy to provide the moonshine. Emmett and Rose drove out from their place. After she got pregnant, Emmett moved out of the cabin and bought them a small house on the other side of town. Jasper wasn't too far behind, proposing to Alice the year before she graduated from college. They lived down in Texas, but visited a lot. It still wasn't enough. I missed them.
Charlie made me keep my room in the house, but he knew I didn't stay in it much. My things were scattered all over Edward's cabin. Shirts, socks, makeup. It was our place. And Edward took care of me better than anyone ever had.
"I'll be right back," Edward mumbled, heading towards the cabin. I imagined he wanted to get out of his fancy clothes and into a pair of jeans. I smirked and slipped from the crowd to follow him.
I pushed open the door of the cabin and stepped inside. Edward was just pulling up his jeans, still searching for a t-shirt.
"Hey Doctor," I murmured. I stepped behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah." He placed his hands over mine and nodded.
"I'm really proud of you." I kissed his bare back and rested my forehead against him.
"Thank you." He looked over his shoulder and smirked. I released him and leaned down to grab a shirt off the clean stack of laundry.
"Here." I tossed it over to him. As he pulled it over his head, I glanced at our nightstand in the background and smiled. My dandelion ring rested on top of it, no longer yellow and bright.
"Still like your ring?" Edward teased.
"It's beautiful." I nodded.
"What would you say if I got you a new one?" He asked.
"I don't know, Edward. Last time it turned my finger all yellow from the pollen." I shrugged.
He cleared his throat and lowered himself to the floor, resting on one knee. He turned around and reached into the drawer of the nightstand, producing a small, black box. My breath hitched in my throat when he snapped it open. Inside was a perfectly modest, perfectly beautiful, perfectly perfect diamond ring.
"I reckon it was time to get you the real thing. I mean we have been engaged for twenty years." He licked his lips and turned his eyes to mine. "Will you marry me…I mean for real?"
"For real?" I whispered, my voice breaking.
"For real, forever."
I knelt down beside him and took his face in my hands. "For real, forever." I nodded. "Yes."
He smiled and pressed his lips to mine, kissing me softly. "I love you."
"I love you too," I said. A few tears escaped from my eyes as he slipped the ring onto my finger.
"Well, let's go celebrate." He stood up, pulling me with him.
"Go for a walk with me first?"
As soon as we stepped outside, I pulled him towards the stables. Part of me almost wished we'd see Lightning again. We'd come out here more than once and found her just standing in her old stall, door wide open. And the next day she'd be gone. Coming and going as she pleased, never whining for attention, just appreciating what we gave her. She stopped coming about a year ago and we haven't seen her since.
Edward won't talk about her because I think deep down he knows that she's gone. I choose to believe differently. In my head, she's running free. Galloping down the shore of the closest lake. Grazing in the open pasture. Happy. Independent. Loved. Stunning as ever and alive.
We took a mostly silent walk around the stables, grasping onto each other as we started back towards the house. Charlie's loud laughter echoed towards us and I smiled, seeing how happy he has been.
Mom understood, me staying out here. She said she was lucky enough to have me for all those years and she had to learn how to share. Her and Phil visited just before they got married and I even got her on a horse.
"Ready to tell them?" Edward nudged me.
Everyone turned towards us as we approached, their eyes bright and expectant.
"So did you do it yet?" Emmett asked.
Charlie glared at him.
"We did it!" I said, squeezing Edward's hand. I thought I saw Charlie's face turn purple. Edward quickly scrambled to raise my left hand.
"We're engaged!" He yelled.
Charlie let out a sign of relief and came over to congratulate us. "It's about damn time we had a wedding around here."
Nana called us over and told us to eat up because the food was getting cold. Edward sat down next to me and rested his hand on my leg. I turned my head towards him and bit down on my lip as a smile spread across my face. This was it. Where I was supposed to be.
Sometimes you have to go back to who you were to find your place in the world. All it took was one summer. And one smile from a boy I used to know.
A/N: And that's all she wrote. As in me. I hope you enjoyed this story, I always have a hard time with epi chapters because the last thing I want to do is simply list off every single thing that happened to them or just do a wedding. Just not my style. So instead, I just did what I felt was them. And I think in the end it was.
Again, I can't thank you enough for reading and supporting this story. I was so happy to experience this with you. And another big, huge thank you to TLS for including me on their Fic of the Week Poll and to the readers for voting Wild Horses as one of the top stories. Cejsmom Twifan will be writing up a review for TLS so make sure you check that out later this week. EvilNat was kind enough to make a banner to go along with the review and you don't want to miss that. It's beautiful.