This is it guys! Officially the end. I will be marking this story as complete once I post this. Such a huge moment for me! This part is significantly shorter than the previous one, but I didn't think it needed to be drawn out. I hope you enjoy! I'll see you all at the bottom.
EPILOGUE (PART II)
"Which car are we taking?" Anthony called on his way out the door, his Superman backpack slung over only one shoulder. Today was his first day of third grade, and he had no qualms about carrying around a character bag still.
Anthony was our only boy, and he was essentially a photocopy of his father. Same facial structure, same bright green eyes, same unruly, bronze hair, same lanky height. At eight, he was already a head above all his other classmates, even the girls, which was rare at this age. He was very outgoing and didn't really bother to try to conform to what anyone else did. He had a troupe of friends that seemed to always be over at our house, but they were sweet kids, so I didn't mind. His personality reminded me a lot of Emmett, but I think that was from hanging out with him and his kids more than a genetic thing.
"We're taking the truck; we're all driving together today," I replied, ushering my second youngest, Lillian, out the door. She was not as excited as her little brother for her first day of sixth grade. She had expressed her dread for all things middle school since the summer started, and now she was quite sullen that the time was actually here.
Out of all our kids, Lillian was the only one to inherit the platinum blonde hair that her grandfather had. (I say had, because Carlisle has since gone grey, something he's not very happy about.) She also got the delicate features that Edward's parents possess, so she's looked like a little angel all her life. She even has Carlisle's baby blues.
"You said I could drive myself!" Carlie huffed. She had turned into quite the teenager. I was hoping that since she just turned seventeen, she'd have grown out of all her whining and complaining, but there was no such luck. I loved the girl, but she was usually at the top of the list of 'Kids with which I Have a Bone to Pick.' I don't quite remember being as bad when I was her age, but I'm sure my parents would like to disagree.
"You were an implied exception," I told her. I tried not to roll my eyes as she was looking at me, but I wasn't sure that I was too successful.
She grinned at me, her father's brilliant green eyes lighting up immediately. She brushed her same bronze-colored locks over her shoulder as she hauled on her book bag. She gave me a kiss on the cheek as she walked through the door.
"Have a good day," I told her. "And say goodbye to your dad!"
"He's in the garage waiting by my car," she threw back over her shoulder. "I think he's making sure I don't escape without saying bye."
"You might wanna pull your shirt up before you get there, then. He's gonna have a fit if he sees what you're wearing."
She wasn't facing me, but I knew there was an eye roll projected towards her father. They had been having that argument since she was about thirteen. Much to Edward's chagrin, Carlie had acquired all of my assets, and she had developed rather early compared to other girls her age. Shirts that were once okay, suddenly showed too much cleavage, and shorts hugged too closely to her skin. It didn't help that she was tall like her dad, so shorts were never long enough for his tastes. It was a constant battle in our house, but I could usually talk Edward down from the edge.
My second oldest, Charlotte, saddled up beside me and watched as her sister walked away, disappearing into the garage with her father. She was starting her freshman year of high school, but she had declined being driven to school by her sister, claiming that she didn't want to get in the way or bother her. I knew the real reason was because she had a crush on Carlie's best friend, Peter, and he was being picked up by Carlie on the way to school. Peter had been driving Carlie around for the last year, but Edward and I had gotten our daughter a car for her birthday, so she wanted to show it off a little. Charlotte hid out in her room whenever Peter came around, but she couldn't avoid him when he stayed for dinner. Then she was all blushing and stuttering, a trait that I was sorry to pass onto my child.
Charlotte was too much like me for her own good. Her long mahogany hair and big brown eyes were an exact copy of mine, and she could probably blush on cue if she really tried. She was a little shy, but so was I when I was her age. I didn't really come into my own until college, but I hoped she'd come out of her shell a little earlier than that. She was beautiful and sweet and so kind. She was quite intimidated by social situations, though, and her crush on Peter was always hidden away. She'd blush and shut down whenever he spoke to her. I think she was under the impression that Carlie and Peter were actually together, and so she stayed far away from him.
"Please don't suddenly become a whiner now that you're in high school," I begged her.
She laughed and wrapped an arm around my waist. "I can't promise anything, but I'll try."
"That's all I ask." I placed a kiss of her head before pushing the both of us out of the doorway. I locked the door behind us and made my way to the car, where both Anthony and Lillian were already buckled into the captain seats of the truck. The middle and elementary schools were on the same campus, so they would get dropped off first, leaving Charlotte in the back, since the high school was closer to the hospital. Charlotte hopped in and squeezed between the two seats in the middle to settle herself into the back row. I tossed my bag onto the passenger seat and waited for my husband and oldest daughter to get a move on.
I could see Edward and Carlie in the garage, standing by the front door of her new baby. We had gotten her a two door Mustang. Carlie appreciated classic cars and loved the thing to death. Edward had made a final decision based on the space of the backseat. He didn't want to give Carlie anywhere to possibly have sex, so the Mustang it was. I had it on good authority that our oldest was still a virgin, but Edward was wary. It was his Daddy duty to prevent sex at all costs, much to Carlie's discomfort. The sex talk during her sophomore year was basically a drilling by Edward for her not to have sex until she was married, which kind of pissed her off. I had to go in and amend it with actual useful information, much to my husband's dismay. I was just being realistic, though.
I waited until they had hugged and Edward closed the door behind her to get myself in the car. Edward slid in a moment later and started the car, but waited until Carlie had backed down the driveway to pull our car out.
"When did she get so grown up?" he huffed as he made his way down the street and out of our neighborhood.
I just chuckled and grasped his free hand over the center consul. His thumb rubbed back and forth over my knuckles, like he always did. I couldn't help but smile over at him. He caught me looking out of the corner of his eye and flashed me a little grin.
Forty-six years old and the man still looked as good as he did the day we met. He had a few new wrinkles at the corners of his eyes, and there was a smattering of grey hair right at his temples, but those were about the only things that gave away his age. He had been blessed with amazing genes, and he was still as handsome as ever. And his age had somehow not diminished his libido, which was all I really cared about in that moment. He looked too good in his button up, grey tie, and black slacks. This was his normal attire to work now, with the lab coat thrown over it once we actually got there.
I had dropped the 'no sex at the hospital' rule when I was pregnant with Charlotte, and it was one of the best decisions I'd ever made. By that time, the majority of my time was spent at the hospital, since I was in the middle of my residency, and I had to relieve stress somehow. Edward was more than happy to hop on board that decision, and we had never gone back. I had a feeling we'd be making a trip to an on-call room later in the day.
Edward and I had decided to move back to the Pacific Northwest when I was done with my residency. We loved D.C., but we wanted to raise our kids where we had grown up, and we were both missing having family and friends around all the time. All our friends had had kids and we wanted them to be able to grow up together. So, when it was time to apply to places to become a fellow, hospitals in Seattle and Portland were definitely on my list. I was offered positions as a trauma fellow in both cities, but I ended up deciding on Seattle, since everyone had moved there, and Edward got a job offer there, as well. So, when Carlie was five and Charlotte was two, we packed up and moved back across the country and were able to find a home only a few blocks from Carlisle and Esme.
So, on this unusually warm Saturday afternoon, there was not a cloud in the sky and it was actually in the mid-eighties. We had all of our friends and family over for a barbecue, which was pretty common practice for us now that we were all together. My parents had retired a few years ago and moved to Bellevue, so they were only a short drive away from the community that the rest of us lived in.
Rosalie was now a well-known and extremely successful defense attorney on criminal cases. Emmett was the lead engineer for Boeing, who had a branch in the Seattle area. They had three kids: Henry, Jaclyn, and Thomas.
Henry was a year older than Carlie, and he was attending Northwestern in just a few weeks, so this was the last time that we'd all really be together before he left. Carlie and him had always been really close since we moved back, and both Rose and I were convinced that they'd get married one day. They were always adorable together, and I knew Carlie had a weakness for his dark curls and deep dimples. Emmett always said his oldest would be a lady-killer, but Henry had never had a girlfriend and focused more on his schoolwork, which had obviously paid off.
Jaclyn was the same age as Charlotte, and they actually were very close. Jaclyn was over most weekends, even if her parents weren't. The two hadn't really got along when they were really little, but by the fourth grade, they were attached at the hip. Jaclyn's appearance was basically the polar opposite of Charlotte's, with her long, golden hair and bright blue eyes, just like her mother. Emmett wasn't to happy about her starting high school, but now he knew how Edward felt.
Thomas was much younger than his siblings. He was actually two years younger than Anthony, but the boys got along well. Anthony was always sure to include him with whatever he was doing and play with him nicely when Thomas asked. I knew that Anthony would make a great big brother, but Edward and I had agreed that four was enough once we finally had a boy.
Alice had become quite a successful clothing designer for Ralph Lauren, and she was able to work from home and stay home with her kids, while Jasper worked during the day. Jasper was a business administrator for a large company that owned many smaller companies of varying types, and was pretty successful. They both made quite a bit of money, which was good because they had kept popping out babies after the rest of us had called it quits.
Kian, their oldest, was just starting his final year of college, so he was already away at UCLA for the semester. He had skipped a year in high school, because he was a little brainiac. He was currently studying biology, and he planned on going to medical school in order to become a neurologist.
Johanna was two years younger than her brother, and she had just started her first year at Washington State, so she still lived at home, which her mother appreciated. She got along well with Carlie and Henry. She also had a long time girlfriend, Kayley, who everyone loved, and they were going to college together. They had been friends since elementary school, but once their sophomore year of high school came around, they began dating, and Alice was ecstatic, because Kayley was the best person she could think to be with her daughter.
They had waited a few more years between Johanna and her younger sister, Maggie, who was now in the eighth grade. She was over at our house a lot too, to hang out with Charlotte. They didn't seem to mind the small age difference, even though Charlotte was now in high school. They'd grown up together, and they didn't seem to notice the year apart.
By some weird happenstance, Alice got pregnant with twins two years after Lillian was born. Twins didn't run in either of their family's so everyone was a little confused, but Alice just took it in stride. Some idiot at my hospital that examined Alice during her pregnancy assumed she must have cheated on Jasper. When those two little boys came out, though, there was no doubt that they were their father's sons. Jeremy and Jason were the spitting image of their father, and even at ten years old, they had the same shaggy hair cut, all a crazy dirty-blond mess.
Alice and Jasper had meant to be done once the twins were born, but fate had other plans. Just four years ago, Alice had gotten pregnant again and popped out the sweetest little girl I had ever met. Faith was only three now, but she had her mother's heart and her father's calm temperament. My kids had all been hellions when they were toddlers, and so had everyone else's kids, but Faith was like this little perfect angel who never cried, never threw tantrums, and had a smile that could acquit her of murder.
Angela and Ben were with us that afternoon, too. After my godson, Benji, was born, they decided to try for another baby after a few years. In my second year of med school, Angela gave birth to Kara. Benji was now twenty-one, and Kara was eighteen. They were both attending PSU, so they were headed out to Portland after this weekend. Both kids called me Aunt Bella, which I didn't think I'd ever hear in my life. Well, Benji called me Aunt Belly for the first four years that he could speak, but he grew out of that once he had hit first grade.
"How are you doing, Bells?" my dad asked, sitting on the bench next to me. We were in the backyard, Jasper, Em, and Edward at the grill and everyone else kind of milling around. The younger kids were playing on the jungle gym that was in our yard, and the older ones were gathered under the shade of some of our big oak trees.
"I'm pretty good, Dad. Enjoying us all being together," I smiled.
I really did love to look around and see how far we'd come. It felt like just yesterday that I had met Edward in the club. He was such a mystery back then; just the man that came in almost every weekend, tipping me much more than any person ever had before. His eyes had drawn me in and his kind personality had kept me around. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that one day that he decided to come into the club. Everyone else would be doing pretty much the same, but who knows how my life would have been different.
It may have started out strangely, but we made all the right moves, and Edward and I had ended up here-content with our four wonderful kids, our amazing jobs, and each other. We had our fights just like any couple, but we always went to bed knowing that we were each other's rocks, and we'd always be okay. Twenty years of marriage, and I still loved him more and more each day.
"All you kids have done pretty well for yourselves," he said, his mustache twitching with his smile. My dad was in his sixties, but that mustache never changed. And it was still miraculously dark, even though the hair on his head was almost completely grey. Hopefully, his graceful aging was genetic, because I would not be upset if I looked as good as he did in twenty years time.
"We're all happy," I commented. "I think that's all anyone really wants. We've all got great jobs, great homes, great kids, great friends, great parents. It's all worked out."
Charlie wrapped an arm around my shoulders and tugged me into his side. He placed a kiss on the side of my head. Signs of affection were still a rarity from him, and any little thing he did always warmed my heart.
"I'm happy for you, kid."
At that moment, Edward looked over at us from his spot at the grill with the other guys. He caught my eyes and smiled at me, throwing in a little wink that made those damn flutters start up in my stomach. I grinned back at him. I still felt like that same twenty year old girl that I was when we first met whenever I looked at him. The amazement of winding up with such a wonderful guy never really faded. I didn't think it ever would.
AHHH! It's over! I loved these guys so much and it's all over. It was fun writing this, and I will be doing the requested outtakes, but we are officially done. This was great, and I liked it, but I know I can do better, and hopefully that will be evident as I get further along in Anything Could Happen.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed, favorited and followed this story and me along the way. I appreciated each and every one of you. I love you all so much. I hope you liked this journey just as much as I did. I hope you'll keep liking my material. I'm already in the process of posting a new story, so go check that out over on my profile, if you are so inclined :) And there are so many ideas floating around in my head, you will see a lot of me in the future.
Until next, time, lovelies!