A/N: Some people say, that a ridiculously long epilogue is a sign that the author is unable to let go of their fictional world.
On we go!
I have never owned these characters but, well, you know.
2.5 Years Later
"It should be you, not Ines, standing with me." Rosalie grumbled, as though my sister was not sitting a few feet away. She had an ornate lace veil pinned under the tiara in her hair, and her dress was so near the line of too risqué that its only saving grace was that a future Queen was wearing it. I held in a laugh, and gently patted my stomach.
"Yes, well the British royal decorum forbids it, and to be honest I hardly want to stand for hours right now."
"You're barely pregnant. You still have four months left." Rosalie rolled her eyes, and I held back a laugh.
"Five months is the majority of the pregnancy, Rosalie. You should just be glad that her morning sickness has passed, or she would probably have to sit with a discreet bucket." Alice chimed in, laughing freely.
"Rosalie, do you have any more photos you'd like to take before we start allowing guests out to the courtyard?"
"Not at the moment, no." I answered the photographer, as Rosalie peered in the mirror and once again adjusted her tiara.
Over three years of friendship with Rosalie had taught me her tells more than anything else. She never fidgeted; fidgeting meant nerves, but I had no idea what she was nervous about. Between Emmett, my mother, Rosalie's mother, and the team of three wedding planners orchestrating this event – Rosalie only had to speak and her wedding dreams were brought to life.
Unlike me and Edward, or Ines and Jacob, Emmett and Rosalie had taken a full year to plan their wedding to be the height of both French and Italian spectacle. Their wedding colors were jewel tones that complimented both of their coloring, which meant all of the jewelry, place settings, and décor for their wedding used actual gemstones from both royal treasuries and were estimated to be worth over 4.7 Million pounds alone. In addition to a royal tiara and centuries old jewelry, Rosalie had a handmade, custom gown that she co-designed herself. The reception meal was a twelve-course dinner. Every bridesmaid – all eleven of them – had custom-designed gowns in specifically chosen jewel tones that were perfectly color-matched to the tie of their groomsmen.
As future Queen of France, though she and Henri had yet to wed, Vera was enjoying the privilege of being the only other person in the wedding allowed to wear a tiara. Rosalie had argued that if she could have one Queen in her wedding, she should be allowed to have three, but four different PR authorities had told her no. I wasn't in the wedding, and neither was Alice, which was how Rosalie ended up with every other member of the clique, plus a few members of Italian gentry. As my lady-in-waiting Angela was also prohibited from participating, but I think she was secretly relieved.
"Have you spoken to Emmett today?" Rosalie asked me quietly, as Alice was distracted by a question from one of the wedding planners. I nodded, and she quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me to the side. If anyone noticed, they quickly pretended not to.
"What did he say, how is he feeling?"
"Rosalie you know how excited he is. And you both have years before my father is ready to give up the crown, you'll be Princess and heir to the throne of Italy for years. He's excited to have you as his wife."
"Did he say anything else?"
"I told him yesterday that I want us to have a baby, right away. He didn't say anything – I think I freaked him out. You and Edward waited two years, and Alice and Jasper still haven't started trying, and I can't imagine Vera ever willingly becoming someone's mother even though she's going to have to. But I, it's been two years of just the two of us and frankly – I want to have all of the children we're going to have before we're on the throne."
"Rosalie, everyone is going to expect the exact opposite from you. Besides, don't you want to have your last few wild years before you're the Queen?" I asked gently, "Or at the very least, enjoy your body for a few more years." I gestured to my stomach, which was much larger than I'd expected. Multiple news outlets had incorrectly reported that Edward and I were expecting twins; which was more amusing than anything.
"Bella, I saw how you and Emmett and your sister grew up. My children will always be royalty, but at least I can give them a few years where both their mother and their father can travel on vacation with them – and real vacations not diplomatic missions. I love you and Edward, but the second Baby Heir is born –"
"I hate that nickname."
"– he or she will be belong to Great Britain. And I want my future baby to be just mine and Emmett's for a while."
I couldn't pretend I didn't understand what Rosalie meant. Ever since Edward and I had announced the pregnancy the media had been crowing for any news about "Baby Heir" as they'd dubbed my child. It would've been nice to have some time where Edward was still the heir, and the baby wasn't quite the same media sensation.
"Rosalie, Emmett is obsessed with you. If anything, I imagine my brother is probably just excited about all of the practice you'll both get in before he can get the job done."
"Lucky him." Rosalie grinned and nodded, before whirling around and summoning Loane with a question.
The wedding was literally perfect; enough time and resources had gone into the ceremony that there was no excuse for it not to be. Rosalie looked the happiest I'd ever seen her, and Emmett was the ideal, besotted groom. Next to me, Edward clutched my hand the entire time, and delicately protected my belly whenever anyone got too close. I gave two toasts during the reception, the first to Emmett and the second to Rosalie. I had a custom meal due to the restrictions in my diet, but Edward's food looked incredible and my meal was delicious if simple.
"Would you like to dance?" As I sat, watching Emmett twirl Rosalie around the stage, my husband extended a hand to me.
"I'll be very clumsy, but of course." I laughed, and Edward gently helped me stand.
"You're never clumsy." He winked, before leading me in a careful waltz. He held me so gently and reverently as we moved. I thought it would feel uncomfortable, but then I've never felt awkward in Edward's arms. Instead I felt safe, and cherished.
"I love you." He whispered, out of the blue, as the song came to an end.
"I love you too, your majesty." I teased. Edward was slowly stepping away from his grandmother's reign to enact his own policies, which meant that the two of us were under more scrutiny than normal – which was saying something. I'd also created a stir recently, both for being pregnant and for starting a couple's instagram for the two of us to document our royal events. I didn't manage it – Angela had hired someone to do it, and it was all PR focused – but Rosalie's influence had somewhat lasted in that I missed having a slightly more personal touchpoint.
"Smile, you two." We turned to face Angela, as she quickly snapped a photo and smiled triumphantly at our shocked faces.
"I wanted a candid!" She laughed, her English much improved from when we'd first arrived in Great Britain. It wouldn't go on our official page, so I wondered if the picture was for the Instagram she'd started with Rosalie's help. Royal Unofficial was only allowed because it made Edward and I laugh, and the press team hadn't come up with a good enough reason to ban it. Unlike our official account, it showed a lot more personality.
"You both are so in love it's magical." Angela sighed. I turned to Edward, but he beat me, leaning in and pulling me into a deep kiss. Of course, the baby chose then to lean on my bladder, and the moment was broken, but as Edward helped hurry me to a bathroom I couldn't imagine ever loving him less.
Later, as we ended the evening with a toast to the blissful bride and groom, I clutched my husband's hand in mine and felt completely at peace.
"I think everyone is enjoying themselves for a security risk of epic proportions." Edward chuckled in my ear, surprising me. I turned to smack him on the arm as I startled, and then a very small, very blonde toddler tugged on my arm.
"Mummy, no hit." I smiled, picking up our youngest – and last – child. Our Matilda – though everyone calls her Tilly – is the spitting image of her late aunt Katherine and the only blonde amongst our children. At three, Tilly was a very big believer that all rules applied to all people at all times.
"Yes, of course, I'm terribly sorry for hitting you, King Edward." I apologized to him in my gravest tone, and Tilly nodded.
"Mummy, Ollie and Eleanor said I'm too little to hold the baby." Tilly complained next, pouting.
"What did Edmund say?" Edward interrupted, holding out his arms. I tried not to role my eyes as Tilly practically leapt from my lap to her father's arms. She liked me well enough, but unlike her elder sister Eleanor who looked and behaved the most like me, my baby was a Daddy's girl.
"I can't find Eddy!" Tilly stated. Suppressing a parental panic, I turned to my left to interrupt Alice and Rosalie's conversation.
"Have either of you seen Edmund?" My oldest son has my dark hair and his father's beautiful eyes, but a wildness that came from nowhere. He is brilliant and diligent and obedient when he needs to be, but at eight whenever we set him loose he ran completely wild. He was almost too curious for his own good, and as the oldest of all his cousins, he was typically the ringleader for whatever trouble the older kids got up to.
"Edmund and Napoleon are currently trying to persuade a guard to let them out of the garden, they think Emmett and I aren't aware." Rosalie patted me on the arm, and Alice giggled.
"And Augusta and Marina are the tattlers, yes?" Alice laughed. As close and mine and Rosalie's first sons were, Alice and Rosalie's daughters were even closer. Despite the fact that there was no real reason for the Italian and German princesses to interact, the two of them were thick as thieves. If my two middle children weren't so close, I think Eleanor might have felt left out.
"This was a good idea." Tanya said from across the table, looking up from her own conversation with Angela. Of the women, only my sister and Vera remained too entrenched in their conversation to look up.
It had been Alice's idea to do a joint family vacation at one of the smaller Italian castles, and she'd been the one to coordinate the invitations. I appreciated her consideration in inviting Angela and my sister, and she'd surprised me by inviting Tanya as well. A few months after mine and Edward's wedding Tanya had returned home to Russia. She soon married a Russian businessman, then convinced him to move his business to Great Britain. Though I didn't see her as often as I'd have liked, she and Angela had struck up a surprising friendship. She'd been the one to introduce Angela to her husband, an English Duke with an antisocial family who thought the sun shone wherever Angela stepped.
"It really was." Angela agreed, smiling. When we'd initially proposed it, our security team had advised against it – pointing out that someone with ill intentions could decimate some of the world's most prominent royal families in one fell swoop. We'd listened – I would never risk my children – but we'd decided that it was worth it. Seeing all of the children playing together, I knew we were right.
Of all of the children, Edmund had been first – born late at 5 months after Rosalie and Emmett's wedding. By then Rosalie was pregnant, as promised, and the next year she gave birth to Napoleon – a name she could only get away with because Napoleon had technically been King of Italy for a short period. In a coincidence that had driven the global press crazy, me, Alice, Rosalie, and Ines had all been pregnant together, and within four months Alice gave birth to Augusta, I gave birth to Oliver, Ines had twins Santiago and Sebastian, and then Rosalie gave birth to Marina. Rosalie decided to stop at two and at the time I thought I would too. It turned out it was too late, and a year later I had Eleanor.
In that time, Tanya and Pasha had gotten married and moved to Great Britain, and she waited until she was settled in Great Britain to have Ruslan a year later. Tanya only wanted one child, and she absolutely doted on her son. Holding him at his Christening, Edward and I agreed to try for one more, and after Tilly we decided that four really was enough. At the same time, Vera and Henri – who'd also finally gotten married – caved and had Louis. Though Vera was technically expected to have a "spare" she hated being pregnant so much she insisted that she needed a minimum five-year break.
It took Alice and Jasper a while to get pregnant again, meaning that Alice was pregnant at the same time as Angela. First came Angela's son Rhys with her husband Benjamin, and then Alice's son Rudolf – a name she'd loved until my children had asked if he was a reindeer, which amused Jasper so much he refused to change it. A year later Ines recovered from the shock of having twins and gave birth to another child, 4-month-old baby Sofia that my daughter Tilly was dying to hold. Overall it was 14 children amongst the 7 families.
"Daddy, put me down." Tilly suddenly insisted. Edward immediately dropped her, and she ran back over to where the rest of the littles were playing in sand that someone had set up. Tilly, Louis, Rudolf, and Rhys played merrily while Ruslan tried to keep up in Eleanor, Oliver, and the twins' game of tag – insisting he was big enough. Rosalie guessed that it would only be a year or two more until Eleanor gave up on her brother and the other boys and started wanting to spend all of her time with Augusta and Marina, but I loved the tomboy side that her brother drew out of her – the only aspect of her personality that seemed to differ greatly from mine.
Hours later, after all of the children had been put to bed, the adults lounged together by a beautiful little pool – everyone in swimwear though nobody was swimming.
"Are you sure you don't want one more?" Edward murmured in my ear, as I leaned back against him in a lounge chair. His hand was tracing in lazy circles over my exposed stomach and I could feel how much he wanted to, at the very least, practice. I would never complain – seeing marriages like Jane and Alec's where one spouse completely controlled the other made me so grateful for the genuine love and attraction between myself and my husband.
"I won't bounce back so quickly anymore, and five is an egregious number. Convince my lady in waiting or Tanya to have another one, and we can spoil it like we spoil Rhys and Ruslan."
"You don't need to bounce back from anything, your body is perfect at every size." Edward was always exceedingly complimentary when he was in the mood, and his insistence plus acute baby fever was what had led to Tilly.
"Watch your hands with my sister!" Emmett called out loudly from a few chairs over, and I couldn't hold back a giggle as Edward made a very rude gesture in return. Being married, being a Queen, being a mother – all of it had made me appreciate moments like this one where I could simply be Bella, relaxing with my friends and my husband without a care in the world.
"Don't you want more nieces and nephews, Emmett?" Ines asked innocently, and when we all stared at her Jacob cleared his throat.
"Not yet, not us." It had taken me a long time to truly feel comfortable around Jacob again, and Edward still didn't care for him overly much. But we were family, and when we were all together everyone got along just fine.
"I don't need to be an uncle again, I'm going to be a Dad." Emmett crowed, and immediately all eyes were drawn to him and Rosalie, who sighed wistfully.
"Emmett only told you because I was going to make you eat a baby-themed dinner tomorrow and he didn't like that idea. But yes, apparently, we have not been as careful recently and we're about six months away from our final child." She leveled a playful glare at Emmett as she spoke, and then he pulled her into a kiss. Then Vera cleared her throat.
"Well, then we will be pregnant together Rosalie, because I'm two months in to my final child as well." We all paused a moment, as the tone of the announcement was entirely different, then Vera sighed and gave a small smile.
"We're happy, and I'm not nearly as nauseous so hopefully this one will be a girl."
"Congratulations to you both" a more than slightly intoxicated Jasper cheered, raised his glass, and downed it, and those of us who weren't pregnant did the same. As we all drank together, I let myself lean back and just enjoy being held by my husband and surrounded by my dearest friends.
25 Years Later
"Their Royal Highness, King Edward and Queen Isabella of Great Britain, accompanied by their four children, Prince Edmund, Prince Oliver, Princess Eleanor, and presenting Princess Matilda."
I descended the stairs, my hand held aloft by Edward, walking slowly. Behind me, Edmund escorted Eleanor down the stairs, and behind them Oliver escorted Matilda. I didn't need to look to know that Tilly would be beaming, blue eyes sparkling. Since she'd turned 17, she'd been debating with her sister which event she wanted to make her formal debut at – and I should have known that Eleanor would steer her in the direction of a royal ball.
Neither Edward nor myself had particularly strong ties with anyone in Portugal – even Alice rarely visited her parents or brother anymore and her sister preferred to travel to Germany. However, her parents had been kind enough to invite the "most prominent" global royal families to their farewell ball as they prepared to pass on the throne. Thankfully, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy made the cut.
"You look absolutely stunning." It was Oliver that complimented me, as soon as we got to the bottom of the stairs, though Edward beamed at him. Edmund was too busy staring up the stairs as the Norwegian royal family descended. A few years previous Edward and I had gone on a diplomatic tour of Northern Europe and had taken Edmund and Eleanor. He thought we didn't notice, but Edmund had taken a liking to Princesses Astrid and Ingrid. At the time I hadn't encouraged it, but now he was twenty-two and tired of the way most of the English duchesses vied for his attention. As far as I could tell, as they were both older than him, neither of the Princesses really gave my son the time of day.
"You are, love." Edward interrupted my thoughts, snaking his arms around me and pulling me around in a circle.
"Da - Father, will you dance with me first? After Mother?" Tilly smiled at the two of us. I glanced up to see that Eleanor was gone, most likely already seeking out Augusta and Marina. As both Rosalie and Alice had predicted, my daughter had grown tired of the boys' games one day and had become very close to Augusta and Marina. Luckily, Marina and Augusta's wilder sides kept Eleanor from being too much like her mother – they reminded her to take a moment and have some fun every once in a while, to not always take herself so seriously.
"Are you going to dance with Louis after?" Oliver teased Tilly, who craned her head to glance around the room before hushing her brother with a high-heeled stomp to his toes.
"Manners, Matilda." Edward immediately corrected her, though he was dangerously close to breaking decorum himself as his hand slid down my low back.
"Sorry, Father." Tilly immediately straightened up, smoothing back an errant blonde curl. She only grew blonder as she got older, and she beamed every time her English grandparents showed her pictures of her late aunt or called her Matilda Katherine – the only two to use her full name.
"Oliver, don't tease your sister. She and Louis are very excited for their debut year." I felt it was only fair to admonish them both, but Oliver merely smiled. I know that Tilly had no particularly strong feelings for Vera's redheaded charmer of a son – and I also knew that Louis idolized Oliver, and was much more likely to seek out Oliver's time than Tilly's.
"Mother, if Matilda is going to take Father's first dance, I think it's only fair that I get yours."
"Actually, I believe I have the right to request that honor." I turned to face Emmett, fighting the urge to hug my elder brother and his wife.
"You look beautiful, Isabella." Rosalie beamed at me, and had to hold in a giggle. Rosalie had an entire team who seemed to work tirelessly to make sure that she barely aged. Without anything surgical, Rosalie looked at least a decade younger than the rest of us, and had recently been crowned by a global magazine publication as "the most beautiful royal in the world."
"Thank you. As do you, Rosalie." I smiled.
"Marina and Eleanor seem to have discovered the Spanish Princes." Rosalie smiled at me knowingly, while I fought a frown.
"Those boys are twenty-seven. Our daughters are nineteen."
"Which boys?" Emmett and Edward had immediately leaned in to discuss politics, but at the word boys both men turned to glance at us. Rosalie laughed.
"Marina is twenty, and a crown is a crown, Isabella. There aren't many future Kings their age. Pity that Napoleon and Eleanor are so closely related, and Augusta has her own country to rule. I would have loved to see a close friend as Queen when Emmett and I are done one day."
"You've barely gotten started." I smiled. It had only been four years since my father and mother had finally abdicated the throne and, a year later, divorced. It had been a trying time for everyone in our family, and Edward's patience as I constantly flew between Great Britain and Italy was saintly. Oliver Charles, who had always been his Grandfather's favorite despite looking exactly like Edward, had lived with his Grandfather in the transition from married King to single Duke. Of course, then my father had reconnected with the widowed Lady Susanna and suddenly didn't need a grandson cramping his style. It worked out well, because even my most patient child had gotten tired of my father's weekly Saturday fishing trip.
"Well, still. You know, Napoleon told me the other day that he thinks that Vanya, Jane's daughter, is very pretty. I nearly screamed. Imagine being in-laws with Jane."
"How did he even meet Vanya?" Edward asked, frowning. Bulgaria was seeing a financial upturn in recent years. Though I still wasn't fond of Jane, she had really been steering the country well, even if Alec got most of the credit. But they didn't do enough business with Great Britain for us to ever visit them, and I couldn't imagine they'd done more with Italy.
"Online, mother." Oliver cut in, with an eye roll. Emmett chuffed him affectionately over the head at his tone, and then quickly dropped his hand and glanced around with a smile to see if he'd been caught.
"Hmm, does she have a strong social presence?" I asked.
"Oh Bella, haven't you heard? Apparently Vanya of Bulgaria is quite the darling little socialite. According to Vera, Jane is dying to send her to France or Italy."
"She wants to make a love match with Napoleon or Louis?" Edward guessed.
"No, a friendship match with Marina." Though only twenty, Marina more than any of our children was content to follow exactly in her mother's footsteps. Though her hair was closer to Emmett's light brown than her mother's blonde, Marina had cultivated exactly the social life and reputation in Italy that her mother had in France, complete with her own small group of close friends she spent her time with when she wasn't with Augusta or Eleanor.
"Well, you'll never leave us, right Oliver?" My middle son flushed hard – the only trait he seemed to have inherited from me – and glared at his Dad.
"Maybe I'll become the King of Germany." He arched an eyebrow and I suppressed a laugh. Augusta had been dating the same German man for three years – a lesser nobleman who was nevertheless well respected in the country. Edward shrugged.
"Perhaps you will." I saw a look pass between them, and made a mental note to ask my husband about it later.
"Queen Isabella, so good to see you." The moment was broken as a dignitary I only vaguely remembered meeting bobbed a quick curtsy to me. My children immediately fell quiet and stepped away from us as she curtsied to me, Emmett, and Rosalie as well.
"You as well. Are you enjoying the festivities?" Edward slid a formal hand to my back as we both set in for the conversation – our free time over.
I knew that in an hour or two there might be a lull again where I could grab Alice and Jasper and tease them about Rudolf dying his dark hair blonde – which had not gone over well – or congratulate Vera and Henri about the way that Louis was already adapting to global politics, or joke with Rosalie and Emmett about who they would prefer become the future Queen of Italy, or listen to them all matchmake my children with everyone and anyone under thirty. Over the years I'd learned how to take advantage of every moment where I could fully relax and shake off the weight of expectation and propriety. But in that moment, it was time for Edward and Bella to once again behave as the King and Queen of Great Britain. With Edward by my side, that was more than fine by me.
List of Children and Ages – 25 Years Later
Edward and Bella: Edmund William (22), Oliver Charles (20), Eleanor Anne (19), Matilda Katherine (17)
Jasper and Alice: Augusta (20), Rudolf (16)
Emmett and Rosalie: Napoleon Victor (21), Marina Leonor (20), Amadeo Frederick (14)
Henri and Vera: Louis (17), Blanche (13)
Jacob and Ines: Santiago (20), Sebastian (20), Sofia (14)
Benjamin and Angela: Rhys (16), Matteo (12)
Pasha and Tanya: Ruslan (18)
Alec and Jane: Konstantin (21), Vanya (19), Stephen (17)
A/N: Thank you all for taking this journey with me. All of the reviews, and jokes, and even your frustration with Bella has been so much fun for me to read, and so helpful as an author. Right now, I'm taking a break to focus on my original fiction, but I've written about 10 chapters of a Mob fic - another genre I've never worked in before - and it won't leave me alone. If this Bella was a bit too meek or mild for you, you'll probably like the one in the mob fic a lot more. So far she's very calculated, opinionated, and driven. I grew up outside of Chicago and had friends who had friends/family "in the family" and got to see what it can be like when you're not at the ~glamorous~ levels (no such thing), plus for some reason there's a LOT more information available online about the Chicago Outfit than I expected. No word on when I'll be ready to start uploading it regularly, but let me know if you guys want to see a chapter just to get a feel.
If you want to follow my original fic, you can find me on my author instagram chiobasiwrites
Thank you one more time! This community has fueled my writing through what has been one of the most trying years of my life, and I love you all for it!