5 years later


The community has tripled in size now, the territory has expanded several acres, yet still nearly eighty acres of unused forest remains. The community has since been divided purely for the safety of those who live here. The vampire housing has taken the south side, the human housing has taken the north, while werewolves have the in the west, and the east side is were all the founders of this wonderful community reside. With the growing population, laws have been set forth, a system of balance was forged by the concept of peace and unity among all species of life.

Edward Cullen is known as the mayor and leader of this community. Decisions are made through a trusted inner circle, each member represents each of the factions. Will, the local school teacher, represents the humans. Billy Black represents the werewolves. And Bella Cullen represents the vampires.

Several businesses have been created, owned and run by the residents of the community. There was no shortage of grocery stores, clothing stores, diners, pubs and other establishments you would normally see in a small town.

The community was given the name Ribbonwood, which was a native tree that filled the community with rustic beauty.

In Ribbonwood there are only a few rules to follow to maintain peace amongst the residents. The most sacred rule is that all hunting of humans is strictly prohibited.


Darius' Point of View

"You know Darius, you are really getting good at doing stitches, pretty soon you will be opening your own practice." Dr. Franklin grinned at me. His dark blue eyes held an edge of exhaustion in them. Bags had begun under his eyes, and his breath smelled of coffee. He has been working far too many shifts, but with him being the only doctor in Ribbonwood, he was constantly busy.

"You really should consider getting yourself an assistant." I frowned as I slid my coat on. I glanced towards the clock, it was almost midnight. My mother was going to kill me for being late.

Dr. Franklin chuckled, rubbing his tired looking face. "That's what you are here for dear boy." His silver curls were pulled tightly back into a neat bun. The man was in his late fifties, he was so knowledgeable. I wanted to learn everything that I could from him. One day, he would retire and I would be there to attempt to fill his shoes.

"Maybe so, but it might not hurt to bring in another physician. These long shifts are running you into the ground." I said as we both went through the office and turned off all the lights. We would finally be closing up the shop for tonight.

Our last patient had been one of the kids from the high school, he had fallen off his bike and got a nasty cut to his forearm. It only took a few stitches, but he will be fine.

"I'd definitely consider that, maybe you could run it by your father. I hate to bother the man, he really is busy trying to run this place."

We made it outside the office now, as usual Dr. Franklin locked the door and passed over the spare key to me. Just in case of emergencies, he told me I could unlock the office and call him if anything happened. I was honored that he trusted me.

"I'll talk with him about it, it's no trouble at all." I said with a smile, as I attached the key to the rest of my keys.

Dr. Franklin grabbed my shoulder, letting out a long exhale. "Well kid, have a safe trip home and Merry Christmas." He handed over my paycheck.

I nodded to him. "You to Dr. Franklin, I'll see you on Monday." Quickly I stuffed the envelope into my pocket.

We went our separate ways, he walked towards the north side of Ribbonwood, where all humans reside. It wasn't too far of a walk for him, but I often worried that one night something would happen and he wouldn't make it home. Dr. Franklin's house was less than a mile from his office.

But for me, it was a bit of a journey for me to get here. I was headed west, I was nearly five miles from home. I was thankful that I was able to convince my old folks to let me purchase a motorcycle. The distance wouldn't have made me tired to walk, but riding the motorcycle was a much faster option.

I walked over to the usual place I kept the bike and got on. I needed to get home fast, before my mother came looking for me. My shift should have ended two hours ago. I would have made it, but with that kid showing up with that scratch in his arm, there was nothing I could do. I had to stay and help Dr. Franklin.

As my bike roared to life, I peeled out of the small parking lot. The sky was dark above me, but the twinkling of the stars was in clear view. It was a blisteringly cold night, snow had started dancing in the sky. Soon the roads wouldn't be safe to travel on.

I was nearly one mile away from home when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I slowed the bike down to a complete stop as I peered at the figure, standing in the middle of the road. I slowly crept the bike closer.

It was a woman. With hair that was a bright fiery red. She smiled at me, with a menacing growl. Her eyes were just as red as her curly red locks.

"Who are you? What are you doing in the middle of the road." I called out to her.

She didn't bother replying, she only crouched into a hunting stance. The way she looked at me… it was as if I was her prey.

This was a very dangerous situation, and a violation of Ribbonwood rules. But it was clear to me that she was an outsider. I've never seen her before.

I quickly concentrated, creating my physical shield to protect myself, just in time for her to pounce. She hit hard into the barrier. The impact sent her flying backwards. She kept herself upright as she slid, her stilettos dug into the ground, keeping her from flying to far.

She glared at me, with fury and uncontrollable hunger. This woman must be starving to want to attack me. I was only half human, usually my blood wasn't pure enough to tempt vampires.

Her eyes darted around the area, she was searching for a new maneuver.

I couldn't allow her to escape, she was a danger to our community. If I was to just let her go, who knows what would happen. Or who she would end up hurting.

I raised my hand slowly, capturing her in a barrier. She didn't appear to notice, until she attempted an attack again. She went completely savage as she thrust herself against the shield, trying desperately to escape me.

Now that I had her, I wasn't exactly sure what to do with her. That was the draw back to my abilities, I couldn't force her to move. I could only hold her in one spot. Keeping my one hand raised, to keep the barrier up, I dug into my pocket with my other hand and dialed my grandpa's number.

Grandpa Charlie was the chief of police in Ribbonwood, he handled all matters like this one. He would know what to do.

I waited patiently until he finally answered. "Hello, chief Swan." His voice sounded alert and professional.

"Hey grandpa, it's Darius." I said calmly. "I was just on my way home from work… and we have a little situation here. I'm just about a mile from home. I captured a rogue vampire."

"Are you alright? Is anyone hurt?" He responded. "Don't move a muscle, I'll be right there."

"I'm alright, but this woman is really dangerous. She tried to attack me. You might want to bring in some backup to transport her." I said looking back to the woman.

She growled and hissed, clawing at the barrier with all of her strength. It wasn't hard to keep the barrier up, but she was making it hard to concentrate with all the noise she was making.

"Alright, hang tight," He responded, before hanging up.

I slid my phone back into my pocket and focused completely on holding the barrier. I closed my eyes and completely tuned out the world. I felt the barrier strengthen. I was certain that woman wouldn't be escaping any time soon.

It only took about ten minutes for grandpa Charlie to make it on the scene, he brought Demetri and Seth with him. They had brought the police cruiser.

"Are you alright Darius?" Demetri spoke up as the three of them approached me.

"I'm fine," I said simply, and nodded to the woman. "But we need to take care of this lady before she ends up hurting someone.

Demetri was the father that I was born to, but over the years we really didn't get close. Demetri was solely focused on raising his other son, Elijah. Sure, he would come around for every holiday and never missed my birthday, but I didn't spend any time with him other than that. We didn't know each other. That was a decision he made. He could have reached out and taken a more active role in my life, but he was completely consumed by his new family, Rosalie, his wife, Elijah his son by blood and the newest addition, a young, half vampire daughter named Janae. He didn't have time to worry about his fully matured son.

"Alright Darius, could you leave just her head outside of the barrier?" Grandpa said, watching the woman as if she was the biggest threat in existence.

"Yeah, I can do that." I closed my eyes and slowly lowered my hand, pulling slowly at the barrier, until I felt it open a small hole. I squeezed the barrier snuggly around the woman's body, so she couldn't move a muscle.

"Great job, Seth, pass me the silencer." Grandpa Charlie said as he approached the woman's exposed head.

"Yes sir," Seth said as he jogged over with the metal contraption.

The silencer was something my father and Charlie created. Basically it was only used on vampires, it protects against a vampire's venomous bite. It locks into place around the head and forces a vampire's mouth shut. The metal is impenetrable to all that are forced to wear it.

They were able to lock the contraption around the woman securely. This was only half of the battle. This wasn't the first time that I had to help restrain a blood-crazed vampire, so I knew what they would be asking me to do next.

I lifted my hand again, pulling the barrier back over her head. Now I had to focus on opening the barrier around her arms. This was the tricky part for me. She moved her arms around wildly, it was hard to catch them.

"Just focus son, you can do it." Demetri said with a proud look in my direction.

His words only annoyed me.

"You're not my father," I muttered under my breath.

I knew that the three of them heard me, they all had supernatural hearing abilities. Thankfully no one commented. And Demetri went back to doing what he did best, avoiding me.

Eventually I was able to get both of her arms outside of the barrier and held in place. Seth was able to place the metal cuffs around her arms. Of course, these weren't normal hand cuffs, the metal that made these cuffs was the same metal used for the silencer. She wouldn't be able to break them.

"Okay Darius, it's your father- I mean," Seth stuttered, pausing mid sentence. "I mean, now you will have to let Demetri inside the barrier."

I ignored his slip up. I knew that most people didn't understand Demetri and I's relationship. I learned to just roll with the punches.

Slowly I allowed a section of the barrier open, just long enough for Demetri to get inside. As soon as he made it in, I closed the barrier behind him. This was the only way to safely get the leg restraints on the woman.

She tried putting up a fight, but it was clear that Demetri was more skilled. Perhaps she was just a wandering newborn. Maybe she didn't know what she was doing. I tended to give people the benefit of doubt. Although those thoughts have usually ended up being wrong. It's hard to tell if someone is friend or foe. I just hoped that I'd never make the mistake of putting my trust in someone that didn't deserve it.

For the first time, in a long time, the image of Casey crept into my mind. I pushed the image away. I didn't want to think of her. I didn't want to remember the day that she betrayed me… all of us. Or the day that Demetri had ended her life.

Once the restraints were in place I dropped the barrier completely. I staggered only for a second, almost letting my bike fall. But I kept myself steady. I hadn't realized how much energy I was using to do all that. It's been a long time since I had to use my abilities like this. I was out of practice. Maybe I should meet up with Emmett and Benjamin for some sparring.

"Alright, let's get the woman down to the jail. I believe it's your turn to keep watch tonight." Grandpa said, looking to Seth.

Seth nodded, folding his arms across his chest as he watched Demetri carry the vampire to the police cruiser. "I'll keep my eyes on her all night. Just please make sure my relief comes on time in the morning." He sighed.

If my memory serves me right I believe Trever would be on watch at the jail in the morning. Trever is Dr. Franklin's son. I heard a lot about him from the old doctor. He described his son as a lost soul. He wanders around without purpose. Ever since his mother passed away the boy hasn't recovered. Dr. Franklin was really worried about him, that's why he begged grandpa Charlie to give Trever a job.

But Trever wasn't appreciative, he had no interest in being a deputy, he rarely showed up for his shifts on time… if at all.

"Don't worry, I'll make sure he shows up." Grandpa said with a nod. "One call to his father is all that it takes."

With that, Seth went to the police cruiser. Demetri returned, cautiously walking over to grandpa and I.

"We will be stopping over in the morning, for Christmas dinner." Demetri said, looking between the two of us.

"You certainly don't have to, if you don't want to." I said, avoiding direct eye contact with him.

"Your mother insists that we spend Christmas together, it has really become a tradition. Besides, I'd prefer to spend the holidays with all of my family." He continued, offering me a small smile.

"Will Leah be joining us as well this year?" Grandpa asked with a casual glance in Demetri's direction.

Demetri nodded slightly, annoyance in his eyes. "Yeah, I couldn't tell her no, she doesn't have anyone else to spend the holidays with, other than Seth… And well… it appears that Elijah and Leah have made it official."

This news didn't surprise either of us. The fact that it bothered Demetri so much only made the news better. It wasn't that Demetri hated Leah… but he hated that Leah was a constant danger to Elijah. She hadn't mastered control over her emotions, and she has left some scars on Elijah over the years. But you couldn't deny that they cared for each other deeply.

"I'm happy for him, everyone needs a special someone." Grandpa said, before turning to me and patting my shoulder. "You can expect us in the morning too, little Greg has been talking non stop about coming over."

Little Greg was my mother's young kid brother. He will be turning six this year. It was always interesting to see how slowly humans aged over time. He was so small and fragile, I had to keep reminding myself that he was technically my uncle.

Would we ever have a relationship like that, as Uncle and Nephew? I had my doubts. I wasn't sure how I would age, all that I knew was currently my aging has slowed down almost to a complete stop. I appear nineteen now, but who knows when my growing would pick back up again… if it would.

"Then I guess I'll see both of you in the morning. I have to get going. I was supposed to be home…" I looked down at my watch. It was three in the morning. "A really long time ago, my mother is going to kill me." I groaned.

Demetri and grandpa Charlie both waved at me, as I turned my motorcycle back on and began the ride home. I pushed the bike, nearly hitting seventy miles an hour, the whole way home. I usually didn't speed, but the sooner I got home the better.

Just as I feared, my mother was waiting for me, standing with her arms crossed and a serious look on her face. Alice was seated on the porch steps, a gorgeous smile on her face.

I slowed down to a crawl as I parked the bike in my driveway. I took my time, knowing what was coming. I had moved out of my parents house about a year ago and ever since, my mother had me keep in close contact. She just wanted to know that I made it home safely after my shift at the doctor's office.

Alice and I moved into a medium sized cabin, just a mile away from my parents. It was far enough away that we had some privacy, but close enough for my parents to drop by… unannounced any time they wanted.

I was supposed to come over to my parents house tonight, with Alice to spend the night. It was tradition for us all to be together for Christmas Eve.

As I walked over to the both of them, I saw my mother's expression soften. She met me halfway to the porch, pulling me in for a hug.

I sighed deeply and hugged her back.

It still surprised me how much shorter she was. I towered over her, her head just reached my chest. It was a painful reminder that my mother was forever young, while I continued to age. How could I ever leave her? The thought of me dying and leaving this world without her, filled me with dread.

"I was so worried." She said, looking up at me with the familiar topaz eyes. Her hands went to my face as she analyzed me fully. "I heard what happened, are you okay?"

I nodded, taking her hands and moving them away from my face. "Calm down mom, I'm perfectly fine."

She now gave me a reproachful frown. "Why didn't you call. If Alice wouldn't have filled me in on the situation I would have come out to find you myself." Her tone was firm, but I could see it in her eyes, she wasn't mad anymore.

"I wasn't thinking about that, I was kind of focused on keeping that crazy vampire from getting loose and going on a killing spree." I shrugged my shoulders.

Alice now danced to my side, hugging me tightly. I wrapped my arms around her tiny body, instantly feeling more at peace.

"This vampire, she tried to attack you." My mother continued, again her eyes scanned over me. "Did you recognize her?"

I shook my head. "I've never seen her before… She was a savage. She didn't even speak, all she could see was blood. I'm guessing she was starved."

"She might have been the one responsible for the attack last month. One of the humans had wandered too close to the restricted area of the forest. She was found nearly drained completely of her blood. But she pulled though." My mother continued, running her hand through her hair.

I knew exactly who my mom was referring to. A young woman, she worked at the local library. I believe her name was Beth. Dr. Franklin and I worked for hours trying to save her life, but it unfortunately came down to an injection of vampire venom. With her consent she was turned into a vampire.

I wondered how she was doing now, I never had a chance to have a follow up with her.

"Well, let's leave these matters to Monday, it's Christmas, let's try to enjoy the holiday." Alice said snuggling more into my side. "Now that you've made it home, we should head over."

My mother's eyes brightened at Alice's words. "Your right Alice. Let's go, your father is waiting for us."

I was eager to talk with Edward about this situation. I had a lot of questions. Not to mention I was looking forward to seeing the twins, Kora and Ezra. I haven't seen them for a while. Although, I'm sure they would still be asleep.

We all got into my mother's new car, a Mercedes Benz. It had been a present from Edward, for their fourth wedding anniversary. It was a spacious car, sleek black and incredibly comfortable. I planned on saving up my money to buy myself a car like this one.

The drive to my parents house was peaceful, I gazed out the window, watching the snowflakes tumble down from the sky and hit the windows. It was a quiet night, no one was seen walking around. It was blissful. I might have enjoyed it, if my mind wasn't full of questions and concerns.


Bella's Point of View

I was relieved to finally have all my children under one roof. It was rare to have them all here together. It was probably the only reason that I looked forward to Christmas. Darius was always working long shifts at the doctor's office. Kora worked for Alice in the local clothing store. Ezra is working in the library, while also taking college classes. She has aspirations to become a dentist. Everyone was so busy, but we all tried to find the time to get together like this. At the moment the kids have only stopped over once or twice a month. I hated it, but I understood. I missed them.

Edward was waiting for us in the living room. His eyes roamed my body for a minute, a crooked smile coming to his face. I didn't hesitate to walk over and take a seat next to him.

Alice and Darius sat on the couch across from us. I couldn't help but smile, seeing the two of them together. I don't think I've ever seen either of them so happy.

"Hey dad," Darius said, sitting up a little straighter. He usually did this when he was about to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone. "Can I ask you a few things."

Edward raised a brow, watching Darius curiously. "You're wondering if I could bring in a second physician to the doctor's office."

Darius sighed and gave him a slow nod. "These long shifts are really affecting Dr. Franklin. And with Trever always worrying him, I'm concerned the old man is going to die from pure exhaustion."

Edward frowned, a thoughtful look coming to his face. "I suppose… there is someone I could talk with. As long as Dr. Franklin isn't opposed to working alongside a vampire."

"I don't see why not, he already works with me and I'm half vampire. I think he would appreciate any help he can get at this point."

"I'll certainly give Dr. Roberts a call," Edward said with a nod. "She had studied medicine under Carlisle, she is quite skilled."

"Okay, enough work talk, it's Christmas, today is just about being together. Leave the work discussion for Monday morning." Alice spoke up.

"You're right Alice, as usual." Darius smiled, leaning over to peck Alice on the cheek.

For the next several hours, we all just talked. We talked about our day, we talked about what was going on around Ribbonwood and at some point we ended up talking about sports cars.

Unfortunately seven o'clock in the morning came quickly. I had to start making the Christmas meal. Charlie and Rene would be coming over soon, along with little Greg. Demetri, Rose, Elijah and their little girl; Janae, would also be coming. Although I wasn't sure when I would be expecting them.

Alice joined me in the kitchen, letting Darius and Edward to continue their conversation about cars. She had clearly lost interest with the car talk.

Upstairs I could hear Kora walking around, I could easily tell her footsteps apart from Ezra's. Kora had such a quiet walk, she always had moved like a delicate ballerina.

Kora made her way down the stairs, but I heard her pause before reaching the bottom. "Darius, is that you?" Her voice sounded full of delight.

"Well who else would it be dear sister?" I heard Darius respond with amusement.

"Oh shut up and come give me a hug you ass." Kora laughed.

I couldn't help but smile to myself. It warmed my heart that Darius and Kora remained close, even after all these years. They truly had a wonderful relationship.

"I suppose you didn't even offer to give mom a hand in the kitchen, huh." Kora commented with a bit of attitude.

Darius chuckled nervously. "You know that I'm a wreck in the kitchen Kor, I'd just mess up Christmas breakfast."

"Typical, well I guess I'll head in and help." Kora said with a sigh.

In seconds Kora walked into the room, offering me a gorgeous smile. Her emerald green eyes danced between Alice and I. "Good morning,"

It still took me by surprise to see Kora all grown up. It felt like it was only yesterday she was a little kid, following Darius around everywhere and getting into trouble. She truly had grown into a beautiful young woman.

"I'm here to help, put me to work." She continued.

"Don't worry about it, I have everything under control here." I said with a smile.

"Are you sure?" She asked, taking a seat at the kitchen table with Alice.

"Of course, but thank you for offering."

She shrugged her shoulders, letting out a relieved sigh. "Honestly I'm not much better than Darius. I couldn't cook an edible meal even if I wanted to." As she spoke she casted a few glances down to her cell phone.

I had my suspicions on who Kora was waiting for; to call. Her boyfriend, Daniel, had gone on the midnight supply run last night. Every time Daniel left Ribbonwood Kora would worry and fuss until he made it safely back home. I didn't doubt her for being concerned. I felt the same way about Edward.

"Don't fret, he will be calling you in about fifteen minutes." Alice muttered in Kora's ear.

Kora's face turned a little pink, but a relieved expression took over her expression. "I swear Alice, I wish that I had your abilities to see the future. I probably wouldn't worry so much about that boy."

I was about to speak up when I heard a loud thud from upstairs along with quiet giggling.

That must be Ezra. She was a very clumsy girl. There was no doubt in my mind that she most likely tripped on something upstairs and fell. She reminded me of myself… when I was human.

"Are you alright babe?" I heard the low whisper of Austin; Ezra's on again off again boyfriend. Austin Myles was a lot of things, but I knew one thing for sure… he didn't deserve to be with my daughter.

He was always getting in trouble, Charlie had locked him up plenty of times for being drunk in public. He was a thief, a liar and most importantly he didn't take their relationship seriously. Time after time Ezra would come running home, sobbing and heart broken, each time he went out and was caught in an affair. Yet each time she let him return, forgiven. I didn't know why the girl couldn't get rid of the nuisance, but she clung to him. She looked past all his flaws. It was as if she was blind to what was really happening. He was using her… and there was nothing I could say or do to stop it from happening. She wouldn't listen to me.

Edward wouldn't be happy to know that Austin was here. He made most likely snuck in through Ezra's window. Austin knew he wasn't welcome in this house.

"Shh, you have to keep quiet." I heard Ezra whisper, barely above a whisper.

It was only a short pause before I heard Edward call out. "Austin has two minutes to get out of this house, before I come up there and remove him myself." His voice was loud and firm.

Ezra exhaled noisily. "Dad, he wants to stay for Christmas, his mom went off again, he will be all alone."

Austin's mother had a reputation around Ribbonwood, she was considered the town drunk. Charlie had arrested her for several accounts of prostitution, and public drunkness. Her son was following closely in her footsteps. Several times a week she would leave Ribbonwood, only to return with vast sums of money. We didn't know how she required the money, we couldn't prove that she was doing anything illegal, but one day I'm sure we will find out.

"I don't care where Austin goes, as long as it isn't here." Edward said, keeping his voice even. I could hear the strain in his tone, he was holding back. And it sounds like he is struggling to not lose control over his temper.

Ezra sighed again, now sounding frustrated. "Fine," She snapped back. "I'm sorry Austin." I heard her whisper.

"It's whatever, I'll just head out to the bar, I heard they would be staying open for Christmas. Maybe I'll see you there later."

Over my dead body. Ezra wouldn't be taking one step into that bar. Not only was it on the human side of the community, where vampires could not be served, but this particular bar was full of trouble.

"Ezra, stop being such a brat. Get your ass down here and be with your family." Kora called out to her.

Kora had a sour look on her face now. She hated Austin just as much as Edward and I.

It was only a few minutes before Ezra stumbled down the stairs, walking right past both Edward and Darius to come into the kitchen. She glared at Kora with annoyance.

"Shut up Kora, we all know you are just angry because not all the boys in town are obsessed with you. Austin prefers me and that drives you insane."

Kora's face went red with anger, she looked like she was about to lose her temper. "Why would I want some trashy human to find me more appealing? I have a real man, with a real job, who would never cheat on me. Thank you very much." She jabbed.

Ezra growled lowly, balling her hands into fists. "He isn't trash, and it's been almost a year now that Austin hasn't cheated on me. He said he was taking our relationship seriously now. He loves me."

"He is a liar Ezra, the one girl that I work with at the clothing store mentioned having sex with Austin just last week. She was going on and on about how awful it was. He is a loser. Move on." Kora growled back.

Tears started streaming down Ezra's face now. Quickly she went running out of the room, sobbing as she did.

I looked to Kora with disapproval. "Kora, that was cruel."

Kora glanced away from me, guilt dancing in her eyes. "I may… have said too much… but mom it's the truth. She deserves to know."

"This was not the time, or the place. It's Christmas and you just made your sister cry. You embarrassed her. Go and apologize." I said folding my arms across my chest.

Kora nodded, still not making eye contact with me. She rose from her seat with a heavy sigh and followed after Ezra.

Alice chuckled nervously. "I guess things will never change between those two. They always bickered like this. The only thing that changes, is which one of the two crosses the line and says too much."

"I suppose you're right. I hoped that they would grow out of this. I hate to see them fight." I went back to cooking.

This little drama had taken up too much time, breakfast was going to be late this year. I just hoped that nothing else would happen. I don't think I could stand anymore drama.

Charlie and Rene were the first ones to show up. They walked in with the ugly sweaters that they wore every year. Charlie carried a huge sack inside, filled to the brim with perfectly wrapped presents.

Little Greg went running right to Darius, showing off the brand new toys he got from Santa. It was heart-warming to see the two of them together, it reminded me of when Darius was around his age. If there was anything that I missed when I was human, it was the ability to have children. I now understood slightly how Rosalie feels. To want something so desperately, but knowing that it would never be possible.

I suppose the option to adopt was always available, but it wasn't the best time. Things here at Ribbonwood were really getting hectic. More and more people were moving in, and more crime was starting to pop up in our little community. Edward had his hands full trying to keep the peace here. It would be selfish for me to ask him to stretch himself any further by raising another child.

So, for now I would just appreciate what I have. I couldn't ask for a better life.

Eventually everyone began to migrate into the dining room. There was a low rumble of chatter that filled my home now. And to my relief Kora and Ezra returned, arms linked. The smiles on their faces said it all. They had forgiven each other. Everything was fixed.

Kora paused, looking between Edward and I. "Mom, dad, is it alright if Daniel joins us for breakfast?" Her expression was pleading.

I exchanged a look with Edward. I could see the unwillingness in his eyes. But I knew that he would allow Daniel to come over. Edward had a mild respect for the boy, but I wouldn't go any further in that regard. No boy would ever be good enough for his daughter.

"I suppose, but only for breakfast, afterwards he can head home to his family. I'm sure they would like him home for the holidays." Edward sighed, giving Kora a firm gaze.

His answer seemed to be enough for her. "Thank you!" She pounced over and gave Edward an excited hug.

He chuckled, hugging her tightly before letting her go.

"Oh, I like that Daniel boy, he is quite a gentleman. He delivered our groceries this week. Usually the other supply runners would charge extra, for Christmas coming up, but Daniel didn't want anything at all for the run. He insisted that he didn't want payment. It was his Christmas gift to us." Rene said, giving Kora's shoulder a squeeze. "He is a wonderful choice sweetheart."

Kora's cheeks went pink as she took her seat between me and Ezra. "He is absolutely perfect in every way. I don't know what he sees in me." She admitted.

Ezra rolled her eyes, elbowing her sister. "What are you talking about? You're the most beautiful girl in Ribbonwood, even aunt Roalie says so."

"You are both beautiful." Edward said, shaking his head slowly. "Not a single man in this town deserves either of you."

"Dad," Ezra and Kora groaned at the exact same time.

Charlie laughed openly, watching between Edward and the girls. "You know, I felt the same way, when it came to Bella. But there will come a day that someone will come along that is worthy."

Edward sighed, but slowly smiled. His eyes landed on me and for a moment I was completely trapped in his gaze. I didn't even want to stop looking at him. Even all these years later my love for this man only grew stronger. I hoped that my daughters would find that. An all consuming, passionate love.

Within fifteen minutes, Daniel showed up, with Demetri, Rose and their kids closely behind. I instantly noticed that Elijah walked into the room, hand in hand with Leah.

It's not like we all didn't see this relationship coming, but it was a bit of a surprise that Demetri was permitting it… or at least putting up a fight. Leah cared deeply for Elijah, that was clear… but she still hasn't found complete control over her temper. Until she does, she would be a ticking time bomb.

Rosalie strode into the room with a brilliant smile, instantly coming over to embrace me. "Merry Christmas, thanks for having us."

I don't think I've ever seen Rose so happy. It was nice to see. "Merry Christmas, thanks for coming!"

I took note of little Janae hovering close to Rose's side. She had gorgeous, short blonde curls and the prettiest blue eyes. Rosalie had been the first to step in and adopt this precious girl. The girl's real father was a mystery, and her birth mother had put her up for adoption, only because she was half vampire and didn't feel she could raise her correctly. Janae appeared to be close to Little Greg's age now.

"Hello Janae, you look beautiful." I smiled at her.

She grinned from ear to ear. "Thanks aunt Bella." With that, she went skipping over to Little Greg and they began to play.

"Remember to play gently, Greg is fragile." Rose said watching after Janae with concern on her face.

"Okay momma," Janae said simply.

Elijah cleared his throat, a somber expression on his face. He looked so much like Demetri, that at times I found myself calling him Demetri by mistake. They look as though they could be twin brothers. However, he had a few soft features that he inherited from his mother, Avery.

Darius narrowed his eyes towards Elijah. I could see the growing tension in the room as Elijah sat down directly in front of him.

"How's it going Elijah?" Alice spoke, throwing a few glances between the two brothers.

"Fine I guess," He frowned as he made eye contact with Darius. "They promoted me to head mechanic at the shop."

Darius snorted, folding his arms across his chest and leaning back in his chair. "Good for you."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Elijah raised a brow, he appeared to be growing annoyed. "Not all of us get to have the glamorous jobs around Ribbonwood." His tone was light, but there was an edge of attitude to his voice.

"Maybe if you applied yourself a little more…" Darius muttered, looking away from Elijah.

Elijah shot up out of his seat, glaring down at Darius. "Would you like to take this outside brother, I'm not in the mood for your shit today."

This was nothing new between Darius and Elijah. At first they had been really good friends. Darius would take Elijah out hunting and fishing. They spent time together often. But about two years ago they stopped spending time together. They started a rivalry. They constantly were trying to be…. The better son. I'm not really sure what was going on with them. But I had a suspicion that it had to do with their father.

"That's enough boys." Demetri spoke with, looking at the both of them with disappointment. "Can't we make it through one day without fighting?"

Leah watched with amusement, but didn't say a word.

Elijah sat down, heaving a sigh. "Fine,"

Darius didn't respond, he pretended to not even let Demetri register in his mind. He just looked in Edward's direction, waiting to hear Edward's comment.

"We are all family here, one way or the other. Let's just try to get along for today." Edward nodded to Darius with a calm smile.

Today was already turning out dramatic. I only hoped that things wouldn't get worse.


Thanks for reading everyone! Leave a review if you're enjoying this story so far.

Each chapter will be significantly longer than the chapters on the previous story, "Bleeding Hearts". This means that updates will take a bit longer!