Author's Note: Ah, the end! Read while listening to Fonseca's "Te Mando Flores" or La Orega de Van Gogh's "Puedes Contar Conmigo." I wrote this listening to them (yes, I'm a Scottish gal living in Southern California listening to music from Spain and South America. Just to clear that up!)... I wrote a lot at the bottom, to conclude/sum up some stuff, so please do read it! It contains some pertinent info.

Epilogue: To many more…

The first twenty years of my immortal life were horrifyingly long. These past twenty years, I wished that time would slow down, not that it mattered; we had eternity. With Edward, there was life – I found myself smiling voluntarily, laughing; nothing was forced anymore. I had the family I always wanted – the Cullens came together to form the largest coven outside of Volterra.

Volterra. We were on the plane now, Edward and I – sitting silently, my head on his shoulder, as if we were asleep. This was my first return to Italy since I'd resigned my position in the Guard. I wanted to pay a visit, and my respects, to the people that helped me through my misery.

Edward squeezed my hand as he observed a couple across the aisle – young, in love, and obviously on their honeymoon. I smiled, and slid into my memories once more.

"They're beautiful, Edward!" I lifted the bouquet to my nose.

"Not as beautiful as you," he kissed my forehead lightly, "Happy Anniversary."

I spun around, and searched the kitchen for an unused vase. "Why can I never find anything around this house?"

"I don't know," he laughed, watching from his spot, perched on the counter. "It's your house."

"Yours too," I countered, still searching. My husband laughed, and I turned to find him holding the vase behind his back.

"What are you up too?" I asked, taking the vase from him and preparing the flowers.

"Just teasing you," He said, looking over my shoulder and admiring my work. "Still not as beautiful as you are."

"Thank you," I whispered, sinking into his arms. The words held more than just gratitude for the flowers, and he knew it.

"I love you."

"I love you too." He replied, breathing in my hair and kissing my cheek.

"Happy Anniversary, Edward."

He kissed me on the lips now. "And here's to many more."

OOOOOOOOO

Terribly Verbose Author's Note of Doom!!! (Confusing stuff explanations included!)

So, before I lose your attention, here's the "mas importante" business:

I'm going to be writing some short little stories, in the interim while I try to complete my next full-lenth fan fiction before actually posting it. So, if you enjoyed Guard My Heart, keep an eye out for new stuff by "thesunshinekid" – including the announcement of my next story…

I currently have no real plans for a sequel to this tale, but if anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I'll gladly take your advice! Summer's coming up, and I want to spend my time reading and writing (since most of the time I'm too unwell to leave the house).

As I said at the beginning (I'll repeat it for peace of mind) I own neither Twilight, nor its respective characters.

I do apologize – I realize that later chapters were nowhere as good as the early ones (I didn't spend nearly enough time revising and editing and fleshing out as I did in the early ones). Review, and tell me which was your favorite chapter! I'm interested (I recently reread my beginning, and discovered that I loved the scene with the Count, probably because it got Bella into some new surroundings…)

CONFUSED?

The confuzzling numbers: For my purposes, we assume that Bella has been a vampire for about a year before she exiles herself to Volterra. She lived in Volterra for a year, at the end of which Edward disappears. She then lives another nineteen years in Volterra (21 years as a vampire, you following?). The epilogue takes place twenty years in the future.

I realize that the story's format was a smidgeon confusing (and heavily influenced by a few too many episodes of Lost!). I tend to waffle, instead of being completely set on details - I'm working on that for the future! Hopefully I wrapped everything up in the end, but if not, just ask, and I'll try and go back to fix it, for the future.

As you might have noticed, my title comes from Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." It's totally appropriate, don't you think?

So… I actually don't like author's notes all that much, especially as posts without chapters, but I've come to find them useful.

This story was originally 3 or 4 chapters longer – but, as certain aspects fleshed out, I found the need to lengthen stuff (ie. "Letters to Bella," which became its own chapter) and cut stuff (my ending was four chapters long, instead of two). I've never experienced the characters taking control before, and though mine aren't as well developed as the originals, they operate the same way.

I loved getting reviews; they were all really nice – I actually feel like none of you were mean enough – for future reference, if something about my style irks you, tell me! I do want to improve, that's why I joined this fan fiction insanity. (By the way – is anyone annoyed by my use of the past perfect? I think it's because we kept reviewing it in Spanish for the AP – it's stuck there now!) Anyway, you reviewers are wonderfully consistent – that alone has kept me going!

Now, I must mention that I tend to listen to music while I write (unless I'm amazingly inspired and need utter quiet). So, a special thank you to All-American Rejects "It Ends Tonight" and "Move Along," Fallout Boy's "Dance Dance," The Killers' "When You Were Young," Juanes' "La Camisa Negra," and Idina Mendel's new version of "Defying Gravity," and everything David Crowder, (these songs are constantly on repeat).

In summation, this was my first fan fiction, and the first real story I've ever completed (and liked). The first kiss I've ever written into a story. I was terrified of writing the ending, and until I was sitting, staring at the computer screen, I really didn't know how I was going to achieve it. I've loved every minute of writing recently – I've felt uninspired for months. Yay! So thanks to YOU, my readers, for sharing this experience with me!

Lotsa' Love,

Judith – a.k.a. "thesunshinekid"