Le Epilogue. ;)
I may eventually do some out-takes. (Bella and Edward's wedding, anyone?)
But here it is. The end. In all of its finished glory. -tear-
Thanks to everyone who read, and I hope you'll be there when I come out with some new stories that are already in the works! ENJOY!
DISCLAIMER: I've discovered it's fun writing witty disclaimers. Twilight belongs to Mrs. Meyer.
It's been four years. Bella and Edward are married, still living happily in Forks, and have a three year-old daughter. Bella is 22 years old; Edward and Jacob are both 21. Like Jacob had said, he's slowly beginning to stop turning into a werewolf. Since the rest of the Cullen family will visit every ten years, Jacob's discovered that he can age, and his ability to turn into a wolf just decreases as time goes on.
"Daaddyy!" Emma's small sticky hands reached up to tug on Edward's shirt sleeve. "Will you come push me on the swing nowww?"
We were lounging in the back yard, Edward and I rocking comfortably side by side in a hammock while Emma played with her shovel and pale by the brook. She had never been one for dolls. I smiled at myself. Emma was pretty out-going for a toddler. Thank goodness she hadn't inherited my clumsiness.
"I'll be there in a minute, Emma." Edward promised her, tousling her shoulder-length coffee colored hair. "I'm talking with mommy now."
Her bright green eyes sparkled with excitement. "Okay daddy!" She kissed his cheek as she ran off to finish building her sand-slash-mud castle by the brook, eagerly awaiting her father to come and push her on the tire swing we had set up. She was going to be a very beautiful girl when she grew up.
I sighed happily as Edward wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
"You know, I don't think Alice can take the wait much longer." Edward said, turning his eyes to me. "The pictures just aren't good enough for her. She's dying to get down here and squeeze Emma into a massive hug. I wouldn't be surprised if she found a way to sneak down here."
I laughed at the trueness of the statement. "And she'll be ready to dress Emma up like a doll when she comes." I sighed. "I do miss them though."
"Mmm." Edward mused a little nostalgically. "So do I."
He picked up my hand and laced his fingers through mine.
"Did you ever imagine it would be like this?" I asked him absent-mindedly, knowing he would understand my question with certainty.
"Never in a million years, my sweet Bella." He brought my hand to his lips and kissed the tips of each finger. "But it has been better than anything I could have ever imagined."
With that he turned his head and kissed me, a wave of dizziness crashing over me. I would never get used to his kiss. It was like a novelty. He pushed his lips tenderly against mine, sending sparks throughout my body. Somewhere in my clouded thoughts I wondered if our marriage would ever lose the physical aspect of our romance. As his fingers began to trace my forearm, up and down, sending me shivers, I realized that my last thought was a very, very stupid question.
He was still kissing me, his lips warm and soft underneath mine, our breathing becoming very ragged, when Emma shrieked.
"PUPPY!" She squealed excitedly, and Edward and I broke our kiss, our eyes opening and looking over to Emma.
She was running as fast as her little legs could take her to greet the gigantic reddish-brown wolf that had emerged from the woods, a pair of jeans strapped onto its back leg. Jacob. I couldn't help the growing smile on my face.
"Ah! I love you, puppy!" She squealed with joy as she flung herself onto the wolf, her little arms wrapping only halfway around his massive and fuzzy neck.
Jacob barked happily as he licked her face. "Eww!" She giggled, her eyes still sparkling, not at all afraid of the monstrous wolf in front of her. She bent down to splash her face in the brook, and Jacob took the opportunity to do a quick change in the woods, re-appearing in his half-naked glory.
"Huh?" Emma asked sadly once she had wiped the water from her face. "Where'd puppy go?"
Jacob laughed as he scooped her up in a hug. "Puppy had to go home." He said, his voice deepened with maturity but still carrying a light tone. Emma had no idea that Jacob and the wolf was the same person. We were trying to keep the whole mythical world away from her for now.
"Aren't you excited to see me though, Emma?" Jacob asked with big enthusiasm as he set her down.
"Oh…yeah!" She said, as if it had just hit her that Jacob was standing in front of her. "I love you, too, Jacob!" She squealed happily as she hugged his leg and then ran back to Edward and me, Jacob following her.
"C'mon daddy! Swing me now, please!" She begged him, her lips pouty. Edward laughed and got off the hammock, bending down to kiss my forehead. "I'll let you two talk." He whispered, no hint of jealousy in his voice at all as he ran off to keep up with Emma who was tugging his fingers. We were all beyond jealousy.
"Hey, Jacob." Edward nodded his head politely at Jacob, and Jake smiled back.
"Hey, Edward." He greeted him. So they weren't best friends. But they never were. At least they were genuinely polite with each other.
Jacob stood in front of me, a huge smile on his face. "Mind if I sit with you?" He asked.
"You might break it." I teased, scooting over and letting him plop down next to me.
"Ha ha." He mocked, the grin still on his face. "Very funny."
I laughed as he settled in, letting a comfortable silence settle between us.
"So, what's up, Jake?" I asked, both of us staring at the cloud-filled sky.
"I just wanted to come and talk to you, you know." He said, very blasé. "I never really actually thanked you after what happened a few years ago."
I scrunched up my eyebrows. "Thank me for what?" I asked, letting the hammock continue to swing us back and forth.
"Not turning." He said simply.
I grabbed his hand and held it in my own. "I should be the one thanking you, you know. You're the one that convinced me. The both of us, really."
I could sense his smile without even turning my head to look at him. It tugged up at the corners of my mouth also.
"Well then you're welcome." He laughed whole-heartedly, and it made my heart swell with joy. I had Edward, and I had Jacob. Everything had worked out fine in the end.
"So," I asked, after we had been quite for a while, listening to Emma's giggles from across the yard.
"Emma Cullen, don't you dare jump off that branch!" I could hear Edward's voice from across the yard and I closed my eyes and smiled, laughing on the inside.
"So," I asked again, this time a little bit of the laughter had crept into my voice. "How are you and Chelsea doing?"
I could feel him tense up. "I…I sort of, broke up with her."
That made my head whip around to look him in the eyes. "You broke up with her? Why?" I asked, totally shocked that he had already broken up with his new girlfriend. It had only been a month. "I thought you were doing great…?"
"Oh, yeah we were fine…" He trailed off, playing absent-mindedly with my hand.
"Then what's the problem?" I asked, sensing he was very uncomfortable, and that made me upset.
He let out a low sigh, his voice deep and husky. He looked away from me, and then back directly into my eyes. "What is it, Jake?" I asked softly, my voice very low and concerned.
I could sense he was burning to confess something to me, something that had been weighing on him for a long while.
"Bella…" He started, his voice low and very slow. "I've imprinted on Emma."
My heart skipped a beat. "What?"
He delivered his last sentence again, low and sure. "I've imprinted on your daughter."
My eyes must have bulged out of my head. I had so many questions. "But…but, but I thought you were aging out of your wolf form?" I sputtered.
He shook his head yes. "I am. Or at least I was. The moment you introduced me to her, I knew I had imprinted on her. I've known it these last three years."
My mouth popped open into a little "O." I couldn't believe it. "So, what does that mean?" I asked, and the question seemed entirely stupid yet fully appropriate.
"It means…I'm going to stay 21…for a while. Just to wait for her. Which means I'm also going to stay a wolf for a while, too." He swallowed. "I've made up my mind."
I was almost fighting back tears. "We'll still be friends though, right?" I asked pathetically, not even bothering to calculate our age difference by the time he started aging again-knowing it would be ridiculously big. He had chosen Emma over me. He could keep aging normally with me if he wanted-staying my friend. But he had made up his mind and his heart. For Emma.
"What kind of a stupid question is that, Bella? I've just told you that I've imprinted on your daughter and you ask if we'll still be friends? Of course!" He said, wiping away a silly tear that had fallen down my cheek.
I sighed heavily. I wanted to stay friends with Jacob forever. Of course I would. Our relationship was too strong.
"Oh, Jake." I sighed, pushing some of his messy black hair out of his eyes. He smiled a small smile.
He would be there with her as she grew up. Be her play-mate, her best friend, her lover. He would make her feel better if she scraped her knee, cheer her up if she had a bad day at school. He would give her advice on all her problems, whether they be homework or boyfriend trouble. He would be there for her when she realized she loved him, and he would love her right back. Emma would never have it so good.
"So it's all right with you?" He asked, as if reading my thoughts.
"What can I do to stop it?" I asked rhetorically. "Why would I want to stop it?" I laughed to myself. "Emma is going to have the most generous, good-looking, and loving soul mate out there."
He had a lop-sided smile. "You forgot intelligent."
"Eh, I did that on purpose." I laughed as he smacked my arm.
Emma came bounding up to us. "Jake! Jake! Jake!" She squealed happily, grabbing his strong arms. "You gotta come see this! There's a big giant worm over there! It's so scary- I bet it eats people it's so big!"
Jake laughed as he stretched and stood up off the hammock. "So she's more afraid of big giant worms than big giant wolves. I see how it is." He laughed again and let Emma take him to the side of the brook.
Edward sat back down again, rocking the hammock as he did.
"So what did Jake want to talk about?"
I smiled privately to myself, deciding to wait to tell Edward for a while. I wanted to savor this perfect day.
"Oh, nothing important." I said as he leaned over to kiss me.
"Emma seems to be quite fond of Jacob." Edward mused, breaking the kiss and tilting his head back to watch her splash Jacob with a tiny handful of water.
I tried hard to conceal my all-knowing grin. "Yeah, they're perfect together."
He turned to look at me with a confused face, and I let out a small laugh, grabbing the back of his head and pulling it towards mine, covering his mouth in a kiss.
"Please tell me this is not a dream." I sighed, pulling back so my mouth was just touching his, never wanting to wake up from this life. Never wanting to wake up to a city full of people who couldn't remember me. Never wanting to wake up to an Edward who didn't remember me.
"You're definitely not dreaming, my sweet Bella." He promised, and I let his lips reassure me. And he was right. This was far better than any dream.
(WideEyedMonkey: I'm definitely thinking a sequel is in order. I can't just leave Jacob and his new imprintee hanging! Leave your comments, suggestions, and reviews!)