Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
A/N: It makes me so, so, so sad this chapter, and it's not even because the chapter is necessarily sad, it's because it's the last chapter in the story. And I tried so hard to drag this out a bit longer because even I didn't realize how attached I became to this story, but it was impossible. :P So, yes, this is really the last and final chapter of AYCDICDB and I am truly sad to see it go, though I knew this was the way that I wanted it to end.
I'm just so happy for all the reviews and the love this story has gotten, and thanks so much for all of it. You've all inspired me so much and there is not a single moment that i'm grateful for that, and I know I'm getting all sappy on you, so sorry for that. ;) Thing is, black and white, I love every one of you, and I'm glad that you put up with my bitching, and you know what, you've given me confidence.
So, here's the last chapter, and I hope it makes you as emotional as I am. /sniffsniff
And yeah, this is EPOV, because it just fit so perfectly.
A few weeks later and he was walking again without crutches or a limp, though one of his legs was a bit weaker than the other. He was working on that, though, and he loved how Bella, his old rival Bella, was telling him to be careful so he didn't strain himself. The thing is, she might've said that anyway even if she did still hate him – or, according to her, was trying to hate him – she would have just hidden it behind an insult. It was just the way their relationship had worked, and he had honestly though that was the way they were supposed to be at the time, the way they naturally acted around each other.
Natural born rivals, destined for hate. Still, they had worked together, pushing one another and learning, learning how they thought, how the other person clicked. He knew everything about her before he had told her, just because he had been around her more than anyone else. He had to smile thinking about that, thinking about how she had always acted like she hated him she had always stuck around. She'd ask him to stop, but she never truly meant it.
A couple weeks later from that faithful day in the grass and it seemed like absolutely nothing had changed, and at the same time, everything had. They weren't really sure where to go a few days after, when the morning came and they saw each other at school. She had driven him home that night and they had exchanged an awkward peck on the lips before she had driven off in her old, beat up red Chevy, leaving him speechless and, if he was honest, clueless. Where could this possibly be leading them? Could they honestly start a normal relationship now after all they had been through together?
The answer was an obvious no, of course.
Isabella Swan and Edward Masen had never been able to pass as normal, and their relationship had never been close to the norm for rivals, definitely not for friends, and so why should it change now? Was there any reason for them to be just like everyone else?
He had been so nervous, but he should have known it would be easy.
It was one, two, three, and A, B, C, do, re, mi, it was like riding a bike and tying his shoelaces.
Once you learn you just never forget, once it comes easy it's always that simple. If she had been someone he had just met it might have been awkward, but he knew this girl since Kindergarten, and now he knew everything about her. The fact of the matter was they were still the same exact people, just Edward and Bella, and nothing had changed at all. It should have been awkward, but besides her crimson cheeks when he flirted with her – and he loved that blush, it made his heart pound in his chest so fast he swore it was escaping – it was just the same.
The next Monday when they saw each other in the hallway, they didn't declare their love again, they didn't run into each other's arms like normal couples might, and she had actually glared at him and declared him an asshole for not calling her. He had retorted he hadn't known her number, she had come back with a comment that she could have asked Alice –
Which he could have, but he was scared, and that was besides the point.
It was verbal sparring. It was Edward Masen and Isabella Swan, and it was perfect.
Then they had kissed, and it wasn't sweet and tender, it was a challenge and a competition, one that he won, though she had gotten the best of her after Biology, and he couldn't say that he regretted that. Maybe he'd just have to let her win a bit more often, because the look of satisfaction on her face, the way her brown eyes were filled with it and her cheeks were slightly flushed made him happy, something he would never be able to explain to someone else.
He should have known all along. There was nothing to be afraid of because change was inevitable, but some things never change.
Some things are never supposed to.
He had been wrong.
The stars shifted and shimmered and moved, but they were always still there every single night, just the same as the night before, just in a slightly different place. He should have guessed it would have been like this all along. Isabella Swan had always been the brightest star in the galaxy, and now she had just shifted a bit.
Edward Masen and Isabella Swan made a beautiful constellation together, and he should have known that they would, but perhaps he had always known, somewhere, somehow.
After he realized that everything just seemed to fall into place, and everything seemed that much easier.
Alice threw her head back and laughed at some joke Emmett had just cracked, but he wasn't paying much attention to them, if he was being brutally honest. His eyes were focused solely on the brunette girl across the room, who was smiling back at him. Emmett seemed to catch his gaze, rolling his eyes in a teasing way, and shaking his head. He broke my gaze with Bella from across the room, ignoring Emmett's snicker and Alice's giggle once she realized the situation. Hanging out with his adoptive siblings – who had always been Bella's best friends – probably should have been awkward as well, but somehow, it wasn't.
"So, what are you two up to tonight?" Alice asked curiously as she leaned back on the couch, a bright smile on her lips. She had been the most enthusiastic about the relationship, something he certainly hadn't expected. She even set up a few of their dates, something he didn't ask for but was given anyway. If she could have thrown them a party she probably would, and he didn't doubt she would have if Bella hadn't insisted she didn't.
In such a short time he had fallen in love with the pixie-like girl, he had accepted her like a sister, something he had never done. Emmett, too, was like an older brother to him, and he had never felt that way about someone like that, he had never truly felt accepted in any one of his foster families, like he belonged, but he did. He belonged here with Carlisle and Esme, who treated him like their own son, like he was worth something, like they loved him, and that was certainly enough for him. They were the parents he never honestly had, but had always wished for.
He wondered if he was getting spoiled, or if Bella's genie act had backfired and he had gotten more than three wishes. He doubted it, however, because he wasn't sure he would have asked for all of this, and that was the truth.
"Well, I planned something special," he admitted quietly, gazing over at Bella, who was giving him that disapproving glare she knew so well. It was funny how spending more time with her had only made him learn more and make his feelings for her grow and develop into something a bit more. For instance, she ahted gifts, but it didn't do much good protesting, because he was stubborn and persistent, and he knew that she knew that.
He knew that she loved that, too.
He also had learned that she hated surprises and she hated when he went out of his way to do something special for her, like a romantic evening or a surprise, but the thing was, he felt he didn't do it often enough. Their relationship still seemed like survival of the fittest, and it always felt like they were competing, but still, somehow, very much in love. They weren't rivals with benefits anymore, not truly, but there was no label name for them. He supposed they were dating, but it was more than that.
Dating was such a normal term, and Isabella Swan and Edward Masen had never even come close to normal.
"Ooh, a surprise," Emmett chortled, his voice taunting, but Edward knew better. He was grinning wide, a grin that threatened to split his face in two, and he knew that he was happy for him, for them, but he wouldn't say it. He smiled in return, shrugging his shoulders.
And then there was a shrill ringing sound and Alice was stifling a giggle as Emmett groaned at the Caller ID, though he and everyone in the room knew he had been waiting hours for the caller on the other line, and no one could ignore the huge smile that spread across Emmett's face as he flipped the phone open and bought it to his ear. "Hey, Rosalie. We still up for our date tonight, or what?"
"No, Rosie, it's not like that, and you know it, baby." A pause and a sigh. "Look, it's not like…" Another pause, another sigh, this was routine it seemed, and everyone but Emmett was smiling knowingly. "Rosalie, I told you I'd be there by nine –" Pause. Sigh. Repeat. "Okay, okay, seven, but that's my final offer." Pause. Emmett seemed to visibly stiffen. "Six?" A roll of the eyes. "Fine, six, Rosalie. Damn it, I'll be there five thirty, whatever you want, just expect me on your porch with my jeep and some flowers." One more, lingering pause, another roll of the eyes, and a drawn out sigh. "Right, right. I know you think roses are tacky and corny because of your name, Rosalie. I'll bring some daffodils or some shit like that."
He went on to continue talking, Alice making whip-like sounds in the background and Emmett glaring and trying to get her to stop, and it was routine, it was how it worked, and it was right. Somehow we had all fit together, just like some odd puzzle with a picture no one had been able to figure out. It turned out Emmett and Rosalie, the blonde bombshell of the senior class were soul mates, as far as he was concerned. She was exactly the person Emmett needed, just like he needed Bella.
He caught her gaze from across the room and had to smile because somehow, just somehow, he knew it was true.
"This is nice," her voice was quiet, and he had a feeling that she was on the verge of tears, though he didn't know why. Everything looked different in the moonlight, and her face seemed to glimmer, making her look even more beautiful than before. Her brunette hair was pulled back into a bun, with a single strand falling into her face, and he smiled as he reached to pull it back.
They sat there together in the place where it had really all started, the place he always felt right sharing with her. Even after Alice and Emmett had become, basically, his brother and sister and best friend, he still hadn't shown them this place, and it wasn't because he didn't trust them, it was because it honestly didn't seem right. The beautiful wild flowers and the bubbling little stream and the grass that seemed so much greener seemed to belong to them. It had always been his meadow, the one place he could sit and think for hours, but it wasn't his anymore, it was theirs. The stars seemed brighter here, the moon that much more luminous, and he smiled at the smile on her lips now as she seemed to notice it, too, her eyes cast towards the sky.
"Yes," he agreed simply, letting his hand lace with hers, this time without so much as a moment's hesitation. There was silence in the meadow, everything was just calm, peaceful, and if he was being honest, it was perfect. The first time he took her here it had been like this, and they both seemed to realize what this place did for them, the emotions it brought to the surface, though they were always there.
Usually, the silence didn't last too long, and tonight she just happened to be the one to break it.
"The stars are pretty tonight, aren't they?" she murmured idly, her eyes gaze up towards the sky again, and his moved there too, almost automatically. The stars were very visible tonight, something that was very rare in the small, rainy little town of Forks, Washington. The moon could be seen, too, bright and shimmering, but he had to smirk as he turned to her, the same smirk he had always given her from the very beginning.
Her crooked smirk, she had once called it, and he had loved the way it had slipped off her lips, the way it sounded.
He gently took her chin, bringing her gaze back to him and lacing both their hands together again, reveling in the warmth she gave him as he pressed his lips to her jaw, his lips still pulled up into a smug little smirk, one that he couldn't hold back. "Very beautiful," he agreed, and he almost lost his resolve and laughed at the wary look in her eyes. She knew him much too well, better than he knew himself at times, and he wouldn't have it any other way. "But not as beautiful as you, ma cherie."
She laughed at that, throwing her head back and pulling away from his lips, though he knew that was exactly the reaction he had been searching for. She looked so gorgeous when she laughed, and she held a kind of innocence and natural beauty that was impossible to mimic, something genuine that had entranced him from the very beginning. She was real, she was raw, and she was his Isabella.
He wouldn't have it any other way, either.
"You're a sap, Masen, you know that, right?" she giggled, shaking her head.
He shrugged in response, mostly because she could usually tell when he was lying – she had gotten so much better at that, and he wondered if she should happy about that or not – and he couldn't truly deny that. He blamed it all on her, though. "And you're in love with me, Swan. What does that make you, pray tell?"
"Hopelessly in love with a sap, unfortunately," she laughed, shrugging her shoulders, and he had to chuckle at her, because she was absolutely ridiculous, and he knew that he loved her for it. He leaned in so he could kiss her, and she leaned forward as if to meet his lips, but he smirked and trailed his lips down to her jaw and then to her neck, placing feathery kisses up and down, trailing back up until he finally reached her lips.
When their lips touched, even weeks after they had become a couple of sorts, it still seemed to shock him. His heart pounded in his chest like it was attempting to escape, and his eyes closed on instinct, as much as he fought to keep them open, just so he could see her. Her lips moved with his perfectly, like they were meant just for his lips, and he liked to think of it that way. They fit together, and the feel of her soft full lips against his never ceased to amaze, astonish, and please him, because he knew he could have them whenever he wanted now.
She was his Isabella and his Juliet, and even if they didn't last she'd always have that part of his heart, the part he had already given away to her. It was in her hands now, and he had changed all because of her, he had let her in and he wasn't disappointed.
He had given her his heart, his entire soul, his future, and essentially, his being as a whole, and what she chose to do with it now was ultimately her decision.
"Damn it, how do you manage to do that?" she mumbled as they broke away, and he had to smirk again at the flushed heat that had risen on her cheeks, the glazed over look in her eyes and the desire that was apparent there, and he listened carefully to her labored breathing.
"Anything you can do, I can do better, dear, it's as simple as that, always has been," he murmured back lazily, his lips following his circuit from her neck to her ear, still smirking against her skin. He could feel her intake of breath and it made him laugh breathily, but if he was being honest, he had been panting too just moments before. She drove him crazy, but he would never let her know that, he would never let her win.
"You're an asshole," she accused quietly, though her voice was broken and her arms had wrapped around him tightly, and he had a feeling that she was not about to let go anytime soon.
He chuckled quietly - almost afraid of breaking the peacefulness of the meadow by being even just a little too loud - and bringing her onto his lap. He let her settle her head on his shoulder blade and waited until she was settled and comfortable there, his lips moving from her skin so he could gaze at the night sky again, where her gaze had fallen as well. "And yet you still love me," he pointed out, his voice really nothing but a whisper.
"Hopelessly, of course," she replied matter-of-factly, and her tone made him smile, because it was just so Isabella Swan, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
"L'amo, Isabella," he whispered into the night, his voice lowering to the point where she wouldn't have heard it unless he wasn't whispering it into her ear.
"Love you too, Edward."
He held her there, a smile on his lips as they fell back into comfortable silence, and he listened to her quiet breathing, pressing his lips against the top of her head affectionately. It was quiet and peaceful until he broke the silence again, prodding her gently so she lifted her head and gave him a questionable glance. He grinned, pointing to the sky, and waited until her gaze was there, too, knowing she was waiting for him to explain.
"You see those two stars right there?" he asked, pointing still. She squinted a bit before nodding her head.
"Don't they seem brighter than the other ones?" he asked, the grin still spreading, and he was sure that if it was possible it would have split his face in two. He felt like a child, but he couldn't quiet contain himself when he was around her.
"No, not really," she mumbled, almost embarrassed, as if she had missed something. Her forehead creased in adorable frustration, and he laughed and lowered his arm, setting it around her waist and pulling her more securely to him.
"They should. Their names are Edward and Bella," he told her, a bright smile on his lips, reveling in the feel of her small body against him, right were it belonged.
"They are not, you idiot," he couldn't see, but he somehow knew that she had rolled her eyes. It was instinct by now, like they were one person instead of two.
"They are now."
"You can't just name stars, they probably already have names."
He rolled his eyes, sighing in defeat, and kissing the top of her head. "Well, to me, they're always going to be the Edward and Bella stars. I think they're beautiful." He nodded against her head, playing with a brown strand before settling back into a comfortable position. His arms wrapped around the front of her body and he leaned back a bit, supporting both of their weights, a goofy little smile still firmly on his lips now, one that probably wouldn't fade.
"I think they're beautiful, too."
He smiled against her, turning her head so he could kiss her again, because those were the words he had been waiting to hear.
And the stars shifted one last time, but somehow, he wondered if they had always been in the same place, and he had just been a bit too blind to see. The fog must have clouded it from his vision, must have made what was right in front of him all along a bit too difficult to see, a bit too difficult for both of them to see.
Though, as he watched those two stars glimmer and glow in the night sky, he wondered how he could have been so blind, and how he could have missed the obvious so easily.
They made the most beautiful constellation, and all the other stars must be insanely jealous. Even if they were exactly the same as any other star, to him, they would always be brighter, those two little stars that stood out for him against the rest.
Edward Masen and Isabella Swan. Rivals, friends, enemies, lovers, it didn't matter, because they were them, and they were perfect, and he wouldn't change a thing, not even if he had a hundred more wishes.
In the end, they could fight and spar and argue and compete all they wanted, but in the end, it would all come down to the same thing, and in the end, they both won.
They made wonderful rivals, but an even better team, one that could never really lose even if they lost.
And he wouldn't have it any other way.
The stars above them shifted and burned out and died and moved and changed, but their stars stayed in exactly the same place, the place he realized they belonged. He hugged his arms around her just a little tighter until she looked up again, and he gave her a smile, and she returned it, and their lips met again, and everything started all over again, and suddenly he was flying again, though he wondered if he had ever come down, really.
And when they pulled back and he saw that look in her eyes and that blush on her cheeks and he just couldn't help but think I win, Isabella.
I always do.
So the cycle repeated and the stars shifted and the seconds kept ticking and the earth kept spinning, but somehow he was finally in the place he was supposed to be, and she right there with him.
A/N: It's almost depressing how sad I am to see this story go, and when I wrote the last sentence, I jost broke and almost cried, and I know how sad that sounds, but you know how when you're a writer you're building, building, building towards something and then you finally get there and... I don't know, it's kinda an unexplainable feeling, but if you're an author, I hope you know what I'm talking about. :P Or maybe I'm the only one that gets so attached to her characters.
I think it's been a long ride, and I think that this was where it needed to end, though I've got these ideas rolling around my mind for a sequel, and I'm not sure if I want to go along with it. /shrug I really do think that Edward and Bella have preogressed and grown a lot in this story, though, and I hope you'll give me your final feedback and all of that.
God, I hate saying goodbye. :( I really, honestly do.
Again, thank you all so much for the support, love, and of course, feedback you guys have given me, and I couldn't ask for anything more, sorry for being a total sap. xD
/sigh I happen to love this ending/chapter, and I'd love to know what you think.
Love you all,