DC: I don't own it

Thanks to my reviewers.

So I think I'm going to wrap the story up now. Thinking about it I feel like the story has reached the point where I could end it and I wouldn't have ruined it.

Not only that but I have what is most certainly carpal tunnel and writing hurts. Blah. I think Edward did something to my wrist. He's tired of me screwing with him and the other characters. Hm.

Chapter 18,

Bella found that she was sad to leave the island. She sat in the airport with Edward, resting her head lightly on his shoulder. Something was on her mind and she didn't dare share it with him. She was sad. Edward kissed her lightly on the forehead and smiled gently.

"Are you happy my love?" he murmured.

Bella nodded. Generally yes. Just not at the moment. She could hear two elderly women gossiping about this and that a few seats back. They commented about how sweet she and Edward looked. Newlyweds. Or so they believed.

"You two must be newlyweds!" one of them said as they waited for their flight.

Edward smiled his charming smile and looked at Bella. "Actually we're just engaged."

"Oh that must be it!" the other said. "You two just look so deeply in love!"

Bella was distracted. She smiled at all the right times and laughed with them but her mind was elsewhere. Distracted by two people sitting near the window. It was a man that looked to be in his early seventies and a small little woman. He had dribbled something down his chin and she was dabbing it away with a little laugh.

"Oh you are as messy as our grandchildren!"

"I'm sorry dear," he laughed. He kissed her cheek quickly as she folded up the napkin she used and dropped it in the can next to them. She giggled and blushed.

"Oh stop!" she laughed, flustered. She snuggled closer to him, under the arm he wrapped around her shoulder.

Love was everywhere. Two young people on their honeymoon, a middle aged woman kissing her husband goodbye and bidding him a safe trip while their son bounced around her feet. A young man greeted his girlfriend with a giant hug and a kiss.

"Bella? Honey come on," Edward said, tugging on her hand. "Are you alright?" he asked.

"Thinking," she mumbled.

"About what?" Edward asked.

Bella didn't answer. She was lost in her thoughts again. Lost in her memories. Memories of a little nudge, a little flutter. Without even noticing her hand had rested on her stomach. As if she expected the little nudge or flutter. She felt Edward's hand on hers.

"Sweetheart?"

"I was pregnant with Henry and it lasted. I could feel my baby against my hand. Then I lost it. Just like that. My little nudger left me so quickly, it was as if it had never wanted me."

"Women lost babies frequently back then when medicine..."

"Medicine doesn't stop your husband from throwing you down stairs in a drunken rage."

Edward leaned over and kissed her cheek gently. "Believe me when I say this," he murmured, "if I could give you a child I would, and I would guard you both until the end of my days."

She kissed him. Kissed him through dry sobs. He held her tightly, desperately. He didn't care if everybody saw. He held her head and her body. She wrapped her arms tight around his neck and pulled her lips away. She rested her forehead on his. She kissed his lips softly then she closed her eyes.

"I wish... " she murmured but she didn't finish it. Edward lifted her and without another word they both retreated to their paradise.

--

After another week of enjoying the island they knew it was time to go home. Carlisle met them eagerly at the airport. Bella saw him the moment she stepped off of the ramp and left Edward's side. She ran and jumped into his arms. He spun her around and hugged her tight.

"Papa I missed you!" She cried.

"I missed you too sweetheart," Carlisle assured her, after kissing her temple and squeezing her tight. "Edward!"

Edward accepted the warm hug from his father and then the following one from his mother.

"Where are the others?" he asked, not seeing his siblings.

"Emmett and Rosalie are on yet another romantic getaway for two and Alice is at home with Jasper. They wanted some peace for once."

Carlisle looked a little irritated at what that peace was meaning. Edward felt for Jasper. Alice was one of Carlisle's daughters.

"I love how effortlessly he obsesses over stupid things," Esme sighed, semi sarcastically. Bella laughed and received her hug from Esme. She watched as her new mother put her hand in her father's and gave his fingers a squeeze. "So did you two have a good time?"

"Lots of bible reading and CNN watching?" Carlisle asked.

"Lots of kinky sex having and strip tease watching is more like it," Bella teased.

"It's like you enjoy tormenting me."

"It is a past time of mine," Bella agreed. "Though Edward biting pillows was interesting."

Edward would have gone bright red if he could have. "Well, Bells clawing the sheets was interesting too."

"Aren't you two cute!" Esme squealed. Carlisle grumbled something nobody caught. "Carlisle!"

"What?!"

"Weren't you going to promise them something?"

"Women remember everything!" he complained.

"Carlisle Morace Cullen!"

"Dude that's your middle name?!" Edward laughed. "And I thought I had it bad!"

Carlisle grumbled. "I won't get in the way of you two having maritals even if you aren't technically married. You are both responsible adults and I apologize for...for..."

"Cock blocking me?" Edward asked.

"Yes."

"I'd say payback is fair game but I wouldn't want to punish Esme."

"How sweet," Esme muttered.

Bella trailed off from Carlisle's and Edward's bickering. She saw them again. A couple. Just a random couple that had absolutely nothing to do with them. They were happy. Happier than anyone else. Bella glanced back at Edward, who was still bickering. Carlisle was babbling about how they aren't properly married, therefore they shouldn't be having sex. Edward was arguing that Carlisle was an old man who needed a reality check.

Sure, being married would mean that they could have sex and it would be alright in the eyes of the nameless god that Bella had more or less ignored for the longest time, but that didn't seem to mean a thing to the people she saw. They were happy. He spun her around and kissed her lips, behind them another pair shared a silence filled only by the wordless emotion in their eyes. She remembered Maria. The scared woman who died beside her while her husband begged for her life.

If only Henry had done that...if only he had loved her.

She looked back towards Edward who was trapped in a playful headlock, laughing as he clawed at Carlisle's arms. He wasn't Henry. He was playful and happy. He was everything Carlisle had wanted for her (even if he didn't know it himself) and it was everything she had wanted for herself. So why did it scare her? Why did committing herself to Edward in every way possible scare her?

She felt Esme's arm around her shoulders. "Come on dear, let's let the boys have their immature fun."

"Esme can we go somewhere? I need to talk away from Edward and papa."

"Certainly, dear," Esme said. She sent a quick mental message to Edward who looked up at her strangely, but ducked just as Carlisle reached for him.

--

"Do you ever wonder if you made the right choice with papa?"

"What do you mean exactly?" Esme asked.

"When he asked you to marry him...what was it like?"

"Well," Esme said slowly, replacing the sunglasses she had been trying on, "he was nervous. He had spent several months figuring out how to ask me. Finally he just did. I was scared, of course. I mean my first husband was probably very much like yours."

Bella didn't say anything, she looked over at the odd hats. Why they escaped to the local mall she never knew.

"Carlisle saved me in every way that a person can be saved," Esme continued. She brushed her hand across her neck where he had bitten her. Bella could see a single crescent mark. She knew hers was hiding on her palm, now covered by burns but it was still there. Carlisle was kinder than Aro was. He delivered the venom directly into the primary veins. Very much like a doctor.

"When I look at Edward I see everything I had ever wanted. Everything papa ever wanted for me. And yet..."

"Getting over that fear isn't easy," Esme said gently, putting her arm around her shoulders like a mother would. "You lived with the fear longer than I did and therefore you will have to fight harder to be rid of it."

Bella looked off into the distance. She bit her lip softly and focused hard on the glittering bottles of perfume under the fluorescent lights. She pulled lightly away from Esme.

"What's wrong dear?"

"Nothing," Bella said over her shoulder. "There's just something I have to do."

--

Edward was anxious for Bella to come home. He and Carlisle had gone ahead without the girls after they disappeared for some alone time. Sure he had spent several beautiful days with her, but this day was special. He had a surprise for her. A key to their own place. Carlisle had bought that Esme was giving it to them as a wedding gift. He probably would have freaked if he knew the truth. Known that Edward was going to whisk Bella away to a beautiful cottage of their own.

He was so giddy Jasper couldn't help but give in and let the big grin spread on his face. That made Edward laugh and Alice roll her eyes.

"When will they be back?!" Edward whined.

"Oh be patient," Alice sighed, "you're worse than Emmett!"

"Nuh uh!"

Jasper laughed and Alice rolled her eyes. Edward perked when he heard giggling. He ran to the door just as Bella and Esme walked in. He grabbed Bella first and kissed her cheek. "Finally!"

"I was only gone an hour," Bella laughed.

Edward smiled and took her hand. He pulled her up the stairs and into their room, ignoring Carlisle's mutter (they can't possibly want to have sex again!).

Edward sat her down and grinned.

"What is it?" Bella asked with a small smile, "you're acting insane!"

"I had Esme make something for us. Something I know you'll love."

Bella sighed and let him go to his dresser where he pulled out a velvet box. He got down on one knee and she looked at him questioningly.

"Bella Cullen," he said seriously, holding her hand gently, "will you move in with me?"

Bella laughed and nodded as he opened the box to reveal a little key. Downstairs Carlisle squawked his surprise and glowered at Esme. Bella was in Edward's arms by the time she heard Carlisle leave to sulk in his study.

"You've been so distant lately, I'm happy to see you're back to normal."

"I've been doing a lot of thinking," Bella said quietly. "About things."

"Good things?" Edward asked.

Bella took Edward's hands. "I love you and I just realized that nothing else matters."

"Took you this long?" Edward asked playfully. Bella rolled her eyes and turned away. "No seriously!" She stuck her tongue out at him and walked off. She knew he'd follow. He couldn't help it. She reached for his hand and he took it.

"I realized what I want isn't what I thought I wanted and what I thought I wanted was something that I could have never imagined."

"You wanna run that by me again?" Edward asked.

Bella turned and went into Carlisle's study, where he pretended that he hadn't been sulking, but rather catching up on reading.

"That doesn't work," she reminded him.

"What's up?" he asked.

"Papa there is something I need you to do for me," she said. He nodded and stood up, walking to them and leaning against his desk.

"Anything for you pumpkin."

Bella turned to Edward and took his hands. "I love you," she said, "and I know now that I always will. That you aren't the same as the others. With you, my heart is free and cared for."

"Always," Edward promised. "Bella I love you."

She was vaguely aware of Alice outside in the hall, trying to contain her giggles while she tried to keep her mind clear. She already knew. Bella sighed. "We have company."

"Everyone by the sound of it," Edward said. "Anyway, go on."

"Edward," Bella said, looking deep into his liquid topaz eyes, "will you marry me?"

His lips broke into the brightest smiles and he kissed her.

"SAY YES!" Alice squealed loudly.

"Yes," he said against her lips. Then he realized why Bella needed Carlisle's help. He looked up at his father, mentor and best friend was standing before them with his old bible in hand. He opened it and began to read the passage he had selected on the day of Bella's birth. The family watched with silent tears of joy.

"Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, do you take this woman to be your wife to love forever for as long as you both shall live? Do you promise to love her and cherish her, and to keep her safe in the warmth of your heart?"

Break her heart and I'll tear you to shreds! I promise Edward! I will!

"I do," he said softly.

"Bell Mary Cullen, do you take this man to be your husband to love forever as long as you both shall live? Do you promise to love him and cherish him and keep him forever in your heart?"

"I do," Bella said.

"By the power vested in me by the Church of England and Almighty God, I pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride..."

If you must

Edward laughed softly at the mental comment and kissed Bella tenderly on the lips. The family cheered and he felt her smile into his lips. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her.

I'm proud of you, son.

They broke apart and Bella looked into his eyes. Every emptiness she had felt had been filled. He was her husband. He was the one she was going to live and presumably, eventually, die with. He loved her for everything that she was and everything she would be. He loved everything from the scars on her hands to the beauty of her face. Every inch of her heart belonged to him and it felt different than it had when the priest said those horrible words so many years ago. She wasn't given to him by another. She was given to him by the nameless force that was there with her the day Aro saved her from death, that drove her to find her father and in fact, her destiny. Everything she had hoped for was coming true. Her father watched protectively from the sidelines with joy in his heart and his smile with his arm around her new mother, her true mother, and her brothers and sisters around her. A family. Everything she wanted.

"So are you up for another honeymoon?" Edward asked.

"Oh sweet heaven you two and your hormones!" Carlisle moaned.

Bella squeezed Edward's hand and smiled, "I'm up for anything, just as long as you stay beside me."

He kissed her cheek and then her lips.

"I'm yours."

The End

OW! Yay I finally finished it! And the muse is completely dead! I originally wanted to have the surprise wedding just before the reception. Come to think of it I don't know why I changed it but oh well. I finally finished the chapter and escaped with minimal pain! My wrist is feeling a lot better so I should be able to start writing more soon. I'm going to try to pace myself because I think that is what put me in this situation in the first place. That and my major is Social Sciences, primarily history which means lots and lots of note taking and essay writing. Not to mention my phys ed class is tennis and racquetball. All three are big contributers to CT or tendonitis (or however the heck you spell it). But I'm going to go now and sleep. The pain is overcoming the painkillers and is like enough already! I hope you all enjoyed it! Review and check out some of my other stories. I'm going to start a new one soon if the muse sticks with me.