AN: Okay, so here's the epilogue. I'd like to shout out to Summer Leah (check out her Domward stories), Chica (my favourite critic), Martial, Elodie and Mrs. Quincy, you guys thank you! Your reviews helped me so much. In fact all the reviews were awesome (even the ones criticizing me, I'm glad you cared enough to tell me when I'm doing something wrong). I could go on and on but then I'd end up having to have a whole separate chapter just to tell you how awesome you are.
By the way, just a little advance notice, Emmett is not an idiot. He just has some preconceived notions that are hard to change. Despite how I might portray him he is just as intelligent as the rest of the 'perfect' Cullens.
I sighed unhappily as I stared moodily out of the car window.
"What's wrong love?" Edward asked. He was back to being the concerned, attentive husband and I was back to being…proper and modest.
I looked at him plaintively, "I don't want to go home!" I whined. I sounded like a spoilt brat but I didn't much care. "It's not fair. A year isn't supposed to go by so fast!"
Edward chuckled deliciously and pulled me sideways onto his lap. He nuzzled his face into my hair as he masterfully manoeuvred us around a sharp bend in the road. "We can take another sojourn soon." He promised me. "After all, there's so much I have yet to show you."
Pouting I turned to face him. "But I don't want to have to behave." I moaned. "I only just discovered how much fun being bad can be!"
He smiled wickedly as he pulled into the garage. Leaning in close he murmured into my ear "You do realise we don't need to be on one of our trips to misbehave."
I opened my mouth to comment but before I could start there was a flurry of movement and I was in my seat with my seatbelt on and Edward was holding my face carefully between his hands and rubbing his thumbs over my cheeks. The expression on his face was one of loving admiration but his eyes were alive with mischief. Barely seconds later I heard Emmett's eager footfalls as he burst out of the house and flashed over to the car, almost ripping the door off in his enthusiasm.
"Bella!" He boomed excitedly as he pulled me into one of his crushing bear hugs. "How is my favourite little sister?"
"I resent that!"
Alice yanked me away from him in a manner closely resembling that of a petulant child snatching away her doll from an aggravating big brother. She enveloped me in one of her deceptively strong pixie death grips while glaring at Emmett. "I used to be your favourite little sister!" She said in a fake furious voice.
He grinned unrepentantly. "Sorry Ally, I traded you in for a newer model." When she gasped in shock he continued "Plus the whole 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' thing helps. You know, novelty and supply are all important factors when it comes to standing in my favour."
As she turned to berate Emmett her grip on me loosened and I was snatched up by Edward who tucked me protectively under his arm. "I don't appreciate people manhandling my wife." he told me sotto voce. I giggled, alerting the bickering pair to our presence. They moved in with matching determined expressions on their faces, scaring me. I had the feeling I might well be torn apart by their enthusiasm. Thankfully Edward snarled at them and pulled me closer to him. Just because I could survive being torn to pieces didn't mean it would be a pleasant experience.
They stopped dead, heeding his warning but not happy about it. "You've had her all to yourself for a year man!" Emmett protested. "We want a turn!"
Edward sneered. "She's mine, I can keep her for as long as I like and I have no intention of sharing her. The only reason we came back after a year was because we didn't want you to start searching for us." He wasn't really angry but he was definitely disgruntled at having our time together brought to an end. However the sneering and arrogance was –mostly- for show. He really was glad to see his family again. We both were.
Emmett laughed boisterously. "What, did innocent little Bella teach you a few things about sex bro? It's about time!"
Edward snorted in pure contempt. "Emmett, I know more about sex than all of you combined. You forget, I spent ten years hunting amongst the lowest of lowlifes." He grinned evilly. "Not to mention I can hear every thought all of you've had about each other. Jasper and I know full well what a bunch of sex crazed maniacs you all are."
Emmett stood, shocked, contemplating this. I don't think he'd ever given his younger 'virgin' brother enough credit for his sexual knowledge despite the fact that Edward was both older than him and a mind reader. The idea that Edward not only was well informed but actually knew more than he did seemed to be completely unpalatable. My mind reading husband smirked and mockingly addressed one of his thoughts "Yes, Emmett, I did 'kinky stuff' with Bella."
Alice looked shocked and intrigued but Emmett burst into laughter, instantly discrediting his thoughts. "What, you, kinky? Gimme a break! What, did you do it somewhere other than the bed for once?" He was grinning widely "I've never known anyone more innocent Bella or more prudish than you. No brother, I think Bella'd squeak and you'd turn up your nose at even the mildest things me and Rosie have done."
I decided it was my turn to enter the arena. I slipped my arm around Edward's waist and smiled deviously up at Emmett. "You caught us." I told him sweetly. "Obviously we are complete innocents who probably spent the whole time looking through museums and going to concerts. We cannot possibly have anything on you and Rosalie."
He looked very uneasy. I have no idea why. I was smiling what Edward calls my 'sweet' smile. He tends to get nervous when I smile that way too…
I turned back to Edward just as an unexpected gust of wind blew my hair back from my neck. Alice gasped and Emmett swore in shock (and possibly disbelief in the case of Emmett) as the bite Edward had left on my neck was exposed to their supernatural sight.
With a quick flip it was covered up again. In tandem both Alice and Emmett asked about the bite. I simply hooked my arm through Edward's, looked back at them, flashed my newly acquired dazzling smile and said "What bite?"
I felt Edward shaking with laughter as we mounted the stairs to see the rest of our family.
My dearest was a saucy minx.
I was incredibly proud of this fact. I was most definitely to blame for her transformation and it just showed me how very well suited we were to each other. After all, she had had the capacity; I merely exposed it, refined it, and taught her how to make the best of it.
If she'd chosen the dog she'd probably never have progressed to anything but a few deviations from the missionary positions once a blue moon. Her inner minx would have been stifled and rebellious. The thought made me feel utterly smug and I realised wryly that my inner gentleman had given up pretending that he would have been even the slightest bit fine with Bella choosing someone other than me. The thought that I could make her feel better than anyone else, that I knew her better than she knew herself, made me feel like the most fortunate man to ever walk the face of the planet.
We found the rest of them in the living room arguing volubly over a hand of piquet. That explained why only Alice and Emmett had come to greet us –Emmett having proclaimed piquet an 'antiquated game unworthy of my time, trying on my nerves and lacking the stimulation of poker' back in the fifties, this might have been forgiven but for the fact that he'd been mocking the girls' love of Jane Austen at the same time and thus was now banned from playing until he apologized. Alice was just banned from all card games full stop as was I.
Apart from Jasper's absent nod we went completely unheeded while they argued with an ever increasing volume as to who had actually won the last hand and who had been cheating. Bella looked on in shock as we had never actually played cards with her around before. I had a sudden, happy thought. With Bella's new talent I'd be able to join in the fun. Smirking, I decided it was time to put an end to their squabbling.
"Rose and Jasper were cheating, Esme and Carlisle won and I can play cards now if Bella's around."
Everyone turned to me with expressions of irritation. Obviously they had been enjoying the argument. I shrugged and smiled angelically.
Jasper snorted. "You need an audience to your return brat? What makes you think anyone wants you here?" I grimaced at his name for me. Jasper enjoyed rubbing my face in the fact that he was the eldest bar Carlisle. The fact that I'd been the…firstborn, if you will, rankled with him as did my near perfect control. When Esme and Rose rolled their eyes at one another I flipped him off.
"Of course I must have an audience to witness my return. I am the prodigious son and as for not being wanted…" I shrugged carelessly "There are always those jealous of my genius, it is one of the burdens of my brilliance and a cross I must bear…usurper."
"I think you mean prodigal son," he retorts "your ignorance betrays your youth. Go, greenling, I only take challenges from those over a hundred and fifty years of age. Else 'tis child murder."
I laugh scornfully at his pretentious and antiquated method of address and mockingly reply in kind. "Oh greybeard, you know well that I can run laps around you. You haven't beaten me to date."
"Only to spare you the humiliation whippersnapper." He returns smoothly. At my disbelieving snort he smiles wryly and punches me on the shoulder. "Damn kid, you couldn't've stayed away longer? It was so…" he sighs in what I consider to be a highly effeminate manner "relaxing while you were gone." At least you worked off a little of your lust. Feel free to tell me if you picked up any new tricks while you were abroad, you know Alice loves that kinky stuff.
I grimace slightly at the Alice comment but nod to let him know I'll come to him with some of the things I picked up from the mental chatter when I actually did the world tour thing. Plus I'm sure he'd enjoy the restraints. Jasper understands that I'm not the innocent most of the others think I am, I understand he isn't the perfect 'Southern Gentleman'. We both look upon Emmett with amused condescension and allow him his little illusions of sexual prowess. Emmett is our favourite brother because he's so entertaining but Jasper and I have a mutual respect and camaderie.
To a certain degree we both share that same relationship with Carlisle…just without the frankness about our sexual tastes. On my part it's because Carlisle made me and has assumed the parental role. All three of us are from times where such things weren't talked of openly and although Carlisle isn't naïve or unknowledgeable about such things his tastes aren't as…unconventional as ours are. He likes variety as much as the next man but his variety isn't as varied as Jasper's and mine. Long before I met Bella I was contributing a great deal our conversations and discussing impartially what practices appealed to me. We both emerged greatly enlightened from these duologues.
Esme came over and drew us both into her tight embrace. Both she and Carlisle bombarded us with questions as to what we'd seen and done and we gave them the heavily censored version of our travels.
Alice (who had entered with Emmett while Jasper and I had been reacquainting ourselves) finally lost her patience and grabbed Bella from me and dragged her to her room, planning on interrogating and browbeating her until she spilt every last detail of our 'adventures'.
Poor little pixie. She thought it would be easy. Little did she know that Bella would play coy, shocked, indignant and mysterious before leaving her with some non-answer that seemed satisfying until she thought it through properly. I chuckled silently. It was good to be home.
This AN is going to be long so I'll add headings so you can skip over the bits you don't want to read…
WHINGING & EXCUSES:
Short? Yes. Late? Yes. The second one isn't completely my fault though; my internet's playing up again. I can just about check my mail and open up the chapters from FF. I can even leave and reply to reviews sporadically. Uploading and publishing a chapter of my own? Not so easy. Plus I wrote this slowly. I am utterly exhausted and I'm actually on a break right now. I've been revising like mad and French is slowly driving me insane. I wake up at night saying "vampire mechant, tombe amoureuse de l'un d'eux, amené les déchets, vampire mechant, vampire mechant, vampire mechant." My mother is apparently unsatisfied with my pronunciation (of pronunciation among other things) of vampire mechantand she makes me say it over and over. I am going mad. Does one require GCSEs to be committed to a mental asylum? If I could but keep my books and my laptop I would gladly submit myself to the men in white coats if it meant I never had to worry about French orals again.
BEGGING FOR REVIEWS & VAGUELY IMPORTANT NEWS:
Review, please, for the sake of my sanity. You won't be hearing from me for a while but after my exams I have a three month holiday in which I hope to indulge in an orgy of writing. Send me all your wackiest ideas and I'll add them to a list of things I might write about.
I actually have several ideas in storage (read; stories and fancies that may or may not see the light of day) I have one that I'm fairly certain I'll end up doing (Bella & the Beast), an Isle Esme one shot (also very likely, possibly more so), this utterly insane piece that gets very dark in places but is actually pretty funny at times with a kick-ass Bella (literally) who has a bad past (no, not rape or evil vampires) who's resigned herself to an early, violent death and ends up being brought back to the world of the living by the dead (vampires). I have a fondness for the story but it has almost no plot, just an OC and 22 pages of ideas and excerpts. Oh, and an opening/foreword so pretentious I must have been high when I wrote it. It's too funny to delete. I have a couple other stories but they're so wispy there's no point even jotting them down. If you have ideas or want to hear more about any of these just let me know…
Now that my AN rivals my epilogue in length I'm going to shut up. I hope you enjoyed. Tell me if you did. Or hell, even if you didn't. It's nice to hear from you. I only ask that if you criticise or flame me…sign it. You guys often bring up good points and you have a right to hear back from me.
I don't bite (much). Promise.