A/N: This is it. Thank you to all of you. Hope you like it.
Ciao. JJ :)
(Yes, I did change my pen name, BTW.)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
-One Year Later-
"Oh, my God, I'm so nervous," Ana exclaimed, shaking out her hands furiously as if they were on fire.
"Ana, stop. You're freaking out for no reason," I held her hands to comfort her. "And you look absolutely gorgeous, I might add." She breathed in deeply. Relief instantly washed over her face at my touch.
Carlisle says that sometimes, when a human is changed, they carry over with them something special—he says that my bottomless well of kindness and happiness carried over with me. I was blessed with an extraordinary gift, much like Jasper's. Through my touch, I can manipulate a plethora of emotions, bend their will if you may; I can calm, excite, surprise, incite sadness and fear or enrage the other person though—I would never do the latter of those things. It's not in my nature.
"Hey, sis, nervous?" Aiden asked, wrapping one arm securely around my waist, and kissed my forehead.
"Not anymore," Ana replied with a toothy smile, winking at me.
"Where's Bryce?" I asked, adjusting his tie.
"With Alkaia and Dad, ushering everyone to their seats." Alkaia was Nahuel's half-vampire, Amazonian goddess of a sister—and Bryce's imprint. We've never seen him so happy. Ever since my change—and even more so after he imprinted—things between Bryce and me couldn't be better. He was the older brother I always wanted.
"Ana!" Alice beckoned, waving at her furiously.
"Oh, no. What now?" Ana rolled her eyes.
"Just want to make sure you're perfect is all!" Alice said cheerily, dragging Ana behind her. "We'll be right back."
"Have fun," I said sarcastically as Ana handed me her bouquet.
Aiden and I were alone for the first time in days. With the last minute craziness of the wedding, we were both kept pretty busy. Ana and Moe announced their engagement the day we arrived in Rio six months ago. I was so honored when she asked me to be her Maid of Honor. I would have bawled like a baby were I able to do so. "I've missed you," I said, rising on my tiptoes to plant a kiss on his lips.
"Not as much as I've missed you." Our lips moved together in perfect synchronization. Aiden and I had a rough first year with my transition to this new life. It hasn't been easy—there were times when I found it so hard to fight my instinctual urges. But he was always there, patient, supporting and loving. He never gave up on me. Despite all the hardships we faced, I loved every minute of it.
I can't say that I'm mad or bear a grudge against Alex for the events on that fateful day one year ago. If it had not been for the accident, I wouldn't be here, living my life for eternity with my soul mate. So, I guess in a way, I was grateful for it. Morbid-sounding, right?
"Hey, you two! Knock it off," Bryce teased. He walked over to us hand-in-hand with Alkaia. She looked stunning in her bridesmaid dress.
"Ele não parece bonito no seu terno?" Alkaia purred in her thick Brazilian accent, smoothing out the wrinkles on his tux.
"Obrigado." Bryce was actually blushing.
"I see your Portuguese is getting better," Aiden noted.
"She's a very good teacher." Bryce trailed his finger down the side of Alkaia's face.
"You're a good student," she giggled.
"I don't wanna know," Aiden added.
"I swear, that woman is so annoying sometimes," Ana huffed from behind us. I grabbed her hand, helping her to relax again.
"Chels, you're a lifesaver. What would I do without you?"
"Everyone ready?" Jacob asked hurriedly. He looked like a nervous wreck.
"We're all here and accounted for," I said, placing my hand on his shoulder.
Alice stood to the side of the double-doors that led to the interior of the church. "Places everyone. And Bryce, remember to count!"
"Oh, jeez, Alice. I'm not dumb. We've been over this a thousand times."
The doors swung open and the string quartet started the procession music. After Alice gave the cue, Bryce and Alkaia started down the aisle. Aiden and I walked to the entranceway. I turned back to Ana and smiled.
"You ready? Everything good to go?"
"Yes, " she looked up to Jacob and then smiled back at me. "Everything's perfect."
I looked at Deni, gazing into his adoring, loving eyes. "I couldn't have said it better myself."
A/N 2: Please check out 'Phases,' the prequel to this story. Here is the Prologue for those of you who have not read it yet:
"What is it? What's wrong?" I asked my best friend, my protector—my first love.
"Nessie, I'm leaving for La Push tomorrow," he replied solemnly, his hands buried in the depths of his pockets, as he stared at the floor. He was refusing to make eye contact.
"Leaving? Why? Is it because…because I kissed you?" my voice wavered nervously at the end.
It happened yesterday. I'd always been impulsive, acting before thinking things through. I couldn't help it—there was something that drew me to him. Jake backed away from me—actually he pushed me back—after I kissed him.
"No. Though, that shouldn't have happened. Ness, I'm suffocating here… around all those leeches," his voice was full of disgust but he shot me an apologetic look. "Sorry. No offense."
"None taken," I replied nonchalantly. I understood what he meant—about suffocating. Denali was nothing like Forks or La Push. I, too, felt trapped here—like I was a prisoner. Sure it was beautiful—and safe—but I wasn't allowed to do anything. I wasn't allowed to go to school—to have a life.
"I just need to get away for a little while is all."
"Are you sure that's the only reason? Are you sure it's not because of me? The way you feel about me?"
He leaned back against the wall, hands on his knees–shaking his head. "Nessie, you're just… a kid," he said, remorsefully.
Oh no, he didn't! I hated that everyone still thought of me as a 'kid'—even though, technically, he was right. For every year that passed, I aged three. I was 15 according to those calculations, though I could easily pass for 16 or 17.
"Jake… I see the way you look at me." I stepped towards him, closing the distance between us. I bravely trailed my index finger down his chest—the heat beneath my finger was like a furnace.
He brushed past me, his elbows cocked out to the side as he placed his hands behind his head. "Nessie, you have the wrong idea. I love you—but not like that. This… this isn't happening. This can't happen!"
"Why not? There's something here—between us. Can't you feel it? I know I can – I feel it every time I see you, touch you, hear your voice."
I cut him off, placing my finger over his lips to silence him. "Jake, please. I love you. Don't you love me too? I know you have do, right?"
"Nessie, no. You're too young! You're five for Christ's sake!" His back slid down the opposite wall and he sat cross-legged with his face buried in his hands. "I love you, but not like that."
Tears started forming in the corners of my eyes as I squatted in front of him, pulling his hands away from his face and keeping them securely in mine.
"I'm sorry, Nessie. I just can't." He pulled his hands out from mine abruptly and ran out into the darkness, leaving me alone and crying. I stood there for what seemed an eternity, staring teary eyed at the forest that lined the majestic Alaskan Range.
"I won't be a kid forever, Jacob Black."