Disclaimer: Twilight? Not mine. Fantasies of Cam Gigandet -- definitely mine.
Thanks to the most wonderful beta in the world, readingtime. Love you bb!
EPILOGUE – James' POV
Who would have ever thought this day would come? Yet here I stood, standing next to Edward and Jasper as I watched Bella walk down the aisle, her black gown in sharp contrast to the lavender roses in her bouquet. She smiled at Edward and I as she reached the altar and took her place next to Alice. The music changed and a vision in white appeared at the other end of the church. With sure steps and a determined gait, Heather walked down the aisle on her father's arm. Bella took her bouquet and her father put her warm hands into my cool ones.
"Take care of her, James. She'll always be my little girl." He pursed his lips in determination. He didn't want to cry.
"I will, sir. Forever." I looked into her eyes, and although her father didn't understand the true depth of my words, Heather did. She smiled at me through bloodshot eyes. She had never looked more beautiful.
The ceremony was simple, nothing fancy. The reception was much the same. The color choices were appropriate – black and white. Heather had brought me into the light from the blackest darkness. It was an intimate party, not many people. Heather's parents, a few of her closest friends, the Cullens, Victoria and Laurent. It was just how Heather wanted her last evening with her friends to be – casual, laid back, and fun. The wine flowed and the music played until the wee hours of the morning. I was twirling around my lovely bride when Edward tapped me on the shoulder.
"May I cut in?" He smiled at me and I pulled him into a hug.
"I owe you my life, my eternity. You may have anything you want…within reason, of course," I chided and he laughed along with me. "Thank you for being my best man."
"It was my pleasure. I am not quite sure how to say this, James, so I'm just going to say it. I'm proud of you." I had no words to express the magnitude of the emotions flowing through me at that moment, so I simply nodded my head and turned to the beautiful maid of honor at his elbow.
"Shall we?" Bella curtsied in the most adorable fashion and I twirled her around on the dance floor while Edward and Heather danced. "Would it be in incredibly poor taste for me to say it's much more fun dancing with you now that you have full use of both legs?"
Bella just laughed and shook her head at me, then her expression turned more serious. "When is it going to happen?"
"In a couple of weeks. Jenks has already made all the arrangements. The story will be we went hiking in the rainforests of Costa Rica and got separated from our group – never to be seen from again." Heather had taken every piece of information about me in stride. The good, the bad, and the ugly, and when it was all said and done, she loved me anyway, and chose to join me in this life. I was more than happy to oblige her. She wasn't a substitute for Alice, she wasn't second best. In fact, there was nothing about her that ever made me compare her to Alice. Heather was simply my soulmate, my destiny. She cleansed my soul and lightened my spirit in a way I never thought possible. We were going to enjoy our honeymoon and then I would change her. I had already bought a small home in Costa Rica for us to live in while she conquered her bloodlust. After that, we hoped to return to the states so that I could return to law enforcement, perhaps even with the Cullens. Next to Heather, they were the greatest blessing I had ever been given.
"I'm happy for you," Bella beamed at me.
"Thank you, Bella. You helped save me every bit as much as Edward did. You have a very special place in my heart, I hope you know that."
"I do." Bella looked sad for a moment, then pulled me into a hug and I returned it gladly. "I like your hair short, it suits you," she said as she ruffled it with her fingers playfully. I raised an eyebrow at her failed attempt at distraction. She just shrugged her shoulders.
"Don't worry. Edward will come around. It won't be long before you and Heather are sharing stories about your newborn years. If he hasn't come to terms with it by the time we get back, Heather and I will work on him for you. I am proof positive that vampires have souls."
I felt another tap on my shoulder and turned to see who it was. Alice and Jasper were standing there, smiling at me.
"Come on, darlin', let's give these two a moment, shall we?" Jasper picked up Bella and she squealed as he danced her away. Alice took my hand and I silently followed her as we walked away from the party, out of sight of the guests.
I sat down on a stone bench overlooking the garden and Alice sat down on my lap, wrapping her arms around my neck. I hugged her to me, relishing that feeling one last time before I gently removed her and sat her down next to me. I held her hand and rubbed my thumb across her knuckles. There were no words that needed to be spoken. I loved her; I always would. And she loved me; she always would. But that time had passed for us, and it was time to move on.
Heather approached us with a knowing smile on her face. "Are you ready?" she asked me gently.
"Yes, precious. I am." Alice released my hand as we stood and gave Heather a warm and genuine hug. Heather returned it, then took my hand and together we headed hand in hand for our happily ever after. I didn't look back.
A/N: Okay, folks, that's a wrap. I'm so sad to see it end that I can't even think of a decent Naked James snippet to put here. I would love to hear everyone's thoughts with the story now that it's completed. Please add it to your favorites list if you haven't already done so. I know that is how I find good stories to read. I've had some interest in a sequel. To be honest, I haven't decided yet. Please let me know when you review if that's something you'd be interested in, and put me on author alert if you haven't already so that if I do a sequel, you'll find out. Much love, Lillie