Hopefully you read my massive A/N in my prior posting of Chapter 53. However – there has been a slight change of plans. I've decided not to continue with a sequel. I think the ending here with their plans for the future is all that's needed for Jasper & Bella right now. I hope that you all agree and again – thank you so much for your support and patience. It means a lot to me.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, any of the characters in Twilight, or anything related to the books and/or movies. If I did, I would be way too busy - doing dirty things with Emmett & Jasper - to sit down at my laptop and write this story. The scenes and general plot ideas that I did borrow from Stephenie Meyer have been revamped to fit my story.
Learning to Live Again
My knee was bouncing as I anxiously waited for my name to be called. Today was supposed to be happy and full of laughing and picture-taking and making memories with your family. I'm sure I would have all that later, but right now I was just extremely uncomfortable. I was sitting here surrounded by classmates in this God-awful robe, sweating to death. Don't get me wrong, I liked the decent weather – and was even more appreciative that the clouds were blocking the son so that my fiancé could see me graduate high school for what I'm sure would be the first of many times.
That was another thing on my mind… my change. Actually, so much had already changed. After everything died down with the fight, Carlisle had sat us all down for some decision-making time. It was decided that we would in fact let Charlie in on our secret, but we had to come up with the best way to tell him. I felt that it would be ridiculous to go along with Emmett's plan of just going home and flat-out telling him. I was a bit more subtle than my brother, though. The truth is I just couldn't fake my death. I couldn't do that to Charlie; it would devastate him. And I couldn't live in a world where there was no possible chance for me to see my father again. Maybe I was selfish for that, but I didn't care. He was my dad.
"Jessica Stanley… Isabella Swan…" I heard announced by our principal. As soon as my name was read aloud, there were cheers from the crowd of family and friends. I glanced over my shoulder with a bright smile on my face as I walked toward the stage.
I only stumbled once while I looked at my father cheering, seated in between Jasper and Jacob who were both standing and clapping for me as well. Leah was next to Jacob, smiling but not really interested in the scene. I didn't blame her – she was never going to warm up to me. She didn't like that Jacob had a crush on me before he imprinted on her and she really didn't like that I was going to be turned into a vampire in the next month. At least she was being polite today.
I grabbed my diploma and started walking back down the aisle to take my seat again. This time, I noticed that the rest of the Cullens were seated behind my father, also cheering and smiling for me. They had been through dozens of graduations during their lives, but I know that this meant more to them. It was a way of helping me say good-bye to my old life and welcoming me into their family – even more so than I already was. I gave a quick wink to Jasper before I sat down and turned toward the stage again.
As the rest of my class was called up to get their recognition, I looked down at my hand and smiled. Jasper had kept his promise and gotten me a ring. We had actually gone shopping for it together. He wanted to make sure that I loved it, and I wanted to make sure that he didn't break the bank in purchasing it. We had driven to Port Angeles and looked in countless stores, not finding one that really caught our attention. We were both about to give up out of sheer frustration when Alice had texted my cell phone and told me to stop walking and go into the store directly across the street from where we stood.
I had been skeptical at first when I noticed it was a pawn shop, but I should have known not to bet against Alice. There- in the window display case- was a simple round diamond with two sapphire accents. When we asked the owner about it, he explained that the seller had told him it had been in her family since the Civil War. If that didn't sell us on it, nothing ever would. Of course, we had updated the settings – it would need to last me an eternity after all.
Once the fight with Victoria and the newborns had been settled and we'd all had a day to relax, Carlisle had made us sit down as a family and have a serious discussion about my future. It was decided that Jasper and I would move to Alaska, under the pretense of going to school there. Apparently they had a contact name Jenks that could falsify some documents for me to show my parents – an acceptance letter, financial aid forms, report cards. It was pretty crazy to me, but I wasn't about to ask questions that I didn't really want the answers to.
I would make up stupid lies to Charlie about not being able to come home to visit during the holidays – and I would feel guilty, I'm sure. Well, maybe I would feel guilty. I wasn't sure exactly what I would feel after my change. It was going to be immediate. As soon as Jasper and I arrived to our secluded cabin in Alaska, he was going to change me. Carlisle was going to stay for a few weeks to help with the transition and Esme would visit and take him home. As much as I loved my family, I needed it to be just Jasper and myself for awhile. But I also knew that it was important for Carlisle to be there so that we could figure out what was going to happen with my newfound super-powers.
I was scared and nervous and excited and so many more emotions that I couldn't really explain. I could tell that Jasper was becoming a little unnerved when he was around me and my cocktail of feelings, but he was such a trooper. He just tried to calm me the best he could and when that didn't work, he sexed me up until I was practically numb. I preferred the latter – and so did he.
Charlie had taken the news of our moving- and engagement- quite well. He only threatened once to lock me in my room until I was thirty. I think having a family dinner with everyone helped. He was able to see how well I fit in with the Cullens and how much they all truly cared about me. I think he even hated Edward a little bit less – a small miracle in itself.
My mother was another story. She yelled at me for wanting to move somewhere that was even colder and farther away from her than I was already. Then she told me it was a mistake to get married so young, because it was such a huge commitment. If only she knew that I was making an even bigger and deeper commitment than she could even fathom. I had pledged to love and live happily with Jasper for eternity. And I was ready for it.
Last year, I thought that I would be with Edward forever – even with as apprehensive as he had been. But now I knew better. Edward and I were exactly what we each needed at that time. I was nervous about moving here and he still hated the creature that he thought he was. We were good for each other. We helped each other grow into better people. Edward was more mature now – not needing everything to go his way. I was stronger and more independent. Then Jasper came along and made me more secure with myself. He was what I needed for the rest of my life – the rest of forever.
I stood up with the rest of my class and smiled as I threw my graduation cap into the air. I turned around toward Jasper and beamed even more brightly at him. I saw him mouth the words 'I love you' to me and whispered them back. I knew he understood me – he always had and he always would.