AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm surprised I was able to pull all of this off tonight, but here it is! The final chapter in the story of Piper and Edward. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I have writing it. Thank you so so much for sticking with me through More Like Her and following me into Maybe Tomorrow. Another story is currently in the works, as well as me refocusing on Breathe. But I do have one very important question to ask and hope to recieve many answers. In my next story, who would you like to see as the male lead; Edward or Jasper? This is just one story I'm preparing to start on so don't let that sway your votes. Please let me know and enjoy the final chapter!
Stephenie Meyer's the genius, I'm just playing in her sandbox.
I blew out a noisy breath as I watched humans milling around. It was the first day of school and my insides felt like they'd between twisted into one giant knot.
The entire family had taught me virtually every single thing I need to know about pretending to be human, having spent the last seven years grooming me for this exact moment. There were times when I still couldn't believe that it had been over five years since I awoke a member of the immortal Cullen family.
I'd thought that time would make me immune to all of the beauty now surrounding me, but that wasn't the case. If anything, I found my family even more elegant than I had the day I first opened my eyes to greet them.
The most beautiful was still, of course, Edward. My husband and the best lover I'd ever known. I still wasn't used to the place he held in my life.
"You sure you want to do this?" Speak of the proverbial devil, Edward suddenly appeared beside me and lightly wove his fingers through mine. I gulped noisily and nodded, tightening my other hand around the strap of my school bag.
"More than ready." I admitted and nodded quickly. He responded with a dazzling smile and bent to brush his lips against mine as our siblings rejoined us. Much like they had when I joined them, they were playing the parts of high school students. The only difference this time around was the fact that we were evenly split between the last two grades of high school. Rose and Emmett were going through the high school system yet again, mainly out of a show of support to me and were joining Jasper as a member of the Senior class while Edward, Alice, and I played the parts of high school juniors.
I was finally getting to finish my own schooling. I'd been just about to begin my junior year of high school when life got in the way. It had taken quite some time, but I was finally getting to go back. I'd just yet to reveal the surprise I'd conjured up in the days leading to my and Edward's wedding.
"So when are you going to tell us the name on your file?" Rosalie asked, sweeping in on my right and looped her arm through mine. We had settled near Bella and Jacob, so that the family could continue to watch the unpresidented growth of their little boy, Ephram. He was about to celebrate his fifth year of life and I had to laugh a little at the thought of him starting school around the time I would finally reach my senior year.
"I'm not sure yet." I mused, knowing that Edward was glaring at me again. He hated when I kept something from him and this was no exception. But I wanted him to be surprised, geninuely so. Jasper was still the only one who knew what was up my sleeve and I knew it'd been taxing to keep such a secret from our family. Of course, Alice had seen this but promised to keep her mouth shut as well. Plus, I knew Jasper couldn't keep a secret from her and I didn't want him to start attempting that now. Just for my benefit.
We crossed the parking lot at an annoyingly slow rate, causing the bubbling irritation inside me to spike a little. Jasper sensed that and came up directly behind me, his hand still attached to Alice's, to whisper in my ear. "Just let one of us know if you can't handle things."
I nodded silently and mentally steeled myself as we treked into the main part of the school. Amboy, Oregon didn't really have much to boast about, but they had ideal weather and that was the main selling point. For our family, at least. People were already starting to stare as we filed past them, coupled off with our bright golden eyes staring straight ahead.
Everyone else went off to their first classes, having recieved their paperwork prior to the first day. Because of my surprise, I'd waited until the very last minute to pick up my schedule. Edward had to go with me and risk making himself late for his first class. But he was too ovecome with curiosity to just leave me without knowing my full set of classes. That and there was the whole risk thing that leaving me alone presented.
I just liked believing that the other half of my heart was damn overprotective when he wanted to be.
"Hi." I smiled demurely at the receptionist as she met me at the wide, chest high counter that separated the waiting area from the small pocket of offices and desks. "I need to pick up my schedule, my family and I just transfered in."
"Of course." The woman, Mrs. Jameson from the badge on her shirt, smiled vibrantly at me then became noticably flustered when she locked eyes on Edward. It wasn't until she looked down that he rolled his eyes at me and grimaced. Of course, the kindly receptionist lady would be having impure thoughts about a seventeen-year-old high school junior. "What's your name, dear?"
I smiled again and peeked up at Edward before I finally divulged my secret. "Piper Masen. I'm one of Dr. Carlisle Cullen's children."
"Oh!" She flew into a major frenzy then and practically ran to her desk in order to retrieve everything I would need. Once she was gone, I was free to enjoy the full surpise that encompased my husband's face.
"Are you okay?" I asked, low enough so that only we could hear the conversation.
"Yes." He murmered but was still staring at me with an unfathomnable expression lighting his eyes. "I had no idea you would choose that name when we came to school. What's your full name now?"
"Piper Cheyanne Masen. For the time being, anyway." I shrugged nonchalantly and looked ahead when Mrs. Jameson started to shove papers across the counter to me. "Here's your schedule, and a map of the campus. If you or your siblings need anything, please don't hesitate to come back. We'll answer any questions you may have."
"Thank you." I smiled timidly at her and collected what I would need before I let Edward lead me out of the office. Once we were outside, I had a second to register the dampness in the air before I was turned and crushed to Edward's chest.
Burying my face in his neck, I snickered against the collar of his dark leather jacket when he kissed the exposed column of my throat. "I take it you're happy with my new name."
The ghost of a chuckle vibrated against my throat before he straightened up and cupped my face with both of his hands. "You're constantly surprising me, do you realize how difficult that is?"
"Mmm," I hummed in thought then shook my head as I wrinkled my nose teasingly. "Not really difficult for me. I can lock you out, remember?"
He laughed then, a throaty vibration from deep in his throat as he stared at me in awe for a second longer then slid his hand into mine. "Okay, Ms. Masen, lets get you to class before we ruin the infallible reputation that us Cullen children have."
I snorted and shook my head, falling into step easily beside him. There were still some lingering students, mostly freshman who had no idea where they were headed. But I was surprised to find that their pulses didn't send me into a bloodthirsty frenzy. It was uncomfortable, sure, to have my throat feel like a light layer of fire was coating it. But nothing I couldn't manage. Time around Bella and her human family had helped prepare me far better than any of my vampire family could've predicted.
"That's just because they don't know how unruly you Cullen children can be." I teased, winking at him as I lightly swung our joined hands between us.
"Yeah, yeah." He grunted and winked at me as we walked into our first class. It wasn't until we'd sat down that I realized our schedules matched almost perfectly, except for our last class of the day. Of course. Dirty cheater I'd married. He had Spanish, I had requested an art history class.
The classes I would have with Edward passed in the beginnings of a lazy pattern. Our Trigonometry teacher's name was Ms. Nolan and she stared at Edward more than nessessary as she wove through our desks, reciting what would be on our syllabus for the semester. That pattern followed through the rest of the day and we joined our family in the crowded cafeteria. Food remained untouched in front of us as we laughed and joked quietly around the round table separating us. When lunch ended, I had one more class with Edward and Alice, to my surprise, before I was to strike out on my own. The first true test of my endurance.
As soon as I walked into the class by myself after saying goodbye to Edward at the door, I felt the eyes of every single student in the room on me. Choosing a seat in the back, I looked up in surprise when one of the oogling students dared to approach me.
"Hi." He smiled, probably doing his best to look charming as he slid into the seat in front of me. "I'm Derek Cooper, you're one of the new students, right?"
"I am." I agreed and slid my bag onto the desk before sliding into the unforgiving plastic chair.
His smile grew a little more as he nodded and angled so that he was sideways in his own chair, his right arm braced on the low table in front of him. I was surprised to realize that the seat beside me remained empty. Hmm, maybe he wasn't that brave. Something I was grateful for. "What's your name?
"Piper Masen." I answered politely and looked up when the teacher, an attractive man of about thirty strode into the room and began to gesture students into their seats. Once I had the things I would need from my bag, I set it in the vacant seat beside me and began toying with my pencil. All an act, to appear to be something that I wasn't.
"Pretty name." He admired and smiled invitingly at me. "For a pretty girl."
I had to laugh at that, disguizing it at the last possible second to sound more shy than rude. "Thank you, my boyfriend seems to think so."
"Boyfriend?" And just like that, his face crumpled.
I nodded in spite of myself and held up my left hand, where my wedding band had been for the last four years. "And even if I didn't have one, you'd still have a challenge of your hands if you started showing interest in me."
"Purity ring." He muttered and nodded. "Should've known." He grumbled the next part out, probably in a tone that wasn't met for normal human ears. Mine were anything but and I heard him perfectly. But as he swung around to face the front of the class, I let an amused little giggle pass my lips. If he'd only known the type of girl he'd just been trying to hit on! Edward would die of jealousy when he heard about this. Or probably fall over laughing right beside Emmett. Either way, the possible outcomes of revealing this last part of my day kept a smile on my face as Mr. Swinners called the class to order and began to discuss all of the portraits and artists we would be studying throughout the term. The entire time, more muttered curses floated from the boy's lips in front of me. All centered around me and his thwarfed advances. I intrigued him because I was taken, but I scared him because I didn't look like any of the other girls in school, minus my immortally gorgeous sisters. And every single thing he said amused me far more than it probably should have.
I didn't really care though and let the boy rant himself out about how his luck hated him and all the pretty ones were usually taken or weird. According to him, I looked like I was both. But he was also telling himself a lot of lies, each one sparking an uncomfortable prick in the pit of my stomach. Hmm, that was going to get a little aggravating after a while. But if that was the biggest challenge I was going to face, I would gladly take it.
It seemed that, for all the suffering and turmoil I'd suffered throughout the seventeen years of my human life, my vampire life was reimbursing me for that. I was finally free.
Free to love. Free to enjoy the gifts in life with no strings attached. I was free to let my guard down and be the person I'd thought had been lost to me so years ago.
Most of all, I was free to be happy. And that was the best gift I could've ever been given by Carlisle Cullen and his family.