This is it… the epilogue. I've never written an epilogue before, so I hope you like it!
An EPIC thanks to Twilightzoner and also to all the readers and reviewers who've stuck with me through the story.
GO VOTE – this story is nominated for an Indie Twific Award for "Most Romantic Moment – WIP"!!! (Voting ends 7/29/09)
I looked down at the letter clutched between my shaking hands. It was a small, white envelope addressed to Ms. Isabella Swan, and the return address was for the Dartmouth College Department of Admissions.
Unable to open it, but equally unable to ignore it, I dropped the trembling envelope into the middle of my kitchen table, where it lay as I continued to stare at it. It felt insane to fear such a tiny, unassuming letter, but that very letter held the key to my future. So many hopes and dreams, years of hard work… it all rested in the black and white print contained within that envelope.
Come on, Swan, suck it up and open the damn thing. Just read the first word. Either it will say 'Congratulations' (meaning you're in) or 'Regrettably' (meaning you're fucked).
I picked up the sealed envelope resolutely, determined to read it this time, and I actually got as far as tearing it open, but my hands were shaking badly, and my palms were sweaty, and I thought I'd probably puke on what could be my early acceptance letter to Dartmouth. I put the letter down again, sighing in frustration, then sat down in a chair, resting my head in my hands.
I wanted to wait for Edward, because I knew he'd open the letter for me then hold me as we read the words together, but that made me feel fucking weak, so I grabbed the damn thing back off the table and unfolded the letter, reading it aloud.
"Dear Ms. Swan,
Congratulations! You have been accepted for early admission to the Dartmouth College program for Comparative Literature…"
Holy shit, I'm in! We're moving to New Hampshire in the fall! I have to tell Edward!!!
In shock, I dropped the letter. Edward. Instantly, my feelings of elation melted into a depressing grey puddle of uncertainty. What if Edward doesn't want to go to Dartmouth? Fuck, what if he didn't even get in to Dartmouth?!? It was my number one choice, but I couldn't possibly go there without Edward. In fact, I couldn't imagine life at all without Edward.
Blinking back the salty tears that threatened to fall, I attempted to think logically. Edward's credentials were nothing short of outstanding, but he hadn't received any acceptances yet, and my first had arrived months ago. There was no reason that he shouldn't be accepted anywhere he applied, but as competitive as college admissions had become, sometimes people were turned away just because there were no open positions in the class. Plus, if I thought about it, Caucasian male Biology majors probably weren't exactly rare…
The Cullens had enough money to buy the whole fucking school if they wanted, and then Dartmouth would have to let him in, but it was morally reprehensible, and Edward would never allow it. Damnit!
I was still standing in the kitchen, tear stained and dismayed, when Edward let himself in the front door. For a moment, my breath caught in my throat as I looked at him. It was raining outside, and tiny droplets of water glinted in his messy bronze hair. His snug grey t-shirt was speckled with raindrops, and even his eyelashes were wet. Gulp.
I must have looked as disastrous as I felt, because he was by my side instantly, taking me up in his arms as he peered down me, his perfect brows furrowed.
"What's wrong?" he asked softly, his velvet voice tinged with concern.
Silently, I pointed to the letter on the floor. He retrieved it from where I'd unceremoniously dropped it, then read it quickly, his worried expression brightening into a breathtakingly beautiful grin.
"But, Bella, it says you got in," he said happily, punctuating his statement with a tiny kiss on the tip of my nose.
"Thank you, Captain Obvious," I grumbled, burying my face in the front of his shirt.
Now he was thoroughly confused. "I don't get it—I thought Dartmouth was one of your top choices," he spoke against the top of my head, his arms wrapped securely around my waist.
Reluctantly, I pulled away from his chest to look into his gorgeous emerald eyes. "It's not just one of my top choices, it's my number one—" I began, but he interrupted.
"I thought you hadn't decided for sure which school was your top choice," he said.
"I hadn't, until this morning," I responded with a grin. My face fell as I continued. "At first, I was thrilled, but I know you haven't been accepted anywhere yet, and I couldn't possibly imagine going to college without you. When we said 'forever', I meant it, and if that means that we both end up going to Port Angeles Community College, then that's what we'll do…" I rambled.
He held up his hand to stop me, and I waited as he walked across the kitchen and reached into his backpack. One by one, he tossed a stack of opened envelopes onto the kitchen table. Harvard. Yale. Dartmouth. Dartmouth?!?
"Acceptances?" I questioned, my mouth dropping open in surprise. Edward just nodded, a look of smug satisfaction on his flawless face.
"You… you insufferable ass!" I sputtered, pouncing onto his chest. He caught me easily, having anticipated my attack. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't want your final decision to be influenced by where I had already been accepted," he said calmly, watching my face carefully to gauge my reaction to his words.
I was furious that he had kept this from me, but when I considered it, it actually made sense. Had I known that we were both accepted to Yale weeks ago, I would have taken them up on it without even bothering to wait to hear from Dartmouth. At some point along the line, Edward had become my first priority, and all else was a distant second, even my plans for college. An undoubtedly goofy grin stretched across my face as I allowed his revelation to sink in.
"We're going to Dartmouth!" I practically squeaked. Clearing my throat, I tried again. "Dartmouth."
Edward laughed. "I hear New Hampshire is lovely. Lots of… green." I just nodded, slightly overwhelmed.
"I have to call Alice," I said as my head began to clear, "and Charlie!" I reached for my cell phone, but a large hand shot out to grab mine before it reached its destination.
"Not so fast," Edward rumbled in a low voice, completely catching me off guard. I turned to face him as he continued. "You seriously thought that the only place that would take me is Port Angeles Community College?" he inquired with a dangerous smirk.
Shit. "I… uh… I didn't…" I trailed off, fidgeting under his intense gaze. He moved sinuously, his darkened green eyes shining with a predatory glint as he stalked toward me like some kind of sex panther. Wow, that's hot.
Swallowing loudly, I pulled myself together enough to utter a complete sentence. "I just meant that I'm yours. Whenever, wherever, forever."
He seemed to like that answer, because he pulled me in for a smoldering kiss, his full lips assaulting mine until we had to pull away, breathless. "You had better be careful, saying things like that to me," he said, panting lightly. "One of these days I'll just drop to one knee and ask you to be my wife."
His words made my heart pound until I thought it might burst out of my chest. Yes, yes, yes. However, a thought suddenly occurred to me, and I couldn't resist teasing him. "If you asked, I would say 'yes'," I said sweetly, giving him my best wide-eyed, innocent face.
"You would?" he questioned, dazzling me with a stunning smile.
"Of course," I replied matter-of-factly. "If we were married, then I'd finally get to call Carlisle 'Daddy'."
Edward's mouth gaped open, his face a priceless expression of horror.
Gloating internally, I leaned in to whisper in his ear. "And that's for not telling me about the acceptance letters."
It took him a moment to recover, but then he closed his mouth and looked down at me, and his green eyes were practically black. When he spoke, his voice was deep and rough. "You've been a naughty girl, Isabella. You know better than to tease me, but you did it anyway. And I'm going to fucking punish you."
Giving me a playful wink, he reached down and unzipped his pants.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT. I should probably settle things with the man upstairs, just in case I die of spontaneous orgasm. Trying my best not to faint or come, I uttered a silent prayer.
Dear God, this is Bella Swan. I know we don't talk very often, but I just want to say 'thank you'. I'm pretty sure this is about to become the best day of my whole life, and I just thought I'd thank you in advance. So, thanks. Uh… amen.
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