A/N – Yes, I know it has been awhile. Yes, I am very sorry. Yes, this is the epilogue (finally). And no, it is not beta'd so please forgive me.
"I know what you want
I know what you need
Better than you do
I know why you came
I promise you"
"Beauty has her way" ~Mummy Calls
I came this close to being called Moonbeam
Edward and I lay curled up in each other's arms enjoying the early morning hours of solitude before our day began. He had been gone for a week to another store opening and I had been working on another novel. I hated when he was gone, but his travel did gave me the time I needed to write. Edward pulled me tighter to him as my hand gently rubbed across his bare chest. Things were good now and I couldn't help but marvel at how far we had come in two years.
When Edward had gone through the transition of becoming a vampire, I had to consider what would happen if he didn't make it through the change. Just thinking about how he could have died brought me physical pain, and I was eternally thankful to whatever held the key to our lives that he had survived. He had come back to me and we would live together, forever -but not without sacrifice.
Even though Edward's love for me was strong, he had a hard time overcoming his bloodlust. He started off with the vegetarian lifestyle, only feeding off of animals, but struggled with the constant fight against his natural instincts to feed on human blood. Once he had changed and was adjusting to his new life, it didn't take us long to discover that, Edward had a gift. He was able to hear the thoughts of everyone around him, well, everyone but me. So, not only was he fighting for control of his thirst, a war raged within him because he was not able to have peace inside his own mind to harness the control.
After three months of struggling, Edward lost the battle against his thirst and eventually succumbed to the raw hunger that only human blood can satiate. It happened one night while he was out hunting with Carlisle and Esme; he caught the scent of two men who were camping in the forest. He instantly changed the course he was on and had drained both men before Carlisle and Esme were able to reach him to stop him. Carlisle insisted on burying the bodies. He sent Edward home with Esme with the request that Jasper and Emmett came back out with shovels. The three of them dug a hole deep enough for the camper's bodies and all the camping gear. Carlisle said a few words for the dead before they left to come home.
Once Esme and Edward came back from the hunting trip, Edward told me what had happened. Anger and remorse marred his features. I held him until he calmed himself and helped him pull off his bloodied clothes. I set out clean clothes for him and kissed Edward before I then went down the hall to start the shower for him. I came out of the bathroom; towel in hand, to find Alice standing in my room. Edward, full of shame –shame for what he had done and not able to have full ascendancy over the beast that had emerged, took his clothes and ran. I was devastated and felt completely responsible on so many different levels. I couldn't help but blame myself for Edward's slip even though the whole family agreed it wasn't my fault. However, if it were not for me and my selfishness to keep Edward in my life, none of this would have happened in the first place.
It took us several months to unwind the wild goose chase Edward sent us on. Alice had a hard time focusing in on him because he wasn't making conscience decisions. His mind was a constant flicker of where he had been and what he had done -but never fully focused on where he actually was. Eventually, he stopped running and Alice got a clear fix on him. We found him in the basement of an old warehouse in Port Angeles. He was in the corner cowering in an upright fetal position. Edward's hands were clasped on his head and was sobbing deeply with several bodies scattered across the floor. Edward heard us approach and tried to bury his face in his knees, encasing his head with his arms. I went to him, knowing his guilt and wanting nothing more than to console him, but I couldn't even get him to look at me.
"I…I'm sorry…so, so sorry," he mumbled and kept repeating "I'm sorry" over and over. I tried to quiet him and pulled him against my body. He was resistant at first and I know it was because he was ashamed. "Make it stop!" he sobbed as he finally looked at me, blood filled tears streaking down his face, his hands pulling at the hair on hair on his head. His eyes were a deep crimson; blood was stained on his mouth, hands and clothes. He looked fragile and frightened and my heart broke for him as I clutched him to my chest. I felt my very being surround him as I wrapped my arms around him to soothe him – protect him.
Edward's body tensed and I thought he was going to pull away from me, but he didn't. Instead, he turned to me, molding his body to mine, clinging to me as if he were a frightened child. The tension in his body completely melted away as his sobs became silenced. He whispered that his mind was finally quiet. It was then that we discovered that I, too, had a gift. I was able to shield Edward from the outside world. I could keep him from hearing all the thoughts of those around him. I could give him peace which in turn gave him control.
Over the next few months, we all worked with Edward to help him master his powerful bloodlust. Carlisle brought in bags of blood from the hospital, mixed it with animal blood, and fed it to Edward. Every couple of days, Carlisle was reducing the amount of human blood and was able to wean Edward off human blood altogether.
Edward became stronger. Within less than the year, he was in full control. He was able to hunt for animals without being swayed by any humans in the area. He thought he was ready for his first test. He wanted to go to the Roasted Seed.
A few days after Edward was changed he called Erin. Edward lied to her and told her that he was taking some time off to travel and asked her if she wanted partial ownership in the company. Erin questioned his decision to leave. She was even snippy about her inquiry as to whether I was going with him to travel and why he was backing away from something he loved so much. Edward handled it in the best way that he could and eventually, she agreed to the partnership. Edward would be the founder, president and CEO; Erin would be the Vice President of Operations. Edward handled his part via phone and computer and Erin would handle the daily operations at the store. I was able to forgive Erin for what she did and never told Edward what happened with the letter because in the end, there was no point.
Edward's first trip back to the Roasted Seed went well and after being back in the place he loved so much, he came up with a plan to grow his business. He worked hard and with a lot of time and a little patience, he was able to turn the Roasted Seed from a Seattle coffee shop into a national franchise. There was at least one in every state and Bella's Dream was one of their signature coffees.
We had moved to upstate New York to get away from our old lives and bad memories. Esme had found a gorgeous mansion on beautiful sprawling lawns surrounded by forests that were filled with plenty of wildlife. The house was large enough for each couple to have their own wing, which made things nice for all vampires involved. You need your privacy and you don't want to hear your family members having sex down the hall.
"What are you thinking?" Edward whispered as he kissed the top of my head bringing me back to the present.
"About how proud I am of you," I smiled against his chest.
"Oh really," he mused as he rolled me on my back just as there was a knock at the bedroom door.
"Pictures in one hour!" Alice yelled through the door. Edward's head dropped to my shoulder.
"And here I was enjoying the quiet," he sighed as he kissed my collarbone. I threaded my fingers through his hair enjoying him for a few more seconds before our day went crazy. Edward was being honored tonight as the Fortune 500's Entrepreneur of the Year. There was a reception at the Rainbow Room in New York City. Several magazines were coming to the house for interviews and pictures. Alice was on top of her game and had our wardrobes all picked out. I was in hell.
The first dress I loved. It was a simple long black dress that crossed in the front with silver along the waist. It had a long slit in the front and Alice paired it with some really high black stack-toe heels. Alice worked on my hair while I thought about tonight. I knew Edward was working on something big, but he wouldn't let me in on what it was. He had been secretive and it was making me uneasy. I knew Alice would know what was going on, but she wouldn't tell me. It was frustrating. I had come home several times and heard him at the piano, but he would stop as soon as he sensed I was around.
The first photo shoot wasn't bad. Edward and I had a little fun, but mostly did serious poses. Our interview went well and once we were finished with the first magazine, we were whisked off to change by Alice. The next magazine would be at the house shortly to set up.
I slipped out of my dress and I thought about our interview. The woman that asked the questions seemed completely enamored by Edward. I was used to it by now, so it didn't really bother me. What did bother me was when she asked Edward if we had any plans to get married. He was all too quick to answer that there were no plans. I had thought about marriage, but it never really bothered me that we hadn't done it yet. I was already tied to Edward in every way possible without being married to him. I didn't need a silly piece of paper to make it official. Right?
Things between Edward and I were good. We were close and talked about everything, but sometimes I felt like he enjoyed my gift, and the peace it brought him, more than he did me. I shook my head at the thought as I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Alice appeared behind me as she began messing with my hair. I bit my lip as I thought about the question I wanted to ask her.
Alice, seeing that I was struggling with something in my mind, set the brush down and looked at me through the mirror. "What is it Bella?" she asked. My eyes rose to meet hers in the reflection. I didn't quite know how to ask and wasn't sure if I really wanted to know the answer.
"Edward and I…well, we are…we're okay, right?" I asked, as I continued to worry my bottom lip between my teeth, afraid of what her answer would be.
"Bella, honestly, I can't believe you are asking me that." She huffed. Alice's head tipped to the side as her hand went to her hip.
"Just answer the question, Alice." I pressed trying to keep my courage, my body language giving my uncertainty away.
"Oh Bella, silly girl, things are better than okay!" Alice smiled back at me brightly as she turned me by my shoulders to face her.
"It's just that, well, things have been…" I paused as I cast my eyes to the floor not wanting to say the words aloud. I didn't want to admit to my best friend and sister that I couldn't remember the last time I had been intimate with my mate. What I feared most was that I was just being kept around for medicinal purposes and that Edward had already grown tired of me.
"Trust me," Alice said as I returned my gaze to her face. "I know these things!" she smiled as she tapped her forehead with her finger. I smiled back at her, wrinkling my nose as I bumped her hip with my shoulder. I turned back to face the mirror as Alice finished my hair. I felt somewhat better, but what if Alice was just trying to appease me. "There…perfect," Alice smiled. I looked up but couldn't tell a difference. I smiled and nodded as I stood. Alice grabbed me in a quick hug and then disappeared through the doorway.
I turned to look at myself in the mirror. The dress was black organza draped over champagne colored satin, tight to the knees and then ballooned out to the floor with a wide strap over the left shoulder. I turned to the side and smoothed the fabric across my stomach. No matter which way I looked at the dress, it was awkward and bulky. I absolutely hated it. I shrugged my shoulders and turned on my heel making my way back down stairs in the black gown that reminded me of a garbage bag.
"Wow, you look…."
"Like crap!" I finished Edward's sentence as I gave him a death glare. He chuckled as he pulled me to him.
"You look amazing," he whispered as he gently ran his finger down the side of my face. I felt entranced by his gaze. His eyes, though no longer green, still captivated me. I swallowed hard as I tried to turn. Edward's hand gently cupped the side of my face, his thumb lightly grazing my jaw as he kissed my cheek. It was then that I heard the camera's shutter and I saw Edward's head turn as a low growl emitted from his chest.
"Edward?" I cautioned as I turned back toward him and touched his chest to calm him.
"Let's go," he whispered as he grabbed my hand and took off running across the lawn. My dress was bulky and cumbersome and Edward seemed to feel my struggle with it. He suddenly stopped as he lifted me up in his arms and ran to the stairs that led to the side garden.
"I can handle it," I laughed as I bounced in his arms. "I can walk…I swear!"
"I don't think we are being followed," Edward whispered as he set me on the ground and looked back toward the house.
"Why are you whispering?" I asked as Edward turned his focus to me. He pulled me to him once more and kissed me lightly on the lips. He pulled back and looked deep into my eyes.
"Not here," he whispered and he turned grabbing my hand once more as he led me down the stone garden stairs.
"What are you doing?" I asked, but he didn't answer. He just continued to descend the stairs. "Where are we going?" Still -nothing but silence.
When we reached the edge of the garden, Edward stopped suddenly by a large, curved stone wall that was the balcony of the upper gardens. He turned to me and took a deep breath. "I know things have been crazy," he began as he held my hand in his. "But I want you to know that I have always loved you." I held my breath as I placed my free hand on my hip and I nervously shifted from one foot to the other. I swallowed thickly as he continued. "Now I know that I let you down in the beginning…"
"Edward, don't," I interrupted as I shook my head. I didn't want to think about those dark times.
"No, I need to say this, Bella. Please." I looked up into his pleading eyes and nodded cautiously. Edward took another deep breath and continued. "I know I didn't live up to my end of the deal when I was first changed and I hope that you will give me the opportunity to live out my existence, however long it may be, making it up to you." With that, Edward dropped to his knee and I didn't quite know what to do.
"Edward, get up. What are you doing?" I whispered as I heard a noise coming from behind me.
"Bella," Edward tugged on my hand.
"I think someone is coming," I whispered louder
"Bella," Edward tugged a little harder finally gaining my attention. He smiled brightly at me and I felt the butterflies rise again in my stomach. "Isabella Swan," my smile faded as I realized what was happening. Edward produced a black velvet box from his pocket, "I want to spend every day of eternity making you happy. I love you with everything that I am. You are the best part of me and without you I am nothing. Will you marry me?"
My eyes went from Edward's eyes to the open box and then back to Edward again. I was almost rendered speechless...almost. A huge smile fell across my lips. All the worry that I had felt about our relationship instantly melted away. This was everything I had hoped for. "Yes!" I blurted out. Edward was instantly relieved as he took the ring and placed it on my finger, sealing it in its place with a kiss. He stood and placed a searing kiss on my lips.
"It's about time!" Alice appeared with Jasper from the garden's hedges. Edward stepped back smiling. She suddenly squealed as she ran toward me to look at the ring. Edward stepped back smiling as I took a good look at the ring on my left hand. It was absolutely gorgeous. I had never seen anything like it. I later learned it was flawless pear shaped white diamond with a rose colored diamond in the center. The diamonds were set in platinum and surrounded by an additional round brilliant diamonds. I later learned that the ring was nearly fourteen carats all together and was one of a kind. I didn't even want to think about the cost.
The rest of the day was a blur. I let Alice dress me up and didn't complain once. I was on an Edward induced euphoric high. Nothing could knock me down.
That night was amazing. Edward surprised me with a new song he had written and performed it at the party. It was so beautiful and it filled my heart with happiness to hear it. Edward and I danced, every so often, he would whisper lyrics in my ear making me smile. Our whole family seemed happy and complete.
There were a lot of people at the event and Edward handled himself well. I am sure feeding the night before help, but nevertheless, he was in complete control. There were people I knew swirling around the dance floor and some people I'd never seen before. I caught sight of Erin in the crowd and we nodded at each other. Our differences had long since been settled -especially now that she had met and married Jacob Black. They were expecting their first child next year. Erin even asked Edward and me to be the godparents. Everything was right with the world.
I looked across the room and saw my father standing next to Carlisle and Esme. My father's new wife, Sue Clearwater, was on his arm. I smiled at him and gave a little wave. He waved back and the pulled at the collar of his dress shirt. I could help but giggle a little.
My dad and I reunited. I was able to convince Charlie that Bella had gotten pregnant and that's why she disappeared and that I was Charlie's long lost granddaughter. I hated lying to him, but this was the easiest way for me to see my father without spinning an unbelievable story. I told him that Bella had died during childbirth. How Carlisle had found my mother in labor and delivered me, only knowing that the woman in labor's name was Isabella. Once Bella died, and no way to find any family, the state let Carlisle and Esme adopt me – naming me after my mother. As I got older, I explained, Carlisle agreed to help me find any blood relatives. That's how we discovered Bella's past and found Charlie. Charlie didn't ask too many questions, but I could tell the story gave him closure.
Charlie and I talked every week and visited each other often. I called him on the way to the party to let him in on my news. I could tell "grandpa" Charlie was a tad choked up. I was just happy to have my dad back in my life in whatever way I could. Charlie even agreed to help Carlisle walk me down the aisle in on the big day.
That night, after the party was over, Edward and I celebrated our engagement in the privacy of our penthouse suite. All the fears and doubts that I had melted away as he claimed my body while whispering my name against my skin. My life had changed so much since I meet Edward. He taught me how to live again and gave me the strength to step outside of the life I was hiding in. He also taught to not be so afraid, but more importantly, Edward taught me how to love.
Final note: Thank you so much for reading. I did not intend for this story to take so long for me to complete. It has been a crazy ride. Unfortunately, the opportunity to do the special thing I wanted to do for my readers has passed. I do appreciate every review and story/author favorite and follow. Thank you all for reading