All things Twilight belong to the Amazing Stephenie Meyer. Happy TGUT Tuesday . . . And now, the end is near, and I must face, the final curtain . . . :')
Epilogue: A Clear Path on The Horizon
I could sit for hours finding new ways to be awed each minute
Cuz' the daylight seems to want you just as much as I want you
It's been minutes, it's been days, it's been all I will remember
Happy lost in your hair and the cold side of the pillow
Crack the Shutters - Snow Patrol
Six months had passed since my accepting Esme and Carlisle's offer. It was now November and I was in my senior year of High school. Having missed two years they were dubious about my placement in the system. Thankfully, I managed to test out and finally got into the senior classes.
Jasper had been at Harvard for almost three months now and I missed him terribly. I was alone in Forks, everyone had gone back to college, and even in Massachusetts, he was only 3 hours away from everyone in New York.
Then there was Alice. She had been accepted to MIT, so she was barely five minutes from Jasper.
I found myself spending a lot of time down at the reservation, Jacob was attending the community college up in Port Angeles with Leah, and so I was able to spend time with them most weekends. Esme and Carlisle had helped me buy a car with some of the inheritance I'd received on my eighteenth birthday. The rest I had put away for college, even though Esme and Carlisle had insisted they would pay for me.
It was easier living with them than I thought it would be. I would help with the girls as much as I could to repay them for some of their kindness, not that it took a lot of effort, the girls were adorable and we got along well. We had turned into a close knit family. I hadn't expected to think of them as my family so easily, but there was no way I couldn't. Esme and Carlisle seemed to love me as though I was always meant to be with them, and I couldn't deny the reciprocation of the sentiment.
Esme doted on me; she would constantly come home from her shopping trips with bags full of clothes for me and insisted on giving me a cell phone, mainly so I could call Jasper as much as I wanted without feeling guilty about tying up the house phone.
My life had changed so drastically, it was hard to remember it being the shambles it had been.
I tried to keep touch with the person I had been for so long by volunteering down at the shelter. Alice had made sure that I would always be involved and anytime she came home, we ended up down there for at least one full day, talking to people at different stages of the program she'd set up.
Word had gotten out about the Swan Bridge of Hope, and there were people from all over the city, and even as far as Portland, Oregon coming to look for help. It was amazing really.
I had only bumped into John once during all of the time I was down there. He'd come to the center to try and give back, bringing blankets and canned foods. He was living in his own apartment, working for the city making decent money and he truly seemed happy. It seemed to be the way it worked out. Having an address gave them the advantage they needed to make themselves better, and with drive to succeed they were able to move on quickly.
Even Carlisle volunteered in the clinic at the center. He was so proud of Alice for what she'd done.
While I was in the city, I always made a point to go by Debbie and Brian's and the station so I could see all of Charlie's old friends. They seemed to welcome me happily back into their lives like I had never disappeared at all.
We spent so much time talking about Charlie, and I learned so much about him from their stories. Each of them respected him so much for everything he'd done, for the man he was. It made me proud to be his daughter, and that was something I hadn't lost sight of since the night I had visited his grave.
As I had promised him, it wasn't the last time I went to see him.
Carlisle had asked me to try counseling to talk about everything I had been through since Charlie had died. Even though I was uncomfortable to begin with, I soon found it calming to talk to someone who had no interest in my life. I talked about everything, even the hitchhiking incident. Discussing all of this in detail had helped me release it from the small spaces where I hid all of the memories.
I found myself turning more and more into a regular teenager.
I was currently sitting in my room staring blankly at the laptop I should be doing my homework on. Somehow Esme had seemed to know what I liked and had my room painted and decorated the week Carlisle and I had spent in Seattle in and out of court while she stayed home with the girls. I spent a lot of my time in here in the evenings after dinner, because it was when I spoke to Jasper.
I looked over at the clock on my nightstand, the numbers glowing a ghostly bluish white as it played the songs from my iPod quietly. It was nine thirty, Jasper always called at nine and I was getting worried. I hated calling him, I felt like I was constantly interrupting him, even if he dropped what he was doing to talk to me.
I picked up my phone and hit the button bringing it to life. I checked the side to see if it was on vibrate, but there was nothing wrong with the damn thing. The picture of Jasper and I that we'd taken before he left seemed to taunt me from the front of the phone as I mentally willed it to ring.
"Where are you, Jazz?" I sighed placing the phone back on the desk. This was the first time in six months he hadn't called me at nine on the dot, and I could feel the all too familiar prongs of panic roll in my stomach.
I pushed the top of my laptop shut and put my phone in my pocket as I made my way over to my bed, falling down onto the pillow top mattress that seemed to hug every angle of my body. It was comforting to me. It was an indicator of the home I had made for myself with the Cullen's.
"Bella, could you come down here for a second, please?" Esme's voice said through the small speaker box by the door. The house was so big, shouting was pointless.
I rolled off the bed with little enthusiasm and hit the button that was lit up indicating Esme was in the kitchen. "On my way."
I made my way towards the kitchen from my bedroom, taking my time as I took one stair slower than the last in my ridiculously large slippers. My eyes were on my feet making sure my still ever present clumsiness didn't send me hurtling down the stairs into a big mess at the bottom.
Finally, my phone rang in my pocket, Jasper's ringtone blaring into the huge empty foyer echoing off the walls. I rummaged through the pocket trying to get to it before he hung up or it went to voice mail.
"Hey, baby," he said, the smile evident in his voice. I could feel my shoulders fall into a relaxed position. Finally hearing his voice made me feel so much better.
"I wouldn't be if you hurried up and got you cute ass down the stairs."
My eyes flickered to the bottom of the stairs, and I could feel the tandem tears and smile break out across my face as I immediately caught the shaggy blond of his hair by the front door.
Without even thinking of the repercussions, I took off down the stairs as fast as I could, the slippers making it impossible to find a grip. He moved quickly towards the bottom of the stairs, catching me easily as I threw myself into his arms, burying my face in the crook of his neck; the tears falling heavily down my cheeks.
It felt so much longer than three months. It felt like an eternity, the summer with him before he left had made me realize just how much I loved him and there was never any way I could survive without him now.
"Are you crying?" he laughed, smoothing down my hair affectionately as he held me to him.
I shook my head, and he laughed gently as kissed the side of my head.
"I'm sorry I worried you, I was planning on being here at exactly nine, but the plane was late."
"I missed you," I sobbed into his shoulder, my hands tangling into the mass of blond. "You're home early."
"I don't have lectures on Thursdays, and Friday's I can make up so I flew home early, I missed you too."
I pulled back from where I was nuzzled into the side of his neck, I knew my eyes must be red and swollen from the sobbing, but I didn't care. I pressed my lips against his as I threw my legs around his waist, forgetting where I was.
I pulled away from Jasper and felt the blush crawl up over my cheeks as I turned to look at Carlisle.
"Just remember you have school in the morning," he sighed, shaking his head and walking back towards his study. I was mortified. I knew what he meant, and I knew that it was awkward and unethical for him to let me go so easily.
Carlisle took his responsibility of being my parent seriously. I knew that he must be conflicted about letting me go like this, but I couldn't find it in me to feel guilty, I was too happy to have Jasper home right now.
"Are your parents home?" I asked under my breath, so I didn't have to announce my plans to the rest of the house.
"Nope, they're in Brisbane, they didn't want to deal with the winter."
I raised my eyebrows. Nothing had really improved with Jasper and his Dad, but during the time they were home I had gotten to know his mom a little better and understood exactly why he respected her so much. She was soft spoken and sweet, a direct contrast to his dad. The only time I saw her was while she visited Carlisle and Esme's house alone. Her husband never came with her.
"Mom was upset, but you know dad," Jasper said sarcastically, placing me on my feet with another kiss to the top of my head.
"Let's go and get me some clothes for tomorrow," I sighed, taking his hand and guiding him up the stairs. I could see the emotion in his eyes, even when he tried to hide it, so I dropped the subject completely.
I packed everything I needed from my room, a pathetic smile spread across my face as I piled things into my bag for the night and for school the next morning. I had a feeling sleep wasn't really on the agenda.
As I had anticipated, we spent most of the night making love. I went to school exhausted, but it was worth every second of it. Jasper came to pick me up after school and we spent Friday and most of Saturday in his bed, seemingly making up for the three months we'd been apart.
Alice and the others came home on Sunday, only Edward was absent. Kate wanted to spend Edward Masen III's first thanksgiving in New York with her family. They'd gotten married in September, as planned, when little Edward was 2 months old. Alice was in love with her nephew, but couldn't be away from Jacob when she had the chance to spend a week with him.
Alice and I went to the Swan Bridge of Hope while Jasper took the others back to Forks. I hated being separated from him for even a minute more than I had to be, but I knew Alice wanted to see the center before she lost herself in Jacob for the week. I could understand that, and I was happy to have one last day at the center before I did the same with Jasper.
The week moved by too quickly, and soon all of them were soon packing to leave me again. I found myself sticking to Jasper's side wherever he went.
I cried myself to sleep the night they left. I would never get used to saying goodbye to him. It was like he took a large part of me with him when he left, leaving behind a shell of the person I was when I was around him. I wasn't moping by any means, but he was constantly in my thoughts and I seemed to miss him more every day.
He came home for Christmas and Spring break, and any other small vacation he could work in, and occasionally I would fly out to see him for the weekend but it was never long enough, I never seemed to have enough time with him.
When I applied for Colleges, I kept all of my choices on the East coast. I couldn't spend another year away from him like I just had. I needed to be closer to him.
I actually received my acceptance letter on one of his weekends home. Carlisle had come home from work and picked up the mail on the way in. Jasper and I were sat at the dining room table painting with the girls when he dropped the heavy envelope on the table in front of me.
Carlisle grinned at me, his paternal side showing through with his pride. Esme came in from the kitchen with the snacks she'd been putting together for me, Jasper and the girls.
"Open it and find out."
I looked across the table at Jasper who had Ellie on his lap, he wasn't paying attention to her and she swiped the brush across his shirt leaving a bright purple streak of paint. He nodded, ignoring the bulging of my eyes and Ellie and Lizzie's giggles.
All eyes were on me as I peeled the heavy paper from the bonded strip. My heart was in my throat, I had noticed the emblem on the outside of the envelope, but I couldn't let myself hope. I had applied only to appease Jasper, never in a million years expecting to get accepted.
I pulled out the letter and let my eyes scan the first words. Everyone around me seemed to fall quiet and the only ones breathing were the two young girls who were still pulling brushes along the paper.
My heart froze in my chest as I read the lines over and over again in disbelief.
"Bella, you're killing us here," Jasper said with a short chuckle as he tried to get me to say something.
"I got into Dartmouth," I deadpanned, still unable to believe the words on the letter weren't just a figment of my imagination.
"That's only a 2 hour drive from Harvard," Jasper grinned sliding Ellie from his lap and moving from his chair to a crouch in front of me. He pulled the letter from my frozen hands and handed it to Carlisle before returning his warm fingers to my cheeks. "I'm so proud of you. You did it, baby."
"This is so surreal," I mumbled.
I could hear someone hitting buttons on a phone while I kept my hold on Jasper's blue eyes. I couldn't look away. So many emotions were flooding my system at once; I wasn't quite sure how to react.
"Debbie." I heard Esme say into the phone. They'd struck up a friendship since the Cullen's had adopted me and the two sets of twins enjoyed playing with one another so they were always an integral part of my life, even now. "Exciting news, hang on I'll let Bella tell you."
She handed me the phone, placing it in my hand as I continued to stare at Jasper.
I pulled the phone up to my ear, as I forced myself to blink and look down at my lap.
"Debbie, I got into Dartmouth."
There was screaming down the line and I had to hold the phone away from my ear to stop any permanent damage from occurring. A smile finally broke out on my face as hot wet tears rolled down my cheeks.
"I am so proud of you, kiddo. Are you happy?"
"I am, I just can't believe it."
"Oh, sweetheart, your dad would be so proud of you."
My skin broke out into fields of goose flesh at the mention of my dad, and the tears blurred my vision completely. I couldn't stop the sobs from breaking like waves in my chest as my hands shook. I was pathetically over emotional and a little overwhelmed. I swallowed the lump that had formed in my throat and forced myself to answer.
"Thank you, Debbie." And I meant it. I never realized it was exactly what I needed to hear until she said it. Charlie had always boasted about how I would be the first in the family to attend an Ivy League school. I had forgotten about that. It was gratifying to know how much confidence he'd had in me.
"You okay, hun?"
"Never been better," I choked into the phone.
"I'm going to call the Brian so he can tell everyone. I'll call you back in a little while."
"K, Love you."
"Love you too, sweetheart."
I hung up the phone and grinned through my tears at my family. Jasper leaned forward, his thumbs brushing the stray tears from my cheek as he pressed his lips briefly to mine. He pulled me into a tight hug whispering how proud he was, and how he knew I could do it.
I was passed around the room for hugs, and not ones to be outdone, the girls joined in too. I couldn't believe how my life had turned out. After losing Charlie, I'd had nothing and nobody. Now, I had a network of people who loved me, and a man I couldn't live without.
My future was a long winding road in front of me, but no matter what it threw at me, I knew I would make it.
A/N: I know it's short but I think I wrapped it up as much as I could. They have a whole future ahead of them, so many things could happen. I wanted to let you make your own interpretation. :)
I have written up 2 outtakes. They were the most requested out of the bunch. Thank you so much for all of your ideas, I loved reading every one of them, but unfortunately I couldn't do too many because I am working on another fic. Sorry that I don't have time to write more of them. I will answer any questions you have though.
A Huge Huge thank you to my beta, who comes through for me every week, no matter what her schedule is. Thank you so much Cravingtwilight, 3.
Miztrezboo, thank you so much for holding my hand through this. You were always so willing to help me out when I needed to bounce ideas. You've been there from the moment I had the idea all the way to the end. Thanks for putting up with me.
Bendingmirrors, your help and insight has been more valuable than you know. You really are wonderful. Thank you so much for everything. You have been so patient with me when I get all neurotic, and I owe you for that!!!
Hev99, Catmasters, Salix Caprea, Ange, and everyone else at the forum. I adore you all. Thank you so much for putting up with me and the endless non answers to question. You make me laugh and smile and I think you're all wonderful!! You always have the best input and questions.
To the reviewers. If I could type everyone of your names out I would. You're all so wonderful. You have taken the time to tell me how you feel about the story, your passion for the characters always makes me smile and I am going to miss you all. You have made this such an amazing experience. Huge hugs and love to you all.
LOVE YOU ALL