A/N: Sigh... it's over. One clarification that made sense in my head but I guess may not have translated well. Audrey chose NOT to be changed... hence why Bella looked into her blue eyes in the end of the last chapter.
Epilogue - A Year in the Life of Forever
The past year had gone by so differently than the rest. Five years ago during our honeymoon I had been deciding on whether or not I should hold out on being changed. Perhaps I would try college. Try life with Edward, but not as a vampire. Then I got pregnant and my impending death was the only reason it happened when it did. I got distracted by my rebirth and new ability. By the visit from the Volturi. By the pure relief when it was all over.
Then I distracted myself with life.
In Forks, a part of me still clung to the living, and I never mourned my own death. But in Elkins, almost three thousand miles away, I was finally forced to live this life, and had to accept the fact that I hadn't had the final say in my transformation. In the end, it hadn't really been my choice. I had silenced my subconscious for years, but it was Audrey's naive yet brutal honesty that finally forced me to see it.
In this new life I would always have enemies, yet there would also be allies waiting in the wings. I would always have a Rebecca Manfield or Derrick Harris there to annoy me, but if I took the time to look, I'd always find an Angela Weber or Misty Randall as well. I would always have Jacob; my best friend, my confidante, and the one person who knows what I'm going through. I would always have Charlie, even long after his time, whose love for me is the kind that will span the many lifetimes I will have to bare without him. I would always have my new parents and my brothers and sisters. I would always have my daughter, Renesmee, and her unconditional love. She is by far the most amazing gift I could have ever received.
Then there is Edward, who stood in front of me, sparkling in the sunshine of Isle Esme in khaki pants and a linen shirt holding my hand and leading me to the water's edge. I looked down at the simple white dress that Alice actually approved of, and dug my feet into the glowing sand beneath us. Our family surrounded us on both sides. It still hurt a little, knowing that Charlie and Renee could not be a part of this. I think a piece of me will always bleed for them, but that was a part of the humanity I got to keep, which makes the pain worth the price. I had never felt so sure of my life as I did at that moment, my attention on Edward, unable to find words that were worthy of his presence. He spoke instead:
"Bella. Five years ago I changed your life, but you changed mine long before that. I had never known life before you, because life without true love is no life at all. I thought I was your protector, only to find that you are actually mine. For so long I didn't believe I had a soul, but I realized you have had it all along. You are my savior. You are everything that is good in me. We don't need to renew our vows. We don't need to make more promises. We don't need to confirm our commitments. I am here now, telling you that our love is epic. It goes beyond time and space. It goes beyond all logic and reason. You have me. You have my heart. You have my forever."
I was about to speak but before I could he leaned down and kissed me, leaving me once again dumbfounded. What was it he said? Sometimes there are no words, I thought so only he could hear me. He smiled at me, nodded, and kissed me again. He didn't want words.
I don't know what our destiny will be. I don't know our fate. We may have a future ahead of us with many unknowns, but what I do know is that a true Once Upon a Time doesn't have a Happily Ever After. Our story will never have a The End.
To The Readers:
I want to give a big thank you for everyone who has been reading from the start. It's the reviews in the very beginning that made me want to keep writing. I want to send love to everyone over at the Twilight Lexicon forums for all of their input and cheering! I'm sure there was someway I could have made this story longer, but I always knew where it was going to end-- I wrote the general idea for the epilogue within the first week-- and when it got to that point I knew it was over.
Bella finally made a full circle. She had to deal with not just her first vampire life, but the mortal life she ended... and it all came down to Audrey. Perhaps people picked up on Rosalie's snide comments and Bella's mention of deja vu: Audrey symbolizes Human Bella. They had different reasons for wanting to change, but from her new position as a Cullen, Bella was suddenly confronted with the reasons Edward and Rosalie originally didn't want her to be a vampire. Audrey, who was not clouded by Edward and Bella's incredible love story and the history of the Cullen bond, called Bella out on all of it. Bella could have been talking to her former self when Audrey confronted her outside of the house. Audrey represents Bella's past life.
Were all of Audrey's accusations true? Of course not! Would Bella ever change what happened to her? No way! She and Edward are destined to be together. But is her life perfect? No. Is she completely over her human life? No. These were things Bella not only had to come to learn, but accept as well. Then of course there is Edward who finally realized that Bella was his hero (or heroine if you want to be PC about it); that there is more to being hero than fighting evil vampires and saving someone from certain death.
I have a few out takes that never made it into the story and I'll be posting those while I work on more of the next fanfic where the strings left hanging will be tied up-- both good and bad (so make sure to add me on author alert!). Life after the saga is not done. As Bella said, they'll never have a The End.
Coming Soon :
The Prophet's Child: The Story of Renesmee Cullen
...her birth uncovered a prophecy with only one resolve...
Now Jake was at his feet, his eyes held an urgency I'd never seen before. "Renesmee, are you kidding me? Stop for a second and think! God, please think!"
Since Claire was two.
He reached out but I jumped away. "No," I shook my head so hard I thought I would pass out, tears running uncontrollably down my face, choking through hysteria in order to speak. "Are you saying you didn't have a choice? You've been... stuck with me since-- no! No! Jake what are you talking about? This is ridiculous. This isn't real."
"Renesmee do you not get it? Do you not understand?" Jacob's cries were of both love and pain. "I exist because of you. You are my everything. You envy the love your parents have but here I am! I am that love!"
He reached out to me again and I couldn't will myself to move away this time. The pull I had always felt for him was stronger than ever. I was suddenly a part of him, completely and fully. His hands found my face and he brushed the tears off of my red puffy cheeks with his thumb. I looked up at his dark eyes and fell in love with him right then and there. Or had I already fallen? Had I even had to fall in the first place?
"Renesmee Cullen, you have been my whole world since the day you were born. When I told you it was destiny that we were friends, I meant more than that, I just couldn't tell you. You are my soul mate. I, Jacob Black, am in love with you. I always have been, and you have always known it."
The curtains of anger and confusion closed with his words. I was lost in his gaze as tears welled up in his eyes and fell down his cheeks. I reached up and wiped one away. "I love you," I whispered, because there was nothing else left to say.