Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns this shit. I'm done writing for her fandom after this, so no need to freak. Also, there are references/direct quotes from Eclipse. Lyrics: Dare You To Move- Switchfoot (I know they're a Christian band, and if you look at it that way it doesn't really fit, but don't think of it that way. Red is a Christian band too, and you'd NEVER know it unless you look at the lyrics that way- they're songs are fitting for this story regardless of what they're really about)
(A/N: This is it folks. Epically long author's note (kinda) at the end, but before then…Thanks to all the reviews, faves, and alerts! Special shout out to asa Taylor (if you're still reading) - the boy name you gave ages ago was the one I chose. =) Also, I referenced tons of pregnancy websites for the baby's growth, birth, etc, but I apologize if I've gotten something wrong.)
(Poll results! Even though I'd hoped for more votes, I'm not the slightest bit surprised that Autumn kicked ass and won as usual! Directly behind her were Chimera (very close), Brian, and Kyle (in that order). Thank you to those who participated!)
Epilogue: Sarah Renee and Jaden Matthew Black
Tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be
Pregnancy: Weeks 12-15
It's early morning, and I'm gazing at myself in the mirror.
I look…content. I can't remember the last time I was this happy, or things were this perfect.
I'm glowing too. It's like there's this light emitting from my very core.
I know it's because of this baby. Me and Jacob's baby. Our baby.
And there's evidence there, finally, not just a sonogram. There's a bump. It's small, rather unnoticeable at first glance, but for someone with my small frame, I can see it. My abdomen's swollen and I can happily visit the girls at Rachel's engagement party this afternoon and show them.
When we returned home (and it's so nice to call it that) from the honeymoon, Jacob couldn't take it anymore. He'll scowl and blush when I make the comparison, but he was shaking like an excited puppy and itching to pounce on everyone and just tell. So, I let him, after we told our family, obviously.
Charlie was a bit put off at first but he was smiling by the end of dinner. Billy and Jacob's sisters literally squealed with excitement. Billy squealed. It was very manly of course, but he did. And my mother? She couldn't stop talking she was so excited.
Tackle hugs happened with the boys and I was lifted in the air about thirty times between all of them. Poor Seth kept begging them to put me down, what if it hurts the baby! Jake! I just laughed and Jacob reassured Seth, really it's okay.
The girls (and Kyle…and his, I literally gasped, boyfriend. About time) went wild. The Pack had to step away for a bit, because this many girls (and gay men) talking all at once? It must sound like a crowd at a concert. I'm pretty sure they cringed at the noise despite their excitement.
I talked to Leah alone after things died down and asked her to be my other godmother (I explained about Rosalie and she understood). I've never seen Leah cry before, not this hard, and not like this. She was heartbroken because this is all she gets unless she decides to adopt. She can't have kids. But, she was so happy and I received about five kisses on my face from her as a result of her gratitude.
"Don't expect affection like that ever again, Bella," she snapped. I was alarmed, until she smiled one of those rare smiles she rarely lets anyone see about two seconds later.
So, here I am. In the house Jacob built for us (it was completed after the wedding. Its perfect- small, quiet, wood-furnished and so us), about to show him that he can see I have a baby in me now. Not just some picture on a screen.
"Jake!" I cried, bouncing up and down, barely containing my excitement.
"Coming!" He shouted from somewhere outside. He was by my side seconds later. "Everything okay?" He looked so concerned I held out my hand for him to squeeze.
I smiled at him and lifted up my shirt, facing the mirror, turning to the side. My face hurt from the strength of my smile. "Look."
His eyed widened and he hugged me from behind, gasping into my neck, as I pulled his hands to my stomach. He automatically covered my hands with his, lacing our fingers together.
"Shit," he chuckled into my shoulder, sniffling.
"Don't cry," I teased, although I was tearing up right along with him. He playfully pinched me because of that, "You're doing the same, honey."
Just a few weeks later, Jacob and I still haven't gotten over the bump that keeps growing. We never will.
Until there's actually something new to obsess over.
We're curled up on the couch, both of us off of work for the rest of the day and I'm between his legs with my back to his front, checking off things from my "work" notebook. His hands are lazily traveling across my 'baby bump.'
"What are you thinking about?" I tease, tucking my pen between my lips to turn the page of my notebook.
"You and the baby," he chuckles. "Always." I can feel his smile, even though his head is nowhere near me. I know how big that goofy, beautiful grin is. I don't need to see him. It's in his voice. It's in the atmosphere, for goodness sake.
He jolts and pulls his hands away. I twist to face him, a little startled. "What?"
His eyes are wide and he's tense. "It moved."
I whip back around and look at my stomach, pulling my shirt up (his hands were under it just seconds earlier). "Oh my God," I gasp, nervously placing my hand, palm down against my abdomen.
But I can't feel it. I'm reasonably…sad about this, but it hits me that Jacob can feel things like that more than I can. "I wish I could feel it," I whisper as we relax again and his hands return to my stomach when I lean back into his arms. "Is it…Is it still moving?"
I really hate calling our baby "it," but we have no idea what the sex is going to be yet. I'm almost positive it's a girl though.
He shakes his head and kisses my temple. "Nope. Maybe she'll move again soon..."
I can't help but grin. "You think it's a girl too?" I hadn't yet told him I thought that.
He's silent for a moment, then, "Yeah, I do."
Pregnancy: Weeks 18-20
Jacob's been really picky about who comes over lately.
I'm at the point where Kyle, Ashley, Angela, and I have decided I shouldn't work anymore until after the baby's born, so I don't have a lot to do. Jacob's working late hours to raise some money, even though I assure him we have enough from the Cullen's. He's not too happy about that, and insists he works to provide more for his family, since I won't be working for a while. It's the first argument we've had since the wedding and instead of being upset over it, I'm actually quite happy it happened. We really are married. We're fucking grown-ups.
So, the girls can't all visit at once, and the guys, who are helping Jacob with a nursery for our kid, can't work often. They usually only work when I'm out of the house. Working here has begun to disturb the baby. She reacts to the sounds of tools and I'm forced to leave the house so she'll calm down. It's barely something I can feel, but she's there, and she moves occasionally.
And that's just it…Her.
The doctor confirmed it just days ago. We're having a girl. Sarah Renee Black.
And, of course, following this news, I was thrown a baby shower (the only time Jacob let a lot of people in our house. Thank God for the porch though). One of the bedroom's we're going to use for our future kids when they're old enough is filled with baby shower gifts. Pinks and pastels in every corner. There are even dark colors too for a boy, since Jacob and I want at least two kids, a boy and a girl.
It's not like we can force the gender of our next kid, but we'll be crossing our fingers when the time comes.
I'm with Autumn, now; she's keeping me company on the beach, both of us sitting at the water line, until the boys are done inside the house.
Her big sunglasses are perched on her nose and she's wearing a bright, multi-colored, two-pieced bathing suit only she could look beautiful in. I'm happily sitting in a flowing, white dress, my feet bare and toes digging in the sand, wiggling happily when the water washes over them.
She's really happy today and I can't help but ask the girl who's been there for me through the worst (and best) times of my life, "What's going on?"
I know it's not engagement or wedding related. She and Embry have no plans to marry, much less be engaged for another few years. They have all of eternity, or as long as they like, together.
She lights up instantly, like she was waiting for me to ask her that, and practically flings her sunglasses across the shore in haste to remove them so she can met my gaze. "Do you remember that discussion we had back at NYU? About me not knowing if I can have children or not?"
This is a really sensitive topic for her, so the fact that she's bringing it up and is so fucking happy about it, lights a fire inside of me. I care for her more than I can ever put in words. "Did Carlisle finally come to the conclusion you could?"
"He did, remember, a few weeks ago? But, I was too afraid to try, to be honest." Her fingers dig into the sand.
Oh. "So…" I'm still a bit confused.
She faces me and I'm blinded by her "sunshine" smile. "I'm pregnant."
"What?" I lean forward, grinning. "Are you…serious?"
"It was by complete accident of course…we got a little carried away. Really dirty, loud, rough sex, if you know what I mean?" She winks.
I gag. "Oh God, please stop. I don't want to know anymore! That was enough." I playfully push her and she falls back, laughing.
I fall back beside her, shaking from laughing as well. "How far along?"
"Isn't that a little late to just be finding things out?" I raise an eyebrow, curious.
"It's different for everybody, even hybrids. But, Carlisle said the length of my pregnancy is the same as human beings so…yeah."
"Autumn," I roll on my side, lifting myself up to hug her before I fall on top of her, giggling at my own clumsiness as she wraps her arms around me and we roll to the side, locked in rather awkward embrace because of my protruding stomach. "This is so amazing!"
"I know! I never imagined I could come to this point…"
"No, I mean…" I sit up. "Not just because you can actually have kids, even though that's absolutely incredible…it's just…our kids can grow up together."
"Looks like Embry and I will be getting married sooner. I have no plans to outlive my kids."
"Oh my God that sounds like the most depressing thing in the world, but it's really not because you're both immortal." I return to my reclined position, resting back on my elbows. "This sounds like a soap opera or something." I laugh loudly, unable to contain it any longer.
"Well, we do have the flair for the dramatic after all, being werewolves and vampires and all that insanity…"
I'm quiet for a moment, before a puff of laughter I'd been holding back escapes my lips. "Oh God, your kid is going to be out of this world! He'll be like half werewolf, one-fourth vampire, and one-forth human…or, I don't even know!"
"That is so fucked up!" She falls back again, laughing harder than before. We're just so giggly. "Bella, when did you get to be so funny?"
"Well my husband is quite the humorous man, if I do say so myself…"
"And arrogant too."
My mouth falls open in mock horror. "Are you insinuating that I'm…full of myself? Autumn!"
"Never!" She breaks into another fit of laughter before I find myself joining her again, clutching my sides as I laugh.
Pregnancy: Weeks 27-29
There's no other way to put it, but I'm huge.
Like, really huge, and Jake has somehow been forced to tell me daily that I'm still the most beautiful person in the world and remind me that the weight will be gone after the baby's born. My breasts have increased in size too by a full cup and Jake can't seem to hide how that turns him on since they'll probably stay like that for a while, even after the baby is born.
Such a boy.
He has the night off, finally, and we're enjoying each other's company on the swing on the front porch, watching the water crash against the store. The moon is full and it's probably the most beautiful it's been out here.
I'm dozing off, and I've pulled myself out of it about six times already. Jacob's rubbing my belly too and it's calming. It's something he started to do often when the baby got restless and moved around.
"You're getting twitchy," he chuckles as I'm tugged from half-unconsciousness again.
I feel Sarah move within me. It's brief, just one shift of her limbs and then she's still again. Jacob instantly perks up; he must have felt it too. It's barely a whisper when I tell him. "Oh my God, she recognizes your voice."
"Say something," he says in my ear, voice low.
"Um…" I bite on my lower lip then raise my voice, feeling a little weird that I'm talking to my belly. "Sarah, that was daddy. I'm your mommy."
That gets quite the burst of movement from her. My belly literally vibrates and my skin shifts. "This should be disturbing," I giggle, leaning back against him as we both watch in wonder.
"It really should be," he snorts, putting his hand on me. It's like she chases his hand as it glides over my skin. "It's kind of…wonderful, actually."
I can't help but laugh at how cheesy and strange this moment is, but my eyes are flooding with tears because she's going to be in this world soon. And she's something that's solely ours. Not a house made by Jacob and the hands of his friends, not a business started by me and a few friends…she's just…ours.
Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Pregnancy: Week 39
I can't even imagine how painful this delivery looked for Bella. The doctor's assured me that women can take a lot of pain- they're built for it, particularly in the area of giving birth.
He pain is hardly a thought that crosses my mind for long though (my hand is aching from her grip though), because after Sarah's cleaned and we can actually touch her, I can't fathom anything else except for this moment.
Bella's holding her, staring at her like she's a miracle.
Bella…who looks so exhausted and covered in sweat, her hair plastered to her face and back and shoulders, but still the most beautiful thing in the world to me.
But, she can no longer solely hold the title of most beautiful, because the baby, our child that she's passing over to me to hold is the single most beautiful thing that's ever existed.
I didn't think I could do it, even during Bella's pregnancy, didn't think I could love someone more than I love her. Sarah's here though, and my heart is literally bursting at the seams, pounding in my chest, the second she's resting in my arms.
She's small, not even the length of my palm to elbow, and so lovely and fragile, with dark hair on her head with slightly tanned, but still pinkish, skin. I gaze back at Bella, who's watching me with a tired, but nonetheless full smile. My eyes are probably comically wide if her giggle is any indication, and I realize, yeah, I can love them both more than anything, or anyone.
I lean forward, carefully balancing such precious cargo as Sarah in my arms and kiss Bella's sweaty forehead. "I love you so much," I say, giving her that stare she knows all to well, before turning back to our baby and settling next to Bella on the bed, sitting up. I can't stop staring at the baby even as Bella whispers an "I love you too" back.
I hand her back to Bella because I'm so afraid I'll drop her I'm trembling so hard. Bella gently takes her in her arms, fingers running along Sarah's face and her face inches away from our child. I shakily lay beside Bella, my feet hanging embarrassingly off the edge of the bed, something we both laugh about.
I put my finger in Sarah's open palm and she immediately closes her fist around it. "She's so tiny," I whisper. I'm literally struck with so much awe that I can't say anything else.
I never thought I'd be here with Bella. I thought it would always be some distant dream within my grasp but never actually there, in my hands. It's been difficult, terrible, heartbreaking getting to this point with her, but I wouldn't change a second of anything if it all led to this moment, to this being in her arms, wrapped around my finger.
For the tiniest fraction of that second, I saw the bobbing heads of two small, black-haired children, running away from me into the forest… -Eclipse, page 529
Five years later
"Sarah Renee and Jaden Matthew Black!"
She's up to no good again. It must be inherited from her father, or both of us, if I'm being honest.
She's stubborn, for sure, very much so, and she takes off, out of the house before I can catch her, Jaden hot on her heels.
Jaden's celebrating his third birthday today and he's been sticking his fingers in cake batter every time I turn away, and Sarah? Sarah cannot sit still.
They're both more than I could ever have imagined.
Both have Jacob's beautiful, silky black hair, although Sarah has my curls. They both have my eyes, but Sarah's the only one with my heart-shaped face, whereas Jaden got Jacob's strong jaw line.
Jaden…I'll be fending off women in about 12 years or less, I'm sure.
Jaden's got my skin though, and it's shockingly beautiful with his dark hair. He's younger, but almost as big Sarah is.
Sarah's skin is the exact same shade of Jacob's and she reminds me so much of him it's kind of scary, even if she's tiny like me. She's stronger than she looks though. She's strong like Jacob.
I can't help but laugh even as I chase after them into the yard. Jaden trips a few times, and I hide a giggle behind my hand because that I know he received from me. He stands up likes it's nothing though.
"That's my boy," I whisper, continuing after them.
Jacob's finally returned from his run on the beach and the sun is low in the sky. They're taking a shortcut through the trees to get to him, and I watch the backs of their black-haired heads bobbing with each push of their legs.
Just like my vision.
I vaguely hear Sarah shout, "Daddy's home," before she launches herself into his arms. He picks her up and swings her around. Jaden's begging for attention, and Jacob easily scoops him up into his arms as well, showering them with kisses that make them giggle and twist to escape.
I'm still standing, rooted to the spot, thinking of that moment so many years ago when I finally admitted to myself I was in love with Jacob.
And here I am, watching my family, the family I have with him.
Jacob finally sees me, turning his attention away from the kids after he sets them down, smiling at me and nodding his head to come join them.
Sarah takes off into the shallow water, jumping over the tiny waves and Jaden hesitates to follow her, reaching his arms up for Jacob to take. He does, walking Jaden through the water. I can hear Jaden's childish, adorable laughter from here. Jacob's laugh blends beautifully with his.
For a moment, I feel like I'm trapped in that vision of the two black haired children. I don't want to be back to that moment, where everything was so different. Where I was different. Where this wasn't happening.
But, it's all real, and I'm happy, blessed, and perfect.
As I hike up my dress and join my husband and my children in the water, taking Jacob's free hand as Jaden holds on to his other, Sarah running through the water to tug on my dress to follow her, I glance up at Jacob and he knows. He knows what I'm thinking.
This is my life. This is my choice and I am forever changed. I will never go back to who I was, where I was.
This it it.
This is who I am.
Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
I could see years passing, and meaning something as they passed, changing me. -Eclipse, page 529
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here
Final A/N. If you haven't read a single author's note I've written, please read this one at least: I want to thank each and every one of you for reading and reviewing this story. I especially want to thank those of you who stuck aroundfor your patience and faith in me despite the long waits between some updates and the emotional rollercoaster this fic brought on. Drawn out angst with happy endings is my favorite thing ever, if you hadn't noticed. ;)
I am blessed and grateful for every single review I've received, but there is one person I want to give a special shout out to: I'llBeWaitingInTheWings, for leaving me essay long reviews for every chapter that never cease to make me smile. Another shout out to Nikita, for the artwork she made and dedicated to this fic (and those of you who also made graphics). It's a real honor to have someone so ridiculously talented make stuff with this story in mind. You can check out her artwork for NTL in my JB-n-Pack group for this story (linked in my profile). Also, another thank you to those of you who nominated and voted for this fic in competitions. Chimera won second place as coolest OC if I recall, and Bella won second place for best characterization.
I'm grateful for the experience I've had writing this and the conversations I've had with some of you. Your support and interest in this story is the only thing that kept me writing this until the very end. I refused to give up because of that.
I never imagined this fic would get so much attention and become one of the favorites on this side of the fandom, but here I am, many chapters and nearly 1500 reviews later. It's been a blessing writing this AU of Bella and Jacob, and watching them, and other characters, grow. Also, the love for the OCs I received, particularly Chimera and Autumn (and even Kyle, Brian, and Ashley) was not expected, especially in a world where people hate OCs. I enjoyed writing every single one of them, but I have to admit that those five listed above were the ones I enjoyed writing the most.
I'll be posting a discussion on JB-n-Pack very soon where you guys will be able to ask me any questions you want on this story. I'd love to share with you my inspiration behind the characters, etc, whatever comes to your mind you'll be able to ask there.
Where will I be now that this is over? I'll still be a member of JB-n-Pack, obviously, to participate in that discussion above and for you to talk to when you want. Feel free to message me, okay? But, I'm on my Tumblr (linked in my profile) almost every single day where I blog about beautiful people, Harry Potter, random stuff, Glee, other fandoms, and gay men…but mostly Glee and gay men. Lol. ;)
As far as fan fiction and writing goes? I am writing some things- an original story (er…that's what it's probably going to be) and a Glee fanfic, but they will likely never be posted, so even if you're interested, I apologize, because I'm writing them for myself more than anything.
Wow. This is really over.
Now, this is your last chance to review. Make it count! ;)
Thanks and hugs and kisses,