Author's note; Many thanks to all who reviewed the last chapter. You have all been very kind and amazing, the way you have taken to this story. At the beginning, when I posted the first chapter, I wasn't even sure that anyone would bother to review. The few who did, spurred me on. So, on with the Epilogue, in Bella's POV. Enjoy.
Disclaimer; I do not own Twilight, I just use my imagination to play with the characters.
"Hi, Bella!" Alice takes the seat next to me. We greet each other warmly. "Is Rose going to make it today?"
"Yep, she rang me a few minutes ago. Got held up in traffic." I take a sip of my iced tea. "So, how's work?"
Alice smiles, broadly. "They're giving me a promotion."
"Promotion! Already!. Wow, Alice that's huge. You've only been there, what, five minutes?" I pull her to me and give her another hug.
"I know. Well, they couldn't exactly overlook my talents, could they? I'm the best window dresser they've ever had." She replies, smugly, spooning off the foam from her coffee.
"So, what are you? In charge now?" She's making me work for all the info.
"Yep. They want me to start supervising the other stores, as well." She smiles, self-satisfied.
"Did you ever dream that you'd get a job like this, Alice?" I ask, wistfully.
"I was sure I would, one day. That day just came sooner than I thought." She replies with surity in her tone.
We both look over to the door and sure enough, there is Rose, looking gorgeous as ever. She sets her drink down on the table and walks around the table to greet us with a kiss. We haven't seen her for a few weeks.
"Hi, Bella. Beautiful as ever! And Alice! Shit girl. Where did you get that tan?" Rose rubs Alice's hand, as if she may have used fake tan.
"We went down to Mexico for a couple of weeks." Alice replies, grinning.
"Did you spend anytime in your room?!" Alice giggles at Rose's question.
"We had a private villa, with a pool, so we didn't have to go inside, Rose." Alice winks.
"Good God, girl, have you no boundaries?" Rose retorts.
"Not when it comes to not being seen, no." Alice seductively licks another mound of foam from her spoon. I nudge her in the ribs and we giggle at Rose like a pair of teenagers. Finally Rose smiles.
"Well, aren't you going to ask me how I am?" She looks at us intently. We give in.
"Okay, Rose. So, how are you?" Alice asks, raising an eyebrow in anticipation.
"Look." Rose reaches her hand across the table, to us.
"Wow! Let me get my sunglasses on first! You could've warned me!" I can't believe the size of the rock on her finger.
"It's beautiful Rose. Did you choose it?" Alice asks, glibly.
Rose's face is a picture. Her mouth is open and her bright blue eyes, are as wide as saucers.
"Hell, no! Em chose it all by himself. He only gave it to me, last night." She huffs, feinging hurt feelings that we doubted his abilities at choosing a fantastic engagement ring.
"I saw it coming." Alice says, in a matter of fact way.
"You might have told me, Alice. When he got down on one knee, I was a blubbering wreck. I was cooking at the time." She breathes, shutting her eyes at the memory.
"Figures. Food is the next thing closest to his heart, other than you." I smile, sweetly, taking another sip of my drink.
"Yep, like I've always said, Bella." Then all three of us recite her words of wisdom. "Be a chef in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom!" We burst out giggling. I'm just thankful we're tucked away, in a quiet corner of the coffee shop.
"When d'you think he'll take you up the aisle?" Alice muses.
"In about six months. Once he's got his company up and running, there'll be no more travelling. He's asked me to oversee the staging of the houses, when their complete." Rose's eyes sparkle at the thought of being in charge of such a project.
"You're going to have so much fun with that." Alice chirps, smiling.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. In the meantime the internet business is doing pretty well. I don't suppose either of you know of anyone, who wants to buy a '62 Corvette Stingray in Roman Red?" A what?
"Uh, no! But I could always suggest that we use it in a window display!" Alice stares off into the distance. No doubt another idea, is taking shape, in that pretty little head of hers. It's almost certain, to get her on the next rung of the career ladder.
"Are you going on the road again, soon?" I ask Rose, as she takes another sip of her straight black coffee.
"Yeah, next week. Where going to a place called Forks, in Washington State. Sounds weird to me. Anyway, apparently it rains a lot, so I'll have to get me a nice looking rain jacket." She nods, no doubt imagining the accessories that she will need to buy, to accompany a new coat.
Forks. Where have I heard that name before?
Yes, I remember, Tyler. Yes, Tyler came from Forks. I focus back to Rose.
"I really don't know how Emmett can afford you. You buy a new wardrobe almost everytime you go on a trip." I snort.
"He doesn't mind. He says that I'm his best asset, when we go away. Apparently, I inspire him." She says, dreamily.
Alice laughs a little too loud. "Yeah, I'll bet, Rose! Whatever floats your boat, hey?" Rose smiles and nods, in response, ignoring Alice's goading.
"Has Edward started at Carlisle's hospital yet, Bella?" Rose asks me, finishing her coffee.
"He starts next week. All three of them are excited about working together. Jasper started there two weeks ago and Jake will be joining them when he's qualified. Hey, talking about Jake. Did you know that he dated not one, but three girls last week!" I look at them both, grinning.
"Man whore." Rose says simply.
"I think it's great!" Alice begins. "It's about time he enjoyed himself. Studying all the time must be soooo stressful. He doesn't do as much kickboxing as he used too, does he, Bella?" She adds, cheekily, giving me a wink.
"No, not since his trip to New York, last year. Funny that." I reply, failing miserably at trying to keep a straight face.
"Bella, you are so bad, girl!" Rose says, looking at me with narrowed eyes. "But I'm proud of you. He was wasted, hiding behind books all the time." She adds, sweeping back her hair from her neck and fanning herself. "God, is it me or is it hot in here?"
"It's probably you, Rose. Hey, your not pregnant are you?" I ask with wide eyes.
She's silent for a moment, as if she's visualising a calender. "Umm, well, I don't think so. I may have to get back to you on that one, Bella."
"Wow, Rose. What if you are? Are you going to walk up the aisle fat?" Alice puffs out her cheeks, as she says the word fat.
"Oh, stop it, Alice!" Rose snaps. "If I am, then we'll either get married sooner or wait until it arrives. I'm not going to worry about that right now." It's good to hear her being so blaze about having children. She's been so scared to even think about the possibilty, until recently, when Emmett said he wanted to try for one.
"Are you going to be here for the official opening of the hospital, Rose?" Alice asks, in order to change the subject.
"Yes, we'd really love to be there. After all, Em did give Carlisle some sound advice on a few things. He actually saved Carlisle a small fortune." Rose smiles, proudly.
"Yeah that was an amazing day, wasn't it? They ended up being able to buy another MRI machine." I add. This project has been the whole family's pride and joy.
"And will you be around for the fourth?" Alice adds.
"Yep, Em has never missed the fourth! Is Carlisle organising the catering, again?" Rose asks, looking at the two of us.
"He hasn't said anything, yet. So, I assume he is." I answer, shrugging my shoulders. "I suppose I'd better ring him and find out what he's got planned." I add.
It's been at least a week since I spoke to Carlisle and about a month, since I last saw him. But I know he's well and happy.
"Is he still dating Lizzie?" Rose asks, with interest.
"Yes, they seem to be getting on so well. I think she turned him down on the job offer, though. She probably thinks it's too soon in their relationship, to be working together, just yet. She would be good to have on board though. Knowing what nurses can be like, she'd be ideal to keep them in check." Alice and Rose nod at me in agreement.
"I like her. She makes him smile." Alice chirps. Rose and I smile at each other. Each for different reasons.
"And what have you been doing, Bella?" Rose enquires, her left eyebrow, arched.
"The spare bedroom is finished." I reply, sweeping my hair back from my neck, to cool down.
"And?" Rose pushes. Alice just smiles. She's probably guessed already.
"We've painted it blue." I sit back and brace myself for the noise. They both squeal at the same time.
"A boy! I just knew it would be, Bella. I didn't want to spoil the surprise when you went for your scan." Alice hugs me, rubbing my back.
"Well done, Bella." Rose, beams. "Only a few weeks to go. You are okay, aren't you?" She asks, looking concerned. I'm only just passed the time when I lost my first child, all those years ago. Everything is going well with this pregnancy.
"Rose, sweetheart I do have a Doctor in the house and Carlisle on call, if I can't get hold of Edward." I remind her. "The poor darling is so obsessed, he scans the baby's heartbeat every night before we go to bed." I add, smiling. Edward could not be more proud. The day I told him I thought I might be pregnant, he immediately went out and bought a test for me to do. When the test revealed the bold blue line, he picked me up and kissed my face for what seemed like an eternity. I think you could safely say, he was happy.
There was a family gathering in January, so we decided to tell the rest of the family the good news, then. Carlisle was ecstatic. He could hardly wait to become a grandfather. Jasper was also, very pleased. It seemed to push him in the direction, of finally asking Alice to move in with him. She had begun living between our apartment and his, not long after we moved to Chicago. My pregnancy was the perfect excuse for Alice to move. And I know that it won't be long before there is a ring on her finger too. She told me so. So, it will happen.
I sit quietly for a moment listening to Rose and Alice exchange more news. I love these two women like sisters. I would do anything for them. I know they would do anything for me. To see them so happy makes me happy.
Alice has worked a small miracle with Jasper. He never looks more content and at ease, than when Alice is at his side. Apart from work and our twice monthly 'gossip time', they are inseparable.
Rose and Emmett; well, they can fight like cat and dog, but as Rose puts it, the make up sex, is simply the best! Rose will never change and thank God, that is just how Emmett loves her. He's just thankful that he hasn't given her a reason, yet, to use her right hook. He has been warned!
Edward successfully, moved over to paediatrics and has never regretted that decision. I certainly will not be panicking, when little Joshua Edward isn't feeling well. He will be the most cherished child on Edward's list.
And when I've got some time on my hands and I'm done with nappy changing and sleepless nights, I'm going to re-acquaint myself with education and tackle psychology, as Edward suggested, some time ago.
I have never been so happy, since I became Mrs Cullen. Edward whisked me off to Vegas, a month after I moved to Chicago. We got married the next day, spent two days in our room and then went back to Chicago, to break the news to the family. They were overjoyed, but a little disappointed that we didn't have a traditional wedding. So, Carlisle did what he does best. He organised a party, to celebrate our union, at his large, mansion of a house. He hired caterers and music, inviting everyone that he could think of, to make the day a success. His pride in his family knows no bounds.
If I had my life again, I would change very little of it. A perfect life would have included meeting Edward so much sooner. But hey, would I have appreciated everything that I have now? I think somehow, that I may have taken it for granted.
A sudden kick takes me by surprise and jolts me out of my time spent reminiscing. I stroke the side of my stomach. "Hey you in there." I say softly. "Give mommy a break. Not long now and you'll meet everyone." I add, tickling his foot, pushing from the inside.
Alice smiles at me and instinctively, rests her hand on my swollen stomach. She giggles at his movements. Rose can't resist. She walks around the table and bends down next to me, resting her head on the side of my stomach.
"He's going to be beautiful, Bella. And we are going to spoil him, something major!" She says softly, her eyes welling with tears.
She stands and kisses the top of my head. "I have to go now, you three. Shopping to do and then packing. We'll see you all on the fourth!" She adds, blowing Alice a kiss and heading for the door.
"She's pregnant!" Alice declares, triumphantly, as we watch Rose leave.
"Wonderful!" I breathe.
We've learnt not to question Alice and her internal knowledge. She seemed able to predict everything that was of any importance in our lives, correctly, when she moved to Chicago. Very odd.
"Let me help you to the car, Bella. I'll take you to your appointment. I take it Edward's going to be there?" I nod to answer her and finish my drink.
"You make sure he gets you home as soon as possible, so you can get some rest. God knows, you should get some now. When he arrives," She says pointing to my stomache. "He's going to have you running around like a headless chicken for a while. Trust me." She smiles, knowlingly, taking my arm and helping me to stand. I have reached the point where I can no longer even see my feet, when I stand.
"Thanks for that Alice. Your the best."
One Month Later......
Joshua arrived two weeks early. A bouncing nine pounds and five ounces of pure, baby joy. He has my eyes and his daddy's distinctive hair colour. He'll break hearts when he's older.
"Thank you, my love." Edward whispers, when I finally stop crying tears of joy, that he has arrived safely and is perfect in every way.
"I would say that the pleasure was all mine. Well, up to a point, it was." I grimace, as I struggle to sit up in the bed a little more, in order to get ready for Joshua's first feed.
My breath hitches, as I watch Edward look down at our son's beautiful face. He kisses the top of Joshua's messy hair. "Is it alright if the visitor's come in now, love?"
"Of course. We can't keep the family waiting, can we?" He carefully, places Joshua in my arms and kisses my mouth before he turns to the door and holds it open.
The room fills up very quickly. It's weird to see the men of this family, stand in this room and turn to mush at the sight of a baby.
First Carlisle steps forward and greets his first grandson. His face is full of pride. "Well done, Bella. He is beautiful. Are you feeling okay?" I nod and smile in reply. "Christmas is going to be wonderful, this year." He muses, looking at Joshua's little face.
Then Jasper and Alice, say hello. "Welcome to our family.... Joshua." Alice gives me a knowing smile. How does she do that? We hadn't told the family, yet!
"Welcome, Joshua." Jasper says, softly. He kisses my forehead and Alice gives me a hug, wrapping her arm around Joshua, too.
"Joshua is a lovely name." Rose breathes, as she and Emmett, greet him and kiss my cheek. "You will let us babysit, won't you? We need all the practice we can get!"
"Of course! Any time!" I reply. Rose is just beginning to to show.
Jake steps forward, reaching out his large hand to stroke Joshua's cheek. "Well done, Bella. He's a big boy. The next one might be even bigger!" He grins.
"The next one!" I half exclaim, giving him a death glare. He tries to stiffle his laughter and hide in the corner of the room, from me, like a naughty puppy.
"Well, Joshua, this is your family." I say, softly. "You'll get to know them all, very quickly." He gives a perfect yawn in reply, his little mouth forming a perfect o shape.
His eyelids flutter and as if he is overcome by sheer exhaustion, he begins to breath rhythmically and fall into a deep sleep.
Slowly and quietly and family exit the room.
"He is absolutely perfect, Bella. Aside from meeting you and you becoming my wife, I have never been so happy. Even if it is rather early to be thinking about it, I really do think that Joshua should have a brother or sister to grow up with. In the meantime, I've begun to look for a family home for us. I think a couple more bedrooms might not be a bad idea, don't you?"
"That sounds like a wonderful idea. With a garden for them to play in?"
"Absolutely, Bella. Ask for anything and it's yours, my love."
He leans over to me and kisses my mouth, gently kissing Joshua's head, once again.
"I love you, Edward." I say, leaning back into the pillows, fatigue suddenly overwhelming me. Edward gently takes Joshua from me, placing him back in the basinette, next to my bed. I reach out to Edward and take his hand in mine. "With all my heart." I add.
"And I, my love, love you too, with all my heart."
Author's note; Thank you everyone for reading, reviewing and enjoying this story, as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Take care.