A/N: I have so many to thank for their wonderful support. First and foremost- Truckingal, my beautiful, perfect, wonderful, awesome, understanding, intelligent beta - for blessing me with her awesomeness and her endless help, hope, and spirit. This story would not be what it was without her. Thank you, you wonderful woman! EliseShaw- you have been a constant supporter of my work, and I love all of your delightful insight and feedback. When I had hardly any readers (and less reviewers)- you were there! Thank YOU! Another big thanks to my constant supporters - Twilighthippie1, herves vuin (whom I've been blessed to have as a reader and an inspiration on a few of my stories), TeamMidnightSun (your reviews were wonderfully long and sweet), x-love-life-x, Rated T for Twilight, StewieRansom, Twilightfan000001, Sam the Ant Ha, They Didn't Listen - your feedback and continued support was always a comfort even if it was just a word. Also many thanks to Kat097, garnie35, Inmortal Angel, andromida1964, LovingJasperHale, EdwardCullen25, lifesuxthnudie, Dreamy Bloodsucking Loner, Twilitr1604, jerseyhalliwell, Lainersss for three or more of your supportive reviews! And to everyone I didn't mention, your reviews brightened my days as well. Thanks to my readers, and to those who have added this story to your alerts and favorites; I am so grateful that you stuck with me through all the cliffies and oddities that I have inflicted upon you. I hope that you all enjoy this final epilogue...and thanks again for reading. *sniffs*
"And then what happened?"
Sitting on the frilly pink comforter of the huge bed in Edward's former room, Bella furrowed her brows in confusion and looked to her husband beside her for explanation. "What do you mean?"
"What happened after your memory came back?" Renesmee asked curiously.
With the petite frame of a nine-year-old, she still looked small in the huge bed, her back propped up against several lacy pillows. Her aunties Alice and Rosalie had delighted in redecorating Edward's room in pinks, pale blues, and a lot of lace with long heavy draperies covering the wall-sized windows. Lined up along the bed were an assortment of teddy bears, dolls, and other stuffed animals. While she did not spend the night with Grandpa Carlisle and Grandma Esme regularly, the story of Bella's memory loss had taken several hours, and Esme offered to have Renesmee stay the night, always delighted in keeping the little darling.
"Oh, well…we told everyone the next day, of course, and everyone was very relieved." Bella continued.
"And Grandpa Carlisle examined her again, and after a few weeks took off the bulky cast. Then she only needed to wear a brace after that," Edward explained.
"What about the headaches?" she asked.
Bella smiled, unable to resist reaching out to touch one of Renesmee's long, bronze, waist-length curls. The child was endlessly inquisitive. "The headaches never came back," she told her, stroking the silky soft lock of her hair. "And I never passed out again," she added for good measure.
"So, did Auntie Alice's vision come true?"
Edward smiled at the thoughts inside her question. "Yes, I took Momma to the prom, just as Auntie Alice predicted."
Bella had looked stunning in Alice's royal blue tiered dress that contrasted the ivory of her skin, and he could still recall the perfect rosy color of her cheeks as she gazed up at him. That night, Edward had been convinced that he had never seen her more beautiful…of course, he was wrong. Her exquisite features continued to amaze him every day, and then sweet Renesmee was just a smaller version of her mother with her adoring chocolate brown eyes.
With a nod, Bella still recalled, even within her dim human memories, the hours Alice had spent primping, brushing, styling, blushing, and dressing her as though she were her very own Barbie doll. "Yes. Against my will, Daddy took me." Under false pretenses, she thought to herself, but did not say aloud. This was hardly something she wanted to share with her daughter at this point in time.
"If I recall, you did not have such a horrible time," Edward put in, smiling.
It was true - the way Edward had held her on his toes as they danced prevented quite a few disasters. And, as she recalled the memory of him in his black tuxedo, looking like a devastating angel, it had been easy to block out everyone else around them as he held her in the security of his iron grasp. In the three years they had been married their love for each other only grew deeper every day.
"But, Momma. I don't understand why you didn't guess that Daddy was a vampire." Renesmee's befuddled expression made Bella want to laugh.
"I guess it's because, at that time, I had thought that vampires were supposed to be scary...and Daddy was...." Bella paused for a moment, reflecting on Edward's behavior - so gentleman-like, so sweet. "A perfect human."
Edward took Bella's hand in his and ran his thumb along her pale, ageless fingers. His butterscotch eyes filled with warmth as he granted his wife her favorite lopsided grin.
"And, the fact that he ate food really threw me off," Bella said with a laugh.
At that moment, Renesmee's tiny little nose scrunched up, and Edward chuckled at her thoughts.
"Dadd-yyyy," she began in a disapproving tone, "did you really eat chicken and that sandwich that Grandma Esme made?"
Edward frowned to his wife. Apparently, Bella had embellished some of her storytelling when he had been arm wrestling Emmett outside hours before. The incidents with the food was something he would have liked to have kept quiet, still recalling the rancid flavors on his tongue…
"I didn't eat the chicken."
"Yes, you did," Bella countered. After her memory had returned, she realized exactly what he had subjected himself to…and she loved him all the more for it.
"No, I didn't," he admitted. "I pretended to."
"But, you ate the sandwich…ewwwww!" Renesmee said, now scrunching up her perfect face.
"It was one bite, and I did what I had to do," he told his daughter, wrapping Bella into his left arm and squeezing her soft, perfect body into his. "Because I loved her soooo much…as much as I love you." Edward and Bella leaned forward to take the irresistible child into their arms.
"I love you, too," Renesmee replied, holding onto her parents tightly. A yawn then escaped her lips.
Edward took Bella's hand as they rose from the bed, and wrapped his beloved wife into his arm. They both wished her a good night and tucked her into the covers.
"Good night," she said with a happy sigh. But before they closed the door, she called out to them. "Can you send Jacob up to say good night?"
With a smile, Bella nodded. "Good night, Renesmee. See you in the morning."
* * * *
"I love you, Jacob."
He smiled with the warm fuzzy feeling he got whenever she told him that. "I love you more," he told her, his russet hand gripping the edge of the door.
"Nuh uh. I love you more."
"No, I love you more."
"Good night, Nessie," he told her tenderly, his tone still patient. He had said it for the third time that night already, and flashed one last white grin at her, closing the door behind him.
"Good night, Jacob," her sweet little voice called out. "Can I see Momma again?"
Smiling, Jacob returned downstairs to find Bella and Edward snuggling on the couch in front of the television accompanied by Jasper and Emmett on an adjoining sofa - who were leaning forward with elbows rested on their knees - paying strict attention to the huge screen. "Bells, Nessie wants to see you again," he told her. The picture on the television soon caught his attention. "Oooh. Is that a car chase?"
Emmett waved him over. "Take a seat."
"Thanks, Jake," Bella told him, rising to make her way upstairs to her daughter.
In two seconds, Bella ghosted up the stairs, her limbs moving gracefully. It was still a shock to her that she seemed to no longer possess two left feet. She opened the door this time to find her formerly peaceful daughter now sitting up in the huge bed with arms folded across her chest. She looked positively miffed.
"Renesmee? What's wrong, honey?"
"You hit Jacob."
"What?" Bella felt blindsided by this child most of the time and the words that burst forward from her small, perfect mouth. Her chocolate brown eyes flashed angrily at her mother. And then Bella had to wonder…which time?
"You said that after Jacob let it slip out about the cold ones that the next time he came to Grandpa Charlie's house, you smacked him on his head."
"Oh…well…you see, sweetie, that was a long time ago…."
"Did you apologize?" she asked, sounding very much like the mother and not the young child she was. It struck Bella then, how very much she reminded her of herself…and how awkwardly Bella was falling into Renee's position.
"Mother," she began with a huff. "I am shocked and dismayed."
With a sigh, Bella looked at the time on the jeweled princess clock on the wall. It was very late for young half human/ half vampire children to be up. Since the moment she was born, Renesmee embodied everything that was good, her gentle nature irresistible to the rest of the Cullens and to Charlie alike. It was disturbing to see her daughter upset. And Bella knew that there was no getting away with it. "Fine," she muttered, returning to the hallway and called out for Jacob.
A minute later, Jacob appeared. He looked to Bella unsuspectingly.
"Did you put her up to this?" Bella hissed in a low voice.
"No, Momma. He did not put me up to this," her voice called out from inside the room. Renesmee's hearing was as sharp as the rest of her family's.
Bella and Jacob entered the room together, and Renesmee waited impatiently, her arms still crossed.
"I'm sorry that I hit you," Bella told him, meeting his dark eyes evenly, keeping her tone as sincere as possible.
Jacob snorted. "Which time?"
Renesmee's jaw fell open. "Momma? You hit him more than one time? Hitting is wrong!"
To Bella's dismay, Jacob wore a very smug expression on his face, and she was very tempted to remove it with her improved vampire strength.
"It's okay," he told Bella, as much fun as he knew it would be to relay to Renesmee the other run-ins that he had had with her mother's open palm and fist. Besides, he had never held any grudges and was doing this purely for Nessie's benefit. "I forgive you," he told her solemnly, looking into Bella's eyes, and trying to keep his lips from curving into a smile.
"Now hug," Renesmee commanded, pointing to them with one small authoritative finger.
Bella and Jacob eyed each other tentatively, not relishing the idea of embracing, but did it to appease the little girl. It was only a brief hug, and the two pulled away from each other quickly, still slightly offended by each other's smell in spite of all the time they spent in close proximity to each other.
"There…are we okay?" Bella asked, heading toward the bed.
Happily, Renesmee smiled, and the long length of her bronze curls bounced as she nodded. "Good night, Jacob. I love you," she told him again.
He let out a sigh, his heart full from the little angel's valediction. "Good night, Nessie. I love you, too."
"Okay," Bella told her, sitting on the bed beside her and tucking her underneath the covers once again as Jacob departed. "It's late now. Time for sleep."
"Momma? I have one more question."
"What is it, sweetie?"
"Why did you hit Jacob those other times?"
With a chuckle, Bella turned her head away. "Oh, no."
"Please, Momma? I want to know."
With a smile, she looked into the cherubic features of her daughter. "I will tell you, Renesmee. But that will be a story for another night. Okay?"
"Okay," she agreed. Renesmee reached out her arms and squeezed her mother in a long embrace. "I love you, Momma," she told her, touching her cheek and showing her a happy picture of each aunt and uncle, of Carlisle and Esme, and of Charlie, Renee, and Jacob. To Bella, it looked like a family portrait they had never taken, and it warmed her heart with all the love she felt from the image.
"I love you, too."
Edward stood at the door quietly, absorbing his daughter's mental picture and the precious sight of his wife holding her. After three years of marital bliss, Bella still took his breath away. He now had everything he had ever wanted, and more than he could ask for, and as he allowed his wife and daughter their private moment, a content smile appeared on his face.
A/N: So, that's it! It's been a sincere pleasure writing this story, and I hope you have enjoyed reading it. And, now for the last time, I ask you to please leave a review! :D