Epilogue: Hope

I didn't stay in Italy with the Cullens much longer. The remainder of the day after the funeral, Alice and Jasper took me sightseeing to try to lift my spirits and get my mind off of what had happened. And it worked. The next day, we flew back to Forks. I stayed at the Cullen house for one last night. I would return home the next day.

That night, I dreamed.

I was back in Italy and it was wintertime.

The city was covered in a blanket of shimmering snow, and icicles hung from every sturdy object, glittering in the moonlight. It was the perfect winter scene, but it wasn't cold at all. It was actually pretty warm out.

There were many people all around and it reminded me of a street fair. Only this was not a traditional street fair, if it was a street fair at all. There were numerous people sitting on the sidewalks and the cobblestones, mostly young people, all of different races and nationalities.

They were all barefoot and dressed in vibrant colors. Both men and women wore their hair long and down, some with flowers in their hair, others with hemp or bandanas. Most wore bellbottom jean and some wore peasant skirts. A few men adorned Grateful Dead t-shirts.

Some had guitars and some had drugs. They were all singing and they were all happily at peace.

These were hippies. But what were they doing in Italy in the wintertime?

I looked down at my own attire, and instantly felt self conscious. The people around me were dressed freely and I was wearing Jessica's black dress. I instantly felt discouraged, wondering if this was some kind of cruel joke, or twisted nightmare. The people around me were dressed casually and uniquely, and of course, I would be wearing my friend's cocktail dress that I had yet to give back.

But it wasn't so bad, because I was also wearing my black converse. I slowly reached up to feel my head and felt many roses intertwined in my hair.

I felt immensely happy walking through the streets that were brimming with love. I observed the laughing, singing, carefree people and longed to know their secret. But for the time being, I was content just being there, as a witness. Their joy was contagious.

A figure appeared at the end of the street at that moment, a tall, lean man in bell bottoms and a tie-dyed vest. There was a lime green bandana wrapped around his forehead, and a flower behind his ear. He carried a guitar over his shoulder, one that was covered in peace signs and anti-war stickers. A chain hung around his neck, with a peace sign pendant hanging from it.

He was beautiful. His long hair was jet black and his skin was a smooth, olive color. He was obviously Italian.

He was obviously Angelo.

Angelo, the hippie, walked towards me, strong and confident. And just when he was near enough that I could have touched him, he completely changed before my eyes. He was still as young as ever, only this time, he was in his black, evening suit. His hair was tied back and he was suddenly the elegant man that I had met just days before.

He bowed and held out his hand. Dazed, I took it as the sixties music gently faded, and was replaced with a beautiful piano melody, one I recognized.

He twirled me around the winter wonderland of the cobblestoned street, the hippies still on the street, singing silently, as if we weren't even there. It was as if Angelo and I had traveled to a completely different time zone. We waltzed carefully around the hippies.

"Why are they all on the street tonight?" I asked him curiously.

Angelo smiled a very nostalgic smile. "This was probably the happiest time of my vampire life. I wanted to show you a little piece of it."

I looked around at all the smiling faces and the freedom radiating from these people, and I understood exactly why it had been his happiest time.

He was suddenly serious then, or as serious as he could get being Angelo. "Isabella," he said gently, his accent beautiful and thick. "Please do not be troubled by my death or the way it happened. I saved you and that makes all the difference. And so, I want you to promise me something."

More promises. "Okay," I said instantly. Promising Angelo something was the least I could do after he saved my life.

"Live your life," he said with a kind smile.

I nodded. This I could do for him.

"And," he added, his smile growing mischievous. "That boy – the one with the fun hair…," I found myself smiling. "He loves you very much and I think this is the time to trust him again."

"Okay," I promised.

He twirled me around one last time. "You know what to do now," he told me, as he bowed one last time.

"I do," I said, suddenly feeling very sad again. I clung to his hand, not wanting him to leave yet. "Angelo?" I asked him.

"Isabella?"

"Thank you," I said simply. "For saving my life."

He smiled. "Anytime," he said with good humor, before bending and kissing my hand. He embraced me and I felt entirely at peace as I hugged him back. He then stood back and I watched in awe as he transformed back into Angelo, the hippie. He smiled and winked at me, before turning and disappearing down the cobblestoned street.

I awoke the next morning to the faintest chords of music drifting through my door. I rolled over, straining to hear. It sounded so familiar, like the music in my dream, but I couldn't recall exactly what it was. I slipped out of bed and pressed my ear against the door. And then it came to me. It was my lullaby drifting up to me, being played on the piano downstairs.

I thought back to my dream and felt tears come to my eyes. They weren't really tears of grief anymore though. They were tears of inspiration, of a pain that was healing, of understanding, of remembrance, and of a thin layer of peace finally settling in my gut.

And that's when I knew what I had to do.

I pulled on a pair of jeans and made my way downstairs.

Edward sat at his piano bench, his back to me. There didn't seem to be anyone else around. I stood and watched him for a moment, mesmerized, listening to the beautiful song that was my lullaby.

After a few moments, he turned and saw me. I felt very awkward and almost wondered if I should run to the guestroom and crawl back into bed. But I stood my ground, remembering my dream.

He rose slowly, never taking his eyes off of my face. He took one step towards me, but didn't close the distance. I was still a few feet away.

He waited patiently, searching my face, while I twirled my thumbs and tried to justify why I was there. I felt almost uncomfortable.

"Remember…" I began, but couldn't finish, due to the ache that shot down my throat and constricted my voice, making it thick with tears. He nodded, encouraging me.

Why was this so hard? Spit it out, Bella! I thought urgently.

I took a deep breath and began again. "Remember – the other day," I gulped down more tears, wanting to stay as collected as possible. "You told me that you would be here…" I squeezed my eyes shut. "…when I was ready?"

"Yes," he said softly.

I opened my eyes, feeling the tears falling, despite my efforts. "I had this dream," I whispered, folding my arms around myself, feeling suddenly very lost.

He held out his hand to me, urging me with his eyes to take the last few steps, to come to him.

It wasn't easy, but I did it. I took the last few steps, until I was standing right in front of him. Now that I was no longer angry, it felt so tense to be that close to him that I unconsciously dropped my gaze to the floor.

He took my face in his hands and gently forced me to look at him. "Bella?" he whispered. I stared at him. The full force of my beautiful dream was only now hitting me.

Edward switched places with me, sitting me on his piano bench and kneeling in front of me.

"Angelo was in my dream," I told him, my eyes wide and my voice low. "It was like he was really there, Edward." I paused, hoping I didn't sound crazy. Edward waited patiently for me to go on.

"And he was happy," I continued, my voice breaking. "He was a hippie at first, until he transformed into the Angelo we knew. He waltzed with me. He told me to live my life and he made me feel that it wasn't my fault." I dropped my voice to a whisper. "He told me to trust you."

Edward smiled the sweetest smile I had seen in a long time. He put his hands on my arms and I noticed that I was trembling. I could tell that he knew I was going to break.

I was still thinking of my dream, feeling so many things at once…sadness, relief, wonder, and so much more. "It was so beautiful, Edward," I whispered brokenly, before pressing a fist to my mouth and beginning to cry.

"Oh, Bella," he murmured gently, pulling me carefully off of the bench and into his arms. Out of habit, I resisted at first, before remembering his words after the funeral and Angelo's message in my dream.

I let him hold me, feeling almost grateful, not wanting to be stubborn anymore. I let him rub my back soothingly, as I cried every tear I'd banished since this whole ordeal had begun. For one frightening moment, I didn't know if I'd be able to stop.

From somewhere upstairs, I heard soft, beautiful music. I wasn't sure if it was intentional, or just someone listening to something, but it made me feel calm. Edward gently lifted me to my feet, his arms still firmly around me, as we began to sway gently.

I realized we were dancing.

I felt worn out, my bare feet scuffling on the floor. Edward lifted me onto his feet, just like he had at the ball when we had had our first real confrontation. That seemed so long ago now. And this time, I let him. I rested my head on his shoulder wearily.

After a few moments, he placed something in my hand, closing my fingers around it. I looked down and found myself smiling through my tears.

What else would it be but a rose? It was a beautiful purple rose. I looked up at him, waiting for him to tell me what it meant.

"Eternal love," he said quietly, with the slightest hint of a smile. I returned the smile.

"Run away, but do not run so far that you lose sight of where you should be," he said suddenly, and my smile disappeared. I stared at him, wide eyed.

"I had so many dreams where Carlisle said that to me," I said, remembering. "What does it mean?"

"I believe that Carlisle was trying to tell you to run away from immediate danger," Edward explained. "Like Victoria. But to not run away so far that you lose sight of where you should really be. Like with me."

It made so much sense now.

"But you ran away from me anyway," Edward added with a small, sad smile.

"I'm not running anymore," I pointed out.

"And I'm never leaving again," Edward told me seriously, as we began to dance again.

"No matter how much I ran," I said. "You always followed."

"Of course I did. I'd follow you anywhere, Bella."

"Even on a midnight train to anywhere?" I asked cautiously.

"Even there." He smiled the crooked grin that I had always loved.

I put my head back onto his shoulder and felt my tears drying. I clung to the purple rose tightly, while he held me tightly.

And I knew at that moment that anything was possible. Bad things happened and miracles overrode that. Things changed and sometimes, times seemed desperate. But despite all of that, everything would be okay.

I was going to survive.

The End


A/N: That was the end. And now I'm kinda sad. I had soo much fun writing that, and I want to thank everyone who read it. And also, thank you to everyone who reviewed - your reviews seriously motivated me. I thought about continuing this, but this seemed like the perfect place to end it. I am definitley going to write more stories, but I'm wondering if I should do a sequel to this particular story. Throw some more drama and love in there. That seems like a plan to me =)

Again, thank you everyone! =)