Here it is. I know it has taken pretty much forever to get to you but the truth is I finished this chapter over a month ago then my laptop hard-drive decided to go to the big office in the sky. And my usual laptop doctor was unable to revive it. As you can imagine I was a little disheartened by this and I kind of lost my writing mojo. I still don't believe this is anywhere near as good as the last version but hopefully you'll love it anyway.
Chapter 18- Epilogue
The rest of the year passed in a haze for both me and Alice.
Her birthday was an experience I'll never forget...
We gathered around tables at the restaurant. In attendance were me, Edward, Jasper, Charlie, Jake and seven or eight of Alice's other friends from school. Her face was filled with joy as she opened all of her presents. She was totally in her element being the centre of attention.
It was easy to spot her favourite presents. The silver charm bracelet from Jasper, which she put on immediately after examining each of the tiny charms which included a tiny Princeton crest and a little silver paint brush, was one. Another favourite was Edwards gift, or gifts. He had given her two gift certificates; one for any pair of shoes from her favourite store and another for some furniture from his mothers design company. He figured it would be a perfect gift as she'd need stuff for her dorm when she left for college. And finally the present to end all presents...
I grinned as I passed her a tiny square box wrapped in silver. She opened it slowly delight on her face to reveal-
"A key ring?" she said her face falling in disappointment as she studied the small diamond studded 'A'. I just grinned and reached into my pocket.
"Oh did I forget to include this?" I asked as I held the set of car keys up in front of her.
"OH MY GOD!" she exclaimed as she rushed to the window and gasped out loud as she caught sight of the champagne coloured convertible with a big purple bow on it sat directly in front of the restaurant.
I was so happy watching her drive away in the car with Jasper after hugging both me and Edward tightly.
Of course having Edward around so much hadn't always been easy on her. Like the first time she'd used his first name in front of a class full of students or when she'd walked in on us together the day after her senior prom. That was an incident I wouldn't forget in a while...
Alice had booked a room for herself and Jasper at the hotel where this year's prom was being held. I wasn't stupid. I knew she'd probably have drink and I didn't want her driving afterwards. Plus it was her senior prom. I thought she should enjoy it with her boyfriend.
Since she was gone Edward agreed to spend the night at my place. Usually we spent the night at his. He didn't want to make Alice too uncomfortable in the little time she had left before going away. I was a little disappointed at this but I could see his point and knew that once Alice had moved out he would spend more time here.
The night was lovely. Edward had cooked for me. It was weird being in my kitchen and watching someone else cook in it whilst I sat on my ass and did nothing. We'd fallen asleep in each other's arms after a gloriously long session of worshipping each other's bodies and woken up the following morning in the same way. Since we didn't expect Alice back for ages we went down to the kitchen in our dressing gowns and sat at the counter for breakfast. What I didn't expect was the fooling around that followed the food.
Edward was watching me with thoughtful eyes as I finished my French toast. I couldn't help but ask "what?"
"Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?" he answered with a question.
"I should, considering how often you tell me," I replied. "But I have to disagree with you this morning as I happen to know I have an awful case of bed head," I said, running my fingers through the tangles.
"Well if you don't like it we can always change it..." He paused for a moment, smirking at me playfully and then tugging me towards him with the tie to my dressing gown. "To sex hair," he finished as his lips found mine.
I moaned appreciatively into his mouth and ran my fingers over his firm shoulders and down his sculpted chest than was covered with soft fabric. Meanwhile his own hands threaded through my hair and his lips moved slowly from mine down my neck and towards my chest making my gasp and shiver in pleasure.
I wish there were words to describe what his kisses do to me. But even if there were, my brain shuts off so completely so that every cell in my body can experience it that I wouldn't be able to put them in order.
With no noticeable effort he lifted me up and placed me on the edge of the kitchen table and continued his mouths assault on my collarbone. Slowly he tugged on my dressing gown tie and let it fall open. He pulled back slightly to let his eyes drink in the sight of my bare breasts and I moaned in protest at the loss of his soft lips on my skin.
But his lip's break in worship of my body was brief and they returned to lavish their attention on my breasts. My hands gripped the table edge tightly as his mouth latched on to my nipple. I took shallow, shuddering breaths as he grazed the sensitive tips with his teeth and moaned softly when his hands, which had been ribbing slow circles on my hip bones, moved slowly downwards to my now wet centre.
"Oh Edward," I gasped as he pressed two of his delightfully long fingers into me.
I suddenly felt as though he was overdressed in his dressing gown and boxers, at least in comparison to me. I reached my hands to his shoulders pushing and tugging to gradually reveal more and more of his exquisite chest before deciding to remove it completely. He had to stop his ministrations briefly whilst I pushed the garment off his arms but it felt so much better when they returned to their task.
Eventually Edward must have figured that I'd taken enough of his blissful torture as his lips began to make their way downwards to join his fingers where his thumb was tracing firm circles around and over my clit.
I was hovering on the edge of release; I knew my orgasm was moments away. I let my eyes close to allow me to focus on the sensations flooding my body.
"BELLA!" a voice that definitely didn't belong to Edward filled my ears.
My eyes snapped open and my head flicked to my left where Alice and Jasper stood, still as statues, their expressions matching degrees of shocked and embarrassed. Not more embarrassed than me though. I had never been more red-faced in my life than having my daughter and her boyfriend staring at my naked form (and the nearly naked body of their teacher) that seconds previously had been experiencing some of Edward's best moves.
Edward recovered quicker than me, covering my body first with my dressing gown before grabbing his own from the floor and shrugging into it.
"I'm so sorry Alice," he began.
"I'll deal with you later." Alice said to him before turning to me. Her expression had changed. She was angry. SHIT. "Bella, can I speak with you in the other room?"
I had followed her, reluctantly into the living room where she had proceeded to give me hell about setting a good example and the condition of the kitchen table. I ended up agreeing to buy a new table and whilst I apologised that she had to witness what she had, I wasn't going to apologise for it happening.
She and Jasper had returned early with the intention of going for a picnic and had gotten a show instead. Edward and I ended up joining them and although it meant postponing our lovemaking until later that night it ended up being worth it. Delayed gratification usually is and Edward never disappoints.
The remainder of the summer passed with very little happening. I cut back on my hours at the restaurant. Mike had finally gotten up the courage to ask Jessica out and it turns out most of his accidents were the consequences of his nerves around her. Once the nerves were gone he had fewer accidents and was a more than adequate manager.
I spent the time hanging out with Edward since he was on holiday as well. I tried to spend a lot of time with Alice too since she would be gone soon.
Before long it was necessary to go shopping for furniture with Alice and we packed up all of the things she would be taking with her to college. It was difficult picturing the house without her, picturing my life without her.
Edward came with us when Alice moved in to her dorm. He followed in my truck, loaded with all Alice stuff and I rode with Alice in her car. She had a bedroom all to herself but shared a common area with three other girls. I knew she would have the best time.
Edward took care of all the heavy lifting and I helped Alice put everything in place. I wanted her to feel as at home as was humanly possible before I left her. I wasn't sure if that was for her benefit or mine but it didn't make any difference.
I didn't know which way to look as Bella and Alice said their tearful goodbyes. I felt like I was intruding on a very private moment. But someone had to bring the truck or Bella wouldn't have been getting home.
"Can I have a word with you before you go?" Alice asked me, surprising me as Bella went to leave.
"Sure," I said wondering what an earth this was going to be about.
"See you in the truck," Bella told me, hugging Alice one last time before heading out.
Once Bella had gone Alice turned to me. "I just wanted to tell you that I am really glad that Bella has you right now," She started. "She's going to need some taking care of over the next few weeks. Don't let her work to avoid being in the house alone ok?"
"I wasn't planning on it Alice. I know that this is going to be difficult for her." I told her.
She smiled at me. "Good. Well to help that plan along I have a little something." She told me and removed a piece of folded up paper from her back pocket. She unfolded it slowly and handed it to me.
It took me a moment to comprehend what I was seeing. It appeared to be a type of cartoon strip. The first window showed Bella going into the bathroom at her place. The second box was an image of me, in Bella's living room putting something inside a box marked 'Alice's Stuff' the third square showed Bella looking inside the box, the final window was a clear image of Bella's face as she looked at the item I had placed in the box.
I just stared, open mouthed at Alice. "How did you know?" I asked her.
"I know everything." She told me grinning. "Good luck." And with that she gave me a quick hug and ushered me out of the door.
The long drive back to Forks made me nervous. The item in my Jacket pocket seemed to weigh a tonne. We pulled up outside Bella's house.
"I need to go to the bathroom. I'll meet you in the front in five," She told me.
I walked through the room and followed the map that Alice's drawings gave me.
I had a little sob in the bathroom when we arrived home. It had hit me, as I knew it would, that Alice wouldn't be coming back here. Not until thanksgiving, which seemed so far away. I washed my face and went downstairs where my beautiful man was waiting for me.
I walked into the living room and immediately groaned at the sight of a large cardboard box on the coffee table.
"Oh no! I hope it wasn't anything important." I said walking over to the box. I picked it up. Oh! It's really light. I don't think there's anything in here. I shook the box. It rattled. There is something in here! I put the box back on the table and opened it. Looking down into the box I saw what looked like a small black jewellery box. What an odd thing for Alice to leave behind. I reached into the box and pulled out the small satin- coated box.
I gently opened the box... and gasped.
Nestled inside more satin was a beautiful gold band, with a single diamond adorning it. It was classically beautiful, just like Edward.
At that moment I felt his soft hands encircle my waist and he placed his chin upon my shoulder.
"Marry me, Bella?" he whispered in my ear.
I turned in his arms to look at him. His eyes were filled with emotion. I tried to find the words to explain how I felt. A simple yes would probably suffice but that didn't quite cover just how much I loved this man who had just asked me to spend my life with him. But there were no words, none that were enough. So I just nodded, a single, happy tear running down my face.
"Really? Yes? Oh Bella." And with that he swept me up in his arms, twirling me around in a circle. Before setting me down and peppering y face with kisses. Then he placed his lips against mine. So many emotions poured into that kiss; gratitude, affection, trust, hope, but most of all, love.
He pulled back from the kiss long enough to put the ring on my finger.
"It's beautiful" I told him.
"You're beautiful" he replied and captured my lips again before picking me up, bridal style, and carrying me to our bedroom.
I looked around me. This was going to be my home for the next nine months. I missed my own room already. Don't get me wrong the dorm was nice. I had a bedroom to myself, which was lucky and I'd met the girls I would be sharing a common area with. But there was something missing: Bella. I knew most people felt like this when they started college. When they had to leave their parents and their best friends behind. But my parent and my best friend were the same person. I was just about ready to lie down on my bed and have a good cry when my phone rang.
"Hello?" I said
"Is it too soon for me to come and see you?" he asked.
"No, come over as soon as you can."
There was a knock at the door. I walked through my living room, past Kate, Tanya and Victoria.
I opened the door; phone still pressed to my ear, and revealed Jasper.
"Hey" I greeted, throwing my arms around him.
"Hey, yourself" he replied returning the hug.
"Girls, this is my boyfriend Jasper" I introduced.
"Hi" the girls replied with small waves and whatnot in our direction before going back to unloading DVD's into the bookcase.
Jasper and I went into my room where we both flopped down on the bed.
"I'm exhausted." Jasper complained. "My mom is a total moving Nazi."
"Miss her already?" he asked.
"I know it'll be hard for you without her. But hey, I'm here and the girls seem nice and you're sure to meet even more people when classes start. You're probably going to find more interesting people than me to spend you're time with," he joked.
"Don't be silly. There's no-one I'd rather spend my time with." We returned to the living room and ordered pizza whilst debating the merits of each John Hughes movie we came across.
Sometime around half eleven my phone rang.
"Alice!" I heard Bella's voice on the other end of the line. "I'm getting married." I smiled. So Mr Ass actually did it. Good for him. I kew he'd been planning it for a while. I'd drawn him at a jewellery store quite a while back and Grandpa Charlie had confessed that Edward had gone to see him about a week ago to ask him for his permission.
"I'm so happy for you mom" I told her. I so rarely called her mom.
"I'm happy too kiddo. And hey, it means you'll be able to visit sooner than we thought, Edward said his parents will want to throw us an engagement party of some sort when they hear."
"Oh I'll have to call Esme so I can help. I love planning a good party."
"I know you do."
"Ok well go be with your guy, I'll talk to you tomorrow," I told her.
"Ok and you go be with yours. I love you, Alice."
"I love you too, Bells."
So there you have it. Some of you have asked about a sequel and it's definitely a possibility but it won't be for a while despite the fact that I have plenty of time now England have been knocked out of the world cup. I have a few other stories up my sleeves as well so put me on your author alerts if your interested.
Finally I just want to thank everyone who as reviewed this story, particularly the few who let me know what they thought every chapter. You're all diamonds. Please let me know what you thought of the ending. I love you all.
Keep smiling...Raichy x