It all belongs to SM. I am lucky to dabble with them.
I dream about being with you forever …
"I've got fifty on the Newbie," Emmett announced. We were all standing at the base of the mountain and looking up to where it disappeared into the gray storm clouds looming overhead.
"You're doubting your prowess?" Jasper questioned with a laugh and a smirk.
"Nah. I'm just not doubting Bella's extra oomph from her newbie status."
"I'll take that bet," Irina said. She was smirking too, but it wasn't humorous like Jasper's—it was cold as ice and as sharp as steel.
"Sorry, Irina. I have to go with Bella on this one. It's been years since you bothered to climb this mountain," Kate said, handing money over to Jasper.
"Shouldn't you guys bet on Edward?" I questioned. "He's faster than me."
"He's not racing," Emmett replied, reaching over and punching Edward in the shoulder. "Chicken."
"I'm choosing to be an observer this time," Edward said as he landed a gut punch to Emmett and zipped out of the way before the big guy could retaliate. The more Edward and I got used to my vampire status, the more Edward relaxed with everyone in the family. It was thrilling to see him roughhousing with his brothers this way; I didn't even care that I was smiling like a fool in front of Tanya.
Speaking of Tanya … She actually wasn't bad at all. She was very friendly and seemed to genuinely care for each of the Cullens. She also brought out a friendly side in Rosalie that even extended to me.
Edward's laughter caught my attention as he darted between Alice and Jasper to get out of Emmett's way. I caught up to him, wrapping my arms around his waist and leaning up to kiss his cheek. "Why aren't you racing?"
"This is the first time you get to move about freely and I want to watch you beat everyone to the top."
"You're sure that's safe, right?"
"Positive. There's no possibility of you catching a scent you couldn't ignore."
I leaned up to his ear and whispered as softly as I could. "Am I going to cream them?"
"Absolutely," he said with a laugh, hugging me tightly.
"You'll be up soon after, though, right?"
"Yes. We'll all be right behind the racers."
"Come on, Bells!" Emmett called out, waving one big paw at me. "Let's get this party started."
"No cheating, please," Esme said as I took my spot between Jasper and Irina.
"Sure, sure," Emmett replied with a grin that gave away his lie.
I chuckled and nudged Jasper with my elbow. "Good luck, Jazz."
"You ladies are lucky I'm too much of a gentleman to put him in your reach."
"We love you for it, too."
"Less talking, more getting ready to race," Emmett said. "Rosie, call it for us?"
"On three!" Rosalie called out. "One. Two … Three!"
Emmett technically took off before she got any further than the "th" sound in three, but it didn't do him as much good as he might have hoped. I caught up to him before we'd even made it two miles up and after that, I could only gauge his position by his curses.
Irina was a lot harder to get ahead of and she was playing much dirtier than Emmett ever had. Each and every chance she got to sling loose snow and rocks my way, she did. If she thought I would be that easily intimidated though, she was sorely out of luck. Not only did I keep going, but when I finally got a little ahead of her, I gave her a face full of snow, rock, and a little boot. I hadn't actually meant to catch her with my shoe, but sometimes things just happen in the right way.
I was the first to reach the summit with Irina only seconds behind me. I stood ready to fight, just like I'd been taught, keeping my eyes on Irina while she circled me and smirked.
"You are much tougher than I first thought," she finally said as she stopped moving.
My brothers finally made it to where we were, both of them looking warily between Irina and me.
"Bells?" Em questioned.
"No need to worry for her," Irina said. "She will do just fine," she added, holding her hand out to me.
I was still a bit skeptical of her, but I wanted to be friends with Edward's friends so I reached out and shook her hand. "Thanks, Irina."
The second I let go of Irina's hand, Emmett moved in, attempting to squish me with his hug. "Thanks for the win, Bells."
"Put her down," Edward ordered from somewhere behind me.
"I was being nice," Emmett replied, setting me down and patting my head. "I made sure to bet on her, not against her."
I chuckled at him for maybe a second before it became a yelp from Edward picking me up and spinning me around. "What are you doing?" I asked through my laughter.
"I'm proud of you."
"It was just a little race."
"I meant Irina."
"Oh." I felt my nose scrunch up as I looked into his eyes. "Alice?"
"Alice," he confirmed with a smile.
My brain finally seemed to fully engage and notice my surroundings, leaving me in awe. It had been gray and cloudy down at the base of the mountain, but up here on the ridge too high for humans to reach, the sun was shining and everyone around me was sparkling and looking ethereal.
"Look at the clouds," Edward said as he turned me toward them. The clouds were actually below us, seeming to fill up the space between our ridge and the one about a mile across from us. It didn't even look like clouds—it looked like cotton balls all jammed together.
"This is so amazing, Edward. So beautiful."
"There's so much of the world for you to see."
I nodded in agreement as a thought popped into my head. "Do you remember when we danced together at Prom?"
"I danced. You stood on my feet."
"I didn't bring it up for the dancing part. I was thinking more about how you asked if I dreamed of being a monster. I told you that I dreamed of being with you forever. This, right here and now, is so much more than I ever dreamed of, Edward. I'm so thankful to you for marrying me and making me yours. I know I didn't make it easy and I'm sorry for all the ways I made things harder for you. I never meant to do anything but love you forever."
Edward tightened his hold on me and brushed a kiss against the shell of my ear. "It's only the beginning, Love."
Readers, we have reached the end. Edward and Bella thanked me for the use of my laptop, Emmett bumped fists with me and left a bruise, and Alice has finished making over my apartment. Our favorite family is off to enjoy the world and show Bella sights she's never seen. I hope you all enjoyed this small glimpse into their happily ever after as much as I did writing it. Thanks for reading!!