Chapter 26 – Moving On

A/N: I guess this wonderful story needed a beautiful ending, so here it is…

Crystal clear snowflakes glistened as they fell gracefully in a spiral to the floor. Outside, the scene was set beautifully for the most magical Christmas with Edward. It will be our first Christmas together since my transformation into this amazing world. I was so excited in fact, that I resembled a child eager to rip open their presents in a haste. The only other like me, being Emmett, who is basically an overgrown child anyway. Everybody has really gotten into the spirit of things this year according to Edward. Last night whilst curled up in front of the fire, he told me stories of previous years. He even delved into telling me about the Christmas that he was without me when we had our heart breaking split whilst I was human. The worst part his story was that he didn't even know it was Christmas when he was without me. He was in so much agonising pain that the days all seemed to merge into one long, horrific nightmare.

Esme had made the house look so beautiful and festive. I'm sure to any human it would seem far too over the top, but to us it was like the cherry on top of the pie as it gave an added level of joy to our already happy atmosphere. A twenty foot Norwegian Christmas tree stood proudly in the entrance of the house, welcoming any visitors as soon as they set eyes upon it. Emmett and Jasper had the best job of decorating the tree. They turned it into the challenge as to who could get the baubles in exactly the right position to make them glisten even more. Everybody else stood around giggling at the childish behaviour. It was so nice to finally be free of high school (well at least for a few years), that Edward and I were in one of the happiest frames of mind that we had been for a while. My aching heart and dry sobbing was slowly getting better thanks to my husband's support. I know that nothing will ever be able to fix my lack of being able to have children, but I think that I am finally coming to terms with the situation. I keep reminding myself that I will get to spend the rest of eternity with Edward and that I should be overwhelming happy with that than dwelling on something so insignificant at this time.

After an incredibly sensual Christmas Eve with Edward, we finally snapped out of our reverie in order to start getting ready to greet the family. Esme has gone completely overboard with the planning this year and has even cooked a real dinner just to please Charlie and Sue who were coming up from Forks for the day. I think she forgot herself at the time that she would have to eat it in front of everyone just to keep up the façade. Even though it will be a lovely family moment to all sit around the dinner table at Christmas, I know everyone will be dreading it since we would have to scoff down some food. Christmas dinner was the one meal with Charlie back in Fork's that we actually put some effort into. My mouth used to water at even just the thought of Christmas dinner, but now it turns my stomach into knots. The smell of a golden turkey and all the trimmings wafting up to our room was enough to put any vampire off of Christmas.

Even though I knew that Charlie would be here soon, I still couldn't lift myself up out of bed with Edward to have a shower. I clung to his side whilst he lithely doodled patterns on the base of my spine. It was an incredible feeling and if I was still human, I think I would have goose bumps from head to toe by now. Maybe even goose bumps on top of goose bumps. We did not say a word, just carried on day dreaming about our astonishing life until Edward slowly lifted me into his arms and carried me into the hot, refreshing shower. Sensing how relaxed I was, Edward carried on to wash my hair for me, rubbing gently my favourite strawberry shampoo through my tousles of mahogany hair. I loved it when he did this. Just a simple act of kindness made me feel so special, that my heart could just melt away. He lifted me out, wrapped me into a gigantic white, fluffy towel and then started to dry it carefully for me. I must be the luckiest girl in the world to have a husband so adoring.

"Emmett calm down!" Esme shouted whilst he tried in vain to grab his first present before everybody else. The whole family were all sitting around in our spacious open plan living area. The log fire was lit to keep Charlie and Sue nice and toasty, and to avoid suspicion that us Cullen's didn't need the warmth. Everyone chuckled in response to the sad faces that Emmett pulled. He looked like a naughty two year old caught in the act of doing something cheeky. Bless him!

"Right then everyone, you can all open your present off of your mother and I" instructed Carlisle. With that, the mood in the room improved immensely now that everybody could rummage through their presents. Edward opened his first – his eyes widening with glee as he took in the glorious present he received. My alabaster fingers ran gently down the seam of the glistening silver wrapping paper. At human speed, which felt incredibly slow to me, I untucked the paper to reveal a luxurious green velvet jewellery box. I looked up to Carlisle and Esme who were beaming down at me. Whatever was in this box, I certainly didn't deserve the extravagance. I didn't want to see the expression on Charlie's face at the moment. I knew that he would be upset probably with the fact that he couldn't give me a gift like this. With a gentle flip of the lid, the box opened to uncover the most mesmerizing pendant I have ever seen. A deep blue sapphire sat proudly in a nest of diamonds encasing it. It was beyond beautiful. Words couldn't describe how perfect it was. If I was human, my eyes most certainly would have welled up in tears by now.

"It's absolutely stunning! I'm lost for words – thank you so much to you both!" I exclaimed.

"You're very welcome, dear. We're lucky to have you in our lives. We've been blessed with your presence Bella. I hope you understand how much you mean to us." I rose from the carpet to give Esme and Carlisle a hug each, so grateful for everything that they have done for me.

"Here love, let me put it on for you" Edward suggested, tucking my waves of hair over my shoulder in order to fasten the clasp. With a gentle kiss on the cheek, Edward wrapped his inviting arms around me as I sat between his legs on the carpet. It felt so romantic even though we were in front of our whole family.

The morning continued in the same routine until there were only two presents left to open; one from Edward to myself and vice versa. Charlie must have communicated with Esme and Carlisle beforehand as his gift was a stunning pair of sapphire studs to match my necklace. I forgot how bad Charlie was at picking out presents. I guess since now he has Sue and Alice to help him, he's got much better.

"Edward open yours first," I suggested, "I can't wait for you to see it!" Everybody knew what his present was as I had to gain everybody's permission first. It was a very tricky thing to do, especially since Jasper still had problems controlling his thirst. Everybody had promised to be on their best behaviour.

"Where is it?" He pondered, looking around the room.

"Alice would you go fetch it for me from the garage please?" I asked, since I had her in on the plan. In just a few moments, Edward will be able to guess what it is anyway, but I still thought that it would be a nice surprise. Within a flash, Alice returned to the room with a giant grin spread across her face and a fairly large purple box in her hands. A giant bow completed the box, making it look as cute as can be. I'm sure that all the vampires in the room, including Edward, had guessed what it was at this point. The faint humming of a heartbeat echoed out from the box, along with the slight smell of a puppy. Edwards face lit up, not expecting this at all. Alice passed the box over gently to Edward and he carefully peeled back the ribbon and paper to reveal the cutest face he had ever seen. A tiny golden retriever puppy sat, looking up eagerly to Edward, begging to be picked up. The puppy seemed to have no fear of us vampires at all. Maybe it could sense that we were genuinely nice people and that we posed no threat to him. Edward's smile couldn't stop beaming from his face. He very gently pulled the lovely ball of fluff out of the box, and instantly cradled him in his arms.

"Have you thought of a name?" I pondered, curious as to his suggestion. Everybody waited eagerly to hear his idea. I'm sure they all had something in mind themselves, but it was down to Edward to decide.

"Seth" he replied proudly. Everybody seemed in agreement. Personally I thought it was a wonderful name, honouring one of our friends who had always helped us. Charlie and Sue seemed to like the thought. Within two minutes of Seth being in Edwards arms, he had already ripped up the pile of wrapping paper. Boy, were we going to have fun with this little fella!

"I've already said to Bella that I will look after Seth whilst you and Bella go travelling. It will be nice to have some company in the house whilst everybody else is out." Added in Esme. She really was so thoughtful.

"Yay! That means we can go shopping for the puppy now! I'm going to get him the most dazzling collar and matching cute outfits!" Alice excitedly stated. At that, everybody groaned, images of a large golden retriever with a funny outfit on filling their minds.

"Your turn now love." Edward said, passing me an envelope that was tucked away behind his back. I didn't even realise that it was there. I was as curious as to what it might be, that I didn't have an ideas in my head. Everybody looked on attentively as I opened the envelope. To my surprise, inside were two first class tickets to London! I couldn't think of the most perfect present. I turned around to give Edward a truly passionate kiss on the lips. I didn't care if my whole family were around, nothing could have gotten in the way.

"We leave at midnight darling – get your cases packed! Life starts from here on in sweetheart." Everybody erupted in the rounds of applause as they could sense how happy we were.

"Of course we'll have to come back every few weeks to see our beautiful Seth!" Edward exclaimed, pulling silly faces at the cute puppy. I've never seen him so happy before, except from our wedding day of course.

"When he gets a bit older, we'll be able to take him with us to lots of places" I added, so he wouldn't get too sad about missing him.

This was the most perfect Christmas anybody could have possibly wished for. We had our doting family around us, and a glorious marriage that would last for the rest of eternity. The rest of the day went pretty fast. We said our goodbyes to Charlie and Sue after the dinner that we had to force down ourselves, and then the next few hours after that, Alice was torturing us about packing the right things in our bags. I had no idea where we would be visiting in London, but it has always been somewhere where I would love to visit.

As the sun set across our beautiful house, all thoughts turned to our departure. Our bags were packed and ready to go in the Volvo, and we got ready to say our goodbyes. We would be back soon enough to see the family, which now included Seth, but then we don't know where we might go next. All I know for now is that I will always be with Edward, wherever we choose to go.

We have forever to decide that.