Here it is, finally.
Thank The Readers: You're all wonderful. Whether you've been with me from the start or just joined in, I love you all. You've been absolutely amazing.
Thanks to all my reporters, even if things kind of faded out there. (All my fault, by the way. Sorry.)
I hope you all enjoy.
Edward leaned back from the laptop and sighed, staring blankly at the screen. He'd finally done it; after seven months of adjusting to his new life, seven months of learning to accept and understand the events that had led to his change from human to vampire, Edward had put his thoughts into words for the one person who needed them more than anyone. She also happened to be the one person who might never see them.
Edward knew what guilt did to a person. He knew how it ate away at the soul and how eventually you began to punish yourself. How your perception of everything changed drastically until you were no longer the same person.
Bella walked into the room, sitting down next to his side and curling up close; he draped his arm around her, stroking her soft firm skin lazily. She tilted her chin up, kissing the underside of his jaw sweetly. He looked down at her, smiling contently.
It was amazing to see how happy he was no, in comparison to when he'd first appeared in Forks. There were no haunting shadows in his eyes, no guilt-driven self destruction. He smiled - really truly smiled - all the time now, and he fit in well with the family. It reminded her of the little boy, how happy and content with life he'd been.
Full circle, she thought, closing her eyes as his lips brushed hers slowly and teasingly.
Her lips parted on a sigh; Edward trailed his hands down to her waist, fiddling with the hem of her silky shirt. Before things could grow more heated between them, Tanya interrupted.
"Hey, this house has a PG-13 rule, and if I have to follow it, so do you two."
Unconcerned, still kissing Bella, Edward lifted his hand to flip the tall beauty off. She laughed, smirking at the two of them, and pointedly sat down next to them, leaning over to pluck the laptop off of Edward's thighs.
"So, what were you doing huh?" she asked. When Edward pulled back from Bella to give Tanya an impatient look, she waggled her brows and teased, "Looking up porn?"
Bella's face scrunched. "That's just disgusting Tanya, don't ask that."
She shrugged, sending a sly glance towards the brunette. "I suppose it's a stupid question. He doesn't have to watch porn when he's got you in bed most hours of the day."
Bella glared playfully and tugged Tanya's hair teasingly. "You're just jealous."
"Absolutely," Tanya agreed seriously, before grinning and waking up Edward's laptop. "Email? You were checking your email? Who would be emailing you who isn't here?"
"The Pup," Bella suggested.
Tanya made a face, muttering about dogs being useless friends.
Edward reached over, taking his laptop back. "Don't knock Seth, Tanya. He'd totally kick your ass."
Snorting, Tanya muttered a dismissive whatever. "Well," she drawled, standing and stretching. "I can't say I won't miss him visiting all the time now that you're leaving. Where are you going again?"
she asked, raising her brows.
"Russia," Bella supplied, running her hands through Edward's hair as he fiddled with his computer. His head tilted into her touch unconsciously, his eyes half-closed with pleasure. As Tanya watched in amusement, he began purring lowly.
"Well, I suppose I'll just head out for a hunt."
Edward looked up, amused. "You do that."
He watched as she walked outside, closing the door behind herself, before looking at Bella devilishly, lips curling temptingly.
Quickly, he set his laptop aside and pulled her into his lap, standing. She wrapped her legs around his waist, nuzzling her face into his neck. As he walked upstairs he ducked his face into her neck to lick the bite mark he'd left months ago, purring smugly.
They reached the guestroom they'd been staying in, which looked once again empty except for their boxes and suitcases. Dropping her onto the bed, climbing on top of her, Edward slid his hands under her shirt, pushing it up and past her head, dropping it on the floor.
"No one's home right now," he murmured. "We could have complete privacy for once."
She laughed, trailing her hands down his now-bare back. "I'm sure you miss that, don't you?"
"Oh yeah," he muttered, licking and nipping his way from her neck to her chest. "I really truly do. We should get our own place. And never let Emmett inside."
Bella laughed, running her hands through his hair. "He'd hate that," she whispered.
Edward lifted his head, grinning with arrogant amusement. "That's the whole point."
As Bella chuckled, he slipped her pants off, and his own, running his hands over her skin reverently. She sighed lovingly, arching up into his touches.
Later, as they both held each other in the messed up sheets, Bella's face tucked into his neck and her soft breaths caressing his skin, Edward took a deep breath.
"I was quasi-serious, you know."
"Hmm?" Bella hummed, pulling her face back slightly to look up at him from where it was resting on his shoulder.
"About getting our own place."
As if in sync, they both shifted so they were sitting upright on the bed, knees brushing, fingers playing together mindlessly. Bella tilted her head, her hair falling over one shoulder.
"You don't want to stay with the rest of the Cullens?"
Immediately, Edward frowned, shaking his head. "No, no. That's not what I meant. I want to stay close to them…. But I want you to myself. Does that make sense?"
Bella smiled gently. "Yeah. I know what you mean. You never did particularly like sharing," she added teasingly.
Edward grinned, pulling her hand so it was next to his lips. He brushed a kiss across it, murmuring, "Especially when it came to sharing you. When it comes to sharing you," he corrected, grin widening.
Bella smiled at him, then glanced off thoughtfully. "I suppose we could find our own house. A little privacy might be nice."
Edward snorted. "Might? Come on now, Bella. You know it would be amazingly perfectly wonderful." With the last word, he leaned closer, whispering it against her ear, making her shiver delightfully.
Bella shoved him away playfully, smiling happily. "Yeah, okay, I'll admit it." Her eyes crinkled as she continued smiling, basking in the rightness of the moment, of her life. "Esme could probably find us a good one."
Edward leaned forward quickly, pecking her lips in a rapidly but thoroughly. "Good," he murmured against them. "We'll talk to her about it when she gets back."
"Mmm," Bella sighed, eyes closed. "Okay."
Seth leaned against the pine tree, watching the white woods in front of him. His ears picked up the sounds of Edward coming closer, and then his nose the scent of his friend as he leaned on a tree next to him.
"It's gonna be strange," Seth said quietly. "Not being able to run up here and see you within a couple of days."
"Yeah," Edward sighed. "Our fucked up friendship will be growing more screwed now."
Seth laughed once huskily. "Fucked-up, huh? I suppose that's one word for it."
Edward tilted his head, grinning wryly. "Yeah. Mutt."
"Leech," Seth retorted, grinning over at him. Then he shook his head. "Mom says good luck and that you better keep in touch or she'll come hunt your ass down."
Edward threw back his head, laughing, startling a rabbit out of a bush across the clearing. They both watched as it dashed away, leaving faint prints behind, the only evidence of its mad dash.
"I'll miss her. Fuck knows I miss her cooking."
Seth grinned. "Well, you said human food tastes like crap, so you will probably be fine in time," he teased.
Edward smirked for a moment, then raised a brow. "How's Leah? And the rest of your mutts?"
Seth nodded thoughtfully. "…Good. Surprisingly good."
The wolves had been suffering after the death of Jared. The fight between Sam and Jacob so soon afterwards had shaken them up as well. Sam had nearly died; it had only been through sheer luck that he'd lived. That, and Leah. She may have resented Sam for all that had happened, but she loved her cousin Emily. Sam's death would have hurt her incredibly.
So Leah jumped Jacob before he could deliver the death blow. Not one to let his sister do anything without his help, Seth had jumped in to help.
Jacob had been kicked out of the pack, gone lone wolf. Seth suspected that it wasn't the last they'd hear of him, but for now, the pack was settling. Sam's recovery had taken longer than anyone had thought, which caused some worry, but it seemed the Alpha was fine with it. He stayed home with Emily, planning and preparing for their wedding.
"They listen to us," Seth said to Edward, musing out loud. "They might not completely believe us, but they listen and trust us more than they did before."
"Well, I bet the Alpha owing you his fucking life helps matters."
Seth laughed and nodded, smirking as well. "I'll bet that's part of it."
"And us leaving probably helped matters our of shit creek."
Seth rolled his eyes. "Just a bit. They were all antsy over your changing, but we just blamed the bitch who escaped the fight."
Edward nodded, smirk fading from his lips. "If you think about it, it really is her fault."
Seth reached out and clapped a hand comfortingly on Edward's shoulder, mentally shooting himself in the foot for bringing up the sore subject, even if it had been somewhat inadvertently.
Edward shook off his black mood and grinned. "I'm gonna miss your ass, Kid."
They hugged in a fast, briefly touching movement before separating, shaking it off. In the far distance, Bella rolled her eyes.
Boys, she thought in amusement.
Edward glanced up sharply as her scent reached him, his eyes unerringly locking on her. Seth smiled slightly as he saw this, shaking his head the faintest bit. The guy was so whipped, and so happy about it.
"Keep in touch, man," Seth said, clapping Edward's shoulder one last time.
"Yeah," Edward said softly, tearing his gaze from his mate. "You too. Good luck."
Seth smiled, walking far enough away to phase without triggering Edward's still-jumpy newborn instincts, and paused at the end of the clearing. He grinned wolfishly, howled, then turned tail and ran off into the snow.
Bella showed up next to Edward, wrapping her arms around him from behind, resting her face against his back between his shoulders. She pressed a gentle kiss there.
"We'll see him again one day," she assured him.
"Yeah. I hope so."
The house in Russia was small, just perfect for two people. It was a good fifteen minute run from the rest of the family; close enough that they felt like a part of them still, but far enough away for plenty of privacy. Bella and Edward were curled up on the floor in front of the fireplace, lazily kissing each other every few minutes.
"I love you," Edward murmured pleasantly. "I love you so fucking much."
Bella grinned, flicking her tongue against his neck sweetly, making him growl lowly. "And I love you very," she leaned half over him, placing his lips at his ear as she whispered, "fucking much too," she finished as she pulled back, grinning coyly.
Quickly, she popped to her feet as his growls grew louder, his eyes darkening with lust. She sashayed away, grinning snarkily over her shoulder, only to widen her eyes in surprise as Edward leapt at her from a crouch, tackling her. He twisted around so she fell on top of him, but quickly switched their positions, pining her to the floor. He grinned arrogantly down at her, pinning her down with his body and keeping her arms still with his hands restraining her wrists. When she wiggled, trying to see if she could get free, his growls deepened.
Both their eyes darkened as their bodies rubbed together.
One of Edward's hands drifted up to link with Bella's, his finger stroking the silver band on the ring finger of her left hand, turning it until the stone brushed against his skin, twisting it back around again. Soon, there'd be a gold band there as well.
As their kisses and touches heated up, Edward's laptop, which was charging upstairs in his room, dinged to show he had a new email. The screen woke up as Bella laughed loudly and the house shook once, Edward growling playfully.
It showed his email, which he'd kept up consistently for the past few weeks. His inbox was filled with jokes and chain mail from Emmett, advice on learning to control his thirst and plans for practicing fighting with Jasper, coupons for local fashion stores from Alice, and conversations with Carlisle about thing that had been bothering him.
At the top was a single new message, the sender a jumble of nonsense numbers, the address unfamiliar. The subject simply said I Still Love You.
I don't know when you'll get this, if ever. I'm not even sure what the hell to say or if I'll use the right words for what I want to tell you. I'm not fucking good with words as you know.
For the most part, I need to tell you that I'm not angry with you. I'm not sorry about what ultimately happened, just that it had to be so hurtful between us. I wanted this for myself. I want this life, and I'm not sorry that I know have it. If it hadn't happened the way it did, it would have occurred in some other fashion. So don't fucking kill yourself over that.
I want to tell you that there's more than one way to live this life. That you don't have to be a monster, a murderer like that bitch who ruined our lives.
Maybe one day, when you can get over any unnecessary guilt you're feeling over this fucked-up thing, we can see each other again. I want to see you again one day, and I don't want you thinking that I hate you.
You were there for me when I fucked myself over countless times. You were there when I let myself blame and guilt-toss and hurt my wellbeing and you countless times over. I was fucking selfish and screwed up, and I didn't want to be saved. I wanted to be punished for something I thought was my fault.
That night all those years ago, I blamed myself for something I couldn't really control. I remember that she had been reading me Peter Pan, and I thought I should have been like him, saving the day. I was so young and full of guilt that I didn't realize that the magic was in believing. And that by believing something so vile and wrong, I was killing the magic.
I remember asking her to let me know when she found a pixie, so we could use the pixie dust to fly. I found a way to fly, to get high; but my pixie dust was detrimental to all that she'd stood for.
She wasn't there, at the time, to tell me otherwise than what I was thinking. She wasn't around to talk sense into me, to take that guilt off of my shoulders. Not until years later. Sometimes, the only person who can give you back the magic is the one you think you took it from.
I don't want you to suffer what I did to myself for so many years. I want you to know that whatever you're blaming yourself for, I forgive you for. You never once blamed me.
The least I can do is always forgive you.
I love you, Mom. If it takes a thousand years to meet up with you again, I'll still love you. And just like you waited for me to realize what you always knew, I'll wait for you.
I'm happy. I promise you. I'm with the girl I love, about to marry her, and I'll be able to spend eternity with her. What more can a guy ask for? I don't know when you'll get this - fuck, I already said that…. But I'll send you pictures, okay?
I… I miss you. I love you. I know I never said it enough, and I wish I could go back and fix up all the fuck-ups I made. But then again… if I did, I might not have met the love of my life. So, I have eternity to make up for them now, I guess.
Don't blame yourself. And don't be afraid to find me. I'll be trying to find you, too.
Love you for always, Mom.
Elizabeth bit her lip once again, feeling like she could burst into tears except apparently what she was now couldn't cry. She couldn't help but read the words once again, hardly daring to believe they were true. He forgave her? After she attacked her own son, he forgave her? She'd made him a monster. She'd almost killed him; if Bella - Bella Swan! - hadn't stopped her, her son would have died at her hand.
But he forgave her. As easy as that, he forgave her.
And he was getting married.
She wanted to be there. But she didn't trust herself. After what she'd done, once the realization had hit, she'd already been on the run from the ones who'd saved Edward. She'd kept running until she couldn't smell anything that taunted her senses. She was weak and starving and had finally lost all sense of herself once again.
When she became aware again, she'd been at the throat of another human being, shuddering in ecstasy as the red life's blood flooded her mouth and down her throat.
That was when she'd realized there was no avoiding what she was, no stopping it.
But according to Edward, there was. There was a way not to be a murdering monster.
She'd gotten to this house and… fed. She shuddered, pushing the thought of it from her mind forcefully. It had been a whim, but she'd wanted to know what people had been saying about her family's disappearance. So she'd looked up old articles on the internet, realizing the house had been set on fire, the blaze razing everything to the ground. Three bodies had been found inside.
She wondered where the other two had come from.
Habit had prompted her to sign in to her email before she'd realized what she was doing. When she was about to click out, she'd caught sight of an email from Edward… recently.
She'd just had to read it. She was glad she had.
Maybe one day, she'd gain enough courage to find Edward. But for now, his email and her response was enough.
I still love you Edward, always will. I am glad you're happy. Maybe, one day, we can meet again.
"I love you Edward." Bella sighed, shifting closer.
Edward grinned softly. "I told you I'd never love another girl, babe. And I meant that shit."
Slowly, her lips curled as well. "Yeah, you did. And it looks like you got your way with the whole going to Never Land thing. Now you're not going to grow up as well."
Edward laughed, kissing her slowly, passionately. "You saved me, Bella."
"No, Edward." Bella corrected, cupping his cheek in her hand. "We saved each other, made the most of our second chance. So let's make the most of it," she suggested.
Edward's eyes darkened, his smirk growing. "If you insist," he purred.
Bella laughed as Edward's lips returned to hers, and they made some of their own magic once again.