Heart beats fast,
Colors and promises.
How to be brave?
How can I love when I'm afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.
One step closer…
Time stands still,
Beauty in all she is.
I will be brave,
I will not let anything take away,
What's standing in front of me.
Every hour has come to this.
One step closer…
I have died everyday waiting for you,
Darling don't be afraid I have loved you,
For a thousand years.
I'll love you for a thousand more.
And all along I believed I would find you.
Time has brought your heart to me,
I have loved you for a thousand years,
I'll love you for a thousand more.
Chapter Thirty: Epilogue – I Remembered
I remembered…searching for the office that first day. I had been stunned by the beautiful girl that stood before me, welcoming me so easily into her heart. She introduced herself as Alice Cullen. That day I had met everyone, Alice, Rosalie, Edward, Angela, Mike, Jessica, Eric, Jasper…and Emmett. That day we showed each other just why neither of us played volleyball…the big monster and the klutzy teen.
I remembered watching the game with my dad, Billy and Jacob. Loveable Jacob. We had been the best of friends back then. I still remember that smile…the one he gave me when he would stop and stare. I knew he loved me…and it pained me that I could never love him that way.
I remembered the fear that Rosalie would keep me from her lovable family. I had been very fragile back then…afraid. I was more than a little insecure. But they never gave up on me. They pushed their way into my life and looking back I've never been more grateful…I couldn't imagine if they hadn't. I had stood up for them at school after that first week. People called them freaks…monsters really. They didn't understand the Cullen's never gave them a chance. That was when I first sat with the Cullen's at lunch and our bond grew stronger. Looking down at my pale, cold arms I could see why they seemed a little freakish though. My smirk showed in the mirror I was looking in, golden eyes shining happily.
I remembered going to the Cullen home for the first time. I smiled thinking about how Alice had come face to face with the wolf gene. She had to have been going crazy. I stood in the kitchen with all of the Cullen's…it was pretty intense I can't deny. Though looking back I felt like…it was home. I have always felt so welcome in the Cullen house. That day I told Edward a bit about my past…my troubles with Phoenix. And he listened. I grew very fond of Edward that day. Especially when he drove me home. My dad had been attacked by a werewolf…though at the time, I just thought it was a large animal. Who could blame me though, right? I was only human.
I remember the Cullen's coming to my house and helping me take care of my dad while he healed…it was so nice of them. They didn't need to, but they welcomed both my dad and I into their family with open arms. Of course, this led to the strange man at my door, who turned out to be a blood crazed vampire, and Emmett sleeping in my dad's bed. I smiled at the thought of our late night talks and sitcom parties. We became Little One and the Old Man…and he started smelling like brown sugar and oranges. I hadn't known he was a vampire…but part of me knew he was different. Sadly, he belonged to another then, Rosalie. And I had tried to help them patch things up…some things just aren't meant to be.
I remembered school the Monday after Jessica had died and I shed a tear for her. We hadn't been close, but I could relate to how she died. Attacked by vampire and werewolf…not a day goes by that I don't remember that poor girl's fate. Mainly, when I see my own scars.
I remembered driving from Angela's to the Cullen house and being terrified by the wolves. That night they found out about my epilepsy and I had to relive my accident. I could remember what the episodes were like, though I am more than thankful that I no longer experience those. However that night led to lots of homework in the study at the Cullen home with Emmett. And then girl talk with Alice. I had to smile…I felt like Emmett never left me… even when I slept. He was always there making me feel…safe.
I remembered telling my dad about that night and how upset he was. He basically refused to let me go anywhere alone ever again. I looked to my hands now, feeling stronger than ever. I wasn't breakable Bella anymore.
I remember my encounter with Rosalie going down to La Push. She made me even more self-conscious than I already was…it almost worked. I almost abided by her threats and swore off the Cullen's but I just couldn't. That day Jacob was my saviour, taking such good care of me after my episode. I missed that Jacob…the innocent boy that wasn't touched by any of this mess. I felt my insides warm at who he was.
Of course I also remembered the attack. James, Laurent and Victoria had my dad and I almost finished when the Cullen's and wolves showed up and saved our asses. I thought about the days in the hospital and learning what they were. I had been so angry. Not because of what they were…but because they didn't trust me enough to tell me. They hadn't given me the chance to be supportive. I knew I would let them back in, especially after learning Alice was my Aunt Alicia Clarke! I smiled at that thought…when she finally found out where she belonged in the world. She found her life from that encounter in the woods…and I wouldn't take it back if I had the chance. Of course, that night Emmett also lost Rosalie for good, but he seemed content.
I remembered being so angry…and then not. My reuniting with Emmett is still fresh in my mind…there in his and Rosalie's old bedroom. It was a total mess and he had started cleaning it up. That night he told me he wished he were a cool toy. I thought about it now and laughed. He was definitely a cool toy now! I had missed him so much…and making up…it warmed my soul.
I remembered our argument in the library when Emmett told me he didn't have a soul. I can still feel the anger bubbling under my marble skin at the thought. People as selfless as the Cullen's…they are more human than some people I know. Emmett…is amazing. He's my everything…my rock. My soul mate. He had been so sure he was empty inside…and now he knows. He's a living man stuck at twenty.
I remembered learning that the Quileute's were the wolves…I had been stunned. They had caught Victoria and Laurent who had been running since the night of the accident when they killed James. It was such a huge relief…and then I remembered Jacob showing up in my room the night he changed. He had told me he loved me. I was so lost…there was almost no way the situation could have gone well. He had been so afraid and upset…and he blamed the Cullen's.
I remembered the kiss Emmett and I shared in my spot down at First Beach and couldn't help the smile that spread across my face, reaching my eyes. That was when I knew…a life without Emmett would be tragic. And I knew I could never be happy with Jacob. Of course, I had spoken to Jasper about it but deep down, I had known. Emmett was my everything… to have him though I had to become a vampire. I sighed, looking down at my scar covered arms.
I remembered the fight with Jacob in the woods…punching him and running. The episodes and pain that followed will haunt me forever. I can close my eyes and still feel the fiery pain of hanging flesh and venom. I could remember being trapped in my body, unable to move or speak because of the morphine. I had suffered alone…but I spent the time inside myself remembered every detail of my life up until this moment. This was the moment that changed it all for me…this was the moment that gave me this life.
This life of drinking packets of blood from the butcher and not killing animals. This life of the wonderful gifts I was blessed with, and may now bless others with. This life of my friendship with Sam Uley and Angela…the strength to maintain human relationships and become closer to my parents. This life with the Cullen's and supernatural durability. This life of Alice and my mom, being reunited. This life of Emmett standing by my side forever. This life of my beautiful cousins Sophie and Liam. This life that holds my gorgeous little girl Charlotte.
I have everything I had ever wanted and looking into the mirror, dressed in a beautiful, white lace wedding dress, hair half pinned back, falling in soft curls. I knew I have more than a little to be thankful for.
I am thankful for Rosalie and her meddling…but I'm thankful that she found it in her to let go. I looked to little Charlotte standing beside me at the tender age of three, yet looking six, in her own white flower girl dress. She really did look just like her namesake. I smiled remembering how Emmett didn't want to seek out his sister. Just knowing she was well was good enough for him.
I am thankful for the nomads and their attack…because without them, I would never know that Alice was my aunt, and I may not have been as inclined to bring my mom into this world. I have a tight knit family structure thanks to that attack and James' confession.
I am thankful for Jacob and the change. Without it…I wouldn't be standing here. With everything I've ever wanted…with everything I could have dreamed of having and more.
"Come on mommy, Auntie Alice said it's time!" Charlotte told me and I smiled to her as she played with one of my scars on my wrist.
"Mommy. Will you ever tell me how you got these?" I giggled softly and took her hand in my own.
"One day sweetheart. But today isn't that day." She understood of course and smiled to me with her bright green eyes. Yes, green eyes. Carlisle said they might switch to gold one day, once she's full grown. Until then she has been graced with her father's beautiful eyes. She led me to find the wedding party standing in the basement of the house, wall windows opened wide. It's summertime, an outside wedding in the back yard of our Cullen home. I smiled to Angela and Alice, who stood next to their respective groomsmen, Jasper and Edward. Ang and Alice were in soft yellow dresses that stopped just above the knee. A chiffon style dress with a sweetheart neckline and a baby-doll fit. They looked gorgeous, carrying their white calla lily bouquets, Angela's hair curled and brought into a soft low bun with tendrils framing her face. The men wore grey tuxes and white calla lily boutonnières, though their dress shirts were yellow with a grey tie.
Liam and Sophie were there too, just as Charlotte, they were both three and looked six. They all got along so well it made my heart swell. I smiled as Liam fixed a curl on Charlotte's head and smooth out his sister Sophie's dress. He is just like his daddy. Very nurturing and selfless, not to mention gifted.
All three children have cool toy gifts. Liam is a Pain Illusionist, which I hear a member of the Voltouri named Jane is as well. It is a very dangerous gift though and they have taught him well to be careful. He's also a very perceptive little boy. Sophie is a Tactile Thought Telepath, which means she can show a person what she is thinking with a simple touch. I smiled to my baby girl remembering her gift.
Charlotte was an Elemental Manipulator. She could manipulate the elements into doing what she wanted them to do. Carlisle said he has a friend in another part of the world with the same ability and got notes from him, I believe his name was Benjamin. I took a deep, unnecessary breath and Alice looked to me.
"It's time." She said with a smile and I nodded, taking my dad's arm. I watched as the music started and Alice and Edward started it off, heading down the aisle, followed by my maid of honour Angela, and the best man, Jasper. I had chosen Angela as my maid of honour to show her just how much of an impact she had on me and my human life. I thought back to when I asked her.
"Bella! I don't know what to say…of course!" I smiled. She was so happy.
"Ang…I need you to know. When I moved here I was terrified…I knew I had never really fit in anywhere else…and fitting in with the Cullen's helped but…you made me feel normal. You have always been there for me…no matter what I faced. You even sat by me during my change. I don't really know how to thank you for everything you've done for me. But I wanted you to know just how important you are to me. I wouldn't have anyone else be my maid of honour." We had both cried, of course. It was a special moment between us.
I smiled genuinely watching Angela walk beside Jasper. Emmett had chosen Jasper as his best man because he said Jasper had helped him to realize his feelings for me and that he owed a large part of our relationship to him. I had to agree. Jasper played a huge role in our lives.
Next went the adorable flower girls and ring barer. Both girls were dressed in white dresses with yellow rose petals being dropped from their little white basket and Liam, in his grey tux to match the others, carrying a yellow silk bag holding the rings.
I took another deep breath, holding my dad a little closer.
"You ready baby?" I smiled to him, nodding.
"More than I realized." I whispered and he wiped a tear before it could fall. The music stayed the same, at my request. Just soft, happy music playing in the background. We began walking out of the house and up to the end of the chairs. There in the crowd were more people than I would have thought. Other clans came, such as the Denali's from Alaska and other friends of the family. I could see Benjamin wink at Charlotte as she stood there at the front, waiting for me and smiling. I was so grateful to him for helping her. Of course, my mom and Phil sat in the front, an empty seat by her for my dad, and Esme and Carlisle sat with them as well. I saw the wolf pack, all cleaned up nicely, including Jacob. It had been my choice to invite him because of how key he was to giving me this life. We have since made peace and can get over what we are to find the friendship beneath it all. We aren't as close as we were…but it meant a lot to me that he came. I was actually a lot closer with Sam now than Jake, he winked at me and I smiled back, nervously excited. I saw Billy and a few members of the Quiluete tribe including Harry and Sue Clearwater, with their children who were both part of the pack. They knew of the supernatural so they were an obvious invite seeing as they were so close to my dad.
Then…there was only him.
Emmett…he stood at the alter, watching me as if it was the first time he had laid eyes on me. He was wearing a grey tux to match the others, yellow shirt, grey tie, but he wore a yellow boutonnière, to match my bouquet of yellow calla lilies. His black hair tamed and his golden eyes I have never been more ready. My dad and I started walking but I just couldn't seem to get there fast enough. I hardly paid any attention to the tendrils of white flowers falling from the trees, or the delicate yellow rose petals at my feet. Emmett. He was all that mattered. Once I got to the alter, I kissed my dad's cheek, getting a hug from him.
"I love you, Bells." I smiled through my tears.
"I love you too, dad." I turned to Emmett to see Charlotte wanting a hug too. Everyone laughed as I leaned down to give my beautiful daughter a hug and kiss on the forehead. I let Emmett take my hand and there in front of everyone, we made our love known.
"Bella, my whole existence I've always felt incomplete. Hollow…dead inside. I never really knew what my purpose was or how much potential this life had, until you. You showed me how to live again, how to be a better man. You bared my own soul to me, when I thought I no longer had one. In such a short time, you gave me the opportunity to make this life more than what I ever thought it could be. You blessed me with a companion, a best friend, lover, a protector…and most recently, a beautiful daughter. You gave me a reason for existing. And just when I thought I couldn't possible fit any more love into my heart, you showed me my past and gave me roots. I love you, Little One. Now and forever." I wiped my eyes and smiled to him, laughing with everyone as Charlotte hugged my legs, begging me not to cry. Emmett picked her up in his arms as I started my vows.
"Emmett, I was never one to fit in growing up. I was always the odd one…the one that didn't quite measure up to the normal people. Looking back on my life as I was standing in my room just now I realized…I never wanted to be normal. I was never destined for normal. Every part of my life thus far has been a struggle, and I would gladly face it all again if it brought me right here in front of you. You gave me a shoulder when I needed comfort, a shield when I needed protection, and a loving heart when I was ready. There were times when we yelled, times when we cried. Even times when I shut you out. But my heart has always been open and it has always been filled with love. Looking at my life from this moment, I couldn't ask for a better family, better friends, a better daughter, or a better you. I love you, Old Man. No amount of time with you will be long enough, but I'd like to start with forever." I told him through my tears, recognizing his beautiful proposal. He was shamelessly wiping his own tears as well as he let Charlotte down and Alice called her over to stand with her.
" Emmett McCarty, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?" He grinned, sliding a diamond encrusted wedding band onto my finger.
"Isabella Swan, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?" I smiled, placing a band with diamonds encrusted on it to match mine on his finger.
"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you, husband and wife. You may kiss the bride." In that moment, there was no one. It was just Emmett and I, and a sweet, soft kiss that held more passion and purity than any thing I've ever known. He looked down into my eyes and smiled.
"It's always been you Bella. You're all I could have asked for." He wiped my tears and I nodded.
"You're all I could ever want." He gave me another soft kiss and we turned to face the cheering audience. Sophie, Liam and Charlotte were squealing their own cheers, which made many laugh. We led the line back down the aisle, Charlotte holding her daddy's hand as he held me close. This was where I was meant to be.
That was an amazing day…and since then much has changed. Charlie passed away about fifteen years back, at the age of seventy-five. He had cancer and, luckily, didn't suffer a long fight. Phil passed away a year later from a heart attack at the age of seventy-seven. My mom lasted quite a few more years, moving to where we now lived in Maine. Sadly, old age found her and at the age of eighty-three she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
It hurt…a lot. But I had prepared for this day knowing it would come. My mom and dad had told me that they wouldn't have wanted anything more for me than the path I had chosen. It made me happier knowing I had made them proud, but it didn't keep the pain from my heart.
I still hear from Angela, who was imprinted on by Embry at my wedding. She lives in La Push now with two children of her own, Isabella and Roy. I had been so honoured when she named her daughter Isabella.
Alice and Jasper didn't have any more children after Sophie or Liam but the twins kept them busy. Both are grown now and are spitting images of their parents and make us all very proud. Liam even wants to be a doctor like Carlisle.
Emmett and I had two more children, two little boys named Charles and Noah. I smiled when I thought of Charlie, my features…which meant he looked just like my dad. The kids did grow out of their normal coloured eyes, all maintaining golden eyes like us.
Charlotte, well. A lot changed with her. Of course I was skeptical at first, and even a little…or a lot…angry. But Sam Uley imprinted on her at my wedding. He explained it all to me and I grew more fond of the whole thing. He stopped aging where he was and became anything she could need. A brother, a friend, a protector. Once she became an adult however she began to see him differently. Let's just say, he took the change like a champ. I'm sure he's the first Alpha wolf EVER to become a vampire. He also developed a really cool gift making him able to transfer messages through his mind like he used to be able to do as a wolf and has a passive strength gift because he was supernaturally strong before his change.
Our children have requested that we not attend high school anymore, so we have taken to earning university degrees. I have acquired a teaching degree and a law degree…I've been thinking about starting a law firm. My lie detector of course coming in handy to achieve justice. Emmett earned a teaching degree like he always wanted, an engineering degree and is debating getting a degree in architecture when he has the time.
We all now reside in Maine but it's been years since we left and the future is certain. We will return to Forks one day, one day soon.
There you have it. I would like to thank all my loyal and devoted readers for your time and patience. You stuck by me through this long, crazy story, through my absences, some of you lending a shoulder and becoming more of a friend. Thank you for well over 400 reviews, over 300 favourites, over 400 alerts, the seven communities this story is on, and the follows…and thank you for putting up with my Canadian "eh"s, "pop"s, Canadian spelling, and other annoying habits you may find.
I have had a lot of requests for a sequel! I will keep it in mind...as you can see, this story has been left open ended ;)
I appreciate your love for this story. I loved writing it.