Disclaimer – This is Stephenie Meyer's universe. I'm just playing in her world for a bit. Any names and characters not found in Stephenie Meyer's books could be mine or Liljenrock's creation though.
Okay, this is the Epilogue chapter. This story is officially over, but this universe isn't. Jen is still continuing with Love You for Always and A Love that Defies all Logic and I've already posted the Prologue for How the Mighty Fall. Please check them out and do leave a review. FYI – Embry's story will catch up to the timeline where this story ends and then you'll all still get to see Jake and Nessie and their little family through Embry's eyes. I have plans. So I hope you stick with me.
I should say my thanks to all of you for sticking with me for so long, through the delayed posting and everything. Thanks for all the reviews and the PMs. They all totally made my day. And to Jen for being a great beta and my sounding board and most of all for encouraging me to keep writing and hating my boss as much as I do.
So everyone, I give you the Epilogue with my sincere thanks.
How Wonderful Life is, Now You're in the World.
Wakefulness came slowly, in stages. First came the feeling that I was alone in bed, and when I tried to roll over to Jake's side of the bed seeking the remaining warmth that he'd left behind, my body reminded me of new aches and twinges of pain. I woke up completely then, and tiredly tried to sit up, to suppress the groan that was threatening to come out. Then I remembered the events of the night before and smiled, despite how weak and tired I felt, I smiled. Suddenly feeling a boost of energy to get up, get out of bed and find my family. My family. The one that included my husband and my sons.
Aunt Rosalie was there suddenly, handing me a cup. I caught the scent of it and wrinkled my nose at her. "You need it, Nessie. Drink up and I'll help you into the shower," she said, lovingly as always. And I did and then she did.
When I got out of the shower, Aunt Rosalie was no longer in the room, but there was Jake, standing in front of the windows, the bright sunlight washing over his wide shoulders, making his skin glow, causing my heart speed up as it usually does when he smiles at me with that loving smile, my smile. I smiled back and let my eyes wander over him, taking in the way the t-shirt stretched over his chest, how his biceps were accentuated over the sleeves of the shirt as he cuddled the new little man in my life. Bodhi Kiyiya Black. After a long fourteen hour labor, our new son had finally made his debut into the world.
Once again, Grandpa Carlisle, Grandma Esme and my parents had come down two weeks before my baby was due, and although Kim handled my delivery, Grandpa Carlisle was on hand the whole time, just in case.
With Griffin, when I had wanted to get pregnant, I had stopped my birth control and despaired many times when the pregnancy tests came out negative. Griffin was conceived at a time when I thought I was never meant to have a baby. He was a blessing and a miracle in many ways. And I still thank whichever higher presence that was watching over us, for giving me my prefect son, my first child. With my second son though, things were slightly different. We were still thankful that the Newborn war ended the way it did over a year ago. And when I had my husband back where he belonged, he seemed to have the same thought in his mind as I did. It was time for our little family to grow. This time, with no pleading on my part, and no worrying on Jake's part, I had my IUD removed once again. Jake had only one request for me, that I did not start testing myself until I had an actual pregnancy symptom. At that point of time, I would have agreed to anything that he said and this time around, I went as far as not even buying a test.
That is until we had our first symptom a few months later. It came in the form of Jacob bolting upright in bed, the result of a dream. He woke me up with the suddenness of it and I'd sat up, worriedly reaching out to touch his shoulder, my first thought was that maybe I'd missed an alert howl. But he'd relaxed almost immediately, lying back down and pulling me into his arms, spooning with me and spreading his open palm over my flat stomach and with a sigh, he was asleep again. I had to laugh, I knew it then, and we confirmed it the next day. It had been a giddy and happy day, with Jake getting Griffin all excited as himself as they both took turns shouting 'Hello, baby' and taking turns to kiss my flat stomach.
My pregnancy had been almost the same as it had been with Griffin, right down to the dreams Jake had and the presence that he felt. But his dreams this time around were always of a howling wolf. We couldn't make out what it meant, just that he would definitely be a wolf like his father. I had hoped to be able to name this baby the way we had for Griffin, with research and finding something truly meaningful, but it was not to be. We finally agreed on Kiyiya as his middle name. Kiyiya meaning 'Howling Wolf' in the Chimakuan language. Like his brother, he was bound to be a spirit warrior and it was a knowledge that was easier for us to accept for Bodhi than it had been for Griffin. The name Bodhi itself was one that Jacob thought was very cool, and he wanted it just for the coolness factor. He'd gotten it from one of my many baby books and Bodhi stuck once Jacob taught Griffin to address my expanding stomach as Bodhi. I don't know what Griffin's understanding was of my pregnancy, for a long time I had thought that he was just reacting to the excitement that Jake was so good in stirring up in him, but the first time he felt his brother move inside me, he'd gotten this look on his face and he had softly cooed 'Bodhi'. There was this feeling in the air that Jacob felt too. A connection the two brothers seemed to have made, while one was still in my womb, and I had agreed on Bodhi then. How could I not?
I smiled as I brought the baby to my breast, knowing I'd have to start pumping very soon as there was a houseful of family members who always wanted to feed my babies. Jacob slowly leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to the baby's head and I smiled at him then turned to study Bodhi. He looked like Jacob and Griffin. The same shock of black hair, the tanned skin, the facial structure.
"He's got your nose and jaw line," Jacob whispered. I nodded. "And I think your eyes as well but yet again, he looks just like Griffin did when he was born," Jake continued.
"Oh Jakey, we make such beautiful babies," I whispered, overwhelmed with the love that I feel for our children. It was plural now, we had children.
"What?" Jake asked, studying my expression.
"We have children now," I giggled. "I don't know why, but it feels different saying that."
"Thank you for my sons," Jake murmured as he leaned forward to kiss me.
"Where's Griffin?" I asked when he pulled away.
"With your mom, getting spoiled rotten."
When Bodhi had his fill, and started dozing off, Griffin arrived at door, holding on to his grandmother's hand.
"Shhh!" Mom, Jacob and I immediately said.
And Griffin immediately brought a finger to his lips. "Baby shweep?"
"Yes, Darling. Baby's asleep. Can you come give Mommy a kiss please?" I asked and with a huge grin, Griffin rushed forward and scrambled onto the bed and puckered his lips to kiss me.
Mom excused herself and left me with my merry bunch of men, my perfect little family and Jacob reached out to grab Griffin, bringing him to his lap. "Who is that?" Jake asked, pointing to the sleeping baby.
"My bradder," Griffin said proudly.
"What's your brother's name?" Jake asked again.
"Bodhi!" Griffin crowed and the baby sleepily opened his eyes and looked towards his brother, then he let out a yawn and smiled. It could have been gas, Jake and I both knew, but we held our tongues when Griffin beamed at his brother, slowly reaching out to touch the baby's tiny little hand. "My bradder," he whispered, filling my heart with so much joy and tenderness.
I was finally back home with my family after spending a week at the in-laws. It was different now, every night, I'd go into Griffin's room to kiss him goodnight and then I make my way to Bodhi's room. My sons. Two of them to check on. Two of them whose lives I'll have some form of influence over, two of them to guide to take the right paths in life. It was a big responsibility, and one that I was truly honored to have and wanted, not one that was forced on me.
We were having a party at my house, celebrating my new son. A party the ever anti-party Bella insisted on having. A party that Alice Cullen somehow made no attempt to take over. But I knew that her mind was elsewhere.
"Hey, check out Embry," Quil said.
I turned to where Quil was looking and there was Embry, chatting up Jasper and Alice's guest, practically crowding her small stature with his size.
Seth came up then. "Ten bucks say he's gonna score with her tonight," he grinned.
"I totally agree," Quil said.
"You're on," I said.
"What? Dude, this is Embry we're talking about. He gets all the chicks," Quil spluttered.
"Only the wrong ones," I said.
And the three of us watched almost with bated breath as Embry turned on the charm. She seemed immune to it though and kept trying to move away from him, he moved with her and it almost seemed like a dance with them, one he was very keen on winning. We watched as he brought her hand to his lips, kissing the palm of her hand as he said something, causing her to blush as she struggled to pull her hand free.
"He's got a good technique," Quil murmured, and Seth and I exchanged amused glances. Quil and Claire had a relationship now, and it amused all of us with the air Quil took. Sometimes he sounded like an old married man and sprouted off words of wisdom about relationships, and at other times, he sounded like he'd been a playboy all along, like he knew the fine art of picking up women.
We went on watching as Embry backed the girl into the wall, leaning over her, really invading her personal space and she was affected, we all could tell from the heightened color on her cheeks and the way she breathed. If I were to focus enough, I'd probably be able to make out the fluttering of her heartbeat. Embry reached out then, and gently pushed her hair back from her face and tucking it behind her ear and saying something. I was actually quite moved at the tender look on his face. Things changed then as she replied and we watched Embry freeze as if in shock. She then slipped past him, flitting away towards Alice Cullen.
I took in Embry's stunned face as Quil spluttered in shock. "Crash and burn! That was a first." And he started to laugh.
"Did I miss something?" Seth asked. His attention on Alice, on the cold look on her face as she glared at Embry before she left the room. "She seems like a protective mother hen."
I shrugged, this wasn't my story to tell. "Pay up!" I demanded and grumbling good naturedly, they did.
Much, much later that night, I stood back with a beer in my hand and watched the people crammed in my house. I savored the moment, my extended family, of the wolf and vampire and human kinds. All brought together through an ancient magic that none of us could even begin to explain or comprehend, yet here we were. With no enmity or fear whatsoever. This was how life should be.
I smiled as I caught sight of my father sitting in his chair in a corner, holding all the little kids, my own Griffin, Keegan, Remy Uley, Hawke Schewig, Liam Clearwater, Ashley O'Brien, Lil G, Sebastian Birmingham and even Charlie Swan a captive audience as he spun an ancient tale of Eagle Boy, a young man on a vision quest seeking to save his people from an evil serpent named Unceliga. Billy's stories always had a meaning to it and tended to inspire the young ones a lot. I remembered a time when I wanted to prove myself and do something for the tribe. I knew Griffin was going to have a lot of questions for me when I tucked him into bed tonight, but that was a good thing. He was destined for so many things.
I turned to scan the room for my wife and I watched as she walked across the room towards Edward where he sat by himself looking thoughtful. I noticed how she cuddled into his side and laid her head on his shoulder and he turned his head slightly to press a kiss to the top of her head and my breath caught at the sight of the beautiful smile that spread across her face. They had a strong bond, both father and daughter, and although she was mine in every way, this was something Edward would always have. It was not a competition but something stirred in me, and suddenly I yearned to be held in such high esteem by someone. A little girl of my own, in whose eyes I'd forever be her hero. A place in her heart that no guy could ever replace. I pushed that thought aside. For two reasons, my second son was just ten days old and it was way too soon to be thinking about having another baby. Plus, I thought as I looked around the room again, there were too many unimprinted wolves running around on my property and I didn't think I could handle the stress if one of them were to imprint on my little princess. Then it struck me, these jokers weren't the only ones I had to worry about. My father sat surrounded by more of my daughter's potential suitors. I gritted my teeth, they weren't good enough for her. I scowled at the cheeky faced Remy Uley, once the story ended he wandered off towards Nessie, stopping in front of her to do some kind of a weird dance for her, causing her to laugh and pull him into her arms and kiss his chubby cheeks. My eyes then fell on the grouchy Hawke Scehwig, then I looked at little Liam Clearwater as he scrambled behind Griffin and Keegan, the three of them fast friends at such a young age, reminding me of Embry, Quil and myself when we were kids. Liam had his father's sunny disposition and I found that suddenly annoying.
That night, once everyone had left, I came into my bedroom and found Nessie propped up against the pillows feeding Bodhi. I smiled at the sight and started emptying my pockets when Griffin came marching into the room with a determined look on his face, a children's book clutched in his arms. He stopped in front of me, tilting his head back to look at me.
"Daddee, read!" he demanded.
"What's the magic word?" I asked.
"Peese," he said sweetly.
I had to laugh as I scooped him up into my arms to drop a quick kiss on the top of his head before dropping him on the bed to bounce as Nessie started scolding us half-heartedly about being too rough with the baby. I kicked my shoes off as I flopped down on the bed beside Griffin.
"Are you a baby, Griffin? Mommy says you're a baby," I asked as I pulled him close.
He sat up with an indignant look on his face that I found entirely too adorable. "Me not baby!" he stated. "Bodhi is baby. Me big bradder!"
Nessie laughed. "Okay, okay. You're a big boy now, huh?" She kissed him when he nodded.
I started reading Griffin's book. All four of us cuddled in the big bed as I told the tale of the trickster Coyote.
"Daddee? We wolf right?" Griffin asked seriously.
"Yeah, bud. We're wolves," I said, turning to look at him and catching Nessie's eyes as she shifted closer to us, Bodhi still cradled in her arms.
"Bodhi too?" he asked.
"Yes, Bodhi too," I said.
"Good," he said still seriously. "We be wolf, Bodhi," he said to the baby.
And strangely, as it was becoming a usual practice between the two of them, Bodhi opened his eyes and looked at Griffin and both brothers exchanged a silent communication for a moment before Bodhi closed his eyes again and Griffin turned his attention back to the book. I probably won't be able to understand it until both boys phase and I can get into their heads, but there was a close bond here between the two of them. It did not worry me, rather it filled me with pride.
I looked at Nessie and she smiled at me as she leaned towards me. And over the heads of our two boys, we kissed until a rather impatient Griffin elbowed me.
"Daddee, read!" he demanded.
I sighed and just before I continued reading, I asked my two little boys, one who was more interested in his book and the other who was sound asleep in his mother's arms. "Do you guys know how wonderful life is for me, now that you're in this world?"
A/N: Did you like it? What did you like? What did you hate? Please review and give me your thoughts. I really like hearing what you think.
And please check out Embry's story. 'How the Mighty Fall'. The prologue is already up.