Disclaimer: Anything recognizable comes from Stephenie Meyer. I don't own it.
I'll save the long stuff for the end. This is short, but sweet. Enjoy!
I looked out the window of the plane and let out a small sigh. Edward's hand tightened around mine, so I looked over to give him a reassuring smile.
"You okay?" he asked quietly, trying not to disturb our fellow passengers. We had taken a late flight from Key West back to Seattle, and most of the people around us had dozed off.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I yawned. "Just tired."
His fingers ghosted over my rounded stomach. "And how's George doing?"
The nickname he gave our baby never failed to make me smile. "Fine. Seems to be sleeping at the moment." I ran my hand over his and intertwined our fingers. Nothing made me feel better than the touch of his hand on my belly, knowing that what was underneath had been created by us.
We had decided to not find out the sex of the baby, so how "George" became the baby's nickname was beyond me. I hated referring to him or her as "it" or "the baby," and we spent weeks struggling to find a way to refer to him or her. We were watching Harry Potter one night when Edward took one look at me and said, "George. The baby's name is George."
I thought he was crazy, but the name stuck. Alice was worried that we were actually going to name the baby George, even if it was a girl, but I just kept telling her we didn't plan on it.
Although, with the way our name picking was going, boy or girl, it seemed like that was exactly what his or her name would be.
"I'm glad she's finally giving her mom a rest." His hand had started rubbing soothing motions around my stomach as I shook my head. My husband was convinced we were having a little girl, but I wasn't so sure.
"Me too." I leaned my head down onto his shoulder as his hand kept moving over my stomach.
"Are you really okay?"
I nodded. I really was fine, just exhausted. The third trimester of pregnancy would do that to a girl.
"Eager to get home. I can't believe you convinced me going away was a good idea."
Edward laughed. "It was our last hurrah before the baby was born. By the time June rolls around and school's out, we'll be changing diapers."
He had a point, and I did enjoy our week away. But I forgot how much traveling takes out a of normal person, not to mention someone who was pregnant.
"I've missed our bed," I murmured.
"What, the king sized one at the resort wasn't good enough for you?"
I shook my head, not answering him. He knew damn well I enjoyed that bed – and everything we had done in it – but there was just something about your own bed that held a level of comfort that was hard to find anywhere else.
We had spent my spring break in Key West at the Hyatt Resort and Spa. It had been a lovely vacation, much needed due to a stressful semester. Edward had surprised me – like he always managed to – with the trip and whisked me away for the week. We spend most of it in bed, coming up with new ways to have sex around my baby belly, and exploring the town. It had been wonderful, but I was ready to go home.
I turned and looked out the window, thinking of the last time I had been on a plane – our honeymoon to Italy. Another magical trip, another magical time. There had been so many of them over the last three years.
Not long after the first anniversary of the accident, Charlie had come to visit. He was having a hard time dealing with being away from me during that time, the memories of the year before still fresh in his mind. Knowing I couldn't get out to Forks just then, I invited him to come to Seattle and stay with me for the weekend. Edward was working, which meant that my dad and I would get to spend some quality time together. I hoped him seeing me happy and healthy would help lay to rest some of the memories and demons he was carrying around with him.
We spend a lot of time down by the water. Charlie had always felt most at peace, happier, when he was surrounded by it, so it didn't surprise me when he gravitated there on his visit.
On the Sunday morning before he was to leave, we were sitting quietly in Waterfront Park, far from the aquarium and the noise and crowds. Every once in a while one of us would ask a question or make a statement, but for the most part, we just watched the water and enjoyed the silence.
"So, when are you going to put Edward out of his misery and move in with him?" Charlie's head didn't move; he just continued to look out over the water. I, on the other hand, swiveled my head to stare at him.
Charlie laughed lightly and patted my knee. "He called his father last week all stressed out because it's been months since you first talked about it. Edward seems to think you're chickening out."
My mouth dropped open in shock. Edward really thought I didn't want to move in with him? That was just silly. I couldn't wait to live with him.
Then why have you avoided the subject every time he's brought it up the last few months?
I sighed and laid my head on my father's shoulder. "I'll talk to him."
Charlie just patted my knee again, and that was the end of that conversation.
Dad left that afternoon, giving me the chance to sit down and figure out why I hadn't pushed the moving issue. Granted, Edward hadn't either, but at the same time, I knew he was waiting on me to see what we should do. It would certainly explain his uncharacteristic-like behavior after our visit to Jake and Leah's in July – how he needed me to reassure him that I still wanted to be with him forever.
I was the one putting up roadblocks at every twist and turn. I hated every apartment he showed me. I wasn't sure if I wanted us to buy a condo. He would suggest one area of the city and I would shoot it down.
It didn't occur to me until Charlie pointed it out that I truly was stalling. It was unintentional, but it was happening all the same. I was afraid to rock the boat. Things had been going so well for me, for us, that I was afraid that any change, even something that would be a good change, would screw it all up.
Even now I knew what the problem was, I still couldn't seem to do anything about it. I had no idea what I was waiting for, but I needed something to give me that push to finally bring up my concerns to Edward and move forward with our plans to find a place together.
The push came in the form of walking in on Alice and Jasper going at it like rabbits on our living room floor.
Granted, it was my fault. I was supposed to be at school teaching and Alice told me later that they had both taken an early lunch to run home and have a little afternoon delight.
Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am.
I yelped and ran right back out the door and ended up spending the afternoon and early evening sitting mortified in my office at school. I wasn't sure when I'd ever be able to look Alice in the face again. And I was positive that I'd never be able to see Jasper ever again without blushing.
The search for new living quarters began that very day.
Still, I had a hard time finding an apartment or condo that felt right. Nothing I looked at online even sparked my interest. I huffed and looked at the clock. I was meeting Edward for dinner at Ray's Boathouse in an hour and had hoped to show up with the news that I had found us a perfect place to live.
Frustrated, I went back to a basic search and then shut down the browser when nothing new popped up. For a lack of anything better to do, I went to Google and typed in "Seattle real estate."
The first link on the page brought me to a site for houses, not apartments.
Then it clicked.
An apartment or condo didn't feel right because it wasn't. There was something about them that felt temporary and if I knew anything, it was that Edward and I were forever.
I started looking at the houses, narrowing my search by number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
And I hit pay dirt.
I found house upon house that seemed perfect. Gone were the feelings of indifference. I wanted to go and visit almost every house I pulled up.
By the time I left my office, I was trembling in excitement.
Edward was waiting for me outside the restaurant, looking sexy as hell. His face lit up the minute he saw me, and my heart began beating faster. God, how I love him.
I reached him and without giving him a chance to even say hello, I took his face in my hands and brought his lips to mine. I gave him the best I had, putting all my love into the kiss. His hands gripped my hips and my hands tangled in his hair as our tongues met, touched, and parted.
"Well, hello to you too. What do I owe the pleasure of that greeting?" His hands wrapped around my waist and clasped behind my back. He pulled me close, hugging me tight to his body.
"I want to get a house." It wasn't what I had meant to say, but it was what came out of my mouth. I couldn't control my glee at finally figuring out what I wanted.
Edward pulled back from me, his face a mix of wonder and surprise. "A house?"
I nodded. "I figured out why nothing else felt right and it clicked with me today. I want us to buy a house. Together."
He stared at me silently and I smiled. "I want a study for my books and an office for you. A big kitchen for me to cook in, and a deck out back where you can put a grill. And I want at least four bedrooms – maybe five."
Edward's mouth turned up into a smirk. "Four bedrooms – maybe five? And what are you planning on putting in those bedrooms?"
I rolled my eyes. "Our kids, of course. Well, we have to save one room for us, obviously. But the rest can be for our kids."
His smirk grew bigger. "Our kids, huh?"
I nodded my head and pulled him inside. "Take me to dinner and then we'll go home and practice."
Once Edward and I decided to look for a house instead of a condo or apartment, we got down to business. We found one in Bellevue that we looked at four times before I finally decided that we should put in an offer on it. It wasn't that I hadn't loved it, but I was so afraid of missing something else - better - that I refused to take the first house we looked at. Thankfully, Edward indulged my whims, knowing that it would very likely the house we would live in for the rest of our lives.
The search slowed down a little after Jake and Leah's daughter, Gia, was born. There had been no issues with her birth, but she developed breathing problems when she was only a few days old. It had been a scary time for them – for all of us. I spent a lot of time going between Seattle and Port Angeles while she was in the hospital, putting the search for a house on the back burner for a while. Considering how thoroughly Jake had been there for me when I needed him, it was hardly a sacrifice. Luckily, the doctors managed to fix what was wrong with her and she recovered without a problem.
Not long after Gia recovered and went home, Edward and I finally put an offer in on a house. Our closing did not go easily, and the people we were buying it from kept hesitating at the last second so the date got pushed back at least twice. At one point, we were almost walked away, but we stuck it out. Four months after our search for the perfect home began, we ended up in a house we loved.
We moved into our house in February and by April, Edward proposed. He took me back to Victoria and to Butchart Gardens where he had taken me on our first weekend away. In front of the Japanese garden I loved so much, Edward got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.
Over the course of our moving in together, getting engaged and planning our wedding, my recovery continued. My nightmares dwindled down to nothing, and I stayed on my medication because it was working for me. I still had good days and bad, but the good far outweighed the bad.
I spent the second anniversary of the accident alone with Edward in quiet solitude. I hadn't let the date sneak up on me that year, even with our wedding only a few weeks away. As Dr. Whitlock had promised, my grief was still there, but smaller somehow. It didn't hurt to think of my mom as much as it once had. For that, I was happy.
Our wedding was in Carlisle and Esme's backyard in Forks, on a sunny afternoon in late September. Things were a little hectic with only five months to plan, but with Alice, Esme and a very pregnant Rose's help, we pulled it off. Emmett and Carlisle were Edward's best men, while Jake and Alice were my man and maid of honor.
We left two chairs empty next to where my dad and Sue sat to represent where my mom and Phil would have been. We all cried a little bit when Rose read "i carry your heart with me" by e.e. cummings. It rang true for how Edward and I felt about each other, but it also held a deeper meaning for me as it reminded me of my mother.
The day was made even more special knowing that my best friend had finally found love with Jasper. Watching them together on the dance floor as Edward twirled me in his arms brought me more joy than I thought it would. They were perfect for each other and I had no doubt they would be together forever.
Edward and I honeymooned in Italy, at a villa that belonged to a friend of Carlisle's. Aro was a bit eccentric, but he had offered us a beautiful spot to stay for a week. We returned home happy and more in love than ever.
The first year of our marriage was filled with wonderful things.
My dad fell in love. Sue and Charlie got married, and she moved off the reservation and into his house in Forks. It warmed my heart to see them so happy and so in love.
Almost a month after our wedding, Emmett and Rose welcomed a bouncing baby boy they named Daniel, but we all called him Slick. He was slippery as an eel; the child never stopped moving, not even when he was sleeping.
Just before I found out I was pregnant, Dr. Whitlock moved me down to one of his "as needed" clients – those of us who no longer required regular therapy, but whom he would continue to see as the occasion called for it. It was a milestone I was happy to reach.
Right around the time Rose had Daniel was when I discovered I was pregnant. Edward and I had talked about having children before our wedding and decided that I'd stop taking the pill and we'd see what happened. What happened was a honeymoon baby. Dr. Reilly was watching my pregnancy closely to make sure there were no affects from the accident that might cause issues, but we had been lucky. It was also why he gave the okay for me to fly to Key West just as I entered my third trimester.
Three years ago, I couldn't imagine being here. Four years ago, it never would have occurred to me that this was the path my life was on.
As I looked over at my husband sleeping beside me, I knew that no one could tell what the future would bring. There might come a time in my life where I would once again be faced with heartache and pain. However, if the last three years had taught me anything, it was that I was stronger than I thought I could be. It also taught me to hold on to the happiness I had and never to take it for granted.
I would live, I would love and I would accept everything given to me with gratitude. I would accept the sorrows along with the joys. I would raise my children, love my family and hopefully grow very, very old with my husband.
After all I had been through, I was whole. I was complete.
I was happy.
So that's it. :) They lived happily ever after.
A huge thank you to Browns, who has become a RL friend and is officially my Beta for Life. Without her, I'm not sure if you ever would have seen this story finished. Thanks, BB. I heart you.
I'd like to thank my other wonderful beta, Ms. Ambrosia, for seeing me through this story. Her help was invaluable and I will forever be grateful to her.
I also want to thank AddictedtoEdward who was my beta in the beginning and made it through a huge chunk of this story with me. I learned a lot from her, and I owe her my thanks for holding my hand in the beginning as I wrote my first fanfic.
Outtakes and Deleted Scenes: As many of you know, I struggled a bit in the direction to take this story. Ultimately, I decided to finish it up without giving Bella and Edward any more angst to deal with. However, I wrote many scenes/chapters in which there was more angst and drama to deal with. I know some of you were interested in that path (DivineInspiration, if you're still with me, I'm looking at you!) so I have decided to post what I wrote in the Outtakes/Deleted Scenes story on my profile. I probably will never return to this Edward and Bella, so there will not be any futuretakes, but if you're interested in reading where I had planned on going, then please put the Outtakes/Deleted Scenes story on alert.
What I'm writing next: Both Come Undone and The Hardest Thing will most likely be expanded at some point. I don't plan on posting for a bit though, to give me time to write some chapters and get ahead, so I don't leave people hanging for weeks or months while I write an update. I learned a lot from posting After All and one of those things was to always try to be a chapter or two ahead of posting so you don't leave people waiting too long. I'll post on Twitter (Scorp_112) any updates and progress I make.
Thank you to all the readers who stuck with me throughout the long telling of this story, and especially to everyone who left me a review letting me know your thoughts. I appreciate it so much more than I can say. You got me to almost 700 reviews which, I know is not considered a lot in this fandom, but to me was a HUGE number. Considering this is the first story I ever wrote from start to finish, and put out there for the world to read, it meant a lot every time I got an email letting me know someone made it a favorite, or alerted it, and especially those who wrote me reviews. Even though I'm marking this as complete, I hope you'll still let me know what you thought. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.