It all belongs to Stephenie Meyer. Please don't sue me.
Because I love a fluffy ending.
Epilogue: Saying Goodbye to the Group
"I don't suppose Charlie will let me sleep over at your house tonight," I looked up from under my lashes at my personal angel.
"I wouldn't push it, love. Life is good. Let's keep Charlie calm for five minutes. I can always kidnap you in a day or two." Edward smiled his crooked smile.
"I'll take that as a promise." We walked hand-in-hand to the edge of the lawn, where friends and acquaintances and ... others were chatting under the trees. Lauren was the first to approach, to thank Edward for counting her in on the trip even though she had not exactly been kind to me in the past. Lauren hoped we would consider her a friend in the future. Right. We both knew how she treated her friends. Edward nodded coolly, and wished her luck.
Actually, Lauren might have trouble finding friends in the future. Everybody in our group was giving her a wide berth already. Obviously, word of her antics had gotten around. Even Jess was avoiding her. What would happen when it went through the grapevine that she had an STD? She might have to leave Forks. What a shame.
At least all the boys had some small degree of protection now. Edward had collected up and divided out the condoms. Each boy had a good couple of boxes worth in his pocket. Edward told them that we couldn't possibly go through that many before they expired. Edward warned the boys not to leave them in a wallet or pocket to get overheated and damaged. The boys were now swaggering around, teasing each other about their studliness. Thank goodness Edward wasn't like them.
"I wonder if Lauren is going to rat on us to the grapevine," I mused.
"Are you kidding? With all the dirt you have on her? She is scared to death that you will rat her out. Guard yourself, or she is going to become your new best friend, just so she can keep tabs on you."
"Oh, crap. Anything but that." Maybe I should get 'call block' service on the phone.
Edward and I divided up to say goodbye to our guests. Jess pulled me aside, "You know, Bella, I used to think the Cullens were terrible snobs, and I was a little scared of Emmett, but I was dumb. They are really wonderful people and I had so much fun with them on the trip. I had no idea Edward was so funny. He seems so serious most of the time. Thanks for having me along."
"You're welcome, Jess. I'm glad you were able to come. It was a blast, wasn't it?"
"Yeah, something we will all remember when we're old and grey."
Edward was busy saying goodbye to Mike, Conner, Austin and Tyler, who were leaving at the same time. After they mock punched him, they came over to me and each of them lined up and quickly kissed me on the cheek.
"Aw, get outta here and stop coming on to my girl! Go get your own!" Edward shook a fist at them as they hurried off laughing. Then they waved, and were gone. Edward smiled after them. "Thank heaven they're going. Not that they're bad people, just immature. All the dirty things in their heads, you would not believe. They were giving me a headache."
"We can't have that," I said, and pulled him down so I could kiss his brow. He rested his forehead against mine. Somebody cleared her throat quietly. I looked up. All the Webers and Ben stood before us.
"Oh, Ang. There's my best girl and bridesmaid! Are you guys heading out, too?" I smiled as Edward ruffled the twins' hair.
"Yeah, I'm ready for a nap, and then there's a bit of shopping I want to do."
"I'm so glad that things went so well for you on the trip." I didn't want to mention the gambling win, when she might not have told her parents about it yet.
"Thanks, Bella. Edward? That's the best trip I've ever been on, and I'm so glad that Ben and I got to spend so much time with you both."
"Well, that feeling is mutual. I've always been happy that Bella found such a good friend in you, and that you and Ben have included me in your circle. You both mean a lot to us."
"Thanks, Edward. You both mean a lot to us, too. I know we'll see you a lot this summer, but you will keep in touch when you're away at Dartmouth, right?" Her smile faltered.
"We'll do our best."
"Okay. Love you guys." Why do I feel like I'm going to lose them? It's insecure. They won't forget me. They are our best friends.
"Love you, too." I said sincerely. I hoped Bella could remain friends with them after the change. At least a long distance friendship should be okay.
Ang gave me a loose hug and then gave Bella a tight squeeze. Ben gripped my hand in farewell.
Ang stepped back to look at Bella. "I'll probably talk to you in a couple of days, okay Bella? I'll try to keep you sane despite Alice.... I suppose she'll have more wedding hoops to make us jump through." Ang rolled her eyes.
"Probably. Your help sounds great... but Ang? No more sexy movies for us for at least a few weeks, okay?" Bella scowled.
"You got it girlfriend."