Diamond in the Rough- Chapter 31

Promise

A/N: Here's the epilogue for DITR part 3! We're FINISHED! Kind of sad, but oh well. All things must come to an end, this story included.

Is anyone else not getting their emails from the site, or is it just me?

ALSO: It's my birthday today! Finally 16! Too bad I can't go for my licence yet since they're all on strike. *sighs*

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EPOV

Night had finally fallen as I stared at the sleeping human, sighing heavily to myself.

What had I done to her?

She looked almost the same as she had all those months ago, but there were minor changes in her appearance. She was much thinner than before, she was paler, less energetic, and just sad. I knew these changes were my fault, as Rosalie loved to remind me every chance she got, and with that accusation, I made it my duty to ensure she was never hurt again. I'd protect her from the horrors of this world, down to the very ground she fell on, and I'd never leave her side again.

Never.

Alice's vision had been the spark for my hasty departure- the one of Bella as my wife. Looking back, I realized I'd been foolish- incredibly so- and I knew I'd made a grave mistake. I'd torn my family apart at the seams and little Bella had fallen through the cracks in the formerly tight-knit weave that supported her. Before, we'd been like a very well-knit sweater- all the strands working together to form one large, productive unit that gave the human what she needed. But then, I'd forcibly torn off the sleeves, leaving her out in the cold, and no matter how much the others tried to replace the sleeves, there just wasn't enough wool to go around.

And until last week, she'd still been slowly freezing to death in her own blizzard.

I was still a monster.

It's ironic that the reason I left was to save the angel from her premature death at my hands, and yet in the process, I'd thrust a completely different fate on her- one that was almost worse than death.

No matter. She was safe now.

Safe on my couch, in my room, with her head on my lap as we listened to my CD.

Yes, things had changed for the better.

Only one thing nagged me now- Alice's vision.

As soon as Bella had been declared safe and out of surgery, Alice's sight had replayed the exact same vision as in the mall, and I knew I'd just been prolonging the inevitable.

Bella would be my mate- the one I'd waited nearly a century for.

Was that even possible? Could I grow to love Bella as more than my best friend? Could I love her as a husband should love his wife?

Could I share those intimacies with her?

The answer? Yes.

As much as my mind denied it, my heart knew that all these things were very possible. Alice's vision only set things into high gear, but I knew that she was right- I would marry this child sleeping before me, and I'd love her just as she deserved to be loved.

Just not yet.

She was still too young for a commitment like that, and I didn't want to push her. After all, she had no idea what Alice had foreseen in her future. She couldn't be more than eighteen in that vision…

Three years. Three years, and I'd be married.

To Bella.

How odd.

I gently stroked the soft brown hair that was splayed out on the pillow under her head, sighing heavily. It seemed almost impossible that in less than 1000 days, I'd have a wife, and a mate.

I wouldn't be alone anymore. I wouldn't be the odd one out in the family, and I could be truly happy. That's what Bella would bring to me in these next few years- true, uncensored happiness. That was an feeling I couldn't even remember. There had always been something weighing down my mind, be it thirst, instinct, loneliness or awkwardness. Never had I truly fit in with my family, all of whom were happily wedded and bedded. Listening to the errant thoughts of the happy couples always made me yearn for what I didn't have…

But things would change.

Could I accept that?

Yes. Yes I could.

I found myself growing quite eager for the future to arrive, now that I had a chance to mull it over. There was only one problem with my dream-future:

She would lose her soul.

Could I stand to be the one responsible for robbing an angel of her soul?

I didn't know, and it worried me.

"You're over-thinking things again, Edward." Came Jasper's thoughts, having sensed my sudden mood change.

"Sorry." I said softly, not wanting to make him uncomfortable as well.

"She wants it." He thought to me, making me frown. "She doesn't consciously think about it yet, but Alice says she will soon, and she does want to be with you, as one of us."

"She doesn't know what she's getting into." I said, frustrated. Jasper sighed heavily from downstairs and I heard him traipsing up, coming to face me.

"Edward." He said, opening my door slowly. He came inside and stood by my door as he watched the two of us.

"She doesn't know what she's asking for." I said, glancing at the innocent face on the pillow.

"She understands a lot more than you seem to give her credit for." Said Jasper quietly, not taking his eyes off of her.

"She doesn't know what she wants." I said softly, shaking my head. Jasper frowned and he blocked his thoughts from me.

"You don't know what she wants either." He said quietly, his gaze shifting to me instead of Bella. "You don't know how it was for her when you were gone."

"I do." I said, having seen it in everyone's mind.

"Not like we do." He said softly. "I think that if the time came for us to give her up, she wouldn't be able to handle it. If it came time for her to be married to a human, she'd pine for us. We're all she knows." He said gently, frowning sadly.

He would have made a good father.

"She'll adapt." I said softly, not liking either idea. Give up my future, or give up her soul.

Selfish, or selfless?

"That's just it." Said Jasper, taking a step closer. Slowly, he lowered himself to the floor in front of Bella as he watched her sleep, sighing slightly.

"I don't think she would adapt." He murmured softly, brushing a stray hair from her eyes. "When you left, she didn't adapt. I can't even fathom how she'd react if she lost all of us."

I was silent.

"You're one person." He said bluntly. "One of the seven people she loves and cares for. She still had six of us to lean on when you were gone, but even then, she nearly lost it. Can you imagine if she lost her father, her mothers, Alice and her brothers, not to mention you?"

"No." I said honestly, Jasper's words beginning to sink in.

"Say she did move on and had a normal human life. She'd marry a man she couldn't love." He said.

"Who says she couldn't love him?" I asked sceptically, earning me a wry smile.

"She'd have to keep secrets from him for her entire life, and I think her affections are already focused elsewhere." He mumbled, making me bristle uncomfortably.

"If she went on to have children," he continued, "she'd pine for her mother. A girl's mother would be one of her main support lines during that time, since they could share the experience. Having children would be something she'd want to share with Esme, Rose and even Alice, but she'd be forced to keep both herself and her child from her family."

"The man has family too." I said reasonably, thinking of her potential mother in law.

"But that's not the family she knows, Edward." He said pointedly, looking at me patiently.

I fell silent once more.

"That child would never know it's maternal family." He said sadly. "We'd never know our niece or nephew." He said, looking at me.

I remained silent.

"She'd be forced to forget us entirely." He said softly, looking at Bella again. "We basically raised her, and she'd be forced out of our lives and into the world, alone. When her husband asks her where her family is, she'll have to make excuses for us, or even worse, claim we don't exist."

"Stealing her soul isn't any better." I mumbled, making Jasper frown as his thoughts became slightly more irritated.

"Edward, can you honestly say that a woman as sweet as Esme has no soul?" he demanded, looking at me harshly. That struck home as I watched my brother, making him smile wryly.

"Exactly." He said softly. "Maybe Carlisle's right."

"Carlisle makes mistakes." I whispered, knowing this was a battle I couldn't win.

"Perhaps it's not what we are, but how we choose to play the cards dealt to us that determines who we are." He mused, looking at me.

"I can't take that risk." I said sadly, making him frown.

"You can, and you will." He said sternly, looking at Bella closely. He stood up and looked at the two of us one last time.

"You're not the only that'll lose her. Remember that." He said, right before he left the room, leaving me to my thoughts once again.

He wouldn't change her…

Would he?

Sighing heavily to myself, I knew very well that if I refused to change Bella myself, that one of my other family members would. Jasper had just proven that to me.

Looking back at the sleeping face, I smiled softly, touching the warm, soft cheek, relishing the heat radiating off of it.

And that's when I knew, soul or no soul, Bella and I would be joined together, as man and wife for the rest of our days.

End Of Part 3

A/N: Sniff.

So sad to be finished, but at least I can get a jump start on part 4 now!

Leave a review, and if you have any outtake suggestions for this part, send them with your comment!!

Look out for Part 4 in the new year!