A/N Huge author note, please bear with me. I feel like I was such a fandom baby when I started this two years ago. I was so in awe of the amazing fanfic authors and so honored by any tiny interest this little fic received. Like any first story, I always wonder if I could do a better job if I was starting it now. But it is what it is – that first journey into writing and putting yourself out there. To those of you who have reached this point with me, I would like to sincerely thank you.

I will forget people I'm sure, but a special thank you must go to my Aussie girls (you know who you are) who support me no matter what, to those who were at the RAoR site for my first true "rec" and to all sites and blogs that mentioned this story. To the few who were with me from the start, I heart you.

To every single one of you who have hit follow, favorite, or took the time to review, you gave me such a buzz and I thank you for that.

Thanks to Jan for pre-reading some chapters and to ceruleanblue for beta'ing in the early days.

To elusivetwilight, without whom I never would have hit post on the first chapter: thank you for taking the time from your own writing to beta my work and support my novice writing skills (I miss you!)

And finally to Lisa, who joined me partway on this journey for which I was truly humbled. She is one of those who make this fandom great to be a part of. She shares her skills and time generously with so many authors, and I hope she knows how grateful both writers and readers are for that. She's a true gem.

Without further adieu, let's put Eighteen to bed. I hope you'll join me for my next story (AH angsty – pre-written with regular updates) and find me on twitter – landdownunda.

Kia Kaha, fandom.

Em xxx

Song: "Ghosts That We Knew" by Mumford & Sons


You saw my pain, washed out in the rain

And broken glass, saw the blood run from my veins

But you saw no fault, no cracks in my heart

And you knelt beside my hope torn apart

But the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view

And we'll live a long life


When I was eighteen, I died.

When I was eighteen, my best friend, my soul mate, my lover saved me, giving me an unfathomable gift of life.

I would be eighteen forever.

I married that extraordinary man in a simple ceremony in our meadow. My father got to have the moment he once thought had been stolen from him. He walked me down the aisle to hand me over to Edward in the last possible way. Though terribly cliché to describe it as so, it was simply the happiest day of my life. Shared with my father, my new family, and my one true love.

While I would live long past the days when my family and friends passed on, I would have the blessing of witnessing their children and their grandchildren as the generations continued. I think Charlie came to understand his daughter would outlive him in a way he couldn't comprehend, but that gave him an unexpected sense of peace. He had faced a parent's worst nightmare in losing a child; now there was some sort of miracle in that his baby would live beyond life itself. I tried not to see him too often, but it was hard to resist checking in once in a while. Sometimes I watched from afar, and other times he told his new partner Sue a white lie and visited me at home. He was okay, and for that I was grateful.

Charlie helped Renee as she came to terms with the loss of me. It was sad that they were reunited by grief, but I was thankful the divide between them caused by divorce was healed by the gratitude for the daughter they had shared. Charlie coped unbelievably well with the enormous secret he carried when he spoke to her. My mother was a fairly spiritual person, and her strong conviction that I was still with her kept her going to an impressive extent. I suppose it may have been helped by the fact I was still with her, little did she know.

When Jacob fell in love with Leah Clearwater, Edward told me that my old friend was comforted in knowing that I would be around to watch over his new family after he and his wife were gone. They would soon name their first daughter after Jacob's best friend who had died four years prior, and I would protect little Izzy Black as if she were my own.

And the Cullens? Together, as they had been for longer than any familial bond was ever intended. I couldn't have asked for a better family to support me, love me, and embrace me, as though I'd always been with them. I had a second mother and father, and irreplaceable siblings and friends.

As Edward and I sit in our meadow, he reaches for my hand and catches my gaze in his. With every look from him, I am reassured once again that if I spend every day for the next thousand years seeing that fresh adoration in his eyes, then it will be a life well-lived.

My time as a human was over. But I'd never felt more alive.

Loved, in love, and alive.