Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and its characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
All original characters, plots, and the storyline contained within this derivative work are the property of Lazykate. This story may not be reproduced or reposted without permission from the author.
This was my idea of a happily ever after. Or at least the beginning of one.
I wriggled my toes, luxuriating in the heat that burned up from the sand, warming my marble skin deliciously. The ocean was as blue as the endless sky above, and there was no sound other than the faint roaring of the surf over a distant coral reef, the hissing of the smaller waves up onto the beach, the gentle wind. It was perfect.
Or almost perfect… I squinted my eyes towards where I'd last seen Edward dive under the water, about ten minutes ago. He was obsessed with the idea of oyster diving in the lagoon until he found me a pearl, and I wasn't going to argue with him. A pearl from my own personal island hideaway would be a wonderful thing to remind me of this when we were away.
La Bella Isola… the beautiful island. Edward's surprise gift to me for our fifth wedding anniversary was utterly perfect for us. I'd loved Isle Esme when Edward and I had visited for our first wedding anniversary, but I'd been reluctant to visit again in the ensuing years. It was Carlisle's gift to Esme, after all, and I didn't want to intrude. I'd loved everything about it, though: the isolation, the quiet, the scenery, the heat. Edward enjoyed the blissful silence with the absence of others' thoughts, and this gift had truly been a stroke of genius on his part.
We'd stayed at the Alaskan home for the past five years, but we knew that the time was drawing near when we'd have to leave. Our unchanging good looks, along with our self-imposed isolation from the rest of the community, were starting to garner more attention than was safe, and we began the plans to move. Esme had designed our new home in Montana from the ground up and had overseen a great deal of the construction personally; it was finished, furnished, and waiting for us to arrive. It had been carefully designed with our unique family in mind, and it was where all the others were now.
I'd been sad to leave our home in Alaska even as I recognized the need for it, but my reasons were selfish ones. Carlisle and Esme had already made plans to have a caretaker open the house up again as a hunting lodge and luxury bed-and-breakfast, to ensure the upkeep in the ensuing years, and I hated the idea of strangers in our home. Not the main house, our cottage.
It was, for all intents and purposes, my and Edward's first home together. It had been renovated especially for us, and had seen so much in our first five years of marriage. I hated the idea of leaving the cozy house behind, with all its memories, but I kept quiet. Being overly sentimental about a building would start to get cumbersome when we were on our fourth or fifth move. The cottage wasn't going anywhere, and we'd eventually be back.
We moved to the new house in Montana in late September. It was absolutely lovely, and each of the couples had an entire suite of rooms to themselves. It was far enough away from civilization to ensure that we had plenty of game to hunt, and Carlisle quickly got a job as a doctor at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, forty miles away. Edward and I stayed there only a day, though, before he declared that there was no time like the present for me to finally visit Europe. We'd traveled all over South America after our visit to Isle Esme, but we'd never gone to Europe.
We spent a month and a half touring that continent, and I loved every moment of it. We visited all of the usual tourist spots, but Edward took me to places that I would never have found on my own. It was beautiful, and so utterly perfect.
While spending time in Italy, we visited Volterra and Carlisle's old friends there. Although Edward had been reluctant, as they were traditional vampires who preyed on humans, we knew that they would take offense if they learned we'd come so close and not visited. Aro, Marcus, and Caius were the three oldest vampires I'd ever met, and although I didn't dislike them or their guard, I was happy when we left. Of the three, Aro was the only one who was openly welcoming to us. His gift was similar to Edward's, but he could see every thought anyone had ever had with just a touch. He was fascinated with my ability to block him, along with Edward's unique mind-reading ability, and begged us to stay with them for a time. We politely declined and, after a phone call from Alice that evening, opted to leave Italy the next day.
When it was time for us to return home, I was torn between excitement at seeing our family again and sadness at my time alone with Edward coming to an end. Our leisurely trip through Europe had been the longest we'd been apart from the family, and in some ways, it had helped Edward and I get to know each other even better than we already did. It was refreshing only having each other to turn to, and he said that watching me explore Europe was like experiencing it again for the first time. We went where we pleased, fed when we needed to, and made love whenever and wherever we wanted. The independence was exhilarating.
When we arrived at the airport in Madrid, Edward had surprised me by guiding me towards a flight that was most definitely not headed back to the United States. "Santiago?" I'd queried, arching an eyebrow at him.
"For a layover. Do you trust me?"
I'd snorted, it was such a silly question. Of course I did. Which is why I didn't ask any more questions as we traveled halfway across the world, finally landing at Faa'a International Airport in Papeete, Tahiti. There, we loitered in the tiny VIP lounge until the sun had set, and then Edward hailed a cab to the marina.
My curiosity was almost unbearable at that point, but it wasn't until we were settled into a small sleek motorboat with a powerful engine that I finally cracked. "When are you going to tell me?"
My beautiful husband just grinned and shook his head. "I'd rather show than tell."
I deliberately turned away then, my eyes cutting through the dark surrounding us, until I finally caught a faint whiff of vegetation and turned towards it. There was a dark mass off to the right, and Edward carefully steered us around it, curving into a small lagoon and heading directly to a tiny wooden dock peeking out of the dark. Edward guided the boat smoothly up alongside it, cut the engine, and then secured it to the dock before leaping out and extending a hand back for me.
"Welcome, my love, to your island. La Bella Isola."
I gaped at him. "My…"
He wrapped his arms tightly around me. "Yours. Although I'm hoping you'll share it with me."
"Happy anniversary, Isabella Marie Cullen," he whispered, before silencing my sputtering with a long sweet kiss. I melted against him, as I always did, and his hand came up to stroke my cheek when he reluctantly pulled his lips away. "Five years ago today, my beautiful Bella, you agreed to be my wife. You've given me everything I could have ever hoped for and more. You've given me a home in your mind and body; I thought I could provide a home-away-from-home for us."
I smiled up at him and lifted my shield away from my mind; it was quite easy to do now.
You bought us our own island?
"I did," he confirmed, before bending to kiss me again. "I've been planning this for some time, actually."
"You'll find out," he murmured against my lips, and our kisses became more frantic until we were tearing each others' clothes off. It was a good thing we were impermeable to splinters, because we never made it off the dock.
When daylight began to streak the sky, I propped myself up on my elbows, my body still snuggled close against his. There were tall palm trees studding the vegetation around us, a thick green boundary which grew right up to the edge of the lagoon. I could see a swath of pale sand outside the edges of the lagoon, and even in the early-morning light, the ocean beyond was a startling shade of teal. Aside from the waves in the distance and a few chirps and squawks of birds awakening in the trees, it was pure silence. It was beautiful.
I felt Edward's eyes on me, and I automatically answered his unspoken question. This is… it's perfect.
"I'm glad you think so," he said softly, "But would you believe me if I told you that it gets even better from here?"
I believe you, but I don't know how it could.
He rolled over and kissed my cheek before springing to his feet. He tugged on his khaki shorts and I yanked my sundress over my head as he reached down to grab the two bags from the boat. We'd grown to enjoy traveling light through Europe. "Follow me, love, but be ready to stop and close your eyes when I tell you to."
I followed him willingly as he stepped off the dock and strode confidently down a small path that disappeared into the thick vegetation, and I couldn't help but wonder if he'd been here already. But when? We hadn't spent more than a day apart for the past few years, I certainly would have noticed if he'd jetted off to French Polynesia without telling me.
We didn't have far to go before Edward turned around, smiled, and then reached for my hand. "Eyes shut, please."
I obliged, and let him guide me forward another few dozen steps or so. The scent of something familiar started tickling my nose, but it was different somehow, in this setting…
I felt Edward bend as he set down our bags, and then his arm was slipping around my waist. "Open your eyes, Bella."
I did, and for the second time in less than a few hours, I was stunned into silence.
It was our cottage, from Alaska. It looked slightly incongruous in this setting but somehow completely appropriate at the same time.
"How did you…" was all I managed, before taking an unconscious step forward.
"I didn't like the idea of leaving it behind, or of anyone else in our home. It wouldn't exactly be practical to dismantle and transport it every time we move for the rest of eternity, so I thought I'd move it to a place that can always be ours."
"You had it moved here?"
"And then reassembled, stone by stone, timber by timber. Go inside, love."
I approached the building almost hesitantly, afraid that this was an illusion too good to be true. But it really was our little cottage; I could still smell the faintest traces of Alaska on it and in it. The sturdy structure, meant to weather endless Alaskan winters, looked just the same as when I'd seen it last, almost two months ago.
My fingers reached out to twist the doorknob I'd touched so many times; the door opened with the same faint squeak, and when the interior was revealed to me, I knew I had to be dreaming.
It was our home.
Every single item was in its proper place, from the family photographs on the bookshelf to Edward's piano in the back. My eyes flew to the top shelf and saw my journal tucked where I always kept it, just behind the framed picture of Charlie and I. It was as though I'd opened a door in the South Pacific only to be transported directly to Alaska. I couldn't even form words now, aloud or in my mind.
I took a few steps forward, the wooden floorboards reassuringly familiar to my bare feet. Everything… everything was there. Everything that Edward and I had put together to make the rough little house a home was in its proper place. It was almost overwhelming.
"Talk to me… please…" I breathed, my eyes still examining every detail.
Edward stepped up behind me and rested his chin on my shoulder, sensing my mood and responding to it automatically. "Everything is the same. I had them make some minor structural modifications to account for the weather here, and to protect the contents from the environment. There's a solar-powered generator out back. One of the cabinets behind the piano has been converted into a refrigerator; we'll have to bring our own blood when we visit. There isn't much in the way of warm-blooded wildlife here. But we can stay here for as long as you like. There are things I'm sure you'd like to take back to Montana when we go, and they left boxes for that."
He turned his head and gently pressed his lips against my neck. "Alice and Esme."
My adopted sister and mother, of course they would be the ones to help Edward with something of this scale. "I can't believe they did all this…"
"They both thought it was one of the most romantic gestures they'd ever heard of; believe me when I say they were all too happy to help."
I knew that if I could shed tears, I'd be crying. "You did all this for me?"
"For you, love. Welcome home."
It was amazing, it was impossible, but it was perfect. It was home.
We didn't leave the house for the entirety of that day or night. After my initial shock wore off, I was overwhelmed with delight at Edward's surprise and insisted that we re-christen every surface we'd ever made love on in the cottage before. He was only too happy to oblige, of course.
When we finally emerged, Edward took me on a tour of our private island. Not even a mile across, it would have been almost perfectly round if not for the deep lagoon that cut into the center. A pale sand beach ringed the entire exterior and the water was as warm as the ocean surrounding Isle Esme, enough to bring our skin almost up to human temperature. And the sun… I couldn't get enough of the sun.
I sat on the sand just where the lip of the lagoon opened and the beach ended, wondering how long we could stay here. Edward and I had hunted to satiation before our flight from Chile, and I was able to go almost as long as Edward without needing to feed now, although I never pushed it. There was plenty of animal blood neatly stored in the refrigerator, and although it wasn't the ideal food source, it was better than having to leave the island in search of prey.
Edward's head finally broke the surface near the center of the lagoon, and then he began swimming in quick, strong strokes towards where I sat, standing up to walk when the water grew shallow enough.
"Did you find one?" I queried, smiling.
"Not yet, but I'll keep looking. The lagoon is even deeper than I realized, I only went down about five hundred feet in the center and it just kept going. The edges curve inward, though, and the deep spot was only about five feet wide."
I shuddered; even being an immortal, the idea of my husband swimming down so far into the center of the world was enough to freak me out a little. "No sharks?"
"No sharks, and all the fish swim in the other direction."
I wrinkled my nose. "Can we hunt fish?"
"We could, but you wouldn't like fish blood. It's utterly revolting."
He flung himself down on the sand next to me and I laughed before we settled into a happy companionable silence. I lifted my shield and felt Edward sink into my mind, a blissful sigh immediately escaped him. "Now I am in heaven, I'm convinced of it."
How long can we stay here?
"We can stay as long as you want, come as often as you want… it's ours to do with as we please."
Do you think the others will come visit us here?
"At some point in the future, I'm sure they won't turn down an invitation. But this is our long-awaited honeymoon. They aren't going to bother us now."
I smiled. I thought we honeymooned on Isle Esme?
Edward shook his head, drops flying from his water-darkened bronze hair. "That was a vacation. This is ours."
So why La Bella Isola? Why Italian in French Polynesia?
"I thought it sounded prettier than La Belle Île, especially since it utilizes my favorite name in the entire world."
Le voyage de noces sur La Bella Isola?
Edward chuckled at my words. When he'd whisked me off on our surprise trip to Europe, I'd tried my best to learn the Romance languages as quickly as possible. I was better at reading and writing them, despite the immersion during our vacation, but I was utterly fascinated with the challenge and thought that maybe I'd found something that could become my area of study. Unfortunately, my vampire-brain was more adept at memorizing and regurgitating correct grammatical structure rather than using the more casual colloquialisms.
Combien de langues parlez-vous? I tried again.
"Huit ou neuf, y compris le latin." Edward rolled over onto his stomach. "You sound utterly delicious speaking French to me, love."
Maybe I've found something I can be good at.
"You are already good at so many things. This will just be another one."
I smiled and laid back, he immediately caught my hand as it reached out to find his, and I shut my eyes. I couldn't possibly be any happier than I was right now.
The past five years had seen fate decide that Edward and I had more than paid our dues, and those years had been happy ones. We had a loving family surrounding us, an endless world waiting for us to explore, and a powerful connection that nothing could sever. Edward had kept his promise and began trying to let go of the overwhelming responsibility of making sure I never saw or experienced any kind of pain, but it had been a long road. With each step he took, though, our relationship only strengthened, and we knew each other exquisitely well. Even Carlisle admitted that we had a bond like those normally only seen in much-older vampires.
Loving Edward didn't involve conscious thought. It was automatic, second nature to me. I couldn't even conceive of me without him because it was impossible such a thing could ever exist. With each lesson, discovery, and reaffirmation, our love became much stronger than I could have ever believed even a year before.
Remnants of my human life still touched us occasionally. Jacob had met and married a girl from Port Angeles last year. We hadn't been invited to the wedding, of course, but Carlisle still kept tabs on the Quileutes' actions and whereabouts. I'd silently wished him all the best and as much happiness as I'd found with Edward.
Renee had been diagnosed with stomach cancer three years earlier, and although it had torn me to pieces, not being able to support my mother at such a time, I'd done what I could. I was able to pay anonymously for the best care available under the guise of a wealthy donor to the hospital. Renee and Phil still lived in Jacksonville, and although I occasionally felt a pang that I was dead to the mother who had loved me in her own way, I knew that it was better this way.
A small stone memorial to the human Bella Swan stood near the cliffs of La Push, a simple marker with my name, the dates of my birth and death, and inscription: You will never be forgotten. Every year, on November 19th, Jacob came and left a small bundle of yellow roses there. Yellow, for friendship.
Life, along with time, ticked onward. As quickly as the past five years had gone, I still couldn't conceive of living hundreds of years, although I looked forward to them. I didn't really care where I went, or how, as long as my mate was by my side.
Edward hummed softly beside me, drifting happily on the soft waves of my thoughts. Was it fair, in the cosmic balance of things, for two people to be so incredibly happy?
"Yes," he replied, and there was so much promise in his words, I could feel that supernatural heartbeat between the two of us swell and accelerate in response.
There was forever in everything, in every movement. There was promise when he moved his body to cover my own, with the sand beneath us and the bright blue sky above. There was joy when he kissed every inch of my skin with lips so familiar that I sometimes felt empty when they weren't touching me in some way. And then there was only exquisite pleasure when he entered me. And love. Always love.
Edward inside my mind may have been his idea of heaven, but Edward inside my body was mine. Our connection was never stronger than at that moment, especially since I was now able keep my mind open to him throughout anticipation, penetration, and then ecstasy. There was only one thing I was able to say to him in that moment, and although it never varied, it was as powerful as it had been the very first time.
I love you I love you I love you…
If the entirety of the universe could only spiral down to this moment, to this here and now, then I was satisfied, I was complete. The connection of our bodies, though wonderful, was corporeal; the connection of our souls was magic. There was nothing I would truly ever need aside from him.
Because it was more than just Edward and Bella, it was more than anything else I'd tried over the years to imagine. It was greater than everything I'd ever allowed myself to hope for, and something I still only barely allowed myself to believe.
It was us. And that was all we would ever need.
Just the facts first, and then hugs and kisses to follow!
At this time, I don't have any plans to write a sequel to IDBiV. That may change if the right plot creeps into my brain, but I'm not willing to manufacture one just to bring these two back. You guys deserve a lot more than that. IN THE MEANTIME, there are three outtakes already written and several more that will be forthcoming, you can find them by clicking on my profile (up at the top of this page) and then on the IDBiV, Outtakes, Oneshots story link. Please add it to your alerts, as no more chapters will be added on to this story.
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And now my thanks: I can't even begin to adequately express how much your reviews have meant to me. Reviews aren't a number or popularity status symbol to me, each and every one expresses a genuine reaction that my words have elicited in you. This is my thanks to you, the readers that gave me motivation when I just wanted to chuck it all. You still inspire me every day.
THANK YOU to everyone who encouraged me over the past year as I wrote this, everyone who WC'd, G-Chatted, or PM'd with me. THANK YOU to Stratan who beta'd over half of this story. THANK YOU to everyone who mentioned IDBiV in a podcast, blog post, or public recommendation.
And finally, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to Jules (changedbyEdward), Amy (Lolarosa), and Tami (Eyes of Topaz) for being some of the best friends a gal could hope for, and to my fanfic-twin-for-life (although she's truly so much more), Brits23, for more than I should probably spell out here. You guys are the best.
Love and hugs,