Disclaimer: Any recognizable characters are not mine. Here it is, the final planned chapter. Sad panda. As always, see you below.
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Since that day when you'd gone
Just had to carry on
I get through the day, but late at night
Made love to my pillow, but it didn't feel right
Every day just the same
Old rules for the same old game
All I gained was heartache
All I made was one mistake
"Bed's Too Big Without You" ~ The Police
3 months later
We inch along the deserted street, even the car is reluctant to visit our destination. Eventually, the cemetery comes into view, and I glance at Rose in the driver's seat as tears blur my vision. She squeezes my hand and I thank God she offered to drive me here, I couldn't have done this alone. She parks next to the large gate and we exit the car together. I pause next to the gate, the reality of this moment settling on me like lead weights. I feel her hand slip around my shoulder and her warmth presses into my side.
"You sure you want to do this? You don't have to today, ya' know."
"Yes, I do. I've waited too long," I mumble, looking at the ground as I feel tears slip down my cheeks. You would think, after all this time, that I would have no more tears.
I lean against Rose, my rock and strength over all these years, and we slowly walk through the graveyard.
"We're here, B," Rose whispers. I look up to find the simple gravestone marking his final resting spot, dark against the light dusting of early fall snow. I kneel on the cold ground and I can feel the wetness seeping through my jeans, but nothing physical can bother me now. The emotions tearing through my chest are burning a path of hot searing pain, fresh as the day I lost him. I've been avoiding visiting for too long now, and it's time to confront my past. Rose kneels next to me and I lean against her a little while she gently rubs my back. Taking comfort in her strength, I start my confession.
"Hey there, my love," I begin. "I know it's been a while, but I'm here now. With everything happening lately, I just needed to talk to you. I'm not sure how to do this or where to begin, so I guess I'll try to start at the beginning." Rose hugs my shoulder in encouragement and I take a deep breath to continue. She brushes her hair from her face, and her new diamond ring catches the light, throwing hundreds of rainbows around us. I half smile, remembering all the changes and happiness in our lives and all the pain that we have endured to get here.
"So much has happened since I last spoke to you. You have to know, you were my first true love, and I still love you with all of my heart. I don't live a day without thinking about you and how my life would have been different with you in it. You changed my life in the small time we had together, and have given me strength I didn't know I had. I wouldn't be the person before you today if you had never existed. You should know that I'm happy now, almost as happy as when I had you." I pause, the grief of his loss overwhelming me. Rose continues her slow circles on my back and when I can breathe again, I continue.
"My old, uh, employer is in jail and will be for a long time. He was charged with just about every felony possible, so he won't be seeing freedom hopefully ever." I take a deep breath to clear my head and stop the images from that horrible night. His trial was swift and painful but thankfully over.
"I have a real job now, well, it's just a waitressing job, but I'm making honest money." I actually smile at this, my first real job that's legal. "I've also signed up for night classes this semester at the community college. So far, I'm only taking prereq's for the university, but I love my English literature class. I'm hoping some day I can be a teacher, surrounding myself with children that are eager to learn and live." This dream that I've held in my heart for so many years, may become a reality. I choke again on my sobs, so many dreams I thought I had lost forever are now becoming possible again.
Just one more part of my life to tell him about, the most difficult and happiest. "I want you to know that I've found love again and he's absolutely wonderful. He saved me from the darkness I was trapped in. I think you'd like him; he would have loved you. I invited him to come meet you today and he should be here soon."
As if on cue, I feel a calming presence behind me and a hand on my shoulder. I look up through my tears to see his concerned, blurry face as I grab his hand and he pulls me gently to my feet. His arms wrap tightly around me and he places a small kiss on my forehead. Rose stands and walks slowly away, giving us our space.
"I'm here, love," he whispers reassuringly into my hair, kissing the top of my head.
I pull away slightly and try to smile at him, but I can feel the tears slipping down my cheeks again.
"I'm so glad you decided to come today." I put a hand on his cheek, gazing into his eyes full of love for me.
"It's important to you, and I wouldn't miss it for anything." He leans down to leave a small chaste kiss on my lips and I sigh into his mouth, calm immediately radiating through me.
I smile and turn us so that he's facing the gravestone as well, his arm still wrapped around my shoulders and mine around his waist. I'm not sure what I'm doing, so I just cut to the chase. "This is the man I've been telling you about. The second love of my life." I gesture at the cold stone in the ground. "Edward, I want you to meet Jasper. Jasper, this is my Edward."
He smiles at me and hugs me tightly again before releasing me to address my past. Slightly tipping his hat, he greets the cold ground, "It's very nice to meet you, Edward." He smiles slightly and continues in a soft voice, "Your mom talks about you often and loved you very much."
Watching Jasper address my son's gravestone with sincerity and passion and reverence makes my heart ache with all the possibilities before us. All those possibilities that were almost taken from us by James. I burst into tears again and Jasper's strong arms encircle me, supporting me unwaveringly as always.
"What's wrong, sweetheart?"
I mumble into his chest, unable to put into words the feelings in my heart.
"Shh, shh. It's okay. I'm here. Everything will be okay."
"Everything already is okay. You are so perfect and....and I'm just so scared because I-I want everything w-with you and there's...always something, or someone, in our way and I just want to be together. Why can't we be together?" I look up into his deep grey eyes, those eyes that have always seemed to penetrate into the deep reaches of my soul.
"We can, Bella, and we are. What's upsetting you so much?" He grips my arms tightly, worry creasing his brow.
"I don't know..." I sob against his chest as he pulls me in tightly again.
"Is it Rose and Emmett? Their engagement?"
"No. Yes. I'm so happy for them, for knowing what they want and not waiting. But..." I trail off, not knowing how to complete that thought.
"They're just so sickly sweet it's nauseating?" Jasper is smirking at me and I'm amazed that he took the words straight from my head. "It's okay to admit it, they are. It's ridiculous. Now that they've acknowledged their feelings, they're like teenagers, always going at it, no matter who's around or where they are."
"Oh, I know! I walked in on them yesterday, both naked and going at it like rabbits on the kitchen counter! I've seen more of Emmett than I've ever wanted." I shake my head and look up at Jasper. He's blushing and muttering to himself and I look up at him in confusion.
"Uh, Jasper? What's up?"
"Well, this isn't really the place that I thought I'd be asking this, but it may help your problem." He pauses and shuffles his feet, his nervousness rubbing off on me.
"You need to spit out whatever you're going to say or I might just go insane."
He chuckles and looks steadfastly into my eyes. "Bella Swan, will you do me the honor of..." He pauses and I gasp, wondering if I'm ready for this, if we're ready for this. "Uh, moving in with me?"
I breathe easily again. "Damn it, Jasper! I thought you were going to ask me something else! Of course, I'll move in with you. Thank God! I don't think I could take much more of Emmett's ass."
He lets out the breath he was holding and kisses me sweetly. "I really don't want you to look at his ass either, honestly."
I giggle and relax into his arms.
Rose walks back toward us, rubbing her hands together. "Are you two ready to head back? It's getting freaking cold out here!"
"Sure," I answer. "I just need to say goodbye to Edward and then I think I'll ride with Jasper if that's okay."
"Great!" she responds, her whole face lighting up. "I can drop by the bar then and see Emmett." She wiggles her eyebrows at me and I hear Jasper groan.
They walk away together and I turn back to Edward's grave. "So, now you've met Jasper. I love him and he makes me happy. He's changed everything in my life for the better. I've never felt safer in my entire life than I do in his arms. I'm finally healing and he has everything to do with that. I promise I will be back soon. I love you, always." I kiss my fingers and place them gently on the top of the cold stone, pausing for a second to remember my baby boy.
Sighing, I turn and walk slowly back toward the cars, slipping under Jasper's arm and stopping them in midconversation, apparently about Emmett's ass again.
"Oh, speaking of that, Jasper asked me to move in with him and I said yes." I cringe, waiting for Rose's reaction, which I'm sure will be exuberant and physical. I'm not disappointed.
Rose reaches over to squeeze my arm and slap Jasper on the back. "About fucking time, you two! Now I can finally move in with Emmett. I was wondering how much exhibitionist sex we were going to have before you wanted to move out!" She laughs loudly at my obvious outrage before she leans in conspiratorially. "Although, honestly, I think Emmett might actually just like it that way."
"Well, when I'm at Jasper's, remember to call ahead before you come over. I don't want anyone to see his ass but me." Rose and I laugh as Jasper blushes and ducks his head. Rose and I will never be shy about sex or our bodies, and it's sometimes fun to push Jasper's buttons.
I give Rose a tight hug, thanking her for all she's done for me. I climb into Jasper's car, and watch as the cemetary fades from view. My past may be painful but it's in the past, my future is sitting next to me and I need to focus on him now. I turn back to Jasper, noticing he's watching me warily.
"You okay, Bells?"
"With you, I'm more than okay."
He smirks at me and I reach across and grab his hand, holding it tightly the whole ride back to his apartment.
A/N: Well, there you have it, they do have there happily ever after. Is it what you pictured? What you wanted for them? Too abrupt? Just right? Want more? I have nothing planned, but bribes are always welcomed if you're dying to know what's next or have an idea for an outtake. I want to focus on ENP and my Twi25 challenge piece for a little while, but I do love these characters…
Major thanks for all the support, comma correction and hand holding from my beta, mhl1115 and my sister. This has been a real challenge and I loved every minute.
If you liked this story, please leave me a little love. Thank you all for reading and I have loved all the reviews!! Visit my other stories or you can see what nonsense is going on in my daily life on twitter: bmango77. Hopefully, see you all around!!