Without further a do, the final chapter of The Runaways.


Two months later.

I sprinted out through the open back door, diving behind a thick column of trees in hopes of escape. I watched, hidden behind a mask of leaves as he failed to notice where I had gone as he warily looked around the backyard, searching before giving up and stalking back into the house.

I saw a flash of Rose's blond hair through the kitchen window before she disappeared, most likely having been found. When I glanced down at my gun, I noticed that I was out of ammo. "Shit," I cursed under my breath. I glanced around the yard once again, figuring the coast was clear before scaling my back against the side of those and into the garage in hopes of not being caught. It was an extremely risky move, but I needed to re-supply before someone found me. I located the stash of bullets, hastily reloading. As soon as my ammunition was full, I heard footsteps and immediately retreated.

I exited quietly through the back of the garage and out onto the terrace, finding an out of breath Jasper. Jogging over to where he was, I noticed a large grass satin covering half of his shirt. Before I could open my mouth to speak and make sure he hadn't been hit, we were ambushed. "Jasper, to your left!" I cried, diving away from an oncoming bullet as I heard him rapidly firing back.

While Jasper held him off, I ran around to the other side of the house, cringing as I heard the sound of more shots being fired from upstairs. I swore, if they broke anything. . .

I stopped momentarily, bending over with my hands on my legs as I panted, catching my breath. My head snapped up and my heart stopped as I heard the sound of ruffling leaves, but I let out a rather long breath of relief when a small rabbit quickly darted away from me. Momentarily distracted by its cuteness, I was reckless in a way that being caught off guard was only what I deserved. You could never lose focus or concentration in a situation like this.

Letting out a loud shriek that echoed through the vast surrounding trees, I attempted to dodge out of the way but was unsuccessful – the bullet hit the exact center of my stomach; a perfect bulls-eye. I dramatically rolled to the ground as a string of profanities escaped my lips.

"Yes!" Alice exclaimed enthusiastically, jumping up and down and clapping her hands together before doing several victory fist pumps. I quickly leaped back onto my feet, viciously pumping my fluorescent gun. She darted around the house before any of my bullets could hit her.

You could say we were a little intense with our Nerf gun fights.

Rosalie appeared at my side, scolding me for being an easy target before shaking her head and running off in the opposite direction. She was right. Losing really wasn't an option for me or my team. And I never lost.

Emmett's booming, devilish laugh bounced off the wall of forestry, indicating that Jasper also must have gotten hit. This was rivalry in every sense of the term, and competition was never higher. We were serious about our shit. Rain or shine, this was our Sunday afternoon event. We were so legit that it would have scared off the inventors of the damn things. We had strict rules to follow, boundary lines, territorial safeties, and even mandatory team outfits.

The teams were always Jasper, Rosalie, and I. And Emmett, Alice, and Edward. Since it was unallowable for couples to be on the same team, Rose and I had come up with the strategy of distraction. Distraction as in painted on, very shiny, flexible black leather pants, and a matching long-sleeve shirt, exposing a majority of our abs. Anything to slow down Em and Edward. And trust me – it definitely worked. Alice being on the other team, she had her own methods of strategy, making it equally difficult for Jasper to run.

Like I said, we liked to win.

Speaking of winning, if I didn't get some more kills soon, we weren't going to.

I crept into the house. Another rule we had – all lights needed to stay off. Since Forks was known for its cloudy, dreary, ridiculously rainy weather, all the rooms were eerily dark, only lit by the gloomy sky outside. I stopped in the middle of the living room, listening to to the sound of my own breathing and the occasional yelling outside.

Suddenly, a pair of strong arms tackled me onto the couch, cutting off my startled scream with his lips as I heard the loud sound of both our plastic guns dropping to the floor. He hovered over me, his lips urgently sucking on mine as his hands recklessly roamed over the black leather. I wrapped my legs tightly around his waist, arching my body into his as his hot breath trailed across my bare neck. My fists tugged at his hair and his husky responsive groan put my body into overdrive.

I was too far gone to notice the lights had turned on. However, I did notice when Edward was pried off of me. "Ten points deduction!" Emmett declared, narrowing his eyes at me as I straightened myself up. Edward, eyes hooded, had an extremely smug look on his face as he watched Emmett began the castration process. Because obviously I was the one to blame here.

"What?" I protested, glaring at the both of them. "Why?"

Emmett crossed his arms, shaking his head at my apparent obliviousness. "Fraternizing with the enemy."

I stood up, satisfied by the way Edward's eyes hungrily raked over my body now that he could see me. "Your teammate attacked me – not my problem." I accused impassively, glancing at my fingernails. "Call it harassment, if you will." My eyes shot to Edward's, who was now staring at my legs, completely out of the conversation.

"Ow!" He complained as Emmett's hand struck the back of his head. "What, dude? Have you seen Rosalie?"

Emmett glared at him with a passionate amount of hatred, slowly shaking his head. "No shit. That's the point, pervert. A distraction." He grabbed onto Edward's arm, preparing to retreat. "And congratulations," he snapped at Edward. "You successfully allowed it to work. Again."

I shot Edward a sweet smile, looking up at him through my eyelashes and everything. It was only a matter of seconds now. . .

He suddenly broke free of Emmett's grasp, ran to my side, and picked me up bridal style in his arms. His lips eagerly met mine once again before pulling back. "I forfeit," he declared with a triumphant smile. By this point, the three others had joined us in the living room. Emmett gaped at him momentarily before a murderous look crossed his face. The rules were more than clear – without all three players, you automatically lost.

Jasper was allowed an enthusiastic fist pump while Rosalie gave me a very approving nod, looking as smug as could be. "Well done, hoe." I grinned in response as Edward's lips feverishly attempted to attack my face once more.

"Dude, come on!" Emmett whined, throwing his hands in the air in exasperation. "That's three fucking times now! What the hell?" He narrowed his eyes, his chest heaving in irritation. "One time. It would be nice to win one fucking time, Edward. Holy shit!" Emmett continued to rant, Edward continued not to listen, and I continued to be victorious. He let out another string of expletives. "You're a prick, did you know that? A grade-A asshole. That's their goddamn strategy, you motherfucker – it's how they win every goddamn time." Jasper and Rosalie's smiles only grew wider in amusement as Alice silently fumed next to him.

This was the one time Emmett ever really got worked up. But he really got worked up. Like last time, we had to go buy a new flat screen. I shivered as Edward's lips now trailed down my neck, giggling at the tickling sensation his hot breath was creating. "Not my fault," I defended myself, shrugging at him. He opened his mouth to speak, to continue his angry objections, but I cut him off, holding up a hand indicating silence. "I don't wanna buy another TV."

Edward, finally noticing the magnitude of Emmett's rage, fled the room with me still in his arms. And since I knew my final comment had literally pushed him over the edge, I waited for the loud crash. Three, two, one. . .crash! I rolled my eyes, Edward cutting off my laughter with his lips before closing the door to our bedroom behind us and throwing me on the bed.

One month later.

I sat in front of my large vanity, curling my hair. A sense of nostalgia swept over me as I stared for a long moment at my reflection. Had I not known any better, I would have thought I was back in my home in Chicago, getting ready for any other day.

I would be lying if I didn't admit to missing Charlie beyond sanity. We hadn't been able to make contact yet – his rules – and wouldn't be able to for another month or two. Before we had moved to Forks, he had explained that it would be too risky to try any form of communication when Marcus and Caius could still have been out looking. Hell, for all I know, he could have already caught the fuckers by now. I sighed, shaking my head. Everything about this place was perfect, except for the obvious absence of my parents.

Some days it was harder than others, but I always reminded myself that they both would want me to be happy. Even with Charlie, a thousand miles away, and with Renee, up in the sky, I knew dwelling on the fact that they could no longer really be in my life wasn't something they would want me to do.

Besides, who know? Maybe some day I'd be able to see Charlie again in person. Wasn't it was safe again. I would never give up hope until the day I died because I refused to believe such a tragedy was possible. Not after all we had over come. I would see Charlie again – not just by a video message, or via phone conversations. One day I'd be able to wrap my arms around the man who raised me and be able to thank him for what a good job of it he had done.

Applying one last touch of mascara to my eyelashes, I exited the room and climbed down both flights of stairs to retrieve Edward. It was our first day at Fork's High today, Charlie insisting on the repeat of senior year for me due to my absence for a good chunk of the second half last year. Even though his would technically be Edward's third time as a senior, he claimed he didn't mind and that it wasn't like he couldn't have fun third time's the charm.

But seriously? His twentieth was in a month and I was turning nineteen in a couple of weeks. Was it really that believable that we could pass as high school students again? I don't really think we had as much of a problem as Emmett did. Emmett would be turning twenty-one soon and he sure as hell couldn't pass as eighteen even if he wore a damn toddlers outfit. Rose was a different story as well, but the two of them were just excited to finally be getting back on the right track. Since we wanted to remain somewhat conspicuous though, they weren't starting until next month.

"Yeah, motherfucker, in your fucking face. I just got a kill-tacular, bitch." Edward's voice bounced off the walls as I descended down into the boy's space. I rolled my eyes at his intensity and watched in amusement as Emmett, who was apparently currently losing, chucked a pillow at his smug face.

I plopped down between Emmett and Edward on the large wrap around leather couch. Edward didn't so much as acknowledge me while his fingers rapidly flew over the buttons. I waved a hand in front of his distracted face, "You ready? We gotta get going."

I narrowed my eyes when he refused to give any incentive that he had even heard me at all. I mean, I knew it would happen eventually. That competition was inevitable. But shit, I never thought I'd lose to a motherfucking play station.

I punched his arm, getting his attention. "Ow, fuck!" He cursed, cringing away. Eyes glued to the wall-sized TV, mesmerized by the game, he continued to remain positioned right where he was. "Fine. Chill, Bee. Just lemme win and I'll be there in a sec, okay?"

I actually growled. I knew the damn entertainment system was a bad idea from the start. In frustration, I grabbed for the stupid controller in his hand, pried it out of his fingers at his reluctance to give it up, and promptly won the game for him in the matter of ten seconds. All three boys stared at me with wide eyes and open mouths as I flipped my hair over my shoulder. "There. Done. Now let's go." I got off the couch, Edward following right after me as I walked back up the stairs.

"You're a girl. You're not supposed to be that good at video games."

I shrugged, "I'm not a girl."

"Ha ha," he rolled his eye incredulously as I handed him a large umbrella. He was the guy – he carried the umbrella. We had established this rule the very first week of moving to this godforsaken, rainy town. As I slid on my 'Fuck Me' Ugg boots, I watched in satisfaction as Edward's eyes raked over my body. "You can wipe that smirk off your face, Bee. Doesn't matter how hot you are, I'm still gonna bury you, babes."

"I'm sure." I twirled around, just for the effect, showing off my winning outfit. Edward and I had established a bet – who could get the most phone numbers the first week. I had teased and curled my long, mahogany hair, blackened my eyes by means of a smokey effect, and my outfit screamed sex-kitten. I had received Rose's approval and she of all people would know sex appeal. I wore tight black leggings in response to my fuzzy gray slipper-boots, and a sleeveless, strapless blue baby doll that flowed the length to just cover my ass. The expensive Victoria Secret's push-up bra was doing a world of justice to my cleavage, and the shiny necklace only enhanced attention to be looking there as well.

I didn't even care that I felt like a dirty stripper, I was not about to lose to him. Lately, Edward and I had been having a lot of crazy competitions. Like who could last the longest holding out on an oral, car races down the barren country roads just outside town, beer pong, and even things as insane as cliff diving. Pointless, reckless things. Just being teenagers. Even though I liked to think I won most of the time, I had to give it to him – if anyone was going to beat me at anything, it would be Edward.

He may have had his attractively low slung dark blue jeans, his tight-fitting black band T-shirt that illustrated his delectable muscles, and "hi-I-just-got-done-having-hours-and-hours-of-fucking-amazing-sex" hair, but I refused to give in to defeat that easily. The only question was, who would be easier to break? The population of Forks' high school girls, or the population of Forks' high school guys? Both of us were the jealous type – the extremely jealous type – so this would be fun by means of tormenting the other. I, personally, loved the idea of strutting around right before his eyes, flirting up other guys as I made sure he had a great view. But you know, then I had to deal with him doing the same thing.

It was all for fun though. We were way too in love to even start and second guess each other. Which was exactly why things like this could be fun.

We drove separately to keep up appearances. He drove his little speed car and I drove my intimidatingly intense SUV. I won the race to the parking lot, cutting him off at the last second as I recklessly took the first available spot away from him.

I danced up the stairs of the front building, already earning the attention of several younger underclassmen guys. Edward had caught up to me, only a few feet behind me, as I turned back to wink at him. He ignored the overwhelming amount of affectionate looks his tall, attractive frame earned as he followed after me, eyes only on me. This would be way too easy.

When he caught up, he constricted an arm around my waist, spinning me around before pressing me up against the wall and firmly pressing his lips against mine. "Mine," he growled before stepping back.

Yeah, that's right. Take that play station.

Three months later.

Edward hugged me tightly against his chest, rocking me back and forth in means of calming me down. Silent, panic tears streamed down my face as my mouthed opened up to release another string of profanity-filled, flustered, frustrated concerns.

"Shh, Bee. It's okay, calm down. Shh." I know he was trying to 'be the man' and come off as tough, but his total lack of relating concern was seriously freaking me out. I knew him well enough to know that the shock probably hadn't hit him yet, and in his mind, he was probably still in denial. "Maybe it was defective?" I felt him shrug. Yep. Definitely denial.

I bursted into another round of fresh tears. "No it wasn't defective!" I cried, narrowing my eyes at the way he cringed as my voice cracked with hysteria. "I took three fucking tests, Edward. Three!"

That certainly got his attention. His eyes widened as he furrowed his eyebrows. Ah, there was the worry. "You took three?" He asked incredulously. I bit my lip and nodded in clarification. He was silent for a moment before he scrunched his nose. "Three?" He asked in a tiny voice.

"Don't make me say it again," I growled, unable to reign in my unstable roller coaster of emotions. See? The first indication. Wasn't the second an excessive amount of morning sickness? Well it sure felt like the contents of my stomach would be released any moment, I guess. I started crying again, burying my face in his neck. "Oh, Edward. What are we going to do? I'm still a teenager! I'm in high school! Oh, if Charlie ever found out. . ." I trailed off, my voice doing that weird cracking thing once again.

Edward grimaced. "I don't want a kid." He expressed honestly. "I mean, not for a long, long time. For fuck's sake, I'm not even married to you yet, Bee! And I don't really wanna rush into anything like that just yet because we've finally settled in. I mean, I can't handle anymore goddamn stress and a baby sure as hell's gonna make our lives difficult."

"I don't understand," I mused, shaking my head. "I'm on the pill. I haven't gone off the pill." I looked at him, matching his grimace. "I mean, shit. We're more than active," I gritted through my teeth. "So why all of a sudden am I pregnant?"

As he flexed his arms around me, I could see the panic slowly start to set into his features. Finally. "Everything's going to change. I mean, it's bad enough we're not even registered under our real names anymore, but now the kid's gonna have to have my last fake name." He let out a exasperated moan. "I like not having responsibilities! Fuck, these last few months have been the only time I've actually been able to live. And fuck. I can just kiss that goodbye." He was right, and after all we had been through, having a child was the last thing Edward needed to add to his list of experiences just yet.

My tears only increased as I shook my head repeatedly into his chest, trying to wake up from a bad dream I never asked for. "I mean, it's not like I don't want you to have my baby, Bella. But due to the fucked situation we've been left with because of my past, the idea of kids is seriously disturbing."

"I'm going to be a horrible mom," I widened my eyes, "I don't want a baby!"

Just then, Emmett appeared in the doorway, grinning wider than I had ever seen him. I shot him a murderous look. "Get out," I hissed menacingly. My life was falling apart – again – and the last thing I wanted was for Emmett to be a witness. But yet he just stood there, ignoring my glare. "Emmett McCarty, I said get the fuck out."

His eyes widened, and if I wouldn't have known him any better, they looked amused. No, they were amused. He slowly entered the room, grin only growing bigger. "What's a matter, Bee?" He asked, sickeningly sweet. "You seem a little. . .hormonal. Is everything alright?"

I stared at him incredulously for a moment, suddenly suspicious of his way too happy face. Why did he seem so proud of himself? "Emmett." I spat. "Why don't you answer that question for me."

Rosalie then appeared at the doorway as well. Her face was looking smug as she crossed her arms over her chest. "Told you she would be the most dramatic." I watched as her eyes appraised me and then Edward. "Granted, he was pretty close to peeing himself, she still has the waterworks going for her. So I win."

Without any incentive on what I was doing, I sprang out of Edward's arms, off the bed, and lunged at Emmett. I leaped at him, jumping on his back in attempts to bring him to the ground. "Emmett," I yelled breathlessly between punches I threw at him, "what," I pulled at his hair, "did you," I strangled his neck, "DO?"

I eventually managed to tackle him to the floor – quite an accomplishment, I'd say – when Jasper entered the room. He glanced at me and Emmett, to Rose's grimace, to Edward's confused expression, and back to us before he tossed his head back in uncontrollable laughter. "Yes! Hah, Rosalie, I told you." He grinned victoriously, "Told ya she'd get him to the ground. Hells Bells is a strong one."

What the hell were they talking about?

Edward must have realized what was going on before I did because suddenly, his face broke out into a wide smile. I stared at him as he stared at me before a round of hysterical laughter escaped his mouth. I got off Emmett, adjusted my clothing, and stood in the middle of the room, placing my hands on my hips as I shot each one of them a murderous look. There was only one person who wasn't hear at the moment.

"Alice!" I hollered. Like on cue; like she had been just waiting for me to call her name, she appeared in the room no more than five seconds later.

She went straight to Jasper, giving him a smug look matching the one Rosalie had given Emmett. "Knew she'd yell for me, Jazzy. That'd technically mean I won, wouldn't it?"

"Alice." I gritted her name through my teeth this time. "Please, would you enlighten me?"

She was still grinning as she took my hand and led me over to sit down on the bed. Edward tried pulling me into a hug but I pushed him away. He was still laughing. "Okay, Bee. And Edward. You two have been up to nothing but trouble since we moved here, so consider this payback for all those times. Like when you convinced Emmett someone stole his precious car and had him on a wild goose chase for a whole week looking for the culprit. Or when you convinced that one Ben kid from school that Rosalie wanted to marry him. Or how about when you colored Sharpie on Jazz's face when he was sleeping and it took him a week to defile what you two wrote." Her face suddenly grew menacingly dark. "Or when you went the measures to convince me that Macy's had closed."

Okay, so I guess neither Edward or I could come to our own defense about anything she was accusing us of. Because, well, we were guilty of all of it. With a limited amount of things to do in this small down (other than the obvious), the two of us had become partners in crime. And damn good ones, at that.

"So what exactly, are you saying. . ." I hedged, biting my lip as I glanced at Edward who was smirking, no doubt proud of the list of achievements Alice had just revisited.

"I'm saying that I planted the idea in your head that you should take a pregnancy test just to be on the safe side, Emmett went out and bought three fake tests that showed you were expecting, Jasper was the one who got us all to bet on your reactions, and Rose is the master mind though."

I turned my glare to Rose who simply shrugged at me. "Payback is a bitch."

As I slowly looked at each of their faces, it was my turn to burst out laughing at the utterly ridiculous situation. Because I wasn't pregnant, and I loved these guys more than life itself.

A year later.

It was late January. Edward and I were in the kitchen, and I was trying to teach him how to cook. No one had lost any fingers yet, so I considered it progress. Edward, however, did not. I think he was seriously considering punching me in the face several times when I had to explain to him that the amount of flower added does matter, and if you're cracking your eggs, it has to be a certain way.

Every time he'd get frustrated, I'd grant him a short kissing session. . .well, kissing was putting it lightly. But anyways. The real miracle, I think, was that both of us managed to keep all of our clothes on.

"Okay now put your hands over mine," I instructed him, standing in front of the chopping bored. We were making chicken dumpling soup and I was teaching him how to chop vegetables. He obliged, moving to stand very closely behind me, his hot breath in my ear as placed his hand over the top of mine. My knees grew week but that was only natural due to our close proximity. I knew exactly what he was doing, and as much as I may have enjoyed it, he needed to cut the hell out. Literally.

In one swift motion I spun around, pushing him backwards before grabbing the knife and pointing it at him. "I am sure as hell not playing cook around here every damn night anymore." He smirked as I narrowed my eyes at him. "You need to learn this. Now everyone else got the same lesson–"

He snorted. "The same lesson? Oh what I would have paid to see you and Rosalie's."

I emphasized the knife in my hand, taking a step towards him. "So not funny."

Just then the doorbell rang, interrupting any further death threats. "I'll get it!" He quickly volunteered, about to dart around me when I stopped him.

"You'll get better at cooking is what you'll get." I corrected pointedly. Carefully handed him the knife, I sent him a threatening look. "Those better all be cut like they're supposed to by the time I get back."

He gave me a sharp nod. "Yes, ma'am."

I rolled my eyes as I hurried to get the door. Edward and I were the only ones home at the moment so before our interruption, the house had been substantially quiet. Swinging it open, I was met by a man in a blue postal uniform on the other side. He sent me an overly happy grin as his eyes wandered down my body. Oh, shit. I was wearing. . .not much. A neon green sports bra and a pair of black spandex. And to top it all off, due to Edward and I's recent activities plus the cold air from outside, I was nipping out. I uncomfortably crossed my arms over my chest as his eyes slowly moved back to mine. He finally cleared his throat to speak but was cut off.

I felt a pair of arms from behind wrap themselves around me. Edward spun me so that I was facing his chest, his protective embrace shielding me from the pervert mailman. "Can I help you?" The protection and defense in his tone did funny things to my body. I turned my head so that I could see the guy at the door.

"Uh, yeah. Is their a Marie Swanson who lives here?" He countered Edward's question in an equally irritable tone.

"That's me," I answered from the confines of his arms.

He gave me another hungry look and I grimaced in disgust. "Excellent," he responded. "If I could please have you sign this then. . ." he trailed off, suspending his arm towards me with a clipboard in his hand.

I awkwardly attempted to spin around in Edward's arms, but his tight grip refused to let me. "I'll sign it," he narrowed his eyes, reaching for the clipboard.

The mailman responded by narrowing his eyes and pulling back the clipboard before Edward could take it. "Sorry, kid." Anger flashed in Edward's eyes at the term 'kid.' "I'm afraid that's against our policy. Your little lady friend is gonna have to do it or she can't have the package."

I watched the exchange between the two in amusement as Edward's eyes fell shut and he pinched the bridge of his nose. "Fine." His arms then released me, and I stepped forward to take the clipboard from him just as another gust of freezing air blew in. Shit, shit, shit. Feeling his eyes on my very 'excited' chest, I signed my fake name in irritation before shoving it back in his face. He was smirking at Edward who, in return, was giving him one of the most murderous looks I had ever seen.

The mailman's pleased gaze returned to mine as once again, I folded my arms across my chest. I sighed in frustration when I was required to unfold them and retrieve the package from his hands. "One more thing, Miss," he quickly added before shutting the door. "I am required to ask this," he paused, Edward quickly coming up behind me and pulling me to his chest once again before this vile man had a chance to look at mine anymore. "Are they real?"

The door shook, threatening to come off its hinges in response to the amount of force Edward had put into slamming the door. "Jesus Christ," I heard him mutter to himself as he shook his head. I set the package down on the coffee table before Edward's hands were firmly gripping my chest. I moaned when he slid his thumbs below the fabric and swept down my fully erect nipples. "Mine," he growled. "These are mine, Bee."

I pulled his face down to mine, about to jump up and straddle his waist when I remembered about the package. He growled when I pulled away, and I swatted his hand when he attempted to bring me back to him.

I retrieved the package, sitting down on the couch as he sat down next to me. It was a small package, no bigger than a shoe box. I pursed my lips in curiosity when I noticed their wasn't a return address. I carefully opened it as Edward's arm wrapped loosely around my shoulder. Attached to a small jewelry box, I read the letter before I checked the contents. Tears immediately began blurring my vision as I read the first line.

Dear Bella,

I've been looking for this for ages and I finally found it.
Your mother always talked about how someday she wanted you to have it.
Stay strong, Bells, because I know you can. You're tough and you'll always be my little girl.
And since I know Edward's reading over you're shoulder right now, thank you for taking care of my girl. I know she's safe with you.
Aro remains in prison as we speak, a place he'll be for the rest of his life. Marcus and Caius haven't been found yet, but I swear, we are doing everything we can to find them. Don't worry about them though. They won't find you; they won't touch you.
And someday you'll be safe and I'll be able to tell you this to your face instead of a letter.
Hopefully soon the telephone will be an option – hearing your voice will be always be one of my greatest joys. I promise, sweetie, we
will see each other again someday. I promise.
But you have to promise me something in return.
Stay strong like you have been. Please stay strong. For everyone. For me, for your mother, for Edward. You can do this. I know you can. I love you so much, Bella.

Counting down the days until I hear your beautiful voice,

Silent tears fell relentlessly down my cheeks as I set the letter down. Because he was right, and someday, we'd see each other again. Someday soon. I felt Edward's arm tighten around me as I carefully opened the small, dark blue velvet jewelry box. Nestled inside the white padding lay my mother's diamond necklace.

The necklace my dad gave her when he first told her he loved her. It was a simple silver chain with a single charm. A diamond heart. As I fingered the beautiful necklace, I noticed a small folded note fall from the box. The tears continued to come as I reached for it, unfolding it.

We'll always be with you.

Edward wordlessly removed the necklace from my limp fingers. He brushed my cascading hair from my neck and with a gentle, feather touch, put the necklace on me. As I wore Renee's necklace, I felt her with me. Her diamond heart rested just to the right of my heart, and as it lay cold against my bare skin, I could feel her with me.

My eyes fell shut as I steadied my breathing. Stay strong. Charlie had told me to stay strong. I turned to Edward, silently crawling onto his lap as he obliged to my silent request and wrapped his arms gently around me. I would stay strong. As he held me in his arms, I no longer cried. I just allowed him to rock me, loving me like it was the only thing he ever wanted to do. Maybe it was.

"Stay strong," he whispered in my ear, echoing Charlie's request.

I would.

I pulled back, opening my eyes once again as my fingers instinctively found their way to the tiny pendant. I would stay strong. I would live for Renee. For Charlie. For Edward. For Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie.

I would live for myself.

The immensity of the love I have for all of you is immeasurable.
Thank you so much for your love and support.
This story would have never got written without it.
So I thank you. From the sincerity of the bottom of my heart.