Well, my lovely readers, we have come to the end. I hope you enjoy the epilogue. The Love Letter at the beginning was the one that inspired the story, and I feel like it sort of encompasses the feeling of the entire story, as well as this final installment. So......without further adieu........
Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us. I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all. Yes, I have determined to wander about for so long far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of spirits- yes, I regret, it must be. You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never- never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so, and yet my life in W. as it is now is a miserable life. Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time. At my actual age I should need some continuity, sameness of life- can that exist under our circumstances? ………..Be calm- love me- today- yesterday.
What longing in tears for you- You- my Life- my All- farewell. Oh, go on loving me- never doubt the faithfullest heart
Of your beloved
-Ludwig van Beethoven
I closed the book in my hands carefully, lovingly tracing my fingers over the words on the cover. It had been a gift from Edward- given to me the day we were married to celebrate all the chapters of our own love story. Every year on this date, I removed it from the shelf and perused the love letters written by the great men of their time, as well as the letter written by my own love that started it all.
Today was a special day for us; an anniversary of sorts. Our actual wedding anniversary was still weeks away, but today we were celebrating something even more momentous, and I wanted everything to be perfect. Alice had helped me make all the arrangements, and she and I were both very pleased with the way everything had turned out. Now all that was left to do was wait for Edward. He had gone on an extended hunting trip with Emmett and Jasper, but I was expecting him home later this evening.
As I finished my preparations for our little celebration, I began to reminisce about that spring so long ago when Edward and I found our way back to each other. That first year was filled with so much love and wonder. We muddled through our last year of high school. Edward made sure I didn't miss a thing- football games, prom, graduation- we did it all. When we got our acceptance letters for fall semester at Dartmouth, my father couldn't have been more proud. I knew it was the one last human experience that Edward would cross off the "bucket list" he had created for me in his head. I knew then that the time had come to revisit our earlier conversation.
"Ask me again Edward."
"I'm sorry, love? What was that?" He looked back at me after watching Alice bounce away toward Jasper's waiting arms.
"I said, ask me again." He reached out and took my hand in his own and began to walk towards the trees behind the Cullen garage.
"Are you sure, Bella?"
"Hop on," he chuckled, lifting me up on to his back before taking off into the trees. Before I knew it, he slowed to a walk and set me on my feet, leading me by the hand to our meadow.
"What are you waiting for, Edward? Ask me again."
"Bella, I want to do this the right way. Give me a minute to prepare?" He smiled my favorite crooked smile and I felt a shiver run up my spine. He walked back to the edge of the clearing and pulled a backpack from inside a hollowed out tree stump. He must have brought it out here on one of his hunting trips without my knowledge. I continued to watch as he pulled a blanket from the bag and spread it on the ground at my feet, motioning for me to come and sit with him.
I sat on the blanket beside him, as he lifted a hand and traced his fingers along the edge of my jaw. "My beautiful Isabella," he said softly. "You never cease to amaze me. When you discovered what I really was, you did not run from me. And when you learned of our past, you found the strength to help me forgive myself. Your love for me is the miracle I have waited my whole existence for. I love you more than my own life."
He leaned into me and placed a soft kiss on the tip of my nose, and then on my lips. I sighed as he brushed his nose along the length of my collarbone, and he chuckled in response. "Bella, my love. I can't imagine a world without you in it. I want more than anything to spend the rest of my eternity with you. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"
I was brought back to the present by the sound of the door clicking shut behind me. I turned around to see my heartbreakingly beautiful husband standing in the doorway, smiling the crooked smile that he saved just for me. "Welcome home", I said with a smile in return.
In three steps he was at my side, wrapping his loving arms around me. "I missed you, my love," he breathed in reply. "What were you thinking about just now? You looked as if you were a million miles away."
"I was just remembering the day you proposed."
"Really? Which time?" He chuckled as I swatted him jokingly on his arm.
"You know which time I mean. I've actually been doing a lot of reminiscing today."
"It is a good day for such things." He buried his face in my hair and inhaled deeply, as if to memorize my scent all over again. "Is there something special you were thinking of?"
"Actually, yes. I have a surprise for you. We're going to the main house tonight- everyone else is heading to Alaska for a few days." It was very hard to surprise Edward, which was why Alice had helped with the planning. She was really good at hiding her thoughts from him. The others only knew that I wanted some time at the main house with Edward this weekend, and they had all agreed to go visit our Denali cousins for a short while.
"Would this have anything to do with why Alice has been resurrecting Britney Spears lately?" he asked with a smirk on his lips.
"Maybe," I replied cryptically.
Just then, my cell phone chirped. "Hello Alice. Yes, I think everything is ready. Have a good time." I smiled at Edward as his brow furrowed in frustration. "Tell everyone thanks for me, again. I really appreciate this. See you in a few days!"
"Are you going to let me in on the secret now?" he asked playfully, raising an eyebrow.
"Patience, my love. We have plenty of time."
My Bella was playing games with me. It was always like this when she wanted to celebrate a special occasion. Perhaps she felt it was the only way she could keep me on my toes. Our current celebration found me blindfolded, being led into the foyer of the main house by Bella, who was giggling uncontrollably the entire time.
"Bella, love, can I take this ridiculous blindfold off now?" I merely wanted to just hold my beloved, and stare into her eyes until the sun came up. However, I knew what this day meant to her- to us- and I would let her have her fun.
"Don't be a spoil sport, Edward. You know how much fun it is for me to try and surprise you!" She hadn't changed a bit in the fifty-two years I had known her.
"Sorry, love. I'll play nicely."
"Well, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. I wouldn't want to deprive you of being a little naughty later on!" she chuckled softly. "Are you ready for your surprise now?"
Silly girl. "I was born ready my dear." She very carefully untied my blindfold and stepped back away from me. The sight I was met with was indescribable. The large family room on the first floor of the main house had been completely transformed. She and Alice had very carefully reconstructed the night that Bella and I had initiated her change from human to vampire. I stood there, dumbfounded, as I recalled that night so many years ago.
"Bella, are you sure you want to do this now? There is no rush." I knew my attempts at stalling her were futile.
"Edward, don't be silly. We have been married for months. I just finished my first year of college. I'm ready , love. Please? I want to spend forever with you, and I want my forever to start as soon as possible." How could I be so lucky to finally be with the love of my existence? "Please Edward; I want it to be tonight."
"You know I can't refuse you anything. I love you more than my own life, my Bella."
And so I made love to my beautiful wife, one more time in her human form. Then, as we both rejoiced in the bliss of our love, I took from my Isabella the last gift her beating heart could give.
"Bella, how did you manage this?" I asked, still recovering from the memory of that night fifty years ago.
"I had a little help. Alice is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to planning special events, if you recall."
"Fifty years. It seems like only yesterday I was listening to your heart beat and stealing the warmth from your arms wrapped around me." She smiled at me, and reached out to wrap her now immortal arms around my waist.
"I didn't think I could ever love you more than I did then, but I do. More and more every day." She stood on tiptoes to place a sweet kiss on my lips.
"More than my own life…" I breathed. Her unnecessary breath hitched in her throat.
"Bella," I whispered as I pulled her into a tight embrace. "How would you feel about recreating a few other events from that evening?"
"Why Edward! It seems you can finally read my mind!"
Give me the review love, and you'll get the outtakes more quickly. First one will be Edward's first run in with Isabel's first reincarnation after Edward's change. I'm tentatively calling it, "The Hunter"! Shooting to have it up right after Christmas! Happy Holidays to you all!