Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. Thank you Stephenie, for sharing your awesome characters. I've loved playing with them, and making a few of my own.
A/N: A huge thank you to everyone who has read Mirage. To those of you who reviewed, I loved the feedback. You are just all sorts of awesome and I'm so pleased that you enjoyed Mirage. Even if you came and read without reviewing, thank you so much for reading. When I started this, I hoped that just one person would read it. While reviews are great, I never did this for the accolades. Hopefully I've actually learned something.
Thanks Bronze, for betaing this mess. I'm forever in your debt. I'm going to miss your superb beta skills when you move on to bigger and better things. I hope you know you'll never be 'just' a beta to me. I heart ya, hard! You are fucktastically awesome!
Leon- thanks...just for being you.
Patti, bebe, we both know this would have never happened if it weren't for you. Thanks for forever pushing me, making me want to stretch the boundaries past my comfort zone and try new things. Your ideas are brilliantly creative. I'd have never dreamed of writing on my own. You created this monster and there are days I could wring your neck for doing it. Thanks for sticking with me, thanks for feeding me new ideas and thanks for being my number one fan. There can only be one number one and you're mine! I owe you big! Love ya lots!
Our actions had changed everything. The decisions that Edward and I made that first night tempted fate, they changed history...they changed the history of the Cullen family.
By changing Bella that night at the cliff, Jasper changed the history of the Twilight saga.
Turning Bella forever changed Edward's future, causing the books to be incorrect. The Cullen family would not follow the course that Stephenie had laid out for them in her books.
None of these things would happen now, all because Bella was changed.
No longer were the books anything more than a good fiction vampire story, like all the rest that Hollywood has released.
The family Volturi agreed that the Cullen's should not be destroyed because of the leak.
It was understood the Cullen family never intended for any of this to happen.
Even though Jasper had spit out the secret in a moment of haste, Dr. Ben's nurse never believed it to be more than a funny story coming from a mentally upset young man.
Because destiny was changed, the future stories never came true.
To maintain their quiet existence, the elders moved their headquarters to a city called Montepulciano, a town very similar to Volterra. Carlisle said the city had many ancient catacombs similar to Volterra. The Italian vampires should have no trouble settling into their new home.
Oddly, Carlisle heard that the ancient business district where the Volturri conducted their business façade burned in a glorious fire, destroying any evidence of their long existence in the city.
They didn't want to deal with the tourism that would no doubt increase with the release of the second movie, and apparently they wanted to make sure there was no proof of their time in Volterra.
The elders felt that to annihilate the Cullen family for this indiscretion would be a huge loss to the vampire community. They also realized, even before the Cullen's did, that there was a much bigger plot to the situation.
No one knew that Lawrence could see his brother's future, or that he would feed this information to a writer. Lawrence's visions, like those Alice had, were subject to decisions.
Aro saw the uniqueness of the Cullen family. There were no others like them.
There was no other vegetarian coven this large in existence. In fact, aside from the Denali sisters, they were the only vegetarians. While they didn't reside with the Denali's, Carlisle's family had accepted them as an extended family.
It would be an extreme loss of talent to destroy all of them for this indiscretion.
The decision didn't come without repercussions for the Cullen's, however. The family had to move to a remote location for a long period of time to allow the hype to die down.
After 15 or 20 years, seeing one of them would be nothing more than someone thinking they recognized someone.
They had to agree to change their appearances in order to lessen the chance of discovery. Although something like plastic surgery isn't possible in the vampire realm, a complete makeover was possible.
Almost everyone had a change in hair color and style. They began wearing foundation to make their complexions more natural looking. It was a complete transformation and by the time the Cullen family boarded their plane for Isle Esme, no one but me had a clue what they really looked like.
With an endless flow of cash, and the anonymity of a private island, their chance at happiness lived on.
Sam Uley went back to Washington to deliver the sad news to the tribe of the loss of a brother and sister. As Sam had witnessed the Volturi decision to force the Cullen family's move to a foreign country, he compelled the pack to dissolve the treaty. If the Cullen's ever did come back to Forks, they weren't the threat the pack once thought they were. Sadly it took losing part of the pack to realize how sadistic a vampire could truly be. It was the nomadic vampires who lived by no treaty that were a threat to the humans of Forks. In retrospect they realized how human the Cullen family members actually were.
Sam never disclosed Bella's secret. It would only hurt those who had loved her and left her go. There was no point in opening old wounds.
Billy Black and Sue Clearwater both grieved the loss of their children, but understood they had met their demise being punished for an illegal act they had committed. An act that broke Quileute law. No one questioned Sam's explanation. Not long after the loss of their children, they married. Sue cared for Billy, long into his senior years. He lived to be a very old man.
Little Oliver grew to a near mirror image of Emmett. It was agreed that he would be changed on his eighteenth birthday. He knew what his family members were and he had lived their life for over eleven years. It was more of an inconvenience to live human. No one questioned his decision; when the agreed upon time came, he would be changed.
While everyone adored little Oliver, none of the other Cullen's ever adopted. They simply adored Oliver and doted on him. Adopting Oliver when he had no other living relatives was an obligation, yet bringing any other child into this situation, knowing what they would be forced to become would have been a selfish act. None of the Cullen's could do this, knowing the repercussions. When Emmett had agreed to take Oliver, it was his intention to allow Oliver to make his own decision when he came of age. The Volturi took that choice from him. Edward couldn't steal the soul of an innocent child any more than he could have taken Bella's for his own benefit.
Charlie and Beverly married in 2013. Charlie retired from the Forks Police Department and spends his time with Billy Black, fishing from the beautiful Hunter 326 that was freighted to him about a year after Bella died. The letter that accompanied it was written in Edward's elegant script. He explained to Charlie the gift Bella's love had been, how it had forever changed Edward's life. The boat had been purchased from Edward's trust fund, and when he decided to attend music school in Europe, he decided to give it to Charlie as an expression of thanks. Charlie would never realize how Bella had truly changed Edward's life and when Charlie attempted to ship the boat back to where ever it came from he continued to run into dead ends. Even his resources at the police department came up with nothing. Over the years he learned to love the boat. Looking at the stern of the boat always brought a smile to his face. The name across her back was "Bella". A painting, a likeness of his daughter, was displayed on either side of her name. It was a loving tribute to his little girl.
Charlie's final act as Chief of Police in Forks was to help bring Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory to justice. The state of Washington has taken the repercussions of bullying very seriously. Strict laws have been enacted both against civilians caught bullying others, as well as schools that overlooked the situation. Bullying had become epidemic, and no one was overlooking it anymore. Stanley and Mallory were both expelled from school shortly before their high school graduation. While they couldn't be charged with manslaughter as the law didn't address bully related suicide, they were charged with reckless endangerment and a slew of other charges. They were each forced to spend 48 hours behind bars. As part of their public service portion of their sentence, they had to secure funding and help develop a self-help group for girls who lack self-esteem, girls who were bullied by their peers, and girls who are at risk of suicide. They also were required to travel to local schools and tell Bella's story and explain that they were responsible for her suicide. It was the strictest punishment that could be enforced. If it were up to Charlie, they'd have been locked up and he'd have thrown away the key. He felt their punishment was nowhere near Bella's sacrifice, yet he'd taken what he could get.
The district attorney, being a lifelong friend of Charlie's has begun an initiative to strengthen the bully laws so he can be better prepared if anything like this happens again. When Bella died, the law was so new and there had never been any precedent to compare the case with.
Renee and Phil continued to live in Jacksonville. Phil played ball until he was forced to retire after tearing a ligament in his knee, causing his career to come to an abrupt halt. In 2011, Renee gave Phil a son. They named him Gabriel. Little Gabe was a male version of Bella. He had big brown doe eyes and sported a head of mahogany curls. For Renee, Bella would live on in his smile.
As for Rob and me, these things did nothing to hurt our careers. We continued to make the movies and rode the waves of success that followed each. Summit never realized that it was really Edward Cullen attending the signings, or even the Academy Awards.
Rob got his quiet time at home in London. His extremely short haircut gave him a cover of anonymity so that he could travel the streets of London in peace, giving him a few months to regroup.
By the time filming for New Moon began in Vancouver, his hair had grown back to an acceptable length, his haircut rebellion never discovered. I think he realized making such a rash decision could damage his relationship with the company that wrote his paycheck for the next few years.
No one ever discovered the secret we shared. Rob did, briefly, meet the family to thank them. I took him to the Isle Esme after we completed Breaking Dawn.
It was a much-needed vacation, and I felt I owed it to him to share this little treasure. I kept it a complete surprise, and Rob was elated to meet them. We were welcomed with open arms and had a great time.
Eventually the media circus did find bigger fish to fry, and Rob was left to live his life in relatively peaceful existence. He's got his own recording label and he's producing records for other musicians.
I think Zac Efron is in like, High School Musical #10 now or something. I don't know how anyone could ever compare him to Rob.
I continue to seek out Indie film roles that would allow me to grow as an actress. I think we're all content.
We changed fate, Bella's fate. Edward had decided that fate demanded that he leave Bella unchanged to live a normal, happy human life. His decision nearly ended in disaster.
Edward changed the course of Bella's destiny the day he left her, the events that followed led her down a dangerous path of self destruction.
Her human life would have ended just as surely as it would have if she had been changed by one of the Cullen's.
I think it was her fate to live a short human life.
She touched so many people with her quiet, loving ways.
Only a few knew the real truth. At least now, just her human survivors knew her to be rotting away in the Forks cemetery.
We knew that she had an eternity with the one she loved, and he with her.
That was the only thing that mattered.
Thanks for taking the journey with me. I deplore authors who BEG for reviews or hold chapters hostage until a certain number of reviews have been left. I encourage you to leave feedback, good or bad, but if you haven't, that's ok too. It warms my heart to know you've been here, even if you don't leave any footprints.
If you liked Mirage, You can find Impact on my page and hopefully, by now, the first chapter of Sweetbriar is with the beta. Please check it out.
Thanks for taking the time to read my work.