Thank you everyone for your patience. With the end of this story I am free to focus on future projects without stressing out about getting this done. It's a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I hope this turned out better than I think it did. I hope I continue to improve. Most of all I hope I can finally settle on a final idea for my next project. It's been getting ridiculous how many rewrites turn up in the planning stages (yet again at least I'm planning at all this time).


Epilogue

One thing I always hated about waking up at 6 am is that you can't turn on any lights because it hurts your eyes but you have to because you need to see to get ready. It's annoying is what I'm getting at. That's how it was now. I woke up and I swore that they left me out in the sun.

It took a few tries before I could see the lights above me. I didn't have ceiling lights in my room so I wondered where I was. I tried to sit up but I dropped when I felt a sharp pain in my sides.

"Please don't move too much." I heard a voice say. "You've got some broken bones." I turned and felt relieved.

"Edward." I breathed. I remembered what happened earlier. "I'm alive?" I felt very odd, I couldn't recognize the feeling. I didn't like it. I've always hated new feelings: I never got any good ones.

"I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. This is all my fault." He said between sobs. I really hated seeing people cry, I'd do anything to avoid that.

"Please don't cry. I'm fine, see." I begged.

"No you're not: you were thrown into a wall! You could have died!" he cried.

I wanted to say 'but I didn't' but decided against it. I really hate it when people make that argument; it's just a weak excuse and another way to admit the other person's right. Edward was right about this. "I know, but I had a reason. I thought James had my mom, he would have killed her if I didn't listen to him." This didn't seem to make him feel better.

"Then why didn't you ask Alice to check if he had your mother?! We could have helped!"

"I know that was a smart option but I didn't know if you could have hidden from him, I don't know how well he could smell you. I had to try this on my own; going to Alice was the backup plan." He lifted his head, left my side and started pacing.

"'Backup plan'?! 'Backup plan'?! Doing the sensible thing was the 'backup plan'?!" He yelled then took a breath. "What made you do something so stupid - I'm sorry but that's what it was." He was much calmer now but he still sobbed occasionally.

"I know. But would you have really helped me with this? None of you would have risked me and with good reason, too: there's no guarantee of safety. I would have needed to be there for him not to kill her. Even if there wasn't a risk that any of you could lose control under such stress; your numbers can't help if he's right next to her." I admitted sadly. I hate casting doubt on them but I have to be realistic about this.

Edward returned to my side, kneeling. He didn't say anything for a while. "I'm sorry." He said before he broke into sobs again. I put my hand on his head.

"It's alright, it was my decision, I had to help my mom, there may have been other ways to do it but mine wasn't one of the wrong ones. I don't care what you say, I will defend that fact. Now, what about James? Is it over? What happened?" I was glad to get that off my chest but at the same time I really needed to know what else happened. I hope no one got hurt.

"I got off the plane to find Jasper telling me that he'd lost you."

"Don't blame him." I was proud of losing Jasper but I didn't want this to stick with him forever, even if I knew that was unavoidable.

He hesitated, "I don't." anymore. I imagine him adding. "I'm sorr-"

"Don't start. Just finish the story." I interrupted him.

"I found Alice; she was looking for a way out of the airport to avoid people, or at least the sun. She told me where you'd be. I found my own way out. I went to the ballet studio and found him… He saw me and threw you aside and we charged each other. My family arrived soon after and Emmett and Jasper killed him. I was more concerned about you." He said while sobbing. "He bit you, you were hurting, I had to try… I tried to suck out the venom. I nearly killed you!" He cried. I took a deep breath.

"Your family stopped you, didn't they?"

"Actually I stopped myself before that." He admitted.

"That's even better. Why are you still on this topic then? I made it out alright. I'm fine now." I'm impressed, I wanted to ask how he did that without leaving his own venom in me but I decided that comforting him was the better option.

"But you're hurt."

"I'll heal, getting hurt isn't too bad, - Don't start! - humans can endure a lot." I took this moment to try and move my toes to make sure I wasn't paralyzed. That would have ruined my argument to say the least. It hurt when I tried to move the toes on my right foot. "What happened to my leg?"

"James stepped on it after I threw him, I'm sorry, I threw him the wrong way-"

"Shut up, if you didn't fight him I'd be dead." Edward could be frustrating at times; I've known that long enough to be blunt about it.

"But-"

"If you didn't throw him would he have gotten the upper hand?" This could easily backfire.

"Yes, but-" Thankfully the dice had my number today.

"No buts, I'll be alright. I will be alright. It doesn't matter about now, I'll be fine. It's nothing permanent and it's not the first time I broke a leg. Not the first time I broke a leg in that studio - or the second, even. I'd like you to take a note on the painkillers they're giving me now though, they're very affective." They also made me light headed and feel feverish but the pain was almost gone.

"Alright, I won't try to argue, but don't absolve me of all responsibility, I did make some mistakes with this."

"Agreed." Haven't we all. I put my hand on his, the cold felt great, I was too hot. I felt tired. "What about Victoria?"

"Alice saw her run off; I don't think we'll see her again. Nomads prefer to avoid trouble."

"You sure?"

"Alice will keep a lookout; her powers can be very useful when they're used pre-emptively." I wanted to say that they didn't help with me but I figure it had to do with her looking at the wrong person. And it would just bring us back to where we started.

"How long was I out anyways?" I tried to change the subject.

"Two days"

"Wow, I've never had that happen before. I didn't think it was possible, honestly." I suppose there are still new experiences out there after all. I yawned.

"I should let you rest; your mother will be here in a few minutes." This got my attention.

"Oh… What does she think happened?" I yawned some more.

"You fell down two flights of stairs and out a window."

I had to laugh. "Yeah, that sounds like me."

"I don't think it's that funny."

"Hey, I'm on pain killers, I can laugh at anything I want now go to bed." I said drowsily.

He sighed. "Good idea, I'll let you have some time with your mom. Try and get some rest, please." I did.


I woke up again. I'm not sure how much time passed. I felt a warm hand in mine. I looked over and saw my mom.

"'morning." I said drowsily. She looked up.

"Bella, thank goodness you're alright. You had me worried sick!" she sobbed. "What possessed you to run off like that?" Despite her occasional childishness, my mom didn't cry often; the last time I remember her crying was when her parents died 8 years ago and 5 years before that when she fell down the stairs at the apartment. I had to get it from somewhere. I noted dryly, or as dryly as a thought can be.

"Oh it's a long story; I just had a meltdown is all." I tried to explain, I honestly couldn't believe that I never thought about what to tell her. "I'm better now." Probably not the best thing to say while in a hospital bed.

She sighed. "Please don't do that again. You never ran off before, no matter how bad it got." She was sobbing again, but not as much. It was progress by my standards; I was never good at comforting people.

"Different places bring out different reactions but I think I'm finally used to Forks."

"Wait – you want to go back?" She didn't sound offended, but definitely confused.

"Yes, I think I'm ready to settle down. If daddy's not too mad…" I had forgotten that detail. I'd be surprised if I hear from him again before New Year's after that parting.

"Nonsense, he's just worried! He hasn't stopped calling me since you left!" She was sobbing harder now. Easy come, easy go. "Can you please call him later; he really wants to speak with you."

"Alright." I yawned; these pain killers were a little too good. At this rate I won't hear from my father until New Year's because that's how long I'll sleep 'till. At least I could still joke about it.

"Okay, you get some rest. We can talk later. I promise I won't be crying the whole time." She kissed my forehead and went to the door. "I'll just be out here, call if you need me." She said softly before shutting the door.

I love my mom; I wish I could have them both. Was my last thought before I dosed off again.


I stayed in the hospital for another week. I could sort of walk again, they wanted me to do more physical therapy but I really needed to get back. Who knows how far behind I've fallen in school.

Catching up was always going to be stressful but it proved to be a simpler task than I had expected; being ahead to begin with helped a little (although I suspected some of my teachers passed me for a lot of the smaller assignments without telling me).

My father let me come home, I'd never seen him so happy (I think it was) to see anything. Although he grounded me; if in name only. I can't leave the house without him knowing where and I had to be back before 8. He also made sure to monitor my time with Edward. Despite my best efforts to convince him that it was just me overreacting to something unrelated to anything he holds Edward responsible for my leaving. Although he seems to like the rest of the Cullens, especially Alice for whatever reason (not to insult her but I can't grasp how he can handle someone so chatty). I tried to tell him that Edward was just as confused as him about my mood swing but he would have none of it. Despite the semi-monitored social life he let me live my life as I used to: use the computer all day and read all night. Yes, I consider it a grounding-in-name-only.

And here I am, reading in the rocking chair in my room on prom night with Edward by my side (the chair was always a bit large: Grandma Swan left a big seat to fill if you understand me). Despite Alice's pleading and (presumably fake) crying I held my own and got to stay home. Edward siding with me on the matter might have helped; or at least kept her from kidnapping me in the night.

"This is nice." I broke the silence for once.

"Yes it is. But I do think you could interact with others your own age on occasion."

"Maybe at a smaller gathering."

"I'd prefer that, too. I'd rather not be shoulder-to-shoulder with an entire room full of drunks."

"No one does. If there's one thing I learnt about people over the years is that no one likes crowds, larger gatherings maybe but everyone needs some space." I used to think everyone else loved such things. I hated them for it; called them inhuman for it. I suppose that I had some room for growth after all.

"No one does, I've never heard one person think they're glad to be in a drunken mosh pit." He chuckled.

"I hope I never live to see a drunken mosh pit." I really did, it sounded awful in every way.

"You'll never see one in your room."

"All the more reason to never leave."

"And your reasons to leave?"

"The school would send truant officers to my door; I can't hide where I live." I joked.

"Really? That's the only reason?" He laughed and raised his eyebrow.

"The only legal one. I imagine that even my dad would force me out if I started collecting more dust than I clean." I paused and put my finger to my chin, as if I were in thought. "And I suppose that you need some fresh air every once in a while."

"Me? What about you? You're the one who needs to breathe."

"I hate fresh air; only air that contains dust mite shit and dead skin cells can sustain me."

He laughed harder at that. "I've never heard you swear before."

"I'm sure you have at least once." I tried to think back but it felt like so long ago. How so little time makes such a large difference. "I'm sure I'll have time for others thanks to you."

He paused. "Yes, I suppose you will."

I smiled. Times like this are lovely. If nothing else getting a boyfriend was a good investment. "I love you." I leaned closer to him. One step at a time. I always enjoyed the idea of closeness, cuddling, I hope to be able to do it someday.

"I love you too." Edward leaned over and kissed my forehead.

I don't want to be normal but I do want to be happy and I want us to be happy. I'm willing to compromise and try to make this relationship healthy. I think I'm ready for it.


AN:

It's done; finally I'm happy with this chapter.

I know I said it would be done in a week, and to be fair half of it was done in that week, but I just wasn't happy with it. So I did some other things I wasn't happy with. Now I wrote this.

It was quite a ride, even though I don't like this story anymore I do feel that it helped me become a better writer (even if it did so by inspiring me to write other things that did make me a better writer). I feel that I've grown so much as a writer and a person that when I look back at the old chapters I see nothing but mistakes and opinions I no longer hold. I am glad to be out of that mess.

I'm looking forward to the future, mine and the world's. I want us all to grow.

EDIT: Some have asked me if there will be a sequel. At one point I had planned to do the four Twilight books for this story and make a slice-of-life sequel detailing Edward and Bella's married life. But I simply don't have the interest in this story to continue. I decided to end it here because it is a good place to stop in terms of character development. Edward and Bella's relationship is stable, Bella is starting to become more mild and settled in and willing to accept change. It closes all the emotional arcs that I had set up by this point.

Although I do want to talk a little about how I treat sequels if you wish to read any stories I make after this. I don't really believe in starting new stories to be sequels, I would rather make one 90 chapter story than three 30 chapter stories if they are all about the same thing. I consider this to be a "concept story", since it's based around an idea rather than a plot. It's kind of written like a "plot story" because I didn't know any better when I started writing it; but if I were to rewrite this (which I don't have any plans to do) I would write it as a more slice-of-life narrative with small time skips in between chapters and have each chapter center around it's own event. If a story were to have a long story arc that takes up many more chapters than the ones building up to it then I may end it and make it its own story and have the later story arcs posted as separate sequels. This isn't too likely to happen, though, as I want to keep each world and its characters in its own story so that it's easy to find and access in the right order.