Diamond in the Rough- Epilogue

A/N: This is it! The epilogue is now posted and DITR is finally finished. I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it...

BPOV

The car rumbled beneath me as I clasped his hand tightly, quite positive I was close to crushing the bones themselves. He never winced or squirmed, but I saw his forehead wrinkle in pain if I tightened my grip, and I immediately was forced to relinquish some of my strength, not wanting him to be hurt.

"You'll be fine, love. You're ready." He whispered softly, kissing me gently.

Had it really been a whole year?

Eight months ago, we'd been married. Eleven months ago, he'd proposed. One year ago today, the battle with Victoria had ended, and I'd been changed… I'd been a vampire for one year today, and now, I was on my way to town with my family, daring to show my face in human society for the first time since.

The year had been a tough one for us… after the wedding and honeymoon were finished, life returned to relative normalcy, which in turn, meant that my thirst and newborn tendencies had also returned. I didn't struggle too badly for a while, but about six months in, I'd slipped again, much to my dismay, and I'd refused to come home for a full three days afterwards. Thankfully, that had been the final time and according to dad, only two slips was very good for someone my age. Very few managed to keep a completely clean record, dad being one of them, and those who did most likely had a very good reason for it.

Dad, for instance, had brought over his strongest trait just like the rest of us- an inherent sense of right and wrong, with a healthy dose of humanity and compassion.

That's not to say that he never struggled, of course… now, such a thing was rare, but back in his early days, dad had tried every which way to end his life, getting nowhere.

Two slips, I'd been told, was very normal, even if it was upsetting.

"What if I slip again?" I asked worriedly, making my husband smile. He kissed me soundly before he replied.

"Then we'll stop you and turn back." He said simply. "You've been doing so well, though." He admitted. "Your eyes are golden now."

And how I loved that fact. About three months ago, my temper had started to mellow down, and my eyes had changed colour. No longer was Jasper constantly forced to calm me and relax my unreasonable anger, but he was allowed to revel in the calm he claimed I emanated. Edward remarked that I was much like my old self again, if not a bit more kind and docile.

I chocked that up to age… I was getting older, and some childish qualities were bound to be lost.

"You'll do wonderfully." Said Edward confidently. "Alice wants to go to a mall, but if that's too much, then you and I can roam town, or even take a quick hunt in the woods, if you need to."

I loved him.

We'd decided to start preparing for this fateful day at the beginning of last month by expanding my hunting grounds. The others could contain themselves enough to hunt animals near the human settlements, but I wasn't as disciplined, and I always tried to evade my escorts and attack the towns. We'd started expanding by half a mile twice a week until I was only three miles from the town, and the scents of the humans were detectable.

I knew I could withstand the scent of blood from a healthy distance, but up close, there was no telling what I'd do.

But as dad said, there was no way to tell, but to simply try it out.

The outskirts of the town was passing us by, and each time we passed a home or other building, I felt a sharp pang in my throat as the scents waxed and waned.

"See?" said Edward, pointing to the window he'd rolled down about an inch. I simply breathed slowly and nodded, forcing back the angry voice that tried to set back my progress.

I could do this.

Seeing civilization again gave me mixed feelings- it felt great to see the buildings I once knew, but it pained me to know that I'd missed out on a year of life…

Not to worry. I'd make up for it.

Before I could so much as gather my thoughts, Alice pulled the car to a stop and Edward glanced over, smiling.

"Ready or not." He said softly, opening the door swiftly.

The air swirled in, and I took an experimental sniff, smiling as I remained sane. I smelled the blood and it did hurt, but beyond that was an even stronger sense of pride and accomplishment. Edward stepped out of the car with ease and I sighed as he extended his hand towards me. I took it gently and slowly, slid my feet from the car, resting them on the familiar asphalt.

You can do this, Bella.

And with those words echoing in my mind, I drew myself up out of the car, and I took a step forward, venturing into the unknown.

End of Part 4

END OF DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

A/N: Sniff.

Now, all that's left to say is thank you to everyone who's followed this story, either from the very beginning or from last week... everyone has been so good. I hope I can write something half as fulfilling as this was in the future, and hopefully, all my readers will transfer over to whichever story I post next... Add me on author alert if you want to read what's next, since I probably won't remember to post a note on this story.